Things I Don’t Understand

1. Why the exact same brand toothpaste has radically different packaging in different countries.

2. Why everyone thinks King Kong is the best movie ever.

3. Why no one told me that Lost is excellent genre TV.

4. Why whenever you buy chips in an Oz pub they always come served in a plastic fake-wood bowl.

5. Why cricket isn’t the dominant sport in every country in the world.

6. How anyone could wear gold sandals and not be ironic.


  1. chrisbarnes on #

    I assume by chips you mean crisps, rather than hot chips? Because hot chips usually come in a white crockery bowl (and today I had the BEST hot chips I’ve ever had in a pub — or possibly anywhere — at the Redoak pub on Clarence St. Their beer is fantastic too).

  2. marrije on #

    i have this newsreader thingy which picks up your posts and notifies me when there’s something new. and it obviously doesn’t use your stylesheet, so just now i saw that you typed king kong with capitals, even when you know those capitals will not show up here. and for some silly reason that made me smile hugely.

    haven’t seen the movie yet, so no opinion on that one, except of course that your sister is cool.

    how’s the writing going? or should i just shut up about that? i’d offer to write part of it for you, but somehow i think that wouldn’t really work. and if any of your readers are flunking out during the holidays, i’m game for pitching in in that department, if it would help.

  3. nathaniel on #

    i could have probably told you about lost. other than that, you got me.

  4. Diana Peterfreund on #

    I could probably tell you about the cricket issue, but I believe I’m banned from making statements of that nature on this blog.

    King kong, despite excellent special effects (nods to JL’s sister), was…um, long, gory, buggy, and overly concerned with endless lingering shots of Naomi Watts’s limpid eyes, dewy skin, poufy lips, etc. etc. ad nauseum. Otherwise I liked it fine. But I’m sure they could have cut half an hour easy if they weren’t so interested in making us stare at every pore on that poor girl’s face.

  5. Justine on #

    Chris Barnes: Crisps? I didn’t know you were English! In my world there are cold chips and then there are hot chips. I was referring to cold chips. But now you’ve made me crave hot chips something fierce. What is it about white crockery bowls that makes all food in them look even better than it already is?

    Hannah Wolf Bowen: Very droll.

    Marrije: Clearly, your newsreader is fascistly imposing capital letters on you. Resist! Niki is, indeed, the very coolest. When MorM 3 is finished (of which let us not speak), I’m thinking of running an interview with her in my musings, on account of what she does is so interesting and yet I still don’t fully understand what exactly it involves. Other than, you know, getting to work all over the world.

    Nathaniel: Yes, but you didn’t tell me, did you?

    David Moles: Oh sure, lots of campy goodness in there, but buggery hell was it way too long in parts. Did we really need fights with a hundred million different dinosaurs? That many insects? Yawn. Plus what is Peter Jackson’s problem with black people?

    Diana: You are indeed banned, in fact the ban may apply to your even thinking those evil thoughts while posting on this blog.

    Oh, yes, Naomi Watt’s limping eyes, dusty skin and puffy lips began to get really boring less than twenty minutes in. I get it already, Mr Jackson! I didn’t hate it; I just didn’t think it was the best film ever made. Frankly, I haven’t been in love with a Jackson film since Heavenly Creatures.

  6. claire on #

    1. because everyone has a different visual idiom. frex: in china red is the color of joy and celebration, white is death and the demonic (and black is essentially valueless) and yellow is royalty.
    2. because jackson muffled the fact that king kong is a blatant metaphor for the black male penis by taking him out of africa and so now everyone’s more comfortable with it.
    3. because by the last four episodes of the first season, you’re ready to kill all the characters, they’ve become so annoying.
    4. got me.
    5. because baseball takes long enough, thank you. we don’t need the housefly-eye, slo-mo version.
    6. … you mean *these* gold sandals? (looks at feet) what’s wrong with ’em? … grumble …

    i was at barnes and noble yesterday, buying books for my 12-yr-old-now-ready-to-read-ya niece and they had SOLD OUT of “magic or madness” and had reordered it twice already. this is kalamazoo, michigan, my dear. yer famous!

  7. David Moles on #

    have you seen forgotten silver?

  8. Justine on #


  9. Justine on #

    Claire: 1. I should have been more precise. I was speaking of the actual tube, not the box it comes in which is the same in every country I’ve bought it in, ‘cept the words natch. The tube comes in different sizes and shapes and here in Australia has a lid attached with a hinge which is designed solely to make the toothpaste kind of ooze out and get all over your hands. Whereas the ones in Mexico and the US while different from each other manage to get the toothpaste from tube to toothbrush without incident. I’m cool with different tubes if they all work, but why on earth would you adopt a clearly inferior tube design? Hmmm, I’m thinking about this way too much, aren’t I?

    2. You mean and substitued equally icky racism?

    3. No spoilers, missy! There’ll be a paddling.

    5. As Diana knows, such words are banned from this blog.

    6. On you, Claire, they’re all irony.

    Really? That’s fabulous! And thanks for trying to buy it for your niece.

  10. David Moles on #

    It’s not really comparable to Heavenly Creatures, but I thought it was a blast. Being a mockumentary, by nature it avoids a lot of the pitfalls Jackson seems to get himself into as a storyteller. And I think he’s better at comedy than straight drama anyhow.

  11. Justine on #

    Shall check it out. I think you’re right about Jackson and comedy. All the bits I really enjoyed in Kong were funny. I especially liked the writer having to work and sleep in a cage in the cargo hold. Most pleasing.

  12. Diana Peterfreund on #

    Especially since it was everyone’s favorite serial-killer-and-torturer-of-women Adrien Brody. Man, that guy creeps me out.

    I like Jackson fine. Hell hath no fury like a hippo with a machine gun and all that. I just thought he was being REALLY self-indulgent with this film. Squandered all of his nice LOTR capital.

  13. David Moles on #

    ah, he did that with the cheesy green ghosts in ROTK.

  14. Corey on #

    Didn’t see KK, nor really plan to. My favorite Jackson movies are The Frighteners and Dead Alive thus far, not the more recent titles that he’s known for.

    Lost has been on my steady diet since it’s launch…and somehow I manage to catch it every week ‘sans Tivo’!

  15. Ted on #

    I’m surprised that no one has recommended Lost to you; it seems like everyone is talking about it. Personally, my interest in the show — which was initially quite high — dwindled away to nothing months ago. As a character drama it’s fine, but as a genre show it became apparent to me that the writers had no idea of where they were going, and that prevented me from enjoying it.

  16. David Moles on #

    I didn’t think Kong was the best movie ever. I just thought it was well worth the price of admission.

  17. nathaniel on #

    yeh, sorry. all about downloading it (lost) lately….
    one more thing about excellent genre tv – you and scott totally got me and nicky hooked on veronica mars. lovin’ it. oh, and i’ve basically convinced myself that i had to have seen her (ms bell) umpteen times when i was working at the student affairs office at tisch (she was a senior when I was a grad student working there)….

  18. Rjurik on #

    Just on why cricket isn’t the dominant world game – because football (soccer) is better in almost every way (shane warne sms’s not counted). How? I hear you splutter in rage? Well for starters, it only lasts 2 hours, which makes it something like one twentieth as long. How ’bout that Larbalestier? Also, the ball’s bigger, so you can see it. My analysis is subtle, aint it? Oh, and its just better.

    Now gotta get myself some gold sandals…

  19. chrisbarnes on #

    Strewth! Me, english? Stone the flamin’ crows! Don’t come the raw prawn, cobber!

    Nah, i was just using ‘crisps’ as a convenient shorthand for ‘chips: the cold chips you get in a packet’ rather than ‘chips: the hot ones you get in a bowl, preferably with garlic mayo, like at the redoak pub, where the chips and beer are seriously so good i may have to just move in there’.

  20. Justine on #

    Corey: cause me and Scott move around so much we never see TV when it first airs. We tend to get shows on DVD and watch ’em alll in one big gulp. A very different way of watching.

    Ted: and prolly why no one told me about it. I kind of put my hands over my ears and go “la la la” for fear of spoilers, which your comments by the way are perilously close to.

    Nathaniel: Oh, I’m so pleased! Veronica Mars is amazing. Or at least the first season was—haven’t seen any of the second—too lazy to buggerise around with downloads. D’you know I reckon the golden age of US tellie is right now. We’re standing in it.

    Rishi: I was mostly being silly. Cricket’s too smart for most of the world’s inhabitants. (Such as Rjurik who just joined the banned list along with Diana and Claire.) I do promote cricket on a one-on-one basis with the folks who are intelligent, savvy, and cool enough to get it.

    Rjurik: Did you not read the rules of this blog? See rule no. 3. Dissent will not be tolerated.

    Chris Barnes: that’s all right, then. Still, using pommy terms that’s verging on a paddling. So, where exactly is the Redoak?

  21. Rishi Gajria on #

    “#5. Why cricket isn’t the dominant sport in every country in the world.”

    You can blame the English for that. When they ran half the planet, it was usually the natives who took the interest. Just look at all the old colonies.

    Unfortunately, the time has passed but the internet exists to promote. We can all pitch in to promote cricket.

  22. chrisbarnes on #

    A paddling? Ooer! I better watch my step (and get back to watching the boxing day match).

    Redoak is at 201 Clarence st (between king st and market st).

  23. Justine on #

    Thanks for the chips tip!

    And, um, I’ll go back to the test, too. How bout that Hussey, eh?

  24. Abigail on #

    Can’t speak for any other the others, but as for lost, it’s because we’ve seen the second season (and, really, the second half of the first season), and we know better. Stick to Veronica Mars.

  25. Justine on #

    Abigail: Okay, I’ve now watched all of season one of Lost and I like it just fine. Peyton Place meets Survivor meets X Files. And I enjoyed the second half of the season as much as the first half. Do I think it’s coherent? Nope. Do I think the writers really know what’s going on? Nope. But I definitely enjoyed the chaos. Do I think it’s as good as Veronica Mars? Nope. But I’m eager for the season two DVDs.

Comments are closed.