My Granddaughter: Infatuated

At this moment she is infatuated with Ajji and Abba (grandparents) She says Abba, Abba, Abba, or Ay-ah, Ay-ah, Ay-ah (her best effort at Ajji ) even though her mom shows her pictures of us. She insists she will either not eat breakfast or not get dressed until she sees us in a video call. It is fun and funny, for us anyway. We appreciate the obsession, since we know you’ll outgrow it.

She also just learned to say poop, because she was being asked about her diarrhea.


This and That

Are You Smarter Than The Internet?
A song I kind of know: “Hey, ho, we gotta go.” Google turns up the Seven Dwarfs. Shazam did not recognize my rendition. Can anyone lead me to the lyrics? What I sang to my grandson as we prepared to leave this morning was, “Hey, Ho, We gotta go. That’s all the lyrics that I know.”
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Who Knew You Could Stretch Your Brain?
Brain Stretching Exercise From Linked In
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Good Semi-Rad Links

Two from Semi-Rad, one a double-hop

From my friend Ed Roberson’s Good News From The American West newsletter: Humans taking inspiration (ok and also actual tactics) from beavers, in order to fight wildfires and restore wetlands.

" Books have nuance... Social media offers shouting and the flattening of complex issues in patronizing and filthy ways." Emily F. Gorcenski, How I Read 40 Books and Extinguished the World on Fire (via Kottke.org)
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Words of the Prophet
From the usually serious LinkedIn: Not what Paul Simon had in mind.
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Poor Things***
This film was recommended to me, but not by me. An interesting idea, not boring. Eleven Oscar nominations, including best picture? Please. Willem Dafoe was his most Willem Dafoeist, and Emma Stone was amazing violating the "don't let them see you sweat" rule. But 2 1/2 hours is too long. Acting nominations (and maybe cinematography) yes. But 11 seems like overkill. If you're a completist (must see every best picture nominee) go. If not, don't.
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Really? A Vile of Gold?
Apparently the SF Chronicle doesn't proofread letters to the editor.

Vile

 

 


SF vs. LA

San Francisco was a thriving and important city in the 1850s, while Los Angeles was a sleepy, insignificant Hispanic village.

San Francisco was the terminus of the transcontinental railroad (OK, technically Oakland, but same difference) in 1869. The Southern route arrived in LA seven years later. It cost LA $610,000―$4.5 million in 2023) to keep it from terminating in San Diego.

It’s a little easier to figure out why LA beat SF despite the northern city’s head start. SF was on a peninsula and the area that surrounded it was hilly land, difficult to access and hard to build on. So, it was hard to squeeze more people in.

LA, on the other hand, had land spreading out so far and wide, mostly flat as a pancake. So it was filled with inexpensive houses. My father-in-law was selling 3/2 homes for $500 in the 1930s ($10,000 today―still pretty cheap). More people, more money, more political influence. Alas, Nixon and Reagan.

Plus, LA was helped by its climate. Sunny skies brought the movie industry to Hollywood (the motion picture capital started out in Fremont, which would have helped SF, if not for the fog) as well as the defense industry (easier to do test flights in the sun than in the rain).

Today, LA rules while SF drools (and I don’t know what San Diego does―perhaps kick itself for not coughing up $5 million back in the day). SF is quaint while LA is powerful. Except for the inexplicable fact that holders of statewide office are disproportionately from NorCal.


Written vs. Spoken Vocabulary

I think almost all of us have a larger written vocabulary than spoken vocabulary. I was put in mind of this by the Elevate Ap ($5/month of $50 a year) on my iPhone. Elevate has a pronunciation game. Usually I ace it.

This wouldn’t always have been so. When I was 10 years old, the Columbus Day Storm devastated Oregon with mass destruction. The newspapers that somehow made it to our porch constantly described debris everywhere.

When it was safe, my family drove around to look at the devastation, I said, “look at the debb-riss.” My mother gently corrected me (look it up).

I know “soak-rats” for Socrates is a joke, but I did hear it once and I don’t think the person who said it was kidding.

Of course now that reading is a gendered activity, most boys won’t have a spoken OR written vocabulary. I’m not looking forward to the first novel written in emojis, or the Pulitzer Prize for best first-person shooter game.


More Hardboiled Dialog

I find I can’t help myself. The dialog in Monsieur Spade is so good this may become a regular feature. Sam is in italics. Regular type for other characters.

I don’t think we’re having the same conversation.

As a private detective you have the same legal authority in France as a rat catcher. In my case they’re one and the same.

(To an awful human being who says he may move to Norway) I hear Norway needs more assholes.

(Is that a threat?) Whoever taught you English didn’t teach you the difference between a threat and a promise.

Listen with your ears and not your mouth.

For some the truth is an insult.

Like searching for a needle in a needle stack.


Great Hardboiled Dialog

Monsieur Spade, available on Acorn and AMC+ (which you can subscribe to through Amazon) imagines Dashell Hammit’s detective retired in France years after his last adventure in San Francisco (which is why he never met Phillip Marlowe). A tip o’ the PSACOT Hat to the creators/writers, Scott Frank and Tom Fontana, who have managed to perfectly capture genre dialog, so much so that I have been compulsively writing down quotes. From the early episodes (Spade’s responses are in Italics)

Drop dead. I’m working on it.

