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Archive for July, 2010

“I’m so totally, digitally close to you”

Referring to social networking, so says Clive Thompson in the New York Times Magazine.  He expresses the spirit of the 21st century phenomenon by describing the genesis of the “News Feed” on facebook.  “A stream of everything that’s going on in their lives,” Harvard founder Mark Zuckerberg called it.  At first shocking to facebook users, the revelation of people’s daily rants, prejudices, and genuine interests markedly upgraded the 24/7 dialogue.  Facebook expanded to millions of users in part because of the change, Thompson comments.

Microblogging (Twitter) brought people even closer together.  “Ambient awareness” allows onliners to blurt to the world day-in, day-out through the internet.  After this, intimates can skip the formalities and directly explore more important issues person-to-person.  We all know how much time you spent primping for the blind date, but all but the bottom line about this clod, stud, or gentleman must be reserved for longer conversations.  140 characters allows a lot of leeway for being misunderstood.

Nonetheless, social networks bolster connections going all the way back to kindergarten, for some people.  Is it too much to expect that facebook and its ilk may signal the onset of a new era in communications for homo sapiens, for good or ill?  Stay tuned.

A couple of thoughtful links:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/07/magazine/07awareness-t.html?_r=1

http://field.wordpress.com/2010/03/10/i-was-un-friended-the-other-day/

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your near-closed heart

my lost beloved,

please,

invoke the wiggly baby laughter

share the joys of now

the sting of growing up

I recall your first smile

always

with fresh wonder,

limitless grace of that occasion

consuming your face

commanding my own

as if I needed any such directive

I rode you on my shoulders

you my ruler

me the vassal

I placed you on the pony more than once

sang to you

a burpus a burpus

a burpus with a purpose

kitten I called you

kitten

kit, now you near the portal

of adulthood

and I despair the stony grimace

caused by my misdoing

and the buried feelings

of my mate,

once heart’s desire

oh, kitten,

regain those simple pleasures

open the closed door

leave behind the harness

let the soft center of your heart

resume its unforced kindness

join us again with your smile

your caring

your special only self

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Poignant.  Affirming.  Tragic.  Lovely.  Historic.  Intimate.  Lesbian.
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I am often moved by films, but I saw this one last night, and it caught me gasping more than once.  One cannot clinically discuss Aimée & Jaguar in terms of setting, plot, and acting.  Felice and Lilly live this drama for us.  And we are not just an audience.  We deeply feel their attraction, their love, laughter, and pain.
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The simple theme of the movie, “Love Transcends Death,” plays out in every single detail.  Lilly Wust, a married mother of four with a boorish soldier of a husband, and Felice Schragenheim, a cosmopolitan Jew who belongs to the lesbian underworld and the political resistance, are very unlikely partners.  As the Nazi movement begins to falter and become ever more desperate, Lilly and Felice fall deeply in love.
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Their story is true.  An American journalist discovered Lilly in her old age.  Just as it took Lilly a year and a half to reveal her whole story, the suspense in the film builds with agonizing slowness.  We wait for more than half an hour until the women have their first uncertain kiss.  From then their passion becomes overwhelming.  I found myself breathless once, then again, and again.
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Aimée & Jaguar stars Maria Schrader, Juliane Köhler, Johanna Wokalek, Elisabeth Degen, Heike Makatsch, and Detlev Buck.  Made in Germany and Poland, it has English subtitles.  It hardly needs them. Both the deeply romantic love poems the women are seen composing and the stunning erotic encounters speak for themselves.  At the beginning and the end of the film we see the faithful Lilly and a flirtatious friend as 80-year-olds living in a house broken down by the war.
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Aimée & Jaguar won a Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film in 1999.  It also won many German awards, with Schrader and Köhler, both receiving the title of best actress at the 1999 Berlin Film Festival.  They deserved the laurels.
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I hope the film leaves you gasping, too.
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Photos: myaffinity32.blogspot.com; hubpages.com; kino.ch; angie.freehomeblogs.in



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… Sen. John McCain, Sarah Palin’s irritable Geppetto, who created her out of discarded principles and furious opportunism.” — Richard Cohen, Washington Post, Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Thanks, Roger!

