The Siren has been offline, mostly, for this past week, due to technical circumstances beyond her control. She won't describe the circs (they're boring) except to note that "That's the darndest thing" is not a phrase you ever want to hear from the nice man at Tekserve. All fixed now.
So the Siren has been visiting some old friends on her bookshelf, one of them being S.J. Perelman. The Siren assumes many of her readers know "Strictly From Hunger," but it is worth the revisit. Full text available here (click through the links marked "Part One" and "Conclusion"). Better yet, buy some Perelman--the Siren thinks his best years were the 1930s and early 40s. Yeah, yeah, yeah, like everybody else's best years...
Also, for the record, if the Siren ever adopts a new nom de blog, she's going with Violet Hush.
The violet hush of twilight was descending over Los Angeles as my hostess, Violet Hush, and I left its suburbs headed toward Hollywood. In the distance a glow of huge piles of burning motion-picture scripts lit up the sky. The crisp tang of frying writers and directors whetted my appetite. How good it was to be alive, I thought, inhaling deep lungfuls of carbon monoxide. Suddenly our powerful Gatti-Cazazza slid to a stop in the traffic.
"What is it, Jenkin?" Violet called anxiously through the speaking-tube to the chaffeur (played by Lyle Talbot).
A suttee was in progress by the roadside, he said--did we wish to see it? Quickly, Violet and I elbowed our way out through the crowd. An enormous funeral pyre composed of thousands of feet of film and scripts, drenched with Chanel Number Five, awaited the touch of Jack Holt, who was to act as master of ceremonies. In a few terse words Violet explained this unusual custom borrowed from the HIndus and never paid for. The worst disgrace that can befall a producer is an unkind notice from a New York reviewer. When this happens, the producer becomes a pariah in Hollywood. He is shunned by his friends, throw into bankruptcy, and like a Japanese electing hara-kiri, he commits suttee. A great bonfire is made of the film, and the luckless producer, followed by directors, actors, technicians, and the producer's wives, immolate themselves. Only the scenario writers are exempt. These are tied between the tails of two spirited Caucasian ponies, which are then driven off in opposite directions. This custom is called "a conference."