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December 4, 2008:

HIGH IN THE SKY

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, I am writing these here notes from high in the sky on an actual aeroplane. For one brief shining moment I thought I’d be able to get on the Internet, because when I booted up I got a screen that asked me if I wanted to join a network called “airbears” – I joined, but alas and alack and also alack and alas, I could not connect to said network. So, here I sit, high in the sky on an aeroplane, writing these here notes, sans Internet because “airbears” isn’t happening. I’d love to tell you that I awoke at my scheduled time of four-twenty in the morning, but alas and alack and also alack and alas in order to awake one must be asleep and I’m afraid I did not sleep even one or two whits. My intentions were good – I got the notes written and posted and was in bed by eleven-thirty. But I could not fall asleep. For some reason, just as I got into bed I got my second wind. Go know. So, there I lay (and/or lie – whichever it is) like so much fish, head swimming with various and sundried thoughts and notions. I tried to clear said head. It didn’t work. I tried counting sheep. It didn’t work. I tried counting my blessings instead of sheep. It didn’t work. I counted all the calories of everything I’d eaten whilst in New York. It didn’t work. I counted gazelles. It didn’t work. And so, at four-twenty, when the wake up call came, I simply got out of bed, brushed my teeth, got dressed, packed up the last few items, but Ye Olde Laptop in the case, and went downstairs, where my car was waiting for me, right on time.

I had a great driver and he got me to the Newark airport in a little less than thirty minutes. My goodness, there were a lot of people going through the security line at five in the morning. It took about thirty-five minutes to finally walk through the security screener, and that left me no time to visit the President’s Club (I had a free visit voucher, thanks to FJL). I went directly to the gate and a few minutes later boarded the plane. After everyone was on board, we taxied to the runway, at which point the captain said we were going back to the gate area because we had morning frost and we had to be hosed down. Keep in mind that the temperatures were already in the mid-40s and the sun was out. In any case, we got hosed down, and were off the ground about ten minutes later. We were assured we would still arrive about five minutes earlier than scheduled.
I was so tired and groggy that when they brought the breakfast I just ate it all up, without even thinking that I didn’t really WANT to eat it all up, save for the fruit. This time, rather than an omelet in a pita, we had egg and cheese on a bagel. Well, not a big bagel, no, a teeny-tiny little wee bagel. That was 270 calories and 7 grams of fat, which wasn’t too bad. And I ate the teeny-tiny muffin, which was probably another 200 calories, maybe less. So, the whole deal was under 500 calories, and I’ll eat another 750 to 1000 later. I then closed my eyes and tried to nap – I think I got about four-and-a-half minutes of sleep. I did the crossword puzzle in the magazine, and then opened Ye Olde Laptop so I could begin these here notes. The flight is three more hours. I don’t really have any annoying people around me save for the peckerwood in front of me. He keeps lifting up his arm rest and then putting it down, then lifting it up, then putting it down. Ordinarily I wouldn’t give a flying Wallenda, but his armrest SQUEAKS very loudly each and every time he does it. I gotta tell you. Oh, well, perhaps I’ll try to get another four-and-a-half minutes of sleep. I shall continue these here notes later this evening.

Later this evening, and I’m continuing these here notes. The plane arrived in LA ten minutes early, and I was in a car being driven home ten minutes after that, and there was, thankfully, no traffic at all. What a difference from my last trip home – everything went smoothly this time. When I got home, I unpacked, then decided to do the long jog and get it over with. My legs were/are pretty sore from all that treadmill work and running on pavement is a whole other thing – I did run faster than usual and shaved seven minutes off my usual running time. I got back and took a nice hot shower, then opened about twelve packages that had arrived when I was gone. There were CDs, a book, several DVDs, and a few other odds and ends and also a couple of ends and odds. I then decided to treat myself to a yummilicious lunch and I went to the Kansas City Barbecue and had a half-rack of ribs. Man, were they great. I then went to the mail place and was astonished to find my big box o’ stuff that I shipped on Tuesday had arrived overnight, despite the fact that I shipped it three-day. That was great, actually, and I came home and was able to do all my laundry. I caught up on many things around the home environment and read a bunch of e-mails. I got a few telephonic calls, but I didn’t take them – I’ll return all those today. I then sat on my couch like so much fish.
Last night, I attempted to watch a motion picture on DVD entitled Not With My Wife, You Don’t, a region 2 DVD from Germany. I’d never seen the film before, but since it starred Tony Curtis, George C. Scott, and beautiful Virna Lisi, I thought it would be fun to watch, especially as it was written by Norman Panama and Melvin Frank, the men who gave the world the musical, Li’l Abner, and the film The Court Jester, along with the very interesting Brit playwright, Peter Barnes. Unfortunately, from the very first frame, it’s so painfully unfunny that I finally fell asleep about twenty minutes in. I woke up about a half-hour later and turned it off. I’ll try to finish it at some point. I then watched the new Criterion DVD of Sam Fuller’s White Dog, a motion picture starring Kristy McNichol, Paul Winfield, and Burl Ives. My history with White Dog began in 1982 or 1983 – Paramount had basically shelved the film, saying it was too controversial, but really meaning that they didn’t believe in it and didn’t want to waste the prints and advertising money. So, somehow Z Channel, the very interesting cable channel back then, got the rights to premiere it. Since I was a big fan of Mr. Fuller, I not only tuned in, I set the Betamax to record it. Well, as I watched, I knew instantly that I was not only seeing one of Mr. Fuller’s best films, but that I was seeing a masterpiece of filmmaking. I eventually had the Beta tape transferred to DVD and watched it several more times, never tiring of it. So, when Criterion announced it several months ago, I was over the moon, as Z Channel of course had shown it open matte rather than in its correct ratio. How wonderful to finally see it in its proper ratio and looking quite wonderful. I just can’t say enough about this film. The writing by Fuller and Curtis Hanson (from the novella by Romain Gary) is terrific, and Fuller’s direction is right up there with his best work, which is saying something. Kristy McNichol is great, and Paul Winfield gives one of his best performances – he should have been up for an Oscar. Burl Ives is Burl Ives and fun to watch. And the several dogs who play the title character are amazingly amazing. The film is powerful, visceral, and perfectly shot and edited, with a great musical score by Ennio Morricone. I cannot recommend this film highly enough. There’s a nice featurette that has Curtis Hanson, Fuller’s widow, and producer Jon Davison all talking about the film. It’s not the usual snoozefest because they do it simply and without musical underscore and the usual proliferation of pointless clips. I wish they’d gotten Kristy McNichol to be part of it – what has happened to her?

Well, why don’t we all click on the Unseemly Button below because I am so happy to be back in the home environment after a perfectly pleasant trip high in the sky.

I’m taking today and tomorrow off, save for a little shipping and one or two errands. I may even take off running for a day or two, just to get myself back to normal. I got some very nice e-mails about the benefit, too, which made me feel good.

I have stuff to do over the weekend, and then Monday is mine all mine. The rest of the week will be filled with some meetings and meals.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, relax and smell the roses or the coffee or the Swiss cheese, I must do a couple of errands, ship five packages, and then eat something fun, and then watch a DVD or five. Today’s topic of discussion: What are your favorite “controversial” films, the films that caused great controversy when they were released? Let’s have loads of lovely postings, shall we, whilst I try to get my beauty sleep since I slept not at all the night before I came home nor did I sleep whilst high in the sky – it will be nice to sleep in my very own bed.

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