December 30, 2005

-image-genius

Now, I know wha’cher thinkin’ …. so, nooo, I don’t mean me.

No, this kid, Alex Tew, a 21-year-old college student. From an article from Reuters (and because I couldn’t get the link to work — haha, genius!):

He had the brainstorm for his million dollar home page, called, logically enough, www.milliondollarhomepage.com, while lying in bed thinking out how he would pay for university.

The idea: turn his home page into a billboard made up of a million dots, and sell them for a dollar a dot to anyone who wants to put up their logo. A 10 by 10 dot square, roughly the size of a letter of type, costs $100.

He sold a few to his brothers and some friends, and when he had made $1,000, he issued a press release.

That was picked up by the news media, spread around the Internet, and soon advertisers for everything from dating sites to casinos to real estate agents to The Times of London were putting up real cash for pixels, with links to their own sites.

So far they have bought up 911,800 pixels. Tew’s home page now looks like an online Times Square, festooned with a multi-colored confetti of ads.

So THIS is what he came up with. Check it out.

Genius.

(M@ — why do I have the feeling you’d love this one?)

-image-these dreams

My dreams of being an Olympic figure skater have already been dashed — now THIS, too?

I need a donut.

Oh, wait. I’m sorry. I forgot the tip-o-the-hat to Sheila here. Frankly, because I was too depressed.

December 29, 2005

-image-ah, christmas! part 2

Well, my mom didn’t give me the rest of the ensemble. this year. I kept waiting for it, but it didn’t come. With each gift, I held my breath. Still, it didn’t come.

What? Nothing to make my eyes twirl, my heart sink?

There was no sweet fancy sluttiness. OR bitter cheesy grannyness. What was happening? I am programmed to run this gamut. I am always braced for it. I prepare for my role with “positive self-talk” and well-rehearsed, canned reactions. No Method acting here. Oh, no! That would be most unwise. One never wants to be so convincing as to encourage the survival of this strain of gift-giving. And even then, even with my obviously less-than-credible performances over the years, this practice has lingered … and lingered.

But, this year, something threw me off my game, shoved me off the familiar gamut. And when it happened, I was lost, really. I didn’t know what my face was doing. What happened to my canned reactions? I sputtered inelegantly for words. Where were my well-rehearsed words?! I blinked and blinked. I didn’t even know what I was seeing.

It was strange and unprecedented and wondrous because

My mother gave me a ring.

And not just ANY ring.

Let me explain.

My mother has been chronically ill for over 20 years. We do not know what it is. No doctor has gotten to the bottom of it, ever. Not even the Mayo Clinic. She takes painkillers and they don’t kill her pain. She sometimes hallucinates. She remembers things that never happened. She is frequently impossible to talk to. And when you’re able to talk to her, she’s frequently hostile and angry and cruel. I suppose any of us would be, too, in her shoes. I can’t imagine what it’s like for her. I don’t live inside her body; I don’t think inside her mind. I’m not an expert on her pain. I’m simply an expert witness to it. In many ways, my father has not really had a wife for over 20 years, and my siblings and I have not really had a mother.

I don’t say this to garner any pity or sympathy for our situation. I don’t say this for anyone to comment on what might be wrong with her. Oh, please don’t. I am simply stating the facts as I know them.

This is my mother. And for as long as I’ve known her, even before she became ill, she’s rarely succumbed to expressions of deep sentiment.

But this year on Christmas, she gave me The Ring.

The Ring is her ring. Or was her ring. It is an exquisite sapphire and diamond ring, glittering in a perfect, simple, modern setting.

Many years ago, my parents purchased a beautiful, loose sapphire and, shortly thereafter, my dad had a setting designed for it. We all “oohed” and “ahhed” over The Ring and mom wore it with pride, flashing it this way and that. Subtly, of course. She absolutely loved that ring. She was never without it. Her ring.

But on my wedding day, she let me wear it. Borrowed and blue, too, you see. To be honest, I was stunned by the rare, unexpected gesture. She handed it to me quite matter-of-factly, minus showy sentiment, without a trace of tears, but, it was a gesture, nonetheless. As she walked away, I slid it on my finger, flashing it this way and that. Subtly, of course. I liked the way it shimmered through my tears.

And now, all these years later, I sat next to a glowing tree with a small package on my lap. There was greedy chaos in the rest of the room as nephews and nieces practically chewed open their gifts. Now, normally, nothing can tear my mom’s attention from watching her grandkids’ feeding frenzy, but this night, she turned her head away from the pandemonium and stared only at me. Intently. Aware of her gaze, uncomfortable, I thought, “Oh, no. She thinks this is a good one, so I need a good reaction. Crap.” Quickly, I clicked through my pat responses until I settled on a classic: “Ooooh, a ________! How GREAT!”

Slowly, nervously, I began to tug at the paper. There wasn’t enough paper for me to drag this out, especially once Button Baby caught sight of me and decided she had to help. She let out a squeal and two seconds later, the small naked box was in my hands. It wasn’t a jewelry box, so I had no reason to suspect or speculate on its contents. Lifting the lid, I found a drawstring pouch, velvet, too small for almost anything. Almost. I glanced quizzically at my mom and she was stone still. Her eyes were fixed on me, mingling in their blueness pride and joy and fear. I’d never seen that look before and I’ll never forget it.

My hands were clumsy as I opened the pouch. And, of course, tucked inside that little pouch was The Ring.

I recognized it, but I didn’t, because this couldn’t be. It could not be that she was giving this to me! This was her ring. Her special ring. I opened my mouth and …. nothing. Staring at this sparkly thing in my hand, memories flooded back, and I was dumbstruck. Mom’s face had a certain composure, but her eyes, her eyes were naked, defenseless. I looked at her and found my voice, lamely:

“Mom? Mom, I — ”

I crumbled. So did my canned responses.

” — can’t believe –”

I looked at mom and she crumbled, too. Her eyes slowly trickled tears.

“Well, I — I — well, I can’t wear it anymore, so –”

“Mom –”

“– well, I — wanted you to have it.”

“Thank you, Mom — ” I whispered. “It — means a lot to me. I can’t believe it.”

We looked at each other and it was too much. It was overwhelming, mostly unfamiliar, territory. But we’re women and we do know how to cry even if we don’t do it well. So we did our best. I hugged my mom tightly and felt the cool moisture of her cheek.

Out of the corner of my eye, I could see My Beloved’s face, wet with tears. I saw Button Baby’s mom, teary too. And then I saw Button Baby, swaying back and forth on her little Mary Janed feet, unaware, smiling a goofy baby smile amidst the chaos. She didn’t know. She was just happy.

The world, it seemed, stood still for this rare, fleet second. Happy, so much happy.

“Thank you, Mom.”

December 28, 2005

-image-odd ‘n’ ends ‘n’ stuff ‘n’ thangs

It’s breathtaking, really, the trivial or stupid or deeply cheesy things that will suffice to whip me into a froth of excitement.

Witness these ….

First, I’m a HUGE sucker for survivalist type movies — man against the elements type movies. And they don’t even have to be particularly good. They just have to BE and I’m quite satisfied.

Movies like “White Fang,” “White Squall” (which I really watched for Jeff Bridges, because he can do NO wrong — ever!) or “Alive” (based on that gruesome, chilling true story. Read the book, if you dare.) or “Touching the Void” (Another true story, which you simply MUST rent. YOU MUST RENT IT!)

But if it’s an ANIMAL against the elements type movie? Fuggedaboudit. I’m toast.

So break out the butter and jiggle the jam, baby, because now there’s THIS:

A new movie (unfortunately) titled “Eight Below.” Here’s the synopsis from the website:

“Inspired by a true story, a sudden accident leaves eight sled dogs stranded in
Antarctica where they must struggle to survive the frozen wilderness while a
team of adventurers mounts a rescue mission.”

Okay. Well …. hmmm. Really not the best synopsis. And it’s from Disney. Sooo …. okay, also dicey. But … but … but would it help if I tell you the dogs are huskies? Beautiful, fluffy huskies?!

No? I’m not selling this well.

Okay. Here’s the trailer. (All right. You have to click on “Eight Below” once you’re there.) And, yes, it’s kinda cheesy in the beginning and — I’m still not selling it — but it gets better once the humans are not the focus, so stay with it and you may just decide you want to see it, too.

As I said, I’m a HUGE sucker for stuff like this. Think what you must of me!

NOW, for something not stupid or cheesy, but no less exciting —

I am head-over-heels in love with William Goldman, that great, Academy Award winning screenwriter.

It’s bad. I mean, throw in some slight psychosis here and I could definitely revert to stalking and such …. because I’m a little obsessed. My Beloved is fully aware and completely understands. And is totally supportive, actually …. because, please ….

“Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”? Love it. Who doesn’t?

“Marathan Man”? Brilliant and horrifying and … brilliant.

“All the President’s Men”? Genius.

And let’s not forget —

“The Princess Bride.” Wrote the book AND the screenplay. One of my all-time favorite books. Wickedly clever and fun and with that trademark Goldman humor. (And, don’t hate me, but I LOVED the book, liked the movie.)

But NOW — Oh, NOW!

WILLIAM GOLDMAN IS CURRENTLY ADAPTING “THE PRINCESS BRIDE” FOR BROADWAY!!!

A MUSICAL, NO LESS!!

HOORAY!!

OHHH, HOOORAAAY AND HAPPPPY DAAAY!!!!

It’s true. He’s collaborating with Adam Guettel, this year’s Tony winner for Best Original Score for “The Light in the Piazza.” So no slouch, either, with that guy. The only thing that could possibly add MORE exclamation points to this post would be the news that William Goldman is collaborating with Stephen Sondheim —

Mr. “Sweeney Todd”

and “A Little Night Music”

and “West Side Story”

and “Sunday in the Park with George”

and “Gypsy”

and “Into the Woods”

and “Passion”

and …. well, that’s just a few off the top of my head. You get the picture. Another genius with whom I am thoroughly in love.

But if I can’t have my dream — a Goldman/Sondheim collaboration on “The Princess Bride,” I’ll be quite happy with the sweet, sweet REALITY.

Just hurry up, William Goldman! You’re no spring chicken and your adoring public WAITS!!

Oh, and people?

Get behind me in the ticket line.

I’m there first.

-image-ah, christmas!

For probably the last decade or so, my mother’s Christmas gift-giving judgment has been rather seriously impaired by a few teensy illusions she’s harboring about me. I share a few with you now:

1) That she and I are the same age.

2) That as 69-year-old women, we both like knick-knacks and gewgaws and objets d’art like miniature porcelain shoes or wee crystalline menageries.

3) That I am, in fact, a hippopotamus, and that to clothe me requires the copious amounts of fabric found in tents or caftans or mumus (Not. And doesn’t).

4) That I want and LOVE — and look scrumdillyumptious IN — elastic-waist granny pants ( I don’t, NO ONE does, and if YOU have these, burn them, BURN THEM NOW. And, NO — don’t get all charitable on me and give ’em to the homeless. That is NOT a good deed, Jesus WON’T be impressed, and neither will the homeless because THEY DON’T WANT THEM EITHER!!)

5) That her, uhm, well-endowed daughter looks good in, oh, stretchy spandex sweaters COVERED WITH PEACH-COLORED FUR! YES, FUR. FURRR, I SAY!

S’true. One recent, best-forgotten year, a stretchy, peachy fur ball under the tree had MY name on it. It lurked silently, waiting to strike, a killer in shiny paper. The second I opened that gift, my sister looked at me and instantly bowed her head, as if in quiet prayer. But then she started shaking violently and covering her mouth so that the heaving howls of laughter would not escape.

Now, once in the privacy of my own home, I did try the damn thing on — you know, as a lark.

SWEET. FANCY. SLUTTINESS.

Stretched out over my “giftedness” — as one friend calls them — the peachy, furry badness did, ah, accentuate and suddenly, I saw new, previously rejected career paths yawning wide before me. But, tragically, I lacked the leopard print micro mini, metallic silver stilettos, and 6-inch hoop earrings necessary for such vocations. I mean, if mom was crossing her fingers that I’d start some kind of new ministry to the lonely and pervy, then she probably should’ve completed the ensemble.

6) That the sight of me in oversized sweatshirts with giant, appliqued daisies will make My Beloved’s blood pound with desire (It doesn’t. Wow. Surprisingly.)

7) That the proper purse for a “hippo-sized gal” is a hippo-sized purse with — what else?– giant, appliqued daisies. Or animals. Or craaazy, geometric shapes. (I think I could actually fit INSIDE these purses.)

8) That hot pink is MY color. Or perhaps electric blue.

9) That hot pink and electric blue TOGETHER are even better.

(Actually, I wear a lot of black.)

10) That hot pink is the new black.

