I had intended to sleep in, since I had to emcee an event at Orchestra Hall at 6:30 PM, and went to bed rather late. I had not counted on a neighbor firing up his mysterious brick-guillotine machine in the morning. I don’t know what it is, or why he uses, but it makes a sound like someone chopping bricks in half, and the sound is spaced at irregular intervals that make sleep impossible. You cannot predict then next KA-CANK, so you wait. It does not come. You drift back to sleep; you remember the thread of the dream. There were zombies. You had a silver gun. It was very heavy. You were walking up a long cement rampKA-CANK! AWAKE NOW and then you throw back the covers and go downstairs and make some bacon.
Mmmmm. Weekend Bacon.
I made it in the microwave, which will probably horrify Bacon Purists, but I’m rarely in the mood to tend an angry pan of spitting hog flesh. I can’t figure out who buys the pre-cooked microwavable bacon, though. It tastes like burnt carpet fibers and it has the mouthfeel of a thin-sliced poker chip; why wouldn’t you just decide you could wait five minutes for the automatic invisible wavy-line machine to make you something that doesn’t taste like slab of soy beaten to death by gamma rays?
It was a lovely Sunday: sixty degrees, maybe more. You expected dogwalkers to bound down the street like West Side Story gang members. (G)Nat and a friend bounded about in piles of leaves on the lawn while Jasper watched and worried, as has ever been his wont. When the sun slid down I took a nap, and woke with the alarm, thinking: oh, right. Monkey-suit time. Put out the suit, shined the shoes, and headed down to Orchestra Hall. That took most of the night, and I still have to do Buzz.mn, AND I have to finish watching “Transformers,” which is SERIOUSLY THE BEST MOVIE EVER MADE, and then sleep. So . . . what else happened today?
Hah: right. I forgot. I spent an hour of this lovely day under a sink.
Someone should write an epic poem about a clogged drain; it’s the only chance many men get to engage in a prolonged, desperate struggle, and it would nice to hear the Muses sing of our valor and courage. Then again, most epic poems don’t end with the hero calling in someone else to do it, because he’ll be damned if he can figure out how a fargin’ steel baseball got lodged in the wall, which is the ONLY EXPLANATION.
Or maybe not. I don’t know. First we thought it was the standard hair-clog, so down went the caustic cocktail. That’s always the first step. Never the last. Never had that stuff work. Ever. But it remains the first option, because it could work. Really. It might. You never know. Twenty-seventh time’s the charm, as they say. Next: get out the snake. Push it in until it doesn’t go any farther. Turn it around. Do the Hokey Pokey. Remove snake. Nothing happens. Well, you’d better do it again, then. Repeat six times until you realize you’re going to have to take the pipes apart.
And there your troubles begin, because it’s a pedestal sink with the pipes tucked in a porcelain column. Go to the drugstore; get a wrench that looks like it’ll fit into that space. Go home. Take a nap. Forget all about it. Begin the next day by loosening the trap and draining the pipes. Once you have removed the trap, remove the object inside that was causing the problem. Note: this step ma be complicated by the fact that there isn’t any object inside causing any problem. But there’s some sand – sand? – which you remove, thinking this might make a difference. Reattach and run the water.
It still backs up.
Loosen trap, drain water, insert snake into wall. Snake hits dead end after seven inches. Uh oh, spaghetti-O. Try it again. Give up.The problem is in the wall. Your wife will give you a pass if it's in the wall. You can do no more. Look for number of the plumber who advertises that “if there’s any delay, it’s you we pay” and has the mishmash commercials that begin with someone named Farkel arguing about whether Ben Franklin was a plumber, and concludes with a cover of a Tommy TuTune song. Or perhaps it's someone named Plunker arguing with someone about whether Isaac Newton was an electrician, and concludes with a Tom Petty tune. Whatever. The number's on a refridgerator magnet. Two hundred bucks, probably. I don't know what he can do, though - send nanorobots into the wall with fricken' lasers on thier heads?
Weekend entertainment: watched Spider-Man 3, which bored me dead. Behold the power of Hollywood: things you have liked since you were 12 are magically converted to interminable chores. You become familiar with the seven stages of sequels: anticipation, elation, disappointment, acceptance, indifference, boredom, irritation. I lost interest right away, I think; I know Spidey has Super Spider Strength, but I really, really doubt that the bite of an irradiated spider and the attendant transformative effects permits you to have your head dashed repeatedly against the structural beams of a skyscraper without suffering some sort of cerebral debilitation. I know it’s a super-hero comic book movie, but if you expect me to believe that Spidey can withstand a dozen blows to the rib cage from a cement fist the size of Scrooge McDuck’s vault, then none of this matters, because nothing’s at stake. I mean, he’s supine on a steam beam, getting hammered by a guy the size of the Statue of Liberty. It’s like me, stepping on a spider. I know what happens in that situation.
Even worse: the movie expects me to regard Kristin Dunst as something other than a pointy-tooth pumpkin head. She looks like something the Goblin would throw at Spider-Man, not something they’d fight over. It reminded me that they got the damsel angle all wrong from the start: Betty Brandt is supposed to be a tremulous weepy wimp-chick, and the movies had her as uber-smokin’. Mary Jane was the swingin’ mod friend, the ultimate hip-chick appositive to Betty, and the movie made her the striving girl-next-door whose attributes were unnoted until it rained. The movie introduces Gwen Stacy, but bravely refuses to infuse her with a personality, even though she was the Great Love of Peter Parker’s Life, and they even give us James Cromwell as Captain Stacy – oh, great, let me wipe “L.A. Confidential” out of my mind – before brushing aside both characters.
They wouldn’t do this to Superman. They wouldn’t dare make a movie where Supe blows off Lois and hooks up with Lana Lang.
Oh, and by the way? That story about the death of Uncle Ben that undergirds Spiderman’s entire movtivation? Well . . . see, the crook was trying to get money for his daughter’s “operation,” a nice throwback to the thirties when kids were always in need of unspecified medical procedures, and he told Peter Parker that he didn’t meant to shoot Uncle Ben. Why, the gun went off all by itself, because he was startled. Peter’s reaction? Beatific forgiveness. Yes. Yes, indeed, that makes sense: here you have a fellow who’s just held your fiancée hostage, lured you to your doom, beat you with a cement fist nine times while raining construction debris down on the streets, confessed to shooting your surrogate father but insists - after his powerful ally has been defeated, mind you – that the gun just went off, honest, he was totally innocent, if you set aside the whole carjacking-at-gunpoint part, and Peter Parker – who’s come to understand his own dark side, which made him strut boastfully and wear his hair raked over his forehead – forgives him. And lets him go. After all, he has a sick kid. He’s suffered enough.
Another note: Three movies of Harry Osborne having father issues is 2 2/3rds movies too many.
Another note about the Goblin’s favorite incendiary device: throw it at the head of a 40-story sand monster, and it blows off half its head. Detonate it two inches from a human’s face, and it leaves some scars.
Tomorrow: some stuff I meant to get to today, including Garrison Keillor's latest column. (He's concerned and worried but not so much and things were worse before so things might be better in the future and it all depends and so it goes until the column ends.) And why Larry David is the anti-Boomer.
The Gastroanomolies preview / outtakes return tomorrow. In the meantime: Buy the book! If the link below doesn't show up, well, this should do it. Have a great weekend; see you now - and Sat & Sun as well - at buzz.mn.