Monday, January 31, 2022


Ponyo is a 2008 Japanese fantasy film loosely based on (very loosely based, perhaps more accurately "inspired by") The Little Mermaid by Andersen. It is directed by Hayao Miyazaki and animated by Studio Ghibli. It's a pretty film. The voice cast for the English language version I watched is wonderful and includes Tina Fey, Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, Liam Neeson, Lily Tomlin, Betty White, and Cloris Leachman. I watched it on HBO Max.


Roger Ebert opens with this:
There is a word to describe “Ponyo,” and that word is magical. This poetic, visually breathtaking work by the greatest of all animators has such deep charm that adults and children will both be touched. It’s wonderful and never even seems to try: It unfolds fantastically.
Rotten Tomatoes has a critics consensus score of 91%.

Sunday, January 30, 2022


Ida is a 2013 Polish drama film about a young novice who is preparing to take her vows. She is told that she needs to go visit her aunt, her one remaining relative, before she takes that final step. It is revealed that she was orphaned during WW2, and that her family is Jewish. The movie won many awards, including the 2015 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, becoming the first Polish film to do so. It is a powerful film. I watched it at Tubitv.




The New Yorker calls it a masterpiece. The Guardian calls it "eerily beautiful". Roger Ebert's site gives it their highest 4 star rating. Rotten Tomatoes has a critics concensus score of 96%.

Saturday, January 29, 2022


Tampopo is a 1985 Japanese comedy film. I watched it on HBO Max. You can also watch it via Vimeo:

Tampopo Feature from Joe Medjuck on Vimeo.

Roger Ebert concludes,
And this very, very Japanese movie, which seems to make no effort to communicate to other cultures, is universally funny almost for that reason. Who cannot identify with the search for the perfect noodle? Certainly any American can, in the land of sweet corn festivals, bakeoffs and contests for the world's best chili. This is a very funny movie.
Empire Online says it's "Charming and touching, with lots of sumptuous meals to inspire you to get cooking." Rotten Tomatoes has a critics consensus score of 100%.

Friday, January 28, 2022

The Truth

The Truth is a short story by Stanisław Lem. You can read it online at this link or listen to it read to you at the bottom of this post.. It begins,
Here I sit writing in a locked room, where the door has no handle and the windows can’t be opened. They’re made of unbreakable glass. I tried. Not out of a wish to escape or out of rabid fury, I just wanted to be sure. I’m writing at a walnut table. I have plenty of paper. I’m allowed to write. Except no one will ever read it. But I’m writing anyway. I don’t want to be alone, and I can’t read. Everything they give me to read is a lie, the letters start to jump before my eyes and I lose patience. None of what’s in them has been of the least concern to me ever since I realized how things really are. They take great care of me. In the morning there’s a bath, warm or tepid, subtly scented. I’ve learned how to tell the days of the week apart: on Tuesdays and Saturdays the water smells of lavender, and on the other days of pine forest. Then there’s breakfast and the doctor’s visit. One of the junior doctors (I can’t remember his name, not that there’s anything wrong with my memory, it’s just that these days I try not to memorize unimportant things) was interested in my story. I told it to him twice, the whole thing, and he tape-recorded it. I guess he wanted me to repeat it so that he could compare the two accounts, to find out what stayed the same. I told him what I thought, and also that the details weren’t essential.

I also asked if he was planning to work up my story as a so-called clinical case study, to attract the attention of the medical world. He was rather embarrassed. Perhaps I just imagined it, but at any rate, since then he has stopped showing interest in me.

But none of that is of any consequence. ...

Thursday, January 27, 2022

We Are Still Here

We Are Still Here is a 2015 haunted house film. I watched it on Amazon Prime.


Rolling Stone named it one of the top 10 horror films of that year. Variety has a positive review as does Hollywood Reporter.

Dread Central concludes,
Nowadays it’s hard to make an effective haunted house movie as we’ve pretty much seen it all. They range from extremely minimalistic to over-the-top silly. We Are Still Here hits the sweet spot effortlessly and is a horror film that is not only firing on all cylinders but delivers on all counts. Keep your eyes out for this one. It’s an old school spookshow that is NOT to be missed!
Roger Ebert's site has a positive review. Rotten Tomatoes has a critics consensus score of 95%.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Le Petit Déjeuner

Le Petit Déjeuner (1936):

by Pierre Bonnard, who died on January 23, 1947, at 79 years of age. Please post something drink-related and join us at the T Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering hosted by Bleubeard and Elizabeth.

