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Ought to have expected it

Thursday 11/30/23

I've said this before, but every time I watch The Rifleman, I end up thinking, "He's known as the Rifleman, what did you think was going to happen?"

Listened to the 1938 Orson Welles radio production of A Christmas Carol. Will be writing something about it. This is his finest radio work. Much better than the production of A Christmas Carol from the next year. In 1938, Lionel Barrymore--who was America's Scrooge, essentially--wasn't available, so Welles and his troupe had to rally together and they had a lot of fun with it. You hear the camaraderie and the joy. Nice, too, that we get Ernest Chappell--"the man who spoke to you" from Quiet, Please--as the announcer, doing this big announcer's voice, which was so unlike the vocal persona he employed with Quiet, Please.

Put 500 new words towards one of the novelettes. Not a lot, but this was good work. Really need to focus and bear down.

Ran 3000 stairs yesterday and did my 100 push-ups. Sunday marked 2695 days, or 385 weeks, without a drink.

Listened to the Strokes' second album and the Libertines' first. You can't over-produce the latter band or all is lost. They got slicker later--and I'd imagine their upcoming album will be fairly slick--and that cost them. Then again, you couldn't just keep making albums like Up the Bracket--it had to be this one-off. Wondrous one-off, though. Neither group really had a lot of room for growth unlike, say, Radiohead.

The way that M.R. James brings the various parties of the plot together in "Casting the Runes" is very well handled. Dexterous. He doesn't want to give certain people names because it'd be too cumbersome; they need to be there but the story isn't really about them, and he finds a way around that so that he keeps us moving. That's one thing that James's three best stories (more on which later) have in common--how they keep us moving.

Watched The Magnetic Monster from 1953. It tries to be this sci-fi/horror version of the police procedurals that were coming into vogue at the time. Not much to it--you don't really even understand what the monster is--but it keeps you interested well enough. Curt Siodmak (who wrote the screenplay for 1941'sThe Wolf Man) directed it so you figure it'll be decently put together, and stars Richard Carlson whom audiences would be seeing the next year in Creature from the Black Lagoon. Then again, Siodmak didn't exactly have an illustrious career as a director. The Magnetic Monster was his second picture after his debut Bride of the Gorilla, to be followed by Curucu, Beast of the Amazon in 1956--which counted Raymond Burr among its cast--and then 1957's Love Slaves of the Amazon. I'm not making that up. I guess he had a thing for the Amazon. Or beasts and love slaves therefrom, anyway.

Mildly surprised that there are signs that Mac Jones might not be starting for the Patriots on Sunday. Bad as he is, I don't think they have anything better, and I think they think what else they have is markedly worse. They may think he's a basket case at this point.

Got a ticket to the ballet for New Year's Eve day. I like to try to go to the ballet on that day. It's how I end the year and I regather and get ready to create and fight early in the morning. Because a year is going to come when at the end of it--on that day--I'm not here, in this place, but where I want to be.

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