Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Horror

This happens to me all the time. I run into something that suggests an analogy, but I can't come up with it. So I file it away for another day.

There is a species of red ants whose grubs are devoured by a large blue butterfly. The butterfly lays its eggs on thyme flowers and the caterpillars fall to the ground after hatching. They secrete chemicals and even make noises that make the red ants believe they are wayward grubs. The ants mistakenly carry the caterpillars to their underground homes and keep looking after them even though the adopted monsters gobble ant grubs for 10 months before forming a chrysalis and flying away as adult butterflies.

Ant grubs? Those are baby ants!

The horror.

Thursday, June 4, 2009


Turner Classic Movies has Bergman on all night, beginning at 9:00 PM Eastern with The Seventh Seal, followed by Wild Strawberries and Persona.

The Criterion Collection is releasing The Seventh Seal on DVD in a couple of weeks.

The Seventh Seal is the first Bergman film I saw. I saw it at a foreign film theater just off-campus when I was a college freshman in Lubbock. They ran And God Created Woman a week later, and I was hooked on foreign films until the '80s when, for reasons I can't explain, except for the films of Tarkovsky and a couple of other directors, I lost interest in them. Maybe it was because my directors had died off or petered out.

I think of Persona and Cries and Whispers as Bergman's masterpieces, but The Seventh Seal was my first encounter with the collision of idealism and naturalism in film. To my romantic 18-year-old mind, the knight, Antonius Block, and Death were fascinating allegorical figures. They were in the natural world, but not of it. As I grew older, I was drawn more and more to the rich natural world of Bergman's films, but, in the beginning, like Block, I imagined a life of the intellect was superior to a life of the flesh.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


I keep thinking, if we stay with it long enough, we can improvise our way to something important, some clear statement of what it is to be human. Some reader, years from now, might find that theme in these notes. People were here. They had jobs. They had lovers. Husbands and wives. Some of them had kids. Their world was changing fast. Sometimes, it seemed to be coming down around their ears. But they went to movies, danced, listened to music, watched TV, made it to the grocery store. They read books. They talked about the things they saw and heard. Like you, Reader. They tried to be direct, unmediated and genuinely human in what they thought and said. To keep things and people in perspective. They hung out. And they all had porn star names. But the women didn't like to give head.

First thing I thought when I heard Harry Reid said Sonia Sotomayor was "the whole package" was: "Yes. But does she swallow?"

Monday, June 1, 2009

We Almost Have A Word For It

The word is herpetophobia. Fear of reptiles. But there doesn't seem to be a word for plain old hatred of reptiles.

That's the one I need. Without that word, I can't express the rage I feel when I contemplate vile beasts like Komodo Dragons. It's like trying to talk about Nixon without using the word motherfucker.

Turns out we owe the bastards our big brains and sharp eyes. 

Go figure.

Hive Interrupted

The Science Hive needs our help. They want us to help the Smithsonian Museum monitor life on earth.

As if we don't have enough to do. We're already monitoring the flu formerly known as swine, the weather around the globe, fasts, and a couple of radio programs. Now they want us to keep track of everything else, too.

The Smithsonian used to keep track of ephemeral events, but I can't find any record of that program. Guess it was ephemeral and nobody noticed it passing.