Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Who Get It (Do You Make the Most of Your Sleepless Nights, Does it Matter)

Realistically cigarettes should be sold in packs of five for twenty dollars a piece. Temper tantrums are like protests. Attention and results may follow but victory remains out on the horizon. Squiggly lines are not more interesting than straight ones. I read a piece of paper at a friends house that I shouldn’t have. It was a poem. There was one sentence about not spending time with people who are not excited to see you. That’s part of my memory. 
Sometimes the margin between success and failure is razor thin. A failure can become an eventual success. This is common knowledge. The blueprint for navigation from failure to success is not deep in a cave somewhere or hidden in a high security vault. Although it is. Simple things. "An object in motion stays in motion. An object at rest stays at rest." 
You can touch my radio. But be confident and play something appropriate for the moment. If you are not in tune with the moment do not suggest a vibe. Otherwise the choice between which frequency to tap into is something each individual is perfectly capable of bumbling through on their own. 
There was a funny moment once in a movie written by the guy who was Dave Chappelle’s co-writer. It’s about a car dealership. There’s a DJ who works at the dealership to help attract business. At random moments, otherwise known as the perfect ones, he spins just the right tune for the moment. Towards the end someone requests a song. They comment on how he always plays the wrong songs at the wrong moments. The DJ quietly whispers to himself ‘I will never play what you want me to play.’ Then spins another completely random tune for the moment. That is somehow perfect. 
It’s easy to say out loud what tastes bad about something. It is more difficult to actually figure out how to make something taste good. One of the effects of statistics being incorporated into everything is that the data will start to become less significant the more it is followed. At a certain point, in certain cases, this leads to doubt. The doubt exists because of the success. But it can still defeat it. 
Things snap together as they pass. Connections are easier to draw with more information. The weight of that information can become a challenging load to carry. There are points beyond that. They are embarrassing. What embarrassing means to me is it causes me to take a moment to think about what I’ve done wrong. Process how I feel about it. Then begin to make an effort to move forward. Choosing between right and wrong is an old question. Being a good liar is more important than that question or in being either. That’s what some books say. Some people think.
"Men have imagined republics and principalities that never really existed at all. Yet the way men live is so far removed from the way they ought to live that anyone who abandons what is for what should be pursues his downfall rather than his preservation; for a man who strives after goodness in all his acts is sure to come to ruin, since there are so many men who are not good."  

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

BFF, Soulmate, Legend

It was four in the morning. My eyes were wet with uncontrollable tears. Each time the emotions hit me it felt like I was performing for an invisible audience. When I became aware of this feeling I’d try to stop my crying only to realize each time that these tears were real tears and they were going to form out of my eye socket then roll down my face whether I liked it or not.
I pulled at the sub zero fridge handle until the suction let loose. Scanned the contents. I almost never eat cream cheese. There is always cream cheese. And lemonade. A pad of ground beef. A steak. Leftover sriracha/oyster/soy sauce mixed in a dipping cup. So many sauces. So many sodas.
I decide on coca cola and a glass of ice. The can I grab says Legend on it where it should say Coca Cola. I stare at it. Look at the three other cans of red. I wonder if they all say Legend.
I set the Legend back in the fridge and pick up another can. This one says Soulmate. I hold the can for a minute. Deciding if I want to be a soulmate or a legend.
I look at the third can. Twist it. It says BFF. That leaves me standing in front of the open fridge for three minutes trying to decide what I wanted most: to be a BFF, to be a Soulmate or to be a Legend. It is a difficult and complicated decision that will be decided by which can I choose.
The ice in the glass has sweat now. That will make me lose out on that optimal first sip where the fizzy cola hits the fresh frozen ice and lets off that spicy sugar gas. I get a new cup with new ice and walk downstairs with all three cans.
One by one I drink the cans. No sip quite as good as the first. By the time the Legend is being finished what’s left of the ice is tiny slivers. The rest of the glass gets forced down and I pick up the can. There is one swig left. It is room temperature and flat. I force it down and wash it away with a fresh cigarette.
The cigarette gets finished in bed. The butt gets dropped in an empty water bottle. One of five that rest in the place where most beds have a second person. The cap twists shut and the bottle is set back where someone’s head should be. Should have drank water. I look at the empty space and shiver from the cold. The blankets have not warmed me yet. Who is keeping her warm right now? Why not me.
Mike and Mike are on ESPN talking about Josh Gordon being high and domestic violence and switches. A guy making $10 billion a year for his company is not doing his job right. There are no plans for today. There is nothing on the horizon. It’s ok though, I still let my eyes close. The light fades away. The sound of the tv replaced by racing thoughts.  My face squinches together tightly. The rims of my eyes get wet. I gasp on a little air and sleep.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The James Harden Trade or Why Bill Simmons is Not a General Manager Yet

I’ve recently begun the horrible process of becoming a grown up. Begun could be the wrong word. It’s the sort of thing that starts on it’s own. For a drug user and part time drunk like myself the recognition comes a step slow, if at all.
Sometimes I am able to see things very clearly. For the most part what I am seeing is a diluted experience that differs from the people around me who live differently, as well as the people around me who live the same way. That can lead to easy disregarding which I am familiar with. Frankly I deserve it most of the time. Sorting through nonsense is difficult time consuming work. Unfortunately our culture has built itself around a need to sort through nonsense in order to navigate the cogs of the machine.

Say you work in the National Basketball Association. For a fan they think of you as Lebron James and Kevin Durant. Tim, Kobe, Shaq, Michael, Magic, Larry, Kareem, Julius, Wilt and Bill. The logo. How many corporations are able to pull off having one of their employees in action serve as their inspiring logo? Obama, the NBA and the european vacuum guy on TV.

But seriously say you work for the NBA. The foundation of your outlook on the professional basketball is different. To an employee the NBA is a business where one of the owners is about to decide whether he wants to give three hundred million dollars to three thirty year old players. The implications of that are very serious and revealing about the current state of the sport.

First off, let’s get the sports writer rhetoric out of the way. Lebron James is showing his first signs of getting tired and beyond that fed up with Dwayne Wade’s rest habits. Wade is resting because he can’t play an 82 game season along with a deep playoff run anymore. Chris Bosh was maybe never worth a max deal on this kind of team or any team. But for some reason the way things work all three of these guys are locks to get max contracts…if they want it.

Fans like to believe that it is about contending. Therefore each team as well as the Association itself has to make an effort to convince their respective fan bases that they are trying to do everything they can to contend. That leads to moments like the Heat are in right now. If Mickey Arison, the owner of the team, hands out three hundred million dollars to his ‘big three’ it sends a few very clear messages. First is that he is making so much money with the current team that he can afford to commit sixty million dollars a year for five years straight to three guys who are on the back 9 of their careers. That’s fascinating in a league where even the wealthiest teams routinely make salary dumping moves. That leads us to an interesting detour but a necessary one in order to reach a conclusion.

In order to ensure the illusion of competitive balance the league has a salary cap and a hard cap and a luxury tax and a mid level exception and so on. What this does is create a false sense of equality and also sets a ceiling on how nuts all these billionaires can go trying to win the worlds biggest board game. Kind of. Unless you’re the Nets. Or any big market team who decides they want to project an image of contention by loading up on high priced low value assets.

