Hmm Weekly for December 31, 2019

It is the final Tuesday of the decade

Hmm Weekly for December 31, 2019

Hmm Weekly, Holiday Edition, cont’d.

GOOD MORNING! This is another THE HOLIDAYS-shortened transmission of HMM WEEKLY, the successor publication to HMM DAILY, distributed via SUBSTACK,  a newsletter delivery and reading platform. We are currently posting  items FREE TO ALL, in gratitude to those of you who previously  financially supported HMM DAILY or those of you who merely expressed  interest in it. Eventually, as our weekly publication grows longer, we  will set about creating additional things that will be viewable  exclusively to financial supporters of HMM WEEKLY. We hope you will  accompany us on our happy success journey.

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Heart of Darkness

A journey through the Disney+ channel, Part 2: The Story of Perri

THERE IS A heap of content in this new “Disney+” channel, which I am watching “free” for a year because I use Verizon for my phone service, and I aim to get the most out of my year besides watching The Mandalorian, eight episodes and it’s done for the season, that’s it!

My mission is to watch a whole bunch of Disney movies, featuring animals such as a squirrel, and wacky premises such as a cat from outer space, or a darn cat.

I figured The Story of Perri would be a delightful nature film, with a whimsical narration and nice footage of squirrels running around. It’s billed as “A True-Life Fantasy,” which is what I figured Disney called it to explain away the richly colored painterly embellishments of landscape footage opening the movie and giving it a Disney-type thing.

The narrator tells us we are in a forest called Wildwood Heart, and that it’s springtime, which is the time of “together.” This film was made in 1957, so “together” is all the explanation you get about why animals get together in the springtime. Disney!

Baby Perri stackin’ some Zs

We are introduced to many animals of the forest—birds, foxes, raccoons, deer, beaver, bunnies—and then, as we meet the squirrels, we also see the villain of the piece: the marten, which looks like a cross between a fox and a weasel, and the film explains she’s just trying to feed her family like all the other forest animals, but we aren’t even 10 minutes into this flick and the vicious marten is chasing Perri’s mother all over the place and trying to eat poor little baby squirrel Perri! I can’t take it!

The marten

The other part of “True-Life Fantasy” is that the filmmakers just went and chucked animals together in front of the cameras to get action footage. There’s way too many bullshit setups of animals bumping into each other, falling out of trees, and being staged to get run down as prey or for antic comedy. Compared to modern nature films, it’s somehow more brutal to watch, the engineered drama. Also, they cut to birds a lot for reaction shots. I swear, reality shows learned their editing from these phony nature flicks, just cutting to somebody staring blankly into middle distance.

Meanwhile, Perri’s entire family disappears because of the bloodthirsty martens, who I hate:

Perri comes at last upon her nesting tree, and finds: Catastrophe. Mother, sister, brothers, all are gone. Not one is left. Not one. And now it’s Perri’s turn. To look upon the face... of death.

The book this movie is based on was written by the author of Bambi, so we get a cameo of a real-life grown-up Bambi buck for some Disney cross-promotion. But there’s no respite from danger. After we move through fall and winter there’s a terrifying forest fire, and then later Perri gets attacked by a goshawk and a goddamn weasel. There’s another little squirrel, Porro, who spends a large part of the film building a nest, which he loses, and then when he finds another spot high up in a tree, a beaver chews it down. I can’t take it!

Perri attempting to ward off yet another animal trying to devour her

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to watch a movie and have to feel bad for squirrels surrounded by death getting kicked out of their apartments! And then more death!

Perri is aware of death. She is bereft, and mourns her loss.

We leave the picture on an up note, though. It’s springtime again, and we get a closing song about “together,” and footage of frisky squirrels.

Together time is the time to share / these happy hours beyond compare / all nature is waiting so no hesitating / for this is together time

This movie stressed me out big time. I do not recommend this movie. Watch some real-life National Geographic stuff instead.


Sprinkles, shimmies, and eyeballs

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WE PRESENT A selection of recipes for ancient but reproducible sandwiches, found in The Up-To-Date Sandwich Book: 400 Ways to Make a Sandwich, by Eva Greene Fuller; 1909; McClurg and Co., Chicago, now in the public domain for the delectation of all.

Roll puff paste very thin; cut round with a biscuit cutter; bake to a delicate brown. Add chopped almonds to apple or peach marmalade and place the mixture between two rounds of pastry.

Cold chopped boiled sweetened prunes, mix with English walnuts chopped fine, moisten with a little of the prune syrup, and place between thin slices of lightly buttered white bread. Garnish with a spray of smilax.

One-half pound of maple sugar, one-half pound of brown sugar, one-half cup of water, and one-half teaspoonful of cream of tartar; boil these together until they form a soft ball when dipped in cold water. When nearly cold, beat with a fork until thick and creamy; spread on an equal number of thin round slices of buttered white and entire wheat bread, and place together in pairs, one of each kind of bread.

Toast saltine biscuit, lightly butter, and spread with potted ham. Put two together, serve as soon as made. Garnish with a pickle.

If you make one of these sandwiches, before you eat it, please send a picture to

HMM WEEKLY IS written by Tom Scocca, editor, and Joe Mac2020, creative director.
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