Film Corner: Mermaid, Lake of the Dead

Mermaid, Lake of the Dead

Kissmate is sick and running a 103 degree temperature, so (a) thoughts are appreciated, (b) we might have to go to urgent care if Advil and water don't bring the fever down, and (c) he wants me to live tweet a terrible Amazon movie to take his mind off the probable flu he has. [Editor's Note: This was previously posted on Twitter; Kissmate is fine now.]

This one he picked out: it's called MERMAID LAKE OF THE DEAD. It's on Amazon Prime. "For years, she has lurked in the depths, waiting. Once a young woman sent to a tragic and watery grave, she has since become something unholy. Cursed to swim the waters in which she met her untimely death, the mermaid has risen once again."

A little girl is explaining that the Russian mermaid in the lake will drown you as soon as you express your love for her and I'm excitedly screaming because it's a rusalka??? The little girl says if you DON'T love her, she'll hound you to your grave and separate you from all your loved ones. There's an escape clause if you give the mermaid your most precious possession, but nobody has ever managed to be released before.

On a bridge, a girl approaches a boy who has creepy blood red eyes. He falls into the water and she whispers "no, take me!" Then she manages to pull him out. OH NO ETHEREAL SINGING AND WOOD CREAKING. The girl just got yanked into the water by magic and blue hands before a title dropped. That was legitimately terrifying?

Film Corner: Terminator Dark Fate

Terminator: Dark Fate

[Editor's Note: This was previously posted on Twitter in 2019.]

I wanted to see the new Terminator anyway because of Linda Hamilton but I'm seeing that some men are angry because Feminism is in it or something and that just makes me more excited.

T1 and T2 were good because of her and because Sarah Conner was the focus of the story. T3 lost its way by believing Arnold and John were the heroes. It'd be like removing Ripley from the ALIENS series. This just confirms my belief that all the guys who use Sarah Conner and Ellen Ripley as examples of "strong female characters" they don't hate *would*, in fact, hate them if their movies came out today.

Hell, one guy I saw complaining claimed there are "no political issues" in T1 and T2 and OH MY GOD. Nuclear war, capitalism, the tech and war industries bent on our communal destruction in search of profit, medical abuse, foster neglect, THE BAD GUY IS DRESSED AS A FUCKING COP, do I need to go on??

HOLY SHIT THE NEW TERMINATOR SAPPHIC LOVE BALLAD FEELS

HOLY FUCK HOLY SHIT HOLY FUCK

YES OMG OMG OMG YES THIS IS THE BEST MOVIE EVER

DIABETIC TERMINATOR GIRL?????

OH HOLY. FUCKING. OVARIES.

MY FEELINGS.

YES YES YES YES YES YES YES

Oh god Sarah is powerful and sexy and strong and I just-

Oh my god that was the best movie I've ever seen, bar none.

The scene with Grace shoving Sarah against the wall was SEX.

I cannot deal with my own dang feels.

Ok, the only terminator movies that matter:
- Terminator
- Terminator 2
- Terminator: Dark Fate

(I personally liked Genisys for what it was, but I'm ok with it being non canon so Dark Fate can exist.)

I still find it hilarious that men were angry about the US military and cops being useless or outright evil in the movie, given that was their role in *checks notes* literally all the other Terminator movies too. "The OTHER Terminator movies didn't talk about illegal immigration!!" My dude, she goes entirely off-grid and moves to Mexico, did you think she left a passport paper-trail??

Can I just say as someone Older Than A Lot Of Folks, how valuable it was to me to see an older woman being powerful and ripped and sexy in a movie?? Linda Hamilton is 63 and Sarah Conner has my consent to do whatever the fuck she likes to me. And that's not noteworthy when it's various aging Hollywood men, and yet! I honestly can't remember the last time an action movie starred an older woman in this kind of role.

I seriously--and I am not joking here--feel like TERMINATOR DARK FATE should be shown in sex education classes to help the baby sapphics come out.

Film Corner: Frozen 2

Frozen 2

Well...Frozen 2 was a movie? [Spoilers] I'll say that I went into it wanting an explicitly ace and/or sapphic plot-line, was hyped for Elsa singing about the temptation of a siren, and had my hopes dashed in that regard. So if you're going for Give Elsa A Girlfriend / Make Elsa Ace, they...don't.

