Friday, December 3, 2021

THE GROUP

Sidney Lumet
USA, 1966

 

The Klezmatics
WOODY GUTHRIE'S HAPPY JOYOUS HANUKKAH

 

BERTRAND RUSSELL
Why I Am Not a Christian

If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is an intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. 

If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time.

Thursday, December 2, 2021

THE WHOLE TRUTH

Wisit Sasanatieng
Thailand, 2021

 

A FEAST OF SERENDIB
Recipes from Sri Lanka


Mary Anne Mohanraj

 

BERTRAND RUSSELL
Why I Am Not a Christian

That is the idea -- that we should all be wicked if we did not hold to the Christian religion. It seems to me that the people who have held to it have been for the most part extremely wicked. You find this curious fact, that the more intense has been the religion of any period and the more profound has been the dogmatic belief, the greater has been the cruelty and the worse has been the state of affairs. In the so-called ages of faith, when men really did believe the Christian religion in all its completeness, there was the Inquisition, with all its tortures; there were millions of unfortunate women burned as witches; and there was every kind of cruelty practiced upon all sorts of people in the name of religion.

You find as you look around the world that every single bit of progress in humane feeling, every improvement in the criminal law, every step toward the diminution of war, every step toward better treatment of the colored races, or every mitigation of slavery, every moral progress that there has been in the world, has been consistently opposed by the organized churches of the world. I say quite deliberately that the Christian religion, as organized in its churches, has been and still is the principal enemy of moral progress in the world.

You may think that I am going too far when I say that that is still so. I do not think that I am. Take one fact. You will bear with me if I mention it. It is not a pleasant fact, but the churches compel one to mention facts that are not pleasant. Supposing that in this world that we live in today an inexperienced girl is married to a syphilitic man; in that case the Catholic Church says, "This is an indissoluble sacrament. You must endure celibacy or stay together. And if you stay together, you must not use birth control to prevent the birth of syphilitic children." Nobody whose natural sympathies have not been warped by dogma, or whose moral nature was not absolutely dead to all sense of suffering, could maintain that it is right and proper that that state of things should continue.

That is only an example. There are a great many ways in which, at the present moment, the church, by its insistence upon what it chooses to call morality, inflicts upon all sorts of people undeserved and unnecessary suffering. And of course, as we know, it is in its major part an opponent still of progress and improvement in all the ways that diminish suffering in the world, because it has chosen to label as morality a certain narrow set of rules of conduct which have nothing to do with human happiness; and when you say that this or that ought to be done because it would make for human happiness, they think that has nothing to do with the matter at all. What has human happiness to do with morals? The object of morals is to not make people happy.

The Klezmer Conservatory Band
OY CHANUKAH!
 

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

PETULIA

Richard Lester
UK, 1968

 

THE FOREVER PURGE

Everardo Gout
USA, 2021

 

BERTRAND RUSSELL
In Praise of Idleness

There was formerly a capacity for lightheartedness and play which has been to some extent inhibited by the cult of efficiency. The modern man thinks that everything ought to be done for the sake of something else, and never for its own sake.

Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber
THE ROSARY SONATAS

Andrew Manze with Richard Egarr

 

MARK TWAIN

If it’s your job to eat a frog, it’s best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it’s your job to eat two frogs, it’s best to eat the biggest one first.

Tuesday, November 30, 2021


MALIGNANT

James Wan
USA, 2021

-

Without hesitation, the worst and the most intellectually insulting film I have seen this year. Talentless James Wan has actually hit a new low.

Dmitri Shostakovich
THE JAZZ ALBUM

Riccardo Chailly
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra

 

BERTRAND RUSSELL
The ABC of Relativity (1925)

We all have a tendency to think that the world must conform to our prejudices. The opposite view involves some effort of thought, and most people would die sooner than think – in fact they do so.

Dmitri Shostakovich
FROM JEWISH FOLK POETRY, OP. 79

Svetlana Sumatchova, Marianna Trassova, Konstantin Pluzhnikov, Fyodor Kuznetsov, Yuri Serov

1. Lament For A Dead Baby 
2. Caring For Mum And Auntie 
3. Lullaby 
4. Before A Long Separation 
5. Warning
6. Father Abandoned
7. Poverty Song
8. Winter
9. Good Life
10. A Girl’s Song
11. Happiness

 

No-shave November.

[Photographer unknown to me.]

Monday, November 29, 2021

WALLACE SHAWN & ANDRÉ GREGORY
My Dinner with André

I mean, all right, let's say, if I get a fortune cookie in a Chinese restaurant. Of course, even I have a tendency, I mean, you know, I mean, of course, I would hardly throw it out. I mean, I read it. I read it, and I just instinctively sort of ...You know, if it says something like, "A conversation with a dark-haired man will be very important for you.” Well, I just instinctively think, you know, "Who do I know who has dark hair? Did we have a conversation? What did we talk about?" 

In other words, uh, there's something in me that makes me read it and I instinctively interpret it as if it were an omen of the future. But in my conscious opinion - which is so fundamental to my whole view of life - I would just have to change totally to not have this opinion. In my conscious opinion, this is simply something that was written in the cookie factory several years ago and in no way refers to me. The fact that I got it. I mean, the man who wrote it did not know anything about me. I mean, he could not have known anything about me. There's no way that this cookie could actually have to do with me. And the fact that I've gotten it is just basically a joke.

And I mean, if I were gonna go on a trip on an airplane and I got a fortune cookie that said "Don't go"... I mean, of course, I admit I might feel a bit nervous for about one second. But in fact, I would go because that trip is gonna be successful or unsuccessful based on the state of the airplane and the state of the pilot. And the cookie is in no position to know about that.

And you know, it's the same with any kind of prophecy, or a sign, or an omen. Because if you believe in omens, then that means that the universe … I mean, I don't even know how to begin to describe this. That means that the future is somehow sending messages backwards to the present. Which means that the future must exist in some sense already in order to be able to send these messages. And it also means that things in the universe are there for a purpose. To give us messages.

Whereas I think that things in the universe are just there. I mean, they don't mean anything. I mean, you know, if the turtle's egg falls out of the tree and splashes on the paving stones it's just because that turtle was clumsy, by accident. And to decide whether to send my ships off to war on the basis of that seems a big mistake to me. Well, what information would you send your ships to war on? Because if it's all meaningless what's the difference whether you accept the fortune cookie or the statistics of the Ford Foundation? It doesn't seem to matter.

Well, the meaningless fact of the fortune cookie or the turtle's egg can't possibly have any relevance to the subject you're analyzing. Whereas a group of meaningless facts that are collected and interpreted in a scientific way may quite possibly be relevant. Because the wonderful thing about scientific theories about things is that they're based on experiments that can be repeated.

Punch Brothers
PUNCH

 

Arlene Dahl
1925-2021

 

The Mama Doni Band
THE ACOUSTIC JEWISH HOLIDAY COLLECTION


Oh Hanukkah
Come light the menorah
Let's have a party
We'll all dance the horah
Gather 'round the table
We'll give you a treat
Dreidels to play with
And latkes to eat

No-shave November.

[Photographer unknown to me.]

 

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Tumblr dash sync from before Yahoo! killed Tumblr.
 

Maurice Sendak
Shirim Klezmer Orchestra
PINCUS AND THE PIG
A Klezmer Tale

BERTRAND RUSSELL
In Praise of Idleness

One of the commonest things to do with savings is to lend them to some Government. In view of the fact that the bulk of the public expenditure of most civilized Governments consists in payment for past wars or preparation for future wars, the man who lends his money to a Government is in the same position as the bad men in Shakespeare who hire murderers.

Herman's Hermits
RETROSPECTIVE

No-shave November.

[Photographer unknown to me.]

 

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Various
THE ROUGH GUIDE TO PSYCHEDELIC CAMBODIA

 

BERTRAND RUSSELL
In Praise of Idleness

While I am as convinced a Socialist as the most ardent Marxian, I do not regard Socialism as a gospel of proletarian revenge, nor even, primarily, as a means of securing economic justice. I regard it primarily as an adjustment to machine production demanded by considerations of common sense, and calculated to increase the happiness, not only of proletarians, but of all except a tiny minority of the human race.

No-shave November.

[Photographer unknown to me.]

 

Friday, November 26, 2021

BERTRAND RUSSELL
In Praise of Idleness

A prominent citizen in a small city state, such as Athens or Florence, could without difficulty feel himself important. The earth was the center of the Universe, man was the purpose of creation, his own city showed man at his best, and he himself was among the best of his own city. In such circumstances Æschylus or Dante could take his own joys or sorrows seriously. He could feel that the emotions of the individual matter, and that tragic occurrences deserve to be celebrated in immortal verse. 

But the modern man, when misfortune assails him, is conscious of himself as a unit in a statistical total; the past and the future stretch before him in a dreary procession of trivial defeats. Man himself appears as a somewhat ridiculous strutting animal, shouting and fussing during a brief interlude between infinite silences.

Nina Simone
NINA SIMONE SINGS ELLINGTON

 

No-shave November.

[Photographer unknown to me.]

 

BERTRAND RUSSELL
In Praise of Idleness

How pleasant a world would be in which no man was allowed to operate on the Stock Exchange unless he could pass an examination in economics and Greek poetry, and in which politicians were obliged to have a competent knowledge of world history and modern novels.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Various Artists
THE COMPLETE STAX-VOLT SINGLES (1959-1968)

 

Anti-vaxxers gleefully and with intent murder children and the elderly for sport.

Zero pity - always ZERO pity - for those who refuse to vaccinate AND for those who coddle the unvaccinated mass murderers.

However, y'all are giving the American gene pool a long-overdue deep cleanse.

CHETNA'S HEALTHY INDIAN VEGETARIAN
Everyday Veg and Vegan Feasts Effortlessly Good for You

Chetna Makan


[Photographer unknown to me.]
BERTRAND RUSSELL
In Praise of Idleness 

A habit of finding pleasure in thought rather than action is a safeguard against unwisdom and excessive love of power, a means of preserving serenity in misfortune and peace of mind among worries. A life confined to what is personal is likely, sooner or later, to become unbearably painful; it is only by windows into a larger and less fretful cosmos that the more tragic parts of life become endurable.
No-shave November.

[Photographer unknown to me.]

CONFUCIUS

I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand. 

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

THE DEVIL RIDES OUT

Terence Fisher
UK, 1968


 

IN PRAISE OF IDLENESS
The Timeless Essay

Bertrand Russel
l

 

ANAÏS NIN
"Risk"

And then the day came,
when the risk
to remain tight
in a bud
was more painful
than the risk
it took
to Blossom.

No-shave November.

[Photographer unknown to me.]

 

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

JEAN-PAUL SARTRE
Nausea

The atmosphere of the restaurant has changed since the arrival of the young couple. The two red-faced men are silent; they are nonchalantly detailing the young lady’s charms. The distinguished-looking gentleman has put down his paper and is watching the couple with kindness, almost complicity. He thinks that old age is wise and youth is beautiful, he nods his head with a certain coquetry: he knows quite well that he is still handsome, well preserved, that with his dark complexion and his slender figure he is still attractive. He plays at feeling paternal. The waitress’ feelings appear simpler: she is standing in front of the young people staring at them open-mouthed.

HANDBOOK OF CHINESE MEDICINE AND AYURVEDA
An Integrated Practice of Ancient Healing Traditions

Bridgette Shea, LAc, MAcOM

 

ANAÏS NIN
A Spy in the House of Love

We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations. 

No-shave November.

[Artist unknown to me.]

 

Monday, November 22, 2021

JEAN-PAUL SARTRE
Nausea

I ruminate heavily near the gas stove; I know in advance the day is lost. I shall do nothing good, except, perhaps, after nightfall. It is because of the sun; it ephemerally touches the dirty white wisps of fog, which float in the air above the construction-yards, it flows into my room, all gold, all pale, it spreads four dull, false reflections on my table.

My pipe is daubed with a golden varnish which first catches the eye by its bright appearance; you look at it and the varnish melts, nothing is left but a great dull streak on a piece of wood. Everything is like that, everything, even my hands. When the sun begins shining like that the best thing to do is go to bed. Only I slept like a log last night, and I am not sleepy.

