Tag Archives: personal

Finally turning off the xmas screen saver


So today I finally turned off the Christmas screen saver on my laptop. It isn’t an installed app, I used one of the macOS options that brings images up from a folder you designate, and I have this one folder that is full of Christmas themed wallpapers and some similar images. Most years I point the screensaver at that folder some time during the Thanksgiving weekend. When I point the saver back to the usual folder varies.

I used to leave it going about a week or two after I took down the Christmas decorations. Part of the reason was simply that changing it is something I have to go in and do, so I wouldn’t think of it until the first time I noticed the screen saver after the decorations were put away. But the other half was that as soon as I saw one of the images I would feel a little sad that Christmas was over.

Yeah, I’m one of those people.

I don’t want the decorations up year round, but I’m always a little sad when I take them down. One time when I mentioned this at work a co-worker said that her kids sometimes get upset at her because she wants to start taking them down on Christmas day. "I love putting them up," she said, "And during the Christmas season I think they’re wonderful and so on. But it’s like switch flips in my brain after we finish Christmas dinner. The decorations don’t look pretty and sweet and fun to me, they just look tacky!"

And there are folks who don’t like them at all, but we don’t need to dwell on such dark, twisted souls.

So I leave the screen saver on for some time after the holiday. And since it’s just my laptop it shouldn’t matter to anyone else, but I still sometimes feel a twinge of silliness that I still have them up many weeks past Christmas. But since my brain works like a noisy committee meeting, there is almost immediately a stubborn, "Well, why can’t I leave it that way as long as I like?"

I do like having routines and rituals. So I don’t listen to Christmas music before Thanksgiving dinner or after Three Kings Day, for instance. I don’t allow myself to start grinding the holiday blend coffee beans to make my coffee before Thanksgiving (unless it’s one of the years that I picked up Starbucks’ Thanksgiving Blend as one of the holiday coffees, then it’s okay to start drinking that in the run up to Thanksgiving).

Which gets us to why today is the day I turned off the screen saver.

Since every year I buy as many of the Christmas/Holiday Blend Coffees I can find, I never managed to drink them all by Christmas. The last several years I’ve usually finished them all over by about mid-February. A couple of years ago I decided that if I was going to have a rule about when I turn off the Christmas screen saver that it would be this: I can leave the screen saver on until I grind the last of the Christmas coffee beans.

You may recall that when I wrote about acquiring this year’s Christmas coffees that it was a slightly larger haul than the year before. Well, that was on November 22. I found some more Holiday Blends during December. So this morning, St Patrick’s Day, March 17, I finally ground up the last of the Christmas coffee beans and have been drinking that coffee today.

Tomorrow it’s back to not-Holiday coffee.

Blast from the Social Media Past

Lisa Simpson reading her friends' posts in an image from The Simpsons © Gracie Films, © Fox Television, et al
Lisa Simpson reading her friends’ posts in an image from The Simpsons © Gracie Films, © Fox Television, et al

I was kind of shocked while checking email this morning to see a notification from LiveJournal. It’s been nearly five years since I wrote Time to say bye-bye to LiveJournal. It was the culmination of several years of the Russian-based company that bought LiveJournal turning off features, closing down mirror sites, and replacing the terms of service.

The terms of service mention needs a bit of context. At one point they locked out all sorts of functions, including cross-posting from elsewhere, until you logged in and accepted the new terms of service. If your LiveJournal was set to a language other than Russian, they served up a translated terms of service… but at the top it literally said that the translated terms were not enforceable, only the original Russian-language terms. But you couldn’t log in without accepting the translated terms.

And those translated terms included all sorts of bad things. For instance, if you made any mention at all of anything gay, you must mark the post as "not suitable for children" or get your journal deleted. Of course, they also claimed that if you didn’t post for two years it would be deleted. Yet more than five years since my last post the old journal is still there.

Not to mentioned that they had disabled secure socket security on log ins, leaving you vulnerable to digital eavesdropping when you are logged in.

I double-checked and I’m correct, I haven’t posted anything on LiveJournal in those five years, though I was amused to see that four years ago an old acquaintance decided to post a reply to a 6-year-old post. I’m not sure what’s up with that.

To get back to the notification. A friend who hasn’t been posting anywhere much recently posted on LiveJournal a reminder that her blog there is essentially dead and you should follow her over on Dreamwidth (which is also where I moved my old LiveJournal and supposedly cross post from here but I often forget, since I haven’t found a way to do it automatically).

Thus it seems like a good time to say: follow my WordPress-based blog on FontFolly.Net (you don’t have to have a WordPress account to do so); follow me on Twitter at @FontFolly, follow the not-automatic cross-posting from FontFolly.Net to my Dreamwidth journal. If you don’t mind the dozens of reblogs of weird and fannish stuff, you can even follow me on Tumblr (where FontFolly.Net does automatically cross-post).

Please note that Facebook is not on that list. The only reasons I haven’t outright deleted my Facebook account are that 1) Facebook doesn’t really delete your account when you delete it, and 2) the only means I have to reach some relatives is Facebook messenger. Also, Facebook’s just unreliable. The algorithm hides stuff from your friends and followers all the time. As one relative found out after being disappointed that a lot of people she expected at her wedding didn’t even know when it was because the only time she announced it was once on Facebook.

I was, by the way, happy to confirm that the friend who posted on LiveJournal is already someone I’m following on Dreamwidth…

Good-bye Betty


I first remember watching Betty White when I was thirteen years old. She had just joined the cast of The Mary Tyler Moore show as the host of a fictitious show-within-showed called the Happy Homemaker. Her character, Sue Ann Nivens, was super cheerful and upbeat while on her show, but was a sharp-tongued nymphomaniac behind the scene and often played the antagonist to other characters on the show.

And she was hilarious.

Given her career before that, I’m sure that I had seen her before she joined The Mary Tyler Moore Show on the many daytime game shows that she frequently appeared in during the 60s and 70s. I’m also fairly certain that I had seen the political thriller Advise and Consent in which Betty played the one and only woman Senator in Congress. But it was Sue Ann who wriggled her way into my heart.

Sue Ann wasn’t the only iconic character she played. Many more people hail her portrayal of Rose Nylund in The Golden Girls. Rose was a very different character–though one who like all characters Betty assayed, had a bit of steel in her.

Being as funny, personable, and playing such a diverse set of characters was an incredible accomplishment. But there was so much more to her than that. There was her activism for various animal charities. There was the time in the 1950s when she defied the network executives that she was letting tap dancer Arthur Duncan (who was black) have too much screen time in her variety show. Betty gave him even more screen time after that. And she became not just someone the gay community idolized, but one of our fiercest allies.

And every person who met her in persons said that neither the personability nor the wittiness was an act. It was who she was.

Betty was famous for loving vodka and hot dogs–and for refusing to apologize for not being into anything more fancy or stylish. So, join me in raising a glass as we bid farewell to the great Betty White.


Others have thoughts on her passing:

Betty White, ‘Golden Girls’ Star and TV Legend, Dies at 99

Longtime LGBTQ+ Ally Betty White has died at 99 – The beloved actress who was set to celebrate her 100th birthday on January 17, 2022 died overnight in Los Angeles

Betty White Understood Gay Men, and We Loved Her for It – I never felt ‘handsome,’ but when I met Betty, she made me feel like I was

Betty White defied racist demands with her 1954 variety show – Betty White Once Helped Launch the Career of a Black Tap Dancer by Hiring Him for Her Variety Show

On the seventh day of Christmas vacation…


Saw this above screenshot of a tweet being shared and found it funny. Though I immediately wanted to compose my own:

  • Dec 23: Vacation Day
  • Dec 24: Christmas Eve (company holiday)
  • Dec 25: Christmas Day/Saturday
  • Dec 26: Boxing Day/Sunday
  • Dec 27: Christmas Holiday Observance (company holiday)
  • Dec 28 – 30: Combo of vacation days and odd company holidays
  • Dec 31: New Year’s Eve
  • Jan 1: New Year’s Day/Saturday
  • Jan 2: Sunday
  • Jan 3: New Year Holiday Observance (company holidays)
  • Jan 4: Back to Reality

I’m totally on board with the idea that for those of us who take at least a week off for the holidays that time does become a fog and the notion of weekdays and non-weekdays is tenuous at best.

My husband went back to work Tuesday. Which means that I kept thinking it was Monday.

Seattle and the surrounding area is currently under a blanket of snow. The first flurries hit our neighborhood late on Christmas Even, but the real snow didn’t start until very late Christmas. I’ve bee trying to keep the hummingbird feeder thawed out with mixed success. The birds have been extra competitive for food in the cold.

The main roads seem to be drivable, but we can’t get out of our street without dealing with one steep hill or the other, and I have been hearing tires spinning out on the closer of those hills. I may have to head to the grocery store on foot if for no other reason to pick up some prescriptions if the roads don’t improve.

I’d had hopes for today, because the weather report a few days ago said the temperature would get above freezing for a while that day… but now it’s 28° and the forecast is it’s going to stay below 30F.

Nine Years Ago Today

The service made me cry a lot.

I’ve written a few times about how I and my husband got married on the very first day it was legal to do so in our state. And how our fabulous friends assembled a beautiful wedding chapel in their home and how many other wonderful friends attended and played music (secretly organizing the music without us knowing) and so many other great things.

I cried a lot.

Rather than recap all of that, I figured this story about other weddings that happened that same day, a few miles away at Seattle City Hall would suffice:

60 Moments That Gave Me The Chills During Seattle’s First Day Of Marriage Equality – Relive one of the most emotionally exhausting days of my life, when 138 couples got married in downtown Seattle on the first day gay marriage was officially lega

To absent friends… 2021

Today is World AIDS Day. Each year, I spend part of the day remembering people I have known who left this world too soon because of that disease.

So: Frank, Mike, Tim, David, Todd, Chet, Jim, Steve, Brian, Rick, Stacy, Phil, Mark, Michael, Jerry, Walt, Charles, Thomas, Mike, Richard, Bob, Mikey, James, Lisa, Todd, Kerry, Glen, Brad, and Jack. Some of you I didn’t know for very long. Two of you were relatives. One of you was one of my best friends in high school and college.

I miss you all. It was a privilege to know you.

Joe Jervis at JoeMyGod.com often posts this story to commemorate the day: Membership: A Memory For World AIDS Day.

I’ve asked before: who could imagine that I would see my own country refuse to deal with a deadly epidemic twice in my lifetime?

It’s nearly time for the jangle java jingle!

jangle java jingle

We’ve reached the time of year where holiday coffee blends start appearing in stores, which means that once again I already have way more bags of these specialty coffees than I can used up during the holiday season!

Pictured above is my current haul, though I will be keeping an eye out for more!

My rule about using the holiday coffees is, with the exception of any that explicitly have Thanksgiving in their name, I can’t start using them until the day after Thanksgiving. So far the only Thanksgiving blend of whole beans I have found in stores have been Starbucks’ and I usually open that bag several days before Thanksgiving, which I have done.

Starbucks now has two different Christmas/Holiday blends, in addition to the Thanksgiving blend. The one in the purple/lavender bag is a lighter/milder roast. We’ll see how I like it.

I do keep hoping to find a bag of Starbucks’ in the blue foil variant (which tends to be stocked in Starbucks stores with a large jewish clientele). But I’ve never found one. Seattle doesn’t seem to have a large enough jewish community, I guess. I should mention that individual store managers decide which color and whether to order bags labeled "Holiday Blend" or "Christmas Blend."

