Thursday, October 27, 2011

And remember, this is for posterity so be honest.

The Princess Bride (the movie) was released in 1987, the year I was born. I cannot vouch that I have seen it every year of my life but it is pretty close and, if I haven't, I've watched it enough for two or three of my lifetimes. This movie is tops, as is the book. Have you read the book? May I suggest you do?

William Goldman wrote the book within a frame narrative (which the movie somewhat maintains). Goldman writes that he heard the story from his grandfather and researched and abridged the original S. Morgenstern novel. Goldman's commentary is throughout, assuring the reader that he has here removed a lengthy tangent regarding the monetary system of Florin and, if you have a 1987 revision or post, that tourism at the Cliffs of Insanity has sky-rocketed since the release of the movie. The characde is absolute and beautiful. I told my father that we needed to visit Florin and Guilder. Allow me to burst your bubble, there is no Florin or Guilder. No Cliffs of Insanity, tourists or no. No S. Morgenstern. Goldman has no son. And there are no legal issues with the fictional Morgenstern estate in releasing the non-existent sequel, Buttercup's Baby. It is a clever literary device and I love the total devotion to keeping the myth alive.

But back to the movie. Have you seen the movie? May I ask why you are a total loser if you have not? Have you seen the Entertainment Weekly Reunion photograph?

Please note the homage pictures to Andre the Giant and Peter Falk. Also, there's a ROUS to the far left. Fred Savage is noticably missing but he wasn't very important to the movie anyway. Entertainment Weekly has also released a The Princess Bride Oral History, with all the tidbits and trivia I could hope for. I love details like these.

What I think is so lasting about The Princess Bride is that it cannot be imitated. It is one of a kind in its blend of romance, adventure, and humor. This book/movie defies description, "fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles...". There had never been anything like The Princess Bride before and I cannot envision anything being quite like it again.

So, what's your favorite line?

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Rapture, round two

The world was supposed to end today. After Harold Camping's prediction of a May 21st Rapture failed, he explained that it had been a quiet Rapture and that God had been merciful, a reprieve for the saving of more souls. The real end, the blow out, would come today, October 21st, 2011. Don't know about you but I'm not missing anyone from my address book and I know some pretty good people. I know some heathens and heretics too, I'm not surprised to see them though.

Anyway, going to Rapture. BRB.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Tales well calculated to keep you in...

Halloween is tiptoeing closer and, here on the prairie, the weather is obliging. It changed last night, fresh cool eighties breezes dropped in an overnight frost. Autumn has arrived. The spooks and ghouls are on their way, faux spiders hang from over sized webs on our neighbor's house, and, two streets over, a yard is dotted with tombstones, each epitaphed with an NFL football team (presumably their favorite team's opponents). To get myself in the mood, I've been listening to Suspense episodes while I work. I've enjoyed old-time radio programs for years (Jack Benny, Our Miss Brooks, Night Beat, Johnny Dollar, The Whistler, X-9, etc.) but the mysteries are my favorite and Suspense in particular. I love the chill, stormy nights they evoke and it's always fun to hear favorite celebrities in new roles (Lucille Ball in Dime a Dance is a delightful surprise).

I've listened to enough now that I can generally guess the plot. This doesn't ruin it for me, it's fun to listen anyway and I enjoy being right. But I really enjoy when I'm mistaken. There are few episodes that manage to catch me off guard and, when they do, I remember them. Unexpectedly devious endings, such as The Trap and The Night Reveals, are memorable. This afternoon, I listened to Summer Storm which was attention nabbing because it ended so nicely. While the point of Suspense is just that, to keep you in suspense - suspense is not necessarily synonymous with grim endings but many episodes of Suspense are. Someone commits murder or makes off with 50,000 in cash and, by some twist of irony or fate, they are caught, or the money is tagged, or they wallow in guilt and commit suicide only for us to find out that they did not in fact kill the person they thought they did - something like that. Summer Storm was different and you should have a listen. Check out the Internet Archives and look for these spine-tingling favorites:

  • Cabin B-13 (#52)
  • Cricket (#124)
  • Diary of Saphronia Winters (#27)
  • Dime a Dance (#61)
  • Sorry Wrong Number (#67)
  • Summer Storm (#52)
  • The Hitchhiker (#5)
  • The House in Cypress Canyon (#59)
  • The Night Reveals (#56)
  • The Trap (#55) <-- My absolute favorite episode, you'll never hear Aloha Oe the same way again.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sunday in New York

