31 October 2006

Happy Halloween

In the midnight hour of All Hallows Eve,
When the spirits and creatures are stirring,
The piercing howl of the Jack-O-Wolf,
Calls all to terrified silence.

15 October 2006

Of the most pleasant sounds ever heard,
Silence is the one most oft reveared.

"Hello darkness, my old friend,
Ive come to talk with you again,
Because a vision softly creeping,
Left its seeds while I was sleeping,
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence."

11 October 2006

Everyone is a Critic

WARNING: This post contains SPOILERS for the movie THE LAKE HOUSE. Do not read if you have not seen the show and do not wish to have the ending revealed prematurely!

Disclaimer: Yes it is a chick flick, and yes it is a remake (Il Mare is the Korean original).

First, let me say that Keanu Reeves has not ever and will likely never be a good actor. That said, I am inclined to acknowledge that he was slightly more tolerable in this movie than in Sweet November (119 minutes of my life that I will never get back). In order to keep this short, I will ignore the many minor things that annoyed me and rant about the one major issue – the ending.

I was hopeful that at least in the last moments of this film I could walk away with the life lesson that in an ordinary world, even one with possessed mailboxes and a somewhat creepy dog, bad things can happen without a “happily ever after ending.” But no, just when I was filled with dark hope, Mickey Mouse must’ve poked one of the writers in the ribs and said, “He he – hey, you can’t end a movie like that! Look at The Little Mermaid – wow the original sure was depressing. Who would want to see a show like that? You’d better throw in some singing wildlife and dancing flowers or at least let the main characters get together and messily kiss all over each other.” And that is what they did. Bleh. Yes that is my official rating. On a scale of “Get outta my way, I gotta retch” to “I have truly been enlightened and feel I am now able to transcend the bounds of this earthly experience,” I give The Lake House one-and-a-half blehs.

10 October 2006

The Erosion of Irony

I heard a song on the radio today that I couldn’t get out of my head, not because of the catchy tune, rather because of the artist’s choice of lyrics. “Ironic,” a song by Alanis Morrisette, talks about a series of misfortunes which ruin otherwise memorable and/or life-changing events. Such careless use of language is distasteful in general, and as is specifically illustrated in this case has led to the quiet demise of a once strong and literarily gratifying word.

Indeed, the concept of irony has been so diluted over the years that a recent edition of one dictionary lists its third definition as: “coincidental; unexpected.” (In an effort to maintain the dignity of said publication for those who may esteem it as one worthy of such, I refrain from naming it here.) My dear friends and readers, events, however ill-timed they may be, do not merit the label of such a grand word as ironic. Irony is in fact not coincidence, but “the use of words to express something different from and often opposite to their literal meaning;” or in experience, an “incongruity between what might be expected and what actually occurs.” (see The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition). This is not to be confused with sarcasm which lacks the wit and subtlety of irony.

Rain on your wedding day is not ironic – disappointing perhaps, but not ironic. A ninety-eight year old winning the lottery and dying the next day is not ironic. Honestly, it would be more surprising to learn the old man’s heart had survived the shock and that he lived. Alanis should be ashamed of what she has done here. An entire generation of school children will now grow into adulthood without a proper understanding of or respect for the irony in their lives. She has cheapened a precious commodity and sold it to the world as a thing of naught. For shame, Alanis. For shame!

However, Alanis may not be solely to blame. Indeed, her parents should share the burden of having instilled in her a misunderstood preoccupation with irony. You see, the very name “Alanis” is a form of Alana which is the feminine form of Alan, the meaning of which is not known for certain, though it possibly means either “little rock” or “handsome” in Breton. Hey, anyone might be confused if they tried to figure out why their parents thought they were a handsome, yet feminine little rock. Or maybe just a feminine little rock, or a girly sort of handsome…

03 October 2006

A Bedtime Story

Hungry and unable to find a good block of wood to chew on at home, a termite walked down to his local hardware store where he could usually find a wide selection of fine woods on which to dine. However, upon arriving at the store he discovered the lumber section had been eliminated to make room for a new line of aluminum siding and pink flamingo lawn ornaments. Disappointed, but undeterred he continued down the street to a large bookstore. Although unfinished wood was his preference, in times of desperation like this in the past he had been known to nibble on a bookshelf or even take a bite or two out of any blank pages he could find in a book. (He was always careful to avoid the inked pages because they left a simply intolerable aftertaste.)

Much to his dismay, the wooden bookshelves he remembered were gone and long rows of unpalatable metal shelving now stood in their place. Maybe his plan-B snacking hadn’t been quite so infrequent after all. By this time the termite was downright starving and desperate enough to eat that fake pressed wood stuff sold at discount stores if he had to. Fortunately, the shelves still held good old-fashioned books. Relieved that at least these had not been replaced with books on tape or CD or some such other indigestible nonsense, he picked a promising looking antique book (paper products always tasted better aged) and began to wriggle his way inside.

It was dark and cozy inside, and although the air was heavy with the scent of ink, he soon found an acceptably clean page and settled himself down for a much needed snack. But just as he was about to take his first bite, he heard a voice say, “Hello there lad. Now just what might you be doing here?” Mouth still half open, the termite slowly looked around to see who was talking to him. Near the bind of the book, he noticed a large set of eyes blinking at him questioningly.

“Um, hello,” replied the termite nervously. “Who are you?”

“I, dear boy, am a bookworm. And more to the point, I like my reading material kept intact.”

The termite didn’t know what to do. Obviously this bookworm fellow already knew he was up to no good. Well, the termite hesitated, perhaps he could just leave this book and find a different one that was unoccupied. Or he could just stay and chat, acting like he had never intended to do anything else. But no, he decided; he was far too hungry to go searching for anything else to eat and was resolved to stay and munch regardless of what this second-class caterpillar wanted. He said as much to the bookworm, who it turned out was not the scrawny scholarly type he had imagined, but the very large, fit type. In the end, the battle of wits turned into a shoving contest in which the termite was unceremoniously ejected from the book by his much larger competitor.

Stomach grumbling with hunger and cheeks red with anger, the termite was just about to launch himself back into the book for round two when a rather obese gentleman picked up said book and walked away with in the direction of the checkout counter. Upon reaching the clerk the man inquired as to how much the book cost (of course this came across to the bookworm as unintelligible babble as he was quite snugly closed between the third and fourth pages, and the termite hadn’t the slightest idea what was being said because he had never bothered to learn any of the peculiar human languages).

The clerk responded with what must have been some obscene amount of money, as it caused the man holding the book to gasp and clutch his chest in pain. Apparently, the oft-named “sticker shock” was just too much for the man’s overworked heart which finally gave up, sending him into a decidedly lethal case of cardiac arrest. In the course of struggling for his last seconds of life, the man forgot quite entirely about the pricey commodity in his hand and carelessly allowed it to fall to the slightly dirty floor beneath his feet.

Now it was neither the fall, nor the unsanitary condition of his landing that particularly worried the bookworm. Rather, it was the very recently deceased human whose body was moving toward him with increasing speed that caused him a spot of indigestion. Fortunately, his concern didn’t have time to take hold (which might have caused him the discomfort of an ulcer or at the very least bad gas for the rest of the evening); since in another instant there was a solid whump and pages three and four (as well as a few on either side) became quite thoroughly ruined by what would later be described by one insect reporter as, “the most horrific and disturbing end he had seen in all his thirty-two days.”

Needless to say, the termite was unsettled by the turn of events, but at the same time relieved that he had narrowly escaped sharing the same fate. In fact, he realized he had learned a valuable life lesson that day. Indeed, he now knew without a doubt that it is better to have shoved and lost than never to have shoved at all.


Related Posts with Thumbnails