Friday, July 4, 2008

This Was No Boat Accident

Thank sweet Baby Jesus, God, Allah, Yahweh, Buddha, Mohammed, Confuscius, and William Shatner for AMC today. They are showing all the Jaws movies in honor of the 4th of July. Of course, for a few decades now I've always indulged in the annual viewing of the original Big Shark Movie on the 4th. More than extreme barbecue and fireworks, it seemed the only tradition that made sense on this holiday. A classic tale of big honkin' shark against man, it holds up after more than 30 years for good storytelling and a lesson for filmmakers everywhere on how to save a movie when your mechanical shark does not work more than half the time. Good thing too for Spielberg, mere glimpses of the shark heightened the suspense all through the movie so during the big having-Robert-Shaw-for-dinner scene, it paid off handsomely (A lesson Ridley Scott used to up the icky ante in 1979's Alien). More than shark effects, the movie is filled with classic scenes but none so perfect as Robert Shaw's Quint talking about the sinking of the Indianapolis. The fact that he wasn't nominated for an Academy Award that year seems incomprehensible but there it is, another example of Hollywood ignorance. This is also one of the rare instances where I preferred the film over the book. Benchley's novel had the affair of Brody's wife with Hooper in the background of the story and so later on, Hooper being eaten by the shark was no loss to the reader because brilliant as he was, he still schtooped the protagonist's wife and therefore had to die. In the movie, they eliminated that subplot which proved to be a great choice as Richard Dreyfuss's Hooper is a wonderful combination of brainy bravado and comic relief.

Of course, for a second helping of Sharkapalooza, skip the remaining Jaws sequels and go right to the big popcorn and ultimate cheese experience of Deep Blue Sea. It's absolutely fabulous in its absurdity and isn't that what makes our country great?

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

A Bike Tale

With temperatures in the mid 80's, today demanded a bit of face time out and about. So off I went on my bike, running a few errands and then a last stop to the best bike shop at the beach, Champion Cycles. Great shop with knowledgeable guys. I was on the hunt for a rear rack and a basket and they were good enough to do the honors. Rear racks require a ton of little struts and bolts and screws and it takes a good half hour to get it done. Roger worked with great attention to detail and proved that great customer service is not dead.
There I was feeling awfully proud of myself. Got some exercise, left nary a carbon footprint, contributed to the local economy. How cool am I? Yep, pulled into my driveway, got off the bike the old way, pulling my leg up and over behind me. Oh yes, my leg caught my new basket sitting so snugly on the new racks and WHAM, down I went, ass first. That's a 3 foot drop at 50 mph hitting the concrete.
It hurt so much for the first three minutes all I could do is whimper out a series of OW-OW-OW-OW-OW-OW-OWs in various pitches. I couldn't even curse because all the OWs had not been unearthed from my butt. After I got up and swept the cracked pieces of my ass off the driveway, I limped into the house, grabbed a fistfull of Advil, sat down ever so gingerly and decided to be grateful.
I'll explain.
Imagine, if you will, if I had done this in public. Outside Publix? In front of the Book Mark? Stopping at Al's Pizza? Jeez Louise. Nothing marks middle age like random clumsiness. I was lucky this happened in the privacy of my own driveway. Plus any new habits need a mnemonic noodge and this is mine. Getting off my bike will be done from the front from now on which is why I have a girly bike. My tuckus will be sore for a few weeks, but it's just enough time for this new habit to take up residence in my long term memory.
So as my left cheek swells to twice its normal size and my ass continues to throb (and not in a good way either), it was still a great summer day on (and off) my bike.