Saturday, October 27, 2007

vagabond song

"There is something in the autumn that is native to my blood— Touch of manner, hint of mood;
And my heart is like a rhyme,
With the yellow and the purple and the crimson keeping time.

The scarlet of the maples can shake me like a cry
Of bugles going by.
And my lonely spirit thrills
To see the frosty asters like a smoke upon the hills

There is something in October sets the gypsy blood astir;
We must rise and follow her,
When from every hill of flame
She calls, and calls each vagabond by name."

William Bliss Carmen...A Vagabond Song

Those delicate golden leaves are almost gone now,
the victim of cruel rain. I'll miss the colors of October in my neighborhood.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

women in film

Sunday, October 21, 2007

filament of my imagination

October 21st, 1879
Menlo Park

It was on this memorable day, a rainy Tuesday, notes a biographer, that Thomas Alva Edison conducted the first successful test of the incandescent light bulb. And it was also the day Edison finally stopped cussing. Through long, frustrating, 99% sweating, days and nights of trial and error he invented a vast library full of expletives and four-letter words as experiment after experiment fizzled out.

A sampling of the milder exclamations jotted down in a diary by his assistant Edgar:
You Worthless Pile Of Horse Poop!
Yeah, Your Mother Too!
Dog Hair?, Dog Hair My Left Arm Pit!
I Don't Know, It Was Hair I Found In My Soup, You Dip!

Science marches on!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

vagabond 120

This little beauty from the 1950's is quite remarkable. It has one of the tiniest viewfinders in history, and the body leaks light despite heavy bandages of duct tape.

The body is a convenient size too: For smuggling Uranium Ore samples from North Korea, or perhaps small ferret-like animals.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

so long, Joey

To me, you were just as cool as the rest of the Pack,
you son of a gun.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Young and Innocent

This film from 1937, aka The Girl Was Young, is one of my favorites by Hitchcock. Along with The 39 Steps, its 'wrong man' theme seems to be the template for every chase film since.

Based loosely on Josephine Tey's novel, A Shilling For Candles, the story is about a young writer (de Marney), falsely accused of murder who sets out after the real killer to prove his innocence, assisted by the unwilling daughter, (Pilbeam), of the chief constable . Much of of the film's pleasure lies in the adolescent romance; the suspense of the chase is paralleled with the couples anxiety about their developing relationship.

And in a celebrated slow, descending tracking shot that frames the killer's eyes we peer into one of film's creepiest killers ever. But before that famous ballroom scene the film is laced with poetic, funny, and terrifying scenes. A light hearted scene has Pilbeam attempting to time the flow of a water fountain spray on de Marney's head wound.

Now a word about Nova Pilbeam: Appealing. Why this Hitchcock Leading Lady never caught on with the director is beyond me. She reminds me of Emma Watson. I find her just as warm and inspiring as Grace, Ingrid, Doris, and the rest.

Maybe more - I love her!

Friday, October 12, 2007

bogus science

I know October 15th is suppose to be Blog Action Day for the environment, but I couldn't wait that long to comment because of the announcement today of Alfred "thar she blows!" Nobel's Peace Prize to another Al.

The Earth's temperature has increased about one degree in the last 100 years. Natural cycle factors, not any human-made farts or whatever, are the reason. One study even claims warming stopped in 1998.

Pardon me while I fart.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The Babe Ruth Story

The true version with all the bananas peeled away...

Sunday, October 7, 2007

low cash flow

I love old advertisements and find some fascination in which celebrities were chosen for those ads. I wouldn't mind wallpapering my hole-in-the-wall apartment with ads such as Al Hirt for Miller Beer, or Anthony Quinn for Foster Grant Sunglasses, and certainly, Ava Gardner's ad for Lustre-Creme Shampoo would go right on my bedroom wall.

Basil Rathbone has always been one of my all-time favorites. He was a World War I hero, courageously staging reconnaissance on the battlefield (disguised as a tree! No kidding!), and went on to a distinguished career on screen and stage.

But, as an old friend of mine is fond of saying...I gots to eat too. And Basil never went hungry it seems from the long list of items he endorsed. At least in the 1960 Skippy ad they admit forking over a 'hatful' of cash to Rathbone to promote their product.

Friday, October 5, 2007


She died 17 years ago today, and I still miss her every day. Most nights she comes back in dreams and comforts me. What a pal and companion. Lucky me. And during the day while eating I think, damn it, if you were here I'd save the remaining crumbs for your snout just like I always did.

Man, she loved the sound of the Milkbone box rattling, and morphed from a Cocker Spaniel to a 'Springer' Spaniel whenever anyone asked her if she wanted to go for a walk. She'd get so excited she'd start peeing even before I'd get the leash hooked to her collar. Then, the entire time outdoors her nose would be glued to the grass searching for...only she knew. And she would tug me mightily along as though we were shooting the chariot race scene in Ben Hur.

And she knew more about life than me. Probably from all that homework of mine she ate. And no, none of that roll over and play dead or shake paws or speak! crap. She was too much of a lady (except the uncontrollable peeing), and knew just when to make herself scarce when I had a fit, or when to settle her head upon my lap when I took a melancholy dive. I take more of those dives now than ever before, so I keep that 8 x 10 framed photo of her on my bed stand so she's the last thing I see before drifting away.

I miss you, little girl.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Beaver, and Glory to the Soviet Science

Little odd fact known by few. The two are related more than you would think, outside of having their big day 50 years ago on this here very date.

The Gubment hid this info from us all, but with a little research I have uncovered the fact that the lunch bucket used by Jerry Mathers ("as the Beaver"), and the cramped Sputnik both contained trained teacup chiuauauas. (Danny Thomas used a 'spit-take' chiuauaua, but I'll cover that another time).

The one holed up in space onboard Sputnik, that tiny cylinder that gave Eisenhower nightmares like a dog drinking out of the toilet as the seat slams shut, snapped photos of U.S. military installations by pushing a little red button with its nose, until it exploded when the capsule approached Mach 7. The chiuauaua inside The Beaver's lunch bucket was trained to show its teeth whenever The Beav flubbed a line. The seasons that Beav used a leaking brown paper sack for his lunch were the worst for Mathers, but the production crew would laugh until they cried.

Poster from A Soviet Poster A Day
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