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April 20, 2021:

THE REASSURING REASSURING NEWS REASSURES

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, all those most excellent vibes and xylophones worked, and I got the reassuring news I needed to get, which was reassuring and news. That was the big event of yesterday. Otherwise, I am sitting here like so much fish, listening to an interesting ballet, Edward II, composed by one John McCabe. I gather Mr. McCabe is of the newer school but this ballet is moody but accessible, like film music, really. My kitchen smells like halibut and cube steak and is still smoky from the halibut – I have no idea why it was smokey in the oven whilst it was baking, but it’s still hanging in the air. I even opened the window for thirty minutes earlier and that apparently helped not a whit. It’s making my throat feel weird and my eyes are stinging a little, not necessarily in that order. I did manage to watch two count them two motion pictures earlier. The first motion picture was entitled Big Deal on Madonna Street, an Eyetalian comedy from Italy with a wonderful cast of players. I saw it when it came out and thought it very funny. I got the Criterion DVD when it came out twenty years ago and never watched it. The film itself remain funny all these years later (it came out in 1958 but didn’t get to the U.S. until 1960 or so I’ve read – can’t trust that, though and I haven’t been able to find it yet. The transfer is fine but clearly in the wrong aspect ratio – one look at all that unseemly headroom will tell you that and by 1958 even Italy was pretty much all widescreen. The second motion picture on DVD is also one I’ve had for years but never watched, Sons and Lovers, starring Wendy Hiller, Trevor Howard, Dean Stockwell, Mary Ure, and many others. What a wonderful movie. The screenplay is terrific, the direction by Jack Cardiff understated and perfect, and the photography by Freddie Francis in black-and-white scope is sublime – it won Francis the Oscar that year). Hiller is her usual amazing self, Trevor Howard is great, and Mary Ure in incandescent and literally lights up the screen whenever she’s on it. Which leaves Dean Stockwell, the only American in the cast, playing an Englishman. His performance is fine, but his attempt at an accent comes and goes from scene to scene. Since it was a Fox release, they probably insisted on Stockwell so it would appeal to U.S. audiences, but that’s silly – he wasn’t a box-office draw. When one thinks of all the up-and-coming Brit actors of that era – Albert Finney, Tom Courtney, Peter O’Toole, and so many others – well, any of them would have been great. But the film is just swell, and I really enjoyed it. And oh that photography. The DVD transfer is okay, but a nice, new Blu-ray would be great.

Yesterday began well – I got eight hours of sleep and the reassuring news was waiting for me as soon as I got on the computer, so I could breathe easier, unlike now with this still smoky kitchen. I did some stuff on the computer, mostly forwarding about six days of orders – that took a while. Then I went to the mail place and picked up a couple of packages. After that, I went to Gelson’s and bought an 8-ounce halibut filet and a small cube steak for the food o’ the day. I came home, pre-heated the oven, and baked the halibut, which caused, for unknown reasons, smoke. It took about twenty minutes to cook and then I ate it all up. It was excellent. Zero carbs and 250 calories. By that time, it was already late afternoon, so I didn’t want to do the Indiegogo stuff – I’ll do it today and finish it. Then I sat on my couch like so much fish and watched the two motion pictures. Just prior to that, I’d had some iTunes issues. I played one of the new CDs and right in the middle of a track the sound would cut out, but the track would keep playing silently. Then none of the other tracks had sound but would play. I tried something that was already in iTunes and the same thing happened. I finally called Apple Support and she told me what I thought she’d tell me – restart the computer. I did, and that seems to have fixed the problem and I hope it stays fixed. I also made the cube steak and that further smelled up the jernt. After I post these here notes, I’m going over to Ralph’s for Diet Coke and some Atkins bars.

Today, I’ll be up when I’m up, I’ll do whatever needs doing, I’ll finish up the Indiegogo organizing, I’ll hopefully pick up some packages, I’ll eat (either out or take-in), I’ll work on the May Kritzerland, presuming we’re going to do it, and then I’ll watch, listen, and relax.

The rest of the week is more of the same. The mentor thing is now scheduled for Thursday, and on Saturday I’m having a meal with an old pal to catch up on stuff, so that will be fun.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, be up when I’m up, do whatever needs doing, finish organizing, hopefully pick up some packages, eat, work on Kritzerland, and then watch, listen, and relax. Today’s topic of discussion: What are your favorite literary adaptations into film, the ones that you think really captured the essence and spirit of the book? Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I hit the road to dreamland, happy to have had the reassuring news.

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