Romantic comedies: It’s just obvious: Serendipity would have been better if the actors who played the “best friend” characters, Jeremy Piven and Molly Shannon, had starred instead of John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale. (Especially if they’d played every scene as Ari Gold and Mary Katherine Gallagher). They may not be as pretty, but it’s the supporting actors who put the actual comedy into romantic comedies, so almost any romcom would be at least as good and probably better if they played the lead roles. When Harry Met Sally starring Bruno Kirby and Carrie Fisher? Probably no worse. Knocked Up starring Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann? Just as funny and it would make more sense. You’ve Got Mail starring Dave Chappelle and Jean “Edith Bunker” Stapleton? Fascinating.
Hockey goaltending: Recent reports indicate that the NHL is considering doing away with the trapezoids placed behind goaltenders’ nets. The trapezoids, which currently limit the area of the ice in which a goaltender may play the puck, were added as part of the new rules introduced following the lockout in an attempt to increase scoring; however, this rule change appears to be linked to an increase in injuries among defensemen who are now racing to retrieve pucks the goaltender might have previously safely cleared. Eliminating the trapezoid is a good first step. It never made sense to punish goalies for their skill at playing the puck. But while we’re at it, let’s also get rid of the rule forbidding goalies from crossing the red line at centre ice. If a goalie is foolhardy enough to try an end-to-end rush so he can score on his counterpart, as Gary “Suitcase” Smith tried to do in the 1960s, I definitely want to see that.
Subway stations: It sucks when you’re running behind in the morning and you just miss your train because the sluggards in front of you block you while they dawdle down the stairs, often walking two or three abreast. Saving a few seconds in getting from the turnstiles to the subway platform can make the crucial difference. Give me a hole in the floor and a fire pole. Or a hole and a crash mat below. I’d even settle for a slide. Just give me something where I can let gravity do its thing and take me where I need to be. And with a mini-trampoline, you can get upstairs in a hurry too.
Malcolm Gladwell: Biracial people are often justly hailed for their beauty, such as Lenny Kravitz and Halle Berry. But the exception to this rule is author Malcolm Gladwell, who definitely has a face for the printed word. My girlfriend recently noted that he’s a dead ringer for Margaret Atwood, which is not a bad thing for a Canadian writer to look like, but he can do better. Obviously, he’s keeping his trademark afro; a celebrity author has to do what he can to cultivate an iconic look, like Tom Wolfe and his white suits. But Gladwell ought to take a page out the book of fellow ugly pop-culture writer Chuck Klosterman, who’s been looking much less anus-faced since he grew a beard.
Chimpanzees: An interesting footnote to some recent news stories about the possible resurrection of woolly mammoths via tinkering with the genome of elephants is that the same strategy could be used to recreate Neanderthal man by fooling around with chimpanzee DNA. Setting aside all the moral dilemmas that might be involved, if we’re going to use genetic engineering to recreate a hairy form of man from a bygone age, why not work on a new version of the younger, funnier Robin Williams?
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