Friday, August 31, 2007

Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Cole Porter Song Book

A striking two-CD set featuring arguably history's finest jazz singer singing some of the best-written American pop standards on one of jazz's most prolific labels. Ella Fitzgerald shines as the perfect interpreter of Cole Porter's bittersweet love songs on these 35 tracks from the Verve archives (x).

I wasn't sure what to post before I left, but I was trying to think of something good, which would make me feel better while I'm on my flight probably watching an ANTM marathon (I can't help it!) and drinking Diet Coke while my brain leaks out of my ears.

I remembered that Ken mentioned this album a few days back, awarding it the title of "favorite jazz vocal record." I heartily agree, ranking it in my personal top 10 albums, and I don't think many out there have anything bad to say about this record. That encouraged me to post it; I know I've posted it before, but I know that those who have it already (perhaps have the beautiful Verve Master Edition themselves) will hopefully appreciate the post, and those who haven't gotten a chance to listen to it will be able to fall in love with it.

Ella, on many songs, produced definitive versions that will never lose their reigning place in the musical landscape. Enjoy Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Cole Porter Song Book, the Verve Master Edition, with 3 alternate takes, found at the end of disc 2.
For those it applies to, have a great Labor Day weekend!

Question: Reality Show Guilty Pleasures?

I am/was typing up the next music post (it's coming!), and I mentioned ANTM, and while I'm waiting for the files to load, I thought I'd expand on that guilty pleasure. I've been toying with the idea of making a weekly reader question just for fun (and to increase reader presence on the site), so here's at least a test run.

I fly JetBlue as I am part of the program and get miles and all that jazz plus you get a television, and I know I've mentioned before that if there is an America's Next Top Model marathon on VH1 while I'm flying I will probably watch all of it. Not on purpose.

So here's the part where I admit my reality show guilty pleasures. They aren't very unique or esoteric, but I do love them so. America's Next Top Model and Celebrity Fit Club (especially 5). If they're on, I'll watch 'em. (It's hard to follow the seasons during the school year- no tv.) I can't really defend ANTM, but Celebrity Fit Club I support because it's message is one of a balanced life style (eating, exercising, moderation) rather than the Biggest Loser-type (which I've never seen) that has their contestants in the sauna for two days before weight in. I read an article in which one participant explained that he gained 30 pounds back after he started drinking water again. Not very healthy.

So: What reality shows are you secretly, or not-so-secretly, watching?

ps- The Serenity Collector's Edition is absolutely gorgeous and I heartily recommend getting it if you're a fan of the film/series.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Is my Aunt Minnie in here?

I am in merry packing hell right now! but I wanted to take a moment to say thanks, as always, for the comments. I love getting them, as you know, and I love responding just as much, but I wanted to know, for those of you who have blogs, would you rather I respond over here or over at your place or if it doesn't matter at all. I'm not sure what the etiquette is, and I'd hate to be clogging up your comment section with seeming non-sequitors. Also,I will try to get a high-caliber post up with music before I take off on Saturday (morning). But right now, if my luggage/packing was a scene from a Marx Bros movie, it would be this one, but over at my house, it's all without the haha. WATCH IT here on youtube.

Oh-kay: Which do you hate more, packing or unpacking?

Monday, August 27, 2007


I finally saw Stardust last week, and I have very mixed feelings about the film. After leaving the theater, my friend and I spent the entire time it took getting over to Carney's trying to figure out what was wrong with the film. We agreed that it was too long, that it was quite shaky at parts, that it felt toned down. I think a lot of people were concerned about how this film would turn out- elucidated by Ken over at Giant Robots Make Me Nervous, Sometimes, who pointed at the beloved nature of the book and also posted Gaiman's reading of the story, so you'd better hop on over there.

TNT was showing Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings films this weekend, and watching them made me realize what was wrong with Stardust, from a fan of the book's point of view. Jackson had the opportunity to make a serious, graceful trilogy but instead opted for prolonged battle scenes, shots of people crying a lot, Cate Blanchett being weird, and jokes about Gimli's beard and height. As you guys know, I'm not fond of the films, but having only seen the first one, I figured I should give the others a try. I caught the last half of Return of the King (and watched Matilda on Disney during commercial breaks; I have not seen that movie since it came out), and I think one shot helps explain what he could have done and what he did do. When Arwen and Aragorn finally meet, we are treated to a passionate kiss (twice) that throws out a lot of the decorum that Aragorn has displayed throughout the film and also nullifies what was a fairly nuanced performance from Liv Tyler when she appears in this film. (I haven't seen Two Towers. I understand she shows up, for some reason.) After the kiss, they smile at each other in a much more intimate and touching way that says a lot more than their eating each other's faces. If they had opted for the hug/smile, we would have gotten a more mature, calm interpretation rather than a pg-13 "this is love, kids" treatment. And as an aside, if they had here and there cut out just a few of the shots of people staring off at nothing with watery eyes, I don't think the film would have had to have been 3 hours long.

Throughout the films, and throughout Stardust, you can feel and identify the effort to tone things down, to make it more appealing to a younger group. While I don't object to this in general, nor to great big fantasy films, if you have such fantastic source material that could give you a magical, dark film, it's a shame the opportunity is passed up. (You know it's a problem if you're opting for the Bakshi version.) Perhaps if we are showing the battles for the violence and devastation rather than how awesome it is that the elf (the one who bothers to show up) can climb up elephants and shoot the baddies. You get the idea. I want scary, not action-packed. Decisions made by Vaughan and Jackson work for Harry Potter and Narnia movies. They ring false when bringing Gaiman or Tolkien's work to the screen. (Though I noticed Jackson was able to strike a good balance between scary-action-fun-tragic in King Kong, which I thoroughly enjoyed) so I'm not sure why LotR turned out the way it did.)

My friend said that she had hoped they would make Stardust with the same approach that you find in Pan's Labyrinth, and I think that sums up a lot of hopes for this film. What we have is an admittedly fun movie that has glossed over the delightful and macabre details of the original, like the death of the unicorn, the leaves, even the simple fact that Tristan's sticking his hand in the fire burned his hand. A high body count does not a dark movie make. If Vaughan had give us a simpler, more stylized (in the direction of Vess) movie, it could have worked. Instead, we have a huge film that feels too big for the original story and with casting that is suitable for a great big movie but not for the source. In terms of criticism confined to the film as a film, I would say it is too long and feels too epic, but there are some good occasions of humor and some nice visuals.
Bride also didn’t have a pair of romantic leads who seem more interested in their clothes than each other (x).
This is nothing like The Princess Bride, and the comparison are confusing. As reviewer Ethan Alter says, "Mr. Vaughn, I know The Princess Bride and your take on Stardust ain’t no Princess Bride."

Friday, August 24, 2007

Hot Fuzz Soundtrack

I know, I know-- another VA soundtrack? But this one's a winner. I finally saw Hot Fuzz two weeks ago after telling myself that I'd go see it for the entire duration of its theater run.

One of the greatest parts is the NWA and its sinister, cult-militia characterization. I come from a lovely little town full of terrible homeowner groups, mostly concerned with how houses look because they think they know what looks good. While property values are a valid concern, there is no reason to be fascistic (and occasionally racist) about it, especially if your house is already ridiculous on its own. (Remember, I'm from LA, land of pseudo-Spanish-what were you thinking - it doesn't look authentic it looks like shit- style)

A recent debacle was a group of families claiming they wanted to block what they called "creeping mansionization" on their street by taking issue with an already approved Korean family's plans to build a large house to accommodate their family, which included grandparents and a relative who would look after the house while the homeowners were away on their frequent business trips. I've been up and down the street in question; the houses are already big and already hideous; the new one is no different.

