Monday, August 27, 2007

Trog finds a friend

Trog paused. Something in the corner of his cage had caught his eye, interrupting the latest demonstration of his boundless rage. Powerful, leathery hands quickly scooped up the strange object. He tasted it, and was disappointed to discover that it was not food. His anger quickly rose, and he considered smashing it, but something stayed his brutish hand. He slowly turned the thing over, absorbing the details as much as his tiny brain would allow.

It had hair, but not like his. No, this hair was soft. And it was the color of the sun. He touched his own matted, gnarled, bug-infested thatch of hair, and found the unfamiliar feeling of shame washing over him. He began, on a crude level, to doubt his self- worth. This object created a desire to hold. To protect. No one wanted to hold Trog. Quite the opposite. The other oddly-garbed people that inhabited this strange new world he had inexplicably found himself in screamed when they saw him. They chased him. Threw things at him. Locked him in a cage.

Trog decided that he would not smash this thing. He would instead love it. He would feed it. Keep it warm. Raise it as his own. And if anyone tried to take his new thing, he would strangle them.

Friday, August 24, 2007

The verdict is...delicious!

If you're searching for that next great culinary find or by chance you find yourself in the bowels of the Minneapolis / Hennepin County judicial system, Mrs. Blogfoot strongly recommends that you try the ham & cheese omelet at the courthouse cafeteria. She sampled it while on jury duty this week and said (and I quote) "It was the best f@*#ing omelet I've ever had."

No other details of the case are available at this time.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Calvin and Hobbes Movie

From the fine folks at McSweeney's comes this treatment for a potential Calvin and Hobbes movie, as written by Sam Johnson. Good stuff:

The story is based on this truck decal I saw where Calvin is peeing on a Ford logo. Since the story is grounded in real life, I got rid of Hobbes. Is he a toy or a talking tiger? Tigers don't talk. Doesn't make sense. So he's gone, as is everything else about the comic strip. It's too wordy and confusing. In the movie, Calvin is this lovable-loser type who pees on corporate logos in his little hometown in central California (Centerville). His girlfriend's dad makes her dump him because he pees on the dad's real-estate-company logo. Calvin is so depressed he leaves town. On the way out, he decides to pee on a Ford logo at a Ford dealership. Big mistake. He's busted. But instead of going to jail, he's sent to the Ford headquarters, in Dearborn, Michigan. Henry Ford VII tells him that Ford is a dying company. It's in deep shit, being totally screwed by foreign competition. Henry Ford VII needs Calvin's help for one last, desperate measure. Under cover of darkness, Calvin is sent to a Mexican car company. It's the biggest car company in the world, but most of the workers are practically slaves and nobody likes it there. But that's how it makes huge profits: shitty cars, slave labor, high prices. That is, until Calvin pees on the Mexican car company's corporate logo (a Mexican in a sombrero and cape taking a siesta). Some guys from Ford take a picture of Calvin peeing on the logo, and the picture gets put in papers everywhere. But mostly it's printed in the U.S., where people go apeshit for it. It's a huge embarrassment to the Mexican car company to have this gringo dude pee on their logo. And Calvin becomes the most revered American of all time. He pees on a bunch of other foreign corporate logos. He's this huge deal, and it sort of goes to his head. He becomes a big asshole who gets millions of dollars for making public appearances and peeing on logos. Then, one time, he gets really drunk and completely misses a Nissan logo and pees on a little girl instead. He's booed by all the people watching. And the little girl cries. He sort of laughs at her, then he sees his old girlfriend standing in the crowd. He feels ashamed because he's forgotten the real Calvin: a smalltime dreamer who pees on logos in Centerville, California. Calvin gives up the highlife and goes home. He gets rid of the entourage and the media and the trappings of success, and tries to live normally so he can win back his girl. He helps his neighbors, he bags groceries, he walks dogs, etc. He's just trying to get back to reality. But it's then when he's most vulnerable, and the foreign corporations send their assassins, led by Professor Edward Tang, who has invented something called the "Atom Bullet." It's sick! But with the help of his neighbors, and after a few narrow escapes, Calvin defeats him. And, in the end, he gets his girlfriend back. Although her dad is killed by this Mexican guy. Other than that, though, it's a happy ending.

