Thursday, August 31, 2006

Glenn Ford died

The best way to describe Ford's career is to look at the 1978 version of Superman. The attention Marlon Brando received from the press for getting an excessively large sum of money for a flavorless bit part detracted from the overall movie. Meanwhile, Glenn Ford quietly turned in a solid performance as Superman's stepdad - without all the distraction of Brando - that added an honesty to the story of Superman's childhood. That's not to pick on Brando other than to contrast the difference between an overrated actor and an underrated one. Pound for pound, I'd take Ford's unassuming everyman to Brando's big star any day. He was fun to watch as a youth in such unsung western gems like Texas and Man From Colorado. He was brilliant and psychologically seductive in 3:10 To Yuma. He was believable as a teacher in Blackboard Jungle (such believability being outside the range of more glittery stars). Awesome as the revenge seeking cop in The Big Heat. In short, he was a stellar actor. May he rest in peace.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Official Liverputty Holiday

It's B D Day....Modern Times is here.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Finknottle has no issue passing off his obligations

His Assistant is filling in for him again, with more tall tales of island adventure - a few empty gestures of devotions toward Gus's Readers and of course, the few stray personal attacks on my character. I suspect that by the time they return from their fool's errand, that pathetic assistant will be entirely brainwashed into a mindless Figgy.

Friday, August 25, 2006

An Assortment of Winslow Homer

The Veteren in the Field (1865)

Long Beach, New Jersey (1869)

Rocky Coast and Gulls (1869)

Boy With Anchor (1873)

Moonlight (1874)

Saturday, August 19, 2006

The story progresses over at the Frontal Lobe

Finknottle. The very name seems to drain Liverputty's financial resources. His Assistant continues the lavish, unbelievable ridiculous story of their travels in the South Pacific. Incidentally, someone should inform Funkdiddle that Google Earth does not track radioactive lug nuts in real time. If it did, we would not have lost track of them in the first place. As such, I cannot guarantee the safety or well-being of his precious word juicer.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Finknottle is exceeding expectations

He has submitted another column. If you ever wondered how old Finknottle is, you'll wonder even more just how old Finknottle's mother is. A crustier more wrinkled gal you'd be hard-pressed to find. She's the only woman I know who offers to cook up a traditional Byzantine dinner.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Finknottle has returned

Rip Van Finkle apparently awoke right before siesta and sent the following ‘missive’. We reached an agreement whereabouts he agreed to pull his own weight instead of pawning of his writing duty – that is to say his only duty to his assistant, who will be relieved, at least part of the time, so that he can manage the fulfillment of the other part of the agreement: The party of the second part shall utilize all resources and aid available in order to cleanse daily the body of the party of the second part. Finknottle agreed to the terms in exchange for a simple request: that his word juicer remain unmolested in the Liverputty offices. For some fool reason, Finknottle and his personal groomer believe that I have something other than contempt for that hazardous mouse-trap which endangers the entire staff. What those two assume is a desire to steal the juicer is actually a desire to have in removed by men in hazmat suits (so that we can take our suits off!). So it was a small concession to get a few more posts from him before he breaks this treaty. Who knows where this story is heading – and who cares if it is true?

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Farm Boy Parsley Reports from the Gun Show

by Charlie Parsley

Attendance at the gun show was light. It was quite like a gun flea market: casual, folksy, quiet and uneventful. As gun shows are a regular local event, this particular weekend must have been nothing special. What is it that would fill the wide aisles of the Expo Arena Building at the Fairgrounds? A celebrity appearance? More girls in bikinis? Unleashed bunnies?

Sadly and surprisingly there were no bikini clad hotties giving out samples of anything. PR departments are snoozing on an untapped market.

A full ninety percent of attendees would apply to the profile of ‘redneck’ in the male category, the majority of them not being particularly pleasant to look at. Those few who fell between the fast food enhanced beer belly over-sized and the cigarette-thin profile of the tobacco smokers were of the ‘regular guy’ variety. None of them had their shirts off. A handful of teenagers were included as well as one African American guy whom we shall discuss later. The remaining ten percent of attendees were rednecks of the female type, children, old old guys in wheelchairs and security.

The guns available presented a variety of sizes, styles and colors from which to choose. Rifles appeared to be popular. Or perhaps, rifles were noticeably popular. However, pistols and/or handguns might have been present upon the patrons but not visible. Therefore handguns might have been more popular. The reporter does not know.

The reporter reporting herein failed in the reporting basics. No meaningful interviews were held with the vendors, as they were only interested in talking with you if you were really going to buy a gun. It seemed imprudent to strike up a conversation with a patron in order to ask them about their motivation for purchasing a gun. Yet extensive notes were taken.

A variety of additional supplies to the gun purchaser was presented among the guns such as holsters, flak jackets, bullets, pellets, knives, swords, brass knuckles, grenades, military patches, a variety of flags and bumper stickers, popcorn, instructional booklets for the guns and other ‘official use’ books, caps, boots, sunglasses, stainless steel and ‘diamonique’ jewelry, toy guns, action figures and beanie babies. Suspicions about the need or usage of beanie babies among the gun purchasers flared from wild speculation about the ease of concealment and unassuming camouflage of the beanie baby until it subsided with the boring realization that they were merely another object of collection.

As one may properly view the intent of purchasing guns to be not undissimilar from motivations of purchases of kitchen appliances, decorative glass beads, Elvis Presley photographs, or thimbles. These are the objects of collectors. The additional gun-related items available are such that appeal to a collector: military memorabilia, toys, ball caps, ugly sparkly jewelry. This returns us to the flea market atmosphere with its dry and desperate capitalistic concerns scorching the conversations.

For indeed there was nary a conflict nor raised voice among the participants. Observation revealed a total lack of activist presence in the capacity of NRA rah-rahism, hunting club membership outreach, political campaigning of any sort, coupons for fast food, cardboard ID lube trash containers, costumed characters or free beer. Furthermore, outside of the building in the parking lot was a complete lack of feminist activists denigrating the misogynistic male on male phallic worship going on inside or PETA protestors with red acrylic paint.

The reporter’s plan to pose as a ‘beginner’ in order to draw insightful advice or titillating suggestions utterly failed as this disguise is sadly no ruse. The wearing of overalls conceals any and all semblance of anything... unordinary... nearly to the point of invisibility. While this provides concepts for a sci-fi character storyline the reporter fears it contributed little to this report.

Gun purchase motivation may only be conjectured until meaningful polling is conducted. As polls are easily misconstrued, manipulated, sometimes unapplicable and generally disregarded, conjecture will stand as a reasonable alternative.

Guns are acquired in order to shoot bullets. There is however one exception to this rule: guns that are acquired in order to probably not fire bullets. These guns would belong to a person of ‘collector’ status, (see above) wherein ‘collector’ guns are acquired for reasons other than bullet firing: status, importance, joy, show-offishness, dumb-assness, military or family history relevance. Etc.

Returning then to guns that are acquired in order to shoot bullets. Bullets may be aimed at the following targets:

1) Targets. Of the paper or tin can variety. This would be the most benign use of a bullet. In this category the sport of gun firing, whatever that sport is named.

2) Critters. Such as squirrels, rats, opossums, raccoons, beavers, snatches, fuzz humpers and jay-jays.

3) Neighbors and relatives. In the unmalevolent and excusable sense of misfiring.

4) Hunting. Larger animals. Malevolent yet excusable.

5) Intruders. In a personal sense, such as burglary and thievery. Again, bullet use ‘with intent’ in this case is excusable.

6) Invaders. In the national sense. Russians, Germans, Canadians, Mexicans, Iranians, Turks, Pakistanis, French, Australian. Etc.

7) Road Rage. Not cool generally, but to be considered on a case-by-case basis.

8) General anger. Although we have heard again and again to use words in stead of weapons, the pen is mightier than the sword... sometimes nothing ‘makes a point’ like a gun. Malevolent usage in this instance is generally inadvisable and usually inexcusable.

9) Cash. Often the bullet factor is not necessary in gun usage for financial exchanges. When bullets are utilized in this instance it is generally unnecessary and inappropriate.

10) Other. (Various other reasons for firing bullets.) Fourth of July for example. Halloween. Christmas. Weddings.

This analysis is necessary to assess the gun’s purchaser through empirical observation:

Camouflage, body odor and facial hair = Hunting

Overalls and beer belly = Critters

Overalls, beer belly and wheelchair = Military Enthusiasm

Teenager (uninterested in knives or throwing stars) = dumb-assness

Baggy white t-shirt, Baggy jeans, purple bandanna, chunky jewelry, skewed ballcap with hand upon genitals at all times = Armadillos, to be sure

Conclusion: no particular conclusion. Will compare to livestock show in September.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Finknottle's Assistant is still doing Finknottle's work...

