This blog is officially "retired," but my other blog,
"The Lair of the Silver Fox," is still open for business!

Monday, September 29, 2008

A Brand New Project, Part Two

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENTS SECTION:

(And if you're old enough to remember where and when the above phrase was used -- constantly -- you're old, Jack!)

Not long ago, I wrote a post saying that I was debating the creation of a new blog, one which would showcase my so-called "real" writing as opposed to whatever the hell it is I do around here. All I needed to do was 1. convince myself, and 2. find a title for the new blog.

Convincing myself was easy.

I'm gonna do it.

Now, as for the title...

My very first idea for a title was "Writer's Blogk." Clever, huh? Maybe too clever, or not clever enough. A Google search for the term "writer's blogk" pulls up 1,280 choices. Oops.

"Blogger" blogger Ishat's Fire suggested several choices -- some serious, some obviously less so -- but my favorite was simply "Silver Fox Tales."

(By the way, "The Silver Fox" was a title of sorts which was bestowed upon me by Sarah, one of the authors of Complete and Utter Randomness.)

At this point, my searches had narrowed. I wasn't even doing Google searches any more. I was merely coming up with a name, and typing it into my address bar to see if anyone on Blogger was using it! Example? For "Silver Fox Tales," I'd simply type in a URL of http://silverfoxtales.blogspot.com.

In my earlier post, I mentioned Charles Dickens, and how I liked the idea of emulating him by serializing stories. I thought of two of his magazines, magazines which published the informal first editions of classics such as Great Expectations and A Tale of Two Cities. Those magazines were called Household Words and All the Year Round.

Those
titles were taken by bloggers already.

"Silver Fox Tales." Damn, I liked that name! Even the similar but lengthier "Tales of the Silver Fox" -- also suggested by Ishat's Fire -- wasn't good enough for me. The set-up of the name detracted from the simplicity of the "tales/tails" pun.

Also, please keep in mind that I could have cheated and called my blog "The Silver Fox Tales," or the like. But I was much less worried about some far-fetched possible legal problems as I was stepping on anyone's artistic toes, so to speak.

I went back to http://silverfoxtales.blogspot.com, and noticed that the blog's author hadn't updated her blog since 2006. 2006. That was encouraging. Maybe she was "done" with it, as it were?

Checking out the profile, I found out that her name is Nan Jacobs, and that she was a regular contributor to two other weblogs. That was even more encouraging! She was actively blogging, but apparently had retired "Silver Fox Tales" itself.

Well, to make an already-long story a bit shorter, I contacted Ms. Jacobs directly. It was one of my predictably wordy, detailed emails, as you might have guessed. She was extremely polite and friendly-- almost surprisingly so -- but said she was actually thinking of reviving "Silver Fox Tales" soon, and didn't want to let the title go. She was even so kind as to suggest some alternates.

(By the way, my email evidently gave Ms. Jacobs the nudge she needed to start posting on "Silver Fox Tales" again. She began adding some new stuff just a couple of days ago, if you care to check out her blog.)

So I said to myself, "Self, you're f**ked."

And then, out of desperation, I came up with -- deep breath, here -- "The Lair of the Silver Fox." I immediately did my address bar trick with http://thelairofthesilverfox.blogspot.com, and found that it was unregistered, hence available!

But who the hell would want to type all of that crap into their browser? Not even Yours Truly. However, Blogger allows you to make up any URL for any blog name, and use it as long as it's available. (For instance, if I wanted it to be, the URL for "David'Z RantZ" could be http://ilovecapripants.blogspot.com.) So I checked to see if anyone on Blogger was using http://silverfoxlair.blogspot.com!

And no one was.

But now, I am.

I'm not ready to officially launch "The Lair of the Silver Fox," yet, but I've set up the site itself. Some of you -- and you know who you are -- will be gratified to learn that, unlike "David'Z RantZ," "The Lair of the Silver Fox" will not consist of white lettering on a black background. (The things I do to kiss up to my readers... *sigh*)

Currently, I intend to use "The Lair of the Silver Fox" as a catch-all for my writings, both new and old. It'll showcase short stories, unfinished prose or comic book projects, articles, and even poems or songs from days gone by when I'm in a crunch.

The first actual serialized story probably won't see the light of day until January (if I live that long). After all, I must include the Christmas story I'm currently working on... !

