Friday, February 16, 2018

TIME TO GO (AWAY)

Food for thought.
The British newspaper Daily Mail is a strange combination of real news, showbiz gossip, endless stories of domestic abuse, fashion advice, and Piers Morgan. On one hand, they've recently broken story after story about White House pugilist Rob Porter (combining real news and domestic abuse), which U.S. news outlets initially missed. 

And then, there's this week's stop-the-presses headline:


Whoo! That's a lot of breaking news there! Which one interests you most -- time-traveling, 21 year-old woman as president, or anti-ageing pills? Don't lie!

His face was pixilated and voice distorted during the
interview to keep from being laughed out of town.
This time-traveler, who calls himself Noah (apparently, there are no last names in 2030), took a lie detector test to prove he visited from 12 years hence. My first question would have been, "How much for an EZ Pass to travel all that way?"

To prove it was all on the up and up, the word TRUE was flashed on the video every time he answered a question correctly. No time to see the machine itself, or have an outsider confirm its veracity -- Noah has a lot to get off his chest.

For instance, he was 50, until taking the aforementioned anti-aging pills. Now he's 25 -- which isn't anti-aging so much as reverse aging, but why quibble when history is being made? For instance, you might have thought it was necessary to be 35 years old to be elected president -- but, conveniently, it will be dropped to 21 by 2030. Or, from Noah's point of view, was dropped. Writing about time-traveling is confusing us for anal-retentive grammarians.


"Yeah, I'm going to be president. You got a problem
with that?"

That future president, by the way, is (will be?) Ilana Remikee, who, Noah informs us, is Martin Luther King, Jr.'s granddaughter. Take that, wife of former president Bill Clinton!

There really is a King granddaughter, who will be 21 in 2030, and whose name -- Yolana Renee King -- sounds like Ilana Remikee after you try to say it after nine or 10 Jell-O shots. Come to think of it, it  sounds more like the name of former Scientologist and star of King of Queens Leah Remini. Remikee, Remini, Renee King -- whatever happened to easy-to-distinguish presidents names like Polk?


Putin certainly got around.
Most of Noah's other predictions are rather boilerplate. Flying to Mars by 2028! Bitcoin! Google goggles! And if a flashing TRUE signal isn't enough for you, that's your fault. As the Daily Mail explains, "Noah then claims he has 'hard evidence' to back up his predictions but isn't sure that he can reveal it because it might cause a paradox."

You know what else is a paradox? That a newspaper which has broken legitimate stories is taking this jamoke seriously.

The thing that bugs me about alleged time travelers (yes, there are have been plenty) is that they never bring back information that would come in handy. If I met Noah, there are things other than the name of future presidents I'd like to be privy to.

  • A list of future Oscar winners (just to spoil their fun).
  • Winning lotto numbers.
  • Stock tips.
  • Win, place, and show horses in the Kentucky Derby.
  • The date that the supervolcano in Yellowstone blows, so I can make sure I'm not vacationing there at the time.
  • Ditto the "big one" in California -- I'd like to give a heads-up to my friends out there so they clear out first.
  • The date when Congress finally decides it isn't too soon to discuss background checks for buying guns. Oh wait, I already know the answer to that.
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Thursday, February 15, 2018

BREAKING NEWS: FLORIDA SCHOOL SHOOTING EDITION, 2/15/18

In the wake of the latest mass school shooting in the US, leaving 17 students and teachers dead, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan was cornered in a Congressional hallway as he was trying to avoid reporters. 

Asked why the deaths of school students -- some as young as eight, going back to Sandy Hook -- appears to be acceptable to the overwhelming number of Congressmen, Ryan pointed out, "Look, after all the mass shootings that involved adults -- not to mention the number of teenagers killed in our wars -- it's about time kids 17 and under realized they've got some skin in the game, too. If we grown-ups are on the firing line, our boys and girls are coming with us."

When a reporter pointed out that 95% of Americans, including the overwhelming majority of gun owners, support stricter background checks for weapons purchases, Ryan replied, "True. But when you count the 1% that're unsure, that leaves 4% whose voices should be heard. We don't want the U.S. to be a tyranny of the majority. I mean, if you think about it, this is the gun rights version of the Electoral College."

Before another reporter could ask a question, Ryan chuckled, "OK, I know what you're going to say: 'NRA, NRA, you get all your money from NRA, blah blah blah.' Well, let me ask you something. If you went out of your way to piss off your bosses at the Times or CNN, you'd be wondering where your next paycheck was coming, right?"

