John Carter / Edgar Rice Burroughs / William S. Burroughs / Adult Fantasy In The Movies

Blogs or Posts, D's Writing, Movies, Music, The Lord of the Rings-Online

Today the weather in central Virginia is “BE YOU” tiful!  Perfect.  Low humidity, cool breeze, warm sun.  I could go on but you get the picture.  I walked 8 miles with no discomfort and the birds were talking  the whole way.  The trees are still blossoming and I decided to take it over to the University of Richmond to see what picturesque scenes are on display there.  And what did I find?  Tulips!  Many colored wonderful flowers!  You thought I was going to say something else, right?  Well the girls are still looking good but it must be close to exams or something because they didn’t look particularly happy.  When is spring break?  Maybe it’s already over.  If you want to see some smiles you really need to visit a day or two before the great spring flight.

Today was not that day.  But I was preoccupied in any case with thoughts of John Carter and the music from his movie I just downloaded earlier for the walk.  Dagen Mcdowell on Imus was talking this morning about everybody downloading the music from The Hunger Games and so I went there on Amazon.  But, frankly, it was boring stuff although one person wrote to say she lives in the mountains of North Carolina where the movie was made.  And the music is great!  If you don’t like it don’t listen to it!

Okay.  Fine!  I won’t.  So I went to the music for  John Carter and it is great!  Or at least I want to listen to it even though the movie sucked!  Or maybe it didn’t suck.  Maybe it’s going to be a cult classic like some reviewers suggest.  There’s a long history of people loving John Carter and Edgar Rice Burroughs who created Tarzan, one of the most epic characters of all time.  Here’s a Youtube creation that clearly was done by someone devoted to the task.

So I was mulling this over on my walk but I was remembering doing some reading in my early days from ( I thought) this author about an apocalyptic vision and some poor dude lying in a drainage ditch with insects using him as their host for future generations of bugs.  I believe he was a gold buyer and hoarded lots of coins or bars as society deteriorated feeling, wrongly as things turned out, that this would see him through the disintegration of life on the planet.  How was it possible that Edgar Rice Burroughs who made Tarzan and was a great businessman felt this conservative fellow deserved such a sad end?

Well he didn’t! As it turns out this was William S. Burroughs who smoked opium and was crazy although an amazing writer who went to Harvard and helped to bring about the Beat Generation with fans like Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg.   These two guys represented the yin and the yang of adult fantasy writers in the twentieth century apparently.   Edgar wrote books that talked about strange things in the jungle but you were allowed to see them from a distance.  William felt they should be allowed to get under your skin and use you for lunch until, many moons later, you figured out a way to hold your breath until you died.  That would be where the drugs came in I suppose.

So Edgar is the guy  and I wanted to go see John Carter today but Betsy was not so fascinated with the idea and wanted to wait until he arrives On Demand.  Why pay 10 bucks when you can pay 5 and don’t care about the movie?  She has a point.  So I’m writing about it instead and pulling videos of  it from Youtube while try to remember what book I read that contained the sad tale of the gold buyer who was eaten by bugs.  I looked here but good luck trying to find it.  William was not easy to follow in print.  Following his book trail will also lead you into some seriously strange places.  It’s much easier staying with Lord of the Rings Online, Star Wars The Old Republic and John Carter.  All have a fantasy element that makes us wonder about life as we approach the end of the Mayan Calendar in December.

I don’t mind thinking about all of those things.  Orcs and aliens are alright to imagine from time to time.  But you have to draw the line somewhere! And when it comes to bugs I prefer eating to being eaten. Which reminds me, isn’t Survivor coming on tonight?

Ghost Rider/ Satan Is Real/ Where's My Remote?

Blogs or Posts, D's Photos, D's Writing, Movies


Well the snow is going, going gone here in Virginia. And today we are looking forward to weather in the 70’s with a light breeze and lots of sun.

Very nice. The blogger is feeling better about life in general, too. He walked ten miles in the past two days, six the first day and four the second, and life is beginning to return to normal. He found his backscratcher and finished hooking up all the wayward wires in his room. He watched Ghost Rider last night for the umpteenth time and was once again happy to see good triumph over evil. There is a new Ghost Rider movie in theaters now, by the way, called Spirit of Vengeance, and we can only hope it lives up to the awesome standards of the original.

Because Satan is real! I had no idea! But the current political debates have been very educational. The blogger has learned a lot. But one thing he already knew, thankfully, is that suicide is not a solution. So when he wants to stick a gun to his own head after listening to these guys he quickly thinks about something else. Something happier. Like connecting his Comcast box to the stereo receiver or locating the remote control.

It would be great if we could all whip up some enthusiasm and get together behind Nick Cage, the Ghost Rider. And then confront Evil. But Satan is probably rolling his eyes because somehow we have managed to convince ourselves that he is the guy next door. Or the leader of some political party we abhor. And it doesn’t help at all that some of these religions believe themselves to be the only way. Guess what?! It’s not that easy! It would be so much easier to fight real evil if some of these faiths were not so busy fighting with each other!


