Quote of the Day

"Buzz, buzz."--Hamlet

The opinions, rants and absurdities expressed herein belong solely to the founder of RBPD. Read with caution. Content may induce nausea, confusion, vertigo, tears, hallucinations, anger, pity, reflexive piety, boredom, convulsions, lightheadedness, a fit of ague, or an opposing view.

Books by RBP writers: Round Bend Press Books. For RBP's writing and editing services go here.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Movie of the Week




Thank me later.


TS

Be Here Soon



I can't wait.


TS

Buddy's Synopsis

What if Buddy Dooley and an unnamed co-conspirator, the first-person narrator, simply took Portland over?

Or tried to.

They're community organizers and they're fed up.  They go place-to-place in the city to  work up the crowd--to foment revolution.

This would be like a sweeping historical epic in their minds; in reality they would drink too much Merlot and craft beer while meeting an assortment of resistors, lunatics and other archetypes.  They would advance, parry, retreat and reengage. Each new day would vaunt hope. Each evening despair.

They would bungle the job, of course, but learn a hard lesson. Mankind is disinterested--except regards each individual's search for salvation, or quest for wealth, or hunt for martyrdom.

Except in the cases of the do-gooders, who would join the revolt without question.

The reader would not know until the final curtain whether this is a dystopic or utopian vision--and maybe even then the tale's moral meaning would be elusive enough to confuse everybody.

Hmm...

I'd call it "A Delirious Catatonia."


TS

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Interview with KV, 1979

I promised myself last week that I would put Vonnegut down for a stretch, but I have failed.

This is the fault of Portland's Central Public Library near my pad.  All of Vonnegut has been reissued in recent years through the late-great author's family foundation and Dial Press, a subsidiary of Random House, and now the library is teeming with available Vonnegut.

As KV would have said, "Hi ho."

In the old days you couldn't check any Vonnegut out without placing long-list holds on the scant copies our beautiful old library held at the time.

God Bless You, Dial Press and the Vonnegut Family.

So I'm reading another that I didn't get to back in 1979--Jailbird.

This is KV's "Watergate novel," the story of a low-level Nixon appointee, a "Harvard man" assigned to keep a wary eye on America's youth during the Nixon reign.  He is rounded up with Nixon's other functionaries and does time--affording him the hours to reflect on how his dreams, and thus his life, came to ruination.

More of KV at his best, I must opine.

Here is an interview with Vonnegut from New York Public Radio, 1979.  It cuts off at 21:11, but is a good source nonetheless.


TS

Monday, February 24, 2014

Stone's History

I searched for Oliver Stone's Untold History of the United States more or less at random today because I didn't see the Showtime series (I don't have broadcast or cable TV) when it came out months ago, and I was curious about its current status.

Here's the entire series.  I would like to think this allowance resulted from a gentlemen's agreement between Stone and Showtime, an allowance designed to take advantage of an educational opportunity.

I could be wrong about that, but when I think about the intellectual property wars that regularly light up the Internet I must assume that Stone is uninterested in wringing out every ounce of profitability from his creation.

In other words, the message counts for something more than show biz here.

If this series is not being used in U.S. high-school classrooms throughout the country today, another grave injustice is being wrought by those more concerned with keeping alive the flames of American mythology than the intellectual lives of our children.

This project captures U.S. historicity and nuance better than anything I've seen in the documentary genre. (Don't bother to question my authority on this.  I am a historian, political scientist, writer, publisher, and all around great guy.)

While it has its flaws and gloss (things history students should talk about), I think this is the most important piece of work Oliver Stone has ever produced. The naysayers have called it a hatchet job on the U.S., scorning Stone as a rich Hollywood interloper, a fabulist, a sick and hypocritical socialist, or worse.

It's pretty sad when a real former warrior like Stone, who served in Vietnam, must go up against the sympathizers of the Bush/Cheney-influenced coterie of draft-dodging faux warriors who dominate conservatism in the U.S. in these times.

You know the types, right?  The guys with the thickest armament portfolios?

Communist sympathizers, Stalin's revisionist dupes, Henry Wallace bootlickers?  Is any of this in some manner more relevant or abhorrent than being William Kristol's errand boy?

Old Joe McCarthy would be proud of this piece, too.

The mythologists of U.S Exceptionalism, or dissenting historians? Can we have some history here without the tone-deaf ideologues of American virtue bleating their same-old songs?

I know whose version of history I'm going to believe.

