Sunday Reads: The Church, Ireland and Reality Checks

il_fullxfull.624798709_fuxbGood Afternoon

For years there has been an inside joke in my house, my brother Denny has to watch two shows daily. Bonanza and Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. If there is any satellite issues and he can’t see these shows, which air on one of those Turner networks, he has a fit of Rainman proportions.

Now for the joke. I tease Denny about his favorite show Bonanza by calling out the name Cartwright, Cartwright…like the episode from Seinfeld, where the crew are waiting for a table in a Chinese Restaurant.

In the episode, George is waiting for a woman to call him at the Chinese restaurant. When she does call, the host calls out “Cartwright” instead of George’s name. It’s super hilarious and prompts this discussion between Jerry and George:

Who’s Cartwright?

I’m Cartwright …

You’re not Cartwright.

[EXPLODING] Of course I’m not
Cartwright …

Well, it turns out that my little joke with Denny is more on target than even I thought.

Classic ‘Seinfeld’ Joke Is Revealed To Be A Huge Easter Egg

Secret gags in “Seinfeld” are real, and they’re spectacular.

There are Superman figures slyly appearing in episodes, writers dropping in the names of their friends and tons of hidden references the show creators even forgot were there. Well, now we know of at least one more.

When “The Chinese Restaurant” episode aired on May 23, 1991, NBC was not a fan. Larry David has said the network “hated” the episode and didn’t think waiting around to get a seat in a restaurant would work as a storyline. Now, it’s recognized as one of the most iconic episodes, and it turns out its most memorable joke has been an Easter egg this whole time, according to former “Seinfeld” writer Spike Feresten.

“Like Deep Throat … This goes all the way to the top,” said Feresten, who went on to reveal the famous line’s hidden meaning to The Huffington Post.

So what and how does “Cartwright” figure in this whole thing?

 The Big Reveal: “Costanza (sounds like) ‘Bonanza’ = Cartwright”

Yep. This whole time Cartwright has been a reference to the classic Western show “Bonanza,” which followed the wild adventures of the Cartwright family.

Though the episode happened before he joined the show, Feresten says the info comes from “an unimpeachable source.” The writer was mum on if it was in fact one of the show creators — either David or Jerry Seinfeld — but, as we mentioned, did say it went “all the way to the top.”


So there you have it, kids. The mystery of why the host calls out “Cartwright” has finally been solved. Now if only Jerry could get a table …

It’s the little things that get us through the day sometimes. This little tidbit just made my day, which is good because aside from what has happened in Ireland…this has been a shitty week all around.

Referendum has changed republic forever, says Yes Equality

Irish people have woken up in a kinder, more accepting Ireland

il_fullxfull.776227136_ijf4Friday’s referendum changed more than the Irish Constitution, “it has reshaped forever the republic in which we live”, the Yes Equality Campaign has said.

Speaking at the organisation’s final press conference in Dublin on Sunday, organised to thank the Irish public for voting Yes, Brian Sheehan, co-director of the campaign, said people woke up on Sunday in a kinder, more gentle, more accepting Ireland.

He said Irish people have given a new sense of belonging to their lesbian and gay family members, friends and neighbours.

The campaign was set up by the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (Glen), the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) and Marriage Equality to canvas for a yes vote in last Friday’s referendum to allow same-sex marriage.

Some 62 per cent of voters accepted the constitutional amendment.

Gráinne Healy, co-director of the campaign, said a question was asked, that question was answered resoundingly, and all of us are the better for that.

il_fullxfull.776227310_hvhiOh yes. That is the truth.

If only we could say the same for all of us here in the US of A.

All churches in Ireland in need of ‘reality check’

The family won the same-sex marriage referendum for gay people

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin is of course correct. The Catholic Church does indeed need a reality check in the wake of the same-sex marriage referendum.

As the unequivocal result of the referendum became clear he said: “I think really that the church needs to do a reality check, a reality check right across the board, to look at the things it’s doing well, to look at the areas where we really have to start and say, ‘Look, have we drifted away completely from young people’?”

It’s not just young people. The people who voted for this referendum included tens of thousands of practicing older Catholics in the cities, towns and countryside of Ireland. People who will continue to practice their faith but who no longer accept that their gay sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, grandchildren, even their gay parents, are “objectively disordered” with a tendency to evil, as their Church teaches.

il_fullxfull.393274645_g6q4Rather, by voting Yes last Friday, they embraced their gay minority and trumpeted to the world “you are my son, you are my daughter, you are my brother, you are my sister, you are my grandchild, you are my mother, you are my father, you are my equal inlaw whatever the church may teach.”

It is an irony that those who opposed the referendum out of concern for the family were defeated by the family. The difference being that the No family was a concept, whereas last Friday’s Yes families were flesh and blood, living, breathing, flawed, impossible, loving humanity.

Read the rest at the link.

More on this fabulous news from the Green Isle…

Ireland – Lawyers, Guns & Money

The Victory for Same-Sex Marriage in Ireland –

Same-sex marriage: Catholic church needs reality check, says Dublin archbishop | World news | The Guardian

Ireland overwhelmingly votes to legalize same-sex marriage – The Washington Post

il_fullxfull.767777841_s3wuGreek hospitals cannot afford painkillers, scissors or sheets as budget cuts bite – Europe – World – The Independent

Greek hospitals have run out of supplies such as painkillers, scissors and sheets as swingeing budget cuts have left the health service unable to provide even basic provisions for operations and medical procedures.

Huge cuts to the healthcare budget, amid the economic turmoil which made millions unemployed, have left than 2.5m Greeks uninsured, up from 500,000 in 2008, the Times reported.

On coming to power the Syriza government scrapped the €5 fee for attending state hospitals and pledged to hire 4,500 more health workers, despite the need for austerity and criticism from creditors.

Notwithstanding the government’s promises, healthcare spending has fallen by 25 per cent since 2009, creating shortages of the most basic surgical equipment and leaving too little money to pay nurses’ salaries.

il_fullxfull.401215610_iy9hReports have surfaced of patients being turned away from hospital because there was no meter to measure their high blood pressure, while others have had to do without painkillers during medical procedures. One patient was even asked to bring their own sheets to hospital.

A trainee surgeon at KAT, a respected state hospital in Athens, said the situation was at “breaking point”.

This is unbelievable.

Greece ‘can not afford’ to repay IMF on schedule – Al Jazeera English

A Greek government minister has said that Athens will not be able to repay the IMF on schedule next month, reiterating previous warnings by officials during tense talks on reaching a bailout deal with the country’s creditors.

“The installment to the IMF won’t be paid,” Interior Minister Nikos Voutsis told Mega TV on Sunday. “The installments for the IMF in June are $1.8bn. This money will not be given. There is not any to be given. This is a known fact.”

Voutsis added, however, that the negotiations between Athens and its creditors were taking place “on the basis of cautious optimism that there will be a strong agreement”.

Greece faces four debt repayments to the IMF from June 5. Athens would struggle to meet all of them without using bailout funds due to it that are being blocked by its international creditors.

A failure to honour the repayments could result in default, raising the spectre of a possible exit from the euro.

il_fullxfull.772740293_cyjsOn that oil leak in California: Pipeline that leaked wasn’t equipped with auto shut-off


It’s been a year:Let’s Victim-Blame Women for Elliot Rodger’s Murders! | Feministe

On the issue of women: When the Rapist Doesn’t See It as Rape –

The rest of the links in dump format.

Peace Activists Cross Demilitarized Zone Separating Koreas –

Gloria Steinem and female activists cross Korean demilitarised zone | World news | The Guardian

71 Protesters Arrested After Cleveland Police Officer Acquitted

il_fullxfull.772702483_5u2tCleveland police make 71 arrests as protests over acquittal ‘cross the line’ | US news | The Guardian

This guy jumped up on the hood of the car and shot the unarmed drivers…to pieces.

137 shots, no justice: Cleveland protests as another cop goes free –

DuPont Chemical Plant Kills 4 Employees, Pays $99,000 Fine. That’ll Learn ‘Em. | Wonkette

History News Network | Florida professor to burn Confederate flag

“Battle Lines: A Graphic History of the Civil War” uses vivid art to tell the story of America’s darkest war –

‘You don’t belong here': Black family receives hateful note from white neighbors | theGrio

Google Explains Why the White House Topped in Racist Search Results

il_fullxfull.767771933_tdi0Zandar Versus The Stupid: Last Call For Sons Of The South

Las Vegas tycoon Sheldon Adelson will face graft accusations in US court | US news | The Guardian

Addicting Info – PATHETIC: Conservatives Badly Photoshop Posters To Fake Anti-Clinton Sentiment (PHOTOS)

Cannonfire-They are really going after Hillary, aren’t they?

il_fullxfull.767654062_38ttAddicting Info – Hillary Clinton Apologizes For Iraq War Vote, Says It Was A ‘Mistake’

Dan Savage Points Out Hypocrisy Of Duggar Family Values

This next link is connected with the shitstorm Dugger and Huckabee…can you guess?

Walker Fills Open Judge Seats With Political Appointees | Crooks and Liars

You know that Huckabee had one of his appointed Judges make those Dugger kid molestation files disappear…anyway.

Huckabee: That Duggar Boy Made A Mistake, Just Like When My Son Murdered That Dog | Wonkette

Mike Huckabee: Next president must obey ‘Supreme Being’ instead of Supreme Court on gay marriage

Huckabee: Distrust of government at new high | TheHill

Yeah, distrust of government, nothing like it when you can’t trust your law enforcement, justice system and courts. ..when it comes to cover-ups and Jeezus.

Wallace Grills Huckabee: Would You Have Ignored SCOTUS on Desegregation, Too? | Mediaite


Shit GOP idiots say:

Larry Pratt Said Black Protesters Should be Shot, Among Other Insanities. Does Ted Cruz Agree? | The Bob and Chez Show | News and Politics Podcast and Blog

GOP Rep. Compares DREAMers to Germanic Barbarians and ISIS | The Bob and Chez Show | News and Politics Podcast and Blog

Gohmet: Iraq Was Going Fine Until Secret Muslim Obama Ruined Everything | The Bob and Chez Show | News and Politics Podcast and Blog

Oh …Memorial Day Started With a Deeper Meaning

Racing to Preserve the Underground Cities of World War I | Joseph V. Micallef

Yellowstone National Park, Super Volcano Is Active

il_570xN.767658816_o82pVampire Myth Likely Caused by Disease, Scientists Say – That article is something…be sure to read it.

10 Old English Words You Need to Be Using | Mental Floss


“Mugwump is a derogatory word for somebody in charge who affects to be above petty squabbles and factions. So when your boss tries to make peace at the meeting table like an impartial angel, he is being a mugwump.”


“A rawgabbit, just in case you were wondering, is somebody who speaks in strictest confidence about a subject of which they know nothing. A rawgabbit is the person who pulls you aside and reveals in a careful whisper that the head of Compliance is having an affair with the new recruit in IT, which you know to be utterly untrue because the head of Compliance is having an affair with you, and the new recruit in IT hasn’t started yet.”

Bob Dylan: 5 Most Memorable Moments in Film (Video) – Hollywood Reporter

110 photojournalists run National Geographic’s Instagram account | Poynter.

For BB: Baby Bats Babble through Childhood Like We Do – Scientific American

And this one too: The Book of Forgetting – Scientific American

This is an open thread.

Yeah it is hella late.

Friday Nite Lite: Late As Usual

Good Late Night

Luckovich Sandwich tonight.

Just a few to post tonight, the rest are via Cagle so you will need to go and click on the links to view them directly.

