Tag Archives: lists

Super Bowl XLVI: The Commercials

First of all, I loved the musical NBC Super Bowl promo involving basically all of NBC singing and dancing to “Brotherhood of Man” from How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. It kind of made my day. Also, having been told by a reader of Bossy Pants that Tina Fey is a fan of musicals; and being myself a lover of musical theater, and also of that one episode of 30 Rock in which Jack Donaghy must work his way back up the corporate ladder from the mail room How to Succeed-style—well, it just brought me that much more joy (as, I hope, as dissecting that run-on sentence brought you).

The epic two-parter Volkswagen spot featuring the overweight dog getting into shape so that he can chase VW’s latest updated Beetle that segued into the Stars Wars cantina where patrons declare that the dog is way funnier than the Vader kid, so Darth Vader chokes one of them.

Which may or may not have reminded you of that Adidas Star Wars commercial from the 2010 World Cup. Things I was not particularly into included David Beckham’s H&M underwear ad, it did not seem fitting. Not as fitting as the Adidas masterpiece of yesteryear.

I was also entertained by the usually-reserved-for-Christmas Coca-Cola polar bears watching the Super Bowl series of spots.

I enjoyed the Drew Brees Chase commercial, largely because I enjoyed when his small child picked pieces of confetti out of the air after the Saints won the Super Bowl.

Now obviously, you are supposed to kind of hate the Ferris Bueller Honda spoof… but it’s hard to not kind of love it also.

I hated the John Stamos Oikos commercial, but I loved that it made me think about when Uncle Jesse tells the story of how he changed his name as a child, but you know that his original name had something to do with having really hot feet.

I was disappointed by every single beer commercial, and this one just made me so sad for the poor dog.

Sometimes I wonder when the Betty White exploitation train is going to end.

I do enjoy the entire world’s agreement that Jay Leno is a life ruiner.

And then my mother completely shocked us all by recognizing Brian Urlacher in the Samsung Galaxy Note musical “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” spot, which also happened to be hilarious.

Waiting in epic lines for a new iPhone is such a waste of life.

And then there was the second—albeit stretched—30 Rock-related commercial. You may recall the Alec Baldwin airplane incident in which the actor caused mayhem by refusing to turn off his cell phone prior to takeoff. Shortly afterwards, Tina Fey appeared on a late night talk show and joked that she and Alec had been in the middle of an intense game of Words With Friends, and that it was all her fault. This is your context for why I finally giggled towards the end of the Best Buy commercial featuring various inventors of crucial elements in our digital world… like the creators of Words With Friends being told to turn their phones off on a plane.

It’s not a huge winner, but I enjoyed the Words With Friends bit.


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Golden Globes Round-up 2012: Who Loved Ricky Gervais’s Maroon Tux…

List style. Blam! Go.

Top Moments in [Roughly] Chronological Order (because why should I have to further organize my notes?)

  • abc.com

    Jodie Foster gamely thumbs-upped Ricky Gervais’s Beaver commentary at the opening monologue (and also her children look exactly like her).

  • Ricky Gervais to Johnny Depp, after introducing him, says he has one question for Johnny… Are you ready? “Have you seen The Tourist yet?” “Ahh, no… Oh boy, he’s fun,” as Ricky walks off stage.
  • Christopher Plummer. Period. I still get excited about Christopher Plummer on merit of my intense love for The Sound of Music, but I swear, I am going to see The Beginners. I promise.
  • Kelsey Grammer could not possibly have been more blasé about his win for Boss: “Ah, well, this is very nice.” Yes, Kelsey, generally, one would say it is rather nice. Some people even choke up a bit (I mean, true, let’s not be over-indulgent), but… yes, it is very nice for you. Also, yes, announcer, we all remember Frasier. For the record we also remember and miss Seinfeld and Friends, back when NBC was “Must See” and not just the sad third-rated network… or whatever it is these days. Maybe it no longer even has a ranking (I cry bitter tear for you, NBC).
  • nymag.com

    Tina Fey’s photo bomb on Amy Poehler’s nominee shot. #golden

  • Ludovic Bource’s acceptance speech for Best Score (The Artist) opened with the hilarious apology: “I’m sorry I’m French,” and continued on to the admittance that if his acceptance was a piece of music/dance, “It would be a tap dance.” There should always be more tap dancing in life. Always.
  • Ricky Gervais introduced George Clooney as the “Cloonmeister General.” Clooney accepted the accolade with grace.
  • Felicity Huffman and William H.Macy sang their bit of presenter banter, and it was actually pretty magical. 
  • EOnline.com/Jason Merrit/ Getty Images

    The answer to your query as to whether or not Nicole Kidman could actually breathe even once whilst teetering in her gown is: No, no she could not breath. I assume she cut herself out of the columnar gown ASAP and put on a nice sensible muumuu post-haste.

