Song Sampler

Fun stuff.
Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab” as remixed by Hot Chip. W00t!
Why? She was a hot mess, with her stash in her hive and her drugstore slippers, but she could sing (when she wasn’t boo-hooing on stage and calling the audience a bunch of mucky cunts). My neighbor works in a substance abuse clinic, and hates the message of this song. Secretly, though, she knows all the words. Sing this one in the shower.

Old stuff.
Badfinger’s “Need Your Lovin’. W00t!
Why? Beatlemania never dies, it just spawns clones. Originally Badfinger were The Iveys. This is one of those facts that pop up in music trivia contests, so write that down. Spot the Beatle influence, and guess which Beatle embraced them the most. You know what? It ages well. You might like, especially if you do not already own it.

Odd stuff.
Adam Kay & Suman Biswas–“London Underground,” a spoof of the Jam’s “Going Underground.” (There do be some cussin’.) W00t!
Why? Paul Weller is the Modfather, and totally awesome, but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy a silly spoof of one of The Jam’s biggest hits. Public transportation, it sucks. Amen. Though Londoners should count their blessings, man. They never had to deal with Atlanta’s MARTA.

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Strange Things That Interest Me

abnormal psychology

I’m not sure why I am fascinated by folks whose brains don’t function within the realm of what psychologists would call “normal,” unless it’s a concern I might be one of their number. As Wikipedia puts it, “Abnormal psychology is the scientific study of abnormal behavior in order to describe, predict, explain, and change abnormal patterns of functioning. Abnormal psychology in clinical psychology studies the nature of psychopathology, its causes, and its treatments. Of course, the definition of what constitutes ‘abnormal’ has varied across time and across cultures.”

I don’t understand, intellectually, what would motivate people to do things like become serial killers or con-men. I don’t understand a lot about abnormal psych, but I find it fascinating. What makes these people tick? How do you spot a sociopath? How do you deal with a narcissicist? What is OCD? Why otherwise would I read stuff by Freud, Jung, Maslow, et al, if I didn’t have to? I read a mess of True Crime books and used to watch Monk, too.

alternate universes

Once again, Wikipedia helps me nutshell it so I don’t rabbit on for yonks. “Alternate universes are known, collectively, as a multiverse. A multiverse (or meta-universe) is the hypothetical set of multiple possible universes (including our universe) that together comprise all of physical reality. The different universes within a multiverse are sometimes called parallel universes. The structure of the multiverse, the nature of each universe within it and the relationship between the various constituent universes, depend on the specific multiverse hypothesis considered.

Multiverses have been hypothesized in cosmologyphysicsphilosophytheology, and fiction, particularly in science fiction and fantasy. The specific term “multiverse,” which was coined by William James, was popularized by science fiction author Michael Moorcock. In these contexts, parallel universes are also called “alternate universes,” “quantum universes,” “parallel worlds,” “alternate realities,” “alternate timelines,” etc.

The possibility of many universes raises various scientific, philosophical, and theological questions.”

Imagine, if you will, that every action or inaction you choose branches off into infinite directions, each defined by an alternate choice you could have taken. It’s a popular conceit in sci-fi and fiction, be it Dr Who or Star Trek or fantasy universes or even dark alternate futures. Any time you read a short story like Ray Bradbury’s “The Sound Of Thunder” or a sci-fi show that asks what would happen if you had the chance to go back and assassinate Hitler before World War Two, you are thinking about alternate universes, the what ifs that might have happened in this particular personal reality. (Getting into what is real and what defines existing and whether perception can be trusted would take a novel to type out and digressions into philosophy, so suffice it to say I know that opens a can of worms right there.)

Maybe in an alternate universe, my döppelganger has made nothing but right choices in life. It could be possible.

enjoying aunt-hood not motherhood

This is not intended to disparage anyone who is a parent and happy about it. Kids are neat and all. I have just never had an urge to procreate. Occasionally I used to think about who I’d leave my nifty stuff to, but now that I have nieces, I am assuming they’ll enjoy some of my cool stuff when they are old enough to figure out who I am and that I even have some cool stuff.

I didn’t like baby dolls. I am not particularly interested in infants. I babysat on and off for more than 18 years and put in my time, I suppose. Kids like me. I like most kids. Never once have I thought that I wished some nice kid was MY kid. I don’t pine to be pregnant. I don’t feel like I am going to be missing out on anything if I choose not to spawn.

Being an auntie is nice. You get to spoil the little ones and then give them back. No worrying about braces or bad habits or bad behavior. No whining or being asked “Why?” four million times. No jam on the ceiling. No diaper rash. No lack of sleep for three years straight.

