Twist Street

Sam Westing, Barney Northrup, Sandy McSouthers, Julian R. Eastman, & Me

Posts tagged insomniyeah!

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Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932 began with a Brassai photograph I saw at a museum show in Washington. I was familiar with the photo, “Lesbian Couple at Le Monocle, 1932”: a portrait of two women sitting at a table in a bar, one in a sparkly evening gown, the other in drag, with short hair and a tuxedo. But the wall text said something I hadn’t known, which was that the woman in the tuxedo, a professional athlete named Violette Morris, had worked for the Gestapo during the German occupation of Paris and later been assassinated by the French Resistance.

A little research turned up an even more interesting story. Morris was an Olympic hopeful and a professional auto racer. When her license to compete as an athlete was revoked by the French government, as punishment for being a public cross-dresser, Hitler somehow got wind of it, and invited Morris to be his special guest at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. By the time she got back to France, she was not only spying for the Germans, but she was the person who told them where the Maginot Line ended: where they could breach the French defenses. During the Occupation, she did indeed work for the Nazis, and was killed by the Resistance in 1944.
Francine Prose.    (The Photo)

Filed under Time Machine Go. insomniyeah!

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Anonymous asked: The title of your Winter Soldier post summed up my thoughts exactly. Holy fuck but it literally looks like a cable drama (Joss Whedon needs to be strung up for allowing that lighting to become a thing). You're wrong about Iron Man 3, though; it's totally a Shane Black movie, just not enough of/a particularly good one. Still the most watchable of the new batch.

The thing I like about Shane Black movies (and some other 80’s action movies to a lesser extent; but at least Die Hard, which is perfect)— and I think what modern blockbusters have strayed from to their detriment— is the heroes are Messed Up.  They’re not okay; society doesn’t really have a place for them— Geena Davis in Long Kiss Goodnight can’t be a homemaker because she’s a killer, Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon can’t be a family man like Danny Glover because he’s lethal and also a weapon, Downey Jr. in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang has one of my favorite things where he says something like, “I’m not saying it’s normal— I’m not saying I’m normal”; etc.  Modern special effects blockbusters don’t have those kinds of characters— it’s all Chosen Ones and prophecies and all that crap, instead of Bill Murray in Meatballs.  I don’t know why— this country got more evangelical?  People got less accepting of actual outcasts (the nerds never won)?  No clue.

I identify with fuck-ups lots, for obvious reasons, so that is the kinda stuff I’m into.  And so, Iron Man 3— if it had any of that to it, I missed it.  The fact it was set at Christmas didn’t mean much when fundamentally, I felt like the stuff I think of as being his real hallmarks wasn’t there, the stuff I get into.  Downey Jr. had a “nervous condition”, they tried to jam in a neuroses, but it never felt all that real and I don’t remember it getting resolved in any meaningful way… 

And the ending, I just remember it all being special effects and Gwyneth Paltrow’s weird stomach.  The idea of the main character having to defeat the bad guys in order to be in some way healed wasn’t there (which I think is how his other movies have ended, the healing power of violence— Bruce Willis being gloomy all movie and then finally being happy enough to dance a jig because he threw a guy onto helicopter blades). Take away the main character healing and/or coming to grips with his world (e.g. Mel Gibson having to beat up Gary Busey outside the family home) and it’s just… What’s there to root for without that stuff?  I don’t know.  Not much.  So for me it always felt authored and muddled by executives, and consultants, and whatever, more than anything, like with all those movies. For me, it’s not a “real Shane Black” thing in the ways that count.  It’s just the movie I’m hoping helps him get to make real Shane Black things again because … The Nice Guys is a pretty fun script that’s just lying on a shelf somewhere, so…

Filed under insomniyeah!

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Just No Sleep Till Brooklyn. Needed to hear that— felt like sharin’.  Sharin’ and carin’, yep.  Sharin’ … and … carin’… That’s the name of the creepy nursery school I’m going to open when I become a Nightmare on Elm Street style child murderer. Slow zoom in on a dilapidated nursery school sign where the g’s have all fallen off and a single high-pitched piano key plays repetitively and maybe there’s a pig squealing sound buried in the mix somewhere…? That kind of thing?  (I shouldn’t even joke about that— not the child murder part; Freddy.  I don’t want to have Freddy dreams by accident.  Freddy used to scare the crap out of me when I was a little kid — you know, looking back, I think a lot of it was that fucking striped sweater he would wear.  Say what you will about finger-knives and burnt skin and everything, but man, that was one scary article of clothing, at least pre-grunge… Was grunge about ambitious Seattle youths trying to out-Kreuger one another?  Who’s to say?  I guess we’ll never know.  ”Cosby vs. Freddy: The Post-Colonial Dialectic of the 80’s as Reflected in Sweater Choices" was the title of my thesis, back at the academy.  I don’t know— grown man wearing a sweater like that?   Off-putting fashion choice, child-murderer Freddy Kreuger.  Also he said bitch a lot, and you know… that kind of attitudes towards women is pretty scary, too, you guys… In a way, the patriarchy is the scariest nightmare there is on Elm Street, if you think about it… then again, I think there were some moms in that crowd that burnt Freddy alive so I don’t know, maybe that’s unfair to … wes craven or johnny depp or whoever… Robert Englund was on V and that show had that crazy lizard lady eating those rats or whatever— she was pretty bad-ass (Diane? Diana?).  So, yeah, in conclusion: the 1980’s…a confusing time for our country… the loss of innocence… summer becoming spring becoming autumn… Regrets becoming love becoming infatuation… Let’s never fall asleep again as a country, on the way to our own personal Brooklyn’s… Goddamn, is it too late to get a job as an Apprentice Braveheart? This just feels right. Oh whoops I never ended the parentheses).

