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Movies I've seen recently:

The Maltese Falcon, 1941. The fact that I have lived 30 years without seeing this movie is a travesty. I fell in love with old movies as a teenager and I don't know how this one escaped me. It is utterly fantastic. Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade, calling his secretary "doll" and "sweetheart" and "angel" while smooching every other woman who crosses his path and solving the crime even though no one ever tells him the truth. They just don't make them like this anymore. They try, but they don't succeed.

The Great Escape, 1963. I only rented this movie because Eddie Izzard talks about it for like four hours in Dress to Kill, which is about how long this movie is. But it's good. It's World War 2, and the Nazis gathered up all the Allied soldiers who escaped from other POW camps and put them in the same camp. (I guess the Nazis aren't famous for being smart, now, are they.) Surprisingly, they decide to escape! And here's what I don't understand: why Steve McQueen became such the idol. I don't think he's particularly good-looking. (James Garner, however... damn.)

The Tailor of Panama, 2001. I did not understand this movie. At. All. First of all, Geoffrey Rush married to Jamie Lee Curtis? That should have tipped me off. Secondly, there was a character whose sole purpose was to have sex with Pierce Brosnan. Seriously, I don't think she had any lines. And I never really understood what anyone was doing, or even trying to do. Except for Pierce Brosnan and the woman.

The Count of Monte Cristo, 2002. I enjoyed this, but it just made me want to watch the 6-hour Gerard Depardieu version they showed on Bravo a few years back. And here's my question: (highlight to read this part) was the fact that Albert was Edmund's son supposed to be a big surprise? If so, they overdid the foreshadowing just a hair. I mean, could they have picked an actor that looked more like Jim Caviezel?. (End of spoiler, except to be honest, I'm discussing how something that was probably supposed to be a big shock actually wasn't. Spoiler irony.)

Television I've been watching recently:

Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I need to figure out how to get over my obsession with this show. It can't be healthy. I tape the two episodes on F/X every day. There have been days when I have sung the entire musical, a cappella, while stuck in traffic. And I was actually bitter for a few days after Buffy dumped Spike, but then I watched it again, and I saw her turn away from him and walk, literally, into the light, and I decided I was okay with it. It wasn't really the Buffy/Spike relationship I was mourning, anyway, but the fact that there won't be any more Naked!Spike, unless Drusilla comes back. (Part of me likes Drusilla, but part of me wants to smash her cheekbones in with a hammer every time she calls him Spoyke.)

Larry King Live. No, not Jeffrey Skilling, not Michelle Van Dam's parents (has anyone else heard this bizarre story about them being swingers?) but... Monica Lewinsky. I can't help it, I've always had this morbid fascination with that whole story, and part of me does feel sorry for her. Yes, she was incredibly stupid, but she was also manipulated, and I don't think she ever had any intention of going public about what had happened, and wouldn't we have been better off? Ignorance is bliss, people.

Survivor. Loved the first one, watched the second out of curiosity, didn't watch the third. But I read an article where Mark Burnett said it was going to be more like the first, and the location is more tropical and therefore provides better scenery, and they dumped the guy I thought was annoying anyway, so I might check this one out for a while.

Books I've been reading recently:

Timeline by Michael Crichton. I'm not a huge Crichton fan -- I read Jurassic Park in college, and Disclosure at some point. But I was at Sam's Club with my friend Gillian, and she said it was excellent, and the hardback was only $4.99, so I bought it. I'm only on page 50 or so, but I'm enjoying it already.

Kiss My Tiara by Sarah Jane Gilman. So last week I went to dinner with my friend Callie from work, and we wandered over to the bookstore afterwards, browsing the self-help section as single women in their 30's are wont to do, and I spied this book, and started to read it at random, and started reading sections to Callie, and she picked up her own copy and started reading it, and we stood there in the self-help section, laughing hysterically, tears streaming down our faces. (Seriously, this is one damn funny book.)

Paris to the Moon by Adam Gopnik. My urge to go to France has returned. I want to go now. Right now. Like, tomorrow.

The Poetry and Short Stories of Dorothy Parker by, er, Dorothy Parker, I suppose. This was a belated birthday gift from Kate (who perhaps one day will get a belated birthday gift of her own) and I can see why Mrs. Parker is a heroine of hers. With a strict adherence to rhyme and meter, she writes the witty, sardonic truth about what it is to be a woman. (And yes, I did make up that sentence all by myself.)

Sites I've been surfing recently:

Pizza Hut. Kansas City, along with Dallas and Columbus, OH, is a test-market city for online ordering, so I did my part last week and tested it, ordering a P'zone. The name couldn't possibly be stupider (honestly, why not just call it a calzone?) but damn, those things are good. (Get the pepperoni one. The classic has onions and green peppers in it, and while they're fine on pizza, they don't really work in the P'zone. Trust me on this.)

The Shakespearean Insulter. I posted this one at fractious times already, but I really could not possibly be more amused by this site. "Would thou were clean enough to spit upon!" "Drop into the rotten mouth of death!" "Thou tottering fly-bitten moldwarp!"

The Oscar Pool. Okay, so it's a little shameless self-promotion. But seriously, people, I know you haven't all entered (my girls? hello?) and the clock is ticking. We're less than... okay, like three weeks, but still! Why wait? And I'm almost embarrassed to admit this, because the geek in me is emerging (like that's a surprise), but I've made a little spreadsheet of all the entries, with, like, percentages and crap. And not only will scoring be simple, but I'll be able to give you fascinating little bits of trivia, like how the Oscars would have turned out if you all had been the real voters. For example, I could tell you that one of the animated short films is absolutely running away with the vote, which I thought was strange because as far as I know, none of you know anything in particular about the animated short category, and you're all just doing what I do and picking the most interesting title.

Anyway, the prize amount is up to $112, and it'll only get higher (maybe), so enter already!