Well, here I stand, in the same spot where I stood when I wrote this, and in complementary circumstances. Consider this one a bookend to the other.

The last one was written two or three weeks after I started the blog. It reflects energy and excitement at playing with my new medium. It also reflects the fact that I was just beginning my caffeine fixation at the time, and a single grande cup of Starbucks House Blend could set my brain into creative (or at least, fanciful) overdrive. Also, that earlier flight of fancy was an attempt to distract my mind from the fact that I was here because this is where my mother-in-law lived, and she had just a few days before fallen and hit her head and gone into a coma.

As I write this one, I am weary. I’m still pretty much devoted to the blog, but without that initial excitement. Caffeine has become a thing I need to function, rather than a rare treat. I just finished my second grande of the day, and there is no creative rush. The problem with my shoulders (perhaps intensified by the caffeine) has become a more-or-less constant pain, which becomes worse when I lie down, making a full night’s sleep nigh impossible. I just took a muscle relaxer, which I washed down with coffee, but I still remain self-deceptive enough to hope it works. And yesterday, we buried my mother-in-law, whom I loved very much.

But I’m not here to write about that. I’ll continue the Hemingway thing to that extent. (As Jake said to Lady Brett near the end — and I just went to the bookstore’s shelves to check the quote — "You’ll lose it if you talk about it," to which she responded, "I just talk around it.") Since I was not alive to be there on June 6, I have to say that yesterday was my Longest Day. It will take some time for me to digest the years of profound experience packed into those few hours. The digesting, and the unpacking of the memories, will be something for me and my closest loved ones, not for a public blog.

No, I’m here to distract myself. So I went skimming the New York Times site, and ran across this. Which brings up the question, was or was not David Lynch’s "Dune" the worst film in history? I mentioned this point in passing in a previous post — this seems to be a self-referential day for this blog — but the topic didn’t really take off that time.)

I’m quite sure it was, but I’m open to any interesting — and distracting — arguments to the contrary. If it was NOT, in your mistaken opinion, the worst film ever, tell which one you think was, and give me the reasons why. (And I’ll be glad to elaborate later as to why Lynch holds the title.)

Better yet, to return to an earlier, abortive attempt to start a new and fun category, give me your Top Five Worst Movies Ever, with short explanations on each. After you’ve jogged my memory a bit, I’ll come back with my own list. And yes, you may include "Plan 9 From Outer Space," if you insist. But don’t you think that one’s a bit obvious?

Sure, this is silly, but work with me here. If you want substance, go back to this one. Cindi’s doing substance for me today. I’m doing trivia.

