A Lamentable Spectacle of three women

August 22nd, 2011

with a sely infant brasting out of the Mothers Wombe, being first taken out of the fire, and cast in agayne, and so all burned together in the Isle of Garnesey. 1556. Iuly. 18.

A Lamentable Spectacle of three women, with a sely infant brasting out of the Mothers Wombe, being first taken out of the fire, and cast in agayne, and so all burned together in the Isle of Garnesey. 1556. Iuly. 18.

The time then being come, when these three good seruauntes and holy Sayntes of GOD, the Innocent mother with her two daughters shoulde suffer, in the place where they should consummate theyr Martyrdome, were three stakes set vp. At the middle post was the mother, the eldest daughter on the right hande, the youngest on the other. They were first strangled, but the Rope brake before they were dead, and so the poore women fell in the fire. Perrotine, who was then great with childe, did fall on her side, where happened a ruefull sight, not onely to the eyes of all that there stood, but also to the eares of all true harted christians, that shall read this historye: For as the belly of the woman brast a sonder by vehemency of the flame, the Infant being a fayre man childe, fel into the fire, and eftsoones being taken out of the fire by one W. House, was layd vpon the grasse.

Then was the child had to the Prouost, and from him to the Bayliffe, who gaue censure, that it should be caryed backe agayne and cast into the fire. And so the infant Baptised in his own bloud, to fill vp the number of Gods innocent Sayntes, was both borne, and dyed a Martyr, leauing behinde to the world, which it neuer saw, a spectacle wherein the whole world may see the Herodian cruelty of this gracelesse generation of catholicke Tormentors, Ad perpetuam rei infamiam.

- John Foxe's Book of Martyrs


August 20th, 2011

This man is from Indiana:

This man I just saw perform in Indiana:

Oh, Indiana.

Dada Hollywood

August 19th, 2011

Diagonal Symphonie - Hans Richter"For the first Hollywood film Dadaist I have a few suggestions. For instance, I have always thought that the best way to film a famous novel would be to let the audience read it word for word off the screen; at the end of each chapter a list of suitable questions could be asked to see if the audience was getting it. My suggestion for the most worthwhile newsreel would be one that ran for three hours and consisted solely of horse races—the newsreel people could thus see for themselves how alike one horse race is to another and perhaps see so many of them as to get their fill once and for all...

"...My favorite thirty-second movie would open on an idyllic forest glade, with the faithful little boy—played by Roddy McDowall—nuzzling and petting a gentle collie dog, named Lassie; suddenly the dog would turn on Roddy and bite his head off, and the last scene would show Lassie as she was at the start but Roddy would be without a head. And then there would be an Orson Welles movie in which the camera mucked around on a dark stairway for two hours looking for Welles. I'd like to see a movie in which one never saw the faces of the players, and the idea would be that those people in the audience who could identify the actors from their bodies would be given free tickets to next week's show, in which only the legs of the players were shown; whoever could name the actors this time would be given tickets to a final performance where nothing was shown, and those who could name the actors this time would be made lifelong members of those actors' fan clubs."

- Manny Farber, New Republic, April 17, 1944

Heard on NPR

July 27th, 2011

According to Morning Edition, the commander of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center is named Col. Norvell Coots.

Nina Simone switches on Bach

July 26th, 2011

This is not going to help the swimsuit search.

July 18th, 2011

Part of my daily routine is reading the newspaper comics each morning - at least, it used to be. I fell behind at some point and then felt overwhelmed in getting back into it. Finally I've started trying to catch up, reading one month's worth every week. In the process, I've discovered something I feel terribly guilty about - I missed the day when Cathy stopped running. But I've been making up for my failure to commemorate that event in the form of something that would make her guilty - chocolate cake. A year back or so, I purchased a Cathy-shaped cake pan, manufactured in 1983 by Wilton Industries [a company based in my hometown of Woodridge, Illinois!]. On a recent trip to San Francisco, I tested it out with the help of my buds Hannah and Becca:

Cathy cake

Click here for the final picture of the Cake in all its glory.

And now a lumpier, more patriotic Cathy:

Patriotic Cathy

»Howl, ich habe gesprochen«

July 14th, 2011

The trend of turning 19th century literary classics into novelty novels by adding monsters has finally come to Germany. Winnetou, Karl May's bizarre epic of the American West that was the topic of my thesis paper in college, has been lucky enough to be spruced up in a new version by Peter Thannisch:

Winnetou Unter Werwölfen

"The reimagining of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice and Zombies became an international bestseller. Now you can finally experience the most famous and most beloved of German classics anew, for Karl May only told half the truth about the Wild West in his manuscript for Winnetou. Did you know that Old Shatterhand had a weakness for young werewolf girls? Or that Apaches howl at the moon and that pale-faces take refuge from the sunlight in coffins? Where werewolves hold swimming competitions and redskins scalp clueless tourists, so begins the adventure of Winnetou Among Werewolves. The greatest adventure of the Wild West - with an extra portion of werewolves."
[poor translation my own]

Last “Last Friday Night” is a rotten egg

June 28th, 2011

The Heavy Boxes have largely built our meager fan base, if you can call it that, via YouTube. Our filmed performance of Kate Bush’s “Wuthering Heights,” in particular, has circulated around friends, friends of friends, and among a small crowd of primarily British Kate-loving strangers. However, despite even being featured in the Internet’s most popular blog about the Brontë sisters, our videos remain more of a contained rash than a globally viral phenomenon. So back in November, we hatched a plan to see if we could get slightly closer to being web celebs.

