Category Archives: Humor

Crime, Passion, Ambition, Stupidity: Darkly Twisted Comedies


No Spoilers

Christian Slater & Patricia Arquette, True Romance ©

There are lots of different types of comedies in film these days, from slapstick, to teen-flicks, to culture-clash explorations. Most of those don’t appeal to me very much, and even if I see one of them, I rarely watch it more than once. I prefer the “comedies” that are dark and twisted. These dark comedies usually have very big name stars, terrific writing, and very unusual stories. They’re usually more sophisticated and intellectually complex. Sometimes they win big awards; sometimes they don’t.  But what they virtually always have in common are mistakes, loyalty, crime, passion, ambition, romance, and a healthy dose of stupidity on many of the characters’ parts. (Presented in no particular order: I love them all, and have seen each multiple times.)

Suicide Kings


Avery (Henry Thomas), Max (Sean Patrick Flanery) and two friends (Jay Mohr, Jeremy Sisto) — all spoiled, über-wealthy boys — concoct a desperate & convoluted plan to save Avery’s kidnapped sister. They kidnap former Mafia boss Carlo “Charlie” Bartolucci (Christopher Walken), planning to use the ransom they get for Charlie to pay the $2M ransom being demanded for Avery’s sister.

Christopher Walken, Suicide Kings ©

Though they think they’ve planned for every contingency, their plan bungles grotesquely, even before fellow pal Ira (Johnny Galecki) comes to his father’s vacation house for a “game of poker,” and discovers, instead, his childhood friends and the kidnapped mobster.

Suicide Kings ©

Toss in a healthy dose of Charlie’s “street-smart” psychological manipulation, and the boys soon begin to jump at their own shadows as they suspect that one or more of them was “an inside player” in the kidnapping of Avery’s sister.

Many of the scenes between Ira (Galecki) and Charlie (Walken) in Suicide Kings were ad-libbed, and the film has a surprise twist that will stun you. Available for rent ($3.99) from Amazon, YouTube, and GooglePlay.

Pulp Fiction


A montage of ultimately connected — though seemingly disparate — stories, Pulp Fiction was a critical and box-office success, due in part to the stunning performances of its mega-star cast. Vincent Vega (John Travolta) and Jules Winfield (Samuel L. Jackson) are hit-men whose philosophical discussions involve even their victims.

John Travolta & Samuel L Jackson, Pulp Fiction ©

Their boss, Marcellus Wallace (Ving Rhames) and his wife, Mia (Uma Thurman) get tangled up with the hit-men, as does a struggling boxer Butch (Bruce Willis), mob-crime “cleaner” Winston “The Wolfe” (Harvey Keitel), drug-dealer Lance (Eric Stoltz) and his wife Jody (Rosanna Arquette).

Uma Thurman, Pulp Fiction ©

Now throw in a pair of supremely romantic but amateur armed robbers, “Pumpkin” (Tim Roth) and “Honey Bunny” (Amanda Plummer), at the beginning and the end of the film, and you’re in for a treat.

Director Quentin Tarantino’ s Pulp Fiction is an ingenious and glorious romp on the dark side. Available for rent ($3.99) from Amazon, YouTube, and iTunes.

Lars and the Real Girl


In one of the most bizarre premises for a film ever, the extremely shy & painfully introverted Lars (Ryan Gosling) finds it impossible to make friends, socialize, or even get himself a girlfriend. When he tells his brother Gus (Paul Schneider) and hugely-pregnant sister-in-law Karin (Emily Mortimer) that he is bringing home a girl he met on the Internet, they are overjoyed.

Paul Schneider, Emily Mortimer, Ryan Gosling, and “Bianca”, Lars and the Real Girl ©

Until they meet Bianca — a life-size plastic sex-doll. On the advice of the town doctor Dagmar (Patricia Clarkson), however, his family and the rest of the community agree to go along with Lars’ delusion that Bianca is a real girl, rather than to oppose him, in an attempt to understand why Lars needs a plastic fiancée.

Patricia Clarkson and “Bianca”, Lars and the Real Girl ©

An exploration of an emotionally abandoned young man’s lonely life as well as of the love of his family and community that begins to envelop him, Lars and the Real Girl will bring tears to your eyes — and not just from laughter — especially in the ultimate scene between Lars and Bianca.

Available for rent ($3.99) from Amazon, YouTube, and iTunes.

