Mid-Week Mailbag.

Children in a Movie Theater.

I know everyone is probably drunk already.  The best way to beat DUI checkpoints is to start drinking earlier.  Everyone knows that.  I’m joking.  Not about the drunk part, but about the drinking and driving part.  I cannot condone that, but someone you know might have a run-in with a breathalyzer tonight.  It happens.  Working under the assumption that no one is working today, I’m trying to get the mailbag out of the way a little earlier than usual.  I’ve got things to do too.  Once again, a nice smattering of actual questions this week.

Q:  What movie quote do you think you pops into your head most often on a day-to-day basis? I don’t know why but for me it’s probably “What do you mean funny, funny how?” Of course I was the one who came up with that in the first place.  Tommy DeVito, Brooklyn, NY.  

A:  I thought about this all week.  Tough question.  Especially for someone like me who holds their own movie knowledge in such high-esteem.  Back in my bar trivia days, during the movie quotes round I would get all aggressive and be like, “GIVE ME THE DAMN PENCIL.”  So, I like to think I have a pretty nice catalog to draw from, but if I’m being honest I don’t know how many quotes are in my head in a regular basis.  If I need something, I can dial-up the card catalog, but rarely is something on the tip of my tongue.  I have to pick though, and so I’m going with my tendency to get annoyed with other people.  People who have NO IDEA what they’re talking about.  So, my final answer is: “You’re like a child who wanders into a movie, and…”–Walter Sobchak.  Close 2nd:  “Is this Russia?”–Ty Webb.

Q:  Cranberry is the worst flavor ever, correct?  Theodore Bog, Springfield, MA.

A:  I’d be inclined to agree.  I understand that cranberries are a “super-fruit” of some kind.  I understand they are very healthy for you, and that’s GREAT.  But, somewhere in the annals of time the line with cranberries got muddled.  They crossed over from something people eat because it’s good for them to something people actually enjoy.  It created the cranberry invasion, better known as the Cranvasion.  Answer me this, why would you ever want to pollute a perfectly good glass of apple juice or grape juice with a tinge of Cran?  It’s like, “OH GOD WHAT IS THAT HORRID AFTER-TASTE?”  That’s the Cran, dear friend.  That’s the Cran.  And, for whatever reason, people love it.  Of course, Thursday is also a big day for cranberries what with the sauce/gelatin loaf and all.  Nothing turns the stomach like a sloppy dish of “cran.”

Q:  If you knew you weren’t going to get hit, would you want to be shot at simply for the value of the story?  Think of all the times you could interject with, “That’s like that time I got shot at,” Or, “I’ve been shot at….No big deal.”   Clayton Pigeon, Athens, GA.  

A:  Do I want a “shot at” story?  I’m not sure.  Is the punchline, “And then I SH*T MYSELF?”  My general feeling is that I have no desire to be pursued, especially by someone toting a firearm.  But, for the sake of your question, I suppose I see the point.  It’s a more extreme version of, If you knew your parachute was going to open, would you skydive?  The problem is, you’re taking all the risk out of it.  You want your cake and you want to shove it in your hole in this scenario.  Part of the exhilaration, I assume, comes with the assumption of danger.  If you can play it all fast and loose with a guy who has a gun, because you know you aren’t getting hit, what’s the point?  I think the better question is, what percentage chance of actually getting hurt would you risk for your PRECIOUS story?  If there was a 1% chance you get clipped would you go for that?  See, you’re suddenly feeling a little less cavalier, aren’t you?  Pansy.  

Q:  I hear this is probably going to be Kristen Wiig’s last season on SNL.  My response?  Thank god.  She’s awful.  I don’t understand why people think she’s funny.  She does one character with a weird voice.  Don’t let the door hit you on the way out, Kristen.  PS, I boycotted Bridesmaids.  P.J. Phire, King of Prussia, PA.  

A:  I’m not entirely sure how SNL is still on the air.  I feel like they kind of missed the boat.  They should have disbanded and created Funny or Die and become the leader in viral videos, or something like that.  Who still sits around for an hour and a half on Saturday night to watch this?  I guess P.J. does, and if I’m being honest, so do I–but ONLY when Timberlake is hosting.  I still think a lot of the people on the show are funny, but we’ve kind of lost our taste for this breed of humor as a society.  I’ll allow a moment for the depth of that statement to sink in.  As far as Kristen Wiig goes, I certainly know what you’re talking about.  She does have a go-to voice, and Gilly–well, I’ll never understand Gilly.  But, I’m not going to say she’s terrible.  Are you one of these people who thinks women can’t be funny?  I think she’s probably better served away from SNL doing movies where she can tone it down a bit.  Bridesmaids is decent, I’m sure you’ve seen worse.  

Q: Every time my roommate buys ice cream as soon as she gets home she takes the lid off and eats the ice cream that is stuck to the lid.  Then, she puts it into the freezer.  There’s nothing more disconcerting than opening a pristine tub of ice cream to find the lid looking like a starving wolverine mauled it and then tried to cover their tracks.  I’d rather she just take a spoonful.  Edy Thompson, Canton, OH.  

A:  Dang.  You two must be perfectly compatible if this is your problem.  The gosh dang ice cream lid.  Oh, THE HORROR.  My first response is, she’s buying ice cream and you’re complaining about how she eats it?  UNGRATEFUL!  But, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you contribute to some larger grocery fund that I don’t know about.  Do you ever buy the groceries?  If you did, you’d realize how hard it is to get a pristine container of ice cream into the freezer without incident.  Especially when you know that it will be just slightly melted when you get home from the store.  IT TASTES BETTER THAT WAY.  (Are you skinny and she’s gordo?)  Also, it’s a known fact that as soon as you open the ice cream you have to eat what is stuck to the lid, or it will be ruined by freezer exposure forever.  I feel like I’m telling you a lot that you didn’t know, and you’re now prepared to back off from your tough stance on this issue.  Does a lid look a bit unsettling after it’s been attacked by a spoon?  Yes, I’ll give you that, but I’m ruling for the defendant here.  Get over yourself, Edy.

Q: You know what pisses me off about Jeopardy?  Well, a lot of things piss me off about Jeopardy, but I hate how they adjust the difficulty of the question based on the category.  Like, if it’s Ancient Rome, the question is, what was the name of the tailor who fitted Caesar for his togas, but if the category is sports the question is like, Fill in the Blank:  New York Y__kees.   Oh, don’t insult the bumbling, almanac memorizing geniuses up there by assuming they know something about dirty, bourgeois sports.  I’m right, right?  I know I’m right, I just needed to get this out.  Don Bailey, Bangor, ME.  

A:  I never really thought of that, but it’s true.  There’s an expectation of knowledge for Jeopardy contestants.  They must know everything about the Bible, about Opera, about History, but for things relating to pop-culture they need only the basics.  Here’s my theory.  Back in the day, Jeopardy would throw in these categories as a form of comic relief, or perhaps to make the audience feel better.  They throw out some basketball question and Skippy McDoublePHD says, “Who is Magic Jordan.”  Then, everyone LAUGHS THEIR ASSES OFF.  You have to admit, that can be quite funny.  But, at some point these enterprising contestants realized that if they had just a functional knowledge of sports they could sweep a category with ease.  Hey, the money is the same.  So, now you get far less embarrassing answers, but the Jeopardy people haven’t responded by making the questions any harder.  It is offensive, though.  What I know isn’t important.  Jeopardy decides what’s important.  Screw off.  


Ok, we’re closing the mailbag today with a real question.  It’s longer than usual.  And, if you are a very loyal reader of the blog, the material will be somewhat redundant.  So, fair warning there.  I’m about to go off on a little ranty-rant-rant here.  Proceed with caution.

Q: For some reason I’m obsessed with your hatred of the Kindle and other reading devices.  I know you previously laid out the entire argument as to why this is…and well I guess I’m saying, your argument sucks!  My questions include what’s so wrong with using a reading device?  I suppose your answer will be, nothing but I personally just don’t want to use one.  It’s the same words you are reading – it’s just a different delivery system – like an improved ketchup bottle from Heinz.  

You like the book shelf and displaying all your books?  Ohhhhhhhh look at meeee I read Tender is the Night!  I’m not saying go Fahrenheit 451, you can keep the comforting walls of your books. But moving forward…it’s time to embrace the Kindle. You can make the change on your terms now…or you can be that guy 20 years from now shopping for physical books at antique stores. Isn’t this just a case of being slow to embrace useful technology?  Similar to perhaps one of our grandparents saying I would never talk on the phone to someone I prefer to write letters!  Or someone refusing to use email and holding on to the paper/pen/mail format?  

There are unquestionable conveniences to a Kindle and research is showing that more books are being purchased via Kindles than hard copy(on Amazon) and overall readership is up in the past few years.  My thought is if you were forced to use one, once you got going, you’d be reading the same words, the same art form, and you’d have the same enjoyment.  No you wouldn’t be able to see how many pages you have left at any given time, although I’m sure the Kindle can tell you that, but either way you are still holding the book – the book is the words right?  Here’s what I’m saying, don’t tell me the Kindle sucks until you’ve tried one…I know it’s going to be horrifically painful, but I challenge you to borrow someones reading device, read a book, take a little time to reflect, and then report back your findings.  Kindle Conrad, Conshohocken, PA.  

A:  I am so angry at you right now, Kindle Conrad.  Nice alias.  I KNOW WHERE YOU LIVE.  Seriously, though, you might want to re-read my post on the Kindle.  Oh, I’m sorry, can you even read?  Anyway, that post outlines the fact that I do not hate the Kindle.  I simply do not want to use one myself.  I’m not sure why you can’t understand that distinction.  I’m sorry my desire to have books is offensive to you, but considering the last book you cracked (given the name drop in your question) was probably the Cliff Notes for Fahrenheit 451, I’m not really concerned with your opinion.  My question to you would be, what is with your obsessive desire to conform to what is new and convenient?  Are you trying to live the most convenient life possible, or are you trying to live the life you want to live?  And, I address this constantly, but try worrying about things that impact you.  You’re the person that is like, “Oh my god, try this Pomegranate juice, it’s delicious and will anti-oxidize your entire body in 2.4 seconds.  How can you not like it?”  Because, I DON’T LIKE IT!  LEAVE ME ALONE, FREAK SHOW.  

Getting back to your question, could you make less apt comparisons?  No, first of all, what is a “physical book?”  That’s just a book, right?  I’ll be buying books in antique stores.  Now, are those “physical” antique stores?  A book implies bound pages, cover, things of that nature.  What you get on a Kindle is a digitized manuscript.  It’s not a book, so no need to make the distinction.  

Your examples hold no water.  Email is obviously instantaneous, there’s an undeniable advantage over putting the note in the actual mail.  It also provides a reasonable alternative to a phone call.  A book vs. something on a Kindle is just a different way of accomplishing the same thing.  Ok, I can download the book and I don’t have to go to the bookstore, and I have countless more square feet now that I don’t have to store hundreds of books, but those are things I’m not interested in.  I never go to the bookstore in a rush.  I go to browse, take 30-40 minutes to walk around, people watch, flip through some books, it’s all part of the experience.  And, I’m not burdened by carrying books around, or having them around.  I like to keep a book in the can.  Should I get a Kindle caddy for my toilet?  That seems like it wouldn’t end well.  

And, how dare you bring Ketchup into this?

Just because I am fighting a losing battle doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be fought, or that I shouldn’t state what I believe in.  Do you buckle to everything that’s inevitable?  If you have a kid will you not take it to the Zoo to see a Hippo because they’ll be extinct in 40 years?  If we were going to run out of oranges in the year 2043 would you stop eating them now to get used to it?  Hell no.  You’d keep eating your oranges and deal with not having them when that day came.  

I’m thrilled people are reading more, but I don’t think I’m going to change my mind on this one.  If you need me to read a book on a Kindle I will, but I happen to know that you DO NOT HAVE ONE either.  But, I’ve read long manuscripts on a computer screen in handy-dandy “book view” or whatever microsoft calls it, and while I might not be able to get as cozy on the couch, I imagine the experience is similar.  

One last thing, when I’m reading, I want to be reading.  I don’t want to be interfacing with my Guy-Pad.  I don’t want emails coming in, or to be tempted to check the internet, or to fire up some stupid game.  I’m trying to read a book.  A bleeping “physical” book.  So, leave me alone.  And, you can take your Kindle and do with it what Adam Sandler did with the shampoo bottle in, “At a Medium Pace.”  


8 thoughts on “Mid-Week Mailbag.

  1. wow. this round kind of leaves me speechless…i better chaperone 3-Putt next time he’s in Conshy…

    well done, and i agree with the 3-Putt Kindle thang…I mean, I think for true book lovers…the real comparison (besides i dont want technology any place near where i often to hold my books)…um…

    “hey buddy, isn’t it better to watch a hockey game on tv than hold the game in your hands at the rink?”

    NO NO IT IS NOT…i love my books, i love their smell and their dimensions and the bookstore is my favorite place besides being under my downcomforter with a book in hand, there is a difference. it is called a piece of technology.

    and yes, i still handwrite thank you letters and bday cards.
    i believe in ink on paper as long as i shall live.

    ps, don’t just lick the lids of ice cream, lick the top layer!


    • I know it’s not addressed to me and I am far and away the least movie-educated person here, but…

      Underrated: Carlito’s Way (I can’t bring myself to watch the second one with P Diddy) Ice Age (no, really), Sex Drive (not a porno), Reservoir Dogs (a lot of people like it, but it should be higher on lists, thus it is underrated), Goonies

      Overrated: Inception (tried wayyyyy to hard to be different) In the Bedroom (Also not a porno), Little Miss Sunshine (Not. Funny) Burn After Reading (Also, not funny)

      • Sex drive is one of my favorite movies by the way, hysterical. So many little lines (pees in the gas tank and goes “ahh it’s like razor blades”), just classic.

        You ever see fan boys?

    • Fun fact, I was part of a test audience for outside providence in high school. True story. I was shocked when it came out since I assumed if I was worthy of a test audience for it they’d shelve it.

      Blazing Saddles- I think it’s easily, hands down the greatest comedy of all time. So it’s underrated.
      PCU- infintely quotable and cast of guys prior to them becoming famous and consequently unfunny.
      MacGruber- I can’t explain it. Just tell ms what you want me to f*****ck….
      Bad Santa- it’s an adult movie….for adults….

  2. I obviously need to see Sex Drive. Even though I’m not sure I trust you guys.

    I guess you have to distinguish between cult movies and ones that really not many people like and are underrated.

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