Last week I mentioned coming across a racial epithet I was unaware of, "ofay," and wishing I had an Oxford English Dictionary (OED) to look it up. As it turns out, we have the online edition (1989) available at work. Here's the entry. Interesting...
Also, last week one of the topics under discussion was earthquakes. My friend Mike said that in the 1971 earthquake, just before it struck, his dog Snoopy went nuts, running about the house frantically and running under a table. Mike was wondering what was going on - and then the quake struck. How are animals aware of earthquakes before they strike? Based on a quick Internet search, it seems nobody knows - but there are ample accounts of all kinds of animals acting strangely before one hits. They know. Oh yes, they know.
Mike also told me that in the 1991 Los Angeles quake (called the Sierra Madre quake), he was in the bathroom getting ready for work when he noticed the faucet shaking. Not long after the floor began to shake. Interesting!
My wife and I tried to watch Borat (2006) over the weekend but gave up on it after about an hour. True, it was crude and vulgar, but my real objection to it was that it was unfunny, an unforgivable offense in a comedy. I didn't laugh once. It sucked. So into the trash it went.
I also picked up Fight Club (1999), which I rather liked. Well... up to the big reveal. I thought it kind of went to pieces after that. I was prepared to write extensively about the disappointments of being young and male in society currently (which form the background to this work), but I don't think I'll inflict that upon you. Suffice to say that I have more or less written on this subject once before: The Patio Culture and the Promise of Joining the Adults Club, a sort of second cousin to this theme.
At one point the Marla character in the movie whistles part of the "Theme From the Valley of the Dolls" (1967), and so I've had that nearly forgotten tune in my head ever since. Actually, I need to see that film. It was quite controversial when it came out. It'd be interesting to see it now.
I am now reading a book I picked up at a yard sale Saturday: "Highpocket's War Stories and Other Tall Tales" by Col. Pete Hilgartner U.S.M.C. I think it's a vanity pressing but I'm not sure. Anyway it's autographed by the author so that's interesting. Apparently the guy who sold it to me wasn't impressed, though...
I also saw a couple of fun films noir over the weekend: The Weapon (1957), which starts strikingly - a boy finds a gun amidst the rubble in London (as late as twelve years after the end of the war!) and accidentally shoots a friend. Turns out it's evidence in a murder case. A pretty good film. And Step by Step (1946), wherein Nazi spies (in 1946!) are thwarted by former Marine sergeant Lawrence Tierney, a swell blonde, his amusing mutt "Bazooka" and an older former Marine who runs some cabins for rent. A fun, quick-moving 67 minute flick.
I'm about an hour into a film my oldest daughter likes, "Garden State" (2004). So far I like it, too.
Here's an interesting web site somebody sent me: 1955 crash - the dangers of Cold War duty.
I think a Cold War Memorial is probably a good idea. There were lives lost, much apprehension and a whole lot of money spent. And historical lessons to be learned.
Sigh. A long week begins.