Thursday, December 30, 2010

Weekend Assignment: The Gift That Keeps On Living

Ack! I got sidetracked and missed my own Weekend Assignment deadline!

This week's Assignment is short and seasonal--again!

Weekend Assignment # 350: Best. Gift. Ever.
What is the best gift you've ever gotten from anyone?

Extra Credit: To the best of your recollection, what is the best gift you ever gave someone else?
I'm tempted to say the Chinon SLR I got for my birthday in 1986, but the real answer is this:

As I said at the time: Could be my Best Birthday Present Ever!

which led to this:

Pepper, the day we got her. We were calling her Newdog.

We had to bathe her twice in two days - the second time after
she dug her way out of the back yard!

Pepper is much harder to photograph these days. Whenever I turn on the camera she turns away! But that doesn't stop her from being a great dog and a great gift.

My best gift ever given, I was hoping, would be the one I was putting together for my brother Steve for Christmas this year. John and I have put many hours into putting it together, but we can't quite seem to get it right. It's meant to be a book, or at least a pdf file, if we can ever get the pages to appear in order with no duplications or superseded versions. The title page reads,

The Ruth Anne Johnson Songbook
Version 2.2
Songs and parodies by Dr. Ruth Anne Johnson Funk
Sheet music scanned by John Blocher
Lyrics transcribed from sheet music or memory by Karen Funk Blocher

Yes, it's a serious attempt to scan every page of surviving sheet music my Mom ever wrote, along with my transcriptions of many of her song lyrics. I've been carrying at least half a dozen of her songs in my head for forty years, more or less intact, with more fragmentary memories of her other efforts. Most of them were first performed in musical revues she wrote in the 1960s, and a one woman show she co-wrote for local stage star Bea Solomon in the early 1970s. An astonishing 20 songs of Mom's, some with original music, others with mom's lyrics set to Chopin and other composers, appeared in her show DeManleyville USA (1964) and its update, DeManleyville '65.

Obviously it was all a long time ago, and the people who performed those songs would be in their seventies or eighties by now, those who are still alive at all. I don't know if any of them would remember or care about The Ending of Desire or Come Back, G.E., or any of my mom's music from her Limestone Theater and Syracuse Little Theater days. But I care, and I know Steve cares. Now he will have everything I have in my mom's old notebooks, digitized and darkened and with some of the yellowing removed from the pages. She wrote mostly in pencil on staff paper, so it's important to get legible files out of them before the originals deteriorate any further.

Now if we can just get those pages in order on the PDF, I can get it sent off to Steve. By mail, that is. The last version of the pdf was 130 MB, and Steve's still on dial-up!


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Weekend Assignment # 349: So Not a Party Girl

For Weekend Assignment # 349: Party Hardy or Party Hardly? I asked,

Weekend Assignment # 349: Party Hardy or Party Hardly?
This is the time of year for office parties, family reunions, New Year's Eve parties and holiday parties in general. Are you a party animal or a party avoider? Do you go to parties because you want to, or out of obligation, or not at all?

Extra Credit: How many parties are you likely to attend between now and New Year's Day?

Let's see - what was the last party I attended? It was a friend's birthday party in September 2009. That one was bearable, even fun, because several of the people attending were friends from the old Doctor Who club whom I hadn't seen in years. Also it was in a beautiful setting in the Tucson Mountains foothills, and well organized with a fun Disney theme. I venture to say it was the most enjoyable party for me since the Doctor Who club disintegrated a decade ago.

Most parties are not like that, I suspect. The last few parties I attended before that were a few food-at-work deals in the accounting department at Beaudry RV, at which I was acutely uncomfortable. I didn't really know any of those people, even after working with them for several months, and they certainly didn't know me. (They also totally failed to wish me a happy birthday, despite the existence of a "next birthday" whiteboard, from which I'd been erased, and a policy for keeping track of such things.)

