(There is no chapter 9, technically. Chapter 8 is extra long, though.)
In Chapter 7, the villain goes on errands to further his villainy. This chapter could have been dispatched with a paragraph. (“Silvertop bought off what passed for the law in town and placed a call to an old friend.”) Oh, and the love interest is further intimidated.
If I were an editor I would have written PLOT? in large red letters at the end of Chapter 7.
At the end of chapter 7 I thought, ”I KNOW I must have met all the characters by now. I have met them, they have all met each other, and if there are any more I will need an insert like I had for War and Peace.”
In Chapter 8, there is a massive flashback to how the main characters met, and then there’s a flash-forward to present day. I would have spilt the chapter and put the present day narrative in Chapter 9. (I’ve found that it’s important to keep track of if they are in Arkansas or Oklahoma, that seems to mark the time period.)
Strangely, Jerry the journalist is best at writing descriptions of the technicalities of drilling for oil. There is also a page devoted to how to snort coke, clearly written in the eighties before the movies taught us all how to snort coke.
In the last two pages of Chapter 8, we meet ... a new character. A sympathetic plucky character. Thank God for her. I’m calling those two pages Chapter 9.5.
Well, it was creepy.
Not as creepy as the Shining, at all, even remotely.
I preferred the subtly creepy way that in The Shining they made the antagonist be the hotel, as opposed to the heavy-handed creepy way in Doctor Sleep that they made the antagonist be ... be ... be ... well, it’s revealed in the opening scene, so I don’t suppose it would count as a spoiler, but still I won’t share. It isn’t subtle.
Personally, I didn’t like it. There were some nice callbacks to the old movie, and while most were pleasant, some just took iconic images and cheapened them by overuse.
I rather enjoyed certain parts of this year’s mammogram experience. Not the squishing, of course. Per the squishing, this year the right breast registered no pain but the left breast was a big old baby.
What I like is the positioning. The technician moves and molds me as if I were posing for a graceful sculpture of Liberty Receiving a Mammogram. ”Dip your left shoulder ... move your right heel back ... lift your chin and turn to face me ... drape your right arm here over the machine.”
And then I hold my breath while they take a photo. If it weren’t for the squishing I could see paying for it.
I really enjoyed Goodfellas, Casino, The Wolf of Wall Street, and The Age of Innocence.
Some of Scorsese’s other movies I only enjoyed because I watched them on devices where there was a fast-forward button to use when the violence slowed down the plot. If you ask me, not much happened during the shootout in Taxi Driver, and that was a good chunk of that movie. When I watched Gangs of New York I was so impatient with the boring violence and — endless — pauses — that I fast forwarded through the entire last quarter of the movie.
The Irishman was the longest movie I have seen in my life, short of Gone With the Wind, and it was very interesting until I realized what it was about, and then it hit the wall. I wasn’t familiar with the real plots of Goodfellas and Casino, so those endings were interesting. An hour into this new movie they introduced a familiar name, and when I saw the sign, and then the house, even, from an article in People a decade ago, I was just waiting for a climax that was no longer a surprise.
When you know the ending, that’s not good, and then when you’ve waited three and a half hours for an ending you know, that’s not an improvement.
I think it will be a good movie for people in about fifty years, when everyone has forgotten about the sign and the house and the characters.
You know, if you just hang on, all the nagging questions (Deep Throat, Kenneth and his frequency) will be answered.
Well, thirteen years after 2006, an answer has arrived for the question posed in this post: why is there a reference to "Scary Ghost Stories" in The Christmas Song?
There'll be scary ghost stories
And tales of the glories of
Christmases long, long ago
I was so obsessed with finding the answer that I even contacted the composer's grandson via his blog, but he could only say that his grandfather was the composer, not the lyricist.
Facebook's algorithm must have looking in the blog archives, because FB posted Smithsonian Magazine's Plea to Resurrect the Christmas Tradition of Telling Ghost Stories, which led to Smithsonian’s Why Do People Tell Ghost Stories at Christmas (which even references the song) and evidently the real question is, "Why Don't Middle Class Americans (Like Ellen) Tell Ghost Stories at Christmas,” because evidently Christmas ghost stories are a real thing people do. Or did. Or at least they did it for "much of the 19th century."
Long, long ago indeed.
Gary complains sometimes that I don’t respond often enough when he’s speaking to me. There’s a certain amount of “oh” and “um-hmm” he requires. (No actual words, that’s interrupting, can’t have that.)
The last time he demanded to know that I was listening, I responded sarcastically with an overly loud and animated ”UM-HMM,” which prompted him to call me ...
An “insolent bitch.“
The “bitch” part rolled right off, because it’s true, particularly after that “UM-HMM,” buuuuut ... ”insolent?”
I thought about it a moment before I began laughing uncontrollably. Insolent? Insolent! Have I completely misread the household dynamic? Here I thought we were equals; evidently, I am an underling. An insolent underling.
We made up soon after, but you know next time he acts up I’m playing the insolence card. “Be quiet, you insolent puppy!” “Shut your insolent mouth.” “I shall not abide such insolence!”
Christmas decorations at my house take five minutes to put up. Outside: plug in the robot reindeer on the porch, put the wreath on the mailbox. Inside: put the non-robot reindeer by the window, hang the tree. Last year it looked like this. (For a moment, anyway.)
