Grits and Tamales

Life in the Deep South, by Gabriel Aguilera

A Worthy Adaptation of Macbeth

The other day I noted to my friends on Facebook that I did not wish to live in a world where loving Marion Cotillard could be construed as morally wrong in any way or under any circumstances. I did, however, neglect to recommend the latest Macbeth that she starred in.

Really, it’s best construed as an adaptation, a very daring one that in my view lowers the volume on Shakespeare, to balance his near-perfect cadences with visual poetry and narrative.

Maybe I’m growing soft in my old age, or maybe I love Marion Cotillard a little too well, but I thought it very good if not excellent.

But you must see this on a big high def TV to get the full effect.

Asheville, North Carolina Sept 2016

I spent last weekend up in Asheville…

On the way home I discovered Lakemont, Georgia, which, as it turns out, is a forested cycling paradise with excellent country roads, big rollers, lakes, etc. Maybe it is to this town that I will retire one day. Downtown has a country store, three art galleries, a yoga studio (gasp!), and a bike studio. Asheville, NC is 2 hours north. Athens, GA is an hour-and-a-half south.

Thank You Vin Scully

“You tricked us into thinking you were just a sports announcer, when really you were a poet…when we were lost for words, you were Norman Rockwell.” -Kevin Costner

Costner delivered a fine speech tonight that old Dodger fans will never forget, one that will forever remind us that we were blessed to have our lives inspired by the best poet sportscaster who ever lived, one who painted portraits in our mind with cadenced sentences of joyous prose.

I  sometimes listened to games lying on a linoleum floor with the stereo speakers low so my brothers could watch our small black and white TV.

My Boyle Heights summers were filled with baseball and the Dodgers, with him calling games and pitching Farmer John.

In the third grade my teacher had a shelf of baseball books for kids, books about Mathewson, Ruth, Cobb and more — I read these all and fell in love.

I first picked up the LA Times to read of baseball; of Garvey, Lopes and Penguin Cey.

These last few days I’ve been falling asleep sad-hearted to the games, still called by him as they marched towards the pennant, this in his last year.

Baseball will go on and so will I, his music, though, will neither cease nor die inside my mind.

For the rest of my life it will not be hard for me to close my eyes and hear his music as I always did, from boyhood until my 49th year.

Scorsese Shares a Movie List

Check out the full story here:

Here is Mr. Scorsese’s list for aspiring film-makers:

  • Ace in the Hole
  • All that Heaven Allows
  • America, America
  • An American in Paris
  • Apocalypse Now
  • Arsenic and Old Lace
  • The Bad and the Beautiful
  • The Band Wagon
  • Born on the Fourth of July
  • Cape Fear
  • Cat People
  • Caught
  • Citizen Kane
  • The Conversation
  • Dial M for Murder
  • Do the Right Thing
  • Duel in the Sun
  • The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
  • Europa ’51
  • Faces
  • The Fall of the Roman Empire
  • The Flowers of St. Francis
  • Force of Evil
  • Forty Guns
  • Germany Year Zero
  • Gilda
  • The Godfather
  • Gun Crazy
  • Health
  • Heaven’s Gate
  • House of Wax
  • How Green Was My Valley
  • The Hustler
  • I Walk Alone
  • The Infernal Cakewalk
  • It Happened One Nght
  • Jason and the Argonauts
  • Journey to Italy
  • Julius Caesar
  • Kansas City
  • Kiss Me Deadly
  • Klute
  • La Terra Trema
  • The Lady From Shanghai
  • The Leopard
  • Macbeth
  • The Magic Box
  • M*A*S*H
  • A Matter of Life and Death
  • McCabe & Mrs. Miller
  • The Messiah
  • Midnight Cowboy
  • Mishima
  • Deeds Goes to Town
  • Smith Goes to Washington
  • Nashville
  • Night and the City
  • One, Two, Three
  • Othello
  • Paisa
  • Peeping Tom
  • Pickup on South Street
  • The Player
  • The Power and the Glory
  • Stagecoach
  • Raw Deal
  • The Red Shoes
  • The Rise of Louis XIV
  • The Roaring Twenties
  • Rocco and his Brothers
  • Rome, Open City
  • Secrets of the Soul
  • Senso
  • Shadows
  • Shock Corridor
  • Some Came Running
  • Stromboli
  • Sullivan’s Travels
  • Sweet Smell of Success
  • Tales of Hoffman
  • The Third Man
  • T-Men
  • Touch of Evil
  • The Trial
  • Two Weeks in Another Town

Will and Ariel Durant, “The Renaissance”

One of the books I enjoy rereading is “The Renaissance” by Will and Ariel Durant. I do so because of the humor, wit, and beautiful sonorous writing. It’s filled with funny and delightful well constructed sentences, like this:

“John’s successor was a man of gentler mold. Benedict XII, the son of a baker, tried to be a Christian as well as a pope; he resisted the temptation to distribute offices among his relatives; he earned an honorable hostility by bestowing benefices of merits, not for fees; he repressed bribery and corruption in all branches of Church administration; he alienated the mendicant orders by commanding them to reform; he was never known to be cruel or to shed blood in war. All the forces of corruption rejoiced at his early death (1342).”


Will Durant on Don Quixote

“Virtue ennobles the blood…Every man,” he tells Sancho, “is the son of his own works.”

America, by Walt Whitman


Centre of equal daughters, equal sons,

All, all alike endear’d, grown, ungrown, young or old,

Strong, ample, fair, enduring, capable, rich,

Perennial with the Earth, with Freedom, Law and Love,

A grand, sane, towering, seated Mother,

Chair’d in the adamant of Time.

Nobility of Character: Look Elsewhere

I’m always bemused by smart and worldly people who look for nobility of character in their politicians.

Divided Italy

Said of Italy, before it became a nation of the Earth, that perhaps applies to our divided days: “The timid weakness of individuals, the insecurity of groups, and the delusion of superiority generated perpetual fear, suspicion, dislike, and contempt of the different, the alien, and the strange.” -Durant, The Renaissance

Don Quixote Sends Sancho to Dulcinea

“Go, my son,” said Don Quixote, “and be not dazed when thou findest thyself exposed to the light of that sun of beauty thou art going to seek. Happy thou, above all the squires in the world! Bear in mind, and let it not escape thy memory, how she receives thee; if she changes colour while thou art giving her my message; if she is agitated and disturbed at hearing my name; if she cannot rest upon her cushion, shouldst thou haply find her seated in the sumptuous state chamber proper to her rank; and should she be standing, observe if she poises herself now on one foot, now on the other; if she repeats two or three times the reply she gives thee; if she passes from gentleness to austerity, from asperity to tenderness; if she raises her hand to smooth her hair though it be not disarranged. In short, my son, observe all her actions and motions, for if thou wilt report them to me as they were, I will gather what she hides in the recesses of her heart as regards my love; for I would have thee know, Sancho, if thou knowest it not, that with lovers the outward actions and motions they give way to when their loves are in question are the faithful messengers that carry the news of what is going on in the depths of their hearts. Go, my friend, may better fortune than mine attend thee, and bring thee a happier issue than that which I await in dread in this dreary solitude.”

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