Squirrelly as it may seem, Blizzard of '96 no surprise

THIS JUST IN ...

January 08, 1996|By DAN RODRICKS

I knew it. I just knew we'd get some kind of serious winter this winter -- and Tom, Tony, the other Tony, John, Norm, Ken, Bob and the other TV weather guy -- what's his name? -- had nothing to do with my hunch. Hey, call me old fashion. I don't care. My sense of this storm came from arboreal rodents.

I mean squirrels. Have you noticed them? They've been running extraordinarily fat. There's one on my bird feeder that bears a striking resemblance to Chris Farley, the FFGFSNL.

Plus, I've been getting serious sinus headaches, a sure omen of weirdness in the air. Something else -- L. L. Bean winter catalogs; we get one about every other day. And then there's the celery in my crisper; it developed a green-white slime and, when I saw it, I knew we were in for some kind of atmospheric gah-bahge.

I also consulted the Hagers-Town Town and Country Almanack. Its predictions for 1995-96 have been on the money so far. You could look it up.

The almanac predicted plenty of snow in December (See This Just In, Sept. 20, 1995) and its annual woolly bear caterpillar analysis indicated a colder and wetter than normal winter through mid-January. Wait there's more -- coming in February. "We believe February will try to make up for all of last winter's deficit of snow and lack of cold temperatures," the almanac says. Then, in March . . . ELLIPSES On second thought, I think I'll stop here.

No monkeying around

Film critics and students of the cinema have expressed varying degrees of disappointment in Terry Gilliam's partly-filmed-in-Baltimore movie, "12 Monkeys." I read the reviews. I listened to the criticism. But I still don't get what the problem is.

This is a terrific film. Anytime a director, actors, cinematographers and the zillion other people involved in the making of a movie transport me to some far-out reach of the imagination, I'm not going to complain. And I don't care if part of the ride is bumpy. Hey, call me simple. I don't care.

From the time Bruce Willis ascends from his subterranean cage like a lab rat on a rope to the final twisted moments of this back-from-the-future, apocalyptic who-dun-it, I was riveted.

"12 Monkeys" is extravagantly bizarre, absurd, dark and other-worldly in the way of Gilliam's "Brazil." It has strong acting (from Brad Pitt, if you can believe it). It has suspense. It has the unsettling New Tango accordion of Astor Piazzola. It has Frank Gorshin and Christopher Plummer, for cryin' out loud. It's a trip. Don't wait for it to come out on video.

Stupid question, stupid answers

I've been saving this for a rainy (make that, snowy) day. It comes from Paul Rolly and Joann Jacobsen-Wells, who write a local column similar to This Just In for the Salt Lake Tribune. A client of a law firm in Utah has been collecting silly questions asked by lawyers during the course of trials. I checked with Rolly -- not a word has been made up. Here we go:

"Was that the same nose you broke as a child?"

"Now, doctor, isn't it true that when a person dies in his sleep, in most cases he just passes quietly away and doesn't know anything about it until the next morning?

"The youngest son, the 20-year-old, how old is he?"

"Were you alone or by yourself?"

"Was it you or your younger brother that was killed in the war?"

And now some comical colloquy:

Q: "I show you Exhibit 3 and ask you if you recognize that picture."

A: "That's me."

Q: "Were you present when that picture was taken?"

Wait there's more:

Q: "What happened then?"

A: "He told me, he says, 'I have to kill you because you can identify me!'"

Q: "Did he kill you?"

And more:

Q: "Do you know how pregnant you are now?"

A: "I'll be three months Nov. 8."

Q: "So the date of conception was August 8?"

A: "Yes."

Q: "What were you doing at the time?"

And still more:

Q: "She had three children, right?"

A: "Yes."

Q: "How many were boys?"

A: "None."

Q: "Were there any girls?"

And my favorite:

Q: "You say the stairs went down to the basement?"

A: "Yes."

Q: "And these stairs, did they go up also?"

Powell and polyester

Colin Powell for president -- of Johns Hopkins! . . . ELLIPSES If you want to run your hands across some really fine polyester -- the good stuff, circa 1970 -- check out the stock of vintage clothes in Elaine Ferrare's "Killer Trash" on Eastern Avenue. (And then try not to get upset that they're calling clothes we grew up with "vintage.")

Acronym in today's first item: Funny Fat Guy From Saturday Night Live. ELLIPSES. . . This Just In appears each Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Observations, comments and news items may be sent to Dan Rodricks, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278. The telephone number is 332-6166.

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