Friday, March 31, 2023

March Words of Wisdom

Super light month of wisdom. Easily the shortest of these lists I've ever posted. What's going on out there?
The power of finding beauty in the humblest things makes home happy and life lovely. --Louisa May Alcott
Life is like a piano. What you get out of it depends on how you play it. --Tom Lehrer 
It is so easy to be great nowadays, because most people are weak. --David Goggins
Take your kids to a farm so they don't think food comes from a box. --Willie Nelson

Since there were so few words of wisdom this month, please enjoy this adorable picture of Sophie being adorable:

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Ladies and gentleman, the leader of the free world. If by free world, you mean clown world.

No joke. This is the text of Joe Biden's remarks on the school shooting in Nashville. I transcribed it myself, but you can see it here via ABC News starting at the 6:45 mark. It was like watching the guy warming up an audience for the headliner. How someone could joke and laugh at a time like this is inexplicable to me. Just sickening.

Applause. Biden at podium, smiling.
BIDEN: My name is Joe Biden.
AUDIENCE: Laughter.
BIDEN: I'm Dr. Jill Biden's husband

AUDIENCE: Laughter.

BIDEN: And I eat Jeni's ice cream, chocolate chip.

AUDIENCE: Laughter.

BIDEN: I came down because I heard there was chocolate chip ice cream.

AUDIENCE: Laughter.

BIDEN: By the way, I have a whole refrigerator full upstairs. 

AUDIENCE: Laughter

BIDEN (Grinning): You think I'm kidding? I'm not. Ben, how are you pal? One of the best guys in the United States Congress, Ben Cardin.
AUDIENCE: Whoops and applause.

BIDEN: Folks, uh, welcome to the White House. It's a delight to have you all here. And who are those cool looking kids back there? 

AUDIENCE: Laughter.

BIDEN: They're your kids, all four of 'em? Well stand up, guys.


AUDIENCE: Applause.
BIDEN: Well, I want you to know, like you, I had two brothers, there were three in our family, three brothers, and one sister. My sister is smarter than all of us. 
AUDIENCE: Laughter.
BIDEN: Not a joke, she used to be three years younger than me, now she's twenty-three years younger than me.  

AUDIENCE: Laughter.

BIDEN: Yeah, she managed every one of my campaigns for office, even back when I was in high school. We went to the same university two years apart, she graduated with honors, I graduated.

AUDIENCE: Laughter.

BIDEN: And we had a simple rule in the family: listen to Val. 

AUDIENCE: Laughter.

BIDEN: My sister Valerie's incredible, so guys, be nice to your sister, your gonna need her. You're gonna need her, I promise. It's the same lineup. (POINTS) You're the oldest? Who's number two? (KID RAISES HAND) Number two? Who's number three? (KID RAISES HAND). You're twins, are you guys twins? (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Okay, alright, this is how it was in our outfit. Well, I'm so glad to see you all, thanks for coming with mom, okay? Gotta take care of your mom. Dad's are much harder to raise, but you know...

AUDIENCE: Laughter.

BIDEN: Before I begin to speak, the reason I spent a little time with the kids, I just wanted to speak very briefly about the school shooting in Nashville, Tennessee...

Yes, two minutes and twenty seconds into his Comedy Store audition, he finally wants to speak very briefly about the school shooting. What a leader. And no, I don't care what was already scheduled, if you're the president, you don't joke around when something terrible has happened. I just don't know how someone can yuck it up when they're about to discuss something so awful. I came down here because chocolate chip ice cream. Jesus Christ.

Also, notice they turned off comments on the Biden video? Guessing I wasn't the only person appalled and offended by the jokester approach to a national tragedy.

We deserve better.

Monday, March 27, 2023

LOVE this!

When I should be writing and cleaning the apartment, but this is hilarious and I couldn't pass it up... 🎶🎶 (yeah, I know it doesn't rhyme):

You know you're singing these in your head.
Okay, now I need to get back to work on stuff I'm actually supposed to be working on. Have a great day, everyone!

Sunday, March 26, 2023

Those who forget the past...

