the best things in life

Barack Obama [on TV]: It’s the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled…
Jackie Cogan (Brad Pitt): Ah, yes, we’re all the same. We’re all equal.
Obama [on TV]: … that we have never been just a collection of individuals or a collection of red states and blue states. We are and always will be the United States of America.
Cogan: Next he’ll be telling us we’re a community, we’re one people.
Obama [on TV]: In this country, we rise or fall as one nation, as one people.
Driver (Richard Jenkins): Had yourself quite a party.
Cogan: I do the best I can. [to the bartender] Beer.
Driver: So everything is under control, I take it, at long last?
Cogan: You know, for someone I’m trying to help out and everything, you’re awful hard to get along with. Could’ve made you drive up to see me, I didn’t have to come down here. I’m trying to be nice to you.
Driver: You’re trying to be nice to me?
Cogan: Sure, I’m a nice guy. I like to make things easy on people, do people favors now and then.
Driver: Do me a favor: don’t do me any favors. I see how you work.
Cogan: Tell you what, just give me the money.
[Driver hands Cogan an envelope.]
Cogan: Excuse me.
Driver: Are you gonna count it?
Cogan: I gotta take a leak. Leave me alone, all right? Have another ginger ale, for Christ’s sake.
Obama [on TV]: … from beyond our shores, parliaments and palaces, those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of the world, our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared. Tonight we’ve proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope. [crowd cheering]
Crowd chanting [on TV]: Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can!
Driver: Feel better?
Cogan: No. There’s only 30 in there.
Driver: Three guys. Yeah, I had to ask them if I should pay you for the kid. But, you know, they said I should, so.
Cogan: They were right too. That’s only ten a piece.
Driver: Correct.
Cogan: The price is 15.
Driver: Dillon charges 10. Recession prices. They told me to tell you that too.
Cogan: I made a deal with Mickey for 15.
Driver: Yeah, yeah, but the way they got it, Mickey got in a fight with a whore, the dumb shit, and now they got him in the can, and you’re filling in for Dillon and you get what Dillon gets, no more. Talk to Dillon. Take it up with him.
Cogan: Dillon’s dead. Dillon died this morning.
Driver: They’re going to be very sorry to hear that.
Cogan: Sure, sure, they are. It’s gonna cost them more.
Driver: You know, this business is a business of relationships.
Cogan: Yeah, and everyone loved Markie.
Driver: You are a cynical bastard, you know that?
Obama [on TV]: … to reclaim the American dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth, that out of many, we are one.
Driver: You hear that line? Line’s for you.
Cogan: Don’t make me laugh. We’re one people. It’s a myth created by Thomas Jefferson.
Driver: Oh, now you’re gonna have a go at Jefferson?
Cogan: My friend, Jefferson’s an American saint because he wrote the words, “All men are created equal”, words he clearly didn’t believe, since he allowed his own children to live in slavery. He was a rich wine snob who was sick of paying taxes to the Brits so, yeah, he wrote some lovely words and aroused the rabble and they went out and died for those words while he sat back and drank his wine and fucked his slave girl. This guy wants to tell me we’re living in a community. Don’t make me laugh. I’m living in America, and in America, you’re on your own. America’s not a country. It’s just a business. Now fuckin’ pay me.
[♪ Barrett Strong: “Money (That’s What I Want)”]
♪ The best things in life are free ♪
♪ But you can give them to the birds and bees ♪
♪ I need money ♪
♪ That’s what I want ♪
♪ That’s what I want ♪
♪ That’s what I want ♪
♪ That’s what I want ♪
♪ That’s what I want ♪
♪ That’s what I want ♪
♪ That’s what I want ♪
♪ Your love gives me such a thrill ♪
♪ But your love don’t pay my bills ♪
♪ I need money ♪
♪ That’s what I want ♪
♪ That’s what I want ♪
♪ That’s what I want ♪
♪ That’s what I want ♪
♪ That’s what I want ♪
♪ That’s what I want ♪
♪ That’s what I want ♪
♪ Money don’t get everything, it’s true ♪
♪ But what it don’t get I can’t use ♪
♪ I need money ♪
♪ That’s what I want ♪
♪ That’s what I want ♪
♪ That’s what I want ♪
♪ That’s what I want ♪
♪ That’s what I want ♪
♪ That’s what I want ♪
♪ That’s what I want ♪
♪ Money ♪
♪ That’s what I want ♪
♪ Lots of money ♪
♪ That’s what I want ♪
♪ Whole lot of money ♪
♪ That’s what I want ♪
♪ Uh-huh ♪
♪ That’s what I want ♪
♪ That’s what I want… ♪
♪ That’s what I want… ♪

