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”.
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)
Pie is a tradition of the season.
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!
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.
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.
I was glad to see a relaxed but not too relaxed Vice-President Joe Biden on The Daily Show last night.
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.)
Sudeikis has been charming as Liz Lemon's boyfriend on 30 Rock and handy as a utility player at 30 Rock, but when it comes to playing real people he most often seems to do little more than wear a wig. One exception is his recent turn as Glenn Beck, and he did a fine Jimmy Stewart this past weekend; then again, everyone can do Jimmy Stewart, and the less said about the rest of that sketch the better.
Related: Midnight Rambling • Boing! • My Other Saturday Notes
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.