"I hate to point out the obvious," Ryan sighed, "but once again, you guys are all focusing on the negative. Instead of talking over and over and over about the 17 people who died, why don't you remind your viewers how many survived? There are so many more -- gosh, who knows how much! -- that got to return safely to their families last night. So many parents grateful their kids weren't in the line of fire this time. That's what you should be talking about. Not a handful of fatalities."

"Just like that concert in Las Vegas," he added. "Twenty-two thousand people attended. 22,000! But what do you talk about? Fifty-eight people. That's almost, well, 22,000 who lived! Jeez, what a bunch of Debbie Downers you all are," he chuckled.

"Now it's time for me to get back to doing the work of the American people," Ryan stated.
As he ducked into his office, he turned around and said, "Oh yeah, I almost forgot -- thoughts and prayers", before shutting the door.

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Friday, February 9, 2018

FARAWAY PLACES WITH STRANGE SOUNDING GAMES

Considering the state of the world, it's little wonder some people go to extreme lengths for even a momentary state of bliss. And when you live in a nation whose most famous contribution to history is still the number one symbol of evil incarnate, you take your happiness however you can:


Adolf feels up his new love.
I thought the whole idea behind slamming the ham was that, unlike sex with strangers, it wasn't risky. Only in Germany can you take good ideas -- like, say, national pride, a healthy economy, and a cool-looking little car -- and turn it into tragedy with unforeseen consequences.

Really now, isn't shaking hands with the champion about the easiest thing you can do for a quick thrill? The most effort you have to put into it is closing the shades or locking the door. Not that I'm speaking from experience. 

Knowing me, this is how I would
wind up.
Nope, apparently a vivid imagination just isn't enough for some people, who find that the moment is enhanced by bringing yourself to the verge of death via plastic bags, clamps, and nooses. Call me square, but none of these things get me in the mood. I mean, are there porn sites devoted to Baggies? (I'd look, but I'm afraid what I'd find.)

Even one of culture's most joyful, innocent symbols -- Christmas lights -- have become part and parcel for German volks out for a sexual thrill. This is not the kind of white Christmas I've been dreaming of.


But there was one guy over there who really takes the cake -- or, rather, Limburger:


Go ahead, tell me you wouldn't have doubled over with
laughter if you had been the cop called to the scene.

You don't say.

I mean, how do you come up with such a scenario? The amount of time and effort and imagination to pull all of that together could probably cure a good number of fatal diseases. 

Does it surprise you that the overwhelming number of German people who actively put their lives at risk for this are men? Of course not! Most women have better things to do than put on pantyhose, raincoats, diving suits, and cheese for a cheap thrill. Like avoiding guys who put on pantyhose, raincoats, diving suits, and cheese for a cheap thrill.


Good Lord, how utterly bored do you have to be to engage in such practices? Only an expert can explain it:


Just in case you were wondering how a nation known for its fine art and rich culture could vote for Adolf Hitler.

But looking on the bright side -- at least Kraft has a whole new area of marketing they can take advantage of!

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Wednesday, February 7, 2018

THAT DOESN'T SETTLE IT

However, if they still sold this, I'd buy it
just to see the reaction from my
coulrophobic daughter
when she visits from college.
We don't eat mainstream cereal here at Casa del Fisheye. Our tastes tend toward more esoteric brands, whose names I couldn't remember under the threat of death. I just look for the image on the box -- That's the one I like, the one with the bowl of oat squares with the sunshine streaming through the trees behind it. I'm a marketer's dream.

The problem is, our local grocery stores have conspired not to carry the same brands, so if I'm hankering for a particular cereal, I have to make a special trip some place out of the way. And by out of the way, I mean 10 or 15 minutes rather than 5.

This isn't a problem during nice weather, but on a day like today -- snow, ice, rain -- I wind up having to go to the closest store, which, of course, sells the least interesting choices.

What they do carry, however, are Kashi cereals. I've tried many of them, and by and large they are, for lack of a better word, terrible. If you ever wanted to know what shredded Styrofoam tasted like, then Kashi is the way to go.

The only exceptions are their Autumn Wheat and Cinnamon Harvest, which are both tasty and possessing a fine crunch that holds up in milk. Throw in strawberries, blueberries and bananas, and you've got a breakfast that fills the tank for the entire morning without that annoying "cereal bloat", which they should advertise as such.

