The trouble with Nora.

Good story in the NYT this morning on food styling for the movies, pegged to “Julie & Julia,” of course. I’m not sure I’ll be seeing J&J, at least not in theaters. I can’t think of a person whose work I enjoy so much in one place and dislike in another other than Nora Ephron. I find her journalism marvelously entertaining; her early pieces were the sort of thing that gave me strength to try writing essays. And yet, I’ve been meh-at-best over nearly every one of her movies, with a few exceptions — “Silkwood” annnnd….I guess that’s it. “When Harry Met Sally” was one of those movies that went down like a bag of potato chips, but gave me the same feeling afterward. (Self-loathing.)

I’m just not a rom-com girl, I guess. My favorites are the off-kilter ones like “Flirting With Disaster,” which can still make me laugh after ten million viewings. Films like “Sleepless in Seattle” and “You’ve Got Mail” — in which I am expected to identify with Meg Ryan and her big blue eyes and her adorableness — make me break out in a rash. (Also, Tom Hanks, love object? Please.)

Here’s the thing: I never believed that a woman as smart and sophisticated as the Ephron on display in her journalism could ever be the women in her movies, despite all the interviews she’s given about staying up late to cry over “An Affair to Remember,” or whatever. I just don’t. It always seemed she was doing it for the money.

Here’s a movie I’d like to see Nora Ephron make: One based on her fabulous ’70s-era Esquire essay, “Dealing With the, Uh, Problem,” about the formulation and marketing of the first vaginal deodorant. Talk about unplowed ground. From that furrow could sprout a hilarious comedy about relations between the sexes, Madison Avenue, feminism, love, sex, period outfits and everything in between. Or what about her equally fabulous piece about the Pillsbury Bake-Off? A movie about the Pillsbury Bake-Off, either documentary or fiction? I’d be there on opening night.

She once eviscerated Rod McLuhanMcKuen and Erich Segal in a piece entitled “Mush,” about how with the right amount of egomania and savvy marketing, you can sell pretty much anything to the American public, especially when the egomaniac doing the marketing is the type we’ve come to call a SNAG (sensitive new-age guy, HT: Christine Lavin). That’s what I think of “You’ve Got Mail” — mush. In fact, now that I think about it, I recall a passage from the vaginal-deodorant piece, in which an ad executive names the target market for FDS: Secretaries and stewardesses. Ephron pauses to say something like, Well, that figures. Scratch a trend no one you know is into, and you’ll find secretaries and stewardesses. Too many of Ephron’s movies seem pitched directly at that demographic.

Oh, well. Everyone has to make a living. I just fear “J&J” will be a little too sugar meringue-crusted, if you follow my drift. Still, the food-styling piece is great — Kim Severson is rarely anything else — with the sort of details I love:

For stylists, the game is all about reading the actors’ appetites and knowing when to employ a few tried-and-true tricks. But really, food styling for movies boils down to doing more prep work than a Hamptons caterer in August.

Mr. Flynn had to debone 60 ducks over the course of “Julie & Julia.”

And, of course, there are other problems. (Eye roll.) Actors:

Two actresses in the 2008 cop thriller “Pride and Glory” were vegan. So Ruth DiPasquale, an assistant property master for the film, called in a vegan chef to help style a big Christmas dinner scene that had a ham as the centerpiece. She ended up piling slices of sham ham made from soybeans near the real stuff, careful to make sure the two versions never touched.

By the way, if I could go to any movie this weekend? “The Hurt Locker,” followed by “Humpday.”

Bloggage:

I love college towns. This one was mine. Southern Ohio is a beautiful place.

There’s nothing like seeing a headline like this — “A Long, Long Post About My Reasons For Opposing National Health Care” — followed by “by Megan McArdle” to make a girl say, “Don’t click on that.” So I won’t.

I’d rather read about William Vollmann than read anything by him. In fact, I tried, once, and couldn’t get past page 10. I’m stupid, I guess.

It’s getting late, and work must commence at some point. Have a good one.

Posted at 10:44 am in Movies |
 

57 responses to “The trouble with Nora.”

  1. Randy said on July 29, 2009 at 11:29 am

    Wow, that’s a beautiful town.

    I too am a sucker for campuses, so on many holidays I have dragged wife and daughter across a campus just to be around the bricks, the greenery, and the intangibles.

