Saturday, July 09, 2005

The Daily Quote

"If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about the answers."
'> Thomas Pynchon

August Wilson Posted by Picasa

Summer and Theatre, Part I

Summer and theatre go together in many parts of North America. When I lived in Pittsburgh, there was a heady (and hearty) combination of the summer Shakespeare festival at the University of Pittsburgh (with plays in the round stone castle called the Stephen Foster Memorial) and a new plays festival at Carnegie Mellon University down the street.

But the best experience I had was two weeks in Waterford, Connecticut, reporting a story on the National Playwright's festival of the
Eugene O'Neill Theater Center. To closely observe the process of bringing together new plays by new and veteran playwrights with skilled and dedicated directors and dramaturgs, and deeply involved actors from New York, was to glimpse and even touch the special creative energy that I've witnessed only occasionally, but that confirmed what I had hoped and believed such a process could be. Lively, crazy, caring, aware, intelligent, conscious and fun.

Plus I got to hang out with the likes of
'>August Wilson, Lloyd Richards, and some young playwrights who have since been responsible for theatre, movies and especially a lot of the television of the last decade, such as Law and Order and the series we're currently seeing on video,'> Six Feet Under.

This year's conference is going on right now, and features the return of playwright
'>Lee Blessing, who was already a conference legend when I was there. He'd been very young on his first visit, and people remembered seeing his play there, A Walk in the Woods (dialogues between an American and a Soviet arms negotiator) on the Fourth of July.

It was more than a decade ago that I was there, but every year at around this time I think about it. If you'd like to read about that summer, I posted an expanded version of my article---just follow the bouncing link...


Scotched in Scotland

The G8 Summit in Scotland is over. As honcho of the convening country that set the agenda, Brit Prime Minister Tony Blair was widely praised for placing world poverty and the climate crisis at the top.

After that things get murky. But in the end GW Bush managed to cement his legacy as the new and global Nero, twaddling while the world burns.


Friday, July 08, 2005

The Daily Quote

“A terrorist is a product of our education that says that fantasy is not real, that says aesthetics is just for artists, that says soul is only for priests, imagination is trivial or dangerous and for crazies, and that reality, what we must adapt to, is the external world, and that world is dead.”
'>James Hillman


The Guardian called Wednesday's transit explosions England's "worst-ever terror attack," "causing the biggest loss of life..."But was it?

If the definition is restricted to postwar violence by parties other than a sovereign state, then it fits. But from the point of view of the targeted population, it was not.

Because around sixty years ago, there was something called The Blitz. And it's terrorism--and a response-- worth remembering.


east meets west in Lost Horizon Posted by Picasa

Your DVD Friday: Lost Horizons Found

Frank Capra's 1937 film, '>Lost Horizon, was a famous film I hadn't seen since I was very young, and then only on television. I had only a hazy memory of it, as somewhat mystical but mostly confusing. So I rented the DVD of the restored version, and discovered the film I never could have seen before.

How this movie ever got made is an amazing story, and in this version, it deserves to be called a classic---with relevance to today.


Thursday, July 07, 2005

Among the astronomical news, info from Cassini spacecraft that Saturn's rings have their own atmosphere. Posted by Picasa

The Daily Quote

"At its simplest, good work is work that makes sense, and that grants sense and meaning to the one who is doing it and to those affected by it."
'>David Whyte

Good and Evil in London

President Bush has used the London terrorist bombings as another occasion to broadcast his analysis that we are the Good guys and they are the Evil ones. There's no question that killing civilians in a terrorist attack is evil, and we mourn for the London victims. And it's good to address the climate crisis and world poverty, as the G8 Summit is trying to do.

But Bush's argument is deceptively simplistic, and it damages our ability to focus on what needs to be done to prevent terrorist attacks.

Does this mean there is no such thing as good or evil? No. Not at all.


Goodbye, Tidepool; Farewell, bilko@

I've been since I arrived in Arcata almost nine years ago. Tidepool was a couple of rooms in a small Arcata shopping center then. It moved to another shopping center, and then got swallowed by a slightly bigger fish, called, which was also local, but farther away.

Then a couple of years ago, Northcoast got swallowed by a regional big fish called Inreach. Through both of these changes, the Tidepool name remained an option. I still run across it once in awhile on a local email address.

A combination of uncertain service and a better deal for broadband caused me to change ISPs. But it's a much bigger fish still, and bilko wasn't going to survive without a bunch of numbers attached.

But Captain Future, well there's a name nobody else in the country grabbed first.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Happy Birthday today to the Dalai Lama Posted by Picasa

The Daily Quote

"I want to scream this from the rooftops: All symptoms are over-determined. Except that I want to expand it to almost everything. I want to translate it, Anything of any significance is over-determined. Everything worth thinking about has more than one cause."
'>M. Scott Peck

CLIMATE CRISIS WATCH: News Flash! Bush Not Entirely Wrong!

Amidst frenetic demonstrations, the G8 Summit in Scotland commences with the climate crisis and world poverty at the top of the agenda. The Bush administration is taking a new tack in its approach to global heating, which past experience suggests may be cynical and mendacious, but on the merits it is almost not untrue. Fancy that.

Starting with the positive, G.W. Bush allowed these very words to escape from his oil-based lips: "I recognize that the surface of the Earth is warmer, and that an increase in greenhouse gases caused by humans is contributing to the problem."

The exact proposals Bush will make, and the exact wording of the final communique out of Scotland, are yet to occur. But Bush is urging movement away from fossil fuels, which must be regarded as positive, and suggests a package of financial incentives to encourage alternative energy.

In this, he is partly being just realistic about what businesses are already doing, and perhaps offering them more government welfare to do what they know they have to do anyway. But that's not unprecedented, and the truth is that the attempts to deal with the two main elements of the climate crisis are going to be messy and fractious.


Books in Heat Wednesday: Evolve This!

It's the genes, stupid. That's been the battle cry of the orthodox Darwinists (or neo-post-Darwinists if you prefer) in aggressive defense of Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection.

But it's not that simple anymore. Even without "Intelligent Design."


Tuesday, July 05, 2005

The Daily Quote

"The enemy isn't conservatism. The enemy isn't liberalism. The enemy is bullshit."
Lars-Erik Nelson

It's War of the Worlds Week---yes, but what does it all MEAN? Posted by Picasa

War of the Worlds Week

Steven Spielberg's version of H.G. Wells The War of the Worlds broke some records at the collective box office over the 4th of July weekend, although it did not do as well as '>Spiderman 2 a year go.

So what? What does it all mean? Was it really a gloss on terrorism (a plus for Bush) or an anti-Iraq war cautionary tale about alien occupation (another swipe at Bush) and does it matter? Well, sort of.

'>The War of the Worlds is one of the more fascinating stories in recent history and in its implications for the future. For an entertaining look beyond the superficialities, check out
Soul of Star Trek, beginning with a review of the Spielberg version, and a history of the previous versions, with links to more on Wells' subversive intents.

With the review is an interesting comment indicating that somebody saw the parallels with America in Iraq. Frank Rich this Sunday also pointed out a reference that went right by me---that the teenage son of the Tom Cruise character is supposed to be writing a paper on the French occupations of Algeria.

So as always you are invited to comment there or here: what did you think of the movie? Did you get a political message or subtext? Who did you identify with? (I'm especially interested in who teenagers and younger kids identified with.)

Scorched Mirth: Catch-22 Explained

Are you a student having trouble understanding what the concept called "Catch-22" means? It's at the core of the novel '>Catch-22 by Joseph Heller, which is today considered a classic and is widely assigned, in areas where it is not yet banned.

Your ever-helpful government is here with a demonstration of Catch-22 in action, and it's no farther away than your local library, in areas that still have them!


This North Coast Place: Quiet

It's been quiet. Not just earthquake quiet, although it has been that, but summer quiet...