Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Case of the Dancing Sandwiches

The Man Who Made Cartoons Swing

It says here that Raymond Scott never actually composed music for cartoons. "In 1943 ... Scott sold his music publishing to Warner Bros. Carl Stalling, music director for Warner's Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies, was allowed to adapt anything in the Warner music catalog, and immediately began peppering his scores with Scott quotes."

According to his wife, Scott didn't even watch cartoons.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Philip Jose Farmer Reminisces on his Interview with Tarzan

Garfield Minus Garfield

To quote my friend Frank:
"Just when I'd lost faith in the human race, along came this website. This is sheer, blinding brilliance... enjoy a religious experience!"

How to Make a Screen Print

How to make a papier-mache pig

Gourmet Paper Mache Pig

Surveillance Pizza Order

Here's a must see flash movie on the ACLU website. Thanks Timothy.

The Evolution of Urinating Calvin

Last week I saw this on the rear window of a car. God help us.

Here are some more musings on this "weird form of modern folk art."

Here's what Wikipedia has to say on the subject:

A likeness of Calvin appears on a set of decals with an arrow to signify urination. These are bootlegged images that became widely popular, and are disliked by many fans of Calvin and Hobbes because the images are contrary to the actual themes and atmosphere of the comic.

The original image shows Calvin filling a water balloon, not urinating.

The image of Calvin is here used in reference to his mischievousness. This constitutes one of the many copyright violations the strip has generated.

Another set of bootlegged decals show an image of Calvin genuflecting before (usually) an image of the Christian Crucifix. Ironically, this particular image of Calvin is taken from a strip wherein Calvin is offering a bowl of tapioca pudding to his television set.

Donald Westlake Science Fiction

Here is a collection of Science Fiction short stories by Donald Westlake. He explains that "there aren't enough of the stories to fill out a book, and I won't be doing any more, so this is where they'll be spending their afterlife."

Famous First Lines, Real and Imagined

Here are some interesting facts about a very interesting man. Fredric Brown often worked out the plots to his novels while taking long, solitary bus trips to nowhere and back. He is one of the three dedicatees in Robert Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land (the other two are Philip Jose Farmer and Robert Cornog). Philip K. Dick was undoubtedly influenced by Brown. Ayn Rand praised him as "one of today's romanticists". Donald Westlake is also among his admirers.

He was also one of those authors who wrote wonderful opening lines. His novel Knock Three-One-Two begins with this: "He had a name, but it doesn't matter; call him the psycho."

Speaking of which, here is a rather tiresome list of Best First Lines chosen by the editors of American Book Review. I won't deny that some of these are really good, but many of them seem to have been chosen simply because they are the first lines of, ahem, IMPORTANT NOVELS. I also wonder how many of these would seem impressive if we didn't already know the story that was to follow. Is the first line of Catch 22 really all that great? It's the second line of that novel that seals the deal after all: "The first time Yossarian saw the chaplain he fell madly in love with him. " And, as usual, the Toni Morrison quote is just silly.

Here's another collection.
I think I prefer many of these.

The Department of English and Comparative Literature at San Jose University sponsors the Bulwer Lytton contest for the best first line of an imaginary bad novel. There's a kind of snootiness about that contest that annoys me, however. Why settle for condescending imaginary first lines when you can read these from Harry Stephen Keeler?

Here's something cool: a collection of first lines from NanoWrimo novels .

And here's a mind bending collection that makes no claims about the merit of the line itself.

I can find no online collections of great novel dedications. I'll bet there are some gems out there.

Here's my favorite first line from a non-fiction book. Dariel Fitzkee's Showmanship for Magicians begins this way: "The fact that I feel there to be a definite need for this book is evidenced by my having written it."