An open letter to David Blaine, from Dalton Ross
Dear David Blaine:
I read the other day that on May 8 you are planning to break the world record for holding your breath underwater, currently clocking in at eight minutes and 58 seconds. I also read that your attempt will come ”after living with a life support system in a specially built human aquarium — an eight-foot acrylic sphere — for seven days and nights,” although I have no idea what the hell that even means. Regardless, to you, David Blaine, I say this: Please don’t die. I fear for your life for a few reasons. For one thing, I tried holding my breath in the bath the other day. My grand tally: 23 seconds. Now, I’m no mathematician (although I did watch Numb3rs once), but unless you can hold your breath 26 times longer than I can, you’re in a bit of a pickle. I also noticed that your trainers for this exercise in insanity are Kirk Krack, Martin Stepanek, and Mandy-Rae Cruickshank. What’s up with their names all ending in the letter K? And Kirk Krack? Are we honestly supposed to believe that’s a real name? Frankly, I don’t trust them. Is it so farfetched to believe they could be working for some rival magician like Criss Angel and are simply looking to take you out? I’m just sayin’. Finally, I’ve heard that you will be receiving liquid nutrition through a tube during your underwater preparations. What is this, the freakin’ Matrix? You can’t be sure what they’re putting in that thing! And how about going to the bathroom? Are you going to be surrounded by floating doodies? That’s just no way to live. Or die, for that matter. I hope you will reconsider, or, at the very least, check out that Krack guy.
OBSESSION OF THE WEEK
When Invasion first came on the air last fall, I was intrigued. William Fichtner was supremely creepy as some sort of alien-hybrid-sheriff with a hidden agenda. So I kept watching…and watching…and watching. The only problem was, nothing was happening! I swear, in the first two months of that show the only plot twist was that these new hybrids could seemingly breathe underwater. (Wait! Stop the presses! David Blaine is an alien!) I finally lost interest. Of course, this doesn’t mean I stopped watching. I’m one of those morons who stick with shows well past their prime just because I have nothing better to do with my life. In any event, this time I’m actually glad I did, because starting about a month ago, this show inexplicably came to life. All of a sudden, hybrids are shooting each other, humans are fighting back, and the sheriff is finding out fellow survivors of his plane crash have been turned into lab rats — and he could be next. It’s all pretty riveting stuff, and I’m totally into it! Which is just my luck because in just a few weeks the show will no doubt be canceled due to low ratings. So, it seems I have been wasting my time after all. Oh well.
Last week I promised I would reveal my Top 5 Movies of All Time, but first, a few disclaimers. First off, this is not a list of the movies I believe are the finest ever made. They are the movies I enjoyed — and continue to enjoy — the most. There’s a big difference. I can — and do — recognize the greatness of Citizen Kane, but I haven’t watched it 312 times like some of the films on this list. And secondly, this list tends to fluctuate a bit depending on such factors as my mood, the season, and what color tie the president happens to be wearing (although he usually goes red, so this last category is a bit of a wash).
1) The Empire Strikes Back
No Ewoks. No Gungans. No whining about going to Tosche Station for any freakin’ power converters. This is the ultimate Star Wars film. I could watch that Hoth battle with the AT-AT walkers all day long…in fact, I already have. Repeatedly.
Rodney Dangerfield, Chevy Chase, and Bill Murray are all great, but Ted Knight truly steals the show. Seriously, go back and watch him — just him — in every scene, and I guarantee you’ll be on the floor laughing. ”How ’bout a Fresca?” may just be the funniest line ever uttered on film.
3) Evil Dead II
I actually have a bit of street cred on this one — going to see it opening night on my birthday back in 1987. In the theater were me, my girlfriend, and two homeless people who had snuck in to escape the frigid Washington, D.C., winter. I remember leaning over to my girlfriend during the scene where Bruce Campbell gets attacked by his own hand and saying that this was the most amazing thing I’d ever seen in my life. She remained silent. We broke up soon after.
