Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Oldies but Goodies

(Totally spaced titling this one first time around...Need more coffee....)

Though not an afficianado, I've been on a classic movie kick of late. Yesterday, I watched The Big Sleep and The Maltese Falcon back to back. Yes, I loves me some Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Sidney Greenstreet, and even creepy Peter Lorrie. I'm also a fan of the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movies, the Thin Man series, and anything with Katherine Hepburn, particularly when she's paired with Spencer Tracy. Or Cary Grant. Or anyone, for that matter.

Today, you'd be hard pressed to find such great banter between the sexes as many of these films offer. I'm not saying more recent movies aren't fun or sexy. But to have the interplay, the subtext, and the sexual chemistry come through without actually using certain words or the physicality that is present today is a lost art. When was the last time you got the impression a couple was hot for each other when, on screen, all that was shown was some snappy, not suggestive give-and-take and a 3 second kiss? (Side note: back in the day, screen kisses could only last 3 seconds. No kidding.) I'm sure they're out there, but it's not the norm.

Don't get me wrong, I'm no prude, and I like more graphic movies too. But there is a part of me that smiles and is deeply satisfied by the dance between men and women as shown in those old films. When the raciest lines are like this, from The Big Sleep:

A female taxi driver, who has followed a car with Marlowe in the back, hands him a card.

Driver: Call me if you need me again.

Marlowe: Day and night?

Driver (putting taxi in gear): Make it night. I work during the day.


Will that sort of interplay ever be popular again? I don't know. I'd hate to think we always have to be hit over the head with sexual content. I'd love to hear about recent films you've seen that defy typical "in your face" sexuality. Any suggestions?


Sunday, March 07, 2010

Expect the (Un)Expected

I mention the weather a lot because, let's face it, living Alaska we get a lot of weather. While March might come in like a lion, most of the Nation is starting to see some signs of spring. Winter-dead grass is beginning to perk up. Tree buds might be unclenching in the warmer, longer days. Birds are beginning to show up again.

Here in the semi-frozen north, we got a taste of spring the last two weeks of February. Yes, February. The temps hovered in the low 40s, there were spurts of heavy rain that melted the mountains of snow (nothing that lasted more than a day) and most of the time a gentle wind ruffled our open coats rather than hurricane-force gusts. It was bliss. It was relief.

It didn't fool any of us.

In the Lower 48, my sister-in-law boasted about changing over her studded tires to her summer treads. Here, we tolerated the load rumble of steel on pavement, perhaps cringed at the damage of a few hundred cars on bare asphalt, but knew better than to think we wouldn't need the traction again soon enough.

And we were right.

The past three days saw the spring-like warmth in the air obliterated in a white-out of a snow system tearing across the region. Friday was the worse, with blowing snow making the five minute drive to work a nightmare of low visibility. (Yes, we had school. I would have been more surprised if they would have cancelled.) As the day progressed, short bouts of sun one minute gave way to raging, sideways snow the next. This went on all weekend, and we have a fresh, foot-high layer of heavy snow to remind us that March doesn't just come in like a lion here. It comes in like a hungry, pissy lion.

As much as we appreciated the reprieve, we know winter isn't over. In fact, chances are good we'll have snow coming and going into April or even May. But maybe, just maybe, we will have a spring as decent as the taste we got in February.

Like most things in life, you should hope for the best but be prepared for the worse. Some might consider that take to be a bit pessimistic. I prefer to think of it as realistic optimism. Sometimes, even if you're prepared for the worst, the unexpected just might turn out to be better than you feared : )

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