Monday, March 09, 2009

Open Thread: Talk About What Is On Your Mind


I've been diverted by problems with Blogrolling. They returned into service, after being "hacked," with promises of being new and improved. The new Blogrolling is a site, where you have to pay to get rid of pop-ups, when you click on a link. I have almost 400 links to transfer.

Many of the blogs, that I had links to, over the years closed. It's sad in a way. Some blogs that linked to me, took the link down, probably as my politics got harder.

What book are you reading? Seen any movies?

Guilty pleasure?

Have a confession?

Is there a movie you loved, and everyone else hates?

How are you coping with the economic crisis?

It's open thread time.



SecondComingOfBast said...

I knew I made the right decision to get rid of Blogrolling. That last time they were hacked was the second time I'd had a problem with them. Sounds like I saved myself a lot of further grief. Charging somebody money to get rid of a pop-up sounds to me like teetering towards the edge of illegality.

Has anybody seen The Watchmen yet?

jams o donnell said...

Not seen teh Watchmen yet. I am rather concerned how it will be transferred to the screen.

I'm off work with a buggered up knee so it's time to catch up with some reading (limited, however, by the fact that my contact lenss are safely at work along with my house keys)

Two recent reads I can strongly recomend are:

Kolyma Tales by Varlam Shalamov - a series of short stories based on Shalamov's own experiences in what was the very worst island in the Gulag Archipelago

Embroideries by Marjane Satrapi - Set in 1990 or so, Marjane, her mother, grandmother and female friends and relatives discuss love, sex and marriage while the menfolk take a siesta. Like Persepolis it is poignant but at times hilarious.

I would probably have recommended the Twelve Chairs by Ilf and Petrov - I was reading that when I did my knee in and got carted off to hospital. Sadly it's in the same rucksack that holds my lenses, keys and mobile phone - safe and secure at work.

Larry Gambone said...

Right now I am finishing Kevin Carson's 600 page tome, “Organization Theory – A Libertarian Perspective.” He critiques capitalist management for its inefficiency and applies Hayek's critique of central planning to the corporation. He then shows the superiority of worker management and explores possible libertarian economic alternatives to capitalism as well as developments in technology and organization that are making capitalism obsolete. I will be starting “Escucha winka! - Cuatro ensayos de Historia National Mapuche” next. This is on the history of the Mapuche people of Chile.

SecondComingOfBast said...

Just a few nights ago, I watched an entire old episode of Star Trek, one from the original series from the nineteen sixties. It shows how on other planets, living intelligent beings might be made out of molten rock, and critiques how futile it would be to defy such creatures.

Ducky's here said...

Is there a movie you loved, and everyone else hates?


No but I think there is one I hate and many will love. My curiosity about Watchmen was piqued when one reviewer wrote about its "dramatic distortion of narrative conventions".

Oh boy I thought, Nashville, Celine and Julie Go Boating, The Phantom of Liberty, L'Eclisse, Last Year at Marienbad ... Zack Snyder takes his place with a line of great directors.
Then I came back to earth.

I just suspect it is more concerned with flying body parts than any theory of narrative structure.

Anonymous said...

"dramatic distortion of narrative conventions"

Is that 'code' for not having a plot?

Nevin said...

Currently I am reading "Wired for War:Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century" by : P.W. Singer.

Basically he is talking about how the face of war will change in the next few decades. We will not be sending soldiers to do the dirty work but rather robots. Of course, this process will take away the "Pain factor" for the aggressor, as there will be less human casualties on their side.... Anyway... it is an interesting read... :)

Economic crisis is kind of effecting my family as well. It is becoming increasingly expensive to live in Manhattan, so we are moving to the burbs this summer... kind of sad for me, as I am a city girl and love the energy of Manhattan. Ohhh well... we will only be an hour train ride away from Grand Central... :( it could be worst!

Unknown said...

I came across a book by James Protzman, titled, Jesus Swept. I did an interview with him on our radio show last week.

I may be dating myself, but his style is reminiscent of Richard Brautigan or John Kennedy Toole.

I did a review of it on my site

Frank Partisan said...

I'm still transferring blog links from blogrolling. I had several hundred.

I saw a great movie with Graeme called Paris 36. The director and hot female lead was there. It is a French movie about 1936 France, in relationship to a vaudeville type theater.

Jams: Get better soon.

I heard on the radio today, if you start young, cats can be trained some using a clicker and food.

