Sunday, January 18, 2009

Miss Potter

I watched this movie yesterday. I had almost despaired of seeing it because it kept skipping and getting stuck in the DVD player in my bedroom, which is where I prefer to watch my movies. But before I returned it to Netflix unwatched, I decided to try it in the DVD in the living room, and I'm so glad I did.

It wasn't anything truly magnificent...just a sweet, little movie about Beatrix Potter and how she came to get her first children's book published. I love movies based on true stories. I knew absolutely nothing about Beatrix Potter, but came to find out that she was a pretty special woman. She was ahead of her time in that she preferred her solitary, single state to being foisted off on a man...any so-called "suitable" man...just to suit her parents' or society's notion that a woman had to marry, so that a man could take care of her.

As it turned out, Miss Potter was able to provide a very nice life for herself. Along the way, she did find love and romance. She fell in love with the man assigned to oversee the publishing of her first book, "The Tale of Peter Rabbit." His name was Norman Warne, and he was the youngest brother in the family publishing business. His brothers gave him the assignment under the assumption he would fail miserably...it was, after all, a silly book with funny pictures and written by a woman to boot. But their plan back-fired; the book became wildly popular, as did her subsequent children's stories.

The scene in the movie that touched me the most was when Beatrix wanted to show Norman the Christmas gift she had for him. Now, I have no way of knowing if this happened as it was portrayed in the movie, but it was one of "those" cinematic moments for which we erstwhile romantics pine. There is a music box in the room and Norman asks Beatrix to dance. She resists at first, insisting she doesn't know how, and he begins to falteringly sing the song as he takes her in his arms and...teaches her how to dance. Hence the following video from the movie and the lyrics to the song.

Let Me Teach You How To Dance


Lyrics
Let me teach you how to dance
Let me lead you to the floor
Simply place your hand in mine
And then think of nothing more
Let the music cast its spell
Give the atmosphere a chance
Simply follow where I lead
Let me teach you how to dance.

It was just the sweetest, most romantic scene. They later became engaged, but he died before they ever married. Ewan McGregor portrayed Norman in the movie, and Renee Zellweger played Beatrix Potter. Like I said, it was nothing spectacular...just a sweet, little nothing movie about real people, living real lives. Miss Potter ultimately moved to the "Lake District" in England where she bought a farm and eventually married.

Oh, yeah. She also donated 4,000 acres of land to the "National Trust." Not bad for a woman and her silly, little drawings.

Another Video Featuring Various Movie Clips

Both videos found on YouTube. First one by akkygure , second one by ginnebraxD.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Dance Party Friday...One More Time

I haven't posted one of these in a while and, actually the one I have chosen tonight is a year old. Here's the thing, on Friday mornings at 5:45a.m. here in the Queen City, when there are no traffic problems of note, the traffic reporter...Bob Herzog...dances. Hence the name... Dance Party Friday. Some "dances" are funnier than others, but they are all pretty entertaining.

So, with nothing better to do on a positively "frigid" evening in Cincinnati, I took myself off to YouTube and found the following. I thought this one was pretty clever in that Bob...literally...dances with himself.

As I write this, it's 3 degrees, and I am about to polish off a pint of "Twisted Turtle" ice cream from UDF. If there was any justice in this world, I would be about to "polish off" Detective Goren in a new episode of Law & Order CI, but USA continues to hold him hostage, leaving me with nothing but wistful memories of that tall, brooding detective to keep me warm. It's starting to piss me off.

So, until USA comes to its senses, I guess I'll have to make-do with silly little nothings like this.

Dance Party Friday - Dancing With Myself

Vid posted on YouTube by Local12News.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

"Semi-Professional" Quotes

Okay, I know I’m going to sound na├»ve here, but just how do men do it? Well, to be fair, women do it, too. But in this instance, how does a man put his wife in a cab with a kiss good-bye and shuttle her off to see her mother, and then welcome his "mistress" into his wife’s bed that same evening? Guess that’s why I never married. Well, one of the many, many reasons.

After one gets past the judge’s attorney’s callous and somewhat heartless remark when he tells Carver that, "It’s in here," when he is referring to the young lady lying dead in the judge’s kitchen, we arrive at some pretty good Bobby moments. For example, he keeps opening and closing and “sniffing” the trash and Carver asks Eames if his “investigative style is always so sociable." Eames just nods nonchalantly and says, "Yeah, sure."

I thought it was pretty cool how Eames took the lead in questioning the Judge while Goren “snooped” about the room. The look on Blakemore’s face was priceless as he watched Bobby…like he couldn’t believe his eyes. I also found it very chivalrous of Bobby to take exception to the fact that Blakemore didn’t even bother to walk his “mistress” to the door once he was finished with her. He was asleep upstairs. I like to think that Bobby would be a more thoughtful and considerate lover. And, yes, I realize Bobby is a “fictional” character.) Bobby’s “just one more thing” question was neat, too in that he asked the judge what he had eaten for dinner. The judge just scoffed at him and left the room. I would never scoff at Bobby. If you watch the scene closely and slowly, it looks like D’Onofrio can barely contain a smile when he asks that last question.

