Saturday, May 09, 2009

The Greatest Video of All Time

This is the kind of thing that makes it so easy to love Patrick Stewart.

Via Darius Whiteplume (and via Suicide Blonde) comes this video of Captain Jean-Luc Picard on the bridge of the Enterprise singing his way through the classic Sesame Street song "A, You're Adorable." I don't know how such a wonderful thing came to be, but I do love it when things I love collide.

And I have to quote the original post: "I’m not hyperboling your ass when I tell you that this is the single greatest video that exists online. And that if you don’t watch it your life will always have a gaping void in it."

Amen to that.

Take it away, Captain!

Saturday Playlist

1. Huey Lewis and the News: I Want a New Drug
2. Christina Aguilera: Cruz
3. The Byrds: It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding) (live)
4. The Kinks: Death of a Clown
5. U2: Shadows and Tall Trees
6. The Police: Synchronicity II
7. Lisa Stansfield: All Around the World
8. Buffalo Springfield: Go and Say Goodbye
9. Buddy Holly: Peggy Sue
10. The Commodores: Just to Be Close to You

1. Always a great pop tune, but I think I did Weird Al's version more.
2. Very pretty song sort of buried on her album Stripped. It would have made a much better single than "The Voice Within," which is kind of a throwaway track. I like this song a lot.
3. The Byrds and one of their many, many Dylan covers. Of course, their Dylan covers were always great. This is from the Untitled album.
4. Love this song.
5. The closer from Boy, one of the only U2 albums I can stand all the way through.
6. I don't hear this Police track anymore; you couldn't escape a lot of their songs for a while, but this one is always nice because it wasn't run into the ground by pop radio. I still don't like "Every Breath You Take" because of overzealous DJs.
7. When this single was a hit, I was a freshman or sophomore in high school. I had first period study hall in the senior lunch room. There was this amazing senior girl who sat across from me and looked, to my young eyes, like a sophisticated young adult. She dressed in clothes that were trendy but understated. She wore this perfect makeup instead of overdoing it like a lot of the other girls, and she had this shoulder length, perfectly cared for, jet black hair. She looked a lot like Lisa Stansfield, and that song would always get in my head when I watched her and hoped she wasn't looking. Sometimes she was! One time, I looked over at her and she looked at me a half-second after, these dark eyes just catching mine, and then she cocked one eyebrow as if to say "Well?" I looked away fast; she was way out of my league, but man, did I have a thing for her. And then sometimes she would engage me in conversation about something I had no opinion of, some adult type of thing. I was just some dumb kid and my heart would actually race if she looked at me, much less spoke to me. Sometimes I would lose track of what she was saying and end up answering something totally random. Man, I don't even remember her name, but whenever I hear "All Around the World," I remember her.
8. I love the country-rock guitar riff that opens this song.
9. A classic, always listenable.
10. I'm not so much a fan of this song; this is the kind of cheesy soul Becca loves, though.

I Know How He Feels

Friday, May 08, 2009

Top 10 Lines Never Said in a Star Trek Film

Read--pricelessly--by Leonard Nimoy.

Nichelle

Obligatory List of My 10 Favorite Star Trek Episodes

10. This Side of Paradise
I think this is a good science fiction plot--the crew is infected with spores that make them mindlessly happy--but I also have a soft spot for it because this is one of the first episodes I saw. My mom tried for months to get me into Star Trek back when it was only on local TV reruns (WFLD in Chicago on, I believe, Saturday afternoons--maybe Sunday). I was about 8 or 9. Anyway, this episode was fascinating to me because a spore-infected Spock allows his emotional side to come out and have full sway over his actions. It's Jill Ireland who inspires this, so it's not like I can blame him. DC Fontana wrote the best women characters on Star Trek. Great Spock episode; as much as I love Kirk and McCoy, original Trek is all about Spock for me.

9. Mirror, Mirror
Well, once again it's all about Spock (although I always dug Evil Sulu; George Takei was so underused on this show and always good). I found the idea of an mirror opposite version of Spock was fascinating because it touched on the idea that cold reasoning and logic could also be used to serve "evil" ends. It's a fair comment on human (or, in this case, half-human) motivations.

8. Court Martial
Kirk takes center stage in Trek's courtroom episode. I think I like Captain Kirk best when he's forced into these conflicts between ethics and having to make quick decisions. And I'm a sucker for a good courtroom speech; Elisha Cook Jr. is marvelous in this episode as Kirk's old-fashioned lawyer.

7. Space Seed
Ricardo Montalban's genetically-enhanced Khan Noonien Singh is one of the best villains the original series ever had. He was smarter than Spock and stronger than Kirk, the kind of formidable opponent you don't see enough in science fiction. It's kind of a shame he was only on one episode, but that also means he was never overused, neutered, and made ridiculous, either. Like a lot of SF villains, frankly. His return in Star Trek II meant something because he still had that aura of danger around him. Plus, Montalban is so good on this episode; he was an underrated actor who wasted his time with Fantasy Island.

6. Obsession
I'll admit right off that this isn't an incredibly strong episode. Why did it make my list? I've just always been invested in the personal journey Kirk takes in this episode, in which he's forced to confront his survivor's guilt over what happened to the crew of his first ship, the USS Farragut. They were wiped out by a vampiric cloud which Kirk must face again. It was a pretty good shot at giving him his own Moby-Dick, and I've always appreciated it for that. Again, this is the kind of Kirk I'm most interested in. Probably because in these episodes he's so much like a Flash Gordon "science hero" type of character.

5. Balance of Terror
Everyone and their mother have called this the submarine drama episode. And, I guess, I just did it, too. But that's what's so strong about this one; it cuts through all of the dilithium bullshit and shows you space as a place of danger and possible (probable?) death. The tension on this episode, with Kirk facing a Romulan commander (played by Mark Lenard), is excruciating, making it genuinely suspenseful.

4. Journey to Babel
Mark Lenard appears again, this time as Spock's father, Sarek. And while the political murder mystery is above average, it's really seeing Spock interact with his parents that makes this episode for me. The pull between his logical Vulcan father and emotional human mother has always been a defining aspect of Spock's character, and this was one of the best expressions of it.

3. A Piece of the Action
Well, this episode is just hilarious. This would be on this list for the fizzbin game alone, but add Vic Tayback as a gangster, Spock in a fedora, and the perfect tone (funny and self-deprecating without being pandering and stupid) put this into the top three for me. It's always a delightful episode; much funnier, I think, than "The Trouble with Tribbles."

2. Amok Time
The first episode of Star Trek I ever saw. Good one to begin with! This is so classic I pretty much feel like I don't have to explain myself. Great, great Spock episode.

1. The City on the Edge of Forever
It's probably no surprise to some that I would pick the episode written by Harlan Ellison as my favorite. But I genuinely think it's the best one. The great science fiction set-up, the non-twee disguise of Spock, Joan Collins. Okay, maybe the love story is a little cheesy, but I still think Kirk shines in this one. Could be a lot worse. Could be Somewhere in Time.

Honorable mentions: "The Devil in the Dark," "Arena," "Shore Leave," "The Squire of Gothos," "Errand of Mercy," "Bread and Circuses," "Patterns of Force."

Worst. Episode. Ever: "Spock's Brain" -- Brain and brain! What is brain?

Live Long and Prosper, Hayden

That's adorable.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Also, No Drowning

Cynical Six (Plus One)

1. Megan Fox has laughed off rumors that she might play Wonder Woman, saying she would never play Wondy because “She’s lame. She flies around in an invisible jet, but she's not invisible. I don't get it.” Four year-old girls everywhere get it, but it’s too complex for Megan Fox to figure out. I wonder if she wears slip-on shoes, too… Anyway, I’d just like to thank Megan Fox for taking herself out of the running; she’s one of the last, um, let’s be charitable and say actresses I’d ever want to see in the role. Now if I could just get Joel Silver and famed Joss Whedon fanboy Joss Whedon off of the project, I’d be much more excited about the possibility of this movie.

2. I’d also like to thank the judge who granted Amy Winehouse the court order keeping photographers 100 yards from her home. If I could never see a photo of her again I would be so happy.

3. So, Oprah is a fan of children dying, then? Because she’s giving a talk show to Jenny McCarthy, someone I used to like but has been using whatever influence she has to spread her anti-vaccination stupidity. She’s trying hard to convince parents in America not to vaccinate their children, because she mistakenly believes that vaccines are harmful. It’s people like her that we have to thank for the return of previously eradicated diseases like measles, because she chooses to put her child (and yours) in harm’s way in order to satisfy her misdirected anger at having an autistic son. Oprah throwing the weight of her marketing empire behind Jenny McCarthy is a tacit endorsement of a viewpoint that is not only scientifically unsound, but which injures and kills children. So count Oprah among the lunatic fringe, then (although she also backed Dr. Mehmet Oz, another crank, so I'm just restating the obvious because it needs to be restated--a lot). Lots of dead kids: this is what results from America’s contemporary “every argument is valid, no matter how crazy” and “teach both sides of the (nonexistent) debate” bullshittery.

