Monday, June 30
I was reading back issues of The Bleat when James happened to mention out-takes of one of the movies he was watching. I've forgotten which one, and it doesn't really matter.
If you've seen A Bug's Life (and if you haven't, do!), and you're not the sort of person who has to leave the instant the closing credits roll, you'll know that one of the best parts of the movie is the out-takes at the end. Out-takes are usually funny because movies are so carefully polished; it's wonderful to see things get screwed up. It's doubly funny, of course, if you do it in a cartoon, when that sort of thing doesn't happen.
What you may not know is that this gag didn't originate with A Bug's Life. The first time I saw it was in Maris the Chojo, and then it came as a great surprise and a delight. (The rest of the film was good too.)
I was wondering, was this really the first time anyone did this? Once you've seen it, of course, it's such an obvious idea, like so many great ideas are. IMDB says it was but it's a user comment rather than anything official. Inasmuch as anything on IMDB is official anyway.
So, loyal readers and filmfans: Did anyone else do this before 1992? Walt Disney, or the Brothers Warner, perhaps? Fritz Freleng? Hanna-Barbera? Max Fleischer?
Any information would be appreciated, because, darn it, this is important.
Sunday, June 29
A Small Victory has similar thoughts to me on the relative value of Harry Potter and Neil Gaiman's Stardust. Comments by her readers show that we're not the only Stardust fans either.
Thursday, June 26
The first CD we listened to on our trip was Weird Al Yankovic's new release, Poodle Hat. All good Weird stuff (I particularly like Hardware Store and A Complicated Song), until we got to Bob:
I, man, am regal - a German am IWhat?
Never odd or even
If I had a hi-fi
Madam, I'm AdamOK, I should have caught it by now, but it's a lot easier seeing the words in print than hearing them sung for the first time. Anyway:
Too hot to hoot
No lemons, no melon
Too bad I hid a boot
Lisa Bonet ate no basil
Warsaw was raw
Was it a car or a cat I saw?
Rise to vote, sirI quite like that one, but:
Do geese see God?
"Do nine men interpret?" "Nine men," I nod
Rats live on no evil starThe light dawned, and it was blinding.
As for those readers (or rather Googlers) who were looking to download Poodle Hat: Just buy the darn thing, willya? The CD contains a bonus Quicktime movie with all the songs, extra mixes, the lyrics (yes, he did say automatic circumcisers) and Weird Al's very own home movies.
If you're a nut for a jar of tuna, you need Poodle Hat.
Wednesday, June 25
It would seem that I have been labouring under a misapprehension and Harry Potter is not in fact the colonel who commanded the 4077th in later episodes of M*A*S*H. He is, it would appear, the hero of an absurdly popular series of books by one J. K. Rowling.
I dropped in today on a friend of mine who runs a bookstore here in Sydney. Not a small bookstore, but not a huge one either. He ordered in 600 copies of the hardcover edition of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - and sold them all in three days.
Now, I don't begrudge Ms. Rowling her squillions... Alright, I do begrudge her her squillions, but not to the extent that I begrudge Microsoft theirs. But I'm at a loss to explain the popularity of these books. They're not bad, but -
I have a collection of Fritz Leiber's short stories; I bought it because it contained some stories that I'd never seen collected elsewhere. Total world-wide print run of this book was 80 copies. Why? There's no question, none at all, that Fritz Leiber was a better writer than J. K. Rowling. Why wasn't he a squillionaire too?
Leiber's work isn't for children, but a large proportion of Harry Potter readers are adults. I don't mind at all that adults read and enjoy Harry Potter, but why aren't they also reading Dunsany? Or in a similar vein, Neil Gaiman's Stardust, a beautiful and wondrous tale almost flawless in its tribute to Dunsany's style. It's good to see that Leiber's Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser books are being kept in print, but where oh where is The Silver Eggheads?
Why, if adults find they enjoy fantasy, are they not reading masters of the weird and wonderful like Tim Powers and Michael Shea? Why not Lois Bujold, who can create characters who sometimes seem more real than my own family, or C. J. Cherryh, who writes so well that a hundred pages can pass with no action and you barely notice and care not at all? When will we see a movie version of The Anubis Gates or Nifft the Lean or The Curse of Chalion or Gate of Ivrel?
Why are they not reading Ursula Le Guin? Why not T.H. White? Why not - well, actually, Terry Pratchett is doing pretty well. And Stephen Donaldson - his novels may not appeal to all, but do try his short stories in Daughter of Regals and Reave the Just.
As for me? Well, since I couldn't buy the latest Harry Potter epic, it may be time for me to finish my own novel and maybe, just maybe, make some squillions of my own.
Thursday, June 19
Book of the Day is Creepy Susie and 13 other tragic tales for troubled children by Angus Oblong.
Now, normally in recommending a book I'd include a carefully selected quote of some of the author's finest prose. In this case, however, this amounts to:
This is Helga.Take a look at the sample pages on Amazon's site. Then buy the book.
These are the Debbies. The Debbies all tried very hard to be the same.
Helga was an endless source of amusement for the Debbies...
Even though Helga was different, she had somehow convinced herself that there was a place in society for her.
The Debbies sought to destroy Helga's glimmer of hope to one day fit in.
You can also read The Cutie Bunch Friendly Pal Pack.
There are a bunch more books here too. So if you know a child with a birthday coming up...
Web Site of the Day is Strange and Unusual Dictionaries. Though it mostly consists of links to books and other web sites, it provides three valuable resources: The White Queen's Dictionary of One Letter Words (with over 700 entries!), The Dictionary of All-Consonant Words (I got rhythm, I got music... What? They don't count rhythm? Foobie bletch!), and of course the indispensible Dictionary of All-Vowel Words (running from a'u to Yu).
From there, adoxographers might choose to study The Grandiloquent Dictionary, though aabarists might prefer The Pseudodictionary. For the rest of us, there's always The Foolish Dictionary, presented by Aaaugh!
Confound your friends and amaze your enemies with your new-found Scrabble-power!
Tuesday, June 17
Word of the day is retromingent. [If it is, it can bloody well clean it up itself. &mdash Ed.]
Sunday, June 15
Amazon tells me that it's Jerome Klapka Jerome. No wonder he only used the initial.
Over at misinformer.com, Marcus is asking the important questions: Knick Knack's Breast Spheres: Where Are They Now?
"The girl!" I gasped, "She's got no boobies!"These people have to be stopped! Remake or no Remake, movie revisionism is evil - especially when it involves boobies.
The guy sitting next to me cuffed me in the back of the head.
"Shhh! Of course she's got no boobies. It's a kid's cartoon."
"No," I explained, "I mean... she used to have boobies! They're gone!"
"Shut up you pervert. There were never any boobies."
(Thanks to Segnosaur on JREF Forums for the link.)
Thursday, June 12
Word of the day is planarian. (Yes, but it wouldn't be if — hang on, that's a noun! You cheated! — Ed.)
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