I love how Bobby rattles off the litany of traits intrinsic to the “semi-professional." Carver sounded more than a bit skeptical when Bobby said there was a profile in the literature. Then he proceeded to explain precisely what that entailed. He’s so smart...is my Bobby.

"Semi-Professional" Quotes - Part I

Sometimes, Bobby exhibits “good manners." Like when he and Eames visit the victim’s mother and he asked the mom’s permission before he started poking through her daughter’s things. It, perhaps, had to do with the woman’s age and his “respect” for that. That and the fact that the woman had Parkinson’s Disease. Let’s face it, he’s not always so solicitous of other people’s feelings.

As frequently happens, Eames gets the good line when Bobby is reciting the titles of some of Emily Trudeau’s articles, and she tells him to, “stop it, you’re making me hot,” in this deadpan voice. Oh, and you can see the wheels turning in that magnificent head of his when he delivers his follow-up line about maybe Emily’s “Law Review” articles are what got Blakemore “hot.” He grows pensive, reflective…in other words…a “typical” Bobby moment. I adore those...can't get enough of them.

I truly enjoy watching Eames and Goren take a potential perp through his paces; especially pompous, pretentious ones like Judge Blakemore. It was fun watching them bait and then “reel-in” that arrogant ass in his office/chambers. Blakemore was certainly sweating bullets wondering about the location of Emily’s laptop after they were finished with him.

"Semi-Professional" Quotes - Part II

Sometimes Carver gets on my nerves when he gets on the Detectives for changing their minds about a suspect. I would hope that he would want the actual “doer” behind bars for committing the crime and not just any old Tom, Dick, or Henrietta. Carver is almost haughty when he tells the trio that “he” will handle finding out who wanted Blakemore disqualified from being a candidate for the Appellate Court.

Then, after he leaves, they adjourn to this pub where Deakins introduces them to a friend who can tell Goren & Eames how it “really” works. I enjoyed the scene in the bar. We learned a fresh snippet of information about Deakins’ life, and it was good to see a relaxed, refreshing smile on Bobby’s face. Those were the “good old days” before life wore him down. I can relate to that.

I love to watch them track down the perp…unravel the “clues”...such as they are. They start with a few questions to the Deakins’ friend, who directs them to the Bar Association, which in turn leads them to the lady who had been sexually harassed by Blakemore, and that sends them traipsing off to the car service where they “deduce” that their “person of interest” may have a record and that sends them to the probation office.

"Semi-Professional" Quotes - Part III

I thoroughly enjoyed the scene in the probation office between Goren & Eames when they are reviewing files. When Bobby lists the offenses of one of the potential suspects, Eames comments that a history of violence sounds like one of the distinguishing features of the semi-professional hit man. Bobby sort of gives her a questioning look, and Eames “quips” that she only looks like she’s not paying attention to him. Nice Bobby smile in response.

Okay, is it wrong of me to "sorta"…feel sorry for…the perp in this episode? I mean, Arnie, not the judge. Arnie is just a poor, small-time schmuck who loves his wife and gets in over his head. He’s not “creepy” like most of the doers who turn up on this show. He’s almost likeable.

If we didn’t already know this tidbit about Bobby before now, we find out that he has spent some time in China; that is where he learned how to play Chinese Chess. Is there nothing this man hasn’t done? When Arnie tells Bobby that he’s just “pulling his leg” I want to tell him to “get in line, buddy;” there’s a long line of ladies who want to do that...and so much more. That entire scene in the interrogation room is interesting to watch…seeing the array of expressions that flit across everyone’s faces is fun to observe. Poor old Arnie starts out good-humoredly with Bobby, but quickly realizes that Bobby will be a formidable adversary. Good scene.

Deakins didn’t seem to cotton much to the idea that Sabatelli was involved. Leave it to Bobby to ask him if he minded which judge they go to for the warrant.

"Semi-Professional" Quotes - Part IV

And then Eames didn’t make any friends with Sabatelli when she asked him, “Isn’t that why they call it probable cause?” For a petite woman, she’s spunky.

Evidently, Bobby speaks a little French because he translates the title of the judge’s book that is a French edition. The way he pauses and looks at the book for a moment…a little wistfully…makes one wonder if he might be a little “envious” of the judge…maybe he has a secret longing to be a writer? Probably not, but you never know. I thought it was sweet when he shyly asked the judge if he could buy the “out of print” book from him because he would “love to read it.” You know, sometimes it is difficult for me to discern when Goren is sincere or merely putting on an act to get what he wants from a suspect.

