All posts by mallagher

The Subtle Changes in James Bond’s Whimsical Humor

One of the charms that James Bond offered film goers has been his sense of whimsical humor. But it has ebbed and flowed.

Connery delivered it with multiple outrageous one liners. Here is one of my favorites “I think he got the point”

And this “shocking” scene

And this one … “mind if my friend sits this one out?”

Perhaps Lazenby didn’t make it because his Australian self-assurance compared less favorably in the whimsy department. Too straight forward? But he did have his moments “Just a slight stiffness coming on …”. But I think Lazenby dilutes the effect by adding “… in the shoulder.” What do you think?

Moore was over the top when it came to tongue in cheek whimsical stuff. But I find that his one liners were not quite as clever.

Then Dalton veered back to the more serious action genre, and was again less popular. Consider this great scene, where Dalton’s Bond does one on one combat dangling from the back of a plane

It is a set up for a perfect one liner “He got the boot”. But Dalton delivers the line in a more angry than whimsical manner. You can see him deliver it in this clip

Then along came Brosnan, who brought back whimsy with some success. Though one might fault Brosnan a bit for delivering his lines without much of a smile. You see that in his “I never miss line.”

And finally there is Daniel Craig. Craig does a lot of things well in his depiction of Bond. Especially n his coolness under extreme circumstances. He also brings out something that you found in the books – the brutality required to subdue the bad guys. But according to Brosnan, Craig has very limited whimsy and humor.

I am not sure I completely agree. Craig offers flashes of humor. And “That last hand nearly killed me” is one of the all time great one liners. Here it is. Enjoy!

BTW, if this subject amuses, you here is a list of great Bond one liners.

Have a favorite!



The Rosé Wars

As opposed to the war of the roses.

Rose wine is big business. And one reason it is big business is that it is hip, and can be made almost ok on a very low budget.  I am talking about “bulk rosé”. Victoria James explains

When I say “bulk,” I mean rosé that might be made from rotten or low-quality grapes, underripe fruit, or red wine by-products. It relies on mass-produced laboratory yeast that’s advertised as “full bodied, fruit/lush blush wines, to enhance white country fruit and flower in wines.” (Yeast not only converts sugar to alcohol but also contributes to the final flavors. These commercial yeast strains attempt to mask subpar grapes by adding unnatural aromas to the wine and speeding along fermentation.) Bulk wine is often treated like a lab formula, with chemicals, dyes, and additives that chase that desired light salmon color. Since an ingredient list isn’t required on wine labels, the average shopper might not realize that their go-to grocery store wine has up to 75 ingredients other than grapes. These wines come from huge swaths of land, particularly in California and Provence, with “terroir” barely suitable for even vegetables. Bulk wines—and there are hundreds of them—are owned by large companies with deep pockets, with big marketing budgets. Money is channeled away from the high-quality grape production and toward massive advertising campaigns coupled with paid inclusion on hot restaurant menus.

How are these sold? Check out Victoria’s article. It is a bit of an eye opener. And how do the bulk sellers get away with it if the wine is inferior? When it is served ice cold, with loud music in the background in a crowed bar, it passes.

BTW, if bars and restaurants would pass on the cost savings by selling this stuff, I would not mind that much. It does rankle when they don’t.

Mahmoud M’seddi and his Amazing Baguettes

Here is the story

M’seddi (is)  the winner of France’s 2018 Grand Prize for Best Parisian Baguette—and, at 27 years old, the youngest recipient to date. … He owns a small, artisanal bakery in Paris’ 14th arrondissement, and beat out 180 other bakers this April in the city’s exhaustive competition judged by a panel of baguette experts. (Yes, you can be a baguette expert). The annual tournament grades the baguettes on aspect (appearance), cuisson (baking), mie-alvéolage (texture), odeur (smell) and goût (taste), not to mention strict qualificatory guidelines for size (between 55-65 centimeters in length and 250-300 grams in weight), in order to find a champion that wholly embodies French culture in a single loaf. Needless to say, this competition is treated with the utmost seriousness.


