Inhuman Swill : April 2005

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April 29, 2005

House of doofusoid

Why I love Roger Ebert:

Yes, I take notes during the movies. I can't always read them, but I persist in hoping that I can. During a movie like House of D, I jot down words I think might be useful in the review. Peering now at my 3x5 cards, I read sappy, inane, cornball, shameless and, my favorite, doofusoid. I sigh. The film has not even inspired interesting adjectives, except for the one I made up myself. I have been reading Dr. Johnson's invaluable Dictionary of the English Language, and propose for the next edition: doofusoid, adj., possessing the qualities of a doofus; sappy, inane, cornball, shameless. "The plot is composed of doofusoid elements."

You know a movie is not working for you when you sit in the dark inventing new words. House of D is the kind of movie that particularly makes me cringe, because it has such a shameless desire to please; like Uriah Heep, it bows and scrapes and wipes its sweaty palm on its trouser leg, and also like Uriah Heep, it privately thinks it is superior.

I make free with a reference to Uriah Heep because I assume if you got past Dr. Johnson and did not turn back, Uriah Heep will be like an old friend. You may be asking yourself, however, why I am engaging in word play, and the answer is: I am trying to entertain myself before I must get down to the dreary business of this review. Think of me as switching off my iPod just before going into traffic court. So. House of D. Written and directed by David Duchovny, who I am quite sure created it with all of the sincerity at his command, and believed in it so earnestly that it did not occur to him that no one else would believe in it at all....

You can read the full review here, but, really, why do you need to read more?

April 28, 2005

April's CD mix of the month

My contribution to the April CD Mix of the Month Club was Untrammeled Adoration Considered as 39 Projectiles of Transparent Blue Corundum: A Rock Opera.

(The story so far.)

cdmom | music

April 27, 2005

Mending fences

Or, how we and several good friends spent our weekend:

(Hi, [info]bobhowe!)

Weekend poetry

I keep flogging the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards here, so I hope you'll forgive another mention. We were listening to Weekend Edition Saturday on NPR the other morning when suddenly Scott Simon began interviewing one of this year's portfolio winners, Amanda Gotera. She reads a very nice poem on the air, and you can hear the interview here.

April 20, 2005

A Benedict XVI chair?

Who else wonders if "the unification of all Christians" is a euphemism for "Inquisition"?

(It's been said that ol' Ratty looks like Harlan Ellison, but I'd say here he's looking more like Norman Spinrad.)

Morning commute

Are we really so illiterate as a city that the Daily News has to call Pope Benedict "the 16th" instead of "XVI"? God. (Reminds me of the joke, c. 1992, about the upper crusty couple who go out to see that new Spike Lee film—Malcolm the 10th.)

In other news, apparently spring in New York City is over, and we missed most of it on our weekend jaunt to Texas. High of 88 today!

April 19, 2005

Upcoming essay

Since I've just returned the signed contract, I assume I can announce that a personal essay of mine, "The Missionary Imposition," will be appearing in the upcoming issue of Matthew Kressel's zine Sybil's Garage. Holy cow, but there's a great table of contents! Check out the cover.

The issue should be out Real Soon Now, and I'll be sure to holler when it is.

Alliance in the Times

On the front page of the Arts section in today's New York Times is a nice story on the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, which some of you may have seen already. It begins:

Student Winners Follow the Famous In 1932, a senior at Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn won second prize in a writing contest for a story called "Life - From Behind a Counter," about working in his father's grocery store.

The story ends with a salesman telling the boy, "vat you see in vun day, und vat you hear in vun day from dese people - you can write a leetle book about."

"I nodded - only I thought, 'I could write a big book,' " wrote the 18-year-old author.

The storyteller was Bernard Malamud, who would write many big books and win many awards, including the Pulitzer Prize for "The Fixer."

That early notice for the future literary star came from the Scholastic Awards, begun in 1923, when the contest sponsor, the Scholastic Publishing Company, received seven original writing submissions. This year, 200,000 middle school and high school students entered, along with an additional 50,000 competitors in the photography and art categories, for the national prizes now known as the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.

This year's 12 winners of the top prize, $10,000 in cash for a portfolio of work, were announced yesterday by Scholastic Inc., still the biggest sponsor of the awards (The New York Times is another corporate sponsor), which total more than $1.5 million in tuition scholarships annually.  [full story]

Why do I care? Laura works for the Alliance of Young Artists & Writers, which administers the competition for Scholastic, and I've served for three years now as a national juror—twice in the SF/Fantasy category, and this year in the American Voices (a/k/a Best in Show) category. I was also keynote speaker last year for the New York City regional awards ceremony.

In any event, the Alliance does praiseworthy work, and if you know any young writers or artists, be sure they and their schools know about the Awards for next year.

Cheers!

I'm not sure what everyone is so upset about. Personally, I think John Cardinal Ratzenberger will make a splendid pope. Long live Clifford XVI!

April 15, 2005

The Amityville whores

As a new version of The Amityville Horror makes its way toward the big screen, it's instructional to be reminded that we do have a pretty good idea of what really happened in that storied house on Long Island.

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