Oct 18, 2014

Been listening to Taking Liberties non-stop lately.

And, Dr Luther's Assistant is quite a queasy little masterpiece that reminds me of Everyone's Gone to the Movies by Steely Dan.  The Dan's track is more funny than mean, and Dr Luther's Assistant is genuinely unnerving and vengeful.

And, I figured out what the song Ghost Train is about.  EC says it was one of his first songs ever, and it involves a story about his Da.  But, I believe he resurrected the song just after his awful terrible incident with Delaney and Bonnie.  I think he means the song to be about them now.  Not in a good way.


Oct 16, 2014

Seriously? This is a thing?

You really really really need to read Kyle Wagner's entire GamerGate article for Deadspin. But, because I love you, I am going to give you a shorter version below:

What has happened is that a bunch of basement dwelling, still living with their parents gamer dweebs ("Hey, I want my pop and grilled cheese sandwich now, Mom!") have become incensed over the fact that a fair amount of those icky beings happening to possess ladyparts have decided that they wanta play video games, too.  So, instead of the girls just hanging around, watching the boys play video games, and being on call for them, now they are wrenching the controllers away, and busting the boys nuts at all those first person shooters online.  If that was not bad enough! More recently, the Ladyparts Brigade have also begun to ask the (predominantly male) game producers some really uncomfortable questions.  Questions like, Why do so many of the females in these games all look like Tinkerbell in a chain-mail bikini? Or, Are these really the kind of games that speak to women? Maybe we could try something new? Do I really want to play games that let you rape women?

What a flipping bummer, right?!

Then, one of the loudest and shrillest of the Ladyparts Brigade used her magical ladyparts to seduce a gaming journalist in to giving her brand new Ladypartscentric video game that she created a fabulous review.  Or, so says her spurned ex.  And, he said it online.  And, that is where the fun really begins.  The basement dwellers finally had a cause to cloak their misogyny with! This was really all about journalistic integrity, don't you know! They were tired of the game makers and reviewers litrilly being in bed together.  They had proof.

These asshat gamers then went about doing what they do nearly as well as play First Person Shooters.  They flooded 4chan with hateful comments about all the loudest of the Ladyparts Brigade, and theorized on the hateful things they could do to these women.  They even did some doxxing of these ladies, posted nude photos of them, threatened to kill them, and you know, just regular good fun.

But, you gotta hand it to the troglodytes, they were savvy enough to get an anonymous random Baldwin Brother to become their spokesperson for freedom.  The fact that the best thing on said Baldwin Brother's CV were some character voices for the Halo games was just gravy!

Now, they upped the ante, and are threatening to kill even more of these outspoken ladies.  One event had to be cancelled at Utah State because the campus, like the state, is open carry, and no one there felt confident in protecting the safety of the young woman.

What the fuck, man? What is up with this country sometimes?



Oct 15, 2014

A big happy birthday shout out to my Da, Andy!

(And, your present is on its way.  And, it is not McCabe & Mrs Miller.  You will get it next Wednesday.)

But I use this clip below just to show what a massive and positive impact my father has had on me.  On how I look at and appreciate life, and art, and politics, and good manners.  And, how to understand that I am still gonna screw up sometimes, and that I have to own up to my mistakes when they happen, and then try not to repeat them.  He has been a superb model to me for what it means to be a good citizen, and a good person.  Just what a father is supposed to do.

He is also hip enough to appreciate the work of someone like Robert Altman, who brashly fought the Hollywood system with unorthodox sound, editing, photography, story, film length, etc; but still hungered for and thrived within many of Hollywood's most traditional practices.  Altman truly was an Exile on Main Street.  

That is one of the many reasons I love Altman's work.  Maybe Andy agrees with me.

Happy birthday, Bud! Hope you guys have a great dinner tonight! You guys going to Palace?


Oct 9, 2014

I really am trying to have a positive attitude,

And am desperately trying to channel my inner Poppy from Happy-Go-Lucky, but terrible awful things like this keep on happening.  (I wonder if any of those racist yahoos making comments realize that they are not anonymous because the St Louis Post-Dispatch run their comments through facebook?)