You probably saw Persepolis. It reminds me of Maryam.

Pagan: I didn't see The Watchen yet. Later in the week I have tix to The Sunshine Cleaning Company, a comedy about two women who clean up crime scenes.

Ducky: I liked Rent, and I don't know anybody else who did.

I don't hate, but I'm not a fan of Robert Altman's dialog methods, when actors improvise and speak over each other.

I saw a play called Blond Hitchcock, which didn't have a linear plot.

FJ: Correct.

Brother Tim: I hope you visit more often. I read your review of Protzman.

Larry G: I never read Moby Dick before, I'm reading it now. In addition I'm reading Alan Woods's new book about Venezuela.

Nevin: On a weekend you could not only visit NYC, you are close to every major East Coast city, as far as Montreal, which is I believe only a few hours away. NYC is very expensive. Move to Minneapolis.

Robot War is interesting. Some radicals in the 70s, believed technology will make it so leisure will be our main problem. Under capitalism the new machinery has to be paid for, therefore used 100% of the time. What we end up with is less people, working more hours.

Computers and cell phones are supposed to make life easier. Now your work can be with you day and night.

Who knows what robots will bring.

Anonymous said...

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jams o donnell said...

Any iranian woman of a similar age to Marjane Satrapi will identify with elements of Persepolis. My friend Elahe said it showed her life in the 80s.

Anonymous said...

how am i coping with the economic crisis? looking for a place where i can start a vegetable garden. could come in handy. that's what my dad's family did during the great depression, along with a lot of other working class folks.

good point, by the way, about how the new technology hasn't liberated us from work, only made it more difficult to ever escape from it. but that was the point that the gang at processed world kept making back in the 90s, that we were living through the biggest speedup (increase of exploitation) in human history. and that does not make me a luddite, just a good materialist.

congrats on the new look of your blog.


nanc said...

you changed house! what is it with you men?

don't forget my other blog - for those less serious moments in life.

guilty pleasure - pork egg rolls with hot sauce and have begun facebooking with a vengeance.

nanc said...

p.s. - so far no economic crisis at our house, but then we've learned to tell ourselves NO when there wasn't money for something - save - save - save!

Ducky's here said...

"dramatic distortion of narrative conventions"

Is that 'code' for not having a plot?


In a sense but not exactly. Often the time line isn't linear and then when it is the events have no clear causal relationships.
That's what you'd expect in an alienated post modern culture, no?

Anonymous said...

That's what you'd expect in an alienated post modern culture, no?

That, and a liberal dose of pc nonsense.

Anonymous said...

ducky--time is the dream of money.


sonia said...


My curiosity about Watchmen was piqued when one reviewer wrote about its "dramatic distortion of narrative conventions".

I think he was refering to the ending. SPOILER WARNING! After all, good triumphing over evil is the most tenacious narrative convention in Hollywood...

Anonymous said...

Never heard of blogrolling, but that sucks. Like the new format and thanks for the link. :-)

Foxessa said...

Hai, Ren!

I'm sorry you're having so much trouble with this blogroll site, or whatever it is.

I think somebody is hacking our wireless broad band. We're going to have to encrypt.

How are we coping with the economic crisis? Via the very high quality of Vaquero's friends. They keep finding him gigs. For how much longer can they do this? This catastrophe has barely kicked in so far, despite the massive foreclosures and Big Corps Failures.

But we have been extremely busy, which means history, conferences and music.

I've started working on an historical novel, in which I'm trying to utilize what I've learned about the historical novel via my history and non-fiction study of the last 2 - 3 years.

Vaquero is thinking of recording an album to go with the new book, to play from, when he reads from The Year Before the Flood. It may well be he can do a tour with this during fall as cross-promotion for the book and vice versa. I hope so because he's written so many marvelous new songs.

Love, C.

Frank Partisan said...

I'm still transferring links. I have about 100 left. Many of the blogs were short lived.

Jams: I got a kick out how her love life always overshadowed her political involvement.

Les: Technology is different in different societies. In Ancient Greece a steam engine was invented. Why use an engine, when slaves do all the work. Slaves also would sabotage the machine.

Jack: Blogrolling used to useful.

Nanc: Pork egg rolls are great.

I linked to both of your blogs.

Sonia: After all, good triumphing over evil is the most tenacious narrative convention in Hollywood...

Good triumphing over evil, used to be the law.

