The Borgia Bulletin (Stray Spoilers)

Huzzah!  The Borgias manage to put everything into such a perspective, it miraculously makes everything seem better.  Bad news?  “Is there any other kind, my lord?”  And this episode, they do it by bringing in “The Princess Bride.”

 

So, this episode starts off with Michiletto gathering a band of Inigo Montoyas!  “Hello.  Our names are from warlike Italian families.  You desecrated our homelands.  Prepare to die!”  Michiletto leads them to an underground Zorro cave where there’s a noise and one asks, “What is that?”  Why, that’s the sound of An Entrance!  Cesare supplies these Inigo Montoyas with various hardcore weapons and instructs them that they should all dress in black, with masks.  However, camerawork shows us that Cesare himself is the main Man in Black of this outfit by having close-ups of him donning and removing his black mask.  Like the original Man in Black, Cesare is consumed by his desire for vengeance, due to a lost love.  However, instead of a swordsman, a giant, and Vizzinni, Cesare outfights and outwits a band of French scouts.  This is something of a letdown, especially considering he could’ve just put cantarella (or iocaine powder) in most of the drinking goblets in the first place.  No doubt we’ll get to see Cesare Borgia poisoning a table full of fighters at a later date.  In any case, this allows Michiletto to play The Count and demonstrate that he’s a connoisseur of pain, without needing any special Machine.   This brute squad closes out the episode by clearing the battlefield of French gunpowder.

The Pope, meanwhile, is tactfully making his way through political and bedtime alliances.  Along the way he instructs his audience in good vengeance techniques, that Honor has many cousins, including Valor, and that all such conceptual cousins have killed many people.  While he’s perfectly all right with this, he’s ready to throw a fit upon learning that Cesare’s taken to playing the Man in Black and leading his team of Montoyas.  Even when he’s told pointblank that it’s guaranteed his “Holy Mother Church” all of the valuable booty.  Perhaps this is understandable when one recalls that learning of Cesare’s interference has robbed the Pope of his perceived ability to obtain miracles, and also of the feat that had previously impressed his hostess.

Back home, Lucrezia’s officially in charge and teasing the cardinals with cooking metaphors.  She’s decided to add her own verve, and her mother’s experience with brothels (no doubt held off until it could be given more screentime) to Giulia’s work to help the poor.

 

This episode could just as well have been called “Unfinished Business.”  It rounds out the conflict with the French army, it reminds everyone that the Sforzas will still need their own special punishment.  It finally ends the saga of Cesare and Ursula.  It’s reminding everyone that there’s serious humanitarian issues in Rome to be dealt with.  It continues the gender crossing theme by placing Lucrezia on St. Peter’s chair.  And, of course, the Pope and the Duchess consummate their sexual “unfinished business.”

Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg

bizarre, weird, Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg, Webster, Massachusetts, lake, name, spelling, typo | Metro.co.uk.

 

Oh, government.  Sometimes you are hilarious enough to almost make up for all the nonsense and upsetting stories.  I shall choose to believe that there is a monster called  Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg.  It’s the only possible explanation for having this name.  Plus, if it’s named after a monster, there’s a reason to pay so much attention to making sure that his name is spelled correctly, so as not to offend him.

“Once Upon a Time” The Stranger (Spoilers)

On Pinocchio:  Okay, I don’t think you can really blame a small child for taking advantage of an escape option if it’s presented instead of trying to take care of a baby, particularly since he was obviously in a situation where he couldn’t do much.  HOWEVER:

-He must somehow have become affluent for years before this-he couldn’t bother to try and look her up?  That wouldn’t exactly have been the huge burden a baby would have.

-Plus, completely ignoring Emma means he wasn’t just deciding not to care about her, but that he no longer cared about ANYONE from his homeland-including dear, old dad.

-Trying to convince Emma because he’s starting to took back into wood and realized he’s dying  is HARDLY just “realizing his mistake and trying to fix it” out of remorse or his own goodness, the way Pinocchio let Gepetto think it happened.  That’s coercion, not kindness or really rectifying.

