Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Slapdash Reviews with a Common Theme Edition

In Which We Serve: Noel Coward as a happily married family man with two children. Strains credulity.

The Astonished Heart: Noel Coward as a raging heterosexualist who behaves perfectly beastly while awakening the animal passions of Celia Johnson and Margret Leighton. The credulity is frightfully strained. Frightfully.  

Hombre: Paul Newman stars and strains credulity as a cool, modern, wiseacre half-breed Apache in the not-so-modern wild west. Martin Balsam as a Mexican doesn't help. Fortunately,  Richard Boone is around to add authenticity.

The Mountain: Spencer Tracy and Robert Wagner as European mountain climbing brothers. Credulity strained? You bet. Or as they say in the French Alps, mais oui.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

More Needles In My Eyeballs: The Sequel: May I Have Some More, Please?

There I was, not as happy as a clam or any other mollusk, going to my opthomologist for another treatment of Avastin, the wonder drug that's injected  directly into one's eyeballs with only a local anesthetic. What could possibly go wrong?

So, after waiting in the waiting room, so called, I believe, because one waits there, I was leisurely herded into another waiting room, where I waited some more. I sat directly opposite a man who looked like an unwashed Willie Nelson (redundant?), talking with an authority only the truly ignorant can muster.  "I check my numbers at least twice a day," he said, "and if I have to manually adjust the islands on my pancreas, I will." I nodded my head as if I understood what the hell he was talking about.

I was called into The Room of Eyeball Torture by a doctor different from the one I saw the previous month. I don't mean to sound sexist, Dear Reader (I say "Dear Reader", because as far as I know, I only have one reader), but she was pretty as a picture. Now, beauty can be off-putting, but prettiness can  be comforting, so perhaps I was led into a false sense of security. Who knows? I'm not a philosopher.

She appeared to be in her late twenties, she had long, straight, dark hair that was tied back into a pony tail, a porcelain complexion, green eyes, and very white teeth. I sat in the Big Blue Chair of Agony, without a care. Then.

She sat in front of her computer, legs crossed, and twisted around to ask several pertinent questions. She had a faint, charming accent, which I narrowed down to Middle Europe or Hershey, Pennsylvania. She typed on her computer keyboard with amazing alacrity, her lovely, slender fingers  practically a blur, the rapid clicking of the keys a testament to her competence. Her bare heel poked out of her flat-heel shoe. Oh, my.

She asked me to read an eye chart, and concluded that my eyesight had improved, especially the left eye. She wheeled around the big opthocomdetriculator, I think it's called, to look deep inside my eyeballs. She told me to look straight ahead, but I was too embarrassed to look into her lovely green eyes, so I focused on her pearl pendant earring.

She dilated my pupils so pictures of my retinas could be taken. Then, when my eyes were nice and numb and runny, she ushered me into the waiting room.

Unclean Willie Nelson was still there. "I always go barefooted, even in January," he said, to no one in particular. "The elastic in the socks cuts off the circulation in my calfs." Sure enough, he was wearing flip-flops, and thankful for small mercies, I was grateful, because of my blurry vision, I couldn't see his gnarly toes.

Next, pics were taken of my retinas. It was like the world's cheapest laser show. Then more waiting.

After just a few minutes, Dr. Dreama invited me into the Big Pleather Chair of Pain. Another doctor was with her, kibitzing. "Your eyes have improved, Mr. Simons," the other doctor said (how can people mispronounce a name as simple as mine?), "but we'll need another treatment of Avastin."
"No problem," says I. If I had any muscles, I would have flexed them. "Lookin' forward to it." Then the other doctor left.

I told her about my last horrible experience, and asked for plenty of anesthetic. "Certainly," she said, in her delightful accent. Sarajevo? Milwaukee? She buttered up my peepers with a topical, very lovingly and competently, I thought, then injected anesthetic into my eyes with a tiny needle.  Then Q-Tips, or whatever the generic ones are called, were coated with more topical anesthetic, and placed inside my eyelids. I was asked to keep my eyes closed. "We will wait a long time, so that you will not experience any pain. Or very little. Of course, there will be a little pressure."

After a few minutes, she was sure that my eyes were numb enough. One way to find out, I thought to myself. It was blurry, but I could see the little syringe approaching my right eye. She steadied her hand, and suddenly the slenderness of her fingers didn't seen so important. Then an unbearable shot of pain as the needle pierced my eyeball. I don't know if you've ever had a needle pierce your eyeball, but there's only one way to explain how it feels: it's like a needle piercing your eyeball.

I'm not sure if I screamed like a little girl, but I know I jumped. "You felt that," she said. I don't know if she asked it or declared it, but either was fairly obvious. "Oh, yeah," was my equally obvious response.

