*I have a pretty long drive ahead of me tomorrow morning (oh look - right now is tomorrow morning ha ha ha ha ha ha ha) and I’m still getting ready and I just now decided to wash my traveling cup, this metal coffee thermos that I always take with me. I hadn’t quite remembered that I’d left the thing unwashed since my last trip, about three weeks ago, and there was still some coffee and a lot of dark brown sugar residue in the bottom of the cup (I take dark brown sugar in my coffee now ever since I read in that Grant Morrison issue of “Arthur” that it was good, and lo and behold it was). I’d also left the drinking hole open on the lid. So I go and pop off the lid and the loveliest light blue form of life was living in my cup! It looked like slightly melted blueberry sherbert, just a bit white and fizzy on top. “That’s so neat!” was the first thing I thought followed swiftly by “OH FUCKING CHRIST I HAVE TO FUCKING DRINK OUT OF THIS THING DIE DIE DIE” as I tossed the poor gelatinous thing into the garbage and dumped soap into the cup. I think my cup is ok now.

All of that was a complicated way of saying that I’ll have a real update at about two in the afternoon, eastern standard, this upcoming day, because I’m out of time right now.

*Although while I’m here I have to recommend the 1943 film “Munchhausen”, a surprisingly excellent fantasy epic that just happened to be commissioned by Josef Goebbels at the height of WWII to delight and distract the German public away from the war while simultaneously celebrating the 25th birthday of UFA, that great studio that produced classics by Murnau and Lang and many more, and forewarning the world of the cinematic dominance of the Thousand Year Empire which would doubtlessly kick in just as soon as this silly war was over and won. Goebbels was so determined to create the most dazzling bauble possible that he cleared Jewish author Erich Kastner for the screenwriting duties and set an unlimited budget and even allowed for plenty of delays in perfecting the mild Agfacolor technique. Kastner then proceeded to expertly weave the classic stories of the fibbing Baron into an anti-clerical, anti-empire (!!), and vehemently pro-sex tapestry of delight. I was amused at the surging libido of every character on the screen (regardless of gender), and how even powerful, sexually active women were often presented as positive figures, though the Baron’s heterosexual masculine viewpoint is always dominant, it must be said, with even a little gratuitous nudity in a Turkish harem.

Plot-wise, the Baron drifts from Russia to Italy having adventures and meeting lovers. He encounters many friends and foes, like the wicked Count Cagliostro, who grants the Baron a wish that seems to be quite wonderful for most of the film, but perhaps signals the Count’s own small victory as we move into a melancholy climax on the Moon. Some critics see the Baron’s journeys as an affirmation of Nazi conquest, but considering that the Baron rarely causes any lasting change in any place that he visits, content to have fun and pass through, I’d say that we’re looking at an awfully long-term definition of ‘conquest’, in that any empire is eventually bound to crumble. No, I see these journeys as gentle subversion on Kastner’s part, but kept quiet enough to tickle the nationalistic fancy that all of the events of the past few years amounted to nothing but fine adventure. The film was quite a smash in Germany; despite rocketing over any prior domestic budgetary record, the film handily recouped its costs, even with understandably limited foreign sales options. Today it’s a strange little artifact, but very effective as entertainment, filled with cute special effects and artful cinematography, like a fight scene shot in total darkness with only the occasional gunshot to illuminate the struggle. Terry Gilliam most certainly paid attention during his own viewing, as his “The Adventures of Baron Munchhausen” reportedly owes quite a tall debt to this strange earlier film. Kino’s dvd is very nice, with some historical context extras and even a curious rotoscoped cartoon. Good stuff!