Hay is for horses -- and gullible
consumers like me.
The one problem I have with these Kashi products is that there's never an entire boxful. By the time you get to what should be the last couple of bowls, what's left is something more appropriate for horses. And since we haven't any equine pets lurking in our corners, it goes straight into the compost bag, i.e., freezer swill. 

The Kashi detritus on the left may not impress you as a rip-off. And compared to other times this has happened, this particular one was kind of on the modest side. But when you take into account that the bag isn't entirely full when you buy it, it becomes clear -- with the aid of a professional-grade ruler -- that about one-third of each Kashi cereal box is fit only for the barnyard.

When I buy three, then, I'm really getting less than two. Puts things to perspective, does it not?

Imagine buying a box of 10 pairs of Kirkland socks at Costco, and, upon opening it at home, finding only seven. One-third of a can of Three Diamond tuna made up of gills and fins. Or, going the opposite way, discovering the bottom 30% of your can of Yuban is nothing but whole coffee beans. Reddit would be filled with death threats against the offending companies.

But cereal? We've become immune to this blatant cheating because of the legendary warning, Contents may settle during handling. Did I say "warning"? Make that "cheap excuse".

OK, so cereal isn't immune to the forces of nature. But even broken bits found at the bottom of a bag of tortilla chips can be glued together with melted shredded cheese and salsa on top. Good luck trying something like that with cereal dust and milk.

The tradition of
boring people to tears.
Oh, I suppose it's possible stick them together atop your French toast with syrup, or even glue them on a sponge to clean your bathtub. All you'd in get in return for your cleverness is undeserved bragging rights and a year's free subscription to Recycling Today.

It appears, then, short of buying those cereal squares with the sun shining through the trees in bulk, the occasional box of Kashi dust is in my future. If any of you non-New Yorkers own a horse, get in touch. I've got just the stuff for the feedbag. They like cinnamon, right?



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Thursday, February 1, 2018

Q FOR QUIET

Five-forty in the morning. I enter the Q train from the 83rd Street entrance.

At this time of day, the ridership has changed from those who are arriving home from a late night out, to those going to work on the early shift. In my case, a TV show shooting in Brooklyn.

The one exception to the workers is a scraggly one-armed black guy, most likely homeless, wearing a camouflage shirt and jeans, asleep on one of the smaller benches he has to himself.

At the 72nd Street stop, a 30ish Latino guy steps on and sits at the opposite end of the bench where I'm sitting. Like everyone else on the subway at that hour, he's quiet. 


That changes by 42nd Street. The Latino guy suddenly starts talking in Spanish, out loud, as if on the phone with a hard of hearing relative. 

But he isn't. He's talking to himself, us, somebody only he can see, nobody.

Everyone in that car has seen this before. It's a free bonus that comes with your $2.75 fare: the not-quite certifiably crazy person who wants to share with the world whatever is on his or her mind, whether we're interested or not.

We never are. 

The Latino guy's monologue continues, as the rest of us hope that his stop is coming up soon. But experience tells us that this guy is probably taking this to the end, which in this case is Coney Island, because he's got so much to tell us, and nobody's at the beach to listen to him. Not on a 19-degree, pre-dawn late January morning.

It's loud, this monologue. Not threatening or scary. Articulate, too. Anyone conversant in Spanish can easily understand him.

But we don't want to understand him. All we want is to get to our stop quickly and quietly. And if you're familiar with the New York subway system, you know you can have one or the other, but not both.


As the train goes over the Manhattan Bridge to Brooklyn, I'm momentarily distracted by the blue moon super moon, still bright in the cold, cloudless sky, beaming light and details that you usually see only through telescopes.

Maybe that's what the Latino guy is talking about now. It doesn't matter. We don't care. All we want is for him to shut up, but nobody says anything to him, because his reaction is incalculable.

One of us, though, has had enough. The one-armed black guy in camouflage, who only wants a little shuteye before going on the street again, has had enough. He stands up, walks a few feet toward him, and says, "Hey!"

We all turn to him. He looks at the Latino and holds a forefinger to his lips. 

"Shh!"

The Latino guy immediately stops talking. The one-armed black guy returns to his seat and to slumber. And the rest of us glance at each other: Oh, so that's how it's done.

So easy and obvious. Laughably so: Finger to lips.

"Shh!"

All we need is the scraggly one-armed homeless black guy in camouflage to do our work for us.


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Friday, January 26, 2018

THE PAST IS NO PRESENT

They even wave the same.
Remember way back in 2016 when, despite evidence to the contrary, the DNC just couldn't believe that voters were sick of political families handing the White House back and forth like Park Place in an eight-year game of Monopoly? 

Long time ago, right? Like, so long ago, the DNC can't remember that their unbeatable candidate with the overly-familiar name was beaten. To forget is human; to remember... well, who wants to do that? Let's try it again and see if works next time!


Joe Kennedy III explains how
he's different from
Uncle Jack.
A faulty memory is the only way to explain the Democrats' choice to give their rebuttal to Pres. Trump's State of the Union speech next week: Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy III.

A Kennedy? Really? You mean there weren't any Roosevelts lying around?

You can imagine the brilliant thinking that went behind this. First and foremost, he looks like Conan O'Brien. The kids like him, right?

Then they finally admitted the Clinton brand was right up there with Enron, Monsanto, and New Coke, so Chelsea -- their very own Ivanka -- was out of the question.

Yet, at the same time, they needed to do what they did so well in 2016: ignore the potential presidential candidates who excite the new generation of voters. The same voters who either stayed home, wrote in Bernie Sanders name, or -- gasp! -- went with Trump just for the heck of it. (Fun fact: seven million people who voted for Trump voted for Obama in 2012. Deplorables, all of them!)

It's reminiscent of what the GOP did after losing the election in '08 and '12: Regroup, figure out what went wrong, reach out to voters who weren't comfortable with them... then promptly go back to their old ways.

You know how Democrats like to remind us that the GOP appeals to a generation that is quickly dying out? That they need to lose their reputation as the party of rich homophobic racists in order win the new generation? Wise advice!
This should make a splash
at the box office.



So who are the Democrats putting front and center next month? A guy with a name whose voters are quickly dying out, and is associated strictly with rich sexual harassers and abusers -- in the time of Harvey Weinstein yet. The same Harvey Weinstein who gave $250,000 to the Clinton Foundation. Everyone's connected!

And, as younger moviegoers are to discover in April, the Kennedy name is also linked to bad driving. Those same Millenials who only recently learned the name Dylan Farrow will soon be seeing Mary Jo Kopechne portrayed at their local triplex. And unlike the former woman, there's no arguing about what happened to the latter -- or how an entire political party made excuses for it.

Let me fill you on what the generation that wasn't steeped in Kennedy stew for 40 years is going to say: Wait. You're telling me that Democrats knew Ted was a serial sexual harasser? And sleeping with his intern... then drove her drunk off a bridge... and left her there... and they did nothing about it?

As Democrats like to say, let's have a national conversation. Oh yes, please.

You know who could make a swell Trump rebuttal? Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii. Let's see what she's got going for her:


The DNC says aloha to Tulsi

  • A woman.
  • Young (36).
  • Veteran of the Iraq War.
  • Pro-environment, anti-regime change.
  • Opposes cuts to Medicare and Social Security.
  • Pro-choice.
  • Progressive on LGBT and marijuana.
  • Vegetarian.
  • A minority (the first Hindu in Congress).
  • Happily married.
  • A surfer.
  • Photogenic as all get-out.
Ticks all the boxes, right? Except for one: she was the first Congressperson to endorse Bernie Sanders -- who, polls said, was the only candidate in either party that could have beaten Trump.

Oops. Let's get a new member of a political-hack dynasty instead! It worked before!

                                             **********************

Thursday, January 25, 2018

MOVIE OF THE DAY: "HYPOCRITES" (1915)

In a year where Oscar-nominated movies sport titles like The Phantom Thread, The Shape of Water, and Call Me By Your Name, you have to go back over century for something as straightforward as Hypocrites

A 50-minute melodrama with as much nuance as its title, Hypocrites is a capital-A Allegory concerning the effect of the naked truth on believers and heathens alike. And when I say "naked truth," I'm not exaggerating. For the concept is represented here by a nude woman. Since this was before the time of plastic surgery, implants and collagen injections, she really can pass herself off as the real thing.

Save your breath, Rev.
Rev. Gabriel is having a devil of a time keeping the congregation's attention during his sermon on hypocrisy, mainly because it hits a little too close to home for all of them. Falling asleep afterwards, he dreams that he is a friar named Gabriel the Ascetic, living in an abbey where God is absent and good times prevail. Considering our local grocery store carries strong ale made in abbeys, that explains everything.




"Pay no attention to that naked woman in
double-exposure, folks!"

