Daily Dirt: Nothing says Merry Christmas like a box of stale chocolates. Not.

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Daily Dirt for Dec. 16, 2021


Christmas is little more than a week away, so we’re offering some last-minute gift-giving advice … welcome to the three thoughts that make up Vol. 159 of the Daily Dirt.

1. It’s crunch time when it comes to Christmas shopping for friends and relatives.

But — and this is a big but — that is no reason to take the easy way out. Giving no gift would be better than dropping some of the following lame presents.If you still have presents to buy, do not — under any circumstance — give any of the following. And if you already have made such a purchase, pitch ’em. Right now, throw them away and start over.

The worst: A cheap, or out-of-date (and assuredly stale) box of chocolates you. Whoever you give this box of junk to will never forget you — never. 

The second worst: Cheap perfume, with “cheap” being the operative word. When opened, the “perfume” will either have absolutely no smell or stink to high heaven. Buying perfume — or chocolate — that is located either under a “sale” sign or near the checkout line at your favorite drug store does not count as a Christmas present, it is friendship suicide.

Not necessarily the worst present, but definitely stupid: Re-gifting anything. Don’t ask me how, but people know when they get a “used” present. For example, when an overweight person gives a diet book or bathroom scales to a friend, who are they kidding?

2. Raise your hand if you are one of us who have watched “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” about a thousand times. Yeah, I thought so.

Well here a few facts about the movie you may not know:

  • Remember “Rat” (Mark Ratner)? The actor who portrayed him, Andy Rathbone, went on to carve out a pretty nice career for himself, but not on the silver screen. Rathbone eventually became rich and famous for writing many of the ” … for Dummies” books about computer programming.
  • Nicolas Cage had a bit role in the classic film, one of his earliest on-screen appearances. He’s listed as “Nicolas Coppola” in the credits. He had not yet changed his last name to Cage. Coppola/Cage is the nephew of famed director Francis Ford Coppola.
  • More about Cage’s appearance. He was the only cast member under the age of 18, despite the movie being a high school comedy.
  • Fred Gwynne (yes, that Fred Gwynne, of “Herman Munster” fame) turned down the role of Mr. Hand because he felt the film keyed too much on teen sex and drug use when he looked at the script.
  • Bruce Springsteen’s sister, Pamela, had a cameo in the movie.

3. Speaking of 1980s movies, here are my personal top 10 from that decade:

1. “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” (1982): Are you surprised there was never a sequel? I always wondered what may have happened to Spicoli. (Not to mention Linda Barrett, err… Phoebe Cates.)

2. “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” (1986): The “Twist and Shout” segment is always my favorite. If you wanted to argue this should be No. 1 over “Fast Times” I would understand … and probably wind up agreeing.

3. “Field of Dreams” (1989): Best sports movie ever.

4. “When Harry Met Sally” (1989): I have been married to Kathy for 23 years, but in love with Meg Ryan for more than 30.

5. “Pretty In Pink” (1986): Back when Molly Ringwald was relevant.

6. “Beverly Hills Cop” (1984): Eddie Murphy’s career more or less started to head toward the toilet after this classic.

7. “The Lost Boys” (1987): Vampires and motorcycles. Yeah, baby!

8. “Mystic Pizza” (1988): The movie that introduced the world to Julia Roberts.

9. “Dirty Dancing” (1987): Eric Carmen’s “Hungry Eyes,” 4 minutes and 9 seconds of musical magnificence, will always be a highlight of this film

10-tie. “Heathers” (1989): A darker version of “Clueless”.

10-tie. “Top Gun” (1986): Remember, the long-awaited sequel, “Top Gun: Maverick” comes out in 2022 — 36 years after the fact.

Honorable mentions: “Lethal Weapon” (1987), “Scarface” (1983), “Escape From New York” (1981), “Die Hard” (1988), “Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), “Sixteen Candles” (1984), “Back to the Future” (1985).

Steve Fact O’ The Day The difference between Steve and his cohorts can be summed up in two words: emotional stamina. (PUBLISHER’S NOTE: I have no idea what the Hell this means. JRG)

Steve Eighinger writes daily for Muddy River News. He would’ve ordered a pizza in Mr. Hand’s class.

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