May 31, 2006

"In My Room"

The Boys in their Pendletons. The guy in the lower center, right above "ACH" is David Marks, who was later replaced by Al Jardine.

"In My Room" came out in October 1963 and went to #6 on the American charts. I'm not sure what TV show they are performing this on (something in late '63 or early '64; the suits would suggest post-British Invasion, so, probably early '64), but before it begins, there's a few seconds of the interview done with Brian while he was in bed, circa 1979-ish.

fake plastic trees

Who needs nature?
I want one!

May 30, 2006

Nicolas Cage in Ghost Rider

Nic, baby, that is not a practical way to deal with your male pattern balding.

The Ghost Rider movie staring Nicolas Cage as Johnny Blaze/Ghost Rider has a new trailer:
There's lots of negativity about this film already, but I think it looks like it might have some potential. I doubt it could be any worse than most of the recent comic book movies such as this, this, this or this.

When idiotic things like X-Men: The Last Stand (I've not seen it, but I don't have to to know it is tediously lame, loud, and stupid) become the biggest Memorial Day holiday opener ever, you can't blame the people who keep cranking them out from cranking them out.

So Ghost Rider is Nicolas Cage's entry into the superhero genre. Cage is an interesting actor, and he has had several interesting roles. He's also been in some of my favorite movies. To this day, I can't help but think about

when I see him in his movies now. When his career began, it looked like he was going to be strictly a quirky character actor, in parts such as

"What do you faggots want?"

Cage is so good as an actor and likeable as a person that his presence raises the quality of something mediocre, like National Treasure (the thinly veiled attempt to capitalize on the Da Vinci Code craze of a couple of years ago). In fact, in light of the film version of The Da Vinci Code being released (it would have been a much better movie had I not already known every nuance of the plot), National Treasure suddenly looks like a much better film! That's irony!! I thought it was a good, fast-paced movie to begin with. Very rarely is it dull, unlike The Da Vinci Code. And it looks like National Treasure 2 is being made...

I'd still like to see him play Pete Townshend.

Clearance = closing?

Previous Shaw's posts:
Shaw's mystery thickens
Days of our Shaw's

Is this the end of Shaw's??

Other miscellaneous pictures taken around town recently:

May 29, 2006

Sack o' nuts

cityrag has the whole Borat-in-a-thong story well-covered.

Sacha Cohen is a genius. The "Bruno" character is brilliant. The stuff I've seen with him usually brings me to tears.

May 26, 2006

Twinkles commercial #2

As I quoted in a previous post about Twinkles cereal, it was: "The only cereal in the storybook package". Twinkles was the first cereal named for its character. Twinkles were star-shaped. Tick Tock Toys has a great gallery of Twinkles cereal boxes and more.

May 25, 2006

"I Just Wasn't Made For These Times"

I was familiar with "Wouldn't It Be Nice," from The Beach Boys album Pet Sounds, but most of the tracks I'd never heard, the first time I listened to it all the way through. I really like it and am amongst those who think Pet Sounds is one of the best and most important pop/rock albums ever made. I think the key to feeling that way about it is to have heard it for the first time while "coming of age". If one was to hear it for the first time as an adult, it would be an entirely different experience.

Of the many great songs, the one that stood out upon first listening, and the one that led me to feel that the songwriter, Brian Wilson, and I were operating on the same wavelength in more ways than I'd like to admit, was "I Just Wasn't Made For These Times" (this version, by the way, is a different mix and arrangement than found on the album). There are many songs that better express angst, but I can't think of many that so encapsulate the feeling of fatigued whininess and frustration everyone has felt, at least once.

This is footage of "The Boys" (with Brian) and their wives/girlfriends riding motorcycles, swimming, and frolicking through grassy fields in Hawaii, circa 1967. It's an interesting juxtaposition--the melodrama of the song with the seeming jubilance of the activities captured on film.

