Category Archives: Books
Ever make out a “living will?”
My daughter, wife, son and daughter-in-law are all participating in making out the details for a “living will“… I guess they are worried about what to do with my books and check-protector collection and fat-man clothes and other stuff.
They need to know if I’ll allow an autopsey, or whether I want to be cremated or buried or stuffed and distributed on a timely basis to decorate the homes of family members. They need to know if I want to stay alive in a vegetative state. Nothing I’ve really thought about before.
They are doing all this by following instructions in a book (“In the Checklist of Life“) by Elly and my old friend and former employee Lynn McPhelimy who developed this stuff thirty years ago.
This has been helpful to many people in our family… Elly gave many of them copies of Lynn’s book as holiday gifts one year. You can get it, too… just go to Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/In-Checklist-Life-Working-Leave/dp/0965784355b where it costs under $20.00.
If you are planning last days of any family member, or yourself, you may want to consider one of the many five-star reviews that have appeared on Amazon:
This is an excellent book. Everyone needs to have one of these. I have filled out every page that applies. I told my whole family where it is located should my untimely death occur. I have had to plan and attend many funerals and when there is no plan it can make things difficult and stressful. It you take the time to fill out these pages, even some of them, it will help your family in a time of sorrow and confusion. This book is best for the division of property and sentimental items. It is also a good idea to have a living will and trust. Anyone who’s ever had to go through probate or a difficult family situation can relate. For those who haven’t, just know that death can often do strange things to people and even the most loving of families can be divided over who gets what. Get this book as a great start to planning an inevitable part of life.
…or this one:
“In the Checklist of Life” was a book that I found to be indispensable. In retrospect, after losing someone close to you, you realize how important this book really is. I have always joked with my family about writing my own obituary, and here is my very own chapter in which to do just that. The chapter about your pets is one that should not be missed for all pet lovers. This book is smart, it’s funny, it makes you think, it makes you cry. Be kind to your family and fill in the pages of this wonderful book. They will forever be thankful.
As I think about what might go wrong with the surgery I’m having next Friday, this will keep most of my family feeling much more secure. Thanks, Lynn.
Employment growth picks up in October with addition of 171,000 jobs
Today the Government released the October Labor Statistics and we see that employers have added a larger-than-expected 171,000 jobs in October across a broad spectrum of businesses. In this, the final snapshot of the economy before election day, we have an interesting picture of job growth… more than double what it was in September.
Unfortunately, the nation’s unemployment rate rose to 7.9% from 7.8% in September. This was because more people jumped back into the labor market, including a very large group of 18-year old first time workers. This, of course, is a positive sign that workers may be feeling more confident about their job prospects.
The new Labor Department report, which also revised sharply higher job growth in September and August, may give a boost to President Obama, who continues with a slow but positive economic growth. There is still enough information for the undecided to support Obama who has kept us going even though Mitch McConnell and his Republicans have worked overtime to keep Obama’s Job Creation proposals and other forward moving activities from passing or getting any Congressional support. It’s interesting that Obama has gotten as far as he has… and it is even more interesting how little the Republicans have been concerned with helping to relieve our economy.
- US economy adds 171,000 jobs (bigpondnews.com)
- Economy adds 171,000 jobs in October (bostonherald.com)
- US economy adds 171,000 new jobs (bbc.co.uk)
- U.S. Adds 171K Jobs In October: What It Means For Obama And Romney (forbes.com)
- October jobless rate is 7.9 percent: 171,000 jobs created. Good news for Obama (blogs.suntimes.com)
- Job Growth Better Than Expected Last Month (politicalwire.com)
- SPECIAL REPORT: “171 Thousand Jobs Added in Last Jobs Report Before Election, Unemployment Rate 7.9%” (marketsnacks.com)
Educator and Cultural Critic Jacques Barzun Dies at 104;
Historian, essayist, cultural gadfly and educator Jacques Barzun, who helped establish the modern discipline of cultural history, was probably best known for viewing the West as sliding toward decadence. He died Thursday night at his home in San Antonio. He was 104.
His remarkable curiosity and manifold interests and accomplishments, encompassed both Berlioz and baseball (and many other subjects.) He stood with Sidney Hook, Daniel Bell and Lionel Trilling as one of the mid-20th century’s most wide-ranging scholars. He tried to reconcile the achievements of European philosophy and culture with the very different American intellect and culture.
