Monday various

Thursday various

  • Following up on yesterday’s revelation that Michael Palin didn’t like A Fish Called Wanda when he first read the script, here’s a letter sent by a “comedy script editor” to the BBC, calling Fawlty Towers — incidentally named the all-time top British television program by the BFI in 2000 — “[a] collection of cliches and stock characters which I can’t see being anything but a disaster.”
  • Following up on the Wonder Woman post on Monday, here’s two more dissenting views.
  • This I Write Like meme is getting torn apart all over the place, notably here [via] and here [via]

    I’d post my own results, but they change with every different piece of text I have “analyzed,” and none seem remotely accurate — a weird mix of ego-stroking and insult.

  • And that’s one way to ensure fewer comments… [via]
  • And finally, Zombies: The Kid Vector:

    Here’s somethin they don’t tell you, but you better listen good if you want to survive out there: It’s the kids you gotta watch out for. They stay in the shadows, in the dark. When you see ’em, they don’t run right at you like the big ones, they stay back, let you come in closer. You think you’re rescuin a kid, you get in close and BAM! The dead brat goes for your throat or face, workin for a quick kill.

Wednesday various

  • Patton Oswalt on the joy of failure:

    I never want to get to a point where I feel like I’m done. Or like I got it. You always want to have that, “Oh shit, this wall just collapsed, and there’s a whole room behind it to explore.”

    I posted a quote from the interview just the other day, but I think the whole thing’s worth checking out, even if you’re not immediately familiar with Oswalt’s comedy or acting. I also like what he says about the internet:

    We haven’t seen it yet, but there’s going to be a generation that comes up where the new trend will be complete anonymity. It’ll be cool to have never posted anything online, never commented, never opened a webpage or a MySpace, never Twittered. I think everyone in the future is going to be allowed to be obscure for 15 minutes. You’ll have 15 minutes where no one is watching you, and then you’ll be shoved back onto your reality show. I think Andy Warhol got it wrong.

    I’ve read mixed reviews of Oswalt’s new movie, Big Fan, but I’ve heard a couple of really intelligent interviews with him and director Robert D. Siegel, so I’m eager to check it out.

  • Fox rebooting Fantastic Four. This seems to be the new thinking in Hollywood: if your last attempt was a financial or critical failure — and the 2007 Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer movie was arguably a little of both — don’t even wait, just re-boot the whole thing. Studios used to wait a respectable few years, time enough to slink away and let the shame and stink of failure dissipate, but that’s happening less and less. Eight years separate the abject failure of Joel Schumacher’s Batman & Robin and Christopher Nolan’s reboot of the franchise with Batman Begins, for instance, while only five years separate Ang Lee’s Hulk and Edward Norton’s (not so incredible) version. The gap is narrowing — and with the recently proposed Battlestar Galatica re-reboot and this Fantastic Four news, the gap seems to be disappearing altogether. As Gerry Canavan jokes, “In the future franchises will be rebooted before the first film even comes out.”

    Still, I guess one way of looking at this is that Hollywood is now committed to remaking movie franchises over and over again, no matter how many times it takes, until, finally, they don’t suck.

    Although, as the AV Club points out, this may just be fallout from the recent Disney acquisition of Marvel:

    Before Marvel settled down with Disney, it had tumultuous affairs with several other studios. With Sony, for instance, it had a baby called the Spider-Man series. And Marvel’s time with Fox produced several offspring, including film series based around the X-Men, Daredevil, and the Fantastic Four. By the terms of that arrangement, Fox has the rights to make movies around those characters (plus Fantastic Four hanger-on the Silver Surfer) in perpetuity so long as it doesn’t stop making them.

    This too-soon reboot, then, might not go anywhere or even be expected to go anywhere. It may just be a ploy to hold on to some rights that would otherwise revert to the Mouse.

  • Speaking of the Disney/Marvel merger, while I think it’s too soon to know for sure what (if anything) this will mean for the future of Marvel, I tend to agree with Mark Evanier’s take:

    This isn’t about publishing. Disney didn’t say, “Gee, it would be great to own a comic book company!” They could have started fifty comic book companies for four billion clams. This is about characters and properties which can be exploited in many forms. The publishing of comic books may or may not always be one of them…..[T]he future of Spider-Man has very little to do with the Spider-Man comic book. That hasn’t mattered for a long time.

    And while I tried my own hand at some Marvel/Disney mashups two days ago, I think I prefer these more artistic ones. [via]

  • I worry that some future journalism students will see this story and wonder, “what’s the big deal with paying your sources?” [via]
  • And finally, some terrific photographs of the same spots in New York City, composited into a single shot based on similarity. It’s a neat trick. [via]

A magical mystery tour de force?

So I don’t know what you did all day, but I spent way too much time coming up with fake Beatles facts over on my Twitter account, when I wasn’t working on a student counseling book or attending presentations on magazine publishing. (I hate to jinx myself, but so far this week has bucked a recent trend of very busy Tuesdays and Wednesdays.) Anyway, I don’t usually repost Twitter content here, except in the ever-changing feed in the sidebar, but I got a kick out of writing these and actually think some of them are pretty funny. Your mileage may vary. Here they are:

Contrary to popular belief, and mainly for tax reasons, the bulk of “Yellow Submarine” was not recorded underwater.

“Ringo Starr” is an anagram for “Tsar Nirrog,” betraying the drummer’s shared Russian and Middle-Earthian parentage.

“Fixing a Hole” was inspired by McCartney’s lifelong love of archeology. He was, in fact, later the model for Indiana Jones.

The Beatles were originally known as the Quarrymen, due to their original job as the house band on Tom Baker’s Doctor Who.

Often misquoted as saying “we’re more popular than cheeses now,” Lennon was referring only to Gouda and Gruyère specifically.

Beatlemania is a legitimate psychological condition recognized by the DSM-IV in 1994. There is no known therapeutic cure.

To honor the song of the same name, Liverpool celebrates “eight days a week,” disrupting calendars and the tourist trade both.

“Yo mama” jokes trace their lineage back to the Lennon/McCartney song “Your Mother Should Know.”

John Lennon is, in fact, not a walrus.

In his later years, Ringo Starr would withdraw from recording and society, changing his name to Yusuf Starkey.

The Beatles have yet to release songs to iTunes, still upset about the time Steve Jobs introduced them to marijuana in 1964.

Ringo Starr does indeed have blisters on his fingers, and wanders the English countryside showing them to any who care to see.

“Strawberry Fields Forever” was actually a taunt at the notoriously strawberry-phobic Ringo, who refused to drum on the song.

The Beatles first performed at the Cavern Club, which is where John Lennon took up his life-long passion for spelunking.

Ringo’s dreams of being the first Beatle in space were dashed when Pete Best was launched by the Soviets aboard Sputnik II.

Ed Sullivan first booked the Beatles on his show under the mistaken impression that they were the Flying Wallendas.

Fermat’s Last Theorem, predicting how many holes it takes to fill the Albert Hall, was finally solved in 1968 by the Beatles.

The Beatles madly loved the Beach Boys’ album Pet Sounds, mistakenly believing that Brian Wilson’s pet dog had played bass.

Though now long forgotten, the real Sgt. Pepper fought valiantly in the War of 1812 and was later knighted by Queen Victoria.

Maxwell’s Silver Hammer is now on display in the Smithsonian, although some conspiracy theorists claim it is a fake.

The Beatles were known for being technologically adept in the studio. On Let it Be, for example, Paul was replaced by a robot.

“Everybody’s Got Something to Hide Except Me and My Monkey”? Not so fast. John Lennon’s monkey was a notorious tax cheat.

“Hey Jude” was a sly tribute to American comedienne and accordionist Judy Tenuta. Ringo was allegedly a fan.

Charles Manson found inspiration in “Helter Skelter,” but Ringo’s own “Octopus’s Garden”-style murder rampage went unremarked.

Mr. Kite has actually not benefited at all from the Beatles, despite years of painful contract and royalty arbitration.

“Mean Mr. Mustard” would be the Beatles’ first and only commercial jingle, a failed attempt to market Grey Poupon to teens.

I don’t know if I amused more than annoyed my Twitter followers with these today, but I had fun with them.