Özel Türkbaş Warned Me There’d Be Videos Like This

Well, no; one can only wonder what the woman behind the LP How To Make Your Husband A Sultan: Belly Dance with Özel Türkbaş would think of this:

I certainly like the music more than the traditional Middle Eastern belly dances.

Apparently, Diana Bastet, probably not her real name, has videos stretching back ten years with dances to various songs with various degrees of production effort as well as some belly dancing workouts. The About page on YouTube says she performs at festivals, but certainly not church festivals, and probably not on this side of the pond.

I found this video because one of the applications I am testing now allows you to link to YouTube videos, and of course, I’m linking to symphonic metal videos.

I did not use any of Bastet’s work as test data, however.

You can see more of Ms. Bastet in motion on YouTube. I have added some photos, which are strangely not blurry, below the fold.

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Ackshually Patrol

At PJ Media, Wretchard writes:

The visuals of Elon Musk working on his fleet of spaceships to Mars while earth writhes in fear of the pandemic, global warming, and the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan gives off a When Worlds Collide vibe. That 1951 movie concerns the desperate efforts to build a space ark to transport a group of men and women to another planet to avoid the coming destruction of the Earth by a rogue star.

C’mon, man, it was a 1933 novel, man. Which I read in sixth grade.

I bought the sequel, After Worlds Collide, in 2007, and I intend to read it sometime before the time between then and 2007 surpasses the time between sixth grade and when I bought the sequel. Given I bought the sequel 14 years ago, I’d better get on it.

I am pretty sure it’s in the right most bookshelves in my office in the front, which will help me should I remember I mean to read it.

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Revisiting a Checklist / Quiz

Back in 2012, I posted about some listicle probably long dead about 8 films that a geek should love. Back then, my results were:

  1. Office Space
  2. Cube (I didn’t like it. Geek demerits for me.)
  3. WarGames
  4. Blade Runner
  5. THX 1138
  6. Dark City
  7. Moon
  8. They Live

I am pleased to say I’ve gotten up to 88% in the nine years since.

  1. Office Space
  2. Cube
  3. WarGames
  4. Blade Runner
  5. THX 1138
  6. Dark City
  7. Moon
  8. They Live

I’ve also read the synopsis of Moon, so I know its story. And I’ve seen it in the wild on DVD for a couple of bucks because I already know the story. Perhaps my imperfect score on this list will prompt me to pick it up the next time I see it at an antique mall or garage sale.

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Movie Report: Labyrinth (1986)

Book coverOn Friday, I took both my children to the bowling alley. We took the back-up truck, which I generally treat as a pickup most of the time, with both of the seats folded down. So to transport the two boys, one of them unfolds the back seat, which leaves one up and one down. As we reached the end of the driveway, I told the oldest son that I was going to play the Labyrinth game with the bowling ball in the back, trying to take turns and accelerate so that the ball rolled up over the other seat, still folded down, and into his lap.

So when it came time for a movie in the evening, of course I picked this film out.

A couple years ago, probably when the Dark Crystal sequel same out, I realized that I had missed a lot of the puppet fantasy movies from the early 1980s: this movie and Dark Crystal especially, so I ordered DVDs of those two and Legend with Tom Cruise. I had seen the latter a couple of times because it was on Showtime in the day, but I did not have a hard copy.

This film is PG, which from the 80s means kind of a scary G. It’s basically a David Bowie musical with a young Jennifer Connelly as a teenager stuck watching her younger brother when she’d rather be–I dunno, living in her fantasy world of princesses and goblins. When the baby won’t stop crying, she recites a curse from one of her favorite fantasy books, Labyrinth, the goblins appear and do take the baby away. The Goblin King, played by David Bowie, appears and offers to trade the girl all her dreams for the boy. She resists, so he offers her the chance to find and take the boy from the castle beyond the goblin city past the Labyrinth. So she does and goes through a series of set pieces with Jim Henson Muppets puppets. I call it a David Bowie musical because he has a number of songs that he performs in toto in the film. And, to my delight, he revisits a bit from the Cary Grant film The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer in the song “Magic Dance”:

I also used to do that bit with my much younger boys.