True Romance


Another entry from Quentin Tarantino, True Romance has big-name stars, a quirky story, and bang-up dialogue. When comic-book nerd and Elvis fanatic Clarence (Christian Slater) meets the “love of his life” — a call-girl of three days — Alabama (Patricia Arquette), and attempts to save her from her pimp Drexl (Gary Oldman), a mistakenly grabbed suitcase leads to a wild plan for a “happily ever after life” for the two lovers.

Christian Slater & Patricia Arquette, True Romance ©

Unfortunately, the suitcase belongs to the mob, and they send very bad men to recover their property. From the brilliantly and hysterically savage (improv) “Sicilian” scene between Clarence’s dad (Dennis Hopper) and mafioso attorney Don Vincenzo Coccotti (Christopher Walken), to the violently “affectionate” encounter between Alabama and one of the hit-men (James Gandolfini), to the final Mexican stand-off (one of Tarantino’s signature set-pieces) in the luxury hotel suite, True Romance rocks everyone’s world as each tries to maintain loyalty in the face of treachery and violence.

Available for viewing via Yidio.

Scotland PA

images-2 copy

An extremely dark and comedic retelling of Shakespeare’s tragedy Macbeth, this story is set in the early ’70s in rural Scotland, PA. Here, fast food “King” Duncan (James Rebhorn) — formerly of Doughnut restaurant fame — employs the McBeths, “Mac” (James LeGros) and Pat (Maura Tierney), who feel under-appreciated and resentful in their dead-end jobs at Duncan’s not-so-successful burger joint.

Maura Tierney, James LeGros, Scotland PA ©

When Duncan reveals his plan for an innovation that will revolutionize the restaurant world — a plan which three stoned “hippie” witches (Andy Dick, Amy Smart, and Timothy Levitch) have previously foretold in cryptic fashion to Mac — and when Duncan reveals as well his intention to leave the restaurant to his son Malcolm (Tom Guiry), the murder plot is hatched.

Christopher Walken, Scotland PA ©

Lieutenant McDuff (Christopher Walken) is on the case as early as Duncan’s funeral, and the McBeths must elude discovery while attaining success with their newly acquired restaurant.

A rare comedic take on one of the most famous tragedies every written, the dark violence and brilliant characterizations in Scotland PA are a tribute to and an innovation on the original source material. Available for viewing via Netflix and Yidio.

In Bruges

51l1m++CXvLAfter neophyte hit-man Ray (Colin Farrell) makes a dreadful mistake on his first job, he and partner Ken (Brendan Gleeson) are forced by their boss Harry (Ralph Fiennes), to head to the medieval city of Bruges, Belgium to hide out until the situation gets straightened out.

Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell, In Bruges ©

Ray hates the city and is a whiny “tourist,” but Ken finds it enchanting and fascinating. At least, until Ken discovers why he and Ray have been sent to Bruges in the first place, and what Harry now wants to happen. Both Gleeson and Farrell were nominated for awards for their brilliant performances — simultaneously comic and tragic — but Fiennes also shows his rare ability to be similarly comedic and threatening.

Ralph Fiennes, In Bruges ©

In his play No Exit, Sartre wrote that “Hell is other people,” but to bumbling hit-man Ray, Hell is being In Bruges.

Available for rent ($3.99) from Amazon (free with Starz 7-day trial), YouTube, and iTunes.

Very Bad Things


Before Kyle  (Jon Favreau) marries his beautiful but extremely emotionally needy fiancée (Cameron Diaz), leaving his single life behind forever, Kyle and four of his friends (Jeremy Piven, Christian Slater, Daniel Stern, and Leland Orser) head to Las Vegas for a supreme bachelor party.

Cameron Diaz and Jon Favreau, Very Bad Things ©

There, after drugs, alcohol, and philosophical discussions among long-time friends, things go terribly wrong. Innocent fun quickly deteriorates into accidental violence, and then into intentional, escalating crime to cover the initial accident. This film’s characters become ultimately so very “bad” that you find yourself feeling rather guilty for laughing out loud at their circumstances, which are certainly no laughing matter. Then, just when you think you’ve reached the end of your ability to laugh, Very Bad Things hits you with its very stunning and morally appropriate ending.

Available for rent ($3.99) from Amazon, YouTube, and iTunes.


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Filed under Actors, Dark Comedies, Film Videos, Films, Films/Movies, Humor, Movies/Films, No Spoilers Review, Official Film Trailers, Official Movie Trailers, Official Trailers, Review/No Spoilers

Waiting for Godot at the USPO


paa212000046The United States Post Office (USPO) changed its name during the recent Great Recession to the United States Postal Service (USPS), for reasons which were never made clear to the public. But I can tell you that, instead of improving its Service with the name change, it has most seriously declined. To the point of absurdity. Make that Absurdity, as in where nothing in the world makes sense except to the uninvolved observer. And sometimes, not even to that person.

Yesterday, I had to mail two books to the UK, and I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t really know how much of the UK address is necessary for any object to reach its destination there. Furthermore, the USPS, still exactly like the USPO despite the change of name, has never updated its Customs Forms — though they’re intended only for International Mail — to include any other country besides the US and Canada. Still, I had to make a go of it: I had promised to mail some friends the books as gifts.

Books and addresses in hand, I gathered the materials I was told I would need, then went to a counter in the center of the room to fill everything out. There was rather a long line, and I didn’t want any other customers to have to wait behind me while I was trying to fill out the long Customs form. After I filled out both, I took my place in line again and went to the counter.

“Oh, no, you filled out the wrong Customs form,” said the Postal clerk who had given it to me himself. “You filled out the Long Form.”

“There’s more than one Customs Form?”

“You should have filled out the short one,” he said, sliding four of them across the counter to me.

“I have to fill out two for each package?”


“You gave me four. I only have two packages.”

“In case you make a mistake,” he said.

I took a deep breath. I let it out slowly and silently. Once again, I stepped to the side to fill in the forms. The Short Customs Form seemed identical to the Long Customs Form. One was simply on a larger piece of paper. Both had duplicates. Both requested the City, State/Province, and Country of Delivery, along with the Postal Code. Dutifully, I filled out the second set of required forms, now printing smaller and squeezing in the Postal Code into an area that couldn’t even hold 5 spaces, let alone 6, 7, or the 9 that’s required in the US’ Zip + 4, which was required for my address. I put the original forms into my bag, wanting the addresses to remain private, put the books in the boxes, and returned to the counter.

“You can’t use those boxes.”

“You gave them to me.”

“Those aren’t for International Mail.”

I pointed to the red printing on the box as I read it aloud: For International Mail Attach Customs Form in Place of Address Sticker.

“Nope. You have to use this,” said the clerk, handing me two cardboard envelopes.

“I’m mailing books.”

“I know.”

“Those are envelopes.”

“They’re cardboard.”

“They’re envelopes.”

“They’re for International Mail. You can step over to that empty counter. Here, these are the Address Forms for International Mail.”

“What about the Customs Forms?”

“Did you fill out the Short or the Long Forms?”

“Both, actually. Which do you need?”

“Where are the packages going?”

“The UK.”

“Short. But you have to fill out these Address Forms to put onto the cardboard envelopes.”

By the time I unpacked the books from the boxes, put them into the envelopes, filled out yet another — even smaller — Address Form for each, I was sure I’d put the books into the wrong envelopes. I checked several times, but am still quite convinced that the books will end up in the incorrect places, and their recipients — who are expecting the books — will wonder why on earth I sent them some other books with cards to someone else. Meanwhile, almost 20 minutes after I first reached the USPO counter, I returned.

“International?” said the clerk, as if I had not been there three times already. “To what country?”

“The UK.”

“Where’s that? New Zealand?”

“No. The UK.”

“T-h-e-U-K,” he said aloud as he typed. “Sorry. No The UK.”

“Did you try entering just UK?”

“U-K. Nope. No UK either.”

Though I had written Great Britain on the Customs Form next to UK — as well as on the Address Label — and he was looking at one or both of them as he typed, I said it aloud. He typed it in, then stared at me most solemnly.

“G-r-e-a-t-B-r-i-t-i-a-n. Nope. Nothing.”

“You spelled it wrong.”

“Are you sure?”

“You could read it off the Customs Form,” I said. “Or off the Address Label.”

He glanced down once more, typing one letter before looking down at the next, again saying each one as he typed it in.

“Nope. No Great Britain. Where are these books going?”

“To the UK.”

“We don’t have a UK.”

“To Great Britain.”

“Don’t have one of those either.”

I stared at him in silence while I thanked Buddha for giving me the opportunity to practice patience with the USPO-USPS clerk who apparently did not have to be either literate or very intelligent to earn his rather substantial salary.

