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  1. Moviegoing: "Terminator 3"
  2. This Movie is Me
  3. The Nature of Order, Now
  4. The Politics of Animal House
  5. More on Libeskind
  6. A Modest Proposal for the Brazilian Rainforest
  7. Free Reads -- Gaydar, Camp, LBD and More
  8. New Traditionalist Art
  9. Where Are They Now, and How Do They Sell?
  10. Warner Brothers Cartoons and the Business of Art

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Saturday, July 5, 2003

Moviegoing: "Terminator 3"
Michael Blowhard writes: Dear Friedrich -- Sorry to report that I found "Terminator 3" super-skippable. I'd been looking forward to it. The buzz was bad, which I found cheering. I mean, it wasn't directed by James Cameron, so how can it be any good? This kind of insider-wannabe leaping-to-conclusions makes me give a been-there/done-that, older-and-wiser chuckle of immense self-satisfaction. And, anyway, I gave up on Cameron long ago -- loved the original "Terminator," have found everything he's done since overblown and ego-oppressed. Meanwhile, I'm a fan of his replacement, Jonathan Mostow. In his two movies, "U-571" and the beyond-fabulous "Breakdown," Mostow combined brains, skill, a sense of perspective, and a respect for B-movie traditions and pleasures. Go go go. So I was betting that the movie would be a surprise wow. I lose. It's OK, I guess, but I found it a snore -- a likable but largely unsuccessful attempt to balance cosmic cyberextravaganza with human-scale, scrappy heart. A couple of stirring moments, some decent spoofy jokes, a lack of obsessiveness about attaining cyberperfection that I approve of ... Wake me when it's over. What I enjoyed most was the new evil-Terminator figure, which this time around takes the form of a sleek, blonde Gen-Y careerist/killing-machine type, played by an actress named Kristanna Loken. (Even the actress's name makes me giggle happily.) Think Charlize Theron on a really bad, someone's-going-to-pay PMS day. Loken and Mostow did a lot of work synching up her body rhythms -- her walk, her eye-focus -- with the way the evil robots move, and her swiveling, "I smell a victim" physical attack is hilarious -- sexy and even a little scary. The best action scene in the movie for my money was an over-the-top mano-a-mano between Ahnuld and the Terminatrix which seems intended to remind you of the kinds of scraps you witness at work -- specifically the ones between the older but still potent male exec determined that this fight shouldn't be his last, and the savagely self-interested, new-and-improved young gal who's one day, inevitably, going to supplant him. But most of the rest of the action stuff was just noise. A few of my usual scatterbrained, half-baked musings/reflections/whatevers: * I went whole hog and saw the film digitally projected. Ka-boom! The flawlessness of the image crossed with the you're-inside-the-speakers, thunder-and-lightning sound system is ideal for this kind of theme-park movie: Go, submit, get nuked. I can't imagine why the studios and theater chains would wait a second longer to convert wholesale. I do, of course: it's the question of who's going to pay. But for the kind of movie the corporations are peddling, the technology is already perfection -- super-ultra-mega-HDTV, basically. I know I can be perverse and reactionary, but as I sat there both wowed and bored, I found myself nostalgic for the "flaws" of celluloid and longing for a modest, dialogue-first-then-the-effects set of speakers. And thinking, You know, it's the difference between a buffed-and-Photoshopped, no-personality, poppin'-out-at-you virtual actress and one who... posted by Michael at July 5, 2003 | perma-link | (3) comments

This Movie is Me
Friedrich -- Your lovely "Animal House" posting -- and how pleasing that such a lowdown comedy has prompted such personal ruminations -- has me thinking about how movies/books/etc can become these gravitational-pull things around which longterm personal feelings orbit ... Oops, lost control of that one. Anyway, your posting got me wondering, Is there a movie that gets close to how and where you come from? That you can point to and say, Yeah, that's the kind of life I was born into, and whose assumptions I still carry around with me? As for smalltown, Western-NY me, there aren't too many candidates. One of the only movies ever filmed near where I grew up is the horror movie "Lady in White." Have you seen it? Poetic, touching, beautiful, faux-naif in a likable way ... And I think I'm not just expressing my delight in seeing the physical details of my background up on screen. (I met the director of the film once, and as we chatted it emerged that not only did we grow up on the same side of town, we may have played junior-high soccer against each other.) But its operatic, soulful, Italian-American tone is a million miles from the Waspy-rube-with-pretentions tone of my upbringing -- that's not how that life looked to me. So I guess I'd say that the movie I've seen that's closest, both tonewise and physical-detailwise, to how I grew up is the midwestern bicycle-racing movie "Breaking Away." Cornfed, lovely and wholesome, yet perplexed, goofy and yearning too -- yup, that about does it. Stir a little "Magnificent Ambersons" into the family's psychic mix and the picture's complete. How about you? The movie that does the best job of showing the matrix (so to speak) from which you emerged. No fair getting too metaphorical -- no Sergio Leone, for instance, just because that's how it felt. Literal-minded, please. The Wife, a whacky southern Californian, tells me that the movie that best represents how she grew up is the George Axelrod/Tuesday Weld black comedy "Lord Love a Duck." (If anybody ever wanted to characterize our marriage, they could do a lot worse than describing it as "Lord Love a Duck" meets "Breaking Away.") And how about your wife? Eager as well to hear from any and all visitors. Best, Michael... posted by Michael at July 5, 2003 | perma-link | (24) comments

The Nature of Order, Now
Friedrich -- FYI, Volume One of Christopher Alexander's much-anticipated, much-delayed magnum opus The Nature of Order is finally available. This Blowhard is, as you know, a big fan, and imagines that anyone intrigued by our occasional discussions about architecture and cities -- or who found our interviews with Alexander's colleague Nikos Salingaros provocative (they begin here) -- will enjoy the book too. Whether Alexander's assertions and arguments finally convince as science -- which is the main goal of the book -- I'm certainly not qualified to say. But, just between you and me, I don't care that much, because a good 80% of what Alexander thinks and writes I find completely convincing on a human basis; his view of art is both commonsensical yet compatible with many people's intuitions about beauty and what its existence may imply about the existence of a spiritual dimension. 80%! That's pretty damn good. And, in any case, the book is a staggering thing, argued accessibly and directly but in searching depth, as well as beautifully illustrated and produced. Plus, there's always the fun of wrestling with the question, Christopher Alexander: greatest art-thought genius of the age? Or loony Messiah wannabe? It's a pricey volume, and if you aren't in the mood to impoverish yourself, you can explore Alexander's thinking and approach online at his Pattern Language site here. But if you've got a few spare bucks available and look forward to doing some reading that'll give your mind a major shake 'n' bake, go for the book. Amazon offers a bit of a price break here. Best, Michael... posted by Michael at July 5, 2003 | perma-link | (4) comments

The Politics of Animal House
Michael: A few days ago I came across a website devoted to the movie “Animal House,” (which can be seen here.) It informed me that this summer is the 25th anniversary of the movie’s release. I won’t bore you with describing how astonishing it was to find that this relic of my misspent youth is now a quarter century old (either you’ve had this experience and you understand what I’m talking about or you haven’t and you won’t). But it did spur me to go to my local video store and rent a copy, just to see how it compared to my memory of the film. Appropriately, as it turns out, I watched it on the Fourth of July. I say appropriately because, while I chiefly recalled it as the adventures of a bunch of improbably smooth or lucky adolescent guys in their eager pursuit of women, pickled livers and bad grades, on a new viewing it struck me that the adjective political was the one that best described the movie. Tim Matheson's "Otter" Preparing to Take Some Liberties For example, I remembered the kangaroo-court trial of Delta House (in which the vengeful Dean Wormer has orchestrated the official demise of the fraternity) as a not-terribly realistic triumph of fast-talking flim-flammery on the part of Tim Matheson’s character, Otter. On re-viewing, I realized that Matheson's speech was, in its own way, a serious political utterance: Ladies and gentlemen, I’ll be brief. The issue here is not whether we broke a few rules or took a few liberties with our female guests. We did. [Winks at Dean Wormer, who is unaware that Otter spent the night in question with Mrs. Wormer.] But you can’t hold a whole fraternity responsible for the behavior of a few sick, perverted individuals. For if you do, then shouldn’t we blame the whole fraternity system? And if the whole fraternity system is guilty, then isn’t this an indictment of our educational institutions in general? I put it to you, Greg [the president of the Pan-Hellenic Disciplinary Council], isn’t this an indictment of our entire American society? Well, you can do what you want to us, but we’re not going to sit here and listen to you bad-mouth the United States of America! Gentlemen? The members of the fraternity walk out, accepting that the consequence of their “civil disobedience” will be the dissolution of their frat house by the powers that be. The film is about how radical and threatening the quintessentially American notion of “the pursuit of happiness” can be when pursued on a social basis. Obviously, the characters of “Animal House,” taken one at a time, aren’t “pursuing happiness” in any remotely novel or unique form (and certainly not in any terribly enlightened form.) In fact, the film makes clear that as individuals they’re not even doing anything novel or unique in the context of its fictional Faber College. What sets up the confrontation with Dean Wormer is the fact that the fraternity boys of... posted by Friedrich at July 5, 2003 | perma-link | (10) comments

