Random musings on a writer's life & times, with occasional input from acquaintances


Friday, March 05, 2004

Mr. Black & Blue offers advice to the lifelorn.


DEAR MR. BLACK & BLUE: I have been dating “Richard” since I was 13 and he was 14. We are now 27 and 28, and we have three children. Like any couple, we’ve had our ups and downs -- he also has four children by other women -- but I love him very much.

I want to marry Richard, but I can’t help wondering if he’s going to cheat on me. How can I learn to trust him totally?


DEAR CONFUSED: Wow, you sure hit the nail on the head by signing your letter “confused”! Girl, you are about as confused as anyone I’ve ever encountered. Richard has fathered seven children out of wedlock and you wonder if he’d make a reliable hubby? You want to learn to trust him? Well, shut my mouth! Richard doesn’t need a wedding ceremony, he needs a vasectomy. And probably a lobotomy.


DEAR MR. BLACK & BLUE: I am having a problem with my significant other. We have been together for three years. Our relationship sizzled at first, but it cooled off over time and became sort of ho-hum. Still, a few months ago he asked me to marry him. I was puzzled about why, so I asked. All he could say was, "I don't know." That bothered me, but I went ahead and said yes.

A couple of weeks ago, we had a huge fight and I called off the wedding. The thing we were fighting about wasn’t that important of a deal, but I wasn't thinking clearly. It was stupid of me.

Ten days later, I find out he’s started talking on the phone to this girl he knows in Canada. They dated before we met, but they hadn’t been in contact for years. I want to get back with him and go on with the wedding, but now I don’t know if I should. Our romance had slowed down, he didn’t know why he wanted to marry me, and now he is flirting with someone else. My mother once told me if a relationship is not in tiptop shape before a wedding, odds are a million to one it will be a disaster after the rice is thrown. Was she right?


DEAR HOPING: Tough call. I know a couple who fought over everything from feminism to fidelity right up to the day they married, and they’ve been hitched 25 years. I suspect they are the exception to your mother’s rule, though. Sounds like there is a lot of ambivalence and distrust between you and Mr. Other, and those are tough things to build a marriage on. You’d be safer to let him defect to Canada and seek sizzle stateside.

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

After watching the Academy Awards show the other night, my 16-year-old son allowed as how he’d like to make a movie himself. It would be a remake of “You’ve Got Mail,” Andy said, starring Marlon Brando and Katharine Hepburn instead of Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.

That bit of recasting might be a bit difficult to pull off, since Hepburn died last year (I guess the retrospective on her career during the Oscar show triggered Andy’s remake fantasy, along with watching Brando in “On The Waterfront” on cable TV), but I see older movie aficionados are coming up with similar ideas. Peter Farrelly, director with brother Bobby of lowbrow comedies such as “Dumb and Dumber,” said the other day he'd like to make a Three Stooges movie with Russell Crowe playing Moe. “He is the perfect Moe,” Farrelly said.

The director didn’t say who should play Curly and Larry. Andy I and decided the roles should go to Sean Penn and Nicolas Cage. Crowe, Penn and Cage as the Three Stooges -- would that be a laff riot, or what?

Which leads me to consider other possibilities for remaking old films. How about Meg Ryan in the Gloria Swanson role and Tom Hanks in the William Holden one from “Sunset Boulevard”? The way Meg’s former cute-osity is shriveling, she’d be perfect as the spookily faded movie star who takes in failed screenwriter Hanks as her boytoy.

Let me pitch you some more ideas. Pretend you’re the studio chief and I’m the desperate, groveling screenwriter (sort of like Holden/Hanks).

“12 Angry Men” -- What we’re going to do is give it a gender spin, see? Instead of Henry Fonda and the guys, we have “12 Angry Women,” with the jury made up of Rosie O’Donnell, Whoopi Goldberg, Roseanne, Angelina Jolie, Janeane Garafolo, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Marisa Tomei, Parker Posey, Sondra Locke, Angelica Huston, Fran Drescher and Rosie Perez.

“Gone With the Wind” -- This will be a natural for Scarlett Johansson in the Vivien Leigh part. We’ll have Halle Berry do Butterfly McQueen, Dennis Quaid as Clark Gable and Hugh Grant as Leslie Howard. For Olivia DeHavilland, I’m thinking Kate Hudson.

“The Killers” -- This will be topical. O.J. Simpson and Robert Blake as the two hitmen who come looking for Burt Lancaster. Since Lancaster’s character was supposed to be a washed-up fighter, we could have Steven Seagal play him.

“The Magnificent Seven” -- Jackie Chan, Chow Yun-Fat, Claude Van Damme, Chuck Norris, Hilary Swank and Ralph Macchio led into battle by Elijah Wood instead of Yul Brynner. Nuff said?

“The Children’s Hour” -- Jodie Foster and Keanu Reaves, teachers who run a private school, are haunted by rumors of homosexuality. Keanu’s part was last played by Shirley McLaine, but what the hell, this is a new era. We’ll give him Orlando Bloom as a possible love interest, and toss in Ann Heche for Jodie.