First they came for Roald Dahl and Ian Fleming. Now they're after Agatha Christie

This reminds me of the "warning" on some of the classic Warner Bros. animation DVDs. For some reason they recruited Whoopi Goldberg to give viewers a condescending reminder that the cartoons are products of their time, like we're too stupid to know that. So we get this puerile lesson in how prejudice and stereotypes "were wrong then, and they're wrong now." No shit, Sherlock. But of course, they assume that us peasants can't see these things for what they were and we need to be lectured about things the average (non-elite) person actually knows instinctively and doesn't need to be reminded of every time we sit down to try and enjoy a damn cartoon.
The people who want you to believe that up is down, good is bad, morality is evil, and 2 + 2 = 5 don't think we can figure out for ourselves that things change, that the world was a different place when these cartoons were produced, and that for a period that world was embroiled in a devastating war. The difference back then, of course, is that Hollywood took the patriotic, flag-waving path in an attempt to unite the country and keep its spirits up, instead of trashing it.

Which brings us to the current trend of re-writing classic works for "modern sensibilities". 

Both Christie and Dahl lived and wrote in a completely different time and place. Any idiot who isn't focused on forcing their beliefs down the throats of others can simply and quietly understand that, and enjoy the works for their entertainment value.

Luckily, the comments section on the Deadline article linked above shows that this isn't a popular movement and that there is still some sanity in this crazy world:



You know who tried to warn us about this? This guy. He wrote a book about it...oh, shit. Wait until the wokesters get a look at 1984.

You did, George. You called it. Unfortunately for those of us in 2023, you called it.

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Behold the meme of memes!!!

I don't know where this originated, but I've been seeing it all over the interwebs today. And the craziest part is...IT'S TRUE!!! I mean, just imagine...

Heck, forget 1990, try the 1980's. In case you're too young to remember:

I guess there's something to be said for aging naturally and therefore gracefully. Says the girl woman who still gets the gray roots colored every month. But there's really nothing else to say except well done, Roseanne.

Look, I'm not unsympathetic. Getting old sucks. You don't look like the you that you feel like anymore. God knows I'm proof of that. You look at that number and can't relate to it. I get it. But what I don't get is butchering yourself and cultivating a look so unnatural that people freak out at the sight of you. And on top of that, thinking you look so great that you flaunt yourself all over the internet. Sorry you can't look like your 1980's self anymore, but who does? And it's even more impressive if Roseanne's had some work done, because she still looks like a normal, older woman. If she's had work, it was well done and she didn't overdo it. 

Seriously, if they had Oscars for memes, this one just swept all categories.

Sunday, March 19, 2023

The Show Must Go Online

How have I not known about this before now? This was one of the viewing options in my Shakespeare class for our Richard III module. I present to you, Richard III brought to you by The Show Must Go Online.
Apparently this was started during the COVID shutdown. They use Zoom to perform the plays and it's amazing how well it works. It's not without a few hiccups, but overall it works, and what a great idea! Zoom has got to be one of the all-time great creations, and it's fascinating seeing how creatively people utilize it.  

Looking forward to checking out some of their other performances.

Sunday, March 12, 2023

Don't piss on my leg and tell me it's raining

Gotta admit, I'm sick to death of listening to Biden talking about how he's rescued the country from the "disaster" it was when he inherited it. (Spoiler alert - he wrecked it, not whoever he's blaming it on this week. Don't care about your political party or who you voted for - this is recent.)

Gas prices in Southern California are back above $5/gallon, after a period of them going down. Not down to pre-Biden levels, but at least not in the $5+ range. That didn't last. Oh, and a bank just crashed and there's a good chance that starting tomorrow the stock market is going to do the same. Peachy.

Prices of everything are going up. I don't know how people are surviving, especially those that have to commute to work (1 hour+ one-way isn't unusual here in L.A.) and provide for children. The closest thing I have to a kid is the lovely Sophie, and even she's getting expensive. Case in point:

Yeah, there's cheaper cat food, but Sophie is old and has gotten picky as heck in her old age. In fact, if she'd eat the even more expensive specialty food for kidney disease that she rejected, I'd pay for that too. But I'm also not in the position of having to decide between feeding kids or the family pet, so I'll take the hit and she'll continue to get the fancy-schmancy stuff.

Anyhoo, this box of twelve servings has always been in the $11-$12 range, depending on where I buy it (Target, Walmart, or a grocery store). About a week ago I was at CVS and it was priced at a jaw-dropping $22. Not making that up. TWENTY. TWO. DOLLARS. I probably should have taken a picture, but I was too stunned by that number to think about it.

So instead I went over to Pavilions where I was sure it would be a lot more reasonably priced. Not, as it turns out. I was shocked to see what they were charging. Not as bad as the $22 CVS wanted, but the price has skyrocketed at the grocery store as well. EIGHTEEN DOLLARS.
"Regular" price. There's nothing "regular" about it.

The only thing that brought it down to close to the old price was being a "member". Otherwise, nearly twenty bucks. For twelve servings. She'll go through that in well under a week.

And that's just cat food. See that Diet Dr. Pepper? Next time I bought it (at Ralphs) it was nearly $4. For one 2-liter bottle. Looks like I'm going to have to think about giving up the luxury of soda like the good peasant I am. You know who isn't having to concern themselves with prices or sacrifices? Know who isn't worried about feeding their families and pets? You know who isn't going to be eating the food made out of bugs? Our political overlords and their fellow elite, that's who.

It's galling enough to watch the world fall apart around me, but I don't need the insult of our so-called "leaders" telling us how much better it all is than a few years ago. I mean, isn't going broke, a stock market crash, and the looming possibility of World War III so much better than a booming economy with record-low Black and Hispanic unemployment? Depends on who you ask. If you ask me, the answer is HELL NO. But there are politicians (and let's not forget the complicit media) who will look you in the eye and tell you everything is dandy. Because they have nothing but disdain for you and don't care what happens to you. And some of you will still continue to support them. I don't know how or where this is going to end, but it's looking pretty dire right now. Forget the concept of a dystopian future. That future is now. We're in it.

Sophie will be fine, but I'm now wondering when we're going to see stories about people having to give up their pets to shelters because they can no longer afford to feed them and the kids, and well, they can't very well drop the kids off.

Saturday, March 11, 2023

It took me a few seconds, but YIKES!!!

And yes, as a crime writer I do reserve the right to use this in a story. Wouldn't be the first time I'd gotten story inspiration from a meme.

Via might_be_wrong on IG. Scroll down if you can't figure it out.

How do you give equal amounts of the apples with one stroke of the knife? You stab one of the people and the remaining two each get one apple. Brutal.

Friday, March 10, 2023

In a nutshell

Present day journalism summed up in one simple little illustration:

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

The Dude still abides

The Big Lebowski was released 25 years ago, and although it wasn't a hit back then, it has gotten the love it deserved in the two and a half decades since. Even Roger Ebert later "adjusted" his review from three to four stars, as described in this Hollywood Reporter article, in which Jeff Bridges reminisces about the happy experience. Some other highlights:
  • The film only earned $18 million at the box office in its initial release. Since then it has surpassed the $100 million mark primarily from home viewing.
  • The film's poor performance surprised Bridges, who expected it to be a big hit.
  • Bridges was concerned about playing "a big pothead" because he had preteen children at the time.
  • There was very little ad-libbing. The actors largely adhered to the script, including the vast usage of "man" and "fuck".
I don't remember the first time I saw this film, but it was well after its release. Fathom Events is screening The Big Lebowski next month, and I'm looking forward to seeing it on the big screen for the first time.

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Culinary humor

 Not the highest quality image, but still funny.

Via the Fame is a Bitch Podcast Obsessed FB page. And I just noticed he's wearing a Flyers jersey.

Monday, March 6, 2023

Screening: "Casablanca"

Fathom Events presented the classic Casablanca on the big screen this weekend.

