Thursday, January 28, 2010
www.mylifeisaverage.com Used to be Exactly What Is Says Etc., but not anymore. Now it's basically a free-for-all to see who can describe--with brevity--unusual happenstances that for some reason always occur "yesterday". Harmless and enjoyable fluff; seems to be picking up posting speed.
www.givesmehope.com Women, break out the tissues; men, pull up your sleeves. Each and every story on this amazing site is guaranteed to restore your hope in the human race and not leave a dry eye in the house.
www.collectedcurios.com/sequentialart.php Add another webcomic to the list! This one's about a guy named Art, a catgirl named Kat and a giant green penguin (Pip). Oh, and there's an ADD squirrel-girl in there called Scarlet who is voiced in my head by Ellen DeGeneres. Awesomeness doesn't get much crazier than this, folks!
cheezburger.com/sites This is not addition but a name change. Remember I Can Has Cheezburger? They've expanded into an entire Cheezburger Network, covering everything from wedding pictures and graphs to cute babies and Facebook stupidity. With 36 separate offshoots and counting, say hello to hours of laughs!
TODAY'S BOOK: "The Making of 'The African Queen', or: How I Went to Africa with Bogie, Bacall and Huston and Almost Lost My Mind", by Katharine Hepburn ((c) 1987)
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Wherever there is trouble, Israel is there to lend a helping hand. May G-d be with the people of Haiti. (Unprinted cartoon submitted to The Jerusalem Post.)
TODAY'S BOOK: "Miss Pickerell and the Geiger Counter", by Ellen MacGregor ((c) 1953)
Monday, January 18, 2010
Oh my. Oh MY.
There is practically no way the author did not know how those top two paragraphs could be misinterpreted.
FYI, this is an excerpt from "Brothers Beyond the Void", a 1952 short story by Paul Fairman, reprinted in "The Twilight Zone: The Original Series" ((c) 1985).
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Randomly reprinted post (XXI)
Who dressed himself up in a shroud.
When they called him a freak
He replied, "I'm unique
And don't wish to be one of the crowd."'
--Livingston, M.C., A Lollygag of Limericks (1978), p. 11
'A meticulous person of Grange
Once declared, "Though my friends think me strange
Teaching roosters to crow
And the weeds how to grow,
They would be most confused should I change."'
--Ibid., p. 29 "
--172nd post, 9/16/08
Thursday, January 14, 2010
#10 - Abdelbaset al-Megrahi arrives in Libya to great fanfare, 8/25/2009
Yeah, meting out justice based on the honor system really isn't such a great idea, Kenny.
#9 - The world fiddles while Iran prepares to burn, 11/22/2009
Countries as mammals, reptiles and spineless inveterbrae--old-fashioned and clich'ed, but highly enjoyable to draw.
#8 - HRW changes tack... kind of, 8/13/2009
Bonus: the guy on the left side of the Human Rights Watch group was later found to be a collector of Nazi memorabilia. What an innocuous hobby.
#7 - Terrorists attempt a horseback attack, 6/9/2009
You try that tactic against the Israelis With Infrared Missiles, you deserve everything you get.
#6 - The UN once again calls for Hizbullah to disarm, 10/23/2009
Draco Dormiens Nunquam Titillandus...
#5 - Unrest among hesder yeshivas following the ouster of Har Bracha, 12/16/2009
Although the hornets eventually settled down, this visual metaphor was too good to pass up--and got pulled off pleasingly.
#4 - The US decries Israeli settlement expansion, 7/2/2009
Putting the settlers in the heroic Iwo Jima pose was a stroke of inspiration.
#3 - Yom Kippur 5770, 9/24/2009
With Israeli politicians (and Bernie Madoff), you've got to laugh if you don't want to cry... Right to left, fraud, sexual misconduct, embezzlement, embezzlement, and various financial improprieties.
#2 - Bernie gets 150 years in the slammer--good riddance!, 6/30/2009
I love this one so much.
#1 - The least-worked-for award of the year, 10/11/2009
Burn, baby, burn!
TODAY'S BOOK: "Jim at the Corner", by Eleanor Farjeon ((c) 1934)
Labels: lists lists lists
Friday, January 08, 2010
TOP 25 FAVORITE FF.NET FANFICTIONS
25. Scrat's Haiku (Ice Age, K)
Yes, it's a haiku. But it's a very good haiku, capturing Scrat's essence perfectly in 17 syllables.
24. Lantern Boo (JLU & Animaniacs crossover, K)
A "Chicken Boo" segment set it the Watchtower. Hilarity ensues. How I wish this were real.
