The Sunset Limited

It takes only two or three hours to read, but it leaves one with a lifetime of contemplation. Or to put it more precisely, a contemplation of lifetime.

Sunset Limited

From the jacket:

A startling encounter on a New York subway platform leads two strangers to a run-down tenement where a life or death decision must be made.

In that small apartment, “Black” and “White,” as the two men are known, begin a conversation that leads each back through his own history, mining the origins of two fundamentally opposing world views. White is a professor whose seemingly enviable existence of relative ease has left him nonetheless in despair. Black, an ex-con and ex-addict, is the more hopeful of the men–though he is just as desperate to convince White of the power of faith as White is desperate to deny it.

Their aim is no less than this: to discover the meaning of life.

There Will Come Soft Rains

1984 Soviet Uzbekfilm Studio animation of Ray Bradbury’s post-apocalyptic story, “There Will Come Soft Rains.” This is courtesy of a posting on the H-Net List for Utopian Studies. Quite a creepy and moving little ten minute film set in the Allendale, CA of 2026.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “There Will Come Soft Rains “, posted with vodpod

All I Need

Here’s a wonderfully creative Radiohead video hitting on all the ambiguities of “need.” Most of the personal “need” in my life right now is very positive. I do, however, understand the pitfalls both personally and globally:

“All I Need”

I am the next act waiting in the wings
I am an animal trapped in your hot car
I am all the days that you choose to ignore

You are all I need
You are all I need
I am in the middle of your picture
Lying in the reeds

I am a moth who just wants to share your light
I’m just an insect trying to get out of the night
I only stick with you because there are no others

You are all I need
You are all I need
I am in the middle of your picture
Lying in the reeds

It’s all wrong
It’s all right
It’s all right
It’s all wrong
It’s all right
It’s all right
It’s all right

A Song for You

Leon Russell, Willie Nelson, and Ray Charles, but the song really gets goin’ when Ray hits the mic.

One More Cup of Coffee

The White Stripes making Dylan their own:

Watching the World Wake Up from History

Here’s another example of the psychological force of an Obama victory:

I talked with my Dad, Glenn, on the phone tonight for quite awhile. We have a lot in common lately, besides just the genes and all. He and I are both living in apartments by ourselves after longterm co-habitive relationships. And oddly enough, we’re both looking forward to the Obama presidency. I was shocked!

My Dad has previously been known to me in some respects as a very racist man, a good man, but the issue of race runs inside of him so deeply. He grew up in the foothills of the Ohio Appalachians, son of the authoritarian Pike County Sheriff and a amazingly lovely woman who died of colon cancer at the tender age of 36 sending his 15 year-old life into a violent whirlwind.

There is so much more to say regarding my father’s childhood, but for now it is important to note the role that racism plays in the Appalachian upbringing. The word nigger is thrown around without a second thought. I grew up much of my life in lower-end mixed race neighborhoods where the charged atmosphere of that word rang from him into me and out with me into the world. I instinctively knew that racism of that sort is wrong, and I fought against it every step, but it’s impossible not to absorb elements of your home life into yourself in one way or another. My own problems in dealing with race have led me into embarrassing misstatements, arguments, and actual fistfights, all of which are unique stories themselves and ones I will share at various points. But this moment is for something a little different: the paradigm shift in my father’s world.

Robert Glenn Snively, Sr., my somewhat racist father, has gone from verbally hatin’ on niggers to being proud that America elected Barack Obama. Some of this has been expected. My Dad has always been a deep-down good-hearted and complex individual. When I was growing up he could turn on a dime from racial tirades to rationalizing his relationship with one of his good black friends, Willy, or telling me about his army days in Germany where he lived in a ten-man bay with nine black men he considered his brothers. So yeah, some of it is not a surprise, but mostly it just blows my mind.

Dad came out to visit me in early June this year and was lamenting Hillary’s defeat because he couldn’t fathom the idea of a black president, “I never thought I would live to see the day.” But now, with this election, there has been a sea change in him. He likes Barack Obama and he expects good things from him.

2008 has certainly been a season of change.

I love you Dad. Here’s the perfect appendix, The Cobalt Season w/”Careful Not to Draw Your Maps in Pen & Ink”:

Race for the Prize

I wish all of you were with me right here and now. The trees in my backyard are being visited by flocks of birds—hundreds of dark squawking birds, moving in through the dusky sky, landing in my trees, and resting a bit. They’re so quiet until one calls out an “awk-awk-awk” and they rustle themselves up, shaking a buckeye rain loose as they fly away in swooping patterns.

Awestruck wonder! Very similar to one of the most joyous moments of my life: being drowned in confetti as this beautiful song raged on all around me. On three separate occasions.

Instinct, drive, and the “Race for the Prize” by The Flaming Lips:

(G)race into the Uncertain Divine

Twilight fades
Through blistered Avalon
The sky’s cruel torch
On aching autobahn
Into the uncertain divine
We scream into the last divide…

…it meant the world to hold a bruising faith
But now it’s just a matter of Grace

“To Sheila” – Smashing Pumpkins, 1998

Philippians 4:4-9

Words to live by and fall asleep to:

4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always: again I will say, Rejoice.

4:5 Let your forbearance be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.

4:6 In nothing be anxious; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

4:7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.

4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honorable, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

4:9 The things which ye both learned and received and heard and saw in me, these things do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

Time to Go Fishin’

I guess taking one Pierre Silber at bedtime does fly one back to Kansas, or in my case Ohio. Being a water sign (Pisces) from a water town (Port Clinton, OH), it’s sometimes hard living here in landlocked Lafayette. Thank God for the muddy brown Wabash. In case of emergency I can always take it down to the Ohio, which bleeds into the Mississippi, which bleeds into the Gulf, which bleeds into the World.

Fishing is a friendship zen kinda thing for me; it’s all company and calm, filled with bursts of intensity. Or not. Here’s Fishin’ with John, Episode 2. John Lurie with Tom Waits:

And some pics from the old hometown:

This here is Perry’s Monument and International Peace Memorial on South Bass Island in the village of Put-in-Bay, Puddin’ Bay in the local parlance. It was built to commemorate the whoopin’ Oliver Hazard Perry gave to the British during the War of 1812. You know, We have met the enemy and they are ours. Two ships, two brigs, one schooner and one sloop. On a clear day you can see over to the Canadian waters a few dozen miles away and the Canuck isle known as Pelee.

See the Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Plant at the back? I cut my teeth two miles east of there–about where the sun is going down–from the fifth grade to the final family fight. More later on that dangerous contraption and the somewhat reconciled, somewhat nuclear, family.

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