Yard sales kind of sucked this past Saturday morning... I got two books, one I paid a buck for for a friend, the other free. That's it. C'mon, people!
In the afternoon I traveled up to D.C. to tour the Smithsonian Portrait Gallery and American Museum of Art, and, as is my creative wont these days, I made some videos:
A Visit to the Hall of Presidents - (almost eleven minutes) You get some of my half-baked political commentary. My Numero Uno is Abe Lincoln, I think.
Hiram Powers Busts and Sculptures (3 1/2 minutes) - These should be better known than they are. They are exquisite. Perfection in marble. Lovely. The most beautiful women in D.C., when my wife isn't in town.
Some Civil War Art (about two minutes) - I love those John Rogers figures. I've seen them elsewhere and have always admired them. I wish I owned one.
Sollie 17 (2 minutes) - I have seen a number of works about aging, but this is the one which pushes my buttons. (I have blogged about it before.) When I'm really depressed I envision myself forced to live like this in my final years. It kind of reminds me of a place I knew when I was a kid, the Burbank Hotel for Men. I always envisioned the interior looked like this... I'm pretty sure I've seen that bleak view outside the man's window in a film noir at some point.
I also watched some movies this past weekend:
Heartless (2009) - An urban horror film about a young man with a birthmark on his face who makes a Faustian deal and finds that Satan breaks the rules. Not a bad film, but still, at the end I wondered "Why did I bother watching this?"
Back to the Future II (1989) - Good. I enjoyed it. Almost as good as the original, which I saw and liked when it came out in 1985. It only took me 23 years to see the sequel. On that schedule I suppose I'll see the third installment when I'm 79, in 2035.
Alfie (1966) - A better film than I thought it would be. (Mercifully, Shelly Winters' scenes are few. I can't stand her.) Still, listening to Michael Caine in this for an hour and a half makes me wonder about the GEICO Gecko. Is he supposed to be a cockney or an Australian? The GEICO people refuse to say. He sounds like he's doing an imitation of Michael Caine, so I suppose he's a cockney.
Himalaya (1999) - An excellent, classy film about a yak drive, and about a power struggle within a Nepalese village. Roger Ebert makes the point that it seems inconceivable that people still live the way these people do, but apparently that's the case. As least I think it is - this film isn't given a year for when the action occurs. An epic production with gorgeous scenery.
My Best Fiend (1999) - An entertaining Werner Herzog documentary about the difficult relationship between himself and his raging, half-crazy star Klaus Kinski. They somehow managed to work on five films together; the wonder is that one of them didn't murder the other. There are some amazing tales told during the course of this film. On one shoot (Aguirre? Fitzcarraldo? I forget), which took place in the Amazonian jungle, one Indian extra was bitten on the foot by a deadly snake whose venom was especially toxic and invariably fatal. The Indian looked at his foot for a moment, then took a large machete and sliced off his foot before the venom had a chance to kill him. Well... that's the story Herzog told, anyway. Made an impression on me, I can tell you. Another anecdote: Kinski's screaming rages upset the Indian extras working on the set, who were gentle and quiet folk. The chief among them approached Herzog one day and offered to murder Kinski for him. Herzog's response was typical: "How then would I finish the film?"
There are some scenes where Kinski - a first order egotist - is on the set, raging in a Hitleresque fashion at some poor set manager... incredible. What a creep. (Video segment.) Herzog said that it was common to have Kinski in his face screaming for an hour or so.
Herzog shows a scene from Fitzcarraldo where Jason Robards and Mick Jagger (who were originally cast for the film but later replaced when Robards developed health problems) are in a bell tower, madly ringing a bell. It's okay. The same scene, however, with Kinski, is a completely different matter - much more powerful. He was a raging lunatic... but in some parts in some movies, a raging lunatic is absolutely right for the role.
My grandchild still hasn't arrived and so Cari has extended her stay in Utah; she now returns on the 19th. Bachelor Hall continues its slow and inexorable progress to complete entropy. Yesterday something in the fridge started smelling bad. I couldn't determine exactly what it was until I started to prepare the chicken sausages... yowser. Into the trash. In the process of smell testing the freezer I dumped all the frozen peach slices on the kitchen floor. Threw those out, too.
I bought a used treadmill over the weekend. I can thereby continue my walking regimen during the hottest and most humid days in the air conditioned comfort of my basement. I like walking.
1.) I once read that walking gives you most of the cardio and fat burning benefits of jogging, but without the high impact on the joints.
2.) All you need to walk is a reasonably good pair of sneakers.
3.) On a treadmill you can read a book while walking.
4.) John West Haley - my literary Civil War veteran hero of the 17th Maine - was an avid walker later in life and lived to be an old man.
5.) It was the cardio-vascular exercise of choice for my farmer ancestors.
So walk I will.
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