At any rate, it’s the kind of thing that I would worry might give my children nightmares in their younger days, as they were susceptible to some fears you might find in the film, but now that they’re teenagers, the “cringe” as they call it outweighed the nightmare fodder. Well, for the first night anyway.

So it’s a bit on the child side for teenagers; in the 1980s, certainly by this time, I was watching R rated movies on Showtime for the plot and adventure. But I am still likely to subject my boys to The Dark Crystal and Legend soon to complete my retro viewing. And then perhaps onto Excalibur which I have on VHS unwatched.


At any rate, did someone say Jennifer Connelly?
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I Know His Name Is Jaromir

Jaromir Jagr has ‘no choice’ but to keep playing as he nears 50.

It’s mostly to honor his father:

“As long as my father breathes, I take the club as my responsibility,” he said. “He held it for 20 years. As a son, I would be embarrassed if I left.”

Which is better than having to work for a living because he spent his athlete millions on hookers and coke.

It kind of mirrors, in a way, his former teammate Mario Lemiuex, who took an ownership stake in the Pittsburgh Penguins when they went bankrupt and then un-retired to play six more seasons for his own hockey club.

(Jaromir Jagr, as you might recall, is the source of that one thing Daddy always says.)

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The Maury Poviched Feline Patrimony At Nogglestead

Way back when we first moved to Nogglestead, a couple of our cats got into some inappropriate urination. Although one of the tabbies had, from time to time, used the bathroom in a dark closet, he started doing things like urinating on my desk. Instead of getting rid of the cats, we put them into our back yard which is sheltered enough from predators that they would be safe, if not comfortable. We had food and water out for them all day and night, which brought all manner of fauna by for a snack.

Including two neighboring cats. One, we nicknamed Valjean because he was stealing the other cats’ food.

Another cat, more skittish and standoffish came by. We named him Jigsaw because of the coloring on his face resembling a Jigsaw puzzle. Also, because Jigsaw sounds mean.

Our cats and Valjean did not like Jigsaw; I once saw Jigsaw and Valjean tussle where Jigsaw ran the length of our deck and launch himself over our fence to get away, and Valjean went running after him, flying several yards out and ten or twelve feet down, to get that cat.

So, in the mythos of Nogglestead, Valjean was a good cat, and Jigsaw was not.

From time to time, we saw (and continue to see) similar-looking cats in the fields around us, and we say they’re Valjean’s line.

Over the years, we let in a couple cats that showed up around Nogglestead.

The first was about six years ago. It was spring time, and the windows and doors were open. For a couple of evenings, this cat showed up and whined at the open windows and doors of whatever room I was in. I put out some food for him, so he hung around. After a couple of weeks, my beautiful wife decided he should be neutered; she used to volunteer and support a trap/spay/release organization in St. Louis. Since the beast was going to have to stay in the house for a couple of weeks from the neutering, we decided just to have him declawed and a housecat. We were down to four cats at the time, and we have six bowls for moist cat food, so we were hiring.

A couple of years later, a similar-looking cat appeared, and he came when my wife called it. A skinny little thing, he was already front declawed and neutered. Because he seemed nice, my family wanted to, and did, take him in pretty quickly. He’s a bit of a biter, though–nipping at your feet and ankles when you’re walking. One constantly finds him at your feet as well, so we postulate that another family threw him out for it.

So we have these two cats we brought in, which undoubtedly has given us the neighborhood reputation of being cat rustlers. The cats look the same, and they look like the other cats we’ve seen around the neighborhood. So we’ve posited that they’re progeny of Valjean.

However, I’ve recently been using our cat pictures as test data, and I’ve got photos rotating on another monitor again, which led me to a shocking discovery that has proven that everything I believed to be true was a lie.

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Got The Magic Words In The Headline (II)

Plymouth shooting gunman ‘is America obsessed gun nut who shared Donald Trump quotes’

Undoubtedly, his favorite was the one where Donald Trump said if you cannot get laid, you maybe should try injecting some lead into random people; it couldn’t hurt.

