Friday, February 29, 2008

Day 53

Happy Birthday, Lisa!

In honor of my high school girlfriend Lisa's 11th birthday, here's a photo from prom.

Yes, this is the suit I discussed earlier.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

New Sweaters

I told Bob about Wear Your Favorite Sweater Day and he responded by saying that we both needed new zipper sweaters.

So we headed over to Burlington Coat Factory and found these.

We'll be ready on March 20. Will you?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Garfield Minus Garfield

Who knew this strip was so existential?

To quote the site: Who would have guessed that when you remove Garfield from the Garfield comic strips, the result is an even better comic about schizophrenia, bipolor disorder, and the empty desperation of modern life?

Mark Your Calendar

March 20 is Wear Your Favorite Sweater Day, in honor of Mr. Rogers. That date would have been his 80th birthday.

When I was a kid, I wanted a sweater with a zippered front so I could be more like Mr. Rogers. I ended up sewing a zipper onto a sweater I already had. Now I wish I could be more like Mr. Rogers as a parent and role model and gentle, caring, compassionate human being.

But I still wouldn't mind having a cool zippered sweater.

Day 51

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Toys I Never Had - Volume 2

It was the heavyweight battle of the century. Red vs Blue. Winner to be determined by knocking the other's block off.

Yes, it's Rock Em Sock Em Robots.

They were so cool. My friend Ronnie Dickey had 'em, but we seldom played with them. I recall him knocking my block off several times, but I never really had much of a chance to practice so I never got good at it. We ended up just playing with GI Joe, Johnny West and friends.

They always remained in my memory as a really cool thing, but I suspect they stayed cool in my mind mostly because I never actually had them. They never got a chance to become just another toy I never played with.

But what brilliantly iconic robot design! These are truly the robots that will crush kill and destroy us on that inevitable day that they turn on their masters.

Day 50

Monday, February 25, 2008

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Day 48

Toddlers for Ted

My friend Ted is running for Congress, which is good, since this way instead of just complaining about Washington he's trying to do something about it.

So I figured I should make a campaign video or two for him. Here's my first spot.

And here's my second video, playing on Ted's former profession.

Then I also tried a different edit of the first spot.

So would this compel you to vote for Ted?

Hunka Hunka Burnin' Leia

From io9:

Words fail me.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Friday, February 22, 2008

Day 46

Repetition + Time = Nostalgia

Seems like this commercial ran at least once a day for ten years. I hated it, hated it, hated it. I was so sick of it.

Then a funny thing happened. It stopped playing. And time went by. Until by the late eighties, that phrase "Ancient Chinese Secret, Huh?" became some sort of cultural yardstick and my friend Michael and I spent months trying to recall what the product being advertised was. He made a case for Oxydol but I eventually stumbled on Calgon, but the whole "Calgon Take Me Away" phrase stuck in my head seemed to contraindicate that as the answer.

Ha. I was right.

Funny how thrilled I am to watch this spot now.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Day 45

Forgotten Cereal

Well, forgotten by most folks, but not by me. I've had this song stuck in my head since 1973. And thanks to the internet, I can replant it there.

I still have all my little plastic Freakies figures as advertised at the end of this clip. They're in the attic somewhere. Yes, I ate many boxes of Freakies.

As I recall, though, they didn't really taste very good.

Ebay Item of the Day

From Boing Boing:
200802210929 A fellow claims to have three of the nails used to attach Christ to the cross a couple of thousand years ago.

If this guy succeeds in selling these, I think I've got a couple more "genuine crucifixion nails" lying around at the shop...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Day 44

Saturday Morning Fever

So who should get cast in (the inevitable) Banana Splits: The Motion Picture?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Toys I Never Had - Volume 1

I never did have a Stretch Armstrong.

Thing is, I never really wanted one.

One of my friends did have one and it seemed to be fairly useless in our adventures with GI Joes. Now these were the real GI Joes, the 12" tall versions with lifelike hair and kung-fu grip, and an infinite number of war-like accessories, so Stretch was certainly of the same relative scale, if a little bit big, that he could have figured in our adventures, if nothing else as some sort of villain. But there was just something one dimensional and, well, non-moving about him that made him useless to us. He couldn't hold a rifle or fit inside the adventure team helicopter. Sure, you could stretch him out like in the commercials, but once the stretching was done, so was the fun.

Day 43

Monday, February 18, 2008

Where's My Jetpack?

Jetpack tour of Disneyland circa 1966.

With crap like this being forced into my tiny head, is it any wonder I feel ripped-off that I never got the jetpack I was promised? Where's My Freakin' Jetpack?

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Day 41's Revelation

Having a mustache really sucks when you have to blow gunk out of your nose all day.

Eating soup's no great picnic, either.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Robots Are Our Friends

My new favorite song is
Robots Are Our Friends

Day 40

Crush, Kill, Destroy!

Now I know how to survive World Robot Domination. Buy one of these. Yes, for a small -- okay, large -- fee, you, too, can own your very own Lost in Space robot. This is, perhaps, the coolest thing ever. And I figure once the robots begin to run amok, I can fire this bad boy up and fool them into thinking I'm on their side. Or perhaps use it to help defend our home.

I have already read and assimilated How To Survive a Robot Uprising: Tips on Defending Yourself Against the Coming Rebellion but I figure I should work on every angle I can to help protect my family.

Will you be ready when the robots come for you?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

It's Showtime, Folks!

Roy Scheider died the other day. While, most people remember him as Chief Brody in Jaws, I'll always associate him with his amazing turn as Joe Gideon in All That Jazz.

I first saw the film in college and it immediately struck a chord. There's something wonderfully self-indulgent about Bob Fosse's film that makes it compulsively watchable. I love Gideon, the all-too-flawed genius director/producer/choreographer. The dance numbers are fantastic. There's an absolutely joyous number with Ann Reinking and the young girl who played Gideon's daughter to a song called Everything Old is New Again. It's quite possibly Fosse's greatest piece. And I love the finale that many folks consider too long and too self-indulgent. I just think it's spectacular.

I only hope Scheider had a similar production number waiting for him as he passed on to the next realm.

Day 38

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Day 37

The Problem with the News

Interesting (if long) article by Steve Salerno.

Here's the conclusion:

I give you, herewith, a capsule summary your world, and in far less than 22 minutes:
  • The current employment rate is 95.3 percent.
  • Out of 300 million Americans, roughly 299.999954 million were not murdered today.
  • Day after day, some 35,000 commercial flights traverse our skies without incident.
  • The vast majority of college students who got drunk last weekend did not rape anyone, or kill themselves or anyone else in a DUI or hazing incident. On Monday, they got up and went to class, bleary-eyed but otherwise okay.

It is not being a Pollyanna to state such facts, because they are facts. Next time you watch the news, keep in mind that what you’re most often seeing is trivia framed as Truth. Or as British humorist/philosopher G.K. Chesteron whimsically put it some decades ago, “Journalism consists in saying ‘Lord Jones is dead’ to people who never knew Lord Jones was alive.”

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Day 36

Promised Land

One of my favorite cds, twenty years after I first heard it, remains the soundtrack to a film called Promised Land. Released in 1988 (gads, it really has been twenty years!), the film starred Kiefer Sutherland and Meg Ryan, and their performances in it endeared me to them right away. I haven't seen the movie since then and I don't have a lot of memories of it, though a few key, powerful scenes have stayed with me. But when I left the theater, I walked across the street to a record store and immediately bought the soundtrack. On cassette. I later replaced it with a cd.

James Newton Howard composed the score, one of his first. He's since gone on to the big time (he's currently up for an Oscar for the movie Michael Clayton) but this little gem remains my favorite of his, and one of my favorites period. It's a little new age-y, but it can immediately help get me more calm and centered. Here's a snippet.

The cd is long out-of-print and sells for a premium, which makes me thankful that I upgraded from cassette a long time ago. I'm not sure why the music speaks to me so much, but it's a testament to the power of music to affect my mood. It's a great accompaniment to sitting in a comfy chair and staring out the window.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Sunday, February 10, 2008

My Favorite Spaceships - Volume Two

September 13, 1999. A massive nuclear explosion blasts the moon out of earth's orbit, sending it on a journey through the outer reaches of space.

Well, that was the premise, at least.

Even as a kid, I never quite bought into the idea that the moon could have left orbit by means of a nuclear explosion. It seemed especially improbable that the folks living on Moonbase Alpha could have kept flying past exotic alien planets on a regular basis. And the stories themselves, especially during the "action-packed" second season, tended to get downright silly.

But I loved the execution of it. Especially the Eagle Transporters. They always seemed so plausible to me. I wanted to build a cockpit in my room so I could pretend to be flying in one, but had to settle for a fleet of models.

Okay, and I liked the costumes.

Which brings up the question: anyone else remember Dynamite magazine?

Day 34

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Reflections on Day 33

Having this hair on my face makes a windy day a whole new experience.


Anyone else think it's ironic that Mickey Dolenz is one of the stars at Rock and Roll Fantasy Camp?

Shouldn't he be one of the students?

Friday, February 8, 2008

Thursday, February 7, 2008

My Favorite Spaceships - Volume 1

There's one spaceship that remains my favorite, even after all these decades. I first encountered it in second grade, watching Star Trek reruns after school (while also filling up on Gilligan, Brady Bunch, Lost in Space and others). There was just something wonderfully sleek, futuristic and functional about the design. There were no pretensions to being something that lands on a planet and needs wings nor was it just a cheesy rocket. The Enterprise is unique and I wanted to be on that ship with Capt. Kirk and pals.

When the ship got redesigned for the first movie, I loved it even more. Clean lines, somehow even more realistic and just beautiful. Why you'd need running lights in space, I'll never know, but it sure looks cool.

So in the second movie, (spoiler alert) Spock dies. Yeah, bummer, but what a great movie! Then in the third movie (spoiler alert) the Enterprise died.

That's when I cried. The Enterprise seemed like it had always been part of my life. I owned numerous models of it over the years, a whole fleet to fuel my imagination.

One day in the late eighties, I appeared in the game show Win, Lose or Draw, with Vicki Lawrence hosting. The "celebrities" on the women's side were two soap opera stars I'd never heard of. Playing as my team mates were Peter Marshall, the 900 year old host of Hollywood Squares, and the guy whose name escapes me at the moment but was the host of Nickelodeon's game show Double Dare, and I didn't really know who he was at the time. My favorite memory of Peter Marshall involved a moment when the cuter of the two soap opera stars bent over in front of us and Peter Marshall elbowed me and then nodded in the direction of her cleavage, smiling and raising his eyebrows in appreciation. (I just remembered that soap opera actress' name: Jackie Zeman. Perhaps that will mean something to some of you out there.)

So it got to be my turn to go up to the big drawing board and start drawing things to make the celebrities guess a phrase. The phrase I got was "Beam Me Up, Scotty." I went blank. I couldn't believe that a Star Trek nerd like me got assigned this phrase. But I had no idea how to illustrate the phrase. I couldn't seem to break it up into pieces in my mind, so I fell back on the first strategy I could come up with: I'd draw the starship Enterprise and hope the celebrities would just start uttering key Star Trek phrases until the right one came out.

They didn't get it. After time ran out, Vicki very nicely praised my drawing, noting that it looked just like the Enterprise, then revealed the phrase to my clueless partners. As we cut away to commercial, the Double Dare guy apologized to me and said, "I'm probably the only guy around who's never seen Star Trek." I wish I could have dumped a bucket of slime on him.

As it turned out, losing that round only set me back slightly. I won the overall game and went home with $2100 which I promptly blew on a new sweater, plane fare back to Texas for a Christmas visit and my tax bill.

And maybe, just maybe, I lost a little respect for the starship Enterprise.

Nah. I still love it.

Month One

Day 31

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Day 30

Fashion Sense

Growing up, I thought frilly shirts were cool. After all, look at what folks were wearing to the prom.

(Please note that while I did wear a powder blue suit to prom, it was not a tux and I did not have a frilly shirt.) UPDATE: Evidence of my actual prom outfit.

The tv shows I grew up on were no help as far as defining a palatable fashion sense. This guy looked great in frilly shirts. And he could travel in time!

Then he turned into this guy.

Bret Maverick was really cool with his frilly shirt and black frock coat.

Everything I learned about sideburns came from these guys.

My favorite author didn't help matters on the sideburns issue.

I could go on and on.

I guess I was just doomed.