Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Nobody's Watching

Nobody's Watching is a 2017 film directed by Julia Solomonoff. I watched it free on TubiTV at this link with ads. I liked this.


The Guardian has a positive review as do Variety and Hollywood Reporter. Rotten Tomatoes has a critics consensus score of 89%.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Good Strong Coffee

Good Strong Coffee:

a 1968 television ad promoting coffee as a stimulant. Groovy!

Please post something drink-related and join us at the T Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering hosted by Bleubeard and Elizabeth.

Monday, June 28, 2021

Reap the Wild Wind

Reap the Wild Wind is an Oscar award-winning 1942 swashbuckling adventure film directed by Cecille B. DeMille and starring Ray Milland, John Wayne, Paulette Goddard, Robert Preston, and Susan Hayward.

I watched it at Daily Motion, but that video's not there any more. It's available right now at Internet Archive and via Youtube::

The Hollywood Reporter has a review from the film's original release. Variety says, "The production is a visual triumph. Some of the marine scenes are breathtaking. There is skillful blending of process photography." DVD Talk closes by saying, "From a production standpoint alone, Reap the Wild Wind is a visual feast for the eyes, with many exciting set-pieces. ... Highly Recommended."

Rotten Tomatoes has a critics consensus critics score of 80%. TCM has an article.

Sunday, June 27, 2021

Angel Station

Angel Station is a science fiction space opera novel by Walter Jon Williams. There's plenty here, including politics and philosophy. I was fascinated by how the aliens -and oh! how alien they are!- were portrayed and the way their relationship with humans developed. It would reward re-reading.

from the back of the book:
Orphans born in the depths of space, they were engineered to range the galaxy in search of fortune. Misfits and outlaws, they defied the huge interstllar cartels that ruled space, always one jump ahead of the authorities. Ubu Roy was the strong young bossrider of the starship Runaway, who held all of history in his remarkable memory. Beautiful Maria was an ace star shooter and cybernetic witch, who could bend spacetime to find the perfect singularity.
The author keeps a blog at his website.

Friday, June 25, 2021

Jackie Robinson 42

42 was Jackie Robinson's number. He died on this date in 1972.

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Voodoo Island

Voodoo Island is a 1957 horror film starring Boris Karloff. Elisha Cook, Jr. is also in this movie. As are zombies and carnivorous plants. Adam West has an uncredited role.

Stomp Tokyo has a detailed plot description and some screen shots.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

I'll Take Care of You

I'll Take Care of You:

sung by Bobby "Blue" Bland, who was born and died here in Shelby Country, Tennessee. He performed until shortly before his death on this date in 2013 at the age of 83.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

The Face of Another

The Face of Another is a 1966 award-winning Japanese film based on the 1964 Kobe Abe book. The story follows an engineer, whose face is severely burnt in a work-related accident and who is given a new face in the form of a lifelike mask.

Here's a screenshot from fairly early in the film. See the teapot?

Please post something drink-related and join us at the T Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering hosted by Bleubeard and Elizabeth.

Monday, June 21, 2021

Happy International Day of Yoga

Namaste. Enjoy the International Day of Yoga by doing some yoga. Here are some easy beginner poses:

Corpse Pose (Savasana)
usually shown on the floor, this pose can also be done on your bed

Sunday, June 20, 2021

The Long Ships

The Long Ships is a 1964 British/Yugoslav film starring Richard Widmark and Sidney Poitier. There is so much not to like here unless you're a Widmark or Poitier completest. I didn't finish it.

In 3 parts below with ads.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

DVD Talk calls it a "total botch" and says, "The only way to account for the erratic final result is to point at the gross miscasting and waste of good actors in minor roles. Much of the film appears to be played for laughs that aren't in the script." Rotten Tomatoes has a 50% critics consensus and a 39% audience rating. TCM has an overview.

Saturday, June 19, 2021

The Red House Mystery

The Red House Mystery is a 1922 "locked room" story by A.A. Milne and is his only mystery novel. This is a fun read. I enjoyed the writing style, how the plot progresses, the characters... all of it. You can read it online here or here or listen to it read to you at the bottom of this post. Here's the first chapter:

Mrs. Stevens is Frightened

In the drowsy heat of the summer afternoon the Red House was taking its siesta. There was a lazy murmur of bees in the flower-borders, a gentle cooing of pigeons in the tops of the elms. From distant lawns came the whir of a mowing-machine, that most restful of all country sounds; making ease the sweeter in that it is taken while others are working.

It was the hour when even those whose business it is to attend to the wants of others have a moment or two for themselves. In the housekeeper’s room Audrey Stevens, the pretty parlour-maid, re-trimmed her best hat, and talked idly to her aunt, the cook-housekeeper of Mr. Mark Ablett’s bachelor home.

“For Joe?” said Mrs. Stevens placidly, her eye on the hat. Audrey nodded. She took a pin from her mouth, found a place in the hat for it, and said, “He likes a bit of pink.”

“I don’t say I mind a bit of pink myself,” said her aunt. “Joe Turner isn’t the only one.”

“It isn’t everybody’s colour,” said Audrey, holding the hat out at arm’s length, and regarding it thoughtfully. “Stylish, isn’t it?”

“Oh, it’ll suit you all right, and it would have suited me at your age. A bit too dressy for me now, though wearing better than some other people, I daresay. I was never the one to pretend to be what I wasn’t. If I’m fifty-five, I’m fifty-five—that’s what I say.”

“Fifty-eight, isn’t it, auntie?”

“I was just giving that as an example,” said Mrs. Stevens with great dignity.

Audrey threaded a needle, held her hand out and looked at her nails critically for a moment, and then began to sew.

“Funny thing that about Mr. Mark’s brother. Fancy not seeing your brother for fifteen years.” She gave a self-conscious laugh and went on, “Wonder what I should do if I didn’t see Joe for fifteen years.”

“As I told you all this morning,” said her aunt, “I’ve been here five years, and never heard of a brother. I could say that before everybody if I was going to die to-morrow. There’s been no brother here while I’ve been here.”

“You could have knocked me down with a feather when he spoke about him at breakfast this morning. I didn’t hear what went before, naturally, but they was all talking about the brother when I went in—now what was it I went in for—hot milk, was it, or toast?—well, they was all talking, and Mr. Mark turns to me, and says—you know his way—‘Stevens,’ he says, ‘my brother is coming to see me this afternoon; I’m expecting him about three,’ he says. ‘Show him into the office,’ he says, just like that. ‘Yes, sir,’ I says quite quietly, but I was never so surprised in my life, not knowing he had a brother. ‘My brother from Australia,’ he says—there, I’d forgotten that. From Australia.”

“Well, he may have been in Australia,” said Mrs. Stevens, judicially; “I can’t say for that, not knowing the country; but what I do say is he’s never been here. Not while I’ve been here, and that’s five years.”

“Well, but, auntie, he hasn’t been here for fifteen years. I heard Mr. Mark telling Mr. Cayley. ‘Fifteen years,’ he says. Mr. Cayley having arst him when his brother was last in England. Mr. Cayley knew of him, I heard him telling Mr. Beverley, but didn’t know when he was last in England—see? So that’s why he arst Mr. Mark.”

“I’m not saying anything about fifteen years, Audrey. I can only speak for what I know, and that’s five years Whitsuntide. I can take my oath he’s not set foot in the house since five years Whitsuntide. And if he’s been in Australia, as you say, well, I daresay he’s had his reasons.”

“What reasons?” said Audrey lightly.

“Never mind what reasons. Being in the place of a mother to you, since your poor mother died, I say this, Audrey—when a gentleman goes to Australia, he has his reasons. And when he stays in Australia fifteen years, as Mr. Mark says, and as I know for myself for five years, he has his reasons. And a respectably brought-up girl doesn’t ask what reasons.”

“Got into trouble, I suppose,” said Audrey carelessly. “They were saying at breakfast he’d been a wild one. Debts. I’m glad Joe isn’t like that. He’s got fifteen pounds in the post-office savings’ bank. Did I tell you?”

But there was not to be any more talk of Joe Turner that afternoon. The ringing of a bell brought Audrey to her feet—no longer Audrey, but now Stevens. She arranged her cap in front of the glass.

