Man, man, man. Just back from Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. Wowzer. What to say? Spectacle. Drama. More Spectacle. Big Moments. Little Moments. Sweep. Drama. Spectacle. Big. Big Big Big. Big. The three-plus hours went really quickly, which says a lot, since I’m of the “no movie should be longer than 90 minutes” school of thought. An awesome wrap-up to the greatest movie series in film history, Star Wars or The Godfather or Bill and Ted be damned.

One thought, since there’s so many thoughts about the movie floating around online already: I think Bernard Hill as King Theoden did a really superb job in an under-discussed role. He had one of the most effectively emotional scenes in The Two Towers (burying his son), and delivered a coupla scene stealers in Return of the King as well. Give that man a “Best Supporting Actor” nomination.

Which begs the question: will anybody get an acting Oscar nomination this year from Return of the King? Ian McKellen got one as Gandalf for the first film in the series, nobody got any for the second film. I guess the obvious nominees, if anyone gets a nomination, this year would probably be Sean Astin (Sam) or Viggo Mortenson (Aragorn) or McKellen again. Although I’d go with Hill for a supporting actor nomination and Astin for a lead actor nomination.

Just as long as Peter Jackson wins Best Director and the film wins Best Film, that is. I can’t see any other movie competing at this level this year.

Squirrel. Squirrel. Squirrel.

It was bonanza buffet time at the birdfeeder this morning, with four blue jays, a pair of cardinals, a pair of doves and countless little nondescript birds hopping around the ice picking at the seeds that had fallen out of the feeders. Only thing that coulda improved the viewing was if a couple of crows stopped by. Crows rock. Hawks rock, too, but when they show up, it’s usually to eat the little nondescript birds. When my mother was here at Thanksgiving, we had a nice little carnage scene as she sat eating her breakfast. Nature’s tough, she is.

No squirrels, today, though. Probably too cold for them to be out. I’ve never figured out why people put so much karmic time and energy into squirrel-proofing their bird feeders or raving about the squirrels coming to eat there. Why do people like birds, but not squirrels? They’re both nice to look at, when you can get close enough to them to see what they’re up to (and our feeders are about five feet from our kitchen window, so we can get pretty close). The bird vs. squirrel thing reminds me of the old joke about dolphin-free tuna: so the dolphins are saved, but what about the tuna? Why do we like dolphins more than tuna? Why do we like birds more than squirrels? I guess I get the dolphin thing (mammals are more appealing than fish), but not the squirrel thing . . . since squirrels are mammals, and are as clever and charismatic as birds are, if not more so.

The word “squirrel” starts to look really weird when you type it too many times. Squirrel. Squirrel. Squirrel.

I need some coffee.

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