I even forgot to post my Xmas senryu

In sentences, even:

The only men I
know who wear as much velvet
as Santa are pimps.

All he needs to be
a Mack is a feathered hat.
So ho ho ho, ho.

You never see Santa Claus in church

I don't call it "Xmas" because I'm lazy; I don't worship Jesus, I worship Mammon, although Christmas is generally about greed and commerce, not love and spirituality. Calling it Xmas just feels more honest. As much as I love Santa Claus -- he's on my short list of favorite superheroes, even if no one draws the version we know as well as his original artist -- Santa is all about product endorsement and in-store appearances. The merchants wrapped their year-end clearance sales in pages of the Bible in the mid-19th century, but before that no one in this country gave a shit about Jesus' birthday. It was even illegal to celebrate Christmas in colonial Massachusetts; I'm no fan of the Puritans, but they were right to call bullshit on picking an arbitrary date [that just so happened to co-opt a popular pagan holiday] in the absence of any record of Mr. Christ's birth and then pretending it meant anything.

So, presents!

Best present: Is so not-work-safe; you click the link, you get what you get. The image would be enough more offensive if my beater of a scanner had a larger scanbed; Miss America's not wearing any pants, thus always to tyrants and all that. When is the COONSKIN DVD coming out, again?

Best surprise present: A cell-phone holder; it's a little wire-armature man with cartoony hands and feet made of clear-orange plastic. It's amusing and functional. If I had the gumption and enough mirrors, I'd take a picture of it holding my phone, with my phone.

Number of BN.com giftcards: Two, same as last year, except that I tapped this year's on Dec. 26 instead of putting them in my desk and forgetting about them until two and three days before their expiration dates. I really don't like Barnes & Noble. Anyway, I pissed the cards away on a small pile of absurdly cheap remaindered funnybooks, about half of them replacements for ones I lost in the flood. I hope the new version of Winsor McCay's DAYDREAMS & NIGHTMARES has better printing than the '80s edition.

Returns: An all-time low -- a pair of too-small slippers. Which is good, since brick & mortar stores are cutting off their noses to spite online stores' faces by charging a return fee this year. I will not be the only person I know who bought all his presents online next year.

2006 sucked

I noticed Dick was a little slow on the countdown, though. Also, he never stood up or moved his lower half during his part of the broadcast.

blogging with a burgeoning head cold

Instead of all of Dick Clark's Rockin' New Years Eve, they ran a repeat of a local youth orchestra's Christmas program. It looks like it was filmed with a couple of parent camcorders, but it beats half-watching some bullshit pop act I've never heard of and don't care to remember. The affiliate just cut to the New Year's feed in the middle of an interview with Mayor Bloomberg -- which is fine by me, since I'm only watching to see and hear Clark a little to determine whether or not I need to adjust my wager on him in the celeb dead pool. Hmm, his voice is still betraying his age and he's shhhhlurrrring like a rear-wheel-drive car after an ice storm -- but damn, he's ruddy, excited and ahead of the teleprompter. He may actually be back next year.

I just realized I didn't post about my Xmas haul, and it's New Year's. Then again, the Xmas tree and outdoor lights are still up. I've been kind of busy lately.

The 922nd step on the last road home.

Nothing spells XMAS like OTR

Between this post and the forwards I've sent to friends and relatives of email listing holiday sale coupon codes, I must at least be in the running for Best Alcoholic Uncle-style Giftgiver 2006:

Merry Christmas, here is the most depressing episode of DRAGNET ever aired [no small feat, considering how grim that show was on regular days] "22 Caliber Rifle For Christmas," originally aired December 21, 1950.

To cleanse your brain's pallet: One of my favorite Xmas OTR shows is the "The Plot To Overthrow Christmas" broadcast from NORMAN CORWIN'S WORDS WITHOUT MUSIC; this is the 1942 airing.

These are Rapidshare links -- no, you don't have to subscribe or anything -- just click the FREE button, watch your Download Ticket count down, enter the letters/numbers you see in the box and click the "Download from ..." button. Rinse and repeat.

The 916th step on the last road home.

The 913th step on the last road home.

Best R&R Hall of Fame moment since Mike Love's angry ramble about love and peace, man

So, I'm watching some semi-relevant rock dudes doing their mimetic best on "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" -- Petty's doing his best Harrison imitation and the guitarist cloning Clapton's original solo is so generic he defies identification [Steve Winwood? Mike Campbell? Jesus, maybe even Mark Knopfler?] -- when Prince teleports onstage and fucking burns the last few minutes. Then he makes his guitar disappear and presumably teleports back to Minneapolis. I wish I could send this video back in time so younger me could shut up the cover-band cretins who said a Fender Telecaster isn't useful for anything other than country twang.

back and to the left, etc.

