Monday, February 27, 2017

"Jaw-dropping": Celebrities react to the Oscar screwup

These reactions are unlike anything you'll ever see again (I hope) at the Oscars. People have just realized that the wrong movie was announced as Best Picture (La La Land instead of the real winner, Moonlight). This was jaw-dropping in the most literal sense of the word. Just look at all those open mouths! People seem stunned. Frozen. Hands shoot up to faces. Meryl Streep's eyes bulge out melodramatically. She looks utterly horrified, shocked, as if it were the end of the world. Shirley MacLaine just needs help! Her brother Warren Beatty has just screwed up in front of the whole world (or so everyone claimed - in truth, he was just given the wrong envelope and didn't know how to handle it).

People are comparing this image in particular to a Renaissance painting, one of those group ones where everyone's in a snit about something, or waiting for the Judgement Day, or whatever. Due to my blog limitations, I can't blow it up very much unless I cut it into little pieces:

Here you can truly see where these people's priorities lie, and how ill-prepared they are for anything outside a movie studio, where you can fix a problem with one more take (or gobs of money).

Though these are not an exact match - hey, I don't have THAT much time to spend on this! - and I don't know who the artists are (ditto), you get the idea.
People don't know how ridiculous they look when caught off-guard. I couldn't help but notice that Sammy Davis Jr., the standup comedian and stage actor, handled the wrong-envelope fluff much more smoothly than did his movie star counterparts. These people don't even face audiences except at awards shows. They don't know how to do anything live. 

Warren Beatty has always struck me as looking like a stunned rabbit. He has been so worked-on that you can't tell if he's panic-stricken or not. Maybe he's just being himself. The plastic surgery just hasn't worn very well, as it never does: it all comes unstuck after a while, the nose caves in, the muscles begin to tug and pull unnaturally - or naturally, trying desperately to get the face back to some sort of original shape before death.

ALWAYS FINDING MORE DEPT. Here's perhaps the best group shot I've found:

. . . with this outstanding detail:

The big Oscar screwup: how could this happen??

Unless you've been living in a hole, you've heard about what happened at the Oscars last night. I mean, when the Best Picture award (crown jewel of the evening) was announced.

Announced WRONG.

There are lots of gifs of this gaffe (a gif of a gaffe!), but most of them are half a second long. I don't know why entertainment websites do this. It's true that longer ones have to sort of download each time you play them, which means they go through one full cycle before playing at the right speed. So somehow they prefer jerk, jerk, jerk to an attractive still picture. This is why so many people hate gifs.

Mine are at least ten seconds long, sometimes 15. Anyway, in this one, the producer of La La Land, who was just told his movie won Best Picture, has to hand the award away to the producer of Moonlight (whose movie ACTUALLY won Best Picture). Confused? I don't blame you. What I like most of all is the way people are milling around, going this way and that, not knowing where they are supposed to be. Has anyone ever been dragged off the stage after winning Best Picture?

In this one, Warren Beatty (who didn't announce the erroneous winner, but handed the card to Faye Dunaway so SHE would make the fatal mistake) tries to make an excuse for what happened. He
"explains" that the card said "Best Actress, Emma Stone" on it.

He knew there was a problem. He knew there was a mistake.

This wasn't the right card. It couldn't be. It didn't say Best Picture on it. It said Best Actress, Emma Stone.

So why didn't he say, "Uhh, guys, this is the wrong card"? Instead, he just handed it over for Faye Dunaway to deal with. It's called passing the buck.

There are those who are saying it's unthinkable to correct the Academy, to show them up as having made a mistake. Better that it land on your own head! People are saying this has never happened before. But the wrong envelope was given to Sammy Davis Jr., years ago, when he was presenting a music award. Fortunately he knew enough about the music industry (and imagine someone being educated in their field!) to say, "Sorry, folks, I was given the wrong envelope." The mistake was very quickly corrected and the show went on with a minimum of embarrassment, though someone's head probably rolled.

Gasps, tears, shouts of joy, phony congratulations from the La La Land people. Imagine how they must feel. I mean - imagine how they must REALLY feel, as opposed to what they are allowed to show.

Sorry about all the long shots. There were a lot of quick cutaways because the camera guys just didn't know what to do. There are always a number of perspectives to choose from, so the producers/directors (or whoever does it) had to make some quick choices as to whose reactions to avoid.

Jimmy Kimmel, profoundly embarrassed that the biggest gig of his life had to end this way.

Sammy Davis Jr., making everyone laugh (a sure audience tension-reliever and a way to dispel embarrassment), then getting it right. Nice save.

A super-jerky gif from somebody else's site. If you had a shot of this priceless reaction from Meryl Streep and wanted to make a gif of it, why not a 15-second one? It would've been superb. I think this may be an outtake, as I am sure the camera people were trying to avoid winces and frowns. God, the panic!

(From the New York Times) HERE'S how it could happen:

PricewaterhouseCoopers prepares two identical sets of sealed envelopes. The two partners from the firm who oversee the voting process, Martha L. Ruiz and Brian Cullinan, each have a briefcase with a complete set of the envelopes inside and stand on opposite sides of the stage.

The envelope for best actress, the penultimate award of the night, came from the side of the stage where Ms. Ruiz stood.

After Ms. Stone accepted that honor, Ms. Dunaway and Mr. Beatty came out to present the best picture award from Mr. Cullinan’s side of the stage, where a best actress envelope was still unopened. Mr. Cullinan clearly handed Mr. Beatty the wrong envelope.

After Mr. Cullinan and Ms. Ruiz realized that the wrong winner had been announced, they notified the stage manager, which set in motion a chaotic scene onstage. Those details, provided by two people familiar with the process who were not authorized to speak publicly, helped clarify some of the details of what happened onstage Sunday night.

Yet it still took more than two minutes between Ms. Dunaway announcing “La La Land” as best picture and an announcement from the “La La Land” producers that “Moonlight” was in fact the winner. Three “La La Land” producers had given acceptance speeches before the mistake was announced.

Exactly how the confusion resulting in Mr. Beatty’s being handed the wrong envelope occurred is not fully known. But it could have to do with the design. PricewaterhouseCoopers used a new envelope this year, featuring red paper with gold lettering that specifies the award inside. That may have made the outside of the envelopes more difficult to read than last year’s envelopes, which featured gold paper and red lettering. The academy is responsible for the envelope design.

Blogger's note. Mr. Cullinan, you are officially screwed.

Oh, and one more thing. That gif of Meryl Streep "reacting"? It's fake. Or at least, it's the wrong one (speaking of the wrong one). Either that, or THIS one is wrong. I like the way she seems to be saying, "NO - !"

1957 Vision of the Year 2000

A favorite video, not just for its quaint vision of the year 2000 (and the whole time I was growing up, people constantly said "by the year 2000. . .", as if it was the date of the Second Coming), but for its badly-translated captions. This was Hungarian or Romanian or something, I forget which. But it's lovely.

Norman isn't quite himself today


Hoarder mom possibly unaware of son's corpse in her own home

By Melkorka Licea

September 25, 2016 

Woman lived with her son’s corpse for over a decade

It’s a plot twist not even Alfred Hitchcock would think of.

The elderly Brooklyn woman found this month living with the skeletal remains of her son, possibly for as long as 20 years, is a legally blind hoarder who may not have even known he was there, NYPD sources said.

The chilling discovery of the skeleton was made Sept. 15 when a relative showed up at Rita Wolfensohn’s Midwood home to fetch her belongings and take them to her in the hospital.

In a debris-choked second-floor bedroom, sister-in-law Josette Buchman found a “completely intact” skeleton, dressed in jeans, socks and a shirt, lying on its back on a thin mattress on the floor, police sources told The Post.

“It’s like some reverse ‘Psycho’ scene,” a law enforcement source said at the time, referring to Hitchcock’s 1960 horror flick in which a son, Norman Bates, keeps his dead mother’s remains in a basement.

But investigators now believe Wolfensohn may not have known she was living with the corpse of her son. Cobwebs and garbage filled the room where the body was found — as if “a garbage truck had dumped its load” inside, police sources said.

The room reeked of rotting food, but not of ­decaying flesh, the sources said.

When police questioned the ailing woman, she spoke about her son as if he had simply moved out.

Her brother, Joseph Buch­man, and his wife, Josette, would not say where Wolfensohn — whose husband, Jesse, died in 1987 — is staying, but they were seen Saturday visiting a Long Island assisted-living facility. 

Joseph told The Post he hadn’t been close to Wolfensohn for years. Another relative said he wouldn’t comment on the grisly mystery until “after the funeral.”

The widow’s Brooklyn home, a well-appointed, two-story brick house worth about $700,000, had fallen into disrepair. Last week it was empty, with mail piling up. No one answered multiple calls to the home phone.

Authorities have not officially identified the body but believe the man was Wolfensohn’s son and that he died of natural causes. They would not provide a name. 

According to public rec­ords, Wolfensohn had two sons, Michael and Louis. Relatives said they had not seen Louis — who today would be 49 years old — in 20 years.

Michael died in 2003 at the age of 38, according to court documents.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Vintage TV ads: in twenty seconds or less!

As usual, this was a process. For reasons unknown, something popped into my head today. Years ago, in a compilation of "classic" TV ads, I saw a very brief spot for a certain type of cooker that I hadn't seen before. I just remembered that the announcer was British, and the cooker cooked things at some sort of supernatural speed. You could do a chicken in 5 seconds or something. I also remembered the type of energy used was weird - thermonuclear or something? Thermodynamic? Convectional? I could NOT remember the name, only the weird feeling it gave me, as if it would emit radiation or something.

