Young Frankenstein

franken7I’m a laugh addict. Movies, TV, books, people (not usually at them, more like, if they make me laugh), to be honest, I’m even satisfied with smiling. I have the laugh lines to prove it. Which brings me to Mel Brooks, bad man having contributed to these aforementioned lines.

One of the worst offenders is still Young Frankenstein starring Gene Wilder (whom I wished to marry when this movie came out, now I’d go for friendship).
You’d think after all these years I’d get tired of it yet I don’t.

It’s impossible to explain how hilarious this doting spoof on Mary Shelley’s classic, Frankenstein is, but I’m chuckling even as I type.

As time marches on, 40 years later, watching this has become bittersweet with the passing of so much of its brilliant cast.

Props created by Kenneth Strickfaden for the 1931 film Frankenstein were used as most of the lab equipment in this film.

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The ‘Walk This Way’ gag in the movie was the inspiration for Aerosmith’s hit, Walk This Way.

Cloris Leachman improvised a scene in which Frau Blücher (add horse whinnying here) offers “varm milk” and Ovaltine to Dr. Frankenstein/Fronkensteen.franken8

Gene Wilder came up with the idea for YF and pitched it Brooks while filming Blazing Saddles.

Wilder and Brooks agreed the latter couldn’t actually be in the movie because Brooks’ charisma always managed to break the fourth wall whether or not he played himself. But he did provide all the sound effects. It’s good to be the movie King

Wilder fought Brooks to keep the “Puttin’ On The Ritz” (written by Irving Berlin, made famous by Fred Astaire) bit in; thank goodness he won.franken2

Young Frankenstein was not only filmed in black and white for effect, Brooks used unusual techniques like iris outs, wipes, fades to black, and old-fashioned opening credits.

As a gag, Marty Feldman furtively moved his character’s hump from shoulder to shoulder to see if anyone would notice so they added it to the film with lines like, “Didn’t you used to have that on the other side?”, and “What hump?”.

Gene Hackman, who played tennis with Wilder asked to be put in the film. So, not just blind luck…franken6

Madeline Kahn, Marty Feldman, and Peter Boyle also starred in the mind-numbingly funny Yellowbeard with the astonishing Graham Chapman.franken4

Gene Wilder always had trouble not laughing during scenes. I understand.

Now – Put…the candle…back!

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Posted in Books, Movies, Televison, Uncategorized

Big Fish

Big Fish is so emotional and so sincere, depending on the place you’re in, it can be almost difficult to watch, but worth every minute.

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Tim Burton directed this after losing his father and mother between 2000-2002. Although not close to either or perhaps because of that, Burton is able to meticulously highlight the pain, sorrow, regret, and joy of the story; each are woven through each shot with a texture only loss can weave.bigfish4

There is no way to explain this movie except to say watching it is an unmitigated pleasure that you will want to  call on again and again.

The cast is exceptional in so many ways: Ewan McGregor, Albert Finney, Billy Crudup, Jessica Lange, Marion Cotillard, Helena Bonham Carter, Danny DeVito, Robert Guillaume, Matthew McGrory, Steve Buscemi, Alison Lohman, Deep Roy, and Miley Cyrus (credited as Destiny Cyrus) among others.bigfish2

The 1998 novel, Big Fish: A Novel of Mythic Proportions by Daniel Wallace gives us this fantastical tale of a man who has an astonishing gift for storytelling. On his deathbed he and his son try to reconcile.

John August follows the same path, but brings the tale onto the screen with words and images that wrap you in soft, warm blanket where you want to sip some tea and press replay.bigfish7

The son thinks he can never trust his father because he obviously wasn’t as his tall tales portrayed. The son had never looked past his own disbelief to his heart where his father’s stories had nestled, where he learned the stories were true in many ways, if he only believed.

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A film of rare proportions, with just the right mix adventure, magical storytelling, the glory of life and love, and raw emotion.

And music by Danny Elfman. Never forget that.

When I read the book I cried.

