Friday, November 30, 2007

Hermetic Pants

The best of Novemeber 2007, according to Back of the Cereal Box.
Bonus retro post: One hundred random facts about me.

For Women Who Love Being Adored

Just when I think people do email often enough, I get previous notes like the following.

No, it's totally not spam, as that kind of mail isn't worth the time it takes to read. This, however, was.
Just like all my screen and stage characters, I love making a grand entrance.

So I simply can’t let the launch of my new jewelry collection go by without a personal word to mark the occasion.

It will come as no surprise that my Timeless Elegance range is destined for women everywhere who adore being admired for having that magical quality. I know a good few secrets about elegance and I’m thrilled to be able to share them through this fabulous, exclusive collection.

It would be wonderful if you would pass on the news to your readers. Eddie Deutsch in NY can fill you in on all the details for the attached Press Release.

Joan Collins

(New York, NY; London, England & St Tropez, France)
Really, with classy writing like that, who could have the heart to dump it into their junk mail folder? I'd better get on the horn with that Eddie Deutsch right away.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

For Better — But Worse

Last year, I became taken with the 60s parody folk rock duo Allen & Grier, and in doing so felt compelled to pick apart their song "Celebrities Cake Walk," which namedrops a ton of famous people who are now either dead or considerably less famous. I blogged about it, and in the process of trying to identify each of the once-famous people, I came to Mae Busch's IMDb filmography — a list of films and roles that should rightly make you laugh and then feel bad.

Though the below list appeared in the initial blog entry on "Celebrities Cake Walk," I stumbled across it recently and thought I should re-post it on its own.
  • Mable and Fatty's Married Life
  • Ambrose's Sour Grapes (as "second twin")
  • Beating Hearts and Carpets
  • A Human Hound's Triumph
  • For Better — But Worse
  • Fatty and the Broadway Star (as "actress")
  • Wife and Auto Trouble (as "a speedy stenographer")
  • A Bathhouse Blunder (as "swimming instructor")
  • The Folly of Fanchette (as "Mrs. Rayburg")
  • The Love Charm (as "Hattie Nast")
  • Foolish Wives (as "Princess Vera Petchnikoff")
  • Brothers Under the Skin (as "Flo Bulger")
  • The Shooting of Dan McGrew (as "Flo Dupont")
  • Nellie, the Beautiful Cloak Model (as "Polly Joy")
  • Flaming Love (as "Sal Flood")
  • Love 'Em and Weep (as "old flame")
  • San Francisco Nights (as "Flo")
  • Chickens Come Home (as "Ollie's blackmailer")
  • The Man Called Back (as "Rosie")
  • Doctor X (as "Cathouse Madam")
  • Them Thar Hills (as "Mrs. Hall")
  • Tit for Tat (as "grocer's wife")
  • The Amazing Exploits of the Clutching Hand (as "Mrs. Paul Gironda")
  • Prison Farm (as "Trixie")
  • Women Without Names (as "Rose")
  • The Bride Wore Boots (as "woman")

If You Happen to See the Shadiest Man in the World

This advertisement, which appeared in an Aspen newspaper, was submitted to me through means I've been told not to divulge.

Don't you wish you had a time machine that could send you back one month and also drive you to Aspen? Specifically to whatever "Bou" is?

The Facts of Truncated Life

The pitch: MySpaceTV's Minisode Network Video Channel, which is being touted today on the site's login page, allows you to view your favorite classic television shows in roughly a quarter of the time it would take to watch the non-edited versions.

The evidence:

My conclusion: This kind of blows, and not just because I picked The Facts of Life as the show I would test out this format with. In short, the episode is boiled down to the "A" plotline and the expense of any "B" plotlines the show might have included. (Did Facts of Life even have subplots?) Most of the jokes are lost too, I'd imagine, which makes no sense for sitcoms. Really, who ever watched Facts of Life for the riveting storylines? In the episode above, we're expected to believe that Natalie has really fallen for this guy, when he spends about 45 seconds on screen. Not that this show was ever so finely written as to make anyone's actions seem believable, but for all I know the evolution of Natalie's crush in this episode, "For the Asking," might have been one of the finer dramatic interpretations of teenaged lust and longing of NBC's 1982 season. The whole thing reminds me of that one Futurama episode in which Professor Farnsworth tampers with the time-space continuum and causes the present to keep skipping ahead, leaving those who just lost the previous fifteen minutes of their existence to wonder how they might have ended up the situation they're currently in. (In a conga line, for no apparent reason.) And that works fine for a science-fiction cartoon, but less so for a sitcom. In short, it's pointless, unless your idea of a good way to spend your work break is watching a TV show that's been basically stripped down to a highlight reel or the kind of recap you might expect from a serial. (Cue Mrs. Garrett's voice: "Last time on The Facts of Life...") Perhaps worst of all, the shortened format makes more an abbreviated version of the show's theme song, which is easily one of the catchier TV opening numbers ever and, often, the best part of the show.

Addendum: By the way, didn't The Rerun Show do this already—and, at that, do it much better? With random comedy shenanigans snuck into pared-down old scripts for shows? Didn't they actually do The Facts of Life?

Terrible Throwaway Joke: Given that chubby Natalie's sweetheart ends up liking her after all,
I think it's funny that I at first mis-typed the episode's title as "For the Assking."

And a Note About Mindy Cohn: She's currently the voice of Velma in the new Scooby Doo cartoons. I think she's found her calling in life.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Oodles O'Quim

I know I just did one of these, but I've noticed enough unusual activity just in the past day to warrant a post. Here are yet even more strange ways people have been finding this blog.

The Case of the Lipstick Case Knife... Case

It's good to have friends in the legal world. Dansy send me the below email in response to my conjecture in the previous post that the reason for lipstick case knives being illegal must have been interesting. It's not, really, but the sole recorded instance of ninja stars being used to assault somebody else is.
Hi Drew.

Your blog inspired me to put my legal researching skills to the test, as I just got my LexisNexis certification.

The results:

I fear you will be sad to know that not a single person in the U.S . has ever been assaulted with a lipstick case case. However, a handful of kids have been busted for possessing them at school. Many people have been assaulted with slungshots, usually with very horrific and not funny results. As far as unusual slungshots, a prison inmate fashioned such a device out of a sock filled with deodorant canisters purchased from the prison store. He used it to hit his new cellmate in the face.

Many people have been busted for possession of ninja stars, shurikens, death stars, throwing stars, or any like instrument. However, very few people have actually used such an instrument to assault someone else. In fact, I could only find one 1987 Texas appellate case, excerpted below in pertinent part. Talk about a character you couldn't make up. I particularly enjoyed this man's explanations to the court regarding his prior criminal convictions.

Hope all is well,

The case follows below.
State v. Davis, 1987 Tenn. Crim. App. LEXIS 2390

The record indicates that the appellant backed his car into someone else's automobile, after which they blocked his departure from the area. He then assaulted the victim with an ax handle and an oriental throwing star. No blows were struck and there were no injuries.