Friday, July 4, 2003

More on Libeskind
Friedrich -- Daniel Libeskind, the architect chosen to design what's to be constructed at the WTC site, has written some peculiar poetry, and has never built a skyscraper. Deroy Murdock at National Review Online has details as well as some more interesting information here. Best, Michael... posted by Michael at July 4, 2003 | perma-link | (3) comments

Thursday, July 3, 2003

A Modest Proposal for the Brazilian Rainforest
Michael: A long time ago you raised the issue of how us right-wingers fail to deal with the environment in a posting entitled Crunchy Cons (which can be read here). I admit to being uneasy about the tendency of the left to use the environment as a club to bash free markets and capitalism, as well as a megaphone to cheer on the growth of centralized command-and-control-government. (I think they just like coercion, deep down in their bones.) However, I must grant that keeping our natural environment from getting trashed is a genuinely important goal. Your post, therefore, raised a legitimate question: if I don’t like how the the left wants to go about it, what approach would I argue for? Well, I’m not smart or knowledgeable enough (okay, just not smart enough) to advance a complete theoretical agenda on this topic. I thought I might try to find my way to one by writing some posts on this subject. (Apologies to those who regard 2blowhards’ writ as extending only to the cultural realm.) So when I noticed a story in the New York Times of June 27 entitled “Rain Forest Is Losing Ground Faster in Amazon, Photos Show” (which you can read here). I checked it out. Thanks to the wonder of the Internet, I quickly found a similar story on the Environmental News Service (which you can read here.) . The main thrust of both is as follows (quoting from the NY Times article): Newly released satellite images show that the Amazon rain forest is disappearing at an increasing rate, with about 10,000 square miles lost mainly to pasture land, soybean plantations and illegal logging in the 12-month period that ended last August…. It was the fastest acceleration in the loss in the Amazon forest, the world's largest continuous area of rain forest, since the same 12-month period in 1994 and 1995, environmentalists said. Well this sure sounded alarming, but I felt the need of some context. To get some, I checked out the size of Amazon rain forest, which wasn’t listed in either account. Spreading across parts of Brazil, Venezuela, Peru and Bolivia, it takes up some 2.7 million square miles. Thus, from mid-2001 to mid-2002, when 9845 square miles vanished, 0.36 % of the rainforest ate it. At that rate in 50 years only 18% of the Amazon would be deforested. This doesn’t mean we’re not dealing with a serious problem (unchecked, that rate might well rise), but it does cause me to wonder—yet again—how much trust we should repose in “news reports” of environmental problems. Why? Well because I’m fairly sure that everyone who wrote on this story did the same calculation you see above and omitted the results because they didn’t seem, er, dramatic enough. Instead, the news reports relied on “experts.” I quote from the Times: The environmental group Greenpeace has warned that the rain forest could be wiped out in 80 years if deforestation rates are not slowed. Scientists say about a... posted by Friedrich at July 3, 2003 | perma-link | (7) comments

Wednesday, July 2, 2003

Free Reads -- Gaydar, Camp, LBD and More
Friedrich -- I noticed the comment where you mentioned that you're puzzled by camp (as in gay-humor camp, not summer camp), and I was thinking -- in an enthusiastic but wary-of-too-much-effort kind of way -- of doing a posting on the subject. I'm a clueless het from the sticks, but I've spent more time than most such living it up in the Village and hanging out with gay friends. Why not capitalize on that a bit? Hmmm, let's see: "The Big Lunk's Guide to Camp." Or maybe: "Some Straight-Guy Notes on Camp." I had a general direction for the posting to go. Start with camp being an underground thing, and bring it right up to the present, with nearly all of pop culture being suffused with camp, so much so that most people probably don't recognize it as such .... (The girly/tough look of the "Charlie's Angels" sequel -- hyperbright, candycolored, videogamey -- seems to me to come straight out of David LaChapelle.) I was even mapping out some "questions" and "issues" to poke and tickle: Why was camp so much more fun when it was underground? Are out-of-the-closet gays happier but less brilliant? Do straights know how much in the way of camp they're being fed? How would they react if they did? Might the pre-eminence of gays in pop culture have something to do with the cluelessness about how-to-be-a-man that I see in many young straight guys these days? And then, thanks to Daze Reader (here), I ran across an issue of The Stranger devoted to contempo gay life, here. Not bad! Don't miss Edmund White (here), who says everything I was hoping to say with much more authority and wit than I could ever manage, or Dani Cone (here) on the question of Lesbian Bed Death: Real or Not?, or Andrew Sullivan (here) on how annoying it is that people automatically assume that gay equals Democrat. Many other funny, smart and informative pieces -- a damn fine issue, really. I love it when other people do what I was hoping to do, and especially when they do it so much better than I could have. As one of my campier gay friends likes to say: Less work for Mother. Best, Michael... posted by Michael at July 2, 2003 | perma-link | (2) comments

New Traditionalist Art
Friedrich -- You -- and anyone else who's interested in the phenomenon of tradition re-asserting itself in the arts -- might be interested in this transcript from a Think Tank show (here), hosted by Ben Wattenberg. It's a one-time-over-lightly treatment, a little odd in the way it mixes up the kind of art a critic like Jed Perl champions with flat-out traditionalist stuff, and you do have to kick your reading brain into that state it needs to be in when you're reading a transcript instead of really-written prose. But, that said, it's a good intro to some of the movement's big names and bright lights. The academic/avant-garde/mediaworld crowd spits on these people, by the way. No surprise there. Given their bile, it's satisfying to read these artists' reasons for working the way they do. It isn't out of ignorance or stupidity. They just like it better than doing avant-garde art. Here's the composer Stefania de Kenessy, for example: As a child I grew up knowing so-called avant-garde or so-called 20th century music as much as I did 18th, 19th or 16th century musics. So for me the idea of having dissonant music at my fingertips was nothing new. And I always loved beautiful music more than I loved the dissonant, harsh stuff. Direct, intelligent, and why not? Best, Michael... posted by Michael at July 2, 2003 | perma-link | (0) comments

Where Are They Now, and How Do They Sell?
Friedrich -- Book Magazine (which is evidently sponsored by Barnes & Noble) had the good idea of tracking down well-known authors who haven't been heard from recently and finding out what they've been up to. What's online here is only a sample of what's in the magazine, but you can still find out about Harper ("To Kill a Mockingbird") Lee and S.E. ("The Outsiders") Hinton. If you click here, you can look at a table showing how well many famous books of yore sell these days. It's a big graphic, so those with slow connections may want to give it a pass. Others will find much to be amused by: "The Scarlet Letter" outsold "Clan of the Cave Bear," which outsold "The Fountainhead," which outsold "Dune" ... Best, Michael... posted by Michael at July 2, 2003 | perma-link | (6) comments

Warner Brothers Cartoons and the Business of Art
Michael: Have you ever considered how peculiar a phenomenon the artistic quality of Warner Brothers’ cartoons of the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s was? I was just reading Hugh Kenner's book, "Chuck Jones: A Flurry of Drawings," and got to wondering what this data point means for theories about the business of art. First, whatever artistic quality was produced was not as the result of any conscious intent on the part of Warner Brothers. By the early 1940s the studio owned 17,000 movie-houses in 7,500 cities, which gave them a total of 10,500,000 possible paying seats. They needed a stream of product to fill those seats. This included a new cartoon every couple of weeks because their customers expected to see them. Apparently, nobody in the corporate hierarchy of the Warner’s empire cared a hoot about animation as long as the cartoons showed up on time—an attitude quite different from the micro-management Jack Warner and his brothers applied to their feature films. Warner’s thinking regarding these cartoons was purely economic, as they were, effectively, a cost center. Originally these cartoons apparently ran around 7 minutes, as Mr. Kenner explains: At 420 seconds, that's 10,080 frames, or 5,040 drawings when we shoot each of them twice. A lot of drawings. Even at starvation wages, a lot of money: say $30,000 per Looney Tune: say three-quarters of a million bucks annually, plus change...Cartoons being trivial, something seemed out of balance. Seven minutes per product: might [patrons] stand for less? It turned out they'd regard five minutes as short weight. The compromise was six; six minutes plus or minus a grotesquely specified two-thirds of a second. A consequence of these unbelievably precise time limits coupled with the notorious cheapness of the Warner corporate machine was a higher degree of pre-planning than was practiced at any of the other cartoon shops in Hollywood. At Disney, for example, the practice was to shoot animated footage at the length of its internal logic and then edit things down to meet the running time of a cartoon. Penny-pinching Warner executives, however, regarded drawing, inking, and shooting frames as a waste of money, which meant everything had to be laid out, in advance, to an unbelievably exacting tolerance. The need to lay out the action with such precision seems to have focused the directors’ attention to a far more mechanical notion of timing than would have happened otherwise. Chuck Jones, for example, arrived at an interval of precisely 14 frames between the time Wiley Cayote disappeared from sight in his vertiginous falls and the time a puff of dust suggested he had hit the ground. He had to repeatedly tell his animators that it wasn’t funny at either 13 or 15 frames—it had to be 14. Presumably because the design of these precision machines became so essential to their success, the director became the total boss of the projects, as Mr. Kenner describes: That system was firmly in place by 1944...By 1947 the three directors were Isadore (Friz) Freleng,... posted by Friedrich at July 2, 2003 | perma-link | (8) comments

Generation Gaps
Friedrich -- There's something zeitgeisty happening that puzzles me. For about 15 years, I've been hearing from friends who are parents about how hard their kids work at school, and about how overbooked kids these days are generally. Homework, "enriching" activities, appointments, lessons -- ach, you have no idea! Being a kid these days, it's like having a career!! Plus, I'm so jealous of the way kids are being taught these days!!!... And on and on. Parents will be proud of their kids and boring on the topic of their kids, and I don't mind making allowances for that. But presumably these parents have also been at least semi-accurate when they talk about homework and activity loads. So for the last five years or so, I've been waiting for these amazingly well-trained, enlightened, accomplished new young creatures to show up in the neck of the culturebiz where I work. Looking forward to it, really -- educated kids, what's not to like about the idea? So, where are they? The young people showing up on my radar screen don't much match what I was prepared for. They do seem to share certain characteristics; they genuinely seem to be a cohort. They're often bright and quick, as well as eager, attractive and groomed. They're accomplished in the sense that they know how to handle a Palm Pilot and basic office software. They know how to network, they wear stretch fabrics well, and they know where to shop for interesting eyeglasses. A few of them seem capable of writing peppy emails, at least when they aren't being too curt and abrupt. Capable careerizers and button-pushers, in other words. But they also seem to have no background in anything. They've got no history, no science. And god knows nothing cultural, at least in the trad-culture sense; they don't know literature, art music, theater or dance. They don't even know old movies -- to them, movie history begins with "Pulp Fiction." They probably aren't any more clueless than we were, but they have a different attitude towards their cluelessness than we did. Basically, they see no prob with it at all. When informed that there's something they really ought to bone up on, they look at you pityingly -- it's as though you're the clueless one. To them, it's all contempo pop cult, all the time. And if it ain't on the Web, it doesn't exist. I'm certainly grateful that they're a lot more pleasant than the Get-Outta-My-Way, Gotta-Be-a-Billionaire-Before-I-Turn-30 Gen Xers, the most unappealing generation ever. And I admire their placidity and cheerfulness. (Maybe ignorance really is bliss.) But, as I say, I'm puzzled. What was all that homework about? Perhaps you -- a dignified observer of the scene, an accomplished businessguy, and a responsible and enlightened daddy of a certain age -- can explain this to me. Have all the educated kids gone into other fields? But a bizperson I know who's responsible for doing the hiring at a boring corporation tells me that... posted by Michael at July 2, 2003 | perma-link | (23) comments

Haspel on Cult Critics
Friedrich -- I love the way some bloggers sometimes get possessed -- and who knows why? Aaron Haspel is one of them. Every now and then Aaron, evidently feeling that the time has come, decides to set us straight on something to do with literature, and raps out a brilliant posting. His latest such concerns what he calls "cult critics" -- academics who explain it all to adoring acolytes. Funny and pissy. Might make you want to read Yvor Winters, too. You can read the posting here. Best, Michael... posted by Michael at July 2, 2003 | perma-link | (0) comments

Tuesday, July 1, 2003

Brian on Bridget
Friedrich -- Brian Micklethwait does some mischievous writing here. Hard to summarize exactly what he's up to, but he manages to fisk an art critic, puzzle over the abstract painter Bridget Riley, and do some thinking about paintings and computer screens, and somehow make it all hang together. Well, maybe almost hang together. But that's part of the posting's charm. Best, Michael... posted by Michael at July 1, 2003 | perma-link | (1) comments

