Strange how the mind works. What images we collect. What makes them swim, holding their breathe, just beneath our consciousness. Or break free, lungs burning, arms agitating.

My mind holds an image of Ryan O’Neal as Barry Lyndon in the Stanley Kubrick film (based upon William Thackeray’s The Luck of Barry Lyndon) that sometimes surfaces. Segue to:

a piece of trivia unearthed in researching November 3 for a month of sundays:

“On this day in 1844, William Makepeace Thackeray completes The Luck of Barry Lyndon: A Romance of the Last Century . . .  serialized in Fraser’s

From this book, (revised in 1856) Kubrick wove his story.

“[Thackeray followed a] career in journalism. His satiric sketches were very popular. Like his contemporary and acquaintance Charles Dickens, he observed everyday life and characters closely in his journalistic writings and turned them into absurd characters in his fiction.”

A synopsis of the movie plot (Kubrick uses poetic license in his adaptation) by Roger Ebert, a well known movie critic:

“Based on a novel published in 1844, it takes a form common in the 19th century novel, following the life of the hero from birth to death. The novel by Thackeray, called the first novel without a hero, observes a man without morals, character or judgment, unrepentant, unredeemed. . . .

The events in Barry Lyndon could furnish a swashbuckling romance. He falls into a foolish adolescent love, has to leave his home suddenly after a duel, enlists almost accidentally in the British army, fights in Europe, deserts from not one but two armies, falls in with unscrupulous companions, marries a woman of wealth and beauty, and then destroys himself because he lacks the character to survive.

This is the original trailer for the 1975 release of the movie along with some of Warner Brother’s hype:

“OSCAR WINNER: Best Cinematography; Best Art Direction; Best Costume Design; Best Score. How does an Irish lad without prospects become part of 18th-century English nobility? For Barry Lyndon (Ryan O’Neal) the answer is: any way he can! His climb to wealth and privilege is the enthralling focus of this sumptuous Stanley Kubrick version of William Makepeace Thackeray’s novel. For this ravishing, slyly satiric winner of four Academy Awards, Kubrick found inspiration in the works of the era’s painters. Costumes and sets were crafted in the era’s designs and pioneering lenses were developed to shoot interiors and exteriors in natural light. The result is a cutting-edge movie bringing a historical period to vivid screen life like no other film before or since.”

In 2016, the film was restored and released by BFI. The updated trailer, and a BFI-produced video explaining the literary connections of the film to the book.


I have to limit my computer time, but I do get going merrily off in all tangential directions, as in the example of Thackeray and Barry Lyndon (never read the book either). Then co-incidents start creeping in. Like Dr. Strangelove, another Kubrick film, showcased on TCM Friday night. And my current mystery read, Grave Expectations by Susan Redmond, featuring Charles Dickens dealing with murder, mystery and mayhem in Victorian London. The stories are populated with real and fictional characters. The mystery revolves around characters Redmond takes from Dickens’ novels – A Tale of Two Murders = A Tale of Two Cities; Grave Expectations = Great Expectations.

November is Native American Heritage Month (to be highlighted in future a month of sundays posts)

Been listening to Dire Straits. Specifically: On Every Street and On the Night [Live]

The song “Iron Hand” (1991), written about mid-1980s police clashes with striking coal miners in Britain, seems very relevant in these turbulent times.

The sky so blue, the grass so green
The rank and file and the navy blue
The deep and strong, the straight and true

The blue line they got the given sign
The belts and boots march forward in time
The wood and leather the club and shield
Swept like a wave across the battlefield

Now with all the clarity of dream
The blood so red, the grass so green
The gleam of spur on chestnut flank
The cavalry did burst upon the ranks

Oh the iron will and iron hand
In England’s green and pleasant land
No music for the shameful scene
That night they said it had even shocked the queen

Well alas we’ve seen it all before
Knights in armor, days of yore
The same old fears and the same old crimes
We haven’t changed since ancient times

Songwriters: MARK KNOPFLER

My “teal treats” on Halloween.


A Halloween mobile sent by a friend. Thanks, Wendy!