MY Favorite Humphrey Bogart Movie

Prophets unhonored in their own countries — David Larrabee in Sabrina suggesting plastic champagne glasses, ‘just in case’ after his sitting-on-the-glasses-in-his-hip-pocket incident. Me, I prefer glass, but the plastic champagne flute has been a wonderful, wonderful thing for the world — I’m all for the democritization of champagne flutes!
Bonus excitement! What blogger’s real name is implicated in the Larrabee office staff?

Misplaced Modifier; Usage

So I’m waiting at the café for my student doing an independent study on medieval clothing and jewelry* and flipping through the New York Times** science section – interesting article on hysteria! Mouse brains – yum! When I read this sentence:

The project emerged because of Mr. Allen’s desire to make a significant contribution to neuroscience.

I mentally tick a us in the margin (“usage”). We (the professorial ‘we’) use “make a contribution” and “science” to refer to primary researchers, not funders.
The author probably means: The project emerged because of Mr. Allen’s desire to spend his Microsoft loot on neuroscience. That’s too colloquial, but he got trapped by euphemism into a usage mistake.
Can you tell I’m in full grading-mode?

*You might remember that I have an developing interest in not just the thinginess of medieval badges (a form of jewelry) but also on their public presentation on clothing (how and when people wore them). The student was on our term in Rome last semester and kept asking my colleague about the jewelry and clothing in medieval and renaissance works – my colleague pointed her in my direction for an independent study. So far, so good!
**Did you know that there’s a concerted effort to get students to read daily newspapers? I don’t know who funds it, but there’s a newstand of FREE newspapers in the lobby of the dining hall – Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, USA Today, and New York Times. It works a little – I see students reading papers. I definitely see professors reading papers!


The only surprise? No lounge shows up.
M People, Sugar Town (Bizarre Fruit, 1995)
Bootsy Collins, Ahh…The Name is Bootsy Baby (Bootsy Collins Anthology, 2001)
Alison Moyet, “And I Know” (Essex, 1994 – no iTunes Store link)
The Psychedelic Furs, All of This and Nothing (All of this and nothing, 1988)
The Hippos, The Sand (Heads are Gonna Roll, 1999)
Matt Bianco, “Wap Bam Boogie” (Indigo, 1988 – no iTunes Store link)
Al Green, Let’s Stay Together (Take Me to the River, disc 1)
Kraftwerk, Radioactivity (The Model – Retrospective, 1975-1978)
Cheb Mami, Ana Oualache (Dellali, 2001)
Parliament, Flashlight (Tear the Roof Off, 1974-1980 – the link goes to a different version)


I’m someone who believes in truth – what can I say? A great many things keep happening, some of them good, some of them bad – and I’m watching Hud tonight.* The cinematographer was someone named James Wong Howe. That struck me as an interesting fact (yeah, yeah – truth?) for 1963. What’s someone with the middle name Wong doing in 1963 as the cinematographer for a Larry McMurtry movie? IMDB shows me this list.
Did you know that someone born in Guangzhou in 1899 would be involved in a list of American films starting in 1923? That’s a biography worth reading.
Funny Lady.
The Molly Maguires.
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.
Bell Book and Candle.
A Farewell to Arms.
Come Back, Little Sheba.
Mr. Blandings Builds his Dream House.
Confidential Agent.
Yankee Doodle Dandy.
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.
The Prisoner of Zenda.
Laugh, Clown, Laugh
And those are only the ones I’ve seen! This shifts my idea of “what Hollywood was like.”

*SUCH a beautiful movie! Made me postpone my latest Netflix arrival. Patricia Neal is . . . way too great.

Posted in Art

Virtual friends

One of the beautiful things about finally meeting those one has become acquainted with – yea, fond of – online is that one can forever after hear them.

As I wrote him, a dictatorship is a real thing, not a super-synonym for “governments that do things I don’t like”.

So not only do I agree with JG/MM, but I can hear how she’s saying it. That’s even better.

Cooking luck

So as I walked home from school today it started to spinkle and eventually to rain – one of those 10-degree-temp-drop afternoons. Nevertheless I decided to grill the steak I had waiting for me in the fridge. I set the table, put some potatoes on to boil and then simmer, and then headed upstairs. About the time the grill finished preheating and I slapped the little steaklet on the grill the clouds suddenly broke up from the north and began to color – lots of deep blues and pinks. It wasn’t quite as extreme as the Frederick Church Our Banner in the Sky, but it wasn’t far off that.
So I trotted back downstairs and got my place setting and the potatoes — and some butter, of course! I headed back up to eat dinner and look at the sky.
Pleasant evening so far!

The Easier Side of College Towns

A few weeks ago I commented on one of the prices of living in a college town – unplanned access to advisees. One of the nicer things about living in a college town is that one goes to events on campus. When I lived in Atlanta I often skipped things even when I lived within a mile of the Emory campus unless they were sponsored by my own department or friends were involved.
Here in this town at these Colleges there’s just enough chat – not peer pressure, just chat – to keep you going. Tonight was the first President’s Forum evening. The speakers were, unusually, not from the life of politics or journalism* but two memoirists – one of our professors and an alum/faculty-brat-made-good.
So I went to hear chapters read aloud from terrifying and amusing memoirs (one of each). Deborah Tall, a professor of creative writing, grew up in a family of magazine-like suburban conformity. Her father was an orphan who remembered nothing – or so he said – about his childhood or parents. But then he was an engineer with a top secret clearance, so secrets were his business as well as his habit. I think I have to buy a copy and see how her genealogical search turns out: A Family of Strangers. Evidently she found the last living relation in the Ukraine!
Steven Kuusisto was raised on campus – his father was president of the Colleges throughout the 1970s (not an easy time!) and he himself graduated in 1978 and is now a professor of both creative writing and disability studies at Ohio State. His reading was less terrifying in most ways, but interesting enough to look up in the library:
Eavesdropping: A Memoir of Blindness and Listening

To add to the small-liberal-arts-collegeness of the evening I misremembered and got to campus in time for a 7 p.m. start only to see a sign announcing a 7.30 time — so I got a cup of coffee in the café, sat down on one of the adirondack chairs so thoughtfully scattered around campus, sketched some gables of the postcard buildings in preparation for an Art 101 assignment, and then watched some lads playing touch football.
*Our president is – umm – a former Clinton Whitehouse staffer among other past lives. He knows a lot of folks from the political life and journalism.


Every now and then I get a bit of visible proof that there are whole types of people I just don’t know anything about. This morning as I walked the dog the north end of the Lake was studded with little fishing boats – they clearly know something I don’t know. Not that I mind not knowing about what’s biting when and where, but it’s interesting to see that I don’t know. The world is a wonderful place.

Political Punctuation

I don’t know how many of my readers are residents of New York state (I really should look at the statistics thingie more often), but I am relieved to report a unilateral reduction in political emphaticness on the part of the campaign to re-elect Senator Clinton. Her signs this time around no longer say Hillary! — it’s just plain Hillary.
The calm, measured punctuation of incumbency, I guess.

Pull, pull, the party lever!

Why will conservatives stay home on Election Day? Well, that is not the right question, as it is the natural inclination of the conservative to be at home. The question then is: why should a conservative vote Republican?

Some people seem to think that I am a Republican. I am actually a conservative. There is a difference. Mr. Cusack, author of the above, explains quite ably.