Sunday, August 30, 2015

Blue Curtain

I was already getting sleepy and didn't feel like watching PETULIA on TCM last night. I gave it a few more minutes when I saw Julie Christie and George C. Scott standing in front of this blue curtain. But then Julie Christie showed up at George C. Scott's place unannounced in the morning, blowing on a tuba, and the whimsy overcame me. It's nobody's fault!

Saturday, August 29, 2015

A Thick Envenomed Froth

I was reading in LIVES OF THE NECROMANCERS about Apollonius of Tyana, who once defeated some guy who turned into "an enormous black dog, of the size of a lion, and whose mouth and jaws were covered with a thick envenomed froth." And the footnote told me that this story comes down to us by way of Philostratus, and no, I had no idea who that was. But I was like, "I'm gonna walk up to Square Books, and if they have any Philostratus I'm gonna buy it! I want to read more about magic evil dogs!" But part of me was like, "They won't have any Philostratus, ha ha ha, I'll save some money." But then they HAD IT. So I had to buy it. Godwin writes that Apollonius was born "nearly at the same time as Jesus Christ... The publicity of Apollonius and his miracles has become considerably greater, from the circumstance of the early enemies of the Christian religion having instituted a comparison between the miracles of Christ and of this celebrated philosopher." My new Philostratus book flap confirms his life story to be "a pagan counterstroke against the New Testament." It's not Apollonius's fault! He also confronted a mysterious bride (pictured) who "at length owned that she was an empuse (a sort of vampire)," writes Godwin, "and that she had determined to cherish and pamper Menippus, that she might in the conclusion eat his flesh, and lap up his blood." (!)

Friday, August 28, 2015

Don't Anybody Forget

They brought you John Waters! They brought you David Simon! And I don't want anybody to forget about all the great music the Sarah Isom Center For Women and Gender Studies is bringing to town in the coming weeks. "Click" here for the whole schedule. As for me, I'm especially excited about September 19. Please put it on your calendar. I say this for YOUR sake! LISTEN! Megan Abbott is coming back to town to interview Jon Langford of the Mekons about his visual art. That's at the Powerhouse at noon. FREE! Who wouldn't want to see two such charming and smart people discussing art? Why you'd have to be a soulless automaton not to tingle at the thought. Likewise FREE! is the special Thacker Mountain Radio Show taping on WILLIAM FAULKNER'S LAWN that same afternoon! William Faulkner's ghost is gonna be climbing the walls at the exorcizing power of rock-and-roll, featuring Langford PLUS Kelly Hogan PLUS Amy Ray PLUS Chris Lopez. That'll be just enough to whet your appetite for a 10 PM show at the Powerhouse, in which who knows what sort of unholy alliances between these four will be formed... will they combine their musical powers for good... OR EVIL? And don't forget a special early all-ages show from Neko Case and her whole dang band at the Lyric Theater on Sunday the 27th, kindly benefitting the Sarah Isom Center and all its good work. There's a lot of other good stuff too - I can't emphasize enough that I've mentioned just a small fraction of the fine entertainment and enlightenment to be had - so be sure to browse the schedule for your favorites.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Plumage of the Screech-Owl

I am not surprised that LIVES OF THE NECROMANCERS is a book with an owl in it to add to my compulsive list of books I read with owls in them. Godwin mentions "the plumage of the screech-owl" as one ingredient in a kind of witches' brew recorded in the writings of Horace.

