In case the near simultaneous death of Walter Cronkite and 40th anniversary of the lunar landing, in which Cronkite broke his legendary cool and voiced the enthusiasm of the entire planet, have not already filled you with enough 20th century nostalgia, here is a great set of photos that sums it all up through Uncle Walter's uniquely central perspective.
Chris Anderson, author of "Free: The Future of a Radical Price," is speaking at The Los Angeles Public LIbrary's ALOUD series, which is usually free. Except this event costs $20. But it does include breakfast!
Rick has been satisfying custom needs for stuffed squirrels in martial poses for 20 years! Where does one find materiel for a timeless rodent rebellion you ask? GI Joe! Which is probably a better recycling of those toys than the coming movie. Although I'd say it's about on par with this.
An interesting quote: “The recent success of Pixar’s ‘Up’ (well ahead of our forecasts) has
renewed investor confidence in Disney’s creative capabilities” -- a passive tautology that should in fact be worded, "We Don't Know What We're Talkign About."
Also noted: the reporter, who dutifully raised an eyebrow about how Pixar's recent prospects hadn't fared so well (and seeingly misread Box Office Mojo in the process) now writes: "Pixar has had an unbroken string of box-office successes since its “Toy
Story” revolutionized animated films in 1995."
And yet she can't help herself. "But [Pixar] has also drawn
skepticism from analysts with its risky choices of material," she adds. Indeed. There has been skepticism, like in the last, misguided article on the subject, which was wrong, and is now being corrected. This would be like writing on November 5: "Obama was elected in a near-landslide, but has drawn skepticism for lack of experience from pundits, who questioned his electability."
What I didn't expect is that his spirit would best live on through Corey Feldman:
At least Corey Feldman managed to be reincarnated out of this deal! OK for real: glad to see Ol' Feldie still has it. This is a time of healing. Although the prominent placement of Corey's Michael in the LA Times photo spread does speak to the surprising low-wattage of MJ's memorial. Who were all those people? Sure, Stevie was awesome, but I thought we would see more heavies -- Paul McCartney, Aretha Franklin, etc. Like Obama's inauguration. Instead we got some kid from Britain's Got Talent? I'm surprised Elton John didn't wheel in his piano and start singing, "Candle in the Wind." Did nobody tell him about MJ? Or maybe they didn't want Elton stealing the show at another funeral. Although to keep him out, I figure you'd need a special Anti-Elton Task Force creating a cordon sanitaire for a 2-mile radius. No wonder there were so many police down town.
Essayist Cristina Nehring wrote an essay making a forceful case for essays that make forceful cases. She wrote it last year, although I just read it this morning. For the interested belletrists among you, the quick read is rewarding!
Science Daily says that British historian Brian Regal says that Darwinian evolution killed werewolves, replacing that myth with another sylvan mystery, our old friend Bigfoot. Not sure I'm entirely buying, since the humanoid half-man is not exactly a nineteenth century construct; Europeans made wood-cuts of Wild Men in medieval times. Also, the headline makes the grabby statement, Darwin Killed Off The Werewolf, although it sounds like it was really Bigfoot. Which leads one inevitably the idea of Bigfoot versus The Wolfman, and that is something I'd life to see.
1. Quincy Jones refers to Michael Jackson plainly, but non-judgmentally, as a "man-child." 2. Beat It was devised as a "black My Sharona." 3. Michael Jackson, like Bill (or was it Ted?) thought Socrates was pronounced "So-crates" long before he ever met George Carlin.
Also I re-discovered, if I ever even know it in the first place, that Sidney Lumet directed The Wiz!
The Zombie Zeitgeist A full scale movement is on the lurch. But why the best zombie movie ever made a video game?
Believer interview with Mark Allen Digital artist and awesome gallerist Mark Allen talks about Tekken Torture Tournament and other projects where people were wired to machines and did strange things in public.
Believer interview with Marjane Satrapi Enlightening Q & A with the Persian cartoonist, memoirist, quick conversationalist in which she declares: “THE WORLD IS NOT ABOUT BATMAN AND ROBIN FIGHTING THE JOKER; THINGS ARE MORE COMPLICATED THAN THAT.”