It took a lot of googling and search terms and switching back and forth from YouTube to Google images, but I finally found it - and I knew I would recognize the name the minute I saw it! It was INFRARED. For some reason, the idea of an infrared cooker scared the hell out of me. It sounded like it should come with its own Geiger counter.

Once I knew the name of it, it wasn't hard to find the ad on YouTube. It was the same one, except I had remembered it a little bit wrong, as something with a glass dome. In truth, it's a sort of prototype for the George Foreman grill, or one of those thingies that awful Southern lady pushes in the infomercials.

Having noticed how mercifully brief the ad was, I thought: what if I did a whole post on ten-second-long "classic" commercials? I didn't get too far. Soon I was up to 20 seconds. Most of them are at least within 30.  I love things that get right to the point.

BLOGGER'S DISCOVERY! NOW I know what I was thinking about! I must have conflated (if that's the word) the British infrared cooker ad with a "vision of the year 2000" video in Russian (or Polish or Czech). It featured an infrared cooker with a glass dome, which claims to cook a chicken in a few seconds or less.

Like this.

Reese Witherspoon animation!

In my ever-more-demonic attempts to make things move, I took this picture of Reese Witherspoon from Legally Blonde - that DOES have an "e" on it, doesn't it? - and made her talk. Well, sort of. It's hard to mess with facial features and have them come out looking more-or-less natural. They don't here, but that's all part of the fun, isn't it? The idea to make her eyes move was an afterthought. I'd have her filing her nails, tossing her hair back, giving herself a mani-pedi, etc., but hell, I don't want to push my luck.

This was taken from an image I put together for the thumbnail of my YouTube video, Whatever Happened to the Popular Girl? Everyone says a good thumbnail attracts more views. Ha. YOUR thumbnail, maybe. I make personalized thumbnails because they're fun to make. And it's even more fun to make them talk.

Bentley does nothing - to music!

Cats Doing Nothing, Part 496: Bentley does what he does best - to the tune of Leroy Anderson's charming classic, The Waltzing Cat.

Whatever happened to the popular girl?

Late one night, my thoughts began rambling, and I turned on the video camera. I've been trying to figure some things out about internet popularity, and popularity/lack of it in general, what it means, why people crave it - and whatever happened to that girl who seemingly had everything, the one who had not friends, but an entourage, when she was fourteen years old. 

Surprisingly, I DID find out what happened to her! Literally, I found out. I got a Facebook message from The Popular Girl, and in this video I tell you what it is. This was simply amazing. I have the answer, folks, so you have to watch this.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Movie night! Hercules in New York (1970) Bear fight

"Oh my God!" Northern lights of Norway

God, you're moody today

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Sleepy panda (animation)

Friday, February 24, 2017

Just a tiny porcupine called Wilbur eating a slice of banana

"Don't go!!!!": Tourists rate the wonders of Scotland

What's the point of going abroad if you're just another tourist carted around in buses surrounded by sweaty mindless oafs from Kettering and Coventry in their cloth caps and their cardigans and their transistor radios and their Sunday Mirrors, complaining about the tea - 'Oh they don't make it properly here, do they, not like at home' - and stopping at Majorcan bodegas selling fish and chips and Watney's Red Barrel and calamaris and two veg and sitting in their cotton frocks squirting Timothy White's suncream all over their puffy raw swollen purulent flesh 'cos they 'overdid it on the first day.' And being herded into endless Hotel Miramars and Bellvueses and Bontinentales with their modern international luxury roomettes and draught Red Barrel and swimming pools full of fat German businessmen pretending they're acrobats forming pyramids and frightening the children and barging into queues and if you're not at your table spot on seven you miss the bowl of Campbell's Cream of Mushroom soup, the first item on the menu of International Cuisine, and every Thursday night the hotel has a bloody cabaret in the bar, featuring a tiny emaciated dago with nine-inch hips and some bloated fat tart with her hair brylcreemed down and a big arse presenting Flamenco for Foreigners. And then some adenoidal typists from Birmingham with flabby white legs and diarrhoea trying to pick up hairy bandy-legged wop waiters called Manuel and once a week there's an excursion to the local Roman Ruins to buy cherryade and melted ice cream and bleeding Watney's Red Barrel and one evening you visit the so called typical restaurant with local colour and atmosphere and you sit next to a party from Rhyl who keep singing 'Torremolinos, torremolinos' and complaining about the food - 'It's so greasy here, isn't it?' - and you get cornered by some drunken greengrocer from Luton with an Instamatic camera and Dr. Scholl sandals and last Tuesday's Daily Express and he drones on and on and on about how Mr. Smith should be running this country and how many languages Enoch Powell can speak and then he throws up over the Cuba Libres. And sending tinted postcards of places they don't realise they haven't even visited to 'All at number 22, weather wonderful, our room is marked with an 'X'. Food very greasy but we've found a charming little local place hidden away in the back streets where they serve Watney's Red Barrel and cheese and onion crisps and the accordionist plays 'Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner'.

''Horse'' for the Tandy MC-10

New cat animation: breakthrough!