Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Benefits of Being a Republican Delegate

It has come to our attention that Tampa, Florida, where the Republican National Convention is unraveling this week, is the strip club capital of the United States. There are more than fifty clubs in Tampa boasting a no-dress code.

Are the delegates taking advantage of this unusual perk? Some indeed are. Stormy, an aptly named dancer at one of the clubs, reports that "they tip well."

As far as we know, no official convention events are scheduled to take place in the clubs. Even so, the Pointless Digressions crew will be watching the week with interest--all of us wearing our Obama tee-shirts.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Happy Birthday, Mrs. Parker

We remembered the birthdays recently of three persons who gave, and continue to give, the world enormous pleasure: Julia Child, Gene Kelly and Dorothy Parker. All departed now, but we like to think of Mesdames Child and Parker hoofing thru Paradise with Mr. Kelly.

Dorothy Parker has eleven entries in "Bartlett's Familiar Quotations," and she could have had eleven pages. They do have her critique of an early Katherine Hepburn performance, in which she wrote "Miss Hepburn runs the gamut of emotions from A to B." They do not have her riposte to Claire Booth Luce. The two found themselves together at a doorway. Mrs. Luce suggested Mrs. Parker go first, saying "Age before beauty." Mrs. Parker swept by, saying "Pearls before swine."

They have her review of A.A. Milne's "The House at Pooh Corner." In her New Yorker column, Constant Reader, she wrote "Tonstant Weader fwowed up." There is also her reworking of a classic nursery rhyme:

"Higgledy-piggledy my white hen,
She lays eggs for gentlemen.
She cannot be persuaded by gun or lariat
To come across for the proletariat."

Dorothy Parker chose for her epitaph "Excuse my dust." She would be 119 years old, if she were with us today. And perhaps she is. It has been reported that her ghostly presence has been sensed in her legendary hangout, Manhattan's Algonquin Hotel.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


The instant popularity of the "Strip Billiards" video featuring Prince Harry has given television producers the inspiration for a series of new reality shows.

"I had never heard of strip billiards," said Irving Watcheler, producer of extreme sports competitions, "but I think it's a great idea, and just the beginning of a new round of reality TV. Knowing the sports the Royals like, I'd like to do 'Strip Polo' and maybe 'Strip Fox Hunting.' We thought the reality thing had bottomed out, but this has given us a great new start."

Asked if Prince Harry might appear in any of the planned programs, Watcheler would only say "We'd like to be in negotiation with him, but I believe the Palace has him under cover."

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Directors' Cut

Accompanying the 2012 Critics' Top Ten Poll in "Sight & Sound" was the Directors' Top Ten--the ten best films ever screened, according to a poll of directors. Five of the critics' top ten made the directors' list: "Tokyo Story" (which placed first), "Citizen Kane" (third), "Vertigo" (ninth), "8 1/2" and "2001." (That "2001" made either list is a mystery to us. There is a Kubrick film that deserves to be in the top ten, but it is not "2001"; it is "Dr. Strangelove.")

The directors' other choices included two by Coppola,"The Godfather" and "Apocalypse Now," De Sica's "The Bicycle Thief," Scorsese's "Taxi Driver" ("You talkin' to me?") and the little known Russian film "Mirror" by Andrei Tarkovsky.

Good films, all, but where are "On the Waterfront"? "Singin' in the Rain"? " The Treasure of Sierra Madre"?

We think it's time for "Sight & Sound" to commission a Bloggers' Top Ten Poll.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Vhere to go? Vertigo!

Every ten years, "Sight & Sound," a publication of the British Film Institute, canvasses international film critics and asks them to rank the top ten films of all time. For fifty years, the number one film had been Orson Welles's 1941 "Citizen Kane," but this year, the number one spot went to "Vertigo," made by Alfred Hitchcock in 1958.

Interesting choice. The Fifties were great years for Hitchcock. In that decade he made not only "Vertigo," but also "Strangers On a Train," "Dial M for Murder," "Rear Window," "To Catch a Thief," "The Man Who Knew Too Much," "The Wrong Man" and "Psycho."

There are some Hitchcock fans who believe "Rear Window" is a better film than "Vertigo," and Hitchcock's own favorite among his films was "Shadow of a Doubt" from the 1940s.

