Thursday, June 20, 2019

Wobble Girl Dubstep - Swagga Edition

This woman faked ataxia in order to get insurance payments after getting a flu shot. Inside Edition nearly fell for it, until they followed her around for a bit and noticed her walking normally. In this clip she claims to be able to run and walk backwards. This just makes the dubstep funnier. For some reason I kept watching this and laughing every time. What an idiot!

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Scenes of daily life in Paris in the 1890s

Old film is a time machine - I think we're agreed on that - but never more so when someone has so lovingly restored a film from the remote past. Color-tinted (which I usually dislike, but which works here as another level of spell-binding), with speed corrected to the frames-per-second discrepancy of early movies, and with convincing sound effects dubbed in, YOU ARE THERE, you are walking these streets, hearing the cloppa-cloppa-cloppa that must have been ubiquitous in those times, smelling the manure which must have been everywhere, speaking rapidly in a French that might not be recognizable today, wearing a heavy, voluminous skirt with layers and layers of petticoats and a constricting corset. . . body-feeling, mind-feeling those times, those left-behind times that were left behind the way we leave behind all times. 

People malign the internet all the time, of course, but look what it unlocks, and in a fraction of a second, right here at home, RIGHT NOW, not having to join some film society somewhere and listen to pretentious people pontificate just to let us all know they know FAR more than we ever will, or even can. I have come to take for granted the click to instant knowledge, and how it has taken over from those endlessly boring, stale plods through the halls of libraries which were already badly out of date. The only boredom left being the comments section.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Elizabeth Holmes: bobblehead

Elizabeth Holmes pretends to agree while one of her critics rips her to shreds. Note the foreward hunch with ankle resting on her knee, one of her more irritating traits.

"Two girls for every boy" and other surfing lunacy

Click on bottom right corner to go full-screen/hear the waves!

Friday, June 14, 2019

"HEY, KIDS!" Wall of comic book prizes

I know I've posted this before, but I still consider it a work of '60s art, every bit as culturally significant and evocative of its era as the kitschy and wildly desirable artwork of Andy Warhol. It evokes those summers at Bondi, my brother and I continually bantering back and forth, reading the Jimmy Olsen Annual and making fun of it, looking with longing at many of these incredible devices, yet knowing somehow we could never even order them. We'd have to send quarters taped to cardboard, Canadian quarters, and somehow that would never do, as we vaguely knew that their money wasn't the same as our money. Superman appeared in an ad and advertised a contest, for which the prize was two all-day passes to Palisades Park, which we had never heard of. It was all very foreign, yet somehow very familiar. 

This is the first time I have attempted to blow it up for detail, though I had to slice-and-dice it and the text is still a challenge. This is a time machine, or as close as I am ever going to get to one. I wonder where they are, those kids who actually DID order these bizarre items, or if any of them are even alive any more.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Heartbreaking! Story of starving cat

BREAKING MEWS! Local cat has never been fed, EVER! Cruelty charges pending

"A chemistry is performed": the lunatic junk science that brought down Theranos

"A chemistry is performed so that a chemical reaction occurs and generates a signal from the chemical interaction with the sample, which is translated into a result, which is then reviewed by certified laboratory personnel." - Elizabeth Holmes explains the science behind the Theranos blood testing miracle.

This is the second-most-famous Holmes quote, right next to "First they think you're crazy, then they fight you, and all of a sudden you change the world."

Friday, June 7, 2019

What's beneath the dress

It strikes me that all these portraits of women (well-to-do women, apparently, who could afford sumptuous gowns and having their portraits painted) have something in common. No matter how different the faces, they all seem to have the same body, with the same erect carriage and impossibly tiny waist. Some of the portraits seem purposely exaggerated, the equivalent of airbrushing or photoshop, as if tightlacing were some sort of Edwardian soft-core porn.

It's hard to believe that even wealthy women went about looking like this all day. Didn't they have - day dresses or something? Afternoon dresses? This is evening attire,  the stuff you pose in, sitting endlessly still, your skirts draped over some velvet divan, perhaps with a decorous little dog at your side.

More than most, these paintings have a static quality, almost "statuesque" (a strange term if ever there was one). Later on, portraits of fine women became sportier (one even depicts a smiling woman with a tennis racket). At this point, however, everyone mostly stood still or sat around. One woman (with the tiniest waist I've ever seen) plays a violin, kind of like the "talent" section of the Miss America pageant. I don't know why I say this, but I think in this case the violin was a prop.

And for reasons unknown, I think of this exquisite poem by my favorite poet, W. B. Yeats, only excerpted here because it's very, very long (but likely to be featured in a future post: I haven't done a literary analysis in ages!):

May she be granted beauty and yet not
Beauty to make a stranger's eye distraught,
Or hers before a looking-glass, for such,
Being made beautiful overmuch,
Consider beauty a sufficient end,
Lose natural kindness and maybe
The heart-revealing intimacy
That chooses right, and never find a friend.

May she become a flourishing hidden tree
That all her thoughts may like the linnet be,
And have no business but dispensing round
Their magnanimities of sound,
Nor but in merriment begin a chase,
Nor but in merriment a quarrel.
O may she live like some green laurel
Rooted in one dear perpetual place.

Considering that, all hatred driven hence,
The soul recovers radical innocence
And learns at last that it is self-delighting,
Self-appeasing, self-affrighting,
And that its own sweet will is Heaven's will;
She can, though every face should scowl
And every windy quarter howl
Or every bellows burst, be happy still.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Baby Marlboro

Someone, somewhere, some Mad Man of the 1950s, must have thought this would be a good idea for an ad campaign. And there were at least half a dozen of these ads in the series, so it must have been successful. It's just one of those incredibly dated ideas, like people seeing nothing wrong with mocking gay people and stereotyping people of colour. But why is it that things seem to go forwards and backwards at the same time?

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Join the Great Illuminati Brotherhood Today (and live a Better and Happy Life)!

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Thursday, May 30, 2019

A Dam-sel in distress

You were never lovelier

Seven Psychocats!

This is a very strange "cat version" of a Christopher Walken movie, Seven Psychopaths, which (like almost all of his other movies) I've never seen. But I've seen previews, and that's what this is, a CAT version of the preview. Probably better than the original. This is a work of genius, as far as I am concerned.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Reflected glory: the Paso Fino

Two seriously creepy sitcoms of the '80s

We know these two shows wouldn't play today, and their creepiness even then was monumental, which is why each series lasted only a few weeks. To say the least, they were cutesie, lame, and expressed none of what really goes on in the Catholic church. The wise old Father O'Malley/Boystown/hip-and-with-it model of priest is so dead, it's as if he never existed at all, which he probably didn't. I can't get into the subject at all without becoming infuriated, and have deleted this post several times already. So I'll let you judge for yourself just how lame, unrealistic, irrelevant and damn stupid these shows were. And how they wouldn't play today - at all, nor should they ever have.  And that's all I have to say about it. Fucking bastards.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

My Lord, What a Morning!

Music from my old church choir, circa 2001: two mikes, ten singers (all untrained), led by a jazz musician who had never directed a choir before, and without a penny for good sound equipment. We recorded these songs a cappella, in somebody's living room, interrupted by doorbells, phones ringing and dogs barking, not to mention the occasional giggle fit. The result wasn't perfect, but I think we sound pretty darned good for a group which started out with very limited skills. The songs Bill Prouten arranged and composed sound strange, because most of them are dissonant, with very tight chords, and do unexpected things (listen to the end of Coventry Carol!). Often he'd come to choir practice with a sheaf of handwritten music, the ink still fresh on it like something out of Amadeus, and we'd work all evening trying to master it. He made us better singers and better musicians than we knew how to be, or ever thought we could be. Bill Prouten was a major influence in my life for five years, and what he left me with is permanent. It's only now I can bear to listen to this, and why, I do not know! My dub onto YouTube added an extra problematic level of sound reproduction due to the crappyness of my sound equipment, but it's better than not having the songs at all. I chose the cover because from the back, that might be Bill himself.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Miss Gladys Cooper

I was drawn to these sumptuous photos of early-20th-century actress Gladys Cooper because of her unconventional looks - not exactly pretty, not classically beautiful, and almost never smiling, but nonetheless captivating. Straddling the line between Edwardian primness and roaring '20s excess, she alternates between a buttoned-down formality and a certain smoky wildness, her long hair unexpectedly bursting out of its combs in a tumbling waterfall. The rest of the time she is just plain elegant, though her face is composed to the point of being unreadable. But where have I seen that face before? Where have I heard that name?


THIS Gladys Cooper, the one who played Bette Davis's domineering, repressive mother in one of my all-time favorite movies, Now, Voyager.

But there was so much more to her than that.

Dame Gladys Constance Cooper (18 December 1888 – 17 November 1971) was an English actress whose career spanned seven decades on stage, in films and on television.

Beginning as a teenager in Edwardian musical comedy and pantomime, she was starring in dramatic roles and silent films before the First World War. She also became a manager of the Playhouse Theatre from 1917 to 1933, where she played many roles. 

From the early 1920s, Cooper was winning praise in plays by W. Somerset Maugham and others. In the 1930s, she was starring steadily both in the West End and on Broadway. Moving to Hollywood in 1940, Cooper found success in a variety of character roles; she was nominated for three Academy Awards, the last one as Mrs. Higgins in My Fair Lady (1964). Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, she mixed her stage and film careers, continuing to star on stage until her last year. 

Early in her stage career, she was criticised for being too stiff. Aldous Huxley dismissed her performance in Home and Beauty, writing "she is too impassive, too statuesque, playing all the time as if she were Galatea, newly unpetrified and still unused to the ways of the living world." Evidently, her acting improved during this period, as Maugham praised her for "turning herself from an indifferent actress to an extremely competent one" through her common sense and industriousness. - Wikipedia

A woman's hair was particularly important to her appearance in that era. Even a relatively-plain face like Gladys's came to life when framed by a tumble of chestnut curls. The provocative nature of these photos reveals the drastic change between the demure and even repressive attitudes of the Edwardian era and the wild times to come. She lets her hair down here, quite literally, and the combination of the sensually rippling hair and the austere, almost jaded facial expression is quite compelling. During that dramatic transition from tightlaced maiden to fringed flapper, Gladys Cooper found her place on the stage, and in the world.