Late Sunday night, avoiding the Sopranos. And the web. Since I’ll watch it later tonight, I can’t look at anything that might give away the ending – providing there’s an ending to give away, of course; if the show ended with nothing resolved, people would be hailing David Chase's unerring ability to confound our expectations. I still think it will end with Tony waking up next to Susanne Pleshette. And then he goes into his real job, which is psychiatry.
It's quiet, except for the horrid flies the size of a butcher's thumb, banging against the lampshade, and the sound of the hose emptying into the Oak Island Water Feature. And the gigantic aircraft overhead, of course. (If you've ever flown into Minneapolis, you've probably been about 50 feet above my house.) Typical Sunday night, in all possible ways: laundry put away, a good meal consumed - or mostly ignored, in Gnat’s case; she hates steak, and no matter how tender or savory she acts like it’s cold Silly Putty rubbed with Comet.
And now the work week begins Doesn’t really stop anymore, but that’s fine. I like a bit of weekend blogging, and it helps build traffic. I didn't do much, though - drove off to take photos for the site, hit the stores for staples, went to Staples and did not buy staples but rather paper, and then to Target for a gigantic bag of dog food. Every dog owner has the same moment of rue when you buy a new sack of feed: well, this isn’t the first time I’ll pick this up. I’m still amazed at the dog’s ability to excrete a quantity almost identical to the amount he’s fed. It’s almost as if they don’t need food at all, but survive like an air fern. Maybe the dog chow’s just dessert. Then again, he had dessert tonight. He found cookies in a bag wife and child took to the pool. The cookies are no more. There were many cookies. And he gave me a peevish bark later because he didn't get steak. If the moon was made of food and dogs could smell it, they'd have had bases up there years ago.
I was busy most of the weekend, but managed to see about 47 minutes of “Mission: Impossible 3.” What I saw, I Iiked; not quite sure why it got panned, unless the critical community had decided it was time to pay Tom Cruise for being a stone gold weirdo. The saddest thing about these movies, like “24,” is the knowledge that these capable, high-tech under-the-radar covert-ops teams do not exist in real life, and even if they did, they did not sit around in offices that look like Hearst magazine offices. I do remember disliking the first one’s end; it made a buy guy out of Jim Phelps. While I admit I did not have much invested in the old TV shows’ character, Peter Graves’ elegantly layered and psychologically nuanced performance aside (cough) it seemed a needless way of ruining your childhood heroes. It’s like making a Star Trek movie in which Kirk admits he’s been an Romulan agent all along, or a Lassie life-action film in which she bites a kid in a way that lets you know she’s really into that sort of thing.
I should note that “Underdog” has been ruined for everyone over 30, too. I don't think it's totally witless, but it's just not Underdog. No doubt they’re working on a live-action “Commander Bragg” movie, with Mike Myers.
“I’ve always loved the Commander,” Myers said in an interview with Slavish Philatio of ‘Cineaste’ magazine. ‘He’s a throwback to another era, this unapologetic imperialist with the white-guy's burden and the whole braggadosi-doh thing, plus he’s blind, like Magoo. At least he squints the same way.” The film, budged at $238 million, begins filming in June, and is rumored to have 43 scriptwriters.
The makers of “Underdog” should be forced to sit in a chair and experience the Ludovico technique while watching this. It’s a nine-minute preview for “Ratatouille,” and I think if the trailer could be converted into knife form, half the people involved in the animation business would open their veins. Check out the movie's promo site, too: it’s just a lovely thing.
But of course art must not always be lovely. Sometimes art must tell terrible truths! Terribly! The paper on Sunday had an ecstatic review of Brother Ali, who is without question the area’s most famous albino Muslim rapper. Towards the end of the review, this caught my eye:
“The night's best moment had to be Ali's performance of his new single ‘Uncle Sam Goddamn.’ Everyone knew the words, like it was a song played everyday on the radio. But few radio songs talk about slavery, abused civil rights and government corruption.” Oh, I don’t know; John Mellancamp’s “I suspect irregularities in FEMA post-Katrina disbursements” charted pretty high. In any case, here are the lyrics. They’re remarkably incoherent.
While you’re there, sign up for "Uncle Sam Goddamn" ringtones!
Augh. Just reading that again made me want to watch the happy funny story about the rat. Earlier I watched the trailer outside in the gazebo with Gnat perched on the arm of the chair; she was transfixed. She gasped, she laughed. She can’t wait to see it. Me too. The music sounds great, too – listen during the scene when Remy’s making the soup; for some reason it channels the orchestration for “What’s New Pussycat.” And the saxaphone in the other trailer: pure Sam Butera.
Hah: turns out it is Sam. that makes me feel good; I can probably identify one sax player by sound, and it's him. That's one thing I miss in contemporary music; between Al Stewart, Gerry Rafferty, Hall and Oates and Duran Duran, the sax had a good run in the 70s and 80s. (And of course, there was Dick Perry, the Pink Floyd sax player, and John Halliwell from Supertramp - you couldn't be a serious progressive band without a sax player, it seemed. They lent a curious sort of emotional credibility - raw and sarcastic and grown-up in a way the rest of the music completely lacked.)
This weekend I was out shooting pictures for the site, and came across something about which I have decidedly mixed feelings. A few years ago I ran some photos of the Ritz theater, a neighborhood joint in Northeast that had a gorgeous post-war marquee. It was removed last year when the theater was rehabbed, and now the theater is open (as a home for a dance troupe called “Ballet of the Dolls.” They just did a version of Barbarella, of all things.)
Uh oh: instant bi-platform hesitation. This could be a community thing, ergo, it should go on buzz. So that’s where it will go. Hah! When I said buzz wouldn’t affect the Bleat, I lied, I guess. Well, it’s not like I’m putting content behind a firewall – stop on over throughout the day and see what happens. New Matchbook – this is the beginning of a very long series of old gasoline matches, in honor of the summer driving season. If you’re wondering if there will be another summertime Motel update, the answer’s yes: they’re scanned and ready to roll, and I’ve about 30 classic motel signs for your enjoyment. There’s no end to the novelty they could coax from metal and neon. And only half of them are called “The Sands.” Seriously, why was that such a popular name? The Vegas connotation, sure, but the one thing no one wants in their motel is actual sand. Those places usually had that hard quasi-carpet that could take great punishment, and there was nothing less appealing than walking around in your bare feet in those rooms and finding sand. Not that we took off our socks much in the room; I remember being warned against Athlete’s Foot, which apparently lurked in the iron-hard fabric, coiled, ready to leap at the unsuspecting foot.
Why does it only affect the feet, incidentally? Hey, there’s a clever summertime computer-generated movie for the kids: Fungal Burns, a free-spirited, imaginative Athlete’s Food germ with a slight neurotic twist to be determined later, wants to head up and see what life is like Up The Legs, but he’s warned off by the rest of his family: Those parts aren’t for our kind, son. But why? Who wants to hang around feet when we can go to the hands and do something? With a wisecracking sidekick, Tick (Martin Lawrence), they set out for higher ground, and along the way they meet a delightful cast of wacky characters, including Molly Ringworm (Heather Graham) and the delightfully irascible Scottsman, Jock Itch (Mike Myers.) The film, “Skretch,” is brought to you by the people who lived next to the man whose firm sold the computers used to make “Shrek.” Well, the video game, anyway.
Download Skretch ringtones and IM icons now!
See you at the Buzz. Like, right now.
(Non-spoiler Sopranos update: the last five minutes were absolutely excruciating. The ending: perfect.)