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William C. Altreuter
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Saturday, January 01, 2011

A quiet New Years Eve in, watching movies, one of which was Salt, Angelina Jolie's thriller about a Russian mole in the CIA.  It's not easy to pick a movie that A and I will both watch: her threshold for cinematic violence is pretty low, and I won't watch anything with Hugh Grant, so that narrows the field pretty quickly. Salt was actually in the red zone for violence, but she hung in, and we both managed to get past the fact that the geopolitics of the thing were grotesquely off base.  This was accomplished by virtue of Jolie's action-figure performance, which just never quit.  There were quite a few things to like about the movie, but my take-away was that I want to have a go-bag.

When Evelyn Salt goes on the run she stops at her house and picks up a prepared daypack.  As a narrative device this is great: we immediately want to know what she's got in the bag. Among other things she's got a big bundle of cash, always handy, always the right size. It would be a good idea to have a backup phone I think-- mine would be an old one, with a broken hinge, and the wrong charger.  I'd have some foreign money, too, but it would be stuff nobody uses anymore-- French francs, probably.  I'd have a first aid kit, but it would be filled with old band-aid wrappers, and an empty jar of Vaseline. I'd have a fake library card, and dental floss-- useful for oral hygiene and as a weapon! A corkscrew.  A bottle opener.  A golf pencil.

When the October Surprise snowstorm hit Buffalo a few years back the only flashlight my sister-in-law had in the house was a novelty penlight from the manufacturer of Viagra.  I have one too, and this seems like a good use for it.

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