Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Excerpt from "The Door," by E.B. White

"I remember the door with the picture of the girl on it (only it was spring), her arms outstretched in loveliness, her dress (it was the one with the circle on it) uncaught, beginning the slow, clear, blinding cascade-and I guess we would all like to try that door again, for it seemed like the way and for a while it was the way, the door would open and you would go through winged and exalted (like any rat) and the food would be there, the way the Professor had it arranged, everything O.K., and you had chosen the right door for the world was young. The time they changed that door on me, my nose bled for a hundred hours--how do you like that, Madam? Or would you prefer to show me further through this so strange house, or you could take my name and send it to me, for although my heart has followed all my days something I cannot name, I am tired of the jumping and I do not know which way to go, Madam, and I am not even sure that I am not tired beyond the endurance of man (rat, if you will) and have taken leave of sanity. What are you following these days, old friend, after your recovery from the last bump? What is the name, or is it something you cannot name? The rats have a name for it by this time, perhaps, but I don't know what they call it. I call it and it comes in sheets, something like insulating board, unattainable and ugli-proof.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Viva la Dracula!

I heard an interview with Guillermo Del Toro, the director of the Oscar-nominated Pan's Labyrinth, and he said that during the filming of the classic Bela Lugosi version of Dracula, a Spanish-language version of the same movie was shot with different actors on the same set.

Check it out at:

Apparently, the Spanish version was discovered in the early 90s and re-released to critical acclaim. Many horror buffs claim this version is better than the English version, especially in its cinematography and development of minor characters.

China photo op

I listened to Ted Koppel on National Public Radio this morning talk about Nixon's visit to China.

Koppel recalled how the media entourage was taken to a city park, where a group of young people frolicked in the sunshine took pictures, and listened to transistor radios. Koppel instructed his crew to wait after the photo op, and witnessed a fleet of open-air trucks pull up, soldiers take the radios and cameras, and cart the young hipsters away. Koppel said this manufactured vision of Chinese society was accurate, just a little early.

Koppel called the photo op a "Potemkin Village."

Check out this Straight Dope article about Potemkin Villages. It seems ironic, almost as ironic as Nixon, who made his political career as a hard-liner against Communism, shaking hands with Mao, that the origin of Potemkin Village is an untrue legend: