Monday, November 2, 2015

while we waited for the end of the month

1. Quiet Halloween here. One trick-o'-treating pack of about ten kids of Indian descent (there's hardly anybody else left in this neighborhood) who've taken up this American custom the way their dads carry out the British custom of playing cricket in the park.

2. Speaking of tricks, or treats, B. is one person who would actually like this.

3. Would you like to see what a university library conservation lab does? Here's Stanford's. When I was working in the main library 30 years ago, the lab was across the hall from us on the top floor of the old wing of the library. Now it's several miles off-campus. So are most of the books these days.

4. At last, an answer to a long-standing question I had about Monty Python. The surviving Pythons always describe Graham Chapman, before he went on the wagon in the late '70s, as so incapacitated by alcoholism that he couldn't even remember his lines. I kind of wondered if they were exaggerating in a way they couldn't do if Chapman were still alive to answer back. That's because he had some very complex and wordy parts in Flying Circus that could never have been performed by someone in the condition they describe [or, perhaps more precisely, that the others would never have agreed to his performing if they had that impression of his condition]. I remember particularly a courtroom scene in which he plays a pepperpot who's called as a witness and immediately starts gossiping at top speed with hardly a stop for breath, not ceasing until physically removed.

But now we have John Cleese saying that Chapman's alcoholism only became a burden with the third season. And - I checked by watching Python while waiting for any more Halloween doorbells - the pepperpot court witness was first season, third episode.

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