Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Twinkle Town!


 Extolling the virtues of Twinkle Town glitter glue, one of the indispensible ingredients of Caitlin's Festive Holiday Slime.


Not enough for a new pair of shades


Morgan Freeman film makes just $74 in U.K.



Morgan Freeman. (FayesVision/

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Morgan Freeman's new film Momentum is a late contender for the title of 2015's biggest flop after making just $74 in Britain during its opening weekend.

The thriller, which also stars former Bond girl Olga Kurylenko and The Following's James Purefoy, opened in the U.K. last weekend, but box office figures show it brought in a paltry sum in its first three days in cinemas.

Momentum garnered scathing reviews from critics, who called the film "preposterous", and it earned less than $100 amid reports some theatres failed to register any ticket sales at all.

It also failed to make an impression on the box office chart, and the news will be a blow to Olga, whose former Bond co-star Daniel Craig is riding high on the success of his latest 007 adventure Spectre.

The British actor's fourth outing as Bond broke box office records following its release in the U.K. last month, and spent three weeks at the top of the chart before it was dethroned by the latest film in The Hunger Games franchise.

News of Momentum's dismal performance comes after editors at Forbes magazine named the biggest box office flops of the year.

The top 10 included Johnny Depp's panned comedy Mortdecai, Kristen Stewart's American Ultra, and Chris Hemsworth's hacker thriller Black Hat.

BLOGGER'S NOTE. In case you've actually been trying to follow this blog in the past 2 weeks, you won't be able to. Things are appearing and disappearing at an alarming rate. Things won't post, it takes forever to get on the site, or all you get is a shit-brown square. Then it seems to come around right again before buggering up even worse. Blogspot is one of the older forms of blog program, but it's not that, because Facebook and YouTube are also causing major problems that can't be fixed. Today Bill was even crawling around behind the computer in the nest of wires, in case the cat somehow dislodged something by jumping into them. No such luck. So posts will be sort of strange for a while. Most of the problem is in posting images, but images are crucial to this image-oriented, gif-oriented, Blingee-oriented, YouTube-video-oriented blog, so it screws things up very badly. The frustration has been huge. I can't find any consistency in the problems either, they seem to clear up, then recur. I am actually at the point of wondering if it just won't ever work right again. I mean ever, though I wonder how that is possible. Why is my computer, or whatever-it-is that drives it, so hopelessly fucked up? Meantime, I took a tiny bit of solace in reading about Morgan Freeman and his $74.00 take at the box office.

Monday, November 23, 2015

None of us knows how long this will be.

Psalm 74

A maskil of Asaph.

1 O God, why have you rejected us forever?

Why does your anger smolder against the sheep of your pasture?

2 Remember the nation you purchased long ago,

the people of your inheritance, whom you redeemed—

Mount Zion, where you dwelt.

3 Turn your steps toward these everlasting ruins,

all this destruction the enemy has brought on the sanctuary.

4 Your foes roared in the place where you met with us;

they set up their standards as signs.

5 They behaved like men wielding axes

to cut through a thicket of trees.

6 They smashed all the carved paneling

with their axes and hatchets.

7 They burned your sanctuary to the ground;

they defiled the dwelling place of your Name.

8 They said in their hearts, “We will crush them completely!”

They burned every place where God was worshiped in the land.


9 We are given no signs from God;

no prophets are left,

and none of us knows how long this will be.

10 How long will the enemy mock you, God?

Will the foe revile your name forever?

11 Why do you hold back your hand, your right hand?

Take it from the folds of your garment and destroy them!

12 But God is my King from long ago;

he brings salvation on the earth.

13 It was you who split open the sea by your power;

you broke the heads of the monster in the waters.

14 It was you who crushed the heads of Leviathan

and gave it as food to the creatures of the desert.

15 It was you who opened up springs and streams;

you dried up the ever-flowing rivers.

16 The day is yours, and yours also the night;

you established the sun and moon.

17 It was you who set all the boundaries of the earth;

you made both summer and winter.

18 Remember how the enemy has mocked you, Lord,

how foolish people have reviled your name.

19 Do not hand over the life of your dove to wild beasts;

do not forget the lives of your afflicted people forever.


20 Have regard for your covenant,

because haunts of violence fill the dark places of the land.

21 Do not let the oppressed retreat in disgrace;

may the poor and needy praise your name.

22 Rise up, O God, and defend your cause;

remember how fools mock you all day long.

23 Do not ignore the clamor of your adversaries,

the uproar of your enemies, which rises continually.

try this one

All I can do is try, mates - right? Since I am still trying to figure out why my internet connections are so unpredictably dicey, about all I can do is experiment.

Things do post, sometimes, but you can't go back and repeat the experience. It simply stops. So if you manage to post photos on Facebook, which you occasionally can, if you close FB and open it again, you won't be able to post photos. At all. Not until a certain amount of time goes by. It's as if FB gets tired or something - you wear it out, wear out its ability to display your photos. But there is no indication as to HOW LONG that resting period must be.

If you can GET on Blogspot, which is a trial in itself (a brown square is just as likely), you may be able to make a small post, with some pictures in it, but you may not go back and edit. If you try to, you will lose the whole thing because it will not save. We don't know why.

If you want to upload a wacky delightful Christmas crafts video with Caitlin and Ryan, which is obviously date-sensitive and needs to go up right away, it won't. YouTube is not taking any new videos, or at least none of mine.

None of us knows how long it will be.

Better picture of Kevin Brownlow

Though I don't think this is his usual choice of headgear, I think this is a nice photo of one of my true heroes. Not just for his incredible and encyclopedic knowledge, but because he was so nice to me when everyone else was oh, so cold - and he would have been within his rights to be colder than any of them, simply due to his status as the ultimate film historian. In fact, it's been said that "Kevin Brownlow IS film history," and I would have to agree.

It's a very rare experience for me to be listened to and respected just for having an opinion about something I love. I cherish it. If this picture of him actually posts, so much the better!

Kevin Brownlow: it's nice to get an answer, sometimes

I don't do well with computer screwups and feel both helpless and stupid, out of my depth and out of touch/obsolete. I complained about all this on Facebook, and it was interesting, the response I got. My women friends sympathized and identified and joked in a cheering-up way, and my men friends tried to fix it, or get me to fix it, and could not understand WHY I couldn't comprehend their incomprehensible computer lingo. It's just a different brain wiring, or else having testicles poisons your empathy and compassion (more likely) and inclines you to nuts-and-bolts solutions in unimaginitive straight lines that make no sense to me whatsoever.

So I fight on, as I've been doing all week, my work not saving or posting, disappearing, then suddenly ungluing from its freeze and working perfectly until the next screwup. Though the six gifs I just made worked like a dream and posted just fine.

Along with my gifs of Le Moulin Maudit (which I will post in its entirety when I get around to it, because I have a lot more I want to say about it - it's a brilliant little devilish piece of early filmmaking/storytelling), I wanted to include my lovely email exchange with Kevin Brownlow, which happened today. In case you don't know, he's the world's foremost expert on silent film and an Oscar winner for lifetime achievement in silent film restoration. And! Of all the people I tried to contact and get interested in The Glass Character, he was really the only one that took any interest or bothered to respond. I had initial interest from Rich Correll, who used to be considered Harold's "second son" and who actually phoned me from Los Angeles a couple of years ago. But there was no followup. The trail went cold when he stopped answering my emails and calls for no reason I could ascertain. Likewise with Annette Lloyd - I somehow turned her off, I think, maybe by making too familiar with her biographical subject.

Of all the people I contacted, or tried to, Kevin Brownlow was the least likely to respond because of his tremendous status and obvious busy-ness as a world figure in cinema. He's also well into his seventies and has devoted decades to the cause. As a matter of fact, he began when silent films were still being melted down and made into bootheels and such, tossed aside as dross that no one would be interested in watching. He met Harold Lloyd when he was a young film student and immediately loved him, seeing him as charming, unpretentious and not at all vain or self-obsessed.

The first time I sent an email to a major film figure and actually got a RESPONSE, I was amazed. Kevin Brownlow, for whom words like "distinguished" seem invented, with that cut-glass English accent, turned out to be jolly good fun, accessible, and friendly. He usually answered my questions promptly and with pleasure. Though I knew he wouldn't have time to read it, he agreed to write a blurb for my book that leant the back cover more than a touch of class.

