Category Archives: Grumble Flap

Piggy Pudding

Of course The Muppets are the best source for culinary history. This is what has to say about figgy pudding

By the 19th century the ingredients were more or less standardized to suet, brown sugar, raisins and currents, candied orange peel, eggs, breadcrumbs, nutmeg, cloves, allspice and plenty of alcohol. 

No bacon. Suet is not even a pork product. 

Was 2005 a Good Year to Blow Up the Earth?

Maybe, but it sure feels like I have no idea.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (film edition) came out that year. I remember going. I remember thinking it was pretty good, and that I was really happy to hear “Journey of the Sorcerer,” which totally was a gift from the producers to the old-timey fans.

But I’m watching it now, 13 years later, and thinking, “hey, if Martin Freeman can slim down in the last 13 years, then so can I!”

And also thinking, “wait, those shovels weren’t on Magrathea? What movie did I watch?”

And also, “a romantic comedy?”

And also, “Marvin! I like the other end for him better.” And then, “whew.”

It’s a fine movie, and a good adaptation of the material. I would like to have seen maybe some of the other radio material adapted into a couple of additional movies ostensibly adapting The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, and Life, the Universe, and Everything. Three movies would probably been enough.

Among the things I forgot were these two tidbits. Slartibartfast has always, probably, for a long time, anyway, been my favorite character. Zaphod is flashier, Arthur is the hero, Trillian has to be every woman which doesn’t seem fair, and Ford is the one who gets things done whenever they go somewhere but he’s not a lot more on top of things than anyone else.


And Marvin, of course.

But Slartibartfast is still my favorite.

The other thing I forgot about is the moment where the construction guy on Earth, Mark-2 is spraying water into the ocean to get it initially filled up.

Mind is Vicious 

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, when people feel a need to talk about “Baby It’s Cold Outside.” People like me, I suppose.

They’re menacing, the Wolf’s lines. They’s insistent, the Mouse’s lines.


“Gotta go!”

There’s reasonable modern discomfort with this sort of pressure. Discomfort is, to put it mildly, putting it mildly. No means no.

And also there’s the reasonable contextual read that, basically, goes like this: the Mouse is expressing agency in the conventions of the time. In this read, the Mouse is a woman’s role in the relationship, and the Wolf’s in a man’s role, and they’re both stuck–wanting to be together, but constrained by an acknowledgement that, in middle decades of the 20th Century, what she wants comes with great social costs.

The song has its private background, and its public performance history. Here’s a video compiling the two renditions which appeared in Neptune’s Daughter. The song was introduced to the general culture in this 1949 movie, and it won an Academy Award from that appearance.

Gender roles were inverted, and the interpersonal and societal control issues they represent were highlighted right away when the song enters popular awareness. This does not make the underlying mid-century social standards OK; but it does make it OK to view some versions as subverting those standards, and others as simply playing them out.

Here’s a version that really knows what it’s doing.


Louis Armstrong and Velma Middleton were totally foolin’ around in this live performance from Satchmo at Pasadena. They know what the song is about, but are too cool to say.