Archive for February 22nd, 2013

50 Movie Comedy Kings Disc 11

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

Three Husbands, 1951, b&w. Irving Reis (dir.), Eve Arden, Ruth Warrick, Vanessa Brown, Howard Da Silva, Shepperd Strudwick, Robert Karnes, Emlyn Williams, Billie Burke, Louise Erickson. 1:18.

Pan up to the heavens, to the Lower Gates Authority, where a couple of newly-dead souls (voices only) ask their wish, which is granted—and then an Englishman who’s lived n California asks to be allowed to observe Earth for 24 hours. The reason: His lawyer is delivering three identical letters to three of his acquaintances on earth, each one confessing that he’d been intimate with the wife.

That’s the setup. The movie’s actually quite good (with, surprisingly, pretty much happy endings). The characters are interesting, it’s a fairly broad range, and the women are—as they should be—more important characters than the men. Eve Arden is, as always, first-rate, but so are the others. Not quite great, but close: $1.75.

The Villain Still Pursued Her, 1940, b&w. Edward F. Cline (dir.), Billy Gilbert, Anita Louise, Margaret Hamilton, Alan Mowbray, Richard Cromwell, Joyce compton, Buster Keaton, Diane Fisher, Hugh Herbert. 1:06.

A send-up of melodramas, almost a little too much so. We get a silly disclaimer up front, a buffoon of a host telling us to applaud the good guys and hiss the bad guys, and then the show (occasionally interrupted by slides with messages). The tale itself involves a widow and her beautiful daughter, the banker who’s just died (who didn’t care if he was ever paid), his Evil Lawyer, the innocent son—and the curses of drink. No scenery goes unchewed, and the fourth wall is ever absent—except that sometimes a character has to wait for passersby to pass by before he can deliver his direct speech to the audience.

Some of it’s very well done: a pie fight, for example, and a discussion between the Best Friend (Keaton in a late role) and the Villain where people keep walking between the two of them until, at one point, the pedestrians must back up because the BF is declaiming with his arms upraised. There’s also a little scene in a barn where the hero, in his drunken abandon, has awoken in the straw after collapsing the last night—and belches. A pig lying next to him rises, offended, and walks away.

It’s an odd one, it is, with a fine cast. All in all, given the length and oddity, I’ll give it $1.00.

A Bride for Henry, 1937, b&w. William Nigh (dir.), Anne Nagel, Warren Hull, Henry Mollison, Claudia Dell, Betty Ross Clarke. 0:58.

A resplendently dressed bride is outraged because the groom hasn’t showed, and all her high-society friends are waiting downstairs…so she sends for her lawyer. And marries him, to show her fiancé what’s what…never quite realizing that her lawyer’s loved her for years.

That’s the highly plausible start for an odd sort of bedroom farce, one that never really gets into bedrooms: The three wind up on a curious honeymoon. The bride is somewhat of a self-centered bitch. The ex—whose excuse is that he got drunk at the bachelor party, woke up puzzled and went to a morning movie instead of the wedding—turns out to be somewhat of an priggish oaf. Tthe lawyer’s quite a charmer—charming all the ladies at the honeymoon hotel, off with his charming wealthy female friend (who may have a thing for him), charming when he sings a number at the friend’s party. All ends well, of course.

The print’s problematic in some ways—a few clips, some waviness at times—but watchable. The movie itself is light romantic farce and works pretty well. Given the length, I’ll give it $1.00.

We’re in the Legion Now, 1936, “color” (but the print’s b&w). Crane Wilbur (dir.), Reginald Denny, Esther Ralston, Vince Barnett, Eleanor Hurd. 0:56.

The sleeve says color. The opening credits include a “color by Magnacolor” line. Unfortunately, that’s the only color you’ll see (other than shades of gray)—it’s another one of those “it should be color, but it’s not” flicks. (Apparently Magnacolor was an early two-strip color process and TV prints—which this is probably sourced from—were b&w.) The story’s colorful enough, I suppose: Two American gangsters (one of whom speaks with a British accent), in Paris on the run, join the French Foreign Legion and wind up in Morocco. One’s a heavy drinker who always throws empty bottles over his shoulder; the other’s a charmer and also a heavy drinker. They wind up in a labor camp—and, in the process, manage to redeem themselves.