“There, that’s the front door,” she said. “That’s him. ‘Show him into the office,’ said Mr. Mark. I suppose he doesn’t want the other ladies and gentlemen to see him. Well, they’re all out at their golf, anyhow—Wonder if he’s going to stay—P’raps he’s brought back a lot of gold from Australia—I might hear something about Australia, because if anybody can get gold there, then I don’t say but what Joe and I—”

“Now, now, get on, Audrey.”

“Just going, darling.” She went out.

To anyone who had just walked down the drive in the August sun, the open door of the Red House revealed a delightfully inviting hall, of which even the mere sight was cooling. It was a big low-roofed, oak-beamed place, with cream-washed walls and diamond-paned windows, blue-curtained. On the right and left were doors leading into other living-rooms, but on the side which faced you as you came in were windows again, looking on to a small grass court, and from open windows to open windows such air as there was played gently. The staircase went up in broad, low steps along the right-hand wall, and, turning to the left, led you along a gallery, which ran across the width of the hall, to your bedroom. That is, if you were going to stay the night. Mr. Robert Ablett’s intentions in this matter were as yet unknown.

As Audrey came across the hall she gave a little start as she saw Mr. Cayley suddenly, sitting unobtrusively in a seat beneath one of the front windows, reading. No reason why he shouldn’t be there; certainly a much cooler place than the golf-links on such a day; but somehow there was a deserted air about the house that afternoon, as if all the guests were outside, or—perhaps the wisest place of all—up in their bedrooms, sleeping. Mr. Cayley, the master’s cousin, was a surprise; and, having given a little exclamation as she came suddenly upon him, she blushed, and said, “Oh, I beg your pardon, sir, I didn’t see you at first,” and he looked up from his book and smiled at her. An attractive smile it was on that big ugly face. “Such a gentleman, Mr. Cayley,” she thought to herself as she went on, and wondered what the master would do without him. If this brother, for instance, had to be bundled back to Australia, it was Mr. Cayley who would do most of the bundling.

“So this is Mr. Robert,” said Audrey to herself, as she came in sight of the visitor.

She told her aunt afterwards that she would have known him anywhere for Mr. Mark’s brother, but she would have said that in any event. Actually she was surprised. Dapper little Mark, with his neat pointed beard and his carefully curled moustache; with his quick-darting eyes, always moving from one to the other of any company he was in, to register one more smile to his credit when he had said a good thing, one more expectant look when he was only waiting his turn to say it; he was a very different man from this rough-looking, ill-dressed colonial, staring at her so loweringly.

“I want to see Mr. Mark Ablett,” he growled. It sounded almost like a threat.

Audrey recovered herself and smiled reassuringly at him. She had a smile for everybody.

“Yes, sir. He is expecting you, if you will come this way.”

“Oh! So you know who I am, eh?”

“Mr. Robert Ablett?”

“Ay, that’s right. So he’s expecting me, eh? He’ll be glad to see me, eh?”

“If you will come this way, sir,” said Audrey primly.

She went to the second door on the left, and opened it.

“Mr. Robert Ab—” she began, and then broke off. The room was empty. She turned to the man behind her. “If you will sit down, sir, I will find the master. I know he’s in, because he told me that you were coming this afternoon.”

“Oh!” He looked round the room. “What d’you call this place, eh?”

“The office, sir.”

“The office?”

“The room where the master works, sir.”

“Works, eh? That’s new. Didn’t know he’d ever done a stroke of work in his life.”

“Where he writes, sir,” said Audrey, with dignity. The fact that Mr. Mark “wrote,” though nobody knew what, was a matter of pride in the housekeeper’s room.

“Not well-dressed enough for the drawing-room, eh?”

“I will tell the master you are here, sir,” said Audrey decisively.

She closed the door and left him there.

Well! Here was something to tell auntie! Her mind was busy at once, going over all the things which he had said to her and she had said to him—quiet-like. “Directly I saw him I said to myself—” Why, you could have knocked her over with a feather. Feathers, indeed, were a perpetual menace to Audrey.

However, the immediate business was to find the master. She walked across the hall to the library, glanced in, came back a little uncertainly, and stood in front of Cayley.

“If you please, sir,” she said in a low, respectful voice, “can you tell me where the master is? It’s Mr. Robert called.”

“What?” said Cayley, looking up from his book. “Who?”

Audrey repeated her question.

