Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Rags & Bones Vol. 2

I just read an article in USA Today that some astronauts just brought the lightsaber that Mark Hamill used in Return of the Jedi into space with them. The news reports that the weapon was brought along just for kicks and giggles. I’m not buying that. Sounds a bit fishy to me. I’m pretty sure that NASA is distributing lightsabers to space travelers in case there is intergalactic trouble. You never know when an Imperial Battle Cruiser could attack the space shuttle. Better safe than sorry.

Tonight, the timeless classic “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” is on TV. It never gets old for me. If I ever find myself thinking Chuck, Snoopy and the gang are no longer funny and charming, it’s time to re-evaluate my life. Did you know that after the special aired (in 1967!) that children all over the country mailed “Charlie Brown” candy because they felt sorry for him when he got a rock for Halloween. Now you know, and knowing is half the battle.

The other day on the 1 train, I saw an orthodox Jew. Always a happy sight. But, this gent had a yarmulke on AND the wide brimmed hat. He was rocking double Jew headgear. I’d never seen this before. Maybe this happens more than I know. I’m going to keep my eye out. May be he is really pious and wanted to make double sure he was being faithful.

On the subway, I usually listen to more mellow music. Because I read on the train. Mellow rock, folk, jazz and a lot of blues. When walking through the city, I play more up tempo cuts. These are some of my favorite songs to listen to as I walk through the streets of New York. They make me walk quicker.

1. Acquiesce – Oasis

2. You Got To Me – Neil Diamond (I’m serious. I love Neil.)

3. Baba O-Reilly – The Who

4. I Happen To Like New York – Bobby Short. That song played over the opening credits of Woody Allen’s “Manhattan Murder Mystery.”

5. Here Comes My Baby – Cat Stevens

6. Leaving Here – Pearl Jam

7. It’s A Long Way To The Top If You Want To Rock & Roll – AC/DC. You have to love a rock song that employs the use of bagpipes.

8. Twist and Shout – The Beatles

9. Land of a 1,000 Dances – Wilson Pickett

10. Tweedle-Dee – Laverne Baker. That song is best known because it was used in Uncle Buck. Man, do I miss John Candy.

I caught The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford the other day. I thought it was brilliant. Now it’s not a typical Hollywood western. In fact, it’s more a period drama than a western. It’s a beautiful film and one of the best I have seen this year.

Speaking of films, if you are looking for advice on a movie to watch on Halloween, I have five suggestions. This is what I may watch.

1. The Shining; 1980 – If you have never seen it, now is the time. If you have seen it, a re-visit wouldn’t be out of line. With all the so-called “torture porn” that Hollywood is churning out – Saw, Hostel, Hills Have Eyes, Devil’s Rejects, etc. – it’s good to remember what a truly scary movie can do.

2. The Mummy; 1932 – No, no, not the Brendan Fraser one. The original classic featuring the immortal Boris Karloff. This is creepy, campy fun. You’d be okay going with any of the “Universal Monsters.” That would include Dracula, Frankenstein, Wolfman, Creature from the Black Lagoon or The Invisible Man. They’re all great. Especially if you have never seen them. I’m choosing The Mummy here because my nephew suggested that I go as a Mummy for Halloween. His other suggestion was a “Vamp-pirate.” That would have been awesome.

3. The Thing; 1982 – In a move that contradicts my usual patterns, I am suggesting the re-make instead of the original. I do love the Howard Hawks original, The Thing From Another World, but the 1982 John Carpenter version is scary as hell. Carpenter also has other good Halloween films. See: Halloween (obviously), The Fog, Christine and They Live. The Thing will scare the crap out of you.

4. Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein; 1948 – It’s on AFI’s top 100 Funniest Films for a reason. It’s hysterical. And okay for the kiddies.

5. House of Wax; 1953 – Now back to the original versions. It’s hard to pick a Vincent Price film, but I love this one. A beauty. Don’t screw up and rent the one with Paris Hilton in it. That would be embarrassing.

The other night, I went to a Halloween party. I went as “Floor of a Movie Theater.” I bought a black shirt, then pinned popcorn boxes, soda cups, hot dog cartons, candy wrappers and glued popcorn on. Bingo: Floor of a Movie Theater. Feel free to steal the idea.

Happy Halloween…

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