Regarding the Sharkbite plumbing fittings I wrote about last week - I forgot to mention something. On the back of the package is written: "Illegal for use in California and Vermont." I guess the other 48 states have got it all wrong. What arrogance! But I'm hardly surprised... Vermont sends a socialist to the U.S. Senate, and California is dominated by anti-business liberals (which is why companies have been fleeing the state). The levels of personal liberty in those states is less than elsewhere.
I was reminded of this when I sent my friend Don - a Montgomery County, Maryland resident - a news article about the county shutting down some kid's lemonade stand. He responded by mentioning that on some list he saw, Maryland is considered one of the least free states in the union.
I watched an interesting and cool early "special effects" flick over the weekend, L'Inferno, a 1911 treatment of Dante's Inferno. (A youtube trailer is here.) It was pretty neat, given the severe limitations of technology back then. Overall, it was quite artistic. But I'm a bit surprised that there hasn't been a more recent treatment of the same material; visions of hell are not something you see very often in films, so it certainly has originality going for it. (Hollywood is too busy with its obsession with comic books, I guess.) It would certainly make for a vivid workout for CGI. I saw a 2007 animated (paper cut-outs) version of Dante's Inferno a few weeks ago that was creative but poorly scripted and politically biased - lame, overall.
A film treatment of Dante's Inferno may probably be artistically superfluous as long as Gustave Dore's engravings are available. They have been considered the definitive artwork for Dante's poem ever since they were released in the mid-19th century. They still look amazing (that's Dore's image for Charon, the ferryman to hell, above). I was first exposed to them (that is, Dore's engravings for the lines about a heavenly visitation) via their inclusion in an Old Farmer's Almanac in 1969. Even on smaller pages and restricted resolution I found them mind-blowing. Check out his interpretation for the Heavenly Host and the Empyrean (the highest heaven). Before there was expensive CGI in films, there was Gustave Dore.
I spent yesterday - Father's Day - scrubbing down my garage floor with an acid etch, getting it ready for an epoxy paint job which I'm hoping I can do sometime this week. I have the freezer located on my front porch and it looks awfully trashy. Problem is, the weather forecast is calling for storms all this week and a part of the garage pad is exposed to the elements. DRAT!
I am now reading The Lost Boys of the Bronx - the Oral History of the Ducky Boys Gang by James Hannon. I've just started, so right now it seems like much ado about nothing (especially compared to the last gang brawl I read about, the 1066 Battle of Hastings), teenagers hanging out. The stories about criminality follow in subsequent chapters. Turns out Ace Frehley of KISS was once a Ducky Boy - I didn't know that.
Unless you grew up in the Bronx in the Sixties you wouldn't know about the Ducky Boys unless you've seen a rather obscure but entertainingly good 1979 film called the Wanderers. In it, the Ducky Boys were depicted as a mysterious and murderous swarm of half-sized Irish teens. Needless to say, the real Ducky Boys weren't anything like this. When do films ever portray reality?
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