|01/05/2003 - 01/12/2003 01/12/2003 - 01/19/2003 01/19/2003 - 01/26/2003 01/26/2003 - 02/02/2003 02/02/2003 - 02/09/2003 02/09/2003 - 02/16/2003 02/16/2003 - 02/23/2003 02/23/2003 - 03/02/2003 03/02/2003 - 03/09/2003 03/09/2003 - 03/16/2003 03/16/2003 - 03/23/2003 03/23/2003 - 03/30/2003 03/30/2003 - 04/06/2003 04/06/2003 - 04/13/2003 04/13/2003 - 04/20/2003 04/20/2003 - 04/27/2003 04/27/2003 - 05/04/2003 05/04/2003 - 05/11/2003 05/11/2003 - 05/18/2003 05/18/2003 - 05/25/2003 05/25/2003 - 06/01/2003 06/08/2003 - 06/15/2003 06/15/2003 - 06/22/2003 06/22/2003 - 06/29/2003 07/06/2003 - 07/13/2003 07/13/2003 - 07/20/2003 07/20/2003 - 07/27/2003 08/03/2003 - 08/10/2003 08/31/2003 - 09/07/2003 09/21/2003 - 09/28/2003 09/28/2003 - 10/05/2003 10/12/2003 - 10/19/2003 10/26/2003 - 11/02/2003 11/09/2003 - 11/16/2003 11/16/2003 - 11/23/2003 11/23/2003 - 11/30/2003 11/30/2003 - 12/07/2003 12/21/2003 - 12/28/2003 12/28/2003 - 01/04/2004 02/15/2004 - 02/22/2004 02/22/2004 - 02/29/2004 03/07/2004 - 03/14/2004 03/14/2004 - 03/21/2004 04/04/2004 - 04/11/2004 04/18/2004 - 04/25/2004 05/09/2004 - 05/16/2004 05/23/2004 - 05/30/2004 06/13/2004 - 06/20/2004 07/11/2004 - 07/18/2004 07/18/2004 - 07/25/2004 07/25/2004 - 08/01/2004 08/08/2004 - 08/15/2004 09/05/2004 - 09/12/2004 09/12/2004 - 09/19/2004 09/19/2004 - 09/26/2004 11/07/2004 - 11/14/2004 11/21/2004 - 11/28/2004 12/12/2004 - 12/19/2004 01/09/2005 - 01/16/2005 02/06/2005 - 02/13/2005 03/20/2005 - 03/27/2005 05/01/2005 - 05/08/2005 05/22/2005 - 05/29/2005 05/29/2005 - 06/05/2005 06/05/2005 - 06/12/2005 06/12/2005 - 06/19/2005 06/19/2005 - 06/26/2005 06/26/2005 - 07/03/2005 07/03/2005 - 07/10/2005 07/10/2005 - 07/17/2005 07/17/2005 - 07/24/2005 07/24/2005 - 07/31/2005 07/31/2005 - 08/07/2005 08/07/2005 - 08/14/2005 08/14/2005 - 08/21/2005 08/28/2005 - 09/04/2005 09/04/2005 - 09/11/2005 09/11/2005 - 09/18/2005 09/18/2005 - 09/25/2005 09/25/2005 - 10/02/2005 10/23/2005 - 10/30/2005 10/30/2005 - 11/06/2005 11/13/2005 - 11/20/2005 11/20/2005 - 11/27/2005 12/11/2005 - 12/18/2005 12/18/2005 - 12/25/2005 12/25/2005 - 01/01/2006 01/15/2006 - 01/22/2006 02/26/2006 - 03/05/2006 05/07/2006 - 05/14/2006 07/09/2006 - 07/16/2006 08/06/2006 - 08/13/2006 09/10/2006 - 09/17/2006 10/01/2006 - 10/08/2006 01/07/2007 - 01/14/2007 02/04/2007 - 02/11/2007 02/11/2007 - 02/18/2007 02/18/2007 - 02/25/2007 03/25/2007 - 04/01/2007 04/01/2007 - 04/08/2007 04/08/2007 - 04/15/2007 04/15/2007 - 04/22/2007 04/22/2007 - 04/29/2007 04/29/2007 - 05/06/2007 05/13/2007 - 05/20/2007 05/27/2007 - 06/03/2007 06/03/2007 - 06/10/2007 06/10/2007 - 06/17/2007 08/05/2007 - 08/12/2007 08/12/2007 - 08/19/2007 08/19/2007 - 08/26/2007 09/02/2007 - 09/09/2007 09/09/2007 - 09/16/2007 09/16/2007 - 09/23/2007 09/23/2007 - 09/30/2007 09/30/2007 - 10/07/2007 10/07/2007 - 10/14/2007 10/21/2007 - 10/28/2007 11/04/2007 - 11/11/2007 11/11/2007 - 11/18/2007 11/18/2007 - 11/25/2007 11/25/2007 - 12/02/2007 12/09/2007 - 12/16/2007 12/16/2007 - 12/23/2007 12/30/2007 - 01/06/2008 01/13/2008 - 01/20/2008 02/03/2008 - 02/10/2008 02/10/2008 - 02/17/2008 02/24/2008 - 03/02/2008 03/02/2008 - 03/09/2008 03/09/2008 - 03/16/2008 03/16/2008 - 03/23/2008 03/23/2008 - 03/30/2008 03/30/2008 - 04/06/2008 04/06/2008 - 04/13/2008 04/13/2008 - 04/20/2008 05/11/2008 - 05/18/2008 06/01/2008 - 06/08/2008 06/22/2008 - 06/29/2008 07/20/2008 - 07/27/2008 08/03/2008 - 08/10/2008 09/07/2008 - 09/14/2008 09/14/2008 - 09/21/2008 11/09/2008 - 11/16/2008 03/22/2009 - 03/29/2009 05/03/2009 - 05/10/2009 05/24/2009 - 05/31/2009 06/07/2009 - 06/14/2009 01/15/2012 - 01/22/2012||
Saturday, June 16, 2007
As a boy in Dublin, working for a chemist, he delivered medicine to the aged WB Yeats. He sang in a choir that backed Paul Robeson in concert. New to New York and America, he performed on local radio as an "Irish Tenor." Later, in the army, his buddy was future film director Sam Fuller, who tried to talk him into heading to Hollywood with him and take their chance. Some of their wartime experiences were dramatized in Fuller's "The Big Red One." He worked with a young Al Sharpton, trying to contend with the drug epidemic in New York in the 70s (later, a bit bemused to say the least, by Al's race-bait shenanigans, he still held respect for the man's better intentions). All colorful name-drop associations that say nothing of the greatness of THIS man.
HAPPY FATHER'S DAY
Seamus Murphy, my Dad.
Jesus, I miss him. At right he's beaming (with his loving wife looking on), in a pic taken shortly before my arrival. Below is a shot of him taken shortly before his death. He's holding his granddaughter Lily, fresh home from the hospital after nearly 2 scary months in the preemie icu ward. I still think Lily kicked her way out in order to meet him before he left; he died on their "due date."
Just as the twins were beginning their wobbly progress toward mobility, Miles would stand by the chair seen in this picture, staring at a point in mid-air right above Dad's chair, laughing and pointing as if someone hovered there, amusing him.
He was a great father. A great friend. A great man. I don't want to get maudlin and I don't want to sit here weeping... I have done plenty of that.
I'll remember laughter and wisdom. Christmas, both of us drunk on Jameson's, listening to "Fairytale of New York" by the Pogues over and over again, laughing and singing our asses off.
Hanging out in the yard mending the white picket fence in front of the house, a miserable chore that suddenly became a pleasure when the sunlight filled our souls, we looked at each other and silently acknowledged the preciousness of that moment with a long, shared smile. Christ, you can't tell it, can you?
I was deeply moved recently while listening to a track on a new album (Beyond the Sky) by my friend Rob Schwimmer, a magnificent pianist. The piece, "I Would Talk With My Dad", is instrumental and low-key, nothing grandly sentimental, but deep as longing can go. Too bad I can't "quote" it here for emphasis, but I can quote (again) an ooooolllllld song by Thomas Moore, the last song Dad and I discovered together. An excerpt, then, and a kiss to my dear friend, whose loss will pain me for the rest of my life but whose example guides my own fatherhood in countless new ways every new day. Slán leat.
Let Fate do her worst, there are relics of joy,
Bright dreams of the past, which she cannot destroy,
Which come in the night-time of sorrow and care,
And bring back the features that joy used to wear.
Long, long be my heart with such memories fill'd,
Like the vase in which roses have once been distill'd.
You may break, you may ruin the vase if you will,
But the scent of the roses will hang 'round it still.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
"Now I'm homesick for my silence..."
Here you will find a poem by Hart Crane entitled "Chaplinesque." The poem goes like so:
We will make our meek adjustments,
Contented with such random consolations
As the wind deposits
In slithered and too ample pockets.
For we can still love the world, who find
A famished kitten on the step, and know
Recesses for it from the fury of the street,
Or warm torn elbow coverts.
We will sidestep, and to the final smirk
Dally the doom of that inevitable thumb
That slowly chafes its puckered index toward us,
Facing the dull squint with what innocence
And what surprise!