Mike Luckovich: Cage-Free Bankers – Mike Luckovich – Truthdig

Moochers and Takers – Truthdig

Baltimore Study – Truthdig

Texas Bikers – Truthdig

Heavy Brother by Political Cartoonist Steve Sack

WHACKO TX by Political Cartoonist Bill Day

Air Bag Recall by Political Cartoonist Bob Englehart

Air Bag Recals by Political Cartoonist Paul Zanetti

GOP Crowd Control by Political Cartoonist Steve Sack

Colluding Banks by Political Cartoonist Adam Zyglis

The Problem With Airbags by Political Cartoonist Ingrid Rice

Republican Science by Political Cartoonist Pat Bagley

Knowing What We Know Now by Political Cartoonist Bob Englehart

Arctic Drilling by Political Cartoonist John Darkow

Memorial Day REPOST by Political Cartoonist John Cole

Memorial Day REPOST by Political Cartoonist John Darkow

IRISH FOUR LEAF CLOVER by Political Cartoonist Bill Day

Memorial Day by Political Cartoonist Bob Englehart

Government pensions by Political Cartoonist Eric Allie

Mike Luckovich AJC | Facebook


Mike Luckovich: Devil may care |

Mike Luckovich, editorial cartoonist for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, won the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning in 1995 and 2006.   See more of Mike’s work at: Best of Luckovich, May 2015.  To purchase signed prints or originals, email mike at

This is an open thread.

Wednesday Reads: Getting Medieval on the GOP’s Ass!

015869e914b4837726f0e88eeec3b043e2fb7bdbadHey Y’all

I could not bear to write a post today. So just take this one for what it is, my overzealous attempt to find a few Medieval images for the thread that reminded me of the GOP idiots who are running or announcing that they are running for Prez…in 2016. I was looking and next thing I know it is four am…go figure.

So, I decided to post the illuminations, manuscripts,  marginalia, bestiary, cheeky monkeys and the like with my own various commentary. Most of which will call back to the clowns that Boston Boomer and Dakinikat have been talking about lately. The images below are found here:

J.J. Lopez Minkoff on Pinterest

and here:  Pinterest: Getting Medieval On Your Ass


So the captions within the slide show are just my observations. Click on the links above for the information on the links.

Just a few that are beyond the scope of the political references that are the theme of the post today.



This reminds me of the Seinfeld episode with the marbled rye…“Seinfeld” The Rye (TV Episode 1996) – IMDb it airs tomorrow by the way on TBS.


The next image is also from a Seinfeld episode.



Little Jerry was born to cock fight! “Seinfeld” The Little Jerry (TV Episode 1997) – IMDb



Little Jerry is lean, mean, peckin’ machine!





Okay, now for the slide show…click on the first picture below, it should open up to the larger gallery slide show….if you cannot read the full caption under the image, use the down arrow on your keyboard, it should work to move the text so you can read the entire entry.



This is an open thread.

Sunday Reads: “Made in England” and Other Stamps of Approval

8m3GETVPcRkGood Afternoon

Did anyone catch the film Tales of Hoffmann last night? It was on TCM, and unfortunately it is not scheduled for broadcast again anytime soon. I missed it. And that is such a disappointment.

More on this film at the end of the post. The images you see are from that opera/ballet put on film in 1951 and 4K digitally restored by Martin Scorsese in a 2015 release that is being screened in limited engagements worldwide. (A few being in Austin, Nashville, San Francisco, and a couple of more cities in the US, as I said more on this later…)

First, let’s get some newsy links out of the way:

The numbers out of Nepal are shocking:

Nepal quake death toll becomes highest on record; dozens still missing | Reuters

The number of people killed in Nepal by two major earthquakes has surpassed 8,500, making the disaster the deadliest to hit the Himalayan country on record, as rescuers on Sunday searched for dozens of people still missing in remote villages.

A 7.8-magnitude earthquake hit Nepal on April 25, killing thousands and demolishing more than half a million homes, most of them in rural areas cut off from emergency medical care.

A second major quake struck on Tuesday 76 kilometers (47 miles) east of the capital Kathmandu, just as Nepalis were beginning to recover from the previous earthquake.

The death toll from the two quakes now stands at 8,583, the home ministry said on Sunday.

The previous deadliest earthquake to strike the country – in 1934 – killed at least 8,519 in Nepal, as well as thousands more in neighboring India.

Just last night another strong aftershock, if you want to call it that, struck Nepal. Makes you wonder if this is just the few before at big one, by that I mean even larger than the upper 7’s we have already seen.

460_originalTurning to US news: Duke professor: Blacks riot because they’re lazier than Asians and have ‘strange’ un-American names Will this shit ever stop:

A North Carolina professor said over the weekend that he was suspended after he was caught writing in the New York Times comment section that there was a link between the Baltimore riots and “strange” names that black people had instead of having traditional white names.

According to WTVD, Duke University Professor Jerry Hough responded to a New York Timeseditorial titled “How Racism Doomed Baltimore” by suggesting that the author’s attitude was what was “wrong” with the black community.

“[T]he blacks get symbolic recognition in an utterly incompetent mayor who handled this so badly from beginning to end that her resignation would be demanded if she were white,” he wrote. “The blacks get awful editorials like this that tell them to feel sorry for themselves.”

Hough noted that “the Asians” faced discrimination throughout U.S. history: “They didn’t feel sorry for themselves, but worked doubly hard.”

“I am a professor at Duke University,” he admitted. “Every Asian student has a very simple old American first name that symbolizes their desire for integration. Virtually every black has a strange new name that symbolizes their lack of desire for integration.”

Hough added that blacks made the problem worse by refusing to date white people.

“It was appropriate that a Chinese design won the competition for the Martin Luther King state,” he concluded. “King helped them overcome. The blacks followed Malcolm X.”

Oh brother….read the rest of what was said and the reaction at the link.

tales-of-hoffmann-the-1951-003-moira-shearer-dances-in-the-ballet-of-the-enchanted-dragonflyIn other news: Addicting Info – Elitist White Teabagger Pens An Article About What It’s Like To Be Black

Alan Caruba, contributing writer for the fringe right-wing Tea Party News Network, has some pretty impressive credentials. Founder of “The Center for Anxiety,” a conservative propaganda mill, Alan has spent his entire life on the quest for knowledge.

Not the kind of knowledge a contemporary student or scholar craves, mind you; Alan’s quest is for knowledge of how to be as ignorant as humanly possible.

At that he is a complete success. Caruba is a notorious science denier; for years he’s claimed that universities keep the myth alive for the benefit of…who knows who. He’s also a proponent of all things biblical, and he hates the LGBT community with a passion because he’s so much better than them.

