janradder: (Default)
My boys are upstairs arguing about whether or not Hüsker Dü just screamed words ("Well, they screamed different words," Arie said, "not just the same word over and over." "No, but they were just screaming," insisted Éiden.). From there they went on to arguing if there was a band called Sugar and if it was Grant Hart or Bob Mould who was in that band, and whether or not either one of them just had a band without a name.

(In the end, I set the straight. And I have to say, I'm kind of happy they were so passionate about their geeky argument. Now they want to see a video of Pete Townshend smashing his guitar.)
janradder: (dork)
On the way to Target today, I drove behind a Corvette with a vanity plate reading, "SUM FUN." My first thought was that it had to do with summer, as in "summer fun," but then I thought maybe the person just couldn't spell "some." Then it hit me, the person loves to add, hence "SUM FUN."
janradder: (dork)
We have a television that is literally 32 years old and it still works. So, not wanting to buy a new one when we didn't have to, and because we do not have any form of cable, we had to get one of those converter boxes to switch the signal from digital to analog. I've been kind of dreading it, thinking that because our reception is kind of lousy, we'd be wasting our money, even if it was just five bucks once we used the government coupon. Surprisingly, though, we get all but two stations now (CBS and ABC, and I think I can get theose if I just fiddle with the antennae and/or the stations boost their signals like they say they will). More surprising, PBS, which previously was only viewable through snow, rolling lines and ghost images, looks spectacular. So I'm pretty happy.
janradder: (axe man)
This is really dumb, but it did make me laugh.

janradder: (Default)
Mixing the heavy sounds of Deep Purple, the keyboard wizardry of Emerson, Lake and Palmer, and the stage moves of a family of spazzes, let me present to you the one and only Osmonds!



Seriously, I loved this song when I was a kid, but what the hell is up with the dancing? I mean, really, now.
janradder: (axe man)
When I was a kid growing up in Connecticut, I used to spend my summers with my grandparents. Aside from enjoying my time with them, one of the perks was that they had cable and, because they had cable, we could watch the independent New York stations like Channels 11 and 9. Now, Channel 11 had the great cartoons and old TV shows during the afternoon but at night, Channel 9 was the one to watch because they used to show a ton of old Hammer horror films.

On one Wednesday night, when I was maybe nine or ten, I was sitting in the living room with my grandparents and we had the TV tuned to Channel 9. At eight, on came a Hammer film I hadn't seen before, which was rare because usually they just showed one of the Dracula series. It was called Vampire Circus. I loved the Hammer films because they were a lot more gruesome and dark than the typical fare shown on television, but they didn't usually frighten me -- not like nightmare-inducing frighten or running-through-the-hall-at-night-because-the-monster-was right-behind-you frighten -- they just kind of creeped me out or gave me the chills. Vampire Circus, for some reason, was different. Right from the beginning there was something horribly sinister about the film, even the idea -- that a circus of traveling vampires comes to town and kills off the villagers -- terrified me. My grandparents weren't usually the type to monitor what I or my sister watch -- we saw plenty of movies that were probably a little too old for us -- but for some reason, this one bothered them and they switched it off. It never did any good to argue with them -- their word was always final and arguing or pleading only made things worse -- so I sat and watched whatever show or movie they put on and just wondered what might be happening in Vampire Circus, wishing I could flip the TV back.

For years, I've searched for that film -- I'd scour the TV listings, look for it at video stores, ask friends if they'd ever seen it -- but I never had any luck. Tonight, though, for whatever reason, I was thinking about Vampire Circus again and it occurred to me that I'd never checked YouTube. Why not? I thought. YouTube always seems to have stuff like that. Lo and behold, a Hammer horror film fan from the UK had kindly posted the entire movie! This is even more exciting than when I finally found the Dr. Strange TV pilot -- I am in Horror Geek Heaven!
janradder: (axe man)
The Boston Globe recently ran an article about how to induce hallucinations without the use of mind-altering drugs. Basically, the trick is to confuse your brain enough that it just starts making shit up as it tries to make sense of what's going on around you. I think my favorite is the one that involves using a realistic rubber arm, a friend and a mallet. Read, enjoy, hallucinate!

via [livejournal.com profile] pierogi_queen
janradder: (embarrassed)
Should I be horribly embarrassed that I pulled up at the drive-through window of Taco Smell tonight and they knew my order before I even gave it because we go there every Monday night and order the exact same thing?
janradder: (Default)
I've always wondered why and how the Kryptonians in Superman II suddenly acquired the ability to levitate objects, shoot rays from their fingertips and create forcefields.
janradder: (dork)
I'm one of those people who actually reads the historical markers at various places and finds them interesting.  So, because it's July 4th, I found this site about the Declaration of Independence.   It's a pretty neat site.  In addition to being able to read the Declaration as well as an account Jefferson wrote about what led to its writing (among other things),  it has mini-biographies  of all the signers and, for the über-dork, copies of the successive drafts -- both the rough draft (with notations as to who made what changes) and Congress's draft (and the changes they made), as well as a side by side comparison between the three versions.  Now go forth and geek out!
janradder: (watt)
One perk of doing it, though, is that I've been listening to a ton of records that I haven't heard in years.  Today I found myself listening to Talking Heads' More Songs About Buildings and FoodI'd forgotten what a great album it is.  Years ago, when I was fifteen, a friend played it for me and I couldn't stand it -- too dancey was my opinion.  It took about ten or more years before I finally changed that opinion.  So I've spent half the day obsessively listening to it over and over again and if I could travel back in time I'd  probably track down my fifteen year old self and smack some sense into him.  Too dancey?  What the hell was I thinking?
janradder: (axe man)


Just wondering if anyone else knows of Hugo:  The Man of a Thousand Faces.

Feel like playing with a Virtual Hugo?
janradder: (dork)
[livejournal.com profile] haddayr and I took the boys to see the Harlem Globetrotters last night (a co-worker had free tickets so we decided to use them).

When I was a kid I was obsessed with the Globetrotters (as I'm sure many kids of the seventies were).  I had an autographed picture of Meadowlark Lemon hanging up in my room that my grandmother had gotten for me.  She made Keds at Uniroyal in Naugatuck, CT and made quite a few of them for famous basketball players like Wilt Chamberlain (she also made me a pair of kick-ass sneakers when I was six that had my name stitched into them and shiny red reflectors and a whole bunch of other neat things.  Unfortunately, when they wore out, I think they were thrown in the trash).  Occasionally the players would come in personally to have their feet measured and this was the case with Meadowlark so while he was at Uniroyal, my grandmother got his autograph for her  grandson.  And because my grandmother made his shoes, I always felt a connection to him and the Globetrotters a little more than other kids my age, might.  I could look at him and think, he's wearing shoes that my grandma made.

Anyway, last night the Globetrotters came out for their introductions and then, after, the PA started playing "Sweet Georgia Brown" and the team went into their Magic Circle routine where they spun basketballs on their fingers, their heads, over their arms, threw them under their legs, balanced them on the their heads and backs, flipping them back and forth to each other and I was instantly transported back to Saturday morning when I was seven watching the Harlem Globetrotters on Wide World of Sports and just waiting in anticipation to see my favorite gag, the bucket of confetti thrown into the audience.  Last night, the shoes were different, the uniforms were looser, and there was no Curly Neal or  Meadowlark or any of the players  I remembered, but "Sweet Georgia Brown" still made me just as happy as it did when I was seven.  And I did get to see the bucket gag.
janradder: (Default)
Why do I ever read Sally Forth?
janradder: (dork)
Has anyone else ever noticed the similarities between Braniac from the Super Friends and Yul Brynner?



Just wondering.
janradder: (crying)
There was a time in the early '80's when I could not remove this Carvel jingle from my head.  I'd be at swimming practice and it would just go on and on and on and on.  Oh, Hug-me the Bear, how could I forget about you?

janradder: (dork)
Éiden and I just  got Shamrock Shakes from McDonald's (I know, I know, they're hideous concoctions but they remind me of childhood) which led me to ask the question, whatever happened to Paddy O'Grimace? 

(And for that matter, what happened to his cousin Grimace, Mayor McCheese, an Big Mac?  I suspect the creepy new Burger King may be somehow involved in their suspicious disappearance.)
janradder: (Default)


Sing it Again, Sam! is quite simply, the greatest vocal achievement ever committed to vinyl.  My friend Matt found it years ago at a yard sale and was unable to pass it by after seeing this fantastic cover shot of Sam Sacks.  He made a copy of it for me but, unfortunately, his original was lost to fire some years back.  I don't think I have ever heard anything like it before or since.

