Wednesday, December 15, 2010

top 10 movies, take 1 (sort of)

It begins: the Great Listmaking of Two Thousand and Ten. I'm not even close to putting mine together yet, so instead, here are a few from Dennis Lim. He doesn't even mention The A-Team! Weird. In fact, I'm ashamed to admit, I've seen exactly zero of the films on his 10-best list. I need to get crackin'. See you cats in mid-January!

(p.s. Although I am very dedicated, I probably won't be able to make myself watch Trash Humpers. Just so's you know...I'd hate to get everybody's hopes up.)

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

the best thing about Sweden

...since I'm on the subject...might be saffron ice cream, or it might be Strindberg or Bergman or Torgny Lindgren. But most of the time I think it's John Bauer. He pretty much taught me what to look for in a prince...not to mention how to avoid becoming enslaved by trolls. Handy!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

MH blog

Just found:

Look at the images of his to-do lists. He showed me some of these when I interviewed him a couple years ago...pretty cool stuff. Also, check out the letters he writes to his little nieces and nephews. I think I need to up my game!

Thursday, November 18, 2010


I love Ed Park.

(Not exactly news.)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I actually know these dudes

They are tough!

(#92 is Patrick, 88 is The Steve, and 105 is T Bag)

Monday, November 15, 2010

picture time!

I finally put a bunch of photos from Sweden online -- you can see them here. Wish I were a better photographer, or had one with me on this trip. I lack the skill and patience to do Sweden justice -- it was prettier than this, believe me.

(And apologies to any purists out there for having fooled around with some of these...I got bored, started pushing buttons, one thing led to know how it is. Voila, iridescent lawns!)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

it's about that time

When you write for a living and you can't do anything else, you know that sooner or later that the deadline is going to come screaming down on you like a goddamn banshee. There's no avoiding it... So one day you just don't appear at the El Adobe bar anymore; you shut the door, paint the windows black, rent an electric typewriter and become the monster you always were — the writer. Hunter S. Thompson

Of course, what he's not mentioning is that awkward period between the time you quit the El Adobe and the time you start the actual writing of the thing you're writing, a necessary period of flexible duration filled with awful, tormented, pointless, unproductive writhing and lots and lots of idle consumption of decades-old music videos online that you missed when you were a teen because you lived in the sticks and only got one channel, which was not MTV, thus making this idiotic absorption justifiable on the grounds that a cultural critic ought to have a passing familiarity with the culture, etc. Catching up, you see, on the '90s, more or less, when you were a square and didn't know any better. And then there's all the forgetting of the vague entanglements and attachments you may or may not currently have, and which may or may not float across your vision while you're trying to work, creating a state of sweet desolation that can only be sidestepped by watching precisely the right music videos online at precisely the right time and in the right order, at the risk of catatonic gloom if you get it wrong. The bar is not the only enemy, you see.

On the other hand, though: look how cute Hunter was! Dang. I bet they missed him down there at the El Adobe.

Monday, November 01, 2010


I reviewed a handful of comix for Bookpage right before going to Sweden -- not my usual doom-and-gloom-with-explosions, but not bad for what they are. (Plus I still get a little kick out of being able to say, "Today I will read comic books all day, for my job." I am a child.)


Thor knows a little something about the subject of speed...this line from his flattrack race report struck me as brilliant, and worth trying to remember next time I get out there and start hyperventilating: "Racing isn't about being fast, it's more about slowing everything else down."

Yep Again

Another perfect summing-up, found via Leif Pettersen:

Saturday, October 30, 2010

the breaks

For my birthday this year, I woke up at 4.30am, packed up the Jeep, put on my robocop suit and rode my tiny motorcycle around the track a few times. It was pouring rain, of course. And I fell off, of course. (The cool thing is that the way I landed made me think I must've been looking through the turn like a pro!) Then, after a few hours of fancying up the little bike with the help of some incredibly generous pals, I caught a ride down to Salem to see what some of the other guys were up to. Here's how that went, from the Kerr's point of view:

(In the accompanying photo, it kinda seems like I'm turning away from the gore, but I'm pretty sure I was just looking at a boy.)

Several of the guys won trophies that night, but Dan wins the championship for attitude. (Plus now he has a huge stripey cast that matches his race bike!)

Germ, T-Bag and HUG, victorious

Friday, October 22, 2010


Pretty much sums it up:



OK so, Punch Drunk Love...maybe not the ideal movie to turn to after a whole night of willful unsleeping and pale insignificant torment.

