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Monthly Archives: May 2007

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Will They Call It Pottersville?

Okay, I don’t really care that much for J.K. Rowling, but how cool is the projected Harry Potter theme park, set to open at Universal’s Islands of Adventure in 2009? Those artist renderings are way cool.

Goodbye Charlie

Charles McNulty of the L.A. Times remembers Charles Nelson Reilly, drawing parallels between Reilly and Paul Lynde and going into his considerable theatrical career. As a child, I had an intense liking of Reilly on Match Game and Lynde on Hollywood Squares. Years before I had any inklings on what being gay meant, these two gents impressed on my young mind that it’s okay to be different. And that’s a wonderful legacy to have. R.I.P., C.N.L. (via ArtsJournal)

The Harriet Files

I have to admit to harboring a weird fascination with Harriet Klausner,’s most prolific book reviewer. She’s a self-described speed reader who logs in multiple reviews each day, mostly appearing on the day a book is published. She never fails to give a book four or five stars, claiming to skip out on analyzing books she doesn’t enjoy (which kind of boggles the mind, really). Paging through her summaries, it’s apparent that this woman never met a contrived chick-lit paperback, Nascar romance or vampire-themed mystery she didn’t like. All of her reviews follow the same formula: two paragraph plot summary (likely paraphrased from the book’s back cover) followed by one paragraph of superficial affirmation. Her reviews read as if hastily speed-written, filled with faulty grammar and run-on sentences galore. Many have questioned whether Ms. Klausner actually writes all that stuff, but I imagine her as some kind of obsessive-compulsive lone nut scribbling away on whatever cheezy Harlequin Romance comes her way: “Must … stay … numberone … ”

All this has developed an interesting new wrinkle since Amazon allowed customers to comment on the reviews, lending a delicious “meta” quality to the whole thing. In Harriet’s case, each review comes with a discussion where a small pool of Harriet-defenders butt up against the Harriet-haters. And, tellingly, her reviews now routinely get voted “not helpful” on the prinicpal that no one should take this bald-faced shill seriously. The Harriet backlash is now in full swing, folks. There’s even a weblog devoted to her (and Amazon’s other megareviewers), The Harriet Klausner Appreciation Society. It must be noted that Ms. Klausner is closing in on her 14,000th Amazon book review. Scribble on, crazy book lady!!

Military Style Hare Cut

Happy Memorial Day. In honor of our fighting men and women, let’s watch Bugs Bunny, fat Elmer Fudd and Porky Pig shilling war bonds to the tune of Any Bonds Today? Because nothing says “patriotism” like Bugs doing an Al Jolson impersonation:

The Mystery of Bag X-13D

Doritos X-13D flavorIf anybody is curious about Doritos flavor X-13D, packaged in a plain black bag with “All American Classic” as your only clue, the chips taste exactly like a McDonalds cheeseburger. Eating them reminds me of the amazing scientific advances which allow mankind to put so many different flavors in a nondescript orange powder. You get a little bit of a hamburger taste, the vinagary tang of ketchup, and even an essence of pickle. It’s a bizarre taste for a tortilla chip, but worth a one bag purchase. I don’t think we’ll be buying more, however (photo from

Over in the frozen food aisle, I also took a chance on Dreyer’s Take the Cake ice cream. Tastes just like yellow cake with candy sprinkles and a ribbon of atomic blue frosting. Let me specify that the ice cream itself is yellow cake flavored and it in fact contains no yellow cake. Like the Doritos, it’s weird but actually pretty good. This is one of five limited edition flavors Dreyer’s is putting out with a hackneyed American Idol theme, and just like A.I. you can vote on your favorite. Last time I checked, Take the Cake was leading the pack with 33% of the votes.

Can you tell I was allowed to go grocery shopping without the s.o.?

Lesley Affair

My pal Patrick recently added to his LiveJournal a neato bootleg compilation from 2001 called Love Her By Name: A Lesley Gore Tribute. Most of the selections are contemporary to Miss Gore’s ’60s heyday, although there are a few stunning newer numbers such as Rasputina’s coffeehouse-feminist take on “You Don’t Own Me”. I loves me some Lesley, whether they’re cover versions or not!

On a similar tip, I just finished my own mix of underrated Giorgio Moroder productions — Play Me Moroder 79-84 (no download unfortunately). Ironically the hardest song to track down was Irene Cara’s “Why Me?”, a top 20 hit from 1983.