A Journey Round My Skull showcases a really interesting post about William Mortensen, a photographer whose penchant for retouching and manipulating his negatives the way a painter reworks his canvasses led Ansel Adams, an apostle of the straight print, to call him “the devil.” The writer, Cary Loren, describes Mortensen’s singular books Monsters and Madonnas and The Command to Look, and the post has a generous selection from Mortensen’s prints, such as the one above.
Doctor Evil and King Siggeir, Austin Powers and The Saga of the Volsungs. Only Professor Nokes dares to compare.
Sit yourself down and watch the sky go by. This video is a tonic.
A Movie A Day completes its run after 215 posts. Quint’s last entry is a look at the 1977 war epic A Bridge Too Far. The best thing about this series is the way it reminded me about not-quite-classic films I need to catch up on, and Quint’s choices have considerably bulked up my Netflix queue.
Now this is what I call a Dead Poets Society.
By general disacclaim, the wingnut comedy An American Carol was about as much fun as getting poked in the eye with a flaming stick. This DVD commentary track sounds like a wake without mourners.
For budding philosophers and Chinese scholars: A line-by-line comparison of 29 different translations of the Tao Te Ching.
Three Scottish universities, with the help of a bankroll from the Carnegie Trust, are setting up a massive Web site and digital research station dedicated to the works of Robert Louis Stevenson, a native son whose literary reputation has faded under the twin assaults of dwindling readership and bad Hollywood adaptations. Once established, the site will allow browsers and scholars to savor Stevenson’s advice in “An Apology for Idlers”: “There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty of being happy. By being happy, we sow anonymous benefits upon the world, which remain unknown even to ourselves, or when they are disclosed, surprise nobody so much as the benefactor. The other day, a ragged, barefoot boy ran down the street after a marble, with so jolly an air that he set every one he passed into a good humour; one of these persons, who had been delivered from more than usually black thoughts, stopped the little fellow and gave him some money with this remark: ‘You see what sometimes comes of looking pleased.’ If he had looked pleased before, he had now to look both pleased and mystified. For my part, I justify this encouragement of smiling rather than tearful children; I do not wish to pay for tears anywhere but upon the stage; but I am prepared to deal largely in the opposite commodity. A happy man or woman is a better thing to find than a five-pound note. He or she is a radiating focus of goodwill; and their entrance into a room is as though another candle had been lighted.”
Ephemeral New York describes the time that the Bronz Zoo once exhibited a human being.