Gentle Humor

I don't offend some of the people most of the time

Month: November 2009 (Page 1 of 3)

Exercising Your Akimbo

Last night I exercised. I did a few sissy push-ups and a few crunches, staggered back to me feet and threw myself on the sofa all akimbo, worn out, huffing and puffing, wondering if a heart attack was speeding on it’s way.

And you ask why the heck do I do it – why do I use words like akimbo?  Can’t I just say something simple like flopped on the couch? And what does such a word even mean?

Well, I’m glad you asked, because I certainly don’t know but I’m going to consult the all-knowing and very powerful Google, and I’ll get right back to you.

Sorry to keep you so long, but this word is way more interesting than you’d think. I discovered how I probably got it in my head that it meant getting tossed around like a rag doll, which it doesn’t mean, but it was used that way on Seinfeld, and since I’ve seen every episode, I must have picked it up when Elaine was dancing at the Christmas party and jerking around, and was described as “dancing with her limbs flailing and arms akimbo.” That was a pretty funny episode, and I bet she got plenty of exercise practicing that dance.

According to Wikipedia, akimbo means standing with your hands on your hips. There is also a rock band named Akimbo, so I went to their website and found out that you can book them by calling a number with an area code of 206. They don’t say where they’re located, but another site said that “Jon Weisnewski (Bass/Vocals) and Nat Damm (Drums) have solidified a unique and devastating sonic battle axe left embedded in the skulls of their enemies.” (www.punknews.org) Sounds like my kind of music.

Why is this important in the great scheme of life? Because when we go around heaving heavy words like akimbo all over the place and naming rock bands after them, we are enriching the English language and making it a much better experience for our children, our children’s children, and our children’s children’s children ad infinitum – which is another heavy word worth toting on your colossal English tool belt.

And what does this ad infinitum mean? Do you ever stop with the questions?

I know it’s Latin, and I know what it means, but is there a rock band named after it? That’s what I’m curious to find out. I’m going to go check. Hold on a second.

Did you feel the whoosh of me zooming back? I have fast internet. I couldn’t locate a rock band per se, but I found something musical (I think) that is much more intriguing. It’s an “Analog Modular Synthesizer Frac-Rak Modules by Alex Iles.” I’m not going there because some things you’re better not knowing, but this phrase perfectly illustrates my point. Words should be entertaining if they can’t be sensible, and this Frac-Rac thing tickles my fancy, which is located behind my knees, a particularly sensitive area especially on children. If you want to tickle them until they wet their pants (which is cruel and I do not condone), tickle their fancy rather than their feet (which can kick) or armpits (which can leave a distinct odor).

Distinct. That’s another great word – it’s got a bad smell built right in, so it’s like giving someone a double whammy when you say they have a distinct odor because of the word stink in there. Odor is bad enough, but a stinky odor is just foul.

Bet you didn’t think of that, did you? See, it’s good to exercise your cleverness with the English language, and it sure the heck beats sit-ups and push ups.

 

Fat Begone!

Around the holidays I start having wardrobe malfunctions. My waistband moves up or down, trying to find a place to rest with all the new me it has to cope with. If it moves up high, the fat goes under the waistband, but I get a really serious case of camel toe. If it moves down, the fat squeezes up over the waistband to form an unattractive toadstool. It’s a universal problem with average sized women who overindulge on occasion, and I realize that I’ve touched on this subject before, which only goes to show that there are no easy solutions.

If I buy a size bigger pants, that would take care of the problem, but it would be the end of being average. Right now, with only a few extra pounds, I’m uncomfortable. If I lose the weight, which would mean cutting carbs and candy, I can be comfortable again. This is torture, since I live for buttered bread and Milky Ways, but it’s doable with a week of suffering as long as I don’t have too much fat to begin with.

However, if I buy a bigger size, in the short run I’ll be comfortable, but in the long run, it’s just a matter of time before the bigger sized waistband starts choking me, and this time I’d have to lose twice the weight if I wanted to get back to average.

What I really hate is that period of time when I become uncomfortable, which occurs after every social gathering where the host puts out spreads of sumptuous food (and this can be just potato chips and dip). Beiing kind-hearted, I try to save the host the unpleasant chore of storing all those leftovers by eating and drinking non-stop the whole time I’m there. In fact, I’ve looked up from the buffet table to find that I’m the only person left in the room, and snoring is coming from the host’s bedroom.

