Friday, April 27, 2007

Six degrees of Dr. Blight and MAL.

Meg H. brought up the character of Dr. Blight in the comments section of my original Captain Planet post, which brought up some extra strange intertextual coincidences on this blog.



Dr. Blight looks like she could be Jem's mother--they both seem to share an affinity for pink clothing and bleach-blonde hair. Prior to my Captain Planet research, I had received a text message from a friend stating that "Meg Ryan's dog looks like her." Less than a week later, Wednesday's episode of Shear Genius involves the recreation of Sally Hershberger's famous "Sally Shag"--known to those of us who are not into hair so much as "the Meg Ryan." As if Miss Ryan could not be a larger part of my life in the past week then she already is, I discover this:

Meg Ryan was the voice of Dr. Blight for the first season of Captain Planet.

And here I thought the only voice work she did was in Anastasia. Man, I'm wrong about an awful lot of Captain Planet-related things, aren't I?

It actually gets to be even more like a multimedia game of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon than three Meg Ryan mentions within a week. Also in my original Captain Planet post, I referenced Tim Curry as the voice of the evil toxic smog cloud in Ferngully: The Last Rainforest. And this will bring us back to Dr. Blight.

Dr. Blight, in her slinky pink catsuit, is a bio-terrorist with a partially burned face (like a sexy version of Two-Face from Batman . . . although the Harvey Dent part of Two-Face is pretty fine in most of his incarnations). She also has a super computer that, much like Synergy on Jem and HAL in 2001, is sentient. Dr. Blight's computer, called MAL, was voiced by Tim Curry for the last few seasons of Captain Planet. (Notably, not when Miss Ryan was lending her voice to Dr. Blight.)

I'm very interested in the idea that Jem and Dr. Blight could somehow be related across the cartoon universe. Especially since, in yet another weird coincidence in the world of voice talent, Kath Soucie, who lends her shady Russian accent to Linka on Captain Planet, was also the voice of Ingrid for about 7 episodes of Jem.

Now if only he'll take us to the Dairy Queen to show off our new Balenciaga bags.

Tim Gunn has a new book out, and I will be rushing to Borders after work today to purchase it and read it while drinking and watching What Not To Wear tonight.

Behold:

There is an arcticle on MSNBC that features some exerpts from the Almighty Tim Gunn's
Guide to Quality, Taste & Style. The kicker for me--which makes me want to run out and buy this immediately--is not Gunn's many suggestions for stream lining a wardrobe and cultivating one's own personal style, but the fact that on page two of this article he compares fashion to the philosophy of Soren Kierkegaard.

Gunn writes:
"For Kierkegaard, a “classic” results when form and content meet in perfect harmony. In our case, the content is the person inside the garment; the form is the garment itself. Some form and content marriages are quite obvious. Examples that come to mind are Paris Hilton and the line Heatherette, or Audrey Hepburn and Givenchy."


Fashion can be an intellectual pursuit, and I think Gunn proves this well by paring his Kierkegaard with Givenchy. Like Audrey Hepburn's character in Funny Face, there is a place in the fashion world for bookish intellectuals.

Thank you, Tim Gunn! Will you be my life coach?

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Gonna take pollution down to zero.

I love Captain Planet. I really do. The girls from WETT and I spend a good deal of time yesterday talking about how early 90s cartoons indoctrinated us into a variety of forms of environmental action, and how that is the current purpose of a film like Happy Feet. (Which also has a lot of other things going on in it that I will not discuss now.) We learned to save the rainforests and not create toxic smog (which would ultimately be voiced by Tim Curry) from Ferngully: The Last Rainforest and those messages were further reinforced by Captain Planet.

Until last night, though, I have been in error about one crucial part of my CP knowledge. I always believe that the coolest part of the show was the fact that the American kid was wheelchair-bound. I thought it was an interesting statement on the political mobility of our country, being somewhat in-stasis in regards to environmental issues. I also recalled that the wheelchair-bound American kid was somewhat cruelly named "Wheeler."

