After the movie we went over to a restaurant to have a meal. Looked at the menu.


That seems familiar to me. I got out my pocket computer, did a websearch casablanca - not because I doubted myself, but because I wanted to show it to the giant Swede, and then to the waiter.

“This is from my site,” I said. He was impressed and confused and said he had nothing to do with the menu, of course. A manager came over and I told her the same thing and showed her the picture, and said I expected the entire meal to be comped. Just kidding! For that I’ll bring more people. Just kidding!

There’s a larger version of it in the bar, so perhaps they got it from another source - but I’ll be damned if I know what.

If they got it from my site, it’s the first time I’ve ever seen anything from my site on a restaurant menu. And how odd that I go there and see it just as I’ve released one book that has a scene at the Casablanca, and am revising a book that spends a lot of time there. The place haunts me. The picture haunts me.

Oh, the movie. Batman. I’d read lots of muted reviews. Expected to argue with it, really. But I thought it was extraordinary from start to finish - which took a while; it’s nearly three hours. It’s still the only grown-up, plausible movie about a man in a costume who Fights Crime. Can’t quite figure out the reviewers who said it was depressing, either - yes, the second act is horribly grim, just harrowing, and you’re thrown off-balance by a set-piece that seems impossible to set right. I mean, everything goes wrong. It’s the nadir. Game over, man. It not only transcends it all at the end, it provides four beats (City Hall / Orphanage / Cafe / Cave) that just send you out of the theater with the opposite emotion you felt at the end of “Dark Knight.” That was a depressing end in retrospect, because all that stuff about scapegoating him for Dent? Happened.

I winced when I heard it would have Catwoman - the two-enemies trick is a sign of a flailing franchise, and while we all love Michelle Pfeiffer in the role that movie was offal piled high. Hathaway was perfect, because she wasn’t, you know, CATWOMAN THE VILLAINESS. Bane’s voice was a remarkable instrument; erudite and amused and unconcerned. I kept thinking “a Rhodesian Gert Frobe,” for some reason. Caught the obligatory Patrick Leahy cameo. Noted William Devane, the 80s go-to guy for JFK-like presidents, playing President John McCain.

Were there Wonderful Toys? The Bat was impressive, but hard to get your head around as a vehicle. The wheels on the motorcycle were cooler.

Almost three hours, and I never looked at my watch.

One cavil: Gotham City is Chicago. It was made evident in the last movie that it was Chicago. I understand why the plot required it to be New York, because of the bridges. And of course there’s that “Gotham” thing. But still.

One last note: it’s not really a movie about Batman. It’s about someone else the movies never really embraced as much as this one. It’s about Bruce Wayne.




Yesterday was Product Tuesday, and there was no Product for Product Tuesday. So: some items gleaned from the ads of a Life magazine in the late 1950s in the country known as the United States of America.


A better look at that Pizza kit. Can you spot the deal-killer for today's busy, time-strapped homemaker? Right.


This appeared at the bottom of an ad I'll put up on Lint tomorrow.


Wikipedia has some interesting details: The H was Mr. Hutchinson, whose full name was Shelley Byron Hutchinson. More about him here. Long story short: he made a pile of money with trading stamps in the early years of the 20th century, built a huge house, married a young woman, lost his fortune due to bad investments, lost his wife - all in a decade. In his 90s, in the middle fifties, he was still devising a comeback.

No street views available, but here's some photos of his magnificent house.

Sperry died of ptomaine poisoning, which he got on a ship returning from Europe.

The competitor:


The elephant was covered in plaid to indicate he was a Scottish elephant - an attribute reinforced by the pachyderm's headgear. This meant he was thrifty. Not cheap. Thrifty. Here's a flickr set of pages from a 1963 Top Value stamp catalog. Nothing costs money. Things are measured in terms of "Books."

These may be familiar to middle-aged people; Mom had these. I'd forgotten all about them.



The official ice cream of Willoughby! (Okay, that was set in 1888, but close enough. What was it about the 90s that interested people in the 40s and 50s? It was regarded as a golden age, a simple time, unhurried, without any of the stresses of modern life.

Just like we think about the 50s today. Without the barbershop quartets.

You're wondering: hey, does that plaid pattern indicate this is thrifty gay ice cream? No: that means PICNIC. It is the universally-understood pattern for cloths spread on the ground in the summer, prior to consumption of foodstuffs. But you knew that. It's one of those things we know and never know quite why, isn't it.






Oh, did I mention there's a book? It's only $3.99. iBooks and physical versions are en route. Thanks for visiting, and have a grand day.














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