15 thoughts on “Distraction

  1. Van Kornegay

    Re: the billboard protection act
    “the excess … the promiscuity … the whorishness of our legislators…” Cindi hit the nail on the head.
    But to borrow her own phrase: it’s even worse than that.
    Scott Shockley, President of the Outdoor Advertising Association of S.C., wrote in the Spartanburg Herald today that his industry is one of the most regulated in the state. Unfortunately that’s true. The billboard industry has co-opted just about every regulation and regulatory agency that has anything to do with billboards. Consider this:
    – According to Scenic America there are more billboards per highway mile in South Carolina than just about any other state. What an onerous regulatory burden they labor under!
    – SCDOT policy allows sign companies to come on public property and cut down trees along our highways to establish a view corridor for billboards. As long as the billboard companies pay a paltry yearly fee of $200, DOT will maintain this view corridor largely at taxpayer expense. Officials at billboard friendly DOT admit that this fee doesn’t nearly cover the cost of maintaining the treeless view corridor. So, once again taxpayers are subsidizing billboard blight.
    – The billboard industry has gotten themselves positions on the SC Scenic Highways Committee. I serve on that committee, which is responsible for identifying and recommending certain roads, like Highway 11 in the upstate, be set aside as scenic and be kept billboard free. There are two members from the billboard industry on the committee, Doug McFarland and Hal Stevenson, all other groups only have one seat, and Doug is the chair of the committee. As you can imagine, this group hasn’t recommended many highways for the scenic designation. In fact, I’ve heard the billboard duo cite one of the committee’s accomplishments was decommissioning a scenic highway in Mt. Pleasant because it was no longer scenic.
    Last spring, I took a day off of work to drive down to the low country to ride and evaluate a section of highway being considered for scenic designation. Committee members evaluated the section of road and turned in grade review sheets. However, at our October meeting some seven months later, I was chagrined to learn that the results had yet to be tabulated or reported to the Legislature. I still don’t know if they have.
    Clearly, this is a case of the foxes guarding the hen house.
    And if you’re looking for a symbol of the outrage behind this bill, consider the derelict, weed covered Lamar billboard that sits by the Gervais St. bridge. It’s the first thing people see when they come into town and the last thing they see when they leave. It hasn’t had an ad on it in years, yet the industry has kept this eyesore up no doubt hoping that this kind of sweetheart legislation might pass so they can extort money from taxpayers to take it down.
    One final thing I find curious is the media coverage of this debate. And this, admittedly, is very speculative.
    I note that in the online survey that The State had more posts on this issue than just about any other. So apparently there is public interest. Yet, there was hardly any mention of the issue or even Sanford’s veto in the local electronic media. I wonder if Dwight Drake and Co. convinced them this was a non story. Our scenic group called ABC and WIS and asked that they cover a statement down by the Gervais street sign calling on Sanford to veto the bill. Yet, no one would cover it. Just after the vote billboards for ABC local news sprung up all over town. There are 5 of the same signs just along Millwood. The timing and volume of signs are curious. It would be interesting to know about that media buy.

  2. Herb

    All the best to you, Brad, as you process memories. I’ve been there, too. Never easy.
    I don’t have five worst movies, as I don’t go to that many, and I usually enjoy the distraction. But I did take my wife to see Jurassic Park 2 and Jurassic Park 3 and she went to sleep in both of them, right when the T-Rex started bouncing across the screen. We also went to see Gods and Generals; she didn’t go to sleep, but she was getting ready to lie down across a row of empty seats. We left at intermission. I still want to see the rest of it. I liked it and Gettysburg. Too bad the trilogy won’t be completed. I’ll just keep reading Shelby Foote, I guess.

  3. UncleElmer

    Brad, my condolences on your loss. Five stinker movies that will surely give distraction are:
    1. Night of the Lepus, a cautionary “What if” tale about giant, carnivorous bunnies (note – this is one of those movies that alcohol and a crowd of friends can make very, very funny);
    2. Gymkata, proving that Olympic hearthrobs can go on to make names for themselves in the movies, even if not good names;
    3. Cube, which I have seen but I’m afraid I am still unable to summarize,
    4. Pi, which I thought at the beginning could be good but then just…what? I’m still trying to figure that out;
    5. I’m not sure how bad Ishtar is, I can’t stay awake through it.
    I have actually seen all of these, because I have trouble sleeping (except when Ishtar is on). Also I hear that Vanilla Ice made a movie. I’ve never seen it, but let me go out on a limb here and guess: it’s bad. Anybody out there seen it?

  4. Dave

    Not necessarily in rank order –
    Waterworld – About 2.5 hours or more of learning that Kevin Costner couldn’t act his way out of a paper bag (wet) and that you can survive by recycling your own urine. What a colossal waste of a movie.
    LawnMowerMan – After we all watched him trim the hedges one time the highlight point of the movie was over. Beyond goofiness and how boring.
    The BodyGuard – Again, Costner, who is on a par with Sylvester Stallone as an actor, develops a love interest in Whitney Houston while guarding her. About halfway through the movie, I was hoping Bobby Browne would arrive and beat the hell out of both of them.
    Casino – A movie that may have set a record for using the F word. DeNiro has done some great ones, (Cape Fear for one) but what a disgusting episode on this one.
    Rocky and Bullwinkle – Can anyone even believe DeNiro actually did this movie? Is the man weird about choosing roles?
    Speed (I, II, or whatever sequel) – I know we have had movies about out of control trains, plains, and cruise ships, but a greyhound bus? I only watched half of this and when Sandra Bullock wouldn’t open the front or back door and jump out, that was it for me. Maybe Costner was in this one too.

  5. bill

    This might not be a popular choice for worst movie,but because it was so overrated and so extremely awful,the worst movie of all time:Forrest Gump

  6. Herb

    Oh, yeah, and while we’re at it, just about any Costner movie counts for worst movie, except for maybe Field of Dreams, which I didn’t think was too bad. The worst one has got to be Der mit dem Wolf taenzt, which English title I can’t think of, but I’m sure everybody knows what I mean about “dancing with wolves” — I only saw it in German.

  7. GS Gantt

    Anyone know where to find instructions or any kind of help in creating a “blog site”? Other than typepad.com or godaddy.com. Any books available, or classes?

  8. Lee

    Nothing distracts me from The State’s support for the status quo and its efforts to sabotage comprehensive tax reform.
    Cindy Ross Scoppe cannot really be as ignorant as she tries to appear in her lame columns and editorials.

  9. Ready to Hurl

    Luckily, I don’t see many movies but I consider the few minutes that I began reading Kathleen Parker’s latest column to be an utter waste.
    Right on cue she regurgitates Rovian talking points. Now over 60% of Americans are nativist, racist and xenophobic because they sense a problem with entrusting our ports to a company owned and controlled by a royal family known to pal around with Osama bin Laden.
    Naturally she ignores her masters’ role in encouraging nativism, racism, xenophobia and insecurity for political and economic gain during the last five years.
    Really, Brad, she’s just a D-grade mouthpiece hack for the administration. I don’t know what you see in her. She must have been a scintillating conversationalist at the cocktail parties that you attended.

  10. Ready to Hurl

    Heh, heh… Cindy Ross Scoppe is “ignorant” and “lame?”
    Lee, you’re projecting your own failings, again.

  11. Lee

    I don’t think Ms. Scoppe or any of the usual cast of “business leaders” really believes that property tax reform will harm them.
    What they fear is an examination of the sales tax exemptions they lobbied so hard to acquire over the years.

  12. Brad Warthen

    Actually, Lee, what we have DEMANDED over and over is an exhaustive examination of those very exemptions, with nothing left off the table, plus consideration of extending the tax to cover more services as well as products.

  13. Lee

    Why don’t you start ITEMIZING some elements that would be part of any tax reform, and DEMANDING that the legislature implement them NOW, instead of stalling on the pretense of building a perfect design for comprehensive reform.
    To join any serious discussion, you have to stop using slogans, catch phrases, and bogus definitions.
    * “Budget cuts” – used to make an increase in spending sound like a reduction, when it is just less money than the worst lobbyist wanted.
    * “Paying for tax cuts” – as if a revenue reduction was actually an increase in spending.
    * “Revenue neutral” – assumes government must never reduce its income.

  14. Mark Whittington

    The Real Cost Of “Free Trade” To America’s Freedom

    Sound recording industries
    Commodity contracts dealing and brokerage
    Motion picture and sound recording industries
    Metal ore mining
    Motion picture and video industries
    Wineries and distilleries
    Database, directory, and other publishers
    Book publishers
    Cement, concrete, lime, and gypsum product
    Engine, turbine and power transmission equipment
    Rubber product
    Nonmetallic mineral product manufacturing
    Plastics and rubber products manufacturing
    Plastics product
    Other insurance related activities
    Boiler, tank, and shipping container
    Glass and glass product
    Coal mining
    Sugar and confectionery product
    Nonmetallic mineral mining and quarrying

  15. Lee

    It’s no problem for a socialist government to print enough money to by a private business.

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