pulling some strings

Emily of Wheels on the Bus sent out an unusual plea, having recently gone to see Puppetolio, an LA-area puppet theater that is closing its doors this weekend unless they manage to…um…pull a few strings:

If you know anyone who lives in L.A., anyone in the media, anyone who loves puppets, anyone who reads blogs, anyone who cares about the arts, then you know someone who will find this of interest and might be able to help.

I’m not around L.A., but I do care about the arts, and children’s entertainment, and I hate to see such a time-honored tradition dying out. So, if you can, go see what Emily has to say. And if you can, pull a few strings to help out the puppeteer in his plight.

But first, I’m putting on ashow of my own with this ThThTh¹ list o’ puppets.

  • Punch and Judy: traditional English puppet theatre, typically performed in a booth-type stage.
  • Pinocchio: a famous wooden puppet of fiction and film who comes to life.
  • punch-bw-puppet

  • Muppets: a range of mostly cloth and plush puppets, originally created by Jim Henson.
  • puppet: an expression for a person or entity whose actions are covertly dictated by some other person or entity. Political figures are sometimes disparagingly called puppets.
  • the_godfather

  • The Godfather: The poster for the 1972 movie shows a hand holding the string controls for a marionette, alluding to the “puppet master” status of a mafia boss
  • “The Lonely Goatherd”: A scene from The Sound of Music (1965) in which an elaborate puppet show is performed
  • “Puppet Man”: A song performed (separately http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=12771 ) in the early 1970s by The 5th Dimension Tom Jones. Here’s the Tom Jones version:

    Baby, Baby, I’m your sweet pet
    I’m just your personal marionette
    Wind me up and let me go
    Don’t you know I’m a one man show?
    Raise your finger and I’ll perform
    I’ll crack a jack till’ the crack a dawn
    If you wanna see me do my thing, baby pull my string

  • “Puppets”: a song by Depeche Mode from their first album, Speak and Spell. (YouTube vid)

    And I don’t think you understand
    What I’m trying to say
    I’ll be your operator baby
    I’m in control

  • The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre: What can I say? They are sock puppets. Who sing in falsetto voices. With Scottish accents. Watch their latest video, “Back in E.D.I.N. BRAW“:
  • Lamb Chop: a sheep sock puppet operated by comedian Shari Lewis.
  • Bob from the TV show Soap.
    A ventriloquist’s dummy operated by Chuck, but a character in his own right. (Watch a scene with Bob here)
  • Mr. Hat: Mr. Garrison’s puppet from the show South Park
  • The Puppet Show: an episode from Buffy the Vampire Slayer involving a ventriloquist’s dummy.
  • Puppetmaster (1989) A horror movie with puppets that come to life.
  • Being John Malkovich (1999) John Cusack plays a puppeteer, and puppeteering features prominently in the plot. The movie also boasts a gigantic Emily Dickinson marionette.


¹ It’s been a while since I put up my last Themed Things Thursday² post. (Has it really not been since April? Craziness. I’ve drafted probably a good dozen or so lists, but haven’t quite gotten any together and ready to post.)

² Yes, I know it’s Friday. Don’t quibble with me. I’m tired.

Image sources: Godfather poster, Punch puppet, Pinnochio from Ginn and Company The Common School Catalogue (Boston: Ginn & Company Publishers, 1906) 40 via etc and puppet show from Harper’s New Monthly Magazine (New York: Harper and Brothers Publshers, 1871) XLII:831 via etc.

Channel V

Dee of On The Curb has posted a playlist of some of her favorite “vagina music,” with her post entitled exceeding my bandwith on the word vagina.¹ (You should go check out Dee’s blog, by the way. In case you haven’t guessed it, she’s freakin’ hilarious.)

Dee doesn’t quite give a definition of “vagina music,” but she gives quite a few examples. If I had to summarize, I’d say that the songs are ones that move her down to her…um…core, and tap into her emotions. And perhaps also those that remind her that she is biologically female.

Further, Dee has requested comparable lists from others. In her words, “I show you mine, you show me yours.”

