Saturday, June 25, 2005

The Answer

A couple of weeks ago (June 10 to be precise) I wrote that I couldn't remember the name of the college from the movie Animal House and that it was driving me nuts. Well, this week one of my readers (most probably my only reader) e-mailed and said she believed it was Faber College. So I went and did what I probably should have done in the first place: I looked it up on The Internet Movie Data Base, and it turns out that she was correct.
Thanks, Maria. Now I can sleep at night (or could if I didn't drink so much blasted coffee.)

Thursday, June 23, 2005

What I Won't Be Doing This Weekend

Just outside the 'brary where I do my bloggin', is a sign advertising a Garage Sale on Saturday and promising "No Junk" Well, if that's the case, then I won't be going to that sale. Hell, the whole reason to go to garage sales is to buy junk.....I've picked up lots of cool junk at garage sales, including a K-Tel Record Selector that was one of my most prized possessions. I'd always wanted one of those things. Of course, I'd always wanted a Ronco Pocket Fisherman, too, and I don't even fish.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

The Name's Pennyworth; Alfred Pennyworth

So, Batman Begins opened this week....I have not seen it yet. Some firiends were going yesterday afternoon, but I had a niece's birthday party to attend.
Anyway, I hear it's good, and that Michael Caine does a fine job as Alfred Pennyworth, Bruce Wayne's loyal butler...But you know who I think would be perfect for the role of Alfred: Sean Connery. A few years ago, I picked up Batman vs. The Incredible Hulk, written by Len Wein and drawn by Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez (one of my all time favorite comic artists, by the way. I might pick up The Return of Donna Troy just to see the art, which features Garcia-Lopez pencils inked by George Preez. I bet it'll be gorgeous) , and there a couple of panels of Alfred in close-up that look exactly like Connery. I wonder if Garcia-Lopez used him as a model. Anyway, since seeing that I've always felt Sean Connery should take a crack at Alfred. (Or maybe if they did a Dark Knight type of film some day soon, he could play the aging Batman himself)

So What's the Problem, exactly?

An article in Monday's Columbus Dispatch Life section chronicles the rise of "product placement" in so-called "reality" shows such as The Apprentice and American Idol. It is a trend that some "media experts" view with alarm. Here's a quote:
Media experts and consumer advocates, however, have a less-flattering name for the idea — ‘‘stealth advertising," which they even call a possible health hazard....
‘‘Programs like The Apprentice and American Idol deal in dishonest or stealth advertising that sneaks by our critical faculties and plants its message when we’re not paying attention," said Gary Ruskin, executive director of Commercial Alert. ‘‘What is American Idol but an infomercial for Coca-Cola? And studies have shown that kids who drink too much cola are at risk of becoming obese."
This left me thininking: "What's the big freakin' deal?" After all, this "trend" is nothing new....Most "reality" shows are based on contests--they're really little more than amped up game shows, and game shows have been doing this type of thing since the inception of the form. Sponsors donate products to be given away as prizes in return for "promotional consideration"....aka advertisements for the products. The most blatant "offender" is The Price Is Right, which is, and has been for more than three decades now, little more than an hour long commercial in which a parade of products are trotted out on stage, then described in loving detail by whomever has taken over for the late Rod Roddy, and finally "bid" on by little old ladies who think Bob Barker is the sexiest man alive.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Nothin' To Do?

I have this friend who is constantly whining to me that "There's nothing to do in this town." Usually, I just roll my eyes. It seems to me like a text book case of not being able to see the forest for the trees. Having been born and raised here in Columbus, my friend is missing what's been right of his face all along. I, on the other hand, come from a small Western Pennsylvania town where the population is barely in double digits and half of them are well over retirement age. In another small Pennsylvania town where I resided for the longest year of my life, the most popular activity in town was loitering. Walk through the town on any given night and the sidewalks would be clogged with dozens of small clusters of people young and old just standing around as if waiting for something--anything--interesting to happen. So, I know from "nothing to do."
In America's fifteenth largest city, which Columbus happens to be, there's plenty to do, especially in the summer months. There are festivals, concerts and a lot more, most of them suitable for the entire family and many of them free. What follows is by no means a comprehensive list; with the limited space I have there's no way it could be, but it'll give me something to whack my friend in the back of the head with the next time he moans that there's nothing to do in this town.
Let's start with the festivals. By the time this sees print, we'll have already seen, in May and early June, the Columbus Arts Festival, the Columbus Culture Festival, the Asian Festival, and the Columbus Rose Festival, as well as both a Summerfest and a Springfest (in that order, interestingly). But there's plenty more to look forward to throughout the remainder of the summer, right up to Labor Day weekend. All of these events feature great food, free music, and a wide range of activities, and most are free to get into.
Festival Latino, billed as the Midwest's largest Latino festival outside of Chicago, celebrates it tenth annual show Friday June 17th and Saturday the18th, running from noon to midnight each day. Juneteenth, a celebration commemorating the end of slavery in 1865, rounds out the weekend on Sunday the 19th at Franklin Park.
The final weekend in June, Friday the 24th through Sunday the 26th, once again sees Goodale Park and surrounding streets taken over by the Granddaddy of Columbus Festivals, The Community Festival, more popularly known as Comfest.
The first weekend in July is, as every American knows, Independence Day weekend and features a wide range of parades, fireworks and celebrations. A list of some local Independence Day celebrations follow this article. The big one is Red, White & Boom, the "largest fireworks display in the Midwest"--with no qualifier exempting Chicago. In addition to fireworks, there'll be a parade and a whole day of live entertainment and activities. Red, White & Boom takes place on the Riverfront Downtown on Friday, July 1st. The city of Dublin's Independence Day celebration takes place on Monday the 4th at Dublin Coffman High School and features a parade, fireworks, and a concert by Huey Lewis and The News at 8:15.
For something different--very different--check out the always irreverent Doo-Dah Parade, winding its way through the Short North at around 1:00 on Monday afternoon.
But Independence Day is just the beginning, as the festivals and celebrations continue throughout the month of July. The following weekend, Saturday and Sunday July 9th and 10th, the Westerville Music & Arts Festival takes place at Heritage Park and Everal Barn. Saturday the 23rd brings the Lazy Daze of Summer Festival on the lawn and streets surrounding the Grandview Heights Public Library. That same weekend, Friday, July 22nd through Sunday the 24th, the Jazz and Rib Fest features just what its name says, and plenty of both.
August looks pretty quiet on the festival front, with the exception of the Dublin Irish Festival, which takes place the 5th trough the 7th at Coffman Park. This gives you a couple of weeks to rest up for the Greek Festival on Labor Day Weekend, Friday September 2 through Monday September 4th, on the grounds of the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Downtown Columbus. The festival features Greek food and music and tours of the cathedral. There is a $4.00 admission fee which gets you a ticket good for all four days.
For music lovers, in addition to these festivals there is a variety of summer concert series featuring all types of music. The Short North Sunday Jazz Series kicks off July 10th at noon at the Gazebo in Goodale Park. Music In The Air sponsors these free concerts as well as a series of concerts at the Topiary Garden in Old Deaf School Park on Tuesday afternoons through out July and August, and Rhythm On the River at the River Amphitheatre Downtown on July 29.
The gazebo at the Whetstone Park of Roses is home to the North Columbus Civitan Club Summer Concert Series Sunday nights at 7 pm throughout the summer.
The Grandview Heights Public Library presents Music On The Lawn Tuesday afternoons.
Free concerts, food, games, and a kickball league on the Statehouse lawn are the highlights of Party On State, Thursdays from 5:30 until 8:30 pm at 65 East Sate Street.
The Columbus Symphony Orchestra brings back its popular Picnic With The Pops series on the lawn of Chemical Abstract Services, kicking off on Saturday, June 25 with Wynonna (nee Judd). Gates open at 6:00 and the concerts begin at 8:15. Picnic With The Pops will do its part to celebrate Independence Day with the Columbus Jazz Orchestra and Patriotic Pops on Saturday, July 2nd.
Okay, so maybe you're sick of music and want to see a play. Actor's Theatre continues its summer tradition of free performance at German Village's Schiller Park Thursdays through Sundays throughout the summer. They present Shakespeare's Two Gentlemen Of Verona until June 19. Much Ado About Love begins on June 23 and continues through July 10. On July 14, Romeo and Juliet begins a run that lasts through August 7, and She Stoops To Conquer rounds out the season from August 11 to September 4.
So far, everything I've listed takes place outdoors under the hot summer sun. If you feel like sitting in air conditioned comfort watching a classic film in a beautiful old theatre while listening to organ music before the show and during intermission, then the CAPA Summer Movie Series is for you. Movies are shown at the Ohio Theatre Downtown with tickets costing $3.50 each or $21.50 for a strip of ten. The series kicked off on June 10th with Billy Wilder's comedy classic Some Like It Hot. Some other highlights of the series include the Beatles in A Hard Day's Night; Animal Crackers with the Marx Brothers; It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, the 1963 slapstick comedy featuring a boatload of comic stars in a chase for a quarter million dollars hidden under a "Big W"; Mel Brooks' classic satire on Western movies and racism, Blazing Saddles; and Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady. The series wraps up on July 23 with James Cameron's Oscar winning epic, Titanic.
This past winter was a rough time for sports fans here in Columbus, with the National Hockey League lock-out forcing the cancellation of the Blue Jackets' entire season. But summer is here now and the seasons of soccer's Columbus Crew and minor league baseball team The Clippers are in full swing, and should be enough to tide sports fans over until the real show, Buckeyes Football, starts up again in the fall.
Of course, I can't end this piece without mentioning The Ohio State Fair, taking place at the Ohio State Fairgrounds, naturally, from August 3rd through the 14th. As always, there'll be rides, games and food that that you would never ordinarily consider deep frying mounted on sticks for your overeating convenience. There will also be several concerts, including some that are free with fair admission.
That's quite a list of activities to chose from in the coming weeks, and, as I predicted, I've only scratched the surface of all there is to do in town this summer. There certainly is not "nothing to do in this town."

For more information on the events covered in this article, check out these web-sites:

Dublin Irish Festival:
Grandview Heights Public (Lazy Daze of Summer Fest and Music on the Lawn):
Festival Latino:
Westerville Music and Arts Festival:
Party On State:
CAPA Summer Movie Series:
Picnic With The Pops:
Actor's Theatre:
Music In The Air (Short North Sunday Jazz Series; Concerts at Topiary Park; Rhythm On The River)
Greek Festival:
Red, White & Boom:
Columbus Crew:
Columbus Clippers:
Ohio State Fair:

Fourth of July Celebrations:
Fireworks-- 10 pm, July 4th; Wolfe Park
Fireworks-- 10 pm, July 4th; Yoctangee Park
Fireworks-- 10 pm, July 4th; Whetstone Park
Fireworks-- 10 pm, July 4th; Coshocton County Fairgrounds
Upper Arlington:
Fireworks-- Dark, July 4th; Northam Park
Fireworks-- 10 pm, July 4th; Northam Park
Worthington Hills:
Fireworks-- Dusk, July 4th; behind the Hills Market
Fireworks-- 10 pm, July 3rd; Thomas Worthington High School Football Stadium
New Albany:
Fireworks--9:45 pm, July 3rd; New Albany High School Stadium
Parade--11 am, July 4th
Fireworks-- 10 pm, July 4th; Victory Park
Parade-- 2 pm, July 4th
Fireworks-- Dusk, July 4th; Civic Park
Fireworks-- 10 pm, July 4th; Prospect Park
West Jefferson:
Parade-- 2 pm, July 2nd
Fireworks-- 10 pm, July 4th; Garrett Park
Fireworks-- 10 pm, July 4th; Gahanna Municipal Golf Course

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

I Can't Ignore This Story, So here's my Michael Jackson piece

The Michael Jackson Death Watch has officially begun.
With the trial over, and a comeback highly unlikely, the next time the media (other than the Weekly World News, that is) will pay any attention to Jacko is when he dies. There's really nothing for him to do now but become like Charles Foster Kane, withdrawing into his palatial monument to his own hubris and dieing alone with no one around to hear his last utterance, which still somehow leaks to the media. (Seriously, have you ever noticed that in the beginning of Citizen Kane, there's no one else in the room to hear him say "Rosebud"? So how does that reporter get ahold of it? Actually, it's a minor flaw and doesn't keep Kane from being the 2nd best film ever----behind Casablanca, of course.)
Well, when I get majorly off topic like that, it's time to go.
Talk at you later.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Driving Me Crazy

What is the name of the college in Animal House? This came up during a conversation with my sister last night and now it's driving me crazy because even though I've seen the film something like two dozen times I cannot remember the name of the school. I've asked just about everyone I've seen today and, while just about everybody has seen the movie, nobody can remember where it takes place.
So--I ask my readers (if I actually have any): For the love of God, can you please tell me the name of the college in Animal House and let me get some sleep?

Sunday, June 05, 2005

The Internet Age of Instant Misinformation.

With a blog, you can get a piece of info and slap it up on the web in minutes, and sometimes it turns out not to be true. A week after I posted about about hearing on Wait! Wait! Don't Tell Me! that the true "number of the beast" is 616--which also happened to be the area code of Ann Arbor, Michighan, a fact I used to make a crack about Buckeyes fans thinking the people up there were devils all along, Wait! Wait! corrected itself. The basic fact of the piece--that it's 616 instead of 666--is correct, but that's actually the area code of Grand Rapids, Michigan rather than Ann Arbor.
I'd apologize for any inconvenience, but I'm sure even fewer people actually read this blog than listen to public radio, so this correction is mainly to ease my own conscience.

Deep Who?

So, after all these years the identity of "Woodstein's" anonymous source, the infamous "Deep Throat", is finally revealed. And it turns out to be someone that almost no one has ever heard of. I suppose it had to be or else we probably would have known long before now. It's kind of disappointing, though, that it turned out to be an obscure bureaucrat at the FBI rather than someone well known inside the Nixon White House like Al Haig or John Dean.
One thing that did strike me while watching former Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee on myriad news and interview programs discussing the revelation is what a great job the producers of the movie version of Woodward and Bernstein's book All The President's Men did in casting Jason Robards as Bradlee. Robards looked and sounded uncannily like the Post editor--almost as if he had been born to play that role.
And the slight, but noticeable, resemblance of Hal Holbrook ("Deep Throat" in the film) to W. Mark Felt (the real life "Deep Throat") is remarkable given that the movie's producers supposedly had no idea what "Deep Throat" looked like.
On the other hand, Bob Woodward is no Robert Redford--or vice versa, though Dustin Hoffman was a good physical match for Carl Bernstein.
Y'know--as someone just barely old enough to know where the name came from (though I've never seen the film) there's a certain naughty glee I'm taking in typing "Deep Throat" repeatedly.