A few days ago Tania and I saw “My Week With Marilyn,” which stars Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe. In the film there is a scene in which Monroe, untouchable, unreliable, surrounded by an enabling entourage, tells the PA who has been “Ms. Monroe”-ing her up and down, to call her Marilyn. It’s supposed to be the moment we know he’s broken through (SPOILER ALERT: Eh, you can guess).
Now for many reasons that are covered later, there is no actual “breaking through” with somebody who is aware of and embracing their iconic status. Sure. Still, this simple exchange struck me as interesting.
I have had a minor obsession with hilarious bank robber nicknames ever since the Geriatric Bandit swept through Southern California a few years ago. According to my extensive research, law enforcement agencies give nicknames to serial bank robbers because then they get talked about and crime gets stopped. I’m sure that says something about human nature and crime and comedy and…what? No, it’s just funny.
Anyway, today’s local news in New York featured an update on another bank robber, a “Dapper Bandit.” Apparently he dresses in nice suits and, I can only assume, must have the gentile robbing style befitting of such a character.
In honor of the Dapper Bandit, I feel compelled to pass something along:
As I mentioned before, my local community Christmas tree is located in a privately-owned open-air mall and last week I was appalled to discover that the tree is really a tree trunk fitted with imported branches attached with pegs. Branches that are made of real tree matter but odorless, oddly life-less and dispatched to replace the actual branches that once grew out of this very real tree’s trunk. Since my last posting the entire tree has also been painted a bright, unnatural shade of green.
Painting a Live Tree Is Tricky Business
The last time I went to see the progress on the tree operation, a man and woman came up behind me and asked if the large, bright green thing in front of them was real. (With it’s new coat of paint, the tree looks odd, to say the least, and fake to say the worst.) I replied with what I knew, that it was all technically real tree parts but none from the same tree. To this, the woman exclaimed, “It’s the perfect metaphor for LA.” She was right, though she was also telepathically copying my idea, which is rude.
A Model of Understated Elegance
This week, a major tree-building operation took over the eastern end of one of LAs magical artificial consumption playlands. This mall, despite being called “The Grove,” is light on real in-ground trees but does have one imposing pine that it converts to something holiday-cheerful every year for the Christmas bonanza (which also features overdone sleighs, fake snow, and a full scale Santa hut constructed especially for the season). Unfortunately, during this week’s tree-building operation, I learned something highly disturbing about the Grove Christmas tree.
When I arrived at work the other day there were snipers on the roof of our office building. Snipers, ready to snipe things with their rifles. All aflutter with this turn of events, I filled several people in via gchat. The exchanges usually went something like this: