Way better than “gerbil,” I suppose


You Would Be a Pet Cat


Independent and aloof, you don’t like to be dependent on anyone.  And as for other people, you can take them or leave them.  You often don’t care.
You live your life by your own rules. And you have deep motivations that no one truly understands.

Why you would make a great pet:  You’re not needy or greedy… unlike other four legged friends.

Why you would make a bad pet: You’re not exactly running down to greet people at the door

What you would love about being a cat: Agility and freedom

What you would hate about being a cat: Being treated like a dog by clueless humans

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Desktop cinema 2: Stolen

I was up early this morning and soon tired of listening to the news.  So I enjoyed my coffee and cereal while watching my second ever Netflix “watch instantly” movie.

I prefer the term “desktop cinema” for this activity, a delightful use of broadband internet.  I suppose it’s possible to get that video streamed onto a big TV, but for now I’m happy to watch on my widescreen PC monitor.

Today’s choice:  Stolen, a 2005 documentary about the biggest art theft in modern history – still unsolved.  In the wee hours of March 18, 1990, as much of Boston was sleeping off – or winding down – St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, men disguised as cops entered the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and made off with 13 priceless masterworks.  Including Vermeer’s “The Concert” and Rembrandt’s “The Storm on the Sea of Galilee.”

Stolen deftly educates in two hours.  The common thread is obsession – or at least preoccupation.   Scholars are moved to tears recalling the Vermeer, or thinking of the dire selfishness of those who would deprive the world of such art.   Novelist Tracy Chevalier saw Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring” at 19, has had a poster of it on her wall at home ever since, and wrote the best-selling novel inspired by the painting.

Investigator Harold Smith follows leads down blind alleys in search of the stolen masterpieces. He gets conned, may have gotten close, and although never finding any of the pictures is not discouraged after all of it.   Smith had battled skin cancer for fifty years by then and went about wearing a natty suit, a fedora, an eye patch and a prosthetic nose.  He was not the easily discouraged type.  (He died shortly before the film’s release.)

We learn of the Irish Republican Army connection, and as Smith follows that trail we meet a hyperactive Brit art “locator” and a Scotland Yard fine art squad investigator who works with him from time to time.  We get a hint that even the IRA may have some preoccupation  Continue reading

Girl 27

Girl 27

Just now I watched my first Netflix “instant” movie here on my PC.  This could be addictive.  Just choose the flick, and there it is, playing along while I sit here working on other things.  My monitor’s just big enough to allow me to have the movie playing on one side and a Word document open on the other side.  Admittedly they are both a little squinched but it worked just fine today.

I selected Girl 27, a documentary released last year about a 1937 Hollywood rape case which was not merely hushed up, but nearly obliterated from history.   A link from the official film website to a “Girl 27” myspace page (kind of icky in my opinion) leads to this promotional blurb:

HOLLYWOOD 1937 — Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the world’s most prestigious and powerful movie studio, tricks 120 underage chorus girls into attending a stag party for its visiting salesmen. When dancer Patricia Douglas tries to flee, she is brutally raped; defying the studio’s order for silence, Douglas files a landmark lawsuit while M-G-M launches the biggest cover-up in Hollywood history – until six decades later, when author-screenwriter David Stenn stumbles upon the story. Stenn’s decade-long search for the truth leads to Patricia Douglas herself, nearly ninety and still in hiding. Will she go public once again, or will Hollywood’s best suppressed scandal die with her?

This would have been a much better film with less of David Stenn in it front and center, but even his name-dropping ego trip couldn’t completely sidetrack the main story here.  Clips from films of the era are interwoven with the narrative to add literal punch to a story that is powerfully sad and disturbing.   Even the children of a key witness who changed his story in court discuss that onscreen here.

We also hear briefly from Judy Lewis.  She is Loretta Young’s daughter, the subject of another big Hollywood cover-up.  She was allegedly adopted by the single movie star, but in fact was Young’s illegitimate child, fathered by Clark Gable.  Apparently it was one of the best-known open secrets in town at the time, but the press all played along with the official story.  The kid inherited her dad’s trademark large ears, so her mom kept her in bonnets and scarves until she was 6 when she had surgery to pin them back.

Netflix has just lifted its limits on how many movies a month I can watch instantly.

Oh, dear.  If they offer exercise videos on this plan, I’m out of excuses for not working out, do you think?