**Post updated below**
“I will not be a common man. I will stir the smooth sands of monotony.”
Funny, that quote above about the scene from Venus…its from the Boston Globe, but the thing is that is what I was going to use for the opening of this post. It is the only line I remember from that movie, the one line that stuck with me…that I made a mental note for, remember that one JJ, it is a good one.
What can I say about Peter O’Toole that hasn’t been said in obituaries and blog post or commentaries posted online the last week since his death. Hell, you will be able to read a bunch of them in a minute, I’ve got plenty of links for you below.
Peter O’Toole was more than a magnificent screen presence to me. I don’t think there has been another actor who had such a profound effect on my life, and I know that sound sappy…but you all know how important film is to me. I always felt his role as Henry II in both Beckett and The Lion in Winter is one of the reasons I decided to major in Medieval History. (I should say specialize in Medieval History.)
Then again, my adoration of O’Toole goes back before college. Way back, to 1981 when he starred in a mini-series called Masada.
At that time girls my age had pictures of the Fonz and Scott Baio on their walls. Me? My walls had photos of Peter O’Toole, Jonathan Frid and Rod Stewart. (What can I say, I was a strange kid.)
My favorite movies star Peter O’Toole…Lawrence of Arabia, My Favorite Year, The Lion In Winter, these films are the kind of movies that I can see over and over again, they are fucking awesome. (Check out some clips down at the end of the thread.)
Other films of O’Toole are outstanding as well, Goodbye Mr. Chips, The Stuntman, Creator, hell…the list goes on. But for now we will get to the various links for Peter…starting with his home country of Ireland:
16 December 2013
Tributes were paid last night to actor and hellraiser Peter O’Toole, who died at the age of 81.
The Connemara-born actor, who rose to fame in the 1962 Oscar-winning epic ‘Lawrence Of Arabia’ (left), died in London on Saturday.
Actors Peter O’Toole and Helen Mirren attend the Miramax Films pre-Oscar party celebrating Oscar nominees in Los Angeles…REUTERS/Fred Prouser
He is survived by his family, including his daughters Pat and Kate, his son Lorcan, and former wife, actress Sian Phillips.
So farewell then, Peter O’Toole, the man who was either born in Connemara or Leeds, depending on who you believe.
O’Toole once said that as a boy he was terrified by “the horrible sexlessness” of nuns.
He later said this phenomenon had changed dramatically.
“They’re sipping gin and tonic in the Dublin pubs now, and a couple of them flashed their pretty ankles at me just the other day.”
Saucy nuns? It is quite possible that the notoriously bibulous O’Toole had a touch too much of the gargle, and was imagining things.
Asked once what being Irish meant to him, the legendary actor, Peter O’Toole deliberated slowly, before replying: “It’s almost the centre of my being.”
The occasion was an interview with US talk show host Charlie Rose to mark the release of the first part of his autobiography, Loitering with Intent in 1992.
“Everything I think of is coloured by its history, by its literature, by its people, by its geography,” he continued.
O’Toole went on to recount how a return trip to Ireland in 1946 after the end of the Second World War, affirmed his sense of Irishness.
“I was a bit of a misfit, a bit of an odd man out, but when I went to Kerry with my friend, Father Leo Walsh, and it all clicked. I wasn’t different at all,” he said.
This particular obit has some good stories, so be sure to read that one in full. This tidbit about an interview with Letterman is something that I remember seeing when it first aired:
He appeared on The Letterman Show in London in 1995, cigarette in hand, astride a camel. As if that wasn’t suitably outrageous, he proceeded to open a can of beer and feed it to the animal.
Asked once by Lettermen [sic] had he thought about a message on his gravestone, he told the story of an old leather jacket he once had, stained “with Guinness and blood”, that his wife had sent to the dry cleaners.
“I am having that on my tombstone. That’s my epitaph,” he said.
Which is why I was smiling when I saw this tribute Peter O’Toole obit by Political Cartoonist Milt Priggee
If any of you get to see the dvd commentary that goes with the film My Favorite Year, you will hear some great stories about Peter O’Toole. He sounded like one of those actors you would love to work with. One of the interesting things Richard Benjamin said was, O’Toole had not done a comedy, and because of that…
Peter O’Toole was originally hesitant about doing the film. However, in the script, the date of Swann’s death was, in fact, the date of O’Toole’s birthday. O’Toole phoned Richard Benjamin to find out if they did that with all of the actors they had offered the part to. The director replied that the script had not been given to anybody else, at which O’Toole agreed to do the film.
Anyway, back to the links:
Much of the British commentary on O’Toole since his death has painted him as a rather anachronistic actor, a 19th-century heroic performer in an age of method psychological realism. It is certainly true that, with his fellow so-called Celts Richard Burton and Richard Harris, he was a rebel against the new method orthodoxy. What is not true is the general depiction of the trio as Romantic, emotional, hot-blooded Celts at odds with the realism that was in the ascendant from the 1950s onwards.
Quite the contrary: O’Toole’s acting, like Burton’s, was sceptical, cool, intellectual. Far from being a fruity thesp, he was, at his best, almost a meta-actor. His best screen performances all comment on the nature of performance.
Of O’Toole’s other best roles, two (in My Favourite Year and in Venus) are satiric portrayals of washed-up actors and one, in The Stunt Man, is a satiric portrayal of an insane film director. O’Toole’s best performances have quotation marks around them.
But what of the role that created the star in the first place? It too is a “performance”. O’Toole’s Lawrence of Arabia is so uncannily beautiful, so eerily mesmerising that you almost don’t notice that he’s just another actor: a strange Englishman, dressed in foreign clothes, pretending to be an Arab. O’Toole’s brilliance is to create a man who is utterly convinced by the role he is playing. But he himself was never so convinced: what made him great was the keen, appraising intelligence with which he seems to stand outside himself, undazzled by his own star.
It looks like O’Toole had two films in production, one Katherine of Alexandria is in post-production according to iMDB.
O’Toole announced in July 2012 that he was retiring from acting. “The heart for it has gone out of me: it won’t come back,” he said. He did, however, return with announced parts in Katherine of Alexandria and Mary, two films yet to be released.