And yet these fine collapses are not lies
More than the pirouettes of any pliant cane;
Our obsequies are, in a way, no enterprise.
We can evade you, and all else but the heart:
What blame to us if the heart live on.
The game enforces smirks; but we have seen
The moon in lonely alleys make
A grail of laughter of an empty ash can,
And through all sound of gaiety and quest
Have heard a kitten in the wilderness.
There is a linked page for comments. Here's one (of two):
from this poem it is evident that charlie chaplin and hart crane were butt buddies!!! ~Wang
Don't you love the internet? What makes a chowderhead seek out an obscure poem online, just to offer this? Mercy, mercy me.
When I was very young, two tv shows -- "Silents Please" and "Fractured Flickers" -- instilled in me a love for silent films. Chaplin especially won my heart. When they finally let him back into the country and gave him his special Oscar ( © ® TM) in 1972, I wept. Not only a great filmmaker, this guy made The Great Dictator -- which Hitler is known to have seen at least twice -- thereby humiliating that asshole grandly, which is Mel Brooks' avowed career goal. Chaplin played two roles, the Hitler character and a heroic barber who turns out to be a Jew. Not only did Chaplin have the balls to spit at the dictator well before our entry into the war, but he called attention to the vicious Anti-Jewish hatred at the root of it all. This raises the work from mere political parody to humanist Art of the highest degree.
Dunno if any of you ever saw a 3-part series from Thames in England, rebroadcast on A&E, entitled "The Unknown Chaplin." I just got it on dvd, and it's mandatory viewing for anyone interested in Chaplin, filmmaking or the workings of genius. The man didn't use scripts! He began with a set and his stock players, began improvising gags AS THE CAMERAS ROLLED and built his films from there, painstakingly reworking gags and plotlines, shuffling cast members and often rebuilding sets to suit his developing ideas. Much of the unused footage (I'm guessing it was a ratio of 100 outtakes to 1 keeper per scene...) was preserved in spite of Chaplin's wish to have it all destroyed. These shows present it all with excellent commentary, read by James Mason, to keep track of where we are in the formation of each project.
It is better than examining the notebooks of a great writer or the sketches of a master; it's more like watching Beethoven sit at the piano trying out ideas. ("Dun-Dun-dadeeDAaaa... nope... Dun Dun dee Dun DA-Deeeee... nah... Dun-Dun-Dun Daaaah! Could be... hmmm..." But it's even better, because you can see it all before you! It's more like watching Ludwig work out ideas with the FULL ORCHESTRA! Only the various bootlegs of SMILE approach the excitement of this stuff. Words don't do it justice. I see that it's available on eBay for peanuts. Get a copy, I implore you.
Especially interesting to see are the entire sequences Chaplin perfected, then discarded. The discipline required is mind-boggling to someone like me, delighted with whatever feeble ideas I can squeeze out of my imagination: "Say! that doesn't suck too much! I'll keep it!" Cassavetes had that, too. On the Criterion set there's a deleted 15-minute opening sequence from "Faces" that any director would be justly proud of crafting. Not John; he was after bigger game. And Chaplin... He just lived in Geniusland. Here's the closest, clearest glimpse of that place most of us will ever get.
"Oh, the movie never ends
It goes on and on and on and on" (Journey - Don't Stop Believing)
Me, I'm in the "perfect ending" camp with regard to The Sopranos. And yes, it was probably the best continuing drama series ever on television, and I do like ambiguity, and I'm really glad the show is over. If it went on any longer, I'd hate the whole series as much as I hated "Hey Jude" after the billionth "na na na naaaaa." Good riddance, ya fucking scumbags, and thank you, thank you thank you for all the amazing moments.
But I'd rather consider the Journey song right now. Steve Perry is a fantastic singer, and piss on you if you deny it. I mean, I wouldn't want him singing "Take This Waltz," but then I wouldn't want Cohen singing "Send Her My Love" either. Anyway...
I was at a party a few years back and somebody played "With or Without You" by U2. I started singing the Journey song to it -- what tiny chunks of lyric I knew -- and decided I prefer Journey on every level. Which ain't saying much.
Ever notice that Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean" is chordally/structurally identical to Madonna's "Papa Don't Preach?" Is this just grounds for a mash-up or some sort of CLUE? Were they singing about the same baby? And if so, is that "baby" the very destruction of American Radio Pop?
I do blame it all on them and Prince, just as I blame the destruction of American mainstream cinema on Spielberg and Lucas and those other fucks. Not that they all didn't produce some good/great singles, Prince especially. But...
ah, who cares.
My family enjoyed a GREAT day today. Just a really nice day. Good things happened. Hope it bodes well for summer. Yes. A GREAT summer sounds perfect about now.