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Friday, 14 August 2009

The Movies as Natural History


File:SCEhardt Pop-Tart Mixed Box.jpg

What freezes us into the frame like this?
Petrifies objects wherein life's congealed
Secrets lie like sleeping beauty preparing
For the awakening of the living moment's kiss?

The blood camellia blooming vivid in the syringe
To dissolve with blue heaven in a white cloud
Which as his thumb depresses the plunger
Roars like a train wreck into Vincent's arm;

The still-life aura -- natura morte -- that lights up
The compact numinous Czech M-61
With huge silencer which Butch now espies
On the kitchen counter, just as, setting down

The milk carton, he drops two Pop Tarts
In the toaster; the rabbit trapped in cabbage patch look
Frozen on Vincent's vacant kisser, as, surprise
Melting into sudden understanding, he enters the kitchen.

Pop Tarts -- mixed box: photo by Scott Ehardt, 2005


TC said...

Click on BANANA SLUG to widen the frame.

Bowie Hagan said...

"and that day, he read no more"

Anonymous said...

Our lives are like movies and TV many times. Some people live in talk shows, others like dramas, many get immersed in reality shows watching other people's lives. Some people live in slow motion, others speed up as they are being chased by routine. There are those who live fighting as in a war movie, and others who are inside a documentary from Nat Geo. Children live life as if it was a cartoon and women mostly prefer romance. As Willy said: all the world's a stage...

Marten said...

Bowie! What's up? Confession: I am a banana slug.

xileinparadise said...

Ah, yes, the old ariolimax columbianus aka banana slug, a denizen of the coastal redwood forests. Although an hermaphrodite, does mate in a rather elaborate two hour ritual of writhing and scum eating. Penis one and a half times the length of its body. Tastes like chicken (after being fully purged on corn meal of course). Mascot of UC Santa Cruz -- I believe Johnny T's tee is evidence of that. For many years, in the tiny town of Monte Rio, a Slug Fest was held which featured prizes for the heaviest/longest B Slug, the tastiest dish utilizing B Slug, and the B Slug stepplechase which lasted about as long as their mating ritual. Some local animal rights activists eventually put a stop to that folderol.

TC said...


Yes, we have all lived in and through these images for so long... though lately I've been trying to keep my distance just a bit, sort out the illusion from the reality, and see if anything remains of the latter.


Lovely idea--John Travolta as Vincent Vega as Paolo Malatesta. One comic book movie, two unfinished comic books, one divine, one not so much.

Newt, Pat,

Yes, we've also shared our lives with a slug or two over the millennia. Nothing against the critters, once the visceral revulsion passes. Maybe it's because we were born from slime that we are repelled by it?

It seems that Vincent would not have attended UC Santa Cruz or for that matter any other branch of the august UC system. In fact the implication is that since the teeshirt belonged to Vincent's middle-class-aspiring pal Jimmie, that's where Jimmie went to school. (That would fit, probably better than the tee-shirt does on its new owner.)

Remembering that after Jules and Vincent have been hosed down by the Wolf to clean off the blood splatter left by the previous fun incident, and thus need some new duds, in the original script there is this bit of dialogue:

JIMMIE: Okay fellas, in the one-size-fits-all category, we got swim trunks, one red -- one white. And two extra-large tee-shirts. A UC Santa Cruz shirt and an "I'm with Stupid" shirt.

JULES: I get the "I'm with Stupid" shirt.

TC said...

banana slug having lunch (for xilein paradise)

xileinparadise said...

Years ago I was writing on a screenplay about a giant banana slug with Robert Altman in mind and in doing a little research I came upon a series of photos in a natural history encyclopedia from which the following description is taken.

After writhing and crawling over each other for a good part of two hours, sliming each other in the process, the slugs will climb a tree and then crawl out on a limb from which they will lower themselves on a cord of slime, writhing etc. all the while. Then they will extrude their respective penises which are like a length of flat rawhide shoelace though pearlescent in hue and coil them together (coilus perhaps?), exchange their eggs and then return to the limb by eating the cord of slime. Once back on the ground they will deposit their fertilized eggs under a rock or on a piece of redwood litter. You might wonder why an animal that is hermaphroditic would go to all that trouble when they could self-fertilize.

As for the screenplay, well, Altman had moved on from his Brewster McCloud phase to the more complex yet loosely structured Nashville phase. The screenplay became a short story serialized by the local paper that was sponsoring the Slug Fest.

Ah, natural history! It’s history and it’s natural.

u.v.ray. said...

I saw an interview with Gary Numan a while ago on TV. It was sometime around his 50th birthday.

He was asked what keeps him making music and his answer was "I'm riddled with self-doubt."

I quite recently read an essay by Peter H.Gilmore, who asserted that self doubt was completely necessary for any artist.

I hope the above two people are correct because...

Tom, sometimes I read just a few lines of poetry - in particular that first stanza - and I know my own just isn't good enough.

I need to up my game in the life long struggle with ourselves.

TC said...


It's another of those turning-points in history. If only Napoleon had turned left...

Actually I could see the Altman of the period of Three Women (one of my favorites of his) doing that banana slug film, with dozens of banana slugs miked up to capture the ambient BS babble.

But wait, isn't that ambient BS babble film called Nashville? Maybe he ran with your great idea after all?


I subscribe completely to Gary Numan's statement. To paraphrase Doctor Faustus: "... nor am I out of it." It seems that resting upon one's laurels is the surest way of guaranteeing they'll wilt beneath the weight of self satisfaction.


A further thought on the issue of illusion vs. reality and film as escape: I wonder if you know a "small" film we saw lately, La Ventana, by an Argentine director, Carlos Sorin, set in Patagonia? It presents the final day in the life of an elderly writer (once an acquaintance of Borges). The image created is one of dignity and peaceful passage. It is not a comic book film, no violence, nothing sensational, merely a lovely image of life and its preciousness. (And the Patagonian landscapes are beautiful!)