Yeti Researcher Yet another 100-page issue of the world's top academic journal devoted scholarship about the Yeti, Bigfoot, Sasqatch, and other mystery primates worldwide. For researchers and lay audiences alike, the latest YR features a history of Sasquatch sightings in southern California, an update on the wily orang pendek of Sumatra, and a new look into Teddy Roosevelt's obsession with bagging a Bigfoot. As Editor-in-Chief, I promise you won't be disappointed.
Panda PowerPoint! I guess I don't mind being "the entertainment" when it's at Mark Allen's second annual Holiday Fry-B-Que. Presented: preliminary findings from my ongoing research into the most charismatic megafauna of all: Giant Pandas.
McSweeny's Presents: The World, Explained | Dec 9, 2006 For those who missed it, there will be more. World, Explained is going strong! Money was raised, laughs were had, and for those paying attention, small amounts of useful information about things like the aurora borealis were transmitted. Plus: Michael Cera = lovably funny. And Nick Diamonds' renditions of Dumb Dog and Hanging Tough are still in my head. As is that horribly catchy Fresh Step jam.
Jest Fest at Skylight Books Somehow I wound up hosting the 10th anniversary jubilee for Infinite Jest at Skylight Books. Because who doesn't love a jubilee, right? Despite being delirious with Hepatitis A (that's the mild, non-lethal kind; I'm not at risk for Hep B since I always go the needle share and choose clean-looking prostitutes), I managed to not mis-pronounce anyone's name and make an erudite joke and poke gentle fun at Michael Silverblatt.
McSweeny's Presents: The World, Explained | June 10, 2006 Number Three! Last one was sold out so we moved to a slightly larger theater. Andy Richter hosted, and his opening exegesis of CSI: Miami warmed the people up right. Evany Thomas presented her very scientific findings on the Secret Language of Sleep; Starlee Kine bared her neuroses to the world (or at least the 300 people in the audience); Josh Davis showed video of his 135-lb self sumo wrestling a 550-lb opera singer from San Bernardino; and Davy Rothbart closed it out with some Found Magazine magic. Grant Lee Phillips, Sam Shelton and Zooey Deschanel provided the music punctuation! I can still hear their rendition of We Are the Champions.
McSweeny's Presents: The World, Explained | Feb 11, 2006 The second in our series of precision comedy and fact-based entertainment extravaganzas benefiting 826LA. Patton Oswalt was kind enough to host, and Jon Brion joined in on the piano and guitar as thematic accompaniment. Presenters included: David Rees, Michael Colton, John Hodgman (along with his hirsuit troubadour, Jonathan Coulton), and me. Plus: a fashion show of exciting multi-user garmentry.
Little Gray Book Lecture at Galapagos How to Observe President's Day. Jonathan Coulton's technical wizardry has made this entire show available online. The summary from PRX: Sarah Vowell, John Hodgman and Joshuah Bearman on Presidents' Day, along with a fifteen-piece marching band and a new song about all forty-three presidents. My contribution? Yes, from Yeti Researcher. Again. Actually that was the first one. So I have only five stories!
July 25: TJ to LA -- A Night McSweeney's Readings I was honored to be part of a strange triptych along with Salvador Plascencia and Josh Kun. Sponsored, somehow, by La Ciudad magazine, we all packed into Beyond Baroque with no air conditions. 150 people showed at 7 o'clock on a Friday evening, which we took as a good sign of something. Sal held up and anxiously discussed drawings from his novel, Josh delivered an essay on the Dr. Moreau of Tijuana, and my shtick (again) was Pac Man and metaphysics, this time with fun slides.
October 8th: Skylight Books w/Stephen Elliott Fun times were had by all. Someone in the audience actually mistook me for an expert on the psychology human character. We ate shrimp cocktail and drank cheap wine and laughed at Bush and celebrated the certainty of right besting wrong in American democracy. A lot of good that did.