Thursday, April 30, 2015

Run, Forrest! Preferably, Directly into a Combine Thresher!

In case the title doesn't make it clear, let me state one thing unambiguously.

I HATE the film Forrest Gump.*

*But only because it's a worthless, trite, hack-job, piece of shit that only exists to take away two and a half hours of your life that you might otherwise do something productive with.

I've gone so far in the past as to state unequivocally that every single person involved in the making of the movie should be beaten to death with a VHS copy just for having inflicted it on the world.*

*With the exception of Gary Sinise.  He's suffered enough

So, earlier today I was taking one of those online quizzes that seem to be one of the three reasons that Facebook exists.  The quiz was: How many of these 100 important books have you read.  Now, I'm down with literacy, and I get that this kind of lists is fairly subjective (but seriously... Bridget Jones' Diary...?  No.  Just No.)

I was nearing the end of the quiz when I came across entry 98 - John Kennedy Toole's* steaming excremental tome, A Confederacy of Dunces.

*Yes, I know he committed suicide years before it was published and his mother pushed to get it published posthumously and blah blah blah.  That's all very sad.  The book still sucks.

This caused me to publicly make a pissy comment* about the quiz in question, in which I referred to A Confederacy as the Forrest Gump of literature**

*One of the other two reasons Facebook exists.

** Yes, I know it was also a book.

I should clarify what I mean by that.  When I refer to anything as being the Forrest Gump of its Oeuvre, what I mean to say is that it is relentlessly shit, and yet people insist on pretending like it's not only not shit, but somehow an amazing breakthrough in whatever medium it's infesting.

So, in the interest of clearing this up - Here are the reasons why Forrest Gump is utterly, relentlessly, Shit.

1: The moral of the story is pretty much 'Go ahead and pity-f*ck the developmentally disabled guy who has a crush on you because you never know when you might accidentally die of AIDS in the early 80s and have to dump your kid on him'

2: It substitutes - at EVERY turn - crass sentimental nostalgia for character development, theme, plot, symbolism and storytelling.  We're not supposed to be following a character's journey (which is good, because Forrest clearly doesn't take one - he's 100% unchanged by each and every event of the film.  But we're not supposed to notice that.  We're supposed to spend the entire movie going, 'Aww...remember John Lennon?  Remember that shit happens T-shirt? Remember when films were supposed to be about plot or character development?'  Neither does Robert Zemeckis.)

3: And this is my real problem with the movie-


It's not my fault as a viewer that you completely forgot to tell a story before that point, and it's too late to try to do so now. Particularly when the story you cram into those last 45 minutes is so relentlessly condescending, trite and noxious.

Honestly, I would rather spend two hours and twenty-five minutes helping someone control their gastro-intestinal bleed than sit through this again. At least the guy with the GI bleed would KNOW that he was pouring shit all over me, and might even be apologetic about it.

I'm glad we got that cleared up.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

I Feel Strongly About Ambivalence, and So Should You. Or Not. Whatever.

Longtime readers might remember last year's epic saga in which I engaged in a Wagnerian struggle against a mighty and evil foe for the very heart and soul of all that is good and evil.

I refer of course to the Battle of the Parking Space.*

*The full story of which can be found Here, Here, Here, and HereAlso a brief followup here.  No, not obsessive about it at all.  No sir.  Oh, and Here.

Sadly, one of the few negative results of my having traded in my sporty Mitsubishi Gallant* for a 2001 Ford F150 Pickup named Lucille is that I had to give up parking in my beloved parking spot, as there's no way in God's green Earth that I'd ever be able to fit Lucille between those two concrete pillars**.

*Said no one, ever

**She's a big girl

And so for the last three or four months I've been parking Lucille toward the back of the same level in the parking ramp, where there are usually more empty spaces, thus reducing my risk of accidentally running Lucille into things by forgetting how wide she is***.

***She's a big girl!

One fun knock-on effect of my in no way psychotic attempts to dissuade others from using my spot through the bewildering application of coinage is that still, with the spot having stood completely empty for over three months now, the driver of the gray sedan continues to park in a less convenient spot.  I'm calling that a win. Also, I'm making a concerted effort to park Lucille in a different spot every single day in an effort to prevent myself from getting attached again- which is probably emotionally healthier.

That however is not the point of my story.

Every day, having parked Lucille**** in a spot toward the back of the parking ramp I walk through a lot of other vehicles to get to the elevator bay.  And every day I pass a large black SUV with a bumper sticker on the back that reads 'I       Skating'.

Now, I acknowledge that the most likely scenario is that it once said 'I "Heart" Skating', with a big red heart where the blank space now is.  Red ink- for reasons best known by folks in the printing biz - tends to fade faster than black ink*, and so what probably happened is that the heart slowly faded until it was gone completely, leaving only the cold black shell indicating the space where it once was.**

*This is also true in the world of finance

**You know - like what happens to us all in our forties.

 I, however, choose to believe that it always read just as it currently reads.  'I am here,' the owner of the black SUV announces to the world, 'And I have no discernible feelings about skating.  Skate.  Don't skate. Whatever. Don't make much of a shit to me.*'

*If I might quote my Great-Grandmother.

So what are we to make of all of this.

Personally, I like to think the whole thing boils down to one simple lesson:

Life's a Hell of a lot easier when you just don't give much of a crap.

Someone please cross stitch that onto a throw pillow.

**** She's a big girl.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Let's Just Hope Oz has Some Sort of Universal Healthcare Coverage...

If you are only familiar with the story of The Wizard of Oz from the 1939 film, it's well worth your time to track down a copy of the book (titled The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, published in May of 1900).

There are a number of differences between the book and the film, mostly involving a great deal of the material from the book not making it to the screen*

*Which is fair enough, that's what film adaptations of books are supposed to do.

For starters, the slippers are silver*, not Ruby Red (The movie was in technicolor, so they changed it to take advantage of the technology).

*For those who enjoy literary metaphor - they represented the silver standard, the yellow brick road represented the gold standard.  The emerald city to which they were traveling represented cash currency and in the book is revealed to be a fake (they made all the visitors wear green colored glasses). L. Frank Baum - neither subtle with a metaphor nor a huge fan of turn of the century economic theory.

Another change from the book is that the Munchkins were just one of the four quadrants of Oz. (The others being the Winkies, the Quadlings, and Gillikins, in case you were interested.) We get to meet the Munchkins, Winkies and Quadlings.  The impression is that the Gillikins can go screw themselves. They live in the North - which is also where Glinda the supposedly 'good' witch hangs out.  Perhaps she had them too busy making counterfeit wallets for export to participate in the story.  Who can say.

The important point here is that when we DO get to meet the Quadlings, they live in a magnificent underground city.  Dorothy asks them how there is light to see, and is told that the Quadlings have discovered a wonderful material called 'Radium' that gives off a glow, so they've coated every single inch of their city with it.

Which means that in about 10-15 years ALL of the Quadlings are going to die a horrible death from an exciting variety of cancers. 

Somehow they avoid mentioning that in the movie...

Afternote - I was somewhat disappointed to realize earlier that I had misremembered this, and that it was the Quadlings who used the radium and not in fact the Winkies.

This has disappointingly prevented me from being able to work the phrase 'Dramatic rise in the incidence of Winkie Cancer' into the discussion.

For that I am truly sorry.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Stanley: The World's Cuddliest ATM

This is Stanley

Stanley is a 2 year old Lab/German Shepherd mix who weighs just over 100 lbs. And as you can see in the photo, also doesn't appear to have bones of any kind.

One of Stanley's favorite things in the entire universe is eating paper. Any kind of paper. Most of the time this is relatively harmless.*

*Except when he tries to eat paper towels, which can really clog up a dogs digestive tract and cause serious medical issues.  Important safety tip, pet owners.

Unfortunately, we live in a world where certain specific pieces of paper have some value attached to them. We call these pieces of paper 'money'.*

*Stanley calls them 'delicious'.

This was inadvertently discovered a few weeks ago when Stanley's Mom and her gentleman friend* decided to order in Chinese food for dinner and left a twenty and a five sitting on the counter in anticipation of paying for said food upon its arrival.

*Someone really needs to start a band called 'Stanley's Mom and Her Gentleman Friend', because I would totally go see a band called that.  I would probably even buy a t-shirt.

When the food arrived the Twenty five dollars had mysteriously disappeared and there was a guilty looking Labherd with Andrew Jackson on his breath.

Now, without being too indelicate about it, this was something of a temporary problem since - as they say in times of trouble - this too shall pass. And indeed, a week or so later while picking up the poop in Stanley's back yard, cash did indeed present itself.  There's a photo below, but it's really not for the faint of heart.

Being a practical sort, Stanley's mom took the cash laden turd in question to the basement sink and washed it down to see whether or not the bills were still viable. She was somewhat surprised however when it turned out that the turd did not, in actual fact, contain a twenty and a five.

It contained three twenties.

Now, we're left with several different possible explanations as to how this occurred;

1: Stanley's colon is magic.

Feed him cold hard cash and somehow his magical digestive system nearly triples your investment. Now, it's difficult to say whether or not this is really what's happening, but it's probably worth throwing him a five spot just on the off chance.

2: Stanley is roaming the streets at night mugging people and hiding the cash in the only manner available to him

He doesn't have pockets, after all.

3: Stanley is some sort of mule for a Mexican drug cartel.

While he would totally be capable of pulling this off, I have to believe that Stanley is too good a citizen to be involved in this sort of thing.   

Without further testing it's impossible to say which - if any - of these is the real answer. All we can say for certain is that Stanley is currently literally pooping money - thus achieving the dream of pretty much every single person on wall street.

Well played, Labherd.  Well played.

Photo evidence of the cash retrieval process below.  You've been warned