What's in a Name

I recently and somewhat randomly came across the poster below for the 1966 film Maya.

Poster for the film 'Maya' with the title in giant 'stone' letters, getting hit by lightning, as various animals stampede
Poster © 1966 King Bros. Productions and/or MGM Studios.

There's a Maya in my family, and I know some other Mayas too. But that was only the first name that jumped at me.

It was interesting to see Jay North — who played the title character in the TV incarnation of Dennis the Menace in the early '60s and, I found out to my surprise not long ago, voiced the teenage Bamm-Bamm Rubble in the early '70s — in the credits. That's not the main point here either, however.

The punch line of this chance experience was the name "Clint" — seen on the poster thanks to star Clint Walker. If you glanced at it earlier, or just now at my prompting, and had a brief shock at mistaking the name for another word, then you see why cartoonists, typesetters, and pretty much anyone else who finds themselves displaying "Clint" in all capitals usually takes care to put enough space between the "L" and the "I" lest they appear to merge into a "U".

[Warning: Comments get explicit.]

Head Space

I had a neat dream last night. Since content might otherwise be light here due to some family stuff, despite a few posts nearly ready to go, I've decided to write it up along with a couple of others I scribbled down from earlier this year.

The one from last night involved the work of Nikki Stafford, author of books about Lost and other cult TV, whose blog was one of my select re-entry points to online activity after I finally got a working computer a handful of years ago now. Co-starring in the others were actor/filmmaker Lena Dunham, creator of the HBO series Girls, and comics writer Kurt Busiek, creator of Astro City, whom I've had the pleasure of speaking with online and in person a fair amount over the past couple of decades.

In the snippet of last night's dreams that left an impression, I was mostly running around from table to table in a large dining room with a gravy boat of blue-cheese dressing. At a certain point that scene, which I vaguely associated with a college dining hall, transitioned to me teaching a class on Buffy the Vampire Slayer that drew from Nikki's work as well as my own blogposts. The real-world irony of the latter is that while I'd hoped to publish a series of relevant posts during Nikki's year-long "rewatch" of that series (posts on the companion series Angel and some of the comics, too), I had to suspend that plan. [I have too full a plate to return to those posts anytime soon but a notion to finish and roll them out in 2017, the 20th anniversary of the TV series and the 25th anniversary of the feature film that preceded it.]

Up in the Sky

A home movie of the Superman balloon's first appearance in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade from 1940 was uploaded to YouTube in November of last year, but I got word of it too late to post it in time for the holiday then. Gracias to Rodrigo Baeza, who blogs at Comics Commentary, for sharing the link on the Grand Comics Database chat list! The Man of Helium shows up at the 1:30 mark.

Superman ® DC Comics.

Fringe Thinking: Borrowed Time

The fifth and final season of Fringe reached its midpoint last night with...

And so it's fitting that the episode hearkens back to the start of of Season One.

"Our first Fringe experience would be their last," said a vengeful Peter Bishop to Olivia Dunham, sharing with her that he'd used the jaw-dropping bioweapon from Episode 1.1 on three high-ranking Observers.

But "Five-Twenty-Ten" may have referred in a much more oblique way to the end of Season Two as well, and therefore given us yet another oh-so-tangential allusion to the parallel universe that occupies an essential place in Fringe lore. I'm no Jeff Jensen, but I had to wonder if the title to 5.07 — which turned out to be a safe combination used by Walter Bishop in one of William Bell's old laboratories — had any other significance. Sure enough, I hit paydirt with the first try: 05-20-10 is the American numerical rendering of May 20th, 2010, which turns out to be the original US air date of Episode 2.21, "Over There (Part 2)". This is a purely meta-level piece of information, of course, nothing to do with the characters within the show; it may however be a clue that the Other Side will yet figure into Season Five after all. I have a thought as to how, to be shared later in the post.

Fringe Thinking: There's a Place

Now we're talkin'!

... was a great episode, probably the best since the Season Five opener. I'm sorry that I didn't get this post up sooner, but once I realized it wouldn't be within a couple of days after airing I decided to wait until the day of the next episode to maximize some semblance of relevance. The way we justify or rationalize things to ourselves, as fortune would have it, is also very relevant to what Peter's doing.

One of the reasons why the hour grabbed me, no doubt, was its integration of premises past and present.

Spider-Man, Spider-Man /
Use His Face in a Frying Pan

Spider-Man's head as the end of a spatula

Williams-Sonoma is selling a Marvel Spider-Man Flexible Spatula.

How freaking awesome is that?

I got one from my cousins as a belated birthday gift, along with a Spider-Man Cupcake-Decorating Kit. The latter is no longer available from the Williams-Sonoma website; neither is the Marvel Heroes Cupcake-Decorating Kit featuring Hulk, Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor. I'm linking to them anyway in case that changes and including some images below because they're freaking awesome.

After the Flood

I thought that Bryan Walsh contributed a good piece on Hurricane Sandy to last week's issue of Time.

Walsh details some of what Sandy wrought, but also suggests how to prepare as storms like Sandy — a hurricane turned post-tropical cyclone after merging with the Arctic jet stream to form a hybrid nor'easter that some dubbed "Frankenstorm" — become a fact of life in what (most rational minds now agree) is an era of consequential climate change.

I've felt a bit of survivor's guilt over Sandy, to be honest.

My home in the Philadelphia suburbs lost power for about 30 seconds total on the night the storm hit — going dark just long enough the final time to convince me that several days without electricity lay ahead (since it would take so long for crews to work safely and get to everybody) only to pop back on with nary a complication thereafter save remembering to reset the blinking clocks. Lots of areas nearby had it much worse. I got to watch news coverage on a television in a lit room while checking E-mail.

Robin -- To the Bat-Polls!

Panel of friendly Batman saying 'Don't believe those crackpot lies about people who worship differently, or whose skin is of a different color, or whose parents come from another country. Remember our American heritage of freedom and equality!'
Panel from "Batman and Robin Stand Up for Sportsmanship!" in
Batman #57 (and other issues) © 1949 DC Comics. Script: Jack Schiff.
Pencils, Inks: Win Mortimer. Letters: Ira Schnapp. Colors: Unknown.
[via Tom Peyer with thanks to my pal Bully, the Little Stuffed Bull]

Fringe Thinking:
Gimme Some Truth

Peter Bishop took a pivotal step at the end of...

If you thought that with a title like that the episode would be providing more background on the Observers, now known as the Invaders, well, you thought wrong.

Same goes for background on Etta Bishop's life under Invader rule after she was separated from her parents 20 years ago. Ditto hitherto unrevealed secret connections among the members of our familiar former Fringe Division team.

This origin story was Peter's. And it wasn't a flashback to previously unspooled history. It was the first look at the next chapter of his journey. Etta's death pushed Peter over the edge — or at least an edge; there are certainly still darker places to go. He's using his enemies' own devices against them, but it remains to be seen to what extent he will become the very thing he's fighting.

Let me backtrack just a bit, although as always I assume that you've seen the episode before reading this and won't be recapping the whole plot:

House of the Rising Moon

'Mockingbird Lane' title card with main cast

Last Friday NBC ran the pilot for Mockingbird Lane, Bryan Fuller's revamp of The Munsters. At this writing you can still watch it via that link.

I took in the hour-long episode as a Halloween treat after hearing that it was good — already intrigued by the premise and the talent involved, despite rebooting or reimagining a familiar property for TV being a dicey prospect (Battlestar Galactica at one recent extreme, Wonder Woman at the other). Even after it was passed over for this season, Lane apparently had an outside shot at being picked up for 2013 if it turned out to be an October surprise. While I'm unsure that a 1.5 rating/5 share in the 18-49 demo (5.47 million viewers overall) is enough to do the trick, this was a Friday and this is the tentatively resurgent NBC.

I'd like to see more.


As I noted a couple of weeks ago, I've been flirting with Twitter again. I'm still completely at a loss as to how to include it as part of a balanced diet — and since I really want to finally get on Facebook, I suspect that it'll be cut out dang near totally for a while. (Once I reconnect with old friends and acquaintances on Facebook, of course, I'll probably want to follow some of them on Twitter...) Just a month after my last batch of select Twitter postlets for the foreseeable future, then, I leave you with another, minus the ones from the above link re the Presidential town-hall debate.

12 October 2012

Visit #Chipotle in costume after 4 p.m. on Halloween; get a $2 burrito and laughed at by the punks skating outside.

Yankees had "a champagne shower" in the clubhouse tonight after clinching the ALDS — or, as Alex Rodriguez calls it, "a shower".

14 October 2012

I'm 42 today. The only career I've really had is as a writer/editor. And I still find it weird to to use "comprise" except in the passive.

15 October 2012

Now I'm getting my car detailed as a gift. We've been here for an hour and the guy talks so slowly he's only up to "ignition coil".

21 October 2012

#FakeNews: Mitt Romney joined at campaign event by reclusive brothers Bat, Helmet, and Faceguard Romney

#FakeNews: 1952 batch of Whoops Still Tears Back to the Drawing Board shampoo found in Johnson & Johnson warehouse

#FakeNews: Chan Marshall, Connor Oberst, and Natasha Khan to form alias supergroup Cat Eye Lashes