52 Authors?
For Advent

52 Guitars: Week 47

Glenn Phillips

If there is anyone reading this who has heard of Glenn Phillips, I'd like to know. Without looking back over the whole list of people I've posted about this year, I feel pretty sure he is the least-known. I believe--again, without checking--that he's one of the two people I've featured whom I've seen in live performance. The other was Jimi Hendrix.

Sometime around the turn of the year 1967-8, between semesters at college, I went to visit some friends who had relocated from Tuscaloosa to Atlanta. They took me to a club to hear Ellen McIlwaine, a blues singer at the beginning of a moderately successful career. On the same bill was a group called the Hampton Grease Band. They were a strange outfit whom I would have compared to Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band if I had ever heard of the latter. Hampton, the vocalist, wandered around yelling and talking, while a pretty interesting pair of guitarists and a rhythm section played. One of the guitarists was named Glenn Phillips. Though I doubt I remembered the name from that night, I heard more about the band later.

A few years later the Hampton Grease Band put out a double LP called Music To Eat. I bought it, and only listened to it a couple of times. That was a disoriented time in my life, and it was a disorienting record, and I didn't want to hear it anymore. Hardly anyone did, apparently; it was a decidedly un-listener-friendly album, and reportedly the second worst-selling album in the history of Columbia Records at that point. I don't know what happened to my copy, but I wish I'd hung on to it, as it apparently became something of a collector's item later on.

Another decade and a half or so later, I ran across Phillips's name in Guitar Player magazine, and learned that after the Grease Band broke up he had embarked on a solo career, and though he'd had no commercial success was highly regarded by other guitarists. I've been meaning for years to find some of those recordings. I didn't find a great deal on YouTube, but what I found is quite interesting, and makes me want to hear more. Apparently he's still living in Atlanta, and for the past forty years has continued doing what he started doing in the early '70s--playing in clubs and making recordings.

These are all live  performances. Neither the sound nor the video is of very high quality, and the performances are kind of rough around the edges, but I think you can get the idea. 



"John Marshall": 


"I Say No":


What I like most about his soloing is that it's so melodic, and at times almost joyful.

Oh, and about the Hampton Grease Band--here's a sample:



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I plead ignorance, thank you for introducing him to me.
I'll look back in your previous weeks to see whether you consider Bass guitar as part of this featured focus.
If so, it would be worth considering, Jaco Pastorius. A wizard on bass.
I was fortunate to see him many times in south Florida in the 1970's. Mostly at, "Musician's Exchange", Don Cohen's contribution to the music scene in that area.
Thanks for these threads.

...and next month we recognize both the birth as well as the untimely death (also in December) of one of the finest guitarists to ever pick up the instrument, Michael Hedges.

Hedges was week 15 of this series. An astonishing talent.

And yeah, so was Jaco. Seeing him live must have been really something. Although I had heard his name I didn't really appreciate him till a couple of years ago when I heard his solo album (which I think is just called Jaco?). I'm about at the end of this 52 guitars thing, so won't be venturing into bass guitar. I have a few shredders to include, and am trying to think of somebody important and interesting whom I haven't already written about to close the series.

Excellent. Thanks. I wouldn't say 'joyful'. I would say 'ecstatic'.

Had such abusy week I have not read this yet. Ryan Croft as been at UND lecturing on Star Wars

Excellent! How did it go?

I wish I could have heard that.


I'm very happy to hear that he was invited. He's on my "needs a (permanent) job" prayer list.:-)

I haven't made up my mind what I think about the idea of college lectures on Star Wars, though.

No idea what "Marmite" is.
I do know, Vegemite. Hoping they are not related. Saw it on your post about Publix. I have a great story about that store. I'll spare you.
Just wanted to say, thank you, again for your contributions in this project.
Spent considerable time digitally thumbing through your guitar posts. It reminds me of spending hours in "Peaches" record store in the 1970's, 1980's. I "found" Ry Cooder's, Bop Till You Drop there. Still listen to, "The Very Thing That Makes You Rich". Still listen to a lot of old vinyl.
Glad to see that you covered Jeff Beck so early on (week 7).
Also appreciated seeing Paul Galbraith and John Williams (week 12). First time I heard the former I recall saying, "Finally, a guy named Galbraith who I can listen to". John Kenneth Galbraith? Yeeesh...
Hope your lemon tree survived.
Thank you again for the pleasurable trip through guitars.
All the best...