More anesthetic, more time to let it sink in, another attempt at my right eye. My body stiffened, and not in a good way. I clutched the arms of  The Big Blue Seat of Torment. I stopped breathing. Perhaps I imagined her hand shaking just a bit. More intense pain; I jumped. "Please try not to jump," she said, in an accent that now didn't sound quite so charming "Okay," I said. "Let's try again," she said. "Okay," I said, bracing myself.  Then a tiny little thought flitted across my brain: has she ever done this before? More intense pain. I jumped, and this time I know I said Ow! out loud. "Please," she said, "we almost had it that time. But every time you jump, the needle pops out. Try not to jump."
"Sorry", I said, "but it hurts."

Now, there are two things wrong here: I allowed her to try again, the third time, without more anesthetic, and then I apologized for jumping.

More topical and local anesthetics, more Q-tips, I'm not quite sure. I stopped taking mental notes. But after she returned, the injections went off without much of a hitch; just some discomfort and a good deal of pressure.

I'm scheduled for another treatment in a month, depending on how my eyes respond to the treatment. But the way I feel now, I think I'd rather have blurry vision and the possibility of going blind than go through that again. On the other hand, she had a very pretty heel.

Oh, Well.

I saw where someone landed on my blog because he did a internets search for "elliot gould". Imagine his disappointment when all he got was my Slapdash Review of Busting.   

Thursday, March 29, 2012

More Slapdash Reviews

Busting. Elliott Gould and Robert Blake mugging it up, with Allen Garfield a breath of fresh air. Takes place in 1974, when making fun of fags was funny.

The Choirboys. More fag hilarity, but at least Burt Young has some compassion: "Kid, how long have you had this problem?" In spite of the broad, sophomoric, unfunny humor, there is an almost redeeming wafting scent of dread and disaster, like the pervasive smell of farts and vomit at one of the choir practices.

Red Riding Hood Trilogy: Part One: 1974. Most colons ever in a movie title? "Based" on an actual serial killing, the hero wears tighty-whities, smokes filtered cigarettes (unlike a real man), gets beat up a lot, and mumbles so badly I had to turn on the subtitles. Ugly stuff, and not in a good way.

Cry Danger. Wisecracking ex-con and Jim Reeves look-a-like Dick Powell goes gunning for the mugs who sent him up the river on a bum rap. Directed by Robert Parrish and photogged by Joe Biroc. With Rhonda Fleming, and boy, what I'd like to do to her.

Machete Maidens Unleashed. The documentary that makes me want to see every movie made in the Philippines from 1968 to 1974. Except for Beyond Atlantis. However, they left the most important question unanswered: why is Philippines spelled with a "P", but Filapino is spelled with an "F"?

The Geisha Boy. From the first shot, we know we're in Frank Tashlin territory: an overhead shot that looks right down Marie McDonald's cleavage as she exits a plane. Lots of funny stuff, plenty of tit gags, and Jerry's pretty much kept in control, so that he almost seems like a real person. But the final third is so cloying that I have to believe it came from Lewis's brain. Is there anything else like it in movies Tashlin directed without Lewis? I wonder if Tashlin originally conceived it as an American/Japanese romance, and Lewis added the horribly sentimental stuff with the kid. I'd prefer blaming Jer, not Tash.    

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Needles In My Eyeballs.

No. that's not the subtitle to Saw XII; it's what happened to me during my last happy visit to the opthomologist.

There I was, traipsing along to the Eye Clinic, with only one or two cares in the world: slightly blurry vision, and wondering if I should buy the new Laurel and Hardy Collection or wait for the bluray release. So when I sat in the big blue chair in front of the eye chart, I wasn't particularly concerned. Then,  after I attempted reading the chart and the doctor asked, "Do you drive?", I knew something was up.

More tests, drops, and pics of my peepers, and my doctor determined I had macular edema. Macular edema, she explained, was swelling in the retina due to leakage from blood vessels. She recommended  each eye be injected with Avastin, which she claimed was a new wonder drug.

I had three options: do nothing, but my vision wouldn't improve, and there was the possibility I could go blind; laser surgery, which would stop the leaking blood vessels, but wouldn't reduce the swelling or improve my vision; or the injections, which could likely stop the leakage, reduce the swelling, and improve my vision, provided I didn't contract an infection and go blind.  Small chance, my doctor assured me, one in two thousand get infections, but still a risk.

So, being a decisive fellow, with Resolute my middle name (I much prefer it to "Lewis"), I opted for the injections, tout suite. The doc assured me, after a local anesthetic, I'd feel almost nothing. Well, she got that one wrong. It was the most excruciating pain I ever felt. Apparently, the anesthetic didn't take, and I felt the needle entering my left eye full-strength. Oy. All I can say is I never want to go through that again.

In a month, I have two more injections.

Better Living Through Google

I can't say I have more than a cursory understanding of Google's new privacy policy, mostly because whatever happens, it seems that the complete taking over of our private lives is just inevitable, so why worry? But at least Google appears to be fairly transparent about it, in effect saying, "We're tracking all your movements for the purpose of specifically targeting you with ads, making loads of money off you, and storing all this information forever."

Which is fine and dandy with me. If this can alert me to new John Wayne CD releases, groovy. However, when I agreed to add advertisements to my blog, Google insisted that I not ask my readers to click on my ads. I thought this was somewhat, shall we say, inconsistent. But I'm a go along/get along kinda guy, so I'll do as I'm told.