When I saw the movie I openly wept.

And still I never fully understood…

Now, sadly, I do.

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Posted in Books, Environment, Holidays, Parenting, Political, Uncategorized

Earth Day? Really? Just One?

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1. We only have one planet. Unless we find a way to boldly go where no one has gone before, we might want to be nicer to it.

2. The first Earth Day was celebrated 44 years ago, founded by US Senator Gaylord Nelson (Democrat Wisconsin). Earth Day went international in 1990. Here in Canada we are regressing in our fight for our planet. How about your country, how are they doing?

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3. To bring awareness to this beautiful blue planet we call home, NASA is throwing the #GlobalSelfie event. So you take a selfie (duck lips and model poses optional) of yourself outside, post it using the hashtag #GlobalSelfie. NASA will use the images to generate a Blue Marble/Earth out of all the photos.

4. There are still those who don’t believe in climate change. Did you spread some more carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, Stratospheric ozone depleters, and other fun toxins today? Don’t worry about it, we’ll be gone before it gets too bad, let our children and their children live the nightmare we’re creating.

5. Canada is a large country with only 36 million people yet we are ambitious, we always try to get in to the Top 10 of World polluters. Wow, so proud…not.

6. Lyrid meteor shower peaked during the early hours of Earth Day this year (visible most of the week depending on your location, weather conditions, etc.). We need to enjoy the amazing gift we live on. earth6

7. There are places in the world, including Alberta (Home of the Tar Sands/Oil Sands), etc. where some people celebrate Earth Hour, Earth Day, Green Week by deliberately running all their appliances, vehicles, etc. to burn as much energy and fuel as possible. Seriously. I know I live in the same country as them, but I really think we exist on different planes of dimension.

"Pray that there’s intelligent life somewhere out in space cause there’s bugger all down her on Earth." ~Monty Python

“Pray that there’s intelligent life somewhere out in space cause there’s bugger all down here on Earth.” ~Monty Python’s Meaning of Life

8. Over 70% of our stunning, astonishing planet is water yet millions of people don’t have access to clean water. We’re systematically polluting and destroying our oceans, rivers, lakes, etc. as well the earth, air, and ourselves. 

9. What messages are we sending to our children and grandchildren with our over-consumption? People will celebrate holidays like: Easter, Christmas, Thanksgiving (especially Black Friday), Halloween, Valentine’s Day, but don’t celebrate Earth Day. I guess shopping and Earth Day wouldn’t go well together. So if the schools weren’t pushing it, how much would we participate?

10. Enjoy the Earth Day celebrations, but remember, when the photo ops are done, the trees planted, the walks done, we’re still destroying the planet today and the other 364 days of the year. Protect your home, the Earth.

Make peace with the planet. Happy Earth Day every day!!!

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Posted in Books, Televison, Uncategorized

The Nerdist Way

ImageI don’t know what I was expecting from this book, The Nerdist Way by Chris Hardwick (Berkley Books), but I was surprised.

Now I will give it the penultimate compliment. I almost bought it. Almost. Then I ended up reading most of it at the bookstore and then borrowed it from the library. Sorry, new books just aren’t in the budget of a broke and obscure blogger. It was close though.

The internet loves to pick on people and Chris Hardwick (host of Talking Dead, @midnight, standup comedian, blogger, author, actor, podcast king, etc.) is not exempt.
One of the criticism I’ve read, often, he’s a sell-out, overly enthusiastic about everything and everyone.

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Is he supposed to be depressed sitting next to, I don’t know, off the top of my head Nathan Fillion, Tim Burton, David Tennant, Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, Matt Smith, etc.? Well, you get my point. He has a dream job. He’s a Nerd who used to be overweight who now spends his life meeting cool stars, telling jokes, playing with cool nerd stuff, playing video games…I’m surprised people don’t have to pry him off the ceiling. This is a good example of the internet needs to pick on something and that’s all they could find.nerd17

Having been a Nerd even longer than Hardwick (it’s an age thing), I really get it.