Guest Posting -- Publishing in Britain
Friedrich -- This note just in from a visitor from England who wants to remain anonymous, and who has a few things to tell us about writing and publishing books Over Yonder: I was interested in your observations about the book industry. I used to work in publishing, and your comment on the industry supporting a lot of salaried people and the authors usually getting next to nothing is true. But it's also true that, in Britain at least, a lot of people in the industry get next to nothing. A very high proportion of the editorial function is hived off to freelances of various kinds (copyeditors and proofreaders) who are often wannabe authors themselves or adjunct academics needing to add to their poor salaries. Editorial judgement is also often handed over to academics who are persuaded to write readers reports for minute sums (one publisher routinely pays 150 pounds, or 300 pounds worth of books from their back catalogue). Academics will do this because they need to ingratiate themselves with publishers (more below). On the printing side, where I happen to know a few people, the industry here is being badly squeezed by competition from India (fair enough, if they can do it cheaper). In the publishing house where I worked the rule of thumb was to pay no-one until they were screaming. So, for example, authors were due royalty cheques on a given date, but they would never be paid unless they complained. Some weren't paid for years. Ditto with the various freelances. The other thing that makes it hard for any serious non-fiction writer is that academics (like me) have undermined the market. Since we need to publish for career reasons (publish or perish), we'll accept very low advances and poor royalties. That's OK for us: the contribution publishing makes to our incomes is more indirect -- promotion after a book will boost our salaries. But pity the poor independent author trying to compete with us. My latest contract was a complete joke. Luckily, I've worked in the industry and my husband is a lawyer, so we sat down and amended it (tripled the advance -- from nothing to three times nothing!), removed all the clauses offering them first refusal on my next book and unlimited rights to republish in different formats without paying a penny etc etc etc. My editor agreed to all the changes without argument, but told me that he'd sent four contracts out for books in the same series and that the other three had been signed and returned without any fuss. Many thanks to our anonymous visitor. Best, Michael... posted by Michael at July 1, 2003 | perma-link | (0) comments

Worst Movies
Friedrich -- Felix and Turbokitty have put forth a Top-Ten Worst Movies Ever list, and already the comments, suggestions, jeerings and putdowns are piling up. Some tough rules: no sequels, for instance. And some high-level filmcrit, too: "Showgirls," blissful camp or godawful travesty of all one holds dear? You can join the entertaining fracas here. Best, Michael... posted by Michael at July 1, 2003 | perma-link | (4) comments

Monday, June 30, 2003

Weekend Update
Michael: Just a few items that cropped up over the weekend: Re my posting on Fathers, Sons and the Hulk, there is a lengthy and interesting profile of the film's director Ang Lee entitled “Becoming the Hulk,” in the June 30 issue of The New Yorker. Re your post on Surfin' Ignominy, I thought you'd like to know that my 12-year old daughter went to her first day of surf camp in Malibu on Friday, where she managed to get up on her board and rode a wave at least 5 times. Kind of reminds me of that scene in "Personal Best" where the male coach sits in the bleachers drinking beer while his Olympic-level female athlete is training on the track, during which she passes an anonymous guy out jogging; the coach yells "You got passed by a girrrlllllll!" One of the great scenes in modern cinema. Re my career as a weekend painter, I packed up my new foldable French easel and headed off into a canyon for a spot of plein-air painting, only to be attacked by a swarm of carnivorous insects. I tried to ignore them while creating a masterpiece; but I regret to announce the final outcome was Art 0, Insects 1. They even chased me back to my car and then buzzed around the windows making a noise that sounded like “…and don’t come back, punk.” I've had plenty of time to contemplate my humiliation while I dab my hundreds of insect bites with calomine lotion. Re nothing in particular, I managed to dodge going to Lily Tomlin’s one-woman play, “The Search for Intelligent Life” by convincing my wife to take her girlfriend as a birthday present. While chortling evilly to myself at my cleverness, I then ended up having to take my daughter to “Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle.” This was a bit too much good-girl sexiness—which has nothing to do with real-life sex, you understand—for me to take in a mere two hours. The situation was made worse by a weird coincidence—in twenty years of living in Los Angeles, I never saw such a collection of attractive women as were at that particular movie showing. All this goes to show that despite rumors to the contrary, there is a God, and that trying to take the easy way out is apparently an efficient way to piss him off. Cheers, Friedrich... posted by Friedrich at June 30, 2003 | perma-link | (2) comments