Log24

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Big Time

Filed under: General,Geometry — m759 @ 12:00 PM

The following post suggests the Spiders and Snakes of Fritz Leiber’s
Changewar , a mythology inspired by the hallucinations of delirium tremens .

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

That’s Showbiz

Filed under: General — m759 @ 2:00 PM

New York Times, January 12, 2010, 12:26 PM–

"Spider-Man" Musical Will Refund Tickets

"With… direction by Julie Taymor ['Frida'], 'Spider-Man' has been marred by delays….

The musical’s troubles have unfolded at the same time that the next “Spider-Man” movie has been descending into disarray…."

Related material:

"No Great Magic," by Fritz Leiber

"The white cosmetic came away, showing sallow skin and on it a faint tattoo in the form of an 'S' styled like a yin-yang symbol left a little open.

'Snake!' he hissed. 'Destroyer! The arch-enemy, the eternal opponent!'"

Ay que bonito es volar  
    A las dos de la mañana
….”
— “La Bruja

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Sunday February 17, 2008

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 9:15 AM
Big Time

Log24 on Feb. 13:

New York Times today–
"Plot Would Thicken, if the
Writers Remembered It
"

"We've lost the plot!"
Slipstream


Nicole Kidman in 'The Human Stain' at VideoSpider.tv

Excerpt from Fritz Leiber's
"Damnation Morning," 1959

Time traveling, which is not quite the good clean boyish fun it's cracked up to be, started for me when this woman with the sigil on her forehead looked in on me from the open doorway of the hotel bedroom where I'd hidden myself and the bottles and asked me, "Look, Buster, do you want to live?"….

Her right arm was raised and bent, the elbow touching the door frame, the hand brushing back the very dark bangs from her forehead to show me the sigil, as if that had a bearing on her question.

Fritz Leiber's 'Spider' symbol

Bordered version
of the sigil

The sigil was an eight-limbed asterisk made of fine dark lines and about as big as a silver dollar.  An X superimposed on a plus sign.  It looked permanent….

… "Here is how it stacks up:  You've bought your way with something other than money into an organization of which I am an agent…."

"It's a very big organization," she went on, as if warning me.  "Call it an empire or a power if you like.  So far as you are concerned, it has always existed and always will exist.  It has agents everywhere, literally.  Space and time are no barriers to it.  Its purpose, so far as you will ever be able to know it, is to change, for its own aggrandizement, not only the present and the future, but also the past.  It is a ruthlessly competitive organization and is merciless to its employees."

"I. G. Farben?" I asked grabbing nervously and clumsily at humor.

She didn't rebuke my flippancy, but said, "And it isn't the Communist Party or the Ku Klux Klan, or the Avenging Angels or the Black Hand, either, though its enemies give it a nastier name."

"Which is?" I asked.

"The Spiders," she said.

That word gave me the shudders, coming so suddenly.  I expected the sigil to step off her forehead and scuttle down her face and leap at me– something like that.

She watched me.  "You might call it the Double Cross," she suggested, "if that seems better."

Related material:
the previous entry.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Monday October 29, 2007

Filed under: General — m759 @ 7:20 AM
Home from Home

On Anthony Hopkins’s new film:

“At one point during ‘Slipstream,’ Hopkins’s character stumbles upon a Dolly Parton impersonator while Parton’s wonderful song, ‘Coat of Many Colors,’ plays on the soundtrack.  I told Hopkins that I thought he used the tune– which is about a multi-hued coat that little Dolly’s grandmother made for her out of random pieces of cloth when the future superstar’s family was dirt poor– as a sort of commentary on the patchwork structure of ‘Slipstream’ itself.  Hopkins smiled broadly and his eyes lit up.  Yes, he said, that’s exactly what he was doing.  He said he even tried to get Parton to appear in the movie, but she was booked and couldn’t do it.”

—  Paul Tatara, Oct. 22, 2007

Anthony Hopkins:

“Our existence is beyond understanding.  Nobody has an answer.  I sense that life is such a mystery.  To me, God is time.”

Related material:

“Have you ever worried about your memory, because it doesn’t seem to recall exactly the same past from one day to the next? Have you ever thought that the whole universe might be a crazy, mixed-up dream? If you have, then you’ve had hints of the Change War…

Spider and Snake on cover of Fritz Leiber's novel Big Time

It’s been going on for a billion years and it will last another billion or so. Up and down the timeline, the two sides– ‘Spiders’ and ‘Snakes’– battle endlessly to change the future and the past. Our lives, our memories, are their battleground. And in the midst of the war is the Place, outside space and time, where Greta Forzane and the other Entertainers provide solace and r-&-r for tired time warriors.”