    My favorite is St. John’s University and College of St. Benedict, about an hour west of Minneapolis. The monks redefine long-term planning. The trees cannot be disturbed if they are healthy, and the students had wanted a new and improved centre in a certain spot. The monks agreed, but only if the trees were no longer viable. If that means there’s no new student centre for 500 years, so be it. The students found another option on campus.

  2. Sue said on July 29, 2009 at 11:31 am

    “Scratch a trend no one you know is into, and you’ll find sec­re­taries and stew­ardesses.”
    Oh Christ on a crutch (sorry MMJeff and company), I just can’t let that one pass. I’ve got the whole demographic covered, folks: secretary by day and cleaning lady by night. In my day job I am very lucky to have a boss who can write stylishly and clearly and STILL has me check his work for typos and a “have I missed anything” viewpoint. The secretary across the hall is not so lucky, working for a degreed professional who can’t string five words together, on paper or verbally. It’s very amusing to me to deal with the people who can’t understand that the little secretary they don’t have time to be polite to probably has a higher standard of living and level of education than they realize, and they are flushing sales and development opportunities down the toilet by their rude and dismissive behavior.
    So by that thinking, I guess I need to go find something vacuous and inconsequential to occupy my time, being a secretary and all. Goddammit, now I have to start watching American Idol.
    What a boatload of crap. I hate Nora Ephron now.

  3. judybusy said on July 29, 2009 at 11:31 am

    I am smack in the middle of reading J & J and am enjoying it very much. Will definitely go see the movie, even though I know it won’t be as edgy as the book sometimes is. I also recently picked up a copy for $10 of MtAoFC in a small town in SE Minnesota. It was a former library book and I don’t think it was ever checked out. I already know we won’t be making aspic, but the baked cucumber has intrigued us.

  4. alice said on July 29, 2009 at 11:33 am

    I miss the 70s Ephron as well. I have a copy of “Wallflower at the Orgy” around here someplace.

    Sue, I always say that the CEO can disappear for days but if the admins don’t show, the place is closed up by 10 am. (And I think her comment is from the 70s, when she was at Cosmo. But you can hate her anyway.)

  5. alex said on July 29, 2009 at 11:34 am

    Wow — didn’t know food styling for the cinema involved the real deal. In the retail ad business I knew art directors whose job it was to make food out of things like papier mache so it wouldn’t wilt underneath the lighting.

    Nora Ephron. Isn’t she one of the primary ingredients in methamphetamine?

  6. Dorothy said on July 29, 2009 at 11:47 am

    Well I can’t let this opportunity go by without bragging about the beautiful campus where I work! Some lovely views are available here if you’re inclined to take a look: http://www.kenyon.edu/campustour.xml

    Connie – I’m wondering if you’ve read “Shanghai Girls” by Lisa See yet? I bought it last Friday and can’t put it down. I’m supposed to be learning lines for my next play but I am going to finish the book before I go back to line memorization. I have less than 100 pages to go.

  7. nancy said on July 29, 2009 at 11:51 am

    Sue, to be sure, these are early ’70s-era secretaries and stewardesses, when both jobs were considered a nice pro-active place to position yourself in your early life, jobs where you’d be guaranteed to be exposed to a wide variety of high-earning potential husbands.

    Remember, this was back when stews were expected to quit when they got crow’s feet or gained a couple pounds — the “Coffee, Tea or Me?” years.

    Also, I’d hate to be held responsible for something I wrote 40 years ago. Just sayin’.

  8. jcburns said on July 29, 2009 at 11:56 am

    There’s a bit of a longstanding grumble between the beautiful campuses of Kenyon and Ohio University concerning Paul Newman. He attended OU before the war, and, legend has it, was expelled for crashing a car into, uh, some darn thing. He then enrolled at (and graduated from) Kenyon after the war.

    So, both schools claim him. But only one school can claim the horror that is Joe Ezsterhas. And, uh, Matt Lauer. And, god forbid, Roger Ailes.

    The OU campus book store used to sell retouched Newman posters with him apparently wearing an Ohio University T-shirt. The Kenyon website remembers Newman as a “charismatic campus character”.

    The Ohio University website neglects to remember me alliteratively.

