Thursday, August 17, 2006

Star Strangled Banner

The first time we went house hunting, it was in a "historic" part of the city (Historic, meaning "run down") because that was the only type of house we had a chance at affording. One of the very first houses we made an offer on had four doors leading into an 800 sq ft dwelling. None of the doors could said with any amount of certainty to be the FRONT door. Apparently, the rooms in the house had been rented to miners who worked all kinds of crazy shifts so they each had their own door. I know this because the city has affixed a plaque to the exterior of the house telling the surprisingly dull story.

But ever since we looked into buying that house, a new question rushes to the foreground of my mind when considering purchasing a house: Does the house come with a plaque? Not many houses do come with a plaque. I think more should.

We finally bought a house and we are slowing making it ours. We've painted all of the bedrooms and yesterday we re-did the hardwood floors in the master bedroom. The house did not come with a plaque but it did come with a flag pole. While we were making our offer on the house, the guys who lived in the house had a "skull and crossbones" flag flying overhead. Our kids were very excited about the flag. My wife said the flag would be the first thing to go when the house became ours.

When the house sold, the guys kept the flag. I told my wife we should have written into the contract that inclusions were: The range, dishwasher and Jolly Roger. We let them take the fridges for crying out loud. They could at least have left us the flag. But I jumped on eBay and bought a couple of flags. My wife says the Jolly Roger can fly until Holloween but she says the larger, brighter Gadsden flag (from colonial times- a rattlesnake on a yellow background that reads Don't Tread On Me) that I bought will NEVER be raised.

We'll see. I have four screeching, whining voices on my side as opposed to my wife's one.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Ultra-clumsy or World of Crap?

My wife calls me a "breaker." As in, I break everything I touch. I think I am actually quite careful in most everything I do. But I also have expectations. If there is a hair-clip on the counter I expect that I can open and close it three times in succession without the plastic snapping in half. If there is a refrigerator magnet, I expect that the ornamental portion will not come unglued the first time I try to pull the magnet from the metal surface. And I did not feel like it was my fault when I ripped my pillow case in half when I tried to put it on a new pillow my wife bought me. (Plus, I sleep with the half-covered pillow with dangling frayed threads and all.)

We live in a cheap, cheap world. That is all. My expectations are not unreasonable.

Besides, my wife is a "bender." If you have a picture you like then don't let her hold it. A mint condition baseball card or a freshly printed resume? Keep them out of her hands. I describe to her that it is a bad method to hold a thing on two fingers and then clamp your thumb down between those fingers: you bend and crease things everytime. She doesn't care. That's how she holds things, she says.

Just something to be aware of.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Movie Reviews

The Descent

We saw the movie "The Descent" the weekend it opened. It's what "scary" movies should be. The story about six Scottish women going down into a cave is enough to carry the movie. My wife became claustrophobic as images of women squeezing through tight crevices were flashed on the giant screen. But then throw in some blood-thirsty cave monsters and it gets even better. The movie was about one minute into the "action" and my wife turned to me and said, "I'm going to throw up."

This movie isn't about the prom king and queen being hacked to pieces at inspiration point by a maniac. It is well-thought-out with a minimum of cheesiness. When the film ended, leaving the theater was like stepping off a roller coaster. Nobody had the slightest inclination to say, "That was dumb." So it won't change your life but if you like GOOD scary movies then go see it. See it in the cold dark theater rather than cozied up in your living room. It's worth it.

The Door in the Floor

I borrowed this movie from the library. It's strange and I can't say that I recommend it. On the surface it appears to be about a woman who becomes an empty shell after her sons die in a car crash. Her husband loses interest in her and pursues other women. Then she spends a summer getting it on with an 18 yr old boy. Then she leaves.

The movie is about a writer who brings a budding writer under his wing, but nothing about this movie pertains to writing. The characters are not likable, there doesn't seem to be much of a point. If you pay close attention, it seems to be a man-bashing movie of sorts. "Random" events all point to the fact that men are jerks and that women are disrespected, degraded and treated poorly in life:

A six year old girl telling her father that his penis looks funny.
An unfunny joke about a ship captain who has to tell a sailor that his mother has died.
Listening to hip hop songs with some lady singing about hos and "lick my back, lick my crack."
A buck naked Mimi Rogers? One of the prettiest OLDER women in Hollywood poses nude for sketches in the film, but just because Tom Cruise used to be on that like stains on your undies doesn't necessarily make it a good career move for her. I think that scene can best be described as "couragous." She is sketched as a heavily-lined face with a prominent graphic vagina.

"The Door in the Floor" is a kids' book written by the main character about a baby in the womb who can't decide if he wants to enter the evil world through the door in the floor. Because he is destined to become a jerk, I guess. I watched the movie at 3 am and the symbols and metaphors of the movie were not clear to me. When it was over, I felt like I had all of the pieces but still had no idea what picture the puzzle meant me to see. See it if you want.


I saw this Mormon movie on late night television. Go K-Jazz! I missed the beginning. Do you know what? The movie was sort of cute. Kind of like Narnia, except, in this case Narnia is a land where guys drive trucks and spend their days at gun/hunting/boat shows and women spend their time scrapbooking and everyone lives in a cookie-cutter house with a white vinyl fence.

I'm sure Mormons like the movie. It portrays the world as being confined to Mormon rules. Life is simple. Do as is taught in the Book of Mormon and everything will be good. That is the cute part. It would be nice if the world WAS that simple.

The basis of the movie, however, is unrealistic and full of those goofy things Mormons often think and do. For some reason, some outgoing, skinny blond lady comes to Utah from New York and spends every moment she can with some boring, dorky mormon dude. Of course, he hates it. He hates having this stereo-typically hot blond following him everywhere he goes, being spontaneous and fun. He comes right out and tells her she's ruining his life and that she is one of the most annoying people to ever live.

