Posts Tagged ‘60’s’

William O. Douglas – enigma?

Mon ,26/11/2018

So just finished my second Justice Douglas biography, Independent Journey by James F. Simon (1980), published not too long after Douglas’ passing in 1975. I had read Wild Bill: The Legend and Life of William O. Douglas by Bruce Allen Murphy (2003) immediately prior.

I had heard about the later book originally via a New Republic article some years ago, a book review by Judge Richard Posner. But after having read it, and the second book having mentioned the earlier bio in the end credits, I really felt I needed to read the earlier book. You see, while certainly Murphy’s book is an amazing example of dedicated scholarship – it largely focuses on Douglas’ personal shortcomings – and while there are many, many such egregious examples of them, Simon’s earlier book provides a much better balance of the actual SUPREME COURT activity Douglas engaged in and in some cases, led. Murphy spends so much time uncovering all the personal flaws, problems and misdeeds of Douglas that he largely blows off most of the Court stuff (why he wrote the book, hello?). Unlike Simon’s book, which tells a lot of detail behind two huge cases for example (Brown v. Board of Education in the 50’s and Roe v. Wade just before the end of Douglas’ career) – Murphy doesn’t really deal much with either one, if at all.

Ultimately, The Nation sums it up best for me in talking about both books and then about Douglas the man. Because so many of the *results* Douglas wanted to see (or helped bring about as part of the Warren Court or earlier as Chairman of the SEC) – are still RIGHT. So as bad a human being as he was in many, many circumstances, The Nation still makes the best final statement of him to me: “If more present-day Justices and judges embraced William O. Douglas’s ideals, constitutional liberties would be far safer than they are.” (and throw in environmental protection too, because while not part of his jurisprudence, he was d*** right on that one and way ahead of his time.

candybowl

The Face of Winter: Warren Miller – RIP.

Tue ,20/11/2018

So one of the true pioneers and icons of the ski industry, Warren Miller, passed away this past January at 93(!) years old. We went to see the latest film from his company (he hadn’t been filming with them for many years now), The Face of Winter. I’ve been to WM movies off an on over the years but not for some time, but this year wanted to go again in tribute to the man and his amazing career.

The movie was pretty good – while there were a couple tiny #MeToo moments in it (IMHO) and a few too many ‘fake sly’ product placements, it was still good – the usual mix of heli-skiing crazy extreme glaciers and remote mountains (this time mostly in AK, Chile, Iceland, France and Switzerland), with classic clips and WM testimonials throughout. I did not realize he was making movies as far back as the 50’s – crazy stuff.

anyway, here’s the trailer, it’s still touring around the country if you get the chance to see it:

candybowl

great show!

Sat ,10/11/2018

saw this tonight, gotta love The Man In Black….

Tricky Dick and The Man in Black

ReMastered: Tricky Dick & The Man in Black: 2018 TV-MA 58m

This documentary chronicles Johnny Cash’s 1970 visit to the White House, where Cash’s emerging ideals clashed with Richard Nixon’s policies. (trailer at link above)

candybowl

RIP, wild man….

Thu ,23/08/2018

While in the car today, they said it was Keith Moon’s bday, and that he would have been 72 years old (he only made it to 32, sadly, he passed in 1978).

null

While I don’t think he was the absolute greatest in rock (nor is Ginger Baker, although HE certainly thinks so) – he’s definitely one of the all time greats – not for many of the same reasons as most, though – he’s fairly unpredictable, and manic, and undisciplined to boot. But in the crazy world of The Who – he was a perfect fit.

RIP, Keith – somewhere I hope you are looking down from the biggest set of drums any cloud ever tried to hold aloft, and still driving everyone crazy along the way….

candybowl

A Wrinkle in Time….sigh.

Thu ,14/06/2018

Earlier this week, kerewin and I checked out A Wrinkle in Time. I had wanted to see this, then when it came out and the reviews weren’t good, I was a bit sad, but still wanted to see it anyway.

Because to me, the original book is very much of my time (came out in the early 60’s, I was born in the late 60’s), it’s not a very conventional book by any means (besides being sci-fi to begin with) and I’ve always considered it one of my key early books that got me really interested in the genre generally.

I think for me the key appeal of the story is that it takes fairly heavy subject matter (the never-ending struggle between good and evil, right and wrong, tough social situations and family struggles) and doesn’t talk down to the reader, despite being a kid’s book in the end. Even re-reading it a couple years ago on a whim, it’s still a good (if now much quicker) read, has respect for its characters and tells a good story – the key criteria above all.

So it’s clear why Hollywood would have a problem making a movie based on this story, and my initial take on the movie is that they made a decent try at it. I liked the new approach of an African-American girl in L.A. – her younger brother is possibly even *more* precocious than the Charles Wallace of the book (who was pretty far along on his own), and the star power of Reese Witherspoon, Oprah, Mindy Kaling, Chris Pine and Zach Galifinakis really doesn’t get in the way in the end, BUT….

1) they give short shrift to the main plot – they focus too long on Meg’s school problems and not long enough on the other aspects once they tesser to Uriel, Camazotz, finding Chris Pine (the dad) and then back – happens way too quickly and without enough dialog, at minimum.

2) they completely skip the whole Ixchel sequence (when they tesser out originally with their father and Meg is damaged by IT in doing so, and then she has to go back in, all alone, to rescue Charles Wallace). This is a critical part of the book that shows Meg at her most vulnerable, then launches her back into chaos (Camazotz again) and she learns an important lesson about herself and her inner strength. Because the movie skips this entire sequence, we go from an abortive ‘father rescue’ right to rescuing Charles Wallace – more plot thinning, as it were.

3) there are too many ‘musical segue’ sequences that play like a music video interlude between dramatic scenes. There are at least three and they really just waste screen time that could have been devoted to plot or character dialog…

4) Camazotz far more resembles ‘CGI Dagobah’ than the scary planet depicted in the book. While they start with the kids bouncing the ball in the neighborhood, they quickly blow that off and all of a sudden we have already rescued Chris Pine? Again, far too quickly and thins out the plot yet again.

5) And there is no ‘IT’ in this movie?! Arguably the scariest part of the book in many ways, at best, IT is depicted through a dark, hardly speaking voice while Meg and Charles Wallace scramble around in what looks like a modern version of Yoda’s summer home – Just not scary? And the ‘evil’ is largely depicted as Charles Wallace yelling at or scolding Meg. While it’s possible that the ‘disembodied oversized brain’ of IT in the book may not work cinematically these days – it’s still better than a not-scary root forest with some weird voice in the background? Plus, they keep calling IT ‘The IT’ – as if IT is a piece of evil furniture? Doesn’t work.

6) I saw part of an earlier 2003 adaptation of the book, most namely the first IT sequence – and while there they left out the ‘brain’ too – it is much creepier and weird, arguably truer to the book. I may now need to check out this earlier film just to see the differences.

Anyway, mixed bag, ultimately disappointing but I give them props for trying….

candybowl

2001…..still a landmark.

Sat ,26/05/2018

And given we are lucky enough to have restored one of the few remaining Cinerama theaters in the country (after all these years), we can actually WATCH the movie in its original intended format – that screen is huge, and the movie still holds up well to this day. I go about every other year when it comes around and it’s still worth it. So many other sci-fi movies just don’t hold up anymore for various reasons but this one……

2001 set the standard for the next 50 years of hard (and some soft) sci-fi

candybowl

Needle!

Tue ,17/04/2018

as we cry in our beer over tax day today – remember that many years ago, a much more joyous occasion was had…

Groundbreaking for the Space Needle is held in Seattle on April 17, 1961.

candybowl

RIP, Mr. Young.

Mon ,08/01/2018

a true American hero – RIP.

From the Seattle TimesNASA: Legendary astronaut, moonwalker John Young has died

“….NASA called Young one of its pioneers – the only agency astronaut to go into space as part of the Gemini, Apollo and space shuttle programs, and the first to fly into space six times. He was the ninth man to walk on the moon.”

“…His NASA career lasted 42 years, longer than any other astronaut’s, and he was revered among his peers for his dogged dedication to keeping crews safe — and his outspokenness in challenging the space agency’s status quo.

Chastened by the 1967 Apollo launch pad fire that killed three astronauts, Young spoke up after the 1986 shuttle Challenger launch accident. His hard scrutiny continued well past shuttle Columbia’s disintegration during re-entry in 2003.

“Whenever and wherever I found a potential safety issue, I always did my utmost to make some noise about it, by memo or whatever means might best bring attention to it,” Young wrote in his 2012 memoir, “Forever Young.”

He said he wrote a “mountain of memos” between the two shuttle accidents to “hit people over the head.” Such practice bordered on heresy at NASA.”

candybowl

Sneaker Wars?!

Sat ,02/12/2017

Sneaker Wars: The Enemy Brothers Who Founded Adidas & Puma & the Family Feud That Forever Changed the Business of Sports

This is quite frankly, one of the craziest (nonfiction) books I’ve ever read. It tells the story of Adi Dassler and his rival, Rudi – as they created and fought for business over the decades since just before WWII with Adidas and Puma, respectively.

But arguably the most crazy (and interesting) part of the story is Adi’s son Horst, who literally built the Adidas brand and worldwide presence we know today, through athlete product endorsements, additional clothing lines and relentless promotion across nearly every sport imaginable. From the way the book portrays him, he’s all but a head of state in many ways, especially given the relationships he creates and cultivates until he passes away at a fairly young age in his early 50s.

Puma is kind of an also-ran in the later years as depicted in this book (Rudi also had a rival son to Horst, but seems to continually come up short on nearly all fronts, save for a few cases) – but it’s also interesting to see along the way how Phil Knight learned the lessons of Horst well and built his own, even bigger shoe and clothing empire starting with one Michael Jordan….the research that went into this book is top-notch and obviously took years to accumulate and review, especially given these are private companies, not governments or public entities.

defnitely one of the best books I’ve read this year.

candybowl

Andrew Wyeth at SAM

Tue ,28/11/2017

Kerewin and I went to see the Andrew Wyeth Retrospective at SAM this past sunday afternoon. Very interesting …. here was an artist I may have heard of in passing but knew nothing about, nor any of his art. Not unlike the Yoyoy Kusama exhibit of a few months ago, a neat surprise (completely different type of art from hers – Wyeth is predominantly tempura and watercolor painting).

What’s also interesting about Wyeth is that he only lived in two places his entire life, and was painting right up until he passed away. And (some might say of course) he seems to have had a hidden obsession with one of his female models for a long period in his later years.

The exhibit has a number of great paintings but I think what I liked best were the watercolors, because they were still very detailed for that type of painting (I don’t think that’s typical) – apparently he used the same types of detail methods to paint despite using a different medium.

Definitely worth seeing, it’s there until Jan 15.

candybowl