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September 11, 2008:

DON’T SPEAK TO ME OF COMMAS

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, I have one question for you, it’s a good question, and I hope someone can answer it. What are these incessant commas I keep using. Why can’t I write well dear readers without the incessant and infernal commas? Why are commas the order of the day? Frankly, I’d like eggs benedict to be the order of the day instead of commas. I’m sick of commas. Don’t speak to me of commas for I shan’t listen. But commas are like second nature and one simply can’t help throwing one in every now and then, can one? There, did you see that? I just threw in two commas and I also threw in the towel for good measure (three feet six inches). Why is the comma so damnably popular? Next to the period it’s the most popular thing since white bread. Semi-colons, for example, (two commas – did you see that?) aren’t nearly as popular as the comma. Colons, too. No, the comma is the berries, according to those who punctuate, but I would like to puncture this form of punctuation and I also think that punctuation is an extremely annoying word. In any case, don’t speak to me of commas for I shan’t listen. Don’t Speak To Me Of Commas – that’s the title of my next novel, written in the Rod Serling mode. What the HELL am I going on about? Enough with the commas already – don’t I have notes to write (I used a dash – that was different)? Speaking of notes, yesterday was a sort of okay day. I got up early, did the long jog, wrote some e-mails and had a few telephonic calls, and then toddled off to lunch with a friend. We went to La La’s and I had a chicken breast with sautéed onions and garlic and a teeny-tiny side salad with very light dressing. It was just what the doctor ordered. I always try to order what the doctor ordered and happily there was a doctor sitting nearby. We were there for about ninety minutes, discussing all manner of things, and I had a very good time. After that, I shipped off a few packages, then picked up a few packages at the mail place. I then came home and had to attend to quite a lot of things. I wrote a new LACCTAA eBlast, which will be sent out Friday morning, I wrote a couple of important and long e-mails, and had several long telephonic conversations, and by the time all that was over, so was the day. I went to Gelson’s and got a tiny bit of egg salad and a tiny bit of crab salad to nosh on and then I came home and sat on my couch like so much fish.

Last night, whilst noshing, I watched a motion picture on DVD entitled The Law And Jake Wade, a pretty okay low-budget oater from MGM, starring Robert Taylor, Richard Widmark, Robert Middleton, and that woman from the original The Fly. I sort of enjoyed it, even though it’s brisk eighty-six minute running time seemed much longer. The direction by John Sturges was fine and the script had some very good dialogue (courtesy of William Bowers), and certainly Mr. Taylor and Mr. Widmark were excellent. I think one of the reasons the film never really rises beyond the ordinary is the lack of an original score – the music is tracked from other movies, never a good idea. The transfer is okay and nothing more. The sound, however, was terrible – the film was released in Perspecta stereo, but this transfer is mono and mono as if there was a blanket over the entire mix. Clearly, Warners wanted to spend as little as they could on this set, and it really shows in most of the lackluster transfers. I then checked out the new transfer of How The West Was Won, which people have been raving about everywhere. I can only judge by the standard DVD as opposed to the Blu-Ray, but from what I’ve read and seen (screencaps), the standard DVD is of lesser quality – not as sharp as it should be, which was surprising. I think they did this on purpose so that the Blu-Ray would look vastly superior. And I don’t think Warners is the only studio doing that. When standard DVD transfers are done with care, they still look incredible, but in order to show the difference in a meaningful way to the ordinary Joe, I think this is what THEY think they have to do. THEY are wrong, and THEY are reprehensible. Also, the fact that the Smilebox version (that replicates the curved Cinerama screen) is only available in the Blu-Ray set speaks volumes about how Warners is trying to force people into a new format they clearly don’t want to be forced into, at least at this point. Warners is effectively spitting in the face of their loyal consumers who helped make them successful, DVD-wise. They should be ashamed of themselves, and no amount of people posting that it was a good business decision is going to change that. It was, in fact, a bad business decision that resulted in a lot of negative posts and hard feelings. As to the color, it’s pretty good, but does not quite replicate the saturated look of the original IB Technicolor prints. If you want to do a little comparison, go to this site:

http://cineramahistory.com/htwwwdvd.htm

Once there, the first image you’ll see is taken from an IB Tech print. Then you’ll scroll down and look at a scene from the new transfer – not saturated at all and a little brown. I was also disappointed in the sound on the new DVD – it is mastered low and I had to crank my stereo and even then it wasn’t as robust as it should be and was nowhere near what this film sounded like in theaters. Again, I suspect the Blu-Ray sound is much more robust. I then watched in its entirety my pal Dave Strohmaier’s Cinerama Adventure documentary. I’d seen it before, but it remains a terrific little film, and the Cinerama clips, which here ARE Smileboxed, look really good for the most part, especially those from Search For Paradise – that is the closest I’ve ever seen a video presentation look like what IB Technicolor should look like. The blues are so incredible it just takes your breath away. Warners is, of course, afraid of the color blue, that has become very apparent in nearly all their transfers. They just don’t want to know from the color blue. Happily, other studios understand and embrace the color blue, and Dave Strohmaier certainly did. The sound on the documentary is great.

Well, why don’t we all click on the Unseemly Button below because I feel that if we don’t the dreaded commas might start appearing in abundance and we simply cannot have that.

Today, I shall be seeing Mr. Kevin Spirtas briefly, but other than that, it’s a pretty free day for me. I have work to do on the computer, and I’m going to start doing a few Nudie Musical changes that I know I want to make (very minor at this point), and I know I have to send several e-mails and have several telephonic calls and I do have some errands and whatnot to do, but mostly it will be a fairly light day.

I’m still waiting to hear about a potential meeting and/or meal for Friday – if it doesn’t happen, then Friday will be a fairly light day, too.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, stop using all these infernal commas, (oops, which is spoo spelled backwards) I must do the long jog, I must e-mail and speak on the telephonic device, I must see Mr. Spirtas briefly, I must make changes and do errands and I must find something fun and diet friendly to eat. Today’s topic of discussion: Jose mentioned that we hadn’t done a roll call in some time, so let’s do one today – how did you first find our little corner of the Internet? How long have you been with us and all that jazz? Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, and remember, don’t speak to me of commas.

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