Down Downton way.

I’m getting to the “Downton Abbey” episodes a bit later than the rest of the world, but I am getting to them. I’ve never been much for these upstairs-downstairs British house dramas, but the ground has to be fertile for the seed to grow, and I guess that’s finally happened. You have to run a modest modern household of your own to appreciate how much work goes into it, even with today’s considerable labor-saving devices. To think what it must have taken to keep a pile like Downton operable as a habitable home, much less what kept it from falling to rubble, is mind-boggling.

The number of scurrying serfs required to keep its fires burning, its beds made, its kitchen turning out meals, its ten thousand chandeliers dusted and its inhabitants properly dressed is mind-boggling. (Although we only meet a few, the Granthams being a modest family. Or maybe the production budget only allowed for a cast of 20 or so.) Of course they all have complicated lives outside of their work, and the family itself is going through the things families went through in the Edwardian era, what with the need to get their daughters well-married and their estate properly passed down, all while the modern age lurks just offstage, the way the ’60s loom in “Mad Men.”

But being a woman, and the mistress of NN.C Abbey here in Michigan, I’m most interested in the domestic details of clothing and housekeeping, the way the ladies dress for dinner, what everyone eats. You needed a valet or maid just to attend to all the details of your wardrobe, to lace your corset or fasten your cufflinks or attach the stiff collar to your stiff shirt, so you can sit at the head of your table like a penguin and preside over dinner. I read once that true upper-class people call tuxedos “dinner jackets,” because that’s what they are.

I notice you don’t see the laundry being done. If you want to keep me awake at night, whisper in my ear that in my next life, I might be reincarnated as a laundress. I’ll stare lasers into the ceiling. The main character in the novel “The Girl With a Pearl Earring” was a laundress in the large and child-heavy household of Johannes Vermeer, and the paragraphs of description of the daily chores involved made my hands ache with sympathetic pain — the washing, the scrubbing, the rinsing, the starching, the bleaching, the wringing, the hanging, the ironing, the folding. My earliest memory of a washing machine at our house was one where you had to move the clothes over, a few at a time, into the spin-extractor, and yet, my mother did it happily. She also owned a washboard for problem cases, and I think she knew what the alternative was.

So far, my favorite moment is the old cook, trying to tell young Daisy, the kitchen maid, that Thomas the footman is not for her. Thomas is gay, and the cook tries to tell her a half-dozen ways, but Daisy, besotted with his attention, can’t hear her. “He’s not a ladies’ man,” the cook says; she’s a rougher sort, but apparently sodomite and buggerer aren’t in her vocabulary. And of course I love anything that drops from Maggie Smith’s mouth. She plays the dowager countess, and she gets all the best lines.

I can’t believe it’s only four parts, and we’re almost there! But a second season is on tap. So in that spirit, and because it’s Burns Day, let’s start the bloggage with a story about haggis. Mmm, gray food served in offal — my mouth is watering.

Although, when you think about it, what we eat isn’t much better. What’s the difference between what you put in homemade tacos and what Taco Bell calls “taco meat filling?” You probably don’t want to know. And in the right frame of mind — i.e., after a beer or three, during a blue moon — I’ll actually eat this stuff. Maybe I should stick to the vegetarian options.

The predates “Downton Abbey” by a few years, but I bought this book a while back — “What Jane Austen Ate and Charles Dickens Knew” — and enjoyed it immensely. It’s an explanation of Victorian England that concentrates on the little details of daily life, including maybe the biggest one: Why have a Downton Abbey at all? (Answer: To have a home base for fox-hunting, and an escape from plague season in London.)

Now I must fly. But first, was Trent Reznor really nominated for an Oscar? If so, I hope he wins. The score in “The Social Network” was outstanding, and I’m not a score-noticer by any stretch.

Good Burns Day to all. I’m headed for Taco Bell.

Posted at 9:22 am in Movies, Television |
 

57 responses to “Down Downton way.”

  1. Dorothy said on January 25, 2011 at 9:42 am

    We watched Part III last night before we had dinner (Sunday night’s priority was the Steelers game, natch). We laughed at every one of Maggie Smith’s barbs last night. I kept thinking that the home reminded me a lot of Pemberley in Pride and Prejudice. So your entry today made me finally go look ’round and see what I could find.

    Here’s where “Downton Abbey” is being filmed: http://www.highclerecastle.co.uk/
    And here is Lyme Hall, a.k.a. Pemberley, Mr. Darcy’s home. This is the location my daughter got to tour in 2004. http://www.perioddramas.com/articles/lyme-park-as-pemberley-in-pride-and-prejudice.php

  2. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 25, 2011 at 9:48 am

    Haggis and taco meat filling may not be all that distant from one another. Hoist your burrito and recite “Auld Lang Syne” ye lads and lassies!

  3. brian stouder said on January 25, 2011 at 10:16 am

    Hailee Steinfeld’s Oscar nomination is for a “Performance by an actress in a supporting role”??

    Good God! She’s gotta be in practically every scene of the movie!

    But – whatever. I’m sure it is an honor just to be nominated, yadda yadda yadda.

    But she owns and defines and catalyzes all that’s compelling in that movie

  4. MichaelG said on January 25, 2011 at 10:30 am

    I read that haggis article. I had never thought of England as being south of the border before.

    After seeing places on TV described as compounds (like the Kennedys in H-port) I once thought to describe our place in Auburn as a compound. Then I realized that with the exception of the Kennedy place, almost every property so described on TV also included views of helicopters, blue FBI jackets, gates being crashed, perp walks and all the rest. That’s when I dropped the idea.

  5. alex said on January 25, 2011 at 10:31 am

    Maybe it was just an urban legend, but I seem to recall Taco Bell having a PR nightmare some years ago when it was widely thought that they had been serving kangaroo meat instead of beef. I was particularly grossed out, having survived on Taco Bell tacos (five for a buck!) during college, but I guess I can take comfort now knowing it was only 36 percent kangaroo meat.

  6. jcburns said on January 25, 2011 at 10:34 am

    We celebrate Burns Day on February 12th. Yeah, you say that’s Lincoln’s Birthday, but my father, one Robert Burns, turns 85 on that day too.

  7. beb said on January 25, 2011 at 11:00 am

    I didn’t know that C. Montgomery Burns had a birthday or that people celebrated it.

    If there were anything less appetizing that haggis, it would have to be bugs and lots of them.

  8. LAMary said on January 25, 2011 at 11:05 am

    I heard Arby’s was kangaroom meat back when I was in college. I think it’s one of those urban legends that surfaces from time to time.
    TMMO Jeff, you can substitute a burrito for haggis if you roll the Rs enough. The in house Brit has an R rolling deficit, but he says Scots and Mexicans are good at it. Or aahhhrrrrr good at it.
    I have never eaten haggis but I have several good haggis stories. One features a very nice gent I knew who worked for an importer of nice chocolate bars known for their triangular shape, and a well known brand of English tea. His company had an incentive program for distributors which featured a trip to UK, including Scotland where they had dinner at a castle. Before dinner there was a great deal of whisky tasting, and my friend was overserved. They sat down to dinner, my friend, his boss and a dozen or so winners of this incentive trip, and a haggis was brought out and placed in front of friend. It’s reported he looked at it in a wobbly drunk sort of way and said, ” I wouldn’t eat that if you put a skirt on it.”
    Second haggis story, and this is from a UK paper, not personal experience. A woman was sitting in her living room watching television and a frozen haggis came flying through her window. This was in Rochedale if anyone is interested. Attached was a note saying, “Scottish go home.” This woman had lived in Rochedale for 40 years. Someone held a grudge for a long time.
    Happy Burns day. Hoist a wee dram.

  9. Sue said on January 25, 2011 at 11:06 am

    “The number of scurrying serfs required”
    was probably less than you think. They worked those people to death, sometimes literally I think. I remember reading a bio of Alva Vanderbilt that included a lot of information about her daughter Consuelo’s life after she was married off to the Duke of Blenheim (I think). Consuelo was the most famous of the buy-a-title New York heiresses and Alva was the prime mover in the deal. Anyway, Consuelo tried to do something about the incredible workload the staff on the estate had, just in terms of trying to be more efficient, and was rebuffed by her twerpy little Lord.
    And, as hard as these people worked, to be ‘in service’ was considered a high paying, cushy job.
    (Incidentally, if you are into bios, I recommend finding one on Alva. She was the one who broke the Astor’s social grip on New York just by having a party.)

