Thursday, October 31, 2002
Seeing all the wonderful vintage commercials and posters at Smokey's Vault (via Dollar Short) got me wondering if there's a good Woodsy Owl site out there. What I found, alas, was a bitter disappointment. He has a single lame-o homepage. He was given a dorky makeover in the '90s. He's a busy guy with strict appearance guidelines. And his new tagline ("Lend a Hand - Care for the Land!") isn't nearly memorable as "Give a Hoot, Don't Pollute!" Ah well.
A busy day for AP obituaries: pioneering film editor Margaret Booth, Jam Master Jay of Run-DMC, actress Peggy Moran. Unintentionally funny line with the latter's obit: "Among Moran's handful of horror movies were The Mummy's Hand, Horror Island and Ninotchka, starring Greta Garbo."
Via Kris - find the Playboy playmate of the month when you were born. Mine's a cutie (October '68 was a good month for beachy California girls).
Wednesday, October 30, 2002
Retrocrush just started a "100 Scariest Movie Moments" list that looks like fun. Especially since they used this still from this movie which still scares the beejeesus outta me. Yeeks.
Tuesday, October 29, 2002
It's "rag on mainstream magazines" day -
James Lileks rags on Entertainment Weekly's cover with Avril Whasshername and that whole fakey "punk" image she has. Another instance where I saw an EW cover and thought "don't care" - and wound up reading the article anyway.
BlogCritics rags on Vanity Fair's hefty music issue, piece by piece. Priceless!
Mark Jenkins rags on lists, and why magazine editors like them so much. 1) They're cheap. 2) They're opinionated. 3) Readers prefer little bits to big chunks.
Monday, October 28, 2002
Seanbaby's 20 Worst Video Games of All Time is hilarious. Where can I get me some Extreme Sports with the Berenstein Bears action? (via Pop Culture Junk Mail)
The L.A. Times has a swell article on Adrian Tomine today. (thanks Christopher!)
A gallery of WWII recruiting posters for women. On some of them you can see the original art next to the finished project - cool. (via Sarah)
Sunday, October 27, 2002
Over the weekend we watched DVD episodes of Gerry Anderson's old sci-fi series UFO, which I never saw before and Christopher remembered from his childhood. The show only ran for one season in 1970; the acting was hit-or-miss and the plots lapsed in logic, lurching from one crisis to the next. Even so, it was worth watching for the fantastic production design, costumes and music. The UFO version of life in 1980 is an Austin Powers-esque fantasy world of pop art furniture, hot chicks with big hair, and cars with doors that hinge on the roof. Pure nirvana for someone like me who gets excited at seeing a Pierre Paulin tongue chair on TV.
It's funny how people foresaw the future in only ten years being so ... futuristic. The only precient thing I saw in the show was this: the lead character's swanky office has an automated bar that dispenses various liquors at the touch of a button, much like the soda fountain at your corner 7-11.
The thing that really amazed me most on this show was the costumes. They were designed by Sylvia Anderson, the producer's wife (Sylvia also did the voices of all the female Thunderbirds, quite the multi-talented woman). Let's go into detail, shall we?
S.H.A.D.O. Headquarters: Administrators have a relaxed dress code of bodysuits, turtleneck sweaters, nehru jackets, and minidresses in muted colors. The underlings all wear these sexy butt-hugging jumpsuits. Nice.
Skydiver: The Skydiver was a neat-o submarine with a nose that detatched as a mini aircraft. Crew members are outfitted in tight beige pants with cotton mesh see-thru tops. I imagine that all the gay men in 1980 wanted to work here.
Moon Base: Male pilots wear form-fitting blue ribbed jumpsuits, while female controllers wear groovy silver outfits with go-go boots, purple wigs and Cleopatra eye makeup. At first I thought they were aliens, but no - those are earthlings in their normal work uniforms!
Saturday, October 26, 2002
"This is the tip of the iceberg, believe me." - quote from the creator of the Generic Cheese & Macaroni Gallery. (via Coudal)
Thursday, October 24, 2002
A traveling show of unsold network TV pilots is something I would pay to see. Throw in some "lost" '60s-'70s-'80s shows and I'm the first one there. The article also explains why so many of the pilots that do make the cut are so, so bland --- focus groups, baby!
(picture at right is from the diverting garybaseman.com)
Wednesday, October 23, 2002
The Penguin Classics line is undergoing a redesign, one book at a time (via Fimoculous). This looks promising, even if the examples shown with the article aren't that thrilling. An obsessively detailed, ultra-geeky description of Penguin Classics can be found in Nicholson Baker's novel The Mezzanine.
The world of photorealistic comic strips (via Sharpeworld) - neato!
"One of the last tapes I made before discovering '120 Minutes', which saved more suburban souls in the late 80s than SPIN and Rolling Stone combined." A hipper-than-thou Pitchfork writer takes a painfully funny look back at a 1988 relic. Just one glance at the cassette itself - a magenta and yellow dealie made by Memorex - brought pangs of recognition.
Tuesday, October 22, 2002
Lynn Yaeger's always entertaining Elements of Style column this week is about Halloween costumes - fun!
I'm feverish today, and I love it. Like any sick day, the general feeling of ickiness is mitigated with having several hours to bum around at home in sweat pants, watching Turner Classic Movies while drinking copious amounts of water. Besides, it gave me time to work on the new scrubbles.net store - yes, you too can have a coffee mug, t-shirt or briefcase with the scrubbles logo on it. Soon some nicer designs will be added to the product lineup. Please buy something because I'm a filthy capitalistic pig.
Monday, October 21, 2002
Colleen Moore's Fairy Castle - a wonderfully detailed dollhouse on display at Chicago's Museum of Science & Industry. I remember reading about this on the late, great online 'zine Retro. (via Dublog)
Friday, October 18, 2002
"I think I'm the only actress to play a stripper on Happy Days." A cute interview with Cassandra Peterson, a.k.a. Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. (via Quiddity)
Me and Christopher watched The Kingdom of Plastics last night. This campy little industrial short reminded me of those old educational films you saw in grade school. The only thing missing is the part where the film comes loose in the projector, making the narrator guy sound like he's speaking through closed lips.
Thursday, October 17, 2002
A microscopic essay on the advertisement for The Ring - I have to admit the trailer is excellent, but The Ring's print ad is putrid. Not that it's any different from any other newspaper ad for a movie. Everybody knows the quotes from movie ads are stupid; easily obtained from shills who are in it for unlimited free movies, lavish press junkets and a chance to hobnob with the stars. Looking closely at these nuggets of wisdom, it becomes obvious why highfalutin' critics like Anthony Lane and Owen Gleiberman never get quoted. They use big words and stuff. Take a look:
"Grab this Ring! The scariest movie of 2002." - Thelma Adams, US Weekly. Oh, a play on words, I
didn't see that coming. Perhaps I shouldn't be surprised that this
ad's uppermost quote is from the magazine for celebrity hounds who find
People too intellectually stimulating. The latest issue of Us
has a profile of this movie's star, Naomi Watts. Coincidence?
"Not since 'The Exorcist' or 'Rosemary's Baby' has a movie been so truly
frightening." - Pat Collins, WWOR. By
"frightening," did she mean that in a good or bad way? For years, I thought
this oft-quoted woman and Pat Collins, The Hip Hypnotist,
were the same person. Not so.
"'The Ring' raises some serious goose bumps." - David Ansen, Newsweek. Serious goose bumps, as opposed to the non-serious kind. David Ansen is somewhat respectable in movie crit circles, what's he doing here? In his full review, you'll find that his impressions are actually mixed. Of course, they had to use the lamest part in the ad.
"The best scary movie since 'The Sixth Sense' ... 'The Ring' will haunt
you." - Susan Granger, SSG Syndicate. Ahh, Susan Granger. The queen of
puffball movie reviewers. For years her blurbs would run with the
affiliation of American Movie Classics - which completely mystified me,
since that channel never had an on-air film critic. Now she's credited with
something called SSG Syndicate, which is ... Susan Granger. A peek at the
reviews on her website reveals that she thankfully doesn't love everything she sees. However, her reporting is filled with enough cutesy, facile
pronouncements ("While the Mediterranean sparkles, Swept Away
sinks.") to make her an ad copywriter's dream come true.
"An intense, intelligent thriller with an engaging cast." - Jeffrey
Jeffrey Lyons seemed OK on Sneak Previews -- but only by association, since he sat across from the truly loathsome Michael Medved. On his own, it becomes glaringly apparent that he's something of a hack. No wonder he's so often quoted in ads.
"You'll have a spooky good time!" - Clay Smith, Access Hollywood. A
generic quote from someone at a generic TV news show. One doesn't watch
fluff like Access Hollywood for insightful film criticism, but come
Rant over. I feel better now.
Wednesday, October 16, 2002
Philly punk fliers, a world where Helvetica in all caps rules (via the Sound Scavengers list).
Tuesday, October 15, 2002
They That Go Down To The Sea In Ships - a collection of old sailor photos compiled by Evan Izer. Grainy, blurry, compositionally off, full of untold stories - this feeds my deep fascination with found pics of every kind.
Cool notes and imagery from an eclectic mix cd made by Andy of The Clumsy Twirler Diaries. "'Kentucky Rain' is most likely the best song from the 'Country side of Elvis'." You are correct, sir.
Sunday, October 13, 2002
Busy work week in the next few days, posts here may be scarce. So where to go? Traumatic Halloweens is still good and funny, if I may say so myself.
Yesterday, I tried on two different pairs of 36-inch waist pants at the clothing store, and both were too tight. NO!! I can't be gaining weight! Since this happened at Ross, I'm entertaining the thought that possibly maybe I stumbled upon two pairs of irregularly small-waisted pants in a row.
Friday, October 11, 2002
Illegal Art exhibits various paintings, drawings, videos and music that play with copyright laws, like Wally Wood's infamous drawing of Disney characters doin' the nasty. Don't miss the nifty history of sampling lawsuits complete with mp3s.
Friday Fun Dept.: How To Be Cheap, a comix page drawn by Joe Matt.
Very, very, very expensive child's bed - a custom job shaped like Cinderella's coach. Can be yours for $39,500.
Thursday, October 10, 2002
Revived mid-century modern furniture in Metropolis magazine. Of course I want them all.
The Onion is hot this week.
Wednesday, October 09, 2002
Christopher didn't disappoint with his birthday gifts. First, you have to know something about him and gift giving: everything is vintage, always carefully planned, unique and thoughtful. You know, one of those people who has Christmas gifts ready by March. First was a tiny portrait of the silent actress Leatrice Joy framed in fake rattan. It hangs in our kitchen, positioned so it looks like Miss Joy is staring coquettishly at a cabinet. Next was a huge stack of 1949 House & Garden magazines, filled with cool pictures and ads. One of them has this great article on the top designers of the day that I must reprint here someday. The final gift was Nat King Cole's Spanish language album Cole En Espaņol. I usually don't like Nat King Cole, but In the Mood for Love effectively used a couple of these tunes and we fell hard for them. On the whole it's a great Latin-y record, a valuable addition to my collection. Good job, Christopher!
Another b-day gift I recently got was the Schoolhouse Rock DVD set. Fantastic stuff that's for the most part surprisingly fresh. My favorite has to be "Figure 8" - probably because, unlike the other Schoolhouse Rocks, it has this weird vibe of introspective melancholy. It opens with that indelible image of kids walking though the snow to a tiny schoolhouse. While a sad little blonde girl ponders multiples of fours and eights (as sung by Blossom Dearie!), the whole thing plays out like some sort of bizarre hybrid of Hanna Barbera and Ingmar Bergman. Wild.
I haven't checked out all of The Russian Avant Garde Book yet, but what I've seen of this Flash-heavy site is stunning. (via Metafilter)
Wrecked Exotics - nothing but photos of totaled Porches, BMWs, Ferraris, etc. There's some heavy wish fulfillment going on here. Creepy, too, since some of the wrecks look fatal. (via Travelers Diagram)
Tuesday, October 08, 2002
On this day, I am 1,072,915,200 seconds or 17,881,920 minutes or 298,032 hours or 12,418 days or 34 years old. Happy birthday to me.
