Scenes from the life of Marie Antoinette

1) An angry mob tries to show her the head of her best friend.

She’s being held captive by revolutionaries.  Outside, she hears an angry mob yelling and shouting.  She asked what it was.  Nobody would tell her.  Antonia Fraser tells us

“…the municipal officers had had the decency to close the shutters and the commissioners kept them away from the windows…

One of these officers told the King “they are trying to show you the head of Madame de Lamballe.”

Mercifully, the Queen then fainted away”.

2) She and her family try to make a run for the border, in disguise, but they are recognized by the local postmaster.

Or possibly by a tavern-keeper who recognized the king’s face from a coin.

3) Her husband is taken from her and executed.

4) Her eight year old son is taken away from her.

He was given to be raised by a cobbler.  The revolutionaries tried to trick him into accusing his mother of sexually abusing him.

5) Then at last her hair is cut off, and she’s wheeled in a cart through the streets of Paris.  When they led her up to the scaffold, she steps on the executioner’s foot by accident.  So she apologizes.  “Pardon me, sir, I did not mean to do it.”

None of these scenes (I got from a quick read of wikipedia) were in this movie:

There were some other good scenes.

People didn’t like to waste time back then.

Intending to work with his father on their ranch, Brubeck entered the College of the Pacific in Stockton, California, (now the University of the Pacific) studying veterinary science, but transferred on the urging of the head of zoology, Dr. Arnold, who told him “Brubeck, your mind’s not here. It’s across the lawn in the conservatory. Please go there. Stop wasting my time and yours”.

(from It’s About Time: The Dave Brubeck Story by Fred M. Hall, quoted in Wikipedia).

Laugh Kills Lonesome (1925)

When Charles Russell died (a year after finishing this painting), all the kids in Great Falls, Montana, were let out of school to watch the funeral procession.

Factory Girls by Leslie T. Chang


The stories of migrant women shared certain features.  The arrival in the city was blurry and confused and often involved being tricked in some way.  Young women often said they had gone out alone, though in fact they usually traveled with others; they just felt alone.  They quickly forgot the names of factories, but certain dates were branded in their minds, like they day they left home or quit a bad factory forever.  What a factory actually made was never important; what mattered was the hardship or opportunity that came with working there.  the turning point in a migrant’s fortunes always came when she challenged her boss.  At the moment she risked everything, she emerged from the crowd and forced the world to see her as an individual.

Best sentence:

I would have liked to spend more time with Big Sister Sun, minus the interpretive commentary; it was unendurable to watch one woman cry while another compared her to seaweed.

Highly recommend this excellent, enlightening, moving book.  I had heard amazing things about it, but figured it would be either dull or depressing or both.  I found it instead to be incredibly compelling.  There is a modesty and openness in the way Leslie Chang writes that is very rare in even the best nonfiction.  The description of the man who invented “Assembly Line English” is a genuine if somewhat tragic LOL.

I trailed Mr. Wu around the room.  I thought he was going to introduce me to some students, but he walked me over to one of the machines instead.  “These are so much more unwieldy than my new machines,” he said.  “It takes two people to carry one.”

By now it was early evening, and I commented that it was getting a little dark to read without light.

“That’s not bad for the eyes,” he said. “Bright sunshine is bad for the eyes.”

“I’m not saying bright sunshine is good for the eyes,” I said.  “I’m just saying it’s not good to read in the dark.”

“That’s not true,” he said heatedly.  “That’s only if your eyeballs are not moving.  If your eyeballs are moving, it doesn’t matter how dark it is.”

One small complaint.  There is a description of the village girl Min going to McDonald’s for the first time.  “She brought her face down close to her Big Mac and ate her way through the sandwich one layer at a time.”  I could not exactly picture how this worked (like, was she descending on the bun part from the top?  did she remove each layer?) and would’ve liked more clarity.

Steve Wozniak

Seen here with Joey Slotnick, he built the first computer where the letters you typed on a keyboard appeared on a screen. So far he is my favorite character in the Steve Jobs biography.  From Wikipedia:

His favorite video game is Tetris. In the 1990s he submitted so many high scores for the game to Nintendo Power that they would no longer print his scores, so he started sending them in under the alphabetically reversed “Evets Kainzow”

Wozniak is no longer dating Kathy Griffin.