sneak preview

May 22nd, 2005  |  Published in old and busted

I did a lot of fiddling with the design over on PuddingTime! today. pk dropped me some ideas he wanted (3 columns, the return of a few features, tweaks to bylines, new logo), so I did ’em. You can preview the 3 column index right now. Bug reports welcome unless you’re using an old browser or some bizarre 800×600 display. I’ll be providing a “classic” view for people with old and busted software.

Still some changes to make to odd pages on the inside (comment preview, some of the archive pages).

Tomorrow is (finally) “Revenge of the Sith” day for me. I’m going to an early showing (9:10 a.m.) in hopes of beating any crowds that might be left.

Al and I started to watch the 1979 version of “Salem’s Lot”, expanded to 184 minutes. We’re somewhere in the first 90, and I don’t know if I have the will to finish.

People hail it as a classic, and from the point of view of just how elaborate it is for a made-for-tv production, I guess I see their point. It takes a wonderful amount of time setting everything up, so I’m sure fans of the book who sat down with the movie unreconciled to the inevitable cuts a screen adaptation requires felt well served.

The problems are really 75 percent technical: All the nighttime low-light scenes are shot in that horrible ’70s television version of “night,” which is pretty much “daytime on the shady side of a barn.” There are some unintentionally comic special effects. Some of the actors are distractingly awful, and the cast’s notion of a New England accent is mutable, with the accent they’re all not agreeing on occasionally departing one actor and inhabiting another depending on the scene.

It’s not hard to see why Tobe Hooper was attracted to the project. Stephen King’s “product placement” or “domestic realism” horror ran parallel to similar developments in Hollywood. You see it in full bloom in “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” and Hooper was fully on board by the time he did “Poltergeist,” (which Spielberg wrote, produced, and edited). He just deserved a little more to work with than the video technology of the time and network budgets could give him.

And it’s not possible to see anything with Fred Willard in it without imagining him saying “He jumped on her like she was made of ham!”

Tie My Shoelaces Together?

“What are they gonna do? Bend my dogtags?”

That’s army-speak for “I’m not afraid of any consequences I might suffer for this action because the matter is too trivial to warrant punishment of any sort.”

I miss that one. I spent a few minutes trying to think of suitable civilian alternatives. “Notch my driver’s license?” or maybe “tell my insurance company?” or perhaps “blog about me?”


Sitting here and listening to the archived version of Wednesday’s Fresh Air, I find myself amazed and re-amazed at guest D. James Kennedy’s capacity to engage in some of the most ham-handed and foolish evasion I’ve ever heard, then turn on a dime and sneer condescendingly when he’s treated like the sophist he is.

I think Terry’s came minorly unhinged. I don’t think she realized that he’s on to the fact she’s a servant of Satan.

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