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I absolutely hated it when people call me my my dogs mother or mom or mommy. But simply all dog owners do it now and now I've given up. I've thrown in the towel so completely that I refer to myself as a dog mommy. At the dog park, at the office - everywhere they say to Olivier, my dog, go to your mommy. So it is inescapable. I can rationalize my throwing in the towel in two ways other than just I gave up because it was nothing else I could do. The first is it as many of you know I was a cat owner for 20 years before I owned this dog and it was simply ridiculous when people insinuated that I had cats instead of children. Because cats are not like children at all. They are independent erotic creatures. Now owning a dog for the first time as an adult I have to confess that it is much more like having a child. So it's less insane and in that sense more sensible to call me Olivier's mom. Because one has much more of an interactive relationship with the dog and the dog does behave in some ways like one's child. Like pleading to be taken out for a walk or pleading for a game. Comparatively speaking I am the dogs mother. And secondly dogs are not functional in the way they once were. The dog we had when I was a child was supposed to be a Guard dog. I don't think anymore anyone would say that they had bought a dog is a Guard or for some other working purpose. So then the dog really is in a kind of way a member of the family. So in short if you cannot beat them join them because they do have some good points of reason

Maybe cats are more like adult children.

I love my cats very dearly but I never felt the least bit maternal towards them. They are not pals. They are beautiful, sensuous and very jealous creatures.

I hate all these superhero movies. One of the great things is identifying with a hero. And you can't identify with someone who can fly through the air at the speed of a flying bullet. Cannot identify with somebody wearing a stupid costume including a leotard and tights and a cape. You cannot identify with the comic book character

True. I could when I was 10 or 12, but not now. Maybe that's part of what puzzles me about the enthusiasm on the part of adults. I wonder if that's partly nostalgia, and maybe partly ironic.

There is a cat hassling me to get between me and the keyboard at this moment.

Yes Stan did that when he was older. Stan was needy in just the way you say Andy is needy in the last few years of his life. I feel guilty about not having him put down sooner. But the problem was that he kept defesting the expectations of the vets so we never really knew if he might do it just one more time

The other thing is that I cannot see the drama or the thrill when the hero essentially cannot be defeated.

Like the Star Wars phenomenon I think the super hero stuff depends a lot on whether you grew up with it or not. I was never much into comic books even when I was young, so this whole thing pretty much leaves me cold. Yet I have a couple friends roughly the same age as me who are very much "into" it.

As far as the "dark 'n' gritty" goes, I think you are right in that there is some active perversity going on there. A lot of the stuff seems purposely subversive of the good and the innocent, which is something in the arts and media that I totally despise.

So do I.

Do you mean growing up with the movies? I grew up with the comics but didn't develop this attachment. I wonder how many people over fifty or so are into the movies.

"I cannot see the drama or the thrill when the hero essentially cannot be defeated"

Right. Though they can layer on some drama by presenting the hero with moral dilemmas, endangering his/her loved ones, and such. But still, just not my cup of tea.

Meme has always been *extremely* needy, which I assume is because she was taken away from her mother and abandoned when only a few weeks old. Someone left her and her siblings in a basked on a shelf in a pet store, and someone my wife knew rescued the kittens and fed them with an eye dropper for weeks. She would walk around the pet store with one of the kittens clinging to her collar, nestled between neck and shoulder. Meme still wants to do that. Preventing her is a struggle, and getting her to let go if she ever gets there even more of one.

Lucy went very quickly, going from sickly to unable to move in the space of a day or so. The vet said there was nothing to be done. So that was pretty easy. I hope there's not a long drawn-out thing with Andy like you had with Stan.

Yes, your rationale for going along with the "dog mommy" thing is reasonable. And it's true that there is a childlike quality about dogs that isn't there with cats. But I think you have your ideas clear in a way that a lot of these people don't seem to. When they say their dog is "our baby" I get the feeling that they really don't mean "like a baby." I'm not around people like that often enough for it to take over with me in the same way.

"Do you mean growing up with the movies? I grew up with the comics but didn't develop this attachment. I wonder how many people over fifty or so are into the movies."

The guys I'm speaking of grew up with the comics, continued to follow them into adulthood, and have now transferred their like of the comics to the movies.

Of course for some folks the superhero movies are just the new "go-to" for action movies, like we had westerns and war movies when we were young. Still, I find the whole thing vaguely juvenile in a way that I didn't find the old war movies and cowboy flicks.

The expression 'Crazy cat lady' is well known. But I honestly think the dog lovers are crazier. And for just the same reason that the dogs are more easily turned into peoples little babies.