Okay, Dee. I’ll show you mine. While I’ve never thought of this music in quite those terms², this is my response playlist:

  1. Save Me – Aimee Mann (listen)
  2. Thief – Belly (listen)
  3. Lucky – Bif Naked (listen)
  4. Bulimic Beats – Catatonia (listen)
  5. No Need To Argue – The Cranberries (listen)
  6. Virgin State Of Mind – K’s Choice (listen)
  7. Autumngirlsoup – Kirsty MacColl (listen)
  8. Your Ghost – Kristin Hersh (listen)
  9. Famous Blue Raincoat – Leonard Cohen (listen)
  10. De Cara A La Pared – Lhasa (listen)
  11. Wild Is The Wind – Nina Simone (listen)
  12. Down By The Water – P J Harvey (listen)
  13. Dancing Barefoot – Patti Smith Group (listen)
  14. Haunted – Poe (listen)
  15. Glory Box – Portishead (listen)
  16. Possession– Sarah McLachlan (listen)
  17. i am stretched on your grave – Sinéad O’Connor (listen)
  18. Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me – The Smiths (listen)
  19. Anchor – Trespassers William (listen)

How about you. Wanna show me yours?


¹ Dee is not shy about using the word vagina. In fact, in her post, she uses the word vagina no fewer than 38 times. (Yes, I counted. One vagina, two vagina, three vagina, four. Five vagina, six vagina, seven vagina, more…) And that, my friends, is a most impressive feat.

² The thing is, though, I’m not a big fan of the word vagina. In fact, this post here marks the first time I’m using the word on my blog. (Yes, I did a search.) Also the 2nd through 15th times. (Yes, I counted.) Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against vaginas. Or vaginae, if you prefer. I’m glad I have one of my own, and all. I just find the word vagina awkward.

Now spleen, on the other hand, there’s a word I like. Spleen. It’s a word that amuses me. I also appreciate its range of meanings. Some of you may know the spleen as an organ in the lymphatic system. But it was once esteemed as “the seat of spirit and courage or of such emotions as mirth, ill humor, melancholy, etc.” Me, I’m all about the mirth, the ill humor and the melancholy. Then there’s the whole archaic meaning of splenetic to mean “melancholy.” And my playlist is pretty darned melancholy.

So maybe you can consider this my spleen music.

12 Classics of Pants Theater

We at the Pants Institute are dedicated to education of the public on the many contributions that Pants have made to our culture and society. In our previous monographs, we have been pleased to share with you in-depth discussions of great works of Classic Pants Literature as well as more popular media, such as critical analyses of the genre of Pants Horror Cinema. Our next installation of this ongoing series of Great Seriousness and Importance delves into the pants classics of the stage:

    Pants of a Salesman
    A middle-aged man discovers that his pants are both terribly unflattering and decades out of fashion.

    Waiting for Pants
    A story of time wasted away in the laundromat when the dryer cycle is unbearably slow.

    Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Wear Pants
    Two men hang out at the laundromat playing quarters while waiting for Hamlet to finish his laundry.

    Pants on a Hot Tin Roof
    When a family’s dryer is broken, they consider laying their laundry out on the roof to dry.

    A Raisin in the Pants
    A legal drama about the status of a raisin left in a pocket on laundry day.

    Who’s Afraid of Virginia’s Pants?
    An inebriated couple exchange verbal barbs as they sort through their dirty laundry.

    The Importance of Wearing Pants
    Two young men practice deception by frequently changing their pants.

    Oedipus Pants
    The story of a man’s unholy love for his mother’s pants.

    Barefoot in the Pants
    A newlywed couple find how hard it is to put on pants when you are already wearing shoes.

    A Doll’s Pants
    A marriage falls apart when a woman discovers what a small pants size her husband really wears.

    The Pants of Dorian Gray
    A young man’s pants increasingly show the stains of his escapades.

    The Pants Menagerie
    The story of a blogger who writes obsessively about pants.

Thanks to Painted Maypole, thespian and pantsblogger extraordinaire, whose recent flurry of pants posts has given me the much needed kick in the pants to get back to pantsblogging. Thanks also to John, who suggested the addition of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Wear Pants.