But along the way, she picks up the Book of Mormon and it instantly brainwas... I mean transforms her. While they are sitting in a boat fishing, she hesitantly admits that against her better judgment she has found the Book of Mormon to be indisputably flawless and a document of "truth" in it's purest form. She doesn't want to tell him because that means that he is right and that he has all the answers and that he is a golden god, or he will be someday, as he seems to be bound for God's highest kingdom of heaven. The moment she tells him she is going to be baptised, she is transformed in his mind from the-most-annoying-woman-in-the-world to instant-soulmate.

That was when I laughed outloud. When she said she read the BOM and it was just SO true that she had no choice but to obey what it told her to do. She had no questions, it was just perfect. If it was me, that is when I would toss her in the "crazy" bin. No questions, huh? Nothing like:

So the JEWS sailed to America and procreated to produce all of the Incas and Aztecs and Mayans and Indians? Why do history books all say they came from Asia? If America unpopulated until 600 B.C. than why do we find bodies in America that over 10,000 years old? What is with all of the horses and swords and chariots in America before the Europeans arrived? Why don't any of these enormous battlegrounds that exist in the book ever surface in real life? Polygamy was never denounced by God, Mormons just stopped doing it because they didn't want to be disbanded by the United States government?

Believe anything you want, but ASK QUESTIONS people.

Anyhow, she had no questions and she stopped wearing tanktops and she stopped drinking coffee and her character was suddenly quiet and humble. And boring. She marries the dud, er, dude. It is funny how these movies seem to depict Mormons as the-same-as-everyone-else except they don't drink coffee. I think the film makers should embrace what makes Mormons different and emphasize that. But no.

The guy gets jealous about the girls shady past and the mother gives her son a talk: So long as she is playing by Mormon rules, she is perfect and all is forgiven. If she were to suddenly be un-Mormon again, then she would just cease to be worth noticing in the world.

After they get married and have a baby, she dies of cancer. The dude is mad because he followed all of the rules and he feels like he is being punished. He forgot the tagline that God wrote for the movie: Real Love Stories Have No Ending. Ahhhhhhh. Okay then.

This, I assume, is a reference to being together forever in heaven. Earlier in the movie, he tells her of his generic Mormon belief that families stay together forever in heaven and that is the greatest priority in life. Of course that pat line gets her all hot and bothered. She tells him he is a romantic. He's happy cause Mormon responses have been drilled into his head his whole life, "All things happen for a reason," "tampons and shorts come from Satan's pantry," and "we'll worry about inconsistencies later."

It also seems that many Mormons argue that they are one of the only churches that believes in families being together forever. It's a very big selling point to them. It's not true. In fact, Mormons are one of the only religions I have ever seen to depict a heaven where families ARE NOT together. Mormon heaven has three levels and you have to plan accordingly which level you will go to, depending on which level your favorite friends and family members will be going to.

Ask anyone from anywhere what heaven is like and pretty much the only thing they can agree on is that heaven is where you will be reunited with those who have already past.

It's crap but cute crap.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Re: Alicia's Condo Burning Down...

Hi Debbie,

I am surprised and sorry to hear that the Giggle-girl's condo burned down. It's one of those things that you think will never happen to someone you know. I saw footage on the News but didn't think anyone I knew was affected by it.

I did enjoy that article you included. Mainly the words of the witness describing the people jumping from the balconies, "She kind of jumped and kind of fell and a lady kind of caught her. It was freaky."

Nothing says "don't-quote-me-on-that" like a sentence full of "kind ofs." But "freaky" you can take to the bank. Good journalism.

I don't know what Alicia is doing now. I imagine she's probably getting the runaround from some insurance company. I was in a car accident over a month ago and, after weekly phone calls and voicemail messages, I have yet to even hear the voice of the insurance representative responsible for filing my claim.

Here is what I can offer Alicia:

  • I have an old 6-man tent she can have.

  • I just bought two refrigerators for our new house. If she likes the "urban" feel, she may have the cardboard boxes. One for entertaining and one for getting-away-from-it-all. I'll even throw in a roof (a tarp).

  • Beyond that, she would need to settle for living in the shed behind my house.

    We actually have some old furniture we have to dispose of before we move to the new place. We can offer her a bed, a table, and some old couches. Some people might think of them as "junk" but when all you have to your name is a pile of soot and ashes they probably start to look "livable." She can have first dibs before we give the stuff away at a yard sale.

    I can even post her PayPal address on my blog and ask my millions of readers to send her money. It IS a strange coincidence that someone who devotes so much time to Habitat for Humanity and The Redcross would end up in need of help. It would be stranger if nobody helped her.

    So the message that "no act of kindness shall escape God's wrath" is not lost on me, but I'm willing to help anyhow.

    Tell her I said "hello." I hope nothing was lost that can't be replaced. And I'm glad she wasn't home at the time to take a header off the balcony and break her pelvis. Let me know what I can do to help.

  • Friday, August 04, 2006

    Mad Mel

    He let the contents of the bottle do the thinking
    You can't shake the devil's hand and say you're only kidding
    This is where the party ends
    I just sit here wondering how you
    Can stand by your racist friend

    The Giants didn't write that song about Mel but the words seem to fit. For the record, that family that we visit in Denver is Jewish and in my experience with them I have never known them to be people who plot or provoke war. In fact, the last time we saw them they gave us a present. One may go so far as to call it a "Christmas present." Either that or they jipped us out of 7 Hannukah gifts.

    I almost used a slur there instead of saying "jipped," but I didn't. See how easy it is to step up and be the bigger man and not say mean-spirited things? Huh? Do you? Drunkee?