You might be forgiven, casual news glancer, if you started to connect Donald Trump and QAnon and Republican with anything bad ever happening anywhere on the planet.

Forgiven? Heck, you will be rewarded with up-twinkles.

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Got The Magic Words In The Headline

Man killed his kids with spear gun because of QAnon conspiracy theories, FBI says:

A California father confessed to killing his two young children after researching QAnon and Illuminati conspiracy theories that led him to believe they had “serpent DNA,” according to an FBI affidavit.

Matthew Taylor Coleman, a 40-year-old surf instructor, has been charged with killing his 2-year-old son and 10-month-old daughter, the Associated Press reported.

The man killed them because he was crazy. Also, estranged from their mother.

But, gentle reader, if you got the impression from the headline that he killed them because he felt the 2020 election might have had some notable irregularities and because Donald Trump told him to inject spears into his children, well, the Right Thinkers are guiding you to the Right Way.

Full disclosure: I do not spread QAnon conspiracy theories. I spread QAoui conspiracy theories.

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Brian J. Is Back On The Comics: Sad Sack Laugh Special #38, 1967

So I had a little time to kill a couple of weekends ago when my youngest was playing miniature golf with his church youth group. The Fun Acre miniature golf course is, really, about an acre wedged between a strip mall and residential homes on a side street off of Campbell Avenue. It’s been there forever; the aged proprietor still mans the small shed as he did when Steve Pokin of the Daily Dammit, Gannett profiled him in 2014.

Whilst the youngster played a round with which he would ultimately be disappointed, Daddy went to the antique mall that abuts the looking mostly for cheap DVDs (LPs are now heading past $10 each, so buying them at antique malls is generally out).

I also stopped up the road at Nameless City, which has a couple of roleplaying games left but also still has a couple of tables of dollar comics. As you might remember, gentle reader, I used to hit up the Comic Cave (and sometimes got a discount for being a good customer). I liked the dollar comic boxes because they were organized; you could easily find runs of comics, even kinda new comics, for a buck each (which ultimately led to the store’s downfall–the proprietor would “subscribe” to a comic on your behalf, where he would pay the annual subscription and you promised to come buy the issues every month, and so many of you did not live up to your part of the bargain that I got your unclaimed comics for a buck each, and the proprietor could not afford to keep the shop open).

So when I am pawing through the jumbled boxes at Nameless City or Vintage Stock, I’m generally looking for interesting looking stories with low numbers, generally non-Marvel and non-DC, or I’m looking for issues in series I’ve kinda collected over time. Which leads to a lot of one-off, incomplete stories to read, but sometimes I can patch together a small run if I paw through enough boxes.

At any rate, to make a short story long, this trip I found something interesting: A 1967 Sad Sack Laugh Special from Harvey Comics:

As I mentioned, I got a large number of hand-me-down Harvey Comics from the 1960s from my aunts/great aunts. Old issues of Hot Stuff, Casper the Friendly Ghost, Wendy the Good Witch, and, likely, Sad Sack.

Basically, Sad Sack is similar to Beetle Bailey but appeared eight years before the more popular slacker/soldier. This particular volume collects multi panel newspaper comics into a single flat-spined comic book. You know, the archetype of the reluctant soldier skating by probably proved more popular during wartime, after the war with the returning GIs, and through the draft era. This particular volume, though, comes from the late 1960s, where presumably GIs in Vietnam could have read it, although I expect the schtick and motif were getting long in tooth by then. But, hey, Gomer Pyle, USMC was still on the air, so what do I know.

Sad Sack had a long history–although the newspaper cartoon only ran for 12 years, Harvey kept pumping out comics for 37 years, and Sad Sack appeared on radio in the 40s and in a movie in 1957. Mostly forgotten today except for some of us who inherited a stack of comic books almost 40 years ago.

I was pleased to find this book for a buck for the nostalgia it provided–it even smelled like those old comics, a bit musty which you don’t get from newer comics on slicker paper (and probably won’t in 40 years). The humor within is what it was, which is a bit amusing in spots particularly if you served, but probably not something that would reach today’s audiences.

