Siteseeing: Quick Hits

Here's a little bit of link-bloggery appropriate to the evening.

First up is the video for "Can't Play Dead" from The Heavy, which premiered exclusively at the other day. It's a great track on its own merits, I think — but if you disagree, just turn the sound down and groove to the Día de los Muertos stop-motion B-movie-trailer visuals.

Fringe Thinking:
Happiness Is a Warm Gun

The good news is that after a week away, Fringe was back on Fox at 9 p.m. ET last Friday. And the even better news is that...

... was a real return to form after the letdown that was the previous episode.

The bad news? Well, I'm sorry that I don't have more of substance to say about such a pivotal chapter of Season 5 and I wish I'd been able to get this post up sooner. More to the point in-story, um, there's a big honkin' plot twist to address which I'll be getting to shortly.

Keitel Records

You think you're done with "Call Me Maybe"? You cringe when your car radio lands on it for even a moment? You swear that no cover, mashup, or parody could ever get you to listen to that song again?

I'm here to sympathize but also to tell you that you're wrong. You must hear it one more time, at least if you haven't yet seen the duet between Harvey Keitel and Carly Rae Jepsen from Night of Too Many Stars.

Keitel pulls a William Shatner by doing his part as a spoken-word performance exactly as you'd imagine Harvey Keitel would.

Night of Too Many Stars is the biennial variety-show fundraiser hosted by Jon Stewart to benefit autism programs. This year's edition aired last Sunday on Comedy Central in partnership with Stewart's Busboy Productions, combining a live telethon with clips from a show held the previous Sunday at New York City's Beacon Theatre.

Other standout moments are Katy Perry singing "Fireworks" with 11-year-old Jodi DiPiazza, a clip that's been burning up YouTube, and Louis CK auctioning off a holiday-card photo with Al Pacino.

You can still donate online via the links above.

The Garlicks Is Cookin'

Lea Hernandez has less than 48 hours to go in the campaign to raise money for her project The Garlicks on Indiegogo.

So, yeah, I'm putting up this post kind-of late, but that's no reflection on my enthusiasm. I also figured, maybe wrongly, that promoting the project towards the end rather than towards the beginning might be better. Anyway...

The Garlicks is the tale of young Pandora Garlick and her family. Pan's mom is a human who runs a butcher shop. Pan's dad is a vampire barista. Pan's baby sister, Ham, turns into a fishbat — that's right: a fishbat — while Pan can't turn into anything at all. But she can and does make comics inspired by her crazy life.

42 Favorites: #10

As I mentioned in my last post, The Iron Giant is one of my favorite things.

It was released a week before the 1999 San Diego Comic-Con was held; I didn't get to see it in advance of heading out to the show, but Scott McCloud raved about it — a huge recommendation for sure — and I thankfully got to see it in the theater after returning home. Unfortunately, I was one of the relatively few who did, as Warner Bros. rather infamously failed to properly market this beautiful, poignant tale for young and old.

Save Yourself

The winter holidays are fast approaching. Expect Christmas stuff in stores the day after Halloween — Kwanzaa and Chanukah, which comes early this year, too, depending on where you live. So let's help each other out.

I'll share some great Amazon deals perfect for the pop-culture fan in your life, including yourself, if he/she/you is anything like me. When you purchase them, or almost any other item that you place in your cart, through the links provided in this post (or the standing link over in the sidebar) I earn a small fee. It's the perfect way to thank me for alerting you to the deals and/or for providing whatever little bit of entertainment you get from my posts, while reinforcing my decision not to clutter up the blog with any other advertising.

How great are these deals? 

Abrams ComicArts' Shazam!: The Golden Age of the World's Mightiest Mortal is marked down from $35 to $7.

Twitti Politi

I confess to dabbling with Twitter again over the past week. Based on the Mars-rover landing, among other events, I was curious to see what it would be like to experience last Thursday's Vice-Presidential Debate with an eye on the Twitterverse. Tonight I dipped back in again during the Presidential debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. I found myself predictably struggling with, on one hand, a desire to jot down a thought that amused me in the hope that it would amuse others, versus, on the other hand, my general inability to both do that and keep listening to the debate itself, then struggling further with the fact that Twitter was so congested that I often couldn't get my Twits out in a timely fashion. What I did let fly over the evening follows, largely nonpartisan, focused mostly on random things that struck me as funny or just the absurd theater of it all, but I advise those of you who stay away from sociopolitical material on principle to move along.

Audience: "I have a question." Candidate: "Great... I have a canned response that does not quite directly address that question." #debate

Please just fistfight. #debate

When Romney says that middle-income families have been buried, is he implying that more Americans die under Obama? #debate

Uh-oh... Romney said "foreign". #debate

A road to Greece would actually be pretty cool. #debate

Not to make light of income inequality, but Lilly Ledbetter and The Glass Ceiling is my new band name. #debate

Binders Full of Women is our opening act. #debate

Joker Lice

Along with my word-verification definitions (see yesterday) and, more recently, my Twitter postlets (see tomorrow), I've made a small running thing out of sharing weird search terms that Blogger's Stats info says lead people here.

My first such post was in January; the second, in April, was titled after one of those oddball terms, as is this one. To cut to the chase: I can't find any record of joker lice being a thing, in Gotham City or anywhere else.

A dozen more strange — or in a couple of cases, strangely mundane — strings, some of which totally befuddle me not only inherently but in how they led people here:

15-year-old with a fencing sword

action figure rod stewart

business team with laptops in the white cubes

csi ny lindsay and danny with baby & furious man in the lighttower

david boreanaz smolder

The Meaning of It All

My birthday ends at the stroke of midnight, and if you're up on your Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy then the title of this post will tell you just how many years it marked. There is, well, a double meaning to that title to boot; regular readers of the blog will recognize that it fits the pattern of my occasional volleys of word-verification definitions, collected (and explained for the uninitiated) at that link. I've taken to publishing these when I expect the blog to lie fallow for a spell, as well as simply when the mood strikes, but while I can see some things getting in the way of new posts here over the next couple of weeks I confess that I'm not yet sure to which scenario this entry applies.

androjor — [an dro jor] n. Robot duplicate of Superman's Kryptonian father.

bucritas — [buh kree tahss] pl. n. A Mexican dish made from pirate meat.

cobside — [kob syd] adj. Near an ear of corn.

dingdoc — [ding dok] n. Popular subgenre in Australian cinema of nature films featuring wild dogs.

entheist (1) — [en thee ist] n. One who worships the 14th letter of the English alphabet.

Fringe Thinking:
Magical Mystery Tour

I'm afraid that I don't have many kind words to say about...

The episode was a letdown, overall — not in spectacularly bad ways that prompt their own kind of commentary; it was just sort-of meh. I'm not sure when (if ever) Fringe last left me feeling that way before. Has it frustrated me? Yes. Has it grossed me out? Sure. Has it turned in a lackluster installment that felt like the script needed at least one more pass? Not that I recall.

Which is a particular shame given that, as my Beatles subtitle of the day reflects, "The Recordist" kicks off what appears to be the impetus for at least a good early-to-middle chunk of this final, 13-episode season of Fringe.


100 years ago this month, give or take, Frank Munsey's pulp magazine The All-Story premiered one of the longest-lived fictional characters of modern times in a complete novel: Tarzan of the Apes.

cover to October 2012's The All-Story

It wasn't fledgling writer Edgar Rice Burroughs' first work for the magazine. John Carter had debuted in All-Story's February 2012 issue with the serialized novel "Under the Moons of Mars"; later collected as A Princess of Mars, it spawned a set of sequels and adaptations into other media that would surely be as much as any franchise-minded author could hope for — had that author not created Tarzan as well.

Tarzan of the Apes was released in 1914 as a stand-alone book by A.C. McClurg. Its Fred J. Arting cover was entirely different in feel from, yet just as captivating as, the one painted by Clinton Pettee for the novel's original All-Story publication. Library of America reissued that book in hardcover earlier this year.

41 Favorites: #7-9

For my 40th birthday I brainstormed a list of some of my favorite things to launch a series of occasional posts. It's not that I was ever in danger of running out of topics to write on; my aim was more that I'd have some brief entries covering a variety of subjects during a time when I was generally retreating from new content out of frustration with the blog.

That was two years ago. I had to switch the title from 40 Favorites to 41 Favorites in 2011 and I've only added three posts to the series, comprising five favorite things, since then — including this one. As of Sunday the series title will have to change again.

I'm planning to throw another one of my omphaloskepsic posts up here soon, so that's enough of that right now. Let's talk instead about...

7. coffee

Mmm, I loves me the coffee.

To many folks it's merely a delivery system for a much-needed jolt of caffeine, and I'm not above using it that way myself — albeit for a slightly different reason than most. .

Fringe Thinking: Mother

I was a little concerned about using up "Mother" so soon, as we'll doubtless get another episode about the Olivia & Etta dynamic before Fringe is done, but there are now fewer than a dozen episodes left and I've learned not to be too precious about such things.

Here, partly in honor of Walter's addled state but mostly because it's all I'm able to put together, are some disjointed thoughts on...

No Swedish or Portuguese, I promise.

Aping Mad

The first issue of Mad hit the stands 60 years ago this week — or not. But I'll get back to that.

What does this have to do with the image above, cropped from a 15-year-old drawing of mine?

Comics fans of some knowledge will recognize DC's Ambush Bug and Marvel's Forbush Man, as well as the fact that the characters have been inserted into the cover of Mad #1. They almost certainly won't recognize the hippie dude in the bowler. But I'll get back to that, too.