Archive for the ‘Quelle surprise’ Category

Fight Club Friday: It happens

November 2, 2012

Friday night’s all right for all kinds of fighting.


Look, when you are being banged like a screen door in a hurricane, things just kind of get said.

Daily Batman: Sick burn

November 1, 2012

The little robin can really sling those zings.

Liberated Negative Space o’ the Day: ‘Tis the season

November 24, 2011

How the (415) does Turkey Day.

via theduty on the tumblr.

Oh, San Francisco. You filthy Thanksgiving miracle. Lord love you.

Portions of this post originally appeared on November 27, 2010.

Daily Batman: Knee-wobbler

October 24, 2011


There it is again.

Liberated Negative Space o’ the Day: Thus is life

October 22, 2011

So it goes.

New feature alert: Inaugural edition featuring major league malarkey

October 3, 2011

New feature: “What does Jessica Fletcher think?” in which, at the end of an account of events, we ask, “…but what does Jessica Fletcher [of Murder, She Wrote] think?” and she tells us.

I was recently at the Giants ballpark in San Francisco (mad heyos to Panda for making that happen) and had been cruising for a garlic fries vendor who would take a card so I didn’t have to hike down to the ATM. Lingering near a promising concession stand, I nearly bumped in to this man carrying garlic fries. I had noticed him earlier because he was sitting near our section, and I had thought he was attractive. We did the whole “almost ran in to each other, whoops” thing and he smiled.

“Cool. Your glasses are the Giants colors,” he said.

This was where a normal woman, one adept in communication skills with the unfair sex, would take the opportunity to introduce herself, but I wasn’t switching gears fast enough, so I pointed at his fries and said, “Did you buy those here?”

He said, “Yes,” with friendly, expectant body language, but I then blurted out, “Did you use your ATM card?” He gave me a very strange look and said, “Yeah…?” slowly.

I realized that was an oddly specific, even nosy question out of the context of my last five minutes. I tried to scramble for a way to explain, but his friend came up and they walked back to their seats.

I blew the save.

Or did I? Sure, cute boy, but — garlic fries. It was urgent.

…But what does Jessica Fletcher think?

Facepalm. Never good.

Daily Batman: A story in stills, “The Electrical Brain” edition

October 3, 2011

Yesterday at the grocery, I spotted a collection of the 1943 Columbia Pictures Batman serial adaptations. I obviously had no choice but to pick it up — my hands were clearly tied — and I’ve found the content … illuminating?

The Dynamic Duo are first seen rounding up some miscreants and leaving them cuffed to a lightpole with a note pinned to one’s jacket for the police. The original script called for the Caped Crusaders to be their usual vigilante selves, but the censors deemed that a little too risky?

And, I guess with all the purportedly people-based government shifts going on in the world, they didn’t want the popcorn-scarfing masses to get ideas? — so Steve Jobs converted Batman and Robin in to federal agents. (May or may not be accurate.)

Isn’t it bromantic? Lewis Wilson as a jaunty, kohl-browed Batman, with Douglas Croft as the Boy Wonder, congratulate themselves on a good night of taking the law in to their own hands without right or invitation after hopping in a Batmobile chauffered by good old Alfred Pennyworth, whose previous comic presence had been a facial hairless, rotund figure — colloquial wisdom credits this adaptation’s portrayal of Alfred as thin, stately, and mustachioed with influencing his subsequent appearance in the comics.

Accordingly, so far as I’ve watched, this opening scene introducing their crime-fighting prowess is the only bit of vigilantism Batman and Robin display in the serial. Everything else is under the aegis of fighting Communist and Axis spy infiltration.

This comes from the “Japanese Cave of Horrors” scene and is CLEARLY a wax figure of Cary Grant as a fake POW.

The note pinned to the man up there on our right’s jacket is somewhat reminscent of the “deliver to Lt. Gordon” note from The Dark Knight. It also indicates that the key to the cuffs may be found in the apprehended man’s pocket. Ostensibly, the cuffs will be taken off and replaced with official ones, but as they do not know the secret identity of Batman and Robin, are the originals now a gift to the Gotham City PD? I assume so. Not to worry: Batman and Robin have lots more pairs of handcuffs. You know, for … crime-fighting.

Did it come from Gunga Din, do you reckon? The uniform, I mean? Where did props even get this figure? I feel like it’s just out of reach in my mind. Little help?

This first segment in the serial is titled “The Electrical Brain” and is a total yawn fest, since all that it features is electric zombies, atom-smashing handheld ray guns, a sinister villain, and more astounding racism than you can shake a KKK hood at. Oh, wait — it couldn’t be less boring. If you’re a fan of camp and jaw-dropping behavioral archaisms, like your happy hostess here, run, don’t walk out and find this collection.

Get all of your latently guilty chagrin primed, though. I’m not made out of moron: I understand the film is a product of its time — it’s part of why I find vintage, obscure cinema from this era interesting. But, sweet mother of Edward Said, the orientalism and propaganda are strong with this one.

The villain of the piece, Dr. Tito Daka, is a self-proclaimed servant of Hirohito. Daka is a Japanese enemy of capitalism who I’m amazed to say constitutes only a fraction of the deeply-woven Asian-targeted xenophobic mise-en-scene of the picture.

U.S. readers, if you’ve nursed some fantasy that the internment of our Japanese fellow citizens during the second World War was not widely known by most Americans and did not make a big dent in pop culture, this little slice of 1940’s life will prove you all kinds of unfortunately wrong.

Narrator: This was part of a foreign land transplanted bodily to America and known as Little Tokyo. Since a wise government rounded up the shifty-eyed Japs, it has become a ghost street where only one buusiness survives, eking out a precarious existence on the dimes of curiosity-seekers.

Wise government. Rounded up. Shifty-eyed. I honestly triple-took. “Did that just happen??”

It seems boldly racist to me, even for the time. So like I said, this serial has so far shown me that I don’t know crap about what was “okay” on the day-to-day in my country during this time.

Daka introduces himself to a new recruit to his organization, the partner of a recently sprung white collar criminal of sorts (his niece is dating Bruce Wayne, which is how the plotlines tie together), with the following charming monologue.

I am Dr. Daka, humble servant of His Majesty Hirohito, Heavenly Ruler and Prince of the Rising Sun. By divine destiny, my country shall destroy the democratic forces of evil in the United States to make way for the New Order, an Order that will bring about the liberation of the enslaved people of America.

Daka is portrayed by totally-not-Asian actor J. Carrol Naish, a future Academy Award nominee and Golden Globe winner. Irish by descent, Naish actually portrayed nearly nothing but non-traditional races in his performances, from Japanese to Puerto Rican to Middle Eastern.

Congruent to his alleged continent of origin in this serial and his heavy “oriental” makeup, Naish would later bring a whole new ball of uniquely challenging race-based character traits to the role of famous detective Charlie Chan on the small screen, in television’s The New Adventures of Charlie Chan (1957).

The teaser for the next installment. There was no Bat Cave in the comics until after the release of this serial. But so far the Bat Cave in the serial is a stone wall behind a regular desk, with flickering shadows of bats waving around in front of lights off-camera… so I’d have to say the comics Bat Cave, even if inspired by the serial, most certainly carries the edge.

Liberated Negative Space o’ the Day: Yuppie hogs

October 3, 2011


Fair trade tea and organic crumpets, how ungentrific.

But, wait — does this not constitute a RECLAIMED sign? How now, yuppie hipsters?

Liberated Negative Space o’ the Day: A plug for Catholicism

October 2, 2011

60% of the time, it works 100% of the time.

Daily Batman: The type

July 21, 2011


I’m the type who’d be happy not going anywhere as long as I was sure I knew exactly what was happening at the places I wasn’t going to. I’m the type who’d like to sit home and watch every party that I’m invited to on a monitor in my bedroom.

(Andy Warhol.)

Et tu?

Daily Batman: Family Affair, “A neurotic style of life” edition

July 18, 2011

In the investigation of a neurotic style of life, we must always note who suffers most because of the patient’s condition. Usually, this is a member of the family.

…To injure another person through atonement is one of the most subtle devices of the neurotic.

(Dr. Alfred Adler. Problems of Neurosis. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, Ltd, 1929.)

Neurosis — keep it all in the family.

Liberated Negative Space o’ the Day: Smiley face

July 11, 2011

That explains the smilling faces.

Concerned that drugs from Medicap Rx are too corporate? Consult your neighborhood unlicensed pharmaceutical representative about 100% organic, area-sustainable alternatives. Shop local, kids.

