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Sunday: December 31, 2006

Looking Back

Filed under: — site admin @ 11:57 PM GMT-0500

Over the last year, I haven’t had time to read a lot of books, but have finally started to catch up on some of the movies I’ve missed out on over the years. Some were checked out of the U.N.C. library, some I bought, but most came from Netflix. In 2006, I watched 98 movies, one of them twice, only two previously familiar, plus 20 shorts. (At least half a dozen more I’d seen many years before, but more or less forgotten.) Some brief notes:

  • Best: perhaps Smiles of a Summer Night — I hadn’t realized that Bergman could be funny. All I remember from college is The Seventh Seal, Virgin Spring, and some contemporary scenes of emotional torture and self-torture.
  • Worst by far: By Brakhage — what little I watched of it was pretentious crap. On a scale of one to five stars, I gave even The Abominable Dr. Phibes one and a half, but By Brakhage earned a special score of zero stars.
  • Most painful to watch, at least for a bibliophile: I, the Worst of All, which features both a book-burning scene (1:06) and another in which philosopher-poet Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz is forced to sell all of her books and scientific apparatus (1:39).
  • Best adaptation of a novel I’ve read: Schlöndorff’s Coup de Grâce. I’ve looked into Young Törless (the book) but not read it yet.
  • Worst adaptation: The Driver’s Seat.
  • Most suitable for showing bits of in 6th-grade Geography class: Ozu’s Good Morning.

I will add to this list if I think of anything else.


Filed under: — site admin @ 11:50 PM GMT-0500

I have restored the Movable Type archives, which were left with many dead links when Earthlink stole my previous domain name. Many of the comments were lost in the transition to WordPress, but the posts themselves are now readable, if anyone wants to read them.

Quotation of the Day

Filed under: — site admin @ 11:26 PM GMT-0500

A fictional Prussian soldier of fortune in 1937:

After fifteen years I can scarcely recall just what did happen in that confused struggle against the Bolsheviks in Livonia and Kurland, in that whole corner of the civil war with its hidden complications and sudden eruptions, like a fire not quite put out, or some skin disease. Each region, for that matter, has its own kind of war, a local product like rye or potatoes.

Marguerite Yourcenar, Coup de Grâce, translated by Grace Frick)

Friday: December 29, 2006

Last Words

Filed under: — site admin @ 9:50 PM GMT-0500

What his jailers could (and should) be playing for Saddam Hussein right about now: Johnny Cash’s “25 Minutes to Go” (lyrics here).


Filed under: — site admin @ 9:38 PM GMT-0500

Ann Althouse ends a post on Wisconsin cuisine with a linguistic comment:

. . . isn’t it cool that there’s a town called “Mazomanie.” It sounds sounds like a form of insanity. A cute and amazing mania.

It does indeed sound like a form of mania. Though unattested in dictionaries, ‘mazomanie’ looks like a properly-formed ancient Greek word. Maníe (three syllables) is the Ionic dialect form of manía, “madness”, and mazós is the Ionic and Epic dialect form of mastós, as in ‘mastectomy’ and ‘mastodon’, so ‘mazomanie’ would be Herodotus’ word for a mania for female breasts. It is one of the commoner manias, particularly among adolescent males, but not many women would describe it as “cute and amazing”. Is there a Hooter’s in Mazomanie, Wisconsin?