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Monday, December 31, 2007

Exquisite Corpse

In case you are looking for something to do at your New Years party . . . . .. This site gives a nice history of the game, and includes corpses drawn by Andre Breton, Man Ray, Joan Miro, and others. The one pictured left was drawn by Valentine Hugo and Salvador Dali, although I guess you could have read that yourself. Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

A Happy New Year 1867--A Happy New Year 1917

This 1916 Rea Irvin cartoon contrasts New Years celebrations in the years 1867 and 1917. "For 1867, the proper Victorian family sips from their cups of tea in a parlor; while in 1917, a riotous party occurs with champagne corks popping, music, dancing, and general misbehavior." Here is what we do in 2007.

(Source: Cartoon America: a Library of Congress Exhibition. The cartoon was originally published in Life magazine January 4, 1917. )

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Sweeney Todd

Of course I saw Sweeney Todd, and of course I liked it. We saw it in a theater in Ft. Meyers, Florida, which was interesting in itself; there were approximately six people in the theater, of which Bob and I were two, and Bob and I were the only ones laughing.

Anyway, the movie was faithful to the original story, which I appreciated, and Johnny Depp delivered an interesting performance, despite the fact that he doesn’t really sing. To me, though, the most notable part was Tim Burton’s use of color. The colors were mostly dark and muted, which was appropriate for nineteenth century London, but there were two obvious exceptions. The first was the blood, which was bright, screaming red, and stood out nicely against the otherwise dark background. The second was Mrs. Lovett’s fantasy sequence, which was bizarre and macabre, and enhanced greatly by the sudden onset of day-glow colors. Mrs. Lovett and Mr. Todd remained pale and death-like in the fantasy sequence, but the background was bright and cheerful, creating an amusing contrast. Here, you'll see what I mean.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Fairytale of New York (Guest Blogger: Bob Groppe)

Well, I though my Blackadder entry would be my last guest appearance, but who does only one sequel anymore?

Many years ago, my cousin Tom and I had a wonderful, heartwarming Christmas ritual involving the Yuletide spirit and some traditional Irish music. OK, we used to get buzzed on Christmas Eve and listen to the Pogues in his parent’s basement.

A Fairytale of New York is the Pogues at their best. You can listen to it for the roaring fusion of rock and Irish folk, or you can take a step back, and hear Shane MacGowan and Kirsty MacColl veer from love to hate to rage to bitterness and back to longing. These two drunks are as much cellmates as they are lovers. You can feel every scar on these two as they tear each other’s guts out on Christmas Eve.

Social Workers spend hours in the classroom trying to learn about “Co-dependency”; Shane nailed it all in less than four minutes.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Blackadder's Christmas Carol
(Guest Blogger: Bob Groppe)

Debbie’s husband Bob here. Debbie has graciously allowed me to make the final post in her holiday parodies series.

My favorite holiday show isn’t in rhyme and it doesn’t have any cheesy claymation elves reindeer, or heat misers. (Just how much acid do you think they were on when William Keenan and Phyllis McGinley came up with that?). The best Christmas show ever is Blackadder’s Christmas Carol.

Ebenezer Blackadder is the nicest man in England, and is of course, ripped off by everyone who comes into his store. The Ghost of Christmas Past Present and Future (played by Robbie Coltrane, Hagrid for you Harry Potter geeks), shows Blackadder how much nicer a man he is than his nasty ancestors, Lord Blackadder and Edmund Blackadder. Despite the ghost’s best efforts to praise Ebeneezer Blackadder’s charitable outlook, Ebeneezer comes away thinking his ancestors’ lives were a lot more exciting than his. He cons the ghost into sharing two visions of the distant future. If Balckadder chooses to act like his evil (but fun) ancestors, his descendent will marry Queen Asphyxia XIX and rule the universe. If Blackadder chooses to continue to live as England’s biggest sucker, his descendent will end up as a slave to Queen Asphyxia- and wearing a not very flattering loincloth. Guess which choice he makes- and it ain’t the one Dickens had in mind.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Farting Elves: 12 Days of Christmas

I have seen countless parodies of The Twelve Days of Christmas, but this one was new to me.

Santa-Jesus Parodies

In my search, I found many examples of the Santa-Jesus parody. These two were among the worst (best?).

Sunday, December 16, 2007

A Visit from Saint Nicholas in the Ernest Hemingway Manner

James Thurber rewrote "A Visit From Saint Nicholas" in the style of Ernest Hemingway. The piece originally appeared in The New Yorker, December 24, 1927. Here is an excerpt:

It was the night before Christmas. The house was very quiet. No creatures were stirring in the house. There weren't even any mice stirring. The stockings had been hung carefully by the chimney. The children hoped that Saint Nicholas would come and fill them.
The children were in their beds. Their beds were in the room next to ours. Mamma and I were in our beds. Mamma wore a kerchief. I had my cap on. I could hear the children moving. We didn't move. We wanted the children to think we were asleep.

Here is the full piece, posted by The Nostalgia League.

Dexter Finale

I am briefly interrupting my sequence on holiday parodies to discuss the season finale of Dexter. I loved the finale! Lila killed Doakes in the fire, which I expected, but the ending was far more clever than I feared. Lila left Doakes the key to his cell, but locked the cabin from the outside with the axe, which indicates to me that she grasped the importance of having Doakes' body found outside the cage. Dexter then killed Lila, which was long overdue, but since Lila killed Doakes Dexter was able to kill her without breaking his code. I liked the scene in Paris, especially the detail of the Miami post card on Lila's end table. I also liked Dexter's conclusion, which was that things worked out so neatly for him that a higher power somewhere must approve of his "work". And finally, I appreciate that there were no unresolved matters, because I do so hate cliffhanger endings. Now back to my holiday parodies.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Holiday Card Pastiches

These are some holiday cards that I designed. For the first, I drew Frosty the Snowman as Matisse's Ikarus. For the second, I made an advent calendar from Mondrian's Composition with Red, Yellow, and Blue. I used Excel to make the Mondrian, which proves that my finance training was not for naught.

