Weekly Wilson - Blog of Author Connie C. Wilson

"There is a tide in the affairs of men, which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune; omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries." (Julius Caesar; Act 4, Scene 3).

Category: Humor and Weird Wilson-isms (Page 1 of 8)

“Hurry Up, Lady! I’ve Got Places to Go!”

It is entirely possible that I was the lady walking “really, really slow.” if this darling child had gone through my legs, I probably would have fallen and broken a hip, but she had “places to go and things to do.” (I probably did not).

I like it when she says, “I don’t want to.” Our friends, Bob and Judy DeJonghe, have documented that their daughters (now both grown) used to say, “I can’t want to” when it came to be bed-time, so it is nice to see that “la plus ca change, la plus ca meme,” which, roughly translated, means: “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

Trump Is Roasted by Stephen Colbert

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=stephen+colbert+trump+joke+video

Stephen Colbert Interviews Obama Back in “The Good Old Days”

In the wake of James Comey’s testimony, which I watched “live” most of the day (and in clips most of the night), I long for a simpler time and a better occupant of the White House, and I point out that Millennials, don’t blame all we oldsters. He TOLD you to get out and vote, but methinks some of you did not.

I will say, “WHAT is WRONG with Ohio?”

I watched a focus group that had watched testimony all day and was then asked to come back and give their opinions after the long day was over and they were waving Trump signs around like nit-wits. How can ANYONE take Donald J. Trump’s word over James Comey’s? (And, bear in mind, as the FBI chief who released that statement on Oct. 27 that probably cost HRC the election, I’m no Big Comey Supporter, but he is a Boy Scout and Donald J. Trump is the most egotistical, arrogant, obnoxious, untruthful con man I’ve seen in the White House in my lifetime, and it isn’t getting any better any time soon.

It took something like 2 or 3 years for Watergate to wind down and Nixon to resign. Keep that in mind and go out and vote in the mid-terms. PLEASE!

Trump Bombs Syria; I Leave for Mexico

The Lagoon in Cancun, Mexico, at sunset.

Tomorrow is Friday, April 7th, and I will soon be departing for Cancun, Mexico.

Quite frankly, with the news that Donald J. Trump has just gone and done yet another dumb thing (i.e., bombed Syria), I’m seriously thinking of claiming to be Canadian while in the sunny land down under.

It sounds like our departure from Austin (TX) will come just before the rain moves in, and the weather in Cancun is projected to be sunny and beautiful, with highs in the eighties. I spent an hour or so packing tonight, and tomorrow I will pack the cosmetic(s) bag, which carries our shampoo, toiletries, et. al.

I’m debating about whether or not to post a review of “Wilson,” the movie that starred Woody Harrelson and Laura Dern, which I recently saw. We went because, after all, when your name IS “Wilson”…..(finish that thought)
If I have time, I may post about it tomorrow. It’s a slight film and unlikely to get wide distribution.

Meanwhile, an interesting anecdote. Because we will need cash while in our neighbor to the South, and they always enjoy the use of U.S. dollars, as opposed to credit cards—and, also, because my credit card numbers were stolen in Mexico one year, which caused someone to run up a $25,000 bill on my card, we went to the Bank of America on Slaughter Lane. I had written my spouse a check for $200 to pay him back for cash he had loaned me when I was in Chicago for a week and forgot to take any cash. (My bad).

He presented the check, written on the Triumph Bank of East Moline, and, of course, they wouldn’t cash it at all.

I was present, doing battle with a machine that was going to give me cash, I hoped, using my debit card from BOA, but I couldn’t figure out how to get more than $80. My husband suggested that I write my check for $400 (rather than the $200 I owed him) and he’d give me half of it for my cash. I would write this check on my Bank of America checkbook.

That seemed a good idea, so, in full view of the 2 cashiers, I wrote this check and he stepped up to cash it.
The cashier demanded that he be fingerprinted before she would cash the relatively small check. They had just watched me (the account holder) write the check in the first place, and we explained why we were writing it (need cash for vacation). Still, some flunky raced out with an inky thing and he had to put his fingerprint on the bottom of this Bank of America check before they would cash it.

Now, what occurs to me is this: what good is my husband’s fingerprint on this check? It isn’t like he has done major time in a correctional institute or anything! He isn’t in any “data banks” of fingerprints. And that is all assuming that the Powers-that-Be thought this 72-year-old man looked like a really guilty character.

Has this ever happened to anyone else, because it seemed very dumb to me.

