Hooray for Hollywood.

I had an errand downtown Saturday, but alas, the block I was trying to reach was closed off. Parked police cars with lights flashing sat at either end, and in between were what appeared to be either soldiers or the baddest-ass SWAT unit in the tri-state area. Bomb scare? I thought, but only for a few seconds. Because lo, we are in Michigan, and Michigan is Hollywood’s sugar daddy (for the time being).

At first I thought it was more “Red Dawn,” which is seemingly everywhere these days. The “police station” is still wearing its wardrobe:


The red star with the whatever-it-is Chinese character is a logo throughout the film. If anyone speaks the language, I’d be interested in knowing what it means. Probably “tax incentives.”

Ah, but this is the conquered America of Barack Hussein Quisling Bow-down Obama, so this police station is well-fortified against the people it protects and serves. Street level:


And just in case you wanted to know what city our fair one is standing in for, the front door:


I tried to take a shot of the set that was working Saturday, but alas, the iPhone has no telephoto function. And I don’t think it was “Red Dawn.” The Guardian building is where they’ve been shooting this Wesley Snipes actioner, “Game of Death.” Imdb synopsis:

After a botched assassination attempt on a Diplomat, everyone from the Diplomat and his bodyguards to the group of assassins behind the attempt ends up at the same hospital where they fight it out.

Someone I know is working on this production. She calls it, “‘Die Hard’ in a hospital,” which is either the ten-thousandth or ten-thousand-and-first “Die Hard”-in-a-(fill in the blank) thumbnail. Did the people who made “Die Hard” v.1 know what they were doing? Maybe. I still stop to watch it, and all of its sequels, when I surf past them on cable, if only for a few minutes. Wouldn’t be the movie it was without Bruce Willis, of course, but he was well-served by the various British straight men they threw up against him, particularly Jeremy Irons. When Alan Rickman quotes Plutarch to the Japanese industrialist before busting a cap in his ass, well, that’s a moment that sticks with you, too.

But the genius of it was to simply ask the question everybody with half a brain asks when suffering through most action movies: Wouldn’t it hurt to pound someone in the skull with your bare fist like that? Bruce Willis stops from time to time to say “ouch” — that’s the ground broken by “Die Hard.” So simple. So successful.

That’s about the end of the verisimilitude*, however, and “Die Hard” was the beginning of action-movie loot hyperinflation. The first installment was about the theft of $600 million in bearer bonds, whatever those are. (Bearer bonds were very big in ’80s/’90s action movies, and that link explains why — they’re popular for money laundering — but I think their popularity is also tied to the alliteration of their name, as everyone from Alan Rickman to 50 Cent can sound cool saying “bearer bonds.”) By the third “Die Hard,” Jeremy Irons was plotting to steal all the money in the world, or at least all the gold held by the Federal Reserve in lower Manhattan; he had to carry it away in a convoy of dump trucks. This raises so many questions in the mind of even a half-bright moviegoer — how does one launder a dump truck full of gold? (Bearer bonds!) Hell, how does one even get it out of North America? — you could even forget that this is a summer movie and you’re not supposed to think about it.

But it was too difficult to top, and by the last “Die Hard” I don’t even remember what the bad guys were after, only that Bruce brought down a helicopter with a fire hydrant, and it was awesome.

* My personal quibble with action-movie reality: The noise factor. People are always firing machine guns or having explosions happen five feet away, and no one ever stops to say, “I can’t hear you! My ears are ringing from that explosion!” I spent one measly hour on a firing range Friday, wearing foam earplugs and earmuff protection, and every round above .38 caliber still made me just about jump out of my skin.

Oh, well. Monday bloggage? Sure.

Lots of blogs are reading “Going Rogue” so you don’t have to, but few are striking the perfect tone that Lawyers, Guns and Money is. They’re up to Chapter 4 now, but it’s all on the main page, still, so just scroll down and work your way up. I was interested to read this note about Chapter 3, which calls out the She-Who/Lynn Vincent casualness with her chapter epigraphs:

So far as bungled epigraphs go, the third chapter is arguably the winner so far, attributing this nugget of wisdom to the renowned former UCLA basketball coach John Wooden:

Our land is everything to us…. I will tell you one of the things we remember on our land. We remember than our grandfathers paid for it — with their lives.

