Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Why did they make this film?

You don't know how to manufacture 
Sturdy bones with a hairline fracture 
The crazy will of a Margaret Thatcher that 
They've all got 
And though you pay for the hands they're shaking 
The speeches and the mistakes they're making 
As they struggle with the undertaking of 
Simple thought 

Margaret Thatcher on TV
Shocked by the deaths that took place in Beijing
It seems strange that she should be offended
The same orders are given by her

I have no strong feelings about Margaret Thatcher, but the reason song lyrics are written about her & biopics are created is because of her effect on England and somewhat-larger-than-life-persona.  However this film covers mostly her dementia - why?  The film could have devoted a few minutes to her later illness, but to spend large portions of her talking to her dead husband offers no insight into why she's a compelling historical character.  Her senility is little different from many others, but her life was far far different from most, and this film completely misses what is/was important.

This film brought to mind Reagan's official biography - even listening to the abridged version, i found the repeated sections on Reagan's Alzheimer's disease intrusive, a wrongness.  Coincidentally one of the examples of Reagan's illness involved Thatcher, but the only example that Morris should have provided was his visit to Reagan's office to mention how Reagan's presidency was being viewed - at that point Morris hoped, but wasn't sure, that Reagan understood what he (Morris) was saying:  there was a poignancy to that scene that the others lacked.  Not sure why Morris felt obliged to beat the point in the ground that Reagan had Alzheimer's, a fact well known, but that flaw was one more negative for a book with too many defects already.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

HMW - great tune written by a New Orleans great

Sadly no recordings have survived.

More Books on Tape

Finished Fountainhead awhile back & had meant to complete my review.  Obviously Roark's decision to help Peter was a plot contrivance, just so he'd blow up the building & be able to deliver his (Rand's) speech.  Howard was too smart not to realize that a government project would be subject to the whims of various bureaucrats.  Fountainhead is the type of novel that books-on-CD was invented for.  Once Gail began a self-justifying speech, the next track button on the steering wheel justified its invention.

Slaughterhouse Five.  Another novel I hadn't read since high school.  What struck me first was how short the novel itself is.  A book can be printed with lots



so seem to be longer, but that's not possible with audiobooks.  Here, the book only took 5 CD's and that includes the author's intro, which took almost the entire first CD.  The final CD ends with an interview/dialogue on the penultimate track (must have been from 2003 since Kurt mentions the director of Slaughterhouse Five having died recently); the final track shows what creativity can be done with audiobooks - Kurt read the famous section about a war film being seen in reverse (believe that a scene from Gravity's Rainbow was an implicit criticism of that scene - nice thought, but every bomb destroys that fantasy) with overlaid club music.  Overall enjoyed the book, but must consider it a novella masquerading as a novel (same with To Kill a Mockingbird).

Call of the Wild - clearly a novella.  Only lasts for 3 CD's, and the first bit is a brief bio of London.  This book clearly showed the vagueries of memory.  The only scene that i recalled from the entire book was Buck's fight with the other dog for dominance - Buck's successful attack is to fake for the shoulder and bite the front legs to break the bones.  Otherwise, it was truly contrived to have that owner give him up & the final owner die from an Indian attack, just so Buck can have no human ties & answer The Call of the Wild.

Ulysses - last chapter only.  Best taken in small doses - perhaps while reading along with the book.

Now if my queue position for Jobs would only increment a bit quicker from its current 122, I'd have another book to blog about.

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