Welcome back to Surreal Saturday where I serve up the shocking and the weird. Today Facebook’s questionable algorithm showed me videos from Cracked.com. For the uninitiated, Cracked was a comic book dealing in cartoon spoofs and political satire. It competed with its better known rival Mad magazine. In the digital age, it transitioned from cartoons to an online video website. (The demise of the comic form makes me a bit wistful; both magazines raised spoofing to an art form.)
In its usual irreverent way, Cracked.com tackled a subject considered taboo in some cultures but dear to the heart of every child-bearing aged woman everywhere – menstruation. The best way to take the sting out of a topic is to make fun of it, and Cracked.com comes through. And since I love the irreverent, here is the full court press on “Aunt Flo.”
I’m not sure whether everybody has seen Amazon’s Echo. This device connects to an artificial intelligence server named Alexa, a kind of competition for iPhone’s Siri. (I have one.) With the appropriate equipment, Alexa turns lights on and off, wakes you up and puts you to bed, answers questions, and walks the dog. Well, not exactly but that doesn’t mean that Amazon hasn’t been thinking about your four-legged friends. Enter Petlexa – for your pet. What could possibly go wrong?
Enjoy. In the meantime, I’ll enjoy my birthday with a day of lazing followed by culinary overindulgence at a location known only to friends. Ta ta!
Since you couldn’t get enough of Takeo Ischi last week, I found another YouTube video to satisfy your fascination with this chicken yodeler. He even has his own wiki page. Here’s a snippet about this 69 year old wonder:
“Ischi was born and raised in Tokyo, Japan. In high school, he was a loner, but it was during this time that he first heard yodeling on the radio. Following his father, Ischi went to university for mechanical engineering. In his spare time he became engrossed with the zither and the hammered dulcimer, and learned to play these instruments. Using Franzl Lang‘s records, he taught himself to yodel, and began performing on Japanese television. During a six-month period where he studied abroad in Germany, Ischi went to Switzerland, where he sang at a beer hall in Zurich. He soon started earning money from this. From there he sang in front of Lang, his idol, and Lang took him under his wing. He performed on television with Maria Hellwig, and after that became known in German language circles as the “Japanese yodeler.”
Alright then. That was one heck of long pause in scheduled programming. I went to NYC in November to see Richard Armitage in Love, Love, Love and then – fell off the face of the earth. During a strange mixture of after-trip fugue, post-election shock, holiday depression and winter doldrums, a strong reluctance to write. This has been especially problematic since I’m taking a self-publishing course – only with no finished manuscript. Cart before the horse much?
So what caused you to break through today, you ask. Well, today would have been my usual Surreal Saturday and guys and gals, I just had to share my love of the bizarre with you and this video doesn’t disappoint. I saw this Japanese yodeler in a previous video which I can’t find now but he’s back in another surreal but oddly catchy and mesmerizing one. You’re going to love this. Trust me. Watch to the end.
As you may have heard, creepy killer clown sightings have gone viral and caused enough hysteria that even Stephen King, (the author of the ultimate killer clown, Pennywise), has been trying to tamp things down. My friend posted about scary clowns of the political kind so I hoped to show you some scary killer clown videos but they were all much too disturbing. Then I remembered before Pennywise in 1990, clowns were not a scary thing. I grew up with Bozo from Bozo’s Circus televised from 1961 to 1980. Watch a few moments of the 1968 episode. He wasn’t scary, was he?
And let’s not forget the most famous international clown, Ronald McDonald and his strange little nemesis the Hamburglar. Here’s a video from the 1980’s:
Ronald never appealed to me probably because I was too old to enjoy the humor by the time he debuted. But then, I wasn’t into Bozo either. Clowns just weren’t that funny to me. I devoured Pennywise, as I did all of King’s books; it never occurred to me that clowns could be scary. Apparently many people think they are.
Since the fan-sphere has been talking about Hannibal, I thought I’d repost these truly surreal tableau. Definitely not the Barbie you remember!
Blame Didion. She started this on her website. I’ve been searching high and low for something truly surreal, and she gets it in one. Just *had* to Google this. It turns out to be inspired by artist Mariel Clayton. When she photographs Barbie and family, she envisions something a bit…er… different. (Click all the links in all the articles to see the catalog. Some aren’t even gory or kinky.)
This is so macabre and delightfully twisted, I just had to share. I’m having a great time dreaming up theories for the evil deeds.
So I just missed the deadline for yesterday’s post. Ordinarily I write for the next day but this time, I’ve been leaving things until the night of that day’s post. Oddly since retiring, I’ve not fallen into a routine. Before, I fit my life into the limited free available after work. Blogging didn’t pose such a big problem; a three hour post-dinner deadline always loomed. Now with all the time in the world – you’d think I would write reams. That’s not been the case. After 25 years working, it’s hilarious to develop time management problems in retirement. This goes back to an issue I touched on last year. I spent my time always reacting to negative motivation on the job (i.e., work deadlines, micromanaging etc). Now I have to be proactive; all the impetus must come from within. But that’s one of the problems with/recovering from depression – finding the mysterious self-motivation.