You're welcome, glad you enjoyed it. I've had a lot of fun doing it. Wondering who will be Week 52--seems like it should be some huge figure, but I've already done a lot of those.

I miss record stores.

I have been meaning to mention--I hope Louise and Grumpy will see this: I have finally tried Vegemite (also found at Publix), and don't like it as well as Marmite. I now have a pretty steady Marmite habit. Vegemite is similar, and therefore ok, but it has another taste that I don't like as much. Stronger notes of petroleum, maybe.

I really miss my little record store that was next to the Planters Peanut Shop with the Mr. Peanut roasting machine. All my records smelled like roasting peanuts.

There was a record store within walking distance of the office where I worked when I was 19, and I would go there at lunchtime, pick up a stack of records and eat in the listening room.

I liked those little crates at Peaches.


I miss record stores in general. Actually there is a store not too far from where I work that sells (and buys) LPs. But I have promised not to buy any more because there's no place to put them.

Who is Ryan Croft? I can't find anything about him on the internet unless he's the guy who designs guns.

Ha. He's a guy who used to comment here all the time.



How funny you looked all over the web for him when he used to comment on your blog:)

You realize that was not I (Mac) who asked the question, right? I don't know if Ryan C commented on Robert's blog or not.

I rather doubt it, since only three people ever read my blog and only 1.5 of them ever commented.

Well, from the fact that he commented as Ryan C, I would not have known his name was Croft.

I thought it was Mac having a senior moment!

Paul, it was great. Students said he was awesome

Sorry! I did not read the whole thread or Id have seen Mac's own comment. My view is that students should be assigned some things they already naturally like and some things that stretch them

I see from the ND site that Croft is a visiting professor at U. of Wyoming. The U. of Wyoming site says his field is English. You guys seem to have known this. I must have a poor memory for what people say about themselves in comments. Talking about senior moments....

The lecture sounds interesting--Eve/Mary allusions in the Star Wars trilogies.

Although Ryan C stopped commenting here a long time ago, around the time he completed his doctorate and started looking for a job, several of us still keep up with him via Facebook.

"... students should be assigned some things they already naturally like and some things that stretch them."

I agree completely with that in principle, I just wonder whether there is enough in Star Wars to make it worth spending the time on. I suppose RC is not telling them that there is no qualitative difference between Star Wars and Shakespeare, that it's all just "texts".

Ryan C gave two lectures. One was for my 'Christ the Beautiful' course. I worked them hard all semester. They studied Nicaea II (ratification of icons) and the Renaissance and Pasolini and lots of hard stuff! This is the penultimate week of semester and I figured they deserved a lecture on images of hell in Star Wars. Ask Miss Christina Gotcha if they worked hard this semester, Robert!

The 17 fourth year Theology Majors in there loved Ryan's talk. So much so that they came back voluntarily for the 2nd lecture

The second lecture Ryan gave was on Eve/Mary typologies. That was for the undergraduates in general - not part of a course. There were about 100 students there - they were sitting on the stairs and standing up at the back.

They loved it.

That's great.


Yes, it sounds great for all concerned.

Other people have found that gun fanatic while looking for me. It's quite annoying, let me tell you.

And I understand your doubt, Maclin, but I can tell you that there is enough in Star Wars to analyze forsher.

Here's a worksheet I developed for students to compare the apocalyptic imagery in A New Hope to that in Revelation: http://www.starwarsintheclassroom.com/rogues/members/docs/rcroft/SW_Apocalypticism.pdf

This video my students made compares the fauns and the lion in the Faerie Queene to the Ewoks in Return of the Jedi:


(might take a while to load since it's in HD)

This one is about monsters in medieval literature (including Beowulf) and Star Wars:


And this one is about Princess Leia slaying Jabba the Hutt being a modern retelling of Judith and Holofernes:


And that's just the tip of the iceberg. I have a whole class I could teach just on Milton and Star Wars. I have lesson plans, too, on the Seven Deadly Sins, and the incorporation of Dante's Inferno into The Empire Strikes Back.

I also have a lesson plan for teaching the theme of incest in Star Wars and the Kalevala (a la Sibelius's "Kullervo and his Sister"). Going to try that out this Spring.

There's also a PBS interview with me that's pretty easy to find on YouTube.

That's okay, Ryan, I share a name with Janet Cupo is one of the most miserable individuals that I have ever met.

She's connected with the NY Marathon. For a long time, this is what showed up on the top of any search for my name.


For the Faerie Queen/Ewok video, if you put your mouse over the black box, you can watch the black line fill up. Then it will be ready.

Janet: Oh dear! Haha. I see your blog has knocked it out of the top spot, though. That's good.

When you search for "Star Wars medieval literature" our site is the first that comes up. I'm very proud of that.

Francesca is a wonderful cook and host, and the Notre Dame students were a joy to visit with. Now I have to get back to grading. That time.

Grading...ugh. Thank you for the reminder that I would have liked everything about an academic job except the academics.:-)

Re Star Wars, I don't doubt that the parallels are there and interesting. I just hope, as I said somewhere further back, that you haven't joined the "all texts are equal" school.

Good to see your sig on a comment again!

When Christina gets home I'll ask her what she thought about the talk. She really likes the class. It is a good follow-up to the course she took last spring from Sr. Ann
Astell about beauty and the Eucharist. At least that is what I think it was called.

Or is that the name of your course, Grumpy? I get confused.

All texts aren't equal, but Star Wars is just important to its cultural moment as Faerie Queene was to its.

Star Wars is part of the cultural canon, in other words. I don't think this is too radical to say.

I believe in a continuing, growing canon. The development of canon. ;-)

Robert, do you mean to say your daughter is at Notre Dame and saw me?

I had dinner with Ann Astell thanks to Francesca. She's wonderful. We talked about Joan of Arc. I have a lesson plan with her, a French romance called Silence, and Leia too haha. My students enjoyed learning about Joan of Arc this semester.

While we're on the topic of texts being equal, I agree with Auden that Milton is a better writer than Tolkien, but that Tolkien mounts a better theodicy than Milton. It depends on what you're looking for.

Thank you for your prayers, too. :) I am very hopeful about next year, and I have a pretty good life right now here in the Rockies as it is.

But anyway, just as Tolkien does certain things better than Milton, so Star Wars does some things better than Shakespeare. And Dante does some things better than both. I don't feel the need to order the canonical texts of the Western heritage into a hierarchy. I bask in the plentitude.

Christina is in Grumpy's course, so, yes, she saw the talk. We haven't had time to talk about it, but I'm sure we will when she comes home for Christmas break.

She is a psych and theology major.

I've had three kids at ND since Grumpy went there, but this is the first time someone has taken a course from her.

I certainly believe in the development of the canon, too, almost by definition--it's a living thing. I'm much less convinced that Star Wars belongs in it, which is to say less convinced that it will be of much interest two hundred years from now. But anyway, I'm glad things are going so well for you. I'd like to see the Rockies again.

I'd like to see them once.


Here's a question: can you think of any movie that you think will likely be part of the canon--that has the depth and staying power of, say, Paradise Lost?

I'm not trying to provoke: as a non-movie person, I'd really like to know opinions. My taste in movies is a pedestrian and sentimental as my taste in anything else (music, for instance).

I was thinking about that, too, and I really don't have an opinion that I'd be willing to argue strongly for. Even prior to the question of artistic merit I wonder if the media and the technology to play them will exist in two hundred years.

Janet, I lived in Denver for most of a year a *long* time ago. It was not a good place to be poor in, but I've always wanted to go back with a little more money and leisure to explore. The mountains are magnificent.

Do you think they are still there? Maybe they have been removed for urban renewal. ;-)

Typing a comment which is really a post.


For the past few days I’ve been valiantly resisting the urge to email people whole pages of Thomas Howard’s The Secret of New York Revealed which I am reading in preparation for my post about Howard in January. Resisting because it would take a long time to type these long passages, but also resisting because I have to leave myself something to talk about in the post. However, the combination of this passage and our conversation in which Medieval studies play a part is too strong a temptation to resist.

Howard has been talking about studying Piers Plowman in his graduate English class at NYU in the 70s.