23. Omicron Opera (DC animated, T)
A counterintuitive setup: two morally challenged extraterrestrials, Blackfire from Teen Titans and Lobo from Superman, meet in a bar. Better than it sounds.
22. Half of Your Adult Life (Bolt, K+)
One-shot that posits what would happen if the movie's show-within-a-show actors visited a convention. Somewhat fluffy, very well-executed.
21. Will the Real Robin Please Stand Up? (Young Justice, K)
Great good fun with the YJers attempting to uncover Robin's identity, with unpredictably hilarious results.
20. Humor Me & Laugh It Up (Harry Potter & Batman crossovers, K/K+)
Q: If the HPU and DCU coexisted, would the Weasley twins try to prank the Joker? A: Totally. This could just as well be considered a two-chapter story split in half.
19. If the Hat Fits (Discworld, T)
Written by A.A. Pessimal, and get used to that name, because you're going to see it a lot more on this list.
18. Cultural Significance (JLI, K)
For some reason, FF.net seems to breed authors who write extremely good, extremely funny, completely IC Justice League International fics. Case in point: this effort from LM, who parlays the heroes eating at a Chinese restaurant into something short yet spectacular.
17. Highway Code (Harry Potter, K)
shewhoguards tells the untold story of just how Ron Weasley got his driver's license. Nobody is OOC, which made me fall in love with this fic immediately, but beyond that, I have to say that Rowling herself could have done no better.
Speaking of shewhoguards...
16. Night of the Anas (Harry Potter, T)
Another behind-the-scenes vignette, crowbarred out of a simple throwaway line in Book 7. No need to worry about OOCness, as the main characters are OCs, and hilarious in their own right to boot.
15. Even Superheroes Need Fashion Consultants (Blue Beetle III, K+)
In the best Jaime Reyes-centered fic I've seen on the site so far, our hero and his scarab prepare for a date with Traci 13. So IC it hurts.
14. The New Guild (Discworld, K+)
A.A. Pessimal takes the euphemestically-named Guild of Seamstresses and turns the concept inside out.
13. A Night on the Town (comic book Teen Titans (ex-YJ members), K)
A visit to Gotham City goes typically awry. Technically under the TT banner, Tim, Kon, Bart and Cassie's characters nevertheless evoke the charm, direction and fast-paced funny Young Justice was known for. Written by the fantastically prolific Mara Greengrass, usually a drabbler, but this one clocks in at well over 4,000 words.
12. Generic Exaggeration (TV Teen Titans, T)
Nothing but an effective series of jabs at the worst cliches prevalent in fanfiction, Amethyst Turtle's parody is still going strong at over 60 chapters.
11. Road Rage (JLI, K)
The other LM story on this list, this one takes all the good qualities found in "Cultural Significance", then cubes them.
10. How Not To Write Fanfiction: A Non Guide (general (but Artemis Fowl-centered), T)
As opposed to "Generic Exaggeration", The One Called Demetra's fic is not a fic at all, but rather lists and pointers on how, indeed, not to write fanfiction. The snark level is over 9,000!
9. All of blubeetle3's Untold Tales of the JLI (JLI, K+)
Simple fact: if DC Comics ever decides to revitalize the JLI series, this is the writer they should turn to. I kid you not.
8. The Mary Sue Test (general, T)
Writing a fic with an OC? Then Elihu's two-chapter guide is absolutely required to tell if you're straying too far into Mary Sue territory. No more, no less.
7. Fishing in the Streams of Time (Discworld, K+)
A.A. Pessimal amazes and amuses yet again, linking the Discworld to the Loch Ness Monster, and throwing in spot-on historical references just for kicks.
6. The Last Temptation of Alfred (Batman, K+)
Alfred Pennyworth is awesome, and all fics starring him are required to be equally awesome. This one, to say the very least, succeeds.
5. The importance of index cards (Discworld, K)
Take two background characters (one from the very first Discworld book), mix in an uncanny amount of matched-up plotting, and what do you get? Another A.A. Pessimal triumph, that's what.
4. The Adventures of Sherlock Brain & The Brain VS the Claw Machine (Pinky and the Brain, K)
Born about a decade too late, The Illustrious Crackpot should have encountered unparalleled success as head writer (or at least associate head writer) of PatB. These two fics perfectly display what the show would have been like in a fanfic format: they are witty, funny, unpredictable, and do not tell the same story twice.