Ducky: It's surreal talking to FJ about postmodernism. I don't like it either. FJ I'm sure dislikes it more.

FJ: What's a good movie?

Foxessa: A book/music tour would be really great. Get booked in Minneapolis. It seems like it could tour colleges.

See Nevin's comment.

SecondComingOfBast said...

Since this is for anything, I'm curious about why Brits put up with certain things, like for example the god damned Performing Rights Society for Music causing Google to ban UK visitors from YouTube music videos, and trying to make the Lancashire police station pay a fee for "playing their radio too loud" on the grounds that when they did so it passed into the realm of public performance.

Why do you let these thugs pull this crap? Come on, its all you people can do to keep from burning down seven city blocks when your favorite soccer team loses, and yet you put up with this shit?

Anonymous said...

What's a good movie?

A good movie, or a GREAT one?

Anonymous said...

Perhaps if you were to watch it but a few times, you all would discover the true nature of "socialism".

Anonymous said...

the events have no clear causal relationships.


"dramatic distortion of narrative conventions"


"panta chremata en omou eita nous elthon auta diekosmese" -- Anaxagoras

mr. ducky,

You over value the life of the mind. Try living a "mixed" and perhaps more harmoniously "balanced" life for a change.

ortho said...

I saw the movie Monster House. It was really scary, fun, and enjoyable. I recommend it to all.

Frank Partisan said...

I'm out of commission today. The flu bug hit me. I'll reply tomorrow.

Unknown said...

Sounds like you could use an Acme Flu Bug Swatter, Ren. One with the DElux Long-Reach handle!

Hope you feel better. Get plenty of rest and drink plenty of liquids (I would recommend a good single-malt). ;)

Foxessa said...

Argh on the flu, Ren. May it be short-lived.

May it please pass over our casita -- Louisiana next week, and LEH award dinner thing.

Love, C.

SecondComingOfBast said...

You're wearing yourself down Ren. Devoting an inordinate amount of time dealing with blogrolling's fuckups is stressful enough to lower anyone's resistance.

FJ-Forget Titus. I've discovered what might well be the greatest movie of all time-Abe's Tomb. Come over and check out the YouTube trailer on my blog.

Anonymous said...

WOW! Hot chicks w/guns. It don't get any better than that, PT!

SecondComingOfBast said...

HaHaHaHa Is that in the running to replace Plan Nine From Outer Space as the worse movie of all time or what?

....... . ... . .... .. ... ... ... . . .. M or S e . . . . said...

Blogspot dont work than before. There's so many problems with blogroll. Thank you for linkin me. By now I talk a little English in Thailand, it's my only way to express myself in this town. But I love this chance to talk in English, but this is Thai accent english :)

In this country I discovered the "rice machine" is so lovely, I can cook so many thing with water, soups, rices, sticky rice!, eggs and vegetables....

Pd: my comment is made without translator, sorry for the mistakes...

troutsky said...

I'm putting in a garden, maybe even chickens and a goat if it comes to that. I tried "self-sufficiency" when I first moved here but in Montana it is work plain and simple. We have fish, wild game and edibles.
I'm still working on Seymours excellent Liberal Defence of Murder and my own novel.A rice machine sounds like good technology.

I wanted t change my blog format but am nervous due to lack of skill.

Nevin said...

I hope you feel better soon Renegade eye.... My son and a few kids in his class are pretty sick as well... :(
Winter is almost over!!! :)

SecondComingOfBast said...

Troutsky, what kind of novel are you writing? Be aware, its fun writing the first draft, but when you do the rewrite, that's where it becomes work, unless you're one of these rare Dostoevsky types that don't need to rewrite. It's been months since I worked on my rewrite, and I'm only about one fourth of the way through with it. It's just too easy to find excuses to put it off.

Larry Gambone said...

Get well, Ren!

K. said...

I just finished a book called An Instance of the Fingerpost (Iain Pears), a mystery set against the intrigue of Restoration England. Four accounts of the same events, two by fictional characters and two by actual historical figures, purport to tell the story of Charles II's ascendance to the throne in country still divided by religion. Sophisticated, fascinating characters, and skillfully plotted.

Una said...

Hello friend, where is the couple dancing the tango? --
'm Watching the chapters of the last season of Dexter and Prison Break.
I am reading "The men who did not love the women of Stiege Larsson.

Krapumka is my daughter

Frank Partisan said...

FJ: I think Schindler's List set the standard for a great movie.

