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Our dear pal Kathy the Cake-Eater sends along an outstanding article entitled How Twilight Works.  A sampling for your pleasure:

First off, the author creates a main character which is an empty shell. Her appearance isn’t described in detail; that way, any female can slip into it and easily fantasize about being this person. I read 400 pages of that book and barely had any idea of what the main character looked like; as far as I was concerned she was a giant Lego brick. Appearance aside, her personality is portrayed as insecure, fumbling, and awkward – a combination anyone who ever went through puberty can relate to. By creating this “empty shell,” the character becomes less of a person and more of something a female reader can put on and wear. Because I forgot her name (I think it was Barbara or Brando or something like that), I’m going to refer to her as “Pants” from here on out.

[Insert Bela Lugosi-like laughter here.]

Go and read the rest and be sure to check out the sparse yet hy-larious illustrations that go along with it.  The No Hot Beverages Rule will be enforced.

BTW, you may have noticed that the Cake Eater Chronicles have been recategorized in the Port-Swiller blogroll to the list of favorite sites that have slid under the table.  This is because Kathy has decided to retire the CEC, a move which I had an idea was coming, but nonetheless still saddened when it happened, as I consider Kathy to be one of my best bloggy-friends-I’ve-never-met-in-real-life.  She informs me that she probably will start blogging again at some point in another form.  All I can say is that I’m counting the days.

When I was a kid, back in the electronic stone age, we only had four television channels available, the big three networks plus PBS.  And on Saturday afternoons after cartoons were over, the local network affiliates would often run old movies of a certain class.  I recall lots of Abbot & Costello….Tarzan….Sinbad….Godzilla…..and even Bruce Lee.  Every now and again they would also throw in a big budget epic set either in the sands of Egypt or some other ancient and exotic locale.   None of these flicks was what I would call first rate, but as a rule they tended to be a pleasant form of entertainment.

I bring this up because I was reminded of those long ago days of KENS-TV 5 in San Antonio the other evening as I watched Land of the Pharaohs, a 1955 film directed by Howard Hawks, of all people.  It tells the story of Pharaoh Khufu, who having wiped the desert floor with his enemies, becomes obsessed with figuring out a way to construct a theft-proof burial chamber for himself so that he may keep the best of his enormous treasury on his journey to the afterlife.  In pursuit of this, he hires on the leader of one of the tribes he has captured, a whiz-bang architect who devises a clever way of, ah, sealing the deal.  The bulk of the “action” in the movie is concerned with the construction of the tomb and the pyramid that will go up over it.

Meanwhile, a slinky, sultry young temptress – Princess Nellifer – shows up at court and immediately sets about getting herself made Wife No. 1 to Pharaoh.  Not content with this, she then hatches a plot to get rid of him prematurely and set herself on the throne.  Without giving anything away, I will say that her plans fall, ah, flat.

The movie is perfectly entertaining in the way I mentioned above, employing big, lavish sets and about a jillion extras as Pharaoh’s army and workers.  Pharaoh himself is played by Jack Hawkins, one of those veteran Brit character actors who you’re pretty sure you’ve seen many times elsewhere and often in the character of an Army officer.  (He was in both Lawrence of Arabia and Zulu.) 

Princess Nellifer is played by a young and sultry Joan Collins, who spends most of her time pretty much doing what she does on the poster – lounging about in silks and bangles.

If Sir Basil and Mr. P are looking for a Friday evening’s entertainment, they might consider picking this one up from Netflix.  I’m pretty sure there’s some fresh fruit in it as well.


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December 2009