(I cry easily.)

On the other hand, maybe it IS exactly perfect. You never know, not for years....

Monday, October 18, 2010


Saw this guy's photos yesterday morning: Pieter ten Hoopen. Pinpoint-accurate images of what it feels like to be lonesome in Stockholm when it's dark and cold and bleak. (Cuz y''s not all glittering utopia ALL the time....every beautiful thing is allowed to be moody, right?)

Anyway. Heading home in the morning - I'm spending tonight at the giant airplane they turned into a youth hostel out by the airport. Little round windows...adorable. Looking forward to battling my way through the Wall of Angry Spiders to my own bed tomorrow. More pics up when I get back and unyetlagged. xo!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

my friends are cooler AND faster than I am

Thor borrowed my race bike - check it out. Little bike must've been pretty surprised! I bet it didn't think it could move like that.

There's one race weekend left this year, apparently (they'd talked of canceling, but I guess it's back on). It's on my birthday, three days after I get home from Sweden. Hoping there's a bit of leftover thunder in the bike....

the Stare

An elaboration, for Patrick:

When you walk around Sweden dressed like I do, with pants too baggy at the ends, and severely unfashionable but really comfy shoes, and a worn-out haircut free of product, you tend to see a lot of the Stare. Sweden is the staringest country I've ever been to. And I've been to Italy. But the Italian stare is a whole different creature. The Italian stare, aka the male gaze, contains a message, and that message is "Take your pants off." But the Swedish stare is not a means of communication, let alone coercion. I don't think people even realize they're doing it. They certainly don't seem to realize that I can see them staring (from the other side of a cafe, for instance, or even like two tables over). It's as if they're looking at me absent-mindedly from the other side of a television screen; I'm an object of curiosity that has briefly stumbled across the placid scene of their day. It's not hostile. And it's not just me; I see them stare the same way at each other. Skinny jeans and all. Anyone they don't know personally, and particularly anyone who looks odd or is behaving unusually, is good Stare material.

If for example I'm walking along a seaside footpath and someone comes along from the other direction, staring of course, and I smile at them like a big American, their expression will snap from blankness into sheer panic. This is fun to see and I end up smiling at people a lot more than I normally would, just to get the reaction. About one in ten will smile back, and sometimes then we say "hej" to each other. And thus is civilization maintained.

Monday, October 11, 2010


I am spending the next three days in a Swedish prison.

It's nothing bad, I swear....

Friday, October 08, 2010

sweden in lists

Days in country (so far): 20
Beers consumed: 2.5
Conversations with others: 3
Kilometers driven: about 5500
Kilometers yet to drive: 445
Cops seen: 4
Price of gas: 12.45SEK ($1.87) per liter (yep liter)
Odds of fainting while you tanka: pretty good

Things I love about Sweden:
- so many pretty little cake things
- their ice cream is way better than our ice cream
- same goes for the cheese
- tiny cars
- red barns decorated with antlers

- they tend to think I'm German or Canadian
- millions of soft, hidden trails through forests; this is the only place on earth I've ever felt like going running (it hurts less and no one can see me)
- cute houses

- we have 24Hour Fitness; Sweden has "Frisky & Sweaty"

(loosely translated)

Kilometers driven out of the way down sketchy roads in attempts to find MC-friendly humans, or just look at some bikes: 27

Number of humans (or bikes) seen at a motocrossbana: 0

(This one was really pretty! Lakeside setting, cool-looking terrain, not that I really know. Sign claimed it was open from 2pm to 9pm, and I was there at five minutes to 2. I waited, but no one ever showed up.)

Things observed on major highways:
- sixteen baby reindeer, just chillin'
- guy on a bicycle pulling a wooden canoe, pretty fast
- horse and buggy
- hundreds of spandexed people on roller skis