Monday, January 24, 2022

Sunday, January 23, 2022

The Deathworld Trilogy

image from Amazon

The Deathworld Trilogy is a compilation in one volume of Deathworld, Deathworld 2, and Deathworld 3 by Harry Harrison. It's great fun, and I can recommend it if you like science fiction of the alien planet adventure sort.

from the back of the book:

Five minutes in a meadow on Pyrrus is like a century of global war on other worlds, for Pyrrus is a Killer World -a planet where all life, plant and animal, has evolved into lethal terrors, where all humanity lives barricaded in one fortress city.

Jason dinAlt is a gambler, about to start the most dangerous game of his life. Where but Pyrrus would he go?

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Flame of Araby

Flame of Araby is a 1951 adventure film starring Maureen O'Hara, Jeff Chandler, Lon Chaney, Jr., Susan Cabot, and Royal Dano.

Friday, January 21, 2022

How to Raise an Elephant

image from Amazon

How to Raise an Elephant is the 21st book in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith. These are almost soothing in their ability to settle you into the environment with characters you've grown to know and love. They are high on relationships and light on mystery. Because the characters develop over time the books should be read in order. There's a delightful and perfectly cast TV adaptation that for some strange reason lasted only 1 season.

from the back of the book:
Precious Ramotswe loves her dependable old van. Yes, it sometimes takes a bit longer to get going now, but it has always gotten the job done. This time, though, the world -and Charlie- may be asking too much of it. After borrowing the beloved vehicle, he returns it damaged, and, to make matters worse, the interior seems to have acquired an earthy smell that even Precious can't identify.

On addition Mma Ramotswe is confronted by a distant relative, Blessing, who asks for help with an ailing cousin. The help requested is of a distinctively pecuniary nature, which makes both J>L>B> Matekoni and Mma Makutse a little uncomfortable. Still. Mma Ramotswe is confident that through kindness, grace, and logic -and the counsel of her friends and loved ones- the solutions to all these difficulties are there to be discovered.
Publishers Weekly calls it "leisurely" and says, "Series fans will be charmed, as usual..."

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Any Bullet Will Do

Any Bullet Will Do is a 2018 western. I watched it on Amazon Prime, but it's not there anymore. It is available for free on Tubi. This is a fairly standard revenge western, so it doesn't plough new ground but is fun if you like westerns.


Wednesday, January 19, 2022

The Cook of the Halcyon

image from Amazon

The Cook of the Halcyon is the 27th book in the Inspector Montalbano mystery series by Andrea Camilleri. I get a kick out of the characters, and the food descriptions always make me long for Italian food. There's more humor in these than in most mystery books, but it's gently added without making the books at all funny. They should be read in order as the characters develop during the course of the series. I read them as my generous husband gives them to me. Alas, the author died back in 2019, and there is just one more.

from the back of the book:
Giovanni Tricanato has brought ruin to the shipyard he inherited from his father, and when a newly fired worker hangs himself from a hull under construction, Inspector Montalbano is called to the scene. In short order, the Inspector loses his temper with the crass Giovanni and delivers a slap to his face. Unfortunately, it won't be the last he sees of Trincanato. Meanwhile, a mysterious schooner called the Halcyon shows up in the harbor, seemingly deserted except for just one man. With its presence come even more mysteries, another death, and the arrival of the FBI. Alongside Sicilian American agent Penninsi, Montalbano and his team must attempt a suspenseful infiltration operation in this new page-turning Inspector Montalbano mystery.
Publishers Weekly says, "Once again, Camilleri ... does a fine job balancing comedy and crime."

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Tea Gardens (The Café)

Tea Gardens (The Café):

by Victor Pasmore, who died on January 23, 1998, at age 89. Please post something drink-related and join the T Stands for Tuesday blogger gathering hosted by Bleubeard and Elizabeth.

Monday, January 17, 2022

Stranger on the Third Floor

Stranger on the Third Floor is a 1940 film noir starring Peter Lorre and John McGuire. Elisha Cook Jr. is also in this, and it's always good to see him. Whether or not it's actually noir is debatable, but that's what Wikipedia says.

Noir of the Week calls it "The Film that Gave "Birth" to the Style called Film Noir". Time Out calls it "a remarkable film". DVD Talk calls it "a masterpiece in miniature." Rotten Tomatoes has a critics consensus score of 86%.

Sunday, January 16, 2022

The Naked Sun

image from

The Naked Sun is a 1957 science fiction/mystery novel by Isaac Asimov. It's the 2nd book in his robot series. These are fun and easy to read, and don't need to be read in order.

from the back of the book:
Elijah Bailey was NOT prejudiced; he knew robots were not the terrifying menace imagined by the billions of Earthmen huddled in the safety of their completely enclosed cities.

Robots were ... tools, nothing more. Yet he could not help feeling uncomfortable on this planet where not only were the robots permitted to roam free, and in plain sight, but the people themselves thought nothing whatsover of stepping outside of the safety of their houses at any time of the day or night.

