Monday, January 24, 2022

Dramatic Moment

At a dramatic moment in her autobiography, June Havoc describes herself as being "owl-eyed and frightened." If you know me at all, which you don't, you know why I am compelled to tell you this (see previous "hyperlink"). But it's not much, is it? So as long as I am here, it has been too long since I was upset by a TV commercial. I've seen one recently in which Charlie the Tuna, the mascot of Starkist brand tuna products, boasts of having branched out into the chicken business. He announces a chicken product which has, quote, "the look and texture" of his tuna. Often have I pondered, listening to Charlie the Tuna's pitch, how it is a selling point.

Saturday, January 22, 2022

I Watched the Hot Dog Being Built

I read a sentence I liked (see above) and emailed about it seperately to three friends: Megan, Sarah, and McNeil. Therefore I feel I have already written about it extensively and, as I no longer "blog" anymore, it hardly seems worth the effort to create "new content." As a result, I have chosen to cut-and-paste one of the emails below, the one I wrote to Sarah, to be precise, as it seemed to contain the most thrilling moments representing the richness of human experience. Here, then, is the email I composed to Sarah: "So, remember how, just six days ago, in the Sherman Oaks area, I told you an intriguing story of how Pen advised me 'Don't look!' when his dog pooped, but then we (you and I) looked out the window of your car and saw a large dog plainly pooping in our direction? You really made me laugh by comparing the experience to the movie SERENDIPITY. Ha ha ha! I'm still laughing. Anyway, so my friend Megan and I are in a book club of two where we read biographies and autobiographies of show biz types. Right now, we're on June Havoc, who performed in vaudeville as 'Dainty June.' You may remember her as a character in the biographical musical GYPSY, which was based on her family. None of this matters. Nor does it matter that her autobiography has a great first sentence: 'I watched the hot dog being built.' What matters is that the original (?) owner of the book was a Dane Blackburn, who dwelt at 211 E. 62nd Street in NYC. If found, he wished his book to be returned to him there [as indicated on the flyleaf]. Now here's the kicker! I looked at the address on Google Maps and they helpfully provide the name of the nearest restaurant. SERENDIPITY! Which is about something scribbled in the front of a book, right? The movie, I mean. And I think it's also named after that restaurant? You know, I've never seen the whole thing. I have attached photographic evidence for your examination." This concludes the email to Sarah. As an amazing postscript, to which Megan, Sarah, and McNeil have all been alerted, Eleanor Roosevelt lived at 211 E. 62nd Street from 1953-1958, as evidenced by this real estate video ("click" here). The book, however, came out in 1959, so my copy most likely did not pass through Mrs. Roosevelt's hands. In conclusion, though I brought my jotting book to Los Angeles, I will not be sharing my jottings on this occasion. That being said, I did have hot dogs with Elizabeth Ito, my brother, and Lee Durkee at a place out in Eagle Rock, which bears mentioning given the subject of Havoc's opening remarks.

Sunday, January 02, 2022

Pancake Research

I found reason to recall a long-ago exchange in the "writers' room," when someone mentioned putting syrup on pancakes, whereupon Hanna, calling in from Sweden, said, with a degree of alarm, something like, "What kind of syrup would you put on pancakes?" Adam replied, "Breakfast syrup." Hanna said, and this may be a direct quote, "Breakfast syrup? You guys are crazy." We asked what goes on pancakes in Sweden and Hanna said, "Jam." Now, we all had to admit that sounded great! But it was clear that syrup in Sweden is different than what we call syrup in the USA. All of this came back to me as I contemplated the molasses sandwiches in Ingmar Bergman's film FANNY AND ALEXANDER. After recording my thoughts on the film below, I dispatched an urgent query to Hanna, asking what the translator might have been getting at. Hanna concluded that the children were most likely enjoying some treacle (AKA golden syrup) on bread, a cheaper substitute for honey on bread. Now, the grandmother in FANNY AND ALEXANDER seemed as if she would be able to afford all the honey a child could ever eat, but that is none of my beeswax. Ha ha. Hanna told me there is nothing like molasses in Sweden, although both she and I may have been conflating molasses and syrup, as I know from visiting dozens of websites that are all too eager to explain in excruciating detail the myriad important differences between molasses and syrup, which I perversely refuse to commit to memory, despite all my feigned interest in the subject.