BTW, you and I know GW Bush was too stupid and cowardly to fly an airplane in combat. That aircraft carrier-landing-w/codpiece-covering-limp-dick-photo-op when he announced the "Mission Accomplished" in Iraq was more Hollywood than anything Stone ever dreamed up.

History--what else--already bears that out.


TS

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Friday, February 21, 2014

Santa on the Scene

My goodness, I had lunch today with friends at Pho Jasmine in North Portland, and the anarchy that was spilled around that table was a thing to behold!

A thing of beauty.

Photographer Lee Santa is in town, visiting from his home in Sagle, Idaho to attend the Portland Jazz Festival this weekend. He brought another of his Portland friends, Michael, to our meeting.  Michael is working on a very clever children's book of photos and poetry that I'm interested in.

I hadn't seen Lee in person in decades, but people don't change that much.  We fluently picked up with our old, easy, humorous banter.

Lee gave me a copy of Transparency Records' three-disc set of the Sun Ra Arkestra recorded at the legendary Red Garter in NYC, in 1970. Many of Lee's photos of Sun Ra from that three-night session are included in the TR set, and are featured in his recently-published memoir, A Journey into Jazz.

He bought me lunch, after mentioning that I was somewhat grayer than the last time we visited.  What a guy!


TS

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Oregon on the Bubble


After a good run in last year's March Madness, where Oregon made it to the Sweet Sixteen and played eventual champ Louisville close, the Ducks have taken a step back this season.

This team misses Arsalan Kazemi, the Iranian Nuke, who was a force on defense and rebounding last year.

The Ducks are 17-8 after beating Washington Wednesday night, and once again looked skittish in doing it. Every game is a must-win game now, as Oregon blew game after game earlier in the season.

A low point was leading then No. 2 Arizona late a couple of weeks ago and letting the Wildcats off the hook by missing open jumpers and playing sloppily down the stretch.  It was another in a series of close games that Oregon could have won but for its ball insecurity when it counted.

A guard-oriented team that must rely on its outside shooting to compete, Oregon lacks consistency.  Its big-men are usually non-factors.

Hard to win without the big guys.  Oregon had two of them lined up for the season, but neither qualified academically.

We'll see, but I don't expect much to happen in the rush to March. One small advantage may be that Oregon has four of its last six at home.

However, it lost several it should have won at home this season, usually late with ball-handling mistakes and cold shooting, so I'm not sure home court is an advantage for this undersized team.


TS

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Stepping Down

I think his faith in Allah has won.  It's back to Iran and further study of the Koran.

Muqtada al-Sadr has quit the political struggle in Iraq.

Perhaps we should say, "for now."  He is still a young man with an enormous following.

Perhaps he'll rise from the ashes like Nixon.

In the end, by 2012, he was calling for moderation and peace after the Americans left.  Before that, for a decade, he was stuck between a rock and a hard place.  One thing is for certain, he helped turn the U.S. out of Iraq, finally.

Upon seeing the abuses dished out by the U.S. and proxy Paul Bremer's ill-advised and then bungled takeover of Iraq, he quickly turned against the occupation of his country.  Initially supporting the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, who had after all killed his father, al-Sadr was introduced to realpolitik and America's ulterior motives--not to mention its deadly naivete and hubris.

The Marines tried to kill him because his Mahdi Army was killing Marines.  Had the Marines not been in-country, following the commands of fools, that wouldn't have happened.

He made an uneasy truce with Nouri al-Maliki, but they can't stand each other.

Perhaps with the hope of peace in mind, he has disbanded the Sadrist Movement--again, "for now."

Patrick Cockburn's book on the subject of al-Sadr was engrossing, right up there with Nir Rosen's In the Belly of the Green Bird.

In fact, both of these journalists put the apologists and deniers for the U.S. invasion of Iraq to shame.  The corporate media, of course, had no idea who al-Sadr was initially--other than a "firebrand cleric."

A decidedly biased and easy branding, most of them stuck with it to the bitter end.


TS

Aquirre, the Wrath of God



According to film lore, Werner Herzog stole the 35mm camera used to film this from his old film school.

Convinced of his own genius, he viewed the theft as somewhat his divine right.  If he did not steal it, a great movie could not be made.

This was Herzog's third movie, and the first of five collaborations with Klaus Kinski.  Conceived in 1968, filmed in 1972, it was not released in the U.S. until 1977, which is when I first saw it at Portland's Cinema 21.

