Sunday, March 20, 2016

Colors That Don't Have Names

I've seen a lot of interesting things about lighters lately but I'm not even going to tell you. Remember when I wrote a book about cigarette lighters? And then occasionally I would run across some tidbit I was sad not to have put in the book? Well, as the months advance, my feelings of urgency grow remote. BUT! I was watching PARIS HOLIDAY yesterday and Anita Ekberg cozies up to Bob Hope and asks for a light (as a pretext for picking his pocket). "If we were any closer, we wouldn't need the lighter," cracks Bob. And I know if I had seen it in time, that scene would have gone straight in to my lengthy section on sexual aspects of cigarette-lighting - ha ha, yes, my nonfiction book about cigarette lighters is just as thrilling as it sounds. Now I will change the subject! But I will return to the subject. PARIS HOLIDAY has a scene in which Bob's head appears in the business end of a guillotine. So often his movies contain a fantasy of official (usually public) execution, whether by axe, noose, electric chair, or some other means. I'd bet a million dollars he faces a firing squad in one. What's going on, Bob? I'll say again that somebody should write a paper about it but I'm too tired. Speaking of gruesome scholarly papers, I had an email from Liam. He has moved away, so he caught me up on some of his recent activities: "I was going to medical history lectures where I learned about 'mumia' (which, as you may know, was a cure-all made from mummies) and about people who thought/think that people can't see colors that don't have names." Later in our correspondence he sent me an extraordinarily gruesome article by the person who had lectured on "mumia." AND! It contained more than one point very relevant to my cigarette lighter book, particularly clarifying or confirming some of the more harrowing tales of terror that Ted Ballard told me in his metal barn filled with his collection of 30,000 lighters on a lonesome stretch of road in Oklahoma. I can't "link" to the article because it's just too gruesome. And I can't quote from it because quoting from it without "linking" to it would be rude.