Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Miracle!

Ok, miracle is a hyper-bole, but this is pretty darn cool:

A Swedish woman's long lost wedding ring reappeared in her vegetable garden over sixteen years later!

Talk about something being hidden right under your nose. The ring was lost while the woman, Lena, had been baking up holiday treats for her family in her kitchen. The family had thought the ring was lost inside the kitchen, and searched there for years.

Unbeknownst to them, the ring had fallen out of the kitchen window and into the vegetable garden below. Despite years of planting and replanting carrots there, the ring had not been found. However, this year Lena planted the carrot seeds randomly instead of in orderly rows. In addition to delicious carrots, her ring grew out of the ground!

It was a ring she had designed herself, and even sixteen years later, is in perfect condition.

What a wonderful end-of-the-year surprise, right?

I hope you ALL have wonderful end-of-the-year or beginning-of-the-year surprises, too!

Disney's "The Snow Queen" Now Titled "Frozen"

Ugh. Yet another animated feature which may or may not have a female protagonist has gotten "Tangled" up in the "Oh my Gosh We Can't Call this what It Is without Boys Refusing to See It!" syndrome.

I AM happy to see that "The Snow Queen" even still exists. It's from a Hans Christian Andersen fairytale I'm not familiar with, so that should be interesting. Plus, it was supposed to be the next hand-drawn animated feature from Disney after "The Princess and the Frog." It was put on hold in 2002, rebooted, and put on hold again in 2010.

Unfortunately, it probably won't be hand-drawn, but now Disney's given it a release date, November 27, 2013 and a new title, so it seems to be off of hold. The bummer is that means "The Untitled Pixar Movie about Dinosaurs" which had been scheduled for that date no longer has a date of its own. Oh, well.

Anyway, what I'm annoyed about is that yet another Disney/Pixar movie has been given a really bland one-word title. I'm not saying "The Bear and the Bow" was a great title, but "Brave" isn't exactly exciting. "Tangled" replaced "Rapunzel" because I guess shaving off one syllable is important? Then again, they didn't do that for "Ratatouille" and no one even knew what that was.

Oh well. Clearly titles are not Disney/Pixar's strong suit anymore, but as long as the movies are still good, I'll watch 'em!

[via /Film]

Encouragement from JK Rowling

Letters of Note posted this lovely response from JK Rowling to a fan who wrote to the celebrated author about her own traumatic childhood and how Harry Potter has helped her overcome and grow from the experience. I wonder how JK Rowling selects which of the thousands of thousands of fan letters she must receive to reply to, and who screens the letters in the first place. She can't possibly have time to read them all, but certainly someone must have to make sure that this very special one didn't slip through the cracks.

Great work, Jo, and I hope Sacia has a wonderful life after high school!

HuffPost TV: On Writing and New Directions

Maybe the switch from TV Squad to HuffPost TV isn't a bad thing (except the name, which is infinitely lamer) if they're going to keep up with posts like this one that's all about writing outlines.

Usually TV Squad focuses more on TV recaps and reviews (which I do love, as seen by how much I repost their stuff on my blog!), but I like the idea that they're branching out to articles about writing TV. I don't follow any blogs that specifically discuss writing for TV (just writing for film), so I hope they keep this up. And writing on outlines is an auspicious start, since I think it's just about the most helpful thing to do when writing TV (which is very structured, but can feel much less structured than a film sometimes).

Of course, I also love that this post was written by a) a lady writer (one of the few! the proud!) and b) a writer for "Once Upon a Time."

It certainly would be helpful in keeping my New Year's resolutions!

Good work, HuffPost TV. Keep it up in the future!

PS. Unadulterated praise for Stephen Colbert doesn't hurt, either!

Louis C.K.: Great Comedian, Cool Dude

In this "Fallon" clip, Louis C.K. tells Jimmy what he's going to do with the $1 million he's earned from his wildly successful (and very funny) Beacon Theatre special that he's sold online.



How neat is that? Giving $250,000 to charity, and really great charities at that: Fistula Foundation, Charity: Water, Green Chimneys, Pablove Foundation, and (hooray!) Kiva.

I hadn't heard of the Fistula Foundation, Green Chimneys, or the Pablove Foundation, but I'm sure they're all going to get a big publicity boost from this.