  9. Neil said on July 29, 2009 at 11:56 am

    Saw J&J at a studio screning a few weeks ago in LA. A few slow portions but beautifully done. Meryl, not surprisingly, nails the Julia part completely. Amy Adams is good, and very believably neurotic. The scenes in France and the way they film the food sequences are great. None of the characters with the possible exception of Paul (Julia’s husband) is without major flaws including Julia herself. Saw it with a lot of chefs and food people, and everyone seemed to love it. The highest praise I can give it is I probably would actually have paid to see it!

    Strange things about studio screenings now. Security is TOUGH. Cellphones have to be checked in and they not only check handbags, etc. but they “wand” you to make sure you’re not carrying video equipment. My wife and I were wondering how big a seller J&J would be on the streets of Peking, but who knows?

  10. nancy said on July 29, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    The only advance/test screening I ever saw was “Soul Man,” a steaming p.o.s. about a white guy who takes make-me-black pills to get into Harvard Law on an affirmative-action scholarship. It sucked audibly, but the audience roared with laughter. One of the early indicators that my tastes were out of step with America’s.

    J.C., OU doesn’t claim me, either. But they will, some day!

    If you panned the camera 90 degrees to the left, you’d see the grounds of a former state mental hospital from the bad ol’ days of lifelong institutionalization. It was/is (?) a Gothic wonder, with grounds that were said to be based on “Alice in Wonderland,” a truly inspired choice for landscape design of a loony bin, I always thought. There were little natural alcoves here and there for visiting days, partially screened bowers and benches, and ponds shaped like the suits in a deck of cards, a la Alice. That was destroyed by the rerouting of a state highway, and the hospital itself closed soon after. I think it’s been repurposed somehow, but I don’t know as what. There’s an artists’ collective back in there; maybe it’s that.

  11. adrianne said on July 29, 2009 at 12:10 pm

    Nance, Joe Queenan shares your opinion of the divide between Nora Ephron/essay writer and Nora Ephron/writer of sappy movies. In his brutal memoir, “Closing Time,” which I highly recommend even if you don’t have an alcoholic Irish parent in your closet, he refers to a conversation he had with a writer who writes beautiful, ironic prose and treacly screenplays. Nora, do you see yourself here?

  12. Bill Breen said on July 29, 2009 at 12:17 pm

    Uh, Nance? Did you mean Rod McEwen?….

  13. Jeff Borden said on July 29, 2009 at 12:18 pm

    I wonder who did all the cooking for my favorite food-oriented film, “Big Night?” The dishes on display looked so delicious they had me craving Italian food for the next several days.

  14. LAMary said on July 29, 2009 at 12:19 pm

    The alma mater of me, Condoleezza Rice, and where Madeleine Albright’s father taught. Not a bad looking place.

    http://www.du.edu/tour/postcards.html

  15. Bill Breen said on July 29, 2009 at 12:19 pm

    Uh, Bill? Did you mean Rod McKuen?….measure twice, cut once,eh?…

    NANCE: Yes! Ack. Fixed.

  16. coozledad said on July 29, 2009 at 12:21 pm

    My wife and I used to get that veggie ham from a Vietnamese grocery in Raleigh. I would make a version of salt cured Virginia ham from it by dousing it in Maggi sauce and frying it until it reached the consistency of damp particle board. Virtually indistinguishable from the genuine article.
    You’ve got to be careful at those places, or learn Vietnamese. I bought a loaf of some pink stuff wrapped in banana leaves from the freezer bin that was labeled Vegetarian. The package itself contained no English description of the contents. I took it home, sliced it, fried it, and we ate it. It was tasty.
    The next time I went there I took the package with me to make sure I got the same stuff. I showed it to the owner, and asked if he had any more of it. he said “I’ve never seen Americans eat this stuff. Wow. You like pork brains?”

  17. Sue said on July 29, 2009 at 12:35 pm

    Jeff Borden, I only saw about the last ten minutes of that movie but I was fascinated – it seemed like one long shoot, no cuts, of the characters silently (I think) making amends or coming together or somehow healing together, by preparing breakfast. It was almost like a dance, so smooth and beautiful, and they didn’t miss a beat. I was just struck by how they were able to cook and prepare the breakfast together like that, in front of a camera and so perfectly. It probably took several tries to get it filmed right but I guess that’s not the point – it was lovely.

  18. moe99 said on July 29, 2009 at 1:06 pm

    Well times have really changed. From the angst associated with “Dealing with the, uh, Problem,” we’ve moved on to law reviews dealing with similar, uh, problems:

    edited because you need a password to get to the site. Here is the syllabus:

    “Cultural Cliteracy: Exposing the Contexts of Women’s Not Coming”

    Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law & Justice, Vol. 23, 2008
    Washington U. School of Law Working Paper No. 09-05-01

    SUSAN EKBERG STIRITZ, Washington University, St. Louis – College of Arts & Sciences
    Email: sstiritz@artsci.wustl.edu

    Cultural cliteracy denotes what an adequately educated person should know about the clitoris. This paper elaborates three ways to enlarge understandings of the clitoris. ….

    edited again because even though it is a law journal, I just can’t get past the subject matter. I am sooo old.

  19. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on July 29, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    I made an omelet immediately on reaching the end of that movie. After having friends rave (RAVE!) about “Big Night,” i was actually a bit let down (give me “Moonstruck” over watching that again any day), but the closing sequence in the kitchen explained the raves, at least in part. And that omelet. Mine couldn’t have been as good, but i didn’t care.

    [I just want to make it entirely clear that i had not read the previous post before hitting “submit comment” on this one. Yikes. But the third point does relate to the general awareness that told me not to bother with the English degree, because there was no way i could keep up with the coursework. I’d only read a bunch of stuff, and that wasn’t going to help me a bit . . . so i went back to anthropology, where i could understand the cultural contexts a bit better.]

    [OK, and then i add this explanatory note just in time for the “third point” to be excised. C’mon Moe, it’s just a syllabus! Sometimes, a syllabus is just a . . . oh, nevermind.]

  20. alex said on July 29, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    Ah, so the Sotomayor bashers are afraid she’ll interpret the Constitution clitorally. Now I understand.

  21. Colleen said on July 29, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    I remember my mom talking about the mental institution….I believe it was still open when she was a Bobcat.

    Come ON people, Hanover is the most beautiful college, at least in Indiana. http://www.hanover.edu

  22. alex said on July 29, 2009 at 1:43 pm

    Hanover’s my mom’s alma mater, and I am certainly tempted to agree with your assessment, Colleen.

  23. basset said on July 29, 2009 at 1:44 pm

    “Cliteracy?” How clever.

    I need someone to explain “rom-com,” though.

    The old campus at IU is the most beautiful college in Indiana, I don’t even need to see anywhere else.

  24. Jeff Borden said on July 29, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    Sue,

    “Big Night” is worth seeing. It’s a very sweet film that resonates with the question –posed here between the brother who loves to cook great food and the brother who just wants the damned restaurant to make money– of what happens when excellence collides with commerce.

    There’s no question the tiny, authentic restaurant depicted is superior to the highly profitable place down the street, where the chefs cater to the bland tastes of people who don’t know risotto from Rice Krispies and every table has a red and white checked tablecloth and a sputtering candle in a bottle. The poignancy lies in the fact that the great chef is probably too sophisticated for his clientele.

    Ah, well, great performances by Tony Shaloub and Stanley Tucci as the brothers.

  25. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on July 29, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    Most beautiful in Indiana? C’mon, prettier than Purdue?

    That’s a classic view, but there’s much more just like it where that came from.

  26. Jen said on July 29, 2009 at 1:58 pm

    I don’t know, as far as pretty campuses go, I’m pretty partial to my alma mater, good ol’ IU, nestled in the rolling hills of Southern Indiana.

    http://www.iub.edu/about/tour/

    It’s especially gorgeous in the spring and fall, though it’s pretty all the time. I love the limestone buildings and the trees and the winding paths. And Bloomington is a fabulous city! I kind of miss living there … and soon my sister will graduate and move away, and I won’t have anyone to visit there anymore!

  27. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on July 29, 2009 at 2:03 pm

    “Big Night” also tells you that pursuing celebrity for the halo effect is a mug’s game, and you’d be better off telling six more people about your excellence & quality than spending that time on hold with Bobby Flay’s publicist.

    Go here and hit refresh a few times: http://www.denison.edu — this is one of the few campuses i’ve seen where it’s actually prettier than the pictures on the website. When Kenyon runs short of quaint beauty, they send Phys Plant over to Granville to pick up a couple of bucketfuls. We have plenty to share.