I love when complete sentences are used for such huge titles: I-Just-Wasn't-Made-For-These-Times. Titles like it are ridiculous in a way I find appealing. It's like a title for the kind of songs people used to write in the 30s, 40s, and early 50s, singers like Sinatra sang. Examples would include:

  • "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning" (poetic)

  • "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter" (that's pushing it)


  • "Baby, Won't You Please Come Home" (it's got a freakin' comma, for pete's sake)

    U2 is another group who likes to use l-o-o-o-ng titles:

  • "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For"

  • "Tryin' to Throw Your Arms Around the World" (obviously missing a subject)

  • "Where the Streets Have No Name" (no predicate; what happens where the streets have no name?)

  • "If God Will Send His Angels" or "If You Wear That Velvet Dress" (what will happen? no predicates; still, long for song titles)
  • Just deserts

    Based upon what the media has told me, and the things documented in Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, I have nothing but good feelings about this:

    (Drudge Report headline; seeing it gave me an intoxicated sense of glee. Was that wrong?)

    I don't like to see anyone needlessly suffer, but I think he and Jeff Skilling are getting what they deserve. Period. Still, there won't be any anal rape, unlike what most convicted felons could get.

    May 24, 2006

    American Psycho: finale, finally

    Yeah, it's pretty frickin' huge...Sorry, I guess.

    At the end of part seven, Patrick "Psychoman" Bateman revealed even more of his superpsycho superpowers with an inhuman ability to aim at a terrified prostitute running for her life, down several flights of stairs, with a chainsaw and hit her.
    At lunch with his fiance, it is still on his mind.

    In part one, I mentioned by the end of the book, the reader might actually feel a little bit sorry for Patrick Bateman. One reason is because he several times confesses his crimes and/or seeks help, but the people to whom he confess don't listen or believe him.
    " need to engage in...homicidal behavior on a massive scale cannot be, um, corrected," I tell her, measuring each word carefully. "But I...have no other way to express my blocked...needs." I'm surprised at how emotional this admission makes me, and wears me down; I feel light-headed. As usual, Evelyn misses the essence of what I'm saying... (p. 338)

    Bateman breaks off his engagement with Evelyn, and hits the streets for a little of the old ultraviolence.

    As he's getting a pile of cash (as we've seen, some prostitutes will do anything for money), he has a pseudo-Son of Sam moment with the ATM (not in the book, by the way).

    But see, he isn't completely insane. He has realized the kitty won't (he's not totally delusional) fit into the card slot, and reasonably concludes that it's a job for the pistol he's carrying.
    Too bad for him, a woman witnesses this, and because she has not received the same message Bateman has from the ATM, she protests.
    Well, it's too bad for her, really.
    Some of New York's finest just happen to be patrolling the area, and the chase is on.

    Bateman, being a superpsycho, with superpsycho powers, of course has special, superpsycho, superhero toys. In this instance, he's carrying a special pistol, that among other things, has a clip which appears to hold around twenty rounds.

    Bateman's superpsychopistol also makes squad cars go boom, with big ol' purty 'splosions.This sequence of events is from a chapter titled "Chase, Manhattan", and Bret Easton Ellis changes the narrative point of view, shifting from first person to third person, limited. I would guess this is done to emphasize how out of control Bateman is, by the end. He is even out of his own body (in a narrative sense).

    Bateman tries to make it back to his office as the police chase him down....he (Bateman) realizes wrong fucking building and he whirls around, making a mad scramble for the revolving doors, but the night watchman who tried to get Patrick's attention before now waves him in, as he's about to bold out of the lobby, "Burning the midnight oil, Mr Smith? You forgot to sign in," and frustrated, Patrick shoots at him... (p. 352)

    Finally making it to the right building, and up in his office, Bateman must feel like a cornered rat. A really crazy, cornered rat.

