Saturday, May 27, 2006

Crooked House

Yea.  I have arrived to tell thee a tale ... all the way from the century that produced Shakespeare, King James, and Queen Elizabeth I.

Okay, not really.

But wearing a costume for a day as part of my job wasn't the most boring thing I've ever done.

          *        *          *

For the past few months, I've encouraged my students to bring their favorite books to me to read.

I read them, and respond to them in class.

One of my students recently lent me a copy of Agatha Christie's Crooked House (1949).

Remember the old line from Mother Goose?

There was a crooked man, and he walked a crooked mile.
He found a crooked sixpence against a crooked stile.
He bought a crooked cat, which caught a crooked mouse.
And they all lived together in a little crooked house.

It's a good story -- I went for breakfast to the 50s Cafe on Santa Monica today and zipped through the entire book.  Thought I'd share a paragraph or so on this blog.

          *        *          *

"What are murderers like?  Some of them" -- a faint rather melancholy smile showed on his face -- "have been thoroughly nice chaps."

I think I looked a little startled.

"Oh yes, they have," he said.  "Nice ordinary fellows like you and me -- or like that chap who went out just now -- Roger Leonides.  Murder, you see, is an amateur crime.  I'm speaking of course of the kind of murder you have in mind -- not gangster stuff.  One feels, very often, as though these nice ordinary chaps had been overtaken, as it were, by murder, almost accidentally.  They've been in a tight place, or they've wanted something very badly, money or a woman -- and they've killed to get it.  The brake that operates with most of us doesn't operate with them.

          *        *          *

More than one friend has strongly urged me to see the new documentary, An Inconvenient Truth.  Both said precisely the same thing to me:  "This movie has changed my life."

So I went online and checked it out.  I thought I'd share a paragraph from The New York Observer's Joseph Conason:

Indeed, Mr. Gore became a safe, easy target for every Republican politician and every right-wing commentator, who brandished Earth in the Balance as if it were The Communist Manifesto. “This is a book written by an extremist, and it's filled with extremism …. He wants to do away with the automobile as we know it today,” complained Jim Nicholson, then the Republican national chairman (and now the Secretary of Veterans Affairs). What was once the most controversial recommendation in Mr. Gore's book-phasing out that infernal combustion engine- is today the official objective of the Bush administration.


And, of course, the same hacks who shrieked back then about the damage this radical change would inflict on the American economy would surely praise President Bush for his farsighted leadership.


          *        *          *

I was talking to John Fohner -- a close friend of mine for 20 years -- about the situation.  He made an interesting suggestion:  "President Bush should form a new Manhattan Project.  Its mission could be to create an alternative to the internal combustion engine."

Wow!  Now that could restore Bush's standing in the polls.

Oh, wait.  That would take real leadership.

          *        *          *

On another subject...

If you like Cabernet Sauvignon, you might want to check out the Lapis Luna offering found at Whole Foods (2001 California). 

It's smooth -- "black cherry and earthy flavors with hints of oak."  The friend who shared a bottle with me tonight was impressed -- and she has excellent taste.  It's a real find.  Best of all, it's inexpensive.  Notice.  I didn't say cheap

And remember, you first read about it here.

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House Arrest really does work.  I emailed my revision of The French Inquisitor to my co-writer on Wednesday. 

Now he can feel guilty for awhile.

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I'm using this weekend to finish laying down the story for Crushed Gold, a short film I intend to direct this summer.

I'm hoping to have a five-minute pitch ready to share with my producer by Tuesday.

          *        *          *

On Monday evening, May 14, I went to see my cousin Linford Detweiler's band, Over the Rhine, in concert.

For about two hours, from 10 - 12 PM, about 250 people stood on the dance floor of the Knitting Factory in the middle of Hollywood, listening carefully to this unbelieveable band.

Karin's voice has really matured -- rich and luscious.  The music is powerful.  The band was tight.  Awesome.

The crowd was coolly dispassionate.  They stood there, individually or in groups.  Each seemed an island unto themselves, surrounded by an invisible wall.  No one touched or pushed each other.  Very civil.

Yet they were generous with their applause.  They kept pulling the band out for encores at the end.  The last song was the most intimate, and powerful.

I was able to see Linford and Karin briefly afterwards.  And the next morning, I had breakfast with Linford at the Best Western hotel in the Hollywood Hills.

You think you're the only one going through stuff.  You think you must be the only one who's had to make the transition from living within a conservative, religious family -- to living within the real world.

And then you find out that you're not alone.  It was a powerful moment for me.

Thanks, Linford, for being real.

          *        *          *

I've just discovered Grey's Anatomy.  And Carnivale.

Isn't DVD wonderful?

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