The proof revealed that the appellant has previous convictions of arson and shooting a missile calculated to produce death or bodily harm into an occupied dwelling. At the sentencing hearing he explained these prior charges, telling the judges that they really didn't amount to anything. When the occupants of a "little old cabin" on his mother's farm refused to vacate, he burned it down. He received a three year sentence for arson. A dispute over his job provoked him into shooting into his employer's dwelling. He received a two to three year sentence, of which he served ten months. He also had other shooting charges which were dismissed or nolled. For some prior offenses, the record does not show a disposition.

Subsequent to this offense, the appellant was in a serious automobile accident and is now classified as a "walking quadriplegic." He is confined to a wheelchair most of the time and is receiving treatment for post-traumatic distress disorder resulting from his Vietnam service in the United States Marine Corps. He recently takes four different medications for that condition.

He contends that because of his condition, the fact that no one was injured and because he acted in self-defense that it is unfair for him to not have probation.

Based upon his prior record, it is clear that the appellant is not a suitable candidate for probation.
Well there you go. I responded that the relative lack of documented cases of people attacking others with ninja stars was odd, given how often it happens in the movies I watch. In fact, I rarely have the patience to watch even a TV episode in which characters aren't constantly throwing ninja stars. Dansy then responded.
i did find a few cases where attackers dressed up like ninjas to commit assaults with more ordinary weapons.

i also found a case where a guy had his conviction for possessing a cane sword overturned because he did not know the cane he was using was not an ordinary cane. if he had known, i'm sure he would have used it to cut the guy he was fighting with when he was arrested.
And for the record, here's an image of a lipstick case knife, or as more sensibly calls it, a "lipstick knife."

Actually a pretty dangerous looking blade, even when confined to a lipstick case.

Final note: Isn't it funny how the URL for almost looks like "truce words," especially since anybody shopping there probably isn't the least bit interested in truce words?

Actual final note: "Hey, Pam, let me borrow your lipstick—OW!"

Leave the Limbs You've Lost

Occasionally, editing news allows you access to a certain bit of trivia that you just know will come in handy one day. I've written about it before and I'm always happy to be reminded of it. Last night, for a news story, I had to look into whether carrying a ninja throwing star could constitute possession of a concealed weapon and, therefore, a felony charge. It can, apparently, depending on the circumstances. However, in looking into the California Penal Code on the subject, I was introduced to a whole list of what I can only interpret as miscellaneous weapons included alongside throwing stars — or shurikens, as the code correctly identifies them — which are surely listed in the code because some lunatic, somewhere, was at some point involved in an incident that involved one of these bizarre utensils for hurting somebody else.

The list, condensed to bullet points-form:
  • any cane gun or wallet gun
  • any ammunition which contains or consists of any flechette dart
  • ballistic knife (which I'd never heard of before but sounds utterly useless)
  • any multiburst trigger activator
  • any nunchaku
  • any short-barreled shotgun or short-barreled rifle
  • any metal knuckles
  • any belt buckle knife (Read more at!
  • any leaded cane
  • any zip gun
  • any shuriken
  • any unconventional pistol (which seems like a tragic catch-all that could have developed into a wonderfully detailed list of obscure handguns)
  • any lipstick case knife (!)
  • any cane sword
  • any shobi-zue (a staff or rod concealing a knife and which is apparently different from the aforementioned cane sword)
  • any air gauge knife (not a knife employing some kind of air pressure mechanism to kill, but just a knife disguised as an air gauge… because such a thing apparently exists)
  • any writing pen knife
  • any metal military practice hand grenade or metal replica hand grenade
  • or any instrument or weapon of the kind commonly known as a blackjack, slungshot, billy, sandclub, sap, or sandbag. (or, as it's known to me, a whack-bonk)
Highlights: the slungshot, of course and the lipstick case knife, because the incident inspiring that note in the penal code must have been amazing.

A minus: nothing about boomerangs. (Or is that a plus, given my upcoming heist schemes?)

She Forgot "Tired"

Way late now, but nonetheless worth a post. Meg H. of Meg H. — The Blog! fame and her little friend, whose name is also Meg, came for a visit to the Indy a few weeks back, and though the office was finishing up the behemoth Best Of issue and therefore beaten-down as all get-out, I did what I could to give them a tour. In all honesty, I failed as a guide. I was pretty frazzled myself and was running all over the place more than usual. However, as a thank-you note-plus-homework assignment, Big Meg had Little Meg write up her own newspaper describing what she learned in the tour. I finally brought it home and scanned it. It's really only viewable in full-size form and it's entirely worth the effort it will take to click this hyperlink. For those that need further incentive, here's a selection.

Pay special attention to the part I highlighted. For what it's worth, she nailed it — both in her description of me and of the office itself.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Second Only to "Constantly Vomitting Girl"

A headline from the feed that comes into my Gmail account:

I know the girl in question can't be named, given the circumstances, but something about referring to her only as "child abuse girl" seems almost worse. Also, given that she's been dubbed "child abuse girl," the fact that she's having secret meetings with adults seems especially wrong.

The Dandelion Who Could, Part Two

Spencer eagerly pointed out that the pot of dandelions that normally does nothing but makes leaves that quickly turn brown had sprouted another puff over the Thanksgiving holiday. You might recall how heralded the previous freakishly tall blossom. This time, the plant outdid itself.

A daylight shot from below:


The long stem in all its curvy glory:


The tall dandelion situated next to a Lego person to demonstrate relative size:


And one final shot, with a detail of the Lego person, in case you forgot what one looks like:


Please do not ask why I, at age twenty-five and no longer living with my parents, had access to a Lego person. Please do not ask why I only have the one and no actual Lego blocks. And finally, please do not ask why the one Lego person I have is an overly made-up farm girl with pigtails.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Old Man Double Junk

I'm also reading The Black Dossier, the third volume of Alan Moore's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, which has Mina Harker and Alan Quartermain living in 1960s London. Orlando, the Virginia Woolf interpretation, appears as well, after having cameoed ever-so-quickly in the second book. Like in Woolf's novel, this Orlando alternates between being female and male over the course of the many eons he's lived. Moore gives some background to the character, explaining that Orlando's father is Tiresias, the great seer of Greek mythology. While Tiresias's daughter inherited his gift for prophecy, Orlando gets the ambiguous gender. Which was odd, to me, since in all my reading of Greek mythology and stuff that alludes to Greek mythology, I don't recall ever hearing that Tiresias — a character who shows up a lot — is, to put it in modern terms, transgendered. This term works better if you imagine the word meaning "transcending gender. "Hermaphrodite" might be a better word, but don't confuse him with Hermaphroditus, with whom Tiresias could have apparently taken on a very interesting double date. Also, try not to conflate this Orlando with the other Orlando, who was partnered with Dawn, the entity that had one name but two bodies. Had only one half of Dawn been male, then Dawn would have been the perfect anti-hermaphrodite.

