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Monthly Archives: January 2007

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Inbox ‘o Stuff

Things have been a little weird around here. For one, I’ve been crazy busy with several projects floating around at once. For two, we’ve had a cold snap recently which changed the ficus trees in the neigborhood from a healthy green to a dead brown. I enjoyed the rain it brought, but the bitter cold can be overwhelming (not to mention the fact that it gave me a bad cold). But I do have a couple of things to share here.

For several weeks I’ve been getting emails from the makers of something called Supermarket of the Stars, a series of short comedy bits with Illeana Douglas playing an actress who is forced to take a menial grocery store job. Illeana is one of those people who can do no wrong, especially since her turn in Grace of My Heart as a singer-songwriter closely modeled on Carole King. Love her. I finally checked out the fifth and final chapter, just uploaded at YouTube. These are cute and funny, leisurely paced and somewhat reminiscent of Christopher Guest’s films (it helps that that wonderful Guest regular Jane Lynch has a supporting role here). Apparently the show isn’t that new at all and the whole thing’s really a big marketing ploy, but that’s okay.

I also got an email from Marty Weil, who operates the simply titled ephemera weblog. Coincidentally, I’ve had this one bookmarked for several weeks now. Weil interviews ephemera collectors and dealers here, along with sharing plenty of weird old printed crap. Just what I love!

Smokey Bear, You’re Next!

Little Pieces Of My Childhood Disappearing Dept.: Boing Boing posted on the U.S. Forest Service’s newly redesigned Woodsy Owl costume. The formerly rotund, cartoony spokesbird now sports a slimmer, more “active” look. And a shirt. Then B.B. followed up with a post on the government’s weird guidelines for disposing of the old costumes. Seriously, did you see the new costume? L-A-M-E lame.

Obscure Disney

I’ve been catching up on an informative and neatly written vintage Disney-centric weblog called Passport to Dreams Old and New, found via The Disney Blog. One part that especially stuck out was the recent post on lesser-known Disney shorts and films. Check it out, then by all means check out the films she wrote about.

In an effort to further my Disney education, I recently viewed for the first time Make Mine Music, the first of three mishmashy Fantasia knockoffs the company produced in the late ’40s. While Fantasia boasted Stokowski and majestic dinosaurs, this one had Dinah Shore singing over twee silhouettes of ballet dancers. Quite a comedown, although the film does have some nifty highlights (mainly the swing dancing and “Casey at the Bat” segments). I was disappointed, however, to find that the DVD was missing an entire segment. The hillbilly parody “The Martins and the Coys” was apparently left off due to its depiction of violent gunplay. Or perhaps they were afraid of offending hillbillies. Whatever. The fact that Disney put out a censored product is several times more offensive to me than anything the segment could possibly have. Wise up, Disney Co.!

The Cartoonists’ Club

This New York Times piece on the weekly lunches of New Yorker cartoonists was very evocative and nicely written, but it also personally left me feeling wounded. Reading it was akin to being the party guest who was conspicuously not invited to the party (I had the same irrational reaction while viewing a recent CBS News Sunday Morning report on the same subject). A selfish impression, sure, especially since I have no interest in living in NYC or even being a cartoonist. Ridiculous, eh? Reality check: you will never get anything in The New Yorker, nor will you have fabulous weekly lunches with your colleagues to celebrate your wonderfulness. Get over it, Matt. (special, uh, thanks to Christopher)

Salty Potato Crisps, Take Me Away

pringles.gifYesterday I satisfied an odd Pringles fix by buying a can of Original at the local convenience store. It’s been a while, and I hadn’t noticed that the standard Cheez-Ums flavor is now called Cheddar Cheese. Anyway, the can’s protective seal advertised something called “Pringles Minis”. I can imagine the thinking behind this latest Pringles permutation: “Our focus groups continue to love the delicious taste of our product, but many feel inconvenienced by having to open wide to eat them.”

Digging around at revealed a few interesting tidbits about how they market around the world. Australia has a tomato and mozzarella flavor (why not call it pizza?). Paprika and Thai seasonings seem to be popular flavors across Europe. The European light chips are crypitically named “Light Aromas”. Coolest of all, you can get ketchup flavor Pringles in Canada. Color me jealous. And YouTube has a bevy of vintage commercials: an older ad hawking the “newfangled” potato snack, a gloriously cheezy computer-themed spot, and another one with an unknown Brad Pitt playing a surfer dude.

Finalists, Miss Raised Eyebrows 1970

The line of ladies below comes from one of the few things I pilfered from my newspaper days: a sheet of ancient clip art. This and this were amongst the offerings by “Metro’s Mighty Miniatures” in 1970. By the time I joined the paper in the ’90s, Metro art was still in use alongside those made by competitor Dynamic Graphics. Metro’s offerings tended towards the traditional and rural-oriented (e.g. pages of fruit and vegetable photos), while DG went ever slightly more conceptual. With the latter, I can remember designing scads of ads with artwork by Mitch O’Connell (who was presumably gone on to bigger, better things since then).