Thursday, September 30, 2021

Friday Links!

Leading off this week, from John W., a longstanding discussion finally put to rest: Should you fold or wad toilet paper? A physicist settles the discussion for good.

This is fascinating: Study confirms superior sound of Stradivari is due to how wood was treated

From Wally, and it's an even more entertaining way to get sick now: New cruise ship to feature world's first free-fall dry slide at sea and a three-level racetrack. So many unanswered questions here, but probably better not to ask any of them: A gravestone missing for almost 150 years was being used as a marble slab to make fudge. This is outstanding: Family Guy COVID-19 Vaccine Awareness PSA

From Chris Meadowcraft, and these are absolutely beautiful: Ocean Photographer of the Year 2021 winners – in pictures.

From David Gloier, and it's the deepest of all deep dives: A Tunguska sized airburst destroyed Tall el-Hammam a Middle Bronze Age city in the Jordan Valley near the Dead Sea

From C. Lee, and it's terrific (This American Life): 748: The End of the World as We Know It. These are stunning: Smallest Flying Structure Ever Made Inspired By Storybooks and Seeds. Seizure laws are incredibly problematic: FBI says fortune seized in Beverly Hills raid was criminals’ loot. Owners say: Where’s the proof? This is a wonderful, happy story: How Ring Fit Adventure Transformed the Lives of Those Who Beat It.

Due To An Unexpectedly Lengthy Purchase, This Will Be My Only Comment Today

Joseph Conrad never tried to buy a cellphone. 

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

A Competitive Match

Eli 20.2 was an overwhelming favorite in The Open Championship. 

He hits the ball 70 yards further on his drives than I do. He's a better putter. He's a better player than I am in every conceivable way. 

We were tied going to the 18th hole. 

"It was always going to be like this," he said. "We could play seventy-two holes, and we'd still be tied going to the last one." 

He's right. Somehow, when we're officially competing, I'm not sixty years old anymore, at least for a little while. 

Everything hurts today, though. Back, shoulder, hip, foot. 

In the six holes of straight golf, he was 1-up. In the six holes using one club of our choice, I was 1-up. I birdied the first par-4 of that stretch using only my 7-iron, including a 35-foot putt, left-handed, with the back of the club. 

I didn't even watch it go in. I was watching Eli's face. It was awesome. 

Incredibly, for the middle six holes when we were each only using one club, our best score on each hole was a combined +1. And I was only +4 for six holes with that 7-iron, which I had a hard time believing. 

The last six holes, we each chose a 4-iron for the other to play with. Impossible, basically, and we both struggled. Hitting partial shots with a 4-iron (which has very little loft) are unbelievably difficult. 

I'd like to say I had a brilliant last hole, but I didn't. Eli did, though. He parred it with a 4-iron. The kid is clutch. 

What a great round. And we both played so well, even though we both really wanted to win. 

A nice end to the summer. 

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

A Delicate Dance

We tee off at 2:00. I called at 11:20. 

"Hey, do you want me to pick you up at 12:30 and we can have some lunch before we warm up?" I asked. 

"I'm already on the range," he said.

"You're not at the range," I said. "You're at the house."

"Am I?" he asked. "Did you not hear me hit that ball?"

"You didn't hit a ball."

"Didn't I?"

"Let the mind games begin," I said. He laughed. 

When I pick him up, I'm going to tell him I've been controlling my breathing for the last six hours.

Monday, September 27, 2021

The Open Championship

It's tomorrow. 

Eighteen holes, match play, to the death. The format:
1-6 Regular golf. 
7-12 You can only use one club. This club cannot change from hole to hole. 
13-18 You can only use one club, which can't change from hole to hole. Your opponent gets to pick the club (no woods, putters, or wedges).

I have a yardage book that gives me partial shot distance for all clubs. And I've learned to putt left-handed with irons (surprisingly, if I putt this way and use the back of the iron instead of the front, I can roll the ball smoothly). 

Even better, the greens have been "punched", which is what they call it when they aerate the greens in preparation for winter. So there are hundreds of little holes on each green (not quite dime-sized) filled in with sand, which made putting an absolute adventure today, for sure. 

Eli 20.2 goes back to Ann Arbor on Wednesday, and we drive down there on Saturday to take him to the airport (and his girlfriend, who we're taking back to Ann Arbor afterwards). 

I thought I would be more upset about him being gone, but I'm not. I'm just really, really happy for him. The tiny guy (around 0.8 version) who stood in his mom's shoes with a huge smile on his face is going to Oxford. It's hard to believe. 

