Friday, August 05, 2005

from Bergman's "Wild Strawberries" Posted by Picasa

The Daily Quote

"Science was reason's triumph, we had been so pridefully taught, the defeat of the Beast. But what happened when the Beast learned science?"
Arthur Miller

In memory of Hiroshima August 1945

DVD FRIDAY: "Wild Strawberries" and Bergman at 80

Though he was a young man when he started making films, Ingmar Bergman has always been the trademark filmmaker of mortality. The epic battle on the beach with the devil in "The Seventh Seal" is famous enough to be routinely parodied, and the intense beauty of "Cries and Whispers" is framed in pain and fatality. Even the child in "Through A Glass Darkly" seems to be glimpsing mortal lessons as the adults around him pose and flail on their train trip to the end of the line.

But oddly perhaps, his early film concerning an old man is among his most gentle. '>The Criterion Collection DVD of "Wild Strawberries" happens also to include an extended interview with Bergman when he had just passed the age of that film's protagonist. He was a sharp and physically graceful 80 (and this was in 1998. He's gone back to making films since---his latest release was 2003.) Both the movie and the interview turn out to be rather encouraging.


Malaysian "Save Star Trek" convention, courtesy of Posted by Picasa

A Passion for the Future

If you wanted to find the future, where would you go? To a World Future Society convention, as I did once? (There was one in Chicago just last week, which got almost no media coverage.) Or to the annual Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED) conference like the one last month, where high technologists plug their products (big announcements by Steve Jobs and Bill Gates mean this one gets more media) and each expert ignores the field of every other expert, producing a chaos of foamy promotion, narrow prediction, and airy generalities?

Or would you head instead for a Star Trek convention, where people of all ages, races and descriptions gather to celebrate and talk about a future of adventure, exploration, ethics, intelligence and infinite diversity?

Why is passion for the future important? Hope is enacted in the present. If you believe the future will be better---exciting, fulfilling and compassionate---it's heartening: it helps you get through the day. But if you have a passion to make a better future, then you can contribute to that possibility by what you do and say, what you advocate and represent, in the present.


Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Regarding evil, at any age: a younger movie-version Harry Posted by Picasa

The Daily Quote

“A story is seen by its listeners or reader through a lens. This lens is the secret of narration. In every story the lens is ground anew, ground between the temporal and the timeless.”
John Berger

BOOKS in Heat Wednesday: Harry VI

'>Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
By J.K. Rowling

You’ve heard of it, perhaps?

This, the sixth book in the series continues the admirable pattern of developing the character of Harry (as well as the other important young characters) as they grow older, while developing the overall story of how the wizarding world deals with its resurgent dark side. Moreover, Rowling has performed the sly and difficult feat of never giving Harry more than he could handle at a given age, but always enough to test his mettle.
But there's also plenty here for Bushworld Muggles to learn about their own evil empire.


Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Julie Christie 1962 Posted by Picasa

The Daily Quote

“As a writer, you have to create in your writing, and in where you live, your own sort of soul’s habitat or else you can’t function.”
'>Jim Harrison

The Boomer Chronicles: This Date in Boomer History

1943 PT 109 is rammed and sunk in the Pacific. Commander John F. Kennedy and crew feared lost. Pilot Gene Roddenberry scheduled to join search, but aircraft accident prevents takeoff.

1961 Cavern Club in Liverpool gets new house band called the Beatles.

1964 North Vietnam allegedly fires on U.S. destroyer in Gulf of Tonkin.

1964 Filming begins on "'>Darling" starring Julie Christie.

1965 Morley Safer's report from Vietnam is first to suggest U.S. is losing.

1967 U.S. launches Lunar Orbiter 5.

1990 Iraq invades Kuwait.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

your friend the atom Posted by Picasa

The Daily Quote

"The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking and we thus drift toward unparalleled catastrophe."
Albert Einstein May 1946

booming boomer nostalgia of the big boom?
But experts warn the chances of an accidental
nuclear war are higher today than during
the Cold War... Posted by Picasa

The Bomb Turns Sixty

On July 16, 1945, the cruiser Indianapolis sailed from Hunters Point Naval Shipyard in San Francisco, carrying one 15-foot crate. Inside were the components for the first atomic bomb destined to be dropped on a city. It was being shipped to Tinian Island in the western Pacific, and its final destination a few weeks later would be Hiroshima. It left San Francisco just four hours after the first successful atomic bomb test in history, in the New Mexico desert.

From my essay appearing today in the San Francisco Chronicle: here.
The Chronicle's Insight section is devoted to remembering the start of the atomic age, sixty years ago. For the full roster of articles, go here.

The Real "Nigergate"

While the predominant mention of Niger in the American press and blogs refers to a U.S. government scandal with international ramifications but nothing really to do with Niger, there is widespread starvation right now in the real Niger, and the West is partly if not mostly responsible for it.