Friday, January 30, 2009

Annie Hall

Alvie (I think that was his name…he didn’t say it clearly) spent the entire movie cleverly whining about the intricate (and sometimes delicate) details of his life in hopes of getting sympathy or laughs. I didn’t figure out which one he was aiming for.

I guess I should respect this type of entertainment.

He made fun of Hollywood, intellectuals, Marshall “The Media is the Message” McLuen, Los Angeles, New York, Psychoanalysis, various religions, politicians and people who say stupid things trying to sound intellectual..

To wit…I was watching a basketball game the other night and there was a player from Nigeria on the team. The sidelines reported relayed a conversation with him where she claimed he said that Obama’s election wasn't a big surprise to him because, quote…”He is used to having an African-American as the President.”

I guess it’s nice to hear that Americans are in positions of power over in Africa, too.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

I hate movies with subtitles. The subtitle thing perpetuates the idea that we are all of one speech and culture. This isn’t true.

In the real world, when someone says something in a foreign language and it doesn’t make sense, you have two choices…you can pretend to understand and then try to make a gesture or small statement to allow them to continue speaking (in hopes you will catch on soon) or you can just say you didn’t understand.

(I was partial to the “pretending to understand nod” to get them to continue speaking)

The “what? I don’t understand” option means they will probably repeat themselves, which usually doesn’t help. The first option is a bit dangerous, but good for laughs as the gardener drives away in your car that you generously (and erroneously) gave to him.

I love the movies where everyone just speaks the language they speak and we just try to follow along the best we can. This movie is a perfect example of where that should have been done. What they did didn’t make any sense, so why should what they were saying?

It has been said to me (many, many, many times by people I paid money to speak to) that tone of voice and body language are 93% of communication. And it may be.

Actually, I think the 93% is the part that ruins (miscommunicates) the (7%) message I’m trying to convey.

In the real world, you just hope you can figure out what people are saying in YOUR language and hope that they understand what you say, not what they think you mean.


Wednesday, January 28, 2009


He began the series as an idiot fighter doing odd jobs for the mob and at last check, was about to run for governor or something.

The more this guy fought and got hit in the head, the smarter he got. I guess Clubber Lang knocked some sense INTO him.

I played softball with a guy named Rocky in Columbia. I don’t know if he meant to be, but he was pretty much a jerk. Didn’t seem to be able to muster up a kind word very often. And it didn’t seem like he was one of the silent, misunderstood types (like me), it was just that he wasn’t concerned with anyone but himself. He seemed pretty self-absorbed.

I heard something about him from a mutual friend about six months ago, but I can’t remember what it was.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Hollow Man 2

It’s the story of an invisible guy and his apparent anger at an experiment gone wrong that is killing him because, as it turns out, making someone invisible can produce adverse health effects. But, he didn’t even make mention of all of the annoyances of being invisible in the first place.

First of all, being invisible means people can’t see you to be able to avoid you. Forget standing in line at the supermarket. Someone might bash into you. And besides, good luck getting anyone to take your items from you…they can’t see you. Pushing the shopping cart around would attract attention, with it being unmanned and all. And carrying items wouldn’t cause any less panic.

The fact that you are naked (they made THE GUY invisible, not his clothes) makes it quite impossible too. No shoes would make the asphalt pretty intolerable in the summer and the winter wouldn’t be any better, on either the feet or anywhere else. What about gravel? And if you were able to somehow solve the supermarket problems above, where are you going to carry your money?

On the positive side, you’d never have to pay for a movie again and you could go to the Super Bowl and Final Four every year. You wouldn’t have to stay in shape, and you wouldn’t have to worry about cutting your hair or shaving.

But you'd need to shower.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Saturday Night Fever

My parents wouldn’t let me see this movie when I was a kid. We were Presbyterians, but it didn’t matter. Something about it being rated “R” and me being ten years old.

When I was 30 or so, I got the guts to watch it on TV one night. My parents then lived about 400 miles away, so I wasn’t worried (much) that they’d walk in and catch me. I tied some beer cans to the door so I’d hear them if they walked in.

Anyway, it turns out they were right in not letting me see it. It stunk.

But, with no dancing role model (and the Baptist Church in town) as a kid to follow, I never quite learned how to cut a rug. It’s no secret I can’t dance. I admit it. And the occasions that I have danced caused everyone else to admit it. I guess by the time I tried to dance, I was too self conscious to enjoy it and just let go.

However, I’ve become a dancing fool in the past few months with a couple of people who think I can really move.

We dance in the living room. It’s mostly jumping up and down and laughing, Gracie twirling around and John trying to keep up with us. It really is a lot of fun, no one tells me I stink at it and it’s either good exercise or a potential reason to call 911. We’ve only broken one lamp, so far.

Take that, Cotton Mather.

Friday, January 23, 2009


One of the few movies I like that my wife has actually seen and didn’t like. She doesn’t like some of the other movies I like, but most of those she hasn’t ever seen.

This rush to judgment isn’t a problem for me though. Sometimes you just know a movie will be a complete waste of your time without seeing it, such as anything with Cheech and Chong in the title or Paris Hilton in the cast. But I wish she’d watch Point Break with me just once.

When I was a kid, I had several pairs of sneakers. They were a needed thing. You wore them had to be ready because you never knew when you might have to race someone or leap to touch an awning or something. But as I reach the age when my vertical leap can no longer support any attempts to impress anyone and running just seems to make me tired, I rarely wear them.

I wear cowboy boots now or loafers. In the winter time, I wear boots. Occasionally, I wear my blue Chuck Taylors, but not because I think a pickup game might breakout on my way to the grocery store or anything.

I had a dog named Sneakers. She was a Chow-Beagle mix. I got her when I was a senior in college with no clue as to what I would do with her if I ever graduated or got a job. I failed miserably to house train her, but I did manage to train her (unintentionally) to go on my fake green I used to practice putting when it was too cold (or dark) to practice outside. But since she also would steal the balls (while still in motion) and hide under my bed to chew them whenever I tried to practice, it really didn’t make any difference.

I’d write more, but unless I write about the movie, I’m out of ideas.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Pretty in Pink

The story of a girl who has an obsession with going to the prom. And wearing a pink dress, of course.

I have memories of this movie for a couple of reasons:
1. I went to this movie with a girl that skipped going to King’s Island Amusement Park with her senior class just so she could spend the day with me. I think we ate at Pizza Hut.
2. I had the soundtrack until someone “borrowed” it and didn’t give it back. Shame on you, Sharleen, wherever you are. However, I don’t have a cassette player anymore, so I guess I’m okay with it.

But now it’s time for the real country music lyric of the day (although it is more like “of the week” at the present time).

Are we rollin' downhill like a snowball headed for hell?
With no kind of chance for the flag or the liberty bell?
I wish a Ford or a Chevy would still last ten years like they should.
Is the best of the free life behind us now and are the good times really over for good?

I wish Coke was still cola and a joint was a bad place to be.
It was back before Nixon lied to us all on TV.
Before Microwave ovens when a girl could still cook, and still would.
Is the best of the free life behind us now and are the good times really over for good ?

Anyway, the girl wants to go to the prom with a guy who drives a BMW, but (of course) there is another guy who has an obsession with the same girl but doesn’t have a chance in the world.

She just wants to be friends, to hijack his emotional support while turning her nose up at his more-than-plutonic advances. She called him “Ducky.” This should have told him that it wasn’t going anywhere. This sort of nickname-calling tends to stall romance.

But of course, she was surprised when her rejection upset him. Can someone explain to me why women do this?

I think I'll go buy a cassette player.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Spoiler alert! If you haven't seen this movie, look away...

Okay, ready? Here goes....

Drum roll please...

The boat sinks.

This kind of movie really kind of annoys me. A made-up story about a real event.

But, this is the theme of every war movie ever made, since it’s not a mystery as to who won the war (except Vietnam, I guess). And sometimes in the war movie genre, even the title gives away the made-up story, such as “They Died with Their Boots On.” With this title, you know everything except how they died and why they didn’t take their boots off, both of which, (since it is a war movie) are fairly obvious.

Sometimes a movie is named badly, like “Pride and Prejudice.” Naming movies after venal sins? What’s next, “Avarice and Bearing False Witness?”

