Thursday, October 30, 2014

I Read the News Today. Oh Boy.

You never know what's growing in there.
Yesterday I saw a movie about a marriage that was truly a horror story, wherein neither partner trusted the other or even liked them a little. She was scary and possibly could murder him in his sleep, and he was cheating on her and sort of scary himself. "It's just fiction," I told myself, laughing it off.

Then this morning over coffee I read the news about the decapitated woman whose dismembered body--not just the head but the shoulders and legs too -- was found in a small town in New York, and it turned out her own son was the one who did the deed. And after he did it he kicked her head around the street like a soccer ball, then jumped in front of an oncoming train. (I guess life without his mommy was not all that appealing.)

I don't know about you, but I'd rather have my head cut off by those ISIS folks than the babe I birthed, suckled and raised. But hey, that just might be the coffee talking.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Film Review: GONE GIRL

Perry counsels Affleck, with a Starbucks latte for good measure.
This film should have been titled "Gone Boy," the boy being Ben Affleck, Oscar winner for the fabulous "ARGO" a few years back. In his place we have that other Ben, the one who looks like a frat boy past his prime and turns in lackluster performances one mercifully soon forgets. (I'm looking forward to that.) But since he neither directed nor wrote this one he is to be congratulated and remains in my good graces.

Simply stated, "Gone Girl" is not a date movie. In fact, if you are already considering marriage this will surely talk you out of it. A close look at the hellish relationship between a beautiful nutcase and her philandering husband, there is little to recommend it other than some solid performances from people you've never heard of before and likely won't ever again. It's grisly, creepy and suspenseful, with plenty of Hitchcockian twists and questions to keep you guessing: Did he kill his wife, is she dead or just missing, and why did any of them sign on to this film are just a few. And then there's gay actor Neil Patrick Harris playing a straight guy, which is always fun to watch. To say he's memorable in his one very explicit sex scene is an understatement; in fact if you're the sensitive type, you may never have sex again. Let's just say it rivals the horse-head scene in "The Godfather" and leave it at that.

The roller-coaster plot is demanding, so you'd best go to the bathroom beforehand. Even paying strict attention, there are a few loopholes you could justifiably slip through and wonder what the heck is happening. The eponymous gone girl might give a great performance but I hated her guts from the get-go and never did learn her real name. Also of note was the appearance of the Magical Negro, a ploy we haven't seen for a few years. Played by the newly slimmed-down Tyler Perry as a respected and lovable celebrity lawyer who saves Affleck's ass, it was quite refreshing. By the way, Mr. Perry now looks quite smashing and if you ask me should be the new spokesperson for Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers or however he did it.

Turn Off the Porch Light

A quick read on Wikipedia about the origin of Halloween tells you that here in America, we don't do it justice by half. It's really a day to celebrate the dead, not gorge on candy and run around in store-bought costumes. Who knew jack-o-lanterns were supposed to represent souls of dead people? Not me, and I went to school in America, from kindergarten  through college, and never heard a thing about it. Further proof of my conjecture can be found in today's Wall Street Journal, where an article therein discusses the candy aspect but nothing else.

Fretting over obesity and sugar and how to keep the little ones from over-indulging, there is not so much as a whisper of anything else to do with the holiday, which dates back to Celtic Christianity in about 1745. These days all we think about is how much candy is too much and what a shame that "Breaking Bad" costume is.

Here's my advice to modern-day parents: Just say no to the whole damn business, unless you are a witch or a pagan and you really celebrate the way you should. Otherwise it's making a mockery of an authentic religion, sort of like if Christian kids ran around dressed like matzohs on Passover.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

It's Pretty Funny, When You Think About It


Sure you’re crazy, I tell myself, but who isn’t? I mean, look at the terms: You’re born, you’re the center of attention, everyone makes a big fuss, takes care of your every need. You eat, sleep, grow, get excited about things, like the snow and the circus coming and Halloween. Life is great. In fact, you struggle against sleep each night because it’s so much fun just being awake. 


Then one day-- one second--you don’t know (although I can’t remember not knowing, there must have been a time) and the next one you do: Everything ends! The whole shebang! And not just for yourself, but for everyone you know. So you say, Okay, I can handle it, just tell me when. And they say, The funny thing is, nobody knows, it could be any day now. Of course, some people have been known to last a hundred years or more. 


You go on, but it’s not the same, and life becomes the daily sweepstakes: Gee, I wonder who died today? Hey, here’s a list in the newspaper, these people think of everything. There’s even something called life insurance for after you go, except then it’s too late to do you any good. It’s enough to make anyone crazy. So they started having doctors for this sort of thing, this Awareness of Truth Syndrome that could cut you down in your prime. Psychiatrists, psychologists, witch doctors, priests, call them what you will, it all boils down to the same thing: Here’s my life, Doc, what should I do with it? And what if I die before I do anything at all? 


The only trouble is, Doc doesn’t know the answers any more than you do. He’s got the same terms, you see, there is no other plan available. There is only Plan A: Birth, Life, and Death, details varied and unspecified. So really, the shrinks just act like they know. But what a performance, people even pay to see it.

Does Mars Have Two Sexes Like We Do?

Today's world is so confusing it's hard to keep up, especially if you have a concussion, which I do, and things are somewhat jumbled already. What's got me stymied is how many places to set at my Thanksgiving table if I have several genderqueer guests coming. Do "they" each get one place setting or two?

Let me be clear---not queer, but clear: I could not care less if you want to have sex with a lamp or be called an It or wear spike heels with a codpiece, that is your damn business. It has no impact on my life, and in fact bores me. Be queer or not -- my blood pressure numbers will stay the same. What bothers me is messing with the English language. As far as I am concerned, "they" means more than one, and if you are one person, even with warring sexual personae roiling within, you are still only one person in my book. And FYI, that means no extra dessert.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Canada, Here I Come

One of the best things about Maine is its close proximity to Canada, which means that if the horrible circumstance of Hillary Clinton becoming our next president comes to pass, I can hightail it over the border before she has a chance to slither into her inaugural pantsuit and bend the oath of office. That's quite comforting, especially in light of what she said a few days ago at a Massachusetts Democratic rally: "Corporations and businesses do not create jobs." Huh, Hillary? Well then who does--the gub'ment?

Just to take one person at random, of the 40-plus jobs I have held in my lengthy career, every single one had me working for either a large corporation or a small business. After all, unless you are working for a pimp or a drug dealer, it seems to me the boss is an entrepreneur of some sort.

I wonder what Hillary meant. Maybe it's that old Day-of-the-Benghazi-Hearing brain injury talking. I sure hope she gets better before she elected.

The Best Medicine?

Because of my abnormally high blood pressure readings that began two weeks ago, I now find myself adrift in a sea world of doctors and diagnostic tests and dosages, and it's no fun. It's certainly not funny, and so I should probably stop right now and choose another topic since this is ostensibly a humor blog. But what? Politics? That's worse. The sad truth is that we as a society are running out of funny things, unless you think that peeing into a jar for 24 hours is a laugh riot.

When all is bleak and nothing seems humorous, I turn to my Prairie Home Companion Pretty Good Joke Book for some help. I figure if it's good enough for Garrison Keillor, it's good enough for me. Besides, a recent University of Maryland study found that a sense of humor actually can protect against heart disease. Who knows--maybe one of the following jokes will save your life.

"Doctor, something's wrong! I'm shrinking!"
"Take it easy sir, you'll just have to be a little patient."

How many performance artists does it take to change a light bulb?
I don't know, I left at intermission.

This duck walks into a drugstore and says, "Gimme some Chapstick-- and put it on my bill."

What do you say to a hitchhiker with one leg?
"Hop in."

Did you hear about the two antennas that got married? The wedding was terrible but the reception was great.

What has four legs and one arm?
A Rottweiler.

If the black box survives a plane crash, why isn't the whole plane made out of the stuff?

Two penguins are standing on an iceberg. One penguin says to the other, "You look like you're wearing a tuxedo." The other penguin replies, "So who says I'm not?"

What do you call a boomerang that doesn't work?
A stick.