Late last night, the hit counter passed 60,000, and currently stands at 60,100. Thanks for visiting, especially during this relatively slack period. And a special hat tip to Body and Soul, which I've just noticed has permalinked this humble blod; I'm honored.
The popularity of ''Adult Swim'' has won it sponsors that include video games, youth-oriented films and, alarmingly, the United States Army. Clearly ''Adult Swim'' has a lot of college-age fans, and if any of them have to write a term paper about, say, ''Aqua Teen'' for Postmodernism 101, they could deconstruct it as a celebration of commercial detritus. This is also a reasonable explanation for most everything in the ''Adult Swim'' canon. ''Cowboy Bebop'' (about bounty hunters in space) and InuYasha (about a schoolgirl transported into the feudal past) are recycled anime hits from Japan. ''Family Guy,'' ''Futurama'' and ''Home Movies'' were all canceled by other, bigger networks. (''Family Guy'' has been such a hit for ''Adult Swim'' and through its own DVD releases that it may get a new life back on its original home, Fox.) The surreal chat show ''Space Ghost Coast to Coast'' takes clips of the 1960's superhero and splices them for maximum humorous effect with interviews of guests -- by Space Ghost himself. An even more obscure figure from Hanna-Barbera's cartoon-action library, Birdman, has been remixed as a lawyer named Harvey Birdman. And Cartoon Network repeats all this stuff relentlessly.
As Mike Lazzo, a Cartoon Network senior vice president, explains, this approach came about largely because of lack of funds. The network originally consisted mostly of reruns from the Hanna-Barbera library (which Cartoon Network's founder, Ted Turner, had acquired) and had no budget for original programming; that's where the ''Space Ghost'' paste-together came from. ''We didn't want to see an actual talk show,'' Lazzo recalls. ''So what would be crazier than splicing this bombastic superhero with these B-grade celebrities?'' Even ''Aqua Teen Hunger Force'' -- a rare original series inspired, Lazzo says, by fast-food promotional giveaway junk -- is done for about $60,000 an episode, maybe a tenth of what ''The Simpsons'' costs.
Asked what it is in the shows that seems to touch a chord with its audience, Lazzo says breezily: ''Oh, America. It's all about America.''
How fascinating, that a network executive characterizes a late-night program that prominently features anime as being intrinsically American. But he's right: in many cases, the first anime series to appear on American TV, like Speed Racer and Robotech, did so for the very reason that Cartoon Network VP Lazzo cites: They were relatively cheap.
There's no question that anime is continually gaining in popularity and acceptance in America. (One milestone to watch out for in the continuing assimilation of anime by American culture will be when mass-market publications like the Times can refer to "anime" without preceding it with the redundant, but probably necessary, qualifier "Japanese.") One major factor will be the fact that American studios can supply audiences' demand for anime relatively cheaply -- much more so than by undertaking the laborious and expensive animation process themselves.
Over at Wampum, Dwight Meredith has the skinny of some serious conflict of interest problems that damage the credibility of two members of the 9/11 commission. He calls for them to resign posthaste.
Of course, I suspect the Bush Administration doesn't mind so much if the Commission has credibility problems, as I seriously doubt its findings of the spectacular success of Operation Ignore are going to be favorable to President Asleep-At-The-Switch.
Great googly moogly! Check out this swell batch of production art for the upcoming live-action Evangelion movie from New Zealand F/X studio WETA (The Lord of the Rings)! I agree with Musashi...it seems they have the look exactly right.
It also appears as if they're calling Rei, Ray, which is decent enough, I guess. I'm less than thrilled with changing Asuka Langley Soryu's name to "Kate Rose" and Misato Katsuragi to "Susan Whitnall," but the art looks so good, I don't care right now.
BA/BS degree in related field required or equivalent related work experience. Must have excellent humor writing skills. Must have superior contacts and ability to attract other comedy writers. Proven ability to maintain relationships with freelancers required. Must have high energy and an ability to work under tight deadlines. Copyediting and rewriting skills required. Familiarity with MAD Magazine strongly preferred. Must be able to communicate effectively and tactfully with individuals at all levels, both on the telephone, in writing and in person. PC and Microsoft Word proficiency required. Requires an individual who is team-oriented. Ability to prioritize and maintain several projects at once required. Must have ability to travel locally on occasion. Experienced comedy writer required. Must be able to provide writing samples. Minimum 3-5 years related experience. Prior copyediting and proofreading experience required.
I don't think I exactly meet the qualifications -- I'm not an experienced comedy writer at all, and anyway I'm not really willing to move -- but it's a neat idea.
Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, The (2003)
Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, The (2002)
Schindler's List (1993)
Shichinin no samurai (The Seven Samurai) (1954)
Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The (2001)
Citizen Kane (1941)
Star Wars (1977)
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
Rear Window (1954)
Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
Usual Suspects, The (1995)
Pulp Fiction (1994)
North by Northwest (1959)
Fabuleux destin d'Amelie Poulain, Le (2001)
12 Angry Men (1957)
Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
Silence of the Lambs, The (1991)
Buono, il brutto, il cattivo, Il (The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly -- thanks, Jquandor!) (1966)
It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
American Beauty (1999)
Sunset Blvd. (1950)
Pianist, The (2002)
Matrix, The (1999)
Apocalypse Now (1979)
To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
Some Like It Hot (1959)
Taxi Driver (1976)
Paths of Glory (1957)
Third Man, The (1949)
C'era una volta il West (Once Upon a Time in the West) (1968)
Fight Club (1999)
Boot, Das (1981)
Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi (Spirited Away) (2001)
Double Indemnity (1944)
L.A. Confidential (1997)
Singin' in the Rain (1952)
Requiem for a Dream (2000)
Maltese Falcon, The (1941)
All About Eve (1950)
Bridge on the River Kwai, The (1957)
Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Cidade de Deus (City of God) (2002)
Raging Bull (1980)
Wizard of Oz, The (1939)
Sting, The (1973)
American History X (1998)
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
Leon (The Professional) (1994)
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
Vita bella, La (Life Is Beautiful) (1997)
Touch of Evil (1958)
Manchurian Candidate, The (1962)
Wo hu cang long (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) (2000)
Treasure of the Sierra Madre, The (1948)
Great Escape, The (1963)
Clockwork Orange, A (1971)
Reservoir Dogs (1992)
Annie Hall (1977)
On the Waterfront (1954)
Modern Times (1936)
Apartment, The (1960)
Sixth Sense, The (1999)
Shining, The (1980)
Blade Runner (1982)
Strangers on a Train (1951)
Duck Soup (1933)
Finding Nemo (2003)
Donnie Darko (2001)
Toy Story 2 (1999)
Princess Bride, The (1987)
General, The (1927)
City Lights (1931)
Lola rennt (Run Lola Run) (1998)
Full Metal Jacket (1987)
Sjunde inseglet, Det (The Seventh Seal) (1957)
That's all of the top 20 and 78 out of 100 overall, which is not bad, if I say so myself. It's also cool when it's easier to count the films I haven't seen and subtract.
On the other hand, I haven't seen Raging Bull or Annie Hall. They're on my list of films to rectify this oversight, as are Das Boot, American History X, M, The Great Escape, Braveheart, The Professional, and Run, Lola, Run. Films of the 1920s and '30s are also under-represented in my viewing, although I've seen the excellent Nosferatu and The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.
Talking Points Memo has been following the slime-and-defend tactics of the President's supporters over Paul O'Neill's evidently greater commitment to the truth than loyalty to the White House. He's had a number of good posts lately, but this one has a special charm:
Number of days between Novak column outing Valerie Plame and announcement of investigation: 74 days.
Number of days between O'Neill 60 Minutes interview and announcement of investigation: 1 day.
Having the administration reveal itself as a gaggle of hypocritical goons ... priceless.
Priceless indeed...as if it were the first time, of course.
Byzantium's Shores relates this apparently anonymous/public domain jest, by way of Gilbert and Sullivan, that many of us who remember (or, indeed, still participate in) USENET discussions should find amusing.
I am the very model of a Newsgroup Personality I intersperse obscenity with tedious banality. Addresses I have plenty of, both genuine and ghosted to, On all the countless newsgroups that my drivel is cross-posted to.
Your bandwidth I will fritter with my whining and my snivelling, And you're the one who pays the bill downloading all my drivelling. My enemies are numerous, and no one would be blaming you For thinking me a dickhead after I've been rudely flaming you.
I hate to lose an argument (by now I should be used to it). I wouldn't know a valid point if I was introduced to it. My learning is extensive but consists of mindless trivia, Designed to fan my ego, which is larger than Bolivia.
The comments that I vomit forth, disguised as jest and drollery, Are really just an exercise in unremitting trollery. I say I'm frank and forthright, but that's merely lies and vanity, The gibberings of one who's at the limit of his sanity.
If only I could get a life, as many people tell me to; If only mum could find a circus freak-show she could sell me to; If I go off to Zanzibar to paint the local scenery; If I lose all my fingers in a mishap with machinery;
If I survive to forty, which is somewhat problematical; If what I post was more mature, or slightly more grammatical; If I could learn to spell a bit, and maybe even punctuate; Would I still be the loathsome and objectionable prat you hate?
But while I have this tiresome urge to prance around and show my face, It's simply isn't safe for normal people here in cyberspace. To stick me in Old Sparky and turn on the electricity Would be a fitting punishment for my egocentricity.
I always have the last word; so, with utmost finality, That's all from me, the model of a Newsgroup Personality!
Although I'm hardly an expert on Gilbert and Sullivan, my favorite production of theirs is, perhaps typically, H.M.S. Pinafore. I haven't even seen The Pirates of Penzance, from which the song this ditty is modeled on arises, but it's a truly memorable piece that rises above its companions.
We had another unforunate incident late Friday night or early Saturday morning: Someone managed to jimmy open our station wagon's lock and rifled through the glove compartment. Fortunately, the car wasn't damaged this time. Nothing of much value was stolen, but the person or persons took the car's owner's manual, a notebook in which we recorded our gas mileage, my wife's driving sunglasses, a number of empty CD cases (leaving alone the CDs, which were in a separate case), and several childrens' CDs -- cases and all -- we'd given The Girls for Xmas. The first two items were each in imitation leather cases, which may have been mistaken for wallets or checkbooks, but it's both irritating and puzzling that the thief or thieves took practically nothing of value to anyone but ourselves.
I spoke to the captain of our block watch yesterday, and learned that petty crime seems to be on the uptick on our block. We also compared notes and agreed that we'd seen less police presence than usual. Our block is somewhat on the border between a very nice urban neighborhood and a somewhat less nice urban neighborhood. Our block watch has taken pains to communicate to the authorities that we intend to draw the line here at the very least. It seems we need to communicate that message again, and I plan to do so first thing next week.
And later this afternoon, my lovely wife and I will install floodlights that cover our carport and back yard. Hopefully, this step will help deter criminal activity as well.
Update: The floodlights are installed, and work fine. (Many thanks to Jaquandor and those who've expressed their support. The past couple of days have indeed seen some annoyances, but nothing that'll rain on our parade for very long.