You could maybe read her as flirting with a girl in one scene, ish, but they don't do anything with it. And a "YOU'RE what you're looking for" plotline is nice in the context of 1,800 hetero-marriage Disney movies, but so many of us wanted Elsa to be queer. "Look, we made her independent and single!" would be fine for a new Disney movie, but when the vast majority of the queer community has claimed your character for their own, it's a bit of a slap in the ol' giblets.

You can definitely see how they were trying to address the cultural appropriation called out in Frozen 1, but I wonder at a deconstruction of colonialism in which the white people benefit the most and lose nothing. I would have preferred that white audiences grapple with the idea of losing some of our colonialist gains and life going on regardless despite a lessening of our generational wealth and power. But that's just my two cents; I'd rather boost POC voices on that topic. Not my own.

Oh! I will add that Elsa and Anna are now both queens with an indigenous parent, which feels significant given *waves at Disney Princess collection* but again this is NOT my lane to commentate on, being white myself.

What IS my lane is how super disappointed I am that Elsa wasn't made explicitly queer. And the fact that her "I want" song FELT like it was going in that direction was a kick in the chest when they refused to follow through. Anyway, it was a movie. The six dollars I paid for a ticket weren't wasted. Go see Terminator if you still can. I do expect her I Want song to be taken by all the sapphics. "I'm missing somebody, which makes no sense because everyone I love is here, shut up siren, I don't need you" like lol Disney this is ours now, fucking deal with it.

A moment that stuck with me from Frozen 2 is Elsa being embarrassed at the reminder of her sultry-walk, chest-wiggle in LET IT GO. And how that would've been funny were it not for the context of Disney's regret that all us Gays identified with that song. Like, it's clearly meant to be a moment of growing older and being a little embarrassed at your younger self, but the context of all their queer baiting and hostility is present and I'm still a little miffed. So I propose we all super-steal her I Want song in F2 ("Into The Unknown") and do the gayest shit we can think of while singing it.

This is good context:

@FemmedelaMer. I haven't seen the film, but my indigenous friend did because it was made with help from the Sami Parliament of Norway. Apparently the dam conflict is an explicit reference to this.

Film Corner: Event Horizon

Event Horizon

Oooh, EVENT HORIZON is on Amazon Prime. Will I finally be able to watch it without covering my eyes the entire time? "In 2047, a team of astronauts embark on a mission to retrieve a missing spaceship. However, their simple retrieval job leads to something far more terrifying than any of them would suspect." I wonder what it was like to have confidence that in 40 years time we'd have manned space mining and shit. Sorry, sorry, I'll focus on this lovely movie about hell in space.

Ooh, text scroll. "2015. First permanent colony established on the moon." Wow, so we only have -4 years to get on that, y'all OH MY GOD how is it 2019? "2032. Commercial mining begins on Mars." That doesn't have anything to do with anything, so I'm not sure why they bring it up. "2040. Deep-space research vessel Event Horizon launched to explore boundaries of solar system." I hope potatoes are involved.

Anyway, the ship disappears without a trace just past Neptune and is the worst space disaster on record. That seems really grand, actually, compared to how dangerous I assumed Mars mining would be. I had to pause and came back to a cat lying on the remote. Why do I have so many naughty cats. I ordered good cats.

Film Corner: Doom

 Doom

I want to know if the Netflix DOOM movie is as good as the campy original. "When a swarm of soul-stealing demons invades a Martian moon, a group of elite space Marines must obliterate the beasts to save earth." I forgot Mars has moons, so that's cool. The opening is very pretty and I'm disoriented because the first scientist we see looks like a scientist from the first movie. Did I put the wrong disc in, I wonder in a brief panic.

The gate between Phobos and Nevada is this ominous black onyx thing with glowing red demonic runes set in it and I really want to talk to the designers because WHY. I want a movie about the futuristic Steve Jobs figure who convinces everyone that space ships and teleporters and stuff should look as Satanic as possible for maximal aesthetic benefit. OH MY GOD, the teleporter creates terrifying writhing black goo that you have to step into, I think the goo might be SCREAMING, why would you design it this way????