But for the secondhand nostalgia.

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I Remember Then

Over at Rural Revolution, they’ve got enough bookshelves to arrange their books by category.

There was a time, once, at Nogglestead, where we did the same thing. But that was eleven years ago.

I look back at those photos, like this one:

Or this one:

And think, “I used to have room atop the bookshelves for something other than more books?” Look at those organized shelves in the common area, only single stacked.

I am pleased to say that I do not have books stacked on the floor in my office at this time, and only a small stack of audio courses/audio books out in the living room.

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Round and Round We Go

I drive through this coming interchange every time I go into Republic: MoDOT announces new roundabout near Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield:

MoDOT has plans for a new roundabout near Republic, which as drivers talking.

“You are essentially entering into a guessing game,” said local Param Reddy.

That roundabout will be installed at the intersection of route ZZ and Farm road 182, right by the Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield.

MoDOT officials said it would cost around $1.3 million and start construction in Spring of 2023.

As you might know, gentle reader, I oppose roundabouts for a couple of reasons, and this one will illustrate why very well.

This is the intersection in question. ZZ runs north and south and is a pretty straight state highway with good visibility in both directions. Farm Road 182 is hilly and curvy. The intersection itself is within the bounds of the Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield, so the speed limit on 182 drops to 20, but this is rarely observed. Farm Road 182 has stop signs, but ZZ has no control device.

I have come to this interchange a couple of times where I’ve had to wait behind cars at the stop sign for a couple of minutes, but rarely more.

The area is developing, so perhaps a control other than the stop sign would be in order eventually, but not a roundabout.

  • The roundabout is expensive; it will cost at least $1.3 million at least, and its construction will add delays to the intersection.
  • The roundabout slows down traffic on the highway even if there’s no merging/crossing traffic. Instead of continuing north or south at speed, drivers on ZZ will often have to slow down unnecessarily when no traffic is present on Farm Road 182.
  • The roundabout is inflexible. A stop light can be set to flashing yellow or enabled with sensors to know when to change based on the presence of vehicles. Not the roundabout. It’s the light rail train of interchanges. You cannot adjust it. You can only endure it.

I continue to believe that traffic engineers hate people who drive cars, and I’m starting to think that they’re all from the city and ride ebikes to work. Someone from the country who needs to go ten or twenty miles or more when driving doesn’t need a bunch of European traffic fads. We need consistent speeds to get from one point to another.

But I did not go to expensive Traffic Engineering School, which seems to lead to this thought process:

  1. Roundabouts.
  2. Diverging Diamond Interchanges.
  3. Diverging Diamond Interchanges with roundabouts at each end.
  4. Diverging Diamond Interchanges with roundabouts at each end and smoke machines! That will slow the traffic down.

If it saves just one life, it’s worth it! Although I’m not sure that in the ten years that I’ve lived at Nogglestead that one life has been lost at that intersection. Maybe, but it’s not Blood Alley by any means to warrant this imposition.

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Movie Report: Horrible Bosses (2011)

Book coverIt’s funny; this film came a year after Grown Ups, but it has a more modern, and not in a good way, sensibility. Maybe it’s the difference between an R rated comedy and a PG-13 comedy (which Grown Ups is). This film relies more on drug and sex comedy than the Sandler film. Wait, did I say, “It’s funny?” Maybe I should rephrase that.

Of course, the premise itself limits the grown-up, so to speak, potential. Three friends are having trouble at work, specifically with their bosses. One, Jason Sudekis, has a good job and is well liked by the owner–who dies, and whose good-for-nothing son (Colin Ferrell) takes over and makes our “hero”‘s life miserable. The second (Jason Bateman) is a salesman at some kind of, I dunno, high tech boiler room, his boss is played by Kevin Spacey, and this time Kevin Spacey gets to be the Alec Baldwin character from Glengarry Glen Ross instead of the Kevin Spacey character. The third, played by Charlie Day, is a dental hygenist whose DDS boss, Jennifer Anniston (I did not recognize her) who is sexually harrassing him at work. They decide over drinks that since they cannot kill their own bosses, they should kill each others’ bosses. They engage a black man (Jamie Foxx) they meet in a seedy bar, but instead of being a hit man, he offers to be their murder consultant, who gives them basic, obvious advice. So they start to stalk their respective prey and hijinks, mostly drug and sex hijinks. In the end, they don’t end up having to kill anyone and live happily ever after, at least until the inevitable sequel in 2014.