The last party I attended before that was the Casino Night held by First Magnus in June, 2007, almost exactly two months before the company folded. I dressed up, with someone I sort-of-knew, played games that didn't interest me and took pictures. In retrospect I should have guessed from the chintziness of the prizes that the glory days were over for the company. I came home with a Barnes and Noble gift card for I think $25. But even that was better than the Christmas party in 2006, which I left early. (That's the party at which people are dancing in the photo at the top of this entry.) There was no seat at the table with people I knew, my attempt at nice clothing and makeup was a disaster, and I felt ill until the moment I got back to my car.

You see the pattern, of course. Except for my friend's surprise birthday party, all the parties I've attended in the past decade have been basically obligatory parties thrown by employers. And I pretty much hated them all. For me to enjoy a party, it pretty much has to have a small guest list, consisting largely of friends whose interests are similar to mine. It also helps is there is no alcohol or dancing. We had something like that in the 1990s. They were called UWoT meetings. I miss them.

Yeah, big party girl, me. I don't drink, I don't like socializing with strangers and near-strangers, and mostly I don't see the point of parties. The only exception is small get-togethers with people I know well, and can talk with on subjects of genuine mutual interest. The closest I get to that these days is at Coffee Hour or the occasional Pot Luck at my church - and no, I don't count those as parties. Total number of parties attended by Karen Blocher in 2010, year to date or prospectively, equals zero.

However, if five or six of the old Whovians crowd call me up tomorrow and invite me to New Year's Eve at some local restaurant, I won't say no!


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Round Robin Challenge: Signs and Symbols

For this week's Round Robin Photo Challenge, Symbols, as suggested by Ruth of  Scrabblequeen, I initially thought of religious symbolism. Here's just one example:

Deacon Michael Meyers lights the Advent Wreath

In the Roman Catholic and Episcopal churches (at least), the four week "season" leading up to Christmas is known as Advent, symbolized by the Advent wreath. Unlike the wreath on your door (or my alcove wall) at Christmas, it hangs horizontally. On Sundays it is lowered so that a priest, deacon or subdeacon can light one or more of the four candles on top of the wreath, one for each week. (One candle is lit the first week, two the second, and so on.) Three of the candles are purple, but one is rose colored.

Each part of the Advent wreath has its own symbolic meaning. The wreath itself, like most Christmas wreaths, is made of evergreen branches, symbolizing eternal life, since evergreen needles don't die with the autumn leaves. An advent wreath, again like many Christmas wreaths, may have red holly berries, symbolizing the blood of Christ. The candles represent the four weeks of Advent, a time to repent (literally to "think again") in preparation for Christmas. As more candles are lit, the Light of the World draws closer. The violet color of the three candles is the color of penitence. The rose candle, lit on the third Sunday (Gaudete Sunday, "Gaudete" being the Latin word for "rejoice"), symbolizes an element of rejoicing in the midst of our preparation.

And now you know more than you ever wanted to know about Advent wreaths, right?

The other symbols I thought of were the pictographic and color-based symbols of traffic signs - the red that means stop and green that means go (Starman thought that yellow meant "go very fast"), and most especially the shapes we recognize as meaning "Walk"...

...and "Don't Walk"...

...and similar symbols meaning "Pedestrian Crossing" and so on. Such symbols are a big factor in making the streets safer, because we can read the symbols faster than the words they represent. But photographically, they're kind of boring, aren't they? Let's move on to a street sign that symbolizes much more than is printed on it. Here it is:

John bought this retired road sign from US Route 66 in Oklahoma, as I recall, on our big trip up and down the country (plus a bit of Canada) in 1986. We had been watching the 1960-1964 tv series Route 66 on Nick at Nite, and I was going to write a book about both the tv show and the road that inspired it. But U.S. 66 had been decommissioned by the Federal government, on the theory that it had been superseded by the Interstate Highway System and was consequently no longer needed. Towns and cities unlucky enough to be on Route 66 but without an exit off I-10, I-40 or any other Interstate, were bypassed and struggled to survive. A truck stop owner in New Mexico told me that each year, more towns fell off the Rand McNally road maps as their populations fell below the threshold for inclusion.

