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Monthly Archives: April 2007

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Objects in Darwinsanity

Here’s something for intelligent designers — online mag Inkling (no, I haven’t heard of it either) is holding a contest to redesign the Darwin fish seen on so many cars (via UnBeige). What the entries lack in polish they gain in the funny dept.

Let’s All Go to the Mall

Keith Milford of the terrific Malls of America shares a short video of Phoenix’s Metrocenter circa 1990 (you can tell when it was videotaped because that lame-o “Baby I Love Your Way/Freebird” song is playing in one of the shots). I visited Metrocenter only once as a child, but it was amazingly clean, white and big. Some of that amazingness has been preserved in the movie Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. My favorite part of the video is the shot of Goldwater’s with its textured gold brick wall on the mall’s entranceway. Goldwater’s was a mainstay on the Phoenix shopping scene, a swanky destination which unfortunately got bought out by Macy’s in the ’80s. I loved those gold bricks.

What a Relief It Is

PenguinsWatching the Discovery Channel’s Planet Earth makes me wish we had an HD-equipped television. It looks nice enough on a regular 36-inch flat screen, however.

Last weekend, we caught the latest two installments on our tiny 12-inch Sanyo backup television. As usual we were wowed by the gorgeous photography and the unprecedented footage of unusual animals in their habitats. I even like how they’re not shy about showing the reality of nature — namely, that cute lil’ baby animals become afternoon snacks for all sorts of predators. These last few episodes have been especially high on the carnage: a few seals, a couple of penguins, a fluffy gosling (pathetically peeping for mercy, no less), an adorable little miniature bunny, and most spectacularly an elephant falling prey to a pride of lions. It’s uncomfortable to watch, but that’s the nature of nature — leaving it out would make the series nothing more than a bunch of pretty pictures. My only caveats are that Discovery replaced the original BBC narration by Richard David Attenborough with a bland Sigourney Weaver, and the commercial breaks seem too awkwardly shoehorned into the program’s narrative. Better wait for the DVD for a purer viewing experience.

Anyway, the whole point of this post was to tell about our television woes. Our Dell flat screen had been showing some weird horizontal lines once the TV was left on for a couple of hours. It would start off subtly, but the longer the television stayed on the more lines would appear, until the top half of the screen would stretch horizontally into a flickery mess. This problem was so bizarre that we couldn’t find any reference to it on the internet. Since the set was out of warranty, Dell wouldn’t help. Or so we thought. We went ahead with pursuing a refund via American Express, and in the process we spoke with Dell again. A simple procedural call turned into Dell offering to replace the TV free of charge (wow!). We got our new set this afternoon and the picture looks lovely. The old set has already been shipped away, and life is good. Back to Planet Earth in large screen. Until this new TV starts crapping out, that is.

Idol Chatter

I was thinking I haven’t posted anything “artsy” here for a while, until this interview with illustrator Calef Brown came up via Drawn! Brown is one of my idols going back 15 years or so, and it’s good to read that he seems like a nice, down-to-earth kind of fellow.

Moogs and Beer, a Heady Combination

I totally dig this old Schafer beer commercial with Edd Kalehoff noodling on a moog synthesizer. It’s the very personification of grooviness. Kalehoff composed the early Price Is Right showcase music, which probably explains why this commercial’s soundtrack has a familiar feel. The clip comes from the DVD for the stupifyingly boring 2004 documentary Moog.

Our next film is a late-’70s promotional clip with producer/synth pioneer Giorgio Moroder. Despite coming across like a pretentious twit in this film, I still find his music so fascinating, so evocative of coke snorting parties and Helmut Newton fashion shoots. As a matter of fact, I’m working on compiling a mix of some of Moroder’s more underrated ’80s productions (Melissa Manchester’s “Thief of Hearts”, anyone?). Check out the man’s voluminous discography here.

Betsy McCall’s Easter Eggcitement

Betsy McCallWe just finished doing a three day road trip to Northern Arizona. Part of our stay was in the town of Winslow (as in “Standing on a corner in …”). The town is a dingy, depressing little place with one beautifully restored hotel to recommend it, the La Posada. We also went to the town’s sole antique store and bought up a couple of vintage early ’70s McCall’s magazines for a quarter each. Betsy McCall paper dolls were a popular running feature in this magazine for years, but this one from 1973 must have been near the end of her run.