Nogglestead: Super Computing Headquarters

Commodore 64 claimed to outperform IBM’s quantum system — sarcastic researchers say 1 MHz computer is faster, more efficient, and decently accurate:

A paper released during the SIGBOVIK 2024 conference details an attempt to simulate the IBM ‘quantum utility’ experiment on a Commodore 64. The idea might seem preposterous – pitting a 40-year-old home computer against a device powered by 127-Qubit ‘Eagle’ quantum processing unit (QPU). However, the anonymous researcher(s) conclude that the ‘Qommodore 64’ performed faster, and more efficiently, than IBM’s pride-and-joy, while being “decently accurate on this problem.”

Well, yeah. The article goes into detail how they did it using under 64K of memory.

Unfortunately, it’s only hobbyists and, presumably, super low-end embedded device programmers, maybe, who continue to squeeze the maximum out of their code.

Everyone else in 2024 is just scaffolding stuff up with thousands of dependencies and hundreds of MB of code they never look at or seek to understand.

Oh, and as a reminder, I have at least five Commodore 64s. And after that enumeration in 2005, I added Triticale’s Commodore 128. The turn of the 21st century proved to be a high water mark for finding those old computer systems in the wild as people emptied their closets of fifteen and twenty year old technology. Since we moved to Nogglestead, I’ve only bought a pair of TI 99s at a church garage sale. You don’t even see them, really, at antique malls, although I have seen a TRS-80 at Relics.

Maybe I really do have all of them now.

(Link via Tech Shepherd.)

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Recommended For Me

When doing my Discogs research for my Good Book Hunting post this weekend, when I lit upon the entry for Stereo and All That Jazz, it presented me with a carousel at the bottom with recommendations:

Pretty good recommendations. Of them, I already have:

  • Fun and Games by Chuck Mangione
  • Breezin’ by George Benson
  • What’s New by Linda Ronstadt
  • What Now My Love by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass
  • John Denver’s Greatest Hits (to be clear: My wife and her mother both liked 60s/70s folk. This was not MY doing).
  • Chicago IX

Six of ten easily.

Given the musical tastes in the family and the fact that we inherited a couple of boxes not in our regular library yet, it’s entirely possible we own a couple more of the Chicago albums listed and maybe the Paul Simon.

So Discogs has me pegged indeed based on this random jazz album pickup.

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Book Report: The Prophet by Khalil Gibran (1922, 1962)

Book coverI bought this book in 2007 (that’s right, seventeen years ago, when I was attending more than one book sale per weekend whilst living in Old Trees), and I picked it up now because I just read The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, and I was prone to confusing the two. After all, both were Middle-Eastern-flavored collections of poetry and parables which were huge in their day and which were still found around middle class households in the late 70s and early 1980s. I am pretty sure that my “rich” aunt and uncle had a copy of this book if not both.

So: The frame is that a “prophet”–a wise man or hermit of some sort–has lived on the edges of an island’s society for some number of years, and a ship has come to take him to his native land. So as he makes his way to the docks, the people want him to make a speech, and he does: 90 pages of individual poems on the philosophy of various topics such as friendship, death, prayer, joy and sorrow, and so on.

To be honest, it kind of read like a garlic-infused Rod McKuen for the most part, but some segments hit me. Like this one:

You may give them [children] your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

Day-um. As I mentioned, my oldest graduates high school next week. So, yeah, this rang true.


Your reason and your passion are the rudder and sails of your seafaring soul.
If either your sails or your rudder be broken, you can but toss and drift, or else be held at a standstill in mid-seas.

So to call it Lebanese Rod McKuen diminishes it too much. It’s lightweight poetry, easy to read, with aphorisms that will speak to a variety of readers spread throughout. It’s poetry that you could read aloud with the lyric and narrative rhythms to match. And with a taste of the exotic even though Gibran was Lebanese-American and not tenth century Persian (like Omar Khayyám). Still, the sum of these parts explain why the book was very popular; the hardback I have was the 67th printing, forty years after the book first appeared. I wonder if it’s still in print and still read–given that the author was a hyphenated-American, he would not have been eliminated from the curricula based on race.

As I mentioned, I picked up the musical version of it this weekend, and I will have to give it a listen soon. I bet it translates pretty well to music.

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Tell Me You’re An Ignorant City Dweller, And Be Proud Of It

All this kerfluffle about Kristi Noem putting a dog down.

To be honest, I have not read her book. Books by politicos are not my bag, baby. Although I bought a bunch of them early in the century, I have come to realize how much they ultimately bore me and how anachronistic each is after the election it precedes.

I am not even sure that I’ve read the section where she mentioned putting her dog down completely; now, all the Xeroxed outrage just tells us what she said.

But I do remember hearing that the dog attacked the neighbors chickens. And tried to bite its owner. And, the interpretations go, the hotheaded and packing governor of South Dakota pulled a pistol

The original Guardian story does not present the account as it appears in the book, but instead intersperses it with the easily anticipated editorial outrage.

But, you know what? The dog attacked neighbor chickens. The dog tried to bite its owner in a berzerker frenzy. I understand the decision to put the dog down. Especially as she had young children at the time who would also be vulnerable to a berzerker dog.

But it’s run up to election season, so cry “Havoc!” and let slip the stories of Republicans being unkind to dogs somewhere, sometime.

Full disclosure: When my boys were young, neighbors in the new house across the neighbor’s meadow let their pit bulls roam free, and on a couple of occasions they wandered into the back half of Nogglestead. If those dogs had ever, ever posed a threat to my young children at the time, they would have been buried in the copse amongst the cat graves. In the rural areas, they have an abbreviation: SSS. Shoot, shovel, shut up.

So I don’t fault Noem her actions, but she might have been better served remembering the last. Because no matter how authentic and real she might want to be to rural voters, she could certainly not avoid the, erm, dogpile in the media that should have been expected.

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Good Book Hunting, April 27, 2024: Friends of the Springfield-Greene County Library Book Sale

Technically, this is not so much a Good Book Hunting post as I really only bought a couple books. I dragged my youngest away from his video games for a couple hours yesterday to head up to the sale’s Half Price day, where records, DVDs, and most books were fifty cents each. First, we hit the records:

I got:

  • Several Tennessee Ernie Ford spiritual/gospel albums since his A Friend We Have has replaced the Swedish Gospel Singers and The Teen Tones as our Sunday morning spin as they have disappeared into the disorganized LP library of Nogglestead. I cleaned the desk in the parlor before going to the book sale, so it, too, is probably lost. Instead, for the next couple of weeks, undoubtedly we will listen to the new platters, Jesus Loves Me, Nearer the Cross, and Tennessee Ernie Ford Sings from his Book of Favorite Hymns. The sale had a lot of his work and several copies of each of these.
  • A couple of pianist Frank Carle’s platters: Frankie Carle plays the Great Piano Hits, Favorites for Dancing, and Let’s Do It, which appears to be a later record as he is much older in the cover photo.
  • A couple of Florencia Vicenta de Casillas-Martínez Cardona Vikki Car records: For Once In My Life (which I might already have) and The Best of Vikki Carr (which I also might already have).
  • Music for Trumpet and Orchestra by the Unicorn Concert Orchestra. Because I can get away with these spending sprees if I bring at least a couple of trumpet records home.
  • George Jones and Gene Pitney which features both artists and many duets from the middle 1960s. I don’t usually buy country records unless there’s a Pretty Woman on the Cover (PWoC), but, c’mon, early George Jones, y’all.
  • The Beat of the Big Bands: Tommy Dorsey and His Orchestra.
  • Bergen Sings Morgan by Polly Bergen. The PWoC sings the works of Helen Morgan.
  • Bach Live at Fillmore East by Virgil Fox / Heavy Organ.
  • The Prophet: A Musical Interpretation Featuring Richard Harris which was a timely pickup as I just finished reading The Prophet on Friday night (as you will soon see or, perhaps, have already seen if you’re not visiting every day and this post appears below the book report).
  • The New Limelight by Frank Chacksfield and his Orchestra. Close enough to Frankie Carle. Also, it has and his orchestra which probably means I’ll like it.
  • The Tender Touch by Nelson Riddle and His Orchestra. See? I already know I like Nelson Riddle who worked with both Frank Sinatra and Linda Ronstadt.
  • The Bravado Brass by Brass Busters (or Brass Busters by the Bravado Brass). Another trumpet record to please my beautiful wife.
  • Stereo and All That Jazz. Which has jazz in the title, so it’s likely something like and his orchestra, a safe jazzy record for squares in the 1960s.
  • A couple from Placido Domingo: A Love Until The End of Time and Great Love Duets with Katia Ricciarelli. Because he is not Mario Lanza.
  • Hurra Die Games by Orig. Mürztaler Musikanten. An Austrian LP from 1985 that might well be the find of the sale, as Discogs says this band’s records list for $100 on Ebay.
  • Swing Softly With Me by Steve Lawrence. Arranged and produced by Don Costa, who is not as pretty as Gal Costa but who did good work.
  • A couple of Nonesuch Records entries: Virtuoso Wind Concertos and Yankee Organ Music. I will pretty much by a Nonesuch Record on sight, as my youngest, who carried the growing stack of records, learned.
  • The Bells of the Protestant and Orthodox Center at the New York Worlds Fair played on the world-famous Schulmerich “Americana” Carillion by John Klein. C’mon, man, you know I’d never see this again. This disc is so rare that the Internet and Discogs do now know it exists. So maybe it’s worth more than the Austrian record above.
  • Festival De Éxitos En Voltops Vol. 10, a 1972 collection of South American pop (I presume). “Que es ‘voltops’?” I asked my son, who speaks remarkably little del español for someone actively studying it in school. “You’re getting records in other languages now?” he said, ignoring the fact that he was already holding records in German and, presumably, some Italian.
  • Look To Your Heart by Perry Como. I passed over a number of other records of his that I already had.

27 records for $13.50, y’all. Including a couple that made the trip a financial gain.

I spent most of the money on audiobooks and audio courses. I got one audiobook from the dollar section, but the Great Courses/Teaching Company and Modern Scholar courses were in the better books section, where prices ranged from $1 to $7.50. I bought a ton. Well, if not a ton, several cubic feet.

They include:

  • Early American History: Native Americans through the Forty-Niners
  • Great Authors of the Western Literary Tradition
  • Great World Religions: Hinduism
  • Great World Religions: Judaism
  • Great World Religions: Christianity
  • Physics of the Future by Michio Kaku, the aforementioned fifty cent audiobook
  • The Masters of Enterprise: American Business History and the People Who Made It
  • The Lives and Works of the English Romantic Poets
  • WWII: A Military and Social History. Oh, boy, social history.
  • The Long 19th Century: European History from 1789 to 1917. This might only be part of the full course.
  • Philosophy and Religion of the West
  • A History of the English Language

Most of them are on CD, which means car listening. But I’ve been trying to venture out to the gym a couple times a week which might give me a chance to listen to some of the audio courses. But for now, they’re relegated to boxes in the closet.

I went quickly by the DVD tables. They were both crowded and mostly picked over, so I only got a couple.

I got:

  • Assassins with Stallone and Banderas. How did I not hear of this film? Or had I forgotten it?
  • Bill Cosby: Himself
  • Police Academy: Mission to Moscow. My son asked if this was the second film in the series; I said no, and I guessed the fifth. But this is actually the 7th film in the series, released 10 years after the original.
  • Butterfield 8. Not sure what it’s about, but it has a lovely Elizabeth Taylor on the cover. I might have to introduce the PWoDVDC abbreviation.
  • Epic Movie by the people who did Not Another Teen Movie and Date Movie. So I know what I’m getting into.
  • Denis Leary: The Ultimate Collection which includes No Cure for Cancer and Lock ‘n’ Load along with other clips.
  • Git-R-Done by Larry the Cable Guy.
  • The Right Stuff
  • Posse starring Mario von Peebles, Stephen Baldwin, and Billy Zane. I can guess what I’m getting into here.
  • The Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts featuring the roasts of Bob Hope and Ronald Reagan, or parts thereof. After watching videocassettes in the The Best of the Dean Martin Show set a couple years ago, I wondered if I’d find volumes in the celebrity roasts set. This is on DVD instead of VHS, so it seems newer, but they probably both sold to the same audience with different home video formats in the middle 1990s.

Ten DVDs. Five bucks. And, best of all, the stack is not so big that I’ll have to figure out where to put it. They should fit in the cabinet where I’ve created space by actually watching films and whatnot recently.

Oh, and it’s a book sale? Well, I did pick up a couple.