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Bing.com recently posted a larger version of this photograph.  “A stone Buddha head sits entwined in the roots of a fig tree in the ancient ruins of Wat Mahatat, [once an important buddhist temple] in Ayudya, Thailand.”   Thom Lang of Corbis © (Bing United Kingdom) took the photo.  This magical coalition links old and new, vegetable and mineral, nature and deity.  The Buddha’s slight smile seems to embrace the passage of time and the persistence of religious thought.  A similar site exists in Cambodia.

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Eddie Cochran

A fellow writer recently posted comments and links on the origins of this song…

Summertime Blues (Eddie Cochran, 1958, reached #8 on the Billboard Hot 100) and the immensely popular 1970 chartbuster by The Who, featuring John Entwistle on bass guitar, vocalizing three baritone parts, doubling Roger Daltrey’s lead vocals, and singing falsetto in the chorus.

(Link for the article–

http://steadyblue.wordpress.com/2010/06/11/friday-lyric-of-the-week-summertime-blues/)

Not to be outdone, and needing to scratch this particular itch, I checked YouTube for other versions.  There were a few surprises.

Did you know that this song has also been recorded by Van Halen, T Rex, the Rolling Stones, and the Beach Boys?  My take: all these versions are seriously flawed, from boring to unlistenable.

Two rather undistinguished versions from the Barracudas and Motorhead, and the poor imitations of Cochran by Gary Allen (from the TV miniseries) and of the Who, by Who Too, do not merit a listen either.

There is a half-decent psychedelic version by Rush that was the theme song for the World Wrestling Entertainment’s SummerSlam pay-per-view in 2004.  A rockabilly CD single from Alan Jackson reached #1 on the Billboard country charts in 1994.

I must confess that I have not yet heard the movie tracks by Cheech Marin and Nathan Cavaleri, or the Buck Owens, Black Keys B side, and Olivia Newton John versions.

Stray Cats

Runners-Up: Spider Murphy Gang’s pop crooner from their first LP (1975) and the Brian Setzer/Stray Cats’ (of Rock This Town, 1981) punky rockabilly revival recording, featured in the Cochran and La Bamba film soundtracks, quickly bring Elvis to mind.  Setzer’s vocals really rock.  And Will Fly’s complex guitar take is a wonderful instrumental.

My absolute favorite recordings of the Summertime Blues:

0   the lasting mega-hit revival by the original four-man Who;

o   the 1968 thumpin’ heavy metal version on the first album by Blue Cheer (whose vocalists, in concert, bear a striking visual resemblance to Cousin Itt); and

o   the recent YouTube entry by BlueSuedeRock, a truly clean recording, very much in the Cochran style, and with exquisitely balanced vocals and (karaoke!) accompaniment.  The artist describes this take as “the 50’s sound…, [when] music sounded more real and wasn’t all about money and good looks.”  I sort of hate to admit this one, but it has charmed a lot of people, and it’s great.

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Photo credits:

http://www.last.fm/music/The+Who/+images/28625867, http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.thewho.info/images/71Who7-PST-The_Who.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.thewho.info/Posters2.htm&usg=__pIapnRr9LP_FYMr5MqTntnSo6uM=&h=534&w=400&sz=43&hl=en&start=15&sig2=CUVUSz0SaTEu4LXwbpu6kA&um=1&itbs=1&tbnid=tG92jxt5CxLTiM:&tbnh=132&tbnw=99&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dthe%2Bwho%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26client%3Dsafari%26sa%3DN%26rls%3Den%26tbs%3Disch:1&ei=tGgzTLXlDo-0nAfeyvWJBQ, http://www.rockabillyhall.com/SlimJimStrayCats.jpg, http://www.classicrockmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/blue-cheer.jpg, http://www.last.fm/music/Eddie+Cochran/+images/222440, http://www.youtube.com/user/BlueSuedeRock, http://www.supracollect.com/supra-thunder-hightop-c-11.html

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