Saturday, February 27, 2010

And, indeed, most movies stink to this day

Picture this: The year is 1960, and you're an advertising executive. You've been given the campaign for a movie produced by Mike Todd Jr., in a new process called Smell-o-Vision. In this amazing new cinematic wonder, various odors will waft through the movie theater, keyed in to visuals on the screen in Scent of Mystery: a load of bread, flowers, a pipe, etc.*

It's a groundbreaking idea--a true milestone.

So you sit down at your desk, determined to compare Smell-o-Vision to earlier breakthroughs: The first moving pictures. And the dawn of sound, of course.

Suddenly, it all comes together, and you've got the most amazing ad line ever:

FIRST They Moved
THEN They Talked
NOW They Smell

No, I'm not making this up:

*Since Mike Todd Jr. is not John Waters and this is not Polyester, there is no dog poop.

(Via the Mobius Home Video Forum, where I nabbed the image.)

(Oh, and this is a cross-post with

Monday, February 22, 2010

Cold comfort

Not really back. But I did watch John Schlesinger's film Cold Comfort Farm last night, and thought I'd share some choice lines, totally taken out of context, nabbed from IMDb.

Mrs. Smiling: It's bad to be dewy-eyed around smart people, but you can always secretly despise them.

Amos Starkadder: Seth, drain the well. There's a neighbor missing.

Amos Starkadder: You know what it's like when you burn your hand, taking a cake out of the oven, or lighting one of them godless cigarettes? And it stings with a fearful pain, aye? And you run to clap a bit of butter on it to take the pain away, aye? Well, I'll tell ye, there'll be no butter in hell!

Mybug: I do seem somewhat soaked in nature's fecund blessing.

Mybug: Miss Poste! Miss Poste! I'm engorgingly in love with you!

Flora Poste: Nature's all very well in her place, but she musn't be allowed to make things untidy.

Mrs. Smiling: In fact, when poetry is combined with ill-groomed hair and eccentric dress, it's generally fatal.

It's very British, as you probably guessed from the quotes. I'm sure I'll be using "There'll be no butter in hell!" as my slogan soon.

UPDATE: Cold Comfort Farm is available on Hulu, for free, but with commercials. Hmm. They took it down.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Kinda busy. Also, I feel like I have nothing left to say.

I'll be back eventually.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Smoke, smoke, smoke that e-cigarette

Adventures in press releases:
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va., Jan. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- PremiumEstore, LLC has been closely monitoring the news about the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulating e-cigarettes. Today, it is excited to announce that the FDA cannot regulate electronic cigarettes, making it possible to now offer its products to national chains, and other retailers, on a wholesale basis. ...

Woo-hoo! Hurrah! Cough, cough!

Wait, what?
And, while the FDA recently gained the power to regulate tobacco-based cigarettes, electronic cigarettes don't contain tobacco, and don't fall under that regulation.

Still struggling here. What??
Electronic cigarettes provide smokers with the freedom to smoke everywhere. They are tobacco and tar free. The smoke is almost comparable to traditional cigarettes.

Ummm... OK. What???
"So, smokers can now go ahead and purchase electronic cigarettes with ease and stop smoking traditional cigarettes," says Vitali Servutas, co-owner PremiumEstore.

The e-cigarette provides smokers with the physical sensation of a cigarette without the dangerous side effects. A vapor liquid simulates smoke and a microprocessor activates an orange glowing light at the tip.

The electronic cigarette is safe to use in the house or car. There is no flame required, making it even safer than traditional cigarettes. And, it does not provide any second-hand smoke hazards. ...

Finally, we're getting somewhere. Wait ... what????
The e-cigarette is perfect for people who want to break free of the habit completely, and for smokers working in non-smoking environments.

Ah, so now I know exactly ... what????? I've read the damned press release three times and I have no clue what this thing is.

Wikipedia (so you know it's true) helps:
An electronic cigarette, also known as an e-cigarette or personal vaporizer, is a battery-powered device that provides inhaled doses of nicotine by way of a vaporized solution. It is an alternative to smoked tobacco products, such as cigarettes, cigars, or pipes. In addition to nicotine delivery, this vapor also provides a flavor and physical sensation similar to that of inhaled tobacco smoke, while no tobacco, smoke, or combustion is actually involved in its operation.

An electronic cigarette usually takes the form of some manner of elongated tube, though many are designed to resemble the outward appearance of real smoking products, like cigarettes, cigars, and pipes. Another common design is the "pen-style", so named for its visual resemblance to a ballpoint pen. Most electronic cigarettes are reusable devices with replaceable and refillable parts. A number of disposable electronic cigarettes have also been developed.

Ah. So it's an electronic nicotine delivery device in shape of elongated tube. Gotcha.

Worth pointing out that the press release mentions what it doesn't have (smoke, tobacco, tar) but not what it does: nicotine. And how exactly is it free of the dangerous side effects of smoking when nicotine is addictive? And has, you know, side effects?

Sweet Jeebus--how desperate do you have to be to use one of these things? Just man up with some Nicorette and a candy cigarette. Even that would be less ridiculous.

My advice: If you see anyone using one of these in a public space, point and laugh loudly.

UPDATE: Oh, how nice of them!:
GAINESVILLE, Fla., Feb. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- One of the most popular electronic cigarette suppliers in the United States has decided to issue a thank you to its customers this week, citing that their continued company growth is directly due to customer loyalty.

Nicotine addicts are loyal? How shocking!

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Photo of the day

John and June, Feb. 5, 1950.

(P.S.: Perhaps I'm just prejudiced in her favor, but I've long thought my mother resembled Kim Hunter, as in this shot from A Matter of Life and Death.)

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Exciting social experiments out West

The good folks of Colorado Springs, Colo., have taken it upon themselves to answer the question: How can we turn a city into something resembling a painting of Hell by Bosch?

From the Denver Post:
This tax-averse city is about to learn what it looks and feels like when budget cuts slash services most Americans consider part of the urban fabric.

More than a third of the streetlights in Colorado Springs will go dark Monday. The police helicopters are for sale on the Internet. The city is dumping firefighting jobs, a vice team, burglary investigators, beat cops -- dozens of police and fire positions will go unfilled.

The parks department removed trash cans last week, replacing them with signs urging users to pack out their own litter.

I believe the exact wording of the signs is: "Abandon hope all ye who enter here."

Look, I understand not wanting your taxes to go up. But I find it difficult to believe that, as they're being robbed on dark streets, people won't be thinking, "Down with taxes! And I can take comfort in the fact that my house is now worth nothing, too!"

Meanwhile, in cut-off-your-nose-to-spite-your-face developments in Arizona, the state is shutting down parks. The problem?
Lost Dutchman, the state's eighth most popular park and the closest to the East Valley, lost $9,545 in fiscal year 2008-2009. The biggest loser was Oracle State Park near Tucson, which lost $253,262. In contrast, popular Slide Rock State Park near Sedona turned a $254,249 profit.

But Stephen Filipowicz, Apache Junction's economic development director, said the Arizona State Parks Department estimates that Lost Dutchman generates $4 million a year in tourism revenues each year.

Yes, Lost Dutchman lost less than $10,000 last year, but brought in $4 million in tourist revenue for the area.

There's a saying that you get the government you deserve. Sadly, I must conclude that's true.