Sunday, January 16, 2005

Every Silver Lining Has Its Cloud

For those seeking a film of warmth and love, the new version of Flight of the Phoenix (released on the 17th of last month) will probably seem too dark—the disturbing images, the deaths (the murder), and the fierce disputes. And those who despise feel-good stories may well think this to be one, with its cheerful laborers, the happy ending (don’t you dare label that a spoiler, not with this title), and its central theme of undying hope.

Oh, you wish to be engaged by a strong character study? You maybe turned off by the heavy injection of ‘hip’ in a number of scenes. In attendance for the coolness? Then those attempts at character study sure are disturbing, aren’t they?

Seemingly, no matter what motivates one to watch movies it is here, carefully counterweighted with what drives that individual away from theaters.
Still, there is enough good that it could be accepted by a forgiving person were it not missing one important element: a point to it all.

I originally wrote the above for publication the day of the remake’s release, but I never sent it to the syndicate, citing my inability to say anything more about this wreck of a moving picture to get it up to desirable length.
That said, if you liked the idea of building an airplane from the scrap of another, rent the original 1965 film of the same name starring James Stewart.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005


“There are leaders and there are followers. I clean up after both.”

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Letter for Letterman

"Dear Dave,

Just letting you know that you don't have to be worried. I watch your show instead of Leno's.

Since I just said that, I guess have to be completly honest. While I don't watch Leno, I do read his column in Popular Mechanics whenever it comes out. Have you considered following his example, maybe getting a column with Popular Science so the two of you can go head-to-head? You should think about it.

Oh, and getting off the subject, every time Vicki hands out that exploding pocorn on the air, I can't help but think how pretty she is. She's not married is she? Seeing someone? ... If I ever come on the show, do you think she'd dance with me if I asked Paul to play some Artie Shaw or something?"

--a letter to David Letterman
of The Late Show on CBS

Price War

Living where I do (Texas) I very seldom see snow (though I'm told Amarillo gets it yearly). In fact, until this year, I have seen enough to make a single snowball only three times in my entire life.
On 25 December of last year I was on the road in South Texas, however, (yes, South) and I happened upon 4 inches of lovely Christmas Day snow. It was the first time for snow to fall in the region in over 100 years, I'm told. Needless to say, I stopped and built a snowman for the first time. Kiwi for eyes, carrots for nose and mouth, apple slices for ears . . .

It has now come to my attention that on that same day, December 25, some enterprising individual posted on eBay a container of that history making snow. The asking price? $0.99.

It only took three days for another South Texan to respond to this seller's absurd and ridiculous asking price of a dollar with his own, more reasonable sale. For his vessel of Texan snow he asks only $250,000.00.
Please note, however, what his 'Item Description' says: "A percentage of the proceeds from this sale will go to charities throughout the South TX area."

Oh, and below he has has since added: "WARNING In response to hostile email through the “Ask Seller a Question” feature: These emails will not be tolerated, and will be forwarded to the eBay safe harbor team as inappropriate. Do not waste my time or server space with childish comments. Thank you."

The best words to use . . .

A book I am currently reading about life in France (please, save the tomatoes...) includes a chapter on Marseille. Within these pages I have learned many interesting things, not the least of which being the fact that residents of Marseille speak a version of French quite removed from the rest of the country.

There are differences in accent, spelling, pronunciation, and then there are the words that simply do not exist to other Frenchman. The most interesting aspect of Marseille-Speak, however, would be all the marvelous sayings found there alone.

My personal favorite (and something I have resolved to incorporate into my speech) is a phrase which, literally translated, is “He's good for the fifty-four.” This refers to no. 54—the tram servicing the local mental hospital in days gone by.

So, next time you are tempted to tell someone he's nuts, just tell him he's “good for the 54.”

Mayle, for the third time, you've really done it!

Saturday, January 01, 2005


To usher in this year, I participated in a local fireworks display. The crowd enjoyed flaming views of sometimes colorful, sometimes noisy, and oftentimes airborne natures. My particular joy was in setting fireworks to detonate in sequence.
But perhaps the most noteworthy aspect of the event was the inherent danger of allowing humans to participate in technical aspects of fire. In this case, not only humans (dangerous enough) but juvenille humans, some as young as 13 years.
One such individual, designation Shell-Bee, allowed a '007' firecracker (otherwise known as the dreaded "Chicken Killer") to detonate in his hand.
All other tragedies were averted (barely) and no actual loss of life was suffered.

The countdown to 2005 was delegated to myself...

"All right, folks, we have exactly 5 seconds before the countdown begins..." [wave of giggles passes through human females in audience]

...but, as no two watches present agreed, there were many unofficial countdowns throughout the night.