The line about the sex being “robust” just conjures all manner of delicious images, doesn’t it? I’m thinking if there is one thing Detective Robert Goren knows about…it’s robust sex. And that is all I have to say about that...SIGH. And isn’t that just the sweetest expression on his face when he nods his agreement when, after reading a few passages from Sabatelli’s books, Eames states that the Wakefield character is really Blakemore?

I found the scene in Carver’s office interesting. And if we didn’t know it already, it is evident that our Detective Bobby has a wee bit of a temper. Of course, Carver provoked him with that line about Bobby’s assessment of Sabatelli being police code for “hot-blooded.” Loved Bobby’s reaction; i.e., “Don’t put words in my mouth!” Once again, however, it was a cool-headed woman (Eames) who saved the day by coming up with a plan to sort out the judge’s true colors. I love watching Bobby’s body language after something like this happens whether it be between him and Carver, or Deakins or Ross or Eames. He’s always a little shy or embarrassed and can’t quite look the other person in the eye. It’s adorable…proves he’s human just like the rest of us.

The scene in the courtroom when Sabatelli revoked Arnie’s parole and sent him back to the hoosegow was interesting. Poor old Arnie…he looked positively stunned that the judge was actually going to send him back to jail; especially after all he had done for him. I loved the look on Bobby’s face when Carver made a point of stopping and saying a smug, “Case closed.” Yeah, right. You could almost see the “We’ll just see about that” on Bobby’s handsome face. Because you must know that the case isn't closed until Bobby says it is. One would think Carver would have realized that by now.

"Semi-Professional" Quotes - Part V

I felt kind of sorry for Arnie when Bobby was reading from Sabatelli’s latest book and it became obvious that the “Donnie” character was actually base on him…Arnie. It is indeed disillusioning when the people we admire...look up to...turn out to be just like everyone else and stab us in the back. It was also very cool how, after planting the seed of doubt in Arnie’s crestfallen brain, Bobby and Eames just walked out of the room to let him ruminate on all they had said.

Then the always clever Bobby, after "rethinking" the evidence, comes up with the idea to arrest Blakemore, thereby presenting Sabatelli with an offer he "can't refuse;" i.e., observing the interrogation. Ah, the old "step into my parlor" ploy. Can you say...gotcha?

"Semi-Professional" Quotes - Part VI

The comment that Sabatelli makes about writers knowing their work inside out used to be true for me, but since my last book came out 17 years ago, I sometimes have to stop and think about plots and characters and such. It doesn’t come back to me so easily these days. In fact, I will reread one every couple of years or so…just as a reminder that I was once young and creative and a bit of a romantic.

I still find it hard to believe that a savvy guy like Sabatelli fell so easily for their trap. But then I suppose he was just so "caught up" in his own ego and his glee that his greatest foe was about to be taken down a peg or two that he forgot to be careful. It was neat to watch Bobby lay his trap, no dates on the articles, no titles on the articles, thereby, calling the judge’s hand. And I LOVED it when he walked right up into Sabatelli’s face and told him that he had plenty of passion and guts to commit murder. No one intimidates my Bobby…well…almost no one.

And, of course, the ultimate moment was when Bobby stepped in to protect Carver when Sabatelli made an intimidating move toward him. I can get on board with "macho" Bobby. I felt sorry for Eames having to pretend to interrogate Blakemore while Goren and Carver nail Sabatelli’s butt to the wall. Carver's parting comment about "not committing anything to paper" is so very true. Like I said...one of my favorite LOCI episodes of all time.

"Semi-Professional" Quotes - Part VII

Well, that's it for this episode. Sorry for the long post, but I couldn't seem to stop myself. Next up...as soon as I find the time...is "Phantom." Another one chock-full of great Bobby-moments.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Just Bobby And The "Semi-Professional"

I've been watching a lot of "Cold Case" reruns lately. I have always liked the show, but never seemed to catch the original episodes when they aired on Sunday nights. Luckily, TNT airs anywhere from six to ten episodes each week...in the wee small hours of the morning...so I tape them during the week and watch them on the weekend. I have decided that I want to be Lilly when I grow up.

Anyway, Lilly and Scotty had to go to Nashville in one episode to track down clues to a case. While they were there, they had this discussion about being cops and trying to have a "personal life" and relationships and such. Scotty made this comment, and I'm paraphrasing, saying that, in his experience, all the really "good cops" were single...Lone Wolves. I guess that pretty much describes Bobby, the quintessential Lone Wolf.

On to the Bobby slideshows. There are three of them. I'm sorry...it's just that there's so much Bobby and so little time.