Herzog wrote the script in a couple of days, including during time on a long bus ride with his German futbol team. Location filming was spread over five weeks in the Andes and on Amazon tributaries.

The characterizations are in part based on historical figures from what little is known of the earliest Spanish explorations of the Amazon, but the story is purely Herzog's.

The real Aquirre did in fact survive beyond his actual reign of terror and was executed by authorities.

Gaspar de Carvajal's written account of a Spanish expedition inspired the story, though the priest lived to the ripe old age of 84.

This is without a doubt one of the best movies ever made.


TS

Emmylou and The Band



One of the best moments from The Last Waltz.  The entire production was great come to think of it.

Thanks to Lucas for reminding me of this.


TS

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Movement

Today, a generous author gave up a quarterly royalty check on one of his titles to benefit the continuation of this press and my effort to keep it going.

I want to thank Charles Deemer here for his largess and contribution to what we are trying to accomplish at Round Bend Press Books, for now and for the future.

In other news, Lee Santa's recent publication, A Journey into Jazz,  is selling in Europe and the U.S.  My congrats go out to Lee for his fine work, and may his good fortune continue.

I am amazed and pleased with everything.


TS

Microeconomics

I don't know exactly how it happened or why, but I have a hunch.

My pad didn't have hot water for the longest time.  I bitched and moaned, as I'm sure others in the apartment complex did. Then I personally got in the face of management.

What could they do?  I pay my rent on time.  I'm all class, though I'm certain they think I'm a measly malcontent and would love to jettison me.

I threatened to tell the city what was happening, and again, I'm sure others did as well.

The water now is scaldingly hot, especially fine for dishwashing--finally.

Who says bitching and regulations do not have a positive effect on the markets?

I pay my rent.  Why shouldn't I have hot water?  And you know something?  I don't give a damn how much more it is costing my landlord out of his fat pockets.

I suppose a rent increase is in the offering; if it's too much I'll bitch again.

It's all any mortal can do.


TS

Angell

Seth Prince in this morning's Oregonian suggested this, a good read by 93 year-old blogger Roger Angell.





TS

Monday, February 17, 2014

Cold Season


I had the flu last month, knocked me out for a week.

Now a cold has climbed aboard, watery eyes, sneezing, sinus drain--good solid fun.

With it comes no energy.

It's hard to even concentrate on a book.

I did manage to watch a movie today, however: No Country for Old Men.

Catch it ASAP, it won't be up long.


TS

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Chet




TS

Coming Together

Over two years in the making, my video adaptation of my memoir, A Marvelous Paranoia, is finally shaping up.

It's nice to be working on this project again.  It's a wild, freewheeling adaptation. (Note: I didn't say the video will be as good as the book.)

All of the things I've thought about over the months are coming true. The story's essence is solid.  The language that separates a video narrative from a written memoir is inherently different...

I wrote my book in weeks. It's funny that an adaptation that I can live with has taken so much longer.

Well, since I work for myself, what difference does it make?


TS

Design

This is sort of funny, a tech riddle.

The old Blogger design tools don't have a "red" option for the header characters.  I really wanted to use red in the new workup of this blog's header--but alas it is impossible.

When I made my new website, Round Bend Press Books, the color red was an option.  Given my predilection for a black template with strongly contrasting color--red being the most obvious choice--I was pleased we had finally arrived as a truly mobile design team--Google and I, like a glove and fist.

So the green on the header here is purely Blogger's dominion, the best I could achieve in contrast, an old remnant of tech.  If I could turn it to red to match the new website, I would in an instant.

For what it's worth.


TS

Saturday, February 15, 2014

RP Thomas/Tex's Tavern






















The photog grabbed this one in Arbuckle, CA.


TS

Editing Detritus

Been working all day on video editing.

Of all the things I'm interested in doing with my art, this comes the hardest.  In a lot of ways, it just boils down to making decisions--how long to stay with an image, inter-cutting scenes, where to use ambient sound, etc.

One thing is for certain.  I haven't had enough practice at it.  I'm a mudder, unsure whether I want to run against the rail or go wide.  It's like chess in that regard.  There are too many possible moves for the beginner. And, as with chess, some moves are better than others as the game progresses.

All of this after you think you may have written a decent script, which I still haven't done for a certain video project.

And, of course, the images themselves are not as good as you'd like them to be.

There's truly an art to this.  I admire anyone who does it well.

What I have come up with so far is--you guessed it--detritus.

Well that is, after all, why we've gone with the new name.


