Hounds and Fury

What if Scooby-Doo was genuinely spooky... and every member of the Mystery Machine gang had paws... and, supernatural stuff aside, the setting was surprisingly realistic... and the end result was totally awesome?

You’d have Beasts of Burden, a delightful breed of horror stories featuring ghosts that walk, creatures that stalk, and most particularly dogs who talk (at least to one another), created by comics virtuosi Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson. I’ve blogged about both here, Dorkin briefly in April and Thompson back in May 2009 when I praised her bewitching work on Scary Godmother and Magic Trixie.

'Beasts of Burden: Animal Rites' hardcover

Vocal Opposition

Dozens of folks performing on the Sing-Off stage
Still from The Sing-Off 3.02 group open © 2011 NBCUniversal. Photo: Lewis Jacobs.

I’ve had to restrain myself from blogging on NBC’s The Sing-Off each week. As I proved last year, I’m capable of going on at ridiculous length about the show, given my love for a cappella music and creative arrangements of pop songs in general. Until now I’d been successful, but my resolve finally broke last night after the latest in a string of confounding eliminations.

The Sing-Off upped its roster this year to an impressive sixteen groups, starting with two brackets of eight groups each. My early favorites in the first bracket were Afro-Blue, Delilah, and Urban Method, although Delilah soon proved uneven; second-bracket standouts were The Collective, Pentatonix, Sonos, and North Shore. It’s curious to me that of these groups all but North Shore, a traditional male doo-wop quintet, and Delilah, an all-women’s outfit based on the collegiate a cappella model, are smaller
and more experimental.

Muppet Monday

Halloween’s only a week away, which means that it’s time for Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker to perfect the Carve-O-Matic. [1:45]

Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker with several pumpkins in lab adorned for Halloween
Screencap © 2011 The Muppets Studio LLC.

Related: Muppet Monday (Nov. 7th) Siteseeing Muppet Monday (Nov. 21st)

Jersey Boys

Isringhausen baseball jersey from behind

I didn’t get around to publishing this during the regular season, and the Phils’ early
exit from the playoffs left me too bitter to come anywhere near the subject of our national pastime. Since yesterday’s unnecessary behemoth of a disquisition tied a belated bow on 2011 baseball for me, however, it’s now or next year to discuss my favorite jersey accents.

We’re not talking about Joe Piscopo, Danny DeVito, or Joe Pesci here.

Short Fall

The World Series began last night, with the St. Louis Cardinals taking Game 1
from the Texas Rangers. I didn’t watch.

World Series Fall Classic 2011 logo with leaves, ornate yet tasteful design, and subdued forest colors of gold, brown, and green

I’m still bummed about my Phillies dropping to the Cardinals in the NLDS playoffs, which is a large part of the reason why. As I wrote in the last week of the regular season, 2011 was a banner year for the Phils — which makes it all the more confounding (if not ironic) that they didn’t win a pennant. Charlie Manuel’s team won a franchise record 102 games, by far the best mark in the major leagues, yet as more than one wag put it the team’s ballyhooed four aces were beat in the first round of the playoffs by a wild card; none of the wags, as far as I know, referred to the Phils as royally flushed.

There are those — fans, journalists, and ballplayers, not necessarily in that order —
who believe that a stellar regular season is for naught if you don’t make it to the World Series.

Muppet Monday

Just a quick (and late) link this week: OK Go’s rendition of The Muppet Show’s theme song, featuring the Muppets themselves.

Torsos of the OK Go quartet with Muppets Animal, Fozzie Bear, Kermit the Frog, and Gonzo beneath them as if puppeteering

The band’s other intricate efforts are referenced. Don’t forget to take it fullscreen...
And then check out a behind-the-scenes short. [Note: Links have been updated to YouTube since Vevo’s website shut down.]

Related: Mup’ Tempo 3 for 3/3 Muppet Monday

Dead October

Group of 'The Walking Dead' characters in the woods
Photo: Bob Mahoney © 2011 AMC Studios.

The Walking Dead begins its 13-episode second season tonight at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.

Old and Mean

I’m not feeling particularly grumpy, nor am I going to wax philosophical about the passage of time here like I did in my last birthday post. Really the title is just to keep up the usual conceit of my word-verification definition offerings. For those not familiar with the phenomenon, I’ve explained it on the dedicated page that collects accumulated entries to date.

antick — [an tik] n. 1. Ye olde foolish behaviour. 2. Half ant, half tick.

bledlump — [bled lump] n. A smidge of clotted exsanguination.

botica — [bah tih kuh] n. The study of ’droids and other ’tomatons.

Clola™ — [cloh luh] Clam-flavored cola. (Don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it.)
(Uh... But don’t try it.)

derbsaly — [durb suh lee] adv. About or referring to a horse race, or a sporting contest in general. “Derbsaly speaking, Kentucky is my favorite.”

G Love

Was your life was lacking Glee tonight due to baseball playoffs? Maybe this will get
you going again. Sesame Street has given us some great goofs on popular songs and TV series, from a Billy Idol lookalike Muppet singing “Rebel L” to the detectives of ABCD Blue. Now give it up for... G. [3:48]

Muppet versions of 'Glee' characters

I got a grin out of Rachel’s lines in the crowd noise that opens the skit, the bearded piano player who pops up out of nowhere, and more, but the grandest giggle goes to the amazing likeness of “Mr. Goo”.

Related: Harmony and Irony Muppet Monday Brittality

Muppet Monday

Grover and I share a birthday, according to the 1972 Sesame Street calendar — Oct. 14th.

Medium close-up shot of classic Grover looking surprised
Image from Sesame Street 711 © 1975 CTW.

A prototype of Grover called Gleep appeared as early as 1967 on an episode of The Ed Sullivan Show. I get that info from the Muppet Wiki link at the beginning of this post, which is not to be confused with The Monster at the End of This Book (on which more quite soon). Nearly all proper nouns seen in blue hypertext during Muppet Mondays, if not otherwise specified, head over to that expansive and entertainingly informative resource.

All Right for Typing (Redux)

'Saturday Night Live' title card

The last time Saturday Night Live ran a Fox & Friends sketch, I transcribed the litany of “corrections” that scrolled across the screen and ended up with what was for about a day a very, very popular post. We’ve become used to being able to find almost anything we want on the Internet, quickly, so to do my part I’ve just repeated April’s effort.

Once again, I’ve left all typographical conventions intact, from the line breaks to the occasional omission of a necessary clause-ending comma to the lack of italics around TV-series titles to the failure to properly hyphenate “Spider-Man” — except that I couldn’t help but put in periods on the last few items, which as aired were missing, for consistency’s sake. (To an inveterate copy-editor like me such restraint doesn’t come easily, I assure you.) I had to go through the whole thing a few times from the start, since the DVR I’m using is actually less responsive than the VCR used last time around, but I’m pretty sure I got everything. The relevant text is copyright 2011 NBC Studios and reproduced as a public service.

You’re welcome.

Muppet Monday

Don Sahlin, with think black hair and mustache, and Jim Henson, with brown hair and long scruffy beard, creating puppets from various materials on table before them

Here’s a 15-minute segment featuring Jim Henson that aired on Iowa Public Television in 1969.

I thought about running it last week but decided to start my Muppet Monday posts
with more of a bang; while it’ll surely suck in any Henson admirer, it’s longer and slower-paced than your usual Internet video link. Henson is so mellow that he makes Mister Rogers look like Gilbert Gottfried.