Friday, December 11, 2009

Off to the picture show

Well, I’m off to see Invictus tonight. I’ve been so looking forward to this. It’s based on Playing the Enemy, which is a really fantastic book. I have some doubts, of course. You do with any movie adaptation. First, it’s Clint Eastwood, and that weird combo of macho and melodramatic, a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do, that I find a little off-putting. And Matt Damon looks NOTHING like Francois Pienaar, the captain of the South African rugby team. Other than being blond and bipedal.

Most of all, I’m doubtful because in Playing the Enemy John Carlin did a wonderful job of distilling a huge issue into an understandable narrative. And he did it by telling some of the incredible individual stories that are involved in the end of apartheid. I’m doubting that Anton Lubowski or the jet flyover made it into the movie. And since Amazon has the hardcover book for $8, Super Saver shipping eligible . . . I’m just saying.

I’m less concerned about mythologizing Mandela. We worry a lot about not making leaders super human in history. And when you see the scope of what happened in the predominantly peaceful end of apartheid, it is a moment in time worthy of myth-making. And Mandela does deserve his place in history. Playing the Enemy does a particularly good job of showing the forces that were in play that make what happened in South Africa remarkable. You know, your local library probably has a copy.

Anyway. I’m pretty stoked to see this movie. And see if Eastwood and Morgan Freeman may have caught lightning in a bottle a second time out of this story. Fingers crossed.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The kid's out of the picture

So, my brother takes my nephew to get pictures with Santa. The little guy is informed that if he wants that new red dinosaur, he’d better tell Santa, just to make sure it happens. My nephew takes a look at the truly splendid Santa, and runs screaming. He informs my brother that he’ll talk to Santa “next year.” So, no ’09 Santa pics. And a story that will be told throughout the ages, lo these many Christmases to come, is born.

You think it’s a golden memory of childhood you’re creating. The kid thinks it’s some beardy, red giant that’s going to squeeze them to death. The things that an adult thinks will enchant a kid rarely work out. It’s why you’ll see a 5-year old lying on the ground, screaming and kicking their feet in the middle of Disneyland. Happiest place on earth. Ha!

We grownups, we all see our childhood memories through an adult lens. And we’re not so great at really seeing what it is that will knock a kid’s socks off. A friend of mine took her goddaughter to one of those Renaissance dinner theater things. The handsome prince walks up to the 7-year old little girl, with curly blond locks and a cupid’s bow mouth, and offers her a crown to be his princess for the night. My friend gasps. Every little girls dream. But the kid ain’t having it. No, thank you, she says. My friend says she nearly snatched that crown and plopped it on her own head to show the kid how it’s done. Perhaps it was more of a big girl dream.

I think a lot of it is that kids still have that glowing imagination. They don’t need a real live Santa or prince. The one in their head is so much better than the “reality” will ever be. But we need the guy in the suit or that magic castle in the middle of a Florida swamp to fill in the holes that wear in our imaginations as we grow older. Kids never plan to be amazed. They just are. It’s pretty rare that their imaginary worlds and ours meet. And it’s almost never something that we cook up for them on purpose. You just have to be there, and paying attention, when whatever it is catches their imaginations, and their little faces light up. You can’t really force it. But it’s so worth waiting for.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Picture it

Hmmm. Interesting. Well. Kinda interesting. Somebody tried to extort money out of Stamos. With pictures that show him posing with fans. Hmmm, I say. Posing. With fans. What can that mean? And why would it be bad enough to pay hush money over. Is this like when Rob Lowe "posed" with "young fans"? Is Osama bin Laden a big Full House/Uncle Jessie fan? Is he posing with fans with Tiger Woods? What's worth $680,000? Interesting number to pull out of your ass and put on an extortion note, by the way.

But, really, why Stamos? He could be living fat on Full House money. But I think most people's response to anything less than full on pervy is going to be "Eh. Whatever." I wouldn't call him a has-been. He's more of a really-was-now-kinda-is. He was monster in the 80s as Blackie on General Hospital. She who did not snog a Stamos poster on her high school locker door at least once may cast the first stone. And his career certainly didn't take the death spiral that fellow GH hunk/singer Rick Springfield. He's stayed busy. The face is still good. You get the feeling that he'll be showing up as the guest love interest on TV shows for another 30 years. But it's not like he'd fall from a really big height. Stamos pretty much defines the B-list. And if you're not perched that high, it's much harder to knock you down. Smart, when you think about it.

What could those pictures possibly be?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Clean up on aisle 5 - or They Will Know Us By Our Trail of Sick

Okay, so one of the questions in today’s Carolyn Hax column is regarding what to do “in a marriage, when the other just can't have that breakup talk (tears, excessive emotions, vomiting)?” Wow. Vomiting? Really? On the one hand, greeting emotional confrontations with tears is one thing, but vomiting a whole different kettle of fish. Right up there on the list of red flags. Did this person know about the projectile response prior to getting married? Cause I’d have been saying, “Hold on there, pukey. Ain’t nobody putting a ring on anything around here.”

On the other hand though, as far as defense mechanisms go? Cool! This is pretty highly evolved. Like National Geographic Channel special highly evolved. Protective coloration? Nuh-uh. The best defense is a good offense. Bet ya that sneaky eagle might think twice about snatching a frog out of his happy little pond if it turned around and up chucked on him. Bluuuuurp.

In fact, this human might even consider working on this little survival strategy. A purse might not be such a prize if it comes with a barf payload. Especially if you managed to barf directly into the purse. Here ya go. It might also make getting fired a completely different proposition. Okay, you might not get to keep your job. But it would be pretty satisfying if they had to show up at your severance meeting covered up like they’re on their way to a Gallagher show.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Honest Scraps

Okay. Courtesy of the tag from Washington Gardener (, here are 10 honest things about me. I was admonished to make them interesting. I don't find myself all that interesting, but I'll give it a shot.

  1. I can touch my tongue to my nose. Really. It’s my best stupid human trick.
  2. I love the sound of my own voice. I avoid radio stations that play songs I don’t know, just because I can’t sing along. Talk radio is a complete waste of my time.
  3. I hate bathing. Don’t get me wrong. I like being clean. I just hate baths and showers. I take showers because they’re more efficient. But I find the entire process irritating.
  4. I am, bar none, the laziest person I know.
  5. Canadians, performance artists and lawyers bug me.
  6. Even if I lived completely alone on a perfectly climate controlled deep-space station, I would still wear clothes.
  7. I’m intimidated by just about everyone on the planet. Yes. Even you.
  8. I’ve enjoyed very few “great writers” that I’ve ever read. Among others, I hate Dickens, Melville, Hawthorne, nearly all of Hemingway, Saul Bellow, Henry James, Hardy, Dreiser, Orwell, Conrad, D. H. Lawrence, Henry Miller, Kerouac, Cheever, Updike, Plath and Pynchon.
  9. I have disliked nearly everyone who has ever been introduced to me as “Oh, you’ll love Soandso. He/She’s just like you.”
  10. I’m 40 years old and I still have no idea what I’m doing.

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