(Not a political post, except for the last bit.)
1. For some reason, I woke up yesterday thinking about The Maltese Falcon
, even though I haven't seen the movie in years. It hit me: Joel Cairo (Peter Lorre) hasn't killed anyone, and the D.A. has no case against him. Do you think he continues the hunt for the Falcon? Or does he open a haberdashery in San Francisco?
Some of Bogie's best lines were played off of Lorre. PL: "You always have a smooth explanation." HB: "What do want me to do, learn to stutter?" From Casablanca
: PL: "You despise me, don't you?" HB: "I might, if I gave you any thought."
2. Today I woke up thinking about the Pied Piper of Hamlin. Does the story have any basis in fact? Suddenly, I just had
A little research revealed that the very first entry in the town chronicle of Hameln (the original name) opens with these words: "It is 100 years since our children disappeared." No further details. That entry was written in 1384, which places the great vanishing act in 1284. Rats did not enter the story until the 16th century. A 1440-ish manuscript relates:
In the year of 1284, on the day of Saints John and Paul, June 26, by a piper, clothed in many kinds of colors, 130 children born in Hamelin were seduced, and lost at the place of execution near the hilltop.
In that era, in that place, writers their sentences wrote backwards.
Modern researchers have found family names from Hamlin in the Pomeranian region of Poland, so the kids may have gone there. But many of the oldest versions of the legend (including one recorded by the Brothers Grimm) insist that the children ended up in -- I kid you not -- Transylvania. Most of the stories, though, hold that some undefined Awful Thing occurred "on the hilltop" outside of town.
So what do you think happened to those kids? Was one of their descendants Peter Lorre?
3. Do you know the real
reason why the Mona Lisa doesn't have eyebrows or eyelashes? Although the answer is dead simple, it hasn't occurred to most art historians because most art historians don't paint. I may do a post on this topic one of these Sundays. (There is no truth to the rumor that Leonardo's model was one of Peter Lorre's ancestors.)
4. Later today, we'll get back to political chit-chat. Right now, let me note that, once again, there is serious talk about filibuster reform
, thanks to Rand Paul. At least he's doing the filibuster thing right
, and he's forcing the country to confront the drone issue
. I respect him for that.
Why didn't Reid end the filibuster when he had the chance? I suspect that senators from conservative states don't want
to vote on certain issues. The filibuster gives them political cover. (I can't think of any way to bring Peter Lorre into this one.)