Thursday, April 26, 2007

Any Other Name

This week, at work, I met someone in person for the first time, and I was surprised to see a wedding ring on her hand. Why? Because her first name matches her surname so perfectly, I assumed it was crafted.

There are a few possible explanations for the discrepancy:

1. She chose not to take her husband's name.

2. Her husband's last name was the single deciding factor in her decision to marry.

3. She hired pharmaceutical executives -- the guys that turn "terbinafine hydrochloride" into "Lamisil" and brand "herpes cream" as "Abreva" -- to create an identity, and changed her name accordingly.

As a result of this experience, I'm thinking about names, and the huge impact they have. What if L.L. Bean had been named Paul Ulysses Bean? Would Britain have rallied behind Gary Churchill? Who had history's most perfect name? Besides Max Power and Lois Lane, what are the most perfect fictional names?

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The History of Secretary's Day*

BOSS: Come into my office, Young Secretary I Hired Expressly For Filty Extramarital Sex!

SECRETARY: I suppose you wish to perform unspeakable acts upon me? Again?

BOSS: This is correct, Ms. Secretary. As a business professional, I need to get off, pronto.

SECRETARY: I object to this shabby treatment.

BOSS: You object to being an object? Ha ha ha!

SECRETARY: I don't get it.

BOSS: It's a joke us fellas learned back at Dartmouth.


BOSS: Look, if I give you a half-dozen flowers once a year, will you get in here and go downtown?

SECRETARY: Flowers! Wow!

BOSS: Okay, great. Let's get started.

*The true story is similarly pathetic.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Give Me Liberty

Liberty Memorial is looking very good these days, inside and out. I had a nice visit this weekend, amassing more knowledge of the Great War.

Be sure to visit the gift shop. I came pretty close to buying this propoganda poster of a man outraged by the headline, "Huns Kill Women and Children!".

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

How We Played Kickball

For a good while during grade school, kickballs were the preferred recess funmaker.

We played with the kickballs, but we didn't play kickball.

One group of kids lined up in the grass. The other line of kids faced them, at a distance of about twenty yards.

We had about six balls. Kids would kick the balls toward the opposing group. There who was no kicking order -- if you had a ball, you kicked it.

It was good to kick the ball in the air, and really good if the ball sailed over the other kids' heads.

It was bad to have your ball caught by the other team. If someone caught the ball you kicked, nothing happened. But it was good for them, and bad for you.

Todd was pretty good at catching balls in the air, even when he had a cast on his arm.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Text Time

Time to delete some saved text messages from my phone...

There's a movie on hallmark where steve gutenberg plays a real life santa clause trying to convince the woman he loves to believe in him
Floyd, 11/25/06, 6:56 pm

I need your help getting rid of a dead hooker. Any suggestions?
Matt, 12/4/06, 4:11 pm

There appears to be no porn available in this fancy hotel. Does that seem strange to you?
[redacted], 12/5/06, 5:12 pm

Royals get Meche.
Bobby, 12/7/06, 12:29 pm

E coli is ruining Christmas
Brian, 12/20/06, 5:28 pm

Thanks for dying Gerald Ford. Four day weekend!
Jack Serpentine, 12/29/06, 5:32 pm

George Brett considers Lamar Hunt to be his second father
Gavin, 12/31/06, 3:06 pm

Since I'm first, I'll warn you if there is a robot war at midnight
Jack Serpentine, 12/31/06, 10:56 pm

No robots. Yet.
Jack Serpentine, 1/1/07, 12:09 am

...I was walking down the street the other day and I thought I saw you and came in my pants. It was not you. But at that point it didn't matter.
Matt, 1/26/07, 12:41 pm

I just saw a guy wearing a Nickelback t-shirt non-ironicly
Floyd, 1/26/07, 4:45 pm

I'm fucking hungover like a bastard
Brian, 1/28/07, 10:00 am

Prince is so good at covers I would let him cover me and I bet you would too
Other Brian, Super Bowl Sunday, 8:19 pm

