Herbie Mann Comin' Home

Friday, July 30, 2010

Red Blood, Blue Bruise

Anarchy:  oppression through self-determined, unsanctioned force alone.

Nihilism:  oppression through paradoxically reified Anarchy.

Galileo Accidento

Going out of your way to be wrong.

With that perversity of testing tradition, you lose a nose --

or build a new mind.


Higher Ed

Unnamed college student: 

Just think of all the bad things on a daily basis because people do stupid things while drunk, you could wake up next to some fat chick.  Heaven forbid she gets pregnant.

Unnamed prof:

Aphrodite or dog, grunting, screaming, grackling, or hitting a 'high C', all waking bodies -- on the morrow -- do smell.  Oh, and one's own breath?  Please revise accordingly.


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Guest Body Failure

In assuming sleep, I dreamed about a tour of Hollywood's ranked restaurants, overhearing a gal coming back for a second crack at the andouille, whose best morsels she lost to great regret in a bout with colitis before.

Woke with a hand that wouldn't move, folded at the wrist like a limp glove.  If it's asleep, it tingles; now there's none.  The thought went: stroke? And with clinician's distance, I lifted the right with the left.  Gravity flopped it down.  Twice that failed, but -- miracle! -- with the third, it rose.


Six Workmen And A Wedding

Thursday:  Phone Guy

Friday:  Fence Guys

Saturday:  Wedding In The Distant Sticks

Tuesday: Deck Wash Guy

Wednesday: Gas-Equipment Swap-Out Guys

Thursday:  Garage Door Guy

Friday: Deck Stain Guy

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Layers Of Meal

Night is a black coat to wear against an alley wall

Night is a black coal to blow on and get orange

 Night is a black cheese to get one's teeth around

Sleep is meant to be scraped up like shaved cheese off a cutting board

Sleep is meant to be strained through cheese cloth and rinse for impurity

Sleep is meant to be sold in squares like cut-rate cheese with bad crackers

More coffee to toast the consciousness

More coffee to assuage the conscience

More coffee to ignite the conspiracy


Real Road

Il Sorpasso (The Easy Life = USA title)

wherein  Jean-Louis Trintignant, the studious law candidate, gets annoyed out of his apartment and led into 'action' by the charming, irresponsible playboy Vittorio Gassman.

. . . Cuando ti mirandola/Cuando ti mirandola/Ay, ay, ay! . . .

How much life can one absorb in a weekend?

How much should one?


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Artistic Visions

Film Directors

'Indie' Style -- Late 20th Century Americans

Alpha Selection

P.T. Anderson (Punch Drunk Love)

Abel Ferrara (The Addiction)

Todd Haines (Safe)

Whit Stillman (The Last Days Of Disco)

Formative Forces

Film Directors

Last Third 20th Century -- The American Connection

1) Stanley Kubrick

2) Roman Polanski

3) Woody Allen

4) Mike Nichols

5) John Cassavetes

6) James Ivory

7) Martin Scorsese

8) Robert Altman

9) Francis Ford Coppola

10) Sidney Lumet



Morning light through branches, through frosted bathroom windows, through to me, in me.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Hi-Ho, Steverino!

My name is Gordon Hathaway, and I'm from Manhattan.

Assorted Bon-Bons

1)  Hindsight:  regret at former wonder, the wonder of regret.

2)  Churches silence.

3)  If I hear woulda, shoulda, coulda one more time . . . !


Friday, July 23, 2010

Rage Road

Intersection, a major one.

Two left turn lanes, my car in the more widely-arched one, second car back.

To my left, other cars, one at the crosswalk, another just pulled up, a pick-up with a large plastic children's slide set tied down in the truck bed.

The pick-up driver gets out.  He walks up to the car in front, the one at the crosswalk.

Heavy traffic is flowing through the intersection.

These guys are traveling in a caravan, I casually think.

The pick-up driver, now right at the other car, starts shouting clearly Get off the fucking phone.

It's clear that they're not traveling in caravan, and that he's angry,

Get off the fucking phone.

He slams the flat of his hand against the window of the driver whose face is not visible from this lane.

The pick-up driver, a man in his 30s, closely-cropped hair, wearing work shirt, goes back to his truck.

The pick-up truck is idling next to my Toyota.

When both our lanes turn left on the green arrow, I make sure to leave space, since the pick-up may very well want to scoot alongside the driver accused -- I've concluded -- of driving while using a cellphone.


The pick-up veers in front of me and ducks into a supermarket village.

The cellphone guy, more precipitously, lunges ahead of me, as well, and cuts into the next supermarket entry.

Testosterone hangs in the air like the smell of burnt fireworks in the early a.m. following Independence Day.


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Her Age 58 Trot

R.E. had a half-back's moves.  Petite as a sandpiper. Gyroscopically directional.  A top.

When the teenager rearended her car, the whiplash jolt positioned her spinal cord in dangerous conjunction with the spine bone.

She still darted, her head, though, immobilized from now on in medieval cage.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Playwright One

David Mamet holds too tight a rein

David Mamet provides no easy outs

David Mamet toughens everything he touches

David Mamet makes women male

David Mamet finds no man strong enough

All, for him, make mission, the moral edge

They fail most often, for David Mamet

David Mamet brings to me the fear 

Residing anxious in me 

That all is a straw in the wind


Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Inspector Morse

Inspector Lewis

Inspector Lynley

Inspector Frost

Inspector Tennison

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Inglourious Basterds

The characters are not simply 'types' or 'archetypes' which we may subliminally take note of (i.e. innocent daughter, villainous official, fugitive) as we engage with the plot, slotting this story into expectations formed from earlier, similar films.

Nor is the story itself a re-setting of a prior, famous tale, 'updating' or 'refreshing' deep themes (i.e. King Lear re-done as Kurosawa's Ran).

IB isn't a simple story of revenge based on cruel treatment -- that would require a realism not attempted or claimed.  We don't have characters real enough to feel human toward.  The audience response is expected somehow else, commonly-stocked and easily-bought.

The movie is meant to be comically violent.  This is burlesque -- vulgarizing for laughs (or 'laffs') something otherwise possibly having worthy edges.  This handling lowers values, bringing the significant -- including monstrous enemies -- down to a low level. 

Yes, there is satisfaction to be gotten out of watching Hitler's face machine-gunned into a goo-that-was.  We still reverberate from the 20th Century, continue to ask for psychological remedy.  But this is lowest-common-denominator yuks.  Sardonic:  as bestial or more than the beast being overcome.

Perhaps I do a disservice to 12-year-old boys, but the film aims at an audience level of their (quarter-)sophistication.

Nota bene:  This is not to validate self-righteous snobbery.  We all have 'guilty pleasures', and someone liking IB might do so simply for the presence of Brad Pitt, or for the fact that the scenes are called 'chapters', or for the reason that one saw it the night of getting a better job.

But that's not aesthetic judgment, whether an effort makes or fails its artistic attempt, and has attempted enough.

Artistry is more than conforming to professional production standards, and has no direct relation to profit.

And artists, however self-expressive, have a responsibility -- to themselves, at least -- beyond just spewing-up their stomach and liking what they heave because it smells like them.

Art's an activity worthy of being done, serious even in its play.  If the motivation lies elsewhere, if it's held up short of that, stop.  Don't go further.


Saturday, July 10, 2010

Classiqueaux 2


Thought there was nothing left

Was I wrong

Thought nothing left to take

Their proof came with derision

Where are you.  Where are you.

(Notes for a future long poem)


Friday, July 9, 2010

Statistical Certainty Of Statistical Abuse

Give them a razor, it cuts

Give them a bullet, it shoots

Give them a bomb, it explodes

Give them a number, it does the same


My End Of It

In nature, there is also ‘nothing poetry’. (That is, nothing that is p.)

There’s stuff ‘out there’, all right (as I am to you, for instance).

But we name it. In ‘reality’, it’s the No-Name Stuff.

Let me qualify that, even.

‘Reality’ is what we see it to be. Perhaps in many situations what we agree it to be?

As a language gal, you even sing and act it!

Coleridge, a man of his Romantic time. Coleridge, whose words helped create how people felt the ‘reality’ of their time to be. Even though it was and wasn’t.

(This is a response to Coleridge poem lines that begin 'In Nature there is nothing melancholy' posted on dara weinberg's blog: style over substance)



Years ago at a job that played music softly throughout the office, I asked my boss What is that they're playing?  

(I think I'd heard it on a movie soundtrack, a 'standard', popular before my birth).

He pondered and listened and said Moonlight Serenade.  I think he was right.

