Friday, March 10, 2006

Cool Toy Of The Week: Cool Toys On TV

In a departure this week, instead of bringing you a cool toy, we're going to point you to a TV show about all kinds of cool toys. Cable channel VH1 presents I Love Toys a countdown of the top 100 toys as voted on by the sort of people who go to the VH1 website.

It's not a bad list. There are a few glaring omissions, and a few questionable picks. The number one toy is remarkably lame, but most of the rest are decent picks. I Love Toys is a fun rundown of cool toys, with just the right mix of nostalgia and hipster cynicism. The commentary ranges from strange to funny, which is perfectly appropriate for this topic.

VH1 has been running this five-episode series in a strange manner all week. On Monday, they showed the first episode, which presented the toys numbered 100 to 81. Tuesday, they re-ran that show, followed by the second episode. Wednesday, the pattern continued as they re-ran both previous episodes before they premiered episode three. So Friday, starting at 5:30 PM, you could watch the entire series, leading up to the premiere of the final show in the series, which told us the top 20 toys.

Of course, with this being VH1, you can be sure that they'll only show this series five or six hundred more times in the coming months. The entire series will be shown again on both Saturday and Sunday afternoon, this weekend.

Online, you can check out the entire list of 100 toys, and if you have fully functional broadband, you can watch video clips of the toys that didn't make the list, as well as out-takes and additional smarmy comments. I Love Toys is a fun diversion, and might bring back a lot of memories.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Fun with Video

Now that the Gazz Blogs are adding new video features, I thought I'd share some video of something my brother worked on......



Visit Frank's site and tell him how much you enjoyed his delightful little children's cartoon!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Tuesday Morning Notes:Vagina Monologues, Rat Finks, Proud Uncle and more

Lots of stuff to note this week, but first, have some art:


"The Rails West, Out Of Dunbar"
Digitally Assaulted Photograph

February 2006

Click the picture to enlarge to full size.






A Night At The Vagina: Last night, The Samaritan Players, in conjunction with Kanawha Players, presented a performance of Eve Ensler's "The Vagina Monologues" with all proceeds going to the Worldwide V-Day Fund to stop violence against women. Competition was fierce, with "Thoroughly Modern Millie" at the Clay Center, and The Third House at the Cultural Center.

I always thought it would be cool to attend a performance of the Vagina Monologues dressed in full Confederate Colonel gear. Then, halfway through the show, I'd stand up, loudly proclaim, "I have been sitting here for this entire show, and I have yet to hear ONE WORD about the great state of Virginia!" And then I'd storm out. I also think it'd be funny to ride a horse into a Bridal shop.

Grace Under Investigation: Nancy Grace, the host of three hours of cable TV each day on Court TV and CNN Headline News , tells a remarkable story about how, after the murder of her fiancee, she became a prosecutor, and eventually a crusading television reporter on the legal beat. According to a report at the New York Observer, the most remarkable thing about her story is that it's not entirely true.

Background Tune of the week: "The Tide Is Turning" by Roger Waters, from his 1987 album, Radio KAOS. This song, inspired by Live Aid, could be a nice theme song for what seems to be the reawakening of common sense in America.

Just wondering: After the end of King Kong, how long did the street outside the Empire State Building smell like dead monkey?

Bonus cool toy: I've mentioned the Official G.I. Joe Collector's Club before, but something new has been added. If you join up, and are a member of the club in good standing by March 15, you will get a cool one-of-a-kind action figure, the "Foreign Adventurer"(seen at right) .This 12" tall figure is comprised of a reproduction of the Vintage GI Joe body, with the rare "Foreign" head that was only used on a few figures in 1966. For the first time ever, this head will have flocked, "fuzzy," hair and beard, like the Adventure Team GI Joes of the 1970s had. You can read more about the Foreign Adventurer, and some nifty extras you can order to go along with him here, and you can join the Official G.I. Joe Collector's Club for the annual fee of $36 by calling 817-448-9863. You have to join up by the 15th in order to get this cool figure.

WWE Programming Conflict: WWE returns to NBC in a big way on March 12, with a prime-time edition of Saturday Night's Main Event. The problem for local viewers is that WHCP shows the WWE's Friday Night Smackdown! on Saturday Nights at 8 p.m. That's the same time that NBC is showing their WWE special. On top of that, events will happen on that week's episode of Smackdown! that will set up matches on Saturday Night's Main Event. Maybe, even if it's just for one week, WHCP could move Smackdown! to a 10 p.m. Friday night timeslot, to avoid putting the shows on opposite each other. It's not like they have a newscast to worry about anymore.

Speaking of WHCP: The latest rumor, innuendo, and scuttlebutt in the Charleston broadcasting community is that WHCP's owner, Charles Harker, played the group of Charleston-based investors in the WB30 Newscast like a cheap violin. He needed their investment to upgrade his transmitter, so this story goes. WHCP's broadcast signal was so poor that they couldn't meet the minimum standards to be picked up as a local channel by Direct TV. According to the new local legend, part of the deal that brought the newscast to the airwaves also involved upgrading the WHCP transmitter on the news division's dime. The old transmitter was apparently powered by rubber bands and old Erector Set motors. Once the new transmitter was installed and the signal was strong enough to be picked up by Direct TV, the news division was essentially kicked to the curb. Promises were broken and everything possible was done to encourage the dissolution of the partnership. This is the story going around the other TV stations in town, but nobody directly involved will comment on it. At least not to me. For some reason they don't seem to like me much. What's odd is the way the Portsmouth crowd has taken to using Reader's Voice, Vent Lines, and goofy names in the comments of this blog to spin their side of the story. A word of advice guys: Mocking people for expecting the health insurance that they were promised in their contracts is not going to be a winning issue.

A Blog for You: Bubblegum Fink is THE blog for people obsessed with both Bubblegum music of the '60s and '70s, and Hot Rod icons like Rat Fink and Ed "Big Daddy" Roth. If you know who Ron Dante is, then this is the site for you! This frequently-updated page brings forth lots of blasts from the past of the late-period baby boomers and fans of slick pop music and gnarly Car-toons. You'll find old album covers by The Catanooga Cats and The Partridge Family, vintage artwork from the hot rod/surf rod/Juxtapoz crowd and links to places where you can find CD re-releases of the classic bubblegum music masterpieces. Poke through the archives for more 70's era coolness like covers of Dynamite Magazine, and Gold Key Star Trek comic books, and strange appearances by the likes of Frankenberry. It's a little taste of heaven for children of the 70s.

Shameless self-promotion: As I have mentioned in the past, aside from my duties here at PopCult, I also write articles that appear in Non Sport Update, a magazine devoted to non-sport trading cards. In the most recent issue, I wrote a piece on trading cards based on the TV show Veronica Mars. You can read it online, for the next week or so, here.

A Personal Note: Just in case this blog doesn't get updated as much as usual this week, it's because I'm helping out with my new nephew. William Franklin Margolis arrived March 4, 2006 at 5:30 a.m.. Baby, Mother, and Father, are all doing fine. Uncle is pretty happy, too.