Lead the Wild Rumpus, Stark!

— or Cap. Whomever. I'd have figured Cap, y'know, but Tony has such an ego and he's carrying Loki's stick.

Art © 2012 the artist. Characters TM/® Marvel.

You can view the above collision between the mourning of Maurice Sendak's passing and the celebration of The Avengers' success at a larger size — and download it in greater resolution for use as screen "wallpaper" or printing out — at its home post over at the DeviantArt site of its creator.

Related Posts: Maurice Sendak 1928-2012;

Plumped-Up Lips

A couple of months ago here I linked to a clip of a genius song parody called "Hunger Games". It mashed up the concept of the book and movie of that name with Lana Del Rey's "Video Games" — and did its job almost too well. The voice and images were eerily, brilliantly spot-on, but it put both that song and another back on heavy rotation in my head; that other song was Foster the People's "Pumped-Up Kicks" for the simple and somewhat ridiculous reason that I'd already imagined rewriting its lyrics to skewer Ms. Del Rey (born Elizabeth Woolrich Grant).

Something like...

Exile in Jayville

Last Thursday Conan O'Brien, now holding court weeknights on TBS's Conan, stopped by CBS's The Late Show with David Letterman to chat with Dave about something the hosts rather infamously have in common.

I refer of course to sons playing tee-ball.

Screencap © 2012 Worldwide Pants.

They also found time to discuss each man, in his own way, having been screwed out of the former marquee gig in late-night broadcasting — Johnny Carson's (and Jack Paar's and Steve Allen's) old chair behind the Tonight Show desk — by NBC in favor of Jay Leno. It's a metaphorical chair, to be sure; The Tonight Show hasn't been filmed in the studio Carson used, let alone with the same "home base" furniture and props, since Johnny left. And the TV landscape sure isn't the same as it was when Conan took over the post-Tonight slot at NBC from Dave when Letterman went to CBS to challenge Leno, never mind how different it is from Carson's heyday.

The A Team

photo-illustration of Tony Stark holding Cosmic Cube with dollar sign amidst viewscreens depicting Avengers promotional images

So have you heard about this little movie called The Avengers?

I not only saw it — opening day, in fact, which is always fun, but for the past dozen or so years not something that I've been able to count on doing given my health — I've written about it, too; that commentary just hasn't made it onto the blog yet.

As my review of / background feature on / "think piece" about the Joss Whedon gem began to meander, in addition to being delayed by migraines and technical glitches and stuff like that there, I decided to cleave the following musings on its mega-millions and other impressive statistics into their own post, which is a good thing given how they grew too.

Sweet 16

The first time I saw her, Pebbles was basically trying to climb into the sky.

Photo of an orange and white cat curled up on a blanket

She was on the top of a cat tree, one of those really tall posts made not just for scratching but for climbing. As she balanced on the very apex of it, this lovely and lithe orange Creamsicle of a kitten actually pushed at the ceiling tiles with her paws.

Her name wasn't Pebbles then.

Let's Dance

I came up with an even dozen entries for this week's Top Ten contest over at the Late Show with David Letterman website. You probably know the drill by now; in case you don't, there's an explanation of how the contest works from my first Top Ten post on the blog — although there's no prize for winners anymore beyond satisfaction and bragging rights. I didn't feel like repeating myself here, but a similar explanation can be found in most of these posts, and if you'd like to browse through all Top Ten posts just click on that last link.

Most categories are either seasonal or keyed to something in the news, and this week's is no different. Here are my...

Top Twelve Least-Popular 2012 Prom Themes

12. We'll All Judge Each Other One Last Time

11. Our Favorite Student/Faculty Romances

10. Party Like We'll All Have Jobs

9. How Would Jesus Dance?

8. A Night Away from Algebra and In-School Day Care

7. Mimes! Mimes! Mimes!

I'd Just Like to Get a Few Things Off My Chest

Hey, I figure if it's all right to show on newsstands it's all right to put on the blog.

But wait... That's not all!

Maurice Sendak 1928-2012

I wish I could do justice to Maurice Sendak with this post, but that wouldn't be possible even with far more time and attention than I have tonight.

Illustration from Where the Wild Things Are © 1963 Maurice Sendak.

Sendak passed away earlier today, at age 83, following a stroke. His career spanned 65 years and nearly 100 books as well as notable work in other media. You can find a timeline of his life and creations at the website of The Rosenbach Museum & Library, whose director also offers a nice remembrance of the Philadelphia institution's relationship with the Brooklyn-born Sendak. (If you're ever in the area, I highly recommend a visit to the Rosenbach, whose collection includes James Joyce's handwritten manuscript to Ulysses, a large repository of Lewis Carroll memorabilia, and "over 10,000 Sendak objects, including original drawings, preliminary sketches, manuscript materials, photographs, proofs, and rare prints of Sendak books." Don't forget to try the incunabula!)

Flush with Success

Avengers writer/director Joss Whedon can lay claim to the biggest US opening weekend ever, among other records.

It couldn't happen to a nicer guy. He won't take all the credit, and he shouldn't. The nearly 50-year-old comic-book property on which the movie was based; the string of mostly acclaimed films that led up to it, starting with Robert Downey Jr.'s pitch-perfect turn in 2008's Iron Man, directed by Jon Favreau; the Marvel/Disney marketing machine — all of these had a lot more to do with the Hulk-sized turnout here and abroad than did Whedon's credit. But the movie's repeat business and word-of-mouth from the first wave of filmgoers encouraging everyone who hasn't seen it yet to get their rumps to the multiplex? A lot of that is Joss.

I have a few Avengers posts on the way, a rambling not-quite-review of the film among them, but as an appetizer here's a video co-starring the man behind the curtain (or, as the case may be given the screencap above, the sliding glass door).

Saturday Night's All Right for Typing (Again) (Again!)

Once more Saturday Night Live has aired a Fox & Friends sketch that included quick-scrolling text of fact-checkers' supposed corrections to the program, and so once more I've transcribed it.

Maybe it's the TV on which I was watching, or maybe it's my aging eyes, but, sheesh, the text sure seemed tinier and faster than I remember it being last October and the previous April.

Here's a transcript of what you probably missed, centered and carriage-returned just at it aired, with most typographical conventions intact, copyright 2012 NBC Studios.

There are currently no bills before the House that would require a 
woman to have a transvaginal ultrasound before buying sunglasses.

The Taliban is not producing a cereal called "Honey Bunches of Goats".

Kirk Cameron is not the voice of Siri.

Tents Moments

We're halfway through Season Two of HBO's Game of Thrones. I hope that means only another month or so of me being compelled to do this stuff.

Above is from Episode 4, "Garden of Bones".

Next up — which if you're viewing this from a main or category page means after the ol' jump — is from Episode 5, "The Ghosts of Harrenhal". Since that's the latest episode and the gag deals with a shocking plot point, I'm compelled to add a spoiler alert here for those behind in their viewing.


I don't usually have much good to say about Blogger. So to be fair and give credit where it's due, I'll repeat that — in addition to being free without requiring advertising of any kind (a big plus to me) — its spam filter works very well. Frankly, I can't recall a single instance of robot messages getting through since I opted to turn off word verification on comments earlier this year in the wake of the service's switch to a much uglier, more onerous CAPTCHA format. 

While the blog has been getting more spam than it used to, all of the spam is getting queued up in a virtual folder to await my attention as it should. I think that more spam comments made it through in the past, in fact, which leads me to suspect that in a rare instance of foresight Blogger worked to shore up its spam filtering in anticipation of users ditching verification after the recent change.

Most of what used to make it through was strings of Chinese hanzi that translated to some vaguely poetic phrase and linked to images of scantily-clad women if not outright porn. And porn is, no surprise, still the #1 destination for most of the spam that the filter catches, but to my surprise for every few blatant "comments" that hawk pics of nude celebrities there's one that pretends to be actual conversation with poetry of its own — in English; often broken English to be sure, but therein lies much of the skewed poetry.

"You can definitely see your expertise within the paintings you write," one slice of spam read. "The world hopes for more passionate writers like you who are not afraid to mention how they believe. All the time go after your heart."

I was almost touched.

He & She

Screencap from The Secret of the Swords © 1985 Mattel Inc.
He-Man & She-Ra ® Mattel Inc. "Lannisters"
TM George R.R. Martin.
Text/Design: Brian Saner Lamken for
Blam's Blog.