During a career that spanned nearly six decades, the son of an Irish father and Scottish mother also received Oscar noms for his turns in Becket (1964), The Lion in Winter (1968), Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1969), The Ruling Class (1972), The Stunt Man (1980), My Favorite Year (1982) and Venus (2006). No one else has ever earned as many acting noms without a win.
He was fearsomely handsome, with burning blue eyes and a penchant for hard living which long outlived his decision to give up alcohol. Broadcaster Michael Parkinson told Sky News television it was hard to be too sad about his passing.
“Peter didn’t leave much of life unlived, did he?” he said.
A reformed – but unrepentant – hell-raiser, O’Toole long suffered from ill health. Always thin, he had grown wraithlike in later years, his famously handsome face eroded by years of outrageous drinking.
But nothing diminished his flamboyant manner and candor.
“If you can’t do something willingly and joyfully, then don’t do it,” he once said. “If you give up drinking, don’t go moaning about it; go back on the bottle. Do. As. Thou. Wilt.”
His sensitive portrayal of Lawrence’s complex character garnered O’Toole his first Oscar nomination, and the spectacularly photographed desert epic remains his best known role. O’Toole was tall, fair and strikingly handsome, and the image of his bright blue eyes peering out of an Arab headdress in Lean’s film was unforgettable.
Playwright Noel Coward once said that if O’Toole had been any prettier, they would have had to call the movie “Florence of Arabia.”
That is another good Obituary…give it some of your attention too.
I remember another story O’Toole told, about the filming of Lawrence of Arabia. The scene where he walks down the stairs after telling the general about taking Aqaba was shot a year apart. So when he starts walking down the stairs, he is one year younger than the age he is when he reaches the bottom step.
O’Toole’s last years were quiet, but that doesn’t detract from his stalwart presence throughout much of the 20th century. Here’s a look back at a handful of his most iconic roles.
Peter O’Toole, who has died aged 81, possessed a prodigious acting talent, heart-stopping good looks, and an enormous capacity for booze. Here, he is remembered by those who knew him
Michael Caine, who had been his understudy for the 1959 play ‘The Long and the Short and the Tall’ at the Royal Court Theatre went out to dinner with O’Toole and woke up in a strange flat days later.
“There was a wild weekend that I don’t remember… ‘What time is it?’ I asked. ‘Never mind what time it is,’ said O’Toole. ‘What fucking day is it?’
I love it!
Peter O’Toole with daughter Kate and son Lorcan
More pictures of Peter here: Peter O’Toole’s Life and Career in Pictures Gallery – The Hollywood Reporter
The deaths, over the weekend, of Peter O’Toole and Joan Fontaine reminded us, once again, what a strange principality movie stardom is. Think of it as a kind of Monaco: few are born there, but many arrive, some to disport themselves at the watering holes and gaming tables, others to cultivate that notorious anonymity that is the last redoubt of fame. The church mouse may be the neighbor of the libertine. Costs of living (not merely financial) can be exorbitant, and personal loyalties prone to decay; expulsions are cruel and common, and you dare not appeal against them, for they are ordained not by a court of the land but by the judgment of the world beyond. On the other hand, re-admittance to stardom, after exile, is not unknown; in the case of O’Toole, he would drift away, out of sight but never quite out of mind, and then, just as we—and, by all accounts, he himself—started to ask if he were technically alive, he would stroll back into the light.
Now don’t forget, TCM is going to have a tribute to Peter O’Toole on Sunday, December 29th: TCM Remembers Peter O’Toole (1932 – 2013)
BTW, we lost quite a few people this year…you can find a gallery of pictures here: Hollywood’s Notable Deaths of 2013 Gallery – The Hollywood Reporter
Anyway, enjoy the videos below, some are clips but…the last two are full interviews. One, the Charlie Rose interview. The other is the hour-long interview with Robert Osborne. It is fantastic!
The Lion in Winter:
My Favorite Year:
Lawrence of Arabia:
Interview with Charlie Rose:
Interview with Robert Osborn, at TCM Film Festival April 2011:
The special wraps with O’Toole providing his personal definition of acting: “In the beginning was the word and the word was made flesh. That is, to me, is what acting is. You make the words flesh.” Which is exactly what the man did…
Think of this as an open thread.
(Just a note, it is now 4:45 am and I am finally finished with this post. The formatting was a bitch! So I probably won’t be seeing you any time soon…have a great day!)
**Updated post with added links**
Since it is a very slow day, I’ve decided to just update this post with a few newsy links…in a dump-a-roo fashion.
Starting of with a bit of sad news, Claire Davis, the shooting victim from Colorado, has died:
A statement from the Davis family
It is with unspeakable sadness that we write and say that Claire has passed away from the gunshot wound she received at Arapahoe High School on December 13, 2013. Although we have lost our precious daughter, we will always be grateful for the indelible journey she took us on over the last 17 years—we were truly blessed to be Claire’s parents. The grace, laughter and light she brought to this world will not be extinguished by her death; to the contrary, it will only get stronger.
Last week was truly a paradox in that we lost our daughter, yet we witnessed the wonderful love that exists in the world through the tremendous outpouring of support we received. We’d like to take this opportunity to thank the first responders, the school resource officer, security guard and vice principal at Arapahoe High School, the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s office, and the physicians, nurses and staff at Littleton Adventist Hospital. Each played a significant role in giving Claire a chance to live, and demonstrated extreme amounts of professionalism, courage and love. Please know that we will never forget the extraordinary work you did on Claire’s behalf.
We ask that you give us time to grieve the death of our daughter by respecting our wishes for privacy.
With much loving-kindness,
The Davis Family
I don’t know what you can say about that. It is so painfully sad.
There is another heart-wrenching story out there, remember Jaycee Dugard? Jaycee Dugard’s new “terror”: Her father – Salon.com
The road back home hasn’t been easy for Jaycee Dugard. She was only 11 years old in June of 1991 when she was abducted from a California street in full sight of her stepfather, Carl Probyn. Last August, when she and the two young daughters she bore while in captivity were rescued, Probyn described their return as “a miracle.” But while her captors, Phillip and Nancy Garrido, are behind bars and Dugard is quietly rebuilding her life with her mother and children, she now faces a new “terror”: her biological father.
