December 19, 2008

Look, I'm just saying

A lot of evidence seems to be converging. Evidence, I mean, of


Don't say you weren't warned. Do say you were. The unretouched picture above links to the story. Apparently Bret Favre is ahead of Lizard People in this race, although are we sure that it's not a false choice? I'm just asking. He does seem to favor lizard-hued garb.

December 17, 2008

Don Kirshner Presents Rock Power

I have very fond memories of this Ronco LP from way back when I could play a Ronco LP without being embarrassed about it. And in fact I played the crap out of this one. I don't know how I got hold of Don Kirshner Presents Rock Power, but I suspect that I got it from an older cousin in a gift exchange, perhaps as a regift.

Happily, Don Kirshner Presents Rock Power managed to survive my aunt's vindictive acts of censorship; one of the other As Seen on TV albums in my and my cousin's joint collection had "Squeezebox" on it, and my aunt (for some reason) decided that that song had to be scratched the hell off the vinyl. The music was not all right.

Some of the songs on Don Kirshner Presents Rock Power appealed to me more than others, of course. "Rock On" is a classic, and I still can't get tired of it. If I ever gave you a mix CD, it was probably on it. Similarly, "Right Place, Wrong Time" ... songs I wish I were cool enough to have as the soundtrack to my life. Hell, at this point I'd settle for Seals and Crofts.

A1 Barry White - Never, Never Gonna Give Ya Up
A2 Aretha Franklin - (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman
A3 The Stylistics - Break Up to Make Up
A4 The Grass Roots - Two Divided by Love
A5 Alice Cooper - No More Mr. Nice Guy
A6 David Essex - Rock On
A7 Love Unlimited - Yes, We Finally Made It
A8 Seals & Crofts - Hummingbird
A9 Dr. John - Right Place, Wrong Time
A10 Five Man Electrical Band - Werewolf
B1 Al Green - So You're Leaving
B2 The Spinners - I'll Be Around
B3 First Choice - Love and Happiness
B4 Gladys Knight & The Pips - Midnight Train to Georgia
B5 Procol Harum - Toujours L'Amour
B6 Bachman-Turner Overdrive - Let It Ride
B7 Black Sabbath - Paranoid
B8 Faces - Cindy Incidentally
B9 Steppenwolf - Magic Carpet Ride
B10 The Doobie Brothers - China Grove

How disappointing

I can't believe I didn't get a single nibble on my Nuggnuts post.

December 14, 2008

"Nuggnuts?" Really?

If anything could have put me off those gristly, mystery-meat morsels McDonalds purveys as McNuggets, I think it's the coinage "Nuggnuts."

Sadly, I couldn't find video of Ronald McDonald or any other clown getting kicked in the crotch (the only imaginable objective correlative appertaining to "Nuggnuts"), but I did find a nice video of a guy wearing a clown wig kicking an unsuspecting guy in the crotch (about as funny as you'd imagine) and one of Pakistani protestors abusing a Ronald McDonald statue. Not what I had in mind, but I've got my video camera ready in case a clown shows up.

December 12, 2008

Words fail me

I consider myself to be a fairly effective teacher, and I think that means, in part, being able to explain complex concepts so that they are more understandable.

I am a failure. Let me explain.

They're making these flat screen TVs wider than TV. Don't know if you have one, or if you noticed this. But if you make the picture fit the screen, the people look distorted and flat. It seems to me therefore that the right way to watch most TV is to have the black bars on the side and leave the shape of the screen alone (4:3, I guess?).

I am utterly incapable of communicating this concept to my family. "Why get a big TV if you can't stretch the picture to fit?" they ask.

"Can't you see that it's wrong? Can't you see that nobody looks like that?" I ask, agog, as we watch the flat, wide people solving their flat, wide crimes, by picking through the flat, wide, sticky evidence.

They look at me like I've lost it. I mean, I'm no artist, but I think it's amazing that people who live and die by the CRT and the LCD can't tell that an image is askew. I just like things to look right. I don't mind the black bars at the top and bottom of How the West Was Won, and most people would agree with me. Why then is it so hard to understand that the black bars on the sides of the local news belong there, that the news is squarer than the screen?

December 11, 2008

Help save me from becoming a libertarian

Or at least postpone the inevitable.

Check this out.

Got my chips cashed in

Today I say goodbye to an old traveling companion:

This truck rolled off the line back when I was a mere bachelor of arts, but the convergence of the proverbial twain didn't happen until 2004, when I acquired it in very much the condition you see here. I did replace the exhaust and rebuild the floorboards, but that was more or less it. I drove it in the wintertime, taking advantage of its four-wheel drive capability, which was pretty effective if I threw a few bags of gravel into the bed to give me some weight. The rest of the time it generally just sat.

Last time I took it in for inspection, I was told it needed tires and brakes. Rather than spend the money, I parked it and tried (well, maybe "try" is too strong a word) to sell it. I did use it as a repository for yard waste, as you can see, and thought last week to take it out on one last, stealthy, run to the local mulch emporium.

But it was not to be. See that puddle underneath the front wheel? Brake fluid. The brush is back in the yard now, along with the hornet nests, bird nests, beaver dams, and other assorted wildlife that took root in the vehicle, and the truck is on its way to the Kidney Foundation (via tow truck). Ordinarily donating stuff makes me feel all smug and superior, but in this case I actually feel what I imagine must be guilt.

Ehhhh, okay, I'm over it.

December 10, 2008

While your mind is untainted

Do yourself a favor and get hold of the the 1951 version of The Day the Earth Stood Still and appreciate its many, many strengths before seeing the remake.

It's one of my all time favorite films. I don't know much about the remake aside from the cast, which worries me. I also expect that the new version will take an ecological slant, which just wouldn't make sense in the original: Michael Rennie explicitly didn't care if we destroyed our planet; he just didn't want us threatening other civilizations.

The original isn't perfect, of course. It's no better than its time period, which is no excuse for its shortcomings. For instance, we are shown a Washington D.C. with about three black people in it, as I recall: a custodian or waiter, and two spectators maybe at the spaceship landing. Not exactly enlightened. Patricia Neal's strong character turning into a basso profundo scream queen is also kind of cringe-worthy, but her sexist dick boyfriend (Hugh Marlowe, if I recall correctly) is at least portrayed as such. She's a widow with a young son,

The film is also a product of its time in terms of the Cold War and nuclear threat issues; as I've said, I don't see how today's world would be of any interest to these aliens, since we don't seem to be threatening them, except maybe with tool boxes and other assorted space junk. Or maybe the inhabitants of Pluto (ticks and fleas) are pissed because their planet isn't a planet any more? I guess I'll have to wait and see.

I keep thinking of the remake of Planet of the Apes, where though the original set the bar lower than did Robert Wise's DTESS, the star-studded remake didn't even come close. If I'm wrong, fantastic. I'll be glad to be wrong. In the meantime, though, take in the fantastic Bernard Hermann score, Sam Jaffe's excellent portrayal of the professor, and Aunt Bea's wonderful character turn. Take in the scene where the physicians at Walter Reed(!) sit around puffing madly on cigarettes as they marvel at Klaatu's amazing lung capacity. It's a great film.

Why don't they try remaking some failed films instead of putting their grubby mitts all over the classics? If you want to dabble in science fiction, hell, take another swing at Lost in Space. If you want to take a good idea that wasn't a great film and try to do something with it, how about A Boy and His Dog?

December 09, 2008

The Pros of Downsizing

Saw a piece on The Today Show earlier (or, as they act like you're supposed to call it, Today--because yes, NBC owns the f---ing DAY) ... and yes, I did see the piece TODAY, on Today, and if you type that word enough, it stops even looking like a word, which is so far all I've done of note TODAY.

Except, see, there was this story on how food companies are reducing the size of their products to avoid having to raise the prices. Apparently this is some kickass marketing ... even though it costs a lot of money in retooling to change the portions and the packaging, it's cheaper than the loss of sales would be if they raised the prices. We saw this with coffee a while back, of course. A three pound coffee can now only has, what? 7.3 ounces of coffee in it? Before you ask, yes, I did have my coffee this morning.

It probably sounds like I'm on some AndyRooney-esque rant here, but no--even though the only part of me that's old so far is my eyebrows, which are frankly out of control, so Andy and I have that in common if nothing else--I think downsizing the food is a good thing. Because it's the processed food that's getting downsized, and frankly most of it is melamine, rat turds, and corn syrup.

Downsize away!

Hell, even real food (i.e. meat) undergoes a little downsizing when you cook it. Especially the fat-laden hormone-impregnated fake meat product they sell you now. A quarter pound precooked weight winds up being about an ounce.

If they fried me up, I'd wind up weighing about 38 pounds probably.

December 07, 2008


First of all it, of AC/DC it must be said that there's no need to do more than one thing if you do it well. I guess there are two camps: those who turn it up, and those who turn it off. I am, I must confess, of the former persuasion.

And secondly, have you noticed how different football looks now as opposed to 20 or 30 years ago? I blame it on the video games--everything's clean and bright, and the camera's always moving. Stats fly in, stats fly out. And don't get me started on how fantasy football's emphasis on individual performance seems to warp people's understanding of a team sport (can you tell my FF team is doing poorly?).

Anyhow, you probably have to have something wrong with you to be as emotionally moved by this video as I was, but dang--Jack Lambert was a force of nature. You get the idea he'd have played for nothing and that when he went home at night he just stared up at the ceiling fan until it was time to go back.

If you're not obsessed enough to stomach the whole video, you might like at least to check out the piece from about 2:00 to 2:20 or so. Seems like they've changed the penalties for taunting and late hits over the past 30 years. The old way made for better TV. I'd like to see a little Lambert magic in today's game against the Cowboys, even if it costs them 15 yards.

There's a good Sports Illustrated article about Jack Lambert here; the typing's a little rough, but you'll manage, and the illustrations are good. I was a little surprised at the line or two about him holding out on a contract ... I didn't remember that. But in the larger context of the article, I think it's excusable. It's not always about money; sometimes it's about respect.

December 03, 2008

Goodbye, Columbus

Well, it was a nice visit, though too short. It's amazing how much you forget over time--maybe you don't, but I do. And it's as amazing how much of what you forget isn't really forgotten, but just buried.

For instance, I had forgotten until yesterday afternoon (driving across PA, listening to Mojo Nixon's radio show on Sirius) that going with Nils to see Jimmie Dale Gilmore at Stache's was one of the greatest evenings I spent in Columbus.

I know you never click my links, but dammit, give this one a listen!

Yes, JDG is Smokey (I think?) in The Big Lebowski.