Just Bobby - "Semi-Professional" - Part I


Just Bobby - "Semi-Professional" - Part II


Just Bobby - "Semi-Professional" - Part III

"Semi-Professional" Extras

At first blush, I didn't think I had found all that many "extras" during my screen capping endeavors of this episode. It turns out, there were more than I realized. Sometimes, they just "pop" out at me and, other times, I have to engage in a wee bit more searching. All my problems should be this easy. I mean, how hard is it to focus all of one's rapt attention on Mr. D'Onofrio...or more specifically...his alter ego, Robert Goren?

I put together two slideshows. One, I believe, BASRIC will find especially entertaining, since its singular content is of our stalwart detective's expansive back. It is a splendid back, after all.

Bobby Got Back - "Semi-Professional"


Bobby Extras - "Semi-Professional"

"Semi-Professional" Partners

I'm on my lunch break and playing with the new toy "Santa" brought me for Christmas...a mini notebook. I LOVE it! It takes a bit of time getting used to the smaller keyboard, but it is pretty cool and so much easier to carry along with me than a full-sized laptop.

Anyway, thought I would go ahead and post the "Partners" slideshow from "Semi-Professional" while I have a free moment. I wish I knew what they were laughing about in the bar when they were talking with Deakins' friend. Their laughter was so genuine...makes me think someone told a funny joke or story prior to the director shouting "Action." Since I didn't include a shot of that in the slideshow, I'll just post a single photo to better explain what I'm talking about.


Partner's Slideshow - "Semi-Professional"

Monday, January 12, 2009

Eames And The "Semi-Professional"

Well, I finally completed all five of my slide presentations for this episode from Season 1. It takes a while to get all this done. Not that I'm complaining. I mean, I do get to spend a LOT of time up close and personal-like with my all-time favorite Detective.

First up is the Eames slideshow. Once again, she gets a pretty good line when she tells Bobby that she only "looks" like she's not paying any attention to him. Cute.

Eames Slideshow - "Semi-Professional"

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Joe...The Reporter??

I came home from work last night and did an unusual thing...I did not turn on my computer. I did not check email, or visit any of my regular "blog" friends. I did not call anybody, or fix dinner. Instead, I climbed immediately into my warm bed and watched TV all evening until it was actual...you know...bed time. And you know what, I woke up this morning, and the world had not come to an end because I altered my routine a bit.

At least, I thought the world was still "normal" until I switched on the TV to see the morning weather and news and saw the following clip from "The Daily Show." Now, I had read the headlines about the latest "Joe The Plumber" fiasco somewhere on the Internet and Music Wench elaborated about it on her blog a couple of days ago. But until one actually "hears" this ridiculous man talk about his new "vocation" as a "correspondent" in the Middle East...well... one cannot truly appreciate the sheer lunacy of the situation.

Leave it to Jon Stewart to put things in perspective. The following video is from The Daily Show web site. The clip starts with some lighthearted discussion and "digs" at the White House luncheon this week featuring all the living U.S. presidents and president-elect Barack Obama then transitions to the story about our new "ace" reporter. When all is said and done, it just goes to prove that the world is a pretty screwed-up place. That's why, after I finish this, I'm headed back to bed and TV-Land.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Uncle Jay Explains 2008

Gee, I'm glad somebody can. I'm still scratching my head over so many things that happened last year. Again, this is a little late, but so amusing I thought I would go ahead and post it. You'll never think of some Christmas carols the same way again, I promise you.

Posted on YouTube by UncleJayExplains.



Very Clever! I wonder if his friends think him to be "too witty" or glib and insulting. Sorry, I promise I'll let it go one day.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Someone Truly Heroic

Not to worry, I have neither forgotten nor forsaken our valiant Detective Goren. I am, in fact, knee-deep in screen capping "Semi-Professional" from Season 1. I have scripted the quotes I intend to use and have about one-third of the episode capped. It is a slow, but enjoyable process, and I "hope" to have all five slideshows up by the end of the weekend.

Meanwhile, a friend sent me the first video I have included in this post about a woman named Irena Sendler who lived in Poland at the time of the Nazi occupation. I had never heard of her, but after watching it, I did a search of YouTube to see what else might be available on this remarkable woman. Thus I found the second video, which has some photos and basically corroborates what Glenn Beck said.

What a truly heroic, selfless, and special woman Irena Sendler must have been. When I hear about people like this, I cannot help but think what a singularly unremarkable life I've led.

Glenn Beck Video from Headline News


Irena Sendler, A Catholic Hero

Video by catholicnewsagency

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A Little Late, But Still Timely

I realize it is well past the Christmas season, but this was just forwarded to me yesterday. It is still funny...in a sad sort of way...and timely in that we're still in the midst of an economic upheaval the likes most of us have never witnessed in our lifetime. And, once we have recovered -- hopefully -- we'll never experience again.

Anyway, here is the "Santa Claus Bailout Hearing" as posted on YouTube by NatLamp.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Friendship Gone Sour

This is one of those “stories” I have been holding onto for a while, but recent events have inspired me to “purge” my soul…as it were. It is going to be a lengthy tale, so anyone who stops by may not be inclined to read it. But this is something I “need” to do. It's not a particularly "cheerful" post to start the New Year, but here goes.

There were five of us “girls” who hung out together from junior high through high school; i.e., Sara, Cathy, Debbie R., Debbie A., and me. Actually, Sara and I have been friends since the second grade, but when all the kids from the local elementary schools “graduated” to junior high, that’s when the five of us all found each other and became friends.

Now, through the years since graduation, I have maintained some “regular” contact with all of them…some more than others…some off again/on again, but we’ve always remained friends. Some have lost contact with each other, but they all stayed in touch with me…for some reason….and everyone asks about everyone else, so I am the one who usually brings everyone “up to speed” on everyone else. As Sara is wont to say, “You’re the “glue,” Lou.”

Well, as of two years ago this month, that phrase ceased to signify; the glue lost its adhesive ability when Debbie A. and I had a “falling out.”

I still remember the first time Debbie and I met. It was at the end of one of our eighth grade classes (Mr. Brammer’s history class, I think). The bell had rung, and someone tapped me on the shoulder. It was Debbie. She told me she had just moved to South Point from Springfield, and that my brother, Leland, had been her 6th grade teacher. When he found out her family was moving to South Point, he told her she should look me up. She did, and we became friends… almost immediately.

Debbie was intelligent. She was, in fact, the valedictorian of our senior class. I don’t think she enjoyed high school all that much, though. For all that she was smart and thin and pretty and outgoing, she didn’t date much. One thing is for certain, she didn’t like living in a Podunk little town like South Point. So, after graduation, Debbie high-tailed it back to Springfield. She didn’t go to college, but she did find “love.” There was more than one relationship in her short-lived stay in Springfield, but she ended up marrying Tom. He was in the military, so they moved around a lot.

Subsequently, we would lose touch for lengthy periods of time. I knew she had a couple of kids…boys…Chris and Sean. But the main reason Debbie decided to maintain a low profile was because she had gained weight after her two pregnancies. She was embarrassed, and she didn’t want people who knew her to see how big she had become. Like I would care what she looked like. I mean, if I adopted that attitude, I’d never go around people for fear they wouldn’t like me or would ridicule me because I’m fat. I like to think I’m more “evolved” than to judge a person by the size of their body versus the size of their heart…their soul.

Anyway, shortly after the release of my first book in 1981, I got a call out of the blue from Debbie. She and Tom and the boys were living in Kansas at the time, but they were getting ready for a tour of duty in Germany. As I recall, this was the first time I had actually spoken to her since her wedding. There had been the occasional letter and Christmas card, but that was it. When she found out about my book, however, she tracked me down. She had read it and wanted me to know that she had enjoyed it. I remember we laughed about the fact that she was the “storyteller” of the group, yet here I was having a book published.

Fast forward to 1990. I was on the planning committee for our 20-year class reunion, and we were trying to locate class member’s addresses. Remember, this was the pre-Internet age. I volunteered to try to find Debbie. Her folks had moved back to Springfield by this time, so I called information, and a few phone calls later, Debbie and I were reunited.

By now, she was living in Virginia. She wasn’t interested in coming to the reunion, but we did reconnect. My landlords let me have a pool party that summer, and she drove up from Virginia to attend that and spend the weekend. It was like “old home” week. Sara happened to be in town and there were others from our high school days. It was a great time.

A year or so later, Debbie and I took a vacation together to the Bahamas. I drove down to pick her up, and then we drove to Fort Lauderdale to board the ship. The Bahamas sucked…hands down, the absolute WORST vacation ever, but I’ll save that story for another post. But, the drive in the car, talking, getting to know each other all over again, catching up with each other’s lives…was really great. We stopped in Savannah…one of our mutual favorite cities…and had a better time there than we did in the Bahamas. That, for me, was the best part of the whole trip…the chats we had along the way as we rekindled our friendship.

We’ve enjoyed other trips together through the years, as well. Gettysburg, Savannah (two more times), including the Thanksgiving before our major “rift” in January, and I can remember at least two other times when she came to visit me in South Point. In May of 2006, I attended a business conference at Disney World, and she took off a few days from work to join me there.

A few years after our Bahamas trip, she and Tom divorced. Theirs had been a troubled marriage for several years; especially since he was prone to having affairs. Shortly after the divorce, Debbie moved to Gainesville, Florida…close to where her mom and sister and other family members lived. This time, we stayed in touch.

