* * *
I would say that the hypocrisy is stunning, but it really isn't. "Typical" is much closer to the mark.
Pharrell Williams is apparently one of the hyper-rich idiots at Davos, talking about how important it is that the lesser people give up central heat and electricity in order to prevent Global Warmenating (TM).
Look at the size of his private jet. That is not a business/regional jet like a Gulfstream or a Lear; that's a commercial jet. In the foreground there are three seats across the width of the thing, armchair-sized luxury seats, in a space that would usually have four or five narrow economy-class seats and 20 inches of aisle. A cross-country flight on a jet like that--one flight--costs more than the median American income.
A single flight of a Gulfstream V uses about 2,000 gallons of fuel. My Jeep gets about 16 MPG, and it's taken me seven years to burn that much gas. A commercial jet uses more fuel than that--lots more. (Admittedly jets use kerosene, not gas, but it's all petroleum.) But use the smaller figure--2,000 gallons per trip--and realize that every time that asshat gets his butt carted somewhere in his private jet, he's using about as much refined petroleum in one day as a typical family of four uses in years.
Then look at his living room. (No, wait--he sold that dump, so it's not his any more.)
Then look at his f-ing ship. It runs on diesel, and you can expect that it runs on a lot of it, because the multi-thousand horsepower engines required to move a ship that size do not operate on unicorn flatus.
Look, I have absolutely no objection to people being rich beyond dreams of avarice. How they spend their money is their business. But that being said, I absolutely detest people who are that f-ing rich and who live in such extravagant opulence telling me that I consume too much energy and should be glad to get along with one 40-watt light bulb for heat and light, because Global Warming.
If you want to convince me that you're actually concerned about the environment, Mr. Rich Man, give up your private jets and limosines and mansions and the rest of it. Live in a three-bedroom house on a quarter acre of land, drive a Prius, and cut your own damned grass with an electric mower. Before you tell me that I am living too extravagantly and that I must sacrifice in order to save the planet, first give up your iridium-plated platinum lifestyle and live only as well as I do, thus reducing your carbon footprint to approximate 95% of America's.
Otherwise, if you're unwilling to do that, shut the fuck up.
* * *
Fake engine noises. I want a powerful vehicle that is nonetheless quiet. Loud pipes on any vehicle annoy me. There's one anus in the immediate vicinity of the bunker who has a pickup truck with a Flowmaster exhaust on it, and every time he drives by the house it makes stuff rattle.
The louder the pipes, the smaller the dick. I'm just sayin'.
But one reason high fidelity stereo systems have become standard in cars stems from the fact that automakers tune the sound of the vehicle using them. It's filed under "driver experience", and they use active noise cancellation (or enhancement) to alter the sonic environment in the cockpit. (It's not a bad thing, but every once in a while, when I'm driving Mrs. Fungus' car, I am tempted to pull the fuses for the stereo system just so I can hear what the car actually sounds like.)
Extending this to fake engine noises, though, is a bit much. It's kind of like those fake wastegates that were sort of a thing some years ago, where you could make your Honda Civic sound like it had a turbocharger by bolting in a $30 sound module. It's senseless.
...since it's going to be rather a long time before I buy a new car, I guess it doesn't matter what I think.
* * *
Last night I watched Secret Admirer.
It's the first time in about fifteen, twenty years that I've watched that movie. It's one of several movies that I watched a lot in the 1980s; the teenage romance comedy was a staple of my video rentals and there were several that I watched over and over again. SA was one of them.
Watching the movie again, I was struck again by some things which I'd noticed before.
First off, Lori Loughlin turns in the best performance in the movie. C. Thomas Howell, as Michael Ryan, has the leading role in the movie--it's mostly told from Michael's viewpoint--but Toni (Loughlin) is really the focal character of the thing. She's the one who writes Michael the love letter that sets off the whole story; her character is the most complex and best-developed. You always understand Toni's motivations and feelings.
Second, the subplot with the parents slows down the movie. Toni's initial love letter sets off a chain reaction that involves both Michael's parents and the parents of her best friend, Deborah Anne Fimple, in a spiral of affair and counter-affair which never really goes anywhere, but adds an additional layer of conflict to the story. If handled differently it might have been hilarious, but instead it's merely amusing, and I'm not sure that it's worth getting in the way of the main story. (Without it, though, the movie would probably be about fifty minutes long.)
Finally, even the one-dimensional supporting characters have more depth to them than is immediately obvious. Deb's college boyfriend, Steve, for example, is given a scene in which he actually has a noble impulse; it's played for laughs but we see that there's at least a little more to him than just "hard partying jock". Michael's friends have a bit of depth. Mostly these characters are cardboard cutouts, but there's Ricardo, the intellectual, Omega of the group, who tries several looks throughout the film as if trying to find something that fits, and Roger, who is Michael's best friend. We're given hints at the complexity of these characters, but they're given no time to develop.
And I was struck anew by a few other things.
This is really not art for the ages. There's a reason I haven't watched this movie in at least fifteen (and probably twenty) years. I've seen it enough that even after all that time, I hadn't forgotten any of it. There are scenes that make me laugh out loud even though I'm anticipating them, and I still enjoy it, but it's not really all that.
The casting was great. Kelly Preston (at the time, the future Mrs. Travolta) was exactly the right person to play Deb, and as I said Lori Loughlin nailed Toni. The two actresses could have done creditable jobs had their roles been reversed, but they would have been horribly miscast. No one could have played Lt. Fimple, Deb's dad, any better than Fred Ward did.
The producers did a lot wrong, but they did a lot right, too. Even in the 1980s I thought that the movie could have excised the stuff with the parents and spent more time on character development; as presented it's a fun enough movie.
It was released in mid June of 1985. This movie is now thirty freakin' years old. Son of a bitch.
And having seen it last night, in all probability I'm good for another decade or so.