Tuesday, March 19, 2019

In case you need a smile

I like watching some unusual videos. Among them are old training films as I have written about in the past. Sometimes I find them on YouTube. Another thing I do is look ahead at the schedule for TCM. Of course TCM shows many feature films. They also fill out their schedule with interesting shorts.

Recently I saw a film called School for Postmen on their schedule. It was a short film but there was no description nor was there an indication of when it was made. Often with shorts, TCM will show the year they first showed it as the year the movie was made. Thinking it might be a film for the US Postal Office I set it up to record. When I watched it I found that it was actually a French comedy short from 1947 with Jacques Tati.

Jacques Tati was a famous French comedian/film maker known for his character Monsieur Hulot. In the mid 1980's I had a friend who showed me one of the films with Hulot. I don't recall being terribly impressed, but it has been a long time. Later I knew someone who said he was a great fan of Tati. When he told me that my thoughts were along the lines of, "Whatever floats your boat."

But I had this film, known in French as L’Ecole des Factuers, on my PVR and, since it was a short, I decided to give it a try. At first I was put off by the nasally voice of the chief postman. However, I stayed with it. I found it to be a joyful film. It is full of physical humor, but much of it is subtle. In fact it may take a few viewings to catch all of it.

As such, I am not a big fan of physical humor. I have never understood the humor of Moe poking Larry and Curly in the eyes. Pie fights leave me cold. But there is none of that in Postmen There are two scenes where people are hit in the head but they are completely accidental. The first time introduces you to one of the mannerisms of the Tati character. The second time, that character is himself the victim. Except for the opening scene, this film may as well be a silent film as there is little dialog. You are not overloaded with over-the-top humor, it is just given to you in a way that you cannot help but enjoy it. The dance scene just makes me happy.

Oh, and the music is an ear-worm.

Tati won an Oscar in 1955 for best foreign film. Because he won, the Academy told him he could have whatever he wanted. He wanted to meet Stan Laurel, Mac Sennett, and Buster Keaton. Tati was considered a master of his craft and he appreciated the masters who came before him.

I don't know how long it will be available, but for now you can find the film here. The version here uses the word "mailmen" instead of "postmen." It also has different subtitles than what they showed on TCM (which showed the release from the Criterion Collection). The subtitles here make more sense than they do in the Criterion release.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Gee, why doesn't that surprise me?

I discovered an interesting web site called History vs. Hollywood. This site looks at recent Hollywood movies and compares them with actual events.

Their research is educational. Sometimes for the sake of a movie producers will stray from the facts in order to make a concise film, such as including an event that took place a year after the trip portrayed in The Green Book, or concocting a fictional event such as the infamous underground (subway) scene in Darkest Hour (which did not really happen, but Churchill was known to "disappear" from time to time as he went out to get the common person's take on events). Generally, people have no real problem with that.

One film, which I have absolutely no interest in seeing, is Vice, the biopic about former Vice President in Dick Cheney. Part of the format of History vs. Hollywood is to ask the question, "Did (this) really happen?" With The Green Book, Darkest Hour, and 15:17 to Paris. the answer is mostly "Yes," with an explanation of whatever difference there may be. With Vice the answer is mostly "No."

The last paragraph of that post says it all:

So why rewrite history? Is (director/writer Adam)McKay hoping that people simply believe his film instead of the truth? It's hard to say, but it's likely that many on the left will embrace it, while most on the right will dismiss it. Fiction is much easier to believe when it fits your own narrative. This is certainly true of Hollywood, who nominated Vice for nine Critics' Choice Awards, six Golden Globes (Bale won for Best Actor) and eight Oscars (including Best Picture, Best Actor - Christian Bale, Best Supporting Actor - Sam Rockwell, Best Supporting Actress - Amy Adams, Best Director - Adam McKay, Best Original Screenplay - Adam McKay, etc.). This is the very same Hollywood that has refused to nominate a number of biopics in recent years over far less fiction than is found in Vice.

Another political hit piece, and Hollywood wonders why movie attendance continues to go down.

Monday, February 18, 2019

This sums it up rather well.

Victor Davis Hanson has a piece in American Greatness regarding the soft coup against President Trump. It is well worth a read.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Does The Name "Syncopy" Ring A Bell?

