Sunday, November 22, 2009

Friday night I ate live octopus. I've been wanting to try it for awhile, but for whatever reason had not. The restaurant was an old Korean spot, in an especially dark and deserted part of Koreatown. I sat at the bar, with the aquarium that houses the dinner behind me.

When you order the octopus, with the recommended Hite beer, it's kind of like eating Korean sashimi anywhere else, in that they bring soy sauce, a jar of wasabi, and chili sauce, and sesame oil with salt. There's also a bunch of small plates-kimchee, peanuts, some sort of potato, apple salad that can't decide if it's sweet or savory. And then there's the octopus, writhing mindlessly around the plate, with some parts inching and inching closer to the edge to escape. I've never struggled more with a meal.

First, there's the task of simply getting the tentacle on your chopstick, which is occassionally more difficult if the tentacle chooses to use its suction cups to stick to the plate. Eventually I learned to pry it off with a spoon. Once you clamp it between the chopsticks, you may dip it in a sauce, at which point it usually falls into the sauce. Once you retrieve it, you hastily take it into your mouth where, once again, it uses its suction cups to slow the process. After a good bit of chewing, you forget about that scene in Old Boy and swallow. And it's actually really good, though to say it tastes remarkably different than dead octopus sashimi would be a stretch. Along the way, I shared a beer with the older gentleman who prepared my octopus, and made plans to bring my wife next time.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Forced to resign over facebook

This is a wild story, but somehow it seems completely plausible in Georgia. Do you think the teacher can make some dough in court? Barrow County must have something else on her.

The journalist kind of misses the point by harping on whether a teacher wrote the email or not. Seems like the more important issue is that it was written anonymously, and the teacher didn't seem to do anything unlawful.

Fox News: "the subtle altering of reality to sell a preconceived narrative"

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Dock Ellis:

this one goes out to AG, who loves this story:

the voiceover is Dock himself, telling the tale in an NPR interview last year at the age of 62 (only months before his passing). RIP, Dock. your legacy is secure is this legend.

he sounds like probably the coolest dude ever.

Monday, November 09, 2009


I saw Lars von Trier's "Antichrist" yesterday. For those who haven't heard, the basic plot (such as it is) is that, after the death of their infant son, Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourgh retreat to their cabin in the woods and proceed to inflict all sorts of emotional and physical trauma upon each other.

The movie debuted at Cannes about half a year ago. It was booed lustily at its initial screening and decried as a pretentious mess. There were also accusations of misogyny. In the film, Gainsbourgh is ostensibly less able to deal with her grief than Dafoe, a therapist, who appears to be the supposed voice of male reason. Gainsbourgh eventually comes completely unglued, and von Trier appears to be suggesting that unrestrained female sexuality is / can be a source of madness, or maybe even "evil." So critics were like, "time out! that shit's str8 misogynistic!"

Anyway, i saw it yesterday with about 8 other intrepid provincials. It's not mindblowing, but it is challenging and thought-provoking in the sense that, unlike, say, "The Informant," I felt like I had to sit down and talk about it over coffee afterward. It's also got some pretty unforgettable imagery--some of beautiful, some of it just plain disturbing, some of it beautiful and disturbing.

The accusations of misogyny are at least partly justified, I'd say. But so what? Von Trier was in the middle of a black depression during filming (see this avclub interview with Dafoe, at,34256/), and depression is oftentimes just anger turned inward. It's a rare occurrence for a director to be honest and courageous enough to show an audience his undiluted truth, however ugly and offensive, during a particularly troubled time. And in any event, von Trier is a known provocateur, so he could just be f_cking around.

I'd say go see it. I'd like to hear what you guys think. ::singsong voice:: It's got a talking fox and a clitoridectomy...

Movie Time

A Serious Man

I went to see a matinee showing of this movie and ended up sitting two rows in front of what appeared to be an outing from the local seniors' activity center. About a third of the way into it, some old man says to his wife, using his outside voice, "This movie is horrible. Seriously, are you enjoying this at all?"

Well, it's not horrible, in my opinion, but it's not top-notch Coen brothers either. That's not to say it doesn't have a lot to recommend it. It's got that great Coen brothers look, like Fargo or Lebowski, and there's a lot of their signature dark humor. The Coen brothers have called it their "Jew" movie, and they do basically turn the same eye on the chosen people that they did on Minnesotans in Fargo.

Still, it feels a little directionless. No so much as Burn After Reading, which seemed basically half-baked. For the Coen Brothers I'd give it a B-, above Burn or Lady Killers, but still way below their best.