Another favorite movie during this crisp Autumn time is Sunday in New York. This 1963 sex comedy stars Jane Fonda as Eileen, who has taken a leave of absence from work to visit her brother in New York after being thrown over by boyfriend, Russ. The crux of the break up was Eileen's resistance to premarital relations and Russ isn't the first beau she's lost to her old-fashioned ideals. Eileen is convinced she's the last 22-year old virgin on Earth. Eileen's brother Adam, a philandering airline pilot, swears he himself is as virtuous and that her suppositions of commonplace immorality are all wrong. In the course of her first Sunday visiting, Eileen meet-cutes Mike (Rod Taylor) on a 5th Avenue bus. They spend the afternoon together and, after getting caught in a downpour, make a run back to brother Adam's apartment to dry off and have some hot drinks. It is during their afternoon's conversation that Eileen finds the negligee of one of Adam's girlfriends in the closet and she realizes his lie to her. Fired up by her brother's betrayal and tried of being protected, Eileen makes a pass at Mike, which he gladly accepts, until he realizes this is her first rod-eo (cowboy). Cut to the pair in bathrobes, Eileen on the couch crying and Mike stalking around the apartment, smoking like a chimney. A girl has to start somewhere but it's not going to be with him. While recovering from their failed seduction and Mike waxing eloquent that Eileen's a nice girl and should stay that way, Russ (boyfriend) appears and eagerly proposes to his berobed love, before turning to Mike and greeting him as Adam, presuming him to be Eileen's brother. Well, the ruse would work just fine, but, of course, actual-Adam now appears and has to be played off as a friend to fake-Adam-Mike. Actual-Adam is quick to pick up on the situation and none too happy at the idea of his sister alone in the apartment with a strange man. Farce ensues as the trio struggles with how to tell Russ about the mistaken identities without losing the marriage proposal.

Friday, October 14, 2011


When I started this blog, I really had no idea I would end up writing so much about gender issues. This is not something that has directly impacted my life or something for which I feel great depth. In the past few years it has become more important to me and, of course,  I care about equality of the sexes but I would not consider myself an active feminist. My life's hope is, in fact, what I consider to be the antithesis of most feminist theory. I want to be a stay at home mother and a homemaker. I want women to have the choice to be both or either, to rule the work place and make the same money as men, to be a homemaker, or to be a kick-ass working mom who does it all, but I, personally, want to garden and cook all day. I feel like Mona Lisa Smile best described this angle of feminism in the character of Joan (Julia Stiles), who happily gives up a chance to study law to be a wife:

Joan Brandwyn: Do you think I'll wake up one morning and regret not being a lawyer?
Katherine Watson: Yes, I'm afraid that you will.
Joan Brandwyn: Not as much as I'd regret not having a family, not being there to raise them. I know exactly what I'm doing and it doesn't make me any less smart. This must seem terrible to you.
Katherine Watson: I didn't say that.
Joan Brandwyn: Sure you did. You always do. You stand in class and tell us to look beyond the image, but you don't. To you a housewife is someone who sold her soul for a center hall colonial. She has no depth, no intellect, no interests. You're the one who said I could do anything I wanted. This is what I want.
Anyway, I just wanted to say that I won't always be harping on the rights of women or transgenders or minorities. That's not the intent of this blog. I'm sure it will come up; lately, it seems to have come up quite a bit.

Reverse Chauvinism

Disclaimer: I do not like cancer. I am all for cancer research and awareness. To the best of my abilities, I understand and empathize with the havoc that cancer wrecks on an individual and their family.

I am very apologetic when I say that breast cancer awareness really turns me off. An entire month is devoted to this pink rally, the NFL is swathed in pink during the month of October, and, with each year, I become a little more desensitized to this particular form of raising awareness. I understand that breast cancer is a terrible thing and that women need to be aware of the risks and remember to be on the look out for problems. But, frankly, the same could be said of any cancer. In fact, breast cancer perhaps has a distinct advantage in that it can be looked for at home, unlike, say, ovarian cancer or liver cancer which require a medical examination. All that being said, I also understand that breast cancer awareness is going for a fresh approach and trying to capture women's attention but, all the same, I don't agree with their methods. I have no issue with reminding women of the risks, I have a problem with the how. "Save the tatas", sure it's catchy and just a smidge risque, no issue there. But you lose me on the facebook fake outs - one year it was bra color, one year it was where you put your purse, this year it was something about how many weeks along you were and what candy you craved. How does this help? I'm not sure how "confusing all the boys, teehee, teehee" raises awareness for breast cancer. Now there's this, a fun new phone app that reminds you to examine yourself for breast cancer, in the form of a hot guy. I don't have a problem being reminded to check myself but do we have to objectify men to do it? This app is just as appalling as the JCPenney Van Heusen commercial that gets guys to look at suits by watching a busty woman heave herself out of a pool. How can we as women be so up in arms about being evaluated for our base physical attractions and then turn around and do it right back?

This reverse chauvinism has always made me uncomfortable. In college, some of the girls on our hall put up a hot guy wall, cutting and printing out pictures of buffed up men with their shirts off (in response to the fraternities wall of porno women). My roommate and I, equally bothered by this homage to male looks, put up pictures of men we respected and why. Men like Gilbert Blythe, Mr. Darcy, and John Addams, men who showed deference and respect to the women they loved, men who were attractive but for so many more reasons than just their face or physique. Physical attraction is understandable, natural even, but does it require that we slaver over the opposite sex like animals in heat? Haven't we as the human race outgrown this behavior?  No? Just me then? Okay.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Mistress Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow?