4. Scarlett Johansson was supposed to direct a segment for New York, I Love You, the American companion to Paris, je’taime. Hers was apparently awful and is not going into the movie (although the producer is being admirably diplomatic and saying it just didn’t fit in with the theme). Sources who saw it say it was unwatchable. If it was even a tenth as good as her album of Tom Waits covers, it must have been painful indeed. Just stick to acting, ScarJo.

5. Someone from Top Gun comes out of the closet and it’s not Tom Cruise? Well, no, he’ll never come out. He's not gay, he's something else. You know those guys who are sick and can only relate to someone sexually when it involves pain and suffering, and are completely socially awkward because they can't relate to humans? That’s Tom Cruise. It’s got nothing to do with sex or sexual preference or love or anything healthy. It’s all about needing to punish people out of self-loathing. Oh, anyway, Kelly McGillis is apparently gay, if that interests anyone. Oh, and David Ogden Stiers came out, too. In related news, I like pumpkin pie and my wife thinks Reaper is the best show on TV. There are four personal preferences that shouldn't matter to anyone but the people making them and shouldn't be major news stories.

6. Thanks to the gossip sites in my feed reader, which are annoying but which I use as a picture source, I’ve been seeing all of these pictures of Lindsay Lohan swanning about in Mexico looking like Gollum on her “Please, God, I Need Attention or I’ll Die” media-stalker tour. The really sick part is that she keeps throwing her younger sister Ali, who I think is all of 14 or 15, in front of the cameras, but I won’t go on about that, because I always get a lot of “What’s the big deal about wanting to fuck a teenager?” comments. Instead, I’m focusing on the above picture, which kind of gets at why I wish Lindsay Lohan had died in 2005. Even her little sister seems to find it creepy, awkward, uncomfortable, and cynical that Lindsay seems to be purposely trying to play up some kind of suggestive lesbian/incest/underage fantasy trifecta. That may be the most pathetic picture I’ve ever seen of a has-been trying desperately to hang on to the spotlight.

7. Can I just say how glad I am that Robert Rodriguez’ Barbarella remake is dead? I really didn’t want to see that movie, and as a big fan of his, I’m glad to see him move on. This man is generating more and more projects that will never come to fruition, but this isn’t one I’m sad to see go. And I especially didn’t want to see Barbarella played by Rose McGowan. I used to love her, but since she suddenly got that unnecessary cosmetic surgery a few years ago, she looks less like sexy and fun Jane Fonda circa 1968, and more like an old Looney Tunes caricature of Greta Garbo.

There's a Movie I'd Like to See

My Favorite Crank Email Ever: Scarlett Johansson Is a Clone

I added nothing and deleted nothing. It needs to be taken in as a whole.

IT IS NOT A SPAM, but if you received that message second and plus time JUST CLICK DELETE button and have a nice day. Don't feel bad, please understand original Scarlett's family very desperate to shut down that humiliating antichristian "actress" clones line career development. Hello dear Ladies and Gentlemen! I would like inform you that Scarlett Johansson ?actress? actually is a clone from original person Scarlett Galabekian last name, who has nothing with acting career, surname Galabekian, because of adoption happened in 1992. Clones was created illegally by using stolen biological material. Original person is very nice (not d**n sexy),most important - CHRISTIAN young lady! I'll tell you more,those clones (it's not only one) made in GERMANY - world leader manufacturer of humans clones, it is in Ludwigshafen am Rhein, Rhineland-Palatinate, Mr. Helmut Kohl home town. You can not even imaging the scale of the cloning activity. But warning! Helmut Kohl clone staff strictly controlling all their clones (at least they trying) spreading around the world, they are very accurate with that, some of them are still NAZI type disciplined and mind controlled clones, so be careful get close with clones you will be controlled as well. Original person is not happy with those movies, images, video, rumors and etc. spreading on media in that way it would be really nice if we all will try slow down that ''actress'' career development, original Scarlett will really appreciated that. Please remember that original Scarlett's family did not authorize any activity with stolen biological materials, no matter what form it was created in it was stolen and it is stolen. It all need to be delivered to authorize personals control in Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Original Scarlett never was engaged, by the way!

Her close friend

Serge G.

P.S. CONTROLLING ACTIVITY OF ANY CLONES IS US MILITARY OPERATION.

Well, at least now I kind of understand why she left me for Ryan Reynolds. Or, well, she didn't; she just got cloned.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

We Didn't Start the Eighties


Via The Retroist.

Film Week

A review of the films I've seen this past week.

HOME OF THE BRAVE (2006)
Soldiers come back from Iraq and find it hard to assimilate back into their old lifestyles. It tries to do for the Iraq War what The Best Years of Our Lives did for World War II, but it doesn't pull it off. It has its moments, certainly, including Jessica Biel giving probably her best performance as a vet who lost an arm during an ambush, and it's unflinchingly honest in its view. *** stars.

MIO IN THE LAND OF FARAWAY (1987)
A disappointment. I had heard for years how wonderful this very-hard-to-find fantasy flick was, but the truth is it's a pretty underwhelming, average, badly-acted story about a kid who finds his real father (Timothy Bottoms, so out of place) in a fantasy land and goes on with his best friend (Christian Bale) to fight an evil knight (Christopher Lee, who is incapable of a bad performance). Great score, but I wouldn't recommend it to anybody. Based on an Astrid Lindgren novel. ** stars.

GREY GARDENS (2009)
A dramatization of the famous Maysles Brothers documentary about Edith Bouvier Beale and her daughter Little Edie, who lived in their home cut off from the outside world for years and years. This movie dramatizes how they came to be trapped in a small world of their own making, but doesn't really step forward and make any judgments about Edith's mental health or Little Edie's inability to walk away from her mother. Edith is simply put away in her beach home and forgotten about, and she drags her daughter down with her by pointedly destroying her confidence and trapping her in a cycle of co-dependence that Little Edie finds it all too easy to slip into. Then years pass and the Beales, forgotten about, are reduced to living in their own squalor in a crumbling building while the outside world goes on without them. It's a compelling movie, and I give it ***1/2 stars, but make sure you see the riveting documentary. Answer for yourself the question of whether or not both movies exploit or ridicule the characters. The performances in this movie, by the way, are spot on. Jessica Lange is excellent as Edith, and Drew Barrymore completely outdoes herself as Edie.

AWAY FROM HER (2007)
This was a hard movie for me to get through because it has its terribly sad moments. Gordon Pinsent plays Grant Anderson, a retired professor whose wife Fiona (Julie Christie in an excellent performance) becomes afflicted with Alzheimer's. She has very pragmatic and realistic reasons for making up her mind to enter a care facility--she doesn't want her husband to have the burden of caring for her every day as she slowly progresses and remembers less and less. The problem is, the care facility requires that Grant not visit for 30 days so she can acclimate herself, at the end of which she seems to have forgotten Grant entirely and transferred her affections to Aubrey, a mute in a wheelchair whom she takes a very caring interest in. What was so fascinating and sad about this movie to me is how much it has to show about identity. Not only the loss of Fiona's identity, but the loss of Grant's as we realize just how much of ourselves is based on how the people we love relate to us. When he can no longer see himself reflected in Fiona's recognition, he starts to feel detached and lost. Sarah Polley wrote and directed this movie, and it reminded me a lot of another excellent, sad movie she was in called My Life Without Me, which had similar themes. She doesn't let the film drift into sentiment or comic eccentricity, but stays focused on the characters. An immensely rewarding film. **** stars.

I'M NOT THERE (2007)
What a very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very long and very, very, very, very, very, very boring movie with nothing to say. I'm not sure what this movie has to do with Bob Dylan, honestly. It's a bunch of pretentious fairy tales based on a bizarre hero worship of Dylan that has nothing to do with reality or, frankly, his music. My opinion of Dylan, and I'm basing this on a number of documentaries about the man, is that he's a middle class guy who carefully crafted a persona that was positioned as some kind of no-nonsense voice of the people in the 1960's. Fortunately, he had the talent to back it up, so people bought it or let it slide instead of calling him out on his total preciousness and the fact that there wasn't anything genuine behind his image. The songs were so good it didn't matter (although I always liked the way John Lennon sort of slammed him for being deliberately obscure so that people would think the lyrics were deeper than they were; that's sort of how I feel about Warhol, too). This is a movie for people who really, really want to buy into all of the America, rail-riding, Western town romanticism of Dylan's more fanciful music--the same kind of people who really believe Bruce Springsteen is a blue collar war veteran who works at a car wash instead of a millionaire. * star, mainly for Christian Bale's performance. Most of the actors have done better. Especially Heath Ledger, sad to say, in one of his final films.

WAITRESS (2007)
I admit, I expected to hate this. But actually I adored it. Keri Russell stars (and she's excellent in this) as a waitress with a great talent for making pies who discovers to her chagrin that she is pregnant and makes a plan to escape from her ogre of a husband (Jeremy Sisto). Soon, she's having an affair with the new doctor in town (Nathan Fillion, always awesome) and trying to figure out what she's going to do. What really surprised me is how none of her plans came off; just like everything in life, nothing worked out as she plans and she's forced to just deal with it. There's not much more to it, but it's a wonderful, colorful movie about well-realized characters just getting through their lives and dealing with their situations and finding joy in places they don't expect to (and, importantly, taking it when they find it). What really disturbed me is how much I could relate to her terrible husband. He's not simply a dick; his actions come completely out of a fear of abandonment and a resentment of dependence that turns easily into anger. Tragically, writer-director (and co-star) Adrienne Shelley was murdered before the movie was released. I would've loved to see her make more movies like this. **** stars. Andy Griffith is delightful in a small role.

PASSION OF MIND (2000)
Waste of time. * star because Demi Moore is so beautiful.

HATCHING PETE (2009)
Surprisingly good for a Disney Channel movie. Mitchel Musso (get a damn haircut!) is his school's rooster mascot, but he's allergic to the costume. He begs his friend Jason Dolley (glad Disney Channel's holding on to him; he was the only thing worth salvaging from Corey in the House) to wear the costume instead. The thing is, no one has really taken any notice of Dolley over the years, and he's very shy. But inside the rooster costume, he finds he loves performing for the audience and just lets go of his shyness. But Musso takes the credit for the crowd-pleasing performances, and the situation becomes complicated. For a change, Disney stays on message with this one--just be yourself and don't let fear hold you back--and makes a sweet, entertaining movie. *** stars. Also, Tiffany Thornton (also starring on Demi Lovato's sitcom, Sunny with a Chance) is just sexy as hell. Had to be said. And she's 23, so I don't feel bad saying it.

BIG STAKES (1922)
So-so movie about a cowboy (J.B. Warner) who is torn between two women--a sexy senorita who is part of the Mexican aristocracy, and a waitress. But the fair senorita (Elinor Fair, to be precise, he punned) is torn between the cowboy and El Capitan Montoya. This drama tries to make some points about the lives and expectations of the aristocracy versus the rough life of a cowboy, but it's not quite successful. Besides which, it's intertwined with the story of the waitress, who seems superfluous to the plot; the cowboy doesn't treat her romantically until almost the end of the movie, when he's saved her from a group of Klansmen (the movie never uses the name Klan) who are terrorizing the border town. Competently made, and the Klansmen scenes are chilling, but it doesn't come off. **1/2 stars.

Street Gang: The Complete History of Sesame Street

Street Gang: The Complete History of Sesame Street is a book that completely lives up to its name. It starts back in the late sixties with a question asked at a dinner party--could television be used to teach children?--then takes us through the history of children's television in the US, the social upheaval of the 1960s, the backgrounds of the important players in the creation and development of Sesame Street, and the study and science involved in creating what is, I'm pretty sure after reading this volume, one of the most important and influential shows in American history.

It's an amazing work. It tells the whole story of the painstaking work--feasibility studies, education symposiums, awareness campaigns, scientific research, funding nightmares--that went into just getting the show on the air. It is both detailed and uncomplicated, by which I mean it goes into specifics without miring itself in technical details. It's a mark of Davis' talent that he can make you doubt whether or not Sesame Street will ever make it to the air. The entire project had so much against it, and even when the it did start airing, it was never a sure thing that the series would get a second season.

The personalities involved in the making of the show--Joan Ganz Cooney, Jon Stone, Sam Gibbon, Dave Connell, Jim Henson, Gerald Lesser, Joe Raposo, Carroll Spinney, the wonderful cast, and many others--are a big part of what makes this such a fascinating read. We find out a lot about their lives before the show and why they joined on. I've read a lot over the years about what makes Sesame Street work and why it's so culturally important, but this is the first time I've read so much about why people wanted to make Sesame Street a reality. Everyone went into the show with a theory--that television could be used to teach preschoolers--and found ways to make that theory a wonderful reality.

I didn't realize, by the way, how many of these people had been in earlier milestones of childrens' programming. Many of them came from Captain Kangaroo or from Kukla, Fran and Ollie. The book has so many great moments where it seems like fate keeps magically bringing these people together. It's exciting, and the people involved were all very talented and very willing to use those talents to reach children and try to give them a base of curiosity and responsibility to grow up with.

But what I also liked about this book is that it's a warts-and-all look at the show. Not in a sensational way, but in a very realistic way. A number of people involved with the show have passed away--the prologue takes place at Jim Henson's memorial service--and others have real complaints about how they were treated and the direction the show has since gone in. Jon Stone, for example, left behind an unpublished memoir that is very critical of the producers and the show's refocus on Elmo and marketing after Jim Henson's death. The descent into drugs and madness of Northern Calloway (who played David) is not shied away from. And Davis is among the few who place the blame for Jim Henson's rapid deterioration on intense (and troubling) negotiations with Walt Disney CEO Michael Eisner. (This book is the first warts-and-all look at Jim Henson that doesn't smooth out the rough edges of his personality--I really wish Random House would release Ron Powers' unpublished 1993 adult biography of Henson that was blocked by the Henson family; barring that, I'll bet Davis could write an honest book about the man.)

In all, this is an excellent book that takes a look at something that was very influential in my life, and people (and Muppets) who seemed like an extended family to me when I was very young. The recounting of the death of actor Will Lee, and the subsequent episode dealing with the death of his character, Mr. Hooper, moved me to tears. If you're at all interested in television history or Jim Henson and the Muppets, it's an essential book. And even if you're not, it's still a compelling, well-written, wonderful book that I wouldn't pass up.

Sundae Hottie

More Ponyo

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Feliz Cinco de Mayo

The Health Report, Year 3: Week 21

Oh, holy night, I love this stuff.

I was enjoying the Pepsi Natural, but this Pepsi Throwback is the most perfect soda I've ever had in my life. This is how Pepsi should taste. This is how it tastes in my mind. It's not super-sickly-sweet like the damn high fructose corn syrup. It's real. And since I've never had access to kosher or Mexican Pepsi, this is an eye opener. I'm not drinking this with every meal, but I'm enjoying it while I can.

It's perfect.

And, sadly, it's limited. For eight weeks. It's only available until 13 June and seems to be mainly available at Target, which especially blows because the Target in my town is closed for the summer while they renovate. But I've been getting lucky and finding it at gas stations, which is nice, because I am going to hoard this stuff as long as I can. I don't ever want to drink soda with high fructose corn syrup again. And I mostly haven't; the meat market here has a couple of Boylan's flavors (I really need to order some online), most stores carry Jones (which I also want to order online, since every store carries the same six flavors and I need a Jones grape fix really bad), and I like SoBe better than soda, it turns out.

But I'm never going to drink Pepsi again. Once the Pepsi Throwback runs out, there's no way I can go back to the HFCS stuff that was giving me so much trouble before. Pepsi Throwback is smooth and sweet, but doesn't make my teeth and gums hurt, sap my energy, or make me sick. This is just so right. It's wonderful. It's Pepsi for real. Not the fake stuff they've been giving us for years because it's cheaper to make.

Moderation is the key, of course, but I am firmly in the HFCS-is-bad-for-you camp. I know what it does to my body. And when it comes right down to it, that stuff just makes me feel sick and weak, which is reason enough not to have it.

So the only Pepsi I'll ever drink again is Pepsi Throwback.

Of course, Pepsi still has me because SoBe is a subsidiary of PepsiCo, but still.

Maybe I'll luck out and Pepsi Throwback will become an annual summer thing. That would be a nice way to enjoy it. Like a Shamrock Shake, only not incredibly disgusting.

Cheap Thrills

Classic rock and Crumb, Muppet-style, by Marc Palm for the Muppets Rawk II art show. I love this thing more than I can say. Big thanks to Splotchy for the heads up (via BoingBoing). Click to enlarge. You need to see it large.

Genius in Venn Diagram Form

Playmate of the Year 2008

Yet again, it's Playmate of the Year season. And yet again, I'm blogging it. It's an annual staple for me to comment on the year's line-up of Playmates, so here I go again.

12. AJ Alexander, Miss May. I'm surprised as you are (assuming you've been reading this the last four years) that the redhead was my least favorite this year, but she certainly was. It has a lot to do with how uncomfortable and stilted she looks in 98% of her pictures. Also, the dark make-up and lighting is a little too 1988 for me. Remember, this isn't just about the model, it's about the photography. Aesthetics! (It's not like I know these people.)

11. Juliette Frette, Miss June. I just didn't find her at all attractive. This is the most flattering of her pictures; you can't see the unfortunate jawline.

10. Jennifer and Natalie Campbell, Misses December. The last time Playboy did twins and it wasn't a disappointment was in 1970, Mary and Madeleine Collinson (aka Hammer's Twins of Evil). I get the male fantasy idea of twins, but some fantasies don't work in reality. Or at least not in Playboy, I've seen some other instances in print... Anyway. We get the same tired, predictable awkwardness and pathetic attempts at incestuous suggestions, but it always just looks like a pair of sisters who are really nervous standing around each other naked. Which is what they are. It's not sexy. Stop doing it, Playboy.

9. Sandra Nilsson, Miss January. Piercing eyes, beautiful breasts, but her pictorial loses a lot of points with me for being so much more airbrushed than usual. This is one of her less-airbrushed pictures; some of them were so manipulated that it looked like George Lucas was involved in her creation.

8. Kayla Collins, Miss August. She's okay. I don't really have anything bad to say about her, but I wasn't really xazzed about her pictures, either. In the middle somewhere. I didn't like her at first, but this is a really good picture.

7. Laura Croft, Miss July. Also loses a lot of points for an incredible amount of airbrushing, which is a shame, because she's really a beautiful woman. Why they couldn't just trust that is beyond me.

6. Michelle McLaughlin, Miss February. She doesn't have the best body (her stomach is so flat it's almost concave), but she has a beautiful smile, wonderfully bright eyes, and her pictorial was fantastic. Very much the sort of co-ed/girl next door mode that Playboy had back in the sixties.

5. Kelly Carrington, Miss October. She doesn't have the best body, either, but her confidence and casual attitude in front of the camera are spectacular. I can't believe that Playboy's been around this long and they still can't find 12 women in one year who aren't nervous in front of a camera. Kelly Carrington knows what she's about, and that's very sexy.

4. Valerie Mason, Miss September. She's adorable. Bright eyes, bright smile, sweet body, and very, very pretty hair. I admit, I find the combination of her Susanna Hoffs looks and the fact that she's (knowingly or not) reproducing one of my favorite Bettie Page poses hard to resist.

3. Ida Ljunqvist, Miss March. This is the lady readers voted as Playmate of the Year. And while she's topped by two others for me (personal taste is subjective, after all), she's certainly the most beautiful PMOY in a few years for me. Just a gorgeous, gorgeous woman.

2. Grace Kim, Miss November. I'm a sucker for a beautiful Asian woman, I admit. And she is certainly beautiful.

1. Regina Deutinger, Miss April. My favorite Playmate last year is the very Teutonic Regina. I like big blondes from Northern Europe; they seem very homey to me. Regina is everything I like in a Playmate--sexy, playful, and confident. She's also built like a Norse goddess and substantial enough to hold on to. My fave this year.

Previous:
Playmate of the Year 2004
Playmate of the Year 2005
Playmate of the Year 2006
Playmate of the Year 2007

Dom DeLuise 1933-2009

I know he was the same in everything, but he was always likable.

Monday, May 04, 2009

May the 4th Be With You

It's apparently Star Wars Day today. So I'm going to celebrate the only way I know how...

Yes! Celebrate!

20 Firsts

Via Sunday Stealing.

First Job: Construction clean-up. That was the summer I turned 17. Hard work.

First Real Job: Construction clean-up. I got paid for it, it was a real job.

First Favorite Politician: Bill Clinton. He ran for president when I was 16. I had never paid a ton of attention to politics before then. It all seemed like something I wasn't supposed to be concerned with (I come from a background where children aren't supposed to be challenging adults). The fact that Clinton was so much younger than Reagan or Bush, and the fact that he went on MTV and tried to speak directly to my generation really reached me. Honestly, I never voted for him. I was 20 in 1996, but I had so many problems that year that I didn't even think about voting.

First Car: My stepmother's very crappy 1988 Chevy Nova. I bought it, and ended up sinking a lot of money into constant repairs. Does everyone have this story?

First Record/CD: Cassettes, actually. The first cassettes I ever bought with my own money (allowance money, but still...) were the Transformers: The Movie soundtrack, the Labyrinth soundtrack, "Weird Al" Yankovic's Dare to Be Stupid, and Then and Now: The Best of the Monkees. I don't remember the order, but those were all in 1986.

First Sport Played: My friends and I always liked to play baseball more than anything else. I think the first actual team I played on was a football team. I did Panther Football and the park district soccer, but I'm not sure which was first. I was 10 when I did football, so maybe that was first. By the way, undefeated that season. I was on defense.

First Concert: Siouxsie and the Banshees, the 1995 farewell tour. My last concert, too. I'm not a concert guy.

First Foreign Country Visited: Japan. Still my only foreign country. I was six.

First Favorite TV Show: Sesame Street, of course. My first word was "Ernie." And I still want Maria to be my mom. I've been fixated on Latinas ever since.

First Favorite Actor: I have no idea. My favorite actors as a kid were the Muppets.

First Favorite Actress: Drew Barrymore. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial came out when I was six. My oldest and longest-enduring crush on an actress.

First Girlfriend/Boyfriend: People hated me in school. My first real girlfriend was Jenny Bradley. She went to a different high school (my friend Carl's school; boy was he pissed). We only dated for three weeks. But she's really my first girlfriend.

First Encounter with a Famous Person: I went to a Star Trek convention in 1989 and saw Marina Sirtis address the audience, but I didn't actually meet her. My mom and sister stood in line, but not me. The first famous person I ever tried to talk that I can remember is Brinke Stevens, one of my all-time favorite goddesses. I met her at a convention in 1995; Becca dragged me to the Chicago Comicon, back before it became the lamer WizardWorld, and there was Brinke. I tried to talk to her, but was totally tongue-tied and just in awe of the fact that I was standing in front of her. She autographed a picture for me, though. And she could tell I was nervous as hell meeting her and was very sweet about it. Oh, that woman.

When I met Cynthia Rothrock a year or two later, I was much more smoove. Not embarrassing, just, you know, all together. She was extremely nice and lovely, and very short, and actually asked me lots of questions about what was going on at the con. (I think Becca and I were the first people to go up to her at the con; it had just opened.) Of course, I had met Harlan Ellison the year before, and if you can talk to him, everyone else is automatically less intimidating.

(Also incredibly nice and sweet: Claudia Christian. Nicest famous person I've ever met. Well, tied with Cynthia Rothrock. Bonus: same day.)

First Brush With Death: Hard to say, really.

First House/Condo Owned: Never owned. I still rent.

First Film Seen: It was either Disney's Sleeping Beauty or The Empire Strikes Back, but I only have flashes of remembering going. The first movie I really vividly remember going to see was Raiders of the Lost Ark when I was five. Oddly, the one thing that scared me in that movie was not the melting faces, but Alfred Molina turning around and having tarantulas on his back.

First Favorite Recording Artist: "Weird Al." Because he's awesome.

First Favorite Radio Station: Oldies 104.3 Chicago. As a teenager, it was Q101 because Robert Murphy was on in the morning.

First Book I Remember Reading: Charlotte's Web, in the summer before first grade. Although I do actually have memories of reading Fun with Dick and Jane before that. I always loved to read, so it's a vivid memory.

First Meme You Answered on Your Blog: This one, back in April 2005.

Becca's Theories on Mena Suvari

And my wife has an endless love for Mena Suvari which started a decade ago.

2 weeks ago...

BECCA: You know why Mena Suvari has such a beautiful ass? Well, you know how a deaf person's other senses become heightened to compensate for not being able to hear? Well, you know, her ass is compensating beautifully...

Today...

BECCA: You know why Mena Suvari has such a beautiful ass? Because when God closes a door he opens a window. And her window...

ME: I get it.

BECCA: What? She's got small tits, but she's still gorgeous, that's all I'm saying!

Conversations like this are, of course, the reason I married her.

Tell Me About It, Wikipedia

The Wikipedia page for DC Comics' Final Crisis inadvertently gets at the reason I can't read DC Comics anymore:

This article may require copy-editing for grammar, style, cohesion, tone or spelling.

They could just add that tag to the entire DC Universe from Zero Hour onward.

Kristen Bell Mondays


Sunday, May 03, 2009

Song of the Week: "Not Fair"

I'm digging Lily Allen of late. Thought I'd throw this up here for this week.

I've Never Wanted a Table More

I Would So Buy This

If only it were possible. An NES mouse seems like an awesome idea, but unfortunately it's only a foam sculpture. For now? More at Mouse Vomit.