All hail Bethesda

Because I live on a hill and no trick or treaters ever come to my door, I’m going out tonight for some Halloween fun at the Griffith Park Ghost Train. For those of you lucky enough to get trick or treaters, you’re probably going to need something to entertain you if there is a lull in activity. Allow me to suggest the very spooky short film “Agnes Keedan’s Secret Plan.” You may never look at wigs or weird neighbors the same way again.

Published in: on October 31, 2018 at 4:59 pm  Leave a Comment  
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A funny thing happened on the way to the Apocalypse

I recently realized that I didn’t make part two of my “I found this bit of information while searching for some other information” list that I started in July while on a research job. That research job is now complete, and I’d rather think about anything other than the news today, so let’s finish this thing up.

  • There is a photo of Captain Kangaroo at the summit of Mount Everest; his grandson Britton put it there
  • Gary Busey was the last person killed on the TV series Gunsmoke
  • Westinghouse made a clothes dryer in the ’50s that played the song “How Dry I Am” when the load was finished
  • Robert Ardrey and Ashley Montagu were well-respected 20th century anthropologists with conflicting theories about the nature of aggression in humans. Ardrey believed aggression was innate, and Montagu believed it was learned. Perhaps less well-known: Ardrey was also a Hollywood screenwriter (credits include The Three Musketeers and Madame Bovary), and Ashley Montagu’s real name was Israel Ehrenberg but as a young man he changed it to “Montague Francis Ashley-Montagu” for some reason
  • There is no music composed by Beethoven (the human) in any of the Beethoven (dog) movies
  • “Stars and Stripes Forever” is only ever played by a circus band as a signal to personnel that a life-threatening emergency is happening and they must evacuate the audience
  • Mark Twain’s childhood hometown of Hannibal, Missouri is also the hometown of the voice of Jiminy Cricket, Cliff Edwards. Edwards died a penniless drug addict three and a half miles away from where I am writing this now
  • Singing trio The Andrews Sisters became estranged from one another in the ’50s, and Patty Andrews’ husband Wally is frequently cited as the reason for the estrangement. After LaVerne died, Patty and Maxene briefly reunited but soon separated again for reasons unknown. Upon Maxene’s death, Patty reportedly became quite distraught and Wally fell down a flight of stairs, breaking both wrists
  • A new species of iguana was discovered on Fiji after herpetologist John Gibbons watched the Brooke Shields film The Blue Lagoon and noticed some unusual specimens lurking in the background
  • 20th century composer Arnold Schoenberg was extremely superstitious and in particular suffered from triskaidekaphobia (fear of the number 13). He died on a Friday the 13th shortly before midnight
  • There is a Scottish variant of “She’ll Be Comin’ Round The Mountain” called “O Ye Cannae Shuive Yer Grannie Aff The Bus.” The song allows for you to shove your uncle Willie, your aunt Maggie, and even your paternal grandmother off the bus, but your maternal grandmother is not to be shoved off the bus
  • All-American kitsch favorite PEZ candy was invented in Austria; PEZ is a shortening of the word “pfefferminz
  • Watch this:

That ruthless but stylish pimp is none other than kindly Gordon from Sesame Street.


Available for parties, shows, picnics

Maybe this film isn’t considered a Christmas classic because there’s not nearly enough dancing squirrel in it, but I still think it’s worth a watch. Jimmy Durante gets bonus points for the joke about Krampus College.

Many thanks to Sean McNally for pointing me to this film. He knows a thing or two about squirrels.

Branded a fool

The US National Archives recently spotlighted a few educational films made for WACs in the 1970’s, and I spent the earlier part of the day watching them. The three girls featured in the films are Sandy, Marilyn and Susan. Sandy is a sad sack of potatoes, Marilyn sounds like one of the groupies in that old Alan Lorber recording, and Susan is perfect and boring.

Now, I understand that you may not have time to watch all of these films, so allow me to break them down by Sandy,  Marilyn and Susan content, and you can watch according to your girl preference.

