Monthly Archives: February 2006

40 Things That Only Happen In Movies

From Nostalgia Central, 40 Things That Only Happen In Movies. Here are some of my favorites:

  • It is always possible to find a parking spot directly outside or opposite the building you are visiting.
  • All bombs are fitted with electronic timing devices with large red digital displays so you know exactly when they are going to explode.
  • On a police stake-out, the action will only ever take place when food is being consumed and scalding hot coffees are perched precariously on the dashboard .
  • If you are heavily outnumbered in a fight involving martial arts, your opponents will wait patiently to attack you one by one by dancing around you in a threatening manner until you have defeated their predecessor.
  • No matter how savagely a spaceship is attacked, its internal gravity system is never damaged.
  • You will survive any battle in any war UNLESS you show someone a picture of your sweetheart back home.
  • A single match is usually sufficient to light up a room the size of a football stadium.
  • Plain or even ugly girls can become movie star pretty simply by removing their glasses and rearranging their hair.
  • And my very favorite:

  • All beds have special L-shaped sheets that reach to armpit level on a woman but only up to the waist of the man lying beside her.
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Currently Reading…

Labyrinth Labyrinth, by Kate Mosse.

Like The Historian, by Elizabeth Kostova, Mosse brings to life geography and history combined. In Mosse’s case, it is a small French region, the Languedoc, at the beginning of the thirteenth century. Mosse’s love of place and time is obvious in the accuracy of detail and the way she’s woven the lives of her characters into real history.

Like Kostova’s story, it’s just about the only thing there is to recommend this novel. The writing is surprisingly pedestrian and stale for someone so intimately involved with the writen word. Her characters, especially her two female protagonists, are mere sketches, with fuzzy outlines. Their motivations are often left unexplained, creating confusion. The crux of the story, the search for the Grail, is a series of dead-ends that eventually lead us to where we started, but without the sense of inevitability a story such as this should have. In fact, the ending remined me of an Indiana Jones-type story, down to the opening chasm and the loss of the Grail.

The story is basic: two parallel lives, one in 1209, one in 2005, with “memories” linking them. Alice, as a volunteer archeologist, unearths a cave with two skeletons and a labyrinth, which begins a series of events where one faction wants to find the Grail for the power and immortality it will give, while the other, a staunch Catholic, wants to destroy it. Woven through it are the lives of the original Alais and her family during the Crusade against the French. The life of Alais will impel Alice to stumble through until the supposedly climax of the story. Unfortunately, the climax is so clichéd, it is easy to guess it several hundred pages before the end.

To cap it all off, the writing is riddled with typos and contradictions, evidence that the manuscript was given only a cursory edit. (For instance, Alice says that her parents died in 1993 then, barely five pages later, she says they died in 1982.) There are words missing, and spelling mistakes that could have been caught with a simple spellcheck. This proves to me, once again, that publishing houses have become simply clearinghouses.

Unless you are interested in the Cathars and 13th Century history, I’d bypass this book.

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Lord of the Rings: How It Should Have Ended

It’s 7am and I’m going skating on the longest skating rink in the world, the Rideau Canal. That’ll use the time I usually take for my daily blog entry, so I’ll just leave you, my readers, with a bit of humorous ending rework of one of the most popular story.

Lord of the Rings: How It Should Have Ended.

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Currently Reading…

Until I Find You Until I Find You, by John Irving.

Any John Irving book comes with hype, as this one did. This one also comes with a big yawn. I’m 200 pages in and my only reaction to it is, if there are such things as “chick flicks” this is a “past-middle-age male read.”

Apart from being extremely slow reading, Irving has fallen into the same mold as many other aging authors such as Heinlein, Donaldson, Anthony and many more: an obsession with treating women as nasty sexual objects. In this case, it’s the story of a man –Jack Burns– who’s been shaped by his growing up amid girls and women who either neglect, abuse (sexually and mentally), ignore, or horrify him. The women around him are so self-centered that they have no room for the emotional well-being of a little boy, but they have no problem using and abusing him. I presume that the story continues on with women throughout his life continuing the pattern.

If that is not enough, Irving tell us at the beginning, with an epigraph by William Maxwell, that memories, especially childhood memories, can only be fiction and lies. He then proceeds, in the next few hundred pages, to narrate Jack Burns’s early memories, starting at four years old. Then there is this continuous repetition that, in later years, Jack would never forget this or that, which smacks of the writer trying to convince us that, indeed, Jack will be able to remember everything in his life, regardless of how early it is.

Now, the book may improve upon reading further, and all this history may have a purpose. However, after 200 pages, I’m still in primary school with Jack and I’m still not sure what the story is about, except proving that women, in general, are self-centered, ineffective shits.

Too many books and not enough time.

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