I saw this as a kid and understood about…oh, 30 percent of it. Now I’m at about…oh, 75 percent. Once I figure out the other 25, this will move up a few spaces.
The movie my wife insisted on watching while she was in labor. (What can I say? I tried for Evil Dead II, but she simply wasn’t having it. It could have been worse — her other favorite film is Dirty Dancing.)
Lots of comments about my trip to Disney World and list of Top 5 Prince songs. We start down in Florida…
Dalton, I was at Disney World the same weekend as you. The only difference is I live in this crappy-ass MouseTown and was there with family visiting from out of town. Plus, we’re Jewish, so no Easter Day guilt. But it was during Passover and there was no matzoh to be found anywhere in the Magic Kingdom, so Moses be damned, we ate anyway. — Allison Gross
Allison, I look forward to meeting you in hell someday. We’ll share a burrito and reminisce about the good ol’ days at the Enchanted Tiki Room.
As a humongous Prince fan, I was very pleased with your choices. I must disagree though, about Grafitti Bridge. While the movie royally bit, the entire album is super funky. Imagine my joy when ice skater Katerina Witt skated to ”Joy in Repetition.” It’s the hand claps, isn’t it? Songs with funky hand claps get me every time. Here’s my top 5 hand clap songs.
1. ”Joy in Repetion” – Prince
(clap clap, clap clap, clap clap, hoooh!!)
2. ”Hey Ya” – Outkast
3. ”Jack and Diane” – John Cougar Mellencamp
4. ”Car Wash” – Rose Royce
5. ”Hey Mickey” – Toni Basil
Bonus Track: ”I Hate Myself for Loving You” – Joan Jett. Your hands MUST fly into the overhead clap for the bridge.
Honorable Mention: ”Switch” – Will Smith
Somebody Stop Me: ”Bette Davis Eyes” – Kim Carnes
Love the top 5 hand clap list. But why go anonymous? Take credit for your work! Or keep sending me in anonymous lists and I’ll take credit by posting them under my own name. Either way works for me.
Your column rocks, but it also scares me a bit. I, too, love ”The Beautiful Ones,” ”Gett Off” (except for the rapping), and Freaks and Geeks. I, too, have a 3-year-old princess-obsessed daughter. And I, too, am a die-hard Skins fan… are you the long-lost brother Mom and Dad never told me about? — Martha Culver
In a word, yes. Yes, I am. Now go enjoy lots of therapy to deal with the bombshell I just dropped on you. Oh, and tell Ma she can forget about me coming home for Thanksgiving this year if she’s gonna force me to eat brussels sprouts again.
I loved your article about the joy of an empty theater. There’s nothing I love more than not having the guy next to me take off his shoes, with the smell so bad that I’m forced to find another seat to better view Pirates of the Caribbean (true story). The most bizarre moment I ever had in a theater, however, was at a screening where it was myself and one other random person. I was in my seat waiting for the movie to begin when this lady entered the theater and sat down…in the seat directly in front of me. This was back in the day when stadium seating was not everywhere (in fact, the film was The Wedding Singer). I was so amazed that I didn’t even move. I just sat there stunned. This story doesn’t really go anywhere, but your article gave me that flashback that I felt like sharing. — Jason Grieves
Glad you did, Jason. This sounds like a Seinfeld episode come to life. Maybe she just wanted a back massage or something. Personally, I would’ve hooked her up.
I am sure that this is an extremely stupid question (even though we all know that there are no stupid questions, just stupid people), but what the hell is ”Bollywood”? Is it an insider joke that I just don’t know about as an outsider? I’m sure I could just Google it, but I am lazy. — Holly Dixon
Wow, you are lazy! Yes, Holly, it is an insider joke that you — and only you — are not allowed to be let in on. So go ahead, take that important job, have those beautiful children, live your full life, but rest assured that decades from now, as you lie on your deathbed, you will be haunted by the fact you never, ever learned the meaning of Bollywood. And the rest of us will all be laughing.
Questions, comments, and quibbles are always welcome. Just e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org, or — if you’re lazy like Holly — you can simply fill out the form below.