We’re not only no longer mocked for our love of all things Nerd, it’s become cool.

TV is packed with Nerd-friendly stuff.

So are movies, books…graphic novels lie thick on the shelves.

One can display their Nightmare Before Christmas and Beetlejuice toys without as many titters and snorts…

Being able to quote Family Guy, Doctor Who and Star Trek is considered knowledge, no longer just, get-some-help-then-a-life. familyguy7Just the accessibility of Nerd gifts, collectibles and memorabilia is mind-boggling, although nothing beats a stick of celery on your lapel to say, I still appreciate the struggle we Nerds have endured.

Our people have gone through the Nerd desert and come out into the Land of Facehugger soap, K-9 stuffies, South Park Christmas tree ornaments, dolt hats, Minecraft wrapping paper, Metal Gear Solid Risk, Carl Sagan riding a dinosaur with a lightsaber coasters, Buffy beach towels, World of Warcraft waffles, sonic screwdrivers (Pertwee or Baker era), Pokeball Death Star tees, zombie cookie jars, and Dalek cake molds.dw4This is like having the Heart of the TARDIS flowing through us.

We’re boldly going where Nerds always wanted to go.

Of course Chris Hardwick is exuberant, we Nerds are living through a golden droid era.

Back to the book being a surprise. Cool, yes. Funny, yes. Self-help book, yes. In case you missed it, the 3rd point was the surprise. Not bad advice either. Sensible. Reasonable. Helpful.

Having been a Nerd my entire life with a Nerd son I felt this book is a must read for those of us who are the shorter and slightly less offensive ‘N’ word.nerd16

www.Nerdist.com
www.Nerdistway.com
Twitter.com/Nerdist

Posted in Books, Christmas, Holidays, Movies, Music, Parenting, Political, Televison, Uncategorized, Weight

SCARCITY

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We stand in line for various new smart phones.

We have to decide between multiple versions of coffee. There are literally too many TV shows and movies to watch.

Too many pod casts, audio books, and musicians to listen to.

Too many books to read.

Giant grocery stores where you practically need a GPS to find your way around. I just wanted an apple. Sure, there are 20 varieties. Aaaaargh.

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Huge malls where you need maps, like you’re on an Indiana Jones adventure.

Clothes, shoes, jewellery, cars, toys, restaurants, tablets, bars, news, clubs, blogs, theaters, social media, stores, computers, alcohol, laptops, medications, make-up, information, games, video games, apps, services, oh my!

We’re destroying our future and our children’s futures so we can have stuff.

We’re being controlled by our ability to choose.

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Scarcity is unknown to too many of us. It’s difficult to even comprehend people still live in squalor with no safe water, no heat or cooling, no medical care, selling themselves, dying, even selling their children for food.

Comfort and abundance has lead to sloth, entitlement, intolerance, apathy, and waste.

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“Having is not so pleasing a thing as wanting; it is not logical but it is often true.” ~Spock

The less you have the more you appreciate it. People dreaming of winning the lottery are often happier than those who win it.

Ever been eating something delicious and realize it’s almost gone? Those last few bites are savoured.

Reading a book, watching a show, time with family or friends – all taken for granted until you realize they’re almost over.

You’ll actually use less toothpaste as the tube empties, without conscious thought.

The last days of your vacation you’ll do more.cityscar9

You’d think we’d be happier with more things, more choices. If stuff made us happy why are more people on meds for stress and depression with higher debt, more drama, more shopping, more self-help books, more diets…apparently more isn’t always better.

If you have one glass you will take care of that glass, cherish it because otherwise you will have difficulty drinking.
If you have one pair of shoes, you will treasure those shoes for without them you will walk in bare feet.

I’m not advocating poverty, just moderation. The ‘M’ word was more popular before we were told by corporations selling us stuff that we needed more stuff.

I love having the ability to choose, but there comes a point, especially with products and services that super saturation directs us to confusion, stress, worry, and disorder.

Abundance should be shared.