TS

Friday, February 14, 2014

Name Change

I got to thinking.  This is obviously a blog, so why am I calling it Round Bend Press Blog?

I've determined a more appropriate name is in order.

So here it is:  Round Bend Press Detritus.  From now on, do not refer to this as a blog.  It is, finally and certainly, detritus.

What I like most in this name, beyond its descriptive power, is the rough rhyme in press/detritus, with the o-u metronomic in "round" heightened, which is just the poet in me being very, very clever.  No big deal.  I'm used to it, as painful as it often is.

Oh, and that it better separates what I do from what the esteemed authors who publish under RBP's banner do, which if you went here and purchased their stuff you would know--not to wreck your malaise.

And finally, through a purely aesthetic accident, you can now read the name on the masthead without squinting or wondering what the hell it says.


TS

Valentine



This one goes out to all of you on Valentine's Day.


TS

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Mother Night

I've been on a Vonnegut kick of late.  I read a bio of the author, who died in 2007, and I've gone back and reread, or read for the first time, many of his books.

Slaughterhouse-Five is generally considered his best work, but I tend to disagree.  I know it was the massive bestseller from 1969 and sealed both his commercial and critical success, but it's not my favorite at all.

One of the first books by KV that I read years ago was Mother Night. I'd forgotten until picking it up recently how damn good that book is. He wrote it in 1961.

Most of KV has its occasional charms, but the entire canon isn't dazzling in the least.  I didn't enjoy my first runs at Slapstick or Timequake here recently; in fact I ended up browsing through both of them.

I liked Deadeye-Dick, one I'd ignored for too long.  I didn't reread Bluebeard in this go-around, but I have fond memories of that one as well.

God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater was a hoot when I first read it and remains so.

There are a few out there that I have yet to get to, but I need a break for now.

But damn, Mother Night...it's the real deal.  I'm not alone in this opinion either.  Check out the community reviews at the link below.

In his Introduction to the reissue of this book in 1966, KV wrote: "This is the only story of mine whose moral I know.  I don't think it's a marvelous moral; I simply happen to know what it is.  We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be."

Remember the story?  If you've forgotten or have never tried it, do it.

In 1996 the book was turned into a fine movie with Nick Nolte.


TS

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Three














































There were three I liked in this series.


TS

Lamentation

Sometimes I can't believe I've finished a single project--and I haven't finished many--given my undisciplined nature.

Within the past six months I've started two novels, a screenplay, and a book of poetry.  Yet I cannot seem to concentrate on any of them long enough to complete drafts that might be preludes to the actual work of rewriting and polishing the manuscripts.

Fuck selling them.  I'd just like to get the damn work done, to make something real.

When I do look at these latest efforts I feel like I'm walking through a vast swamp of quicksand--and sinking. Some factors that contribute to this: my aforementioned lack of discipline, the depression which feeds my undisciplined work ethic, my anger, and not knowing what it is I'm doing--or why.

That's pretty rough terrain--a definition of writer's block? Insanity?

I was never cut out for this business, I think.  I should have developed something else when I was younger.

I always dreamed of becoming a writer, didn't really think of much else; unfortunately I've never been capable of managing that dream or turning it into a satisfying reality--except on rare occasions.

The idea of being a writer rather than ideas themselves drove me--which is ass-backwards, a product of silly, modern romanticism.

Hell is being my age and knowing you blew it.  It's also knowing that if I quit today I'd be dead within a year. I'm not saying that won't happen anyway--just that it would be a certainty after the fact of quitting.

My best writing is comedic.  So where is my sense of humor lately?

Wait a sec here.  I don't know if my best writing is comedic at all. I don't know anything.


TS

Monday, February 10, 2014

Pepper Bio




TS

Jim Pepper




TS

Notes on the New Utopians

Many among them are phony and know the facts.

Others are pure Utopians who believe what they're saying, that markets will save the world.

Markets have done swell at times, but the best ones have been controlled and regulated.

The New Deal wasn't a joke.

The few would have been content if it had never happened.

An entire generation and its children and their children think otherwise.

Conservatives, under their snake skins, are Utopians.

Utopia is a dream where the money is held and caressed like a lover.

Get real, greed rules, not some utopian color.


TS 

Peace

Within the past 20 hours this blog has had visitors from:

Chile
South Africa
Ireland
South Korea
United Kingdom
France
Mexico

Hello everybody!


TS

Turning Ugly

















Plowed snow, S.W. 12th Ave., Portland

TS

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Terence Connery/Silence























Terence Connery is a television director/photographer
living in Portland, Oregon.