“I don’t know. Isn’t he in the office? He went up to the Temple after lunch. I don’t think I’ve seen him since.”

“Thank you, sir. I will go up to the Temple.”

Cayley returned to his book.

The “Temple” was a brick summer-house, in the gardens at the back of the house, about three hundred yards away. Here Mark meditated sometimes before retiring to the “office” to put his thoughts upon paper. The thoughts were not of any great value; moreover, they were given off at the dinner-table more often than they got on to paper, and got on to paper more often than they got into print. But that did not prevent the master of The Red House from being a little pained when a visitor treated the Temple carelessly, as if it had been erected for the ordinary purposes of flirtation and cigarette-smoking. There had been an occasion when two of his guests had been found playing fives in it. Mark had said nothing at the time, save to ask with a little less than his usual point—whether they couldn’t find anywhere else for their game, but the offenders were never asked to The Red House again.

Audrey walked slowly up to the Temple, looked in and walked slowly back. All that walk for nothing. Perhaps the master was upstairs in his room. “Not well-dressed enough for the drawing-room.” Well, now, Auntie, would you like anyone in your drawing-room with a red handkerchief round his neck and great big dusty boots, and—listen! One of the men shooting rabbits. Auntie was partial to a nice rabbit, and onion sauce. How hot it was; she wouldn’t say no to a cup of tea. Well, one thing, Mr. Robert wasn’t staying the night; he hadn’t any luggage. Of course Mr. Mark could lend him things; he had clothes enough for six. She would have known him anywhere for Mr. Mark’s brother.

She came into the house. As she passed the housekeeper’s room on her way to the hall, the door opened suddenly, and a rather frightened face looked out.

“Hallo, Aud,” said Elsie. “It’s Audrey,” she said, turning into the room.

“Come in, Audrey,” called Mrs. Stevens.

“What’s up?” said Audrey, looking in at the door.

“Oh, my dear, you gave me such a turn. Where have you been?”

“Up to the Temple.”

“Did you hear anything?”

“Hear what?”

“Bangs and explosions and terrible things.”

“Oh!” said Audrey, rather relieved. “One of the men shooting rabbits. Why, I said to myself as I came along, ‘Auntie’s partial to a nice rabbit,’ I said, and I shouldn’t be surprised if—”

“Rabbits!” said her aunt scornfully. “It was inside the house, my girl.”

“Straight it was,” said Elsie. She was one of the housemaids. “I said to Mrs. Stevens—didn’t I, Mrs. Stevens?—‘That was in the house,’ I said.”

Audrey looked at her aunt and then at Elsie.

“Do you think he had a revolver with him?” she said in a hushed voice.

“Who?” said Elsie excitedly.

“That brother of his. From Australia. I said as soon as I set eyes on him, ‘You’re a bad lot, my man!’ That’s what I said, Elsie. Even before he spoke to me. Rude!” She turned to her aunt. “Well, I give you my word.”

“If you remember, Audrey, I always said there was no saying with anyone from Australia.” Mrs. Stevens lay back in her chair, breathing rather rapidly. “I wouldn’t go out of this room now, not if you paid me a hundred thousand pounds.”

“Oh, Mrs. Stevens!” said Elsie, who badly wanted five shillings for a new pair of shoes, “I wouldn’t go as far as that, not myself, but—”

“There!” cried Mrs. Stevens, sitting up with a start. They listened anxiously, the two girls instinctively coming closer to the older woman’s chair.

A door was being shaken, kicked, rattled.


Audrey and Elsie looked at each other with frightened eyes.

They heard a man’s voice, loud, angry.

“Open the door!” it was shouting. “Open the door! I say, open the door!”

“Don’t open the door!” cried Mrs. Stevens in a panic, as if it was her door which was threatened. “Audrey! Elsie! Don’t let him in!”

“Damn it, open the door!” came the voice again.

“We’re all going to be murdered in our beds,” she quavered. Terrified, the two girls huddled closer, and with an arm round each, Mrs. Stevens sat there, waiting.

Friday, June 18, 2021


Paterson is a 2016 award-winning Jim Jarmusch film starring Adam Driver. I watched it on Amazon Prime. A lovely way to spend a couple of hours.


