July 30th, 2003

Tom Lehrer is Smug

Isn't this just adorable.



The picture's caption, in case reading jpeg artifacts ain't your bag, is this:
View across Connecticut River to Sunderland as seen from Sugarloaf Mountain

And, heartwarmingly enough, the view really hasn't changed much in nearly 50 years -- with the exception of the sewage treatment plant to the right of the bridge span, of course. Luckily good photographers inch it out of the shot whenever they can.

Addendum 1: Though what's this "Sugarloaf Mountain" nonsense? As every Pioneer Valley resident knows, all mountains are named Mount something-or-other. Even Skinner Mountain, suffering from the shame of not fitting in, broke down and became Mount Holyoke.

Addendum 2: Yes, Colorado, I know these aren't really mountains, they're foothills or somesuch nonsense and yes your bazillion-foot peaks are impressive and mountainy indeed. You can go outside and play now.
Tom Lehrer is Smug

Somerville Parking Dept. to Mr. D. Spatchel: "Tain't No Thang, We Still Cool"

I just dodged a $250 bullet in the form of Seven Phantom Parking Tickets.

I knew about four and I knew about them waaaaay after the fact (never saw a single one on my windshield but boy did I get the mailings 30 days later) but I was very polite and called the nice Parking Department man Sir (it is a good rule to be polite to state employees, especially ones who not only have to listen to Really Angry People all the livelong day, but can do magic things with a keyboard and some function keys as well) and he explained to me what the tickets were for and I promised it wouldn't happen again and he removed them from the record. Now it's off to the RMV to say "Hey, renew my registration so I can still drive, and I shall give you this fine ice cream cone. It is chocolate."

And just for the record: I've never heard of anybody else ever getting ticketed for having an old Cambridge parking permit on their car while legally garaged in Somerville, but there you go. (And the old permit's been removed since the beginning of this month so if we get any MORE phantom parking tickets, there will be tur'ble trouble.)
Tom Lehrer is Smug

\m/ RAWK \m/

WE ARE THE BEARS SHUFFLIN CREW
SHUFFLIN ON DOWN, DOIN IT FOR YOU
WE'RE SO BAD WE KNOW WE'RE GOOD
BLOWIN YOUR MIND LIKE YOU KNEW WE WOULD
YOU KNOW WE'RE JUST STRUTTIN FOR FUN
STRUTTIN OUR STUFF FOR EVERYONE
WE'RE NOT HERE TO START NO TROUBLE
WE'RE JUST HERE TO DO THE SUPER BOWL SHUFFLE
YEAH YEAH GO CHUNK GO CHUNK

o wait i meant

YEAH YEAH BEAR DOWN
Tom Lehrer is Smug

ROCK & ROLL HIGH SCHOOL IS THE BEST MOVIE EVER.

               MISS TOGAR
          This is the Rockometer. 

                    COACH STEROID
          Gee!

                    MISS TOGAR
          It is used to measure comparative rock and roll intensity levels.
          Watch the mouse as I turn it on.

MISS TOGAR starts the ROCK-O-METER. It plays "TEENAGE LOBOTOMY" by the RAMONES.

MISS TOGAR begins to increase the volume, sending the ROCK LEVEL up past "MUZAK", "PAT BOONE", 
"DEBBIE BOONIE", "DONNY & MARIE", "KANSAS", "PETER FRAMPTON" and "FOREIGNER".

COACH STEROID and MR. McGREE watch on in horror as the TEST MOUSE and the GLASS CAGE in which 
the mouse is confined begin to SHAKE.

MISS TOGAR smiles and turns the ROCK-O-METER up even louder, past "JETHRO TULL", "LED ZEPPELIN", 
"TED NUGENT", "ROLLING STONES", "THE WHO" and finally, at 300 on the ROCK-O-METER, "THE RAMONES".

The MOUSE EXPLODES.

               MISS TOGAR
            (smiling cruel and gleeful)
          Note the loss of hearing.

Another gem on DVD has been gratefully snatched up for my collection while I am still in the throes of Manic and thus inclined to drop $12 on a cool-ass flick.

Rock & Roll High School is like Midnight Madness but extremely cooler. With the Ramones. And it has PJ Soles who absolutely freakin' adorable. Also adorable is the actress playing Kate Rambeau, the smart one. She's got this proto Jet Girl thing going on and it's driving me crazy, man.

And on the "Holy shit, they really were in movies" tip, we have Clint Howard AND Dick Van Patten's son Vincent OH SWEET MERCIFUL JESUS CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? SOMEBODY OUGHT TO HOSE YOU DOWN AFTER THIS, BOY HOWDY! Oh, and Paul Bartel, which of course is great, though every time he opens his mouth I immediately say "Won't you sit down, Mary Brown?" Mary Woronov represents the Factory too, and she's pretty much brass-balled and funny (Leonard Maltin, in an excruciatingly horrible ass-kiss of an interview, tells Roger Corman that Principal Togar is his favorite character. Corman replies with a completely nonsensical response about how great the film was. Easily the worst part of the DVD extras.) And I recognized The Real Don Steele from the trailer, too. That kicked ass.

Roger Corman, the executive producer and everybody's favorite schlocky film maven, is celebrated in the DVD. I still can't believe it's done without the slightest hint of irony. I like how Joey Ramone just decides to lip-sync when he wants to. I like the subtitles during the concert scene. Just in case you want to sing along or you just can't understand the words. You know. I like the schtick and the silly screenplay. I like when Riff gets high and imagines the Ramones are all around her place singing just for her. (Dee Dee's in the bathtub.) And I love the way the movie aaaaalmost just holds up over 20 years.

RIFF: "I want one hundred of your best Ramones tickets, please!"
TICKET GUY: "That'll be one thousand dollars!"

The cheery campy punk image is a hilarious one, and in its innocent simplicity -- devoid of nihilism, violence, extreme drug abuse or angsty wasted youth -- boils right down just to "kids just want to rock and roll! Yay!" It's kinda funny. But right now, it's just about the right kind of thing I wanna see.

(Plus Clint Howard gets to make out with an inflatable doll. Really, how can you go wrong?)