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Monthly Archives: October 2008

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Bunnies, Comic #18

New Two Bunnies And A Duck today. I’m pleased with how nicely drawn and colored this one came out.

Soda Review: Lucky 66 Orange

Our next soda is Lucky 66 Orange, made by a Wilmington, Illinois company that distributes nostalgically bottled sodas for sale in diners and gift shops all along historic Route 66 (hmm, I shoulda looked for these in Williams last week). The odd thing with fruit-flavored sodas is that they don’t necessarily have to taste like the fruit they represent. Orange Crush is a good example — it’s flavorful and ultra-sweet, with just a hint of orange. Lucky 66’s orange, by comparison, was a bit pallid. Although nice and lightly carbonated, it lacked the citrusy “kick” it desperately needed. Despite the disappointment, the soda does sport a lovely label:

Lucky 66 Orange Soda

40 Years, 40 Albums

I just turned 40 today — and I love it! Really, no joke. I’m grateful to be in good health and nice shape these days; feeling physically much better than I did ten or fifteen years ago.

To celebrate, I’m posting a meme cribbed off Max from last July — name your personal favorite albums of every year you’ve been alive. Like Max, I spent and inordinate amount of time agonizing over this challenge. Having a fresh new iTunes to fill up has given me a fresh opportunity to think over the album format, however. I tried limiting myself to one LP per artist, avoiding compilations for the most part. Thinking about it this way was a challenge, with some years being chock full of great stuff and others winding up a bit dry (didn’t realize how much 1997 and 2007 sucked until now). Most of the post-’70s albums were things I was listening to and loved while they were new; the earlier albums are generally more recent discoveries. Enjoy and — happy birthday to me!

1968: Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell — You’re All I Need
1969: Dusty Springfield — Dusty In Memphis
1970: Simon & Garfunkel — Bridge Over Troubled Water
1971: The Free Design — One By One
1972: Carpenters — A Song For You
1973: Stevie Wonder — Innervisions
1974: Steely Dan — Pretzel Logic
1975: David Bowie — Young Americans
1976: Kate and Anna McGarrigle
1977: Various — Saturday Night Fever soundtrack
1978: Blondie — Parallel Lines
1979: Talking Heads — Fear of Music
1980: Elvis Costello & The Attractions — Get Happy!!
1981: ABBA — The Visitors
1982: ABC — The Lexicon Of Love
1983: Tracey Ullman — You Broke My Heart In 17 Places
1984: Madonna — Like A Virgin
1985: Eurythmics — Be Yourself Tonight
1986: Prince & The Revolution — Parade
1987: The Smiths — Louder Than Bombs
1988: Erasure — The Innocents
1989: Linda Ronstadt — Cry Like A Rainstorm, Howl Like The Wind
1990: Cocteau Twins — Heaven Or Las Vegas
1991: U2 — Achtung Baby
1992: R.E.M. — Automatic For The People
1993: Pet Shop Boys — Very
1994: Massive Attack — Protection
1995: Björk — Post
1996: Beck — Odelay
1997: Future Bible Heroes — Memories Of Love
1998: Air — Moon Safari
1999: Fountains Of Wayne — Utopia Parkway
2000: Kirsty MacColl — Tropical Brainstorm
2001: Daft Punk — Discovery
2002: The Apples In Stereo — Velocity Of Sound
2003: Pernice Brothers — Yours, Mine and Ours
2004: The Go! Team — Thunder, Lightning, Strike
2005: Rachel Stevens — Come and Get It
2006: Belle and Sebastian — The Life Pursuit
2007: Amy Winehouse — Back To Black
2008: Adele — 19

Weekly Mishmash: September 28-October 4

Kay FrancisDr. Monica (1934) and Confession (1937). More Tivo’d Kay Francis. Dr. Monica is the second film in which Kay played a doctor. For this go-round, she’s treating a young woman who has gotten “into trouble” — by Kay’s husband, Warren William! All in all, a typically soapy outing for her that flies by (literally!) in less than an hour. Probably the best thing about this movie is the amazing Verree Teasdale playing Miss Francis’ tart best friend. Teasdale only appeared in 27 films over a career that scarcely lasted a decade, but the woman could do more with an arched eyebrow and sideways glance than most actors could do with their whole bodies. Confession was one of those films that first got me into seeing obscure old b&w films, when it showed up amongst several other Warner Bros. quickies in my local channel’s “Late Show” slot. The story is typical to the extreme (basically Kay avenging an indiscretion by verminlike ex-lover Basil Rathbone), but what really sets this melodrama apart is the stylized German Expressionist direction. The gauzy shots of ceiling fixtures and closed eyes give this film a curiously outdated feel for 1937 — but now that I know the director was making a shot-for-shot remake of an earlier film, the whole thing makes nutty sense. The re-viewing finds that the film holds up nicely, with an excellent performance from Francis. Even Christopher, a die hard Kay-hater, enjoyed this.
The Rape of Europa (2006) and King Corn (2007). Two thought provoking documentaries arrived this week. The stuffily titled Rape of Europa is a fascinating look into the myriad ways the Nazis stole and plundered priceless works of art throughout World War II, and the great lengths those who owned unplundered pieces went through to preserve their holdings. Although it becomes somewhat dull in the second (post-WWII era) half, the film was chock full of excellent interviews from those who were there, along with a host of art/history experts. On a superficial note, I loved all the beautiful tracking shots of paintings in sumptuous widescreen. King Corn deals with the here and now, namely how the mass production of cheap, grainy corn has dominated America’s farmland in the last 25 years or so. In it, two regular guys decide to plant an acre of corn to see how it’s grown and where it goes once harvested. Although a lot of the material was familiar to me, it still had several eye-opening (and sad) moments. Quirky stop-motion animation and lots of lovely, languid shots of Iowa farmland contribute to a thoughtful film that simply illustrates the cost of getting us fed (and, consequently, why we’ve gotten so fat).
Storm Warning (1951). Doris Day and the Klu Klux Klan, who’da thunk it? This was an engrossing melodrama starring Ginger Rogers as a woman who visits her sister (Day) in a small Southern town. Upon arriving, she witnesses a ghastly murder committed by Klansmen, and is shocked to find that one of the men involved is her own brother-in-law (Steve Cochran, slimy yet sexy). As the film unfolds, Rogers finds that the town will go to great lengths to keep her from spilling the beans to the D.A. investigating the crime (Ronald Reagan). This was a very unusual and interesting film which piles on the creepy, sweaty atmosphere effectively. The cast is excellent; even Reagan surprised. One pointy hood up.
You Must Remember This: The Warner Bros. Story (American Masters, PBS). I was totally looking forward to this, since American Masters‘ thoroughness makes even a semi-decent subject worthwhile (personally I enjoy American Experience more, but that’s neither here nor there). But then I got a bit leery when seeing that this six hour opus was the work of Richard Schickel. The guy is the McDonalds of documentary filmmaking — ubiquitous and boring — and I hate how he uses the same experts over and over again (Martin Scorcese, anyone?). On the plus side, there are a lot of great movie clips used througout, and the first hour nicely summarizes Warners’ zippy pre-Code era. Unfortunately, it quickly turns disjointed and at times downright dishonest (from watching this you’d think Warners only did critically acclaimed auteur films in the ’70s). Full disclosure: I never watched the final part, dealing with 1980 to the present, but I can guess how it turned out. The later stuff doesn’t appeal much to me, anyhow.

Soda Review: Waialua Pineapple

Get ready for a classic “kid in a candy store” scenario. Yesterday the mister and I had a day-long trip to nearby Scottsdale (zoo, antiquing, lunch). Since we were going out there anyway, I had to have a detour at Pop The Soda Shop — a hot local business that I’d heard a lot of good things about, but never visited before. This place stocks bottles of just about every obscure, locally made soda in existence (they sell online, too). Naturally I picked up a dozen or so of a variety of flavors. In the next few weeks, I’m going to post write-ups on each of them.

Waialua Soda Bottle CapOur first subject will be Waialua pineapple, a soda originating from Hawaii. Although the label on the bottle sports a retro-style hula dancer, the company in fact got started only a few years ago by a newlywed couple who noticed the lack of soda bottlers on the islands. Right away I noticed that the drink has an appealingly light color, not the screaming piss yellow one would normally associate with pineapple soda. The lightness also extends to the taste. It’s got a really refreshing flavor — good and pineapple-y, sweet but not overpoweringly so. The fact that they use pure cane sugar and not corn syrup as sweetener makes a huge difference (that’s why hardcore Coke drinkers prefer the insanely sweet concoction from Mexico over the U.S. version). Now that I’ve tried the pineapple, I’m very curious about Waialua’s other three flavors … especially the mango. Guess we’ll have to schedule another Pop The Soda Shop trip!

Waialua Pineapple Soda Label