Top ten films on the "Sight & Sound" list:

1. "Vertigo"
2: "Citizen Kane"
3. "Tokyo Story," directed by Yasujiro Ozu in 1953
4. "The Rules of the Game," Jean Renoir's 1939 classic
5. "Sunrise," sub-titled "A Song of Two Humans," a silent film made by F.W. Murnau in 1927
6. "2001: A Space Odyssey," Stanley Kubrick's 1968 sci-fling
7: "The Searchers," the darkest of the John Ford-John Wayne stories (said to have inspired Martin Scorsese), filmed in 1956
8."Man with a Movie Camera," directed by Dziga Vertov in 1926
9. "The Passion of Joan of Arc," Carl Dreyer's 1928 silent triumph
10. "8 1/2," Federico Fellini's 1963 masterpiece

Our film critic, Bosley Winklesdorf, will have more to say about this. Stay tuned.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Red Wind

Various weather forecasters, not including George Carlin's Hippy-Dippy Weatherman, have assured us the heat wave is over. Nevertheless, over the past few days, as the temperature climbed, we have thought of the opening paragraph of Raymond Chandler's "Red Wind," Chandler being the one we turn to when we want to know how to write. Here it comes:

"There was a desert wind blowing that night. It was one of those hot dry Santa Anas that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends up in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands' necks. Anything can happen. You can even get a full glass of beer at a cocktail lounge."

"Red Wind" is in many anthologies, and there is a fine reading, by Elliott Gould, on an audio disc.

Meanwhile, stay cool.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Can't Lick Those Stamps

More stamp news, Philatelists: In 1986, the US Postal Service issued a stamp honoring Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington. The denomination: 22 cents. And the reason: Some decades earlier, Duke had recorded a tune he called "22 Cent Stomp."

Putting it in the album right next to Geroy, renowned for his rather elegant stomp in the end zone.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Geroy Carries the Mail

For philatelists who are also football fans, there could be no better news: Canada Post is issuing a series of stamps saluting the Grey Cup Centennial. The one-hundredth Grey Cup game will be played November 25 in Toronto.

The stamps were designed by Toronto artist Bensimon Byrne, and each of the eight Canadian Football League teams has a stamp of its own. Among the players featured are record-setters Geroy Simon and Lui Pasaglia of the BC Lions, the diminutive but explosive Pinball Clemons, and the enormously likable Tom Wilkinson, an Andy of Mayberry kinda guy, who was Edmonton Eskimos' quarterback in the pre-Warren Moon days.

We are only sorry that there is not a stamp picturing Fred Stamps, the Eskimos' outstanding wide receiver. If there were, we could say we're collecting Stamps stamps.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Missing Memoranda

From: Republican National Committee

To: Campaign Workers

As you know, Presidential nominee Mitt Romney has named his Vice-Presidential running mate: Representative Paul Ryan. Following that announcement, a brainstorming session led to the development of the following campaign slogan, which you are urged to employ at every opportunity:

"Rally 'Round Romney and Ryan, Real Rabid Right-wing Republicans!"

From: Broadcast Chief, CBC

To: Music Programmers

While there is a significant amount of rap music being played on Radio 2, very little is Canadian. You are directed to program more Canadian rap, or, as our hip friends call it,  "C.Rap." Yes, we need more C.Rap music on our network.

From: Office of the British Columbia Premier

To: All Canadian Provincial Premiers

You are cordially invited to the next Premiers Conference, to be held in Victoria. However, in light of recent criticism of high spending in government circles, this year's formal dinner will be held in Beacon Hill Park. BYOB. And a bag lunch.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Always Be Polite to the Officials

Members of Canada's women's soccer team are under scrutiny by FIFA, the international football organization, for criticizing the referee at the Olympic Games' Canada-US match. Clearly these young women had never heard of the Alex Burrows Rule, which states: never say anything that might offend someone who wears a striped shirt and a whistle.

As a penalty, players may have to write "I must never say anything bad about an official" 500 times.

"I must never say anything bad about an official. I must never say anything bad about an official. I must never say anything bad about an official. I must never say anything bad about an official. I must never say anything bad about an official, even when they do something incredibly stupid."


Monday, August 6, 2012

Soccer Rocker

Okay, Christine Sinclair for Premier--of both BC and Alberta!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Gore Vidal has left the room.

Gore Vidal has departed this world, leaving behind a trail of scalps from both written criticism and talk show encounters.

Vidal may have been best known for his novel "Myra Breckenridge," film cameos, historical studies, and talk show feuds, but he deserves to be remembered for his essays, some of the most incisive and elegant of the past century.

He goes now where all good writers go: to matched volumes in the Library of America. (Bad writers go to remainder tables.) Presumably in the hereafter he will once again be able to trade barbs with William R. Buckley, Truman Capote and Norman Mailer (who, it is said, once head-butted him in a TV studio green room).

Please, no head-butting while wearing haloes.