Perhaps my first lasting Internet connection in days should be spent on something important. [“Ha! Too late!” say the gods of cyberspace.] Maybe this is close enough. [“Maybe not!”] While I reload open pages in the browser to catch up on various blogs during the next inevitable connection fail [“Psyche!”], I also want to publish at least a brief post here because I know that folks can get pretty sick of looking at Santa Claus once Christmas has come and gone.
So here are my contributions to this week’s online Late Show with David Letterman Top Ten contest [dead link], complete with nods as usual to the show’s own running jokes, in the category...
Top Nine Things Overheard During New Year’s Eve in Times Square
9. “Excuse me... You’re stepping on Mayor Bloomberg.”
8. “It’s really more of an irregular polygon with poorly defined borders.”
7. “You think this is a lot of drunk people with time to kill? I was in the audience for Letterman last week.”
6. “My balls drop every year too.”
Christmas arrived at The Late Show with David Letterman a day early. Dave is always preempted on Christmas Eve so that CBS can air Mass, but this time the fabled meatball was toppled from the Ed Sullivan Theater’s Christmas tree on the night before the night before the Night before Christmas, — when Dave rammed into the tree on a go-kart. He was trying out toys again with Shannon Eis.
A clip of the joy ride is up at the show’s website now; I don’t know how long it will last.
Last week’s Top Ten contest [dead link] at the Late Show with David Letterman website was even more inspiring than usual. If you don’t know the drill you can check out the first post in this category, so without further ado here are...
My Top Ten Little-Known Facts about Santa Claus
10. Born Seymour Klausmann, Brooklyn, 1926
9. Will get you on the “nice” list for twenty bucks and/or a bottle of Jim Beam
8. Goes down more than just the chimney, ladies
7. Eleven months out of the year, crash diets and works as Dumbledore at the Harry Potter theme park in Orlando
6. Holly Jolly Christmas: To you, it’s the name of a Burl Ives classic; to Santa, it’s the name of the gal who takes care of him in the VIP suite at North Pole Dancers
I’m always excited by additions to Mike Mignola’s body of work. And while that honestly wasn’t meant as a pun, this post exists to sing the praises of a delightful fugue composed by the creator of Hellboy known as The Amazing Screw-On Head. It began life several years ago as a one-shot comic book; now, its titular story has finally been reissued with like material by Dark Horse in a $17.99 hardcover [ISBN 978-1-59582-501-8].
For a long time, I despaired of ever seeing such a collection or, indeed, much “like material” at all despite the (very) occasional Mignola efforts along similar lines in terms of tone if not detail.
the Following poster
Exploring Inception’s twists and inspirations online after viewing, I was quickly disabused of the notion that it was Christopher Nolan’s sixth feature. His career, early shorts aside, did not begin with Memento. It launched with a 70-minute, “no-budget” film called Following released in 1999.
While the movie doesn’t, to me, provide any of the clues to Inception’s potential interpretation that certain sly comments about it suggested, it’s definitely worth a look if you’re a Nolan admirer or merely curious. You can place it in the context of his oeuvre’s ruminations on the nature of identity, unreliable narrators/narratives, and often idiosyncratic approaches to storytelling. Or you can just watch it as the work of a talented new filmmaker making the most of his limited resources, a decade before The Dark Knight would become an international, critically acclaimed franchise smash (despite not being very good; I await your letters). Either way, the thing itself is compelling enough that it’s hardly time wasted.
I’m sure that everyone and their furry blue brother have successfully viralized it by
now, but just to do my part here’s Grover with a preposition for you.
Sesame Street keeps up with pop culture admirably in spots like this one (riffing on
the instant-classic Old Spice ad starring Isaiah Mustafa) as well as through of-the-moment goofs and guest spots on the show itself — even if once in a great big while they go awry. [Update: I should have warned folks that my last link is to the infamous spot with Elmo and Katy Perry yanked by Sesame Workshop after outcry that her outfit was inappropriate.]
Related: G Love • Swift Kicks • Muppet Monday
In honor of Thanksgiving, I’m sharing leftovers — namely, by way of submissions to a Top Ten contest run on the Late Show with David Letterman website from more than
a year ago now, my...