Filed under insomniyeah! Songs. I am Pointless!

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I’ve mostly been listening to really shallow, top 40 pop music lately, going through a phase where that’s what I listen to a lot  (like, songs with Pharrell singing about how his dick apparently is a metaphor for a motorcycle, or maybe the other way around, not sure, or Lorde singing about her teeth— which is more than one song, I like her fine but dang, she’s really into singing about teeth— she’s not into rap music’s dental practices, though, so that’s …better…?).  But all that having been said, man, this Beck album is doing nothing for me.  It’s just really boring.  I mean, maybe I’m not listening to it under ideal circumstances— it’s pretty late at night.  One song has a harmonica in it?  I’m not Return-of-Bruno era Bruce Willis— I don’t want to be listening to a harmonica at 1 in the morning.  That’s a hobo instrument, and I’m a sophisticated gentleman of means.
I don’t know— I really liked that guy’s other albums— especially that stretch where it was, like, Midnight Vultures, Mutations and Sea Change.  I liked Sea Change which was the same kind of thing as this one, but this one didn’t have … whatever caught with me on that one.  At least tonight it doesn’t. Maybe I’m not giving it enough time…
I have really lousy taste in music though (see above re: my fondness for motorcycle-dick songs).  It’s not really something I feel like I’m really particularly discerning with.  I really can’t pretend that I know anything about tunes— I like reading people write about music but my opinions about music usually don’t get much deeper than “i like the part with the hand-claps!” (Hand-claps are pretty sweet though).  I mean, it’s not Gangnam style in my apartment all the time, or anything.  But i like to think it’s Gangnam style in my heart, when it comes to you.  Awwww, Happy Valentines Day, everybody.  Anyways, I’m going to get back to enjoying my insomnia now, so…

I’ve mostly been listening to really shallow, top 40 pop music lately, going through a phase where that’s what I listen to a lot  (like, songs with Pharrell singing about how his dick apparently is a metaphor for a motorcycle, or maybe the other way around, not sure, or Lorde singing about her teeth— which is more than one song, I like her fine but dang, she’s really into singing about teeth— she’s not into rap music’s dental practices, though, so that’s …better…?).  But all that having been said, man, this Beck album is doing nothing for me.  It’s just really boring.  I mean, maybe I’m not listening to it under ideal circumstances— it’s pretty late at night.  One song has a harmonica in it?  I’m not Return-of-Bruno era Bruce Willis— I don’t want to be listening to a harmonica at 1 in the morning.  That’s a hobo instrument, and I’m a sophisticated gentleman of means.

I don’t know— I really liked that guy’s other albums— especially that stretch where it was, like, Midnight Vultures, Mutations and Sea Change.  I liked Sea Change which was the same kind of thing as this one, but this one didn’t have … whatever caught with me on that one.  At least tonight it doesn’t. Maybe I’m not giving it enough time…

I have really lousy taste in music though (see above re: my fondness for motorcycle-dick songs).  It’s not really something I feel like I’m really particularly discerning with.  I really can’t pretend that I know anything about tunes— I like reading people write about music but my opinions about music usually don’t get much deeper than “i like the part with the hand-claps!” (Hand-claps are pretty sweet though).  I mean, it’s not Gangnam style in my apartment all the time, or anything.  But i like to think it’s Gangnam style in my heart, when it comes to you.  Awwww, Happy Valentines Day, everybody.  Anyways, I’m going to get back to enjoying my insomnia now, so…

Filed under insomniyeah!

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If you’re a struggling but talented writer, a new nonprofit in Detroit might want to give you a house. Yes, for free.

Write a House bought two houses for $1,000 each, and was given a third by Powerhouse Productions, a nonprofit that has fixed up other vacant Detroit homes for artists.[..]It took two years to launch the project, mostly because lawyers didn’t know what to make of it at first. “Lawyers, it turns out, are kind of allergic to the idea of giving away homes,” Barlow says.