Heinlein Month: Healthy exercise

July 11, 2011


Sex without love is merely healthy exercise.

(Robert A. Heinlein)

When I first found this quote, I thought, “Where did that come from?” I couldn’t place it and still can’t: I cannot find a source for this quote. Being as we sci-fi geeks keep pretty meticulous track of our heroes’ writing, the lack of traces to published work makes me suspect this pearl of wisdom is ascribed to Heinlein inaccurately.

But the quote itself is accurate. Yes? To my dismay, I’ve found it to be very true.

Liberated Negative Space o’ the Day: Danger, Danger — High Voltage

July 10, 2011

Fire at the disco. Fire at the Taco Bell.

I took this last month in San Francisco while in a vintage arcade machine museum. The door was shut, but I tried it anyway. The chain and the people around me prohibited further exploration. I have a problem with doing this. Like, a lot. Ask people who’ve traveled with me. I just really, really enjoy going where I’m not “supposed” to go. “Authorized personnel only,” “Employees Only,” “Keep Out,” “Do Not Enter,” “Door to Remain Closed” — that kind of phraseology chafes me: it does not sit well. When I see signs like that, I sort of get overtaken by impulse. Fuck you; is it not an area that can be walked in, and have I not got feet? Don’t ever say never to me.

Doubtless I will one day accidentally witness a heist in a warehouse after which physically comedic hijinks and fruit-stand-overturning mob evasion will lead to my false accusation by the police, and, in the process of clearing my name and regaining the stolen goods from the warehouse, a straitlaced cop who has a not-too-sad but semi-serious Secret from his past which keeps him from cutting loose will recognize me for the plucky diamond in the rough that I am, and, once I am proven innocent and the people of the village are Safe, we will totally see that our wacky personality differences mesh so crazily that they just might work, and we’ll fall in love and bang, and take the suitcase full of just a little bit of the warehouse goods to Monaco, where we will feast on cheese plates. Doubtless.

This is all true. Very plausible. Likely, even.

I’m surprised it hasn’t happened yet, to tell you the truth.

Movie Millisecond: Love the one you’re with

July 9, 2011

Annie Hall (Woody Allen, 1977).

Liberated Negative Space o’ the Day: That settles that

July 6, 2011

The hell you say.

It’s difficult to say exactly when in every sense the hut graduated to a fully-constructed building. Great anthropological leaps forward: pizza evolves, man.

Heinlein Month: Intelligence is a misdemeanor

July 5, 2011

Vnixie by PaperMoon, via.

Being intelligent is not a felony. But most societies evaluate it as at least a misdemeanor.

(Robert Heinlein, Time Enough For Love.)

What? She looks smart.

Liberated Negative Space o’ the Day: Prada Marfa

July 4, 2011

“Prada Marfa” by Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset, via.

Prada Marfa is a permanent art installation near Valentine, Texas, USA. (Where Giant was filmed.) Erected October 1, 2005, it’s modeled after a Prada store, with all the needless shit inside it, but the door doesn’t work.

On the front of the structure there are two large windows displaying actual Prada wares, shoes and handbags, picked out and provided by Miuccia Prada herself from the fall/winter 2005 collection; Prada allowed Elmgreen and Dragset to use the Prada trademark for this work.

Prada Marfa “was intended to never be repaired, so it might slowly degrade back into the natural landscape.” Again — no repairs, so that “50 years from now it will be a ruin that is a reflection of the time it was made.”

It’s a commentary on, like, society. (Deep drag on clove cigarette.)

Three days after it went up, the artists’ lofty plan for Prada Marfa to naturally degrade in to the landscape with no interference or repair was shot to hell when vandals broke in, stole six Prada purses and 14 right shoes, and graffitied the outside of the building with the word “Dumb” repeatedly.

The graffiti was quickly covered up, the windows repaired, and security cameras went in to the installation’s handbags.

That’s a commentary on, like, society.

Movie Millisecond: La Piscine

July 4, 2011

La Piscine (Jacques Deray, 1969).

Jane knows the way of it.

Liberated Negative Space o’ the Day: this is the way the earth dies

June 28, 2011


Not with a whimper, either, as it ends up.

The Earth Dies Screaming (Terence Fisher, 1964).