An Amusing Maniac

Damn them, they are wrong. They are insane. Jeremy will take her like the Angel itself, in his joyless weasel-worded come-along, and Roger will be forgotten, an amusing maniac, but with no place in the rationalized power-ritual that will be the coming peace. She will take her husband’s orders, she will become a domestic bureaucrat, a junior partner, and remember Roger, if at all, as a mistake thank God she didn’t make….

—-Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow

Downtown Dallas, Texas

It is sunset. You are fighting your way through traffic in the cold dark heart of a gigantic metropolis… cut off from the sky at the bottom of a crystal canyon up farther than you can see. Tired as an old cold bowl of leftover soup staring at brakelights in the wet cold of winter, ozone and gas fumes, the wheel gritty and the seats sprung under your aching back. There are untold miles to go and unknown blocks of jam between the never-ending red light and your warm, soft bed.

And there she is, the Angel of Neiman Marcus forever striding in elegant grace behind glass, out of place on these mean streets, A thing of beauty where no beauty should be expected. Quarter granted where no quarter was expected. You might make it home, yet.

Never Cursed

Welsh rarebit with a poached egg on top. Bacon. Scones, butter, cream, jam. A pot of Lapsang souchong tea…. And some sausages.

—- Reynolds Woodcock, Phantom Thread

 

 

One of the ideas that I had when we decided to Cut the Cord (eliminate cable television) is to rent movies from the library. Free and easy. Our library has a huge selection of DVDs – movies on the ground floor and instructional/educational on the third. I see people, especially families with children, checking out monstrous piles of DVDs – I don’t know how they can watch that many in the seven day allotted period. I used to check out movies, but haven’t in a decade or so.

I can’t believe that I hadn’t seen Phantom Thread yet – a variety of reasons, mostly related to sloth in its various forms. It’s been a year. But as I was at the library on the last day of 2018, returning a stack of books, I looked along the long rows of DVD offerings (shocked at how many I had already seen) until I chose Phantom Thread. It’s Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest film and Daniel Day-Lewis’ last. It was in the running for a number of Oscars – and I don’t give a shit.

I’m a big fan of Paul Thomas Anderson. His work is a gift to the world.

Phantom Thread was reviewed better than his last full film, Inherent Vice. However, I loved Inherent Vice – of course, if you didn’t like it, or you think it was a piece of crap… I won’t argue with you. Paul Thomas Anderson does not know who I am – I have never met him and never will, but somehow he made a film, Inherent Vice, for me individually. If he scanned my dusty noggin and extracted whatever is in there and then made a movie that would resonate… it would be Inherent Vice. Well, actually it would be Gravity’s Rainbow, but it’s impossible to put that on celluloid or nitrate or bits-n-bytes. Inherent Vice is as close as you can get in the real world.

So, I pulled out the DVD player, blew off the thick layer of dust and plopped the library disc in. It took some playing with the various remotes but I managed to get it to play in surprisingly good quality.  Excellent film – really needs to be seen twice because, like all truly good films, the first time through you sit there going “What the fuck is this?” Once you realize it’s a twisted rom-com you can enjoy the belly laughs.

I’ll let you enjoy the humor of a persnickety and slightly effeminate dress designer of a main character with mommy issues and surrounded by women (customers, seamstresses, and his sister) lugging the name Reynolds Woodcock around London. Chekhov’s gun makes an early appearance in a book about mushrooms. And the surface beauty masks the perverse melodrama simmering underneath.

So now – a trip back to the library and the return chute and another walk along the DVD aisle. I can’t plan ahead because the films churn quite a bit. Old-School baby!