Kenneth Slayton, who has had no prior relationship with the young woman, has been speaking out lately about the child he never knew, and his wish “to be united with my daughter ASAP.” To that end, he’s retained the services of scandal magnet Gloria Allred, has filed a court petition to definitively prove his paternity of Dugard, and held a press conference last week to plead for an establishment of family ties. Slayton claims that “The first time I knew there was a possibility that I had a daughter was when the FBI told me that she had been kidnapped.”
Dugard’s family, however, tells a different story. In a statement issued last week, they claim that Dugard’s mother, Terry Probyn, “told Mr. Slayton when she learned she was pregnant that he was the father and again when Jaycee was born. He showed no interest. The police advised him when Jaycee was kidnapped and again he showed no interest … At no point did Mr. Slayton offer any assistance beyond what was requested of him while Jaycee was missing. It is now Jaycee Dugard’s turn to express her feelings and she has no interest.”
Read more about this asshole at the link, and then think of the real motivation behind his lawsuit…and how much it must weigh on Dugard’s emotions.
Okay, did you all catch this other news story? Like I said, I’ve been awol from the blog so I don’t know if it has been mentioned.
The EPA’s highest-paid employee and a leading expert on climate change deserves to go to prison for at least 30 months for lying to his bosses and saying he was a CIA spy working in Pakistan so he could avoid doing his real job, say federal prosecutors.
John C. Beale, who pled guilty in September to bilking the government out of nearly $1 million in salary and other benefits over a decade, will be sentenced in a Washington, D.C., federal court on Wednesday. In a newly filed sentencing memo, prosecutors said that his lies were a “crime of massive proportion” and “offensive” to those who actually do dangerous work for the CIA.
Beale’s lawyer, while acknowledging his guilt, has asked for leniency and offered a psychological explanation for the climate expert’s bizarre tales.
If you want a good report of these “tales” check out the video of Jon Stewart here: Jon Stewart Goes Off on Perhaps the Best Political Scandal of All Time | Mediaite
There are scandals, and there are SCANDALS. And the story of an EPA official who cheated the agency out of a million dollars with an incredibly elaborate hoax might very well be, in Jon Stewart‘s opinion, one of the most amazing and unbelievable political scandals of all time. But despite the sexiness of this story, Stewart said, “this man is a liar and boring as f*ck!” John Beale even lied to get a handicapped parking space, which wasn’t even necessary, because “he could have gotten a handicapped parking space for a legitimate medical reason: his gigantic balls.”
But hey, not all of us can lead exciting lives: Hullabaloo
Oh boy. Howie has the latest on the Duck Dynasty flap:
Do you know what a fluffer is? The clinical Wikipedia definition: “A fluffer is a person employed to keep a male adult film star aroused on the set. These duties, which do not necessarily involve touching the actors, are considered part of the makeup department. After setting up the desired angle, the director asks the actors to hold position and calls for the fluffer to ‘fluff’ the actors for the shot. Fluffing could also entail sexual acts such as fellatio or non-penetrative sex.” …
Fluffer is also the name of a 2001 gay porn film that got a buzz because Blondie (Debbie Harry) was in it. But it will have a whole new life now because so was Scott Gurney, the creator of Duck Dynasty.
Howie’s got clips at the link. They’re actually quite tasteful, all things considered. Mr Gurney played one of the leads by the name of Johnny Rebel. He’s quite attractive.
Read more about Johnny Rebel at the link…
Since we touch on the subject of right-wing shitstorms…Keep Fox News out of the classroom! Rupert Murdoch, Common Core and the dangerous rise of for-profit public education – Salon.com
Take a look at that, but it isn’t only right wing…a big portion of the for-profit group is Bill Gates and friends.
Following the rich people connection: These 2 Cities Are Now Exclusively For Rich People
Few cities in the U.S. embody the growing divide between rich and poor quite like New York and San Francisco. In just the past 20 years, both have changed from economically diverse melting pots to exclusive playgrounds for the rich.
The change is clear in striking new visualizations from the U.S. Census Bureau, crunching data from its latest American Community Survey of population and income.
In each of the pictures below, the image to the left represents median household incomes in 1990 (“before”), and the image on the right is 2012 (“after”). Darker shades correlate with higher income, and brighter shades represent lower incomes. Use the slider tool (the button in the middle) to go back and forth in time between 1990 and 2012.
That is a fun interactive map, but to be honest…San Francisco hasn’t changed all that much.
That story about McAuliffe is disgusting and it pisses me off…although it doesn’t surprise me.
Two links on the Boston Bombing brothers:
Some history articles for you:
And a couple of Christmas stories:
The pointe shoe room
I look at that picture and I know what those new pointe shoes smell like.
And finally, tomorrow is Festivus!
August is a special month on TCM, it is when they have their Summer Under The Stars programming…where every 24 hour day is devoted to one special classic movie star.
We lost a few movie stars this past month, Dennis Farina and Eileen Brennan to name a couple…and in just the last two days…gone are a former Munchkin from the movie The Wizard of Oz, a 70’s actress that helped define the cultural changes facing women, sex, drugs and dysfunctional relationships in film…and a woman who blamed it all on the Bossa Nova.
Before we get to the stories of these fallen stars, let us take a look at some of the news making headlines this morning.
And I guess I should give you a heads up, this is one very long post…so get your coffee/tea/orange juice/prune juice/beer/champagne mimosa, or whatever it is you drink when you get up in the morning/ afternoon, because you will be sitting here a while reading this.
The man who kidnapped Hannah Anderson has been killed, but at least the Missing teen found safe in Idaho wilderness – The Washington Post
The volcano had rumbled the past year…and it finally erupted.
Earlier Saturday at UCLA, UN Ambassador Samantha Power Gives First Public Speech – ABC News
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power used her first public speech Saturday night to urge young activists to demand results and criticized the UN and red tape-mired bureaucracies that don’t always prioritize progress.
Power told the Fourth Estate Leadership Summit at UCLA that ideology and entrenched methods sometimes get in the way of the work of the UN, but praised those who get results and focus on problem-solving.
“Bureaucracies are built. Positions become entrenched. And while the United Nations has done tremendous good in the world, there are times when the organization has lost its way, when politics and ideology get in the way of impact,” she said.
This next story is ironic, in a twisted religious right-wing nut kind of way. Religious family abandons U.S., gets lost at sea
A northern Arizona family that was lost at sea for weeks in an ill-fated attempt to leave the U.S. over what they consider government interference in religion will fly back home Sunday.
Hannah Gastonguay, 26, said Saturday that she and her husband “decided to take a leap of faith and see where God led us” when they took their two small children and her father-in-law and set sail from San Diego for the tiny island nation of Kiribati in May.
But just weeks into their journey, the Gastonguays hit a series of storms that damaged their small boat, leaving them adrift for weeks, unable to make progress. They were eventually picked up by a Venezuelan fishing vessel, transferred to a Japanese cargo ship and taken to Chile where they are resting in a hotel in the port city of San Antonio.
Their flights home were arranged by U.S. Embassy officials, Gastonguay said. The U.S. State Department was not immediately available for comment.
The island Gastonguay picked out is a small place in the middle of nowhere, it is out in the Pacific Ocean halfway between Hawaii and Australia….and they just took a small boat out for this major trek across the largest body of water in the world? What in the hell would make a person do such a thing? Could it be Satan? Nope…Could it be Jeeeeezuz? Maybe….but I tend to think it was, the stupid.
Hannah Gastonguay said her family was fed up with government control in the U.S. As Christians they don’t believe in “abortion, homosexuality, in the state-controlled church,” she said.
U.S. “churches aren’t their own,” Gastonguay said, suggesting that government regulation interfered with religious independence.
Among other differences, she said they had a problem with being “forced to pay these taxes that pay for abortions we don’t agree with.”
The Gastonguays weren’t members of any church, and Hannah Gastonguay said their faith came from reading the Bible and through prayer.
“The Bible is pretty clear,” she said.
Well, seems pretty clear to me that sailing off across the Pacific in a small boat can be dangerous.
In May, Hannah, her 30-year-old husband Sean, his father Mike, and the couple’s daughters, 3-year-old Ardith and (8 month old) baby Rahab set off. They wouldn’t touch land again for 91 days, she said.
At one point a fishing ship came into contact with them but left without providing assistance. A Canadian cargo ship came along and offered supplies, but when they pulled up alongside it, the vessels bumped and the smaller ship sustained even more damage.
Do you think the first fishing boat saw that the small boat was full of stupid, anti-woman, geezuz praying, gay-hating, religious tea-bag nuts and got the hell out of there? The prefect of police in Chile says that the Gastonguays did not have the knowledge, ability or expertise to navigate to Kiribati….(no shit) and what will the family do when they finally do get back to the states?
Hannah Gastonguay said the family will now “go back to Arizona” and “come up with a new plan.”
I suggest next time they try a country that does not require them to cross the world via ocean voyage to get there.
And since I touched on the abortion subject…let’s take a look at a few links on that chestnut.
This link to a post by Amanda Marcotte is something you may have missed,and I think it is an interesting point…but there hast to be much more to it than this: Abortion in Europe and America: To understand the difference, you can’t ignore religion.
Please give this article a full read…US abortion ban should not be foisted on Central African Republic: The UK and other donors must ensure US aid restrictions do not deny vital support to women raped in conflict
In his May 2013 report to the security council, the UN secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, noted the conflict’s devastating impact on women and girls, highlighting continuous reports of sexual violence including rape, gang rape and sexual slavery.
Mass sexual violence is not new to CAR. After failed coup attempts in 2001, widespread sexual violence was documented in the country from 2001 to 2003. Some of those crimes are being prosecuted by the international criminal court. The ICC prosecutor noted that “[t]his is the first time the prosecutor is opening an investigation in which allegations of sexual crimes far outnumber alleged killings”.
I will just put this link here, with a warning…if you want to get angry, read it. It is about our special star out of the Lonesome Star State: On Abortion, Wendy Davis Doesn’t Know What She’s Talking About – The Daily Beast by Kristen Powers
Just a few more links before we get to the Hollywood good times stories, after the jump.
As the title suggests, today’s morning reads are going to be mostly fluff…
Late last night I was sitting in our local Banjoville Mickey D’s, it was around midnight and the only people in the joint were a group of cheerleaders from the night’s football game and my family. What a scene…On the TV screen was Fox News, which is no surprise given the conservative “Christian” clientele…the TV was on mute, the CC subtitles were on, but the sound system was playing a medieval Gregorian chant. And they had that music turned way up!
They must have it going for a reason…perhaps to make sure the good ol boy country folks won’t linger after they eat their burgers. So here we sit in this empty fast food restaurant, and my mother begins to talk about the book she is reading, The Brothers Karamazov. Only she called it The Brothers Kamikaze, and she didn’t catch the slip.
It was like a surreal episode from an early Twilight Zone…I felt completely detached, as if I was watching the scene like a spectator. And all the while, the monks are singing in Latin, Fox news has this guy with way too much Botox in his brow and forehead…jabbering on about the difference between Mormons and the real Jesus loving Christians, and my mother going on about the cruel nihilist characteristics of the Kamikaze brothers…
That is a perfect description of how I feel about this morning’s post, it is going to be a mix of links that don’t really add up to anything substantial.
First let’s get the soundtrack started, no not monks… but piranhas. New Study Finds Piranhas Talk To Each Other via Barking | Geekosystem
Red-bellied piranhas are already scary enough, but it turns out that these hyper-aggressive carnivorous fish are also quite the talkers. Using hydrophones to record the fish in captivity, Eric Parmentier from Belgium’s Université de Liège recorded a series of sounds that suggest the fish have a lexicon of audio signals produced in a rather unique way. The study has recently been published in The Journal of Experimental Biology.