  10. ROgirl said on January 25, 2011 at 11:34 am

    Presumably, the American wife in Downton Abbey provided a cash infusion to keep the place running. I missed most of the first episode, so I don’t know if there were any explanations.

  11. nancy said on January 25, 2011 at 11:40 am

    ROGirl, you’re in for a treat: The Downton Abbey press kit in .pdf format, including backstory on Cora:

    Cora is the beautiful daughter of Isidore Levinson, a dry goods multi millionaire from Cincinnati. She arrived in England, with her mother, in 1888, at the age of 20, and was engaged to Robert, Viscount Downton, as he then was, by the end of her first season.

    This plotline — that she “rescued” the estate once, with her considerable dowry — is talked around, but no one ever says “Cincinnati,” “dry goods” or WHAAAAT??? “Isidore Levinson.” Is Cora Jewish? Impossible at that level of Brit society, at that time, but for cryin’ out loud, any Izzy Levinson you’d know today has a 99 percent chance of being circumcised.

    On edit: I’ve despised Diana Spencer’s brother since his shitty speech at her funeral, but he wrote a really good piece on what it’s like to be a modern heir to a grand English estate in a recent Vanity Fair that actually made my sympathize with him. I’ll try to find it.

    On further edit: And Here ’tis.

  12. Catherine said on January 25, 2011 at 11:49 am

    Fair fa’ your honest, sonsie face,
    Great chieftain o’ the puddin-race!

    One of my favorite opening couplets of all time.

    Burns dinners, as I’ve heard, are viewed as opportunities to wear kilts, drink scotch and drunkenly declaim.

  13. Deborah said on January 25, 2011 at 11:49 am

    My favorite phrase from the Taco Bell link is “processed clustermass of disgust” I will try to remember that.

    How old is Maggie Smith? She was old when I was a kid, so she must be ancient now. I haven’t had a chance to watch any of Downton Abbey yet, we’ve been preoccupied watching all of the seasons of “The Wire”, we are almost done with season 2 so far.

    I have nothing to say about Haggis, but I bet Little Bird will. Loved your stories LAMary. Burns Day is a new one to me.

  14. Linda said on January 25, 2011 at 11:54 am

    Loved your line about “never seeing laundry being done.” It reminded me about Jessica Mitford’s memoir, “Fine Old Conflict,” in which she states that her hubby was better at housekeeping than her because while he had at least seen his mother clean a house, she never had, because the servants rose early and had it all done before the U.C. folks got up.

  15. Dorothy said on January 25, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    Thanks for the press kit link, Nancy. That will occupy me a good bit next week when my boss is in New York all week!

    Deborah – Maggie Smith was born in 1934. She turned 76 just a month ago.

  16. Peter said on January 25, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    Oh, I can sympathize with the thought of doing laundry in the old days.

    Some years back I did a project in Sao Paulo; the building I was renovating stood on the site of an old church that was built for the servants of the upper class. The ground in front of the church sloped down to the river and the Anhangebau valley. Each day, after the owners got up, the maids would strip the beds, scrub the sheets, and bring the wet laundry to church. They would lay the laundry out on the church grounds to dry, then go in for mass. The mass would have a break in the middle for the ladies to go out and check on the laundry.

    They did this until the church collapsed – in 1915! A hundred years later, and it’s skyscrapers as far as the eye can see.

  17. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 25, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    I’m just gonna drop this rock in the pond and scurry back to work — http://blogs.forbes.com/rickungar/2011/01/17/congress-passes-socialized-medicine-and-mandates-health-insurance-in-1798/

    Historically, legally, and practically, color me fascinated by this little discovery.

  18. Rana said on January 25, 2011 at 12:31 pm

    alex, having kangaroo meat in their slurry would actually be a point in its favor. I had some in Australia while I was there, and it is tasty – rather like very tender beef, with a hint of lamb. (Point of fact, it would make more sense to raise kangaroos for meat there than cattle, as they are more adapted to the environment, and in some places there’s an over-breeding problem. But, then, the same could be said for white-tailed deer in the United States.)

  19. MarkH said on January 25, 2011 at 12:33 pm

    I have been invited by my close friend and Scot, Garth, to a Burns Day celebration on Saturday. If I went it would be my first time sampling haggis, which he promotes relentlessly. After reading the article, ummm, don’t know yet. Garth wears his kilts frequently, and as a part-time carpenter, swears by the functionality and comfort of this garment:

    http://www.utilikilts.com/

    Pretty cool.

