I’ve just gotten into an obsession over Sergio Leone’s movies.
Whether it’s the whistling riffs in the arranged music by Ennio Morricone, the way all the men chug whisky straight from the bottle and continue to drive stagecoaches skillfully over rough terrain, or the way Clint Eastwood and his cigarillo send shivers of retribution up my spine when he’s about to blast a bad guy, this Italian director who apparently could barely speak english captured the American Wild West superbly. Or at least the Wild West we all fantacise about.
Out of ignorance, I had no clue why people called this genre of movies “Spaghetti Westerns,” but it quickly became obvious after watching my first one a week ago -most names in the credits were Italian. However, Italians are not the only Europeans with a Wild West obsession, these northern Europeans have an infatuation as well. It is amazing how well this man made westerns: it’s almost as if you can actually feel and taste the dust in the dry air, smell the sagebrush, and feel the wind blow as tumbleweeds pass by.
The reason these movies have such a universal appeal may be that they portray the archtypical hero and manliness, honestly, who wouldn’t want to be the lone bounty hunter shooting your way to save the dame? With all the drinking, smoking, fighting, horse riding, and women, it’s easy to see how many old and young from other continents become infatuated with these movies.
I would highly recommend grabbing some beer and popcorn and watching The Man With No Name trilogy to anyone wanting to escape to the Wild West for a few hours.
For some reason, my school is obsessed with Alaska. It’s the state they choose to learn every obscure detail about. I can’t explain why, but there is some strange supernatural connection between them and learning about Alaska.
One of my teachers asked me to give a presentation on the state for the fourth time, and I was getting a bit bored with it. So, I tried to locate some other stuff to say about it besides that it was huge, had a small population, and was cold and dark a lot. I decided to focus on some nature.
I’ve visited Alaska once before and it really is a beautiful place, but it is not one you want to get lost in. The only reason for that is the bear population. I remember going on a hike and my friend’s dad putting his hand over a huge pile of crap to see if it was warm. That way if it was we would know if the bear was anywhere near us and would rip our guts out. It wasn’t but he still proceeded to scream, “Bear!” as if it would scare off any 2,000 pound killing machine.
I decided to talk about nature, but in doing so realized that I am terribly affraid of these oversized killing machines. The class looked at me as I tried to explain the different way a bear could tear you apart and how hopeless an escape would be.
“Yes, they can climb trees and eat you”
“They don’t like mace, but you can try anyway”
“Go into the fetal possition and hope it plays with you for a while and gets bored”
These are legitiate pieces of advice that have been given to me. The students laughed, but I was serious. I decided to change the subject to a slightly scarrier topic, Sarah Palin, who is also from Alaska. They weren’t listening to me concerns about that either.
I have to say the that the people at my school are obsessed with the idea of Halloween. I’ve been giving lectures on it in my classes for the past month and a half. I think they just can’t get their heads around the fact that the U.S. might have a unique cultural event that isn’t really celebrated in other places, or if it is, it’s a weak carbon copy of the tradition that thrives in the states.
They’ve asked me so many questions about it, that I think I’ve started to propagate some false myths. I didn’t mean to.
They asked me, “Are zer typical games one playz on Halloveen?”
So, I told them that, “Yes, sometimes people bob for apples.”
Their eyes widened as I explained the details. I’m pretty sure I’ve bobbed for apples once in my life. And if there’s any Halloween tradition that is dieing out then it is apple bobbing. It’s one of those things that should’ve died out with using x-rays to fit shoes, blood letting, or popped collars – just bad ideas. But they were having none of it and seemed to think it was an essential part of the holiday.
I was never a fan of this game, even when I was a kid. I think it might be the most unsanitary thing ever created. But for the past few weeks, the teachers and the students have been nagging me constantly to organize an apple bobbing game on Halloween. I’m pretty sure the bird flu is going to break out at my school and I’ll be the one solely responsible for the oncoming epidemic. There’s going to be about 200 kids sticking their faces into the same tub of mealy apples and old tap water.
I’m sure as hell not participating. If they ask me to demonstrate I’ll just draw an example on the board while I wear my haz-mat suit and prey I don’t catch some strange disease that is sure to spread throughout Germany over the next month.
I’ll blame it on their stubborn obsession with apples and water, but if they decide to arrest me for the sure to be disease outbreak, call the embassy.
I’m innocent; I swear.