This year the inside is just too cluttered for me to pull off last year's deception, when I tidied things up for just for the photo. The clutter has won.
So, I got creative. The one non-robot reindeer is now perched over the stairwell, standing on the leaf of my dining table that just happens to fit the span of the basement steps.
He might not look as good with the tree hung in front of him, or perhaps he’ll look even more festive.
We didn’t expect to see this one — Dr. Sleep was on the docket, but it didn’t start until 9 at night.
If you haven’t seen any of the commercials for The Good Liar, you are better off, and if you intend to see it, avoid the commercials.
I feel I will appreciate Helen Mirren as an actress when she begins to show her age, but right now I find myself distracted by how gorgeous she is. Her jawline at 74 is tighter than mine was in junior high.
Ian McClellan looks his age, however. Both put in fine performances.
Generally, I think the word I would use to describe this movie is satisfying.
I know. Chapter 25. The first chapters are numbered 1, 2, 25, 7.
Chronologically, chapter 25 occurs before chapter 1. It’s out of place in the narrative.
Most of it is a lesson on how an oil rig works. Five solid pages are devoted to a description of a 90-second oil strike.
The main character doesn’t appear at all. Two new characters appear, one is an ass and the other ... is an ass, but he contributes to the only pleasant scene in the chapter.
Problematic. It needs some dreamy harp music, or narration. “Y’all remember when we struck oil?”
In the past three years I have knocked off forty pounds (vegetables/low fat protein, one starch a day), gained back twenty (I added back one additional starch), then lost thirty (eat anything I want except starch) for a total of fifty pounds. I saw 189.3 the last time I weighed myself: it was a happy day. As a result, my rings are rattling and spinning around my fingers.
I weighed 122 when I got my engagement/wedding band set, which has since been resized twice, broken, and fused together again. I weighed 135 when I got my anniversary ring, which has been resized once. So now I weigh 190 189.3, walking around with rings sized for a 240 pound woman.
I’ve spent a few years wearing very thin gold wire rings that fit on top of my big floppy rings so that I can draw my hands out of my pockets without leaving a ring behind. And now, yes, even those are getting too big.
Yesterday I remembered that I have Mom’s wedding band. Mom was half a foot shorter than I and she never topped fifty pounds less than my goal weight. Somehow, Mom’s wedding band fits me perfectly now.
I used that to lock my wedding set down. Then I used it to lock my anniversary ring down. Then I got on-line to look at ring guards. Then I looked at cubic zirconian ring enhancers. Then I looked at silicon ring resizers and How to Resize a Ring with a Hot Glue gun.
And then this morning — and I know it took me way way too long to figure this out, and I don’t know why I didn’t figure it out three years ago — I discovered that I! Have! Other! Fingers! And they are all fatter than my ring finger! I stuck my wedding set on my index finger, my anniversary ring on my middle finger of my right hand, and Mom’s wedding band on my Official Ring Finger.
I’ve had it that way for three hours now. Mom hasn’t risen from the grave to claim her bride. (Yet.) I feel a little like a gypsy with rings on unofficial fingers, but Mom’s ring is substantial, and my wedding set looks relieved that it doesn’t have to “represent” in this world of cubic zirconia engagement rings the size of sunflowers.
I haven’t run this configuration past Gary yet, but unless he feels that I’m defrauding the public with this setup I’m sticking with it. In fact, I might just get my great grandmother’s wee engagement ring out and put it on my pinky. Dad’s high school ring would fit my thumb. Everything's wide open now!
I spoke this morning with a young woman who got her college degree in Korea, then decided she wanted to get her Masters in the US, then she got two Masters degrees and a job here.
I can’t even begin to imagine doing the reverse: starting a life in Korea. I only have enough heart to fly to Korea and stay there in a hotel for two weeks. I cannot imagine having enough heart to fly to a foreign country, find housing, take classes.
That conversation today struck me because lately I find I am greatly lacking in heart.
I’m not considering living in Korea, but I am considering selling Mom’s house. I’ve never sold a house before. I don’t like it. I’d say it’s scary, but that’s not the word. It’s not fear of the unknown; I have a general idea of the house-selling process. I’m not afraid, I’m not worried, I just don’t have the heart for it.
Here I have friends who hustle up grant money to direct plays in Germany, and friends who carve out a new careers in their forties, but I don’t even have the heart to do something as pedestrian as sell a house. If my brother wasn’t counting on half the money, I wouldn’t do it at all.
It’s not even a house I live in, for Pete’s sake. What is wrong with me? is it age? Anxiety? Complacency? I need a pep talk.
Every Christmas we both buy an ornament to memorialize the past year. Toilets and raccoons, alpacas and armadillos, tornadoes, cheetahs, Eiffel towers and poodles for the year we went to Paris, a guitar for the year I took up the guitar, wine bottles for the year we took up wine.
This year's only memorable activity? We replaced our driveway. I considered just drilling a hole in a chunk of concrete and slinging it up the tree, but it turns out there's a person in England who makes personalized Christmas ornaments out of cement.
Gary's going to be hard pressed to find an ornament more perfect than that.
This week the dog and Pitcher went from this:
It only has brown, white and black in it (even the 'pink' pitcher is brown and white). I was pleased with the dog, so I stopped. I need to stop looking at the real-life pitcher and tyring to interpret it. Instead I need to just paint the simple sphere I know it should be.