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Friday Links!

Leading off this week, something that will make your eyes leak a little: In the 2016 olympics, Flavia Oliveria ended the cycling race in 7th place. Even though that's the best placing that Brazil ever got, almost no one, not even from the Brazilian Cycling Confederation, appeared to celebrate the result with her... and then her cousin showed up.

From Jonathon Wood, and what a wonderful story: The Surprisingly Complicated History of the Frisbee. Also, and these are beautiful: The Winners of the 2021 Drone Photo Awards. These images are just stunning! Photos From The 1911 Expedition To Antarctica

From Wally, and here's your Badass of the Week: Turtle Chases Lions From His Waterhole. So obscure and so interesting: The Real Story Behind the Church’s Tradition of Blessing Throats

From C. Lee, and this is terrific: How to Analyze a Poem: a close reading of W.B. Yeats' poem "Lake Isle of Innisfree". After reading this thread (which is hilarious), I feel like I should be living in Ireland: Props to anyone who tries to be fashionable in Ireland. This is so incredibly touching: Husband’s cute breakfasts bring smiles to wife with Alzheimer’s. This is amazing: Incredible Never-Miss Auto-Aiming Bow Puts Robin Hood to Shame. Kale, I said! In the 1800s, This British Isle Was Covered in Groves of 12-Foot-Tall Kale

Hmm, That's Surprisingly Difficult

I didn't realize this until recently, but one of the most difficult things about working on yourself as person is not regressing back to old patterns of behavior when you face obstacles. 

When I'm on balance, everything's fine. I have new, healthier patterns of behavior, and it works. 

When I'm off balance, though, it's the reverse. I have to really, really fight to not turn back the clock. Somehow, those old patterns give you comfort in those moments, even though it's false comfort. It's just a trap. 

It's not something I ever considered before, and it takes work to monitor yourself so that you can spot it when it's happening. 

The Man You Trust

I'd really appreciate a few readers to look at a partial copy of The Man You Trust and give me their impressions up to that point. 

Basically, you'd be reading the first 95 pages, which covers the entire first part and the first two chapters of part two. 

I'll have a series of questions for you when you're done. 

I'm looking for about five people, if anyone has time. Thanks. 

Wednesday, September 22, 2021


As part of my Become A Grown-Up Initiative, I decided to buy some pants that fit. 

Baby steps, people.

Easy, you say? Not so fast. The fit of any jeans I wear is severely complicated by the fact that I have no ass. None at all. If there was a device to measure ass size, I would score in negative numbers. 

Seeking assistance, I engaged the family fashion consultant, Eli 20.1. He was on a flight to Boston at the time. 

Okay, if I try to buy a pair of jeans that might actually fit me, what kind should I be looking for?

        Let's conference when I get home on Monday!

Oh my god, is it that complicated? Eject! Eject!

        No but you have earned little of my trust when it comes to clothing.

Very fair point.

No jeans were purchased. 

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Going Steady

I saw this yesterday: Crash and burn: the intense and fleeting romances of the Covid era.

This, in particular, caught my eye: 
Dr Lisa Wade, associate professor of gender and sexuality studies and sociology at Tulane University and author of American Hookup: The New Culture of Sex on Campus, draws a parallel between the fast-and-furious Covid romances and the dating scene in the aftermath of the second world war. Because many soldiers had died overseas, married foreign wives, or experimented with men during the war, a national panic ensued – how would young women find husbands?

“It was under these conditions that young people invented ‘going steady’,” Wade says. “Prior to this, premarital monogamy was unheard of.”

This blew my mind. 

I assumed that "going steady" had been around forever as the cultural norm for most people. Not existing until the aftermath of WWII? It doesn't even seem possible. I mean, I don't care what people do sexually--not my business--but it upended my notion that dating monogamy had been around for a long time. 

Then, the rabbit hole. 

Like this article: The evolution of monogamy in response to partner scarcity. Serious monogamy nerd alert.

I talked to Mom 91.6 and asked her if she remembered anything about this, but by the time she was dating, going steady had already become a thing. She did say she remembered how many war brides there were after WWII, and how some people in America viewed them with suspicion because they believed they'd only gotten married to gain their citizenship.

I personally found it very difficult to go out with more than one person at a time, and never went out with more than two (and only did that once or twice). The logistics always seemed far too daunting for me to manage. 

Monday, September 20, 2021

The Shot

We had a tee time at 4:20.

Eli 20.1 met me at the course. He waved when he saw me and we walked to the first tee. That's when he noticed my socks:

He started laughing. "Of course you wore those," he said. 

"I feel like Cheech and Chong is the only appropriate way to celebrate our tee time," I said. 

We've discovered a brilliant opportunity on our little public golf course, but unfortunately, we only figured it out about two weeks before he leaves for England. The 9th hole at Trails is an uphill, 224 yard par 3. It's the most difficult hole on the course. 

The ninth hole is also adjoined by the driving range (on the right side), and huge nets are stretched down the border between them. I'm guessing they're about 120 feet high.

The netting looks something like this (how did I not get a picture?):

Eli hit a ball far enough to the right to bounce off the nets last week. 

"You know," I said, "theoretically--"

"We could hit off those nets onto the green," Eli said. 

"It would be the greatest shot in the history of golf," I said. 

The variables are daunting. How far down to hit on the net? How high? What velocity? Given the degree of precision required, I think I'd have to hit a driver through a space the size of a living room. 

Maybe a bathroom. 

It's not likely, but we still have two weeks. There are cash prizes on the line.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Friday Links!

This is an absolutely amazing read: For 40 Years, This Russian Family Was Cut Off From All Human Contact, Unaware of World War II

I feel like we already knew this: Sex can relieve nasal congestion, and other work honored by 2021 Ig Nobels

These are amazing images: Nikon Small World microscopy contest 2021: A few of our favorite images

From Wally, and it's an excellent read: The Surprisingly Big Business of Library e-books. I would definitely eat one of these: You Can Get a Butterbeer Blizzard at Dairy Queen When You Order Off the Secret Menu

From Meg McReynolds, and attention Star Trek (and chair) nerds: See the unexpectedly sophisticated chairs of ‘Star Trek,’ from Eames to Perriand to Saarinen

Stellar links from C. Lee. First, and this is disturbing, it's FinCEN Files Whistleblower Now in Prison. This is a wonderful read: Octavia Butler and the Pimply, Pompous Publisher. Another (Octavia Butler was a badass): In 1980: Octavia Butler Asked, Why Is Science Fiction So White? I guess it happens in every pandemic: Profiting from the Pandemic (Vick's VapoRub). What a story! Spanish bishop quit for love for erotic writer. Well, this is almost Monty Python: The Chemists' Drinking Song

From Jonathon W., and this is a fantastic read: How Ice Cream Became the Ultimate American Comfort Food

Wooly Mammoths

Well, we're doing this again: Return of the mammoth? George Church-backed company launches with $15 million for elephant-sized quest.

Not cloning, because cloning a mammoth at this point is impossible. This is using CRISPR for gene editing. 

It's spearheaded by George Church, who is absolutely a credible scientist, so I think this has to be taken seriously. 

Some people are upset, of course, because some people are always upset. But be honest: who wants to see a wooly mammoth?

Everyone. It would be awesome. 

Would you hang out with someone who was against bringing back wooly mammoths? Hell, no. You would never hang out with that person, and neither would anyone else. They'd have a bunch of strange ornaments on their lawn, which never got mowed, and it would be the house that everyone walks across the street to avoid. 

I mean, come on, people. We have to draw the line somewhere. 


Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Houston, We Have a Smell

As you know, I'm a big fan of Impossible Burger. 

I've had it twice in a restaurant, and each time, it was fabulous. With burger toppings added, I could barely distinguish it from meat. 

My stomach likes it better, too. No heaviness like I usually get after I eat meat. 

With this knowledge in hand, I decided to make Sloppy Joe's (one of my favorite childhood comfort foods) using Impossible Burger (or Impossible Meat, and what gets capitalized here and what doesn't, anyway?).

I bought four quarter-pound patties at Target, heated up the rarely-used skillet, and started cooking. 

Something. Something is wrong. 

Is that a coating on the skillet? What is that smell? 

It must be the skillet. That smell isn't anything food could produce. 

Oh man, that's strong. Overpowering. 

What does it smell like, exactly? I can't tell you. It just doesn't smell like food. It smells like something you run away from in a field. 

Grim and determined, I keep cooking. 

When the "meat" is cooked, I stir in the Sloppy Joe sauce. 

It tastes fine. But I can't get the smell out of my nose, and the disconnect between what I taste and what I was smelling makes for a bad, bad combination. 

I turned the fan on in my apartment for three hours, just to clear out the odious memories. 

I'm still hoping this was the skillet. Or something. I Googled and don't find a bunch of people complaining about the smell while cooking.

Like a desperate man, I cling to hope. 

I'm Stunned to Find Out That I'm Not on the Cutting Edge

Um, so Matt's Off-road Recovery is a YouTube channel with 750,000 subscribers. 

Tuesday, September 14, 2021


I was walking into CVS yesterday and a guy walked out. 

Middle-aged guy. Not tall, not short, not fat, not thin. Physically, he was entirely unremarkable.

This guy had on a t-shirt, though. It was old style, like something out of the 70s. A small graphic of a truck, and underneath: "Matt's Off-road Recovery."

Which, if you think about it, is a gigantic flex. 

I'm guessing it's not recovering people from ditches beside highways. Off-road recovery actually sounds really interesting, and I bet the guy has some wild stories to tell. But instead of a gigantic truck graphic and big capital letters, the shirt was so quiet you had to look close to even be able to read it.

Which is what made it so cool. 

It would be like a guy having a t-shirt with a modest graphic of a cobra and "Johnson Snake Charmers" in little letters underneath it. 


Monday, September 13, 2021


The power went out today during a storm. The estimate from the power company for the length of the outage was four hours. 

I did what any sensible person would do: I walked to the nearest functioning grocery store and bought batteries and potato chips. Oh, and tortilla chips, because if this outage was going to last, I needed lots of snacks. 

My apartment, when the power is off, is very, very dark. There are two little patio windows in the living area, and one sizable window in what I use as the TV room. 

That's it, and when it's dark and stormy, it's pretty damn dark. 

I couldn't drive out of the parking garage, either. No power going to the gate. 

I remembered very quickly that without power, the world's very small. Once your phone is out of juice, there's no way to contact anyone who isn't physically near you. There's no Internet to see what's going on in the world. Once you run out of gas, there's no more gas, because gas pumps need electricity to work (so do charging stations). 

So many of the things that make us a wider society (for better or worse) depend on electricity. They enable our lives to extend beyond our neighborhoods. 

Without it, the world seems so tiny.

Thursday, September 09, 2021

Friday Links!

 Leading off this week, from Renaissance Man John Harwood, and it's a witty chemistry alert: Things I Won't Work With: Hexanitrohexaazaisowurtzitane.

Absolutely no surprise: There’s a straight line from US racial segregation to the anti-abortion movement.

This is why I'm a cat person (even though I really like dogs): Cat derp.

From Wally, and it's a nice bit of gaming history: 10 Historical Facts About Avalon Hill. This is excellent: One Man's Journey To Document The Strangest McDonald's In The World

From Meg McReynolds, and it's a nice story: A 32-year-old Naval officer had some free time, so he walked on to Vanderbilt’s football team. This is terrific: One Man's Journey To Document The Strangest McDonald's In The World

From C. Lee, and it's a fascinating read: The War in Afghanistan Is What Happens When McKinsey Types Run Everything. The obituary of an amazing person: Pierre Sprey, Pentagon analyst who battled brass to produce A-10 warplane, dies at 83. An excellent podcast: This Is Your Brain on Pollution. Something's definitely a bit smelly here: The Red Warning Light on Richard Branson's Space Flight. The inventor of the pulse oximeter: If it wasn’t for Takuo Aoyagi, life today would be different. This is fascinating: Hyperinflation and Runescape clan warfare. Some of these are very solid, and others, um, aren't: Witness the horror of Street Fighter characters turned human by Google's AI. I had no idea: Remembering When Bermuda Was an Onion Island.


Eli 20.1 is on his way back to Ann Arbor now, but before he left, we played golf. 

I was even after seven holes, had a little pitch shot on the eighth--and choked. Just totally choked and hit it into a sand trap. 


Still, though, it's less painful with your son, and we went to have dinner afterwards. We got our food and sat outside. 

It was Mexican food, and they had lots of bottled sodas, so Eli got a strawberry.

"Wasp and Strawberry Soda: A Love Affair," I said, after a friendly wasp decided to stop by. 

He was quite persistent.

"What do you think his name is?" Eli asked, as we watched the wasp enjoy his strawberry drink.

"Good question," I said. "What does he look like to you?"

"I think he's a Kevin."

"That's solid," I said. "I'd also nominate 'Lance,' just for the sheer wordplay."

We watched the wasp for a while. "Nope, he's definitely a Kevin," I said.

Once you start watching a wasp, it's hard to stop. We were riveted as it climbed on Eli's taco.

"You know," I said, "if we had a taco to the same scale, it would be the size of this entire patio."