Drunk as hell Matt to middle aged couple in old town: so how many times have you guys cheated on each other? Asian woman: we have been married for 13 years. Disgusted Matt: Oh really? Good for you, you fucking bitch.
Matt, 2/5/07, 11:38 pm

Manchita bring out my finest enchiladas for my amigos who have traveled so far
Brian, 2/10/07, 2:33 pm

Will you dress up like a clown and circle me on a tiny bicycle while I beat off in an ashtray
Matt, 3/2/07, 4:17 pm

Why don't they just release a bunch of goats in suspected mine fields? That seems like a pretty simple solution to me.
Matt, 3/7/07, 2:08 pm

My boss gave 'Wild Hogs' a glowing review
Floyd, 3/7/07, 7:26 pm

I'm fudding myself stupid, and I'm bloody loving it!
Shawn, 3/19/07, 6:36 pm

Seriously. I think someone is beating off in the stall next to me.
Matt, 3/26/07, 8:11 pm

It's official - Spangles breakfast bowls are made of my dreams
Floyd, 3/31/07, 10:24 am

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Hey Ladies

Insults specific to women, from least offensive to most offensive:
fucking bitch
fucking whore
fucking cow
stupid fucking bitch whore
fucking cunt

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Other Archives: Heather's Holiday

Good news -- I have started the Snoopy story. While you wait, breath bated, for it to be finished, please enjoy this tidbit. This is an email from two Thanksgivings ago:
Where are you? How as Thanksgiving? I watched a show on apes. I didn't want to but I got sucked in. It was about apes getting along with hoofed animals in a zoo.

Take your time cleaning out your inbox archives, kids. Hidden gems abound.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Movie Night: Throbbing Biological Urges

I occasionally host a movie night on Sundays. This past week, it was cancelled due to Netflix’ insolence. I rescheduled for Wednesday night, but there were conflicts, and I resigned to watching the movie myself.

The film was 1961’s Splendor in the Grass. Allow me to answer your relevant questions. First, I heard of the film through Entertainment Weekly’s website – they posted a list of the best coming-of-age films (or something), and Splendor made the list. Upon further investigation, I discovered it was Warren Beatty’s debut film, and it also starred Natalie Wood, a former starlet who I knew nothing about. Well, almost nothing. My friend Elaine went as her for Halloween once – that’s when I learned that Ms. Wood famously drowned.

Old Hollywood charm? Star-studded cast? Coming-of-age tale? Kansas? Count me in! I queued the movie and read Netflix’ synopsis:
Young lovers Deanie Loomis (Natalie Wood) and Bud Stamper (Warren Beatty, in his big-screen debut) find their awakening sexuality at odds with their moral standards and with those of their 1920s rural Kansas community. Trying to resist their carnal urges leads to mutual heartbreak -- and to madness for the fragile Deanie. Director Elia Kazan's profile of the repercussions of pent-up pubescent lust netted an Oscar for Best Screenplay.

So. I had a movie to watch. Although the plot (ruined by the synopsis, by the way – thanks so much, Netflix killjoys) suggested that a hokey film best suited for peanut gallery comments, I had to watch it solo. I made the decision to keep a running diary as the film played; running diaries are all the rage these days, anyway, and I’d hate to deprive the twenty or so people that read my blog to my Splendor-inspired witticisms.

The mechanics of this experiment were as follows: I watched the movie with as few pauses as possible, jotting down notes as I went. The next day, I referred to my notes to type the full diary. While the diary doesn't, then, show precisely what I wrote at a specific point during the movie, it does show what I thought, and represents it fairly faithfully. While journalistically dubious, it beats the hell out of watching the movie with a computer in my lap and one finger on the pause button. Also, I'll be supplementing my thoughts with IMDB facts and trivia.

Why read this lengthy post? Hmm. First off, because it's there. Second, the chance that you will want to see this movie unspoiled, on your own, approaches zero. Consider this your chance to learn about a classic in less time than it takes to watch it yourself.


The movie has begun! Natalie Wood gets top billing, and the credits give the ol' "and introducing Warren Beatty" as Bud Stamper. There’s only credits and orchestral music to start – it’s kind of like the introduction of Bonanza episodes but with different music. Jack Serpentine knows what I’m talking about.


Teenagers making out in a car parked near a waterfall. [I'd later learn via IMDB that this movie "depicts the first French kiss in a Hollywood film". Needless to say, I have no idea when that took place, because I'm so accustomed to seeing teens engaged in full-on necking.] Uh, wasn’t this movie set in Kansas? Strike one, I guess, unless I’m unaware of some of my state’s finest water features. IMDB provides us with the first lines:

Deanie: Bud...
Bud: Deanie, please...
Deanie: Bud, I'm afraid. Oh, Bud... don't, Bud.
Bud: Deanie...
Deanie: No... we mustn't, Bud... no... no...
[he gets out of the car]
Deanie: Bud, don't be mad.
Bud: I better take you home.


A title card announces that we’re in Southeast Kansas in 1928. I’ve traveled in SE KS more extensively than everyone I know, but I can’t definitively say that there is no waterfall down there. Maybe there’s a small one. Maybe. I doubt it.

[IMDB lists High Falls, New York among the film locations. I win.]

Bud Blue Balls drops Deanie off at her parents’ house. It’s late.


Deanie (yes, Natalie Wood’s name is Deanie) is trying to talk to Mom about her throbbing biological urges. Mom says, “Boys don’t respect a girl they can go all the way with,” and that “no nice girl” has those kind of feelings about a boy. Oh, 1928 – you’re so constrictive. Deanie trys to play the what-about-you-and-dad card, only to hear Mom say that a wife, “just lets her husband come near her to have children.” Yikes.


We see a little bit more of Deanie’s bedroom as she gets ready for bed. She’s got a classic shrine to Bud – she’s touching one of the photos on the wall. She loves him, but she also loves God. The scene ends with her kneeling and reciting the “Our Father”. So conflicted.


It’s Bud’s turn for backstory. He arrives home to a bunch of drunk oilmen – his father’s oil company just had another good day at the stock market. The oilmen are all speaking like they’re from Texas – heavy southern accents. People in SE KS can speak with an accent, but nothing this pronounced. Maybe they’re not original Kansans? Maybe they moved up to Kansas to work? Oop – nope. Bud’s dad is talking about how he grew up with Deanie’s father. Strike two on the “authentic Kansas” count.

Dad is having a frank discussion about Bud’s urges. If Deanie got knocked up, Bud would, “have to marry her.” Oh, 1928 – you’re so quaint.


Bud’s dad is shaping up to be the predecessor to James Vanderbeek’s Varsity Blues Dad. Bud’s a star football player at the high school.


We’re learning more about Bud’s family. It’s the next morning at breakfast, and it seems that Bud’s older sister Ginny has been brought home from Chicago, where she was in art school. Dad is calling her ex-husband a “cake-eater”. I am unfamiliar with this insult. I’m guessing it means effete?

OK, now we’ve seen Gin. She’s blonde – note that Natalie Wood is brunette, and Gin is set up to be the opposite of Deanie. Gin is sure to bone one of Bud’s friends before the final curtain.


Bud rushes out the door after literally grabbing a bite. Dad’s upset. “You can’t play a football game on a breakfast like that!”


We’re at the high school and homeroom is beginning. I’d like to point out that an actress could not look any more virginal than Natalie Wood does right now. [The actual note on my legal pad says, "Wood = virginal x1000".] Wood and Beatty seem pretty age-appropriate for these roles. They pass as high schoolers.

[IMDB says Wood was 23 and Beatty was 24 at the time the movie was released. I guess we’ll give the credit to the costume and makeup departments.]

I’m trying to decide if Beatty is a hunky student. I guess he could be. Looks kind of like a cheesedick, though. Since he’s a star football player, I guess we’ll credit that as solid casting.


Deanie is daydreaming during her Literature lecture, and she’s doodling in her notebook. She’s writing variations on “Mr. and Mrs. Bud Stamper”. I used to think that such doodling was a stereotype, until I became the subject of such doodling. I glanced at my high school girlfriend’s notebook once, back in the day, and saw my name surrounded by flowering vines. It was pretty surreal; I remember feeling a little uncomfortable, as if she’d put too much faith in me. Weird. Anyway, youthful males, take heed. Girls actually do this stuff.


