Friday, December 28, 2007

Some Auden

Lay your sleeping head, my love,
Human on my faithless arm;
Time and fevers burn away
Individual beauty from
Thoughtful children, and the grave
Proves the child ephemeral:
But in my arms till break of day
Let the living creature lie,
Mortal, guilty, but to me
The entirely beautiful.

Soul and body have no bounds:
To lovers as they lie upon
Her tolerant enchanted slope
In their ordinary swoon,
Grave the vision Venus sends
Of supernatural sympathy,
Universal love and hope;
While an abstract insight wakes
Among the glaciers and the rocks
The hermit's carnal ecstacy.

Certainty, fidelity
on the stroke of midnight pass
Like vibrations of a bell
And fashionable madmen raise
Their pedantic boring cry:
Every farthing of the cost,
All the dreaded cards foretell,
Shall be paid, but from this night
Not a whisper, not a thought,
Not a kiss nor look be lost.

Beauty, midnight, vision dies:
Let the winds of dawn that blow
Softly round your dreaming head
Such a day of welcome show
Eye and knocking heart may bless,
Find our mortal world enough;
Noons of dryness till you fed
By the involuntary powers,
Nights of insult let you pass
Watched by every human love.

-W.H. Auden-

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Yule Tide Cheer

Christmas was most bountiful this year. Here are a few of the gifts I received:

1) A pair of monogrammed cufflinks. Many thanks to Madre, and the good people at Tiffany's.

2) Cash money. Mammonism always becomes a temptation around this time of year.

3) A two-volume OED. Way munificent.

Monday, December 24, 2007

I Should Have Said This in That Last Post. . .

Be sure to drink lots of eggnog and watch "It's a Wonderful Life."

If You Read This. . .

Merry Christmas, Et Pax Vobiscum.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Currently Playing

"I Am Legend" is two hours well spent. Will Smith does a good job pulling off a role which includes no verbal interaction with anyone except a dog for the first hour and a half. Also, as memory serves, the first symbolically Christian zombie flick that I have ever seen.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

On the Death of a Metaphysician

Unhappy dreamer, who outwinged in flight
The pleasant region of the things I love,
And soared beyond the sunshine, and above
The golden cornfields and the dear and bright
Warmth of the earth- blasphemer of delight,
Was your proud bosom not at rest with Jove,
That you sought, thankless for his guarded grove,
The empty horror of abysmal night?
Ah, the thin air is cold above the moon!
I stood and saw you fall, befooled in death,
As, in your numbed spirit's fatal swoon,
You cried you were a god, or were to be;
I heard with feeble moan your boastful breath
Bubble from the depths of the Icarian sea.

-George Santayana-

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Most/Least Desirable Women in Fiction

Accentuating the Positives First:

1. Penelope- Always found her attractive not only because of her loyalty and looks, but because she is just ambiguous enough to be psychologically captivating.

2. Imogen- Forceful yet yielding. A character sufficiently strong not to be a mere ornament, a la Hero, while not quite as blustery as Beatrice.

3. Rosalind- Along with No. 2, the most magnetic of Shakespeare's heroines.

4. Jane Bennett- Contrary to popular belief, Elizabeth is overrated and feisty. Jane is where it's at.

5. Calypso- Hard to reconcile with No. 1, but I think it would be pretty hot.

And the Not So Fines:

1. Clytemnestra: Authoress of the original Shower Scene. Need I say more?

2. Guinivere, Helen of Troy, Emma Bovary, Anna Keranina: All hot, but adultery has a way of killing the ratings.

3. Captain Ahab's Wife- She only appears in one sentence in the entire book, but any woman to whom whale-hunting is preferrable can't be such great shakes.

4. Beatrice, Gloriana, Una- Symbolic and ethereal women have a way of not offering much on the physical side of matrimony.

5. Bathsheba Everdean (of "Far from the Madding Crowd")- Something about her name bothers me. Mostly though, I just don't like her.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Lines from "The Card Dealer"

What be her cards, you ask? Even these-
The heart, that doth but crave
More, having fed; the diamond,
Skilled to make the base seem brave;
The club, for smiting in the dark;
The spade, to dig a grave.

And do you ask what game she plays?
With me 'tis lost or won;
With thee it is playing still, with him
It is not well begun;
But 'tis a game she plays with all,
Beneath the sway o' the sun.

Thou seest the card that falls,- she knows
The card that followeth:
Her game in thy tongue is called Life,
As ebbs thy daily breath;
When she shall speak, thou'lt learn her tongue,
And know she calls it Death.