He wrote dozens of books across many decades, demonstrating that old age did not necessarily mean intellectual decline. He published his most ambitious and encyclopedic book at the age of 92 (and credited his productivity in part to chronic insomnia). That work, “From Dawn to Decadence,” is an 877-page survey of 500 years of Western culture in which he argued that Western civilization itself had entered a period of decline.
Unlike many of his contemporaries, Barzun showed little interest in taking political positions. This was partly because he became a university administrator and had to stand above the fray, and partly because he approached the world with a detached civility and a sardonic skepticism about intellectual life.
He traced periods of rise and fall in the Western saga, and contended that another fall was near — one that could cause “the liquidation of 500 years of civilization.” It looks like he won’t be around to see it.
- Cultural historian, author Jacques Barzun dies (cnsnews.com)
- Cultural historian, author Jacques Barzun dies (news.yahoo.com)
- Cultural historian, author Jacques Barzun dies (miamiherald.com)
- Author, thinker Barzun dies at 104 (mysanantonio.com)
- Cultural Historian Jacques Barzun Dies At 104 (wnyc.org)
- Jacques Barzun: Historian who believed that Western culture was descending into trivia (independent.co.uk)
- Jacques Barzun, RIP (samizdata.net)
- Jacques Barzun (telegraph.co.uk)
Cynthia Huntington is a Finalist for a National Book Award
When the list of National Book Award nominees was revealed, I was pleased to see my old friend Cynthia Huntington nominated for her poetry book, Heavenly Bodies. Cynthia was a fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown for two years while I was Director there in the 70s. I have kept an eye on her work for some time.
Published by the Southern Illinois University Press, Heavenly Bodies has been described as a blistering collection of lyric poems, which give an intimate view of the sexual revolution and rebellion in a time before the rise of feminism. Heavenly Bodies is a testament to the duality of sex, the twin seductiveness and horror of drug addiction, and the social, political, and personal dramas of America in the 1960s.
Echoing throughout are some of the most famous—and infamous—voices of the times: Joan Baez and Charles Manson, Frank Zappa and Betty Friedan. Jinns and aliens beckon while cities burn and revolutionaries thunder for change.
Cynthia Huntington is the author of four books of poetry, including The Radiant (winner of the Levis Prize), The Fish-Wife, and We Have Gone to the Beach, as well as a prose memoir, The Salt House. A former New Hampshire State Poet Laureate, she is professor of English at Dartmouth College, where she serves as senior faculty in creative writing. She served as chair of the poetry jury for the Pulitzer Prizes for 2006.
I congratulate Cynthia sincerely for her current achievement and look forward to reading Heavenly Bodies (and perhaps pass it on to John Case for his Monday morning poetry program.)
- 2012 National Book Festival: Poetry & Prose (gianninabraschi.wordpress.com)
- Dozens Of The World’s Foremost Poets Descend Upon Newark, New Jersey Next Week, October 11-14, 2012 For The Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival (sacbee.com)
- Pulitzer winners, U.S. Poets Laureate to participate in Dodge Poetry Festival in Newark this fall (nj.com)
A great loss to my memories of Children’s Theatre in NYC – Remy Charlip dies at 83…
Abraham Remy Charlip was an American artist, writer, choreographer, theatre director, designer and teacher.
In the 1960s Charlip created a unique form of choreography, which he called “air mail dances”. He would send a set of drawings to a dance company, and the dancers would then order the positions and create transitions and context.
He performed with John Cage, he was a founder member of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company for which he also designed sets and costumes, he directed plays for the Judson Poet’s Theater.
I remember him most as a co founder of the Paper Bag Players, one of the most important children’s theatres in the world. He served as head of the Children’s Theater and Literature Department at Sarah Lawrence College, was a winner of two Village Voice Obie Awards, three New York Times Best Illustrated Book of the Year citations, and was awarded a six-month residency in Kyoto from the Japan/U.S. Commission on the Arts. He wrote and/or illustrated 29 children’s books.
Charlip was the model for illustrations of Georges Méliès in the book The Invention of Hugo Cabret ( if you saw the wonderful movie “Hugo” you know this story), written and illustrated by Brian Selznick.
Great artist. Great loss. Fortunately he left so much behind.
