Sunday, November 15, 2015

vive la france

"Peace for Paris" by Jean Jullien
"Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion's starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don't see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it's not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it's always there - fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge - they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I've got a sneaky feeling you'll find that love actually is all around."
I was away from most media on Friday so I didn't really hear much about the events in Paris until Saturday morning.  As I learned about the tragedy - and, regrettably, started to see all the posts shouting about how the events alternately prove or disprove any political stance the person was trying to take, how everyone was thinking / reacting / grieving the wrong way (or about the wrong thing), and all the other usual social media cockamamia - the above quote from Love Actually played through my brain on repeat.

It's a cruel world sometimes.  Bad things happen.  But naive as it may sound, I do think there's a way we can fight it, or at least endure it a little better.

Be kind. That's all.  Just be kind.  Do what you can to help who you can. It won't fix everything, but everyone is reminded that they're not struggling alone and you'd be surprised how much that helps.

Monday, September 07, 2015

Sometimes you want to hear current Doctor Who moments performed by classic series Doctors. It's a thing.

I've had my issues with how Steven Moffat has handled Doctor Who has the showrunner, but the man does write a good monologue, and he gave some particularly memorable ones to Matt Smith. And while Smith delivered them well, it's fun to imagine sometimes what they would sound like coming from other Doctors.

Well, thanks to convention panels and YouTube, you don't have to imagine them at all. Want to hear the Pandorica speech at Stonehenge full of the trilling Rs of Sylvester McCoy?

Or the cool, calm, Big Finish-esque delivery of Paul McGann?

How about the closing monologue from The Day of the Doctor as intoned by the grand, dulcet voice of Colin Baker?

Or, once again, from Paul McGann?

Peter Davison reading the Doctor's "goodbye" to young Amelia Pond in The Big Bang? Done.

How about Colin Baker reading the Doctor's impassioned speech from The Rings of Akhaten?

There are more, of course, but these should scratch the itch for now. But if anyone out there manages to get video of Tom Baker reading the Pandorica speech, you let me know ASAP.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

RIP Yvonne Craig

I'm late getting to this, but a sad farewell to Yvonne Craig... she starred opposite the Bat, the King, and the Kirk (two Kirks, actually... James T., sure, but also Tommy Kirk in Mars Needs Women), and held her own every time.  More importantly to my profession, she was probably the first and greatest Pop Culture Librarian of all, and she will be missed.  Rest in peace, Ms. Craig, and thanks. 

And to finally answer the musical question, whose baby was she? 

No one's.  Batgirl was no one's baby.  Because her name wasn't baby, it was Barbara... Batgirl if you're nasty.  End of discussion.

Sunday, August 02, 2015

RIP Rowdy Roddy Piper

I don't know if there was an easier person in my childhood to hate than Rowdy Roddy Piper, and I loved him for it.

He was arrogant, malicious, cocky, and just downright mean.  He smashed a coconut on Superfly Jimmy Snuka's head, he smashed a Cyndi Lauper record on Captain Lou Albano's head, he led the bad guys in the Hulk Hogan cartoon (and years later would train a new generation of bad guys as one of Destro's Iron Grenadiers), and he ruined the video for "Land of 1000 Dances":

No doubt about it, he was a bad dude.  But then, as wrestlers are wont to do, he went away for a bit and came back as a good guy and my feelings turned on a dime.  I cheered him just as passionately as I used to boo him.  I think this is when I realized just how good a performer this guy really was, and why his (all-too-brief) stint as an action star made perfect sense... like him or hate him, you had to watch the man when he was on your screen.  He demanded your attention and then earned the right to keep it.

I'm gutted that I never got to meet him in person.  I had always hoped to shake his hand and tell him how much joy I used to get from just completely hating him... he seemed like the kind of guy who would really appreciate that.

Thank you for the good times, Hot Rod.  When we thought we had all the answers, you changed the questions.

And wherever you are now, they better hope you don't run out of bubblegum.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Junk Culture Rabbit Holes: Action Jackson

Action Jackson was his name!  We know this because the jaunty jingle of his commercials told us so.  He was not, however, Carl Weathers.  That Action Jackson was a totally different guy, though, come on, where's his toy line?  I wonder if they got each other's mail?

Anyway, this particular Action Jackson was a toy created by Mego as their answer to G.I. Joe, particularly the 70s Action Team era G.I. Joe.  AJ was an 8-inch tall action figure (or, let's be honest, doll) with which kids could re-enact "bold adventures" (which were his aim, also via the ) provided they bought the additional outfits, vehicles, and playsets.

What sort of bold adventures?  How about flying a personal helicopter pack, driving a stunt cycle, or being a firefighter in a heat resistant suit?  That bold enough for you?

Need more boldness?  How about being a frogman? An Aussie marine?  Karate expert?  Ski patrol trooper?  Jungle safari guide?  Or, um, a firefighter again?  That's... well, maybe not as exciting the second time around, but you know, it's a dangerous profession, so that's still bold.

Still not bold enough for you?  Okay, adrenaline junky, how about... uh, driving a jeep?  Well, really you could just wait a few years until you get your license, kid, but okay.  Or... okay, jumping with a parachute is a little more high risk, sure, but you can always just pay someone out at your local airfield and do that this afternoon if you wanted to.  And, wait, really, driving a snowmobile?

That last group of kids has some pretty achievable goals that I don't know if I'd qualify as bold or even particularly adventurous, but hey, to each their own.  I think the diminishing returns here are a pretty good indication of why this line didn't last long, but I'd totally be down for a Action Jackson "exploring the shelves of a used bookstore" set myself, so I'm not one to judge.