Reasonable Words

“She had a pretty gift for quotation, which is a serviceable substitute for wit.” — W. Somerset Maughan

A Grand Canyon do-over? Please shoot me, and make it quick.


Filmed on location in Hoover, Alabama: When did Han Solo get so old and where exactly is he taking my dry cleaner?

NYT: Crossing Over, Thorny Path of Immigration, Post 9/11

When it comes to politics and the big screen, American filmmakers tend to fall into two camps, the grossly exploitative and the earnestly instructive. On the earnestly instructive side are well-intentioned downers and uppers like “Grand Canyon”

Stop right there. Stop right there. If this is going where I think…

…and their lower-budget equivalents, like “The Visitor” and “Frozen River,” which offer prescriptive lessons in tolerance. On the grossly exploitative are those films, like Wayne Kramer’s “Crossing Over,” that deliver their sanctimony with less hand-wringing and more fist-shaking, complete with lurid violence and, for no real narrative reason, periodically bared female flesh.

Okay okay okay. Now that I know I don’t have to watch a rehash of what was arguably the most sanctimonious cast ever assembled teaching me about the serendipity of thousands of small, wondrous connections that bring everyday people together in the So Cal wasteland, I’m still listening. Not that I’m exactly keen on the “grossly exploitative,” but as long as lurid violence and narratively extraneous flesh are all that’s being forced on me (which I regard as an assault nonetheless) instead of new-agey liberal overreach (which, because I’m  a liberal, I feel borders on battery), I can hang. For a while at least.

In general, the grossly exploitative flicks tend to be more entertaining or at least bearable than the earnestly instructive variant.

[singsong] Thank you. [/singsong] So it looks like what we have here is something like Crash (the self-righteous one, not the one that’ll really fucking blow your mind*) meets Lethal Weapon meets Babel meets Lethal Weapon 2 meets Traffic. In short, some mindless action helps the lecture go down. Yipeee!!! So where am I going with this, except to invent an excuse to once more decry the existence of Grand Canyon? Good question. It’s still some nebulous thing in my head, but I think it has to do with the message of popular cinema staying in time with the political pendulum (maybe a note or two behind). Or, to put it another way:

Reagan : Iron Eagle :: Clinton : Independence Day


Bush 43 : Bad Boys II :: Obama : (outcome pending)

If either this schematic or the title of this post makes any sense at all to you, I think we have some things to talk about.

To be continued.


* I mean this shit was censored in Europe!

Filed under: Film, Geeking Out, I Call Bullsh*t, I'm an aesthete. Sue me.

Mix Tape Madness, Vol. I: The Mocha Bonds Mix


Let’s do this.

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Filed under: In the Ear

Well one good thing has come from the meltdown in Detroit.


PT Cruiser: From Hero to Zero

As part of the cuts associated with its viability plan, Chrysler recently announced that it would end production of the PT Cruiser. It was a pretty good run for the retromobile, introduced in 2000 and intended to evoke an old gangster getaway car or hot-rod Model A wagon.

Oh, that’s what it was meant to evoke. My bad; in my nightmares it was always a warped retro-futuristic hellscape wherein Mad Max chases  Toecutter through the set of Cars on crack (or maybe the set of Cars rolling; the set of Cars holding something good anyway). But I’m a layperson. Let’s go to the experts (with my emphasis):

This car is like a classic,” [Dr. Clotaire Rapaille] said. “There are people who collect them and there are Web sites and clubs.” But the PT Cruiser suffered, Dr. Rapaille said, partially because Daimler, which merged with Chrysler in 1998, did not like the car.

Get yours before they’re gone. Nothing holds resale value like a car that’s like a classic.

Filed under: Commerce, I'm an aesthete. Sue me., Things that tickle me

“…[U]nto dust you shall return.”

“Ritual is the way you carry the presence of the sacred. Ritual is the spark that must not go out.”
— Christina Baldwin


Appreciating Ash Wednesday–Without Bursting into Flames

Filed under: God & Co., IRL

Expecting different results

This guy.

Birmingham Mayor Larry Langford calls for Balance in Media

Langford said that since the media will not be fair to him, he has taken steps to get his message out in other ways, including the online broadcast of City Council meetings, a digital newsletter and DVD presentations of his programs.

Sir, can I point out how little success Richard Scrushy had with that approach?

Langford told the audience of a few dozen that the election of Barack Obama, while momentous, does not make the nation a “post-racial” society. He said racism continues to exist and is perpetuated by the media.

Sir, also, funny story, simply playing on the fact that he was a black man ultimately didn’t work for Scrushy either.

Filed under: I Call Bullsh*t, Jeffco = Toxic

Help a girl out.

Filed under: God & Co., IRL, You Boss Me

Would you look at this shit?


I ask you, what avian spawn of hell, in a million years, if he were trying?

To birds of the Southern Birmingham-Hoover Metroplex: This act of naked aggression will not go unanswered. Bitches.

Filed under: Get Your Hate On, IRL, That's F*cked Up

Weekend Review: “Sweeter than a cherry pie with Reddi-Whip topping”

It appears WordPress does not have a widget that functions like TypePad’s “Media List,” which allows the author to rave about/identify/plug different media items they’re enjoying–or trying to impress their reader(s) by pretending to enjoy. So I guess I’ll do it with a homegrown post. Get comfortable.

On DVD: Mad Men, Season 1

As previously intimated, I’m jonesin’ pretty bad for some fresh Mad Men. Since I’ve no idea when Season 3 is coming out, and Season 2 isn’t available until Summer, it appears, I rummage to the back of the sock drawer for Season 1. It’s not all stems and seeds, but it’s just whetting my appetite to see how 1963 will end (apparently with some national calamity, I read in a fan forum).

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Filed under: Books, Film, In the Ear, IRL, The Idiot Box

Once more into the breach, bitches!


Let’s dispense with my goofy affectations for a minute. The Alabama State Legislature is in session. This means any solid object possessed of the least bit of  sentience should and will be livid about all the ways this state needs help needs to help itself, but can’t and won’t. I’m not breaking any ground by pointing out that this occurs mainly because a small, rich, and mostly white minority does well when the rest of Alabamians are scared, ignorant, and angry, and every year they’re able to maintain the status quo.  Every year, excellent writers from all over the state rail against this inaction, and do a damn fine job. I’ve certainly griped to anyone who’d listen.

But I’m not gonna front anymore, dear reader; I’m tired. The years-long stranglehold The Rich have had on this state and its people; sensible voices calling for real action but drowned out by a spectacle of hatred, repression and near-barbarity; watching organizations work long and hard in order to eek out the tiniest of victories, at best. They’ve all beaten me into something like* resignation.

So, with your indulgence and a full spleen, I will compose a perfunctory post of indignation below. It’s neither complete nor particularly well-written. I clearly struggle for a way to tie it up at the end. But it’s tradition, and I have a soft spot for this place.   — the Editor

* Actual resignation may vary.

You call this work?

Alabama House of Representatives backs making it illegal to text while driving; heads to Senate

How much courage does it take to bring our traffic laws into the 21st century? On a 97-4 vote, no less? (And yes, it should be illegal, so spare me the outrage of having your personal liberties violated).  Wake me when these assholes make some progress on lifting our criminally regressive grocery tax.

Peace out.

Filed under: I Call Bullsh*t

An open letter to my iPod

(With sincere apologies to McSweeney’s)


Tiny Black 30GB iPod, why do you make this face at me? Haven’t I always been good to you? Since the day I first unwrapped you in 2006, in accordance with manufacturer’s recommendations, I’ve kept you in some type of protective case. Did I smother you? I tried to give you space to breathe with colorful socks. I’ve never defiled you with non-Apple-approved accessories, often paying a ridiculous mark-up to spare you the degradation.  I’ve even grown used to sheer agony that comes with wearing earbuds.

Tiny Black 30GB iPod, I don’t know where I went wrong. I always thought you enjoyed running in the park, me in my hoodie and yoga pants, you in that cute neoprene armband you like. Remember? We had some good times, didn’t we? I wish you’d talk to me. But all I hear now is the click-click-click of what I assume is an unhappy hard drive. I’d send you to meet your maker, but they want $135, not to repair but to replace you. And since I’m horrible at backing up data, nothing will replace the untold dollars’ worth of iTunes purchases that exist only in your memory.

You know, there are ways of getting you to work again for less money, but I think I should seize upon this opportunity for some long -overdue changes. See, starting today, Tiny Black 30GB iPod, there are new rules. I’ve been trying to decide how to tell you this, so I’ll just come out and say it. I’ve been using something else; I got an iPhone for Christmas, see. It was a gift and it just happened before I knew it! At first he meant nothing (well, very little) to me. I didn’t trust him. With his multi-functionality and non-compatible headphone jack, he played by his own rules and was too clever by half. But, gradually, he began to grow on me. And being able to email, listen to music, and snap a photo with the same piece of hardware, absurd as it sounds, well, it means less clutter in my purse.

So if you think you’re sad now, Tiny Black 30GB iPod, we’ll see how the inside of a drawer for an indeterminate length of time suits you.



Filed under: Geeking Out, IRL


reasonablewords (at)
February 2009
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