It’s Halloween! What spookiness will be planned? We’re having our yearly ritual of turning off the porch light, avoiding the neighborhood kiddies, shutting ourselves into a back room, and watching a scary movie. Because needy little sugar-addicted brats are the scariest things on earth! Here’s the only Halloween decor we have at the homestead:
Despite the avoidance of trick or treaters, I want to state that I am far from the Halloween version of a Scrooge. Earlier this week, I uploaded some scans of these terrific vintage “You’ll Die Laughing” cards that my friend Julie sent me a few years back. These wonderfully dark cards were illustrated by Mad man Jack Davis. Check out the four that I have in my Kiddie Korner flickr set.
Finally, I’ve also posted a Halloween-themed edition of my online comic, Two Bunnies and a Duck. I’ve been plugging away at the biweekly Two Bunnies for almost two years. While the project serves as a good way to keep my drawing and Photoshop skills honed, the thing barely gets any visitors or comments and it’s very discouraging. Please visit and, if you want to cheer me up, leave a comment. Thanks. Boo!
Elvis Costello & The Attractions – Trust. I owned this on a rinky dink cassette tape in the ’80s, when I had no choice but to savor every music choice for whatever it was worth. I got to re-savor it again recently on CD (the old Rykodisc reissue CD from 15 years ago, but still…). Costello fans consider this something of an inconsistent halfway point between the herky jerky r&b of Get Happy!!! and the tortured balladry of Imperial Bedroom. It even contains a few songs, like “Luxenbourg,” that I mistakenly took as Get Happy!!! tracks. Stylistically the album is still all over the map, but honestly this one contains some of my favorite E.C. material — compositions as clever and melodic as he’s ever been. “New Lace Sleeves” is one of them:
By the way, Columbia records dropped the ball on the singles issued from this album, opting to release the pleasant “Watch Your Step” in the U.S. (where it bombed) over the superior U.K. single “Clubland.”
Crazy Love (2007). Slickly made, engrossing documentary about a supremely odd couple. The saga of Burt and Linda Pugach began in the late ’50s, when a spurned Burt went psycho and flung acid in Linda’s face. She got nearly blinded, he landed in jail, and that should have been the end of it — except they eventually fell in love. This was such a trip, and not just for the saggy, wrinkled faces on the now elderly participants. The Pugachs are flawed, not entirely likable people, but they won me over for proving the old saw that love can bloom from the strangest circumstances.
Planet Terror (2007). I wasn’t expecting too much of the Robert Rodriguez half of Grindhouse, but truthfully the film wound up a cheesy delight — more fun than a bagful of severed testicles, you might say. Despite the novelty of Rose MacGowan’s firearm prosthetic leg, the story itself goes into familiar “zombies on a rampage” territory. Freddy Rodriguez tries too hard to act tough in the lead, but he’s okay. Fake film scratches and a muddy soundtrack add to the enjoyment, and the retro ’80s musical score (also by Rodriguez) couldn’t sound more perfect.
Zack & Miri Make a Porno (2008). Awful “comedy” only proves to me that Kevin Smith is one of the most overrated people in the movie business, along with Judd Apatow (whom Smith apes shamelessly here). This one starts off vulgar, then takes a strange shift in tone to insincere sweetness. Neither approach works, and there aren’t many laughs.
Nostalgia galore from an Alburquerque, New Mexico TV station commercial break, circa 1979. Though I grew up in the Phoenix, AZ area, I remember much of this stuff — the ABC movie promo, the Yellow Pages ad, the insidious “there’s gotta be an easier way” Circle K convenience store jingle. Only 15 cents for coffee? That was a long time ago.
The aesthetic of Pablo Ferro’s opening titles from The Thomas Crown Affair (the good one, not the remake) might be called ’60s Geometric Chic. There’s a polo game sequence in the film that receives the same treatment. This is what widescreen film was made for:
Twenty years on, the Thomas Crown look received a low-budget but loving homage in the form of Swing Out Sister’s “You On My Mind” music video. What goes around, comes around.
Twitter and Facebook. What’s your opinion? I proudly avoided both sites for a long time — Twitter for being dumb and trendy, Facebook for being home to smarmy real estate agents and lawyers. Now, however, I can’t get enough of either of them. If I want to share a short link or observation with the world, I’m much more likely to do it via Twitter or Facebook. If that thought or link needs a longish explanation to go with it, the story will get posted here.
I know a few people who post identically to both Twitter and Facebook, but I actually use both sites for different means. Twitter is an extension of my “blog” persona. I use it to (try and be) witty, make nonsensical observations, and share my love of goofy pop culture of the past. Facebook is for the “real life” me, a way to stay in contact with flesh-and-blood folks I know or once knew. I first joined it when some non-online friends of ours suggested joining to play games of Scrabble. I also have a guilty tendency for completing all those stupid Facebook quizzes and polls. I’ve notice something over time, though — the longer I’ve been on both sites, the more these distinct personae are merging. Many blogging friends are also Facebook contacts, and I’m sure the “real life” family and friends in my life will eventually find out about Scrubbles.net. Thoughts, anyone?