Wednesday, March 31, 2010



E*Trade Talking Baby Movie

I'm just going to quote the whole thing because it is that good:

Exclusive: 20th Century Fox Developing an E*Trade Talking Baby Movie

No. I'm Not Making This Up
by Dustin Rowles

20th Century Fox is developing a film based on the E*Trade talking babies. No. I am not making this up. Actress and writer Katie Dippold (“Parks and Recreation,” “MADtv”) is penning the script. And no. I’m not kidding. The film is a “mission movie,” about a group of talking babies trying to make their way across the playground.

NO. I am not lying to you! Why would I lie? What reason would I have to bring you news like that if it weren’t true. Hell. Don’t blame me. Blame The Hollywood Cog. He’s the one that told me. Better yet, blame 20th Century Fox. No wait. Blame E*Trade. They’re responsible for the goddamn talking babies in the first place.

I cannot believe that someone is making a movie based on the E*Trade babies. A talking baby movie is bad enough, but one that’s based on a television commercial campaign?

We live in a sick world, people. A sick, sad world.
Yes. Yes, we do.

Random Eighties Music Video

Laid Back: "White Horse"

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Or, "I Will Always Love You"

In Los Angeles, Jin is released by customs officers, but they confiscate his cash. He and Sun head to their hotel, but Jin throws a fit when the clerk offers them one room. Jin points to his finger and screams that they're not married. Later, Jin visits Sun's room and says he is going to deliver the watch. Instead they fuck. In the morning Sun says she has a secret bank account and asks Jin to run away with her. Then Keamy and Omar show up. Jin hides. Keamy asks where his money is, then tells Omar to find Sun's bodyguard. Oh wow. Keamy calls Mikhail to act as interpreter. It is explained that the money was confiscated but Sun says she can get Keamy more. So they take Jin back to the restaurant and tie him up. Keamy tells Jin the $25K was his fee for killing Jin. I guess Old Man Paik found out he was boning his daughter and was having him snuffed out. Too bad Jin can't understand a word. At the bank, Jin and Mikhail find out her account has been closed. Paik is a douche. Then Sayid shoots up the place and frees Jin before leaving. Mikhail and Sun return and find everyone dead. Jin and Mikhail have a fight. Mikhail is shot in the eye. Ha! Patchy! Sun is shot in the abdomen. She says "I'm pregnant." Damn! On the island, Locke tells Jin he needs him and all the people on the list together so he can leave the island. Then he says he is still working on getting him and Sun back together. Locke tells Claire once he's done on the island, Kate is all hers. Nice. Then he leaves camp to visit the beach. Ilana says Alpert will know what to do but Sun is sick of this bullshit and storms off. Jack finds her at her garden. She tells him all the tomatoes dies and tells him to leave her alone. He does. Then Locke shows up and asks her to come with him. She runs away but hits her head on a tree branch. Ben finds her and takes her back to the beach and everyone thinks he did it because he is a lying ass liar. Then Alpert shows up and says they have to go blow up the plane. Meanwhile, Zoe and her team attack Locke's camp and hit everyone with darts that knock them out. They take Jin. Sun's head injury has caused her to lose the ability to speak English. She tells Alpert she's not going to the Hydra island. Later, Jack visits her and gives her a pen and paper and asks if she can still write English. She can. Yay! Then he hands her a tomato he found in her garden, saying "That's one bad ass tomato." Locke returns to camp and finds everyone passed out. He wakes up Sayid and the two head over to Hydra to get Jin back. Locke arrives at the Hydra alone and sees the pylons on the beach. He asks Widmore if they have Jin. No, Widmore lies. Later, Zoe tells him they do have Jin, so I guess Widmore didn't lie to Locke, not technically. Widmore visits Jin and hands him Sun's camera they found in the Ajira wreckage. Jin looks at pictures of his daughter for the first time and cries. Widmore tells him that if Locke leaves the island they'd all cease to exist. Jebus! Then he says it is time to show Jin the package that was on thesub. "What is it," Jin asks. "Not a what," Widmore says. "A who." At the dock, Desmond is pulled from the sub. Dez! Yay! He is drugged and wobbly and nearly falls off the dock. Silently, Sayid surfaces and stares at Dez. Uh oh!

Ford & Straume

I would totally watch this show.

Ford & Straume

Monday, March 29, 2010

Breaking Bad: Caballo Sin Nombre

Breaking Bad yet again proves why it is, hands down, the best show on TV. Another solid episode, as the family Walter was trying to provide for crumbles further.

Walt is arrested after arguing with a cop over his busted windshield and has to be sprung from jail by Hank. Walter Jr. tries to leave the house and move in with his father. Walter tries to patch things up, but Skyler refuses to have anything to do with him.

Saul tries to get Walt cooking again. When he learns Walt won't because of his family, Saul sends the Cleaner to keep an eye on Skyler. Skyler has problems at work too, trying to balance the books her boss has been cooking.

Jessie too tries to reconcile with his family, and when it's clear they don't want anything to do with him, he accepts it. And then takes them for $400k.

And the hitmen, they finally track down Walt. A last minute call to Gus is the only thing that saves him from a gruesome fate. The huge question is how exactly Gus is connected to the hitmen. And how exactly was he able to call off the hit?

The show sets up Walt and Jessie in similar conflicts. And each takes their own route. Jessie declaring himself the bad guy in last week's ep, and now takes steps to live up to that, stealing his parents' money. Walter tries to put his family back together, he doesn't want to be the bad guy. Except by the end of the episode, he has broken into his wife's house and quite literally brought killers to the family's doorstep.

And Skyler. She knows her husband is a drug dealer. She knows her boss bilking the IRS. And she chooses to do nothing.

It's that moral grey zone the show toys with so well.

Devil Doll

Defying all rational explanation, and spitting in the face of common sense, there is in the pantheon of cinema a woeful lack of films about evil ventriloquist dummies. Why? I truly don't know, as it is a genre that is full of possibilities. Considering there are countless films about animated farting rodents, you'd think there'd be more than a handful of titles about menacing dummies. But I digress...

In Devil Doll, famed mesmerist and ventriloquist The Great Vorelli descends upon London to play a string of sold-out shows. Vorelli is an odd man with a shady past and a glued-on beard. He's a Count Rugen prototype who sounds too much like the guy who narrates the Haunted Mansion ride at Disneyland. His dummy, Hugo, is decidedly surly, with a penchant for knifing people.

The two put on quite a show. Vorelli hypnotizes audience members, turning men into blubbering cowards and women into groovy dancers. Hugo, he whines a bit, and, to everyone’s amazement, walks the stage unattended.

Mark English is an American (oh that's clever!) reporter working in London intrigued by Hugo's performance. Wanting a closer look at Hugo, Mark comes up with a plan to lure Vorelli into his clutches. Using his socialite girlfriend as bait, Mark arranges to have Vorelli perform at a charity ball at her estate.

Intuition not being one of his finer attributes, Mark can't understand how after throwing his gilrfriend in front of Vorelli he ends up single. Vorelli's tricks as a hypnotist have her immediately under his spell. Mark can't really figure it out, which may explain why he's been reduced to covering puppet shows for the paper, and the doctors don’t seem too concerned when she drops into a sudden coma.

An inspection of Hugo reveals he's nothing more than a wooden doll. So, how's he walk? And how'd he pick up that knife he was waving around earlier? Maybe there is more to little Hugo than meets the eye. When the puppet visits Mark's room in the middle of the night and spews out a cryptic message, he's quite sure something weird is going on.

Let me tell you, something weird is going on. Vorelli has figured a way to transfer the souls of the living into wooden dummies. So, whatever could have in mind for the young Marianne and his newest dummy? Oh, I think you know.

The question is can Mark figure it out? And if so, can he stop Vorelli? Or, failing that, can he get a decent article out of the whole ordeal?

Directed by Lindsay Shonteff & Sidney J. Furie • Unrated • 1964 • 81 minutes

Friday, March 26, 2010

This Is Totally Legit, Right?

In my inbox this morning:
From: Internal Revenue Service <>
Subject: You are eligible for $182,50 refund.
Date: Mar 26, 2010 2:53 AM

After the last annual calculations of your fiscal activity we have determined that you are eligible to receive a tax refund of $182,50. Please submit the tax refund request and allow us 3-9 days in order to process it.

A refund can be delayed for a variety of reasons.
For example submitting invalid records or applying after the deadline.

To access your tax refund, please click here

Best Regards,
Tax Refund Deparment
Internal Revenue Service
It's the IRS logo that really seals the deal.


The Mystery of the Burning Ocean

In case you were thinking The Mystery of the Burning Ocean might be an eco-thriller with the Power Boys perhaps doing battle with a gang of polluters and their toxic waste, don't get too excited. Much like the last outing, there is no burning ocean in this book. Not literally, anyway.

The burning ocean appears only as an analogy as the boys attempt to teach their newest friend how to scuba dive:
"Okay," Jack said. "Now I'm going to tell you what we were told when we started diving. The big danger [is] all the fears you [have] up here." Jack tapped his head. "You have to control them or you're a goner. You know that if you're trapped in a burning building, panic, and jump out a window, you're a dead duck. The ocean isn't burning, but it will get you just the way a fire will, if you don't keep your head."
And later, while on a night dive:
The pleasant moonlight faded as they went deeper and deeper. The night waters had their own special, ominous quality which was not present during the day. At times the ocean appeared to be burning because of the luminous red wake of swimming worms and jellyfish.
So, yeah, that's it for burning oceans in this particular book.

Page one finds Jack and Chip in Bermuda and complaining about it. They'd rather be in New York already. Them's the breaks, I guess. I never had a trip to Bermuda to lament as a kid, so I can't much relate.

The book quickly turns into another installment of The Mystery of the Absentee Father as Old Man Power ditches the boys for an "assignment" in the Bahamas. Fortunately, Jack and Chip stumble into intrigue immediately. By the end of Chapter One, there are some very strange things afoot.

First off, someone has tied up the innkeeper in her office and rifled through the safe. Nothing was taken, leading the boys to conclude the thief was looking for something very specific. Then, moments later, the boys bump into a lanky, jittery kid who passes out in front of them. Was he poisoned, drugged, bonked over the head? (Turns out he just had the flu, in yet another pointless diversion for the boys.)

Otherwise, the resort is pretty normal. Lots of ping-pong and tourists:
A man and a woman coming out of the house caused Jack to break off. They were laughing and talking about something that obviously struck them as being very funny. Both of them wore white shorts.
There's nothing more normal than white shorts.

Later that night someone breaks into the boys' room, but stepping on Blaze's tail spoils whatever the intruder was up to. Jack and Chip find a nautical chart on the floor, a big red X marked in one spot. It isn't clear if the intruder dropped it by accident, intentionally left it there, or maybe was in the room trying to find it and the boys hadn't seen it before.

Anyway, it turns out the chart belongs to Bob Jillman, the boy they watched collapse earlier. The X marks the spot where his father's yacht, The Texas Queen, sank. Bob convinces Jack and Chip to give him scuba lessons on the sly, so he can make a dive to the yacht to recover something.

When pressed, Bob refuses to say what it is he needs from the yacht, and when his scuba lessons go poorlu, he refuses to let Jack and Chip dive in his place.

Then follows lots of dive lessons and lots of scenes of the boys dining. Really. This goes on for quite a while. Along the way Jack and Chip and Bob meet various vacationers and townsfolk, including Mr. Crossland, a crooked-nosed loudmouth on holiday; Reynolds, a local reporter; and Samson, a reticent boat pilot the kids hire for their diving expeditions.

Their first dive goes poorly. Arriving at the X on the map, they find nothing but fish. No Texas Queen. And then Bob disappears. Jack and Chip surface without their friend. He turns up a few moments later, safe, if not a little rattled.

Bob eventually confesses to Jack and Chip the secret of the Texas Queen. Turns out his late father left a stipulation in his will that Bob had to rescue a solid gold heirloom from the sunken vessel in order to collect his inheritance. If the item isn't retrieved by a certain date, the family fortune goes to Bob's aunt. And that date is just around the corner.

The boys use Reynolds' historical knowledge of the island and locate the correct resting spot of the Texas Queen and promptly arrange for Samson to take them on a night dive. Chip brings along his underwater camera to film the event. This dive too proves unsuccessful. The boys are attacked by an aggressive manta ray and are forced to call off the salvage mission. Samson is confused, stating that mantas are pretty docile.

The next morning, Jack and Bob try another dive while Chip gets his reel of film developed. This dive too goes nowhere, as the boys can't breach the hull. Chip, however, has some intriguing footage to share with them, so the day's not a total wash.

At their hotel room, Chip dims the lights, rolls the film, and something very surprising is revealed: A man's face in the mouth of the manta. Yup, the overly aggressive manta is actually a man in a manta costume, trying to scare the boys away. Who could it be?

Maybe it's cousin Lenny, who just arrived in Bermuda, to show Bob a good time. Bob believes Lenny is just trying to distract him long enough to miss the deadline. Lenny is a smooth talking pretty boy. He probably became a Senator or something. And the way he seems intent on screwing Bob out of his due-and-proper, I'd say he likely ended up a Republican.

Lenny introduces Bob to the estate's lawyer, a man named Maule. Maule is actually Crossland. Technically, I guess Crossland is actually Maule, who was lying low and keeping an eye on Bob from afar, to keep abreast of the whole salvage thing with the will, and that's why he never told Bob who he really was. What the fuck?

Bob, Jack and Chip ditch the pestering Lenny and make one last dive. They bring along a crowbar and some balloons and extra air and whatnot. They raise the steamer trunk holding the heirloom, buoying it to the surface, like they did with the Titanic in that Clive Cussler movie (the one with Richard Jordan in the Matthew McConaughey role).

As soon as they surface, the trunk is stolen by hooligans with spearguns and crooked-noses. A chase follows, but the thieves make their escape when Samson steers the boys into the middle of a regatta. Oops! There goes Samson's tip. There goes Bob's inheritance.

Back on land, Bob's aunt shows up just as Bob punches Lenny in the face, accusing him of setting up the robbery. Lenny denies it and so does Aunt Evelyn. Evelyn tells Bob even if the inheritance did default to her, she planned to return it to him anyway, so neither her nor her son Lenny had any motive for stealing the heirloom.

Did you catch that?

Even if Bob failed to retrieve the trinket, his aunt would have seen to it he got his inheritance regardless. So the whole fucking book was been a complete waste of time. The break-ins, the diving lessons, the manta ray: all meaningless. Christ.

So, who robbed the boys? Maule. Yeah, the lawyer. Big fucking surprise there. Jack suddenly remembered that Crossland/Maule had a crooked nose, as did one of the robbers, and well... blah blah blah... they confront him on his yacht and Blaze pulls on a blanket and the trunk is revealed underneath. Just as Reynolds arrives with the cops.