The list goes on, straight down the lines of the fringe right.  Alan Caruba is a holier than thou myth junkie whose views are appreciated by knuckle-dragging nitwits across America.

It’s no wonder he writes for the number one publication of the Tea Party.

6a00e55290e7c4883301b7c748f65b970b-800wiYou ready for it? There are a lot of misleading and flat out wrong…go and take a look.

That should put you in the mood for…

Op/ed via NYT:  Housing Apartheid, American Style –


A long read via HuffPo: 61 Years After Brown v. Board Of Education, Many Schools Remain Separate And Unequal

So as you take time to read those, let’s segue to a segment from John Oliver, on the current situation in US Education:

American students face a ridiculous amount of testing. John Oliver explains how standardized tests impact school funding, the achievement gap, how often kids are expected to throw up.

Well, what do you expect, after all that standardized testing…you go to college, right?

Then what happens?

The Tales of Hoffmann (1951) Balle-4Want a job before graduating college? Study technology, and be a man |

Having a job in hand prior to commencement is a coveted security blanket, but not an easy one to land.

Still, some groups of college seniors and grad students have a better statistical chance of getting one before they enter the real world, according to a new survey.

Being a techie male puts you in the best position, says the annual Career Insight Survey from the career network AfterCollege.

Just 14 percent of college seniors have a job locked up before graduation this year, according to the findings, and only 13 percent of graduate students do.

But, among technology students, 28 percent have jobs in place. That’s far better than business students at 18 percent and life sciences students at 15 percent.

Meanwhile, 18 percent of men have a job being held for them compared to just 11 percent of women students.

“What’s particularly shocking this year is the clear discrepancy in job hunt success based on gender and area of study,” said Roberto Angulo, AfterCollege CEO.

This is particularly shocking?


More links…quick like:

The Right Baits the Left to Turn Against Hillary Clinton –

I hope this Blue Bell situation gets settled soon, but it looks like it is not: Blue Bell Creameries lays off 1,450 employees due to listeria outbreak

Xmas gifts - The Tales of HoffmannCheck it out, gays get rights before women do in Ireland. Sorry, I am so happy for this but it still stings a bit…Ireland appears set to say ‘yes’ in gay marriage vote – Al Jazeera English

The same-sex marriage referendum has transformed Ireland before it’s even begun | Una Mullally | Comment is free | The Guardian

However here in the States, Cruz needs to shut the fuck up: Addicting Info – Ted Cruz: Gay Marriage Is The ‘Greatest Threat To Religion In American History’

I can tell him where he can stick his threat to Religion too…

There is an interesting story here: Daughters of Diaspora | Al Jazeera America

Shaped by the decisions their mothers made, two cousins grapple with assimilation in both the U.S. and France

f0a581c69a1a6393ca31694449607031RIP: Elisabeth Bing, ‘Mother of Lamaze,’ Dies at 100 –

It seems this first is a long time coming: Juana Garcia, first female NY Water Taxi captain, takes helm – NY Daily News

As a call back to Emma Watson’s He for She Campaign: Salma Hayek Speaks Out on Hollywood’s Failures to Women

And while we are on the subject of Hollywood and women: Why Peggy Olson is the biggest badass on Mad Men

What is Mad Men really about? The series opens (“Smoke Gets in your Eyes”) with handsome, duplicitous, womanizing, alcoholic Donald Draper (or Dick Whitman) alone in a bar, observing patrons through smoke, seated exactly like the opaque window-jumper from the series credits.

However, the unique event which propels the first episode, and the brilliant series that follows, is Peggy Olson’s first day of employment at Sterling Cooper. And what a remarkable day it is. What begins with an awkward elevator ride with Ken Cosgrove (version 1.0), leads Peggy to personal and professional life lessons from Joan Holloway (later Harris), who sends her to a condescending, slut-shaming (and probably ex-lover) gynecologist where she scores her first birth control prescription. From there, we witness a terse Don Draper rebuff Peggy in a cringeworthy exchange, and watch her momentous day end as she guides drunk vulture Pete Campbell into her apartment for a one-night stand.

If you ever want to read a good analyses of Mad Men and the relationship of costumes to characters, go to TLo:

Mad Style | Tom & Lorenzo Fabulous & Opinionated

You will not be sorry….take a look at how they described the last time we saw Peggy, which touches on that first episode of Mad Men:

Cue the rockstar entrance:

Mad-Men-Season-7-Episode-12-Mad-Style-Costumes-Tom-Lorenzo-Site-TLO (30)

Everyone out of my way. It’s my first day on my new job.

No perfectly put-together and professional suits here. She went for a sassy little dress (complete with a row of Pussy Power buttons) instead because Roger Sterling gave her permission to stop worrying about what others think of her. And of course, it’s got her signature power color, that mustard yellow, which has been a consistent motif for her going all the way back to Day One of her career:


Mad-Men-Season-7-Episode-12-Mad-Style-Costumes-Tom-Lorenzo-Site-TLO (31)

Kick ass, Peggy. Kick ass.

And as Peggy navigates the tight hallways of McCann Erickson and embraces her future …


Mad-Men-Season-7-Episode-12-Mad-Style-Costumes-Tom-Lorenzo-Site-TLO (33)Don’s in as wide open a space as possible, with no idea of what is future’s going to be. We noted before that each final shot of this season has Don stationary, while the camera moves away from him, but this time he’s moving away from the camera himself. It feels less like things are being stripped away from him and more like he’s deliberately running away.


Seriously, their work on these Mad Style reviews is excellent. I think I will miss it just about as much as the show itself…which airs the final episode tonight.