Film Corner: Charlie's Angels (2019)

Charlie's Angels (2019)

[Editor's Note: This squee previously posted on Twitter in 2019.]

Y'all. You need to all go see CHARLIE'S ANGELS, trust me. It is so good. SO GOOD. How did we get this AND Terminator in the same year? K Stew is sooooo gay and good, and Ella Balinska gets so much screen time and they become friends in the most natural way and all the women are so REAL and well written and amazing. It's simultaneously an improvement over the old canon BUT respectful and loving towards it in ways that actually made me cry. So good.

I am now going to talk about some things I loved about this movie.

1. You know that trope where someone is an amazing physical therapist and they violently adjust someone's back without asking? THE MAN IN THIS MOVIE ASKS. "I would like to give you a back adjustment; do I have your consent?"

2. K Stew is, in one scene, allowed to just "oh hi hello" be distracted by a pretty woman in the mooooost sapphic way.

3. At one point, K Stew needs to cause a distraction. A lesser movie would have her strip or something. In this one, she pretends to be a monkey. Head scratches and monkey noises. Perfection.

4. If there's a "main character" among the three women, it's the Black angel, Jane. She's allowed to have this full range of emotions, she cries at one point, she makes friends, she has a full backstory. She's not The Sidekick With Only One Emotion.

5. The opening scene has a man sneer about "housewives" and K Stew says that's not her choice but there's nothing wrong with being one.

6. At no point is anyone threatened with rape.

7. K Stew saying "do you know that it takes men an additional 7 seconds to recognize a woman as a threat" while she strangles a man and his bodyguards look confused and dumbfounded.

8. There are several beautiful call-backs to the previous show and movies that are respectful and kind. There's no sense of disrespect to the other women who've been in this series. (The call-backs are also subtle enough that you can happily miss them if you haven't seen them.)

9. In fact, this movie does something I love but rarely see: one of the villains is attracted to the angels but NOT in a rapey way. He actually thinks her ability to beat him up is AMAZING and SEXY and would she like to run away with him??? This is so rare and it pisses me off because it's how more villains SHOULD act. They shouldn't all default to rapey.

10. K Stew plays an heiress who has an extensive jail record, and it's just...nice to talk about the fact that money doesn't make kids happy. (Plus, it's the white girl with the jail record and all the sketchy thefty skills, which is nice.)

11. We see a LOT of angels and Bosleys, and the movie is careful to move away from the American-centrism + Exceptional (Three) Women trope.

12. At several points, Kissmate had to lean over and say "keep breathing" and "calm your gay heart" and basically- Remember that one Ghostbusters scene that gave a lot of us gay shivers? There are a LOT of moments like that. Hell, you could probably take younguns to see this? It's not ultra violent and I don't recall any sex. The swears were often not in English. (Merde!)

13. YES-->  @MaevesMomma1. I also noticed that the characters all have a healthy relationship with food. No diet talk or abstention.

14. SAME.  --> @JacksonEflin. The way she straight up FORGETS THE WHOLE MISSION for an entire 10 seconds because someone is so hot that she becomes too gay to function is the first time I've seen myself represented on screen.

15. The movie is also delightfully trope aware in some excellent ways. For example, Jane notices something is wrong because a typist is hitting the wrong keys. (I'd noticed too!!)

@ChenClem. Naomi Scott? why every one talks about Kristen and Ella acting and nor about Naomi.

Naomi Scott is AMAZING in her role and I promise the only reason I didn't gush more about her specifically is because those really would be spoilers. But she's WONDERFUL. And it's really amazing to watch her character develop over the course of the film.

I thought of another non-spoiler thing I really liked: at one point, K Stew is allowed to make silly faces at a little girl. And here's the thing: If you know K Stew, you know her big role in Twilight landed her with a reputation for being a "bad actress" because her acting was wooden and expressionless. The thing is, she was told to act like that because conventional wisdom was that facial expressions make women "ugly". So seeing her *allowed* to make "ugly" facial expressions in a joyful scene with a little girl brought tears to my eyes. She deserved this excellent film.

Open Thread: Ice on a Stick

A shovel handle encased in a coating of ice.

Technically it's ice on a wooden shovel handle.  Picture taken twelve days ago.

