Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Collins Kids Are Gettin' Ready To Start To Commence

Friday, January 29, 2010

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Holidays In Tartarus



He who, grown aged in this world of woe,
In deeds, not years, piercing the depths of life,
So that no wonder waits him; nor below
Can love or sorrow, fame, ambition, strife,
Cut to his heart again with the keen knife
Of silent, sharp endurance: he can tell
Why thought seeks refuge in lone caves, yet rife
With airy images, and shapes which dwell
Still unimpaired, though old, in the soul's haunted cell.

Little Georgie Gordon

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Happy Birthday, Wolfie

All movies have exposition. It's easier in books. You just write it down. In movies, you end up with some character reading a phone book now and again. If you're trying to explain things to your film audience, look to the theater, so you can explain complex things in a film engagingly. The seams don't show. Like this:



Happy Birthday, Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart. Sorry we didn't get you anything.



Tuesday, January 26, 2010

He Remembers Forgotten Beauty

San Francisco, 1905



WHEN my arms wrap you round I press
My heart upon the loveliness
That has long faded from the world;
The jewelled crowns that kings have hurled
In shadowy pools, when armies fled;
The love-tales wrought with silken thread
By dreaming ladies upon cloth
That has made fat the murderous moth;
The roses that of old time were
Woven by ladies in their hair,
The dew-cold lilies ladies bore
Through many a sacred corridor
Where such grey clouds of incense rose
That only God's eyes did not close:
For that pale breast and lingering hand
Come from a more dream-heavy land,
A more dream-heavy hour than this;
And when you sigh from kiss to kiss
I hear white Beauty sighing, too,
For hours when all must fade like dew,
But flame on flame, and deep on deep,
Throne over throne where in half sleep,
Their swords upon their iron knees,
Brood her high lonely mysteries.

William Butler Yeats

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Find Your Inner Rufus

Rufus Jacoby was 94 years old when this video was made a few years back. Passed away now. He's working at a retirement community wood shop at a place called Riderwood.



I never know what to make of places set aside for the elderly. The pragmatic benefits of the places make a certain amount of sense, but I never liked the idea of a society entirely stratified by age. Rufus had things to offer right up to the end. I imagine that a lot of his laconism springs from weariness from answering the same dumb questions over and over again. An intellectual tourist asks questions different than those trying to learn the ins and outs of a trade. I've known a bunch of guys like Rufus in my life. They mostly do things and don't talk about them unless they sense a commitment from the questioner. When Rufus wearily answers Padauk and Bubinga to his interrogator, and hears the dead silence in return that comes from true ignorance of the topic, I know in my heart that Rufus wanted to go back to his silent dialog with his work.

Talk to your work 'til the very end. It will speak for you after your wake.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

First The Snooze Alarm, Then The Cup Of Coffee



Pilgram? Yikes, no one can spell anything anymore.

Clarence and Roland White. Reader and commenter Rob de Witt sent this one along, and he has the thanks of a small portion of a grateful nation. So he's got that going for him.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Quincy Market (Election Day)


-Gimme a pack a luckies and a Traveler, Sonny.

-Sure thing, Tom.

-Weather ain't cooperatin'.

-Sit on the bench over there and read the paper. I'll make joe. No sense tryin' to drive west in the snow.

-I'll see if the thieves in the State House are robbin' me or botherin' me today.

-If that's all they're doin', they must be sleepin' in.

-It's good we got a Catholic in the corner office for an accomplice, anyway. The Curley ain't Robin Hood, but he'll do. Got my brother a job on the highway.

-I heard about that highway. Fell in, didn't it?

-The man's got the gift, he does, you've got to give it to him. They shoved their snoots and pencils in his face and said: The overpass collapsed, and your friend built it. What do you got to say about that...

-Oh, they'll have to try harder than that...

-As God is my witness, Sonny, he says: "It was an injudicious mixture of sand and cement." And the damn fool reporter just writes it down!

-What does he care what he puts in his paper? I'd rather read the Blarney, anyway. More interesting than the truth.

-And truer than the truth, maybe.

-Absotively.