Pythagoras Was Not a Vampire

I was reading LIVES OF THE NECROMANCERS... did I tell you about it? I found it because of a footnote by the 1927 editors of THE ANATOMY OF MELANCHOLY. Anyway, LIVES OF THE NECROMANCERS is by William Godwin, the father of Frankenstein creator Mary Shelley. In the section on Pythagoras, Godwin writes that he "hid himself during the day at least from the great body of his pupils, and was only seen by them at night." So then I thought, I bet there are lots of crackpot theories about Pythagoras being a vampire on the "internet"! But when I googled the phrase "was pythagoras a vampire" here's what I got:
Godwin says Pythagoras "taught temperance in all its branches." And didn't Dracula famously say, "I never drink... wine"? Pythagoras was a vegetarian, but ISN'T THAT JUST WHAT A VAMPIRE WOULD SAY to explain why you never saw him joining in at meals? "What, however, seems to be agreed by all his biographers" (writes Godwin) "is that he professed to have already in different ages appeared in the likeness of man." Aha! Pythagoras claimed to be talking about reincarnation, but I think we can all guess the truth. "He tamed a Daunian bear by whispering in its ear... By the same means he induced an ox not to eat beans, which was a diet specially prohibited by Pythagoras." OH YEAH? Well, I just happened to learn on the "internet" that beans can be used to trick vampires ("click" here for details - you might need them!).
Then I read about Epimenides and Empedocles, both supposedly students of Pythagoras, but Godwin says that's impossible because one was born too soon and one was born too late... but I think Godwin is forgetting the possibility that PYTHAGORAS WAS A VAMPIRE. When Epimenides was young "he was sent by his father in search of a stray sheep, when, being overcome by the heat of the weather, he retired into a cave, and slept fifty-seven years." Some nap! Empedocles said, "I well remember the time before I was Empedocles, that I once was a boy, then a girl, a plant, a glittering fish, a bird that cut the air." Has nothing to do with vampires, but sounds like something Finn has said on ADVENTURE TIME. One thing I like about old Empedocles is that he wanted to disappear dramatically from mankind without a trace, so he threw himself into an active volcano: "in the result of this perverse ambition he was baffled, the volcano having thrown up one of his brazen sandals." When you loosen up the search terms a little bit (removing the quotation marks, for example), you get this ("click" here) - not sure what it is, exactly... some notes for Pythagoras fan fiction in which he's a vampire? And check out footnote #13 to this scholarly article ("click" here) titled "Explaining Pythagorean Abstinence From Beans." Ha ha, like you are going to "click" on that. Or anything! To quote the footnote in part, "Lawson also reports that in Rhodes an ostrakon marked with a pentacle, sacred emblem of the Pythagoreans, is placed on the lips of a corpse to prevent its becoming a vrykolakas." That means vampire! Wait, maybe Pythagoras was a vampire hunter. Or maybe he was one of those vampire hunters who is also a vampire.

Monday, August 24, 2015

I Knew That You Knew

Saw a movie called HOW SWEET IT IS! on TCM yesterday. Was it "good"? No! It is already slipping from my brain. But how I wish I had known about it in time for the most recent McNeil's Movie Korner Film Festival. It has a psychedelic theme song and credits featuring creepy mannequins, and there's another psychedelic song during a montage, which (as you can see) the artists helpfully entitled "Montage." Some of the lyrics to "Montage" go like this: "I knew that you knew that I knew that you knew that I knew that you knew that I knew that you knew that I knew that you knew." And... "I didn't feel like Batman anymore/ I hit my bloody elbow on the door... The pimple on my neck began to hurt/ and suddenly I wished I'd changed my shirt." In conclusion, I am sure you recall Laura Lippman's wise words, as relevant today as when she first uttered them: "Freeze frame as everyone literally jumps for joy. Now that's how you end a movie." I am delighted to report that the makers of HOW SWEET IT IS! end their movie in that very way.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Cargo Ship Full of Hot Pants

I saw that SIMPSONS episode yesterday where a ship crashes, scattering its cargo of "hot pants" all over the beach, much to the delight of the citizens of Springfield. As the episode comes to a close, the 1950s novelty song "Short Shorts" begins to play. I thought, "What a weird song! And yet it is also undeniably catchy, what with the hand claps and the full-bodied, pleasantly galumphing saxophone solo." So today I decided to look up the history of the song on the "internet." Not to be an old codger, but it does give me the chance to remind you that wikipedia is not always objective, accurate, or helpful: "On that musically fateful afternoon, Gaudio and Austin were driving up Washington Avenue in Bergenfield, New Jersey in Tom Austin's red and white 1957 Ford Fairlane 500, trying to figure out what to call the latest song they had written for their rock and roll band... Just then, two girls came strutting out of Luhmann's (the local teenage sweet shop) wearing cutoff jeans that were cut so short they were almost illegal. At that point, the song 'Short Shorts' was born." I draw your attention to "musically fateful" and the gross description of the shorts themselves, and the judgmental quality of the word "strutting." These are a few of the problems.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Hilarity, Texas

Dr. Theresa and I watched PARIS, TEXAS last night. Dr. T said that Harry Dean Stanton made her think of Buster Keaton, and I was already thinking of the Laurel and Hardy movie BLOCKHEADS (I think that's the one), where Stan doesn't know the war is over and Ollie has to reintroduce him to civilization. And there were obvious parallels to Chaplin, especially THE KID. Harry Dean does lots of pantomime, like when he's learning to walk like a "rich father" and the subsequent scene where he breaks the ice with his estranged son by skipping and walking backward. They even waddle into the sunset together Chaplin style at the end of that sequence. Yet PARIS, TEXAS is a pretty somber movie! So I started to enjoy making all these comedy connections. Like, Dean Stockwell and Harry Dean Stanton have a scene high up on a billboard featuring a beautiful woman, just like Dean and Jerry at the beginning of ARTISTS AND MODELS. That may be stretching it. And there's a scene with the dinosaur from PEE WEE'S BIG ADVENTURE, though that's just a coincidence because PARIS, TEXAS came out first. Not by much! I like to think they were filming at the same time. What a party that would have been. Ah, it's all just a big coincidence. In fact, by the end of the movie I had started getting depressed, like, a million people have probably already thought of this. I'm not even going to google it. I had recorded the movie from TCM, so after it was over, I watched the intro. Dr. Theresa had better things to do. The actor Jason Lee had chosen PARIS, TEXAS in his role as "guest programmer." And he told Robert Osborne that it reminded him of Chaplin! So I was like, I'm not even going to "blog" about this. And then I did.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

A Squirrel Holding a Stick

I guess you wonder where I've been. Well, friends, you might just say I've been everywhere... and nowhere. For you see... what? You didn't notice I was gone? That hurts! In any case, the pleasant occasion of my absence was the 4th Annual McNeil's Movie Korner Film Festival. My apologies, as I am sure you have these details memorized, but more than three years intervened between the first and second annual festivals, and more than four and a half years between the second and the third. So it may stun you beyond repair to learn that less than a year has gone by since the previous McNeil's Movie Korner Film Festival and this one. Let's see, that makes for an average of one Annual McNeil's Movie Korner Film Festival every two years, yes, we're finally catching up. No sooner had McNeil rolled into town than we cranked up THE BAD NEWS BEARS (original version). We started with it because one of us, I won't say which (it was McNeil) fell asleep five minutes into it during the last festival. Next: THE WILD AFFAIR, a Nancy Kwan vehicle I learned about ("click" here to learn likewise) from "She Blogged By Night."
Here is a photo from "She Blogged By Night" showing Vidal Sassoon cutting Nancy Kwan's hair for the movie. I am sure you recall how badly Ms. Kwan was treated by a film in the first MMKFF. She was thanklessly blown up! So we wanted to make up for that by watching a movie in which she is treated in a kindlier way. Although she is at least not blown up in THE WILD AFFAIR, her character is treated almost as shamefully by the seemingly endless parade of sleazes she encounters. Kwan holds the movie together, though, and the article from "She Blogged By Night" argues for her agency. Still, it seems to us that Nancy Kwan can't catch a break. Then we watched CASANOVA'S BIG NIGHT and Paul Schrader's BLUE COLLAR. Here's something that McNeil noticed: earlier in the day I had made an incongruous reference to the character "Mr. Bentley" (pictured) from the TV show THE JEFFERSONS.
In BLUE COLLAR, a TV is tuned to that show and the characters are discussing, by name, none other than Mr. Bentley! Plus, a scene from THE BAD NEWS BEARS had reminded me of a similar scene from CATCH-22, a fact upon which I remarked at the time. In BLUE COLLAR, Ed Begley Jr. is seen reading a paperback of CATCH-22! Make of these astounding coincidences what you will. McNeil also observed that both Richard Pryor in BLUE COLLAR and Bob Hope in our previous feature, CASANOVA'S BIG NIGHT, boasted of having "a new technique": Pryor's for bowling, Hope's for kissing. We came very close to a direct Hope reference when Richard Pryor angrily imagines what he might do as a union rep: fly up to Palm Springs on a private jet and play golf with Gerald Ford. Why didn't he say "Bob Hope" instead? But he didn't. And there's nothing we can do about it. McNeil had me pause BLUE COLLAR so that he could expound at some length upon his admiration for the curtains Richard Pryor's character had in his living room. As you well know, the curtains in movies are one of McNeil's main concerns. My nonfiction cigarette lighter book, which has already been typeset, makes reference to close to a hundred movies and TV episodes, I think. I wish I had rewatched BLUE COLLAR sooner, because I would have certainly included the euphemism that Pryor yells at his union rep: "You can flick my Bic!" Richard Pryor comes up quite a bit in my book, and one sad and terrible fact I know from all my research is that Pryor used a Bic when he set himself on fire. But let us turn from thoughts of tragedy: I believe it was between BLUE COLLAR and Robert Altman's QUINTET that McNeil and I looked out the window and saw a squirrel holding a stick. An unusual sight! The squirrel seemed to be holding the stick with some intent. McNeil compared it to the scene in 2001 when the ape-people learn to use weapons. But the squirrel did not have a sufficient attention span, and soon abandoned the stick without putting it to any use. "He almost had it," I said.
"So many dogs eating so many dudes," I idly remarked during QUINTET. McNeil and I agreed that the dystopian snowscape would have benefitted greatly had Jerry Lewis driven through in a ice cream truck, hollering, "I can't sell this stuff!" But he didn't. And now it is my sad duty to report that this is the very first McNeil's Movie Korner Film Festival not to include a Jerry Lewis movie. Pathetic! And now a digression. Ha ha! This whole thing has been a digression. But we took a break from watching movies and walked up to the City Grocery Bar, which has undergone a recent facelift. For one thing, the men's room is no longer just a hellish trough. I kind of miss the hellish trough! The new men's room is sparkling and elegant, but I'm sure I'll get used to it. Owner John Currence tells me that he rescued the piece of sheetrock that has Kent Osborne's still-pristine drawing of his cat on it from the old men's room wall. He plans to frame it and put it in a shadowbox on a wall of the bar! Now, if you drink at the Grocery often enough, you might get your name and usual drink on a brass plaque on the bar one day. And the occasion of our break from the film festival was that Ace Atkins and I have been accorded that honor as part of the general refurbishment. Now. For reasons I cannot recall, McNeil had requested that I get my hands on a copy of the Elvis movie LIVE A LITTLE, LOVE A LITTLE for this year's festival. When the subject came up at the bar, Ace - an Elvis expert - began an excellent discourse on the film's place in the Elvis canon, up to and including the provenance of the dog in it! (In addition to the actual dog, LIVE A LITTLE, LOVE A LITTLE is the movie notorious for making Elvis dance with a man in a dog costume.) Naturally, Ace was invited to join us for the showing - a rare and welcome intrusion into the insular world of the McNeil's Movie Korner Film Festival. Plus he brought Popeye's fried chicken! So our last three films - QUINTET, THE PALM BEACH STORY, and LIVE A LITTLE, LOVE A LITTLE - all use dogs in striking ways. The last two - THE PALM BEACH STORY and LIVE A LITTLE, LOVE A LITTLE - also costar Rudy Vallee. So that's weird. I had a bunch of other stuff to say, but aren't you tired? I guess this year's theme was... dogs?

Sunday, August 16, 2015

New Fashion Icon

I'm going to start dressing like this guy. Not John Garfield, the other guy! I'm quite taken with his stubby necktie.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Pleasantest Dotage

Hey! Just because I seem to be wearying of King James and his cronies doesn't mean I've given up on his contemporary Robert Burton or THE ANATOMY OF MELANCHOLY! Here's something I just read, for example. There's a bad word in it! But hey, it was 1621. Also, the same word is in the Bible. The KING JAMES Bible, come to think of it! Look up I Kings 16:11 if you don't believe me. Who am I kidding? You don't have a Bible. So don't come crying to me. But here's Burton: "Philodotus the Physician cured a melancholy King, that thought his head was off, by putting a leaden cap thereon: the weight made him perceive it, and freed him of his fond imagination... The pleasantest dotage that ever I read, saith Laurentius, was of a Gentleman at Senes in Italy, who was afraid to piss, lest all the Town should be drowned; the Physicians caused the bells to be rung backward, and told him the Town was on fire, whereupon he made water, and was immediately cured."

