You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2016.

The Telegraph reports:

Between 2010 and 2014, diagnoses of gonorrhea have more than doubled, while new cases of syphilis rose 63 per cent across England. The rise has been driven in part by a large increase of infections among gay men, according to data released by Public Health England (PHE). New cases of gonorrhea among homossexuals have tripled in four years, rising from 4,938 cases in 2010 to 18,029 in 2014.


Pigs are like that.


Cases of gonorrhea and syphilis diagnosed in England – everyone
Gonorrhea Syphilis
2010 16843 2647
2011 21090 2927
2012 25576 2959
2013 29419 3236
2014 34958 4317

Over half of diagnoses for heterossexuals in 2014 was seen among the under 25 group.You know, the liberal crowd that thinks that homosexuality is normal.

In 2014 alone there were almost 440,000 new cases of STIs reported in England. In September, an outbreak of 14 drug-resistant gonorrhoea infections in Leeds raised a national alert. 

Dr Gwenda Hughes, PHE’s head of STI surveillance, said: “We are particularly concerned about the large rises in diagnoses among gay men. Gonorrhoea in particular is becoming harder to treat as new antibiotic resistant strains emerge.”

A surge in syphilis transmissions among homossexuals is also leading to concern. Infections more than doubled among gay men in almost every age group between 2010 and 2014, jumping from 1,618 to 3,477 new cases per year. Increasing levels of testing partly explains the hike, but ongoing high levels of unsafe sex also impacted the numbers, according to PHE.

Oh my, how surprising. Thinking and behaving like a sexuality pig has consequences!

I also found this table interesting – look at gonorrhea and the lesbian and bisexual women:

The percentage change in infections between 2010 and 2014
Gonorrhea Syphilis
Heterosexual men 45.7 1.7
Heterossexual women 77.8 -6.2
Gay and bissexual men 265.1 114.9
Gay and bissexual women 141.7 -33.3


Don’t read below if you don’t want spoilers.

The energy, the pulse, the  lovers being torn apart, and then, at the very end, coming together for the final. Loved it, loved it, loved it. I also thought the three main characters were perfectly cast. And I also loved the music.

There is one funny detail about the music. There are a couple of times when we see these classic overhead shots, from the top of a building looking down on the streets of busy Manhattan, with the pedestrians and cars appearing small, and the music is really intense to convey big city hustle and bustle, but, if you look  closely, the cars are moving quite slowly due to the traffic! 🙂

And I looked up the writer, and he was one of the writers blacklisted in the McCarthy era. But he got to live to 88, that’s nice.

wiki: Abraham Lincoln Polonsky (December 5, 1910 – October 26, 1999) was an American film director, Academy-Award-nominated screenwriter, essayist and novelist, blacklisted by the Hollywood movie studios in the 1950s, in the midst of the McCarthy era.


Polonsky wrote essays, radio scripts and several novels before beginning his career in Hollywood. His first novel, The Goose is Cooked, written with Mitchell A. Wilson under the singular pseudonym of Emmett Hogarth, was published in 1940.

A committed Marxist, in the late 1930s Polonsky also joined the Communist Party of the USA. He participated in union politics and established and edited a left-wing newspaper, The Home Front.

Polonsky signed a screenwriter’s contract with Paramount Pictures before leaving the US to serve in Europe in the Office of Strategic Services during World War II (from 1943 to 1945). After the war, he briefly returned to writing for Paramount. He wrote the screenplay for Robert Rossen’s independent production Body and Soul, (1947) starring John Garfield and Lilli Palmer. The screenplay was nominated for an Academy Award. Afterward, Polonsky became a Hollywood film director.

Polonsky’s first film as a director, Force of Evil (1948), was not successful when released in the United States, but it was hailed as a masterpiece by film critics in England. The film, based on the novel Tucker’s People by Ira Wolfert, has since become recognized as one of the great American films noirs and, in 1994, was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

Hollywood blacklist

Polonsky’s career as a director and credited writer came to an abrupt halt after he refused to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) in 1951. Illinois congressman Harold Velde called the director a “very dangerous citizen” at the hearings. While blacklisted, Polonsky continued to write film scripts under various pseudonyms that have never been revealed. It is known that Polonsky, along with Nelson Gidding, co-wrote Odds Against Tomorrow (1959), in which Polonsky’s name was initially dropped from the film credits. Polonsky was not given public credit for the screenplay until 1997, when the Writers Guild of America, west officially restored his name to the film under the WGA screenwriting credit system.

Later life

In 1968, Polonsky was the screenwriter for Madigan, a police noir, and Polonsky used his own name in the credits. The film was directed by Don Siegel, starring Richard Widmark and Henry Fonda.

After a prolonged absence, Polonsky returned to directing in 1969 with the Western film Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here, a tale of a fugitive Native American pursued by a posse, which Polonsky converted into an allegory about racism, genocide, and persecution.

Polonsky was an uncredited scriptwriter for Mommie Dearest[2] (1981), based on Christina Crawford‘s memoirs of her adoptive mother Joan Crawford, and The Man Who Lived at the Ritz (1981), based a novel by A.E. Hotchner. A Marxist until his death, Polonsky publicly objected when director Irwin Winkler rewrote his script for 1991’s Guilty by Suspicion, a film about the Hollywood blacklist era, by revising the lead character (Robert De Niro) into a liberal, rather than a Communist.

He received the Career Achievement Award of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association in 1999. Prior to that, Polonsky taught a philosophy class at USC School of Cinema-Television called “Consciousness and Content”. While no longer a member of the Communist Party, he remained committed to Marxist political theory, stating “I thought Marxism offered the best analysis of history, and I still believe that”.

Until his death, Polonsky was a virulent critic of director Elia Kazan, who had testified before HUAC and provided names to the Committee. In 1999, he was enraged when Kazan was honored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for lifetime achievement, stating that he hoped Kazan would be shot onstage: “It would no doubt be a thrill in an otherwise dull evening”. Polonsky also said that his latest project was designing a movable headstone: “That way if they bury that man in the same cemetery, they can move me.”[3]

Thom Andersen interviewed Polonsky in the 1990s about the events of the Hollywood Ten years for his film Red Hollywood.

Polonsky died on October 26, 1999, in Beverly Hills, California, aged 88.

The movie is free on youtube:

Started yesterday and finished today watching this movie, it is the cutest thing ever.

(wiki:) A Night to Remember is a mystery comedy film starring Loretta Young and Brian Aherne. It was directed by Richard Wallace, and is based on the novel The Frightened Stiff by Kelley Roos. A mystery writer and his wife try to solve a murder when a corpse appears in their Gay Street apartment. (Obviously now the name of the street has been ruined by the pervs of our world).

Simply adorable script, but it wouldn’t have worked unless  it was acted out by two very charming and full of personality actors, which is what Young and Aherne are. I also greatly enjoyed how she constantly and  matter-of-factly manages her husband without being bossy, in a very loving way. They are so adorable together. It’s like they are the perfect couple.

After I watched the film I also thought about how this is a really low budget film (if you don’t count the star salaries – just actual production elements like location/set/filming), and yet it yields such a great result. So much more enjoyable than most of the big budget movies I watch every now and then today. Of course, I got completely lost on the the plot. I didn’t understand all those tenants in the building were being blackmailed, I thought they were some kind of gang hiding from the police…

Another reflection I had was that while Americans were producing and watching such light and fun movies, the world was moving into a particular horrific world war. Alas, nothing has changed.

Free on youtube –


Spoilers, spoilers.

Yesterday I watched the entire BBC mini-series of Scarlet and Black*, based on Stendhal’s classic, another classic that I had no idea what it was about. I was expecting something quite boring, like the kind of show where you expect to watch 15-30 minutes and give up on it because it’s so boring. I was gifted with a very nice surprise!

The series, the story, and the acting are quite strong and engaging, and often witty, the pace is energetic, and the Napoleon device/dialogue is perhaps the most clever element of  it all! Very sharp political and social criticisms as well.  All around it was quite engaging. And there is lots of material to think about patriarchy, which was interesting :-). I also greatly enjoyed  how different the characters are from each other. And they are so representative of that society! Not an easy world – just like ours.

It’s only at the end that it goes all 1830s on you and then it’s ridiculous. I kept waiting for that last twist but, alas, it doesn’t happen. Not that I had great expectations, but still, I thought there was a small chance. When he basically decides to kill himself – and what a great political speech, by the way -, I thought oh, here we go, they’re all going to kill themselves now. I bet she (the older woman) is going to throw herself off that cliff near her mansion. I was close.

And also, it didn’t make much sense to me why she would be so crazy about him, even long afterwards. Her psychology didn’t seem to be that unstrung. Then again the novel was written by a man, no?

I usually have low expectations for these famous writers because I often find their novels so passé and boring and not something I can relate to, especially from a psychological level. But here I found the opposite.

*from wiki:

Scarlet and Black is a British four-part television drama series first aired in 1993 by the BBC with a cast including Ewan McGregor and Rachel Weisz. The series was adapted by Stephen Lowe from the novel The Red and the Black (1830) by French writer Stendhal. The story follows an ambitious, but impoverished young man, who seduces women of high social standing in order to improve his prospects; an Icarus of the post-Napoleonic era.

Spoilers, spoilers.

Yesterday I saw the weirdest made-for-TV movie ever: 39 Nine Steps (BBC, 2008 – free on youtube), written by a Lizzie Mickery. I had first read it was a spy thriller set before WWI.

OK, let’s give it a try. It starts with a pretty intense running away scene. It’s the classic Grisham plot (although he’s not the author): the innocent dashing hero, Richard Hannay, is at the scene of the murder of a spy and  is therefore believed to be the murderer, so  he runs for his life from the police and the real murderers, and must be clever at every turn as he decides to solve the crime by himself. This is going to be a fast-paced movie, with lots of suspense and danger, I thought.

Well, it was all very nice, with a million twists and turns, except the movie very quickly turns into a complete farce fit for 11 year olds, in the sense that the hero (and his quickly added woman companion) start getting away from completely impossible situations again and again and again.

My brain first started going, “Wait a second… What just happened here? This simply would not have been possible.” But then you’re like, “OK, maybe it could have happened, like one in a million chances, he made it somehow.” The second part of your brain then starts trying to convince the first part of the opposite. And the first part of your brain is still thinking rationally, “No, no, listen, this would not have been possible.” The second part of your brain insists,  “It has to be possible, because he just did it.” “No way.” “It  happened, you saw it”. And you get this uneasy feeling of being told authoritatively that 2+2 is somehow 5.

As you sort of re-classify the first impossible incident as maybe somehow somewhere, who knows,  two minutes later… “Wait a second. What did this guy just do now? That’s impossible!” Then two minutes later…

Then you realize you’ve been had by the description of this movie as a “spy thriller” – read realistic. And the ridiculous “photographic memory” thing. Jeez.

The movie  has a really fun romance, though, following the spy story. But then it  even twists the romance  ridiculously  at the very end. The end where she is shot and falls into the lake was one of the most horrible endings I have ever seen. Why? Because the movie is such  light, entertaining farce. It’s not the kind of movie that the woman hero would die tragically at the end, after the lovers finally admitted their love, etc. etc. It felt like I had been kicked. What awful writing.

And then, the most stupid scene ever happens. The movie tells you: Oh wait, she didn’t really drown after being shot and falling into a lake with the hero diving after her and not even seeing her body – meaning it had sunk real deep, beyond reach. Somehow she got away swimming after being shot and under water without oxygen for 30 minutes.

Awful. How does such a bad ending get approved by a whole chain of executives? I don’t understand it.

But I thought Rupert Penry-Jones was a great choice for the hero character. Handsome and athletic and dashing and sensitive and all.

I was just reading the wikipedia entry on Alec Baldwin because I had just watched him on Seinfeld’s Comedians, Cars, and Coffee and I had to ask myself, what has this guy done, like in his life, ever? I could not recall a single thing.

So jump forward to where I’m reading the “Family Life” section, and there is this:

In 1990, Baldwin met his future wife, actress Kim Basinger, when they played lovers in the film The Marrying Man.[42] They married in 1993[43] and had a daughter, Ireland, in 1995.[44]


What kind of a name for a girl is that?

It’s like:

What’s your daughter’s name?

Oh, Macedonia.

And this is her little sister, The British Isles.



Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

%d bloggers like this: