Come Try My Hellmouth On


front package designs for the complete-series DVD sets of 'Buffy', in deep red with ornate black type, and 'Angel', in blueish purple with ornate silver/gray type
Package art to the Angel and Buffy DVD boxed sets TM and © 2010 Twentieth Century Fox.

Of all the posts I couldn't publish this past week, the most time-sensitive one
regards Nikki Stafford's imminent Great Buffy Rewatch.

I'd made the odd remark both here and on her blog, Nik at Nite, that when Lost wrapped up we should try to keep the gang there together through some dedicated event because the community of commenters that built around that show on that website was sensational. A new favorite or favorites might pop up, sure, but Nikki, whose blog was an outgrowth of her popular Finding 'Lost' books, had earlier penned episode guides to Alias, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Buffy spinoff Angel,
all of which seemed like ripe candidates for a comprehensive rewatch; as a bonus,
Nikki would make some extra coin from those of us who didn't yet own the books. Almost as soon as I (and others) began suggesting it, I started twitching at the likely time commitment, but here we are with the project a reality and I can't wait to dive in.

Nikki's schedule calls for three episodes per week most weeks to get through the entire 7-season, 144-episode series in a calendar year. If you throw in Angel, which crossed over with Buffy on occasion before Buffy left the WB network for UPN, you add 110 more episodes, which Nikki understandably found unworkable. However...

Down for the Count

I could and probably should be spending my first lasting Internet connection ["Ha! Too late!" say the gods of cyberspace] in days on something important. Maybe I am. ["Maybe not!"] While I reload some open pages in the browser to catch up on various blogs during the next, inevitable connection fail ["Psyche!"], I also want to post something brief here because I know that folks get pretty sick of looking at Santa Claus once Christmas has gone.

So here are my contributions to this week's online Late Show with David Letterman Top Ten Contest, complete with sops as usual to the show's own running jokes, in the category...

Top Ten Things Overheard During New Year's Eve in Times Square

Nick of Time

A Drum for Tommy © 1921 Norman Rockwell.

I met Santa Claus last night.

Really, I did; I'll tell you about it. And the timing was perfect, as the lights have not been in my favor this season.

Stocking Stuff

Screencap © 2010 Worldwide Pants Inc.

Last night, Christmas arrived at The Late Show with David Letterman a day early. Dave's always preempted on Christmas Eve so that CBS can air Mass, but this time the fabled meatball was toppled from The Ed Sullivan Theater's Christmas tree — as was the pizza — on the night before the night before the Night before Christmas, when Dave rammed into the tree on a go-kart. He was trying out toys again with Shannon Eis (who always enters to the strains of "Ice Ice Baby").

clip of the joy ride is up now on the Late Show website, but I don't know how long it will last.

Infernal Devices

As faithful followers of this blog know, I've adopted Mark Evanier's "ancient Internet tradition" of using a Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup can to symbolize a break in new content.

I don't always owe a hiatus in posts to lack of time, however, except insofar as technological glitches make blogging more time-intensive than it's supposed to be. Sure, I'm a bit of a control freak, and I have a harder time writing than I used to, but once something's written the essential selling point of various blogging platforms is ease and simplicity of virtual publishing — Blogger most of all, which is why I went with Blogger, yet Blogger couldn't be more successful at frustrating me and driving me away if it had tried (which looking at the evidence you would nearly swear it did).

Screen Savor: Miscellany

I don't know what's more frustrating about my lack of ability to post — the fully written pieces that pile up, or the notes that get jotted down on of-the-moment material and never fleshed out because their moment has passed. This mélange covers some stuff I've been enjoying on TV, on disc, and even on the Interwebs when the connection allows (that is, rarely). I'm hoping to have some recent movie reviews up before the year is out, although I've hardly seen all the year's acclaimed films yet.

Because it's long and Blogger has been cooperating more than usual, I've again set up a jump break to the post's dedicated page, wherein you'll find thoughts on Saturday Night Live, Larry King, and The Sing-Off, with more to come... soonish; I'd originally written "tomorrow" but it's now past then and I'm taking another break from the headaches of technical impediments.

Oh, I Sleigh Me

Last week's Top Ten Contest at the Late Show with David Letterman website was even more inspiring than usual. You either know the drill by now or you can check out the first post in this category, so without further ado here are...

My Top Ten Little-Known Facts about Santa Claus 

10. Born Seymour Klausmann, Brooklyn, 1926

9. Will get you on the "nice" list for twenty bucks and/or a bottle of Jim Beam

8. Goes down more than just the chimney, ladies

7. Eleven months out of the year, crash diets and works as Dumbledore at the Harry Potter theme park in Orlando

6. Holly Jolly Christmas: To you, it's the name of a Burl Ives classic; to Santa, it's the name of the gal who takes care of him in the VIP suite at North Pole Dancers

Braids of Glory

Cover © 2010 Barry Deutsch. 

My niece E and her cousin L, both 8 years old, each received Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword for Chanukah — but not before Uncle Brian read it... twice.

The graphic novel — about, to quote the cover copy, "Yet Another Troll-Fighting 11-Year-Old Orthodox Jewish Girl" — is a fun, touching yarn no matter your age, gender, or heritage. Author Barry Deutsch, who produced Hereville as a webcomic (and self-published a paper version as well) before Abrams released a handsome hardcover edition [$15.95 US; ISBN 978-0-8109-8422-6] through its Amulet Books imprint, is after all no more writing about or exclusively for himself than most authors of children's and young-adult fiction, nor is the best of such fiction restricted to that nominal target audience.

E Pluribus Unum

The motto of the United States of America translates from Latin as "out of many, one". It fits NBC's The Sing-Off perfectly — not because the limited-run series is a competition, but because the aim of a cappella vocal groups is for their parts to form a unifying whole. You could say the same for any artistic endeavor, I admit; we're not talking about a blend of script and cinematography or even different musical instruments here, though, but about a blend of human voices in the purest form of harmony.

A Body Eclectic

I'll stack Mike Mignola's body of work up against any other in the comics medium. Which isn't an intentional pun, honestly, but as it turns out this post exists to sing the praises of a delightfully odd fugue composed by the Hellboy creator called The Amazing Screw-On Head. It began life several years ago as a one-shot comic book; now, finally, its titular tale has been reissued with like material by Dark Horse in a $17.99 hardcover [ISBN 978-1-59582-501-8].

Front of the 'Amazing Screw-On Head and Other Curious Objects' hardcover, with title character standing under the title itself amongst a variety of both esoteric and mundane items, such as a globe of the world, a skull with a light bulb inside, a phonograph horn, and a snake.

For a long time, I despaired of ever seeing such a collection or, indeed, much "like material" at all despite the (very) occasional Mignola efforts along similar lines in terms of tone if not detail.


'Following / a film by Christopher Nolan' / poster showing Bill against gray background above title, then in crowd scene below it
the Following poster

When exploring its twists and inspirations online after its release, I was quickly disabused of the notion that Inception that was Christopher Nolan's sixth feature. His career, early shorts aside, did not begin with Memento. It launched with the 70-minute, "no-budget" 1999 film Following.

I'm happy to report that Netflix has Following available in both streaming and DVD options. And while the film doesn't, to me, provide any of the clues to Inception's interpretation that certain sly comments about it suggested, it's definitely worth a look if you're a Nolan admirer. You can view it in the context of his oeuvre's ruminations on the nature of identity, unreliable narrators/narratives, and often idiosyncratic approaches to storytelling. Or you can just watch it as the work of a talented fledgling filmmaker making the most of his limited resources, a decade before The Dark Knight would become an international, big-budget franchise smash. Either way, the thing itself is compelling enough that it's hardly time wasted.

Holiday Meaning

The setup of the blog's new home has been awfully slow going, while blogposts-to-be are piling up and getting stale, so I'm going to give publishing here another try for a limited run. Perhaps the spirit of the season will pervade even the grinchitude of Blogger's grinding gears... And of course there's no better way to kick things off than with a batch of word-verification definitions, collected and explained for the curious at that link.

apersedn. [ah pur sed] "&" with a cold.

brquan. [burr kwah] Ice water.

cesinema — n. [see zin eh muh] The niche film genre concerning movies made about the alkali element Cesium. (It's rare but it tends to get really big reactions.)

Veni, Vidi, Vacay

The blog is really and truly going on hiatus now. As evidenced by the fact that I've been trying to get a post up here for a couple of days, with the usual technical roadblocks preventing me from doing so, it's just better for me to stay away until everything's worked out well enough for it all to run more smoothly.

He's Good Enough for Me

As I wrote the other day, Cookie Monster has a new video out brought to you by the letters S, N, and L.

I've taken down that sidebar-gadget post, because there was no way to have it scroll along with regular dated posts instead of showing up at the top of every page of the blog, but I wanted to keep sharing this link. I'm also republishing another Sesame Street video whose formatting I couldn't straighten out before. I've been stockpiling videos to share, and if I don't relaunch the blog soon I might start rotating them into the sidebar.

Making Waves

I haven't entered The Late Show with David Letterman's online Top Ten Contest in a while now. And it's been longer still since I've posted any such entries here. Once upon a time, though, the former activity was a regular thing; I'd hoped it would lead to the latter becoming a regular thing as well, but, y'know, if wishes were horses then Robin Williams would've voiced the Genie in Seabiscuit (or however that saying goes).

The point is that I'm sharing this week's efforts. You can submit your own, from one to as many as you'd like, one at a time; I rarely come up with more than a few really good entries, plus a ringer that plays off Dave and his staff's recurring jokes when I can, but this week it worked out to an even...

Top Ten Things You Don't Want to Hear on Your Cruise Ship


If blogs were people and months were years, Blam's Blog would be old enough to drink as of yesterday — and I suspect it might be knocking back a stiff one. Since I've hit some snags in hooking up with a wireless plan to make up for the crap signal Comcast (ptui) sends to the house, I'm not quite ready to premiere BB:TNG; I think the more stable, flexible platform is a step up from here, but I won't really be taking advantage of it until I'm able to get and stay online at will. It's very near the final-tripwire deadline I'd set for myself to take a break from Blam's Blog to focus on some other projects, though, so pretty soon now it's going to be time to do what I can with what I have and then move on to conquering the Interwebs in other ways.

Clam Shill

While I'm pretty sure that everyone and their furry blue brother have successfully viralized this video already, just to do my part, here's Grover on a boat.

I have to hand it to Sesame Street for staying up on the pop culture through promo spots like this (parodying the instant-classic Old Spice ad with Isaiah Mustafa, although it would've been even more daring to put the loveable one on a boat with T-Pain and The Lonely Island), as well as through of-the-moment goofs and guest spots on the show itself, even if once in a great big while they go awry. [Update: I should have warned folks that this last link is to the infamous spot with Elmo and Katy Perry that Sesame Street decided to pull after outcry that her outfit was inappropriate.]

40 Favorites: #4

Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall sitting together
Image from The Big Sleep © 1946 Warner Bros. Pictures.

Raymond Chandler. William Faulkner. Leigh Brackett. Max Steiner. Howard Hawks. Lauren Bacall. Humphrey Bogart.

Some films with such a pedigree end up as perceived or even actual failures. On 1946's The Big Sleep, everything went right, at least judging by the end result — even given this oft-circulated anecdote:

I Want to Punch Blogger in the Face Again,
Repeatedly, and This Time with a Cestus

Now, I'm not a violent person, but just as it did a couple of months back — and has frequently since, without commentary to that effect — Blogger is priming my pugilistic pumps.

The closest I can come to acting on this impulse, of course, is ramming my fist into my laptop screen, which beyond giving me a very brief stress release will solve exactly zero problems and could in fact create a very big one. I can't afford a new laptop.

Mad "Boy"

I'm a sucker for mash-ups, inventive arrangements, and the Mad Men theme. So yay for the self-proclaimed "bunch of film/music nerds" behind Live Music Videos who've performed that theme (which is actually just an excerpt of the RJD2 track "A Beautiful Mine") "with a twist" — namely, by using it as instrumental backing for the pop standard "Nature Boy". I don't know if it ranks up there with Eminem's appropriation of Dido's "Thank You" for "Stan" or David Bowie and Bing Crosby's legendary "Little Drummer Boy / Peace on Earth" medley; at the very least, though, it's a thrill to hear the theme performed acoustically, and I look forward to more from this ensemble.

40 Favorites: #1-3

For my 40th birthday I thought I'd share some thoughts on favorite things. Not wanting to get labor-intensive with too many categories, too many graphics, or too much in the way of internal debate, I decided on one casual catch-all catalog of whatever popped into my head while reclining in a comfy chair. The items have been jotted down, ordered, and written up in varying levels of detail as time permits.

Of course "things" like my nieces and nephews are indescribably precious to me, but while I share stories about them and other personal anecdotes on occasion I wanted to keep these posts focused on pop-cultural diversions.

The list is being run in a series of alphanumeric installments to keep it from getting too long and because Blogger is stingy with the character count on labels. Comments are even more encouraged than usual, although this list is in no way exhaustive or even representative of my Absolutely Most Favorite artists, books, music, films, shows, food, etc. ever; I stopped when I hit forty, made sure that there was reasonable distribution among various categories of stuff, and didn't obsess over whether I should swap out one thing for another. The absence that strikes me as most interesting is the lack of websites, an entire realm of activity that didn't even come to mind.

1. 1980s superhero-team comics

I had to abstract this one, since it seemed like overkill to include both classic "New" X-Men and New Teen Titans as separate entries. As I was discussing on a chat list recently, however, the experimentation with both form and content of the comics medium in the '80s was notable partly for how it both fed and was fed by engaging social drama even within the most mainstream of DC and Marvel team titles; my four-color fantasy matured just when I did, or so it felt.


self-portrait of the artist entering middle age, 
circa 10 p.m. EST, October 14th, 2010

I turned 40 yesterday — legally at midnight; technically at around 7 p.m. And it happened "yesterday" only in the sense that I've been trying to get this published since the header date but you will probably be are definitely reading this some time after that.

Yes, folks, I'm still having trouble connecting to the Interwebs with any longevity or reliability. For that reason among others, I haven't posted here in a month; due to the substandard WiFi, my own lack of energy, and the fact that dealing with the former makes the latter all the more aggravating (or vice versa) even when there's something fully written ready to be entered, proofread, and gussied up with graphics online, I've been trying to live by the wisdom of Reinhold Niebuhr's "Serenity Prayer":

Mean Time

You're reading this because no other posts have gone up in several days despite my best efforts and profound desires to the contrary. I haven't done much commenting on other folks' blogs lately, so the following pretty much exhausts my supply of
word-verification witticism for the nonce. Those of you unfamiliar with these periodic offerings are directed to the master list of definitions, which explains the idea and collects the contents of all such posts to date.

Update: Paging through the coupon section from last Sunday's paper this evening, I was confronted with the image of a Campbell's Cream of Mushroom Soup can and took it as confirmation from the universe that the time had come. As I write these words it's been almost one full week since this post went up and nearly two weeks since I last entered anything substantive, so the icon of that ancient Internet tradition is being placed in the sidebar for at least a little while; frankly, when there's no actual regularity to posting there's no reason to indicate that posting will be irregular. Within the next month this blog will likely go on a formal hiatus anyway so that I can devote more attention to the project that I should be bearing down on already, but I hold out a potentially vain hope, in both senses of the adjective, of getting some languishing, increasingly less timely posts published before that happens if only for the sake of closure. There won't be any more definitions, though, because my connectivity complications keep me from commenting on other blogs just like they prevent me from properly posting here.

arrater — [ahr ay tur] n. Someone who decides that movies have too much sex, violence, or profanity for G, PG, or PG-13.

bousnext — [booz nekst] phr. The way the maitre d' at a tacky Halloween-themed restaurant greets folks in line.

boyawk — [boy awk] n. A young male bird of prey.

cathopi — [kath oh pye] n. A flexible tube 3.14159 mm. in diameter inserted for bladder relief.

conessespl. n. 1. [kah neh siz] Lady tricksters. 2. [koh ness iz] Men sharing the role of the leader of The Untouchables.

dreeabl — [dree ah bul] n. Southern dribble.

Filetro — [fih leh troh] Arch-criminal known for boning his victims. (You know what I mean.)

gewse — [gyoos] n. A very British goose.

Grank — [grank] The 2035 installment of Jason Statham's Chev Chelios franchise.

ingly — [ing lee] adv. In a style that forms adjectives from nouns or the present participles of verbs.

jarrebox — [jar boks] n. A jukebox that only plays Al Jarreau. (He's done more than the Moonlighting theme, people.)

lidysion — [lid ee zhun] n. The pricicple of physics by which bottlecaps stay on.

matterns — [mah ternz] pl. n. Patterns that matter.

oyshille — [oy sheel] excl. Short for "Oy, shillelagh!", an interjection often used by Irish Jews.

phated — 1. [fay tid] adj. Destined to meet at gunpoint aboard the Enterprise. 2. [faht ed] n. Classes that teach you to be totally funkilicious.

provirt — [pro vurt] adj. In favor of high moral standards.

renes — [reh nayz] pl. n. Women who should just walk away (q.v. The Left Banke).

reploni — 1. [rep lah nee] v. Be an agent for Burt Reynolds' ex-wife. 2. [rih ploh nee] v. Answer someone using spiced sausage.

sevist — [seh vist] n. 1. A fist made with seven, yes, seven fingers. 2. One who likes to cut things off. 3. Hip name for Seventh-Day Adventist.

solegr — [sohl gur] n. A lone noise from an angry dog.

Siteseeing: Quick Hits Continued

Screencap © 2010 Bryan Lee O'Malley, perhaps.

Picking up where we left off yesterday, "Scott Pilgrim vs. the Animation" is a short flashback to events not depicted in the Scott Pilgrim vs. the World feature film. It first aired as part of Adult Swim, Cartoon Network's late-night block, back in August when SPVTW opened, with the movie's Michael Cera and Alison Pill voicing the title character and his high-school girlfriend Kim Pine. The mini-episode was produced by Titmouse Inc. and is visually based on creator Bryan Lee O'Malley's work in the Scott Pilgrim graphic novels.

Screencap © 2010 NBC Universal and/or The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.

I took notes during this year's
Emmys in hopes of doing a writeup like last year, but never fleshed them out.

Still, I'm happy to belatedly note that Jimmy Fallon of NBC's
Late Night did a fine job as host —the lame Twitter intros aside — most especially with the musical opening featuring, in order of appearance, him; Glee's Lea Michele, Cory Monteith, Amber Riley, and Chris Colfer; 30 Rock's Tina Fey; Dancing with the Stars' Kate Gosselin; Mad Men's Jon Hamm; Hot in Cleveland's Betty White; Glee's Jane Lynch; The Vampire Diaries' Nina Dobrev; Lost's Jorge Garcia; Community's Joel McHale; Project Runway's Tim Gunn; and American Idol's Randy Jackson. (Yeah, I know some of those folks have more than one show and do movies too, but if I referenced everything Betty White was involved in this post would break your browser.)

A dozen more high points:

1. The neon pop-arty photos of the nominees that lined the stage.

2. Lynch's
acceptance speech for her role on Fox's Glee ("I want to say to the cast, I love you. You're young and you're wonderful, you're fresh-faced, and when I'm not seething with jealousy I'm so proud of you.").

3. The
video starring the ensemble of ABC's Modern Family.

4. The win for Jim Parsons of CBS's
The Big Bang Theory, even though I don't watch the show, since so many of my friends adore it.

5. Smirking at the title "Highlights from the Year in Reality".

6. Neil Patrick Harris, teasing Fallon, and being ingratiating as all get-out.

7. Many, although not enough, of the responses to the questions asked of writers and directors for their nomination roll calls.

8. The wins for Aaron Paul and Bryan Cranston of AMC's
Breaking Bad, who turn in gripping, casually perfect work time after time.

9. The win for Archie Panjabi of CBS's
The Good Wife, one of the best things about a good show I finally got to catch up on this summer.

10. Ricky Gervais, who after some
patter poking fun at Kiefer Sutherland and a far more troubled notorious drinker ("Mel Gibson. He's been through a lot. Not as much as the Jews, to be fair.") announced some nominees to just as big a laugh ("I hope it's Bucky Gunts. 'Cause I didn't know you could say that on television.").

11. The wins for HBO's
Temple Grandin, which I haven't seen yet since I don't have the service, but which I hear is great, and because I've rooted for Clare Danes since the stellar My So-Called Life.

12. The deserved wins for
Modern Family and AMC's Mad Men, as well as the fact that other, although not all the other, options would've been entirely acceptable.

Another bit of awesomesauce, unnumbered to keep the list from turning unlucky and also because it works best as a capper, was the return of John Hodgman to the announcer's booth. Thanks to
Forces of Geek, I proudly point you towards New York Magazine's online inventory of the funny factoids and falsehoods Hodgman provided as winners walked to the stage ("[Edie Falco is] of Swedish and Italian descent, which means both her parents were constantly cooking meatballs.")

Image © 2010 Verve Inc.

You still have plenty of time to enter FOG's Glee contest, by the way, which has nothing to do with the television show but instead promotes Verve Inc.'s gum of the same name. It's apparently mighty tasty as well as being natural, vegetarian, gluten-free, and environmentally positive.

Screencap © 2010 ConAgra Foods. Logo created by Stefan Blitz.

If unlike me you're familiar with the original Chef Boyardee commercial, this is probably even funnier, but Forces of Geek overlord and mash-up maven Stefan Blitz recently linked to a version of the ad that spices up the ravioli with a dash of Pulp Fiction. (I won't spoil it except to confirm that it does not reference a "Royale with Cheese".)

Poster © 2010 Lucasfilm Ltd.

Last but not least is some brilliant artwork from
Cliff Chiang, whom comics fans know from his various DC cover work as well as all-too-rare interiors for modern-day takes on such unconventional features as The Human Target, The Spectre, and Dr. Thirteen. The rest of you may have seen his acclaimed Star Wars propaganda posters linked to from various pop-culture blogs; art lovers can check them out at his website's gallery and process wonks can read about his approach to them on his blog.

I came across his so-called "12-Inch Remix" series some time ago, bookmarked it to ogle and share at some point down the road, and have since let it languish in my long list of links laughingly labeled Temporary. Chiang has reimagined 1980s record-album covers with classic comics characters, beginning with a Vampirella take on Patrick Nagel's cover to Duran Duran's Rio — the only entry to date I didn't reproduce here, since four were easier to composite than five and the rest are all original motion-picture soundtracks, a phrase that itself makes me feel like a kid again. They're all so apt I could cry, from the Flashdance spin on Bill Sienkiewicz's Elektra: Assassin to the original Teen Titans swapped in for the Breakfast Club gang to the Pretty in Pink pose struck by select X-Men from the Dark Phoenix Saga days, drawn at the time by John Byrne, although Chiang's take is more reminiscent to me of the slightly later work of Paul Smith. First among equals, though, is the pitch-perfectly purple Purple Rain homage to Yvonne Craig's Batgirl.

Illustrations © 2008-2010 Cliff Chiang. Batgirl, Robin, Kid Flash, Speedy, Wonder Girl, and
Teen Titans TM/® DC Comics. Elektra, Cyclops, Wolverine, and Dark Phoenix TM/® Marvel Comics.

And that concludes the Great Time-Shift Posting Experiment of 5771. While I've actually finished and scheduled posts in advance before, I'm enough of a control freak to want to see them when they go up — with good reason, as there are usually typos and problems with graphics or fonts or HTML this-and-that to address, not to mention the vigilance that used to be required when either Blogger or vandals or both kept posts from staying online. So I probably won't be doing this often, but if I have a spell when the Internet is cooperating in letting me get finished pieces input and imaged up, I guess there's no reason not to queue them for publication.

Siteseeing: Quick Hits

You'll pardon me, I hope, if these next couple of posts have some problems, but I'm scheduling them in advance. My usual post-posting attempts to finesse errant text styles and whatnot may be put off for a few days, since if I'm not stuck in bed I'll be spending the New Year in synagogue or with family. To all — whether observing this day as a holy one, as a cultural tradition, or merely with bemusement — I wish you a sweet year ahead full of health and happiness.

A good, brief
writeup on Rosh HaShanah
can be found at Tracey R. Rich's, a.k.a. Judaism 101. I like it because it's (1) concise; (B) non-judgmental, written, as the home page says, "from the Orthodox viewpoint" as a baseline to explain "the traditions that are being changed or chosen" by Conservative, Reform, and other streams of observance; and (3) possessed of the domain name "JewFAQ", which I find mildly hilarious.

The above photo of apples and honey, a traditional snack to begin the year, was provided courtesy of Elena's Pantry, which has gluten-free menus for every occasion.

Now for the launch of a litany of lustrous linkage, flirting dangerously with datedness. (I was going to add "non-liturgical" to my opening volley of overdone alliteration, to contrast it with the above, but if you're reading this there's a good chance that you worship at the altar of pop culture.)

Logo ® The Philadelphia Phillies.

I haven't written about baseball since Opening Day — and not just 'cause my team has had a rough, injury-marked season; the summer has still been an exciting one worthy of comment, full of truly wild streaks. As pointed out by Larry Shenk, however, The Phillies are now, the day after Labor Day, in sole possession of first place in the NL East for the first time since the day before Memorial Day way back in May, and the first team in the entire National League to reach 80 wins this year. Hoo-hah!

Screencap © 2010 Lucasfilm Ltd.

You can apparently get specialized voices for a GPS service called TomTom. I only know this because Mark Evanier's News from ME linked to a faux recording session for Darth Vader; if you're not a die-hard Star Wars fan who feels that stuff like this cheapens the characters, then you're welcome to watch the one for Yoda too. Evanier says that among the other voices in the works are Garfield and Warner Bros. characters, although I'd bet that if Yoda was tough then Porky Pig, Elmer Fudd, and Tweety would be impossible.

Screencap © 1977 Carson Entertainment.

In the vaguest of correlations to my first topic, here's a clip of Harry Shearer and Billy Crystal as Tom Snyder and Muhammad Ali, now Izzy Yiskowitz, on a 1977 Tonight Show, also courtesy News from ME. Evanier's intro is interesting context, but it's not essential to enjoying the video.

Photo © 2010 Universal Pictures.

While the movie was fantastic, I agree with pretty much the entirety of Josh Tyler's "5 Reasons Scott Pilgrim vs. the World Failed To Find an Audience". Tyler writes that "what it all comes down to" is massive anticipation for the film "from the handful of people who'd already seen it. But it was always a movie without a specific audience. It's a broad movie built on a lot of different niche elements, and as much as we'd like to believe moviegoers are open-minded enough to step outside their comfort zone, most of the time they won't. The mistake was in thinking that all the different audiences Scott Pilgrim speaks to were the same audience, when they're not." You can call me an exception that proves the rules, since I'm a comics reader pushing 40 who hadn't read the source graphic novels and was wary of another Michael Cera role but went into the theater pumped by advance word because I enjoy thrilling cinematic experiences. I suspect that SPVTW will become a cult classic at the very least on DVD, but it's a shame that so few folks got to enjoy it on the big screen.

More to come tomorrow if everything works!

What the F---?

I spent long enough playing with yesterday's Google logo when it first came up — just screwing around, initially; then, say, trying to see how much you could mess up one letter without moving the balls in the other letters — that I forgot what I opened the page to search for, and in my head I let loose a silent "F---!"

And that reminded me of a couple of recent items I've been meaning to share, courtesy EW's PopWatch:

The official video for the song has come out since I first bookmarked it, so that's what's linked to above, although the original placeholder has its own charm.

Her object of affection is rhymingly described as "the greatest sci-fi writer in history" and celebrated his 90th birthday a couple of weeks ago. While the lyrics are crude, in the sense of not particularly inventive as well as scatological, the song definitely has its moments.

I'm not big on swearing. But I curse a heck of a lot more today than I did 20 years ago, for a variety of reasons. And as I've said before, I see the appeal and I'm perfectly willing to laugh at filthy dialogue or comedy routines if they're funny. Still, I know that "the F word" is utterly offensive to some folks, and that this blog could even get flagged for content if the word's spelled out, so when I've had occasion to reference some variation of "f---" I've resorted to either blanking out letters like I'm doing now — despite finding the practice hypocritical — or used an entirely unsatisfying substitution. What surprises me, as I offer yet more links that involve the word, is just how often it's been referenced here.

So for you folks who simply f---ing can't get enough of it, I've actually added "F---" as a label, and applied it to posts carrying the following material. Except for the first, the links below go straight to other sites rather than the previous posts of mine that included them, although you can find those posts by, uh, clicking the "F---" above.

Signs That Christian Bale Is Your Valentine [Feb. 14th, 2009]
• The F---ing Weather [Dec. 26th, 2009]
F---ing Movie Reviews [Dec. 26th, 2009]
• Lily Allen's "F--- You" [Feb. 14th, 2010]
• Casey Kasem Losing It in the Studio [Feb. 14th, 2010]
• Matthew Gasteier's F--- You, Penguin [Feb. 14th, 2010]

There may be more relevant posts, but since the "F---" label didn't exist until now I just went by memory. I find it curious that all of these date from either one of the past two Valentine's Days or the day after last Christmas; the fact that this post comes a day before the period of reflection and atonement that begins with Rosh HaShanah is, while not intentional, certainly serendipitous.