Friday, March 27, 2009

Obituary of the Pillsbury Doughboy

Too bad Baby Dough will never get to meet his father...

Dear friends,

Please join me in remembering a great icon of the entertainment community. The Pillsbury Doughboy died yesterday of a yeast infection and trauma complications from repeated pokes in the belly. He was 71.

Doughboy was buried in a lightly greased coffin. Dozens of celebrities turned out to pay their respects, including Mrs. Butterworth, Hungry Jack, the California Raisins, Betty Crocker, Hostess Twinkies, and Captain Crunch. The grave site was piled high with flours. Aunt Jemima delivered the eulogy and lovingly described Doughboy as a man who never knew how much he was kneaded.

Doughboy rose quickly in show business, but his later life was filled with turnovers. He was not considered a very smart cookie, wasting much dough on half baked schemes. Despite being a little flaky at times, he still was a crusty old man and was considered a positive role model for millions.

Doughboy is survived by his wife Play Dough, three children: John Dough, Jane Dough and Dosey Dough, plus they had one in the oven. He is also survived by his elderly father, Pop Tart. The funeral was held at 350 for about 20 minutes.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Mental Notes: I want candy! Nikon candy

Glico Candy made this Nikon F (older brother of the Nikon F2, F3, F4 and F5 SLRs) miniature.
The candy replica of this Nikon model is so precise, I don't think I'd even eat it. It comes with detachable Nikkor lenses, but unfortunately doesn't come with film.
Film or no film though, it's got a 35 mm 4.5 Nikkor lens and the detachable eye level finder the F series is famous for.
If you're making a stop in Japan, please get this for me if they still have it.

13 Photos that changed the world

A picture can be worth a thousand words, but some photographs are so poignant, it changed the world.
One of my favorites is this one by war photographer Robert Capa, who took this photo shortly after he landed along with the first wave of infantry at Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944.
Capa, who's most famous words are: 'If your pictures aren't good enough, you weren't close enough.', dove for cover in the middle of the crossfire.
Unfortunately, all four rolls of film were damaged except for 11 frames, thanks to an overeager lab assistant.

For the 13 photos that changed the world, click on the title.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Weekend Strip: Battle of the Sexes

What a man

Bummer, dudeMisquoted

Coffee Break: Complicated Pleasures

by Bill Ramsell

We were in bed together listening to Lyric,
to a special about the Russians,
when the tanks rolled into Babylon.

For a second I could feel their engines,
and the desert floor vibrating,
in the radio’s bass rattling your bedroom
as the drums expanded at the centre of the Leningrad,
as those sinister cellos invaded the melody.

We’d been trying, for the hell of it,
to speak our own tongue
and I was banging on about Iberia when your eyelids closed:
Tá do lámh I mo lámh” I whispered “
ar nós cathair bán
sna sléibhte lárnach, d’anáil ar nós suantraí na mara i mBarcelona.
Codhladh sámh

But as I murmured “sleep, my darling, sleep” into your sleeping ear
I found myself thinking of magnets
of what I’d learned in school about the attraction of opposites,
that the two of us, so similar,
could only ever repel one another.

For the closer I clutched your compact body
the further apart we grew.

You have eleven laughs
and seven scents
and I know them like a language.
But what will it matter when the bombs start falling
that you could never love me?

Then you turned in my arms
and it was midnight again on the beach at Ardmore,
when the starlight collected in some rock pool or rain pool
among the ragged crags at the water’s edge
and the two of us sat there
and we didn’t even breathe
determined not to the disturb that puddle’s flux,
the tiny light-show in its rippling shallows,
the miniature star-charts that for a moment inhabited it.

And you whispered that the planets, like us, are slaves to magnetism,
gravity’s prisoners, as they dance the same circles again and again,
and that even the stars ramble mathematically,
their glitter preordained to the last flash.

You turned again as I looked at the night sky
through your attic window
and thought of the satellites
gliding and swivelling in their infinite silence,
as they gaze down on humanity’s fumbling,
on you and me, as you sniffled against my neck
and the drumming, drumming flooded your bedroom,
on powerful men in offices pressing buttons
that push buttons in powerful men,
on the tanks, like ants, advancing through the wilderness.

Those pitiless satellites, aware of every coming conflagration
and what would burn in it,
knowing for certain in their whispering circuits
that, like our island’s fragile language,
like Gaudi’s pinnacles and the Leningrad symphony,
– even worse – like your teeth and our four hands,
the very stars through which they wander would be gone,

those brittle constellations with the billion sinners that orbit them,
extinguished in a heartbeat, absolved instantly,
as if your hand had brushed the water slowly once.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Tuesday Poem: Crutches

by Nikki Giovanni

it's not the crutches we decry
it's the need to move forward
though we haven't the strength

women aren't allowed to need
so they develop rituals
since we all know working hands idle
the devil
women aren't supposed to be strong
so they develop social smiles
and secret drinking problems
and female lovers whom they never touch
except in dreams

men are supposed to be strong
so they have heart attacks
and develop other women
who don't know their weaknesses
and hide their fears
behind male lovers
whom they religiously touch
each saturday morning on the basketball court
it's considered a sign of health doncha know
that they take such good care
of their bodies

i'm trying to say something about the human condition
maybe i should try again

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Salman Rushdie on celluloid adaptations

A film director once told Salman Rushdie that all movies made from novels are rubbish. With so many screenplays based on books triumphing at the Oscars this week and Slumdog Millionaire stealing the show, he asks is there such a thing as a good adaptation.

Salman Rushdie in the Guardian:

Adaptation, the process by which one thing develops into another thing, by which one shape or form changes into a different form, is a commonplace artistic activity. Books are turned into plays and films all the time, plays are turned into movies and also sometimes into musicals, movies are turned into Broadway shows and even, by the ugly method known as "novelisation", into books as well. We live in a world of such transformations and metamorphoses. Good movies - Lolita, The Pink Panther - are remade as bad movies; bad movies - The Incredible Hulk, Deep Throat - are remade as even worse movies; British TV comedy series are turned into American TV comedy series, so that The Office becomes a different The Office, and Ricky Gervais turns into Steve Carell, just as, long ago, the British working-class racist Alf Garnett in Till Death Us Do Part turned into the American blue-collar bigot Archie Bunker in All In the Family. British reality programmes are adapted to suit American audiences as well; Pop Idol becomes American Idol when it crosses the Atlantic, Strictly Come Dancing becomes Dancing With the Stars - a programme which, it may interest you to know, invited me to appear on it last season, an invitation I declined.

Sunday Poem: Some Final Words

by Billy Collins

I cannot leave you without saying this:
the past is nothing.,
a nonmemory, a phantom,
a soundproof closet in which Johann Strauss
is composing another waltz no one can hear.

It is a fabrication, best forgotten,
a wellspring of sorrow
that waters a field of bitter vegetation.

Leave it behind.
Take your head out of your hands
and arise from the couch of melancholy
where the window-light falls against your face
and the sun rides across the autumn sky,
steely behind the bare trees,
glorious as the high stains of violins.

But forget Strauss.
And forget his younger brother,
the poor bastard who was killed in a fall
from a podium while conducting a symphony.

Forget the past,
forget the stunned audience on its feet,
the absurdity of their formal clothes
in the face of sudden death,
forget their collective gasp,
the murmur and huddle over the body,
the creaking of the lowered curtain.

Forget Strauss
with that encore look in his eye
and his tiresome industry:
more than five hundred finished compositions!
He even wrote a polka for his mother.
That alone is enough to make me flee the past,
evacuate its temples,
and walk alone under the stars
down these dark paths strewn with acorns,
feeling nothing but the crisp October air,
the swing of my arms
and the rhythm of my stepping—
a man of the present who has forgotten
every composer, every great battle,
just me,
a thin reed blowing in the night.