To a man raised in the womb of Earth, the very thought of open spaces were abhorent. But Lije Bailey found himself actually forced into the open air ... and in the company of a hated robot.

Saturday, January 15, 2022


Intermezzo is a 1939 romantic drama film starring Leslie Howard and Ingrid Bergman. You can watch it free at Tubi at this link, at Internet Archive at this link, or below via DailyMotion:

Rotten Tomatoes has a consensus critics score of 100%.

Friday, January 14, 2022

Fit the First 42

In Fit the First from Lewis Carroll's book The Hunting of the Snark:

There was one who was famed for the number of things
He forgot when he entered the ship:
His umbrella, his watch, all his jewels and rings,
And the clothes he had bought for the trip.

He had forty-two boxes, all carefully packed,
With his name painted clearly on each:
But, since he omitted to mention the fact,
They were all left behind on the beach.

Thursday, January 13, 2022


Sweetheart is a 2019 horror film. I saw it on Netflix. A young woman tries to survive shipwrecked on an island with a monster.


Heaven of Horror says, "Basically, this is a cool little movie with a tight and entertaining story." Variety calls it a "well-crafted if unmemorable old-school creature feature." Rotten Tomatoes critics gave a combined score of 95%.

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Damn Love Song

Damn Love Song:

by Memphis musician Amy LaVere.

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

Cléo from 5 to 7

Cléo from 5 to 7 is a 1962 French film directed by Agnès Varda. I watched it on HBO Max.


BBC says it deserves to be a classic, saying this: "Cléo is finally getting its due as a film that deserves to stand beside Francois Truffaut’s The 400 Blows and Godard’s Breathless as New Wave classics." Roger Ebert has it on his list of Great Movies and says it "plays today as startlingly modern. Released in 1962, it seems as innovative and influential as any New Wave film." Rotten Tomatoes has a critics consensus score of 96%.

Here's a screenshot from early in the film. She's having coffee with a friend while she awaits results from a medical test:

Please share a post with a drink reference and join the blogging friends at T Stands for Tuesday hosted by Bleubeard and Elizabeth.

Monday, January 10, 2022


Babbitt is a novel by Sinclair Lewis, who died on this date in 1951 at the age of 65.

from Wikipedia:
Babbitt (1922) is a satirical novel about American culture and society that critiques the vacuity of middle class life and the social pressure toward conformity. The controversy provoked by Babbitt was influential in the decision to award the Nobel Prize in Literature to Lewis in 1930.
You can read it online here at this link or listen to it read to you at the bottom of this post. It begins,

The towers of Zenith aspired above the morning mist; austere towers of steel and cement and limestone, sturdy as cliffs and delicate as silver rods. They were neither citadels nor churches, but frankly and beautifully office-buildings.

The mist took pity on the fretted structures of earlier generations: the Post Office with its shingle-tortured mansard, the red brick minarets of hulking old houses, factories with stingy and sooted windows, wooden tenements colored like mud. The city was full of such grotesqueries, but the clean towers were thrusting them from the business center, and on the farther hills were shining new houses, homes—they seemed—for laughter and tranquillity.

Over a concrete bridge fled a limousine of long sleek hood and noiseless engine. These people in evening clothes were returning from an all-night rehearsal of a Little Theater play, an artistic adventure considerably illuminated by champagne. Below the bridge curved a railroad, a maze of green and crimson lights. The New York Flyer boomed past, and twenty lines of polished steel leaped into the glare.

In one of the skyscrapers the wires of the Associated Press were closing down. The telegraph operators wearily raised their celluloid eye-shades after a night of talking with Paris and Peking. Through the building crawled the scrubwomen, yawning, their old shoes slapping. The dawn mist spun away. Cues of men with lunch-boxes clumped toward the immensity of new factories, sheets of glass and hollow tile, glittering shops where five thousand men worked beneath one roof, pouring out the honest wares that would be sold up the Euphrates and across the veldt. The whistles rolled out in greeting a chorus cheerful as the April dawn; the song of labor in a city built—it seemed—for giants.


There was nothing of the giant in the aspect of the man who was beginning to awaken on the sleeping-porch of a Dutch Colonial house in that residential district of Zenith known as Floral Heights.

His name was George F. Babbitt. He was forty-six years old now, in April, 1920, and he made nothing in particular, neither butter nor shoes nor poetry, but he was nimble in the calling of selling houses for more than people could afford to pay.