As is my wont, I looked through the lit section and the poetry section of the dollar books. The poetry section had three bundles of chapbooks and pamphlets banded together, but one band had Journey through Heartsongs and another had One World, One Heart facing out, so I skipped them.

I bought a bundle that contained:

  • The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
  • Hour of Lead: Sharing Sorrow by Anne Morrow Lindbergh
  • Memoirs of Ms. P. by Amy Petrus
  • Recipes of Hope: Holiday Stories for and From the Kitchen (with a special gift of Christmas stories from David L. Harrison, the local children’s book author with a school named for him here in southwest Greene County). The Kitchen is a local non-profit.
  • One Story, One Story Among Many…. which looks to be a fundraiser for and/or history of a church damaged by a tornado in Stockton, Missouri. Strangely, this is shaped like a chapbook, saddle-stitched, but the text is laid out on 8.5″ by 11″ page, so that it’s oriented so that the staples are in the middle of the page, and you read the book sideways.
  • A Thistle Flower From the Prairie by Jens Christian Bay, a story.

I also dropped fifty cents on Sonnets and the Ballad of Alanna McDale by Michael J. O’Neal. Because, hey, sonnets.

Then I breezed through the Better Books section. I went looked over the collectibles/antique books section, the Books about Books section, and breezed over the local interest books before loading up on the aforementioned audio courses and looking over the disappointing set of better records.

I got:

  • Lieutenant Hornblower by C.S. Forester in a nice 1952(?) Book of the Month Club edition with a nice mylar-wrapped dust cover. Has it been seven years since I read a Horatio Hornblower book? Yes. To be fair, they’re not exactly easy for me to spot in the wild since I’m mostly looking at record crates.
  • The Play Goes On, Neil Simon’s memoir. Jeez, Louise, has it been thirteen years since I read a Neil Simon play? Yes. I keep passing over one of his novels. Maybe I should get to that and then read this, or vice versa.
  • Book Finds: How To Find, Buy, and Sell Used and Rare Books by Ian C. Ellis. I just read A Pound of Paper, I bought a $100 record for fifty cents, and I might have a lot of free time soon for scavenging estate sales and rural junk shops. Maybe I will turn this hobby again into a slightly profitable endeavor.
  • Poetry Slam: The Competitive Art of Performance Poetry edited by Gary Mex Glazner. I’d hoped for a history or discussion of the poetry slam, but it looks like it’s more of a collection of poetry slam-style poetry. You know, poetry open mic nights and poetry slams greatly influenced my poetry, transitioning it from the traditional to the fun to read somewhere in the middle 1990s. Between the Unrequited and Deep Blue Shadows chapbooks and Coffee House Memories. We will see if I enjoy this collection. More than Insta-poetry at least.
  • Collected Sonnets of Edna St. Vincent Millay. I already have a copy, of course, so I have two options with the lesser copy: 1) save it so both my heirs have a copy or 2) put it on the free book cart at church or in a little free library. It cost $1, so either option is good.

All told, I spent $70, mostly on the audio courses (which sold new for, what, $60 or $100 each)? Given that I’m only going to the two Friends of the Springfield-Greene County Library book sales each year, I can probably splurge. It’s certainly less expensive than going to ABC Books every week.

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The Guy Who Played Guitar in Those Video Games

You know, I was looking at upcoming events at the Gillioz Theatre in downtown Springfield a while back, and I spotted tonight’s Joe Satriani/Steve Vai concert, and I thought about it. Mostly because Glenn was a fan of electric guitar virtuosos. I’m not a big enough fan to pony up $65 minimum for my beautiful wife and me or for the whole family. So I won’t be going.

But here is how a local news station categorized the players:

Clearly going for a younger audience. Although by now, fans of Halo are no longer young.

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Book Report: The Big Frame by The Gordons (1957)

Book coverTo be honest, I don’t know where I got this book. It doesn’t show up in almost twenty years’ worth of Good Book Hunting posts, and it has no distinguishing price marks. So did I pick it up before the turn of the century? Inherit it from my aunt? Who knows? All I know is that it is bound in the light brown Walter J. Black-esque cover used by book clubs that sent you books on subscription in the middle of the 20th century. This is, in face, a Doubleday Crime club selection. Only one book in the cover, though, unlike the three-in-one book club editions of which I have many.

At any rate. This is a police procedural, but it is more in the vein of what you would find in an Ed McBain novel than the one I read earlier this year (Blood Count, which is almost thirty years younger than this book but reads much older). The book has multiple plot lines: A police detective is hunting for a murderer in a case going cold, and he suspects a local private investigator/fixer is behind it. The PI’s current mistress suspects he is about to throw her over, so she has turned informant, but the PI suspects it. So one of his hard men is watching her, and the hard man hatches a plan for her to escape which involves killing and disfiguring another woman in her place. Meanwhile, the police detective is scheduled to testify before a state legislature hearing about corruption in the police department, and a local newspaperman dogs him in service of that syndicate to get him to change his testimony–even digging up the fact that the detective’s wife tried to be a prostitute before he arrested her and later married her after she’d gotten a real job.

I cannot help compare it to the disappointing Dell Shannon/Elizabeth Linington book. This one has a moving plot, maybe a little too complex in places, and the characters are for the most part well-developed. The book contains some series business–presumably the courtship/marriage/etc with the detective and his wife was mentioned in earlier books, and they have two adoptive children who probably played a part in earlier books. But it’s handled well and doesn’t overwhelm the main plot–actually, some of it actually influences or affects the main plot.

The end doesn’t quite resolve everything, but the main points/crimes are covered. Perhaps a little too patly, but one could say the same about one or more McBain novels. The location is never really identified clearly–it seems Californiaish but the places are not sharply identified, which is good as things would have changed in the last seventy years enough to make it dated.

I noted a couple of things in the book to comment on:

  • About the only hard facts in the case were that she had been shot twice in the left lung with a .32 between the hours of 10 P.M. and 4 A.M., and that she had been found by the ten-year-old around eleven the next morning.

    People were always getting shot with smaller caliber guns in old books; .25s and .32s. Nowadays, it’s .38, .45, or 9mm. You could also have told, in the old days, that I read a lot of old books because I thought my first handgun would be a .32.

  • He heard the record player spinning. Sarah Vaughn and Dave Brubeck.

    Perhaps these books seem less dated to me because this could be any night at Nogglestead in the current year.

