It’s 1963 and I’m 11 Years Old, Watching Scary B&W Stories on TV

Love it that I can call up some long-remembered faves for free.

“Nightmare at 20,00 Feet” on Twilight Zone (Psychologically rich and raw as writer Richard Matheson can make it.) ((Also, very subtle performance from Captain Quirk, who is older than I remembered.)) (((But why in hell does the “gremlin” have shoe-like bottoms to his feet???)))

“Demon With a Glass Hand” on The Outer Limits (Psychologically rich and eerie as writer Harlan Ellison can make it.) ((Performance by Robert Culp doesn’t make you think of “I Spy” once.)) (((But why in hell does the Glass Hand feel a bit Old Tech hokey in the end?)))

Executions

Punishment by killing has never solved anything. The argument I heard as a kid, that it’s “a deterrent,” is obvious bullshit that has not worked for decades and decades. Horrific torture-murders of killers has not ended their acts. Murder happens more often than anyone would want but killing them back is a dud solution.

R.I.P.: Ennio Morricone

As with Nina Simone, I discovered I never got much past first base with this master of film music. Today I played only the first disc of The Ennio Morricone Anthology: A Fistful of Film Music (Rhino, 1995), because I agree the second disc is a dud. And realized I had to hear much more. The big item is coming and I will try to follow up.

[Well, the big item ain’t coming because it’s out of stock everywhere. (Grumble. Gripe) I’ll see what I can do to fix this. Like they say, Death is the best salesman for your products.]

Joyce Carol Oates and the Monstrous in the Mundane

Very sharp piece here about the preeminent American fiction writer —

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/07/06/the-unruly-genius-of-joyce-carol-oates

And I regard the item linked to below as the most perfect example of cool-toned horror I have ever read (based on a real-life incident, BTW):

Click to access oates_going.pdf

PS: I had forgotten that the inspiration for the story was a damned wild tale itself (esp. if you include the guy’s whole life):

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Schmid

Stuff in the Air That Came Out of Speakers Today Locked in the Tower #12

Think we played the perfect pair of John Zorn albums to start and end the day.

Start: Pellucidar: A Dreamers Fantabula (2015)

Intense meditation of sound waves and swirly asides with sharp dabs of noise and percussion shouts. Look up that title and Edgar Rice Burroughs.

End: Beyond Good and Evil: Simulacrum Live (2020)

Ferocious metal-art trio, yeah, but a lot more brainy, nuanced and entertaining than the “gawsh, how abrasive” reviews suggest.

Golden State Monster Gets Smacked

And yeah, his “yer beatin’ up on a feeble old guy” act was as disgusting (and transparent) as ever:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/public-safety/man-accused-of-being-golden-state-killer-expected-to-plead-guilty/2020/06/29/b3457ca6-ba0b-11ea-8cf5-9c1b8d7f84c6_story.html

His admissions forever and always is a good development. Putting him through a wood-chipper feet-first on live prime-time TV would be an ace next step. As merciless and wickedly cunning as the psychopaths get.

Yep, These Are Weird Times

Odd experiences keep hitting us at off angles.

Yesterday, on our walk around the Chestnut Hill Reservoir, were saw a chipmunk(!) eagerly chewing the head of a tiny, dead bird. He dropped it and ran away when he saw we were looking; then came back and started snarfing away more vigorously than ever. I’ve always had problems with the little rodents, but will never look at them the same way again. Chip and Dale, you carnivorous fiends!

We raced around early today — prescriptions, groceries, exercise walk — because much-needed rain in the form of thunderstorms was predicted. About 1:30 this afternoon, it started. I usually find T-storms exciting (thunder and lightening are a kind of natural rock and roll). But this was terrifying: sheets and sheets and sheets of the most intense rain I’ve ever seen. After about an hour and a half, the street drains in front of our house were overwhelmed and it began flooding. Only covered the sidewalk without getting into our driveway but disaster was averted just because the sky torrents finally let up.

Climate change a thing, huh? Think so.

Miss Simone Regrets, And Not

As I’ve said, I have a passion for outstanding works that show me how little I know about something. I checked, and I believe I have but a single Nina Simone LP, a best-of that’s well-selected (goes for $60 on Amazon) but is certainly a token representation. Simone was in eclipse by the time I got interested in jazz+ vocals and I knew very little about her, really. Which, according to this review, makes me an idea audience for this documentary:

Has the highest possible recommendation for a whole bushel of reasons, not least of which is that it is now more intensely relevant than when it was made. And the performances! (scrapes brain off ceiling).

To erase my ignorance at least a bit, I’ve ordered a 3-CD 60-song collection. May come back here and comment on it later.

[LATER]

Got the collection. Immediate response on first listen — I had nothing but a shred of appreciation for her never-predictable piano adventures. I know I can hear more of the classical fusions now, but overall mutability is a marvel.

{LATER LATER]

Hers will be the version of “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” that I will play in the future for anyone who wants to listen. You can hear the new sense of inclusive in it. And “Chain Gang” is the perfect follow-up track. Political protest boiling to the surface.

[LATER LATER LATER]

OK, The Platinum Collection (Not Now, 2017) is a generous and essential offering, but slights the angrier, more activist side of her catalog. Supplement it with The Essential Nina Simone (RCA/Sony Legacy, 2011) and you will have what I now consider an acceptable starter portrait.

(The kinda troublesome first-person cover of the dated “Just Like a Woman” is more than offset by the stinging rendition of “Funkier Than a Mosquito’s Tweeter.”)

Lord of the Simpsons Throne

Boy, am I out of it — just discovered this morning wandering around the infinite TV universe that there was a new Matt Groening animation series that began in 2018: “Disenchantment”:

https://www.netflix.com/title/80095697

I agree with the universal assessment that it gets better (couldn’t finish the second ep of the first season) and that Elfo is “an elf version of Bart Simpson.” I’ll have to see more to expand this post (D not interested — “Too ‘Game of Thrones’ ripoff.”) But I will add this salute: the weird huge-teeth on the protagonist is an honorable and lovable continuity with “Life in Hell.” You go, wild-rabbit misfit.