What if Scooby-Doo was genuinely spooky... and every member of the Mystery Machine gang had paws... and, supernatural stuff aside, the setting was surprisingly realistic... and the end result was totally awesome?
You'd have Beasts of Burden, a delightful breed of horror stories featuring ghosts who walk, creatures that stalk, and most particularly dogs who talk (to one another), created by comics virtuosi Evan Dorkin and Jill Thompson. I've blogged about both before, Dorkin briefly in April and Thompson back in May 2009 when I praised her bewitching work on Scary Godmother and Magic Trixie.
The initial BOB story was published in 2003's The Dark Horse Book of Hauntings. "Stray" introduced us to the troop — or didn't, actually, jumping right in and making us figure out the dogs' names from dialogue as we went along, but that's the closest thing I might have to a complaint about it. We meet them as they attempt to summon a so-called Wise Dog to help them figure out the strange sounds, smells, and sensations surrounding beagle Jack's new doghouse.
"My grandpa told me when I was a pup... 'Howl at midnight, three strong,'" Whitey, an excitable terrier, assures his pals after the invocation seems to fall flat. "Then again, they did put Grandpa down the next day."
I've had to restrain myself mightily from blogging on NBC's The Sing-Off each week. As I proved last year, I'm capable of going on at ridiculous length about the show, given my love for a cappella music and creative arrangements of pop songs in general. Until now I've been successful at holding back, but my resolve finally broke last night after the latest in a string of confounding eliminations.
The Sing-Off upped its roster this year to a stunning sixteen groups, starting with two brackets of eight groups each. My early favorites in the first bracket were Afro-Blue, Delilah, and Urban Method, although Delilah soon proved uneven; second-bracket standouts were The Collective, Pentatonix, Sonos, and North Shore. It's curious to me that of these groups all but North Shore, a traditional male doo-wop quintet, and Delilah, an all-women's outfit based on the collegiate a cappella model, are smaller and more experimental.
I didn't get around to publishing this post during the regular season, and the Phillies' early exit from the playoffs left me too bitter to come anywhere near the subject of our national pastime. Since yesterday's unnecessary behemoth of a disquisition tied a belated bow on 2011 baseball for me, however, it's now or next year to discuss my favorite jersey accents.
We're not talking about Tom Kean, Danny DeVito, or Joe Pesci here.
The World Series began last night, with the St. Louis Cardinals taking Game 1 from the Texas Rangers. I didn't watch.
I'm still bummed about my Phillies falling to the Cardinals in the NLDS playoffs, which is a large part of the reason why. As I wrote in the last week of the regular season, 2011 was a banner year for the Phils — which makes it all the more confounding (if not ironic) that they didn't win a pennant. Charlie Manuel's team won a franchise record 102 games, by far the best mark in the major leagues, yet as more than one wag put it the team's ballyhooed four aces were beat in the first round of the playoffs by a wild card; none of the wags, as far as I know, referred to the Phils as royally flushed.
There are those — fans, journalists, and ballplayers, not necessarily in that order — who believe that even (perhaps especially) a stellar regular season is for naught if you don't make it to the World Series.
Just a quick (and late) link this week: OK Go's rendition of The Muppet Show's theme song, featuring the Muppets themselves.
Screencap © 2011 Walt Disney Records.
It premiered on Vevo, where you'll also find a behind-the-scenes short. The band's other intricate efforts are referenced throughout. Don't forget to close the annoying ad at the bottom if you get one and expand the video player to fullscreen...
The song is now available on Amazon as a single MP3 download or as part of The Green Album in CD or MP3 form. If you purchase the song or anything else after clicking through the links in this paragraph, Blam's Blog receives a small percentage of the sale. OK? Go!
Bob Mahoney photo of The Walking Dead cast © 2011 TWD Productions LLC.
The Walking Dead begins its 13-episode second season tonight at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.
Its character work — the hallmark of AMC's original series, thanks to brilliant contributions on both sides of the camera — makes Dead recommended viewing for anyone who can stomach the viscera and suspense-laden filmmaking that are endemic to a show set during a zombie apocalypse. You don't have to be a horror enthusiast to enjoy it, however, any more than you have to know or care about the advertising world or crystal meth to get hooked on the stellar storytelling in Mad Men or Breaking Bad. Sure, The Walking Dead is about survival in a world where a global outbreak has left living, breathing humans the minority amidst hordes of shambling corpses whose only instinct is to feast on fresh flesh and transfer their disease, but the emphasis is on the stark reality of our protagonists' existence.
For those who missed the 6-episode first season that debuted last Halloween, or just want to watch it again, AMC is airing it in order today starting at 2:30 p.m. ET (1:30 p.m. CT). The 90-minute second-season premiere follows, repeating at 10:30, after which comes a live special discussing the show called Talking Dead. Extras including behind-the-scenes videos and six brief "webisodes" are available the above-linked site.
I'm not feeling particularly grumpy, nor am I going to wax philosophical about age here like I did in my last birthday post. Really the title is just to keep up the usual conceit of my word-verification definition offerings. For those not familiar with the phenomenon, I've explained it on the dedicated page that collects accumulated entries to date.
• antick — [an tik] n. 1. Ye olde foolish behaviour. 2. Half ant, half tick.
• bledlump — [bled lump] n. A smidge of clotted exsanguination.
• botica — [bah tih kuh] n. The study of 'droids and other 'tomatons.
• Clola™ — [cloh luh] Clam-flavored cola. [Don't knock it 'til you've tried it.] [Uh... But don't try it.]
• derbsaly — [durb suh lee] adv. About or referring to a horse race (or a sporting contest in general). "Derbsaly speaking, Kentucky is my favorite."
If your life was lacking Glee tonight due to those gosh-darned baseball playoffs, maybe some day-after-Monday Muppetude will get you grinning again. Sesame Street has given us some great goofs on popular songs and TV series, from a Billy Idol lookalike Muppet singing "Rebel L" to the detectives of ABCD Blue. Now give it up for... G.
I got a grin out of Rachel's lines in the crowd noise that opens the skit, the bearded piano player who pops up out of nowhere, and more, but the grandest giggle goes to the amazing likeness of "Mr. Goo".
Grover and I share a birthday, according to the awesome book 'Sesame Street' Unpaved — Oct. 14th.
A prototype of Grover called Gleep appeared as early as 1967 on an episode of The Ed Sullivan Show. I get that info from the Muppet Wiki link at the beginning of this post, which is not to be confused with The Monster at the End of This Book (on which more shortly). Nearly all proper nouns seen in blue hypertext during Muppet Mondays, if not otherwise specified, head over to that expansive and entertainingly informative website despite it not being an authorized outlet.
I've been tickled by having a birthday in common with Grover since I found out about it. He is so earnest and so lovable and so game for anything — running Near and Far to exhaustion, for example, as seen right now on his home page at the official Sesame Street website — that he edged out Kermit as my favorite Muppet; his occasional adventures as Super Grover didn't hurt, of course. [Just in case "Near and Far" has cycled off by the time you visit the page, I'll throw in a YouTube link.]
The last time Saturday Night Live ran a Fox & Friends sketch I transcribed the litany of "corrections" that scrolled across the screen and ended up with what was for about a day a very popular post. We've become used to being able to find almost anything we want on the Internet, quickly, so to do my part I've just repeated last April's effort.
Seth walks into his friend Harry's office as Harry is ending a telephone conversation.
"I'll see you when you get back from Tanzania, Reb Jacob," he overhears Harry say.
"Tanzania?" Seth asks.
"Yes," Harry says. "I just spoke to Jacob Lieberman. He flew in from Toronto yesterday and now he's off to Dar es Salaam. After Tanzania it's Kenya, Malawi, and Mozambique before he comes home."
"Jacob Lieberman," Seth muses. "He did the circumcision at my son's bris."
"Indeed he did," Harry replies.
"And last time I was here you were talking to the fellow who performed your son's bris — asking for references, if I recall."
"Right again," Harry says. "I caught him in between trips to Europe. He's quite a traveler."
"What the heck is this all about?" Seth asks.
Here's a 15-minute segment featuring Jim Henson that aired on Iowa Public Television in 1969.
I thought about running it last week but decided to start my Muppet Mondays with more of a bang; while it'll surely suck in any Henson admirer, it's longer and slower-paced than your usual Internet video. Henson is so mellow that he makes Mister Rogers look like Gilbert Gottfried.