Mark Evanier has the details of this, the most holy of days.
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
I'm leaving this post (from January 22) at the top of the page for the next week or so. Scroll down for newer entries.
My friend asked me to post this here. His boss's 18-year old daughter Rachel Crites took off in the family car with her friend Rachel Smith (16) on the night of January 19th, and haven't been seen since. Their families is trying to reach them and authorities are concerned for the girls' mental state.
Here's are pictures of the two girls, and a link to the story on the WTOP website.
Rachel Crites is on the left, Rachel Smith is on the right.
Anyone with information about the location of either girl is asked to call the Montgomery County Police non-emergency telephone number at (301) 279-8000 or the Family Crimes Division at (240) 773-5400.
I hope these families are safely reunited soon.
A couple of strategically placed days off gave me a long weekend this week, and looking back, I don’t really have any complaints about how I spent my time. One thing I did, which I don’t make a habit of, was to watch a few movies I’ve already seen. I don’t revisit stuff often – and even less often just for myself. Sometimes I’ll watch a movie again with Kathy to see what she thinks of it, but that experience is different than just going back to the movie itself, just me and it. And, because I got my guitar out of the shop all stringed and ready to go, and because I can’t play worth a damn, going back to some old favorites seemed like a good way to pass the time while I taught my fingers some scales. (As it turns out, yes and no: my fingers caught on, a little bit, but I eventually just put the guitar down and watched.)
The first movie of the bunch was The Incredibles. This is a 2-DVD set, and I’ve yet to go deeper into it than the movie itself, but I will. I’d seen it in the movie theatre, and remember being impressed with it. I also remember being exhausted and dozing off for a stretch. It turns out that stretch was considerable – there are scenes that I didn’t remember at all, and others that were put into much sharper context. It’s interesting – some of the story is presented almost as if Mr. Incredible is cheating on his wife. He isn’t, of course, but at the same time is hiding the renewed thrill he’s getting from his return to crimefighting. It’s an interesting conflict, and well-resolved, I think. I’m also very sympathetic to Dash’s sentiments that “If everyone’s special, no one is.” Overall, it’s a really good movie. (But as friends have pointed out, not appropriate for really young kids, as it gets pretty scary.)
The second film of the bunch (and one of my favorites of all time) was Miller’s Crossing. Looking back on it, it seems of a piece with the Coen brothers’ work in its totality, but at the time, I think they’d only done Blood Simple (which I hadn’t yet seen) and Raising Arizona (which is as wacky as it gets). Consequently, no one really knew what to make of this when it came out…but man, is it good. Like the Continental Op in Dashiell Hammett’s Red Harvest, Gabriel Byrne’s Tom Regan lets a gang war blossom around him – only unlike the Op, Regan has a rooting interest in Leo (Albert Finney), the tough-nosed political boss he’s been advising for years. But Leo’s getting soft, and rival boss Caspar (Jon Polito, Homicide’s Detective Crossetti) is getting stronger by the day. The plot is complicated, as good noir always is, and it’s not made any easier by the dense gangland jargon: “What’s the rumpus?” “Take your flunky and dangle.” This is a beautiful, brutal film, and its rewards are many.
The final movie I revsited was Heist, a David Mamet film starring Gene Hackman, Delroy Lindo (who is so much cooler than most movies he’s in), the inimitable Ricky Jay (I will watch anything with Jay), Danny DeVito, Sam Rockwell and Rebecca Pidgeon (Mamet’s wife, who’s a regular in his movies. Her performance in The Spanish Prisoner still has me saying “Crikey” every now and then). Like Miller’s Crossing, a lot of Heist’s charm is in its stylish dialogue. Jay gets most of the best lines: “He’s so cool, when he sleeps, sheep count him.” and a great little rant about how it’s okay to rob the Swiss because he hates their clocks. But in watching Heist again, I noticed that the actual Heist sequence is wordless for a few minutes, as Hackman and Lindo communicate only in gestures. This, I now realize, is a homage to Rififi, a French film that’s the prototypical heist movie (a remake of which, I now discover on IMDB, currently in production as an Al Pacino vehicle). Rififi’s heist sequence runs 32 minutes without a line of dialogue or music. I doubt the remake will be so daring – and with Mamet on script (and directing), I can’t even imagine anyone trying with Heist. Thirty-two minutes without a completed sentence, maybe.
One other thing: There’s a moment in Heist, early on, when Rebecca Pidgeon is wearing short little cut-offs. The camera briefly lingers on her as she walks away, and you are for a moment absolutely certain that David Mamet loves his wife’s butt. Who says there’s nothing sweet about lechery?
Monday, January 29, 2007
Sunday, January 28, 2007
Here he is, having a chat with Archbishop Desmond Tutu.
This looks like it was taken at some sort of book signing, but since they're on the same cruise ship for a week, I'm betting Jim will be having dinner with him one of these days. Because somehow, He Can Do Anything. (I wish I knew how that worked.)
Saturday, January 27, 2007
Friday, January 26, 2007
Someone at the Village Voice really wanted me to pick up this issue. Not just everybody, but me in particular.
One of my favorite comedians? Check.
Comic book reference? Check.
Promise of said comedian's boobies? Check. (This was a dirty lie, by the way.)
There's really not much more they could have done.
(Here's the Silverman interview if you want to read it.)
Thursday, January 25, 2007
It’s been announced that the magazine company I work for has been sold to a Swedish publishing/media outfit. I think it’s a good move – they really seem to want us, and our present owners never really knew what to do with us.
And that’s as far into work-related matters as I get on this blog. Except…
Our new owners have their fingers in a lot of entertainment pies. (As an aside, I dreamt about blueberry pie for the second time in two nights last night. Something must be done about this.) One of them is Tuba Records. Looking over the names of recording artists on their website includes some recognizable names, like Sleater Kinney, Eva Cassidy and Mudhoney, but then there’s some names that leapt out at Kathy and me as we scrolled through the list. Bands like:
13 & God
Chicks on Speed & the Noheads
General Patton vs. X-ecutioners
Made Out of Babies
And (my personal favorite)…
I Love You But I’ve Chosen Darkness
Even better, they’ve got an mp3 radio player on their site, which includes an instrumental version of the Spider-Man theme by a band called Ugress. It’s pretty groovy, to be honest.
I think this is gonna work out just fine.
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Because, man, I've got rage.
It's usually road rage, just shouting at some schmuck who can't hear me and doesn't care. Usually the only person who hears it is Kathy, and I'm going to try to avoid that in the future, because the last time really freaked me out. I just shouted something really suddenly, then just as suddenly realized how startling it must have been and spent the rest of the drive apologizing. She doesn't need to be put through that.
After all, what else are blogs for?
So I'm on the train from New York to New Jersey, and this guy--this bag of crap in a suit--keeps yammering on his cell phone right behind me. Like a lot of people on cell phones, he's got no indoor voice. And I'm trying to read, and I can't concentrate one bit. And it's not like I'm reading Paradise Lost or anything -- it's just the new issue of Robin. And if I can't YAP YAP YAP concentrate enough YAP YAP to make sense of even YAP YAP YAP YAP the latest adventure of YAP YAP YAP the Boy goddamn Wonder YAP YAP YAP it means you're talking right in my goddamn ear, you prick!
I swear, I'd kill a stranger a day if I could be bothered with the cleanup.
NOTE: My attorney advises me that I should assure readers that I am just kidding about the last sentence. He claims the phrase "I swear" is legally binding, depite the fact that I have not specified exactly what or who I am swearing to. I assured him that as I wrote the sentence, my non-typing fingers were crossed, rendering the final statement, including the swear, non-binding, in my understanding of the law. He agreed, although he pointed out that it would be a different matter entirely had I said "pinkie-swear." Which any idiot knows.
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
There's a lot of funny shows out there these days. NBC has revived their Thursday night lineu with My Name Is Earl, The Office, Scrubs and 30 Rock. The Daily Show and The Colbert Report are still firing on all cylinders, too. And while I don't watch every episode, Reno 911 always gives me a few laughs. And then, tonight, there's some comedy special called The State of the Union, hosted by a man some say is the finest comic mind since Bob Newhart. No one does "befuddled" like Bush. Oh, the comedy. (His helmet and shouldermapads line is sure to get a standing O from both sides of the aisle. Guy's a riot.)
But this isn't about taking a cheap shot at the leader of the free world as we blindly hurtle into the abyss. Far from it. This is about recommending a funny, funny show that you've probably never heard of: Talkshow with Spike Feresten.
It's a half-hour talk show with oddball sketch/reality comedy and one interview segment. The episodes I've seen have had Tom Green and Carl Reiner as guests, and both have been teriffic. (I say this as a fan of Reiner and as someone who's never really cared for Green.) The taped comedy segments include things like Idiot Paparazzi (in which photogs chase after regular folks shouting the names of celebrities they vaguely resemble) and Comedy for Stoners (different every time, but essentially completely silly stuff that if you saw it when stoned you would laugh about for a week). Then there are some live in-studio routines, and some fake commercials, such as this one for Pitters Beer.
It's a half-hour show, on Saturdays at midnight on Fox. It goes head-to-head against Saturday Night Live, and consistently delivers more laughs. What's more—and I have no idea why this is—I feel better about the jokes on Talkshow. Feresten is a genial, engaging host, and his humor doesn't travel that same well-worn road of most SNL sketches (or, to be honest, Daily Show-type topical humor). If anything, Feresten gives me the impression of the early years of Letterman. He's goofy and gregarious, and wants everyone to be in on the joke.
Give him a try. I bet you'll wind up laughing too.
One of our ferrets, The Dude, is in surgery right now to have a hairball removed. He should be fine; our vet is a good one, and has done many procedures on Kathy's previous ferrets. But I can't help buy be a little jumpy nonetheless. And I feel bad for the guy, to have a shaved belly when winter's finally getting cold.
He can handle it, though. The Dude abides.
Sunday, January 21, 2007
Last weekend, I saw my first movie of the year...and it very well might be the best one I'll see this year, too. Children of Men is an incredible piece of work. Set 20 years in the future, it posits what the world will be like if, through some reason beyond explanation, women around the world stopped being able to bring their babies to term, and soon could not concieve altogether. Consequently, humanity seems unable to pull back from its mistakes. Wars, once started, continue indefinitely. Refugees are sent to prison camps and ghettoes. In the abscense of a generation to follow, humanity goes for broke. It's the endgame, and seen from above it looks like the swirl of a flushing toilet.
To underscore the point (and to provide valuable exposition), the film opens with news reports of the murder of Baby Diego, who gained unwanted celebrity by virtue of being the world's youngest person. He was 18. The situation allows the film to impart a lot of information quickly, as newcasters offer retrospectives of Baby Diego and his significance. A lesser film would have given us this information in a voiceover or a screen crawl; Children of Men does it with grace.
The film is based on a novel by P.D. James, but I don't want to say too much about the plot. The acting, from all comers, is superb. Clive Owen plays a former idealist turned office drone who is suddenly and irrevocably thrust into water way over his head. Julianne Moore is excellent as a quiet and firm revolutionary leader. Michael Caine is charming as Owen's aging political cartoonist/neo-hipppie friend. And newcomer Claire-Hope Ashitey is excellent as Kee, whose prescence drives the film.
The film is haunting and thought-provoking, and the world it depicts is one not easily forgotten. I can't recommend it highly enough.
Friday, January 19, 2007
Thursday, January 18, 2007
So I'm listening to a radio report this morning about a new law that takes effect today in Bangor, Maine, making it illegal to smoke in your car if there's someone under 18 in it. I don't particularly want to get into the ins and outs of the law, though -- I'm more concerned with the radio reporter's herculean effort to pronounce "Bangor" so that it didn't sound like "banger." Or even worse, "bang 'er," which I'm not sure you're even allowed to say on NPR. The syllables were stressed so unnaturally that the city sounded like a Jack Kirby creation: Bangorr, the Thunderer from Beyond Time, or something like that.
Beware Bangorr, the Thing that Walks!
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
I visited Sushi Samba's website earlier tonight, and rediscovered a song I haven't heard in years. (Sushi Samba is a terrific sushi/Brazilian restaurant in NYC, btw.) The restaurant's website features a number of playlists, so I can direct you exactly to the song. First, go to sushisamba.com. Then click on the "select a compilation" option, and choose "Nightlife." Then pick track four, "Ponta de Lanca Africano," by Jorge Ben. It's also called "Umbabarauma," and it's catchy as all-get-out.
Then, as an added treat, check out Breath of Life, a blog-post remeniscence (and an explanation) about the song.
Saturday, January 13, 2007
Friday, January 12, 2007
Just have a few moments to blog at El Big Gun Show. But so far, I've drank a bit, gone up to a gun pro's hotel room to see a handgun he built (which was cool and surreal, but I got a little nervos when he loaded it to show us how it loaded), and had a long-ass delay at the airport, and had a fat steak of the kind that lesser cows can only dream about. Not in that order. Busy busy busy, that's me. If you want to know more, go to Being A Bastard Works in the blogroll -- I got no time to link!
And as Mike says, "We ate a lobster tail that was like the Kraken."
Tonight, party at Pat O'Brien's in Universal City. Open bar, tomfoolery. Someone's passing out.
More later, ya maroons.
Monday, January 08, 2007
...because I watched the tivoed Eagles game after taking down the Christmas tree. Tight game, but they started dominating as soon as they score their first TD, and even when it was tied at the end, they still seemed to be in the lead.
(God, I can't believe I'm saying this stuff. This just isn't me.)
Saturday, January 06, 2007
Thursday, January 04, 2007
In the comic shop today, I overhead that in the movie Pan’s Labyrinth, someone mentions morning sickness, which in the subtitles is translated “sick with baby.”
The phrase cracks me up. “Yeah, she was sick with baby for nine months, then in remission for the next 21 years.”
In the comic shop today, I overhead that in the movie Pan’s Labyrinth, someone says mentions morning sickness, which in the subtitles is translated “sick with baby.”
The phrase cracks me up. “Yeah, she was sick with baby for nine months, then in remission for the next 21 years.”
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
Okay, that video of Celene Dion was unnecessarily cruel. To make up for it, I bring you...
Or rather, John Moe's 39 Questions for Charlie Daniels about "The Devil Went Down to Georgia," from McSweeney's magazine.
Thanks to Doc at the Comics Cave!