His large head was pink, his brown hair thin and dry. His face was babyish in slumber, despite his wrinkles and the red spectacle-dents on the slopes of his nose. He was not fat but he was exceedingly well fed; his cheeks were pads, and the unroughened hand which lay helpless upon the khaki-colored blanket was slightly puffy. He seemed prosperous, extremely married and unromantic; and altogether unromantic appeared this sleeping-porch, which looked on one sizable elm, two respectable grass-plots, a cement driveway, and a corrugated iron garage. Yet Babbitt was again dreaming of the fairy child, a dream more romantic than scarlet pagodas by a silver sea.

For years the fairy child had come to him. Where others saw but Georgie Babbitt, she discerned gallant youth. She waited for him, in the darkness beyond mysterious groves. When at last he could slip away from the crowded house he darted to her. His wife, his clamoring friends, sought to follow, but he escaped, the girl fleet beside him, and they crouched together on a shadowy hillside. She was so slim, so white, so eager! She cried that he was gay and valiant, that she would wait for him, that they would sail—

Rumble and bang of the milk-truck.

Babbitt moaned; turned over; struggled back toward his dream. He could see only her face now, beyond misty waters. The furnace-man slammed the basement door. A dog barked in the next yard. As Babbitt sank blissfully into a dim warm tide, the paper-carrier went by whistling, and the rolled-up Advocate thumped the front door. Babbitt roused, his stomach constricted with alarm. As he relaxed, he was pierced by the familiar and irritating rattle of some one cranking a Ford: snap-ah-ah, snap-ah-ah, snap-ah-ah. Himself a pious motorist, Babbitt cranked with the unseen driver, with him waited through taut hours for the roar of the starting engine, with him agonized as the roar ceased and again began the infernal patient snap-ah-ah—a round, flat sound, a shivering cold-morning sound, a sound infuriating and inescapable. Not till the rising voice of the motor told him that the Ford was moving was he released from the panting tension. He glanced once at his favorite tree, elm twigs against the gold patina of sky, and fumbled for sleep as for a drug. He who had been a boy very credulous of life was no longer greatly interested in the possible and improbable adventures of each new day.

He escaped from reality till the alarm-clock rang, at seven-twenty.


It was the best of nationally advertised and quantitatively produced alarm-clocks, with all modern attachments, including cathedral chime, intermittent alarm, and a phosphorescent dial. Babbitt was proud of being awakened by such a rich device. Socially it was almost as creditable as buying expensive cord tires.

He sulkily admitted now that there was no more escape, but he lay and detested the grind of the real-estate business, and disliked his family, and disliked himself for disliking them. The evening before, he had played poker at Vergil Gunch's till midnight, and after such holidays he was irritable before breakfast. It may have been the tremendous home-brewed beer of the prohibition-era and the cigars to which that beer enticed him; it may have been resentment of return from this fine, bold man-world to a restricted region of wives and stenographers, and of suggestions not to smoke so much.

From the bedroom beside the sleeping-porch, his wife's detestably cheerful “Time to get up, Georgie boy,” and the itchy sound, the brisk and scratchy sound, of combing hairs out of a stiff brush.

He grunted; he dragged his thick legs, in faded baby-blue pajamas, from under the khaki blanket; he sat on the edge of the cot, running his fingers through his wild hair, while his plump feet mechanically felt for his slippers. He looked regretfully at the blanket—forever a suggestion to him of freedom and heroism. He had bought it for a camping trip which had never come off. It symbolized gorgeous loafing, gorgeous cursing, virile flannel shirts.

He creaked to his feet, groaning at the waves of pain which passed behind his eyeballs. Though he waited for their scorching recurrence, he looked blurrily out at the yard. It delighted him, as always; it was the neat yard of a successful business man of Zenith, that is, it was perfection, and made him also perfect. He regarded the corrugated iron garage. For the three-hundred-and-sixty-fifth time in a year he reflected, “No class to that tin shack. Have to build me a frame garage. But by golly it's the only thing on the place that isn't up-to-date!” While he stared he thought of a community garage for his acreage development, Glen Oriole. He stopped puffing and jiggling. His arms were akimbo. His petulant, sleep-swollen face was set in harder lines. He suddenly seemed capable, an official, a man to contrive, to direct, to get things done.

On the vigor of his idea he was carried down the hard, clean, unused-looking hall into the bathroom.

Though the house was not large it had, like all houses on Floral Heights, an altogether royal bathroom of porcelain and glazed tile and metal sleek as silver. The towel-rack was a rod of clear glass set in nickel. The tub was long enough for a Prussian Guard, and above the set bowl was a sensational exhibit of tooth-brush holder, shaving-brush holder, soap-dish, sponge-dish, and medicine-cabinet, so glittering and so ingenious that they resembled an electrical instrument-board. But the Babbitt whose god was Modern Appliances was not pleased. The air of the bathroom was thick with the smell of a heathen toothpaste. “Verona been at it again! 'Stead of sticking to Lilidol, like I've re-peat-ed-ly asked her, she's gone and gotten some confounded stinkum stuff that makes you sick!”