I'm no green thumb. My love for nature is strong for wild scapes and unkempt tangles, forests, overgrown gardens, and wildflower meadows. Bordered walks and garden beds are not my cup of tea. Don't get me wrong, gardens are beautiful and it is an art form to be able to effectively plan and maintain them. I especially love Japanese style gardens. But I am not particularly good at cultivation. I am not a horticulturalist, you might say. My mother is and all my knowledge of gardening comes from her and I yet rely heavily on her skill. Fall however, is my favorite time to garden because Fall gardening means bulbs and bulbs mean mostly easy to maintain perennials! Seriously, you take a bulb and you put it in the dirt and then in March or April you have flowers, for years. So easy. I love it. It's like a springtime surprise, especially because you've probably forgotten what you planted.

So anyway, I bought bulbs the other day to plant in the two planters on either side of our mailbox. They are currently chilling in the fridge (haha, get it, chilling because it's cold...but also because they're hanging out...and... okay...) because it's still in the 80s and bulbs need cool weather to put them to sleep for the winter. I bought some golden ducat daffodils, which are lovely. Everyone loves daffodils, they're the golden heralds of Spring. I also bought some Queen of the Night tulips, also known (incorrectly) as black tulips. Such a gorgeous plum color and I am very excited to meet them next spring. While the bulbs wait for a dip in the temperature, I will be digging up the hastas from the back yard and planting a Persian lilac. [Side note: did you know hasta is Latin for 'spear'? Hastas bloom purple buds at the tip of long, thin, stalks, somewhat akin to spears. Just fyi.] I adore lilacs and viburnum and flowers that give off delicious fragrance. I couldn't find a viburnum bush but will keep looking (I intend to replace a boxwood in the front with viburnum). So, the lilac is going in as soon as I find time to transplant it because I want it to develop some more root structure before winter. I started with one, I'm concerned it won't make it through the winter and it was $16. If it thrives, I'll get more next year.

Come spring I'm hoping to rip out yet another boxwood (I hate boxwood) and replace it with lavender and lambs ear, as well as a mint patch lining the driveway. If I could figure out a way of adding tiger lilies to this odd assortment of flowers, I would. Or bleeding hearts, so pretty. They don't have a scent but I always thought they should.

P.S. Just in case you don't know the rhyme:
Mistress Mary, quite contrary,
how does your garden grow?
With silver bells
and cockle shells
and pretty maids all in a row.

My Tea Party

I am what my father refers to (in less than affectionate tones) as a "bleeding-heart liberal". I was the only one of the four children to attend a liberal arts college (Snur attended a private college but not liberal arts), I am the only one who votes predominantly Democrat (as far as I'm aware), and I avoid most social justice and political discussions with my family because I know it's not going to end well. I love my family, never doubt that, but I know I'm different and I'm happy about it. That being said here are some Tea Partiers and why they aren't invited to my tea party:
Lamar Smith: Imposing US law globally
Rick Scott: If it's not math and hard science, it's not worthy of funding
Feel free to debate, discuss, I'd prefer not arguing since that tends to get emotional. By all means, if you can provide me a solid reason why Science is more important than the Arts, that isn't financially based, be my guest.

People I am considering inviting to my tea party:
I'm not sure how to feel about this one. On the one hand, yes, go you for making a stand in social rights. On the other hand, people both homosexual and heterosexual will continue to struggle and the aid given by Britain may directly and positively impact their lives. If the support isn't there, well, that's no bueno. I suppose you have to do something though. Otherwise you are just funding a government that marginalizes and oppresses its people. Thoughts, comments, considerations?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


A two-fer for the day. The trailer for The Avengers movie released today. The movie debuts May 4 of 2012 and Buddy Holly and I am super excited. Speaking of The Avengers, I just realized today that Chris Evans, Captain America, is the Jock from Not Another Teen Movie. Awesome.

Also releasing in 2012 and looking quite a bit like badassery, The Raven. Releases in March.

Less badass but also eagerly anticipated, The Muppets. Because who doesn't love the Muppets?

Okay, you can go about your business now.

Good Idea - Bad Idea

Does anyone remember The Animaniacs? Well, they had a segment called Good Idea - Bad Idea that featured Mr. Skullhead in various contradicting situations, e.g. That was my favorite Animaniacs sketch.

Well, today I present to you,
Good Idea: Making awesome art.
Bad Idea: Insulting half the population.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Fighting Evil by Moonlight...

Buddy Holly and I decided on Halloween costumes today. Obviously the year's most important decision. I went through a number of ideas. Let's look at whatever ones I can recall, shall we?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Kindred Seasons

It's October. When did that happen?

Saturday. That's when.