When I was fired from my job in September of 1997, I packed up the car and headed south to Florida for ten days. I figured I had the time, and if I drove straight through (that was back when I was young-ish and foolish) all it would cost me was the gas. I could stay with Debbie, and, even if I stayed in Ohio, I’d still be spending money for food. (Oh, the things we talk ourselves into when we “rationalize.”)

I guess the point I’m trying to make is…we were friends…good friends. We enjoyed each other’s company; i.e., shopping, going to movies, eating, talking about anything and everything under the sun. She knows my history, I know hers. She was there for me when my folks died. I called her when my brother, Leland, passed away, and we cried…together. She called me when her sister, Robin, died, and we cried…together. I thought she was one of those rare phenomenons…a “forever” friend. I was mistaken.

Debbie and I used to email each other two or three times a day, and we would engage in deliciously long and chatty phone calls once or twice a week. Granted, most of the time I initiated those calls, but she called me, too. As I have eluded to before, we talked about everything…family, friends, funny and not so funny work stories, etc. We liked a lot of the same things; i.e., movies, actors, books, authors, music, but there were some things I liked and she didn’t...and visa versa. That’s called life, individual tastes and preferences and such. I didn’t think much about it when we had a difference of opinion. She would state her opinion, I would state mine and we’d move on. There were no heated arguments or bitter disagreements or anything. I just thought we were having…you know…adult, lively…and oftentimes “witty” conversations. Little did I know.

One of the actors/comedians that Debbie admired was Will Farrell. Me, I can take him or leave him…mostly leave him. I don’t particularly care for his brand/style of sophomoric, brainless, witless humor, and, as for his movies…for me…if you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. In my “humble” opinion, he’s pretty much a one dimensional actor, you know. The bottom line: Debbie liked him, I didn’t…and that’s OKAY. At least, it should have been.

He was in this movie called “Old School,” and Debbie loved it…raved about how funny it was, in fact. She went to see it at the theater and told me about how she was the only woman...and she was in her 50’s…in this cinema that was packed with nothing but college-aged boys. She didn’t care. She had a great time, and that is all that matters…you know.

About this time, my godson…Nathaniel…started “talking-up” the same movie. He kept telling me that it was “awesome.” (He likes that word.) I tried to explain that this was most definitely not my type of movie…that I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I would not like it, but my protestations fell on deaf ears. In fact, Nathaniel so wanted me to watch it that he, personally, braved the holiday crowds at Wal-Mart in order to purchase it for me himself. (This is remarkable/ notable because the kid hates crowds in general and Wal-Mart in particular.)

He couldn’t wait for me to watch the movie and tell him what I thought about it. Sadly, I did not share his enthusiasm for the forthcoming cinematic experience. When I told Debbie about Nathaniel’s gift of “Old School,” she, too, jumped on the bandwagon, stating she couldn’t wait for me to watch it, so I could tell her what I thought about it. I’m going to repeat that because, more than once, she asked me if I had watched it yet and to be sure to tell her what I thought about it.

So, one cold Sunday in January of 2007, I “fired-up” the old DVD player and settled in to watch this movie…this stupid, "stoopid" movie. Afterwards, this is the “review” – exactly as I wrote it then – that I sent to Debbie.

“...As for "Old School," didn't much care for it. Who am I kidding...didn't care for it at all. The whole movie was pretty pointless to me. I laughed at a few scenes...Will Ferrell doing the gymnastic ribbon dance was pretty funny. Knew what was going to happen in a few others, like the old guy keeling over dead when the four boobs were in his grasp...pretty predictable. Saw wayyyyyyyyyyyy too much of Will Ferrell's butt to my liking, which is to say to see it at all was too much. And you know, after about the age of 18 or so, men should not be allowed to wear jockey shorts. I'm a boxer's girl, I guess. He was not very pretty in his tidy whiteys. I cannot believe Nathaniel actually thought this was a movie I would want to watch... let alone own. This one will probably be tossed into the trash. I like all three of the main dudes in certain roles, but this is just not my type of movie. Sorry, I know you loved it."

I talked about a bunch of other stuff in the email…chit-chatty things, you know. After that email, I noticed a difference in the tone of Debbie’s emails to me. She was distant and made ambiguous, oftentimes "snarky" statements in reply to things I said in my emails to her. I figured I had done something, but wasn’t quite sure what it was, so I went back and reread the aforementioned paragraph and pretty much decided that I must had offended her with my “candid” remarks about this insipid movie. So much for wanting my opinion, huh? One of these days, maybe I’ll learn that when someone asks me for my opinion what they are really saying is…"if you agree with me, then I want to hear what you have to say, but – if not – then fuck off." (Sorry, I have gone to great lengths to avoid using the “f” word willy-nilly on this blog, but sometimes it is the only word to adequately demonstrate my complete and utter frustration. This is one of those times.)