There you go, impugning my war record. To have a war record, you must first have gone to war.

(To Spade after he wakes someone in the early morning hours) “Is your clock broken? Why wake me up?”

I don’t care. Not caring doesn’t make you bulletproof.

(another character) I treat her like any woman I despise. I respect her when she’s here, and lust for her when she’s not.


What’s with the rain. Directors love it. Me? Not So Much

Someday, I’m going to give a movie five stars just because the director declined to use rain as a metaphor for dark feelings.

What is it with all the rain? The trope has been worn out for years; even Woody Allen has made fun of it. Hardly a week goes by without me seeing rain in a movie. I suppose we probably owe it to the Swedes , or maybe people who grew up in Oregon. Vicki no longer finds it amusing when I say, “What a surprise. Rain.”

 I assume by this point the effect is cheap, probably even CGI in some cases. Let’s see some creative alternatives; not every serious film needs to look like Gotham city.

Find some other way to express a dark mood. No one pays me enough to figure out what that other method would be. Let’s have a hard-working Writer’s Guild member make the effort.


Why Does One City Win? Portland Vs. Seattle

What is it that make city pairs flip in importance and influence? If you know of another pair (I know little about the economic history of any states except Oregon/Washington and California), please let me know what happened.

I suspect flips vary from pairing to pairing, but certainly one significant factor is the presence of the aviation industry.

For decades, Portland, Ore. (the largest Portland in the world, meaning it is the largest of the 31 in the U.S.) was the dominant city in the Pacific Northwest. For much of the 19th and early 20th century, it had the largest number of millionaires per capita of any U.S. city. Most of that money came from timber and beaver pelts. (Funny: I grew up in the Beaver State and ended up at a university with a beaver mascot, and I wear a beaver ring)

Seattle was a secondary city. It must be more than population. Portland had 821 people in 1850; Seattle wasn’t even included in the Census until 1890. It’s been bigger than Portland since 1910.

Portland was joined to the national railroad system in 1887, six years earlier than Seattle.

Portland is considered an ocean port since the mighty Columbia River is dredged deeply enough to carry ocean-going vessels 50 miles inland. Score one for Seattle; it is much closer to the ocean. Which has nothing to do with the federal decision to base nearly all Pacific Northwest offices in Seattle (they always choose the most important city in a region).

For whatever reason, Seattle won the race to be  “King City of the Pacific Northwest” decades ago, certainly by my birth in 1952.

(continued―next week LA versus SF)


Right Column Redux: Audio Editing Hacks

The column to the right on this blog contains permanent content, most of which has appeared at one time or another in the main body. I’ve decided to include a reminder.

Fun with electronic editing. At WTBS, these were called hacks. Back in the 70s they were done with spliced magnetic tape. Now they can be done with electrons.

Alphabet Medley

Frank Sinatra/Ella Fitzgerald Duet: I've Got A Crush on You

Alphabet Song from single sung syllables


This and That

A Few of  my Favorite Things
Regular readers, as well as long-time acquaintances, will know that two of my favorite things are talking about myself and talking about my game show appearances. So it will come as no surprise that I enjoyed an hour of doing both: Tell Us About Yourself, Paul Schindler.

Chuckbux
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Dickens Wisdom
”A loving heart is the truest wisdom.”
-Charles Dickens

Groundhog Day: New Links
Thank you Daniel Dern for two new GHD links:
Groundhog Day Cast Will Officially Reunite for the First Time in Chicago (except Phil and Rita. Boy, I wish I could have gone to Chicago on Groundhog Day)

Did Phil Connors Just Dream Groundhog Day?
Grim Fan Theory about GHD. Frankly, it reminds me of “Paul is Dead,” and “You hear satanic messages if you play the song backwards.” Innocent moments over-interpreted.

Making The Top 5
I made no. 2 on the list Working From Home Was A Bad Idea. I submitted “Napping at home wasn't as refreshing as napping at the office.” After editing, it became “Napping at home just doesn’t have the same getting-away-with-it feel.” This is why God created editors.


Meet Cute: Groundhog Day In Drag***

To borrow a bon mot from a recent reader comment, I liked this film better the first time it came out, when it was called Groundhog Day. As it has since its very beginning, Hollywood continues to turn out remakes. But now, instead of honestly giving them the same  name, they remake the film with some minor tweaks.

Meet Cute is not awful; that’s why I gave it three stars. The plot is a time loop; the girl keeps going on the same date in hopes of changing the results. Kind of like the scientific definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Although Groundhog Day wisely failed to show the loop mechanism, this film basks in it. And, while we never learn how many times Phil repeats (Director Harold Ramis once suggested 10,000 years), these characters discuss the number of loops they've done. And, well, OK, their loops are deliberate. Let's hear it for creativity.

This film does stand a time-travel trope on its head. Most travelers attempt to avoid messing up their own timeline. In this film, the timeline is scrambled with glee.

One of the reasons for three stars is the film’s failure to honor a mandatory modern time-travel trope; at no time does any character say, “This is just like Groundhog Day.”