The researchers were able to identify three distinct sounds, or “barks,” produced by the fish. In their research, they found that these barks were repeated in similar situations, suggesting that the sounds carry some kind of meaning. For instance, a low grunting sound seemed to signal other piranhas to keep their distance from the barking fish. A rhythmic thud bark, the researchers found, was associated with circling and fighting other fish. Lastly, chasing and nipping fish seemed to be the final level of signaling with a soft creating sound produced by their gnashing their teeth.
But here is the kicker, the fish are using their swim bladders to produce sound…for some reason when I read this I immediately thought of a beginning bag pipe player.
Previous piranha projects had revealed that the fish’s swim bladder — the organ that allows fish to adjust their boyancy in the water — was used to produce sound.
Using the swim bladder as a starting point, Parmentier’s team found that stimulating the muscles around the organ produced sound. Once the stimulation ceased, so did the sound. This is significant since it showed that the muscles were creating the sound and the bladder was not resonating, in which case the sound would have continued after the muscles ceased moving. It also showed that the frequency and pitch of the barks were determined entirely on the muscle contractions.
There is a link to a National Geographic video of the fish making the sounds…neat stuff. I especially like the subtitles…Get away…Let’s Fight… I’m gonna kick your ass…and Hey Baby, let’s get it on.
On to the latest study that asked the question: Did Columbus Cause Europe’s Little Ice Age? | Informed Comment
This story is irresistible for a world historian interested in climate change. Richard Nevle, a geochemist at Stanford, argues that the European advent in the New World, which killed 90% of the 80 million native Americans, caused the Little Ice Age.
The native peoples of the New World burned a lot of wood. When they largely didn’t exist anymore, because they suffered high mortality from a host of European diseases to which they had no immunity, they stopped putting carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Instead, forests grew rapidly since they weren’t being chopped down anymore, and land wasn’t being cleared for agriculture. Forests take in carbon dioxide and exhale oxygen, plus they fix some carbon dioxide in the soil. They are what is called a “carbon sink,” though not a really efficient one, since much of the carbon they take out of the atmosphere eventually finds its way back there. I suspect the dramatic fall-off in the burning of fossil fuels was the much more important cause here.
Less carbon dioxide reduces the “greenhouse effect” making the earth cooler.
An alternative theory is that reduced solar activity contributed to the cooling in the 1600s and 1700s. And the warming period of 900-1300 may have already been reversed in part by the Black Death in Europe and the Middle East, which wiped out one third of the population and would have reduced carbon emissions. Of course all these causes could have operated together.
And when you think of what the little ice age caused, it is clear that climate does affect out history and our future.
During the Little Ice age in Britain, people used to go ice skating on the Thames in the winter. Agriculture was badly hurt by shorter growing seasons, causing famines and violent competition over resources– i.e. wars and revolutions. Scandinavia, which had been a major player in world affairs during the warm centuries 900-1300– ruling Ireland and Sicily (where Vikings fought Arabs) and discovering North America– rapidly declined in significance as it froze over. Famously, there were bread famines in France in the 1780s that likely contributed to the outbreak of the French Revolution.
Give the article a read, Cole goes on to discuss other historical wars and famine and exploration that may find its sources in climate changes. I remember when the Egypt rising was taking place, there were articles talking about how the age of a population relates to various uprisings, wars and revolutions throughout history. It makes me think of this young group of people who have started a global occupation protest against austerity and big banksters. Interesting isn’t it?
Moving on from global warming and cooling, to salt. Decadent Meal Made Entirely From Salt | Geekosystem
This monochromatic tableau is part of a new exhibition featuring the work of Ken and Julia Yonetani called Sense of Taste, currently on display at the GV Art gallery in London. Modeled after a traditional still life painting, this sculpture presents a decadent meal of cheese, fruit, wine, fresh fish, and lobster. However, it is made entirely out of salt.
Beautiful…what a picture. Click that link for some more cool images of sculptures made of salt and a quick description of how they do it.
I have more gorgeous images for you, this time pictures of movie legend Carole Lombard. She Blogged By Night: Carole Lombard
Lombard really was beautiful and compelling, wasn’t she?
Oh yes, she sure was. More pictures at the link above.
From Minx’s Missing Link File: Sticking with the movie theme, some of you may have seen The Ides of March this weekend, here is a review that I thought many of you would appreciate. The Ides of March Has A Woman Problem | Mediaite
I went in to The Ides of March wanting to like it. I really wanted to! It has West Wing-esque political drama, following a candidate and his campaign for the Democratic nomination for President. It boasts a stellar cast including George Clooney and (feminist!) Ryan Gosling. It has already garnered significant Oscar buzz and is seen as a potential Best Picture contender. But five minutes in, it became glaringly obvious that even the combined star power of Clooney and Gosling couldn’t save this film from its major problem: the women.
In a cast full of all-star talent, there are two women in this movie and both characters are vapid, one-dimensional, and function only to prop up the male characters. As the film opens, the first female character (Evan Rachel Wood) is bringing coffee to a team entirely of men – she’s an intern. From what I can see in the film she is the only woman working on the entire campaign – was it really necessary to make her an intern?
Comparing this movie to The Social Network, which I thought showed women in a negative light, this movie is about a subject that is definitely a mans world, but the ceiling has received a few cracks in the last election…
And while American politics is still largely dominated by men – it has come a long way in the last several years, farther than the all-dude environment in Ides would lead you to believe. There have been dozens of prominent women running for office and even more working on campaigns in the last few election cycles: there have been Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, Sarah Palin, and countless others. Patti Solis Doyle ran the Clinton campaign in 2007 and Donna Brazile ran the Gore campaign in 2000, to name just a couple. Yet nowhere in do the writers even consider the possibility that women may have had something worthwhile to contribute to politics.
Yes, wasn’t there a female president on West Wing? Maybe I am just thinking about something else. Even this election cycle, it seems plain to me that the US still isn’t ready for a female president. And if the war against women escalates, it will only make it harder for us to have that Madame President in the White House.
Easy Like Sunday Morning Link of the Week: This article in Salon really spoke to me, and since we’ve been talking about moving pictures…it is the perfect way to end this fluff post. R.I.P., the movie camera: 1888-2011 – Salon.com
Cecil B. DeMille (Credit: doctormacro.com)
Major manufacturers have ceased production of new motion picture film cameras; cinema as we once knew it is dead
We might as well call it: Cinema as we knew it is dead.
