I finally rented the movie Chinatown last weekend. People around City Hall had been telling me about this flick for years, but I had never seen it and didn't know what all the fuss was about.

Now I get it. And I haven't gotten a decent night's sleep since.

In the film, Jack Nicholson plays Jake, an ex-cop and private eye who stumbles across a huge scam in early L.A. The city's growing too quickly, and it's outpacing the area's resources. The rich and powerful businessmen play the system to the hilt, conniving at every turn to make their fortunes through development. There's no security on the reservoirs, so they steal the water. An honest water commissioner stumbles across this and gets murdered by drowning. Jake almost loses his nose walking around a reservoir one night when a thug (played by Roman Polanski) tries to slice it off.

Water--the source of all life--can also be the source of great tragedy.

You can bet the chills were running up and down my spine. That story line is way too close to home. When they ask Jake what he did as a cop in Chinatown, he always says, "As little as possible." I couldn't believe it--that's been my standing joke around the office for years. Plus, missing water? Chinatown? Man-made garden pool? Where have I seen that before?

Toward the end, Jake accidentally uncovers a sex scandal involving a 15-year-old girl and a father figure. At that point, I literally spilled my kettle corn.

The last couple of nights, I've been dreaming that I'm Jake. And I've got that cold blue switchblade in my nostril. Something's telling me that from here on out, I've got to be very, very careful.

--Posted by Dan at 2:50 am.