Saturday, January 19, 2019


"I can't read." "Of course you can't!  No-one has time for it these days"--Being There

Tuesday I saw Nothing Like a Dame at the Bloor.  It's a documentary about Dames Maggie Smith, Joan Plowright, Judi Dench and Eileen Atkins getting together to discuss acting, husbands and lots of stuff.  Tasty talk if you like them.

Wednesday night the History Meetup screened The Battle of Britain. (I was seeing it for the second time.) It's pretty hard to dramatize a battle that was essentially a long sequence of skirmishes.

Tonight I saw Hal at the Bloor.  It's a documentary about near-great director Hal Ashby, who made some of the most interesting movies of the '70s but couldn't get anywhere in '80s Hollywood.  A pretty sad story, really.  One can't help noticing how prophetic his Being There was, with brainless Peter Sellers ending up with people deciding to make him President--a minute later there's footage of Ronald Reagan! (Though Reagan was far less benign...)

The anime The Rose of Versailles has got to the point of the Diamond Necklace Scandal that tainted Marie Antoinette a few years before the French Revolution broke out.  I know a bit about that because when I was a kid we had the Classics Illustrated comic of Dumas' historical novel The Queen's Necklace!

Last week I finally got past Level 1893 of Candy Crush Saga, and now I've reached Level 1900!

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Computer phone

"The nights being short and the delight great and it being now, though they thought it not, near day, they fell asleep without any covering, so overheated were they what with the weather and what with their sport, Caterina having her right arm entwined about Ricciardo's neck and holding him with the left hand by that thing which you ladies think most shame to name among men"--Decameron

This evening Anne told me how to set up a phone through my computer so I won't have to use the family cellphone!

Friday afternoon I saw the documentary Maria Callas at the Bloor.  It's a documentary about opera diva Maria Callas centered on her own quotes.

Tonight I saw 54, another Bloor documentary, this time about Studio 54, the disco that became the center of the New York "scene" for a couple of years in the late '70s before being undone by drug busts, tax evasion prosecutions and general hubris.

I've got to the sixth day of the Decameron, with stories about people saving their own skin through clever replies.

Friday, January 11, 2019


Monday night I went to the Celtic Culture Meetup, where we discussed Julius Caesar's wars of conquest in Gaul.  I brought my Latin text and they were impressed that I knew the language.

Last night I went to the Intellectual Meetup at the Bampot Tea House.  Pam and my Korean friend Hongmin were both there! (We discussed "polarization" in today's politics.)

Tonight I went to the Book Swap Meetup at Paupers. (We were focusing on historical writing.) I picked up a copy of Norman Mailer's early novel The Barbary Shore.

I'm now in the fourth section of Decameron, where the stories are about unsuccessful love.

John has been tearing the dining room apart, so we've had to eat dinner in the living room a few times.

I finally fulfilled my New Year's resolution and baked bread again! (It was whole wheat.)

Sunday, January 06, 2019

History Meetup

"I want you to be happy, but I don't want you to be happy for me, because I'm not... happy"--Fantastic Beasts:  The Crimes of Grindelwald

Wednesday night's History Meetup was a big success! Fourteen people showed up despite the cold weather. Walid served as moderator, preventing people from talking too long, which was a big help.

The subject was Celtic civilization, and in addition to the main book, Blood of the Celts, I'd also glanced at The Discovery of Middle Earth, about the Celt's geographical sophistication that led to siting their towns and settlements along north-south meridians and other straight lines.  And I brought one of my French comic books about Asterix the Gaul, and there was a Korean girl there called Hongmin who's also a fan of them! (She's very friendly.)

Thursday night I saw Peter Bogdanovich's Buster Keaton documentary The Great Buster:  A Celebration at the Bloor.  I haven't been there in a while--I still haven't used up my free popcorn coupons.  But they're showing some "Best of 2018" features this month so I expect I'll be there again.

Tonight I saw the Fantastic Beasts sequel The Crimes of Grindelwald at Canada Square.  Mildly entertaining. (As the title villain, Johnny Depp reminded me of Johnny Rotten!)

Just saw Nami's backstory on One Piece. Oda Eyichiro isn't a good storyteller, he's a great storyteller!

