Archive Page 2

15
May
17

Web of Weird, Costumed “Superheroes” Making Internet Madness

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Where in the USA is this apparent cul-de-sac of costume collectors who buy every version of Spider-Man and Elsa on the rack and make countless online videos? What pocket of Silicon Valley hides these merchants of kiddy porn? It’s a web of weirdness.

I think I figured something out, though. The reason there are so many “Spider-Men” and Elsas in what appears to be a perpetually balmy state (no snow or autumn leaves in sight) is because those characters reside in colder climates. Spider-Man is a New York-born hero. I suspect these costumes are on clearance racks or dirt cheap on the west coast. [Just like NFL team merchandise for a southern team is cheaper way up north than it is in the home state.] Am I right?

And, what is the deal with all of these “surprise egg” videos that feature parents filming their spoiled kids unpacking an entire toy line in a single day? What value does any of this stuff have to these kids when they come to expect a shopping cart load every time Daddy or Mommy decides to dress them up and capture them on their “smartphone” or video camera? Or, are these just the kids of parents who work for toy companies, getting a dumpster full of freebies/samples?

Have I ranted about this, before?

My nephews often enough find themselves glued to these things. And, while I am all for costume parties with good taste, there is something a bit weird and…lazy?…about seeing grown people doing odd things in costume with special effects and props… I have one four-year old nephew who is already displaying a particular interest in older women, thanks to many a Spider-Girl and Elsa.

You like that, ladies? You like extremely younger men ogling you?

I was one, once. But, I only became infatuated once a week or month, if that. I didn’t have access to an endless supply of internet gratification (which, I would say, is not far off from those who obsessively watch porn).

My nephews can get Mommy’s phone-computer just about any time they want and look this stuff up. It’s so easy for them to do. Thanks, wireless convenience.

I suppose these videos might be made over a long period of time and are first coming to my attention. Maybe these people make one a year or one a month. Maybe they save up and work on the plot over a series of meetings between their “day jobs.”

Maybe I am a tad jealous I don’t have those special friends with which I could make similar videos. Then again, why be so juvenile or risk appearing freakish online for no gain other than some invisible “click” currency when I could be applying my talents and interest in costumes to bigger projects…liiike an actual feature film someone might buy a ticket to see?

Seeing my nephews scroll through and watch these repeatedly, I can’t help becoming agitated and wondering if there isn’t some special stretch of road in California where people get together in costume and do nothing but concoct weird plots to play out on the street and in their homes.

I picture an entire suburban L.A. block of homes shaded by palm trees and infested with people dressed as Spider-Man, Spider-Girl and Venom. On the next street, you might find Batman, the Joker and some kids in police uniforms with their Power Wheels vehicles in sight. And, somewhere in the middle, there’s a single apartment building where a few Elsas live, waiting to be summoned to star in one of these videos. [Who’d have thunk the most recent feature princess of sorts would become such a costume craze, almost a fetish.] When they’re not in costume, they’re wearing pajamas and living on bowl after bowl of Captain Crunch cereal. All of their furniture is either inherited or inflatable. The probably bathe in ball pits and brush their teeth with glittery Disney or Nickelodeon toothpaste.

And, breathe.

Okay, ‘got that out of my system. Moving on.

15
May
17

Carmen-Sandiego-inspired! New and Old Lyrics to an Old PBS Delight

*****

So, about two weeks ago, SNL (Saturday Night Live) featured a Carmen-Sandiego-inspired mini-skit about a certain dubious political character.  It struck my funny bone so hard that I “geeked out,” reminiscing about the 90s and what was once a darn good PBS game show for kids (and geographically-challenged adults).  Not only did the show feature a mental challenge (and, for some contestants, a physical one); it also introduced a musical group known as Rockapella which, I think, sparked a serious a cappella movement (when they weren’t injecting humorous bits that may have flown over the heads of kids).

[I also heard about other projects through the grapevine.  There was some blurb about an adult Carmen movie?  Not sure I want to hear more about that.  And, there might be some kind of new Carmen Sandiego project, possibly a web series with Gina Rodriguez attached.  If it is a revitalization of that old PBS game show or the decent yet reasonably goofy cartoon series, maybe the creators would appreciate/respect my new lyrics.  Nudge, nudge, wink, wink.  😀 ]

So inspired was I, watching some episodes anew and inspired online videos, that I couldn’t help crafting a whole new set of lyrics to the show’s theme song!  I have left some bits in parentheses because I wasn’t sure how they fit.  [Input appreciated.]

AND (hearing myself sound like Lynn Thigpen as she described prize packages), some simple Carmen Sandiego calling cards.