Who is Sam Sacks, you ask?  Do you mean to tell me you've never heard of his virtuoso vocalist, often described (on this very record, in fact) as a "singer's singer?"  Just listen to Sam's wonderful rendition of "Ol' Man River" and hear the range in his voice as he reinterprets this classic to truly make it his.  Or how about the amazing version of Neil Sedaka's 50's hit, "Diana."  Of course, Sam also has his temperamental side as most of the greats do which  is evidenced by his irritable insistence in being the one to announce the song titles at the start of "You Too, You Too."  One of the greatest features of this album is that alternate takes are often included, showing how Sam strives to get each song just right as is heard on "That Old Black Magic" and "There's Only One of You."  Nothing of course, can compare to Sam's absolute masterpiece, "Yodel Blues."  Just hearing Sam tear in to chorus, you can help but sing along.  What more can I say about Sam  but "Diddely doo, diddely doo, diddely diddely diddely doo, diddely diddely diddely doo-ooo, diddely diddely doo!"

(To hear the rest of the album, you can visit the WFMU blog.)
janradder: (Default)



My sister just sent me this in an email.

Ahh, what memories it brings back.  I woud watch it faithfully each Thursday night after coming home from swimming practice, the smell of chlorine filling the living room, my hair still wet and brittle (from said chlorine).  I really don't know why I watched the show again and again, week after week.  I hated it.  I was, however, obsessed with superheroes and this was a show about a superhero, albeit a lousy one.  Each week, I would hope, nearly pray that William Katt would finally learn how to use his suit and become a regular superhero.  But he never did.  The show was a one note joke, banged over and over endlessly -- here was this guy who was given a suit with super powers but he didn't have the instruction manual (I can't remember why) and so he was doomed to endlessly fly like a cat flung by its tail trough space, legs and arms flailing helplessly as he tries to keep from crashing into the ground or a wall or a building or people which he invariably always did.  Needless to say, for those who have not seen The Greatest American Hero, the joke became stale somewhere in the middle of the first episode.  And, still, I watched faithfully, hoping for a different outcome.

My disappointment and dissatisfaction with The Greatest American Hero was only matched by my equal displeasure in the John Ritter vehicle, Hero At Large.  Yet, as with GAH, I would inevitably watch HAL each time I saw it was on HBO at my grandparents' house.  I don't know what I thought would happen.  Maybe I thought that this time I'd like the movie.  Maybe I thought it would end differently.  Neither ever happened.  The movie always ended the same way it always did and I hated it just as much as the first time I saw it (but really, what should I have expected from a film that starred an actor who would later go on to star in both Problem Child 1 and 2?).

(And yes, I must admit, I knew the words to and loved the theme song, Believe It or Not.  Sadly, I also liked Christopher Cross.)
janradder: (Default)
There are some comic books I hate so much that I feel annoyed and  sometimes angry at the time I've just wasted reading then.  I wonder how anyone involved with said comic ever got hired in the first place or who would ever ok the printing of such a piece of crap.  Sort of like really bad movies.


But then there are the comics that really are very badly written -- horrible dialogue like when the baddie declares just how bad he is while shaking his fist dramatically in the air, characters reviewing the plot so far even though it occurred just five pages earlier, superheroes relating how their powers work as they perform the power that everyone already knows they have (like the Atom mentioning it's a good thing he  can shrink down to molecular size as he shrinks down to molecular size).  These comics are just awful but for some reason, instead of getting getting angry or annoyed or even just putting them down mid-story and forgetting I ever read them, I feel sorry for them.  I feel sorry for the artists and the writers and the characters in the comic books.  I think I even feel sorry for the actual paper these comics are printed on.  I even feel guilty for saying anything bad about them.  When I come across them, I read them diligently, cringing with embarrassment for the creators as I come across the really bad parts.  When I used to collect and had my comics shop save issues for me I'd feel so bad for these comics that I'd put them on my hold list just so there would be someone who bought them (which is part of the reason I had to stop collecting).

I really don't know why I feel this way.  Maybe it's because they don't suck out of arrogance or trying to be cool or because the writer thinks he's the next Alan Moore or Grant Morrison but he really isn't.  These are comics written by the dork in seventh grade who just tries so hard to get people to like him but he fails miserably.  These are comics written by the kid who, along with his friends, makes painfully accurate Dr. Who episodes of his own in his basement (complete with styrofoam set design).  They're written by that 10th grade classmate who's every creative writing assignment was a story about his D&D character.  You didn't hate those kids in school.  You felt  sorry for them because you knew they weren't going to grow up to be the next Bill Gates or Peter Jackson or Stephen King.  They were going to grow up to work in a data entry job or collect every episode of Stargate: Atlantis or write really bad comic books.

Of course, the kicker is, they're actually writing comic books and I'm just sitting at home complaining about them.  But I still can't help but feel sorry for them.

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janradder

March 2012

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