The Uncredeemibles

Here’s a strange trend: Mark Waid + adjectival noun = excellent comics.

Covers to collected editions of Irredeemable, The Incredibles, and The Unknown

I guess it’s not all that strange, given that Waid’s body of work in general is enough
of a recommendation, but he’s currently writing three darned good projects for Boom! Studios that share a peculiar part of speech — namely, The Incredibles, The Unknown, and Irredeemable. (You could argue that last one’s a plain old adjective.)

Mup’ Tempo

I may be duty-bound simply by virtue of having a blog that covers pop culture — however idiosyncratic it might be — to mention the Muppets’ take on Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”. [4:45]

Animal of the Muppets at drum kit
Screencap © 2009 The Muppets Studio LLC.

The clip, which debuted a few days ago on the Muppets Studio YouTube channel
and has gone seriously viral, isn’t a straight-up cover; Animal’s spotlight is an early, hilarious indication of that. Rowlf takes the piano part, Dr. Teeth & the Electric Mayhem join in (Janice can shred!), and everyone from the “Mahna Mahna” Muppet
to Fozzie Bear joins the fun. The unofficial, astoundingly informative Muppet Wiki provides a complete rundown of who’s who in the video.

Related: Muppet Monday (Oct. 17th) Mad Mix Muppet Monday (Nov. 28th)

Board Now

Pie is a tradition of the season.

Jason Segel holding poster board of a Venn diagram of two circles labeled 'People Who Are Breaking My Heart' and 'People Who Are Shaking My Confidence Daily' with the shaded intersection reading 'Cecilia'
Screencap © 2009 Twentieth Century Fox Television.

Okay, I know that’s actually a Venn diagram, not a pie chart, but it passes on account
of being laugh-out-loud, pause-the-video-to-catch-your-breath funny. It’s from How I Met Your Mother Episode 4.22, wherein Marshall develops an addiction to poster-board visual aids: “This is a pie chart describing my favorite bars. And this is a bar graph describing my favorite pies.” You’re welcome.

Related: Brew Ha-Ha Wait for It See You Next B'ak'tun!

Teenage Dreams

Archie's head from nose up, large, with images of Betty and Veronica as young kids, middle-schoolers, and teenage girls, hearts and a question mark in-between them
Cover to Archie #606 © 2010 Archie. Pencils, Inks, Colors: Dan Parent.

You may have seen the news reports a few months back that Archie, the World’s Oldest Teenager, was — after nearly 70 years of flirting, dating, and relatively chaste farcical girl-chasing in general, among other misadventures — going to choose between rivals and best friends Betty and Veronica. In a six-part storyline that began in Archie #600, he and Veronica would marry.

Out of Flavor

While I’ve never seen Mike Judge’s Office Space, its status as a cult classic had me psyched to check out his new film, Extract.

Jason Bateman standing in front of scores of cases of Reynold's Extract
Still from Extract © 2009 Miramax Films.

I think I’d also carried in high expectations due to the presence of Justin Bateman,
as well as somehow confused the movie on a broad level with Steven Soderbergh’s latest flick. Extract could refer to the precision removal of, say, CIA operatives or civilian assets who’ve gotten themselves into a dangerous situation — as Matt Damon’s character apparently does in Soderbergh’s The Informant to humorous effect. Here it refers to flavor essence, as in vanilla extract, the niche business of Bateman’s Joel Reynolds.

This Is the Title of This Blogpost

I was reminded yesterday of David Moser’s delightful “This Is the Title of This Story, Which Is Also Found Several Times in the Story Itself”.