Pagan: The British make up for it, with how they serve beer. They have a line on the glass, and it's illegal to serve below the line with foam.

Ortho: I like The Last Dragon, produced by Berry Gordy and starring Vanity. WM. H. Macy was in his twenties in it.

Nevin: It's definitely going around.

Troutsky: If you mess up, you can always save your old template.

Foxessa: It's never dull at your house.

I still find irony that someone would give me a Ned Sublette CD before he died.

Larry G: I'm lucky I had cold and flu tablets around. I had a flu shot. I suppose it would have been worse without it.

Krapumka: In Thailand if you speak good English, you have been in the sex industry for a long time.

Brother Tim: I'm a tea totaler.

Citizen K: I'm reading Moby Dick. I never read it before. It's overwhelmingly well written.

K. said...

Ren: Moby Dick is incredible. The language in Ahab's soliloquies rivals Shakespeare. Read Billy Budd and Bartleby the Scrivener, too.

SecondComingOfBast said...

Yeah, especially Bartleby. That's always been my favorite short story.

Foxessa said...

"I still find irony that someone would give me a Ned Sublette CD before he died."


Ned Sublette did not die. Don't even think it!

Alarmed beyond belief -- C.

Frank Partisan said...

I'll post more later.

My friend died, not Ned. My friend gave me his CD before he died.

Seán said...

"I'm reading Moby Dick"

I'm starting to feel like Zelig, (Woody Allen's film) and may regret never having read Moby Dick.

I'll have to give it a crack by the end of the year.

Currently just finishing a couple of books (always have two on the go!). The final installment in the Red Riding Quartet by an English writer, David Peace, called '1983'. A sort of British James Ellroy, briliant and original noir. He wrote a 'fictional' account about the 1984/85 miners strike over here called GB84, a masterpiece of political fiction.

And also Gomorra by Roberto Saviano, which interestingly is not as good as the film...a first in my book.

Foxessa said...

I'm sorry you lost your friend, Ren.

He sounds like someone most worth having as a friend.

Love, C.

Foxessa said...

The Red Riding Quartet is currently a series on Brit television, according to the London Times -- which is where I first heard about the books, when the paper wrote about the series.

Love, C.

Frank Partisan said...

I finished transferring links I got rid of many links that were dead.

Having your blog linked to others, brings you higher in Google.

Seán: What happens in Gomorrah, stays in Gomorrah. I want to see the movie.

Moby takes concentration to read.

Foxessa: This is on the miners strike.

You need to have Minneapolis on your book tour.

K: Moby jmps between journalism and fiction. That is fascinating itself.

Tere: I still have the tango avatar. I had to change my template because of serious problems with links.

SecondComingOfBast said...

And boy am I ever glad you did change it. Your old font was hell on the eyes, especially for long blog posts. This one is much better, a much better look and more comfortable font.

I'm glad you got rid of all those dead links too. Now I know when I click on a link I'm liable to read something interesting. Or maybe not, but at least I'll know it's an active link.

Frank Partisan said...

I have mostly lefty links, but certainly not all.

There is a sight called Samson Blinded that wrote to me they wanted to link, is to the right of MZ.

Blogrolling even in its good days, wasn't great with updates. I think they hacked themselves.

Thank you about the template.

SecondComingOfBast said...

They must be a bunch of fools to try to change to a for-pay site in this economy. On the other hand, they might have been losing advertising revenue. I was suspicious of that hijacking story myself. A good way to scare off old clients, make them leave, so there would not be as big an uproar when they transitioned.

Seán said...

The movie, Gomorrah, is a must see. It has a multi-strand narrative which exposes how the Camorra (Naples area gangsters) infiltrate every aspect of life in this area of Southern Italy. It is the antithesis of the Tarantinoesque gangster flick. It is a serious look at the social implications and fallout from this sort of gangsterism.

The book is good, but I'm not convinced about the English translation. Parts of it read very poorly. Sadly the author, Roberto Saviano, has been forced into hiding as a result of his expose of the Camorra and the resultant corruption.

The style of the film reminds me of a late, great British director called Alan Clark (

Red Riding, the TV drama, has been the best TV so far this year - but not a patch on the brilliance of the novels.

Frank Partisan said...

I like what used to be called miniseries. When they had a book like Shogun, divided into 2 hour segments.

I went to a screening of Sunshine Cleaning with Amy Adams. It was ok.

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