When will we ever have enough?

The book Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much by Sendhil Mullainathan and Eldar Shafir (Times Books/Henry Holt and Company) is a well-written, amusing, comprehensive explanation with examples of why scarcity is so important. Scarcity in all forms. I borrowed it from the library…one less book.

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Posted in Books, Movies, Televison, Uncategorized, Zombies

Why Zombies Won’t Rule

1. Zombies are, so far, an analogy for over-consumption. We don’t have to worry about zombies, we’re killing ourselves off quite effectively.

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2. Zombies seem relentless, but have no ambition, sort of like teens at a mall.

3. Zombie genre is hyper-focused on what zombies would do to humans. Not much about what nature would do to these walking smorgasbords. Nature doesn’t need fresh meat, many love decaying flesh. First the blowflies, flesh flies and maggots. Also, vultures, burying beetles, lions, wolves, dogs, eagles, hawks, coyotes, crows, raccoons, tigers, hyenas, etc. And cockroaches – they can live up to a week without a head, can’t say the same for zombies.

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4. They’re dead and only getting deader. Weather, nature, and decomposition works wonders on the complexion and can make the average zombie into a sticky puddle of botox-won’t-help-that-sweetie-mess in no time.

5.  Think of the zombie apocalypse as a Home Alone movie, but with zombies instead of inept burglars. They can’t strategize, they’re easily tricked, they don’t notice traps. Try sandbags, fences, walls, doors, boarded up windows, spikes, barbed wire, fire, or maybe even marbles, icy stairs, hot door knobs, paint cans, etc. would work.

6. No one really explains how zombies overcome the military. Zombies move toward armies, have no defenses, don’t retreat. This doesn’t even work as a Risk game.

wd707. As free-range humans become more scarce so would the food source; we’re just not that reliable. Also, we fight back.

8. Humans could get to islands, fortified or remote locations, and structures to wait until the zombies decompose.

 9. Humans generally know more about survival now, ie. Water purification tabs, weapons, decoy camps, Dakota fire pits, how to purify urine to drink it, making a stove out of a soda can, etc.wd72

10. I think Nerds will save us. They have special skills, right? Video games have taught them survival skills, including using a sniper riffle, crossbow, etc. Most already exist on processed foods. They’re used to staying up for days on end, they’re patient, and they don’t feel the need for a companionship. Also, they can figure out a way to start getting power back on, etc. They can read maps, are used to quests, and really, it’s as though they’ve been training for an apocalyptic event since the first time their hands touched a controller. Let’s hope these video game skills translate into life skills, wait, maybe I shouldn’t pin too much hope on this.

I just hope if the zombie apocalypse happens they’re the slow zombies, not the fast ones. I think I can survive the slow, shuffling ones, but those fast ones, not so much.wd75

Posted in Books, Movies, Political, Televison, Uncategorized, Zombies

Why Zombies Will Rule

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1. Zombies won’t just be dangerous because of the biting flesh part, they’re rotting corpses. Think about all the diseases they would cause, not to mention all the scavengers and parasites they would attract. Like some people you may know, zombies are toxic, but literally.

2. Zombies don’t need to sleep.

3. They’re not distracted by TV, the internet, cell phones, etc.

4. They don’t have any vices.

5. Zombies don’t get sick, I mean eventually they decompose, but who knows how long that will take?

6. Society will fall apart if they don’t have cell phones, the internet, TV, etc.wd76

7. Sadly, Zombies will kill off children and probably their parents quickly, come on, think of how long it takes to get the average toddler to put on their shoes, get to sleep, etc…and how would they stay quiet enough? How would they be amused without technology?

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8.  Zombies don’t get bored and don’t need entertaining, they just wait around for food to be delivered to them or they wander around looking for takeout.

9. So many people are too apathetic or lazy to even get out and vote which effects your life just as much as zombies (have you seen some politicians?). How are they going to survive?

wd8810. Statistically as there are more zombies and less humans, well, you do the math…the odds are against us.

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