"Plus the wind would be blowing 600 MPH." 

"I feel like I respect Kevin's skill in an entirely new way," I said.

Wednesday, September 08, 2021

What a Difference a Day Makes

It makes a big difference in your day when you don't wake up with a sore throat. 

I finished revising part one of The Man You Trust. It was a lot of close, intense work, but it's much better now, I think. There's a thread now that theoretically pulls the reader through into part two, instead of hoping that an interesting world will keep someone engaged indefinitely (it doesn't). 

We'll see how this version is received by readers. 

I took another antigen COVID test this morning before driving over to get Eli 20.1 for golf. Negative again, and I feel at least 90% of normal today. 

In case you're wondering, the at-home tests are relatively simple. The only unpleasant part is swabbing each nostril for fifteen seconds, because you're getting up in there and it's definitely uncomfortable. Still, though, results in fifteen minutes. Amazing. 

I figured I could stagger through nine holes of golf no matter how I felt, and the walking usually makes me feel better, so off we went. It was some of the strongest winds we've ever played in--22 MPH sustained, 38 MPH gusts.

Then, much to our surprise, we both played out of our minds. 

This was a considerably more difficult course than our little home course. I was +1 for the last seven holes (+3 overall), and it was an easy +1-- had four birdie putts inside 15 feet and missed them all. 

Eli was even better--+1 for the full nine, and he couldn't miss, either. 

I still have no idea what happened, but I'd like for it to happen again. 

Tuesday, September 07, 2021

The Age of Paranoia

A sore throat can ruin your day.

Since it's the time of COVID, I decided I needed to get one of the rapid antigen tests, just to make sure I wasn't going to infect Eli 20.1 tomorrow on the drive to the golf course. 

The irony, of course, is that I'm pretty sure Eli gave me whatever this is, since he was sniffling and had a sore throat last week (he had two COVID tests, thanks to U of M, both negative). The problem, though, is that basically every student on campus is sick right now, because they haven't been around loads of people for a year and a half and they all have respiratory viruses. 

Eli doesn't fly to the UK until October 4, so he's spending quite a bit of time in Ann Arbor with his girlfriend. He's also going to some on-campus activities. Enter the plague pit.

I still needed to check, though.

The only place in the Grand Rapids area that had the rapid tests was a Walgreens in a suburb where 80% of the people think COVID is a government hoax (yes, that kind of suburb). 

So I hit the highway.

I don't believe in omens, but in the span of two minutes I saw the following:
--a truck hauling an RV with three times the square footage of my apartment. 
--a Port-a-potty truck, hauling many portable potties.
--another truck hauling something large, spherical, and black, presumably headed for Mordor.

In this case, I made the only common-sense decision possible: if I saw a circus truck hauling an elephant, I was turning around and going back home. 

I saw no elephant, although there was an unusual horse in a trailer. 

When I reached the Walgreen's, dark forces made themselves apparent. This was the same cursed Walgreen's where I'd gone to buy a brace after breaking my ankle a month after we arrived in Grand Rapids. 

Still, though, they had the tests in stock.

Steeling myself, I went in anyway. Double-masked and social distanced, because I didn't want to expose anyone in the highly unlikely event that I did have COVID.

The clerk, of course, had the mask pulled down to her mouth. Excellent, madam. 

I was out in less than a minute, then drove home through an apocalyptic thunderstorm, including some spectacular and disturbingly close lightning. 

The actual COVID test? Negative. Just a stupid sore throat.

I'm sure I'll take another test tomorrow. 

Monday, September 06, 2021

Serenity Now

On a day when I want nothing more than to go on a thermonuclear explanation of why the new Texas law is basically recreating East German surveillance, I'm going to instead practice discretion and put up something to relax us all instead:

Tomorrow? No promises. I'll do my best. 

That's Quite A Lot

In other news, I got a warning light on my laser printer today, telling me I needed to replace the drum. 

What I use this laser printer for, almost exclusively, is to print out chapters of The Man You Trust for editing. 

This particular drum has a 12,000 page lifespan. 

It's not that long, I promise. 

Thursday, September 02, 2021

Friday Links!

Leading off this week, a shattering, stunning article: Finding a Way Back From Suicide

The inventor of the telescope: A Telescope Chronology

From Jonathon W., and it's is a fascinating read: Pinball is reviving a small Illinois town

From Dan Fitch, and it's amazing: Cristal Baschet (an instrument that needs to be wet).