For the next ten days or so, our emails dwindled to maybe one every other day. Debbie’s birthday is the 24th of January, and I didn’t want the day to pass without wishing her a Happy Birthday, so I started out the email by doing just that. Then I wrote the following:

“Need to get something off my chest, so bear with me, or don’t if that is your pleasure. I have obviously said something to offend you, so I want to apologize for whatever it was. I noticed a decided coolness in the tenor of your emails to me after I expressed my opinion of the movie “Old School.” You liked it, I didn’t – big whoppin’ deal. We like a lot of the same stuff and agree on a lot of things and others, we – well – don’t. But, if I offended you by the bluntness of my “critique,” then I apologize. We've known each other a long time, and I would hope that you would know me well enough to realize that I would never, ever intentionally say or do anything to hurt or offend you."

And this is the reply I received:

“You are correct. If it was the first, second or even third time, it wouldn't be such a big deal. However, it is a pretty common occurrence. I sent an email last week, subject "TOO". I believe I said it was possible to pay too much attention to detail and there was another "too" much thing I didn't want to discuss at the time. Well, I will tell you now that I believe it is possible to be too witty. I know you take a great deal of pride in your wit and you love what you call witty banter and repartee. It can be fun, but sometimes it can be over the top, bordering on glib and insulting. I don't want to come off as oversensitive and whiny, but maybe I am. Maybe you're "too witty". I know you wouldn't deliberately say something insulting or hurtful, but I find myself often insulted, hurt or angry. And, I'm tired of it. That's all. I composed a response last Monday, but I didn't want to send it right away because I wanted to think about it. I've thought about it a lot these past ten days. I am speaking strictly for myself here. I am an old dog, not ready to learn new tricks. I am who I am, even if that means I am oversensitive. You are who you are and I would never want you to walk around on eggshells for my sake. I'm sorry. I should have said something a long time ago. I'm still not ready to send my initial response, and I don't want to discuss it by phone. I've agonized over the situation at times. I'm not only oversensitive. Guess I'm a drama queen as well. As I write this, I realize I have probably said things to you that were hurtful or insulting. We all trip over our tongues at times or speak without thinking. I've tried to think of situations where I might have gone on and on about something or someone I know you admire or like. I know I've trashed Michael Douglas enough that you know I can't stand him, and probably Bill and Hillary Clinton, but for the most part I would never deliberately shred something or someone I know you like, but you seem to take great delight in delivering wordy zingers about movies, TV shows, music, real people, literary and cinematic characters, etc (that I like or I've raved about). I don't defend what or who I like, but my own taste and intelligence. I apologize for the passive-aggressive behavior. I hate the phrase and I hate the behavior. I'll be in touch.”

Whew! Now ain't that a kick in the head? Talk about having your apology flung back in your face. To say that I was "stunned" by this vitriolic assessment of my character would be the understatement of the century. Obviously, she had been saving that up for quite some time. All the little frogs and toads came spilling out with a vengeance once she got started, huh? Who knew? I certainly didn't. The Queen of "Clueless" -- that's me folks. Here I thought we were sharing our thoughts and opinions and engaging in sparkling conversation, and now I find out I'm just a big ol' bitch as far as she was concerned. Can't really blame her, I suppose, I wouldn't want to be friends with the woman she described. The thing is...I'm not that woman. I'm not perfect...far from it. But neither am I the thoughtless, inconsiderate, selfish shrew she described.

For the record, I’m not a Michael Douglas fan…by any stretch of the imagination…although there are a couple of his movies that I do enjoy. And, I never, ever discussed politics or Bill and Hillary Clinton with her. So, if one follows her logic, then should I not have taken offense when she belittled the movies, TV shows, actors, etc., that I liked, and she didn’t? I don’t know. The thing that hurt the most was the “too witty” and “glib and insulting” gibes. I guess because the thing that I have relied on the most to get me through this crap-assed life I’ve been handed is my sense of humor. I don’t apologize for that, nor do I “deliberately” hurt my friends with it. She’s known me for forty years…she should know that.

Anyway, she sent a follow-up email after that, telling me that she had composed another email the day she received my initial missive regarding that STOOPID movie. An email, evidently, in which she told me what she really thought about me. I say, evidently, because I never read that email. I deleted it the instant it showed up in my mailbox and then went immediately to the “trash” folder and deleted it from there, lest my resolve withered and I be tempted to find out just what a truly horrendous person I am. I mean, she had skewered me pretty good already. I’m not a complete idiot, nor am I a masochist by nature. So, I took a pass on the follow-up character assassination.

As you may well have guessed by now, that pretty much put the kibosh on our friendship. Since that time, I contacted her only once via email to let her know about the death of someone very close to the other Debbie in out little circle. Even then, I kept it very “sterile,” giving her the link to the obituary and address information only. That was it...no glib or insulting or witty banter did I offer up. I was not trying to reopen the lines of communication…merely helping out another friend. As far as I was…and am…concerned, the door to our former friendship is forever closed.

Then, a couple of days before Thanksgiving this year, Debbie sent me an email in which she said she wanted to apologize for the way she mishandled things “way back when.” I say it was an “apology” because that is what she called it, but in the course of her so-called apology, she more or less blamed me for her “meltdown” because she said had I not asked if I had done something to offend her, she would have eventually “let it go.” But because I had asked, I guess she felt obliged to open up a can of “Whip Ass” on me. She went on to say that, while she was “confessing,” there was another “issue” that bothered her at the time. The phone. Apparently, the phone calls – that I enjoyed so much (and as far as I could tell, she did too) – were “intrusive” to her. That’s one hell of an apology, folks.

So, now, I found myself in the midst of a wee dilemma. Should I respond? Did I really want to renew this friendship…again. After all, I haven’t changed. For better or for worse, I’m still me, and she didn't seem to care for me all that much. Besides, I wasn’t sure how to go about getting in touch with her. A phone call was now out of the question because I wouldn’t want to…you know…intrude. My emails had been deemed “too witty,” so I wouldn't want to inflict my charming self on her. What does that leave? Smoke signal? Carrier pigeon? Message in a bottle? Oops…there I go being glib and insulting.

I wrestled with my decision for a couple of days, and then I reread her email and realized she had not indicated that she wanted to hear from me…merely that she wanted to apologize. Problem solved, right? So, I decided to “go with the flow.” In other words, I ignored it. Then she sent me an email Christmas card. Once again, I chose not to reply.

I suppose I’m carrying a bit of a grudge here, but you have to understand…never, ever did I intend to hurt her feelings. I was just speaking my mind…as she was wont to do. All she had to do was speak up and say that my “frankness” bothered her, and I would have avoided those topics henceforth, but she didn’t. She chose, instead to “deliberately” and with malice of forethought attack and denigrate me for being...basically…who I am. That’s a hard pill to swallow. Besides, I could never feel the same with her. I could never let my guard down and be myself, which maybe isn’t such a bad thing, since she obviously wasn't all that enthralled with the real “me” anyway. In short, I could never trust her with my friendship again.

Then, the day after Christmas, I received another email from her, wishing me only good things for the New Year and asking if I would send her the address to my blog. (A mutual friend who knows about my blog, but doesn’t know the address, had told her about it.) When I did not send it, I got another email, apologizing AGAIN, saying that she realized a “qualified” apology wasn’t an apology at all and this was one of the things from her past that she wished she could “undo.” I understand that...I've got some bells I'd like to "unring" too.

This time, I did reply…mainly because she sounded so “frustrated” with my silence. I didn’t want to come off as a completely heartless bitch, so I told her that I wasn’t mad or angry. That the reason I had not responded to her emails was because I wasn’t sure where or how to go from here, or even if there was anywhere to go. I told her she didn’t need to apologize again…that she didn’t need to apologize at all. She felt how she felt…now I feel how I feel…and I needed a little time to sort things through. The next day, I got this in reply:

“I understand. Like you, I figure there probably is nowhere to go from here. Too much water under the bridge. I wish I had found ways to deal with things in a more open manner without letting everything just sort of back up and stack up until it was too much to deal with. My feelings were very real, but I handled the situation badly. That's why I’ve been testing the waters of late and why I wanted to apologize. It was necessary for me to live with myself. It was difficult to do and the first attempt pathetic. It had to be sincere for me to also forgive myself. To look ahead, I have to be able to stop looking back. I'm working on not being so self absorbed. Absolutely no response necessary.”

And there you have it. The apology wasn’t for me…it was for her…and a part of me understands that, but a part of me is also pissed off. Obviously, she wasn't interested in my feelings on the matter. It’s one of those…I can dish it out, but can’t take it…scenarios. And for the record, I did not say there was no place to go from here, but that I was trying to decide IF there was a place to go. Meaning, was it possible to put old hurts aside and renew our friendship? Well, since “absolutely no response is necessary” from me, I guess we'll never know the answer to that, shall we?

So, there you have it. (If anyone actually troubled themselves to read this entire novella, I owe you dinner sometime.) A rather long winded tale over “much ado” about nothing. Well, to be fair, it’s not nothing. We had a lot of good times, and I have a lot of fond memories that I’ll always treasure. But when I stop and let myself think that this was all because I didn’t like Will “fucking” Ferrell, I want to scream. I’ll go to my grave still flummoxed over that one.

And I have to say it didn't help matters much yesterday when the USA Network ran an “Elf” (another Will Ferrell cinematic masterpiece) marathon instead of the Law & Order Criminal Intent marathon that had originally been promised. Will Ferrell instead of Vincent D'Onofrio? Now, that's not only "insulting," it's downright "criminal."