The double blossom of two fruitless flowers indeed.

Minor Earth Major Sky

EDIT: Like the other train post, I wrote this earlier than when it's being posted. I think I finished this around 12:30 p.m. yesterday, when my train would have been nearing King City.

The Santa Barbara Amtrak station, it turns out, puts too good a face on train travel.

Sitting on the broken-down benches on the gummy cement of the station in Salinas, staring out at empty tracks and beyond them the vast expanse of nothing reminds a guy that most Americans would rather rot in traffic jams that take the train. Especially when compared to the Santa Barbara depot — Santa Barbara being a city that gladly shells out 75 percent more money than it should on anything in order to make it look extra cute — the Salinas counterpart looks downright ghost townish. It's that dilapidated. Proof, however, that it's still a functional station: The relatively new signs taped to the first doors I saw recommended that I "please use other doors" and the fact that I sat there for an hour this morning, waiting for a late train to pick me up and end my Thanksgiving break my taking me back home. The traditional "Salinas sky" didn't help. That's looming fog, for those of you fortunate enough not to have spent enough time in Salinas to vouch for its regular weather patterns. Mostly white and glary, with knots of slightly grayer fluff here and there. In honor of the columnist, I think I'll dub it Gray-Blanc — not offensive in any way, but interesting and maybe a little dramatic and every now and then just a little mean-spirited.

I made it through the first 30 pages of Special Topics in Calamity Physics while I waited. As near as I could tell, I was the only passenger-to-be who passed time by reading anything. The rest just toddled around, going nowhere and talking about nothing, loudly. A family of five clustered to my side and talked about sea otters. I assume they'd been to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. I felt bad for hating them so instantly, but the mom who wore a jacket emblazoned with a giant Tweety Bird and who seemed to honestly think she could gave an otter a good life as her pet in Simi Valley was really the straw that broke the camel's back — and then brought the ruined camel back to Simi Valley, where she named it "Sandy" and fed it Skittles. The entire family either had hair too long or too short in the way that makes them look so very un-Californian, even though I'm pretty sure they were natives. And the son my age wore pajama pants, as if the 11:48 a.m. train made for such a morning rush that putting on real pants was just out of the question. They're sitting all throughout the car I'm sitting in now and keep walking over to each other to ask something dumb — "If I'm asleep when the train pulls in, will one of you wake me up?" — or declare something even dumber — "I guess it must be crowded, otherwise I wouldn't be sitting with someone I don't even know!"

Yeah, I feel a little bad about judging them instantaneously, but people who talk that loudly have to expect that they're inviting those around them to compare them to, let's say, unwashed dust wranglers who came to the city to buy magic beans, or maybe shaved moneys who somehow found clothes and wandered onto the train. (The latter case would explain the Tweety Bird jacket.)

I'll admit it right now that I feel worse for having judged Nola, the girl who sat next to me. There I was, sitting on my gross bench trying to put a dent in to Special Topics in Calamity Physics, which I've heard from two reputable sources—Spencer and Bri—is good in a way that I'd especially enjoy, when this girl wearing a pink sweatpants-sweatshirt-sweatseverything outfit plunks herself down next to me. She'd already taken off her sunglasses, said hi and introduced herself before I could make the mental jump from the written page to real-life and figure out what was happening. She had a flair for interviews that I can only envy. Within a few brief moments, she had extracted one sentence summaries of both my life and the past weekend. ("I'm from Hollister, but I went to school in Santa Barbara and now I work at a paper there… I didn't want to drive, so I took the train home for Thanksgiving and have been relaxing and doing work from home in the meantime.") Nola nodded and the just flatly decreed that my book was "good," and I guess that really through me off, even in light of her ability to make me forthcoming with strangers. It turned out, once I'd countered her reporterly talents with my own, that she's studying English at UCLA and is three years younger and far better read than I am—you know, like everybody seems to be. But somehow I felt especially dumb for my prejudice. I saw Nola's shiny hair, large shades and overwhelming pinkness and instantly let those factor equal "gum-smacking idiot, Us Weekly-reader, future baby machine." She might be, of course, but the fact that she not only knew of but had already read my book put me off guard — I'm choosing to believe because I was put in my place for being a judgmental prick and not because something I'm interested in had registered on the radar of somebody I'd pegged for being way to Top 40 to be cool. I haven't seen Nola since we've been on the train.

Oh. We just went through a tunnel. For a moment, my laptop was the brightest thing in my car. Heavy-handed symbolism?

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Xenu Willed It

Oops. I think this juxtaposition may have been my fault.

I wouldn't have realized it, either, unless Sara de la Guerra herself pointed it out. You'd think posting an item about John Travolta moments before posting Elena's column deriding Scientology would have set off a red alert in my head. But no.

Bianca Steeplechase

More strange ways people have been finding my blog lately.

Friday, November 23, 2007

The Cannibal's Venn Diagram

A day late, but nonetheless appropriate. Retroactively, have a happy Thanksgiving.

[ Source: the never-more-appropriate Mystery Meat ]

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Unseen California

NOTE: Though I'm posting this late on Thursday night, I wrote this at about 3 p.m. on Wednesday, when I was heading up north for Thanksgiving.

My train—the Pacific Starlight, or something to that effect—just passed another headed the opposite direction, resulting on one of those momentary seizures in which the background that has steadily rolled by for the last hour is suddenly replaced by screaming metal and glass. Not that I knew straight off that it was another train, mind you. The passing trains have stunned this railroad novice each and every time they passed. Once I realized what exactly that gray blur was, I then had to contend with being reminded that I was, in fact, riding on a train and not just somehow flying through the little-seen parts of California I'd been staring at — trees and beaches and all manner of backgrounds not visible from the 101.

Anyway, the passing seems as good a time as any to write about my first-ever cross-California train trip.

Most of those whom I've told of my Thanksgiving plans have shuddered. For them, train time is bad time, a means of making an already tedious commute even longer. "Six hours on a train?" they ask. "I'd rather just wait in traffic." For me, however, this railroad adventure has already paid for itself. First off, I love trains, even though I haven't ridden any with any frequency since the D.A.C.K. days. Not only do I get to escape the horror that is Thanksgiving traffic on the 101, but I also get valuable downtime to write whatever I please. (Technically, I'm supposed to be writing a feature for the Indy, but I'm currently deprived of both internet access and cell phone reception, and I'm far to starved for a distraction-free environment to let this opportunity pass by.) And as this Amtrak iron horse slowly chugs toward Salinas, I get a chance to reflect on the strangeness of having lived in California all my life, mostly, and yet never having seen what I'm seeing now. If it's not altogether new new, then I'm just now seeing it from the unique railway perspective — the backs of what faces the 101, for example, or the piles of gravel and debris that the state shoves away from the view of highway motorists. For every pile of rubble, however, there's also a pristine stretch of California coastline that's seemingly evaded being marred by human hands — an immaculate slope of sandy hillside with only the occasional deer or fox footprints to leave an indication that anything had ever been there. I'd never seen Vandenberg Village until today, and I'd only once ever seen the Hollister Ranch. (And even that time, it was through some savvy Veronica Marsing on Spencer's part.) I'm thrilled at the prospect of seeing how, exactly, the train manages the Cuesta Grade, but being a train newbie, I'm no less stoked on just hearing the train blare its whistle — I'm hearing it from the inside for the first time, don't forget — or the fact that I'm on my fourth gin and tonic but nonetheless working my way home for the holiday.

