Month: November 2009

Venture Bros. Wrapup: “Self-Medication” (S04E06)

Venture Bros. Wrapup: “Self-Medication” (S04E06)

TV & Radio
I'm a week behind on recapping the latest VB installment, but since last night's episode was a repeat of the season premiere it's all good.  So without any further preamble, let's get into it. The formula for "Self-Medication" is vintage Venture - some intense action (particularly during the cold open), and some further exploration of the larger theme of failure that permeates the entire VB universe.  And by the time we're done, some major characters find themselves at a crossroads. First up is good ol' Doc, who nearly meets a gruesome end at the hands of a newly emboldened and energized Monarch (how can you not love a device called a 'scarionette'??).  Rusty is literally saved by the bell, when a fortunately timed therapy appointment triggers a new Guild clause (the Mental Healt
Album cover of the week: Flute of the Loom

Album cover of the week: Flute of the Loom

Album Cover of the Week
OK, so maybe I need to change the title of this series based on the increasing infrequency of posts in it.  But whatever.  I just had to resurrect it when I saw the latest entry at one of my favorite .mp3 blogs, My Jazz World.  It features a great one-two punch of cheesy wordplay in the title and some freaky cover art.  It's 1973's Flute of the Loom, by flautist Frank Wess.
License plate countdown redux

License plate countdown redux

Mental Debris
Residents of the Empire State are not shy about voicing their opinion when it comes to their state government, and the recent imbroglio concerning a potential new license plate is no exception.  At issue was last week's announcement that all New Yorkers would be forced to pony up $25 to pay for a newly designed license plate, starting in April 2010.  The new plates were projected to bring an additional $260 million into the state's cash-strapped coffers. But the people have spoken, and now it appears that Governor David A. Paterson is ready to rescind the plan, as long as the state legislature can find another way to make up for the revenue.  What Gov. Patterson didn't want to admit, but what I know to be the truth, is that he could ill afford the PR black eye of having his state knocke
The ’30s and ’40s in living color, Part 1

The ’30s and ’40s in living color, Part 1

Ephemera, History
One of the really cool things about the internet is that now everyone who can get there can get access to a treasure trove of historical documents and photographs that were previously the domain of hardened researchers or supergeeks.  All you need is some time to spare and the desire to take a look at our country's not-so-distant past, and some great stuff is there for the asking.  Case in point, the Library of Congress WPA poster gallery I highlighted a few years ago. This time we're going to look at something even cooler - highlights from a LoC collection of photographs from the 1930s and '40s... in color!  While the subject matter isn't necessarily scintillating on all these, the opportunity to see life as it really looked back then is a rare treat indeed.  Something about seeing a s
Venture Bros. wrapup: “Return to Malice”

Venture Bros. wrapup: “Return to Malice”

TV & Radio
OK, so not every episode can be a stone classic.  I said last week that I like the more self-contained Venture Bros. episodes and I stick by that.  But this one felt a little disjointed until the last few minutes.  Maybe it's Doc Hammer's approach to the source material.  Don't get me wrong though, there were plenty of good moments and laughs. Maybe part of the problem is that with three separate storylines to focus on (Sgt. Hatred and Rusty trying to save the boys, the boys contending with a grief-stricken Henchman 21, and the Monarch in desperate need of some Benadryl), there was simply too much ground to cover.  I'm not sure what I would've cut, but I think the Hatred/Rusty bit felt the most flat.  After earning some redemption in my eyes over the course of the season, Sgt. Hatred wa
Retrotisements: Thanksgiving Edition

Retrotisements: Thanksgiving Edition

Advertising, Retrotisements
For more Thanksgiving ads, check out the Holiday Retrotisements section of the main site. In terms of marketability, Thanksgiving is important mostly because its end marks the official kickoff of the Christmas shopping season (aka Black Friday).  That distinction is becoming more and more meaningless, however, as most stores now trot out their Christmas crap before Halloween.  So in that sense, Thanksgiving is really more of a transitional holiday than an end in itself.  That's reflected in advertising for the day, which has a bit of a haphazard feel. It stands to reason that since Thanksgiving involves gorging, Campbell's tries to get in on the action.  So we have a pair of ads here.  The first is straightforward enough, extolling the virtues of turkey noodle soup.  And dig that mod
Link of the day, 11/09/09

Link of the day, 11/09/09

Internet, Links
I'll probably pull some of these for a later article, but you should check out this sweet Flickr slideshow of color photographs from the 1930s and '40s. They're provided by the Library of Congress, who had another spectacular collection featured on this very site.