Sunday, February 20, 2005

Curmudgeon in the Wry 287

Sunday, February 20, 2005—579 Words---Average reading time: 1-minute, 58 seconds
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Rave: Gail Goestenkors
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Picture this: The cover of Sports Illustrated this week features LeBron James behind the words, “Best Ever?” The kid may be talented and composed, but should he not have to get his team to, say, the second-round playoffs before everybody loses perspective?
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Factoid: The Harlem Globetrotters have played for 79 seasons and have been seen by 121 million fans.
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Factoid II: In 1947 Hollywood sold 4.7 billion tickets…in 2003 the figure was a bit less at 1.57 billion.
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Quote: “Every Oscar night you look back and realize that last year was the worst year in the history of Hollywood.”----William Goldman.
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Anniversary: It was sixty years ago today that US forces began the invasion of Iwo Jima, the first island of the Japanese homeland to be attacked.
Even before the attack, the Navy's bombardment of Iwo Jima cost more ships and men than it lost on D-Day, without making a significant dent in the Japanese defenses. It took thirty-six days for the island to be taken.
The extreme cost in US men killed and wounded led directly to the decision to drop the A-Bomb on Japan.
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Hmmmm: Why do water bottles have nutrition facts, but beer bottles do not?
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Truism: Reduce unemployment---require real live people to answer phones at public utilities.
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Oh well: Geraldo saw his shadow, guaranteeing us six more months of Michael Jackson coverage.
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Quote: “If converts make the best adherents, then the excommunicated make the best heretics.”----Laura Lippman.
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Rimshot: The EPA may say Teflon is unsafe, but those charges will never stick.
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Rant: 99% of the people, who wear bicycle pants, should wear them only while astride the bike.
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Hmmmm: Has anyone ever felt like an incomplete idiot?
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Rant: There ought to be a 24 waiting period for tattoos.
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Vegetarian: Old Indian word meaning, “bad hunter.”
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Anniversary II: Valentine’s Day market the 75th anniversary of the publication of “The Maltese Falcon” by Dashiell Hammett.
The 1941 movie directed by John Huston was as close to perfect as any I have seen. Everything I enjoyed about the movie is substantially richer in the book.
The dialogue is crackling, the characters deep and sinister, and even the hero (Humphrey Bogart in the film) lied to himself as easily as he did to others.
Huston closely adhered to the book, a lesson Hollywood would do well to learn today...some things do not need to be fixed.
Hammett’s work is fundamental to the hard boiled mystery genre and “The Maltese Falcon” is an essential part of our pop culture. His works have influenced generations of American crime writers.
I do not know whether he invented the McGuffin or not, but no one used it better.
“The Maltese Falcon” was written in the third person, an uncommon practice in that time. The narration is entirely external…the reader is never inside Sam Spade’s mind…we follow Spade thru his actions and what he says. Radical….maybe not, but Hammett did it his way and paved the road for crime writers who were influenced by writers who were influenced by Dashiell Hammett.
And, was there a better line then Spade’s, “We believed your two hundred bucks.”
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Rant: Funny, the individuals on the Dell Computer TV ads do not look like they are from India!
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That is all.
As you were.

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