Tuesday questions, Dr. Kathy Wahlund edition

Russell Saunders

Russell Saunders is the ridiculously flimsy pseudonym of a pediatrician in New England. He has a husband, three sons, daughter, cat and dog, though not in that order. He enjoys reading, running and cooking. He can be contacted at blindeddoc using his Gmail account. Twitter types can follow him @russellsaunder1.

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26 Responses

  1. Sam says:

    Halfway through the post, I was thinking, “Does Russell realize that was Jane Lynch?” The comment was literally screaming out. Then I kept reading. (Also worth noting: a younger Julianne Moore also appears in the movie. They really classes up that hospital’s doctoring crew.)

    I am not entirely certain that this would count, but Edward Steichen’s image of New York City’s Flatiron Building – my parents had a poster of it when I was growing up – includes a small reflecting streetlight. It’s on the lefthand side. I’ve always been transfixed by that particular detail. It is the first place my eyes go after encountering the image, as if I’m trying to make sure that it is still there.

    My temptation in describing why this is makes me sound like a gothic teenager, but the reflection confirms the fact that this was an image of a wet day, and the rain that must have fallen only emphasizes the sort of evening that I imagined it to have been. Cold. Lonely. Miserable, frankly. There’s something about that which appeals greatly to me. I can only imagine what that says about me.Report

  2. Glyph says:

    Jane Lynch was awesome on Party Down. I even watched a chunk of Glee‘s first season, basically for her.Report

    • Russell Saunders in reply to Glyph says:

      Glee was still worth watching its first season,Report

      • Glyph in reply to Russell Saunders says:

        I recommend this all the time, but check out Party Down if you haven’t. Best sitcom in recent years that nobody saw. You can pick up the S1 and S2 DVDs (they only made two seasons) individually at Amazon for cheap, like $20 total for both (for some reason if you buy them packaged together it’s $45, which is ridiculous).

        And the first season or two of any Ryan Murphy show is usually worth watching (I thought the first couple Nip/Tuck seasons were surprisingly well-done). Then it goes off the rails.

        See also: anything JJ Abrams is involved with.Report

    • ScarletNumbers in reply to Glyph says:

      Dont forget a pre-P&R Adam Scott.Report

  3. Mike Schilling says:

    There was an episode of Phil Silvers’s Sergeant Bilko show where a very young Dick van Dyke played a hillbilly with a preternatural talent for accurate throwing. (He’d grown up hunting meat for the stewpot with rocks, because they couldn’t always afford ammunition.) Van Dyke absolutely killed, and I honestly think that if I’d seen that show when it first ran (unlikely, as it was a bit before I was born), I’d have turned to the person next to me and said “That kid is going to to a big star.”Report

    • I remember actually thinking that very thing when I watched the pilot of Bosom Buddies, about Tom Hanks.

      Of course, I also said that about Jeffery Jones after Amadeus. So there’s that.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        When I first saw Michelle Pfeiffer (in Scarface), I though to myself “That is the most beautiful blonde I have ever seen. She is going to be huge.” And had exactly the same thought about the woman in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, who was never heard from again.Report

      • Burt Likko in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        Jeffrey Jones was delightful in Amadeus. No harm in thinking that he was destined for bigger, better things.

        But man oh man did F. Murray Abraham kill it. I was still pretty young when the movie came out but that was the first time I can remember saying to my parents, “Whatever other movie that actor is in, let’s go see it.” And to this day, I think the second movement of Mozart’s 20th piano concerto is the most singularly beautiful piece of music ever written, bar none.Report

      • Burt Likko in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        @mike-schilling That was Allison Doody. She was a Bond girl, too! But yeah, not much of note since.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        Ferris Bueller and Deadwood are not chopped liver. (Those are places where I recognized him; I’m sure he’s done lots more.)Report

  4. Tod Kelly says:

    For me the movie was The Fisher King, and the moment was my second favorite scene in the movie.*

    I first saw Fisher King during its initial release in the theaters, and at the time I had this little piece of raw, intense guilt wrapped up in my heart. It was over something I had done (or, to be more precise, not done) years earlier that set off a chain reaction of events and choices by others that ended very, very tragically. Most of the people I knew who were aware of this guilt would tell me that I wasn’t actually to blame for the bad things that occurred, but I never wanted to hear it. Eventually I refused to ever talk about it, and eventually people thought I must have moved on. But it was always there, like this painful burn on the roof of your mouth you can’t stop poking at with your tongue.


    The whole movie is about redemption, of course. But for me, the scene where Robin Williams’ character leads his fellow inmates in a mass inning of I Love New York in June was instantly cathartic. I remember feeling the tears flow and, afterwards, making up some other reason to explain to my date why I was so affected.