While I first encountered it in the form of some unattributed, photocopied pages enthusiastically foisted on me by a friend, I discovered not long after that it was published in Douglas R. Hofstadter’s Metamagical Themas, which became one of my favorite and most frequently re-read books. It collects installments of Hofstadter’s column of the same name for the magazine Scientific American, a column that succeeded — and was named by rearranging the letters to the title of — the venerable Martin Gardner’s column, Mathematical Games. Hofstadter is best known for his opus Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid, winner of the 1980 Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction. Gardner is the editor/curator of another of my favorite and most frequently re-read books, The Annotated Alice; he has written many more, the latest of which is an essay collection titled When You Were a Tadpole and I Was a Fish: And Other Speculations About This and That, published two weeks before the author’s 95th birthday. My grandfather hit the same landmark three weeks before Gardner, and I hope that my mind is as fresh as either gentleman’s at that age.


DVD box of 2009 'Star Trek' with the face of Chris Pine as Kirk seen through the letters of the title

J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek was released on home video this past Tuesday.

I look forward to sitting down on a cold, dark night during the post-sweeps/holiday
lull in new television and digging into its special features. The Abrams commentaries
on the pilot episodes of Lost and Fringe — the latter with Trek screenwriting duo Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci — were top-notch. I’m almost glad that I don’t have a Blu-Ray player since the regular 2-disc edition looks just right in terms of my level of interest in extras.

SNL, &c.

I was glad to see a relaxed but not too relaxed Vice-President Joe Biden on The Daily Show last night.

Screencap © 2009 NBCUniversal Media.

The VP was articulate, knowledgable, and good-humored, a far cry from the gruff-voiced, gaffe-prone parody in the cold open of Saturday Night Live three evenings prior. Biden has made his share of painfully inartful statements, for sure, and it’s fine to razz him for his tendencies to speak too long or say too much. He’s smart, though, and Jason Sudeikis’ impression of him as a gravelly loudmouth sounds nothing like Biden — to me, a fatal error, because good impressions are far more about the voice than the visual. I’m thinking of Dan Aykroyd’s unlikely evocation of Jimmy Carter even with a mustache on early SNL, Gary Cole nailing Robert Reed’s tone as Mike Brady in the big-screen Brady Bunch flicks, or Frank Caliendo’s quick changes from John Madden to Charles Barkley to George W. Bush when visiting David Letterman on The Late Show. (Caliendo is better at stand-up than he was on his short-lived cable series.)

Indefinite Particles

You may have heard about CERN’s Large Hadron Collider, a “gigantic scientific instrument” — to quote a wonderfully understated phrase from the first link below — that will be used in an attempt to recreate conditions in the universe just after the Big Bang. It’s to begin operations shortly, deep beneath the border between France and Switzerland near Geneva, for the first time in over a year. Certain people have tried to stop this experiment from taking place for fear that it could open a black hole that will swallow the Earth, result in some other type of tear in the space-time continuum, or perhaps just incur the wrath of God as mere mortals attempt to gain knowledge that is solely the province of the divine.

Here are links to sites with more information:
The Large Hadron Collider
U.K. Telegraph: “How a Little Bang Killed the Big Bang”
Has the Large Hadron Collider Destroyed the World Yet?

The first provides a general overview of the project, the second offers some of the latest news on its progress or lack thereof, and the third — which is a Must Visit even if you don’t have the time or inclination to read up on the project at the first two — answers the most pressing question of all.

Before Six

The Lost Rewatch hosted by Nikki Stafford wraps up its review of the pivotal
third season this week.

Cover to 'Finding 'Lost': The Unofficial Guide, Season Five' with a floating compass behind title

I couldn’t join in when the Rewatch began in July but jumped on board last month
with Season 3. While I’ve fallen behind again, I’m trying to catch up and looking forward to discussion of Season 4, on which more in a few paragraphs.

P Funk

The New York Yankees' stylized NY icon next to Phillies' stylized P icon, with rightward arrow design

I came very close to calling this post “27 and Cry” but decided that, even though
most of the plays on words here are made primarily for my own amusement, referencing an obscure Bowie song from a less-celebrated album was just too far out. Also, there is, famously, a distinct lack of crying in baseball. For a picosecond or so, it was titled “No Joy in Philville” in homage to the well-worn line in “Casey at the Bat”.

Except that there has been joy in Philville, despite the Phillies’ World Series loss
to the New York Yankees this night.