middle-aged degeneracy

The excessive dependence of the Middle Ages upon the past is part of that Golden Age complex which besets most civilizations, though medieval men carried it to an unusual degree. They believed that they were “little men in the twilight of the world” or “dwarves sitting on the shoulders of giants” (the ancients). Both the primitive Church and Augustan Rome loomed out of the mist of the past as towers of civilization from which society had fallen, no matter if the Augustan Romans saw themselves as degenerates from the time of Cato, who in turn bewailed the lost Saturnia regna. Had the medieval mind looked only backwards to Eden, medieval thought would have been primitivistic; it would have had no idea of progress. But the fact that the incarnation came after the fall, and the resurrection after the crucifixion, was productive of hope. Nonetheless, exaggerated respect for the past caused several medieval eccentricities, among them the curious practice of reverse plagiarism. A modern plagiarist takes the writings of a famous man and passes them off as his own; with greater modesty, a medieval writer was likely to gain an audience for his own writings by attaching to them the name of a great pope or Father. Their worship of the past checked originality, just as our own worship of everything new promotes superficiality. The use of the word “primitive” is instructive. To us it means crude and barbaric; but through the time of Samuel Johnson its connotation was favorable: the Good Old Days.

пидорас в нехорошем смысле

Еврейский анекдот наоборот:
— Мойша, а ты знаешь, что Жора — пидорас?
— Что, он занял денег и не отдаёт?!
— Да нет, в хорошем смысле.

Une histoire juive à rebours :
— Moishe, tu savais que Gégé est un pédé ?
— Quoi, il a emprunté de l’argent et ne le rembourse pas ?
— Non, dans le bon sens.

The contrary of a Jewish joke:
— Moishe, you know that Gerry is a fag?
— What, he borrowed money and refuses to repay?
— No, in a good way.

Tenue de soirée vingt-sept ans après:

seul contre tous

—Tu sais ce que c’est que la morale ? Moi je vais te dire ce que c’est la morale. La morale, c’est fait pour ceux qui la tiennent, les riches. Et tu sais qui a raison à chaque fois ? C’est les riches. Et c’est les pauvres qui trinquent. Tu veux la voir ma morale à moi ?
—Euh… Ouais.
—Ouais ? Tu vas pas regretter après hein ?
—Je sais pas.
—Je crois que tu vas avoir un peu peur. La voilà ma morale. La morale c’est ça. Tu sais pourquoi je me balade avec ça ? Hein… ? Parce que celui qui m’amènera la morale avec son uniforme, OK ? Il aura plus de chance, OK ? D’avoir sa putain de justice derrière lui. Et moi, la voilà ma justice. Que tu te trompes ou que t’aies raison c’est la même chose mon grand.

—You know what morality is? I’ll tell you what it is. Morality is made for those who own it, the rich. And you know who is right every time? The rich. And it is the poor who pay the price. You want to see my morality?
—Uh… Yeah.
—Yeah? Sure you won’t regret it?
—I don’t know.
—I think it’s gonna scare you a little. Here is my morality. That’s morality for you. You know why I’m walking around with it? Huh…? Because the guy in blue shows off his morality, OK? He’s got the upper hand, OK? To have his fucking justice backing him up. But me, here is my justice. Right or wrong, same difference, my friend.