Okay, more quick links, on Cuba:

12TALESJP-articleLargeCuba a wonderful, eye-opening experience – LA Times

Travel to Cuba – Los Angeles Times

[Postcard] | Kid Chocolate’s Place, by Jason Novak | Harper’s Magazine

On England:

Visitors enjoy Canterbury cathedral’s celebrated stained glass at ground level | Culture | The Guardian

Ben Latham-Jones acquires Ealing Studios Entertainment | Deadline

Ben Latham-Jones has fully acquired Ealing Studios Entertainment, the production entity of the iconic London-based studio, it was announced today. Latham-Jones, a former creative director for Fox, will take over the role of head of studio from Barnaby Thompson, who will now segue into focusing on directing. Thompson will retain his shares in Ealing Studios Operations, which runs the stages and facilities side of the business, alongside partners Harry Handelsman and Uri Fruchtmann.

19Latham-Jones hopes to turn Ealing into a hub of British filmmaking excellence, recalling its heyday under legendary exec Michael Balcon, who was responsible for classics including The Ladykillers and Kind Hearts and Coronets

Which brings me full circle back to the film The Tales of Hoffmann…

The Tales of Hoffmann review – Powell and Pressburger’s other magic ballet film | Film | The Guardian

“Made in England” is how Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger finally stamped their unworldly, otherworldly Tales of Hoffmann from 1951, an adaptation of the Jacques Offenbach opera, which is now on rerelease. It actually negated English and British cinema’s reputation for stolid realism. This is a hothouse flower of pure orchidaceous strangeness, enclosed in the studio’s artificial universe, fusing cinema, opera and ballet. It is sensual, macabre, dreamlike and enigmatic: like Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. In his autobiography, Powell recalls talking to a United Lead Michael Powell Emeric Pressburger Tales of Hoffmann 4K Restoration HD still 15Artists executive after the New York premiere, who said to him, wonderingly: “Micky, I wish it were possible to make films like that … ” A revealing choice of words. It was as if what this executive thought he had seen was some kind of miraculous film that he still did not believe was “possible” in any sense. Robert Rounseville is the famous poet Hoffmann, in love with a dancer, played by Moira Shearer. Hoffmann regales tavern drinkers with tales of his three former loves: Olympia, Giulietta and Antonia – an automaton, a courtesan and an invalid, three different manifestations of love’s dangerous, seductive power. In each case Robert Helpmann plays the dark nemesis figure, with his extraordinary, skull-like face. You might compare this to the 1948 Powell and Pressburger film The Red Shoes, though in many ways it is even more hallucinatory.

‘The Tales of Hoffmann,’ Newly Restored, Opens at Film Forum –

Admirers and detractors of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s film “The Tales of Hoffmann,” from Offenbach’s opera, are equally vociferous. The newly restored edition, playing at Film Forum Friday through next Thursday, reminds us why. This 1951 film belongs to a bewildering number of categories. It’s lip-sync opera, multilayered meta-theater (indeed, a dizzyingly baroque exercise in overt artifice), kitsch extravaganza of luridly colored design (by Hein Heckroth) and keenly musical ballet.

6a00e55290e7c4883301b8d0d253ce970c-800wiAnd what’s more, it’s an over-the-top example of 1950s neo-Romanticism tipping over into surrealism; it’s not merely Anglophone but terminally English (the ostentatious quaintness of several accents is its most dated feature); it’s steeped in ideas from Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes (the femme fatale entrancing the hero, the dolls whose poignancy and vivacity raise questions about reality); and it’s an audacious essay in film fantasy, sui generis in its inventions and its splicing of different arts.

I think the next sentence best describes this film:

I love it except when I don’t. It’s crazy, twee, camp, exhilarating, trite, bold.

“Tales of Hoffmann” followed the success of Powell and Pressburger’s “The Red Shoes,” and again its dance heroine is Moira Shearer. Though “Hoffmann” doesn’t have the obsessive fervor of “The Red Shoes,” it’s a much better demonstration of Shearer’s dancing. (She was often the first to say so.) She’s again teamed with the dance-mime stars Léonide Massine and Robert Helpmann; we also see again the ballerina Ludmilla Tcherina.

talesofhoffmannstella_vd_188x141_121820081113Watching it again after many years, I’m startled to see just how pervaded by dance and choreography it is. Sometimes in small, scarcely dance moments, it captures the alchemy of movement meeting music better than anything in “Red Shoes.” No wonder: The choreographer is Frederick Ashton, one of the most tellingly musical choreographers of all time, and the conductor is Thomas Beecham, experienced in working with dance since the Diaghilev Ballets Russes, and with long experience with this opera. (His rhythmic élan is a source of life from the very opening bars.) Ashton also gives the film’s best performances, though only in supporting roles.

Best to read the rest of the review at the link.

Other reviews of the film here, if you have access:

h10Classic film of the week: The Tales of Hoffmann (1951) | The Times

Three Lovers Lost: On ‘The Tales of Hoffmann’ – WSJ

Review: 1951’s ‘The Tales of Hoffmann’ is a triumph of cinematic art – LA Times

Opera Fresh: Classic “Tales Of Hoffmann” Film Gets New Life With 4K Restoration – NYFF: The Tales of Hoffmann (1951)

Video clips here: Videos for The Tales of Hoffmann

There are three at that link.

And….the trailer:

But what I want to really share, is the significance of the film….

h11Schoonmaker, Scorsese on Powell and Pressburger’s ‘Tales of Hoffmann’ | Variety

This week, Camerimage film festival presents a retrospective of the films of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. Last month at the Lumière Festival, Thelma Schoonmaker, the three-time Oscar winning editor and Powell’s widow, spoke about “The Tales of Hoffmann,” Powell and Pressburger’s 1951 adaptation of Jacques Offenbach’s opera, which is one of the films screening at Camerimage.

Martin Scorsese has influenced generations of new filmmakers. But who and what films influenced Scorsese? One front-runner: “The Tales of Hoffmann,” Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s 1951 adaptation of Jacques Offenbach’s opera, which liberated the duo from the constraints of early 1950s’ sound cinema.

In a video presentation made for and screened at the Lyon Lumière Festival in October, Scorsese admitted that he became “rather obsessed” by the movie.

hoffmann1That could be an understatement. Attending Lyon, Thelma Schoonmaker, Scorsese’s three-time Oscar winning editor and Powell’s widow, took a captivated audience through the film, shot in only 17 days, its singularity and huge impact on not only Scorsese but also George Romero. Cecil B. DeMille was another large admirer. Bertrand Tavernier pointed to “Blade Runner” as just one movie that channeled “Tales.”

It is fascinating.  Read more…at the link.

Another look here:

An even more enchanting ‘Tales of Hoffmann’ after restoration – LA Times

Martin Scorsese said it was a big influence on his films “Taxi Driver” and “Raging Bull.” George Romero, director of the seminal zombie thriller “Night of the Living Dead,” said it was the reason he became a filmmaker.

the-tales-of-hoffmann-4-600x437The “it” in question is Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s Technicolor masterpiece “The Tales of Hoffmann,” which has entranced and influenced filmmakers since its release in 1951.

“Ten Commandments” director Cecil B. DeMille wrote the British filmmakers in 1952, telling Powell and Pressburger: “For the first time in my life I was treated to Grand Opera where the beauty, power and scope of the music was equally matched by the visual presentation.”


” ‘Tales of Hoffmann’ was a daring and bold thing to try,” said Margaret Bodde, executive director of the Film Foundation, which Scorsese began 25 years ago to preserve and restore motion pictures. “The film is like an experimental film. If you read the description of the production, you wouldn’t have imagined it would have come out as well. It holds your interest in a way that you wouldn’t imagine a film like this would. ”

Now, 64 years after its initial release, “Tales of Hoffmann” has been digitally restored by the Film Foundation and the BFI National Archive in association with Studiocanal. Scorsese, Schoonmaker and Ned Price, vice president of mastering for Warner Bros. technical operations, supervised the restoration work, which was completed by Warner Bros. Motion Picture Imaging.

This restoration, which opens Friday for a weeklong run at Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theatre in Los Angeles, brings out all the detail in Hein Heckroth’s lush production and costume design and Christopher Challis’ vivid Technicolor cinematography. The new version also includes six minutes of footage that was cut before its original release, as well as an epilogue.

tales-of-hoffmann-the-1951-007-robert-helpmann-ludmilla-tcherina-in-act-iiThe original 35-millimeter Technicolor three-strip nitrate camera negative and 35-millimeter original soundtrack negative from the British Film Institute vaults were used for the restoration. The material for the added footage was also discovered at BFI.

Those involved with the Film Foundation Technicolor restorations of Powell-Pressburger’s “The Red Shoes” and “The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp” from 1943 had to contend with mold on the original negatives. But that wasn’t the case with “Tales of Hoffmann.”

“It was in quite good condition,” Price said. “We dealt with the normal shrinkage, which is inevitable with film. Over time, they lose moisture. They shrink and they warp differently. But we aligned the three strips, and they matched perfectly.”

Schoonmaker, who also supervised the restoration of “Red Shoes” and “Blimp,” said the team was “very lucky that we could concentrate on the color and the detail instead of having to spend a lot of money on cracks and mold and dirt.”

Hoffmann3For years, fans of the film have talked about missing footage, Schoonmaker said.

“Scorsese and I didn’t know what that was,” she said. “Finally, when we started getting all the elements together, the woman at the British Film Institute scoured the vaults and found the missing six minutes.”

Read more about the restored footage…

You can still catch this film on the big screen.

Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger – Pure Genius

Look on that page for scheduled screenings of this film and other Powell and Pressburger films.

m3005Events & Excursions– Portland, San Diego, Berkley…Albuquerque…Austin, go and check it out.

It is exciting because The Tales of Hoffmann is being shown in Nashville May 29th through June 4th…hopefully I can get up there to see it with my mom and Bebe…anyway, just be sure to see if you are lucky enough to be near a screening.

Well, this is a long thread for sure. Thanks to Boston Boomer who wrote all the threads this week, you sure are a hell of a trooper, super woman.

This is an open thread…yeah.

Friday Nite Lite: BB King Tributes


Good Evening


That is about right…still. (Not towards you all, but just how I’m feeling…still.) Certain manager of a big named store quit, leaving someone stuck holding the bag and since said shit store does not promote from within the  store itself, once again, another fuck over. Sorry, it is just exhausting.

Now the cartoons.


First the Cagles:

Amigo Two by Political Cartoonist Mark Streeter

THE THRILL IS GONE by Political Cartoonist Bill Day

BB King RIP by Political Cartoonist Milt Priggee

Jeb by Political Cartoonist Joe Heller

BB KING by Political Cartoonist Randy Bish

Lack Of Air by Political Cartoonist Tim Campbell

Meme by Political Cartoonist Terry Mosher

Brother George: 05/14/2015 Cartoon by Rob Rogers

Cartoon by Rob Rogers - Brother George

That Reminds Me: 05/15/2015 Cartoon by Rob Rogers

Cartoon by Rob Rogers - That Reminds Me

Texas Invasion: 05/13/2015 Cartoon by Rob Rogers

Cartoon by Rob Rogers - Texas Invasion

05/08/2015 Cartoon by David Horsey

Cartoon by David Horsey -


Mike Luckovich: America, Home of the Brave – Mike Luckovich – Truthdig


BB King – Truthdig


Blues Boy RIP – Truthdig


This is an open thread.

Legendary Bluesman B.B. King Dies at 89



We’ve lost one of the great ones. Legendary Blues Guitarist and singer B.B. King died last night in his sleep.

The AP obituary via the Joplin Globe: ‘King of the Blues’ blues legend B.B. King dead at age 89.

LAS VEGAS —€” B.B. King, whose scorching guitar licks and heartfelt vocals made him the idol of generations of musicians and fans while earning him the nickname King of the Blues, died late Thursday at home in Las Vegas. He was 89.

His attorney, Brent Bryson, told The Associated Press that King died peacefully in his sleep at 9:40 p.m. PDT. He said funeral arrangements were underway….

 Although he had continued to perform well into his 80s, the 15-time Grammy winner suffered from diabetes and had been in declining health during the past year. He collapsed during a concert in Chicago last October, later blaming dehydration and exhaustion. He had been in hospice care at his Las Vegas home.

