Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Vincent Price's Halloween Specials - SNL

I haven't seen these before stumbling across them earlier this month. And who knew Jon Hamm could do such a great James Mason?

Monday, October 30, 2023

October Words of Wisdom

Bedrooms are our sanctuary. They should evoke tranquility, calm, warmth, and beauty. It's where we greet each new day and close the day we leave behind. I find great value in simplicity of the room where we sleep. Subdued lighting and little distractions, our beds are our sacred place. I consider the bed in which we sleep one of the most considered and and valuable possessions. --Rachel Ashwell
Being at peace is the ultimate power play. --Unknown 

Life tried to crush her, but only succeeded in creating a diamond. --John Mark Green
Never regard study as a duty, but as the enviable opportunity to learn. --Albert Einstein 
When one door closes, another door opens, but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we don't see the ones which open for us. --Alexander Graham Bell
I have been bent and broken, but - I hope - into a better shape. --Charles Dickens

My silence doesn't mean I agree with you. It means your level of stupidity rendered me speechless. --Unknown

"I don't need anyone" is a statement made by those who at some point needed someone but no one showed up. --Sara Kuburic
Stay away from negative people. They have a problem for every solution. --Albert Einstein 
Freedom is not the right to do as you pleases, but the liberty to do as you ought. --Fulton J. Sheen 

Right is right, even if everyone is against it, and wrong is wrong, even if everyone is for it. --William Penn

If God doesn't judge America, He owes Sodom and Gomorrah an apology. --Rev. Billy Graham
Until then, paint it black. --Eddie Muller, The Czar of Noir

Sunday, October 29, 2023

Saturday, October 28, 2023

It's Pandermonium!!!

South Park took on the panderverse and it's pandermonium! 
Stan, Kyle, Cartman, Kenny, panderverse-style

While not quite as perfect as the firing-on-all-cylinders Worldwide Privacy Tour episode from earlier this year, this "special event" zeroed in unerringly on most of its targets. Some of the absolute winners in this episode:
  • First of all this: the South Park/Disney logo mash-up. This cracked me up.
  • The woke recasting of every single South Park character, with not only the boys recast as empowered women of color, but also Butters' dad, Mr. Garrison, the police chief, and the proprietor of City Wok recast the same as well.
  • Cartman not only as a black woman, but also as evil alternate-universe Kathleen Kennedy.
  • Grinding Hollywood in general (and Disney in particular) about recasting long-beloved characters as different from the originals, then doubling-down when fans object.
  • We also got an appearance from Bob Iger, but only got to see The Boss in a picture. I've heard this may not be the last time South Park takes on Disney, and with Steamboat Willie-era Mickey Mouse going into the public domain in 2024, who knows what Matt and Trey have planned for the House of Mouse in future episodes.
  • Look what they've done to our City Wok:  
"Shitty Woke, take order prease!"

The subplot in which uneducated handymen become Elon Musk-levels of wealthy because none of the other men in South Park - all college educated professionals who have become dependent on AI for daily tasks - are able to perform basic chores like repairing an oven door, fixing heaters, assembling catapults, and repairing broken windows was pretty sweet, although I really wish that they were just doing actual seasons with double-digit episodes on Comedy Central, because this could have simply been broken up into two terrific regular episodes. (NOTE: see update about this storyline below).

At the end, the episode did extend a bit of an olive branch in that Cartman admitted that his 10,000+ complaints per day about woke casting may have been overkill, but I think it was a bit of a hollow victory for cartoon Kathleen Kennedy. The most loathsome character in the show admits that behaving excessively was excessive behavior isn't as much of a victory lap as it may have seemed, IMO. You know who doesn't have to apologize for his objection to recasting? Kyle. His complaints, legitimate rather than excessive, aren't rendered invalid, and I think that aspect may slyly escape some viewers.

All in all, worth the six bucks to re-up with Paramount+ for a month. There's a few other things I want to check out on the service: a really well-reviewed documentary on the Milli Vanilli scandal, and a second season of Beavis & Butthead. Then I'll probably opt out again until the next time South Park decides to eviscerate the entertainment industry.

UPDATED 5:18pm: This episode of Clownfish TV on YouTube posits that the handyman storyline was a jab at the striking writers and actors who feel special and therefore don't want to consider real jobs, while blaming AI for taking their jerbs, while the handymen are the below-the-line workers who can adjust to demands of the real world and get jobs outside the industry if they have to. I like it.

Friday, October 27, 2023

Halloween is coming!

Well done, horse owner!

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Look! Up in the sky!


That's a pretty witchy owl. 

Saturday, October 21, 2023

Still a better actress than Meghan Markle

And much more gracious, too. From Deadline: Behind the scenes of the Queen's Paddington Bear video.

A few tidbits from the article:

...the sketch’s writer Simon Farnaby has revealed that the Queen had trouble nailing her lines on the day, but battled on, despite her failing health.

...the Queen had been given the line about keeping her marmalade sandwich in her handbag, but initially delivered it too harshly...

“He’d go, ‘Like you’re talking to your grandchildren.’ She’d say, ‘Oh, of course. I’m so sorry.’” 

Farnaby added that when he complimented the Queen on her acting skills, she told him it was because she was, actually, the Queen.  “I do it all the time,” she said.

Not only was her performance absolutely adorable, but in addition to pulling it off at the age of 96 (just a few months before her death, as it turned out) she also managed to keep it a complete secret from her own family. They were as surprised as everyone else when it was shown.

And then of course, there was this:

Following the Queen’s death in September 2022, the police had to make a request that no more small Paddington Bears were left at the palace gates in tribute, as they were becoming difficult to clear up.

As much as I understand wanting to leave the bears there, this is the palace gate tribute that really got me:

Sunday, October 15, 2023

Recent reading: "Really Saying Something: Sara & Keren - Our Bananarama Story"


by Sara Dallin & Keren Woodward

Sara and Keren were the founding members of the wildly successful 1980's British female pop trio Bananarama. In this book and in their own words, the two women recall not only their professional success but also an enduring friendship that began during their early childhood in Bristol and continues to this day. They grew up not destitute, but not well-off by any means, but they had loving, solid families that resulted in solid, healthy upbringings. In their teens they embraced music, makeup, hair and fashion. As young adults they were active in the London music scene and eventually moved from being part of the audience to performing, which eventually (with the addition of Siobhan Fahey) led to the formation of Bananarama. 

One of the most interesting things about this book is that although the girls partied hearty throughout most of their lives, there's no sordid crash-and-burn tales of lives and careers ruined by drink and drugs as would be expected from a biography of a successful musical act. In fact, although copious amounts of alcohol were consumed, it was without tragic consequences and I don't remember any mention of drugs. If there was drug consumption, it was minimal. Even Fahey's departure from the group in 1988, while not the most pleasant moment of Bananarama's existence, seemed inevitable after she married Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics and moved to Los Angeles with him. Again, not the angry, destructive experience you expect from a band's memoirs, in fact Fahey later rejoined the band in 2017-18 for an "Original Line-up Tour". Fahey was briefly replaced by Jacquie O'Sullivan, but she left in the early 1990's, and Sara and Keren have continued Bananarama as a duo to this day.

Another thing that's absolutely mind-boggling about this story is the sheer number of influential 1970's-1990's musical artists the band worked with, partied with, and rubbed shoulders with as they evolved from club kids to a one of the most successful acts of the 1980's. It's like a who's who of celebrity royalty from that era.

This is a refreshingly non-dysfunctional, non-self-destructive band memoir devoid of long-lingering bitterness, and that alone makes it a standout. If you (like me) were a fan of Bananarama, or if you're just from that era and want to relive it, this is a great read. 

Sara: Women had been so sidelined that even seeing Debbie Harry do her thing on Top of the Pops didn't make me think, 'Oh, right! I can do that!' That level of achievement seemed so very far out of reach. Still, it did start to feel like there were more and more women putting their heads above the pop parapet. Patti Smith had a profound effect on me, not just for her music but for introducing me to the whole subculture of New York. I discovered authors like William Burroughs, Gore Vidal and Truman Capote, artists and photographers like Robert Mapplethorpe. I loved Poly Styrene from X-Ray Spex, whose album, Germfree Adolescents, I played over and over in my bedroom with my little sister. Siouxsie Sioux, Gaye Advert, and Viv Albertine with her band The Slits all made me feel there was a place for women in music. They opened my eyes to a new and exciting world and I had an unquenchable thirst for it.

Saturday, October 14, 2023

I'm getting Worldwide Privacy Tour vibes from this trailer

Just when I think the world has gotten too ridiculous for even South Park to parody, it looks like Matt and Trey have risen to the challenge. Also looks like I'm going to be re-upping with Paramount+ for a month:

That's right, Hollywood's continued insistence on race/gender-swapping established characters in order to virtue signal despite the fact that audiences clearly aren't receptive is getting the South Park treatment. Oh, this should be good.

Apparently the woke are already crying like butt-hurt little babies over the 30-second trailer. Have these people ever seen South Park? I guess it's okay for Matt and Trey to be equal opportunity offenders as long as equal opportunity doesn't mean you. These guys pick on everyone; no one is safe from their scathing wit, but the more ridiculous you are, the more of a target just begging for parody you are for these guys. And let's face it, over the years a lot of those targets just asking for it involve Hollywood and celebrities, both of which seem determined to provide a lifetime of material for the SP guys to work with.

South Park proved they still have eviscerating chops earlier this year when they massacred Prince Harry and Meghan Markle and their Worldwide Privacy Tour. I'm hoping for a return to that top form when they join the Panderverse, starting October 27 on Paramount+.

The South Park boys reimagined Hollywood-style for (tu-dum) MODERN AUDIENCES!

Thursday, October 12, 2023

You Know Who works in mysterious ways

An oldie but goodie from icanhazcheeseburger


 From the article:

Ya think? Do check out the whole article at the link. In the meantime, here's what happened:

The Dodgers won the NL West with a record of 100 wins and 62 losses for a .617 winning percentage. Only the Atlanta Braves (104) and the Baltimore Orioles (101) won more games. And the differential of runs scored versus allowed was dominating: +207. Only Atlanta (+231) was better.
On the other hand, the Arizona Diamondbacks were a distant second to the Dodgers with a record of 84-78 for an anemic .519 "winning" percentage, which means they won barely more than half of their games. But it was good enough for a Wild Card spot in the playoffs.

I don't follow baseball that closely to have seen the predictions about this matchup, but I would bet most if not all heavily favored the Dodgers. And I'll bet no one thought there was a snowball's chance in Hell (see what I did there) of the Dodgers being swept by a clearly inferior team.

And yet yesterday, the Diamondbacks swept the Dodgers 3 games to 0 in the playoffs, eliminating them in the most humiliating way possible. The Boys in Blue go home in shame, while the DBacks will be taking on either Atlanta or Philly.

God's punishment? Who knows? But the Dodgers just took a trip to playoff Hell. Have a nice off-season, blasphemers. And oh, to be a fly on the wall at a Catholic church this weekend.

Monday, October 9, 2023

Noooo, not The Thin Man!!!

So I come out of a wonderful online film class (Film Noir, and we watched The Killers today) to the less than stellar (IMO) news that present-day Hollywood has finally sunk its claws into The Thin Man series.
Maybe the production companies involved will have the reverence that I (and countless other classic film fans) will have for the original material, but I doubt it. Can you imagine Nick and Nora Charles updated for "modern audiences" Hollywood-style? Can you imagine current Hollywood's idea of The Thin Man's smart, snappy dialogue? God, can you imagine how they're going to "modernize" and "empower" Nora? They'll probably have her be the one to solve the crime. And I don't even want to think about casting. I can't think of anyone today with the sheer charm and appeal of William Powell and Myrna Loy.

Maybe they'll surprise me, but I'm not hopeful about this. I'm just not a fan of remaking classic films that were done perfectly the first time.

*Hugs Nora, Asta, and Nick*

Update 10/10/23: I didn't make the connection yesterday, but the casting thing just became clearer:
I like Pitt and Robbie and I can see why actors would want to play these roles, but there's still the updating/woke stuff to worry about. And again, it was done right the first time. Come on Hollywood, how about something original?

Sunday, October 8, 2023

My Dad would be 83 today

October 8, forever and always Dad's birthday. Here he is, in his favorite place.

Sunday, October 1, 2023

And just like that, it's October

This whole year has flown by, but September especially seemed to go so fast. It was supposed to start so well with the long-awaited San Diego Bouchercon, but that didn't exactly pan out the way I'd hoped. Then there was the fire that seriously scared the living daylights out of me. I'm still so grateful to have my home to come home to. 
But finally, September did end on a higher note than the rest of the month: I got to see what my apartment will look like after the upcoming renovations and holy moly, is it going to be gorgeous! The renovations have been in the works for almost ten years, and previous plans were not well received by residents, so we've been dreading it for ages. But the plans have been revised to make a lot more sense, and after a Zoom call and an open house of an already renovated unit, most of our fears have been eased. A few residents still have concerns, but for me personally pretty much all my issues have been resolved. Not only will the move-out/move-in be less disruptive than anticipated, I'm actually looking forward to getting it done while I had previously dreaded it. 
This is a huge complex and my building isn't in the first wave of renovations, but they'll get to me eventually. I think that possibly a year from now my apartment could be updated. Improvements include all wood floors, snazzy new cabinets and countertops, A/C and my favorite part, a washer and dryer in the unit. We're also losing our apartment-sized appliances and getting big stainless steel gas stoves (we currently have electric) and a huge, double-sided stainless steel fridge. I'm finally going to have the kitchen of my dreams that I've wanted since culinary school. 

Most importantly, it eases the dread of having to figure out where I would move next. I figured I'd either be priced out at some point (costs of apartments in the L.A. area continue to soar) but during the period I lived away from the beach this complex went under some kind of rent control and part of the agreement for the renovations includes not raising the rents for current tenants when our apartments are upgraded, and subsequent annual increases are limited. I got my first increase since moving back here earlier this year and it was much less than I was expecting. God knows what they'll charge new tenants for the fancy new apartments, but that won't affect me. I can probably count on living here indefinitely if not forever, which despite the downward trajectory Los Angeles has been on is still comforting for me. It's just easier for me than having to wonder where I'll go. I'm still dragging a bit on the writing thing, but I'm a huge homebody so knowing my home will be mine pretty much as long as I want is making me feel more positive than I've felt in a while.