Friday, June 6, 2008

Reasons To Be Cheerful: week of 06/06/08

Greetings from Hermiston, Oregon, as I continue to loopily zig-zag around the northwest.

For those keeping track, I've begun my process of leaving Boise to move back to my native SF bay area.
An initial drive home then led to a trek North and East from California to Spokane, Washington, then back to Boise by roundabout way of Wallowa County Oregon.

Now I'm en route to family doings and other stuff in Seattle, with planned side-trips to Portland and Vancouver B.C.

Then back to Boise (by way of Oregon's southern coast) to continue packing up the archives.
Back to the bay area, and then, and then...

You think it's nutty and confusing now? Just you wait.

But I have to say, I'm really enjoying the road-tripping thing.

It's fascinating, and I'm seeing some really interesting places and discovering interesting things inside and outside of the car.

- - And what other fascinating things have crossed the path this week - - ?

Death, death, death, and more death!
Listed right here in the weekly 'Reasons To Be Cheerful' post!

But in marking the death of any notable person, we don't necessarily celebrate their passing, but rather are cheered by recognizing their life, their achievements, and perhaps how they intersected with our own.

1. Last month included the departure of Fredric J. Baur at the age of 89, who was very proud of his innovative packaging design for Pringles potato chips.

He patented his idea for uniformly-stacked and curved chips packed vertically in a tube back in 1970.

When he died, one of the burial arrangements he'd made was to have a portion of his cremated remains placed inside one of his Pringles tubes and buried along with the rest of his ashes.

Way to go, Frederic!

(The photo comes from The Pringles Tower website, ▶
and is just one of many stupefying images of large amounts of stacked Pringles cans to be found not only on that site, but all over the web.)

(As a further aside, I'm still waiting for the day when individual leaves of lettuce are packaged in an identical Pringles fashion. You heard it here first.)

2. Among several other farewells (including
King Couture, Yves Saint Laurent), this past week we said goodbye to artist Alton Kelley, who with fellow artist Stanley Mouse was responsible for many hugely iconic psychedelic rock poster and album cover images from the sixties, seventies, and beyond.

Along with other
San Francisco-based poster artists and promoter
Chet Helms, Kelley and Mouse were part of the original
Family Dog Productions team that created and fostered the concert scene there, beginning in the mid-sixties.

- Follow links to Alton Kelley obituaries at SF Gate and the New York Times.

3. Not that they need any lick of help from me in spreading the word, but I will say that I've been enjoying that new Mudcrutch CD.

I confess it's been a little while since I paid attention to a new Tom Petty album, so I can't say authoritatively how it stacks up against his more recent albums.

On this new revival of his early '70's band, I love the mix of what I consider his customary sound blended with a slightly more honky-tonk meets Southern-Rock sound. Little licks of the Allman Bros, Gram Parsons and other folk who electrified roots music back in the day.

It's great to lose track of where a traditional vibe will effortlessly lock into a groove that chugs along and expands into a long jam.

It's great driving music, and it moves along down the road nicely.

4. Speaking of cool dudes who do a bit of cartoon voice work; Let's take a brief moment to praise character actor Charles Napier, a Reason To Be Cheerful if ever there was one.

Very much alive, active, working, and on my mind just lately.

A bit of setup: Sunday night has turned into the night where I don't tend to sleep in my bed. I go through a long drowsy ritual of watching the 'Adult Swim' fare on the Cartoon Network, falling asleep in my easy chair, and half-reawakening to watch another silly cartoon.

It's great. That the whole evening's programming repeats it's cycle in the wee hours means I sort-of get a second chance to catch up on what ever I'd dozed off watching.

Many of the shows are diabolically funny, some are also stupid, and some in a good way. The sleepy factor equals everything out.

Case in point - - 'The Squidbillies'. I know that I want to hate this show, but I can't. It's among the top on my list of what I'd consider guilty pleasures.

SO - - one of the things that grabbed me was the realization that it's our friend Charles Napier providing the voice of the sheriff on the show. (In the first season, at least)

Hard not to recognize Napier - - his appearance or his voice - - both are square-jawed, and both have been showing up consistently on TV and in movies since the late '60's.

('...Goin' to Eden... Yea, Brother...')

By the time he showed up in
'The Blues Brothers' I'd pretty well drawn a bead on Napier, impressed that he could toy so well with the image of the macho image.

Later, in the '90's, I started noticing his voice in cartoons, especially in his regular role of Duke Phillips, the Ted Turner clone on
'The Critic'.

- - And so his coolness rep was solidified in my book.
Here's to you, Mr. Napier!
Thanks for all your great work!
See also:
- Charles Napier at IMDb

- a transcribed interview with Napier, from 2001

- A more recent interview, from The Onion's A.V. Club

- Several interview video clips at Interviewing Hollywood.Com

Same-day ADDENDUM: Okay, by popular demand, ▼ the definitive gratuitous Napier moment from the classic 1969 Star Trek episode, 'The Way To Eden'. (Y'know, the 'Space-Hippie' one)

Young Charles lip-synchs and shows -almost- as much skin as he did for Russ Meyer...


DJWildBill said...

Great info on Napier but his line was "Headin' out to Eden... Yea, brother!" It also came with a secondary line about their goal there, "Eat all the fruit and throw away the rind! Yea, brother!" Slightly better than "Eep-Opp-Orp-Ah-Ah!"

Sigh... they don't write them like that anymore.

The In Crowd said...

Thanks Mr. Bill, and your correction duly noted - - although I should ponit out that Jet Screamer's song on 'The Jetsons' was 'Eep Opp ORK Ah-Ah'...

Freshly-stirred links