by Leon Bonvin, who died on January 30, 1866. He approached gallerists on rue Laffitte and rue du Bac, but he made few sales of his watercolors. In January 1866, Bonvin traveled to Paris again to offer his watercolors to a dealer, who rejected them as too dark. Desperate, he hung himself the next day in the forest and was discovered a few days later. He was 31 years of age.
Due to the Tyre Nichols tragedy, my attention has been focused on local news and Facebook this week. Investigations continue as does news coverage, though the national news outlets have left. The investigation is widening to cover why the county sheriff officers were present without the knowledge of the sheriff and why fire department personnel didn't render aid. In addition to the 5 police officers fired and criminally charged, 2 more police officer have been suspended and 2 fire department EMTs and a fire department lieutenant have been fired. It's a mess.
Reflections; or Sentences and Moral Maxims by François de La Rochefoucauld is a collection of pithy sayings. You can read them online here. They are easy to skip around and not intended to be read straight through as with a book of fiction. Feel free to dabble.
If you watch the news at all you may have seen our suffering here in Memphis. My heart is heavy, though anyone who is surprised by police thuggery hasn't been paying attention. I wish I thought there'd be systemic change and reform, but I don't. From the Associated Press:
The video is filled with violent moments showing the officers, who are also Black, chasing and pummeling Nichols and leaving him on the pavement propped against a squad car as they fist-bump and celebrate their actions.
Tyre Nichols repeatedly cried, "Mom! Mom!” as the five Memphis police officers now charged with the Black motorist's murder pummeled him with kicks, punches and baton blows after a Jan. 7 traffic stop, video released by the city on Friday showed.
Tyre Nichols died January 10, 2023, three days after being beaten by five Memphis Police Department officers during a traffic stop. The Memphis Police Department initially stated that Nichols had been driving recklessly, but its chief later stated that footage showed no evidence of probable cause for Nichols to be stopped (though stressing that cause might nonetheless have existed). Following the traffic stop, an initial altercation ensued during which officers deployed pepper spray and a taser. Nichols fled on foot, and within a short distance, a second altercation occurred when Memphis Police Officers caught up with him, then punched and kicked Nichols's face, and hit his back with a baton. Media outlets reported that the footage did not show Nichols appearing to provoke officers during the beating. He was hospitalized in a critical condition and ultimately died.
Five officers, all African American, were fired from the police department. An autopsy commissioned by his family found "extensive bleeding caused by a severe beating". On January 26, the five officers involved were arrested and charged with murder, kidnapping, assault, and misconduct. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the United States Department of Justice have both opened investigations. Furthermore, two Memphis firefighters who were involved in the initial patient care of Nichols were relieved of duty, pending an internal investigation.
This is a synched video of the entire attack. Individual videos are embedded separately below. You must click through to watch it on YouTube because it is age-restricted due to its brutality.
Video 1 (Police-issued body worn camera at an intersection. There is no audio for the first minute.):
Looking for something seasonal to read I came across this list of "best books to read in winter". It includes one book in the public domain that I had not already read. Fun! The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket is Edgar Alan Poe's only completed novel. It relates the tale of the young Arthur Gordon Pym, who stows away aboard a whaling ship called the Grampus.
According to Wikipedia, difficulty in finding literary success early in his short story-writing career inspired Poe to pursue writing a longer work. A few serialized installments of The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket were first published in the Southern Literary Messenger, though never completed. The full novel was published in July 1838 in two volumes to mixed reviews. The novel later influenced Herman Melville and Jules Verne.
You can read it online here or listen to it read to you at the bottom of this post. It begins,
Upon my return to the United States a few months ago, after the extraordinary series of adventure in the South Seas and elsewhere, of which an account is given in the following pages, accident threw me into the society of several gentlemen in Richmond, Va., who felt deep interest in all matters relating to the regions I had visited, and who were constantly urging it upon me, as a duty, to give my narrative to the public. I had several reasons, however, for declining to do so, some of which were of a nature altogether private, and concern no person but myself; others not so much so. One consideration which deterred me was, that, having kept no journal during a greater portion of the time in which I was absent, I feared I should not be able to write, from mere memory, a statement so minute and connected as to have the appearance of that truth it would really possess, barring only the natural and unavoidable exaggeration to which all of us are prone when detailing events which have had powerful influence in exciting the imaginative faculties. Another reason was, that the incidents to be narrated were of a nature so positively marvellous, that, unsupported as my assertions must necessarily be (except by the evidence of a single individual, and he a half-breed Indian), I could only hope for belief among my family, and those of my friends who have had reason, through life, to put faith in my veracity—the probability being that the public at large would regard what I should put forth as merely an impudent and ingenious fiction. A distrust in my own abilities as a writer was, nevertheless, one of the principal causes which prevented me from complying with the suggestions of my advisers.
Among those gentlemen in Virginia who expressed the greatest interest in my statement, more particularly in regard to that portion of it which related to the Antarctic Ocean, was Mr. Poe, lately editor of the Southern Literary Messenger, a monthly magazine, published by Mr. Thomas W. White, in the city of Richmond. He strongly advised me, among others, to prepare at once a full account of what I had seen and undergone, and trust to the shrewdness and common sense of the public—insisting, with great plausibility, that however roughly, as regards mere authorship, my book should be got up, its very uncouthness, if there were any, would give it all the better chance of being received as truth.
Notwithstanding this representation, I did not make up my mind to do as he suggested. He afterward proposed (finding that I would not stir in the matter) that I should allow him to draw up, in his own words, a narrative of the earlier portion of my adventures, from facts afforded by myself, publishing it in the Southern Messenger under the garb of fiction. To this, perceiving no objection, I consented, stipulating only that my real name should be retained. Two numbers of the pretended fiction appeared, consequently, in the Messenger for January and February (1837), and, in order that it might certainly be regarded as fiction, the name of Mr. Poe was affixed to the articles in the table of contents of the magazine.
The manner in which this ruse was received has induced me at length to undertake a regular compilation and publication of the adventures in question; for I found that, in spite of the air of fable which had been so ingeniously thrown around that portion of my statement which appeared in the Messenger (without altering or distorting a single fact), the public were still not at all disposed to receive it as fable, and several letters were sent to Mr. P.'s address distinctly expressing a conviction to the contrary. I thence concluded that the facts of my narrative would prove of such a nature as to carry with them sufficient evidence of their own authenticity, and that I had consequently little to fear on the score of popular incredulity.
This exposé being made, it will be seen at once how much of what follows I claim to be my own writing; and it will also be understood that no fact is misrepresented in the first few pages which were written by Mr. Poe. Even to those readers who have not seen the Messenger, it will be unnecessary to point out where his portion ends and my own commences; the difference in point of style will be readily perceived.
Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio is an award-winning 2022 stop motion fantasy film based on the Collodi book. I hate the Disney adaptation and always have, so I was happy to see this and to see it done well. I watched it on Netflix.
A wondrously affecting work, "Pinocchio" becomes a magnum opus for del Toro that channels his interests and beliefs long present in his oeuvre but spun with a luminous new gravitas. It may go against its ethos to deem del Toro's "Pinocchio" an impeccable masterpiece, even if that's an adequate description, but know that if the art of making movies resembles magic, this is one of its greatest incantations.
The movie is beautiful. This take on the Pinocchio puppet reminds us, among other things, that he’s made of wood. He looks and moves and creaks and breaks like wood. He’s got knots for eyes and an entire personality carved into his body by benefit of the fractal patterns in the pine wood used to make him. He’s got the kind of thin awkwardness befitting a puppet, the kind where the head looks too heavy for the body. And yet there’s a real boyishness to him, somehow — here and throughout, with every character, the animators clearly took care to master the expressiveness of the eyes, the natural flow of movement.
The Verge calls it "a haunting and beautiful instant classic that will leave you thinking about your mortality." Rotten Tomatoes has a critics consensus score of 97%.
