1) Strange Love
I’m halfway through Larry McMurtry’s All My Friends are Going to be Strangers
(spurred on by Tarantino’s claim in a recent interview that it’s one of his favorite “hangout” books). I’m not blown away, as I just was by Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
, which has so stuck with me, that it’s sort of ruining this next read. But, I digress. I’m sticking with it, because for what I feel the book lacks, McMurtry gets so many other things so right. There’s a great sequence where in his protagonist walks around the campus of his college the night before he’s going to leave and thinks of all the people he might share this moment with and then fears even talking to them, because he knows they’ll try to convince him to stay. And there is the killer moment when he realizes that his wife and the soon to be mother of his child has excised him from her life, even if she’s lying there next to him in bed or still sharing their apartment. He is a terribly indecisive character, bent on impulses that don’t often serve him best, and he’s now faced with walking away from a woman he ran to, feverishly. She’s already gone, but how long will he be willing to stay, in the cold of a love that’s gone out, if it was ever even on. I’ll let you know how it turns out.
2) Bond, James Bond
The first Bond novel I ever read was The Spy Who Loved Me
. It’s barely about Bond, with the first half or more of the book about a woman running from a cold and dreary London past, zoom-zoom-zooming around the East coast on a Vespa, and eventually settling in an off-season motel in Lake George, soon to be shared by two blood thirsty thugs. The movie (a Roger Moore Bond) is summarized as follows:
The British discover that someone has perfected a way of tracking submerged submarines and is offering the technology to the highest bidder. An international crisis breaks when a Royal Navy Polaris submarine equipped with sixteen nuclear warheads disappears while on patrol. The British send agent James Bond to secure the tracking device and locate the missing vessel before its missiles are launched at the West.
I’ve never seen the movie. I loved the book. I’ve read two other Fleming Bond novels: Casino Royale
and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
. The books are amply darker, but for the first time this weekend, I found a Bond movie I actually enjoyed. At this point, many a reader groans. Oh, did you? You like a movie millions of people worship? Aww, how cute. Whatevs. Dr. No
is way more focused than a lot of the others I’ve seen and makes the Brosnan Bonds look more and more like what they are: commercials for watches and suits and hair care products and ties and gadgets that you’d otherwise know about by reading GQ
once or twice a year. Jamaican kill squads, villains with fake hands, Bond bedding his opponents, etc. Check it.
3) Wild for Lynch
David Lynch taps into my nightmares. I’m not saying I specifically wake from fever dreams about a gimpy Mrs. Palmer, a black cowboy, and Jerry Horn torturing me, but the feel of them, what he shows and doesn’t, the industrial hum lurking somewhere, the detachment in characters, in this case Harry Dean Stanton, as if he’s trapped in a dream and if he just stays calm and quiet long enough, he’ll wake up, scare the bejesus out of me. (Note: I have a deep supply of bejesus.) Doing this, for me, separates the violence from other brands of movie violence, which may very well be as horrifying on the surface. By Stanton sitting there so calmly, it is at once as if he knows his end and, again, as if he’s detached himself from the situation, hoping to be trapped in a nightmare. If he were to react, one could identify and consider how they’d react in a similar scenario. Here, you not only do that, but are then hit on another level, where in it’s not just the scenario that’s frightening but the idea of it, the literal nightmare quality, that makes it so much more chilling. Often, what we imagine is so much worse than the reality. And, at the same time, as I look forward to contradicting myself immediately, what we can imagine can often save us from the horrors of reality (Lynch’s use of the elements of the musical or the bits of pieces of fantasy from The Wizard of Oz). What Lynch does maybe more than any other filmmaker working today is crawl inside his own imagination, in order to crawl into our own, not only to provide us with a fantastical or surreal universe, but to tap into something very real and deep that only seems fantastical or surreal because we think we’re the only ones who’ve dreamt it. Wild at Heart
and weird on top. David, make another movie. Soon. Please?
4) The Hot Stove
Omar Minaya reads the OV. If he doesn’t, well, he’s not alone. According to sources close to the Tigers, the Mets are about to become their main competitor for Magglio Ordonez. If they can sign him, they can then shift Cameron elsewhere, for relief help, primarily. Ordonez, if healthy (and signs indicate his knee is fine), would be a sensational addition to a lineup in need of a hitter just like him. If they get him, I’d be shocked if Cliff Floyd is long for New York. Here’s my prediction: They sign Magglio, trade Cameron to either Arizona or Oakland or Baltimore, and then trade Floyd to the Cubs. Let’s go Mets!
5) Testing, Testing, 1-2-3
I took a test on Saturday, in order to get a dental plan in a few months, or, more accurataley, whenever L.A. County deems it necessary to lift the hiring freeze, all the while taunting me with the above mentioned test and promises of advancement. Anyway, before the test began, and before I dug into a hearty dose of adding, subtracting, and alphabetizing, we got a thirty to forty minute lecture on rules and regulations from the test proctor. He read entirely from a script. When he began, he said, “Hello. My name is Bob.” He never looked up from his script.