Archive for May, 2009

The Curious Case of Indomitably Long Movies

Two hours. That’s it. With special effects, 3D, computer generated graphics, insanely compensated actors and our rapidly shrinking attention span, there’s no reason for any halfway sane person to make a movie any longer than that.

As a self-focused individual who is less than halfway sane, I know better than to get into the movie making biz. I also understand why some movies are way too long: directors who suffer from megalomania, egocentricism, narcissism-a need to make the movie their way even if it would be a better film if half of it ended up on the cutting room floor.

Outsized ego was very carefully applied with calligraphy all over The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, which my neighbor gave me yesterday with the caveat that I return it to Blockbuster by Monday. No problem there-I was ready to return it about an hour and forty minutes in-when I realized the movie was a little over half over and I hadn’t even seen Cate Blanchette at all-only the kid who plays here as a young girl. Nor did I get to see the hot Brad Pitt-that guy is only on screen for a very short period. The rest ofthe  time he either looks like the spawn of Yoda and Truman Capote, or a cross between cougar and pedophile bait.

The film was based on a short story by F.Scott Fitzgerald, and that should have been the tipoff. Every time a movie is based on a short story, the screenwriter fleshes it out with so much made up crap that the meaning and wordsmithery* of the lean original becomes bloated.

In the case of C2OB2 (copyrighted acronym for the movie’s title but I forgot how to make the little circle C thing with my keyboard) the screenplay was written by the guy who wrote Forrest Gump. But where Gump was tolerable because the story of his life paralleled a historic timeline, C2OB2 shows a not-so-interesting guy’s life over the course of a century and feels like sitting next to a disliked 90-year-old relative at dinner out of familial obligation.

This woman’s nails were bitten to the quick when she sat down to see C20B2

Yesterday I went to a graduation party for a friend’s daughter. I asked a few people if they liked the movie-not because I care whether “it’s just me” or not, but so I’ll know who I can’t have a meaningful conversation with.

One lady said she loved it and watched it five times because she’s a psychic and it confirms her belief that we have all lived before. Then she gave her me card. It had stars and moons and pink hearts with the designation “psychic” after her name. I could probably get a hold of her purse and add an “ot” in between the “h” and the “ic” Then it would read “psychotic” instead of “psychic.” I’m just such an imp! Is this another digression? Sorry, but my ADD is protected in this blog under the ADA.

I was going to end this with “If she was really a psychic, isn’t she also a masochist, because she watched the movie five times knowing how excruciatingly long it is?” thinking I was cleverly wrapping up this post, but  then I realized how stupid that line was, because if she liked the movie, even if she knew how long it was going to be, she wasn’t being a masochist.

I have to get out of here now. I’m going to TJ Maxx to find the heavily-discounted Born sandals my friend had on at the party yesterday. If I was a psychic I would know whether they have any left in my size and save myself a trip.

*may or may not be a word. Too lazy to check it out and I like the way it reads, anyway.


May 30, 2009 at 11:56 am Leave a comment

Don’t Play Pattycake with My Balls!

I am SO all about meatballs. Yes, that phrase sounds pitiful coming from a 52-year-old woman, but it’s the most accurate way I could explain my extreme passion for round ground beef in some kind of sauce.

That’s round ground, not ground round, although you can use ground round to make your meatballs if you’d like. I’m not going to argue about what kind of meat to use, because I’m burned out from spending all last night stuffing myself with savory, perfectly shaped and sized, crock pot meatballs in barbecue sauce. And kids’ birthday cake, for which I staked my rightful claim by yelling “out of my way, you punks, I get a corner piece.” Since I’m older, I’m entitled to more frosting in the short time I have left.

Sorry, got sidetracked. Back to meatballs. The meatballs at the party were so good that I brought a bunch of them home, because the host and hostess were considerate enough to provide take home containers for everyone, and encourage them to take as much as they wanted. The containers were made of styrofoam, which can screw up the earth, leech toxic chemicals, damage the ozone, and clog landfills, but is yummy enough to be eaten when filled with delectable and free meatballs.

These meatballs were so amazing that I had some later that night, and the next morning, despite having to take Alka Seltzer* twice. When I microwaved the last meatball, it somehow bounced off of the counter and onto the floor. In the blink of eye, I grabbed the meatball and shoved it into my mouth, only seconds ahead of my dog, Jingo. I usually examine food that fell on the floor before I eat it-even I have my rules; no dead bugs or clumps of dog hair-but meatballs are the exception.

Small is not only preferable, it’s much tastier as well. The smaller the meatballs, the more surface area becomes exposed to the sauce, resulting in an intensely concentrated explosion of flavor.

How much surface area is available to be covered in my fave bbq sauce using the perfect meatball size of 1″ in diameter?; Let’s figure it out, shall we?
where p=pi (3.14)
and r=radius (.5 x diameter)


Yes, at great personal risk to myself and our country, I have decided to share the secret formula. Of course, now the world will end in a apocalyptic fury, but who cares about blood curdling screams and massive loss of life when you can pop a delish meatball into the melting flesh around your rapidly deteriorating jaw?

*My husband has demanded that the one product I cannot buy as a generic is Alka Seltzer, because once he opened a packet of Wal-Mart’s Equate Effervescent Tablets and claimed they didn’t fizz. I told him it was probably because the packet expired in 2005, but he thought it was due to its inferior ingredients.

May 17, 2009 at 1:12 pm Leave a comment

A Case Against Getting Your Own Medical Records

I’m a Spaz. This is not the same objective statement so kindly provided by schoolchildren, but the bona fide conclusion of my physical therapist. Of course, medheads think they’re clever by couching it in medical jargon, but when I read “poor body awareness” on my chart, I knew exactly what she meant.

