Sunday, December 31, 2006
I was struck by how much of a sea change it was in cinema. I can't imagine a movie like this being made in any decade before the seventies; and the look and feeling of it is mirrored in many subsequent films and TV series. An important aspect of the movie is that Coppola and his crew made everything look so damn good. That's probably why mass audiences were willing to put up with the ugliness, in regard to both violence and human nature. That, and America's everlasting love of its monsters.
Saturday, December 30, 2006
Why do I like WFWHs? They allow me to perform computer-required tasks -- both work-related and entertainment-related (like this post) -- but let me get out of the house to do them. Plus, the people-watching can be fun.
To help fellow WFWH fans, I've added a wi-fi hotspot directory at the bottom of my blog. If you're on a laptop, you can insert your location and find the WFWH's in the vicinity.
I was tempted to add my tips for creating a superior WFWH. But the folks at JiWire have published this article, which echoes most of my recommendations. One thing I'd add: I am turned off by signs that set forth time restrictions on wi-fi use, or those that ask users to spend a certain amount for food or drink for every hour that they are present. The reason to offer wi-fi is to encourage folks to set at your establishment long-term, with the idea that while they're there they will buy food and beverages. If you have a problem with folks lingering, perhaps you shouldn't offer wi-fi.
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
-- Gerald Ford (today). I didn't grow up with a huge respect for the presidency. Part of that was growing up in a Democratic house while Nixon and then Ford dominated it. (I was too young to really perceive Johnson, who was president when I was born.) I certainly had little cause to respect Ford, who, along with his vice-president Nelson Rockefeller, were the first un-elected presidential duo in history. Nor did he quite distinguish himself in retirement; he had a golf tournament named after him, and his wife's clinic made more of a splash than he did. Still, he was president.
-- James Brown (yesterday). An example of how those who make great art are also those capable of despicable acts -- in particular, his domestic violence and his armed rampage. But he made music that captured joy and fire and pride and fun.
-- Shirley Walker (back on November 30, but her obituary appeared today): Not as well known as the first two, but certainly important. She was a pioneering female composer who toiled in the all-man's-land of action scores. She orchestrated Danny Elfman's comic-book scores (Batman, Dick Tracy), and then moved on to craft and supervise the fantastic scores for Batman: The Animated Series and the other series it spawned in the '90's. Her booming, minor-key and heroic scores for those series mirrored the noir/deco mood and look of the art.
Sunday, December 24, 2006
When TERMINATOR 2 came out in the early '90's, it was obvious to comic book fans that the technology used to create the liquid-metal T-1000 would likely be used one day to replicate one of Jack Kirby's most visually striking creations: The Silver Surfer. This weekend, the teaser trailer for FANTASTIC FOUR: THE RISE OF THE SILVER SURFER is playing in theatres with NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM; and the image above, from the movie, makes evident that the movie's version of Norrin Radd is indeed the descendant of the T-1000.
Although the comics have always described the Surfer as wearing a silver-metal coating, the comics have been inconsistent on depicting him that way. Kirby drew him as sort of a gun-metal color, rather than with a mirror-silver finish; he had a metallic glint, but was not reflective. And John Buscema, who drew him in his late-sixties-early-seventies series (which, as the panels above show, depicted him as the universe's most philosophical whiner), essentially drew him as high-gloss white. Only when the Surfer's series was resurrected in the mid-eighties, by the team of writer Steve Engelhart and artist Marshall Rogers, did Rogers finally draw the Surfer as shiny silver.
As I blogged last year, I liked the first FF movie (though many didn't), and based on the trailer description I'm looking forward to this sequel.
The images above are copyrighted by Marvel Entertainment.
Saturday, December 23, 2006
"One militant note said: 'This is the Christmas season, not the Holiday season' and closed by wishing me a Merry Christmas.
"In my reply, I accepted his Christmas wish with grace and gratitude, but I pointed out that though Christians own Christmas, they don’t own December. Since I and my family celebrate Hanukkah during this same period, wishing me a Happy Hanukkah would have been even more appreciated.
"I agree with concerns that the true meaning of Christmas is often diluted and demeaned in a commercialized fervor to celebrate giving and getting gifts. It’s disgraceful when Santa and his bag of toys play a more prominent role than Jesus and his teachings.
"This troubling trend, however, isn’t caused by using a generic holiday greeting, especially when it’s intended to be inclusive and respectful of a diverse audience. And using moral coercion to induce everyone to wish everyone else a Merry Christmas would only transform the greeting into a hollow, insincere ritual.
"Among Christianity’s great gifts to the world is the Christmas spirit, a way of thinking and being that reflects transcendent values taught by Jesus, especially love, unity, acceptance, and forgiveness. These values uplift and inspire Christians and non-Christians to care more for others and live better lives. We shouldn’t allow this spirit to be hijacked in a misguided zeal for orthodoxy."Happy Holidays, everyone.
Well, in this sidebar to the (negative) review of Van Dyke's new movie, "Night at the Museum," the explanation becomes clear: Dick Van Dyke himself created the animation. Turns out that the actor has a fascination with animation and special effects that stretches back to "Mary Poppins"; and as a hobby he creates computer animation -- including segments of a younger version of himself dancing.
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Frankly, I don't see much purpose in it. The Archie line is one of the few lines to sell steadily from the "Golden Age" of comics through the present -- even seizing the most valuable real estate for a periodical, the rack by the checkout in supermarkets, where a parent can easily grab an Archie digest to quiet a squalling kid. If it ain't broke, why fix it?
Since this book will likely tug along with it the combined readership of all the previous HP novels, it will likely be one of the best-selling books ever, propelling its author -- already a billionaire -- into another stratosphere of wealth.
Sunday, December 17, 2006
Warning: For those not up on their history, this short came out while the U.S. was at war with Japan; and racial stereotypes of Japanese people were not only acceptable, but a mark of patriotism. Thus, this cartoon features quite blatant and offensive stereotypes.
Saturday, December 16, 2006
On the positive side, Fortune Magazine reports that Apple may be on the verge of obtaining the holy grail for a music service: The Beatles catalog. (Of course, Apple Computers and Apple Corps. would have to work out that chronic litigation between them over the Apple business name.)
On the negative side, conflicting stories about the volume of downloads from Itunes in 2006 caused turmoil with Apple stock. One analyst said that the number of downloads dipped 65% this year from last. Other analysts quickly jumped in and opined that Itunes had far more downloads in this last quarter than the same time last year.
In any event, Itunes still remains the juggernaut of the music industry today -- tied into the Ipod, with its dominance of the MP3-player market.
A good chunk of the book made it into the movie, which is unusual in light of the later Fleming adaptations (like THE SPY WHO LOVED ME) which only retained the title, and sometimes characters, from the source material. The major additions were the Bond-as-neophyte subplot, the update from the cold war to the war against terror, and the action sequences. In the novel, Bond doesn't beat anyone up. He survives an assassination attempt only because the attempt self-destructs (literally) through incompetence; he gets out of another tight spot basically by falling on his opponent; and the one time he tries to fight someone, he fairly quickly gets his Union Jack kicked.
Another update was the change of the card game from Baccarat to Texas Hold-em Poker. The change is predictable, in part because of Hold-em's insane popularity these days, and in part because explaining Baccarat might take the audience out of the picture (although the novel provides a fairly compact, comprehensible explanation of the game's simple rules). But Baccarat, as Amy commented to me, is the perfect game for spies, because faces are meaningless.
The scene that is most directly taken from the novel is the torture scene, which had movie critics whining that it was too upsetting for a PG-13 movie. (Like a torture scene isn't supposed to be upsetting.) Bond's witty-under-pressure repartee is unique to the movie, however; in the book, Bond doesn't say much during torture except the occasional screams of pain.
