Thursday, September 27, 2012

KISS slot machine plus bonus KISS miniature golf course

When I was a young teen, my mother talked me into babysitting the neighborhood children. I don't know why. I wasn't eager to watch other people's kids, especially at age 13 when my authority quotient at bedtime was practically nil. My Mom enjoyed pushing me off the ledge of experience once in a while and then pointing out all my inevitable failures. It's a parenting style that's gone out of favor over the years, but it made me what I am today: grumpy, insecure.

The news that KISS® has their own slot machine brought back memories of babysitting an 8-year-old boy whose entire bedroom was decorated with KISS. KISS wallpaper, KISS posters, KISS furniture, KISS action figures, KISS alarm clock, KISS dishware, KISS clothing line. It was a KISS boy-cave and the first time I walked into it to tell him it was snack time, I had to take a step back and tell myself to breathe. Something about the face of larger-than-life-sized Gene Simmons, drooling blood from his lengthy forked tongue disturbed me. I was used to my little brother's room, decorated with race cars. I wasn't aware that children liked looking at grotesques from horror films, making cannibalistic overtures while wearing silvery platform boots. I wonder what kind of dreams that boy had in his room each night.

So it's no surprise that KISS has once again licensed themselves out for a hefty sum to swallow the coins of America at a rapid rate. That's been the KISS credo and as long as we're buying... Head down to Las Vegas and be DAZZLED by the aggressive marketing that will make KISS the profitable army of classic rock for eons to come. And check out more celebrity rock-star slots, why don't 'cha? And finally, be sure to take in the KISS Miniature Golf Course opening-day video below, complete with arcade, gift shop and wedding chapel. I don't know why there isn't an officially licensed KISS tampon. It would sell like hotcakes. I'm going to get right on that.

KISS® slots with surround sound, plus Gene Simmons' tongue and tight T-shirt-wearing babes. Everybody sing: Beth I hear you callin' but I can't come home right now. My gambling addiction's calling...

Elvis the King® slots awards "incredible wins." At least Elvis had ties to Las Vegas, and vast marketing schemes by his handler.

Michael Jackson's Beat It slots choreography brings out the "wild" card for a colossal King of Pop win.

After you lose the kids' college funds on celebrity slots, make amends by taking the family out to the new KISS miniature golf course. Despite every success, Peter Criss is still a sad little cat.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Junk-Mail Collage Mail Art

My friend and I are having a good time sending mail art to each other. We take turns making mail art and we support the U.S. Postal Service. What's our reward? Satisfaction at a job well done. Or at least attempting to do a good job. Y'know, sometimes art is a process...

Anyway, when life gives you junk mail, make junk-mail collage mail art. All of these are postcard sized—a cheap thrill. This is the first one I made. It's kind of...a mess, therefore reflective of the junk-mail collage milieu. 

An attempt at color composition. I should have used glue stick instead of Mod Podge. Like I said, it's a process.

I haven't sent this one to anyone yet. It's plenty weird. Maybe too much so.

If you want to make some junk-mail collage, just collect about five days' worth of junk mail and then start cutting or tearing. I like to arrange things a few times before committing to glue. I also enjoy tearing more than cutting, but I do like cutting out numbers and letters. Water colors are a nice touch, but watch out: junk mail is cheap paper and it will crinkle mightily. Embrace the medium.

My next postcard will probably have some drawing and other types of papers added. I do like keeping it "pure" but there's only so much you can do with advertising supplements.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Space Shuttle Endeavor over the Golden Gate by Sherry LaVars

Two Icons ©2012 by Sherry LaVars

I forgot to watch the Space Shuttle Endeavor fly over my house this week, so I had to make do with all my friends' photos. Of all the images I saw spanning across the Internet, these are my favorite, by my friend Sherry LaVars. Look at this historic moment—beautiful.

Jackson's plethora of questions after he saw the Endeavor fly over his school playground left me stumped. After the kids waved, they apparently went back in the classrooms and moved on to making graphs or something because he knew nothing more about the entire event than I did. I'll be digging around the local library for a space-shuttle history book soon, which may finally help get him off his Titanic obsession.

Just because I missed this doesn't mean I don't appreciate a good retirement flight over California. I salute you, Endeavor. We'll have to make a trip to Los Angeles to see your impressive bulk in the California Science Center.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Sean - directed by Ralph Arlyck, 1970

Sean is a short documentary about a smart little 4-year-old who lived in the Haight-Ashbury in a hippie crash pad with his family. I don't know if director Ralph Arlyck is good with this floating around on YouTube. I'll place it here until I hear otherwise from him.

I started watching Arlyck's followup documentary made 30 years later, Following Sean, today (streaming on Netflix). It's an introspective look at what happened to Sean when he grew up, along with his family, and Arlyck himself. Class, politics, responsibility, maturity, marriage, family, individualism, the counter-culture, aging—Following Sean is a rumination on life itself. Hope I didn't make it sound too heady. It's very laid-back, actually. I haven't finished watching yet. Preview:

As a young adult, I lived in the Haight and worked around the corner from Sean's old house for a few years. It's what I would call a dynamic neighborhood, despite years of gentrification. I'm currently working on a writing project that's based in San Francisco in the past, so I'll be posting some references here in the next few months.