Then I wonder about other people with illnesses who seem to have no problem in the respect. People like Stephen Fry who acts, produces, lectures, hosts, blogs, geeks, writes, advocates and seemingly has his fingers in every UK entertainment pie despite being bi-polar. Closer to home, The Bloggess, Jenny Lawson writes books and a hilarious bawdy off-kilter blog even with depressive and anxiety disorders. Both of these people manage to regiment their time quite well. Are they juggling many balls to stay ahead of their illnesses, or is The Secret keeping busy and productive with many things.
Maybe I’m suffering from too much time on my hands.
Since you made it this far, here’s a treat – a man who doesn’t have enough time on his hands. I’d love to ask him about time management.
Weathering a bit of post-NaNoWriMo and pre-holiday blues, so I’ve returned to blogging on orders of Dr. G. Write, she said. Wrote it on her pad and everything. So, here am I writing. I think.
Anyway, I finally saw Desolation of SmOUg by accident, by that I mean my nose caught a whiff of fresh popcorn as I walked by the building and led me in. Hey, I’m dieting so my sense of smell is very acute. A review will follow next week, so all I will say is that I enjoyed it.
I caught the Ed Sheeran’s I See Fire a few months ago when Peter Jackson posted it on YouTube. Naturally, artists are doing covers of the song. The following one, by Peter Hollens, has been my favorite. Actually prefer it to the original.
I’m a few weeks late but at least it’s the same month. Felicia Day, actress and resident internet geek, actually shows off her violin virtuoso skills with the US national anthem, Star Spangled Banner. Written by Francis Scott Key during the War of 1812, it’s essentially a war song that’s also hard to sing. Why Congress decided to make it the country’s national anthem in 1931 escapes me. Day puts her special kitschy spin on it to make the wretched piece bearable.
Now here is a tune that ought to be the national anthem, America, the Beautiful. Our pal Wiki says the the music, borrowed from a hymn, and the lyrics evolved to be first published in 1910. The self-explanatory title is more befitting a rousing, positive, patriotic song than a tune about rockets, bullets and war. This is my favorite version, by the legendary Ray Charles.
After 10 days of a hormonally induced nosedive, nightmares, and creative paralysis, the grip breaks finally and I dream of moving to London. I don’t enter a lovely row house in a leafy green village of my fantasy. Instead in a chain of four consecutive dreams, I dream of the moving process in linear time. Bright and early on a sunny morning I indicate to shadowy movers what furniture to take from my parents’ old house and from my condo-but-not-my-condo. In a blink, we shift to the London car park of my new home. We realize Something Has Been Stolen, but not a car because I don’t drive. I need to call the police. Meanwhile, my relative-but-not-my-relative commandeers the process and they bustle quickly, eventually getting away from me. I am angry to lose control. They have my keys and I’ve never seen my new place. Suddenly, I am there in my new bustling mid-rise, The Ritz (but not that Ritz), moving determinedly up four flights and across a short passage until I reach a silver matte door, unit 1617A in bold embossed numbers. I push open the door, and there is my relative-but-not-relative arranging my furniture before an empty stone fireplace. I note to light the fire and admire in the foyer the funky retro silver wallpaper with a black and white trellis of vines.
Then I’m pulled away to a hotel room in the building, to a mystery of Twilight Zone proportions that must be solved as night falls. The Doctor is nowhere in sight. Suddenly it’s morning. My shadowy movers and I hug, having Saved the World. We decide to play a game on ice that’s not hockey. I sit it out because I don’t skate. The not-hockey-puck flies and knocks a spectator out cold. Woops.
I’m out holidaying with my chums. We had dim sum in Chinatown, geeked out at Best Buy and will head to the Chicago Shakespeare Company to see Dicken’s Women with Miriam Margolyes. So, enjoy one of my favorite perverse holiday songs, Grandma Got Run Over by A Reindeer by Elmo and Patsy. Why perverse? Well, just listen.
I’m still pondering my review of The Hobbit and Richard Armitage’s performance, but first had to check that asylum invitations in Europe were still good. They are. Whew. So, I shall tread foolishly on. Erm, here, have a picture.
Richard Armitage gets his black on. Courtesy of Helsingin Sanomat
Yes, there’s nothing surreal about this post, but RA obliged a Finnish interviewer by singing a few bars of Lonely Mountain, a miracle in itself. It’s the only time we’ve actually heard him singing literally a capella. You get a better sense on the timber of his voice. Here is the full interview including James Nesbitt an Aidan Turner.
See what I do for you people?
“That’s first thing in the morning, with a hangover.”
Well, I’ve been dropping balls, so to speak, but I’m determined to pick up blogging again. The transition has been a bit bumpy, so my juggling a bit atrocious right now. Concentration goes well, but the persistence and pace – not so much. Baby steps.
Today’s post is not so much surreal, as surreally beautiful. ArmitageWorld has been all aflutter this week over the new Hobbit trailer and more peeks at RA as Thorin. Instead of throwing in my very snarky 3 cents worth, I will be uncharacteristically nice and offer up this gorgeous digital painting by ThreshTheSky. Done completely in Photoshop, it arrested my attention. ThreshTheSky has quite a talent. Check out her gallery.
Since a friend of mine likes Enya, I decided to showcase one of her first “breakthrough” global hits recorded in 1988. According to my pal Wiki, “”Orinoco Flow” peaked at #1 in several countries, including the United Kingdom, where it stayed at the top of the music charts for three weeks. In the US, the song peaked at #24 in early 1989. The song was also highly popular in the early 1990s and was featured on many pop music compilations.”