— Publisher’s description of Fritz Leiber’s Big Time.

Dialogue from “Slipstream”

“My God, this place must be
a million years old!”

Anthony Hopkins at Dolly's Little Diner in Slipstream

“Dolly’s Little Diner–
Home from Home”

Meanwhile…

Country Star
Porter Wagoner, 80, Dies

Wallace Stevens,
“Country Words”–

“What is it that my feeling seeks?
I know from all the things it touched
And left beside and left behind.
It wants the diamond pivot bright.”

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Thursday June 14, 2007

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 2:00 AM
Unscholarly Notes

The time of the previous entry, 1:06:18, suggests both the date of Epiphany, 1:06, and Hexagram 18 of the I Ching: Ku, Work on what has been spoiled (Decay).

Epiphany: A link in the Log24 entries for Epiphany 2007 leads to Damnation Morning, which in turn leads to Why Me?, a discussion of the mythology of Spiders vs. Snakes devised by Fritz LeiberSpiders represent the conscious mind, snakes the unconscious.

On Hexagram 18: "The Chinese character ku represents a bowl in whose contents worms are breeding. This means decay." —Wilhelm's commentary

This brings us back to the previous entry with its mention of the date of Rudolf Arnheim's death: Saturday, June 9.  In Log24 on that date there was a link, in honor of Aaron Sorkin's birthday, to a short story by Leonard Michaels.  That link was suggested, in part,  by a review in the Sunday New York Times Book Review (available online earlier, on Friday). Here is a quote from that review related to the Hexagram 18 worm bowl:

"… what grabbed attention for his early collections was Michaels's gruesome, swaggering depiction of the sexual rampage that was the swinging '60s in New York– 'the worm bucket,' as Michaels described an orgy."

Related material for meditation on this, the anniversary (according to Encyclopaedia Britannica) of the birth of author Jerzy Kosinski— his novel The Hermit of 69th Street.

Kosinski was not unfamiliar with Michaels's worm bucket.  For related information, see Hermit (or at least a review).

In Leiber's stories the symbol of the Snakes is similar to the famed Yin-Yang symbol, also known as the T'ai-chi tu.  For an analysis of this symbol by Arnheim, see the previous entry.  See also "Sunday in the Park with Death" (Log24, Oct. 26, 2003):

"Ay que bonito es volar  
    A las dos de la mañana
…."
— "La Bruja"

Sunday, June 6, 2004

Sunday June 6, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 4:30 PM
The X Factor

On OSS veteran Charles Hostler,
an unsung D-Day hero, now sung:

“He was trained by the British MI6
intelligence agency for an operation
known as X2 – or ‘double cross.’ “

Beth Gardiner, AP, June 6, 2004

 From Fritz Leiber’s
“Damnation Morning,” 1959:

Bordered version
of the sigil

The sigil was an eight-limbed asterisk made of fine dark lines and about as big as a silver dollar.  An X superimposed on a plus sign.  It looked permanent….

… “Here is how it stacks up:  You’ve bought your way with something other than money into an organization of which I am an agent….”

“It’s a very big organization,” she went on, as if warning me.  “Call it an empire or a power if you like.  So far as you are concerned, it has always existed and always will exist.  It has agents everywhere, literally.  Space and time are no barriers to it.  Its purpose, so far as you will ever be able to know it, is to change, for its own aggrandizement, not only the present and the future, but also the past.  It is a ruthlessly competitive organization and is merciless to its employees.”

“I. G. Farben?” I asked grabbing nervously and clumsily at humor.

She didn’t rebuke my flippancy, but said, “And it isn’t the Communist Party or the Ku Klux Klan, or the Avenging Angels or the Black Hand, either, though its enemies give it a nastier name.”

“Which is?” I asked.

“The Spiders,” she said.

That word gave me the shudders, coming so suddenly.  I expected the sigil to step off her forehead and scuttle down her face and leap at me — something like that.

She watched me.  “You might call it the Double Cross,” she suggested, “if that seems better.”

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Saturday May 22, 2004

Filed under: General — m759 @ 6:14 AM

Star Wars

In memory of Melvin J. Lasky, editor, 1958-1990, of the CIA-funded journal Encounter:

“Once called as lively, and as bitchy, as a literary cocktail party, Encounter published articles of unrivalled authority on politics, history and literature.”

— Obituary in the Telegraph 

Lasky died on Wednesday, May 19, 2004.  From a journal entry of my own on that date:

This newly-digitized diagram is from a
paper journal note of October 21, 1999.

Note that the diagram’s overall form is that of an eight-point star.  Here is an excerpt from a Fritz Leiber story dealing with such a star, the symbol of a fictional organization:

Time traveling, which is not quite the good clean boyish fun it’s cracked up to be, started for me when this woman with the sigil on her forehead looked in on me from the open doorway of the hotel bedroom where I’d hidden myself and the bottles and asked me, “Look, Buster, do you want to live?”
….

Her right arm was raised and bent, the elbow touching the door frame, the hand brushing back the very dark bangs from her forehead to show me the sigil, as if that had a bearing on her question.

The sigil was an eight-limbed asterisk made of fine dark lines and about as big as a silver dollar.  An X superimposed on a plus sign.  It looked permanent.
….

… “Here is how it stacks up:  You’ve bought your way with something other than money into an organization of which I am an agent….”
….

“It’s a very big organization,” she went on, as if warning me.  “Call it an empire or a power if you like.  So far as you are concerned, it has always existed and always will exist.  It has agents everywhere, literally.  Space and time are no barriers to it.  Its purpose, so far as you will ever be able to know it, is to change, for its own aggrandizement, not only the present and the future, but also the past.  It is a ruthlessly competitive organization and is merciless to its employees.”

“I. G. Farben?” I asked grabbing nervously and clumsily at humor.

She didn’t rebuke my flippancy, but said, “And it isn’t the Communist Party or the Ku Klux Klan, or the Avenging Angels or the Black Hand, either, though its enemies give it a nastier name.”

“Which is?” I asked.

“The Spiders,” she said.

That word gave me the shudders, coming so suddenly.  I expected the sigil to step off her forehead and scuttle down her face and leap at me—something like that.

She watched me.  “You might call it the Double Cross,” she suggested, “if that seems better.”

— Fritz Leiber,
   “Damnation Morning,” 1959

From last year’s entry,
Indiana Jones and the Hidden Coffer,
of 6/14:

From Borges’s “The Aleph“:

“The Faithful who gather at the mosque of Amr, in Cairo, are acquainted with the fact that the entire universe lies inside one of the stone pillars that ring its central court…. The mosque dates from the seventh century; the pillars come from other temples of pre-Islamic religions…. Does this Aleph exist in the heart of a stone?”

(“Los fieles que concurren a la mezquita de Amr, en el Cairo, saben muy bien que el universo está en el interior de una de las columnas de piedra que rodean el patio central…. la mezquita data del siglo VII; las columnas proceden de otros templos de religiones anteislámicas…. ¿Existe ese Aleph en lo íntimo de una piedra?”)

From The Hunchback of Notre Dame:

Un cofre de gran riqueza
Hallaron dentro un pilar,
Dentro del, nuevas banderas
Con figuras de espantar.

A coffer of great richness
In a pillar’s heart they found,
Within it lay new banners,
With figures to astound.

See also the figures obtained by coloring and permuting parts of the above religious symbol.

Lena Olin and Harrison Ford
in “Hollywood Homicide

Finally, from an excellent site
on the Knights Templar,
a quotation from Umberto Eco:

When all the archetypes burst out shamelessly, we plumb the depths of Homeric profundity. Two cliches make us laugh but a hundred cliches move us because we sense dimly that the cliches are talking among themselves, celebrating a reunion . . . Just as the extreme of pain meets sensual pleasure, and the extreme of perversion borders on mystical energy, so too the extreme of banality allows us to catch a glimpse of the Sublime.

— “Casablanca: Cult Movies and Intertextual Collage” (1984) from Travels in Hyperreality

Saturday, September 13, 2003

Saturday September 13, 2003

Filed under: General — m759 @ 1:44 AM

For the Man in Black

Lyrics:  Arizona Star

“Shinin’ like a diamond
 she had tombstones in her eyes.”

A picture: Salma Hayek and Julie Taymor

A book:  Dark Ladies, by Fritz Leiber

This offers a gentler form of the alcoholic experience than Malcolm Lowry’s classic Under the Volcano:

“I’ve had hallucinations from alcohol, too…. But only during withdrawal oddly, the first three days.  In closets and dark corners and under tables — never in very bright light — I’d see these black and sometimes red wires, about the thickness of telephone cords, vibrating, whipping around.  Made me think of giant spiders’ legs and such.  I’d know they were hallucinations — they were manageable, thank God.  Bright light would always wipe them out.”

— Fritz Leiber, “Our Lady of Darkness,” in Dark Ladies

Related entries:

The Feast of Kali, the Dark Lady, and

Architecture of Eternity,
my own “Once Upon a Time in Mexico.”

For a more serious Dark Lady portrait, see the site of artist John de la Vega.

Powered by WordPress