TS

RP Thomas






















Thomas:  "Shot this with a circa 1936 to 1941 Rolleiflex TLR camera. Same camera that Vivian Maier shot with. Uses medium format film. Taken at Billings farm...Ashland. 1958 Ford farm truck."

See more by RP Thomas.


TS

When it Snows, Read

Unless you are a skier or healthy enough to engage in a snowball fight with the kids next door, you're pretty much consigned to staying indoors in Portland this weekend.  The whole town has shut down.

The rich are stuck in the hills, snowed in.  The poor are struggling to get here and there on a bus system that seems to have collapsed.

The trains are daunted.

There is but one thing to do, and that is catch up on your reading.

Marxism is given the hot and cold treatment here.

Clive James on Robert Frost here.

E.B. White escaped New York and settled in Maine. Why?

Why are poets such thieves?  Ruth Graham takes a crack at it here.

A positive review of Barry Miles' new bio of William S. Burroughs.

Okay, I'm already tired of doing your work for you.  Simply go here and read every word.


TS

Friday, February 7, 2014

Street Corner Talkin'



Charles Lucas and Buddy Dooley take a walk.  Shot with my Bloggie.

TS

Portland Snow



A Buddy Dooley video.  Shot with my Bloggie.

TS

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Values

Yeah, dammit, what this guy says.

I read a Kurt Vonnegut bio not long ago.  KV's older brother, Bernard, didn't understand why Kurt bothered to write books. The brother was an accomplished scientist, which is what KV wanted to be as a youngster before figuring out he didn't have the chops.

The older brother was amazed in the end that Kurt made as much money at it as he did--literally millions. That didn't make him like the books or see any value in them--just caused him to be amused.

What most Americans seem to lack is a sense of balance.

Money trumps everything.  If you're indifferent to making a ton of cash and willing to settle for survival and the world of the arts, you are relegated to a form of second-class citizenship.

The indifference of others to your art can be soul-wrecking if you let it be.

Any artist worth his beans attacks the status quo in return, for that is the artist's only path to salvation.  To fight back, to embarrass those who would denigrate or destroy him, is the only reasonable thing to do.


TS

What Snow?

It's supposed to snow in Portland today.

I'll believe it when I see it.

ED:  I believe it, but trace amounts so far.



TS

On Treme

This New Orleans writer explains why Treme, which closed out its 3.5-year run in December, was such great television.

I agree with his assessment that the series didn't reach the dizzying heights of The Wire because of its lack of overall character development, but that is small potatoes when considering its analysis of Katrina's impact on the lives of New Orleanians.

It's telling that the first season became must-see television for the citizens of New Orleans, but that the sheen soon faded  away as the series became a constant reminder of the storm's devastation and nearly insurmountable personal costs.

New Orleanians who lived through it don't need to be reminded; the rest of us should go back to this work of art many times to absorb its messages.


TS 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Favorite























Dooley's "Terraces"

TS

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Published/Lee Santa

Lee Santa's A Journey into Jazz:  Anecdotes, Notes and Photos of a Jazz Fan has finally arrived.

Highly recommended to jazz and photography fans.

See more about this new arrival at Round Bend Press Books.

TS

Monday, February 3, 2014

Hiatt/DeLange



TS

Looking Back

Charles Lucas is always digging up good stuff.

I hadn't seen this, likely because I was engaged in a long nap when it came out.

But as I aver, ever is better than never.

TS

Fassbinder



For your viewing pleasure.

Thank me later.


TS

Oh, My

In the U.S., the President is King.  Just look at the big house he lives in.

So why would our King submit to an interview with a hack like Bill O'Reilly?

Nothing good could come of it.  And don't try to tell me FOX is the banner of the "ordinary American."  It just isn't.

TS

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Pot



In no way do I associate the use of pot with heroin.  Let's be clear about that.


TS

Damage Done

It was terribly sad for me to hear of Philip Seymour Hoffman's death today.

To hear the story, that he was clean for over two decades and picked up the needle once again--that is just overwhelming.

He was a great artist, what a fucked up situation.

TS

Stupor Bowl

I gave up on it with the recitation of the Declaration of Independence.

Boys--and they were all boys--if you cannot see the irony of your deceit, you are missing the point.

A new low by a cadre of chumming fools.

What a disaster. What an embarrassment.  How ordinary.

This writer from SB Nation seems to get it--partially.

TS