Adventures from the New Computer Age

Well, because of the idea that installing a Windows 10 would be an “improvement,” I’ve been without ANY Internet service in Chicago since October 28th. A technician came out on a Saturday, but he needed access to a closet that is kept locked and can only be accessed by the building manager. (We have a building manager, but only Monday through Friday).

I was able to get a board member of the building to let us in, but more bad news awaited us in that he needed to “put a ticket in” to AT&T to do some sort of “upgrade” and, long story longer, he is coming back on November 14th to (hopefully) put an end to my computer woes at the condo and exponentially increase the speed of my new computer while reducing my bill by half. (I’ll believe THAT when it happens.) When he left, he didn’t make it clear that he had left me high and dry with no Internet AT ALL, so I was pretty much up a creek without a paddle unless I wanted to find a Starbucks. Since I was waiting on Deborah Riley Draper (director of “Olympic Pride, American Prejudice”) to respond to my questions, I decided to wait until returning to East Moline, 3 and 1/2 hours away, to continue with movie reviews.

We were hanging around in Chicago during the World Series hysteria. (In fact, my son drove all the way to Cleveland from Pittsburgh and was present at the 7th game last night; ticket price $998; and my husband and son bought rooftop seats at Wrigley for Game #4 for $1008 apiece.) The priorities quickly shifted from movies to baseball and I’m not sure if we are driving back to Chicago now for the homecoming or what. (Keep in mind, Chicago has waited for over 100 years for this!)

I am now using my desktop (Windows 7) in the basement, since it is not involved in the upgrade (yet) or the slow speed I had always blamed on my Vista computer when it seems it may have been the fault of the building’s Internet provider not being as fast as possible. While I have a laptop, it was affected by the same issues in Chicago and it is a Windows 10, which I am still learning how to fully operate.

No, I do not currently like it, but that’s par for the course for me and new technology, which is ironic when you consider that I owned and operated a Prometric Testing Center (computers) from 1995 to 2003 (along with Sylvan Learning Center #3301 in Bettendorf, Iowa).

I just got home and working on “Olympic Pride, American Prejudice,” which is now up. It opens in December on HBO. I asked Deborah Riley Draper (its director) if it was “okay” to run with a review now and she was more than positive on that idea, but she also has not sent back her responses to my 10 questions and my last words to her were: “I’ll wait to hear from you to write up the film.”

I’ve now given up on “waiting” for her, so I can get on the review, and I’ll do “Heartstone: from the film festival, as well, and I may write something on “Hacksaw Ridge.”

So, it’s been All Baseball, All the Time here. The son and heir got roughly 3 hours of sleep after deciding on the spur of the moment to drive from Pittsburgh to Cleveland for the game, with no ticket to get in. He then flew back home to Austin today and just called us from St. Louis.

Meanwhile, we will be flying to Austin on Nov. 15 to close on a house there that started being built for us in July. (No, we’re not selling the other 2).

“The Last Laugh” at the Chicago Film Festival Examines Humor

Can the Holocaust be funny? Is “Springtime for Hitler” jn bad taste, and, if it is, should we not have laughed at it in the context of Mel Brooks’ “The Producers”?

It’s a great concept. At times, the documentary is funny and witty. It discusses decades of humor on the most taboo of topics, interviewing well-known comics like Mel Brooks, Sarah Silverman, Gilbert Gottfried, Rob Reiner, Carl Reiner, Robert Clary, Susie Essman, Harry Shearer, Jeffrey Ross, Allan Zweibel, Judy Gold, David Cross, Larry Charles, David Steinberg, Abraham Foxman, Lisa Lampanelli, and others. The comics interviewed discuss why and how they joke about subjects like the genocide of the Jews. Probably fewer comics would have been a good idea, in the cliched wisdom of “too many cooks spoil the broth.”

Meanwhile, Holocaust survivors and Jewish community leaders are shown trying to decide whether it is okay to laugh or whether they should draw some sort of line against tasteless humor.

The pacing made the 85 minutes seem like 185 minutes. It also seemed as though there were actually two stories here wanting to be told: one was the story of Auschwitz survivor Renee Firestone, whose young sister Klara was experimented upon by Josef Mengele before being killed. This one story could easily have been the sole focus of the documentary, but, instead of focusing on Renee’s remarkable story and her resilience and optimism in the face of extreme adversity, the film also takes on humor and the Holocaust.

Renee didn’t seem to be any sort of authority the audience should really look to for guidance on the film’s central issue of “What is funny?” She was a survivor of the camps and explained her own POV about looking for the good and the optimistic (not shared by another woman featured in the docudrama). Does that make Renee an expert on humor? To paraphrase a better writer: “To laugh or not to laugh? That is the question.” When you also factor in all the different ways people respond to humor, it seems as though the documentary needed more focus and fewer talking heads.

