Author and screenwriter Nora Ephron died yesterday at 71. Who knew she was sick? Who knew she was 71?
Nora wrote her book I Feel Bad about my Neck in 2006, which meant she had reached a certain age. What age that is, I’m not certain. Women start feeling bad about their necks at different ages, but most women eventually do hate their necks. Why do female necks turn into such tree trunks, I wonder?
Ephron’s body of work as an author, director and producer is massive. Her 1989 screenplay, When Harry Met Sally, may feel dated now, but back in 1989, the movie broke ground. No film ever depicted relationships with all their quirks and awkwardness so honestly. She wrote for females of my generation.
Nora’s last book, I Remember Nothing: and Other Reflections, contains two lists What I Will Miss and What I Won’t Miss. The Won’t Miss list stresses the simple pleasures in life and the Miss list, the annoying rather than the outrageous (However, not missing Clarence Thomas may stem from outrage.)
The list sprung from Nora’s life, so comparing her list to mine is pointless. But I will anyway. My lists, just brewing in my head now, borrow a few items from Nora’s.
Waffles, definitely. I would definitely miss the infinite varieties of waffles. The view from my window too. I have a spectacular view of the Hudson River from my apartment. The sky, the river, and the Jersey skyline are a new color every day. I will miss that view sooner rather than later. Like Nora, I too won’t miss dry skin and washing my hair.
Technology would move from Nora’s Won’t Miss to the Will Miss list for me. I love technology and would miss it very much. Technology allows me to marvel at the world and makes me glad I was on earth before the internet. I can always be wowed by it.
I’ve learned, and so had Nora, that dinners can be excruciating or wonderful, but you’re never sure which until the meal has begun. You get better at sniffing out the potentially bad ones ahead of time. I would tell Nora, if I could, she should have never wasted time taking makeup off before going to bed.
The wristwatch was meant to be the device of the future. Dick Tracy, a man ahead of his time, used his two-way wristwatch as a radio to communicate with police and capture villains.
Futurists with high hopes knew this would be a reality one day. In the early 80s, one such futurist proudly showed me his watch that could store phone numbers. G wore a similar geek watch when I met him late last century.
The futurists got the mobile device part right. Nearly all of us –across all generations –carry at least a cell phone. Or a cell phone and iPod.
Still, I was surprised to hear that people of a certain generation have stopped wearing wristwatches. This new breed just checks the time on their phone, or their Blackberry, or whatever device they carry.
I don’t consider myself slow to adopt new technology and abandon outdated hardware. But this, I must ponder.
Does this phenomenon applies to girls, who more often have purses than pockets? Will it ever be as easy to find my phone in my purse as it is to twist my wrist? Will everyone wear clothes with pockets now? (Cargo Pant Heaven!)
Like typewriters and land lines, the wristwatch will disappear, I guess. But not until all the people who can’t break the habit of looking at their wrist when someone asks, “do you have the time?” have disappeared too.
(And who says “wristwatch” anymore? It’s been a hundred years since the device had to be distinguished from the alternative “pocketwatch.”)
George Carlin’s passing is getting a lot of well-deserved media attention.
Surprised me, because as a kid of the 70s, I think of him as the anti-establishment comedian, the type whose passing might only get a brief mention on the mainstream nightly news. But Carlin had a long career and the clips I saw of his early stuff is funny too. The early stuff is funny; the later stuff, great.
Despite my narrow scope of who’s who in the world, Carlin is a fixture in the minds of several generations. The anti-establishment audience he began speaking to in the 70s is running the media now.
I don’t know who this thought is attributed to, but I’ve heard good comedians are all angry inside. Carlin was crazy, funny and very angry.
In recent years, George put his anger in front of the humor rather than behind it. Anger behind humor is what makes us able to laugh at absurdities and stupidities. Anger is front of the humor pisses people off. (Thanks to George, I can say “piss.”)
G and I saw Carlin in Las Vegas in 2001. He told the audience at the outset of the show that they were not the type of audience to appreciate his humor. He was there testing material for an HBO Special. Granted, I could see a lot of blue-haireds in the red velvet seats, but give them a chance, George I thought. But George Carlin still had it.
G reminds me of the bit Carlin did that culminated in “fuck the police!; fuck the police!; FUCK the police.” Now that was funny and very angry.
Why are butter popcorn products still on the market?
In 2001, Bronchilolitis Obliterans, a “rare and life threatening form of fixed obstructive lung disease” (Washington Post), was linked to popcorn factories and dubbed “Popcorn Lung”. Hundreds of popcorn factory workers were sick from breathing in the chemical diacetyl, an ingredient in artificial butter.
I’ve eaten the stuff: the “butter” in buttered popcorn tastes more like axle grease than butter. My gut told me this stuff is bad for you, and not just from a nutritional standpoint.
Exposure to synthetic butter in food production and flavoring plants has been linked to hundreds of cases of workers whose lungs have been damaged or destroyed. Diacetyl is found naturally in milk, cheese, butter and other products.
Heated diacetyl becomes a vapor and, when inhaled over a long period of time, seems to lead the small airways in the lungs to become swollen and scarred. Sufferers can breathe in deeply, but they have difficulty exhaling. The severe form of the disease is called bronchiolitis obliterans or “popcorn workers’ lung,” which can be fatal.
Now a popcorn eater has the lung disease.
Wayne Watson is not just any consumer, he ate two bags a day for ten years. He admits he loved breathing in the burst of steam from a just-opened bag.
The media is treating the story like a human interest story. If only the public would get outraged, the media would elevate the story. But how can we be outraged when we are focused on the lead paint toys from China? So the flavor factories in California are racing the regulators. They are ventilating the factories and instituting employee health screenings.
But let’s help them out; let’s stop eating the stuff.