October 2005

ASK THE SMART GUY: Monthly column by Dennis Latham.

The Smart Guy after being ejected from church while giving the guest sermon at Sunday Mass.

(The sermon below and his shirt were found to be inappropriate for the Catholic Church.)

How Come You Never See…

How come you never see the guy who lights all the candles in all the caves and dungeons in horror flicks? It pulls me right out of an intense scene each time I see the bad guy being chased into a cave or dungeon and there are hundreds of brand new candles carefully arranged and all looking as if they had been lit all at once. A few for lighting effect would be reasonable, but I always think about how they lit all those candles and where do they get all the candlesticks?

You can have a cave full of sub-human apes and they have elaborate lighting arrangements and candlesticks like a debutante ball at the Hilton. Does every bad guy cave have a thousand candlesticks and ten grand worth of candles stacked in the corner? Just once I would like to see the hero come busting in and find a bunch of bad guys all bent over cussing because they can't get all the candles lit in time.

Another thing is those stick torches. A guy wraps a rag or grass around a stick and it burns like a steel foundry furnace for about a year. Every once in awhile someone will dip the stick in oil, but most of the time they don't. Some even use a stick taken right out of a fire. Try taking a stick right out of a fire and see how long it burns without becoming a smoking ember.

Then how many times do you see the bad guys or even good guys get kicked in the balls and jump back up as if nothing happened after a few seconds. I'll bet even Superman would stay on the floor after a good kick in the balls.

Or the hero gets tied to a chair and takes a beating that would kill an adult elephant, and then gets loose and fights like nothing happened: or the good guy gets shot in either shoulder with a large caliber gun and then goes twelve rounds with a guy who looks like Tyson and then climbs a rope to escape.

The absolute untruth of them all is having the good guy pull a grenade pin with his teeth and then the grenade blows up an entire house in a huge fireball. It's impossible to pull a grenade pin with your teeth, unless the pin has been straightened. No one with the sense of a carrot would straighten a grenade pin and carry it around. And grenades will not blow up an entire house or car or most anything.

It makes me wonder why writers have to keep such a close watch on reality to keep the reader in the story, but in movies no one cares about breaking physical laws that will pull people out of the story. Maybe I only wonder about these things because the Smart Guy has too much time on his hands.

(Contrary to his own advice, the Smart Guy always carries extra teeth, in case he has to pull grenade pins.)

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