Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Hey Big Boy, Nice Forward Throttle

Well, well, well.

I see that Mary Beth Ellis of Extreme Blonde Hotness (now with pictures!) has gone and gotten herself published at MSNBC again. Do I dare make fun of this article, and risk incurring a great deal of embarrassment like I did the last time?

Oh, what the hell. Why not!

This time around, there is no drooling over Obi-Wan Kenobi. He showed his inaptitude as a pilot in Revenge of the site by requiring Anakin Skywalker's help to knock a bunch of dismantling droids off of the wings of his plane. Regular readers of MB's blog will know that her Obi-Wan obsession has given way to another, this one involving a real live human being. And he's nothing less than a fully qualified pilot, which means that he knows what he's talking about when it comes to matters aviational, as MB has learned to her chagrin:

The best way to ruin a pilot movie is to watch it with an actual pilot. “Top Gun,” for example, was officially destroyed for me the day I was summarily informed that this movie was completely ridiculous because everybody knows that the airbrake of an F-14 is activated by a slide mechanism on the side of the throttle quadrant — and here Tom Cruise was moving the throttle forward. Bah!
He's a know-it-all with real world experience. This is even worse than going with a Star Wars geek because the geek will make things up and you can challenge him. But poor MB has to just sit quietly and listen and accept everything the pilot says is true because he has lived it.
I was, as you can imagine, absolutely shattered. You — you mean the filmmakers presented supposed factual information in an erroneous manner? I barely collected myself in time to appreciate the most intellectually vital aspect of the entire film, which as we all know is the skins vs. skins beach volleyball scene.
Whoa! Skins vs. skins? I have never seen the movie, so I can't comment directly. Was this a nude scene? Does she meurgencynous manner" instead of "erroneous manner"? I remember the MTV video with Terri Nunn of Berlin standing like some kind of wind goddess atop a very phony looking stage set. She was kind of cute, but she didn't show any skin. I might have to check out the movie to see what I'm missing.

Of course, there's always the possibility that the pilot switched a porn version for the original Top Gun and MB couldn't tell the difference. She is blonde, you know.

This is not to say I take issues with pilots paying attention to detail. I want the person in charge of transporting me from Orlando to Cincinnati to boast sharp discernment skills, as opposed to me, a person who until very recently thought that a filibuster was an appetizer only available at TGIFriday’s.
Everyone knows that a filibuster is a chocolate-with-peanuts coating over ice cream on a stick bar from Dairy Queen. I'm glad she figured that one out.
But I fear a similar ruination of “Stealth,” a futuristic film which indicates that U.S. Navy pilots have, since the Top Gun Class of ’86 displayed its mighty forearms, developed the ability save the world fully clothed. More’s the pity. As a teenager I found great comfort in the notion that in the event the United States was drawn into full-out war with the Soviet Union, Val Kilmer’s pectorals were adequately lubricated with SPF 15.
See, I was right! She was watching the porn version!
Hollywood seizes upon our notion of pilots, particularly those of the military persuasion, as the latest model in knighthood. Not every industry can be portrayed in this manner; English majors, for example, hardly ever analyze the rhyme schemes of Yeats fully aware that the FURther on the EDGE, the HOTter the inTENsity, no matter what Kenny Loggins might have us believe. I also doubt that human resources managers elicit Meg Ryan-style cries of “Take me to bed or lose me forever!” on a regular basis.
What is the significance of the capitalized letters in the middle of the middle sentence? "FUR EDGE HOT TEN" might be the working title of the Top Gun porno.
Rather, it’s because planes are cool. They light up and go VROOOOOOOOOOOOOM and present the ability to bypass the entirety of Detroit in four seconds. There is something tingly in the simple act of attaining cruising altitude: I am higher than you. Ergo, I rock.
I am not sure whether this paragraph is about sex (a tingly act) or about drugs (lighting up and getting high). Probably both.
Airplanes bear upon their wings a certain erotic allure; they are all curves and steel and joysticks located between the knees. It is therefore safe to assume that The Pilot is having The Sex.
This is blatant. I can't even comment on it because MB leaves nothing to the imagination. (And I do not mean the picture on her blog!)
Actors who play pilots, consequently, assume in the public imagination the perpetual mantle of the flight suit. When simultaneously presented with an actual pilot and a Hollywood pilot, the world will lick the hand of the fictional flyer every time, for Maverick never tells us that we are now fifteenth in line for takeoff but might be able to make up some time in the air.
So actors who play pilots are basically porn stars with a hand licking fetish. Got it. Thanks.

John Travolta — who happens to actually have a pilot’s license but is more important than most other pilots because he played a cheerful, bomb-stealing one in “Broken Arrow — recently emceed the opening ceremonies of the annex of the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. He stood amongst Neil Armstrong, John Glenn and Amelia Earhart's flight suit, and an AP story covering the event discussed Travolta’s misty eyes for many words before getting around to mentioning that the first person to set foot on the Moon also happened to be hanging around. But then again, Armstrong wasn’t featured in “Look Who’s Talking Now,” poor sap.
Look Who’s Talking Now, another pilot sex flick. I loved that babe with the sexy English accent who tries to seduce John Travolta in the ski lodge. Sure she was evil, but no way could Kirstie Alley compete with her. Given the chance, I would have written a completely different ending.
We must note, however, that one of the most famous aviation-heavy scenes in Hollywood history — the closing moments of “Casablanca” — the pilot of Ingrid Bergman's getaway plane is thoroughly dissed. Who’s flying this plot device? Who started up the propellers? We are not told. We should be told. If anybody has earned The Sex, it’s this guy. At least show him honking the horn telling Ingrid to get a move-on. I doubt the scene would have played quite so well had Bogart insisted that if she did not get on that escalator to the mall mezzanine, she’d regret it soon and for the rest of her life.
Is "honking the horn" some kind of metaphor? They didn't show that kind of stuff in movies forty years ago.
There’s an ironic reality to this. Actual piloting (and this is the big dirty secret of aviation) does bury moments of un-fun within the fuel mix. The powers behind “Pearl Harbor,” for some reason, declined to shoot a scene in which Ben Affleck fills out requisition forms for “One (1) Official Pilot Pencil, Semi-Sharpened, Size Medium.”
Well, it's either an "ironic reality", or an "erotic reality". I'm betting on the latter. "Big dirty secret" is MB's way of warning us that we can expect more innuendo before this paragraph is over, like "un-fun within the fuel mix", an obvious reference to transmission of venereal disease. I need not comment on Ben Affleck's semi-sharp medium pencil.
An amazing achievement by the movie-makers; they’ve found a way to sex up engineering. Many movie pilots, for example, speak with much angst of “the envelope.” They must push the envelope! Press the envelope! Lasso, write book reports on, and deep fry the envelope! Nobody ever sits the viewers down for an explanation of what the envelope is, exactly; when I first heard of it in “The Right Stuff,” I assumed the pilots were speaking of a large, “Tic Tac Dough”-style dragon hanging in the sky, or a great wall of flame, or, at the very least, an actual envelope, preferably one from Publisher’s Clearinghouse announcing that you may have already won.
She should have figured out years ago what "the envelope" was, but I will give her a pass on this one since she was a nice Catholic school girl. Proper young ladies do not discuss such things.
The reality is crushing. Last year I followed a pilot friend through pre-flight procedures, and clapped my hands like a small child when he called me over to a computer screen and asked if I would like to learn all about The Envelope, which, as it turns out, is nothing more than a highly boring graph dealing with atmospheric conditions and decimals and how much a person weighs, and other such mildly unpleasant things.
That's what she thinks. The graph (probably short for "pornograph") is just foreplay. The reality is rather less mild and more unpleasant when she learns the real reason that body weight matters.
Still, this may or may not make for a high-octane 2006 summer blockbuster. The Envelope! Starring Nicholas Cage! Will Smith! Hillary Duff! And as Ed McMahon as… The Envelope!
No! Eva Longoria as...The Envelope! Ed McMahon is not anatomically correct in this context.
Indeed. Now, I have an irresistable urge to go out and military press an airplane. Again.

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