“England,” I finally said. “Do you need me to spell it?”

He thought a moment before he began his laborious, one-finger, dictation-typing.

England and Ireland $24.97 popped up on the small screen facing me on the counter. Ouch, I thought when I saw the price. Still, the books were gifts. And the clerk had finally managed to find the correct country of destination. I attempted to smile.

“You found it.”

“Which one?” he said.

“Which one… what?”

“Which country is it going to: England or Ireland?”

“They’re the same price.”

“But I have to type in which country it’s going to.”

“England,” I said.

He typed in England once again. He told me the price, which was still showing England and Ireland $24.97 in front of me. He grabbed the next package.

“Going to the same place?”

“Not to the same city,” I said, “but to the same country.”

“And that is?”


I would like to tell you that he did not type it in again, that he just hit a Repeat button or something similar, that he did not make me listen to him spell out E-n-g-l-a-n-d as he typed in each letter, but I’m afraid that he repeated the performance. While I began to suspect that Godot might arrive before I managed to get the books sent out, the USPO clerk looked at the city I’d written on the second address label.

“Oh, London. That’s London, England?”

Somehow, I didn’t get the feeling that this particular postal clerk had ever heard of London, OH or London, KY or of any other London that might be located in the US. Actually, I was surprised he’d heard of London at all. Somehow, though, after 40 minutes with him, I wasn’t surprised that he’d asked me, once again, if it was in England. I submitted to fate and nodded.

England and Ireland $24.97 appeared a second time.

“Which one?” he said. “England?”

In Absurdist comedies, none of the characters ever laughs. Not in Beckett’s famous Waiting for Godot nor in Stoppard’s hysterical re-telling of Hamlet — told from the perspective of two minor characters in Shakespeare’s play — Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. The audience might laugh, but the characters do not. The major characters in those works know that their lives don’t make sense, that their lives don’t make sense though everyone else’s seems to, that the Universe itself doesn’t make sense — at least, no sense that they can ever grasp — and that, additionally, everyone else seems to understand all the things they themselves can’t figure out, but the major characters do not laugh.

I can assure you, I wasn’t laughing either.

The problem was, neither was the USPO-USPS clerk.

Yet the USPS wonders why it’s bankrupt and has had to close so many of its offices.

I wanted to thank Buddha again for this extended opportunity to practice patience with my fellow man, but I admit, rather ruefully, that I am not yet spiritually enlightened: instead, I was using every ounce of energy in my body not to reach the short distance over the counter, grab the clerk by the hair, and slam his face into the metal scale, gleefully imagining the broken nose that would result. The only thing that stopped me was the vague idea that assaulting an employee of the USPO-USPS might be a federal crime.

“I’ve never had anyone send anything to England,” he said as he apparently searched for the button to total my cost for postage, Customs, and insurance on the two packages. “Will you be sending packages there often?”

“No,” I said, meaning not from this particular branch of the USPO. “No, I will not.”

“Too bad,” he sighed. “Just when I learned how to find England.”



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Doctor, My Eyes



I’ve known for quite a while that my glasses needed to have their prescription updated. As I need them for driving and for watching television, and I can’t read street signs till I’m passing them, nor the miniscule ticker at the bottom of the television screen during the news, I knew it was time for an eye exam.

After all, that ticker on the TV screen could be telling me — IN ALL BOLD CAPS LIKE MY UNIVERSITY STUDENTS USED TO DO IN THEIR PAPERS TO TRY TO FOOL ME INTO THINKING THEY HAD THE REQUISITE 500 WORDS WHEN THEIR PAPER WAS ONLY ONE PAGE LONG — that it was the END OF THE WORLD and that I needed to seek shelter immediately. Wearing my current glasses, I’d miss the Apocalypse, I assure you. When I looked up the date of my last eye-exam and saw that it was 2007, I hurriedly shamed myself into making an appointment.

Something has happened in the world of Doctors of the Eyes in the last 7 years, I can tell you.

Something surreal.

On Wednesday, the day of my appointment, I awoke in the middle of the night with a migraine. I took one pain-pill and told myself that, if my head was worse in the morning, I’d cancel the appointment and reschedule since I wasn’t sure if either the migraine or the pain meds or both might affect the exam results. About an hour before I was to see the doctor, my head didn’t feel too bad — it wasn’t great, but I thought it was relatively bearable with the pain medication — so I went down for my exam.

Now, I’ve never had an eye exam at a Wal-Mart-Super-Stores-Deluxe-Eye-Exam-Center but out here in the Desert Wilderness of New Mexico, there are not too many places to have such commonplace things as eye exams done unless you want to drive over an hour to one of the two big cities in the state (or cross the border into Mexico, que no quiero hacer). I opted to try Wal-Mart’s Eye Exam Doctor since the techs guaranteed me that all their doctors were trained, certified, licensed optometrists or opthamologists.

What a mistake.

First of all, the doctor, whom we’ll call Dr. B, kept yelling at me during the exam. Initially, I thought he simply sounded loud because I had a migraine, and loud sounds hurt my ears during a migraine and cause my head pain to worsen. I soon got over that idea when he stood right in front of the phoropter and asked me to read the line of letters. I informed him that all I could see was his face and glasses because he was in my line of vision. He raised his voice to tell me that he “didn’t have time for jokes.” I told him his eyes were blue, and that one of his grey eyebrow hairs was really long and about to poke him in the eye. He moved out of the way.

The next time he yelled at me, he told me I was giving him “deeply inconsistent answers.” I told him I didn’t understand what he meant. He told me that my eyes didn’t match, and that, furthermore, I kept changing my mind on which was clearer: 1 or 2, 2 or 1, 1 or 2, as he was changing the potential lenses.

Now, from eye exams I’ve had in the past, I thought that the patients were supposed to tell the doctor when potential lens 1 or 2 was “clearer or about the same” so that the doctor could determine the best prescription. Apparently, Dr. B found my responses “deeply inconsistent” and “incorrect.”

If I’d known it was that sort of a test, I would have studied harder, or at least used my crib sheets.

He  yanked the phoropter away from my face. Even as inexperienced as I am in eye exams and in the care and feeding of phoropters, I could see that the left lens was absolutely filthy. It was so smudged that it was cloudy, with a serious chance of meatballs and gravy.

Grumbling away, he cleaned the lens, demanding to know what I had “on my eyes” that had gotten the lens dirty. I don’t wear any makeup except mascara and lipstick, and I didn’t have those on because I hadn’t felt morally obligated to dress up for an eye exam that takes place in a darkened room. Dr. B accused me of having eye makeup on that had “dirtied the lens.” Though I protested vociferously that I had nothing on my eyes, he continued to grumble.

I began to think about walking out.

When he slammed the phoropter back against my forehead, I quickly reminded him that I had a migraine and informed him that I was experiencing increased pain from the pressure of the machine. He told me that (a) I shouldn’t have come for an exam when I had a migraine, (b) I was imagining things, and (c) the phoropter had to fit tightly to my forehead to work properly.

So now it had become a multiple-choice eye exam, and I had seriously neglected to study. I pressed my head further back on the chair-pad behind me to ease the tension against my forehead. I began to think of calling him a few choice names before I walked out.

After he told me to read various lines of letters shining on the far wall, I did so to the best of my ability.


Like me,  you might be thinking that which line you could read on the Snellen chart was an integral part of determining what strength lens you needed in your potential glasses. According to Dr. B, you’d be wrong. After I’d read one line with my right eye and he requested that I read it with my left, I said I could only make out the first letter clearly.

“You just read those letters,” he said. “You don’t remember them?”

Remember them?

“Doesn’t memorizing the letters defeat the purpose of an eye-exam?” I said.

He found my question impertinent, to say the least, and told me so.

Then he put a miniature version of the Snellen chart up to my nose. Literally. UP TO MY NOSE. He requested that I read the bottom line, which I could not since it was so blurry. In fact, I couldn’t read any of the lines on the chart right in front of my nose because they were all blurred. He flipped though lenses until I could see the bottom line. (I couldn’t see the other lines, but I could see the bottom line.) He told me I needed bi-focals.

“You mean, reading glasses?” I said.

“Most definitely,” he replied.

“But I can read just fine without my glasses, which are for distance.”

“You couldn’t read those letters when I put that chart in front of your face.”

“Who reads with something up to their nose?” I said.

He informed me that the small chart had been placed at “the proper reading distance” and that when I look at my computer screen, which I can see perfectly fine, or lie in bed and read with the book (or e-reader) on my stomach, I am reading at “mid-distance” which is not, apparently, “the correct reading distance.” He told me I was “doing it wrong” and “to stop reading at mid-distance immediately,” though he gave no no explanation or reason for doing so.

