The chapter in “Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho” that I’m currently reading deals with the director’s detailed instructions that no one be admitted once the movie begins. Back in those days, people would wander in to a theatre whenever it was convenient. They would watch the end of a movie and then stay for the start of the next show, leaving when they recognized the part where they came in. Hitchcock and Paramount Pictures had to educate theatre owners on the policy and get them to enforce it. I found an instructional film from that era on the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences channel on YouTube.
After writing yesterday’s blog post, I went to a Christmas party with my wife. One of the other guests was a friend who shares my interest in the unusual. We got to talking about “Psycho” and other movies. Before the party ended, my wife and I had made plans to go on a double-date to see “Hitchcock” with our friend and her husband.
According to the progress bar on my Kindle, I am 64% of the way through the book “Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho.” I intend to finish reading it before the movie “Hitchcock” finally opens in Knoxville. It opened last week in select cities.
I’ve been eager to see “Hitchcock” since the trailer was released in October. Since then, I bought the Kindle book and I have been on the lookout for videos and articles about the film. Richard Roeper gave the movie a B+ in his online review but he said that Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren gave nomination-worthy performances. AARP gave it four out of five stars. They made sure to mention that “Psycho” was the result of Hitchcock reinventing himself at age 60.
Fox Searchlight has posted several talk-show-ready clips on their YouTube channel. Another YouTube channel called MovieClipsCOMINGSOON had some fascinating behind-the-scenes footage that I liked even better.
On the way home from my stand-up gig on Thursday night, my wife and I stopped at the Cook-Out for a celebratory milkshake. For 99¢, I got a 16-ounce pumpkin pie shake that had significant chunks of pumpkin pie in it. Before drinking it, I spooned half into a separate cup, covered it and put it in the freezer for another day.
This is the time of year when pumpkin flavor is everywhere. Just last week, I read an article about overkill when it comes to pumpkin-flavored products. Gretchen McKay wrote, “Do we really need pumpkin-flavored dog treats or nonfat Greek pumpkin yogurt?”
Over the weekend, I scrolled through the list of Kindle bestsellers. I almost always find something in the list of Top 100 Free Books that interests me. Authors and publishers sometimes make their books available for free for a limited time only, so it’s worth checking the list every few days. While it was still free, I downloaded “Delicious Pumpkin Dessert Recipes – 135 Mouthwatering Pumpkin Dessert Recipes” with the intention of making at least one of them for Thanksgiving.
Based solely on the names in the table of contents, I think my first choice will be Pumpkin Gingersnap Cookies although Southern Pumpkin Whoopie Pies sound pretty good too. Toward the back of the book, author Rosemary Coleman has included drink recipes, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. There’s even a recipe for a Pumpkin Pie Milkshake.
Emily Loyless and Jeremy Norris, the owners of Academy Ballroom, were married yesterday. The celebrant of their lakeside wedding said the readings they chose were unusual. This was her first time reading a passage about dancing and a passage about beer. The first reading was from a book by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. The second was a variation on the story of putting golf balls, pebbles and sand in a jar. As the minister read the tale, the bride and groom placed the corresponding items in a jar. The golf balls represent the most important things in life, the pebbles represent possessions and the sand represents the daily minutiae. At the end, there was still room for a couple of beers.
Three of my favorite shows are on at the same time. “Dexter,” “The Walking Dead” and “Revenge” air Sundays at 9:00 p.m. While some other shows have been waiting on my DVR, I am up to date on all three of the Sunday night series.
My daughter and son are “Dexter” fans too. It’s not uncommon for us to discuss an episode over the phone on Mondays. I’m hoping to persuade my daughter to make some Dexter-inspired candy blood slides that I saw in a free Kindle book called “Halloween Food.” The book got the recipe from a website called Forkable.
When my son was little, he loved to watch a different Dexter. One of his favorite cartoons was “Dexter’s Laboratory.” The website Screen Junkies recently posted a spoof of the two Dexters. What if cartoon Dexter was a killer like Showtime’s Dexter? The result is “Dexter Morgan’s Laboratory.”
CNN and NPR both ran stories about Florida’s Dozier School for Boys on Monday. The real-life school served as the inspiration for the fictional reform school in the 2011 Body Farm novel, “The Bone Yard.” There are links to additional news stories on the White House Boys Survivors Organization website.
CNN’s story was titled “Mystery surrounds graves at boys’ reform school.” NPR’s was titled “Florida’s Dozier School For Boys: A True Horror Story.” Both articles mention Dr. Erin Kimmerle, who is leading the search for human remains at the school. Dr. Kimmerle earned her Ph.D. at the University of Tennessee in 2004. While there, she won the W.M. Bass Endowment award.
Will there be intact DNA in the Dozier School remains? A reader posed this question last night. The answer, according to a molecular anthropologist specializing in DNA is this: “You just never know. There are so many factors, including microclimates created within the graves themselves, that you really always need to conduct a small test to assess preservation and viability of DNA.” She also noted that humidity (can you say “Florida”?) is tough on DNA. “If you told me the remains were there for 5 years, and you gave me teeth, I’d say there’s a good chance of obtaining a CODIS profile. 10 years, I’d start to worry, but I’d give it a shot…” Most of these boys’ bones, alas, are 80 to 100 years old.
Some of the deaths were attributed to pneumonia and other diseases, some to “accidents,” some to a terrible fire that burned down a dormitory in 1914 (horrifyingly, boys were locked inside the dorm that burned, while their guards were in town carousing).
When “The Bone Yard” was published, I recorded an interview with Jon Jefferson and Dr. Bill Bass. You can listen or download it at the link below.
The decision to participate in the Host with the Most Competition at Side Splitters on October 21 meant that I would have to learn how to do stand-up comedy. In many ways, stand-up is the opposite of improv.
There are twelve personalities from local media competing to win 90% of the door for the charity of their choice. In addition to vying for votes that night, we competed to sell the most tickets to the show. Tickets went on sale September 3 and were sold out on September 19. I won a $100 bonus for the Columbus Home Children’s Emergency Shelter by selling the most tickets.
Experienced stand-ups hone and refine their routine through repetition. I signed up for three open-mic night appearances so I could try out the material I had written. After my first appearance at open-mic night, I asked some of the other comedians for advice. Dean Jennings and Oz Kirk both suggested I read Judy Carter’s book.
Carter’s “The Comedy Bible” contains helpful advice on transforming my anecdotes into actual jokes. Before traveling to Denver, I purchased the book to read on my Kindle during the flight. “The Comedy Bible” is a hands-on workbook. There are writing exercises and blank lines to put your answers. I wondered if I should have bought the paperback edition instead of the e-book.
Tonya Cinnamon of Cinnamon Studios photographs most of the shows at Side Splitters. When I saw Tonya’s pictures from my first open-mic set, I told her that I could see the fear in my eyes. In the weeks between my first and second open-mic appearances, I trimmed a lot of excess words from my set and used the methods in Carter’s book. The second time around I was more comfortable.
In the two weeks that remain before the contest, I still have work to do. Based on the audience response, I have to cut some jokes that I really liked. As a result, I have to write some new jokes to take their place. I had tossed in a few topical jokes at open-mic that I didn’t plan on doing in the Host with the Most Competition but they got big laughs, so I might keep them. Most gratifying was a joke I made up on the spot during my set. It worked and is now written into the act.