One my favorite junk-food movies -- the kind that you have no interest in actually owning, but will stop and leave on while channel-surfing or have on in the background while working or doing chores -- is Oliver Stone's JFK, even though it's riddled with errors, some more annoying than others. [Like, I often wonder if Stone and/or Jim Garrison intentionally placed the two court stand-ins [or ... sit-ins] for Kennedy & Connally in the wrong positions for their demonstration of the magic bullet's journey. Connally was in a jump seat, sitting lower and toward the side of the limo, not in a normal front car seat. The magic bullet's not that magic, even if the theory was presented by a consummate bullshit artist like Arlen Specter.] Anyway, here is a list of 100 Errors of Fact and Judgment from the film. I don't agree with many of their judgment judgments, and it's a bit unfair to use data and analysis unavailable to Garrison [assuming Stone stuck to what Garrison said in court] at the time, but it's an interesting read.

nice, even when not wrapped in an awesome Peter Poplaski cover

Hey kids, here's a sweet archive of SUPERMAN newspaper comics. The Sundays are especially lovely. What is it about Superman that keeps such a fire going in his fans' scanners?

When is the COONSKIN DVD coming out, anyway?

MP3 of the best opening song to a movie, ever. Crank your speakers up and stream the song at work to keep all of your coworkers at bay, at least until your now ex-boss sends in security to escort you out of the building. Shugado Shugado-doooo.

youtubing

Stardust vs the Mad Giant Experimenter -- if Fletcher Hanks really is dead, his ghost should start working on a response video to upload.

Here are two music-ish videos: Across 110th Street and Avogadro's Number; oh awkward girls everywhere, you the world go round.

more dials and switches than an F-14

Has there ever been a guitar that says "anal-retentive cool" more than the Harmony H76? No. There was no market for these things when I started out -- I've heard some people bought them for their Bigsby vibratos and DeArmond pickups and tossed the rest -- so you could get one cheap if you could find one. A few years ago, one of my old interns made good and sent me an Airline [same guitar, just a brand name for units made for Montgomery Ward] model as a thank-you gift. For some reason I've forgotten, we both thought it was a 1959-1960 vintage, not 1965-1972 -- although that collector's page implies that the model may have been built in other years. Those guitars are boss, regardless.

The 910th step on the last road home.

Do not think about Charlton Heston's penis

Considering how relatively easy it is to whip up a good PLANET OF THE APES ape/chimpanzee/orangutan costume -- they're almost always among the best turned-out cosplayers -- you would think that Planet of the Apes amateur pornography would be a lot more common. Star Wars, Star Trek, ibid.

I'm afraid to Google these things to find out if such things exist out there. I'm pretty sure that would put me and my IP number on more than a few surveillance lists.

The 905th step on the last road home.

Tip the waitstaff.

I recently saw a really compelling documentary about the Aaron Burr & Alexander Hamilton duel, hosted by Richard Dreyfuss -- the first time I have ever used "really compelling" in connection to Burr, Hamilton or Dreyfuss. Having watched it and not the books written by the historians interviewed in the program -- they are on my to-read list -- here's my theory about what ghastly, slanderous thing[s] Hamilton said in private about Burr that instigated the duel itself: it was the very first telling of the Aristocrats joke.

The 903rd step on the last road home.

My Gift Wish List, 2006

Same set-up as before

1. That Nejishiki toy [and box, which I'm sure is spiffily designed]

2. A Nippon-Ham Fighters baseball cap large enough to fit my enormous head.

3. A Kuretake natural-hair brush pen with a refillable adapter.

4. THE NATIONAL LAMPOON 1964 YEARBOOK in hardcover.

5. A van ride/plane ticket/Boom Tube/trebuchet launch to the West Coast for me and Little Man.

nightingale floorboard, a ninja's box of crickets, haiku nevermore

Don't we all want to know how to play "Sweet Georgia Brown" on Mandolin? I'd like to think that we do. Jay Buckey has a hell of a resource there.

The 902nd step on the last road home.

The 892nd step on the last road home.

Great, just ... great

We're going to get pounded with enough rain to flood again tomorrow. A lot of roads washed out or otherwise damaged by the last flood a few weeks ago are barely patched, since the asphalt plant the county uses closed for the season a few days after the flood, right on its seasonal schedule. If the roads get repaired at all after Friday's clusterfuck -- with snot and duct tape, since we're all outta roady-road stuff -- that still leaves the streams and rivers still in desperate need of repair. Then again, if they were repaired after the June flood, we wouldn't reflood every time a grey cloud lingers a bit on its way across. Oh, and the holes and cracks in the basement are still unfixed. Whee.

The top-five best freeware I've found for a Treo 650

Everyone loves hearing cheap jerks rave on about creations that have enriched their life, right?

1. Has to be FileZ -- I like Palm just fine, but that they don't have a decent file manager of their own is just plain stupid. Not very exciting, but essential.

2. Little John Palm -- ideal for waiting rooms and bathroom stops. I find it's largely useless for anything except NES emulation -- crashity crashcrash crash -- but it does NES maybe better than the actual console did.

3. GoogleMaps -- fast and easy, even on my connection.

4. The Core Pocket Media Player -- plays mpegs and mp3s with a host of muscular tweaking tools [EQ, video controls, etc.]. The only drawback I've found is that it won't multitask -- continue playing while I go to email or DocsToGo -- and that's probably just a menu option I haven't happened across yet, which is the only thing keeping me from deleting RealPlayer from the phone.

5. CutPaste 5 -- expands the clipboard memory to "actually useful" [32K]. I use this one to copy & paste text to/from Docs, Memo and email, which can be a trial if you're dealing with Palm's 1k default.

Honorable mention: ClockPop5, which is a cute little program that lets you, um, pop up the clock without exiting the program you're using. I lose a little less track of time because of it.

All I need now, besides a good carrier, is a good Jumble clone. [The actual Jumble for Palm I discovered a while ago seems to have already been discontinued. Yikes.]

tofu for the holidays

My god, I'm drooling reading some of these recipes. I miss those holiday-feast boxes; we must have "the real thing" here, and the fridge is only big enough for one feast.

more comicsal links

Eddie Campbell finally has a blog. I could read Eddie holding forth for hours.

My new second-favorite scan snarkblog. [Nobody puts Baby in a corner.] All of the Justice League Detroit dissing, none of the smug assholism.

And two beautifully drawn anti-poison PSA comics starring a child that deserves killin'. Speaking of Dennis, have you visited AlWiseman.com lately? You should.

Also, the mighty Persoff hosts a sincerely awful Caniff educational comic, "How to Spot A Jap," which went over so well [with its audience of post-Pearl Harbor military men] that it was dropped in the very next edition, two years later.

Kill Your Bookmarks

I wasted about an hour trying to get MAME for Palm to work -- I've never really done much MAME playing at all, but the urge to play BAGMAN, BLUEPRINT, GOLDEN AXE, the arcade version of INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM and PENGO can be overwhelming at times -- but quit and deleted it all off the drives.

One of these days, the game publishers will finally smarten up and release more than a handful of their classics on an emulated disk; when the entire Atari 2600 catalog comfortably fits onto four old floppies, no one would buy a CD of just 80 games ... especially if the publisher tries to charge $30 for it.

Speaking of abandonware: Hey Kids, Bande-Dessinee Video Games!

Here's the TINTIN IN TIBET, which I haven't downloaded but am eager to play, TINTIN ON THE MOON, and PRISONERS OF THE SUN games.

The Sexiest Fucking Thing I've Seen In A Long Time



And here's how to do it, which I may have to do soon. I'm deeply, deeply unsatisfied with Sprint, and it's not just because we would have been dead meat if no one on our block had a Verizon cell during the worst of the flood over the summer. What's particularly annoying -- aside from the switcheroo that now you can take your cell number with you, service to service, but not your phone -- is that Verizon apparently no longer supports the 650. Everything I've seen and experienced with the 700p [I wouldn't even use the Windows models as paperweights] was hugely disappointing, and the 680 looks like more of a halfassed Xmas-rush quickie than the 700 was, so I'm not updating any time soon. Maybe the _50 models will be the good ones, like even-numbered STAR TREK movies.

Is it my imagination

or was Condoleezza Rice's post-conference interviews with the networks' talking heads shot set up like a Hollywood junket interview? Only instead of the poster of the movie the starlet is shilling for being behind her in the two-shot, it was Jordan? I happened to see a fragment of Katie Couric's Condi interview on CBS and then the tail end of Brian Williams' on NBC, but they were identically framed and edited. And there was enough of a line between Condi and network hack that I couldn't help but wonder if each Q&A was filmed separately and pieced together in a split-screen. That would have made the chat itself about as truthy as the actual content.

Old Timey Linkblogging, just like how Gramps used to do it

GET OFF MY LAWN AND STOP MAKING ALLA THAT RACKET

Hey Kids! Look, Rube Goldberg shows us how a car engine converts fuel to power.

A page to the motherlode of free Jack Benny MP3s, with some JUNGLE JIMs thrown in at the bottom.

Doesn't this just burn the toast: So, I was looking on IMDB to see if the American Movie Classics original series REMEMBER WENN was out or due out on DVD any time soon, when I happened across some links to bootleg-TV sites that have the show. Let's count the number of ways these whippersnappers are a bunch of four-flushers:

* "Regular Price: $249.99, Our Price $199.99." Awfully white of them to give a 20% discount .... on their own bootleg of someone else's property. Unless there's a distribution system for bootlegs that I don't know about. The idea makes me a little queasy.

