Sunday, March 01, 2009

Whining to Coppola

I had a dream last night that I was talking to Francis Ford Coppola at this winery in Napa.
He wanted to talk wines and I wanted to talk movies. And it was really annoying.
"Francis, tell me about your trials and tribulations trying to work with Marlon Brando on the chaotic set of Apocalypse Now."
All he wanted to talk about was the oakiness of his Merlot.
"Please, Mr. Coppola, I'd love to hear about your experiences shooting The Godfather, my 2nd favorite movie of all time." (My favorite movie is actually One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, but I would never be so rude as to tell Francis that. It would be rude and boorish.)
All he wanted to discuss was the dark cherry flavors found in his Cabernet.
"Was it fun working with Gene Hackman in The Conversation?"
All Coppola wanted to chat about was the fruit forward quality of his Pinot.
I left there feeling very confused and alone. So many questions unanswered.
I need to know more about wine, I thought--so, that I can get this man to talk to me about his movies.
First thing on my agenda: Join a wine of the month club.

My 5 Ugliest Cars Ever Made

Let’s face it—for every great car we produce on this planet, they’re bound to be a couple of real duds. Unfortunately, failure is just a fact of life. These vehicles probably looked really good on the drawing board, but in reality they were design disasters that are best forgotten. Not only did my Bottom 5 look bad, but they also performed poorly.

1.) 1975 AMC Pacer: One of the lowest points in the history of car making, the AMC Pacer was a disaster of great proportions on many levels—from the 95hp inline 6-cylinder engine all the way to the terrible fuel economy—18mpg. So, not only did it not turn heads (except in shock), this vehicle rode like a covered wagon with one bad wheel. The design reminds me of something you’d see in a 1950’s “B” sci-fi film. Consequently, the Pacer has become the poster child of 1970’s bad automotive design. If there are any of these cars left out there, they should be destroyed, for the good of the race and the culture. When other civilizations look back on us 1,000 years from now, the Pacer will undoubtedly be cited as the beginning of the end.

2.) 1974 VW Thing: Aluminum siding meets bad design, the Thing looks like a Sear storage shed on wheels. Originally designed by Volkswagen for the German military, this piece of rolling junk must have had Hitler rolling over in his grave. The German Army had a lot of success overtaking their enemies driving this vehicle--they essentially laughed themselves into submission. The Thing didn’t last long in this country, when it was deemed unsafe by U.S. standards. Some people actually thought this car was “cute”, which goes to show you that there’s a fine line between pretty and ugly. (Just look at Cameron Diaz in the wrong light and you’ll see what I mean.)

3.) 1974 Ford Mustang II: After the oil embargo of 1973, Detroit starting making ugly cars featuring poor performance, all in the name of cost savings. This Pinto-ish car is the one Ford would love to forget. Mustang has had a great run with some awesome models along the way, but they can’t all be winners. The 1974 Mustang is the Dopey of the Seven Dwarves. The best motor you could get with this car was a 171 cubic inch V6, generating 105hp and getting from 0-60mph in 14.2 seconds. A lot of people aged rapidly while waiting for this car to get up to highway speed.

4.) 1988 Citroen 2CV: Why are French people so bitter as a rule? Maybe it’s because they can’t get this ridiculous car out of their minds. Literally meaning “two steam horses” this vehicle drove more like “two lame mules.” French designer Pierre-Jules called the Citroen 2CV a “low-priced umbrella on wheels.” Described as “rugged” and “reliable”, traveling in this car was like riding a roller coaster from hell. It had the amazing ability to swerve on a perfectly level, straight road.

5.) 1986 Yugo GV: Over-priced at $3,990, the Yugo GV came as close to being a disposable car as anything before or since. With a 1.1 litre motor generating 58hp and featuring a terrible transmission, if this car wasn’t on the road it was in the shop, keeping the auto repair industry busy for more than a decade.

Father Time's Been Late Lately

I had been waiting around for Father Time all day. He was late once again.
I hate it when people are late. It's like they're saying, "Hey, my time is more valuable than yours."
Finally, Father Time strolls in, acting as if nothing is wrong.
"Hey Time," I said, mad enough to dispense with the 'Father' part. "You're late."
"Well, I'm very sorry, son, I..."
"Yeah, you're like two hours late. It's like comedy, it's all about ti- ti- timing. Isn't it pretty much the duty of Father Time to be, uh...on time?"
"Well, yes it's preferred, of course," Time was back pedaling big-time. "It's suggested, obviously. But, in this situation, I..."
"No more excuses dude," I interrupted. I didn't have time for Time's excuses.
"What you need is one of those Hamilton watches. You'll never be late with a Hamilton."
"But, aren't they expensive? Even Time is feeling the recession, you know."
"They're very affordable. And do me a favor? Stop talking about yourself in the third person. It's annoying."
"Oh. Sorry. I thought you liked it."
"Not this time....Time."
Even Father Time needs a little tough love now and then, I thought to myself.
Next time he'll be three minutes early. Just watch.