Thursday, August 15, 2013

Guest Blogger: He's back ... Papa G

A Close Brush with death

My poor daughter with Juvenile Alzheimer's (ME), mis-shared a legendary tale of great trepidation I once shared with her so here it is in its less abridged and corrected form....

To realign and refine....

It was sister Jenny and I, 11 and 15 at the time, on one side of a 50's looking gold-glitter flecked, beige tiled bar - on the den side of it.  On the other was my very serious, oft-angry and very-brilliant father tidying up the kitchen.  His cigarettes sat perched on the counter quite near to her and I (as luck would have it, que lastima!).

I had in my possession a cute little red-and-white round tin of what were lovingly called "cigarette loads".  These were very cool little wooden spikes about a fifth or so of the diameter of said cigarettes.  I slowly opened my hand and uncapped them as I motioned from Jenny towards the cigs with my chin.  Her eyes truly widened as she nodded: "No."  

I really felt somewhat possessed, as to proceed. May well have meant certain death but it was out of my hands and in the hands of a greater (much) power.  It seemed to take hold of her, as well, wondrously enough, as SHE reached for the pack and handed me a cig.  

I inserted the load.  

Evidently, she, and I confess, I, did not want to miss the 'fun' so....when he reached for another, she said, "Here, Dad, let me," passing him the possible fuse of our demise.  I think MY eyes widened in shock of her incredible bravery and audacity as this would seal her fate as a known co-conspirator.

The nails of my fingers dug into the bottom of the swivel chair's naugahide as he lit up the cigarette, turned ordinance....  

What amazingly LOUD crack there was!  Who, mind you, WHO would have thought that little bitty piece of wood (coated with some white shiny powder) would have the power to make 4, perfect, evenly spaced and sized, strips of cigarette paper dangle half way back to his super-surprised lips!!  

But, voila, there his two small eyes sat gazing at the end where once there stood a cigarette as we were collapsing in admission to our grave and perhaps last, sin.

Not to besmirch, belittle or diminish...but the scene was VERY reminiscent of some I had seen on MANY a cartoon...the RoadRunner comes to mind - he the wily coyote and me having a growing desire to be saying "beep beep" and disappear into a cloud of smoke.  Just on the other side of our guffaws (raucous, I'm sure) lay, in terror.

His response?....THAT WILL BE 10 CENTS! - such novel MUSIC to mine ears.  

With a different set of characters his directive would have had me digging into my pockets for 20 cents - maybe even a dollar so as to engage a reenactment or two...or 10...however, far closer to my thoughts was the feeling of great fortune to have escaped with our lives.

Next, Walt and my purple chicken.....

-- I take a meaningful bow to My Papa G for this contribution. 

I've always loved that story. And love you, sir.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Chris Pine, my new crush.

Is it possible that I haven't bloggled in almost 17 months? I've been able to keep my restless fingers from trying to embarrass me online for such a long spell?

I'm impressed with myself.

There's no point in picking a "rational" start in the egregiously long list of films I've seen of late, so I'll just blather about the first that come to mind.

I adored "Frances Ha,"a Noah Baumbach movie starring Greta Gerwig as a tragically clueless, if endearing, late-20s New Yorker who can't really get her life in order. She is an aspiring / struggling dancer whose best friend is actually rounding the corner to becoming a true "grown-up," whereas dear Frances is still bouncing from apartment to apartment, boy to boy, job to job, etc.

I fear that my true adoration of the movie might stem from me finding her character sadly recognizable. Not in myself. Of course. Ahem.

It is one of my favorite movies of the year thus far.

To keep up the movie-industry optimism, I will move to "Mud," which I saw three times in the theater. The film stars Matthew McConaughey as a scraggly-haired, chipped-teeth drifter hiding out on an island in Mississippi. He's killed a man to protect the love of his life (a very down-and-out-looking Reese Witherspoon), and bounty hunters are out to get him.

Two boys befriend Mud after finding him on the island and going on big and small adventures for Mud to help him win his Lady Love and avoid being knocked off. The two little boys, Tye Sheridan and Jacob Lofland, are ones to watch in the future. And, the last couple Matt McConaughey movies I saw were "Magic Mike" and "Killer Joe." It was nice to not have to see his naked behind magnified on the big screen (Magic Mike) or watch him ruthlessly kill people (Killer Joe) this time.

Also, with characters named Mud, Ellis, Neckbone and Juniper -- I was in love before I knew it.

A huge let down was "Before Midnight," the third installment in Richard Linklater's "Before..." series starring Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke. The three films have followed the fictional couple since 1995 ("Before Sunrise") when the two were young and idealistic, traveling independently in Europe. They meet on a train and fall in love, of course, during their one night together. They plan to meet up in a year, but they miss each other and don't meet until nine years later ("Before Sunset") when they re-fall in love.

This time around, it's 9 MORE years later and they have settled into married life, replete with all of the bickering and mundane problems that come along with it.

But, whereas in the first two "Befores..." they were lovable and endearing in their immaturity and foibles, now they are just unlikable people. She's become a controlling mess and he's become a huge pushover, which is so very unattractive.

They need to get divorced and spare future audiences from their depressing vacuity.

Next up: "The Conjuring," "This is the End," "Crystal Fairy," "The Purge," "Star Trek."

And, I owe it to my old Texas nemesis to promote his pretty awesome new movie blog.