And seriously — this train couldn't have a more motley assortment of passengers. The very old, the very young, the driver's license-deprived, the poor, the college freshmen, the environmental, the just plain mental, and every other conceivable classification of public transportation user. I can't decide whether I'm more put off by my 300-pound seatmate, the guy whose rowing team t-shirt would seem to contradict any of the physical attributes people usually associate with the sport, or the high school-aged lesbian couple behind us, who refuses to come up for air for fear that stopping kissing might allow somebody to mistake them for not-lesbians. None of these strangers, however, can hold a candle to the two I sat with in the dining car for my fancy people lunch. Sitting beside each other, opposite me and my issue of Juxtapoz in the booth, were a guy who manages a construction company in Santa Barbara and who went to a Halloween party in Los Angeles held by his "adult industry" brother and then another guy who made Dwight Schrute look like the definition of cool. The former wanted to talk more about how the porn industry makes for easy money. The latter wanted to talk about nothing but missile launches at Vandenberg and why he didn't "know much about the adult industry." (I kept ordering drinks to go with my gardenburger.)

As I finish this, I'm now in San Luis Obispo, parked, so to speak, waiting for the train to chug toward Paso Robles and looking out at a lot full of the parked cars of Thanksgiving out-of-towners. I have three more hours ahead of me before April picks me up in Salinas. Lord knows what I will do until then.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

And the Villain Still Pursues Her

Below is the image that I found to accompany Starshine's column this week, which concerns sex ed. I find it rather fitting.

and the villain still pursues her

It's old enough that the copyright has lapsed, so it's all hunky-dory with the legal eagles. Hurray for strange old-timey Victorian cartoons illustrated for God-knows-what, God-knows-why.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Not So Grrrreat

A text from Spencer-on-a-train: "Did you know that your initials, when read as a word, sound remarkably like the slogan of that Sugar Smacks frog?"

Super Mario Something

In honor of the release of Super Mario Galaxy, I've collected a list of titles for future Mario games along the lines of the progression from Super Mario Land to Super Mario World to Super Mario Galaxy.
  • Super Mario Cubicle
  • Super Mario No Parking Zone
  • Super Mario Hills: A Planned Community
  • Super Mario Unified School District
  • The People's Republic of Super Mario
  • Super Mario Disputed Zone
  • Super Mario Archipelago
  • Super Mario Commonwealth of Independent States
  • Super Mario Tectonic Plate

The Answer, Apparently, Was "Enzo Ferrari"

I couldn't tell you what the question was, but it earned by Swiss cousin Marilla a sum of money that may or may not be "9'200 fr." I'll own up — I don't speak Italian and I don't understand the premise of this game show, which is either Swiss or Italian and which could possibly be called Attenti a quei due. All I have, really, is the description of the below YouTube video: "Quiz della TSI conduce Matteo Pelli, concorrenti Carlo e Marilla, e il personaggio misterioso...." Judging by the set — which looks like a James Bond villain's evil lair crossed with a casino — I'm guessing that it could be somewhat similar to Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. If you can make more sense of the below clip, which features Marilla and some guy named Carlo winning, then I'd love to hear about it.

Monday, November 19, 2007


Vaguely end-of-the-world-ish chalkboard note in the bathroom at Elsie's.

Well, that or an admission about somebody's bathroom functions. Either way, not what I'd like to here four beers in.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Cartoon Life

EDIT: My goof. The show is actually tonight and not tomorrow. I changed the date this went up to today, November 17, so it's now technically accurate. Sorry to anyone who actually read this and actually went to Muddy Waters and saw that neither I nor The Great Molly Hahn was there.

My friend Molly has an art show up at Muddy Waters. Anyone without a good reason not to should stop by to meet Molly — who is a presence, let me tell you — as well as see art that goes back to before her days as a editorial illustrator for the Daily Nexus. I did a small write up on Molly for this week's Indy.

The Cartoon Life

Yes, Molly Hahn is only 25-and-a-half years old, but her current exhibition at Muddy Waters Café in no way constitutes one of those shows where a young artist attempts to pass off a limited body of work as an all-encompassing retrospective. It’s just what she’s done that she thought people might like, she’ll tell you. What Hahn is too humble to admit is that she has been producing some of Santa Barbara’s liveliest cartoon-inspired art for the past seven years.

Hahn entered UCSB as a mathematics major in 2000, but drew editorial art and a regular comic strip,
Patty, for the Daily Nexus before working as a production coordinator for Mike Judge and Don Hertzfeldt’s biennial short film festival, The Animation Show, and as a promoter for the legendary animator Bill Plympton. Hahn’s is a nearly lifelong history of stylish doodling, and her fusion of cartooning and “higher art” — including paintings, sketches, and digital collages — results in pieces that amuse and give insight into her sunny-but-profound personality.

Currently on display at Muddy Waters Café are works Hahn considers among her best, including a series of octopi whose expressions are both morose and
Weirdos From Another Planet!-style goofy. Perhaps most striking are the pieces Hahn completed during a brief stint in Los Angeles, images that understandably look less cheerful than her Santa Barbara work. “Fushiagrok” combines a squat, humanoid doodle against a background of fuchsias, flowers she recalled as one of the more beautiful sights in L.A. This pairing of the comical with the sentimental appears repeatedly in Hahn’s work, whether it’s in her contemplative comic strips —Patty, or its spiritual successor, Claretoonz — or stylized depictions of thick-thighed women who look frumpy, funky, and primordially feminine.

In true Molly Hahn style, the artist will be donating a portion of the proceeds from the sale of her work to the Ruby Scholarship. Sponsored by the Santa Barbara-based Future Traditions Foundation, the scholarship will benefit low-income youth with artistic aspirations.

4•1•1: Molly Hahn will be hosting a reception on Saturday, November 17, from 5-8 p.m. at Muddy Waters Café (508 E. Haley St.). S.B. rockers oso will play at 10:30 p.m
Do check our Molly's blog as well as her website.

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Plumber, the Slayer and the Dominatrix

Funny thing about the newest Mario game, Super Mario Galaxy, which was released November 12. It doesn’t abbreviate so well for me. Just use the initials and you get “SMG,” a three-letter string that Buffy fans like myself have come to associate strictly with actress Sarah Michelle Gellar. Shorted the more familiar first two words and you get “SM Galaxy,” which is exactly one ampersand away from sounding like a sex dungeon, or at least a store where one could buy items to stock his or her sex dungeon.