11) That a gal who calls “Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street” one of her favorite musicals because she did the show in Seattle and loves it and has fond memories of it — of “Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” for Pete’s sake — that a gal like that, who still has her “Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street” cast sweatshirt complete with Demon Barber graphic — that a gal like this would be quite simply overcome by Christmas sweaters sporting kitties and teddy bears and Santas parading impertinently across her “giftedness.”

Ah, mom. DEAR Mom. Quite a history there.

But this year, THIS year, something entirely different happened …..

December 23, 2005

-image-and finally ….

I want to wish you all the merriest, happiest Christmas ever!

Thank you to all of you who stop by and make this a joyous place for me to spend time!

And may the presence of the newborn Babe make each of us new as well.

If ol’ Scrooge can become like new, surely we can, too:

Scrooge was better than his word. He did it all, and infinitely more; and to Tiny Tim, who did not die, he was a second father. He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world. Some people laughed to see the alteration in him, but he let them laugh, and little heeded them; for he was wise enough to know that nothing ever happened on this globe, for good, at which some people did not have their fill of laughter in the outset; and knowing that such as these would be blind anyway, he thought it quite as well that they should wrinkle up their eyes in grins, as have the malady in less attractive forms. His own heart laughed: and that was quite enough for him.

He had no further intercourse with Spirits, but lived upon the Total Abstinence Principle, ever afterwards; and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us!

And so, as Tiny Tim observed, GOD BLESS US, EVERY ONE!

-image-oh, watch it — JUST WATCH IT!

All right. That’s a little bossy, but really — just wait. WAIT! I saw this digital short on SNL last weekend ( I couldn’t sleep), and, I’m sorry, but I thought it was hilariously stupid! Stupidly hilarious! Just a couple of massively dorky white guys wanderin’ the streets of NY and rappin’ ’bout cupcakes, MapQuest, and the

CHRONIC —

WHAT?!

— CLES OF NARNIA!!

Is it me? You gotta be in a certain mood, but that darn thing CRACKS ME UP!!

(Enter “SNL Narnia” in the Search box)

-image-carnival of christmas

Go check out Adam’s Blog where he’s hosting The First Carnival of Christmas. He’s got a regular smorgasbord of goodies over there — spiritual reflections, inspirational stories, personal experiences — including the tale by yours truly of accidentally impersonating Santa last year!

Go visit if you’re hungry for some Christmas cheer. You’re bound to find something that hits the spot!

December 22, 2005

-image-the christmas mother

I offer this Christmas story as my gift to you. It’s from an old compilation book of mine and I have to say — it’s probably one of my absolute favorites. I promise you you’ll need Kleenex, but it’s a beautiful story.

It’s a bit long, but sooo worth it. I promise:

As a kid growing up in Chicago, the winter weather was cause enough to remember a few Noels with a twinge of discomfort. My brother and I, however, had other things working against us as well way back in 1925.

Our dad had died three years before, leaving our mom with only her pride and a strong back.

My brother, Ned, was four years older than I and went to school. It was necessary for my mom to take me with her to the only job she could find — a cleaning lady. In those days, work was scarce and money scarcer. I remember watching Mom hour after hour scrubbing floors and walls, on her hands and knees or sitting on the outside of a window sill washing windows, four stories up, in freezing weather — all for 25 cents an hour.

It was Christmas Eve of 1925 that I shall never forget. Mom had just finished working on the near Northside and we headed home on one of the big, red, noisy and cold Chicago streetcars. Mom had earned her $2.25 for 9 hours of work plus a jar of tomato jam as a Christmas present. I remember how she searched through her precious few coins for five pennies and a nickel. Her fare was 7 cents and mine was 3 cents. As we sat together on the cold seats, we held hands; the roughness of her hands almost scratched my cold hands as she held them tightly in hers.

I knew it was Christmas Eve and even though I was only 5, the past few Christmases had conditioned me not to expect anything more than some extra food, a visit to Marshall Fields’ window display of animated toys and snow, and other kids’ excitement. With Mom’s hand in mine and the knowledge that our Christmas basket had been delievered by Big Brothers, a charitable organization, I felt a warm sense of security as we headed home.

We had just passed a major intersection where Wieboldts, a large department store, was letting out the last of its shoppers before closing for Christmas Eve. Their feelings of holiday cheer, cries of joy and happiness could be felt and heard over the noise of the traveling streetcar. I was insensitive to the joy, but as I looked up at Mom I could feel her body wracked with pain. Tears streamed down her weathered face. She squeezed my hand as she released it to wipe away her tears with her chapped and cracking hands.