Gabriel has been working on a work of art that no one has yet seen, and not just because he's modest -- one friar who tries sneaking a peek is momentarily blinded. When later unveiled, the nude statue called "Truth" is greeted by laughter, anger, and the townsfolk's overwhelming urge to kill Gabriel. And you thought the New York Times had tough critics.

The statue of Truth comes to life, accompanying Gabriel's spirit to political rallies, rum-soaked parties, and godless homes, where, kind of like a spiritual Romper Room hostess, she holds up the (literal) mirror of truth. This little trick results in riots, shame, and death. Well, jeez, no wonder nobody wants them around. As the dream ends, Rev. Gabriel dies in church, perhaps having been killed by Hypocrites' sledgehammer approach.

Rapture... or gas?
Which is not to say Hypocrites is a bad movie -- far from it -- just one made not long after the turn of the 20th century. The acting, as typical of melodramas of its day, is often over the top. (More than one cast member was born in the 1840s, a little before the Method era, wouldn't you say?) Courtenay Foote, as Gabriel, spends much of his time gazing upward with his arms outstretched, wearing an expression that appears to register a strong need for Pepto-Bismol. 

Then there's the symbolism, which runs through Hypocrites like a driverless freight train on full throttle. Near the beginning of Gabriel's dream, he's climbing a steep, rocky hill to search for truth. The unveiling of the statue is accompanied by a subtitle reading, "The people are shocked by the nakedness of truth." When interrupted by Gabriel and Truth at a boozy party, a society woman remarks, "Truth is welcome if clothed in our ideas." Get the point?

Kids gotta learn these things sometime.
Still, this was tough stuff in 1915, and it makes sense that it was the work of someone who was not only an evangelist, but a woman -- Lois Webber, America's first major female movie maker. It was her involvement that probably inoculated Hypocrites from the official censor board when she decided to use a real woman, Margaret Edwards,to portray the Naked Truth, who walks throughout Hypocrites in double-exposure -- or, perhaps more accurately, triple exposure. And what's really shocking is that she was 37 years old. No studio would allow such a thing today.

No competition.
The trick photography works well, both symbolically and artistically, as is an arresting close-up of a woman's eyeball -- which, if you look carefully, captures not only the reflection of Gabriel, but the cinematographer operating the hand-cranked camera. This was one time in Hypocrites when the truth was captured accidentally.

That woman with the eyeball close-up is the only congregant who loves Gabriel. But because she sees only him and not The Truth, she, too, gets the bum's rush. 

Hypocrites, then, reminds us that the Naked Truth is not only no fun, but difficult to discern. One hundred years later, there are still plenty of people who could learn that lesson. Thank God I'm not one of them



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Monday, January 22, 2018

MOVIE OF THE DAY: "WITH BYRD AT THE SOUTH POLE" (1930)

For all the complaining we Northeasterners engaged in during this winter's "bomb cyclone", it's good to remember that Adm. Richard Byrd and his band of jolly travelers experienced the same thing 90 years earlier, only for a year, with temperatures about 100 degrees colder. And, even worse, without cable TV, indoor heating, or online porn to pass the time. In fact, the most modern devices they had were two hand-cranked movie cameras -- and those belonged to Paramount Pictures. And union rules prevented anyone but two studio-supplied cameramen to touch them.

But that's the trade-off you needed to take 90 years ago in order to be the first person to fly over the South Pole, so no complaining allowed.

Anyone who watches PBS nature documentaries would do well to see With Byrd at the South Pole if they want to experience real danger without the benefits of 21st-century technology -- or, in fact, barely any from the 20th-century.


Quick: 1828 or 1928?


Starting off from New York on August 25, 1928 in a ship that

might have time-travelled from a century earlier, Byrd and his crew spent four months at sea before finally arriving at the South Pole, where they spent another four months setting up camp called Little America.

 
The luckier ones of the bunch then headed to New Zealand before coming back a year later to pick up whoever was alive. Choosing between guts & glory and rest & relaxation, I know where I'd fall.


"Oh boy -- more pemmican!"
With Byrd at the South Pole gives one much to be in awe of. I mean, I can't plan a meal a day in advance, and these guys have a year's supply of food -- mostly something called pemmican, a 1:1 combination of dried meat and fat that's been known to last a half-century, kind of like Twinkies. 

But they didn't leave their loved ones behind in order to eat petrified cattle. Nope, they're all there in order to support Adm. Byrd's zany dream of seeing the entire South Pole from an airplane. I'm not sure what they get out of it, other than a chance of being on camera for a few seconds.