The group decided that they were going to participate in legalized harassment and take the matter to the nearly always idiotic Planning Commission whose credentials and decisions have never suggested they should hold their positions. Like many people, I hold a grudge against the commission. My parents are both architects and have had to deal with these guys a few times. So seeing those types of righteous people being brought to violent justice in Hot Fuzz was more fun than it should have been :)
There was a bit earlier that you missed when I distracted him with a cuddly monkey, and I said "Playtime's over" and I hit him with the Peace Lily.
The soundtrack is great. My favorites are, as you'll probably guess, "Goody Two Shoes" and T.Rex's "Solid Gold Easy Action" (just try to keep still while that thing is playing). The film starts off with the Adam Ant song, and how can you go wrong if the (almost) first thing you hear is a serious British man babbling about wacky qualifications with Goody Two Shoes's cheeky intro in the background, ending visually with Simon Pegg being stabbed in the hand by Father Christmas? Also on there are the Kinks, the Fratellis, XTC, even some Robert Rodriguez. The songs have the dialogue over them, but it isn't too distracting.
A friend whose uncle is a police officer in London told her that they actually will move around/out those who are doing too good of a job!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Summertime with Ella Fitzgerald

It's August. We've had a mild summer, but last week, bam!- the heat hit and hasn't let up. It's now too hot to drive with the windows down. So here's some cool music for those hot days. Not perfect for driving, but great for sitting there with your iced tea/boba nai-cha/Lollicup thing/beer/whatever while you yell at your dog or in the evening while you're watering the lawn.

Ella Fitzgerald, who received thirteen Grammy Awards during her career, boasts one of the greatest voices ever, and her playful delivery, purity, and flexibility ensure that she'll remain the queen.

"Man, woman or child, Ella is the greatest of them all."

Here's the album Summertime- including the seductive title track, "Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea", "Something's Gotta Give," and "Miss Otis Regrets."
Enjoy, and stay cool!

[picture source]

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Hump Day Ego Boost

A few times during freshman year, the roomie would play this song quite loudly right before we had to start a paper. And halfway through the week is the hardest part, so play this song really really call-the-police loud, then march right out into that great big harsh world and be your bad ass self. But don't trip on the way out.
. . . is featured in Kill Bill Vol 1. You can check out the clip here. It was first used in film Another Battle (x). The two films used music quite spectacularly to their advantage, and this instance, along with Vol 2's use of the theme from A Fistful of Dollars (I think? when Budd shoots Beatrix?), explains how crazy music can make a film.

"Top 10 Worst Junk Foods"

I hope everybody had a drink (or two. . . or three) to Joe. I had an ice cream sundae for 'im (not true- we just needed something to follow those hot dogs). Speaking of which. . . According to this site (?), these are the top 10 worst junk foods. All plausible, but at the same time, nothing new. There was a list here, but it had things I didn't know much about, and alcohol made it in at #4. This one could only count a Starbucks drink as a "runner-up," and I know I'm not the only one who considers a Wackafrappacino as a heavier hitter than, say, pretzels. Which is to say, these are hardly the 10 Commandments.

10. Fruit drinks. But remember, you can get sugar free cranberry juice & I do love Trader Joe's applejuice.
9. White bread. I've never have Wonderbread. . . better work on that. I always get grainy bread. The more grains the better! I'm all the way up to 12. I should amend that. I get whatever bread is leftover at Target after the Sunday morning madhouse stampede that wipes out entire shelves and leaves broken bodies up and down the aisles. Wait- anybody out there had that Asian white bread that's huge and fluffy like pillows and calls itself something like "British Bread"? I love that stuff.
8. Doughnut. I love donuts. I prefer Krispy Kreme Devil's Food Cake, and any old-fashioned chocolate with chocolate glaze.
7. Decaffeinated coffee. Why are you drinking coffee if it's decaf? Silly.
6. Pop. Haha. We say soda here.
5. Diet pop. If I'm drinking soda, it's Diet Coke. With a (real) lime. I love my Diet Coke.
4. Sugary breakfast cereals. My very favorites: Lucky Charms. It turns my milk pale green :)
3. Deep-dish pizza. I'm not sure if they mean take-out or frozen? I don't usually go for this, anyway. I'm a Numero-Uno and CPK girl.
2. Ice cream. I had a peppermint candy sundae with hot fudge and nuts and whipped cream today. Better than sex.
1. French fries and potato chips. Chips stick to my teeth but I will eat french fries. Especially with seasoning salt.
I'm not doing well: 7 out of 10. But what's important is moderation. All those Greek epics are built around the moral of moderation (if Patroklos hadn't been a dumbass and put on Achilles' armor and overextended himself, if Hektor had listened to wifey, if Odysseus hadn't been a dumbass and screamed his name to the cyclops, Oedipus had stopped ragging on the blind dude and let things be) and food should be approached in the same way. Now I want to make brownies with a cheesecake swirl. Which reminds me, I need to post the pictures of the gazillion cupcakes I made for a party. Mini cupcakes are cuter than babies.

I'm not sure what the point of this post was. Howsabout. . . Life Lessons from the Complete Functional and Extremely Wise Kids at Noise Annoys.

Coming "tomorrow": Some cool music for a hot day. . .

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Punk Rock Warlord Birthday Party

Happy birthday, Joe.
Review from Graham C Rodger, who says-
Exotic Widescreen Panoramic Music For Lovers And Punks:
Fans of Joe Strummer and The Clash will already be familiar with some of his more romantic and atmospheric musical explorations. Tracks such as "Rebel Waltz" on Sandanista, "Sean Flynn" on Combat Rock, "Sleepwalk" on Earthquake Weather and "Mondo Bongo" on Global-A-Go-Go all share a common vibe - lyrical and beautiful - which is sadly overlooked whenever people write or talk about Joe's music.

. . . It inhabits similar musical and thematic territory to albums such as "Straight To Hell" and "Earthquake Weather", but in my opinion "Walker" is far superior - an overlooked gem.

The music on this CD is mostly instrumental, with Joe providing the vocal on a few tracks, including the wonderful "Unknown Immortal". "Walker" takes us on an exotic journey through Central and South American music, with Joe's passion and rough edges blending perfectly (just as Alex Cox mixes old and new references in the movie - Zippo Lighters, Cadillacs, Vietnam choppers, revolutionaries...) so we end up with a cocktail that is truly satisfying. Special mention must be given to Zander Schloss, whose guitar playing is exceptional throughout.

. . . Listen to this CD on a hot and sultry evening... look up at the stars and remember Joe Strummer.
And for your viewing pleasure, my two favorites: Straight to Hell (here, with the Mescaleros) and Johnny Appleseed (Hellcat records vid).

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Best of Cock Sparrer

What the hell. Let's go the whole 9 yards. (On the origin of the phrase, check out The Straight Dope, even though they shoot down my favorite theory, the one regarding the machine gun belt. I'm afraid that was a pun. Shame on me.)

Ugh, I'm tired. I was hoping to catch Captain Blood on television tonight, but I'm not gonna make it. I just watched a documentary on Errol Flynn. They don't make 'em like THAT anymore.

In which. . .

I get fired. On my last day of work. Ha!

Here's something I'm learning. Don't argue with men in ties, with men with earpieces, with men who are taller than you and who are getting paid more than you. These lovely beasts like to power trip. Wowzer.

Story: Other girl and I are sent to the front gate to take pictures, and we ask for the free lunchboxes they are handing out. They nice people oblige and we stash them behind the planters. Maybe 15 mins later some "security guards" (not the ones who look like security guards, but the ones who look like they think they're Secret Service agents) come by, and one spots the lunchboxes (very cute little things, by the way) and picks them up. I go over and say, "Scuse me, those are ours." The taller security guard, whose name I don't manage to see, says, "Do you have a ticket for them?" I go, "No. . . do we need them?" He goes, "Yes, and if you don't, it's stealing. What this is is stealing." So I go, "Okay, and turn around and mutter (which is where this was my fault), "All real generous."

Two things: First, this is DODGER STADIUM second only to DISNEYLAND-- a hot dog is $5, a beer is $11. Seats- don't even ask. An illustration- even down in field level (the seats closest to the field) when the suits come down to deliver things to the blissful fans in the box seats, they walk straight down the aisle, and only when they enter the box seats area do they crouch down so they don't get in the important people's way. So when I muttered about the infinite generosity, I was referring to the establishment, not the specific guards. Second, as I'm sure you all know, if you get riled up, you get riled up. A man who decides to be patronizing from the start it not going to be making many friends. I've got a terrible temper, perhaps exacerbated by my background? My mother is Taiwanese, and the island is known for a governing body that has brawls on the floor all the time (that's the way to do it- look at those ladies in cardigans). Then we've got the New Yorker/Southern Irish-American (I specify that because it's a step apart from the plastic paddy thing when you're qualifying it as a group, "Irish American," within the American landscape) Catholicism, drinking, and flaring tempers. Wouldn't hold up in court, though.

So by that point, it's clear this isn't about the lunchboxes. Security guard 1 turns around and goes, "Was that sarcasm?" [This is where it becomes their fault. As professionals and as the ones in charge of the situation, they should have dropped it.]

Me: [eyes wide] No.
SG#1: Because if that was--
Me: No, it wasn't.
SG#1: [Starts to give me a talk on how it's stealing. Again. And then this is where it got weird. He puts his hand up and goes-] You hafta understand.
Me: [When he doesn't say anything] What? Understand what?
SG#1: That it is stealing, Bridget. [I hate having a name tag.]
Me: Well, the lunchboxes are back in your hands so I don't see why it's an issue anymore. [He's not gonna get an apology for originally asking for them.]
SG#1: You hafta understand. [Again, goes nowhere with it, just stands there. It was like he wanted me to write on the blackboard "I will not steal" 100 times. It was weird.]
Me: Understand what? [In case it was something new.]
SG#1: That it is stealing.
SG#2 [Whose name was Tim?]: [Says something about doing our jobs.]
Me: Okay, guys. I understand you don't make the policy, so I hope you realize I wasn't referring to you.
SG#1: You need to understand. [Arrrgh. Still isn't deigning to finish a sentence.]
Tim: [I really wasn't listening to him. I was trying to stare down SG#1 and his reflective sunglasses. Something about fans. Dealing with fans? Angry fans angry with them?]
Me: [to Tim] Okay, well, fine. Perhaps I was taking out my frustration on the fans out on you, and I apologize.

And that was it. I was pissed. Turns out SG#1 gave the other girl shit on Saturday, too. Ooh, surprise. Next thing I know, I've been asked to leave by my supervisor (very sympathetic) who adds that one of the other ladies will come to work and buy a ticket so she can get, say, the free bobblehead, and they still won't give it to her.

So here's me reflecting on it. . . First, my fault for originally muttering after they had turned their backs. Ooops. But once it broke down into a clear powertrip, there was no turning back. Second, as my boss pointed out, the guard should have simply said, "Employees are not allowed to take the freebies," and that would have been that. I do not react with sarcasm and grumble-grumble if things are carried out in a reasonable tone and manner. I swear I don't. Third, is it GREAT how to 6 foot gorillas in ties were so upset that I gave them a little lip that they called up some manager to complain about this little 19 yr old 5 foot 5 in (I saw I'm five-six on my license :p) even though they came out on top? Fantastic! And lastly, I even apologized at the end. I really don't like giving a worker shit about something. But at the same time, I don't start things. And based on these guards' fascinating procedure, I should have complained about the asshole ice cream vendor who kept muttering about me the other day and gotten him fired.

