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Milburn Stone

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  1. I appreciate the posts that are more empathetic to Michelle, despite that I find my own empathy for her paralysis to be limited. I have an intellectual empathy for her, without really being able to put myself in her shoes. Mind you, I am not immune to procrastination in a creative project! But mine is the polar opposite of hers. I procrastinate when I get those deadly thoughts, "Oh, who really would be interested in this drivel, anyway?" Procrastination never rears its ugly head when I can feel the encouragement of people waiting for my work on the other side, eager to experience it. In those cases, thoughts about "is it good enough?" (which of course occur) just make me work harder and faster to make it good enough. I wonder if her publisher moved the deadline sooner by a month, towards the end, because they were getting frustrated by not seeing anything from her, were getting tired of her excuses, and thought lighting a fire under her would get her off her ass. Maybe they didn't really expect her to make the new deadline. Maybe they just wanted to see something. I also wonder if the drugs (Ambien and whatever else, if anything) were counter-productive. As I say, I might not feel any of this investment in her problem if I hadn't read the book and been ticked off (worthy as the book was) by how good it could have been. I didn't care about me. I wanted her to be better for her. So I guess I do have empathy.
  2. I confess I felt some mild irritation with Michelle. I guess there are two kinds of writers. Those who get freaked out by deadlines, and those who get motivated by them. I'm very much the second kind. Nothing gives me more creative energy than knowing somebody out there actually wants my work. So it's very hard for me to understand feeling the opposite. But I realize she had her own brand of demons. My irritation was probably accentuated by the fact that I read her book, and liked the part she actually finished. The whole book could have been that good, if she'd written all of it and not half of it. And the book could have been great, not just good, if she'd finished a first draft and then completed a second draft to get it into the shape it ought to have been. (It's a bit diffuse even within the portion she wrote. I had not the slightest doubt that she could have solved that.) The 18 months her publisher gave her should have been enough time. I'm sure I sound awful.
  3. Finally caught up with a long-DVR'ed Noir Alley selection, Ride a Pink Horse. A really good movie, which you can't always count on with Noir Alley. (Oftentimes, Eddie Muller's intros and outros are the best thing about watching, and pretty close to a reason unto themselves.) The only place I parted company with Eddie was in his outro, when he said (roughly), "That was a good movie, but imagine how good it would have been with Richard Conti or [I forget the other actor] in the lead instead of Robert Montgomery." Montgomery, from my exposure to him, always seemed like an actor with real limitations, but sometimes an actor's limitations are a perfect match for a role. I think the movie would have been worse, not better, with the actor substitutions Eddie suggested. The movie was also my introduction to Wanda Hendrix. It's not clear at the beginning of the movie whether she's going to be good in it, but it is clear by the end of the movie that she has been!
  4. I distantly remember from my high school Latin back in the pleistocene era that actual everyday Romans on the street spoke something called The Vulgate. Latin, but not classical Latin. Maybe it was less jumbled. Classical Latin was reserved for writing, speeches in the Senate, and like that. And I guess it was the spoken language of the elite. But not the hoi polloi. I'd like to add that I loved learning classical Latin. It taught me logic about English grammar that I'm not sure I would have learned as well without it. Anyone who has learned Latin will never be confused about when to use "her" versus "she," or "whom" versus "who." Just for starters.
  5. Everyone probably draws the line a slightly different place. I would avoid ending a sentence in a preposition in news journalism--but not columnist journalism. I would avoid doing it in an academic article--but not a religious sermon. It comes down to the fact that while it may always be technically "permitted," it is not always appropriate. Judgment must be used.
  6. Part of me hopes, now that the guy is going to spend the rest of his life in prison, that he can be induced for no money to talk about what went on in his head. And part of me doesn't hope that.
  7. Was the yacht chartered? I assumed Waystar Royco owned it. Which makes it even more deliciously obscene.
  8. I think you're right, @shapeshifter, to question the word in that context. It's sort of suggestive of what the writer means, but not very precise. The best substitute I can think of right now is "cumbersome." (There may be better ones.) A web video requires more effort and technical expertise to make than just showing up and blathering in front of a microphone somewhere (a setting in which TV news folk do all the technical heavy lifting), and also requires more effort to consume than sitting on your couch and watching the news. But it isn't likely to stop working properly, which "balky," as you say, is about.
  9. While Willson's book is very good, your post, @Rinaldo, may be the best thing about The Music Man ever written.
  10. I'm no expert on what the Hasidim think, but if they did think that, they would be consistent with most of the prophets as well as the ancient rabbis who wrote the Talmud as well as some Jewish leaders during the Spanish Inquisition. Prophet after prophet says things like "the Assyrians/Babylonians/Your-Enemy-Here conquered and exiled us because some of us worshiped gods other than the one true God," and the ancient rabbis attributed famines and droughts and such to the Jewish people's actions displeasing God. So if I had to bet on one side or the other, I'd bet the Hasidim did say that. Not easy to follow all the commandments in the Torah, though; there are 613 of them.
  11. This received one "laughing face" reaction from a board user, so I want to be clear that my meaning is anything but funny. Ernest Anderson was criminally (and I almost mean that literally) misused by Hollywood. His In This Our Life performance as Parry Clay under John Huston is so magnificent--I really mean it when I say it's the best performance in the film, despite competition from Davis and de Havilland--that a look at his post-ITOL filmography saddens the mind terribly. It is a succession of menials and servants with either no lines or very few. Many of them uncredited. Sometimes he's just called Black Man. He worked a lot--imdb shows 28 films after ITOL--but with the very rare possible exception, never in a role commensurate with his talent. You don't need to have seen all the movies to know this. The imdb filmography shows the official title of each part he played, and in practically no part does his character even have a name.
  12. To me the standout performance was by Ernest Anderson. Who went on to play porters and butlers for the rest of his life.
  13. The cyclops scared the living be-jesus out of me when I saw this at the movies when I was 7. And also that horrible dance near the beginning in the sultan's palace, with the woman who turns green and grows arms or whatever. Bernard Herrmann, I blame you!
  14. Pure serendipity that we turned on the TV and up came TCM as Ben was doing his intro. We broomed our original viewing plan and watched this instead. It is a spectacular movie--maybe the best thing everybody involved ever did! (Don't forget Eleanor Bron.)
  15. I agree because I think a distinction needs to be made between a cis actor playing a trans character, and a cis actor playing a cis character who pretends to be another gender out of necessity. In The Birdcage, Gene Hackman dresses as a woman to save his political hide, and the joke is on him--not on men who dress as women, or on women who once were identified as men--because he's been such a bigoted, homophobic, transphobic character. In Some Like It Hot, neither Tony Curtis nor Jack Lemmon make the decision to dress as women to have a joke on women, but to save their literal hides. Once again, the joke is at their expense--not that of women or of cross-dressers or of transgender people--because the experience challenges their masculine self-identification. And also because the two characters are playing their idea of women--not Billy Wilder's idea of women, or the audience's idea of women--and the cartoonish aspect of their portrayal exposes their concept of women for the cartoon it is. And speaking of cartoons, what are we to do with the Bugs Bunny cartoons in which he gets himself up as a woman in order to seduce Elmer Fudd?
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