  28. Jolene said on July 29, 2009 at 2:08 pm

    I nominate “don’t know risotto from Rice Krispies” for Phrase of the Day.

  29. MarkH said on July 29, 2009 at 2:19 pm

    F1 redux: Brian, MichaelG, et. al., looks like I was wrong yesterday:

    http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/sport/motorsport/2561999/Schuey-agrees-shock-return.html

    And this after his manager stated yesterday he was “200 percent certain” Schuey wasn’t coming back for anything.

    I was always jealous of the group of my friends who went to OU and left me in Cincinnati at UC. I’ve laways loved southeastern Ohio, especially the time I lived in Pickerington, worked in Lancaster and go down thre in weekend excursions (late ’70s, Nance, about the time you were there). Would rather have attended J-school there than OSU. Same for Granville and DU, Jeff, beautiful area and town. BTW, one of those guys ended up being the high school principal in Granville, Ben Van Wye; did you know him? I think he may have become district superintendent as well.

    EDIT – College towns: I second LAMary’s endorsement if Denver, and would also add Ft. Collins (CSU) and Greeley (Nothern Colorado University) as well.

  30. moe99 said on July 29, 2009 at 2:25 pm

    Jeff and Alex–you made me laugh on a hot, tense day in Seattle! thanks for that.

  31. Catherine said on July 29, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    Big Night was really good, and the food stylist, Deborah diSabatino, is listed in the credits on imdb. There are some great stories out there about the making of the Timpano — remember that? Like a humongous calzone?

    Other good food movies: Babette’s Feast and Chocolat (one of the few movies I thought was actually better than the book).

  32. Deb said on July 29, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    Long explanation, but bear with me—

    Alan Alda once wrote, directed, and starred in a movie called “Sweet Liberty,” a real p.o.s. about a college professor who writes a serious study of the American Revolution which is then turned into a bawdy Hollywood production (yeah, that happens to David McCullough all the time!). In one scene, Michael Caine and Michelle Pfeifer, playing the big Hollywood stars of the movie-within-the-movie, show up to the set ON A BUS with all the other actors and production people. Now Alan Alda grew up around movies (his father was an actor) and he has been acting most of his life, so he KNOWS that big stars don’t get on the bus to go to a movie set, but none-the-less this is how he chose to present the scene, because this is what he thought us common folk would assume happens on a movie set. From that moment on, my husband and I have used the phrase “Alan Alda syndrome” as shorthand for a movie maker who presents a vision of life that he/she absolutely knows is untrue but goes ahead and presents anyway because that must be how the hoi-polloi think things happen. A combination of patronization and condescension that’s hard to beat.

    Anyway, I think Nora Ephron’s movies display a great deal of “Alan Alda syndrome”: she knows things aren’t the way she chooses to portray them, but, dammit, she’s going to give the people what she thinks they think should happen. Her movies suffer because of that disconnect. As I watch her movies, I’m always seeing things that I know she knows are false—in action, in tone, in feeling. It gets exhausting after a while. I’d rather rummage through my books and pull out a beat-up copy of “Crazy Salad” (which, I think, might be the collection that includes the vaginal deodorant essay). Before everything was a potential movie, Nora Ephron could really write some funny stuff.

  33. Jason T. said on July 29, 2009 at 2:42 pm

    What, no love for the alma mater of Andy Warhol, Randy Pausch, John Forbes Nash, Holly Hunter, James Cromwell, Barbara Feldon, Nancy Marchand, and Dr. Bunsen Honeydew?

    http://static.panoramio.com/photos/original/21459391.jpg

    P.S.: Fifty years has changed it a lot in some ways, and in others, not so much.

  34. nancy said on July 29, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    Deb, I had much the same feeling when John Travolta, in “Michael,” brings the adorable Jack Russell terrier back to life, using his divine angel powers. Then I threw a brick through the screen.

  35. MarkH said on July 29, 2009 at 2:49 pm

    Carnegie-Mellon, nee Carnegie Technical Institute, right Jason? Three cheers for Schenley Park and the three rivers! (ok, the Youghiogheny, too).

  36. Jason T. said on July 29, 2009 at 2:59 pm

    Thank you, MarkH!