* "These are brand new and sealed." Very important details for boots. You don't want to shell out a shitload of money for USED copies of the Nth-generation of something that was recorded off low-def television in the first place.

* If reading "If you are unsatisfied with your purchase (although we have never had this happen), we will happily replace or refund your purchase" doesn't sent your Spidey-sense screaming, then nothing does. "Although we have never had this happen," indeed.

* Are these guys trying to get shut down? Why in the world would you not drop a series like a hot crack pipe the day an official release of it comes out? I counted at least two dozen such shows on this page alone, and many of the boots use the same cover art as the official DVDs. And what kind of too-rich maniac has $150 burning a hole in his pocket for THE COMPLETE MAMA'S FAMILY?

I should mention that I'm all in favor of fan trading and even some buying & selling boots of material that's unlikely to see a commercial release any time soon, like WENN [owned by a company that's doing everything it can to distance AMC from the days when the station actually aired American Movie Classics], the KTMA episodes of MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 [a nightmare's nightmare for rights clearance], and the Adam West BATMAN [Kramer vs. Kramer for intellectual-property ownership]. But I draw the line at making bootlegs look like official releases; that speaks more to profit than enthusiasm.

The 891st step on the last road home.

youtubing for November

First, a cartoon for the brainiac kiddies: The Dot and the Line: A Romance in Lower Mathematics

Johnplex treats wingnut Christians right. The [H]Ester performances and this clip are my favorites.

I love this old man and his stories.

Holy shit, it's KISS MEETS THE PHANTOM OF THE PARK, which is somehow worse than I remember. Rip rip, rip and DESTROY.

As for music that's actually good, here's a lovely Eric Dolphy archive.

I've often heard that The Tielman Brothers were the greatest [not just in Indo-Rock either], but it never came across in the songs I've heard. Now I understand their reputation, having seen them perform in their prime. Still don't get the deal with that 10-string Jazzmaster, though.

This indo version of THE THIRD MAN theme is pretty great. Crazy Rockers, 1963

Let's see, who's the bigger bigoted blowtard, Glenn Beck or Michael Richards? Nothing like struggling to watch two minutes of Beck's show [aside from the "news" breaks from Erica Hill when she has trouble hiding her contempt for that dolt] to make you long for the days when Headline News was just the headlines every half-hour. So, is anyone NOT betting Kramer will be in rehab by Friday? It wouldn't be an instant cliche if it didn't work.

Jack and Lew

I saw the Monkees' movie HEAD last night, which reminded me that Jack Nicholson once directly made interesting, creative, thoughtful, often personal movies -- RIDE IN THE WHIRLWIND and THE SHOOTING with Monte Hellman, THE TRIP with Roger Corman, Nicholson's own DRIVE, HE SAID and THE KING OF MARVIN GARDENS. It's always sad when an actor who can write, stops. Not as sad as the prices that the OP DVD of THE SHOOTING are demanding, but still sad.

Lately, I've been thinking about a fairly obscure bit of movie business: After EASY RIDER made a shitload of money in '69, Universal decided the best way to tap that new market was to essentially give a handful of young filmmakers a million dollars, a deadline, carte blanche and final cut. It seems Lew Wasserman may have been "in charge" of the department. From that project came:

Peter Fonda's THE HIRED HAND [1971]
Milos Foreman's TAKING OFF, [his first American movie, 1971]
Monte Hellman's TWO-LANE BLACKTOP [1971]
Dennis Hopper's THE LAST MOVIE [1971]
Douglas Turnbull's SILENT RUNNING [1972]

I haven't really done a lot of research into this semi-independent project -- I'm not even sure it even had a name, unless they really went with "New Youth Division" -- but these three Universal pictures are often included with the group:

Frank Perry's DIARY OF A MAD HOUSEWIFE [1970]
John Cassavettes's MINNIE AND MOSKOWITZ [1971]
George Lucas' AMERICAN GRAFFITI [1973]

I can easily believe the Cassavettes being one of the post-RIDER projects, but HOUSEWIFE seems much too early and GRAFFITI a little bit late for it. Anyway, I find the whole idea of "NYD" fascinating. These days, an EASY RIDER would never be allowed to reach the multiplexes, and even it was released and was a hit, the studios would just shit out a bunch of RIDER clones in the same way PULP FICTION begat an official flood of ambiguously ironic pastiches with eclectic soundtracks, not a bunch of relatively inexpensive faux-indy but heterogeneous movies. That Universal got at least one [BLACKTOP] or maybe two [MOSKOWITZ] bona fide classics, a bunch of respected dramas, an always appealing sci-fi programmer [RUNNING] and an even-bigger-than-Easy-Rider blockbuster [GRAFFITI] out of the program should be something of a lesson. It's not and never will be, but it should. You gotta wonder how much of a return Universal made off that less than $7 million investment in 1969.

The 881st step on the last road home.