The bath-mat was wrinkled and the floor was wet. (His daughter Verona eccentrically took baths in the morning, now and then.) He slipped on the mat, and slid against the tub. He said “Damn!” Furiously he snatched up his tube of shaving-cream, furiously he lathered, with a belligerent slapping of the unctuous brush, furiously he raked his plump cheeks with a safety-razor. It pulled. The blade was dull. He said, “Damn—oh—oh—damn it!”

He hunted through the medicine-cabinet for a packet of new razor-blades (reflecting, as invariably, “Be cheaper to buy one of these dinguses and strop your own blades,”) and when he discovered the packet, behind the round box of bicarbonate of soda, he thought ill of his wife for putting it there and very well of himself for not saying “Damn.” But he did say it, immediately afterward, when with wet and soap-slippery fingers he tried to remove the horrible little envelope and crisp clinging oiled paper from the new blade. Then there was the problem, oft-pondered, never solved, of what to do with the old blade, which might imperil the fingers of his young. As usual, he tossed it on top of the medicine-cabinet, with a mental note that some day he must remove the fifty or sixty other blades that were also temporarily, piled up there. He finished his shaving in a growing testiness increased by his spinning headache and by the emptiness in his stomach. When he was done, his round face smooth and streamy and his eyes stinging from soapy water, he reached for a towel. The family towels were wet, wet and clammy and vile, all of them wet, he found, as he blindly snatched them—his own face-towel, his wife's, Verona's, Ted's, Tinka's, and the lone bath-towel with the huge welt of initial. Then George F. Babbitt did a dismaying thing. He wiped his face on the guest-towel! It was a pansy-embroidered trifle which always hung there to indicate that the Babbitts were in the best Floral Heights society. No one had ever used it. No guest had ever dared to. Guests secretively took a corner of the nearest regular towel.

He was raging, “By golly, here they go and use up all the towels, every doggone one of 'em, and they use 'em and get 'em all wet and sopping, and never put out a dry one for me—of course, I'm the goat!—and then I want one and—I'm the only person in the doggone house that's got the slightest doggone bit of consideration for other people and thoughtfulness and consider there may be others that may want to use the doggone bathroom after me and consider—”

He was pitching the chill abominations into the bath-tub, pleased by the vindictiveness of that desolate flapping sound; and in the midst his wife serenely trotted in, observed serenely, “Why Georgie dear, what are you doing? Are you going to wash out the towels? Why, you needn't wash out the towels. Oh, Georgie, you didn't go and use the guest-towel, did you?”

It is not recorded that he was able to answer.

For the first time in weeks he was sufficiently roused by his wife to look at her.


Myra Babbitt—Mrs. George F. Babbitt—was definitely mature. She had creases from the corners of her mouth to the bottom of her chin, and her plump neck bagged. But the thing that marked her as having passed the line was that she no longer had reticences before her husband, and no longer worried about not having reticences. She was in a petticoat now, and corsets which bulged, and unaware of being seen in bulgy corsets. She had become so dully habituated to married life that in her full matronliness she was as sexless as an anemic nun. She was a good woman, a kind woman, a diligent woman, but no one, save perhaps Tinka her ten-year-old, was at all interested in her or entirely aware that she was alive.

After a rather thorough discussion of all the domestic and social aspects of towels she apologized to Babbitt for his having an alcoholic headache; and he recovered enough to endure the search for a B.V.D. undershirt which had, he pointed out, malevolently been concealed among his clean pajamas.

He was fairly amiable in the conference on the brown suit.

“What do you think, Myra?” He pawed at the clothes hunched on a chair in their bedroom, while she moved about mysteriously adjusting and patting her petticoat and, to his jaundiced eye, never seeming to get on with her dressing. “How about it? Shall I wear the brown suit another day?”

“Well, it looks awfully nice on you.”

“I know, but gosh, it needs pressing.”

“That's so. Perhaps it does.”

“It certainly could stand being pressed, all right.”

“Yes, perhaps it wouldn't hurt it to be pressed.”

“But gee, the coat doesn't need pressing. No sense in having the whole darn suit pressed, when the coat doesn't need it.”

“That's so.”

“But the pants certainly need it, all right. Look at them—look at those wrinkles—the pants certainly do need pressing.”

“That's so. Oh, Georgie, why couldn't you wear the brown coat with the blue trousers we were wondering what we'd do with them?”

“Good Lord! Did you ever in all my life know me to wear the coat of one suit and the pants of another? What do you think I am? A busted bookkeeper?”