    LAMary, when I was in college (about the same time as you, I presume) I was tending bar at the old prime rib chain, Victoria Station in Columbus. Our kitchen manager regularly visited the local rendering plant where we got our beef and educated us on the process. Nothing on the cows goes to waste and what you would think is the waste goes into the processed beef loafs for Arby’s.

  20. Julie Robinson said on January 25, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    Our daughter brought a can of haggis back from Scotland and was excited to prepare us a traditional Scottish meal. Somewhere between the haggis and the turnips, my stomach revolted. She did say it wasn’t nearly as good as what she ate over there, where it was fresh. Or as fresh as haggis gets. Anyway, my husband thought it was tasty, and was happy to eat my portion. When you are one of ten you will eat anything.

    The only time I ate at Taco Bell my stomach revolted too.

    I did a little reading yesterday on Downton Abbey and discovered that in the UK it had seven episodes, which they combined and edited to the four we are getting here. Also, it is costing about a million pounds per episode. I shouldn’t have read the whole article, because now I know what’s coming in the last episode and I have spoiled it for myself.

    Downton Abbey is not being shown in Scotland, due to some kind of feud between Scottish TV and the British ITV. Many in Scotland are unhappy and are resorting to bootlegs. Maybe they can send haggis in exchange.

  21. Bob (not Greene) said on January 25, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    Jeff (TMMO), that is fascinating indeed. And, as the author states, there wouldn’t be much in the way of wondering what the founding fathers thought — they were part of the government (Jefferson was president of the Senate, Jonathan Dayton was speaker of the House and John Addams was president) that drafted and approved the law. Put that in your teabag in dunk it, haters!

  22. Rana said on January 25, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    Julie, I heard about the concentration of episodes, too… but wasn’t it originally aired with commercials, for shorter times? I certainly don’t feel as if I’m missing anything (though I do have trouble with the idea that it’s only got one left to go).

  23. prospero said on January 25, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    Samuel Johnson’s definition of oats, which do seem to be a crucial ingredient in Taco meat filling and haggis.

    Enter the Haggis.

    Address to a Haggis, with translation. This poem, ode, is hilarious as Monty Python, in my estimation. The great Monty Python take on Scotsmen was Angus Podgorny vs. the blancmange from Skylon at Wimbledon. “Worst tennis playing nation on earth.”

  24. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 25, 2011 at 1:01 pm

    Holy crow, it really is haggis (see where “isolated oat product” comes in the product list); look closely at Nancy’s original link –http://gizmodo.com/5742413/this-is-what-really-hides-in-taco-bells-beef

  25. Julie Robinson said on January 25, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    Rana, I’m not sure that anything much was edited out, and apparently there were complaints about the number of commercials in the UK. The wiki I read said the first episode was 90 minutes, but didn’t specify for the later ones. If they were 60 plus commericals, they would fit pretty well into a 90 minute slot over here.

    When we first got Netflix I watched every single episode of Upstairs, Downstairs. I didn’t have a TV back when it first aired and I felt I had missed a lot of plot points. It turns out that the plot hopped around a lot, wrote out characters without explanations, and left many loose threads. But I do love me the British dramas.

  26. ROgirl said on January 25, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    Even if Cora renounced her faith when she got married, the idea that a British aristocrat would marry a Levinson, even a wealthy one, is just hogwash, or haggis.

  27. Sue said on January 25, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    If Cora is from Cincinnati, why does she keep mentioning New York?

  28. LAMary said on January 25, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    Taco Bell beef doesn’t have any “pluck.” Haggis does. I define “pluck” as stuff I would have to be very hungry to eat. Otherwise it’s known as lungs, heart, etc.

  29. Sue said on January 25, 2011 at 1:53 pm

    MMJeff, that’s just silly. That kind of thing can only lead to rationing of leeches and unworthy people hogging all the bloodletters. What were they thinking?

  30. coozledad said on January 25, 2011 at 1:59 pm

    Wha, nae respect for McTeagle?