Pleasure of Your Company:

  • Sandy: is she ever going to get to eat her salad with Russian dressing? And what happened to the roasted potatoes? Maybe she should have gone with the Andy Warhol “I only eat candy” excuse
  • Marilyn: dances and models groovy fashions, calls Captain York a swinger, writes on her hand
  • Susan: kind of makes me seasick around the seven-minute mark; boyfriend Tom is a jerk

Look Like a Winner:

  • Sandy: not enough Sandy in this one for my taste. Gets points for Sandy thinking she’s all great for waking up early. I especially love her at the 7:50 mark.
  • Marilyn: more dancing from Marilyn. Also excellent pajamas. I wonder what she was up to prior to her entrance at 11:24.
  • Susan: wakes up late, takes a long walk, isn’t used to showering. Bill Clinton styles her hair. Gets points for playing badminton, though.
  • Bonus points for featuring non-actor WACs bagging on Susan and having trouble figuring out which way to part their hair. At 8:21 there is a wig that probably has a name.

Mind Your Military Manners:

  • Sandy: All Sandy does in this one is hog the mirror and gossip and bray a little at the beginning.
  • Marilyn: Hides in the bushes and hikes up her skirt. Her hair is fascinating. Guys like having her around.
  • Susan: Not as good a worker as Carol, but she’s more feminine so she’s going to get to go to Belgium.

Phew. I don’t know about you, but I’m all WAC’ed out.

via Metafilter and the National Archives’ Media Matters blog


I don’t know, Helen. I’m pretty happy that Benny just called a cleaning crew instead.

Thanks, Rebecca Lynn!
Published in: on August 29, 2011 at 10:24 am  Leave a Comment  
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Things I have learned this week so far

  1. Jack LaLanne was addicted to sugar as a child and may have set fire to his house and chased his brother with an axe as a result
  2. I think I visited the infamous secret army propaganda film studio at Lookout Mountain without realizing it back in the ’90s
  3. Squirrel monkeys are either vegans or they haven’t learned the fine art of sifting Jell-o through one’s teeth

Still… moving

On Sunday evening Benny, Kenny, Matteo and I spent some time at a little pocket park at the edge of a parking lot. We watched a young boy skateboard across the parking lot as a car followed behind him. The boy would reach the end of the parking lot, the car would catch up, there would be some discussion, and then the boy would turn around and skateboard back across the parking lot. This happened for a long time. I caught some of it on film near the end when there were more frequent negotiations, perhaps because the car was getting tired.

I think the scene plays better if you turn the sound off.

Mean Reds, meet the Pink Terror

I used to work with this girl who wore a different monochromatic outfit every day. No prints, no stripes, no polka dots. Just one solid color per day. I don’t think she had a favorite color (though she did dye her hair blue at one point); she had really cute yellow outfits, and really cute pink outfits, and really cute green outfits.

I was always kind of impressed by her dedication, because coincidentally I had tried doing monochromatic outfits myself one time in high school and didn’t even last a week before I was reduced to gold fleece. One day, however, she told me that she didn’t do it because she wanted to do it; she did it because she had to do it. It was a problem she had. If she had a blue outfit all set for the day but the only clean underpants she had was green, she would have a panic attack. Nobody would see the green underpants if she wore them, but she would know they were there. I think she must have gone without wearing underpants a lot of the time, or else she was extremely organized.

As I recall, the only exception she had to the solid monochrome look was plaid. I don’t know what that means.

Video found via The Everlasting Blort


You know what disappoints me? Well, lots of things disappoint me, but do you know what disappoints me this very moment in regards to what I am thinking about this very moment?

There is going to be a movie based on the game for kindergarten babies beloved childhood board game Candy Land, and I’m pretty sure that the whole goddamned thing is going to be CGI. I realize that Universal Studios, the studio producing this epic pile of crap is in Universal City and not Burbank, but Burbank is a mere 5.6 miles away from Universal City. And Burbank already has real-life Candy Land houses, brought to my attention by my friend Wag. Behold the Otter Pop house:

and the Bomb Pop house:

And it appears from the looks of their matching windmills and shared AstroTurf™ front yard that these houses are owned by the same person,

so the location permit would be a snap to get. Bring on the Molasses Swamp!

Let’s make a deal

I’ll go see Avatar, but only if someone can promise me it’s better than this:

I’m waiting…

via Coudal
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