Monday, July 28, 2008

Staying cool

I like hummus but it can be expensive to buy, so I decided to make my own and find that it tastes better than the store bought kind and I can add things I like: roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, dill, etc. Whatever I have on hand, even roasted garlic, but I have found out that unless I want really garlicky hummus I need to cut back on the amount of garlic cloves I use and one or two is usually just enough. I think I am going to try sautéed shiitake mushroom and onion next time. Since I've cut back on meat, hummus has become the main source of protein, and my favorite.

The clouds keep threatening this side of town with howling winds and cold breezes that make me reach for the covers at night but still no rain, unless you call the 15 minutes of off and on pounding we got on Friday. It was more off than on and the pounding was brief, about 2 minutes. There's more rain in the forecast today and tomorrow, but if it's anything like what it has been over the past few weeks, the west side of town will get it all. Going to the movies, I've found, is the best way to stay cool, although I inevitably end up sweaty by the time I get home and have to take a cold shower. Cold showers have been the best way to keep cool, even in the middle of the night.

Hellboy II was even better than the first movie and Ron Perlman has the character down. Guillermo del Toro's mechanical hell beasts and scenery make the movie a ride into the clockwork bowels of hell, but my favorite was the death of the tentacled plant being. It was the very essence of birth from destruction and it was beautiful. Abe's romance with the princess was sweetly poignant and sad and it looks like there is a lot more Hellboy to come. I can hardly wait.

Ever since I read the first issue of Batman, I have been hooked on the dark knight, but Christopher Nolan's walk on the dark side with Christian Bale's Dark Knight owes much to a Star Trek episode where Abraham Lincoln fought alongside Kirk and Spock against Genghis Khan and the Enterprise's enemies. Lincoln and the Vulcan counterpart of Lincoln decided that they must follow the dictates of their conscience and sue for peace. They were killed. They believed that fighting evil with its own weapons is not the path to peace because you end up becoming what you fight. That, too, is the message of The Dark Knight. The special effects have not taken over in this next installment of the newly realized Batman but they play a crucial part as much as any human character. Heath Ledger as the Joker moves like a maniacal Keystone Cop on crack and his mania runs like a Stygian current through his performance with an understated, malevolent glee that is the complete opposite of Jack Nicholson and Cesar Romero's giggling, gleeful portrayals. Ledger is a much darker and more dangerous Joker that sneaks up on you and begins to make sense. It is sad to have lost such a bright and talented actor, and it makes me wonder if Ledger found it difficult to get out of character once he became the Joker.

Of all the musicals I have seen in recent years, Mamma Mia! is at once sillier and much more fun. Meryl Streep's voice has lost some of its verve and depth, sounding like she's smoked too many cigarettes and spent too many nights up drinking at the bar, but she can carry a tune. The choreography is haphazard and thrown together and I expected the swim fin chorus line to breaking into a tap routine at any minute, but despite the contrived feel of the musical numbers I thoroughly enjoyed myself watching stellar actors having so much fun being silly.

The new X-Files is on my schedule this week and I know I'll enjoy seeing Mulder and Scully together again as they race against the clock to stop the next phase of alien colonization before December 21, 2012. However you plan to stay cool, enjoy yourself and the waning days of sun and heat and flies, for autumn is not far away.

That is all. Disperse.

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