Good thing I wrote something on Saturday night, because I'd have doodly and/or squat today; spent the evening on a Ramble, which will be up tomorrow at It's about the Titanic, a subject that interested me for decades until it didn't any more.

I have the Star Wars Blu-Ray. I have no idea if I'll ever watch it. Just saw it a few months ago, right? It's still fresh. Put a blaster to my head and I could describe the story with reasonable accuracy, remembering things that struck me at the time - the way they used food to show Rey's poverty, the way that thumbs-up zippo-on-a-stick told you BB8 was sentient (even if he isn't, there's no way they didn't know that's how the audience would interpret it), the disappointment with Phasma (who was supposed to be - all, together, now, BADASS, because that's the lazy term for uncompromising characters these days, and usually female characters. BADASS is strong, and strong is essential for a female character, because any female who isn't BADASS is supporting archaic narratives. I watched "Full Metal Jacket" last week over the course of a few nights, and while I have some problems with the mile-wide broad strokes the paintbrushes of the 80s apparently required when the subject is Vietnam, it's a brilliant movie. The character of Animal, played by a young and charismatically brutish Adam Baldwin, is the very definition of BADASS, but he also manifests obvious physical abilities that reside in the actor, not the script. If the script says you are BADASS just because, and the script says you can punch a big man and he falls down, even though it's obvious you lack the physical strength to do so, then the audience realizes they are in the realm where we must accept these things because some scales are being balanced, some injustices redressed.

(There is no male characteristic that female BADASSES cannot have, but there are no female characteristic male characters can have because A) there's no difference between the sexes, and B) the things that women excel at - which is everything - are due not to any female characteristics, but because they lack the male characteristics that impede sensible, rational behavior. However the female character is written, her strengths are the default for humanity; men are allowed funny quirky aspects based on caricatures of male behavior, and should they get too manly they can always be withered with a quip.

In the light of modern ideas, the end of "Full Metal Jacket" is less shocking than it might have been at the time. The sniper who's been killing the soldiers on behalf of militant collectivism is a woman. At the time we were surprised, but not entirely. At the time we were aware of some remnant chivalry that should inform a man's hand, keep him from killing a woman. It's the Animal who declines to kill her once she's been wounded, because she is the enemy, and has earned her suffering. It's the civilized man who kills her, because that is the new chivalry, and finds himself remade into a soldier because he has survived to exult his survival.
The film may also be asking us to consider the standards of the enemy, which was happy to make snipers of women because their ideology had leveled every preexisting societal norm. If a man can be shot in the head in combat, why not a woman? Isn't that progress? If she isn't up to the task of dealing with a squadron of Marines, and dies a pointless death in the service of the State, shouldn't we pause in admiration because she was a BADASS?)

Anyway: I know I'll watch Star Wars: The Force Gets Out of Bed again, but not soon. There will be a time when I think "of course. Now." I expect I will see things I didn't see, but have the same impression: these are good characters and interesting people and I'm on their side. Tell me more. I did love that movie more than 6 or 1-3. It was like someone took a huge tuning fork and banged on a big gong. So satisfying.

Now, because it's late, I'm going to watch the X-Files, which annoyed because Scully had to be kinda BADASS, as if post-X-Files Gillian Anderson work had to be ladled on her character. You know who started it all? Ellen Ripley. Not because she was a BADASS, but because she found strength in fear.

OKAY the X-Files is interesting so far, but since it's predicated on an Islamic terrorist attack I can only conclude that it's not about that at all, just as the shooting of JFK was really about the climate in Dallas.

LATER: Just a mess. We get a new set of FBI agents who are like Mulder / Scully, except that the female is BADASS in the sense that she's an unlikeable pill. Skinner makes an appearance to shut dow the X-Files again or something, which is the entirely of his job description for the last 18 years. There's something about Revelations and Godly trumpets, which will probably show up in the next ep. Scully and Mulder hold hands to make the shippers quiver, although they never have the conversation they should have, which is "are we sure we had a kid? Those last seasons were a mess."

AV Club review:

Shiraz’s presence and the threat of a terrorist cell complicates things in a way Chris Carter’s script never earns. He tries to be as sympathetic as possible to Shiraz, and paints the locals and Homeland officers around him as hateful creeps in their own right, but it’s hard to shake the fact that we never dig much deeper than “some artist made an offensive painting, ka-boom.”

He tries to be as sympathetic as possible to Shiraz. Who went to kill people for Mohammed cartoons. He didn't detonate his suicide bomb, though - obviously, because he survived. This makes him sympathetic.

