Thursday, January 28, 2016


Dave Brubeck, piano
Paul Desmond, alto sax
Norman Bates, bass
Joe Morello, drums

"Plain Song"
"Curtain Time"
"Sounds of the Loop"
"Home at Last"

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Brief Encounter

Friday, January 22, 2016


It goes to show. If you cut yourself off enough from the filth and depredations of our current century, occasionally you'll lose touch with the glories of past centuries.

Setsuko Hara died last September. I learned of her death this week. She was 95 and passed never having been seen again by the world outside the Shinto temple she retired to in 1963. Hara was the great female star of Japanese movies through the 40s, 50s, and early-60s; but when her mentor (she was his muse) Yasujiro Ozu died in December '63, Hara disappeared into the mists of incomparable moments forever untouched by age, earthly corruptions, or movie marketeering.

For Ozu, she was everything female, aside from sex: sorrow, gentleness, longing, heartbreak, the disappointments of the world. She was also great for Kinoshita and Naruse and Kurosawa, who all saw her more as a flesh-and-blood postwar Japanese woman, someone who ate, felt bitterness, could be petty and deceptive, and actually kissed. Of all the major directors from Japan's golden age, only Mizoguchi never used her. Hara would have melted under his fire.

Her greatest film and perhaps the greatest film from the golden age not directed by Mizoguchi.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Honorable Men

Professor Peter Dale Scott and journalist David Talbot speak of the 20th-century American Satan, Allen Dulles.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Mensch and the Murderer

Through its first six Crackle seasons, Jerry Seinfeld's Comedians in Cars Drinking Coffee has been an oasis in our current comedy desert of sour knowing nihilistic vomit, with Adolf MacFarlane being, of course, our reigning Vomit F├╝hrer; and funny -- actually, not so funny -- how the vomit factory never seems to touch where or what the United States Fourth Reich is and is fast becoming, beyond the gutsy jokes about Donald Trump's hair. CICDC is warm, cheerful, good-hearted and self-deprecatory ~ as we would expect from the comedian who comes closest to defining the word mensch.

(Many other comedy oases can be found, btw, in the 2016 cartoon world: Teen Titans Go!, Adventure Time, Wander Over Yonder, Robot Boy, Gumball, Atomic Betty.)

Comedians in Cars Drinking Coffee is also gentle. Maybe too gentle.

Each episode Jerry chooses and drives a car he thinks matches the personality / style of his guest.


Look at the lines on that car: beauty, summer, flash, optimism, grace, masculinity, modesty, wit, sex. No. This is the man who embodies the 1963 Corvette, the man who gave it birth.

Barack Obama is this:

And this:

And this:

Access to the White House must be quite the coup, yet Jerry is in an agonal state throughout, trying to pretend the stiff is actually interesting and funny. It must have put Seinfeld in mind of this, from January of '93.

Obama isn't even that funny. But this guy is, a lot funnier.

This is the real Barack Obama.

Ha, ha.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Semper Fi

Major General Smedley Darlington Butler:
War is just a racket. There isn't a trick in the racketeering bag that the military gang is blind to. It has its "finger men" to point out enemies, its "muscle men" to destroy enemies, its "brain men" to plan war preparations, and a "Big Boss" Super-Nationalistic-Capitalism. I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country's most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.

I helped make Mexico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.

During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. Looking back on it, I feel that I could have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.
On the other hand:

Wednesday, January 6, 2016


Born 97 years ago this week.

"Sunday Stroll" -- maybe the most beautiful six minutes in jazz.