For most of a career spanning nearly 70 years, Riley B. King was not only the undisputed king of the blues but a mentor to scores of guitarists, who included Eric Clapton, Otis Rush, Buddy Guy, Jimi Hendrix, John Mayall and Keith Richards. He recorded more than 50 albums and toured the world well into his 80s, often performing 250 or more concerts a year.

King played a Gibson guitar he affectionately called Lucille with a style that included beautifully crafted single-string runs punctuated by loud chords, subtle vibratos and bent notes.

The result could bring chills to an audience, no more so than when King used it to full effect on his signature song, “The Thrill is Gone.” He would make his guitar shout and cry in anguish as he told the tale of forsaken love, then end with a guttural shouting of the final lines: “Now that it’s all over, all I can do is wish you well.”

Live at the BBC, 1989


BBC Newsbeat: BB King’s influence on modern music.

Nicknamed “The King of Blues”, Riley B. King recorded dozens of albums and toured the world well into his 80s, wowing audiences and inspiring generations of musicians.

He was a mentor to many famous guitarists, including Jimi Hendrix, Keith Richards and Eric Clapton.

His style inspired many to learn the instrument.

“BB, anyone could play a thousand notes and never say what you said in one,” tweeted Lenny Kravitz in tribute.

BB King was ranked No. 6 on Rolling Stone magazine’s 2011 list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time.

He was known for his sophisticated soloing, subtle vibratos and bend notes – playing on the Gibson guitar he called Lucille.

Live at Sing Sing Prison in the 1970s


This is an open thread. Dakinikat will have a Friday Reads post a little later on.

Monday Reads: Pollen Tsunami, Tornadoes, and Seymour Hersh

It's a pollen tsunami!

It’s a pollen tsunami!

Good Afternoon!!

Dakinikat is still grading papers and also has to work this afternoon and tonight, so I’m filling in at the last minute.

Have your allergies been worse than usual this spring? Mine have. As it is I have to take antihistamines and decongestants year round to beat back my sinus problems.

I’ve been taking Allegra D almost every day for years. I started to worry about taking so much Sudafed, so this weekend I decided to try taking Flonase. It hasn’t been a roaring success. It does help me breathe, but it doesn’t seem to do anything for my other allergy symptoms like scratchy throat and eyes and itching skin. Last night I got so desperate that I went out to the drugstore around 10PM to get some Benedryl for the unbearable itching. So between the Benedryl hangover and the allergy symptoms, I feel like a zombie.

So I decided to google for allergy news, and look what I found:

ABC News: “Pollen storm” may not let up anytime soon.

Allergy experts are warning of a “pollen tsunami,” adding to the downside of Spring for the roughly 50 million Americans with nasal allergies.

One of the biggest pollen hot zones in the country spans the Northeast and there are indications it won’t let up anytime soon, reports CBS News correspondent Jericka Duncan.

Blooming flowers and budding branches mean Spring is in the air — and so is the pollen. It’s everywhere, collecting in thick clumps on the ground and coating cars.

Dr. Clifford Bassett, medical director of allergy and asthma care of New York, said there’s so much pollen, even people who have never had allergies are suffering.

“This particular season, we’ve been bombarded by phone calls from people experiencing allergy symptoms for the very first time,” Bassett said. “And not only allergies, but pollen triggered asthma — wheezing. People in their 50s, 60s, and beyond — never had it before.”

pollen tsunami

Great. So what’s causing the “pollen tsunami?”

Normally, trees release their pollen in early Spring, but the long, brutal winter delayed that until now, when other plants and grasses are just starting to release theirs. For allergy sufferers, it’s a perfect pollen storm.

“Right now we have birch, oak, maple pollen in the Northeast, very prevalent. If you’re sensitive to those tree pollens, you’re going to feel miserable,” Bassett said.

The article says pollen counts are at medium-to-high levels in other parts of the country also.

Tornadoes hit Texas and Arkansas early today.

Fox News: At least 10 missing after deadly tornadoes hit Arkansas, Texas.

Emergency crews were searching through wreckage Monday in parts of Texas and Arkansas and were attempting to contact relatives after a line of tornadoes battered several small communities, killing two people and leaving at least 10 missing.

The couple in their late 20s or early 30s died when a twister hit their mobile home late Sunday in the Arkansas town of Nashville, Howard County Coroner John Gray said.

Their daughter was 1 or 2 years old. He did not release the parents’ names.

Once the word spreads, he added, it will be a sad week for the community.

“That’s what it’s like in a small town,” Gray said. “You either know them or you know somebody who knows them.”

Howard County Sheriff Brian McJunkins told KLSA-TV that two other people in the town about 50 miles north of Texarkana were critically hurt.

In this Saturday, May 9, 2015 photo provided by Brian Khoury, a tornado touches down in Cisco, Texas. One person was killed Saturday night and another left in critical condition after the tornado hit Cisco, a rural farming and ranch area about 100 miles west of Fort Worth. (Brian Khoury via AP)

In this Saturday, May 9, 2015 photo provided by Brian Khoury, a tornado touches down in Cisco, Texas. One person was killed Saturday night and another left in critical condition after the tornado hit Cisco, a rural farming and ranch area about 100 miles west of Fort Worth. (Brian Khoury via AP)

USA Today: Death toll rises to 5 after storms roar through several states.

A massive cleanup and hunt for the missing were underway Monday after a line of tornadoes and wild storms roared through the nation’s Tornado Alley, killing five people and injuring dozens.

Tornadoes caused major damage in parts of Arkansas, Iowa, South Dakota and Texas on Sunday.

In Van, Texas, Van Zandt County Fire Marshal Chuck Allen said a man and a woman died and 43 people were taken to hospitals after a tornado tore through the county Sunday night. Eight people remained missing.

About 30% of the city suffered some kind of damage, and 50 people in the town of 2,700 sought shelter with the American Red Cross, Allen said.

County Judge Don Kirkpatrick thanked the public for the outpouring of support.

“We are working very hard to get Van back to normal,” Kirkpatrick said. “Van is a strong city, a strong community. We will rebuild.”

Reuters: At least four dead, 50 injured after Arkansas, Texas tornadoes.

At least four people were killed and 50 injured in Texas and Arkansas after a series of tornadoes hit the Great Plains states overnight, flattening buildings and snapping power lines, officials said on Monday.