I didn’t find it particularly funny; you might feel otherwise. It’s OK, but at best I’d give it $0.75.

Big day for open access

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

If you’re one of my few readers who don’t follow open access developments elsewhere–and I’m guessing there aren’t many of you:

This is a very big and mostly good news day.


  • The White House responded to the We the People petition on open access.
  • The nature of the response is excellent, almost astonishing. Quoting from Dr. John Holdren’s response (the link above):

I have issued a memorandum today (.pdf) to Federal agencies that directs those with more than $100 million in research and development expenditures to develop plans to make the results of federally-funded research publically available free of charge within 12 months after original publication. As you pointed out, the public access policy adopted by the National Institutes of Health has been a great success. And while this new policy call does not insist that every agency copy the NIH approach exactly, it does ensure that similar policies will appear across government.

This is probably the biggest gain in OA since the NIH policy became law.

And there’s more (again quoting from the response):

In addition to addressing the issue of public access to scientific publications, the memorandum requires that agencies start to address the need to improve upon the management and sharing of scientific data produced with Federal funding.

That goes beyond free access to reports, to encourage open data–access to the actual data.

So why the mostly?

It’s good news. It’s very good news. But, as usual, it could always be better.

  • I’ll suggest–as other more knowledgeable sorts are–that this does not mean FRPAA isn’t needed. This is an administration policy, subject to reversal by a new administration. FRPAA would be a law (also, to be sure, subject to reversal, but a little stronger).
  • This memo (and NIH policy) allow for up to a one-year embargo. Ideally, there would be no embargo, or at most a six-month embargo. Delayed open access still delays progress.

But in this case, three-quarters of a loaf is most decidedly better than none!

You’ll have no trouble finding oodles of cheering, commentary and (I imagine) bitching & moaning from all the usual suspects. Meantime, it’s definitely a fine day for OA.


Nevada public libraries

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

Another post commenting on Chapter 20 of Give Us a Dollar and We’ll Give You Back Four (2012-13)–now available as a $9.99 Kindle ebook or $21.95 paperback with ISBN 978-1481279161 on Amazon, along with the usual Lulu options.

Nevada’s 22 libraries (none omitted) have a range of funding—indeed, nine of the ten brackets are occupied (no libraries spend less than $12 per capita), with the only real clusters being the four libraries spending $53 to $72.99 and the seven spending $26 to $30.99. With so few libraries and systems, other tables are predictably choppy—but it’s fair to say that circulation is on the low side (only 27% circulate at least eight items per capita, compared to 50% overall), as are visits (18% have at least six patron visits per capita, compared to 42% overall). In both cases, the single library in the highest bracket (it is the same library) is also exceptionally well-funded ($398.04 per capita).

Program attendance is low and odd: While 18% have at least 0.7 attendance per capita, that same percentage applies for 0.4 or more—leaving 82% with less than 0.4 (compared to 58% overall), and 64% in the lowest two brackets (compared to 31% overall). PC use is also on the low side.

Libraries by legal service area

LSA Count %
700-1,149 2 9.1%
1,150-1,649 2 9.1%
2,250-2,999 1 4.5%
4,000-5,299 3 13.6%
6,800-8,699 1 4.5%
8,700-11,099 1 4.5%
14,100-18,499 2 9.1%
25,000-34,499 1 4.5%
34,500-53,999 3 13.6%
54,000-104,999 2 9.1%
105,000-4.1 mill. 4 18.2%

Circulation per capita and spending per capita

Circulation per capita correlates almost perfectly (0.97) with spending per capita, but that may be an artifact of the peculiar distribution: One (small) Nevada library spends several times as much per capita as any other—and circulates several times as many items as any other.

Circulation per capita plotted against spending per capita

Circulation per capita (rounded) occurrence by spending category—an essentially meaningless chart in this case.