one more thing to ponder: funny women

color box: rosesThere’s an interesting article at AlterNet called Are Men Threatened by Funny Woman? It’s really worth reading, and gave me lots of ideas about characters (old and new). Here’s a paragraph:

“If you say to a man, ‘I know a woman who has a great sense of humor and you’ve got to meet her,’ they think she weighs 300 pounds and has an eye in the middle of her forehead,” Barreca says. “If you say to a woman, ‘This guy has a great sense of humor; you have to meet him,’ she immediately thinks he’s cute and will be a great lover and fun to be around. People think the girls who are desirable don’t speak, so the syllogism is don’t speak to be desirable.”

After I thought about this for a while, I came to the conclusion that as generalizations go, it’s pretty much on target. Or maybe not. Thoughts?

Also, a question: How do you describe a person to somebody who doesn’t know them? Some things you might say, in no particular order:

  • She’s (my ex’s, Maria’s, the grade school principal’s, Joe’s) (sister, mother, cousin, next-door neighbor, ex-wife, coworker, boss);
  • She’s the (nurse, teacher, homeless person, doctor, one who sued, the one who donated a million bucks, the one who slapped Alice);
  • She looks (alot like your sister Alice, my brother’s wife, that actress, whatsername, on that show, a young Elizabeth Taylor, like Rosie O’Donnell)
  • She’s got (a ’66 Mustang, a great sense of humor, no sense of humor at all, six kids, the J. Jordan McMillan chair at Harvard Law, three ex-husbands, the best recipe for coconut cream pie)
  • She’s (a terror on the tennis court, never too busy for coffee, always at the office, always volunteering at the Humane Society, polyamorous, really smart, not so bright, a nice person, a bitch, an interesting person)
  • She thinks (the London Underground is a political movement, children should be seen and not heard, photography is the only real art form anymore, the school system can be saved, the moon landing was a big farce, it’s her duty to bring people to Jesus, we shouldn’t have gone into Iraq, we should drop the A bomb on Iraq and just get it over with)
  • If you take one of the possibilities from each of the categories, you’ll come up with somebody who may surprise you.

    She’s Joe’s boss; the one who donated a million bucks. She looks like Rosie O’Donnell; she’s got six kids. She’s a bitch. She thinks the school system can be saved.

    With just this much, you know something about the mystery person being described, but you also know quite a lot about the person doing the describing.

    Does any combination of features jump out at you? Can you pull a character out of those six categories who is interesting enough to write about? You can also concentrate on the speaker — the person who is describing — instead of the person being described.

somebody is in trouble…

It’s hard to surprise anybody these days when it comes to spam. You see it coming a mile away. Nigerian prince needs YOUR help. You defaulted on my auction, and I want an explanation now! Your A+ All Whistles and Bells Satellite System 8200x has been shipped. Invoice attached.

I don’t even blink at that kind of thing anymore. In fact, I don’t get much spam because of the way I’ve got email set up.

But yesterday (Thursday) I got something that did surprise me. I knew almost instantly that this was spam, even before I looked at the long header and saw the real sender’s information. What surprised me was that somebody was willing to take on the IRS.

Government agencies do not take this kind of thing lightly. And the IRS has no sense of humor at all. Do these people really want to have the IRS dogging them for the next eon? You know Capone ended up in jail for tax evasion. The law couldn’t get him, but the IRS did.

So I guess I’d have to say that I was a little taken aback by the audacity of these people. It’s not that they are clever or even brave. This is more like more like locking yourself in the closet with a rabid puma. Naked, and empty handed.

Bourne & Stardust

[asa left]B000WZAE1I[/asa] I saw two movies this weekend, two very different movies. Stardust, and the Bourne Ultimatum. I don’t know what it says about me that I really liked both these movies, but I did.

[asa right]B000VWYJ86[/asa] Stardust is a classier, less campy The Princess Bride. I’m sure I’m not the first one to say that, because it is the obvious comparison. I really like The Princess Bride, but I love it for its humor and quirky dialog. And for Mandy Patinkin.

“Never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line!”
“Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die. “

Stardust is lovingly and carefully told. There are moments of humor — Robert DeNiro provides the best ones, which I won’t give away — but mostly this is the story of a quest. A young man goes into a magical kingdom to retrieve something in order to prove himself to the girl he loves. Or he thinks he loves. There are witches and spells and enchanted princesses, evil kings (a truly fine performance by Peter O’Toole) and even more evil princes, a gallery of ghosts, a flying pirate ship. And that’s before the credits.

No, no. I’m kidding.

All in all, Stardust is a really fine way to spend two hours when you need to be whisked away from your daily work and troubles.

If you are feeling stressed or over burdened, you might want to save Bourne Ultimatum until you’re back on your feet. It takes off at high speed and rarely pauses so you can catch your breath. There is one big problem with the backstory, but they were also clearly setting up another sequel and I’m willing to give them time to straighten that out. This is a firecracker of a movie, perfectly edited. I don’t know what they did differently in the fight scenes, but to me at least they seemed to be on a new level of realism as far as physical punishment. Of course there is all kinds of out-of-this-world weapons play; I’m talking about hand-to-hand confrontations.

I think Matt Damon is a truly gifted actor, better with every movie — although I will say that his performance in All the Pretty Horses was so subtle and still emotive that it will probably always stand out for me. I know a lot of people disliked that movie but I admire it and rewatch it every now and then.

Joan Allen is an excellent and under-valued actor of the first order, so my hope is that if there is a fourth movie — pretty much a foregone conclusion, given the box office bonanza these movies have been — that Joan Allen comes along for the ride.

and on the lighter side

What’s the difference between an author and a pizza?

A pizza can feed a family of four.

thanks to the radiant Robyn Bender for that bit of cheer