At Home He's a Tourist

He fills his head with culture/ He gives himself an ulcer.

Friday, October 31, 2003

Out With The Old...

The lexicographical well is running dry at It's taking too much time to find new Christgau words, so I've dropped that series.

...In With The New

Now I've got a "Link of the Week" feature which will highlight sites I think have reference value. Religious sites may predominate, given my surfing habits.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Revenge of the Print Materials!

1. Patron was looking on the internet for a comprehensive article on Luther but didn't find anything suitable. I gave him appropriate volumes from the Eliade Encyclopedia of Religion and the Oxford Encyclopedia of the Reformation. He seemed pleased.
2. Patron was looking for economic information on Maine. Bless her heart, she said "I could just look on the internet but I thought I would ask if there were any good encyclopedias." I give her the Statistical Abstract of the United States, which she flips through and deems "neat!" (Admittedly this title is available online, but I find the print version more convenient, especially for libraries with slow or unstable network connections like ours.)

Monday, October 27, 2003

Kill Bill: Volume I

Okay, this is the increasingly tiresome part of Biblioblog where I gripe about yet another movie that failed to live up to my expectations. Not that I'm a Tarantino fan--Pulp Fiction didn't interest me except for the Bruce Willis segment--but I do like martial arts movies, so I was hoping that, even though the critics forewarned me that the plot and characterization of Kill Bill were weak, I'd at least be treated to some spectacularly choreographed fight scenes. But in this regard it was much inferior to, say, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, or dozens of early Jackie Chan and Chow Yun Fat movies--although a psychopathic Japanese schoolgirl showcased some cool moves with a ball-and-chain mace. The final showdown between Uma Thurman and Lucy Liu was anticlimatic, over in just a few sword strokes, in violation of the time-honored convention of ending martial arts flicks with a long, flashy duel between Hero and Villain. Instead Tarantino spends too much time showing Uma hacking her way through a thicket of henchmen's limbs.

The flippant, ironic dialogue for which Tarantino became famous is also lacking. Some of the Gen-X pop culture references in Pulp Fiction were entertaining, but having Uma and Lucy quote "Silly rabbit--Trix are for kids" before facing off is just plain cheesy.

Most of the violence was too ridiculous to be taken seriously, but I did get uncomfortable during one animated sequence in which Liu's character witnesses the death of her parents and then takes revenge a few years later. This segment, however, was the most successful part of the whole film.

I appreciated T.'s acknowledgement of the connection between Samurai and gunslinger movies, since I like both, say, Yojimbo and A Fistful of Dollars. One scene is set in El Paso, and he underscores Uma and Lucy's duel with some Ennio Morricone style music.

New Book

John Updike, The Early Stories, 1953-1975. Booklist says "What is particularly exciting to see is the publication again of his wonderful Olinger stories, particular favorites of Updike fans and, up to this point, out of print," and according to Library Journal "This wonderful collection is arguably the best single-volume introduction to Updike's work available."