Sunday, May 15, 2011

Lazy Sunday # 169: The Big Water Extravaganza

manitoba flood

I spent most of this week in an anti-histamine induced state of narcolepsy. Spring brings out the pollens and I'm allergic to a vast array from grasses and trees and whatever-else-you-got.

Judging by how much the drugstores jack up the price of a box of Clairatin this time of year, I assume I'm not alone in the affliction. But unfortunately, I've never been able to find anything that stops the torrential eyes and nose without also rendering me incapable of operating heavy machinery.

Even the most seriously "Non-Drowsy" versions have me shambling around like an extra on "The Walking Dead".

Accomplishing anything eventually becomes pointless and I've learned to just turn off the world and zone out in front of the tube until the worst is past.

But that can be just as confusing because, when I'm in this state, the line between which programs are real and which aren't can get a little fuzzy as well.

As a result, I went back and forth between coverage of the Manitoba and Quebec and Mississippi floods and a TCM Esther Williams film festival unsure where the Busby Berkley numbers ended and real human drama began.

For those asking "Esther who?" -- there's no need to feel out of the loop. She's best known these days as Lorenzo Lamas' step-mother.

But before that, in far more innocent times, she was an aqua show athlete who became a movie star in the 1940's and 50's primarily because she could -- swim.

Esther Williams' movies had titles like "Bathing Beauty", "Neptune's Daughter" and "Pagan Love Song", all of which featured a slim thread of a story wound around several elaborate swimming, diving or water related sequences.

But somehow the formula worked, for Esther earned MGM millions as audiences flocked to theatres to watch her -- swim.

On some level, it's hard to imagine somebody parlaying similar talents into a lucrative career these days. But then, there are some doing quite well in the reality field with an even smaller skill set.

It got me wondering if there might be some alternative approaches to the standard "man crumbles before the power of nature" scenario relentlessly pushed on the 24 hour news stations.

Certainly there were enough farmers refusing to cry on cue, enough volunteers laughing as they went about their neighbor-saving labors, and enough of those in grave danger not as quick as network reporters to blame government, God or anybody else for what was befalling them -- in other words, enough alternative views on the disasters -- to make you wonder if there might be a more interesting movie there than any old "torn from the headlines" story.

Maybe even one in which Esther Williams symbolized the unquenchable human spirit soaring above the rising waters…

Okay, I'll go get back on my meds now.

Enjoy Esther Williams.

And Enjoy your Sunday.

1 comment:

Joel Scott said...

I always wondered, did Ester ever take her scheduled union breaks,
or did she just Pee in the pool?