I foresee myself writing this one out a lot.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Treasures of the Silk Surplus

I'm defeated. George's blog scored an out-and-out "postgrad" rating by the Blog Readability Test, while mine merited only a lousy "undergrad."

cash advance

I graduated, dammit. Sure, I haven't been to school since, but I have a diploma. Somewhere. In any case, I'd like to think the little cajigger that determines this grade does so through a scan for typos, and an examination of vocabulary size and the word frequency, and major menos puntos for any use of "LOL," LMAO," "U R" in lieu of "you are," and triple exclamation points.

For the record, you can scan individual posts too. The recent Southland Tales post can a full-on "genius" rank. Woo.

cash advance

Jonesing for Soda

I read an article on Jones Soda's new line of drinkable revoltomania. (Blog trail: USA Today via Geek Like Me via Neatorama.)

Call me sick, but I am fascinated by flavors-that-should-not-be, especially when applied to unusual physical matter. Those Jelly Belly jellybeans that taste like grass, for example? Endless fun for me. Anyway, after hearing about the new variety of holiday-themed sodas — Sugar Plum, Christmas Tree, Egg Nog, Christmas Ham for Yule-types; Jelly Doughnut, Applesauce, Chocolate Coins and Latkes for Jews or the Jew-at-heart — I wanted to see just how many strange flavor ventures Jones has undertaken so far. Wikipedia saves the day. For you: a list.

The original six:
  • Orange
  • Cherry
  • Lemon-Lime
  • Strawberry-Lime
  • Raspberry
  • Grape
Thanksgiving flavors:
  • Turkey & Gravy
  • Cranberry
  • Mashed Potatoes & Butter
  • Green Bean Casserole
  • Fruit Cake
  • Brussels Sprout with Prosciutto
  • Cranberry
  • Wild Herb Stuffing
  • Pumpkin Pie
  • Broccoli Casserole
  • Salmon Pâté
  • Corn on the Cob
  • Pecan Pie
  • Sweet Potato
  • Dinner Roll
  • Pea
  • Antacid
  • Cherry Pie
  • Banana Cream Pie
  • Key Lime Pie
  • Apple Pie
  • Blueberry Pie
  • Chocolate Fudge
  • Peachy Keen
  • Pineapple Upside Down
For Halloween:
  • Candy Corn
  • Strawberry S'lime
  • Scary Berry Lemonade
  • Caramel Apple
  • Spider Cider
  • Berried Alive
  • Gruesome Grape
  • Sour Lemon Drop Dead
  • Lemon Drop Dead
  • Creepy Cranberry
  • Monster Mojito
  • Black Cat Licorice
  • Dread Licorice (red licorice)
  • Gingerbread Man
  • Christmas Cocoa
  • Candy Cane
  • Egg Nog
  • Sugar Plum
  • Christmas Ham
  • Christmas Tree
  • Jingle Lime Soda
  • Jingle Berry Soda
  • Jingle Blue Bubble Gum Soda
  • Jingle Cream Soda
  • Chocolate Coins
  • Applesauce
  • Jelly Doughnut
  • Latke
And the rest:
  • Love Potion #6 (for Valentine's)
  • A Seattle Seahawks collector pack (including Perspiration, Natural Field Turf, Dirt, Sweet Victory, and Sports Cream)
  • Pure Cane Ginger Ale
  • Club Soda
  • Red Line Root Beer
  • Lemon Ginger
  • Passion
  • Root Beer
  • Peach Ginseng
  • Root Beer
  • Fruit Punch
  • Cream Soda
  • Vanilla Cola
  • Orange Cream
  • MF Grape
  • Blue Bubblegum
  • Kiwi
  • Berry Lemonade
  • Tangerine
  • Watermelon
  • Blueberry
  • Blueberry Pomegranate
  • Crushed Melon
  • Green Apple
  • Lemon Drop
  • Cherry
  • Strawberries and Cream
  • Pure Cane Cola
  • Twisted Lime
  • Pure Cane Lemon Lime
  • A few music puns that I have no idea what they taste like (Bohemian Raspberry, Berry White, D'Peach Mode, Strawberry Manilow)
  • Limes With Orange
  • Açai = MC²
  • Bananaberry
  • Purple Carrot
  • And then a group I call "Your Guess Is as Good as Mine" (Road Kill Soda, Billy Pop, FuFu Berry, Happy, Ben Jorgensen, Fun, Pink, Bug Juice, Bada Bing!, Fu Cran Fu, Betty, Dave, Black)
Of course, some flavors have been phased in and out over time. My advice is to drink whatever you can get your hands on, if only for the bragging rights.

Rehashed Faces

First this; now I find there's a kidicarus22. The URL for his MySpace page is exactly one character different from mine.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Pop Culture Meltdown

Aly's benevolence allowed me to sit in on a sneak preview of Richard Kelly's Southland Tales today at Plaza de Oro. Right around the time I felt like I'd seen Kelly's previous effort, Donnie Darko, enough times that I finally felt like I understood it, I first heard about Southland Tales. That was in 2005. Nearly two-and-a-half years later, this film is finally hitting theaters. Funny, when I think about it. I first blogged about the similarly themed Inland Empire back in May of 2005 and saw it last August, meaning I actually had to wait even longer for Southland Tales.

Was it worth it?

Yes and no. I liked the film in theory and I liked parts of it, but as a whole, sprawling epic to sit through in a theater with one other person — another reviewer who writes for another paper and who left a half-hour before the film ended — it never really ties up into anything that makes sense. And that's being said by somebody who could deal with Inland Empire and who loved Donnie Darko. It's not the unwatchable disaster some reviewers have made it out to be, but it definitely shows that quite a bit was edited out of the final product. (Whether that would have made the film made any more sense, I don't know.)

In writing this review, I could feel a small modicum of Kelly's pain. The first draft ran about a hundred words too long, and I had to pick through the various points I had made a edit out what I ultimately deemed to be extra. I couldn't in good conscious omit the reference to Matthew Barney, for example, but the evaluation of Cheri Oteri's dramatic acting fell by the wayside.

Some of the chopped-out points appear below.
Pop Culture Meltdown

Can a film capture the current zeitgeist and still be an utter failure?
On paper, any work that faithfully re-creates the cultural components of a given point in time must inherently be good, in the sense of art imitating life. However, Southland Tales — Richard Kelly's directorial follow-up to his cult hit mindbender Donnie Darko — ultimately fails to coalesce into a good film. Kelly, who also wrote the film, manages to include everything — Hollywood, a presidential election, war, porn, reality TV, terrorism, the energy crisis, indie music, Christianity, time travel, Southern California wildfires, the looming apocalypse, and Bai Ling — but warps them until the pieces no longer fit together. Not that they necessarily jive in the non-Kellyverse, of course, but audiences will leave Southland Tales with their heads swirling.

Now the world's most comparatively slim plot summary: Actor Boxer Santaros (Dwayne Johnson, formerly "The Rock") awakens in the Nevada desert without his memory and promptly hops atop porn star Krysta Now (Sarah Michelle Gellar), with whom he writes a screenplay about the end of the world. Meanwhile, a cop and his twin (both Sean William Scott) tangle with some liberal revolutionaries headquartered in Venice Beach. Then everything goes boom.
Johnson, Gellar, and Scott — each of whom were more celebrated stars with the long-delayed Southland Tales first went into production — acquit themselves admirably enough, creating fleshed-out characters amid the chaos. The preponderance of Saturday Night Live alums rounding out the cast succeed just as often as they fail but, overall, underscore the satire of the pop culture-as-reality dynamic. If all that wasn't enough, Kelly also manages to pay homage to surrealist greats David Lynch — Mulholland Drive's Rebekah del Rio cameos — and Matthew Barney — Cremaster-style kickline girls and an ominous zeppelin also appear. In short, a hot mess, but one that offers enough aesthetic stimulation and food-for-thought that one can't discount it altogether.

Given the brink-of-disaster state of the world about to receive Southland Tales, maybe it makes sense that the movie that creates an off-kilter but not-to-off version of reality doesn't succeed. All this apocalypse talk has this reviewer wondering if we won't either.
The spare bits:
  • First, Justin Timberlake. Not great as the film's narrator and, arguably, the fourth-most important character.
  • I'm pretty certain most of the characters' names mean something, but I don't have the energy to look into it at the moment. One exception: The blimp Jenny von Westphalen takes its name from Karl Marx's wife.
  • Oddly, Southland Tales has more in common with Domino — the biopic that Kelly penned but didn't direct — than Donnie Darko, what with all the pop culture mishmash.
  • Some of the special effects really shine. Others look like something from the first season of Buffy. Maybe it's a lame quibble, but the clunkier computer-generated graphics drew me out of the movie.
  • Music plays a bigger role than I thought, and I went in knowing it has musical numbers. The film has three chapters: "Temptation Waits" (a song by Garbage), "Wave of Mutilation" (like The Pixies song), and "Memory Gospel" (the Moby song). It's neat. Moby himself did a lot of the soundtrack, but it rarely feels like you're stuck in a theater listening to Moby. But you are. Also, the fact that the big musical number involves The Killers' "All These Things That I've Done," which doesn't date the scene as badly as I thought it made. Remember, this would have been so much more of-the-moment had the film come out in 2005.
  • Another thing that dates the film: It stars Fat Will Sasso, formerly of Mad TV. The actor has since slimmed down to the point of being almost unrecognizable. I call him Skinny Will Sasso now.
  • Another weird connection to Inland Empire: Sarah Michelle Gellar's character leads a dance routine with three other porn stars. It reminded me of the hookers doing "The Loco-Motion" enough that I now have "The Loco-Motion" stuck in my head again.
  • The SNL-ers are hit and miss. Cheri Oteri, for example, does a lot better that you might think with her role, a scheming double agent and stand-up comedian. That's saying, of course, that your expectations are appropriately low. Jon Lovitz, however, comes off as just Jon Lovitz in a cop costume. Nora Dunn does well, but mostly because my memories of her on SNL are fuzzy. (I was young, it was on late, her reruns don't air that often.) Amy Poehler's scenes, however, could have easily been lifted from Upright Citizens Brigade sketches. In one of them, her character actually plays a character. Janeane Garofolao's role of Gen. Teena MacArthur was edited down almost into non-existence. As near as I can tell, she only appears once in a crowd scene near the end of the film.
  • Miranda Richardson, who plays one of the villains, looks and sounds so much like Julianne Moore I thought she was her and thought Moore had her name removed from the billing and all promotional materials.
  • Wallace Shawn looks like an extra from the David Lynch version of Dune, which begs some very unfortunate comparisons.
  • Five words: Bai Ling plays Bai Ling.
  • Kevin Smith apparently appeared in the film, at least according to IMDb. Who knew?
  • Zelda Rubenstein, the psychic midget from the Poltergeist movies is not, in fact, dead and is instead in the film as a creepy old woman. I wonder if she's going for a record for "actress with the longest career of playing a creepy old lady."
  • Am I crazy, or were Ali Larter and Mary McDonnell supposed to be in this movie?
  • I get the whole Book of Revelations analogy, but for the life of me I'm not sure whether Sarah Michelle Gellar, Bai Ling or Mandy Moore was supposed to be the Whore of Babylon.
In short, not a great movie and not even a good movie, really. But one with enough potential that I have something to chew on tonight.

Hello, My Name Is Ghost

Play Mario games all your life and you’ll come to understand a few facts about the universe that the portly plumber lives in. Coins can float in the air, skeletal turtles can reassemble themselves if stomped and while Thowmps will attempt to crush you if you stand too close, Piranha Plants will only emerge from their pipes if you stand far away.

Since Super Mario Bros. 3, Mario has been plagued by ghosts called Boos — originally Boo Didley, in keeping with a sometimes-used theme of allusions to famous musicians. The ghosts are famous for appearing shy, even covering their faces, when a character faces them but immediately turning vicious when the character turns away. Like many bit players in the Mario games, the Boos became popular enough that they eventually graduated to the roster of playable characters in the spin-offs. In 1999, Nintendo released Mario Tennis for the Nintendo 64, and Boo was among the selectable netters. What’s interesting about Boo’s arrival is how news of it hit the then-nascent world of gaming news blogs: When the list of characters went online, it retained the Japanese names, causing series villain Bowser to be Koopa, stalwart Mushroom Retainer Toad to be Kinopio, and Boo to be Teresa.

You see, the Japanese name for this creature is a pun on one of several Japanese words referring to being shy. (It is not, as I originally wrote, the Japanese word for “ghost.”) Most American gamers weren’t aware of this or even that the character would have been called anything different in Japan. Just scanning over the list, many ended up thinking that the series had somehow gained a new female character named Teresa — a possibility that wouldn’t have been unlikely, given that Mario Tennis introduced Waluigi, the evil version of Luigi. (Waluigi’s name also warrants a mention, I suppose, but I already talked about it here, so go look at that.) Eventually, everybody realized that the ghost was just the regular old Boo character, that Teresa wasn’t a proper name, and that no new female character would appear. The ghost has remained Boo ever since.

I’ve always enjoyed this example of the confusion caused not only by two languages having different words for the same idea but by one language’s word having an entirely unrelated meaning in another. A common female name here has a decidedly unusual meaning in Japan. I can’t help wonder if a woman named Teresa might encounter strange reactions while traveling in Japan.

“Hello, my name is Ghost.”

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Spatula Disaster

From Nate, proof that wherever you work could be a zillion times lamer.

Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe, eat your heart out. And yes, the Longaberger Company does, in fact, make baskets.

Gaylord Q. Tinkledink

When Dansy text messaged me that I should watch The Simpsons tonight, I figured there'd be something Drew-specific in it. It turned out to be better than I could have ever hoped for: tonight's episode, "Little Orphan Millie," takes place, if only for a few moments, in Solvang, the Disneyland-for-Danes quilting store of a town that I resent for more reasons than I care to list. I can't quite believe that Solvang registered on radar of the episode's writer — Mick Kelly, quite possibly writing for the first time — but at the same time, I note that the show took nineteen seasons to get around to mentioning it. That, I'm positing, is precisely how long it should take any show to feature Solvang in any way. For what it was, the episode dealt with Solvang just how I would have wanted it to: jokes about butter cookie and boring Danish architecture. Amazing.

One more quick note: The Simpsons episode concerned Milhouse thinking his parents were dead after they fell over the rail of a cruise ship and were lost at sea. The episode weirdly mirrored last week's 100th episode of Family Guy, in which Lois seemingly died after she fell off a cruise ship. Even more weirdly, last week's Family Guy episode was "to be continued," meaning we had to deal with even more fake-dying-by-falling-of-cruise ships with the part two that aired just one half-hour after tonight's Simpsons.

Medusa Attacks

A vintage commercial for the Nintendo title Kid Icarus, the namesake for my online alias at the time I founded this blog.

Greek mythology meets high kitsch. The tentacled monster is, of course, Medusa, hence why the Japanese man turns into a statue.

[ From RetroGameVideos, via Kotaku ]

Jumbo Versus Peewee

No joke: The little one is smaller than the larger one's head. How often can that phrase be spoken about a meeting between two Guinness record holders?

[ From The Daily Mail, via electro^plankton ]

Where the Puzzles and Pagans Lay

It delights me: popular American films depicted in the style of Slavic art.

click for larger version

[ From, via Blogadilla ]

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Robotnik No Longer

Did anybody else realize that Sega had changed the name of the Sonic the Hedgehog big bad from Dr. Robotnik to Dr. Eggman?

Apparently he was always called Eggman in Japan, and the American games have been gradually dropping Robotnik in favor of the "correct," Japanese name. I feel protetcive of "Robotnik," somehow.

Friday, November 09, 2007

How Bizarre

The playlist, as near as I've heard it, marks a very certain era: Third Eye Blind's "Jumper," Dishwalla's "Counting Blue Cars," Sarah McLachlan's "Sweet Surrender," and Jewel's "Who Will Save Your Soul?" just to name a few. I don't so much mind being subjected to it. These songs are, after all, nostalgic, if for a time in my life I'm none too eager to re-live. I can even forgive the fact that I don't have a chance to change what I hear.

No, what bothers me most about having a new downstairs neighbor whose acoustic guitar versions of Top 40 rock from the 1990s drift through the too-thin insulation, through the wooden floor, and into my ears is that I frequently must put up with her stopping mid-song to adjust her tone, pitch, tempo or to re-remember the lyrics. No lie:
Tell me all your thoughts on God —

tell me all your thoughts on God —

tell me all your thoughts on God —

on God —

on God —

tell me all your thoughts on God, cuz I'd really like to meet her —

really like to meet her —

really like to meet her —

all your thoughts on God —

God —

God —

cuz I'd really like to meet her —

really like to meet her —

really like to meet her —

really like to meet her...
It's like being tied to a chair in the presence of a skipping record and being unable to either bump the player into proper function or blow out your brains.

But really, I don't mind that much otherwise.

Of course, I have to admit — if she start's with "Lovefool" I'll tunnel through the floor, drop into what I think is her rehearsal room and smash her guitar into tiny pieces.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

The End Is Too Near

My movie review in this week's Independent:
Before the Devil Knows You're Dead

Since its plot unfolds in scenes arranged out of chronological order, one can’t help but wonder why the first shot of Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead had to be the one depicting Phillip Seymour Hoffman baring his ass and thrusting atop Marisa Tomei in some of the most mechanical lovemaking ever glimpsed in a movie. Surely, the Tarantino sense of time could have spared audiences a view of Hoffman’s full moon at least until a few minutes in.

But that’s probably a superficial criticism. The question Sidney Lumet’s longtime fans should ask is why an accomplished director would bother with such an unremarkable script. Sure, it has characters in the traditional Lumet situations — trapped, for one reason or another, and then driven to their breaking points — but subtract Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead’s plot twists and atypical-but-hardly-unconventional chronology, and the end result is a fairly simple crime drama with a predictable ending. Strapped for cash, two sons (Hoffman and Ethan Hawke) plot a robbery of their own parents’ jewelry store. The heist goes bad, and Mom gets killed. While the boys must cope with the resulting guilt, Dad (Albert Finney) grows increasingly fixated on revenge. On top of that already far-fetched family dysfunction, Tomei’s character is married to Hoffman’s, but also sleeping with Hawke’s, giving the actress little to do but be topless and cry — sometimes simultaneously.

Lumet manages to steer the film away from the kind of melodrama that would normally accompany such plotlines, but Before the Devil ultimately falls short of the return to Lumet’s glory days that some had predicted. As far as crime flicks go, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead delivers a watchable but forgettable story. Most viewers will be able to call the ending from a mile away. (Appropriate, maybe, for a film that literally begins with an obvious end.) And talented though the cast may be, they seem as trapped by their under-written roles as are their characters by their various predicaments. And that’s the real shame, because protagonists who make choices this bad could have used more development to elicit some sympathy from this audience member.

Inquiring Dinas Want to Know

Dina sent me the following picture in an email with the subject line "What is?" and no other text:

Well, Dina, my coworker Ben says the animals in the photo are badgers, if that's what you were asking. In case you were more interested in knowing why the image of this badger party had the file name "dooo," then that's a mystery that I can't solve. And, finally, if you were more interested in knowing why so many badgers had congregated in this unfortunate person's backyard and not just what they were, the answer is "badger orgy."

My question for you, dear Dina, is this: Where on earth did you find this photo to begin with?

The Ghost Tree of Malaysia

One that somehow missed the transition to here from the now-abandoned Die Wunderkammer.

Trees are creepy.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Your Beat Is Nice

In case you're wondering, the below conversation is in reference to this post.

Dina: this comment thread going on. amazing
me: i know
Dina: LMAO
me: El Mao. El Meow
Dina: i also enjoy how he spells paedophile. oh, rocks in the head anonymous british guy, how you've brightened my day
me: seriously, i think there's a bunch of rabid john o'hurley fans out there who love dancing with the stars and DON'T love the inherent humor in one of the show's contestants choking to death his partner on live TV
Dina: LMAO, rock in the head. LMOA. i don't know why that makes me so happy
me: El-Mwah. i especially like the short amount of time it took for someone to accuse me of misogyny. really, it would have been just as funny to casually pass off the woman killing john o'hurley as being funny
Dina: indeed. fantastical.
me: do people really think i'm saying the violence itself is funny? do they not see how passing off the mock violence so casually and not being the focus of the post is what's really funny?
Dina: oh, drew. you clearly just don't understand real humor. murder is funny. you need to emphasize it more clearly for your readership. get those rocks out of your head and into the faces of strangers. that's the ticket
Even better: Since Dina and I had this conversation, an additional commenter who doesn't believe in commas actually referred to me as "buddy" and did so seriously. That's so cute!

Also, I did another image search and found this photo of the very same celebrity attempting to suck the life force out of an innocent infant king.

And all while an alarmed cow looks on, no less! Now bring it, you dead-eyed John O'Hurley fans. Which sin will you accuse me of endorsing now? Cannibalism? Soul-eating? Infanticide? Regicide? And why didn't anyone get upset when this same blog implied that the far-more-beloved America Ferrera of having committed crimes here in Santa Barbara?

Good Friends

I can only guess why Nate texted me this cell phone photo of a cereal box.

It could very well be the old couple, straining to grin like an interracial version of the old people hobgoblins from Mulholland Drive. Or it could be that the cereal itself is advertised as being a "trio of flakes, twigs and granola." (Seriously? Flakes? And twigs? Two things that generally bring unappetizing connotations to mind and therefore have no place in food?) Or, finally, it could be that Nate remembered the name of this blog wrong and assumed I'd be interested in the fronts of cereal boxes.

Whichever one it is, those old people are not anything I want to see first thing in the morning.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

We Like to Ride on Executive Planes

Today we discovered the perfect activity for an aimless Sunday afternoon in Santa Barbara: walking through the Mission rose garden, reading the names on the plaques and deciding if each sounds more like a sex act, a cocktail, a girl band, a self-help book or a name you shouldn't call a person to his face. Some results:
  • Chrysler Imperial Hybrid Tea (a cocktail)
  • Apricot Nectar (a cocktail)
  • Barbra Streisand (something you shouldn't call a person)
  • Chicago Peace (sex act)
  • Double Delight (sex act)
  • Escapade (a cocktail or a sex act)
  • Fragrant Cloud (sex act)
  • Indonesian Queen (something you shouldn't call a person)
  • Mister Lincoln (a girl band)
  • Opening Night (sex act)
  • Color Magic (cocktail, possibly a self-help book)
  • Duet (sex act)
  • Gemini (a sex act, much in the manner of the previous entry)
  • Broadway (sex act)
  • Marmalade Skies (a cocktail)
  • Special Occasion (maybe a perfume, definitely a sex act)
  • Celebrity (a terrible perfume)
  • New Beginning (a self-help book)
  • Black Jade (something you shouldn't call a person)
This, of course is a natural evolution of the usual game for any conspicuous group of words: band name, album name or book title.

The Thrill of the Chase Without the Dots

What better-fitting video for a Go! Team song than a live-action re-creation of Ms. Pac Man?

Method Acting in Reverse

It could very well be that everyone else already knows this. I just learned about it today and find it odd.

Actor John O'Hurley, seen above strangling a woman on the set of Dancing With the Stars, is best-known as having played J. Peterman — a fictional version of the catalog owner of the same name and Elaine's boss on Seinfeld. Since Seinfeld ended, O'Hurley has been busy performing in Spamalot and replacing Richard Karn as the host of Family Feud. More notably, however, when the J. Peterman Company re-launched after having gone out of business, it did so with O'Hurley on board as a co-owner. He is now at least nominally in charge of a business he once helped to parody.

Weird, no?

Also: Yes But No But Yes has posted a cool post detailing the whereabouts and whatabouts of several other Seinfeld alum.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Pink Typhoon

I think we can start here.

I know, I know. Not only is this the first and probably only time I've heard anything about Here's Boomer, but the prospect of The Facts of Life being a "new series" is so strange to me that it's funny. (Also, please note the presence of Molly Ringwald among the show's main cast before her character, whose name is also Molly, was blinked into obscurity.) Then, of course, there's the show that I'm focusing on in this post: Pink Lady, which before it was cancelled was better known as Pink Lady and Jeff. It featured comedian Jeff Altman — of whom I'm only aware otherwise as being one of the lesser Hoggs on Dukes of Hazard — and the Japanese pop group Pink Lady side-by-side, Tony Orlando & Dawn-style.

Yes, the name of the band in which two ladies don't always wear pink is Pink Lady, singular. I suppose Pink Ladies would create associations with Grease, though, so I can forgive this bit. Believe me, the group's name is small potatoes compared to the staggering weirdness that's going on here.

I learned of Pink Lady and Jeff only after seeing it listed on the Chicago Tribune's list of the 25 worst TV shows of all time. (Also dinged: Petticoat Junction, Small Wonder and My Mother the Car.) The purported suckiness of Pink Lady and Jeff stemmed in part from clunky jokes and the fact that singers Mie and Kei spoke almost no English and had to learn their lines and lyrics phonetically. You can't really tell, at least, in their cover of "Boogie Wonderland," as they sing with appropriate funk levels and in accents no worse than anybody else who didn't grow up speaking English.

Occasionally, however, they'd give these poor ladies a break and let them sing one of the songs that made them such a huge hit in Japan. Like this below performance of "Monster," in which Mie and Kei dress up like Captain EO.

They seem like they're having more fun when they sing in Japanese. I'd place their sound somewhere between the B-52s and The Go! Team, which might help explain why American audiences weren't too interested in Mie and Kei's antics, Jeff Altman or no Jeff Altman. Shortly into the run of Pink Lady and Jefffive episodes, according to IMDb — the show was canned by NBC. Mie and Kei trudged back to Japan, with only the fawning love of millions of fans to comfort them, and the once-omnipresent variety show format sputtered and died. Eventually, Mie and Kei shed their Pink Lady personas and returned to being Mitsuyo Nemoto and Keiko Masuda, the names under which they had successful acting and solo singing careers.

But that's not to say Pink Lady and Jeff can't be remembered for being not just a colossal failure but a flamingly colossal failure that emits multicolored rays of lights and can be seen from well beyond the Shizouka Prefacture. Personally, I can't wonder how life might have ended up if this show were the one to run for nine seasons instead of The Facts of Life, perhaps even incorporating Mrs. Garrett and Tootie after the hypothetical demise of Facts. Pink Lady and Jeff stands as a testament both the astounding weirdness that can result when American and Japanese pop culture collide and to network TV's desire to capitalize on quite possibly anything it can. (Come to think of it, in light of the looming TV writers' strike, I wonder the ladies of Pink Lady might be asked to clear their schedules on Monday and head back to our shores.)

On that note, I'm leaving you with one last bit by Mie and Kei: their Japanese hit single "UFO," which they also performed on the show in their native language. Between the green-screened space opera backgrounds and the back-up dancers who look like extras from Xanadu, you have to admit that, if nothing else, it's a spectacle you wouldn't have thought would have been aired on prime time.