Saturday, January 05, 2008

Saturday evening random blogging

It's late Saturday night and I just finished writing the geology for a fiendishly complicated site in Lincoln City, Oregon. Buried backswamp peats minged with Pleistocene dune sands...the whole thing is like Rubik's Cube (anyone else rember Rubik's Cube? Hated that damn thing..) and my poor engineer has got to give them the Bad News. Bet they take it like a dose of salts; they always do. I have a good friend that is seriously thinking about getting out of the entire profession just because he's so sick of telling the unpleasant truth to people who hired him because his company was the low bidder.

Teacher: "Class, today Dilbert will tell us what a career in engineering is all about."

Dilbert: "My job involves explaining things to idiots. Then the idiots make decisions based on misinterpreting what I said. Then it is my job to try to fix the massive problems caused by the bad decisions. Eventually, rumors overwhelm facts, and I give up. In the final phase, I assign blame to an unpopular coworker. So whatever you do if life, don't be unpopular."

Teacher: "Don't listen to him!"

Dilbert: "Said the unpopular teacher."

Ummm...I don't always like everything about my job...

She writes like leather on an Italian loafer, like sleek on a Ferrari...slide on over to Different Dirt and catch up on the latest doin's of the Adorable Thor! She is the cutest Goddess of Thunder EVAH! And her mom thinks she's such a bad mommy 'cause she "...ran out of time..." before she could check up on all the daycares in Portland? Hah! Out here in the hustings, where we touch our own children's tongues, I seem to remember we picked our current daycare because it was 1) the closest one to the house and 2) had relatively few children sporting bald heads daubed with purple nit paint. Face it, Millie: you ARE the Mother of the Year. You just don't want the plaque and the monogrammed-apron-and-pearls set that goes with it...

And speaking of our progeny - check out Spidey here, crushing crime in Tub City. Get 'em, Spidey!
Speaking of Millie, Floyd and Thor, here they are at McMenamin's Kennedy School way back before Christmas...we had dinner with them and Millie's ultrahip Mom Doris and her man Ez. They were parking at the Dirt Pile for little Thor's first Portland Christmas. Ez and his betty are just singin' the Song of the Open Road - Doris and her ol' man are just a couple of Easyriders. They are a hoot, and clearly nuts about their new grandbaby. Don't be fooled by the grumpy faces - they were wicked fun, it was great to see them, we all had a good time and there was lots of running in the wide hallways of the old elementary school.
Down below there's the Girl herself, with Deema on the left. Do you have a silly name for Grandma or Grandpa? My ex-wife's mom was "Deema" to my little ex-nephew- and niece-in-law; HER mom, a frightful old Main Line stick-up-the-ass dowager was "Deema-Doo", which I thought perfectly frivolous for the bluetressed harridan. I've tred to convince my mother-in-law that "Gruthie" is perfect. She won't bite, even though it's the ideal mixture of "Grandma" and "Ruthie". She has the odd knickname "Chickie"...maybe by next year I can convince the kids to call her "G-Chickie"...hmm...mabe that will convince her to go for "Gruthie"?

Dear kindly social worker,
They say go earn a buck.
Like be a soda jerker,
Which means like be a schumck.
It's not I'm anti-social,
I'm only anti-work.
Gloryosky! That's why I'm a jerk!

BABY JOHN: (As Female Social Worker)
Officer Krupke, you've done it again.
This boy don't need a job, he needs a year in the pen.
It ain't just a question of misunderstood;
Deep down inside him, he's no good!

So the "social woiker" stopped by today: all part of the bizarre post-adoption vetting so kindly provided by our agency. What would she have done if she'd found the house a mess, the kids naked and screaming and me belaboring Mojo with a hairbrush cursing like a sailor and flicking lit cigarettes into the baby food? Is China going to take our adorable little tyke back? What?
But...I didn't say anything shocking, I didn't touch tongues with my daughter, and my son didn't say he hated both God and his baby sister, so I think we made out OK.