The blogger realizes he is taking his life in his hands just talking briefly about politics or religion. And both at the same time? Maybe he is suicidal! Or, maybe he is just warming up as the weather reaches into the seventies. Feeling strong and ready to take on the world.

So I’m putting up photos of our recent winter wonderland. Here’s a photo of our long driveway decorated with snow. Thank goodness the city plows it for us, ha-ha.



But what would be even better is the Ghost Rider rumbling up the drive! Melting snow as he goes! That would be so cool! No politics. No religion too. Just power and a pure flame!!
Where the story begins. . .


Richmond Folk Festival/ Davell Crawford/ Piano Prince Of New Orleans

Blogs or Posts, D's Photos, Movies, Richmond

In the last five years or so Richmond has brought some great talent from around the nation and the world to the Richmond Folk Festival. It is located downtown on historic Brown’s Island. So last October we headed down the road to see and hear all of it. Davell Crawford created quite a stir as he played piano and sang some cool tunes from the heart of New Orleans.

Davell clearly believes in audience participation as he brought one of the organizers up on the stage for a serenade. And we can also see him here fielding some comments from the audience. And if you were hearing impaired, maybe just out for a walk and decided to rest in the shade of this cool tent, he had someone along to help you understand the lyrics.

It was a fascinating show. And we enjoyed the music and all the other stuff that was happening very much.

The Farmer's Market Richmond, Virginia/ Inception The Movie/ Sober Thoughts And Rambling Notions

Blogs or Posts, D's Photos, Movies

It has been one week since I stopped drinking Salty Dogs and I only think about them once in awhile.  A frosty glass filled with a mixture of vodka and grapefruit juice beneath  a  salty rim would definitely be nice on one of these  hot and humid southern afternoons but we will let it go.   We will let it go.  Because we love it too much and it keeps us from doing all the things we did this week.

Yesterday, for example,  B and Stephanie, Marvin and me went downtown to the Farmer’s Market.  I took photos while they shopped and we all happily listened to the music and enjoyed a relaxing Saturday afternoon.   This followed our adventure on Friday as B and I went to the Museum of Fine Arts for lunch and a little exploration plus an early afternoon movie called Inception.

Today we are going to join Zachary and Janet downtown for a meal and a look at the new digs for the coming school year.  They are keeping me busy.  Bless the little darlings.  And when at home I’m busy fixing photos and watching my new favorite program,  Ancient Aliens,  on the History Channel.   The folks who put this show together are not afraid to toss out some far out theories about the origins of life on earth for sure.   It’s fun to watch.  I can’t imagine seeing anything like it on television thirty years ago.

Even the Pope’s chief astronomer recently said that life could exist on Mars.

It is difficult to rule it out now that everyone has a video camera and can post their sitings on Youtube in about twenty seconds.

The movie we saw a couple of days ago, Inception,  was also pretty far out as it played around with ideas like  lucid dreaming and dreams within dreams.  The plot was difficult to follow so, of course, I ran to a computer once we arrived  home and found someone with a better idea about the movie.

The soundtrack was way cool but it would not be a good idea to load it here.   The last time I did this someone was not happy and it prompted a review of the policy here for sharing music.  Also I noticed that most of my bandwidth at the time was being consumed by mp3 voyages to China and all of that has disappeared now.  I had no idea.  Really!

So productivity is way up and headaches are way down.   There are precious few  comments of the legitimate kind happening however and I would encourage everyone to say what is on your mind.  It is discouraging to find mostly comments originating from these folks who produce one page blogs and are only looking for links to them that are not going to be forthcoming from here.  I would probably have stopped blogging if it wasn’t for a very few great friends who take the time to comment once in awhile.  Don’t let the ads fool you this blog makes NO money.  The ads are mainly a vehicle for bringing readers here and playing music legitimately.

Actually this blog is very gradually losing daily numbers over time because I don’t post as often and no one seems to be linking here anymore.  We are down from about four hundred to just over one hundred reported views per day.   That’s not exactly promising is it?   Seems like it will put itself out of its own misery in six months or so at this rate.

Well enough of these random ruminations.  Here are some photos from yesterday.

The Painted Veil Continues

Blogs or Posts, David's Writing, Movies

B and I continue to read The Painted Veil.   Kitty and Walter have gone into an area of China that is ripe with cholera and Walter succumbs to it.  He dies.

Kitty has fallen in love with him somewhere along the line and so she weeps.  She has moved from being a young, immature and very superficial but beautiful woman to someone who sees beneath the surface.  She penetrates  the painted veil and finds a truly brave man  who has sacrificed himself in an effort to find a cure for an epidemic.

Next time we sit down together we will find out what happens to her.  I, of course, have seen the movie and know what happens to her if the movie and the book remain true to one another.

She survives.  Walter dies.  And her lover, Charles, never amounts to anything.

Here’s a recap of what happened earlier.  She was getting “old” and she married Walter because he loved her and he was a doctor.  Then she was attracted to Charles and had an affair with him after they arrived in China.   Walter found out about it  and offered her an ultimatum.   He would divorce her straightaway or she could come with him into the cholera infested regions and pretend she was his wife.

