Who uses it: Primate researchers
What it means: The mature male leader of a gorilla troop
How you can use it: As a synonym for "alpha male."
Yes, I saw King Kong last night. And to steal my brother Ed's immortal comment on Gladiator, it kicked every ass I have.
At three hours and seven minutes, it's about 20 minutes too long, but it hardly matters. King Kong is everything we go to the movies for: romance, adventure, thrills, comedy, tragedy, gorgeous costumes, great scenery, awesome special effects. It may be the most thoroughly satisfying movie-going experience I've had since The Princess Bride.
It is also very, very scary. VERY. SCARY. Whatever you're afraid of, it's in this movie: giant reptiles, bats, spiders, huge bugs, big nameless water-suckers, human sacrifice, grotesque aging, unscrupulous movie producers. How this movie got a PG-13 rating is a mystery; it is intense and violent and -- did I say this? -- really scary, and not, not, NOT appropriate for children.
So of course, my friends and I sat behind a couple who had brought their little daughter -- a girl no older than five -- to this movie. What is wrong with people?
I'm editing a manuscript, covered a screenplay and am getting ready to write a big report this week, which didn't leave much time for pleasure reading... but here's
What I Read This Week
Lee Charles Kelley, Twas the Bite Before Christmas. I read this book because I never read books like this: the title's a pun, the detective is a dog trainer in a small Maine town, and dogs help solve the mystery. But guess what? This was charming, with a good mystery and entirely believable dogs. The main character is an ex-NYPD detective who's a little too condescending to his small-town Maine counterparts, and has one too many celebrity friends, but those are minor quibbles.
James Grippando, Got the Look. I haven't read any of the earlier books in this series, featuring Florida defense lawyer Jack Swyteck. Jack's a good character, and this book isn't a traditional legal thriller, because the fact that he's a lawyer makes little difference to the plot. Jack falls in love with a woman who turns out to be married, and she gets kidnapped, for reasons that turn out to be connected to her secret past. It's very well done, but I'm tired of women-in-peril thrillers, and I think I'll quit reading them for a while.
It's snowing hard. Dizzy and I met the Gardiner fire chief by the paperboard factory this morning; he asked whether I'd seen anyone camped out back there recently. I haven't, though I told him I'd seen smoke and an abandoned campsite in the summer. The problem, he told me, isn't that someone is squatting. It's that the fire plan for that building calls for fire-fighters to stay outside the factory; if the building catches fire, and if someone is living inside, they wouldn't know they needed to go in to save him.
Somehow, this sums up everything I love about Maine. They'll leave each other alone and they'll tolerate a lot of eccentricity, but they'll go to great lengths to help, when needed.