Tōru Takemitsu
COMPLETE PIANO WORKS

Roger Woodward

ANAÏS NIN
A Spy in the House of Love

The enemy of a love is never outside, it’s not a man or a woman, it’s what we lack in ourselves.

No-shave November.

[Photographer unknown to me.]

 

Sunday, November 21, 2021

HELLBOUND

Yeon Sang-ho
Korean, 202
1

 

LAURA

Otto Preminger
USA, 1947

Anaïs Nin
A SPY IN THE HOUSE OF LOVE

JEAN-PAUL SARTRE
Nausea

Thursday morning in the library:

A little while ago, going down the hotel stairs, I heard Lucie, who, for the hundredth time, was complaining to the landlady, while polishing the steps. The proprietress spoke with difficulty, using short sentences, because she had not put in her false teeth; she was almost naked, in a pink dressing-gown and Turkish slippers. Lucie was dirty, as usual; from time to time she stopped rubbing and straightened up on her knees to look at the proprietress. She spoke without pausing, reasonably:

“I’d like it a hundred times better if he went with other women,” she said, “it wouldn’t make the slightest difference to me, so long as it didn’t do him any harm.”

She was talking about her husband: at forty this swarthy little woman had offered herself and her savings to a handsome young man, a fitter in the Usines Lecointe. She has an unhappy home life. Her husband does not beat her, is not unfaithful to her, but he drinks, he comes home drunk every evening. He’s burning his candle at both ends; in three months I have seen him turn yellow and melt away. Lucie thinks it is drink. I believe he is tubercular.

“You have to take the upper hand,” Lucie said.

It gnaws at her, I’m sure of it, but slowly, patiently: she takes the upper hand, she is able neither to console herself nor abandon herself to her suffering. She thinks about it a little bit, a very little bit, now and again she passes it on. Especially when she is with people, because they console her and also because it comforts her a little to talk about it with poise, with an air of giving advice. When she is alone in the rooms I hear her humming to keep herself from thinking. But she is morose all day, suddenly weary and sullen.

“It’s there,” she says, touching her throat, “it won’t go down.”

She suffers as a miser. She must be miserly with her pleasures, as well. I wonder if sometimes she doesn’t wish she were free of this monotonous sorrow, of these mutterings which start as soon as she stops singing, if she doesn’t wish to suffer once and for all, to drown herself in despair. In any case, it would be impossible for her: she is bound.

Igor Stravinsky
SYMPHONY IN C

Sir Alexander Gibson
Royal Scottish National Symphony

 

No-shave November.

[Photographer unknown to me.]

 

Saturday, November 20, 2021

NIGHTMARE ALLEY

Edmund Goulding
USA, 194
7

 

THE DEEPER YOU DIG

John Adams and Toby Poser
USA, 2019

Rare that I comment here on the films I watch - generally assume I don't watch too much shit - but this is REALLY a good one. Husband, wife, daughter filmmaking team who have given us a current horror film that, if not 110 percent original, has a style AND ending that will blow you away. So refreshing.

 

CPE Bach
8 SYMPHONIES
Wq 182

Christopher Hogwood
The Academy of Ancient Musi
c

 

JEAN-PAUL SARTRE
Nausea

This is odd: I have just filled up ten pages and I haven’t told the truth—at least, not the whole truth. I was writing “Nothing new” with a bad conscience: as a matter of fact I boggled at bringing out a quite harmless little incident. “Nothing new.” I admire the way we can lie, putting reason on our side. Evidently, nothing new has happened, if you care to put it that way: this morning at eight-fifteen, just as I was leaving the Hotel Printania to go to the library, I wanted to and could not pick up a paper lying on the ground. This is all and it is not even an event. Yes —but, to tell the whole truth, I was deeply impressed by it: I felt I was no longer free. I tried unsuccessfully to get rid of this idea at the library. I wanted to escape from it at. I hoped it would disappear in the bright light. But it stayed there, like a dead weight inside me. It is responsible for the preceding pages.

 

Willie Nelson
PHASES AND STAGES

No-shave November.

[Photographer unknown to me.]

 

HANGOVER SQUARE

John Brahm
USA, 1945

 

Friday, November 19, 2021