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February 2, 2008:

I CAN COOK, TOO

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, does anyone cook anymore? I swear, every time I go out, no matter what time of the day or evening, restaurants, at least the popular ones, are filled with people. I mean filled with families, parents, children, teens, eating expensive meals (I don’t think there are any more inexpensive restaurants in LA, save for fast food jernts). Yes, Bob’s Big Boy seems to be a thing of the past for this generation of parents and children. The new Bob’s Big Boy seems to be places like the California Pizza Kitchen or Hugo’s or The Cheesecake Factories. You see these families of four to eight people, and the bill must come to close to $100 per meal. I remember a time when parents used to eat at home with their children, and actually cook them meals, but that seems to be a thing of the past these days, at least for a goodly number of people in Los Angeles, California, USA. And those children will grow up not understanding what eating around a dinner table is like. Parents give their fifteen and sixteen-year-olds credit cards with unlimited spending available, so they sit at these pricey jernts and spend their parents dough and just take everything in life for granted. Not so when I was growing up, nor when my daughter was growing up, and it’s part of what makes so many in this current generation feel so entitled to everything. Not all, obviously, and it’s such a breath of fresh air when you meet smart and unspoiled young people, but I’m afraid they’re growing few and far between. And that is my observation o’ the day. Speaking of o’ the day, yesterday was a busy writing day and I got quite a lot done – nine pages worth of a lot. I got into a little bind trying to write a location that I actually hadn’t seen, relying on someone’s memory of it from a year ago. But, it didn’t feel right, so I went on a little field trip late in the afternoon (at the exact time where the sequence in the book takes place). Prior to that, not only had I written, but I’d done a few errands, booked a few appointments, and picked up some mail.

I then had my field trip and am I glad I did. I took lots of notes and got lots of details. After that, I drove over to Nate ‘n Al in the Hills of Beverly, because I needed to have their well thought of pastrami sandwich. It wasn’t crowded at five, so I got a nice booth. I ordered a New York, which is pastrami on rye with coleslaw (on the sandwich) and Russian dressing. I also ordered a side of kishka, but because I have to try kishka whenever I’m in a deli where I haven’t tried it. Before the food arrived, they brought a pate of pickles and sauerkraut, and the pickles were the freshest and best I’ve ever had in a deli. Then the sandwich arrived. Just looking at it I could see the pastrami was hot and lean, and the sandwich was huge. After one bite I knew I was eating the best pastrami sandwich I’ve ever had, bar none. The pastrami was so lean and so delicious that it just melted in the mouth, as the saying goes. The cole slaw and Russian dressing were perfect – not overpowering, but adding just enough of that unique combination of flavors. The kiska was also wonderful, and I was ready to burst after finishing the meal. I then came home and sat on my couch like so much fish.

Last night, I watched a motion picture on DVD entitled The Invasion, the third remake and fourth version of Jack Finney’s The Body Snatchers (best known as Invasion of the Body Snatchers). While the Don Siegel version remains the best, the 1978 Phil Kauffman version is at least interesting, and even the 1993 Abel Ferrera version has some interesting things in it. This new version starring Nicole Kidman is the runt of the litter. Apparently it sat on the shelf for a year, and then the Wachowski brothers were brought in to beef up the action and make it look “today.” Their contribution firmly put this into the all-time bad category. I wouldn’t actually mind seeing the original version, because I’d bet it would at least be more interesting than what’s on view here. What we’ve got is the Finney plot, sort of. The pod people look like refugees from a George Romero Night Of The Living Dead film, and for emotionless pod people they sure show a lot of emotion while running after and hunting down their victims. In one completely ludicrous scene about twenty of these pod people jump on Nicole’s car and try to get at her while she drives maniacally. Of course, being that it’s now, we have a happy ending. Miss Kidman’s lips seem to change from scene to scene, going from normal to Botoxland. Since she’s been nude in so many movies, she’s either wearing a very padded bra or she’s been enhanced for widescreen TVs. She basically plays the Kevin McCarthy role. Daniel Craig doesn’t have much to do and he does it in his usual somnambulistic way. And that describes every performance except Veronica Carwright (she appeared in the 78 remake) – at least you can hear every word she says. Miss Kidman, who has had her moments as an actress, seems to have fallen prey to today’s style of “acting” wherein every line has to be whispered. If I were playing a scene with her in this film my response to every single line would be, “SPEAK UP, why are you whispering, I CAN’T HEAR YOU, YOU BIG SILLY NIT.” She whispers so quietly to her son while giving him important instructions that could save her life, that it wouldn’t have surprised me if the kid had let her die and then said, “If only she would have spoken like a normal person.” Needless to say, there are two directorial sensibilities at work and neither are good. Transfer seems fine, as does sound. The score by John Ottman is dreadful. Watch the original or, for a slightly different take on the same idea, try The Faculty.

What am I, Ebert and Roeper all of a sudden? Why don’t we all click on the Unseemly Button below because I’ve got an early morning work session and I may even boycott eating out and cook something myself – yes, I can cook, too.

Today, I have a work session with Miss Linda Purl and Mr. Kevin Spirtas. It should only last about an hour or so, and then I’ll come home and write for the rest of the day. Since I did two extra pages yesterday and one extra the day before, I really don’t have to write more than five if I don’t want to, so we’ll see how I’m feeling. I was pretty pleased with yesterday’s pages, but now I’m to the point where I have to write the big sequences and then wrap up the story.

Tomorrow it will be more writing, with a couple of breaks in between for driving about in my motor car. Then, come Monday, it’s a busy week of writing, meeting, lunching, dinnering, and many other things.

I do hope everyone still has their pointy party hats and their colored tights and pantaloons on, I do hope everyone still has the cheese slices and the ham chunks out, I do hope everyone is still dancing the Hora and the Frug, because today we’ve got us two more birthdays to celebrate. Yes, today is the actual birthday of our very own dear reader Ben. So, let’s give a big haineshisway.com birthday cheer to our very own dear reader Ben. On the count of three: One, two, three – A BIG HAINESHISWAY.COM BIRTHDAY CHEER TO OUR VERY OWN DEAR READER BEN!!!

Let’s also give a big haineshisway.com birthday cheer for the only occasional dear reader Iris, who comes and goes like Grand Hotel. On the count of three: One, two, three – A BIG HAINESHISWAY.COM BIRTHDAY CHEER FOR THE ONLY OCCASIONAL DEAR READER IRIS WHO COMES AND GOES LIKE GRAND HOTEL!!!

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, have a work session, write, do an errand or three, and then watch a motion picture on DVD. Today’s topic of discussion: What films do you think could be remade today and made better than they were? I find the remaking of films that were excellent to begin with reprehensible, but there are some terribly made films that have good stories. Let’s hear your choices. Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, and remember, I can cook, too, and so can others and I wish they would occasionally.

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