Good humor makes all things possible.
-Charles Schultz-

With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.
-Shakespeare-The Merchant of Venice-

Monday, January 24, 2011

you can say that again

So we went to see "The King's Speech" (the title of which, it appears, refers not to his actual impediment but rather, to the important radio address he had to deliver to those countries of whom he was king, when Germany declared war on England.  Which you will understand when you see the film.)  Anyway, as always happens when I see a period piece, I was struck by how many things are nothing like we imagine them when we're being all misty about the good old days.
It was the only warm day of the year

For example:  It was terribly drafty and cold.  Everyone wore sweaters, jackets, mufflers, and gloves, all the time.  Even in the palace (those Windsors had many palaces, each more chilly than the previous one) woodfires crackled to keep frost from forming on the fingertips of the princesses Elizabeth and Margaret.

And speaking of princesses, royal life was  unbelievably complicated and the average citizen drifted through life gamely declaring either "God Save The King" or "God Save the Queen" because the gender of the reigning monarch was the only rule that was clearly apparent to all.  When dreadful old King George V finally died of confusion, his eldest son (whom you remember as Edward VIII) became king but, because he loved and was determined to marry an unattractive American divorcee with the horrid name of  Wallis, he was forced by the rulebook to abdicate the throne to his previously invisible brother, Albert.  It gets even worse:  Albert (whose nickname, I am sorry to report,was Bertie) was a stutterer (thus the movie, which I won't spoil for you), was forced to choose  a less Germanic official name (All European royalty, although kissing cousins in the hillbilly sense, were thanks to Hitler not allowed to be friends with Germany anymore) so he became the remarkably unimaginative 'King George VI'.  You thought choosing your child's name was a chore! You at least had "Beyond Jennifer and Jason"; they had to struggle with "Burkes Peerage and Gentry"   Promise me that you will never ever name your daughter Wallis. Ugh.

Two pieces of very good news: you are no longer required to identify or write roman numerals, also, the invention of tweezers, and not a moment too soon.

The olden days were a terrible time to have any type of affliction: syphilis, diabetes, cavities, acne; pretty much anything that was wrong with you was a really big problem. I just love modern medicine; say what you will about the health care crisis; in my opinion things are a hundred times better than they used to be.  Ever met anyone who's had dropsy?  Consumption?  Piles?  Of course you haven't.
I am not sure where the top half of this patient is.
 However, I like the sawhorses, as do all the support staff.

I won't tell you how the movie ends because I want you to see it.  As a consolation prize I'll tell you about the beef stew A made.  Determined not to repeat the chopped orange kerfuffle, we started with the most basic Betty Crocker recipe, to which I added a few extra ingredients like ginger, a slosh of red wine, a splash of soy sauce, a little black pepper, and a scant sprinkle of something labeled "Kansas City Seasoning". I was there, I saw everything go into the crockpot without incident. Hours passed.  We served it up.  It was so fiery our noses ran and our eyes watered but we ate it. Somehow that dash of demon seasoning had morphed into a shovelful of glowing goals. My mouth was galvanized but I managed to gasp my apology; now we were even.  Who knew dinner could become such a war zone? I'm going to go look at traditional English recipes, which have not improved over the years,  to make myself feel better.


  1. Aside from having some of the best actors in the field today, the writing appears to be phenomenal. I really enjoy period pieces, especially the more accurate ones. I'm glad to hear you loved it.

  2. Very excited to see this one. Especially after this review!

  3. Saw it. Loved it. Like- LOVE, loved it
    Anyone who suffers from social anxiety (me) and/or speech problems will be touched and inspired (me).