I just realized that I was six when Sean was filmed, and I lived across town in the Diamond Heights district before my family tried and failed to relocate in North Hollywood for a miserable one-year period. We came back to the Bay Area but I didn't move back to San Francisco until I was 18.

None of my early memories of the Haight are as intense as Sean's, I'm sure. But I do remember seeing hippies and later begging my Dad to drive to the place where the hippies lived. I liked them. They were like big colorful muppets to me. A lot of San Francisco is Muppet-Show-like in my fuzzy early childhood memories. I miss the multitude of neighborhoods full of young families and working-class neighbors. Long gone...

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Mitt Romney/Paul Ryan Grunge Makeover Time

Oops! Mitt has stepped into it, recently voicing the opinion of many a Republican voter. He said forty-seven percent of Americans (Obama voters) are dependent victims whose only goal is to mooch off American government programs as if they were the trust-fund teat of entitlement for housing, health and food. I paraphrase. But even conservatives like David Brooks are stepping up to say, "Hey, take a chill pill, Mitt Romney." Again, I paraphrase. It's the gist that counts.

It's time for a makeover, angry white dude style. There are a lot of angry white dudes out there who are voting Republican in 2012. Here are some actual quotes from Republican voters that I personally have been on the receiving end of in the past few years:

"I just want everyone's hand out of my pocket!"

"Obama is your puppet-master and all Democrats are ignorant!"

"Obama is an ashamed Muslim who has denied his faith. And is also a liar and a thug. I have nothing in common with that socialist non-American."

"Obama is a cancer that will spread across America!"

These are some severe opinions. Could it be the ugly head of racism that spews such venom? Republicans shake their heads vigorously, "NO NO! It has nothing to do with racism! Obama is just dumb and we hate him and he's not from here and he's lazy and not one of us! That's all! That's not racism—no sirree! We got rid of racism years ago!"

I BEG TO DIFFER. But that's for another several hundred posts.

Right now Romney's campaign is in big trouble and I'm here to help! I propose a makeover to reel in some more angry white dudes. Since running-mate Paul Ryan has been likened to the first Generation X politician by no less than the New York Times, my brilliant plan is straight-forward: Grunge Makeover. It's been over a decade and grunge is due for a comeback.

Although the tenets of grunge leaned toward the left, the anti-corporate, and the inclusive, that never stopped anyone from co-opting a movement before. Am I right, corporate interests? Besides, it's an easy fix—being entirely cosmetic in nature. Romney and Ryan can go about their business, playing to the tea party and alienating everyone else—they'll just look cooler while they do it.

Every makeover needs a muse. Who's our grunge muse? The choice is obvious: Jarod Leto. He looks the part and no one knows what he's really about. Perfect.

Jared Leto - grunge muse

Jared Leto's got it down. The slovenly attire, the unkempt rooster-do, the facial fur—why, he's cock of the walk! All the girls agree.

Let's get to it. First, a little Romney/Ryan fashion tweaking to bring in the youngsters. They care about such things.

Looking properly distressed, guys

Next, Romney needs to work on his devil-horn gestures. And muss up that hair, man! You're not running a corporation, are you? Well, are you?

Note: soul patch is the size of Romney's actual soul

Ryan's air quotes will generate that much more ironic meaning with the proper dye job. Blue says, "I'm patriotic, but still second banana!"

Now Ryan's ready to Rage Against the Machine!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Dance GIFS Are Especially Animated

Dance GIF Thursday—I just made that up. It's not a constant thing. It's just for today. But Dance GIF Thursday will always live on in our hearts, minds, and nervous systems. Now here are some hand-picked dance GIFs for you and yours.

Start us off, Hugh Jackman, ultimate song and dance man.


What if the dance scene from Pulp Fiction had a 90s-rave mashup feel to it? This answers the question that no one thought to ask.


This day-glo dinosaur needs to dance. Who would stand in its way?


Pete Campbell does a wicked little dance of selfish glee. Always loathsome yet pitiful, and sometimes delightfully so on Mad Men.


Why mow the lawn when you can dance-mow the lawn instead?


Advertising blow-up man interpretive dance. We love you, modern age.


Bill Haverchuck doin' his thing in Freaks and Geeks.


Racoons—they only dance at night.


Go, Ava Gardner, go!


Paul Rudd always makes a grand dance entrance.


Eddie Izzard and Craig Ferguson GET DOWN.


And into the fairy dawn...


As is usually is the case with animated GIFs, it's hard to give credit where credit's due. If you made any of these—way to be! Send me a line and I'll give you a credit.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Monster costume idea file

My friend's having a monster party for his 50th birthday at the end of the month. We are required to dress as a monster in order to attend. He has already told me that my Courtney Love costume is "too scary," (see photo) so now I have to use all my creative power from within to figure out a good costume. The usual end-of-October deadline no longer applies and the pressure is on!

Who are the monsters who inspire, who wreak havoc (in a good way), who can stand around with a drink and a napkin full of finger foods without looking too undignified? And especially who are the monsters who can dance to Afro-Cuban rhythms or the Buzzcocks greatest hits without bumping into stuff and possibly breaking valuable heirlooms. Not that my friend has too many of those, but you know, I'm sure there's some vintage ashtrays lying around and I would hate to break one with my mutating pod-person get-up.

Idea file:

Fred Gwynne as Herman Munster, pop star. The right combination of absurd horror with the added touch of sweetness. I don't think I have the stature to pull this off, but hipsters, make note: your look (and attitude) has precedent.

Creature from the Black Lagoon pinball machine. Probably a little too elaborate for such a tight costume-making deadline. Plus this would definitely be difficult to dance in. Maybe for next year.

Go as a monster-makeup tutorial. Make a YouTube frame for your face, then hang a bunch of brushes and makeup for proper product placement around your half-made-up face. Hang some arrows pointing to various facial features and "Be sure to subscribe!" banners, and you have yourself a winning costume for any occasion. Here's a scarily precocious little girl doing a Scarah Screams Monster High Doll tutorial. I wish I could be this poised on camera. Or anywhere.

Remember the poor lab assistant in Sssssss? Poor bastard. If you can't get it together for this involved costume (very Harry Potter in scope), go to the party as his terrified girlfriend. Easy, just takes large glasses, lank hair and terrified expression. You'll be the hit of the party.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Just another music Monday

I can't explain why I like all three of these songs with equal enthusiasm. That's what makes me, "me."

Hey, I'm not the only one. Pat Boone is wild about Jack Costanzo in "Bernadine." Mr. Costanzo's solo will show you why.

Friday, September 07, 2012

John Travolta Sucks at Acting - a short film, plus bonus crappy movies

While it's true that John Travolta does kind of suck at acting, I must admit I've found him enjoyable over the years. He's grown a bit odd over time, don't you think? I wouldn't pay to see him in a film other than Pulp Fiction, which is his golden moment. Although, yes, he was very charismatic in Saturday Night Fever and Urban Cowboy and give him Grease too. But not Grease 2, which he had the good sense to avoid, although I can't say the same for his decision to star in Staying Alive, which led him down the long road to suckatude,

Where was I? Oh yes! John Travolta. I like him in short doses, which is why this little film is working for me. Kudos to whoever put this together. You've got stamina, man.

Trailer for Staying Alive, Dead on Arrival, 1983. Did you see what I did there? I renamed the movie to reflect its box-office-bomb status. Pre-tty clever.

The endlessly vulgar "meet-cute" aerobics-class scene from Perfect, 1985. Proof that Travolta's management strategy has always been to throw his visage on big screens anywhere and everywhere for maximum cultural saturation—critical acclaim be damned.

I will spare you the moments that make up Look Who's Talking, Look Who's Talking Too, and Look How's Talking NOW. Do you remember John Travolta in the amazing and manly cast of The Thin Red Line? Neither do I! Kudos, John Travolta! Although he didn't make the trailer, unfortunately.

But in Travolta's case, for every Thin Red Line, there is Battlefield Earth. And Scientology must continue to wait for its shining cinematic moment.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Betty Crocker's Bisquick Cook Book - 1956

Whenever I find something special on my travels, I like to share it here on the Internet, with you, my imaginary Internet friends. Some of you will get a special thrill from today's look backwards—to 1956 to be exact—when housewives and their husbands couldn't wait to try out everything Bisquick had to offer, be it baked meat sandwiches, pizza boats, sugar buns, or butter sticks.

Along with the standard pancakes, waffles, and coffee cake, General Mills touted Bisquick as "A Whole World of a box!" And I think you'll agree. I found this booklet in the free box at the Mystic Landfill in Connecticut, where I often discover items that time forgot.

I used to collect these give-away cookbooks from the 30s through 50s but they're getting harder to find as they disintegrate and molder away. This is a nice full-color cover of an impressively carb-heavy array of foods. Note the corn dogs—a staple of the American diet that's not going away any time soon.

The end paper features a tantalizing selection of foodstuffs. I think the Baked Meat Pie is most intriguing. The pizza boat—the most uh...suggestive.

Close-up views.

Unfortunately, butter sticks are not what you think: fried and battered sticks of butter, but rather some kind of biscuit variation back when butter was considered a fine ingredient for all. The baked meat sandwich looks like something out of a David Lynch film, doesn't it? All that...topping. Pizza boats would make a fine contemporary art installation, but are not sexual at all, just because they consist of wieners nestled in an envelope of fruit-shortcake dough, then smothered in ketchup. A novel interpretation of what constitutes pizza.

Here's some recipes to try.  Don't forget to wear your apron!