Don't call me, Blah Blah Blah

Here's a story that will keep you up nights, and it's no urban legend. Every word of it is true; only the names have been changed to protect the misunderstood.

Gift wrap

I understand that some people hate to wrap gifts or have no talent for it. Gift wrapping, to a lot of my friends, means not removing the gift from the sack it was placed in at the point of sale ("The receipt's still in there if you hate it"); others, like my friend Barbara, remove the item from its original limp, thin, plastic bag and then create an effect a lot like it in wrapping paper, price tags and all.

Altman

The password for my email has always been "Nashville," because aren't you supposed to choose, for a password, something you'll never forget? I saw Nashville in 1975 at the Pawnee Plaza Theatres, a big event even in the heyday of American moviemaking, heralded by a Newsweek cover and a rare rave review from Pauline Kael, who broke her annual six-month hiatus at The New Yorker to write it. I was thirteen, and although I expected that I might like it, what I saw caused a sea change in my life.

Drinking games under the table

But let's get back to this drinking games business for a minute. When we last visited the topic we learned about Free Association, the Ten Worst Movies Ever Made, and the dreadful I Never, and it seems to me that with the holiday season officially underway we'll all need more than those to tide us over. My thought was that, for this column, I might try to include one or two that are actually fun, in a reasonable, non-esoteric way, to play.

Who Am I?

Opinion Line

A parody

• I voted several times and yet the Democrats got in anyway. I smell a rat.

• Boy oh boy. I guess Christmas came early for the goddamn Taliban.

• You ladies haven't seen someone vote until you've seen me swing my chad. Better take a paper ballot unless you brought some tissue with you.

• I won't vote anymore. The spy robots that they use to track you look just like common houseflies. And just how do they get your address? They put down the jimmy dust to track you back home.

• Morrison sounds like a Jewish name to me.

Drinking and the games it inspires

When I was growing up, in the seventies, attitudes towards drinking were obviously different than today's. Here in Kansas I could begin legally drinking beer when I was eighteen, but even before that, when I was as young as thirteen, my mom would get mad at those few waitresses who refused to serve me a glass of wine with dinner. "I'm his mother," she would patiently explain. If that didn't work, she would say, "All right then, I'll have two glasses." Sticklers.

Ye Olde Hoüsing Developmenté, why are you named so sillily?

I started thinking about the word "wilderness" the other day as I drove a friend to his home in the Wilderness subdivision of Tallgrass, and about its applicability to that particular neighborhood. The neighborhood's planners couldn't have meant "wilderness" as that word is commonly used when they named this neighborhood, since you can throw a Frisbee from the very heart of it and, with favorable wind conditions, hit a fourteen-screen theater, an elective-surgery hospital, or an all-suites hotel.

Opinion Line

A parody

• Back in my day we got real ecstasy. That stuff the kids eat today is nothing but laxative.

• Me and my boys is all in a skateboard gang and this here on-the-street arena parking is going to make our m*****-f*****g day, m*****-f***ers. Leave it unlocked and you don't got to break out the Benjamins for new m*****-f*****g windows, hear?

• I'm very sensitive to all the fumes and the odors, plus sunlight, moisture, and cold. So I suppose that without parking I just won't be enjoying all the events at that new arena. It's only for the unafflicted.

• Walk my ass.

Theorosa's Bridge

OK, here's what happened: The scene is a golden prairie near the banks of Jester Creek late in the nineteenth century. Amid plenteous fields of life-giving grain there lives a peaceful "Indian tribe," as we then innocently called them, giving thanks for an abundant harvest on a mild Kansas afternoon.

Halloween movies that are better than Christmas movies

In my column last week I wrote, "Halloween movies are better than Christmas movies." To me the truth of that statement is self-evident, but I got a couple of emails all the same. My correspondents can have The Bishop's Wife and It's a Wonderful Life (although that second title, I wish to point out, at times offers a view of humanity almost as bleak and scary as anything we associate with Halloween). As proof of my stated thesis, I offer this list of thirteen top-drawer horror titles, all available on video or DVD. Pick up a couple for the holiday.

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