Movie Miscellany

Shadowy figures of Tiana and the Frog Prince backlit in swampy alcove

The lateness of the hour, and the fact that everyone else in the multiplex was there to see Avatar on opening night, meant that the handful of us taking in The Princess and the Frog had the screening room almost entirely to ourselves. I found it absolutely magical. The Nine Old Men would be proud of this return to “2D” fairy-tale charm, and for it to be overlooked amidst the year-end onslaught of tent-pole spectacles and Oscar bait — worthy as those might be, too — is a tragedy.

Box Set Full of Kryptonite

Display of items in Superman Ultimate Collector's Edition set

Warner Bros.’ 2007 Superman Ultimate Collector’s Edition DVD set is now
on sale at Amazon for an astounding $24.99. List price is $99.98 (per Amazon, a little higher or lower at other sites). You’ll still be a penny shy of free shipping, which is surely intentional.

As there were problems with the release of an almost identical set in 2006, when this Ultimate Collector’s Edition came out in 2007 I waited until it had a clean bill of health in online reports and then splurged the moment Borders held one of its very occasional 40%-off sales on DVD sets — knowing that if the set sold out we might not get another such package until there was another Superman movie to promote. I’ve still yet to watch everything in the set but no fan of the character or any part of the compilation should pass up this opportunity.

On 14 discs, packaged with a lenticular hologram of the Man of Steel in flight inside a tin case sporting both the 1978 and 2006 film versions of the big S, you get...

Christmas + 1

I don’t know when this will get posted so it feels safest to focus my yuletide thoughts
on the morning after.

Many locations have made for a special holiday in my life, but none can match the house way up New Jersey, northwest of New York City, where my father’s parents lived during my first decade. There were decorations, cookies, stockings, relatives, carolers, and gifts under what in memory at least is a majestic tree.

So much could be written about the annual anticipations of Christmas in Wyckoff —
my sister and me standing by the curb to greet Santa, in the company of firefighters,
as they handed out candy to the neighborhood children; trying hard to fall asleep, since we knew that the jolly old elf wouldn’t return to leave presents until we did (but also hoping that his visit would awaken us so that we could finally catch him in the act); preparing for dinner, then waiting for Dad and Grandpa to finish their carbohydrate-
&-tryptophan naps so that we could roughhouse or enlist their help in explaining, assembling, and playing with games and toys opened earlier that day.

For me, though, the afterglow of Dec. 26th was just as magical as the eve of the 24th and the daylong festivities of the 25th.

Stocking Stuff

Christmas is here. I wish you a day of peace.

Robed men gazing and pointing at starry night sky with caption, 'Oh, I am so blogging about this.'
Image © 2005 David Malki.

Are you perchance dreaming of a Betty White Christmas? The saucy gal, whose
shtick these days melds the randiness of her Sue Ann from The Mary Tyler Moore Show with the cluelessness of her Rose from The Golden Girls to great comedic effect, dropped by The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson on Monday night. While the seams showed a bit — I’m guessing not enough rehearsal time to memorize the lines or know what to riff on, hence the slight hiccups in dialogue betwixt her and Craig — she remains a national treasure. [bad link]

The ’Vision Thing

1973 Super Friends opening title on screen of vintage television

I had a quilt over the top sheet of my bed, and then a dark-green cover made of corduroy over that, with matching cylindrical pillows for show that went at the head and foot. The bed was a single — also known as a twin, which never made sense to me
if you only have one of ’em — while my sister’s bed was queen-sized, again with a bedcover over her quilt. Jen had characters from Sesame Street on her quilt; mine was a pattern of generic toy soldiers, alphabet blocks, and teddy bears.

That placement of quilts as the meat in a sheets-and-bedcover sandwich is crucial to fully grasp the scene of us, on Saturday mornings circa 1975, marching downstairs with quilts clutched tightly in hand and messily cleaving the carefully tucked-in bedspreads of the night before.


A pair of T-shirts, each with one of the Wonder Twins' triangular insignia, Z and J

The latest batch of cool stuff offered by Graphitti Designs includes, at long last, some Wonder Twins wear. Adult S through XL will cost you $17.95 each (plus shipping) for either Zan or Jayna. I wish children’s sizes were available, but my nieces have already worn a couple of my old T-shirts to bed; their mom says they should be okay in these — as long as they don’t fight too hard over who gets to wear which one when.

Related: Dinner on ME The Cool Kids Are Doing It
Spider-Man, Spider-Man / Use His Face in a Frying Pan

Dinner on ME

Once upon a time in 1994, at the Javits Center in New York City, back when the
World-Wide Web was but in its early days and videocassettes were the primary medium of personal viewing, I was lamenting a lack of access to the Hall of Justice.

Cartoon of Mark Evanier typing away at keyboard

I’d been active in the AOL chat rooms devoted to comics for a short while prior. Some acquaintances made there — as well as folks I knew in person from working at Fat Jack’s Comicrypt in Philadelphia and a couple of fellow contributors to the venerable amateur press association CAPA-Alpha — were trying to get me to join what they described as the more sophisticated Comics/Animation Forum on CompuServe. And so, during a comics convention being held at the aforementioned Javits, I tagged along to an informal Forum dinner during the convention with them.

The dinner was presided over by Mark Evanier [ev-uh-neer]. I would joke that Mark has forgotten more about comics and show-biz history than most people remember, but I’m not convinced that he forgets anything. If you have an interest in behind-the-scenes tales about Vegas, Broadway, or Hollywood — particularly the Golden Age of TV sitcoms, variety shows, talk shows, and voice-over work — you should be following his own blog: News from ME.


If you’ve ever left a comment on a blog, you may very well have come across “word” verification.

On blogs hosted by Blogger, at least, the author can select an option asking people commenting to type a nonsense string of letters that almost always could make up a
real word, but don’t. Unlike the sort of jumbled-up, visually skewed mixes of characters used by some websites to ensure that users are actual humans rather than automated envoys of mischief or malevolence, these nonsense words generally have vowels and consonants placed in such an order that they’re pronounceable; on rare occasion an actual word will even slip in.

I’ve taken to sharing definitions for my verification “words” in comments if they come readily to mind for the strings on the screen at that moment. It’s like Sniglets, which Rich Hall popularized on HBO’s Not Necessarily the News and in a series of books back in the ’80s, except in reverse. I lay absolutely no claim to being either the first or the best at this, but I’ve amassed enough that I have some favorites to share.

forized — What you become when you put on your glasses.

Grango — The energy drink for active seniors.

MyStyMe — Architectural Digest’s companion magazine for pigs.