I'm kind of bummed out about this: Poe Toaster a No-Show. I bet next year the Baltimore Chamber of Commerce makes darn sure somebody shows up... or five or six toasters uncoordinatedly appear to fill the market need.
I added a bunch of Old Town Alexandria cell phone photos to my collection, but you have to look for the new ones. They're fit into where they make narrative sense, here and there. Start at the beginning, with the lions.
I got a couple of e-mails about yesterday's connections game. My friend Mike points out that his father and Billy Barty were friends - so there's another connection of me to Mickey Rooney. One fellow said that the whole thing is rather mind-boggling. It isn't, really. You just have to know a thing or two about celebrities.
For instance, can I connect myself with... say... Edmond O'Brien, you know, this week's DAME HUNGRY KILLER-COP who RUNS BERSERK? Sure!
1. Edmond O'Brien and torch singer Julie London made a film together, "The Girl Can't Help It" (1956).
2. Julie London was married to jazz musician Bobby Troup.
3. My parents and I once heard the Bobby Troup Quartet play at his nightclub on Riverside Drive in Burbank.
Or how about this:
1. Edmond O'Brien was in the famous film noir "the Killers" (1946).
2. Ronald Reagan was in the 1964 remake of "the Killers."
3. In 1964 my friend Bob met Ronald Reagan at a political meeting in their home.
1. Edmond O'Brien and Mickey Rooney were in a 1957 Playhouse 90 production.
2. Mickey Rooney worked with Billy Barty.
3. I once met Billy Barty.
Or the most terse:
1. Edmond O'Brien's wife Olga San Juan and my father (both born in Brooklyn) died in the same Burbank hospital.
...and so it goes. I can probably think of others. It's a sort of name-dropping game made possible by the fact that celebrities often know or work together, and that their lives are well-documented.
But this sort of thing works with non-celebrities, too, of course. For instance, one running gag played on me was by a friend I once did Civil War reenacting with, Harry. I knew Harry was also in a North-South Skirmish Association unit (they fire live muskets at ranges) calling itself the "Washington Blues." I knew a guy I worked with, Franklin, was also in the Blues. So every now and then, in conversations, I'd say to Harry, "You have to know Franklin!" or to Franklin, "You have to know Harry!" This went on for years. Finally I pried out of one of them that they knew one another very well - they just wouldn't admit it to me as a joke!
My favorite is with a guy at church, Bill. Connections with Bill or his family weirdly keep randomly coming up in my life to such an extent that I am now convinced that Bill is at the very Epicenter of Everything. I think this is hilarious; he doesn't see the humor in it at all - which I also find funny.
For instance, I was once talking to one fellow at church about this phenomena, and pointed out that my daughter realized that her school friend is the nephew of the husband of Bill's sister-in-law. As I said this a fellow chimed in, "Hey... that's ME." He's the husband of Bill's sister-in-law.
Or try this: my boss at work is Bill's father's former brother-in-law.
Is this what it's like to live in West Virginia?
I am now reading and enjoying 1940's-1970's movie reviews by legendary film critic Manny Farber - thanks for the book, Don! He wrote during the film noir classic period, but, oddly, didn't seem to appreciate the genre. (He dismissively calls them "bullet orgies.") But that's okay. Film noir seemed to become notable and laudatory later on. It took decades for the critics to fully appreciate how pervasive and uniquely American the noir style was, and this was only after the French had pointed it out to us.
He has a clever writing style; in one review, he describes a noir protagonist's face as "...having a set to it as if he were fed rivets as baby food." Ha! Farber was a great fan of b-movies, as am I. It is generally accepted that some of Hollywood's most adventurous and original film making took place with the creation of second features - which had less riding on them financially and could take risks.
We've been doing small, necessary bits of carpentry and drywall work on our hardwood flooring project right now... I hope to start laying down wood pieces this weekend. The hall is tricky as there are doors, the top of a staircase and a step down into the living room to contend with.
In the meantime I'm taking the time off to pull slivers out of my hand.
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