That’s where the interesting questions start. Once upon a time Kevin Garnett smashed the ceiling on contracts given to professional athletes. At the time he was full of promise but also had major questions still unanswered. This was not giving Mike Trout a hundred million to avoid arbitration after back to back mvp caliber seasons. This moment was basically unprecedented. Garnett had promise but he was still just part of the pack of a dominant generation of big men who demanded to be power forwards. Part of this had to do with the presence of Shaq. Part of it had to do with the evolution of the NBA to a more european style. Part of it was just stubborn young men who were handed mass amounts of cash for their potential at playing a game well. What never struck me as a youngster watching those guys was the fact that the guy paying all of them had to be making a whole lot more than any individual player was. That’s the nature of business. There are tiers of who gets paid. The top is ridiculous gigantic numbers. The middle is still big but more digestible numbers. The low is minimum wage college graduate level salaries.

That is key. Most people would consider the lowest paid NBA players to be the ones who represent the low end of the wages. In reality the lowest paid employees are the people who make low salaries to do the kind of work it takes to run a team that fans rarely think about. Think assistants and janitors and the guys who collect the sweaty shit to wash. That means the highest paid players and coaches are at the top end of the middle group of who gets paid. Twenty four million dollars is a lot for Kobe Bryant. For the Buss family it is essentially a tax write off for all the Kobe swag they are going to push during the next couple years.

Who knows exactly what the Heat will do and what it really means about the current state of the NBA. Because it hasn’t happened yet. Something very important already did play out that leaves a very clear impression on the goals and challenges of owning and operating a professional basketball franchise in america at the highest competitive level.

The Oklahoma City Thunder traded James Harden to the Houston Rockets. It happened two days before the start of the 12-13 season. The widely reported reasoning was Thunder management grew impatient with Harden’s request for one night to think about an offer of roughly four million dollars per year less than what he was potentially worth on the open market.

That became the narrative. Along with people blasting OKC for giving up on a trio that had already been to the finals before any of them turned 25 years old. For pure fans of the sport the feeling was that of being cheated. In their vision the Thunder would be a perennial contender for the next five years. A home grown big three by a disciple of RC Buford, the legendary Spurs general manager. For fans of the game there was no team more pure. The potential was limitless in ones imagination.

The reality was that Kevin Durant was a transcendent scorer determined to round out the rest of his game and reach whatever his potential may be. Russell Westbrook had as much raw talent and as high of a ceiling as a professional athlete can have. And James Harden was a shooting guard built from a blueprint for success. Together the three of them covered the weakness of each other. Together they were more powerful than they could possibly be apart. Everyone was always going to wonder what they would have done by themselves. The Thunder decided that everyone was going to wonder what they would have done together. The question left is why?

In some ways everything is too big and complicated to understand. In another way it can all be boiled down to the night before the trade. That window that James Harden asked for to decide whether or not to accept twelve million a year to stay with the Thunder. In business this moment is everything. It is a perfectly marketed transition that was based on the core business principles that dates back to forever ago.

On the surface James Harden was an asset whose value couldn’t be measured. Let’s try. Based on stats alone he is basically Vince Carter. On the high end of the comparisons he is Reggie Miller or Isiah Thomas. That means he isn’t winning any titles by himself. Probably not even a scoring title. He’s a player who needs a team around him to contend. And even then he probably comes up short unless the group around him is truly extraordinary and well suited to play together like the Bad Boys Pistons teams.

In a machine you have to take the trade package of Jeremy Lamb and Steven Adams because what that move is also doing is creating freedom to hold onto Ibaka, continue to pay Durant and Westbrook max money, not lose your most important locker room asset in Kendrick Perkins and also hold onto prospects they’ve spent years developing like Reggie Jackson and Perry Jones III. What that literally means is Oklahoma City was trading Harden for Lamb, Adams, Ibaka, Perkins, Jackson and Jones. Because Harden wanted just enough money to cause problems. Not only for the owners bottom lines (it is a business, after all) but also because in this moment in time in the NBA the smartest move was to deal Harden and continue to build from within as they did with Harden.

I could argue that Steven Adams will be a $10 million a year center. Or that Lamb is all but a lock to get the kind of 3-5 year at 7-8 per that so many swingmen have now. That Ibaka has five more years of being a force. That OKC can now trade with teams again without people fearing they are getting gotten the best of. Or even that Toronto was the third worst team at the time of the trade...imagine Oladipo instead of Adams on OKC.

What Oklahoma City did was build a team. When James Harden made the choice to not take what the team had allotted for him he sealed his fate. That is what teams do. For better or worse. In this case it is probably for the better.

Harden would have been stifled sharing the floor with Durant and Westbrook full time. We never would have found out who Kevin Durant is without James Harden leaving. Same goes for James Harden, who was a completely different player in OKC than he is now in Houston. Who knows how history will judge their careers and their successes and failures. But based on the way the system is set up there was only one choice.

And that is a shame. Competition should be used to build the best. Not to leave unanswered questions based on foolish principles. You can’t blame Oklahoma City for it though. They were playing an ugly game in a world where the only games anyone are allowed to play seem to have to be ugly. Because ultimately even the most beautiful things are gross from some angle. If that is what you are looking for. In the case of James Harden he’s having fun running around Houston like a hooligan. Still friends with Durant. It’s fun watching them compete. And we will always wonder what could have been. But OKC saved it’s team and freed James Harden. That’s what is left in the cloud of dust. Who knows what happens when it settles.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

The 2014 Academy Awards: And the Oscar goes to...

Best Picture
American Hustle
Captain Phillips
Dallas Buyers Club
12 Years a Slave
Wolf of Wall Street