Monday, October 07, 2002
TV Theme songs and why they aren't as good as they used to be, despite a few exceptions. Pop/rock songs used in opening credits aren't theme songs, in the strictest sense, but otherwise the author is right on target. (thanks, Beth!)
The Partridge Family + The Manson Family = The Poppy Family, an old 'zine article by Kim Cooper (later included in the book Bubblegum Music Is the Naked Truth). The Poppy Family was a Canadian group led by husband and wife Terry and Susan Jacks. I've been enjoying two of their songs on iTunes - "Which Way You Goin' Billy" and the country-tinged "That's Where I Went Wrong" - and they leave me yearning for more. Look no further for the dark side of early '70s pop; Susan's forlorn vocals are the aural equivalent of a "big-eyed girl" thrift store painting. Too bad the Poppys split for good after two albums. Since then, Terry had one hit - "Seasons In the Sun" - then disappeared into obscurity. For all I know, Susan is probably gracing the finest Denny's in Vancouver.
Sunday, October 06, 2002
Laurie Hogin: A Hole in the World - article on the contemporary painter of demonic woodland creatures, done in the style of 19th century still lifes. Creepy, creepy, creepy. (via Bonnie Blog)
Bob alerted me to his latest project, Professor Barnhardt's Journal. Check out Why I Write, in which various creatives explain what inspired them and turns their gears. Roger Ebert's contribution is a model of plainspoken common sense.
The Flash-y graphics and images at Fat Truckers' Union are amazing - I would describe the look as White Trash Chic. Just go there and read "The Death of Tom Sawyer Diner". Crazy, beautiful, unforgettable. (via No Sense of Place)
Saturday, October 05, 2002
With every year, [Peter] Arno's work in black and white grew simpler and stonger and more playful, and the colors he employed in his superb covers grew brighter. One could spot them from a long way off, blazing with a kindergarten fierceness of sky blue, apple red, sea green.
Recipe for a perfect lazy Saturday afternoon: browsing through Arno's cool old New Yorker covers at cartoonbank.com.
- Brendan Gill, Here at The New Yorker (Random House 1975)
Thursday, October 03, 2002
Delightful classic LP covers from Cool and Strange Music magazine. Cheesecake, exotica, percussion, etc. I have The Sounds of Exotic Island in my collection - and it rocks!
According to this Wired piece, the Pantone color people have the world's tastemakers by the balls. Or something like that.
Wednesday, October 02, 2002
As a capper to a Wednesday spent going between furiously completing various work projects and furiously checking out various websites, I present an ambling "miscellany" entry of things encountered. Here goes:
- Christopher alerted me to this NPR All Things Considered piece marking the 30th anniversary of the final broadcast of radio's great suspense show called, strangely enough, Suspense. Very good. I also recommend this one from last August on rediscovered gems from the Motown vaults. Nice!
- This article looks at the ethics of Hollywood studios planting rave reviews at internet fan sites. David at I Love Everything calls it "interesting" - I wholeheartedly agree!
- An interview with Ian Robinson of MTV (via the appropriately named Rocktober). This guy ranks somewhere between Star Jones and the "make money FROM YOUR OWN HOME" commercial guy on the TV personality annoy-o-meter.
- The Ladybird Book Exhibit - via Coudal Partners, beautiful illustrations from a popular series of British kids books. I could spend all day there. The image at right is from a volume called The Story of Football.
- Just started reading Stewart O'Nan's book on the Hartford circus fire of 1944. With dread, as the narrative reaches the fire itself. It was caused by a tent coated with a waterproof but extremely flammable combo of gasoline and paraffin . 167 people - mostly children - died. This page gives a tidy little history of that terrible day.
- Still confused about widescreen vs. full screen DVDs? Starwars.com is here to help ya.
- I've been quoted in BlogCritics - cool! That site is quickly becoming a daily read for me - lots of intelligent commentary and good links on all things cultural (pop and otherwise) there.
Tuesday, October 01, 2002
Impressive sights at Henry Lim's Lego sculptures. I dig the fully functional Lego harpsichord - although the music is makes ain't exactly Scarlatti. (via Funderland)