If you're interested in silent film, then he is interested in talking to you. I didn't find this kind of courtesy and respect anywhere else, and I don't think I ever will.

This doesn't bring me any closer to my movie version of The Glass Character. It doesn't make the book A Success in the mysterious way it is supposed to be. But it was and is a wondrous thing to connect with someone like this. And to have him do some homework on this movie I asked about, and to GET BACK TO ME about it, is nothing short of a bloody miracle in an age when the unanswered email and the ignored request seems like the norm.

P. S. This is actually part 2 of my last post, but if I try to edit anything it freezes and won't save, so I am basically screwed.

Le Moulin Maudit: just the good parts

-----Original Message-----
From: Kevin Brownlow
Sent: Monday, November 23, 2015 1:41 PM
To: Margaret Gunning

At long last I have located that film you enquired about. LE MOULIN
MAUDIT was made in 1909 by Alfred Machin. The English title was THE
MILL, it was made by Pathe and the print emanated from the Cinematheque
Francaise, not the EYE Institute, Amsterdam, as I thought, It was
restored by the CNC. Here is the description in the Bologna catalogue
for 2009; 'Adultery, madness, murder, suicide and a sinister windmill
which confers epic dimensions on this six-minute film. The elderly
husband crucifies his young rival on the mill's sails and their sombre
shadow in the river beats time as the deadly finale is played out. Is
this the film that Julien Green (1900-1998) saw as a child and which
gave him nightmares? The elements and the atmosphere are the same: a
river, an "avenging mill" and a nightmarish escalation of horror.' (I
think Mariann Lewinsky wrote that).

You won't be surprised to learn that the director, Alfred Machin, was
primarilly  famous for making films for children! He was also a
front-line cameraman in WW1. Julien Green was an American  who wrote in
French, and who became the first non-French writer to be elected to the
Academie Francaise.

Very best

Thank you for that - it's pretty gruesome stuff. So, would this be shown as
a double feature with a comedy, perhaps a Chaplin film?  I am not sure who
the target audience was for this sort of dark expressionist stuff. The first
time I watched it, I thought it must be some kind of faux silent film or
even a parody (the heroine tied to the railroad tracks?). It's just so
sadistic, actually shocking. A morality tale, too - everyone gets punished,
even the punisher. (Those pants, though - I guess he just had to go.) My
favorite moment is when the husband finds the wooden shoes at the bottom of
the ladder. The two of them aren't actually shown going up it  - I guess
that would just be too immoral. But the idea of him scurrying up there in
bare feet - . Much more is left to the imagination here. I note too the
woman is wearing an actual corset, not a costume one. I think women were
still wearing them then.

These things are time machines, for sure.


I made a gif of this - I'll try to send it - the guy going around and around
strapped to the windmill.

Car riding horse ! yes that's what it says

All is buggered. There is some mysterious problem in my computer that is causing intermittent panic: for some unknown reason, last week, things started to fuck up. I couldn't get on sites, when normally my computer functions at light speed. When I finally did get on them, things didn't work, particularly posting photos (which is what I live for!). Text would sort of post, sometimes. This wasn't just on the blog but on Facebook. Sometimes yes, sometimes no.

Other things have quirked and eluded me. Some posts have refused to save, or refused to show up at all. (This just happened here, by the way. Everything looked perfect, I had all the photos in place, then it froze and refused to save or post, so this is about the tenth time I've had to find some other way to do this.) I have tried EVERYTHING, and my son the computer genius spent two long sessions with it and tried every purgative, every exorcistic thing that existed in his repertoire (and he does this for a living and has never been stumped before). My husband screwed around with the router, though I don't even know what that IS, and for a brief, blissful while all the problems went away, before they all came back. I would put up with it and try to find workarounds, except - sometimes it just stops. Google Chrome won't even go ON this page and gives me a gigantic brown square, just the background, which is totally absurd. I'd rather have a white page! This is not good, as there is a subtle feeling of erosion, as if the (relatively-new) computer, recently switched to Windows 10, is about to pack it in for good.