3. 100 Things Crowley Would Do Before the World Ended ("Good Omens", T)
shewhoguards achieves something none of the four other authors with at least three fics on my Favorites list manage to do: all of them are in my Top 25. Clocks in at an astounding 26,628 words in a single chapter (the next-highest on the list, "If The Hat Fits", has a measly 9,909), and worth every single *blessed* one. Since Pratchett & Gaiman's sequel book fell through, this one will have to make up for it--and I can't tell the difference.
2. How André Got His Badge Back (Discworld, K+)
A.A. Pessimal's debut FF.net fic, and wow, was it a sizzler. All the hallmarks of his later works are already in full bloom--the wickedly funny lines, the unexpected yet completely sensible canon cross-stitching, the works.
1. Family & Friends (Animaniacs (mainly), T)
I've gone over this before, but it bears repeating: "Family" (and its companion piece, "Friends") are the ABSOLUTE BEST FANFICTIONS EVER WRITTEN. Full stop.
TODAY'S BOOK: "Gregor the Overlander", by Suzanne Collins ((c) 2003)
Labels: lists lists lists
Wednesday, January 06, 2010
TOP 10 DREAMWORKS ANIMATION MOVIES:
1. Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
2. Kung Fu Panda
3. Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas
4. Flushed Away
5. The Prince of Egypt
6. Over the Hedge
7. Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron
8. Shrek 2
RANKING AMBLIN'S ANIMATED MOVIES:
2. An American Tail
3. The Land Before Time
4. An American Tail II: Fievel Goes West
5. We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story
RANKING 20TH CENTURY FOX'S ANIMATED MOVIES:
1. Ice Age
2. Ice Age 2
3. Horton Hears a Who
TODAY'S BOOK: "Lanterns and Lances", by James Thurber ((c) 1962)
Labels: lists lists lists
Monday, January 04, 2010
TODAY'S BOOK: "Downward to the Earth", by Robert L. Silverberg ((c) 1970)
Labels: bait 'n' switch
Saturday, January 02, 2010
Movie: Beauty and the Beast
Tearjerker: The Beast's death, transformation and revival.
With the Beast on the verge of death after being stabbed, Belle confesses her love for him just as the enchanted rose sheds its last petal. What happens next brings the audience from tears of sadness to tears of triumphant joy. A beautiful way to cap off a beautiful movie.
Movie: The Tigger Movie
Tearjerker: "T-T-F-E--Ta-Ta For-Ever!"
I saw this movie when I was 11 and this scene shook me up pretty badly. I grew up on Winnie the Pooh videocassettes; I knew who Tigger was--the fun one, the silly, the one surest to make you laugh, always calling out his signature line "T-T-F-N, Ta-Ta For Now!". Then they gave him his own movie, messed around with his character, and finally had him so upset with his friends that with the above dramatic and emotional declaration, he slammed the door and ran off into a blizzard. Cue shocked blubbering.
Tearjerker: "Baby Mine". Just... "Baby Mine".
This may be the one saddest song in the entire Disney repertoire, and it just gets worse with age. After going berserk protecting her son from bullies, Mrs. Jumbo gets locked up in Circus Jail (I guess she was fortunate not to go the way of Mary). To cheer Dumbo up, Timothy takes him to visit her. This is what ensues.
Small wonder they hurried to follow it up with "Pink Elephants on Parade".
Movie: The Fox and the Hound
Tearjerker: The whole movie, but mostly the ending.
For overall depression, there's probably no Disney film that can touch TFatF. Tod the fox and Copper the hound dog, childhood friends, grow to be bitter natural adversaries. At the climax of the movie, Tod saves Copper and his hunter owner from a giant black bear; Copper reciprocates by protecting him from the hunter. Smiles all around, right? Wrong. The film ends with each going their separate ways, knowing they can never truly coexist, as their childhood declaration of eternal friendship plays out across the aether. Happy endings, my foot.
Tearjerker: The death of Kala's baby.
Aw, isn't that cute, the widdle baby gorilla is chasing a butterf--JEBUS KRYSE IT'S A LEOPARD!! Oh yeah, and top it all off we hear the baby's cries from offscreen as it is no doubt disemboweled and devoured while the Phil Collins lyrics gently push us over the edge.
Movie: Mickey's Christmas Carol
Tearjerker: Tiny Tim's burial.
Aah, Mickey Mouse. The very symbol of happiness and good cheer, his smiling face ubiquitous across the world. The ultimate optimist. In the role of Bob Cratchit.
As an adult you can see this coming, but imagine being a child seeing Mickey standing at his own son's grave and shedding a single tear while laying Tiny Tim's crutch atop it... Cue waterworks. It comes out of left field and you're not even sure that it will be reversed.