I tried all kinds of dogs schools when Olivier was a puppy. There was one I tried called school for dogs in the East Village. I'm still on the emailing list and I get offers of things like therapy for dog parents who are depressed because the dog is disobedient. I never saw anything is crazy is that as a cat owner. Because cats are not a Beadiant or disobedient they are just superficially donesticated

Agreed. The "crazy" in "crazy cat lady" describes going overboard about one thing to the point of eccentricity or worse. The dog owner crazy is more like a delusion. I believe I would have trouble not laughing in the face of someone who was getting therapy over her disobedient dog. Ever see that movie about the dog show fanatics?...what was it called?...by the same guy who did A Mighty Wind and other similar satires. Best In Show, I think.

"I find the whole thing vaguely juvenile"

Definitely. Not at all like, for instance, avidly reading a book filling in the backstory of Twin Peaks. ;-)

I kind of like action movies, at least in theory. But the superhero ones don't appeal much to me for the reasons we've given. I watched the original Die Hard a couple of years ago when we were getting some of the movie channels. It's really quite good for its type. Then I watched one of the later ones and it was just ludicrous--the action feats so over-the-top impossible that I couldn't take it seriously at all.

A lot of originally good action movies were cartoonized over time and sewuels. The first Bourne and the original Diehard wereexcellent

Is the problem that CGI has taken over? They just showed three Iron Man movies over the last week here on New Zealand TV. I spent about half an hour on each one, and they seemed to me to consist mostly of fighting scenes between really big, complicated gizmos, all thanks to CGI.

That's probably part of it. That makes the cartoonizing easier, no doubt, but that can be done without it. I don't think there was any CGI in that other Die Hard movie I saw.

Have you noticed you can get Filmstruck on Roku now?


Got an email announcing that earlier today. Just in time for them. I was about to cancel it. I think I've watched one movie on it, and that was just to see if it worked. I may cancel anyway. I don't watch movies very much these days, just tv shows with episodes of an hour or less.

Our family has had Bichons for years; a few have suffered sad ends, owing to the proximity of coyotes in the wilds of Alberta, but we keep returning to the breed, which, as you say, is a nice blend of good-tempered and pint-sized. And they don't shed! Great little dogs.

Like you, I'm largely immune to the superhero movie mania. I think the last one I saw was the first Captain America movie (2011), but I saw only the first half. The movie studios have invested heavily in these "universes", spinning out long sequences of films with interconnections between them. I suppose it's a marketing strategy that works -- else they wouldn't do it -- but it's rather forbidding to those of us who haven't been keeping up. Not that I want to keep up.

I hadn't heard about the new, dark Anne of Green Gables. What a dumb idea. The original movie was a favourite in our family when I was growing up. Prince Edward Island (where Green Gables is located) has for a long time made hay on the sweet, likeable, and inoffensive tales of Anne. I can't imagine they are too keen on her becoming "edgy".

Did your bichons have skin problems? Andy has sort of driven us crazy with that. I wonder if our hot and humid climate has something to do with that.

The "universes" of those movies seem to account for a lot of their appeal to some people, as with Star Wars. And Tolkien to some degree. Well, maybe to the same degree, but I think for fewer people.

"The movie studios have invested heavily in these "universes", spinning out long sequences of films with interconnections between them. I suppose it's a marketing strategy that works"

I read something recently that talked about the fact that much of today's big budget filmmaking -- sequels, reboots, remakes, etc. -- is based on data rather than on any "abstract" concerns. Apparently the studios actually run algorithms based on viewer demographics and such, then tailor the films based on the algorithmic data. Thus the movies are not really artistically created, or even crafted, but cranked out according to formula.

This is true for pop ('top 40') music too, by the way. One writer said that he wondered how all the pop music fans would react if they knew that all these songs were being churned out by groups of middle-aged Scandinavian men?

Marianne - i'm sure CGI Has a big effect. But its not the sole cause. If you look at the hugely successful Pirates of the Caribbean movies, they are cartoon like but not I guess much dependent on CGI. Some of the best movies of our time are actual cartoons and some of the worst are 'cartoons' with human actors.

I had to add that if Wonder Woman had been available on the plane to London I would've watched it and I was hoping that it would be showing on the plane. That is because I would never watch it in the cinema or rent the DVD and I like usung opportunities for doing things which I would never otherwise have done

"I had to add that if Wonder Woman had been available on the plane to London I would've watched it and I was hoping that it would be showing on the plane. That is because I would never watch it in the cinema or rent the DVD and I like usung opportunities for doing things which I would never otherwise have done"

That's exactly what I thought about La La Land, and it was showing, but I had a screaming headache and had to turn it off.


I'm only a little surprised at hearing that about movie-designing algorithms. And not at all surprised that it's true in pop music. Proves my often-made observation that it's the musical equivalent of Cheez-Whiz--not actually music, but processed auditory product.

I listened to part of an Ariana Grande track after the Manchester bombing. Never mind what's said to be the gross sexual explicitness (what all our 12-year-old girls need to hear), I find the sound literally unbearable.

"Ha ha, you prude, they thought Elvis was shocking, too." That's one of the most irritating stock comebacks I know. That's like telling the relatives of a murdered teen-ager "Oh, that's just kids. We had fist fights when I was in school, you know."

Re Wonder Woman or La La Land on the plane--I used to do more or less the same kind of thing when going to work-related conferences and such and staying in a hotel with cable tv. That's how I first saw an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie. And The Sopranos.

On Sunday night I was at a bar with a couple friends. No one was playing the digital jukebox, so they had a Top 40 playlist going. After about five or six songs in a row that sounded almost exactly the same, I asked, what is this, the all-female auto-tune station? Every song featured a female singer with a whiney, little-girl voice, very obviously auto-tuned, the same simplistic chord progressions repeated over and over, the same semi-electronic arrangement and the same beat. It was utter garbage -- cynical corporate-produced trash.

This is the boring generation. I guess you know, or maybe you don't, that the current fashion color for everything is gray. Please.


I realized that a year or so ago when I was visiting in California. It was December and I was in a Whole Foods or some similar place and kept feeling like there was an oddly somber, almost gloomy air about it. Finally it dawned on me that almost everybody in the place was wearing a combination of gray and black.

"Every song featured a female singer with a whiney, little-girl voice, very obviously auto-tuned, the same simplistic chord progressions repeated over and over, the same semi-electronic arrangement and the same beat."

Yes, that describes the Ariana Grande track I was talking about. Add to that pornographic lyrics. In addition to all the other reasons for hating that stuff, that auto-tune warble is like fingernails on a blackboard to me.

I say "no accounting for taste" etc doesn't really apply to this. Objectively it's garbage.

Sorry about Janet's headache! When I came back from Spain last year I was flying Turkish Air because they had the cheapest tickets. They had a choice of 10 or 15 different movies all of them being some kind of Batman or Superman movie. The array was so depressing that I didn't watch a movie between Istanbul and Chicago. If there had been an actual choice I might've watched. But the feeling of being trapped inside this Ssuperman Batman world was so claustrophobic that I couldn't watch. Turkish Airlines must have bought the entire franchise

The Asterix comic books were brilliant. The films are rubbish though.

Grumpy, CGI is used on the Pirate movies -- see these photos of some of the characters before and after CGI.

That is interesting Marianne. I do think there's a lot of truth in your CGI idea. Because movies are probably being made to fit CGI rather than CGI being Used for movies.

I don't want to sound too Grumpy but I saw the second Pirates movie and thought it was a big yawn.

More grumpily, I thought the first one was.

I watched it until Jack Sparrow showed up, then I lost interest.

I don't remember enough to say anything specific, only that it was tiresome.

At the request of friends I accompanied them to the theatre for both the first Pirates movie and the first 'new' Mummy movie. Hated both and have not watched one of either franchise since. If anything, this newer new Mummy movie with Tom Cruise looks to be even dumber than the old new one.

Hm. I didn't even know there was a Mummie movie franchise.

"I didn't even know there was a Mummie movie franchise."

Consider yourself blessed!

I listened to another chapter of Out of Ashes this afternoon, and Esolen uses the one-room schoolhouse of Anne of Green Gables as a contrast to the horribleness of public schools today. I've read enough about the new series to be determined not to watch it, especially as the 1985 mini-series is one of the best film adaptations of a book that I have ever seen (second only to Brideshead and the A&E Pride & Prejudice). The casting is just about perfect and the series retains the innocence of the books along with a great beauty.

Although I detest the sullying of older books and the perverse darkness of just about anything that's available to watch nowadays, I found myself having a sort of reverse reaction to the new Fr. Brown series which I'm sure would disgust GKC. The atmosphere of the Fr. Brown books is consistently dark and brooding, and this series "based on" the mysteries is like Poirot with a priest instead of a Belgian detective only not so good.


Oh dear. It's been a while since I did that. Sorry.


:-) Fixed. I'll comment later (tomorrow).

I think the beauty of the landscape might be enough to make me watch the old Anne of Green Gables.

I guess the Fr. Brown series you're talking about is the one on Netflix, with Mark Williams as Fr. Brown? We've watched a few of them. I haven't disliked them but haven't been very enthused, either. Sort of on the bland side. Makes me wonder if dark-'n'-gritty stuff is ruining my taste.

It's not so much that it's bad--tepid maybe--but it's not Fr. Brown. Make up your own durn detective folks.

Ruining something.

I was looking at the films, etc. that Netflix has added recently and almost everything was dark and nasty, and I started thinking about how I like the crime dramas but I'm not sure a steady diet of murder, child abuse and human trafficking fits in very well with Paul's admonition to think about whatever is pure, admirable, lovely, etc. I'm just going to take a vacation from that stuff.

I probably won't have anything to say here now. ;-)


I've been thinking along those lines, too (Paul's admonition) but haven't done anything in particular about it. I just started another of those series and now I want to finish it (see next SNJ).

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