Two people were killed in Van, about 70 miles southeast of Dallas, by a tornado that hit late on Sunday. Eight adults were still unaccounted for on Monday, Van Zandt County Fire Marshal Chuck Allen told a news conference.

Allen said workers with search dogs have been going over the wreckage to look for more victims.

Authorities said 43 people in Texas were taken by ambulances to hospitals with injuries and several more arrived on their own.

Obviously, this is a developing story; and the death toll is likely to arise. I’m just posting the latest articles.

Seymour Hersh

Seymour Hersh

Seymour Hersh’s latest project is a story on the Osama bin Laden killing published at the London Review of Books. Hersh claims that President Obama lied when he said that Pakistan did not know in advance about the U.S. raid on the bin Laden compound and that he fabricated the entire story of the Navy Seals taking down the Al Qaeda leader. Here’s the introduction to the long piece.

It’s been four years since a group of US Navy Seals assassinated Osama bin Laden in a night raid on a high-walled compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. The killing was the high point of Obama’s first term, and a major factor in his re-election. The White House still maintains that the mission was an all-American affair, and that the senior generals of Pakistan’s army and Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) were not told of the raid in advance. This is false, as are many other elements of the Obama administration’s account. The White House’s story might have been written by Lewis Carroll: would bin Laden, target of a massive international manhunt, really decide that a resort town forty miles from Islamabad would be the safest place to live and command al-Qaida’s operations? He was hiding in the open. So America said.

The most blatant lie was that Pakistan’s two most senior military leaders – General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, chief of the army staff, and General Ahmed Shuja Pasha, director general of the ISI – were never informed of the US mission. This remains the White House position despite an array of reports that have raised questions, including one by Carlotta Gall in the New York Times Magazine of 19 March 2014. Gall, who spent 12 years as the Times correspondent in Afghanistan, wrote that she’d been told by a ‘Pakistani official’ that Pasha had known before the raid that bin Laden was in Abbottabad. The story was denied by US and Pakistani officials, and went no further. In his book Pakistan: Before and after Osama (2012), Imtiaz Gul, executive director of the Centre for Research and Security Studies, a think tank in Islamabad, wrote that he’d spoken to four undercover intelligence officers who – reflecting a widely held local view – asserted that the Pakistani military must have had knowledge of the operation. The issue was raised again in February, when a retired general, Asad Durrani, who was head of the ISI in the early 1990s, told an al-Jazeera interviewer that it was ‘quite possible’ that the senior officers of the ISI did not know where bin Laden had been hiding, ‘but it was more probable that they did [know]. And the idea was that, at the right time, his location would be revealed. And the right time would have been when you can get the necessary quid pro quo – if you have someone like Osama bin Laden, you are not going to simply hand him over to the United States.’

This spring I contacted Durrani and told him in detail what I had learned about the bin Laden assault from American sources: that bin Laden had been a prisoner of the ISI at the Abbottabad compound since 2006; that Kayani and Pasha knew of the raid in advance and had made sure that the two helicopters delivering the Seals to Abbottabad could cross Pakistani airspace without triggering any alarms; that the CIA did not learn of bin Laden’s whereabouts by tracking his couriers, as the White House has claimed since May 2011, but from a former senior Pakistani intelligence officer who betrayed the secret in return for much of the $25 million reward offered by the US, and that, while Obama did order the raid and the Seal team did carry it out, many other aspects of the administration’s account were false.

Osama bin Laden's "secret" compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

Osama bin Laden’s “secret” compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

Here’s a useful summary of the Hersh article by Erin Fuchs at Business Insider.

Here are the main takeaways:

The White House’s “most blatant” lie was that Pakistan’s two most senior military officials were never informed of the mission, Hersh says.

While US officials say they found bin Laden by tracking his trusted courier, Hersh says they discovered his whereabouts from a former Pakistani intelligence officer who wanted the $25 million reward the US was offering.

The government claimed bin Laden was hiding out, but Hersh says the Pakistani intelligence agency had actually been holding him captive since 2006 to use him as leverage against Taliban and Al Qaeda activities in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

While the White House has said it would have taken bin Laden alive if it could have and that he was killed in a firefight, Hersh says that wasn’t the case. “There was no firefight as they moved into the compound; the ISI guards had gone,” Hersh wrote.

The article also takes issue with the White House’s claim that bin Laden was buried at sea in a service that followed Islamic practices. “The remains, including his head, which had only a few bullet holes in it, were thrown into a body bag and, during the helicopter flight back to Jalalabad, some body parts were tossed out over the Hindu Kush mountains — or so the Seals claimed,” Hersh reported, citing his senior US intelligence official.

Personally, as I wrote at the time, I disapproved of the killing of bin Laden. I thought he should have been arrested and put on trial in the U.S. There were obvious problems with the story, beginning with the number of ex-Navy Seals who claimed to have been the killer. I never believed the burial at sea claims either. Frankly, I found the whole episode distasteful, and I’m not all that interested in the details of what really happened–there are so many other important issues that I think are more urgent. At the same time, I’m not happy that Republicans will now have a new conspiracy theory to flog Obama with.

Hersh’s story is getting some pushback in the media, and the White House has denied his claims. Others, such as Suzie Madrak and Joseph Cannon are praising Hersh’s report. Obviously I have no way to know what the truth is, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the public story of what happened has serious problems. I haven’t had time to read these articles or the Hersh piece yet, so I’m just putting the controversy out there for you to explore if you wish.

Max Fisher at Vox: The many problems with Seymour Hersh’s Osama bin Laden conspiracy theory.

Peter Bergen at CNN critiqued the report: Was there a cover-up in bin Laden killing?

CNN: White House rejects Seymour Hersh ‘baseless assertions’ on bin Laden raid.

Slate: Explosive, Controversial Report by Seymour Hersh Says Obama Administration Lied About Bin Laden Raid.

Taylor Marsh: Seymour Hersh Weaves Wild Tale on bin Laden.

What do you think? As always this is an open thread, so feel free to post your thoughts and links on any topic in the comment thread.