You go a few weeks
without the internet, and you’d be surprised how you fall behind on things. I was completely aware of that one thing everyone was talking about, and that other video about the thing, you know, that . . . deal, with the funny part, it came and went before I was aware of its existence.

You go a few weeks without Twittering and Instagramming and it’s as if you have to remind yourself why it’s necessary.

Then you go back and read an innocuous article about something, and your eyes slide to the comments, where people are slapping each other around or jeering with the haughty sneer of the internet expert. Oh, how I missed it! How I missed it! Then you’re clicking over to Yahoo news where a story on celebrity news has 1,702 comments, and you keep reading and reading and clicking because it’s possible that someone in comment #942 will say “who?” or better yet, “who cares?” and then SOMEONE WILL ANSWER THE QUESTION! Well, not really; they’ll say “why did you read it then lol” or “if you don’t care why u post? smh” But it’s still an answer, I guess.

It’s these little things that make you feel like you’re part of a big, wonderful community.

Well, most of that is a lie, except for the part about being away from the internet and losing the sense of the necessary imminence of everything. I can disconnect the moment I get on an international flight - set the phone to airline mode, and it’s like shutting down the Main Power for the outgoing portion of my brain. As I said elsewhere: highly recommended.

But now we’re back in the saddle with the usual Bleats and updates and below-the-fold features. I hope you missed them, and if not, please don't tell me; I'd like to preserve the illusion that these things are enjoyed.


Peg Lynch update: she gave me a call the other night, which was just delightful. Again: you discover an old marvelous radio show from 1958, you never think “I wonder if the writer / star of the program will phone me up seven months from now and talk about her conversation with Michael Palin and his performance as a stutterer in ‘that fish movie.’” It just never works out like that, except when it does. I mentioned the only way I could stammer on purpose was to imitate someone who was stammering, not try to stammer myself. “There was this show, ‘I, Claudius,’ and -

“Derek Jacobi!” Peg said. “Oh, he was wonderful in that.”

So add “talking about ‘I, Claudius’ with my favorite radio actress” to the list of things that makes my uneventful life occasionally interesting.


A few odds and ends from last week’s marathon of Norway recapping: pictures from the ship. Not of; from. The walls of the Holland America vessels abound with wonderful old photos. This couple was at the end of the passageway I traversed a dozen times a day.



One of those candid moments you invest with more meaning the more you study it. Whatever either was thinking we'll never know. Because there wasn't Twitter or blogs. Nowadays we'd know. Can you guess the date? It's 1963 or a few years later; in the mirror - trust me - you see an Instamatic 100.

Outside our cabin, a disturbing thing.



An Indian-themed party. The fellow in the middle got more evil as the week went on. There's six Stephen King stories in that picture.





Not a review, but a look at stories and names behind the flickering shades.

A crooked web will indeed ensnare its victims. Just like, you know, an ordinary web made of straight lines. But a crooked web is what we weave, when we practice to deceive, as the poem has it.

As I say so often, I’m sure someone in a review somewhere has called this is an overlooked noir gem, or something like that. It has scheming women! Plot twists! Crime! A man led to his doom by his failings - in black and white! Noir! I guess so, but I save the term for movies that have a darker, grittier feel than this one, and there has to be venetian blinds. The first imdb review says “It's a decent third-level Noir rarity,” and that seems about right. It meanders and loses focus in the last third.

It starts with a great shot of a drive-in marquee, owned by the main character, Stan:

They probably wrote the character’s name to fit the sign. It was a real place, obviously. They even used the menus:

But where?

There's your answer. Really:

The theater's name is clearer in other shots, and since there's The Google, there is this:

Speaking of the gal:

Petite, attractive Mari Blanchard rarely managed get the lucky breaks. The daughter of an oil tycoon and a psychotherapist, she suffered from severe poliomyelitis from the age of nine, which denied her a hoped-for dancing career.

She got some parts here and there, but never really made it, and died at the age of 47.

This cranky guy appears for ten, 20 seconds:

Vince Barnett. IMDB:

Former vaudevillian, who acquired a solid reputation as a practical joker and master of insult, second only to the great Groucho Marx. Celebrity hosts would often hire Vince to perform gags and put-on jokes at their lavish parties, where he would insult the guests and create mayhem in his wake. He often posed as heavily-accented journalists with names like 'Timothy Glutzspiegel'. Among the many victims of his pranks were such luminaries as Winston Churchill, Charles Lindbergh, Henry Ford and the Norwegian polar explorer Roald Amundsen. Clark Gable nearly punched him out during a party given by Joan Crawford. Vince greeted Greta Garbo with "Good Morning, Miss Hepburn", and, as 'sound expert' Dr. Hoffman, instructed star Richard Barthelmess to take voice lessons from Texas Guinan or quit acting.

He was one of those actors whos imdb credits tell the tale: one of his earliest credits was "Scarface," and one of his last was "Dr. Goldfoot and the Bikini Machine."

Here’s the reason I was curious about the film:

I wonder how many people watched the guy, listened to him talk, and tried to figure out where they knew him from. It wasn’t another movie, was it? I swear I just heard him the other day, and it wasn’t in a movie.

It would have been his radio performances they remembered. It’s Frank Lovejoy, who did untold hours of radio drama, including lots of “Whistler” episodes.

This guy is supposed to be the brother of the girl. Some rather unbrotherly glances here, don’t you think?





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