Archive for February, 2007

Legno Orientale

I didn’t watch much of the Oscars last night. I only just turned them on briefly as I was going to bed. I did turn it on in time to see something of a surreal moment that Oscar provides every so often. More often than not this is usually the result of the participants having engaged in a little too much pre-show revelry, and I think that may have played something of a role this time as well.

Clint Eastwood comes to the podium to present a lifetime achievement award to Ennio Morricone, the composer behind the instantly recognizable and eternally pervasive music to The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly among other Sergio Leone spaghetti westerns. Now normally this moment in the show is one surrounded by dignity and solemnity as the academy honors someone who has contributed huge amounts of work to the industry over their lifetime. However, dear old Clint apparently forgot his glasses and thus couldn’t read the teleprompter. This led to an oddly rambling speech that clearly was along the lines of what had been scripted and yet wasn’t quite there. The train wreck was complete as Clint tried to remember the line to cue the film, and peering into the teleprompter took several stabs at what was written there before the director had mercy on him and cued the tape.

This in itself wouldn’t have been particularly remarkable. What really surprised me was what came afterward. Ennio gets up to accept the award, and after saying “Thank You” in English, he launches into a monologue in Italian. While Italian is a beautiful language to listen to I have a feeling that most were in my shoes, completely at sea as to what he was saying. I was a bit surprised that the Academy hadn’t anticipated that an Italian might actually speak Italian and have a translator available. However, after Ennio had spoken at some length with Clint looking on happily, someone in the audience shouted out something that I presume was “What’s he saying?”

Clint leans forward and says, “Yes, I’ll tell you what he’s saying” and promptly summarizes what Ennio had just said. Ennio had spoken at some length, and Clint’s summary seemed a bit short, so I at first thought that he was either making it up or that someone was either writing it up or telling him through an earpiece. But as he continued it became clear that Clint was, sure enough, translating from the Italian.

After my initial shock wore off, I thought “well, duh. Of course he speaks Italian. He made how many films with Sergio Leone?” But that was years ago, and here he is now just translating his heart out. While drunk no less. I tell you, this guy’s amazing.

February 26, 2007 at 9:33 am Leave a comment

Top Ten

Unexpected events in tomorrow’s Super Bowl.

10. The avocado shortage due to the freeze in California will lead to guacamole riots in all major cities.

9. Prince will suffer a wardrobe malfunction during the halftime show, but no one will notice.

8. Advertisements run during the game will consist entirely of homemade ads for local furniture, carpet, and car dealers.

7. Immediately following the coin toss both teams will realize that they have nothing to fight over and will sit in the grass on the 50-yard line making daisy chains.

6. In a surprise guerilla tactic, the makers of the Kill Your Television website purchased all tickets to the game, and no one will show up.

5. Information from an unnamed source will indicate that giant foam fingers are terrorist devices, leading to Homeland Security shutting down the game.

4. Further investigation will show that the unnamed source is a 12-year-old Patriots fan.

3. New advertising consultants hired by the NFL will change the name of the game to “The Shiny Monkey Lucky Pig Game”

2. An unexpectedly large number of televisions being used to watch the game will overload the grid and result in the first ever nationwide blackout.

And the number one unexpected event in tomorrow’s Super Bowl…

1. Due to an unexpected football player’s strike, the NFL will instead get the New York Yankees and the Miami Heat to play each other at water polo.

February 3, 2007 at 3:25 pm Leave a comment


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