Oh, and for those poor suckers who've been reading this post wondering when the f**k I'm going to tie it in with my "MY ISLAND Update, Kinda/Sorta" post from last Thursday... One of the early pieces posted to "The Lair of the Silver Fox" will showcase the ten-year-old "crack whore" art -- and some over-written captions by me! -- from the proposed, stillborn My Island comic book maxi-series.

Oooohhh, behind-the-scenes stuff!

And speaking of comic books, I'll also be showing the proposal that comics legend Dick Ayers and I were shopping around back in the early 1990s!

But enough teasers. Whenever I decide to start using the new site, I'll let you know right here on "David'Z RantZ."

Anyway, as I said, the new webpage has no official posts yet -- just a place-saver, y'might say -- but it's ready for inspection, and your comments (either here or there). By the way, comments on "The Lair of the Silver Fox" will be moderated, so only I will have to deal with the really inane ones!

Anyway, just click here if you're so inclined, and check out the new place. But wipe your feet before entering, and if you're drinking, use a napkin or something as a coaster, okay? I haven't even paid the closing costs yet.

So until then, boys'n'girls...

Thanks for your time.

P.S. ~~ I hope it comes as good news to a certain other Blogger blogger that the URL http://ilovecapripants.blogspot.com is available! I mean, I'm not the only one around here who can have two (or more) blogs!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Paul Newman, 1925-2008, R.I.P. (Updated)


Due to the unfortunate subject of this post, the column I originally promised for today will have to wait until 3 p.m. Monday. Sorry.


A few minutes ago, I arrived home after going out for a ready-made cup of coffee. I opened a newly-arrived email from a friend, who informed me that actor Paul Newman had died.

Terrific. Another tribute column that I "needed" to write.

As I began this piece, I looked down at the coffee which I'd just bought from McDonald's, only to see Paul Newman himself staring up at me from my cup of "Newman's Own."

I've yet to decide if that's really spooky, or really cool.

Whenever I begin drafting one of these posts, I usually pull up an online obituary to make sure I don't forget to mention something I'd be embarrassed to have forgotten after publishing the post without it, if that makes any sense. So I read a relatively brief obit written by a guy who focused so much on Newman's physical appearance that it made me vaguely uncomfortable: "Graced with physical beauty, striking blue eyes and a sinewy masculinity, Newman proved time and again that he was more than just a handsome face," and "Newman seemingly had grown more relaxed in a face and body that, while still strikingly attractive, no longer looked as if they had been sculpted by Michelangelo."

There isn't much I need to say about Paul Newman. (I know, I know, usually when I write that, the tribute ends up being 47 paragraphs!) Among his many films, my personal favorites were "The Verdict" and "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid." (In fact, I've included not one, but two stills of Newman from that film.) But I enjoyed seeing him in virtually anything.

Usually when I do these little tributes, I try to include an anecdote or two which you may not have already heard or read. I can only think of two.

1. When Tom Hanks won his second consecutive Oscar for Best Performance by an Actor (in "Forrest Gump"), he said something to the effect of how honored he felt having won, considering the other four, talented actors who'd also been nominated. He went on to name Morgan Freeman, John Travolta, Nigel Hoffman... And then he hesitated. He couldn't think of the fourth actor. Suddenly, the final name occurred to him. Hanks' eyes opened wide and he slapped his head while exclaiming "Paul Newman!"

As if to say, "How could anyone have forgotten Paul Newman?"

How indeed.

2. Shortly after "The Color of Money" was released, I read part of an interview with Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio. She told how, during the filming of the scene where Newman's character accidently saw her character's nude reflection, the cameramen filmed Newman and Mastrantonio as they stared at one another... but Paul Newman gazed directly into her eyes for the entirety of the shot.

What a class act.

You were a better man than I am, Mr. Newman.

Thanks for your time.

Monday, September 22, 2008

An Experiment That "Went a Little Ca-Ca?"

Al Calavicci, the Quantum Leap character so engagingly portrayed by Dean Stockwell, explained the premise of the show as "a time travel experiment that... went a little ca-ca."

Well, if I may mix -- or scramble -- a metaphor, here, science is not always..... err... an exact science. So in any given experimental situation, there's always the potential for more "ca-ca" than what could be handled by a warehouse full of Pampers.

How many of us non-scientists really understand what's going on with the Large Hadron Collider?

Several who did -- and, I'm guessing, many many more that did not -- wrote articles or blogs about the LHC incorporating the title of the R.E.M. song "It's the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)". In fact, a Google search combining the terms "Large Hadron Collider" and "It's the End of the World As We Know It" will yield approximately 4,700 results.

Now, only ten days after they fired up that little puppy, this article appears.

Well. That didn't take long, did it?

I don't pretend to know enough about this subject to be panicking right now, nor am I all that worried about the future. I'm not an alarmist. I'm just making a few observations and comments, because... well, because I can. But I'm old enough to have seen "The China Syndrome" in the cinema... and terms like "Three Mile Island" and "Chernobyl" still resonate, especially when coupled with a word like "meltdown."

Oh, and please don't bother pointing out that the examples from the preceding paragraph referred to nuclear incidents, and that the LHC has nothing to do with that. I'm just reacting to the thought of science going "ca-ca" once again.

Reminds me of the old line, "This was only a test. If it had been an actual emergency, you would have been instructed to put your head between your knees, and kiss your ass good-bye."

Thanks for your time.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

"Sarah, Oh Sarah... " Part Two


In case I didn't make myself clear in my earlier post...

Yes, she's a "babe," but there's no f**king way I'd ever vote for her as VP. Not even as VPILF. I've already seen too many guys saying, "WOW! She's got my vote!" for all the wrong reasons.

There is -- believe it or not! -- a difference between being a slut, and a sexist idiot. I'll readily admit to being the former, and vehemently deny being the latter.

Thanks for your time.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Richard Wright, 1943-2008, R.I.P.

This should be brief. Of course, around here, "should be brief" ain't sayin' it's gonna be. It'll also be a bit loopy, due to my lack of sleep and the fact that I'm sort of burned (burnt?) out from writing so many celebrity tributes lately.

Richard Wright, one of the four founding members of the band initially called The Pink Floyd, has died at the age of 65 from cancer. Currently, no further details are available, as per his family's request.

Wright formed The Pink Floyd -- which unceremoniously lost the "The" somewhere along the line -- along with Roger Waters, Nick Mason, and Roger "Syd" Barrett. Now that Richard Wright has passed away, as did Syd Barrett in 2006, the number of the band's surviving founding members has been halved... in case you're keeping track.

I'm not going to do a whole long history of the band, here. There are hundreds of other places you can go to online if you want or need that.

I will mention a few random things, however. One is that Wright wrote -- boy, does that sound odd, "Wright wrote," kinda like "redrum"-- much of the material on the band's 1973 classic LP, "The Dark Side of the Moon." Co-wrote, actually. If he'd done absolutely nothing else of note -- pun intended -- in his life, he'd deserve to be remembered solely for that!

Another "random thing" is that Wright left Pink Floyd in 1979, due to insurmountable frictions with pompous, egotistical f**k Roger Waters. But once Waters himself departed the band a few years later, Wright got back together with Mason and guitarist David Gilmour (who'd replaced Barrett years earlier).

And finally... While briefly on Amazon.com this evening, I saw a link to a New York Times obituary for Wright, which read "Richard Wright, 1843-2008." [sic] Hey, look, guys, I know some of these older rock'n'rollers seem like they're that old, but come on, now... !

Okay, okay, back to business.

Mr. Wright -- and his jazz-influenced keyboard playing -- will be sorely missed now that he's been "booked" for his own last great gig in the sky.

Thanks for your time.

Good for What Ails Ya!

I'm not even getting a kickback for today's post -- not that it should really bother you if I were -- but I wanted to share the following information with you: There's a seller on eBay called "haunted-jack" who offers the absolute coolest items. He sells empty bottles of various sizes and shapes. Each of those bottles bears an impressively ornate label related to characters or plot elements from movies, novels, television, comic books, and more... as well as prop labels for medicines, poisons, and other things not as easily characterized.

There are some amazing items here. I can't really do them justice without sending you to this link instead. I strongly suggest you take a look at what he currently has to offer.

He's had some really inventive pieces in the past. My personal favorite from his current set of listings is the "Dr. Henry Jekyll's Extraordinary Elixir." The empty container for this one is actually an antique test tube. This guy is nothing if not creative!

He doesn't list items all that frequently. When he does, whatever he puts up for auction generally features some sort of theme (Comic book heroes, Universal movie monsters, etc.). If you use eBay enough to do the "Add to My Favorite Sellers" thing, you might want to do that with his stuff. I do.

So. Nothing really entertaining for you from me today, just a public service announcement of sorts for the pop culture geek in all of us. Or... in most of us.

Thanks for your time.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Day After (Updated)

Funny, I was just discussing the relative merits of embedded YouTube videos with two of the other Blogger bloggers, Steve (author of "I Ain't No Oprah"... and trust him and myself when we say that he ain't no Oprah) and "Sparkle Plenty" (the heart, soul, brains, & gall bladder behind "Dinosaur Casserole").

About 90% of the time, when I encounter someone's blog, and it consists of nothing but a YouTube video, I skip it. I naturally make exceptions when the video in question has actually been created by the blogger himself/herself. Those have an obvious personal touch. But my feeling is that YouTube videos (or videos from any other source) generally -- certainly not always, even my creaky old bones can bend a bit -- belong in a sidebar, unless their purpose is to illustrate a point made by the very blog in which they're embedded!

And, having said all that... I think I've written enough to justifiy todays' inclusion of -- yup, you guessed it -- a YouTube video which ties in with the events of 9/11. (That was only yesterday, since I'm gonna have this sucker posted before midnight!) Plus, I've included enough of my own gobbledegook after the video to insure that the video does indeed fit my own qualification of one that is here "to illustrate a point made by the very blog in which [it's] embedded."

So. This is from 1981's "The Man Who Saw Tomorrow." It features the great Orson Welles, so I couldn't resist.



Now personally, I don't put a lot of faith in seers like Nostradamus and his ilk. But it is interesting to hear his predictions, made years ago and expressed with the vagaries necessitated by a natural misunderstanding of places and people which didn't even exist at the time of those predictions. Those predictions, translated into what the people of almost thirty years ago (when this film was made) thought they might mean, came alarmingly close to what really happened. And of course, any film from the modern era would almost have to assume that any large-scale war would be a nuclear war.

It's also interesting -- if I may use that word yet again, for the sake of emphasis -- to read the viewers' comments over at the original YouTube page to see how those of us who are in the present try to make sense of it all.

"Interesting," but not necessarily anything that would ever make me too firm a believer in Nostradamus. (Just thought I'd mention that, in case you were worrying.) Me, I'm just throwing it all out there in the name of speculative entertainment.

Thanks for your time.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Since It's Still 9/11...

...and since I haven't posted doodly-squat in a few days, I thought I'd quote the following, from the label of... Well, I'll make you guess, at least, at first.

Anyway, here goes: "WARNING! Contents under pressure. Cap may blow off causing eye or other serious injury. Point away from face and people, especially while opening."

Damn! That sure sounds like something that that Osama bin Laden bastard would be issuing to his nutball minions, dunnit?

The cap to a container of this dangerous substance "may blow off," causing "eye or other serious injury!" Wow. And they tell you not to point it at your own face, or at anyone else, not even just while you're opening it, but especially while you're opening it. Even if you're not opening it, it's obviously still pretty darned risky! It's like pointing a loaded rifle at somebody, even when your finger's not on the rifle's trigger, I guess. There's an omnipresent threat that it may "go off."

Brrrr! Frightening stuff!

But... tasty, too.

It's Canada Dry Ginger Ale.

Now, boys'n'girls, are we sure it was really those two airplanes that brought down the twin towers?

Thanks for your time.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Anita Page, 1910-2008, R.I.P.

Actress Anita Page has died at the age of 98. Ms. Page passed away peacefully, in her sleep. According to the Washington Post, "No cause of death was reported." Guys. She was 98. I'll forgo any other wisecracks that come to mind, out of respect.

She was often credited with being the last surviving star who had worked in silent films as an adult.

Her very first film role, a bit part, was in "A Kiss for Cinderella," a 1925 flick which has been on my personal want list for about ten years now! (I've linked to a contemporary review of that film, worth checking out if for no other reason than the "banana" reference... )

During her heyday, she co-starred with -- or at least, appeared with -- film legends such as Lon Chaney, Buster Keaton, Joan Crawford, Walter Huston, Ramon Novarro, Clark Gable, Robert Montgomery, John Gilbert, Marie Dressler, Constance Bennett, Polly Moran, Bessie Love, William Haines, Johnny Mack Brown... and among her voluminous piles of fan mail were roughly 100 marriage proposals from none other than Benito Mussolini. Among her close friends were Marion Davies and *sigh* Jean Harlow.

(For Ms. Page's impressions on several subjects, including her opinions of some of her male leads, there's a two-part interview here.)

She appeared in 1928's "Our Dancing Daughters" -- and its two sequels -- alongside perennial mega-chienne Joan Crawford. The two reportedly did not get along swimmingly. Huh. Joan Crawford? Who'da thunk it?

Anita Page and Bessie Love co-starred as sisters in the 1929 musical "The Broadway Melody," the first "talkie" to win the Academy Award for best motion picture.

Ms. Page's career suffered over time due to her refusal to succumb to the dubious lures of the so-called Hollywood "casting couch" offers from Irving Thalberg and Louis B. Mayer. Industry-wide reprisals from the latter refusal -- which Mayer made while Anita's mother was also in his office! -- was particularly damaging, as may be expected.

She briefly married the composer Nacio Herb Brown ("Singin’ in the Rain," "You Were Meant for Me," "Pagan Love Song," "You Are My Lucky Star" ). The marriage was annulled when Ms. Page discovered that the two had wed before Brown's divorce from his previous wife had been finalized. Oops.

She retired outright in 1937 when she married Naval officer Herschel A. House. They were together until his death in 1991.

During the mid-1990s, Ms. Page came out of retirement. She appeared in some cheapie horror flicks, such as "Witchcraft XI: Sisters in Blood." In fact, her very last film, "Frankenstein Rising" -- in which she appears with former child star Margaret O'Brien and former "Munchkin" Jerry Maren -- hasn't even been released yet!

And now, in Anita Page's honor, may we have a brief moment of "silents?"

Thanks for your time.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

"Sarah, Oh Sarah... "

Back on April 30th, I wrote a column about how I was considering starting a second blog, one which would deal with X-Rated topics. I said this was because "Once in a great while, I want to be juvenile. Incredibly juvenile."

By "juvenile," I was referring to stuff like this: "Oh, well, if I may be allowed a sexist observation, Meg Ryan 'baring all' ain't so much, anyway. And besides, it's like an old high school friend of mine once said, 'If you've seen one... you've seen 'em both,' " which I published -- re-published, actually -- on February 26th.

So anyway, in that juvenile but non-X-rated vein, let me make the following observation, from the viewpoint of a 51-year-old male slut:

Sarah Palin -- a/k/a "Sarah Barracuda" and "Caribou Barbie" -- is a babe.

As for whether I'd actually vote for her, and that old dude she's running with... Before I'd do so, I'd not only consider her stance on various issues, but I also wouldn't be able to get around the fact that she's the governor of Alaska. Alaska. That's... that's... almost like Canada, isn't it? She's practically a foreigner.

So, rest assured, when I enter that voting booth in November, my decision re:McCain versus Obama will be decided by the... umm... proper head, as it were... but, having said all that...

She really is a babe.

And she certainly gives me an election!

That is...

I mean...

Oh, never mind!

And hey, before I stop babbling... Wanna have some fun? Misspell Governor Palin's first name and do a Google search for "Sara Palin," and see just how many thousands of entries you get!

Thanks for your time.

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Devil's Workshop (Not the Devil's Pom-Poms)

To all of you Anglophiles out there (and I know there are a lot of you):


I'm going to be brief for a change.

Look quickly at the following picture. Who do you think it is?


Nope. Sorry. You're wrong.

That is, you're wrong if, like myself, you thought at first glance that it was a photo of the young Eric Idle (of Monty Python fame), suited up for one sketch or another.

It's Bill Snyder.

"Who?"

Bill Snyder.


(And according to this sheet music, the recorded version of "The Night Is Young" was released on London Records, too. Hm. Amazing coincidence, innit? Or... not.)

Anyway, don't fret. Even if you guessed incorrectly, you're still a cool person, because you made the same mistake that I did. So you're probably about as cool as I am, and what could be better than that? *ahem*

That's all. I'm done...

Except to say that you can find the neatest stuff in the second-hand stores on Cape Cod.

Thanks for your time.

P.S. ~~ Okay, I'm not done. Here's a relatively recent shot of Eric Idle, although to my eye, he looks unsettlingly like Barry Manilow! WTF?

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Bill Melendez, 1916-2008, R.I.P.

Most people are rather unimaginative when it comes to writing in the "subject" line of an email. Thankfully, this is not always the case.

At 9:25 last night, in an email appropriately entitled "Oh Good Grief... " my friend John informed me that animator, director, and producer Bill Melendez had died on Tuesday. That email was sent roughly two hours before I actually got to read it, which is why this entry wasn't posted until very early in the morning on September 4th.

Melendez, who bore an uncanny resemblance to artist Sergio Aragon├ęs -- and I could get myself into a whole lot of trouble here by claiming that all Mexican natives look alike -- started out working for Walt Disney Studios in the late 1930s. He worked on such Disney classics as Pinocchio, Dumbo, Fantasia, and Bambi. He then went to work for Leon Schlesinger, directing and/or producing cartoons for Warner Brothers. His credits after Warner Bothers were impressive -- he worked on Gerald McBoing-Boing in 1951, which won an Oscar for best animated short feature -- and remained so once he began his work with the Peanuts characters, in a seemingly endless progression of TV specials, motion pictures, and commercials. And it's his work on the Peanuts gang which will be best remembered.

He also supplied the voices for Snoopy and Woodstock... often uncredited.

And he was the only guy "Sparky" Schulz trusted with his "children."

(In a related aside... I always liked the concept of people like Chuck Jones, Tex Avery, Bob Clampett, et al, being referred to as cartoon directors...

Director: "Excuse, me, Bugs? Bugs? Ahhh... Mr. Bunny? Yes. Could you stand over... here... and point the shotgun at Daffy?"

Assistant: "Umm... sir? Umm... We don't actually need to tell them what to do. They're just paint on cels. We can just draw them doing whatever the hell we want them to do... ")

One more thing: In the past three days, I've posted three tributes to deceased celebrities: Bill Melendez, Jerry Reed, and Don LaFontaine. But don't give me any of that "rule of threes" crap. The way this week's been going, I have an uncomfortable feeling that some fourth celeb is gonna drop dead, too, and soon. And he or she will probably be followed in short order by a fifth, and maybe even a sixth.

Not that I'm looking forward to any of it.

Thanks for your time.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Jerry Reed, 1937-2008, R.I.P.

I don't really have much to write about Jerry Reed, who died on August 31st. I guess his main appeal for me was that he seemed to be one of those show business people who never took himself too seriously. And that observation applies to many of his songs -- "Amos Moses," "The Preacher and the Bear," "She Got the Goldmine (I Got the Shaft"), etc. -- as well as several of his acting roles. And by "never [taking] himself too seriously," I'm not disparaging his talent. I just mean that he seemed to have a lot of fun doing whatever it was that he was doing at any given time.

(And, in the "David Loves the Internet" category, I just learned that Jerry wrote the Gene Vincent tune "Crazy Legs," as well as my own personal favorite Brenda Lee song, "That's All You Got to Do." Cool.)

There are also several memories tied up with my 1973 "discovery" of his 1972 LP, "Hot A'Mighty." At the time, I was dating my very first girlfriend, Becky, who was originally from Nashville, Tennessee. Some songs from that album had an obvious connection, like -- duh -- "Nashville Woman," while others, such as "I'm Not Playing Games" and "You Took All the Ramblin' Out of Me," related to my situation as well, because, as you all know, a boy's first love is naturally the one that's going to last forever... *ahem*

Or six months... whichever comes first...

"Hot A'Mighty" also includes an interesting arrangement of the classic "Sixteen Tons," by the way.

And finally... All of the above is more than enough for me to forgive him for his 1972 appearance in "The New Scooby-Doo Movies." Just sayin'.

Thanks for your time.

Don LaFontaine, 1940-2008, R.I.P.


In her stand-up act, Janeane Garofalo sometimes does the following brief routine. She introduces it by saying -- I'm paraphrasing, here -- "This is every movie trailer," and then says three more words:


"In a world... "

How'd you like to be able to say that you were the very first guy who said it during your own voiceover for a movie trailer over a zillion years ago, and that you'd said it a zillion more times than you could count since then, and that a zillion other guys have copied it and the way you said it... ?

Don LaFontaine could say all of the above. (Although there is some controversy over whether the "In a world" line originated with Don, or Hal Douglas...)

Unless you (like myself) live -- and the pun is absolutely unavoidable! -- in a world where names like Paul Frees, June Foray, Maurice LaMarche, Dick Beals, and Daws Butler are familiar to you, you may not have ever heard Don LaFontaine's name. But you knew his voice if you ever sat through the "coming attractions" at the cinema, while waiting for the main feature to start.

Don LaFontaine died yesterday at the age of 68. And even with those aforementioned "zillion other guys" still around, willing to steal his voiceover style, he'll be missed by those with a discerning ear, and a respect for the original talents in the entertainment field.

Thanks for your time.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Treading Water While Debating a Brand New Project

To all those who've sent public or private good wishes for my health, it's improving. So... thanks.

I've been debating something lately, and I wanted to share it with you. Here goes:

During the two-and-a-half months that I was posting the various chapters of My Island, several people expressed their sentiments that after My Island's conclusion, I should keep writing similar pieces, either my own true-life experiences, or fictional writings.

(Today's post is for those people, or at least, for those who agree with said "sentiments." If you don't agree, or even if you don't particularly give a fig... You may be excused. No, really. Feel free to leave. I hear they might be discussing Nazis again over at I Ain't No Oprah, as soon they're done with the Gustav Updates.)

Anyway... I tried to interpret all of those comments in a positive way: "My Island... goooood," and not just "RantZ... baaaad," as it were.

However, if I were to forgo my "rantz" and start my so-called "real" writing, there wouldn't be much sense in keeping "David'Z RantZ" as a title. And if I changed the title of my blog to something else, where could I put my future rantz?

(Hey! I heard that, you! Potty mouth!)

In My Island, Diana brought up the fact that I rarely finish lengthy personal projects. And she was right. I completed My Island only because I posted it online, which immediately made people aware of it. I figuratively painted myself into a corner so that I had to finish it in a reasonable time frame.

Some of the greatest novels in history were originally written as serials. One of my favorite novelists, Charles Dickens, worked in this fashion. (And if you don't know who he was, why are you here?) A few years ago, hoping to follow in the great man's footsteps in even a small way, I began serializing a story called Ghost Writer* in a magazine called "Nights and Days." Only two chapters were published before the magazine folded, unfortunately.

Somewhere inside me, I knew that the serial format was the best way to "force" me to finish a story. It certainly worked with My Island. And it would sure seem like it'd work as well for any new projects of mine, too.

(Bear with me. I'm thinking out loud, here... Or at least, whatever you'd call the blogging equivalent of that.)

Depending on the amount of chapters in any given story, I could easily -- "easily" being a relative term -- churn out a book a year. Maybe even more. Hopefully, once each book was completed, I could have it published, and actually make money from it. And I could keep doing that until I'd accumulated enough "F*** You Money" to take me to Aruba, or Ireland, or wherever...

Of course, everything posted on this new blog wouldn't have to be from a proposed novel. There are shorter stories in David's (not David'Z) Vault of Unfinished Ca-Ca, as well.

Anyway, it's a nice idea. And even the longest journey begins with a single step, so they say.

I've toyed with the idea of a second blog before, half-seriously. But this time, I'm completely serious.

This second blog would have a fixed schedule for posts, unlike "David'Z RantZ." One chapter per week. On a Monday, perhaps. I'd have to be on time. And you'd have to be patient between installments. Fair enough?

SO! A second blog? Maybe.

Probably.

I'll let you know soon. Very soon. All I need is a little more motivation. And feedback. And a title. I already have three proposed titles -- "David's Vault of Unfinished Ca-Ca" is emphatically not one of them, by the way -- and I'm even taking suggestions, too, for now...

However, I should warn you that if you suggest something, and I use it, I ain't gonna pay you squat!

Just sayin'.

Thanks for your time... and for whatever else you're giving away for free. (I mean, hey, I just gave you a whole book... !)

*By the way, My Island fans may be interested in knowing that the Ghost Writer story I mentioned above has a prominent female character who is strongly based on "our" very own Patty. Maybe that story could be the first serial on my new blog?

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