Lead the Wild Rumpus, Stark!

Or Cap. Whomever. I’d have figured Cap, y’know, but Tony has such an ego and he
is carrying Loki’s staff.

MCU versions of Captain America, Iron Man, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Hulk, Thor, and Loki marching in line, drawn in style of Maurice Sendak, evoking 'Where the Wild Things Are'

You can view the above collision between the mourning of Maurice Sendak’s
passing and the celebration of The Avengers’ success at a larger size — and download it in greater resolution for use as screen “wallpaper” or printing out — at its home post over at the DeviantArt site of its creator.

Related: The A Team Maurice Sendak 1928-2012 Huston, We Have Amalgam

Plumped-Up Lips

Lana Del Rey, a woman with pale skin and cartoonishly puffy lips, resting her head against a wall and looking into the distance

I linked to a clip of a genius song parody called “Hunger Games” a while back. Not
only did it mash up the concept of the book and movie of that name with Lana Del Rey’s “Video Games”; it did the job almost too well. The voice and images were eerily spot-on, putting that song back on heavy rotation in my head — along with Foster the People’s “Pumped-Up Kicks”, for the simple if admittedly odd reason that I’d already imagined rewriting its lyrics to skewer Ms. Del Rey (born Elizabeth Woolrich Grant). Like...

Exile in Jayville

Last Thursday Conan O’Brien, now holding court weeknights on TBS’s Conan, stopped by CBS’s The Late Show with David Letterman to chat with Dave about something the hosts rather infamously have in common.

I refer of course to sons playing tee-ball.

Conan O'Brien in a guest chair, David Letterman gesturing with hands apart while seated behind his desk

They also found time to discuss each man, in his own way, having been screwed out
of the former marquee gig in late-night broadcasting — Johnny Carson’s (and Jack Paar’s and Steve Allen’s) old chair behind the Tonight Show desk — by NBC in favor of Jay Leno. It’s a metaphorical chair, to be sure; Tonight hasn’t been filmed in the studio Carson used, let alone with the same “home base” furniture and props, since Johnny left. And the TV landscape sure isn’t the same as it was when Conan took over the post-Tonight slot at NBC from Dave when Letterman went to CBS to challenge Leno, never mind how different it is from Carson’s heyday.

The A Team

So have you heard about this little movie called The Avengers?

I not only saw it — opening day, which is always fun but for the past dozen or so years not something that I’ve been able to count on doing — I’ve written about it as well; that commentary just hasn’t made its way here yet. My actual review of the Joss Whedon jam will hopefully be along shortly after these musings on its revenue and other impressive statistics.

photo-illustration of Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark holding Cosmic Cube with dollar sign amidst viewscreens depicting Avengers promotional images

Sweet 16

The first time I saw her, Pebbles was basically trying to climb into the sky.

Photo of an orange and white cat curled up on a blanket / MAY NOT BE REPRODUCED IN ANY FORM

She stood atop one of those several-feet-tall posts made not just for scratching but
for perching, known as cat trees, all stretched out — balanced in fact on the very apex
of it. And this lovely, lithe orange Creamsicle of a kitten actually pushed at the ceiling tiles with her paws.

Her name wasn’t Pebbles then. It was Honey, and her brother’s was Ashley. My wife and I were only too happy to get a package deal — there were two of us; two cats made sense — and the shelter was glad to have the siblings go to the same home, even as we got some grief in passing from an aide there about how people always wanted to adopt the youngest cats.

Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm, as we named them, were born on May 15th and 8 months old according to their papers. I believe they lived briefly with another family before going to the shelter, but we didn’t really get much info.

Prom Numbers

I came up with a dozen entries for the Late Show with David Letterman website’s current Top Ten contest. You probably know the drill by now but in case you don’t there’s an explanation of how it works in one of my first blogposts — although winners no longer get prizes beyond satisfaction and bragging rights.

Categories are usually either seasonal or keyed to something in the news, and this week’s is no different, being...

My Top Twelve Least-Popular 2012 Prom Themes

12. Let’s All Judge Each Other One Last Time

11. Our Favorite Student/Faculty Romances

10. Party Like We’ll All Have Jobs

9. What Would Jesus Dance?

8. A Night Away from Algebra and In-School Day Care

7. Mimes! Mimes! Mimes!

Maurice Sendak 1928-2012

Even with far more time and attention than I have right now it wouldn’t be possible to do justice to Maurice Sendak with this post.

A young boy in a wolf costume and crown frozen in mid-dance with monsters around him on moonlit night

Sendak passed yesterday, at the age of 83, following a stroke. His career spanned
65 years and nearly 100 books as well as notable work in other media. You can find a timeline of his life and creations at the website of The Rosenbach Museum & Library, whose director also offers a nice remembrance of that Philadelphia institution’s relationship with the Brooklyn-born Sendak. (If you’re ever in town, I recommend a visit to the place — its collection includes a large repository of Lewis Carroll memorabilia, James Joyce’s handwritten manuscript to Ulysses, and “over 10,000 Sendak objects, including original drawings, preliminary sketches, manuscripts, photographs, proofs, and rare prints of Sendak books.” Don’t forget to sample the incunabula!)


I don’t usually have much good to say about the service that hosts this blog. To be
fair and give credit where it’s due, I’ll repeat that in addition to being free — without requiring advertising of any kind, a big plus to me — Blogger’s spam filter works very well. Frankly, I can’t recall a single instance of ’bot messages getting through 
since I opted to turn off word verification on comments earlier this year in the wake
of the service’s switch to a much uglier, more onerous CAPTCHA format. 

While the blog has in fact been getting more spam than it used to, all of that spam is getting queued up in a virtual folder to await my attention as it should. It seems like more spam comments made it through in the past, too, which leads me to suspect that in a rare instance of foresight Blogger worked to shore up its filtering in anticipation
of users ditching verification after the recent change.

Most of what got through were strings of Chinese hànzì characters that translated to
a vaguely poetic phrase and linked to sites featuring images of scantily-clad women if not outright porn. And porn is, no surprise, still the #1 destination for most of the spam that the filter catches, but for every few “comments” that nakedly hawk pics of nude celebrities there’s one that pretends to be actual conversation with poetry of its own — in English; often broken English to be sure, yet therein lies much of the skewed poetry.

“You can definitely see your expertise within the paintings you write,” one especially lyrical slice of spam read. “The world hopes for more passionate writers like you who are not afraid to mention how they believe. All the time go after your heart.”

I was almost touched.