“Ingesting people across state lines in 1980, Maren finds herself on her own after her father runs away when she turns 18, only leaving behind a tape recounting her earliest episodes of cannibalism and her birth certificate.”— Carlos Aguilar, review of Bones and All, rogerebert.com
Self has never heard of this French film until she read Essay # 1 in Rachel Kushner’s The Hard Crowd: Essays 2000 – 2020.
It stars Marianne Faithfull (She was today years old when she found out that it’s Marianne Faithfull, not Marianne Faithful) and Alain Delon and motorcycles.
After a desperate visit to a rustic tavern where Marianne Faithfull drinks alone, kirsch after kirsch, brokenhearted over Alain Delon, she gets on her motorcycle, and things start to get weird. She writhes in the seat as if making love to the bike and starts swerving recklessly, splitting lanes on the autobahn. She loses control and slams broadside into a truck, is launched over the cab, and plows forcefully through the windshield of a four-door sedan. She dies, the lower half of her leather-clad body jutting from the front of the car. THE END.— “Girl on a Motorcycle,” Essay # 1 of Rachel Kushner’s The Hard Crowd
If I kept going back to Armageddon, I thought, it would eventually turn out to have a plot. I saw it six times, and I never did. I was grateful; it was a relief to be spared the pain of cause/effect. Thank God for a plotless world. Watching the scene where Bruce Willis, draped in an American flag, says goodbye to earth from the floor of a crater in a huge piece of orbiting igneous rock was the most satisfying emotional experience I have ever had.
— “Neorealism at the Infiniplex,” in Your Nostalgia is Killing Me
On the way to an archaeological dig in Arce, Italian archaeologist Angelo takes Ruth, Shona, and the two kids on a route that includes “descending hairpin bends . . . and unmade roads,” and the children complain of feeling sick.
“Stop the car!” Dr. Ruth Galloway orders. She’s worried the kids might throw up in Angelo’s car.
“Nearly there,” Angelo says. “You know, kids, you can’t be sick if you sing . . . ” and he launches into a rendition of OLD MACDONALD HAD A FARM. Self can’t even. The archaeologist is encouraging two British kids to sing “Old MacDonald Had a Farm,” in a British novel.
This is almost as hilarious as the moment in the movie Spenser when Princess Di, wanting to expose her boys to the wider world, plays BARRY MANILOW at full blast on her car radio and encourages William and Harry to sing along. Then Princess Di takes them to a KFC, somewhere near the Elizabeth Tower. That’s culcha for you!
The children oblige Angelo with “a few minutes of animal noises.” Oh my goodness! Self, who hasn’t heard this song in aaaaages, is suddenly singing along with Angelo: “And an oink oink here and an oink oink there.” This is what you call “deep memory work.”
This summer of 2022 is really zipping along! Not to mention, she got a package delivered from USPS, and she very excitedly ripped it open (not her usual behavior) and found: a) it was the wrong item, and b) it was really addressed to her next-door neighbor. So she’ll have to get out of pajamas at some point today, and walk it over. BUMMER.
She finished reading Where the Crawdads Sing. She tore through it in four days, and read the closing pages while watching the Jan. 6 Committee Hearings. The novel would make a fine movie (which she’ll probably end up watching, just to see how it differs from the book), in fact the movie might possibly make more sense than the book, especially that ending! Don’t leave us all hanging, Dear Author. How did Marsh Girl engineer the whole thing? Down to the last minute and all? Even to the disguises?
She has so many books on her To-Read list, but after reading Where the Crawdads Sing, she seems to have selected History of the Peloponnesian War, by Thucydides, which was written thousands of years ago, but which begins with the author saying something to the effect of: We all thought this would be a great war, but it wasn’t, it was just an ordinary war, and it lasted 27 years. And the people who started off as allies ended up as antagonists. It was led on one side by Athens, which started compelling its “confederate states” to contribute to the war effort by providing money rather than ships, and continued to require this payment “even though Athens had years before ceased waging war with Persia.” In short, an alliance which had been formed to fight against Persia became instead the birth of the Athenian Empire. All the more remarkable was that this was effected while Athens remained “fully democratic.”
It finally ended this way (not a spoiler because, it’s history): “After the loss of her whole navy in the late summer of 405, in the spring of 404 an Athens stripped of her empire and starved into submission surrendered . . . “
As for the author, Thucydides, all we know about him is what he said about himself, which, according to the Introduction (by T. E. Wick, of the University of Wisconsin), “is very little.” He lived through the full twenty-seven years of the war, but his History only reaches Year 21 — “it breaks off abruptly, in the middle of a paragrapgh, in the middle of a sentence.”
Wow! Self loves history. Which is why she’s been glued to these January 6 Committee Hearings, which in her humble opinion should be nominated for an Emmy award, they are so riveting. Not only that, but the varying rhetorical styles of Chairman Bennie Thompson, Vice-Chair Liz Cheney, Rep. Adam Kinzinger, Rep. Stephanie Murphy, Rep. Zoe Lofgren and Rep. Jamie Raskin are really something! Rep. Thompson is sonorous and grave, Rep. Cheney is blunt and no-holds-barred, Rep. Adam Kinzinger is witty and ironic, Rep. Stephanie Murphy is patriotic and poignant, Rep. Zoe Lofgren is down-to-earth, and Rep. Jamie Raskin is eloquent to the nth! Any of them could run rings around that master of dumb-yet-emotional speech, 45.