Jacobean Burnout

I find it difficult to admit or even believe, but I may be burning out on King James I and his court. I'm really slowing down on this book. Is it that I've read so many books about King James and his gang so recently? Is it that I'm starting to crave fiction again? A review in the New York Times a week or two ago intrigued me. It was for a novel called THE DYING GRASS. So I went to Square Books and looked at it and there it was: a novel of more than a thousand pages called THE DYING GRASS. I thought: "That takes confidence!" To write a novel of more than a thousand pages and call it THE DYING GRASS. Like people will say, huh, a thousand-page novel about dying grass, cool! But there is a character named Red Owl, as I learned from the review, and you know what that means. THE DYING GRASS is part of a series by William T. Vollmann called "Seven Dreams." The review mentioned earlier volumes including one titled ARGALL in which Vollmann "attempted a postmodernist pastiche of 17th-century style that, in the eyes of many reviewers, didn’t work." And of course that made me want to read it, as bad reviews so often do. So although nothing on earth - through no fault of Mr. Vollmann's - could make me read THE DYING GRASS, Cody at Square Books ordered ARGALL for me. "How many pages is it? No, don't tell me!" I said. "I can tell you it's less than a thousand pages," said Cody. In the meantime, I found a used copy of the first of Vollmann's "Seven Dreams." It's called THE ICE-SHIRT. It's a fantasy novel, though I doubt anyone has called it that, because William T. Vollmann wrote it. But it has a lot of sentences like this: "Ivar's men, raking through the ashes in hopes of booty, presently came upon two skeletons breast to breast, and inside each one a frantically beating wolf's heart."

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

All-Star Entertainment Wrap-Up

Welcome once again to "All-Star Entertainment Wrap-Up," your only place on the "internet" for all the biggest scoops on the entertainment show business stars of tomorrow. THIS JUST IN! Your eyes do not deceive you. That's MY BROTHER with STEVE LAWRENCE. If you don't know who STEVE LAWRENCE is, you're even worse than we thought. And frankly we never thought much of you. As WILL FRIEDWALD says in his BIOGRAPHICAL GUIDE TO THE GREAT JAZZ AND POP SINGERS, aw, there's six pages of double columns here, and the print is so tiny, never mind. Speaking of the fine crooners of this proud nation, BILL BOYLE set twitter ablaze yesterday when he stumbled across an LP by MATT DENNIS at THE END OF ALL MUSIC. Soon everyone on twitter was joining in the hot new "MATT DENNIS" kick. No less than MEGAN ABBOTT weighed in with her fave MATT DENNIS album cover:
Not only can THIS DENNIS KID swing, he's written quite a few hit numbers! We predict he'll go far.
BILL BOYLE dug up a clip that supports our astonishing claim. You'd be a fool not to "click" it. Here's the LP that got BILL so worked up, and we couldn't help but note that it is the cheery antithesis of a devastating PORTER WAGONER album cover. Talk about "flip sides"! The world is a strange place, as your friends at "All-Star Entertainment Wrap-Up" have noticed. Sometimes you're MATT DENNIS and sometimes you're PORTER WAGONER and there's nothing you can do about it.
Say! Your intrepid glittery-eyed troupers here at "All-Star Entertainment Wrap-Up" must have crooners on the brain!
Because we just remembered that we forgot to ever remember to tell you that the bar at the Lamar Lounge once graced EDDIE FISHER'S house! It's even crowned with a big, proprietary "EF"! But nothing last forever, folks. That's just the way it is. Take DINOSAURS! Who but noted author MARY MILLER came back from a recent excursion to IDAHO with a bag of genuine dinosaur poop from a souvenir shop?
And who was the recipient of this notable benefaction? None other than your humble purveyor of "All-Star Entertainment Wrap-Up." Our favorite part of the inscription? Her insistence that we "enjoy." That's all the "All-Star Entertainment Wrap-Up" we have time for today. Until next time, keep "reaching" for the "stars"! And in the words of MARY MILLER, "ENJOY!"

Monday, August 10, 2015

As Fat as Butter

Here's a description I like from THE ANATOMY OF MELANCHOLY. Burton is talking about the importance of getting enough sleep: "It moistens and fattens the body, concocts, and helps digestion, (as we see in dormice, and those Alpine mice that sleep all Winter), which Gesner speaks of, when they are so found sleeping under the snow in the dead of Winter, as fat as butter."

