The Haunting of Miss Tina

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According to Wikipedia: This is a poster for The Lost Moment. The poster art copyright is believed to belong to the distributor of the film, the publisher of the film or the graphic artist. It is used only to provide a review of the film. There were no decent trailers of the movie. So all I can provide is the poster and this German trailer. The film is in English. It can be found on Amazon.com.

I had seen the film a long time ago. I could not remember its name or any of the actors or even the story. Scenes from the film kept appearing in my dreams. For quite some time I searched for it on IMDB, Amazon, Turner Classic Movies and the New York Times website. I haunted flea markets and used book stores and used movie sellers, thinking it was in one of their bins. I spent hours and hours at this obsession and still no results. Until a week ago…

I was out driving in my car with no particular destination. It was one of those kinds of Sunday drives we make to get the worries out of our systems. I found myself in an area I didn’t remember visiting before. I came upon this old used bookstore in an out-of-way place on the side of a dirt road. Not the friendliest sort of place, but still I was desperate to find the film. I had to see this movie. Otherwise…well, let’s just say, otherwise.

I pulled into the parking lot beside the lone car. I crossed my fingers hoping the store in the old dilapidated building was open. I went to the door and turned the knob. Yes, it did appear the store was open it. As I entered the store, a bell above the door rang.

Across the floor of the store, there were dozens of wooden bins, webs falling from beneath each. Dust was everywhere. The paint peeling from the walls.  The ceiling in places crumbling. The floor squeaked as I crossed it. The store seemed as haunted as my dreams.

Behind the counter, there was an elderly pale man, his hair gone white and his eyes a kind of gray that might be expected from one who was a ghost. He nodded to me. I nodded to him. Then he went back to what he had been doing before I came into the store.

Every bone in my body said leave. This was no place I wanted to be. Yet something had led me to this place. So I was determined to try to find the film here.

I began my search, hungry for the treasure. After hours of searching bin after bin, no luck. Outside the light was fading and the night was closing in. Finally I went to the counter to thank the old man for his time. He came from the office behind the counter. With tears in my eyes, I explained my dilemma. He shook his head. He seemed just as disappointed. I turned to go. Then I saw it. Well, I wasn’t sure that it was it. But I saw a DVD case in one of the displays. On its cover was a drawing of the ancient hand of a woman and her finger wore a large ring. “The Lost Moment” the case said.

I flipped the case over and there were three black-and-white photos. The first one had a man and a priest standing over a woman. Yes, that was my dream. This was the movie that had haunted my dreams for years.

A Labor Day Movie: They Keep Moving My Stapler

We’ve all had one of those jobs. Let’s just say we’ve all had those jobs. There’s a word for it. Cubicle and the paranoia it brings out in us is cubiclestic. It is so universal Scott Adams created a cartoon around it. Dilbert.

To celebrate this kind of job, Mike Judge has created a very special movie, Office Space (1999). He could have called it “Take this job and shove it”, but he didn’t. That title had already been taken. “Office Space” is to Labor Day what “The Christmas Story” is to the Holiday Season. It’s that Chinese Restaurant we go to for Christmas Dinner when the neighbor’s mutts have destroyed our Christmas dinner.

Once you see “Office Space”, you will understand the laws of the cubicle-verse. Such as, you will now know what happened to your stapler. Or will you? Thing is that I don’t know where the basement is. My gps can’t find it. And if it did, I remember what happens in the basement. It’s not pretty. That is why we keep saying, “Don’t go down in the basement.”

It isn’t the flair I wear; it’s how much flair I wear. Thirty-seven pieces is the preferred amount. Today. Who knows how many it will be next week. Fifty? Sixty? Seventy? Pretty soon I won’t be able to move with all that flair.

I’m in the slow lane. I switch lanes. The new lane is slower than the one I switched from.

So see “Office Space” when you get a case of the Monders because you were backed up in traffic on the way to work. Don’t forget your boss can always move your stapler. Remember “Good things can happen in this world.” Especially when Mike Judge is on the job.

By the way, don’t forget to read the memo. A Cover Sheet must go on your TPS Report.

What is the worst job you have ever had?

I see Live People

I See Live People. It’s a gift I have. Seems like I have had it always.

I first realized I had this gift when I was a baby. It made me want to cry. I didn’t cry. There were way too many other things to cry about. Like my dirty nappy, that pacifier I couldn’t reach, or my three a.m. feeding. I didn’t want to wear out my welcome so early so I didn’t cry. But those big heads, I mean they were enormous. They looked down at me with those big, enormous huge heads.

They spoke another language. If I had been a Pentecostal, I might have thought they were speaking in tongues. I mean, how do you translate this? Goo-goo ga-ga-gaa. I still haven’t figured that out. All I know is that these big headed aliens from another planet had invaded Babyworld and they were very scary.

In a moment of baby brilliance, the idea hit me. These were Live People. If I smiled and giggled, they would make nice and give me anything I wanted.

As a kid, I played hide ‘n’ go seek with my friends. I was so good at finding Live People my friends never let me be the seeker. It’s cause I see Live People.

It’s like that now as an adult. No one will play with me. I am very good at Trivial Pursuit and Jeopardy. If you play Risk with me, you are taking a real chance. It isn’t my fault I always win. You see, I see Live People.

There are times I wish I could turn the gift off. Like Commander Deanna Troi, I don’t always have that choice. It was tough to be a Betazoid just like it is tough to be a human who can see Live People.

Sometimes it’s downright embarrassing. Those are times these people are making downright fools of themselves. As Forrest Gump’s Mama used to say, “Stupid is as stupid does.” ‘Cause I see Live People.

There are the times they can be so-o-o annoying. I am sitting at a red light. It turns green. The person behind me starts honking his horn. You’d think these Live People would have more patience. But they are alive. And I see them.

There are the nice times too. Couples walking hand-in-hand in the park. A man walking his dog and kneeling to give the dog a hug. The sound of a kid’s voice when she tells her mom she got an A in school. I love it then when I see Live People.

It sounds like I am complaining. I am not. I am simply sharing something I have wanted to share for a long time. You see, I see Live People.

Do you see Live People?

To Soul or Not to Soul

It’s Cold Souls, not Old Souls. Paul Giamatti ,yes, that Paul Giamatti from “Sideways”, is an actor who can’t get it up. Get it up? you ask. Yes, his acting chops. He is doing Chekhov and “Uncle Vanya”. He is Vanya but he is not Vanya. He is lost in the part and doesn’t have a map that will take him into the role. He has reached a point where he can’t separate his part from himself.

Then he reads a “New Yorker” article. Isn’t that the source of a lot of troubles? “New Yorker” articles. A company that stores souls? So he goes for a visit. He’s just a tourist on a looksee. Not really interested. Just wants a little info on how the process works.

The company doesn’t have any answers to deep philosophical questions. It only “de-souls the body or disembodies the soul.” The man behind the desk offers to store the soul in New York City “or if you would avoid sales tax, it can be shipped to our New Jersey warehouse.” Paul answers, “No, God no. I don’t want my soul shipped to New Jersey.”

As you can see, “Cold Souls” is a comedy but one that tackles deep, philosophical questions like where Paul plans on storing his soul once he takes up on the offer. There’s always Russia. The Russian soul they talk about is there. Why not his soul?

What is in it for Paul? “Believe me. When you get rid of the soul, everything makes so much more sense. Everything becomes more functional and purposeful,” the salesman says. He is pretty convincing. What could be more appealing? Paul is convinced. Where does he sign up.

Little does Paul know this is a bait-and-switch that isn’t bait-and-switch. When Paul goes back to retrieve his soul, he finds out that somebody else has it. You could call this a romantic comedy. After all, it is the story of a man falling in love with his soul.

If you could exchange your soul for another, what kind of soul would you want?

The pure joy of fly fishing

Fly fishing has a grace and a poetry to it. To watch a line glide across the water, dive, then rise and finally land in the perfect place, that is a thing to behold. It is not about the fish. It’s the pure pleasure the fisherman takes in being one with the line gliding across the water.

A River Runs Through It is not only a great book about this thing called dry fly fishing. It is also a good movie. As sure as there was an Eden where four rivers met, there were great trout rivers, the Elkhorn and the Big Blackfoot in the western Montana of the early twentieth century. This was where Reverend Maclean instructed his two boys, Norman and Paul, in religion of the Presbyterian kind, and in the art of dry fly fishing.

Norman’s father told his sons that Adam was a fisherman casting his line into one of those four rivers of Eden. ‘Course Adam was not a fly fisherman. He was the kind of fisherman who’d be in the garden with a Hills Bro. coffee can, digging for angleworms. That was the way Adam was, and that was the reason he failed.

Like so many fathers since–and maybe before–Reverend Maclean used sport to teach his sons the values he cherished. But this is not the father’s story. It is the story of two brothers who took to fly fishing first to please their father, then to please themselves, knowing that the sport is not easily mastered. Paul, the younger, is the one who loves it more, enough to truly become an artist with it.

As it turned out, it was the one area of his life he could master. The rest of it was a mess. He was a gambler and a drinker and led a life that his family would not be proud of. Yet they could not do anything other than love him. And, for that, he would break their hearts.

What happened to Paul is much of the story–his stubbornness, his charm, his complete commitment to fly fishing–but there is no why to how he ended up the way he ended. We see the boy, Paul, refusing to eat the oatmeal before him at the breakfast table. We see the teenager Paul challenging the rapids of the river he loves. We see the adult Paul bring his Indian girl friend into one of the local dives and challenge all the bigots there to stop him. Somewhere along the way from a boyhood of fun to an adult, things turned sour for Paul. Something drove him onto a road to destruction.

Like so many outlaws we love, Paul is not just a rebel. He is a troubled man. His trouble taking him again and again to the card table until his luck ran out. But again and again he takes us to the rivers and the waters he loves to cast his line. To practice his art with a mastery that his older brother and his father recognize early on. That character that made him such a great fisherman is also the one that pulled him down. But man, what a fisherman he was.

If there is a Great American Novel, “The River Runs Through It” may very well be it. Read the book, then see the movie. They are well-worth it.