I had been listening to the Pistols on the way to work and came back listening to them, and I was like, hey blog post, good way to vent, but I better pair it with some music, and posting the Pistols would just seem petty and y'all have it already, anyway. So here's Cock Sparrer's "Because You're Young", mostly because I think (fondly) of it as "Because You're Young, DUMBASS." Thas me :]

Did I learn a lesson? Well, besides the obvious one, I also learned if you're gonna be an idiot and make trouble for those who richly deserve it. . . do it on your last day there. My real regret is that I didn't get to say bye to the friends I made- some great and very funny people there, especially the loge ushers I go to know- cos I had to hustle out quick-quick.

Good thing they didn't find out I caught a ball Andre Ethier threw the other day when I was working field level, infuriating most of the people around me, except the guys who were so drunk they thought the ball was somewhere in the seats.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Friday Night Blah

I requested work off tonight because the little sister is leaving for her freshman year of college tomorrow, so we went out to dinner and now we're back. I'm doing a few things right now: wandering around the house in pajama pants and a choir hoodie; watching the little sister run around frantically doing all her last minute packing; watching the game; muttering Oh Juan Pierre, cos I love to see him bopping around each base cos he just can't wait to steal second, and all of that in his cute knee-high blue socks; doing all this stiffly because I did something weird to my back two days ago. I know, first a cold, and now I'm throwing out my back. I think I did it while doing something very silly. I'll let you figure out what, with three hints: I have taken bellydancing lessons (fun, highly recommend it), my teacher had a buncha tattoos and a car with a Social D and Bad Religion bumper stickers, and I was watching Law & Order when I hurt my back. Doesn't make sense to me, either.

Here's a quick Dinah Shore post. Have a fun Friday and a lovely weekend.
Thanks to Lil C for the link! Don't forget to scroll down and share your favorite Princess Bride moment, and as always, a big thanks to the two champs who already have (you know who you are).

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Promised Fantasy Post #2: Willow OST

I guess we should get this out of the way: I love Willow. I think it's a film you had to have seen when you were a kid to continue enjoying it as an adult. This a) means I'll never like Labyrinth, probably, and b) explains why my father never wanted to watch Willow (over and over again).

This post is slightly celebratory because after what must be 5 years of trying to do it, I have finally finished reading Chris Claremont's ("and George Lucas") Chronicles of the Shadow War. The books (three of 'em) are the continuation of the Willow story, except for a few things. It's located on another continent, Willow has changed his name to Thorn, and Elora is all grown up and silver and- y'know, I don't even know. The books are nothing like the film, serious high fantasy. It feels like a separate series with borrowed names.

We all love Chris Claremont to death for his spectacular X-Men run, but the man writes the most precise, nuanced, long, and anal descriptions of everything. At first I thought that was why these books took so long to get through, but I began to realize that wasn't really it. First was that I bought the books as I ran across them, which meant by the time I got my hands on the second book, I couldn't remember a thing from book 1. And so on. (The Dodgers just won. I think I should stop going to the games and bringing them bad luck.) But I think what makes the books seems so long and confusing is Claremont's tendency to launch into huge descriptions using terms and settings that he has not yet introduced, and then explaining what is going on after the fact. It makes starting each book something of a task, but once you get into the swing of things, and once you realize that Elora is not going to stop doing the irritating song & dance thing, it gets easier to read, and the world building becomes very enjoayable. Claremont (and Lucas) have created an intricate setting, and if you like your fantasy worlds ridiculously fleshed out, then you'll love Claremont's books. And I should say that his descriptions, while being crazy-hardcore-dense, allow for very clear mental images as you're reading.

Horner's soundtrack (sorry, I'm too tired for clever transition sentences that high school teachers tell us to write, like, Even while you're reading the books, you can hear Horner's soundtrack in your mind. . . just like you heard it. . . while watching the film?) is rousing, fun, and a great big brassy adventure score. Fans of soundtracks in general while get a kick out of this one. The downside are the track lengths, ranging from 5 minutes to a whopping 18.
You can also check out the unreleased music, available for download in .rm format from here, but soundclips from the film and thus has the sound effects and dialogue.