Vox says, "Paterson, the quietly philosophical tale of a bus-driving poet, is one of 2016's best films". Rolling Stone says, "Jim Jarmusch Scores With Tribute to Poetry All Around Us" and calls it "a quiet celebration of everyday people". Empire Online closes: "Quiet, thoughtful and deeply human, this is one of Jarmusch’s finest and features Adam Driver’s best performance yet — although you do risk coming out with a new affection for modernist poetry."

The New Yorker opens a positive review with this:
im Jarmusch is among the rarest and most precious filmmakers of our time, because, at his best—as he is in his new film, “Paterson”—he conjures an entire world of his own imagination. He does so with his wry and tamped-down tone, his loping rhythms, his puckishly frontal compositions, his worn-in sense of design, the winking terseness of his dialogue—and the loving precision of his documentary-rooted observations, which anchor his microcosmic cinematic world, with its austerely whimsical passions, in the world at large.

Roger Ebert's site concludes, "That is ultimately the very real thing that the movie is about: the conviction that if you can live at least part of your life breathing poetry (and that poetry is not necessarily a verbal thing), you can make your life more worthwhile." Rotten Tomatoes has a critics consensus score of 96%.

I have also seen these other Jarmusch films:

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

The Quiet Duel

The Quiet Duel is a 1949 Akira Kurosawa film starring Toshiro Mifune and Takashi Shimura. You won't go wrong watching any film with any of these three names associated with it.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021


Melancholy (1916):

by Nicholae Vermont, who died on June 14, 1932, at the age of 65. Please share a drink-related post and join us at the T Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering hosted by Bleubeard and Elizabeth.

Monday, June 14, 2021

Iron Monkey

Iron Monkey is a 1977 Hong Kong/Taiwanese martial arts film.

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Haunted Memphis

Haunted Memphis by Laura Cunningham is part of the Haunted America book series. It's an interesting look at some of the old Memphis stories and would be a good starting point, but I found it more helpful to use an internet search to find the ghost stories. That allows me to easily find maps to sites and to follow the links down related bunny trails. For visitors to the city I'd recommend one of the local ghost tours.

from the back of the book:
Much like its muddy riverbanks, the mid-South is flooded with tales of shadowy spirits lurking among us. Beyond the rhythm of the blues and tapping of blue suede shoes is a history steeped in horror. From the restless souls of Elmwood Cemetery to the voodoo vices of Beale Street, phantom hymns of the Orpheum Theatre and Civil War soldiers still looking for a fight, peer beyond the shadows of the city’s most historic sites. Author and lifelong resident Laura Cunningham expertly blends fright with history and presents the ghostly legends from Beale to Bartlett, Germantown to Collierville, in this one-of-a-kind volume no resident or visitor should be without.

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Princess Iron Fan

Princess Iron Fan is a 1941 film loosely based on a part of a novel. It's the first animated feature length Chinese film. I loved the animation in this.

Friday, June 11, 2021

Tiamat's Wrath

Tiamat's Wrath by James S.A. Corey is the 8th book in the science fiction series The Expanse. This is one of the best science fiction series I've ever read. I look forward to the next book, which I'll be putting on my wish list for the next gift-giving occasion. The television adaptation is well-done, too.

from the back of the book:

Thirteen hundred gates have opened to solar systems around the galaxy. But as humanity builds its interstellar empire in the alien ruins, the mysteries and threats grow deeper.

In the dead systems where gates lead to stranger things than alien planets, Elvi Okeye begins a desparate search to discover the nature of a genocide that happened before the first humans existed, and to find weapons to fight a war against forces at the edge of the imaginable.

At the heart of the empire, Teresa Duarte prepares to take on the burden of her father's godlike ambition. The sociopathic scientist Paolo Cortazar and the Mephistotophelian prisoner James Holden are only two of the dangers in a palace thick with intrigue...

And throughout the wide human empire, the scattered crew of the Rocinante fights a brave rearguard action against Duarte's authoritarian regime. Memory of the old order falls away, and a future under Laconia's eternal rule -and with it, a battle that humanity can only lose- seems more and more certain.

Tiamat's Wrath is the eighth and penultimate novel in the Expanse series, a modern masterwork of science fiction.
Reviews are positive. Honestly, if you like science fiction and haven't started reading these books, jump in! Read them in order.

