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Kyle Kersten was a true friend of TCM. One of the first and most active participants of the Message Boards, “Kyle in Hollywood” (aka, hlywdkjk) demonstrated a depth of knowledge and largesse of spirit that made him one of the most popular and respected voices in these forums. This thread is a living memorial to his life and love of movies, which remain with us still.

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I Just Watched...


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#1 TomJH

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Posted Today, 10:41 AM

Hell's Island (1955).

 

The last of the trio of gritty, hard boiled thrillers director Phil Karlsen made with John Payne, this was the first one shot in colour. The first two in the series, Kansas City Confidential and 99 River Street, both frequently broadcast on TCM, remain among the highlights of both men's careers as moody, hard boiled explorations of crime dramas.

 

The same cannot be said for Hell's Island inasmuch as so much of its hackneyed story line seems so derivative of so many other films of the same nature. It's watchable if only because Payne (best remembered by many for his light hearted musicals and generally fluffy film affairs in the '30s and '40s) developed, as he matured, into a surprisingly convincing screen tough guy, and Karlsen was a good director of action scenes.

 

But this film - well, you've seen so much of it before that it's all starting to look a little tired this go round. There's the first person narration by Payne, a missing rube, konks over the head sending our hero into bye bye land for a while, a former flame still under our hero's skin who may or may not be a femme fatale (it's pretty obvious what the answer is after a short while), and even (shades of Dashiell Hammett) the familiar sight of a fat man (in a wheelchair this time), always accompanied by a gunsel, who hires Payne to do a job for him.

 

hellisland8.jpg

 

The fat man is Francis L. Sullivan (rather than Sidney Greenstreet) who fires Vegas casino security man Payne to travel to a small Caribbean island (even the amount of money he promises to give him - $5000 - is reminiscent of The Maltese Falcon - remember all that "$5000 is a lot of money" dialogue?) to get back a fabulous rube from old flame Mary Murphy, who jilted our hero years before when she married into wealth.

 

We actually see Payne get shot by Sullivan under the film's opening titles. He is then on a hospital gurney getting operated upon by a doctor as a police inspector asks him for his story. The camera closes in upon his face as he drags on a cigarette and begins to tell his tale. These guys are so tough they're even smoking while having a bullet removed!

 

I saw a pan and scan print of what had been a Vista Vision (ie. wide screen) Paramount production. Perhaps the colour photography was a mistake. In any event this film lacks the moody black and white visuals of the previous their previous two films films, nor does it create the same tension to be found in them.

 

Fans of Kansas City Confidential and 99 River Street will probably want to see Hell's Island anyway, and that's understandable. Be prepared for disappointment, however. At best this one is just another okay time waster out of the tough guy school. For fans of the dangerous ladies to be found in these kind of films, though, Mary Murphy is at least an eyeful even if her character may be a bit obvious.

 

hellsisland18.png

 

2.5 out of 4



#2 TomJH

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Posted Yesterday, 08:38 PM

Probably because at the age of 11 in 1963 and when I first remember hearing this song, another gentleman with "a distinctive but not great singing voice", namely Jimmy Durante, had done a version of it which hit the pop charts and got a lot of radio play back then.

 

(...and so, whenever I think of this beautiful but melancholy song, the great Schozzola first comes to mind, and so in my case have always used his version as the yardstick)

 

It's a curious thing about the satisfaction that one can receive from a beautiful but melancholy song. It saddens us, making us reflective about some truths, such as the contemplation of the passing years and one's mortality, as in September Song.

 

One of the ultimate melancholy songs of this nature for me is It Was A Very Good Year, as sung with such feeling by Old Blues Eyes. It doesn't hurt to have such beautiful orchestral accompaniment either. This is one of my favourite Frank moments.

 


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#3 Dargo

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Posted Yesterday, 06:58 PM

A case of someone with a distinctive, but not great singing voice, creating the definitive and most moving rendition of a song.

 

Probably because at the age of 11 in 1963 and when I first remember hearing this song, another gentleman with "a distinctive but not great singing voice", namely Jimmy Durante, had done a version of it which hit the pop charts and got a lot of radio play back then.

 

(...and so, whenever I think of this beautiful but melancholy song, the great Schozzola first comes to mind, and so in my case have always used his version as the yardstick)



#4 rosebette

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Posted Yesterday, 06:54 PM

Operator 13 ​(1934) -- Gary Cooper and Marion Davies, with Marion as a Union spy.  She spends most of what I saw of the film in blackface, evoking every stereotyped caricature imaginable. Awful, awful, awful!  Gary Cooper very stiff throughout.  I didn't watch to the end.  Sometimes not everything that's old is good.  TCM should put this one back in a vault and never take it out again.

 


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#5 rosebette

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Posted Yesterday, 06:47 PM

TCM has shown Knickerbocker Holiday in the past although, if I remember correctly, the print wasn't very good.

 

In any event it's a shame that Walter Huston couldn't have recreated his stage role in the film version, particularly when it came to his rendition of "September Song." In 1950 Huston's recording of this song became a hit all over again when it was used as a theme of the film romance September Affair, with Joseph Cotten and Joan Fontaine. The irony of this is that Huston didn't live to see it, having died six months prior to the film's U.S. release.

 

For those interested here's Huston's rendition:

 


 

 

A case of someone with a distinctive, but not great singing voice, creating the definitive and most moving rendition of a song.


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#6 TomJH

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Posted Yesterday, 01:46 PM

"Knickerbocker Holiday" (1944)--Starring Nelson Eddy, Charles Coburn. Constance Dowling, and Shelley Winter (before she added the "s" to her last name).  Based on the Maxwell Anderson play. Score by Kurt Weill, additional music by eight other credited composers.

 

 

TCM has shown Knickerbocker Holiday in the past although, if I remember correctly, the print wasn't very good.

 

In any event it's a shame that Walter Huston couldn't have recreated his stage role in the film version, particularly when it came to his rendition of "September Song." In 1950 Huston's recording of this song became a hit all over again when it was used as a theme of the film romance September Affair, with Joseph Cotten and Joan Fontaine. The irony of this is that Huston didn't live to see it, having died six months prior to the film's U.S. release.

 

For those interested here's Huston's rendition:

 


 


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#7 film lover 293

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Posted Yesterday, 12:52 PM

"Knickerbocker Holiday" (1944)--Starring Nelson Eddy, Charles Coburn. Constance Dowling, and Shelley Winter (before she added the "s" to her last name).  Based on the Maxwell Anderson play. Score by Kurt Weill, additional music by eight other credited composers.

 

Disappointing, slow moving musical set in New Amsterdam in the days of Peter Stuyvesant.  Plot is about the venality of politicians and how true love will overcome that.  Eddy and Dowling sing well, Coburn does a creditable version of "September Song", the play's one standard, and in her limited screen time, Winter displays a flair for comedy. 

 

But the script and direction are hopelessly stagy, Winter's and Johnny Davis's roles have been cut to shreds (the number about bundling Winters filmed with Davis and wrote about in her first autobiography was cut from the print I saw), and the music that isn't Weill's is forgettable, to say the most.

 

The political satire was blunted for the screen, although Coburn gets a few good lines that reminded me of current politicians.

 

The copy I saw was taped off an old AMC broadcast.  2/4.

 

Source--YouTube.


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#8 CountVictorGrazinsky

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Posted Yesterday, 12:26 PM

i caught EATING RAOUL on TCM IN DEMAND, I knew nothing about it going in.

 

i liked it and can understand the cult around it, the acting is inspired and the commitment from everyone is 100%; right down to the bit parts (Edie McClurg is a riot; and the radio deejay/swingers party host stands out as well, and something about the guy who played the first swinger/victim's line reads sent me into hysterics i could not control.)

 

across the board, a film you could show in an acting class as some good examples of successful overplaying and underplaying a role; I know MARY WORONOV as Dr. Vader in ROCK N ROLL HIGH SCHOOL FOREVER; it was interesting to see her so sexy in this- she reminded me a bit of Marie Windsor in retrospect; the guy who played Raoul, whose name i should look up, but i'm too lazy to google right now***, was a REAL CHARMER, very very handsome- like Erick Estrada if Erik Estrada could act; he stole every scene he was in and it's a shame he didn't go on to "name" stardom.

 

it helps if you're high watching this one.

 

ps- the hot tub scene cracked me up too.

 

pss- recommended, dunno how long it'll be on TCM ON DEMAND.

 

 

***ETA

ROBERT BELTRAN is his name.***

 

Fun movie!  I've been a fan since I saw it in the '80s!

 

Lorna, another Paul Bartel movie you need to check out, if you can find it, is "Scenes From The Class Struggle In Beverly Hills".  Jacqueline Bisset stars.  Mary Woronov and Robert Beltran are back along with Mr. Bartel, Ray Sharkey, and Ed Begley, Jr.  This used to show up on cable all the time but hasn't been seen for years.  I tried to find a copy to purchase but it's never been released in the US on DVD as far as I can determine.  Not quite as good as "Eating Raoul" but some hilarious situations nonetheless.    

 

I agree with you about Robert Beltran.  I was surprised recently, while channel surfing, to run across him on a episode of "Murder, She Wrote"!  Guess almost everyone eventually made a guest appearance with Angela!


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#9 cigarjoe

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Posted Yesterday, 11:30 AM

i caught EATING RAOUL on TCM IN DEMAND, I knew nothing about it going in.

 

i liked it and can understand the cult around it, the acting is inspired and the commitment from everyone is 100%; right down to the bit parts (Edie McClurg is a riot; and the radio deejay/swingers party host stands out as well, and something about the guy who played the first swinger/victim's line reads sent me into hysterics i could not control.)

 

across the board, a film you could show in an acting class as some good examples of successful overplaying and underplaying a role; I know MARY WORONOV as Dr. Vader in ROCK N ROLL HIGH SCHOOL FOREVER; it was interesting to see her so sexy in this- she reminded me a bit of Marie Windsor in retrospect; the guy who played Raoul, whose name i should look up, but i'm too lazy to google right now***, was a REAL CHARMER, very very handsome- like Erick Estrada if Erik Estrada could act; he stole every scene he was in and it's a shame he didn't go on to "name" stardom.

 

it helps if you're high watching this one.

 

ps- the hot tub scene cracked me up too.

 

pss- recommended, dunno how long it'll be on TCM ON DEMAND.

 

 

***ETA

ROBERT BELTRAN is his name.***

Yea it's great I agree. 



#10 scsu1975

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Posted Yesterday, 10:46 AM

That same year of 1958 Richard Cunha also directed the "classics" Missile to the Moon and Frankenstein's Daughter. Truly a year to remember for movie fans.

Quite the quartet ... I've seen and reviewed them all. Might make for a nice "Evening with Richard Cunha" filmfest on TCM.


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#11 LawrenceA

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Posted Yesterday, 10:28 AM

 

The film was directed by Richard Cunha, who also directed the camp classic She Demons. In fact, these two films played on a double bill throughout the country. So just how scary were they? In July of 1958, a 12-year-old kid in Kingsford Ohio called police in the early morning hours to report he was locked in a local theater. The reason? He had fallen asleep during the double bill.

 

 

That same year of 1958 Richard Cunha also directed the "classics" Missile to the Moon and Frankenstein's Daughter. Truly a year to remember for movie fans.



#12 scsu1975

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Posted Yesterday, 10:12 AM

Giant from the Unknown (1958) youtube

 

Ed Kemmer and Sally Fraser have a conversation, with a lake in the background. The water in the lake does not move. That will give you some idea of the low-budgetness of this thing.

 

Kemmer plays a guy who digs up rocks and collects Indian artifacts. He runs afoul of the local sheriff, played by the ashen-faced Bob Steele. (I’m not kidding, Steele really looks pale in this film.) Seems there has been a murder in the area, and also some cattle mutilations. Steele suspects Kemmer, for no apparent reason. Enter archaeologist Morris Ankrum and his hot blonde daughter Sally Fraser. Ankrum is looking for traces of a Spanish expedition that vanished in the area about 500 years ago. In particular, he wants to find the carcass of a depraved conquistador known as “The Diablo Giant.” Kemmer hooks up with them and treats them to a steak dinner (say, about those cattle mutilations??). This takes up about the first half of the film, during which time the concession stands and restrooms at theaters probably did a booming business.

 

The trio set off and find some Spanish armor and other stuff you can get cheap on e-bay. Then Kemmer discovers a large axe sticking out of a log. What he doesn’t notice is that right next to the log is the Giant, who is about to be awakened from suspended animation by stock footage of a storm.

 

Buddy Baer, as the HUGE undocumented immigrant, spends most of his screen time lumbering around the woods. As usual, no one can outrun him. He demonstrates his strength by hurling paper maché rocks and gorilla-pressing a mannequin. There is an Indian guy who looks like Chester Morris. Steele misses everything he shoots at. Kemmer wears a stupid hunting cap and looks like he should be after wabbits. Fraser manages to stay perfectly coiffed and smiles a lot. At least she could have done a semi-nude bathing scene in the lake – but then again, the water wasn’t moving.

 

The film was directed by Richard Cunha, who also directed the camp classic She Demons. In fact, these two films played on a double bill throughout the country. So just how scary were they? In July of 1958, a 12-year-old kid in Kingsford Ohio called police in the early morning hours to report he was locked in a local theater. The reason? He had fallen asleep during the double bill.

 

Untitled_zpscxah0mso.png


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#13 LornaHansonForbes

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Posted Yesterday, 09:00 AM

i caught EATING RAOUL on TCM IN DEMAND, I knew nothing about it going in.

 

i liked it and can understand the cult around it, the acting is inspired and the commitment from everyone is 100%; right down to the bit parts (Edie McClurg is a riot; and the radio deejay/swingers party host stands out as well, and something about the guy who played the first swinger/victim's line reads sent me into hysterics i could not control.)

 

across the board, a film you could show in an acting class as some good examples of successful overplaying and underplaying a role; I know MARY WORONOV as Dr. Vader in ROCK N ROLL HIGH SCHOOL FOREVER; it was interesting to see her so sexy in this- she reminded me a bit of Marie Windsor in retrospect; the guy who played Raoul, whose name i should look up, but i'm too lazy to google right now***, was a REAL CHARMER, very very handsome- like Erick Estrada if Erik Estrada could act; he stole every scene he was in and it's a shame he didn't go on to "name" stardom.

 

it helps if you're high watching this one.

 

ps- the hot tub scene cracked me up too.

 

pss- recommended, dunno how long it'll be on TCM ON DEMAND.

 

 

***ETA

ROBERT BELTRAN is his name.***


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#14 LornaHansonForbes

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Posted Yesterday, 07:56 AM

 

The Lost Weekend (1945) The Lost Noir
 
The%2BLost%2BWeekend_poster.jpg
 
No, not lost as in not available, not seen, or unknown. It's the red-headed stepchild of Classic Film Noir. The Lost Weekend is left off almost all citations of the "discovery" or "recognition of the "new" Film Noir by French Critics in 1946 after the end of WWII.
 
Ray Milland is excellent, he is a wonderful drunk, he effectively portrays all the nuances of an intelligent man who is keenly aware of his own helpless degradation.

 

Out of everyone who ever made films, no one was ever better than Billy Wilder, and no one had a hand in making more perfect films than he did. DOUBLE INDEMNITY is perfect. ACE IN THE HOLE is perfect. ONE, TWO, THREE is perfect...THE LOST WEEKEND? Could be better (at least in my opinion.)

 

There's something slightly sadistic about the way Wilder portrays the protagonist, as if he really wanted to make a black comedy of sight-gags instead of a probing character study...

 

two things we do agree on though- WEEKEND is noir to the bone; no doubt; and Milland is excellent, it's one of the finest performances of the 1940's- heartbreaking to watch at times because he never got a chance at another such role again.



#15 TomJH

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Posted Yesterday, 07:43 AM

Jet Over the Atlantic (1959).

 

 

 

Yeah, sounds kind'a lame here alright, Tom.

 

Oh, it's lame alright, Dargo.

 

Among other things FBI man George Raft fires a gun into a crowd of people to stop one character, and prior to that he is firing a gun while the plane is in flight.

 

But, still, while I was chuckling at the film, I sorta enjoyed it - in a bad sort of way.

 

All of the cast members, by the way, Madison, Raft, Mayo, were no longer in great demand by film producers by 1959. That might account for their reasons for appearing in this script challenged film.
 



#16 Dargo

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Posted 22 June 2017 - 09:47 PM

 

 

Jet Over the Atlantic (1959).

 

Yeah, sounds kind'a lame here alright, Tom.

 

I guess the first giveaway that this baby may not be all that good is the poster for it itself that you've supplied.

 

"Jet-Hot Action! Jet-Hot Suspense! Jet-Hot Thrills!"

 

Funny, but I don't ever remember "jets" having props?!

 

(...but I'll bet the ad copy writer used that line because the year 1959 and when this film was released would be just one year after the Boeing 707 would become operational, and thus in hopes of capturing the imagination and ticket sales from the movie going public of the time, and even though the aircraft used in this film was propeller-driven) 



#17 cigarjoe

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Posted 22 June 2017 - 09:29 PM

The Lost Weekend (1945) The Lost Noir
 
The%2BLost%2BWeekend_poster.jpg
 
No, not lost as in not available, not seen, or unknown. It's the red-headed stepchild of Classic Film Noir. The Lost Weekend is left off almost all citations of the "discovery" or "recognition of the "new" Film Noir by French Critics in 1946 after the end of WWII.
 
The term Film Noir was used in the French newspapers and magazines of Paris as far back as the 1930s. It was used as both a right wing political dig at the poetic realist movement that they felt was associated with the leftist Popular Front and a condemnation of the negative trend in films that were considered immoral and demoralizing during the pre-war years.
 