From Wally, and whatever you're expecting, this isn't it (NSFW due to language): Poor planning of truck route. Yeah, that's not going to work out, punters: This bizarre CPU vending machine in Japan is a real silicon lottery. This is classic McSweeney's: H.P. Lovecraft Writes Olive Garden's Dinner Menu. These are very clever: Artist Imagines What It Looks Like Behind The Scenes Of Disney Movies

An avalanche of excellent links from C. Lee this week. First, and even I don't think this will work, it's I Don’t Think This Is What People Meant by ‘Three Square Meals a Day’. One of my favorite deep dives ever: What’s wrong with medieval pigs in videogames? Another pig link and it's a great read: The taming of the pig took some wild turns. This would be remarkable: Graphene veils may hold the secret to conserving priceless works of art. An excellent bit of hardware history: Why Lying About Storage Products Is Bad: An IBM DeskStar Story. This is short, but it's a great story: When Raymond Chandler Went to Work for Billy Wilder. A fantastic read: The Uniform Cool of Charlie Watts

Eli 20.2: Comedian

Across from Eli 20.2 lives a cat named Henry. 

Henry is a neighborhood treasure. When he sees you, he immediately starts walking over for serious petting. Everyone pets Henry, and seeing him in his driveway is always a happy moment for me, because I know within seconds he'll be walking over. 

Everyone loves Henry. Almost. 

There's an older woman in the neighborhood, a few doors down, and Henry occasionally poops in her yard. This has infuriated her to the point where she's threatened to call Animal Control if it happens again. 

That's not really how things are handled around here, particularly in that neighborhood. More likely is that the woman would have baked a basket of treats to take to Henry's owner and mention, in the mildest possible terms, that he's going toilet in her yard. 

The woman's threat means that Henry might become an indoor cat, and there would be no pets and scratches anymore. 

As Henry is a colorful local character, the neighbors are rising in his defense. And since Henry's "brother" is Eli's best friend, he's mounting his own effort, which consists of this:

Yard signs are being printed. I'm considering getting a t-shirt. That black and white really pops. 

Damn It, Thursday

That may not have been the most cowardly Supreme Court Decision in history (I would argue that Plessy vs. Ferguson was even worse), but it is easily in the top five. 

Wednesday, September 01, 2021


Nashsville (#73 on the BFI's 100 Greatest Films list) is Robert Altman's sprawling story of twenty-four (twenty-four!) characters in Nashville, almost all of them in the music industry. 

It's almost three hours long, and really, it's a mess. 

Trying to identify with that many characters is almost impossible. It's just too much, and often, it feels borderline incoherent. 

However, I don't think I've ever seen a movie where one actor stole every single scene they appear in. 

Even more unlikely, it was Lilly Tomlin. 

Lilly Tomlin, who had only done broad television comedy at that point and had never appeared in a film, was cast in an entirely dramatic role as a gospel singer. 

She's riveting. 

Ever second she's on screen, she totally dominates the scene. And it's not by overplaying her role. It's just the opposite--everything she does is so careful and restrained that it becomes incredibly powerful. 

Then she has a moment that is one of the most unforgettable I've ever seen in a film. 

The movie's musical rogue (Keith Carradine) tries to get her to meet him. She declines several times, sometimes angrily, because she's married. Then he calls and doesn't even give her a chance to talk, just mentions that he's playing in a bar that night and he's really hoping she'll stop by. 

So married, restrained Lilly Tomlin goes to the bar, wearing this western blouse and a kerchief around her neck. 

She sees him, and she's about to approach when she sees that he's with another woman, so she sits at the very back table of the bar, totally miserable. 

Keith Carradine has actually slept with three other women at the bar, all of whom seem to be in love with him. So he gets up on stage and says he's going to sing a song for someone special who he hopes is in the audience, and each of three women think the song is about her. 

Then he starts singing. 

In the context of the film, the song is very, very beautiful, because almost all the singers in the film sing just a little off-key (on purpose), so him singing perfectly becomes incredibly powerful in comparison. 

Lilly Tomlin hears the song, and her face changes in the most incredibly subtle way. She moves her left hand up to the neck of her blouse, and then her fingers move ever-so-slightly inside it, and it's this stunning, yearning moment that gives me chills every time I think of it because it's so beautiful. 

Here's the clip: I'm Easy.

Altman waits for so long to show Tomlin's reaction, instead of focusing the camera on her initially. He focuses on the other three women first, and when you do see her, it's just overwhelming. 

It's unbelievable. 

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