-God, I lived in the City when The Curley was mayor. What a scream. The Great War breaks out and a Britisher comes and calls at the City Hall and asks for permission to try and enlist Bostonians of British descent to fight the Kaiser.

-And The Curley?

-"Go ahead; take every damn one of them."

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Whose House Winner


Asstoot reader and commenter Andy has guessed the who in the Whose House. It's my house. I bought it on Wednesday. His beautiful daughter already brushes her teeth using a Ten Finger Stepper, but he can bestow his prize on some other lucky person I'm sure. I've been the Johnny Appleseed of steppers for a while now; I'm the Paul Bunyan of Maine now as well. That's me in the picture.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

[UPDATED!] Whose House Is This? Seventeenth Entry


Today we have the seventeenth entry in our ongoing series: Whose House is This? This one is pretty obscure, so we'll start off with a hint: Not a politician this time. A well-regarded author.

[Update: This one seems to have my "astoot" readers stumped. So let's up the ante. Guess Whose House, and win a free Super Ten Finger Stepper from Sippican Cottage Furniture, in your choice of colors. You can guess as many times as you like, but only one name per comment, please]

Whose House?

Monday, January 11, 2010

I Refuse To Know It



Father said snow was the best fertilizer. I never knew what that man was talking about.

He's under the snow now; and the dirt and the fallow grass. Buried on the farm, like he wanted. I think of him under there, a kind of pole for the earth to turn about. That was his purpose, I expect.

The snow vexes me. Makes me wait. It transubstantiates and drips in to a pan in the hall. It knows I can't fix the leak until the snow is gone but then I can't find it because it doesn't leak any more. Snow isn't evil, but it's a trickster just the same.

My wife makes me do things. It's all undone in here all the time for the season is so short and it's all on the line every day. She can't understand how I sleep like a drunkard through the thunderstorms on a July night while she's terrified, but range around the house when the snow lies quiet outside. The thunder brings rain, so I am at peace. The snow brings a halt a man can never afford.

But everything I do is worth doing in January. But I wouldn't do it if the sun was riding high in the sky in his chariot. Dad knew. My wife knows. The snow knows.

I refuse to know it.

Friday, January 08, 2010

Whiskey Before Breakfast

Reader and commenter Jocko liked our Spanking the Plank video the other day, but says he likes Norman Blake pounding the cigar box even better. Hmm.

[Click on the picture to play the video on YouTube]


Talented fellow. But Norman's made an egregious error here. Magicians should never explain the sorcery. Why, after he shows you how he does it, any little child could do it.

Monday, January 04, 2010

D'accordion


Hey kid, rock and roll
Rock on, ooh, my soul
Hey kid, boogie too, did ya?

Hey shout, summertime blues
Jump up and down in my blue suede shoes
Hey kid, rock and roll, rock on

And where do we go from here?
Which is the way that's clear?

Still looking for that blue jean, baby queen
Prettiest girl I ever seen
See her shake on the movie screen, Jimmy Dean
(James Dean)

Rock on


(Awkward Family Photos)

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Does Not Require Even One Iota More Cowbell



I think it's pointless to make a mordant remark about the outfits. It would be like standing on the lip of a volcano and critiquing the color of the lava.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

You'll Also Be Required To Purchase A Brown Corduroy Jacket With Patches On The Elbows



Brings back memories, like a particularly garlicky meal does.

I was the manager of a very young Project Manager a while back. Nice kid. He was fresh out of school, and he was a freaking pinball wizard with AutoCAD. AutoCAD is a drawing program used by architects now. Very powerful; the full version is incredibly daunting when you first look at it. He would work the mouse and keyboard like he was playing Halo, which he also liked to do. I was in awe of that kid.

His mother needed a bathroom addition, and he had never designed a residential anything. It was all commercial work in school and at our job. As a favor, I drew him a few pages of drawings that he needed to give to the building inspector to get the building permit. He sat there dumbfounded looking at them, because they were drawn by hand, in pencil, and he'd never seen such a thing. He thought I was freaking Merlin.

People still do things with their hands from time to time. Try it, it's fun.