Friday, June 27, 2008

Reasons To Be Cheerful: week of 06/27/08

Another week, another batch of essential whatnot...

1. Carlin Continued: It was a safe bet that we'd see lots of remembrances of comedian George Carlin after his death last weekend.

I've found it a little shocking how much 'official' reportage seemed to really not 'get' Carlin at all - - and yet there they were, using his 1972 'Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television' as a main focus, and missing the breadth of a diverse career that began long before and stayed vital for the 3-plus decades following.

A couple of nice exceptions that I enjoyed were Jerry Seinfeld's short and sweet op-ed piece in the New York Times, and a GREAT post at WFMU's Beware of the Blog that concerns itself with Carlin's early comedy career, from his partnership with Jack Burns and early ventures in television.

Several links are provided to video clips from 1965 through 1972, including an appearance on the game show 'What's My Line', the strange sight of a Carlin introduction from Jimmy Durante, and much more.
Check it out!


2. Easily lost amid the spotlight on Mr. Carlin's exit, a moment please, to remember comic actress
Dody Goodman, who also passed away last weekend.
She was 93.

Goodman's 1950's stage roles led her to a long string of TV talk show appearances in that decade, showcasing her trademark ditsy persona.

She then became something of a 'professional celebrity' until the mid 1970's, when she played Martha Shumway, the mother on Norman Lear's TV soap opera parody, 'Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman'.

That role led to her appearances in both of the 'Grease' movies as Blanche Hodel, the principal's assistant at Rydell High, at which point Ms. Goodman remained quite active on film, TV and stage well into the 1990's.

Looking over her credits reinvigorates my desire to finally track down and see 1964's 'Bedtime Story'.

She had a supporting role opposite David Niven and Marlon Brando in this film comedy that would be remade in 1988 as 'Dirty Rotten Scoundrels' with Michael Caine and Steve Martin in the lead roles.

I'll keep my eyes open for that, and (who knew?) her 1957 LP of novelty songs, too...

See also: Dody Goodman.Com

3. Meanwhile, during a recent phone conversation with
My Friend Topic, we were both multi-tasking in front our computers (as usual), which meant at least one of us was doing two or more activities poorly at the same time.

Among other things, Topic was looking at online images of tattoo art.

Sparking a shift in the conversation, she pointed me to the
Bad Tattoos Gallery at Radar Online, which shows a selection of photos included in 'No Regrets', a recent coffee-table book that collects examples of some interesting choices in body art.

Many of the images found in the book were already floating aroud online, and I strongly suggest you surf around and see what you find.

Some are brilliantly funny, bold and creative, some are unfortunate mishaps or just poorly rendered.

Many of the tattoos you can uncover might make you thankful that it didn't happen to you, and several very special ones travel WAY past the big questions of 'Why?' and 'What were you thinking?' into a jaw-dropping territory of

Not surprisingly, there are PLENTY of places to see bad tattoos online.

A couple of photo galleries that you might start with: (Watch out! NSFW)

- 'Worst tattoo you have ever seen' at grupthink
- A recurring series, 'Really Bad Tattoos' posted at Typebrighter

- - but go ahead, run your own search: "Bad Tattoos" - -
It's a great big colorful world out there...

Speaking of which - -

◀ 4. These and other great portrait studies capturing the human condition are available for viewing at Jowlers.Com
("Where distortion is cause for celebration").
It's a huge photo sharespace devoted to shots of what they like to call 'The Jowler'.

"These fun pictures are created when the subject of a photo shakes their head really fast while the picture is taken."

This is the sort of project that should be happening on a global scale. A vast catloguing of 'jowling' faces around the globe. Just the thing to bring all the diverse nations of the world together.

For now, browse in fascination through galleries of folks who just may have all wound up with bad headaches.
Surprise - - lots of college students, lots of drunken revelry. You can also sort photos by all men, all women, groups, and shots that include flying saliva and other ejecta. Perhaps not for the squeamish. (Via People Corporation)

5. - - and also via People Corporation, it's 'The Worst Batman Squirt Toy Ever'. ▶

What were they thinking?

6.The Newsarama blog has posted a 'sneak peek' of comics and other books to be published by Fantagraphics later this year.

In addition to some predictable items, like new reprint volumes in their gorgeous Complete Peanuts, Complete Segar's Popeye and Ketcham's Dennis The Menace series, and new issues of their Mome comix anthology, here are a couple of other items I'll likely be committing to my 'wish list':

- 'Modern Swarte: Joost Comics' - - A major retrospective of the comics work done by Dutch 'clear line' artist
Joost Swarte since 1972. Long overdue, at least here in the US.

- 'We Are not Saints' - - The latest collection of Kaz's 'Underworld' comic strip. Essential reading!

- 'The Wolverton Bible' - - Later in his career, the amazing Basil Wolverton followed his unique legacy of humorous and horrific comic book work with a long period of illustrating bible stories. This collection brings that work together, with previously unpublished material.

- 'Love & Rockets: New Stories #1' - -
New numbering for another new re-boot, new material in a new annual 112-page trade paperback format.
The Hernandez Brothers can do just about whatever they please. I'll be there, just like I have since the first #1 back in the '80's...

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