Thursday, April 03, 2014

Close the door lightly when you go


I hereby propose a moratorium on use of "slams" in headlines. Also, synonyms for "slams." But, really, mostly "slams."

All of these headlines were posted to Google News within a time frame of a few hours (I swear):

Jennette McCurdy slams Nickelodeon, but network says 'Sam & Cat' Season 2 is a go

Anthony Bourdain slams Nigella Lawson's U.S. travel ban

Cris Carter slams Eagles with hypocritical tweet in support of DeSean Jackson

Ex-auditor-general Fraser slams elections bill as attack on democracy

Franken slams Supreme Court decision on campaign contribution

Nancy Pelosi Slams Supreme Court's McCutcheon Ruling

Carter Slams Religion and Men for Degrading Women

Pro-Cochran group slams 'hypocrite' opponent

GOP slams Huether in mailers sent to Sioux Falls residents

Independent Schools Victoria slams Gonski education funding model

Court Slams Japan's Scientific Whaling

Radio host slams baseball player for taking paternity leave

Russia slams 'Hitler comparison'

Wayne Rooney Slams Diving Allegations

Amnesty International slams Greek police for 'culture of abuse'

Kimmel slams Ford after mistaken council vote

Greenpeace slams Amazon & Twitter

Judo chief slams Olympic suggestion

Arvind Kejriwal slams Narendra Modi's fast in air-conditioned tents as 'drama'

Bertinelli slams fat-shaming women

Pro-Israel group slams GOP lawmaker Walter Jones

White House Slams Ortiz, Samsung

Drinkable-food developer slams farms, so he gets a little slam back

WHO says Guinea Ebola outbreak small as MSF slams international response

Chess great Kasparov slams Putin's Crimea 'aggression'

Group backed by billionaire Koch brothers slams another billionaire

Canadian Dad Slams Justin Bieber For Acting Like 'A Prick'

This is the only use of slam I'm going to allow:

Car Slams Into Middletown Liquor Store

Though, seriously, Bieber does sound like a prick.



Editor's note: This posting does not disprove earlier posting that this blog is dead. It really is.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Hello? Is this thing on?

Sorry I didn't officially say "This blog is dead." But this blog is dead.

You can look for me on Twitter or Facebook.

But now that I have your attention:

I have a piece on Michael Powell's little-seen (in the U.S., anyway) They're a Weird Mob in the new issue of Cashiers du Cinemart. As far as I know, the film never been released here, but it is on YouTube (part one here and part two here).

Powell is my favorite director, and when I was asked to submit something to CdC #18, I knew wanted to write about him. But when I looked around, I found pretty much all of my favorites (including A Matter of Life and Death and I Know Where I'm Going!) had been analyzed to death and I didn't have much to add. But no one has written about They're a Weird Mob, that I could find. Sadly, the reason is: It's pretty bad. Nevertheless, Powell enthusiasts (and The Velvet Blog enthusiasts, if there are any) might be interested.

Also in the issue: Articles on the Johnny Rotten-starring Corrupt, the "tender side of Ulli Lommel," Harry Crews, Kubrick's The Killing, and the world's first porno-horror-comedy, Thundercrack! So it makes a great Easter gift.

There's a hard copy version available here, and a Kindle version available here.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Edna and Elbert

3-16-16

We are having a very pleasant trip & lots of good times. Edna came down for over Sunday with us & we are going to Elbert's for next Sunday, we think. It is snowing hard.

Love to all, Grace [unreadable]

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Smackdown!: Pearl Bailey vs. pearl barley


 photo Pearl-Bailey-9195451-1-402_zpsd644b82c.jpgPearl Bailey
Who: American singer/actress/frequent talk show guest/writer. She was featured in Carmen Jones and Porgy and Bess on the big screen, and played Broadway. As a kid in the '70s, I'd watch her in her many talk show appearances on Mike Douglas, Merv Griffin, and the like (nothing that I could find on YouTube, which is surprising); she also appeared on The Carol Burnett Show, The Muppet Show, and many other variety shows. She wrote a best-selling memoir called The Raw Pearl, as well as the puzzlingly titled Hurry Up, America, and Spit. She won the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1988 and passed away in 1990.

Pros: Pearl Bailey replaced Carol Channing in Hello, Dolly! and won a special Tony award.

Cons: Did I mention she published a book called Hurry Up, America, and Spit? Take it from a publishing professional: That's a lousy title.

 photo pearl-barley-superfood-400x400_zps9a81d30c.jpgPearl barley

What: Barley is in the grass family; pearl barley has its hull and bran taken off.

Pros: Mark Bittman's mushroom barley soup might be the best soup in the world. No kidding.

Cons: Carol Channing replaced pearl barley in an avant garde production of mushrooom barley soup and did not win a Tony award. Odds of opening barley and finding a pearl are extremely small.


Winner: Another draw. I suggest watching YouTube clips of Pearl Bailey while eating Mark Bittman's mushroom barley soup.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

No, I'm not really blogging again

I'm just leaving this here to see if I get a response from iMotors or Reply.com. Let's try linking these two phrases: iMotors sucks. And Reply.com sucks even harder.

The back story: I'm in the market for a car. I got a Facebook ad from iMotors for finding local dealers and what cars they have in stock. Hey, that sounds helpful, so I signed up. Immediately, I went from having maybe five spam emails hitting my email address per day to, oh, 250-300. Not all car related. Everything under the sun, from meeting Latino singles to lengthening my thingee. I'm assuming Reply.com has sold my email address. (Fuck you, Reply.com!)

I've reached out on Twitter. iMotors took weeks to say it was looking into it, but I've not heard back again. And stony silence from Reply.com.

So, I'm posting this to see if either company combs the Web looking for unhappy customers.

Look, iMotors. I get that you want to reach customers. That's fine. But by dealing with Reply.com, you guarantee I'm not going to see any of your email because it's lost among the 250-300 other spam emails I get every day. So stop working with Reply.com.

In conclusion: iMotors sucks. And Reply.com sucks even harder.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Smackdown!: Thunderbirds vs. Thunderbird


PhotobucketThunderbirds
What: British sci-fi/adventure TV series with a cast of marionettes. In it, the International Rescue organization (made up of former astronaut Jeff Tracy and his five sons) thwart evil by using futuristic gadgets. They're helped by Lady Penelope, secret agent. Co-created by Gerry Anderson, who recently passed away.

Pros: Scripts were surprisingly ambitious and rarely talked down to its kid audience. Overall, a fun show.

Cons: Unsurprisingly, when your leads are marionettes, they can be rather stiff. It is rumored that Keanu Reeves was inspired to enter acting by the example of the show's cast. Members of the Tracy family have trouble walking convincingly, so they sit a lot. By modern standards, the pace can seem slow.

PhotobucketThunderbird

What: A variety of wine favored by a subset of aficionados known as "winos." To quote the Eugene Weekly, "The acetic and warm taste of Thunderbird is astringent in its nature. A cross between paint thinner and stale urine, this austere blend of god-knows-what is a sure way to make sure that you forget about whatever it is that just happened to you. This wine has legs, an unmistakable balance that is beyond words."

Pros: It is cheap, and will get you drunk quickly. According to Eugene Weekly, it "has legs," and therefore is one up on the Tracy family.

Cons: It's true that descriptions of fine wine are often bizarre. Wine Spectator recently gave a 91 points out of 100 to an Italian wine, describing it as having "layers of spicy underbrush, game, ash and dark tobacco notes." Because everyone loooooves the taste of ash. Nevertheless, most people don't like the taste of paint thinner and urine. Paint thinner is damaging to your average marionette. Drinking Thunderbird may lead to being inspired by Keanu Reeves. It could also lead to the inability to walk convincingly, causing you to sit a lot. Drinking excessively could make time seem to move slowly. (Note: Depending on point of view, this could be a Pro.)


Winner: Can we call this a draw? I can see enjoying a glass of Thunderbird while watching Thunderbirds.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Link dump


Stuff I've posted on Facebook but not here:

If you have Netflix streaming and are into film, I'd recommend you check out "The Story of Film: An Odyssey," a 15-part program from U.K. TV. It's has a ton of clips from films I've read about but never seen, and the director/narrator has a unique point of view--it's more a personal essay on film history (with a strong emphasis on international film) than a straight recounting of what happened when. I'm now up to the fourth hour and will definitely watch all 15. There's an interview with director Mark Cousins here.

Interesting New Yorker profile of professional pickpocket Apollo Robbins.

Peggy Lee would like to wish you a Happy New Year. That melody is gorgeous. (There's a good Regina Spektor cover, but I think the original is better.)

TCM is showing my favorite movie, A Matter of Life and Death, at 1:30 this afternoon, so act fast to record it to your DVR! (Actually, it's also on YouTube if you miss it: Part 1 and Part 2. But don't believe the person who posted it--the film isn't in the public domain.)

Gerry Anderson, co-creator of Thunderbirds, passed away last week. I still love that show!

And, finally, here's a picture of Freddie opening Christmas presents:

Sunday, December 23, 2012

What's the deal with having an underdeveloped sense of irony?


From the New York Times profile of Jerry Seinfeld (emphasis mine):
One Friday in early October, Seinfeld took a private plane from New York to Kansas City, Mo., told jokes onstage for 75 minutes, then flew to Milwaukee, where he was booked at the Riverside Theater the next night. On Saturday morning he wanted to see “Argo,” so he rented an entire theater at the local movie palace, the Oriental, and watched it with his opening act, Mark Schiff, and his tour producer. “I liked it,” Seinfeld said later on, over coffee at his hotel, “but the ending was a little Hollywood.”

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Fisking "Winter Wonderland"

Sleigh bells ring, are you listening,
In the lane, snow is glistening
A beautiful sight,
We're happy tonight.
Walking in a winter wonderland.
OK, so far, I'm with you. Bells, snow, happiness: Check, check, and check.
Gone away is the bluebird,
Here to stay is a new bird
He sings a love song,
As we go along,
Walking in a winter wonderland.
What do you have against bluebirds? They're a traditional symbol of happiness. So the "love" bird has chased away happiness? That seems rather cynical.
In the meadow we can build a snowman,
Then pretend that he is Parson Brown
He'll say: Are you married?
We'll say: No man,
But you can do the job
When you're in town.
If you're walking through a meadow and a snowman asks if you're married, you should probably knock off the eggnog.
Later on, we'll conspire,
As we dream by the fire
To face unafraid,
The plans that we've made,
Walking in a winter wonderland.
This is so weirdly conspiratorial, I can only assume that you're planning on robbing a bank. I've already notified the authorities.
In the meadow we can build a snowman,
And pretend that he's a circus clown
We'll have lots of fun with mister snowman,
Until the other kids knock him down.
Odd--I don't remember this verse. First of all, this is the second snowman you're building in the course of a fairly short song. Face it: You're stuck in a rut. Second, no one likes clowns. Third, those children need to be punished. Otherwise, this is just a glorification of bullying.
When it snows, ain't it thrilling,
Though your nose gets a chilling
We'll frolic and play, the Eskimo way,
Walking in a winter wonderland.
Ethnic stereotyping: Check. Why don't you just build a third snowman?