  • He fired for the target his ears picked up, and again there was bursting and splintering of glass, explosive in the cavernous stillness. He heard two more blasts and lay suddenly quiet, mystified they had found no mark near him.

    He was still a long time, his hearing reaching out with such intensity he felt the ache in his head.

    After letting off a couple of rounds, even .38, I would suspect his hearing was not that acute.

  • Chico, only ten, was an I-NS case, a Mexican illegally in the country and scheduled to be shipped back any day now.

    All right, this dates the book. The boy is one of the adoptive children, a Jewish refugee who ended up in Mexico before coming to the US. It probably made more sense in the book in which it happened.

  • “Most of us have little pet tunes–and they often give our age away.”

    “Hearts” by Marty Balin and “The Pocket of a Clown” by Dwight Yochum aside, during the time I was reading this book, I might have sung or hummed any number of tunes that would give my age away. Although they don’t come to mind right now. Never mind.

  • He laughed, and then remembering what an iguana was, said, “Great Caesar’s ghost!”

    Which is funny, because last week, while I was reading this book (but before I got to the last page, where this quote appears), I said “Great Caesar’s ghost!” in a LinkedIn comment. I, of course, remember it from the old George Reeves Superman television show (which I did not see in first run, thank you very much) where Perry White, editor of the Daily Planet, exclaimed it once per episode (except the one where he sees Caesar’s ghost, of course).

At any rate, I took great comfort and courage in enjoying some mid-century crime fiction. I read a bunch of it when I was a kid, when it was but thirty years old, and I liked it. But some of the things I’ve read recently (recently might here mean “in the last quarter century”) have had me a bit down on it and reluctant to read more. Which is a problem, since I still have 42 of the 3-in-1 book club books that I bought in 2009 to go through. Slowly. But perhaps not as slowly as if this book had sucked, which it did not.

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Dream That Darn

Ah, gentle reader. My impending layoff is yet an impending layoff, which puts one in an unsettled and grim mood as do current events taking place across the country and around the world. So what should one do? One does what one can. One leaves the desk and leaves the computer and leaves the house once in a while. And one makes silly shows of economizing in relatively low impact areas. Not eat beef at every possible meal? Nonsense. I will learn to mend my clothing. Which costs less than a package of Sam’s Club beef when I buy it new at Walmart, and the thread in mending doubles the value of the clothing. Regardless, I will press on.

Book coverOverweening first paragraph aside, I have taken a couple minutes to hand-sew a couple of items, but not before putting them on my desk and then moving them around over the course of days or weeks before getting to it. I started with a pair of underwear, an expensive pair of Armachillos that I wear for workouts and which I bought, what, five years ago? The seam at the floor split, probably from friction with the floor of my blue jeans. They are in great shape otherwise, so I had them on my desk for a while until I asked my wife for a spool of thread from her sewing kit. I did adequate work, I’d like to think, but after a couple of washings, I noted the seam was splitting again. Was my work faulty? No! The original seam continued to give way beyond the edge of where my repair stopped.

The second item up was my old Milwaukee Admirals sweatshirt. It’s almost twenty years old–it’s the old logo with the human admiral, not the current skeleton logo that I mocked in 2006. The cuffs and the collar are fraying, but I’m not up to fixing that. I did fix the hole under the one arm–I guess the friction of the cloth rubbing at the armpit causes these holes that are not along the seams? At any rate, it’s good enough to wear out of the house and to pick things off of the top shelf at the grocery. Not for myself; I’m a make-believe miser right now (not even using K-Cups currently, nor Duraflame logs, both dollar-a-day bad habits in 2020 and much more expensive now), and as a make-believe miser, I don’t buy things from the top shelf. But some little old lady might ask me to get something down for her (and suddenly, I find little old ladies flirting with me–what does that say about me?). The sweatshirt lay in many places on my desk and served as such a cat bed for so long that I am pretty sure that I sewed white cat hair into the mending. In part because I’d returned the sewing equipment to my beautiful wife, and the sewing bin disappeared into her office somewhere for a time. But when I found it in a common area, I snagged the dark blue thread and a needle for my office.

The third item had the shortest layover on my desk: A pair of blue jeans. I order cheap Dickies or Wrangler carpenter jeans off of Amazon at $20 (well, more now) each. I used to pick them up at Walmart, but the carpenter jeans are not a popular cut, apparently, and I sometimes couldn’t find any. And as I probably have mentioned, I need carpenter jeans because I have fat thighs (leading to the friction at the bottom). So when another pair of jeans split here (the other common fault is the belt loop at the left rear breaks at the bottom–perhaps because I buy a waist size too large and then cinch the jeans at the waist, perhaps leading to extra stress on the belt loops)–when another pair of jeans split there, I decided to take the one color fits all dark blue spool of thread and fix it. And, gentle reader, I leveled up my mending game by turning the jeans inside out so that the frayed edges would be inside and not outside. Time will tell how long this mending lasts, as I cut the thread so that it was shorter than I liked–I could not go back, tie it off, and then forth and tie it off. Instead, I got back and halfway forth.

Still, unlike the work I do for a living and the blogging I do for “fun,” it was concretely productive. Maybe I will go further and try out the sewing machine I got for Christmas over a decade ago when I saw still stewing in viewing Creative Juice on HGTV. After all, I have lots of wearable LEDs after recent events and projects.

And maybe, just maybe, I am coming out of a screen-and-desk hibernation or coma back into the real world a little bit.

And I would be remiss not to include a video of the lovely Ashley Pezzotti singing “Darn That Dream”:

She has a GoFundMe to crowdsource a new album if you’re so inclined.

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“This Guy”?

Lileks today posts a tweet:

And says where he knows “this guy” from:

An actor who was in Succession, but I remembered him from an ep of Miami Vice. He played a CIA agent named “Surf.” It’s the one in which (spoiler) he turns out to be a Russian agent, and has Castillo trapped. Of course Castillo pulls out a sword and assumes a pose that’s supposed to make us think “Oh of course Castillo is a Samurai dude, he has skills,” and the actor says “when you go, you go all the way.” Why do I remember that?

Lileks does not name the guy, but, c’mon, man, that’s Sledge Hammer. Apparently, actor David Rasche was in other things, but I haven’t seen them.

