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Mister Manners

You might remember Bill Barol from his witty weblog Blather, or for speaking with The New York Times on the daily strain of weblog keeping (only to drop said weblog soon thereafter), or for his fine articles for the likes of Slate and Fast Company. Now he’s resurfaced as the “typist” of a new book, Mr. Irresponsible’s Bad Advice: How to Rip the Lip Off Your Id and Live Happily Ever After. Mr. Irresponsible is a crusty and oblivious old coot who once wrote a nationally syndicated newspaper advice column, sort of a combination of Ann Landers and Grampa Simpson. In this slim volume, he dispenses advice that is caustically funny but also, strangely enough, useful. I mean, correcting unruly children in restaurants by turning them into projectiles is sound advice — don’t you think?

We’re #14! (Out of 15)

Not to toot my own horn, but is currently ranked #14 in votes for the Weblog Award of Best Blog Design. That’s 14th place out of 15 nominees. C’mon people, throw me a little bone here and vote. Polls close on the 15th and you can vote once every 24 hours.

Two Things

Two things tonight. I finally finished the little site dedicated to our California Sun ‘n Sand Vacation from October 2005. Follow us as we journey to Huntington Beach, Anaheim and points West!

Also, a TV tip. For those with access to the BBC America network, check out Creature Comforts. This series was created by Aardman Studios as a continuation of Nick Park’s Oscar-winning Creature Comforts short, in which he dubbed the sounds of ordinary Brits talking about their lives over hilarious animation of clay animals in a zoo. These new vignettes are slicker and slightly less funny, but I love the way the animators include little touches in the background such as showing the animals pooping (yeah, I’m a four year old at heart). Like everything else on its schedule, BBC America plays it at odd hours — but the new ones come on Friday nights. The first episode includes the original Creature Comforts tacked on at the end.

Busby Berkeley Dreams

Specs on the forthcoming Busby Berkeley DVD box, due in March from Warner Home Video. In addition to the films 42nd Street, Gold Diggers of 1933 and 1935, Footlight Parade, and Dames, each disc will have new featurettes and vintage shorts. What delights me the most about this set is that they’re including those insufferably cute Merrie Melodies cartoons that Warner Bros. produced to capitalize on the cheery Harry Warren/Al Dubin songs from those films — “Pettin’ In The Park”, “Honeymoon Hotel”, “Shuffle Off To Buffalo” and the like. I haven’t seen those in years. Plus: a bonus disc of 20 Berkeley numbers from various musicals. Joy!!

Notes and Comments

Weblog maintenance note: I installed a plugin called EmailWhitelister which catalogs regular commenters so their fine observations will instantly show up, instead of having to wait for my approval. I tested it on Safari and it seemed fine. On Mozilla, it goes through a weird behavior that makes it look like the comment disappeared while the page is hanging. The comment is saved, however — you need to hit “Post” only once, then reload the page in your browser and it shows up. I haven’t tested it yet on IE or Firefox for Windows.

Weblogs of Note

“Matt, when is the blogroll returning?” is a question I’m asked often around here (okay, nobody’s ever asked that question). I can only answer vaguely that it will be back someday, on its very own page. Whenever that day comes, I will have to add these other ones that have taken my fancy recently:

  • a sampler of things shares vintage ads, packaging, cartoons and other ephemera from the ’50s-’70s. I should mention that the proprietor of this one is the same person behind the indispensible Tick Tock Toys site. Thanks to Ward, otherwise I would’ve never heard of this one!
  • Cartoon Modern. Amid Amidi of Cartoon Brew set up the weblog to publicize his forthcoming book on stylized ’50s animation, but it’s more than mere shill. The recent post on the appeal of that era’s animation design is a real gem.
  • Been reading Bubblegum Fink regularly since they linked to scrubbles awhile back. Kitsch aplenty, presented with a charm usually missing from weblogs of that ilk.
  • From what I can tell, Jart In My Head is one woman’s personal childhood history of defacing photos of various teeny bopper idols. And other stuff. More kitsch with a wonderful emphasis on obscure ’70s junk (Brady Bunch books!).
  • Fun All Around is illustrator Eric Sturdevant’s new weblog. I bookmarked it to keep track of the wonderful vintage illustrations he always uploads to flickr. Keep ’em coming, Eric!