October 28, 2005

The Friday 10: Ten page tens

You want random? Oh, I’ll give you random! For this week’s Friday 10, I went to my bedroom bookshelf, grabbed 10 random books off of the shelves and¬†turned to page 10 of each. Here’s what I found:

1. The whale fluked, raising its tail high in the air, and there, instead of the distinct pattern of black-and-white markings by which all humpbacks were identified, were—spelled out in foot-high black letters across the white—the words BITE ME!”

(Fluke: Or, I Know Why the Winged Whale Sings by Christopher Moore — page 10)

2. When Ollie was eight months pregnant in 1873, she dreamed that she was safe in bed with Fred’s arms wrapped tightly around her. “When I got awake and found you were really not there, I could hardly believe it, you do not know how disappointed I was,” she wrote from her father’s house in Buffalo.

(Katharine Hepburn by Barbara Leaming — page 10)

3. “Just because I fall into a corpselike coma from time to time is no reason for your Grim Reaper fellow to grab me up without making proper tests. It was slipshod, I tell you.”

(Bring Me the Head of Prince Charming by Roger Zelazny and Robert Sheckley — page 10)

4. Like an increasing number of niminy-piminy Europeans, Americans bracket drinking with gambling and whoring, as deeds to be done in the dark. For myself, I have no shame and don’t have to steal off to Tuscany or the Caribbean to be able to drink guiltlessly in the sunlight. This casts me as a freak in a lunch-time world where the fires of anything vinous are extinguished by spritzing sprays of mineral water and the blaze of anything hearty is drizzled in balsamic or damped down with blanketing weeds of radicchio, lollo rosso, and rocket. Christ, we live in arse-paralysingly drear times.

(The Hippopotamus by Stephen Fry — page 10)

5. “Maybe. Maybe I do. But I don’t say it literally.”
“What?” she looked baffled.
“Not literally,” he said.
“There you go again,” she said, “with those college words.”

(Larry’s Party by Carol Shields — page 10)

6. Before she could answer, a man I knew from the smoking lounge approached along the promenade, coming from the direction of the bow of the ship. He had gone out of the lounge some time earlier.
“Look here,” he said, and he showed me his drink. It was full of chipped ice. “It’s from the forward well deck,” he said. “It’s all over the place.”
I felt the woman ease around my shoulder and look into the glass. The man was clearly drunk and shouldn’t have been running about causing alarm.
“From the iceberg,” he said.
I heard her exhale sharply.
“I never take ice in my scotch and soda,” I said.

(Tabloid Dreams by Robert Olen Butler — page 10)

7. Harry — This is a Pocket Sneakoscope. If there’s someone untrustworthy around, it’s supposed to light up and spin. Bill says it’s rubbish sold for wizard tourists and isn’t reliable because it kept lighting up at dinner last night. But he didn’t realize Fred and George had put beetles in his soup.Bye — Ron

(Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling — page 10)

8. “Drugs?” suggested the first policeman.
“More like dirty books,” said the other. “If he’s armed, it’s my turn.”
“It’s always your turn,” grumbled his companion.
The first policeman shrugged his shoulders. “Oh, all right then,” he said. “But I get to drive back to the station.”

(Expecting Someone Taller by Tom Holt — page 10)

9. “I guess it’s a freak of some kind then,” said Larry. And he also said: “Well, Jeesis, what’s that thing driving the last wagon?”
The man looked and said: “Why, it’s just a feller with some goat horns on his head. Another fake, I reckon.

(The Circus of Dr. Lao by Charles G. Finney — page 10)

10. One of the things that being engaged does to you, you must remember, is to fill you to the gills with a sort of knightly chivalry. So Freddie tells me. You go about the place like a Boy Scout, pouncing out on passers-by and doing acts of kindness to them. Three times that day Freddie had chased seedy-looking birds up side streets and forced cash on them. He had patted four small boys on the head and asked them if they meant to be President some day. He had beamed benevolently on the citizenry till his cheeks ached. And he was still full of the milk of human kindness and longing to assist some less fortunate fellow-traveler along the road of Life, when he saw this girl in front of him, staggering under the weight of the suitcase.

(Tales from the Drones Club by P.G. Wodehouse — page 10) ]

October 21, 2005

Doc Smartypants Introduces: The Friday 10

As part of an effort to stop being so lazy, I’m starting up a new Doc Smartypants series: The Friday 10. I’m not entirely sure what it’ll turn out to be, but check back on Friday and you should have some idea. To start off right, I decided to share 10 movie scenes I love. I’m not going to argue that these are the greatest moments ever captured on film, but they always make me smile when I think about them. I’d love to hear what some of your favorites are, too. So, in no particular order, I present:

10 Movie Moments I Love

1. Grosse Pointe Blank: Martin Blank (John Cusack) returns to his hometown after ten years only to discover that the house he grew up in has been turned into a convenience store. “You can never go home again…but I guess you can shop there.”

Home sweet home

2. Office Space: After Samir and Michael are laid off, Peter takes them out into a field where they destroy their arch nemesis–the crappy office printer—with a baseball bat. At one point Michael, who has started punching it with his bare hands, has to be dragged off of the machine.

Kill the printer

3. Amelie: Amelie’s father receives vacation photos from his garden gnome.

Gnome in New York

4. The Legend of 1900: 1900 (Tim Roth) is playing a grand piano as it rolls wildly around the dining room of a storm-rocked cruise ship. He seems completely at ease, smiling and carrying on a conversation even as the piano rolls through a stained glass wall.

5. Pride and Prejudice: Mr. Darcy (Colin Firth) bumps into Elizabeth (Jennifer Ehle) as he is returning from an impromptu dip in the lake—to their shared embarrassment.

Wet Mr. Darcy

6. Shaun of the Dead: Shaun walks to the store and back without noticing the destruction the zombies have left all around him. We’ve all had those days.

7. Young Frankenstein: As Dr. Frankenstein (Gene Wilder) helps his lovely assistant, Inga (Teri Garr), out of the hay cart in front of the castle he hears the sound of the enormous door knocker behind him. Turning, he exclaims, “What knockers!” And Inga, misunderstanding blushes and says, “Oh, thank you, doctor.” [C’mon, that’s priceless!]

8. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: Ron, Harry, and Hermione playing the life-sized game of wizard’s chess. In a movie with iffy special effects, this was one scene they got really right.

Wizard chess

9. The Hunt for Red October: Vasily (Sam Neill) is talking to Captain Ramius (Sean Connery) about what he wants to do when they defect to America. Vasily says: “I will live in Montana. And I will marry a round American woman and raise rabbits, and she will cook them for me. And I will have a pickup truck…maybe even a ‘recreational vehicle.’ And drive from state to state. Do they let you do that?” It’s such a genuine moment—you really want him to get his RV.

Sam Neill loves Montana

10. Garden State: Andrew (Zach Braff), who has been at a party all night, wakes up in the morning on his friend’s couch and sees a knight in full armor walking around in the kitchen. The knight stops, looks at him, and continues to prepare a bowl of cereal.