Saturday, August 31, 2013

Hell in the Atlantic

Tonight, I was watching a DVD of one of my favorites: the World War II, marooned-on-an-island classic, Hell in the Pacific. More than half of the opening thirty minutes of the film focuses on Lee Marvin trying to get at Toshirō Mifune’s small supply of fresh water, either by stealing it or asking for some. Just as this angle comes to a climaxwith Marvin falling from a tree while attempting to fish out some water with his canteen, crashing into Mifune, and spilling the precious basin of collected rainwaterI realize that the bottle of Poland Spring from which I am now taking the last sip is my sole remaining bottleand thus my only remaining drinkable water!  

Sure, I could have opted for tap water, but not since having seen all sorts of things in the tap water from my college dorm in Philadelphia have I trusted water from the faucet and would have spat it out as undrinkable—as did a repulsed Marvin after dipping his face in a stagnant, salty pond before continuing his pursuit of Mifune’s fresh rainwater.
So, as with Lee Marvin and his Imperial Japanese Navy rival, my survival came down to cooperating with my Mitsubishi Eclipse to obtain fresh water—the very same Mitsubishi that produced the A6M “Zero” fighter for Mifune’s Imperial Japanese Navy!

Would my car take me where I needed to go, or would it make me its captive, as did Mifune of Marvin, before Marvin escaped and turned the tables on his opponent? Could I harness the Mitsubishi’s power and make peace with it, so that we could work in tandem for our mutual benefit and set off promptly to 7-11 for its rich supply of Poland Spring?

Alas, upon arrival at 7-11, the Mitsubishi most likely would have abruptly exploded with no warning, destroying both of us.*

Or perhaps, in some alternate ending to my evening, my Mitsubishi would refuse to open its doors, and after yelling and honking at each other in foreign-tongued futility, we’d go our separate ways as enemies once again.

* Okay, so I should have prefaced this with a Spoiler Alert…but let’s face it: you’re never gonna get off your ass and rent this film—or come to my place and watch it with me. No, it’ll be just another Saturday night alone, marooned in my apartment, waiting for the tides to be right so I can get off this desolate rock...I mean couch. Man, I would’ve been much better off had my Mitsubishi exploded...
(Images copyright Selmur Pictures.)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Me and the Lacewing: Could It Be a Chase Thing?

Two days ago, I met a friend in a corner bar in the Bella Vista section of South Philly. With the temperature surprisingly mild for an August afternoon, the pub’s many vertical windows were open to allow in the air. As my friend and I chatted, a pale-green insect I later identified as a green lacewing slowly flew between us and landed on the wall. Approximately three-quarters of an inch long, the green lacewing looks like a cross between a moth and a scallion. After each of us briefly commented on the odd-looking intruder, we returned to our conversation and left the lacewing to its business.

This morning, I was standing in my bathroom when an insect looking very much like the lacewing from two days ago fluttered through the doorway. Now, encountering two separate specimens of the seldom-seen lacewing within forty-eight hours is highly unlikely. However, the chance that the Bella Vista lacewing hitched a ride home with me seems even more implausible, because…

·         A plant-dwelling insect would not be drawn to a human, particularly for such a long duration;
·         My friend or I likely would have noticed if the lacewing had eventually landed on me;
·         I had to walk a block and a half to my car, giving the lacewing plenty of time to be lured away (or alarmed by the motion of my body);
·         Most importantly, with my car’s air conditioning not working, I drove to Bella Vista and home—largely highway driving—with both windows open, causing a very stiff cross-breeze that certainly would have sucked the lacewing out into the open air.

So, is it possible that the Bella Vista lacewing followed me in the same manner that Roxy the Yorkshire terrier navigated the ninety miles back to her home after Newman, Kramer, and Elaine dog-napped her in Episode 111 of Seinfeld, “The Engagement”?

