Category Archives: Entertainment

Cemetery of Forgotten Books

Or was it The Confession by Grisham?We gathered up a stack of books to drop off at a nearby library’s used book room. Among them: The Reversal, a recently published crime thriller by the great Michael Connelly. We had purchased it only a few months ago and read it straight through. One gulp. The last word on the last page had barely finished resonating before we stuck the bestseller on a shelf and returned to the grim demands of daily life.

Until this morning when it came off that shelf (where we found it next to Grisham’s The Confession) we had not given The Reversal a moment’s thought. We’d forgotten we owned it. We couldn’t swear that we had even read the novel. Flipping through the book, examining a passage here, a passage there, brought nothing of the story back to mind.

Okay, we know it featured a regular Connelly character named Mickey Haller, the “Lincoln Lawyer,” an ethics-challenged defense attorney, half-brother to Connelly’s police detective hero, Harry Bosch.

But we know all that mostly because it says so on the cover. We also spotted both names while we searched the book to jog our memory. Memory remained otherwise unjogged. What “reversal”? What crime? Who did what and why? How did Haller and Bosch triumph, and over whom? No image, no episode, no snatch of dialogue bubbled up from the depths. We were stumped.

We dropped The Reversal back atop the stack of books to be recycled and thought, “That has got to be the very definition of a great read.”

The Reversal by Michael Connelly. Highly recommended.


Anthony Hopkins Plays Baal

Aerobic exorciseWe went to see the new Anthony Hopkins film The Rite this evening. When we got home we were pretty hungry. Sure, we had bought the large tub of popcorn, but only because it’s easier to carry than the paper bags, and has a stable base so you can set it on the seat next to you with no fears of an avalanche. No way were we going to eat more than 7% of the contents, nor did we, and so, upon returning to our little bungalow on Mulholland Drive, the first stop was the fridge.

Lo and behold! What did we see but the second half of the “Kung Pao Chicken Salad” we’d bought earlier at Gelson’s Deli. Did we make short work of it? And how!

You know what got us most about the salad? The bean sprouts. Yup: bean sprouts! The funny thing is, we don’t normally go for bean sprouts in a big way. They seem a little too health-foody, if you know what we mean. Like hay for cows. But tonight they seemed, instead, fresh and crunchy. Just the thing after seeing a movie about exorcism set in Rome, “the Eternal City,” and starring Anthony Hopkins, a Welsh actor. It was swell to see the great Irish actor, Ciarán Hinds, in a small role as a lecturer on demonic possession. There were many Roman cats in the movie. You’d like them.

After we had polished off the Kung Pao Chicken, we were mighty tempted to nom down on a couple of Eggo toaster waffles spread with lemon curd, but the late hour forbade.

Mulholland Senile Dementia

'There it is. Take it.' -- William MulhollandNot for nothing does David Lynch’s film Mulholland Drive begin with a collision. Living even on an unfamous appendage of this infamous mountain road means near-daily witness to mayhem. See, for instance, this post about a recent meet n greet not many yards from NiceWork Central. Los Angeles drivers are better at driving supersonically than in turning adroitly or stopping in a timely manner. Corruscating puddles of broken Safe-T-Glass guide the Mulholland Drive traveller on moonlit nights.

So imagine NiceWork‘s chagrin upon learning of the planned closing in October of Disney California Adventure‘s roller coaster Mulholland Madness. It must be demolished to make way for restaurants. We cancelled all our appointments and high-tailed it to Anaheim to grab one last snapshot of the venerable ride.

You see a photo of the attraction’s signage atop this post. And below you see one of the series of panels of a monumental mural which conceal the roller coaster’s maze of tracks from curious passers-by.

Other panels, no kidding, depict brush fires and mudslides.

This fine painting is not to be confused with a similar work, also depicting the twisty Santa Monica Mountain crest road, by David Hockney, and which hangs not so far from its subject in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art:

Human being included to show scale.

Oh, well. Ars longa, right? The painting endures — at least it was still at LACMA last time I looked — but the thrill ride soon passes into dull memory. Wave at the thrilled thrill-seekers one last time before Mulholland Madness hits that Final Speed Bump.

Is that Charlie Sheen's BMW going off the cliff?

Like Thornton, but Wilder

Your NiceWork movie reviewer parked his car in the mall lot and walked to the movie theater. That much he remembers.

He bought some treats at the treat stand. A Coke Zero™ and a medium popcorn.

They look scary here in the red light, but they were not really very scary.

They were good. He found a seat up there near the projector. It was quite a climb because the theater had “stadium seating.”

They look scary in the red light, but they really were red velvet, and not at all scary.

The movie involved nuns — or guys who look like nuns — who rob banks in Boston. They all live in Charlestown. One of the robbers falls in love with a beautiful girl bank manager that he had kidnapped for a few minutes during a bank robbery at the beginning of the story. His best friend is one of his crew and is very violent. He hits people with guns and disarms Improvised Explosive Devices (IED). He has a “Fightin’ Irish” tattoo on the back of his neck. This is important to the story. Rebecca Hall plays the beautiful girl bank manager.

That’s all your NiceWork reviewer can remember. As the end credits rolled, he carefully descended the stadium stairs, deposited his drink cup and popcorn bag in an appropriate receptacle, and left the theater. He soon found his car and drove home. There was a container of tuna salad in the fridge!

The crew robs Fenway Park. That he remembers.

Someone Slipped Me a Mickey

Where did you and the entire family go on Friday?

I went with the entire family to Disneyland in Anaheim, California.

How wonderful! Did you see Goofy?

Hyuh!Yes. He marked the floor where we parked.

Did you see Mickey Mouse?

Left to right: Some guy, Mickey Mouse.Yes. He signed autographs on Main Street.

Where was Minnie Mouse? Was MINNIE there, too?

This was only one of her physical manifestations.Minnie appeared in her balloon form.

What about Donald? Donald Duck, I mean.

Mary-Ann and Gilligan have an audience with Donald Duck.I know who you meant, of course. Yes, Donald was there in multiplicity. Here an inflated Donald stretches his arms as if to embrace the throng of parade goers.

There seem to be many forms of each of the Disney characters. Was there a flower arrangement depicting the head of Mickey Mouse?

The 102° heat only made the flowers bloom more brightly.Right as you enter Disneyland the great floral Mickey Face welcomes you.

WERE there any images of Mickey Mouse that A PERSON can consume?

The little plastic container holds mustard for dipping your Mickey pretzel.Oh, there are many edible items. For instance, you can eat a pretzel shaped like the head of Mickey Mouse.

Looks good, but it WAS QUITE hot FRIDAY.  DID THE PARK OFFER anything colder?

Pre-bitten for your convenience.Oh, sure. You can eat all manner of frozen Mickey heads.

Did you find the place in Disneyland where you wish you could live?

I would live on churros, turkey legs and Mickey beignets..Right there. Above New Orleans.

Fest Times in Little Tokyo

Pi Nei YatasWe meant only to check out an Asian grocery called Marukai Market in Los Angeles’s Little Tokyo — we were in search of an pan — but by chance we arrived at the kick-off of Nisei Week, a festival of music, prizes, colors, crowds, shabu shabu,  and whatever Japanese stuff you can think of. In the photo above you see tanabata decorations, marking the one time of year when the star-crossed lovers Hikoboshi (the star Altair) and Orihime (the star Vega) are ferried over the Milky Way to be together.

Living Manga (on the left)Yes, there were plenty of young Japanese girls dressed in semi-Harajuku fashion, but that’s not what you see in the picture above. These kids are posing as anime characters, we know not which. Hello Kitty was there, too, celebrating Sanrio’s 50th anniversary, but our photos of Hello didn’t turn out.

Blame Kuromi

The deliciousness and variety of the food aromas drove us nigh unto madness. We opted for Korean BBQ in the spirit of diversity within diversity. Power Ranger episodes from the early 90s entertained us while we snarfed.

We dropped over a hundred at the wonderful Kinokuniya Bookstore without even trying; indeed, with much restraint. Then we toddled downstairs to the original goal of the journey, the Marukai grocery store, where we loaded up on Pocky and bean cakes. Then wearily home, with the siren song of geishas pleading with us to return, a temptation to which we will succumb before Hikoboshi and Orihime next cross the Milky Way.

Fan Girl points the way.

Eyeless in Gaza, Toiling With the Checkout Clerks

Even the Stygian Witches had one eye among them.

I fully expect a trip to the grocery store to provide a sensory shock or two — the vintage Cap’n Crunch boxes currently on sale for instance — but what could have prepared me for this month’s eye-popping cover of O, the Oprah Magazine? A banner proclaims “The Makeover Issue!” but I would have thought a makeover entailed only a new do, fancy clothes, face paint and a recharged attitude, not the blunking out of one’s eyes as Oprah appears to have undergone.

Why, oh why would she go to such an extreme?  Don’t tell me it’s a “new look.” Oprah’s days of looking are no more. Even tattoos are more reversible than eyeball removal. Lieutenant Commander Geordi La Forge’s seeing eye glasses lie far in the future.

Is Oprah, in these hard times, referencing Lil Orphan Annie, the eyeless Depression era comic strip heroine? If so, big empty white circles — cucumber slices, perhaps, or spray-painted monocles — would work better than hideous cavernous sockets, and would leave her options open when further fashion developments dictate, say, a bug-eyed Marty Feldman thing.

Is she making a Sophoclean statement? Does O now stand for Oedipus? Are we meant to think of the final shot of Ray Milland in X, the Man With the X-ray Eyes? Or of Victor Mature in Samson and Delilah?

We can only hope Oprah’s many fans don’t follow her blindly.