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Friday Saturday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us here, so give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Film Corner: The Breed

The Breed

I was supposed to work today but I have a sinus infection? I can't sleep because I have to be ready to answer the door for Reasons, so I'm going to do another #AnaWatches. It's tricky finding just the right movies for this sort of thing because I want something bad but, like, an actual movie that *tried* and wasn't just a parody like Sharknado. Not that I dislike Sharknado, by any means. I was going to try another movie about the Countess Bathory but alas the only other movie about her on Amazon isn't Prime-free. I would've expected more movies about her, to be honest.

So for now it's back to bad monster movies in honor of October. This one is called THE BREED. "A group of five college kids are forced to match wits with unwelcoming residents when they fly to a 'deserted' island for a party weekend." I hope "match wits" means a really intense and high-stakes game of chess. Oh please, oh please.

Credits tell me that this is a Wes Craven production with Michelle Rodriguez, which is immediately WAY higher production and cast values than I expected for an Amazon Prime movie. Usually it's eastern European actors I've never seen before. Okay, but this has that dubbed eastern European *feel*, so that's nice. The blondest couple in the world lounge on a boat and talk about being lost and drunk until they find a creepy island. The girl goes off alone, as one does on a deserted creepy island.

Blond Girl is instantly dragged off by blur-doggos while her boyfriend futzes about on the boat. Mild gore. Smash cut to a plane and our actual group of protagonists-slash-chewtoys. They are a diverse group of college students. Michelle is dating the serious pre-med white guy who complains that he needs to study over party weekend. He and his brother are trust fund babies who, I guess, own Werewolf Island.

They're that special sort of Hollywood college kids that look in their 30s, claim to be in their 20s, and act like they're in their early teens. First: a dark basement in an attempt to get electricity to the cabin. Some drama is alluded to wherein the oldest brother is upset that Michelle is dating the youngest brother because Michelle dated the oldest brother "ten years ago". So when she was 10 or 11? Good grief.

The kids play at drinking, ziplining, hammocking, and so forth before finding a 9-week-old puppy that charms them all with its cute puppyness. They assume he was abandoned by a boater. I'm trying not to be annoyed at how bad these people are with dogs. They just want to cuddle him and aren't letting him run and play. He's a baby! He needs play!

Welp, the (new) Blond Girl who looks significantly older than the rest of the group has been bitten by a doggo. I assume she either has rabies or is a werewolf now. Pre-Med Younger Brother wants to take her back to the mainland for rabies shots but Dickhead Older Brother convinces her she can wait a few days and not to spoil the party. In bed, Pre-Med confesses to Michelle that there used to be a dog training facility on the island and that a few years ago all the dogs had to be put down as rabid. But those dogs couldn't be *these* dogs because rabies would've killed them a long time ago.

Blond Girl kisses and kiss-bites Dickhead Older Brother, so I assume he's a werewolf now too. At breakfast, she's ravenous and eating everything at the table. No one considers this odd, because of course. The boys go hunting with a bow and arrow, and notice there's no wildlife on the island. No birds, etc. Oh holy shit! The blond guy from the opening shows up, covered in blood, and says "the dogs don't want you here" before being mauled by three of them.

I can't enough stress that all these dogs are just normal dogs. The kids run back to the cabin and dogs attack Michelle. Older Brother fires an arrow at the dog and pierces Michelle's leg, but the dogs run off. Pyrrhic victory, I guess. She takes it well. Pre-Med says these dogs are acting like they're rabid but that it doesn't make sense because they should be dead. A dog explodes through the window to attack the Black Friend, who survives without a scratch to my complete surprise.

Dogs have taken the dock where the water-plane was parked. They have chewed through the anchoring rope. The plane is floating away. Drums, drums in the deep. HAHAHAHAHA, Older Brother swims to the plane to retrieve it but there are dogs waiting on the wing of the plane. They dive into the water to chase him. The kids run back to the cabin. (The two girls are doing well given that they've been bitten and arrow'd, respectively.) They nail up wood to zombie-proof the windows. I want this entire movie re-made with cats.

Michelle zip-lines from the house to the garage (which has a car that works after years of neglect) so they can drive to the other side of the island and call for help from the facility that made these NuRabies dogs. Cool plan, yes. Unfortunately, the elderly car doesn't work and she has to climb through the sun roof to escape the doggos. They only just manage to zip-line her back to the house, so that was a monumental waste of time.

At night, the cabin electricity goes out. IS IT DOGGOS? The Black man goes down to the basement and dies first. The remaining four flee to the attic. Pre-Med is bitten. They haul the attic ladder up while Good Doggies look quizzically up at them. I cannot stress how WEIRD it is to watch what is essentially a standard zombie movie premise but the zombies are perfectly ordinary puppies. Why don't we do this more often? Cats. Pandas. Koalas. Give me a zombie koala movie.

I need you to understand that these boys are the most foolish fuckers I've ever seen. Somehow they get the car working, which the dogs are alternately afraid of or attacking, depending on the scene. The bitten Blond Girl has some kind of magic eye contact power over the dogs, but gets herself impaled on a child's merry-go-round. Mild gore. Dogs instantly show up to attack and/or eat her corpse. The music jangles menacingly. The trio explore the "seeing eye dog facility" and deduce that the dogs were being genetically experimented on. Pre-Med grapples with his likely impending death from being bitten. Older Brother works to hook up a cell phone to a radio tower.

Older Brother has electrocuted himself and gotten flung off the radio tower. Now he is being menaced by doggos. I idly wonder how many zombie movies Michelle Rodriquez has been in, really. More or less than 7? Michelle is about to perish in an electrical fire. Oh. Apparently they can ALL hypnotize dogs with direct eye contact and that's just a Dog Thing and nothing to do with magical bite powers. I am skeptical.

Both the boys have been bitten. They and Michelle make it to the boat from the beginning, and speculate that surely a doctor can "cure" them from...whatever they have. There's literally no symptoms, so good luck with that I guess! They open the cabin door to "get some sleep" and DOGS SPRING OUT. Smash cut to credits. So it basically was Sharknado after all, but with perfectly ordinary dogs. I feel cheated.

I'm inclined to agree that this was probably supposed to be an actual zombie movie but then they ran out of money and just used the actors' dogs instead. Like, they aren't even scary dogs, just regular doggos.

December Newsletter (2020)

December's newsletter is late for two reasons. One, I've been low-key sick with a stomach-bug so it's been hard to sit down and really write a coherent monthly update. Which, speaking of, I am very excited to be looking back at the November newsletter which was "oh god oh god the election oh god" and to realize that while the past 30 days haven't always been easy, they could've been so much worse. Thank goodness.

The second reason this newsletter is late: I've been thinking about taking December off to rest because 2020 has kicked my ass a little (whomst among us hasn't??) but I have been dragging my feet a little over whether that's safe and fair to everyone here because I know December is a shitty month for queer folk in general, what will all the family and gatherings and so forth. I want to post something(s) that you can go to for some entertainment and comfort, and have been trying to figure out how to do that while still taking a little break.

Fortunately, there are some snips and snails in my drafts folder and some old movie watches that never made it up on the patreon and I think I can solve two birds with one post here: I can clean out the drafts folder, make sure we have some posts for December, take a break to clear my head, and start 2021 with a fresh outlook and fewer text files cluttering up my Works In Progress folder.

I love you all and I hope to see you next year!

Patreon News
All Patrons: I went ahead and posted my and Kissmate's watch of The Happiest Season because I didn't want anyone to be accidentally harmed by watching it without trigger warnings. There is also an illustration up for my Grimms' fairy tale retellings project! And there will be some snips going up to clean out my drafts folder and start 2021 fresh and new.

Older Links
My Ramblings Deconstructions: Here.
My YouTube Let's Plays: Here.
My Favorite Tumblr Funnies: Here.
@KissmateKittens: Here.

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Please stay safe out there.

Open Thread: Repaired Earring

Two earring hanging beside one another

The one on the right is the repaired one, I think it was waiting to be fixed for years at this point.  Picture taken on November 15th shortly after repairs were completed.

I am so sorry about the lack of open thread of late.

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Friday Recommendations!  What have you been reading/writing/listening to/playing/watching lately?  Shamelessly self-promote or boost the signal on something you think we should know about - the weekend’s ahead of us, so give us something new to explore!