The Windows 10, by the way, was a fix, not a cause. This happened spontaneously. Installing Firefox (which now works marginally better than Chrome, but only to get me ON the blog) didn't help. Is it the new photo program that came with Windows 10? Actually, it has been working well, and I like everything but the editing program which I can do in Windows Live. Or at least I've done it successfully up to now, though "up to now" doesn't mean much any more. Is my computer confused? Why? Why does it suddenly work "almost" normally, then go wildly catawampus again (and that IS the technical term)?

The blog is the only way I can express myself as a writer now, sad as that may seem. The only rule is that I do whatever the hell I want, whenever the hell I want. It's a combination of enjoyable sharing of quirky things, and (sometimes) ranty self-expression. It has no central theme, but similar subjects come up regularly, because these are the things I care about.

So far I can post text without any problem, but who knows what is next. I may have to write with a sharp stick and a little pile of dog poo. This video you see (at the bottom, if it's still there) - I've seen it before, it's fun - would not MOVE so I could write some text under it. It's like sorcerer has gotten his wonky fingers in here and flicked the workings of it this way and that. The WORST is when it all works beautifully again, because the next time I try to use it, one subtle thing will be buggered up - or un-subtle thing - then another, then another, until I am back to the dreaded shit-brown square.

This reminds me of those demonic medical symptoms you get, and believe me I've had them, where when you finally get in to see a doctor, the symptoms are completely gone. Then you go home, a month goes by when you feel a lot better and you're sure you're all right, and then you begin to feel just a little scribbly niggle of pain in the deepest pit of your abdomen. And within a month you're screwed, and on ANOTHER waiting list. Then, just as you walk into the doctor's office, the symptoms all go away.

I've been through that in the past few years, and I am not convinced I am in the clear yet. But this is a mere computer, is it not? Since the worst symptom right now (?) seems to be very erratic posting of photos, MAYBE there's something wrong with - but no, it couldn't be, because the problems started well in advance of installing Windows 10.

I realize this is boring, but I am anxious beyond what I can say. No one seems to understand why it's so significant to me. I failed pretty abysmally at everything else - I can't sell books worth two hoots, though I do think I write good ones. (It's not that, so please don't say something like, "Ohhhh, don't worry, Margaret, your writing REALLY isn't so bad!") Most of what I wrote never saw the light of day. Honest writers, all two of them, admit they have unpublished manuscripts lurking around in their files. I published something like three out of seven. I remember a time when publishing even ONE was a golden dream, something I thought I'd never attain. But I didn't know what it would be like, the loneliness and isolation, the disappointment, and the need to keep it to myself because failure just embarrasses everyone. I've gotten to the point that I just can't do it any more.

This has become a screed. My problems probably won't happen in this post, for the computer sticks its tongue out at me regularly, dangles a hope of wholeness and function. (Oops. After dangling hope by posting one or two images, it now has shut down again. Last time this happened, all my changes were lost and I was back to square one.) Nobody realizes why this bothers me so much, and I am totally convinced other people don't even have it. Or if they do, they laugh it off, it has nothing to do with their identity. IDENTITY? Isn't that just a given? Why do you need to work so hard to maintain it, to support it? What the hell is the matter with you, anyway?

Anyway, I don't know why this is even going up here at all except that I have HAD IT, had it with all the crap that is going on. I know a blog isn't a personal journal, but I also know it's not whatever I have been doing all day for four solid years, with literally thousands of posts. Only one gained a vast readership (I See Dead People: Victorian Post-Mortem Photography) from being on Pinterest: last time I checked, it was at 106,192 views, and the time before that, a few months ago, about 100,000. Considering my average is around 25, that's not too shabby.

I will make an attempt to post some images here. The sorcerer who has been screwing with my head may well allow them this time, who knows. Or not. Like life's problems - no, like MY problems, I am sure everyone else is consistent - it's intermittent and maddening.

Which is why this funny horse video is posted at the bottom.

(P. S. At the moment, I can't even save this, let alone post it. I had to go back and restore all my changes from memory. WHY is this happening? More to the point, how the hell do I get OUT of here??)

Sunday, November 22, 2015

As you stare into the vacuum of his eyes


I used to call this "life". I used to call this "normal". I had nothing to compare it to, since the outside looked so perfect and so much energy went into maintaining it. I see now that a number of key people in my family of origin had narcissistic personality disorder. They were not arrogant power-brokers but sad, powerless people who desperately needed a facade of control, and had to suck the vitality out of the most vulnerable (youngest) members of the family in order to feel whole/alive. You don't get revenge against such people because they have more evasive/responsibility-escaping twists and turns than an octopus. But sometimes, if you just hold up a mirror, the narcissist will start to blink and primp in it as usual, but then the death rays coming out of their eyes will bounce right back at them. And that will be that.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Bugs in Love

You gotta walk that lonesome valley

Woman riding horse across Saskatchewan to raise mental health awareness

Dana Nordin hopes to increase awareness of mental health

CBC News Posted: Nov 19, 2015 1:15 PM CT Last Updated: Nov 19, 2015 1:15 PM CT

Dana Nordin plans to ride a horse almost 300 kilometres to raise awareness about mental health issues. (Dana Nordin)

Dana Nordin knows all about mental health issues.

As a child, Nordin had to deal with her mother's bi-polar disorder. Her mother would fly into rages for days at a time, then swing into an unpredictable manic state.

Several years ago, Nordin was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder herself.

Breast Cancer Run for the Cure, 2015

Now, she's riding her horse almost 300 kilometres, between the villages of Clavet and Buchanan, to honour her mother--and raise awareness.

Speaking to Saskatoon Morning's Leisha Grebinski, Nordin said bi-polar disorder still isn't talked about often.

"I still struggle with the stigma," said Nordin. "Stigma is the number one problem for any kind of mental illness or addiction to get help, because there's so much pressure, internally and externally to deny what you have."

Breast Cancer Awareness and Fundraising, 2014

She hopes that the ride will change that.

"Now, I've gotten to the point where I've come out of that closet," she said. "If I can take the brunt for somebody and be the spokesperson that it's not so bad, once you come out, you might find that you have more support than you thought."

Breast Cancer Merchandising

Rough ride

Nordin first started noticing there was something different with her mother when she was seven-years-old.

"I just remember mom not being super safe or super stable," she said. "She was sleeping a lot when she was in a depressed stages, and when she was manic, she was just fast and unpredictable."

Then -- she was diagnosed in 2009 with bi-polar disorder.

Movember Rally World Record: 2015

ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

"I had certainly had episodes before then that I didn't really realize or want to see," she said. "Accepting my diagnosis meant, to me, in the back of my mind, that I had to be like my mom."

Nordin said she has a strong support team surrounding her. Still, she admits that her disorder is a struggle. Just a few days ago, she was admitted to Saskatoon's Dube Centre, to stave off an episode.

"In the past, I didn't let anyone know until the middle of it, and then I would be hospitalized and drugged," she said. "In the past, it's been about a month that I was hospitalized. But this time it was only a week."

She plans to go on her ride this weekend.

BLOGGER'S COMMENTS. As with Clara Hughes, we have one incredibly brave woman here: brave not just because of what she has endured, but because she is willing to ride that lonesome valley to make others aware of people's suffering.

Cancer awareness is big business now, and no one ever says anything against it or how the funds are raised. But I did hear this about Clara Hughes and her magnificent (lone) cross-country cycling journey for mental health awareness:

"Oh, great. Now the crazies want to get in on it."

"The crazies". People with mental illness still have that dungeon chill about them, that sense they should be "put away", at least symbolically, because they're frightening, dangerous, and a source of shame. How bizarre to even think of having a rally or a run to benefit them! The kinds of jokes that would probably result make me shudder.

There is lip service paid, but not much else. We constantly hear people who haven't suffered from it exhorting others to "reach out for help!", when for the most part the only "help" is hospitals with no beds and therapists with months-long waiting lists (not to mention misdiagnoses, mismedication and general insensitivity in the medical community). Why so many holes in the system, I wonder? The bucks aren't there. No one is motivated to donate or fund-raise because of the (and how I hate this word!) stigma. No rallies for whack jobs, thank you very much.

Look at the multiple millions the breast cancer movement has hauled in - though only a small percentage actually goes to research. The rest is for running that vast juggernaut, the "pink" industry. As for mental health, have you ever pressed a few bucks into a bucket for this particular cause?

Can you imagine the mentally ill being seen not as whack jobs and nut cases, but warriors and heroes?

Why just one woman on a horse? Where are the pink tshirts, the ice buckets, the millions of dollars, the cheers?

Because people don't feel comfortable. Let's not let the crazies in on it. Who knows what Godforsaken group of people might be next.

Lonesome Valley

Words and Music by Woody Guthrie

You gotta walk that lonesome valley,
You gotta walk it by yourself,
Nobody here can walk it for you,
You gotta walk it by yourself.

Some people say that John was a Baptist,
Some folks say he was a Jew,
But your holy scripture tells you
That he was a preacher too.

Daniel was a Bible hero,
Was a prophet brave and true,
In a den of hungry lions
Proved what faith can do for you.

There's a road that leads to glory
Through a valley far away,
Nobody else can walk it for you,
They can only point the way.

Mamma and daddy loves you dearly,
Sister does and brother, too,
They may beg you to go with them,
But they cannot go for you.

I'm gonna walk that lonesome valley,
I'm gonna walk it by myself,
Don't want to nobody to walk it for me,
I'm gonna walk it by myself.

Jelly-boned swines

"Curse the blasted, jelly-boned swines, the slimy, the belly-wriggling invertebrates, the miserable sodding rotters, the flaming sods, the snivelling, dribbling, dithering palsied pulse-less lot that make up England today. . . . God, how I hate them! God curse them, funkers. God blast them, wishwash. Exterminate them, slime." 

-- D.H. Lawrence's reaction to a London publisher's rejection of "Sons and Lovers" due to its “want of reticence.”

. . . and as Evelyn Waugh said of the Welsh:

"From the earliest times the Welsh have been looked upon as an unclean people. It is thus that they have preserved their racial integrity. Their sons and daughters rarely mate with humankind except their own blood relations.”

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Phuc Dat Bich!

Phuc Dat Bich posted a picture of his passport on Facebook to prove it was his real name

NOVEMBER 20, 20154:12PM

Phuc Dat Bich. Yes that is his real name as the passport proves.

Elissa Doherty

IF YOU have ever thought your name sounded bad, spare a thought for this guy.

Phuc Dat Bich (yes, that is his real name) was tired of being accused of having a “false and misleading” name, so he took matters in to his own hands.

After having his Facebook account shut down three times, the 23-year-old Vietnamese-Australian posted a picture of his passport to the site to prove it was real.

“I find it highly irritating the fact that nobody seems to believe me when I say that my full legal name is how you see it,” he wrote. “I’ve been accused of using a false and misleading name of which I find very offensive. Is it because I’m Asian? Is it?"

Phuc Dat Bich loves his Subaru.Source:Supplied

Guess who’s riding in this hotted up Suby?Source:Supplied

“Having my fb [sic] shut down multiple times and forced to change my name to my ‘real’ name, so just to put it out there. My name. Yours Sincerely, Phuc Dat Bich.”

His post has received more than 21,000 likes and was shared 65,000 times, with many calling for Phuc Dat Bich (pronounced Phoop Dook Bic) to embrace how it sounds in ‘Stralyn’.

Phuc Dat is a common name in Vietnam, while Bich (“Beht”) is usually a first name for girls.

One of his best friends, Brett, confirmed Phuc Dat Bich’s authenticity and rejected suggestions on social media that the passport had been doctored.

He said Facebook had even asked his mate to provide evidence his name was real.

“He’s able to get through international airports so it is legitimate,” he told the Herald Sun.

Meantime, is post has elicited both sympathy and mirth in unequal doses, with one on Twitter pledging to name their children after him.

Facebook friends have questioned the safety of publicly sharing his passport details on social media, while others wondered about the likelihood of identity theft.

“Who the HELL would want to steal THAT identity!!!,” wrote one.

The 23-year-old says on his Facebook that he works at NAB as a cleaner and is a member of many Subaru clubs around Victoria.

Twitter: @ElissaDoherty

You tell 'em, Bich!