Friday, May 10, 2019

Farm Living

In today's New York Times, a movie review suggested that a certain documentary might discourage the viewer, had that viewer ever "entertained Green Acres-inspired reveries on the joys of farm living." Each time the New York Times displays such an abysmal fundamental ignorance of the themes of GREEN ACRES, I hasten to twitter, where I inform Laura Lipmann. I also used to keep a record of such grievous infractions on this very "blog," but as you know, I don't "blog" anymore. It occurred to me today with a sense of some regret that my tweets on the subject may be but chaff in the wind, whereas this "blog," while entirely defunct and universally ignored, might provide a sturdier repository for a list of New York Times misrepresentations of Green Acres. How many priceless examples have been lost? Who can say? But at least I'm preserving this one. Now! One may argue that the reviewer DOES understand Green Acres, and that he is referring in his analogy to Oliver's own "reveries on the joys of farm living," which he (Oliver) indeed most explicitly expresses in the theme song to the series. BUT! Even a passing familiarity with the source material would come with the knowledge that "farm living" gave Oliver, in actuality, nothing but grief, disillusionment, surreal and even psychotic bafflement, and a constant state of frustration bordering on unbridled rage. The reviewer should have stated more clearly that the documentary under consideration might discourage those who, "like Oliver Douglas of Green Acres, once entertained reveries on the joys of farm living." But even that doesn't make sense, because the body of the text itself (GREEN ACRES) has already accomplished the purpose on which the reviewer so wantonly hypothesizes.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

The Taurog Allusion

I happened to notice that in VISIT TO A SMALL PLANET, Jerry Lewis, in historical costume, has trouble sitting in a chair because of his sword, in a gag that recurs some years later in the Coen Brothers film HAIL, CAESAR!, in which George Clooney, in historical costume, has trouble sitting in a chair because of his sword. Coincidence, you say? That is as may be! But in a later scene in the latter film, Clooney mentions Norman Taurog. And who is Norman Taurog? Only the director of VISIT TO A SMALL PLANET. I don't "blog" anymore but what do you want me to do with my life? I'm serious, tell me.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Don't Take Advice From an Owl

Easter is big! People love to go out and have a nice dinner the night before Easter, probably, and one such person is Ace Atkins, I guess. Look what he saw on the wall of a restaurant: some sort of dish towel with advice on it. If you ask me, an owl supposedly giving you advice (the theme of the dish towel in question) is just distracting you in preparation for an attack with its razor-sharp talons and bone-crushing beak. Also, some of this stuff isn't what I think an owl would say. Like, does an owl have friends? Not to mention which, some of it is not technically advice. I hate to be so critical of a dish towel.

Tuesday, March 05, 2019

A Real Sport

In this Bricktop book she refers to Anna Magnani as "a real sport and a night owl." I almost gave up. I thought for sure we would have had some night owls already in this book. As you know, I don't "blog" anymore, but I did start keeping a list when I noticed that every book ever written has an owl in it, and the list never stops, no matter what else stops, which is everything, everything stops.

Saturday, March 02, 2019

One Man's Vanishing Legacy

Out doing chores yesterday. Stopped to fortify myself at Big Bad Breakfast and was not really surprised to see that the omelet named after my novel is no longer on the menu. The novel has long been out of print, so why not the omelet? And the restaurant has expanded its geographic and philosophical reach beyond esoteric localized allusion. (See also, however, via this "hyperlink," the time our photograph was unceremoniously removed from the wall of an Italian restaurant.) Next to me at the counter, a young woman looked at her phone and shouted, "OH MY GOD! MY FATHER CANCELED MY BATHING SUIT ORDER!" Her boyfriend then described his mother's homemade lemon cake frosting in what I would call almost gothic detail. Then he referred to the time he had gone for underage drinks with his father the greatest night of his life. And I thought, well, you know, maybe he's just a guy who likes his parents, is that a crime? I don't "blog" anymore, and should really put this young couple in a novel instead, but I'm too tired.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Adult Education

As part of my ongoing program of adult education, I am reading Bricktop's autobiography along with Megan Abbott. Bricktop (left) reminisces about "the type of place where gin was poured out of milk pitchers." And I wondered why it mattered out of what the gin was poured. And I still wonder! It did put me in mind of a fact relayed long ago by Megan Abbott, namely, that some people would use cream pitchers decorated with Shirley Temple's face to make martinis, using a handy mnemonic for the perfect recipe: "Gin to the chin, vermouth to the tooth." There, the motivation for using the pitcher is clear. And while I was typing all this, I recalled the lyrics to Screamin' Jay Hawkins's "Yellow Coat," in which the eponymous coat, as part (I believe) of its manufacture, is "laid out in milk and gin." As I prepare to hit the "publish" button, it occurs to me that I have no idea why I have always heard that lyric as explicitly referring to the yellow coat's origin, although the garment's magical and legendary properties are certainly extolled by the narrator. It might just as well be that the coat, with, perhaps, its owner still inside, are supposed to be lying in some milk and gin after (during?) a celebration of some kind.

Monday, February 18, 2019

This Will Not Interest You

So, toward the end of this Philip Roth novel, to my surprise, he tells the exact same story about George Plimpton I once told on this very "blog" ("click" here for more information - I know you won't!). Furthermore, it would appear that he has the story from the same source. I guess this guy just goes around the country telling about the time he was hanging out with George Plimpton and George Plimpton took off his t-shirt and threw it in the air to attract bats. Wouldn't you? Tell the story, I mean. I didn't mean to imply that you would take off your t-shirt and use it to attract bats. Who would do such a thing? George Plimpton, apparently. In roughly the same passage, Philip Roth compares himself to Jerry Lewis, in that they are both "affronters" (his word), or really Roth's first-person narrator Nathan Zuckerman obliquely compares himself to Jerry Lewis, but come on! Hey! That reminds me. Last night I noticed for the first time a direct allusion to THE NUTTY PROFESSOR in MEAN STREETS. Both films contain scenes of people lined up like bowling pins, and there's a clattering bowling pin sound effect when the the people are knocked over en masse. I REST MY CASE.