On Friday night Cari and I had a sidewalk dinner at a place called the Bistro Bistro in the "Shirlington Village" in Arlington where I will be working next month. I had a big plate of fettuccine alfredo - a heart attack on a plate. Mmmmm... cheese. The Village is a chic shopping area dominated by city life liberals. (WETA, the local PBS station, has its headquarters there, and there's a socialist restaurant called "Bus Boys and Poets" nearby.) It's like Old Town Alexandria. Consequently there are lots of dogs. At one point it sounded like we were at a kennel.
On Friday I watched a curious film noir, The Scarf (1951) starring Mercedes McCambridge (shown above), a skilled character actress from the 1950's who, it appears, has developed a cult following. No surprise - in all of film there is nobody quite like her. She is singular in that somehow she seems to have managed to almost entirely avoid the studio glamorization process - she seems real. She won an Academy Award as a supporting actress and was nominated for another; this was back in the day when the award was given for acting and not political reasons.
In the Scarf she played that recurring figure of interest from old crime films, a B-Girl. What's a "B-Girl?" As I understand it, a B-Girl might have been slang for a prostitute, but more commonly this would have been a gal who was easier to bed than a dame, who was higher class. Back in my father's lamentably unenlightened pre-feminist day, there were dames and broads. Frank Sinatra said to always treat a dame like a broad and a broad like a dame. (I throw that out for no reason at all.)
Let's see... from the wiktionary, a B-Girl is "a woman employed to talk to customers in a bar and encourage them to buy drinks." The "b" comes from "bar," in this explanation. Thefreedictionary.com has this same definition. Apparently, however, these days a bgirl is a female break dancer - so there's an example of how a word has changed over the course of a few generations. And I'm not certain all the B-Girls I have seen in films noir worked in bars, so I think there's some looseness with the term. (Just as there is a certain looseness with the B-Girl.)
Getting back to the Scarf, this film had compelling dialogue and an odd relationship between a young man on the run and the much older man who shelters him. Seemed a bit gay. Whether or not that was the intent of the filmmaker, it's hard to say. There is much sexual subtlety in those old films. You have to be able to read the codes in the context of their times. Anyway, good film.
Saturday yard sales were disappointing. All I got was a 1988 Heart rock video VHS, purchased from a pair of lesbians for fifty cents. "What About Love?" "There's the Girl." "Alone." "These Dreams..." The arena rock! The hair! The padded shoulders! The explosions! The sultry looks into the camera! Wow. How dated... this will be fun to watch again ten years from now. I am convinced that during the span of their popularity, no band - none! - have spent as much money on professional hair services as Heart. And I can explain the lesbians... Heart has an enormous L-Girl following. We went to one of their concerts at Wolf Trap, once - we were surrounded. More ugly cropped hairstyles than you could shake the differential of a Ford truck at.
Saturday night we went to the pool with my Civil War pard Chris and family and grilled ribs. The water was pretty cold... it's clear summer is nearly over.
On Sunday my friend Doug and I went to the Manassas Bug Out, the big VW show. Parking was dreadful, and when we got there all we could see and hear were Hispanics. What's going on? Are we in the right place? Was there some massive Hispanic VW cultural following I was unaware of? No... there was a Bolivian Festival going on at the fairgrounds across the street from the Old Dominion Motor Speedway - that's what caused all the crowds. Admission to the event was $15 per person, but as I found two twenty dollar bills on the ground, Doug and I got in for free - and had some much-needed Cokes, too. (It was hot and muggy.) Thank you, Bolivia. So, last week was $200 in free Redskins tickets, this week was free admission to the Bug-Out.
The show was a lot of fun... I like looking at those olde-tyme air cooled cars, and watching them drag race was fun, too. The hopped up and very noisy Bugs have these stability bars behind them that keep the car from getting flung over by the torque; when the driver stomps the pedal these cars raise up on the front end. It's cool to watch. I may be back next year.
I bought a metal Type 1 Service sign for the VW wall in my garage.
As my cell phone (an LG Xenon) died over the weekend my wife and I drove to Rockville to visit my Civil War pal Don, who had a bare bones little flip phone I could borrow until next month, when the new Apple iPhone Gen 5 comes out (at which time I get a discounted 3rd Gen phone). We had lunch at the La Madeleine on the Rockville Pike.
The wives chatted, and afterwards I took Cari to the G Street Fabrics to look for some material she needs in conjunction with my daughter's marriage next month. Cari reports that the once grand and complete Rockville G Street Fabrics store is but a shadow of what it used to be; fewer people are sewing, I guess. I can see why. She made a retro apron from a pattern for my daughter - about $35. You can buy one made by our future Red Chinese Overlords for far less. There is no longer a cost/price advantage in sewing, I guess.
We were supposed to go to the pool to grill, but it rained. So Cari and I stayed home and played card and board games instead. We played a complicated board game about Shakespeare's plays, "The Play's the Thing," that we've had for more than a decade and, to my knowledge, have never played.
As today marks the sixth week since I got my shoulder surgery, I can now discontinue wearing the shoulder sling - hooray! Today in physical therapy my drill thrall gives me another set of exercises to work on while there and at home. I am happy to report that I can lift my arm under its own power with no pain, so I believe I'm doing very well, indeed. I see the surgeon later on this week.
Tonight I have Webelos Den again (we didn't have any meetings in August - too many families are away on vacations). So I'm once again doing the uniformed day care called Scouting. Tonight I show them a Powerpoint slide show I did about the American flag, and we discuss how fog is created. It'll be interesting to see their reactions... today is the first day back to school for them in Fairfax Country, VA, a day I recall thinking of as a child as being The End of Fun.
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