List Item Achieved! #90: Here’s Lookin’ At You, Kid

It seems to me that a lot of things are easier these days. For example, I think it’s much easier to be a police detective now than, say, back in the 1960s-90s, when my uncle/godfather worked in Spanish Harlem. There are databases for everything from fingerprints to photos to DNA, and every block in the nation seems to have 189 big-brotherish “security cams” to capture each move a perp (cop word) makes.

So it goes with filmmaking. If you can’t create an actual scene these days, hell, just use a computer to seamlessly integrate your actors with out-of-this-world special effects. Back when Casablanca was filmed, in the early 1940s, if you wanted to create a realistic bullet hole in someone, you pretty much had to shoot them while the cameras rolled.

That’s why many people say the classics “don’t hold up well,” to which I say, “No, it’s imagination that doesn’t hold up very well.” And it’s also why I put on my list of 100 Intentions for 2022 “Watch a classic film from the 1940s, 1950s or 1960s.

I chose Casablanca for a few reasons.

  1. I’d never seen it before.
  2. Despite never seeing it before, I still knew it captured some of Hollywood’s all-time classic lines.
  3. It’s February, the month of love, and just about every list on the most romantic movies of all time lists Casablanca somewhere near the top.
  4. I was trying to kill two birds with one stone (a hideous phrase, if you’re a bird) by screening Casablanca for my monthly movie night list item.

Alas, no one showed for the movie night (screw you, local people), so it was just Wifey Poo and I watching Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman deal with the Nazis and their broken hearts.

I had no clue what the plot of the film was even remotely about when I started watching it. Cool that it, yes, involved Nazis. But this isn’t so much a love story/romantic movie as it is one in which a dude’s heart is stepped all over by a woman who makes questionable decisions.

That said, I liked it. It was cool to put “Here’s lookin’ at you, kid,” “Play it again, Sam,” and “Louie, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship” into context. There are some cringe-worthy moments, such as when a character calls Sam the piano player, a Black man in his, oh, I’d say 50s, “boy” and when Bergman’s Ilsa plays the “thinking is hard for women” card and asks Humphrey to do that tough brain stuff for the both of them.

But hey, it was the 1940s, so I guess we’re supposed to look back at our less enlightened ancestors and say, “Well they didn’t know any better.”

The movie builds to an exciting climax. and I, for one, greatly appreciate the time when making a movie didn’t rely CGI’d special effects.


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🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Who’s Family? 👪Music Speaks 🎵Wedding Websites 👨‍❤️‍👨 I was raised as an East Coast Italian, despite being a mixed bag of ethnicities born in Denver, Colorado. That meant that there was this huge importance placed on family that’s not necessarily shared with the same ferocity by others. Yet as I grew…

Grief — Dec. 5, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Messy Grief 😔Hear Ye! 👂Die Trump Die 😡 I am acutely aware that I am hardly alone as a 48-year-old man when I say that I am well acquainted with grief. I’m not sure if it was always this way — though I imagine it was — but I don’t think…

Human Jewel Beetles — Dec. 3, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Beer Bottle Connections 🍺Ear Concerns 👂BTE vs. Deer 🦌 What exactly is reality? Is there a limit to the universe? How can something as heavy as the Earth be just sort of suspended … and what exactly is it suspended in? This is the rabbit hole I’ve fallen down, all while…

Be Yourself — Dec. 1, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩A Good Self 👋Urgent Care, Revisited 👩‍⚕️Slow Down 🐢 I remember this time back in sixth grade when a trusted adult was talking to me as I struggled through what turned out to be a pretty life-defining traumatic experience. The friends I’d grown up with since I was a small boy…

Deer Drama — Nov. 30 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Shooting a Fake Deer 🦌Time Spent Poorly ⏰Child Support 💸 About midway up my left shin underneath my leg hair is a scar about three inches long and the width of a deer antler. Well, a fake deer antler, anyway. “Deer-antler width” is hardly a standard unit of measurement, I know,…

Metallica! — Nov. 29 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Gods of Music Deliver! 🎸Insta-Anger 😠Unpleasant 😓 I was in need of something good to happen yesterday. Desperate need. The gods of music delivered. Metallica is coming to St. Louis in concert in 2023 for a two-day show at the Dome at the America Center. I found out about this at…

Double Ear Infection — Nov. 27, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Urgent Care 👂👂Alone Update 😔Rest 🛏️ It’s never a good sign when, less than two seconds after sticking a light in your ear and gazing through the little viewfinder thingy (patent pending), the doctor says, “Oooooooooh.” That was followed by a diagnosis of a “nasty” left ear infection and the question,…

Fitting in — Nov. 25, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Alone 😔Christmas Changes🎄My Two Skillz 🔪 I would venture to guess that most of us like the feeling of fitting in somewhere. Even the most self-confident, secure person likes to have a tribe. We’re social creatures, and to have a place we just seem to slide into safely is a blessing.…

Spouse+ Subscription — Nov. 23, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Marriage Talk 💑Requesting Money 💰Murder-Free 🔪 If you’ve been married as long as I have (rounding the corner and heading toward 26 years), you understand that conversations between spouses can sometimes be awfully weird. I mean, Wifey Poo and I have known each other more than 30 years now. How much…

Coffee Hand — Nov. 22, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Man Cold? 🤒Balloon Analogy 🎈World Flop ⚽ If you want to know how my Monday started yesterday, I poured coffee all over my hand. It isn’t that I don’t know how to pour coffee. I’ve done it a billion times. It’s that, on this particular Monday, somewhere in between the start…

No Slides Allowed — Nov. 17, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Presentation Skillz 📽️No Tribe 😔Fuck 45 🖕 There was a time not all that long ago, cosmically speaking, that the mere thought of standing up in front of a crowd and giving a talk would have made me want to throw up in my shoes. In fact, there has been a…

What’s Funny? — Nov. 15, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Boss Kudos 🙌Chill Time 😌One In 8 Billion🧍 It always feels good when the Big Bossman comes up to you and shakes your hand for a job well done. That happened last night when El Presidente of our company congratulated me on the video I wrote, shot and produced for our…

Engaged — Nov. 14, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩BTE and Div 💍Brother Greetings 👨‍👩‍👦‍👦Travel Day ✈️ The morning after Boy The Elder was born, I awoke in the hospital to his sweet cooing and his momma’s deep-sleep breathing. Scooping him up carefully and holding him nervously, I sat in a rocking chair in the pre-dawn darkness and talked to…

Dying Democracy — Nov. 11, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Election Message 🗳️School Priorities 🏫Tickets Aplenty 🎫 It would seem to me that if a common sentiment from wise people following an election is that it’s a good thing the results were so muddled because it means not much will get done in the next two years, you’ve got yourself a…

Fairy Tale — Nov. 9, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Stephen King 🕮Legal Weed🌿Public Schools🏫 I read my first Stephen King book when I was in high school. It was summer, if I remember correctly, and everywhere I went, I carried a worn library copy of Pet Sematary. Since that time, King’s words have been a regular companion through every stage…

Year In Music — Nov. 5, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Concert Craze 🎵Back Crackin’👩‍⚕️To-Dos Done🚗 My year of music is over. And, my God, has it been good. It started on a sweltering mid-July afternoon at Hollywood Casino Amphitheater in which Wifey Poo and I watched my Backup Wife Jewel do her thing. It ended last night on an evening that…

Update: My Favorite African — Nov. 3, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Little D’s Return 🏥Irony 🔨Planet Killer 🌎 Being a host parent to a little boy from Africa (Burkina Faso, to be precise) was one of the hardest and most rewarding things I’ve ever done in my life. And now, that little boy is returning to the United States. For those not…

Mega Billions — Nov. 2, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Stupid IT Rules 🖥️The Bend 🚑Is The War Over? ✌️ Tonight, there will be a lottery drawing in which someone could win $1.2 billion. That someone won’t be me, as I didn’t buy a ticket, but it didn’t stop me from thinking about what I would and wouldn’t do with that…

Fun Family — Nov. 1, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Family Dynamics 👪New Mattress 🛏️To Share Or Not To Share? ❓ Let’s say the only cracker you’ve ever eaten is a Saltine. You have no experience with any other crackers. In fact, you don’t even know that there is such a thing as other crackers. You might not love the Saltine,…

Halloween Haters— Oct. 31, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Ghosts of Halloween 👻Wrinkles 👴Words Spawn Action ✍️ Wifey Poo made a bold declaration about her opinion of Halloween on our drive back from Springfield, Missourah, Saturday afternoon: “Halloween is a great time for kids to dress up …” If you think there’s more to that statement, nope. She added: “Period.”…

How I Do Me — Oct. 27, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Empath Life 🤗Earthquake 🌎Revolutionary Failure 😶 About six months after I started my career as a professional journalist, I started walking past this job opening in our company every time I walked in and out of the building. It was for editor of a weekly paper routinely ridiculed by those who…

School Shooter Match Game — Oct. 24, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Game Time 🎮Family Picture📸Marriage Tips 🪢 I remember when it was simple. Horrible, yes … but simple. There was Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold and they matched up with Columbine — which, side note, would have been my high school had my parents not moved to NY when I was 2.…

Helping the Homeless — Oct. 23, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Helper Bags 🆘What’s In The Bag?🎒Mini Golf ⛳ I was raised to avoid the homeless. Avoid eye contact. Avoid conversation. And most definitely avoid giving them anything they asked for. I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in this, which doesn’t make me feel any better. What was instilled in me as…

Marcus F’n King — Oct. 21, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Books & Covers 🕮Seeking Balance ⚖️Weirdo🤪 We’re taught at an early age to not judge a book by its cover. If I remember correctly, that was impressed upon me sometime around the first grade. Yet to be honest, I don’t think it’s a lesson that ever really sunk in. I imagine…

Political Ads — Oct. 20, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Illegals or Guns? 🤦Scrolling Through Stupidity 🖱️Worst Nurse Ever 👩‍⚕️ If there’s anything I hate more than politics and politicians, it’s political advertising. Cutting the cable cord has lessened its intrusiveness in my life, yet it still manages to seep in. Case in point: I was watching the Padres-Phillies game last…

Chocolateman— Oct. 19, 2022

🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩Passion 🍫Sarcasm 😜Poop 💩 I appreciate people who are passionate about something. Well, except politics. Then I’d prefer it if you’d just keep your mouth shut. But if you’re super-interested in photography, goats, cooking, geocaching, quilting, etching … whatever … your enthusiasm feeds my soul. Which is part of the reason…

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