2020 is off to a cracking start

Just a few omens and portents:

  • Freezing rain, in Minnesota. I’m stuck at home another day.
  • Our version of a celebration was to watch a movie together. The first (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo) so repulsed her she made me turn it off after 45 minutes, the second (Clue) was so boring that she fell asleep halfway through and didn’t see the multiple endings.
  • I knew we had freezing rain because my car alarm went off twice in the middle of the night, and we had to scurry out on the ice to shut it up. We got that instead of fireworks.
  • I got texts from my siblings letting me know that my mother was celebrating the New Year in the hospital. She’s going to be OK, but they’re keeping her in for further observations.
  • I woke up and Donald Trump is still president.

I may just go back to bed and wake up again when the signs are less dismal. See you in 2120!


  1. birgerjohansson says

    I will not wish you all a “Happy New Year ” as this is waaay to unrealistic.
    Instead, I wish you all to “Get Through the Year More Or Less In One Piece “.
    And without irrepairable mental or physical injuries.

  2. opposablethumbs says

    Hope your mother is OK, and my commiserations on Trump (all the more heartfelt now that we have our own).
    As for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Wiki tells me the title of the original in Swedish is So. Much. Truer: Män som hatar kvinnor, “Men who hate women”), I dunno which version you saw but I thought the original trilogy (even being among the many people who had to watch it with subtitles) was riveting. Started watching the first one by pure accident very late one night and ended up staying up until 3am deliberately three nights running to see the whole trilogy. Worth a try maybe, if what you had was the US remake?

  3. says

    The first rape scene sets up the revenge scene not so much later in the film. She gets some heavy shit done to her, but manages to give back better than she got. They both (the American and Scandinavian versions) are pretty violent, but I think are pretty good. I suppose it is kind of like The Wild Bunch. After we watched the first 15 minutes of it, my wife said: I suppose the worse violence is over. She decided not to watch more. Although she did watch and like both versions of The Girl.

  4. Just an Organic Regular Expression says

    More or less by chance, New Year’s Eve I was reading W. H. Auden’s September 1, 1939. This seems an appropriate post to share a bit of it. N.B. the title date is when the Nazi army invaded Poland. Nevertheless, the opening lines seemed very apt for today’s date.

    I sit in one of the dives
    On Fifty-second Street
    Uncertain and afraid
    As the clever hopes expire
    Of a low dishonest decade:
    Waves of anger and fear
    Circulate over the bright
    And darkened lands of the earth,
    Obsessing our private lives;
    The unmentionable odour of death
    Offends the September night

    The enlightenment driven away,
    The habit-forming pain,
    Mismanagement and grief:
    We must suffer them all again.

    So, happy goddam new year.

  5. opposablethumbs says

    The rape scene was excruciating, yes. I guess I felt it was treated ‘properly’, not presented in a titillating way/presented as sexy but as abuse/an abuse of power – and Salander rescues/revenges herself entirely by her own strengths and resources, she doesn’t get rescued/revenged/gifted with ‘sexual healing’ by the male lead (nor does she end up with him in any way), which is so atypical a treatment. But it is a vile scene.

  6. unclefrogy says

    If as I suspect 52nd street is those few blocks in Harlem that were home to some pretty famous jazz clubs I might have to check out that fellow out
    the date and place make a fuller picture
    this year will be an historic one and that’s no lie I think I will try to remember the advice written on the cover of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Universe” and keep doing the next right thing
    “Don’t Panic”
    uncle frogy

  7. Beatrice, an amateur cynic looking for a happy thought says

    As I get older, I have a much harder time watching rape scenes. They just feel so unnecessary and make me hate a movie that might otherwise be good. The last one I had to give up on was The Nightingale. I realized the multiple rapes were a setup for the revenge story, but that whole thing really could have been told without the excessive sexual brutalization of a woman.

    I did manage to watch whole The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (original version), mostly because I was prepared for everything, having read the book. That’s a great movie, and I can see how the rape is an essential part of the story that was being told. I did look away during the scene, but I also did that when she had her revenge on the perpetrator.

  8. GiantPanda says

    Ape/Monkey enclosure in local zoo burned down last night, probably caused by illegal fireworks. All animals are dead, including orangutans, gorillas and a chimpanzee.

  9. vucodlak says

    RE rape scenes in movies:
    I’ve read some interesting essays about I Spit On Your Grave by rape survivors who found it healing. For those who aren’t familiar: I Spit On Your Grave begins (after some establishing scenes) with a nearly half-hour long scene of the protagonist, a woman on vacation, being brutally raped. The rest of the film is her bloody revenge. The rape is not presented as in any way titillating (according to what I’ve read; I can’t stomach rape/torture scenes, so I’m never going to see it).

    My personal feeling about rape revenge films is that, no matter how realistically vile the presentation, they’re still seriously problematic. Would they make a movie where they showed the realistic rape of a male child, as a set up for later revenge by the child? No. If they made a movie about a boy taking revenge at all, they wouldn’t show the rape itself (and not just because it would be illegal). They wouldn’t show it because just about everybody can agree that they don’t want to see that.

    Why, then, is it necessary to show a graphic and realistic rape (or worse, a titillating depiction) of a woman on screen as a set up for the later revenge? People who have been raped don’t need to see it to understand how horrific rape is. People who haven’t aren’t going to come away with a better understanding of the horrors of rape, because “it’s just a movie.”

    I just don’t think it’s necessary to show the rape on screen. The aftermath would suffice, if it’s properly presented. Or maybe not; as I said, I can’t watch movies like that anyway, so maybe there’s something I’m not considering.

  10. DanDare says

    Australia- fires ravage the country while our PM goes on holiday to Hawaii and plays all chummy with his pentacostal leader before Christmas. Thrn he goes to the cricket yesterday while Gippsland burns so violently that thousands are forced to flee by sea.
    The government angrilly charge about sayimg climate change has nothing to do with it and its all caused by the greenies because reasons.

  11. llyris says

    @DanDare – yessss.

    We watched the Sydney fireworks on TV. And I know the contractors would have been organised months ago, but all that gunpowder going up into the air deliberately while nsw burns. And Victoria. I’ve got friends in Bairnsdale. I’m in Melbourne, 2 minutes from a national park, so I’ve been watching the Victorian fire map obsessively.
    And ScoMo not just blaming the greenies and fucking off to Hawaii, but also the comments about them not needing backup or funding because they ‘want’ to be there. Ffs, our prime minister doesn’t understand the concept of serving the community.
    I wonder how much his Pentecostal beliefs influence his policies.

  12. simonhadley says

    I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who thought Clue was utterly boring and I generally enjoy silly slapstick comedies. I love Tim Curry but this movie just fell flat for me. As for Girl..Tattoo, I loved it. It was interesting to see a movie where the good guys aren’t really nice or likable. I identify better with them than I do flawless heroes like Captain America.

  13. DanDare says

    Today I saw the ugly footage of our pm trying to force people to shake hands with him. A fire fighter told him basically to fuck off.

  14. birgerjohansson says

    A more neutral comment of our times:
    Star Wars nerds and ancient weapon nerds fuse, in a Youtube video titled “The Mandalorian is using a 1894 Bergmann No. 1”.
    Of course there would be someone out there who figured out where the prop designers got their inspiration. It is like, the Internet acts as a collective Sherlock Holmes, even without AI.
    And when Trump published a photo of himself eating tacos, sharp eyes noticed a stack of small boxes in a drawer. Some British viewer identified the tiny images as boxes of an ephedrine-containing cold medication sold in Britain. This confirms rumors Trump uses ephedrine medication like Sudafed to stay alert. When on a high early in the morning, you get manic behaviour (read the tweets). When coming down in the afternoon, you get slurred speech.
    The clues are there if you have a collective of 100 million viewers adding their neutrons and synapses. Unfortunately a large segment of any population will loudly shout “fake news”, whatever the topic is.

  15. mountainbob says

    You still have a car alarm? That beeps or whistles, or flashes lights and sirens? How primitive. I thought they’d all been banned from society back in the 90’s. They don’t do anything positive and are mostly ignored when they go off. But, at least yours got you out for some fresh air (twice). Yippee.