Month: June 2007

Note to John Kricfalusi: Enough already

Note to John Kricfalusi: Enough already

People, Rants
There was a time when I saw the name John K. and knew I was about to witness high-quality entertainment. For those who don't know him (or have forgotten), John K. introduced the world to the world of The Ren & Stimpy Show in August 1991. The first season of R&S is still revered by many animation fans as one of the finest ever for any cartoon. When it debuted it was seen by fans (if not by critics) as imaginative, frenetic, and the perfect antidote to a world of bland, predictable animation. But that magic didn't last long. By the time the decent (albeit uneven) second season started there were already huge delays (as long as one month between new episodes) and reports of friction between John K. and his bosses at Nickelodeon. Prior to the start of the third season in 1993, Kricf...
Maybe you could buy an iPhone…

Maybe you could buy an iPhone…

Funny Stuff
...but then again, no. I mean it's cool and all, but for the amount of money ($499 for the cheaper model) you'd spend on it you could get the following goodness instead: 1 Maytag 3.2-cubic foot, top-loading washing machine. Now you can stop hanging out at the laundromat, unless you're actually into it. 2.94 sets of the complete run of The Twilight Zone on DVD. The good one, not the '80s revival or the crappy one with Forest Whitaker. 3.81 bags of 2007 Kennedy half-dollars, 200 coins each. Don't spend them all in one place. 4.99 sets of the Lil Jon Pimp Cup Combo. Of course you'll want to splurge and get the full fifth set. 33.29 "Dramatic Chipmunk" t-shirts. Actually, it's a prairie dog but whatever. Get yours now and be relevant for the next 2 weeks! 41.65 brand-n...
GFS home movies: The Queen

GFS home movies: The Queen

Movies
I've never been much of a Royal Watcher, that devoted group of people who follow the affairs of the British royal family like others follow the characters and plot of Lost or The Godfather. While the notion of a monarchy appeals to my sense of order and love of history, I know that in almost all cases the idea looks better on paper than in reality. As an American, I suppose that anti-monarchist sentiment is ingrained in my DNA. But still, there is something fascinating about watching the institution function in our so-called modern times. The troublesome duality of the British crown is exemplified brilliantly in The Queen, starring Helen Mirren as...the queen. Mirren deservedly won the Oscar for Best Actress for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II, who at the age of 25 ascended to t...
Retrotisements – Telephone technology

Retrotisements – Telephone technology

Advertising, Retrotisements
With the release of the much-ballyhooed iPhone just around the corner, I thought I'd take a look at a few other telephone innovations of the past. Satellite phone service While satellite phone service is no big deal now - and has in fact been eclipsed by cell phones in terms of sheer usage - this 1960 ad from Douglas (pre-McDonnell) recalls a time when the technology was very much new and exciting (the first American satellite, Explorer I, had only been launched in late January 1958). Picturephone   Other than jet-powered cars, few things scream "FUTURE!" like videophones. This 1968 ad from Western Electric (the manufacturing arm of AT&T) promised to bring the future to the present through the introduction of the Picturephone, but for a variety of reasons it flopped...
Gray Flannel Mixtape – 10 Classic B-sides

Gray Flannel Mixtape – 10 Classic B-sides

Music
Looking back, mixtapes sure were a pain in the ass to put together. But man, were they fun. So for just a minute, let's imagine iPods don't exist (I know, scary) and we are putting together a new one. The ground rules for the songs on this mixtape are: Each song was released as the B-side of a commercially available single. The songs did not appear on a regular album (at least not at first). No more than one song per band. I must like the song (the critical part). "Total Eclipse" (Iron Maiden) - Over the years Iron Maiden has compiled what is probably the strongest collection of B-sides in heavy metal history. This one nearly made it onto the group's seminal 1982 album, The Number of the Beast, but was left off and instead included on the "Run to the Hills" single. Th...
Star Trek – The Lost Logs (Kirk)

Star Trek – The Lost Logs (Kirk)

Funny Stuff
Don't ask me how I got a hold of these.  All I'll say is that many brave Bothans died to bring me this information.  That's right, I said Bothans. Here now is a never-before revealed entry written by Capt. James T. Kirk himself... Captain's Log, Stardate 4732.4 - I will never understand women. I've explored the far reaches of the galaxy, I've defeated more enemies than I can remember, and I've bedded more alien women than anyone in Starfleet history. And yet that damned ice princess, Nurse Chapel, eludes me. It's not as if I haven't tried, believe me. Just last week I went to sickbay for my regular checkup, and when she walked in I was wearing nothing but my boots and a hint of Skagaran Musk. She ran away screaming something about violating Starfleet protocol and formal co
Album reviews – Icky Thump/Anonymous

Album reviews – Icky Thump/Anonymous

Music
Today I'm reviewing two new albums that could not be more different - The White Stripes' Icky Thump and Tomahawk's Anonymous. Well, they are alike in one key respect: they are both the end-result of artists who clearly care about their craft and go to great lengths to create music that will be anything but disposable. First to the White Stripes. If I had to guess, I'd say Jack White was revitalized by his work with The Raconteurs. While the Stripes' last effort, Get Behind Me Satan, had some inspired moments, it was a bit dense and labored overall. Icky Thump, while certainly ambitious in parts, heralds the return of the loose and fun atmosphere evident on the band's early albums. Somehow Jack White pulls off the feat of delivering an album that feels more expertly produced and p...
Gordon’s alive!

Gordon’s alive!

Movies
Flash Gordon fans rejoice! After being out of print for years, this classic of cinema returns to DVD on August 7 with the Saviour of the Universe Edition. And you know it'll be good, because they put the "u" in Savior! European fans (aka Region 2) already got what I hear was a pretty sweet Silver Anniversary Edition release in 2005, but we Region 1 suckers got left out in the cold. The Saviour edition does lack some of the neat extras of the Silver edition, but there's enough improvements over the original DVD release that make it appealing even if you own another copy. Most importantly, the soundtrack has been remixed for 5.1 Dolby Surround, which should be a vast improvement over the piss-poor mono on the original. A full review is forthcoming, so stay tuned. And watch out for h...