Things about Sweden that confuse or annoy me:
- roller skis
- pay to pee - seriously, free health care but it costs a buck fifty to take a leak at the train station?
- being tailgated constantly, for miles, going 30kph over the speed limit in the slow lane - effin' pass me already, you jerk!
- men in bright red jeans
- men with extremely high-maintenance hairdo's
- leggings for pants
- wildly varying parking costs, from 7 to 20 kronor per hour (40 to 120 for overnight)
- the Stare
- $9 beers - not worth it
- the Swedish approach to roadwork, which is, basically, "Hey, you're an adult. Your car is tiny. YOU figure it out." There is no hand-holding, none of those "you guys wait here while the other lane passes the obstacle, then we'll guide your lane around it." Oh no. They just kinda go about their roadworky business, do what they need to do, with their giant, stinky machines taking up the whole road, and it's up to you and the guy coming the other way to sort out who goes first. Actually I should put this in the Things I Love category. It's pretty advanced.
- tryck vs drag: all Swedish doors are either push (tryck) or pull (drag), like everywhere else, I guess. But you can't tell by looking. There are days when every single door I push is a pull door, and vice versa. It's fun to watch, like when new (or drunk) people try to leave Beulahland. Then after a while you start to think you've got it figured out. But you are wrong. The minute you're sure that every door in the building is a drag, you can bet the next door is a tryck. I suspect there is someone in a secret room, watching, with the power to change any door from tryck to drag at the push of a button. Just to mess with me.

Things that are cheaper than coffee in Sweden:
- caviar (red or black)
- RedBull
- brie
- peeing

Still, chances of doing without coffee for even one day: 0

Genius ideas I've had while driving 5500kms alone with my ipod:
Just one, actually. At the Husqvarna museum, one of the exhibits explained that after WWII, Husky served a function very similar to what IKEA does now (household modernization, advanced but uniform gadgetry, etc). So my brilliant thought was, of course: IKEA should make motorcycles! Imagine: they'd be cheap and almost weightless. Anyone could put them together. They'd fall apart after one year. But they'd be cheap! And so simple! Get on it, Ingvar.

Random quote from a museum plaque:
"Kerstin Petersson of Sweden had a collection of 71 Swedish cheese-dish covers as at April 1998." -- Guinness Book of World Records (Smalands museum)

Weirdest sight encountered so far:

Most baffling instruction:


Monday, October 04, 2010

i am driving a boat

Here we have it: Evidence that I'm kind of a girl, and not very fast, and half-deaf, but that I nevertheless manage to get myself into some fantastically pretty places, surrounded by cool smartypantses with unplaceable accents. :)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

more sweden

Too road-fried to write anything much this morning, but here are a few more pix - they don't do it justice, though. Sweden's gorgeous in the fall.

I stayed with the ever-entertaining Matt & Lindy in Tarnaby on Tuesday night and woke up to this awesome view:

Then we took a boat trip out to the little island in the middle of the lake, which is adorable and famous and covered in the softest mossy carpet of all time - if only the whole world were so comfortable!

The previous day I did a little hike I'd attempted to do last time I was up here, but that time it was spring and I got sleeted off the top of the mountain. This time I was about a hundred feet from the top when I ran into these guys ^^^ and they were not interested in letting me by. Plus they made scary snorting noises, and they had big scary antlers and evil looks in their eyes. I turned around. (Took some video first, though - will post later. You'll be terrified!)

(Which reminds me of Matt's comment to me in the boat: "You're a bit of a girl sometimes, aren't you?" Understatement of the century.)
The mountain, Atoklimpen, is the Sami holy mountain - when you're up there you can see why. It's pretty awesome, and the views are astounding.
There's a trio of little huts at the trailhead - this one's my favorite.

More coming soon!

I'm in Ostersund now, heading toward Orebro. Cooking along.


Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Dennis's article makes Gaspar Noé sound kinda Lars von Trier-like. I wonder what those two think of each other's movies?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

picture time - sweden

I'm in Sweden. Here are a couple of pix from today:

Uppsala Cathedral, view from the huge pink castle.

Didn't turn off. Still regret it.

Possibly the world's largest structure made entirely of wood...and definitely a super-duper long bridge to the middle of a lake. Rattvik!

Jail. Uppsala.

Home, for tonight. Rattvik.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Queen Stars!

This is pretty awesome.

Thursday, September 09, 2010


The Onion nails it:

"8.4 Million New Yorkers Suddenly Realize New York City A Horrible Place to Live"

Sample paragraph:

"Other incidents that prompted citizens to pick up and leave included the sight of garbage bags stacked 5 feet high on the sidewalk; the realization that being alone among millions of anonymous people is actually quite horrifying; a blaring siren that droned on and fucking on; muddy, refuse-filled puddles that have inexplicably not dried in three years; the thought of growing into a person whose meanness and cynicism is cloaked in a kind of holier-than-thou brand of sarcasm that the rest of the world finds nauseating; and all the goddamn people."

Monday, September 06, 2010


Making me happy today:

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Margo pointed this out...pretty neat. Post-it monsters! (I love the antlers and the huge teeth and the sad ones and the ones with trees growing out of their backs.)

And for those of us whose exteriors tend to reflect whatever chaos lurks within, a few moments of gazing at this might be organizing the sock drawer, anyhow.

Monday, August 30, 2010

becky reads

I'm not all that thrilled with this review, as often happens with reviews of things I really like. But don't let that put you off the book (Skippy Dies, by Paul Murray).

Headline aside, I wouldn't use the term "quirky" to describe it (or anything else, really - sort of allergic to the word, after years of forced exposure to Lonely Planet book covers).

It is odd, though, for sure: topics addressed include Gaelic mythology, anorexia, string theory and the eleventh dimension, rotten priests, diet pills, sonic torture, role-playing games, heartache, nerds and zombies.

Nothing not to like about that.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

picture time

Some photos from last week in Rye...

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Monday, August 02, 2010

555 x 2: Now Even Dumber!

Remember the 555? Bunch of dudes and one spy (me) riding cheap, tiny, old, smoke-puking motorcycles from Portland to Knoxville, Tennessee? It's happening again, but crazier:

Several of the fellas are flying out to Detroit this weekend and buying bikes there (same rules). Should be total chaos, and fun. I can't go to Detroit because I'll be in Colorado for my (ahem) (five-year? ten-year? no one knows, it all happened so long ago) high-school reunion hayride dance-party thing. But I have a plan: I'm going to buy a 555 bike in Colorado while they're buying theirs in Detroit, then intercept them somewhere on that long lonesome road. We'll see how that goes. I'm picturing a high-speed U-turn mid-Wyoming.

So meanwhile, if anybody knows of any cheap, small, old motorcycles for sale in Colorado this week - call me!


florida - that shit's crazy!

I wrote a hasty little riff on Carl Hiaasen's latest goofy-ass Floridian circus novel, up now at BookPage.

Monday, July 26, 2010


Karl's caption for this photo was something like, "Watch Aunt Becky break out in baby-allergy hives! Best birth control ever!" Which is kind of true. I post this merely to show that I am, in fact, much braver around the freshly hatched than I used to be. Look, I'm holding one! See? OK, here! Take it back! (Whew! That was scary.)

Actually, this one seemed harmless and is incredibly cute. It's Axel, one of my brand-new twin nephews (Zachary is the other one, equally adorable). They're about a week old here, and approximately the size of my feet. (Most of what you see here is blanket.) They don't even look real. They're also very calm, which is a trait I particularly like in babies. When they're all wrapped up in their tortillas and chilling in their comparatively enormous crib, they look like little cowpokes out on the prairie. In short, these mini dudes are cool.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

the trouble with alphabetical order

Smoothest transition on my iTunes list: Calexico to Califone. Most jarring: a tie. Joy Division to Kenny Rogers? Janie Frickie to Jeff Buckley? or Wire to Wynonie Harris?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Thursday, July 15, 2010


Between 35-word reviews of absolutely everything in Seattle, I've been snacking on Robert D. Richardson's little book about my boyfriend Ralph Waldo Emerson, First We Read, Then We Write. (It's kind of a goofy title, and there's not much to it; Richardson's biography, The Mind on Fire, is the one to go for if you like RW like I do.) It's a week overdue from the library, so I'm giving it back today, but here are some of the parts I liked most:
"The way to write is to throw your body at the mark when your arrows are spent."
Yeah!! Ralph is a badass.

How'd he get to be such a badass? He blames nonconformity: "I never listened to your people's law, or to what they call their gospel, and wasted my time. I was content with the simple rural poverty of my own. Hence this sweetness."

Here's a good rule for those days when self-pity seems like a handy excuse for stagnation:
"Work and learn in evil days, in insulted days, in days of debt and depression and calamity. Fight best in the shade of the cloud of arrows."
This one's particularly relevant lately (especially on weekends):
"You must do your work before you shall be released."
This one too:
"I lose days determining how hours should be spent."
And this:
"Always that work is more pleasant to the imagination which is not now required."
But this sentence might be my very favorite one:
"Our chief want in life is somebody who shall make us do what we can."

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

poop in space

I review Packing for Mars, Mary Roach's latest investigation into the disgusting package that is the human body, here, in BookPage.

Keywords: fecal popcorn, space toilet, NASA, in-helmet upchucking.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

on the radio

The latest KBOO Movie Talk half-hour is posted here. I remember going on and on about how much I liked the A-Team and the newest Judd Apatow movie. What is happening to me???

Update: KBOO blog posting.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

what a drag it is...

I've managed to pull every muscle on the right side of my body from approx the waist down. I believe I accomplished this feat by walking. Just walking. Or possibly sitting. Or walking after having spent many months sitting, softening like a catered dish under the heat lamps of government work. (See how government is always somehow to blame? Uncanny!) Whatever the reason, walking, which used to be the easiest thing in the world, as easy as breathing, now hurts. Inconvenient, considering that this humble glob, once upon a time a travel glob, is suddenly a travel glob again, after many months, heat lamps, softening, etc etc. I'm writing about Seattle, from now until August. If anybody knows anything. All ears.

The good news is, sitting hurts more than walking. Also, I think I'm spending Saturday on a dirt bike, so whatever is wrong with me now will soon be masked by a more global, nonspecific sort of agony. Which I'm really looking forward to, actually.

Anyhow. Seattle! I'll try to post regular updates. And photos, if I can remember to bring my stupid camera with me. Yesterday I got to see my friend Abby, from NYU, who was in the area for the Sasquatch music festival. I dragged her and a friend all over town trying to discover which would make my hamstring (?) feel better faster, beer or donuts. (Both helped. And pinball removed the symptoms entirely.) Several times during the day, it struck me not for the first time that my job right now is flat-out hilarious. Granted, we're still in the honeymoon phase, before all the typing and the mapping and the 12-hour days that end in tears, but even so. This is pretty fun. I walk around (in excruciating pain, I remind you) checking out fun things to do so I can help other people have the best possible time when they finally get a chance to leave their desks. (Answer: Go to Shorty's. There. Now you don't need the book.)

It can't possibly last. But it is not a drag.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The opposite of bragging

Here's a recording of the latest KBOO Movie Talk radio episode. I haven't listened to it yet so am not sure if I can actually be heard this time, and even if I can, I can't imagine I said anything worth hearing, considering the way my mind descends into terrified blankness the second I open my mouth. But the fellas who host the show, Ed Goldberg and DK Holm, are smart and well-spoken (though both completely wrong about The Exploding Girl, haha), so it's worth listening to hear what they have to say. Y'know. If you like movies. :)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Renegade Sportsman: Update!

Zach's book has a trailer:

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Renegade Sportsman

This is a long overdue announcement: my friend and former WW colleague Zach Dundas has a new book coming out. He's an awesome writer - and he's writing about American freaks engaged in weirdo/underground/drunken sporting endeavors, which ought to provide some mighty rich material. (Soapbox Derby, anyone?) It's due out June 1st but you can order it now - find excerpts and more info on his website.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Old Vanport Motocross

Short video from a recent Saturday in the park....

And another video from the SFRC Alley Sweeper! Fun times.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

And also...

...don't for one second imagine that I haven't been captivated by this bisexual airborne fungus dealie. In my role as a gov't stooge I must assure you there is nothing to fear. But as a gullible, paranoid, obscure-and-bizarre-disease-obsessed drama-whipper-upper who hasn't even had her flu shot yet, I am Freaked Out! Aren't you? Sources say you can catch it by scoping attractive people in bars! There goes my whole summer. Dang!

AHRMA Vintage Race at PIR

Hey, whatcha guys doing this weekend?

Want to visit me here?

C'mon, you know you want to. I mean, how often do you get to see me wearing leather? (In public?)

Here's a pic of my ride - along with some evidence from last weekend.

It'll be fun.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

i hereby ban

"What we X about when we X about X"

OK, everyone? I think that's enough of that now. Thank you.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Why is it "pre-existing" [conditions]? Wouldn't a simple "existing" do the trick?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Hi glob fans,

I've been moving into a new apartment (with garage!), my latest excuse for neglecting you all. But here's a satiating tidbit: go look at Thor's blog (again). He's posted up scans of the 555 article from Cycle World. (Also read his explanation of a dad wheelie and look at the latest exploded-piston gore.) Good times!

More soon, promise,

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

so dirty!

Couple of recent video bits from my friend and club bro Thor Drake:

From the SFRC retreat this past weekend:

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Sam Lipsyte interview up now at BookPage.

He's cool.

I also wrote a hasty blog post for the KBOO Movie Talk website, for anyone looking for places to hide from the hideous sunshine this weekend.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


For some reason, the suddenly-everywhere expression "nom nom" (or worse, "nom nom nom") makes me want to reach inside my own skull through the left eyeball and squeeze the life out of my tiny brain.

