Saturday, September 30, 2023



A noment to remember British-Irish actor Sir Michael Gambon, best known to global audiences for playing Albus Dumbledore in the Harry Potter movie franchise, who died this week aged 82.

His family said he died peacefully in hospital following "a bout of pneumonia"

An actor for more than 50 years, he took over playing Dumbledore for the third instalment of the eight-movie Potter series after replacing the late Richard Harris in 2004.

Gambon played down the praise for his performance and said he simply played himself "with a stuck-on beard and a long robe".

People may also remember Michael Gambon in the lead rolle in the great BBC series The Singing Detective.



The next instalment of the next Top 10 + 2, the fourth of such lists.

As I have I have previously posted, my Top 10 + 2 films is based on “watchability”, those films which you (meaning me) like to watch more than once and enjoy thoroughly for whatever reasons. Hence Groundhog Day was on the list, Citizen Kane is not, at least in my case never having had the urge to watch Citizen Kane more than once. My friend Steve cringes at my choices .

The reason my first list was called Top 10 + 2 was that I had difficulty whittling the list down to 10.


The Maltese Falcon

The Maltese Falcon is a 1941 American film noir written and directed by John Huston in his directorial debut, based on the 1930 novel of the same name by Dashiell Hammett.

It stars Humphrey Bogart as private investigator Sam Spade and Mary Astor as his femme fatale client. Gladys George, Peter Lorre and Sydney Greenstreet co-star, with the last appearing in his film debut. The story follows a San Francisco private detective and his dealings with three unscrupulous adventurers, all of whom are competing to obtain a jewel-encrusted falcon statuette.

It's on my list because there is no finer example of the 1940’s private eye film noir than The Maltese Falcon and no better person to portray the private eye than Humphrey Bogart.

Plus a raft of great actors, a great director and great script, it deserves to be on the list.


Movie trivia . . .


Three of the statuettes still exist and are conservatively valued at over $1 million each. This makes them some of the most valuable film props ever made; indeed, each is now worth more than three times what the film cost to make.


At 162 kilos/357 pounds, 60-year-old British newcomer Sydney Greenstreet was so large that the studio had to specially manufacture his entire wardrobe for the role of Kasper Gutman. The chair in which Greenstreet sits while talking with Sam Spade (Humphrey Bogart) in the hotel room was also specially made for him; the chairs the prop department was going to use weren't wide enough to accommodate Greenstreet's girth nor strong enough to support his weight.


Eight Maltese Falcons were used for the movie - two lead and six plaster ones. The lead falcons weighed about 50 pounds each, and Lee Patrick accidentally dropped one on Humphrey Bogart's foot during shooting. It is on display in the movie museum at Warner Bros. studios, and its tail feathers are visibly dented from when it was dropped.

It was producer Henry Blanke who gave John Huston what he recalled as the single greatest piece of advice he would ever receive as a director: "Shoot each scene as if it was the most important scene in the film."

"The stuff that dreams are made of" (a line suggested by Humphrey Bogart) was voted as the #14 movie quote in 2005 by the American Film Institute. The line is paraphrased from William Shakespeare's "The Tempest":
"We are such stuff as dreams are made on,
And our little life is rounded with a sleep."

There is an inordinate amount of smoking done by the main actors in this film. According to then-studio employee (and future screenwriter) Stuart Jerome, this resulted in a feud between studio head Jack L. Warner and stars Humphrey Bogart and Peter Lorre. Warner hated to see actors smoking on the screen, fearing it would prompt smokers in the movie audience to step out into the lobby for a cigarette. During filming, he told director John Huston that smoking should be kept to a minimum. Bogart and Lorre thought it would be fun to annoy Warner by smoking as often as possible, and got their co-stars, Mary Astor and Sydney Greenstreet, to go along with the joke. During the initial filming of the climactic confrontation, all four actors smoked heavily. After seeing the rushes, Warner furiously called Huston to his office and threatened to fire him from the picture if he didn't tell Bogart and Lorre to knock it off. Realizing their prank had backfired, Bogart and Lorre agreed to stop smoking on camera. However, when the next series of rushes came back, it was obvious that the "lack" of smoking by the actors was taking away from the sinister mood of the scene. Huston went back to Warner and convinced him that the smoking added the right amount of atmospheric tension to the story, arguing that the characters would, indeed, smoke cigarettes while waiting nervously for the Maltese Falcon to arrive.


The "Maltese Falcon" itself is said to have been inspired by the "Kniphausen Hawk," a ceremonial pouring vessel made in 1697 for George William von Kniphausen, Count of the Holy Roman Empire. It is modeled after a hawk perched on a rock and is encrusted with red garnets, amethysts, emeralds and blue sapphires. The vessel, as of 2012, is owned by the Duke of Devonshire (Peregrine Cavendish) and is part of the Chatsworth collection.


Sam Spade refers to Wilmer as a "gunsel", a term the censors assumed was a reference to a gunman. The Yiddish term "gunsel"--literally, "little goose"--may indeed be a vulgarism for homosexual (the word "faigle", or "little bird", is usually used in that respect), but it's more commonly an "underground" term that refers to a person who is either a "fall guy" or a "stool pigeon", in which case Spade is making both a direct and an indirect reference to Wilmer's character.


For decades this film could not be legally shown on US television stations because of its underlying suggestions of illicit sexual activity among the characters (i.e., O'Shaughnessy's promiscuity and indications that Joel Cairo was a homosexual).


Friday, September 29, 2023




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A new subscriber, Ruth, has told me that she is not fond of rude jokes, so today’s Funny Friday is sans any risquΓ© humour, which will be a disappointment to my elderly father in law Noel, and to Liz who sends them to her mother.

However next week will see inclusion of the occasional risquΓ© item, so Ruthie, you will need to skip Funny Friday.

Enjoy, dear readers.

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A teacher gave her class this assignment: ask your parents to tell you a story with a moral at the end of it.

The following day the kids came back and one by one go through their stories.

There were all the regular things - never too old to learn, never give up, no crying over spilled milk, stuff like that.

Next kid up gives this presentation: “My daddy told a story about my Grampa. He was a pilot flying a combat mission and he only got halfway back when his plane got hit bad.”

“He had to jump out and parachute down to enemy territory, but all he had was a glass flask of whiskey, a pistol and a survival knife."

"He drank the whiskey on the way down so the bottle wouldn't break and when he landed he was surrounded by four enemy soldiers.”

“Grams shoots two of them right away and keeps firing at the other two until he runs out of bullets, he stabs one of them with the knife but then the blade breaks, so he busts the whisky bottle and kills him with that, and then he strangles the last one to death with his bare hands."

The teacher was appalled - "Good God! What kind of moral did your daddy say came from that horrible story?"

Kid says: "Dad said it was this – whenever Grampa’s drinking, stay the hell away from him."

A man walks into a shoe store and tries on a pair of shoes.

"How do they feel?" asks the sales clerk.

"Well ... they feel a bit tight." replies the man.

The assistant promptly bends down and has a look at the shoes and the man’s feet.

"Try pulling the tongue out." offers the clerk.

"Nath theyth sthill feelth a bith tighth," he says.

There is a restaurant that advertises that it will serve you anything you want, but if they can't, then they will gift you $5000 as an apology.

A man passing by sees this message advertised at the entrance, and believes this to be bullshit, but decides to try it out anyway.

He enters and a waiter takes him to a table. The waiter asks, "What would you like to eat today, sir?"

Man: "I would like an elephant's ear and a muffin to eat, please"

Waiter: "Give us just a moment." The waiter leaves to the kitchen.

As a few minutes pass by; the man believes he's going to get an easy $5000 as he thinks they are taking too long and probably preparing something else. At this moment, the waiter returns.

Appearing a little anxious, the waiter asks, "Apologies sir, but do you mind telling me what kind of elephant you want this ear from?"

The man is stunned. He didn't think they'd get to this moment.

Man: "Uhhh......An Indian elephant is fine."

Waiter: "Thank you." The waiter goes back to the kitchen.

1 minute later, the waiter returns again.

Waiter: "And which side did you want the ear from?"

The man is starting to sweat bullets at this point.

Man: "Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh..........Left ear, i guess........"

Waiter: "Splendid." The waiter leaves to the kitchen yet again.

The man is scared as he has no idea how much this ear is going to blast away his wallet.

5 minutes later, the waiter comes back with a platter of food and $5000 for the man.

Waiter: "Here is your order sir. Sorry, but we are out of muffins for today."

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Following on from the above story with a moral, here is another, sent to me originally by Steve M.  Thanks Steve.

A little bird was flying south for the winter. It was so cold the bird froze and fell to the ground in a large field.

While it was lying there, a cow came by and dropped some dung on it. As the frozen bird lay there in the pile of cow dung, it began to realise how warm it was. The dung was actually thawing him out!

He lay there all warm and happy, and soon began to sing for joy.

A passing cat heard the bird singing and came to investigate. Following the sound, the cat discovered the bird under the pile of cow dung and promptly dug him out and ate him.


1. not everyone who shits on you is your enemy;

2. not everyone who gets you out of shit is your friend; and

3. when you're in deep shit, it's best to keep your mouth shut!

