James Thurber’s Rules for a Happy Marriage

December 7, 2020 | Posted by Guest Reviewer | LIFE |

Hogarth, William; The Dance (The Happy Marriage ?VI: The Country Dance); Tate; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/the-dance-the-happy-marriage-vi-the-country-dance-199329

James Thurber, born 8 December 1894, wrote “My Own Ten Rules for a Happy Marriage” (1953) which we will summaize here: RULE ONE: Neither party to a sacred union should run down, disparage or badmouth the other’s former girls or beaux, as the case may be. The tendency to attack their character, looks, intelligence, capability and achievements is a common case of domestic discontent. RULE TWO: A man should make an honest effort to get the names of his wife’s friends right. This is not easy.  RULE THREE: A husband should not insult his wife publicly, at parties. He should…

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Total Eclipse of the Mind: Worst Cover Ever

November 15, 2020 | Posted by Guest Reviewer | LIFE |

The Varnished Culture has mixed views on Bonnie Tyler’s 1983 hit “Total Eclipse of the Heart.”  But irrespective of your view of this song, no-one deserves the homage given here on the Brazilian show “Alerta Amazonas.” Apart from the lead singer’s superb, surreal, extemporized, almost skat-like delivery of the libretto, we also loved the very artistic choreography and faux percussion of the Japanese performance artist, waving his pointless mallets about.  But best of all is the reaction of the host, who looks like he badly needs an escape plan…

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Some Plague Recipes

July 29, 2020 | Posted by Guest Reviewer | FOOD, LIFE |

The “A. J. Ayer” Self-eating Welsh Rarebit Ideal for slimmers, anchorites and philosophers. Eats itself before you can touch it.  Comes with a side “Plato” self-eating egg and “Leibniz” self-eating salad.  Later, with a “Heraclitus” self-eating apple turnover and a hot cup of “Descartes” self-drinking tea, you can sit back and read or just untie grandfather while your lunch eats itself for you. Preparation: Remove rarebit from oven, egg from pan, salad from chopping board.  Serve. Slow Fishcakes Finally! Fishcakes that really give you time to eat them. No more dashing off the plate. Slow Fishcakes just lie there and…

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Gwen Silvers

July 27, 2020 | Posted by Guest Reviewer | LIFE |

Vale (19 March 1927 – 14 May 2020) In 1969 an 8 year old girl called Lesley read a notice in the children’s section of the Adelaide “Sunday Mail” newspaper (the ‘Possums Pages’), facilitating relationships with pen-pals overseas. Lesley duly applied and fired-off missives to a girl named Jean in Glasgow, Scotland.  Jean got so many letters that she passed the letter onto her relative, Lesley.  Scottish Lesley soon tired of the burdens of correspondence, we believe, but her auntie, Gwen Silvers, kept up written contact with Lesley. That contact continued between Gwen and Lesley for the next 51 years….

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The Plague Bookclub

Our Plague Book Club recommends the following books for a Plague year: The Alchemist (Ben Jonson) (1610) “The sickness hot, a master quit, for fear, His house in town, and left one servant there.” The Black Death (Philip Ziegler) (1969) “All the citizens did little else except to carry dead bodies to be buried… At every church they dug deep pits down to the water-table; and thus those who were poor who died during the night were bundled up quickly and thrown into the pit. In the morning when a large number of bodies were found in the pit, they…

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