Anyway, the Titanic story is the story of a woman who promised herself to another man, but had a tryst with a guy she let die in order to keep the whole thing a secret until she was about to die 75 years later.

I guess it beats a true story about a made-up event.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Dirty Dozen

Every time I buy eggs, I check to make sure that all of them are unbroken.

I have noticed that not everyone does this…I’ve seen people just grab a carton and walk away.

I don’t know if I started doing this because I got home and had broken eggs once, or if I am just paranoid about buying broken eggs because it seems likely to happen.

The next time I go, I’m going to try and just get a carton and not look inside. We’ll see how it works out.

On second thought, I may start with doughnuts and work my way up.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Double Indemnity

It’s hard to tell what happened here (unless you watch the movie). But, we’ve got a dead guy and someone did it….

Her attorney: Walt murdered my client’s husband in hopes of a relationship with my client, all without my client’s knowledge. My client’s only dealing with Walt was completely professional. He was the family’s insurance agent. However, she has since cancelled all policies with his company.
Walt’s Bartender: Ol’ Walt offed this dame’s husband after he fell in love with her. Walt always liked the ladies, didn’t he?
Walt’s Dad: That conniving woman fell in love with the boy and then convinced him to kill her husband. Walt was always a sucker for a pretty face.
Walt’s Mother: That hussy framed poor old Walter by pretending to love him all while murdering her own husband. Walter has such a kind heart, always wanting to help out. He couldn’t have done this.
Walt’s Attorney: My client was the public library all day on the day of the murder, except when he stepped out for his lunch break at the soup kitchen he volunteers in on a regular basis. It is obvious that the woman did it for the money. My client is an honest insurance agent and was completely unaware of this woman’s plot to kill her husband when he sold her the huge life insurance policy. The relationship between the two of them is not relevant to the case.

He said, she said...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Big Sleep

This is a film with Humphrey Bogart as detective Philip Marlowe in which he attempts to solve a few murders and find a few lost people…all while working for a wealthy Colonel confined to a wheelchair who likes to try to get his detectives drunk before he sends them out to protect his two daughters.

None of it makes any sense. You need a flow chart to figure out everything that is going on, who killed who and why does one of the daughters win $28,000 at the casino run by one of the potential masterminds of the plot only to have it stolen from her in the parking lot…until Marlowe gets it back for her, but discovers that there was no money in the bag to start with. And it had nothing to do with the story…whatever that was.

Anyway, today I called the local police to ask them about an arrest for murder they made. I was told I had to talk to the sheriff. So, I asked the Sheriff. He said he could talk to me later. I called but and was told to call someone else. When I called there, the guy told me who they arrested, on what charge they arrested him and when he would be arraigned. He really was the guy to talk to. I had all the facts and hung up.

However, I forgot to ask who was killed, when he was killed, or where he was killed. This may leave a gaping hole in my story.

Life imitating art, I guess.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Back to the Future

If I ever go back in time, I’m going to make sure I take a case or so of beer. I really hated beer back in the 80’s and I assume it was worse before that.

Every time I watch this movie I wonder why, if this Dr. Brown was such a genius, why didn’t he just modify the car so it would trigger the Flux Capacitor (the thing that makes time travel possible) at something less than 88 miles per hour? Wouldn’t that have made things a bit simpler in the next two movies?

I haven’t had a whole lot of time to think about this though, as I am having trouble with my eyewear and have decided to buy a new pair of frames. I went to the eye place today and looked at the selections. Right now I’m torn between the Henry Kissinger and the Kurt Rambis Collections.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Game

It's the common story of a guy who is involved in a series of horrible incidents and eventually dives off a building to kill himself but lands in a inflatable baggy that saves his life. It all turns out to be an extremely elaborate ruse in order to bring our hero to a realization of what is really important. The movie ends before we get to find out if it worked.

Over the years, I’ve invented a few games of my own. Once for a dinner party, we played Baseball Encyclopedia versus the Betty Crocker Cookbook. Teams of two (couples) would guess the greater between two totals found in each of the two books. For example: Which is greater, the number of triples Pete Rose had in 1978 or the number of ounces of butter in Aunt Mary’s Sinful Chocolate Pound Cake.

If you went with Aunt Mary, you won that round. I don’t remember who won the game, but even years later people told me they remembered that night. They didn’t say why.

We take time out for the real country music lyric of the day

Bubba shot the juke box last night
Said it played a sad song it made him cry
Went to his truck and got a forty five
Bubba shot the juke box last night

Bubba ain't never been accused of being mentality stable
So we did not draw an easy breath
Until he laid that colt on the table
He hung his head till the cops showed up
They dragged him right out of Margie's
Told him "Don't play dumb with us, son"
"You know damn well what the charge is."

The latest creation I have is called “Crackers.” Teams of two try to guess what shapes the other team is making with their saltines. I thought of it last night when Gracie made a perfect replica of Idaho while eating Chicken Soup.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Friday the 13th (pick any one of them, they’re all the same)

The reason there are so many of these called the same thing, I think, is that there is a limited number of names you can call a Horror/Slasher film.

You have the gerund group, such as the Howling and the Shining.

I guess they were running out of names when they started using names also found in the Pampered Chef catalogue or accusations from childhood, such as “The Ricinator” or “We know what you did to the lawnmower last summer.”

And the plot for all of them is about the same. People are out having a good time and enjoying themselves when unexpectedly a guy in a hockey mask starts stabbing people. Unfortunately, this fear (the “I’m having a good time…oh no…I’m going to die” fear) is pretty common and the Horror/Slasher film only perpetuates it.

The key to the series of horror/slasher movies is to have a recurring villain…Jason, Freddy, or Michael Meyers. And you can’t kill them. They’re like a Democrat under indictment…they just won’t go away.

Kind of like this blog.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Intermission...I even put it on popcorn...

Dear Frank's Red Hot,

I have used your product for more than 20 years. When I lived in Paris in 1990, a friend came to visit. He asked what he should bring. I said, "Red Hot."

When I lived in the states, I drove across town instead of to my local grocer to buy your product until the local grocer wised up and stocked it.

There are at least 20 people I personally know buy your product because I told them to try it at my house. We called it "The Good Stuff."

When I lived in the Dominican Republic, I brought back Red Hot every time I returned to the island. Eventually, I found the product there in a gallon jug. I bought two of them. I put it on everything.


I'm driving across town the other day and I hear your radio commercial that has someone saying, "I put that (BLEEP) on everything!"


I've seen the same sort of thing written on bottles and ads. As in "I put that $#%^ on everything!"


Are you telling me I have to screen the bottle from my kids? When my 4-year old daughter reads the bottle...what do you want me to tell her &^%^* means?

Are you telling me this is the best you could come up with? Profanity?

I'm not threatning, I'm begging for you to change the path you are headed down...because whatever you do, I will continue to buy your product, I suppose.

But what's next...a campaign that sells your product with religious blasphemy?

Please come up with something else. And if you can't think of anything, let me know. I'll write something for you.

I love your product. And you don't need profanity to sell it.


Friday, January 9, 2009


This time it’s a car salesman. Tired of selling Buicks for his father-in-law, he resorts to hiring two idiots to kidnap his wife for money to be extorted from the same mentioned father-in-law.

The movie stars William H. Macy and Francis McDormand, who both attended the same liberal arts college that I did. I graduated. Not so sure about them.

It’s a small place (800 or so students) in the hills of West Virginia. The nearest gas station was about 8 miles away, along a horrible winding road that claimed a few lives while I was a student. The town only had a old-time general store, another general store that also sold beer but didn't have hardware, and a bar.

We now take time out for the real country music lyric of the day….

Well, I guess it was back in 63
When eating my cooking got the better of me,
So I asked this little girl I was going with to be my wife.
Well, she said she would, so I said “I do”
But I’d have said I wouldn’t if I had just knew
How saying “I do” was gonna screw up all of my life!

The bar was (still is) called Bubba’s. It was open to all who possessed a college ID, although they stamped your hand (if you weren’t 21) so the bartenders would be able to guess with greater accuracy how many underage drinkers they served each night. Students drank along with faculty on a regular basis. You could walk from there to your dorm in under 15 minutes (20 if you forgot where it was). The food was good.

At least that’s what I heard. One night while I was in the library someone came by and told me about it.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Dial M for Murder

It’s the typical story of a tennis pro that hires someone to kill his wife so he can inherit her money.

