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« "The Last Bolshevik" | Main | Rings and Fingers ... and Symbolism? »

April 25, 2008

Media Linkage

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

* The Times of London asks a sensible question about Italian wild child Asia Argento. I wrote enthusiastically about Argento's nutty "Scarlet Diva" here. I notice that Argento has just made a film with the brilliant Catherine Breillat, whose "Brief Crossing" I raved about back here.

* Marc Andreessen tells the story of the first American newspaper.

* Andy Horbal says that Pittsburgh is a great place to be a film buff. I raved about what a cool city Pittsburgh is back here.

* Dark Party Review lists some hilarious pop-music guilty pleasures.

* Before digital-distribution nirvana arrives for movies, a few elements still need to fall in place: faster downloads for one, and easier ways of charging for content for another. Anne Thompson lays out the big picture here. "We're in the transitional post-major studio pre-Internet era," once source tells Anne helpfully. Anne blogs here.

* David Byrne also has a lot of interest to say about digital distribution.

* More zany fun from an old J.C. Penny's catalogue. Ah, the '70s, source of so much unintended humor ...

* Todd Fletcher points out what must be the swinging-est few minutes ever of The Lawrence Welk Show. Check out Todd's own -- very non-Welkian -- music. It's shimmering, rhythmic, full-of-wonder stuff.

* Is it possible to live in the modern world without a cellphone?

* Pre-digital special effects rule. (Link thanks to Charlton Griffin.)

* Joe Valdez sees a lot to enjoy in John Carpenter's version of "The Thing."

* I have a fan!

* Too bad that blogging is bad for your health.

* MBlowhard Rewind: I mulled over some recent developments in graphic design. Lotsa visuals.



posted by Michael at April 25, 2008


Is it possible to live without a cellphone? Maybe not for the under-30 set, but as for the rest of us, I don't see why not; oh, how I would love to turn back the clock... (And I'm only 35!) I don't own one, and have no plans to get one anytime soon. I've had them for work purposes, and they were pretty useless, just tools for impatient superiors / clients to bug you about whether you have the results for them yet of what you're working on. Often, this was at bad times, like while navigating heavy urban traffic. Didn't accomplish anything.

Posted by: Will S. on April 25, 2008 9:37 PM

The fun thing about the JCP catalog post is that those schmuck's kids will be having just as much fun as they are with whatever those kids are wearing these days. Just imagine the jollity of an Abercrombie & Fitch catalog in the hands of 2040 teenager -- "Why are all those dudes laying on each other in their underwear with a pound of gel on their heads while that starved chick stands there sneering at them?"

Assuming they have kids, of course...

Posted by: Scott on April 25, 2008 10:19 PM

Re that Angry Hug guy. Twenty-seven is an uncomfortable age to be spuiking for youth. You're bound to protest a little too much at you can now hazily glimpse the pipe-and-slippers 'lost in long futurity'.

I haven't read a Michael Blowhard book, but I've read many a Michael Blowhard blog. The Angry Hug belongs to the millions of blogs that one might chance upon in an idle moment. It's good - or bad, in this case - for that moment, then it's abandoned forever. A few hundred are worth a second glance, some few dozen may be worth a regular check. But daily reading?

Blowhards is evidence that successful blogging is a rare knack, a very rare knack. It's such a cunning confusion of info, controversy, variety and entertainment (we'll forget the funereal cochran episode). Obviously, there's quite a deal of unrecorded hard slog. Then, of course, there's those antique desk-fans in the heading. Above all, it's that willingness to expose oneself through frank displays of enthusiasm - something that inferior bloggers fear. A good culture-blogger has to know that every time he praises, he's going to get 'I-thought-it-was-crap'...and blog on regardless, without becoming tentative. It's a rare knack, and this is a rare blog.

And to think Michael's a quasi-crunchy from Manhattan!

Posted by: Robert Townshend on April 26, 2008 6:30 AM

Toootallly off topic, but I was thinking about this site in the hospital the other day. A while back, one of you blowhards wrote about the 'quirky girls'. And I was thinking about how my hospital has so many woman docs these days and how they are so interesting visually. Some are no nonsense, some are uber fem, most mix it up between the two, high heels with long white coats, long hair with faded scrubs and rubber clogs, short bobs and crisp shirts with the shirt collars pulled out over the white coats. Really superficial, I know, but then I though a perfect web site idea would be Quirky Girls, and it would be a celebration of the Quirky Girl! Or Quirky Woman for the pedantic!

Sorry to thread hijack, but I didn't know were to put this. Oh, maybe I should start my own blog?

Posted by: MD on April 26, 2008 12:38 PM

Pittsburgh's a really cool place to live? I've been here at CMU since last August and have had a tough time finding interesting places to go and things to do. Oakland, where the universities are, seems to be more or less deserted at night. It's true, though, that there are plenty of beautiful neighborhoods - the highlights of my Saturday afternoons in the fall were always the long walks through Shadyside, Bloomfield, East Liberty, Lawrenceville, and on past the Allegheny River...

Posted by: vv on April 26, 2008 12:48 PM

H.L. Mencken wasn't nearly as pleased with Pittsburgh as you seem to have been, but then he was pretty hard to please. Key graf:

"[N]owhere on this earth, at home or abroad, have I seen anything to compare to the villages that huddle along the line of the Pennsylvania from the Pittsburgh yards to Greensburg. They are incomparable in color, and they are incomparable in design. It is as if some titanic and aberrant genius, uncompromisingly inimical to man, had devoted all the ingenuity of Hell to the making of them. They show grotesqueries of ugliness that, in retrospect, become almost diabolical. One cannot imagine mere human beings concocting such dreadful things, and one can scarcely imagine human beings bearing life in them."

He proposes a demented love of ugliness for its own sake as the explanation, and sometimes, driving through the edge city suburbia of today, I kinda suspect he was right.

Posted by: Brian on April 26, 2008 3:08 PM

I though a perfect web site idea would be Quirky Girls, and it would be a celebration of the Quirky Girl! Or Quirky Woman for the pedantic!

I could see myself spending time on a site like that. I'm surprised it doesn't yet exist.

Posted by: jt on April 26, 2008 4:13 PM

In the Charlton Griffin link to the Fireball XL5 video clip, it pains me to tell you that the magic of CGI has been wielded here, too.

In the original series, the wires and strings that animated the marionettes were almost always clearly visible, coming out of the top of their heads or lifting their arms and legs up, but we kids ignored them to get to the required suspension of disbelief. (Though there were always weird moments when they cut to closeups of human hands turning dials or flipping switches.) The various Gerry Anderson series were re-released in the 2000's with many of the wires CGI'd out, and I imagine that that's what's happened here. Unfortunately, after about an hour of scanning Youtube, I can't find any original series clips showing the wires...

Posted by: AlexinMontreal on April 27, 2008 2:21 PM

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