Monday, July 26, 2010

Mechanix Monday

In the tradition of Turtle Tchotchke Tuesdays I present Mechanix Mondays, devoted to the lighlights of the August 1933 issue of Modern Mechanix and Inventions (which is the only issue that Harvard owns).  This week I present the cover!

August is the season for lost gold treasure hunts!  Our hunter sports a tomato-red diving suit with golden fittings and chic claw-style artificial hands.  Happy hunting!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday Foodfest

Here's what JB brought for lunch today.

Very healthy, but Diane brought in some fudge for everybody!

It was delicious and so easy; here's the recipe.  Thanks, Diane.

UPDATE:  This recipe works well with Butterscotch chips too!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Chuck's Flying Saucer

Chuck says there is a flying saucer in this picture.  I marked the two places where it might have been traveling in red.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Bug on a Rug

Here's another Photoshop thing made from Dover clip art.

A Nostalgia Fix

During my freshman week (1973) there was an outdoor screening of The President's Analyst at my dorm (Hanszen College).  I remember it being slow in the first half.  In the name of nostalgia, I decided to re-view it.  This time I enjoyed it all the way through.  Silly but fun. Perhaps my powers concentration have sharpened with age.  I did remember this part, presented below, that spoofed those Bell Lab films we used to see in school.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Ghostly Omen?

As my regular readers know, I recently bemoaned the absense of The Bird's Nest from the Library of America edition of Shirley Jackson's work.  Then, what should show up on the hedge in front of Lamont but an actual bird's nest!

Perhaps, as Steve suggested, a tree-pruner found the nest and placed it there.....or, could it be a sign from the ghost of Shirley Jackson signaling her agreement with me?
UPDATE:  The LOA is planning another volume that will include The Bird's Nest.  So I guess I will have to retract my haunting-curse on J.C. Oates.

40 Years Later We Still Look Like Ourselves

Here I am today and 40 years ago.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Saturday, July 10, 2010

What Are Ghosts Anyway?

Yesterday in the staff room Chris and I were talking about supernatural fiction.  He was saying that ghost stories were, in a sense, out of date, since people don't believe in ghosts anymore. How could a modern person get scared?  Only movies could do the job with their appalling special effects.

I was struggling to explain my own love of some supernatural fiction; fiction in which the ghosts are taken seriously as characters and there is real character development.  I kept getting stuck in my explanations.  I think the ghost has to have a psychological connection with a living character, but I don't want to say that the ghost symbolizes somebody's repressed something-or-other.  Then people are bound to think I mean it is just in the character's mind. "Just in somebody's mind" usually means, "It's not real."  It means one is taking a pitying or smug attitude towards that character:  "Poor thing!  She's obviously nuts." (I hate studies of The Turn of the Screw that take that attitude.)  I'm a Jungian; I believe in the reality of the psyche.  I think the mind is more than an epiphenomenon of the brain.  I believe in Rupert Sheldrake's "extended mind."  As far as ghosts go, I neither believe nor disbelieve that ghostly phenomenon are spirits of the dead.  So if a ghost in a story is acting out some unconscious complex of a living character, that doesn't diminish the reality of the ghost character at all.

And, speaking of supernatural fiction, I had been eagerly awaiting the Library of America edition of Shirley Jackson's work.  In particular, I was looking forward to owning her novel The Bird's Nest, which is not available new at a reasonable price.  (I read the Widener copy.)  I could have bought a grimey old paperback, but I would so much prefer to reread it printed on crackling fresh new pages.  But what a disappointment!  The editor of that edition, Joyce Carol Oates, didn't think The Bird's Nest was good enough to include.  In fact, in the interview of the LOA site, Oates admiration of Jackson sounded rather restrained. She also makes that distinction (which I disdain) between ghosts that are "psychological" and ones that are "real" I am pissed, and I hope Oates gets thouroughly haunted by Jackson's ghost.
UPDATE:  The LOA is planning another volume that will include The Bird's Nest.  So I guess I will have to retract my haunting-curse on J.C. Oates.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Italy in 1995

In July of 1995 I went to Italy with my old college buddy Barbara.  I took many tourist-style photos: a small person standing in front of an enormous building or statue.  I scanned and cropped a few of them for My Public.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Dinner at Chez Nouveau Julie and Dave

Julie & Dave moved into a wonderful condo in Arlington. It's on a quiet street leading into some lovely conservation land. Last night they fed Sue and me at their new digs.

The kitchen is a muted mustard color that goes well with Dave's cap.

Sue is back from Italy.  She brought us some pasta that we ate with pesto, parmesan, and pine nuts.  She brought us jars of truffles.

Julie gives her new kitchen a workout and puts together four beautiful salads:

Stanley and Clifford are still getting used to their new home.

Here's something I've never seen before: a lard hole.  Under this lid is a bucket into which householders would dump their old lard.  Periodically the lard collector would collect the lard.

Time for a snooze.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

The Discreet Charm of Old TV

I am now watching episodes of Secret Agent, which evolved from Danger Man. John Drake is sophisticated and poker-faced, but he has a heart. Unlike 007, he doesn't make jokes about hooligans he has dispatched. For Drake, death is never hilarious.

What's with this penchant of mine for old TV and movies? I don't believe they represent a golden age of innocence, nor do I merely sneer at the outmoded beliefs and think myself superior to all these people now dead or very old. Maybe it's some strange synergy of both, or neither.