“Beady-Eyed Sneer”

January 9, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Classic Film, FILM, Uncategorized |

Lee Van Cleef (9 January 1925 – 16 December, 1989) In The Fifty Worst Films of All Time (1978), the authors, citing Return of Sabata (1972), quote Van Cleef as stating: “being born with a beady-eyed sneer was the luckiest thing that ever happened to me.”           His was not a filmography to commend itself to posterity.  However, we respectfully suggest the following to the canon: In bit parts: High Noon (1952), Gunfight at OK Corral (1957), The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962): As a spaghetti anti-hero / villain: For a Few Dollars More (1965),…

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Palais Garnier

January 5, 2018 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, OPERA, Uncategorized |

This superb example of Beaux Arts neoclassical Opera House was inaugurated on this day, 5 January, in 1875. Charles Garnier’s design is splendid, even more so when one appreciates that it was despised and detested by that box-building fraud Charles-Édouard Jeanneret (aka Le Corbusier).           The Varnished Culture has only seen one production there, but it was well worth it: Kata Kabanova. Such a bleak and shabby piece may have seemed incongruous but your correspondent, amid Parisian dowagers rattling their jewelry, was untroubled by the surrounding sumptuousness.           The decorative figures adorning the main façade include bronze…

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Look Homeward, Angel (Vale Della Reese)

December 30, 2017 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | Modern Music, MUSIC, RELIGION, Uncategorized |

Della Reese (July 6, 1931 – November 19, 2017) had a 60 year odd career as singer, actress, TV host and Minister of Religion. These talents combined in her most most lasting work, as Angel-in-Chief Tess in the series Touched by an Angel. In the first episode of Touched by an Angel that I saw, the lovely angel Monica (Roma Downey) was talking to a troubled woman out the front of her house at night.  The woman’s sadly neglected child was inside playing with matches (we knew it but the mother didn’t and somehow the angel didn’t either).  When a handsome…

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The Cars That Ate Reason


Mitsubishi folded car manufacturing in Australia in 2008.  Last year, Ford closed. This October, Holden closed its plant at Elizabeth, with stacks of local workers shown the door and associated industries going to the wall.  It is not as if we made crap cars.  It wasn’t from lack of an enthusiastic local market for Holdens and Fords. And it’s not as if the good old Aussie taxpayer hadn’t stumped-up its fair share of subsidised cash to keep the embers glowing. Market forces are many and varied. But they tend to follow immutable, organic, rules.  When organised car-making started up in…

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We Won a Battle – Are We Losing the War?

October 22, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | HISTORY, POLITICS, Ulalume, Uncategorized |

“I have of late, lost all my mirth, Such that this goodly frame, the earth Seems to me a sterile promontory; Golden fire frets roof in glory Majestical, but foul and pestilent, Vapours gather, and are spent. What a piece of work is man! When he formulates a plan ‘Gainst nature, how very like a god! He presses boots so heavily shod Upon his fellow, so that he will learn That everyone must have their turn Or, dust and ashes, all will burn.” (with apologies to William Shakespeare) October 2017: One hundred years ago Lenin issued his famous call to arms and ‘the people’ (well,…

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