I guess that means I’ll have to put my nose against the computer screen when I’m working. (Dang. I’m doing it incorrectly even as I write this blog on my laptop. What a bad patient I am.)

Before the exam, when I filled out the paperwork, I had specifically requested that my eyes be dilated so the doctor could examine my retina since there are all sorts of diseases and body ailments that can be detected that way. Without ever dilating my pupils — which costs extra, by the way — he turned on the lights and told me I was finished, handing me a prescription for new lenses.

I asked him when he was going to dilate my eyes. He told me he wasn’t. I told him, for the upteenth time, that I have some vitreous floaters — bits of detached retina, which usually re-attach, but which can come completely loose, leaving blank spots in the field of vision — in my left eye due to something that happened several years ago. I wanted to know if all the vitreous floaters had re-attached to my retina.

While walking away from me and without doing the courtesy of turning around and addressing me to my face, he said that everybody gets vitreous floaters as they get older and I was, at 58, getting older just in case I didn’t know it.

Wow, learn something new every day.

“I requested, in writing, to have my eyes dilated and my retinas examined.”

“I only do 1 or 2 dilations a year,” he said.

“I want to be one of those 1 or 2,” I said.

He was not amused.

Neither was I.

I was even less amused when I discovered that he’d listed “retinal dilation” for an additional charge on my bill.

I refused to pay.

For any of the exam.

I told the technicians what had happened, and that I felt extremely uncomfortable with the prescription he’d given me for the eyeglasses, as well as with the exam itself and his unprofessional behavior. They told me they constantly get complaints about Dr. B, but since he wasn’t actually a Wal-Mart employee, but a subcontractor, there wasn’t much they could do about him.

Except not charge me for the exam and offer to schedule one at the next nearest Wal-Mart, over an hour’s drive away, with a different doctor.

I think I’ll skip the Super-Store-Deluxe-One-Stop-Does-It-All and go to an independent eye doctor.

I would like to be able to read street signs again.

And I’d truly like to know when I have to get ready for the Zombie Apocalypse by being able to read the TICKER ON THE BOTTOM OF THE TV SCREEN DURING THE MORNING NEWS.


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On Robin Williams


Laughter is the best medicine,
but it’s also the best disguise.
Robin Williams

Robin Williams, 1951-2014

Robin Williams, 1951-2014

I was going to write a blog today, but I’m depressed about the death of Robin Williams, and I’m especially sad since he committed suicide. That means he was in great emotional and psychic pain before he died, pain so great that he thought the only way he could escape it was by killing himself. I grieve that Robin was in so much pain. I grieve his loss.

I extend my deepest condolences to Robin’s wife, children, family members, and friends, all of whom must be mourning along with us, his fans. Many of Robin’s movies are trending on The Twitter as people share their favorite memories of him, and connect with each other in their common grief.

I wanted to remember how much he always made me laugh. So here’s Robin’s Biblical History skit.

I know Robin’s making God laugh now.

After Robin’s suicide, Disney released a picture of the Genie from Alladin, hugging Robin Williams, with the words, “You’re free now, Genie,” which I find terribly misleading and horribly insulting. Suicide is not freedom. It is death. If you are thinking of suicide, please, talk to someone.

Need help?
Please call 800-273-8255 for the
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.


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On Screensavers & Equality of the Sexes


I’ve always had screensavers on my computer, and not just the ones provided by Microsoft or Apple. I like to put up an image of my favorite heartthrob of the moment. It gives me something pleasant to view while I’m thinking about how to write, edit, or revise something. I never thought much about it until the day my boyfriend, who uses my computer occasionally to check his business email, accidentally clicked on my account, and saw this:

Christopher Walken

Christopher Walken

“Why do you have Christopher Walken on your computer screen?” he said.

“Because I put him there. You must be in my account.”

Since this happened after I had just made the change from a PC to a Mac, my boyfriend didn’t know how to get into his own account. I showed him. He looked at me.

“You have Christopher,” he said, “and I have that?”

Apple's Mountain Lion

Apple’s Mountain Lion

“I thought you liked animals,” I said, trying not to sound defensive.

“Why can’t I have a cool picture?” he said, pouting ever so slightly.

“Of Christopher Walken?”

He narrowed his eyes.

“I think, that if you can have a photo of Christopher Walken as your screensaver,” he said, arms over his chest, “I should be able to have someone I find attractive as my screensaver.”

