January 25th, 2005

Tip-Top or Tapped Out?

I can't figure out if I'm feeling dramatically better or appreciably worse. The full moon's pull is so overwhelming that I can't tell what's lurking beneath the excitation it inspires. Who ever would have guessed that I'd become as loony as my wife and wildcats?
  • Current Music
    The blower outside my office window

"Mow, mow, mow your beau. . ."

For all those who love the smell of newly cut grass, I present Andrew Marvell, "The Mower's Song":
My mind was once the true survey
Of all these meadows fresh and gay,
And in the greenness of the grass
Did see its hopes as in a glass;
When Juliana came, and she
What I do to the grass, does to my thoughts and me.

But these, while I with sorrow pine,
Grew more luxuriant still and fine,
That not one blade of grass you spied,
But had a flower on either side;
When Juliana came, and she
What I do to the grass, does to my thoughts and me.

Unthankful meadows, could you so
A fellowship so true forego,
And in your gaudy May-games meet,
While I lay trodden under feet?
When Juliana came, and she
What I do to the grass, does to my thoughts and me.

But what you in compassion ought,
Shall now by my revenge be wrought:
And flow'rs, and grass, and I and all,
Will in one common ruin fall.
For Juliana comes, and she
What I do to the grass, does to my thoughts and me.

And thus, ye meadows, which have been
Companions of my thoughts more green,
Shall now the heraldry become
With which I will adorn my tomb;
For Juliana comes, and she
What I do to the grass, does to my thoughts and me.
I suppose I should fear the newly shorn lawn, given my various allergies. But I remember the Pennsylvania twilight too well, when the passage from light to dark lasted longer than it had any right too and my footsteps traced imaginary baseball games amid the blades that would not be scooped, evidence of a ritual slaughter all the sweeter for its savagery.
  • Current Music
    take a wild guess!

The Ascendancy of A.O. Scott

In our film-fixated household, New York Times critic and onetime Bad Subjects contributor -- a frustrated one, alas -- A.O. Scott has gradually become the planet we are most likely to let our minds orbit around. Not a week goes without a few "A.O. Scott said ______ " conversations. And Kim and I both single his prose out for praise on a regular basis. When it comes to deciding whether we actually want to see a particular film, though, Scott has to share top-billing with San Francisco Chronicle critic Mick Lasalle. As Kim said the other day, while we contemplated Scott's dismissal of the remake of Assault on Precinct 13 alongside Lasalle's effusive praise for it, "Mick Lasalle is more of a genre person." Sometimes she's in a genre mood -- more often than I am -- and sometimes not. Deciding whether to prioritize Scott's advice or Lasalle's is a matter of determining what mood we're in. Anyway, in his piece critiquing the Oscar nominations that came out today, Lasalle did something pretty unusual for a mainstream film critic: he discussed a piece by his rival Scott on Sideways, the same one Kim referenced recently. I think this is a sign that Scott may have made the leap to another level of fame. He's no Pauline Kael, obviously. But he is becoming a somebody independent of the paper he writes for. More power to him. But check out Mick Lasalle too. He's been doing a great job for a long time.
  • Current Music
    Two-Headed Boy Part 2 - Neutral Milk Hotel - In The Aeroplane Over The Sea