 

They Were All Running Together

“Down below the narrow street was empty. All the balconies were crowded with people. Suddenly a crowd came down the street. They were all running, packed close together. They passed along and up the street toward the bull-ring and behind them came more men running faster, and then some stragglers who were really running. Behind them was a little bare space, and then the bulls galloping, tossing their heads up and down. It all went out of sight around the corner. One man fell, rolled to the gutter, and lay quiet. But the bulls went right on and did not notice him. They were all running together.”
—Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises

New Orleans, Running of the Bulls

New Orleans, Running of the Bulls

Most of the “Bulls” (female Roller Derby team members) in the New Orleans version of Pamplona’s Running of the Bulls wear similar, red-themed, skimpy outfits complete with gaudy decorations – in the New Orleans style.

One Bull dressed in blue – with a bit more class, including a matching plastic bat. She looked great – though she did complain of the heat in her outfit.

Not Giving a Damn

“Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn”
― Orson Welles

Neiman Marcus Window, Downtown Dallas, Texas

Window reflection, Dsquared2 Clothing, and the Dallas Eye.

Oblique Strategies: Don’t be frightened of cliches

I am not their target kind of customer. Even though I’ve lived in Dallas close to forty years now, and spent a lot of time downtown, I’ve only been in the big main fancy Neiman Marcus store a couple of times… and I only remember it once.

That was before I moved here – I was only visiting – so I must have been young. I went in with a friend that wanted to look at the fashions and I followed her. Right at the entryway we were waylaid by a couple of women demonstrating nail care products – some sort of abrasive sanding thing (to remove ridges) and a set of various strong-smelling types of polish. I was the only one without colored nails so they demonstrated on me. I stood as stoically as I could while they sanded the ridges off a couple of my nails and then put polish on them. A good-sized group of women gathered to watch and to ooh and aah at the miracle product. It wasn’t too bad… actually, it was kind of interesting. I was mostly glad that, for once, my hands were clean.

But I didn’t buy anything.

What I learned this week, July 25, 2014

Love People, Not Pleasure

ABD AL-RAHMAN III was an emir and caliph of Córdoba in 10th-century Spain. He was an absolute ruler who lived in complete luxury. Here’s how he assessed his life:

“I have now reigned above 50 years in victory or peace; beloved by my subjects, dreaded by my enemies, and respected by my allies. Riches and honors, power and pleasure, have waited on my call, nor does any earthly blessing appear to have been wanting to my felicity.”

Fame, riches and pleasure beyond imagination. Sound great? He went on to write:

“I have diligently numbered the days of pure and genuine happiness which have fallen to my lot: They amount to 14.”


Bike Lanes on Custer Road

Bike Lanes on Custer Road

Ashley Haire On Making Dallas Bike-Friendly

Bicycle Lanes on the Jefferson Viaduct from Oak Cliff into downtown, Dallas.

Bicycle Lanes on the Jefferson Viaduct from Oak Cliff into downtown, Dallas.

7 Big Ways Cities Have Transformed Themselves for Bikes

Bike lane on Yale, near my house.

Bike lane on Yale, near my house.


Deep Ellum Brewing Company's Lineup

Deep Ellum Brewing Company’s Lineup

Life as a Beer Geek: The Lessons I’ve Learned

The Bourbon Barrel Temptress, on a Bourbon Barrel

The Bourbon Barrel Temptress, on a Bourbon Barrel


Posing with an S. E. Hinton paperback.

Posing with an S. E. Hinton paperback.

10 CELEBS WHO BIKE IN STYLE

seersucker1_s


Two Shark Tacos on the left, and two Mystery (Iguana) tacos on the right.

Two Shark Tacos on the left, and two Mystery (Iguana) tacos on the right.

One of the Dos Equis Taco Hotesses

One of the Dos Equis Taco Hotesses

The Best in DFW: Where the tacos are crazy-good

Professional competition Tacos

Professional competition Tacos


Here’s an interesting article about a little movie that I always thought was great. I didn’t realize it had reached cult status and was so hard to find – I’ve seen it on cable several times.

“Jesus Loves Winners”: How “Drop Dead Gorgeous” Found Cult Success As A Flop


13 Useful Tools You Should Only Buy on the Cheap