    Fight for the glory of Carnegie!

  37. MarkH said on July 29, 2009 at 3:13 pm

    Ha! I’d play that for my late brother-in-law if here were still here. He attended Tech in the early ’60s.

    EDIT – Pilot Joe: did you ever find youself “la-de-dah-ing your way around the sky”?

    http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local-beat/Puzzled-Pilot-Terrorizes-JFK.html

  38. beb said on July 29, 2009 at 3:32 pm

    My wife wants to see J&J and I’ll go with her because it looks funny. I never really thought about food styling until recently when I saw an episode of Food Network Challenge where instead of the usual gang og chefs they had food stylists whose task wasn’t to create edible food or cakes that look like Disney characters, but simple looked picture perfect. The most memorable bit was the guy trying to fry the perfect egg. He’d crack the shell, then carefully pour it into his skillet and almost immediately dump it into the trash because the white hadn’t set right. It was just…. weird.

    Has any mentioned Sweet Juniper’s photo essay in Feral Houses?
    http://www.sweet-juniper.com/2009/07/feral-houses.html
    What a wonder, weird collection of houses being devoured by wildlife.

  39. LAMary said on July 29, 2009 at 3:43 pm

    Nora Ephron grew up around movies. Her parents were screenwriters. I think maybe she’s following formulas that are 45 years out of date.

  40. Dorothy said on July 29, 2009 at 3:43 pm

    I’m sitting here wondering if Nora Ephron might wander over this way while surfing the internets and read all the shit we’re throwing her way today.

    And Jason, couldn’t you come up with a few more prominent names in that recitation!? Sheesh! (but thanks for that shot of Forbes Field in your second link!)

  41. Jolene said on July 29, 2009 at 3:54 pm

    Doris Shulman has another take on J&J in today’s WaPo. She watched it with people who knew Julia, so the article is a lot about, “What would Julia think?” Good recipes for things to do with fresh corn in the food section too.

  42. MarkH said on July 29, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    How’s this, Dorothy?

    http://everything2.com/title/Famous+alumni+of+Carnegie+Mellon+University

  43. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on July 29, 2009 at 4:41 pm

    Jolene, just to help out — the WaPo story on Julie & Julia.

    If we’re gonna get all competitive about it, i went to the seminary that graduated Jim Jones.

  44. moe99 said on July 29, 2009 at 4:53 pm

    It’s over. Jeff tmmo wins today.

    Oh, and here’s an open cite to the law journal article mentioned above.

    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1408185

  45. Dorothy said on July 29, 2009 at 5:13 pm

    Thankee MarkH!

  46. Linda said on July 29, 2009 at 7:33 pm

    I loved Big Night because of its wonderful picture of sibling love and conflict. The last sequence was awesome, and said more with no words than a lot of pictures with words.

    The conflict with Nora, I think, is that she, like a lot of people in Hollywood, think that movie audiences are dumb. I had a set-to with a guy on an internet thread some time ago. He was a misogynist, and like most bigots, denied it on a stack of Bibles. He said that women became whiny, entitled morons because of these movies and TV shows–but then said that he was a producer of some sort and was good at making those kinds of productions himself! I pointed out that, in his own words, he was creating products that he didn’t even believe in. He came back with “well, I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth, so I have no choice,” etc. But it seems that there is a general contempt by media people for viewers–products that are cliched, dumb, and assume the audience is the same. Gee, our audience is dumb, and if we want to survive, we have to grind out crap. It’s their fault. But romcoms didn’t used to be stupid (think The Front Page, etc.) People used to have pride, and didn’t want to be associated with crap. I guess if you can blame the audience, you don’t need a sense of shame.

  47. Jean S said on July 29, 2009 at 8:24 pm

    Somewhere, lo many moons ago, I read a quote by Nora E. along the lines of, “I didn’t get serious about making money and taking care of myself financially until I turned 50.” That might explain the excess of crappy screenplays.

  48. joodyb said on July 29, 2009 at 8:41 pm

    Randy (@1!), I may have dreamed that a tree got incorporated into one of the student facilities at St. John’s. I mean, I saw it.
    Bonus architecture trivia: St. John’s is home to
    http://www.saintjohnsabbey.org/abbeychurch/
    The campus is also on the Mississippi Flyway and a birdwatcher’s paradise. I have retreated there a couple times.

