Get Me 20 CCs of Meow Mix — Stat!!

Jordan | Goober | Monday, January 31st, 2005

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Here you see hi-tech imaging of Goober the Cat. He took an unhappy trip to the vet today, and it was nothing but bad news. In this photo (and do click to see the larger version — it is wild) you see Goober in the top left, looking like the spawn of Satan when the light hits his rods & cones. On the top right you see into his right ear, which is, indeed, infected. Not a major deal — 7 days of ear drops and liquid medicine (more on this in a bit.) Bottom left, an eye, both of which are in good shape. Bottom right, his teeth, which do have plaque buildup and, alas, one cavity. The cost to fix this? A little over $300. That plus the $175 we already paid for the checkup and the ear medicine.

We’re thinking of holding like a benefit concert or something to raise the cash.

It was quite an experience getting him there — Goober does not like to get put in his cage. The images below don’t fully express the struggle, nor do they do justice in respect to Goober’s ability to turn himself into both a block of cement that won’t budge and the stretchy dude from the fantastic 4 who can extend his arms really far.

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Despite all his rage, he is still just a cat in a cage.

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But let’s not harp on unhappy things. Sure, getting Goober to stand still while you plug his ear full of goo is close to impossible. And, sure, he spits out his pink liquid antibiotic after you’ve wrestled with him to get him to open his mouth. But. . . if you just knew the guy, you’d know he’d do the same for you. Maybe.

We recently put a chair in the back bedroom. So now Goober can use that to finally reach the windowsill and stare out at birds and, occasionally, the neighbor’s dog.

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He still likes to sleep on the bed, too.

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I like this photo a lot because I am always joking about how huge Goober is. And he is big. . .for a cat. Here we’re reminded that for all of Goober’s pomposity. . .he’s still a tiny creature.
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The Last CD

Jordan | Cram it in Your Ear | Monday, January 31st, 2005

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I don’t think I knew it at the time, but this was the last CD I ever shopped for. Not the last CD I ever bought, or will buy — when some of my hardcore favorite artists like Steely Dan or Dylan or someone puts out a new CD I’ll still go into a store and buy it — but this is the last one I ever said “I want this” and wandered around the East Village looking for it in used sections at shops. (I did well — $5.99!) That was about 2 and a half years ago. Now it is all about the Internet and, more specifically, MP3 downloads onto the Pod. Such is life.

Anyway, played this one about 4 times yesterday and Ann & I were domestic and cooked dinner, read the paper, played with the cat, wasted time. It’s fantastic and it truly is a duet — it isn’t Haden backing up Metheny. Both Metheny and Haden have a huge discography and a lot of it sounds like junk to my ears, but they really are both on the money with this disc and hit it out of the park. The photographs inside the disc are nice, too. You don’t get that with downloads.

Scanners (1981), David Cronenberg, A-

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Monday, January 31st, 2005

A classic of the genre — whatever that genre is. This is at times a late 60s psychedelic mind trip movie, a mid 70s anti-authoritarian paranoia flick, and early 80s gross-out horror film chock full of new computers and video arcade set design. I dunno. . . somehow it speaks to me. Undeniable serious flaw: God awful lead performance by Stephen Lack. The Lack is for lack-of-talent. It is well documented that Cronenberg’s early films were made very quickly with Canadian tax shelter money that had to be spent in a small window of time. My guess is that he simply didn’t have the resources to cast anyone else. But, seriously, my cat is more menacing that this supposed super telekenetic “street person.” I’ve seen the film before and only this time did I ever really pick up that he was supposed to be a homeless crazy at the beginning. The dude looks like Tim Allen! Still, Michael Ironside is terrific as the baddie — dude is one of the greatest actors alive because he can sell ANY line and make it seem plausible. He can say something ridiculous like “now I’m gonna suck your brain dry” and somehow you don’t laugh in his face. The man is a genius. Anyway, rent “Scanners.” It is a hoot — and features some wonderfully ugly architecture!

Pompeii: The Last Day (2005), Some Discovery Channel Hack, F

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Monday, January 31st, 2005

How do you make a documentary, or even one of these recreation hybrid pseudo documentaries, about Pompeii dull? Leave it to the clowns at Discovery Channel to find a way. They follow the old drill: tell ‘em what your gonna tell ‘em, tell it to ‘em, tell ‘em what you told ‘em. Discovery adds a twist: tell ‘em like they’re 10 years old. Anyway, for some reason Ann really wanted to watch this, and I kinda did, too — she fell asleep and I wound up yelling “shut up!!!” at the TV. Another pleasant night at our house. I should have watched Pink Floyd Live At Pompeii.

Pieces of April (2003), Peter Hedges, A-

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Sunday, January 30th, 2005

A minor masterpiece with fine writing and great performances. Most impressive is how it doesn’t talk down to the audience, we are left to fill in the blanks on our own, grow to know the characters on our own. Also: funny! (and sad.)