Of course I know I’m a spaz. You’d think I would have picked it up by having it said to me about 526,000 times from kindergarten to high school. I think it stopped around the time I got breasts. Who cares if someone flops around if you have a chance to cop a feel while they’re doing so? Remind me to Twitter Katy Perry with an idea for her next single “I kissed a Spaz, and I missed her mouth.”

According to some teacher handout that I found on the first Google search listing because I was too lazy to go any further, knowing where your body is in space, right and left discrimination, and spatial relations are all components of body awareness and necessary for learning.

What it should have said was knowing where your body is in space, right and left discrimination, and spatial relations are all components of body awareness and necessary to not make your early school years a living hell just because those girls who take ballet class know their right from their left, where their limbs are at any given time, and how far away they are from stuff that they could bump into.

I’m going to use every search engine I can, find everyone I went to school with, and sue each one of these
little punks for violating my right under the ADA not to be ostracized.

I didn’t want to be a ballerina, anyway. (Bloggers’ disclosure: that is a lie.) Tulle is the most uncomfortable material known to mankind. Look at this girl-she can’t even turn around in her tutu because she’s in so much pain.

That’s OK. She’s probably one of the kids who made fun of me.

I suffer from Positional Dyslexia, (or as my husband says while giving me driving directions, “I meant the other left!) lack of spacial acuity, poor hand/eye coordination, and I’m double-jointed. I flop around like a fish while doing simple activities like walking, not because of my lack of grace, but because my mind is in the same place where Einstein’s was while he was trying to work out his Theory of Relativity. And who says you have follow the rules of movement that the man told us to follow?

I may be a spaz-but I’m an anarchist genius spaz!

Now will someone please tell me if my left elbow is anywhere in the vicinity of the edge of a table?

May 12, 2009 at 8:31 am Leave a comment

Oh no, Not THE DOG!

Every time I hear about some harrowing event involving humans and animals, I immediately ask if the animals made it. If the animals are OK, I’m fine. If the animals were killed or hurt, I’m a mess for the rest of the week.

It’s not that I hate humanity, or wish death and suffering upon humans, (except for a few people who know who you are and why I feel this way) it’s just that my tragedy emoto-meter is permanently set to “animal.”

It reminds me of this code word I came up with when my friends and I call each other to talk about some soul-wrenching experience that needs urgent attention. We used to start with a few minutes of small talk, no matter how pained we were, because we wanted to be polite. Now we tell the aggrieved party to “cut to the pain.” It works. In that same way, when someone begins to tell me about a flood, blizzard, mudslide, wildfire or similar event with possible cataclysmic consequences, I order them to “cut to the animals.'”

So of course when I read an article about two dozen sled dogs, their owner and his girlfriend, who were rescued from a flood in the northern reaches of Alaska, I was elated. The dogs were OK! Nice that the people weren’t killed, but their survival honestly didn’t move me.

The story read like a Jack London novel. “House sized” ice was starting to break up on the Yukon River, and the water was rising so rapidly that it began flooding a couples’ cabin. So the people went outside and began untying their two dozen sled dogs, who probably never saw the inside of a house in their lives. I don’t buy that crap that sled dogs like to sleep in the snow. They just keep their mouths shut so they won’t be out of a job in this economy.

At this point, I was reminded of the worst movie I’ve ever tried to sit though called “Snow Dogs.” I can’t even tell you the plot without crying hysterically, but this “children’s movie” involves dog abandonment and death. How many kids threw up their Happy Meals after seeing it, and will end up in therapy as adults?

Anyway, the dogs were put in boats, pallets of plywood, whatever the people could find. Then all of a sudden, the water rushed over its banks. One of the boats full of dogs broke apart, but the dogs swam to high ice and safety. I was elated at this point. The dogs were going to be OK!

Then the people blah, blah, blah, people VHS radio help, blah, blah blah, people chop down trees for copter to land, blah, blah, blah, rescue helicopter comes, blah, blah, blah, and then they supported the dogs by their stomachs, lifted them by their collars, (which ordinarily would upset me, but it was an emergency) put them in the helicopters, and harnessed them in.

That story made my month. I was going to email it all of my animal-loving friends so we could gush over the survival of these amazing dogs, when I came to a certain line about ten paragraphs further down.

“But Skipper, a one-year-old who looked like a malamute, didn’t make it. (The man’s) voice caught as he said (Skipper’s) name.
We didn’t even know he was dead until the water dropped out.”

My god, is there no justice in this world, no beauty, nothing to live for? The thought of Skipper dead ruined the rescue of the other dogs for me. And they had to use the poor guys’ name. I kept thinking, If only Skipper made it-then life would be good.

And if that wasn’t bad enough, the people in the story are kindred spirits and love their dogs as much as I do. “That’s our kids,” said the woman, Kate, who now deserves to be named.

But poor Skipper. Known forever to me and all dog lovers as the dog who didn’t make it. He joins the annals of other dogs, both famous and unknown, who never made it, like Snowball, who was violently taken away from the little boy he loved during the evacuation after the New Orleans flood.

Skipper. Snowball. Millions of others. Some taken by mother nature, some taken by force, some taken because there wasn’t enough room in the pound. Think of me what you will, call me the Oprah of dogs, but when one dog goes down, we all go down.

So to paraphrase Stephen Stills, “If you can’t be with the dog you love, love the dog you’re with.”

May 8, 2009 at 5:53 pm Leave a comment

Roberta Gale

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