"In the moments that require his zaniest self, he suggests a subtle Chris Farley, with the crucial difference of seeming to prefer malted milkshakes to speedballs."
"No, Richter must once again take the baton from Tonight's Ed McMahon—assuming that McMahon has not hocked it."
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Thursday, March 26, 2009
One of the interesting details of the show is how the dolls all have names that come directly from the NATO Phonetic Alphabet. For the four dolls we already know (Alpha, Echo, Sierra and Victor) the names sound right and even make some symbolic sense. Out of the remaining, I have to wonder which ones they will use. Here are my pics (likelihood descending):
Charlie, Juliet, Mike, Oscar and Romeo: These are the most obvious name names, so I suspect they'll be used sooner rather than later.
Kilo: Perfect name for a doll who looks like he can kick ass. They can't all look like lithe supermodels, after all.
Delta: Given that this is the only other Greek letter besides Alpha, I can see them saving it for a doll that is made specifically to track down the rogue doll that's giving them so much grief.
Papa: This would be perfect for an older doll, which certainly must be called for occasionally.
November: Very New Age-y. She'll probably bond with Sierra.
India, Lima, Quebec, Yankee and Zulu: These lend themselves to literal applications, but I don't really see Josh putting forward an African and an Indian named Zulu and India, respectively. He could get playful and use the same names but reverse the races, but I doubt that too. Lima and Quebec, however, are a little more subtle, though I don't know how much the French and Spanish languages will be applicable to blank slates. As for Yankee, I'm guessing this is the wild card of the five presented that makes it onto the show.
Bravo: This one will wear a blond pompadour, a tight black t-shirt and talk like Elvis.
Whiskey: No idea, but I can't for the episode when this character is introduced.
Foxtrot and Tango: Well, if they need some dolls to do undercover work on Dancing with the Stars, then these are their best bets.
Uniform: Given that dolls are blank slates able to turn into anything, this name might be too literal.
X-ray: I think we're slipping into superhero territory, here.
Golf and Hotel: Um... yeah. Maybe if we get to season, like... eight.
Monday, March 23, 2009
Friday, March 20, 2009
I'm trying to be empathetic to what motivates them. We think they're terrorists, but we have to remember that 96 percent of the planet is not American. And most of them look at us like an empire. When I write about us being an empire, it touches a nerve more than almost anything else I write. I get so much angry feedback.
But I don't say we're an empire. I say the world sees us as one. I say there's never been an empire that didn't have disgruntled people on its fringes looking for reasons to fight. We think, "Don't they have any decency? Why don't they just line up in formation so we can carpet bomb them?" But they're smart enough to know that's a quick prescription to being silenced in a hurry.
We shot from the bushes at the redcoats when we were fighting our war against an empire. Now they shoot from the bushes at us. It shouldn't surprise us. I'm not saying it's nice. But I try to remind Americans that Nathan Hales and Patrick Henrys and Ethan Allens are a dime a dozen on this planet. Ours were great. But there's lots of people who wish they had more than one life to give for their country. We diminish them by saying, "Oh, they're terrorists and life is cheap for them." They're passionate for their way of life. And they will give their life for what is important to their families.
As a travel writer, I get to be the provocateur, the medieval jester. I go out there and learn what it's like and come home and tell people truth to their face. Sometimes they don't like it. But it's healthy and good for our country to have a better appreciation of what motivates other people. The flip side of fear is understanding. And you gain that through travel.
Part of this reminds me of a post I did three years ago. Anyway, go read the whole Steves' interview here. It's well worth your time.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
But if you have seen a certain film, I encourage you to look it up on IMDb and scan through the keywords, because sometimes they can be hilarious. Take for example, some choice keywords from Goodfellas. Spoilers (DUH!) ahead:
Foot Blown Off
Stabbed In The Head
Person In Car Trunk
Shot In The Foot
Head Blown Off
Shot In The Head
Witness Protection Program
Kicked In The Face
Shot In The Chest
Shot In The Back
Shot In The Face
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
I posted this video almost a year ago, and it contains all PD music from old serials... except for one burst of The Beach Boys near the end. Naturally, Warner Music Group had a problem with this and slapped the unmovable mute button on my short.
The options given to me by YouTube break down as follows: either contest the copyright (which they all but scream that I have no way in hell of winning), swap out the morsel of copyrighted music or render your video mute permanently.
In terms of replacing it, the music is pretty important to the film and is a surprise when it comes up, so it would be hard to find an appropriate replacement. Is there even such a thing as "Public Domain Surf Music"? I just did a Google search for the quote and nothing comes up.
The other option is to leave it mute. Given that it uses title cards like the old serials (and silent films before them), I'm leaning towards this option. It does have the benefit of leaving that message up for all viewers to see and seethe at. WMG is just making friends left and right, ain't they?
But in the end, I'm less mad at Warner Music Group and more angry at YouTube. Not because they leaned over for the music industry. They've had enough legal problems that I can understand their motivations here (and even sympathize).
No, what makes me angry was that they didn't even inform me of it. I have no idea how long my video has been like this (it could be as long as three months, since that was the time someone last commented on it). I'm guessing they stay mute themselves on these sorts of alterations in the hopes that YouTube users don't even notice and, therefore, less people give them grief for it.
It's pretty cowardly, but I suppose they sooth their consciouses by reminding themselves their services are free. True enough, but their not doing their brand name any favors by this kind of behavior.
Monday, March 16, 2009
Short story: I was instructed by my superiors on Wednesday of last week that I was being moved to a different branch. The branch I am going to has a larger number of problems and issues than the one I'm at now and is, therefore, not seen as a desirable place to be.
After the initial shock, however, I decided I'd make the best of this. My start date is the 28th. Even if I can get this day off (and I do plan to), I'm going to give the FFF a pass this year much to my regret. I'll have too much on my mind on that weekend before the big move to really enjoy the Festival.
More details to come.
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Monday, March 09, 2009
The one title that I have tagged as a must see is Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation!. This sounds like pure film buff bliss:
Free-wheelin' sex romps! Bloodsoaked terror tales! High-octane action extravaganzas! They're the ingredients of NOT QUITE HOLLYWOOD, the wild, wonderful, untold story of "Ozploitation" films of the '70s and '80s. It irreverently documents an era when Australian cinema got its gear off and showed the world a full-frontal explosion of sex, violence, horror, and foot-to-the-floor, full bore action! In 1971, with the introduction of the R-certificate, Australia's censorship regime went from repressive to progressive virtually overnight. This cultural explosion gave birth to arthouse classics, but also spawned a group of demon children rivaling, and even surpassing, their American cousins in sheer outrageousness. Jam-packed with amazing anecdotes from the genre's participants as well as appreciations from fans and foes alike (the former including an effusive Quentin Tarantino), NOT QUITE HOLLYWOOD is a fast-moving journey through an unjustly forgotten cinematic era, one unashamedly packed full of boobs, pubes, tubes... and even a little kung fu.Naturally enough, this will be a midnight screening. Also, in terms of the "B-Grade Cinema History" theme, this ties nicely to one of my FFF favorites from last year, Spine Tingler: The William Castle Story.
As for my other three picks, those are still up in the air. I have until Saturday, when I trek down to Orlando to get tickets, to decide. More to come.
Saturday, March 07, 2009
The reason for this was their availability of certain discs. When you add titles to your queue, you're told the title is either "Available", "Short Wait", "Long Wait" or "Very Long Wait". About 90-95% fall into that first category. The other three are either for extremely popular new DVD's or obscure ones.
As you can imagine, my tastes bend towards obscure. My long list had included about twenty titles that were categorized into one of those three statuses and had not changed for over a year. It was as if Blockbuster was taunting me: "Yes, we have these movies... but you can't have them! BWAHAHAHAHA!".
Back in January, I decided to drastically cut my list down. Out of the dozen that I had left, I included two that had been forever in limbo: One listed as "Short Wait" and one listed as "Long Wait". I figured that if I had so few movies on the list, they would be compelled to fill these two requests.
So earlier this week, I saw the "Long Wait" disc turn into a "Short Wait" then on Thursday list as "Available". WHEE! I placed the title at the top of my queue and promptly returned two of the three discs I had out. When I checked my Blockbuster account the next morning, I saw the disc had changed back to "Long Wait".
You'd think that after that anticlimax, I'd just cut ties with Blockbuster for good. But, no, their service is still worth something. And though it may seem cruel, I'm going to get as much worth out of them as possible during their likely slow, agonizing death this year.
See, Blockbuster? I can be sadistic too!
Friday, March 06, 2009
First off, much thanks to Tina for doing this. A cynical man could dismiss this as "just her job" but it's the kind of personal touch that seems emblematic of the FFF from my limited experience. When Mrs. Mosley purchased passes for last year's Festival, the guy who spoke to her on the phone was Chris Blanc, the head of the Enzian Theatre. She told me he was incredibly nice and personable, so I really have nothing but positive vibes from the folks who run it.
On the con side, Today marks T minus three weeks to the festival and still there is no schedule. There is, however, a new event announced and it's a doozy. Glenn Close will present a screening of Fatal Attraction and talking about her career on April the 3rd. Nice snag there, FFF. Given that my free weekend to come down there will be before this, I'm going to miss out on Glenn, but it's a nice follow up to the very entertaining Malcolm McDowell appearance last year.
As for Tina, if you're reading this, I'll just say that I'm heading down with friends on Saturday the 14th to purchase advance tickets and oodles of LEGO for my next stop-motion project. If there aren't any titles posted for me to buy tickets for by that time, well, March 28th might find me at home posing minifigs one frame at a time instead of relaxing in the Enzian.
One was a plain red hardcover in very good condition of H.G. Wells short stories. One was a hardcover of American poetry in excellent condition that is an exact duplicate of one I already own that is in very crappy condition. One was a large paperback of Tom Robbins' Skinny Legs and All also in excellent condition. Finally, there was a book I was actually looking for specifically, a hardcover copy of Douglas Adams' Salmon of Doubt. And given that the crappy condition poetry book will now go into the Goodwill bag, I'm actually only adding three books to my collection.
All in all, a good haul. Quality counts for something.
And having said all that, yes, I'm going back on Sunday when everything is half off.
Tuesday, March 03, 2009
Monday, March 02, 2009
Sunday, March 01, 2009
Campbell Scott plays Hamlet, Blair Brown plays Gertrude and Roscoe Lee Browne gets to dig into Polonius. Obviously, this being the bard, I could take any number of lines here and they would be sufficient. So I pick one of the better ones and just ask you to imagine Browne's wonderful baritone speaking these lines.
Polonius: This business is well ended. My liege, and madam, to expostulate what majesty should be, what duty is, why day is day, night night, and time is time, were nothing but to waste night, day and time. Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit, and tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes, I will be brief: your noble son is mad: Mad call I it; for, to define true madness, what is't but to be nothing else but mad? But let that go.
Gertrude: More matter, with less art.
Polonius: Madam, I swear I use no art at all. That he is mad, 'tis true: 'tis true 'tis pity; And pity 'tis 'tis true: a foolish figure; But farewell it, for I will use no art. Mad let us grant him, then: and now remains that we find out the cause of this effect, or rather say, the cause of this defect, for this effect defective comes by cause: Thus it remains, and the remainder thus.