Thursday, May 28, 2009

Six of one, half-dozen of the other

Well, as we come up on the end of this month, we're in full May-Gray weather mode here in L.A. We're all just prepping ourselves for the warm weather months ahead, I guess. So, let's perform some clean up before the month is out.

I'm almost through with The Devil in the White City--another great recommendation by blogger Corey Wilde. Author Erik Larson transports the reader beautifully back in time to Chicago as the nineteenth century comes to a close. And he makes it a vivid
 journey with many historical figures and facts dotting the landscape. Larson's stunning detail of the making of that city's World's Fair of 1893 is just about peerless and done with fine writing skill. Echoes of the central event still impact us to this day. I'm not even bringing up the chilling serial killer stalking within the shadows of this tale. If this was a fictional novel, it would be a wild concoction on its own. But, from an historical non-fiction work, it's been a wonderful ride. Scott Brick performs his usual splendid narration on this unabridged audiobook. But, when I'm done, it's The Dawn Patrol for me on audio (another recommendation by Corey and Pop Culture Nerd).

That's well and fine for my ears, but what to read next after I finish Tonight I Said Goodbye? Thanks go to book blogger Jen for that recommendation. I'm not the fastest reader since a sojourn between the cover of a book is hard to come by for this father of two (who, between my kids, must have a bet going to see who can shock the old man the most). Recently, I struck out with my favorite local book shop, The Mystery Bookstore, in trying to locate a copy of Small Crimes by Dave Zeltersman. I started craving to read this work after I took in Corey's interview of the author. It just sounds so ferocious. And today, as I was across the street from my work, at the oh so trendy Beverly Center, I thought I'd check to see if anyone there had this paperback. I was on the phone with she-who-must-be-obeyed, when this conversation occurred:

Me: "I'm looking at the mall directory and guess what?"

Wife: (silently waiting for her husband to get to the point... again)

Me: "There's no longer a book store in the Beverly Center! The ones that used to be here are now gone."

Wife: "Makes sense. You'd have to have people who'd want to read a book there instead of text messages."

Me: (now I'm silently wondering why she gets to say the clever, pithy passage in this post)

Anyway, till I find this book, I'll be reading Money Shot for my pulp noir fix.


Terminator Salvation: Decent sci-fi actioner. Has more of the grittier aspect of James Cameron's first Terminator movie, but it's still not in the same league as the first two in the series. Although, Christian Bale (regardless of his on set demeanor) makes a superior John Connor compared to the supremely wimpy interpretation by Nick Stahl of Terminator III. Whoever made that movie's decisions should have been shot. At least, this one washes that previous bad taste out of my mouth.

Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian: all I can say it's better than it predecessor, and has a way better villain to enjoy (Hank Azaria). Also, Hank must be working out because the guns he displays in the movie is making the First Lady and the Governator jealous. Anyway, I enjoyed this with the kids. My favorite sequence in it was the Air & Space Museum portion. During it, there's a great movie reference with Ron Howard's brother that was really clever. At least I didn't have to take a nap to get through it ;-).

And I'm definitely looking forward to Pixar's Up this week!

For you Steely Dan fans out there, blogger Dennis Cozzalio has posted a wonderful piece about the band, their music, lyrics, and movie references. If you're a fan of any of those, you gotta check out this post. As well, those commenting on the piece are equally up to the task, here. In honor of this, I've got Gaucho's Time Out of Mind playing on the computer as I write this.

Quick Movie Quiz

(yes, I'm padding this post--answers to this are in the Comments section)

How many times has actor Michael Biehn portrayed a Navy SEAL in movies?

Name the movies and his characters for extra credit.

Go Lakers!


  1. How many times has actor Michael Biehn portrayed a Navy SEAL in movies?:

    Answer: 3

    The Abyss 1989 - Hiram Coffey

    Navy SEALS 1990 - James Curran

    The Rock 1996 - Charles Anderson

    For extra, extra credit what was his rank in each of those movies?

    The Abyss - Lieutenant

    Navy SEALS - Lieutenant

    The Rock - Commander

  2. O.k., I want to know why the "kids having the contest to shock dad" was just a side note??? WHAT are they doing??? ;)

    Don't forget to look for BAD TRAFFIC, too! That book is STILL stuck in my head! Glad you enjoyed TONIGHT I SAID GOODBYE.

    And I think your wife gets all the good lines in the post because you call her "One-who-must-be-obeyed"! Hahahahaha!

    Such fun post, Michael! :)

  3. With two kids, especially the kind who would organize their own sleepover without permission, I don't know how you find time to read anything in book form.

    Excellent post. You've made me crave a fresh listen to Aja.

  4. Jen: for example, my daughter successfully diagnosed her sitter's wireless problem - "Dad, her laptop works here, but not at her home. And I think it's her modem. It has a red light showing." The sitter re-seated her phone line to the wall jack: fixed. Scary...

    I've not forgotten about Bad Traffic. What's really something, though, the Amazon Marketplace has people selling the UK paperback version, too.

    And yes, in a battle with the female mind, I don't have enough ammo!

    Corey: last night as I finished this post, my wife poked her hit out of the bedroom and asked, "What with you and Steely Dan right now?" The funny thing is, when we started dating, she always had the Aja disc playing when I came over.

    Thanks, guys.

  5. Can't blame her - fine, fine LP that Aja. Deacon Blues especially has very noir lyrics.

  6. Thanks for the link to my Dawn Patrol review. I'm excited it's next on your list and will look forward to your thoughts on it.

    I'm a Michael Biehn fan but didn't know he had such an illustrious career as a Navy SEAL! Thanks for that bit of trivia. Despite all that SEAL action, though, my favorite role of his is still Kyle Reese.

  7. Corey: You and my wife with Deacon Blues! Let's try an experiment. Do you like this track from Santana's Supernatural? It's also a favorite of hers.

    PCN: always happy to link to you. Agree with Kyle Reese point. In fact, without that role, Michael doesn't get those other SEAL roles. Good to have seen him again in 2007's Planet Terror.

  8. I like Put Your Lights On, but don't love it; I'm not crazy about the vocals. Everything else about it is killer. I know it's weird but I always think Tony Joe White should be singing it. Definitely weird.

  9. Now there's a name I haven't heard in years. And, yeah. His voice with those lyrics (which is what my wife especially loves) would work. Good to know TJW is still around. Thanks, Corey.