(Okay, so I only took two or three of these photos. But I did the editing!)

So what does a Route 66 sign symbolize? It's a symbol of the Open Road, the two-lane blacktop that could take you "more than two thousand miles all the way," or to the next adventure, like the adventures of Tod and Buz, on some obscure piece of classic American real estate. It symbolizes Roadside Americana, like the Buffalo Ranch and motels made from metal teepees. It symbolizes the call of the West, the Mother Road that the Joad family followed from the Dust Bowl to California. It represents that trip we took in 1986, the only time in our adult lives when we had no obligation to hold down a job and pay the rent or the mortgage.

End of the Road: the unedited version from 1986.

Most of all, it represents a time gone by, a time that was already starting to fade away as writer Stirling Silliphant drove around the country and wrote about the adventures of two guys and a car, and Martin Milner, George Maharis and (later) Glenn Corbett filmed those adventures on location. When we drove the old route in 1986, it was a patchwork of state routes called 66, which had a tendency to dead-end with little or no warning. The most memorable case was when it petered out at a cemetery, at which a cow was grazing. We thought that was a perfect symbol of Route 66 as it existed by then: quirky, picturesque, and dead, but with life still hanging on where it had been.

More on Route 66: there is an Historic Route 66 designation now, but back when we were driving it there wasn't. The signs for it are sporadic, and it's basically a collection of state routes where the original highway was. The highway itself did not have a completely stable route over its long history, and is not only about 85% drivable. The good news is that interest in Route 66, with an historic preservation society, travel guides and so on, have saved some businesses from the brink of extinction. More info here:

National Historic Route 66 Federation
Wikipedia entry

Now let's see what other symbols the Robins have found to show us!

Linking List
as of Saturday, December 18th at 8:35 PM

Ruth - Posted!
The Scrabblequeen Knits, Too

Karen - Posted!
Outpost Mâvarin

Jama - Posted!
Sweet Memories

Monica - Posted!
Shutterly Happy

Linda - Posted!
Mommy's Treasures

gMarie - **Welcome, new participant!**

Halie - **Welcome, new participant!**
My Memoirs

Krista - Posted!
Through the Eye of my Camera

Gattina - Posted!
Keyhole Pictures

Manang Kim - Posted!
My Photography in Focus

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Weekend Assignment # 348: Influences

Watching tributes to John Lennon last week was my inspiration the the latest Assignment:

Weekend Assignment # 348: Trendsetters

Musicians, writers and other artists frequently have an impact on their fans that goes beyond simple enjoyment of their work. Many rock stars have had an influence on fashion or politics or both, and fictional characters sometimes inspire real people in their opinions and career choices. [I'm not going to try to prove these assertions here; just go with them, okay?] Has an artist or artistic work ever inspired you to do or believe something that might never have occurred to you otherwise?

Extra Credit: Do you think it's appropriate for artists to be political activists? Does such activism have a positive or negative impact on your respect for that artist?
I would say that I was subject to such influences when I was younger. When I was in fourth grade, I used the word "ain't" for a week while reading The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and started an essay with an  ungrammatical sentence meant to follow the language of teen magazines and my favorite tv program: "My favorite show is The Monkees, because us groovy kids gotta have some groovy show to watch!" My fourth grade teacher wisely responded, "Karen, I'm surprised at you!"

Harlan and the hat
Harlan Ellison at the Clarion Writer's Workshop 1977
photo by Mike Orgill

But that's art influencing me, not the celebrities themselves. How about this, then? I used to stare out the window, hoping to see the Monkeemobile randomly fulfilling the theme song promise, "We may-a-come-a-to your town!" In high school, I started to move away from my mom's middle of the road politics as I read the work of Harlan Ellison. My first letter to Harlan began, "I used to be a Democrat for Nixon," and went on to credit him for my political education. In college, I applied to a writer's workshop Harlan had written about and taught at, and would be teaching at again that summer. He and Peter S. Beagle, also teaching that year, were the main reasons I applied. As some of you know, that workshop was where I met my future husband, and was encouraged by Harlan to "go after him, girl!" I did, and we've been married for 31 1/2 years so far. Celebrity influences don't get much more consequential than that!

I've been involved in fan clubs for three different favorite shows over the years, and met most of my friends that way. Once in the 1990s, I deliberately had a hairdresser whiten a lock of my hair before a Quantum Leap convention, in homage to the white streak in Scott Bakula's hair. That lock is still grey, fifteen years later, while the rest of my hair is still mostly brown. Oops! But I don't really mind. I am 53 years old, after all.

One more, very positive influence: after more than a decade of religious indecision, almost agnosticism, I decided to give the Episcopal Church a try, largely because Madeleine L'Engle was Episcopalian and it sounded like a good fit for a lapsed Catholic. You know how that worked out. I mention St. Michael and All Angels often enough around here, so I won't bother to go into detail again tonight. But I have my favorite writer to thank for what is now a major part of my life, beyond the actual religious consequences.

As for celebrities and politics, I don't think I've been particularly impressed since Harlan in the mid-1970s. It's absolutely fine with me if a rock star or an actor speaks out on a cause or for or against a candidate. The caveat is that celebrity does not confer wisdom. There's no particular reason to follow their lead except on the merits.

I had a great, simple idea for the next Weekend Assignment as we lurch toward Christmas. Now if I can just remember what it was...oh, yes! More on that Thursday evening.


See also:
Harlan Ellison, Matchmaker
Blame it on Tiger Beat

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Thirty Years Later, John Lennon Is Still Dead - But His Music Isn't

foollenn2I'm old enough to remember where I was then I heard John Lennon had died. For that matter, I'm old enough to remember the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show in the summer of 1964. I've been cruising YouTube and Google tonight for appropriate clips and tributes, and it occurs to me I should get something posted here before this 30th anniversary of his death passes.

Husband John's best friend from college (CGI wizard John Berton) called that night (the 8th) and said, "Lennon's been shot."

I couldn't believe it. "Is he all right?"

"He's dead."

It was a shock. I had been a Beatles fan most of my life, had done a report on them in high school, and had bought all of their LPs (except for Revolver, which I already owned) during high school and college. John had not only their commercial albums, but a number of bootlegs of their demos and studio sessions. We even had a large Beatles mirror hanging on our living room wall.

But Lennon was dead, and I was the co-owner/manager of a tiny Rock memorabilia store, Rockarama in Columbus Ohio. I had to do something in response to this horrific and life-changing event. Five years ago, I wrote about what happened next in my life, as a direct result of John Lennon's death:

Memories of December 9th
(reprinted from a post 5 years ago

On December 9th, 1980, I went to work as usual; but it was decidedly not an ordinary day.

My job at the time, such as it was, was as co-owner, manager and sole employee of Shirt Off My Back / Rockarama. The first part of the name was the original business, started by Kal and Larry in 1979. Yes, it was a used T-shirt shop. Kal and Larry also did computer portraits (primitive dot matrix portraits printed on cloth banners) at Lazarus and elsewhere on a seasonal basis.

I made about half of the buttons shown here.

We were next door to Mole's Used Records, so the rock and roll angle worked much better than the used shirts. We bought out Larry, and started carrying new rock T-shirts, posters, stickers, patches and buttons. I designed and made some of the buttons myself, while others came from suppliers in New York and London. Before we moved to a larger storefront, the place was crammed so full of all of these things, plus 45s and vintage rock collectibles, that our slogan was "A Lot of Stuff in a Tiny Room!"

John Lennon had spent half of the 1970s out of the public eye and away from recording studios, instead playing househusband to Yoko and father to little Sean. He was expected to reemerge around his birthday (and Sean's) in October, 1980. This was the meaning (or, at least, a meaning) of some buttons we had for sale, that simply said "Where's Lennon?" But John had recently relaunched his career on schedule, with the Double Fantasy LP and the hit single (Just Like) Starting Over. We knew where Lennon was, so those particular buttons were no longer topical as of early December 1980.