So much riveting drama and etc., all in the height of summer. Summer 2022 is definitely one for the history books.
If you are planning to read the book or watch the movie, OF COURSE “SPOILERS”!
In the movie, he is played by young Brit Harris Dickinson.
But this was too abrupt — picnic, then mate the Marsh Girl. Even male birds woo the females for a while, flashing brilliant feathers, building bowers, staging magnificent dances and love songs. Yes, Chase had laid out a banquet, but she was worth more than fried chicken. And “Dixie” didn’t count as a love song. She should’ve known it would be like this. Only time male mammals hover is when they’re in the rut.
The silence grew as they stared at each other, broken only by the sound of their breathing and the breakers beyond. Chase sat up and reached for her arm, but she jerked it away.
“I’m sorry. It’s okay,” he said as he stood. True, he’d come here to snag her, to be the first, but watching those eyes firing, he was entranced.
He tried again. “C’mon, Kya. I said I’m sorry. Let’s just forget it. I’ll take you back to yo’ boat.”
At that she turned and walked across the sand toward the woods. Her long body swaying.
“What’re ya doin? You can’t walk back from here. It’s miles.”
But she was already in the trees, and ran a crow-route, first inland, then across the peninsula, toward her boat.— Where the Crawdads Sing, pp. 161 – 162
Listening to Bill Withers’ Ain’t No Sunshine.
It is son’s FIRST FATHER’S DAY, WOO HOO! Where does the time go.
Jumbotron on Jefferson Avenue says: SEVERE DROUGHT. LIMIT WATERING TO TWO DAYS A WEEK.
This is why self does all her watering by hand. And only at 10 p.m.
This morning, she was at the 9:35 a.m. screening of Top Gun: Maverick at the local Century 20. There were lots of people. She got peeved when someone came in late and sat right next to her. She prefers to keep at least one empty seat between her and the next person. So she moved. We are still in a pandemic!
After the movie (Really great. What a good actor Miles Teller is. And Jennifer Connolly is fantastic and beautiful. How many people know that she was an undergrad at Stanford? She was a transfer from Yale), self drove to Menlo Park Library and checked out yet another Dr. Ruth Galloway mystery.
Went home, resumed reading The Chalk Pit, which might be her favorite of the entire series (14 books and counting). p. 267, Nelson interviews a local theater director in his flat. The same director who is staging an Alice in Wonderland play featuring an adult Alice tripped out on acid (The staging of this play is one of the biggest running gags in this book)
It is pushing midnight. A local woman’s gone missing. The woman just happens to be the partner of one of self’s favorite minor characters, DI David Clough.
“All the cast get on well. Cassie seems close to Adrian Linley, who plays the Caterpillar, her father in the play. Flora Frampton, who plays the Queen of Hearts, she mothers everybody, and Darrell Shaw . . . ” he pauses.
“Yes? What about Darrell Shaw?”
“He’s a young actor. Very talented. Plays the Gryphon, the Mad Hatter and the Cheshire Cat. I just have a feeling that he has rather a crush on Cassie.”
“Does she have a crush back?”
“No.” Leo sounds quite shocked. “She seems blissfully happy with that oafish policeman partner.” He stops. “Oh, I’m sorry . . . “
Nelson hangs on to his stiff upper lip. LOL LOL LOL
Waiting in some excitement for the Juneteenth concert at the Hollywood Bowl to begin. CNN is carrying it live.
Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.
Francis Marion, aka Swamp Fox, “was an early pioneer of guerrilla warfare, leading the local militia in numerous quick, violent attacks on Loyalists and Redcoats. He was (unlike the character portrayed by Mel Gibson in The Patriot) “physically underwhelming: a frail, stubby fifty-year-old, hobbled by deformed knees and ankles.”
The British sent one of their most ruthless fighters after him, Banastre Tarleton, famous for what was known as “Tarleton’s quarter” — after a small force in South Carolina surrendered, Tarleton failed to honor the white flag (he claimed he didn’t see it because he was thrown from his horse) and slaughtered the surrendering men. “It was Tarleton who gave Marion his nickname: after pursuing the Patriot through twenty-six miles of Carolina swampland,” Tarleton was forced to give up the chase.
A few days ago, self went to downtown Palo Alto, to Landmark Aquarius on Emerson, to watch Pedro Almodovar’s Parallel Mothers. Penelope Cruz is excellent as always. A gamine young actress named Milena Smit is a real scene-stealer.
In honor of the film’s subject, she’s quoting from Miguel Hernandez’s A Man-Eating Knife (in a translation by Don Share)
Where can I be
that I will not find loss?
Your destiny is the beach,
my calling is the sea.
Miguel Hernandez died in a Spanish prison at the age of thirty-one. Below, an excerpt from Octavio Paz’s Remember That Voice, written in memory of Hernandez from Mexico City, November 1942. The translation is by Eliot Weinberger.
Miguel Hernandez has died in prison in the village where he was born. He has died alone in a hostile Spain, the enemy of a Spain where he spent his youth, the antagonist of a Spain that rang out with his generosity. Let others curse his torturers, let others study and analyze his poetry. I want to remember him as he was.
I first saw him in 1937, singing Spanish folk songs. He had a deep voice, somewhat ragged, somewhat like an innocent animal: he sounded like the countryside, like a low echo in the valleys, like a stone falling into a ravine.