Monday, January 28, 2013

Pretty Clever Films

If you've been reading this blog for a while, you've stumbled across more than one mention of Brandy Dean over at Pretty Clever Films. If you haven't checked it out, you really should.

Brandy has started a new feature, "Film sites," which promotes the work of her fellow film fanatics. Today she features none other than the Mythical Monkey himself, that hard-working, button-eyed, fluff-stuffed fellow sitting on the desk to my immediate left. He does all the work, I get all the credit—if that's not life in a nutshell, I don't know what is.

Brandy calls the Monkey "one my most fav movie blogs of ALL TIME ya’ll," which is very flattering considering the source, and warns "If you’re not reading the Mythical Monkey then you might not really exist!"—coincidentally enough, since I often feel that if I'm not writing the Monkey, I might not exist.

If you're visiting from Pretty Clever Films for the first time, here are a couple of posts to guide your way: here and here.

And again, thanks Brandy!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Just One More Reason Why I Read The New Yorker

In Emily Nussbaum's column "My So-Called Top Ten List," in which she mentions more than thirty television shows she likes while resolutely refusing to turn them into any kind of a formal list (and just let me say as an aside that anybody who likes both Mad Men and Archer is welcome in my house anytime), she provided a link to a show I confess I've never even heard of (which doesn't mean anything; even though I love television, Law and Order was on the air for twelve years before I'd heard of that) (yeah, yeah, I know), Bunheads, with the note "Television is always the best when it takes you by surprise."

I've now had this tune, an oldie but a goodie, buzzing around in my head for days now and it's time for it to buzz around in yours, too.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

40 Years Ago Today: The Debut Of Schoolhouse Rock!

If you're an American of a certain age, surely you remember the series of educational short films that played every Saturday morning on the American Broadcasting Company from 1973 to 1985. Collectively known as "Schoolhouse Rock!", the series made its debut with "Three is a Magic Number" on this day forty years ago.

The series was the brain child of advertizing agent David McCall who was irked that his son knew the words to all the current pop songs but couldn't remember his multiplication tables. He called in Bob Dorough, a jazz pianist and occasional jingle writer, to come up with something. Dorough wrote most of the classic Schoolhouse Rock! jingles, and along with Jack Sheldon, sang many of them.

The series eventually expanded beyond math to include grammar, history, science, computers and economics.

Now, I have to admit that as a kid I was skeptical at first. There had been a move afoot for a couple of years by that point to tame Saturday morning cartoons, transforming them from the pure entertainment of Bullwinkle, Jonny Quest and Looney Tunes into bland nuggets of wholesome goodness—and trust me, kids weren't fooled one bit. As (I think) Shakespeare once said, that which sucks, sucks regardless of whether it's "good" for you or not.

Besides, who's to say that the cynically witty "Fractured Fairytales," for example, didn't serve me better in the long run?

But despite my initial resistance, Schoolhouse Rock quickly won me over and as with many kids my age, became a permanent part of the cultural flotsam and jetsam bobbing around in my brain.

If you don't know Schoolhouse Rock, or even if you do, here are three of the best:

The jazzy "Conjunction Junction":


The classic civics lesson, "I'm Just a Bill":


And a personal favorite, "Lolly, Lolly, Lolly, Get Your Adverbs Here":


Haven't had enough? You can catch all the Multiplication Rock videos here and Grammar Rock here. And I'll bet the rest are floating around out there, too!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Outlook For 2013

"Ambition is, per se, a sign of mental imbalance."
—the Mythical Monkey, circa 1992


I've promised to have something to my agent, Jill, by the end of March, which frankly is delusional, but that's never stopped me before. Which means posting will be sporadic for a while—just often enough, I hope, to keep from falling off your radar screen altogether.

In March, of course, I am helping with the 2013 Favorite Classic Movie Actress Tournament hosted by Monty of All Good Things. I'll be handling the 1960s bracket. Here's another teaser (with the emphasis on tease):

Until then, look for occasional photos, short reviews and the usual random jibber jabber.

Happy New Year!