It’s the one case where a tennis pro actually tried to do something.

I worked amongst the tennis pros for a while in my previous life…they were always smiling, happy guys…mostly because they didn’t (as far as I could tell) have anything to do and were collecting a paycheck for it.

Tennis pros don’t have to show up at 6 am to prepare for a 7:30 shotgun start with 160 golfers who all think the world revolves around them. They don’t have to worry about people complaining about handicaps.

They just say, “court seven” and break for lunch.

There is one tennis pro I knew in the old days who worked hard and did a great job. I never told him, but I thought he was pretty good. The rest of them were useless.

No wonder he didn’t get away with it.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Halloween (I-XII)

It’s interesting to find a movie named after a holiday as the entire title. Here are some you may or may not have seen:

President’s Day...Hillary goes out of town and Bill has a party.
Arbor Day...Terror runs rampant as trees rise up and shade the people that planted them
Cinco de Mayo…Chicos y chicas toman muchos cervezas. Porque? Como no?
Independence Day…Will Smith learns to fly an alien aircraft, saves the planet, scores 25 points and grabs 15 boards in the US vs. Aliens basketball game.
Earth Day…Remake of the 1936 classic “Reefer Madness”
Mother’s Day…All the laundry is done, someone else does the dishes and the kids go to bed early and sleep late.
Father’s Day…A lot like Mother’s day except the someone else isn’t him.
Groundhog Day…Every day some idiot posts stupid stuff to his blog.

On second thought, forget it.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


From the Desk of Dr. Elizabeth Clay

Dear Dad,

I quit dating the town mafia king and lo and behold I met a bouncer from the bar at the edge of town where people are always fighting and showing up at the emergency room for me to stitch up. That's where I met Dalton. He's really cute and has been shot and stabbed more than 10 times.

But don’t worry Dad, he’s not just a bouncer, he’s the head bouncer. He lives above a barn in a really cool one room apartment just across the lake from the mafia king I used to date. And he drives a really cool 1965 Buick Riviera.

The mafia king guy keeps threatening to kill him, but he isn’t worried. The mafia guy (did I mention I used to date him?) has about 20 guys running around with guns and stuff, but Dalton (I don’t know if it’s his first or last name) has an old guy (that is also a bouncer from somewhere else) to help him. So things should be fine.

I’d write more, but the local mafia guy is about to have one of his henchmen run a monster truck through the window of the local car dealer while the entire town watches and the cops do nothing. Oh, yeah, I forgot to tell you that he burnt down the hardware store yesterday.



P.S. I know you think I should maybe leave town, but I’m stuck in the lease on my apartment.

Monday, January 5, 2009


The idea that Ilsa would just happen to come by the “gin joint” (on another continent) run by Rick, who she was in love with in Paris right before she found out her husband hadn’t been murdered by the Nazis after all, is just silly. It’s too much of a coincidence that they would ever see each again.

I once lived in a town with an ex-girlfriend there. The town had about six thousand people (as opposed to two continents). I never saw her by accident, except one night in the gym when she was kissing another guy.

The guy was a short, skinny geek that hadn’t had a girlfriend before (not that I knew of) and here he was kissing my cheerleader girlfriend near where (the location in the gym) I used to sit on the bench for the basketball team.

But it wasn’t that he was kissing her that bothered me the most, although that was a large part of the problem.

No, the thing that bothered me most was that it occurred to me his type (skinny geek) was the kind of guy she liked…

Anyway, the idea that after all those years Ilsa would walk into Rick’s place was just a little out of my believable zone. But that’s why it was made into a movie, I suppose.

Friday, January 2, 2009

The horizon beckons...

I played the banjo for about three years. Not anymore. I miss it, but I can’t find time to fit it in to my life anymore.

I bought a guitar. That didn’t last too long.

I used to do a crossword puzzle each day. This lasted about seven years. Not anymore.

I played golf for more than 20 years. But I don’t feel like it anymore.

And I said I’d blog for a year.

That passed in November. Then I said I’d blog for a full calendar year. That passed yesterday.

I don’t know what I’ll say next or do next.

But I’m burned out, done…

Talk amongst yourselves for a while. I'll probably be back tomorrow.