-Dante Gabriel Rossetti-

Famous Romantic One-Liners from Movies Rewritten for the Non-Comital

Don't know if it's good enough for McSweeney's, but here you are:

1. "Here's having you in my peripheral vision, kid."

2. "You had me rationalizing the contingency of possibly returning to you at hello."

3. "Love is never having to say your sorry, depending, of course, on the nature of the offence."

4. "Dito, with caveats."

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Classifications of Names to Avoid When Naming Your Child

1. Christian Virtues. (Sobriety, Chastity, etc.) The pilgrims tried it, God love them, but they didn't quite swing it. Plus we all know what girls named Chastity end up like.

2. Pretty Much All Manner of Botanical Phenomena. (Leaf, Flower, Fern) Let's leave the 60s where they wilted.

3. Popes. (Pius, Innocent, Boniface, Clement) Gregory and any permutation of John Paul excepted.

4. If you're an American who has recently converted to Islam, avoid naming your child. Have someone else do it for you.

5. Obscure U.S. presidents. (Rutherford, Millard, Grover) And for fans of Truman, actually make the middle initial stand for something this time, you smarmy bastards.

6. Minor Prophets. (Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Obadiah) Hosea is fair game if you're black.

7. T.S. Eliot poems. (Prufrock, Gidding) If you want your kid to go through life with a "pair of ragged claws" complex, then fine, go for it.

8. Knights of the Round Table. (Gawain, Perceval, Bedevere) Let's dissolve this fellowship once and for all, shall we?

9. Dictators, but not because they tend to commit genocide. Their names just suck. (Slobidan, Pol, Ho)

10. Aloysius.

Special thanks to my brother James for his contributions.

Monday, December 3, 2007

In Which if You Know Me, This Post Will Either Fan the Flames of Your Vanity or Really Insult You

I don't know why I didn't post on this when it actually happened, but about a year ago I had the most vivid dream of my entire life. I dreamt that the people in Hollywood (may their tribe increase!) were making a biopic about me, and I was sitting in a theater watching the trailer. Strangely, I never appeared in the trailer but everyone I know or had ever met did. Most of my friends and family members were played by major actors, some of whom are not actually alive, which anachronism caused me to realize it was a dream and to wake up. A few nights ago, I had a more fragmentary version of the same dream, which was stranger this time, and relied more heavily on the musical theme from "M*A*S*H." Again, I was curiously abscent from my own movie. I like to think that this was only due to the fact that Collin Farrel had scheduling conflicts and could not commit to the role, but I digress.

Anyhoo, this is the casting as I remember it. I have arranged them in order of how apt I think the casting choice is. If you are not flattered by the person who played you, then try to remind my subconcious of somebody else next time.

1. Josh Gibbs- Philip Seymour Hoffman
2. Davis Wilson- Andy Samberg (of SNL "Lazy Sunday" fame)
3. Drew Nicholas- Vince Vaughn.
4. Dana Banks- Played by Winona Ryder, who was pretending to be Audrey Hepburn.
5. Daniel Cornell- James Franco
6. Chad Honsinger-Daniel Craig, sans British accent and Bond Gadgetry.
7. Katie Botkin- Anne Hathaway.
8. James Banks- Al Pacino, c. 1972. This was problematic casting, and Pacino/James kept intersplicing dialogue from the first two Godfather movies and the "Attica, Attica!" line from Dog Day Afternoon into my movie. And for the record the casting director in the dream remarked that this casting only took place because Toby Maguire was busy.
9. Adrian Klingensmith- Hillary Swank. This was the conscious part of my brain acting up, since
I remember commenting on the resemblance before.
10. Ashleigh Hebert- Selma Hayek. Ash, you should be totally flattered.
11. Asher Weinbaum- This was out of left field; as it happened, the actor bold enough to step into this role in live-action form is not yet born, so his likeness was reproduced on screen via motion-capture animation.
12. Marshall Pierce- Jake Gyllenhaal. It's nothing personal.
13. Jeff Moss- Sean Penn. Again, I don't make the rules, I just apply them subconciously.
14. They weren't actually in the movie, but Morgan Freeman, Christopher Walken and Dennis Hopper all wandered onto the set at one point. This was cool.

There were about a hundred others, but these were the most eyebrow arching I thought.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

A Simultaneous Aphorism

"You know, sex scenes in movies should be banned because they cause global warming."

-D,.T., and J. Banks

Which Would You Rather Have Named After You?

A city or an adjective?

Saturday, December 1, 2007

A Movie Note

"Rescue Dawn" with Christian Bale is a really good war drama that's not really big on politics and reminded me of "The Thin Red Line," also a good was flick. Also reminded me of "The New World," if you like that sort of thing.