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an endless succession of beans and nuts.

Forced into acting by a steady diet of chicken patties and canned peas.

I'm reading this obituary of a character actor:


That's from 1946. I was interested in Charles Butterworth because I just watched the 1932 movie "Love Me Tonight." I was going on about that movie in the comments to yesterday's post about 3 movies from the 1930s. The other 2 were "The Smiling Lieutenant" and "One Hour With You." 

All 3 starred Maurice Chevalier, and all 3 featured the character actor Charles Ruggles, but this morning I was clicking around and reading about Charles Butterworth, reading his Wikipedia page, wondering if he killed himself and fascinated by the information that "His distinctive voice was the inspiration for the Cap'n Crunch commercials created by the Jay Ward studio."


In the comments to yesterday's post, I linked to video of the entire movie "Love Me Tonight" (which was directed by Rouben Mamoulian). I specified that I loved the first 18 minutes, which features some brilliant use of what I think is called musique concrète. Sound effects like hammering and street noise converge into music. I'll just embed the video below.

We're introduced to Paris in general and then Maurice Chevalier specifically and to his highly sexualized relationship to Paris. Eventually, the montage of sound and the music carries us to the Princess who's longing for love but cloistered in her chateau (and singing her lungs out).

The 18 minutes I love are completed as a ladder comes into view. Scroll to that point and you'll experience the entrance of Charles Butterworth (as the Comte de Savignac, the extreme opposite of a desirable lover):

Here's something interesting about Butterworth: He was friends with Robert Benchley and other literary wits of the time and "became so famous for his dry quips and cynical asides that Hollywood screenwriters began writing only fragmentary scripts for him, hoping that the actor would 'fill in the blanks' with his own bon mots." We're told he once "complained," exclaiming, "I need material as much as anyone else!" 

Was that a complaint or an example of the wit?

"One man brought in his own box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, a carton of milk and some Entenmann’s mini crumb cakes before passing out face down on a table."

"Afterward, he rolled spliffs as nearby, paying customers tried to enjoy their lattes and Frappuccinos. A mentally disturbed man in a black trench coat talked to himself and screamed obscenities at the communal mirror near the bathrooms for 30 minutes. 'There’s a guy over by the bathrooms making people really uncomfortable,' one customer told an employee behind the counter."

I've got 9 selections from TikTok for you today. Let me know what you like best.

1. A baby camel.

2. What people in different parts of the world put on their oatmeal.

3. Dark colors are exactly right for this Victorian house.

4. The metal container, the mountain of sugar, and the cup of coffee with the spinning foam.

5. The Scotsman talks to the Englishman.

6. The denouncement of "performative work."

7. Maybe you don't know how to close a door.

8. Here's a good lesson in pausing a moment and not giving the obvious answer to a question.

9. Here's a good lesson in you are not alone.

"At least half of humanity combs their hair every day, and yet almost no one pauses to think deeply about it."

Said Harvard scientist L. Mahadevan, who studies mathematics, physics, and organismic and evolutionary biology, quoted in "Scientists Unravel Mysteries Of Brushing Tangled Hair --- Researchers at Harvard, MIT use math, lab work to develop pain-free techniques" (Wall Street Journal).

The knotty hair puzzle reached Prof. Mahadevan's lab three years ago, as he was thinking about how birds build nests. His research led to the question of tangles, which also occur at the microscopic level in DNA helixes and in magnetic flux lines crisscrossing the cosmos....

"The unlinking of the homochiral helixes during this process can be quantified in terms of the Calugareanu-Fuller-White (CFW) theorem which states that Lk=Tw+Wr, where Link (Lk) quantifies the oriented crossing number of the filaments averaged over all projection directions" and so on....

As you know, if you've combed tangled hair with any competence at all, it doesn't work to start at the top and comb down. You work up from the bottom. Mahadevan, despite being a genius, couldn't comb his 5-year-old daughter's hair. But it percolated in his head for 20 years, and he ultimately did some sophisticated research (as you can see) that explains why you're going to want to start from the bottom and work your way up. Most of us observe and guess and do trial and error, but there's a place in this world for the genius, even if he can't comb a little girl's hair intuitively. We're told he has also studied "why Cheerios clump in a bowl of milk."

On having a soft spot for gummy bears and being a soft spot for real bears.

I'm reading "Learning to Love Solitude (and Hate Oatmeal) on a 15,534-Mile Canadian Trek/For six years, the filmmaker Dianne Whelan hiked, biked, paddled, snowshoed and skied from the Atlantic to the Pacific and north to the Arctic. Here’s what she learned along the way" (NYT).