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Too Garrulous

Pardon my coarse language, but here is a footnote that just made me say, "What the hell!" out loud. It's in THE ANATOMY OF MELANCHOLY. It's not one of Burton's own footnotes, which are clearly marked in the text, but one by his 1927 editors, explaining an allusion that Burton makes to "Albertus' brasen head." I'll just quote the whole thing: "'It is related of Albertus that he made an entire man of brass, putting together its limbs under various constellations, and occupying no less than thirty years in its formation. This man would answer all sorts of questions, and was even employed as a domestic. But at length it is said to have become so garrulous that Thomas Aquinas, a pupil of Albertus, finding himself disturbed perpetually by its uncontrollable loquacity, caught up a hammer and beat it to pieces.' - William Godwin's Lives of the Necromancers." You know, I had a vague feeling I had "blogged" about this unfortunate robot butler before, but no, that was just a "golden talking head that murmured secret advice" to a pope.

Indignities of a Visiting Monarch

Well! At last I find myself in the happy position of being able to begin this history book that Lee Durkee loaned me about a scandalous murder plot in the court of James I. (I am very sorry to tell you that on page one of the introduction we are informed that the murder weapon may have been "an enema of mercury sublimate." I told you I was sorry!) When I picked it up just now, the book happened to fall open to page 53, upon which Lee had scribbled some marginalia. To be precise, the sole and resonant phrase that Lee had inscribed in the margin was "codpiece fiddling." Ha ha! I emailed him at once to make sure I could transcribe this marginalia onto my "blog" - one can't be too scrupulous in such matters! Lee replied: "Sure, codpiece fiddling can go public. There's a great passage somewhere in that book about a masque of virtues in which all the participants get drunk and attempt to fondle some visiting king, which might be the codpiece fiddling you mentioned." No, as a matter of fact, that is not the same instance of codpiece fiddling which appears on page 53, so there is apparently a rich abundance of codpiece fiddling ahead of me. Of us!

Thursday, August 06, 2015

The First Ball That Ever Was Made

Page 452 of THE ANATOMY OF MELANCHOLY and I'm less than halfway through. On the bright side, we've moved on to the part where he tells you how to get rid of melancholy. Games are good therapy. Burton likes "Keelpins, trunks, quoits, pitching bars, hurling, wrestling, leaping, running, fencing, mustering, swimming, wasters, foils, foot-ball, balloon, quintain, &c." He even tentatively identifies the inventor of the ball: "Aganella, a fair maid of Corcyra," who "presented the first ball that ever was made to Nausicaa, the daughter of King Alcinous, and taught her how to use it." Burton recommends chess, with caveats: "it is a game too troublesome for some men's brains, too full of anxiety... besides, it is a testy cholerick game, and very offensive to him that loseth the Mate." He goes on to tell about the time William the Conqueror lost at chess to the Prince of France and "knocked the Chess-board about his pate, which was a cause afterwards of much enmity between them."

