Dagger in hand

A man of prodigious fortune, coming to add his opinion to some light discussion that was going on casually at his table, began precisely thus: "It can only be a liar or an ignoramus who will say otherwise than," and so on. Pursue that philosophical point, dagger in hand.

--Michel de Montaigne, Of the art of discussion.

Stab back: cmnewman99-at-yahoo.com


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Sunday, November 10, 2002
MY KIND OF HOLLYWOOD PARTY: Friday night the three of us attended a most enjoyable bash at the phat Hollywood Hills headquarters of the Volokh Conspiracy--the annual Dress Like A Movie Party. One is permitted--encouraged--to interpret the assignment however one wishes, and so you find some people dressing as actual characters from movies, while others (most others, in fact) dress in such a way as to suggest a pun on a movie title. The costumes ran the gamut from the minimalist rebus to elaborate clothing and makeup. An example of the former was our host himself, who wore a T-shirt bearing a stars-and-stripes emblazoned depiction of that greek letter used to denote the ratio between the diameter and circumference of a circle. (I later ran across someone with two of them, not the only sequel I was to encounter during the course of the evening.) Eugene’s lovely wife Leslie, in turn, had affixed to her sweater numerous small pieces of paper with various phrases like “Sweetie” or “Darling” or “Sugar Pie.” At the other end of the spectrum was the woman who was impeccably dressed and coiffed like Tippi Hedren--complete with a flock of vicious winged assailants hovering above everywhere she went. Or the other woman dressed as Holly Golightly, with a bagel at her neck and a Tiffany’s bag in hand. Paola’s attire too was quite well-received--she had Paul Stanley’s makeup, arachnids of various sizes adorning her head and fingers, and a webbed cape. (In case anyone missed the makeup reference, she had also imprinted her lips on my cheek.) Lucas had drawn a picture of a clock with both hands on twelve, which he held aloft far above his cowboy-hat-covered head at the end of a mop handle. I showed up with a straight razor affixed to my forehead, wearing athletic shorts and shirt with track shoes. (I was not, alas, the only one to have this idea.) Anyway, you get the idea. It made for an immensely enjoyable evening, sort of a charades game played en masse. Unlike most parties, you actually wound up speaking at one point or another to everyone else in the house (of whom there were many), because you had every incentive to simply walk up and start throwing out guesses as to what movie they represented. An ingenious idea, worthy of a former clerk of the judge who once worked over 200 movie titles into the body of an opinion. (I worked for the same judge, though at a later time, which is how I was lucky enough to make Eugene’s acquaintance.) Here, for your pleasure and puzzlement, are a few more of my favorite costumes of the evening. Have fun guessing...

* One guy (this was Paola’s favorite) had a faucet attached to his lower back.

* Another had a sign on his shirt that said, “I am the Man. And I am here.”

* One of my fellow law firm associates had a picture of Monica Lewinsky on his front, and another of Mary Jo Kopechne on his back.

* Then there was the woman with a knapsack full of lollypops, which she announced her intention to bestow on each person she met.

* Or the guy with orange juice cartons on his shirt and (somewhat controversially) a Bible in his hand.

* One woman wore an orange penitentiary jumper, round glasses, and a lightning bolt scar on her forehead.

* Another had a small, furry, one eyed, one horned, flying purple people eater with an arrow directing one’s attention to his, ahem, family jewels.

* And let’s not forget the guy with a Carl Jung button, holding an empty German beer mug with a hot dog in it.

There were many other good ones, some of which slip my mind at the moment, and the rest of which I’ll leave to one of the other attendees to blog. Thanks to Eugene and Leslie for a great time.

Come now. You don’t really want me to post the answers, do you? That would spoil all the fun now, wouldn't it?

UPDATE: Alright, everyone seems to have given up. To be fair, at the party we did have the people in the costumes to give us clues. So here are the movies in the order in which they appear from the beginning of the post: American Pie (I and II), Terms of Endearment, The Birds, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Kiss of the Spider Woman, High Noon (not Midnight Cowboy--he's only 9 for chrissakes!), Blade Runner, Spinal Tap, The Man Who Wasn't There, Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure (or Bogus Journey--take your pick), I'm Gonna Git You Sucka, Pulp Fiction, Wizard of Oz, Monster's Ball(s), Jung Frank in Stein.

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