- Remy Charlip, Dancer and Children’s Author, Dies at 83 (nytimes.com)
- Ladies & Gentlemen, It’s Been A While… (heropress.net)
- Dancer, author Remy Charlip dies (sfgate.com)
Robert Hughes, art critic & historian, dies at age 74.
I remember him most for The Shock of the New, his evaluation of 20th century art, and The Fatal Shore, his history of the settling of his native Australia.
Hughes attended Sydney University, an architecture major, where he was academically undistinguished. In his words:
“I actually succeeded in failing first year arts, which any moderately intelligent amoeba could have passed.”
A the age of 28 he wrote The Art of Australia, which he later dismissed as “juvenalia.” After its publication the popular historian Alan Moorehead advised him to go to Europe.
Hughes traveled around the great art capitals of the world, landed in London and wrote art criticism for the Sunday Times. He wrote a book called Heaven and Hell in Western Art (1969) that bombed. However, a Time magazine executive read it, and promptly hired Hughes as art critic. In 1970 he moved to Manhattan and wrote for Time for the rest of the century.
- Art critic, historian Robert Hughes dies at 74 (cbsnews.com)
- Australian critic Robert Hughes dead (abc.net.au)
- Robert Hughes, Eloquent Australian Art Critic and Historian Who Pulled No Punches, Dies at 74 (galleristny.com)
- Renowned Art Critic Robert Hughes Dead In NY At 74 (huffingtonpost.com)
- Robert Hughes dies in New York (news.smh.com.au)
- Farewell Robert Hughes – critic, raconteur, fisherman, shooter, historian, memoirist (theage.com.au)
- Critic Robert Hughes dies aged 74 (bbc.co.uk)
- Noted art critic dies in New York (bigpondnews.com)
Booknotes – Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt…
Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt by Chris Hedges and the brilliant graphic story teller, Joe Sacco is a brutal depiction of Reality!
This is a problem which we either deal with or succumb to. The Romney campaign will support the growth of these greedy corporations. Will You?
- Chris Hedges and Joe Sacco Explore Corporate ‘Sacrifice Zones’ (crooksandliars.com)
- The Battle of Blair Mountain by Chris Hedges ” Dandelion Salad (womensphilanthropy.typepad.com)
- The World Is Flat (thedailybeast.com)
- Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt – Chris Hedges_on Anti-War Progressive Teach-in (noliesradio.org)
- Gripping Reportage in ‘Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt’ (Graphic Novelties) (popmatters.com)
- The Battle of Blair Mountain (truthdig.com)
- Chris Hedges: Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt (jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com)
Fun with Christian Education…
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal has come under focus recently for the kind of textbooks he is willing to fund with State money, even they are for private Christian schools. And this is a guy who some want for Vice President.
“Are dinosaurs alive today? Scientists are becoming more convinced of their existence. Have you heard of the ‘Loch Ness Monster’ in Scotland? ‘Nessie’ for short has been recorded on sonar from a small submarine, described by eyewitnesses, and photographed by others. Nessie appears to be a plesiosaur.”
– from Louisiana Christian schoolbook by Accelerated Christian Education, or ACE.
“…is it possible that a fire-breathing animal really existed? Today some scientists are saying yes. They have found large chambers in certain dinosaur skulls… The large skull chambers could have contained special chemical-producing glands. When the animal forced the chemicals out of its mouth or nose, these substances may have combined and produced fire and smoke… Dinosaurs and humans were definitely on earth at the same time and may have even lived side by side within the past few thousand years”
— from Bob Jones University Press biology textbook Life Science 3rd. Edition (2007).
“The Great Depression was exaggerated by propagandists, including John Steinbeck, to advance a socialist agenda.”
– also from Bob Jones University Press.
These books are used widely in Christian schools that would receive dramatically increased funding under Mitt Romney‘s education plan. But look at this: BJU‘s biology, history, English, and religion textbooks have been rejected by the University of California for course credit. Why? Because they don’t even have the kernel of truth in them.
My recommendation: don’t go to school in Louisiana.
- The Loch Ness Monster and Creationists (biblicalbullshit.wordpress.com)
- The Loch Ness Monster Is Real; The KKK Is Good: The Shocking Content of Publicly Paid for Christian School Textbooks (alternet.org)
- Loch Ness monster cited by US schools as evidence that evolution is myth (scotsman.com)
- Louisiana vouchers pay to teach students about Nessie, the evolutiond-debunking plesiosaur (secularnewsdaily.com)
- American Children Taught Nessie is Real (gizmodo.co.uk)
If Obama is bad for business, why are foreign investors racing to invest in America?
