Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Moby Dick (1956)

I was reading a review of Jay Parini's - 'The Passages of H.M.' about the author Herman Melville and read that the author was "a lousy husband, a bullying father, a egomaniac - a Moby-sized dick - but he was also tortured, brilliant and sexually confused." That sounded alot like his most famous creation, Captain Ahab from the novel, 'Moby Dick'.

I know this will come a shock to many of you (since I am such a lover of the sea and it's tales) but I have never seen the movie 'Moby Dick'. Like a lot of people, I tried to get through the book when I was a teen but it was a slog. Too much stuff about the minutia of whale hunting. I hoped the movie would get right to the good stuff.

Gregory Peck is of course Captain Ahab and Richard Baseheart is Ishmael, the one whose eyes we see the story through - him and the sailors of the Pequod who have the misfortune of being between Ahab and his white whale. The mythical sperm whale maimed Ahab on an earlier voyage, we are told, and now Ahab has only one thought - revenge.

The story is heavy with allegory about obsession and the hell that it can drive men to. It addresses issues of god and revenge, individualism vs the common good. In fact any of the great questions of man can be found within the pages of the book.

The great director John Huston made this picture as he has an eye for great sweeping vistas that he showcased so well in his movies about Calvary men and their battles with the Indians of the old west. Ray Bradbury wrote the screenplay and you can see many themes in the movie found in his own works of fiction - such as the oppression of authority over the common man.

Peck is terrific in this. He brings a religious zeal to his mission that is the kind of pure batshit craziness that you want in a big tale like this. He and everyone else speak in great poetic monologues.

The cinematography and the effects are good for the mid 1950s. You feel what life is like on a whaling vessel. This was dangerous work.

The men go out first in tiny boats to harpoon the whale and then let it pull them until it tires. Often sailors would get thrown from the boats and lost before the whale was ever brought down.

Also, chasing a whale down with only manpower and ores seems like an impossible feat today. It must have been very rewarding to actually bring a whale on board ship. Then, of course, the blubber was boiled down for whale oil that powered the lamps of the world.

The scene in the storm is particularly gripping as men climb the ropes in a fierce gale to take down ripped canvas. I am sure many of the extras playing the roles of ordinary seamen were wetting themselves even from the safety of a studio lot.

Ahab has a map that charts the whale's migratory patterns. With such knowledge he can make a great deal of money for the boat but he is only concerned with finding his white whale. He abandons easy catches to make his appointment with destiny. He cares not for money because the great fish has taken his soul and he will have it back or die in the attempt.

Nothing is more important and it has twisted Ahab and puts him in direct confrontation with his God and faith. Soon, all the problems that befall the ship are blamed on Ahab's perceived blasphemy but only from Starbuck, his first mate. The rest of the crew are hypnotised by the charisma of Ahab and would follow him to the gates of Hell itself. They will get their wish.

One of the great things I noticed is the Ricardo Montaban quotes Melville is his quest for Admiral Kirk in Star Trek 2 - a perfect comparison for Kirk is Khan's 'white whale'. And like Ahab, his quest for vengeance can only end in his death.

Who Do I Make This Banana Out To?

"Jimmy Joe Joe Shabadoo? That's the worst name I ever heard." (Moe Szyslak - Simpsons)

Fuck You Again Lego

You make CHOCOLATE Lego now? Why not just kick me in the balls repeatedly while you are at it? First it's the awesome building sets. Then it's the Legoctopus and now edible Lego. What's next, a Lego Jetpack? I have no doubt that they have one ready to release merely out of SPITE!

Yeh, This Is What I Need

A Cold War era communist built automobile like this 1951 Tatra concept “Valuta”. (Czech Republic, 1959). How many kilometers does it get to a fifth of vodka because you might as well be drunk off your ass if you are gonna be pushing your car all the time.

It's Beautiful!

This is the last bit of holiday spirit that you will get outta me. Enjoy the season, bitches.

She Always Got My Back

Why I Hate Internet Rumors

"I hear The Walking Dead writer/ executive producer/ director Frank Darabont has let go of the writers on the hot freshman AMC series, which has already renewed for a second season. That includes Darabont’s No.2, writing executive producer Charles “Chic” Eglee. Writer turnover on series between seasons is commonplace but wholesale overhauls are unusual. What’s more, I hear Darabont is looking to forgo having a writing staff for the second season of Walking Dead altogether and assign scripts to freelancers."