[Picture Source]
(Anyone out there a fan of this film also, or is it just crickets chirping? :p)

Promised Fantasy Post #1: The Princess Bride OST

Scaling the Cliffs of Insanity, Battling Rodents of Unusual Size, Facing torture in the Pit of Despair. - True love has never been a snap.

As Ken pointed out, the 2 promised posts were something of a tall order, and if you can imagine me raving with fever: "I'll do TWO posts today-- You bet yer bottom dollar I will-- oh! Golden zebras are out on the front lawn--" &c, &c. . . that's probably what happened.

Ha. Well, in all seriousness, work has been pretty tough this week thanks to a heat wave and grumpy Dodgers fans (on account of our losing). My job is to walk up and down stairs harassing fans all game long, so as you can imagine, it hasn't exactly been fun. I was lucky enough tonight to get a call from the boss telling me that we're overstaffed tonight and there won't be a big crowd, so here I am, at home, having watched my L&O while uploading the files and watching the Dodgers lose on television rather than at the hot sweaty stadium with peanut shells stuck to my shins. Wait- overworked, cute as a button Russell Martin (55, C) just hit a homerun. We'll see what happens.

The Princess Bride soundtrack, by Mark Knopfler (Dire Straits), is really very lovely. Knopfler does an excellent job and shows an impressive flexibility; his score is able describes the themes of the film perfectly: the (vital) gentle love theme, the humor and playfulness, and the elements of swashbuckling fantasy. The only downside is that this score would sound much better-- more lush, gorgeous, and intricate-- if it got the full orchestration it deserves. As for Willy DeVille's end credits song, the lyrics of which were used for the posters for the film-- I have a problem with it, though I'm not sure what. It is set to the love theme, and that's fine; his voice doesn't especially bother me. I think it is the lyrics, with winning observations like "as real as the feelings I feel," making for a song that I want to like, but feel a little embarrassed by.
For those who haven't seen the film, you absolutely must rent it. It is a universally beloved movie. If you haven't read the book, which was written by screenwriter William Goldman (who also wrote Butch Cassidy) then you certainly considering giving it a go. It's an intensely fun and pleasurable read, with sparkling details and a healthy dose of humor. I can almost guarantee if you love the film you'll love the book. And if/when you get to the part in the book where the author advises you to write to the publisher for the reunion scene, do it. They actually send you a letter back.

[Picture Source]

Anybody have a favorite Princess Bride moment/quote? One great moment is when Humperdinck, on his way to get tied to his chair, grabs his sleeves (nobody in the film wears their sleeves properly) and does a little hop skip. You hafta see it to get it (it comes at the end of this clip), but it's a classic moment, and one of the little gracenotes that makes this movie so fabulous.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Inevitable Harry Potter Post

[Image from the amazing & high-larious acciobrain!]

Ok, here's the quick-n-easy Noise Annoys review of the 7th Harry Potter book, which I finally read.

I. There were 3 characters who weren't allowed to die:
1. Snape
2. Neville
3. Dudley
Snape totally kicked the bucket in a totally lame way but AT LEAST it means Alan Rickman will get some screen time and we were all right that he wasn't a baddie. Whoopee.

II. Harry is incapable of character development/Rowling can't write his character development.

III. Epilogue: Wtf. How awkward was seeing characters 19 years later talking in the exact same way they did during the rest of the books.

IV. High Points:
1. Bellatrix vs Mrs Weasley
2. Snape
3. Neville kills snakey
4. Dudley misses his cuz
Which is to say, Lots of fun to read but better to sum up: JK Rowling has been promising people are gonna die cos Voldy is pure evil so the first beloved thingie to go is THE OWL. Oh god please no??? Then every mystery ever is sorta revealed while Harry shows amazing incompetence (Ministry scenes) and our heroes spend the entire book CAMPING in the forest until they get in the big huge battle at the end with the totally awkward death sequences and then for the epilogue which just tells you that they all got married and had a million annoying, unfortunately named kids.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Old Glory Insurance/Kooperativa

Hi kids! Sorry about the long lapse in posting. I have been sick with whatever it was I had at the beginning of summer- I ended up going home early from work because I lost my voice and people were starting to look at me funny when I tried to ask them if I could take their picture, so I spent the next week moping around the house, watching too much Law & Order, and baking, in an effort to infect the rest of my family.

Cause of Death in Persons Over 50 Years of Age: Heart Disease, 42% - Robots, 58%

I used to only watch Law & Order: SVU until they turned it into a soap opera. But now, with TNT's mini-L&O marathons, I actually have something to watch during the day when I'm sick. So TNT and shoddy writing on SVU have turned me to the side of the original L&O episodes, where I can get my daily dose of random opening conversations, dry Orbachian humor, and Sam Waterson never smiling or looking or acting remotely happy.

That's probably one of the reasons why SNL's Old Glory Insurance skit is so great. This clip, from 1995, is the famous fake robot insurance ad featuring Sam Waterson, and was made so long ago that 1) I have no idea who the host of this episodes was (Laura Leighton?), and 2) it is actually funny. Make sure to keep an eye out for Sam Waterson trying very hard not to smile.

And check out this real insurance ad from Kooperativa. I left my Czech dictionary at school, though. I have the world's worst Czech dictionary. It doesn't tell me the gender of any of the words.

Coming "tomorrow": 2 fantasy themed posts.

Friday, August 03, 2007

This is England OST

I saw the trailer for This is England about a month ago and decided to check it out when it came out. The release date was today but I think I'll wait a few weeks to see if it goes into wider release so I don't have to drive down to the Nuart or wherever it is showing to see it. On first look it seems like a British History X/Brighton Rock adjusted for Thatcherian England, centered around themes of hardship and alienation fueling dedication to a certain movement (not to say that the two films portray the same thing), the whole disaffected youth circus, but the reviews I've been reading stress more the coming-of-age aspect and the romanticism and comedy of the film.

So hopefully I'll get to see the film eventually. (For those of you out there who have seen it, would you recommend it?) For the time being, the soundtrack's pedigree and selection is outstanding, as the product description points out:
Set in a grim coastal town in 1983, This Is England is the story of a summertime school holiday, those long weeks between terms where life changing events can take place. Over the course of the summer holiday Shaun finds fresh male role models in the local skinhead scene who take him in. With his new friends, Shaun discovers a world of parties, first love and the joys of Dr Martin boots, the course is set for a rite of passage that will hurl Shaun from innocence to experience. Personally chosen by the film director Shane Meadows, the brilliant soundtrack includes hits from Dexy's Midnight Runners, The Specials and Soft Cell as well as Ska classics from Toots & The Maytals and The Upsetters. Also featured is dialogue clips from the film and a atmospheric score by contemporary composer Ludovico Einaudi. Universal. 2007.
The I'm not all too fond of the Smiths cover; despite the potential for beauty that Smiths covers could achieve thanks to the general quality of Smiths songs, when you cover Morrissey and can't convey that subtle, low-key selfishness, you just ain't cutting it.
On another note, McCrank's Juke, a blog I have quite enjoyed visiting, has come to the end of its run. McCrank has always offered an amazing selection of live sets, B-sides, EPs, and rarities of top quality music, and the archives are still open, so if you've never been over there, make sure to drop by and look around, and leave your comments. McCrank will continue the excellent work as a guest at Sucheon & the Revolutions.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

The Clancy Bros & Tommy Makem: In Person at Carnegie Hall

Quick post here before I head off to the Dodgers game, which is the first game this summer that I am attending for pleasure and not work, which means I don't have to park in Lot 13! SF vs LA; hopefully Bonds will go down this season as that guy who spent the last two-three months of the season not breaking any records.

Tommy Makem passed away yesterday at the age of 74.

Coming "tomorrow" (all time is officially all relative in the Noise Annoys zone): This is England

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