Two 1946 pieces that are always cited in the canon on post WWII Film Noir are Nino Frank's "A New Kind of Police Drama: the Criminal Adventure" for  L'Écran français, and Jean-Pierre Chartier's "Americans Also Make Noir Films" for La Révue du Cinéma. The four films invariably always mentioned when referring to these two critics are Double Indemnity, Laura, The Maltese Falcon, and Murder My Sweet. The film almost always left out in these texts is the third film that Chartier mentions the one that deals with addiction and human frailties The Lost Weekend.
 
Ray Milland is excellent, he is a wonderful drunk, he effectively portrays all the nuances of an intelligent man who is keenly aware of his own helpless degradation. Jane Wyman is impressive as the loyal girlfriend who determinedly fights for her man. Phillip Terry is believable as the disgusted and disgruntled brother. Howard Da Silva put in a good show as the disapproving barkeep, and Doris Dowling is great as the hopeful B-girl/hooker.
 
The film also features some great sequences of Manhattan and the Third Avenue el, sure some of it is second unit rear projection but other sequences aren't. It's a nice time capsule to 1945.
 
Will Don make it? Or is this another interlude? He gets the girl in the end but he still has the revolver in his pocket.
 
10/10 Full review with screencaps in Film Noir/Gangster page. 

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#18 TomJH

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Posted 22 June 2017 - 08:26 PM

Jet Over the Atlantic (1959).

 

A poor man's High and the Mighty, this airplane disaster film is not particularly well executed and has as hokey and predictable a plot line as you could find. It's strangely watchable, though, due to its cast of players, a fairly impressive one, even if there is no one within the cast that ranks as a major star.

 

Guy Madison plays a man convicted of two murders (he's innocent, of course) who is being taken back to the States from Spain by FBI man George Raft. Madison's show biz girlfriend (Virginia Mayo), not knowing what's happening, sneaks herself onto the plane as well.

 

There is also an opera prima donna (Ilona Massey), who craves attention, Margaret Lindsay in an almost bit part as a mother escorting her teen daughter and Argentina Brunetti as a bubble headed, irritating busybody who wants to stage a marriage on the plane between Madison and Mayo.

 

Best of all, though, there's George Macready, he of the silken voice and creepy demeanor, who has snuck a poison seeping bomb on board, in a stupid way to commit suicide, as this poison will seep through the plane's air system to eventually kill everyone aboard. Macready has killed his daughter we hear through the dialogue (no explanation why) and is now determined to knock off himself and his missus (Anna Lee), along with everybody else.

 

Most unintentionally hilarious scene in the film is when Macready introduces himself to Lindsay and her teen daughter (who is afraid of the gas seeping in) and asks if he can hold her and comfort her. Now just how many mothers are going to allow a creepy looking stranger with a smooth pervert voice to hold their teenager daughter in his lap? Well Lindsay does smilingly ("Darling, this nice man wants to hold you for a little while,") and the young teenage girl agrees to do so, willingly.

 

Yep, it's that dumb a film. But, as I said, a surprisingly entertaining one, partially because it is so dumb and partially because of the cast trying to take it seriously. Oh, did I mention the fact that Madison just happens to be a former airline pilot? Now take a wild guess how that fact may work itself into the plot line.

 

MV5BZDAwYTY5YmQtMmQ1OS00MDMzLWIwNmQtYTE2

 

 

2 out of 4.


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#19 Dargo

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Posted 22 June 2017 - 02:43 PM

I do recall your "sarcasm" being a combination of the wit of Waldo Lydecker, Alexander King, and William F. Buckley with a little Groucho thrown in for good measure, like a bromide.

 

Thanks for the welcome back! As to where I've been, does the name Kislyak ring a bell?

 

Yeah, his name rings a bell, alright.

 

(...so does this mean you've been stuck under that fat-azz Russian diplomat and unable to move all this time???)



#20 CaveGirl

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Posted 22 June 2017 - 02:23 PM

CAVEGIRL??? Welcome back, lady! Where the hell have you been?

 

And no, bein' the straight-shootin' kind'a guy who seldom pulls punches that I am, I'd have written that review negatively too, although of course couched in as much dripping sarcasm as I could've mustered.

 

(...a condiment btw which should ONLY be applied upon consumed hot dogs, and NEVER ketchup) 

I do recall your "sarcasm" being a combination of the wit of Waldo Lydecker, Alexander King, and William F. Buckley with a little Groucho thrown in for good measure, like a bromide.

 

Thanks for the welcome back! As to where I've been, does the name Kislyak ring a bell?






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