A Slow Boat to China

The seagulls called the ship out to sea. The S.S. Majesty answered with three blasts of its horn. It was the ship‘s final call, urging the passengers to board before she packed up.

From the ship’s, Alice searched the crowd for John. “He will not come. I knew it.”
As she was about to give up and leave the cruise, she spotted John getting out of a cab. He paid the cab driver and grabbed his luggage.

She ran down the gangplank and called out to him, “I’m over here.”

He saw her and lugged his suitcases toward the ship.

“Hurry,” she said.

She wrapped her arms around and gave him one of her best kisses. “I didn’t think you’d be able to get away. But you did.”

“There was no way I was about to miss going away with you.”

She laughed, her anxiety slipping away. She glanced at his luggage. “You have everything?”

“I don’t need much.”

“You got your passport?”

“Passport?”

“Yes,” she said.

“I don’t have a passport.”

“You don’t have a passport? Get out of here. You have a passport.”

“I don’t.”

Alice looked at John with amazement. Alice pushed him away from her. “I’m leaving. I thought you were coming with me.”

“I am.”

“But you don’t have a passport.”

“We can go to Canada.”

“You need a passport to get into Canada.”

“Mexico?”
“Got to have a passport.”

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

She shook her head. “I’m leaving.”

Alice turned and boarded the ship. On the deck, she watched John slip away into the crowd.

A tall handsome man with the deep blue eyes sidled up to her. “I have a passport.”
She looked up at him. For approximately ten seconds, she was ready to swoon, then she came back to reality and stiffened her back. “You’re not my type.”
“What do you mean I’m not your type? Just what type do you think I am?”
“A man.”

Uncle Bardie’s Spotlight Movie: Italy in the Spring

Once a week on Friday, Uncle Bardie celebrates the creativity in others by shining a Spotlight on a movie, a song or a creator. This week’s Spotlight Movie is “Enchanted April” (1992):

Remember “Gilligan’s Island”. “Enchanted April” (1992) is not a three-hour tour. It is not a shipwreck. It is not “Gilligan’s Island”. It isn’t even “Survivor”. It could pass for “Under the Tuscan Sun”. Like that movie, it is a leisurely stroll through an Italian landscape that only be described as paradise.

How did four English women find themselves in Italy? A small ad in the newspaper. The newspaper was the 1920s version of the internet. For a small price, a person could see the world laid out before them.

Adapted from Elizabeth von Armin’s novel, the movie begins with two married women, Lottie Wilkins (Josie Lawrence) and Rose Arbuthnot (Miranda Richardson). They are stuck in England with some really lousy Spring weather. They see an advertisement offer to stay in medieval castle for the month of April. Not only do they get a castle, they get Italy on the Mediterranean.

When they see the ad, they say, “What fun.” At least, Lottie does. After some persistence, Rose is persuaded. Each has their own reason to get away from her husband for a month. Alfred Molina (of “Frida” fame) and Jim Broadbent (from “Topsy Turvy”) are the husbands Lottie and Rose leave behind.

Since it’s a bit expensive, the two of them ask two more to come along. Mrs. Fisher (Joan Plowright) is an older woman with her nose stuck in the air. Then she breaths in the Italian air and she is changed along with her three companions. Lady Caroline Dester (Polly Walker) is an attractive young aristocrat who is searching for direction.

Unfortunately, the Italian weather isn’t cooperating when Lottie and Rose arrive. But the next morning everything has changed. April is April and Italy is Italy. “Were you ever so happy?” Lottie asks Rose. Then the two come across Mrs. Fisher who speaks an “an ancient Italian, the Italian of Dante” and Lady Caroline who speaks “the kind of Italian the cooks understand”. I would say that this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship. But you’ll have to find out for yourself.

And what happens when the men show up.

If you are partial to “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, this one is for you.

What’s the world coming to?

Man, Uncle Bardie must be getting past his prime. Hate to complain but first Rand McNally, you know the Atlas people, they changed an easily identifiable Siam to Thailand and Rhodesia to Zimbabwe. But they didn’t stop there. Suddenly Ceylon was Sri Lanka Dutch Guiana was Suriname. Then Burma became Myamar, Nanking was Nanjing and Peking was Beijing. Pretty soon there will be no more Peking Duck. It will be Beijing Duck. Kind of takes the romance out of the dish, don’t you think? Talk about taking the romance out of a name. Now Ireland’s King’s County is County Offaly. Hope that isn’t pronounced awfully.

And those are the easily pronounceable ones. In the olden days, it was so much easier to lump all those countries into one big Soviet Union than to have to call them by their real names, names like Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and all the other stanleys. Makes me wonder where Oliver Hardy is these days. Some of those stanleys are three miles long. And what about Canton becoming Guangzhou, Sian now Xi’an and just plain Bolivia changing to the Plurinational State of Bolivia. It’s enough to make a map dizzy.

Next thing you know they’ll be changing Bombay to Mumbai. Oh, they did that. Thank God, they didn’t change Constantinople to Istanbul. Wouldn’t that be something.

Used to, we dealt with leaders who had sensible names like Stalin, Gandhi, Churchill, DeGaule, Wilson, Meir, Nehru, Castro, U Thant. We even figured out how to pronounce Adenauer and Pompidou. What a haircut. Oh, that was a pompadour. Kinda like matador, only with hair. Everybody ignored Mussolini cause they knew the man with the more easily pronounceable Hitler was in charge.

And the fellow in Canada, Trudeau, ran things so long we finally got his name down right. It helped that he had a great looking wife. Even Maotse tung was Chairman Mao. Nobody ever said his buddy’s name, you know Chou Enlai. The last sensible name in recent memory was a President of Mexico named Fox. Who can even remember the new guy down there now?

Sometime in the seventies, leaders started cropping up that required a translator to get the name straight. Names like Gaddafi. We ignored Osama bin Loden for a long time just because Peter Jennings, Tom Brokaw and Dan Rather couldn’t figure out how to pronounce his name. Nobody was sure how his name went. It took 9/11 to get the newscaster to say his name.

Now look what we have to deal with François Hollande, a guy named after a country; Kim Jong-un, just one of a long line of Jongs; that guy in Iraq, Nouri al-Maliki and Israel’s Netanyahu. Now that is some name. At least, the new sheriff in Pakistan Nawaz Sharif isn’t the previous guy, Mir Hazar Khan Khoso. And I do like the name of the new guy from Iran, Hassan Rouhani. Easier to pronounce than the previous guy’s name, Mahmoud Abba-dabba-who. Then there was that Russian president who replaced a perfectly good name like Putin. Well, the new guy’s gone now anyway. Only a prime minister and he’s not really of any consequence anyhow. What’s his name? Oh, yeah. Medvedev, and only God knows the name of those fellows in Georgia and Ukraine. The country, not the state. At least the guy from Japan has a good old fashioned American name, Abe. Isn’t that nice?

I mean, just what is the world coming to?

By the way, have you noticed that every time the anchor of NBC News, Brian Williams, leaves the country there is a disaster like a earthquake or a war? He should be banned from travelling, sealed into an NBC studio in Washington, DC and not let out.