Thursday, September 27, 2012

Ann Miller, what are you doing?

The more you stumble upon images of Ann Miller, the less any of the pictures make sense. She wasn't the sort of woman Hollywood glamour photographers liked to pose in recline upon a divan.

Sometimes I think they just didn't know what to do with her.  Like the time they put her on a scooter with a fishing rod and reel.

What are you doing, Ann Miller?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Signal Event: Anyone Want to Catch a Frankenstein Double-Bill on October 24th?

Holy cats, people.

On October 24th, Fathom Events will be showing both of the James Whale directed Frankenstein movies at cinemas all across the country.

Basically, the movie theater will show a high-resolution digital copy of the movie in full cinematic sound, etc...  and you sit in your theater seat and eat popcorn and whatnot and know you're sharing the same experience with people all across the country.

So, a double-bill?  Well, yes.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

How's Everybuddy Doing? Rambling about nothing.

I don't really have a topic tonight.  We've been all over the map of late, when it comes to content, and it's been a wild ride watching the hit count on various posts.

We did curiously great on the Christopher Reeve birthday post, the Amanda Palmer coverage got RT by Ms. Palmer herself, so we're at 460+ hits right now (a normal post gets between 20-40), and the Oreo Candy Corn taste test did shockingly well with almost 200 hits.  And some comics stuff does okay, too.  Opera?  Not so much (which is weird on a site that's usually about movies and science fiction and comics).

But, as has often driven followers of this site nuts, I have no specific agenda with The Signal Watch, so you're not going to see me talk a whole lot about one thing.

Reminder: Register to VOTE (in the U.S. of A.)

It's National Voter Registration Day!

No matter your political stripe, if you live in the U.S., you've had your 18th birthday, and you aren't in prison, it's time to put on your Civic Duty pants and get to the polls.

Seriously, people.  For most of humanity's history, "democracy" hasn't really been an option.  It's been mostly thugs assuring you that the state or some deity has instilled them with magical wisdom and to question that wisdom is a pretty good reason to cut off your head before you become a problem child.

Not so in America!  Here, we just yell at each other in all caps in the comment sections of newspaper articles or post disagreeable comments to one another's facebook walls.

We may forego the right to private political opinions at seemingly every juncture, but in Rome you had to publicly cast your vote.  Which sometimes ended very badly for the guy getting beaten up or murdered as he left the polling location.  That @#$% was CRAZY.

So.  The election is coming.  Time is short.  You have to be registered a full month ahead of the election, which is November 6th, by the way.

Today is the 60th Birthday of Christopher Reeve

Today would have been the 60th Birthday of actor and activist Christopher Reeve.

Like most people, I am most familiar with Reeve thanks to his work in the four Superman movies and then his work around spinal cord injuries following the equestrian accident which paralyzed him.

If you've ever discussed Superman media with me, you know the esteem with which I hold Reeve's performance in the Superman movies.  I still find his take to be my touchstone for how I think of the alien who finds the joy in putting on the suit and helping others and who can never understand the forces that drive men like Lex Luthor.  I could go on, but suffice it to say, I'm a fan.

Reeve passed in 2004 after a valiant battle with his paralysis and associated ailments.  He became the premier voice for spinal cord research in the United States and his foundation is still active today.  Reeve had a dream of walking again, and I don't  think I was alone in believing he might just pull it off because he so believed it was possible.

For all of us who grew up thinking of Reeve as Superman, to see him take on the challenges dealt to him was an awe inspiring sight, and while you always know that's just an actor wearing the cape, it was a Superman who turned adversity into inspiration.

You can donate to The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation and help keep the memory of our own Man of Steel alive.

In addition to his work as Superman, I quite like:

Somewhere In Time (1980)
Noises Off (1992)
The Remains of the Day (1993)
Village of the Damned (1995)
and his role as Dr. Virgil Swann on TV's Smallville.

You can see my comments on the day of his death in 2004 here.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Today is the Birthday of World War II Ace Major Richard Bong

Today, Richard Bong would have been 92 years old.

Richard Bong does not have time for your awards.  He has planes to shoot down.

World War II was an odd time for air combat.  The mechanized age had come into full swing, and the planes were far superior to the bi-winged aircraft of WWI.  Today's pilots are sitting behind 10's of millions of dollars in equipment and tend to get recruited from top universities.  During World War II, some airplanes were being assembled out of boxes on the tarmac and flown by anyone with stones enough to get behind the stick.

Richard Bong was one of nine children from a small town in Wisconsin.  He was attending a teacher's college when, in 1938, he signed up for the Civilian Pilot Training program (that's age 18) where he trained under Barry Goldwater of all people.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Nobody has been killed more ways or for more reasons than Thomas and Martha Wayne

editor's note:  I had called this post something about "Batman: Court of Owls", but it's not really about that, so I went back to my original title.

Many months ago when I was thinking I'd probably continue to follow DC Comics in the wake of the Nu52, I made a decision to just read the collections of Batman comics rather than single issues.  Actually, I'd been doing that for a while as I found I really could stand to wait for the trades when it came to the often ill-paced thrills of a Batman mystery unfolding.

To that end, I am now reading the first Batman New52! trade, The Court of Owls.

Thanks to Adam West, I've been a Batman fan literally since before I could talk.   Like most kids, I was somewhat unaware of the death of Thomas and Martha Wayne as a motivating factor for Bruce until I started picking up Batman comics in middle school.

Opera Watch: Siegfried from the Met (2011)

Again, I know absolutely nothing about opera, Germans, Norse/ Germanic mythology, etc...

But we did make it through four hours of Siegfried, the third in the four opera cycle by our good friend Wagner.

And, boy howdy, does a lot happen in this thing.

Siegfried is the child of the lovers/ twin siblings (I KNOW) from Die Walküre, the preceding episode.   He has grown to manhood under the watchful eye of Mime, the brother of the Nibelung, Alberich, from Das Rheingold. Our hero is both preternaturally brave and oddly unworldly, having had grown up in the woods among bears and wolves.

Singing AND Dragon Slaying!

I'll leave it to you to Google the plot, but in this installment the use of the rotating arms of the set and integrated visuals reached a new level of sophistication, with interactive digital leaves, a singing, 3D bird and imaginative use of the shifting set.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Superman's Bad Day

this made me give a good nerd-snorty-chuckle

So, sometimes I work on this manuscript

Hey, it's the weekend, which means nobody is paying attention.  So I'm going to talk about something that has nothing to do with anything we usually cover.

When I was a college freshman I wrote a 140 page manuscript in WordPerfect, I believe.  It's since been lost to time, formats and a lack of what we in the digital libraries world refer to as "forward migration".  And, frankly, I'm totally okay with that.  I gave up looking for a copy of it as far back as 2006.

I don't even really remember what the manuscript was about except that when I finished it I didn't really feel like it had actually been about anything at all.  I was just coughing something up.  Sure, it was a sort of novel-like thing, and it featured characters and had a beginning, middle and end.   Characters grew and changed, had conflicts, and resolved them amicably or otherwise.  But even as I wrapped it up, the lead character started echoing my own thoughts about the pointlessness of the narrative itself and the whole thing sort of ate it's own tail, which I'd like to report was a brilliant twist or comment on adolescence in the suburbs - but it was not.