Come to think of it, I have only watched the first season of the complete Sledge Hammer! set I bought in 2004 (anticipated here and acquisition acknowledged here). I watched the first season again with my boys when they were younger (probably already a decade ago). When I finish up the current DVD set of a television show that I acquired a long time ago, perhaps I should dig it out. In addition to boxes of movies and documentaries of dubious quality, I have many box sets of complete (or almost complete) or random single seasons of television series to watch. Someday. Maybe.

But David Rasche. Say his name. Although if you’re like me and have only seen it in print (in my case, the Sledge Hammer! credits), you might mispronounce it.

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Wherein I Don’t Get To Brag I Recognized It

In his “Have I Got A Line For You” column from April 17, Benton County Enterprise publisher James Mahlon White mentions the The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám:

Ran across a special on the Titanic last night. It sank 110 years ago on April 14, 1912. Part of the cargo was a jeweled copy of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. The only verse I can recall is from the middle of that poem. It started out with, “Up to the 7th Gate I Rose.”

Unlike when I ran across a rubāʿiyāt in After Worlds Collide and recognized the source, I don’t recollect the quattrain that begins “Up to the 7th gate I rose” even though I likely read it three times recently.

Oh, and in unrelated news, Chuck P. included a clip from the movie version of When Worlds Collide last weekend. It was top-of-mind, of course, because I’d just read the sequel several decades after reading When Worlds Collide. I’ve never seen the film before, though.

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On Richard the Lionheart (1996)

Book coverThis videocassette is part of a series called The History Makers which came out right before the Internet blew up. I only have one of them, this one, although the Friends of the Library Book Sale is this week, so if I get into a real frenzy on Saturday (half price day), I might pick up others for fifty cents each. But probably not.

The video runs about 45 minutes and features four actors portraying Richard, an English poet, an…. Arab poet? Turkish poet?, and Saladin who appear at intervals to recite passages from their respective historical documents. The rest of it is a narrator, well, narrating the life of Richard over stock imagery that looks only slightly better than a Renaissance festival. It has less content than, say, a Teaching Company/Great Courses series and only slightly more, maybe, than a ten minute YouTube video with quicker cuts and the possibly same stock footage.

I knew enough about Richard I to know that Sean Connery’s portrayal of him in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves was flattering. He ruled over people with whom he could not converse and spent most of his time campaigning and crusading, looking at England as a source of funding rather than as his people. So I didn’t get much out of it.

But when they were planning it all out in 1994 or 1995, they were targeting people who did not have streaming broadband connections to YouTube or Khan Academy or the Hillsdale College courses online. Maybe they were advertised on the History channel or other cable stations that appealed to the aspirationally academic set. Or in the backs of magazines, perhaps. Maybe the target audience appreciated them more than I did.

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Wherein Brian J. Is Punished For Not Procrastinating Enough

I just a week ago told the story of how I repaired my uncle’s Christmas tie and how it took me several rounds of Internet research and orders to get the right pieces I needed to replace the power switch/battery holder and then the LED in it so that it will once again light up red when I wear it on Christmas Eve.

I replaced the push button with a sliding switch, though, and sort of half-arsed it by splicing wires instead of soldering. But after years (decades?) of not working–it did not work when I inherited it over a decade ago–it worked, and it was off of my desk where it had been intermittently for months at a time for the last couple of years when I decided to look into fixing it and then determining, often, Not today.

And I was premature in fixing it earlier this month.

For on Saturday, we went down to Sp4rkcon, the Walmart Global Tech team’s annual free cybersecurity conference, and the free lanyards had all the parts I would have needed to repair the tie.

Each featured a power board with replaceable battery and a four position push power button–the four modes being on solid, on blink, on blink quickly, and off–as well as a string of green wearable LEDs.

It is a far better kit than what I put into the tie. As a matter of fact, I’m considering replacing the guts of the tie with the power switch from one of the lanyards. But considering means I thought of it; we all know I will leave well enough alone for at least a decade.

But I have another couple of bits/parts if I want to make use of them in future projects. When I think of them. If I think of them.

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Book Report: Longfellow’s The Courtship of Miles Standish and Elizabeth by Henry Wordsworth Longfellow (c1913)

Book coverI got this book as part of a book order back when ABC Books and everything else was in a timeout in 2020. I’ve picked up a number of similar editions and have grouped them together, so maybe I’ll be reading elementary school textbook poetry a bunch this year.

So: This book collects a number of Longfellow’s poems, including “The Courtship of Miles Standish”, “Elizabeth”, and some shorter ones. In “The Courtship of Miles Standish”, the military captain of the struggling Plymouth colony loses his wife in the first winter and asks his friend John Alden to ask Priscilla for her hand in marriage–but John and Priscilla already have eyes for each other.

In “Elizabeth”, a settler is taken with a travelling preacher, and he returns her affection. The poem includes a bit of a parallel between the maidservant and the hired man.

“Enceladus”, which I read like James Hetfield singing it. I mean, can’t you see Lovecraft taking some inspiration from this?

Under Mount Etna he lies,
It is slumber, it is not death;
For he struggles at times to arise,
And above him the lurid skies
Are hot with his fiery breath.


They talk together and say,
“To-morrow, perhaps to-day,
Euceladus will arise!
And the old gods, the austere
Oppressors in their strength,
Stand aghast and white with fear
At the ominous sounds they hear,
And tremble, and mutter, “At length!”

The other short poems include the standard landscapes and a paean to John Greenlead Whittier delivered during a dinner in the latter’s honor. I remark on this because I was just telling my wife about how I confuse him with James Whitcomb Riley. I was talking about Whittier because “Elizabeth” comes from a collection of poetical stories told by travellers thrown together at an inn (Tales of a Wayside Inn) much like The Canterbury Tales by Chaucer or Tent on the Beach by Whittier (or is it Riley?) which I started in one of these early 20th century editions but put aside.

So, yeah, one can draw a pretty direct line from Chaucer and Shakespeare to Longfellow. He draws from real sources for his stories and writes of events from hundreds of years prior for his narratives. His poetry style is breezy, hexameter with some end rhymes (I know, “Enceladus” above does, but “The Courtship of Miles Standish” and “Elizabeth”, also known as “The Theologian’s Tale”, do not). The other work bears the influences of the English Romantic movement and probably Whittier (although I have not actually read enough of his work yet to know too much about it).

“The Courtship of Miles Standish” and some of the other poems have footnotes–“The Courtship of Miles Standish” has a bunch of them, taking up half of some pages, where the editor of this textbook, not the poet, defines some terms, highlights allusions to other work, or identifies historical records which corroborate the narrative. I read many of them and said, “I already know that,” but it is an elementary school textbook (!). One that I read in the middle of “The Courtship of Miles Standish” indicated, for example, that Bradford’s history of Plymouth mentioned Priscilla was a real person who married John Alden and had eleven children with him. Which is to say, the footnote contained a spoiler alert just when the poem was getting good.

The book also has some other educational material, including a short introduction and study helps like ideas for lessons based on the book which I just skimmed.

I enjoyed the book, and I enjoyed The Song of Hiawatha when I read it six years ago (!). As I said, I’ll probably read another couple of the like this year.

And I mentioned it was an elementary textbook almost 100 years ago. Here’s the little girl’s name:

I found the obituary for that little girl, who died at 90 in 2007. You know, a lot of times books have inscriptions or names in them, but finding this particular obituary made reading the book poignant indeed. After all, I am but a temporary owner of it as well, and I’m not even leaving my mark in the book itself.

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Movie Report: The Hobbit (1977)

Book coverWell, when I said I was done with cartoons last month, clearly I was overstating things. I’ve had this videocassette in the cabinet for years (which differentiates this videocassette from all other DVDs and videocassettes in the cabinet as opposed to on the cabinet how?), but it was not rewound, so I rewound it as part of my recent project to handle that. So when I wanted something short to watch (ahut) with my youngest son this week, I popped it in.

Well, all right, you probably at least know the plot by now, ainna? Hobbit Bilbo Baggins is drawn from his hobbit-hole by Gandalf to accompany a, er, company of dwarves who are going to recapture their ancestral mountain and a bunch of gold from a dragon named Smaug.

Along the way, they have adventures. Peter Jackson turned this story into three movies. An animation company turned this into an hourlong television movie akin to Puff the Magic Dragon. Which actually came out the next year, so Puff the Magic Dragon came after this cartoon special. Which is weird, or maybe not. I remember the annual airing of “Puff the Magic Dragon” as a bit of an event at the end of the 1970s and the beginning of the 1980s–I think I watched it all the time, but it was probably only three or four times. The Hobbit never reached that fame. I don’t remember seeing it even listed. But it was not a thirty minute special but almost a movie-length animation, so it didn’t drop in as easily, I suppose.

So: Probably worth a watch if you’re into being an old-school geek completist or a 70sphile. Probably only a little more cartoonish than the Jackson films, which I have yet to see in their entirety (although I did see The Lord of the Rings set when they came out in cinemas because I have been a geek for a long, long time.)

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Nico Was Here

A couple of times recently, I have walked through the little hallway to my office, and I have seen that the decorative flintlock pistol shadowbox thing is crooked.

This means Nico was here.

I have posted pictures of that precocious kitten before. Although I guess now he’s technically not a kitten, but he retains his inquisitive ways.

And the shadow box on the wall is a couple of inches thick, so Nico thinks he can get on it. As the frame is only canted and not on the ground with broken glass everywhere, I can only presume that he thinks better of it when he touches it and it moves. Or he can get up there no problem.

Also, gentle reader, and by “gentle reader,” I mean random Internet stranger looking at that photo and fingering one’s lockpicks, note that these are not actually authentic or replica flintlock pistols which sell for thousands of dollars but are instead Turner Wall Accessory home décor which sell on the Internet for $45. I bought them in an antique mall in Billings over a decade ago thinking they might be replica pistols or such, but, no. However, as I probably paid $20 for them, they would seem to have appreciated nicely. Kind of like collectibles like used cars and food have appreciated in value lately.

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My Uncle’s Christmas Tie Revived

I have mentioned before that I have an Easter tie, but I seem to have held back notice that I also have a Christmas tie. So let me go on at length about it, gentle reader.

I inherited it from my uncle, the “rich uncle” with whom I lived briefly. He passed away in, what, 2011? 2012? I’ve had the tie a long time, and I’ve worn it for the last several years running on Christmas Eve. The tie has a little red LED in it that presumably turned on at one time, but not since I’ve had it. You could find the button that operated it, but pressing it did nothing. So I wore it that way for a couple of years, and then I wondered if I could fix it.

So I cut a stitch in the back of the tie to open it up, and I found the simple board with a push power button, a hard-wired battery, and an LED. I took the battery off the board and looked at the tiny wires it held, and thought I could fix it, but it would be a problem for another day. And as so often happens, it became a problem for another year.

Sometime after Christmas Eve 2023, I put the tie back on my desk, and it lay there (well, here and there as I moved things around on my desk) for some months when I was cleaning or pawing through miscellania in the hutch when I came across some sewable LEDs I’d bought, what, a decade ago? I’d thought about putting them into a collar for Roark after we saw The Cat from Outer Space which features a cat whose collar gems flash when he uses his alien powers. Geez, that was probably twelve or thirteen years ago. I ordered some wearable LEDs and a board that makes them flash and a cat collar and…. I put them into a container in my hutch for someday.

Well, finding them again made me think I could look around SparkFun, the Web site where I’d ordered the original wearable electronic bits. I’d hoped to find a battery compartment where I could replace batteries when they wear out and connect it to the board. But I’d cut the leads to the battery, and, brother, those wires were tiny. So I ordered a ten pack of battery packs–you can order single units from SparkFun for under a buck, but if you order from Amazon, all the little electronic bits come in ten packs.

I bought a spool of two-strand sewable steel to use with the project, but I found it too fine to work with. I hoped to simply run the little threads from the connectors on the battery pack to the “legs” of the LED (research has just now indicated that these are the anode and cathode, words which appear in John Donnelly’s Gold but which I did not know applied to LED lights as well). But the thread, as I said, was too fine for my easy use.

So I thought about where I could get a bit of small gauge insulated wire. I feared needing to buy 100 yards of it at the hardware store for an inch or two that I’d use. And then I thought, Oh, no.

As you might know, gentle reader, I am a bit of a pack rat (NOT a hoarder). So it was with great internal fanfare when I recently cleaned out my garage–well, okay, that’s overstating it. When my mother-in-law downsized almost two years ago, she gave us boxes of things to go through, and one such box was extra parts from when she had someone build a custom computer for her. Inside the motherboard box, we had the case slots taken out to put cards into the PCI slots; an IDE cable or two, and power connectors for chaining hard drives to a single power supply connector or something along with a driver CD or two and installation guides for various components. And I threw them away. The very wires I could use. Oh, how I rue the day I discarded anything!