This isn't a political thing. I just liked the British squaddie finding a moment on patrol to give this little cat a skritch. All cats need a skritch now and then.
Come to think of it most of us people need a skritch every so often.

I love this rice paddy art. It's from site called "Pink Tentacle", which features pop culture oddities - OK, not "oddities", exactly, but idiosyncratic stuff the Japanese find fascinating. I find it fascinating, too, although I could do with less robots and the "B-sport girls" (So NOT what you think), but then, that's why I'm not Japanese, 私を許しなさい.
Nothing to say other than...uhhh...yeah.One thing I got to do over the Christmas holiday is watch "Miracle on 34th Street". A LOT. One of the movie channels - Fox Movie Channel? - showed back-to-back-to-back viewings of both the 1947 original and the 1994 remake.

Now, I love the 1947 "Miracle". It's a great picture just as a flick, it's one of the few "holiday" movies I can watch without throwing up just a little into the back of my throat, and Edmund Gwenn is so convincing as the little man who IS Santa Claus that one of the great shocks in my life was to see him as the cockney assassin in Hitchcock's Foreign Correspondant. Maureen O'Hara - one of the great stars of the studio era - is perfect as all-business mom Doris, John Payne is wistful and stalwart as hero/lover Fred and a young Natalie Wood is a terrific smart-alec kiddo.But the problems I had with the 1994 version were more than just a matter of color film stock and casting.

For one thing, the 1994 film is altogether darker, even nastier. I mean, folks, we're making a movie about a nice old man who turns out to actually BE Santa Claus. Feel-good stuff, holiday spirit, right? We're not talking "Schindler's List" here. So why take the original Macy's-Gimbel's rivalry and make it so vicious? Why does the '94 version seem so cramped, so unloving and so brittle?

For a movie about Christmas, the '47 version hasn't a snipbit of sanctity about it; it's a very human, very everyday sort of rough-sleeved comedy. There's no visible religion, no one goes to church, even on Christmas Eve! The businessmen are crass but not vile about it (Macy at one point remarks how once they launch their new altruistic holiday campaign they'll look like the "store with a heart", the store that cares more for people than profits - and as a result will make even more profit that ever!). The story takes a magic "miracle" - the story of Santa - and hangs it on very human emotions and actions: a judge trying to get reelected, a mail sorter hoping to dump a bunch of "Dear Santa" dead-letters on somebody else.

The '94 version is all hung about with religion - Elizabeth Perkin's "Doris" (called "Dorey", I think. WTF?) is made to sound all brittle and defensive because she doesn't say grace over Thanksgiving dinner! - and full of evil cackling baddies who are foiled by the magic Santa. Why does it seem so dismal?

I'm afraid that one movie is full of people from my parents' time and the American ideals and manners of my parents' time, and the other is full of people from mine...and I like my parents' people better.
Coming soon: more Tales from the Sinai and some memories for my Army Days. It was twenty-four years ago this week I came home from playing my heroic part in the glorious liberation of the people of Grenada. Who's the guy in the middle with the jug-handle ears? Yep, that's Doc Lawes, the famous splinter specialist, having performed another successful splinterectomy under field conditions in the little town of Happy Hill. More to come of the exciting adventures of the Devil Doc in his Baggy PantsAnd no late-night rumination would be complete without a shoutout to one of my favorite late night flicks: "The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension". There are good films, bad films...and then there are films that just defy classification. Why IS there a watermelon there? What is Dr. Penny Priddy's doctorate IN? Is Wes Anderson a closet Blue Blaze Irregular? To the unsung genius of Earl Mac Rauch, I can only say: laugh while-a you can, monkey-boy!
And goodnight...


atomic mama said...

Glad the home visit is over...

I dressed as a Rubik's Cube for Halloween in 1980.

walternatives said...

I love the Kennedy School. Perhaps the third time we visit Portland, they'll have rooms available - so popular.

Has it really been 6 months since you brought that sweetie home? Yowza.