And, like on all threads: please remember to use the "post new comment" feature rather than the "reply" feature, even when directly replying to someone else!

Film Corner: Happiest Season

Note: I usually time-delay Patreon posts, but I wanted this one to go up everywhere as quickly as possible so folks can make an informed decision about whether to watch this imho-harmful movie.

Ana: So @VespertilioGem and I are going to watch this HAPPIEST SEASON movie that has so profoundly polarized my mentions. It's on Hulu. The splash-screen image is alarming. KStew looks amazing, of course, but Mackenzie Davis looks- what did they do to her? She always looks so pretty but they've got her in, like, a bad wig? or something?

Mackenzie is my co-pilot because TERMINATOR: SAPPHICS was the first movie I ever took Kissmate to see and we both audibly *gasped* in theaters when she started throwing rebar around. (TERMINATOR: DARK FATE is free to watch on Amazon Prime and it is so good, seriously, trust me on this.)

Abby (KStew) and Harper (MackD) are part of a Christmas tour browsing dolled-up houses, which is my personal version of hell. Abby seems to agree with me! Harper is gaga over Christmas while Abby is not, and I realize you can't define a couple by one snapshot of their day but these two don't seem like a very good match for each other. Harper coaxes / commands Abby up onto a roof (to see the ~Christmas lights~) and Abby falls off and narrowly avoids breaking a limb, which feels like a metaphor for things yet to come.

Harper doesn't like that Abby is going to be "alone" for the holidays. Now, uh. I spent Christmases "alone" for years because my ex went up to see his kids (and I couldn't travel for disability reasons) and FOR ME, it was great. I loved it. Quiet, movies, food. It was pleasant, you know, to walk around naked and eat whenever I wanted to without having to plan dinners for The Family. So if Abby is like me, and she says she is, I don't really love this whole... "I pity you being alone on Xmas" motivation? They run around the neighborhood and kiss and it's sweet and so good. Harper asks Abby to come spend Christmas with her family. "I want to wake up with you on Christmas morning," she gasps.

Writings: Familar

Previously posted on Patreon. For more content, subscribe here! ♡

Kissmate and I watched Vampires vs. The Bronx this week on Netflix and it was lovely and creative and wonderful. Very highly recommend. But one scene got my brain churning; there's the fun cliché of the extremely-old and ostensibly-competent master vampire abusively dressing down their human familiar in a way that practically screams "you might as well betray me, because I'm never going to turn you like you wanted!"

I don't blame VTB for engaging in a fun cliché that dates back to Blade at the very least, to be clear! I love me some fun cliché. But it got me thinking: Yes, this is a fast and easy way to characterize vampires as evil, but we need some subversions of this trope. Someone can be evil without being an ineffective manager who cultivates betrayal. I wanna see a vampire who carefully vets their familiars, turns the ones who are a good fit for the master and their children, and offers severance packages to the rejects they decide not to turn. That seems like it would make for a stronger coven that can collectively survive any threat: survival of the fittest through diversity, cooperative, and loyalty.

Plus, when you offer generous severance packages to your "failed" familiars, you avoid a situation where you've hired a bunch of humans, told them all your weaknesses, given them the keys to your safe house, and then told them they'd better kill you before you kill them. That's a recipe for getting your safe house burned down at high noon!

I wanted to write two scenes. One scene is that of a rejected familiar being offered other options so that he doesn't default to betrayal as the only remaining choice left to him. The second involves a captured human offering a vampire their help to "overthrow" the vampire's sire, only to be informed that the sire has cultivated loyalty from his children by being respectful and competent and a good leader. Sure, he's evil but that doesn't make him bad at managing his people!


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"Master? Can we, uh, that is- Do you have a moment to talk? With me?" John shifted his weight nervously from foot to foot while desperately wishing he could loosen his necktie. It felt too tight, like he couldn't breathe, though he knew it was just nerves. Ten years of performance reviews in the corporate world before he'd changed jobs, so you'd think he'd be used to this sort of thing by now. But usually the stakes weren't quite so dire: immediate death vs. eternal life.

"I have many moments." The vampire's favorite joke, John knew. "I can surely spare one for you. What's on your mind, John? Sit down. Would you like to close the door?"