Saturday, January 18, 2020

The Legend...

...of Sleepy Hollow...and other tales, by Washington Irving.
Figured since I'm not writing I might as well be reading and I enjoy the writing styles from the 19th century.

The men who dared to take up the vocation were undergirded with a classical education and versed in the great literary works of the past.

This thorough preparation in the literary arts gave their works a rich descriptive vocabulary and a depth of meaning you don't often encounter in today's world.

One of the highest compliments you can pay an author is to realize, when thinking back on a scene about which he wrote, you see the picture he evoked more than you remember the words he employed.

That's how it is with Washington Irving's Sketch Book writings.  His essays on Christmas, Christmas Eve and Christmas Dinner evoke vivid scenes of an old fashioned English Christmas spent with a friend while traveling.

And of course his retelling of the Legend Of Sleepy Hollow and the fate of poor Ichabod Crane is simply delicious story telling at its finest.
And much to my surprise, I discovered that in one aspect, Mr. Irving and I share a common sensibility.

In a letter to Sir Walter Scott he confessed:

"I have no command of my talents, such as they are, and have to watch the varyings of my mind as I would those of a weather cock...I must, therefore, keep on pretty much as I have begun; writing when I can, not when I would..."

Well, what do you know...a kindred spirit.  The old saw is "writers write" but like the venerable Mr. Irving, I can only write when inspiration strikes...not before.

In any event, it's a delight to read his stories.

Same is true with Robert Louis Stevenson and his writings.
You think you know the Jekyll and Hyde story...
...but chances are you know whatever movie version you've seen.

You must read the story as he wrote it to get the full descriptive horror of the transformation pursued, achieved and ultimately abhorred by the brilliant Dr. Jekyll.

And for all of that, I still don't have an idea for my next book...

Looks like winter is making a feeble attempt at a comeback...
...just hasn't been much of a winter so far...and really, nothing in the forecast, either...temps in the high 30's in the days ahead.

Not complaining, but hey...if we're not going to have winter, can we get an early start on Spring?
That's what I'm talking about...

Had a strange experience walking into my living room early one morning this past week...
I kid you golf clubs asked me if I wanted to go golfing!

Now I know what you're thinking...'re thinking, "Don't those golf clubs even know it's winter?"

There's more, but I just saw something shiny so I'll hafta tell you the rest later...

Watched a Polish movie the other night...
...that got universally positive reviews.

It covers the time period of 1949 through 1964 set against the backdrop of communist Poland under the boot of Stalin's Russia.

At the center of the story are two talented musicians; he an older concert pianist, she a young and beautiful singer.

The movie tells the story of their tempestuous and ultimately doomed love.

It's acted flawlessly and is visually captivating, filmed in black and white to match the dull severity of the repressive times in which they lived.

In the end they are together...
...but not in the Hallmark happy ending way you might imagine.

It truly is a very well done movie, just not uplifting in any way, shape, manner or form.

Made me happy I live in the land of the free and the home of the brave...

New objet d'art from the Retro Lifestyle Company
That's the iconic Enco gas station in Palm Springs, CA, circa 1965.

It's now the Palm Springs Welcome Center, located at the turn off to the Aerial Tramway in the San Jacinto Mountains.

Another gorgeous piece of artwork by Diane Dempsey.

Some recent sightings 'round the ol' homestead...

feeding time at the OK corral


...and Mrs...

...and a friend.

this actually happens at our house

Enough already...don't you have something to do?
what could go wrong?
...yeah, like that...

later, mcm fans...

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Saturday, January 11, 2020


...or so we've been warned...for several days now.

Snow-mageddon, Ice-mageddon, etc...from all the breathless reporting, we're supposed to be in the midst of a "high impact" storm at the moment, with freezing rain, ice, snow.

We've watched multiple TV segments showing grim faced people racing to buy generators and stocking up on essential survival supplies like moon pies and pennywhistles... you can see, Mr. Cardinal is every bit as terrified as the rest of us.

No doubt there's going to be some winter like precip over the next day or so...but since this is January in Michigan, not sure that qualifies as a weather emergency.

Maybe next time?

Had a little brouhaha at the Manor recently...
...I wanted this early 1960's Austin Cox chess set to be displayed above the fireplace...
...since it makes perfect sense to me to display classic mid century modern pieces in a mid century modern home.

However...the Lady Of The Manor disagreed...I was informed the blue green color absolutely clashed with the rest of the decor in the living room.

Thankfully we were able to discuss this situation calmly and rationally like adults... order to arrive at a mutually agreeable compromise...
...happy wife, happy life...