Top Nine Signs Americans Are Becoming Overweight
9. Our bodies are still more than 60% water, but also 15% high-fructose corn syrup and 3% fudge
8. Supermarkets now offer double-wide shopping carts
7. We’re being hunted for our blubber
6. Fastest-growing sectors of the economy: belt-hole punchers, deep-frying, and statins
5. Realtors increasingly hear, “I’d like two-and-a-half baths... But can you smush them all together?”
4. Our treadmills have TV-dinner trays
3. Three words: Elevator for one
2. “Big-and-tall clothing stores” now simply known as “clothing stores”
And the Number One Sign Americans Are Becoming Overweight...
It’s time for the blog to really and truly go on hiatus. As I’ve been trying to get a post up here for a couple of days now, with the usual technical roadblocks preventing me from doing so, I’d rather just stay away until everything’s worked out well enough for it all to run more smoothly.
I haven’t entered The Late Show with David Letterman’s online Top Ten contest
[dead link] for a while. And it’s been longer still since I’ve posted any such entries here. Once upon a time, however, the former activity was a regular thing; I’d hoped it would lead to the latter becoming a regular thing as well, but, y’know, if wishes were horses then... Robin Williams could’ve voiced the Genie in Seabiscuit?
The point is that I’m again sharing my latest efforts. You can submit your own, as many you’d like, one at a time; I rarely come up with more than a few really good entries, plus a ringer that plays off Dave and his staff’s recurring jokes. So here are...
My Top Ten Things You Don’t Want to Hear on Your Cruise Ship
10. “All aboard for Somalia!”
9. “The ship can never lose power — as long as we all take turns running on that giant hamster wheel.”
8. “I don’t care how romantic the movie was; Titanic is not an appropriate theme for the lido deck.”
7. “Okey-doke now... You mama grizzlies come right this way!”
6. “I hope you know how to make a fire. Turns out the buffet is ‘all you can heat’.”
Still from The Big Sleep © 1946 Warner Bros. Pictures.
Raymond Chandler. William Faulkner. Leigh Brackett. Max Steiner. Howard Hawks. Lauren Bacall. Humphrey Bogart.
Some films with such a pedigree end up as perceived if not actual failures. On The
Big Sleep, released by Warner Bros. in 1946, everything went right — at least judging by the end result, never mind this oft-circulated anecdote:
I’m a sucker for mash-ups, inventive arrangements, and the Mad Men theme. So
yay for the self-proclaimed “bunch of film/music nerds” behind Live Music Videos who’ve performed said theme (actually just an excerpt of the RJD2 track “A Beautiful Mine”) “with a twist” [2:18] — namely, by using it as instrumental backing for the pop standard “Nature Boy”. I don’t know if it ranks up there with Eminem’s appropriation of Dido’s “Thank You” for “Stan” or David Bowie and Bing Crosby’s legendary “Little Drummer Boy / Peace on Earth” medley; at the very least, though, it’s a thrill to hear the theme performed acoustically, and I look forward to more from this ensemble.
Related: Mup’ Beat • L Is for... • Sisters Go Bangles
Cover to X-Men #137 [digital] © 1980 Marvel Comics. Pencils: John
Byrne. Inks: Terry Austin. Letters: Jim Novak. Colors: Unknown.
This post is currently down for maintenance.
You’re reading this because no other posts have gone up in several days despite my
best efforts and profound desires to the contrary. I haven’t done much commenting on other folks’ blogs lately, either, so the following pretty well exhausts my supply of word-verification witticism for the nonce. Those of you unfamiliar with this exercise are directed to the master list of definitions, which explains the idea and collects the contents of all such posts to date.
arrater — [ahr ay tur] n. Someone who decides that movies have too much sex, violence, or profanity for G, PG, or PG-13.
bousnext — [booz nekst] phr. The way the maitre d’ at a tacky Halloween-themed restaurant greets folks in line.
boyawk — [boy awk] n. A young male bird of prey.
cathopi — [kath oh pye] n. A flexible tube 3.14159 mm. in diameter inserted for bladder relief.
conesses — pl. n. 1. [kah neh siz] Lady tricksters. 2. [koh ness iz] Men sharing the lead role in The Untouchables.
dreeabl — [dree ah bul] n. Southern dribble.
Filetro — [fih leh troh] Arch-criminal known for boning his victims. (You know what I mean.)
gewse — [gyoos] n. A very British goose.
Grank — [grank] The 2035 installment of Jason Statham’s Chev Chelios franchise.
Picking up where I left off yesterday…
Image © 2010 and characters TM Bryan Lee O’Malley.
“Scott Pilgrim vs. the Animation” is a flashback to events not depicted in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. The short video first aired as part of Adult Swim, Cartoon Network’s late-night block, when SPVTW opened back in August. Michael Cera and Alison Pill reprise their roles from the live-action feature, voicing the title character and high-school girlfriend Kim Pine. It was produced by the production company Titmouse and is visually based on creator Bryan Lee O’Malley’s art in the Scott Pilgrim graphic novels.
To all who read this — whether observing the day as a holy one, based on cultural tradition, or merely with bemusement — I wish you a sweet year to come full of health and happiness.
You can get the lowdown on Rosh Ha-Shanah at www.jewfaq.org, a.k.a. Judaism 101, via Tracey Rich. I like the site because it’s (1) concise; (b) non-judgmental — written, as the home page says, “from a traditional perspective in conversational language you can understand”; and (3) possessed of a domain name that makes me giggle.
I spent long enough playing with yesterday’s Google logo when it came up — just screwing around, initially; then attempting to see, like, how much you could mess up one letter without moving the balls in the other letters — that I forgot what I had opened the page to search for, and in my head I let loose a silent “F---!”
And that reminded me of a couple of recent items I’ve been meaning to share:
• Cee-Lo Green’s “F--- You”
The official video for the song has come out since I first bookmarked it, so that’s for that, although the original placeholder has its own charm.
• RacheBloom’s “F--- Me, Ray Bradbury”
Her object of affection is described rhymingly as “the greatest sci-fi writer in history” and he celebrated his 90th birthday a couple of weeks ago. While the lyrics are crude, in the sense of not particularly inventive as well as scatological, the song definitely has its moments.
I’m not big on swearing. But I curse a whole heck of a lot more today than I did as a young man, for a variety of reasons. And as I’ve said before, I see the appeal and I’m perfectly willing to laugh at filthy dialogue or comedy routines if they’re funny.
Google’s logo of the day is a weird one. And I wish you luck clicking on it to find out what it represents...
There have been a few articles surmising what this so-called Google Doodle might mean since I first posted on it in the wee hours, but I suspect we won’t hear anything from official sources for a while yet.
I spent a throwback night at the movies on Saturday. A friend in need of distraction opted for Machete, and things got even more indulgent when times didn’t add up. We’d each already had a snack in anticipation of going to dinner after the movie, and were talked out from the night before, so we splurged for a double feature kicked off by Piranha 3D. The last time I’d been to the multiplex for a dose of retro was just a couple of weeks ago to see The Expendables, which didn’t even have the courtesy to meet my low expectations. Saturday night was all right for fighting, though, and not that bad for screaming or biting either.
Piranha 3D is no classic, let’s be clear.
Avatar is back in theaters with extra footage, exclusively in 3D. I saw it a couple of weeks into its original release and have been waiting for just such an opportunity to re-publish my thoughts here.
Most of the talk when the lights went up at my screening, positive and negative, was about the technology behind the film. And one has to wonder if that fact alone doesn’t make the movie something of a failure by James Cameron’s standards.
The bloody good news is that I was house-sitting this past week and caught up with
the current season of True Blood via HBO On Demand.
I’d just recently finished Season Two on DVD, and I was really bummed about having
to wait for a whole year to see where things went in Season Three (dodging spoilers all the while). As I’ve mentioned here before, True Blood is a pulpy kick.
I praised the inventive “premake” trailers of Ivan Guerrero six months ago, but have neglected to keep up with his work. My friend Stefan Blitz, proprietor of Forces of Geek, luckily keeps up with dad-gum near everything — so when I’m able to peruse that site I find gems like Guererro’s trailer for The Avengers (1952).
So I’ve been trying to finish laying out a post from Tuesday for hours now. When Comcast deigns to let me get online, Blogger does its best to screw up my text and fail to load my graphics, either crashing Safari or simply not responding in Chrome. You would think that Picasa, Blogger, and Chrome would communicate well, all being part of the Google empire, and you would be wrong.
Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim graphic novels started up during my unfortunate disconnect from the comics world. I still have yet to read even the first volume, despite strong recommendations, and so was part of the vast majority of the audience coming to Scott Pilgrim vs. the World as just a movie.
It’s a hell of a movie.
I may have scared off most readers, understandably ignorant of and disinterested in
the intricacies of DC Universe continuity, with yesterday’s post on Batman’s status quo. Which I’m loathe to do when recommending accessible graphic novels to civilians — but I wanted to properly set the backdrop for my review of Neil Gaiman and friends’ Batman: Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?. Since I don’t really consider the tales contained therein accessible, though, I suppose it’s all good.
Alex Ross cover to Batman #676 [digital] © 2008 DC Comics.
Last May brought the 70th anniversary of Batman’s debut in Detective Comics #27,
as I wrote around the time of the actual event. DC marked the occasion by killing him, during a storyline called RIP, not terribly long after introducing his son.
Or did it?
I’m sharing a batch of verification-word definitions again so soon because with July at an end I find myself faced with a meager two posts for the month. One would actually be fine, since there were valid reasons for the lack of blogging — among them my connection problems, which have already pushed the publication of this dispatch past the date stamped on it — but two is just inelegant, so I’m going for three.
August should find renewed activity, with plenty of posts waiting to be fleshed out
or in some cases merely entered online, proofread, and graphicked up. There will be more about comics, finally, as well as some film and TV reviews that I decided to hold back until their video releases or the start of the new season since the posts were no longer timely. Subjects include Avatar, Inception, the Archie multiverse, Batman RIP and beyond, Secret Six, Asterios Polyp, and True Blood, in addition to the afore-mentioned essays on returning TV series that’ll come further down the pike. I’d love
to hear thoughts from the followers that Blogger says I have on which of those posts interest you most.
Here are the latest in my dwindling reserve of definitions, meanwhile. They’re also being added to my omnibus post “The Mean Streak”, where you can find an explanation of just what this is about if you’re new to the concept.
News came on Friday that comics giants DC and Archie will release their very first actual crossover in October when the Little Archie gang meets the cast of Tiny Titans.
I don’t usually blog about press releases or topical stuff, but this announcement is
way cool. The 3-issue project is the work of Tiny Titans regulars Art Baltazar and Franco Aureliani, whose consistently delightful efforts have won the title an Eisner Award in the category Best Publication for Kids.
equit — [ee kwit] v. Take a sabbatical from online activity.
I’m sorry to have gone so long without a post. No-one misses regular activity on this blog more than I do, but it looks as though I’ll be in hibernation mode here for a while yet. Up goes the infamous Campbell’s soup can once more.
The can is an ancient Internet tradition started by Mark Evanier, as my faithful
readers know — heck, they (perhaps you) may have come to expect that very phrase. Evanier’s blog News from ME is one great place to spend the time you might otherwise spend here if your interests are anything like mine. You might also take this opportunity to poke around the Blam’s Blog archives, which should turn up further distractions. When I return to active posting, if not before, I hope to finally install a blogroll of recommended haunts as well as some pages that organize and highlight parts of this blog.
A fun episode of Bones repeated last week. Fox seems to have otherwise benched
the show for the summer, although past seasons can be found in syndication and on cable. You can find the episode in question — “The X in the File” — on Hulu or at
the Fox website [bad link].
Image from Bones 5.11 “The X in the File” © 2010 Twentieth Century Fox Television.
Hart Hanson’s loose adaptation of Kathy Reichs’ popular crime novels has always
owed as much to The X-Files as to CSI, despite its dearth of otherworldly phenomena. That’s due to the pairing of Temperance “Bones” Brennan, the strictly rational forensic anthropologist played by Emily Deschanel, with FBI special agent Seeley Booth, the gut-following, Catholic former Army Rangers sniper played by David Boreanaz.
Do you feel bad for isolated thunderstorms?
Photo: National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration Photo Library — Sean Waugh
When that line popped into my head, I couldn’t help but think of my favorite character on Glee: Heather Morris’s Brittany.
Morris was brought in to teach the cast the choreography for “Single Ladies (Put a
Ring on It)” and ended up being offered the part of one of the cheerleaders who joined the glee club. There was no real hook to the character until the producers realized her pitch-perfect dim-bulb delivery of such lines as...
“I’m pretty sure my cat has been reading my diary.”
“Did you know that dolphins are just gay sharks?”
“Sometimes I forget my middle name.”
A few weeks gone by, Nikki Stafford declared June to be Vampire Month on her blog, Nik at Nite. The primary topic of conversation — a TV show which I’m observing a moratorium on speaking about — had begun to eat itself, and Nikki had fangdom on the brain for at least two good reasons: (1) ECW Press, where she’s an editor and which publishes her Finding [censored] books, has a True Blood companion coming out. (2) She was preparing to attend Slayage — an academic conference devoted to the work of Joss Whedon in general and Buffy the Vampire Slayer in particular. I think there was also something to do with The Vampire Diaries in there.
I was surprisingly late getting into the adventures of Buffy Summers.
You may notice the “Lost” is missing.
That’s partly an inside joke, as I’m so over thinking about Lost for now. I’ve been
absent from blogging too — due to illness, my hinky laptop, hinky Blogger, and my hinky Internet connection. Just the past few days, though, I’ve resumed writing posts for this blog, some of them timely. And I’ll seize opportunities to publish them as WiFi allows, but they may be short or serialized and lack much in the way of graphics.
The exact title of this post was also the title of a Lost episode, but that’s entirely coincidental to my purposes in choosing it. Last night on The Late Show with David Letterman, Harry Connick Jr. discussed a recent trip to Istanbul (not Constantinople) and showed off a No Smoking ashtray like the one above.
Well, I guess my episode analyses are going to mirror one another to a degree, the
way this season of Lost is at times mirroring itself, and the first season, and the series to date.
I’ll have no individual writeup here of last week’s episode, “What They Died For”, in advance of tonight’s two-part series finale, “The End” — just as there was no writeup of the first individual hour of the season, “What Kate Does”, following the one for the two-part season premiere, “LA X”. My laptop has started acting hinky again, the Internet connection has been at a crawl, and I’ve come down with a cold.
Season 6 ends tonight and thus so does Lost as a whole. Its finale begins at 9 p.m.
EST on ABC, following a two-hour series retrospective at 7, and runs until 11:30; then, after the local news, the one-hour Jimmy Kimmel Live: Aloha to ‘Lost’ comes on at 12:05 a.m. with cast members and creative staff. That’s all true for the USA, at least. What reminds me of viewers outside our borders is that also immediately following the finale will be a live online chat at the CTV website [bad link] featuring my friend and Finding ‘Lost’ author / Nik at Nite blogmistress Nikki Stafford. My plan is to kick back and enjoy the last Lost as much as possible as television, ideally after catching up with comments from my clique at Nik at Nite and Jeff Jensen’s Totally ‘Lost’ insights for Entertainment Weekly [bad link].
The post title, however, a Beatles song that I can’t get out of my head, does not refer
to my own recent lack of bloggitude. No, I had the title slotted for my episode analysis of “Across the Sea” in reference to Island Momma’s desperate pleas to Jacob and Esau — until I realized that it perfectly summed up my and so many other viewers’ feelings about what to expect in “The End”.
If you’ve ever left a comment on a blog, you may very well have come across word verification — and if you’ve been following this blog at all the past several months, you may very well have seen my lists of verification-word definitions.
As I explained in my first such post (“Mean”), then illustrated in one last month
(“Even Meaner”), word verification is a check that authors on Blogger/Blogspot can select to help ensure that it’s humans leaving comments and not spamming robots. When one has comments enabled on one’s blog, among the info at the end of a post (labels, time stamp, etc.) is how many comments there are. Clicking on that line takes you to the comments page and/or a pop-up window where you can read the comments to date and submit your own. When verification is turned on, below the comment box will be a jumble of letters that usually could almost be a word — as opposed to the total mess of consonants and numbers often seen when filling out forms online — but isn’t, except on the rare occasions when the randomizing algorithm ends up with an actual word accidentally; you must type those letters correctly for your comment to be accepted. Some blogs also have moderation turned on for all or at least older posts, so your comment won’t show up until the proprietor of the blog has reviewed it.
