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#183 September 4, 2013

Sheila writes: The glamorous days of air travel were already on their way out by the time I first stepped foot on an airplane (Aer Lingus, 1980) so I have always been fascinated by glimpses of what traveling by plane used to be like: the linens, the cocktail glasses, the curtains, the elegance! I came across a piece about a man, Anthony Toth, who had such a sense of nostalgia for those bygone days that he built a partial replica of a Pan Am 747 in a warehouse in Redondo Beach, where he lives. At first, the replica was in his garage, but then he realized he needed to build an upper level, so he moved the entire thing to a warehouse, where it still sits today. The local press picked up on the story, and it created such interest that you can now visit and have dinner, Pan Am style.

Far Flungers

Through Glass, darkly

If you haven't heard about Stephen Glass, who was a former employee of the New Republic, you may think he is a nice lad who occasionally screws things up while you watch him at the beginning of "Shattered Glass" (2003). Sometimes it's not easy to be angry about him because he is so sweet and considerate to the people working with him. If it seems they find a problem or error caused by him, he quickly admits and apologizes to them while looking like he is nervous about whether they won't like him any more for that. He frequently asks to them as if he wanted to check that: "Are you mad at me?"


Stories without endings

As I was leaving a matinee of "The Dark Knight" this week, I heard a little kid behind me say, "Well, we know there's gonna be a third one." This kid looked to me like he was 8 or 9 years old -- maybe even younger. And he unmistakably felt the "Empire Strikes Back" cliffhanger vibe that concludes the second in this series of Batman movies. The Joker is left suspended in mid-air (though, sadly, he won't be back), Commissioner Gordon gives a big speech over the closing montage about the importance of the heroes we need (and the ones we deserve), and Batman rides off into the dark night. The movie does have an ending but it's still an open-ended ending.

Of course, a serial cliffhanger is one thing, but the strategy of some movies is to deny us the satisfaction of resolution...