Archive for September 2008
Paul Newman: 1925-2008
Great actor, even better guy. We'd heard this was coming, but still so sad.
Growing up, Paul Newman was one of a pair of actors of whom I was most aware. Both about the same age, they're gone the same year, only a few months apart. I drew Heston when he died in April.
I'll post another Newman drawing, and a list of my favorites of his movies, as soon as I'm able.
Another Awesome Deadwood Cast
Continuing yesterday's schtick, here's an alternate take to the perfect cast of Deadwood, thanks to suggestions by my pal, Alex Grecian:
Seriously, I can't decide which I like better. Dom Wu has to be in either way, right?
The Ultimate Deadwood CastMy pal, Alex and I were talking about the Emmys, which we barely paid any attention to, but were pleased that a couple of our favorite current shows, Madmen and 30 Rock received the top awards for drama and comedy, respectively. That's good news, not only to see quality rewarded, but for extra exposure to shows that need larger audiences to survive. So, if you're not already, please watch! The flip side, of course, is when certain actors get nominated that make you think of the old Sesame Street song and game, "One of these things is not like the other...." Somehow, that lead us to imagining a different cast for HBO's Deadwood, a list which I've expanded and present to you now, complete with graphics. Perhaps with an altered cast, Deadwood may have lasted beyond it's truncated three seasons. The original cast is on the left, the new, improved cast on the right: Much better! Just imagine these actors in your favorite Deadwood scenes. Now, that's a show I'd watch! Here's a larger version of the ultimate Deadwood cast:
Jerry Reed and Amos Moses
I'd guess most folks knew him best for the Smokey and the Bandit song, East Bound and Down, or for being a member of Burt Reynolds' entourage, along with Dom Deloise. Those three were ubiquitous in the late '70s and into the '80s, always showing up on talk and variety shows, goofing off and yukkin' it up. But Jerry Reed wrote songs and played guitar for Elvis, had a long career and some quirky hits of his own. Man, could he play a mean guitar, and what a character!
Check out this duet with Chet Atkins, for whom he wrote many tunes:
I love the banter during the song, that goofy hat he's wearing, and how he puts it on Atkin's guitar and looks away at the end. His playing isn't perfect here, not being as technically proficient as Chet, but this is a real moment, authentic and their personalities come through. He wrote and recorded tons of songs over decades, with a style and approach all his own, but had more than a little in common with other writers such as predecessor Roger Miller, and contemporaries Jim Stafford and Hoyt Axton. And while he could really play, write ballads that tug at the heart, what I remember him him for most are novelty songs such as When You're Hot, You're Hot, She Got the Goldmine (I Got the Shaft), and my favorite, Amos Moses, a funky cajun-rock-country hybrid:Mark Martin and I became friends. He not only wrote, drew and published his own Batman parody comic book called GnatRat, but also did a regular strip in weekly newspaper, The Comics Buyer's Guide. You never knew what would appear in Mark's 20 Nude Dancers 20, but one week I was cracking up at the strip/faux ad wherein Mark portayed himself as a famous and great singer, offering to personally sing you your favorite tune over the phone for a measly $5. In the list of suggestions was Amos Moses, and going along with the joke, popped my $5 of Monopoly money in the mail the next day and promptly forgot about it. But true to his word, Mark called one night shortly after, jumping right into a sterling rendition of Amos Moses, and I've rarely heard anything as funny! He recalled the lyrics far better than I had, and really did Jerry Reed proud. Good ol' Mark, still a great cartoonist and funny guy. But not a race-car driver. Stop by Mark's site and say hey.
Cubs 2008: Division Champs...again!Cubs were division champs last season, but man, is it fun for this old Cubs fan to see them dominate and clinch handily this year. This is just the first step if they're to win their first World Series in exactly 100 years, but the team and their fans certainly deserve to celebrate a bit before the playoffs begin. Growing up in Chicago, I saw plenty of Cubs games on WGN, and made tons of trips to Wrigley Field with my Mom, brothers and Grampa. In the early '70s, a grandstand seat was only $4, a far cry from the prices today, especially at Wrigley, especially this year. It's a shame it costs so much to get a seat nowadays, but there's nothing like a game outdoors at that old ballpark -- the sights and sounds an smell...fun! Over the years, all that has brought people out to the field, even when the Cubs weren't at all good. They were no good by the time I started paying attention and watching games, collecting baseball cards. While sorting my cards and checking stats, I was drawn to Johnny Bench and the Big Red Machine of Cincinnati, but always rooted for the Cubs (except when they were playing the Reds, or course). It was fun to follow a winner during the '70s, but the Reds as a team haven't done much for me since, and even living in Minnesota now, it's the Cubs who make me giddy as each season approaches. That Cubby Blue is in my veins, it seems. This Spring, it was a cinch to see they were gonna be good, so I ponied up the dough and got the baseball season cable package. One of the many advantages to working at home is to be able to watch or listen to anything you want while you work. So, I haven't missed many games all year, and was able to know the team inside out, track their ups and downs (mostly ups) and enjoy the big moments. One forms a special bond with a team, being able to follow them so religiously you get to know the strengths and weaknesses and get in the groove, ride the rhythm with the team. Once they get to the playoffs, that all makes it even more fun to watch. Now, anything can happen in the post-season (that's a bruised and cautious Cubs fan talking), but this team seems to be something special. They have no real weak spots, with great starting pitching, a more than solid bullpen, and a Cinderella story with a rehabilitated Kerry Wood in his first year as the closer. They're a deep team, with all players throughout the roster contributing all season. In tonight's win over the Mets, pitcher Jason Marquis hit a grand slam while pitching seven solid innings. They can strike an opponent at any time from many angles. I sure will be disppointed if they don't make it to the Series -- 'cause they should. And I hope they win it all. It would be quite a capper to an already magical season...and to the 100-year drought. Go Cubs!
Batman On My FaceIt was such a gorgeous day out Saturday, the Blue Moon Crew stopped by the local Plymouth Autumn Art Fair. Lotsa folks were displaying their wares: paintings, hand-made jewelry, woodwork, etc. With fun food, live music on a nice little lake, it was a pleasant time. We're thinking we might try and get a spot next year to display and sell paintings, books, figurines and cookies. Our girls and their friend had their faces painted:
Friend Ashley, and our daughters, Laura and Emily
Oh, yeah, and Emily got a balloon hat, too. Laura's butterfly was really beautifully done:
If you want to jazz up an event you're planning near the Twin Cities, give the nice ladies at Fantastic Faces a call at 952-368-4488. They'll even paint on grizzled, unshaven adult faces: