Thursday, December 31, 2009

JANIS web site


Savage marriage

I don't always agree with Dan Savage, but I think he's right here about marriage - or any long-term romantic relationship:
A successful marriage is basically an endless cycle of wrongs committed, apologies offered, and forgiveness granted, STH, all leavened by the occasional orgasm. If you're having such a hard time forgiving her for this piddling "betrayal," STH, you're not cut out for marriage and your wife may want to run away before it's too late.

Some people just love to hold onto their grievances and ignore any and all attempts at reconciliation - or even some kind of humane closure. Even when they were the original source of the trouble in the first place. And although people like that hurt other people immensely, they hurt themselves even more. Unless they actually want to grow old alone.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Regency stand-up?

I guess they didn't have stand-up comedy in Regency England. But they did have the early incarnation of Pantomime

Oh look, it's Paul O'Grady's Panto!

The British can be extremely strange.

Speaking of which...

Monday, December 28, 2009

Adult Engrish

You have to go to Japan to get the best hot noodle.

More crazy adult Engrish

I literally cannot read this site for more than five minutes without laughing hysterically.

Sunday, December 27, 2009


My excellent daughter got us tickets to see OUR TOWN, the one currently running on Barrow Street which recently become the longest-running production of the play ever. I'm very excited - I've never seen OUR TOWN live, I've only seen it on TV - specifically the version with Spalding Gray as the Stage Manager. Here is a clip from the beginning of the movie version of Spalding Gray's monologue "Swimming to Cambodia."

How captivating do you have to be to have an entire movie built around your hour+ monologue?

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Tidings of comfort

Krugman has his own version of "A Christmas Carol"
Indulge me while I tell you a story — a near-future version of Charles Dickens’s “A Christmas Carol.” It begins with sad news: young Timothy Cratchit, a k a Tiny Tim, is sick. And his treatment will cost far more than his parents can pay out of pocket.

Fortunately, our story is set in 2014, and the Cratchits have health insurance. Not from their employer: Ebenezer Scrooge doesn’t do employee benefits. And just a few years earlier they wouldn’t have been able to buy insurance on their own because Tiny Tim has a pre-existing condition, and, anyway, the premiums would have been out of their reach.

Friday, December 25, 2009

More on the Dickens Manuscript

The NYTimes has another story about the recently unearthed "A Christmas Carol" manuscript:
She also noticed that the story's lone mention of the "United States" was inserted on Page 17 in an apparent dig at the United States. The narrator suggests that time had little meaning for Scrooge beyond the ability it gave him to collect interest on his bonds. If the normal rules of time had somehow lapsed, the financial instruments that made Scrooge rich might instead revert to "mere United States’ securities" – in another words, paper of little worth.

Mr. Kiely said United States securities were viewed dimly by the English in Dickens' time after several American borrowers ran afoul of the financial crisis of 1837. Mr. Kiely said he thought the word in the text that "United States" replaced was "questionable." Dickens' custom, Mr. Kiely said, was to omit that sentence when he read the story aloud to audiences in the United States.

Ms. Johnson’s most stunning find, however, was on Page 37, where Dickens introduces the little boy forever known as Tiny Tim.

"Do my eyes deceive me or was Tiny Tim actually a 'Mick' or a 'Dick' before Dickens thought better of it?" Ms. Johnson wrote.

Mr. Kiely said he was impressed that she noticed that the author appeared to have renamed Tiny Tim, even if she could not make out the original name.

"It's one of the most famous characters in literature, and he starts out life as Little Fred," said Mr. Kiely.

According to Mr. Kiely, the name "Fred" might be an amalgam of Dickens' younger brother named Frederick, another brother named Alfred who died young, and the sickly son of his sister Fannie.

Unwilling to excise a name he liked from his story, Dickens appears to have decided to bestow the name "Fred" upon Scrooge's previously unnamed nephew on Page 43.

Hot Man in Regency Period Clothing of the Week - December 25 edition

Ah, excellent web site for its ferreting out period inaccuracies of romance novel covers.

And what an excellent blog post title: Gorgeous Men in Tight Breeches and Ruffled Shirts. Says the author:
Here's a description of male attire from my Regency time travel, Lady of the Stars. The twenty-first century heroine, Caroline, gets her first good look at the Regency hero, Richard.

"Good heavens, the aggravating man was gorgeous. Tall and slim, his broad shoulders tapered to narrow hips and long legs. But where had he found that outlandish outfit? He wore a top hat, out here in the middle of nowhere. His shirt collar was turned up and he wore a huge white tie. And his waist-length, double-breasted jacket had tails, like the one an orchestra conductor wore. Muddy black boots with the tops turned down came up to his knees. Skintight trousers, or were those breeches--of all things?--emphasized every well-formed muscle."

This passage illustrates another aspect of Regency men's clothes: they were tight. A man's coat often fit so closely he needed help putting it on, and then he might be unable to lift his arms as high as his shoulders. Form-fitting breeches literally left little to the imagination. Then, as now, such clothes could look good only on men with the best physiques, like romance novel heroes.

She is not kidding about the breeches - if the BBC's 1971 "Tom Brown's School Days" is accurate. I didn't notice this when I first saw the series but I noticed it this time - wow you can see virtually every male character's package. It's practically obscene. I think I'll watch it again tonight.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas from the US Senate

Well, the Senate DEMOCRATS at least:

Senate Passes Health Care Overhaul on Party-Line Vote
The Senate voted Thursday to reinvent the nation’s health care system, passing a bill to guarantee access to health insurance for tens of millions of Americans and to rein in health costs as proposed by President Obama.

he 60-to-39 party-line vote, on the 25th straight day of debate on the legislation, brings Democrats a step closer to a goal they have pursued for decades. It clears the way for negotiations with the House, which passed a broadly similar bill last month by a vote of 220 to 215.

If the two chambers can strike a deal, as seems likely, the resulting product would vastly expand the role and responsibilities of the federal government. It would, as lawmakers said repeatedly in the debate, touch the lives of nearly all Americans.

What Krugman said:
...what we’re getting will, in its overall results, work a lot like a single-payer system. It will be an imperfect, inefficient simulation; but those on the left who decry it as terrible, evil, nothing but a giveaway to the insurance companies are missing the very real good it will do...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

She surely likes absinthe!

Since 2007, when the Treasury Department relaxed its position on the sale of absinthe, 13 American distilleries have begun producing the spirit legally, according to the Wormwood Society, a consumer education and advocacy group. Ms. Lins, 56, is the first in New York State, making two versions at Delaware Phoenix, her micro-distillery here. (Another absinthe, distilled in Gardiner, N.Y., and called Edward III, will go on sale next week.)

Customers like Astor Wines & Spirits and the bar Louis 649 seem to find her lack of self-promotion sometimes amusing and mostly refreshing. Justin Chearno, manager of the wine store Uva in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, said: “When she walked into the store, I saw she had that thing natural winemakers have — an authentic, obsessive thing. When she said she was selling absinthe, not wine, I was, like, ‘You’re kidding!’ Then I tasted. Her flavors and tastes were just as alive.”

Five years ago, Ms. Lins was living in a yurt in New Mexico. To escape the heat, she came to this small town in Delaware County, chosen for no apparent reason other than instinct. A computer programmer and watercolorist, she tended the fish counter at the health food store in nearby Delhi. Then one March morning in 2006, The New Yorker arrived in the mail. Inside was an article on absinthe.

Though nearly a teetotaler at the time, Ms. Lins became so possessed by the history of the green fairy that she ordered bottles (perfectly legal) from Europe. After several $100 deliveries, frugality took over. She ordered a copper-pot still from Portugal that arrived with “decorative garden ornament” written on the shipping label. Pierre Duplais’s bible of 19th-century distillation techniques became her best friend. She headed to her basement to concoct. Soon, the police were on constant patrol. “They probably thought I was running a meth lab,” she said.

more on the green fairy

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Jazz Christmas is the best

The only Christmas music I can stand anymore is jazz Christmas music. Jazz blends perfectly with Christmas music because they complement each other so well. Everybody knows the Christmas songs, they're done to death every December. And much jazz is unlistenable because of the tendency of jazz players to subvert the melody (or not even bother with melody in the first place) with random solos. Contemporary jazz music puts a high premium on novelty. So the familiarity of the Christmas song is leavened by the novelty of jazz - and even if jazz musicians do go out on a tangent, you can still usually follow the melody line.

