Down in the Locker Room

Just we boys:

  • Hope you don't mind a little proud parenting: Pun Son performed for the teeming masses last night in Johnson Theatre at the University Near Here and was pretty darn good. And I'm talking standing-O-from-the-capacity-crowd good.

    (Yes, if you want to get technical, there were other performers too. In fact it was a massive production. Still, my attitude is: it was nice that they showed up to accompany the real star of the show.)

  • You might expect a story in USA Today headlined "Does 'Fair Game' follow history's script for Plamegate?" would actually have something interesting to say about the accuracy of the new movie starring Sean Penn and Naomi Watts about the Valerie Plame imbroglio. But instead, we get paragraphs like this one:
    So in one sense, the movie is Plame's and Wilson's revenge on [I. Lewis "Scooter"] Libby, Cheney and other White House operatives they say sought to punish them by deliberately outing her to reporters, including columnist Robert Novak, who then published it, thus ending her career as a nuclear counter-proliferation agent for the CIA.
    Notice anything missing from that? Right, Richard Armitage, the non-White House operative who actually leaked Plame's identity to the late Robert Novak.

    Ah, well. What do you expect from McPaper? I think the Washington Post did a better job (albeit on their Editorial page), which deemed the movie to be "full of distortions - not to mention outright inventions." Among other tales:

    "Fair Game" also resells the couple's story that Ms. Plame's exposure was the result of a White House conspiracy. A lengthy and wasteful investigation by a special prosecutor found no such conspiracy - but it did confirm that the prime source of a newspaper column identifying Ms. Plame was a State Department official, not a White House political operative.
    Fair Game won't be in my Netflix queue anytime soon. And I'm wondering why I bother to read USA Today.

  • It's that time of year, and a long-standing Pun Salad tradition is to link to Dave Barry's Guide to Holiday Gifts. And, even if you are the world's lousiest gift-giver, you're almost certainly going to do better than these items. For example, the "Body Perks Brand Nipple Enhancers":
    This is the perfect gift for the gal on your holiday gift list who would like to appear perkier in the gazombular region. Body Perks are little silicone dealies that go on top of a woman's natural nipples so as to give her frontal zone that cold-weather, smuggling-raisins look that for thousands of years has caused men to walk into utility poles. Why are men so interested in women's nipples? Why aren't women equally interested in men's nipples? Why do men even have nipples? We at the Holiday Gift Guide do not have answers to these questions. We just enjoy saying "nipples." Nipples nipples nipples. Is it getting warm in here?
    Bodyperks is based in Wayzata, Minnesota—which we also enjoy saying—and their website is here.

  • I used to watch a lot more football than I do these days. Possibly because they don't make 'em like Don Meredith any more.
    Once, Meredith threw a fourth-down touchdown pass to Dan Reeves against the Redskins, the score occuring one play after Washington linebacker Chris Hanburger delivered a thunderous direct shot that rendered Meredith semi-conscious.

    When that was mentioned to [Coach Tom] Landry in the locker room afterward, the coach pretended to be unaware Meredith was unsteady.

    "He kind of acts like that all the time," Landry said.

    RIP, Dandy Don.

Last Modified 2011-01-18 1:31 PM EST

Out of the Past

stars] [IMDb Link] [Amazon Link]

Jeff Bailey (Robert Mitchum) has a pretty good life. He lives in a small California town near Lake Tahoe, and runs a gas station. He even has a devoted girlfriend whose only flaw is an unfortunate littering habit. But one day, a menacing thug shows up from—guess where—out of the past! It turns out that, years previous, Jeff was a private eye who was sent by a charming gangster (Kirk Douglas) to track down a young woman. Her only flaw was that she tried to kill him and ran off with $40K of his dough.

Jeff is an excellent detective, and trails the young woman down to sunny Acapulco. But—bad news—it's Jane Greer, and she's enough to give even an honest dick some serious thoughts about double-crossing his sleazy employer and otherwise engaging in sinful behavior. It doesn't work out well.

This flick has one of the twistiest plots I think I've ever seen in a major motion picture. There's also a lot of truly loopy "hard-boiled" dialogue. (E. g.: "Oh, Jeff, I don't want to die!" "Neither do I, baby, but if I have to I'm gonna die last." That line wouldn't work for anyone but Mitchum, I think.) Many, many characters, most of them dishonest double-crossing sociopaths. Not everyone survives.

This made me look for the 1987 Saturday Night Live episode where Mitchum hosted. They did a funny video parody of Out of the Past titled "Out of Gas", and even got Jane Greer to cameo. Unfortunately, it was excised from the episode that Netflix offers for streaming. In fact, Mitchum is not in the streaming episode at all except for the opening monologue and the goodnight sequence. You suck, Netflix!

Last Modified 2012-09-29 6:41 AM EST

Echo Burning

[Amazon Link]

Number 5 in the testosterone-soaked series of Reacher novels. I'm really enjoying them.

This one finds Jack Reacher fully returned to his wandering ways, after a brief flirtation with domesticity. He's in the middle of West Texas during a brutal heat wave, and also (as usual, by sheerest coincidence) in a peck of trouble. Dodging a pack of lawmen determined to get him incarcerated, he gets picked up by a beautiful woman who has a lurid tale to tell. She's looking to him to get her out of an abusive marriage. (By any means necessary, if you catch my drift. And I think you do.)

But her car has a working air conditioner, so what are you gonna do?

In parallel, a trio of bad guys have a ranch house under surveillance, paying inordinate attention to a child on her way to school. And there's a team of very professional killers in the area as well, dispatching a BMW-driving lawyer, and ready to do more.

It's a very readable combination of mystery and action. Child sets up an intricate whodunit, but plays fair enough with his readers: if you pay attention, it's pretty easy to finger the villainous mastermind about the same time Reacher does.

Last Modified 2012-09-29 6:41 AM EST