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.

To XL



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":