Saturday, January 05, 2013

Jim Hardin Obituary: View Jim Hardin's Obituary by The Sun Herald

Jim Hardin Obituary: View Jim Hardin's Obituary by The Sun Herald

Friday, December 03, 2010

"Avatar" versus "Gone with the Wind"

Movie history was made in 2010, when James Cameron’s Avatar surpassed his previous blockbuster, Titanic, as “the most successful movie ever”, based on worldwide box-office. The problem is, this is all Hollywood hype. A look at Box Office Mojo, and their list of the all time top movies adjusted for inflation, shows that it's a mere 14th place, well behind the likes of Doctor Zhivago and 101 Dalmatians! Even Titanic makes it to #6. For all the hype, "adjusted" is the only fair way to measure box-office success. In US box-office, Avatar's adjusted gross is $773,179,000. The champion is still Gone with the Wind (1939), whose adjusted gross is a huge $1,606,254,800. In 1939 dollars, that was only $198,676,459 - but it means that it was seen by considerably more people than Avatar, and those dollars could buy you a heck of a lot more 71 years ago than Avatar's comparatively meager returns could buy you right now. While it’s impossible to work out the worldwide gross, let’s just say that, even in the UK, the story of Scarlett O’Hara was the biggest film ever.

The Great Recession?

Interesting: Two years into the Great Depression, a quarter of Americans were unemployed and the US steel industry was at 10 percent capacity. The Ford Motor Company slashed its workforce from 130,000 to 37,000 (no GM-style bailout there!), wheat halved in value in the Midwest, and even if you somehow had a job, your monthly salary fell from $50 to $16.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Super Bowl

Who won the Super Bowl this year?

Yeah, that's who...the New Orleans Saints!

I'm still thrilled!

Ken Griffey, Jr. retirement

I'm sorry that Ken Griffey, Jr. suffered so many injuries over his 22-year career; otherwise, I think he easily would've become baseball's home-run king. Even so, I believe he ended up with, what?, 630 home runs, 5th overall in baseball.

classic "Golden Girls" moment

In honor of Rue McClanahan's death today:

Rose Nylund: This is exactly what happened during the Great Herring War.

Blanche Devereaux:
The Great Herring War?

Rose Nylund:
Yes, between the Lindstroms and the Johanssons.

Dorothy Petrillo-Zbornak:
Oh, THAT Great Herring War.

Rose Nylund:
The two families controlled the most fertile herring waters off the coast of Norway, so naturally, it seemed like it would be in their best interest to band together. Oh, boy, was that a mistake. You see, they couldn't agree on what to do with the herring.

Dorothy Petrillo-Zbornak:
Oh, well that's understandable. I mean, the possibilities are overwhelming.

Rose Nylund:
Exactly. The Johanssons wanted to pickle the herring, and the Lindstroms wanted to train them for the circus.

Blanche Devereaux:
Weren't they kind of hard to see riding on the elephants?

Rose Nylund:
Oh, not that kind of circus. A herring circus. Sort of like Sea World, only smaller. Much, much smaller. But bigger than a flea circus.

Dorothy Petrillo-Zbornak:
Uh, tell me, Rose, um... Ah-ha ha ha!... Did they ever shoot a herring out of a cannon?

Rose Nylund:
Only once. But they shot him into a tree. After that no other herring would do it.

Sunday, May 30, 2010


Parades and I don't get along! I made it a mile in the Melrose Memorial Day parade today before my back gave out. I've got to get in better shape, sooner rather than later. Got the Bonnie Brae games next Saturday in Liberty Corner, NJ, and then the Bunker Hill Day Parade the following weekend. Wish me luck!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

new job

I begin my new systems administrator (PC and Mac support) at Harvard Business Publishing on February 1. I'll miss my friends at Putnam Investments, but I need to move on from a contractor job to a permanent job. Looking forward to being back in the Harvard system.

Go New Orleans Saints!