Old Man Power returns from wherever in time for a huge celebration at the hotel. Bob is finally a man, having turned from sniveling little wimp into the kind of guy who punches family members in the face. Yay, Bob! Those diving lessons really paid off. Bob offers Jack and Chip the gold statue as payment for all their help. They refuse, because they're stupid. Bob suggests they take the Texas Queen instead. They refuse that too, because it's a sunk-ass piece of crap.

Just like this book.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Random Eighties Music Video

Julie Brown: "The Homecoming Queen's Got a Gun"


"Glenn Beck is a fucking asshole." — James Cameron.

I can't argue with that.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

RIP Robert Culp

Robert Culp, star of The Greatest American Hero, died today, after falling outside his home. He was 79.

The Greatest American Hero was one of my favorite TV shows as a child. I remember desperately wanting to fly like William Katt.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Or, Forever Is A Mighty Long Time

Richard Alpert rides into his flashback on a white stallion. Pure awesome. Tenerife, Canary Islands — 1867. Richard's wife Isabella is dying. He rushes across the island to the nearest doctor. Not surprisingly, the MD is totes a douche and refuses to see her, but offers to sell Richard some meds. Richard accidentally kills the doctor and when he returns home with the medicine Isabella is dead. Richard is in jail and asks a priest for absolution. "Yer fucked, Guyliner," says the priest before selling him off as a slave, presumably for thirty pieces of silver. Richard's slave ship, the Black Rock gets lost in a storm and a giant tidal wave throws the ship into Taweret, knocking it down. The ship ends up in the middle of the jungle. The first mate kills all the slaves, since freeing them would be too dangerous, except for Richard. Then smoke monster fucks up the crew, saving Richard's life. Then Isabella shows up. She tells him they are dead and this is hell. Then the smoke monster comes for her. The Man In Black (no, not Johnny Cash, but the Anti-Jacob) visits the ship and frees Richard from his chains. Then asks him to kill Jacob with Dogen's magic knife. Richard gets his ass kicked and asks Jacob if he is in Hell. Jacob gives him a quick baptism and convinces him he is very much alive. Then he explains about good and evil and free will and the island, basically saying the island is what keeps the evil in place and prevents it from spreading all over the world. Then Jacob asks Richard to be his intermediary for people he brings to the island. Richard tells the Man In Black (no, still not Johnny Cash) that he's with Jacob now. Then Jacob asks the Man in Black why he tried to kill him. Because that's the only why he can leave, he says. Forward to the present and Richard is totally melting down and is again convinced they're all dead and in Hell. Hurley tells him his wife is here and there is a reunion of sorts, and she tells him that her death wasn't his fault. Hurley tells him Isabella has one more message. Richard has to stop the Man In Black. If he doesn't, Hurley says "We all go to Hell."

"Greased Lightning"

Okay, so every once in a while I go to the library and pick up a stack of CDs to put on my iPod. Sometimes I'm searching for something specific, sometimes I just browse hoping to see something mildly interesting that I would never ever actually pay to own, but hey, if it's free, that's a different story.

This is s how I ended up with Olivia Newton-John's Greatest Hits. And just now some stupid ass Grease megamix shuffles up. A bit of it was "Greased Lightning." which I am sure I've heard more than a few times, even if I've never much paid attention to it.

Well, I paid attention to it today. Check out this bit of chorus:

Greased lightnin', go greased lightnin'
You are supreme, the chicks'll cream for greased lightnin'


But what got my attention was this:

With new pistons, plugs, and shocks, I can get off my rocks
You know that I ain't braggin', she's a real pussy wagon, greased lightnin'

Yeah, "she's a real pussy wagon." That's a line in the song. "A real pussy wagon." WTF?


Monday, March 22, 2010

RIP Alex Chilton

Big Star: "In the Street"

Alex Chilton, the profoundly influential lead singer of The Boxtops and Big Star, died last week.
He was 59. RIP Alex.

Breaking Bad: No Mas

Season three is here, and I admit, I am pretty skeptical that this can beat last season for sheer brilliance. That said, last night's episode was truly awesome. Opening with a disturbing, wordless sequence so surreal that I, for a moment, thought it was a dream. It wasn't, and it pays off nicely. The show returns with Walter and Co. trying to pull themselves together in the aftermath the plane crash. Skyler files for divorce as Jessie finishes his stint in rehab.

Grieving and guilt over Jane's OD, he asks his counselor at the clinic "How do you not hate yourself?" His counselor tells him he must accept who he is. Jessie does, later telling Walt "I'm the bad guy." Walter returns to work and reluctantly tries his own hand at counseling the distraught students. It doesn't go well and the scene is awash in uncomfortable tension as Walter explains the crash could have been a lot worse: The planes could have been bigger. Not exactly a silver lining.

Walter tries to pull himself out of the drug business, turning down Gus's offer of "three million dollars for three months of your time," telling him he has all the money he could need, but he doesn't have his family. Walt may think he's through with the drug business, but the drug business isn't through with him.

Two hitmen are heading his way. The Mexican drug cartel isn't too happy with their new competition.

The most surprising moment of the night came with Skyler's confrontation of Walt. When she hands him the divorce papers, he asks why she's doing this. "You're a drug dealer." And instead of offering a denial, Walter confirms it, going so far as to tell her he isn't selling weed with Jessie, but that he manufactures methamphetamine.

She offers him a deal. She won't tell Hank so long as he agrees to the divorce. Will he? Will she if he doesn't? Maybe this season can beat out season two.

Radio Shakesville

One-Year Anniversary Show

I play some old stuff, some new stuff, and generally waste your time. Enjoy!

Here is a link to the podcast blog where you can download the show.

And this is the list of all songs used in this week's ep.

You can also play the show in a pop-up.

The show is available via iTunes, and on Feedburner.
The RSS is here, if you need it.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Wookie Family Portrait

Via Maya Gohill.

[thanks to kblogz.]

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Hey, Losties!

Lost: The Complete Collection

Due August 24, 2010. All six seasons of the series on DVD and Blu-Ray. Other features are still a bit smokey, but it should be full of more bonus features than an Oceanic cargo hold is full of tarps.

In the meantime, all of the songs featured in the show have been collected like Sawyer's ultimate mix tape, so give 'em a listen.


Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Or, The Ghost of Toshirō Mifune

In Los Angeles, Sawyer pulls that grift again where he's late for a meeting and spills a suitcase full of cash onto the bed. The woman he's with doesn't fall for it. She pulls a gun and tells him he's the sorriest con man ever. He confesses he's not really a con artist but a cop. She doesn't believe him so he says the magic word ("la fleur") and about 9000 cops come running in, including Sawyer's partner Miles. Ha! Back at the station Det. James Ford (ha!) tracks down every Anthony Cooper he can find while Miles sets him up on a date. It's a woman Miles' father works with at the museum. (Ha! This episode is so awesome.) It Charlotte and she asks him why he became a cop. He gives her some bullshit story about Bullitt but she doesn't buy it. He tells her he got to the point where he realized he was either going to be a cop or a criminal, so he chose to be a good guy. They go back to his place and fuck. After, she borrows a shirt from his dresser and finds a folder with photos and news clippings about his parents' murder. So he chucks her out. The next day Miles gets in his face. Not about Charlotte, but about secretly flying to Sydney. Sawyer tells him to mind his own business and Miles says fine, they're no longer partners. Later Sawyer takes Charlotte flowers and beer but she tells him to get lost. Sawyer tells Miles the truth, that he plans to kill Cooper if he finds him. Miles asks why he's telling him this. "So you can talk me out of it." Then someone smashes their car into Sawyer's and there is a chase. (It's obviously a woman because they only go out of their way in TV and movies to obscure someone's face like that so they can "surprise" you with the "hey, look! it's a girl!" moment later.) Sawyer catches her and it is revealed to be Kate. ("Surprise!") On the island Sawyer wanders around Claire's camp (which is a total low rent garbage disaster, by the way) and Jin wakes up. Jin says they need the skedaddle before Locke gets back. Sawyer tells him he's with Locke now. Then Locke brings the Others and the others to camp and someone asks what happened to everyone at the Temple. "The black smoke killed them," he says, which makes Cody (or whatever that Tailie boy was named) cry. Sawyer talks to Locke alone and asks what the fuck is going on. Locke confesses he's really the smoke monster and that all he wants to do is leave the island. Then he sends Sawyer to the Hydra island to see if there are any survivors and to check on the Ajira plane. Meanwhile Claire tries to kill Kate and Sayid just passively watches. Locke breaks up the fight and later apologizes to Kate. He lied to Claire about the Others having Aaron, so she kind of flipped out when she found out the truth. He says she's crazy, just like his mother was. Sawyer paddles to the Hydra and finds a pile of dead bodies. There is one lone survivor named Zoe. She says she was out gathering up firewood when she heard screams. She came back and found everyone dead. Sawyer pulls a gun and tells her she's full of shit. She whistles and a bunch of dudes come out of the jungle with guns. They take him to their submarine. There is something locked up below deck and he asks what it is. They take him to Widmore. Sawyer says he'll tell Locke the Hydra is cool and he'll bring him to the island and they can kill him. Sawyer goes back to the main island and pulls a total Yojimbo and tells Locke that Widmore is waiting for him. Then Sawyer tells Kate that while Locke and Widmore are duking it out, he and her can steal the sub.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Peter Graves RIP

Peter Graves, star of Mission: Impossible, died Sunday of a heart attack. Graves starred in films such as Stalag 17, The Clonus Horror, and Airplane ("Over, Oveur"). He was 83.

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Runaways

The Runaways tells the tale of Joan Jett and Cherie Currie as they rise to stardom, and "chronicles Joan and Cherie's tumultuous relationship on and off stage," whatever that means.

The film stars Kristen Stewart as Joan Jett, Dakota Fanning as Cherie Currie, Stella Maeve as Sandy West, Scout Taylor-Compton as Lita Ford and Michael Shannon as Kim Fowley.

Based on Cherie Currie's book Neon Angel. In theaters March 19th.


Jack Hearts Ben

I love the internet.

On Punk

Free tip on how to be a punk.

Step one: Don't look up "How to be a punk" on the internet.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Michael Emerson's Situation

This may be the greatest thing in the history of America.


Coming Soon To A Coffee Table Near You

Lost Encyclopedia

Featuring more than 400 pages and over 1500 images, the Lost Encyclopedia will be a comprehensive guide to the characters, items, locations, plotlines, relationships, and mythologies from all six seasons of the landmark series. Created in full collaboration with ABC, this will be the first and only fully licensed and comprehensive reference to all things Lost, and it includes a foreword by executive producers Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse. From DK Publishing, due August 24, 2010.


RIP Corey Haim

I'm still trying to wrap my head around this. To say I am stunned is an understatement. I've always had a soft spot for Corey Haim. He was one of my first crushes.

I cannot tell you how many times I've seen The Lost Boys. Or Lucas. (Liss puts her personal count at 98 million times.) Or Prayer of the Rollerboys. Or Dream a Little Dream. Or License To Drive.

Haim died this morning "of an apparent drug overdose, according to Los Angeles police." He was 38.

I don't have much more to say. I am still processing this. I am, sadly, reminded of Andrew "Boner" Koenig's recent suicide.

Rest in peace, Corey. You will be missed.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010


Or, Alex Rousseau and the High School Redemption

In L.A., Linus is teaching history, and butting heads with the principal, who is played by William Atherton (of Die Hard and Ghostbusters fame; "Yes ,it's true, this man has no dick."). Ben tutors Alex and Locke agitates, trying to talk Ben into stealing the principal's job. Arzt is there too and he's the same old whiny putz he's always been. Ben finds out the principal and the school nurse have been boning. On school grounds. So Ben attempts to blackmail the principal into resigning and recommending him as his replacement. But the principal counters that he'll ruin Alex's future and keep her out of Yale if Ben takes his job. Ben has to choose between Alex's future and his lust for power. Surprisingly, Ben does right by Alex and the principal writes her a glowing recommendation for Yale. On the island Ilana asks Miles how Jacob died. Miles narcs out Ben. Ilana is not happy, calling Jacob the closest thing she ever had to a father (because, after all, this is Daddy Issues Island). Ilana, Miles, Lupidus, Sun and Ben all head back to the beach, for lack of anywhere else better to go. Elsewhere, Jack and Hurley head through the jungle toward the Temple. Hurley tries to lead Jack away from the Temple, which annoys him. Then Alpert shows up and tells them everyone at the Temple is dead. Hurley says he knew already because Jacob warned him. Then Alpert tells him not to believe anything Jacob tells him and leads them to the Black Rock. He looks plaintively at the chains in the slave ship and comments he's not been here in a very long time. He asks Jack to kill him. Because his entire life has been without purpose if Jacob is dead. Jack lights some dynamite and Hurley says fuck this and runs away. Jack doesn't leave, he sits next to Alpert saying neither of them are meant to die. The fuse runs down and sputters out just before it hits the dynamite. "See?" Jack and Hurley and Alpert head back to the beach. Everyone is reunited and they hug and smile and are joyous. Except Ben. He just stands on the side and realizes, seemingly, that he is completely alone. Alone and powerless. Ilana ties up Ben and tells him to start digging a grave for himself. He does, but takes his time. Miles brings him lunch and Ben offers to give him that 3.2 million dollars he asked for if he helps him escape. Miles says he doesn't need it, since he knows about Nikki and Paulo's diamonds. Later, Smokemonster Locke shows up and unties Ben and tells him there is a gun not too far away. He invites Ben to join him at the Hydra. Ben runs away and Ilana follows him. He gets the jump on her and makes her drop her weapon. She tells him to shoot her and get it over with. He says he doesn't want to shoot her, he just wants to explain. He tells her he let Alex die for the island, he gave everything in service to Jacob, and Jacob didn't give two fucks. So in his anger and confusion he stabbed Jacob to death. He asks her to just let him go. Where will you go, she asks. To Locke, he says. Why? "Because he's the only one who will have me." She pauses a moment and replies "I'll have you" and takes him back to camp. Wow. Offshore, a sub approaches. It's Widmore!

RIP Mark Linkous

Sparklehorse: "It's A Wonderful Life"

Mark Linkous, the 47-year-old singer-songwriter who recorded under the moniker Sparklehorse, died Saturday in Knoxville, Tennessee. Rest in peace.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Because Crocs Aren't Stupid Enough Looking

Now you can bedazzle the fuck out of your stupid, plastic shoes. Why you'd want to is beyond me. Unless you're seven. In which case you can later hold it against your parents, along with that ridiculous bowl haircut.

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari

Visionary and still highly influential after 90 years, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari remains one of the most frightening horror films ever made.

It is the quintessential example of German Expressionist filmmaking. The sets a nightmarish architecture designed as more than mere backdrop for the action, it is a character unto itself: a horrible, malevolent presence as menacing as the titular mad doctor.

The story revolves around the arrival of the fair into town, and along with it, the mysterious Dr. Caligari (Werner Krauss), and his strange fortune-telling act. In the cramped tent, Caligari commands his catatonic servant, Cesare, to reveal the grim futures of the patrons. But at night, after the show, Cesare slips into town, committing murders for his master.

And when young Francis (Friedrich Feher) vows to solve the crimes, it puts him and his fiancée in mortal danger. Especially as Francis’ sleuthing leads him to the local sanitarium, and a sinister connection between Caligari and the hospital director is discovered. Can Francis save himself, his fiancée or even Cesare (Conrad Veidt), before it’s too late? Or will Caligari’s sinister plot win out?

There is even a twist ending that, despite having been ripped off countless times, still manages to seem fresh here, and a might unsettling to boot.

The set design, the performances, the makeup, are all amazing. Most modern horror films wish they could be half as unsettling as this. Caligari has atmosphere to spare, but isn’t overwhelmed by it, thanks to both a great story and great actors.

Directed by Robert Wiene • Unrated • 1920 • 72 minutes

Friday, March 05, 2010

Evil Baby of the Day

The Tin Drum

Oskar doesn't like grown-ups very much. Upon his first real glimpse of adults, at a party his parents hold, he sees decadence, immorality, blind fascism; it's a group of wholly unpleasant people. Among the guests are a Nazi obsessed with the idyllic beauty of the Hitler Youth (read: chickenhawk), and his own uncle lustfully pursuing his mother. He decides then and there he is not going to grow up, not if this is what he's to become. He's going to stay three forever; he'll be happy enough with his favorite toy, his tin drum. Oskar (David Bennent) stages an accident, throwing himself down the cellar stairs. His family and doctor attribute this fall to his sudden change in development. But the truth is (like all little people, it is revealed) the choice was his to stop growing.

It may be an understatement to say Oskar's development, or lack thereof, is allegorical to Danzig's own history between the Wars, and German history as a whole during the transition from the Weimar Republic to the Nazi Reich. [Danzig was an area between Germany and Poland, set up as a semiautonomous state after WWI, a sort of melting pot for Germans, Poles, and Slavs.] Oskar has two father figures in his life: the man married to his mother, a strong-willed Nazi, and his uncle, the weaker, decadent Pole. And either one might actually be his biological father. His mother (Angela Winkler) can't chose between the two, and keeps them both as lovers.

In one unforgettable scene, Oskar and his three parental figures, "this trinity" as he calls them, happen upon a fisherman while on a family outing. They watch as the fisherman dredges up a rotting horse head from the bottom of the bay. Dozens of eels slither from its mouth and eye sockets, a good haul for any fisherman. But as is noted, during the war, one could catch eels as big as your arm. Things aren't as well as when the fighting raged on.

Oskar is an archetypal outsider, but that is perhaps just the natural result of his unique parentage. He is the offspring of two cultures that are not so much converging with one another as they are colliding head on. While other kids in the neighborhood treat Oskar much as you would expect, forcing him to eat frog and piss soup, he finds solace in his drum and his "secret art." Oskar's screams can shatter glass.

Oskar grows, mentally, if not physically…

He watches his parents fuck, and fight. His mother gorges herself to death, eating fish until it kills her. The Nazis invade. His uncle is killed in the first battle of WW2, at the Danzig post office. And Oskar falls in love. He doesn't even let his stature as a three year old prevent him from bedding the girl and knocking her up. His father, of course, naturally assumes the child is his.

And eventually, Oskar joins the Nazis as a member of a troupe of midget entertainers. He travels to occupied France, performing as Oskar the Drummer, shattering champagne glasses to the delight of Nazi officers and their wives. Anything for troop morale, it seems. The act makes it all the way to Normandy, in an ill-timed tour of the Western front.

By the time Oskar makes it back to Danzig, the Russians are liberating the city. They gun down Oskar's father (Mario Adorf), leaving him an orphan. It's only then that he finally decides he must grow up, tossing his precious tin drum onto his father's makeshift casket.

Visually stunning, with a fantastic story and world-class performances, this film is not for the weak of heart. But it is a truly amazing film. See it.

Directed by Volker Schlöndorff • R • 1979 • 142 minutes

Thursday, March 04, 2010

True Friendship Is...

...someone seeing a picture of John Travolta with his fly down, and knowing they've got to circle that shit in red and send it to you as a morning greeting.

Thanks, Liss!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010


Or, Things Fall Apart

In alternative Los Angeles (I refuse to call it a "flash-sideways"), Nadia is married to Sayid's brother, AKA The Boy Who Would Not Kill Chickens. Brother owes money to a loan shark, who happens to be Keamy. Brother gets roughed up and ends up in the hospital. Keamy has Sayid brought to him and offers to make him poached eggs. Sayid says no thanks and kills Keamy. Then Sayid finds Jin tied up in a freezer. What? Okay, back in Jungleland, Sayid confronts Dogen about being tortured. Dogen tells him the good/evil-yin/yang in him is out of balance. Then they have a bad-ass ninja fight. Dogen banishes him. Miles asks why, and Sayid says "Apparently I'm evil." Then Locke sends Claire into the Temple, since he can't go himself. She enters the Temple and tells Dogen that Locke wants to chat. He's all fuck that. Then Dogen asks to speak to Sayid. Claire is thrown in a pit, but she seems cool with it. Dogen gives Sayid a magic sword and tells him to go out and stab Locke. You know, to prove he's still a little bit good. Sayid is all wevs, banished one minute, wielding Excalibur the next, but goes out to see Locke anyway. He stabs Locke. Locke is all hey that wasn't very nice and pulls out the sword (which is totally not magical) and hands it back. He offers Sayid a deal, he'll give him the one thing he wants more than anything if Sayid joins him. He sends Sayid back in with a message: At sundown he is coming to the Temple, and everyone can either joins him and leave the island, or stay at the Temple and die. Kate comes back to the Temple and tells Claire she's come to rescue her. Claire says she doesn't need rescuing. Dogen tells Sayid some sob story about how he accidentally killed his son and how Jacob saved him but in return Dogen had to move to the island forever. Then Sayid drowns him. Then slits Lennon's throat. Then the sun sets and the smoke monster attacks and totally fucks up the Temple and kills a bunch of Others. Whoops! Miles hides, but is found by Ilana, Ben and Lupidus who take him to a secret room. Ben tries to get Sayid to come with them but he's all Dark Side now. Then Locke enters the Temple and leads Sayid, Kate, Claire and the other Others away.

Oh How He Sparkles With Love

Sparkly Love!

Radio Shakesville Rewind

Just a reminder, if you haven't caught the latest, or any, episode of the Radio Shakesville podcast, you should do so now. I've links and playlists below for each show.

Plus they're available on iTunes if you're into that. If you don't like Apple, try Feedburner. The RSS is here, if you'd rather go that route.

You can put them on your iPod or Zune and listen to them on the subway or burn them to CD and listen to them in the car. Whatever. And if you've a request, call (641) 715-3900, extension: 44515. Also accepting: Insults, recipes, and declarations of love.