Watched a movie from 1986 last night...
...A Room With A View based on the E.M. Forster novel of the same name.

This movie generated a lot of hype in its day and was nominated for many Oscars...wish I could say I'm in total agreement with the effusive praise heaped upon it, but in my opinion it was just ok.

Mostly it was interesting to see some well known actors and actresses when they were very young...Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Helena Bonham Carter, Simon Callow, Daniel Day-Lewis...

And the movie was fine...a slow moving mood piece set in Edwardian England, it's ostensibly a romance...well acted with a happy ending.

It just isn't substantial or riveting.

In the final analysis I agree with what E.M. Forster said about his may not have been his best effort, but it was probably his nicest.

Something that was far more substantial...
...a documentary about Eva Kors, a twin who survived the demonic experimentation done on her by the twisted Nazi Doctor, Josef Mengele

Eva and her twin, Miriam, along with their family, were taken to Auschwitz in 1943.  All of her family were murdered there, except for Eva and Miriam.

The documentary reveals much of what she suffered at the hands of the sadistic Nazis, but focuses on Eva's path that led her to forgive Mengele...and indeed, all the nazis.

It's a compelling story, one that makes you think carefully about and examine what forgiveness really means.

Not everyone can agree with Eva's definition or her decision to forgive an unrepentant monster for the suffering he willfully inflicted on innocents...
evil personified, currently burning in hell
...but everyone should see this documentary and be challenged on this subject.

Well, we did get some ice and snow overnight...

...but thankfully not too much, and we didn't lose power.

Looks like the turkeys beat feet out of here... great loss...

And that my friends concludes another wildly successful broadcast day here at the ultra-modern studios of the Atomic Monster Cafe.
Naturally, there's no smoking while on camera...
...and always remember to read the cue cards...

later, mcm fans...

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Saturday, January 4, 2020

Rough Start... the New Year...been knocked down with something unpleasant for the last week...fever, congestion, headache, etc.

Luckily, there seems to be a cure...
...better than whiskey?  Don't you believe's only 20 proof.

We soldier on...

We've come to the end of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, season 3...
...and that's as far as they've gone so far...season 4 won't debut until Nov or Dec of 2020, or so I'm told.

Overall it's been pretty good...excellent production values, dead on mid century modern styling and music, with witty, rapid fire dialogue and mostly historically accurate events.

It's not perfect by a long shot...way too much profanity - if they removed the F word from the Susie Myerson character's vocabulary...
...her dialogue would be instantly cut in half...and if they removed all obscenity completely she'd be reduced to nothing but prepositions and conjunctions.

As my father used to opine, profanity is the verbal playground of the ignorant, and that character spends most of her time on the jungle gym.

And the series is not above the occasional cheap shot at conservatives, which I suppose comes with any territory occupied by today's woke culture brokers.

In episode 7 of season 3 they repeated long ago debunked accusations of anti-semitism against conservative Phyllis Schlafly.

It's sad, really...there may be lots of things about Ms. Schlafly's legacy with which to take exception, but being an anti-semite isn't one of them.

Raising that tired, disproven charge against her, years after her death cheapens the show, not the legacy of Ms. Schlafly.

And really, it makes Rachel Brosnahan, Tony Shalhoub, et al, look like petty, uneducated idiots when they're reduced to spouting easily fact-checked lies and fake news.

Google, anyone?

I expected better of a show that has been mostly historically accurate, but I suppose I don't know why.

They must, after all, kiss the ring of their ideological masters above all else.

So far that's been an isolated incident - inserted awkwardly as if they had to figure out a way to cram it in to satisfy some higher up's politically correct wet dream - so I'll probably tune in to season 4 if/when it debuts.

Then again, maybe not.

It's been less than 2 weeks since Christmas but already those fading memories...
...seem like a distant dream from months ago.

Everything is so different about the holidays - the decor, the music, the mindset.

Once it's over, the break is so sudden and complete it's almost like it never happened.

Well, until the mail (wo)man delivers all those bills...

Currently wandering in a creative desert again...
...always happens after I complete a writing project, before I settle on my next book.

It's common enough I should develop a routine to help refill the tank...I am reading some Robert Frost poetry lately...maybe I'll write something about a road less traveled or two tramps in mud time or stopping by woods on a snowy evening...
...I've always admired Frost's incredible talent as a wordsmith.

We've once again stolen 3rd...
...spikes up of course, just like the beloved Ty Cobb.

And while that leaves us one base shy of scoring a run, we're confident Providence will smile upon our dire situation...
...and our hero's unquestioned ability will save the day.

Lessee, how did that poem end?

later, mcm fans...

* Crass Commercialism Corner *

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