Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Bangalore/Detroit; Album Art; WWII Movies; Crossword Doc.; Zorn on Getting a Life

Among the things that have crossed my path recently:

  • This is a fantastic article about the growing, vital urban life of Bangalore, India, as compared to the corrupt and nanny-state-oriented attitudes associated with my native Detroit.
  • Cool album cover art from artist Rafal Olbinski for the classical record label Opera D'Oro. I only like them because they're art, of course. Highbrow art.

  • I watched two WWII movies on DVD in the past few days -- The Longest Day, which has been one of my favorite films for years. (I love the choreography of the whole thing, which in its own way was a tribute to the organization that went into the actual D-Day.) There are lots of good extras including a commentary by the only survivor from among the four directors, Englishman Ken Annakin. (A George Lucas influence, I am led to understand.) Also, lots of stuff featuring Darryl F. Zanuck, detailing his struggles to get the thing made. The other one was a very different kind of war movie -- Beach Red, which was made in 1968 and showed a group of Marines taking part in the invasion of one of the islands in the Pacific. Every time something significant happened (a character was about to be exposed to danger, or shot someone, or did something brave or cowardly) we either heard or saw a voiceover or flashback, akin to the thought-bubble device used in comic strips. And, when characters (both American and Japanese) got killed, the film would abruptly cut to a photo montage of that character's childhood and family life leading up to the point of their death, with images moving so rapidly that it only takes a few seconds. Very interesting way to do a war movie, and you ought to check it out.

  • This afternoon, The ♥G♥ and I went to see the new film Wordplay, about the phenomenon of the crossword puzzle (and the phenomenon of the cruciverbalist) and the competitions related thereto. Excellent movie if you're into that sort of thing. Let me do some digging around in the basement (which is now the temporary repository for much of the archival material previously housed in the junk room) and see if I can find the NYT crossword puzzle from Election Day, 1996, which may be the cleverest crossword I have ever encountered. I told her about it on the way over, and said that I hoped they mentioned it. Partway through the movie, none other than Bill Clinton himself explained his own reaction to that same puzzle and talked about how much he enjoyed it. I'm going to try and find my copy of the original, after which I will see if I can represent its cleverness accurately.
  • Bad news (or maybe not) for my friend SSMW (aka Getalife Girl), whom I think is on a roadtrip right now. Looks like Eric Zorn has passed judgment on the phrase "Get a Life" as follows: "Get a life!"--translation, "Go devote your energies to something real and productive!" -- may well be useful advice to science fiction cultists, but very few of us are entitled to dispense it with scorn, given the way we spend our leisure time... ...Telling him [a letter-to-the-editor writer] to "get a life" reveals such a paucity of wit, lack of imagination and inability to offer a reasoned response that I was moved, on the spot, to announce a new rule of engagement: "In any debate, the first person to hurl the insult, `get a life!' is the loser." Ouch. However, the good news for SSMW -- when Mr. Zorn tried to immortalize this rule on Wikipedia, he was prevented from doing so, due to it being deemed a "vanity entry." Developments to follow as they unfold.


Blogger Reel Fanatic said...

In my humble opinion, "The Longest Day" has to be the finest war movie ever made. I hadn't heard of "Red Beach," so thanks for the heads up!

3:23 PM  
Blogger KaneCitizen said...

"Red" was unavailable for a long time, and I was quite pleased to see it on the shelf at the store the other day. I caught about 20 minutes of it on cable in the middle of the night probably 10 years ago, and had been looking for it in its entirety ever since.

7:56 PM  

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