Now, if that’s not the sort of thing you’d expect a hall of fame basketball coach to say, that’s because, of course, he didn’t. Students of American Indian history might recognize that passage as belonging instead to John Wooden Legs, the post-WWII Northern Cheyenne tribal leader who — though a contemporary of John Wooden’s — was not the same guy.

Yes, yes — it’s absurd to expect much from Sarah Palin, but imagine if these sorts of gaffes had appeared in books by Hillary Clinton or Obama himself.

Exactly. Confusing John Wooden, the basketball coach, with John Wooden Legs, the Indian? That’s funny.

Ah, Monday. Police rounds, Russian lesson, followed by abs/glutes class in the evening. My life is sometimes indistinguishable from Paris Hilton’s.

Which reminds me of a story I forgot to blog, about a team of teenage burglars in Hollywood, who broke into various stars’ homes when they knew they’d be out partying. Among the victims was Paris Hilton, hit on multiple occasions, aided by this killer detail: She keeps her house key under the mat. No kidding.


Posted at 11:00 am in Current events, Detroit life, Movies |

45 responses to “Hooray for Hollywood.”

  1. Peter said on November 23, 2009 at 11:13 am

    Carrying on from the previous blog – Happy Birthday Moe! May you have many more, and that you feel better on subsequent occasions.

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  2. coozledad said on November 23, 2009 at 11:24 am

    Dave Noon is great. That’s precisely what historians are for, only he writes better than 99% of them. They slapped that book together so quickly to capitalize on her brief runway walk they didn’t do any damn editing. Seems like that’s sort of how she showed up on the national radar, innit.
    I read somewhere that Marc Bolan knew his radar screen time was going to be short, so he opted for abject shamelessness. I don’t know if it was ever an option for Sarah.
    Sadly, I don’t think it will matter much to the people who purchased it. It’ll sit beside the “Footprints” plaque in the famous rifles of yesteryear display cabinet.

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  3. Deborah said on November 23, 2009 at 11:30 am

    Happy Birthday Moe. I really wanted to use an exclamation point at the end of that sentence but will refrain as they are frowned upon here. Kidding of course.

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  4. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 23, 2009 at 11:35 am

    Happy! Birthday! Moe!

    (c’mon, sometimes you gotta deploy the little suckers.)

    Virtual cake for everyone . . .

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  5. Dorothy said on November 23, 2009 at 12:00 pm

    Quietly singing Happy Birthday to you here in Ohio, Moe, and hoping you’re feeling all right and able to have a big ol’ slice of cake today. Lots of happy returns wished for you as well!

    Deb I replied to your question about the movie/loud birds in Saturday’s comment section.

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  6. Sue said on November 23, 2009 at 12:20 pm

    1. Alan Rickman sounds cool saying anything.
    2. Indiana commenters: Is it true Sarah got into a little trouble with those nice, polite Indiana fans?
    3. I saw a movie this weekend called “The Brothers Bloom”. It was confusing and charming, and all I have to say is: Nancy, when you make your next movie? Hats and lots of them.
    4. Happy Birthday, Moe! It seems a shame that you have to spend your birthday barfing, for all the wrong reasons.

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  7. Jolene said on November 23, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    1. Alan Rick­man sounds cool say­ing any­thing.

    I second that.

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  8. brian stouder said on November 23, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    1. Happy birthday Moe!!!!

    2. I always credit James Garner/Rockford Files for giving us an action hero who hurts himself when he gets into fist-fights, and who wakes up sore in the morning, and who has bills to pay, etc.

    3. There was an old Superman tv show (circa 1955) wherein the Evil Villain makes a threat that S-Man finds credible – unleashing his super destructive weapon upon Metropolis, or some such – unless he is immediately paid Four hundred fifty thousand dollars! It struck me as humorously low – whenever I heard it (1977 – or thereabouts?) Anyone who ever watched Dr Strangelove knows that such an evil genius would simply get hired by the Department of Defense, and make more money than he could ever count – instead of extorting peanuts out of the mayor of Metropolis.

    4. We saw about 20 minutes of whatever award show was on last night, and I saw Lady Ga Ga. If you squinted a little bit, her stage show reminded me of nothing so much as a 1960’s era blonde singer-dancer; Ann Margaret or Connie Stevens; and her driving music reminded me of “These boots were made for walking” (etc). Everything old is new again, and all that.

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  9. ROgirl said on November 23, 2009 at 12:41 pm

    If Alan Rickman and Jeremy Irons were in the same movie together, their plummy accents and deliciously evil line readings would blow everyone else in it off the screen. Absolutely cool and flaming hot.

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  10. MarkH said on November 23, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    ROgirl, other than Die Hard With A Vengeance (Die Hard 3), with Rickman’s archival footage, this is as close as you’ll get:


    Sounds interesting; don’t know if you could rent it, though.

    For all you previous administration haters, I found this while trolling through Die Hard 3 at imdb. Guess who actually had a role in this film? Anyone?


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  11. mark said on November 23, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    Bearer bonds are bonds payable, typically on demand, to whomever the holder (or “bearer”) happens to be. Sort of like a check that has been endorsed but has a blank space for the payee. Not as good as cash, since there is a record of payment, but much easier to carry.

    Gold is the ultimate for ease in laundering. Completely untraceable and accepted everywhere. Impossible to counterfeit, easy to hide (unless you manage to steal a dump truck full).

    Oh that silly Sarah Palin. Confusing John Wooden for John Wooden Legg? I can defend her no longer as this validates the worst that has been imagined. Her exit from the national scene is now imminent. But alas, but alas, smart people don’t make silly mistakes.

    As I recall, the Austin Powers movies raised the extortion inflation issue by having Dr. Evil’s son ridicule him for a far too low demand. He also ridiculed him for not killing Powers immediately and instead preparing a more contrived death from which Powers will invariably escape.

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  12. Jolene said on November 23, 2009 at 1:31 pm

    Jeremy Irons recorded Lolita. A great recording to bring on a long trip. Listening to Nabokov’s prose in Irons’s voice, you’ll be at Grandma’s house before you know it.

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  13. 4dbirds said on November 23, 2009 at 1:32 pm

    Happy birthday Moe.

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  14. paddyo' said on November 23, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    On the other hand, Brian S., one of those value-of-the-dollar calculators says that $450K back in 1955 would be worth anywhere from $3.6 mil to $15.7 mil today, depending on your index of choice (CPI to GDP, etc.).

    And hey, it was even up to $1 mil to $2.2 mil in 1977, when it first struck you as humorously low . . .

    Either way, I’d take the $450K, I’m not choosy …

    P.S., another vote here for Alan Rickman in the villain-with-the-best-voice poll . . .

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  15. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 23, 2009 at 1:40 pm

    Rickman is the one redeeming quality in the otherwise unwatchable Kevin Costner “Robin Hood,” and i feel disloyal to Morgan Freeman saying that.

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  16. Julie Robinson said on November 23, 2009 at 1:56 pm

    What a relief to know that Cheney’s Starmeter is up 2% this week. Thank you, Mark H & IMDB; I was concerned about his lack of self-esteem and confidence.

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  17. Chris said on November 23, 2009 at 1:57 pm

    Hi, everyone:

    I am an almost daily lurker on this site, but not a regular contributor, so please forgive me for asking a question that has nothing to do with anything being discussed today.

    But you’re such an erudite bunch that I’d like to know which is correct:
    1. The pediatric department of the hospital should feel rightly embarrassed about the posters in THEIR waiting room.
    2. The pediatric department of the hospital should feel rightly embarrassed about the posters in ITS waiting room.

    If you’re better at diagramming sentences than I am — and actually know why something is grammatically correct and not just if it is correct or incorrect — please pass along an explanation for your answer.

    Thank you

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  18. mark said on November 23, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    I don’t claim to know much about writing, but I was taught that it is incorrect to attribute characteristics of animate, thinking objects to inanimate objects. Is a “department” capable of embarassment? Yes, if you are rerferring to the people who compose the department or the management of the department who decide things like posters. To me, using “its” is a reference to the inanimate department, which is not capable of embarassment.

    Perhaps you should add “the staff” or “the management” to your sentence?

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  19. jcburns said on November 23, 2009 at 2:25 pm

    The proof of Alan Rickman’s versatility and verisimilitude: Galaxy Quest, I tell ya. Happy birthday, ‘Moe’, if that ‘is’ your ‘real’ name, and happy-almost-your-birthday to the blogger-in-chief.

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  20. LAMary said on November 23, 2009 at 2:39 pm

    Chris, I work in a hospital, so I think of the departments as the people who work there as in, the Pediatric Department is having their Christmas Party this week. Maybe it’s wrong. I’m sure I’ll get corrected if it is.

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  21. MarkH said on November 23, 2009 at 3:08 pm

    Indeed, Julie, I was worried, too. Nice to know he has something to fall back on when the money runs out. Maybe not good news for the rest of us, though.

    And, yes, Happy Birthday to Moe; lots of prayers and other good thoughts massively heading your way. And, birthday wishes to Nance (the 25th?)!!

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  22. moe99 said on November 23, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    Thank you all.

    Here is an interesting take on roads in Detroit:


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  23. Dorothy said on November 23, 2009 at 4:51 pm

    Chris – from my daughter the copy editor, a reply to your question:

    the pronoun is a reference to “the department” – so “its” would be correct.
    Department is a singular noun so it would take “its.”

    If it said “The pediatric doctors should feel rightly embarrassed,” then
    “their” would be correct.

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  24. Sue said on November 23, 2009 at 5:24 pm

    Actually, the real question is:
    What exactly is on the posters in the Pediatric Waiting Room that is so embarrassing?

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  25. Scout said on November 23, 2009 at 5:30 pm

    Happy Birthday, Moe!!!!! I made sure to use the exclamation points some of the others left behind earlier.

    I love Alan Rickman’s voice too. We have a client who sounds just like him. When he speaks at a meeting in our conference room you could swear he’s plotting something wicked instead of brokering golf course development deals. Although, I guess one could argue that brokering golf course deals is a form of evil…

    I heard there were some pretty pissed off Hoosiers on Friday. This site had the best coverage: http://www.rumproast.com/index.php/site/comments/video_of_angry_wingnuts_booing_sarah_palin_calling_her_a_quitter_chantin/

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  26. brian stouder said on November 23, 2009 at 5:31 pm

    Our land is every­thing to us.… I will tell you one of the things we remem­ber on our land. We remem­ber than our grand­fa­thers paid for it — with their lives.

    Exactly. Con­fus­ing John Wooden, the bas­ket­ball coach, with John Wooden Legs, the Indian? That’s funny.

    You know – it IS funny; Tina Fey herself couldn’t top it. The compound silliness – confusing a person, and in so doing, completely undermining (and indeed contradicting) her original point – makes it the very essence of Palinean ‘thinking’.

    And I am counting the days until she offers as a defense that her darned ghost writer took liberties with the text; that her ghost went rogue on her

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  27. a different Connie said on November 23, 2009 at 5:49 pm

    Die Hard is one of the Christmas movies we make a point to watch every year.

    Also, in the final (most recent) Die Hard movie, I thought Bruce blew up the helicopter by driving a car into it.

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  28. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 23, 2009 at 6:12 pm

    What Dorothy AND Sue said. It’s a department, so it’s got to be “its,” doesn’t it? But what is it? It’s a fascinating question.

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  29. Jolene said on November 23, 2009 at 6:15 pm

    Dorothy’s daughter is correct re the pronoun question. Give that girl a raise!

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  30. Hexdecimal said on November 23, 2009 at 6:19 pm

    Have any of you writers for publication ever used NFP: in the middle of a story as a note to the copy editors letting them know a name is spelled correctly? NFP means “not for publication.”

    Did it ever come back to bite you in the ass like it did this guy?

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  31. Sue said on November 23, 2009 at 6:23 pm

    Die Hard as a dedicated Christmas movie. Now that’s a great idea, come Christmas Eve. Break out the eggnog, I think I’ve got a new tradition.

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  32. coozledad said on November 23, 2009 at 6:26 pm

    Brian: From the LGM thread, what John Wooden would have been more likely to say:
    “The key is everything to us…. I will tell you one of the things we remember in the key. We remember than our starters paid for it — with flagrant fouls.”
    -Mike Schilling.

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  33. Scout said on November 23, 2009 at 6:59 pm

    She Who Must Not Be Named keeps using the word “rogue.” I don’t think it means what she thinks it means:

    rogue (rg)
    1. An unprincipled, deceitful, and unreliable person; a scoundrel or rascal.
    2. One who is playfully mischievous; a scamp.
    3. A wandering beggar; a vagrant.
    4. A vicious and solitary animal, especially an elephant that has separated itself from its herd.
    5. An organism, especially a plant, that shows an undesirable variation from a standard.
    1. Vicious and solitary. Used of an animal, especially an elephant.
    2. Large, destructive, and anomalous or unpredictable: a rogue wave; a rogue tornado.
    3. Operating outside normal or desirable controls: “How could a single rogue trader bring down an otherwise profitable and well-regarded institution?” (Saul Hansell).

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  34. LAMary said on November 23, 2009 at 8:07 pm

    The teenage bling burglars were from Calabasas High School, the alma mater of the Menendez brothers.

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  35. Dorothy said on November 23, 2009 at 8:35 pm

    “Die Hard” is my 24 year-old son’s favorite Christmas movie. Mine is “Love Actually.”

    Happy Birthday (early) to our proprietress. My brother Jim’s is tomorrow (day before Nancy). He was born on Thanksgiving Day 49 years ago. Hell, happy birthday everybody!!!

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  36. Deborah said on November 23, 2009 at 9:29 pm


    Yes that was in the movie Sneakers, but when I saw that Sneakers I felt like I had seen something like that somewhere before, and it was geese the first time. It was a long time ago, I may have been in high school (in the 60s), and I thought it may have been a Hitchcock movie? For some reason I keep picturing Gregory Peck as the one who was kidnapped and blindfolded. But I must be misremembering again.

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  37. Bruce Fields said on November 23, 2009 at 11:44 pm

    Under the Movie Connections page for Sneakers, imdb.com says that idea was taken from Blindfold. Which doesn’t credit Gregory Peck. But at least the date (1965) looks closer….

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  38. Denice B. said on November 24, 2009 at 1:39 am

    Happy Birthday, Moe! It happens to be mine today too. Woo-Hoo!

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  39. Rana said on November 24, 2009 at 2:01 am

    Happy Birthday moe! And Denice!

    I suppose it’s my academic background, but I’m used to thinking of “department” as a collective noun for a group of people, and thus would find “their” to be perfectly acceptable.

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  40. Dexter said on November 24, 2009 at 2:02 am

    We who have cable TV will be treated to an alternative Christmas marathon movie, repeated showings of “Dirty Dancing”, all day long. Why. TV Guide channel? Why?

    Hope you had a perfect day, Moe, on your birthday. Many more.

    Heidi Klum was on with Kimmel. I have only seen his show a few times for a few minutes, but tonight it was time to pause and watch a little bit. She just had her fourth child six weeks ago and she attributes her good conditioning to constant exercise from chasing kids around. Her plan is working.

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  41. Jolene said on November 24, 2009 at 2:22 am

    I sup­pose it’s my aca­d­e­mic back­ground, but I’m used to think­ing of “depart­ment” as a col­lec­tive noun for a group of peo­ple, and thus would find “their” to be per­fectly acceptable.

    But in American English, collective nouns are generally treated as singular–in formal prose, if not in everyday speech. Example: The family next door is from China. Here’s a one-page lesson on what to do when re collective nouns.

    In British English, collective nouns are generally treated as plural. Example: The government have issued a new policy. Here’s a one-paragraph usage note that sums it all up nicely.

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  42. Dexter said on November 24, 2009 at 3:02 am

    John Wooden and John Wooden Legs? Unforgettable.

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  43. alex said on November 24, 2009 at 9:00 am

    Must be a Brit thing, the collective noun. “If you love somebody set them free.” —Sting 😉

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  44. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on November 24, 2009 at 9:12 am

    It sounds as if Nancy is hoping for bearer bonds for her birthday. They are easy to wrap, i’d think – or just use one of those grandma cards with a window for the president’s engraved face? (And how do those work now with the offset, oversized Jacksons and Lincolns?)

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  45. brian stouder said on November 24, 2009 at 9:33 am

    Ol’ Sting was just utilizing his Poetic License, there.

    With all this talk about birthdays and such, and just to show how ancient I’m becoming, back in 7th grade (or thereabouts) I recall the teacher bringing in a big glossy cigarette ad from the Sunday paper (and the youngs folks say “but, cigarettes don’t advertise in the paper!”**) and conducting a lesson based on the (grammatically faulty) catch-phrase “Winston tastes good, like a cigarette should”

    **I think one short-term stimulous package the government could grant the printed-newspaper industry would be to grant them the a waiver, so that they could accept advertising from the big tobacco companies. The money would begin arriving in armored trucks

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