Stalker is a 1979 Soviet science fiction art film directed by Andrei Tarkovsky with a screenplay written by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky, loosely based on their 1972 novel Roadside Picnic. The film tells the story of an expedition led by a figure known as the "Stalker", who guides his two clients through a hazardous wasteland to a mysterious restricted site known simply as the "Zone". This is one of the most impressive films I have ever seen. Every time I watch it I see something new. I watched it on HBO Max, but it is also available on Freevee and via YouTube:
MovieWeb says it "has often been considered one of the most meaningful movies of all time" and explores different perspectives on its meaning. ReelViews says, "It is masterfully done, contains some haunting images, and has a difficult-to-pinpoint mesmerism in the way it progresses. Once it gets you (which, for some, may never happen), it will hold you like a fly trapped in amber." Rotten Tomatoes has a critics consensus score of 100%.
Run, Man, Run, a sequel to The Big Gundown, is an Italian-French Zapata Western film. It is the second film of Sergio Sollima focused on the character of Cuchillo, again played by Tomas Milian. It also stars Donal O'Brien, Linda Veras, and John Ireland. Ennio Morricone composed the score without credit. I watched it free on Vudu.
I have not always been a fan of the Western genre -having gotten sick to death of them back in the days of Bonanza, Gunsmoke, and such- but as an adult they have grown on me. There's a great deal of variety.
Although less complex than Sollima's other westerns, Run Man Run is a perfect example of Sollima’s special approach to character: his movies are often about people who change - discover their true nature - under difficult circumstances. The Big Gundown had shown the development of Cuchillo Sanchez from a peon into a social bandit who forced Lee van Cleef's ambitious bounty hunter Jonathan Corbett to make 'a choice of classes': he must either chose sides with the poor innocent guy, or with the corrupt rich people who could help him with his political career. In Run Man Run it is Cuchillo Sanchez, the running man, who is changed for the better by the circumstances and the people he encounters. In the course of the movie, Cuchillo changes from a vagabond and petty thief into a future revolutionary hero.
The Husband's experience with COVID has been blessedly mild as cases go. He got prescription meds quickly and has completed his isolation period. Symptoms continue, but he's able to go back to work. Because he's a 65+ year old insulin-dependent diabetic heart patient who has had cancer twice he's at high risk for complications, and I can't tell you how relieved we both are that he's navigating this process outside the hospital and seeing steady improvement. Onward!
Troll is a 2022 monster movie. I like Norse mythology and am happy to see a film based on troll myths. There's a set-up at the end to allow for a direct sequel, and I'll look forward to that release. I watched it on Netflix.
Powers of Ten is a 1977 short film (9 minutes) depicts the relative scale of the Universe according to an order of magnitude (or logarithmic scale) based on a factor of ten, first expanding out from the Earth until the entire universe is surveyed, then reducing inward until a single atom and its quarks are observed.
Daughters of the Dust is a 1991 independent film, the first feature film directed by an African-American woman distributed theatrically in the United States. Set in 1902, it tells the story of three generations of Gullah women on Saint Helena Island as they prepare to migrate off the island, out of the Southern United States, and into the North. I watched it because it is on the Sight and Sound best films list. It's on Tubi.
a tone poem of old memories, a family album in which all of the pictures are taken on the same day. It tells the story of a family of African-Americans who have lived for many years on a Southern offshore island, and of how they come together one day in 1902 to celebrate their ancestors before some of them leave for the North. The film is narrated by a child not yet born, and ancestors already dead also seem to be as present as the living.
The film doesn't tell a story in any conventional sense. It tells of feelings.
The Guardian gives it a 5 out of 5 stars and calls it "a mysterious, fabular and sometimes dreamlike film with its own theatrical poise." Rotten Tomatoes has a critics consensus score of 94%.
Let It Snow is a 2003 short story by David Sedaris. You can read it online here or listen to it read to you at the bottom of this post. It begins,
Winters were frustratingly mild in North Carolina, but the year I was in the fifth grade we got lucky. Snow fell, and, for the first time in years, it accumulated. School was cancelled, and two days later we got lucky again. There were eight inches on the ground, and, rather than melting, it froze. On the fifth day of our vacation, my mother had a little breakdown. Our presence had disrupted the secret life she led while we were at school, and when she could no longer take it she threw us out. It wasn’t a gentle request but something closer to an eviction. “Get the hell out of my house,” she said.