So today I set about to find an undergarment that will camouflage that inner tube of fat around my stomach until my weight loss resolve kicks in, which sometimes takes awhile. I know I’ve worked on this before, and I actually found a solution for under a dress, but I’m dealing with jeans, and that’s a whole new set of problems. I went to Fred Meyer’s undergarment section and was surprised to see all the different girdles, body suits, corsets, etc. available for people in my predicament.

I tried a couple of them on. A full body suit is flesh colored and looks like one of those old-timey swimsuits that is one piece with legs stopping just above the knees. I’m happy to say I lost at least two pounds struggling into the thing. It had “stays” all around the torso, which are hard pieces of “boning” that hold the suit up and keep the fat in. I think you could stand a body suit up on your front porch at Halloween and scare off goblins.

The disadvantage of this item, including the inability to get out of it quickly enough if you’ve had a couple of beers, is that the fat has to go somewhere. Where the undergarment ends, fat lurches out and forms a rim that can easily be seen under the thickest sweater or pants. Also, the 60 little bra-type hooks needed to rein in the fat also showed under my t-shirt.

So I tried a high waisted girdle, but it had the same problem. You’d think your internal organs would have the decency to move over and give the fat a little space, but they won’t budge. It has nowhere to go so it balloons out the top and underneath. The fat isn’t high enough to enhance your bosom (what a funny word), instead it just makes you look like you’re sagging, and the fat pushing out the bottom makes your thighs look like they’re wearing twin tourniquets.

I tried combining a long shaping bra with a tall firming girdle, but the fat all went to the no-man’s land between them where the two didn’t overlap. I looked like I had an hourglass figure with a mini hula-hoop in the middle.

I decided to bag it and go on the diet right away. Except that there are leftover pieces of a super-yummy chocolate pecan pie that I’ll need to plow through. I can’t lose weight with temptations in the house. Plus I’ll need to finish off some really soft chocolate chip cookies my daughter made. But the second I get through those, and the rest of the bag of Oreos, I’m losing that fat, or my name isn’t Megan Fox.

Window Washing Sucks Less Than a Vacuum

Today I decided it was time to get my home ready for Christmas. We have these big windows, and in the winter, when the sun is lower than our passive solar overhangs, the sun shines through the windows and illuminates the spider crap that’s all over them.

I think because we have a one-story house, and the overhang sticks out about six feet all the way around the house, spiders think our place is the Ritz-Carlton. The light from all the windows attracts insects which get caught in the spider webs so it’s like a big bug buffet out there all the time.

Spiders, like all of God’s creatures, have to go to the bathroom; therefore there are little brown and black spots everywhere like millions of grasshoppers have been engaging in tobacco-spitting contests. Some of the spots slide down the glass. Then it dries and hardens to a cement-like substance that takes a vigorous scrubbing to dislodge.

Why am I telling anyone about this? Just because.

So I’m out there in the cold with the squeegee, and my husband and son are sitting on the couch watching some bikini TV show. I’m used to my husband and children passively watching me work. I’m like a lot of women who just get tired of nagging and do it all – which appears to be the goal of every man’s and child’s life.

Today, though, it didn’t sit well with me. I came in and made some snide remarks, which usually fall on deaf ears, but for some reason my husband got mad and turned off the TV, jerked the squeegee out of my hand and went outside to get away from the nagging. I could see that he wasn’t putting in quite the effort that I had been, but I decided even if I had to do some of the streaks over, that was way easier than doing it all alone. After a few minutes of staring at the TV where the almost naked girls had been, my son said, “Dad just gave me a dirty look. Have you got something I can do?”

These are words I have never, ever heard my son say. I dabbed at my tears of joy. “Well, I guess you could grab the duster and dust.” He did it without too much complaint – it is, after all, the easiest housework in the world. When he was done I asked if he’d help me get the Christmas stuff down out of the attic. I figured I’d better make hay while the sun was shining. This is when the avalanche of griping started.

“It’s not even December. Why are you getting all this stuff down? Where are you going to put it? You’re just cluttering up the bonus room with all this crap. Oh my gosh, how many boxes are there? Why do you have all these fake poinsettias? Nobody likes all this crap but you. Why don’t you just get rid of it? Who came up with all this decorating bullcrap anyway? You’re going to spend all that time putting all this stuff up and then just take it all down a month later…..”

I just let him go on and on because he was continuing to help as he bitched, so I wasn’t about to fly off the handle and have him use that as an excuse to walk out of the room. The second he was done he left to go get a haircut.

Meantime my husband was still washing the inside windows. He got finished and started putting the squeegee and ladder away. “Leave all that, I have to do the outside,” I said. “Well, I’m not doing them,” he said, and sat down. I immediately went and got the vacuum. He hates the noise the vacuum cleaner makes. I turned it on and started vacuuming right where he was sitting. He got up, grabbed the squeegee and went outside. I turned the vacuum off. He came back in. I turned it back on. He went back out. I figured if I kept vacuuming, I could get all the windows washed. Unfortunately, even going really slow, I had to finally stop, and he came back in, leaving a couple windows undone. I finished the job, pretty satisfied that I’d gotten my two lazy boys to help out. We all went to a restaurant for a late lunch, my son went back to U of O because there was supposed to be a party he didn’t want to miss, my husband went back to the remote control, and I went shopping. Not a bad day at all.

Black and Blue Friday

In case you just arrived here from Jupiter (how’s the weather? Seen any good meteorites?), today is the biggest shopping day in the United States, and maybe the whole world. Maybe in the jungle, cannibals are offering two torsos for the price of one. Or buy one torso and get a leg for free. But I doubt it – that seems like too good a deal.  Plus, I think our retail bonanza is tied to Thanksgiving, which is an American holiday.

As a way of giving thanks for their abundance, people in this country try to eat up all their abundance in one day the form of giant birds, mountains of mashed potatoes with gravy, butter, sour cream, and salt plus an accoutrement of breads, vegetables, and desserts with butter as the main ingredient until they have to go lie on the floor or sofa or ambulance stretcher to recover. The lucky people give extra thanks because they get to sleep in the next day.

The unlucky ones must set their alarm clocks for 3:00 a.m. so they can wake up out of their L-tryptophan stupor and return to work to await the herd of bargain-lusting shoppers wanting to bust down the door for savings. We in America call this day Black Friday, I’m assuming because the guy unlocking the door for the crazed shoppers gets knocked down and trampled in the stampede, resulting to black scuff marks all over his face, arms, stomach, and legs.

If you’re really and truly unlucky and work for Michaels in the Metropolitan Portland area, then you had to push yourself up off the floor, drunk on bourbon pecan pie and shots of Jack Daniels quaffed on the sly with your alcoholic Uncle Bob, and put yourself in the mood to peddle arts and crafts at 5::00 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day to other overstuffed and miserable drunks who felt the compulsion to leave the comfort of their warm homes and beloved friends and relatives in order to get a leg up on Black Friday shoppers who dared to wait until the rest of the stores open at 4:00 a.m. the next day.

If you take the time to notice, you’ll see that the previous paragraph was all one sentence. You’ll also observe that American stores have become so obsessed with trying to get a leg up on other businesses that they are kicking down the very institutions that brought them business in the first place. If they open their stores on Thanksgiving, then why bother even having that holiday? Sure, the grocery stores make a killing on the days leading up to Thanksgiving, but if you force workers and shoppers to forsake their traditions so that your business can make money, what happens to the tradition? No one is home having Thanksgiving dinner with their families because they’re out shopping.

Same thing goes with Christmas decorations in October. They will eventually replace all Halloween decorations, and then that fun family holiday that gives adults an opportunity to hang out with their children and socialize with their neighbors as they gather free candy in the freezing rain – even that will fall by the wayside. And as you continue to blather about “holiday” festivities and Christmas lists earlier and earlier, consumers get more and more disgusted with the whole business. In case you store owners also just arrived from Jupiter, let me give you a heads-up: WE HATE CHRISTMAS ADS ON THE TV, RADIO, IN THE PAPER, ON FLYERS, AND CHRISTMAS LIGHTS AND DECORATIONS, EVEN RED AND GREEN COLORS – WE HATE THE MERE THOUGHT OF CHRISTMAS before Thanksgiving.

Those of us who get our holiday shopping done early (sometimes on December 26th of the previous year) are going to continue doing that whether you advertise and decorate at an obscenely early date or at the proper time, and those of us who wait until the last minute to shop, (sometimes on December 24th), are going to continue doing that. Or else we are going to ignore the whole Christmas thing altogether, be forced to report to work on Christmas day, buy up everything on sale before the after Christmas sale, and say to hell with it.

In my humble (though always right) opinion, if we’re stupid enough to forget to buy a carton of eggs on Wednesday before Thanksgiving, I can guarantee that no one is going to starve to death as a result, so I can’t see any excuse for a lot of these stores to be open on Thanksgiving and other traditional family gathering holidays. Give employees a break, for crying out loud. And don’t start sputtering about the exceptions, about the people who don’t have families or who don’t celebrate traditional holidays. It’s a lame excuse for money-grubbing, and you know it.

But will any of you listen? Of course not, because you’re too afraid that someone is going to get a little more of the market share than you are. Well, let it be known right here and now – I refuse to shop at Michaels for the rest of this year, and possibly forever, because they forced employees to work on Thanksgiving for no good reason. You can take your market share and shove it up your tofurkey for all I care (see previous post if this doesn’t make sense, and if it still doesn’t, go back to Jupiter).

So there.

Happy Tofurkey Day!

Well, I’m happy to say this was a fabulous Thanksgiving, and I am so stuffed that I will have to make my entry short because I need to be supine right now with my belly sticking up in the air like an island in the Pacific.

Our friends had us and a few others over for dinner, and Laurie was trying to be a great hostess. Her daughter and I are both vegetarian, and since we couldn’t eat the turkey, she graciously prepared us a turkey substitute called “Tofurkey.”

This thing was a roundish ball of, judging by the name, some kind of tofu that had been colored to simulate a turkey breast. It almost had me fooled except for the ends. The “breast” had been formed in some kind of plastic casing that had been twist-tied at both ends, creating a molded, puckered look. The human body has an orifice that has that same puckered look, and it was about the same color. I couldn’t look at it, honestly, it was grossing me out totally. My friend’s husband carefully sliced the Tofurkey like a real turkey, and left one of the puckered ends on top. What a hideous presentation.

It’s hard to eat fake meat anyway. It never has the taste or texture of real meat, though you know they’ve tried really really hard to make it a suitable substitute. You have to use a lot of sauce or something and your vivid imagination to think that something called Tofurkey is going to taste like turkey. But when it looks like an, well, puckering part, it’s not going to pull off the masquerade.

I ate it, just to be polite, drowned in it’s own Tofurkey gravy and eaten with a mouthful of mashed potatoes to further disguise the taste. Memo to Tofurkey producers: put the pucker on the bottom or somewhere I can’t see it if you EVER want me to celebrate with your product at Thanksgiving.

The rest of the meal was an absolute delight; we all stuffed ourselves and then listened to our children playing Van Halen songs on the electric guitar. Oh, and did I mention that my family went skiing this morning and the sun was out? Seventeen runs – not too bad for the first day out, and no bickering among us, mostly because the kids slept all the way to the mountain and back.

I really wish I could find something more to complain about, and something to make fun of, but the sofa is calling me so loudly I’m going deaf and can’t focus. Happy Thanksgiving – yes, it was!

Duck if You See This Turkey Coming

On this, Thanksgiving Eve, I think it’s time to talk turkey, or if you come from Louisiana – Turducken. I typed that and my spell check lit up like a turkey grease fire. That’s because Turducken (there it goes again) is a completely unnatural species of animal that I first learned about from my sister-in-law’s husband’s in-laws in Baton Rouge.

Whether the Cajuns invented this atrocity, or just acquired it, I don’t know, but it definitely sounds like something that came from their neck of the woods. They eat crawdads and gators and blackened everything, plus it seems to me like something Emeril might come up with. I heard rumors that he wanted to solve the nutria problem in Louisiana by using creative recipes to cook up the water-dwelling, pre-historic rodent that looks like a gargantuan rat on steroids.

For those of you who have been fortunate enough to never hear of this creature (the Turducken, not the nutria, which is at least a somewhat attractive member of the rodent family, once you get over its mammoth size eight food whiskers), I suggest you quit reading right now, because you’re not going to want to know. Trust me. This is an abomination against nature.

You’re still with me? You know, you can lead a horse to water but if he refuses to drink, well, I rest my case.

A Turducken is a chicken stuffed inside the intestinal cavity of a duck, which is then stuffed inside the intestinal cavity of a turkey. This unwieldy beast is then stuffed inside your oven where it cooks unspeakably, unevenly, and unbecomingly. Understand why I despise it?

Who would have come up with such a thing? There is something about reaching up inside a bird that lowers the threshold of my appetite to begin with. I used to have to turn my head when my mother stuffed fistfuls of dressing into the anal cavity of our family turkey, and I sure wasn’t about to eat any of that stuffing. If I didn’t witness it coming straight out of a separate pan, I wouldn’t touch it.

So to put a whole bird, or de-boned bird, or whatever in the hell it is into another bird is just not right. But my sister-in-law’s in-laws swore it was the best thing on the planet besides marrying your first cousin, so we got one for Thanksgiving a few years back.

I don’t like eating duck for any reason – they are so cute when they come up to you quacking for breadcrumbs, and Daffy and Donald could be their relatives. Eating chickens doesn’t worry me so much after one time when I was little I picked up a chick at my grandfather’s house and a mother hen flew out of nowhere right on top of my head and flogged me with her wings for about two hours. I think chickens are treacherous. I’ve never been intimate with any turkeys so they don’t bother me one way or the other. But on general principle I prefer not to eat anything that’s been shoved into something else’s guts.  Have I belabored this point too long? No, I haven’t.

I’ve been vegetarian for years, so I didn’t partake of the Turducken on those grounds, though I would have become vegetarian that very day if it was the only way to avoid the hideous thing. The others reported that it was okay, ranking between possum and road kill, though nothing special. I think even they were grossed out. All I know is this: If a food is called something with the word Turd in it, I’m staying away. I advise you to do the same.

Rumpus Dreams

I’m going to get my hair cut tomorrow and my salon let me hang four of my framed photos there.  Unfortunately, that’s all they’ve been doing is hanging. None have walked out the door under someone’s armpit yet, but they are, perhaps and all things considered, overpriced. I thought if I used a double mat, I could double my price. Apparently the world of art doesn’t work that way.

My favorite of the four is a picture of a dory boat on the beach of the Oregon Coast. A couple of fishermen, one in no shirt and a ponytail, were reeling the boat onto its trailer. The boat wasn’t much to look at, but the reason I took a picture was the name of the side, “The Codfather.” Get it, “COD” father? It had a little string of fish hanging on a line just under the name.

I think it’s fun when people have a sense of humor like that. I took another picture that I haven’t framed yet of a muddy white pickup truck with a dirty teddy bear in the front grill, a porpoise glued to the roof, and assorted little statues of mermaids, elves, miniature lawn gnomes, and what-not glued to the hood and all over the dashboard. I don’t know who would buy such a picture, but it might be quite impressive in a dorm room or rumpus room.

Speaking of rumpus rooms, my brother once had a dream that there was a cow in the unfinished basement that he was turning into a rumpus room. The dream disturbed him no end because he likes to analyze dreams and believes they have a lot of insights. I think it had to do with the cow he killed when he was five. He was supposed to close the feed door after feeding the cows with his great grandfather, but he couldn’t quite reach the latch so he did what all little boys in his shoes would have done – he ran away from home and joined the circus. No, of course he didn’t do that because it was getting too dark, so he pretended he latched the door and ran like wild dogs were chasing him to catch up before something got him in the night.

The favorite cow, named “Pet,” got in the feed and literally ate herself to death, which was a financial and emotional tragedy for everyone. Pet made her way up to the pasture before she keeled over and died. The next day the kids went up and sat on her. We were too young to know any better, and it was the only way we were going to get to ride a cow. I think Pet came back to haunt him, and what better place than plopping right in the middle of the rumpus room he was trying to fix up.

