Reading and Viewing: After acquiring an old volume of Dashiell Hammett’s novels not too long ago, I recently read both The Thin Man and The Maltese Falcon with great enjoyment. This, of course, led me to yet another viewing (I’ve seen each, what, ten, fifteen times?) of the iconic film versions of both novels. In the case of The Thin Man, the film almost by necessity had to remove some of the book’s complexity of plot, character, and detail. Enough of the novel remained, though, to seem very familiar. Moving to The Maltese Falcon, I couldn’t help but notice that the film’s screenwriter, John Huston (who also, of course, directed), didn’t do too much more than prune a few incidental characters and scenes from the novel, leaving a large percentage of the plot and dialogue intact. I guess he found that what Hammett had already provided was pretty much perfect, so why mess with it?
Listening: Not very much in the last week or two, but I have a pile of CDs ready for when the mood strikes. Prominent in the stack is Longing for the Past: The 78 rpm Era in Southeast Asia. I haven’t actually made my way through all four CDs yet, even though I’ve been enjoying this beautiful set for months. Once I finish listening, I’ll be sure to write about it. Also, now that Julia Wolfe has won both the MacArthur Foundation “Genius” grant and the Pulitzer Prize, it’s time to listen to my copy (personally autographed by Wolfe!) of the Pulitzer-winning Anthracite Fields.
Blogging: The moderately successful last week for the blog included…
* my “Favorite Symphonies by the Numbers”
* a review of Charles Allen’s book Ashoka: The Search for India’s Lost Emperor
* a few words about Hakuin’s painting Ant on a Stone Mill
* a quote from the Chinese Doctrine of the Mean
Pondering: Whether or not I will look back on 2016 as The Year of Dreadful Mistakes. I’ve made several of those already in the last few months, but still have some time to redeem the year.
Anticipating: Seeing the new exhibition The Rama Epic: Hero, Heroine, Ally, Foe at the Asian Art Museum. As the trip won’t happen for a few weeks, I have the opportunity to read up in preparation, including the modern retelling of the Ramayana story by Linda Egenes and Kumuda Reddy that I purchased yesterday!
Gratuitous Church Shaped Like A Chicken: The Gereja Ayam, or “Chicken Church,” is located in the forests of central Java, Indonesia. It was built in the 1990s, inspired by a man’s vision in which God told him to build a church in the shape of a dove. Read more and see more photos at My Modern Met.