Month: July 2012

Strictly Genteel

Lord, have mercy on the people in England
For the terrible food these people must eat.

Performed by the London Symphony Orchestra, 1983; album released 1987.

You know, sometimes I idly wonder how long I can keep up the Zappa-post-a-day thing without repeating myself, or starting to just dump every concert video I find on YouTube, or generally start to lag.

Truth is, I think I could sustain this for quite awhile just restricting it to things I can tangentially tie to London and/or the Olympics.

Never a Dull Moment

Today's adventure: trying to figure out how to get two rather large pallets of networking equipment from the curb to the NOC. Without a pallet jack.

But hey, at least it was only 99 degrees out.

Interview

More Zappa in London -- this time an interview on Capitol Radio. He discusses Sheik Yerbouti, his frequent band changes, being a connoisseur of stupidity, sexual repression, stupid love songs, and his contempt for everyone and everything.

Garbage

Dear everybody who has ever mailed me back a filthy keyboard,

I don't mail you my garbage for you to throw away.

Maybe someday I'll just mail a user a half-eaten sandwich. Here, have some disgusting trash.

Tags:

Beatles Medley

Guess this kinda fits the very loose Zappa/Olympics theme, right? Zappa covering some tunes by some boys outta Liverpool?

Not that the last two were terribly topical either.

Dark Knight Rises Initial, Non-Spoiler Impressions

  • Dark Knight keeps its spot as the best of the three. But this one hung together a lot more consistently than Begins.
  • I think Hathaway wins as the best movie Catwoman. Nice that they remembered "cat" refers to being a cat burglar, not some goofy-ass feline mysticism.
  • For that matter, Hardy of course wins as best Bane, but he could do that just by default given that the previous one was a mute thug in Batman and Robin.
  • It's gotten progressively harder to ignore the right-wing fantasy element of these movies.
  • Not that there's anything wrong with that. I'm a liberal, but -- Superman's original New Deal leanings notwithstanding -- there's something inherently conservative about the superhero genre. (But that's an essay for another day.)
  • Bit too much of characters explaining their philosophies and the themes of the movie in dialogue.
  • Which you can't understand half the time. It turns out my experience watching Dark Knight a few months back with the bass up too high to hear what anyone was saying was an authentic theater experience!
  • And it's an ending. A real, honest-to-God ending. The exact thing that indefinitely-serialized comics lack. (And movies, for that matter -- superhero movie series are rife with finales that the filmmakers didn't know were finales and, thus, lack conclusive endings: Batman and Robin, Spider-Man 3, Superman 4, Superman Returns, even X-Men 3 and Blade 3.) This was a real-ass ending, and it was satisfying.

I expect I'll get into spoilers and specifics later on down the line. But that's it for now.

Olympiahalle

Continuing the Olympic theme, here's a show at Munich Olympiahalle, 1980.

And if you found this page doing a search for Munich Olympics, I can pretty much guarantee that it is the happiest, most upbeat thing in your search results. You're welcome.

Dead Girls of London

So I guess there was some kind of thing in London today?

Here is a song that has "London" in the title.

Adjust That Score and Play Some More

Xeni Jardin posted this video on BoingBoing. It's a jest.com montage of Phil Moore singing along to the theme music on Nick Arcade.

In the comments section, someone going by Seg links to a Splitsider interview with Moore and the creators of the show, James Bethea and Karim.

On the so-famous-somebody-made-a-montage-of-it song-and-dance silliness, the piece has this to say:

And there‚Äôs his rather — at times — goofy antics (which he also told me he can now look back on and laugh about, wondering "what kind of crack was I smoking," explaining to me that he only would so indulge when he felt the kids were freaking out so bad about being on a nationally televised show that if he was weird enough, nothing they could do would embarrass them).

There's some fascinating stuff in there -- I never thought about the logistical challenge of the simple four-directional decision tree for Mikey's movements on the game board. Dragon's Lair was out nearly a decade before Nick Arcade aired, but of course there's a difference between burning LaserDiscs for mass distribution and having one put together especially for an episode of a game show. Or at least there was 20 years ago; you can do all that shit on a phone now.

Other interesting subjects: making sure the girls on the show were comfortable; not realizing Moore was the only African-American game show host on TV at the time; the surprising ease with which they convinced the major publishers to send them games, even betas.

Those betas, of course, have become important to the collector community; most notably, the Sonic 2 prototype, which made its way into the wild some 14 years later. It includes the Hidden Palace Zone, which was teased in magazine previews but didn't make it into the final version of the game (causing, as you might expect, all manner of proto-Internet rumors in its day), and contains a whole lot of leftover material from the original Sonic, proving that Sonic 2 was built on top of the Sonic 1 code.

A silly little show, probably mostly forgotten -- funny how cutting-edge the thing actually was.

(And I don't know about you, but I was singing "Adjust that score and play some more, adjust that score and play some more..." before I pressed Play.)

(Also funny: "Fillmore", by coincidence, is the name of the first area on Act Raiser -- which was featured on Nick Arcade.)

Be-Bop Tango

Sweden, 1973. Featuring a kick-ass trombone solo by Bruce Fowler, whose work you are almost certainly familiar with if you have seen a movie in the past twenty years.