Category Archives: An American in Paris

The Pencil Today:

THE (VIDEO) QUOTE

“YES, I CAN SEE NOW.”

I’ve rejoined the binocular world.

The excruciatingly young Dr. Joseph Mackey (when I see him, I have to resist the urge to tousle his hair and say, “How’s Little Joey doin’ today?”) carved up my left eyeball yesterday and whaddya know? I can see again.

First time in a few years.

As The Loved One drove me home, I peered at the world as if for the first time. Admittedly, because my pupil was max-dilated and because certain topical anesthetic meds were still splashing around in my left socket, things looked fairly psychedelic at first.

For instance, the grass was a sort of blue-black in color, the sky greenish-gray, and it felt as though I was viewing the sun from the planet Mercury, but still, I could see.

Blades of grass. Clover. Fence slats. The person sitting on my left. I had no idea how much of the world I’d been missing.

My pal Dr. Alex Straiker (a scientist, not a medic) tells me that’s called the Clean Windshield Effect. You drive your car for weeks or months with a filthy windshield that you can hardly see out of, then one day a big rain comes along or you splurge on a car wash and you’re amazed at how much you can see now.

T-Lo got a big kick out of me pointing out everything I could see. Heck, when we got home I looked out the window and marveled, “Oh my god, I can see the screen in the window!” as if I’d just peered upon the Great Sphinx of Giza for the first time.

“Oh My God…!”

I saw Little Dr. Joey this AM for my next-day follow-up exam and he pronounced my eye in fine shape. He asked me if I had any complaints or problems and I told him no. “It’s perfect,” I said.

The truth is, my vision is not quite perfect at this moment — yesterday’s dilation is still lingering and I’ve got a good bit of corneal swelling, which is to be expected. Little Dr. Joey tells me my vision will get even better over the next few days.

Wow!

Anyway, this whole shebang brought to mind that fabulous scene in the vid above. Charlie Chaplin’s “City Lights” is without a doubt one of the ten greatest movies ever made in any language. If you haven’t seen it yet, do yourself a favor.

The movie has to do with the Little Tramp pretending to be a rich man and doing all sorts of things to get money to pay for an operation on the blind Flower Girl’s eyes. He gets the dough but in the process becomes wanted by the law and winds up a penniless hobo again. The Flower Girl never knows that he’s as broke as she is.

Then one day, as portrayed in the vid, he happens upon her as she works in her new job in a flower shop. Naturally she doesn’t recognize him just by looking at him.

But then when she touches his hand, she recognizes him.

I’ve seen City Lights a dozen times and still cry over that scene every time. Two images from the scene have become iconic in cinematic history: when she extends her hand with the flower in it to him and when he smiles coyly after she declares that yes, she can see now.

Hell, I may as well give you my top ten movies list here and now. I’m not going to do my regular pontificating because I’m too busy telling all my Soma Coffee mates about how cool it is to see again.

So, enjoy. And come back for the rants tomorrow.

BIG MIKE’S TEN (ACTUALLY, ELEVEN) BEST MOVIES OF ALL TIME

The Godfather and The Godfather Part II (they have to be listed as a single entry)

City Lights

The Third Man

“The Third Man”

North by Northwest

Casablanca

An American in Paris

White Heat

“White Heat”

Some Like It Hot

The Day the Earth Stood Still (Not the Keanu Reaves abomination but the Robert Wise original)

Fort Apache (Trust me, this is an anti-war movie despite being made by John Ford and starring John Wayne.)

“Fort Apache”

There you have it, in no particular order. Feel free to argue with me in the comments section. You’d be wrong, but you can still argue.

See you tomorrow.

THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL

When I was a kid and this was on TV, I would run out of the room when the robot came on screen. Then I’d creep back in because I wanted to be scared to death again.

The Pencil Today:

TODAY’S QUOTE

“The trouble with being a hypochondriac these days is that antibiotics have cured all the good diseases.” — Caskie Stinnett

Read On To Find Out Why I Put Up This Pic Of A Big Toe (And Its Buddies)

MY DOPEY DISEASE

Life is not fair. We should all know it. The only people who cry about this state of affairs are those who expect life to be fair.