So, yeah, a modern film. Not as crass as, say, Hot Tub Time Machine 2 or Ted, but still not something I’m necessarily going to watch over and over. However, my boys will have that option when they inherit it and a dozen DVD players. And, gentle reader, I give you that option via the link below, which is a little more expensive than the buck or two I paid for it, but not that much, actually. Get ’em while they last.

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The Failing Gift-Fu of Brian J.

I am sure that I have mentioned from time to time that I generally begin Christmas shopping when spending gift cards that I received, or that I start picking things up very early in the year when I find something that so and so would like. It gets to Christmas time, and I’m not sure what I’ve gotten everyone, as I bought it so early in the year that I don’t remember, either.

But this year has been…. Different. We have gone through the birthday season, and I did not overwhelm my children or my beautiful wife with the gifts. The shelf in the closet has been bare. Normally, I have to wrap early gifts in ambiguous paper as I’m not sure whether a particular gift will be for a birthday, anniversary, Mother’s Day, or Christmas. But I’ve had to scramble at the last minute with a bit of “It’ll do” acceptance of a bit of guesswork.

So, what happened to me?

Was it that in the last two years, I have had to unwrap gifts for people who died after I bought their Christmas gifts? Including something I bought for my aunt who died two years ago and later gave to my sister-in-law, who died last year?

Was it general ennui based on the Recurrent Unpleasantness? Disappointment in recognizing that the extended family I have longed for was not reciprocating my attempts to connect?

Perhaps, gentle reader, it was all of the above, but I recognized something else acutely recently: I am not currently exposed to a lot of gift ideas all the time.

As I was finishing up my Wall Street Journals, I got to the weekend features section and read a book review on Mad at the World: A Life of John Steinbeck, and I ordered a copy for my mother-in-law for Christmas.

You know, I used to see reviews for books, movies, and music all the time in National Review and First Things, not to mention Instapundit as well as in the stacks of Wall Street Journals that I accrued and eventually browsed. My subscriptions to the periodicals have lapsed, and Instapundit mostly runs promos for advertisers on Helen’s Page now, so I am just not continuously seeing snippets of interesting books and whatnot. Which, to be honest, made up the majority of the gifts I laid up, or gift schticks items I laid up when I came across them.

My boys and my beautiful wife, whocomprise most of my gift giving these days, do not really have gift schticks. They get pajamas every Christmas and novelty socks from time to time, but the boys are growing to young men now, so showering them with piles of Legos doesn’t work easily. And I can’t give everyone novelty socks every gift opportunity.

I dunno; maybe I need to re-subscribe to First Things; my subscription lapsed because I ignored all of the renewal notifications because most magazines send them bi-monthly. Or maybe I need to find some more general interest Web sites with book reports to get ideas. Because, honestly, I get Friar’s thriller book reports and a lot of information on military science fiction from various Instapundit-and Hoyt-related sources, but not the sorts of things I get for my wife and children.

Ah, well, we have some months until Christmas. Perhaps something will come to me.

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Book Report: Poems by Chris Alderman and Harold Alderman (1970)

Book coverI was in the mood for a chapbook, so I picked up this recent purchase. I got it at a garage sale here in Springfield for fifty cents at a garage sale whose proprietrix said they had a great selection of books, but which looked to be mostly college Spanish and English literature textbooks. I think I came away with two books: this book and another piece of classical literature in the expensive but cheap college paperback edition–it’s lost in the stacks already, so I cannot tell you what it was.

This book, though, is a signed, numbered chapbook, number 159 of 300 published fifty-one years ago in California. How it got to the garage sale of a recently enfamiliated college grad in Springfield, Missouri, I cannot tell you, either, but I always find these books’ travels interesting.

