Sunday, September 9, 2012

Short Items from the Culture Desk

-- Dave and I went to see a singing trio called Fascinating Aida with some friends last night. I'd never heard of them before, but they're quite well known for their comedic, witty, bawdy songs. One, called "Cheap Flights," was a YouTube hit at one time, and they have another about New Zealand, which seemed particularly appropriate given my blog post yesterday. (I'm sure they sang it just for me.)

-- I'm reading "Treasure Island," one of those books that I probably should have read about 35 years ago but for some reason never did. It's amazing how many names and references from the book are already familiar: Long John Silver, for example, or the Admiral Benbow Inn. When I was growing up in Tampa there used to be an inexpensive hotel near the airport called the Admiral Benbow Inn. Apparently there really was an Admiral Benbow, but I'm guessing without "Treasure Island" the hotel owners would never have come up with that name.

-- Dave and I watched "What's Up Doc?" yesterday afternoon. It's a perfect weekend matinee movie. Somehow, Dave got through his childhood without ever seeing it, despite the fact that it seemed to be on television at least annually in the late 1970s. It's still a hoot. We debated whether Barbra Streisand was attractive in those days (I said yes), but we both gave thumbs-up to Ryan O'Neal.

-- And speaking of old movies, some of you may know that I'm a fan of '70s disaster flicks, especially "Earthquake." So dramatic! So campy! Well, I thought I was an "Earthquake" aficionado, but I joined a Facebook fan page for the movie -- at let me just say that I can't begin to hold a candle to some of these other people. They know every line, every flaw in every scene, every backstory on every casting decision. Their comments are hilarious to read. I'm just a beginner.

-- Back in March, when I was last in Florida, my friends John and Sue introduced me to a brand of beer called Magic Hat. The beer was good, but I especially dug the bottle caps. The inside of each cap bears a curious phrase of some kind. On my two caps: "Tweak the nose of those who doze," and "The secrets of the universe are contained herein." I've been carrying those phrases around in my iPhone ever since, meaning to add them to my blog, and I kept forgetting. So here you go.

(Photo: Window-washing day at Harmony Nail in New Cross, last Friday.)


  1. What? Magic Hat bottle tops have sayings in them? I need to start paying attention.
    Yes. Ryan O'Neal was smokin' hot back in the day. And Babs was...well, very interesting.

  2. I wish Mike liked disaster flicks as much as I do - we'd be watching them all the time.

    I've never read Treasure Island - or Moby Dick for that matter. But I read Ivanhoe which is probably as long as both of those books put together - does that count?

  3. I love that you're a fan of disaster movies. I have such fond memories -- just pure pleasure, really -- of those seventies disaster movies -- The Towering Inferno, Earthquake, The Poseidon Adventure. Take me back!

  4. I'm with you on the old movies - especially the disaster types! As a kid, I was obsessed with them, almost to the point that I began to question whether it was normal; afterall, disaster movies don't contain the happiest and wholesome of content. I used to have Earthquake on VHS but after reading this, I may have to take a trip on over to Amazon!

    And props for reading Treasure Island! When I was about 9, my elderly neighbour gave me an old bound copy of that book for helping him mow the lawn. So whilst all my friends were off reading Harry Potter or some new Malorie Blackman, there was I with my nose buried in the tales of the high seas. I've never re-read it but I still remember it so well even though I've forgotten half of the other novels I've ploughed through. Fantastic story telling.

  5. Ms Moon: Yeah! My friends have a big bowl of them, and every one has a phrase.

    Bug: Ivanhoe definitely counts. I haven't read that one, though I did manage "Moby Dick" several years ago.

    Elizabeth: They were great, weren't they? Modern ones, like "2012" or "The Day After Tomorrow," can be fun too, but they're missing that essential camp factor.

    Wayne: Join the Facebook page! I'm telling you, it's a trip. I think many kids read "Treasure Island" the same way you did -- an adult gave them a copy. Even the one I'm reading now was a gift copy to some boy years ago, according to the inscription.