“Well, why don't you put on the dark gray suit to-day, and stop in at the tailor and leave the brown trousers?”

“Well, they certainly need—Now where the devil is that gray suit? Oh, yes, here we are.”

He was able to get through the other crises of dressing with comparative resoluteness and calm.

His first adornment was the sleeveless dimity B.V.D. undershirt, in which he resembled a small boy humorlessly wearing a cheesecloth tabard at a civic pageant. He never put on B.V.D.'s without thanking the God of Progress that he didn't wear tight, long, old-fashioned undergarments, like his father-in-law and partner, Henry Thompson. His second embellishment was combing and slicking back his hair. It gave him a tremendous forehead, arching up two inches beyond the former hair-line. But most wonder-working of all was the donning of his spectacles.

There is character in spectacles—the pretentious tortoiseshell, the meek pince-nez of the school teacher, the twisted silver-framed glasses of the old villager. Babbitt's spectacles had huge, circular, frameless lenses of the very best glass; the ear-pieces were thin bars of gold. In them he was the modern business man; one who gave orders to clerks and drove a car and played occasional golf and was scholarly in regard to Salesmanship. His head suddenly appeared not babyish but weighty, and you noted his heavy, blunt nose, his straight mouth and thick, long upper lip, his chin overfleshy but strong; with respect you beheld him put on the rest of his uniform as a Solid Citizen.

The gray suit was well cut, well made, and completely undistinguished. It was a standard suit. White piping on the V of the vest added a flavor of law and learning. His shoes were black laced boots, good boots, honest boots, standard boots, extraordinarily uninteresting boots. The only frivolity was in his purple knitted scarf. With considerable comment on the matter to Mrs. Babbitt (who, acrobatically fastening the back of her blouse to her skirt with a safety-pin, did not hear a word he said), he chose between the purple scarf and a tapestry effect with stringless brown harps among blown palms, and into it he thrust a snake-head pin with opal eyes.

A sensational event was changing from the brown suit to the gray the contents of his pockets. He was earnest about these objects. They were of eternal importance, like baseball or the Republican Party. They included a fountain pen and a silver pencil (always lacking a supply of new leads) which belonged in the righthand upper vest pocket. Without them he would have felt naked. On his watch-chain were a gold penknife, silver cigar-cutter, seven keys (the use of two of which he had forgotten), and incidentally a good watch. Depending from the chain was a large, yellowish elk's-tooth-proclamation of his membership in the Brotherly and Protective Order of Elks. Most significant of all was his loose-leaf pocket note-book, that modern and efficient note-book which contained the addresses of people whom he had forgotten, prudent memoranda of postal money-orders which had reached their destinations months ago, stamps which had lost their mucilage, clippings of verses by T. Cholmondeley Frink and of the newspaper editorials from which Babbitt got his opinions and his polysyllables, notes to be sure and do things which he did not intend to do, and one curious inscription—D.S.S. D.M.Y.P.D.F.

But he had no cigarette-case. No one had ever happened to give him one, so he hadn't the habit, and people who carried cigarette-cases he regarded as effeminate.

Last, he stuck in his lapel the Boosters' Club button. With the conciseness of great art the button displayed two words: “Boosters-Pep!” It made Babbitt feel loyal and important. It associated him with Good Fellows, with men who were nice and human, and important in business circles. It was his V.C., his Legion of Honor ribbon, his Phi Beta Kappa key.

With the subtleties of dressing ran other complex worries. “I feel kind of punk this morning,” he said. “I think I had too much dinner last evening. You oughtn't to serve those heavy banana fritters.”

“But you asked me to have some.”

“I know, but—I tell you, when a fellow gets past forty he has to look after his digestion. There's a lot of fellows that don't take proper care of themselves. I tell you at forty a man's a fool or his doctor—I mean, his own doctor. Folks don't give enough attention to this matter of dieting. Now I think—Course a man ought to have a good meal after the day's work, but it would be a good thing for both of us if we took lighter lunches.”

“But Georgie, here at home I always do have a light lunch.”

“Mean to imply I make a hog of myself, eating down-town? Yes, sure! You'd have a swell time if you had to eat the truck that new steward hands out to us at the Athletic Club! But I certainly do feel out of sorts, this morning. Funny, got a pain down here on the left side—but no, that wouldn't be appendicitis, would it? Last night, when I was driving over to Verg Gunch's, I felt a pain in my stomach, too. Right here it was—kind of a sharp shooting pain. I—Where'd that dime go to? Why don't you serve more prunes at breakfast? Of course I eat an apple every evening—an apple a day keeps the doctor away—but still, you ought to have more prunes, and not all these fancy doodads.”