The 2009 Golden Pants Award

I’m ever-so-pleased to announce the winner of this year’s coveted Golden Pants Award:

Painted Maypole is no newcomer to pantsblogging. Her highly acclaimed 2008 post, The New Pants Network, is considered one of the finest pieces of contemporary American pantswriting, and is frequently discussed in upper level college pants seminars.
This year, Painted Maypole has added to her pants repertoire with three stunning new works of pants under her belt this year: Shakespeare’s Pants, More of Willy’s Pants, and undoubtedly her finest pants oeuvre to date, Showtunes in the Key of PANTS. This latest work explores the gamut of pants emotions, from sheer pants exuberance to pants melancholy, and will have you singing in your pants:

When you are PANTS,
You are PANTS all the way
From the first time you’re worn
To your last dyin’ day.

Truer words were never sung.

Congratulations, Pantsed Maypole. You are invited to try these pants on for size.

The historic and highly coveted Golden Pants Award was first awarded in 2008.

validation and renewal

I find myself cranky today, for no good reason. Well, it’s rainy, and I have a lot of work to do. I also need to get myself down to the RMV to get my driver’s license renewed, as it’s only valid for a couple more weeks.

I’ve had the license for 10 years now, which means I have to get a new photo for it, too. So I don’t get to renew online. Aside from the laziness factor, and not wanting to waste my productive hours hauling my cranky ass down to stand in line and deal with potentially cranky RMV employees, I should probably be glad to get a new photo.

I got my first driver’s license in California when I was 17. It was a really good photo. I mean, really good. One of those photos that look better than the live person. I remember at least one occasion when some guy at the CVS counter looked at my license and asked if I was a model. Heh.

I think I may have had that license (or at least the same photo on it, since I had to get my actual license replaced when I was mugged) till we moved to Massachusetts in 1995. I lived in Rhode Island for about 6 years, but didn’t have a car there. I may have had a license there, but I don’t really remember it.

I don’t remember, either, what the photo looked like in that first Massachusetts license. I don’t think it was particularly good, because what I do remember is the determination to get me a good photo for the next license.

I remember the day well that I went for renewal. I made efforts to wear a flattering color, wore make-up (which I almost never do). It was a good hair day, even. And then I stood in line for over an hour in stuffy hallway on a hot day. By the time I got called to get my photo, I was tired, sticky, limp-haired, and just in a hurry to get out of there. My interest in getting a flattering photo was drained out of me. The forced smile under the glare of the glasses has been irking me for 10 whole years.

So now I get to prepare for the next 10-year photo. I haven’t had a haircut in over a year. I’m pretty sure no one will mistake me for a model now, with my glasses and perma-ponytail look. I’m okay with that, as long as I can manage a less downtrodden expression.

Maybe what I need is some validation:

Check out at least the first few minutes, if you don’t have time for the whole movie. Found via BipolarLawyerCook, who is back online with a spankin’ new url, after her old blog disappeared for a couple of months. Glad you’re back, BLC!

So, what about you? Have you ever had a really good ID photo? Or a really bad one?

Canadian blogging conspiracy revealed

Go read Pride and Twitterverse at Under the Mad Hat. Right now. It srsly cracks my shit up:

@biz Why must avatar pictures be so small? #twitterfail

@LizzyB Darcy keeps looking at your profile. What’s up with that?

@CharlotteL I dunno but it’s freaking my shit out. Srsly.

You may have seen someone else’s Austenbook, which was Pride and Prejudice on Facebook, as shared by casa az and raincoaster. It was very funny. But Pride and Twitterverse rocks my world.

You know something else that’s funny and Austenish? The book Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which sits unread (or undead?) on my kitchen counter. When I read about it at Celebrating the Absurd, I had to order it.

You know something else that’s funny and Twitterish? The Skwib’s Twitterpocalypse.

And you know what else made me laugh at the Skwib this week?
Ten spurious facts about Queen Victoria:

#3 Victoria was the youngest and first Queen of England who had the ability to fire laser beams from her eyes.

And you know what else made me laugh in reference to Queen Victoria this week? Bon at cribchronicles.com with her educational post on May Two-Four: if we don’t get a holiday.

You know what’s freakin’ me out? All of the bloggers I’ve listed above are Canadian, and their combined brilliance and humor is keeping me from getting work done. I think there must be a conspiracy. Perhaps to get me to start spelling humour with that extra u.

They are also all on Twitter. I fear I may be doomed to go over to the dark side after all. Bite me.

mmmm: on the blogroll

mmmmWhen I come across a blog that is new to me, one of the first things I do is look for a blogroll. It gives me some insight into the person behind the blog: tastes, humor, worldview and whatnot. It’s fun to see if I recognize any blogs on the list, and to see if we share common interests. It reminds me a bit of my tendency to go right to the references section of an article I’m reading when I’m in research mode.

Why I have a blogroll

I see the blogroll as a courtesy feature of a blog. Potential visitors can get insight into who I am by way of who I know. It’s a courtesy to the bloggers on the list, as I am potentially sending them traffic, whether directly through people who like to explore blogrolls, or by adding to their rankings for search engines or Technorati. Foremost, my blogroll acknowledges that I read and enjoy those blogs (and/or that those people read and enjoy my blog). Like a references section in a journal article, it lists the bloggers whose voices have influenced and inspired my own writing.

Who is on my blogroll?

If I list a blog in my blogroll, it means that I regularly read that blog. I may miss a post here and there when my life gets hectic, or may skim over a long post on a topic that is alien to me (such as about a TV show I don’t watch). But if a blog is up there, that means I am a loyal reader.

I admit that there are blogs in my feed reader that I have not put on my blogroll. Usually it’s because I haven’t established a rapport with those bloggers. Sometimes I’ve just forgotten to add a blog.

Some of the blogs there are fairly dormant. This applies especially to a few of my near and dear real life friends who started blogs, but didn’t keep them going for long. (But they should have!)

I’m considering paring down the list, and removing blogs that have not been updated in, say, 6 months. (So post something if this applies to you!)

Removing blogs from the blogroll

It makes me sad to remove blogs from my blogroll, and I’ve done so only a few times. Mostly this has been when a blogger has deleted the blog or made it private. In at least one case I took a blog down after faithfully reading a blog and leaving comments for an extended time, and never getting back any sign of a visit back from that blogger. Another time I noticed that my own blog was removed from a blogroll, so I responded by removing that blog from my own.

Adding to the blogroll

I usually will add to my blogroll if I find my blog on a blogroll, and/or if I get regular comments from the blog author. I used to be fairly stubborn about not adding blogs without these happenings. Now I’m quicker to add if I find a blog I like (and if I happen to be in the mood to add links).

I’ve been rather hesitant to add big, high profile blogs to my blogroll, but I have started to do that more. There are now several big blogs in my sidebar whose authors don’t read my blog, though they have at some point been courteous enough to come by for a visit and leave a comment (or otherwise acknowledge my existence).

to blogroll or not to blogroll

I’m not quite sure why some people don’t have them. (Well, laziness I understand, if that’s the reason.) Some prefer instead to share favorites from their feeds, some prefer to link to blogs in posts. I think these ways of expressing appreciation for other bloggers are great, but for me don’t supplant the blogroll.

It seems that some people find blogrolls quaint and outdated. Well, call me quaint and outdated. (It wouldn’t be the first time.)

Still others prefer to keep their reading lists to themselves.

Where I stick it

My blogroll has gotten a bit unwieldy, but I still like having it on my front page. In fact, I like having a theme that keeps the sidebar showing for all pages. Some people think a gigantic blogroll clutters the page, and detracts. But I like giving it the extra exposure. Call me cluttered. (It wouldn’t be the first time.)

Blogrolling by numbers
And to demonstrate my compulsive tendencies, I actually counted up the blogs currently on my blogroll, and tallied up how many had blogrolls. I made a spreadsheet. Call me a dork. (It wouldn’t be the first time.)

    blogs on my blogroll: 78
    blogs on my blogroll with blogrolls: 58
    blogs on my blogroll with blogrolls with my blog: 47

Blogroll me, baby!
In case you haven’t guessed it, I like being listed on blogrolls. It feels like support and validation. Also that acknowledgment of existence, which I seem so partial to.

So, what are your thought on blogrolls?

This was the first post of the metablogging series I threatened to write as part of my self-declared Merry Merry Month of Metablogging.