Archive for October, 2010
Scientists have discovered and manufactured bacteria, viruses and parasites that have zombie-inducing qualities. And stem cell and nanotechnology research offer real possibilities for the reanimation of tissue. There is also significant debate as to whether zombie neurotoxins exist; there is a whole branch of pharmacology devoted to determining whether such compounds can be found in nature.
I only recently re-added CBS Sunday Morning to my DVR schedule after removing it for some time for a reason I do not recall, but today’s show made me glad I did.
Sunday Morning dedicated its show this morning to Halloween, in ways that were a little bit unexpected. After 24/7 media bloviating about the midterm elections/double rainbows and “what it all means,” it was more than a little refreshing to see a news source acknowledge that there’s a world outside who controls congress (especially sweet to the editorial staff of this blog, which is not a political blog).
All the stories had a relationship to the world of the creepy/spooky, but in an erudite way that was neither condescending nor overly credulous.
The first story was a brief biography of Harry Houdini pegged to an exhibit about the illusionist currently on display at The Jewish Museum in NYC. (I actually have been there, it’s right across the street from Central Park. I took a trip to NYC several years ago to see an amazing confluence of museum exhibits each of which I read about in the Wall Street Journal. The one at TJM was Jewish Women and Their Salons, about the role of Jewish women and their sitting rooms in the Modernist movement. They downplayed the role of the vast conspiracy, you had to read between the lines for that. The portrait they used to advertise is inset. It’s entitled Portrait of Amalie Beer) The piece was interesting and primed the pump for the rest of the episode. Link
Several other stories captured my imagination, as well. There was a piece about coulrophobia, or the irratonal fear of clowns, presented by Mo Rocca, Daily Show alumnus. It featured a guest spot by the Insane Clown Posse whose Silent J mused about fear of clowns. (is the other dude supposed to be like Teller of Penn & Teller?) Rocca also showed clips from Killer Klowns from Outer Space, the great 80s B-horror movie. Rocca even added some cultural science from a psychologist named Mark Dery, who mused:
He’s selling you a perception of himself that is so strident and so resoundingly false, it all but begs you to believe there’s something awful behind the carnival music,… The clown is a very cadaverous figure… He has deathly pallor, he has the rictus, the frozen grin of the corpse, which is why the Joker in ‘Batman’ is such an uncanny figure.”
The piece on Cemetery tourism took a trip to that little burg, a friend of biblecomix, Sleepy Hollow, as well as a number of other cemeteries with quirky mausoleums, funny epitaphs, and disputes that persisted even after death.
The piece on nightmares made me wish I had them more often. The only nightmare I ever seem to have is where I’m believe I’m awake and am trying to get up, but can’t seem to move.
After dissing their addictive lists in my last post. As my faithful readers are aware, I have serious issues with Halloween costumes. I also love mashups. I saw this list at cracked.com earlier today (JT made me put the app on my phone. Yes, it’s a phone made by Apple, but it’s just that. It’s a phone. Calling it something else is pretentious.) that jumped out at me, and not just because I dressed up as a house (#19, sexy house) when I was, like, 3 yrs old. I do think this list defiles my homemade costume, and is pretty stupid to boot.
Other favorites (by which I mean least favorites) are the S&M skin tight vinyl outfit, but instead of a gag ball, there’s a Darth Vader helmet (#20), Dane Cook as a dishturbing sexy male nurse (#5), and, what the hell, the Chinese Take Out Girl (#22). OK, not a great list, but 3 of them were interesting.
I’m working on scanning in the picture of me dressed as a house. (Dr. Detroit, little help?)
it would have been gayer than Joel Schumacher’s Batman and Robin or, especially, Batman Forever (the phrase “gay fantasia” gets batted around so frequently). And, before anyone goes all Anti-Vince Vaughan, by gay, I mean gaudy, ostentatious, and over-the-top. The term also once meant festive. (I suppose the Joel Schumacher version was also very homosexual. Condemn away.) I’m not sure how they would have hidden his superjunk. I guess the underwear could have gone either outside or inside the crystal costume. Either way, it would have looked like crap. Tim Burton ought to adapt the King Midas story and make it about a director who turns everything he touches to a formless pile of crap. Or, he could adapt the Emperor’s New Clothes to be about a director who consistently puts out garbage and fawning critics call it “visionary” and “genius.” In his world, I don’t think there would be a brave kid pointing out that, hey, this Superman is not wearing any clothes!
I about stroked out on the way home tonight on the way home. I audibly gasped (JT asked if I was ok) when I saw the marquee of the Madison Theatre displaying perhaps the most awesome thing a theatre that size could display: Gogol Bordello! I’ve loved GB for a long time. I have no idea what originally turned me on to them, but I suspect it had something to do with NPR.
The only thing that could make this more awesome is that Forro in the Dark is the opening act. I absolutely remember where I first heard FitD. It was on Salon.com when they used to have a free song of the day. The song was “I Wish (A bundle of contradictions)” with David Byrne providing the vocals. It’s still one of my favorite songs and everyone for whom I’ve ever played it takes to it immediately. Aw sh*t, I just hit the trifecta. Here’s Miho Hatori from Cibo Matto, whose album, “Viva La Woman,” was a great influence on me (Who cares/I don’t care/A horse’s ass is better than yours), singing a little forro inflected Country and Western/folksy tune in the tradition of “Wabash Cannonball.”
The concert is this Wednesday. I will provide a post mortem afterwards. Two awesome videos below.
The internets don’t seem to like Melissa and Joey. The internets can suck it. I know there’s a clear element of wanting to like this show too much, given my previous appreciation of Clarissa Explains it All (she was 17 when she started the show, so there), but I really appreciate this show for the throwback that it is. Imagine, if you will, that Webster raped Who’s the Boss and the ensuing child was being raised by David Addison and Maddy Hayes. If you can conceptualize that idea, in the brief instant before such a combustible thought is consumed by its own brilliance you may glimpse the imcomparable genius of this show. Starring the ever radiant Melissa Joan Hart and a buff Joey Lawrence without his flowing locks or his “Whoa,” and featuring two perfectly cast teens (the evocatively named Lennox [17 yr old Taylor Spreitler] and Ryder[Nick Robinson]) who may be the next generation of stars bred in a Disney eugenics farm located in “abandoned” Wonders of Life Pavilion at Epcot, this series is a fabolous mess. The plot involves Toledo city councilwoman (apparently a full time job with a legislative aid and all) Melissa becoming guardian for her niece and nephew when her sister goes to jail and brother-in-law goes on the lam for running an investment scam. Joey, the unfortunate Renfield and the brother-in-law’s business partner, inexplicably becomes the nanny after losing everything in the investment fraud.
The scripts are, by turns, innocuous (Melissa reads Lennox’ email) and vile (Ms. Hart alluding to her verbosity during the act of love macking, which is vile, but delicious), canny (Lennnox decides to go to a school dance with a platonic girlfriend because boys suck, which makes her tres popular because everyone thinks she’s a Lesbian) and clueless (the internet is portrayed as something magical), topical (the father who is on the run from the law ran a Ponzi scheme) and timeless (Melissa’s father, a former senator played by the dad from Reba, talks about enrolling Lennox in a finishing school where she can meet a husband at dances with the boys school across the lake).
It’s more than a little derivative, the laugh track is pretty annoying, the plots are mostly absurd, and every second is enthralling. There are some ok laughs and I can’t wait until Joey and Melissa get it on. Given that most of the people who are reviewing this series online were not even born until after Sabrina and Blossom finished their runs, they really don’t understand the catharsis it will be when two icons of kitsch from my youth join together in carnal lust. It will be like if Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears had hooked up, only better.
Doesn’t anyone watch TV ironically anymore?
UPDATE: I just watched two DVRed episodes and realized that one episode featured a pretty explicit commercial for a dance game for the Wii, which is awesome because people get so pissed when there are commercials in their media. (Like chocolate and peanut butter)
I’m also really cluing into the meta qualities of the show where MJH and JL make multiple references to their past as childhood stars. Lennox even alludes to the Britney-Spears-no-underwear-when-exiting-the-car kerfuffle. Nice. I like this.
Also, does anyone else notice that the primary source of racial color on the show, if not the only source revolves around Joey’s love interests? I’m assuming this is an inside joke and that he’s a huge racist.