Wednesday, July 31, 2013

In case you’re into vitals, I have blood pressure and a pulse. Also a urinary tract infection.

So here’s the scoop, people! I saw Dr. M this morning and it’s official: I’ve got a urinary tract infection. She started me on an antibiotic called Sulfamethoxazole twice a day and I’m supposed to try real hard to stop peeing all over myself every time I stand up. (Damn. I was just starting to get used to it.) In case you’re into vitals, my blood pressure was 110/68, we found a pulse and I’ve lost 59½ pounds since my last appointment at the end of January. Lab results will be available tomorrow in the event you give a crap.

Now for some news from our Everything’s Better in Texas department. At the end of May a pair of rookie cops in Fort Worth responding to a burglary call accidentally went to the wrong house and ended up killing the homeowner due to “poor lighting.” Despite being sent to investigate a possible break-in at 409 Havenwood Lane, officers Hanlon and Hoeppner began searching across the street at 404 Havenwood instead. The officers’ said there was “no lighting around the home” of 72-year-old Jerry Waller and his wife Kathy, and they only had the use of their flashlights. Which probably explains why Jerry Waller, frightened, grabbed his .38-calibre handgun for protection and encountered the two officers while still standing inside his own garage. He was immediately shot six times in the chest and died at the scene. A police department spokesperson said an internal investigation was underway but the trigger-happy rookies have resumed full-time duty. The adorable Wallers, pictured below, had been married for 46 years.
The following photo should explain why Hanlon and Hoeppner had trouble deciphering those annoying house numbers. It’s just another example of the Lone Star State’s fine system of higher education.
A few days ago I promised you good folks a couple of movie reviews for The High and the Mighty (1956) starring John Wayne and Robert Stack and Station West (1953), a film noir western starring Dick Powell and Jane Greer. Let’s begin with The High and the Mighty, a silly, drecky all-star-cast disaster film that’s genuinely hilarious enough to earn permanent cult status. Sam and I are still surprised that Irwin Allen’s name wasn’t in the credits. (Yes, it’s that bad.)
The plot? John Wayne and Robert Stack are a pair of pilots in the cockpit of a commercial flight from Hawaii to San Francisco. When one of the engines craps out halfway across the ocean Robert Stack becomes unhinged (see above photo), causing John Wayne to punch him in the head and drink a lot of coffee. With fuel leaking from the damaged engine it’s likely that they’ll have to ditch the plane into the ocean and hopefully get their bodies picked up by a coast guard rescue team. The passengers, each a lunatic in his or her own right, naturally get hysterical when they hear the news and start flying off their respective handles. Among them are a pair of floozies, a big shot businessman, newlyweds trying to continue their honeymoon in seat 12, a snotty little kid traveling alone, an inventor with a briefcase full of secret documents, a homicidal maniac with a gun who’s only on board to kill the aforementioned big shot businessman who was horsing around with his wife in Honolulu, a stewardess who can’t stop crying because she’s still single with no immediate prospects and now she’s going to die in a plane crash, and an Italian fisherman who’s traveling with his own salami.

The performances are so hammy and idiotic that much of it wound up in 1980’s disaster parody Airplane. It just doesn’t get much better than this. I won’t tell you how the story ends so you’ll make an effort to buy the DVD or look for the movie on cable. Sam and I plan to watch it again. Often.

As a side note, The High and the Mighty was produced by BatJac, John Wayne’s personal production company. At the time, Wayne — a rabid anti-Communist — was busy “naming names” and ratting out his peers to the House UnAmerican Activities Committee. As a result it was damn near impossible to cast this movie except for a handful of right-wing crackpots who could stand being in the same room with him. 

And now, Station West. The “film noir western” is a strange genre but perfect for a pair of hard-boiled characters like Dick Powell and Jane Greer. She’s a dame who owns a saloon and sings the same song every seven minutes; he’s a secret government agent sent to investigate who the hell keeps robbing the stage.
Others in the cast include Burl Ives as a musical hotel clerk and Agnes Moorehead as the owner of a gold mine. Everybody else is either meaningless or one of Mister Big’s snarling flunkies at the lumber mill outside of town. For the record, Dick Powell looked pretty good riding a horse.
I’m definitely ready for an afternoon nap but will probably have to hold off at least another half-hour until my maid is through cleaning things. At the moment she’s on the patio scrubbing several dozen silk plants and trees. I told her she didn’t have to bother because it’s 101° out there, but this is a woman who totally loves what she does. Such as the time she announced, “I’d like to clean out your refrigerator today.” Holy crap. How perfect.

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