A Moon Landing, You Say?

You probably already knew that I enjoy debunking a conspiracy theory as much as the next secret member of the Illuminati, but today seems especially appropriate, being the date back in 1969, when humans walked, @#$ing walked, on the moon.

Stranger Things’ Subtitles are the Squelchiest

Maybe it’s the overwhelming melting pot of 80s that speaks to my Gen X self. Maybe it’s the fact that this past season has included the best Munsons since Logan (the quality and fate of characters named Munson throughout media is a post for another time). In any case, I’ve very much enjoyed the latest installments of Stranger Things, what we were almost certain was the last season, but… it’s not.

So many fun touches were put into the show, but one of the most talked about has been the subtitles, which seem to take a certain subversive pleasure in communicating moments with unusual specificity.

Vulture decided to interview the people behind these inspired subtitles and the resulting article is a thing of beauty.

I laughed so damn hard a slipped on the wet floor with a squelch.

Doncha Wanta [Know] Fanta[‘s Backstory]?

I still remember when I learned the ubiquitous soft drink Fanta was invented in Nazi Germany… and that was just one of the strange-but-true facts behind it. Statistically speaking, that moment of discovery is happening to one of you readers right now. But rather than have me blather on, delve into Matthew Blitz’ informative article for Atlas Obscura.

The Showrunner Role in Transition

Thinking of Monday’s post regarding Rod Serling, I’m continuing to read up about showrunners and industry trends in the wake of COVID. And if you’re wondering what a ‘showrunner’ of a TV show actually is, well, that’s changing too — as covered in this very long form article for Vice by Katharine Trendacosta.

Perhaps from my time studying anthropology and perhaps my dayjob role of analyzing business processes, but I love detailed articles like these that delve into the art and craft of running a show (and yes, I’ve got some self-interest there too). Trendacosta intereviews a wide gamut of writer-producers to give you multiple perspectives on the industry… and one thing I note that is quite common in so many industries I read about: there are massive changes in how they are doing business and many people aren’t trying to figure out what is good and bad about it until the reality hits them in the face.

Add to that, the rise of streaming, the business practices adopted with COVID, and you have a lot to chew on. I really hope they find ways to add that mentoring and production experience “scaffolding” to the newer models, because I’m pretty sure we won’t be getting back to 22-episode seasons anytime soon.

Rod Serling on Writing

I was recently writing a short story that I purposely wanted to have a “Twilight Zone” feel for both the structure my overall understanding of how the story would unfold. I mean, I linked to it above, but the phrase “Twilight Zone” and its implications has permeated culture so thoroughly that, even without an impressive three follow-up series, I think it would still occupy a place in people’s minds.

So, after finishing the story, I came across this video in my “stuff to check out” folder and enjoyed it immensely. It appears to be a mash-up of at least two sessions Rod Serling had with students in the 60s or 70s (so if anyone finds the uncut versions posted, let me know). In it they discuss creativity, the writing process, Serling’s very definite views on the subjects, and –as comes as no surprise– more than a little autobiographical info on what made Serling tick.

Incidentally, if you’re interested in a bit more of how the whole manner of putting an anthology show together from the producing side, (you know, if one were to work on anthology shows themselves…) Buck Houghton wrote a book all about it which I still find myself referencing and recommending.

Video

Those Wacky Theater People: Sweeney Hamilton Edition

This past weekend, seeing as it was Independence Day and all, I had an opportunity to introduce my sister to what comfortably remains one of my favorite musicals: Hamilton. Little did I know that the cast once did a version of Hamilton’s opening number as if they were the musical Sweeney Todd, another one of my favorites. Of course, given the hijinks (and shenanigans and tomfoolery) are endemic among theater folk, so I suppose I should have expected this:

And for those of you who now are thinking about musical mashups, check out Parade‘s ranking of a bunch of movie musicals (many, but not all of which also started life on stage) and start drafting alternate lyrics…

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I Want My Two Dollars!

Seeing we’re in a American history kinda mode, why not revisit a bunch of myths and facts about the two dollar bill. But they don’t stop there, get ready to enjoy several ingots’ worth of numismatic facts!

And the Quadcopters’ Red Glare…

I can’t believe I hadn’t already shared this on the blog, so here’s something quite appropriate to share for Independence Day: because what’s more exciting than fireworks? Flying through fireworks!

(yes, both the music and the event are not American Independence Day related. Chill.)

This did lead me to wonder about how much drones have been used to fly through fireworks since then, which led to the always enjoyable comic XKCD.

Look. We’re probably in another timeline at this point, but watch out.

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Say, what do the Brits think about July 4th?

Thanks to us living in the age of memes, I frequently see and sometimes post things like this right around this time:

But what do the Brits really think these days? I mean, after all, we’ve got a special relationship with the UK that gets its own Wikipedia entry!

Well, trust a Brit to break it to you gently:

Note: there’s actually several YouTube videos on this subject if you really want to check out variations on a theme, but I liked this one.

The Rap on Moon Knight

Not quite as late in coming as Monday’s blog post, but still a bit behind the times, but as some of you readers may recall from back in January, I am a Moon Knight fan.

“Mr. Knight” from the TV series

Moon Knight went through several versions even during the time I followed the comics — and I knew that this adaptation would likely use some newer sources. I also hoped the adaptation would speak to the here and now in interesting ways… because the 70s concept of Egypt and “Orientalism” just would not work well.

So I was intrigued to learn that director Mohamed Diab has found an interesting way to be relevant, and a bit subversive, with the soundtrack. Give the article a read and the soundtrack a listen. The behind-the-scenes doc on Disney+ is also a fun watch.