Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sleepaway Camp

Sleepaway Camp is a 1983 cult classic horror movie written and directed by Robert Hiltzik—who also served as executive producer. The film is about teen campers getting killed at a summer camp. The film came at a time when slasher films were in their heyday. It was a somewhat surprise hit. The film is widely known for having one of the most shocking endings in cinematic history.

On its opening weekend it had grossed a total of $430,000 in the US. When it opened, it was the top grossing film in New York, beating out its horror competition by taking in almost double the gross of Amityville 3-D. Sleepaway Camp attained a modest success in its theatrical run.

Over the years, the Sleepaway Camp films gained a loyal cult following. In the late 1980s, Michael A. Simpson directed two sequels, Sleepaway Camp II: Unhappy Campers (1988) and Sleepaway Camp III: Teenage Wasteland (1989).

Another rogue sequel, Sleepaway Camp IV: The Survivor, directed by Jim Markovic, was partially filmed but never completed. In 2002 the unfinished footage was released and made available as an exclusive fourth disc in Anchor Bay/Starz Entertainment's Sleepaway Camp DVD boxed set.

A new film, Return to Sleepaway Camp, was completed in 2003 and initially struggled to find distribution. It was directed by Robert Hiltzik, the director of the original 1983 film. He decided that this chapter will ignore the story lines of the previous sequels, stating that he wanted to pick up from where the original film ended. According to Fangoria.com the digital effects were redone from 2006 to 2008. The film finally found distribution, and was released November 4, 2008, by Magnolia/Magnet Pictures. Review copies of the film had been sent out, and the movie's screener had already been leaked prior to the release.

The purportedly final film in Hiltzik's SC trilogy is also in the making. Its working title is Sleepaway Camp Reunion, distribution has already been arranged via Magnolia Pictures, for DVD with a limited theatrical release planned in 3D.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Bud Collyer

Bud Collyer was an American radio actor/announcer who became one of the nation's first major television game show stars. He is best remembered for his work as the voice of Superman/Clark Kent in three media: radio, film and television.

Collyer was born Clayton Johnson Heermance, Jr. He originally sought a career in the law, attending Williams College and Fordham University law school. Though he became a law clerk after his graduation, making as much in a month of radio as he did in a year of clerking convinced him to make broadcasting his career, changing his surname and becoming a familiar voice on all three major radio networks by 1940.

Collyer got his first helping of game shows when he co-hosted ABC's (the former NBC Blue network) Break the Bank with future Miss America Pageant mainstay Bert Parks; and, when he was picked to host the radio original of the Mark Goodson-Bill Todman team's first game, Winner Take All—the latter also becoming, in due course, the first hosting seat for another game show titan, Bill Cullen.

Collyer went on to host the television versions of both shows, but in 1950 he got the job which genuinely made him a household name: Beat The Clock, a stunt game show which pitted couples (usually, but not exclusively, married) against the clock in a race to perform silly (sometimes messy) tasks. Collyer hosted the show for eleven years (1950–61), and he also co-produced it for part of its run.

Collyer's other game show hosting included the DuMont game show On Your Way (1953–1954), To Tell The Truth, on CBS, the short-lived (two years) game show Feather Your Nest, and the ABC game Number Please in 1961 (which replaced Beat the Clock on the Monday after the final ABC episode).

When To Tell the Truth was planned to be revived for syndication in 1969, producers Mark Goodson and Bill Todman wanted Collyer to once again host the show. However, when they called Collyer, he declined, citing his ailing health. Collyer died at age 61 from a circulatory ailment in Greenwich, Connecticut, on the same day To Tell The Truth was revived in syndication.

Walkin' the Strings

Walkin' the Strings was the first solo acoustic guitar album by Merle Travis, released in 1960 but recorded in the late 1940s and early 1950s, when Travis was at the peak of his performing abilities. It is widely regarded as one of Travis's finest musical achievements.

Travis began playing solo guitar numbers on his radio shows as early as the late 1930s, but it was only in the mid 1940s that Travis began using his Martin D-28 acoustic guitar to record various vocals and instrumental numbers for Capitol's Electrical Transcriptions series. These recordings were originally intended for radio broadcast. Capitol's A & R executive, Lee Gillette, wanted instrumentals of varying lengths and would ask Travis to play something for a specific amount of time, typically quite short; the shortest of the numbers included on this album, "Travis Trot", lasts just 29 seconds. (The vocal numbers were of standard length.) The instrumentals could thus be used as fillers and breaks between program segments. The performances were unrehearsed, and it was said that Travis could start and stop anywhere he chose in order to meet the time constraints.

Keeping his eye on the clock as he played, Travis drew on his rich repertoire of Muhlenberg County guitar licks, blues, old standards and gospel songs. Some songs were untitled when they were recorded and were only given titles by Capitol later. These songs were still lying in the vaults when Travis' fame as a guitarist began to reach a wider public in the 1950s. Following an initial instrumental album played on electric guitar, The Merle Travis Guitar (Capitol 1956), the radio transcriptions were collected and published as the present LP album in 1960.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Keep Calm and Carry On

Keep Calm and Carry On was a propaganda poster produced by the British government in 1939 during the beginning of World War II, but never used. It was rediscovered in 2000 and has been re-issued by a number of private sector companies, and used as the decorative theme for a range of other products.

The poster was initially produced by the Ministry of Information in 1939 during the beginning of World War II, and was intended as a "last case scenario" to be used only should the Nazis succeed in invading Britain via Operation Sea Lion, in order to stiffen resolve. Two-and-a-half million copies were printed, although the poster was distributed only in limited numbers. The designer of the poster is not known.

The poster was third in a series of three. The previous two posters from the series, "Your Courage, Your Cheerfulness, Your Resolution Will Bring Us Victory" (800,000 printed) and "Freedom is in Peril" (400,000 printed) were issued and used across the country for motivational purposes, as the Government assumed that the nerves of the public would be shot to pieces (they soon changed their tactics). Planning for the posters started in April 1939, by June designs were prepared, and by August 1939, they were on their way to the printers, to be placed up within 24 hours of the outbreak of war. The posters were designed to have a uniform device, be a design associated with the Ministry of Information, have a unique and recognisable lettering, with a message from the King to his people (whereas it later notoriously became "the People's War"). The slogans were created by civil servants, with Waterfield coming up with "Your Courage" as "a rallying war-cry that will bring out the best in everyone of us and put us in an offensive mood at once". These particular posters were designed as "a statement of the duty of the individual citizen", un-pictorial, to be accompanied by more colloquial designs. The "Your Courage" poster was much more famous during the war, as it was the first to go up, very large, and was the first of the Ministry of Information's posters. The press, fearful of censorship, created a backlash, and thus a lot of material related to these posters has been kept by archives.

In 2000, a copy of the "Keep Calm and Carry On" poster was rediscovered in Barter Books, a second-hand bookshop in Alnwick, Northumberland. Since Crown Copyright expires on artistic works created by the UK government after 50 years, the image is now in the public domain. The store's owners, Stuart and Mary Manley, were thus able to reprint copies at customers' requests, as did others, inside and outside Britain. It has inspired ranges of clothing, mugs, doormats, baby clothes and other merchandise from various vendors, plus a book of motivational quotes. Parodies of the poster, with similar type but changing the phrase or the logo (for example, an upside-down crown with "Now Panic and Freak Out"), have also been sold. The poster's popularity has been attributed to a "nostalgia for a certain British character, an outlook" according to Mary Manley. Its message has also been felt relevant to the late-2000s recession. Merchandise with the image has been ordered in bulk by American financial firms, advertising agencies, and by Germans.

It has appeared on the walls of places as diverse as the prime minister's strategy unit at 10 Downing Street, the Lord Chamberlain's office at Buckingham Palace and the United States embassy in Belgium. The Manleys have sold some 41,000 facsimile posters between 2001 and 2009.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Bulletman

Bulletman was a Fawcett Comics superhero created by Bill Parker and Jon Smalle for Nickel Comics #1 in May, 1940.

Jim Barr was the son of a police officer who was killed and as a result took it upon himself to fight crime. He was rejected from the police for physical reasons, but got a job in ballistics. Like many characters of the time, he used chemistry to develop powers for himself; in his case greater muscle mass and brain power. He also invented a Gravity Regulator Helmet (which was bullet shaped and gave him his name), which allowed him to fly and deflect bullets.

Shortly after Bulletman began his crime-fighting career, he created a second helmet for his girlfriend and later wife Susan Kent, who adopted the name Bulletgirl.

Bulletman and Bulletgirl were Fawcett Comics' second most popular characters after Captain Marvel and the Marvel Family. They were acquired by DC Comics along with the rest of the Fawcett comics stable of characters in 1972. However, the characters lapsed into public domain prior to the said acquisition, which would later allow AC Comics to reprint their Golden Age adventures.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Frazil Ice

Frazil ice is a collection of loose, randomly oriented needle-shaped ice crystals in water. It resembles slush and has the appearance of being slightly oily when seen on the surface of water. It sporadically forms in open, turbulent, supercooled water, which means that it usually forms in rivers, lakes and oceans, on clear nights when the weather is colder, and air temperature reaches –6°C or lower. Frazil ice is the first stage in the formation of sea ice.

When the water surface begins to lose heat at a very quick rate, the water becomes supercooled. Turbulence, caused by strong winds or flow from a river, will mix the supercooled water throughout its entire depth. The supercooled water will already be encouraging the formation of small ice crystals (frazil ice) and the crystals get taken to the bottom of the water body. Ice generally floats, but due to frazil ice’s ineffective buoyancy, it can be carried to the bottom very easily.

Through a process called secondary nucleation (see crystallization), the crystals quickly increase in number, and because of its supercooled surrounding, the crystals will continue to grow. Sometimes, the concentration is estimated to reach one million crystals per cubic meter.

As the crystals grow in number and size, the frazil ice will begin to adhere to objects in the water, especially if the objects themselves are at a temperature below water’s freezing point. The accumulation of frazil ice often causes flooding and/or damage to various water objects, such as trash racks. And since frazil ice is found below the surface of water, it makes it very difficult for humans to detect its formation.

Usually what happens is the frazil ice accumulates on the upstream side of objects and sticks to them. The frazil ice accumulates as more gets deposited. The growth will extend upstream and increase in width until the point where the frazil ice accumulations bridge together and block the water. As more and more water flows against this block, the pressure on the upstream side increases and causes a differential pressure (difference in pressure from the upstream side and the downstream side). This will cause the growth of the bridge to extend downstream. Once this happens, flooding and damage is likely unless otherwise prevented and/or controlled.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

LEGO

LEGO is a line of construction toys manufactured by the Lego Group, a privately held company based in Billund, Denmark. The company's flagship product, Lego, consists of colorful interlocking plastic bricks and an accompanying array of gears, minifigures and various other parts. Lego bricks can be assembled and connected in many ways, to construct such objects as vehicles, buildings, and even working robots. Anything constructed can then be taken apart again, and the pieces used to make other objects.

The toys were originally designed in the 1940s in Europe and have achieved an international appeal, with an extensive subculture that supports Lego movies, games, video games, competitions, and four Lego themed amusement parks.

The Lego Group began in the workshop of Ole Kirk Christiansen, a carpenter from Billund, Denmark, who began making wooden toys in 1932. In 1934 his company came to be called Lego. It expanded to producing plastic toys in 1940. In 1949 Lego began producing the now famous interlocking bricks, calling them "Automatic Binding Bricks". These bricks were based largely on the design of Kiddicraft Self-Locking Bricks, which were released in the United Kingdom in 1947. Lego modified the design of the Kiddicraft brick after examining a sample given to it by the British supplier of an injection-moulding machine that the company had purchased. The bricks, manufactured from cellulose acetate, were a development of traditional stackable wooden blocks that locked together by means of several round studs on top and a hollow rectangular bottom. The blocks snapped together, but not so tightly that they required extraordinary effort to be separated.

The company name Lego was coined by Christiansen from the Danish phrase leg godt, which means "play well". The name could also be interpreted as "I put together" and "I assemble" in Latin, though this would be a somewhat forced application of the general sense "I collect; I gather; I learn"; the word is most used in the derived sense "I read".

The Lego Group's motto is kun det bedste er godt nok which means 'only the best is good enough'. This motto was created by Ole Kirk to encourage his employees never to skimp on quality, a value he believed in strongly. The motto is still used within the company today.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Steve Brodie

Steve Brodie (1863–1901) was an American bookmaker from Brooklyn who claimed to have jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge and survived on July 23, 1886. The newspaper reports at the time gave Brodie lots of publicity, and the New York City tavern he opened shortly afterward was a success.

Hoax or not, Brodie became famous, and his name for a time became slang; to "pull a Brodie" or "do a Steve Brodie" came to be understood to do something flamboyant and dangerous.

According to humorist Al Boliska, boxer Jim Corbett once took his father to Brodie's saloon. The elder Corbett extended his hand and said, "I've always wanted to meet the man who jumped over the Brooklyn Bridge."

"He didn't jump over the bridge, Father," Jim said. "He jumped off it."

"Shucks," said the older man, turning to go. "I thought he jumped over it. Any damn fool can jump off it."

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death

The Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death is a series of eighteen intricately designed dollhouse-style dioramas created by Frances Glessner Lee, a millionaire heiress with an interest in forensic science.

She designed detailed scenarios, based on composites of real criminal acts, and presented them physically in miniature. Students were instructed to study the scene and draw conclusions from the evidence presented. Lee used her inheritance to set up Harvard's department of legal medicine, and donated the Nutshell dioramas in 1945 for use in her lectures on the subject of crime scene investigation. In 1966 the department was dissolved, and the dioramas went to the Maryland Medical Examiner’s Office in Baltimore, where they're on permanent loan; there, Harvard Magazine reports that they are still used for forensic seminars.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Tom Goes to the Mayor

Tom Goes to the Mayor was an American animated television series on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim. Created by Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, the show premiered on November 14, 2004 and ended on September 25, 2006, after two seasons and 30 episodes. Adult Swim has described this as "one of the most polarizing shows" they have ever had, indicating that viewers "either love it or hate it."

Tom Goes to the Mayor started off as a web cartoon on timanderic.com. It was popular enough to get a web sequel, in which David Cross guest stars. Bob Odenkirk noticed the show's potential, and began producing it for Adult Swim. The basic plot of the show centers on Tom Peters, a new citizen to the town of Jefferton who is "full of ideas," and the Mayor who always tweaks Tom's ideas and causes them to backfire.

The show features a crude yet distinctive limited animation style which is made by taking photos of the cast with different facial expressions and body language. The photos are filtered using the "photocopy" image filter in Adobe Photoshop, so that they are made up of only monochromatic blue and white, resembling mimeographs. There are some live-action scenes, usually on a television set within the show.[4]

On August 21, 2006, at 12:30, Tom Goes to the Mayor was broadcast as scheduled. Adult Swim then answered a fan letter requesting a TV marathon of the show by actually showing numerous episodes instead of the normal scheduled programming, as if on a whim.

Creators Tim and Eric announced in Chicago that this series will be out-of-production for the foreseeable future so that they may concentrate on their new series, Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!. Indeed, the Tom Goes to the Mayor DVD set is marketed as "The Complete Series" which indicates that there will likely be no more episodes. Production ended in September 2006 with 30 episodes.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Saturn Devouring His Son

Saturn Devouring His Son is the name given to a painting by Spanish artist Francisco Goya. It depicts the Greek myth of the Titan Cronus (in the title Romanised to Saturn), who, fearing that his children would overthrow him, ate each one upon their birth. It is one of the series of Black Paintings that Goya painted directly onto the walls of his house sometime between 1819 and 1823.

In 1819, Goya purchased a house on the banks of Manzanares near Madrid called Quinta del Sordo (Villa of the Deaf Man). It was a small two-story house which was named after a previous occupant who had been deaf, although the name was fitting for Goya too, who had been left deaf after contracting a fever in 1792. Between 1819 and 1823, when he left the house to move to Bordeaux, Goya produced a series of 14 works, which he painted with oils directly onto the walls of the house.

Although he initially decorated the rooms of the house with more inspiring images, in time he overpainted them all with the intense haunting pictures known today as the Black Paintings. Uncommissioned and never meant for public display, these pictures reflect his darkening mood with some intense scenes of malevolence and conflict.

Saturn Devouring His Son, a disturbing portrait of the god Saturn consuming one of his children, was one of six works with which Goya decorated the dining room. According to Roman myth, it had been foretold that one of the sons of Saturn would overthrow him, just as he had overthrown his father, Caelus. To prevent this, Saturn ate his children moments after each was born. His wife Ops eventually hid his sixth son, Jupiter, on the island of Crete, deceiving Saturn by offering a stone wrapped in swaddling in his place. Jupiter eventually supplanted his father just as the prophecy had predicted.

The work was transferred to canvas after Goya's death and now resides in the Museo del Prado in Madrid.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Three Stooges

The Three Stooges were an American vaudeville and comedy act of the early to mid–20th century best known for their numerous short subject films. Their hallmark was physical farce and extreme slapstick. In films, the stooges were commonly known by their first names: "Moe, Larry, and Curly" and "Moe, Larry, and Shemp," among other lineups. The film trio was originally composed of Moe Howard, brother Shemp Howard and longtime friend Larry Fine. Curly Howard replaced brother Shemp, who later returned when Curly suffered a debilitating stroke in 1946.

After Shemp's death in 1955, he was replaced by comedian Joe Besser, after the use of stuntman Joe Palma to record several "Shemp" shorts after his death. Eventually Joe "Curly-Joe" DeRita (born Joseph Wardell) replaced Joe Besser. Larry suffered a serious stroke in 1970, and was unable to continue performing. Emil Sitka, a longtime actor in Stooge comedies, was contracted to replace Larry, but no film was ever made with him in the role, although publicity photographs exist of him with his hair combed similarly to Larry's, posing with Moe and Curly-Joe (see below). However, Larry's paralyzing stroke in 1970 effectively marked the end of the act. He died in January 1975. Moe died of cancer a few months later.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Ægir

Ægir is a jötunn and a king of the sea in Norse mythology. He seems to be a personification of the power of the ocean. He was also known for hosting elaborate parties for the gods. In Snorri Sturluson's Skáldskaparmál, Ægir is identified with Gymir and Hlér who lived on the isle of Hlésey. The prose header of Lokasenna states that his hall is a place of sanctuary lit with bright gold and where the beer pours itself.

While many versions of myths portray him as a jötunn, it is curious that many do not. In some texts, he is referred to as something older than the jötunn, and his origins are not really explained. Gymir, it may be noticed, is also the name of the giant father of the beautiful maiden Gerðr (the wife of Freyr) as well as the husband of Aurboða. Another link between the Ægir and the sea giants is found in Hymir, who is said in Hymiskviða to be the father of Týr.

Ægir is said to have had nine daughters with his wife, Rán. His daughters were called the billow maidens.

Ægir is a son of Fornjótr, a giant and a king of Finland, and brother of Logi (fire, flame) and Kári (wind). In Lokasenna, he hosts a party for the gods where he provides the ale brewed in an enormous pot or cauldron provided by Thor. The story of Thor getting the pot for the brewing is told in Hymiskviða. Ægir had two servants, Fimafeng (killed by Loki) and Eldir.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Lucy van Pelt


Lucille "Lucy" van Pelt is a fictional character in the syndicated. comic strip Peanuts, written and drawn by Charles Schulz. She is the older sister of Linus and Rerun. Lucy is a crabby and cynical eight-year old girl, and is often bossy toward the other characters in the strip, particularly to Linus and Charlie Brown.

Lucy was introduced into the strip on March 3, 1952 as a wide-eyed baby who constantly tormented her parents. Very early on, Schulz eliminated the circles around her eyes and allowed her to mature to the age of the other characters. She soon grew into her familiar persona of a bossy, crabby, selfish girl.

Lucy wears a blue-colored dress with white and black saddle shoes for most of the strip's original run. However, in later years, towards its end, she was seen more in t-shirts and pants, until her dress was phased out altogether.

Perhaps Lucy's most famous gimmick in her long existence as a character is the one in which she pulls the football away from Charlie Brown right as he is about to kick it. The first occasion on which she did this was November 16, 1952, taking over for Violet, who had previously (yet unintentionally) subjected Charlie Brown to this trick on November 14, 1951, for fear that Charlie Brown would accidentally kick her instead of the ball. Afterward, Lucy would always intentionally pull the football away from Charlie Brown to trick him. The most infamous example of this is the animated special It's Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown, where her actions cost the football team the Homecoming game, yet Charlie Brown is blamed even though he is clearly not at fault.

For all her crabbiness and bad temper, Lucy did have a romantic side: she was in love with Schroeder, but he did not return the affection. In this Lucy is seen as insecure, as she shows a need for assurance from Schroeder and Charlie Brown that she is pretty (constantly asking them of their opinion of her appearance), and is known to react harshly when she receives an unfavorable, or even hesitant, answer. Indeed, Lucy seems to be rather thin-skinned when it comes to being insulted herself; once, when Linus countered her statement that he was a terrible brother by saying that she was not such a great sister either, Lucy burst into tears. Another time, her reaction to Charlie Brown's telling her she was not perfect was to storm off angrily without even a word, leaving Charlie to comment, "I've never seen anyone so insulted!"

Monday, October 18, 2010

Ajvar

Ajvar is a relish, made principally from red bell peppers, with eggplant, garlic and chili pepper. With origins in Belgrade, ajvar becаme a popular salad dish throughout Yugoslavia after World War Two and is widely known in Balkan cuisine. Original homemade ajvar is made of roasted peppers, while some industrial producers use cooked peppers, which leads to a lower quality. Depending on the capsaicin content in bell peppers and the amount of added chili peppers, ajvar can be sweet, piquant (the most common) or very hot.

Ajvar is consumed as a bread spread, a side dish or as a salad.The name ajvar comes from the Turkish word havyar, which means salted roe, caviar and shares an etymology with caviar. The word as first used in Serbia meant red caviar harvested from the middle and lower Danube (Smederevo, Đerdap and Kladovo), a popular dish in Belgrade homes and restaurants. When domestic production of ajvar/caviar diminished beginning in the 1890s, a paprika salad made from red bell peppers and called red ajvar or Serbian ajvar took its place in Belgrade restarurants.

Original homemade ajvar is made of roasted peppers, while some industrial producers use cooked peppers, which leads to a lower quality of ajvar.

Preparation of ajvar is somewhat difficult, as it involves a great deal of manual labour, especially as regards the peeling of the roasted peppers. Traditionally, it is prepared in mid-autumn, when bell peppers are most abundant, conserved in glass jars, and consumed throughout the year (although in most households stocks do not last until the spring, when fresh salads start to emerge anyway, so it is usually enjoyed as a winter food). Often, the whole family or neighbours gather to bake the bell peppers, peel them, and cook them. The principal cultivar of pepper used is called roga , i.e. horned — it is large, red, horn-shaped, with thick flesh and relatively easy to peel. It typically ripens in late September.

Ajvar is part of the so-called "zimnica" (winter foods), which include pickled chili peppers, pickled tomatoes, and anything else that can fit in a jar that gets prepared just before winter.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Handbags and Gladrags

"Handbags and Gladrags" is the name of a song written in 1967 by Mike d'Abo, who was then the lead singer of Manfred Mann. d'Abo describes the song as "saying to a teenage girl that the way to happiness is not being trendy. There are deeper values".

The original demo tape of the original version of the song was discovered in 2004 in a closet belonging to Mo Foster. It was amongst a collection of studio recordings d'Abo had recorded in the late 60s and early 70s. The collection, including the demo recording, was eventually released on the Angel Air label under the title of Missing Gems & Treasured Friends.

In 1967, singer Chris Farlowe was the first to release a version of the song. It became a #33 hit in the United Kingdom for Immediate Records.

In 1969, Rod Stewart recorded a version for the 1970 album An Old Raincoat Won't Ever Let You Down. This version of the song was arranged by Mike d'Abo himself, who also played piano on the recording. The song failed to garner significant sales or airplay in the United States, but when it was re-released as a single in 1972, it managed to chart on the Billboard Hot 100.

In 2001, Stereophonics released a version of the song on a single. It became so popular it was added to their album Just Enough Education to Perform as track 7. It was also included in 2008 on the Stereophonics best of album Decade in the Sun as the final track on the album.

In 2000, a version of "Handbags and Gladrags" was specifically arranged by Big George as the theme song on the BBC series The Office. Three versions were recorded:

  • a short, instrumental piece as the opening titles theme
  • a short, vocal piece as the closing titles theme
  • an alternative full studio version

Both vocal versions feature the vocal performance of Waysted vocalist Fin.

In series one, episode four, a version performed by Ricky Gervais (in character as David Brent) was featured over the end credits.


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Offa of Mercia

Offa was the King of Mercia from 757 until his death in July 796. He was the son of Thingfrith and a descendant of Eowa, a brother of King Penda of Mercia, who had ruled over a century before. Offa came to the throne after a period of civil war following the assassination of Æthelbald, defeating Beornred, another claimant to the throne. In the early years of Offa's reign it is likely that he consolidated his control of midland peoples such as the Hwicce and the Magonsæte. After 762, he took advantage of instability in the kingdom of Kent to establish himself as overlord and was in control of Sussex by 771, though his authority did not remain unchallenged in either territory. In the 780s he extended Mercian supremacy over most of southern England, allying with Beorhtric of Wessex, who married Offa's daughter Eadburh, and regaining complete control of the southeast. He also became the overlord of East Anglia, and had King Æthelberht II of East Anglia beheaded in 794, perhaps for rebelling against him.

Offa was a Christian king, but came into conflict with the Church, and in particular with Jaenberht, the Archbishop of Canterbury. Offa managed to persuade Pope Adrian I to divide the archdiocese of Canterbury in two, creating a new archdiocese of Lichfield. This reduction in the power of Canterbury may have been motivated by Offa's desire to have an archbishop consecrate his son Ecgfrith of Mercia as king, since it is possible Jaenberht refused to perform the ceremony, which took place in 787. Offa had a dispute with the Bishop of Worcester which was settled in the Council of Brentford in 781.

Many surviving coins from Offa's reign carry elegant depictions of him and the artistic quality of these images exceeds that of the contemporary Frankish coinage. Some of his coins carry images of his wife, Cynethryth—the only Anglo-Saxon queen ever depicted on a coin. Only three gold coins of Offa's have survived: one is a copy of an Abbasid dinar of 774, and carries Arabic text on one side of the coin, with "Offa Rex" on the other side. The gold coins are of uncertain use but may have been struck to be used as alms or for gifts to Rome.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Locust Abortion Techninian

Locust Abortion Technician is the third full-length studio album by American experimental punk band the Butthole Surfers, released in March 1987. Locust Abortion Technician's front cover illustration of two clowns playing with a dog was painted by Arthur Sarnoff, entitled "Fido and the Clowns."

All songs were written and produced by the Butthole Surfers, except for "Kuntz," which was written by an unknown and uncredited Thai artist.The album was originally released as vinyl on Touch and Go, and was remastered to CD on Latino Buggerveil in 1999.

Arguably the Surfers' heaviest album, and without a doubt their darkest and most disturbing, Locust Abortion Technician is also considered by many critics and fans to be one of the band's best, harnessing aspects of punk, heavy metal, and psychedelia into a then-unique sound that could be considered noise rock. With its marriage of punk and metal producing a number of grinding, slower-paced songs, the album might also be seen as an early precursor of grunge. "Sweat Loaf" utilizes a warped riff similar to the verse riff from the Black Sabbath song "Sweet Leaf."

Locust Abortion Technician was the first Surfers album primarily recorded at the band's home studio, which was originally assembled in a rental house they were sharing near Austin, Texas in 1986.[6] A private studio did not mean an end to the sub-standard equipment that had plagued their previous recording sessions, though. In addition to having just one microphone, they also used an outdated 8-track tape recorder instead of the 16-track gear used on Rembrandt Pussyhorse. However, guitarist Paul Leary believes that the inferior equipment forced the band to be more creative than they might otherwise have been.

Additionally, the new studio freed the band from having to worry about recording costs, allowing them to experiment even more than on previous releases. Jeff Pinkus has also said that the home studio gave them the luxury of taking extended breaks for drug use.

Many of the album's tracks also underwent extensive in-studio development. Though this had largely become a Surfers tradition, Locust Abortion Technician was one of their last recordings done in such a manner, with the band going into the studio with more fully formed songs on subsequent releases. Pinkus has expressed the opinion that the earlier, more chaotic recording sessions resulted in much of the spontaneous creativity that had propelled the group's early albums.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Two-Face

Two-Face is a fictional comic book supervillain who appears in comic books published by DC Comics. The character first appeared in Detective Comics #66 (August 1942), and was created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger.

Once Harvey Dent, District Attorney of Gotham City and an ally of Batman, he goes insane and becomes the crime boss Two-Face after the left half of his face is hideously disfigured when acid is thrown in his face during a trial; he chooses to bring about good or evil based upon the outcome of a coin flip. Originally, Two-Face was two of many gimmick-focused comic book villains, plotting crimes based around the number two, such as robbing Gotham Second National Bank at 2:00 on February 2. In his autobiography, Batman creator Bob Kane claims to have been inspired by Robert Louis Stevenson's Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, specifically the 1931 film Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde which he saw as a boy. Kane had not read the novel when he and Bill Finger created Two-Face. Some inspiration was also derived from The Black Bat whose origin story included being splashed with acid across his face.[1] In later years, writers have portrayed his obsession with duality and fate as the result of schizophrenia, bipolar and multiple personality disorders, and a history of child abuse. He obsessively makes all important decisions by flipping a two-headed coin, one side scratched over with an X. The modern version is established as having once been a personal friend and ally of Commissioner James Gordon and Batman.

The character has appeared in multiple Batman media forms, including video games, Batman: The Animated Series, and the Batman film series. Billy Dee Williams portrayed Harvey Dent in Batman, while Tommy Lee Jones portrayed Two-Face in Batman Forever, and Aaron Eckhart played Harvey Dent/Two-Face in The Dark Knight.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Jamie Reid

Jamie Reid (born 1952) is a British artist and anarchist with connections to the Situationists. His work, featuring letters cut from newspaper headlines in the style of a ransom note, came close to defining the image of punk rock, particularly in the UK. His best known works include the Sex Pistols album Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols and the singles "Anarchy in the UK", "God Save The Queen" (based on a Cecil Beaton photograph of Queen Elizabeth II, with an added safety pin through her nose and swastikas in her eyes, described by Sean O'Hagan of The Observer as "the single most iconic image of the punk era"), "Pretty Vacant" and "Holidays in the Sun".

He was educated at John Ruskin Grammar School in Croydon. With Malcolm McLaren, he took part in a sit-in at Croydon Art School.

Reid produced a series of screen prints in 1997, the twentieth anniversary of the birth of punk rock. Reid has also produced artwork for the world music fusion band Afro Celt Sound System.

Jamie Reid created the ransom-note look used with the Sex Pistols graphics while he was designing Suburban Press, a radical political magazine he ran for five years.

His exhibitions include Peace is Tough at The Arches in Glasgow, and at the Microzine Gallery in Liverpool, where he now lives. Since 2004, Reid has been exhibiting and publishing prints with the Aquarium Gallery, where a career retrospective, May Day, May Day, was held in May 2007. He now exhibits and publishes work at Steve Lowe's new project space the L-13 Light Industrial Workshop in Clerkenwell, London. He is also represented by Isis Gallery who look after Reid's extensive archive.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tootsie Pops

Tootsie Pops are hard candy lollipops filled with chocolate-flavored chewy Tootsie Roll. They were invented in 1931 by Brandon Perry, an employee of The Sweets Company of America. The company changed its name to Tootsie Roll Industries in 1966.

In addition to chocolate (the original flavor), Tootsie Pops come in cherry, orange, grape, raspberry, strawberry, watermelon, blue raspberry, pomegranate, and now banana flavors. Another release of Tootsie Roll Pops, named Tropical Stormz, features six swirl-textured flavors: orange pineapple, lemon lime, strawberry banana, apple blueberry,citrus punch, and berry berry punch.

In 2003, sixty million Tootsie Rolls and twenty million Tootsie Pops were produced every day.

At some point, a rumor began that the lollipop wrappers which bore three unbroken circles were redeemable for free candy or even free items like shirts and other items. The rumor was untrue, but some shops have honored the wrapper offer over the years, allowing people to "win" a free pop.

Another urban legend is that wrappers with the "Indian star" (bearing an image of a child dressed as a Native American aiming a bow and arrow at a star) were redeemable for free candy. Another legend is that the same wrapper gives you good luck for the rest of the day.

Some stores redeemed lollipop wrappers with the child aiming a bow for a free sucker. This was clearly up to the store owner, and not driven by the lollipop manufacturer.

A student study at the University of Cambridge concluded that it takes 3481 licks to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop.

Monday, October 11, 2010

True Stories

True Stories is an American musical film directed by and starring musician David Byrne. It also stars John Goodman and Swoosie Kurtz, and was released in the US, Canada and Sweden in 1986 (with limited release elsewhere the following year).

The film features Byrne as an unnamed, cowboy-hat-wearing stranger who visits the fictional Texas town of Virgil, where he observes the citizens as they prepare for the Celebration of Special-ness, sponsored by the Varicorp Corporation. Byrne breaks the fourth wall many times in the movie while he is narrating in his car.

Among the unique individuals the stranger meets is Louis Fyne, played by John Goodman (in one of his first major film roles) - a Country-Western-singing clean room technician at a local computer manufacturing plant who is unlucky in love. He also encounters: town leader Earl Culver (played by performance artist Spalding Gray), who never speaks directly to his wife; Miss Rollings (Swoosie Kurtz), who never leaves her bed; Mr. Tucker (Pops Staples of The Staple Singers), a voodoo practitioner whom Louis hires to help him find love; a conspiracy theorist preacher (John Ingle) whose shtick owes a great deal to the Church of the SubGenius (in real life, Byrne is a SubGenius himself); Ramon (played by musician Tito Larriva), who claims telepathic powers; and a character billed only as "The Lying Woman" (Jo Harvey Allen), who recounts fantastic episodes from her history to anyone present. Renowned Latin music legend Esteban "Steve" Jordan and his conjunto perform the song, Radio Head in the film as well.

The movie was not a commercial success at the time of its release, and it received a mixed reaction from critics (though some, such as Roger Ebert, delivered glowing reviews). The film has achieved its greatest success in home video release, as a cult classic among fans of Byrne's work.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Wonder Showzen

Wonder Showzen was an American sketch comedy television series that aired between 2005 and 2006 on MTV2. It was created by John Lee and Vernon Chatman of PFFR.

The show's format is that of educational PBS children's television shows such as Sesame Street and The Electric Company (e.g. use of stock footage, puppetry, and clips of children being interviewed). However, Wonder Showzen parodies the format in a very adult-oriented manner. In addition to general controversial comedy, it satirizes politics, religion, war, sex, and culture with black comedy.

Wonder Showzen was originally developed and pitched to the USA Network, but after a few minutes of viewing, executives there quickly concluded it did not fit the network's programming style. However, Viacom was re-branding MTV2 and made Wonder Showzen part of its new programming lineup. The pilot was named simply "Kids Show". The Wonder Showzen theme song is still 'Kids Show'. Reruns of the show also air on MTV and Comedy Central.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

NorthPark Center

NorthPark Center is an upscale shopping mall located in Dallas, Texas (United States). The mall is located at the intersection of Loop 12 (Northwest Highway) and US 75 (North Central Expressway). The center has over 235 stores and restaurants.

In the early 1960s, developer Raymond Nasher leased a 97-acre (390,000 m2) cotton field on the edge of Dallas. NorthPark Center opened in 1965, as then the largest climate-controlled retail establishment in the world, and is now owned, managed, operated and leased by husband and wife David J. Haemisegger and Nancy A. Nasher (Ray's daughter).

From its inception, NorthPark Center has made art an integral part of its interior landscape. NorthPark received the American Institute of Architects Award for "Design of the Decade - 1960s" as one of the first commercial centers in the United States to create space for the display of fine art. NorthPark was honored again in 1992 with the A.I.A.'s 25-Year Award for Design Excellence. NorthPark's tradition of showcasing major works by world-renowned artists from Andy Warhol and Frank Stella to Jonathan Borofsky and Jim Dine continues with three recent acquisitions by NorthPark's owners, David J. Haemisegger and Nancy A. Nasher: the monumental Ad Astra, 2005, a 48-foot (15 m)-tall, 12-ton, orange steel giant sculpture by New York artist Mark di Suvero; the enormous, 21-foot (6.4 m)-tall, large-scale, stainless steel and aluminum sculpture Corridor Pin, Blue (1999), by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen; and 20 elements (2005), Joel Shapiro's vividly painted sculpture of 20 wooden blocks of varying sizes joined together.

The center is lauded for architecture that draws in more natural light and fits seamlessly into the original mall’s sleek, modern design. Best known for its reputation as an art museum inside a shopping center, in November 2007, Northpark Center was named as one of the seven retail wonders of the modern world along with Neiman Marcus’ store at Natick Collection in Massachusetts, Japan’s Mikimoto store in Ginza, England’s Bullring shopping center, Poland’s Złote Tarasy in Warsaw, Apple’s flagship in New York City and Italy’s Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II .