    I was (mostly) able to let it all go after that night. And I don’t even know that I can tell you what it was about that scene that allowed me to move on.

    Maybe I was just finally ready.

    *My very favorite is the dancing scene in Penn Station, and if that isn’t your favorite as well there’s something very wrong with you.Report

  5. Burt Likko says:

    In Gladiator, yes the 2000 Ridley Scott movie with Russell Crowe as an Australian-accented Roman legionnaire that everyone seems to love to hate on for some reason, there are fantastic historical details if you watch the movie very closely. You’ll recall that Oliver Reed played Proximo, the guy who bought the recently-enslaved Russell Crowe and trained him into being the most awesomest gladiator ever.

    Well, we learn in an expository scene that Proximo had once been a slave and a gladiator himself. And that Marcus Aurelius (Richard Harris brought such weary sadness to the role!) had manumitted him, and he got to keep the rudius — a wooden sword used in the manumission ceremony. Well, of course if it had been you, you’d have kept that wooden sword as a memento of the event.

    So for about one second, when I happened to pause the DVD just as the legionnaires are about to get all stabby with poor old Proximo (poor Oliver Reed had died, so on screen it was a CGI Proximo) he gives his “shadows and dust” line and holds on to the rudius as a reminder that if nothing else, he dies with the dignity of a free man. So I pause the screen at just that moment, and I notice that there’s a little bronze plaque bolted to the handle.

    Now, if this had been a George Lucas movie it would have said “Property of Obi-Wan Kenobi” or some cheesy thing like that. But I look close and I see that it’s engraved in Latin, with the Roman numerals CMXXII. And there’s another scene where you can see it a little bit better:

    So then I pull out one of my Roman history books and look up Marcus Aurelius — he was emperor from 161 to 180 CE. But of course the Romans didn’t use that numbering system; they would have numbered their years, if at all, by the number of years that had passed since the founding of Rome.* And by legend, Rome was founded in 753 BCE. So by the Roman reckoning Marcus Aurelius became emperor in the Roman year 914, and the events of the movie take place in the Roman year 933, the year Marcus Aurelius dies and Commodus succeeds him. And the sword has the number 922 below Marcus Auerlius’s name, a realistic sort of time for him to have performed the ceremony. “Holy crap,” I thought, “That’s quite a detail to have put in to something that you can see for like six frames split between two scenes. And now I know that Proximo has been running gladiators for eleven years.”

    * Yes, I know that during Republican times, the year was frequently denoted along the lines of “In the year of the consulship of Gaius Julius Caesar and Marcus Calpurnius Bibulus,” but oft as not they would go on to add “and the six hundred and ninety-fifth year of Rome.”Report

    • Michael Drew in reply to Burt Likko says:


    • J@m3z Aitch in reply to Burt Likko says:

      So, with that kind of commitment to detail,why did they have headless statues in the niches of the coliseum wall? Did they think they were actually made that way, as opposed to losing their heads, arms and whatnot* in the many years since that era?
      *Actually, my impression of Roman sculpture, based on casual observation in the museum, is that compared to arms and heads, the whatnots tend to have survived very well. They’re also surprisingly small.Report

      • Elliott Mason in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        Would you believe we have Victorian and Edwardian female scholars to thank for the whatnots? Even some that survived, um, intact to their arrival in European hands were whanged off to be replaced with bronze figleaves and the like ‘for modesty’, with the whatnots saved in a, if you will permit the liberty, tackle box. The British Museum had entire storerooms of whacked-off whatnots.

        And the male art history scholars persistently refused to let The Delicate Ladies (who were clearly only there till they caught a husband) work on things they viewed as important, so several took it as their especial pride and task to reunite as many of the, um, subdivided statues as possible. Michaelangelo’s David is one that was so reunited.Report

      • Burt Likko in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        Second unit and CGI crews may not have been under such tight direction, I guess. The Romans often painted their statues, too — not only did they have arms and legs, but real jewelry and colorful ornamentation. The paint faded quickly, which was okay with the owners, because that way they could update the looks of their art the way we moderns like to rearrange our furniture.Report

      • Kim in reply to J@m3z Aitch says:

        Yeah, the romans/greeks had quite the style of “smaller than anatomically normal” genitalia (other than on satyrs and centaurs). The Japanese did teh opposite.Report

  6. NewDealer says:

    I was in eight grade when the fugitive came out!

    This is a really good question. I usually love picking up on minor historical details in novels and such. The example that sticks out is knowing that Julius Beaufort in the Age of Innocence was modeled on the real life August Belmont.

    Stuff like that.Report