Yes, I watched this big pop-up book of a movie again this year, and allowed my eyes to mist-up (it’s a tradition) during what is surely one of the — if not ‘the’— gooiest tunes/performances ever committed to film, the Tiny Tim solo.

Stephen loves to watch the sequences early in the picture, the ones establishing Ebenezer Scrooge as a carping old misanthrope, while casting those ‘who does this remind us of’ looks at me.

Each and every year I remind him that the redemption Scrooge undergoes is just around the corner for me.

Happy Christmas Day to you!

So… (as everyone begins a statement these days) here at the Holiday Season, and on the Winter Solstice, I offer a short related-to-neither post.

Over the past while, I have been canvassing the odd friend or acquaintance as to his or her awareness, or lack thereof, of the use of the word ‘truck’ other than with reference to a motor vehicle.

In my lifetime here in Georgia (sustained for all but 73 years), I will have heard from gentlemen of a certain disposition: ‘I don’t have no truck with it’, meaning essentially, ‘I do not abide such’.

Surprisingly, no one yet canvassed has experienced this usage.  Where have they been?  Or, more to the point, I suppose, where have I been?

ANYway, along comes a gift (Gotta Love Stephen Fry) from Mark Alexander.

I have always (obviously) been fascinated with ‘the journey of a word’.  This ‘truck’ is another ‘tote’.  (‘Tote’: as a verb, used only in scripts for ‘The Beverly Hillbillies’, as a noun, a couple of thousand dollars at Louis Vuitton.)

Stephen’s (my Stephen…) and my exchanges are burlesque-heavy.  If he asks my opinion, as often as not, I respond, ‘I don’t have no truck with it’.

I do a mean redneck…

It occurred to me — I implore you to not imagine otherwise — that the previous post needed all the help it could get, title-wise, scintillating first subject being heating and air-conditioning.

Since later in the post I included the words ‘polyamorous’ and ‘naturists’, I did consider titling the post ‘Swingers and Nudists’.  Not that I haven’t willfully ‘misled’ before, but that level of failure to deliver?  Bad form.

Now, emoji.  Thank goodness for them, but am I right that they make us lazy?  Surely I should be able to signal that I’m kidding without a semi-colon, a hyphen, and an end-parenthesis.  I do resist them, likely to my disadvantage.

Example, the other month I wrote that I was contemplating reverting to calling my husband my ‘roommate’.  I believe my lack of seriousness was unclear.  He, by the way, prefers ‘bunk buddy’;-)

Since I didn’t use ‘Swingers and Nudists’ last post, I thought about using it here.

Probably should have…

This week, we had to endure the installation of a new heating and air-conditioning system.  The system being jettisoned was thirty years-old, which we understand is about twice as long as current HVAC systems are projected to last.

The ‘endure’ part was many-fronted, or at least ‘several-fronted’.  Aside from having to part with ten thousand dollars, it was my turn to be the ‘man’, which is to say, communicate and generally interact with the installation ‘team’.

Whereas I have never been characterized as a complete sissy, at least to my face, taking on the ‘man’ role is always — how to say — taxing.  To be absolutely fair to myself, just ‘taxing-ish’, okay?

A couple of weeks ago, Stephen and I traveled to the mountains of far north Georgia, to spend a couple of days with an old friend who, with his late husband had escaped there from Atlanta.  When I grew up forty miles from Atlanta in the Fifties and into the Sixties, the city was still quaint by today’s standards and ‘conceivable’.  Now it’s a mess.

Quizzing our friend round and about concerning his wellbeing this past year in widowhood, we were reassured.  Interestingly, while we had already been educated to the fact that there is an extensive gay presence in the region, he told us that his social scene is relatively heterosexual.

While his consorting with ‘those people’ was initially shocking to me, he pointed out that within the fabric of this set were the polyamorous and the naturist.  I can say no more…

The days while we were visiting had been projected to be the ‘peak’ leaf-wise of Autumn glory.  Nope.  While there were gorgeous vistas aplenty, and crisp, chilly weather, no riot-of-color.

Though compensations for no Vermont-postcard leafage were not required, we did meet a very attractive and very courtly blacksmith while visiting a craft school in the region.

Wouldn’t you agree that ‘courtly’ always takes ‘attractive’ to a different level?

Having sworn a handful of times never to publish my ‘famous’ Jack-o’-lantern photograph even one more time, I offer the [clickable] photo below, stolen from the New Yorker magazine online.  Herewith, a link to my photo, but no one says you have to use it…

I won’t distress you with a guess of how – not even a ‘circa’ – late in life I confronted the fact that not everyone thinks like me.  If on occasion I sensed otherwise, I must have been sure they were just being willful and contrary for the sake of it.

Now, from the standpoint of any number of statements made in posts over the years, if I need to say that I’m sorta/kinda kidding with those last two sentences, I’m in trouble.

How e v e r, when someone whom I love and respect trashes a movie I revere, they are just being willful and contrary.  Or, they will have been deceiving me into thinking they were bright, warm, insightful, when they were but ignorant beasts.

Our friend Martin, whom I mention here rather frequently, thinks that the comedy ‘Galaxy Quest’ is terrible in every respect, when a more affectionate and spot-on sendup of ‘Star Trek’ and Trekkies does not exist.  Just Alan Rickman as a Shakespearean actor trapped in a Leonard Nimoy/Mr. Spock role is worth the ‘risk’ if you would not normally go near a picture like this.