“The last time I had prunes you didn't eat them.”

“Well, I didn't feel like eating 'em, I suppose. Matter of fact, I think I did eat some of 'em. Anyway—I tell you it's mighty important to—I was saying to Verg Gunch, just last evening, most people don't take sufficient care of their diges—”

“Shall we have the Gunches for our dinner, next week?”

“Why sure; you bet.”

“Now see here, George: I want you to put on your nice dinner-jacket that evening.”

“Rats! The rest of 'em won't want to dress.”

“Of course they will. You remember when you didn't dress for the Littlefields' supper-party, and all the rest did, and how embarrassed you were.”

“Embarrassed, hell! I wasn't embarrassed. Everybody knows I can put on as expensive a Tux. as anybody else, and I should worry if I don't happen to have it on sometimes. All a darn nuisance, anyway. All right for a woman, that stays around the house all the time, but when a fellow's worked like the dickens all day, he doesn't want to go and hustle his head off getting into the soup-and-fish for a lot of folks that he's seen in just reg'lar ordinary clothes that same day.”

“You know you enjoy being seen in one. The other evening you admitted you were glad I'd insisted on your dressing. You said you felt a lot better for it. And oh, Georgie, I do wish you wouldn't say 'Tux.' It's 'dinner-jacket.'”

“Rats, what's the odds?”

“Well, it's what all the nice folks say. Suppose Lucile McKelvey heard you calling it a 'Tux.'”

“Well, that's all right now! Lucile McKelvey can't pull anything on me! Her folks are common as mud, even if her husband and her dad are millionaires! I suppose you're trying to rub in your exalted social position! Well, let me tell you that your revered paternal ancestor, Henry T., doesn't even call it a 'Tux.'! He calls it a 'bobtail jacket for a ringtail monkey,' and you couldn't get him into one unless you chloroformed him!”

“Now don't be horrid, George.”

“Well, I don't want to be horrid, but Lord! you're getting as fussy as Verona. Ever since she got out of college she's been too rambunctious to live with—doesn't know what she wants—well, I know what she wants!—all she wants is to marry a millionaire, and live in Europe, and hold some preacher's hand, and simultaneously at the same time stay right here in Zenith and be some blooming kind of a socialist agitator or boss charity-worker or some damn thing! Lord, and Ted is just as bad! He wants to go to college, and he doesn't want to go to college. Only one of the three that knows her own mind is Tinka. Simply can't understand how I ever came to have a pair of shillyshallying children like Rone and Ted. I may not be any Rockefeller or James J. Shakespeare, but I certainly do know my own mind, and I do keep right on plugging along in the office and—Do you know the latest? Far as I can figure out, Ted's new bee is he'd like to be a movie actor and—And here I've told him a hundred times, if he'll go to college and law-school and make good, I'll set him up in business and—Verona just exactly as bad. Doesn't know what she wants. Well, well, come on! Aren't you ready yet? The girl rang the bell three minutes ago.”

part 1 of 2:

part 2 of 2:

Sunday, January 09, 2022

Deluge (1933)

Deluge is a 1933 pre-code apocalyptic film that opens with this:
Deluge is a tale of fantasy -an adventure in speculation- a vivid epic pictorialization of an author's imaginative flight. We the producers present it now purely for your entertainment, remembering full well God's covenant with Noah:
"And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of the flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth." -Genesis 9:11
This was the first film to capture the total destruction of New York City but was filmed entirely in Los Angeles. has screenshots, a plot description, and some background information:
Deluge is an oddity in a lot of ways. A lost film for decades, then only available in awful, Italian dubbed prints, the movie finally reappears as close as it was meant to be shown 84 years after it premiered.
Kino Lorber describes it as "a tour-de-force of astonishing special effects that rank alongside those of other such classics of the decade as King Kong and San Francisco" and says,
For decades, DELUGE was a lost film of almost mythical status, until horror/sci-fi archivist Forrest J. Ackerman discovered an Italian-dubbed print in 1981. Viewing this poor-quality print was an arduous experience and was only a dim substitute for the original film. But all this changed in 2016 when Lobster Films unearthed a 35mm nitrate negative with the original English soundtrack. ... The restored DELUGE had its premiere at L'Étrange Festival in Paris on September 18, 2016, followed by a limited theatrical release by Kino Lorber.
MoMA says, "The film’s apocalyptic plot, once the stuff of science fiction, now seems eerily prescient". Moria says, "Deluge can lay claim to being the first ever disaster movie."