-He seriously thought convincing Emma would be that simple?  I know he’s not the psychologist, but he’s the one who’s been around other people in this world most of his life, he knows how hard it is for most of them to believe.  He seriously thought that getting her to acknowledge “I’m the boy who found you” would automatically lead to “so the curse is real”?  Also, no one should understand better Emma’s qualms about accepting responsibility.  Pinocchio couldn’t make allowances for that in his plan???  Dumbass.

-So, now he’s just going to go do woodwork with Gepetto, having given up on Emma for the second time.  Quitter.

-I knew I hated the idea of him being Pinocchio, but did they have to make me hate August, too?

-Oh, and that scene with him and Mr. Gold?  “Trust me” and the answer’s about knowing his Pinoccho instead of “you lied about being my son”!?  Also, “that’s none of your business”?  Didn’t think of that when you were getting me to confess and apologize to you, now did you, Pinocchiboy?  I hated that Mr. Gold never called him out on that.  I’ll just assume that Gold’s wish not to remember his difficult moments is purposefully avoiding them.

 

On Gepetto:  It’s amazing to me how so many people here have similar resentments, and so few of them actually draw the lines and recognize the connections.  Gepetto tells Jiminy that the debt he owes can never be repaid-that debt being depriving Gepetto of his parents.  Therefore, he should just let Gepetto….send two small children into a world where they’re not only deprived of parents, but everything else familiar???  Great thinking, that!

 

On Disney: Also, the repeated idea of Snow going through the wardrobe is interesting.  Do the people not know that time will stand still?  Is everyone aware that wold mean that  Snow would be reunited with her prince when she’s decades older than him now?  You can almost hear the sigh of relief that Gepetto stopped that from happening-true love surviving in such disparate ages all of a sudden just wouldn’t be Disney!

 

On the Blue Fairy:  What is up with this lady?  First, she seems to have a lot of access to “the last one” of things.  Is this a coincidence?  Are her fairies somehow not taking care of the magical elements of this world properly and that’s why?  Has she used up her resources so indiscriminately over the years?  I feel like she needs to watch “The Lorax” on magical trees, seeds, and probably other enchanted items.  Second, she really seems to have a thing for Gepetto.  Other people are lucky if she, or any fairy, shows up once.  Gepetto had her magic him a permanent caretaker, help him get a son, turn his son real, agree to lie for him…Did she have a crush on his dad or something?  Third, just what kind of preparations could her fairies make before the curse took over, and how were they more important than making sure Emma, and possibly Snow, went through the wardrobe?

 

Tell a Story Day Madness

In the U.S., today is National Tell a Story Day. (http://www.altiusdirectory.com/Society/national-tell-story-day.html)  In honor of this, I present a Disney Fanfic inspired by rewatching Aladdin last night:   “Real Magic Issues”

Fax to F.T. Agency:

Thank you for your interest, but at this point we have no plans to replace the role of our Fairy Godmothers.  Rest assured that your agency’s contact information is on file.  If this ever does come under consideration, we will contact you.  Please do not send us any more applications.  Thank you.

Signed,

John “Honest” Foxx

-President of Fairy Tale Supervisors, Disney Movies, Inc.

Email to J. H. Foxx:

I appreciate that your corporation is not currently accepting applications, but the situation is urgent.  You must see that magically granting a girl fancy dress wear and a temporary coach when what she clearly needs is to discuss and work through her childhood family issues, represents a lack of comprehension and efficiency that borders on the disastrous!  If you wish your heroines to achieve true happy endings, you must admit that the services of our Fairy Therapists Agency has become essential.  No offense to your currently employed Fairy Godmothers and their stand-ins, but they don’t seem to grasp the intricacies of the heroine (or hero) psyche.  I ask you to please, for the sake of your protagonists, to reconsider our services.

Sincerely,

Magda W. Potts

-Owner of F.T.A. (Fairy Therapists Agency): “Real Magic Doesn’t Create Fantasies, it Dispels Problems from Reality.”

Email to Mrs. M. Potts:

According to our storylines, all our protagonists already have their happy endings!  Our customer records bear out that the interventions by our Fairy Godmothers, and their stand-ins, produce satisfying stories with endings that are both good and believable to our viewers.  Consider this the response to your begged for reconsideration.

Signed,

President Foxx

-President of Fairy Tale Supervisors, Disney Movies, Inc.

Transcription of Phone Conversation:

J.F.: Hello?

M.P.: It’s Magda Potts.  Honestly, John!  I consider it the height of rudeness that you blocked my recent emails.  I think it’s time you began working through some of your control issues.

J.F.: I’ll thank you not to analyze me, Mrs. Potts!  And furthermore-

M.P.: I don’t wish to analyze you; I wish to help your fairy tale characters.

J.F. (gritted teeth): They don’t. need. Your help.

M.P.: Oh, come now!  Just last night I reviewed the story whose hero gets it into his head that he’s nothing without owning a magic genie!  Clearly, he’s not thinking logically at this point.  If he wants to keep the genie, he will never be able to make another wish-thus making owning such a genie utterly useless!  If he actually utilizes this wish in order to accomplish something during the sultanship which he so fears, than he will no longer own the genie.  It’s only a matter of time!  And the genie, for all his brilliance, simply does not know how to handle this kind of mental struggle.  In fact, he exacerbates it!  Now, if you’d just let one of my Fairy Therapists in, I’m sure Aladdin could have been convinced of the irrationality of his thinking.  If he could even be persuaded to talk to Jasmine about his fear of become sultan in the future, instead of constantly focusing on his past, things might have been resolved.  After all, Jasmine could easily rule the country and all Aladdin would have to worry about is being a figure head and a good husband for her.

J.F.: If you remember, Mrs. Potts, that story does achieve resolution.

M.P.: Ah, but if I remember correctly, that poor boy’s fear of ruling is never actually addressed.

J.F.: *audible sigh*

M.P.: Moreover, my assistant has just been telling me about Tangled

J.F.: *resigned*Yes, I’m sure.

M.P.: You must realize the mental agony that girl goes through for most of the movie!  You even show a lot of it right after Rapunzel exits the tower for the first time!  So much anguish and guilt about her perceived mother!  Not to mention the other issues that crop up by the end of that fiasco.  If you’d let her have access to us, to work through what her hair symbolizes to her-“

J.F.: Magda, her hair is magic!

M.P.: Yes, but it also holds so much more.  Her connection to her real mother, her false mother-

J.F.: MAGIC is what our viewers want to see!  Not just some talk about feelings!

M.P.: JUST talk??  How do you expect that girl to get her happy ending without “just some talk” about all she’s been through??  I guarantee, without a proper Fairy Therapist she’ll wind up having a nervous breakdown, living back at the palace or not!  You can see for yourself in Sondheim’s “Into the Woods.”

J.F.: Will people shut up about Sondheim?  Our leads are treated just as humanely as they are!  More so!

M.P.: Forcing them to ignore the ugly issues they’ve been through is not humane!  It’ll only make them worse, in the end.

J.F.: Oh, and I suppose Aurora should have ended with her in one of your offices talking about the sudden pressures of palace life?

M.P.: *muttering under breath* Please don’t make that one of your ridiculous sequels.  *normal voice* Certainly not!  That ending is a favorite.  There should have been one of our members amongst her fairy keepers-or at least you should have allowed us to offer them some training!  I have a high respect for Flora, Fauna, and Merriwether-why, I play bridge with them every week!-but they really handled Aurora’s transition very badly.  The poor girl’s breaking down about a significant change in her life, and her love, and what do they do?  Magic her a golden crown.  A crown, for crying out loud!

J.F.: You are aware, I suppose, that your agency has already sent us detailed lists of these analyses and complaints for all of our films?

M.P.: Of course, but I have to assume you haven’t read them.  Anyone who cared a jot for their characters would have already taken us on after reading those reports.

J.F.:…I now see the confusion, Mrs. Potts.  I am in show business.  I show my heroes and heroines that an actor’s life for them can be highly rewarding.  What happens after my shows…well, they chose to be here, they might as well be firewood for all I care!

M.P. *long pause*  Thank you for being honest, John.  Then it shouldn’t bother you to add a clause in your contract that all leading characters must visit our agency at the end of your filming?

J.F.: It it’ll keep me from hearing from you again, Mrs. Potts, it will be well worth it.  I’ll make it a requirement for all movie protagonists, past, present, and future, shall I?

M.P.: Be my guest.

*click*

John “Honest” Foxx: “Must’ve kept her so angry she still hasn’t seen the new television show.”  Evil smile.  “Now, those are the people who really need therapy.”

“Once Upon a Time” musings

So, I am now officially caught up on the TV show “Once Upon a Time” after a long absence following Rumplestiltskin’s transformation to the Dark One.  I have several (spoilery and speculatory) thoughts:

On Rumplestiltskin:-I know it’s sweet that Rumpletstiltskin created the Dark Curse to find his son, but….goddammit, anyway, I prefer my version!  From the instant I saw his backstory, I assumed Rumplestiltskin had spent years learning about magic’s price, deciding that all magic was evil.  After all, at that point the people we’d seen him destroy were who?  A fairy with a very powerful wand, Archie’s maliciously “magical” sleight-of-hand parents…I was sure he had created the curse as a way of eliminating all magic-which he considered the greatest curse of all.  This would explain why he needed the curse in place, but still wanted to break it.  He’d want it broken so everyone could go home and be happy, just without the dangers and evils of all that magic lying around.  Clearly, this theory is now gone, but I mourn it.  It’d would’ve been so interesting.

On The Stableboy:-This story was well done and incredibly acted by Lana, but…wow, is it a cliche.  This is precisely the stereotypical backstory I was expecting the writers to avoid.  It certainly works, but after all that buildup and suspense, I was expecting something we couldn’t have seen coming a million miles away.

On August:-I really wish that paperweight donkey hadn’t been pointed out as a clue.  That donkey does point pretty clearly to the Pinocchio story.  I hate the idea of him as Pinocchio, especially since a lot of the stated reasons for believing this are that he is somehow turning back into wood.  If Graham can walk around with no heart inside his chest for years, I fail to see why a wooden history should cause problems.  Besides which, we saw Gepetto’s parents sitting around still being puppets, so I expect that Pinocchio would be either fully human or fully wood in this world-not dying from limbo.

-On the other hand, the Pinocchio story has other characters directly connected to Pleasure Island-I wonder why no one is discussing them?  Honest John comes to mind, the character who lures Pinocchio down his dark paths in the first place, and the second one to donkeyhood.  Significantly, he calls himself “Honest John”, while still twisting the truth all the time…just like “August W. Booth.”  Also, his sidekick was mute in the Disney movie-and I cannot think the line “Well, even a mute can draw a picture!” is not a clue.

-Also, so long as I’m talking here, my original theory was that August was a version of the Fisher King/Grail hunger legends.  If FairyTaleLand has King Midas, why not Arthurian characters?  August’s profound veneration for water plays into this, as well as the fact that til this week the time when his legs acted up was when he got close to the water.  He needs it, but he needs it to be magical.  The scene where they cause him pain elsewhere scuttles part of that, but he still clearly pays attention to water and it’s properties.  Again, I don’t know why no one else is focusing on this.  Not to mention that the Fisher King is traditionally dying and in great need of magical intervention.

-My non-Pinocchio theory still in play has to do with the Wizard of Oz.  It’s been noted that his motorcycle has Kansas plates.  I submit that the white scar around his neck mirrors the drawstring holding the Scarecrow’s head on.  Given that the Mad Hatter’s neck-line was still red, in spite of spending a long time in Wonderland, leads me to believe that August’s neck marking has to do with something other than the Red Queen-like being the scarecrow.  Clearly, he prides himself on his brains-going into detail about how Emma’s mind will be tortured by not knowing what’s in his box, fooling Mr. Gold, etc.  This theory also uses his focus on water-he’s seen water melt down the Wicked Witch of the West.  Also, if he regained(?) human form after being stuffed, particularly since the flying monkeys “rearranged” that stuffing rather roughly, it makes sense that his legs might not have enough mass/muscle/form to work without being painful.  The Scarecrow also has the best shot of being someone out of Storybrooke, because he could have traveled with Dorothy via her red slippers.  The fairy who told him of the dagger could’ve been Glinda-I’m betting that when the Blue Fairy said she knew no other way to travel, she spoke the truth.  Also, this means the person on the phone could’ve been the wizard or, my favorite idea, Dorothy.  If only that donkey weren’t there….oh well, I still want him to turn out to be the Scarecrow.  After all, he never did actually answer Gold’s question about coming from the same land as him-he just pointed out Gold already thought he had the answer.  He could still totally be from elsewhere to begin with.

On themes: I find it really interesting how we’re beginning to branch out into the men now.  Originally, the tales focused on women’s evil, how various women become villains or nearly follow other women down the wrong path-which it still does.  But it’s only in these last few episodes that we’re getting to see what the same forces of love, loss, and self-recrimination can do to the men.  In this light, Archie and Gold become doppelgangers.  After Jiminy’s impulsive deed creating a gulf of guilt and loss, he had the boy Gepetto to focus on and make amends to.  After Rumplestiltskin loses Bae, he has no one to make amends to-only characters who scold him in his time of despair (right or not, that was not well played or kind) and who he can only see focusing on to vent his anger and power.  It could have gone the other way for them as easily as things could have been for Regina and Snow.  I like that.  The genie also shows how a twisted love can change the life of men as easily as women.  I can’t wait to see more of this-I hope Jafar still gets a spot sometime.

The Grand Sophy

The Grand Sophy

By: Georgette Heyer

(http://www.georgette-heyer.com/)

Harlequin 1950

An historical fiction romance review

 

When fate (and family) toss a monkey, a terrier, and a parrot at your household and the girl who brought them still causes the most havoc, she must be The Grand Sophy.  Accustomed to running her father’s house and being left to her own affairs, Sophy believes that a little resolution is all that’s needed to solve everyone’s problems.  When she puts her powers of resolve, observation, and charm to the task of managing her cousins’ difficulties not a lot goes smoothly.  From illegal debts to romantic kerfuffles, nothing can daunt Miss Sophy Stanton-Lacy.  On the other hand, Sophy’s tactics daunt her acquaintance and infuriate her eldest cousin Charles.

Heyer’s twists and endearingly flawed characterizations keep readers surprised and entertained.  Facing the world through Sophy’s eyes makes obstacles moot and conventions easily manipulated.  Quick tempers add drama and a galloping pace to this family story.  The mistress of meddling, The Grand Sophy brings the regency era to life in a whole new light, and her own story to a rollicking finish that’ll leave you wanting more.  No matter who tells her what to do, or what her temper demands, this is one heroine who isn’t about to let it get her down, or allow her readers to put down this book.

Happy St. Jordi’s Day! This holiday is so perfect I shall have to adopt it forevermore.

Today is Saint Jordi day here in Barcelona. Catalunyans all over will be exchanging books and roses in honor of their patron saint. The streets will be full of flowers and the city will smell like roses! St Jordi (st George) was the inspiration behind Casa Batllo, designed by Gaudi on Passeig de Gracia, the roof tiles reflecting the scales of a Dragon. I couldn’t resist but draw a little St Jordi on his dragon.

“a Diada de Sant Jordi, also known as El dia de la Rosa (The Day of the Rose) or El dia del Llibre (The Day of the Book) is a Catalan holiday held on 23 April, with similarities to Valentine’s Day and some unique twists that reflect the antiquity of the celebrations. The main event is the exchange of gifts between sweethearts, loved ones and colleagues.

Historically, men gave women roses, and women gave…

View original post 174 more words

Previous Older Entries