Sunday, December 4, 2016

Art of sardines

“Sardine can”: a cartoon by Mark Stivers.

Thanks, Steven.

Related reading
All OCA sardines posts (Pinboard)

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Still at it

Not from The Onion: “Wikipedia grammar vigilante vows to keep fighting against ‘comprised of’ despite ‘resistance’” (iNews).

And from February 2015: “Man’s Wikipedia Edits Mostly Consist of Deleting ‘Comprised Of’” (Gizmodo).

Peng Chang-kuei (1919?–2016)

The chef Peng Chang-kuei, creator of General Tso’s chicken, has died. The New York Times has an obituary. Mr. Peng appeared in the excellent short documentary The Search for General Tso (dir. Ian Cheney, 2014).

[The Times says that Mr. Peng was ninety-eight. The Washington Post says ninety-seven and gives 1919 as the date of birth.]

Shameless spouse-promotion

A small package in the mailbox: Amazon? No. A present not to be opened right now? No. What is it? I opened it: “You’re on it!” said I.

Or them: in the package were two copies of a CD, Stories for Our Time: Music for Trumpet by Women Composers, by Thomas Pfotenhauer (trumpet) and Vincent Fuh (piano). And on the CD, a piece by Elaine Fine, Sonata for Trumpet and Piano. Elaine knew this recording was in the works, but had no idea when it would appear.

Pfotenhauer and Fuh are exceptional musicians. It’s nice to have your music in, or under, good hands.


More late-night MetaTV: The Twilight Zone episode “Back There” (first aired January 13, 1961) brings together Mr. Drysdale of The Beverly Hillbillies (Raymond Bailey), Emmett Clark of The Andy Griffith Show and Mayberry R.F.D. (Paul Hartman), Roy Hinkley, the Professor, of Gilligan’s Island (Russell Johnson), and Henry Aldrich of the 1940s film series (James Lydon). A fan of the Lassie television series will recognize Lydon as Mr. Dennis, the down-on-his-luck father trying to get to California in the Lassie episode “The Christmas Story” (first aired December 25, 1960).

Like “Back There” itself (about preventing the assassination of Abraham Lincoln), watching television in this way is an exercise in time travel. Characters past and characters future, all present on the home screen.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Merriam-Webster v. fascism

Merriam-Webster is encouraging readers to look up something other than fascism, which threatens to become its Word of the Year:

In another tweet, M-W seems to suggest looking up flumadiddle instead: “something foolish or worthless.” And guess what? Flumadiddle is now in the top one percent of lookups. Click on the link for the word and then click on the magnifying glass, as many times as you like.

Fascism would indeed be a fitting word for this year, but for some that would be cause for celebration. I’ll vote with Merriam-Webster for flumadiddle. Other words come to mind too, but I want my votes to count.

[These tweets mark an unusual way for lexicographers to be prescriptive, not descriptive.]


5:00 p.m.: Merriam-Webster has added a page of explanation: “Our Word of the Year cannot be rigged. . . . We look for a word which got a high number of lookups and increased dramatically in popularity when compared to previous years.” So lookups alone — despite “# of lookups = how we choose our Word of the Year” — are not decisive. Flumadiddle is out. Ditto fascism, “a perennial top lookup.”

A Side Street police station

[Side Street (dir. Anthony Mann, 1949). Click any image for a larger view.]

Captain Walter Anderson (Paul Kelly) has it all: coat rack, bulletin board, schoolhouse light-fixture, desk lamp, fancy telelectric-radiophonic communications equipment, and oh! those cabinets and drawers.

Other films, other police stations
L.A. Confidential : Niagara : East Side, West Side

“Try the wireless”

“I don’t care if the lines to Los Angeles are busy — try the wireless or something!”

As heard in the Perry Mason episode “The Case of the Madcap Modiste,” first aired April 30, 1960.

Related reading
All OCA Perry Mason posts (Pinboard)

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Bernie Sanders on the United Technologies deal

Senator Bernie Sanders, writing in The Washington Post about the president-elect’s “deal” with United Technologies:

Trump has endangered the jobs of workers who were previously safe in the United States. Why? Because he has signaled to every corporation in America that they can threaten to offshore jobs in exchange for business-friendly tax benefits and incentives. Even corporations that weren’t thinking of offshoring jobs will most probably be reevaluating their stance this morning. And who would pay for the high cost for tax cuts that go to the richest businessmen in America? The working class of America.
Bait, meet switch.

Jim Jarmusch’s Paterson

Jim Jarmusch’s film Paterson opens on December 28. I hope that it opens near me. Filmed in Paterson, New Jersey, it’s the story of a bus driver and poet named Paterson — just Paterson. Here’s the film’s IMDb page. And here’s the trailer.

For anyone who loves modern American poetry, Paterson is important territory. Just ask William Carlos Williams.

[In Williams’s poem, Paterson is both a city and a man — not a bus driver but a mythic man, “Dr. Paterson.”]