Monday, August 20, 2007

This week on ebay

If you're a fan of exotic wildlife or the rare & unusual, or even just a history buff, this is the auction for you: someone has put a "King Kong Life Mask" up for auction on ebay.

That's right. A King Kong Life Mask. Because King Kong was real. Thankfully, sometime after being captured from his home on Skull Island, but before running amok in New York City, scaling the Empire State Building and being shot down by a fleet of bi-planes, someone had the foresight to mix 730 gallons of plaster and make an imprint of this fantastic creature's face, thereby preserving proof of its existence for all eternity.

Bidding starts at a mere $9.99.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Pigs in space

Thanks to Brian H. for the link and the truckloads of free music as of late.

**PS: If you are seeing these images stretched vertically, it is because of your browser you are using; most likely the inferior Safari. I recommend you switch to Firefox, especially if you have a mac. If you don't wish to do this, simply click on the photoset to embiggen and view them in their natural proportions.**

Behold the exploding bear!

Wooo! That bear blew up real good! This is a gif of a scene from a schlocky 1976 movie called "Grizzly", which was a thinkly-veiled rip-off of "Jaws", but the with lawsuit-dodging twist of substituting a bear for a shark. At the end they shoot the bear with a rocket launcher.

Here are some examples of the 'similarities' between the two movies:

Like "Jaws", "Grizzly" has an unusually large animal preying upon unsuspecting tourists.

Christopher George plays Chief Ranger Michael Kelly, skilled at his job but lacking experience when dealing with the dangers of bears, a role similar to Roy Scheider's Police Chief Martin Brody in "Jaws".

Kelly must rely on the expertise of naturalist Arthur Scott (Richard Jaeckel), just as Brody recruits marine scientist Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss).

Chief Ranger Kelly is thwarted by Supervisor Charley Kittridge (Joe Dorsey), who refuses to close the National Park for political reasons. In "Jaws", Brody is refused permission to close the summer beaches by Mayor Larry Vaughn (Murray Hamilton).

A bounty is put on the grizzly bear, just as an award is offered for the shark in "Jaws". The bounty leads to chaos, as hundreds of hunters fill the woods in Grizzly, while huge numbers of boats filled with hunters leave the harbor in "Jaws".

During the final hunt for the grizzly bear, Kelly is led by helicopter pilot, Vietnam War veteran and forest guide Don Stober (Andrew Prine), just as Brody's shark expedition is led by boat captain, World War II veteran and sea guide Quint (Robert Shaw).

The bear in "Grizzly" is killed in similar fashion to the shark in "Jaws" in that both creatures' destruction is dramatized by a large explosion.

Lest ye think that "Grizzly" was the only blatant "Jaws" rip-off from the era, be advised that it most certainly was not. In fact, "Jaws" clones were literally a genre unto themselves from 1976-1980 or so. Just a few examples of the movies that simply inserted a different titular animal into the "larger-than-usual _______ targets a resort town" scenario are "Tentacles" (giant octopus), "Piranha" (self-exlanatory), "Up From The Depths" (giant prehistoric lake pike or something), "Barracuda" (again, self-explanatory) and "Orca" (killer whale), among others. Rent them at your peril. Or simply peruse the gallery of terrible movie posters below.

Monday, August 13, 2007

This looks promising

And by that I mean "could be one of the greatest things ever put to paper." It's a huge hardcover book covering the life and career of Eiji Tsuburaya, the man who created the special effects for all the classic Godzilla movies as well as the "Ultraman" TV show from the 60's and the previously blogged-about "War of the Gargantuas." Here's the advance description from Amazon:

Behind-the-scenes hero to anyone who's thrilled by giant monsters duking it out over Tokyo, Eiji Tsuburaya was the visual effects mastermind behind Godzilla, Ultraman, and numerous Japanese science fiction movies and TV shows beloved around the world. The first book on this legendary film figure in English, this highly visual biography details his fascinating life and career, featuring hundreds of film stills, posters, concept art, and delightful on-set photos of Tsuburaya prompting monsters to crush landmark buildings. A must-have for fans, this towering tribute also features profiles of Tsuburaya's film collaborators, details on his key films and shows (most available on DVD), and features on the enduring popularity of the characters he helped create.

"Must have" indeed! The cover alone already has me salivating. The image of the classy-looking Mr. Tsuburaya giving direction to Ultraman (no doubt telling him what cardboard building to step on) is nice enough, but I really like the guy in the rubber monster suit standing in the background, waiting patiently for the cameras to roll and wondering when they'll break for lunch.

***Special note to Mrs. Blogfoot - this book will be released 2 days before my birthday.***

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Come Back to the 5 & Dime, Jimmy Hoffa, Jimmy Hoffa

A coalition of bloggers are banding together in an attempt to unionize in order to receive health insurance, conduct collective bargaining or even set professional standards, according to an AP news story. And now I'm blogging about this story. See how the "blogging circle of life" works?

The article says that "about 11 percent of American Internet users have created Web pages or blogs for others while eight percent have created their own online journals or Weblogs, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project. With pages focused on everything from bird watching to celebrity footwear, more than 120,000 blogs are created every day and more than 58,000 new posts are made each hour, according to data from Technorati, which tracks more than 94 million blogs worldwide."

Man, that's a lot of blogs. And who the f*@k would blog about celebrity footwear? Worse, who would read such a blog? Certainly no one that deserves health insurance.

One blogger gal claims that "blogging is very intense -- physically, mentally," she said. "You're constantly scanning for news. You're constantly trying to come up with information that you think will mobilize your readers. In the meantime, you're sitting at a computer and your ass is getting wider and your arm and neck and shoulder are wearing out because you're constantly using a mouse."

Well, you have succeeded in mobilizing a reader, lady: Me! Your stupid comments have "mobilized" me to declare you softheaded.

In conclusion, I guess I'd have to say that I'm against this whole 'blog union for health insurance' thing. Thank goodness I'm insured!

"It's bill-payin' time!"

You can keep your online bill paying and American flag stamps. Me? I'm going to mail out my bills stamped with the image of bashful Benjamin J. Grimm, aka the ever-lovin' blue-eyed Thing, courtesy the new Marvel super heroes stamps from the our friends at the United States Post Office. That's right true believers, now you can pay your cable bill with this sheet of 20 stamps featuring Marvel Comics characters. Actually, you get 10 character stamps, and 10 mini-cover reproductions of seminal issues. Although I'm pretty confused as to how and why the uber lame character of Spider-Woman ended up getting even one stamp, let alone two. Yeesh. I would have strongly preferred M.O.D.O.K.. Or even ROM Spaceknight.

I tell ya, I haven't been this excited by a stamp series since the awesome R. Buckminster Fuller stamp, pictured below. I mean, come on - he invented the geodesic dome (the only man-made structure that becomes proportionally stronger as it increases in size.), and his head is a geodesic dome! The stunning image used for this beauty of a stamp is by Russian illustrator Boris Artzybasheff and was orginally used as a cover to an issue of Time magazine way back in 1964. Yes, I know it's hard to believe, but Time magazine did used to have covers that weren't about Iraq.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

More "Nancy" genius

(click to embiggen)

As easy to read / understand as a stop sign, and just as profound.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

This man is enjoying "The Dangerous Book for Boys"

This is kind of a "book of the moment" and starting to show up on non-fiction best-seller lists, but I'm going to pimp it anyway. It was released in Britain in 2006 and was a huge best-seller there, and is now making a splash over here. It's "The Dangerous Book for Boys" by the brothers Conn & Hal Iggulden, and it's dryly-written primer with copious illustrations concerning techniques and information on subjects that are in danger of being forgotten in the video-game and facial moisturizer-drenched culture we have forged for ourselves. As the back cover says: "Recapture Sunday afternoons and long summer days. The perfect book for every boy from eight to eighty."