If a dog could do it, then why not a nectar-seeking neuropterid? Unlike Roxy, the lacewing can fly and thus take a direct path to my apartment, avoiding the Walt Whitman Bridge and potentially confusing traffic patterns along Admiral Wilson Blvd. Furthermore, the lacewing had only seventeen miles to traverse, compared to the ninety miles that Roxy trekked from Monticello to Manhattan. (I assume that, with its compound eyes, the insect spotted the address on my driver’s license when I opened my wallet to pay the tab, because, despite its powerful mandibles, the lacewing did not bite off the tag of my shirt and fly to my apartment with it between its tiny jaws.)  
I can only hope that the lacewing will not keep me up all hours of the night with incessant barking, lest I be forced to get my neighbor to bug-nap the creature and drive it out to its native habitat at 8th and Fitzwater. And even if it does not hinder my sleep, I will be fortunate not to suffer nightmares of the lacewing savagely attacking me, to which Kramer fell victim after the incident with Roxy.

(Images of Kramer and “Roxy” copyright NBC.)

Monday, August 12, 2013

Yo-Ho-Ho and a Bottle of Ron!

Ron Jeremy is, quite possibly, the most famous male porn star in the history of that fine genre of art and will undeniably become a charter member of the Jewish Pornographic Hall of Fame, whenever such a long-overdue institution is conceived and green-lighted.

In fact, with Jeremy’s fame spread wider than all of the legs between which he’s plied his trade set side by side, perhaps it should come as no shock that I recently saw this offering in my local liquor store.
Now, apart from my concern that rum is only one frightening typo away from upon what Ron Jeremy has built his messy career, I’m likewise alarmed at the thought of—as mezcal has the “worm” at the bottom of the bottle to add a touch of flavor and exoticism—what might the manufacturer put in Ron De Jeremy Spiced Rum…the foreskin?  

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Nary Anything Military About The Fugitive

At this very moment, The Fugitive is being broadcast on The Military Channel. In my opinion, The Military Channel is grossly misrepresenting itself and can claim no good reason to run this film. As Deputy U.S. Marshals, Tommy Lee Jones and his posse are law-enforcement agents under the aegis of the Department of Justice and are authorized to enforce federal laws and orders of the federal court system—they are not members of the United States military, nor, of course, are the film’s ancillary pursuers, the Chicago Police Department.

At no time, in fact, does The Fugitive feature any member of the U.S. military. (As can plainly be seen above, Dr. Richard Kimble is not being chased by soldiers, Marines, tanks, an F-16, a few drunk Coast Guardsmen, or even a measly Ticonderoga-class cruiser.)

That The Military Channel featured this “unmilitary” film is akin to the onerous act of individuals who falsely claim to have served in the armed forces or, worse yet, to have been decorated. And although The Military Channel’s action, technically, does not violate the Stolen Valor Act of 2013—which outlaws the “fraudulent representation about receipt of military decorations or medals ”—it transgressed the spirit, if not the letter, of the law.
Ironically, The Military Channel would have done better ethically to have aired a film as seemingly unsuitable as The Blues Brothers. Yes, these fine, Chicago-based films similarly feature outlaws hotly pursued by multiple law-enforcement agencies, tense moments on Lower Wacker Drive, and a riveting chase through Chicago’s Daley Plaza—however, unlike The Fugitive, John Landis’s raucous tale of two orphans on a mission from God makes a completely legitimate choice for Military Channel broadcast, because among Joliet Jake and Elwood’s myriad pursuers were a company of U.S. Army infantry, including military police and at least two Sherman tanks.*

* The Sherman had long been replaced in the U.S. Army—and is thus completely anachronistic—by the time The Blues Brothers was being filmed in 1979; however, it is not inconceivable that, in order to get heavy armor to the scene and apprehend the Blues Brothers as quickly as possible, tank crews would man a serviceable M4 Sherman if, for some reason, their current tank was not combat-ready.   

So jeers to The Military Channel for failing to air a film as worthy of America’s bravest as the exploits of Jake and Elwood Blues.

(Image of The Fugitive copyright Warner Brothers; images of The Blues Brothers copyright Universal Pictures.)