Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Maybe He Wants a Newsboy Cap for Christmas

Genius is off to college Saturday. The end of an era. He is milking the situation for all he can get.

This morning he came up with the cockamamie idea that I should make him a big going-away breakfast. I know where he got that inspiration, and I can't thank that Madam enough. I was, however, able to talk him down from the omelet, Belgian waffle, rasher of bacon, and freshly-squeezed orange juice ledge. Especially since that might require him to arise five minutes earlier to have time to eat. He says he will accept Martha White instant strawberry/blueberry muffins instead, on Thursday.

Genius declared that he should have a special meal of his choosing. Tonight. Never mind that he's getting a going-away steak restaurant dinner on Friday. You'd think he was a death-penalty inmate with three sentences, the way he's cashing in on last meals. Did he ask for a banquet of Val's specialties? A spread of pot roast, towering vegetable beef soup, Chex mix, deviled eggs, potato salad, garlic cheese bread, cheddar Bisquick biscuits, and Oreo cake alongside graham cracker crust chocolate pudding pie with Cool Whip topping? No. That boy is certainly no gourmet. He wanted Chef Boyardee boxed pizza mix baked deep-dish style. With hamburger on top. When he finished in three minutes, he said, "That was certainly worth the two hours it took you to make it." Haha. He knows it was only one hour and change.

This morning he stumbled out of bed as I was channel surfing. "Is that NEWSIES? You've GOT to watch it!"

Seriously. There's a reason that movie cost $15 million to make, and grossed $2 million. I could not help but provide commentary throughout. If you've never seen the movie, let me spare you two hours of your life. Christian Bale is Jack, the head newsboy. He has a line about how headlines have to be catchy, have certain words that are sure to sell papers. Words like maniac, corpse, love-nest, or nude. He gets the idea for newsboys to strike, after selling papers with bad headlines like, "Trolley Strike Drags on for Third Week," and seeing how determined the trolley workers are.

At one point, Jack, who dreams of moving to Santa Fe, and goes by the nickname "Cowboy," steals a horse. He rides it down the street, singing one of the many bad songs in this musical, then jumps off and slaps it on the rump. The horse runs off camera, in the direction of a fire that was earlier attributed to violence from the trolley strike. I couldn't resist.

"Oh, great. Just steal a horse and send it off to its death. Make your own headline so you can sell papers tomorrow. I can see it now: Corpse Found On Trolley Tracks Near Maniac's Love Nest."

Genius could not take that lying down on the couch in only a pair of cargo shorts. "Wait! If it was a dead horse, wouldn't it be a HORPSE? I'm a genius! That's my best line ever! A HORPSE! Get it? A horse corpse is a HORPSE!"

Yeah. Let's not start polishing your Grammy, Tony, Oscar, and Emmy just yet. Genius declared that this moved actually won an Oscar for something to do with the score or a song. Must have been slim pickin's in that category in 1992. I also informed the loyal fan that I could have easily shortened this movie by 30 minutes by simply omitting all the meaningful glances and pregnant pauses. And another thing. "Why is it that people at the turn of the century were always storming out the window and scurrying down the fire escape?"

Genius had no answer to that. He lay all starry-eyed, anticipating the next song, so he could tip me off and tell me trivia. It did not help that he had been shown this movie by the school's music department, perhaps more than once. I was not about to let him off so easily. "Oh, look! A flash mob just came around both corners, and joined in a choreographed parade down the street! And apparently, Newsies who can't afford to pay an extra ten cents on a hundred papes (that's what they called the newspapers in this movie) can eat amazingly well and have the energy to dance and sing all the livelong day while they're on strike! Whew! Can you imagine the smell of that movie set?"

Genius looked up from the couch pillow he was clutching to his concave bare chest. "Oh, yeah!" Not that there's anything wrong with that, of course.

I really shouldn't torment him in his final days, over one of his favorite movies. He turned a deaf ear to my suggestion that Oliver! is a true musical with the same kind of choreography, and actually won the Best Picture Oscar in 1968. Even though Batman wasn't in it.

Sadly, I don't know who will co-host my Critic's Corner once Genius makes his scheduled exit.


  1. Those newsboy caps are pretty cool. Could be his signature statement on campus.

  2. I feel like I've come to know Genius since I've been following your blog and I fear I'm going to miss him when he heads off to college. But I know I won't miss him nearly as badly as you will, Mom.

  3. You, Val, although NOT mother-of-the-year (Martha White muffins? Where's the love?), you ARE the cultural center of the Midwest. I've never heard of this movie, and because of your glowing review, I am going to run out tomorrow after work (I went back to work today! Aaaaaah!) and hopefully Target or Barnes and Noble has an entire display of this flick.

  4. What is that young man going to do without you? Oh yeah, seek out a partner who emulates your every action. You will love your future daughter-in-law:)You can surely spin a yarn ... or screen play, hmmmm.

  5. Joanne,
    It would have been a necessity just a few short weeks ago when he was adamantly refusing to take an umbrella. Now he has seen the lightning, I suppose, and has an umbrella on his list of items needed for college attendance.

    And you won't breathe nearly as big a sigh of relief when you realize that there are less sandwiches to make.

    Actually, he doesn't even get the Martha White muffins that HE requested, but instead, he gets Ginger Evans, the Save A Lot brand.

    Good luck with your quest for Newsies. The only actors I recognized were Max Casella, (Doogie Howser's old buddy), Bill Pullman (from Mr. Wrong with Ellen Degeneres), and Robert Duvall (in the last ten minutes of the movie, because I kept thinking he was James Cromwell).

    My condolences to your feet, upon your return to teaching, especially if you got all dolled up and didn't wear your Crocs.

    Funny how Genius read this comment and said, "NO. She will be NOTHING like you."

    If only I could add composing to my yarn-spinning and screen-playing, I could be a triple threat!