This situation appears to be different from the Michael Brown incident (if you believe what the St Louis cops are going to tell you), but once again Charlie Pierce has got it right.  Greater St Louis just does not get any benefit of the doubt right now.

And, I wonder how Major League Baseball feels about the fact that one of its 2014 World Series cities could possibly be hosting games while their city burns.

Trying to keep it positive.  Take a deep breath.  More Peanuts cartoons with Franklin in them. Sally Hawkins as Poppy.  And here:  Have some Booker T & the MGs live, 1970, at the Oakland Coliseum.


Oct 3, 2014

I am currently rereading

Thomas Pynchon's novel, Inherent Vice.  And, the book is even better the second go around.  I am catching more of the puns and jokes, I guess.

I am checking that book out again because PT Anderson is making a film of the novel, the first film ever of a Pynchon book.  The film debuts tomorrow in New York City at the New York Film Festival.  (It will not get to the rest of us heathens until mid-December.)

I am intrigued and scared for sure.  I respect Anderson's talents as a filmmaker, but I am most certainly not an adoring fan.  I am a besotted Pynchon worshipper, however, so my butt will be firmly planted in to a cinema seat when the film gets to me.  (Even though I am a little worried about Anderson's claim that he was watching movies like Naked Gun and Airplane! for inspiration for this film.)

There was this fantastic NYT article last Sunday, wherein Anderson talks about changing the ending of the book for the film, and working with Pynchon on certain parts of the script! But, the best part of the article is Anderson's fierce dismissal of the notion that Pynchon makes a cameo in the film.

Pynchon is a stone cold genius, for sure.  Here is one of the world's most reclusive and private "celebrities", who has already made two cameos on The Simpsons, both with him being illustrated with a bag over his head, and now, he apparently he is going to do it again in Inherent Vice.

But the genius part is is nobody knows what he looks like.  How will we recognize him? Who on the set knew that Pynchon was actually there.  It could have literally been anybody.

That is just all kinds of brilliance.


Oct 2, 2014


I suppose I do not have that much to say re Gilmore Girls in its entirety dropping on to Netflix tomorrow.  Other than, I am ecstatic, and I could really use a giant dose of Gilmore Girls right about exactly now.

But, I was perusing fauxluxe for past Gilmore Girls posts, and happened to notice that I never talked about the show directly.  It was always a train a thought somehow connected to the real subject of the post.  That is fine, and perfect, actually, for the loony, stream of consciousness, insanely pop culture referenced, His Girl Friday dialogue of the first five essential seasons of the program.  

So here below is an annotated list (with links) to three Gilmore Girls posts from fauxluxe.  One each from 2011, 2012, and 2013.

This is from 2012, and is actually one of my fave fauxluxe posts ever. Here I compare Lena Dunham's Girls to Gilmore Girls, and I get it all horribly wrong about Veep.  Veep is obviously the best thing on television now, and Gilmore Girls is nine million more times better than Girls, which was already coming apart after just two seasons.

This post is from December 2013.  Here I compare Gilmore Girls to Scandal, which I think is a pretty decent observation, as well.  Plus, Liza Rebecca Weil, who played Paris in Gilmore Girls, was a large part of Scandal's first season.  I still have a very soft spot in my heart for Scandal, even if I do not think it is a world beater as a teevee program.  This post also has some great Pinterest/Tumblr Paris gifs/memes, which I will prob post onto friendface later today or tomorrow.

Finally, this post is from May 2011, right after the Wife and I got married.  Now, I am talking about seeing Bridesmaids the day after the wedding, and how much I love Melissa McCarthy, who played Sookie on Gilmore Girls.  Even though I am not particularly crazy about the blockbuster films Ms McCarthy makes these days, I can not tell you how proud I am of her that she is now the number one box office draw in American film comedy today.  She and her husband deserve all of their success.  


I do not think I will binge on Gilmore Girls starting tomorrow, but, will prob enjoy a more leisurely pace, and could even skip around from season to season, like I do with The Rockford Files, Peep Show, The IT Crowd, etc, ... Sometimes I am going to want to be at Yale (The Paris years!), and sometimes I am going to want to be back at Stars Hollow when Rory was still at high school.  

It is going to be a lot of great fun, though, whichever way I do it.  Gotta keep my ears open.  I want to catch every single reference or spoof all over again.

Mwah, ...

Oct 1, 2014

Dear Renee, Here is what happened after you left for work:

You are never gonna believe this!

So, Ward went ahead and got the pet store owner to open up after nine PM, just so he could rent the annoying parrot for one day.  He was convinced to do this because June, his wife, told her own personal sob story to him, about how when she was at boarding school, she was so lonely and homesick that she told all the girls that her mother was a big time movie star, Laverne Laverne.  Her mother found out, and instead of backing her up, made her tell the entire school that she had made it all up.  June was obviously still carrying shame over this incident, and encouraged Ward to get the parrot, and trust that the Beav would realize the error of his ways, and never put his parents in that kind of spot again.

The Beaver took the parrot to school for the Pet Fair, and won the Blue Ribbon, much to Judy's utter disgust.  After the whole class left, Beaver tried to return the Blue Ribbon, explaining the whole situation, about how he lied because he was embarrassed his family did not own a pet. His teacher, Miss Landers, told him that was a very silly thing to be ashamed of, and that his parents were pretty great for backing him up like that.  The Beaver told Miss Landers he would never put his parents in such a spot again, and he accepted the Blue Ribbon, after all.

I do not think anybody mentioned the new pet hamster ever again.  They probably killed it.


In the next episode, Wally had to stay home all weekend and study for his history exam, instead of crash Mary Ellen Rogers house with Lumpy and Eddie Haskell.  They were supposed to "listen to records and eat junk".

Lumpy and Eddie went to Mary Ellen's house without Wally, and told him they were not worried about the history test.  They had it covered.

What that meant was that Eddie had come up with some cockamamie scheme to cheat on the test, involving them excusing themselves to wash their hands and get the answers, written on paper towels in the bathroom.

Unbeknownst to all three, the history teacher was wise to this scheme, and had planted a quote from Hamlet on the paper towel, removing the illicit answers.

Wally saw this first, however, because he legitimately had a pen explode on him, and actually had to wash his hands.  Lumpy and Eddie went to the bathroom, only to find no answers, and both failed their exam, both scoring in the low fifties.

Wally, on the other hand, got a 92, one of the best scores in the class.  After learning this, Eddie decided to get even, and wrote a pathetic attempt at an anonymous note, pointing the finger at Wally for cheating.

The very wise teacher, though, saw right through this, and confirmed it to Wally that Eddie and Lumpy were the rascals.

Wally wanted to beat Eddie up, but Ward convinced him not to.  He said Eddie would have to figure it out on his own that had done a bad thing.

Sure enough, Eddie came over right then to apologize to Wally, and tell him he was going to try out "this studying thing" that was working so well for Wally.

The next day at class Eddie amazed everyone with his knowledge of the founding members of the League of Nations.


Then, Daniel Boone was captured by the Spanish Army.  They wanted to take back the Virginia territories for Spain.  I had to go to work, though.

Mwah, ... 

Sep 30, 2014

John Oliver's new show, Last Week Tonight, on HBO is so great.

It is on HBO most every Sunday evening.

--Ardent (mds)

Man, what happened to intellectual discourse in our country?

Why is being an intellectual considered a crime?

What happened to the days when Sontag, Chomsky, Vidal, Mailer, Germaine Greer, Kate Millet, Joan Didion, and Hannah Arendt would be on the late night chat shows?

What the flip happened?


I was just watching HBO's latest doc triumph, The 50 Year Argument, directed by Martin Scorsese and David Tedeschi, which is about the history of the New York Review of Books.

(I do not read the New York Review of Books nearly enough.  I generally only buy it when I am in superb indie bookstores -- which is nearly never now.  The last one I bought was at Shakespeare & Company in Paris! In April!)

Anyhoo, the very fine documentary just made me pine for the 60s and 70s when so many of this nation's greatest thinkers would not only appear in print, but were eager to do television, as well.

The 50 Year Argument then led me to the above full length feature film, Town Bloody Hall.  That film is bloody brilliant.  It is Norman Mailer versus a half dozen leading feminists (and Susan Sontag, in the crowd), and a thousand or so other women in the crowd with Sontag.

You can watch The 50 Year Argument on HBO or HBOGo, and Town Bloody Hall on YouTube.  Great stuff.

Still, what the fuck happened, man? Why is it all FoxNews and Housewives of Wherever now that rule our media world?

From Andy Warhol's "Screen Test" for Susan Sontag

--Ardent (mds)

Sep 24, 2014

FINALLY finally finally saw Design Is One last night.

Massimo and Lella Vignelli
And, I am just so in love with the Vignellis.  I just want to hug 'em, you know what I mean? I wish they were our next door neighbors, and the Wife and I could have them over for tea, and they would bring over their awesome tea cups that they designed.  Or we'd have pasta in their beautiful modernist pasta bowls.  We would look at all their catalogues, or architecture books that they designed, or Renee & I would marvel over and play with Lella Vignelli's insanely fun jewelry that she designed. That would be perfect, you know.

Vignelli tea cups

The Vignellis are an Italian married couple that have been changing millions of people's lives every day, without them ever knowing it.  They have been married for over fifty years now, and they are still working as hard as ever.  They design everything.  They are not specialists. Jewelry, flatware, cups, chairs, interior design, a cathedral in Manhattan, architecture books, the US National Park brochures, clothes, anything.

Their personal motto is:  "If you can't find it, design it."

Of course, what they are best known for, though, are the corporate identities that they designed and that Massimo Vignelli designed the New York City Subway and Transit identity.

Many of the corporate identities that they created have still not been changed, forty or more years on.

Below, are some of their 'Greatest Hits':

And, on and on and on and on.  Plus, they are just the nicest sweetest people ever.  I just want to hug 'em, have 'em over for tea. You know what I mean?

Mwah, ... 

Lella and Massimo Vignelli

Sep 23, 2014

Here is a list of the best films I have seen this year.

First, the films that came out in 2014:

Grand Budapest Hotel, dir Wes Anderson
The Double, dir Richard Ayoade
Obvious Child, dir Gillian Robespierre
Ida, dir Paweł Pawlikowski
Le Week-End, dir Roger Michell
Violette, dir Martin Provost
The One I Love, dir Charlie McDowell
No No:  A Dockumentary, dir Jeff Radice
The Trip to Italy, dir Michael Winterbottom
Gloria, dir Sebastián Lelio


Of that list up top, only Ida can hang with the other top older films I have seen so far this year. That "New to Me" list looks like this:

A Nos amours, dir Maurice Pialat (1983)
Zazie dans le métro, dir Louis Malle (1960)
L'argent, dir Robert Bresson (1983)
Pickpocket, dir Bresson (1959)
La Cérémonie dir Claude Chabrol (1995)
Une Affaire de Femmes, dir Chabrol (1990)


The four best films I have seen this year are Ida, A Nos amours, La Cérémonie, and Une Affaire de Femmes.

Three are French, one is Polish.  And Sandrine Bonnaire and Isabelle Huppert are in two of those films each.

Still have not seen Conte d'été yet, directed by Eric Rohmer (1996).  That will likely be added to these lists.

Will check back in with you in a few months to update these lists.

Jenny Slate in Obvious Child.  A truly great flick.

Sep 20, 2014


No matter what Joni Mitchell says, I did not see folks kissing on the Main Street.  (I did see an Eastern European twentysomething couple snogging in front of Tour Eiffel one day.)

What I did see a lot of, and it was to beautiful to witness, was that just about every older couple on the streets held hands as they walked down the grand boulevards.  You do not really see a lot of that kind of sweet affection here in Urban or Suburban US of A.

Paris was so wonderful.  When are going back?

Mwah, ... 

Sep 19, 2014

First, let me start by saying,

That even though it is likely that I know a heck of a lot more about United Kingdom policies and politics than just about anyone in my immediate circle of friends, that that notwithstanding, the phrase that best sums up my sum total of knowledge of UK policies and politics would be:  I do not know shit about UK policies and politics.  

I think these folks will rue their victory yesterday.

My thoughts on Scotland saying No to independence yesterday are really coming from from my gut, and my realistically modestly cynical view of human nature.

I suspect that the No folks will soon rue this chance that they let slip away.  England, London, and Westminster will not concede anything.  There will be no forgiveness and bonus burgers for Scotland (or Wales, or Northern Ireland.)

I think it is infinitely more likely that England will begin to act cruelly toward Scotland (and Wales, and Northern Ireland) in order to relieve their guilt for centuries of crap.

There will be a good deal more punishment than pleasure for Scotland because of what they did.

I watched the BBC report on CSpan last night, and just about every single Talking Head there was so smug and mean spirited.  They had one Yes pundit on, and he was never allowed to speak, constantly being cut off for returns or the dude next to him interrupting him in dissent.

England got exactly what they wanted, and I figure they are going to find ways to make Scotland pay for their even thinking about leaving the UK.

Just my gut.  Take it for what you will.


Sep 17, 2014

Two quick things for folks today:


I am so frickin' torn.  Even though I know it might not be a good idea, at all, part of me would really love to see Scotland stick it to the English, and go out on their own.

Nick C and I even have a great idea for their new currency:  The 'notes' (bills) would be called The Scots Dram.  And their coins would be called Rocks, like the ice in their drams of whiskey.

And, two,

Even though the Wife does not believe me, I have officially suspended my support for the NFL for an indefinite period of time.  We are through.  It is just too much shit to take, and I would not be surprised, or even that upset, if the NFL ceased to exist.  I am done with it.

In my defense, I have quit major sports before.  I quit the NBA nearly ten years ago, and have not watched a single regular season game all the way through since then.  I have seen some Mavericks and Warriors playoffs games, but my interest is pretty weak.  I am barely engaged, and hardly even know the players these days.

As for college football.  Well, if the Sooners sucked, I would probably abandon it, as well.  The Sooners are a weakness I might not be able to defeat.  Maybe the Sooners could win it all this year, start sucking next year, and I could kick American football all together!


Sep 16, 2014

Yup! Here is your GOP, hard at work!

Russell Pearce, who has already lost a recall election in Arizona because he is a Supreme Asshat of the very first order (plus there was the usual graft and lying) thinks that any woman who applies for government assistance should be sterilized and tested for drugs.

The asshat resigned yesterday from whatever stupid state GOP job he had.  But, sadly, this is what just about all of these GOP asshats believe, but do not, generally, have the guts (or stupidity) to say out loud.  And, there are probably a fair amount of asshat citizens who agree with Asshat Pearce. (Plus, another one of Asshat Pearce's great ideas was Arizona's "Papers, Please" legislation.  Asshat Pearce hates everyone not white or male, apparently!)

We keep electing these guys!

Get your asses out to the midterms people! Let us take our country forward, and shed ourselves of these ... well, ... asshats!

AZ GOP vice-chair calls for sterilizing poor women: If you want a baby, get a job



Sep 13, 2014

Nicole Stéphane, Another Woman Michael Loves!

Ms Stéphane was actually a Baroness and a member of the Rothschild banking family.  Her acting CV is not very long, and in one of her finest performances, Le silence de la mer, she does not even say a word.  After a car accident, she retired from acting, and concentrated on writing and theatre and film production.

Nicole Stéphane in Les Enfants terribles

She is best known for Silence, like I mentioned, and her imperious mischievous incestuous truly regal turn in the excellent Jean-Pierre Melville film, Les Enfants terribles.

Stéphane in Le silence de la mer

But what you might not know about her, is that she joined the French Army during WWII, and was captured in the Pyrenées by the Spanish whilst trying to hook up and coordinate with the Free France underground.  

Another awesome fact about Ms Stéphane is that she lived above Susan Sontag in Paris in the early Seventies.  They were lovers for a spell and were off and on artistic collaborators until Nicole's death in 2007.  

Truly, a Woman Michael Loves!

Mwah, ...