You may not consider cutting your own Christmas tree as entertainment, but if the TV show I accidentally tuned in the other night, something called, I think, "Charley," is classed as entertainment, cutting a Yule marker has got to rank with the Super Bowl. Call me ancient but when ads run on the screen during the action, I say 'nuff.
Going out in the woods and seeking exactly the right tree for the main room with family or friends is as good as an iced martini. It's still a little early but the Forest Service and BLM have just announced times and places for cutting. How much better to help thin our forests than to buy something commercially grown in Oregon.
Maybe it's not "A Christmas Carol" moment, but getting down on the knees to cut as close to the earth as possible brings you in face-to-face contact and scent of fresh pine. Yes, you're supposed to cut as close to the earth as possible; leaving a 3-foot-tall stump is frowned on as the stump will linger and use up water and good stuff that the other trees can use.
So many of the old traditions seem to be gone. Burning the leaves used to be a high moment of autumn, but for good reasons we don't do that anymore. Shooting off fireworks yourself also was a lot of fun, but not anymore. So this year I'm going to go out and find a small pine, maybe stunted or twisted, detach it from its roots and bring it home. Just for me.
AN AUTHENTIC VOICE ON AFGHANISTAN
Here's a chance to hear first hand about some of the problems in Eastern Asia that are so much in the news today. Author and lecturer Farooka Gauhari will speak of the problems faced by countless Afghan families, including her own, at Western Nevada College tonight at 7 p.m. The free lecture is part of the college's "Faces, Voices & Stories" cultural series at Marlette Hall, 2201 West College Parkway. Gauhari will tell about the search for her missing husband, the violence in her country, and the decision to take her family and leave a homeland.
NOVELIST TO SPEAK
Squaw Valley Institute presents award-winning novelist Oakley Hall tonight at the PlumpJack Conference Center in Olympic Valley at 6:30 p.m. Hall, nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for fiction, has written more than 20 works of fiction. Hall's personal story of dealing with Hollywood as his novel "The Downhill Racers" was made into a major motion picture starring Robert Redford. See www.squawvalleyinstitute.org.
A LITTLE OF APPALACHIA IN TOWN
The Catskills Come to the Brewery in the person of "Speedy" Garfin and the Garfin Gathering at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 17 at BAC Performance Hall, 511 W. King St. It's $15 all seating; $3 discount for BAC members, seniors and students. Call 883-1976.
A hypnosis comedy show will be held at 7 p.m. Friday at the Brewery Arts Center Performance Hall, 511 W. King St. Don't ask what such a show is, if you're curious just go. Admission for adults is $15 in advance or $18 at the door, seniors and students are $12, kids 12 and younger are $10. Admission benefits the Ormsby Associated for Retarded Citizens. Call 882-8520.
CHARO SHAKES SPARKS
Catch the one-woman show Charo at 8 p.m. Nov. 16-17 in the Celebrity Showroom at John Ascuaga's Nugget. While her shows are filled with song, dance, gags and fun, the highlight is always when she plays classical guitar. Charo? Classical? OK. Tickets are $35 at (800) 648-1177, 356-3300 or at janugget.com.
RIDING THE RAILS TALK
The Nevada State Railroad Museum hosts a free presentation by Wendell Huffman entitled "The Iron Horse Reaches Nevada" at 7 p.m. Wednesday. He will cover the construction of the Central Pacific Railroad down the Truckee River canyon, from Truckee to Reno. See www.NevadaCulture .org or call 687-6953.
FROM THE VAULTS
Director Steven Soderbergh looks back to the films of the 1940s and '50s in "The Good German," a title that doesn't exactly add up in this black and white film starring George Clooney and Cate Blanchett. Clooney plays a neatly clad foreign correspondent back in Berlin for a meeting of the Big Three in Potsdam. He's met by a Jeep driver played by Tobey Maguire, a con man and black market dealer. Turns out Clooney's former assistant and sometimes mistress Blanchett is now Tobey's mistress. Busy girl.
Clooney loses his wallet on the way from the airport but never bothers to get new papers. He works with the Army AG on things, gets beaten up by Soviet troops, gets involved in several fights and almost gets back together with Blanchett.
This is not a very good movie. The plot stumbles along, Clooney looks great in his Army captain's uniform (pink pants formal) but seems a bit lost here. As someone who has worked for publications where the home office is far away, I know that no foreign correspondent is going to ignore the needs of his publication for an entire movie and Clooney never writes a thing. I don't recall ever having the luxury of a Jeep and driver meeting me as I arrived at some exotic place. Whole thing simply doesn't scan and the clumsy homage to "Casablanca" with an airport parting scene. Rated R, 120 minutes, released 2006. Don't bother.
• Contact Sam Bauman at 881-1236 or Sbauman@nevadaappealcom.