Lit class ends as the teacher sums up thoughts on Medieval times: “The Knights of the Round Table put women on a pedestal.” A little on the nose, Mr. Screenwriter.

[IMDB says that southeast Kansas native William Inge wrote the screenplay, which won an Oscar.]


The big game! Bud’s called for unnecessary roughness, promptly pushes the referee that made the call, and is thrown out. Why is Bud so angry?


The football team celebrates a victory by showering together. Teammates are teasing some guy who is taking out Juanita (who we saw back in homeroom, who doesn’t look Hispanic in the least) tonight. Juanita seems to be the school slut. The guy pulls his “No Pride Night” card, telling the others that he is out for some ‘tang, and Juanita is the only girl that will play ball.


Deanie is mad at Bud. He stopped to talk to Juanita on the way to meet Deanie, and she saw the way he looked at her. Bud’s pissed. “I’m not supposed to even know girls like that exist!” he says. Even if you hated Dick Tracy, it’s hard not to feel for Bud.


Bud and Deanie drive back to her place, where her parents are nowhere to be seen. I’m seeing glimpses of greatness from Wood... but it’s hard to tell how good actors are in these old movies. There was a lot more expression in their acting, like stage acting, and it’s tough to say if they’re poor actors, or if they’re stuck in the wrong time period. Did that make any sense? Someone must know what I mean.


Like any good high schoolers, the kids take advantage of the empty house, and begin to make out (after they’ve pulled the shades, etc., to keep the small town out of their business). Deanie freaks out when Bud ALMOST touches the upper quadrant of her buttock. They stop.


Both of them are on the floor right now. How they got there was completely nonsexual and tough to explain, so let’s move on. The important thing is that Deanie is trying to convince Bud how devoted she is. She’s lying on her back. “I would do anything for you, Bud! Oh, Bud! Oh, Bud! Oh, Bud!” It’s like an orgasm of devotion, and it is super creepy. You get the feeling that Deanie’s fall into insanity will not begin from a great height.


I’m getting the feeling that Bud’s character is not so much “nice” as he is “polite”. Seeing as how we’re in 1928, a polite gentleman is not really a diamond in the rough. Still, Deanie seems to be making the mistake that many of her modern-day peers (paradox?) commit, thinking that a polite male is GOOD male.

Deanie’s talking to her overbearing mom right now, learning the gossip about Bud’s sister Gin. The talk around town is that Gin had an abortion.

In the next scene, Bud’s also at home, where Gin is purposely trying to piss off Daddy by singing and playing a ukulele in tune to that damn newfangled jazz music playing on the radio.

Bud gets Dad one-on-one, and explains that he wants to marry Deanie. Dad’s not having it. “What you need for the time being is a different kind of girl,” Dad says. He’s serious. He may be morally questionable, but this is a very astute father. He makes a deal with Bud: go to Yale like I want, then, if you still want to marry Deanie, I’ll send you guys on a honeymoon in Europe. Too bad Dad doesn’t want to send him to Brown – Bud could have roomed with Vanderbeek.


Just in case you haven’t caught on to the oppressive environment, we’re now shown Bud and Deanie sitting alongside each other at Sunday’s church service. Gin smokes a cigarette (on a long-stemmed holder) in front of “church people”, to her father’s chagrin.


I’m pleased with the speed of the action in this movie. There is an economy of dialogue, and each scene leads into the next. It’s refreshing.

Dad’s on a business trip, so Gin is trying to break into the liquor cabinet. We’re finally reminded that this is the Prohibition era, making Gin even more of a rebel. I’m expecting her to eat a baby at any time now.

Now Gin and an unnamed love interest are getting out of the house, and Bud and Deanie are tagging along. (Bud was told to look after Gin, and Bud always does what Pops says.) Lo and behold, Gin is taking this opportunity to get hammered and make out with the unnamed dude. Deanie is getting a glimpse of the wild side.