Kids are cool, but I don’t want one. Borrowing one once in a while is all I need.

tarot

I’ve been reading tarot since I was eleven years old. I have almost 130 tarot (or tarot-like) decks. It may be total woo, but I’ve apparently given good readings more often than not. Of course, I haven’t read any tarot cards in about 12 years, but the tarot decks don’t have to be used to be interesting. Tarot card art is often beautiful.

Years ago I spent a couple of months on AIM or IRC, can’t recall which, and offered, in my profile, to read tarot for anyone for free, but they were not to tell me anything but their screenname: no gender, no age, no question, no location, nothing. They just were to send me a message saying that they wanted a reading, and to either think of a question or prepare for a general reading, but not to tell me what the question was.

I read for about 100 people and supposedly hit the nail on the head 99 times, getting the general topic of the question correct and hitting details that had resonance with the querents. The oddball was asking if she should ditch her husband to run off and have an affair with another married man that she’d met while they were both dropping their kids off at some daycare. This information came out after “the cards” said “No, no, a thousand times no, bad idea, whatever is on your mind, don’t do it” about ten different ways. She was not happy with not being given carte blanche to commit adultery and make dumb decisions, so she decided that the reading was bad.

What can you do?

How do the cards work? Well, assuming they actually do “work”, I have no idea. Maybe the symbols help your subconscious reveal cues you managed to pick up without being aware of them. Maybe it’s like astrology, and every general sun sign description sounds accurate, roughly, partially, because the descriptions are generally vague. Who knows? But if people want their cards read, I can apparently do a decent job.

tea

My favourite is Dr Chang’s Long Life Tea, Original Mongolian Blend, which I can’t find here in Savannah or online, and which I had a hell of a time finding in Atlanta. Also, last time I got a stye (probably from stress), a wet tea bag helped the swelling go down after nothing else worked for a month. I was prepared to go to my grave with a lump on my lower eyelid, but it improved.

It’s better for you than coffee or soda pop. There are thousands of choices. You can grab a glass of iced stuff, or make an entire ritual out of it and serve nice little sandwiches and scones with jam and clotted cream or lemon curd.  You can drink healthy tea or tea that energizes, or tea that flushes out your system, or tea that relaxes, or tea that helps with long-term depression, or tea that just perks your mood up. You can drink tea alone or in a group. It’s good hot or iced.

Tea is nice.

urban exploration

I don’t get much of a chance to do this these days, but this can be a number of different things, and doesn’t have to involve trespassing (though it often does). If you have a friend who likes to take pictures, urban exploration can involve sneaking onto the grounds of an old millworks that is scheduled to be demolished and taking pictures in as many places as possible to take advantage of a soon-to-be-lost resource.

It can mean starting at Point A and then following whatever whim, based on whatever rules, to end up at another, unknown point. If you do it as a group, everyone gets a turn having their whims indulged. You may end up taking a horse-drawn carriage tour, or trying to sneak into some glass elevators, or onto balconies at hotels.

You might look over walls and around corners you’d normally ignore. You might eat at a chicken and waffles place or some ethnic restaurant you’d never normally choose because it was there and you decided you were hungry. You might stumble upon a party or happening or art exhibit. You might find some public art you only ever drove past before. You might befriend a stray cat. You might make new friends. You could end up drinking martinis high above the city skyline in a revolving restaurant. You may end up singing the blues in a karaoke bar. You might be cheerfully heckled by a drag queen in a gay bar, or befriend a homeless guy who sells incense to make a living. You might find a cartoon retrospective being shown. You could discover that you like reggae music when you wind up in a hole in the wall bar. The goal is to be open to possibilities, and to recruit similar-minded friends who are up for some unstructured amusement. Not every choice is going to be superlative, but part of the game is to vote to stay or move on every so often, be it a half hour or an hour or whatever the group chose. You can split up, even, but that’s not as much fun.

It’s making do with the urge to wander when woods and mountains are not on hand to clamber over. Some people do indulge in a type of urban spelunking and rappelling, but my insurance isn’t that great, so I stick to more simple exploring. You can’t be easily embarrassed or lazy or careless enough get caught doing something illegal (akin to double parking, mind, no actual naughtiness like white slavery or heroin rings required), that’s no fun!

 

Stuff On My Ferret Dot Com

There’s a Stuff On My Cat website, and it needs competition. I post pictures of my current ferret, Murphy, fairly regularly. Here are some pictures of my late ferret, Mr. Woozle, who moved on up to that dee-luxe ferret apartment in the sky a few years ago, with some stuff on him.