I brought up these facts--my Captain Planet Wheeler facts--last night. And I was met with blank stares.

"Was not the American kid in a wheelchair? And was he not, in fact, named Wheeler?" I ask.

"Are you thinking of the kid from the Burger King Kids Club?" That's the response I get.

Somehow, over the years, I have managed to conflate the image of fully-mobile, American, red-headed "Fire"-power Planeteer Wheeler:

with this auburn-haired, jean jacket-wearing parapalegic kid who is, in fact, very cruelly nicknamed "Wheels:"


I guess this is because I ate Burger King a lot as a kid, or, as Cassie informs me, those BK Kids Club commercials usually ran during Saturday morning cartoons. Thus, it would be really easy for me to conflate the able, fire-producing body of one man associated with wheels to the disabled, burger-ingesting body of another. I checked out the article on Captain Planet and on the Planeteers on Wikipedia today to be certain that, at the very least, my fiery American kid was at least named "Wheeler." He was. So I'm half right.

Frankly, my version of the Wheeler from Captain Planet is a lot more interesting. I guess it does make a lot of sense, though, that a red-headed American boy from Brooklyn (who acquired his power ring in an incident related to a mugging) with a temper would be given the power of fire.

What might be even more interesting, though, is that the real Wheeler, not my imagined Wheeler, doesn't seem to be interested in things with wheels at all. His favorite activity, according to the Captain Planet junkies on Wikipedia, is windsurfing.

Edit as of 8 PM:
I am even more confused as to why someone--even an imaginary unseen cartoon parent--would name their son Wheeler, as Wikipedia seems to indicate that Wheeler's full name is Wheeler Sloane. Now, if those names were reversed and he were Sloane Wheeler I would find that believable, but not given who Planeteer Wheeler actually is. You know, from Brooklyn. Not the Upper East Side.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Bringing the shag back into style.

Another wonderful text message:

"Meg Ryan's dog looks like her."

I wonder if they see the same stylist.

Filthy gorgeous.

Text message of the day:

"I want to lick your mutton chops and grab your love handles" From Marcus.

My response: "Do I have to be in drag for this activity?"

I'm like a chocoholic, but with booze.

According to a new study in the Journal of Food Science and Agriculture, fruity cocktails are now health foods!

Apparently, adding ethanol to berries boosts the antioxidants, meaning that I no longer have to drink booze that contains eggs to consider it a breakfast drink. I can now enjoy strawberry daquiris with my oatmeal and treat them like smoothies! Yay!

Happy hour is now all day long! Yay!

(Also, the link above contains the greatest closing line in the history of wire-service news: "The study did not address whether adding a little cocktail umbrella enhanced the effects.")

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Long live Swarley.

Text message from Marcus, which makes a nice follow-up to my last How I Met Your Mother post:

"I am having a Swarley situation right now at Starbuck's. The guy wrote 'Parkis' on my cup."

It is amazing how often names get misheard. At least, my coworkers state, he wasn't called "Farkis." That would be a lot worse.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

She told you not to use the fog machine while she's on the hippity-hop.

Next to Veronica Mars, this is my favorite non-reality show on television.

Mark Lotto of the Observer does a great job of explaining why you should be watching. So suit up!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

The way to my heart is, in fact, through my stomach.

I fully expected the Food Network awards to go something like this:

Best Half-Assed Cookin': Sandra Lee for "Semi-Homemade"
Best Sweater Potatoes: Giada DeLaurentis for all of her low-cut tops
Best Douchebag: Bobby Flay for "Throwdown with Bobby Flay"
Best Ingestion of Sheep Intestines: Alton Brown for that one episode of "Feasting on Asphalt" where he goes to a Navajo reservation and learns how to grill sheep intestines

But, thus far, is actually way cooler than I thought.

The awards are not for people who work for Food Network. They are actually a celebration of food producers across the country. Awards have been given out to chocolaters, food-preparation inventions, ice cream innovations, etc.

A company called MooBella just won the ice cream innovation, and rightly so. I apparently just missed them when I was in Boston. There is a MooBella machine at Boston University.

Blast.

From this I have also learned that if anyone is ever in a bind for what to get me, you can sign me up for any of these food-delivery/food-of-the-month club services:
Potato Chip of the Month Club
Cheese of the Month Club
Soup of the Month Club
Pizza of the Month Club
Cake of the Month Club
Organic Fruit and Veggie of the Month Club
Potato Sampler of the Month Club
Beer of the Month Club

I'm also way into LobsterGrams, but please don't buy them for me considering I don't eat meat. You'd be better off sending me Chicago-Style Deep Dish Pizza.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Bravo to Shear Genius.

I watched the entire season of Top Design, even though I basically complained about every minute of it. Magen and I just couldn't help watching it. We needed something to fill the void left in our souls by Project Runway and Top Chef. But Top Design just didn't make the cut for us, and I have several reasons why. Nevertheless, we dutifully sat down and watched it on Wednesday night after America's Next Top Model, and we were mildly entertained, as both of the loft spaces created in the final challenge were truly lovely. The episode, though, was still totally boring. But we watched because afterward, we knew we had to check out Shear Genius, the new Bravo Runway-filler, which was making its television debut. Anything is better than Top Design, we thought.

And we were right. Shear Genius is so incredibly entertaining. The cast of stylists are all fantastically absurd, from Tabitha (who literally looks as though she were a cat transformed into a human), the arrogant Frenchman Paul-Jean (who was kind of good looking and unfortunately eliminated), Dr. Bogie (who claims he is straight, but we definitely raised by a pack of drag queens), Evangeline (who is some kind of super quirky Italian-American gypsy), my new gay boyfriend Theodore (who has these beautiful blonde curls and reminds me of a non-singing version of Josh Groban), to Daisy (who is already my pick to win the competition).

The challenges are also good, and they involve a mix of "quickfire"-style challenges that demonstrate haircuts on mannequins, and hairstyling challenges that use actual models. The first challenge was to create a look using craft supplies from Michael's for a hair show. While no one specified that it would be the kind of black hair show demonstrated in one of the first challenges of America's Next Top Model during Cycle 7, that was clearly the idea. The judges wanted to see outrageous, but beautifully styled, hair.

In traditional black hair shows, the hair designs often involve moving parts, and the piece that one the Shear Genius hair show did, in fact, have moving parts and was designed by my new gay boyfriend Theodore:
That box on that girls head? Yeah, it opens when she pulls a cord hidden on the side of her curls. Genius.

Here are some of my other favorites:

What you can't tell from this photo is that she actually has colored balls of twine woven into her hair in the back and it looks AMAZING.
This one was done by Daisy, and themed "The Wedding Day of Marie Antoinette."
The rings of fake hair are wrapped around styrofoam donuts and attached to her real hair.

So, yeah, this show is awesome.

I have some theories, though, about why Top Design sucks so much, and why every other competition-show that Bravo hosts is so amazing.

Theory 1: The end-results on Top Design are too high-end for its consumer audience. And no one wants to watch anything unattainable.

Now, the goal of Project Runway is to create couture clothing pieces, however, the winner used to get a design job at Banana Republic and now gets to design their own line for Macy's I.N.C. This means that Runway is ultimately creating a consumer product that we, the viewers, are invested in seeing the results of.

Top Chef functions in a similar way. While most of us will never eat at the restaurants these chefs cook at (except for Mikey, who cooked at the only nice restaurant in Stockton, CA), we all eat, we all like good food and, in watching the show, we learn how to cook-high end dishes--or at least get an idea of how to do so. We go out and we buy daikon radishes and creme brulee torches and we participate in the food economy to which the show caters. (Pun intended.) We will buy the issue of Food & Wine in which the winning chef is profiled, and we will then have their recipes. In one way or another, the products created on Top Chef get to us.

Shear Genius seems to work on another product-of-consumer/viewer interest scheme. Everyone gets their hair cut. And most Bravo viewers are invested in having stylish haircuts. On this show, we get to see great cuts being created, which we can ultimately find screenshots of to bring to our stylists. We can have our own Shear Genius cut, but outsourced to a different salon.

Top Design doesn't work this way. We're not buying entire rooms, pre-fabricated on a budget of $162,000. We don't buy $8,000 chairs. We don't get to run around the Pacific Design Center and put tags on the things we want for our room and not really have to pay for them because we get to return them later. There is nothing featured on Top Design that we, as viewer/consumers, actually get to go out and buy. We don't partake in the show's economy. That's why all of the TLC home design shows are better, more entertaining, because the average viewer of a home design show is the kind of viewer who wants to staple fabric to their couch to reinvent it, to change a room simply by painting things--essentially, the kind of viewer who likes the Do-It-Yourself mentality.

And that is why Top Design sucks.

Theory #2: Models make everything better.

Project Runway
has models. The show couldn't function without them. Shear Genius has models. The show couldn't function without them. Top Design doesn't have models. It has carpenters. (Granted, the show couldn't function without them, they definitely aren't pretty to look at, even though they all have to wear matching outfits, just like the other two shows.)

But Top Chef doesn't have models, you say. But if you said that, you'd be wrong. The show's host for Season 2, Padma Lakshmi, is not only a cookbook author, but a Bollywood actress and model. I assume that the show did not maintain songster Billy Joel's wife Katie Lee Joel as host after Season 1 is primarily because she is not a model.

Therefore, models make everything better.

Lana Turner was always well turned-out.

I have been lazy/bored/busy/whatever in the past couple of weeks.

As you can see, I only managed to muster up the desire to change the look and title of this place.

I like the new design a lot better; it feels somehow more legible than the last, Edward Gorey-Tim Burton infusion I had. (Which I liked, no doubt, but it wasn't as . . . internety, if that makes any sense.) This incarnation I think has a lot of things going for it. The layout is cleaner, the posts are easier to read, I can actually have an absurdly long title . . . and so on.

Furthermore, I like the lips.

Though I don't do it in the daytime anymore, bold red lips are my signature look. That's who I was in high school, this perfect pin-up goddess, this tiny blonde faux Marilyn/Jane Mansfield/Lana Turner. I can't say I miss the person I was then, because that bitch was crazy, but sometimes I miss doing the pin-up thing, which is probably why I have an account at SuicideGirls.com.

I also like the idea of the lips, bold red lips at that, being a forum for speech, a place where words and utterances are produced.

I find it funny that the lips in this photo have a bit of excess lip gloss running down the side, as well.

Also, red is my favorite color.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The Rainbow Disconnection

I've actually been trying to post this video for weeks, but every time I try, YouTube rejects me. Thus, you have all been disconnected from the rainbow for far, far too long.

As you may already know, I am afraid of Muppets. And you should be, too. But you should also be sad for them, because the following video reveals the truly sad life they lead.

Behold what has become of Kermit in his music video cover of Nine Inch Nails "Hurt." (As I said, I'd post the video directly, but YouTube is being kind of a bitch right now, so this will have to do.)

What I love about it is that it is simultaneously hilarious and terribly sad. I laugh up until the point Kermit sings the line "everyone I know goes away in the end" and the camera cuts to a picture of Kermit and the late Jim Henson.

From this video, I learned that Kermit has a MySpace account (as Sad Kermit), as well as a few other covers available there, such as Radiohead's "Creep." In the insidious Muppet world on MySpace, we learn that Kermit is friends with Count Von Count (go figure), who is in turn friends with none other than my tormentor Bert!

Bert's profile provided me with a couple of interesting revelations:
1. Bert definitely describes himself as a gay male.
2. Bert culturally identifies himself as African American.

I find the second assumption interesting in light of my discovery of the official Sesame St. Sinterklaas story published in Dutch. Does Bert get to be Sinterklaas to deproblematize the highly racial children's tale? Or does he just secretly want to be with another Black Muppet? (Ernie, interestingly, does not list an ethnicity on his MySpace, but claims he likes Latino men.)

All I know if that if either Bert or Ernie ever get tired of each other, they can always catch a little side action with Rolf.