Saturday, February 6, 2016

Join In and Help Max Fight Cancer!

We're about a month out from the drawing for the big raffle Max Romero of Great Caesar's Post is planning over at his blog.  

It's super easy to participate in the raffle, and nothing would please me more than knowing a few of y'all kicked in a donation or two as part of his effort.  Those donations can include either a straight donation to a charity on Max's list, or - if you're the creative type - you can donate an item to Max's raffle for the raffling!

Consider it good karma.  Consider it paying it forward or putting some money in now so you can help develop a cancer treatment for yourself or your loved ones down the road.

At any rate, I hope you'll support Max's efforts and join in with a donation.

Doc Watch: The American Experience - Murder of a President (2016, PBS Doc)

James A. Garfield.  He wore his beard honestly.

I don't watch as much of American Experience as I once did.  I actually go to sleep from time to time these days, so that leaves less time watching TV, I guess.  But when I heard The American Experience, PBS's long running documentary series on key events in American history, was making a doc based on Candice Millard's book, Destiny of the Republic (I believe suggested to me by Picky Girl), I had to check it out.

This week's episode, Murder of a President, covers the assassination of President James Garfield.

Yes, it's a case of "the book was better than the movie", but there was never any way a 2 hour doc was going to convey all the story Millard was able to get on the page.  And, while the doc does try to capture the true tragedy of the murder, I didn't feel hollowed out in the same way that I did by the time I finished Millard's book.  In fact, I teared up a few times getting through the book. Pretty remarkable for a non-fiction accounting of a President nobody talks about anymore.

Nonetheless, the doc is terrific and does a good job of understanding and translating Millard's work, and that of other historians and archivists detailing the story.  You can watch it now on the PBS website.  

Friday, February 5, 2016

Edgar Mitchell, Astronaut, Merges With The Infinite

Edgar Mitchell, Apollo astronaut, has merged with The Infinite.

Born in Hereford, Texas and raised in New Mexico, Mitchell went on to become first a Naval Aviator and then an Astronaut who walked on the moon, setting moon-traversing records.

He also had his undergrad from Carnegie and his PhD from MIT.

Really, his role in this world is to remind you that playing Fallout 4 and binge-watching sitcoms may not be the most you could be making out of your life.

But Edgar Mitchell, raised near Roswell, was also a believer in the paranormal and UFOs.  Our own moon-sojourning Fox Mulder.

Orson Watch: Falstaff (Chimes at Midnight) - 1965

I had more or less no idea what this movie was until about a half hour before I left to go see it.  PaulT and I haven't been able to hang much lately, so when he pitched going to see an Orson Welles movie I'd only heard of here and there, I said "yeah, sure!".  Because (1) hanging out with PaulT is always a good time and (2) I am truly trying to weight the number of movies I watch this year that are new to me at something like 70%.  Thus, I'm trying to be game for anything pitched my way, especially if it'll include a beer with a pal.

At this point, I am still not sure if this movie is called Falstaff or Chimes at Midnight or Falstaff (Chimes at Midnight).  I do know it was released in 1965.  It was not well regarded or received upon its release, and it doesn't get much play out there.

It's a strange adaptation of Shakespeare, and I actually asked my boss a few questions Thursday as she has a Masters from UT in English, and did her thesis on some aspect of Shakespeare, and my familiarity with The Bard is exceedingly limited.  Welles plays Falstaff, a recurring character in Shakespeare's plays, specifically Henry IV Parts 1 and 2, as well as The Merry Wives of Windsor.   I haven't seen any of these as movies or on stage, nor have I read them.  To me, Falstaff is an operatic character and one I mostly equate with Thor's buddy, Volstagg.  And, at that, I haven't thought much about the character other than that by my late 50's, I expect to be referred to as Falstaffian in stature and temperament.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Happy Birthday, Ida Lupino

Today is the birthday of Ida Lupino, born this day in 1918.

If you've never heard of Lupino, now is the time to look her up.  An actress from toddlerhood, Lupino appeared in dozens of movies and TV shows, alongside Bogart (High Sierra) and a host of other notables, and was wildly talented, but somehow never passed into modern ideas of classic-film royalty.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Today Marks the Passage of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and JP "The Big Bopper" Richardson into The Infinite

We've written before about our appreciation of Buddy Holly, Texas native and pioneer of Rock n' Roll.  I know far less of the work of Ritchie Valens and JP "The Big Bopper" Richardson, but they're still household names in 2016, which is remarkable.

Even if you don't know their names, if you grew up in the U.S. outside of Amish country, you should know their music.

Today marks the day when Holly, Valens and Richardson died in a plane crash in the snowy fields of the Midwest, way back in 1959.

In Defense of Bizarro: Me Am Think Bizarro Is Worst Character Ever

So, I watched Monday evening's episode of Supergirl on CBS, and while heartened that the episode introduced the idea of Bizarro for a new generation, I'm also wondering what they're leaving for Superman himself at this point, or what they think Superman has been up to as they keep introducing all of his villains on the show like they've never been around before.

But, no harm no foul.  

If I took exception to the episode, it was that we had a BINO.  Bizarro In Name Only.

Good-bye!  Me am not comics version of Bizarro-Girl!

If you've unfamiliar with Superman's sometimes enemy/ sometimes pal, Bizarro, well, firstly, I pity you.  Secondly, in the original comics, Bizarro was an imperfect duplicate of Superboy and, soon, Superman.  The angular-faced misfit was a perfect fit with the bi-polar nature of Superman's Silver Age adventures.

In the wake of the Senate hearings and the installation of the Comics Code Authority - we ended Superman threatening people and hurling them around violently and the comics explored what it meant for Superman to be the Last Son of Krypton as well as a Superman with time to kill since crime was abruptly held in check.  The Man of Steel was now having a good laugh moving the Eiffel Tower around to mess with Lois one story, and in the second feature was openly weeping about the fate of his birth parents.

Equal parts clown, monster, hero, villain, misunderstood child and wreckless menace, Bizarro was the wild card in the Superman deck in an era of Superman comics littered with Robot Supermans, Supergirls, Super Cats and Dogs, King Kongs with Death Laser Eyes and routine occurrences of Superman being turned into a baby.  I haven't even gotten to Jimmy Olsen's Silver Age lifestyle and all that insanity.  And, yet, it all fit together pretty well.

Bizarro first appeared as a one-off in Superboy #68, but soon re-appeared in the mainline Superman titles where he gained his own supporting cast and planet.  Hell, yes, he did.

Monday, February 1, 2016

We watched "Tabu" by F.W. Murnau! Read the review at Texas Public Radio

The blogger who won't shut up writes about a silent movie!  Go on over to Texas Public Radio for the post.

Happy Birthday to Ms. Sherilyn Fenn

Happy Birthday to actress Sherilyn Fenn.  She's been great in some great movies and good in some bad movies and I was as stunned as the next person to see her combatting Bigfoot in the accurately titled 2012 SyFy/ Asylum movie, Bigfoot.

You may know her as Audrey Horne from cult TV series, Twin Peaks, making sweaters and saddle shoes a very good idea to high-school-me.

I am thrilled to say it seems she's returning to the role when the show returns late this year or early next year.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

We Watch "Grease: Live!"

I'm not exactly what you'd call a "musical theater guy", but I don't turn my nose up at a good musical on screen nor stage.  And, frankly, I kind of think it's weird that we're at a point in history where people singing through a story is suddenly seen as "unrealistic" when the combo of song and story has been a major force in storytelling in almost every culture.  If you watch anything but documentaries, your argument that people don't just break out into song is an artificial construct and you don't like artificial constructs in your story, your argument is invalid.*

Ever since the debacle that was Carrie Underwood as Maria in NBC's live broadcast of The Sound of Music, I've been chasing that high where I could find it.  My GOD, how I like a good disaster.

NBC has now also done Peter Pan, which I missed, and The Wiz, which was basically pretty much a solid performance and free of glitches or shameful moments, and had some really good performances, Queen Latifah.

But we're here to talk about Grease: Live!, which aired tonight on Fox.