What we were talking about in that classroom once more were sin and salvation. We talked about manuscripts and about editors and about allusions and literary conventions and about the rules of poetry. But what were staring us in the face all the while were sin and salvation. Langland, like his hero Piers, was clearly most zealously opposed to sin and most anxious that we all be saved. Here we sat, a roomful of urban jades, who had got way beyond the naïve topics that concerned Langland. For us the important thing was to have finely honed sensibilities and discriminating tastes. Ah, Langland: so quaint, so observant of his era, so inventive. They thought of things so fetchingly in the Middle Ages. Life was so manageable. The universe was so tidy. You could classify human actions and attitudes into such nice categories. Sin and virtue. Sin was to be deprecated, and virtue commended. You were responsible for what you did, and therefore you stood in danger of hell if you ignored your responsibility. What a fascinating worldview! What fun to do one’s doctoral research on Langland.

In a way, it reminds me of Gertrude Himmelfarb’s saying that Lionel Trilling had said of his students, “I asked them to look into the Abyss, and, both dutifully and gladly, they have looked into the Abyss, and the Abyss has greeted them with the grave courtesy of all objects of serious study, saying: “Interesting, am I not?”


Well, that's okay, since you also don't like Beowulf very much, and I think it's a better text than Hamlet. ;-)

I think Blade Runner, Chinatown, etc... will have the staying power of Paradise Lost. And, of course, Star Wars. Star Wars has been just as influential upon film as Paradise Lost was upon poetry.

But comparing films to long epic poems is not really fair. I think comparing films to drama is only a little more so. In that case, Chinatown and Blade Runner should have the staying power of the canonical dramatic texts.

Speaking of which, when Ben Jonson published his plays in a huge volume his contemporaries laughed at him for taking those particular texts so seriously. It was poetry and the ancients that were respected. Even not too long time ago it was questionable whether the study of English literature as opposed to Greek and Roman literature was truly important. I don't know for sure what the canon will look like in 200 years, but we should expect the unexpected. I think the place of sci-fi in the canon is assured, though, given how technology and culture is changing. Works like Snow Crash and Neuromancer are canonical.

I think Star Wars's place in the film canon and the larger cultural canon is also secure, due to its richness, its reflection of its socio-political context, it's artistic skill, and its thematic depth. And I'm also just going by the reactions I get when I show it to students for the first time. But maybe I'm just an enfant terrible. ;-)

Robert, I'd be very interested to know what your daughter thought. You have my email, so please write (or she can). I told all of Francesca's students they could email me if they wanted help with any Star Wars-related projects.

Oh, and I think the technology to play them will exist. Blade Runner has survived DVD and Blu Ray, and has actually gotten better with these updated formats. As long as total civilizational collapse doesn't occur, they should be playable. If collapse does happen, I totally see people preserving cinematic texts in dramatic form.

The fairest comparison between Star Wars and a text, though, is probably between Star Wars and Arthuriana, particularly Malory. And now I'll stop haha.

I'm not an expert on Langland, but lately there's been discussion about the darkness in Chaucer, which I find interesting, since he's often portrayed (and portrays himself) as a bumbling, innocently cheerful poet. But lately the darker edges of his texts and the ironic nature of that bumbling self-portrait have become more apparent. It's interesting how different ages react differently to canonical texts. The reception history of King Lear comes to mind.

Anyway, I have to run to work now.

Technological regression is what I was thinking of. It's an open question to me whether the level of technology we've achieved in the past 100-200 years is going to be permanent or not. It requires huge levels of energy (compared to most of history), and it's going to require something like fusion power to keep up this technological level and beyond for, say, 500 or a thousand years.

I read Neuromancer ten years or so ago...hmm, maybe it was more like 15...and thought it was pretty severely dated even then. I certainly wouldn't call it canonical. Of course everything gets dated to some degree, and we don't laugh at 19th c fiction because it lacks automobiles and electricity, but the problem with most scifi is that it doesn't transcend its technology enough to survive if it ceases to be interesting from that point of view. Time will tell.

Oh, and I meant to say in that long comment up there that Howard says that all the students hung out in Greenwich Village. That was the 70s, and it crossed my mind that Grumpy might have been there then.


And Maclin, Ryan will have some idea which of you was right--at least in the short term--but we won't be here for him to gloat if he is.


I started to say something like that, but from the perspective I'm really thinking about--multiple hundreds of years from now--he won't really be in a significantly better position.

"all the students hung out in Greenwich Village"--speaking of dated things, that sounds pretty quaint now. But I like the Howard quote.

And you can argue that because Star Wars (just to pick the most obvious example) deals with the big subjects, it will last. But greeting cards do, too.

The argument that such-and-such wasn't taken seriously in its day, but now it is, doesn't move me one way or the other. It's like the argument that because a lot of critics were wrong about Beethoven they're probably also wrong about this or that contemporary. Yes, there are a lot of things that were misjudged in their day, but also a lot that were judged correctly.

Not that I'm saying with any conviction that SW *won't* last--I'm just doubtful. Personally I'd put more money on Bergman's work lasting than George Lucas's.

I don't think I'll be here to gloat either, thankfully (I really don't like to say "I told you so").

You may be right about technological regression, but in that case there will probably be a welcome return to community narrative gatherings, a la the Beowulf-poet and Homer. I can easily imagine people in the future pooling their energy resources to watch movies together in a huge assembly once a week or once a month. In fact, I've fantasized about this for years.

If I sound so confident, it's because I'm now witnessing thousands of people in different countries, modern-day digital scribes, preserving the films they love over the Internet. They are trading soundtracks, 35mm transfers, the works. The love for the material is definitely there.

If there was ever an energy collapse and film died, then Star Wars would almost certainly be preserved in dramatic form. Some of my students and friends can recite the entire dialogue from all three films. It would be like the end of Farenheit 451, people walking around muttering "No, I am your Father," etc...

In the same way as people quote lines from Hamlet, so too has Star Wars infiltrated culture verbally through memes. Part of the reason for this is children are introduced to Star Wars by their parents, and so it passes from generation to generation in a warm, safe environment. The power of the older films on people who weren't alive when they came out is compelling testimony. It's in the looks my students and the students at ND give me when we talk about these things.

In some ways, George Lucas is the Isidore of Seville of his time, taking a whole bunch of past knowledge and culture and synthesizing it in encyclopedic form.

Neuromancer has powerful themes of Gnosticism and paints a terrible picture of bleakness and broken love/humanity brought about by technology. If technological regression does ever happen, Neuromancer will become like the book of Jeremiah from the Bible for that epoch alongside Children of Men, probably. It's also already had a huge cultural impact on anime and the Matrix films. Neuromancer has that same dark, sad beauty as Blade Runner.

The best question I think I got at ND, by the way, was from a student who asked me about the trope of blindness in Scripture and Star Wars (specifically referring to Han and St. Paul).

Happy Feast of the Immaculate Conception to everyone! :)

I definitely don't think Star Wars will last only because it deals with big subjects. There's also the artistry, the encyclopedic nature of the thing, the memes, etc...

My point about literary history is not so much that individual works survived/were canonized so much that entire forms/genres were once put down. Plays were thought of in the Renaissance the way films are often thought of today--as ephemeral texts specific to their day and not worthy of long-term, authentic preservation. It's truly horrifying to modern pieties the way that Shakespeare's plays were reshaped after the English Civil War for the popular stage and new tastes (whether Shakespeare survives best on the stage vs. the page is a whole other ball of wax). Shakespeare's canonization was not immediate, but rather a long drawn-out process with many twists and turns, many players.

But since I need to turn my attention to finals week, that's the last word I'll say on the subject for now.

Robert, I look forward to hearing from either you or your daughter about my talks. Please email me at rcroft2@uwyo.edu if you find the time.


- Ryan

Some of this comes down to a difference in taste. I think you're hugely over-rating Star Wars and at least some of the others, e.g. Children of Men (whether you're referring to book or movie) and, to the extent I remember it, Neuromancer.

I'm not worried about big-name movies etc. not being transferred to whatever digital (or whatever) media formats come along. There are enough interested people in those (and enough money at stake) to keep them in perpetual migration (and resale, if Hollywood has anything to do with it). But some lesser stuff is disappearing, and a lot more may do so. My wife is an archivist and talks about this a lot--personal records, parish records, things like that. There isn't likely to be, in 2164, anybody finding an ancestor's diary in a box in the attic.

Well, I'm too late to the party, but I pretty much gave up on Star Wars in the movie where the Jedi created the Storm Troopers. "There," I thought, "goes the last bit of moral high ground." To create a race of men with no individuality whose sole goal is to fight a war is deeply flawed act.

Yes, Lucas borrows from a lot of medieval sources, but as he doesn't know what he's got his hands on, he can't use them correctly. (Is this exactly what I said about Peter Jackson?) I think that J. K. Rowling, who is far from perfect, does a lot better job.

Of course, I haven't had time to look at Ryan's stuff. Maybe he could change a fraction of my mind.


Orcs. The Jedi created orcs.


Actually I've been assuming that we are only talking about the first three movies. I meant to check with Ryan to see if that assumption is correct. It has been my impression that everyone on the face of the earth is in agreement that the second set are pretty awful at best.

I have a Lenovo laptop in which the video went out after 13 months, one month after the warranty expired. It would cost 2/3 or more as much as a new laptop to replace the whole motherboard, which is the only way to fix the video. So I now use it as a desktop. When I put it on the network, I named it JarJar.

The works of Shakespeare and Beethoven can be performed over and over again by different people in different settings and with different interpretations. That can't be said for a movie; it can only be played on a screen as it is. You can make another movie based on it, but that's not the same thing, is it?

That's an important point. The term is "moving picture", and a movie is--well, I almost as said as much a picture as a drama, but maybe that's overstating it. The picture part is extremely important, though. I suspect most movies, especially the great ones, would not amount to much if you just staged the script as written.

As a total work of art a film involves sound, lights, camera work; but its "literary" aspect is the script. In many respects I can't see that a remake of a film, or its adaptation to another medium, is any different from a new staging of a play. We might say that Shakespeare's scripts are not the same as Shakespeare's plays, which had their own specific casts (with some lines written with particular actors in mind) and their own staging conventions that are no longer available to those who would perform the plays again. I'm pretty sure a lot of films could be adapted for the stage, or perhaps even for the radio, without losing their literary identity.

While I do think Star Wars is a useful distillation of certain aspects of story-telling, I'm not sure I would consider it "canonical" either. Does something not have to influence how we read the rest of the canon before it can be said to have become part of the canon itself? But then perhaps for some people it has had that impact.

For myself, I'd think of it like Boethius in relation to classical philosophy: it distills aspects of the classical canon and so makes it available to people who wouldn't otherwise have access to it (more through ignorance than through impediments, but the outcome is the same). Once those people do have access to the classics, will they still want or need the distillation? Is its usefulness not more heuristic than as an object of study in its own right?

I would say "in some respects" rather than "in many respects". I think the visual aspect of a film is generally of much greater importance to the whole than you're saying. Certainly there are some scripts that would be as adaptable as a play to varying presentations and re-presentations. But for others it would be more akin to writing new music for an opera libretto.

I think even somewhat less of Star Wars than you do: I don't even see it as particularly useful in making aspects of the classical canon available. To me it's fairly light entertainment, although I do enjoy the first three movies quite a bit. And it's certainly a testimony to something of worth in them that they still attract the level of interest that they do, almost forty years after the release of the first one. But I'm certainly willing to consider that I'm wrong. Just a couple of hours ago I was leafing through the most recent issue of The New Criterion and a sentence caught my eye,. something to the effect that "We always tend to value the works of the past more highly than the present". Perhaps I'm just manifesting that tendency. Would I rather watch Star Wars than read Paradise Lost? Well...I'd rather not answer that.

So, on a desert island for the rest of your life, would you rather have Paradise Lost or Star Wars, assuming you could watch SW without electricity?


Excellent question, and pretty easy to answer: Paradise Lost. And the fact that it's pretty easy to answer is pretty significant as an indicator of how I really value each one.

Well, that's what I thought. On any given night when I'm tired and just want to let something run over my brain, I would choose Star Wars--or more likely nothing--but if it's all I could ever have, I would definitely choose Paradise Lost.


I'm trying to think if there is any movie that I would prefer over any book. I guess so. I would prefer the BBC Brideshead over How the Grinch Stole Christmas.

Of course my top two Desert Island books (even surpassing the Bible because I can remember great lumps of that) are How to Find Food on a Desert Island, and How to Make Stuff from Sand.


If you can find the latter two books, you should probably buy them, because although chances of your finding yourself on a desert island are slim, you would certainly not want to be without them.

I could probably think of a number of movies I'd take over a number of books. But even considering relatively high quality in the one and relatively low in the other, a normal movie is only 2-3 hours, whereas an average book should take provide at least several times that. But if you're going to be stuck there for many years, it probably wouldn't matter after the first few.

Wait. Are we going to drift into the desert island discussion again?

I suggest we switch to a dessert island discussion. If you were stuck alone on an island for the rest of your life, what dessert could you not do without?

I should have known that a long and interesting thread would be tucked away under a post about guitar playing.