1. “Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles” (Chantal Akerman, 1975)
2. “Vertigo” (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958)
3. “Citizen Kane” (Orson Welles, 1941)
4. “Tokyo Story” (Ozu Yasujiro, 1953)
5. “In the Mood for Love" (Wong Kar-wai, 2001)
6. “2001: A Space Odyssey” (Stanley Kubrick, 1968)
7. “Beau travail” (Claire Denis, 1998)
8. “Mulholland Dr.” (David Lynch, 2001)
9. “Man with a Movie Camera” (Dziga Vertov, 1929)
10. “Singin’ in the Rain” (Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly, 1951)
11. “Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans” (F.W. Murnau, 1927)
12. “The Godfather” (Francis Ford Coppola, 1972)
13. “La Règle du Jeu” (Jean Renoir, 1939)
14. “Cléo from 5 to 7” (Agnès Varda, 1962)
15. “The Searchers” (John Ford, 1956)
16. “Meshes of the Afternoon” (Maya Deren and Alexander Hammid, 1943)
17. “Close-Up” (Abbas Kiarostami, 1989)
18. “Persona” (Ingmar Bergman, 1966)
19. “Apocalypse Now” (Francis Ford Coppola, 1979)
20. “Seven Samurai” (Akira Kurosawa, 1954)
21. (TIE) “The Passion of Joan of Arc” (Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1927)
21. (TIE) “Late Spring” (Ozu Yasujiro, 1949)
23. “Playtime” (Jacques Tati, 1967)
24. “Do the Right Thing” (Spike Lee, 1989)
25. (TIE) “Au Hasard Balthazar” (Robert Bresson, 1966)
25. (TIE) "The Night of the Hunter” (Charles Laughton, 1955)
27. “Shoah” (Claude Lanzmann, 1985)
28. “Daisies” (Věra Chytilová, 1966)
29. “Taxi Driver” (Martin Scorsese, 1976)
30. “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” (Céline Sciamma, 2019)
31. (TIE) “Mirror” (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1975)
31. (TIE) “8½” (Federico Fellini, 1963)
31. (TIE) “Psycho” (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960)
34. “L’Atalante” (Jean Vigo, 1934)
35. “Pather Panchali” (Satyajit Ray, 1955)
36. (TIE) “City Lights” (Charlie Chaplin, 1931)
36. (TIE) “M” (Fritz Lang, 1931)
38. (TIE) “À bout de souffle” (Jean-Luc Godard, 1960)
38. (TIE) “Some Like It Hot” (Billy Wilder, 1959)
38. (TIE) “Rear Window” (Alfred Hitchcock, 1954)
41. (TIE) “Bicycle Thieves” (Vittorio De Sica, 1948)
41. (TIE) “Rashomon” (Akira Kurosawa, 1950)
43. (TIE) “Stalker” (Andrei Tarkovsky, 1979)
43. (TIE) “Killer of Sheep” (Charles Burnett, 1977)
45. (TIE) “North by Northwest” (Alfred Hitchcock, 1959)
45. (TIE) “The Battle of Algiers” (Gillo Pontecorvo, 1966)
45. (TIE) “Barry Lyndon” (Stanley Kubrick, 1975)
48. (TIE) “Wanda” (Barbara Loden, 1970)
48. (TIE) “Ordet” (Carl Theodor Dreyer, 1955)
50. (TIE) “The 400 Blows” (François Truffaut, 1959)
50. (TIE) “The Piano” (Jane Campion, 1992)
52. (TIE) “News from Home” (Chantal Akerman, 1976)
52. (TIE) “Fear Eats the Soul” (Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1974)
54. (TIE) “The Apartment” (Billy Wilder, 1960)
54. (TIE) “Battleship Potemkin” (Sergei Eisenstein, 1925)
54. (TIE) “Sherlock Jr.” (Buster Keaton, 1924)
54. (TIE) “Le Mépris” (Jean-Luc Godard 1963)
54. (TIE) “Blade Runner” (Ridley Scott 1982)
59. “Sans soleil” (Chris Marker 1982)
60. (TIE) “Daughters of the Dust” (Julie Dash 1991)
60. (TIE) “La dolce vita” (Federico Fellini 1960)
60. (TIE) “Moonlight” (Barry Jenkins 2016)
63. (TIE) “Casablanca” (Michael Curtiz 1942)
63. (TIE) “GoodFellas” (Martin Scorsese 1990)
63. (TIE) “The Third Man” (Carol Reed 1949)
66. “Touki Bouki" (Djibril Diop Mambéty 1973)
67. (TIE) “The Gleaners and I” (Agnès Varda 2000)
67. (TIE) “Metropolis” (Fritz Lang 1927)
67. (TIE) “Andrei Rublev” (Andrei Tarkovsky 1966)
67. (TIE) “The Red Shoes” (Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger 1948)
67. (TIE) “La Jetée” (Chris Marker 1962)
72. (TIE) “My Neighbour Totoro” (Miyazaki Hayao 1988)
72. (TIE) “Journey to Italy” (Roberto Rossellini 1954)
72. (TIE) “L’avventura” (Michelangelo Antonioni 1960)
75. (TIE) “Imitation of Life” (Douglas Sirk 1959)
75. (TIE) “Sansho the Bailiff” (Mizoguchi Kenji 1954)
75. (TIE) “Spirited Away” (Miyazaki Hayao 2001)
78. (TIE) “A Brighter Summer Day” (Edward Yang 1991)
78. (TIE) “Sátántangó” (Béla Tarr 1994)
78. (TIE) “Céline and Julie Go Boating” (Jacques Rivette 1974)
78. (TIE) “Modern Times “(Charlie Chaplin 1936)
78. (TIE) “Sunset Blvd.” (Billy Wilder 1950)
78. (TIE) “A Matter of Life and Death” (Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger 1946)
84. (TIE) “Blue Velvet” (David Lynch 1986)
84. (TIE) “Pierrot le fou” (Jean-Luc Godard 1965)
84. (TIE) “Histoire(s) du cinéma” (Jean-Luc Godard 1988-1998)
84. (TIE) “The Spirit of the Beehive” (Victor Erice, 1973)
88. (TIE) “The Shining” (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)
88. (TIE) “Chungking Express” (Wong Kar Wai, 1994)
90. (TIE) “Madame de…” (Max Ophüls, 1953)
90. (TIE) “The Leopard” (Luchino Visconti, 1962)
90. (TIE) “Ugetsu” (Mizoguchi Kenji, 1953)
90. (TIE) “Parasite” (Bong Joon Ho, 2019)
90. (TIE) “Yi Yi” (Edward Yang, 1999)
95. (TIE) “A Man Escaped” (Robert Bresson, 1956)
95. (TIE) “The General” (Buster Keaton, 1926)
95. (TIE) “Once upon a Time in the West” (Sergio Leone, 1968)
95. (TIE) “Get Out” (Jordan Peele, 2017)
95. (TIE) “Black Girl” (Ousmane Sembène, 1965)
95. (TIE) “Tropical Malady” (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2004)
There've been changes since the last list was released, as you might well imagine. There are quite a few of these I've never heard of, but I'll be adding ones I can access to my various watchlists. I tend to work from best-of lists. I find films that way I would never hear of otherwise.
Letters from Chantal Akerman’s mother are read over a series of elegantly composed shots of 1976 New York, where our (unseen) filmmaker and protagonist has relocated. Akerman’s unforgettable time capsule of the city is also a gorgeous meditation on urban alienation and personal and familial disconnection.
Jeremiah Johnson is a 1972 western directed by Sydney Pollack and starring Robert Redford and Will Geer. I have the DVD. I don't see it available free anywhere or through any of the subscription services. It's odd what's not available through streaming services.
Rotten Tomatoes has a critics consensus score of 95%. Empire Online concludes, "Pollack does right to put his faith in one man and a whole lot of mountains. The result is impressive."
Criterion describes it as a "sumptuous eighteenth-century romance from Céline Sciamma, one of contemporary French cinema’s most acclaimed auteurs". The Guardian gives it 5 out of 5 stars. Empire Online closes a glowing review by calling it a "sacred love poem to take with you for the rest of your life". Rotten Tomatoes has a critics consensus score of 97%.
Willow is a 1988 fantasy adventure film directed by Ron Howard and starring Warwick Davis, Val Kilmer, Joanne Whalley, Jean Marsh, and Billy Barty. I had never seen this before, though how I missed it when the kids were little is beyond me. I watched it on Disney+ last month in preparation for the new Willow TV series.
I'll be drinking a cuppa tea while I watch yet another movie:
After 4 days and 15 votes and contentiousness that led to threatened violence, McCarthy finally won the House speakership. This is the first time since the 1800s that it has taken this many votes to elect a Speaker, and in those cases the issues were slavery and abolition. After the voting was over the House Minority Leader and the House Speaker each gave a speech. I offer video here of the speeches in the order they were given.
And then afterwards, McCarthy thanked Trump: "I do want to especially thank President Trump," McCarthy told reporters early Saturday morning. "I don't think anybody should doubt his influence. He was with me from the beginning … he was all in."
I watched it all gavel to gavel. As with the insurrection coverage, I think it's important whenever possible to watch these historic happenings live rather than depend on bits and pieces of later coverage. I will be watching tonight as the House considers its new rules.
The Ballad of Bister Scruggs is a 2018 Coen Brothers Western anthology film. It stars Tim Blake Nelson, Tyne Daly, James Franco, Brendan Gleeson, Harry Melling, Liam Neeson, Saul Rubinek, and Tom Waits, and features six vignettes that take place on the American frontier. This is an amazing film, shocking, touching, and funny by turns and always surprising. I watched it on Netflix.
Winter is a 1912 book by Dallas Lore Sharp. As a writer he became known through his charming magazine articles on native birds and small mammals and for his books which featured illustrations by American wildlife illustrator Robert Bruce Horsfall as well as artist Elizabeth Myers Snagg. You can read this book online here. It begins,
As in The Fall of the Year, so here in Winter, the second volume of this series, I have tried by story and sketch and suggestion to catch the spirit of the season. In this volume it is the large, free, strong, fierce, wild soul of Winter which I would catch, the bitter boreal might that, out of doors, drives all before it; that challenges all that is wild and fierce and strong and free and large within us, till the bounding red blood belts us like an equator, and the glow of all the tropics blooms upon our faces and down into the inmost of our beings.
Winter within us means vitality and purpose and throbbing life; and without us in our fields and woods it means widened prospect, the storm of battle, the holiness of peace, the poetry of silence and darkness and emptiness and death. And I have tried throughout this volume to show that Winter is only a symbol, that death is only an appearance, that life is everywhere, and that everywhere life dominates even while it lies buried under the winding-sheet of the snow.
“A simple child,
That lightly draws its breath,
What should it know of death?”
Why, this at least, that the winter world is not dead; that the cold is powerless to destroy; that life flees and hides and sleeps, only to waken again, forever stronger than death—fresher, fairer, sweeter for its long winter rest.
But first of all, and always, I have tried here to be a naturalist and nature-lover, pointing out the sounds and sights, the things to do, the places to visit, the how and why, that the children may know the wild life of winter, and through that knowledge come to love winter for its own sake.
And they will love it. Winter seems to have been made especially for children. They do not have rheumatism. Let the old people hurry off down South, but turn the children loose in the snow. The sight of a snowstorm affects a child as the smell of catnip affects a cat. He wants to roll over and over and over in it. And he should roll in it; the snow is his element as it is a polar bear cub’s.
I love the winter, and so do all children—its bare fields, empty woods, flattened meadows, its ranging landscapes, its stirless silences, its tumult of storms, its crystal nights with stars new cut in the glittering sky, its challenge, defiance, and mighty wrath. I love its wild life—its birds and animals; the shifts they make to conquer death. And then, out of this winter watching, I love the gentleness that comes, the sympathy, the understanding! One gets very close to the heart of Nature through such understanding.
Dallas Lore Sharp.
Mullein Hill, March, 1912.
I prefer heat to cold, but that said I don't have a favorite season. I enjoy the changing of the seasons.
Gingerdead Man is generally placed in the category of Christmas horror because of the close connection between gingerbread men and Christmas treats. It is a 2005 American comedy slasher film starring Gary Busey in the title role. I had never heard of it, but there are actually sequels, go figure... What can I say? Sometimes I'm in the mood for a strange film, and this certainly qualifies. It's only a bit over an hour long. I saw it on Tubi.
The Last Dream of Old Oak is a seasonal short story by Hans Christian Andersen. You can read it online here or here or listen to it read to you at the bottom of this post. It begins,
In the forest, high up on the steep shore, and not far from the open seacoast, stood a very old oak-tree. It was just three hundred and sixty-five years old, but that long time was to the tree as the same number of days might be to us; we wake by day and sleep by night, and then we have our dreams. It is different with the tree; it is obliged to keep awake through three seasons of the year, and does not get any sleep till winter comes. Winter is its time for rest; its night after the long day of spring, summer, and autumn. On many a warm summer, the Ephemera, the flies that exist for only a day, had fluttered about the old oak, enjoyed life and felt happy and if, for a moment, one of the tiny creatures rested on one of his large fresh leaves, the tree would always say, “Poor little creature! your whole life consists only of a single day. How very short. It must be quite melancholy.”
“Melancholy! what do you mean?” the little creature would always reply. “Everything around me is so wonderfully bright and warm, and beautiful, that it makes me joyous.”
“But only for one day, and then it is all over.”
“Over!” repeated the fly; “what is the meaning of all over? Are you all over too?”
“No; I shall very likely live for thousands of your days, and my day is whole seasons long; indeed it is so long that you could never reckon it out.”
“No? then I don’t understand you. You may have thousands of my days, but I have thousands of moments in which I can be merry and happy. Does all the beauty of the world cease when you die?”
“No,” replied the tree; “it will certainly last much longer,— infinitely longer than I can even think of.” “Well, then,” said the little fly, “we have the same time to live; only we reckon differently.” And the little creature danced and floated in the air, rejoicing in her delicate wings of gauze and velvet, rejoicing in the balmy breezes, laden with the fragrance of clover-fields and wild roses, elder-blossoms and honeysuckle, from the garden hedges, wild thyme, primroses, and mint, and the scent of all these was so strong that the perfume almost intoxicated the little fly. The long and beautiful day had been so full of joy and sweet delights, that when the sun sank low it felt tired of all its happiness and enjoyment. Its wings could sustain it no longer, and gently and slowly it glided down upon the soft waving blades of grass, nodded its little head as well as it could nod, and slept peacefully and sweetly. The fly was dead.
“Poor little Ephemera!” said the oak; “what a terribly short life!” And so, on every summer day the dance was repeated, the same questions asked, and the same answers given. The same thing was continued through many generations of Ephemera; all of them felt equally merry and equally happy.
The oak remained awake through the morning of spring, the noon of summer, and the evening of autumn; its time of rest, its night drew nigh—winter was coming.
I was always more a Grimms' Tales fan and never did embrace Hans Christian Andersen to that degree. Andersen does seem to have more winter season-specific tales, though.
Crime Wave is a 1954 American crime/film noir starring Sterling Hayden and Gene Nelson. Charles Bronson is in this credited as Charles Buchinsky. It takes place during the Christmas holiday season.
via Internet Archive:
Noir of the Week concludes a positive review with this: "It’s a cheap, but delicious buffet of everything noir buffs hunger for — and the final few frames make for one hell of a dessert. It should be on many of those ubiquitous top-ten lists".
Because this blog does not consist of a single focus topic I chose the name Divers and Sundry where "Divers" means being of many and various kinds, and "Sundry" means consisting of a haphazard assortment of different kinds.