Just kidding. I did throw them out, but I had not emptied the garbage can in the garage, so I recovered the power cables anyway.

And lest you worry, gentle reader, I only disposed of the computer ephemera from my mother-in-law’s most recent desktop. I have bins and bins of my own accumulation over the last 30 years in my store room. But let’s not waste them on this project and save them for something important, okay?

So: I had the battery pack, and I had the wire, and I had the existing LED soldered onto the board that was working. So of course I tried to wire the battery pack to the LED soldered onto the board. But, as you might expect if you’re not some aging English major trying to rediscover electricity, this led to a very shaky set of connections prone to short-circuiting. So I snipped the LED from the board and tried to affix the little wired leads from the battery pack, trimmed from a hard drive power cable, to the anode and cathode (as I now know). But I could not get a good solid link by looping the wires and securing them with electrical tape. I know, I know, but I was trying to do this quickly and simply and without needing to solder.

So I ordered a set of 10 (of course) LEDs with longer legs. Actually, I ordered two sets of 10: 10 of the 5mm bulbs and 10 of the 10mm bulbs as I was not sure which the existing aperture in the tie supported. How do you measure the LED? Height? Circumference? I still don’t know, but I do know that this was a 5mm bulb as I was able to replace it with another 5mm bulb.

And alright, alright, alright. I linked the power supply to the new LED by turning the anode and the cathode like jump rings and looping the wire through them, securing it all with a spot of electrical tape. And it worked. So I fed the LED through the tie and put on the little rubber ring (grommet? Not exactly–what do I call that to get results on Amazon? 5mm rubber rings?).

And my uncle’s Christmas tie lights up for the first time in probably decades.

I have been goofing on the experience on Facebook:

I ordered the parts to repair my uncle’s Christmas tie.
This is the 21st century, you know.

All right. The original LED circa 1995 is still good in my uncle’s Christmas tie.
I just have to bypass the board with the power switch and hard-wired battery with a replacement and we should be good to go.
And if it doesn’t work and catches fire, I will be the brightest candle at candlelight service on Christmas Eve.

By the time I’m finished repairing my uncle’s light-up Christmas tie, it will have cost me $1200 or more at the rate I’m going.
But it will have more processing power than it did in 1985, and it will be able to connect to the wi-fi.

Finished repairing my uncle’s Christmas tie.
Upgraded the LED, too. FAA regulations prohibit me from shining the tie at passing aircraft.

So, yeah, from an electronics perspective, it’s a pretty simple circuit. I showed it to my sophomore, the guy going to be an engineer, and he was a bit, well, dismissive. But I’ve done it, and he’s done some school work and a hella lotta Minecraft.

Still, I’m not sure how proud to be of my work, which is really my fatal flaw. I guess we will find out on Christmas Eve when I try to light it up. But, if nothing else, the tie is hanging in the closet with the other ties and is off my desk. Now, about the sweatshirt that I just want to pull a couple stitches through. Or several years’ worth of Five Things On My Desk posts. As well as a host of other projects of minimal difficulty if you know what you’re doing, but I do not, and I don’t want to bollix it up.

Hey, think you’ve seen this before? I accidentally posted the first paragraphs of it, incomplete, on April 9. Hit Publish instead of Save Draft.

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Book Report: After Worlds Collide by Philip Wylie & Edwin Balmer (1934, 1973)

Book coverWhen I bought this book seventeen years ago, I mentioned that I’d read When Worlds Collide, the book that precedes it, in middle school or high school. Now, I think I read the earlier book in sixth grade: I think it was on the metal spinning racks of paperbacks that my homeroom teacher, Mrs. Pickering, had in her room so that students could borrow them and read them (I also think I read Profiles in Courage from that rack as well, and I’ve got my own copy somewhere here in the stacks). It’s weird to think you remember something more clearly after almost 20 years have passed (between the Good Book Hunting post and this, gentle reader, not sixth grade and now, which is about twenty and a half years, give or take). I doubt my own memory on many things, and wonder if I’m retconning my initial reading of When Worlds Collide. Regardless, it has been a long time since I read the first book.

Fortunately, though, the first chapter is a brief recap: Astronomers discover a pair of runaway extrasolar planets that are hurtling into our solar system. The larger of the two will likely smash into the Earth; the smaller of the two looks like it might be habitable, and it looks as though Sol will capture this planet into an elliptical orbit ranging from just outside Venus’s orbit to just inside Mars’s orbit. So a group of scientists decide to build a couple of space ships to try to reach the second planet and save some bit of humanity. But they encountered challenges, including those not selected to escape storming their compound in Michigan, before they were able to lift off successfully in two ships. The recap kind of fleshed out what I’d remembered. Which was planets colliding and some scientists getting their rockets off.

So this book handles what happens next. The smaller of the two ships lands successfully and scouts for a place to build their homes that will weather the long and harsh winter (and the long and harsh summer). They discover the roads of a civilization on the planet from the time before it went extra solar; that the tailies have also crashed onto the island (sorry, that’s Lost which came later) the other ship from their group crashed elsewhere, and that the Nazis landed on the moon first (sorry, that’s Rocket Ship Galileo which came out later) a Russian/Asian communist rocket reached the planet first, and they’re months ahead in learning how to use the perfectly preserved machines in the domed cities of the missing aliens, and they’re using the technology to conquer the new world.

So most of the book kind of sets this up in an kinda talky way. It has a lot of action, but it has long sets where people tell other people what they’ve done and a lot of musing on the enormity of what happened–and not in a particularly individual or character-building way. And as we came closer to the end, I wondered if it was setting things up for a third book, where the protagonists would tackle the commies over a longer timeline and maybe unravel further mysteries of the human-like aliens who populated the planet so long ago, but, no. The commies cut the power to the city that the protagonists hold, so a small group hides their plan to infiltrate a third city to use its service conduits to infiltrate the enemy city. But they don’t report in. And, finally, and awfully quickly in the narrative, a pretty woman steals a car from the protagonists’ city, runs to the antagonists’ city, ingratiates herself to the bad guy leader, kills him in his bath, disables his minions, and allows the English survivors of another rocket’s crash to rise up and liberate the city/planet. And finis! But that resolution comes out of nowhere in the course of a couple of pages–I have to wonder if the authors were running out of runway in the magazine space they had left–this book was originally serialized, apparently–so they just wrapped it up in a hurry. And rather unsatisfyingly. No wonder it takes me several decades years between them. It is not a series, though–just the two books. So I don’t have another one to look forward to in 2064.