Way to go, Louis!

[via HuffPo TV]

Best Animal Videos of 2011

Videogum has a great round-up of adorable animal videos of the last year (and they should, considering every Wednesday they feature a whole post dedicated to the best animal videos of the last week).



There's a lot more where that came from at the link. Enjoy!

Pixar: Grow Some Gals

John August pointed out this thoughtful response to Pixar's "Brave" trailer by blogger Theresa Couchman:

"It would’ve been nice if a studio that’s known for creative and original storytelling had decided to do something more interesting with their first female protagonist (in SIXTEEN YEARS) than make her…a princess. Who’s cool because she’s good at “boy” stuff...


Sadly, “girl struggles against restrictive society” is still a very relevant theme, but it would be awfully nice to see a story about a regular person who has adventures and, oh yeah, also happens to be female. And who maybe likes to read or do needlepoint instead of or in addition to kicking ass, because there is nothing wrong with those kinds of things."

I don't usually criticize Pixar (this is the lady who wrote her entire thesis on "WALL-E" and did VERY well, thank you very much!), but they (like all major media companies) do have a woman problem. Even though some of their female characters have been well-developed (Jessie in Toy Story 2, Eve in WALL-E for example), they have never featured a female protagonist, and some of their stories are so blatantly boy-centric it's just gross (Cars - WHY??).

John points out that, "Studios grumble that boys won’t go to see movies featuring female protagonists, and I think this is why: the trailer shows a frustrated daughter rather than an adventurer." 


I agree with Theresa and John. It really is past time that our female protagonists be protagonists that happen to be female, that go on adventures and journeys that use their feminine as well as masculine traits without belittling either. 

(Un)Leashed

Buzzfeed put together a photo gallery of animals that should not be put on leashes. It's wacky and fun. What else are you doing today?


Zooey Deschanel and Joseph Gordon Levitt Duet

My BF's celeb crush (Zooey) and my celeb crush (JGL) singing a duet:



What an adorbsable way to start the New Year!

[via HuffPo TV]

Once Upon a Harry?

Here's a fun photo of Ginnifer Goodwin posing outside of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.



Clearly, she would have been a perfect fit if it had been Harriet Potter.

It's really fun seeing the star of one fun series enjoying another favorite series of mine!

[via HuffPo TV]

Happy New Year's Eve!

Happy New Year's Eve, Artful readers! Do any of you have a New Year's Resolution? Do you remember yours from last year? I know I sure don't (remember, that is)! This year I'm going to: 1. Write a pilot 2. Write another feature 3. Practice a regular workout routine, for when it's too cold to bike. And that's it! Too many resolutions means I'll get overwhelmed and not finish any of them, so I think three reasonable ones is just right. If I was to add a bonus resolution, it would be: Start performing regularly again. Let us know about resolutions in the comments, and have a happy (and safe) New Year's Eve!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2011: What Do You Remember?

Mental Floss has a fun little quiz to celebrate the year's end: "You Forgot Already, a 2011 Quiz." Fortunately, with the help of a certain BF, I was able to prove to Mental Floss that I forgot nothing! A perfect 14 out of 14 score.

I'll admit, though, some of those questions were tricky! The BF certainly had to help me with the LSU:Alabama game score one.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Trailer

Sorry! I totally forgot to post the trailer for the upcoming Hobbit movie! Better late than never, right?



What do you think? Do you like that it looks exactly like "Lord of the Rings"? Or do you think it should have looked different, since it's been ten years since that series? I don't mind the look, but I'm hoping the CGI on some of the backgrounds is only preliminary, since some of it looks pretty basic.

It has been forever since I read (and by I read, I mean my dad read to me) "The Hobbit." It'll be fun to watch the non-creepy-animated version!

Why IS all the Pink Stuff for Girls? We Want to Play with Superheroes, too!

This girl has the toy industry all figured out, and she's not going to take it anymore!



Good for her! Riley's a budding young feminist who will not be tricked by stupid advertising ploys. If only all kids were as sharp and critical of the toy industry and marketing in general (I know I wasn't at her age), and if only all parents were as open and considerate as her father (or whoever the voice behind the camera is). Maybe kids these days are simply more critical of advertising - that would be great!

