Feb 242007

(Potential spoiler ahead, depending on how tightly or loosely you interpret the term.)

Five years ago Training Day was released on DVD. Though I like a lot of different kinds of movies, a cop drama isn’t something I usually make an effort to get quickly. Nevertheless, I had a feeling about it and picked it up when it was released.

I was glad I did. For exactly an hour and a half, it held me transfixed beyond what I’d ever experienced watching a film. The direction and production design were meticulous, and everybody was absolutely acting their asses off. Denzel Washington’s Alonzo Harris was the most seductive monster I’d ever met on the screen. “This is to the L.A. street what The Godfather is to Cosa Nostra,” I was ready to say.

Then it happened. I’d been subjected to the too-convenient “wrap-up” before, of course, but given the unwavering excellence to this point, this one hurt much worse. The entire plot turned on a coincidence so ridiculous, the film would have only been marginally more degraded had Pauly Shore turned up in a kingpin role. I thought “oh, nooooooo. This can’t be happening.” But it was. I won’t say any more about the nature of the plot point, but it dropped this film from my all-time top 10 to somewhere in the low 100s.

You know what makes it even worse? Training Day largely recovers after that moment. Just a bit more care with the screenplay makes this one of the finest films of all time; instead it’s just good. What a shame.

 Posted by at 9:42 pm
Feb 242007

We here at the WmWms offices have taken a little yearbook-style poll (and by “we” I mean “I,” and by “at the WmWms offices” I mean “sitting in my recliner,” and by “taken a…poll” I mean “made stuff up”) on all of the current SEC head football coaches.

Most Likely to Bust Through the Wall Like the Kool-Aid Man: Ed Orgeron, Ole Miss
Most Likely to Knock Off Practice Early So He Can Catch Days of Our Lives: Houston Nutt, Arkansas
Most Likely to Be Cast as God in a Movie or Play: Sylvester Croom, Mississippi State
Most Likely to Say “Fuck” Because He Thinks the Cool Kids are Saying It: Les Miles, LSU
Most Likely to Hit on Your Wife: Nick Saban, Alabama
Most Likely to Successfully Hit on Your Wife: Urban Meyer, Florida
Most Likely to Have a Year-End Bonus Clause for “Not Sucking Quite as Badly as You Might Have” in His Contract: Bobby Johnson, Vanderbilt
Most Likely to Glow Like Roma Downey in Touched By An Angel: Mark Richt, Georgia
Most Likely to Whine and Underwhelm in Rapid Succession: Tommy Tuberville, Auburn
Most Likely to Have Used the Phrases “These Damned Kids” and “My Lawn” Together in the Past Month: Rich Brooks, Kentucky
Most Likely to Savor His Own Flatulence: Phil Fulmer, Tennessee
Most Likely to Allow Baldness to Progress Rather Than Get a Hairpiece Because of the Unacceptably High Probability It Would Be Removed Inadvertently and Violently: Steve Spurrier, South Carolina
 Posted by at 1:35 am
Feb 222007

Today was the first day I really realized it, I think.

I probably met a reasonable clinical definition for addiction to the online game Acrophobia in 1997-98, and I’ve struggled off and on with cigarettes for the past 20 years. But I’m not talking about either of those.

I’m addicted to news and commentary.

I read and listen incessantly. In the morning, sometimes even before I have a cup of coffee, I’m on CNN.com, FoxNews.com, and NPR.org. I read The Corner at National Review Online off and on all day. Usually it’s Boortz in the morning. I check the markets a couple of times a day. If I’m by myself for lunch, it’s back and forth between NPR and Rush. And it was a typical solo lunch today: me, a Target deli sandwich, a Diet Coke, and the radio.

Except today, I got angry. There are two, and only two, branches to the news right now. The first is all about Britney shaving her head and blowing rehab, Anna Nicole’s body decomposing, O.J.’s Naked Gun checks being garnished, and the like. The other pretends the presidential election is a few weeks away instead of most of two years.

Who needs this? Is my life really being enhanced?

I’m going cold turkey for a week, starting tomorrow morning. I’m not surfin’ it’; I’m not watchin’ it; I’m not listenin’ to it from Thursday morning to Thursday morning. Then I’ll assess potential “healthy” levels of exposure, as I believe a need for a basic level of information is legitimate.

 Posted by at 2:24 am
Feb 212007

Two things:

  • Christine Taylor really does look freakishly like Marcia.
  • Whose bright idea was it to give Bobby the Barry Whitest moment of the song?

UPDATE 2/26: CBS yanked the video from YouTube. Isn’t that lovely? Dammit, I thought for sure that embedding “It’s a Sunshine Day” in my blog would make the millions roll in, too. Well, you can certainly see why they moved so aggressively to protect their copyright, at least. (eye roll)

So here’s the sequence from The Brady Bunch Movie instead.

 Posted by at 2:37 am
Feb 202007

My sister Jenny found this and sent it my way. This is my great grandmother (my mother’s mother’s mother) Dorothy Stephens (“Gran’ma”), 49, in the Birmingham Post-Herald on September 30, 1955:

She’s been gone 15 years or so. She adored my sister and me and doted on us endlessly. One of my very favorite things to do as a child was visit her where she lived with my great aunt and uncle on Logan Martin Lake, about halfway to Birmingham from my house in Anniston.

Gran’ma was a masterful cook who was often asked for her recipes. She would always omit some little thing, or give a slightly incorrect quantity for something, then cackle under her breath at the person saying “but mine didn’t come out as nice as Dorothy’s.” Isn’t that mean? I’ve never had any cheese straws or shortbread cookies that were even close to hers.

I always heard whispers of colorful chapters in her life, like wartime jobs she had and about (pretty much literally) throwing her philandering husband out, but they were just that–whispers. I was only just getting old enough to hear the real stories when she died, and I never thought to ask my grandmother, great aunt, or mom, and now they’re all gone too.

If there are things you want to know about your family, take the time to ask now.

 Posted by at 1:10 am
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