The movie was released with Tom Jones singing the swaggering opening theme. But the theme originally intended for the opening titles was a James Barry written theme called "Mr. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang" -- named after the Japanese nickname for Bond -- sung by Dionne Warwick. The main titles were synched to that song, and the melody reappears as a motif throughout the movie's score. But the song itself is nowhere to be found in the movie. (It has been released on one or more anthologies of Bond music.)
Both songs have the same basic message: how cool Bond is. MKKBB is -- as you might imagine -- more slinky about it.
MKKBB has some clever lyrics, but does feature one of those strained attempts at rhyme that always hit a false note with me: "He'll soothe you like vanilla/The gentleman's a killah." Sort of like the Turtles rhyming "et cetera" and "bettah" in "Eleanor Really," or Sting rhyming "jail ya" and "failure" in "Spirits in the Material World."
Somebody with too much time on their hands has edited MKKBB into the THUNDERBALL main titles. The results are below.
Sunday, December 10, 2006
But alas, pending litigation looks to prevent it. Jackson and New Line pictures are in the courts, with Jackson disputing the cut of merchandising ducats paid him and seeking an accounting. New Line purportedly refuses, although the suit's been through an attempt at mediation. Meanwhile, New Line's option on the property is set to expire around 2008, so if the company doesn't make a movie it will forever lose out.
Logically, New Line should pay Jackson the money he seeks -- regardless of whether it thinks it will ultimately prevail -- so that it can get Jackson working on a movie that will make it far more money. There is no incentive for Jackson to back down; he may want to make this one, but if he doesn't he's got the original trilogy and KING KONG too. And although he may have enough money now to buy all of New Zealand and part of Antarctica, I can see him sticking to his guns if he believes New Line went back on a deal.
So the question is which will win out in the eternal battle of he two strongest motivating forces in show biz --pride and greed.
Back in the '40's, Mart Nodell hit on the concept of a hero who had a magic ring that generated a light beam that could do just about everything. Since this was the age of electronics, the mystic ring was recharged with a mystic battery -- in the shape of a green lantern. He incongruously clad his blond hero in a red tunic, and called him Green Lantern.
About 15 years later, editor Julius Schwartz, artist Gil Kane, and writer John Broome would retool and streamline the character, introducing a more science-fiction based Green Lantern (this time in a green-and-grey suit) modeled after the E.E. Smith LENSMAN novels. Via DC's then-popular parallel-world scheme (in which the adventures of DC's 1940's heroes took place on an alternate earth, Earth-2), the two Green Lanterns often teamed up.
Between the two of them, these heroes must have had thousands of kids donning cheap vending-machine rings, touching them to batteries, and uttering sacred oaths -- wishing that they could gain the power to make their dreams reality cast in emerald light.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
On Friday, Amy was working late, so I headed over to Santa Monica's Unurban Coffee House to watch and listen to Open Mic Night. Friday nights at the Unurban are one of the best entertainment deals in town. For no cover charge (except a couple bucks for a drink or a brownie) you get to hear an eclectic night full of surprisingly talented performers. Within the space of a couple hours, I heard not only the stereotypical skinny blonde 20-something guitar strummers, but also 60-something blues artists, a string quartet of guitars and mandolins, a country-western singer who kept singing about her friends ("Oh yes, he was a friend of miiine . . . "), and two young women singing Japanese songs in perfect harmony.
On Saturday, after I missed the UCLA-USC game on TV (I couldn't stand to see my team creamed once again. Little did I know . . . .) we scored passes to an event at UCLA: "Marvel Then and Now," an onstage conversation between filmmaker/comics writer Kevin Smith, Marvel legend Stan Lee, and current Marvel editor-in-chief Joe Quesada, with cameos from BET head/comics writer Reggie Hudlen and X-Men movie producer Tom DeSanto. Smith was as scatological as always ("Only a bunch of f***in' comics nerds," he greeted us, "would come see this on the night of the biggest f***in' game of the year"); Stan was energetic, if a bit confused (unable to see in the spotlights, he would face Smith when Quesada was talking, and vice versa); and Quesada unfortunately found that his verbal talents could not match the others.