Check ’em out and tell me whatchya think.  [I’ll also post my version of the original Rockapella lyrics.]

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My own lyrics to add/fit in:

(first verse)

She got the cops on the run while Roman with the Coliseum.
‘Left them…on a walkabout as she strolled down to Sydney.
‘Dropped a Rio Grande in Vegas and then ran out of De Janeiro.
Tell me…

(Chorus/Hook)

Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?
Whoa-oh, where can she be?

(second verse)

Say ciao to your leaning tower; kiss your Taj Mahal Mumbai.
(You) Can’t slow her down when she’s on…one of her crime sprees.
Teaching you a history lesson is the Big Apple of her aye-aye.
Tell me…

Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?

(slow traveling section, IE Nashville to Norway, etc.)

She snatched the Red Square from Moscow, the Triangle from Bermuda,
While drawing circles ’round the pyramids of (Egypt and) Peru!

(scat sections)

Now, tell me where!
(softer second voice: …is Carmen Sandiego?)
Tell me where!
(softer second voice: …is Carmen Sandiego?)

Hire a henchman or two…!
To drop another clue!
That’s what you…didgeridoo…!
When Crimenet is after you!

(third verse)

She can bank on New Guinea, run off with Old Milwaukee,
Tear up Main Street and…shut down L.A.
What you’re left with is…right where it should be.
Tell me…

Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?

(fourth verse)

She grabbed Java, Indonesia, had tea with the Queen,
Scarfed some waffles in Brussels…topped with whipped cream,
Before she pilfered Parma and some vanilla bean.
Tell me…

Where in the world i-I-i-Is Carmen Sandiego?!

(scat)

Where in the wor-orld!
(softer second voice: …is Carmen Sandiego?)
Where in the wor-orld!
(softer second voice: …is Carmen Sandiego?)
Where in the world! Where in the world! Where in the world!
(softer second voice: …is Carmen Sandiego?)

Until next crime, detectives.

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And, lastly, the original Rockapella lyrics from the PBS game show.  [Pardon my variation of contractions, etc., if that bothers you.]

Well, she sneaks around the world from Kiev to Carolina;
She’s a sticky-fingered filcher from Berlin down to Belize.
She will take you for a ride on a slow boat to China.
Tell me…

Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?
Tell me where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?
Whoa-oh, tell me where in the world can she be?

Steal their Seoul in South Korea;
Make Antarctica cry “uncle.”
From the Red Sea to Greenland, they’ll be…singing the blues.
Well, they never Arkansas her steal the Mekong from the jungle.
Tell me…

She goes from Nashville to Norway, Bonaire to Zimbabwe,
Chicago to Czech and Slovakia and back!

Well, she will ransack Pakistan and run a scam in Scandinavia.
Then she will stick ’em up down under and go…pick-pocket Perth.
She put the “miss” in misdemeanor when she stole the beans from Lima.
Tell me…

Botswana to Thailand, Milan via Amsterdam,
Mali to Bali, Ohio, OaHU!…….

The warrant!…The warrant…The warrant!…

Ooooh, the chaaase…ooh-woo-woo-woooo, the chaaase…

Monday through Friday at five!

Well, she glides around the globe,
And she will flim-flam every nation.
She’s a double-dealing diva with a taste for thievery.
Her itinerary’s loaded with moving violations.
Tell me…

Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego? (x5)
Watch your back!

 

22
Apr
17

Happy Birthday, Shirley MacLaine!

*****

Shirley, can I be serious?  I’m not sure…when you’re always smiling like you do.  [And, don’t call me Shirley.]

I’ve said so much about this gal already.  What more can I say?  She’s a delight to just about every sense (or so I imagine).  She’s…quite simply (and yet more complex than I may ever know) a unique and precious spark of life, a reason to smile for no good reason and the occasional naughty one.  Yet, for even the slightest dip in the naughty pool, she can bring you right back to the heavenly gates with some sort of glowing innocence.  If I never get to meet her in person, I feel I’ve already met her on another plane.  And, though I am sure to cry buckets when she’s “gone,” I suspect I’ll see her, again, somewhere, somehow.

Happy birthday, Shirley.

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**posted two days in advance because I have yet to have much luck with the scheduling feature.

 

17
Apr
17

Happy Birthday, Chloe Bennet!

*****

When I first saw you, a light struck me from above, from the sky.  When I heard your velvety voice, my heart popped, exploding into a confetti storm of tiny stars.  I had no shield to protect me from the agent of infatuation you are, monkey girl.  I knew, deep down, you had some Aries spark.  Those big, bold yet inviting eyes, those petite rabbit teeth, those brown waves cascading around your glowing face….

Ehem.  What was I saying?

Oh yeah.  Happy birthday!  [And, if you’re not otherwise engaged……call me.]

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A pretty face struggling to find her smile.  She will not be forced, camera people!

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chloe-bennet_BDayCard-just-jared-spotlight-exclusive-denim-boots_heart-ap-5

A stylish beauty who doesn’t need a smile.   [Nor does she need to highlight/bleach her naturally lovely hair.  Though, in the second fashion photo, she looks like she has even lost her spark a bit, even if her hair looks fantastic.]

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There’s something odd about this photo (something to do with makeup and/or lighting).  Yet, there’s that look that can stop a raging bull in its tracks.

 

**Posted a day early.

 

08
Apr
17

Happy Birthday, Daisy Ridley!

*****

I don’t want to monkey around and forget to post this notice.  I don’t know where I will be Monday.  So, I am putting these up tonight.  I picked out some of the better photos I could find.  [There were a number of sad fashion choices or forces (outfits possibly forced upon her for frothy magazine tabloids/interviews) through which I filtered.]

She wouldn’t cross my mind if not for Star Wars’ 7th chapter.  But, I anticipate learning more about her in the years to come.  As astrology goes, she and I make a very good match.  And, if she or someone who knows her finds this, I’d gladly take the chance to speak with her.  Ya know, if the opportunity Aries–er, arises.

daisyridley-BDayCard-funsweater-hairup-pose_41092-arieswatmnky-ap-900700-2Bdaisyridley-BDayCard-niceduskycloseup-squint_41092-arieswatmnky-ap-900700-1daisyridley-BDayCard-nicerelaxedsmile-grayshirt-hairdown_41092-arieswatmnky-ap-900700-3B

03
Apr
17

White or Right, My Views on “Whitewashing”

*****
So, there’s this bad odor going around called “whitewashing.” If you are oblivious to the concept, it basically refers to…well, it has a few uses, already. One being Caucasian people being cast in roles originally set for other nationalities. And, that is what tops my peeve list at the moment. Namely, a certain typically blonde actress being cast to play a raven-haired and distinctly Asian character from a “popular” anime about a female cyborg cop.

[Note I have omitted names and titles lest giving them more specific attention only add to the theory that bad press still adds to ticket sales. For the purposes of this editorial and my own amusement, I will refer to the cast actress as “Red Role-playing Hood” and the movie as “Robocop 4: Turning Japanese.”]

Some say “Red Role-playing Hood” sells movie tickets and that this is enough justification to cast her. Others plain and simple object to her being cast in this particular role, regardless of justification.

According to an article I read, one of the artists behind the original story says the character has lost her original human name and identity, thus she could be just about anybody of any race.

If that is the case, I’d have made a different film. I’d have designed the film as a spinoff of the original story, having “Red Role-playing Hood” play a similar cyborg who looks different. Heck, the protagonist could have any body or hair color she wants if she’s not the original character. The story could have remained the same or similar with some minor changes. There’s a whole series of Resident Evil movies out there now that aren’t exactly about the original game cast, focusing on some lab creation, instead.

Another article states the actress has said she would not take a role she felt would be viewed as offensive…buuuut she IS taking the role; and some find her choice offensive, or, at least, infuriating. Myself included.

I think she, like many, will take just about any role she can get. So, if someone handed “Red Role-playing Hood” the script, I doubt she would have turned it down, considering she is open to expanding her options and likes to play odd roles that may not suit her, roles other actresses would more likely turn down to avoid being judged “weird” or being asked to play more roles like this one instead of roles in other genres they prefer. Months or years from now, one of those actresses that passed on the film will speak out at some interview for another project and admit they passed on the role while subtly praising “Red Role-playing Hood” for being an “amazing” person with whom she worked or met at an awards show.

I say the whole notion of “Red Role-playing Hood” making better ticket sales than an actual Asian, or more specifically Japanese, actress–possibly a “nobody”–is hogwash. Even if “Red Role-playing Hood” draws a certain crowd, it’s as likely the crowd comes to see HER, not the character she portrays. And, considering she looks like a clown in some green-screen body suit and wig, I feel she should NOT be playing this part.

[I am asking would-be film makers.] Would a character written as an African woman be cast/rewritten as a white woman in disguise, as well? And, if the character did not look one bit like Thandie N., would you still cast Thandie N. to play the part because she’s the only dark-skinned actress you could get to take the part? Or, would you go out of your way to find a more perfect match for the character? Is it really so important to put a movie out before all the pieces properly fit? Or, are you so lustful for profits and jumping at any dog that barks that you’ll rush to blow a budget on a lesser prize?

Why was the Thing shorter than the rest of the Fantastic Four in the first films, featuring Jessica A. as the Invisible Woman? Was Michael C. cast because of ticket sales, because he fit the role…or maybe because no one else wanted the role and/or the costume designers couldn’t make him appear bigger…even if they have the technology to fake such things?

I didn’t care for Charlize T. playing Aeon Flux, either. Some people you just get used to seeing with a certain hair color and look. And, throwing them into some character that is completely different without proper blending of appearance just makes the whole image a joke. I don’t want to see a parody of the original story. Thus, I don’t want to boost ticket sales for this film. I’ll give it a try another way, as the modern world provides. And, all ticket sale crap can just fly out the window. It’s bullshit that can be skewed, anyway. [And, I throw all the award show nonsense into the same pot. Such a waste of time and resources with little regard for the source material.] It boils down to what you choose to believe.

[On the flip side, Hugh J. was so compelling as Wolverine, I put up with him being taller than most other X-Men, even though the character was fairly short in the comics.  He also wasn’t a “clown” in a costume.  He was authentically crass, fierce and embittered.]

I believe this instance is a form of “whitewashing.” And, an Asian “nobody” would have befitted the role better, regardless of popularity or anticipated profits. I would pay to see better casting, to see an Asian beauty play this part. And, ever since I started watching films like “The Curse of the Golden Flower” and even “Rush Hour 2,” I think Hollywood can find a few. Or, maybe, such films should be made by people closer to the source material; and, if Americans are so lucky, the film will be dubbed into English, and they will learn to like it.

A “blockbuster” can never smell as sweet as it would with the right cast. Why do you think certain “franchises” got “reboots” so fast? If casting didn’t matter, why was there a reboot, anyway?

Years from now, people won’t look back and, when thinking of this blonde in a black Asian wig, say, “Gosh, she was so perfect for that role.” They WILL say, “Gosh, she sure made lots of movies.” The actress will be regarded like a Marilyn Monroe. And, only fans who concede to give up their cultural roots–including all Asian folks who try to look “American”–will not care who played what part and just be happy a film about that cartoon was made.

It doesn’t matter who is turning what characters into their own nationality. It’s Caucasian Americans and British folks, today. Tomorrow, it could be Mexicans or dark-skinned Africans altering Caucasian characters.

Some if not most movie makers are just too concerned with budget and ticket sales to consider the impact and value of proper casting (and story writing). I may be surprised to see a film pitched poorly play well. But, I will not be steered into accepting poor casting.

30
Mar
17

I Miss You, Chocolate House

*****

MissYou-ChocolateHouse-pianomansurprise_ap-1J

*****
What iIiIiIs Easter fun without you?! What iIiIiIs?! I don’t know anymoOoOre!

 

And, what…what will tomorrow bring? In a world…where you don’t exist?
What…what will I eat on holidays? Well, I know…I know what is missed.
Love bring you back where you belooong. Where my spirit flies…on whipped-cream-mountain highs. Love bring you back where you belooong. Where the chocolate flows. Where the clear favorite goes. [My mouth…is where I was going with that one.]

 

We used to have something special, you and I.
You were the sugar daddy to my childhood dreams.
You were countless flavors of whipped cream magic wrapped up in a thin layer of heavenly sweet milk or dark chocolate.
You were Easter morning surprises in a colorful basket lined with plastic grass.
You were the company that kindly answered the first formal letter I ever composed with an awesome care package.
You were the legalized pot of gold shop my family visited annually to keep everyone happy at an otherwise gloomy time of year.
You were the McDonald’s of desserts without a line of mascots; fast food that brought great pleasure and always put a smile on my face. [Well, maybe not those maple cream eggs…or the fruit and nut ones. Those were kinda gross.]
You were bigger than minty “shamrock” milkshakes.
You were bigger than Cadbury…to me.

And now, you’re gone?

I mean, you’ve been gone a few years now. But, I still get withdrawal pains. And, every time I see a picture of you or hear your name…? Every time I see one of your lesser competitors? I ache. I weep just a little. I have to stop myself before I break down and cry. Because you were just that big to me.

So, I’m sending out this love letter, hoping it serves me…us well. Please, come back to my area. Or, if you could…if you would…please send me another glorious care package with the glossy cards featuring all the products you produce and the cases of whipped cream eggs I like, particularly the mint, chocolate and vanilla ones.

Thank you.

If I never see you, again, I’ll at least have the memory…albeit a painful one when I have to think about how it all went away.

Come back.

[Fingers touching the screen.]

*Sigh*




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