Cunning linguistics

From a conversation with Jen this morning:

R: Did you know the correct English plural for the word dwarf is dwarfs with an F?
J: Not …V-E-S, then?
R: No—although, when he was writing The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien, as an expert in linguistics, decided the word would be far more common in Middle Earth, so would have been corrupted through everyday usage. So he made a point of spelling the plural …V-E-S.
J: I dare say, after working that out, writing the rest of the book will have been a cinch.

Vegetating

Me: Have you seen they're saying we should be eating ten fruit and veg per day now?
Jen: I remember when ‘ten-a-day’ referred to Woodbines.

Lynch mob

Guardian: Mulholland Drive leads the pack in list of 21st century's top films
BBC Culture poll of 177 film critics around the world puts David Lynch’s 2001 surrealist masterpiece in top spot.
Mulholland Drive

What planet do these so-called film critics live on?

Does Captain America: the Winter Soldier make their Top 100? Does it bollocks! How about Avengers Assemble? Take a wild guess. Any sign of the Jason Bourne films? Enjoy your egg whites.

Jen and I bought Mulholland Drive when it first came out on DVD. We bought it mainly because film critics kept describing it as a masterpiece. We watched it once, then filed it on the Crap shelf next to Moulin Rouge and Mission Impossible 2.

To be honest, I don't remember much about the film—apart from thinking it was incomprehensible crap. There was some woman who thought/pretended/wished she was some other woman. And I think she and the other woman then swapped identities (or something like that). And there was a scene in a diner, I think (or perhaps I'm thinking of Pulp Fiction). And there was (very, very briefly) a totally unconvincing monster. And there was a scene where two pretty ladies kissed each other in a restaurant for no readily apparent reason (see above). In fact, I distinctly remember that bit because: a) it was the only good bit in the film; and b) the photograph of the two pretty ladies kissing each other is the only still you ever see from Mulholland Drive.

OK, so, admittedly, every year or so, I tentatively suggest to Jen that maybe we should give Mulholland Drive a second chance. It's supposed to be a sodding masterpiece, so maybe the problem was with us. We then mull my suggestion over for a couple of seconds before agreeing naaaaah! and reaching for Master and Commander: the Far Side of the World (a genuine masterpiece, by the way).

I mean, if you want to watch an art-house movie with two pretty ladies kissing each other, watch Carol: that's a bloody wonderful film.

I haven't asked her, but I'm pretty sure Stense will disagree with me fundamentally on the subject of Mulholland Drive. She tends to understand and appreciate arty-farty films; I'm just a simple country boy living in Hebden Bridge.

So, what do you chaps reckon? Do you think I should give Mulholland Drive another go? Or would I be better off sticking with Skyfall?

Beam me up, Luke!

In preparation for Star Trek Beyond screening at Hebden Bridge Picture House tomorrow, Jen and I are re-watching the two previous films in the relaunched franchise. And great fun they are too. In amongst episodes of The West Wing, we also recently re-watched the original Star Wars trilogy.

The problem is, Jen keeps getting Star Trek and Star Wars mixed up in her head. “Is this the one with Benedict Cumberbatch as a baddie?” she asked at the start of The Empire Strikes Back. “Have they just gone to warp speed?” she enquired, as the Millennium Falcon finally shot off at light speed. And so on.

To be honest, I'm not entirely convinced Jen is really getting the two franchises mixed-up. I more than half-suspect she's trying to play Jedi mind-melds on me.

 

Stockard Channing

Has it been a phenomenal summer of sport on the telly or what? First came all that European soccer, then the tennis, now the Olympic Games. Unbelievable!

All of which explains how Jen and I have finally managed to make massive inroads into our West Wing box-set. We're about half-way through season four at the moment, and we're totally hooked. I mean totally.

If you've never watched The West Wing, you really should. What makes the series so special is that every one of the main characters is both extremely likeable and extremely intelligent. You don't get that very much on the telly. And there are some fantastic jokes too. I'm not kidding, Jen and I have been literally laughing out loud at least once per episode.

One thing about The West Wing has been troubling me, though. The character of the First Lady is played by a very fine actress named Stockard Channing. Yes, that's right, Stockard Channing:

Channing

Stockard Channing (L) and Martin Sheen (R) as Mrs and President Bartlet respectively.

I know: where have you heard the name Stockard Channing before? It's been doing my head in.

I Googled her, obviously, and discovered that, in addition to playing First Lady Abbey Bartlet in The West Wing, Stockard Channing is perhaps best known for her role as Betty Rizzo in the film Grease. Which didn't particularly help, as I don't think I've ever seen Grease. Thanks for nothing, Google.

Then, after several days' frustration, it finally dawned on me why I recognised the name. Honestly, you're going to kick yourself…

Stockard Channing is the name of a motorway service station on the M5 just south of Bristol. I stopped there once for a comfort break and a coffee and blueberry muffin.

Holy crap. The poor, poor woman. She must have been teased mercilessly at school. What sort of person names their child after a motorway service station? (Apart from Charlton Heston's dad, I mean.)

Jen and I are pretty devastated that we're already half-way through The West Wing. So much so that we're starting to get a bit jittery about which landmark US TV series we're going to watch next. We already polished off The Sopranos during the last World Cup. We tried the first couple of episodes of The Wire, but couldn't understand a word anyone was saying. Which has left us in something of a quandary. The front-runner at the moment is the highly acclaimed Game of Cards. What do you reckon?

Davey No-Mates

In-car conversation with Jen this morning:

J: I think his name must be Dave C.
R: Whose name?
J: The chap in that blue car. Its registration was D4 UEC.
R: That's not even close.
J: The 4 represents an A.
R: Yes…
J: …and the U represents a V.
R: No way! You can't have a U representing a V!
J: I didn't say it was any good. I was just trying to work out why he'd spent his money on a personalised numberplate, and what it was supposed to stand for.
R: Do you think his mates call him DAUE?
J: I don't reckon he'll have many mates.

Apostrophe catastrophe

Conversation with Jen as we approached Elland last week:

R: Did you see that sign just then? ‘Butty's R Us’. That was Butty, apostrophe, S! Outrageous!
J: …Whereas, you have no problems at all with the rest of the sign?