On Sunday, we drove up to Santa Maria to attend a holiday party held by friends. We stayed at the ravishingly beautiful Historic Santa Maria Inn. Unfortunately, the Inn's service was not the equivalent of its looks. We were awakened at around 1 a.m. by the sound of a key in the lock, followed by a loud pounding on the door. It turned out that was a security guard; according to the front desk, the staff had somehow listed the room they rented us as "empty." We woke up quite bleary-eyed that morning for our drive back to LA.
Thursday, November 30, 2006
Sunday, November 26, 2006
Cockrum was born in Pendleton, Oregon, not far from my hometown of Walla Walla, Washington. Cockrum first came to fans' attention in the early seventies, when he drew the teen superhero team comic LEGION OF SUPERHEROES. In the process, he designed new costumes and looks for many of the characters; and some of those costumes can be seen on the Sat-Am animated LEGION series on the CW these days. But his biggest claim to fame -- and the one that eventually made several folks in both New York and Hollywood much richer -- was co-creating THE NEW X-MEN with writer Len Wein and editor Roy Thomas, just over 30 years ago. Cockrum created the visuals for such characters as Storm, Nightcrawler, Colossus, and Phoenix. He drew the series from 1975 to 1977 (collaborating with writer Chris Claremont after Wein left); and then, after fan-favorite penciller John Byrne left, did a second stint from 1981-1983. His innovative, exciting, and fun style will be missed.
From the 15th to the 17th, I was in San Francisco for a work-related conference. At the conference, I was lucky enough to attend a keynote speech given by Story Musgrave. Musgrave must be one of the most accomplished human beings alive, reminiscent of fictional heroes like Doc Savage or Buckaroo Banzai. How do you match a fellow who has advanced degrees ranging from medicine to literary criticism, and yet never finished high school? How about an astronaut who is the only man to have flown on all five space shuttles; an engineer who designed key aspects of shuttle equipment and the Hubble Telescope; a mechanic who actually changed the mirror in Hubble, in orbit; a poet and a professional landscaper? A meeting with him is guaranteed to make you feel somewhat inadequate about your own accomplishments.
I also participated in a fun "ghost hunt" tour of Pacific Heights, which started from the amazing Queen Anne Hotel. The hotel is decked out in Victorian decor (though not completely authentic; I don't think they had animated holiday statues of children in that era). Led by a chatty tour guide who wore a leather Van Helsing type duster and a top hat (and who also practiced a little sleight of hand along the way), the tour was a fun way to see a city that I lived in for three years. (I must say that the Mark Hopkins Hotel, where I stayed during the conference, offered a far nicer view of the city than my three years in the Tenderloin.)
Friday, November 24, 2006
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Monday, November 20, 2006
Sunday, November 19, 2006
But the most distracting aspect of the movie was the rampant product placement. CR was the first Bond movie made by Sony (and possibly the last, as it's likely to lose its controlling interest in MGM/UA), and the movie apparently takes place in a world where everyone uses Sony computers, Sony laptops, Sony cameras, and Sony electronic equipment. (Considering that the movie debuted the same day as the Playstation 3, I wouldn't have been surprised if Bond had challenged Le Chiffre to a few video games. "You're the best Madden player on the service, 007 . . . .")
The worst was the in-movie commercial for Bond's Omega watch. ("Your watch. Rolex?" "Omega." "Beautiful.") Product placement is nothing new for Bond movies -- GOLDFINGER moved a lot of Aston-Martin DB5s, and subsequent movies plugged everything from Playboy to BMWs. But in this movie, the placement is exactly the sort of "blunt instrument" M accuses Bond of being.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Monday, November 13, 2006
Saturday, November 11, 2006
I was aware that Palance's portrayal of Dracula in a TV movie inspired artist Gene Colan's portrayal of the vampire in the long-running comic book "Tomb of Dracula." But Jack Kirby scholar Mark Evanier's blog yesterday revealed that comics great Jack Kirby based the visage of the New Gods baddie, Darkseid, on Palance's face.
Monday, November 06, 2006
True, there's a certain amount of spectacle appeal to watching an over-sixty Pete Townshend still windmilling his guitar and doing the occasional scissor-kick; or the similarly-aged Roger Daltrey whirling his mic cord like a nunchaku and, yes, giving that primal scream near the end of "Won't Get Fooled Again." (I wondered how he could sing that song for 30+ years and still have vocal cords left.) But that wasn't what brought the crowd to its feet again and again; it was the consumate skill of two men who have been doing what they do about as well as it can be done, and have been doing it long enough to draw on a reservoir of experience and wisdom.
One doubts that a younger Townshend could -- without a scrap of sarcasm -- explain how the title music of television shows had become comforting to him, and then sing an ode to Mike Post, composer of the theme to Hill Street Blues and innumerable other shows. (He threw in a tossed-off reference to CSI -- apt since they performed, at various times during the show, the themes to all three CSI series.)
This show was different from those in the last couple of decades, because as posted below The Who came out with a new album, THE ENDLESS WIRE, last week, and they performed a good chunk of the songs from it -- including the (what else) mini-opera from would have been Side 2 had it been an LP. The new songs sounded great, but several in the crowd were less than receptive to them -- during one of them, a boor near me shouted out, "Play some music!"
Those who came expecting a live version of one of The Who's innumerable greatest hits album did not come away disappointed. They started with one of their earliest hits -- the proto-punk sandpaper guitar riffs of "Can't Explain" -- and worked their way through lots of songs from "My Generation" (oh, the irony!) through "You Better You Bet" and "Eminence Front." (About the only disappointment for me was no songs from QUADROPHRENIA. They had some terrific video backgrounds on screens (a medley from TOMMY was accompanied by scenes of a silver ball flying through the air and gliding through the skylines of New York, Seattle, LA, and other cities), particularly for the new songs.
Some of the most memorable moments for me, however, were the songs from the new album that just involved Pete accompanying Roger on accoustic guitar. The other band members (which included Ringo's son Zack Starkey on drums, and Pete's brother Simon Townshend on guitar and backing vocals -- not to mention their keyboard tech, who stepped in at the last moment to play the boards when the official player had to tend to his sick wife) left the stage; and the entire huge Bowl stage shrunk down to spotlight two old mates who had survived the decades, doing what they did best -- standing side by side, and making wonderful music together.
Sunday, November 05, 2006
Saturday, November 04, 2006
Now The Who's album "Endless Wire" is being sold either as an ITunes download, or as a CD with a live-performance DVD inserted. Both download and DVD feature a science-fiction like cover with a man made of pixel-like forms climbing a staircase, with birds on one side and pixel-boxes on the other. And with both, the cover art is tiny.
As for the music: Well, it's pretty damn good. There's nothing with the pop hooks that make songs like "Squeezebox," "5:15," "Who Are You," or "Baba O'Reilly" songs that play on radios and TV throughout the decades; but they're at least as good as the non-hit songs on the albums where those songs appeared.
I'm definitely looking forward to seeing The Who tomorrow at the Hollywood Bowl.
According to the article, this erosion of 4th amendment protection is currently being questioned in the central district court here in L.A.
It's true that the 4th amendment search and seizure restrictions have been interpreted to grant border officers more leeway in searches, because of the interest in preventing smuggling (of both inanimate objects and humans) and cross-border contamination. But as the article points out, this is an intrusiveness that goes beyond simply looking inside luggage -- particularly since business laptops can contain proprietary information. And in a balancing test, the importance of searching laptops to interdict contraband is questionable; with the Internet, it's probably easier to move information via e-mail and ftp sites than to load it onto laptops. We'll see how this turns out.
Thursday, November 02, 2006
Wednesday, November 01, 2006
Saturday, October 28, 2006
Because of a medication I was taking until a few days ago, I couldn't drink any caffeine. Freed of that restriction, I've been hitting some java. This morning I had breakfast at one of the places listed in the article, Cafe Luxxe in Santa Monica. I had a cappucino and an espresso that were unbelievably smooth. The photo is of the cappucino -- one sip down.