Here is a link to an Indian guru relating the story, click on to view:

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Wemyss is a Scottish name pronounced Weems.

There was a young lady named Wemyss,
Who, it semyss, was troubled with dremyss.
She would wake in the night,
And, in terrible fright,
Shake the bemyss of the house with her scremyss.

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What's the difference between religion and mythology?

A few hundred years.

An American man seeking peace among the religions of the East found a new guru.

After his new teacher had spoken for an hour on the importance of following one's inner nature along the path, the man interrupted to say: "I thought the idea was to lose one's desires and attain enlightenment."

"No, no," the teacher admonished. "That was Zen. This is Tao."

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You know Murphy's Law - "If something can go wrong, it will".

But do you know Cole's law?

It's shredded cabbage, mayonnaise, maybe some carrot.

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I started dating a girl who identifies as a wheelie bin.

I can’t remember if I’m taking her out Wednesday or Thursday night.

Two scientists walk into a bar.

The first one says, "I'll have H2O."

The second one says, "I'd also like water. Wait, why did you call it H2O? We're not at work anymore."

The first scientist goes to the bathroom and cries. His assassination attempt has failed.

(Okay, I’ll explain it:

The first scientist thought the second scientist would say, ‟I will have H2O,too”,which sounds like ‟H2O2” which is hydrogen peroxide.)

I got zero out of ten on my last spelling quiz

But my teacher gave me an 'A' for Affort

One night I had a vision that I was on stage with REM performing “Losing My Religion”

But that was just a dream. Just a dream…

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Thursday, September 28, 2023


“Japan’s very interesting. Some people think it copies things. I don’t think that anymore. I think what they do is reinvent things. They will get something that’s already been invented and study it until they thoroughly understand it. In some cases, they understand it better than the original inventor.” 

— Steve Jobs



The following list is from a travel website, Travelerz, at:

The pics and list are from the above link, the comments have been paraphrased and/or provided by me.


Eccentric Aspects of Life in Japan That Show It Is Truly Unlike Any Other Country


There is a cafe in Japan that has replaced its serving staff with robot servers. The robots are controlled by employees who are paralysed, giving the physically disabled employment in difficult circumstances.

A Japanese company grows square watermelons on the vine in a square box to ensure the uniform shape and size. This is said to allow for more convenient shipping, stacking, and refrigerator storage.

A massive sinkhole appeared in Fukuoka City. It took them 2 days to repair and restore.

The toilet sink lets bathroom users wash their hands on the sink attached to the top of the toilet., with the excess water being saved and used for the next time the user flushes.


This man and his dog, in matching outfits, stroll the streets of Kyoto whilst he plays the flute. Those wo wish to do so, can make a donation.

Rather than cut down the tree that was in the path of a new road, it was chosen to relocate it.

Japan has a museum dedicated to rocks that have faces.

Some farmers in Japan have planted different species of rice in a specific pattern to create artworks that are able to only be seen from high places. Amazing.

Japan has built tunnels underneath train tracks to give turtles a way to pass through the areas safely.

The Telephone of the Wind in north eastern Japan is an unconnected telephone booth where visitors can hold one-way conversations with deceased loved ones. It has since received over 30,000 visitors and a number of replicas have been constructed around the world.

The above memorial bonsai tree is around 400 years old and survived the bombing of Hiroshima.

Hospital food in Japan includes fresh veggies, homemade pastries, and sushi

Also pancakes with fresh whipped cream.

Japan offers some scenic train rides that give passengers the option of sitting and looking out at nature as they pass.

A restaurant chain in Japan offers diners the ability to sit in a totally private corner booth where no one can see them, a door opens in front of them, a chef drops off their food, and they are left to eat alone in peace.

A ski resort in Japan has small saltwater sprinklers to ensure the roads don't freeze over.

Being taught to clean up after oneself is very important in Japan, starting in schools where there are no cleaners employed. It continues after sporting and public events where the public clean up afterwards.

After a rise in sexual harassment and sexual assault cases in Japan, the government introduced subway cars where only women are allowed.

Semi-transparent umbrellas in rainbow colour combinations have created an oasis of beauty in Moominvalley Park of the Saitama Prefecture in Japan.

Persons having trouble with machines are often assisted by persons who literally pop out of the machines and help.

Employees of Japan Airlines apologised to the passengers for delay in their flight, even though the delay was due to rainstorm.

The Yamakura Dam Reservoir is a particularly sunny spot in Japan and so there are solar panels floating on top of the water.

Japan has created a pizza box with a handle, making carrying individual pizzas much easier and ensuring that they maintain their irreplaceable shape.