Putney Swope (1969), Robert Downey, B

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Sunday, January 30th, 2005

They invented the phrase “it has an indescribable quality” for films just like this. Certainly a relic from the times, it has the frenetic style of a late 60s counter-culture film that was actually made by the counter-culture. While not at a level of Brian De Palma’s twin masterpieces “Greetings” and “Hi, Mom!” (the only two films of the era, in my opinion, that showed an earnestness but were still in on the joke) this is zippy and stoned and in-your-face but also has the occasional lyric moment. My favorite bit is at the end when the film is literally sidetracked by poet Donald Lev who pontificates for a moment or two before the film can continue. One must wonder how the African-American community felt about this film at the time. It is neither a positive or negative treatment (although Whitey is portrayed about the same) but it sure is funny. Recommended for those who have an interest in the subject matter, not for people who like “story” with their movie.

L’Homme du Train (2002), Patrice Leconte, B

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Saturday, January 29th, 2005

Not droll, not wry, not weary, not whimsical. There’s a perfect adjective out there waiting to describe this film and I’m just not wordsmith enough to come up with it. A lovely little film that explodes into pomposity in the final 30 minutes. Do yourself a favor and watch up until then. (And don’t mind that the catalystic event of the film doesn’t make sense. A bank robber comes to a town to meet up with conspirators to discover the only hotel is closed, so he shacks up with an old man. If his buddies live nearby, he can’t stay with them?) (Also, since I am nitpicking, the look of the film, cold and blue, is beautiful, but I wonder if it is the right choice? Because it is the obvious choice. And the music — straight out of the Wim Wenders playbook. “Paris, Texas” was 20 years ago — maybe it is time to find a new soundtrack for drifter characters?)

Monkey Business (1931), Norman Z. MacLeod, B

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Saturday, January 29th, 2005

This is my least favorite of the “good” Marx Brothers movies, by which I mean the first 7 films. It is unencumbered by plot — can’t say the same for many of the later films — but the zingers here aren’t as sharp as the classics like “Duck Soup,” “A Night At The Opera” and “Animal Crackers.” Still, it is damned funny at times. Also of note, mysterious Thelma Todd, a beautiful young actress who died under very mysterious circumstances, makes an appearance here. Also also of note, I finally figured out who Michael Bloomberg reminds me of: he’s a dead ringer for Zeppo!! And has about as much personality!

VB Gets Around

Jordan | E-motions | Friday, January 28th, 2005

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I endorse this Australian swill beer as the perfect midday beer to drink when you are staring at your computer and just can’t get the words to come for a very, very simple assignment that you told someone you would complete before the end of the day. If this doesn’t work, it is plan B — listening to AC/DC.

Hot MoMa

Jordan | Out & About | Friday, January 28th, 2005

Thanks to some underworld connections I was able to visit the MoMa without paying the obscene $20 entry fee. Lord knows the next time I’ll be able to go (next time I sneak in with this guy’s card, I guess) so I was sure to see everything. Six floors! Lots of art! Lots of restrooms! Lots of security guards telling me I couldn’t reach into my bag, take out a bottle of water and have a swig. (I finally asked why — I was told I could spill the water, someone could slip. It took a lot of restraint not to punch the man in his face.) Anyway, I didn’t want to be one of those clowns taking pictures of everything, so I only took pictures in one room.

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This shot of the AT&T Building taken from the MoMa Sculpture Garden — both designed by Philip Johnson — was shot the day after Johnson died.

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The Barbarian Invasions (2003), Denys Arcand, A+

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Friday, January 28th, 2005

Hoffman reaches deep into his generosity bag and whips out the elusive A+. When is a movie deserving of an A+? When you’ve come to involve yourself so deeply with the characters and scenario on screen that the movie ends you need a full moment to remember where you are; that you’ve forgotten that you are in a room somewhere watching a movie and can’t for the life of you remember getting there, as if you have always been a part of the lives of the people you’ve been watching. This may sound overblown, but it actually happened. Now, on to the film itself, which won Best Foreign Film last year at the Oscars (from Canada!? Is that really “foreign” even if it is French Canada?!) who ever said Existentialism can’t be fun? A bon vivant lays in his death bed, talks about wet dreams of his youth, babbles about socialism and. . .I dunno. . .I can’t really describe this movie and make it sound like anything. There’s no real plot, except a man who is kind’ve a jerk to his family, but is lovable anyway, dies and everybody pretty much forgives everyone else. I know — that’s forcing you to run out the video store, isn’t it? Trust me — it is fantastic.

Bachelor Party (1984), Neal Israel, B+

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Friday, January 28th, 2005

No, I’d never seen this before. And I was amazed at how actually funny this was. And what’s more important, I think, is how it actually had a philosophy. Unlike, say, “Meet the Parents” (a similar film) this movie wants to impart its world view, an arguement in favor of anti-authority and mild anarchy. I say mild because never in the film is there ever any doubt that our hero will do anything too terrible — he just wants to dance around like an idiot and watch his other friends sleep with prostitutes. Also, and, no, I am not kidding, Tawny Kitaen gives a marvelously nuanced performance as the fiancee. Her basic purpose, yes, is to look hot (well, 80s hot) but she treads a very thin and realistic line of being both annoyed and amused by Tom Hanks’ pranks. The look she gives is “this man is an moron yet, for some reason, I am deeply in love with him.” I must also comment about actor Gary Grossman in the role of “Gary,” the rock ticket salesman who looks like Bun E. Carlos’ Jewish brother. Was Harold Ramis busy that week? If anyone has seen any of his other films, I’d like to know. Plus, there is a donkey on Quaaludes, so what more could you want?

