Sunday, August 06, 2006

Bat, Man

The long, sad tale of the bat, the cat, the Game Commission stooge, and the month-long series of rabies shots that ensued is far too long and sad to go into here. Instead, read this:

LEESBURG, Virginia (AP) -- Officials notified parents of nearly 1,000 Girl Scouts that their daughters may have been exposed to rabies at a Virginia camp.

There is only a small chance that any of the girls were infected by bats that were found in some of the sleeping shelters at Camp Potomac Woods, Loudoun County officials said.

But authorities are erring on the side of caution because about 1 percent of bats carry rabies, a viral disease that is incurable once symptoms appear. Bats can bite children in their sleep without waking them.

...and substitute Camp Hill, PA for Leesburg, VA, 2 girls and a then-pregnant, very freaked out wife for nearly 1,000 Girl Scouts, and the twist that the Game Commission stooge let the freaking bat go and then lied to us about it, etcetera, etcetera, pinch of salt, dash of spice, stir and mix, and you've basically got it. We've got 4 shots down and 1 to go. They're not in the stomach, "just" in the arm (leg for the kids), and they don't really hurt or have side effects. The worst part is we have to check in to the emergency room every time and waste 2-4 hours of our lives.

OK, this is as good a time as any to review Batman Begins, which I watched last month. Not bad, not bad at all. The visual style was muted and dark, but without the playfulness that Tim Burton brought to the first couple of movies in this series. Christian Bale was a good choice as Bruce Wayne, and was OK as Batman (spoiler alert: they're the same guy). The role that he is probably most identified with, Patrick Bat(e)man in American Psycho, adds both gravitas and irony to his work here. Liam Neeson plays a mystical, menacing character not unlike Qui-Gon in The Phantom Menace, except he doesn't look like he just swallowed a Wookiee, and he has dialogue that's not complete nonsense.

Anyway, Batman Begins begins with a good extended sequence showing young Brucie down and out in China. After that, it's on to stately Wayne manor and a bit of soul-searching, complete with a flashback that explains the whole bat thing. (No rabies shots, though -- not even in the deleted scenes on the DVD.) The third act was pretty-standard issue Bat-stuff, swinging through the streets of Gotham protecting Katie Holmes from some messed-up weirdo (ha!), while also setting the board for the next installment. It was a lot better than the one with George Clooney, but probably not as good as the one with Michelle Pfeiffer (meeoowww!).

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