It’s Christmas. A new beau has arrived at Bud’s house – Bud disapproves of Gin’s date, as he is a married bootlegger. Maybe she won’t eat a baby... maybe she’ll just urinate on a crucifix instead. She has no limit right now.


I’ve realized that we’re well into the movie, and there still hasn’t been any humor, aside from Gin’s unintentional humor. This is where Varsity Blues is a superior film.

Gin’s drunk at the company New Year’s party now. Really drunk. She’s throwing herself at men, who are not keen on taking advantage of her in a public setting. Gin knows the score. “You only talk to me in the dark!” she screams.


Gin’s found her way to the back recesses of the party, where men appreciate her. She’s settled on a guy named Joe, and they leave the room... only to be followed by the 8 other dudes that were in the same room. Did any movies in 1961 feature multiple penetration? We’re about to find out.


A Back to the Future moment, as Bud opens the door to Joe’s car and “rescues” his sister. Bud punches Joe, and attempts to slay the entourage.


Uh oh. Bud’s telling Deanie that they shouldn’t kiss anymore. Deanie doesn’t get it, but we know that Bud’s seen the effect that being a big fat whore has had on his sister, and he thinks he’s doing what’s best for himself and Deanie.


What’s this? Bud’s collapsed on the basketball court! He’s been hospitalized, and the doctor says he could die. Little known fact: 1929 was an epidemic year for sexual-frustration-related deaths.


Deanie’s prayers have worked. Bud seems OK again. The doctor is optimistic. He’s kidding around with Bud, cheering him up. The doc says it’s almost spring, and, “you know what happens to a young man’s fancy in the springtime!”


Bud’s trying to get the doctor’s advice about his lady problems, but doc’s too shy and cowardly to help. Instead, he tells Bud to come back in soon for another shot of iron and a sunlamp treatment. (Seriously.) Thanks, doc. That should do it.


Oh, my! Bud’s taken his father’s advice, and taken Juanita the slut down to the waterfall, a.k.a. makeout creek.

In the next scene, we’re back at Lit class, studying Wordsworth, and hence the film’s namesake poetry:
Though nothing can bring back the hour of splendor in the grass
glory in the flower
we will grieve not;
rather find strength in what remains behind.

[You Wordsworth fans already know that this is taken from his 1807 ode, "Intimations of Immortality from Reflections of Early Childhood". But I had to look it up.]

The school is aflutter with Juanita/Bud rumors, and Deanie has an emotional breakdown as she’s interpreting Wordsworth’s wordsworth. Juanita gets a “I wish I wasn’t a slut” look on her face as Deanie flees the room in hysterics.

The chalkboard lists Wordsworth’s lifespan: 1770-1850. I think about education, and how a comprehensive education becomes more and more difficult as history expands. In 1929, the high schools had time to discuss the poems of Wordsworth. Now, we’ll skip most poets to allow time for the Fitzgeralds and Hemingways and Salingers. Also: did rock ‘n roll kill poetry’s popularity? I say yes.


At Deanie’s house, her parents are trying to cure her imbalance by being cheery. There’s this ongoing thing her dad says, “Always drink plenty of milk,” that comes up again in this scene, and we’re meant to take it as morality. I get symbolism. The oil company stock (everyone in town seems to have shares, Deanie’s family included) keeps rising, and Mom does a very brief Charleston jig in celebration. All this, plus Deanie’s favorite supper, fails to help.


Mom checks on Deanie, in the bathtub, and thinks that a “good soak” has helped her. Deanie, as we saw earlier when she was on the floor with Bud, emits a distinctly sexual vibe, as if she’s just finished stirring the soup. Did they have those massaging water faucet tools back then?

Mom thinks she knows what’s wrong. “Did he spoil you?” she asks.

Deanie loses it.
No, mom! I'm not spoiled! I'm not spoiled mom! I'm just as fresh and virginal like the day I was born, mom!

[IMDB also tells us about a deleted scene: "As filmed, this film included a sequence in which Wilma Dean Loomis takes a bath while arguing with her mother. The bickering finally becomes so intense that Wilma jumps out of the tub and runs nude down a hallway to her bedroom, where the camera cuts to a close-up of her bare legs kicking hysterically on the mattress. Both the Hollywood censors and the Catholic Legion Of Decency objected to the hallway scene, finding the bare backside unsuitable for public display. Consequently, director Elia Kazan dropped the piece, leaving an abrupt jump from tub to bed." Thanks, censors! I feel more wholesome thanks to you. Nice work. Now Natalie Wood is dead, and I'll never see her ass.]

“Crazy” is a little overdone in Hollywood, but this is a fantastic scene. Natalie Wood has officially won me over.

Deanie cuts her hair; it was shoulder-length, and now it’s chin-length. Ooooooh. Now THAT is crazy.


Good directing in this scene, where Deanie arrives at the dance with Bud’s “pal” Toots (Toots asked her to go). The camera is from Deanie’s point of view, and it’s swooshing back and forth as she tries to spot Bud in the crowd. She asks him outside for a smoke. She smokes now, I guess. And she’s cut her hair – it’s chin-length now. She’s crazy, all right.


The classic role-reversal. Deanie’s trying to get Bud to get into his car with her, but now it’s Bud who doesn’t want to do the deed. “Where’s your pride?!” he asks, leading to another stellar Natalie Wood freakout. It’s too bad she drowned.

[Checking IMDB afterward, I found that she died long after this movie, in 1981. So she was in her 40s when she died. For whatever reason, I always thought she was a young starlet tragically stolen from her prime. It turns out that's not the case at all. It turns out that: "On November 29, 1981, she was sailing on the yacht she shared with her husband... when Natalie fell in the ocean while trying to board the dinghy tied up alongside the yacht and drowned." Her husband was Robert Wagner. Huh.]

A crying Deanie asks Toots to take her away from the dance. Toots gets his first action as she’s lying across the car’s bench seat, crying. Classy. I expect more from the kid nicknamed Toots.


Guess what? Deanie has to fight off Toots, who has ripped her dress while they were parked at the waterfall.


Deanie just attempted death by waterfall, but was saved by waterfall staff (or something) at the last minute. Welcome to crazytown, population: Deanie. If it’s any consolation, crazytown is still better than Crazytown, on account of that “Come come my lady / You’re my butterfly, sugar, baby” song.

Deanie’s in the hospital now, speaking nonsense. Somebody get this girl an iron shot, stat!

The doctor says she’s in a “very nervous condition”, and her father decides he’s going to sell his oil stock so they can send her to a psychiatrist in Wichita. When Wichita’s your best chance to survive mental illness, things are looking grim.


Bud’s at Yale! Go Bulldogs! Uh oh – looks like Bud is a wreck. He’s drinking himself stupid at an Italian restaurant. The waitress, who looks like a poor (Italian) man’s Natalie Wood, befriends him.


Deanie is at the mental hospital, doing a little paint therapy. Her hospital love interest is showing her his metal therapy. “Every time I pound it I tell myself it’s my old man!” Now that was funny.

One can’t help but make a compare Wood here to Winona Ryder in Girl, Interrupted. The chin-length hair seals the deal.

Nursing uniforms in the ‘20s were creepy.


Uh oh! The stock market has crashed! Bud’s dad’s oil company could be in trouble. Right now, Dad and Bud are meeting with Yale’s dean to discuss Bud’s failing ways, but the meeting’s cut short before the dean can intervene on Bud’s behalf, before Bud can convince Dad to let him quit school and work as a rancher. Dad’s got to go to New York City, pronto! Bud’s coming along!


Dad’s solution for Bud involves a burlesque house run by Phyllis Diller. [Her film debut, again via IMDB, not my Phyllis Diller fan club newsletter.] It’s the setting where Dad again tries to convince Bud that pussy’s pussy, and bitches ain’t shit but ho’s and tricks. This is Beatty’s best scene. I think this kid could be good. Bulworth good.