Radio Shakesville:

Episode 17: Burn, Baby, Burn!
February 29, 2010
57 minutes

Marvin Gaye: Got To Give It Up
The Floaters: Float On
Parliament: Flashlight
The Temptations: Papa Was A Rollin' Stone
The Trammps: Disco Inferno

Episode 16: Upload With People
January 26, 2010
63 minutes

FraidyKat: Free Improvisation
Nancy Lorenz (AKA Napalmnacey): New Lovin'
The Matthew Show: The World Of One Percenters
HBB & The Special Guests: I Want to Sing That Rock and Roll
Sarah Bernard: A Sunny Day In Montreal
Clare Worley: Mariolina
Lady & the Tramps: Liberate Yourself
The Guilloteens: Evil Morning Kills Me
Space Cowboy: Tune Of Roger
Kate Saik: Allerseelen
Miranda K. Pennington: My Johnny Has Gone For Soldier
Suzanna Winter: Stars and the Moon
Shiyiya: Where Did The Cro-Magnons Turn Wrong
Meghan Bell: Girl Child
Jocelyn Craig : I Won't Go Back
Kathy McCarty: Raining
OK OK OK: Distance

Episode 15: Christmas In Space
December 15, 2009
71 minutes

Vince Guaraldi Trio: Christmas Is Coming
Elvis Presley: Santa Claus Is Back in Town
Mojo Nixon & The Toadliquors: Mr. Grinch
Otis Redding: Merry Christmas Baby
Booker T. & The MG's: White Christmas
The Emotions: Black Christmas
Rufus Thomas: I'll Be Your Santa Baby
The Staple Singers: Who Took the Merry Out of Christmas?
Eddie Dunstedter: I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus
The Mistletoe Disco Band: Jingle Bell Rock
Ray Anthony: Christmas Trumpets/We Wish You A Merry Christmas
Bessie Smith: At The Christmas Ball
Nancy Wilson: What Are You Doing New Years Eve?
Julie London: I'd Like You For Christmas
Al Caiola And Riz Ortolani: Holiday On Skis
Alvin Stoller: Rudolf The Red-Nosed Reindeer Mambo
Dick Shawn: Snow Miser
The Brian Setzer Orchestra: Jingle Bells
Eels: Christmas Is Going To The Dogs
Death Cab for Cutie: Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)
Coil: Christmas Is Now Drawing Near
Tori Amos: Christmas In Space
Sufjan Stevens: That Was The Worst Christmas Ever
Badly Drawn Boy: Donna And Blitzen

Episode 14: Fever
December 14, 2009
71 minutes

Adam Lambert: Fever
Chemical Brothers: Orange Wedge
Flight of the Conchords: Fashion
Psapp: Cosy in the Rocket
The Brady Bunch: Frosty the Snowman
Ray Bloch Singers: Honey/Hey Jude
Earth, Wind and Fire: Serpentine Fire
April Young: Steady Boyfriend
Gary Stevan Scott: Mariachi de los Tres Ninjas
Fishbone: Just Call Me Scrooge
Johnny Cash: Look At Them Beans
George S. Irving: Heat Miser
The Klezmer Conservatory Band: Meron Nign
Wilhelm Gieseking: Piano Sonata No. 17
Annie Lennox: Heaven
Dubstar: Jealousy
R.E.M.: 2JN
Geronimo Jackson: Dharma Lady
Duran Duran: 911 Is A Joke

Episode 13: Saudade
November 30, 2009
79 minutes

Johanna's House of Glamour: The Unfolding
Love and Rockets: Saudade
Jürgen Knieper: Radio Berlin
Carter Burwell: Velvet Spacetime
This Mortal Coil: Song to the Siren
Peter Gabriel: Open
Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan: Shadow
Lisa Gerrard and Pieter Bourke: Sacrifice
Severed Heads: Wonder of All the World
Christophe Beck: Restless
Moodswings: Hairy Piano
Gary Numan: Down In The Park
William Orbit: Opus 132
Antony Cooke: Kol Nidrei
Kronos Quartet: Fratres

Episode 12: Goodbye Horses
November 16, 2009
67 minutes

Intro (Neu!: Für Immer)
The Scotland Yard Gospel Choir: One Night Stand
The Shangri-Las: The Train From Kansas City
The Righteous Brothers: Little Latin Lupe Lu
Patti Smith: The Histories of the Universe
Spinn: O Nutria
Lionel Belasco: Miranda
Brian Unger: Coldplay Accused Of Plagiarism ... Again
Coldplay: Viva La Vida
Break (Neu!: Hallogallo)
John Clarke, MD: H1N1 Rap
Essie Jenkins: The 1919 Influenza Blues
Kirk McGee & Blythe Poteet: C-H-I-C-K-E-N Spells Chicken
The Happy Moog: Saturn Ski Jump
Carol Steinel: Bad Karma
Dolly Parton: Jolene (Live)
Tom Waits: Get Behind The Mule (Live)
Q Lazzarus: Goodbye Horses
Outro (Neu!: Isi)

Episode 11: Werewolves On Wheels
October 31, 2009
65 minutes

Ted Cassidy: The Lurch
Los Straitjackets: The Munsters
Christopher Walken: The Raven
Kirsty MacColl: Halloween
Eels: My Beloved Monster
Born Losers: Werewolves on Wheels
David Lindley: Werewolves of London
Oingo Boingo: Dead Man's Party (Live)
The Pogues: Worms
Gothic Archies: Walking My Gargoyle
Gavin Friday: For Annie
Billy Murray: The Skeleton Rag
Swingtips: Grim Grinning Ghosts
Marianne Faithfull: Annabel Lee
The Cramps: Surfin' Dead
Dream Syndicate: Halloween

Episode 10: Oh What a Beautiful Morning
September 18, 2009
62 minutes

Eels live, Daisies of the Galaxy tour, 2000:
Feeling Good
Oh, What a Beautiful Morning
Abortion in the Sky
It's a Motherfucker
Ant Farm
Climbing to the Moon
Vice President Fruitley
Hot and Cold
Grace Kelly Blues
Daisies of the Galaxy
Mr. E's Beautiful Blues
Not Ready Yet
Something Is Sacred
Susan's House

Episode 9: We Sing In Time
September 1, 2009
77 minutes

Intro (Iggy Pop: Repo Man)
Arctic Monkeys: Cornerstone
The Lonely Forest: We Sing In Time
The Smiths: Shakespeare's Sister
Rhett Miller: Song for Truman Capote
Rupert Holmes: Escape (The Piña Colada Song)
Edison Lighthouse: Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)
The Bridges: Pieces
Allen Ginsberg: I Am A Victim Of Telephone
Seat Belts: Tank!
Ira Newborn: Weird Mama
The Three Suns: Colonel Bogey March
Martin Denny: Busy Port
Marjoe Gortner: Lover's Lane
Nita Rossi: Untrue Unfaithful (That Was You)
Morcheeba and Anthony Bourdain: Lisa
Chumbawamba: Homophobia
Woody Guthrie: Vigilante Man
Marlene Dietrich: Illusions
William S. Burroughs: Burroughs Called the Law
The Rattles: The Witch
Shakespeares Sister: Stay
The Cookies: I Want a Boy for My Birthday
Cat Stevens: Don't Be Shy
Outro (Iggy Pop: Nam Opera)

Episode 8: Moonage Daydream
August 5, 2009
65 minutes

Richard O'Brien: Science Fiction/Double Feature
Moby: We Are All Made Of Stars
Kraftwerk: Die Roboter
Tubeway Army: (When The Machines Rock) Praying To The Aliens
Les Baxter: Saturday Night On Saturn
The Velvet Underground: Satellite Of Love
Pray For Rain: Plutonium Card
MC 900 ft Jesus: UFOs Are Real
The Timelords: Doctorin' The Tardis
Sigue Sigue Sputnik: Aliens
Blur: Peter Panic (Beagle 2)
Vangelis: Tears In The Rain
David Bowie: Moonage Daydream (Weeping Wall)
Supergrass: Jesus Came From Outta Space
Richard O'Brien: Science Fiction/Double Feature (Reprise)

Episode 7: The Day The World Turned Day-Glo
July 17, 2009
79 minutes

Intro (Duke Reid: Loving Serenade)
Pearl Bailey: One Man (Ain't Quite Enough)
Elijah Black: Smile for Me
Soft Cell: Down in the Subway
Missing Persons: I Like Boys
X-Ray Spex: The Day The World Turned Day-Glo
Michael Mills: Satanic Messages in Rock Music (Part 5)
George Jones: Unwanted Babies
The Pretenders: Everyday Is Like Sunday
Rod Hart: CB Savage
Fountains of Wayne: The Valley Of Malls
Break (UB40: Dance With the Devil)
Haircut 100: Milk Film
Redskins: It Can Be Done
The Cure: The Blood
Cyndi Grecco: Making Our Dreams Come True
Michael Mills: Satanic Messages in Rock Music (Part 6)
Sugarcubes: Delicious Demon
Delta Spirit: Streetwalker
Johnny Depp & Come: "Madroad Driving..."
Laurie Anderson: The Fifth Plague
Glorious Din: Red Dirt
Outro (UB40: Dance With the Devil)

Episode 6: Woman Power
June 29, 2009
60 minutes

Yoko Ono: Woman Power
Jane Siberry: Hockey
Concrete Blonde: Tomorrow Wendy (Live)
Indigo Girls: This Train Revised (Live)
Pink: Dear Mr. President
Joni Mitchell: California
Joni Mitchell and Morrissey Discuss Female Songwriters
Pam Grier: Long Time Woman
Aretha Franklin: Think
Aimee Mann: Long Shot
Ani DiFranco: Untouchable Face (Live)
Sandie Shaw: Girl Don't Come
Peggy Lee: Fever
Sarah McLachlan: Do What You Have To Do
Mark Steel: Billie Holiday (Excerpts)
Billie Holiday: Strange Fruit

Episode 5: There Is a Light That Never Goes Out
June 8, 2009
64 minutes

Intro (Ralph Marterie And His Orchestra: Skokiaan)
Shirley Bassey and the Propellerheads: History Repeating
Love and Rockets: Yin and Yang (The Flowerpot Man) (Remix)
Garbage: Vow
Eels: Dirty Girl
Radiohead: Stop Whispering (U.S. Mix)
Echo & the Bunnymen: The Cutter
Jobriath: Morning Starship
MC 900 ft. Jesus and DJ Zero: Spaceman
Break (Unknown (From the film Devil Doll))
KC & the Sunshine Band: Boogie Shoes
The Breakaways: That's How It Goes
Natacha Atlas: I Put A Spell On You
Frank Zappa: The Talking Asshole
Jarvis Cocker: Leftovers
Hole: Awful
Morrissey: There Is a Light That Never Goes Out (Live)
Outro (Louis Armstrong: Skokiaan)

Episode 4: Blood, Graffiti and Spit
May 3, 2009
60 minutes

Hedwig and the Angry Inch: Tear Me Down
Intro (Suede: The Beautiful Ones)
The B-52's: Rock Lobster
MGMT: Kids
Two Nice Girls: The Queer Song
Michael Mills: Satanic Messages in Rock Music (Part 3)
Vikki Carr: The Silencers
Tones On Tail: Lions
Thom Yorke: Black Swan
Chris Connelly: Trash
The Shirelles: Please Go Away
The High Numbers: Zoot Suit
The Easybeats: Gonna Have A Good Time
Michael Mills: Satanic Messages in Rock Music (Part 4)
Boy George: My Sweet Lord
Elvis Costello & Steve Nieve: The Angels Want To Wear My Red Shoes (Live)
Siouxsie & The Banshees: Spellbound
Outro (Suede: The Beautiful Ones)

Episode 3: Not Enough Time
May 1, 2009
58 minutes

Angelo Badalamenti and Kinny Landrum: Dark Spanish Symphony
Leonard Cohen: I'm Your Man
Neil Young: Harvest Moon
Bryan Ferry: The Way You Look Tonight
Queen: Good Old-Fashioned Lover Boy
The Proclaimers: I'm On My Way
The Woodentops: You Make Me Feel
Jude: Everything's Alright
INXS: Not Enough Time
The Jesus and Mary Chain: Sugar Ray
Bernard Butler: Friends and Lovers
Iggy Pop: Beside You
The Pogues: Haunted
Eels: Can't Help Falling In Love
Whoopi Goldberg: You Got It
k.d. lang: So In Love

Episode 2: This Woman's Work
April 19, 2009
67 minutes

Siouxsie & the Banshees: This Wheel's On Fire
Janis Joplin: Cry Baby
Tracy Chapman: All That You Have Is Your Soul (Live)
Emmylou Harris: Red Dirt Girl
Break (Danielle Dax: Big Hollow Man)
k.d. lang: Pulling Back The Reins
Bessie Smith: Black Mountain Blues
Dar Williams: The Babysitter's Here
Liss and Deeky on Women in Music (Laurie Anderson: Born, Never Asked)
Tori Amos: Silent All These Years
Kate Bush: This Woman's Work
Nina Simone: Young, Gifted and Black
Donna Summer and Barbra Streisand: No More Tears (Enough Is Enough)
Maria McKee: Absolutely Barking Stars
Heart: Barracuda
Joan Jett & the Blackhearts: Bad Reputation (Live)
Meredith Brooks: Bitch
Outro (Bond: Bella Donna)

Episode 1: It Started As An Accident
March 22, 2009
66 minutes

Intro (Deodato: Also Sprach Zarathustra)
Blur: I Know
Break (Radiohead: Meeting in the Aisle)
The Ting Tings: Shut Up and Let Me Go
The Smiths: The Headmaster Ritual
Michael Mills: Satanic Messages in Rock Music (Part 1)
Patti Smith: Piss Factory
Joe Frank: Fat Man Down (Excerpt)
Break (The Timelords: Doctorin' the Tardis)
The Pogues: I'm A Man You Don't Meet Every Day
Lou Reed: Teach The Gifted Children
Liss and Deek Talk Movies (Primal Scream: Trainspotting)
Suede: We Are The Pigs
Brian Eno: The True Wheel
Michael Mills: Satanic Messages in Rock Music (Part 2)
The Postal Service: Nothing Better (Remix)
Elastica: Line Up
Outro (Milt Buckner: Late, Late Show)

That's Gay: Johnny Weir

That's Gay: Johnny Weir
from current TV's infoMania

Monday, March 01, 2010

Radio Shakesville

Episode 17: Burn, Baby, Burn

Melissa McEwan of the Shakesville Gazette calls this podcast "so awesome it's like wearing pants made of fire and having them not burn you."

Here is a link to the podcast blog where you can download the show.

And this is the list of all songs used in this week's ep.

You can also play the show in a pop-up.

The show is available via iTunes, and on Feedburner.
The RSS is here, if you need it.

The Mystery of the Flying Skeleton

Okay, I need to put this out there first thing: The Mystery of the Flying Skeleton features exactly zero flying skeletons. Seriously. It's a total disappointment. I mean, The Mystery of the Haunted Skyscraper had two haunted skyscrapers! So what if they were both debunked by the end of the story, we expect that. But at least the title didn't fucking mislead me any. I'd be willing to bet someone pulled the title out of their ass and wrote the story to suit it. Except they didn't really, because there were no fucking flying skeletons!

I will also mention the story is a bit short on mystery too. The boys investigate stuff, but nothing in particular. The story just meanders around for 200 pages and resolves itself pretty much by accident.

But I am getting ahead of myself.

Flying Skeleton begins with the boys touching down in Miami, a layover on their way to Key West. Dad is covering the International Conference, the boys tagging along. I don't know when this is in relation to their adventure in New York, but I suspect that isn't relevant. Jack and Chip live a timeless, ageless existence, forever seventeen and fifteen respectively.

Before the boys can fetch their bags and be reunited with Blaze, their connecting flight bursts into flames. Dad tries to snap some photos but is sternly cautioned by a mysterious gent in a panama hat to not get too close. He's right, the plane explodes. It was no accident, the man says. It should have exploded in flight: Someone is trying to stir up trouble at the conference.

Jack and Chip are sure Panama Hat is responsible, why else would he know so much? Besides, the man had a gun under his jacket. And Dad, he is sure Key West is too dangerous a place to take the boys. So he drops them off in Blue Heron Key, twenty miles from Key West, and puts them up at the Blue Heron Motel. Under the watchful eye of Mr. Kelly, the motel's proprietor, they shouldn't be safe, right?

Their first night in, they overhear voices in the next room. Gruff voices. Maybe spies. Maybe Panama Hat himself. All they are able to pick up through the wall is the phrase "it must be buried at night," and the muttering of a name: Whispering Johnson.

The next morning, Chip steals the key to the neighbouring room from Kelly's office and he and Jack use it to break into the room. They don't find anything, not that they have much time to, as they are promptly busted by Kelly. He lets it slide, buying their bullshit story about finding the spare key in the grass.

Kelly stuffs the boys with pancakes and exposition. Across the street, a fancy new hotel is under construction. It's sure to drive poor Kelly out of business. Because in the Sixties no one ever stayed in a cheap motel. Hurricane Cleo is in the Atlantic, heading toward the Keys.

The boys' friend du livre this time around is a local boy named Matt. "He had a deep tan, and his blond hair had been bleached white by the sun." If I were to describe him, based on Raymond Burns' drawing, I'd call him "ribby." Nonetheless, Jack, Chip and Matt become fast friends. The trio spends the day at the beach looking for dinosaur bones but only uncover a handful of doubloons. Returning to their room, Jack and Chip find an ominous note slipped under their door. Scribbled in pencil are the words "Watch your step!"

So, yeah, the story is deep in mysteries. Maybe too many: Who blew up the plane? Is Panama Hat a spy? What has to be buried at night? Who is Whispering Johnson? Where did the doubloons come from? Who left the ominous note? But here's the thing, most of these things have nothing to do with one other.

Most are answered. But almost all end up being irrelevant.

There are a few real gems in the text. Like this great sentence:

This time they wore swim trunks, remembering that swimming in their long pants hadn't been very satisfactory.
You don't say? This was my favorite line of the whole book:

Instead of playing the jukebox, [Matt] just sat on the stool next to them and spun a quarter on the counter, the quarter he had intended to spend on rock and roll.
That last bit makes me giggle every time I read it.

So, there's more vaguely mysterious goings on, and the boys stumble one night into a group of shady characters burying something on the lot of the construction site. The next morning workers discover dinosaur fossils on the property. The boys quickly put two and two together. I never said Jack and Chip were dumb. Okay, I did, but that was a whole book ago.

The building's owner, a slick gent named Disbareaux, calls in some scientists, has the bones declared legit. He dubs his new hotel The Fabulous Mastodon and quickly has the front of the building redesigned to resemble a woolly mammoth. Meanwhile Kelly cops to slipping the note under the boy's door, admitting it was a ploy to keep them in line. Oh, and Chip tells them he's got a new Whispering Johnson motor for his boat and offers to take them out to an old abandoned fort.

Yeah, there's three mysteries cleared up, rather handily too.

Then a woman named Miss Adams shows up at the hotel's front desk while Jack and Chip are minding the store. Her father has gone missing and she's scouring the keys for him. 150 pages in and we've finally a real mystery. The boys haven't seen him but Miss Adams thanks them and suggests they visit the zoo she owns.

Chip, Jack, and Matt head out to the fort, along with Blaze.

Remember him? Yeah, the dog spends most of the book tied up behind the boy's motel. At one point they're told he's loose, but decide against searching for the dog. They seem content to let the Dalmatian roam the FLA highways and aren't at all concerned he'll be killed. Then again, maybe the boys have learned not to get too attached to anyone or anything.

The boys reach the island and head off toward the fort and Blaze dashes off the other way. The bog pulls a Lassie and returns, barking, and convinces the boys to follow him. Lo and behold, Blaze leads them to Mr. Adams. Jack and Chip have saved the day! Okay, the dog did. And Matt, who brought them here in his boat.

The boys take Mr. Adams back to the motel and Dad finally returns from Key West, just as Hurricane Cleo descends on Blue Heron. Then there's lots of driving in circles as they try to find Ms. Adams and try to escape to Miami and everyone (Kelly, Jack, Chip, Matt, Mr. Adams, Dad, Ms. Adams, and Blaze) eventually ends up hiding out at Kelly's Motel as Cleo blows through.

Mr. Adams explains his son-in-law intercepted a shipment of mastodon bones meant for his zoo, and buried them on Disbareaux's property. When Adams threatened to squeal, his son-in-law kidnapped him and took him to the island the boys found him on. I'm not sure what the son-in-law stood to gain from the ruse. Maybe he was in cahoots with Disbareaux. If so, Adams never mentioned it. Though, that is about the only thing that makes sense. I guess.

While the storm batters Blue Heron Key, Jack, Chip and Matt perform one last act of heroism, and race across the road to the construction site to save the fossils. As they gather up the bones, The Fabulous Mastodon Hotel blows away. Meanwhile, Dad snaps some photos of the daring-do, and is sure the images will win him a big fat prize check. Dad also mentions that he bumped into Panama Hat in Key West. Turns out he's an FBI agent.

I guess that wraps up everything nicely. Mr. Adams is rescued, Disbareaux's hotel is gone, and secret of the Whispering Johnson has been explained.

But what about the flying skeletons, you ask? Yeah, well, that was a pretty shitty cop out, if you ask me. As I said earlier, I bet they came up with the title before the story. So the author needed figure out a creative way to tie the title into the story. That didn't happen. Not creatively anyway:
In spite of the wind and rain, Jack, Chip and their father were held motionless by what they saw. The structure of the mastodon was now being yanked from its moorings. Slowly it rose from the ground. Black against the luminous yellow sky, it sailed off like a monstrous inflated skeleton. A flying skeleton!
Yeah, the flying skeleton was the façade of the unfinished hotel being blown apart by the hurricane. That about says it all, really.