    Granville is … adorable. I was married in Granville, once.

  49. alex said on July 29, 2009 at 8:52 pm

    But it seems that there is a general contempt by media people for viewers

    Sister, testify! And those politicians. And don’t even get me started on those people in the marketing game. Or the American automakers. Or the financial services industry.

  50. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on July 29, 2009 at 9:20 pm

    Joodyb, did i do the service? 😉

    Of course, if you’re Catholic (St. John’s), then i’d guess not. They like me for programs at St. Ed’s, but i’m too married for the sanctuary.

  51. brian stouder said on July 29, 2009 at 10:09 pm

    Lemme just say – I dunno nuthin’ about most places, but Dearborn, Michigan is a beautiful place. Aside from Greenfield Village and the Henry Ford Museum and so on, the place outside the gates is fascinating and beautiful. We were struck by the rows upon rows of very nice brick homes, as you approach all the major Ford R&D centers and so on.

    And the people inside the attractions were quite impressive, too. Without exception, the people were outgoing, informative, polite and conversant – genuinely “into” their jobs. The guy driving the bus at Greenfield was a retired teacher from Dearborn, and a lifelong resident; his understandable pride in Dearborn and Ford and Greenfield is boundless and contagious.

    Plus – gotta say, this Michigan weather has been absolutely “room service”; the Tuesday we spent indoors at the Henry Ford Museum was sunny and hot, and the Wednesday we spent outdoors at Greenfield was very pleasantly cloudy and breezy.

    So the “Say yes to Michigan” thing from Tool Time Tim might fairly go on to say “and Michigan will say yes to you” (despite having to get used to the blink red light thing)

  52. Jolene said on July 29, 2009 at 10:50 pm

    Thanks for adding the link, Jeff. My computer is in the shop, and I don’t have the right keys on my BlackBerry equivalent to create links.

    That same limitation kept me from linking to a picture of the gorgeous view of Mt. Rainier from the University of Washington, the most beautiful of my three alma maters. Perhaps Moe will help me out w/ that one.

  53. basset said on July 29, 2009 at 10:58 pm

    Jeff TMMO, I appreciated Purdue’s natural beauty before I ever thought about going to IU… as a member of North Daviess High’s first football team in 1968, I rode up to West Lafayette on a yellow school bus and watched a Purdue game which made four lasting impressions on me:

    that Leroy Keyes guy sure can run fast

    that is an enormous drum the cheerleaders are hauling around

    the heart-attack guy a couple rows ahead of us they’re taking out on a stretcher really IS dead, he’s all covered up and they’re not working on him or anything. amazing.

    and… this is a truly ugly campus.

  54. basset said on July 29, 2009 at 11:01 pm

    and now for a totally different topic: what they call blackberry brandy up in “The Region” of NW Indiana.

    mentioned this a couple days ago, that I’d been to a wedding in Michigan City awhile back which featured shots of this stuff and I’d forgotten the name of it.

    checked in with the bride and groom, here’s what they said:

    “It is jezynowka (pronounced yazanofka)”

    haven’t had it in awhile, will have to find some and reacquaint myself.

  55. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on July 29, 2009 at 11:12 pm

    I never knew the name of it, but i like the flavor of it — haven’t had it in decades (since the last NW Indiana wedding i was at, in fact).

    People do die in Ross-Ade Stadium with frightful regularity, don’t they? And that’s not even an ironic comment; no idea how to account for it. Other than the way the scenery makes you feel, which seems somewhat implausible. But the photo i posted is really not terribly unrepresentative . . . sigh. Now i live in Granville, so life can balance out occasionally.

  56. moe99 said on July 30, 2009 at 1:41 am

    http://tinyurl.com/nesp6l

    Here’s the Univ. of Washington. It does not get much better than this. Except when it’s 104 degrees.

  57. Jolene said on July 30, 2009 at 3:04 am

    The Atlantic’s Food Channel has another perspective on food styling, also derived from J&J. The author, Corby Kummer was invited to visit the set for a day, so he writes about that. Also, he talks about the challenges of filming people who are eating. If there’s ever a time when you don’t want broccoli stuck in your teeth, it’s when you’re filming an important scene in a major motion picture.