Melanie and I were listening to “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)”, second only to the sublime “Teenage Dream” as the best song on Katy Perry's most recent album. It’s once again produced by the unstoppable Dr. Luke, along with his mentor, Max Martin, the man behind all of the boy band and teen princess hits of the late ‘90s. We knew it was just too good to not be released as a single, so looking ahead at the calendar, we predicted it would drop in late May or early June in an attempt to make it the summer jam of 2011. When it did show up on the radio, we were going to be prepared. The Heavy Boxes spent some time in the studio arranging a cover of the song, out-popping Katy Perry by reharmonizing the chords slightly and playing it like a ‘70s-AM-radio-soft-rock hit, along the lines of the Bay City Rollers or Pilot. While the original song's sax solo provided by Tower of Power/SNL's Lenny Pickett is good, we were going to blow it out of the water with the skronkiest free jazz freakout courtesy of one of Stuart's horn player friends. Then, after perfecting it over the next 5 months perfecting it, we’d bring in our film crew to shoot a nice high quality video of us recording it. It was going to be all edited and ready to be uploaded as soon as summer hit so we could piggyback on the inevitable success of Katy Perry’s original.

Then…we got busy. And it never materialized. Just as we expected, Katy’s single came out in early June, and now sits at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 (her previous single, “E.T.”, is directly below it at #5). So here I remain, still wallowing in obscurity, with only you, Dear Reader, to keep me company. Perhaps someday I will upload the demo recording we made of the arrangement, so you can get all misty-eyed the way you do when you see the footage of Josef von Sternberg’s unfinished I, Claudius or Orson Welles’ Don Quixote and ponder what might have been.

In other news, Melanie and I are going to the Katy Perry concert at the Allstate Arena next week! AND IT'S ON A FRIDAY NIGHT!!!! You know what that means...

Teen Pop Pops

June 19th, 2011

I have been a very bad boy in updating this puppy. Sigh. All that changes today! Regular posts! I promise!

As today is Father's Day (oughtn't it be Fathers' Day?), let's start with an early '60s teen pop tribute to dads. Here are two rather unsettling paeans to papa:

Paul Petersen - My Dad

Paul Petersen - My Dad

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Paul Petersen was best known as the one of the two children, along with Shelly Fabares, on The Donna Reed Show. For the third season of the show, the producers forced Petersen and Fabares to record music that would be incorporated into the show. Fabares ended up with a #1 hit with "Johnny Angel," while Petersen released the sublimely ridiculous single "She Can't Find Her Keys." I've slowly been collecting all of Petersen's LPs, including this 1963 Colpix record that includes his biggest hit, "My Dad," a backhanded compliment about loving your father despite his mediocrity.

Marcie Blane

Marcie Blane - Who's Going to Take My Daddy's Place?

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In 1962 Marcie Blane scored a huge success with her first single, the excellent "Bobby's Girl" about her desperate unrequited love for a boy. After that hit, poor Marcie never really got to sing a happy song. Either she was feeling sorry for herself and her loneliness ("Why Can't I Get a Guy"), getting her heart broken ("Little Miss Fool"), feeling scared about her new boyfriend's unwanted sexual advances ("What Does a Girl Do?"), getting taunted by other girls for dating a player ("Told You So"), or discovering her boyfriend has freely offered her up to all his friends ("You Gave My Number to Billy".) Even when she finally gets to date Bobby in "Bobby Did," the followup single to her hit, she is quickly dumped by him! In her 1963 b-side "Who's Going to Take My Daddy's Place", she muses about finding a strong boyfriend to serve the same function as her father in her life: "I need someone to scold me whenever I am bad!" It's sure to make you tap your feet, and sure to make you queasy.

Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!

January 16th, 2011

"After browsing among the stately ruins of Rome, of Baiae, of Pompeii, and after glancing down the long marble ranks of battered and nameless imperial heads that stretch down the corridors of the Vatican, one thing strikes me with a force it never had before: the unsubstantial, unlasting character of fame. Men lived long lives in the olden time, and struggled feverishly through them, toiling like slaves, in oratory, in generalship, or in literature, and then laid them down and died, happy in the possession of an enduring history and a deathless name. Well, twenty little centuries flutter away, and what is left of these things? A crazy inscription on a block of stone, which snuffy antiquaries bother over and tangle up and make nothing out of but a bare name (which they spell wrong)—no history, no tradition, no poetry—nothing that can give it even a passing interest. What may be left of General Grant's great name forty centuries hence? This—in the encyclopedia for A.D. 5868, possibly:

URIAH S. (or Z.) GRAUNT—popular poet of ancient times in the Aztec provinces of the United States of British America. Some authors say flourished about A.D. 742; but the learned Ah-ah Foo-foo states that he was a contemporary of Scharkspyre, the English poet, and flourished about A.D. 1328, some three centuries after the Trojan war instead of before it. He wrote 'Rock Me to Sleep, Mother.'

These thoughts sadden me. I will to bed."

- Mark Twain, The Innocents Abroad

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