Friday, May 31, 2002
Weird TV programs say "summer" to me more than anything except maybe the smell of suntan lotion and bare feet on hot pavement. This year, NBC is trotting out The Rerun Show - old sitcom scripts from Diff'rent Strokes and The Facts of Life performed with added conteporary irony, a la The Real Live Brady Bunch. Will it suck? Stay tuned.
A treasure trove - the magazines PM and AD served as a showcase of the best American design of the WWII era. The online archive has plenty of neat spreads. The one at right is from a feature on Alex Steinweiss in the June/July 1941 issue.
The things I stumble across: CBS did a nifty little page on the history of its famous "eye" logo. Neat examples of how it's been presented over the years.
Thursday, May 30, 2002
Just logged my first post at Mindjack Daily Relay, a digital cutlure group weblog of which I am now a contributor. Check it out.
The sick and sniffly Christoper gave me the gift of Amy's Answering Machine, an entire CD of answering machine messages from a funny and overbearing Jewish mom. I write about this because Christopher threatened to spit a marble-sized hunk of phlegm on me if I didn't. Isn't he sweet.
Wednesday, May 29, 2002
Sorry if I've been on a kitsch trip lately, but the lounge/mambo/space age pop albums on display at 317x are too irresistible to pass by (gracias, I Love Everything). I appreciate how some of them include the original liner notes. The peculiar Beatnik jivespeak notes from Mambo for Cats are not to be missed. Not to mention that killer cover.
The murder of actress/comedienne Thelma Todd in 1935 is one of Hollywood's most enduring unsolved mysteries. Now that her home (and the scene of her death) is on the market, the case is being re-examined. L.A. Times article requires a free registration.
Loved this article on efforts to preserve a huge old archive of photos in Houston. Via Alt-Log.
Tuesday, May 28, 2002
Startling realization of the day - they made Boba Fett Underoos. This is part of an Underoos gallery linked by Bonnie on her Phreaky Phriday Phun Linx. I was a little too old for Underoos, but I always sung along with their campy commercials ("Underoos are fun to wear/Yeah, something super new in underwear").
On a related note, I can sing the My Buddy commercial jingle, too.
Good Eats - vintage restaurant postcards annotated by the invaluable and hilarious James Lileks. Get a load of "Perhaps the only bar in the world with Elephant Man's disease". The jet-age Glass House is pretty darn cool.
Monday, May 27, 2002
Harrowing New York Times reconstruction of the last moments of those trapped in the WTC between impact and collapse. Eight months on, it still seems unimaginable that it even happened. What a horror those people went through. Via Evan Izer.
Sunday, May 26, 2002
I like it when people write to me about their weblogs, which I wouldn't have otherwise come across. Like Stuart's funny, caustic rantings on the peculiarities of being gay and Asian. Or Tim's hip ramblings and links to mp3s of all the latest indie bands. Thanks mucho to both. If you have a weblog to share, just hit the TALK button and let me know.
Thursday, May 23, 2002
45 RPM record label designs - groovy spot color brilliance from the '60s and '70s, via the excellent Design Writings weblog. Warning: plentiful, and addictive.
I am embarking on the first day of a four day weekend tomorrow, yay. Only a few things have been planned so far. Tearing down the old back extension on our even older standalone garage, in 95 degree heat. Finding throw pillows for our new couch (Christopher wants a plum colored pillow for a brown couch, doesn't that sound like an, um, interesting combo). I will definitely be watching Toon Heads: The Wartime Cartoons this Sunday night on the Cartoon Network. We also have a Lady Eve DVD that's itching to be viewed. Lots of fun to be had all around.
Wednesday, May 22, 2002
Been amusing myself all day long with the amazing potpourri of weird stuff at April Winchell's multimedia page. Like what? Well ---
- A picture of how Julia Roberts would look as a big boned gal.
- The theme song from Gigantor, giant Japanese robot cartoon par excellance.
- A lovely private moment between woman and cat (3MB .mov file).
- An x-ray of something too painful to contemplate. Next, please.
