Oh, God will save her, fear you not

Jun. 27th, 2017 04:42 am
sovay: (I Claudius)
[personal profile] sovay
I enjoyed this review of a new biography of A.E. Housman, but I got to the last paragraph and disagreed so violently that I spent my shower fuming about it:

But that sweetness, verging on sentimentality, is also Housman's limitation: the lads and lasses slumbering under the grass, never growing old or sick or worrying about how to find a job. Sadness in Housman is a one-size-fits-all emotion, not one rooted in particulars. It puddles up automatically. And reading "A Shropshire Lad" you can find yourself becoming narcotized against feelings that are deeper and more complicated. That may be the real secret of the book's enduring popularity, the way it substitutes for a feeling of genuine loss the almost pleasant pain of nostalgia.

The reviewer claims earlier that "one reason 'A Shropshire Lad' has been so successful is that readers find there what they want to find," so perhaps I am merely following this well-worn tack, but I don't see how you can read Housman and miss the irony, the wryness, the sometimes bitterness and often ambiguity that never prevents the pleasure of a line that turns perfectly on itself. Some of his best poems seem to take themselves apart as they go. Some of them are hair-raising. Some of them are really funny. (It is impossible for me to take "When I was one-and-twenty" as a serious lament. In the same vein, it wasn't until tonight in the shower that I finally noticed that "Is my team ploughing" owes a cynical debt to "The Twa Corbies.") That is much more complicated than a haze of romantic angst and the vague sweet pain of lost content, especially seeing how much of Housman's language is vividly, specifically physical for all its doomed youth and fleeting time, not dreamy at all. Shoulder the sky, my lad, and drink your ale. I am not sure why the reviewer knocks Housman's Shropshire for not being "particular," either. Of course it's not actual Shropshire, where the poet himself acknowledged he never even spent much time. It's Housman's Arcadia, et ego and all. I finished the review and found myself thinking of Catullus—again, I had to have my hair full of soap before I realized why. I don't understand why anyone looks for the undiluted Housman in A Shropshire Lad any more than the Lesbia poems should be assumed to contain the authentic Catullus. Pieces of both of them, sure. But my grandmother didn't need the identity of the addressee of "Shake hands, we shall never be friends, all's over" pinned down in order to copy out the poem and save it after a college relationship broke up badly. (I thought it was hers for years.) Who cares if its second person was Moses Jackson or fictional? It spoke to a real loss. I don't think there is anything anesthetizing in that. I doubt Housman would have wanted the particulars known, anyway. I have to figure out a way to stop fuming and start being asleep.
gaudior: (Default)
[personal profile] gaudior
So, I was talking to [personal profile] rushthatspeaks the other day about how everything the Republicans are doing makes much more sense if you assume their fathers beat them as children.
Read more... )

I spent me pay like a bloody fool

Jun. 26th, 2017 06:00 am
sovay: (Sydney Carton)
[personal profile] sovay
So while I punted the first of my afternoon commitments, which was my cousins' letter-writing party, I did make it to the second, which was a picnic on Cambridge Common with the once and future Anarchist Society of Shakespeareans, and I had a much better time than I was expecting with the conversations ranging from children's books to family histories to competitive hospital stories (the other person won), and I admit that I bought the small neat teal-green Penguin edition of William Dampier's Piracy, Turtles & Flying Foxes (1697/2007) based almost strictly on its title, but the basement of the Harvard Book Store had about half a dozen of the Penguin Great Journeys in the travel section and I couldn't afford them all, and I am not looking forward to my doctor's appointment in about eight hours, especially since I stayed awake to write a post which I did not manage to finish, but the point here is that I would need to pry myself away from this keyboard no matter what, because I just exclaimed to [personal profile] spatch: "What price Hollywood? What price salvation now? But for Wales!—" by which I intended to convey my disappointment in screenwriters, and when I turn into quotations I need to head for bed.
sovay: (Psholtii: in a bad mood)
[personal profile] sovay
Whether because of the heat or my period, I got almost no sleep last night and what sleep I did get was full of incredibly unpleasant nightmares of the kind that do not even make good stories: someone poisoned our cats, I was accused of blood libel and it was taken seriously as a criminal charge, I went to an amusement park and there was a terrible accident and people around me died. Literally the first piece of news I saw when I checked Facebook to see whether the planet had exploded while I was asleep was this story about Jewish pride flags being equated with support for Israel and removed from a Pride event in Chicago. At least I know Autolycus and Hestia are alive and well because I woke up with one of them walking back and forth across my face and the other mewing clearly that no one had fed her in the history of ever. [personal profile] spatch tells me the Coney Island Cyclone is turning ninety, so that's nice. The rest of my afternoon is supposed to be highly social; I'll settle for no nightmares, I hope.
sovay: (PJ Harvey: crow)
[personal profile] sovay
Today I received a five-foot-long shed snakeskin as a present and made myself a lobster roll for dinner. [edit: Not with the snakeskin. With some Caesar dressing and a piece of toasted bread, on account of not actually having hot dog buns in the house. The snakeskin is in an appropriately sized plastic tube on top of the bookshelves and will turn into a shadow box as soon as I can back it with some black cloth or paper. Just to be clear.] I am exhausted and appear to have misplaced the brain with which I wanted to write about things tonight, but I have had objectively worse days.

really fun

Jun. 24th, 2017 07:31 pm
lauradi7dw: (Default)
[personal profile] lauradi7dw
I have been going to Tai Chi classes at Davis Square Martial Arts for at least a dozen years. I tracked them down after the instructor at the Lexington Rec department flipped out because most of us clearly didn't practice at home, and after being shouted at, everybody quit. At first I went two or three times a week, but that became too tiring after a while, so I long since settled in to just the Saturday morning class, the timing of which matches up pretty well with the ringing practice later on. I usually just say Tai Chi, without distinguishing between the Yang 24 or competition 42 step form, or the bagua spear that we do at Seven Hills park in the summer, or Tai Chi sword, or whatever. One of the sweet things about the classes is that the adult classes are on a one-room schoolhouse model. Everybody does the warm-up together, and then the class splits up into as many sections as necessary - on any given day, there could be someone whose was first class it was, and people who had been working on ever more complex routines for years would be there as well. If the instructor is working with one group, the people in another group could be helping each other out. This morning we warmed up outside and then moved indoors when the rain got harder. It turned out that all of us were working on Leung Yi Bagua. For an example see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdAAUoOVMYA I was the least experienced of the bunch, but there were no newbies of any sort. I'm not sure I remember a class in which *everybody* was doing the same thing, although I am probably exaggerating. I also don't remember ever seeing the instructor barefooted before. No street shoes are allowed in the studio, but quite a few people have designated shoes (including the instructors). Often by the end of the class, whatever we're doing, I am physically tired and brain-fried, but for some reason, today I was engaged the whole time, way longer than my usual attention span. Smiling.

It Is Warmer Below

Jun. 24th, 2017 05:54 pm
moon_custafer: (Default)
[personal profile] moon_custafer
 I saw a reproduction of this poster today in a restaurant downtown, after the Dyke March*. It wasn't the first time I'd noticed, but it always pleases me because it looks like it was designed by a go-getting young demon in some 1920s British fantasy novel that successfully blends comedy and the numinous:




During which we sat next to a lady wearing rainbow ruffled leggings and this backpack.
sovay: (Sydney Carton)
[personal profile] sovay
So I tried InspiroBot, the random generator of inspirational quotes that is going through my Facebook friendlist like surrealist wildfire. I think I lost:



As [personal profile] handful_ofdust says encouragingly, "One can try!"

I've learned that my short story "The Trinitite Golem" (Clockwork Phoenix #5) has received honorable mentions in both Gardner Dozois' The Year's Best Science Fiction: Thirty-Fourth Annual Collection and Helen Marshall and Michael Kelly's The Year's Best Weird Fiction, Volume 4, neither of which I was expecting and both of which I am happy about.

Having been out of touch with Badass of the Week for some years, I am very grateful to have been pointed toward their entry for Joe Beyrle. "I shouldn't have to go around reminding you that 'Nazi Punks Fuck Off' is pretty much the only phrase in recorded history that Captain America, George S. Patton, and The Dead Kennedys have ever completely agreed upon without even the slightest bit of argument—so clearly there has to be something tangible behind that sentiment."

I don't know what you call this kind of photoset illustration of a piece of poetry, but I really like it.

Away until evening of July 1

Jun. 23rd, 2017 11:38 pm
asakiyume: (feathers on the line)
[personal profile] asakiyume
On Saturday morning, we're heading out to Nova Scotia. We will have very limited Internet, so I will be scarce--but I'll see you all in July. In the words of my roommate, sophomore year of college, hang loose and stay real.
sovay: (Sovay: David Owen)
[personal profile] sovay
Bad news: I just woke up now. Good news: I slept six hours. Frankly, after this week, I'll take it. A few things off the internet before I head out to meet [personal profile] rushthatspeaks and Fox and later [personal profile] phi

1. Solaris has put up a hexarchate faction quiz for Yoon Ha Lee's Machineries of Empire! I got Shuos, which is not what I was expecting. Maybe I flunked the trolley question.

2. Girl of the Port (1930) had almost no internet footprint when I watched it—I could find links to contemporary reviews on Wikipedia, but almost nothing by anyone closer to me in time. By now it's been reviewed by both Mondo 70 and Pre-Code.com, clearly from the same TCM showing. Honestly, this is pretty cool, even if I wish it were more like discovering and promoting a cult treasure than a thought-provoking trash fire.

3. I have been meaning to link this poem since Juneteenth: David Miller's "Hang Float Bury Burn." I wish I knew where to nominate non-speculative poems for awards.

impractical arrests

Jun. 23rd, 2017 08:53 am
lauradi7dw: (Default)
[personal profile] lauradi7dw
There was a "die-in" outside of Mitch McConnell's office yesterday, organized by the disability rights group ADAPT.
http://adapt.org/
I don't know the rules about being in hallways outside of Senators' offices, but the building belongs to all of us, so it seems to me that people should be welcome to protest. Not,apparently, or at least not to the extent of taking up all the space in the hall, which may be the relevant aspect of it. Forty were arrested, and many people were dragged away by police, as is traditional in protest arrests. What seemed nonsensical to me is that many of the protesters were lifted out of their wheelchairs and awkwardly carried away. There are videos available online. In addition to being dangerous, how is it practical? What are they going to do when they get to the police officer station - have officers keep carrying them around? There was some video footage of people with electric scooters being pushed in the scooter, but many were taken from their various chairs. Why didn't the police just, I don't know, take the wheelchair with the person in it? Some of those chairs cost thousands of dollars and are custom made - separating the user from the chair makes no sense to me.

Lovely Ashley Reservoir

Jun. 22nd, 2017 11:14 pm
asakiyume: (far horizon)
[personal profile] asakiyume
What I love about the Ashley Reservoir in Holyoke is that it has paths that run slender and reedlike right across the water--you can run or walk or bike along them and have water on both sides of you and the sky above you, and you will feel indescribable. Under the water are columns and drifts of water plants that the fish swim around and past, not even bothered (apparently) by how mazelike the plant-columns are, and on the water's surface are lily pads and often geese or ducks, and beside or sometimes in the water are turtles, and rising out of the water are reeds, and in the air are swallows and red-winged blackbirds

I wish I could have taken pictures earlier, when the geese had goslings and the irises were blooming. But it's very beautiful now, too.

paths through the water

DSCN6221

on a path

Ashley Reservoir

Ashley Reservoir


more photos from the reservoir )

On American History, Such as it Is

Jun. 22nd, 2017 12:50 pm
gaudior: (Default)
[personal profile] gaudior
So I have been... not exactly enjoying Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi, but getting a lot out of it.

One thing that has become clear is that a big chunk of American history looks like this:

White People: *do appalling things to Black people*

Philosophical-Type White People: Oh God, this thing we've done is unforgivable.

Less Philosophical-Type White People: Oh, come on. How can something this profitable be wrong?

Black People: Hey, cut that out.

Philosophical-Type White People: OH NO SEE THEY'RE ANGRY I SAID THEY'D BE ANGRY OH NOES!

Less Philosophical-Type White People: Shit.

White People: *do MORE appalling things to Black people to try to reduce their power and ability to take revenge*

Philosophical-Type White People: Oh God...

Lather, rinse, repeat.

It's not funny, but it is kind of amazing how early this showed up-- both the stereotype of the Angry Black Person and the alternate stereotype of the Supernaturally Loving and Forgiving Black Person-- the White people's fear and hope in the face of White guilt. None of which considers the possibility that Black people might possibly have some priority other than White people, that Black people might be more interested in living their lives, recovering from trauma, and, I don't know, writing books and petting dogs and taking long thoughtful walks on a cloudy day.

White Americans have never been good at not centering ourselves in the narrative. But this particular manifestation is particularly ugly, because real people get hurt for the sake of protection from figments of projected guilt. And... gods damn it.

--R

Lunch Break Post

Jun. 22nd, 2017 01:05 pm
moon_custafer: (Default)
[personal profile] moon_custafer
 Not sure how I got to this topic, but I’ve been thinking about the variants I’ve been seeing lately on “realistic textures on a distorted form.” The least grotesque are the oil paintings (I think they're oil paintings) of Popeye. At the other end of the scale the most terrifying examples are those that start from children’s drawings. I think we’re dealing with two forms of distortion here – young kids’ drawing are typically “unrealistic” due to inexperience and fine motor skills that haven’t fully matured yet; adult cartoonists’ drawings are *distilled* realism.
sovay: (Viktor & Mordecai)
[personal profile] sovay
Happy solstice! I was indeed awake all night. I'm still awake. Sleep or no sleep, however, sometimes a person has to yell about a movie on the internet.

Girl of the Port (1930), directed for RKO by Bert Glennon, is a pre-Code curiosity if ever I encountered one: a hopelessly confused adventure-melodrama-romance between a tough-cookie showgirl and a shell-shocked veteran set in the South Seas islands, which is part of its problem. Its title is technically relevant in that the heroine is the only female character of any prominence, but thematically it would have done much better to be released under its production title of The Fire-Walker, after the original short story by John Russell. Story elements include World War I, half a dozen nervous breakdowns, British tourists, mixology, untranslated Chinese, institutional racism, surprise aristocracy, the climactic if no longer eponymous firewalk, and the whole thing's over in 65 minutes, so it gets the plot in with a crowbar. There are really interesting things in it and there are really frustrating things in it and they are not arranged in any separable fashion. I am not sorry to have seen it, but I do not expect anyone else to feel the same.

It opens with title cards, setting the zeitgeist of the Lost Generation: "Not all the casualties of war are in hospital cots. There are wounds of the spirit as lasting as those of the flesh, but less pitied, and little understood. Few know the dark fears brought back from the battlefront. Even fewer know that those fears may be cast out . . . but only by the mind that harbors them." The sequence that follows startled me; I keep forgetting that while the Production Code did its best to reduce the realities of sex, race, and gender to cartoons, it also did a lasting disservice to violence—not the two-fisted pantomime kind where bullets leave no marks and people's eyes close gently when they die, but the kind people should be scared of. We see it in the barbed wire trenches of World War I, where a battalion of British soldiers is getting ready to go over the top. It's cold, dark, ghostly. A young officer is trying to reassure an enlisted man even younger than himself, a hollow-eyed boy whose head is already bandaged bloodily under his tin hat. Five in the morning is zero hour; he re-checks his watch, takes a deep breath, and blows the signal. All together, his men call out their watchword, "God and the right!" and scramble up over the sandbags into no man's land. Their German counterparts affirm, "Gott mit uns!" and do the same. There's little sense of strategy on the British side, just a loose line of men ordered into hell with rifles and nerve.1 They walk into a nest of German flamethrowers. It's horrifying. At first they don't see the danger, decoyed by the smoke and the disorienting concussions of the mortar barrage covering the German advance; then it's too late to get out of range. There is something uncanny and inhuman in the flamethrower troops with their deep-sea gear and the long, long streams of fire they send snaking out before them, licking and curling as if they were living and hungry things. The young officer stands his ground with his service pistol, trying to take the flamethrowers out, but soon he's dry-firing and then a stutter of enemy machine-guns takes him in the leg and the arm; he tumbles into a shell-hole alongside the feebly flailing body of a fellow soldier with some obliquely shot but grisly makeup effects on his face—burned, blinded. He keeps crying about the fire, about his eyes. With his helmet knocked off, we can see the officer's face under its stiff tousle of dark hair, terrified and suddenly, desperately young. "Stick close to me," he said confidently, just a few minutes ago in the safety of the trench, "and don't forget—those Fritzes are nothing but men." But fire is more than men, fire can eat men alive, and it's doing just that all around him. Everywhere he looks, the white-hot hissing light of the flamethrowers coming on and the bodies of men he knew burning, or worse, stumbling through the inferno, screaming. He's trapped. He can't get out. Suddenly he's screaming, too, high and hoarse and raw: "Oh, God, don't let the fire get me—don't let the fire get me—oh, God!" And scene.