I hate the Internet for this reason. Hearing stuff like this makes me go all homicidal if they are even a little bit true. All I have to say about this one is, "Frank, if you fuck this one up....you might just become one of the dead undead. Do we understand each other? And how about a little loyalty to the boys and girls that got you to this place where you even have a season 2?"

Meow Mix

I Don't Have My Jet Pack Yet Either

I want my chuck wagon bed. Where is my chuck wagon bed? I didn't have a car bed or a hamburger bed - just a worn out mattress on a cold stone floor and stitched together potato sacks for bedding (when hay wasn't available).


Big Fan

"I can't give color commentary anymore. I made 'Boom Boom' in my jumper after that last goal."

A Fine Frenzy - Blow Away

I have posted this song before but it's a pretty cool video. The lead singer is beyond adorable and is that underground cartoonist R. Crumb (wearing the wizard hat) near the end of the video?


I make no secret for my love of 'Fringe'. The cast is pitch perfect and I finally can forgive Joshua Jackson for the work he did on 'Dawson's Bleak Creek'. John Noble is unforgettable and Ana Torv is right up next to Milla Jovovich in the 'kick-ass female action hero' department.

This season has been great with Olivia finding herself trapped in the other dimension and forced to find a way to get herself home. Along the way she builds allies on the other side (chief amoung them the AWESOME Lance Reddick as Agent Broyles) and foils the dangerous schemes of 'Walternate' (John Noble).

If you have no idea what I am talking about then you are missing out AGAIN on one of he truly great genre shows to ever be on TV. It's so good that I am nervous that FOX will cancel it this year.

If any show is an example of the 'new' way that people watch TV it's this one. It may lose to other shows by old fashioned network TV watchers but it is number one with those who DVR or download episodes from the net. These Internet savvy viewers prefer this program without commercials and it gets more repeat viewing than any other program by a wide margin. It argues for the need for a new way to evaluate viewership of TV and that re-evaluation may be the only thing that saves it.

Check out the epic trailer for this week's episode. I peed my pants just a little from all the 'squeeeeee' it generated inside me.

Steampunk Batman Posters


From The Fashion Files Of The Cave Of Cool

That is some bad ass hoodie you got working there, Comrade. And since you asked, "No, I do not find your 'bling' to be extreme. Hate the game not the playa I always say." Sometimes a brother just gotta represent. Ya catch what I am saying there? I know that you do. It wouldn't surprise me to know that he is wearing those M.C. Hammer camel/genie pants underneath that robe because you got be able to stop, drop and call... "HammerTime".

Did I Say It Or Did I Say It

Burlesque has a 34% rating on 'Rotten Tomatoes'. Color me surprised. I hear we have the makings of another 'Showgirls/Glitter' on our hands just like I had hoped.

Sorry Christina - even with the lowest possible expectations you still showed the world what talent you had and it wasn't very much at all. If only there was a word, a German word for what I am feeling right now - a word that describes the joy I am taking from your failure, Christina.

I am sorry that you had to drag poor Kristen Bell down to the gutter with you because HER, I find appealing.

Here are what some of the critics are saying. Of course I only picked the juiciest barbs to accentuate my point:

"The movie is an affront to all things screenwriting; a package of empty envelopes at the cliche factory that actually should have every cliche filing a class action lawsuit to stop the film from using their likeness."

"It's epically contrived and, like some kind of gay Avatar, completely weightless underneath all the surface sheen."

"For what it's worth, it's probably the best 2-star movie of 2010 -- and if that's a prime example of damning with faint praise, it's nevertheless the best I can muster."

"You know how movie stars lie and say they never see their own films? The hilariously bad Burlesque would be a great opportunity to actually follow through on that."

It's A Postal Abomination

Since the age of emails and texting, the octopus are the ONLY ones who still communicate by snail mail - well them and prisoners. Who even buys stamps anymore? If it wasn't for EBAY purchases and the parcels they generate there would be no use for a post office at all. Think of all the workplace shootings that would reduce.

Ice Sculpture

For my next formal buffet dinner I will get me an ice sculpture like this. Maybe not Transformers but definately TALOS from 'Jason and the Argonauts'.

When I was a kid they had a Winter Carnival every February on the military base. Everyone would make a snow sculpture in their front yards. This was before the time when everyone was a sand or snow 'artiste' so you actually had a chance to win in either the kid or family catagories.

I wish we had all those great 'Calvin and Hobbes' snowmen for inspiration back then. I really did live in a much simpler and colder time. It was magical.

Hardest Working Girl In Showbiz

Cool Desks

These are some great desk designs. Follow the link below to see more.