    He makes a panicked call to his fiance his dad his mom his best friend a casual acquaintance his attorney. And Ellis returns the point of view to first person.
    ...I decide to make public what has been, until now, my private dementia, but Harold (Bateman's attorney) isn't in...I leave a message, admitting everything, leaving nothing out, thirty, forty, a hundred murders, and while I'm on the phone with Harold's machine a helicopter with a searchlight appears..."I left her in a parking lot...near a Dunkin' Donuts...somewhere around midtown..." and finally, after ten minutes of this, I sign off by concluding, "Uh, I'm a pretty sick guy," then hang up, but I call back and after an interminable beep, proving my message was indeed recorded, I leave another: "Listen, it's Bateman again, and if you get back tomorrow, I may show up at Da Umberto's... so, you know, keep your eyes open"... (p. 352)

    What a difference a day makes! Was it all a hallucination?
    Things seem pretty normal in psycholand.

    In fact, Patrick feels so comfortable after the previous evening, he returns to Paul Allen's apartment (the site of some of his most horrific acts). And it must be pretty ripe in there if Superpsychoman has to don a filter mask.
    But what's this? Somebody's cleaned the place up. It has been flipped.

    Poor Psychoman. Someone has taken all his toys!

    A middle-aged real estate broker walks out, offers a smile, asks, checking her book, "Are you my eleven o'clock?"

    "No," I say..."I'm looking for...Doesn't Paul Owen
    (Allen in the film) live here?" (p. 368)
    The real estate broker asks Bateman not to make any trouble, suggest he goes, and not come back...

    A frazzled Bateman (his cronies describe him as "crazy-eyed") manages to keep a lunch appointment at Da Umbertos with his fellow suits.

    And sure enough, Bateman spots his attorney.

    "So Harold," I say, "did you get my message?"

    Carnes seems confused at first and, while lighting a cigarette, finally laughs. "Jesus, Davis. Yes, that was hilarious. That was you, was it?"

    "Yes, naturally." I'm blinking, muttering to myself, really, waving his cigarette smoke away from my face.
    "Bateman killing Owen and the escort girl?" He keeps chuckling. "Oh that's bloody marvelous...Then, looking dismayed, he adds, "It was a rather long message, no?"
    I'm smiling idiotically and then I say, "But what exactly do you mean, Harold?"
    "Davis," he sighs, as if patiently trying to explain something to a child, "I am not one to bad-mouth anyone, your joke was amusing. But come on, man, you had one fatal flaw:
    Bateman's such a bloody ass-kisser, such a brown-nosing goody-goody, that I couldn't fully appreciate it. Otherwise it was amusing."

    "Wait. Stop," I shout..."You don't seem to understand. You're not really comprehending any of this. I killed him. I did it, Carnes. I chopped Owen's fucking head off. I tortured dozens of girls. That whole message I left on your machine was true."
    "Excuse me," he says, trying to ignore my outburst. "I really must be going."
    "No!" I shout. "Now, Carnes. Listen to me. Listen very, very carefully. I-killed-Paul-Owen-and-I-liked-it. I can't make myself any clearer."

    "But that's simply not possible," he says brushing me off. "And I'm not finding this amusing anymore."

    "It never was supposed to be!" I bellow, and then, "Why isn't it possible?"

    He stares at me as if we are both underwater and shouts back, very clearly, "Because...I had dinner...with Paul London...just ten days ago. Now, Donaldson," Carnes says, removing my hand from his arm. "If you'll excuse me."
    (pp. 387, 388)

    And so, at the end of the 1980s, as the nation's leader goes on national television to lie about and cover-up a certain arms-for-hostages deal, it must seem as if nothing really matters, superficial, or otherwise.

    (Narration): "There are no more barriers to cross. All I have in common with the uncontrollable and the insane, the vicious and the evil...All the mayhem I have caused and the utter indifference toward it have now surpassed...
    My pain is constant and sharp, and I do not hope for a better world for anyone. In fact, I want my pain to be inflicted on others. I want no one to escape.
    And even after admitting this, there is no catharsis. My punishment continues to elude me, and I gain no deeper knowledge of myself.
    No new knowledge can be extracted from my telling. This confession has meant nothing."
    (End narration) (Fade out)