Monday, October 16, 2017

Getting cool

The biggest seasonal transition in the year is probably from summer to autumn. True autumn, that is, which can be delayed by any number of natural and man-made causes. But yes, whether or not you need to dress in layers in order to keep warm is more of a distinction than just how many layers you need, or how thick.

It feels like we're finally crossing that rubicon this year. Definitely you needed a substantial jacket today. That's sort of a homecoming. The heater didn't quite click on. That's not too far off, though.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Straight Man Problems

Above is a recreation of the first scene of the Marx Brothers' I'll Say She Is. This was their first Broadway hit, which was never adapted for the movies, although Monkey Business did reuse the dueling Chevalier imitations.

Notably, the first Marx Brother we hear speaking is Zeppo. He's confident, he's got good delivery. His only problem is the material. He gets all the generic lines. So even before Hollywood made him the not-funny one, he didn't have much opportunity to cut up. Groucho once reported telling a producer that they were twice as funny without Zeppo, thus ending his time with them on-screen. Maybe the act just worked better with three that with two. And maybe it was a bad time to be the baby of the family.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

See, observe

My own complete happiness, and the home-centred interests which rise up around the man who first finds himself master of his own establishment, were sufficient to absorb all my attention, while Holmes, who loathed every form of society with his whole Bohemian soul, remained in our lodgings in Baker Street, buried among his old books, and alternating from week to week between cocaine and ambition, the drowsiness of the drug, and the fierce energy of his own keen nature.
That is, of course, from The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, which I just started rereading this week. The ascription of "drowsiness" to cocaine jarred me. I've never touched the stuff but my understanding is that its effects are quite the opposite. Did Doyle not know what the drug did? He had medical training, I'm pretty sure, so that shouldn't be the case. According to possibly reliable sources a drowsy effect might result if the coke is cut with something. So it might have been with Holmes, although what I don't know. Anyway, Doyle would drop that aspect of the character soon enough, and maybe the sniggering of actual druggies was another reason.

The stories are highly enjoyable, of course. Holmes and Watson are a natural pair even though they're no longer roomies. These shorter cases have a low-key charm, an ambling quality, that doesn't generally make the jump to the Sherlock TV series. Oh well, you enjoy what you can, and Benedict Cumberbatch does have the ideal voice for the character.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Monk Diamond Anniversary

In honor of Thelonious Monk hitting his centennial.

Monk's music takes me to a serene place, and often a joyful one. I know some people are put off by it, find it discordant. Oh well. You get different responses to the call of an owl as well.

Sunday, October 8, 2017


For much of the day I had a headache I couldn't seem to shake. I'd take a couple of ibuprofen and it would fade, then come back. Most of the day, like I say.

A little after dinner it seemed to have faded. Just to kind of put a stake in its heart I went out for a breath of fresh air. It was well after dark, but a nice night. We'd had some rain earlier in the day.

I saw a couple of women outside of the library. The library is closed for the whole three day weekend we have for Columbus Day. They had their laptops open and were chatting with each other. One I know from seeing her around is a little touched, but they seemed to be having a nice talk.

Friday, October 6, 2017


So I'm trying to learn more about body language. I figure there must be a lot I miss, that I could pick up from other people but don't, and messages I don't know I'm sending out. Reading is a big part of my lesson plan, of course. The first book I read gave some tips had kind of a different focus from what I was looking for. Plus there was a lot of repetition about how women are just better at it. Not helpful. I'm not going to just suddenly become female. That's a whole job in itself.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Say what?

I don't know about this (non-embeddable) ad. The creators never seem to have met an actual dog. The dog won't go near the baby because the baby is crying? Huh? And needs a lion costume so (s)he can join in the family fun?

Dogs just dive in, man. They go where they want and aren't really hung up on accessories. This spontaneity is one of the reasons I'm more of a dog person. Not because I'm already like that, but because it's something I'd like to emulate.