Thursday, June 10, 2021

The Last Valley

The Last Valley is a 1971 historical drama starring Michael Caine and Omar Sharif as a mercenary soldier and a teacher respectively who find themselves during wartime in a peaceful valley untouched by the 30 Years War. The Younger Son has the DVD (or BluRay, I forget which) and watched it with me. It was a box office failure, but don't let that stop you. It gets mostly positive reviews now. I liked it.

Wednesday, June 09, 2021

Charles Dickens

Today is the anniversary of the death of Charles Dickens in 1870 at the age of 58 having not regained consciousness after a second stroke (according to Wikipedia). You can read his works online. There's an interactive virtual tour of the Charles Dickens Museum online here. There are images and descriptions of the rooms at his home here. There is information on what England was like during the lifetime of Dickens here. Here's a 4 1/2 minute BBC animated life of Dickens:

There's a 45-minute biography here at

Tuesday, June 08, 2021

The Web

The Web is a 1947 film noir starring Ella Raines, Edmond O'Brien, William Bendix and Vincent Price. You can watch it online here or via Internet Archive:

Here's a screen shot from fairly early on:

Please share a drink-related post and join us at Bleubeard and Elizabeth's weekly T Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering.

Monday, June 07, 2021

Just Got Paid

Just Got Paid:

The East Memphis Trio, a band that used to be active in Memphis.

Sunday, June 06, 2021

Measure for Measure (1979)

Measure for Measure is the 1979 BBC adaptation of the Shakespeare play. I watched it on Amazon Prime. The play can be read here and here and listened to here.

Here's one scene:

There's information and background on the play here. There's a Wikipedia entry on this play that has background and historical information and a plot description.

Saturday, June 05, 2021

Theories of International Politics and Zombies

Theories of International Politics and Zombies is a 2014 book by Daniel W. Drezner, an American professor of international politics at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, an author, a blogger, a commentator, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Project on International Order and Strategy at the Brookings Institution. I found this a fascinating look at how zombies might play out in real life and an interesting way of looking at different philosophies of international relations without getting distracted by particular controversial issues. The overview of this book at Princeton University Press says,
What would happen to international politics if the dead rose from the grave and started to eat the living? Daniel Drezner’s groundbreaking book answers the question that other international relations scholars have been too scared to ask. Addressing timely issues with analytical bite, Drezner looks at how well-known theories from international relations might be applied to a war with zombies. Exploring the plots of popular zombie films, songs, and books, Theories of International Politics and Zombies predicts realistic scenarios for the political stage in the face of a zombie threat and considers how valid—or how rotten—such scenarios might be.
You can read the author's blog here.

Here he's speaking at the Harvard Coop in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Here he speaks at the Centre for International Governance Innovation:

This is from Tedx:

Friday, June 04, 2021

The Ghost Breakers (1940)

The Ghost Breakers is a 1940 horror comedy film starring Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard. Noble Johnson appears as The Zombie. Anthony Quinn and Paul Fix are also in this. You can watch it online at this link.


DVD Talk calls it "A light and breezy Bob Hope comedy that comes up with some not-bad haunted house thrills when needed, The Ghost Breakers is one of his more pleasant vehicles." Rotten Tomatoes has a critics consensus score of 83%.

Thursday, June 03, 2021

The Blithedale Romance

The Blithedale Romance is an 1852 novel by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Wikipedia says, "Its setting is a utopian farming commune based on Brook Farm, of which Hawthorne was a founding member and where he lived in 1841." Interesting Literature says it
is set in a Utopian settlement, Blithedale, in New England, where a poet, a strong-headed woman in favour of equal rights, a young woman with extra-sensory powers, a philanthropist, and a middle-aged man with a secret all clash as they seek to determine what Blithedale should be.
You can read it online here or have it read to you at the bottom of this post. It begins,

The evening before my departure for Blithedale, I was returning to my bachelor apartments, after attending the wonderful exhibition of the Veiled Lady, when an elderly man of rather shabby appearance met me in an obscure part of the street.

"Mr. Coverdale," said he softly, "can I speak with you a moment?"