Vince Guaraldi did jazz versions of several Christmas standards for "Merry Christmas Charlie Brown" - in this Youtube clip he does a little bit of the standard version of "O Tannenbaum" and then gets into the jazzed-up version.

And of course Guaraldi composed the classic "Linus and Lucy" - which isn't technically a Christmas song, but it has become a Christmas standard. And it's an all-around great song. Here is a snippet from the Charlie Brown Christmas special:

CLASSIC dance moves from the Peanuts gang!

The soundtrack from that Christmas special is the best collection of music for the season ever. Get it if you don't have it.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Garrison Keillor has lost it

It's probably due to his recent stroke, although Keillor had already shown he is a lousy satirist a few years ago. But what he's written most recently for the Chicago Tribune goes beyond inept satire.

My theory is that Keillor is too much the canonized Great Man of the Arts for any of the cultural gate-keepers to stop him - and one of these days he's going to say something so offensive even they won't be able to palm it off as "he's only satirizing" - they're going to let him drive his addle-brained self right off a cliff.

Sunday, December 20, 2009


This latest episode of the Darlington Curse mentions sulfur again - which as we know is the mark of demons. The Long Island Paranomal Investigators provide more info on the identification of demons.

Yes we still live in a completely misogynistic world

Stories like this are the reason that I usually sign my work N. G. rather than by my full first name. This writer talks about how she succeeded in business by using a male pen name:
I had high-quality skills and a good education. I was fast on turnaround and very professional. I hustled and I delivered on my promises, every single time. I worked hard and built the business, putting in long hours and reinvesting a lot of the money I made.

I really, really wanted to make this work.

But I was still having a hard time landing jobs. I was being turned down for gigs I should've gotten, for reasons I couldn’t put a finger on.

My pay rate had hit a plateau, too. I knew I should be earning more. Others were, and I soaked up everything they could teach me, but still, there was something strange about it...

It wasn’t my skills, it wasn't my work. So what were those others doing that I wasn't?

One day, I tossed out a pen name, because I didn’t want to be associated with my current business, the one that was still struggling to grow. I picked a name that sounded to me like it might convey a good business image. Like it might command respect.

My life changed that day

Instantly, jobs became easier to get.

There was no haggling. There were compliments, there was respect. Clients hired me quickly, and when they received their work, they liked it just as quickly. There were fewer requests for revisions — often none at all.

Customer satisfaction shot through the roof. So did my pay rate.

And I was thankful. I finally stopped worrying about how I would feed my girls. We were warm. Well-fed. Safe. No one at school would ever tease my kids about being poor.

I was still bringing in work with the other business, the one I ran under my real name. I was still marketing it. I was still applying for jobs — sometimes for the same jobs that I applied for using my pen name.

I landed clients and got work under both names. But it was much easier to do when I used my pen name.
more here...

Swedish Boogie-woogie championship

OK, I never even knew there was a Swedish boogie-woogie championship... thanks youtube.

In fact, according to wikipedia:
The small village of Herräng in Sweden (north of Stockholm) has unofficially become the international mecca of Lindy Hop thanks to the annual Herräng Dance Camp run by the Harlem Hot Shots with an attendance from around 40 countries.
I kid you not.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

See Nome fly

Friday, December 18, 2009

Hot Man in Regency Period Clothing of the Week - December 18 edition

From "Becoming Jane" James McAvoy shows how to wear a waistcoat.

Ooh - this trailer of "Becoming Jane" has a clip - alas all too brief - from the excellent Jane voyeristically watching the guys skinny-dipping scene.

Meanwhile, the Darlington episodes are coming fast and furious...

I herewith apologize to all my readers who have been justly dismayed by the depravity..."

Thursday, December 17, 2009

the left-hand path

The philosophical implications of taking the left-hand path.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

even in Darlington

Disillusionment happens even in Darlington.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I missed Gurney

Well thanks to being sick I missed the latest Cherry Lane master class, this time with A.R. Gurney, author of SYLVIA among other plays. *sigh* But at least 6 other members of NYCPlaywrights got to go.

Monday, December 14, 2009

John Keats - Ode to a Nightingale

Ode to a Nightingale

My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains
My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,
Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains
One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk:
'Tis not through envy of thy happy lot,
But being too happy in thine happiness, -
That thou, light-winged Dryad of the trees,
In some melodious plot
Of beechen green and shadows numberless,
Singest of summer in full-throated ease.

O, for a draught of vintage! that hath been
Cool'd a long age in the deep-delved earth,
Tasting of Flora and the country green,
Dance, and Provençal song, and sunburnt mirth!
O for a beaker full of the warm South,
Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene,
With beaded bubbles winking at the brim,
And purple-stained mouth;
That I might drink, and leave the world unseen,
And with thee fade away into the forest dim:

Fade far away, dissolve, and quite forget
What thou among the leaves hast never known,
The weariness, the fever, and the fret
Here, where men sit and hear each other groan;
Where palsy shakes a few, sad, last gray hairs,
Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies;
Where but to think is to be full of sorrow
And leaden-eyed despairs,
Where Beauty cannot keep her lustrous eyes,
Or new Love pine at them beyond to-morrow.

Away! away! for I will fly to thee,
Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards,
But on the viewless wings of Poesy,
Though the dull brain perplexes and retards:
Already with thee! tender is the night,
And haply the Queen-Moon is on her throne,
Cluster'd around by all her starry Fays;
But here there is no light,
Save what from heaven is with the breezes blown
Through verdurous glooms and winding mossy ways.

I cannot see what flowers are at my feet,
Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs,
But, in embalmed darkness, guess each sweet
Wherewith the seasonable month endows
The grass, the thicket, and the fruit-tree wild;
White hawthorn, and the pastoral eglantine;
Fast fading violets cover'd up in leaves;
And mid-May's eldest child,
The coming musk-rose, full of dewy wine,
The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves.

Darkling I listen; and, for many a time
I have been half in love with easeful Death,
Call'd him soft names in many a mused rhyme,
To take into the air my quiet breath;
Now more than ever seems it rich to die,
To cease upon the midnight with no pain,
While thou art pouring forth thy soul abroad
In such an ecstasy!
Still wouldst thou sing, and I have ears in vain -
To thy high requiem become a sod.

Thou wast not born for death, immortal Bird!
No hungry generations tread thee down;
The voice I hear this passing night was heard
In ancient days by emperor and clown:
Perhaps the self-same song that found a path
Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for home,
She stood in tears amid the alien corn;
The same that oft-times hath
Charm'd magic casements, opening on the foam
Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn.

Forlorn! the very word is like a bell
To toll me back from thee to my sole self!
Adieu! the fancy cannot cheat so well
As she is fam'd to do, deceiving elf.
Adieu! adieu! thy plaintive anthem fades
Past the near meadows, over the still stream,
Up the hill-side; and now 'tis buried deep
In the next valley-glades:
Was it a vision, or a waking dream?
Fled is that music: - Do I wake or sleep?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Faire une pipe - c'est-ca sais?

I know not how long I lay...

another mystery solved

I've blogged earlier about how the TV series "Alias Smith and Jones" was a big influence on my heterosexual development. The Masterpiece Theater series "Tom Brown's Schooldays" was also a big influence - and on reviewing the excerpt from the series here, I think this also explains why I love men in Regency-period costume so much. When I first saw this show I was smitten with Tom Brown and his blond friend here - I was ten years old at the time but I was also aware of a sexual charge from the sadistic bully Flashman. And now I see why - just look at him, in boots and sundry sartorial splendors and tied up with a bow. Even though the character is a bastard of course he's still a scorching hot hottie. I finally know the name of the actor: Richard Morant

The actor who played Tom Brown is Anthony Murphy, now a painter. And not nearly as handsome as you might expect considering how incredibly pretty he was in the day.