[via Neatorama]

The Artists: A Short Animation

Here's a fun short animated film:


The Artists from Giant Creative on Vimeo.


The art is lovely, the eye animation is adorable, and I like how he got around giving the characters mouths (mouths are the worst!).

To be honest, though, I'm getting tired of these "one-upsmanship" short ideas. They're good for animation exercises, sure, but the beats are almost always the same. It's just a little tired.

Anyone have any ideas for a new stock animation plot? Or have you noticed any other short film plots that are too frequently featured/unoriginal?

[via Neatorama]

United States of Pop 2011: World Go Boom!

In line with all the other 2011 mashups and lists, here is DJ Earworm's pop song round-up, "World Go Boom."

Enjoy!



He's got a song list (and download link) available here.

[via Neatorama]

Baby, It's Scrubs Outside

Former 'Scrubs' (and current real-life bff) duo Zach Braff and Donald Faison sing their hearts out to "Baby, It's Cold Outside" - that weird holiday song that sounds so nice as long as you don't listen to the lyrics (seriously, the lyrics are super creepy).



My favorite part is the infinity pool. I've decided recently that all L.A. is, is just one giant infinity pool.

[via HuffPo TV (formerly TV Squad)]

Dinosaur Office Romance

The sketch is pretty funny, but I LOVE the animation!



[via Mental Floss]

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Cinema 2011: Kees van Dijkhuizen

Want to watch something that will make you want to watch every movie of the last year? This video is it.



Kees says of his 2011 montage:

"A mix of laughs, kisses, fights, tears and everything in between. Here’s what brought us together this year. God, I love cinema. Each year I’m reminded of the sheer force a couple of frames can hold, and it’s something only found in film. It seems to just fly by, and if you don’t pay attention, you might miss it all. A gorgeous masterpiece about one family coping with the end of the world, the portrait of a young man diagnosed with cancer, the end of a ten-year adventure that reached millions, a cynical writer discovering the magic of Paris… No matter how you look at it, 2011 had something to offer for everyone.


After Cinema 2008, 2009 and 2010, I decided to take a new approach. Artists like Gen and Matt have explored new terrain of the end-of-the-year montage and the urge to keep Cinema’s identity intact became bigger than ever. After experimenting with a more personal vision last year, I decided to focus more on the year itsself rather than my vision on it. The Cinema series has a special place for me because bringing so many films together makes it so very clear why we want to spend hours and hours in a dark room filled with strangers. As always, thanks a million to my wonderful subscribers and viewers, everyone who I’ve had the joy of sharing my passion with and everyone else who’ve made my YouTube career such a wonderful success. This one’s for you."

I found it completely moving. It really does make me want to watch every film from the last year. It also reminds me that even in a year with few movies I truly loved ("Harry Potter" aside), every film has beauty and emotion and art inherent in its basic concept: capturing moving images. This is all brought to you by the creator of the [The Films Of] series.

Plus, the music and all the smooching certainly help.

[via /Film]

Taylor Swift Song for 'Hunger Games' Soundtrack

The latest 'Hunger Games' news is that Taylor Swift and the Civil Wars recorded a song for the soundtrack called "Safe and Sound." You can listen to it here.

The chorus:
"Just close your eyes
The sun is going down
You'll be alright
No one can hurt you now
Come morning light
You and I'll be safe and sound."

The full lyrics are here.

It's a pretty good song for the movie - slow, simple, and sad. The lyrics reflect the mood and tone of several different scenes in the movie (i.e. inside the cave, with Rue, with Prim, the end of the games)... I wonder when it will play. What do you think?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Goldy Doodles, Bat-Dog!

Here's Riley the (mini!) Goldendoodle, an excellent Daily Puppy. My favorite pose of hers is in the classic "Bat-Dog" pose, immortalized by Chance (voiced by the always-lovely Michael J. Fox) from the Disney re-make of a classic, "Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey" (The original being just "The Incredible Journey" in which there are no talking animals and somehow it still sustained my attention for an hour and a half - how did Disney used to do it?). Enjoy!




Also, for all of you who celebrated an early Christmas this year (for whatever reason), here is your Christmas puppy. 


Happy Holidays!

2011, Buh-Bye!