Wahoo! Erin Go Bragh-less!

Ferret porn.

Feliz Navidad! Y Prosperos Anos Felicidad!

A very grouchy Sandy Claws

Party hat!

Mr Woozle and his “sexy American giiiirlfrieeeends,” Fannie and Jane.

Delinquent!


The Cross-Generational Appeal Of Monty Python

I introduced my mother to the joys of Monty Python a while back. She knows who, say, George Carlin is, but had never seen anything but Monty Python’s (IMVHO) least-accessible film (Meaning of Life). Should have seen Holy Grail or Life of Brian instead, I think.

Anyway, she was treated to dead parrots, homicidal barbers who pine to be lumberjacks, Mr. Gumby, the Spanish Inquisition, Arthur Name (by name but not reputation) and Mr. Equator, Hell’s Grannies, saucy barristers, and silly walks, all of which met with mixed approval.

Next time, we will explore The Larch, dead vicars, SPAM, buying an argument, word aversion sketches, and much more.


The Fine Art of Professional Argument.

It led to an interesting discussion concerning “Why British Comedy Is, Generally Speaking, Much Funnier Than American Comedy,” wherein it was determined that British humor is verbally more dry and subtle, and assumes the audience is moderately well-educated and aware of other countries’ cultures and habits and languages, while visually it is broad, relying on cross-dressing, deadpan facial expressions, surreal settings and physical comedy. American comics tend to try and reach common ground with an audience, going for the easy reference and observational “didja ever wonder” commentary and assumes the audience is barely literate but pop culture-obsessed, while visually the comedians tend to be restrained (with a few notable exceptions like Steve Martin, Jim Carrey, Eddie Murphy and Robin Williams), and even then, their exaggerated expressions tend to be facial. Carlin was mostly restrained, Emo Phillips and Steven Wright were practically comatose, and so on. Compare to Brit comic Benny Hill: big on slapstick.

It’s a very broad and somewhat flawed generalization, to be sure. One could easily cite the Marx Brothers or Stooges as being big on slapstick.

The debate will continue.

The main difference seems to be in choice of references, and willingness to be absurd and surreal. Brits apparently have longer attention spans, are more aware of historical references, are long-accustomed to men in drag as a comedy/panto staple, and are more willing to wait for the payoff in a skit.

On a personal note, I used to try to watch Monty Python on PBS long before we had cable…long before anyone had cable, possibly. PBS typically was piped in from a neighboring county, and sometimes I could get audio but no video (or I’d get staticky spaghetti, sort of like that seen on the possessed television set in Poltergeist, where you think you might have seen something recognizable there, but perhaps not). This resulted in me knowing what many of the MP shows SOUNDED like, but the visuals were lost, so when viewing them on DVD, the sketches were simultaneously very familiar and new.

Some sketches suddenly made much more sense, as they relied solely on the visual clash of costume / location and dialogue (example: “Wuthering Heights in semaphore” is funny as an idea, but much, much funnier when you can SEE it).

I had to explain this to my mother multiple times, as she has some weird objection to viewing something with me that I have already seen before. I could also have told her that merely being friends with geeks and nerdy types will expose you to every single MP skit known to mankind, recounted word for word endlessly, but it would take too long to explain the phenomenon to her, so I refrained. 🙂

Here’s my version of The Dead Parrot sketch, done with Strip Generator.

To see the whole strip, click this link. It’s not that exciting.

I mentioned the “American comedy v. British comedy” discussion elsewhere, and my friend Kimberly D. had some interesting and insightful comments:

I’ve always understood the difference to be British comedy takes outrageous situations and normalizes them; American comedy takes normal situations and makes them outrageous.

Hence, Monty Python gets laughs for silly walks being a regular department of government, and george Carlin gets laughs for business being turned into “servicing the customer” with all its dirty innuendo in tact.

And then there’s Canadian comedy, which blends the best of both worlds. Hence, you get Bob and Doug MacKenzie (“take off to the great white north!”) and the Head Crusher from Kids in the Hall.

Of course, none of that explains Brit-coms v. American sit-coms…which is another short thesis….and one I’ve not analyzed well yet. I know there is some correlation between all the ‘family’ comedies – whether the pedestrian As Time Goes By or the sticky sweet Full House. I’m certain there is something unique about Blackadder/Chef/Father Ted…something not found in American comedies. And except for The Office, the shows don’t translate well (see the disastrous American version of Coupling, which was supposedly the UK’s answer to Friends).

Can you tell I’m a student of comedy? I actually worked professionally as an improvisational comedian for a few years, and as a director, have done my fair share of comedies.