As I have casually alluded to the Veiled Lady, it may not be amiss to mention, for the benefit of such of my readers as are unacquainted with her now forgotten celebrity, that she was a phenomenon in the mesmeric line; one of the earliest that had indicated the birth of a new science, or the revival of an old humbug. Since those times her sisterhood have grown too numerous to attract much individual notice; nor, in fact, has any one of them come before the public under such skilfully contrived circumstances of stage effect as those which at once mystified and illuminated the remarkable performances of the lady in question. Nowadays, in the management of his "subject," "clairvoyant," or "medium," the exhibitor affects the simplicity and openness of scientific experiment; and even if he profess to tread a step or two across the boundaries of the spiritual world, yet carries with him the laws of our actual life and extends them over his preternatural conquests. Twelve or fifteen years ago, on the contrary, all the arts of mysterious arrangement, of picturesque disposition, and artistically contrasted light and shade, were made available, in order to set the apparent miracle in the strongest attitude of opposition to ordinary facts. In the case of the Veiled Lady, moreover, the interest of the spectator was further wrought up by the enigma of her identity, and an absurd rumor (probably set afloat by the exhibitor, and at one time very prevalent) that a beautiful young lady, of family and fortune, was enshrouded within the misty drapery of the veil. It was white, with somewhat of a subdued silver sheen, like the sunny side of a cloud; and, falling over the wearer from head to foot, was supposed to insulate her from the material world, from time and space, and to endow her with many of the privileges of a disembodied spirit.

Her pretensions, however, whether miraculous or otherwise, have little to do with the present narrative—except, indeed, that I had propounded, for the Veiled Lady's prophetic solution, a query as to the success of our Blithedale enterprise. The response, by the bye, was of the true Sibylline stamp,—nonsensical in its first aspect, yet on closer study unfolding a variety of interpretations, one of which has certainly accorded with the event. I was turning over this riddle in my mind, and trying to catch its slippery purport by the tail, when the old man above mentioned interrupted me.

"Mr. Coverdale!—Mr. Coverdale!" said he, repeating my name twice, in order to make up for the hesitating and ineffectual way in which he uttered it. "I ask your pardon, sir, but I hear you are going to Blithedale tomorrow."

I knew the pale, elderly face, with the red-tipt nose, and the patch over one eye; and likewise saw something characteristic in the old fellow's way of standing under the arch of a gate, only revealing enough of himself to make me recognize him as an acquaintance. He was a very shy personage, this Mr. Moodie; and the trait was the more singular, as his mode of getting his bread necessarily brought him into the stir and hubbub of the world more than the generality of men.

"Yes, Mr. Moodie," I answered, wondering what interest he could take in the fact, "it is my intention to go to Blithedale to-morrow. Can I be of any service to you before my departure?"

"If you pleased, Mr. Coverdale," said he, "you might do me a very great favor."

Wednesday, June 02, 2021

Cairo Station

Cairo Station is a 1958 Egyptian drama film. It's available on Netflix.

The Guardian calls it "an unmissable film". Time Out concludes, "It's a strikingly controlled, confident, bitingly effective display, which leaves you wondering where this film has been all our lives." Empire Online says it "tackles heavy themes of modern life."

BBC closes with this:
With its tense score, contrasting performances of Chahine (twitchy and tightly coiled) and Rostom (sexy but cruel) and audacious moments of formal brilliance (Chahine even slots in a musical be-bop interlude from "Mike and the Skyrockets"), "Cairo Station" is a cinematic triumph.
Rotten Tomatoes has a 100% score.

Tuesday, June 01, 2021

Baby Tasmanian Devils

Tasmanian Devils have had a hard time of it, having been made extinct in Australia 3,000 years ago and now suffering from a contagious cancer which has wiped out 95% of affected populations. Conservation efforts have been ongoing, and the Tasmanian Devil was re-introduced in the wild in Australia last year.

Now there's the exciting news that "just months after their release, the creatures have successfully reproduced -- and conservationists have identified the tiny marsupials, which they say are the size of shelled peanuts, inside the pouches of the mothers."

Here's a 1-minute BBC video showing the tiny babies:

Shall we lift a glass in celebration?

That's one of my ATCs from back when I made them. Please post something drink-related and join us at Bleubeard and Elizabeth's weekly T Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering.