LOST Meets The Exorcist

07/25/2012

I’m watching LOST again, just because I want to sort things out, and I think I got everything straight, and of course all those ostensibly unanswered questions have been answered, but what’s this I noticed? And this just happens to be on YouTube. (Spoilers?)

At 0:56 it sounds like a dubbed voice, not Naveen Andrews’ (Sayid’s) voice. It sounds a lot like the voice of the demon from The Exorcist. “Do you want to know who I am?” the voice asks. Very similar in theme and I just bet the sound people played with it a bit there to make it sound like that.

Mind you, Sayid has been through a lot, and will continue down a dark path, one that is intertwined with the hapless demonesque Linus, only to be overshadowed by a larger demon.

Maybe I’m just too into it at this late hour, but that sounded like the Exorcist demon to me.


Lashing Back at the Backlash

07/20/2012

I’m so saddened by the actions of a man who found an end to his rope of the American Dream, an end which prompted an American Nightmare. The victims of this tragedy continue to reveal their sad truths, but some ugly lies are also cropping up across this nation.

I won’t stain my own blog with links to these accusations, but already the blame is being cast on the movie. It’s obvious everyone wants to equate the suspect to The Joker, and indict the franchise as complicit. That would make as much sense as prosecuting Santa Claus for the many shooting sprees he’s been responsible for.

WB has efficiently addressed the situation in an appropriate manner, but I have to think there’s a way to convince the world there’s still hope in the moviegoing experience. And there is. Go to the movies. There’s not going to be any copycat; this was an isolated event. And furthermore, check out this video, which includes the Joker briefly, and I consider one of the best edited pieces ever. Don’t Stop Beleivin’ in the movies, cause they make us believe, when done right.


Crazy Lyrics

07/10/2012

Sensucht by Rammstein is a a hard pounding, truly metal moshy song. But, um… what the hell is he actually singing about? Sensucht means longing, but the rest of the song is translated here. WTF?

Excerpt:

Let me ride your tear
over clouds without happiness
the big bird pushes his head
gently back into his hideout
Between your long legs
I search for last year’s sand
but there is no more sand there

So here’s a link to the song. It still rocks the world.


20 TV Show Intros (Awesome Enough to Watch Over and Over)

06/06/2012

via fanpop

In a time when consumption of television shows is gravitating to instant gratification, when you can just marathon through an entire series on Netflix or YouTube, less time between episode watching ensues. So every time a new episode starts, you have to choose: zip through the opening title sequence, or watch it again because it’s actually quite enjoyable? Even though you just saw it like 50 minutes ago? What is it about this feature that is basically a title card with What This Is, Who’s In It, and Who Made It? The well-crafted ones use a distinctive piece of music, and an original, engaging visual narrative.

The following twenty are by no means an authoritative list, just another opinion by Johnny Cat, some guy on the Internet.

20. The Outer Limits

This was clever for its time, because in the 60s, TV sets would always be “going on the fritz” or otherwise losing picture quality. So when people first saw the intro to the show, they were creepily informed that the horizontal and vertical controls of their prized living room television were in the hands of some weird television show.

19. M*A*S*H

Photo: Wikipedia

Filmed in the mountains of California, the famous intro to M*A*S*H describes a typical day for our friends at the 4077th. The helicopters glide over the “Korean” landscape, seeming to dance gently to the sweet music… um, yeah the song’s titled “Suicide is Painless” and had lyrics in the original movie version. But anyway, then the doctors run and whisk the injured away to go to work on them. Always fun to watch, never a chore.

18. 30 Rock

One aspect of an awesome intro is getting the information out to the viewer efficiently; entertainingly, as well. There are a few very short entries on this list, and third shortest is the zippy punch that is the intro to 30 Rock.

17. Buck Rogers in the 25th Century

Although I watched every episode of this dreadful show, and have previously named Dr. Theopolis as the most worthless droid, the best part of those otherwise wasted viewings was the opening sequence.

16. The Fresh Prince of Bel Air

Go on, sing along to the original, extended version and see how you do on that middle part.

15. The Simpsons

The show hit the airwaves running, and never looked back. Throughout the hundreds of episodes, the iconic opening sequence remains generally the same, of course with a different blackboard phrase, and a different couch scene. Here’s one with an oddly serious ending, and here’s every couch scene in a row.

14. LOST

The shortest one on the list, and included for its sheer simplicity. The show’s structure was one with an opening scene, which would usually end with some WTF moment or discovery, then – cut to this intro. It’s interactive, because the audience is simultaneous feeling what the word is saying. It’s effective.

13. Weeds

The Malvina Reynolds song “Little Boxes” is one of the best choices for a show like Weeds. Nancy Botwin and her family feel so out of place in a gated community, and its ticky-tacky people. As the series went on, the theme song would be covered by various artists. This is the original.

12. The Twilight Zone

Rod Serling was a fan of anthology pulp fiction stories as a little boy. As an adult, he wished to write on social commentary themes such as racism, government, war, society  and human nature in general. He decided to combine the two so he could not only indulge both of these passions, but also to get away with talking about these on television at a time when television wasn’t allowed to address such things.

Perfectly sums up one of the most loved TV shows, with one of the most unforgettable intros.

11. The Sopranos

In this intro, we simply sit shotgun and look around as Tony Soprano makes a drive from the city to Jersey, and finally to his nice home in the hills. With an edgy song as backdrop, the journey is a beautiful one of neighborhoods, people, and T smoking a cigar.

10. The Walking Dead

Riveting music, broken picture frames, the modern wasteland. It’s explanatory and beautiful in its depiction of the show’s premise. And I love how it always blends in with the opening scene.


9. Breaking Bad

Short, sweet, and to the point. Yo! Bounce!

8. Star Trek

Have you seen this? I mean, have you seen it? The ship flies from one end of the universe to the other, right in your face! Epic narrator, sweeping sci-fi-ish music, and The Enterprise swishing speedily across your face. It’s so… fascinating.

7. Rescue Me

Ostensibly filmed using actual FDNY guys. The song fits the mood of the show, and the cinematography is brilliant.

6. The Six Million Dollar Man

My friends and I were such geeks about this show, and would be upset if we somehow accidentally missed the intro. I love the high tech stuff, and the music, and the drama. Shucks, embedding disabled. Check out the HD version.

5. The Dukes of Hazzard

Sure, most of the beauty of this one comes from the car, but there’s also the kooky song, Daisy kicking some dude with her high heels, explosive arrows, breakfast… But yeah, it’s mostly about the General. Odd footnote: to my knowledge, Waylon Jennings never did appear in character as The Balladeer, he just sung the same damn song every week.

4. The Muppet Show

Gonzo’s finale was always different, so you pretty much had to watch each intro just to see that, and whatever else they sometimes threw in there.

3. Freaks and Geeks

This masterpiece of an intro never gets old. The setting of the thing takes place during school pictures, and we meet our characters as they attempt to pose for the camera while Joan Jett hammers out the angst musically. The song alone is probably the best on this list, but the editing is what really makes this one rock.

2. Dexter

I know if you’re a fan of good modern TV shows, you knew this one would be on this list, probably near number 1.  The tableau of our title character waking up and getting ready for work has all the right elements to describe the mood of the show, as well as the creepy undertones to everything Dexter does, no matter how mundane. The song is also perfect in those regards, and I’ll never have ham for breakfast again.

1. The Prisoner

If you were a fan of  British scifi/spy shows from the 60s, you no doubt knew this one would be here, by hook or by crook, and especially had to live in the number one spot. Its epic scale exceeds all expectations of what a watchable (over and over) intro should be. It’s the Anti-LOST intro, in that it’s three and a half minutes long, but it’s sooo watchable (over and over).

There are many more good, re-watchable intros out there, old and new. I know it; it’s why I pinned a still from the Gilligan’s Island intro up top. So remind me, what’d I leave off this list?


Buttercup

03/28/2012

Image

Sandy led the way through the maze of motor homes, dodging lounge chairs, barbecues, and septic hoses as we weaved our way toward the park. I petted the Andersons’ dog, Charlie, as we passed his blanket. The smell of brownies wafted from their screen door, and Sandy muttered, “Yummy.” Her voice was still magical to my ears, having met her just moments before; it tickled something in my head that I couldn’t quite define, it dazzled.

Once we got to the grassy area, away from the grown-ups and their bland doings, the girl in the yellow dress promptly sat down. I followed suit. I was aware of the sun drenching me in a moist warmth, the air like a caress to my soul.

“It’s nice out.” I said.

“Not a cloud in the sky.” she replied.

I started pulling on grass blades, trying to think of something else to say. While doing this, I noticed a small yellow flower nearby. A quick survey of the lawn revealed there were scores of these scattered across the green patch. Without any semblance of a plan, I plucked one and stretched it toward her. I felt simultaneously romantic and foolish, and told her, “A flower for you, madame.”

With a sweet, disarmingly beautiful smile, she reached out slowly and took the yellow gift from my hand. “It’s a buttercup.”

“No,” I said. “It’s a flower, silly.”

“You’re the silly one. It’s called the buttercup flower. Do you wanna know why?”

“Why?”

“Because,” She held the flower with the tips of her finger and thumb, and placed its petals directly under her chin. “When you hold it like so, it overflows with butter.”

I looked and could not believe my eyes. Her entire chin was a radiant golden hue, the sunlight apparently reflecting off of the buttercup. I was unable to look away from the warm glow of her skin, brought on by this trick of nature that somehow I had never been told about. It was a combination of immersion in the natural world, and having a dump truck unload a pile of unbridled desire into my head.

She held it up to my chin, and out poured the most beautiful laughter I had ever heard in my young life. Again I sensed that dazzle. I laughed as well, and we both started looking for other things to distract us from the awkward exchange. Something caught my eye, a white disc some ten yards away. I sprang to my feet and skipped over to it.

“Look! A Frisbee!” I shouted. “Wanna play?”

So we began tossing it back and forth; whenever I’d fail to catch it, I’d curse the harshest curse I knew from my father’s occasional slip-ups. I was positive this would impress upon Sandy how mature I was.

“Goddammit!” I barked as one sailed over my head, out of reach.

“You okay, there, Mark?” She asked. “Something wrong with your leg?”

Still basking in the sharp glow of hearing her say my name, I settled on a plan. It kind of all just fell out of the sky and into my head. I knew I had to tell her a tale. And it had to be believable.

“Can you keep a secret?” I asked, drawing near to her.

“Sure. Everyone who knows me knows I don’t give out secrets. You can trust me. What is it?”

“I mean I’m seriously not supposed to tell anyone about this, it’s just – it’s just that you seem so cool. So, if you promise me now not to tell anyone…”

“I promise.” She said, her eyes proving her verity.

I took a deep breath, stared off at a faraway point, and told her.

“I have bionics.”

She just stared.

“Do you know what bionics are?”

“No, I don’t think so.”

“Well, I had an operation on my leg and my arm, see? And they replaced the muscles and stuff in there with robotic machine parts. It was an operation that my parents signed me up for with the government.” I looked at her, and could see she was totally buying it. I backed off with the details, and offered up the slam dunk. “You ever seen that show “The Six Million Dollar Man?”

“Yes… so you’re like him?” She squinted a taste of disbelief at me.

“Well, yes and no. It’s a real technology, like in the show, but it doesn’t make me super strong like Steve Austin. It’s kinda cool, though. I am a bionic man.”

She was hooked. Her hand grabbed mine and she led me towards the treeline, near Canyon Creek. I wondered what was happening, blindly following this person I had just met at yet another horse show my parents indulged in. Every year a different friend, and this year’s friend was definitely different. I managed to ask her where she was taking us.

“The secret cave. You don’t know about it?” I told her no. “They say Lewis and Clark camped in it. Not very many people know how to find it, but I do. I want to show it to you, it’s really cool.”

I thought it was a remarkable idea, the mystique of being alone with her in such an intimate, historically relevant site shot the dazzle into the stratosphere of my mind.

Soon we came to a medium sized boulder, where she turned off the path, and we were walking through ferns, over rocks and tree roots so gnarled they seemed to be reaching for my feet, trying to trip me. We skirted the blackberry bushes as much as we could, but one or two thorns found their purchase on my arms. I felt the blood mix with my sweat and the sting subsided.

“We’re almost there, Mark the Bionic Man.” She giggled a little, and I wondered if she actually doubted my story. After we passed under a dark canopy of trees, we stopped and there was a hole in the rocky outcropping, a curtain of fern concealing most of it. She ducked in, and I followed.

Despite our small sizes, we had to stoop the first dozen steps so as not to bump our heads on the chaotic rock formations this cave revealed. The temperature dropped dramatically, and my sweaty skin was now a frigid terrain of goosebumps. The light faded as we came to the centerpiece of the hollow tunnel: a large, circular room tall enough to stand in. I could barely make out pieces of litter scattered around the edges; an empty 12-pack box, discarded cigarette packages, and other evidence of teenager partying. In the center was a fire pit, one charred fraction of a log sat there motionless.

“Sit down, and tell me what you think.” She said. I sat, and took it all in. The space seemed too large, unnatural and manufactured. The creek’s babble outside was barely audible.

“I like it, I think.” I offered.

Sandy grabbed an empty Budweiser can and mimed drinking. “Let’s pretend we’re teenagers. Ohh, me oh my, I’m so drunk!” She cackled. I wished I could see her face better, but the light…

“Hey, do you have any paper?”

“Sure,” She said, “I got tons of gum wrappers right here.” As she pulled out a wad of Doublemint sleeves, I dug in my jeans pocket for the book of matches I’d swiped from my mother. I shredded the wrappers and placed them in the fire pit, then lit the pile with one dazzling match.

Her face was now visible, observing me shrewdly in the bold new firelight. Smiling, she said, “Now we’re explorers. Treading through the Northwest with no maps, no safe harbor but what we make.”

“Like this cave.”

“Yes. The cave that was made to shelter the explorers.”

“It’s pretty cool, I guess. Lewis and Clark spent time right here. A long time ago.”

“Yeah, and they must have left their horses tied up right outside there. They could drink from the creek, and if there was wildlife, they could catch and eat things like rabbits.”

“The horses?”

“No, silly. Lewis and Clark. Horses can’t hunt.”

“Do they at least eat rabbits?”

She laughed, and this time there was patronizing tinge to its tone. “No! Are you serious?”

I spoke the first thing that came to mind.

“What do I know about horses? My family has some is all, not like I ride them. Just my sister. I hate horses, and people who ride them in these shows. It’s all such god damned bullshit.” She grew silent. “The events are boring, even the barrel race is dumb. Everyone gets pretty much the same time score. That’s not impressive.”

The fire had gone out. She stood up and dusted off the back of her dress, its color diminished in this space. Before I knew it, she was out of the room and heading down the tunnel back outside. After a while, I followed her out, but not before absorbing the cave’s aura a few moments more.

I had to run to catch up with her, and just like some damsel in a horror movie, I tripped over one of the tree roots. I heard a mind-bending crack as my knee landed on a jagged rock, and pain flared an orange-red across my vision. My anguished cry stopped her retreat, and turning to me, she looked sad, disappointed.

“I should be going now, Mark. I have a barrel race in a couple hours. Sorry it’s not impressive to you. Take care of yourself.”

She went back to the trail and sprinted away. My knee was broken, and my afternoon dream had become a nightmare. I supposed this is what it meant to be a grown-up. When the veils of childhood simplicity flutter away, when yearning for something so much more than idle playtime requires a whole new way of thinking, it is confusing at first. At the time, that truth didn’t quite occur to me, though, and I still dismiss the experience as my first at-bat in that most major of leagues.

I never did see Sandy again, and the time we spent was terribly short, but it remains as one of my most awakening relationships to date.

(Photo: Museum of Life + Science)


Johnny Cat Watches Star Wars for the First Time

03/10/2012

(YouTube Link)

This was the look on my face when I first saw Star Wars, as well. Hello, bro cat.


Beatles Mashup

03/03/2012

WendyLady and I love to play Yer Birthday on our respective dates of birth, but I couldn’t resist adding a bit of figurative drama into this year’s marker. I’m officially 2.25 score old, and loving life!

(YouTube Link)


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