Football Bowl Picks

I know this is a little late since the bowl season has already started, but here are my bowl picks, including how I’ve fared thus far. (I put the list together before the bowls started.) The points beside each choice represent a number between 1 and 34 (the number of bowl games), something that was part of the pool I was playing in before it got disbanded. I’m just too lazy to go through and take them out. LOL.

Any college football fans among Ecstatic Days readers?


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60 in 60 Update: I Get to Read WHAT?

So my reward for finishing The Communist Manifesto this morning? Schopenhauer’s On the Suffering of the World. Hey, I thought that’s what I just finished?

(Symbols and cymbals clash–thank you, thank you. I’ll be here all week.)

Update: io9 on the destruction of my brain.

60 in 60: #12 – Hazlitt’s On the Pleasure of Hating (Penguin’s Great Ideas)

This blog post is part of my ongoing “60 Books in 60 Days” encounter with the Penguin Great Ideas series. From mid-December to mid-February, I will read one book in the series each night and post a blog entry about it the next morning. For more on this beautifully designed series, visit Penguin’s page about the books.

On the Pleasure of Hating
by William Hazlett (1778-1830)

Memorable Line
“The pleasure of hating, like a poisonous mineral, eats into the heart of religion, and turns it to rankling spleen and bigotry; it makes patriotism an excuse for carrying fire, pestilence, and famine into other lands: it leaves to virtue nothing but the spirit of censoriusness, and a narrow, jealous, inquisitorial watchfulness over the actions and motives of others.”

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Movies, Jango’s Day for Fame

(Jango bagged–Ann bought me/us a new coffee maker; after the cut, non-demonic Jango.)

The movie watching continues. If you’re keeping score at home:

The Cleaner – B-minus thriller with Samuel L. Jackson as a crime scene cleaner.

Edmond – B-plus psycho-thriller with William F. Macy as a businessman on a crazy bender, from a Mamet script.

Across 110th Street – B-movie noir action thriller with Anthony Quinn, involving stolen mob money.

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day – A solid “A” for this dynamic comedy of errors with Francis McDormand set in London in the late 1930s. Stunning sets and even better acting. A truly refreshing romantic comedy.

X-Files Movie #2 – C+/B- thriller involving a supposed psychic, missing women, and some Frankenstein experiments that has its moments but comes up short.

Hancock -The first 2/3rds of this down-on-his-luck superhero movie are superb, but once we got to the explanations, it’s more like a B/B-. Which is a shame, because it had the potential to be amazing all the way through.

A Christmas Story – Still my favorite holiday film of all time. An A+ stone-cold classic. It’s wonderful to watch it again, after having seen it so many times, because you can focus on lots of different things. This time, I paid special attention to the pitch-perfect narration. The film’s a study in economy, in that there’re no wasted scenes, no wasted words, the narration perfectly integrated into the action. Still gets huge belly laughs from me.

Love and Death – A- Woody Allen 70s flick parodying Russian 19th Century literature. A laugh riot most of the way through.

Upcoming, Baby Mama, Wall-e, Kung Fu Panda, John Adams miniseries, Journey to the Center of the Earth.

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60 in 60: #11 – Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication of the Rights of Women (Penguin’s Great Ideas)

This blog post is part of my ongoing “60 Books in 60 Days” encounter with the Penguin Great Ideas series. From mid-December to mid-February, I will read one book in the series each night and post a blog entry about it the next morning. For more on this beautifully designed series, visit Penguin’s page about the books.

A Vindication of the Rights of Women
by Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797)

Memorable Lines
“I may be accused of arrogance; still I must declare what I firmly believe, that all the writers who have written on the subject of female education and manners, from Rousseau to Dr Gregory, have contributed to render women more artificial, weak characters than they would otherwise have been; and consequently, more useless members of society. I might have expressed this conviction in a lower key, but I am afraid it would have been the whine of affectation, and not the faithful expression of my feelings, of the clear result which experience and reflection have led me to draw…My objection extends to the whole purport of those books, which tend, in my opinion, to degrade one-half of the human species, and render women pleasing at the expense of every solid virtue.

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Finchy Excerpt 2

Here’s another excerpt, and a link to the previous one. Merry x-mas. Er, although it’s not very jolly…

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Happy Squidmas

Happy Hannukahmass/Christsquid/etc…er, happy holidays. I hope this is a calm and happy time for all of you, and thanks for reading. I would love to hear what you are all doing today, or what you did as a kid.

Me, as a kid in the Fiji Islands, our tree was a surly squid atop a palm tree, with franjipani flowers instead of lights. We would drink our yongona spirits and eat our pork in coconut leaves, and hire a Somoan actor to play Santa Claus and pretend to come down a chimney that wasn’t there. Then we would take a ride on the sea turtles brought to my mom for her biological illustrations, and watch movies my dad brought from the Univ. of the South Pacific. Alas one time he didn’t vet them properly and me and my friends were subjected to a kangaroos as pests snuff flick with machine guns issued by the Aussie government. Mostly, though, I remember driving high into the mountains (volcanic isle remember) to a cabin where you could almost see snow sometimes and there were solemn looking kingfishers on telephone wires and scads of yucca plants. Also remember firewalking one time, but that’s another story…especially as I just discovered all of my mom’s old slides from back then and will be converting them to digital…

Luis Rodrigues–Thanks

I just wanted to thank my good friend Luis Rodrigues, who built this blog, maintains it, puts up with my insane requests (“Think you could put up a Squidpunk site in the next 24 hours?”), kept track of logins for all of the guest bloggers, and much more despite having tons of translation projects and a day job. Luis has been great and I really appreciate everything he’s done for me.

Movie Watching This Week

In addition to the 60 in 60 trial by fire and football, I’ll be watching movies this week to unwind. Thus far, The Cleaner (B minus thriller), Wisdom of Crocodiles (bizarre serial killer surrealness with Jude Law pissing people crystals), Edmond (William F. Macy in Mamet scripted descent into madness–pretty darn good), and Across 110th Street (70s thriller semi exploitation flick with Anthony Quinn about stolen mob money–mostly good). Upcoming: Kung Fu Panda, Wall-e, Hancock, Miss Pettigrew, second X-files movie, John Adams miniseries, Journey to the Center of the Earth, and, ahem, Baby Mama. Frankly, this is the week where I like to turn off my brain, so I need antidotes to the 60 in 60….

Also read a novel coming out in April that I highly recommend: Castle by J. Robert Lennon. Kind of Heart of Darkness meets Evenson/Kafka and current events. Remarkable in its psychological study of the main character.