What's in a Name


I recently and somewhat randomly came across the poster below for the 1966
film Maya.


Poster for the film 'Maya' with the title in giant 'stone' letters, getting hit by lightning, as various animals stampede / 'Action That Tears the Screen Apart!'
Poster © 1966 King Bros. Productions and/or MGM Studios.

There's a Maya in my family, and I know some other Mayas too. But that was only
the first name that jumped at me.

It was interesting to see Jay North — who played the title character in the TV incarnation of Dennis the Menace in the early '60s and, I found out to my surprise
not long ago, voiced the teenage Bamm-Bamm Rubble in the early '70s — in the
credits. That's not the main point here either, however.

The punch line of this chance experience was the name "Clint" — seen on the poster identifying star Clint Walker. If you glanced at it earlier, or just now at my prompting, and had a brief shock at mistaking the name for another word, then you see why cartoonists, typesetters, and pretty much anyone else who finds themselves displaying "Clint" in all capitals usually takes care to put enough space between the "L" and
the "I" lest they appear to merge into a "U".

[Warning: Comments get explicit.]

Emerald Sit-In


The Voice paired up Cee-Lo Green and The Muppets' Kermit the Frog last night for a very appropriate tune.

Kermit the Frog and Cee-Lo Green at a keyboard under green lights

I'm a sucker for the Muppets in general and in particular for that song, the melancholy Joe Raposo standard "Bein' Green", which dates to a 1970 performance by Jim Henson as Kermit on Sesame Street.

"Bein' Green" has been recorded many times — solo and/or as a duet with Kermit —
by the likes of Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, and Diana Ross. Tuesday's rendition, available for now immediately on The Voice's home page and archived at the above link with a 15-second ad in front, is a worthy entry in the pantheon. Other Muppets showing up for the segment include Gonzo, Fozzie Bear, Animal, Janis, Statler & Waldorf, and one briefly glimpsed, laugh-out-loud ringer.

Up in the Sky


Close-up of inflated Superman balloon, with cartoonish face and vintage 'S' insignia

A home movie of the Superman balloon's first appearance in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade from 1940 was uploaded to YouTube in November of last year, but I got word of it too late to post it in time for the holiday then. My thanks to Rodrigo Baeza, who blogs occasionally at Comics Commentary, for sharing the link on the Grand Comics Database chat list. The Man of Helium shows up at the 1:30 mark.

Do You Want to Know a Secret


Fringe 5.07 Five Twenty-Ten / Photo of Joshua Jackson as Peter, bathed in green light, hand raised in a fist

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There's a Place


Fringe 5.06 Through the Looking-Glass and What Walter Found There / Photo of John Noble as Walter

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Spider-Man, Spider-Man /
Use His Face in a Frying Pan


Spider-Man's head as the end of a spatula

Williams-Sonoma is selling a Marvel Spider-Man Flexible Spatula.

How freaking awesome is that?

I just recently got one as a gift, along with a Spider-Man Cupcake-Decorating Kit. The latter is no longer available from the Williams-Sonoma website; neither is the Marvel Heroes Cupcake-Decorating Kit featuring Hulk, Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor. I'm linking to them anyway in case that changes and including some images below 'cause they're freaking awesome.

Après le Déluge


Bryan Walsh contributed a good piece on Hurricane Sandy to last week's issue of Time.

Cover to recent issue of 'Time' Magazine with large text 'Lessons from the Storm' over photo of crashing waves

He details Sandy's effects but also suggests how to prepare as storms like Sandy — a hurricane turned post-tropical cyclone after merging with the Arctic jet stream to form a hybrid nor'easter that some dubbed "Frankenstorm" — become a fact of life in what (most rational minds now agree) is an era of consequential climate change.

I've felt a bit of survivor's guilt over Sandy, to be honest.

My home in the Philadelphia suburbs lost power for maybe 30 seconds total on the night the storm hit — going dark just long enough the final time to convince me that several days without electricity lay ahead, since it would take so long for crews to work safely and get to everybody, only to pop back on with nary a complication thereafter. Lots of areas nearby had it much worse. I got to watch news coverage on a television
in a lit room while checking E-mail.

Gimme Some Truth


Fringe 5.05 An Origin Story / Photo of Joshua Jackson as Peter

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House of the Rising Moon


'Mockingbird Lane' promo shot with logo and main cast

NBC ran the pilot for Mockingbird Lane, Bryan Fuller's revamp of The Munsters, last Friday. At this writing you can still watch it via that link.

I took in the hour-long episode as a Halloween treat after hearing positive word. The premise and talent involved definitely had me curious, despite rebooting or reimagining a familiar property for TV being a dicey prospect (Battlestar Galactica at one recent extreme, Wonder Woman at the other). Even after it was passed over for this season, Lane apparently had an outside shot at being picked up for 2013 if it turned out to be an October surprise. I'm not sure that a 1.5 rating/5 share in the 18-49 demo, 5.47 million viewers overall, is enough to do the trick but this was a Friday on a tentatively resurgent network.

Anyway, I'd like to see more.