Out of the nine nominations each one has a place in this sort of category. Philomena is the kind of movie you will be happy to sit through at some random moment down the road. It is an odd couple movie with a ‘heart of gold’. The academy tends to hold a spot for movies like this during the celebration of the years best. Plus you’ve got Judi Dench doing her thing which is the kind of thing that is easy to overlook but a rare commodity still in moving pictures.
Captain Phillips got a nod because it has the big movie star and the gritty director bringing a cnn headline to life in heartbreaking fashion. There are some notes that are missed but overall it is an ambitious forward thinking story to tell. The support of the academy will make it easier for other movie stars to make similar types of movies that blend hard hitting real world issues with some of the suspense and drama that audiences crave.
Nebraska represents part of the independent movement. A small scale story told in crisp detail set in the heartland of America. On top of that the movie features one of the darlings of the movie industry in Alexander Payne. Never underestimate a detail like that in an award show that is essentially a poll drawn from industry professionals. Bruce Dern gets most of the love but somehow Payne came away from a loaded year with a Picture, Director and Original nomination. Quite an accomplishment for a little movie. This is how Payne is rewarded for avoiding temptation and seeing a long gestating project through.
Her is yet another part of the independent movement. Fueled by the support of younger voters Her resonates in a different way with a new generation. The awards love for Spike Jonze is reflective of the general opinion towards him in the business. Think of the support for her as Encouragement not to take another long hiatus and to continue to boil down someone of the more raw elements of Her that had been present only in hints during past projects.
Rounding out the independent movement representatives is Dallas Buyers Club. Don’t let anyone fool you, this kind of thing is made for awards season from the ground up. This story is like a Tennessee Williams play for this generation. Full of performers at the top of their games taking ‘risks’ by flirting with the line of cartoon in this Shakespearean drama.
Wolf of Wall Street should be getting crazy love but as usual people are behind the times. This movie surpasses every other movie Scorcese has made, a rare feat for a director in his fifth decade making movies. Unfortunately it is before it’s time. Another wild thought when considering the captain of the ship was 70+ during the process. The classic example of a great movie that settles for a nomination and results in continued praise and respect for all involved but is considered unworthy of the top spot because of it’s failure to proclaim a message Hollywood can get behind as the representative of a years worth of releases.
American Hustle is the one that started off strong only to disintegrate in the wake of anyone who saw Gravity in theaters and everyone who thinks 12 Years a Slave is a better way to chalk up the sentiment of the people who vote aka the people who work in the industry themselves. The idea of a bunch of movie stars playing dress up and relying on their acting chops instead of special and visual effects enchanted people and will remain a moment to be respected and emulated.  But ultimately this kind of movie doesn’t hold up when weighed against something with depth.
That leaves us with two movies. Both different but similar in that they are amazing. On one end of the spectrum is Gravity. Pushing every element of what a movie is to the absolute edge results in a  movie that has made even established critics wonder if it was really shot in space. On top of that the movie features Sandra Bullock in top form during the second great peak of her career. And on top of that the movie features George Clooney’s possibly greatest performance to date. If there is any travesty this year it is that he was not nominated for Supporting Actor for this role. On top of all that Alfonso Cuaron and his director of photography in top form pushing the boundary in ways that were not imaginable beforehand. This thing is a beast of a movie. Forget what people say, it still works small screen. Outside of the first 45 minutes of Avatar there has not been anything like it with the modern technology, that's why it is worth a trip to the cinema.
12 Years a Slave is the kind of movie that should’ve been made in the 60’s if not sooner. That being said it is made now and it exists. Steve McQueen creates a gritty portrait of the American south during a time that seems very different but he has a way of grounding it. Where Gravity takes something outside of earth and shows it to us in a way that makes it feel real 12 Years a Slave does the same thing except it is about history here on earth which comes to life in a way that serves as a reminder of what a movie can be. It is a play. Broken down and personalized so every audience member has an impossible evolving front row seat. The actors bravely dive in. The reward will probably be the statue that means they were the best.
Christian Bale
Bruce Dern
Leonardo Dicaprio
Chiwetel Ejiofor
Matthew McConaughey

This category could easily have five more nominees and no one would think twice. Christian Bale gets a nod for being brave and getting fat and bald after being the Batman. His performance is great but doesn’t have the kind of scenes one needs to bring home an award like this. Chiwetel Ejiofor is the leading man in a movie that looks like it will win best picture. But he fades in memory because the supporting roles stole the show from him in a way that rendered key moments in his performance forgettable when compared to others in the category. That being said the scene where he explains the reasons for his attitude toward slavery to a grieving woman along with the scene where someone gets back at him for acting out of turn are the kind of moments that get people awards. Just seems like the momentum may be elsewhere.
Leonardo Dicaprio should win this award. His performance is brave in that he finally let go of trying to project an image of who he wanted people to think he was and embraced a role that made him seem vulnerable in a different way than he has before. This is the kind of performance that should win but instead will be the lingering thought in peoples heads when they give him an award down the line as consolation for losing out on this one. The movie represents a moment in time that people are very ready to move on from so they react by watching it and then burying it without ever allowing it to resonate. Time does that as more movies are released and people start to wish Dicaprio was still doing movies like that last one he did with Scorcese.
It probably comes down to the popular guys in the business right now. Bruce Dern is a veteran who has been around forever. The nomination means a lot but a win would almost be like a win for every random actor in a town full of random actors. He is right on the edge of being real old so the fact that he can pretend to be real old leaves an impact on an audience. I’d be happy for him. Unfortunately he has run into Mt. McConaughey. A force no one can stop. On top of a buzzed about performance in one of the ten best movies this year he also happened to put in the performance of the new year as Rust Cohle. Suddenly with Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar as his next role he is set to explode. I can’t imagine the majority of people with a vote not deciding to greenlight a McConaughey poem to bring some existential peace to the proceedings. The real question is does Bruce Dern clap when he loses or will he just look confused.
Amy Adams
Cate Blanchett
Sandra Bullock
Judi Dench
Meryl Streep

It’d be funny if Meryl Streep wins and Jennifer Lawrence wins. That would happen in a world where three guys get together and decide the winners every year. Since it boils down to voting the momentum for Cate Blanchett will probably demolish everything else. Despite the fact that her character may have been based on Mia Farrow she remains the odds on favorite to give a speech about what great company she is in and to dance around the Woody Allen thing while Sandra Bullock, Meryl Streep, Amy Adams and Judi Dench fake smile until those fake smiles turn real when they realize she’s just another awkward person up there having to give a speech about pretending to be someone else on camera in a way that made people cast votes for her.

Supp Actor
Barkhad Abdi
Bradley Cooper
Michael Fassbender
Jonah Hill
Jared Leto

I think that Barkhad Abdi might sneak attack this victory by winning the old people vote with his out of nowhere portrayal of an African pirate. Fassbender will get some votes and could pull an upset. Same goes for Jonah Hill who was good and maybe great but still nothing like what Jared Leto did. That’s the kind of thing that gets people to write your name down. You spend your time like that and people are inclined to vote for you when it comes down to it. Bradley Cooper doesn’t have a shot, strange for him to be the fifth guy here. Guess it’ll be good to have him there on the red carpet and reacting and mingling with his future peers. Maybe they are trying to introduce him to Cuaron, Payne, McQueen, Greengrass, Jonze and Scorcese.

Sally Hawkins
Jennifer Lawrence
Lupita Nyong’o
Julia Roberts
June Squibb

People are in love with Jennifer Lawrence. That gets cut in to by ‘responsible’ people who will probably vote for Lupita Nyong’o. Indie heads will vote for Sally Hawkins. The heart crowd will express their love for June Squibb. Julia Roberts will get ignored because people found it unpleasant sitting through the movie. But boy will people like taking pictures of her and asking her questions and having her around for the thing. This is my shortest because I have no idea who will win and can’t argue for anything because they all have rock solid cases for why they should and giant holes about why they should. Nyong’o is the most solid overall considering the total movie package plus personal performance.

Animated Feature
The Croods
Despicable Me 2
Ernest & Celestine
The Wind Rises

I don’t know how to predict this award. I saw the Croods. It was pretty fucking weird but overall a solid cartoon movie which is more than can be said about most of the stuff these days. I didn’t see the 2nd Despicable Me but I saw the first one and I both get why kids like it and get why I was bored out of my mind 70% of the time. Frozen seemed like fun. No idea what Ernest & Celestine are but I’m pretty sure they aren’t better than The Wind Rises. Who knows who will win but it seems like there are a good batch of animated movies. People are trying weird stuff and developing better animations than the old school stuff. 

The Grandmaster
Inside Llewyn Davis

Gravity should win. Deakins got a nod. So did Nebraska as a statement about black and white. Inside Llewyn Davis got an award for a renowned guy working on the cheap and pulling off magic. While the Grandmaster represents a nod to the rest of the world that yes we see that you can compete with us. That being said this award should go to Emmanuel Lubezki for Gravity. More than the production design the camera work is what allowed the movie to succeed combined with after effects. Both the Director and Director of Photography should take home awards.

Costume Design
American Hustle
The Grandmaster
The Great Gatsby
The Invisible Woman
12 Years a Slave

I like The Great Gatsby stuff the best.

American Hustle
12 Years a Slave
The Wolf of Wall Street

Should be 12 Years a Slave or Gravity winning. That’d be Steve McQueen or Alfonso Cuaron. Have a feeling Cuaron wins this one and the academy demand that McQueen tone it down if he wants a trophy. Everyone else belongs here but you’ve got to think getting McConaughey to lose 50lbs and have Jared Leto play dress up while Jennifer Garner takes it all seriously is an accomplishment worthy of a nomination. Until you look at what the five guys ahead of them had to accomplish to get those stories into a theater.

Film Editing
American Hustle
Captain Phillips
Dallas Buyers Club
12 Years a Slave

All have interesting cuts. I’d say it boils down to Hustle, Gravity and Slave. Hustle was bold and tribal in it’s cuts. Gravity was self assured and straight forward. 12 Years a Slave was powerful classical music played by a band of self trained musicians in an abandoned church somewhere in a small town.

Documentary Feature
The Act of Killing
Cutie and the Boxer
Dirty Wars
The Square
20 Feet from Stardom
I don’t know. But it’s nice when they make this list because then I know 5 documentaries I should check out. I watch probably 20 documentaries a year but haven’t seen any of these. Looking forward to the ones on Netflix.

Foreign Language Film
The Broken Circle Breakdown
The Great Beauty
The Hunt
The Missing Picture

No idea. But The Great Beauty and The Hunt are worth watching.

Makeup and Hairstyling
Dallas Buyers Club
Bad Grandpa
Lone Ranger
Seems like Dallas Buyers Club got it’s press moment that’ll lead to recognition and work. This award may go to Spike Jonze as a nod to an idea of how to push the boundaries on future projects. Or it could go to Lone Ranger as a giant fuck you.

The Book Thief
Saving Mr. Banks

Gravity should win.

Original Song
Let It Go
The Moon Song
Ordinary Love

It’d be cool if they did Original Song first and when the winner was announced a live performance of the winning song would start on stage. Then the other songs could be played throughout the night in interval type moments or as lead ins to commercials.

Production Design
American Hustle
The Great Gatsby
12 Years a Slave

American Hustle pulled off a lot for a little. Gravity did some revolutionary stuff. The Great Gatsby should win. Her was great and deserved the nod. 12 Years a Slave was subtle and rich and maybe deserves to win even more than the big grand spectacle of Gatsby.

Before Midnight
Captain Phillips
12 Years a Slave
Wolf of Wall Street

This award doesn’t mean shit because writers usually don’t look good on camera. Seems like 12 Years a Slave will take the award but Philomena could sneak in and win out of an odd grouping of contestants.

American Hustle
Blue Jasmine
Dallas Buyers Club

They all deserve it in some way or another. I’d say Nebraska has a chance because people know Payne has wanted to make it for a long time. Hustle has a shot because David O. Russell is bold as fuck. Blue Jasmine because Woody somehow keeps doing it. Her because people fall in love with stuff like that. And Buyers Club because it pulls on heart strings and has a solid backstory. Whoever wins it doesn’t matter. What does is that this award in some way is the most important award. Even thought Directors and Directors of Photography and Producers are more important jobs nothing matters like an original story does. Want to touch the pulse of the world of movies at the moment? Best Original Screenplay is usually a good place to look. Good counts for a lot.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

True Detective Symbols and Signs

What is it about True Detective that has people captivated and tuning in? Is it simply getting to watch Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson dissect the buddy cop myth? Maybe the fact that the whole series has one writer and one director? There are many possible answers. As humans we have long been entranced by the particulars of a good murder mystery. The audience gets to feel a part of the unfolding story in a very specific way to the genre. Aristotle said there are only two stories: Comedy and tragedy. By that standard True Detective is a tragedy.

Damien Walter has something interesting to say about stories:
“Arthur Quiller-Couch devised the rather Man centric seven plots of Man vs. Man, Man vs. Nature, Man against God, Man vs. Society, Man in the Middle, Man & Woman, Man vs. Himself. Also weighing in for the number seven is Christopher Booker, who puts forward a convincing argument that all plots revolve around the conflict between humanity and our selfish ego, only then to ruin it by trying to argue that all 20th Century literature represents the capitulation of the the self to the ego. George Polti outlined Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations including Deliverance, Pursuit, Disaster, Revolt and thirty two more. Perhaps my current favourite has recently been republished in Plotto : the Master Book of All Plots by dime novelist William Wallace Cook which represents a possible 1,462 plots. Wallace once wrote fifty-four novels in one year. Take that NaNoWriMo fanatics! In probably the most famous typology of story, Joseph Campbell trumped everyone by declaring there was only one plot and naming it the Monomyth, thereby determining the formula for almost every Hollywood blockbuster from Star Wars to The Matrix, Toy Story and The Dark Knight…Are there really only two, seven, thirty six or however many plots? Again, who knows. I’d love to argue for the infinite mutability of story, and I’m sure I could quite convincingly. But at the same time stories, however diverse they appear on the surface, are all made from much the same thing underneath. Some characters. A plot. A theme or two. Half  a dozen symbols. A bit of conflict to get it all going. And yet, much like the seven chords that make up all songs, the same elements used in much the same ways seem to yield staggeringly different and original results in the hands of each artist who picks them up. There may only be seven stories, but there are uncounted storytellers, and each one must contribute some unique spark, or the story will never take life.”

Also interesting is a quote from Matthew McConaughey on the website by Carla Day:
“This is the first time we worked together where there’s real opposition.”
And on the interview scene,
“We didn't do them all at one.... 29 pages was one day. And that was the biggest mountain of the heap I've ever had. We had these 29 pages that I had broke down for weeks ... and then decoded everything and the little words and stuff where I could have my line, because I had all these different stories to tell. But we went in, sat down. We said, "We got enough film. Let's stay right here and do it." And we did do it in one day.  And I remember at the end of that day, we had like one more piece, one more angle to do. And somebody was like, We're all burnt. We should really go home. I said, "No, we're not going to home now." Because I had broken a literal sweat by then and was groveling in it. It was like, "No, we gotta stick to it." So everyone stayed, and we got it all in one day. That was fun.  I remember the wine tasted really good that night.”
Here’s that same quote again from
“We did 29 pages in one day,” McConaughey revealed.” And that was the biggest mountain of the heap I’ve ever had. I was going to Woody, ‘If we get into this, we gotta just dance.’ We had these 29 pages that I had broke down for weeks. I knew it was coming up. But we went in, sat down. We said, ‘We got enough film. Let’s stay right here and do it.’ And we did do it in one day. And I remember at the end of that day, we had, like, one more piece, one more angle to do. I think somebody was like, ‘We’re all burnt. We should really go home.’ I said, ‘No, we’re not going to home now.’” He continued, “I had broken a literal sweat by then and was groveling in it. It was like, ‘No, we gotta stick to it.’ So everyone stayed, and we got it all in one day. That was fun. I remember the wine tasted really good that night.”
Hitfix has a transcript of the TCA panel, here is how they recorded the quotes:
“This is the first time we've worked together when there's opposition.” They continue later, “3:32 p.m. McConaughey recalls one day that they shot 29 pages in a single day in the 17-years-later sequence. That's insane, by the way. They got near the end of the day and others wanted to call it a day and he insisted they push through. "I remember that. The wine tasted really good that night," he says.”
This article also features a solid record of the Pizzolatto quote that TD sleuths have been dissecting,
“3:42 p.m. How will a second season work? "If you got to do it again, the setting would be a major character along with our leads," Pizzolatto says, adding that it would be in settings we haven't seen as much. "I think in some form the story would always maintain some aspect of a story being told," Pizzolatto says, which plays into the idea of an investigation. He loves theater and monologues. "This an idea of an objective truth versus a spoken truth is something that provides a great deal of tension and is one of my governing tendencies," Pizzolato adds. He said another season could be more of a conspiracy thriller or a small town murder mystery or a master criminal versus a master detective."As long as there's some crime in there, I think the series format could approach it," he says, claiming that "Absalom, Absalom" could hypothetically be a season. Unclear if he means that literally.”
Supposedly the first time a tragic play was put on was during the 10th century. For a little background on the 10th century:
 “The 10th century is the period from 901 to 1000 in accordance with the Julian calendar. The 10th century is usually regarded as a low point in European history. In China it was also a period of political upheaval. In the Muslim World, however, it was a cultural zenith, especially in Spain under the Caliphate of Córdoba. Additionally, the 10th century was the zenith for the Byzantine and Bulgarian Empires. Medievalist and historian of technology Lynn White said that "to the modern eye, it is very nearly the darkest of the Dark Ages", but concluded that ". . . if it was dark, it was the darkness of the womb."[1] Similarly, Helen Waddell wrote that the 10th century was that which "in the textbooks disputes with the seventh the bad eminence, the nadir of the human intellect."[2] Even in the 15th century, Lorenzo Valla described it as the Century of Lead and Iron and later Cardinal Baronius as the Leaden Century or Iron Century.”
Some more interesting 10th century facts:
“Reindeer and Bears became extinct in Great Britain and Lions became extinct in Europe.”
“Although Otto II had succeeded peacefully to the throne, internal divisions of power still remained unaddressed. During his first seven years as Emperor, he was constantly occupied with maintaining Imperial power against internal rivals and external enemies. The domestic problems Otto the Great faced between 963 and 972 had not been resolved by his death. The Saxon nobility continued to resist the Archdiocese of Magdeburg located along the Empire's eastern border. Though established by Otto I, the exact details of the diocese's boundaries were left to Otto II and his aides. Otto II's marriage to the Byzantine Princess Theophanu proved to be to his disadvantage because the Saxon nobles felt it distanced the Emperor from their interests. Among Otto II's chief advisors, only the Saxon Bishop Dietrich I of Metz had close connections with the old Saxon nobility. His other advisers lacked support from the Empire's various Dukes. The Archbishop of Mainz Willigis, appointed in 975, who had been with Otto II's advisor since Otto the Great's second expedition into Italy in the 960s, had not been born from a noble family. Hildebald of Worms, who had been appointed as Otto II's Chancellor in 977 and then as Bishop of Worms in 979, was also not from a noble family. Otto the Great also failed to clarify affairs in Italy prior to his death. Otto died soon after the appointment of Pope Benedict VI in 973. In 974 Benedict was imprisoned in the Castel Sant'Angelo, the stronghold of the Crescentii family. When Otto II sent an imperial representative, Count Sicco, to secure his release, Crescentius I and Cardinal-Deacon Franco Ferrucci, who would subsequently become Boniface VII, an antipope, had Benedict murdered while still in prison.[4]”
On war with Denmark:
“In 950, Otto the Great had subdued the Kingdom of Denmark and forced the Danish King Gorm the Old to accept him as his overlord. Otto the Great also forced the king and his heir apparent Harald Bluetooth to convert to Christianity. Under the reign of Otto the Great, Denmark fulfilled all its obligations and regularly paid tribute to the Germans. When Harald became king in 958, he expanded the control of his kingdom into Norway, becoming king there in 970. With his newly obtained power, the young ruler was no longer willing to accept German supremacy over his kingdom. In summer 974, Harald rebelled against Otto II.[6] With the support of Norwegian troops, Harald was able to cross the Danish border into Germany, defeating the German forces stationed in the north. Otto II attacked Harald's forces, but the joint Danish-Norwegian army repelled the German army. In autumn, however, when the Norwegian allies sailed north to return to Norway, Otto II was able to counter Harald's advances at the Danevirke. As a result of this victory, Otto II officially annexed Denmark into the Empire and exiled Harald to Norway.”
“Otto II convened the Imperial Diet in mid-July at Dortmund. There, Otto II declared war against France and prepared his army to march west. In September 978, Otto II retaliated against Lothair by invading France with the aid of Charles.[9] He met with little resistance on French territory, devastating the land around Rheims, Soissons, and Laon. Otto II then had Charles crowned as King of France by Theodoric I, Bishop of Metz. Lothair then fled to the French capital of Paris and was there besieged by Otto II and Charles. Sickness among his troops brought on by winter and a French relief army under Hugh Capet forced Otto II and Charles to lift the siege on November 30, and to return to Germany. On the journey back to Germany, Otto's rearguard was attacked and destroyed by French forces, with their supplies being captured.[8] Despite neither side obtaining a clear victory, Otto II felt his honor was sufficiently restored and opened peace negotiations with the French King. Peace was finally concluded between Otto II and Lothair in 980: in return for renouncing his claims on Lorraine, Otto II would recognize Lothair's son Louis V as the rightful heir to the French throne.[8] With peace concluded, Otto II returned to Aachen to celebrate Pentecost, and then moved towards Nijmegen. During the journey, in late June or early July 980, the Empress Theophanu gave birth to the Imperial couple's their only son: Otto III.”
On papal politics:
“With his rule north of the Alps secured and with the birth of his heir, Otto II shifted his focus to Italy. The situation south of the Alps was chaotic. Pope Benedict VI, who had been appointed by Otto I, had been imprisoned by the Romans in Castel Sant'Angelo. When Otto II sent an imperial representative, Count Sicco, to secure his release, Crescentius I and Cardinal Franco Ferrucci had Benedict VI murdered while still in prison in 974.[4][10] Cardinal Franco Ferrucci then crowned himself as Benedict VI's successor, becoming Antipope Boniface VII. A popular revolt, however, forced Boniface VII to flee to Constantinople, taking a vast treasure with him.[11] In October 974, under the direction of Count Sicco, the bishop of Sutri was elected Pope as Pope Benedict VII.[10] Boniface VII was then summarily excommunicated for his unsuccessful attempt to take the papacy. In 979 Benedict VII's position as ruler of Rome was threatened, forcing the Pope to withdraw from and seek the aid of the Emperor. Accepting the Pope's call for aid, Otto II and Theophano, along with their infant son Otto III, prepared for a march south across the Alps. Otto II appointed Willigis, the Archbishop of Mainz, to serve as his regent over Germany. In October 980 the Imperial court arrived in Chiavenna and received its first Italian delegations. Otto II arrives in Italy at Pavia on December 5, 980. In Pavia, Otto II and his mother, the dowager empress Adelaide of Italy, were reconciled after years of being apart. Before the imperial family celebrated Christmas together in Ravenna,[12] Otto II received the Iron Crown of Lombardy as the King of Italy.[13] Following the New Year, Otto II led his Imperial court to Rome, reaching the city on February 9, 981, where the Emperor restored Pope Benedict VII to his papal throne without difficulty. In Rome, Otto II held a magnificent court ceremony to mark Easter.[12] The imperial family was joined by Otto II's sister Matilda, Abbess of Quedlinburg, King Conrad of Burgundy and his wife Matilda of France, Duke Hugh Capet of France, Duke Otto of Swabia and Bavaria, and other high secular and religious officials from Germany, Italy and France. Otto II proceeded to hold court in Rome, making the city his Imperial capital, where he received princes and nobles from all parts of western Europe.”
On religious policy:
“Otto II followed the policy of his father in expanding the importance of the Church in his Empire, in particular the importance of monasticism and monasteries. The Church and its organs served as supporting and stabilizing factor in the Empire's structure. To fulfill these tasks, Otto II strengthened the legal integrity and economic independence of the bishops from the secular nobility. The Ottonians had particular religious interest in Memleben as both Otto II's father Otto I and grandfather Henry I had died there. Otto II and his wife Theophanu enhanced the spiritual importance of the city by establishing a Benedictine Imperial abbey there: the Memleben Abbey. Within a short time, the Memleben Abbey had become one of the richest and most influential of the Imperial abbeys. These measures and the unusual size of the abbey perhaps suggest that Memleben may have been intended as an Imperial Mausoleum for the Ottonians.[14] Following the suppression of Henry II's rebellion, Otto II used the Empire's monasteries as the location for the treason trials. While his father had founded only one monastery (Otto I later replaced the abbey with the Cathedral of Magdeburg) during his 37 years of reign. Otto II, however, established at least four monasteries: Memleben, Tegernsee, Bergen, and Arneburg. Monasticism became a key part of Otto II's Imperial policy, entrusting the Abbots with key political functions. Otto II employed monks among his top political advisers, including Ekkehard I and Majolus of Cluny. One of the most important such monks was John Philagathus (the future Antipope John XVI). Of Greek descent, John was the personal chaplain of Otto II's wife Theophanu, accompanying her when she traveled from Constantinople to marry Otto II.[15] Otto II appointed him as his Imperial Chancellor from 980 to 982, as well as the Abbot of the Nonantola Abbey. Following Otto II's death in 983, Theophanu, as her son Otto III's regent, would name John as Otto III's tutor. She would later appoint John as the bishop of Piacenza, and would send him to Constantinople to arrange for a marriage between Otto III and a Byzantine princess.”
On southern expansion:
“In regard to his Italian policy, Otto II went beyond the goals of his father. Not satisfied with the territorial gains made under Otto I, Otto II wanted more. His policy was based not only on securing his power in Rome, or to cooperate with the Papacy, but also to gain absolute dominion over the whole of Italy. Influenced by his wife, who was hostile to the return of the Macedonian Dynasty in the shape of Byzantine Emperor Basil II after the assassination of John I Tzimisces, Otto II was persuaded to annex the Byzantine controlled southern Italy.[16] However, this policy necessarily meant war with not only the Byzantine Empire but the Muslim Fatimid Caliphate as well, who claimed southern Italy as within their sphere influence. The Ottonians' chief lieutenant in central and southern Italy had long been the Lombard leader Pandulf Ironhead. Originally appointed by Otto I as Prince of Benevento and Capua in 961, Pandulf waged war against the Byzantines and expanded Ottonian control to include the Duchy of Spoleto in 967. Under Otto II, Pandulf added the Principality of Salerno in 978 to the Empire. His campaigns under Otto I and Otto II incorporated all three of the southern Lombard principalities - Benevento, Capua, and Salerno - into the Holy Roman Empire. As vassal of Otto II, Pandulf ruled a large bloc of territories that stretched as far north as Tuscany and as far south as the Gulf of Taranto.[17] Pandulf's death in 981 deprived Otto II of one of his primary lieutenants. Pandulf's lands were partitioned among his sons, though further quarrels between the local Lombard princes soon followed.[13] Pandulf's older son Landulf IV received Capua and Benevento while his younger son Pandulf II received Salerno. Upon hearing of Pandulf's death, Otto II, ruling from Rome, traveled south to install Thrasimund IV as Duke of Spoleto. Then, Pandulf's nephew Pandulf II was given Benevento when Otto II partitioned Landulf IV's territory, with Landulf IV keeping Capua. Finally, Duke Manso I of Amalfi deposed Pandulf II of his rule in Salerno in 982. By 982 the entire area once ruled by Pandulf had collapsed, weakening Otto II's position against the Byzantines. The Byzantines still claimed sovereignty over the Lombard principalities and the lack of singular leader to prevent their advances into Lombard territory allowed the Byzantines to make inroads further north. Otto II attempted on several occasions to reunify the Lombard principalities politically and ecclesiastically into his Empire after Pandulf's death. Though he unsuccessfully besieged Manso I in Salerno, Otto II ultimately obtained the recognition of his authority from all the Lombard principalities. With his authority reestablished over the Lombard princes, Otto II turned his attention towards the threat from Muslim Sicily. Since 960s the island had been under Muslim rule as the Emirate of Sicily, a state of the Fatimid Caliphate. The ruling Kalbid dynasty had conducted raids against Imperial territories in southern Italy. The death of Pandulf in 981 allowed the Sicilian Emir Abu al-Qasim to increase his raids, hitting targets in Apulia and Calabria. As early as 980 Otto II demanded a fleet from the city of Pisa to help him carry out his war in southern Italy,[18] and in September 981 he marched into southern Italy. Needing allies in his campaign against the Muslims and the Byzantine Empire, Otto II reconciled with Amalfian Duke Manso I, granting Imperial recognition of his rule over Salerno. Otto II's troops marched on Byzantine-controlled Apulia in January 982 with the purpose of annexing the territory into his Empire.[19] Otto II's march caused the Byzantine Empire to seek an alliance with Muslim Sicily in order to hold onto their southern Italian possessions.[9] The Emperor's army besieged and captured the Byzantine city of Taranto, the administrative center of Apulia, in March 982.[11] After celebrating Easter in Taranto, Otto II moved his army westward, defeating a Muslim army in early July.[20] Emir Abu al-Qasim, who had declared a Holy War (jihad) against the Empire, retreated when he noticed the unexpected strength of Otto II's troops when the Emperor was not far from Rossano Calabro. Informed of the Muslim retreat, Otto II left his wife Theophanu and young son Otto III (along with the Imperial treasury) in the city and marched his army to pursue the Muslim force. Unable to flee back to his stronghold in Sicily due an Imperial naval blockade, al-Qasim faced the Imperial army in a pitched battle south of Crotone at Cape Colonna on July 14, 982. After a violent clash, a corps of Otto II's heavy cavalry destroyed the Muslim center and pushed towards al-Qasim's guards, with the Emir killed during the charge.[21] Despite the Emir's death, the Muslim troops did not flee the battlefield. The Muslims regrouped and managed to surround the Imperial soldiers, slaughtering many of them and inflicting a severe defeat upon the Emperor.[16] According to the historian Muslim Ibn al-Athir, Imperial casualties numbered around 4,000. The Lombard Princes Landulf IV of Benevento and Pandulf II of Salerno, German Bishop Henry I of Augsburg, German Margrave Gunther of Merseburg, the Abbot of Fulda, and numerous other Imperial officials were among the battle's casualties. The Imperial defeat shocked the political makeup of Southern Italy. With two Lombard princes dead, the Principalities of Capua and the Benevento passed to younger branches of the Landulfid family. Though the Muslim troops were forced to retreat to Sicily after their victory, the Muslims remained a presence in southern Italy, harassing the Byzantines and Lombards. The Ottonian defeat, the worst in the history of the Empire at the time, greatly weakened Imperial power in southern Italy. The Byzantines joined forces with the Muslims and regained possession of Apulia from Ottonian forces.”
On Succession issues:
“The defeat at Stilo forced Otto II to flee north to Rome.[22] He then held an Imperial Diet at Verona on Pentecost, 983.[20] He sent his nephew Otto I, Duke of Swabia and Bavaria, back to Germany with the news of the defeat and to call the German nobles to the assembly, but he died en route on November 1, 982, in Lucca. News of the battle did cross the Alps, however, reaching as far as Wessex in Britain, signifying the magnitude of the defeat. Duke Bernard I of Saxony was heading south for the assembly when Danish Viking raids forced him to return to face the threat. At the assembly, Otto II appointed Conrad (a distant relative of Otto II) and Henry III as the new Dukes of Swabia and Bavaria respectively. Henry III had previously been exiled by Otto II following his defeat as part of a two-year revolt against Otto II's rule. The defeat at Stilo cost the Empire many nobles, forcing Otto II to lift the banishment of Henry III in order to stabilize domestic affairs in Germany while he campaigned against the Muslim and Byzantines in southern Italy. Also, the appointment of Conrad I allowed the House of the Conradines to return to power in Swabia for the first time since Emperor Otto I in 948. Otto II and the assembled nobles agreed on a strategy of naval blockade and economic warfare until reinforcement from Germany could arrive. Otto II then prepared for a new campaign against the Muslims[16] and obtained a settlement with the Republic of Venice, whose assistance he needed following the destruction of his army at Stilo. However, the death of Otto II the next year and the resulting civil war prevented the Empire from appropriately responding to the defeat. The most important action taken by Otto II at the assembly, however, was to secure the "election" of his son Otto III, who was then only three years old, as King of Germany and heir apparent to the Imperial throne. Otto III thus became the only German king elected south of the Alps. The exact reason for this unusual procedure has been lost to history. It is possible that the conditions in southern Italy following the defeat required Otto II to act quickly in designating an Imperial heir to ensure connivance in the Empire's future. It is also conceivable, however, that holding the election in Italy was a deliberate choice on the part of Otto II in order to demonstrate that Italy was an equal part of the Empire on the same level as Germany. His election secured, Otto III and his mother, the Empress Theophanu, traveled north across the Alps heading for Aachen, the traditional coronation site for the Ottonians, in order for Otto III to be officially crowned as king. Otto II stayed in Italy to further address his military campaigns.”
On the Great Slav uprising:
“Around the year 982, Imperial authority in Slavic territory extended as far east as the Lusatian Neisse River and as far south as the Ore Mountains. Following the defeat of Otto II at Stilo in 983, the Lutici Federation of Polabian Slavs revolted against their German overlords, sparking a great revolt known as the Great Slav Rising (Slawenaufstand). The Polabian Slavs destroyed the bishoprics of Havelberg and Brandenburg.[23] According the German chronicler Bishop Thietmar of Merseburg, the decades-long, forced Germanization and Christianization of the Slavs associated with these two churches was the reason for their destruction. Thietmar blames the uprising on maltreatment of the Slavs by the Germans: "Warriors, who used to be our servants, now free as a consequence of our injustices."[24] In the Obotrite territories along the Elbe River, the Luticians initiated a revolt aimed at the abolition of feudal rule and Christianity,[23] drawing upon considerable support by the Obodrite populace and their leader Mstivoj.[25] In part, the Obrodite revolt was successful: The princely family, though in part remaining Christian, dissolved Christian institutions.[25] Soldiers from the Northern March, the March of Meissen, the March of Lusatia, as well as from the Bishop of Halberstadt and the Archbishop of Magdeburg, joined forces to defeat the Slavs near Stendal.[26] Nevertheless, the Empire was forced to withdraw to the western banks of the Elbe river. The successes of the Empire's Christianization policy towards the Slavs were nullified, and political control over the Billung March and the Northern March (territories east of the Elbe) was lost. In the decade since his death, Otto I's life work of converting the Slavs was undone. The Slavic territories east of the Elbe would remain pagan for over a century before further missionary work resumed: it would not be until the 12th century that the churches of Havelberg and Brandenburg would be reestablished. The Danes took advantage of the Slavic revolt and invaded the March of Schleswig along the Empire's northern border while the Sorb Slavs invaded and conquered the March of Zeitz from Saxon control.[20]”
“In July 983, Pope Benedict VII, a longtime Ottonian supporter, died of natural causes after having reigned for almost ten years. Otto II returned to Rome in September to name a new Pope, selecting the Bishop of Pavia Pietro Canepanova (who reigned as Pope John XIV) in November or early December.[27] While Otto II was in Rome overseeing the election of a new pope, a malaria outbreak in central Italy prevented the resumption of military activity in southern Italy. The outbreak ultimately led to the death of the Emperor himself: he died in his palace in Rome at the age of 28 on December 7, 983, after having reigned for just over a decade.[16] Otto II's money and possessions were divided among the Catholic Church, the poor of the Empire, his mother Adelaide and sister Matilda, and those nobles loyal to him. Otto II was then buried in the atrium of St. Peter's Basilica, becoming the only German ruler to be buried in a foreign country instead of in Germany. Otto II's three-year-old son Otto III was crowned as King of Germany in Aachen on Christmas Day in 983, three weeks after his father's death. Otto III was crowned by Willigis, the Archbishop of Mainz, and John, the Archbishop of Ravenna.[28] News of Otto II's death first reached Germany after Otto III's coronation.[28] The unresolved problems in southern Italy and the Slavic uprising on the Empire's eastern border made the Empire's political situation extremely unstable. The arrival of a minor on the Imperial throne threw te Empire into confusion, allowing Otto III's mother, the Byzantine Princess Theophanu, to reign as his regent.[29] In 976, Otto II had deposed Henry II as Duke of Bavaria and imprisoned him. In early 984, Henry II escaped from his imprisonment by the Bishop of Utrecht. Free from his confinement, he seized the infant Otto III and, as a member of the ruling Ottonian dynasty, claimed the regency of the Empire for himself.[29] Henry II eventually went so far as to claim the German throne outright, obtaining the allegiance of Mieszko I of Poland and Boleslaus II, Duke of Bohemia.[30] Henry II's claims were supported by Archbishop Egbert of Trier, Archbishop Gisilher of Magdeburg, and Bishop Dietrich I of Metz.[30] Otto III's right to the throne, however, was supported by Archbishop Willigis of Mainz and the Dukes of Saxony, Bavaria, and Swabia.[29] The threat of war from Willigis and Conrad I, Duke of Swabia forced Henry II to relinquish Otto III on June 29, 984 and to respect the regency of Theophanu.[30] The early death of Otto II and the ensuing events proved to be a serious test for Empire. Despite having a child under the regency of his mother as a ruler, the structure established by Emperor Otto the Great remained strong as most of the Empire's most powerful officials stayed loyal to the Imperial system.”