Casablanca (Warner Bros., 1942)
Directed by Michael Curtiz
Written by Julius J. Epstein, Philip G. Epstein, Howard Koch
(based on the play Everybody Comes to Rick's by Murray Burnett and Joan Alison)
Starring Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman, Paul Henried, Claude Rains, Conrad Veidt, Peter Lorre, Sidney Greenstreet, Dooley Wilson, S.Z. Sakall
Winner of the Academy Award for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay
Also nominated for Best Actor (Bogart), Best Supporting Actor (Rains) Best Film Editing, Best Cinematography (Black & White), Best Musical Score

In the early days of World War II, Casablanca in French Morocco has become a refuge for Europeans fleeing the growing Nazi invasion. Documents that will allow refugees to continue on to America are prized and often obtained on the black market. The center of the action takes place at Rick's Cafe Americain, a bar and casino run by American expatriate Rick Blaine. One night Ilsa Lund, a former lover of Rick's appears in the cafe with her husband, Victor Laszlo, famous as a resistance leader against the Nazis and for escaping their concentration camps. The couple are desperate to go to America where Laszlo will be safe, but the Nazis, who are keen to finally eliminate Laszlo, and Rick and Ilsa's complicated past threatens to prevent them from finally getting away. 

Casablanca is incredibly well-written, directed, and acted, The characters are vividly drawn and portrayed by a cast filled with both recognizable stars and gifted character actors. Seeing it on the big screen was a treat - a great movie made even better by seeing it how it was meant to be seen. Fathom Events also has screenings of Casablanca this Wednesday, March 8. It was so good I'm tempted to go again.

Casablanca facts and trivia:
  • Bogart lost the Oscar to Paul Lukas in Watch on the Rhine. Rains was bested by Charles Coburn in The More the Merrier. Bogart would finally get his Oscar in 1952, for The African Queen.
  • Bergman was nominated for Best Actress, but not for Casablanca. She got her nod for For Whom the Bell Tolls. She lost to Jennifer Jones (The Song of Bernadette).
  • The Academy nominated ten films for Best Picture. The films bested by Casablanca were For Whom the Bell Tolls, The Song of Bernadette, Madame Curie, Heaven Can Wait, In Which We Serve, The Human Comedy, The Ox-Bow Incident, The More the Merrier, and Watch on the Rhine
  • The classic song "As Time Goes By" was written years earlier for another production and was therefore ineligible for an Oscar nomination for its use in Casablanca. Academy rules require a song to be written specifically for a film to be eligible. The winning song at that year's Oscars was "You'll Never Know" from Hello Frisco, Hello
  • Many of the actors in Casablanca were Jews who had fled Europe as the Nazis gained power. 
  • Casablanca may be one of the most underrated films by those involved during its filming. Orson Welles claimed that at the time, Bogart told him that he was in "the worst picture I've ever been in." Neither Bergman or Henreid wanted to be in the film. Bergman didn't think it would do anything for her career and Henreid didn't want to play a non-lead. 
  • Other actresses considered for the role of Ilsa Lund included Ann Sheridan, Hedy Lamarr, Luise Rainer, and Michele Morgan.
  • Other actors considered for the role of Victor Lazslo included Herbert Marshall, Joseph Cotten, Philip Dorn, and Dean Jagger.
  • Wallis's first choice of director was William Wyler, but he was unavailable.
  • Joan Alison, one of the authors of Everybody Comes to Rick's, the unproduced play that was the basis for Casablanca, disliked Bogart and had envisioned Clark Gable as Rick.
  • Conrad Veidt was the highest paid actor in the film.
  • Rick never says, "Play it again, Sam." The line is, "You played it for her, you can play it for me. If she can stand it, I can. Play it." Ilsa simply says, "Play it, Sam."
  • Dooley Wilson was a musician, but he was a drummer and had to fake playing the piano.
  • Sam's piano from the cafe was sold at a TCM film memorabilia auction in 2014. It fetched $3.4 million.
  • Rick Blaine is one of the roles believed to have been famously turned down by George Raft, however this may have been a self-serving rumor started by Raft himself, as it's also claimed that Bogart was always who the producers had in mind.
  • In 2006 the Writers Guild of America named Casablanca as the Best Screenplay of All Time.
  • Film critic Leonard Maltin called Casablanca "the best Hollywood movie of all time".


Thursday, March 2, 2023

Five years

Today marks five years since my Mom passed away. Crazy how fast the years go by.