Saturday, January 08, 2022

Free Speech

Freedom of speech is a right guaranteed by the 1st Amendment, which says, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

What it isn't is a trump card to say whatever you want whenever and wherever you want. For example, if Facebook takes exception to something I've written there and removes it and punishes me by putting me in Facebook "jail" this is not a violation of my constitutional right to freedom of speech but an enforcement of the terms of service I agreed to when I signed up. If Blogger objects to something I've written here and takes action against me because of it they have not violated my free speech rights but have enforced the terms of service they set out as a condition of using their platform. If I come to your house and offend you with what I say and you've had enough and kick me out you have not violated my freedom of speech rights but instead have acted to defend your space against speech you find objectionable. If I use my account to repeatedly spread COVID-19 misinformation in violation of Twitter's terms of service and they permanently suspend my account it is not a free speach violation but an enforcement of their rules for engagement on their platform.

This ain't rocket science, people.

I've seen more cries of "but ma freedom!" in the past few years than I ever did before, and it's always by people trying to assert rights that they do not understand. There are no limitless rights to say anything you want whenever and wherever you want to, and actions have consequences.

Please note: I've seen a recent post mentioning free speech on a blog I follow. My own post has been scheduled well in advance and is not a response to hers or related to her post in any way.

Friday, January 07, 2022

The Blackcoat's Daughter

The Blackcoat's Daughter is a 2015 psychological horror film. It stars Emma Roberts and Kiernan Shipka. I watched it on Netflix. I found it in a list of "best horror on Netflix" a while back.


Vulture calls it a "a mind-bendy little number that combines two of horror’s core elements: a girls’ boarding school and demonic possession". IndieWire says, "the movie’s twisty plot and eerie atmosphere makes it deeply unsettling" and calls it "A chilling package of muted performances, disquieting sound design and isolated locations". Roger Ebert's site has a negative review, saying "In spite of some compelling performances and a consistent mood, the film fails to ground any of these aesthetic flourishes in story or emotion." Rotten Tomatoes has a consensus critics score of 72%.

Thursday, January 06, 2022


The Magi Journeying by James Tissot

Happy Epiphany!

Today we celebrate the coming of the Wise Men as Christ is revealed to the gentiles.


If you want conversation on the insurrection, which was one year ago today, I'm available on Facebook. It feels like that's a more likely venue for ongoing conversation, comment threads, political memes, etc. Bloggers don't often come back to check comment threads here. I do continue to be disturbed by the attempted coup and the continued defense of it, but I don't choose my FB friends based on agreement with me on politics.

Wednesday, January 05, 2022

The Shootist

The Shootist is 1976 Western film starring a great cast: Lauren Bacall, Ron Howard, James Stewart, Richard Boone, John Carradine, Scatman Crothers, Richard Lenz, Harry Morgan, Sheree North, and Hugh O'Brian. It was John Wayne's final film and is a wonderful performance if you have any doubt that the man could act.


Cowboys and Indians Magazine has it at #21 on their list of greatest westerns ever made. Roger Ebert has a positive review. Rotten Tomatoes has an audience consensus of 88%.

Tuesday, January 04, 2022

Five O'clock Tea

Five O'clock Tea:

by Christian von Schneidau, who died on January 6, 1976 at age 82. Please share a post with a drink in it and join us at the T Stands for Tuesday blogger gather hosted by Bleubeard and Elizabeth.

Monday, January 03, 2022

Brer Rabbit's Christmas Carol

Brer Rabbit's Christmas Carol is a 1992 animated TV show based on the Dickens story. I watched it on Tubi. I found this one too silly to watch. I didn't finish it.


Sunday, January 02, 2022

Saturday, January 01, 2022

New Year's Morning

Only a night from old to new!
Only a night, and so much wrought!
The Old Year's heart all weary grew,
But said: "The New Year rest has brought."
The Old Year's hopes its heart laid down,
As in a grave; but, trusting, said:
"The blossoms of the New Year's crown
Bloom from the ashes of the dead."
The Old Year's heart was full of greed;
With selfishness it longed and ached,
And cried: "I have not half I need.
My thirst is bitter and unslaked.
But to the New Year's generous hand
All gifts in plenty shall return;
True love it shall understand;
By all my failures it shall learn.
I have been reckless; it shall be
Quiet and calm and pure of life.
I was a slave; it shall go free,
And find sweet peace where I leave strife."
Only a night from old to new!
Never a night such changes brought.
The Old Year had its work to do;
No New Year miracles are wrought.

Always a night from old to new!
Night and the healing balm of sleep!
Each morn is New Year's morn come true,
Morn of a festival to keep.
All nights are sacred nights to make
Confession and resolve and prayer;
All days are sacred days to wake
New gladness in the sunny air.
Only a night from old to new;
Only a sleep from night to morn.
The new is but the old come true;
Each sunrise sees a new year born.