Clearly, she knows her stuff. Me? I’ve only ever taken an elective in college that explored the anatomy of Comedy, and what makes something funny (e.g., absurdity, surprise, juxtaposition of unexpected elements, and so on). Didn’t make anything funnier, mind you. 🙂 Something about dissecting a comedy routine into component parts is very like watching sausages getting made. 

Californian Thrilled To Be Caught By The Fuzz While Carpooling With Corporate Person

CorporationNotPeopleSan Rafael, California resident Jonathan Frieman got pulled over in the carpool lane and ticketed in October, but, unlike most of us, Frieman was delighted and is looking forward to his day in court this week: it was all part of his plan to expose what he feels is the ridiculousness of the concept of “corporate personhood.”

Frieman has been into the idea of opposing corporate personhood since before it was “cool”: he’s been at it for more than ten years. For most folks, corporate personhood was not something discussed in much detail until after the unpopular 2010 Supreme Court Citizens United ruling, or perhaps until after Mitt Romney, while campaigning in 2011, cheerfully chirped at critics that he agreed that “corporations are people, my friend.”

As Wendell Potter from Citizens for Media and Democracy wrote in an article titled Corporations are People, My Friend, and So are States, Say GOPers:

While on the campaign trail in Iowa, former corporate executive and Republican governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney shot back at hecklers who were challenging his stance that it would be unfair and unwise to raise taxes on wealthy individuals and corporations to reduce the deficit.

“Corporations are people, my friend,” Romney said. “Everything corporations earn ultimately goes to the people. Where do you think it goes? Whose pockets? People’s pockets! Human beings, my friend.”

Democrats were quick to pounce. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, said of Romney’s remarks: “It is a shocking admission from a candidate — and a party — that shamelessly puts forward policies to help large corporations and the wealthiest Americans at the expense of the middle class, seniors and students.”

There are some legal reasons why corporations are considered to be “people.” Most of those reasons deal with how legal disputes are to be handled (in short, who / what can be sued), but in recent years, the amount of funds a corporate “person” can contribute to influence political campaigns (among other things) has been hotly debated.

A brief synopsis of corporate personhood-related court cases:

In 1907, The Tillman Act banned corporate contributions to national political campaigns. In 1971, The Federal Election Campaign Act sought to set guidelines for campaign financing, then in 1974, the Federal Election Commission was founded to regulate elections,  and campaign funding limitations were imposed (the amount of money donated, the types of entities allowed to contribute, the degree of disclosure of contributions and contributors, and the amount of funding the government would or could provide were all legally defined).

In 1976, Buckley v. Valeo enforced campaign contribution donation limits, but also tied expenditure of money used to support one or more candidates during their elections to First Amendment protections. In other words, groups of people claiming that spending money is legally equivalent to exercising free speech rights have been around for decades; it is not a new concept.

In 1978, First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti set precedent that claimed that corporations and other similar entities should be allowed to donate to other political causes that did not necessarily involve supporting a specific candidate, such as ballot initiatives and referendums. Again, this may ring a faint bell if you followed the trail of corporation and other money that flooded in to oppose the Prop 8 same-sex marriage initiatives in California. First National v. Bellotti made it perfectly legal.

In 1990, Austin v. Michigan Chamber of Commerce supported the state of Michigan, which was attempting to keep corporations from using their wealth and resources to unfairly influence elections. In 2002, The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (also known as McCain–Feingold), prohibited corporations from buying advertising that specifically named candidates close to elections. In 2003, a similar court case–McConnell v. Federal Election Commission–upheld McCain–Feingold. In 2007, Federal Election Commission v. Wisconsin Right to Life, Inc. undercut McCain–Feingold, but (mostly) upheld McConnell.

Here’s where–for some, at least–corporate personhood became a discussion topic around water coolers at work. In 2010, not only did Democrats stay home from the polls and allow Congress to become infested with Tea Partiers and their ilk, SCOTUS also decided, in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, that the First Amendment protects corporate “people” that might wish to donate freely to any candidates they liked, but also to allows them to flood the airwaves with “independent political broadcasts” during candidate elections (as well as, as already established, non-candidate elections such as Prop 8). Thus did SCOTUS render Austin invalid as it also partially overruled McConnell, making it practically toothless.

CorporationsRPeople

In 2011, then-candidate Mitt Romney infamously called corporations people when responding to hecklers in Iowa. Last year SCOTUS also ruled, in Western Tradition Partnership, Inc. v. Attorney General of Montana, that Montana’s state law(s) against corporate financing pertaining to elections did not overrule Citizens United. To be clear, neither Buckley (in 1976) nor Citizens United (in 2011) specifically addressed corporate personhood; corporate personhood as a legal construct was already simply assumed.

