Intertextual Paprika

Satoshi Kon‘s 1997 anime Perfect Blue proved to me that anime wasn’t all mecha, bishounen, and Sailor Moon.  Though I liked his Millenium Actress (2001), I wasn’t all that interested in watching Paprika (2007)…until today.


I don’t think I’d have appreciated Paprika’s bizarre visuals had I seen it earlier.  It’ll probably take a second viewing to sink into its dream-logic storyline, but I already like the references to William Wyler‘s Roman Holiday (1953).








Roman Holiday
guitar scene:

There’s also a variation of a Japanese promotional poster.

See Films in Films for the one that appears in Paprika.

I’m still not sure if I went through an anime phase when I was in college or if I just started really liking specific titles and Studio Ghibli.


Pic creds: IMDB, YT screenshots, Amazon

On the Course of Love

But first, Happy 51st Birthday to Simon Pegg!

On this most serendipitously auspicious long weekend (Lunar New Year was on Friday, Valentine’s Day is today, and President’s Day is tomorrow), I’d like to direct your attention to Alain de Botton‘s book The Course of Love.  It’s a very short book and I’ve only just started it, but these passages resonated with me on psychological, intellectual, and emotional levels.


He never felt anything remotely like this before.  The sensation overwhelms him from the first.  It isn’t dependent on words, which they will never exchange.  It is as if he has in some way always known her, as if she holds out an answer to his very existence and, especially, to a zone of confused pain inside him” (4).

He will need to learn that love is a skill rather than an enthusiasm” (7).

…cynics are merely idealists with unusually high standards” (12).

Love reaches a pitch at those moments when our beloved turns out to understand, more clearly than others have ever been able to, and perhaps even better than we do ourselves, the chaotic, embarrassing, and shameful parts of us.  That someone else gets who we are and both sympathizes with us and forgives us for what they see underpins our whole capacity to trust and to give.  Love is a dividend of gratitude of our lover’s insight into our own confused and troubled psyche” (22).

There is, in the early period of love, a measure of sheer relief at being able, at last, to reveal so much of what needed to be kept hidden for the sake of propriety.  We can admit to not being as respectable or as sober, as even-keeled, or as ‘normal’ as society believes.  We can be childish, imaginative, wild, hopeful, cynical, fragile, and multiple; all of this our lover can understand and accept us for” (23).

He proposes with such confidence and certainty because he believes himself to be a really rather straightforward person to live alongside–another tricky circumstantial result of having been on his own for a very long time.  The single state has a habit of promoting a mistaken self-image of normalcy.  Rabih’s tendency to tidy obsessively when he feels chaotic inside, his habit of using work to ward off his anxieties, the difficulty he has inarticulating what’s on his mind when he’s worried, his fury when he can’t find a favorite T-shirt–these eccentricities are all neatly obscured so long as there is no one else around to see him, let alone create a mess, request that he come home and eat his dinner, comment skeptically on his habit of cleaning the TV remote control, or ask him to explain what he’s fretting about.  Without witnesses, he can operate under the benign illusion that he may just, with the right person, prove no particular challenge to be around” (42).

He entertains a confused wish to help her without, however, understanding that help can be a challenging gift to deliver to those who are most in need of it.  He interprets her damaged aspects in the most obvious and most lyrical way: as a chance for him to play a useful role” (43).

Platonic love, romantic love, familial love — they’re not interchangeable, but they ultimately posit the same premise, which is that you won’t be abandoned or ignored because you made a mistake or did something wrong.  The degree of obligation in expressing and practicing gestures of these iterations of love vary between people.  When it works, marvelous.  When it’s dysfunctional, comes with untenable prerequisites, or morphs over time without a chance for both people to acknowledge and agree on whether or not the alterations matter (too much), then you’re left wondering if life wouldn’t be easie and simpler with only yourself to delight or disappoint.  But could it be more satisfying?  Ne pense pas.

Find more musings on Alain de Botton here.


On that note, here are a few songs from the heart:

Jimmy Brown



Cassandra Wilson



Pic creds: giphy, goodreads

Sand Songs Sting So Much in Dreamland

Was it in the middle of a fever dream that you figured out at long last how you did the math wrong?  You didn’t follow the rules of PEMDAS and did your arithmetic out of order.  Did the volleyball hit you in the head that hard?  You didn’t lose your footing, you didn’t even fall completely onto the ground, but the ball did make contact with the side of your head near where the outer edges of your eyebrow meet your ears.

Your team still won and with the excitement permeating through the crowds that gathered at the beach, it’s somewhat surprising that nobody thought to make sure you didn’t have a concussion.  No one noticed you hadn’t gone to celebrate with the rest of your teammates or the town’s people by the boardwalk except for me.  I saw you lean against that giant fuzzy peach art sculpture by the boulders and then slide down onto the sand.  You clawed a handful of it and shaped it into small squares.  You closed your dark eyes just for a minute.

A minute became an hour.  I had nothing else to do, so I watched over you as you slept.  When I got bored, I opened a candy bar stuffed with caramel, noughat, and chocolate, and placed it under your nose.  That’s when you shouted, “Parenthesis! Exponents! Multiplication! Division! Addition! Subtraction!”

You were hot to the touch.


I have no idea why these words came to me as Dreamland (Miles Joris-Peyrafitte, 2019) played.  I decided to watch it on a whim because I was in the mood for some Margot Robbie (who plays a woman on the run from the law during the Great Depression).  The DVD cover made me think of promotional art for Alfred Hitchcock‘s films North by Northwest (1959) and The Birds (1963).  The movie teetered along the “it’s not terrible” line until the scene with the shower because how in the world was that bathroom period historically possible?  A very cursory net search indicates that it’s very superficially plausible, but the composition of that scene is so “modern.”  Moreover, was showing her bosom thematically relevant?  It’s a lovely one, but what did it contribute to her character or the story?


NBNW  LesOiseaux

Pic creds: Amazon, IMDB

Super Bowl LV: Buccaneers roll over the Chiefs

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers got to participate in a championship spectator sport extravaganza that no other NFL team has had the pleasure of experiencing tonight: playing in the Super Bowl with home stadium advantage.  Did they indulge fully in that piece of knowledge and beat the Kansas City Chiefs to win Super Bowl LV?


The first quarter was uneventful until the last forty or so seconds when Buccaneers tight end Ron Gronkowski got into the end zone for a touchdown and took the lead in scoring.  Tampa Bay 7 and Kansas City 3.  The second quarter began with the Chiefs doing their best to keep the Bucs from making more TDs (and there were approximately three close-calls).  Halfway through the quarter, a Chiefs penalty allowed the Bucs to get an automatic first down and Brady connected with Gronkowski for another TD (nevermind the field goal that Bucs kicker Ryan Succop made a moment before).  The Chiefs couldn’t get into the end zone and had to make do with a field goal.  The rest of the second quarter was a pile-on of penalties for Kansas City’s defense and more red zone action for Tampa Bay.  With six seconds left in the first half, Brady connected with wide receiver Antonio Brown in the end zone.  Tampa Bay 21 and Kansas City 6.

The third quarter started with the Chiefs still not able to move the ball into the end zone, so another field goal had to suffice.  It continued with the Bucs widening that score gap the way Tom Brady apparently can do in his sleep.  Another TD courtesy of running back Leonard Fournette.  Tampa Bay 28 and Kansas City 9.  With a few minutes left in the quarter, a couple of incomplete passes on Brady’s part meant their score lead could only go up by a field goal and not another TD.  Tampa Bay 31 and Kansas City 9.  The fourth quarter finally saw some momentum on the part of the Kanas City offense, but the end zone remained elusive.  It was pretty evident halfway into the fourth quarter that the Buccaneers were going to win Super Bowl LV, and then that interception made by Buccaneers inside linebacker Devin White in the end zone.  Mon dieu.  Tampa Bay 31 and Kansas City 9.  Final score.

Get game stats and play-by-play here.


Observations & Other Miscellania:
1. Eric Church and Jazmine Sullivan performed a bluegrass-esque rendition of the “Star-Spangled Banner.”

2. According to the commentators, Tom Brady’s first Super Bowl was in 2002; the Chiefs quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, was six years-old back then.

3.  Buccaneers kicker Ryan Succop used to be a kicker for Kansas City.

4.  Is it my imagination or was there too much echo when the Weeknd began his performance?  I could not discern any words (and then I thought he was singing in French).  C’est absurde.  I liked his shoes; they looked a bit like vintage men’s two-tone loafers a la these Doc Martens.

5. What?!

6. If you’re a Tampa Bay fan, you probably had a grand ‘ol time tonight.  If you’re a Tom Brady fan, you’ve likely convinced yourself that wherever he goes, he wins.  If you like watching a good game and are more invested in the excitement and tension that happens when two teams are neck-and-neck with scoring or interceptions, then tonight’s game was anti-climactic.

7.  Tampa Bay’s head coach Bruce Arians must be the happiest man in America right now (yes, even happier than Mr. former Patriot).  Methinks the commentators said that he’s the oldest head coach to win a Super Bowl.

Pic cred: Original logo

I remember the Tears

I remember the tears from sixteen years ago, how they came when Armand tried to do something and it didn’t work.  And it’s been dry tear ducts as far as books’ ability to provoke a gut-punched response.  Then last night I finished reading Alice Oseman‘s Radio Silence.


I learned of this book’s existence via paperbackdreams’ YT channel and her consistent, avid praise of it.  The last section of the book had me going through several tissues.  Ne sais pas pourquoi, maybe I had wanted to feel in a way that had nothing to do with philosophy or assessing human foibles vis-a-vis real world events.  Maybe I’m on an unconscious journey to let my younger self have interactions and friendships she wished she had then…that she still wishes my present-day self could have now.


It passes the 99 page test in the best way:

“I just…have no idea what he’s thinking.  Like, ninety-nine percent of the time.”
“Yeah, he’s that sort of person.”
“What sort of person?”
“The sort of person who doesn’t speak spontaneously.”  She folded her arms.  “Who won’t say anything if you don’t ask.”

Thank you, Kat.

Pic creds: Amazon