  31. Joe Kobiela said on January 25, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    Kangaroo meat at Taco Bell? Now I know why after I eat there I’m Jumpy.
    Pilot Joe

  32. Laura Lippman said on January 25, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    Nancy, I think you would really like Bill Bryson’s AT HOME. I listened to it, but liked it so much that I bought in hardcover, although I ended up giving that book to my mother-in-law. It’s a social history told through the various rooms of his house in England and I thought it was fascinating. And there’s an entire section on laundry.

  33. Jakash said on January 25, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    Re: Downton Abbey. Someone to do the laundry, cooking and other chores would be nice, but I dunno, I think I’d give ’em a break when it came to ironing the newspapers.

  34. MaryRC said on January 25, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    I always want to say “Downtown Abbey”.

    Linda’s comment about Jessica Mitford made me think of her sister Nancy’s novels which were based on their family. She wrote about the fictional father, for whom her real father was the model, getting up at 5 AM and getting in the way of the maids doing their housework. She claimed that there was always a struggle between her father and the maids, who wanted the house to themselves at 5 AM to do their work. I remember thinking, Yeah, I’m sure that was their heart’s desire. What they probably wanted to do was to sleep in like the rest of the household.

    One of the things that strikes you when reading about middle-class and upper-class life in England up to WW II is the enormous amount of time that women had to spend looking for servants and training them and fussing over how the servants did their work. In books like The Diary of a Provincial Lady, the lady spends her entire day worrying about the servants. It’s a full-time job for her. After WW II these women had to do their own housework and it probably took them less time and effort than getting servants to do it.

    I wondered what would happen to the blind cook. I would hope that the family would give her a pension.

  35. Little Bird said on January 25, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    My ex LOVES haggis. He buys it by the case, in cans. It’s beyond foul. It looks and tastes like what imagine pre-digested food to taste like. The ex made me try it since I made him try Mexican food (talk about a picky eater!) It’s also illegal to prepare it in a restaurant here in Chicago. Has been for nearly 22 years. For the life of me, I don’t know why, other than maybe it’s just sooooo foul that it should be illegal.
    Oh, and when I was in high school it was Jack in the Box that had the kangaroo meat rumors, on the local news stations!

  36. jcburns said on January 25, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    Sammy and I figured “isolated oat product” is where you’re making oatmeal, and some falls on the floor and bounces into a corner and you sneak up on it and say “ah-hah! Now I gotcha!”

  37. DellaDash said on January 25, 2011 at 4:23 pm

    Natalie Portman talked about the Hailee Steinfeld dilemma early this morning on NPR, before the announcements happened. Yes, she’s in every frame of ‘True Grit’, but has a better shot in the supporting category…this being her first film and lead puts her up against big guns. This way, she’s probably got a lock.

  38. MaryRC said on January 25, 2011 at 4:26 pm

    How about haggis with plum sauce? This started in Vancouver:

    http://blogs.seattleweekly.com/voracious/2010/02/gung_haggis_fat_choy_east_meet.php

  39. DellaDash said on January 25, 2011 at 4:27 pm

    Unexpected extra pleasures from ‘The Ballad of Jack and Rose’:

    Daniel-Day Lewis emoting in a soft Scottish burr

    Leo Kottke on the soundtrack, for heaven’s sake, along with Nina Simone and Bob Dylan

  40. DellaDash said on January 25, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    Taking my time, catching up and savouring ‘Downton Abby’.

    I’m fascinated with the tea service. First there’s the silver teapot contraption that’s suspended so that you just pour with the pressure of a few fingers. You’re not pouring into a tea cup though, but into another pot, which you swirl and fuss with a little bit more, before the brew hits fine china.

  41. DellaDash said on January 25, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    A spot of trivia about ‘The King’s Speech’:

    The actor playing the theatre director, who heckles Lionel after his Shakespeare audition, is David Bamber. He OWNS the part of Mr Collins after romping smarmily through the TV production of ‘Pride and Prejudice’, which starred Colin Firth as the best Mr Darcy ever, bar none (including Laurence Olivier in the camp, over-the-top 1940 Hollywood extravaganza that had Greer Garson’s Elizabeth Bennet flouncing around in hoop skirts and enormous balloon ‘mutton’ sleeves).