A couple things, though: One, notice the copyright dates above. This book first came out as a book in 1934, and it was still in print forty years later. That’s not a bad run, ainna? I cannot imagine much written now that will be in print in 2064.

Second, the book proved that I’m reading my library in the proper order. Page 107:

Eve disappeared into the darkness which was all but complete. In the north, toward Bronson Beta’s pole, hung a faint aurora, and above it shone some stars; but most of the sky was obscured. There was no moon, of course. Strange, still, to expect the moon–a moon now gone with “yesterday’s sev’n thousand years.”

That’s from The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám which I just read, and I was pleased to recognize it. Of course, the book’s characters casually alluded to and quoted Shakespeare and Kipling. A testament probably to the benefits of a turn-of-the-20th-century British education, and it’s rare to find that sort of thing and references to God in anything past the middle of the 20th century.

Oh, and a note about the 1973 paperback. The print is tiny, and the pages’ luminosity has faded. It was reading tiny black marks on a beige or darker background. I contemplated cheaters, gentle reader, but they didn’t help a whole lot. Perhaps this will get me out of my habit of reading paperbacks and into hardbacks. Maybe large print books at that.

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Movie Report: Better Off Dead (1985)

Book coverI got this film last September at the library book sale, and I’d hoped to watch it with my oldest, whom we taught to say, “I want my two dollars!” when he was a toddler. But he’s awfully busy now, so I watched it with my youngest still on hiatus from his preferred and privilege-abused devices.

So: John Cusack plays Lane, whose girlfriend of six months breaks up with him. He has suicidal ideation (now known as support for Canadian health care in scientific terms). However, he meets the French foreign exchange student across the street, fixes up his car (well, helps the French foreign exchange student fix up his car), gets his first job, and rediscovers his zest for life.

It’s a pretty simple high school movie plot, but the subplots/recurring gags make it stand apart. We have the precocious younger brother building/upgrading things he collects from mail-in offers (and picking up trashy women). We have the mother who tries to be a stereotypical mom but fails in 80s teen film fashion. We have David Ogden Stiers somehow looking younger than Winchester from MASH as the exasperated father. We have the mother and son foreign exchange family from across the street who try to make the exchange student the love interest of the obese, awkward son. And we have Johnny, the vandal paperboy, pursuing Lane for the two dollars owed for the newspaper subscription.

Overall, it provides an amusing stylized view of Northern California teendom in the middle 1980s. I didn’t see it until the late 1990s when we borrowed it from my beautiful wife’s former roommate, so I was reflective and nostalgic about it rather than actually spoken to. Although unless you’re of a skiing culture and location in an upper-middle-class enclave, it probably would not have spoken to you directly in that time. It also features an animated daydream sequence to Van Halen’s “Everybody Wants Some” that stuck with me enough that I thought it was the actual music video for the song. But, apparently, the song precedes music videos and there is no alternate official video.

The film also featured…. Continue reading “Movie Report: Better Off Dead (1985)”

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The Missing Cs of Southwest Missouri

I am on the Internet, so you would expect me to speculate in a most irresponsible manner when I notice something, but I’ve got nothing but the noticing and the question.

They call Ozarks Technical Community College OTC.

The city of Ozark calls the Ozark Community Center the OC (probably because one or more of them heard Orange County, California, called The O.C. and thought it was cool).

But the question I have is:

What is happening to the extra Cs?

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Movie Report: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)

Book coverOn an evening where my youngest was on an involuntary sabbatical from electronic devices, he joined me for a movie night, and I pulled this videocassette out. Actually, as I’ve mentioned, I’ve been going through the Nogglestead to-see library of unrewound videocassettes and popped them in with the television off to let them run to the end and fully rewind. So the Nogglestead to-see library has a lot of videocassettes atop it in unrewound or rewound states, so we’re watching lots of videocassettes these days. Which is good: We have lots of videocassettes to watch. And with the Friends of the Library Spring Book Sale looming, the number is likely to grow.

At any rate, I saw this film when freshly moved to Missouri, living in St. Charles. My uncle had a VCR, and he rented the film for us to watch, and we did. And although my son was not sure that he’d seen the film before, he knew all of the songs, not just the Oompa Loompa songs.

Oh, wait: This is a musical? I didn’t remember that.

But indeed it is, and not just the Oompa Loompa song. Charlie is a young man in England who is supporting his mother and four bedridden grandparents with his odd jobs. When reclusive Willy Wonka, famous candy maker, announces a contest where five young people and a guest will get to tour his chocolate factory, the world goes nuts. A series of vignettes introduce families and children who will be the winners, including a gluttonous German boy, a spoiled British girl (Veruca Salt), an American boy who watches too much television, and a girl who chews too much gum. All hope appears lost for Charlie when a winner is announced in Argentina, but that ticket turns out to be fake, so he wins.

They all start out a tour of the fantastic (as in fantasy) candy factory, and one by one the children are picked off by their own character flaws until only Charlie is left. At the end, he is dismissed by Willy Wonka, and he is about to take up a rival candymaker’s offer to pay for a sample of Wonka’s Everlasting Gobstopper, but Charlie returns it to Wonka instead, which triggers his ultimate victory–ownership of the chocolate factory itself.

I don’t know how much it varies from the book as I’ve not read it. But it was an enjoyable experience to share with my youngest, although he is already a bit older than the target audience.

The first song number in the film is “The Candyman” (The candyman can….) which was written for the movie (and Wonkaized for the film or de-Wonkified for subsequent covers). I pointed out to the boy that he and/or his brother had, when they were younger, once requested that I put on Sammy Davis, Jr’s version on. They liked Candy. He still does.

So I have the Johnny Depp version around here somewhere. I thought I’d watch them on consecutive nights while they were fresh, but of course now that I sought out the later film, I could not find it. So maybe that will be sometime soon.

Oh, and now that I think of it, Willy Wonka might have been top-of-mind because I just read a two-part Substack post Willy Wanker and the Great Glasgow Grift about the off-brand Willy Wonka “event” that earned Internet infamy for its poor execution in Scotland.

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