It's a harsh opening and the viewer may be forgiven for feeling a little whiplashed when the action jumps years and genres to the rainy night in Suva, Fiji when footloose, all-American Josie (Sally O'Neil, a mostly silent actress new to me) blows out of the storm and into MacDougal's Bamboo Bar. Late of Coney Island, she fast-talks her way into a bartending job with theatrical sass, booting the current barman and introducing herself to the appreciative all-male clientele like the carnival talker of her own attraction: "I don't need no assistance, thanks. My father was a bouncer in the Tenth Ward. My mother was a lion tamer with Ringling. I was weaned on raw meat and red pepper. Boo!" She's petite and kitten-faced, brash and blonde as an undercranked Joan Blondell; her dialogue is a glorious compendium of pop culture and pure, nasal Brooklyn slang. She refers to her pet canary alternately as "John McCormack" and "Jenny Lind," derides a hoary pick-up line as "old when Fanny was a girl's name," and deflects an incipient attack of sentiment with the admonition not "to go . . . getting all Jolson about it." A handsy customer gets the brush-off "What are you, a chiropractor? You rub me the wrong way." When she finds another new patron passed out face-first on a table, their exchange as he groggily props himself up gives a good idea of the script's overall mix of the snappy and the sententious:

"Who in blazes are you?"
"Lon Chaney."
"I'm coming up to date. Usually at this stage I'm seeing Jonah's whale."
"Snap out of it, bozo. Ain't you glad you don't see pink elephants?"
"Lassie, I drink so's I
can see them. They crowd out other things. Four fingers, please."

Asked for the color of his money, the man produces a military decoration: thin and scruffy in an old collarless shirt, no longer quite so boyish with the haunted lines in his face, it's the young officer of the opening scenes (Reginald Sharland, also new to me; he had an eleven-film career between 1927 and 1934 and by turns he reminded me of Richard Barthelmess, Peter Capaldi, and Dick Van Dyke, which is a hell of a thing to say about anyone). He has shell-shock you can see from space. When the bar pianist starts tinkling a jaunty improv on "Tipperary," he recites the chorus in a kind of bitter trance, tellingly omitting the last line about his heart. Josie tries to break in by guessing his rank; when she reaches "Captain," he jolts to his feet like a snapped elastic, giving an instinctive salute and then a haggard smile: "Clever, don't you think yourself?" In a welcome gesture toward nuance, he's fucked up, but not totally pathetic. He's known as Whiskey Johnny, after the stuff he drinks more thirstily than water and the song he'll perform in exchange for free glasses of it, especially when egged on by white-suited local bully McEwen (Mitchell Lewis, wait for it). This sort of setup is usually the cue for public humiliation, but Johnny can actually sing and he grins round at the room while he does it, a slight, shabby, definitely not sober man, drawing his audience in all the same. I had a girl and her name was Lize. Whiskey, Johnny! Oh, she put whiskey in her pies. Whiskey for my Johnny! He balks only when McEwen presses him to sing the last verse, the one that Johnny nervously protests "isn't done amongst gentlemen, is it? Not when ladies are present."2 In response, McEwen insults Josie, Johnny insults McEwen, words escalate to fists escalate to McEwen pulling a knife, Johnny grabbing a chair, and Josie throwing a bottle that smashes the nearest lamp. The oil ignites as soon as it hits the floor, a quick mushroom of flame spurting up right in Johnny's face. He was unsteady but combative a moment ago; in the face of the fire, he screams like a child. "Oh, God, the fire! Don't let the fire get me! Oh, God, let me out of here!" A few voices call after him as he blunders jaggedly away through the crowd, plainly seeing nothing but Flanders and flames, but most dismiss him as a "ruddy coward . . . not worth stopping, with his tail between his legs." The next morning, flinchingly hungover on the beat-up chaise longue in the back room of the bar, he tells Josie the story of how he won his medal, the sole survivor of his company decorated for bravery for cowering in a shell-hole "watching the others crisp up and die—hearing them die—seeing the fire draw nearer, nearer, seeing it all round me—oh, God, don't let the fire get me! Don't let the fire get me!" He can recover a wry self-possession in quieter moments, but he "can't face fire" or even the memory of it: the terror is always just below the surface. McEwen has only to flick a cigarette into a bucket of gasoline to bust him back down to a shuddering wreck, trying to hide in the furniture, chokingly gulping the drink he just swore he wouldn't touch.

Josie's solution is unorthodox but unhesitating: she has him move into her cabin. McEwen can't get at him there. House rules are they don't sleep together and Johnny doesn't drink. As the intermittent intertitles tell us, "Half her time she saw that men got liquor at Macdougal's . . . the other half, she saw that one man didn't!" After eight weeks, their relationship is a comfortable but charged mixture of emotional intimacy and unacknowledged sexual tension and I think accidentally sort of kinky. Each night when she leaves for work at the bar, she locks Johnny in—by now at his own request—so that he can't wander off in search of booze despite his best intentions. He refers to her as his "doctor, nurse, pal, and jailor—and savior, you know. That is, if a chap who didn't deserve it ever had one." His hands shake badly when he kneels to put her shoes on for her, but he insists on doing it anyway, just as he insists on helping with the washing-up even when they lose more plates that way. She treats him practically, not like something broken or breakable; she calls him "Bozo" because she doesn't like "Whiskey Johnny" and he doesn't like "Captain." Eventually, diffidently, he introduces himself as "Jameson," at which Josie shoots him a skeptical look: "I've seen that name on bottles." She's fallen for him by now, which the audience could see coming from the moment she deflated his romantic sob story of a contemptuous fiancée who betrayed him with his best friend with the tartly dismissive "What a dim bulb she turned out to be," but she keeps a self-protective distance, correctly recognizing that she's given him a breather, not a miracle, and in the meantime he's imprinted on her like a battle-fatigued duckling. When he declares his love, she warns him, "Now don't go mixing up love and gratitude, 'cause they ain't no more alike than champagne and Ovaltine." They end up in a clinch, of course, and a jubilant Johnny promises that they're going to "lick that fear—together," waving her off to work like a happy husband already. The viewer with a better idea of dramatic structure vs. runtime waits for the third-act crisis to come home to roost.

All of this is an amazing demonstration of the durability of hurt/comfort over the decades and to be honest it's pretty great of its type, even if occasionally over the top even by the standards of idfic. Both O'Neil and Sharland's acting styles are mixed somewhere between early sound naturalism and the full-body expression of silent film—O'Neil acquires a vocal quaver in moments of emotion and Sharland employs some highly stylized gestures in his breakdowns, though there's nothing old-fashioned or stagy about his screams—but since they are generally in the same register at the same time, it works fine. They make a sympathetically matching couple with their respective fears of being unlovable, Josie who bluntly admits that she "ain't a nice girl," Johnny convinced he's a coward and a failure, "finished." Some of their best romantic moments are not declarative passion but shy happiness, the actors just glowing at one another. The trouble is that what I have been describing is the best version of the film, the one without the radioactive levels of racism that start at surprisingly upsettingly high and escalate to Jesus, was D.W. Griffith ghosting this thing? and essentially make it impossible for me to recommend this movie to anyone without qualifiers galore.

Perhaps you have a little something yet to learn about native blood, milord. )

I do not know how closely Girl of the Port resembles its source story, which can be found in Russell's Far Wandering Men (1929). Since he seems to have specialized in South Seas adventures, I assume some of the racism is baked in; I also wouldn't be surprised if some of it was introduced in the process of adaptation. I can get his earlier collection Where the Pavement Ends (1919) on Project Gutenberg, but Far Wandering Men isn't even in the local library system, so it may take me a little while to find out. Until then, I don't know what else I can tell you. "Frustrating" may have been an understatement. I don't want Sharland, O'Neil, and lines like "There you go, full of ambition. You have your youth, your health, and now you want shelves" to have been wasted on this film, but I fear that they may. Duke Kahanamoku certainly was. Mitchell Lewis, by the way, is most famous these days for his uncredited three-line role as the Captain of the Winkie Guard in The Wizard of Oz (1939)—I didn't recognize him as such in Girl of the Port, but once I made the connection, the deep voice and the strongly marked brows were unmistakable. I like him a lot better when he's green. This damaged recovery brought to you by my stronger backers at Patreon.

1. And kilts, which means they must be one of the Highland regiments, but in the chaos of battle I did not get a good look at the tartan.

2. Seriously? I've got like five versions of "Whiskey Johnny"/"Whiskey Is the Life of Man"/"John Rise Her Up" on my iTunes and I wouldn't call any of them racy. It's a halyard chantey. What have I been missing all these years?

3. Once safely outside MacDougal's, Kalita spits on the coin in disgust and then throws it away in the rain. I really think the script is trying its best with him, but because even his positive scenes rely on stereotypes, I credit most of his extant dimensions to Kahanamoku.

4. With a slur I've never heard before: "That little tabby over there . . . T-A-B-B-Y, tabby. The girl that's trying to make you!" From this context I assume it means a gold digger or a tart, but if it's real slang rather than minced for purposes of the Hays Code, I don't think it widely survived.

5. We are also, presumably, supposed to cheer plucky Josie for finding a way to turn the villain's heritage against him: before she agrees to his blackmail, she makes him swear to keep his end of the bargain on something he won't be able to cheat, not God or his honor, but the carved shell charm from his Fijian mother that he wears beneath his European shirts and suits, the hidden and telltale truth of him. "Swear on this Hindu hocus-pocus," she challenges, gripping it in her white hand. "Go on. That'll hold a Malay." Native superstition out of nowhere wins the day. Looking suddenly shaken, he swears.

R&J as YA? Fanfic?

Jun. 21st, 2017 08:21 am
lauradi7dw: (Default)
[personal profile] lauradi7dw
There is a summer (only seven episodes filmed) series on ABC called "Still Star-Crossed." From the commercials beforehand, I got that it is a sequel to Romeo and Juliet, starting almost immediately after their deaths, with the scene still laid in Verona. Then I mostly forgot about it. I came across the third episode on Monday night, half-way in, and liked it very much. I sometimes shy away from costume dramas because unauthentic costumes draw all of my focus. We only watched bits of "Wolf Hall," which many people liked and which had many well-done costumes, because whenever Anne Boleyn appeared onscreen, I started yelling "wrinkles!" (see # 4 http://www.frockflicks.com/top-5-costume-inaccuracies-in-wolf-hall/) The clothes in "S S-C" don't really pass for Renaissance Italy, but they didn't bother me, not least because it turns out that Rosaline can run flat out without being deterred by her gown, even though the lines (and presumably therefore undergarments) are correct. The street scenes are fantastic. When I learned that the show is based on a book by the same name by Melinda Taub, I vaguely assumed YA, but one of the reviewers on Goodreads called it fanfic, and I think that's about right. Not that there is anything wrong with YA. Upon reflection this morning, I realized that for those of us of a certain age (ie the same age as Juliet when the 1968 Zeffirelli version hit the big screen), Romeo and Juliet *was* YA. People in their early teens doing dangerous things for love, with the background possibility of dying for the greater good (not their main motivation, but it was there). I saw it several times in the theater (the only choice, then), with friends. By the third time, some of my friends had gotten over their sadness at the untimely deaths, but I was still fully engaged. At the scene of Juliet speaking over Romeo's body (I am clearly not worrying about spoilers here), I sobbed out loud. The viewer behind me also sobbed loudly at the same time, and my friends buried their faces in their coats, to muffle their shrieks of laughter.

'Cause I don't tell all I know

Jun. 20th, 2017 05:35 pm
sovay: (Otachi: Pacific Rim)
[personal profile] sovay
It is almost the solstice and I am skeptical that I will sleep through any of the shortest night, the insomnia is that bad right now. I spend my days feeling like everything is wound in layers of cotton batting and my nights not understanding why being tired does not equal being asleep. I'm losing so much time. On the other hand, the sky is tall summer-blue and the clouds look like there should be the sea under them and I was just reminded that Egon Schiele's Trieste Harbour (1907) exists and that makes me happy, even if my brain is now trying to make Der Hafen von Triest scan to Jacques Brel and that's just not going to work out.



I have to write about something.

Aargh

Jun. 20th, 2017 01:10 pm
moon_custafer: (Default)
[personal profile] moon_custafer
 I'd been hoping my numerous screw-ups at my last job were due to overwork, but today my co-worker asked me why I'd renamed a file and not only could I not explain why, I had no memory of even having done it. Beginning again to wonder why I do this and how long till they lose patience.


ETA -- Sorry about that, I'm feeling a little better now.

Being consistent

Jun. 19th, 2017 03:57 pm
lauradi7dw: (Default)
[personal profile] lauradi7dw
I mentioned at the time of each van-on-bridge terrorist murder event in London that I had walked on those bridges, so I will mention that we walked by the Finsbury Park mosque in February. Different targets, same MO.

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