It collects poems of two people with the same last name. The first section is Chris, and it’s the better section. Medium-length lines, but definitely a rhythm that said Chris read the works aloud. The second set, by Harold, is less good, but, still, overall, the collection was pleasant to read.

A quick search of the Internet does not yield a lot of information about either of the authors or them together, although one can find the book on Amazon for $17.50, which is not very chap at all.

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La Journalia E Finita

I mentioned last November that I canceled my subscription to the Wall Street Journal after less than a year because I was not pleased with its coverage of the election and its aftermath.

I’ve also said before that I have tended to let the Wall Street Journal pile up on those occasions when I’ve subscribed to it; last November, I recognized:

I am pretty sure that it will stack up unless I make a concerted effort to clear it out, and I might as I try to get some sort of record player running this holiday season which might involve putting a component system in the parlor.

I did, in fact, get a working turntable in the parlor last year, but I had several inches of Wall Street Journals piled up.

They’ve yellowed over the year as I piled others in my local papers on top and then popped the most recent papers off of the top. Since I’m taking, what, nine local papers per week (one of which comes twice a week), I’ve gotten into the habit of sitting in the parlor and reading papers. Which has included the stack of Wall Street Journals.

So yesterday afternoon, I finished off a couple of issues from September and October 2020. Again, I quote myself last November:

And, as is the norm, the papers started piling up unread until I would (or will) months later tear through them weeks at a time, only glancing at the headlines and shaking my head, thinking We had it so good then; I know how all of this turns out.

The headlines almost a year ago? COVID, COVID, COVID, election, Trump is bad! and so on.

Not too much different than what I see on the Internet and the front page of the Daily Dammit, Gannett here in town. Only they’re more shrill now.

And to quote myself again:

But you know what I will miss? The feature writing in the Personal Journal and Friday/weekend sections along with the book, television, movie, and music reviews. The same things I rather miss out of the National Review.

Also true. But it’s not worth $25 a month or more.

Will that be the last time I subscribe to the Wall Street Journal? Time will tell, I reckon, but this time it’s not so much that it’s expensive and piles up, but also that its news coverage is not very straight any more. So probably.

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Creepy Is The New Normal

So I read this article in Chrome with the JavaScript off: ‘Preppers’ Quietly Stock Up for the ‘Perfect Storm’, and it mentions a prepper supply company:

Keith Bansemer, president of My Patriot Supply in Salt Lake City, said his business has grown exponentially amid widespread fears of a return to COVID-19 lockdowns, empty store shelves, and forced vaccinations that will limit personal freedoms.

And I log into Facebook minutes later in a separate browser, and I get:

You know, that’s pretty fast information sharing. Too fast.

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Movie Report: Grown Ups (2010)

Book coverI watched this film with my boys–they were interested in it because it stars Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Kevin James, and other comic figures they know. But I warned them that this was a more adult-oriented film, and that Sandler plays an adult in it, not the zany man-boy of films like The Waterboy, Little Nicky, or Happy Gilmore.

A junior high school basketball team wins the only championship in the school’s history; thirty-some years later, the coach of the team dies, and the team members assemble for his funeral. They include a successful agent (Sandler) whose wife is an international fashion designer and whose kids are spoiled brats; a househusband (Chris Rock) whose mother-in-law lives with he and his wife (Maya Rudolph); a hippie sort married to a woman several years his senior (Rob Schneider); David Spade playing David Spade (but not Joe Dirt); and a recently unemployed furniture store employee (James) whose wife (Maria Bello) still breastfeeds their four-year-old. They come together and spend the weekend in a lakehouse to reconnect with each other and with their families. The film climaxes with a rematch basketball game with the other team from that championship led by Colin Quinn.

I had seen this film before as a rental before my local video chain closed, so I liked it well enough to pick it up cheaply. Some of the humor is a little crass, but it’s the kind of crass that you get when you’re around friends. Believe it or not, gentle reader, even *I* can be a little crass around my friends from way back. So it fits into the movie instead of defining the movie. And it’s a movie with a lot of heart, with a message that resonates with someone who’s in the middle of that middle age, with a family and responsibilities and wondering what happened to being young–and how to get in touch with the joy of life a little bit.

So, like many films in the Sandlerverse, I’ll probably watch this one again at some point, and I’ll keep my eye out for a cheap copy of the sequel. Unfortunately, though, I might not ever see a new Sandler movie since they’re all streaming only these days. I have to wonder if 2020 kind of marks the start of what might be a dark age–I mean, if someone looks back from somewhere down the timeline, all cultural artifacts from about now are going to be gone because they were only on computers, and nobody even has a freaking floppy drive or CD ROM any more except me.

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I’d Rather Have The Product I Imagined

An ad for some frippery I saw on Facebook:

I thought, How cool is that! A reversible trenchcoat that turns into a cape!

Oh, but no. It’s just some overpriced “artist” putting your face on some stock portrait background. Which is not something I’m interested in.

A trench coat that you can turn inside out and it’s a cape, now that might be tempting.

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Movie Report: Joe Dirt (2001)

Book coverAlthough I had seen snippets of this film on television a couple of times, I had not seen the film all the way through until I recently watched it with my boys. I picked it up on Saturday at the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton church sale along with 18 other DVDs for a dollar each, and I watched it the same night with my boys. I preface all of these comedies by saying, “This is a documentary” or “This is based on a true story,” but they are coming to view that pronouncement with suspicion.

Joe Dirt (David Spade) tells his story, partially in flashback, as he is interviewed on a radio program where the talker (Dennis Miller) belittles him. His family abandoned him at the Grand Canyon when he was eight, and Joe roamed until he found, what, a foster home? in Silvertown in the Pacific Northwest–where he befriended an attactive girl, Brandy. But Joe decided he had to go find his family, so he starts a search that takes him to the Grand Canyon, to New Orleans, to Baton Rouge, where he meets and exposes a mob boss in the witness protection program and gets kidnapped by Buffalo Bill (of The Silence of the Lambs). He eventually becomes a sensation due to his story on the air, and that helps him find his real parents, and they’re not what he hoped.

The boys enjoyed it, and I didn’t think it was a waste of time. I’m not generally a fan of David Spade. But this is not part of the Spadeverse–this is the Sandlerverse. It’s a Happy Gilmore production and has Kevin Nealon and Blake Clark playing essentially the same thing as he did in The Waterboy (a Cajun people have trouble understanding), so definitely Sandlerverse. The older boy recognized Joe Don Baker and asked what he else he was in; the boy might have recognized him from one of Timothy Dalton’s James Bond movies or two of Pierce Brosnan’s James Bond films. Or he might have been thinking of the chief in Fletch which we watched this spring. He also had a small part in Reality Bites.

So not a complete waste of ninety minutes, and something that speaks to teenaged boys more than their agèd fàthers.

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Book Report: Laugh Lines by Alison Pohn (2004)

Book coverThis book is kind of similar to Yes, Sir, That’s My Baby (and pretty much every I Can Haz Cheesburger-style Web site from the 21st century). A picture and a caption that’s supposed to be funny. This book collects images of really old people (thankfully, not merely old people like me) and has a sentence like “I’ve got those falling down arches, can’t see without my glasses, I hate gravity blues.” which is paired with a woman wearing bifocals playing a harmonica). Fun fact: I was given bifocals in 9th grade because I had trouble with the aligned text test while getting a new strength for my glasses. So I was wearing bifocals in high school, standing all of five foot something and weighing under a hundred pounds. So, yeah, I was very low on the pecking order, brah.

Another caption has a pair of elderly twins in matching outfits with the caption “Mary Kate and Ashley, consider this a warning.” Seventeen years later, you’d need a footnote on that in the 2nd Edition of this book. My boys don’t know who they are. Of course, my boys didn’t know who John Wayne was until recently, so maybe that’s more accusing my failures as a father than dated pop culture references in this book.

At any rate, I guess these things are designed to give as a gift to someone as a gag on an advancing birthday. So maybe my buying it at a garage sale and reading it really doesn’t keep with its intended spirit and purpose.

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