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Category Archives: Mishmash

New Day

Wow, history in the making. Arianna Huffington’s election postmortem sums up how I feel right now. Elated, relieved, full of pride yet cautiously optimistic. Watching Obama’s victory speech last night was a truly moving experience. Very inclusive, but what impressed me most was his acknowledgment that it takes work — on everyone’s part — to have effective and long lasting change for the better. As it ended, I heard Christopher say with a choke in his voice that Michelle will make a great First Lady. He had tears in his eyes. That made up for the small disappointments on the Arizona side that our electoral college unsurprisingly picked McCain (albeit by a smallish margin), and the discriminatory Prop 102 passed.

So now what? I think I’m just gonna relax and follow some of Slate’s suggestions on how to kill time now that the election’s over.

Friday Miscellany

Kind of a dull week, huh? I uploaded the Viewmaster pics and created a new Two Bunnies and a Duck solely for the one person who was looking forward to it. And designed lots of manga comics for Viz. That’s about it. We’re getting ready to go on a trip to an undisclosed locale this weekend. This meant boarding our cat Eero, who responds to unfamiliar situations by burrowing under towels and shirts in her pet taxi. She’s a feisty kitty, always nipping at us and running around the house excitedly — but on the other hand she’s also a skittish thing who jumps at the slightest noise. I hope she’s okay. (p.s. Weekly Mishmash might now show up ’til later.)

I just stumbled across Cranky Lesbian today and feel like I have a blogging kindred spirit. Apparently Ms. Cranky and myself have 22 books in common in our LibraryThing libraries, which is the third highest out of everybody on that site. Yeah, those 22 books are soooo gay …

What else … how about some more Motown funkiness with Martha Reeves and the Vandellas performing “Bless You” on Soul Train? The ebullient, Jackson 5-esque “Bless You” marks the trio’s final hit single before the ladies hung up their wigs up for good in 1972. I love the energy of the Vandellas (l-r: the gorgeous Sandra Tilley and Martha’s sister Lois), along with their stylin’ afros. But what was Martha thinking with that huge hair? Dig:

The Naugahyde Nauga

NaugaA short history of the Nauga, the Naugahyde Council’s very ’60s mascot (via Coudal). Really interesting and unusual ad campaign, and 40 years on the company still uses the character (!). The Nauga used to look like something from Yellow Submarine to me, but now I see it has more of an Uglydolls appearance that seems ahead of its time.

Rant City

Glenn Erickson goes after several of my pet peeves in one story with When DVD Menus Attack! It’s all covered here: forced previews, anti-piracy warnings, spoilers, and unnecessarily complication designs. I especially hate sitting through the ubiquitous FBI warning screen designed by some government lackey who just opened Photoshop for the first time.

Another worthwhile read can be found in Mark Morford’s column entitled Evil: It’s the New Good! One of his targets is the annoying commercial/propaganda put out by the corn lobby to make high fructose corn syrup look harmless. Well, it may be harmless in small quantities but the food industry puts it in everything. Corn was never meant to be processed into a noxious goo that imitates the taste of other foods. Blecch.

Boom Pop, Cool Beans!

Jeff Pepper of the wonderful 2719 Hyperion has started a new weblog to explore his interest in vintage pop culture of the non-Disney variety. Boom Pop! adheres closely to the 2719 Hyperion formula, which in this case is a good thing. It’s only ten days old and I already have it in my Bloglines feeds. Keep up the good work, Jeff!

Weekly Mishmash: July 20-26

Today I want to give a shout out and a happy birthday to Christopher, the youngest 49 year-old I’ve ever known. Briefly incapacitated by a bug, the mishmash pickin’s are on the slim side this week. Here we go …
The Black Book (1949). Loquacious one Vince Keenan raved about this gothic thriller on his blog, so I recorded the recent TCM showing and gave it a looksie last Monday in between some nasty dry heaves. Originally titled Reign of Terror, this is a nifty example of applying noir atmosphere to a historical subject — in this case, events leading up to the French Revolution. While it certainly looks like a low budget film and takes a while to get moving, director Anthony Mann does wonders with the material and created some truly suspenseful scenes bathed in gorgeous shadows. An edgy and effective Robert Cummings (whom I normally can’t stand) heads up the eccentric and well-chosen cast. This is one of those weird public domain films which only shows up in muddy looking prints; Criterion really oughta look into doing a sparkling DVD reissue.
Memories of Murder (2003). A grisly and overlong film based on the real-life case of the first documented serial killer in Korea. The intriguing story could have made for a good, tense 90 minute film, but at two-plus hours it felt stretched to the limit. Seeing the brutality of the Korean police was an eye-opener, but the fact that every single character had a short fuse got annoying very quickly. I enjoyed the pudgy lead actor, and some genuinely creepy moments come through, but overall this was a disappointment.
Quinceñara (2006). Despite having zero interest in the blossoming ceremonial rituals of latino teen girls, I put this on the Netflix queue due to the great reviews it got. What a nice surprise it turned out to be. The quinceñara (a fancy party given for hispanic girls when they turn 15) forms the bookends for this story of a girl who finds herself pregnant and outcast by her preacher dad. Desperate, she turns to her eccentric great uncle and cousin and the three form their own offbeat familia. This was a charmingly scripted, perceptive film which paints a vivid portrait of a changing subculture in Los Angeles’ Echo Park. I especially liked the subplot with the cousin and his covert fascination with the gay yuppie couple who purchased the home they’re renting from. How often does a film deal realistically with latino life, much less gay latino life?
WALL•E (2008). What does it take to get two confirmed homebodies out to the cinema? One word: Pixar. We finally saw this on Friday, and I concur with all the critics who have been slobbering over themselves. It’s a beautiful and unique achievement that stands among Toy Story and The Incredibles in the Pixar pantheon. Only debit: once Wall-E and Eve leave earth and enter the space station, a bit of specialness is lost.