Well, the latest interesting thing in my life is something called 'Syncopy' - most likely familiar to Lady Red, but less likely to others.

Monday evening, being bored, I decided to indulge my secret vice and watch 'Britain's Got Talent' videos on Youtube. Generally a harmless pastime.

As I watched someone's dog pee into David's shoes, I suddenly woke on the floor of my bedroom, with a feeling of fuzziness in my head.

Seems I had passed out, without warning, and fell over hard enough to break off the left arm of my computer chair. At the same time I apparently hit my head on the granite counter-top sample I use as a coaster on my desk.

Wound up with a deep and ugly abrasion about the size of my right eyebrow, looking like someone had tried to make me a new eyebrow, about one inch above my original, and painted bright red.

I also had (and have still) road rash on my right cheek, and extremely sore right upper arm, where I apparently landed, hard, and lesser soreness in my right hip and knee.

I woke my son, who took me to the local ER where they did the usual, chest X-ray, MRI, EKG and blood work.

It was a good enough workup that they informed me of the arthritis and stenosis in my lower spine, but not good enough, it seems, to determine the cause of this problem.

As they were getting ready to admit me, I asked if they were going to do more tests, and they said no, so I rebelled, and told them I was going home, which they ignored until I added the words AMA (Against Medical Advice)  - at which point things became far more gruff and less solicitous.

So I went home. Contacted my PC Physician and saw him yesterday. He referred to a cardiologist and I am waiting for a call back from that office.

I finally taped a sandwich bag over the abrasion this afternoon so I could shower without soaking the scab off. Thank God for that, because I was becoming rather ripe.

Noticed as I looked closely enough in the mirror that I also have a largish swelling over my right eye I had not seen before. So my left forehead is Cro-Magnon while the right is definitely Neanderthal in shape.

Sigh, the hits just keep on coming

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

What do we want? We don't know! When do we want it? Now!

One of the rock and roll classics from the early 1960's is He's a Rebel by the Crystals. You know the song. The girl singing it loves her boyfriend. The big thing she loves about her boyfriend is that "he never ever does what he should." He doesn't take guff from anybody. Society does not like him, and the singer is not going to listen to a society that says her boyfriend will "never ever be any good."

Let's fast forward a few years. She gets the rebel to marry her. Then she finds out that when he says he does not take guff from anybody, that includes her. He starts knocking her around a bit. She becomes a feminist and blames his actions on his "toxic masculinity." She blames society for encouraging that toxic masculinity. Society -- that society she ignored when it told her he was bad news -- is now responsible for his behavior.

Tim Newman has a post today about a woman who applied for a job at the kind of company she always wanted to work at. It turns out that one of the people in the HR department of that company is a guy she had met through an online dating service. Besides the fact that Fate used its incisors in the woman's gluteus maximus, the interesting thing is where she said why she "unmatched" with him:

But as we chatted back and forth over the weeks, I realised he’d never really done anything off the expected life plan. He’d never messed up. He’d never travelled or been arrested or even bared his bum in public.

In short, he was too straighty-one-eighty for me.

I like my guys to have a past. Some perspective on life so they know what they’re doing is the right thing for them. I want them to have stories about being arrested in Amsterdam or streaking at the soccer in Rio.

She called the guy a "snoozefest."

I knew a young woman in the '70's who talked about how her boyfriend would hit her. She was not complaining. In fact, she said she could not have any respect for a guy who would not hit her.

Meanwhile I was raised to never hit a woman. But now I have none other than Gillette telling me I need to change my sexist ways. A marketing department run by a feminist had a guy from India telling American men that they should be better. Fortunately for the women in the video they have black men -- like those rappers who sing about bitches and ho's and the NFL players who knock their girlfriends unconscious in elevators -- to protect them.

So women tell us they like "bad boys," but they decry "toxic masculinity." And they celebrate women who act they way they say they hate men to act.

Hopefully their inanity will speak louder than their words.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

More fancy picking

Lady Red's post of Douglas Dillard made me think of this tune by the David Grisman Quintet.

This album was recorded in Berkeley 1976 and got heavy airplay on a non-traditional country station in Santa Rosa the following spring. I saw the quintet play at the 1977 Sonoma-Marin Fair.

The rest of the album, primarily written by Grisman, strikes me as more traditional mandolin style music, although aficionados of the genre say it was revolutionary. This track was written by the guitar player, Tony Rice.

I can't imagine how anybody would not get into the grove of this track. My favorite part of it is Rice's guitar playing. Not only is is the rhythm fantastic, his solo is just so smooth it puts silk to shame.

I don't know where the 51 comes from, but oh does it swing.

Monday, January 7, 2019

The Clash of Culture and Genetics

DNA research, and the inexpensive access to DNA tests, can be a sobering discovery to many. When everything you thought about yourself, your family, and your culture is appropriated and not factual, people can react with denial or with a new sense of discovery.

When I had my own DNA tested, and then my mother's, I was shocked to find that we are of 100% Northern European descent, with a very rare mitochondrial haplogroup. My mother told me we are Jewish on the maternal side; we are not, although she still stands by that. My maternal grandmother told me that we have Native American on the fairly recent maternal side, but as a genealogist I've been unable to find it (admixtures in the past few hundred years won't show up on the deep DNA tests, I'm told). So, what is TRUE when  DNA, familial stories passed down through the generations, intermarriage between different groups, and the culture we practice and pass down to our kids is thrown in the same pot and stirred?

A mystery! That's what!

Razib discusses this on his blog Gene Expression.

"There is also a general insight. How can a people “forget” their past origins? How can they create entirely fictive genealogies? As economists would say: incentives matter. Many human populations emerge through a process of genetic amalgamation, but cultural identity is not governed by the laws of segregation. Cultural identity and memory can rupture and shift far more rapidly because the laws of cultural inheritance are more plastic and protean. There was a clear folk migration of massive numbers of Germans into what became England, but their history and folkways were adopted wholesale by the native peoples whom they conquered. This sort of process likely has occurred many times across human history."

And from the comments, poster AG adds:

"I was indoctrinated by my family as pure blood Northern Han who are proud of people as origin of Han culture. I believe the family tale without any doubt until modern ancestry genetic analysis comes. DNA analysis indicates my 90% mongol ancestry.
When I studied the hometown village history, it all made sense now. The very village was established right after fall of Mongol Yuan dynasty. Many Mongol soldiers served under Ming (Han) emperor were settled in the region and converted into farmers as Han people. Mongol names and intermarriage were forbidden under Ming laws.
Mongols are not very ethnic centritric in the first place. We are happily embracing inter-ethnic marriage and new ethnic identity."

Sunday, January 6, 2019

An American Treasure: Douglas Dillard

Douglas Dillard's style of banjo picking is unique. He was born in Missouri, not too far from where I live, was a founding member of the Ozark Mountain Boys, and also played for the Dixie Ramblers. You've probably heard Doug and his band play on the Andy Griffith Show; the jam sessions were a huge hit with fans. Doug died in Nashville in 2012, but will long be remembered for his music.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Book Thread

What are you reading?

My current read: I'm only a third of the way through and I am so appalled that I'm speechless. It's very well researched and I highly recommend it; if you have Prime, you can read the kindle version for free right now.

Next up is this one, also free on Prime:

Well written fiction has been hard to find. Most, if not all, Amazon "picks" are by women of little talent. Most of them would have flunked out of my 7th grade writing class. Some are not bad, but then they HAVE to interject some social justice BS (I suspect at the demand of their publisher) but it ruins the story.

Any recommendations that don't cost double-digits for a kindle book that I won't officially own? Or, if it's a GREAT book, I don't mind paying for the dead tree version!

Tucker Said It

I know I said I was going to shy away from macro politics for awhile, but THIS.

I've been saying this for decades. The democrats smashed the black family many years ago, and now they're smashing the white family. The repubs responded by filing their claws and raking in cash for their own personal enrichment. Tucker thinks the pubs COULD step up if they wanted to. I have zero faith that they will do so.

We'll never see term limits or fair taxation. Feminism and social programs have destroyed the family. Church pews are empty because there is no Message, no teaching the word of God, only social justice foot-stomping and posturing.

Invest in rope and lampposts, comrades!