- A rockin' Chinese cover version of "Love Potion No. 9" that belongs squarely in the "cool and strange" genre.
- A disco-fied Don't Cry For Me Argentina. The Pet Shop Boys would kill for that arrangement.
Tuesday, May 21, 2002
"Why do birds suddenly appear/Every time you are near ... " An array of vomitous romantic postcards from YHB's postcard collection. Via Traveler's Diagram.
Monday, May 20, 2002
Being the frivolous person that I am is tough. Others worry about the President's speech on Cuba, or the continuing strife and unease in the Mideast, I obsess over ... snack food packaging.
Specifically, Pringles and Doritos - both of which have unveiled redesigned looks lately. The changes are so new, they even still have examples of the old looks on their websites.
Doritos is an interesting case. I have nostalgic feelings for their '70s-'80s logo - elegant serif type on alternating orange and yellow blocks that made for a kind of sprightly, Jetsonsesque look. A subsequent redesign in the '90s kept the typography, but introduced bold paint swashes and names (Nacho Cheese became Nacho Cheesier), resulting in a more "edgy" and "extreme" image. The newest redesign uses a logo made with the very '80s Crillee Italic font, the same typeface seen on repeats of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Needless to say, it conjures up images of Picard and Data sharing a bag of Nacho Cheesier on the Bridge.
Pringles was born in the '70s; the stiff collared, mustachioed man in their logo reflects that decade's brief infatuation with early 1900s whimsy. Apparently his name is "Mr. P" - which makes me want to start a petition fobidding all companies from applying humiliating nicknames to their beloved icons. Anyway, Mr. P has gotten a makeover. What used to be simple and symmetrical is now all skewered and cartoony. Instead of resembling a pinstriped dandy from the corner barbershop quartet, he now looks like your embarrassing drunk uncle at the family Christmas party. This is an improvement?
I guess I'm just disappointed that whenever a corporate logo reaches a level of hip, retro funkiness, they change it. Burger King did this a couple of years ago. Now everything they put out looks cranked out by some kid going crazy with Photoshop's Halftone Pattern filter. When will they ever learn?
Sunday, May 19, 2002
A page of illustrator bios (thanks, David!) with tons of great art, including some legendary comic artists. I especially enjoyed this one on the sad, strange life of MAD genius Wally Wood.
Speaking of MAD magazine, Dave Berg recently passed away(via the Exotica List). He was the one who did the "Lighter Side Of" series of family vignettes, a feature that ran in that publication for the last thirty plus years.
Friday, May 17, 2002
The evolution and decline of What's Happening!!, from TV Party. I loved the characters, and Henry Mancini's very un Mancini-like theme song. Definitely a show that's ready for Nick at Nite style revival. It's currently in repeats on only two stations in the U.S., can you believe it?
Beth in SF passed along a link to the comprehensive guide to Pen Spinning. Today the obsession of bored cubicle inhabitants, tomorrow the Olympics.
Thursday, May 16, 2002
Tim Biskup - awesome pieces of Mary Blair-esque art from a Pasadena-based illustrator/painter. Man, I could never be that talented.
This funny article on Vietnamese Water Puppetry(link is now dead - M.) was in our paper's Travel section last weekend, and I haven't gotten around to bl*gging it until now. "In Vietnam, water puppets are part of a very serious and ancient performing art that still is practiced widely."
In Space, No One Can Hear You Groan - the hilarious Stephane Zacharek of Salon can get wonderfully bitchy when ranting about a movie she hates.
Wednesday, May 15, 2002
Tried a bottle of Vanilla Coke today. Sweeet. Literally. I usually can't take regular Coke from a bottle, the taste is too powerful. Adding vanilla causes a potent blast of sweet-on-sweet. Mine was ingested after two cups of coffee and left me twitching like a scared little bunny. Other than all that, it has a nice flavor similar to the vanilla cokes at Sonic. Unlike Diet Coke with Lemon (which tastes kind of like Lemon Pledge in soda form), Vanilla Coke is naturally flavored. This would be great over ice.
The official Coke site has some recipes. Cola Cake, yum.
I rejoined the Exotica List recently after a long hiatus. In addition to the wealth of informative tiki talk and news the list brings, I'm so glad because now I can keep track of unsung people who died. Bill Peet, golden age Disney animator and one of the "Nine Old Men". Joseph Lowenbach Steiner, co-founder of Kenner toys. George Sidney, director of several vintage MGM musicals who just did a commentary for the Harvey Girls DVD. Amazing, all.
Tuesday, May 14, 2002
While the majority digs a mini Chinese propaganda poster from this fascinating gallery (originally linked at the fabulous Boing Boing a few days ago), I have a question for the Mac OSX savvy readers among you. Is there a utility that will duplicate and update an iTunes playlist onto a web page? I found iTunes Track Info through a link on What Do I Know. While it does what it says, it only lists the currently playing track (check out the page I made using it). I wonder if there's a way one can tweak the php code on that page so it creates a list, instead of constantly replacing each track that plays. Impossible or not?
Monday, May 13, 2002
Critics attack 'Clones' - (using best Nelson voice) "HA ha!"
"American Movie Classics is getting a face-lift to make it more user-friendly to a post-baby boom movie-watching generation." This will include dumping the American Movie Classics name and going with the shortened AMC. At least they aren't keeping up the laughable pretence that what's now on that junked-up station is considered "classic" (Predator?!?). The Backstory documentaries used to be fairly interesting, until they started doing movies that just came out - turning a potentially good series into just another lame PR machine (next victim: Cast Away). The changes all sound horribly ill-conceived, but then again I'm not that magical 20-year-old woman with too much disposable income they're obviously going after. On the good side, they are launching a new, true classic movie channel later this year. Will I watch it? Probably not.
Memo to Turner Classic Movies: don't even think about changing anything.
Cartoon Over-Analyzations (via Cartoon Research) - combine anything with the words "cartoon" and "over-analyzations" and I am so there. More speculation about Smurfette than was ever thought possible.
Sunday, May 12, 2002
Skyline Views (NY Times magazine) - another reason why Gary Panter is my hero. Check the links to seminal old comic strips like The Yellow Kid and Little Nemo in Slumberland. Cool.
Jason Kottke brings up several interesting points about the limitations of weblogs as an information source. Coincidentally, I've been thinking about this lately with scrubbles. Because I've written about a lot of very specific topics here, I get dozens of referrals every week from search engines like Google. I wonder, do these people come away with what they were looking for? My hunch is that they don't most of the time. Since Google and others link to monthly archive pages and not individual entries (whenever it doesn't link to the main page for an archived item that's no longer on the main page, that is), a searcher would have to scan through an entire page to get what he/she's looking for, or else use their browser's "find" command. Most people wouldn't make the extra effort; they would more likely glance at a page full of unrelated stuff, then click the "back" button. I suppose I could switch to something like Greymatter to make it easier and more organized, but is all that worth the effort? This site's always been a "here's my mess, take it as it is" sorta thing, anyway. I should, however, split some of the longer archive pages in two, so they don't take as long to load. Just as soon as I update the older archived pages to the redesign that was done almost a year ago. :) Enough of my self indulgent rambling for now.
Via Couldal Partners : read TypoBLOG at your own risk, an iffy article about typographic weblogs from Print magazine. It doesn't help the media's image of weblog keepers as flaky narcissists, even if the author is a weblog keeper himself.
Friday, May 10, 2002
Get a load of the neat old postcards from Dinosaur Land in Virginia. "Dad, are we there yet?"
During our daily morning phone call, Christopher told me about this article on the vogue for overpriced baby crap (the L.A. Times site requires registration now, for some reason). Ew. Ewww. Yuck. Disgusting. Ew. We're talking Invasion of the Body Snatchers territory here. It's a good time to quote Margaret Cho: "I am hetero-phobic."
Wednesday, May 08, 2002
This is fun - a new album called Only In Dreams: Classical Music Inspired by Weezer. Having it done on synths instead of a full orchestra gives it the kind of cheeseball faux sophistication that brings to mind Ferrero Rocher, Andrew Lloyd Webber, The Bellagio, and Lifestyles of the Rich & Famous.
Tuesday, May 07, 2002
A short appreciation of Print magazine, which recently won a National Magazine Award for general excellence. I love Print, being lucky enough to have a subscription at the office. The editorial takes the bold stance that graphic design is everywhere, from New York ad agencies to the streets of third world countries -- resulting in a publication thatís a hundred times more universally appealing than a trade magazine needs to be. Articles, without fail, are lively, intelligent and eclectic. Too bad they donít have much online presence.
Guess what? I'm an uncle! Tyler Robb Hinrichs was born last Sunday to my brother and sister-in-law, the first grandchild in my family.
The Top 100 (celebrity) Trainwrecks of the Century, via Mister Pants. An instance where creative bitchery makes up for migraine-inducing page design. Sample quote: "R. Crumb is much like Woody Allen in that they are both undeniable geniuses, but they're both old cranky pervs with really skunky fetishes, who prattle on for hours about boring obscure blues musicians from the turn of the century and 'fancy themselves a bit of a musician.' In fact, R. Crumb and Woody Allen may be the same person. Have YOU seen them in a room together?"
Mister Pants helpfully linked to the site's cached Google pages, so you can avoid Tripod-hosted bandwidth sucking issues.
Monday, May 06, 2002
I found this page of groovy Atari concept sketches through someone's weblog a few months back, but forgot which one. Anyway, thanks. Dig the models' fashions and expressions in some of them - hilarious!
Warning: heavy work week ahead. There might not be as many posts this week.
Could it be? A movie poster design that I like. A lot!
News flash: Ashley Olsen edges out her sister slightly in the number of "nude pics" requests this site gets. Mary-Kate must be insanely jealous.
Flak magazine has done what David Lynch didn't wanna - a complete Mullholland Drive commentary is available for download, spoken by two of their film critics. Make-it-yourself commentaries is an idea whose time has come. There's already an entire website devoted to the subject, with another on the way (forgot the URL, does anybody know it?).
Wired News has a nice article on "Hardware Wars" and other Star Wars homages (!!!!).
Sunday, May 05, 2002
The Karma gods must have heard me. Last December, I griped to the Post cereal company about how they no longer stock the original Alpha Bits in the local grocery stores - they've had only the icky marshmallow kind for the last decade or so. They replied with the lame-o excuse that the plain variety was a regional, not national, food product. Well, imagine my surprise when we found the elusive plain Alpha Bits in the Safeway today - on sale, no less. Safeway Select Diet Creme Soda was on special, too. I'm a happy guy.
Friday, May 03, 2002
More monsters: pulpy, chintzy art from an online collection of 8mm film box designs -
Frankenstein vs. the Wolfman, Revenge of the Creature, Dr. Cyclops. The classics.
Gareth Long's Encyclopedia of Monsters, Mythical Creatures and Fabulous Beasts. If anything, a good resource for finding the name for your Death Metal band (Orthus, Burak, Slyth, etc.).
rawr.net - every day a new monster. Hot damn, ain't it the cutest? Via Jejune.
Wednesday, May 01, 2002
VH1's 100 Greatest One Hit Wonders list is interesting, if a bit on the predictable side (I have serious problems with their number one choice, however). My burning question is -- where is Alisha, whose "Baby Talk" was the earliest and best of many Madonna-circa-"Lucky Star" soundalikes? For some unknown reason, "Baby Talk" never made it into the '80s One Hit Wonder pantheon. Which is a shame, because even if the woman looked less like a pop star than the proprietess of a New Jersey nail salon, her song was kickin' in its day.
The Paul's Boutique Sampling and Reference Page - nice! Via Slatch by way of Listen Missy.
Photos like this never fail to amaze.
Last night, I received my first ever Amazon.com associates payment - $22 in store credit. Woo hoo! Generous thanks to anyone who wittingly or unwittingly bought something there through a link from this site. Guess what I'm getting with the money?