Ding Dong Mmkay

With Christmas rapidly approaching, I've decide to dedicate this week to holiday parodies and pastiches. One of my favorites is South Park's rendition Carol of the Bells.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Vampire Cupcakes

I found this recipe for Vampire cupcakes. The cupcakes have cherry pie filling, so they "bleed" when you bite into them. Maybe I'll bring these to the next bake sale at my daughter's school.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Colored Ink

When William Faulkner wrote The Sound and the Fury, he wanted to use different colored inks to indicate the changing time periods in Benjy Compson's narrative. The publisher nixed this idea because it was too expensive at the time to print in color. Well, this site presents a hypertext edition of the novel with Benjy's section color-coded in the left margin. I would prefer to see the actual text color-coded, but it's still an interesting presentation. (April Seventh, 1928 is Benjy's section.)

Mondrian Jail Cell

Caywood's Art Gallery has listed a rare photo of a jail cell designed by Piet Mondrian. Other listed items include an ancient Greek sculpture, a lost van Gogh painting, a rare Warhol self-portrait, and a recently discovered Cezanne paint-by-number. Note: no refunds.

Monday, December 10, 2007


I am starting to lose patience with this show. From the previews, it appears that Lila sets the cabin on fire in the season finale with Lila, Doakes, and Dexter trapped inside. I hope that the writers haven't decided to conveniently kill Doakes and Lila in the fire that Lila starts. True, this would allow Dexter to dispose of both Doakes and Lila without breaking Harry's code. But this is the type of ending that I would expect from Melrose Place, not Dexter. (I liked Melrose Place, mind you, but there is a time and place for everything.)

Instead, I would rather see Dexter break Harry's code and kill Lila himself. Dexter has grown disenchanted with Harry. The police don't like Lila because she filed charges against Angel, and Deborah already thinks that she ran Lila out of town with the whole visa thing, so chances are that Dexter could kill Lila and no one would come looking for her. As for Doakes, it might be interesting if he were on the run next season, hiding from the FBI. I think there are still some unresolved issues with Doakes and his contacts in Hati.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Magic of Astoria Show

I have a table at the Magic of Astoria Arts & Crafts show this weekend. Here are the details:

Queensview Community Rooms # 7 and #14
21-15 34th Avenue
Astoria, NY 11106

Sunday, December 9th
11:00 AM - 6:00 PM

Hope to see you there!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Dr. Seuss Political Cartoons

I found an online catalogue of political cartoons by Dr. Seuss. Dr. Seuss (Theodore Seuss Geisel) worked as the chief editorial cartoonist for the New York newspaper PM from 1941-1943. During this time, he drew over 400 editorial cartoons. The cartoons are displayed on this site in chronological order.
Some of the characters in these cartoons will look surprisingly Seussish. Others will not.

Saturday, December 01, 2007


So here it is, my completed Alphabet of Interjections. Here are the letters again:

A - "Arr!" - Captain McAllister from The Simpsons;
B - "Billions of blue blistering Barnacles!" - Captain Haddock from Tintin;
C - "Curses, foiled again!" - Snidely Whiplash;
D - "D'oh!" - Homer Simpson;
E - "Ew, double ew!" - Jackie from Cyberchase;
F - "(Oh) Fudge!" - Dudley Do-Right;
G - "Good grief!" - Charlie Brown;
H - "Hey hey hey!" - Fat Albert;
I - "I tell you what!" - Hank Hill from King of the Hill;
J - "Jinkies!" - Velma from Scooby Doo;
K - "Kowabunga!" - Bart Simpson;
L - "Leapin' Lizards!" - Little Orphan Annie;
M - "Merciful Rao!" - Superman;
N - "Narf!" - Pinky from Pinky and the Brain;
O - "Oy vey!" - Shelia Broflovsky from South Park;
P - "Pfft!" - Bill the Cat from Bloom County;
Q - "Quotha!" - Shakespeare, as he appears in "A Witch's Tangled Hare";
R - "Rats!" - Snoopy;
S - "Sufferin' Succotash" - Sylvester;
T - "Touche!" - Tom & Jerry;
U - "Uhhhh...." -Beavis & Butthead
V - "Viva la Revolution!" - Peggy Hill from King of the Hill;
W - "Wowzers!" - Inspector Gadget;
X - "Excellent!" - Mr. Burns from The Simpsons;
Y - "Yabba-Dabba-Doo!" - Fred Flintstone;
Z - "Zoinks!" - Shaggy from Scooby Doo.

I'm not going to print this one because of the licenses (d'oh!), but I can still display it at my art shows. Thanks to everyone who helped, and especially to Nadia, who gave me most of the answers.

Letter Z

I used "Zoinks!" for Z, exclaimed by Shaggy from Scooby Doo. Shaggy's dialogue is rich with catch phrases, but I thought "Zoinks!" was the most Shaggyesque.

In my research (or rather, my Wikipedia search), I came across an interesting theory about Scooby's talking:

"Some fans have speculated that Shaggy is a stoner and that the fact that Scooby talks is a hallucination when Shaggy is high, which is all the time apparently. It is true that the other characters interact with Scooby, but they only talk to him and when he "responds back" they don't really give any indication of hearing it. It is just like they are talking to a regular dog."

I hadn't heard the hallucination theory, but it's fun to think about. And it's in Wikipedia, so it must be true.

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