For me, dreaming has everything to do with what I’ve been doing that day. If I’ve been cleaning house, I’ll have a dream that the vacuum breaks and the floor is covered in confetti and the neighbors are in a pack on their way over for a party. Tonight I’ll probably dream about that pickup truck – I’ll be driving down the road in it and the teddy bear will blow off the grill and hit the windshield in really slow motion, taking out the porpoise as it crests over the roof. Except the porpoise will be a cow. Sounds pretty entertaining – I’m off to bed.

How I Get My Material

Nobody asks me how I come up with my ideas, but in case they ever do, I’m going to practice my answer.

I have no system. I get up in the morning thinking, “What will I write about today?” and my next thought is, “I’m hungry,” and I don’t think about writing for awhile, until I think, “I’m still hungry,” and that goes on until about 10:45 at night, when I panic and realize that if I’m going to meet my goal for the day, I need to make a beeline to the kitchen and grab something to tide me over while I write.

If you’ve ever read de Tocqueville’s, Democracy in America, you were probably forced to by some nincompoop like my college professor who taught American Literature. I protested on the grounds that it wasn’t even written by an American, for crying out loud. We got in a knock down drag out fight that resulted in me having a B grade from all my work but getting a C in the course because of my attitude. Oh how I despised that man. I have to go outside and spit…..Okay, I’m back. What a bad taste the memory gives me.

His name was Carafoil or something like that, but I called him Caro-vile. I was clever back then. I wanted to get my English degree, and I wanted to do it after working all day and going to three hours of classes four nights a week and paying for it out of my own pocket. The very, very last thing I wanted on earth was a man who thought he was God’s gift to English majors and, for that reason, really didn’t need to do much teaching because he felt that entertaining us with jokes and rambling reports of his ultra stupid life was a much better way to kill three hours of class time week after week.

Pardon me while I go evacuate my innards……..Okay, I’m back. That feels better. It’s hard to imagine after all this time that he still can make me nauseous.

But why was I talking about him?  Oh yeah, when I wrote the word “beeline” up above, I remembered something from de Tocqueville about bees that was interesting. Bees will go out into the world and find some honey, and they’ll come back to their home in a straight line. If you want to find honey, you can actually follow a bee and it will lead you to it. That’s where the term “beeline” came from. I followed a bee a little ways once but couldn’t get over my neighbor’s fence quick enough.

Another interesting thing in that book (which was published in 1835) was the story of a farmer who had some kind of opening in his living room ceiling and bees came in his house and made a nest up there. They had their little habits, coming and going, humming and buzzing. The farmer and his wife thought they were right good company. Today, one bee gets in and people fly out the house like teenagers busted in a bar. Out come the cans of RAID, fly swatters, a big shoe, my brother’s bad breath (he can drop an insect at 7 paces), and all other lethal means to eliminate the ghastly thing before it, heaven forbid, bangs itself to death on the window trying to get out.

So there you have it, that’s how I come up with my ideas. Aren’t you glad you didn’t ask?

A Movie to Kill Time

I just watched the most asinine movie called, “The International.” I don’t know what the critics had to say about it, but here’s my review.

We were renting this in the comfort of our own home, thank goodness, and so we saved $150 between the three of us when you add up the price of the movie tickets, popcorn, sodas, Milk Duds, and Jujube’s)

It started out and you knew SOMEBODY was going to get offed because of the music and the tension, but we didn’t really know which of the two characters it would be. And the method was fairly ingenious. It was looking like a good choice as the plot started to gear up and everyone seemed suspicious.

Then the other guy from the opening scene gets killed, and the good guys (Clive Owen and Naomi Watts) begin an “international” manhunt that leads to more plot twists and suspects, one after the other. My daughter asked, “When is this movie ever going to be over? It’s been on forever.”

This is not a good sign. An exciting movie, full of intelligent plot twists and suspense, will yank you in so that you don’t come up for air long enough to even think about the time.

Not this egregious curse of a movie. Everyone who could take us out of our misery by ending it gets killed off. In one magnificently stupid scene, the bad guys (a mean, selfish bank) decide they need to kill their hired assassin because the good guys are on to him. A bad guy meets him at the Guggenheim to set him up. He gets shot, and Clive Owen, who’s been tailing him, runs over after the shooting to try and get a couple of names out of the assassin before he croaks. The guy’s on the floor, looking like he’s dying, and says, “Help me out of this thing, I’m suffocating.”  Turns out he’s got on a bulletproof vest so he doesn’t get a scratch from all the bullets fired at him.