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Elaine Stritch in a Western

Last night when I couldn't sleep I watched a whole Charlton Heston western with Elaine Stritch in it! If that sentence doesn't interest you, just stop reading, I won't mind. It only goes downhill from here. For example, I also thought I saw Jamie Farr and Robert Blake standing around in a few scenes. As brothers! And today I checked imdb and I was right. But back to Elaine Stritch. At first I thought it was odd to see her in a western. She didn't make that many movies, did she? I'm not going to look it up. But when you think about it, she was kind of born to play a cynical dance-hall madam, as she did here. I wanted to illustrate this "post" with a nice shot of Elaine Stritch from the movie, but there doesn't seem to be one on the "internet." They used this as a publicity still, apparently.
That's Stritch sitting at the desk, signing a document. Wow! What action! You can see why the publicity department wanted to use it. Speaking of which, the title of the movie is THREE VIOLENT PEOPLE, ha ha! (I added the ha ha.) Sounds like it took the whole marketing department and a couple of focus groups to come up with that. And there are way more than three violent people in it. And one of the "three people" we're supposed to infer is violent isn't violent at all! Anyway, "internet," why no color pictures of Elaine Stritch in THREE VIOLENT PEOPLE, in her green silk dance-hall madam get-up, say? I mean, look, there's even a good one of Forrest Tucker:
Forrest Tucker! I saw him in some Katharine Hepburn movie the other day and I was like, "Who is this guy?" If you're my age you mostly recall him mugging his way through awful live-action Saturday morning goofball comedy. But in this Katharine Hepburn thing he was like a weird, brooding, mysterious, silent hunk.
Look! Look how he broods. Ah, time. Who can escape you? Speaking of Jamie Farr - ha ha! - You should really listen to "Conversation Parade." It's a podcast all about ADVENTURE TIME. On a recent episode, Steve Wolfhard revealed that his inspiration for the character of BMO's creator (see below) was Jamie Farr. That's the kind of information you won't get anywhere else! Except here, apparently. There's going to be a brand new episode today featuring Olivia Olson, the voice of Marceline the Vampire Queen. CHECK IT OUT!
This must be the worst publicity they've ever gotten. People who are googling "Elaine Stritch + Jamie Farr + Forrest Tucker" are gonna love "Conversation Parade." In conclusion - no, NOT in conclusion! - I decided to watch THREE VIOLENT PEOPLE because I am curious about costar Thomas Tryon. He wrote the fine horror novel THE OTHER which I taught in a couple of classes on the recommendation of Laura Lippman. And the other day I found a mass-market paperback of his other horror novel HARVEST HOME at that used book stall I like. And he quit acting and became a novelist because Otto Preminger was such a hateful, screaming lunatic as a director. He once fired Thomas Tryon right in front of Tryon's parents! At least that's the way I remember the story from Chris Fujiwara's Preminger book, but I'm not going to get up and go into the other room and find it and check the index. In conclusion, the conclusion of THREE VIOLENT PEOPLE features Anne Baxter embracing Charlton Heston, and a big puff of dust and dirt rises off of him. It had to be on purpose, didn't it? But it looks like an accident. But it's kind of thematically fitting, you'll see. Wait, I lied! Here's Elaine Stritch.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Lords of the World

As I was telling Lee Durkee, Robert Burton talks about aliens a lot in THE ANATOMY OF MELANCHOLY. He believes that other planets are certainly inhabited (all the other known planets in 1621, and the moon, too!). (By the way, I should apologize to Lee because he loaned me a book about a scandalous poisoning during the reign of King James I and I haven't been able to pick it up yet, what with all these other books I'm reading plus THE DECAMERON, which I recently picked up again. [I don't want to offend any scholars, but THE DECAMERON is really easy to pick up again.] As Peter Ackroyd notes, the poison was allegedly conveyed in "tarts and jellies" that the sweet-toothed victim loved so well.) Burton thinks that "those two green children which Nubrigensis speaks of in his time that fell from Heaven" are probably aliens. Just do a little "internet" research and you will find that Burton is talking about the "Green Children of Woolpit." Do it yourself! I'm not going to do it for you. Burton wonders: "But who shall dwell in these vast bodies, Earths, Worlds, if they be inhabited? rational creatures? as Kepler demands, or have they souls to be saved? or do they inhabit a better part of the world than we do? Are we or they Lords of the World?"

Monday, August 03, 2015

Anchovy Breakfast Surprise

Last night I was reading in THE ANATOMY OF MELANCHOLY about a mule and and an ass both carrying heavy burdens. One was laden with salt and the other with wool. Well, this one donkey (or mule or whatever) falls into some water and his salt melts and his burden gets lighter! So the other donkey (or whatever) tries the same thing. But his wool gets sodden and even heavier. Get it? Burton says, "So one thing may be good and bad to several parties, upon diverse occasions." This is my way of saying that I went to bed craving anchovies. And I was like, "My breakfast upon the morrow shall include anchovies, one way or another!" So I want to tell you about this great sandwich I made. Dr. Theresa had whipped up some delicious salmon spread for dinner last night and I used the leftovers as a condiment on two slices of bread this morning. Meanwhile, I put some butter in a hot frying pan with some anchovies and a lot of fresh garlic sliced thin and some red pepper flakes. And when that was going pretty good I cracked an egg over it. So then I put the fried egg between the two pieces of salmon-lathered bread and grilled that sandwich to golden-brown perfection, like they say in commercials, in the small remaining amount of anchovy/garlic/pepper butter. Now, maybe that sounds gross to you! All I can say is I have revealed myself at my most vulnerable and I hope we can still be friends. Because that was a top-notch, world-class sandwich. As I also read in a subsequent chapter of THE ANATOMY OF MELANCHOLY last night, "I conclude, our own experience is the best Physician; that diet which is most propitious to one is often pernicious to another; such is the variety of palates, humors, and temperatures, let every man observe, and be a law unto himself."