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

New Year's

So another year has begun. What are my resolutions?  I think I'll start baking bread again, which I lapsed in over a year ago.  And I'll try to wait to read each day's new online comic strips in the morning, instead of doing it after midnight of the night before.

Wednesday night I saw the new Mary, Queen of Scots movie.  Meh.  With this sort of production they try too hard to have an original take on history. (Did England really have a Negro ambassador to Scotland?  Did Elizabeth I really have a Chinese Lady in Waiting?) Saoirse Ronan was pretty as ever in the title role, while Margot Robbie's Elizabeth bore a curious resemblance to Rufus Sewell.

I've started watching the anime The Rose of Versailles online. That one's about a girl in 18th-century France whose father wanted a boy, so he named her Oscar and brought her up to be a male heir.  Now she's a teenage soldier appointed to guard the newly-arrived Marie Antoinette.  It was made back in 1979 so the animation isn't of the best quality, but it's still fairly handsome and imaginative. (It was a big influence on Revolutionary Girl Utena, of course.)

Speaking of anime, One Piece gets more and more complex and fascinating.  I think my favorite character is Nami, the girl navigator with a practical eye for matters like food and money and planning. (It helps that I like maps too.) The story arc just now involves a high-class restaurant started by a retired pirate in the middle of the sea!

I'm finally getting serious about unsubscribing from the email lists that clog my inbox. (I originally got on so many because I liked being linked to E-petitions.)

Monday, December 24, 2018

Boccaccio's DECAMERON

Seward: "In my opinion--" Lincoln: "Which I always listen to..." "Or pretend to." "...with all three ears"--Lincoln

"Why did you hit me?" "Just because!"--One Piece

Wednesday night the History Meetup screened Steven Spielberg's Lincoln, which I was seeing for the second time.  Sally Field as Mrs. Lincoln reminded me of my own mother. (Debi mentioned that she's started reading these blogs.  That makes two fans!)

I've started reading our translation of Boccaccio's Decameron.  It's written in 17th Century English but still pretty readable. (Boccaccio's account of the Black Death in Florence is unforgettable!) There's something pretty modern about it.

Had lunch with John Snow at the Schnitzel Hub on Thursday.

Finished the third season of Sailor Moon, though I'm afraid Animelinkz may have missed one episode when they posted it online.  I've started the anime One Piece, which looks promising.  It's about a young man made of rubber who plans to become a pirate king.  It has something of the Dragon Ball spirit. (There's some McGuffin all the pirates are searching for, sort of like the seven Dragon Balls.)

I've moved the other big bookcase into my room and mostly filled that one too.  My bed currently has an extra mattress that was on the bed in the room that's being renovated! (It feels like the Princess and the Pea.)

Monday, December 17, 2018

The People's Vote

I was thinking about this People's Vote movement in Great Britain. (I'm talking about it here because there isn't enough room on Twitter.) If you ask me, they should have a plebiscite with four options:

1.  Leave the EU by the terms of the agreement the government negotiated.
2.  Reject the agreement, and leave the EU without any agreement.
3.  Reject the agreement, and don't leave the EU until a new agreement is concluded.
4.  Don't leave the EU at all.

Eleven people said they were coming to today's Reading Out Loud Meetup, but I was the only one who showed up. Someone tell me what I'm doing wrong! (If I knew of more reliable people, I'd invite them...)

Despite that, I've been in a pretty good mood the last few days due to being busier than usual.  Friday I went to an Employment & Social Services office near Church & Jarvis to submit the form that'll give me an ODSP discount on TTC fares. (For me, finding a new place in the city is always a fun adventure!) And yesterday I moved one of those big bookcases into my room and filled most of it with the books that are taking up so much space. (Which meant moving some existing furniture to make room for it.)

I've finished watching the original Dragon Ball series online.  I don't dare take up Dragon Ball Z for some time yet!

One of the comic strips I follow, 9 Chickweed Lane, did a story the other week about a character who wanted to audition to play Jack Point (the clown who loses the girl) in a local production of Gilbert & Sullivan's The Yeomen of the Guard.  That piqued my curiosity, and I went on Youtube and found an exquisite clip of a Proms performance of a famous duet from that show! (That's it above.) Unlike with other strips I can only post a link to this one.