Are we five?

We are not five.

(For the record, I also hate "meh.")

Monday, February 01, 2010

some updates

Dang, it's already February. Where's the time go?

Well, two weeks of it went to Colorado. I skied, ate a lot of ice cream, lost a filling, spent some time with the fam, including Karl & Natalie & their brainy little kidget. Went out on the town with my Uncle Mark - always entertaining. Two towns and two bars, a long dirt road, confusing amounts of beer on the house, a strangely affecting singer-songwriter and a karaoke nightmare. Just some of the highlights. I managed to stay out of trouble...this time.

Back in Portland I finally saw "Red Cliff," the new John Woo epic, starring my Ultimate Boyfriend, Tony Leung. Awesome. It's close to three hours long. The original is even longer -- two parts, like Kill Bill -- and now I want to see that, too. The chopped American version gets a little zoomy through the early history parts. Tony is perfect, of course. He's so powerful that he can't even fully be seen right away; the camera has to sneak up on him, stealing glances at an ear, an eyelash, a feather he's wielding. Tony's kung fu is pretty strong, but mainly he is honorable. And romantic. And sad. The turtle formation will blow your mind. Bonus: arrow-cam. Also starring is Cop 223, very handsome as well.

Friday night I finally caught "Where the Wild Things Are." It was sweet, and the kid who plays Max is adorable, as is the big furry James Gandolfini, but I wish all the other wild things didn't sound so much like, I dunno, Claire Danes? or teenage Portland emo kids or something. If you want a stuffed-animal movie that kicks phenomenal amounts of ass, I recommend again "The Fantastic Mr Fox." And I guess I can see how, in the very broadest possible conception of the universe, Dave Eggers and Wes Anderson are related, but -- not to me.

Anyway, "The Fantastic Mr Fox" is the first movie I've ever wanted to do an interpretive motorcycle-ride version of. If that says anything.

Speaking of motorcycles, some of my pals from the 555 (Thor, Germ and T-Bag) put on a wildly successful moto-art-show event the other weekend. Photos coming. I spent most of it huffing gas in a small engine lab, dressed in a huge orange jumpsuit and trying to appear helpful while several of my very favorite men tore into the guts of my dead SL175. It pretty much ruled. Now I'm busily hunting an apartment with a garage, so I can do that every Saturday night.


Thursday, January 14, 2010

2009 movie roundup

Remember last year?

That was awesome.

OK, glob fans. It's time (a little late, actually) for the long-promised and much-postponed list of movies I saw and liked in 2009, followed by a few that I hated and some that I'll have to catch later. Feel free to discuss, mock, berate, scold, judge, etc. I'm probably forgetting some, but it's a start.

Here we go:

2009 Movies Seen & Liked (vaguely in order, at least the first half, based on today's mood and subject to change):
The Fantastic Mr Fox
Inglourious Basterds
A Serious Man
It Might Get Loud
The Young Victoria
Public Enemies
Star Trek
(500) Days of Summer
The Road
District 9
Drag Me to Hell
Coco Before Chanel
Red Cliff
The Men Who Stare at Goats
Up in the Air
Dead Snow

Angels & Demons (seen under duress in Stockholm)
The Proposal
Friday the 13th Remake (seen out of desperation in Panama)
To Catch Later:
Ninja Assassin!
House of the Devil
In the Loop
Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans
An Education
The Hurt Locker
Sherlock Holmes
The Informant!
Where the Wild Things Are
Black Dynamite
Me and Orson Welles
The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus
Bright Star
Broken Embraces
Summer Hours
The Hangover

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

'...a certain vanished grandeur...'

Yet another reason I love Katie Roiphe (read the full essay in the Jan 3 NYT book review for many more reasons) -- here she's talking about guys like Dave Eggers and Benjamin Kunkel, in contrast with the old rogues, Updike and Bellow and Mailer and Roth:
The younger writers are so self-­conscious, so steeped in a certain kind of liberal education, that their characters can’t condone even their own sexual impulses; they are, in short, too cool for sex. Even the mildest display of male aggression is a sign of being overly hopeful, overly earnest or politically un­toward. For a character to feel himself, even fleetingly, a conquering hero is somehow passé. More precisely, for a character to attach too much importance to sex, or aspiration to it, to believe that it might be a force that could change things, and possibly for the better, would be hopelessly retrograde. Passivity, a paralyzed sweetness, a deep ambivalence about sexual appetite, are somehow taken as signs of a complex and admirable inner life.