“Fair enough. Which gorgeous woman would you like to have?”

“Angelina Jolie, Rosanna Arquette, Uma Thurman…”

“All of them?” I said.

“Can’t you rotate them?”

I was starting to see visions of every gorgeous woman in Hollywood floating across his screen, with him requesting new photos each time he “fell in love” with someone new.

“If you get multiple women,” I said, hoping to discourage him somewhat in order to reduce my work looking for photos, “then I get multiple men.”


So, I immediately found another photo for my screensaver.

Clive Owen

Clive Owen

The next time my boyfriend accidentally clicked onto my account instead of his own, I heard him exclaim, all the way from my office, “Clive? Now you have Clive? And he’s not even all the way dressed?”

“You have three women as screensavers.”

“You have Clive in a sleeveless body-shirt.”

I sighed.

“And now you want…”

“Lucy,” he said, meaning his then-current love: Lucy Lawless as Lucretia in Starz’s Spartacus.

Lucy Lawless as Lucretia in SPARTACUS

Lucy Lawless as Lucretia in SPARTACUS

He was happy with that screensaver until he fell in love with Viva Bianca, who played Ilythia in the show.

Lucy Lawless as Lucretia & Viva Bianca as Ilythia in SPARTACUS

Lucy Lawless as Lucretia & Viva Bianca as Ilythia in SPARTACUS

He actually didn’t fall madly in love with Viva until she did a nude scene. Well, she wasn’t completely nude. I believe she was wearing earrings. That’s the screensaver he wanted. I told him I couldn’t find it. He was most severely disappointed.

Until the next time he checked his email and discovered that I’d put the photo of Viva as Ilythia, nude, up as his screensaver.

He ran into the room where I was, hugged me, and said I was the “best girlfriend in the whole entire world.”

Hey, if that’s all it takes.

He hasn’t asked me to change screensavers since. Though Spartacus is over except for reruns, which he watches faithfully, he’s still in love with Viva as Ilythia.

Which is fine with me. After all, I still have Clive.

And I’m currently looking at Timothy Dalton as he appeared in Penny Dreadful. Since male celebrities are rarely nude, or even have their entire shirts off, or are dressed as Romans to show off their fine legs, I figure I get to have as many gorgeous men as I want as my screensavers. It’s only fair. Besides, it is my computer.

Timothy Dalton as Sir Malcolm Murray in Showtime's PENNY DREADFUL

Timothy Dalton as Sir Malcolm Murray in Showtime’s PENNY DREADFUL

The only problem I’ve found with this equality of the sexes and screensavers is taking your computer in for repair. At Apple, when I was picking it up, my boyfriend had to accompany me because I have a 27″ screen and cannot carry it myself. He came along to put it in the backseat of my Jeep. When the Apple employees turned on the computer to show me it was fixed, Clive’s photo came up.

They looked at Clive, at my boyfriend, at Clive, at my boyfriend.

“We assume this isn’t you,” said one of the boys.

“That was before I needed glasses,” said my boyfriend, without missing a beat.

“Let’s make sure his account works,” said the other Apple employee, switching accounts before I even remembered what my boyfriend’s screensaver was.

Both young men stood there, transfixed, eyes wide, mouths hanging open.

“Whoa,” one whispered.

“Sorry,” I said. “I forgot she was on there.”

“Fair’s fair,” said my boyfriend.

The two Apple boys looked at him.

“My girlfriend would kill me if I had a picture like that as my screensaver,” said one.

“You have the greatest girlfriend in the world,” said the other, without, however, looking away from the screen.

“Who is that?” said the man sitting on the stool in the Apple store at the Genius Bar next to me, staring at my computer screen.

“Ilythia from Spartacus,” said the young man on the opposite side of him, gazing longingly at the screen.

Boys will be boys, I thought to myself.

Just then, an Apple manager came out of the back, passed the computer, and, basically, squealed as he held up a notebook over the front of my computer.

“Customers should take down their screensavers before they bring them in for repair,” he said, passing by as quickly as he could.

The two Apple boys and the two Apple customers all looked over at my boyfriend.

“You are so lucky,” they said, glancing only cursorily at me.

Just then, the manager passed behind them again, screeching like a wounded rabbit, holding up his notebook to the side of his head, begging them to “please turn that computer off.” The Apple boys proceeded to do as he’d requested.

“Don’t let your manager see the picture of Clive,” said my boyfriend. “He might fall in love.”


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