  42. Dexter said on January 25, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    Happy Burns Day, everybody.
    http://www.scotland.org/culture/festivals/burns-night/

  43. Sue said on January 25, 2011 at 5:05 pm

    DellaDash, want to come to my P&P party? Our drinking game will be a shot (your choice, but in a teacup, of course) every time Mr. Collins uses any form of the word ‘condescend’.
    And of course Colin Firth’s the best Darcy, but both he and Matthew Macfayden have the Darcy Strut down pat. I don’t know if Matthew can rock the white shirt look like Colin, though. Probably.

  44. DellaDash said on January 25, 2011 at 5:12 pm

    I’m so there, Sue.

  45. Julie Robinson said on January 25, 2011 at 5:21 pm

    But Macfayden certainly rocks the eyelash fluttering category. I like both versions.

  46. LAMary said on January 25, 2011 at 5:23 pm

    Haggis info:

    http://haggishunt.scotsman.com/haggisclopedia.cfm

  47. DellaDash said on January 25, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    I don’t think Kiera Knightly got Elizabeth at all. But here’s another connection…Jennifer Ehle who was a fine Miss Bennet, opposite Colin’s Darcy, plays the lovely Myrtle, wife to Lionel, in ‘The King’s Speech’.

  48. Julie Robinson said on January 25, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    If you watch much British drama, you see the same actors again and again. Sometimes it feels slightly incestuous.

  49. Jakash said on January 25, 2011 at 6:03 pm

    Yeah, we’ve noticed that, too. Since watching “Bleak House”, we’ve seen the guy who played Mr. Smallweed (“Shake me up, Judy”) in a couple other things and it’s always funny, since that was such a unique and memorable character.

  50. moe99 said on January 25, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    Christopher Hitchens is in high dudgeon about “The King’s Speech.”

    http://www.slate.com/id/2282194

    History may be 20/20 but living it at the time sure isn’t.

  51. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on January 25, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    Wow. Interesting SOTU by the President — can’t wait to see what Paul Ryan does with all his talking points swiped.

  52. DellaDash said on January 25, 2011 at 11:17 pm

    Just got home from work…was wondering if there’d be any immediate impressions over here on SOTU before backtracking…

  53. prospero said on January 25, 2011 at 11:22 pm

    Paul Ryan is a skinflint Scrooge ahole. In the end, I don’t believe Americans are going to agree to just set the less fortunate of us adrift, and the SSAdmin bullshit will backfire bigtime on Republicans. Where that leaves the Baggers, God only knows. I wouldn’t try to predict behavior in the future by irrational, dumbasses that have forgotten anything they once might have known.

  54. Linda said on January 26, 2011 at 3:35 am

    As I understand it, Ryan did not touch the whole Social Security thing with a ten foot pole during his speech. I understand that they are firmly for cutting around the edges at their political and cultural enemies, like NPR and contraceptives, but even Republicans understand that some things are nonstarters until they have a “conversation” with the American people over the next couple of years. Perhaps it will be a conversation involving lots of alcohol, like the kind people have with the opposite sex 10 minutes before closing time.

    It’s largely why the Ryan Social Security cuts are couched in “vouchers” in the hope that nobody will be able to count. But if you can count up to 70, and you are expected to keep your factory or construction job till you turn 70, you will know you are screwed.

  55. coozledad said on January 26, 2011 at 8:16 am

    The Republicans slipped up. Instead of booking just two networks to air their rebuttals, they should have gone for the full McDonald triad. The bedpisser and arsonist were a good start, but they really needed Bush to make with the firecrackers and the frogs to complete the pitch.

    EDIT: Spoke too soon. Christine’s gonna be on GMA to offer up a goat to Asmodeus.
    http://tbogg.firedoglake.com/2011/01/25/good-morning-stupid-america/

  56. Jolene said on January 26, 2011 at 8:39 am

    My Gawd, why in the world would they think anyone is interested in hearing what Christine O’Donnell has to say? Why would they invite her? You’d think if they had even a tiny amount of self-respect, they’d find someone else to do their after-action chatter.

  57. Dorothy said on January 26, 2011 at 9:12 am

    Another British production has me tied up in knots: “Luther”, with Idris Elba. It’s been mesmerizing and disturbing; some of the crimes he’s had to solve made me feel sick. In the last episode of the mini-series a kidnapping took place, led by an American who had an elaborate tattoo on his face. I knew I’d seen him before – looked it up on IMDB and realized he’d played Cpl. Liebgott on “Band of Brothers.” He’s a Brit, just like Damian Lewis who played Major Winters.