From CNN Business:
“The State Department expects to issue over 6,000 “investor visas” in the current fiscal year, which would be an all-time record. Other countries, meanwhile, are following the U.S.’s lead, keen to spur growth in lean economic times.”
And Politicus USA summarizes:
The Dow Jones has increased 85% from 2009-2012, the S&P 500 has increased 98% since Obama took office, and corporate profits after taxes have increased 68% since President Obama took his oath. Now finally, Obama has turned this economy around from losing 750,000 jobs a month in the first quarter of 2009, to averaging growth of 150,000 jobs per month. So either foreign investors are really stupid to invest in America, when they could be investing more in Brazil, Russia and China or they see amazing economic strength coming down the pipe for America!
How much investment in America has Mitch McConnell (or John Boehner) or Mitt Romney brought in?
From what I can see: nothing.
- Citizenship for sale: Foreign investors flock to U.S. – Yahoo! Finance (nadernazemi.com)
- Chronicling Mitt’s Mendacity, Vol. XXI (maddowblog.msnbc.msn.com)
- China could owe America one trillion dollars (chinadailymail.com)
- CNN On Solyndra Loan: Bush Started It, There’s No Evidence of Wrongdoing, And Romney’s Attacks Are Made Up (thinkprogress.org)
Paul Krugman’s Book “End This Depression Now” is available…
… and I bought a copy yesterday at my favorite bookstore (The Four Seasons, in Shepherdstown WV). I have to admit I received a discount since I had a $5.00 certificate which I won playing a riddle quiz on WSHC on Thursday morning, but I would have bought it anyway.
Krugman thinks the country’s economic problems are solvable, and he uses his book to lead us to the solutions.
“We didn’t have a plague of locusts, we were not hit by a tsunami, there wasn’t some act of God that created this terrible situation. It was acts of man.”
…Krugman said yesterday to a Netroots Nation conference in Rhode island. he also commented on the NY Times reception of his book:
“The New York Times Book Review is run by Sam Tanenhaus, who is very much a neocon, and makes a point whenever a progressive comes out with a book to find someone who will attack it. It’s not really an attack, but the reviewer is shocked at the lack of respect I show for ‘highly respected people,’ I think he uses that phrase.”
Another thing Krugman said, which may show up on my Quotes of the Decade series:
“If you don’t know multiple people who are suffering, then you must be living in a very rarefied environment… you must be maybe a member of the Romney clan, or something.”
- Ben Bernanke’s Office Phone Number Given Out at Netroots Nation Keynote (news.firedoglake.com)
- President of Estonia Goes Ballistic on Paul Krugman (economicpolicyjournal.com)
- Estonian President Explains His Twitter Tiff With Paul Krugman (politicker.com)
- Paul Krugman: Reagan Was a Keynesian (economistsview.typepad.com)
- Paul Krugman on why austerity is a recipe for ten more years of a Depression. (americablog.com)
- Paul Krugman Demolishes Conservatives At Night, Too (polentical.com)
- Brittan on Krugman on Keynesianism (cafehayek.com)
- Krugman and Stiglitz: Our Most Widely Ignored Public Intellectuals (economistsview.typepad.com)
Natasha Trethewey is the new Poet Laureate of the United States
Trethewey, 46, is an English and creative writing professor at Emory University in Atlanta, named the 19th U.S. poet laureate Thursday by the Librarian of Congress.
The Pulitzer Prize winner is the nation’s first poet laureate to hail from the South since the initial one – Robert Penn Warren – in 1986. She is also Mississippi’s top poet and will be the first person to serve simultaneously as a state and U.S. laureate.
Winner of the 2007 Pulitzer Prize for her book of poems, “Native Guard,” Trethewey focused partly on history that was erased because it was never recorded. She wrote of the Louisiana Native Guard, a black Civil War regiment assigned to guard white Confederate soldiers held on Ship Island off Mississippi’s Gulf Coast.
The Confederate prisoners were later memorialized on the island, but not the black Union soldiers.