She went to Charles feeling certain that he would leave his wife and marry her in a heartbeat.

But here is where the idealistic little dear discovered a portion of reality .  Charles was really very happy with his wife and she was essentially a source of entertainment.  This is what is often referred to these days as a “wake-up call”.

Walter really loved Kitty.  And in the end she discovered that she loved him too.
I often hear people complaining that they don’t have “real” love in their lives.  They are looking for someone with whom they can share  real love.

Kitty discovered the difference between a romantic infatuation and real love during her time in China.   Initially she was convinced by the former.  But as time rolled on she gained   a bit of wisdom and discovered the nature of true love.

The Painted Veil/ Edward Norton/ Naomi Watts/ W. Somerset Maugham/ Art And Exercise

Artists, Blogs or Posts, David's Writing, Movies

It’s Friday and the weather guy is promising us a nice weekend.  The temperature should reach the low 60’s in fact.   That’s pretty amazing considering where we were just a few weeks ago.

The Academy Awards will be happening and we need to see at least one more nominated movie before Sunday night.   But for us it’s not all about nominated movies.  Recently I discovered  The Painted Veil on cable and was enthralled by the beauty of this  film.  Now B and I are reading W. Somerset Maugham’s  original story published in 1925.  And  there were two previous movie adaptations  we plan to watch.

Finally we will return to the recent film starring Edward Norton and Naomi Watts.   B hasn’t seen it yet.  She  seems to be entertained by the book as we read to each other (25 pages or so each day).


We have been doing this and then going for a walk together.

Not a long walk.  It’s more important for us to take a daily walk then to try and walk two miles at this point.   It’s better to walk down the street and back EVERY day then to go on a hike and then return home in pain with the semi-conscious determination to avoid this discomfort again.

We can go further than down the street now.  And we hope to go a lot further in the future.  We also hope to discover some really wonderful links between the two universes of book and film.  It changes your perception of what is happening on screen when you have the written history of the work in your mind.

Art and exercise both bring us together as a couple.  The Painted Veil is a love story with a very different premise that allows us to experience joy and suffering as we read and watch .   When we walk we experience physical pain as well as moments of  physical and mental well-being.  This also prepares us for longer periods of walking as we explore museums or historic locations.

Or we take time to walk in beautiful gardens full of exotic plants and vibrant colors.

It’s fairly easy for me to merge these two worlds in such circumstances.  As we walk in a garden I turn to B and imagine Naomi’s character  in a lush landscape somewhere south of  Shanghai.   I worry about her and hope she will begin to appreciate what nature has to offer.   I remember Edward’s fate and hope it is not my own.

And I sing Somerset Maugham’s  pleasurable,  fluid prose in my head when it comes time to  write something about all of this.

We want the various parts of our lives to work together as a whole.  And as a couple we want the same thing.

But, more than this, we want to be part of life in a significant way.   Art and exercise both offer opportunities to do this and they shall remain at the top of the list when it comes time for us to decide what we will do today.

Slumdog Millionaire

Blogs or Posts, D's Slide shows, David's Writing, Movies

Beth and I are seeing some of the movies nominated for Academy Awards as we do every year.  But this year I have not yet found anything worthy of great praise.   It’s disappointing but not unexpected.  How many great movies are there?   In the history of movie making are there one per year even?

Last night we went to see Slumdog Millionaire.  There is a place called the Westover Cinema near our neighborhood.  It’s one of these old theaters from a different world that somehow managed to survive by showing films normally not shown by the movie plexes.  Just one room with a screen and an old guy whose social security isn’t doing it for him collecting tickets. I don’t mean to be cynical but after watching this film cynical is perhaps a positive outcome.

Just imagine the neighborhood children living in the town dump without adult supervision.  Isn’t that a great way to spend a Saturday evening?  And that is really the least of it as this horrible film takes us from a stinking trash heap  to far  greater  depths of human suffering  as adults use these children for their own ends.

But it’s all about an orphan becoming a millionaire!  Whoopee!  Doesn’t that make it alright?  Apparently so because just about everyone clapped when it was over.  Except  for your blogging buddy who was heading for the door.  I wouldn’t have stayed that long except for the fact that it was Valentine’s Day and I was out on a date with the beautiful Beth.

This is an awful movie.   Do yourself a favor and pass on it.

There is a love story grafted onto it.   But there never is any dialogue between the two would be lovers that would indicate why they are attracted to each other.  They went through a nightmare together and I guess that’s a good enough reason to fall in love.  It’s all very superficial except for the depiction of poverty.

So it should be a documentary.  And please don’t call it entertainment.  Show it to college students like my son who want to join the Peace Corps.   It would serve a useful purpose there.

When the director gets up on stage to collect his award (if he does) he should be greatly ashamed.  Using children and poverty to gather wealth and fame is no great achievement.   There are great rags to riches stories out there but they are works of art.   This is a formula brought to life on some trash heap somewhere and fed to a naive public.

And none of the children it is about will ever see it.

NY Times Review