That, of course, is what kindergarteners think. BTW: Remember the rage for that gooey book by Robert Fulghum — “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten”?

The man should have been incarcerated (right after Robert James Waller, whose “The Bridges of Madison County” hit it big around the same time.)

And who’s heard of Fulghum (or Waller) in the last decade or so? They’ve been swallowed up by the anonymity they so richly deserve.

Criminal

Life has nothing to do with kindergarten.

Anyway, I didn’t post yesterday because I spent the morning in my doctor’s office. The diagnosis: gout.

Isn’t that the dumbest goddamn disease you’ve ever heard of? I mean, honestly.

It doesn’t kill you. It doesn’t maim you. It just hurts to high heaven, to the point where you can’t even sleep at night.

Ridiculous.

And its image really, really stinks. Unless you’re knowledgeable about it, the first thing you think of when you hear the word gout is some fat slob like Henry VIII, gorging himself on fatty, rich foods until his body rebels against him.

Slob

Nobody’s gonna hold a charity walk for that.

The truth, as my old pal and colleague Benny Jay found out a couple of years ago, is another story.

Benny’s my age but as trim as a 25-year-old. He eats like monk, rarely drinks, and runs every day. I really hate him. Yet he got gout. The docs told him he had a genetic predisposition for it.

When I first heard he had it, I immediately chided him: “So, you’ve been eating all the wrong crap, huh?”

If You Eat Pâté de Foie Gras, You Deserve Gout

I thought he was going to clobber me. He set me straight about what a straight-arrow he is (did I mention I hate him?) He really educated me about gout, too.

So when it felt as though a safe had fallen on my left big toe Monday night and I came to the conclusion I had gout, I didn’t put myself through the self-flaggelation that most sufferers do.

Still, gout is stupid. And life is not fair.

A WARNING FOR YOUR OWN GOOD

Don’t google pix of big toes, as I had to do to find the image above.

I didn’t know exactly what I expected to find. Figuring it’s the Internet and I was looking for images of a certain body part, I suppose I thought most of the results would be porn sites. The human capacity to fetishize things for masturbatorial gratification is positively amazing.

To my dismay, the vast majority of big toe images were 73 times more disgusting than any foot porn could be. (And BTW: did you know Goethe, Thomas Hardy, Elvis Presley, and Andy Warhol were foot fetishists? Man!)

For god’s sake people, take care of your toes!

And while we’re at it, men should never wear sandals. Yeah, I know, it feels comfortable, but the rest of us don’t want to see how you’ve ignored toe care for the last 20 years.

Women Can Get Away With It

TWO HEARTS BEATING AS ONE

In more pedestrian matters (hehe, a pun) the Herald Times yesterday ran an editorial calling for consolidation of the Monroe County and City of Bloomington governments.

That’s what Indy did with Marion County back in 1970. They call their set-up Unigov. Louisville, Kentucky and Jefferson County did it, too, in 2003, dubbing their marriage Metro Louisville. Former mayor Jerry Abramson used to brag that his town had become the 16th biggest city in the nation. Unfortunately, no one else bought into that conceit.

The editorial cites the county’s election day screw-up and the County Auditor’s credit card mini-scandal among the reasons the two entities should merge.

We’ll be listening for the reactions of the folks in Ellettsville, Stinesville, and Smithville.

FOUND MONEY

State Senator Vi Simpson wants to get her hands on some of that $300 million of state money auditors found laying around last month.

Vi Simpson

Apparently, she’s interested in directing some of that dough toward state school districts that have had to endure — mirabile dictu! — some $300 million in state cutbacks of late.

Doesn’t she know these are more prudent, conservative times we live in? And she wants to throw away money on kids’ educations? Sheesh.

AN AMERICAN IN PARIS

Just a little taste from what I consider one of the 10 greatest American movies ever made. Sheer pleasure for the ears and eyes.

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