Some jokes are told (one line by one comic; one by another) but they failed to save this documentary, for me. A great idea gone awry, perhaps because it attempted too much in one 85 minute span.

Director Ferne Pearlstein.

Director Ferne Pearlstein.

Director Fisher Stevens Helms “Bright Lights: Starring Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher”


Director Fisher Stevens of "Bright Lights: Starring Debbie Reynolds & Carrie Fisher"

Director Fisher Stevens of “Bright Lights: Starring Debbie Reynolds & Carrie Fisher”

“Bright Lights,” a documentary from Fisher Stevens (Oscar-winning “The Cove”) and his wife Alexis Bloom played the Chicago Film Festival and was absolutely one of my favorite films of the entire festival. It is the story of screen icons Debbie Reynolds (“Singin’ in the Rain”) and Carrie Fisher (“Star Wars”) showing 2 generations of show business life in a fantastically entertaining warts-and-all portrait as they battle aging, celebrity and each other.

Fisher Stevens told us on the Red Carpet, “Carrie called me to film her and her mother and she thought it might be kind of interesting to sort of document it. I was blown away by what a consummate pro Debbie Reynolds is—always preparing, always perfecting.” This is ably demonstrated in scenes where the now 84-year-old Reynolds decides to perform despite not being in perfect health.

Since many readers will not remember Debbie Reynolds in her prime, nor, perhaps Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia in the original “Star Wars”), the Oprah Winfrey interview here will give much background on the family.

As Debbie prepares for an engagement at the Mohegan Sun Resort in Connecticut, daughter Carrie (Fisher) worries and says, “Inside my mom is the same person and she does not want to retire. Performing gives her a life in a way that family can’t.” Fisher added, ‘Everything in me demands that my mother be as she always was. It’s terrible for all of us, because she’s fallen from a greater height.”

So, wearing a 50-lb. beaded dress, the frail Mary Frances (aka, Debbie) Reynolds is helped up stairs to appear before an adoring throng of older fans who remember her from such hits as “Singin’ in the Rain,” “Tammy and the Bachelor” and “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” (1964) for which Debbie received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress.

Bright Lights: Starring Debbie Reynolds & Carrie Fisher

Bright Lights: Starring Debbie Reynolds & Carrie Fisher

The film also covers the infamous scandal of 1959-1960 when Debbie’s husband, singer Eddie Fisher, ran off with Debbie’s former best friend Elizabeth Taylor, leaving Debbie with 2 small children, Carrie and Todd. Both Carrie and Todd appear onscreen and, during 150 to 200 hours of shooting in Fisher Stevens’ cinema verite fashion, a new audience may begin to have an appreciation of this star of yesteryear. As Director Fisher Stevens himself said, “I didn’t know much about her when we started.”

Asked about whether they were “celebrities” to him, Fisher Stevens said, “Only when they kept me waiting to shoot.” He described being more respectful of Debbie’s frail health and said, “We really did love them. As you can see, they were nuts.”

The “nuts” reference was made with genuine affection and is in deference to the compound where both Debbie and Carrie live in separate houses (A compound built by Robert Armstrong of “King Kong” fame). Carrie Fisher’s sense of humor is famous and in a touching scene from the HBO archives (Carrie’s “Wishful Drinking”), Carrie is shown with her terminally ill father (Eddie Fisher) telling him that she always tried to be funny so he would want to be around her. (Fisher died of complications 10 days after hip surgery in Berkeley on Sept. 22, 2010.)

Said Fisher of the scene, “Carrie did not want that scene in the film. She ran out of the theater crying when it came on.” The scene is genuinely touching, as Fisher—whom Carrie says became addicted to amphetamines during his singing career, along with many other famous folk of the day—is obviously close to death, but lucid. [*An examination of the 5-times married Eddie Fisher’s life, shows that he rarely was in a marriage that lasted longer than 4 years. He fathered 2 children with Debbie (4 years married) and 2 children with Connie Stevens (2 years married). He was not married at the time of his death in 2010 and had not been married since the death of Wife #5 nine years earlier.]

Carrie Fisher, Princess Leia in the original “Star Wars,” was diagnosed as manic depressive and has had well-reported ups-and-downs in her relationship with her famous mother, penning the Meryl Streep/Shirley MacLaine film “Postcards from the Edge” based loosely on their mother/daughter battles. It is clear that now, at age 60, Fisher wanted to document her mother’s remarkable achievements and life and, perhaps, her own.