What I like about it is that it's not the typical "you're not a man unless you belch, fart and have grime on your hands" screed (see: the fiend known as Jim Belushi and his ilk). Rather, it simply shows someone how to make a bow & arrow out of things you find in your backyard, how to contruct a treehouse, make a simple go-cart, fold the world's best paper airplane, and so on. Also included are informative sections on dinosaurs, the moon, a brief history of artillery, morese code, navigation, girls, cloud formations, first aid, hunting & cooking a rabbit, great historical battles,the origin of words, and much, much more.

It's also nicely and simpy designed, with the right amount of old-timey flavor. This quote from one of the authors regarding their chapter on the planets should convince you of the book's honorable intentions:
"Pluto is a planet. I know there are scientists who say it isn't, but it's big enough to be round and it has a moon, for crying out loud."

And here's a handy excerpt from the chapter on that most mysterious of subjects: Girls:

7. If you see a girl in need of help -unable to lift something, for example- do not taunt her. Approach the object and greet her with a cheerful smile, while surreptitiously testing the weight of the object. if you find that you can lift it, go ahead. If you can't, try sitting on it and engaging her in conversation.

As soon as my kid can focus his eyes I'm going to start reading this book to him. It may end up being the only book I read to him until he reaches the age of five or so. Well, that and this book:

Friday, August 03, 2007

I've got blogger's block

Sorry about the post-less week, people. I was out of town for a couple of days, then I was deluged at work, then, as I'm sure you all heard, a bridge collapsed here in Minneapolis, throwing everyone into a tailspin. Hence, no blogging. And now that I put fingers to keypad, I find that I am bereft of blogging material. I got nuthin'.

Well, maybe not completely bereft. I guess I could talk about a new TV show that I'm enjoying quite a bit. It's called "Mad Men" and it's an hour-lon drama that's airing on AMC / American Movie Classics. Set in 1960 New York, it's about the competitive denizens of the fictional Sterling Cooper Advertising Agency, at a time when ad people (business people as whole, actually) drank in their offices and smoked like chimneys all day. It's about the art of the sell, but also about changing values, gender roles and the rapidly morphing social and political landscape of the country. It's pretty funny, too. It's very well-written and not played broadly (unlike, say, the ass-canker known as "Scrubs"), two things I look for in a show.

I know what you're thinking: "Ooh, the ad guy likes the show about advertising." That's not it, dickhead. In fact, I was predisposed to NOT like this show because of my professional background. But the idea of using the advertising industry as a stage to play all of the shows themes out on was an inspired one to be sure. Here's some background from the show's website:

The Setting: In 1960, advertising agencies were an all-powerful influence on the masses. Personal and professional manipulation and sexual exploits defined the workplace and closed the deals. The high profile Sterling Cooper Advertising Agency created advertising campaigns – from cigarettes to political candidates -- better than anyone. It was a time of great ferment. Women had barely begun to come into their own. Librium and birth control were on the move. Ethics in the workplace, smoke-free environments, sexual harassment and ethnic diversity were workshops of the future.

The Premise: The series depicts the sexual exploits and social mores of this most innovative yet ruthless profession, while taking an unflinching look at the ad-men who shaped the hopes and dreams of Americans on a daily basis.

The Players: The series revolves around the conflicted world of Don Draper (Hamm), the biggest ad man (and ladies man) in the business, and his colleagues at the Sterling Cooper Advertising Agency. As Don makes the plays in the boardroom and the bedroom, he struggles to stay a step ahead of the rapidly changing times and the young executives nipping at his heels. The series also depicts authentically the roles of men and women in this era while exploring the true human nature beneath the guise of 1960 traditional family values.

Fortunately, dress codes at advertising agencies have loosened since the 60's, so I don't have to wear a suit to the office like these guys did. Unfortunately, rules about non-stop drinking and smoking on the job have tightened considerably.

It's a good show, and it just aired it's 3rd episode last night (my wife will be unhapppy to read that I watched it after she went to bed, but I did DVR it for her), so it's easy to catch up on itunes or by watching episodes On Demand. Good dialogue, interesting characters, no pointless exposition, and for the those inclined to notice such things, the period sets are sweet. Check it out.