I’ve taken to sharing definitions for my verification words in my comments, should a definition come readily to mind for the word on the screen at that moment. The idea is similar to Sniglets, which Rich Hall popularized on HBO’s Not Necessarily the News and in a series of books back in the ’80s, but in reverse. While I lay absolutely no claim to being either the first or the best at this, I amass these definitions regularly when commenting on other blogs and now offer them up periodically here on mine, often when there’s a dry spell. In this case, although I have posts in the pipeline, the Internet connection has been troublesome and my metaphorical batteries are low, so it’s a fine time. You’re not only welcome but encouraged to leave definitions for your own verification words when leaving a comment on this or any post here.
Quick: What’s your favorite current TV show?
I don’t mean the one you think is the best, necessarily, but the one you can just let go and enjoy most, whether that feeling comes from pulse-pounding action, total investment in the characters, or laugh-out-loud comedy — or all three.
I’m still not writing enough about my lifelong passion for comics.
Convenience stores, newsagents, and 5-&-10s in South Jersey fed my early habit,
as I shared last year. Only so much history could be gleaned from comic-book reprints and editorial pages, however. Luckily, a bevy of books on comics awaited at the Cape May County Library, where surveys of my favorite four-color fantasies and their forebears could be found in (mostly) cold, hard black and white.
The one I checked out most often was a 1973 tome aptly titled The Comic-Book Book, edited by Dick Lupoff and Don Thompson.
I’m looking to get rid of most of my thousands of comic books, but Hellboy ranks among the keepers. The series is pretty much my all-time favorite, certainly when you discount nostalgia; Mike Mignola long ago proved that he’s as accomplished and unique a writer as he is an illustrator. While I think the absolute best Hellboy stories are short, self-contained tales, the mythology woven by Mignola and his collaborators in the family of Dark Horse’s Hellboy, BPRD, Abe Sapien, Lobster Johnson, and Witchfinder one-shots and miniseries rivals any other from graphic novels, television, film, or prose in recent decades.
Yet I come here not to praise Hellboy, but to barter him.
My grandfather always had a dictionary on his night table. I have one on my Apple laptop. His was a so-called “pocket” book almost as thick as it was wide; mine is virtual, an application represented by the icon below in the dock of programs and folders at the right of my computer screen.
The lure of Dictionary is strong.
The can of Campbell’s soup remains in effect, due to connection problems as well as projects that aren’t being dealt with as efficiently as I’d like. For those who’ve not seen it before, I should point out that the can is a mysterious “ancient Internet tradition” begun by Mark Evanier, as explained and in fact recently invoked by Evanier on his blog, News from ME, which if your interests are anything like mine offers a variety of fine, funny, and fascinating material by the bushel.
I hope to have a volley of posts up soon (yeah, When don’t I?), but meantime here’s another batch of Blogger word-verification definitions.
abendsl — n. #2 graphite stick, when you’re congested.
betoofsr — Father of Betoof Jr.
boophala — n. A shout-out from Ms. Betty.
I chanced upon “Hey Jude” in the car last night, reminding me again to write about The Beatles.
Far lesser musical lights have labels on this blog, and it’s been bugging me that the greatest band in the history of pop music doesn’t. Many folks consider The Rolling Stones the greatest rock band ever, and they might be right — I’m not a huge Stones fan, to be honest, although they are undeniably iconic. The Beatles, however, during a relatively brief period spanning the era in which classic rock-&-roll (“She Loves You”) gave way to flat-out hard rock, hold the roll (“Helter Skelter”), also proved masters of old-fashioned balladry, psychedelic experimentation, and so much more (“Strawberry Fields Forever”). They wrote anthems, they wrote grooves, they wrote ditties, for Pete’s sake. Has any other group of musicians been so talented at turning out so many different styles of infectious, accomplished, influential music? And I include in that group not only John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr, but producer George Martin as an indispensable enabler of most of the Beatles’ joint
So here’s my First Beatles Story.