Marvel's "Essential" series is a terrific set of phone-book-sized paperback collections of various series, reprinted in black and white on cheap paper, with the result that a 500 plus page reprint goes for $16.99. One of the most recent volumes features the 1970's adventures of the Satan siblings: Daimon Hellstrom, Son of Satan, and his sis Satana. Yes, Satan was a Marvel Comics character. (In the 80's, the Reagan era, Marvel got cold feet and announced that this guy was a demon "posing" as Satan; but in these comics he's portrayed as the one and only, Prince of Lies, Morning Star, Nick Scratch, Mephistopheles, etc.) The back story goes that back in the fifties a woman fell for a handsome guy, albeit with pointed ears and arched eyebrows (no, not Leonard Nimoy), married him, and bore him a son and a daughter. Only later did she learn that she was -- dum dum dum -- The Bride of Satan! The site of her hub in all his infernalness drove her instantly insane. Meanwhile, Satan split with the little girl, and the son grew up and studied to be a priest. He eventually discovered his mother's diary and found out he was -- dum dum dum -- The Son of Satan! As with many children of divorces, he had severe father issues, and vowed to oppose Ol' Scratch. This being the mid-seventies, he took up the profession of exorcism, for which he'd wear a "ceremonial garb" of tight pants and a cloak. No shirt. (What an incentive to keep fit. Don't want that Satanic Six-Pack to sag.)
When Satan appeared in the comic, Marvel didn't exactly get subtle. He manifested either as a muscular sillhouette covered with flame lines, a la the Human Torch, or as a muscular bald guy with a bald head and horns. Oh, and he wore a Speedo made of flames. (Sounds like an oath -- "Satan's Flaming Speedo!" Or a comic book title -- "The Savage Speedo of Satan!")
What was most amusing to me was that Marvel's version of Satan tended to talk like another one of its arrogant monarch characters -- Prince Namor, the Sub-Mariner. Thus, Satan has lines like, "No more do you face sniveling demons -- you face SATAN, THE MASTER, PRINCE OF HELL, LORD OF DARKNESS -- you face your DOOM!"
SOS had a long run in Marvel Spotlight, and then was given his own series, which lasted only eight issues. He did better than his sis Satana (who couldn't quite go around bare-chested, but compensated by wearing a leotard with front cut-outs, in the manner that J-Lo would make famous 30 years later), who appeared in a few scattered stories in various places, did bad stuff, developed daddy issues too, and died heroically.
I suspect part of the problem with these characters' long-term prospects was the lack of merchandising opportunity -- not much market for Hellmobiles, or Son of Satan Underoos. (Though I believe Daimon did have a Slurpee cup to himself.) The stories did, however, feature some nice artwork by veterans like Gene Colan, John Romita and Sal Buscema; and stories by such then up and coming writers as Chris Claremont, Gerry Conway, and Steve Gerber.
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Now it turns out that a Tenderloin resident is trying to beautify the area a bit by planting trees -- and angry residents are protesting. Turns out they like the neighborhood seedy. One went so far as to put up "wanted" posters of the would-be beautifier.
I guess even people in Hell can enjoy the dancing flames.
Monday, October 23, 2006
The cast has left its mark on our computer hutch's keyboard drawer -- there's a dent in the wrist guard next to the trackball.
Sunday, October 22, 2006
Saturday, October 21, 2006
Coming soon: The "Don't Shoplift" badge and the "Don't Knock Over Liquor Stores" badge.
(I'd post the Associated Press photo here. But that would be a little too ironic.)
Friday, October 20, 2006
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
When I was a kid, I watched a lot of Saturday Morning TV, and fondly remember the IN THE NEWS interstitials Glenn narrated, tiny snippets of current events geared to kids. Glenn did about 5,000 of these segments, over a 15-year period. More recently, he was the voice of CBS Radio's WORLD NEWS ROUNDUP.
We can always use more professionals who can tell us of the world's ills in a soothing manner.
Saturday, October 14, 2006
Oh, and K-9 came back too.
Monday, October 09, 2006
YouTube has certainly captured the imagination of Web surfers -- to the degree that even staunch supporters of copyright have posted copyright-infringing snippets on their blogs.
To celebrate the union between Google and You Tube, here is an utterly silly clip of two Asian girls dancing to the tune of my favorite anime TV series, Cat's Eye. Magic-play is dancing.
Sunday, October 08, 2006
I don't know if anyone has condemned the pages for wearing those shameless Brooks Brothers coats and ties, but that's probably coming soon.
I've certainly enjoyed the Tower stores in Westwood, Santa Monica, and particularly Marina Del Rey over the years. (I only went to the iconic store on the Sunset Strip a few times.) The Marina Del Rey store was my favorite place to line up for Ticketmaster-supplied tix to concerts. That's something you just can't do at Itunes or Amazon.com.
"But what lurks behind those pages, it more evil then Harry Potter himself. Please help us band harry potter and read some of the comments made by children who have read these dreadful books."
Yep, kids can learn nasty stuff from the Potter books -- like how to proofread, spell, capitalize, and include necessary verbs.
Monday, October 02, 2006
Saturday, September 30, 2006
You'd expect haute cuisine in such a setting; but the fare consists of simple sandwiches, salads and soups (plus the expected coffee and espresso bar). There are also shelves of international magazines and greeting cards, which leads me to think this is primarily aimed at tourists and travelers. (It's around the corner from one major hotel, and within walking distance of others.)
Something else this WFWH offers that few do: printers. Two of the PC kiosks offer printer access, for a fee (something like $1.00 for each 10 minutes). There are two printers.
One disadvantage is the lack of (evident) electrical outlets around the tables and booths (although there was an extension cord at the seats near the computer kiosks, with multiple plugs). Otherwise, it's a nice location to grab a sandwich and some high-caffeine drink while getting some work done.
Marvel Comics character Tony Stark, aka Iron Man, may have started out as essentially Howard Hughes with a Clark Gable face; but newly-formed studio Marvel Entertainment may have made an inspired choice for the upcoming Iron Man movie by casting Robert Downey Jr. as ol' Shellhead. (Comics fans may recall Stan Lee's fondness for coming up with nicknames for his characters that included the word "head" -- e.g., Webhead (Spider-Man), Winghead (Captain America), Hornhead (Daredevil). For some reason, though, he never called Thor "Godhead" . . . .)
Stark's original weakness was a piece of shrapnel lodged close to his heart, requiring him to wear his chest armor/iron lung 24 hours a day (fortunately, it could be recharged from wall sockets or car cigarette lighters -- no joke). Eventually, the shrapnel was removed; so to find a new problem for the Golden Avenger, Marvel turned to substance abuse. Beset by stress he couldn't do away with by punching something, Stark turned to the bottle; and he's occasionally relapsed into it since. Substance abuse is definitely something Downey knows about.
The recreation of the "Demon in a Bottle" cover is copyright by Marvel. Downey's picture is probably copyrighted by someone, but I don't know who.
Friday, September 29, 2006
Thursday, September 28, 2006
We never ended up using the wi-fi, because our resort room had a high-speed connection (and later in the vacation my wrist prevented me from picking up the laptop and taking it there); but it was good to know it was there.
In addition to terrific espresso drinks, it featured a "fou fou steamer": Steamed milk with syrup flavoring. I didn't have one, but Amy and Helen did, and pronounced them delicious.
Plus, the place had that cool bohemian coffee place vibe -- as shown by the floors, carpeted with old Japanese newspapers:
Anyway, the good news is the MRI revealed that I had not fractured one of the small bones in my wrist that is hard to heal, as the orthopedist had feared. The bad news is that the fracture I did sustain (to the distal radius) requires that I go to the doctor next week and trade my splint for a cast.
Sunday, September 24, 2006
The photos from the Na Pali Coast tour aren't here yet -- they were taken with a real film camera. But here's the best of the rest.
Waimea Canyon, the Grand Canyon of the Pacific.
Part of the koi pond on the grounds of the resort.
The beach in back of the resort.
The Hanalei Pier, shown in numerous movies filmed on Kauai. One of the destinations of the Kauai movie tour. Note the splint on my right wrist.
This (and the next two photos) is the Coconut Palms Resort, where "Blue Hawaii" was filmed. Hurricane Iniki wrecked it in 1992. It's scheduled to be demolished next month, and then rebuilt to original specifications. The Kauai movie tour took us here.
This beach is where Lee Marvin landed in "Donovan's Reef." Courtesy of the Movie Tour.
This and the next four photos were taken during our horse ride/hike -- before my fall.
Me on my horse, Makei, in happier times. Yes, it's a long way from the horse's back to the ground. Fortunately, I fell in tall grass.
Friday, September 22, 2006
1. The County of Los Angeles and the City of Los Angeles are separate governments.
2. The mayor of Los Angeles does not control the DA's office, much less have the power to create an elite prosecution unit within it. The DA controls that office; and the DA answers to the County Board of Supervisors, not the city government.
3. Ergo, ADAs are not city attorneys.
4. Felony prosecutions in California are not entitled "County of Los Angeles v. So-and-so." The State prosecutes felonies. The cases are entitled "The People v. So and so."
5. When felonies are tried downtown, they are generally tried in the Clara Foltz Criminal Courts Building. The courthouse shown in an establishing shot was the Stanley Mosk Courthouse -- which generally tries civil trials. The courtroom shown in the episode did not look like any courtroom I've ever seen in the Mosk courthouse.
6. When a prosecutor asks multiple argumentative questions, defense attorneys generally object-- more than a couple times.
7. A prosecutor who commits such misconduct as bribing bailiffs to obtain inside information about jurors (who somehow, strangely, were chosen before trial) is simply sowing the seeds for reversal on appeal.
8. Lawyers generally, y'know, practice law. There wasn't more than a thimbleful of law in this episode.
Thursday, September 21, 2006
Second mishap occurred this morning. I went out on a catamaran with Amy and her sister, Helen (who's staying with us in the condo) to the Na Pali coast (but alas, not to snorkle as planned, due to the wrist). As we raced over the waves, the wind snatched up the baseball cap I bought iin Kona on the Big Island in 1999, and returned it to Hawaiian Islands, albeit the watery portion.
More photos soon.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Monday, September 18, 2006
-- When I was a kid, my parents went to Hawaii. They brought back a can of coconut syrup, which sat in the fridge for several months. My images of Hawaii were shaped by Hawaii 5-0, pineapple commercials, and that can of coconut syrup. I imagined that Hawaii had to smell of pineapples and coconut syrup.
-- Earlier this summer, I read Lee Goldberg's second MONK novel, MR. MONK GOES TO HAWAII. In the novel, which takes place on Kauai, Monk's assistant Natalie eats macadamia nut pancakes for practically every meal. It strained suspension of disbelief to the breaking point that Natalie would remain the so-slight-she's-almost-not-there blond shown on the TV show after ingesting that many pancakes, but hey, that's artistic license.
Last night, we observed the ritual of grabbing a couple of maitais (at the Olympic Cafe in Kapaa.) This morning, I informed Amy that we had to have some mac-nut pancakes. So we sauntered to the Ono Family diner, and each ordered the tropical stack (mine with bananas, Amy's without). The fully-loaded tropical stack mixes mac nuts, bananas, and coconut into the batter, and tops the stack with each of those treats. Plus, the diner served a hot pitcher of -- yes -- coconut syrup, with shreds floating in it. Holy Frappuchino, that was marvelous. By the time I was done, I was so full of carbs you could bag me, twist-tie me, and put me on the bakery shelf.
Afterward, I went swimming in the pool, unconcerned when a tropical rain started falling. No rain, no rainbows.