Pops hires a very poor man’s version of Natalie Wood, one of the burlesque dancers, to visit Bud’s hotel room. It’s unclear if Bud went through with it, but we assume not.


Bud identifies his father’s body. Suicide. Jumped out of his hotel window. Oh, 1929.


Deanie’s about to be released from the mental institution. She’s been there for 2 years and 6 months. We learn that her love interest, now a doctor in Cincinnati, has asked her to marry him. Her psychiatrist sends her on her way back to SE KS with instructions to face Bud, and hence face her fear. Despite his qualifications, this doesn’t seem like sound advice. Maybe that was just the state of psychiatry back then. Bump this movie forward 70 years, Deanie goes on antidepressants and gets knocked up at the prom. Huh.

The end of the movie is pretty dull. She goes to visit Bud on his ranch, and she discovers that he’s married to the Italian waitress, and they have a kid. Nobody freaks out. They just talk a little and wish each other well. The movie ends with the Wordsworth quatrain, and we’re to believe that Deanie’s grown stronger because of her ordeal.


What does this movie mean? What lesson are we to take away from this? Small town living is stifling? Nobody can be perfect? Moms make girls crazy, and dads make boys crazy? Isn't that what that John Mayer song was about? Fathers, be good to your daughters?

It seems that the filmmakers used a big stick (sexual freedom) to drive home a bland point (missed opportunity of youth, repression is bad). If you want Jazz Age awesomeness, you’ve got to stick with Gatsby.

I ask you this: How do the pressures teens faced in 1928 compare to the pressures of 2007? With a more liberal society (and the internet, with its celebrity sex tapes and fetish websites), do teens feel more pressure to have sex? Is this (perceived) increase of pressure offset in any way by the wide availability of birth control measures, or sexual education? In other words, if they’re more aware, and more is expected of them, are they also more self-assured and less ashamed?

And let me ask you this: why are there so many movies about jocks driven to the edge by their fathers? Do you know of any such jocks? The sports stars I knew in high school were pretty OK with being sports stars, you know?

And I ask you this: Will I ever spend 5 hours and 11 pages recapping a movie again?

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


I'm taking my time with the Snoopy incident. It's not ready for the masses yet. In fact, I'm not even done with an initial draft.

Until my productivity increases, try your hand at Entertainment Weekly's hair metal band quiz. Paul and myself took this quiz last week, and found it to be rather easy. Paul went so far as to say that he couldn't be friends with anyone that scored less than 6 out of 10.

Hint: Number of bandmates and blonde hair are the keys to victory.

Finally, Bobby introduced me to Joe Posnanski's baseball blog (Poz covers the Royals for the KC Star). He kept a running diary during the Royals home opener, a game that was led off by the incomparable REO Speedwagon's take on "The Star-Spangled Banner". Then, in the middle of the seventh inning:
Oh my gosh, REO Speedwagon is now singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" ... I mean this is getting to be like that Greg Norman collapse at the Masters in 1996. It was interesting for a while, but after a while you just couldn't watch anymore.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Second Grade

We were forbidden from using the white colored crayon, because the teacher and the teaching aide could not easily see if a student had used it (OK), or if the student neglected to color (not OK) a bit of the picture (usually a person's skin).

Back then, the school bus would drop us off at church, even though we attended a public school. The students would attend church, then religion class, then make the short walk over to the school, where we'd meet our protestant peers and begin the regular school day. One morning during Mass, a first grade girl got sick -- she vomited onto the pew in front of her. It happened that I was sitting in that pew, blissfully unaware of her illness, until a classmate, Keith, reacted to the situation. He didn't want his bookbag be soaked in vomit, so he moved my bag a bit, and then put his atop mine. One of the Sisters came to clean up the mess, but she couldn't find the mess, because my bag was hiding it. In the end, some vomit found its way onto my bookbag -- not a lot, but some. That afternoon, as our class prepared to board our busses and return home, I retrieved my bag from the shared closet. I placed it vomit-side-down and used it as a toboggan, riding it back to my desk, successfully hiding its shame. The bag was dark blue.

...And then there was the Snoopy incident. We'll tackle that next time.