But the morning of December 9th, those buttons seemed to have a new and sadder meaning. People started coming in, looking for something to wear in memorial to him, and leaving with that button. So I used press-on lettering to design a new button: just the name John Lennon in white on a black background. I made about 75 or 100 of them, and gave them away. It didn't seem right to profit by his death.

Just a few weeks before that, I'd had a conversation with someone about every major rock band having at least one dead member. I figured at the time that the Beatles were "pre-disastered" (a Garp reference), because they'd met their dead member quota with Stu Sutcliffe, back in 1962. The rest of the Beatles weren't drug addicts (not anymore), and weren't likely to die of a brain hemorrhage (as Stu did), so they ought to be pretty safe. But it turned out I was wrong about that one.

Two other things happened at Rockarama on or about December 9th. One was a run-in with a couple of loud-mouthed college boys, who tried to get a rise out of me by saying they were glad John Lennon was dead. I kept my temper, and asked them to leave my store. They declined to leave on demand, but soon wandered off when I failed to entertain them further.

I wrote the cover story for this.

The other was a phone call with Toni from Relix, wholesale purveyors of rock buttons, Grateful Dead collectibles, and Relix Magazine. Toni told me she didn't have anyone to write a Lennon tribute for the next issue of Relix, which was going to press almost immediately. I offered to write it for her, and have it ready the next day. That little article was my first professional sale as a writer. I got paid $35.00 for it, and was glad to get it.

I remember other things from that tiny room, such as Mark Eitzel writing in his songs and poetry notebook in my store, back when his stage name was Billy Lee Buckeye. I remember that early on, I was so ignorant about 1970s rock that I didn't know Led Zeppelin was popular. I remember buying someone's vintage Beatles collection for about $75, including 1964 drinking glasses and bobbing head dolls. I didn't mean to cheat the guy; I just didn't realize the items were old, because they were in such great condition (and because a lot of the old stuff had been pirated in the 1970s). And I remember selling lots and lots of Pat Benatar posters, and buttons of Pink Floyd's The Wall.

Groovy times, man.

Rockarama moved onto 13th Ave. in 1981, and shut down in 1982. It never paid me more than lunch money and the occasional record or collectible. It didn't really break even, most of the time. We supported it by taking selected stock to record shows on weekends. Eventually I had to go get a real job. But heck, it was fun while it lasted. I have no regrets. Well, almost no regrets. Not about Rockarama itself.


That terrible, awful night still echoes across the intervening decades, like the final chord in A Day in the Life. It silenced John Lennon, ending a period of musical creativity shortly after it began, with no possibility of more brand new music to come. The much longed-for Beatles reunion happened only in the form of a posthumous collaboration, with Lennon's old bandmates adding on to a couple of his old demo recordings.

Amazingly and rather wonderfully, however, the musical legacy of John Lennon and the Beatles continues, even without John Lennon sitting at his piano or guitar. My husband published a handful of books about the Beatles in the late 1980s, written by the pseudonymous L R E King. The books were an attempt to catalog all the Beatle-related demos, live recordings, studio sessions, remixes and "outfakes" (recordings marketed by bootleggers as something they weren't) that had surfaced illegally. Much of the best material was later released legally, on The Beatles Anthology, Live at the BBC and so on. Nowadays, much of the information King worked so hard on is really available online. There is even sort-of-new material in the form of the Love album, plus gray market remixes and tributes.

And the Internet is such that tonight I've watched a 1966 video of Paperback Writer/Rain, which I probably first saw the night it aired on The Ed Sullivan Show. I've watched a 2007 live clip of a Beatles tribute band perform Hold My Hand, the Rutles song from 1978, which parodied the Beatles' appearance on Ed Sullivan in 1964. I've read parts of a 1980 interview with Lennon that Rolling Stone just got around to publishing. All these years later, Lennon's legacy is as vital as ever.


Weekend Assignment # 347: The Cars

For Weekend Assignment # 347: Car Crazy, I asked,

Weekend Assignment # 347: Car Crazy
Some people are car connoisseurs, able to discuss the finer points of 1960 Corvette engines, find or build replacement Model T parts, or argue the merits of the latest high-end Italian sports car. (Okay, maybe it's not the same person in each of these scenarios, but you get the idea.) Other people know a lot about their own beloved car and its automotive brethren, but not much about other cars. Still others are mostly just concerned whether their car still gets them to work and back safely. How about you? Do you pay attention to automotive trends, or quickly identify the unusual car sitting next to you at the light? What is the extent of your knowledge and interest in cars?

Extra Credit: If a long lost rich uncle insisted on buying you any car you wanted, as long as you promised to keep it and drive it around, what kind would you get?

I guess you could say I've never been more than vaguely interesting in cars, beyond their functional value as something to get around in, either across town or across the country (or some portion thereof). In kindergarten, I asked a classmate whether her parents' new car was "a Ford of a Rambler," because those were the kinds of cars my parents had, and I didn't know any others existed. When my brother, circa 1965-1966, was pointing out every "Bonneville '65" he saw on the street, I wondered what the big deal was. In the 1970s I noticed that it seemed as though half the cars in Syracuse were VW Beetles, but I had no opinion whether this was a good thing or a bad thing. My first car was my mom's old 1967 Dodge Coronet station wagon, which my friend Howard used to tease me about, repeating back my words, "But it's a good car," when I had to hold the choke open with a screwdriver or pencil in order to start the car.

The Eagle

No, I'm not exactly a car connoisseur. Even as an adult, my interest has mostly been in whatever car I happened to own, or whatever car my minimal research told me I should buy next. I inspected an EV1 at a car show in Reid Park once, and was disappointed to learn that it was not available for sale. At all. The car most like it, and sitting next to it in the park that day, was a Saturn, which led to my owning a Saturn a few years later. When I kind of wrecked that car, I got another Saturn. When a kid in a 1965 Ford pickup totaled that one, I got...well, there wasn't another Saturn I could afford on what the insurance paid out, so I bought a 1994 Eagle Vision TSi, a make and model I'd never even heard of. But I got it from the Saturn dealer. I don't regret it. The inside door handles are broken, the plastic panel over the airbag is warped, the radio doesn't work and the leather seat in back is starting to split apart, but, well, "It's a good car." Which is to say, yes, I've put a few thousand dollars into repairs and it still has problems, but at least it runs.

Look! It's an old...umm...!

Still, I do notice neat old cars on the street, and occasionally some unusual new car if it's strangely shaped or exceptionally sporty. I'm probably right more often than not when I identify something as an old Chevy, Cadillac or Model T--well, maybe. And once I got a car dealer to give me a test drive in a Corvette, with the car salesman at the wheel. I also watch Top Gear on BBC America, not because I have an opinion about expensive Italian sports cars, but because the three hosts are amusing, and do crazy challenges involving cars and other vehicles all over the world.

Despite the fact that I love the styling and it's iconic and the guys drove one on the tv show Route 66, I don't think I'd take a Corvette if the proverbial rich uncle offered me one. That goes double for any of the insanely expensive sports cars the guys on Top Gear rhapsodize and argue about. No, I'd probably do what I usually do: look at what's available at the used car lots, research what reviewers, consumers and car sites have to say about each of the available models, and then pick the car that best fits the overlap between my research results and "I like it - it's pretty." In the end, buying a car is pretty much always going to be a negotiation between the sensible part of the brain and the emotional response of "oooh...gimme!"

If the Eagle broke down for good tomorrow and I also got a really good job tomorrow and could afford to replace it, I'd love to get a Chevy Volt. The sensible part of my brain tells me that it's Motor Trend's Car of the Year, which has to count for something, and that it's better for the environment, probably, than an internal combustion car. (It depends on the source of the electricity being poured into it. Maybe I can lash up some solar panels.) The not-so-sensible part of me is aware that it's this year's answer to the long lost EV1, only better, and enjoys the commercials for it on MSNBC, with voiceover by Tim Allen. If that proverbial rich uncle turns up any time soon, I guess I'll go for that.


Saturday, December 04, 2010

Round Robin: What Comes After

It's Round Robin time, and this one was suggested Vicki of Maraca.The topic is "Before and After," and I've chosen three things in their before and after states.

First, and probably least original to this time of year: the turkey:

What's wrong with this picture? I don't mean photographically; just look at the turkey. It's upside down! John said this was my most successful turkey ever, "in terms of the cooking. But it leaves something to be desired in the presentation!" You see, this is my before picture: not before cooking, but before John struggled to get the upside down turkey out of a roasting pan that was barely larger than the bird. Actually, the bird was taller than the pan and lid!

Afterward: Frankenbird! We didn't get it turned right side up for days, until it was half-eaten and in pieces.

Second: my disappearing TARDIS mug. I've had it for 20 years, and hardly ever used it for tea or cocoa. (I hate coffee.) But a friend asked me recently whether I needed one, so I decided to see whether my TARDIS mug was indeed, as I half-remembered, a disappearing TARDIS mug from the KUAT gift closet, and whether it still works after all these years.

After the water boils in the cup and before the resulting tea cools, the TARDIS does disappear, sort of, if you don't look too closely. On a revolving microwave turntable, I can't really see it, but when it's set down on a carton of diet cranberry soda, the mug's pale yellow pattern is evident.

After I've drunk some of the tea but before it cools completely, the top of the mug cools enough for the blue of the TARDIS to begin to materialize again.

After the mug cools to room temperature, it is in its original before-tea state, except that it needs cleaning! The TARDIS has fully rematerialized. It never gets the darker blue of the police box prop, any more than it disappears completely. But it will do!

Third and finally: the Christmas house on Calle Herculo, not far from Calle Mumble.

Before dark: the many decorations are there, but a little dreary in the December sun. The inflatable ones slump on the hard ground.

After dark, it's all quite different. The plastic, air-filled creatures extend their cheerful greetings behind a fence of brightly colored lights...

...and my neighbor's house becomes a fairyland of color, music and Christmas joy.

Now let's check out everyone else's before and afters!

Linking List
as of 12/6/10, 5:26 PM

Karen - Posted!
Outpost Mâvarin

Monica - Posted!
Shutterly Happy

Kat - Posted! (Monday 12/6)
In My Dreams I Can Fly...

Margaret - Posted!
Margaret's Musings

Linda - Posted!
Mommy's Treasures

Jama - Posted!
Sweet Memories

Ruth - Posted!
The ScrabbleQueen Knits, Too

A Hardcore Life

Sandy - Posted!
From the Heart of Texas

ellen b - Posted!
The Happy Wonderer

Manang Kim, USA - Posted!
My Life's Journey in Focus

Krista - Posted!
Through the Eye of my Camera


Friday, December 03, 2010

Craig Ferguson's Musical Doctor Who Primer

In an astonishing but apparently genuine display of incompetence*, CBS (or, more specifically, the producers of The Late Late Show) recently failed to get clearance to use an uptempo recording of the Doctor Who theme in time for host Craig Ferguson to use it in his opening sketch, a silly dance number introducing viewers to the venerable British series. Ferguson and co. performed the piece in rehearsal only to have the music pulled just before air time, leaving the "cold open" a shambles, to the host's obvious displeasure. (His interview with Who star Matt Smith that night wasn't that great, either, but that's neither here nor there.)

It's taken a while, but the canceled sketch has made its way to YouTube. Here it is:

John's comment was, "'Intellect and romance over brute force and cynicism.' That needs to be on a T-shirt."

Works for me!

Hat tip to Julie Barrett for the link.


*It's very possible that the fault lies with whoever holds the rights to that particular recording, not the producers, CBS or BBC Worldwide. Just sayin'.