An article at the moviemaking technology website Creative Cow reports that the three major manufacturers of motion picture film cameras — Aaton, ARRI and Panavision — have all ceased production of new cameras within the last year, and will only make digital movie cameras from now on. As the article’s author, Debra Kaufman, poignantly puts it, “Someone, somewhere in the world is now holding the last film camera ever to roll off the line.”
This is heartbreaking, and makes me think of the time when vinyl records went with the wind…
…Cinema is not just a medium. It is a language. Its essence — storytelling with shots and cuts, with or without sound — will survive the death of the physical material, celluloid, that many believed was inseparably linked to it. The physical essence of analog cinema won’t survive the death of film (except at museums and repertory houses that insist on showing 16mm and 35mm prints).
But digital cinema will become so adept at mimicking the look of film that within a couple of decades, even cinematographers may not be able to tell the difference. The painterly colors, supple gray scale, hard sharpness and enticing flicker of motion picture film were always important (if mostly unacknowledged) parts of cinema’s mass appeal. The makers of digital moviemaking equipment got hip to that in the late ’90s, and channeled their research and development money accordingly; it’s surely no coincidence that celluloid-chauvinist moviegoers and moviemakers stopped resisting the digital transition once they realized that the new, electronically-created movies could be made to look somewhat like the analog kind, with dense images, a flickery frame rate, and starkly defined planes of depth.
But let’s not kid ourselves: Now that analog filmmaking is dead, an ineffable beauty has died with it. Let’s raise two toasts, then — one to the glorious past, and one to the future, whatever it may hold.
Well, that is all I can do this early morning. (It is almost 3 am here in Banjoland and I am barely keeping my eyes open.) So what are you reading about today? I bet there is some real hard news in this cycle, let’s hear about some articles you have found this morning…
Evening all, Minx here and I thought I would post some links to get you through the night.
Right now I am enjoying the movie The Glass Key with Alan Ladd, Veronica Lake, and Brian Donlevy. I have never seen this movie, but The Blue Dahlia is one of my favorites. I just love Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake together. Anyway, this past Sunday TCM had a tribute to Elizabeth Taylor…and of course they showed Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. While watching it I realized that Dustin Hoffman had to have used the actress who played Big Mamma, Judith Anderson, as inspiration for his role in Tootsie. Can you see it? Dorothy Michaels is Big Mamma Pollitt…same southern accent, same hairdo, same emotional outburst.
Be sure to check out what TCM has scheduled for this coming Saturday, April 16th at 8pm EST…Ball of Fire . This is another great movie, with Gary Cooper, Barbara Stanwyck and Dana Andrews. Written by Billy Wilder, the dialogue is fabulous and witty.
Okay, enough of that…here are some interesting and newsworthy links for you tonight.
As Dakinikat posted earlier today, before the MSM picked up the story…(Kudos Kat!) Kucinich asks Scott Walker Some Good Questions « Sky Dancing
Walker admits that stripping workers of collective bargaining has nothing to do with saving money but has everything to do with “giving people the right to choose”. Congressman Dennis Kucinich asks a series of questions that puts Walker on the spot. Notice that there’s an irregular move by the committee chair to block evidence placed into the hearing records also. Stripping people’s rights appears to be the Republican way these days.
Not only did Dennis Kucinich get Scott Walker to admit what we all already knew…it seems that Anthony Weiner got a GOP rep to admit that Ryan’s plan makes Medicare a voucher plan.
On The Last Word, Anthony Weiner maneuvered Rep Jack Kingston (R-GA) into admitting that the Ryan plan ends Medicare and converts it to a voucher plan.
What’s so funny about this is how hard Boehner has been working to deny it, because of course, vouchers equal privatization. So Boehner’s out there laying it down saying no, it’s not privatization, it’s transformation. We all know it’s bull but then who cares, because he’s doubling down on Ryan’s plan after the President’s speech anyway in order to appease the Tea Party and his insurance company keepers happy.
Isn’t it great to see these GOP politicians admit the truth? Speaking of GOP politicians, and a lack of truth or fact…Jon Kyl’s ‘factual statement’ flap comes full circle – Jennifer Epstein – POLITICO.com
“Not intended to be a factual statement,” the comment made by a spokesperson for Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) and transformed by comedian Stephen Colbert into a pop culture meme has come nearly full circle, as Democrats have begun to use the phrase on the Senate floor.
The first quip came Wednesday from Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) in a floor speech defending Planned Parenthood, the program that Kyl attacked last week, claiming that 90 percent of the group’s activities were abortion-related. The actual number is closer to 3 percent. A Kyl staffer defended the comment by explaining it “was not intended to be a factual statement.”
“For my friends and colleagues, this is a factual statement,” Gillibrand said. “Current law already prevents federal money from paying for abortions. This has been the law of the land for over 30 years. Shutting down the government for a political argument is not only outrageous, it is irresponsible. The price for keeping the government open is this assault on women’s rights.”
Read the rest of the article at the link to see who else got some jabs in.
Here are a few other links you may find interesting:
The House on Thursday passed compromise legislation to finance the federal government through the end of the fiscal year in September. The vote brought one budget clash to a close even as the Democrats and Republicans prepared for another.
The vote was 260 to 167, with 59 Republicans breaking ranks with their party leadership to vote against the deal, which calls for $38 billion in spending cuts this year. The Republican defections, a result of opposition from conservatives who said the bill did not do enough to rein in spending, forced the House speaker, John A. Boehner of Ohio, to turn to Democrats to pass the bill and keep the government from shutting down.
As readers may know, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations just issued another report, Wall Street and the Financial Crisis. This is a far more focused and damning document than the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission report, which was produced at considerably more expense and was undermined by dissent among its commissioners (which in fairness appears to have been by design).
The Wall Street Journal dropped a bit of a bombshell yesterday when it intimated that the reason the Obama Administration hasn’t been able to choose a director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is that their preferred candidates don’t want the job over Elizabeth Warren:
And for the last link, this is sooooo cool!
Scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Vents Program at Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory and Oregon State University didn’t feel the massive earthquake that struck off Japan on March 11. But they did hear it.