This brings me to Wes Anderson’s perfect ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’, which in turn brings me to Peter Bogdanovich’s ‘They All Laughed’, the worst movie ever made.

Wes Anderson says ‘They All Laughed’ is one of his ‘Top Ten’ favorite movies.  This is the strongest possible argument for re-examining willfulness and contrarianism.

If you have not seen ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel‘, you need to pray for forgiveness.  However, if you have seen ‘They All Laughed’, having worn a hair shirt for those two hours, I grant you partial absolution.

By the way, Quentin Tarantino also claims They All Laughed’ as one of his ‘Top Ten’, but who are you going to believe, me or those two?

This month marks a decade of blogging.

Chalk it up to a pinch of OCD that I’ve managed to not miss a month (even last month) without a post over the past ten years.

Your gift to me on this occasion, should you agree to, is to allow me one more post of the kind to follow.

Once, I disdained (but without so much as a whiff of snottiness, mind you) personal health-related posts on blogs.  Then, it appears to me, a tsunami of them has appeared here.  I apologize for those, and this one, the absolute last of its kind.  Promise.

I don’t recognize myself.  Stephen tells me that his understanding is that some people never ‘recover’ from anesthesia, of which I’ve had two authentic and two ‘twilight’ during the past two years.

Of course, this could be the onset of dementia, or maybe just garden-variety depression, which is enhanced by means of reading articles positing things like if you’re younger than sixty, you will witness the eventual collapse of western civilization.

Maybe it’s just that some of my cherished demons have jumped ship, and their absence is confusing me.  I’m out of ideas.

I’ve treated my blogmates shabbily over the past year at least, and the siren song of abandoning this blogging enterprise is never completely out of earshot.  I wish I were a natural writer like those bloggers, but writing is a pinch-of-OCD chore.

Domani Dave will endure, I suspect, but I see continued slim pickings.

Oh, by the way, blame Michael for this blog having been planted in the first place.  He’ll inspire you at the start, then continue to write sumptuous blog entries making you feel inadequate.  Curse him.

Except for four years consecutive, plus another one later, I have lived in this town since 1965, when I came here to college the summer after high school.

The five blocks of the main drag through the center of town once sported an assortment of ‘Fifties’ stores, including an honest-to-goodness ‘appliance store’, where something like forty years ago Stephen and I bought a clothes dryer.

It’s still running.  Scary.

Today, the street is all boutiques, bars, and cafés.  The only remnant from the past is a corner drugstore called Horton’s.

Though I think there must still be a pharmacist in there somewhere, I propose that its isolated survival on the strip can probably be chalked-up to an unplanned role as ‘bodega’, where in a panic one can pay quadruple for eyedrops and flashlight batteries.

At probably about the same time the soda fountain was decommissioned, the business changed hands, and a decision was made to empty decades of dead stock which had been warehoused on the second floor of the building.

I can’t remember asking Stephen how we came by these Horton’s artifacts.

Briefly back to machines, in my older brother’s potting shed sits a ‘Frigidaire’ purchased the year I was born.  According to my mother, the keeper of the legend, a single repair: the replacement of the rocker arm on the compressor motor.  The rocker arm.  Your guess is as good as mine.

Over the last couple of years since turning seventy, I myself have had several repairs, but both the fridge and I are still running.  Scary.

I have an intuition we will go out together.


During the Q&A following a lecture by film critic Pauline Kael which I attended years and years ago, I asked Ms. Kael what she thought about the trend that had taken hold at that time of filmmakers re-editing their released films.  She replied with a question-approving look on her face that she hadn’t decided.

I read an article the other day about Francis Ford Coppola’s second re-editing of ‘Apocalypse Now’ called ‘Apocalypse Now: Final Cut’, due out next week.  In a promotional lecture/interview mentioned in the piece, he says:

“In film-making and in life, extraordinary things happen to you, and it’s up to you to make them be positive.  Because the good news is that there is no hell, and the quasi-good news is that this is heaven.”

I recently ran across a favorite greeting card, with this wonderful illustration on the outside.  Inside, it says: ‘Listen to your instincts.’

I have never been able to make the picture and the sentiment match.  I think Coppola’s might work better.

Minus the ‘heaven’ part…

Here is a gift in the form of advice, or a warning, if you prefer.

Assuming a choice, if you don’t want to do something, you have to say ‘no’.

I inherited a spot on a committee that supports and promotes what is essentially a local municipal ‘attraction’ in the form of a grand mid-nineteenth century house, outfitted with authentic period furnishings and objet.

When a plan was hatched to create a database and website cataloguing the contents of the house, an assumption was made that with my professional background, I would take on the photographing of the items.

This is where the ‘no’ should have come into play.

Two years and hundreds of items later, the project is nearing completion.

I have my favorites of the photos I’ve produced, in most cases because the object simply photographed well; more often than not, they refuse.  Here and there, a pleasure to look at, as in the case of the attached portrait.

A rather attractive gentleman, I believe, and projecting quite a modern ‘air’.

Or, something…  Click to enlarge to decide if you agree.

Why am I telling you this?

I started blogging in 2009, but in October 2016, I ditched the previous posts in a fit of cyber housecleaning. Some of it was really nice writing, but alas, as my old friend Susan once said: ‘Compulsion is a cruel master’.

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