“The Maltese Falcon” -- We build in some sexual tension by casting Tom Cruise as Humphrey Bogart and Nicole Kidman as Mary Astor. Think of the subtext when he sends her up the river! With Jon Lovitz as Sidney Greenstreet, Joaquin Phoenix as Peter Lorre and Lou Diamond Phillips as Elisha Cook Jr.

“An American in Paris” -- Michael Jackson steps in for Gene Kelly and Britney Spears improves on Leslie Caron as they sing and dance along the romantic Left Bank.

“Double Indemnity” -- Insurance man Ashton Kutcher schemes with sultry unfaithful wife Demi Moore to kill her husband, but ace investigator Bruce Willis cracks the case. No one will remember Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck and Edward G. Robinson.

“High Noon” -- Sheriff Josh Hartnett subs for Gary Cooper to shoot it out with bad guys despite the reluctance of new wife Kirsten Dunst (Grace Kelly), cowardice of ex-deputy Sean Astin (Lloyd Bridges) and hostility of ex-lover Jennifer Lopez (Katy Jurado). Think of the acting chops on display! Oscars all around!

“Notorious” -- Spymaster Matt Damon draws party girl Minnie Driver into a plot to trap international baddy Jeff Goldblum, but things go awry when Matt falls for Minnie. Who was Cary Grant, anyway? Or Ingrid Bergman, for that matter. Or Claude Raines.

“Rebel Without A Cause” -- troubled teen Heath Ledger (looking too old for the part, just like James Dean) struggles to fit in at a new school but makes new friends in Anna Paquin (Natalie Wood) and Haley Joel Osment (Sal Mineo). The angst! Oh, the angst!

“The Sound of Music” -- Madonna plays the nun who quits her god job to be first a nanny and then the leader of a troop of kid singers. I’m sure you can just hear her caroling: “Doh! A deer! A female deer!” Eat your heart out, Julie Andrews. With Antonio Banderas as Captain Von Trapp, subbing for Christopher Plummer.

“All About Eve” -- Sandra Bullock is the aging Broadway star stalked, aided and eventually maneuvered aside by ingenue Christina Ricci. With Gary Oldman as the jaded critic, Alicia Silverstone as the sexpot wannabe actress, Don Johnson as the playwright and Cher as the sarcastic maid. Bette Davis, Anne Baxter, George Sanders, Marilyn Monroe, Gary Merrill and Thelma Ritter were sort of okay, but this remake will be a blockbuster.

I could go on, but you get the general idea. If you’ve got the production money, I’ve got the ideas. Let’s do art!

Sunday, February 29, 2004

It’s Jordan, David Jordan. Special agent 00Sunday7. Read what appears below, then forget you ever saw it. Walk away quickly. Do not look back. You will be contacted again in one week.

1) What are you wearing?

Purple Kansas State University sweatshirt, blue jeans, white Nike sox, sweat boots, a slight frown.

2) What are you reading?

“As Cool As I Am,” a novel by Montana man Pete Fromm. It won good reviews and Northwest book prizes, but I’m struggling to accept it’s portrayal of a 15-year-old female protagonist. The expression drama queen was coined to describe 15-year-old girls, but Fromm’s heroine comes across like Jake Barnes in a bra.

3) What’s for dinner?

Since this is Leap Day, maybe we should have food I can stand to eat only once in four years. Liver and onions would do. With fried okra on the side. And pumpkin pie for dessert.

4) What’s the best thing that happened this week?

Two of my poems were published by internet magazines, and I was notified that another ezine will post one of my efforts starting tomorrow (March 1). “Feeding the Monster” is entry #41 at The Fossil Record (www.thefossil.com) and “Invasion” appears at Spillway Poetry Review (www.spillwayreview.com). “Guttersnipe” will be posted as part of the “Rain” issue of The Green Tricycle (http://greentricycle.com) on Monday.

5) What’s bugging you?

I’m experiencing one of those periods in which I repeatedly overextend myself in the name of efficiency, then compound bad results with clumsiness. Example: I grab a soda bottle off the kitchen counter to haul to the basement recycling bins. Crossing the kitchen, I spot a couple of empty soup cans in the sink, so I pick them up. As I continue past the breakfast table, I note a sloppy stack of old newspapers. I grab, them too. Juggling the newspapers to fit them under my arm, I drop the pop bottle on my right big toe. When I bend over to retrieve to the bottle, several pages of newspaper slide loose and fall to the floor. I snatch at them, lose my balance and bang my head on the wall. At this point, I am forced to drop all the recycling bits and pieces, straighten up and stare into the distance until my pain (toe, head) and rage dissipate. Then I start all over again. Sigh.

6) Where in the world is Carmen San Diego?

Pepperbox, Delaware

7) What’s it all about, Dave?

As John Cage writes in his poem “ ‘45’ for a Speaker”:

have nothing to say and I am saying it
and that is poetry.

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