Dawn Reader

Dawn Reader
from Open Door Coffee Co.; Hudson, OH; Oct. 26, 2016

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Sunday Sundries, 56

1. AOTW: No real candidates this week--the usual doofuses in traffic, that's about it. So--impossible as it may be to believe--no award this week!

2. Reading something the other day, I came across an allusion to the game of Post Office. It's time to confess: Although my friends and I talked about this game in junior high (okay, and later, too), I never actually played the game; in fact, I didn't even know what the "rules" are. Enter Wikipedia:

The group playing is divided into two groups – typically a girl group and a boy group. One group goes into another room, such as a bedroom, which is called "the post office". To play, each person from the other group individually visits "the post office". Once there, they get a kiss from everyone in the room. They then return to the original room.

Once everyone in the first group has taken a turn, the other group begins sending members to the first room.

Probably the raciest game I played back then was Truth of Dare, a game I liked because you could lie and be a chicken.

3. I was thinking the other day about the changes in coffee. Throughout most of my life, when you went to a restaurant or a coffee shop, you ordered ... coffee. The only variation was decaf. Now ... light, bold, medium, dark, spicy, etc. And, of course, instead of five cents, it's now two dollars (or more).

issue from back in the day
4. In a waiting room the other day I was surprised to see a copy of TV Guide, a magazine that I thought was long, long gone. When I was growing up, we subscribed (there was really no other way to get the detail you wanted about the shows for the week. But through all of my boyhood, we never had more than three channels, so the magazine made some sense.

issue I found in the
waiting room
Now, of course, there are countless channels--not to mention streaming services--so I'd just assumed that TV Guide had gone the way of the record player (which, of course, is enjoying a comeback) and the reel-to-reel tape player and the chuck wagon. But there it was on Wednesday, somewhat larger than it used to be, but still identifiably TV Guide.

5. The other night--while Joyce was off somewhere--I watched, via Netflix, the DVD of  Foxcatcher, a 2014 film I'd read a lot about but did not ever go to see when it was in the theaters--which, if I remember correctly, was not all that long a time, at least around here. (It got five Academy Award nominations--no wins.) Based on a true story of a murder executed in January 1996 by John Du Pont (yes, those Du Ponts, the fabulously wealthy ones). Du Pont, a devoted (mad?) fan of amateur wrestling, had gathered at his estate some of the best wrestlers in the world (including characters played by Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo; the later is the one whom Du Pont kills). His estate--called Foxcatcher--was where he set up a training site for the world championships and Olympics. Things get freaky before the gunfire, but the performances were excellent, top to bottom, including a very off-type Steve Carrell, who played Du Pont. Not a pleasant film to watch--but a powerful one. (Du Pont died in prison in 2010.)

6. This week I finished reading the "lost" 1953 pulp novel by Gore Vidal (writing as "Cameron Kaye"), Thieves Fall Out. Reissued just this year, Thieves takes place in post-WW II Egypt and tells the story of an American, Peter Wells, a resourceful young man, a war vet with some skills (think: Liam Neeson in the Taken films ... well, Wells is not that skilled) who gets swept up in a plot to steal, smuggle, and sell a priceless necklace from Back in the Day (which, in Egypt's case, was a long, long, long time ago).

Double-crosses, 1950s sex scenes, fisticuffs, gunfire, ex-Nazis--all come into play in this romp through the hard-core crime genre.

Vidal's characteristic slicing wit is not heavily present here, but there are glimpses behind the conventional structure and prose of the literary talent who would write so many great essays and plays (Visit to a Small Planet), entertaining novels (Lincoln, Burr, etc.). One chapter ends with this: "In the hills across the river a jackal laughed" (101). Now that's Gore Vidal.

Percolating underneath the novel is a rebellion against Egypt's King Farouk, who ruled from 1936-1952. The revolution that erupts at the end of this novel is the one that deposed him in 1952 (he fled to Italy after Nasser's forces overwhelmed him and died in Rome in 1965).

Farouk, a handsome young king, became rather ... portly ... later on and was the subject of jokes (one character in Vidal's novel calls him "Fat Boy" (220)), one of which, a drawing I remember from boyhood, was the first cartoon I didn't understand. Dad had to explain it to me. See below:

Shown this drawing, you were supposed to say what it is. Answer: King Farouk on a bar stool.

Well, at the time, I didn't know who King Farouk was, and I certainly didn't know anything about his weight.

I found this image on the Internet, but my memory is that the drawing I saw was far more exaggerated in ways you can imagine.

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