Quintet (1979), Robert Altman, F

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Thursday, January 27th, 2005

Insufferable. One of the worst films I’ve ever seen. I like slow movies. I even like the occasional movie where you have no idea what is going on. But I don’t like slow movies where you don’t know what’s going on that look like shit! Last Year At Marienbad at least has gorgeous photography. Quintet is blurry. I’m not kidding. The whole film has an irised out-of-focus effect happening. I kept wiping my glasses! Another annoying thing is that when you read the blurb it sounds interesting — at least interesting enough for an episode of “Star Trek.” (The idea is, basically, a post-apocalyptic world where the surviving citzenry are so bored they play a board game with lethal stakes for entertainment.) It’s basically Mad Max or Rollerball but with no intelligence or energy. Seriously, 24 minutes passed before anything resembling an introduction happened. I’m sure that there just wasn’t enough footage to make this feature length so they had to use every shot they had. There’re long takes of people walking walking walking, then speaking some pseudo-intellectual dialogue, then more walking. Altman must’ve been in the depths of drug addiction when he made this. I almost wish you do see this picture, just so you can see how bad it is. Paul Newman better’ve been paid well to besmirch his good name on this one.

Slava’s Snowshow

Jordan | Out & About | Tuesday, January 25th, 2005

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By far the best Russian Snow-Themed Clown Show I’ve ever seen. And at $19 through TDF, it was hard to complain. (If I’d've paid the full $60, I’d've wanted at least six or seven more Russian men in floppy hats throwing confetti at me!)

Aliens of the Deep (2005), James Cameron and Steven Quale, B

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Tuesday, January 25th, 2005

One of the better IMAX films I’ve seen. A little hokey, but it’s for kids. The giant 3D fish are terrific. Seeing James Cameron in a wet suit has its own weird reward. Oddly, each of Cameron’s IMAX docs mentions one of his previous films. “Aliens of the Deep,” “Ghost of the Abyss.” What does this mean?

I was lucky enough to be Kerry Douglas Dye’s date at a special screening where the very eloquent (I first noticed this on the “Solaris” commentary track) Mr. Cameron spoke with host Joel Siegal. Evidence of this below:

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It was a fine talk, two smart men doing in depth in a way that you just don’t see on TV outside the Charlie Rose Show. But then. . .but then it was opened up to Q & A. Now, this little event was set up by the Learning Annex, an organization which I’ve always considered just one step removed from Scientology. When Siegal wondered if there were any questions about 2 dozen hands shot up, and one man actually leapt from his seat. He was allowed to speak first, at which point he began to stutter out his resume. He was a musician cum actor cum filmmaker and he lived here and studied there and his name was X and and and what he wants to know is. . . um. . .what’s the entertainment biz going to be like in 10 years. In other words, he had no question at all, he just woke up that morning and realized that if he didn’t get a chance to tell James Cameron his name he might’ve gone Travis Bickle on someone. While Kerry and I hid our faces in discomfort (and Joel Siegel looked baffled) James Cameron showed what a true pro he was. He took the question from this maniac troll at face value, called him by his name when repeating the question for those who may not have heard, and then gave a cogent response. By now a dozen people had lined up behind a microphone. The next woman asked why the dates on the underwater IMAX footage said ’83. It actually said ’03. Still, she asked, why did it take so long to get finished? Kerry and I slapped our foreheads. I then noticed another woman next to us had her VHS boxes of “Titanic.” It may’ve looked rude, but we had to leave.

Hoffman’s Snowshow.

Jordan | Out & About | Tuesday, January 25th, 2005

What, everybody can post their bizzard photos but me? I’ll keep it brief.

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Here’s the snow drift on top of the butt-end of the air conditioner, which makes its temporary home in the computer room.

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Dr. Who: The Ark In Space (1975), Robert Homes (writer), B

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Tuesday, January 25th, 2005

This may surprise you, but I’ve never actually seen an entire Dr. Who serial from beginning to end. I’ve only caught baffling bits on public TV my whole life. Well, this particular series has it all — awful video, cheap sets, a bug-monster made of painted bubble wrap, two scrappy Brit sidekicks who say things like “blimey!” and the best theme song in TV history. Plus this features the Doctor with the mad, curly hair and long scarf. Renting this off of Netflix was kind’ve an expermient to see if Dr. Who was for me — expect to see a lot more of ‘em in the Journal to come.

N.I.T.

Jordan | Out & About | Sunday, January 23rd, 2005

Uncle Shappy teaching Young Luke in the Ways of the Nerd!

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