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"Time was a sea in which a single enormous wave moved relentlessly forward, not bearing men and women along but simply passing through them."
- from American Appetites

small yellow square This book I'm reading by Joyce Carol Oates is really quite engrossing. Odd how I mentioned The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe in my previous entry, as they're both quite similar - their protagonists are naïve, successful upper-class married men suddenly and accidentally involved in murder, and their subsequent fall from grace and consumption by the criminal justice system, with the accompanying disintegration of their lives of privilege. Both books are from the late 1980's (Wolfe's came out first), and both involve adulterous liaisons, indirectly. Unlike the victim of the Bonfire (a stranger), the one in American Appetites is the beloved spouse, so ruminations on death and loss are big themes in the latter, in contrast to the former's focus on class and racial contrast.

small cyan square Today is ten-ten! Bring up this page for a chart of the Hergé characters' names in all languages - an homage to the day. ¿Hernandez y Fernandez?

small orange square After a crack-of-dawn American breakfast at the Los Altos Coffee Shop, I dropped off the vehicle at the "Precision Tune" for an oil change, where Elton John was singing "Levon" on the radio in the garage bay. The mechanic expressed pleasant surprise as he wrote up my work order, telling me about his 7th grade English teacher with the same last name as my own. I allowed as to how I've also heard of an Illinois police office and a Methodist Bishop in Georgia who have this name too, but I don't know any of these people personally.

small yellow square During a late-morning promenade along University Avenue up in Palo Alto, a classy elderly lady stopped me and said "Glad to see somebody else wearing white pants - are you a sailing man?" I suppose my outfit was somewhat nautical: a Hawaiian shirt and the white Tilley headgear V's sister calls my Gilligan hat, but my denial disappoint her, and she walked on.

small violet square Michael Legeros of Movie Hell wonders

Is the "Star Trek" franchise failing? The trailer for "Insurrection" sure smells of cheese... Speaking of serial sci-fi, the title for "Star Wars: Episode One" has been announced as "The Phantom Menace". Calling Buster Crabbe! See for more details.

small purple square Today's film was new from Japan: "Junk Food", featuring twenty-four hours in the life of a bunch of marginal people in Tokyo, most of them criminals of one sort or another. Gruesome-bloody at times, and lots of annoying hand-held camera-work, but generally fascinating. The previews all looked good:

  • "The Celebration" -Danish film, creepy suspense at a family reunion
  • "Orgazmo" - good-looking Mormon missionary in Los Angeles gets acting job playing the superhero-star of a porno film. What!? (its web page)
  • "Monument Avenue" - the synchronized "music video" preview made it look potentially wonderful
  • "The Alarmist" - humor and romance in the residential burglar alarm business
Afterwards I had dinner at Sam's Barbecue, a place I've been once before. This time I had the chicken, which was very tasty - their house sauce is great (and now available in bottles, to take home). This time I discovered it's a police hangout - a table of porcine San Jose cops across the room made me uneasy, and another came in while I was eating. All had crew-cuts, and the older ones were positively loutish. When I left I drove home listening to Garrison Keillor perform this week's "News from Lake Wobegone" monologue - a theme was headlights.

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