Cut to years later, same movie whose soundtrack did indeed include Moonlight Serenade.

But.  It also had this other song, this other tune.  Probably not the one my boss and I were hearing, but another one I'd confused then and kept on confusing for decades.

This morning, Starbucks.  Ella's singing it, the 'big screen' showing its name:

I'm Getting Sentimental Over You

In the head, it's a trombone melody, a Tommy Dorsey sound.


Thursday, July 8, 2010


The scene in Mr Roberts where he marches up and throws the Captain's palm tree over the side of the ship.

The scene in 12 Angry Men where he paces out the simulated distance from the old man's bed to the locked door.

The scene in Fail Safe where he enlists Dan O'Herlihy's aid by referring to the story of Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac.

The scene in The Best Man where, in re-establishing his marriage with Margaret Leighton, he cautions that the fires of winter burn notoriously low.


Uncanny And Impossible

A list of films, science-fiction, horror, fantasy, a list of 13.  I would challenge anyone to come up with a list of another 13 of equal value.

Most of these exceed 'genre', some far so.

2001: A Space Odyssey

The Innocents

Rosemary's Baby

The Haunting


The Addiction

Shadow of the Vampire


The Others

The Exorcist

The Hunger

Bram Stoker's Dracula

The Prophecy


.  (See addendum later, on August 23, 2010 -- a 14th film: Don't Look Now)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Everybody Twist!

Kookie, kitschy Karl connives to keep cheeping chickens in the kitchen cheaply.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

No Exit, Indeed

In his Cultural Amnesia, Clive James paints Jean-Paul Sartre as a coward and a fraud.

Not just name-calling, but an examination of Sartre's philosophy and its avoidance of facing the true 'existential' matter of its own time:  Nazi atrocity, racism, and -- locally for Sartre's daily world -- the Occupation and French collaboration.

Sartre isn't accused of collaboration, nor does James believe he should be.  But the moral jostling in Huis Clos, a seminal literary play dealing with the anxiety of working through unresolvable situational dilemmas, stays miles distant from the Third Reich officials in charge of Paris and some sitting in the theater audience.

If the real dilemma is in foreign uniform outside the local boulangerie, outlining the boundaries of mauvaise foi in human personal interactions is myopic.

To add insult to injury, Sartre, per James, came near posturing his resistance heroism once France was back in French hands.  No claim to it, his.  Others 'walked the walk'.


Sunday, July 4, 2010

Seeking Salvation On The Thin Edge Of A Razor

 Anne Baxter as Sophie, The Razor's Edge, the Zanuck film based on the Maugham novel.

Newly re-met group of Americans first night together in Paris, go slumming.

In a very low-life cabaret, l'Apache and cheap champagne in abundance, Sophie appears, having lost her husband and child in an auto accident some years before and trying still to get as lost as she can, as deadened as a living person can become.

Of her 'protector' yanking her away from a shamed conversation with her past Chicago acquaintances, she proclaims with an ironic lust:  He's a sulky brute, but he's quite a man.

Watching the entire scene conveys the pity of ruin.  Even Larry's saintliness isn't quite enough to retrieve her.


Friday, July 2, 2010

Actually, Thinking Helps

Religious men who, no doubt, hundreds of millions of the credulous would consider heretics.

Luke Timothy Johnson's lectures -- and there are several on CD -- deal with early Christian material.  He's about backgrounding and inspecting the documents we have that are foundational for faith and that have formed the structure of faith.  

Clearly, he's a Christian guy, but not a salesman.  I think his intent is in removing misinformation and dogma.  In a straight way, he's teaching literary approaches.  Historical surround.  Sociological perspective.  Theological shifting.  Defining a position in a reasoned way.

If you've tasted a bit of Bart Ehrman, you see the skepticism that must automatically go with any Bible study.  A skepticism that literalists think the work of 'Satan'.  Ehrman is also on CD.  He's quite readable, very authoritative, a man whose 'born-again' studies right in the womb of fundamentalism led him, simply, to doubt.

If the world could always be faced with the honesty of these men, we might be able to feel brave in our apprehensive, dangerous place.


Stand-up, BCE

Caveman sees hairball on the floor, looks at his wife and says:

Why don't you shampoo more often?

Caveman 'mother-in-law' joke:

Will all of you stay out of this?!

Cuckold caveman . . . finds a Polaroid of his wife with a Tyrannosaurus Rex.