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Monday links

  • A most marvelous obituary. (Via JDZ at Never Yet Melted, which today also offers — you gotta hand it to the Internet — a recipe for a previously fictional, but highly useful, survival food.)
  • Google Glass and facial-recognition apps. Not completely evil yet, but how long before they get there? (H/T MJR)
  • I love movies. So of course I loved the talent and quirky presence of Philip Seymour Hoffman. Hoffman, you ass, how could you die in such a damn, stupid, entirely avoidable way? Two good articles on his admirable talents here and here.
  • Gun control: “Un-American and anti-Negro.” The Dutchman finds treasure and truth in a American Rifleman article.


  1. Bear
    Bear February 3, 2014 10:07 am

    And who can possibly forget Hoffman’s brilliant narration of the Bloomberg/MAIG anti-gun cartoon? No doubt his unfortunate death was part of a truly inspired bit of performance art intended to highlight the dangers of drug abuse, with overdoses killing more people than the firearms he hated.

    Fact is, until he did his bit for the Mayors Facing Gun Charges, followed by his timely contribution to Darwinism, I’d never heard of the guy. I’ve now seen pictures of him, and don’t recognize him. I think I’ve heard of one or two movies he was supposedly in, but I don’t recall him (nor much about the movies themselves).
    I will admit to being amused by something that popped in a news aggregator: Amidst several headlines regarding Hoffman’s unlamented (by me) passing, some smartass with a sense of humor similar to mine inserted a piece from last year- “Hoffman completes detox”.

    Sure did. [grin]

  2. Claire
    Claire February 3, 2014 11:02 am

    Bear — Yes, he was an anti-gunner. Nevertheless, he was an amazing actor and if you read the articles behind the links you might discover that one reason you barely recognize him is that he could disappear so completely into the roles he played.

    For my part, I have to not worry about the politics and bad personal habits of movie people. ‘Cause if I let their personal idiocy stop me from enjoying their art I’d never be able to watch a single movie.

  3. LarryA
    LarryA February 3, 2014 11:08 am
  4. Bear
    Bear February 3, 2014 11:20 am

    Claire, I don’t recognize him because he disappeared into roles in movies that likewise disappeared from my consciousness. Of the flicks I’ve heard of, I’ve tried watching some, but don’t think I could finish any of them. They were drivel. YMM — and obviously does — V. Sure, he got a Best Actor Oscar. And Obama got a Nobel Peace Prize.

    I don’t always worry about the politics of actors, directors, or producers. But when they use their professional positions to advocate violating rights (Spielberg editing guns out of ET, Hoffman performing in a victim disarmament propaganda piece worthy of Leni Riefenstahl), then I tend to discount any value they might have had.

  5. Claire
    Claire February 3, 2014 11:31 am

    “… then I tend to discount any value they might have had.”

    That’s your right and your choice. Since you speak as somebody who doesn’t appear to be very interested in movies in the first place, it’s an easy judgment for you to make.

  6. Water Lily
    Water Lily February 3, 2014 11:44 am

    I wonder who will replace PSH in the rest of the Hunger Games movies?

    We love movies as well and we enjoyed PSH’s talent. So sad to see him go so young.

    I like the Lembas recipe, it sounds pretty good. I may try it but I’ll use almond or rice flour instead of wheat.

    I loved that obit. It made my day. Thanks.

  7. Bear
    Bear February 3, 2014 12:06 pm

    Claire: ” Since you speak as somebody who doesn’t appear to be very interested in movies in the first place…”

    Where did you get that idea? (The movies on the hard drive are a little tougher to photograph.) Granted, I tend to read more than I watch flicks (and my book library is larger), but I do watch movies. Mostly I watch SF, fantasy, comedy, action/adventure because my real life already involves a lot of sitting around talking and emoting; I really don’t need to buy a movie to do more of that. It’s escapism.

  8. Kevin Wilmeth
    Kevin Wilmeth February 3, 2014 12:13 pm

    It’s too bad that acting brilliance so often collides with truly jaw-dropping inflation of both individual and collective self-importance. So much so that it’s actual “man-bites-dog” news when it doesn’t. And of course, in a society that continues to insist on “the political means”, it’s not much of a stretch to recognize that there is much value in propaganda by the (nearly literal) professionals. I would guess it really doesn’t require all that much ego-stroking to get the puppets to perform on cue.

    Yet, like Claire, I love the art in movies, wholly aside from (all) the celebrity shenanigans that the political system purposely inflates into actual importance. I found Hoffman’s performances to be pretty impressive, in the main, and it seems a shame to have lost that. Not entirely surprising, of course; history abounds with more than enough stories of the-tortured-artist to drive many to wonder if a supernatural force is at work there.

    Hm. Maybe the “torturer” is really nothing more than the political system under which an artist works, doing one of the few things it does well? Just a thought. 🙂

  9. Claire
    Claire February 3, 2014 3:40 pm

    LarryA — Sorry I didn’t say it earlier, but whew! Thanks for the links. I had heard of the book but paid no great attention to it. Guess I should — and I’ll start with your URLs.

  10. Andrew
    Andrew February 9, 2014 2:11 pm


    “Leonard Smith hated pointless bureaucracy, thoughtless inefficiency and bad ideas born of good intentions. He loved his wife, admired and respected his children and liked just about every dog he ever met. He will be greatly missed by those he loved and those who loved him. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you cancel your subscription to The New York Times.
    Leonard Smith would have thought that this obituary was about three paragraphs too long.”

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