Saturday, December 12, 2009


More jolly times in Darlington

Friday, December 11, 2009

Hot Man in Regency Period Clothing of the Week - Dec. 11 2009

Is it Friday already? It must be time for the Hot Man in Regency Period Clothing of the Week. I think it's appropriate to feature some major cravat action here:

Some helpful info:

Cravat variations


The waistcoat image comes by way of the Oregon Regency Society. Who knew there was an Oregon Regency Society?

Bonus hot guy - "Mr. Darcy" models a man's Regency period shirt - which did not unbutton all the way down, as you can see.

This information will all be very helpful for the next DC installment.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Darling, I love you

Best Paul Krugman blog post title yet:
Darling, I love you

OK, that’s way too strong. But Alistair Darling’s new super-tax on bank bonuses sounds like a good idea, on first read. Or as Justin Fox puts it, why the heck not?


Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Les Fleurs du Mal

The Absinthe Drinker by Viktor Oliva

Somebody surely does love absinthe.

I am undone.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Love is like a ball & chain

Sittin' down by my window,
Just lookin' out at the rain.
Sittin' down by my window,
Just lookin' out at the rain.
Somethin' came along, grabbed a hold of me,
And it felt like a ball and chain.

And I say, oh, whoa, whoa, now hon', tell me why,
Why does every single little tiny thing I hold on goes wrong?
And I say, oh, whoa, whoa, now babe, tell me why,
Why does every thing go wrong?
Here you gone today, I wanted to love you,
Honey, I just wanted to love you for so long

And I say oh, whoa, whoa, no honey
It ain't fair, it ain't fair what you do,
And I say oh, whoa, whoa, no honey
I said hon' it ain't fair what, baby it ain't fair what you do.
Oh, here you gone today I want to love you love you
That's all I could do.

Love's got a hold on me, baby,
Feels just like a ball and chain.
Now, love's just draggin' me down, baby, yeah,
Feels like a ball and chain.
I hope there's someone out there who could tell me
Why the man I love wanna leave me in so much pain.

Sittin' down by my window,
Lookin' at the rain.
Just sittin' down by my window,
Lookin' at the rain
Somethin' came along, grabbed a hold of me,
And it felt like a ball and chain.

I'm always getting hits to this web site from people looking for "janis joplin nude" - here yah go everybody!

this one is popular too

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Friday, December 04, 2009

Hot Man in Regency Period Clothing of the Week - inauguration

I have such a fetish for men in Regency period clothing I decided to celebrate by posting one image a week of same. I don't know if I'll remember to do so on a weekly basis, but it's worth a try.

I'm guessing this is from a movie version of Jane Austen's "Emma."

fun with Google maps

I really enjoy Google maps - did you know that not only can you look down on Stonehenge by turning on the "Satellite" option: can take a tour through Stonehenge by throwing the little yellow person down on the map?

Not surprisingly, if you throw the yellow person down on one of the roads that goes around Google's headquarters (aka "Googleplex") - especially Ampitheatre Parkway - you will see something you'll never see in any of the other Google Earth images - people's unblurred faces. Although a few are blurred out, but since most of these people are Google employees they were easily persuaded to give permission. It looks like Google got its entire workforce out to wave at the photo trucks.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Dickens harshes on Hamlet

Very interesting article in today's NYTimes about Charles Dickens's original manuscript of "A Christmas Carol."

Impressively, the article includes links to high-resolution PDFs of the entire manuscript.

Apparently Dickens was unimpressed with Hamlet and said so on page one of the manuscript, and then thought better of it and scratched it out. But it's still readable and it says:
Perhaps you think that Hamlet's intellects were strong. I doubt it. If you could have such a son tomorrow, depend upon it, you would find him a poser. He would be a most impracticable fellow to deal with, and however creditable he might be to the family, after his decease, he would prove a special incumbrance in his lifetime, trust me.

Ooh, naughty Dickens.