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 who walk, creatures that stalk, and most particularly dogs who talk (to one another), created by comics virtuosi Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson. I've blogged about both before, Dorkin briefly in April and Thompson back in May 2009 when I praised her bewitching work on Scary Godmother and Magic Trixie.
The initial BOB story was published in 2003's The Dark Horse Book of Hauntings. "Stray" introduced us to the troop — or didn't, actually, jumping right in and making us figure out the dogs' names from dialogue as we went along, but that's the closest thing I might have to a complaint about it. We meet them as they attempt to summon a so-called Wise Dog to help them figure out the strange sounds, smells, and sensations surrounding beagle Jack's new doghouse.
"My grandpa told me when I was a pup... 'Howl at midnight, three strong,'" Whitey,
an excitable terrier, assures his pals after the invocation seems to fall flat. "Then again, they did put Grandpa down the next day."
I've had to restrain myself mightily 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've been successful at holding back, 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 a stunning 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.
I didn't get around to publishing this post during the regular season, and the Phillies' 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 Tom Kean, Danny DeVito, or Joe Pesci here.
The World Series began last night, with the St. Louis Cardinals taking Game 1 from the Texas Rangers. I didn't watch.
I'm still bummed about my Phillies falling 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 even (perhaps especially) a stellar regular season is for naught if you don't make it to the World Series.
Just a quick (and late) link this week: OK Go's rendition of The Muppet Show's theme song, featuring the Muppets themselves.
It premiered on Vevo, where you'll also find a behind-the-scenes short. The band's other intricate efforts are referenced throughout. Don't forget to close the annoying
ad at the bottom if you get one and expand the video player to fullscreen...
I'm not feeling particularly grumpy, nor am I going to wax philosophical about age 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."
If your life was lacking Glee tonight due to those gosh-darned baseball playoffs, maybe some day-after-Monday Muppetude will get you grinning 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.
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".
Grover and I share a birthday, according to the awesome book 'Sesame Street' Unpaved — Oct. 14th.
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 shortly). Nearly all proper nouns seen in blue hypertext during Muppet Mondays, if not otherwise specified, head over to that expansive and entertainingly informative website despite it not being an authorized outlet.
I've been tickled by having a birthday in common with Grover since I found out about it. He is so earnest and so lovable and so game for anything — running Near and Far to exhaustion, for example, as seen right now on his home page at the official Sesame Street website — that he edged out Kermit as my favorite Muppet; his occasional adventures as Super Grover didn't hurt, of course. [Just in case "Near and Far" has cycled off by the time you visit the page, I'll throw in a YouTube link.]
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.
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 Mondays 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. Henson is so mellow that he makes Mister Rogers look like Gilbert Gottfried.