Tag Archives: Alice in Wonderland

Curious Alice

The National Archives’ Special Media Archives Services Division has a blog called Media Matters that is full of amazing gems, like this: The Curious Case of Curious Alice.

The post is about a deliriously insane 12 minute movie the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) made in 1971 to convince children not to do drugs.

In the conclusion to the film, Alice suffers from nothing but a slight case of pensiveness as a result of her drug-induced adventures in Wonderland. She reaches for her book and then looks into the distance as if contemplating the cause of her bad trip. The film goes to black, so that the final message of Curious Alice seems to be that reading books can lead to scary or confusing situations. That’s assuming a kid takes away anything from the film other than “neat cartoon—when’s recess?”

The commentary at Media Matters is as fascinating and funny as Curious Alice’s animation. It includes details about how “…the National Coordinating Council on Drug Education (NCCDE) criticized Curious Alice for being confusing and potentially counterproductive to drug abuse education” in 1972.

Good stuff, you should go check it out. Or, if you’re incredibly lazy, you can just watch the movie on the National Archives Youtube Channel:

happy birthday, EvilAgent!

Since it’s Evil Agent’s birthday, I figured this a good time to post this draft from December.

Husband, Evil and I were at brunch at our favorite local restaurant. The ubiquitous tin ceilings in most old buildings in our neighborhood are pretty, but they contribute to some loud dining adventures when the house is full.

Evil was having hot tea. There was a pot of hot water and a container of unopened tea bags on our table.

Evil asked for more hot water and the waiter asked if she wanted a new tea bag. She said no and gestured at the teabag already in her teacup, so when he brought the hot water he took the container of unopened tea bags to another table. The noise level at the restaurant was very high and clearly Evil and the Waiter misunderstood one another, because she couldn’t understand why he’d taken the teabags.

I thought she was looking for her hot water, which was sitting right in front of her. So now I was also confused, because I was apparently the only one who heard her original exchange with the waiter clearly.

The manager was passing by and stopped to see why Evil looked distressed.

This next part was only funny to me.

Evil told the manager that the waiter took her tea bag away, but she kept gesturing at the teabag in her teacup. He politely pointed out that she had a teabag. She kept pointing and saying, “He took it away.”

Then there was a prolonged exchange where I was trying to clarify why the tea was gone, Evil was asking for a tea bag, the manager were pointing at the tea bag, and the people at the next table were watching us all like we were a bit crazy.

Husband turned his attention to ordering a beer. Can you blame him?

The manager was very patient and, instead of picking up the teabag and aggressively pointing out she had a teabag, he asked questions until he found out what exactly she wanted. Evil didn’t raise her voice or shoot anyone and it was all resolved quickly when the manager gave Evil a new tea bag.

The manager, unfortunately, chewed the waiter out but I stopped back in later and apologized on our behalf and everyone lived happily ever after. (We also left a big tip).

The lesson here is that misunderstandings happen and that exercising a little patience is better than immediately getting angry or behaving rudely or defensively. Or maybe the lesson is that we should have ordered mimosas.

I’m not really sure why I concluded this post with a lesson – I don’t remember how I intended to introduce it now, it’s been too long. Since I can’t remember what the point of the post was going to be, I’m going to semi-pointlessly embed the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. Although it’s EvilAgent’s birthday, it’s probably everyone else’s unbirthday, so let’s all celebrate together, with tea!

Legend of Hell House

Our Tivo, OverLord II, recorded Legend of Hell House for us. We thought we’d seen it, but when we started it we realized we were quite mistaken. To be honest, we haven’t finished it. Although it’s not dull, I was finding it slightly ponderous compared to the other viewing options for the evening so we set it aside. I looked it up and read how it ends and I might still finish it at some point.

It’s got everything: rather good good acting, excellent sets and atmosphere that practically drips off the screen, respectable writing, the occasional episode of over-wrought acting, a good cast, a possessed cat, an interesting score, an old dark house, and Roddy McDowell in enormous 70s glasses.

The film is based on the novel Hell House, and both book and movie were written by Richard Matheson, author of I Am Legend and other spooky stories.

I recommend the movie, although I don’t have much else to say because we haven’t seen the end yet. I can tell you that the ghost is played by an uncredited Michael Gough, who went on to play Alfred in 4 Batman movies (starting with Tim Burton’s 1989 version) and most recently was the voice of the Dodo in Burton’s Alice in Wonderland.

Happy birthday to me

Disney World is an excellent place to spend your birthday. I’m not sure I was in my right mind when I decided we should get up at 5 a.m. on my 40th birthday to go run the Princess and the Frog 5K around Epcot, but it was really fun and I’m glad we did it. We weren’t signed up for the half-marathon that was the centerpiece of Princess Weekend. The other centerpiece, that is, besides me.


A Disney birthday, you see, is an egomaniac’s paradise. Cast members constantly wish you happy birthday and random strangers sing “happy birthday” to you while you wait in line for rides. You can drink outrageously strong birthday margaritas in FakeMexico and then ride the incredibly surreal ride that I can’t adequately describe because we were laughing too hard.


Next door to FakeMexico is, logically enough, FakeNorway, where you can study the huge mural and learn about the Norwegian national treasures: polar bears, seagulls, vikings, and giant women with clipboards.


We had an outrageously good time at the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and (no kidding) at the Wide World of Sports Complex. And, of course, we had a great time seeing Alice in Wonderland Friday night. I have much more to say and many emails to respond to, but it all has to wait until I recover for a while.