On Otto’s character:
“Otto was a man of small stature, by nature brave and impulsive, and by training an accomplished knight. He was generous to the church and aided the spread of Christianity in many ways. According to one of the chroniclers of the time, he was given the epithet of the "Red" when in 981 he invited the most troublesome of the Roman families to a banquet, and proceeded to butcher them at dinner.[10] More sympathetic chroniclers said that it was due to his reddish complexion.[9]”
Background on the other of the King in Yellow:
“He was born in Brooklyn, New York, to William P. Chambers (1827–1911), a famous lawyer, and Caroline (Boughton) Chambers, a direct descendant of Roger Williams, the founder of Providence, Rhode Island. Robert's brother was Walter Boughton Chambers, the world famous architect. Robert was first educated at the Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute, and then entered the Art Students' League at around the age of twenty, where the artist Charles Dana Gibson was his fellow student. Chambers studied at the École des Beaux-Arts, and at Académie Julian, in Paris from 1886 to 1893, and his work was displayed at the Salon as early as 1889. On his return to New York, he succeeded in selling his illustrations to Life, Truth, and Vogue magazines. Then, for reasons unclear, he devoted his time to writing, producing his first novel, In the Quarter (written in 1887 in Munich). His most famous, and perhaps most meritorious, effort is The King in Yellow, a collection of Art Nouveau short stories published in 1895. This included several famous weird short stories which are connected by the theme of a fictitious drama, The King in Yellow, which drives those who read it insane.[1] E. F. Bleiler described The King in Yellow as one of the most important works of American supernatural fiction.[2] It was also strongly admired by H.P. Lovecraft and his circle. Chambers returned to the weird genre in his later short story collections The Maker of Moons, The Mystery of Choice and The Tree of Heaven, but none earned him as much success as The King in Yellow. Some of Chambers's work contains elements of science fiction, such as In Search of the Unknown and Police!!!, about a zoologist who encounters monsters.[3] Chambers later turned to writing romantic fiction to earn a living. According to some estimates, Chambers had one of the most successful literary careers of his period, his later novels selling well and a handful achieving best-seller status. Many of his works were also serialized in magazines. During World War I he wrote war adventure novels, and war stories, some of which showed a strong return to his old weird style, such as "Marooned" in Barbarians (1917). After 1924 he devoted himself solely to writing historical fiction. Chambers for several years made Broadalbin, New York, his summer home. Some of his novels touch upon colonial life in Broadalbin and Johnstown.”
On the authors legacy:
“H. P. Lovecraft said of Chambers in a letter to Clark Ashton Smith, "Chambers is like Rupert Hughes and a few other fallen Titans – equipped with the right brains and education but wholly out of the habit of using them."[4] Despite his effective later abandonment of the weird supernatural tale, Chambers's early works heavily influenced Lovecraft's tales. Frederic Taber Cooper commented, "So much of Mr Chambers's work exasperates, because we feel that he might so easily have made it better."[5] A critical essay on Chambers's horror and fantasy work appears in S. T. Joshi's book The Evolution of the Weird Tale (2004). Chambers' novel The Tracer of Lost Persons was adapted into a long-running (1937–54) old-time radio crime drama, Mr. Keen, Tracer of Lost Persons, by legendary soap opera producers Frank and Anne Hummert.[6] Chambers' The King in Yellow has inspired many modern authors, including Karl Edward Wagner, Joseph S. Pulver, Lin Carter, James Blish, Michael Cisco, Ann K. Schwader, Robert M. Price and Galad Elflandsson. After emerging as a writer in the New Masses magazine, Whittaker Chambers faced confusion as Robert W. Chambers' son from Max Bedacht, the Communist Party official who summoned him into the Communist underground: Max Bedacht had somehow convinced himself that I was the son of Robert W. Chambers, the novelist. No doubt, the same surname and the fact that we both wrote (though for somewhat different markets) made kinship seem self-evident to him. When the novelist died, shortly after I came to know Bedacht, he congratulated me on coming into a fat legacy, which I believe he thought was about to be swept into the party's till. When I tried to undeceive him, his disappointment was so great that at first he insisted that I was covering up, and I had some trouble convincing him that Robert W. Chambers and Whittaker Chambers were really unrelated.[7]”
About Nic (from his website):
“Nic Pizzolatto was born in New Orleans and raised in Lake Charles, Louisiana. He was educated at Louisiana State University and the University of Arkansas, where he received several awards for his writing. His work has been published in the Atlantic, Oxford American, Iowa Review, Missouri Review, and other magazines. He has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award, and his collection of stories Between Here and the Yellow Sea was named by Poets & Writers magazine as a top five fiction debut of 2006. He currently lives in California with his wife and daughter. His first novel, Galveston, was published by Scribner on June 15, 2010. He is represented by Henry Dunow at Dunow, Carlson & Lerner Agents in New York and RWSG Literary Agency in Santa Monica.”
“My main subjects are probably memory, sex, and death—my big three. Your love and hate and memory and pain and joy are all one thing: a dream you had in an attempt to transcend death. Likewise, Pizzolatto does note a sinister, festering quality to those lands where he first lived. The southern states feature a denseness of grime and underbrush, of half-industrial wastelands, of desolate shorelines. True Detective is a story of murder, after all. Decay, Pizzolatto says, is a natural flavor in the southern air. “The South has visible but unremarked-upon corruption,” he explains. “Layers of overgrowth. Wilderness. Dark wilderness, channeled by the culture.” But then again, that culture was home. “I miss the food,” he remarks of Louisiana. He says it without hesitation, sighs a little, and though he now breathes California air, it’s clear the South has stuck with him.”
From a Mens Journal Interview:
“I do think the unifying theme of season one of the show is the damage that men do - to themselves and particularly to women and children. But, within this, I do think I'm always just as concerned with how people wait out darkness, with courage and hope and love. I think, in the end, the total piece points toward a kind of optimism that's hard-earned and redemptive.”
“Authentic, vivid characters drive any story. After that, we look for refinements in language and detail, effective structure, the originality of the author's imagination, etc. But I think it probably all starts with character.”
So what conclusions does this web help us draw. Instead of trying to spoil it or solve it I’m just going to ask the most interesting questions I’ve been thinking of.
What leads to the falling out between the two detectives? 
What is the significance of the beer cans?
What is Rust Cohle up to when he is not being interrogated? The show has set up Gilbough as the modern Hart and Papania as the modern Cohle. That would make sense because Papania is sniffing out the lies in the report. He doesn’t realize yet that Cohle is not responsible but he does see discrepancies in the report. Do Cohle and Papania team up to get to the bottom of the mystery? Or does Papania frame a suspect the same way Cohle did? 
Will Hart’s daughter become involved in the case?
Will the show conclude by unveiling a large religious coverup? That would seem like a letdown unless a couple more heart strings are tugged at along the way.

Elefante from Pablo Larcuen

ELEFANTE from Pablo Larcuen on Vimeo.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Pharrell Williams: Career Arc

Wreckx-N-Effect - Rumpshaker

Tonights the Night - Blackstreet

Lookin’ At Me - Mase

Super Thug (What What) - Noreaga

Caught Out There - Kelis

I’m A Slave 4 U - Britney Spears

Rockstar - N*E*R*D

Lapdance - N.E.R.D

Hot In Herre - Nelly

Grindin’ - Clipse 

Frontin’ - ft. Jay-Z

Light Yo Ass On Fire - Busta Rhymes

Hot Damn - Clipse ft. Ab Liva and Roscoe P. Colchain

Flap Your Wings - Nelly

Like I Love You - Justin Timberlake

T.H.E.H.I.V.E.S. - The Hives

Can I Have It Like That - Gwen Stefani

Pharrell and the Yessirs

Did It Again - Shakira

Martians vs. Goblins

Happy (1pm) ft. Tyler the Creator, Earl Sweatshirt and Jasper Dolphin