Perhaps we will just start writing out the paycheck directly to that hapless bamboozled little squirt. Of course, Liverputty never intended to hire fiction writers, but I suppose it's better than an advice columnist with severe mental issues who doesn't show up from work. As far as the real story goes, who knows where in the heck Finkfizzle is. His landlady claims that he hasn't been around there in weeks and the disappearance of the foul odor that once permeated every story of that building seems to back up her claims. Incidentally, if you happen to meet Funkwizzle and shake his hand and two days later wonder how you can get rid of the smell, much of our staff has had good luck with tomato juice. Or I should say, spread the tomato juice on the areas of contact, let set for 5 to 10 minutes; shower; then shower with clorox and shower again. You'll still notice a slight smell, but at least it will be bearable.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Winslow Homer: master of watercolors

The Red Canoe (1889)

A Brook Trout (1892)

Adirondack Lake (1889)

An October Day (1889)

The Adirondack Guide (1889)

A Good Shot (1892)

Fallen Deer (1892)

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Top Hat, it’s entertainment

Sean Penn once said during a panel discussion that films should be serious. They should have a ‘message’, a story of substance, something with drama, instead of light entertainment. Mr. Penn says that when he is interested in entertainment, he prefers “two hookers and an eight ball”. As some of us do not share a preference for this particular formula for entertainment, we do find reason for its placement in movies. Think of those two eyeless masks that represent the theater: one of them is smiling.

Top Hat is nothing if not a big smile. The very handsome Fred Astaire plays a well-known dancer named Jerry Travers, visiting London to star in a show produced by his friend Horace. Lovely Ginger Rogers plays Dale Tremont, a well-to-do society girl who becomes enchanted with Jerry until a misunderstanding changes her opinion of him.

Dale’s ‘simple misunderstanding’ about Jerry becomes the device that turns the plot. This creates confusing and uncomfortable situations for Dale, but because we, the audience, are aware of Dale’s misperception, we find these situations amusing. This one misunderstanding dictates almost all of the interactions among the characters, aside from the secondary story of Jerry Traver’s theater appearance, which provides opportunity for song and dance. This one misunderstanding produces predictable conflicts with predictable results once the misunderstanding is explained. It becomes evident early on that Dale’s confusion, and the story, will be happily resolved once the truth is revealed. It makes sense. Simple mistakes can be easily resolved.

Dale’s misperception persists day after day through carefully misleading dialogue and impossibly well-timed exits and entrances which create additional humor. This demands a suspension of disbelief from the audience, understanding that fortuitously timed entrances are a staged entertainment very much like the song and dance numbers.

A lot of comedies transpire around two lovers who are caught up in their infatuation, reading the signs along their road to discovery. In addition to the comedy in comedies, guys would be wise to observe the actions and interactions of the lovestruck protagonists. They demonstrate a variety of ways and means of wooing an object of affection. When Jerry meets Dale for the first time, he has disturbed her sleep and she is in a disagreeable mood. In spite of her displeasure with him, Jerry is bold and assertive with her as he attempts to win her friendship. Although Dale is wary and suspicious, Jerry, using humor in a last ditch effort to gain her affection, manages to bring a smile to her stern face. His strong assertiveness leaves little question about who will likely wind up in his arms when the credits roll.

Would Mr. Penn claim that is this not an admirable aim for a film: providing lessons in love? What if Mel Gibson could tell us What Women Really Want? Life lessons in classy restaurants are not so different and just as important as those upon battlefield: principles of maneuvering, techniques of gathering of intelligence, and strategies for victory.

Top Hat, a musical with a lot of song and dance, includes a few marvelous characters with a gay sensibility. They are all quite at home in the upper class setting where sophisticated tastes and genteel demeanors are prized attributes. The tongue-in-cheek dialogue, while heavy with humor, makes inferences both subtle and bold. Eric Blore plays the valet Bates with a grand comic flair. His gratuitous eye-rolling and self-flattering formality are graced with a touch of femininity, providing a soft counterpoint to his master Horace and guest Jerry.

A much stronger characterization appears with Erik Rhodes as Alberto Bettini, a fashion designer. Alberto designs smart clothing for Dale, and travels with her to insure that she looks her best... in his designs. He expresses a love for both his wonderful designs as well as Dale, but he displays a passionate devotion to the former. When he disagrees with her and storms out of the room he declares, “Never again will I allow women to wear my dresses!” One can easily imagine the men that might wear his dresses. Later in the film, he has the opportunity to say, “Help! There is a man in my bed!”

Top Hat is a wonderful film of lighthearted humor. It blends lovely song and dance numbers with a charming romantic tale. Although the story is sometimes unbelievable, it generates wry and clever humor.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Congrats to Wagstaff on a job well done!

His Bad News Bears appreciation has gotten some nice attention - most notably at Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule where his post made up Mr. Cozzalio's entire weekly roundup from last week, and on The Sheila Variations who says it's not to be missed. And rumor has it that Bear team-mates have seen the post. Good show, Wagstaff!