I walked close to Mom to stay warm and looked into the front room windows that framed brightly lit Christmas trees. Mom walked straight ahead without a sideways glance, one of her ungloved hands holding mine, the other holding a paper shopping bag which contained her soiled uniform and the jar of tomato jam.

Our flat was a corner unit in the middle of the block. Each Christmas, Nick the barber sold Christmas trees on an empty lot next to his shop. In those days, tree lots were sold out long before Christmas Eve, leaving only broken or dead brown branches. As we passed the quiet, emptied lot, Mom dropped my hand and picked up a bundle of broken, discarded pine-needle branches.

Our second-story flat was without heat except for a small, pot-bellied stove in the kitchen. Ned and I fed the stove with coal that dropped off rail cars a couple blocks away and with wooden fruit boxes that we found in the alley next to our house. It was natural for us to bring home anything that would burn.

As we climbed the dingy, uncarpeted, wooden stairs to out flat, I’m sure my relief was only minimal compared with Mom’s. We opened the door to the front room that felt like a refrigerator. The still air actually made it colder than it was outside.

Off of the front room, there were two bedrooms which were no warmer. Other than two beds and a lion-clawed wood table with four chairs, there was no other furniture or floor covering in the entire flat.

Ned had started a fire and had pulled close to the stove to absorb the little heat it afforded, as he delved into an old issue of Boy’s Life. Mom unbundled me and sat me next to the stove, then prepared the table for our Christmas feast.

There were few words spoken because the season was about joy and giving and receiving and love. With the exception of love, there was an obvious void in the remaining three. We sat facing the little wood stove as we ate canned ham, vegetables, and bread.

At bedtime, we washed our hands and faces in cold water, brushed our teeth, and made our usual charge to our respective deep freezes. I curled up in a fetal position between the two sheets of ice with my socks and Ace cap still on. There was no great anticipation of what I would or would not receive for Christmas, so I fell asleep fast and soundly.

During the twilight before dawn, I awoke. I looked over to see my mother sleeping beside me, but she wasn’t there. Suddenly, I was panicked, wide awake, and wondering if Mom was sick or if she possibly and finally had had enough and left.

I lay in the icy stillness, afraid to get up and confirm my fears, but totally incapable of going back to sleep. Then, I heard a grinding, twisting sound coming from the kitchen. It was as constant as a machine; it would stop for a few seconds, continue, then pause again.

As best I could tell time at that age, I figured it was about 5:00 a.m. With the darkness of winter there was no assurance of what time it really was, other than it was long past time Mom should have been to bed.

As much as I feared the truth, I knew I had to find it. I rolled under the covers to the edge of the bed and dropped my stocking-covered feet to the cold, bare wood floor. Once in the darkness of the front room, I was guided to the kitchen by a light glowing under the door which was ajar. The grinding and twisting sound became louder as I approached. The stove had been out for hours and I could see Mom’s breath as well as my own. Her back was toward me. She had wrapped a blanket over her head and back for some small insulation against the cold.

On the floor to the right was her favorite broom, but the handle had been whittled off just above the sweeping portion. She was working at the old wood table; I had never seen such total concentration and dedication in my life. In front of her was what appeared to be some sort of a disfigured Christmas tree. As I stared in awe, her effort became apparent to me. She was using her broken kitchen knife to drill holes in her broom handle into which she had inserted the branches from Nick’s empty tree lot. Suddenly, it became the most beautiful Christmas tree I had ever seen in my life. Many of the irregular holes had not been effective in supporting the branches, so they were held in place with butcher’s string.

As she continued to twist and dig another slot for the remaining branches, my eyes dropped to her feet, where a small can of red paint was still open. A wet brush lay next to it. On the other side of her chair there were two towels on the floor that were almost covered with red toys: a fire engine with two wheels missing off the back; an old steel train with a number of wheels missing and the caboose’s roof bent in half; a jack, out-of-the-box, with no head; and a doll’s head with no body.

I felt no cold, no fears, no pain, but rather the greatest flow of love I have ever felt in my life. I stood motionless and silent as tears poured from my eyes.