I'm in the sceptical camp about Star Wars too. To be honest, I've never enjoyed any of the films -- haven't seen the second batch, so I suppose that doesn't count -- and I've never understood what the fuss was about. Mind, I don't like Bladerunner either, and I was let down by Chinatown, so maybe I'm just a bad judge of quality.

I'd like to take Grumpy's course.

I do like Bladerunner but there are only parts that I REALLY like and I'm not sure about it's sticking power. Chinatown gave me the horrors. (Sorry Ryan.)

I wish we could all go take a class from Grumpy together. What kind of discussions could we have then?

Craig, I'm reading a book by Thomas Howard for my post in January and I just finished a chapter about the birth of his first baby. Ever since I started reading this book, I've been wanting to type out great gobs of it and send them to different people. There is also a chapter on the opera that I think you would love. I hope Joseph et. al. are thriving.



Tiramisu--really good tiramisu--or crème brûlée. I cannot choose.


Craig (and everybody): I've just given the topic of the long-term staying power of movies a post of its own, as I find it really fascinating.

As for desserts, I exclaimed aloud with pleasure the first time I tasted tiramisu, which fairly late in life. I think I asked where it had been all my life. I've since realized that it was *really* good tiramisu.

Still, for a desert island dessert, I think I might pick ice cream, especially if I could have both chocolate and vanilla.

I look forward to that post, Mac. It's a topic that interests me too.

My desert island dessert (or is that dessert island desert? -- no) would be vanilla ice cream. Or rice pudding.

Janet, is all of that in The Secret of New York Revealed?

I like vanilla with real chocolate on it or in it--dipped cones or chocolate chip. I lost my taste for chocolate ice cream about 10 years ago all of a sudden, and thank goodness for that since Bill has a box of it in the freezer at all times and I would fall prey to it if it were appealing. It is very fortunate for me that we do not like the same snack and desserts--except for tiramisu.

I haven't had any kind of dessert like this since October 31, so this is a rather sad topic.


Well, if we're each choosing two, I might go with apple and rhubarb crumble or carrot cake. But if it isn't too Ben Gunnish, I'd rather have cheese than either.

Yes. Have you read it?


My remark about Brideshead seems to have been lost. (Caught in the spam filter?)

Janet refers to the BBC Brideshead, but I think she must mean the Granada Brideshead: made for ITV to prove to the world that commercial television could produce something every bit as high quality as public television, but so successfully out-BBCing the BBC that everybody always assumes the BBC must have made it.

Well Paul, I see you are correct.

There is a program on our public television stations called Masterpiece Theater that has been on since 1971 and which airs British Drama, mostly from the BBC. I might be wrong, but I would imagine that in the beginning all the programs were from the BBC. I saw BR on Masterpiece Theater and I just naturally assumed it was BBC. I bet most Americans would make that mistake.

A lot of people seem to think that the Colin Firth/Jennifer Ehle Pride and Prejudice is BBC, but of course it's not.


Well, I looked for a book called How to Find Food on a Desert Island and now there are ads for Tortuga Original Caribbean Rum Cake on my Facebook page.


Not just Americans Janet. It's almost universal among people not aware of the cultural politics of British television in the 1970s (something which I only became aware of from teaching a course on Post-War British society and culture a few years ago.) It's just that knowing what I do now, I always feel sorry for Granada when the assumption is made, and feel an urge to give them their due.

Nothing in the spam filter.

I always assumed that Granada was some subdivision of the BBC.

I guess you could defeat Facebook's tracking by never allowing your browser to save cookies. That would be interesting to try.

Well, once when poor Bill's Facebook was afflicted with ladies' foundation garments after I had looked at them in a catalog, I did get rid of the cookies for his sake.


A couple of years ago when my daughter got married, my wife looked for Patra dresses online. All my web pages were all Patra dress or all Lord and Taylor for months after that.

I never felt compelled to buy another one besides the one that my wife wore to the wedding.

I am so strong!

Janet, I've not read it, and until today had not heard of it. But it sounds like I would like it.

Craig, Did I mention it, or did you see it elsewhere?


I'm tempted to suggest a "52 desserts" for 2016, but am afraid of being taken too satirically.

I could probably do 26 of the 52 just with different flavors of ice cream.

Janet, I think you mentioned it further up this thread.

Ha. I see.


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