—Gaspar Noé, Seul contre tous, 1998

korean kagemusha wannabe

Gwanghae, The Man Who Became King, distributed internationally as Masquerade, is billed by its distributors as a ”2012 Korean Historical Movie version of [Mark Twain’s] ‘The Prince & Pauper’“. I saw it on 22 September 2012 at CGV Cinemas in Los Angeles’ Koreatown, a reliable local venue for the latest Korean film releases.

Last seen two years ago as a secret agent opposite Choi Min-sik’s superhuman sociopath in Kim Jee-woon’s superb neo-Elizabethan revenge tragedy I Saw the Devil, Lee Byung-hun plays both titular characters: Prince Gwanghae, the ill-fated fifteenth king of the Joseon Dynasty, and Ha-sun, the lowly comedian pressed into service as a stand-in for the monarch who faces the threat of assassination. This speculative fiction draws upon an episode in the eighth year of Gwanghaegun’s reign, when the court chronicles omit all records for the fortnight that followed his statement, ”Do not put on record what is meant to be hidden.“ The central conceit of the plot is that the king’s loyal and able adviser Heo Gyun (Ryoo Seung-Ryong) forced Ha-sun to impersonate Gwanghaegun while he recovered a coma after an apparent poisoning attempt. While this contemptuous potentate starts out by micromanaging his puppet through his official court functions, he soon develops an appreciation of Ha-sun’s patriotic and humanitarian concerns for the kingdom and its subjects. Meanwhile, the head of an opposing Greater Northerner faction, Park Chung-seo (Kim Myung-gon), the Queen Consort Lady Ryu (Han Hyo-joo), and the king’s bodyguard Captain Do (Kim In Kwon), all become suspicious of the sudden shift in the king’s behavior.

Said to have been filmed in the real historical palaces in Seoul, the movie combines lavish mise en scène with competent direction of fine actors playing strong characters in a familiar story. While not quite Kagemusha caliber, being far more affected than Kurosawa’s masterwork, it makes for a compelling spectacle in its own right, marred slightly by Ha-sun’s tendency to emote by shedding tears on demand. The climactic confrontation between Captain Do and a band of assassins dispatched by the recovered king to retire his stand-in with extreme prejudice, is especially notable as a vivid illustration of the vital difference between slashes and cuts in a sword-fight. I recommend this movie to all fans of international costume drama.

good dog kills bad people

Song Kang-ho does his tough dick thing while the most charismatic bad guy in Asian movies walks on all fours, dealing revenge to evil bipeds, stopping only to lead out of a burning house one smart and tough chick cop, whose sexist oppression by uncouth colleagues fails to deter her from hobbling henchmen with hot lead pursuant to absurd Korean police deadly force protocol. Justice triumphs, alas.

ruthenia est omnis divisa in amentes tres

A native speaker of Russian might appreciate this festering travesty of a French classic solely as the inspiration of a popular Soviet self-esteem formula: “Все пидорасы, а я — д’Артаньян” (“Everybody is a fag, and I am d’Artagnan”). Everything else, beginning with the physiognomy, habiliments, elocution, comportment, and gesticulation of its befuddled, stultified, and manifestly intoxicated cast, bespeaks spectacular ineptitude. Every witticism worth witnessing and every sword thrust worth watching in this preposterous pageant of Brezhnevite imbecility has been forestalled a quarter century earlier by the Three Stooges in Musty Musketeers. Avoid at all costs.

p210 legend

The following is a draft version of my review of Sauer’s new P210 Legend pistol. It will be updated in this space with photos and text as my study continues.


“You William Blake?” yells U.S. Marshal Marvin Throneberry at the rapidly approaching outlaw, while cycling and shouldering his Winchester Model 1873. “Yes, I am. Do you know my poetry?” responds the killer as he raises his 4¾" Colt .45 Single Action Army revolver and shoots Marvin in the heart.

Guns and poetry. None better illuminated their interplay than Jim Jarmusch in his 1995 movie Dead Man. To talk guns is to talk poetry. What follows is a riff on the latest incarnation of my favorite poem. Continue reading p210 legend