An underwater microphone located near the Aleutian Islands of Alaska, 900 miles from the quake epicenter, captured the sound of the disaster on tape, and a portion of the recording has now been put up on YouTube.
The recording has been sped up 16 times. First comes the roar of the earthquake sounds “propagating through the earth’s crust,” then you hear a second roar of the sounds “propagating through the ocean.”
Think of this as an open thread, what are you doing tonight?
Yesterday was a trying day for many people…the reports of US Rep. Gabrielle “Gabby” Giffords assassination attempt and the deaths of innocent people was very distressing. So I am just going to jump in with the latest on this horrible shooting.
“We are not convinced that [the gunman in custody] acted alone, there is some reason to believe he came to this location with another individual, and that individual is involved,” Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik said.
Police said a suspect was taken into custody, and Dupnik described the alleged shooter as mentally unstable. Though the sheriff did not name the suspect, he was identified by multiple law enforcement sources as Jared Lee Loughner, 22.
Dupnik declined to provide more information on the second individual who he would only describe as “white” and “in his 50s.” Authorities have photographs of the person of interest and are “actively pursuing him,” the sheriff said.
There is so much information coming in on this shooting, that I am just going to post a list of links and a few selected quotes below.
From the New York Times: Bloodshed Puts New Focus on Vitriol in Politics
While the exact motivations of the suspect in the shootings remained unclear, an Internet site tied to the man, Jared Lee Loughner, contained antigovernment ramblings. And regardless of what led to the episode, it quickly focused attention on the degree to which inflammatory language, threats and implicit instigations to violence have become a steady undercurrent in the nation’s political culture.
Clarence W. Dupnik, the Pima County sheriff, seemed to capture the mood of the day at an evening news conference when he said it was time for the country to “do a little soul-searching.”
“It’s not unusual for all public officials to get threats constantly, myself included,” Sheriff Dupnik said. “That’s the sad thing about what’s going on in America: pretty soon we’re not going to be able to find reasonable, decent people willing to subject themselves to serve in public office.”
“It is fair to say — in today’s political climate, and given today’s political rhetoric — that many have contributed to the building levels of vitriol in our political discourse that have surely contributed to the atmosphere in which this event transpired,” said a statement issued by the leaders of the National Jewish Democratic Council. Ms. Giffords is the first Jewish woman elected to the House from her state.
On Crooks and Liars, there is this video: FOX News cuts away from ‘Giffords vigil’ when Sarah Palin’s name is mentioned.
Fox News started covering a vigil that was happening at the steps of the capitol in Arizona in honor of Gabrielle Giffords after she was shot earlier today. As soon as a young man mentioned Sarah Palin’s name, FOX News abruptly cut to commercial. It’s sickening. FOX News will do anything to protect the investment they have made in Sarah Palin, even at the expense of Rep. Giffords.
CNN’s Political Ticker: Giffords had history with Palin, Tea Party
The Hill’s Blog: House postpones healthcare vote after attack on Giffords
AP via Fox News: Sheriff: Suspicious package at Giffords HQ
Christina Taylor Greene, dead in a political drive-by shooting at the age of nine. Dear God, what has all this hate done to our country?
In a final heartbreaking irony, Christina was featured in a book called “Faces of Hope: Babies Born on 9/11.”
This is a tragedy, the loss of this little girl is so upsetting. If you have children, whether they are adult children or young, mine are 12 and 13, to hear about something as sad as this is especially hard. We can’t help to think of this killing with respect to our own children. The thought of this happening to my own kids, I cannot even begin to imagine what Christina’s family is going through now.
More about Christina Taylor Greene is posted over at FDL, Jane Hamsher writes:
Officials have released the name of the 9 year-old girl killed in the shooting of Gabby Giffords and 18 others in Tucson today. Her name is Christina Taylor Green, and a neighbor had brought her along to the Safeway to meet Rep. Giffords because she thought she would enjoy it.
Christina has recently been elected to serve on her school’s student council, and was active in baseball and ballet. And according to the NBC DC affiliate and the Sydney Morning Herald, she was born on 9/11 and was included in the book “Faces of Hope, Babies Born on 9/11.”
I’ve tried to hold back from commenting much today on events, trying to figure out what went on and how the pieces fit together before drawing conclusions. But it is just incredibly tragic that a young girl whose birth was supposed to symbolize hope and rebirth for America in the wake of 9/11 met her demise as she was shot in the chest in the midst of an undeniable culture of violence that continues to hold us all in its grip.
I am sure we will be getting more information on this later on, be sure to check Sky Dancing Blog for further updates.
Because of the shooting yesterday, many might have missed this post by our own Boston Boomer. She has done some amazing detective work, fleshing out the criminal past of Darrell Issa (R-CA), the new Chairman of the House Oversight Committee.
When Issa first ran for the House in 1998, the San Francisco Chronicle dug up some embarrassing information from his past. The paper revealed that Issa had either deliberately lied or greatly exaggerated his military record. [Link]
Please give this post a read…not surprisingly BB has more to come, it is very interesting and shocking and maddening.
Looks like the gears are turning in the Wikileaks Twitter Subpoenaes. From the Globe and Mail:
Mr. Assange said the U.S. move amounted to harassment, and he pledged to fight it.
“If the Iranian government was to attempt to coercively obtain this information from journalists and activists of foreign nations, human rights groups around the world would speak out,” he told The Associated Press in an e-mail.
Legal experts have said one possible avenue for federal prosecutors would be to establish a conspiracy to steal classified information.
“They are trying to show that Pfc. Manning was more than a source of the information to a reporter and rather that Mr. Assange and Pfc. Manning were trying to jointly steal information from the U.S. government,” said Mark Rasch, a former prosecutor on computer crime and espionage cases in the Justice Department.
“How do they prosecute?” asked Mr. Rasch. “The answer is by establishing a unity of interest between Pfc. Manning and Mr. Assange. Make it a theft case and not just a journalist publishing information case.”
Mark Conner, from AFP and Reuters has this to say:
Icelandic politicians have blasted US demands for Twitter to hand over a member of parliament’s account details. Birgitta Jonsdottir faces investigation as one of several people connected to the website WikiLeaks.