Go, Saints, tomorrow. I'm nervous about the game: they're so close to the Super Bowl and a Super Bowl title, but yet they're also so FAR away. Here's hoping. If the Saints weren't in the run, I'd be for Brett Favre and the Vikings.

almost a year

Wow! It's been almost a year since I've posted to this blog. I need to get going with something!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Vatican morons

The Vatican announced that men who go to hell--likely for sins of lust--will have their souls pelted with fire and brimstone, while women's souls will be punished--probably for sins of pride--by being "broken on a wheel."

Thursday, December 18, 2008

University of Southern Mississippi Wind Ensemble concert: April 11, 1987

Thursday, December 11, 2008

home on Google Maps

View Larger Map

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Hollywood studio logos

You see these opening logos every time you go to the movies, but have you ever wondered who is the boy on the moon in the DreamWorks logo? Or which mountain inspired the Paramount logo? Or who was the Columbia Torch Lady? Let's find out:

1. DreamWorks SKG: Boy on the Moon

In 1994, director Steven Spielberg, Disney studio chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg, and record producer David Geffen (yes, they make the initial SKG on the bottom of the logo) got together to found a new studio called DreamWorks.

Spielberg wanted the logo for DreamWorks to be reminiscent of Hollywood's golden age. The logo was to be a computer generated image of a man on the moon, fishing, but Visual Effects Supervisor Dennis Muren of Industrial Light and Magic, who has worked on many of Spielberg's films, suggested that a hand-painted logo might look better. Muren asked his friend, artist Robert Hunt to paint it.

Hunt also sent along an alternative version of the logo, which included a young boy on a crescent moon, fishing. Spielberg liked this version better, and the rest is history. Oh, and that boy? It was Hunt's son, William.

The DreamWorks logo that you see in the movies was made at ILM from paintings by Robert Hunt, in collaboration with Kaleidoscope Films (designers of the original storyboards), Dave Carson (director), and Clint Goldman (producer) at ILM.

Photo courtesy of Robert Hunt - Thanks for the neat story, Robert!

2. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM): Leo The Lion

In 1924, studio publicist Howard Dietz designed the "Leo The Lion" logo for Samuel Goldwyn's Goldwyn Picture Corporation. He based it on the athletic team of his alma mater Columbia University, the Lions. When Goldwyn Pictures merged with Metro Pictures Corporation and Louis B. Mayer Pictures, the newly formed MGM retained the logo.

Since then, there have been five lions playing the role of "Leo The Lion". The first was Slats, who graced the openings of MGM's silent films from 1924 to 1928. The next lion, Jackie, was the first MGM lion whose roar was heard by the audience. Though the movies were silent, Jackie's famous growl-roar-growl sequence was played over the phonograph as the logo appeared on screen. He was also the first lion to appear in Technicolor in 1932.

The third lion and probably most famous was Tanner (though at the time Jackie was still used concurrently for MGM's black and white films). After a brief use of an unnamed (and very mane-y) fourth lion, MGM settled on Leo, which the studio has used since 1957.

The company motto "Ars Gratia Artis" means "Art for Art's Sake."

Sources: MGM Media Center | Wikipedia entry on "Leo The Lion"

3. 20th Century Fox: The Searchlight Logo

In 1935, Twentieth Century Pictures and Fox Film Company (back then mainly a theater-chain company) merged to create Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation (they later dropped the hyphen).

The original Twentieth Century Pictures logo was created in 1933 by famed landscape artist Emil Kosa, Jr. After the merger, Kosa simply replaced "Pictures, Inc." with "Fox" to make the current logo. Besides this logo, Kosa was also famous for his matte painting of the Statue of Liberty ruin at the end of the Planet of the Apes (1968) movie, and others.

Perhaps just as famous as the logo is the "20th Century Fanfare", composed by Alfred Newman, then musical director for United Artists.

4. Paramount: The Majestic Mountain

Paramount Pictures Corporation was founded in 1912 as Famous Players Film Company by Adolph Zukor, and the theater moguls the Frohman brothers, Daniel and Charles.

The Paramount "Majestic Mountain" logo was first drawn as a doodle by W.W. Hodkinson during a meeting with Zukor, based on the Ben Lomond Mountain from his childhood in Utah (the live action logo made later is probably Peru's Artesonraju). It is the oldest surviving Hollywood film logo.

The original logo has 24 stars, which symbolized Paramount's then 24 contracted movie stars (it's now 22 stars, though no one could tell me why they reduced the number of stars). The original matte painting has also been replaced with a computer generated mountain and stars.

Paramount logo history, for more details, see: CLG Wiki

5. Warner Bros.: The WB Shield

Warner Bros. (yes, that's legally "Bros." not "Brothers") was founded by four Jewish brothers who emigrated from Poland: Harry, Albert, Sam, and Jack Warner. Actually, those aren't the names that they were born with. Harry was born "Hirsz," Albert was "Aaron," Sam was "Szmul," and Jack was "Itzhak." Their original surname is also unknown - some people said that it is "Wonsal," "Wonskolaser" or even Eichelbaum, before it was changed to "Warner." (Sources: Doug Sinclair | Tody Nudo's Hollywood Legends)

In the beginning, Warner Bros. had trouble attracting top talents. In 1925, at the urging of Sam, Warner Bros. made the first feature-length "talking pictures" (When he heard of Sam's idea, Harry famously said "Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?"). That got the ball rolling for the studio and made Warner Bros. famous.

The Warner Bros. logo, the WB Shield, has actually gone many revisions. Jason Jones and Matt Williams of CLG Wiki have the details:

Warner Bros. Logo History - see the full details at CLG Wiki

If you're interested in WB cartoons, you can't go wrong with Dave Mackey's Field guide: Link

6. Columbia Pictures: The Torch Lady

Columbia Pictures was founded in 1919 by the brothers Harry and Jack Cohn, and Joe Brandt as Cohn-Brandt-Cohn Film Sales. Many of the studio's early productions were low-budget affairs, so it got nicknamed "Corned Beef and Cabbage." In 1924, the brothers Cohn bought out Brandt and renamed their studio Columbia Pictures Corporation in effort to improve its image.

Vintage Columbia Pictures Logo (Source: Reel Classics)

The studio's logo is Columbia, the female personification of America. It was designed in 1924 and the identity of the "Torch Lady" model was never conclusively determined (though more than a dozen women had claimed to be "it.")

In her 1962 autobiography, Bette Davis claimed that Claudia Dell was the model, whereas in 1987 People Magazine named model and Columbia bit-actress Amelia Batchler as the girl. In 2001, the Chicago Sun-Times named a local woman who worked as an extra at Columbia named Jane Bartholomew as the model. Given how the logo has changed over the years, it may just be that all three were right! (Source)

The current Torch Lady logo was designed in 1993 by Michael J. Deas, who was commissioned by Sony Pictures Entertainment to return the lady to her "classic" look.

Though people thought that actress Annette Bening was the model, it was actually a Louisiana homemaker and muralist named Jenny Joseph that modeled the Torch Lady for Deas. Rather than use her face, however, Deas drew a composite face made from several computer-generated features (Source: Roger Ebert, Photo: Kathy Anderson)

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

"Top Gear Ground Force": part 4

"Top Gear Ground Force": part 3

"Top Gear Ground Force": part 2

"Top Gear Ground Force": part 1

Saturday, November 22, 2008

"Sweet Georgia Brown" tractor

pistol shrimp

Friday, November 21, 2008

rollerblading bottle musician

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

a cat and his fun boxes

cat n box

sheep from Hell

Sheep From Hell

Posted using ShareThis

a real ninja turtle

Real Ninja Turtle

Posted using ShareThis

spiders on drugs and alcohol

Effects of Drugs and Alcohol on Spider Webs

Posted using ShareThis

walking table

Did you see this walking table before????

Posted using ShareThis

Monday, November 17, 2008

a turtle in boots

The Turtle Who Wear Boots

Posted using ShareThis

invisible octopus

Invisible Amazing Octopus

Posted using ShareThis

one musician, two pianos

1 Musician 2 Pianos

Posted using ShareThis

odd video clip

Weirdest Clip of All Time

Posted using ShareThis