Pretzels for Dessert and Other Restaurant Trends

I can remember a time, way, way back, when restaurants were NOT trendy. The good ones were traditional and wanted that to be clear. Then came the fern bars and their creative burger menus. After that, it was all downhill. To lure customers in, restaurants go crazy looking for that “new” thing.

So what trends are hot now? BA has a cool list. And to be honest, I actually like some of the trends they mention. Not the pretzels for dessert. But Gazoz? Sure! and  Mavams? Awesome!

Check it out!

Our Issue with Carbs

You don’t hear many dieticians shouting out that you should eat more cabs! To the contrary, carbs are generally considered the bad boy of our diets. Too many carbs leads to weight gain.

But consider this

researchers (have) concluded that a 50-year-old who eats within the 50-55% carbs margin could expect to live for another 33.1 years, while someone the same age who gets just 30% of their calories from carbs would be expected to live roughly 29.1 more years.

And especially dangerous

Surprisingly, the group at highest risk of death in the US study were those who didn’t eat carbs, since those people tended to replace carb-heavy foods with animal fats and proteins: “beef, pork, lamb, chicken, and cheese,”

Guilty as charged. I have cut back on my animal proteins over the last year or so., and replaced them with more veggies. But I have a long way to go to get to “normal”.

How about you?

What to make of Italian Maiolica?

It is distinctive and highly decorative

Image result for Maiolica

And it is one of he great Italian crafts.

When most people think of Italian ceramics, they think of maiolica—the rich, colorful wares that became famous in the fourteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth centuries across the Italian peninsula.

So where can one find maiolica? From the above article,

You might be tempted to scarf up a colorful vase or set of dishware on your trip to Florence or Siena, but the best advice is not to buy ceramics in the cities at all.

There is a historical reason

That’s because historically, while Florentines and Sienese consumed maiolica in great volume, the fear of fire breaking out in the kilns was so great that most ceramics centers developed far from the cities. Some towns in the Tuscan countryside grew up around ceramics production. One of the most important of these is Montelupo Fiorentino.

Hmmm … a side trip from Florence?

Located thirty kilometers west of Florence and accessible via car or train, Montelupo Fiorentino supplied the demand for maiolica, and their wares were shipped on barges down the Arno to Florence and beyond. Today, you can trace the history of this important Tuscan ceramics tradition in the Museo Archeologico e della Ceramica (piazza Vittorio Veneto 10/11, Montelupo Fiorentino, 0571 51352).

The town looks like this

Image result for Montelupo Fiorentino

Another view

Image result for Montelupo Fiorentino

The tradition of making ceramics goes back to the 13th century.

Michael Cohen’s Potential Big Reveal

Prosecutors are reviewing the horde of documents that they seized from Michael Cohen a while back to decide whether they have evidence of a crime or crimes.

Cohen probably will face charges related to moving money around. Bank fraud, money laundering, tax evasion, that sort of thing. But much more interesting will be whether Cohen’s evidence opens a door to see if and/or how Donald Trump was involved in questionable campaign activities.

And one issue already cries out for more attention. Cohen, and Trump advocates have argued that Cohen paid porn star Stormy Daniels to keep quiet about Trump’s sexual dalliance with her to protect Trump’s family. But we already know one reason why this justification is weak. It is weak because Cohen made the payment just after the Access Hollywood tape came out.

Hmmm … it is easy to forget what a big deal Access Hollywood was at the time. There was candidate Trump himself on tape revealing his penchant to sexually harass women in rather blunt terms. It was unclear at that moment if the Access Hollywood tape would blow the Trump candidacy out of the water. That possibility would have been multiplied if just after that, the Stormy Daniels story exploded. The hush money prevented that.

If this was the real reason that Cohen paid the hush money to Stormy Daniels, campaign finance law issues arise. The payment would be considered a contribution to the election campaign, above the limit and not reported.

We hear now that Cohen was initially against paying Daniels, and only changed his tune after Access Hollywood. Is there documentation of that shift in attitude?  And did Cohen discuss this with Trump at the time? Keep in mind that Trump has denied knowing anything about the payment.

Stay tuned.