Carrie Fisher has had an interesting personal life. After dating singer/songwriter Paul Simon for 6 years, they married but only remained married for 11 months (August of 1983 to July of 1984), after which they dated for a while. Her subsequent marriage to talent agent Bryan Lourd produced one daughter, Billie Catherine (age 24), who does not appear in the documentary.

Fisher’s struggles with drugs and bi-polarity are well documented. (“I went too fast. I went too much.”) With a mother whose own father told her that show business was “a crazy way to make a living” and reminded Debbie Reynolds that she originally wanted to be a gym teacher, we hear this life advice from Debbie: “The only way you make it through life is to fight. If you feel sorry for yourself, you will drown.” Debbie describes her own life as “1/3 talent and 2/3 luck.”

Despite years of grooming Carrie for show business, having her sing in her act since the age of 13, Debbie ultimately realized: “She doesn’t want to be Eddie and she doesn’t want to be Debbie. She wants to be Carrie, so she’ll do it her way.” Carrie felt, “She wants me to be an extension of her and her wishes.” Carrie sings “I’ll Never Say No to You” in the documentary at Debbie’s request and describes the song choice (made by her mother) as “perfect.”

It is clear that, while Carrie loves her mother very much, she rejected most of her mother’s advice when young. However, Carrie Fisher became a noted “script doctor” working on many films to fix dialogue, bringing her razor-sharp wit to bear. This is even more remarkable when you learn that Carrie never finished high school.

Carrie, for her part, describes her family relationships, including that with brother Todd, as “a shared history of weirdness.”
The documentary reminds us that Carrie’s father Eddie Fisher had more consecutive hits as a singer than the Beatles and Elvis combined, with 65,000 fan clubs clamoring for him at the height of his fame (which ended abruptly in 1960). Carrie obviously has a great deal of affection for her famous mother, saying, “My mom is Christmas. She’s something special.” But she seems equally loving towards her dying father in the scenes from “Wishful Drinking.”

One of the saddest sagas, which I saw documented in a SXSW documentary “The Slippers” by Morgan White, detailed the selling off of movie memorabilia that Reynolds tried, for years, to make into a museum. Son Todd says, “We struggled for years to make this museum. The truth is, we had borrowed money to buy this stuff. We had debt and no museum. We were done.”

Three auctions were held. The second auction brought in $27 million. $6.2 million was paid for Marilyn Monroe’s iconic white subway dress from “The Seven Year Itch.” When I asked Director Fisher Stevens if it was his impression that the auction was held because the family needed the money, he agreed that that was the case. He also said that when he approached Debbie about making this documentary about her life, she asked, “What are my lines? Do you have a script?”

Fisher Stevens onstage with Cinema Chicago founder Michael Kutza in Chicago.

Fisher Stevens onstage with Cinema Chicago founder Michael Kutza in Chicago.

Fisher commented that there is “a lot of down time in documentaries” and that “these things take a long time and they don’t make a lot” so he keeps several projects going at once. One upcoming project that he mentioned prominently is a Leonardo DeCaprio film about climate change entitled “Before the Flood” being shot for National Geographic.

The Debbie Reynolds/Carrie Fisher documentary, which is a poignant bittersweet look at an iconic movie star, her family, her life, and her equally famous daughter is scheduled to be released by HBO in March. It is very funny in a bitter-sweet fashion. It must have been a massive undertaking, as Stevens described sifting through 10,000 hours of archival footage to make the film. He gave much credit to his wife and partner, Alexis Bloom (who was at home caring for their sick three-year-old this night.)

Debbie, he said, “really, really liked the film” but Carrie was not as enthused about an earlier version when it was screened for her and some changes were made.

The ending is built around Debbie’s appearance in 2014 to receive a SAG (Screen Actors’ Guild) award, following which Debbie said, “I can’t be funny about tonight, because it’s too special. You don’t get a chance to have a moment like this very often.” Reynolds was also awarded the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award at the 2015 Academy Awards.

One parting thought from the woman who called Debbie Reynolds Mom: “What would be so cool would be to get to the end of my personality and just lay in the sun.”

A must-see documentary for anyone who remember either of these two unique and remarkable women.

Hitler Just Found Out Trump Has Caved on Immigration

I have to admit I laughed throughout this put-down of The Donald’s new position on building “the wall” and deporting 11 million illegal Mexicans.

The fact that it happened the very same day that Anne Coulter (the thin, blonde, ultra-Conservative mouthpiece most often seen guesting on Bill Maehr’s show, where she is always off her rocker) was just too much.

Obama, Bernie Talk “Obama’s Odyssey”

Obama’s Odyssey: Vol. I-FREE E-book for Amazon Review

Page 1 of 8

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén