Question Mark of the Beastmaster


For a completely random blog post.

Today is a significant day, if you're a lazy numerologist. It's 6/6/2006, which people will tell you is the "Mark of the Beast." No wait, the Mark is 6/6/06. REPENT! No, no; the Mark of the Beast is 666. Well, zero is nothing, so it's like the zero isn't there. Zero is like oxygen; numbers just pass through it. Only that oxygen is a substance, and therefore has mass. And it's like a whole number or something. And if you place zero next to another number, they would multiply, and the number next to zero would DISAPPEAR! It would turn into NOTHING, yet STILL HAVE MASS! That's pretty darn evil, turning a whole number into another whole number that is odorless but still has mass. So the equation is 6/6/06, which is like 6 divided by 6 divided by 0 times 6, and 6 divided by 6 is 1, and 0 times 6 is zero, and you can't divide a number by zero. Why? Because IT WOULD CAUSE THE WORLD TO IMPLODE! And that is why today is International Satan Day. So by all means, don't give birth, especially not if your birthing room is number 23.


I've become somewhat of a regular reader of Neil Steinberg, columnist for the Sun-Times, who is back at his job after doing a bit of time for assaulting his wife. I had never heard of him or his previous troubles, but I think that's to my advantage, because I've been able to take him purely at the level of a columnist writing a column, making a point. As such, I've found him fair, sensible, and often astute.

This recent comment about radical Islam, made in the wake of the recent terror arrests in Canada, struck me as spot-on:

[D]espite its nice-guy international persona, Canada is in the cross hairs of Islamic extremism. Just like us. A reminder that the current spasm of bloody Muslim rage -- about 30 years old with another 300 years left to go -- is not about the United States or what we may have done in the past. Rather, it is all about radical Islam, and the rapidly shrinking, interconnected, global society waking them up and dragging them, blinking and cranky, onto the world stage where, sadly, their first impulse is to kill.

I went to Paris. This is what it looked like:

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Paris was charming from start to finish. It never failed to amaze and delight. One thing that America can learn from France: how to make a hot dog. One day we were wandering down the Champs-Elysees, which is just like Michigan Avenue, and we stopped at a Crepes stand. I ordered a hot dog, because I saw someone else order it and it looked good. They take a baguette cut in half and sliced down the middle, put a foot-long hot dog in it, sprinkle shredded cheese on top, and put it face down on the crepes skillet. Man was it a tasty hot dog. I washed down my half with a can of Heineken while we sat in one of the many random gardens that dot the city.


marie_antoinette300x200One thing I especially enjoyed about Paris was going to see Marie Antoinette; the new Sophia Coppola film Marie Antoinette, that is. Paris is notorious for its love of film, and it's no boast. The theater showing Antoinette complimented the showing with a mini-Coppola fest they called "La Saga Coppola." They were showing all three of Sophia's films, and an odd selection of Francis Ford's: Godfather III, Apocalypse Now Redux, The Conversation, Peggy Sue Got Married, The Outsiders, and one whose title I didn't understand, yet I believe was Rumble Fish. Ah, those quirky French.

We were glad we decided to squeeze in the movie, because we both really enjoyed it, and it won't play in America until October, and due to the mixed reviews it has received thus far, is likely to appear in an altered form when it arrives on our shores. No matter how it is adapted, Marie Antoinette is unlikely to meet a sympathetic response in this Frenchophobic country of ours, and needless to say will likely not garner as much popular success as did Lost in Translation.

While I can't speak to the alleged controversy and/or derision this film may or may not have inspired at Cannes, I can say that I was thoroughly charmed by Marie Antoinette. Strange as it sounds, it reminded me of another overlooked period piece that I'm a big fan of: Stanley Kubrick's Barry Lyndon. Like Kubrick in Barry Lyndon, Coppola doesn't really mind if the audience is unfamiliar with the vagaries of the historical period her film examines, because she is more concerned with capturing moods and emotions, however fleeting, mounting and filming those gossamer moments beautifully, and letting it expand at her own leisurely pace. As for the soundtrack that includes Gang of Four and The Cure among others, I attest that it absolutely works; it fits the mood of the times that Coppola captures, and above all, it firmly establishes Coppola as the auteur at work behind the lens. The songs' inclusion implies risk, but also choice. This is a Sophia Coppola film, and above all, choices like these serve to coalesce Ms. Coppola as a confident filmmaker with a distinctive, maverick, unmistakable vision.

18461957Not everyone is going to like Marie Antoinette. One aspect of the film that is sure to invite criticism is Jason Schwartzman's hyper-minimalist portrayal of Marie's clueless husband, Louis XVI. I thought it was funny, and I thought that it fit. Kirsten Dunst is asked to do little more than be winsome and, well, Kirsten Dunst, but really, where's the harm in that? This film won't be to everyone's taste, but neither was The Virgin Suicides or Lost in Translation. Simply put, this film will either work for you or it won't. Some will be charmed, some will be angered, and some will simply be bored. Count me among the charmed.

I hope above all that Coppola resists any pressure to alter this film in any major way. One could certainly make it shorter by removing a shot or two of Dunst lolling around in bed or cutting one of the many supporting characters. For example, Marie Antoinette's hairdresser makes an impressive entrance in the film and proceeds to do little more than, well, do Antoinette's hair, but he reappears in a debauched party scene and helps the tipsy queen avoid singeing her hair on candles, to humorous effect. The introduction of his character is stylish, but unnesessary, and could easily be cut, leaving the latter humorous scene essentially intact. The move would save time, and the funny part would still be funny. But we would lose the key fact that reminds us why this character is so interested in the health of the queen's hairdo. Cutting the hairdresser will not make Marie Antoinette a better film, only a shorter film. I think it's great the way it is, and can't wait to see it again.


I just saw David Lee Roth perform "(Might as Well) Jump" with a bluegrass band on Jay Leno. He had a haircut. He looks like somebody's cool dentist or uncle. How the mightily awesome have fallen. Though I must admit, I was always a sucker for Van Haggar. What can I say? That was the version I heard when I started to "get" Van Halen. For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge was the shit when I was a freshman in high school. I mean, "Dreams"?

So baby dry your eyes
Save all the tears you've cried
Oh, that's what dreams are made of
Oh baby, we belong in a world that must be strong
Oh, that's what dreams are made of

And in the end on dreams we will depend
'Cause that's what love is made of

Gives me chills.

Deride me if you must.


Nacho Libre looks awesome.


I've been mulling abandoning the Myspace Branch. The only thing keeping it open is the ability to give those readers who don't mind visiting My-stalkerville-highschool-hijinx-pushing-the-teen-porn-envelope-Space the chance to get their almost semi-monthly fill of Bedheaded blogistry. If you are a reader who prefers to read this High Quality Stuff at MyStalkerSpace and can't bear to see it exist solely in the genteel avenues of Bloggerland, do me a favor and let me know. I'm here for you.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You got the end of his life so wrong. Harry spent money like water and his manager Cindy Sims secretly embezzled money from other clients to keep Harry's lifestyle afloat.