One thing leads to another…or to nothing at all

They are not long, the days of wine and roses:
Out of a misty dream
Our path emerges for a while, then closes
Within a dream

Ernest Dowson,Vitae Summa Brevis Spem Nos Vetat Incohare Longam


We are Making a New World (1918) by Paul Nash, war artist. From collection of the Imperial War Museum (available to share for non-commercial use).

Diana E and I had lunch after last Sunday’s UU service and she offered to loan me several movie DVDs, one of which had the title of today’s post. I couldn’t tell whether it was a good movie or not, which didn’t matter as I liked it quite a bit. It starred Clive Owen and Juliette Binoche as teachers at an elite prep high school. He teaches honors English and she honors Art (some of Juliette Binoche’s art is shown in the movie). He proposes they enter into a “war” where they’ll use their students’ work to show which medium better conveys ideas, concepts, emotions, etc.

After I watch a movie I’ve known nothing about, I rush to see what various critics have written. While I’m not looking for agreement with my opinion (invariably I’m at odds with most reviews, especially when it comes to movies that I like), I do look for insight. I look to some critics often (Richard Roeper, Michael Phillips, Mick LaSalle, the Times, and the New Yorker as examples), I frequently look to Roger Ebert and A. O. Scott who often go against the trend, especially when it comes to liking movies that most others have panned. With Words and Pictures it was Stephen Holden who found value in the movie (reviewed in The New York Times) where almost all the other “top” critics found fault.

The idea of words vs. pictures isn’t new, of course:  one of the latest playouts of this is the noun project where icons have been designed to represent nouns (English language only) in a visual dictionary. It’s a little like a static version of charades and, as the name suggests, it applies principally to things (very few verbs, no modifiers – how would one draw a preposition like “about” when it applies to a concept?). Then, too, a drawing of an alarm clock with bells is likely to have little meaning to the next generation as is an iPod.

noun project

Copyright Creative Stall/via Noun Project


Hegel saw art as having six forms:  poetry, sculpture, painting, music, dance, and architecture. Ricciotta Canudo argued in 1911 for the inclusion of cinema as the seventh (and more recently there have been arguments for including television and cartoons as the eighth and ninth forms, while there’s a notable absence of discussion of theater, opera or prose).

Words and Pictures was but one of four movies or TV shows I saw this week in which the male protagonist struggles with alcohol. The others were Everything Must Go (a film starring Will Ferrell), a British crime drama on TV (Case Histories), and an Irish TV crime drama Quirke starring Gabriel Byrne. It seems ever since Helen Mirren’s portrayal of Jane Tennison in Prime Suspect a number of years ago that certain productions have been able to focus on the effects of addiction on people’s lives while not making the show or film about the addiction. All of the male characters in these shows or films make terrible life decisions, whether as a result of their addiction or other flaws.

All these portrayals of alcoholics are European with the exception of the Will Ferrell character.  Other examples of alcoholics portrayed on American television is the comedy Moms (two generations of women) and Elementary, in which Sherlock is recovering from drug addiction.  The American vehicles all show the participants in recovery while the European vehicles do not.

Case Histories is set in Edinburgh, another poke in the ribs for me concerning Scotland. The latest development regarding my next stop is that my son and I realized that perhaps now is not the best time for me to move to Oregon.  So I’ll be returning to San Miguel after the May trip to the U. S. as Rae does not want the casita.

A song on Case Histories haunted me and I set out to find it on the internet. There are many tools for doing such things now … in the past one would have heard a song and not known its title or who performed it, but the internet has fixed all that – sort of.  Any number of sites can help you track such things.  But sometimes you’re stuck, don’t find the answer quickly and you find yourself bouncing around the visible web, often frustratingly, but I was fortunate to come upon a blog (Older Than Elvis) written by a woman in the U.K.  Her sensibilities seem somewhat akin to mine and so I read about her musings on perimenopause, history, pop culture (especially music), feminism and other topics. Oh, and I found that she listed the songs from each of the show’s episodes as she, too, liked the soundtrack.

It was from Older Than Elvis that I copied today’s art and it was from that site I found a link to a critique of the ceramic poppies surrounding the Tower of London that commemorate the English dead from The Great War. Jonathan Jones’ take on the poppies can be found in a Guardian column from last October (History and all its grisly facts are worth more than the illusion of memory).

I’ve written two screenplays.  One was rubbish, the other has something to offer I think, but is likely never to be read by an actor.  This week I managed to write notes for a few scenes for something new.  I haven’t a plot or story, just some fragments of images.  But that’s the way I work:  some events, some characters, then I follow them as they go about their lives.

Getting together with Diana was part of a week busy with get-togethers.  I saw Carmen for coffee and cake, played Trivial Pursuit and found myself out of the apartment eight days in a row.


Heard on Case Histories: Kris Delmhorst

Seems like to me the stars don’t shine so bright,
Seems like to me the sun has lost its light,
Seems like to me there’s nothing going right,
Since you went away.

Seems like to me the sky ain’t half so blue,
Seems like to me that everything wants you,
Seems like to me I don’t know what to do,
Since you went away.

And everything is wrong,
The day is twice as long,
And the bird’s forgot his song,

Seems like to me I just can’t help but sigh,
Seems like to me my throat keeps getting dry,
Seems like to me a tear stays in my eye,
Since you went away.
Since you went away.
Since you went away.


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