Also: Ha ha ha the main FBI guy is an IDIOT who thinks all Muslims have a picture of Bin Ladin on their fridge, and hahahaha the nurse taking care of the poor injured guy who happens to be Muslim is part of a UN plot to import lotsa Mooslims because this is set in Texas, and of course she tries to turn off his life support because of course TEXAS! (Remember, the injured guy was a suicide bomber blowing up an exhibit of Mohammed cartoons, but like a Marxist shooting a President in Texas, that's just the cover story.) Then Mulder takes mushrooms and trips, and there's line dancing, and the Lone Gunman to remind you how much you hated what they did with them, and we get some cool visuals with the Cigarette Smoking Man whipping Mulder on a boat on the river Styx.

Here's your sympathy, and it's odd:

The Pieta. So the guy who - for some reason - didn't push the button once he got inside the art show is Jesus. Maybe it was wired poorly. Comments on the AV Club:

yeah maybe having a Muslim terrorist on your show was acceptable 10-20 years ago - looking at you too 24 you fearmongering trash - but this is 2016. Like seriously.

I'm so turned off by seeing Muslims - who are already persecuted - being the victims of further demonisation just to make an episode of TV.

I think we're at the point about an actual straight factual documentary about reaction to the Draw Mohammed story would be regarded as demonisation and fearmongering. Because the idea of building a story around a Muslim terrorist in 2016 makes the smart people wonder what you're really trying to say, because obvs the writers gone out of their way to fabricate some ridiculous story line.

I wrote that last Saturday; now I've seen the ending of the X-Files reboot. Everyone involved needs to be slapped hard with a wet dead mackerel with a gut full of BBs. Looks like we're in for another season that involves looking for a Magic Youth, because if there's one thing fans were clamoring for, it was a cliffhanger that sets up a Tearful Reunion with a child actor. Just stop it. Just - no. Stop reminding me of everything I had to forget to like the show.


Swingin' kids with their caaaarazy mind-blowing graphics:

1971. Can you tell? A short-flipper machine - one of the last - with a playfield some described as "barren." No kidding.

This shot shows how the Number 4 was crucial to the play. That was about all there was to do: light up four numbers.

White-haired pantsuit vixens are the Future!





Spring means happy, carefree days of outdoor drudgery! It contains chemicals that make you hallucinate, and think your clothing is talking to you:



DUZ wuz such a peculiar name; it looks dull and sullen and almost illiterate. But it was NEW and that matters. This is new Duz, but apparently there was old Duz, this being "the finest duz that ever was" - in the same familiar box. Mind you, before that it was also the best possible Duz, and they would never had admitted there was room for improvement.

Duz went up against Tide, and supposedly left your hands feeling better - i.e., not as if you had been soaking them in mild acid. Duz and Tide would duke it out in the market for years, and while both were made by Proctor and Gamble, I'd like to think that one was made by Proctor and the other by Gamble, and the two entites occupied separate wings of a massive HQ, with fist-fights in the common lobby.


Behold the lamps of the late 1940s. Some people think the 40s were sleek and "Art Deco" and streamlined.



The wallpaper was very 40s, and I like it. But it doesn't go with the fur. Nothing would go with that lamp.


It came in blue, too! This may explain why the sleek, minimalist styles of Scandanavian design were so popular; what a relief to be done with all this . . .this fussy Grandma stuff.



The Rhumba King himself drew these charmingly self-deprecating illustrations. Get this:

Entering the world of show business, he played with a band called The Gigolos during the tango craze.Later, he went to work for the Los Angeles Times as a cartoonist. Cugat's caricatures were later nationally syndicated. His older brother, Francis, was an artist of some note, having painted the famous cover art for F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel, The Great Gatsby.

The famous one being this one. It was the only one he designed - and it was designed before the book was written.

Where most authors have little to no input into the cover of their book, Fitzgerald seems to have been an integral part of the process.

In a 1991 paper written by Charles Scribner, he traces the origin of the cover and discusses the links between the book and its cover, at one point stating that the cover was created before the book was finished and that Fitzgerald wrote the cover into the book.

“For Christ’s sake don’t give anyone that jacket you’re saving for me,” Fitzgerald wrote, “I’ve written it into the book.”



There's a bit of trivia to drop some day.

I was about 20 pages into a magazine devoted to 1950s AV equipment before I realized it wasn't going to get any better than this.



Of course she's happy! She's a sub, and filmstrips mean it's a light day of work. Ah, filmstrips - the most disappointing word in AV. When they wheeled in the machine you thought you might get a movie, but nah, ah crap, it's a filmstrip.

As for the SVE:

SVE & Churchill Media was founded in Chicago in 1919 by Harley L. Clarke, who wanted to see motion pictures used for educational purposes, as well as entertainment.

Here's their logo and stinger.


Aren't you glad, etc.:


The soap package design was one of the best of the era. This was the soap we used; at least I remember bars of this soap in the bathroom closet. The gold one, anyway. The ice-blue one was even better.

You can see the pernicious effects of the late 60s / early seventies on the rest.

It was a contest:


So what would you do - measure the volume of each, average them out, and use that number to calculate how many items could be put in the trunk?

Were they in the original boxes, shipped in quantities to stores? That would be absolutely unfair.



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