Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Here Comes the Kicker

Yesterday, while Dr. Theresa was out doing some errands, I watched MADADAYO, Kurosawa's final movie, a surprisingly (and gratifyingly) lengthy portion of which was taken up with the protagonist looking for his lost cat. During that section, the shamisen was mentioned a few times, as something - and I hate to say this - made partly from cats, and the man and his wife and all his friends were hoping that no one had made a shamisen out of his cat. I confess that in my ignorance, I did not know what a shamisen was, nor, in my obstinance, did I look it up. Okay! The next thing you need to know is that Dr. Theresa routinely dismissed the show GILMORE GIRLS when it was on the air. "Too girly," she said on more than one occasion as I sat there watching it. But somehow or another, she recently got the idea to give it another try. Maybe she's mellowing out! So, when she got home, we watched an episode in which a kitten appeared. "Is something going to happen to the kitten?" Dr. Theresa asked (something happened to a cat several episodes earlier). "I don't think so!" I said, reminding her, however, that it has been many years since I watched the series, and I did not remember every detail. Or any detail. Or anything. So check this out! The kitten got lost! Just like the cat in MADADAYO. Please do not concern youself: the matter was swiftly and successfully resolved by the eponymous Gilmore Girls. Later, of course, Dr. Theresa and I retired for the evening. As we often do, we set the bedroom TV to Frasier, whose soothing tones have lulled us into a peaceful slumber on many a winter's night. He's a human white-noise machine! We half-listened to two episodes. In the first, Frasier's radio listeners called in to describe their lost cats, much to Frasier's displeasure! Ha ha, that's not what Frasier's radio show is about, or so Frasier seemed to muse as he fumed. But he grudgingly let them describe their lost cats. This, you will note, was the third bit of entertainment I had consumed in one day concerning lost cats. Okay. Get ready. Here comes the kicker! Now, in the next, entirely different episode of Frasier, having nothing to do with cats, he mentions, of all things (are you sitting down?), the shamisen! His less educated friends, much like myself, don't know what a shamisen is, so Frasier somewhat smugly explains that it is "a kind of Japanese guitar." I did not have to look up the shamisen. It came to me. And with that, the circle of the day was complete. Well, I did have to look it up, because I didn't entirely trust Frasier, and you, by doing your own research, may judge in what ways the shamisen resembles a guitar, and in what ways it does not. The preceding has been adapted freely from an email I sent to McNeil.

Thursday, December 15, 2022

10 Greatest

There is no doubt at all that the biggest news story of the year was my Spotify playlist "Hot Songs for Crybabies." Leaving that aside, it is time for us to consider the 10 greatest things that happened in 2022. I can tell nothing else great is going to happen before January. So let's go with the big countdown! 10. I looked out of a window with Sarah Lloyd and we saw a dog pooping. 9. Tom Franklin coughed up a live gnat. 8. Discovery of a half-smoked pack of cigarettes. 7. A brief interest in wombats. 6. I quit social media like some kind of fricking egghead who thinks he's a real big shot now and better than everybody else. 5. Announcement of an international consortium to figure out what kind of sandwiches the kids were eating in FANNY AND ALEXANDER. I guess that's six things. I guess only six great things happened in 2022, and despite the cagey phrasing, the sandwich talk most likely occurred in December, 2021. So maybe only five great things happened.

Sunday, December 11, 2022


As I am sure you think about all the time, my friend Megan and I have read 60 or 70 or 80 books about celebrities together and we show no signs of stopping until one of us (I) drops dead. Well, we ordered Brian Cox's diary (ha ha! I don't know why that's funny) from the time he played King Lear, and mine came, but Megan's still hasn't yet, are you taking notes? Because we each have a copy of the new oral history of Hollywood edited by Jeanine Basinger and some dude. So we decided to read that while Megan waits for Brian Cox's diary (ha ha!) to show up. Anyhow, and now we are getting to the really good stuff, we start in the silent era, of course, a section including reflections from Hoot Gibson (pictured, above), a very famous silent-era cowboy star as I am very sure you know. Before he was a cowboy star, Hoot worked as a delivery boy at the Owl Drug Company, which is how he got his nickname! People called him "Hoot Owl," which was shortened to "Hoot," because in those days, people were too tired to say the whole thing.

Monday, December 05, 2022

Three Owls

If you have been reading this "blog" for a long time, you will understand what I am about to tell you. If this is your first time reading the "blog," you are out of luck. Get out while you can. Where were you when I needed you? That's what I thought. Why are you still here? Go on, git! Anyway, in the Peter Straub novel GHOST STORY, one character tells some other characters, "You look like three owls." Five pages later, she is no longer satisfied with mere simile and calls them "You three owls." Let me stress, she is referring to three humans, not three owls. This should not be confused with the time I went to Los Angeles and encountered three books with owls in them. This is one book with three owl-like humans in it. (See also. And also.)