Here’s one of her poems: Providence.
|by Natasha Trethewey|
What's left is footage: the hours before Camille, 1969—hurricane parties, palm trees leaning in the wind, fronds blown back, a woman's hair. Then after: the vacant lots, boats washed ashore, a swamp where graves had been. I recall how we huddled all night in our small house, moving between rooms, emptying pots filled with rain. The next day, our house— on its cinderblocks—seemed to float in the flooded yard: no foundationbeneath us, nothing I could see tying us to the land. In the water, our reflection trembled, disappeared when I bent to touch it.
- Natasha Trethewey named 19th US poet laureate (news.yahoo.com)
- Natasha Trethewey Is Named Poet Laureate (nytimes.com)
- Natasha Trethewey named 19th US poet laureate (sfgate.com)
- A poem by Natasha Trethewey, next US poet laureate (kansascity.com)
- Civil War history buff named U.S. poet in chief (ctv.ca)
- Emory professor named U.S. poet laureate (ajc.com)
Ray Bradbury is Dead at 91…
He took us into the future and then farther into the future. He showed us where our politics and lifestyles could take us in books like “Fahrenheit 451.” He created a whole civilization and then related it to the Cold War in “The Martian Chronicles.” He created a monumental body of books, film, television and theater…so much that it is hard to conceive of one man writing it all.
But he did.
Did you know he scripted the 1956 film version of “Moby Dick?” Or that he was a regular writer for “The Twilight Zone?” Or that his work has been published in over 30 languages? Or that he wrote about 600 short stories which appeared in more than 1000 school textbooks?
And his approach to work:
“Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things.
– Ray Bradbury
Bradbury was our science fiction evangelist and we will miss him… but we are so happy that he left so much amazing work behind. Rest in Peace, Ray.
- “Zero Hour,” Ray Bradbury, 1947 (jennre.wordpress.com)
- Film: Newswire: Ray Bradbury’s From The Dust Returned may become a movie (avclub.com)
- Books That Changed my Life: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (caracaleo.com)
- Ray Bradbury on Doing What You Love and Reading as a Prerequisite of Democracy (brainpickings.org)
- Ray Bradbury on Facing Rejection … and Being Inspired by Snoopy (theatlantic.com)
- At What Temperature Does an eBook Burn? (cultofmac.com)
- like fish laid out on the grass | Fahrenheit 451 (mosthopeful.com)
- Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 & The People’s Tyranny (idpm.wordpress.com)
A frightening story from the Religious Right:
Thank you to WarIsACrime.org for making us aware of this. Part of the article as follows:
How Christian fundamentalists plan to teach genocide to schoolchildren
By davidswansonThe story of Saul and the Amalekites has been used to justify genocide throughout the ages. Photograph: Martin Godwin for the Guardian
The Bible has thousands of passages that may serve as the basis for instruction and inspiration. Not all of them are appropriate in all circumstances.
The story of Saul and the Amalekites is a case in point. It’s not a pretty story, and it is often used by people who don’t intend to do pretty things. In the book of 1 Samuel (15:3), God said to Saul:
“Now go, attack the Amalekites, and totally destroy all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.”
Saul dutifully exterminated the women, the children, the babies and all of the men – but then he spared the king. He also saved some of the tastier looking calves and lambs. God was furious with him for his failure to finish the job.
The story of the Amalekites has been used to justify genocide throughout the ages. According to Pennsylvania State University Professor Philip Jenkins, a contributing editor for the American Conservative, the Puritans used this passage when they wanted to get rid of the Native American tribes. Catholics used it against Protestants, Protestants against Catholics. “In Rwanda in 1994, Hutu preachers invoked King Saul‘s memory to justify the total slaughter of their Tutsi neighbors,” writes Jenkins in his 2011 book, Laying Down the Sword: Why We Can’t Ignore the Bible’s Violent Verses (HarperCollins).
This fall, more than 100,000 American public school children, ranging in age from four to 12, are scheduled to receive instruction in the lessons of Saul and the Amalekites in the comfort of their own public school classrooms. The instruction, which features in the second week of a weekly “Bible study” course, will come from the Good News Club, an after-school program sponsored by a group called the Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF). The aim of the CEF is to convert young children to a fundamentalist form of the Christian faith and recruit their peers to the club.
(read the rest HERE.)
And yet, we can look at Muslims and see them responsible for acts like those in Syria and other places where women and children are killed… or look at the same kind of crimes in Guatemala a couple of years ago (The report on Dos Erres by This American Life comes to mind) and you’ll see what is almost an acceptance by the US Government (unless we are doing something that is invisible.)