"I won’t be eating oatmeal ever again in my life. Ever. Throughout the day, I had a snack bag with trail mix and dried fruit and cheese and crackers and nuts. And of course, chocolate, and I have a soft spot for gummy bears. Dinner was instant noodles, pasta, carbs. At the beginning, I was nervous about bears and trying to keep a clean camp. I met many, many, many bears and 98 percent were kind and wonderful to watch. I never carried anything but bear spray for most of the journey. When I went to the high Arctic, I carried a gun and had to use it once because I had a bear come into my camp. My partner was with me. She picked up the gun and fired a couple of warning shots and we quickly packed off into the canoe and realized we didn’t spill our coffee."

That article is from last August. I just ran into it today because — as described here — I was searching the NYT archive for the use of the word "sherpa" to mean something other than a person within the ethnic group called Sherpa. This article — with the line "Very few get up that mountain without a Sherpa" — is not an example of what I was looking for.

"Internet turns on Jensen Karp, ‘manipulative’ shrimp tail cereal man."

NY Post headline.

I don't have a tag for "crustaceans." I have "lobster" and "crabs," but I don't have "shrimp." That boxes me in tag-wise. It's not as though I haven't written about shrimp before

There's this, in 2018: 

I wanted to give this post a "crustaceans" tag, but I didn't want to create a new tag. So I started typing out the word in the place where I add my tags, and by the time I got to "crus-," there was only one tag the software was suggesting, and it wasn't "crustaceans," so that's it for the potential "crustaceans" tag. I'm not creating a new tag, because I don't want to bother with adding it retroactively, searching for crustaceans in the 14-year archive. Sometimes I do create new tags and do that work. For example, I did it yesterday with Kathleen Turner. But that was a matter of doing a search for "Kathleen Turner." "Crustaceans" would not be so easy. I'd have to look up which animals are crustaceans and search for them individually. And I already have separate tags for some of them — lobsters (with 41 posts!) and crabs (with 17 posts!). But I don't have a "shrimp" tag. And I've mentioned shimp quite a few times. Should I now create a "shrimp" tag and a "crawfish" tag? But today's post is only the second mention of crawfish in the history of the blog. The first was "Barack spent so much time by himself that it was like he was raised by wolves" (from 2010)....

So it's a recurring problem!

"Ollie says one of the 'rules' of the experiment is that he and Zoe, both bisexual, will only hook up with same-sex partners."

"But whoops, Zoe replies, she already broke that rule by sleeping with a man. Later, Ollie is dating and sleeping with a woman. We don’t see them discussing their rules, why they exist, why they might change, how they talk about the ones they’ve broken. Ollie’s narration adds no clarity.... While Ollie and Zoe are just kind of irritating—we’re treated to long sequences of them frolicking naked in fields; Ollie waxes poetic about how he loves Zoe for being such an 'adult,' because she soaks her oats overnight—what’s hardest to watch is how they’re hurting each other because they don’t communicate with specificity or empathy, or even agree why they’re doing this in the first place.... Zoe, Tom, and the other non-Ollie characters are played by actors, and the film is a re-creation of Ollie’s experience with the real Zoe.... Ollie and Real Zoe did try an open relationship and were documenting it, and Real Zoe really did end their relationship to be with another man, but what we see on screen here is not a documentary of an experiment in real time so much as Ollie’s on-screen memoir, starring himself...."

From "What HBO’s New Documentary Gets Wrong About Open Relationships/I’ve been in a nonmonogamous relationship for six years, and I’m tired of movies like There’s No 'I' in Threesome" (Slate).

I'm almost tempted to watch this just to see how terrible it is. It  might be funny.... oh, no.... I just looked at the trailer, here. I was thinking of embedding it. But watching it, I had to force myself, and by 0:34, I had to turn it off. The visuals are very unappealing.

"Thousands of videos quickly popped up using the audio, with people carrying, caring for and kissing loaves of bread. But they picked the wrong carbohydrate."

From "Mi pan, su su su: how a dancing llama and a nonsensical song captivated TikTok/Acoustic remix of Miel Pops Russian cereal jingle becomes a strange anthem for a stranger time" (The Guardian).

By the way, I knew all about this days ago — from sitting around gazing at TikTok! If you don't understand what's so lovable about TikTok, that article might help.
Forced into acting by a steady diet of chicken patties and canned peas.

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