Anyway, it’s that time of year! We got most of our Thanksgiving dinner things purchase. Our 11-pound turkey (the smallest we could find) is in the fridge slowly defrosting. I only work three days this week, and a bunch of my co-workers have taken the entire week off–including some of the people who most often interrupt me with emergency projects that need to be handled now–so I’m hopeful it will be a quiet, productive week.

Wish me luck!

Confessions of a Child Abuse Survivor, or, why forgiving and forgetting isn’t an option for some of us


Content Warning: Mentions instances of child abuse and animal cruelty. Reader discretion is advised.


I was raised by an extremely racist, angry, reactionary man who was physically, verbally, and emotionally abusive to his wife and children. Sometimes when I have mentioned this some people have felt the need to chime in to dismiss my description. So I will just mention that one time, when my at-the-time four-year-old sister wound up in the hospital with a fractured skull because of one of his beatings, and she accidentally mentioned to one of the medical personnel that he had been hitting her, and thus all of the family were interviewed by someone from the state department of child protective services, that afterward to punish my sister for not sticking to the lie he drilled into us on the way to the hospital (but knowing that authorities were now watching the family), he made us watch him kill the family cat while he explained to my sister that it was her fault the cat had to die like that.

So don’t you dare tell me that my father wasn’t an abusive evil being.

A bit over five years ago my father died. The last time I spoke to him was about seven years before his death. He had called me. I tried to remain civil during the call. The first time he went off on a rant using the n-word and a number of other racial slurs, I interrupted and reminded him that I have previously said I would hang up when he talked like that. He tried to argue that he was entitled to his opinions. I replied that while he was entitled to his opinions, I was not obligated to listen.

He muttered a half-hearted agreement and changed the subject.

But it wasn’t long until he went off on another similar screed–this one a bit worse because he suggested that murdering a particular African-American politician would be a good idea. Again I reminded him that if he insisted on talking like that, I would hang up on him. Once again, he muttered a half-hearted non-apology and tried to change the subject. I tried to lighten the topic even further…

But again, it wasn’t long until he was using several racial slurs while complaining about something he’d heard about on Fox News. I tried to interrupt but he started talking faster. So I raised my voice and said, "I told you if you keep talking like that I would hang up. I’m hanging up now, and if you try to call back I will not answer."

And I hung up.

He tried calling a few times that night. I didn’t answer.

He never tried calling again.

Some years later his sister called to tell me he was dying. She also said he couldn’t take any calls because he couldn’t hear well enough to understand. Which was fine be me, because I didn’t want to talk to him. Of course, a few days later for complicated reasons she was shouting into my voice mail how my next older sister’s persistence in trying to call him to say good-bye had forced them to remove the phone from his room so she couldn’t talk to him again, and now none of his "real friends" could call to say good-bye.

I had been relieved the day before when the same aunt said he couldn’t take calls. But I admit I was extremely pissed to find out that that was a lie, and that people on that side of the family were choosing to exclude some of us. Which I know is weird, because I didn’t want to talk to him. But my sister had wanted to. And she did (and because my sister always calls everyone on speakerphone no matter where she is, I have two reliable witnesses who say that he clearly could hear and understand her, that he knew it was her, and so forth).

The morning that I got the message that Dad had died, I was a bit shocked at just how overwhelming the sense of relief that came over me was. I had thought that I had mostly been over all the bad feelings from him for years, but I wasn’t.

Since he died, every Fathers’ Day, every anniversary of his birthday, and every anniversary of his death has brought a resurgence of that feeling of relief. I never have to talk to him again. I never have to deal with his BS again. So in some corners of the web I make a comment. And in some parts of my real life I make a comment.

Sometimes, people express the opinion that it isn’t healthy for me to continue to be glad that the abusive man who beat me severely for years–whose beatings sent me to the emergency room more than once, who sometimes made me watch him beat my siblings or my mother as an object lesson–is dead. I try to be civil when I say, "It makes me feel better to remember he’s gone."

I don’t know if I always succeed.

There is a myth perpetrated in our society that the only way to recover from bad experiences is to forgive and forget. It is not true. First, no one is ever, under any circumstances, obligated to forgive. At a minimum, the only point where forgiveness should become a consideration is if the offender makes a genuine expression of remorse and a reasonable attempt to make amends. Even in those circumstances, forgiveness is not required.

When they never acknowledge that anything they did was wrong, let alone never ask for forgiveness, then forgiveness isn’t even recommended.

There are times that I honestly wish I could forget some of the horrid things he did and said to me when I was a child. I don’t want to remember those things. Truly, I don’t.

But…

Remembering those things has allowed me to recognize other abusive people who have come into my life. It was allowed me to put a bit of a barrier between myself and those abusive people. It has several times been a major benefit, as I had not allowed myself to become so entangled in the abusive person’s actions when for social reason I am required to occasionally have contact.

We learn through experience. And no matter how unpleasant the experience is, we should never reject the lesson the experience teaches us. So, no, I will not forget how awful my father was. I will not forget the pain he caused me, my siblings, nor my mother.

Those who forget evil are doomed to repeat it.

A look at the latest Apple Remote

Apple Remotes. Left to right: 1st Generation, 2nd Generation, 3rd Generation, and 4th Generation

In late April Apple announced (along with other products) a new remote for its Apple TV set top box. I was so impressed with the redesign, and pleased with the fact that it was compatible with my older Apple TV, that I ordered the remote as soon as it came out.

That last sentence could just as truthfully been written as, "I was so tired of the inadequencies of the 3rd general Apple Remote…"

I’ve been using the 4th generation remote for about a month and a half now, and the short version of my review is: this is so much better than the previous remote!

For some background, pictured above are all four generations of Apple Remote, and yes those are all mine. The first one (the white plastic one on the left in the picture) was introduced back in 2005 and looks an awful lot like the iPad Shuffle of that time. I did not own an Apple TV back when the first generation remote came out–no one did, because the first Apple TV was introduced until two years later. This original remote was meant to control media playback on an iMac and other Mac computers the at the time. When the first Apple TV came out, this remote also worked with it.

The second generation remote was released in 2009. The aluminum body of the remote resembles the iPod Nano of the same year. The most obvious functional difference is the Pause/Resume button was moved out of the click wheel, and the center button of the click wheel became a Select button that you could click or double-click like a mouse or touchpad.

The third generation was released in 2015 and doesn’t look like it belongs in the same product line at all. Take a moment to look at all four in the picture. Three of them have as the largest control a circle control with several functions, and some other buttons below. Not the third generation. The entire area about the buttons in a single touch surface. You can swipe with a finger or thumb and you can click. And while that gives you generally speaking most of the functions of the click wheel (moving the cursor of selection indicator on the screen of the device you are control up, down, left, or right and selecting things), it’s actually a not nearly as convenient.

I admit, watching the device being demoed on screen, I thought the touch surface as a brilliant choice. In practice at home, it wasn’t. With the previous remote, if you had a long list to scroll through on your screen, you could just hold down the part of the click wheel and the list would start moving on the screen. With the third generation you had to swipe, swipe, swipe, swipe, swipe, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

But the real annoying thing for both myself and my husband was that it is extremely easy to pick up the remote wrong. You can not tell be feel the difference between the touch surface above the buttons, and the non-touch surface below. You don’t know how many times one of us was swiping on the control and nothing was happening. And yes, it could be argued that if you just looked at the buttons you could tell which was the right direction, it just didn’t work out.

This latter might be about the way my husband and I both process information, but even glancing at it always took me a few seconds before I noticed that the word "Menu" was upside down when I was holding it wrong.

A few years after releasing the third generation remote, Apple released a very slightly modified version that added the raised right ring you can see on the menu button above which they thought would solve the problem. I didn’t get around to upgrading my old Apple TV to one that came with the third generation remote until after they introduced the white ring, and so I can say from experience that the white ring was not enough.

A lot of reviews I read of the third generation also complained about how easy it is, since half the surface of the remote is a touch pad, to accidentally click or swipe while you are watching something, can be annoying. I never experienced that because I only pick up the any remote when I want to change something, and I always immediately set it down again. Some people keep the remote in their hand the entire time they are watching something, and those or the folks I assume kept doing the accidental swipes and such.

The fourth generation brought back the circular control. The center bit of the control is a touch surface. You can swipe and click with it just like the larger touch surface of the third generation, but it’s a lot harder to do it inadvertently while you’re casually holding the device. The outer rim is a clever combination of touch surface and the four directional buttons of the second generation. You can click, or you can run your thumb around it to control movement of the onscreen cursor.

They added a Mute button, which is quite handy, and they replaces the Menu button’s name with a back arrow, which I think is a more intuitive representation of what the Menu button does. It doesn’t make a menu appear, it takes you back to whatever you were looking at before. They also added the little Power/Wake-up button, and they moved the Sire button off the main surface of the remote to the edge.

I should mention at this point that when Apple released the third generation remote, they renamed it Siri Remote. And I understand why they did that. The previous two generations didn’t have a microphone built in that you could use for voice controls. But it’s really just the next two generations of the Apple Remote.

The controls on the fourth generation are much easier to use. It is noticeably larger and feels much more solid in the hand. If I do happen to grab it with the end that ought to be pointing at the TV pointing back and myself, I can immediately tell because the round click wheel/touch surface feel nothing at all like the smooth aluminum of the wrong end. It is in every way a superior design.

I learned an interesting thing about myself while reading other people’s reviews of the remote. Many of those reviews mentioned that the placement of the Siri button on the right edge of the remote meant it was less convenient for lefties, since if you are holding the remote in your right hand, it is easy to press the Siri button with your thumb, but if holding it in your left hand it’s a slightly more awkward reach with the index finger.

I’m a left-handed remoter!

I always hold any TV-type remote in my left hand, and have never thought twice about it. Technically I’m ambidextrous, and my usually joke about that is, "Which means my handwriting is equally illegible no matter which hand I’m writing with." When I draw or paint I switch the drawing instrument from one hand to the other. Sometimes it’s because the angle is better in one hand or the other, but I’ve also learned over the years the sides of the brain that control each hand are better at different art tasks.

On the other hand, I was very strongly a left-footed soccer player back in the day, while much better as a right-handed basketball player than left.

Anyway, I had never noticed that I always use remotes left-handed before this. I even experiments after realizing, and it just feels completely wrong to put the remote in the right hand. It wants to transfer the remote to the other hand right away every time!

But, back to the review: it is a nice redesign. I’m really glad I upgraded. And I just have to say to the person I read online who claimed that it’s a "$79 remote that feels like a $39 remote" — have you actually bought any remotes that sell for ~40 bucks? Because I have, and they are cheap pieces of plastic that FEEL cheap and the have a tendency to peel and crack on the underside.

This solid aluminum remote feels nothing like that.

Don’t Roll the Dice if You Can’t Pay the Price — or, some writing lessons from a 1960 heist film


A group of friends and I have been having a weekly movie night during quarantine. Each of us have nominated some movies, we put them into a rotation in a shared spreadsheet, and each Sunday night we all cue up the movie to stream or otherwise watch together and we text each other comments while we watch, then talk about it afterward. This last Sunday the movie was The Thomas Crown Affair /(the 1999 remake/).

There were at least two of us in the group old enough that we remember watching the 1968 version starring Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway. So while we were contrasting the newer version versus our recollection of the original, a young friend in the group mentioned that the 1960 version of Ocean’s Eleven was awful compared to the newer version. I started to get affronted, but fortunately before I typed anything my second thoughts pointed out that I haven’t watched the old version since I was about fourteen years old.

And I honestly couldn’t say whether I would agree with 14-year-old me about the merits of the movie.

So, since it was available to stream for free on one of the services I subscribe to, I watch the 1960 version of Ocean’s Eleven that night.

Short review: I still really enjoyed it. However, I completely understood why younger viewers would not enjoy it at all. It was a great reminder that no creative work stands in isolation.

More detailed review: One of the film’s greatest weaknesses is that there is virtually no character development. As more than one contemporary review pointed out, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Peter Lawford, Sammy Davis, Jr., Joey Bishop — also known as the Rat Pack — aren’t playing fictional characters unique to this movie, but rather just playing the personas that each had become associated with over the course of several movies and other performances over the years before the release of this film.

Cesar Romero–who was never considered part of the Rat Pack–is essentially playing the same character he played in a large number of movies before this. And much less famous members of the cast (Richard Benedict, Norman Fell, Hank Henry, Robert Foul,, Richard Conte, and Henry Silva to name a few) were all playing a type of character that they were frequently cast as. So for a vast portion of the 1960 audience of the film, the script didn’t have to do any work to establish the characters—the audience knew what to expect when they saw the actor walk into frame.

A further example of this is the recurring gag during the first half of the movie. For no apparent reason, Sinatra’s Danny Ocean keeps doing or prompting others to do things that greatly upset the mastermind of the operation, Mr. Acebos /(played by Akim Tamiroff/). Nothing about this sub-plot ever contributes to the end of the film, let alone moving forward any part of the plot. Tamiroff was an exceedingly well regarded actor who had been nominated for an Oscar a few times in his early career, but by the late fifties he was often cast in roles like this one of a easily excitably, overly worried character. His main role in those sorts of files was the be the easily wound up character who was unnecessarily worried about the ability of the main character to do whatever he was supposed to do for the plot.

Slight digression at this point, Tamiroff was an Armenian-American who was never able to shed his accent, and thus enjoyed a 60-some year career in Ho0llywood being cast as virtually every ethnicity except Armenian. The character he played in 1940′ The Great McGinty is often cited as the inspiration of the character of Boris Badenoff in the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons.

Another big shortcoming of the movie for modern audiences is the heist itself. The way that Danny Ocean’s eleven comrades go about stealing millions in cash from five casinos simultaneously is not even slightly as intricate or clever as the plots of later caper films such as The Hot Rock or either version of The Thomas Crown Affair or even any single episode of the television series Leverage.

But, to defend the movie (which made a tidy profit for the studios at the time), one doesn’t have to ignore all of those deficits. Rather, one should ask what sort of story was it trying to tell?

First, even though it usually presented as a stand-alone movie, that wasn’t at all how the movie executives (nor most of the audience) perceived it. If you were a studio making movies at that time, you didn’t cast Sinatra, Martin, Davis, Lawford, et al, to portray a new and unique character. You cast them to play a particular type of character they had become famous for. Similarly, if you were an audience member going to the theatre to see this film, you were expecting those actors to deliver a certain kind of entertainment.

Second–and possibly most important–this film is not part of the modern genre of caper film. The title itself foreshadows the ending. Early in the film Sammy Davis, Jr. sings a song called "Ee Oh Eleven." The song is about a person who is trying to claw their way out of a less than advantaged background, and almost reaches financial success, but life is a crap-shoot, and the character rolls an eleven, losing everything he had amassed. And that is the clue that was meant to tell audiences what was coming. The title appears to refer to Danny Ocean and his ten army buddies who, as a gang of eleven, are going to do the impossible. But the eleven in the title actually refers to that moment in a game of Craps where the person rolling the dice rolls an eleven and loses everything.

While I was looking things up about the film to make sure I remembered all the details of its release and so forth correctly, I happened upon a quote from a contemporary review of the movie: "In the end, it is just an amoral tale told for laughs."

I think the reviewer who wrote the line thought that it was a scathing rebuke of the film. But when I read the line, my thought was, "Yeah? So?" Because an amoral tale simply told for laughs sounds like a quite wonderful way to spend an evening. We don’t usually come to stories and other works of art hoping for a deeply profound life-changing exploration of a erudite philosophical question.

We just want something that makes us laugh and feel entertained. And there is nothing wrong with that.