The first three houses are within a couple blocks of each other in a neighborhood sometimes called Little Bangladeshi Town.
Calling All Writers: Move to Detroit, And Get A Free House.”

Filed under insomniyeah! It really has been a long day...

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My favorite Charles Addams comic.  Is this the best single-panel gag comic ever made?  For me, it’s hard to imagine it ever having been topped.  Everything about it, he’s executed perfectly.  He’s got the angle just perfect so that Fenster can see the truck; you can tell how fast the truck and the car are going; he lets you see not only that the other car’s tilted enough where they’ve bought it, but into the other car.  Look at how he draws the couple in the other car, some “respectable” wealthy couple, deserving targets in the Addams universe. It’s just such a perfect, perfect thing… 

My favorite Charles Addams comic.  Is this the best single-panel gag comic ever made?  For me, it’s hard to imagine it ever having been topped.  Everything about it, he’s executed perfectly.  He’s got the angle just perfect so that Fenster can see the truck; you can tell how fast the truck and the car are going; he lets you see not only that the other car’s tilted enough where they’ve bought it, but into the other car.  Look at how he draws the couple in the other car, some “respectable” wealthy couple, deserving targets in the Addams universe. It’s just such a perfect, perfect thing… 

Filed under all time favorite stuff Worst Hobby or Worstest Hobby? insomniyeah!

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Most people who saw this video of Wolf Blitzer asking this lady if she thanked God for not having murdered her using one of his murder-tornados… most of them were struck by the fact she responded that she was an atheist and how that kind of made things a little awkward.  But here’s the thing that’s more striking to me: even the baby seems to think Wolk Blitzer’s a fucking idiot. The baby’s just barely begun to cogitate, and he’s already got no respect for Wolf Blitzer. He’s looking at Wolf and literally— LITERALLY— going “Oh No Oh no" and trying to keep the microphone away from Wolf Blitzer.  Why has CNN not taken the hint??  None of us like this guy, right?

Are there people who think Wolf Blitzer is good at being … whatever the hell he’s supposed to be?  Who are those people?  Where do they live?  Were they recently in car accidents? Do they have Wolf Blitzer confused with someone else?  Have they lost their glasses? Can we buy them new glasses? This isn’t even a conservative-liberal thing, I don’t think— don’t we all just as Americans think this guy’s just terrible?  It’s not even, like, “Oh I disagree with his views" like with a FOX News guy— I could not care less what Wolf Blitzer’s "Views" on anything are.  He just doesn’t seem very good, like, at anything, at least not anything television news related. Why hasn’t anyone put a stop to this?  It’s not funny anymore.

I’ve never once in my entire life heard someone talk about how reassuring they found him in a crisis or his charisma or… anything.  It’s certainly not like he’s got any wisdom from his advanced age— I refer you here to his classic essayWhy are some people running for president?" ("Presidential politics in the United States – always a bit weird. It’s why I love covering politics”). Is he giving old ladies granny-boners? I don’t know.  I just really think CNN should have let the baby keep the microphone.  The baby at least had gravitas.

Filed under Civilization is Doomed. DON'T STOP BELIEVING. insomniyeah!

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Fucking Japan…: “These 3D printed dolls are cloned from real human heads.  Danny Choo at Culture Japan visited the Clone Factory in Akihabara, Japan. There, his face was scanned and 3D printed and made into a totally creepy doll"  
… Is this what it felt like when computers were just starting to happen and old people were like, “What is this Pong shit I keep hearing about?  I can’t program my VCR.  I’m afraid of the minorities.  Why are you grabbing my purse?  Waaah." I’ve never even seen a 3-d printer and it’s like… fucking Martian shit.  I just know there’s some punk kid Steve Jobs embryo out there who’s going to get rich off this thing, and I’ll be sitting there in some cut-rate old age home, going, “Oh, if only I’d invested in Jibsplat!  I’d be a rich man, today.  The orderlies are abusing me and no one will help me.”  It’s going to be pretty, pretty dark.  (See also)

Fucking Japan…: “These 3D printed dolls are cloned from real human heads.  Danny Choo at Culture Japan visited the Clone Factory in Akihabara, Japan. There, his face was scanned and 3D printed and made into a totally creepy doll"  

… Is this what it felt like when computers were just starting to happen and old people were like, “What is this Pong shit I keep hearing about?  I can’t program my VCR.  I’m afraid of the minorities.  Why are you grabbing my purse?  Waaah." I’ve never even seen a 3-d printer and it’s like… fucking Martian shit.  I just know there’s some punk kid Steve Jobs embryo out there who’s going to get rich off this thing, and I’ll be sitting there in some cut-rate old age home, going, “Oh, if only I’d invested in Jibsplat!  I’d be a rich man, today.  The orderlies are abusing me and no one will help me.”  It’s going to be pretty, pretty dark.  (See also)

Filed under Civilization is Doomed. insomniyeah! Science.