"Hovercrafts! They Promised Us Hovercrafts!" Pt. II
The "Office Of The Future", circa 1972, as envisioned in 1922
Our good acquaintance David Szondy (yes, Babylonians, dear Associate Managing Director, Lela's hubby) has put up a fun little site Tales Of Future Past devoted to THE FUTURE as seen through the decidedly rose-colored glasses of our forefathers, at least the really geeky ones who read Hugo Gernsbach pulps in the first half of the last century.
And to top it off, he was featured in an article in The Christian Science Monitor, and has been linked up by a number of other websites including wired.com & scifi.com.
At about 11:30 last night one of the folks at the An American Book Of The DeadMeet-n'-Greet BBQ decided it would be really fun to watch Showgirls, Paul Verhoeven's 1995 Las Vegas trash epic.
Now, I must admit here and now: until last night (or more precisely very early this morning) I was a Showgirls "virgin", having never before subjected myself to this film. Sure, I remember reading the reviews, which almost universally panned the picture, and I'd heard all about it's over-the-top campiness, so I figured, what the heck and decided to stick around.
Now, I actually like a lot of the work director Paul Verhoeven has done: The Fourth Man, Soldier Of Orange, Robocop, Total Recall, Starship Troopers each has it's own particular style, and clearly he has a definite sense of what he's trying to do in each film, even if it isn't always clear to the audience. But after sitting through about 20 minutes of this, you can't help but wonder, what was he thinking? Verhoeven is known for injecting his films with a satirical point-of-view that is often lost on American audiences, and so if his intent here was to somehow poke fun at our consumer-driven culture of instant gratification (and certainly if there's one place in this country where such gratification reaches its zenith, it would have to be Las Vegas), the script itself (written by Joe Esterhas) is so inept, the acting so laughably wooden and the -- well, the incessant nudity and sex all combine to render a finished product that, while laughable is certainly one of the LEAST erotic things I've ever seen -- not that I've seen a lot mind you, but THIS poor film would definitely go near the bottom of the list.
If you've never seen the movie, I don't want to spoil the fun, but suffice to say it's so bad that one of my friends related when she saw it at a theatre, even the frat boys were making fun of it! It's the kind of film that just dares one to come up with snarky comments (a local film critic has even made a small sideline out of doing screenings of the film where he does what is purported to be an absolutely hillarious running commentary -- rumor has it he's slated to include his musings on a special DVD edition out soon). It even has it's own drinking game - a sure sign the product has crossed some imaginary line into cultural mockery - which evidentally revolves around taking a drink every time Nomi, the lead character "played" (and I use the term loosely) by Elizabeth Berkley storms out of a scene in a fit of pique; I stopped counting at 20, and we were only about half way through the movie. Suffice to say, we did NOT engage in the drinking game.
When the movie finally, mercifully ended at around 2:30 a.m. I drove home thinking, not only was that one of the WORST movies I've ever seen (ironically, another trash classic Santa Claus Conquers The Martians had been on TV earlier in the day), but it wasn't even very sexy! It was really just very, very sad and awful.
And I don't have the slightest desire to see it again anytime soon.
Thanks for the inquiries, but the position has been filled.
>On Wed, 19 May 2004 09:33:57 -0700, XXXXX
>> Jazz Alley seeks a handsome 20's-30's man to play a waiter in
>> a 5 minute scene in Eartha Kitt's new cabaret act. Must be able
>> to drink champagne poured by Ms. Kitt. Must provide typical
>> waiter attire: black pants, white shirt, & tie.
>> 8 performances, no conflicts please:
>> Wed. 5/19 8pm
>> Thurs. 5/20 8pm
>> Friday 5/21 8pm & 10:15pm
>> Saturday 5/22 8pm & 10:15pm
>> Sunday 5/23 6:30pm & 8:45pm
>> Compensation includes a meal nightly, free parking, and the chance
>> to appear onstage with a living legend.
>> Please respond here ASAP with headshot/resume. If no photo/resume
>> available, photo, age, & physical stats will suffice.
Birds have been on my mind a lot lately. Perhaps the unseasonably mild spring weather here in the Upper Left Hand Corner has made their presence somehow more distinct than usual. Normally at this time of year, when the skies lean toward what author Tom Robbins once described as (and I paraphrase), "clouds like giant hydrocephelate brains, colored the gray of curdled cottage cheese dragged through the mud", most birds tend to hunker down in the treetops, or under eaves, or inside any tiny space that will keep them dry. Only the seagulls seem unburdened by the gloom and drizzle, perhaps because, scavengers that they are, they alone have developed a genetic disposition to endure the inclement conditions, knowing there will be far less competition for the soggy scraps of offal that float on the rain spattered surface of the lake.
But recently, the feathered denizens of our community have been out in full force: yesterday, I nearly stepped on a Mallard hen sleeping on the dock next to my boat. In my early morning, pre-shower, pre-coffee haze, I saw her only has a mottled brown lump of something resembling a large fungus plopped down on the wooden planks. No doubt she didn't appreciate the comparision, and told me so in no uncertain terms.
Every afternoon, dozens of sparrows congregate above our docks, flitting above and through the rigging of the moored boats with daredevil prowess, engaged in an hour's long game of aerial tag right before sunset.
At 3:00 a.m., when I'm wide awake and suffering from a bout of acid reflux severe enough to make me wonder if this is how John Hurt's character felt right before that spawn of a face-hugger burst through his peritineum, I hear the plaintive sqawk of a heron as it passes overhead on its nocturnal promenade.
Crows and gulls often act as my alarm clock, cawing and screeching in a parody of the morning rush-hour commute as they home in on the various dumpster locations around my building, searching for tasty tid-bits from last night's restaurant refuse.
Drakes, heads covered with irridescent billiard green feathers, often accompanied by hens with a half dozen peeping hatchlings following behind will paddle up to my boat, hoping to grift me out of some shreds of tortilla or scraps of day-old hotdog buns.
Soon, the Canadian Geese will make an appearance, announcing their arrival with airhorn bursts as they glide in perfect airshow squadron formation for a landing on the green swatches at the south end of the lake.
And then I'll know -- Summer is just around the corner.
Well, after four and a-half weeks in the shop, The Red Ranger is back on the road -- to the tune of $1,800! Granted, she now runs like the proverbial clockworks, and I might even manage to eke out something more than the standard 15 - 16 mpg in-city, but dang that was a big hit finance-wise!
So, for the next month or so if you see a somewhat emaciated version of myself driving around in a big red VW bus, be sure to honk, wave, and perhaps if you're feeling particularly altruistic you could offer me something to eat, preferably any food that doesn't contain peanut butter or tuna fish.