For added woobieness, the above video is dedicated to the late Wayne Allwine, who began his career as Mickey's voice in this film.
Movie: Alice in Wonderland
Tearjerker: "Very Good Advice"
Speaking of coming out of left field, how about this cheerful tune? In a bizarre scene in an already bizarre movie, Alice, lost and alone, begins... singing. Yeah. It's such a sad song she begins crying partway through, as do the Wonderland denizens listening to it, who... melt away as the tears run down their faces.
Tearjerker: Pinocchio's death and revival.
From sobbing at "My boy... my brave boy..." to sobbing at "You are a real boy!". Mood whiplash ahoy--and pass the tissues.
Movie: Finding Nemo
Tearjerker: "I don't want to forget!"
Earlier in the movie, a potentially sorrowful scene is subverted when the jellyfish-stung Dory bounces back and starts playing hide-and-seek. This, however, is the true low point. Marlin, thinking the son he's traveled hundreds of leagues to find is dead, begins swimming away. Dory begs him to stay with her.
"No one's ever stuck with me for so long before. And if you leave... if you leave... I just, I remember things better with you. I do, look. P. Sherman, forty-two... forty-two... I remember it, I do. It's there, I know it is, because when I look at you, I can feel it. And-and I look at you, and I... and I'm home. Please... I don't want that to go away. I don't want to forget!"It's the way her voice cracks with desperation that gets me the most.
"I'm sorry, Dory. But I... do."
Movie: The Lion King
Tearjerker: Mufasa's death.
Here we're entering the big leagues. Mufasa, the loving father figure voiced by James Earl freaking Jones, is pushed off a cliff by his evil brother and under the hooves of a stampeding wildebeest herd, and only by a quick cut at the last second do we avoid actually seeing a Disney character die on-screen. Then his son finds the body... (You know, I'm not sure if the fact that it's completely unmarked actually makes this scene worse than if it were otherwise. In any case, major. Tear. Jerker.)
Movie: Old Yeller
Introductions to the basic unfairness of life don't get much more graphic than this. After 70+ minutes of adventure, Old Yeller, the can-do dog hero, contracts rabies from a wolf that, had he not fought it, would have killed his owner Travis and his family. Knowing that he cannot be cured and that he now poses a danger to them, Travis is forced to shoot his beloved pet. I don't like dogs, and even I find this scene heartbreaking.
Movie: Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey
Tearjerker: The whole. Freaking. Ending.
After surviving a harrowing trek across the Sierras, Shadow, Chance and Sassy have nearly reached their owners' home when Shadow falls into a pit, badly hurting his leg, unable to climb out.
That's not the tearjerker.
At least not for me. That's the very next scene, when the pets return to their owners. I get teary-eyed when Chance and Sassy reunite with Jamie and Hope, but when Peter gives up on Shadow right before he limps into view...
Here, just watch it.
Oh G-d, oh G-d, I'm crying just while typing this.
Movie: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Tearjerker: Snow White's funeral wake.
This was it. This was the film that had box office cash registers ringing day and night and little kids wetting seats by the theaterful. It was revolutionary. It had color. It had music. It had everything.
It had this.
Snow White's wake is one of the biggest sob-inducing scenes in cinematic history. If crusty old Grumpy tearing up doesn't get you, then the simple, child-like Dopey sobbing uncontrollably into Doc's shoulder will.
Tearjerker: The entire opening montage.
Ever since I was old enough to know better, the closest I have ever come to crying in public was in a theater watching the first ten minutes of Up. There is a good reason for this. You can watch the video and see why, but you'll be watching alone because I'll be too busy bawling my eyes out.
So what can possibly top that? What is the biggest tearjerker ever to come out of the House of Mouse, the Happiest Place on Earth? It's...
Tearjerker: Do I really have to tell you?
Yes, doubtless an unoriginal choice... but a deserved one. Every child born within the last 20-25 years who owned a video player has suffered the same traumatic childhood trauma, and that is seeing Bambi's mother being shot by hunters. Every. Single. Child. You can have been affected to a greater or lesser degree by other Disney (or Pixar) tearjerkers, but this is the one common denominator guaranteed to leave you crying hysterically.
Just to counteract claims of bias, I present you with four uber-sad non-Disney childhood tearjerkers: Charlotte's Web (Paramount), The Iron Giant (Warner Bros.), The Land Before Time (Universal), and Snoopy, Come Home (20th Century Fox).
TODAY'S BOOK: "The Dog Who Wouldn't Be", by Farley Mowat ((c)1957)
Labels: lists lists lists