We all breathed a sigh of relief because finally, FINALLY, one informer is left standing who can squeal and the movie will be over. The second Clive Owen gets his vest off, big surprise, someone starts shooting – BEFORE he talks, of course. They shoot the crap out of the Guggenheim, with new bad guys appearing like cockroaches in the night.  And you won’t believe it. Mr. “Get This Thing Off of Me” is hit by 40,000 bullets to the chest after two hours of shooting during which one of the good guys is hit in the neck and spews a geyser full of gory clots into the air like Old Faithful. “Oooo, that’s gross!” my daughter said, and it was, but in the stupidest way.

With this informant dead, my daughter and I discussed whether to commit slow suicide by continuing to watch the movie, or walk away without knowing the ending. My husband had done the smart thing by falling asleep in the Lazy Boy.

Finally, Clive convinces a brand new informant to end the movie, and it looks like it might just work until that one gets killed, too. “Will this movie never end?” wailed my daughter, which woke up my husband.

The movie did end, ridiculously, when the script brought in a hit man out of the blue hired by the sons of one of the informants killed early in the movie. No real justice is served. Clive Owens doesn’t get to see the bank’s activities brought to light – this final bad guy could have been persuaded to talk if he hadn’t just been killed. The final scene is of Clive standing on a rooftop looking bewildered, probably because he’s thinking that if he’d hired the hit man a couple of hours earlier, he could have taken out ALL the bad guys and avoided a lot of useless film time for nothing.

In a desperate attempt to bring closure to this monstrosity, newspaper clips are shown during the credits about how the bank ends up getting huge profits, how its behind the scenes dirty dealings are causing weapons to proliferate in Third World countries (which is what the plot is based on), and how Naomi Watts is appointed to lead a new investigation, which she spent the whole movie doing, to no avail, so you know the bank will continue with business as usual.

So thanks Hollywood, again, for stealing what seemed like nine hours of my life to watch a movie with no intelligent plot that didn’t even have the basic decency to satisfy the suffering audience at the end. However, my husband thought it was good, but considering that he slept through most of it, I don’t know if I’d count that as a recommendation. My Final Grade: F –  See it at your own risk, and don’t say I didn’t warn you.

The Terrible Teens

In 8th grade, kids have to carry a ten-pound sack of flour around to give them an idea of what a nuisance it is to have a baby in their teens so they’ll wait until they’re older. There used to be a program where prisoners would talk to kids and show them how bad life is when you break the law. I think it was called, “Scared Straight.” These are good ideas. It’s like a flu shot – it gives you a small dose of discomfort so you can avoid the big misery of the real thing.

One thing they should also do is have a room full of teenagers and bring in couples who are desperate to have a child. They should let the teenagers just talk about their lives, and how no one understands them and how stupid their parents are, especially when they insist that their rooms get picked up every few months and the dirty, moldy plates get brought to the kitchen. “It doesn’t bother us, why should it bother them?  It’s our room, not theirs. If they want it clean, they can come in and clean it.”

And then when it’s question and answer time, and the couples innocently ask some general thing to communicate, for instance, “How do you like school?” the teenagers could answer, “why are you people always up in our faces? Why don’t you get a life of your own?”

And then they could start asking for money and a ride to someone’s house in a snide and snarky tone of voice, and get mad at the would-be parents for not jumping up and doing it on a minute’s notice.

Finally, they could start blaming the prospective parents for things like making them be in that room answering stupid questions instead of out with their friends. “Your just like all grown-ups, you only think about yourself. You have no idea how hard our lives are.” And if the parents-to-be ask if there’s something they can do to help, the teenagers can say, “Yeah, right, like you could understand or even want to do anything,” and walk out the door, slamming it as hard as they can.

Yes, I know, I’m painting a pretty rosy picture of living with teenagers, because it gets a lot uglier than this. If anyone would have warned me, I might have reconsidered. The only consolation is that, rumor has it, the nasty alien thing living in your child’s body will eventually leave, and your sweet daughter will reappear sometime in her 20’s or 30’s.  I only hope I can survive that long because, if looks could kill, I’d be fertilizing daisies.

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Copyright © 2017 by Suzanne Olsen