  • Helen Mirren brought some humor to the Sidney Poitier presentation Morgan Freeman’s shiny new Cecil B. DeMille award. I just wanted Freeman and Poitier to hug it out.
  • I love a man in tails. When Robert Downey Jr. came out to present in a full white tie and tailed tux (which he flipped out as he settled in front of the microphone), someone in the audience simply could not hold it together and shouted, “Yeah!” Agreed.


  • The only time  at which Leonardo DiCaprio abandoned his expression of utter confusion (aside from the look of exquisite non-amused-ness when he did not win in his category… again), was the smile that broke when Martin Scorsese won Best Director for Hugo. 
  • I wish the sound has not cut out when Ricky Gervais introduced Antonio Banderas and Salma Hayek.
  • The second apology for being French came from Jean Dujardin of The Artist as he accepted the Globe for Best Actor in a Comedy/Musical: “I’m French too… It’s not my fault my eyebrows are independent.” And then he mimed his joy—which was kind of magical. Make sure you catch his dancing as the camera pans away from the stage. 
  • Colin Firth’s well-done swing back at Ricky as a form of Hollywood penance. 
  • Here’s a scenario: Meryl Streep wins yet another Golden Globe, managed to act surprised, bustles her way up to the stage, realizes that she’s forgotten her glasses and will have to actually remember her prepared comments rather than read them. In a team effort moment, her reading glasses get passed up from her table to the front of the stage, where George Clooney hand them to David Fincher, who absolutely cannot get his shit together and hand Meryl Streep her flipping reading glasses. Fincher proceeds  to sit there as she attempts to remember the other nominees’ names (someone shouts out “Rooney”), whilst George Clooney thinks to himself, “Why on GOD’S SWEET EARTH, did I not just walk the extra three steps and hand Meryl the glasses myself, Fincher is such a tool.” Meanwhile the rest of us wonder if Meryl Streep is leaving the Golden Globes up one trophy but down one pair of reading glasses. Fincher stole them.
  • huffingtonpost.com

    And in adorable moments of the night, we have the famous dog from The Artist who not only attended the Golden Globes (they really need to fill seats), but got to scamper up on stage as part of the accepting party when The Artist won Best Comedy/Musical. Thoughts after the win: “I am the famous Artist dog, Uggie, where is my treat? I’m adorable, but that doesn’t mean I am any less famished than any other dog at any given time.”

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2011 In Review: Another Year of Books


Well friends, it’s that time again. Time to tally up the year in reading and take stock. Here’s what I read in 2011:

  1. The Tower, the Zoo, and the Tortoise, Julia Stuart
  2. The Tiger in the Smoke, Margery Allington
  3. Inside of a Dog, Alexandra Horowitz
  4. Kidnapped, Robert Louis Stevenson
  5. The Towers of Trebizond, Rose MaCaulay
  6. Ex-Libris, Ross King
  7. In the Shadow of Gotham, Stephanie Pintoff
  8. The Tempest, Juan Manuel de Prada
  9. Parisians: An Adventure History of Paris, Graham Robb
  10. An Expert in Murder, Nicola Upson
  11. Nightingale Wood,  Stella Gibbons
  12. The Age of Innocence, Edith Wharton
  13. Harry Potter: La Coupe de feu, J.K. Rowling
  14. Harry Potter: Order of the Phoenix, J.K. Rowling (re-read)
  15. Harry Potter: Le Prince de sang-melé, J.K. Rowling
  16. Harry Potter: Deathly Hallows (UK ed.), J.K. Rowling
  17. Tales of Beedle the Bard, J.K. Rowling (re-read)
  18. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, J.K. Rowling (re-read)
  19. The Secret of Chimneys, Agatha Christie
  20. Passenger to Frankfurt, Agatha Christie
  21. There is a Tide, Agatha Christie
  22. A Reliable Wife, Robert Goolrick
  23. Decline and Fall, Evelyn Waugh (re-read)
  24. Viles Bodies, Evelyn Waugh (re-read)
  25. The Disappearance at Père La Chaise, Claude Izner
  26. The Secret Wife of Louis XIV: Françoise d’Aubigné, Madame de Maintenon, Veronica Buckley
  27. Murder on the Eiffel Tower, Claude Izner
  28. The Heat of the Day, Elizabeth Bowen
  29. Hercule Poirot’s Christmas, Agatha Christie (re-read)
  30. Out of the Silent Planet, C.S. Lewis
  31. Magic and Madness in the Library, edited by Eric Graeber

A bit leaner of a list than last year’s, but alas: these things happen. A couple of re-reads, a smattering of French, some non-fiction mixed in—I like to keep it eclectic. In keeping with last year’s declaration that a year in books is a very personal yet easily (by which I mean generally painless) shared window into the soul, let’s go ahead and ponder what the 2011 list reveals.

First, I have been expanding the mystery writers in my repertoire. Second, I decided to start reading Evelyn Waugh’s body of work in chronological order (sidebar: I also purchased his collected travel works, which are sure to be offensive but amazing). Third, I am embarking on the adult tomes by C.S. Lewis. Fourth, I read a very odd mix of non-fiction.

And the result? The recommendations for your newly born year in books?

  1. Inside of a Dog: What Dogs See, Smell, and Know by Alexandra Horowitz. I started 2011 off with a hugely enjoyable (and highly anticipated) bit of non-fiction. As you may know from previous posts, I have a crazy dog and in general, I love the canines. I especially recommend Horowitz’s book for readers who have, or have ever had or even liked, a dog. The book is basically a reworking (read: making it readable for people who do not read dissertations for general joy) of Horowitz’s doctoral research on dog cognition. The tome is an incredibly enjoyable and hugely informative journey into dogness, features sections such as “Umwelt: From the Dog’s Point of Nose,” “The Vomeronasal Nose,” “Go Get the Green Ball!,” “…It Either Fits in the Mouth or It’s Too Big for the Mouth…,” “Don’t Bathe You Dog Everyday,” “Get a Mutt,” and “Anthropomorphize with Umwelt in Mind,” among many, many others. I grew up with a dog, I now have a “new” dog with whom—being an adult—I interact and experience quite differently, and I have to admit this book makes her make so much sense to me. For example, I now understand quite clearly that when she looks at me, looks at the food in my hand and then looks pointedly at the floor in front of her over and over again… yeah, she wants me to share that sandwich and she is telling me as clearly as she can—which is pretty damn clear if you think about it, but I never really had before. Maybe that’s just me.
  2. The Towers of Trebizond by Rose MaCaulay. I adore travel literature, and this is a brilliant faux travel lit from 1956, opening with the line “Take my camel, dear,” said my aunt Dot, as she climbed down from this animal on her return from High Mass.” Roughly, it is the tale of the narrator’s (Laurie’s) journey with her eccentric aunt and minister companion through modern Turkey, peppered with oscillating moments of hilarity and deep introspection. It’s one of those books that just cries out to be dog-eared and underlined. I stumbled upon it thanks to my favorite book catalog, Bas Bleu, and it was one of most fortuitous finds of my 2011. I recommend it constantly. A few choice excerpts I marked in my copy:

    “-Aunt Dot has always had her dreams. They are what take her about the world. She is an adventuress.
    About the world, yes. Tell me Laurie, does she love her country?
    -Not that I know of, particularly. Why should she? I mean, she usually prefers to be somewhere else, when she can. Most Britons do, I think. I expect it’s the climate. Besides, we’re a nomadic people; we like change of scene.'”

    He looked through my passport, turning the pages with covetous inquisitiveness, as if he suspected them of obscenity.
    ‘Profession,’ he then said, very loudly and angrily. ‘Why have you not written it here? You have written independent.’
    -‘Yes, I couldn’t think what else to put.’
    -‘Independent, you have written.’
    -‘Yes,’ I agreed. The conversation seemed rather repetitive.
    -‘You know what means independent?’
    -‘Yes, I think I do. It means no one pays me regularly for working.’
    ‘Independent,’ he said, turning the word over on his tongue in some disgust. ‘That means spy.’
    -‘No,’ I said, ‘Not in English. Spies aren’t independent. They get wages.'”

    “Still the towers of Trebizond , the fabled city, shimmer on a far horizon, gated and walled and held in a luminous enchantment. It seems that for me, and however much I must stand outside them, this must for ever be. But at the city’s heart lie the pattern and the hard core, and these I can never make my own: they are too far outside my range. The pattern should perhaps be easier, the core less hard.”

  3. Parisians: An Adventure History of Paris by Graham Robb provides a history of Paris through a mixture of obscure and well-known vignettes in the city’s history, ranging Napoleon Bonaparte’s first sexual encounter (with a prostitute of the Palais-Royal) in 1787 to Madame Zola’s personal trials, Marcel Proust’s issues with the métro, Hitler’s singular early morning tour of the city in 1940, on to and beyond Mitterrand’s Affaire de l’Observatoire. Being of the vignette sort, it’s another good read for those looking something to be read over time, bit by bit. It’s perfect for the collector of odd histories and random facts, and, of course, all the many lovers of Paris out there. Endless tomes compile vignettes about the City of Lights (and I own a lot of them), but unlike many of the others, I actually read this one without getting bored and leaving it to sit unfinished for weeks on end. Also, it has some pictures. I love a historic photograph.
  4. Vile Bodies by Evelyn Waugh. As I mentioned above, I returned to Evelyn Waugh this year. I first read Waugh back in high school when a copy of Scoop drew my eye at the bookstore (remember those?). I own about half of his works, including that recent compilation of non-fiction. Vile Bodies was his second novel, continuing with some of the characters introduced in his inaugural work, Decline and Fall. Vile Bodies is a bitingly satirical swipe at the youth of upper society in London between the world wars: the ‘Bright Young Things.’ It involves a car race begun humorously but ending horrifically wrong, a party in an anchored dirigible, a cast of singing evangelical angels who aren’t angels (reminiscent of Anything Goes), and a terribly embarrassing event at 10 Downing Street. I am a big fan of Waugh, satire, sarcasm, and of British literature of the period in general. If you have never read Waugh, this one might not be the place to start, but it is brilliant and if the style happens to be your cup of tea… it is very ‘delight-making’ (a phrase construction that will mean more to you if you read Vile Bodies) before a sobering descent into various looming realities that ruin the best of parties.
  5. Out of the Silent Planet by C.S. Lewis. I have always meant to read “adult” Lewis, and when a Christmas order from Amazon needed a couple extra dollars-worth to qualify for free shipping, I decided it was finally time to make it happen. Out of the Silent Planet is the first volume of the Space Trilogy, a science fiction series to which I am now committed. Lovers of the Narnia books will be happily familiar with Lewis’ creation of a new world (you eventually find out to which planet the hero is abducted), verbally painted to vivid perfection. It is a brief read, full of geeky academic-y jokes relating to being on term leave and the sorts of things in which a philologist (the protagonist) is interested. Of course, as should be expected, there is a lot going on beneath the bare surface of the plot.

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I’m Afraid I’ve Not Been In

Sorry about that. Things have been kind of crazy busy around here lately and sadly, the blogging had to take a hiatus. I’ve missed a lot of marvelous goings on, but hopefully things will be up and running properly again shortly. I have, however, tried to stay on top of my Twitter whilst away, so you should be following me, because I am told it is such a delight.

Things I am so sad to have missed commenting on:

  1. The Muppets on Saturday Night Live with Jason Segel.


  2. Kermit visiting the Weekend Update desk for a special segment of “REALLY?! with Seth and Kermit”(he’s not a puppet, he’s a real live talking frog). Also, I signed a petition about that whole pizza is a vegetable thing, and it’s still making me sick to think about.



  3. Most of the Figure Skating Grand Prix season and the final (although, to be fair the failure there has a lot to do with the failure of AT&T U-Verse to carry Universal Sports).
    Charlie White and Meryl Davis, Free Dance for the Gold/ UniversalSports.com Reuters

So really, two things. Also the Savoy Cocktail Project, which will be back up and running shortly. I had a dinner party and tried out some Cocchi Americano… I was very pleased.

I have also started watching How I Met Your Mother, which—for the vast numbers of people surely wondering—is now available to stream on Netflix. Note it.

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Stuff You Should Be Seeing: Cinemagraphs, Antique Prints & Psychedelic Collages

These things might be old news to you, but they recently surfaced new and cool to me.

Let us begin with the cinemagraph gifs featured on Jamie Beck’s “From Me to You” Tumblr. In April, a post on My Modern Met featured Beck’s work. Shortly thereafter, a more in-depth article further illuminated the work she does with partner Kevin Burg to combine film and photography into awesomeness.

Now, five months later, I am arriving at the party.

Anyway, I find the mini-movies mesmerizing. One of my favorites is the never-ending train pulling into (or out of) the Rockefeller Center subway station. I wish I could tell if it is my old nemesis the F train.


Next up, another great art/design blog: BilbiOdyssey. I came across the site when a Lost At E Minor post about the blog featured an antique print of squid. Squid freak me out; therefore, I am inexplicably drawn to them as design. I have a similar love/hate relationship with jellyfish (which, by the way, as a group may be referred to as a smack of jellyfish).

Basically, BibliOdyssey presents scans of vintage and antique book illustrations ranging from scientific illustrations and diagrams of cephalopods to nineteenth-century Japanese woodblock prints (the current headliners) to eighteenth-century fashion satire etchings. Entries include historical background on the works in question and a plethora of high quality, large-scale images. It’s a great resource for those interested in design, history, printing, or just looking for some extraordinary images for inspiration, stimulation and entertainment. Scroll through the blog chronologically or start by clicking on a topic tag at the bottom of the main page and see where you end up. It is addictive.

Wang Pou (Oho) visits a grave during a storm


And lastly, something you can buy on Etsy: Fantastical collages by Living Feral. I always like to think that if I wanted to make really cool collages, I totally could—but I never do, and most likely they would never be as bizarrely captivating as these occasionally Dali-esque dreamscapes by Tracy Jager. I might need to clear up some wall space…

They Only Had A Moment

She Called It Freedom

You could buy this one for me, if you really wanted to. I wouldn’t mind in the least.

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Stuff from the Week: Donating for Japan, Wine, Supermoon Fail, & Dylan’s Friday

Just a couple of things from the past week.

  1. If you have not yet made a donation for the victims in Japan, but would like to, this Mashable article from early last week has some easy hot tips. If you are a soccer person, you can buy this t-shirt. I follow FIFA on Twitter. It happens. Or you know, do your own research on how to do some good. Go forth.
  2. I discovered another possible contender for Charlie Sheen’s wine of choice: Ménage à Trois (the website of which is inexplicably Folieàdeux.com). As you can see, two ladies are frolicking on the cork. I’m beginning to wonder how these bottles of wine end up on my dinner table.
  3. The Supermoon was an epic fail in my hood, where cloudy skies resulted in an average-sized smudge of light in the night sky. Lame. I am exceedingly disappointed. I even discovered the “night landscape” setting on my phone in preparation for the supposed awesomeness.
  4. My sister committed the crime of torture by posting that dreadful Rebecca Black auto-tune on my Facebook profile. I in turn posted the “Bob Dylan” lost original recording inspiration of said failurepeice. I obviously refuse to post the afore-mentioned video on this blog of such high taste.

The end.

P.S. This is what the moon was supposed to look like, as posted by NASA on Flickr (NASA is on Flickr?).

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Stuff You Should Be Seeing

Every once in a while I like to gather up a bunch of internet nonsense that I have a hunch you will love.

Let’s dive right in.

Chris Sims at Comic Alliance presented the world with Hipster Superheroines, the natural next step after hipster Disney princesses: “Hipster Superheroines: An Infinite Crisis of Irony.” In a bid to send the memes viral, he supplies readers with blank graphics so we can create our own. Or at least you can.

Just so you know, hipster Jean Grey/Phoenix is wearing a D.A.R.E. shirt.

In the land of movies and the people whose love for them leads to odd but entertaining projects, I have two websites for you.

Famous Objects from Classic Movies is an online game in which the player is presented with an iconic prop and hangman-like spaces for guessing the movie. Simple, but entertaining. Especially since the hangman style allows for possible winning even when confronted with an object that you do not recognize.

Remember, “E” is the most common letter in the English language. Start there.

MovieBarCode takes each frame of the given film, compresses it to one “bar” in the “bar code,” resulting in… Well,  it’s pretty self-explanatory with the image. Pretty cool. You can also buy prints of the bar codes on the tumblr site. The image above is for Black Swan.

Speaking of Black Swan… If you are not already giggling over Second City alum Brian Gallivan’s “Sassy Gay Friend” YouTube videos allow me to introduce you via his latest masterpiece. Warning, the whole thing is a Black Swan spoiler. If you don’t want it to be spoiled, just check out some of his other videos. I’m a fan of the Hamlet sketch.

In the land of photography, you should check out Irina Werning’s “Back to the Future” project, in which the artist has subjects reenact a photo from their past. The results range from poignant to hilarious to eerie. Love it. I want to reenact too!

So now you know what you should be seeing in this internet world of ours.

I have to thank Tim, Kelly and Kim for bringing magical things to my attention on a regular basis.

In the world of random things to know…

Paul McCartney has written a ballet for the New York City Ballet. Part of it takes place under the sea. He’s calling it “Ocean’s Kingdom” and it is a love story. It will premier at their gala in September.

According to BUST Magazine, March is National Craft Month—so get on that. Google it if you are not creative enough to come up with your own ideas.

Daniel Radcliffe is starring on Broadway as the corporate-climbing lead in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. This occurrence apparently has something to do with Radcliffe’s propensity during the run of Equus to run around backstage singing selections from Sweeney Todd (you have to read the New York Times article).

If I had a dime for every person I’ve seen/heard running about backstage singing Sweeney… well, I would have a few dollars, OK? That’s actually a fair number of people.

It might have something to do with my name being Johanna.



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