Mom never stopped for a second as I silently turned and walked slowly back to my bedroom. I have had love in my life and received some elaborate gifts through the years, but how can I ever hope to receive more costly gifts or more sacrificial love. I shall never forget my mother or the Christmas of 1925.

-image-Mr. Stewart on “It’s a Wonderful Life”

I watched “It’s a Wonderful Life” the other night. Oh, SO wonderful …. as always. I have a couple posts I want to put up about it.

Here’s an excerpt from a piece Jimmy Stewart himself wrote on this classic. I love hearing his thoughts about it:

Frank (Capra, the director) came to see me and started telling me about it: “Now, you’re in a small town,” Frank said, “and things aren’t going well–and you begin to wish you’d never been born. You decide to commit suicide by jumping off a bridge into a river–and an angel named Clarence comes down from heaven–and Clarence hasn’t won his wings yet, you see. But he comes down to save you by jumping into the river. But Clarence can’t swim, so you save him.”

And then Frank stopped dead. He said, “This–this story doesn’t tell very well, does it?”

Well, I just said, “Frank, if you want to do a movie about me committing suicide with an angel with no wings named Clarence, I’m your man.”

Frank had never worked on a story that meant so much to him. He changed the name to It’s a Wonderful Life, and we started to shoot it in the spring of 1946.

Whenever Frank thought he had made a mistake, he’d go to great lengths to fix it. I remember the day we shot the scene where George Bailey, the film’s main character and the part I played, having apparently misplaced $8000, huddles at Martini’s Bar and asks God for help. “Dear Father in Heaven,” I say, “I’m not a praying man, but if you’re up there and you can hear me, show me the way.”

In the middle of praying, I was overcome with emotion and started to cry. Frank didn’t know I was going to cry, you see. And neither did I. Afterward, Frank said, “I think I made a mistake, Jim. The camera was too far away when you cried. Do you think you could do it once more?” But because the emotion had been spontaneous, I didn’t think I could do it over again.

Frank said nothing more about it. But he stayed up that whole night enlarging every single frame of that scene–maybe 200 feet of film–on an optical printer. So when you see that close-up of me crying, it’s not the camera moving in–it’s a cut-in to that painstakingly enlarged footage.

One of the film’s most memorable scenes is of family and friends gathering around the Bailey Christmas tree, helping George out by replacing the missing money. When we finished the picture, Frank expressed his hope that “it’ll be a film that says to those who can’t afford more education, or lose their job, or take radiation treatments, ‘You are the salt of the earth, and It’s a Wonderful Life is my memorial to you. No man is poor who has one friend. Three friends and you’re filthy rich!’ ”

The sad thing, as I said, was that right after the war people didn’t want this story. They just wanted wild slapstick comedy, westerns, stuff like that. It took a while for the country to sort of quiet down. So It’s a Wonderful Life got no Oscars and didn’t do much business in 1946 and 1947, which meant the end of Liberty Films, the independent company Frank had founded. It was one of the lowest lows of Frank’s life.

He made only five more feature films and an educational series for television. Meanwhile, It’s a Wonderful Life began playing on televisions every Christmas. Groups of friends gathered in one another’s homes on Christmas Eve to decorate the tree and watch It’s a Wonderful Life together.

Frank and I started getting the most amazing letters about the effect the film was having on people’s lives. “I don’t know if this means anything to you,” many of them would begin, “but your film has been an inspiration to me.”

My wife, Gloria, heard about one man who tried to commit suicide and was given a videocassette of the film by his friends as a way of telling him, “Please don’t–you’ve made a difference for good in our lives.”

Many writers have referred to the part in which Clarence the Angel tells George, “Strange, isn’t it? Each man’s life touches so many other lives, and when he isn’t around he leaves an awful hole, doesn’t he?” As one columnist once wrote of the film: “In an increasingly impersonal world, this is an urgently needed message: that we count.”

*****

I love that Frank Capra spent all that time enlarging that footage just to get the perfect shot. (And it WAS the perfect shot.) It shows such dedication to the moment, to the story. It shows the love he had for what this film was about. True artists are dedicated that way, staying up all night, rehearsing something time and again, rewriting until it’s just right — signs of true devotion to the creative process. Inspiring.

And what a lovely tribute by the great Jimmy Stewart, don’t you think?

“If you want to do a movie about me committing suicide with an angel with no wings named Clarence, I’m your man.”

How can you NOT love that man?

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