Politicians in Iceland have hit out at a US request for Twitter to hand over details of a member of the country’s parliament because of her connections with WikiLeaks.
The subpoena obtained by the US Department of Justice in mid-December was made public on Friday after San Franciso-based Twitter won a legal battle requesting a right to inform the individuals involved. Among the information sought are online connection records, session times, IP addresses used to access Twitter, emails and residential addresses as well as bank and credit card account details.
I really see this as a step towards getting Assange a lovely windowless room next door to Manning, who is being held in solitary confinement in a maximum-security military brig at Quantico, Va.
The south is having another deep freeze the next few days. I have heard forecast that warn there will be 10 inches of snow in Atlanta. That means up in banjo land, we are really in for it. I’ll post some pictures, I wonder if we will have enough snow for a snowman like one of these:
Minx’s Missing Link File: From Harper’s Magazine this past week, In Texas, 41 Exonerations from DNA Evidence in 9 Years, I believe that Dak mentioned something about this last week.
In a Dallas courtroom yesterday Cornelius Dupree, who had spent thirty years in prison on a conviction for rape, robbery, and abduction, was told that he had been exonerated. DNA evidence had shown unequivocally that he was not the man who had committed the crime in question. The judgment came too late for Dupree, who had already served his full sentence; the court was merely terminating his parole status.
To its credit, the Texas legislature, taking note of the 41 exonerations produced by modern evidence since 2001, passed an act to compensate those who had been wrongfully imprisoned. Dupree will be eligible to receive $80,000 for each year he was imprisoned, plus an annuity, with a tax-free cash value of about $2.4 million.
The string of exonerations in Dallas are possible because of the personal commitment of Dallas District Attorney Craig Watkins, who announced after he was elected in 2007 that he would take a serious look at DNA evidence in cases in which prosecutors had achieved convictions. Watkins’s decision has not been popular with prosecutors, but it’s a simple fact that even conscientious prosecutors make errors in the rush to secure convictions, particularly for heinous crimes. And many prosecutors are more interested in building a career than in doing justice. Watkins can stand as a model for prosecutors across the country, and particularly in the Department of Justice in Washington.
Let me repeat that bit one more time: 41 exonerations produced by modern evidence since 2001. This is bothersome to say the least, just imagine the number of those wrongly imprisoned that have been executed…Texas leads nation in the number of executions since death penalty was reinstated in 1976. For some more info on capital punishment in Texas, give this link a click.
Easy Like Sunday Morning Link: This week TCM showed a fantastic movie staring Peter Sellers, called I’m All Right Jack. You may have missed it, but hopefully TCM will have it scheduled again soon. They have some clips about the film on their website. It is one of the few movies where Peter Sellers plays the “straight” man. By that I mean that he is not the one cracking the jokes.
I’m All Right Jack (1960)
Producer: Roy Boulting, Director: John Boulting, Screenplay: John Boulting, Alan Hackney, Frank Harvey, Cinematography: Mutz Greenbaum, Film Editing: Anthony Harvey, Art Direction: William C. Andrews, Music: Ken Hare, Cast: Ian Carmichael (Stanley Windrush), Terry-Thomas (Major Hitchcock), Peter Sellers (Fred Kite/Sir John Kennaway), Richard Attenborough (Sidney De Vere Cox), Dennis Price (Bertram Tracepurcel), Margaret Rutherford (Aunt Dolly).
Exploding like a case of shook-up canned champagne, the British satire I’m All Right Jack (1959) is what happens when you tamp down a nation’s populace with centuries of emotional repression and monarchal injustice, years of seriously homefront-sacrificial war, and a decade-plus of cheery subsequent postwar commercialization and Americanization. The movie is a geyser of social frustration, all assembled and executed with the brightest of classic comedy grins, disassembling first the fading aristocracy’s seizures of rage and lostness in the postwar culture, then the new union class’s second-hand-Marxist absurdities, and then the new breed of Yankee-ized, anything-for-profit business owner.
The film’s plot – based on a short story by Alan Hackney – hinges on the absolute and almost cosmic guileless stupidity of one Stanley Windrush (Ian Carmichael), a Candide-like scion of old-money gentry who simply thinks he might like to go “into business”; given his gormlessness, he is encouraged to “work his way up” to a management position, and so Stanley interviews for various working-class factory jobs and gets none, and eventually lands a job at his uncles’ munitions factory, running forklifts and such. Of course, the family see Stanley as their toehold and spy amid the unionized workers, but Stanley is oblivious, just as he is oblivious to everything else, including the principles of union labor and rules. On Stanley’s one hand, we have Peter Sellers as Mr. Kite, an uneducated laborer-turned-Marxist ideologue and shop steward, sporting a Hitler mustache and a glowering suspicion of every management move. On the other, we have Terry-Thomas as Major Hitchcock, the front-line manager who must try to manipulate the union to increase profits. Real trouble begins when the guileless Stanley shows off his new forklift prowess to an undercover “time and motion” manager, unintentionally quadrupling the job-efficiency requirements for the entire factory.
But why has it been more or less forgotten? In some ways, I’m All Right Jack may be too intensely British in social context – in short order, U.S. audiences became ignorant of the particulars of the postwar British industrial scene, which was for awhile one of the most heavily unionized in the world and which was effectively deunionized, disastrously, by the Thatcher administration in the 1980s. But therein lies another glitch in the movie’s arsenal: can a satire take aim at *both* labor unions and corporate ownership? What is I’m All Right Jack actually saying, except that the extremes in both directions are absurd? Is mocking Socialist cant and labor solidarity – which were employed, however ineffectively, for the purposes of treating workers fairly and humanely – the same as making sport of exploitative greed? How can you satirize two opposing ideals at the same time?[Link]
Well, the film does give both sides of the debate between unions and corporate big wigs. It is a laugh riot, and I would say a precursor to many films depicting the epic battle of the workers and corporate management. If you ever see it scheduled be sure to give it a look see…it is fantastic.
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So what is on your reading list today? Be sure to share lots of links, and always put your 2 cents about them in the comments.