Our Californian friend Mr. Frieman is clearly a patient man. It is implied that he has been diligently toting a sheaf of corporation papers around with him–at least when driving alone in carpool lanes–for at least a decade, boldly setting out to be a solo-driving carpool lane scofflaw as often as possible, all while hoping that one day a law enforcement officer would eventually notice only one head silhouetted within Frieman’s car…and issue him the traffic ticket that would allow Frieman to show up in court to dispute it. Finally, in October last year, Frieman was pulled over for ridin’ solo in the wrong lane and ticketed. Score! It only took ten years!

As NBC News reports:

He waved his corporation papers at the officer […] saying that “corporations are people” under California law. Frieman doesn’t actually support this notion. For more than 10 years, Frieman says he had been trying to get pulled over to get ticketed and to take his argument to court — to challenge a judge to determine that corporations and people are not the same. Mission accomplished in October, when he was slapped with a fine — a minimum of $481. […]

Frieman, who faces a traffic court on Monday, plans to tell the judge that this isn’t about carpool lanes; it’s about corporate power. “I’m just arresting their power and using it for my service to drive in the carpool lane,” he told NBC Bay Area’s Jean Elle.

University of San Francisco law professor Robert Talbot says Frieman’s argument may not hold up because it steers too far from the intent of carpool lane laws. “A court might say, ‘Well, it says person, and a corporation is a person, so that’ll work for the carpool lane,’” Talbot told NBCBayArea.com. “It’s possible, but I doubt it.”

Frieman explained his rationale further for the San Rafael Patch in May, 2011, long before he finally achieved his goal of being arrested last year:

You know how the carpool lane on 101 has those signs which say, “Carpool is two or more persons per vehicle?” Did that ever make you want to check out what the definition of a person is in the California Vehicle Code? It says “Person includes a natural person or corporation.” That’s wide enough to, ahem, drive a truck through. Not to mention a skinny little carpool lane.

Just imagine what THAT courtroom scene’ll be like: “Your honor, I got this ticket because Officer ‘so-and-so’ believed I was the only ‘person’ riding in my car in the carpool lane during the restricted hours where the sign says two ‘persons’ need to be in a vehicle. Officer ‘so-and-so’ did correctly espy only one human being in my vehicle. From that he mistakenly believes there was only one ‘person.’ But there were indeed at least two ‘persons’ in that automobile at that time. At least.

Why? Cuz the definition of a ‘person’ in the California vehicle code includes both a corporation and a natural person. Section 470. I had incorporation papers just to be safe, but here’s why I was safe without them: there’s no definition of a corporation in the California Constitution. Nothing in the California Corporations code defines a corporation, either. Why? Cuz a corporation is an imaginary entity. Sort of like a childhood playmate. […]

Your honor, according to the vehicle code definition and legal sources, I did have a ‘person’ in my car. But Officer ‘so-and-so’ believes I did NOT have another person in my car. If you rule in his favor, you are saying that corporations are not persons. I hope you do rule in his favor. I hope you do overturn 125 years of settled law. On the other hand, your honor, if you dismiss the ticket and say I am right, that means anyone can go into the carpool lane alone during restricted hours. That is, you are saying that everyone, riding alone in an automobile in the carpool lane during restricted hours, also has on board a corporation, or, under California law, a ‘person’ other than them.

Frieman is not the first to come up with a novel approach to protesting corporate personhood. As Addicting Info reported in July, a Seattle, Washington woman has already married a corporation (the video clips are charming and amusing, as are the special wedding vows):

Ms. Angela Vogel married a Corporate Person in a public ceremony in Seattle Washington. Officiated by United Methodist Pastor Rich Lang, the ceremony was of course a political statement on the dangers of Corporate Personhood. However, due to the Citizens United decision, the marriage was in fact issued a legal marriage license, making Ms. Vogel, Inc. now the first person in the United States to have married a Corporate Person. […] Sadly, for the happy couple, marital bliss was not to be, as it was determined earlier today that the marriage license could not be legal due to the Corporate Person being underage.

There is one serious flaw in Frieman’s clever plan: if the arresting officer fails to show up on the appointed day, Frieman’s carpool lane ticket may simply be dismissed, saving him $481, but robbing him of his long-awaited chance to have his day in court to express his opinion about corporate personhood to a judge.

Cartoonist Ted Rall's take on the subject.

Cartoonist Ted Rall’s take on the subject.

In the meantime, if you think Citizens United is ridiculous, and think corporate personhood is even more so, you don’t have to risk annoying a traffic cop, exasperating a judge, or marrying a Corporate Person yourself. You can keep up with what groups like Move to Amend are up to, you can tell your Congresscritters that you want them to seriously consider the amendment proposed by Senator Bernie Sanders, and you can support other similar efforts nationwide.


Lorelei welcomes you to visit Liberal Lore on FacebookTwitter or at Addicting Info.

I Believe You Have My Stapler

Was in the mood to re-watch “Office Space with added FLAIR!”

It is rather sad how much I relate to this film. I’ve had this job (see above) several times, AND I’ve worked for Initech-like corporations. One of my old bosses WAS Bill Lumbergh.

A small sampling of the stuff I have on my DVD shelves:

24 Hour Party People, Π, Adaptation, After Hours, All of Me, Almost Famous, American Beauty, Angels in America, As Good As It Gets, Austin Powers, Back To The Future, Basquiat, Beetlejuice, Being John Malkovich, Benny and Joon, Better Off Dead…, The Big Lebowski, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Blade Runner, The Blues Brothers, Blue Velvet, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, The Breakfast Club, Bridget Jones’ Diary, Cape Fear, Catch Me If You Can, Chasing Amy, A Christmas Story, Citizen Kane, Clerks, A Clockwork Orange, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, The Crow, The Crying Game, The Cube, Desperately Seeking Susan, Dogma, Dogs In Space, The Doors, Dr Strangelove, Edward Scissorhands, Ed Wood, Election, Fahrenheit 9/11, Fargo, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, The Filth and the Fury, A Fish Called Wanda, Four Rooms, The Fugitive, Ghostbusters, Ghost World, Go, Good Will Hunting, Grosse Point Blank, Hair, Hairspray, Happiness, A Hard Day’s Night, Harry Potter (any), Having A Wild Weekend, Heathers, Heavenly Creatures, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Help!, High Fidelity, Hollywood Shuffle, How to Get Ahead in Advertising, The Hunger, Hunting Venus, Jackie Brown, Jawbreaker, The Jerk, L.A. Story, Light of Day, Little Shop of Horrors, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, The Lonely Guy, The Matrix, Memento, Men in Black, Mommie Dearest, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, My Friend Totoro, Mystic Pizza, Natural Born Killers, Nightmare Before Christmas, 9 to 5, Office Space, Pecker, Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, The Pianist, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, Philadelphia, The Princess Bride, Pulp Fiction, Quadrophenia, Raising Arizona, Repo Man, Reservoir Dogs, Rock and Rule, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Rushmore, Say Anything, Schindler’s List, Se7en, The Shawshank Redemption, The Shining, Sid and Nancy, The Silence of the Lambs, Sixteen Candles, Sixth Sense (even though I guessed the “surprise” right away), Sleepy Hollow, Snatch, Sugartown, Swingers, This Is Spinal Tap, Trading Places, Trainspotting, Tommy, Top Secret, Unprecedented, URGH! A Music War, Valley Girl, Velvet Goldmine, The Virgin Suicides, War Games, Wayne’s World, Weird Science, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?, When Harry Met Sally, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Wilde, Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory, Wings of Desire, Withnail and I, The Women, The Wrong Trousers, Xanadu, Yellow Submarine, Young Frankenstein, oldies like the Thin Man movies, After Hours, Better Off Dead, The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy BBC series, Fun With The Fab Four (“Oh, Thisbe!”), Made In Sheffield, Live Forever: The Rise & Fall of Britpop, Suede: Lost In TV, Blur: The Best Of, Shawn Of The Dead, V For Vendetta, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Pulp Fiction, Thank You for Smoking, Art School Confidential…etc., etc.

Some simple guidelines:

If it is a quirky film, I probably like it.
If it is a weird film, I probably like it.
If it is a depressing film with flawed and tragic characters struggling for redemption against bad odds, I probably like it.
If it is stylish, I probably like it.
If it is funny but has a minimum of gross-out scatological humor, I probably like it.
If everyone in the film is wearing bad 80’s clothing, I probably like it.
If everyone has a British accent–even if they are awful, fake, ultra-plummy British accents–I probably dig it the most, baby.
If it is a “rock and roll movie”, I probably like it. Even if it sucks, like “Light of Day”.
If Pixar studios made it, I hate myself for being a dorky adult liking a kid’s movie…but I still like it.
If Disney studios made it, and Randy Newman wrote the theme song, I probably don’t like it much.
If it’s a brainless chick movie (a.k.a. “romoporn”), I probably won’t like it if it takes itself too seriously. Heck, I probably just won’t like it at all.
If it has Jackie Chan in it, I don’t care how bad the plot is, I like it. Jackie Chan is The Nazz. Ash even wrote a song about the guy. ‘Nuff said.
I also like Tommy Lee Jones and Harry Dean Stanton. Maybe it’s the three names.
If it is a big budget summer blockbuster, I probably don’t have much of an opinion about it or I hate it. Titanic. Yawn. Whatever.
If it has Tom Cruise in it, I probably hate it.

I occasionally get in the mood for an overdose of James Bond flicks, but not the ones that are rubbish. I’m one of those people who actually enjoy student art films, documentaries (especially political ones), “oldies” and subtitled foreign films.

I also am one of those people who always have hard luck and manage to sit near the herd of loud-chatting, popcorn-throwing, plot-spoiling, soda-flinging people with a colicky baby, a toddler asking “Why?” umpteen times, and / or a ringing mobile phone (which these boorish clods will inevitably answer, the better to carry on a loud conversation no one wants to hear them having) whenever I do go see a movie. As a result, I am hard-pressed to find anything I want to pay $10+ to go see in a theatre.

Movies I hated (for various reasons): Disney’s The Black Hole, C.H.O.M.P.S., Raise the Titanic!, Reds.
Movies that are so bad they are good: Plan 9 from Outer Space, Barbarella, The Forbidden Zone
Movies I never have seen in their entirety that I am sick of anyway: Purple Rain, Dirty Dancing, Bridges of Madison County.

When You Find The Girl Of Your Dreams In The Arms Of Some Scotsman From Hull*

Damn My Bad Timing! Alas, my crush on the young Neil Innes has been renewed.

Yup, watched “The Rutles” on DVD this week. I expanded my paltry DVD collection to include this classic.

“The Rutles” quotes:

Narrator: Their first album was made in twenty minutes. The second took even longer.

Narrator: What did he like?
Iris Mountbatten: The trousers.
Narrator: Well, what about the trousers.
Iris Mountbatten: Well, they were very, um, tight.
Narrator: Tight?
Iris Mountbatten: Yes, you could see quite clearly…
Narrator: Oh I see…
Iris Mountbatten: Everything. Outlines. Clear as day.
Narrator: Yes, yes. Thank you.

Narrator: For four hungry, working class lads there are worse places than prison and Der Rat Keller, Hamburg is one of these. This is where they found themselves – far from home and far from talented.

Archie Macaw: They had something.
Narrator: What was it?
Archie Macaw: I think it was the trousers.

Narrator: Dick Jaws, an unemployed music publisher of no fixed ability signed them up for the rest of their lives.
Dick Jaws: Lucky really.

Interviewer: What’s your ambition?
Barry Wom: I’d like to be a hairdresser. Or two. I’d like to be two hairdressers.
Ron Nasty: I’d like to own a squadron of tanks.
Dirk McQuickly: What Ron and I’ll do is probably to write some songs, you know, and sell them to people. We tried to write some for The Rolling Stones and they’re probably gonna buy them.

Journalist: It must have been a great honour meeting the Queen.
Ron Nasty: Yeah, it must have been.
Journalist: What did she ask you?
Barry Wom: She asked us who we were.
Journalist: What did you say?
Dirk McQuickly: I said I was him.
Ron Nasty: I felt more like him than me.
Journalist: Do you feel better after seeing the Queen?
Ron Nasty: No, you feel better after seeing a doctor.
Dirk McQuickly: Not my doctor you don’t.
Ron Nasty: Not your doctor, no.
Journalist: What are you gonna do now?
Dirk McQuickly: Back to your place.

Ruttling Orange Peel: Yes Sir, I originated The Rutles, they got it all from me. Every single bit of it.
Narrator: Well, how do you mean?
Ruttling Orange Peel: Well Sir, they come here and they took everything I ever written. Those four guys from Liverpool came here.
Mrs Ruttling Orange Peel: He’s lying!
Ruttling Orange Peel: I ain’t lying!
Mrs Ruttling Orange Peel: He’s always lying!
Ruttling Orange Peel: I ain’t lying!
Mrs Ruttling Orange Peel: Everytime there’s a documentary on white music around here he claims he started it all.
Ruttling Orange Peel: I did, I did, I did!
Mrs Ruttling Orange Peel: Last week he claimed he started Everly Brothers, Frank Sinatra and Lawrence Welk. He’s always lying!

Narrator: Che Stadium. Named after the Cuban Guerilla leader: Che Stadium.

Narrator: In 1966 The Rutles faced the biggest threat to their careers. Nasty, in a widely quoted interview apparently had claimed that The Rutles were bigger than God and had gone on to say that God had never had a hit record. The story spread like wild fire in America. Many fans burnt their Rutles albums. Many more burnt their fingers attempting to burn their albums. Rutles album sales sky rocketed – people were buying them just to burn them. But infact it was all a ghastly mistake. Nasty, talking to a slightly deaf journalist, had claimed only that The Rutles were bigger than Rod. Rod Stewart would not be big for another eight years.

Dirk McQuickly: It’s not up to me. If you come to me and ask me I’m gonna tell you the truth. Because it is the truth, I have had tea. Lots of tea. Indian tea. And biscuits.

Narrator: It was a bombshell for The Rutles, They were shocked. And stunned.
Dirk McQuickly: Well, we’re shocked.
Ron Nasty: Yeah, shocked.
Barry Wom: Shocked.
Dirk McQuickly: And stunned.
Ron Nasty: Yeah, stunned.
Barry Wom: Very stunned.

Narrator: Decline had a reputation as a hard man. His only weak spot was dishonesty. Anyone was free to inspect his books but no-one could find his accounts. He struck terror into the hearts of his sub-ordinates. People would commit suicide rather than meet him. In business his left hand never knew who his right hand was doing. Nasty adored him – he was a man after his own wallet.

Narrator:
 In the midst of all this public bickering, “Let it Rot” was released as a film, an album, and a lawsuit. In 1970, Dirk sued Stig, Nasty, and Barry; Barry sued Dirk, Nasty, and Stig; Nasty sued Barry, Dirk, and Stig; and Stig sued himself accidentally. It was the beginning of a golden era for lawyers, but for the Rutles, live on a London rooftop, it was the beginning of the end.

Your mother should know that this is probably my favourite scene in the film, bar none.

Watching Neil and Eric Idle (centre left and centre right) mug for the cam here has me cracking up each and every time.

Rutle Trivia

The Rutles was first shown as a sketch on UK TV show Rutland Weekend Television written by Eric Idle

When Eric Idle hosted Saturday Night Live the original TV sketch was re-shown leading to the film being made

The full title is actually The Rutles: All You Need Is Cash

Stig O’Hara’s character stayed true to his image as The Quiet One by not speaking one line throughout the film

Ollie Halsall provided the singing voice for Eric Idle’s character as well as playing Leppo, the 5th Rutle

Neil Innes also appeared in The Beatles movie Magical Mystery Tour

In the original TV version Dan Aykroyd’s character who turned down The Rutles actually shot himself as opposed to being asked “What’s it like to be such an asshole?”

The Rutles minus Eric Idle re-formed in 1996 to record Archaeology in response to The Beatles Anthology series

A sequel was made in 2002 titled The Rutles: Can’t Buy Me Lunch but is yet to be made available outside of the USA

The studly and well-coiffed young Neil Innes, one of my Imaginary Boyfriends. *pine, sigh* (ROFFLE!)


Who the Heck Is Neil Innes?

Not content with providing a pitch-perfect impression of John Lennon as Ron Nasty, Innes also wrote the music and lyrics to all The Rutles songs.

Neil Innes was also a regular on the Monty Python TV series and movies. For these he was also the guy responsible for a whole host of their songs.

In Monty Python And The Holy Grail, Innes played, among other roles, that of the Minstrel taunting Eric Idle’scharacter Brave Sir Robin for running away – “When danger reared its ugly head, he bravely turned his tail and fled. Yes, brave Sir Robin turned about, and valiantly, he chickened out. Bravely taking to his feet, he beat a very brave retreat. A brave retreat by brave Sir Robin”

In more recent years and despite nearly being sued himself by The Beatles during the making of The Rutles, Innes successfully sued Oasis for plagiarism. Their hit Whatever was deemed to be too similar to Neil Innes’ song How Sweet To Be An Idiot.

I’ve had Bonzo (Doo Dah) Dog Band and Rutles albums for decades and enjoyed them, and played them on my radio show, and of course The Beatles were a godly influence on my young self. Not that anyone else had heard of them, of course.

But, ah, bad timing, Not that Neil Innes isn’t still cute as the proverbial button, but he could be my granddad. Woe!

Previous depressions about having a crush denied include finding out Jim Morrison got fat, wrote bad poetry and died, and that Nick Drake didn’t get fat, wrote good poetry, but still died.

Quel dommage!

Also, I learned that writing poetry, good or bad, may be detrimental to your health.

* No mention of Hull is complete without a shout out to the dearly departed Mick Ronson.

Miss ya, Ronno!