Showing posts with label birthday. Show all posts
Showing posts with label birthday. Show all posts

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Sunday, August 27, 2017

A Century of Jack Kirby


You're going to see the names Jack Kirby and Jacob Kurtzberg a lot today.  Jack Kirby is the pen-name of the greatest comic artist and creator to grace this orb we call planet Earth.

Here, on the centennial of his birth (August 28th, 1917), it's possible to suggest that Jack Kirby may be one of the most important artistic and literary figures of the past 100 years.  The recognition came late, decades after his passing, and, still, his name is hardly a household word.  But the creations he unleashed upon popular culture from the 1940's to the 1990's would either be taken up directly by the public (at long last), becoming part of the parlance, or influence generations who could never produce that same spark of imagination, but built either directly or indirectly upon what he had done before.

There are Kirby bio sketches out there a-plenty (but no definitive monograph that I'm aware of), a magazine dedicated to the study and fan-splosion around his work, and Mark Evanier - who apprenticed under him - has become the living memory of his professional life while his grandchildren have taken up the cause of preserving the memory of the man.  Now there's a virtual museum (which deserves a physical location), and a charity it's worth considering giving to sometime.  And a slew of collections and books celebrating Kirby's influence and work.

Kirby was not first in when comics became a way for kids from the rougher neighborhoods of New York picked up a pencil or ink brush to start bringing in bread, but he was there really early.  He was a workman who put everything he had into the work, comic by comic, year by year, becoming better and better.  As they tell you in art-school, master the rules before you start breaking them - and that's what he did, finding his own unique style, his own way of creating action and drama, and eventually shattering what it meant to create a comics page.

Taking from mythology, from science-fiction, from films, from his colleagues and the bottomless well within, Kirby created whole universes, pockets within those universes, and held the lens to each character, bringing the internal life of gods, men and monsters to life.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Happy 99th Birthday to Katherine Johnson, NASA's "Human Calculator"


Saturday the 26th of August marks the 99th birthday of Katherine Johnson, "The Human Calculator" who was key to the early success of NASA.

I'd spend time telling you about Johnson, but suffice it to say she overcame the gender and racial discrimination of her time to become a key player in America's space race.  A physicist and mathematician, her natural ability to rapidly and accurately calculate complex equations necessary for figuring trajectories, etc... in the days when we were still doing this by hand instead of super-computer, made her an invaluable asset.

It would be only in recent years that her contributions, and those of other calculators, were made part of the bigger story of NASA.  But today, she has a really terrific movie roughly telling the story of her role in the Apollo missions in Hidden Figures starring the terrific Taraji P. Henson as Mr. Johnson.  There's building named after her at NASA.  And this happened:


So if you still don't know who she is, get thee to Wikipedia.  And take two hours to watch Hidden Figures.  It's a good movie.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Happy B-Day to The Admiral

this was during the Holidays, 2016.  Raylan is considerably bigger and chattier now.

These days The Admiral has a more important title, that of "Papa" (which, to my ear, always sounds more like "Pop-Pop" when Raylan says it).  Raylan's my nephew, so I'm not around all that often for their interactions the way Jason is, but when I do listen to my dad and Raylan, holy smokes, do I have flashbacks to how we wrangled me and Jason when we were little.  

Where my mom was all about a two-pronged approach of (a) getting us out of the house and educated by osmosis via experiences and (b) reading*, my dad was the one who couldn't leave well enough alone when we were performing mundane tasks and turned it into a lesson.

"You know how a telephone works?" you might suddenly hear.  Well, no, Dad, but I bet by the end of this conversation I will, you'd say to yourself.  This is not a complaint, by the way.  I was the only kid in my 4th Grade class who understood the principles of lift, thrust and wingshape or how radio waves work.  In middle school it was how companies and combustion engines work.  In college it was rotary engines.  I don't think we've completed the list of random stuff my dad seems to know how it works, because you never know.  Even now he's figuring out something with an artificial waterfall and pumping mechanism that I've got about a 1/3rd of the story on.

Now he's got another round of well-refined "How Does It Work?" to share with my brother's kid.  Just last week I saw him explaining gears to a 2 1/2 year old on YouTube.  Next week it'll probably be how fishtank filters work or something.

Anyway, Happy Birthday, Dad, and thanks for all the impromptu lessons that made me unbearable to my classmates but also occasionally surprisingly handy.




*so, so much reading.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Happy Birthday, Michelle Yeoh


The all-around film star is apparently celebrating her birthday today.

This year, she's also been a space captain of some sort in a cameo in Guardian of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (and what I wouldn't give for the movie suggested by the grouping there at the end) and will be a very different kind of Captain in Star Trek Discovery.

She really is... out of this world.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

100 Years of Robert Mitchum


Today marks the 100th birthday of actor Robert Mitchum, born this day 1917 in Bridgeport, Connecticut.  You hear a lot about Robert Mitchum off-screen, but there's no one else like him when he's on-screen.  TCM is running a marathon of his films in celebration.  Tune in if you got yourself some cable.

Here's to you, Bob.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Happy Birthday, Lynda Carter

Ms. Carter at the recent premier of "Wonder Woman"

Here's to Lynda Carter, who is celebrating her b-day today.

Lately it seems Ms. Carter has been particularly busy, between appearing on the CW's Supergirl as the President of the United States, to performing live (she's a well-regarded singer), to talk show appearances, to her appearance at the UN and in partnership with the Wonder Woman film.  And last year she lent her voice to a lounge performer in Fallout 4.

We're always happy to see Ms. Carter get her due.  And, of course, we hope she has a great birthday.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Today I am 42




Sycamore Trees

by David Lynch, Angelo Badalamenti and Little Jimmy Scott



I got idea man
You take me for a walk
Under the sycamore trees
The dark trees that blow baby
In the dark trees that blow

And I'll see you
And you'll see me
And I'll see you in the branches that blow
In the breeze,
I'll see you in the trees
Under the sycamore trees



Thursday, April 6, 2017

Happy 80th Birthday to Billy Dee Williams


Happy 80th Birthday to the guy who gave me very specific ideas of what a cool guy was supposed to be like when I was about 5.

Mom never did let me wear that cape.

Just noticed - Finn has Lando's blaster in The Force Awakens.


Thursday, March 23, 2017

Happy B-Day to Joan Crawford


Today marks the something-or-other birthday of Joan Crawford.  Maybe 112th.  As many actresses have done over the years, she lied about her age a few times, so it's hard to know exactly what year she was born.

I saw my first Crawford picture when they showed us Mildred Pierce in film school, and I've been a fan ever since.

I'm thrilled that it seems both the kids who are into TCM are placing Crawford in context - even my generation is lukewarm on the whole Mommie Dearest business - and now it seems FX's Feud: Bette and Joan is telling an audience about the person that was Joan Crawford (née Lucille LeSeur), and using the amazing What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? to do so ain't all bad.

She was born in San Antonio and lived in Lawton, Oklahoma - both places our own Jamie lived.  In fact, I believe Crawford's childhood home was only about two blocks from Jamie's childhood home.

If you've never seen What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?, do so, and then watch Feud: Bette and Joan.  And then watch Mildred Pierce.  And then Grand Hotel.  She's got dozens of movies in her history.  Not all of them are terrific or hold up, but it'd be nice to rehabilitate Joan Crawford's memory a bit and for her to be more than Faye Dunaway overacting.



Friday, March 17, 2017

Happy Birthday to My Brother


Today my brother, Steanso, is 43.  He is old like dirt.

At least he managed to bring these two people into our world.


That kid loves a tortilla.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Happy Birthday, Jimmy Olsen!

November 29th is, it seems, the birthday of one James Bartholomew Olsen, Superman's Pal.



It's nearly impossible to capture all the different interpretations of Jimmy, especially as he first appeared as a major character not so much in the comics - where he was an unnamed copyboy - but in radio.  In the 1950's, Jack Larson played Jimmy on The Adventures of Superman, and the character really took off.  National Comics responded by launching a comics which would run for almost two full decades, Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen.

I couldn't tell you exactly why I'm a fan of the character, but there's no question he's a fascinating character across a wide field of media.  And, yes, his comics are absolutely mind-bending as National tried to figure out what to do with the character in issues after issue.  Never underestimate the creative power of an unwinnable situation.

Even more so than Superman, Jimmy can change and bend to meet the needs of a story, so long as he's the youngest and most naive guy in the room.  And as a lead protagonist, the reader feels two steps ahead of our hero.  A lot of actors have had a lot of takes on Jimmy, and I have my favorites, but they've all brought something unique to the character.

Happy birthday, Jimmy.  I hope someone got you a cake.

Jimmy in "The Adventures of Superman"

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Happy Birthday to President Theodore Roosevelt


Happy Birthday to President Theodore Roosevelt, born October 27th, 1858.

On The Colonel's birthday, I highly recommend - before forwarding any social media with images of TR tied to a quote - try Googling that quote first.  I've been seeing a lot of false quotes attributed to the man of late.

He was a profilic writer and speaker, he was imminently quotable, but he didn't really speak in modern soundbites.  So, anyway, be careful out there.

Also, read a TR biography some time.  It'll be worth it.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Happy Birthday to Ms. Margot Kidder


Happy Birthday to Ms. Margot Kidder - the person who brought Lois Lane to life for four Superman films.

She's tops in our book, and part of why Lois Lane has become as important to our appreciation of the Superman story as capes and x-ray vision.

We're hoping Ms. Kidder has a fantastic year ahead of her.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Happy Birthday, Adam West


Happy Birthday to the great Adam West.

You can have your Ben Afflecks and Christian Bales or even your Michael Keatons.  I'll take Adam West.  My guess is - if you had to pick to have dinner with any of them, you, too, would want to dine with Mr. West.

Today Mr. West is 88 years old, still does tours and whatnot with comic-cons, and in November will see his voice applied to a cartoon version of Batman.

I don't know what to say except in, in the cowl or out - Mr. West is a hero.  Let's salute the man and wish him the best of birthdays.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Happy Birthday to Cassandra Peterson, AKA @TheRealElvira


Happy birthday to Cassandra Peterson, better known to the masses as Elvira, Mistress of the Dark.

May Ms. Peterson have a great year ahead of her!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Happy Birthday, Lauren Bacall


Today marks the 92nd birthday of actress and screen legend Lauren Bacall.  She passed in 2014, just a month shy of her 90th birthday.

I don't often post pics of Bacall because stills never seem to capture her quite right, in my opinion.  I can't really think of any other actress who strikes me exactly that way, but I've long since quit trying to find the "right" picture of someone who was lovely as a picture, sure, but who's voice and nuances of expression were what made her work so very well in movies.

Happy birthday, Ms. Bacall.