Netflix sent us The Way, with Martin Sheen hiking 800 kilometers through spectacular Spanish scenery. El Camino de Santiago, the “way” referred to in the title, is a pilgrimage beginning in France, then through Basque country and the rest of Spain. The story was simple; the scenery behind the story made that long trek worthwhile, for both the pilgrims on their way as well as for the viewers of the film. I was so entranced that, if I were a wee bit younger and a whole lot more fit, I’d love to make that same journey. As with Charucer’s Canterbury pilgrims, those on this modern pilgrimage had their stories to tell. Tom (Martin Sheen), an American ophthalmologist, has learned that his son Daniel (Emilio Estevez) was killed just as he was beginning el camino. Tom decides he will make the trip in his son’s place, scattering Daniel’s ashes along the way. He meets several others on the journey—Sarah (Deborah Kara Unger), a Canadian trying to stop smoking; Joost (Yorick van Wageningen), a Dutchman trying to lose weight; and Jack (James Nesbitt), an Irish writer suffering from writer’s block. The four form a loose bond, at first with some antagonism, especially from Tom when he’s questioned about why he is on the journey. But the four come together more and more as they move through Spain. As I said, the story is simple. The screenplay was written by Sheen’s son, Emilio Estevez, who also directed. This movie was in the Valley for only a short time, shown exclusively at a Harkins theater way over in the East Valley, there and then gone, as happens with too many films with limited appeal to the mass audience. If you haven’t seen it, go to Netflix. It’s a trip you’ll find well worthwhile.
I’m rereading some of the McBain 87th Precinct novels, and stumbled onto this joke. McBain loved to insert jokes in his stories, and this one broke me up.
This guy is giving a lecture on supernatural phenomena, and when he finishes the lecture he asks the crowd if any of them have ever been in the presence of a ghost. The hands go up, and he counts them, and he says, “That’s about right. I usually get a response of about fifty percent to that question. Now how many of you who just raised your hands have ever been touched by a ghost?” The hands go up again, and he counts them, and says, “That’s about right, too, sixteen, seventeen percent is what I usually get. Now how many of you have ever had intercourse with a ghost?” Well, this old guy in his nineties raises his hand, and the lecturer asks him to please come up to the stage, and the guy dodders to the front of the auditorium, and climbs the steps, and the lecturer says, “Sir, this is really astonishing. I give these lectures all over the world, and this is the first time I’ve ever met anyone who’d actually had intercourse with a ghost.” The old man says, “What? Would you say that again, please?” And the lecturer yells, “THIS IS THE FIRST TIME I’VE EVER MET ANYONE WHO’S ACTUALLY HAD INTERCOURSE WITH A GHOST!” and the old guy says, “Oh, excuse me. I thought you said intercourse with a goat!”
And here’s another from my brother Bob:
If you had purchased $1,000 of Delta Airlines stock one year ago, you would have $49 left. With AIG, you would have less than $15 left. With Fannie Mae, you would have $2.50 left of the original $1,000. But if you had purchased $1,000 worth of beer one year ago, drunk all of it, then turned in the cans for the aluminum recycling refund, you would have $214 cash. Based on the above, the best current investment advice is to drink heavily and recycle. It’s called the 401-Keg. A recent study found the average American walks about 900 miles a year. Another study found Americans drink, on average, 22 gallons of alcohol a year. That means, on average, Americans get about 41 miles to the gallon.
Happy Christmas Eve eve, everyone.