Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I love this picture

The cast of Star Wars.

Whisky pointed out that Anthony Daniels / C3P0 isn't in this shot, so here's what he looked like back then:

Here's a fun article with more shots from back in the day.

Just to be that way, here's my post / review on the book these shots came from. I've requested the book from the library again to get a scan of that pic I talk about, which I'll post here when I get it. Stay tuned.

And here it is, the photo of Mary Lind, film control coordinator:

Friday, August 20, 2010

Little Guides to Life

I'd seen the book at the library and didn't give it a second thought beyond grinning at the title.

Since blogs arose in prominence, I've inadvertantly picked up a couple books that were compiled from blogs, and while they were entertaining, there's something about something crafted for a blog that just doesn't work as well when it's rendered as symbols smeared on flattened and bleached tree guts. Whatever the reason, I now scour a book to see if it was originally a blog, and if it is, I set the book down and make a note to find the blog online.

As for this book, apparently there's kerfuffle over the profanity in the title, so last time I was at the library, I picked up a copy to peruse it at my leisure later and ended up reading it in one sitting.

Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern transcends genre - or at least straddles a bunch of them - the most pleasant surprise being that there's some sage advice here among all the belly laughs.

Frinstance, here're a couple from the twitter page, where it all started:
"Don’t focus on the one guy who hates you. You don’t go to the park and set your picnic down next to the only pile of dog shit."

"Stop trying so hard. He doesn't like you. Jesus, don't kiss an ass if it's in the process of shitting on you."

The book alternates between naked quotes like these, where you don't know the situation that prompted "Dad" to say it, and short vignettes with context and a lot more hilarious quotes. I chose these because they weren't in the book, and I don't want to spoil a single one for ya.

By the way, the utterer of these gems is Samuel Halpern, the eponymous dad of the tome.

It's now on the same (virtual) shelf as my other favorite life-advice book (which are very very different and, in my opinion, way better than most self-help books): Rules for Aging: A Wry and Witty Guide to Life by Roger Rosenblatt

Take those two books, toss in some of these classics like "Desiderata," "Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young," "All I ever really needed to know I learned in kindergarten," (which never ceases to amuse me on how true it is), these miscellaneous quotes I've gathered; and you've got yourself some good guides for living.

As for the controversy over the title, I guess after having to deal with recommending the wonderful book The No Asshole Rule by Robert I. Sutton around work, I found most grown-ups don't really have an issue with naughty words, if you will, as long as it's not gratuitous. My process of discovery of this was as follows: at first I came up with euphemisms to replace the offensive word ("posterior sphincter" was an early version), I moved to whispering it (which I did with much comedic emphasis to show I wasn't being a church lady about it), and finally I just said it out loud followed by an apology and statement of fact that it was really the name of the book, after all. The latter got the best responses.

Still, have some fun. Wander into your local book store or library and ask for a book about shit and a book about assholes and see what happens. Put it in the comments if it's really good.

Apparently this is one of the most re-blogged (a new term for me) gifs of all time now. How could I not join in? Fwiw, clicking the image will take you to the source which will than take you to where you can buy the whole book.

Got the book from the library, and while it's cute, the best stuff is in this little GIF you see above.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Music - 08-19-2010

Welder by Elizabeth Cook

Whisky recommended Elizabeth Cook's Welder, and thus far our musical tastes align perhaps more than with anyone I've ever known, so on the list it went.

When it arrived, in the player it went.

Out of the speakers came the twangiest country pickin' I've ever heard, which was quickly joined by the thickest, backwater (American) southern accent I've encountered (outside of Paula Deen's cooking show) howling and yodeling away.

"[String of obscenities]," I thought to myself, half-reaching for the 'stop for the love of God' button, "What in the hell was Whisky thinking? Or drinking?"

But, I endured for a couple moments just to see. A minute in I decided I'd heard enough of that first song for the rest of my life.

To give it an honest try, I moved on the second song, and thank God I did. And then the next. I laughed all the way through a couple of them.

It's everything Whisky said it was and more. I have a new high-rotation selection for the collection.

Let me caveat the hell out of that statement though. If you don't like country, you won't like this. You'll hate hate hate it. You'll curse me or Whisky for suggesting that your precious eardrums be assaulted in such a manner. You have to have a taste for less-than-pretty vocal stylings, like Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Mick Jagger, Lena Lovitch, and Marianne Faithfull. Now, Ms. Cook does have a pretty voice, but she wields it like a weapon, and the vocals suit the song rather than try to showcase the voice. Think the anti-Mariah Carey.

If none of that puts you off, or conversely intrigues you, give the woman a listen. Even that first song.

Something for Everybody by Devo

I was a luke-warm Devo fan back in the 80s when they were one of THE bands. They struck me as novelty group, kinda like Dave Seville and the Chipmunks or Weird Al Yankovic (both of whom I like), but I had no desire to put them on regular rotation. The waters grew more tepid after a long party weekend where the only two tapes anyone brought were Devo's Are We Not Men? and AC/DC's Back in Black, which were played back to back for 36 hours. I wasn't able to listen to either for a decade.

But, since then, the guys have been involved in a lot of projects, scoring movies and TV, and I've been impressed with their diversity and sheer talent.

I picked up the disc out of mild curiosity to see if that fecund period infused this new album. It did, and even more interesting and surprising to me, this sounds exactly like a Devo album. That may seem like a strange thing to say, but most artists who come back after that long a break don't always sound like they used to. Sometimes they're better, sometimes worse, but almost never could you put a new album next to one decades old and not hear any huge difference.

And it appears that Devo is more to my taste than they ever were. I like the album all the way through. It's only the fourth album this year that I made a complete copy for my car (original discs DON'T LEAVE THE HOUSE - you can ask any member of my family), that vast majority of those made for the car are mix CDs.

My favorite song is "Mind Games." I combed the credits to see if they credited "The Jetsons" theme for the opening midi sequence, but they didn't.

Given that Mothersbaugh is known for a meme regarding the Jetsons meets the Flintstones (a one-ah and a two-ah), it can't have been an oversight. Let's chalk it up to unconscious borrowing. Hope I don't cause a lawsuit.
Cat People

A long-standing and mountainously silly human debate about "cat people" versus "dog people" is not a concern of my household because we love and have both. (Plus a revolving supporting cast of rats, fish, tadpoles and then frogs, a hermit crab, and assorted bugs; the notables being a praying mantis and a female desert beetle named "Alice" that both lived for a year. In case you have the need to know, a praying mantis eats any other bug that moves, regardless of size - and they bite! Hard! Desert beetles eat that moist layer of detritus that resides at the roots of grass.)

Nonetheless, I have new evidence regarding cats that I'd like to offer to those who do debate the issue.

Dog people sometimes claim that cats don't really love you; they love what you do for them, like feed them.

In dog people's defense, dogs do really demonstrate affection, and it's obvious to anyone with a functioning limbic system that it's honest and true love they're expressing; it is not anthropomorphism on our part.

I've known the same about cats since my wife rescued (over time) 3 beautiful ones. The one we call "Fuzz" in particular goes out of his way to express his feelings, feelings of love. (Whooooaaaah feeeeeelings....)

Years ago he began the habit of holding out his paw for a high-five if I passed him while he was perched on the banister. However, most dog people would write that off a reflex, an affectation.

Recently, though, if you walk past the place where the cat's food is - we have it on a waist-level small counter so the dog can't decide to switch diets when we're not looking - he will meow, and if you walk up to him, he'll put his paws on your chest, paw (sweetly) his way up until they're around your neck, put his head against your chest and give you a squeeze with his arms.

Yes, he hugs you. And this is unrelated to whether there's food in the bowl or not, or whether he's eaten or not. He's done this more than once to both my wife and I.

I have a cat that hugs, people.

So there! you dog people (who are just dog people).
Completely Spoiler-Laden Quasi-rant About the Movies Chloe and Kick-Ass

Chloe is precisely the kind of movie I hate. (Though, I suspect it's the very kind of movie Ray Sawhill would like, and I mean that in a nice way. Seriously.)

The premise is a woman (Julianne Moore) thinks her college prof hubby (Liam Neeson) is cheating on her with college nubiles, so hires a hooker (Amanda Seyfried) to pose as a student and seduce him, just to make sure. The wrinkle is this hooker has mommy issues all wrapped around a gooey Oedipus/Electra complex center. Unknown to the woman, the hooker has had her eye on her for a while now, since they both "work" on the same street. This same proximity fosters the "meet cute" between the two when the woman plays "spot the prostitute" with one of her friends when they're at lunch, because guess who she spots.

In the middle of all this contrivance, prior to being spotted at lunch with a client, the hooker flirts with the woman by approaching her with a haircomb, asking if she dropped it. When the woman says no, the hooker tries to give it to her anyway. Much later in the movie, when they are in the midst of their scheme to trap the husband, the woman accepts the gift of the comb, and when she does, the hooker tells her it was her mother's. (This matters later, of course.)

The hooker tells the woman of her trysts with the husband, which inexplicably get the woman so turned on she eventually sleeps with the hooker (which was the hooker's plan all along you see). And, as "gay theory" tries to tell us, all of us are really this ---><--- close to sleeping with someone of the same gender, if only the situation were to present itself, so of course they boff.

I'll spare you the rest in case you might want to watch the flick anyway, but most of all to just simply spare you. Let's just say hilarity ensues, and the hooker dives out of a window when she realizes the woman won't join her forever as her mother-slash-lover. (Again, ick.)

But I need to tell you this: the final sequence shows the woman having one of her grand parties, during which a dramatic closeup reveals that she's wearing the hooker's mother's comb. This is supposed to be a SIGNIFICANT MOMENT.

I was torn between screaming like Sam Kinison (may he rest in peace) or rolling my eyes to heaven with such force that they would stick that way. I've trained myself to set down the remote during a movie I don't like (unless I'm fast-forwarding) so I reactively don't throw it at the end.

I did dig the soundtrack, though. I've noted I don't really associate the music with the movie, so I now have another disc of ambient / background music for writing and such. Yay.

Ebert had warned me about Kick-Ass, but sometimes he and I don't agree, and it is a super-hero movie - in theory. Peter Travers, my other go-to critic, liked it for the same reasons Ebert didn't.

I didn't like it. I really didn't like it.

Sorry, but seeing an 11-year-old girl, no matter the context, beaten bloody by an adult who then attempts to execute her (she's saved at the last moment) falls wuh-haaay outside of my comfort zone, and crashes my suspension of disbelief like Islamic truck bomber. Most "Child in peril" doesn't float with me, but when it's purposeful violence doled out by an adult, I just can't....

I didn't like the otherwise spellbinding Pan's Labyrinth for much the same reason.

That said, it may have worked as a cartoon. After all, the Powerpuff Girls was essentially that very thing. Hell, the devil was even one of the villains.

The premise of the movie is that this is the real world where no one really has super powers, so that might have been behind the artistic decision to go live-action. (Apologies for the tortured grammar; no time to fixy fixy today.) Yet the source material was a comic, so I still think it would've been better that way.

If you're an older teen (it's rated R, for the record) who won't be bothered by this plot element, you might like the thing, but anyone past 25 and anyone with kids will want to find better things to do with their time. Like go see Inception.