Never mind that my mortgage may go unpaid, the kiddies may need shoes, and I'm a little peckish right now with nothing in the pantry. But if you were thinking about taking those DeVry classes or buying that John Wayne CD anyway.....

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Slapdash Reviews

Deadhead Miles. Hilarious Alan Arkin performance, with his ersatz southern Robert Duvallian voice. Of course the big difference is Duvall's always convinced he's giving a serious performance. Very similar in tone to Terrence Malick's other screenplay, Pocket Money. It just tickled me.

Watch Bobs DeNiro and Duvall try to out-method each other in True Confessions. Count how many times they look off-screen, like Jack Barrymore searching for a cue card. Takes place in 1946, when everything was fuzzy.

Botany Bay. Alan Ladd is unjustly confined on a prison ship to Austrailia, but manages to keep his eyebrows beautifully landscaped. James Mason is a wonderful villain, with moderately butch acting by Jonathan Harris.

Bill Holden is racked with guilt in Submarine Command. Bill Bendix is there to give him the stinkeye.

Threepenny Opera. Germans talking and singing German in Soho. Strains credulity.

Across 110th Street. Dark, lots of swearing and lots of hand-held stuff. Pretty good, pehaps Barry Shear's best movie, but not as compelling as Swingin' at the Summit. Would have been even better with Mitchum or Marvin. Or Lancaster. Or Widmark. Or Holden. or....

The Countess.  How could there be a dull movie about a gal bathing in the blood of hundreds of virgins? Godawful.

In Martin and Lewis' last Colgate Comedy Hour, Dino plays a character named "Mr. Crocetti".  Jerry does his hilarious Jap portrayal. Hard to believe he's still doing it 20 years later.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Dear Diary

Dear Diary,
It was such a beautiful day today. So inspiring. The warm southerly wind felt like sweet puppy's breath across my cheek. And yet, spring is so far away. Perhaps I'd better not think of it. It fills me with dread to do so.

I saw her again today. She looked so lovely, it filled me with a sense of longing. And hope. And so many other feelings. It felt as though I were bursting with a bountiful cornucopia of delicious emotions. We were so close, yet so far away. She was only across the street, but she walked in the opposite direction, and I felt not at my best, since my eyelid was closed shut because I mistook the super glue for the saline solution.

Today the store was filled with a special display of gardening tools and a vast, neverending supply of seeds: hearty and healthful fruits and vegetables, etheral and fragrant flowering annuals and perennials of every shape, size and color. It filled me with such a feeling of anticipation. Then I realized I was in the wrong store.

Just awakened from a fitful sleep. I am filled with such a feeling of indescribable misconfernation. Or something. The night is so dark, much like the recesses of my soul, a beautiful onyx stone dropped in a deep well on a cloudy night of the winter solstice with no moon or snow to reflect the hope of the manifestation of the coming day. Will the morn never arrive?

Good Advice?

The reaction to my blog has been not overwhelming, not underwhelming, just whelming. One fellow Tim (if that is your real name) suggested, "Don't quit your day job." Shows how much you know, funny man. I don't have a day job.


It's impossible for me to ever pick a favorite. That's why I never had children. That, and the fear of reproducing because of my mutant hillbilly family. But these days, there's no blog I'd rather read than  Self-Styled Siren. As Criswell once said, "It pleasures me!" Some time ago, I reluctantly placed William Wellman's Buffalo Bill in my queue. You hep cats on the internets know what I mean by "queue". But the Siren makes me eager to see it, right after I catch up on my Nazi documentaries and my Rhonda Fleming opuses. Opii?

In a perfect world, 1967's How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying would have been adapted and directed by Frank Tashlin and would have starred Jerry Lewis. Seems to me that Tashlin's satire in Rock Hunter was funnier and sharper than David Swift's in Success, and Robert Morse's mugging seemed to be channelling Jerry Lewis, so why not get Lewis himself? Lewis had little charm and credibility as a romantic lead, but Robert Morse had even less. Even though I like Morse, there's something of a homunculus about him.

And while we're at it, throw in Moe Howard as Wally Womper.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

My first blog.

Finally, I have something important to say. The other day I told a friend that I went to Costco and bought a year's supply of toilet paper. But did I really? I became troubled by this statement, because honesty and accuracy are very important to me. Will thirty rolls of biggie toilet paper, which the good folks at Proctor and Gamble assure me is the square footage equivalent of 83 rolls, actually last an entire year? Only one way to find out. Well, probably more than one, but here's what I'm gonna do -- record the number of days it takes to use a roll of toilet paper, multiply that number by 30, and see if that number is greater than 365. I'm no numbers whiz, but if there are any mathematicians out there who can confirm this method, I'd love to hear from you. Of course, to insure veracity, I'll continue using the paper for other than the obvious: cleaning little spills, blowing my nose, and helping with the cleanup of occasional manual activities. Stay tuned for the results.