Friday, May 13, 2005

“Well, nobody’s perfect.”

The Movie: Some Like It Hot, 1959 (Billy Wilder and I.A.L. Diamond, screenwriters, from a story by Robert Thoeren and Michael Logan; Billy Wilder, dir.)
Who says it: Joe E. Brown as millionaire Osgood Fielding III
The context: Daphne (Jack Lemmon), who is really Jerry, has just told her fiance that she’s actually a man.
How to use it: To take unpleasant revelations in stride.

Okay, Tom, here's some Billy Wilder for you. I'd like to point out, though, that I have quoted Double Indemnity and Sunset Blvd., so this is not my first Billy Wilder quote. And I loathe Kiss Me, Stupid (although it has some good lines), so you're not going to see that here.

My workload is completely out of control at the moment, and between that and my feeble attempts at a social life, I've had little time for reading. This week's list, remarkably, includes no crime fiction. Unlike last week, however, I strongly recommend all of these.

What I Read This Week

James Whorton Jr., Frankland. Another book I picked up just because I liked the cover, and what a lucky grab. John H. Tolley is a self-educated historian with a fixation on Andrew Johnson, possibly our worst President. His passion brings him to eastern Tennessee, in search of a legendary missing scrapbook that might reveal long-hidden truths about Johnson. What he finds, instead, is a world of possibilities he'd never imagined. Reminiscent of Walker Percy at his most light-hearted, or the novels of James Finney Boylan.

Thomas Groome, What Makes Us Catholic. My parish is reading this for discussion; I love having a Jesuit for a pastor. The book's subtitle is "Eight Gifts for Life," and it explores how Catholicism deals with eight of life's basic questions, from "Who Do We Think We Are?" to "What is Our Heart's Desire?" Exactly the right book at the right time for me, for many reasons, and each of my godchildren will be getting a copy at some point later this year.

James Weldon Johnson, Autobiography of an Ex-Coloured Man. I came across this book while doing research on a project that's only tangentially related to this book's time period (1880s - early 1900s). They gave us excerpts of this book in middle school, but I can't understand why we didn't read it all; it's a fascinating, heartbreaking, inspiring, infuriating look at race relations in the United States at the turn of the century. The narrator is the illegitimate son of a white father and black mother who grows up in Connecticut, travels in the South and Europe, and eventually builds a life for himself as a "white" man. At one point, a character says, "It's no disgrace to be black, but it's often very inconvenient." I wish to God that were no longer true.

Enough procrastinating... back to work... don't call me or e-mail till tonight or tomorrow, please.


Anonymous said...

I am surprised that you never used this line before.
No President can be worse than Jimmy Carter who was given many opportunites and squandered them all.
Much of the current mess in Iraq and Iran is the result of his mush-minded policies.

Anonymous said...

well, good thing we have Bush in there cleaning up!

Anonymous said...

oh, sorry, in my haste to be scathingly sarcastic, I forgot to sign my Bush comment.