As the crew brings the plane
on land, they suddenly realize
they forgot the wings.

And when I use the word "airplane", I'm not talking about those high-tech flying science labs they have now. Uh-uh. The two rickety wooden contraptions Byrd brings with him don't look like they could survive a strong breeze, let alone hurricane-force winds at the bottom of the world.


He is the walrus.
One of the planes, in fact, is destroyed by a blizzard during a scouting trip, leaving the crew alone for 11 days with a 7-day supply of food before help can arrive. Their only means of communication is a small telegraph machine. This is especially astonishing when you consider that this 19th-century technology can work across the South Pole, and my cell phone can't pick up a signal in the subway.


"King Haaken VII's Plateau" would be a cool name
for a band.
And forget about GPS. Byrd has to use devices like sextants, solar compasses (no magnetic North to operate the other kind), and maps. I mean, real maps -- made out of paper -- not the kind you find on your iPhone. Show-off.

The map, by the way, is filled with landmarks that would give the anti-imperialist crowd fits, since everything other than The Devil's Ballroom is named after foreign royalty. Like Queen Alexandria just once got her ass off the throne and on the South Pole.



Oh, that's why.
Oh, and did I tell you these nuts spend four straight months in total darkness before Byrd is able to fly over the Pole? And that their huts are windowless, hygenie is at a minimum, everybody smokes, so Little America must stink to high heaven? And it's always around 30 below zero. Somebody help me here -- why the hell is he doing this?






If he squeezes that wheel any harder, it'll break off.
Yes, Adm. Richard Byrd was a Hero of Heroes, and looks the part, too, being movie star-handsome in his spotless white uniform. But what's really refreshing is that Byrd, speaking directly to the camera in the movie's prologue, is nothing like today's overly-polished celebrities. His halting delivery, nervous throat-clearing, and stiff posture would never pass in today's demand for perfection.

In fact, Disneyland's animatronic Hall of Presidents are more flexible than Byrd is in front of a movie camera. Only when his jittery eyes glance at different areas of the audience -- remember, With Byrd at the South Pole originally ran in movie palaces, not living rooms -- do you realize that this guy is flesh and blood. A guy who's more at ease risking his life at the South Pole than delivering a two-minute speech? This is a real hero.


Hey penguin, leave the jokes to
the professionals, OK?
That prologue is the movie's only moment of onscreen synchronized sound-on-film speech. (Only when Byrd flies over the Pole does the gentle-as-a-dentist-drill narration by newsman Floyd Gibbons begin). Released a year after silent movies officially bit the dust, the rest of With Byrd at the South Pole features music (including the ubiquitous "Paramount on Parade" theme used in the studio's newsreels) and occasional sound effects (mostly airplane propellers). Subtitles describe the action -- and, unfortunately, give one or two moments of "funny" dialogue to penguins.


If you enlarge the photo, you'll see a news item under the
weather report about a stabbing on the East Side subway over
a perceived insult, proving that nothing  in New York ever changes.
And speaking of jokesters, the telegrapher receiving news from back home can't resist rubbing it in when it comes to reminding the others of their conditions. All you climate-change folks, take note: even in the 1920s, it got up to 96 degrees in New York during the summer.




Thanks for the laughs, Fido!


Too, there are plenty of sardonic "wah-wah" trumpets when baby seals fall into the freezing water or the explorers' dogs are outside in blizzards while the guys are safe and warm in their huts. Because dogs in blizzards are funny, right? 







A tragic case of Penguin Fever.
As with the freezing dog, another
hilarious moment.
Blizzards seem to be the only time the explorers are inside during the day. Otherwise, they're, well, exploring, building, and mushing -- and, by the looks of things, going crazy. Like doing a bizarre dance for a group of penguins, or forcibly holding down one of their comrades while shaving off his beard. Had this crew stayed there any longer, none of them would have made it back alive.



After what he went through, he deserved to cash in.
As it is, however, Byrd flies over the Pole, returning in one piece. Their rescue ship, covered in 200 tons of ice, returns for the four-month voyage back to New York and a hero's welcome.

With Byrd at the South Pole would go on to be a tremendous box office hit, and is still the only documentary to win the Academy Award for Best Cinematography. It remains a fascinating glimpse of a time when exploring meant cutting yourself off from the rest of the world for close to two years, with the risk of death always close by.

But never explained is how the hell did they go to the bathroom?

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