Religion… the danger of extreme belief,,, rises to confront the world on a regular basis. Will we allow such a rise in our schools?
- Are Christian Fundamentalists Teaching Genocide in Our Schools? (alternet.org)
- Christian fundamentalist “Good News Club” promotes genocide of nonbelievers in public schools (secularnewsdaily.com)
- [Update] How Christian fundamentalists plan to teach genocide to schoolchildren – Katherine Stewart – The Guardian (richarddawkins.net)
- Compassion Or The Cold Steel: A Case Study Of Old Testament Violence (bburleson.wordpress.com)
A quote to consider…Romney puts his business experience in play:
The Mittster made a speech in Las Vegas on Tuesday and said this:
“In addition to the age of the president and the citizenship of the president and the birthplace of the president being set by the Constitution, I’d like it also to say that the president has to spend at least three years working in business before becoming president of the United States.”
Of course, this is a way to set up the Mitt Romneys of the world to bypass foreign policy, or congressional, or other kinds of experience with a few years of stealing from the 99% to put bucks in their own pockets.
You know, I’d like to see the Constitution say that a presidential candidate should have spent at least three years in the Arts… producing theatre or ballet dancing or doing gallery shows of abstract paintings. Know what I mean?
I’d like to see the Constitution say that a candidate should be required to have taught at a university level for at least three years… or at a primary school level for six…and been a member of a teacher’s union.
Actually, the Constitution should require that the candidate have been an employee for at least three years at a working class level and have been a member of ANY union.
If you think Romney is ready to be President because of his Bain experience, take a look at what it did for his Massachusetts Gubernatorial record… While he says he turned the state around, in reality he let it freeze in a negative mode.
Andrew Sum and Joseph McLaughlin of the Center for Market Studies at Northeastern University reported in July 2007 that Romney’s record as Governor was “one of the worst in the country;”
On all key labor market measures, (Massachusetts) not only lagged behind the country as a whole, but often ranked at or near the bottom of the state distribution. Formal payroll employment in the state in 2006 was still 16,000 or 0.5 percent below its average level in 2002, the year immediately prior to the start of the Romney administration. Massachusetts ranked third lowest on this key job generation measure and would have ranked second lowest if Hurricane Katrina had not devastated the Louisiana economy.
And this was with 25 years of business experience. 25 years.
Makes you think.
Unfortunately, there are books that will never be made into movies…
Posting earlier about the film version of Kerouac‘s “On The Road” at Cannes got me thinking about the novels I’ve gotten attached to in my life that will never be made into movies. Some of them should be, but, due to author preferences or interpretive difficulty or some other reason, won’t.
The one that comes to mind first is “Catcher in the Rye.” Having been disappointed at the way one of his early short stories was committed to film, Salinger vowed it would never happen again and kept all his remaining work from becoming “properties.” The number of young actors who would have killed to play Holden Caulfield goes beyond counting… and there are certainly directors who would have been willing to commit immense amounts of time to such a project. Can you imagine a Mike Nichols directed “Catcher?”
Thinking of Salinger, it is also a shame that Seymour and Buddy and the rest of the Glass family will never appear on film. No “Franny and Zooey.” No “Seymour, an Introduction” (although that would have been a very eccentric film.)
The novels of Thomas Pynchon, especially “V.” and “Gravity’s Rainbow,” although extremely complex and time-line-twisted, would be interesting to film. I would have liked to see John Belushi play Benny Profane. Not gonna happen.
I’m sure you can think of more, of books you would have liked to have seen filmed but that were withheld from the process.
Let me know which ones come to mind.
- On Hiatus With Thomas Pynchon (lakeeffectblog.wordpress.com)
- Mike Nichols Warns ‘Death’ May Be His Last Job (wnyc.org)
- Sara Habein’s #CBR4 Review #19: Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger (cannonballread4.wordpress.com)
- A brief survey of the short story part 40: JD Salinger (guardian.co.uk)
I guess I’m looking forward to “On The Road” opening in the US
“On The Road”, Jack Kerouac‘s 50s novel brought to the screen by Walter Salles (director of “The Motorcycle Diaries“), opened at Cannes to moderate response. The NY Times felt it was a “muted take on Jack Kerouac’s ecstatic American story” and the audience apparently gave it a polite applause.
The film appears more than five decades after the novel’s publication caused a literary sensation and launched a thousand road trips, not to mention innumerable road movies. Earlier directors had attempted to create a film from the work, including Francis Ford Coppola (listed as Executive Producer on the credits… and I believe the one with control of the film rights.)
Salles interviewed poets Gary Snyder, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Michael McClure, Diane di Prima and Amiri Baraka, who were Kerouac contemporaries. He also interviewed the Kerouac biographers Gerald Nicosia and Barry Gifford, who served as consultants on the film.
Salles spent eight years on the project, five on research alone… including taking the Kerouac/Neil Cassady road trip (the film uses Kerouac’s character names Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty). Characters based on Alan Ginsberg and William S.Boroughs also show up.
I think this is one of those films where I’ll ignore reviews and see for myself.
- Cannes takes it On the Road: Jack Kerouac book adopted by Walter Salles – Canada.com (canada.com)
- On The Road Comes To Cannes: Divides Critics, But Isn’t That Just So Kerouac? (inquisitr.com)
- ArtsBeat: Cannes Film Festival: An Early Look at ‘On the Road’ (artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com)
- On the Road (guardian.co.uk)
- 55 years later, ‘On the Road’ is finally a movie (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- On The Road To Awards Season? Kerouac Book Finally Makes It To The Screen After 55 Years – Cannes (deadline.com)
- Kristen Stewart’s ‘On The Road’: Cannes Reviews Are In! (mtv.com)
- Dan Mecca: On the Road Wanders Aimlessly (news.moviefone.com)
- On the Road is unveiled at Cannes (bbc.co.uk)
- Two Clips from ON THE ROAD; Plus a Round-Up of the First Reviews from Cannes (collider.com)
How do we deal with American illiteracy?
Perhaps you are disturbed, as I am, that there are large numbers of Americans appearing in this political season who cannot interpret either the needs of the nation or the words of various experts in how to fill those needs. It is very apparent in the repetition by average Americans of things they hear from sources like Fox News, or even CNN and MSNBC, without evaluating whether they are true.
This has a lot to do with literacy, defined by ProLiteracy.org as “the ability to read, write, compute, and use technology at a level that enables an individual to reach his or her full potential as a parent, employee, and community member.” The statistics?
- 63 million adults — 29 percent of the country’s adult population —over age 16 don’t read well enough to understand a newspaper story written at the eighth grade level.
- An additional 30 million — 14 percent of the country’s adult population — can only read at a fifth grade level or lower.
- Forty-three percent of adults with the lowest literacy rates in the United States live in poverty.
- The United States ranks fifth on adult literacy skills when compared to other industrialized nations.
- In the U.S., 63 million adults — 29 percent of the country’s adult population —over age 16 don’t read well enough to understand a newspaper story written at the eighth grade level.
- An additional 30 million — 14 percent of the country’s adult population — can only read at a fifth grade level or lower.
- Forty-three percent of adults with the lowest literacy rates in the United States live in poverty.
- The United States ranks fifth on adult literacy skills when compared to other industrialized nations.
- Adult low literacy can be connected to almost every socio-economic issue in the United States.
- Low health literacy costs between $106 billion and $236 billion each year in the U.S.
- Seventy-seven million Americans have only a 2-in-3 chance of correctly reading an over-the-counter drug label or understanding their child’s vaccination chart.
- Low literacy’s effects cost the U.S. $225 billion or more each year in non-productivity in the workforce, crime, and loss of tax revenue due to unemployment.
Got the idea? How do you think the result of these statistics show up during the election season? Take a look:
This is not something that can be corrected in the short term… mores the pity. It requires long-term support of education and the increased employment of teachers. It mandates aiming the majority of our youth to college education as opposed to the military. It means encouraging reading and writing on continuing upgraded levels.
It also requires a massive reduction in the influence of current television programming, something that is the least likely to happen anytime soon.
- ProLiteracy Urges President Obama to Remember Adults at Lowest Level of Literacy (prweb.com)
- Guest Commentary: Subsidized preschool in Denver is key (denverpost.com)
- Literacy Program Has Adults Reading, against the Odds (blog-aauw.org)
- Literacy Month: Know the Facts, Make an Impact (lulu.com)
- National Assessment of Adult Literacy (thirdworldliberator.wordpress.com)
- The NFECs’ Adult Financial Literacy Program Designed for Low- to Moderate-Income Participants Launches (prweb.com)
- You: Non-formal education stressed for prosperity (nation.com.pk)
- BOOK PREGNANT: The Importance of Literacy in My Life, and Yours (alenaslife.wordpress.com)
Hard To Believe Dept. – Where Economic Strategies Come From
Former President George W. Bush is writing a book on—wait for it—strategies for economic growth.
Yeah, that George W. Bush.
The one who ate up our budget surplus that he inherited after the Clinton administration and turned it into massive debt. The one who got us into this great recession BEFORE Obama ever took office.
As the Economic Policy Institute put it best of all:
“…between the end of the 2001 recession (2001Q4) and the peak of that expansion (2007Q4), the U.S. economy experienced the worst economic expansion of the post-war era.”
So, unless Bush calls his book “What I Did Wrong” I’m not sure anyone will take it with any seriousness.
Thanks to All Hat, No Cattle.
Mexican author Carlos Fuentes dead at 83
The Mexican writer who received international acclaim for “The Death of Artemio Cruz,” a novel about a post-revolutionary Mexico, has died in Mexico City.
His other classics included “Aura,” ”Terra Nostra” and “The Good Conscience.” Many American readers know him for “The Old Gringo,” a novel about San Francisco journalist Ambrose Bierce, who disappeared at the height of the 1910-1920 Mexican Revolution. That book was later made into a 1989 film starring Gregory Peck and Jane Fonda.
Fuentes was a contemporary of other Latin American authors like Colombia’s Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Peru’s Mario Vargas Llosa who together drew global readership and attention to their culture during a period when strongmen ruled much of the region.
Mexican writer Hector Aguilar Camin said on his Twitter account: “One of a kind. An era, his own genre. A writer for all seasons. To Silvia, all my affection.”
Fuentes himself ventured into Twitter only one day, March 19, 2011.
His last message there read: “There must be something beyond slaughter and barbarism to support the existence of mankind and we must all help search for it.”
- Beyond Another Bolaño Book (thedailybeast.com)
- Gabriel García Márquez falls victim to Twitter death hoax (guardian.co.uk)
Maurice Sendak dies at 83…
Anyone who has had children in the last few decades knows who Maurice Sendak was. The amazing children’s author and illustrator published the kind of kids books that did so much more than just tell stories… they stimulated the imagination and bonded parents to kids as they read together.
From “Where the Wild Things Are” to “In the Night Kitchen“(controversial in 1973 for illustrations of a naked hero-child), which was my favorite…and I think Buddy’s, too, Sendak was rewarded often… the Caldecott Medal and the National Book Award were just two of his honors.
He was an advisor to The Children’s television Workshop and worked on a number of television adaptations of his books.
As Al Roker said on the Today show this morning:
“A bit of our childhood has passed.”
Chip Kidd speaks at TED
The famous book designer discusses the things a book designer does:
“Let’s see you do that on a Kindle.”
Remembering when Republicans were admired by ALL Americans…
Read Robert G. Ingersol’s piece on Abraham Lincoln written in 1894. This gives a clear perspective on a Republican leader who served the WHOLE country:
(ever wonder what Lincoln would have thought of Mitch McConnell and John Boehner?)
And now a word from Penn Jillette:
Cartoon(s) of the Week – The politics of money…
Jim Morin in the Miami Herald:
America seems to be based on the importance of money…
– and –
Ben Sargent in the Austin American-Statesman:
…and it is easy to sell the rich folks’ budget to the candidate…
– and –
Pat Bagley in the Salt Lake Tribune:
… and money leads principle in getting the nomination…
– and –
Steve sack in the Star Tribune:
…and let’s make sure the government doesn’t get what’s due…
– and –
Mike Luckovich in the Atlanta Journal Constitution:
… as long as the Middle Class gives its all.
Researching Robert G. Ingersoll
I have become fascinated by the life and work of Robert G. Ingersoll (1833 – 1899), Civil War Colonel, friend of Walt Whitman and Mark Twain, nationally known lecturer on many topics, lawyer and, if he had not been an avowed non-believer, he could have been President of the United States.
He was known as “The Great Agnostic” and was an early, and liberal, Republican who was a supporter of civil rights, women’s rights and freedom from religion long before the intellects of the mid to late 20th Century.
I’ll be posting transcripts of his speeches and other writings on the Robert G. Ingersoll page I have established on this blog.