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On the KFJC soundtrack show yesterday the substitute host played music from "A Clockwork Orange" along with bits of the film's dialogue - set me to thinking. Eddie says it's Kubrick's best film; while I'd spread that credit around "The Shining" and "2001" I have to agree. Love the music - especially like to play the theme at maximum volume with windows down while driving very slowly along streets crowded with people. Walter/Wendy Carlos made an incredibly evocative sound out of that dirge Purcell wrote for Queen Mary's funeral - I recall hearing an original (non-electronic) version of this for the first time on my portable radio in a hotel room while overlooking the rain-swollen Rhine, in Switzerland last Fall. As for the new Kubrick "Eyes Wide Shut" film, the crowds dashed out to see it this weekend but I won't since like so many recent much-awaited pictures the reviews indicate it doesn't match the hype, that it's actually pretty bad. Instead, today I saw "Genghis Blues" - this is the Tuva movie, about the place I was first exposed to when I read Tuva or Bust in the early '90s. Required viewing if you're hip to the throat-singers from the Center of Asia - I was lucky to experience an open-air concert when a trio of them performed in a Pasadena park in 1993.


  • "Twin Falls Idaho" - she fell in love with Siamese twins
  • "Trick" - again!
  • "Better Than Chocolate" - more homosexuality - now it's the girls' turn
  • "The Blair Witch Project" - the buzz about this has become tiresome 1

Looked at another $1000 back-yard cottage today - pleasantly rustic, but I rejected it for what's become the usual reason - no bathtub, just a shower stall. I'm become depressingly familiar with the open-house scene: I arrive with a small crowd of older sub-compact vehicles at the appointed time, all containing eager, solo drivers - mostly men, some anglo, the rest asian; all of us dweebs. I hate being reminded that I'm a member of a stereotyped demographic, a cliché.

Like the version of NPR's "Morning Edition" they do on Sundays - was listening to it this morning, as they detailed the tragic results of John-John's inept piloting. Hosted by Liane Hanson, it's much more pleasant when contrasted with Saturday's show - hosted by Scott Simon, that one's tone is set by this horrible pro-sports-style theme music. The Sunday show's piano music theme is a special pleasure, it reminds me of Washington for some reason, even though for many years DC never heard it (no public radio stations chose to broadcast the program in that region). Two other things unique to the Sunday morning show should be omitted because they're serious problems: first is the irritating "puzzle sequence," with the nerdy Will Shortz. True, I may dislike this because I never "get" his witty word-games, but the real error (a radio no-no) is that since most of the call-in contestants can't supply answers either, at least not immediately, there's a lot of uncomfortable dead air broadcast while they're thinking. (And this always seems to happen about the time I tune in - like today.) The second bad idea feature of Sunday Edition is their "Voices in the News" segment which is a sound-collage of various audio bits broadcast the previous week on NPR (maybe just from Morning Edition, home of the stentorian Voice of Authority, Bob Edwards). It's not him you hear, however; the samples come from the news-bits, and therein lies the problem - without any contextual background, there's no way to identify these voices, unless they belong to well-know people (like the President). So who knows what they're talking about, and it's especially frustrating when the voices are strained, obviously reacting under pressure - to what? There's no explanation. Which of course is the producer's point, to provide this audio "time capsule" of the week, but best believe that producer knows the exact sources of these sounds. To mimic this type of news I offer the following quote (but afterwards I'll tell you what it's from).

"They are the most obnoxious, stalling, stonewalling institutional litigant I've ever seen," Fox said.
Give up? Carnival Cruise Lines is sailing through some rough waters just now - they've been accused of almost one on-board sexual assault per month over the last five years (among crew, or crew against passenger). But since the incidents happen at sea and the vessels are always registered to foreign countries (why is that?) it's easy for them to play down this publicity. More info available in this front-page New York Times article.2 The quote's from a victim's lawyer trying to get incident histories from Carnival.

I won't be going to Europe next month, devoting my travel resources instead to an autumnal return to Japan, but according to this article, Ken Kesey's making the trip:

He's hitting the road again with his band of pals, the Merry Pranksters, taking the latest incarnation of his magic bus on a "Search for Merlin" tour of Great Britain to celebrate the last solar eclipse of the millennium.

On bus trips, Kesey uses a little portable transmitter to broadcast songs and commentary to passing motorists, letting them in on the gig by flashing a sign telling them to tune to KBUZ radio.

  pic du jour

in the Korova milkbar

July 18
© 1999
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1 I could see it being frightening if the story was true, but now that we know it's merely a "mockumentary," the fact that it's bogus makes the whole production laughable. Also I despise the "shaky-cam" method of filming - I resist its synthetic appearance of urgent verisimilitude - hold still, dammit! And it seems the whole film's just reaction shots, another technique which irritates this moviegoer - show me what's scary, not actors acting scared.

2 To view New York Times stories without registering, use ID and password "cyberpunk"