Jib-Jab released their annual Year in Review parody video today. I'm not a huge fan of theirs, but it is fun to remember all the crazy things that went down. It seems more than most this year, but that may be how I feel every year.



What do you think?

Do you think anything else exciting will happen in the next ten days that will make Jib-Jab have to re-shoot their video? Aside from world peace, Congress passing the payroll tax cut extension, or the GOP acting on the ideals they pretend to uphold, I kind of hope not. Most news is bad news.

[via Neatorama]

Scary, F**ked Up Christmas (When You're High)

Garfunkel and Oates is back with a Christmas carol (not that one).



What do you think? Not my favorite, but it definitely sounds like the pot they smoked was laced with something mean. Of course, it's not really about getting high (really?), it's about the Christmas spirit, which is, apparently, that it's going to be a "scary, f***ed up Christmas no matter what" so you might as well enjoy it! Or you might as well be high?

Ok, I think you probably shouldn't take anything from this song except a few laughs.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Ladyblogger/Tweeter Gets NBC Show!

Exciting news for Kelly Oxford - she's got a comedy deal over at NBC! A mother of three (though seriously? She's so flipping skinny and looks like she's 25!), she began blogging fourteen years ago and got a huge following on Twitter last year. Now she's got a deal for an NBC sitcom which, to be honest, sounds a lot more grounded than the CBS Sh*t My Dad Says deal from last year.

How good will the show be? Will it even make it to air? Who knows! She may pull a "Whitney" and be really awful, but maybe she'll pull a "Louie" and be awesome.

Either way, that's another lady comedian (from outside the Hollywood establishment, no less! Though with loads of help from the Hollywood establishment, of course) creating a TV show, so I'm happy.

[via TV Squad]

Dog VS Cat: A Trick Contest

Admittedly, some of these aren't even tricks, but the enthusiasm of the dog, the sheer (if slow) willingness of the cat, and the fantastic music make this video a great watch.



Who do you think wins? Again, the cat doing anything is pretty spectacular (and what pretty coloring!), but that crazy walking on fore-paws thing the dog does is my favorite. Plus, her name is Nana, just like one of our old goats!

[via Neatorama]

Squirrelmageddon: Coming of the Squirrelpocalypse

This guy knows what's up.



Rick Nadeau runs a taxidermy business where he poses squirrels doing what they do best (but what the "lamestream" media doesn't want you to know): carrying deadly weapons and giving a Clint Eastwood-worthy sneer.

No surprises here: business is thriving.

Keep fighting the good fight, Rick!

[via HuffPo]

Film Studies Ryan Gosling



As a Film Studies major and a heterosexual female, Film Studies Ryan Gosling is my new official favorite blog. Yes, even over Daily Puppy (ok, maybe they're tied).

Just take a look at some of these gems:




I sigh. I swoon. 

Oh, Also Puppies

To be added to my wish list:



The puppies are adorable, but the music is kind of creepy, so keep the sound off on this one.

Now let's all say it - awwwwwwww!

[via Neatorama]

Wish List!

I would be very happy if I could have one of these for Christmas:



Also the ability/skill to use it, a place to use it, and the time to use it all day long. Also, throw in a couple of dolphins, why not?

[via PopSci]

Aurora + Lightning = Woah

For those of you starting your winter breaks this week, here is a great way to zone out and get your mind off of work/holiday shopping/etc:


Earth | Time Lapse View from Space, Fly Over | NASA, ISS from Michael K├Ânig on Vimeo.


Plus: 100 Incredible Airplane Views.

Our planet is so wacky. I love it.

[via Mental Floss]

Ending Chimpanzee Exploitation

In a move that's smart for humans and life-saving for our closest relatives, the U.S. Institute of Medicine has released a study declaring 'most' chimpanzee research unnecessary and calls for the end of almost all government-funded research using chimpanzees. Thankfully, the National Institutes of Health is moving forward with the recommendations.

The study recommends using chimpanzees only in cases "where there is no other suitable model available, the study cannot be performed ethically on humans, and without which important advancements may be slowed or prevented." Obviously, it would be nice if we could stop testing on animals altogether, but in a world where computer models cannot accurately predict what will happen in real subjects, they are still necessary. It is not necessary, however, to test on a creature that is so very nearly human that it can understand all of the horrible things we do it.

The NIH believes these new guidelines will prevent most new studies from including chimps and should cut down studies on chimps that it currently funds by 50% or more.

This is a good day for animal rights activists and ethical scientists alike.

[via Scientific American]

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Rollin' with Zach Premieres Dec. 12th!

Remember how great Zach Anner is? He's back! Ok, he never left, but he did have to go shoot his TV series "Rollin' with Zach" the OWN show that he won. Good news, though - the shoots are over and edited and "Rollin' with Zach" is set to premiere on OWN on Dec. 12th. A promo here.

Let's hope they put the show online so we all can watch Zach being his awesome, funny self!

Paul Newman: Awesome Dude

The Hairpin has neat series on classic Hollywood actors and their personal lives versus outer images called "Scandals of Classic Hollywood." While most in the series have been interesting, my favorite so far is their piece "Paul Newman: Decency Manifest." Not only did I learn a ton about Paul Newman and add a few new movies to my Netflix queue, but I just love that the author Anne Helen Petersen, wrote about a Hollywood actor who was also a great person with a huge heart. You so rarely read about those people in almost any field, especially Hollywood, so it was a nice twist.

Plus, it contains tons (tons!) of super sexy pictures of Paul Newman. What could be better than that?

Hunger Games Sequel News!

I don't know about you guys, but I'm super pumped for the 'Hunger Games' movie. It's going to be (or it better be!) awesome, especially since the first book is the best in the series.

However, just because the first book is the best does not mean the movies can't get progressively better. That's why I'm stoked that the '127 Hours' and 'Slumdog Millionaire' writer Simon Beaufoy may write the sequel 'Catching Fire.' That's some major cred right there. Although it's annoying that a guy's directing and a guy's writing, that doesn't mean they won't preserve the great female lead that Susan Collins wrote in Katniss Everdeen. Collins will likely have approval on the script, so that should help, as well.

Also, this is just another excuse to repost the trailer. Remember how awesome it is? No? Then watch it again below!



[via /Film]

Horse and Dog are Friends

Not only is that the title for my soon-to-be-pitched kids' show, but also the reality of this delightful video about a real horse and a real dog actually being best friends. I love it so much!!!!



Also, be sure to check out the description of the video on YouTube. The owner of these two buddies, Whisky Brown the horse and Lucy the dog, seems like a really nice person who loves animals.

Doesn't it just make your heart want to burst with happiness? Also, doesn't it make you want to buy some land, a horse, and a dog? I feel ya!

[via (as always, am I right? I promise I like other blogs!) Neatorama]

Christmas Goat: Now Available in Giant Straw

Christmas present, please!


You've got to love the Swedish and their giant straw goats. What a fun tradition!

What's not so fun is that people bet on whether it will stay up through the Christmas season or get burned down before it's over - more times than not it gets burned down. I don't know what that says about the Christmas spirit, but it can't be good. Besides, who would want to burn up that little enormous goaty?

[via Neatorama]

Dreaming in Paint

I'm a sucker for art, so I actually really enjoyed this animation, despite the poor quality of animation (unless this was his first Maya class, in which it's not pretty good, at least in terms of layering), the not-fantastic direction, and the super low tech music. Ok, I'm razzing on it, but it's really a clever idea and the paintings he uses are a lot of fun. Enjoy!



[via Neatorama]

Should there be an Academy Award for Best Comedy?

Well, I'd love to win an Academy Award someday, so part of me says "Yes!" and all of Judd Apatow says "Yeah, duh, I just said I did and that's why you're talking about it now." Oh, yeah.

There's another part of me, though, that, while I understand that the Academy is never going to respect comedy in the same way it respects drama, doesn't want to give up altogether and say, "Fine, let's make us special." It's the same part of me that wishes "WALL-E" had won best pictures. It was undeniably the best movie of the year, but because it was animated, it only won the "Best Animated Feature" category. Yes, it's good that animation is recognized, but it's also recognized in a compromised way. Like "Oh yeah, you're so great in comparison with everything that's the same as you" instead of "Yeah, you're a badass compared to literally everything else. Boom!" That part of me will never want to compromise and say "Ok, let's just go for Best Comedy." Then again, that part of me also thinks I'm going to work out every day - or even once a week - so it's not really the brightest light in my ever-lit lightbulb storage room.

[via /Film]

Animation Be Weird

Here's a super short animated film that's just plain weird - aren't all stories kids tell super weird, though? Then again, super weird kid's stories don't always justified being animated, that's for sure. However, I'm posting this because it's just so darn well animated I couldn't not post it!


Buildings & Vampires from Nico Casavecchia on Vimeo.


I love the way the film and animation mix and mingle and how subtle it all is. Totally makes up for this kid's lack of storytelling ability (although it did have a beginning, middle-ish, and end, and the protagonist changed by the end, which is better than a lot of the stuff Hollywood puts out).

[via Go Into the Story]

Nerd Alert! Six Famous Thought Experiments

Six fun thought experiments from Open University, created by David Mitchell.



There were a couple in there I'd either forgotten or hadn't thought about for a while, so I thought it was a well worth a watch. Plus, cartoons are generally funny, and cartoons+science=delightful.

[via Neatorama]

Big Cat Thanksgiving!

You guys remember Big Cat Halloween?

The Big Cat Rescue is back with Big Cat Thanksgiving! I love how the trainers put the turkeys in various hidey-holes in the trees to ensure the cats get a mental and physical workout with their food. Enrichment is always good for those smarty cats!



[via Neatorama]

The Muppets - What Did I Think?

'The Muppets' was a funny, adorable movie with a lot of the heart of the old Muppet movies and the comedy of the present, but there were a few misfires and missed opportunities that keep it from going on the classics shelf at my apartment.

It embraced nostalgia largely for nostalgia's sake, without cloaking it in irony or trying to justify it. One of the most interesting things about having videos from the 60s, 70s, and 80s available to us with the click of the mouse (or the track pad for those on laptops, or the flick of a finger for those on tablets) is that we can appreciate and enjoy the TV shows and films of our childhood as they really were, instead of just through the lens of memory. We can analyze and appreciate them as kids and as adults. For those who loved the Muppets, now we can understand them on a whole new level. So it fully makes sense to go back and grab the Muppets and say, "Theses guys were great! Let's do this again!" without questioning, "Wait, what Muppets do you remember? I think you might get this wrong..." I know that people make fun of my generation for our love of nostalgia, but I think it's mainly because those in previous generations couldn't look back, couldn't reanalyze and reassess. We can, and we really have a great time doing it. This movie is definite proof of that. (Of course, I'm definitely NOT saying we should be remaking everything we loved as kids - I don't think anyone my age agrees with the big studio's decisions to make a rubik's cube or Candyland movie)

I thought the songs were fun and charming. They combined the Muppet optimism with the "Flight of the Concords  sensibility well. I thought the story was overly simple, but in generally fun. The characters, of course, were the best part. Just having the 'old gang' back together was really enough for me. That and the dance numbers. I'm a sucker for dance numbers!

I missed the serious weirdness that the Muppets have, though. There wasn't a lot of strange things in this movie. There were a ton of clever jokes and innocent humor (traveling by map was excellent), but part of what made the Muppets so great and revolutionary, in terms of comedy, was that they weren't afraid to push the boundaries of what's funny and what's just plain old strange - especially in regards to how to bend and play with the rules of puppetry itself (Walter, the new "muppet" was a white dude. Really? Seriously? At least make him blue or green with red spots or give him a mullet or something! And all he does is whistle!? Seriously!?!). Now, knowing Disney, they probably wanted to launch a franchise of Muppet movies and plan on having many more down the line. In order to do this, this first movie would have to hook all the mainstream viewers. Maybe that means that future movies would have the flexibility to go strange, but who knows?

I think the direction was strong for the most part, but there were a few quibbles I had. After the delightful opening montage of home videos, the jump to song - and more importantly song directed to camera - felt jarring. I was like, "Why are you looking at me?" I also felt like the dance numbers could have been bigger and more complex.  Plus, the classic "throw away props in the middle of song" jokes never had any punchlines - they disappeared and came back. That's not how you write a joke! The luggage flies away mysteriously - cut to it hitting someone in the head or falling down a manhole or riding on an escalator and then you watch it make its way back to the singers (who had been unaware of its disappearance the whole time) just before the song ends. It's like they went from set up to post-punchline without any joke. Very strange.

The only thing I really didn't like at all, though, besides Walter's design (if he's adopted, he doesn't need to look like a human! And yes, I realize "Man or Muppet" suggested he had to look vaguely human, but he could have at least been non-white), was Miss Piggy's and Amy Adam's stories. They were both "My guy doesn't love me, and I'm sad about it." Why would Miss Piggy give up her job at Vogue in PARIS to go live with Kermit? He doesn't even have a job! He could easily go and live with her, especially since she'd be the primary breadwinner. Frankly, she probably had $10 million in the bank in the first place. And Amy Adams barely had a character at all! Her one solo was so charming, but in the end she just mopes around for her boyfriend. She deserves better. Also, Kermit was such a mope the whole time. I didn't really know why Piggy went back to him. Even in his final speech, he kept admitting defeat. That's not Kermit!

Segel and his writing partner clearly need to learn a thing or two about writing female characters. That being said, I'm fantastic at writing female characters, so if you'd like some pointers, guys, give me a call (please!)!

So overall, I really did enjoy the movie. I thought it was a lot of fun. But it's the Muppets for goodness sake. I had high expectations. I also had high expectations for all of the talent involved. For the most part, they were met, but there were a few crucial missteps that make me want to shoot a Muppet movie of my own. Disney, call me!

Muppet Mania Links Round-Up

If you've got Muppet mania - here are a few links to fun videos and articles on those wacky characters and the recently released film:

13 Classic Moments from The Muppet Show

Unscripted AOL Interview with Jason Segel, Amy Adams, Kermit, and Miss Piggy



A Short Look at the Muppets Long History (with videos!)

Wired's Lab-Tested, Muppet-Vetted Formulas for Smartifying Your Life

The Muppets - What Did You Think? (join the discussion!)

/Film's The Muppets Review

Written Interview: Jason Segel & Nicholas Stoller ("The Muppets")



Bulldogs: Should We Stop the Suffering?

This NY Times Magazine article poses the question, "Can the Bulldog Be Saved?"

It's a fascinating read, even for someone like me who already knows a decent amount about genetics and dog breeding (at least for someone who hasn't actively studied either). As many dog lovers know, there are certain breeds that have more genetic defects and are more susceptible to diseases than others. With certain breeds, if you get a reliable breeder, you can avoid most of those issues. However, there are a few breeds that are simply designed to have shorter lifespans and have health issues their entire lives. This is one of many reasons why many animal advocates suggest that prospective dog owners get a mutt from the shelter - not only are you saving a dog's life, but that life might end up being longer and healthier than a purebred's anyway.

I think the most tragic point that the article makes is that the worst offenders in the dog breeding industry - besides puppy mill owners, of course - are the most "reliable" breeders of all, the leaders of the Bulldog Club of America. These people refuse to see a problem with bulldogs as a breed despite the fact that they literally cannot breed with one another or have puppies without human assistance. Plus, their lifespans are so short - as little as two years but almost no longer than nine. The entire time they are alive they suffer from respiratory problems, finding difficult to breathe in even the most benign circumstances. And why? All because these people think that bulldogs have to look a certain way (the author of the article suggests more "human-like") to be bulldogs - they say this even though the original bulldogs look nothing like the ones of today.

So what's the answer? The British Kennel Club adopted new standards for the bulldog breed that doesn't include quite so horrific of qualifications. Others suggest outbreeding and mixing with other breeds or discontinuing the breed entirely.

As for me, I've always thought breeding bulldogs and other brachycephalic breeds, plus breeds with crazy pop-eyes like Cavalier King Charles spaniels, shouldn't be bred at all. Why would you want a sick dog? Why would want animals to suffer?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Pigs in Space: Why Not?



Just 'cause. Also, it's getting late and I'm tired and I still have so many more posts to go! Oh, well. You can expect 13 more tomorrow!

New NBC Puppet Sitcom on the Way!


One of the many pieces of happy news to come out of the huge success of "The Muppets" is that NBC is developing a script called "The New Nabors" about a family of puppets and the human who lives next to them. Yay, puppets! The best part about this is that these puppets are being created and executive produced by Lisa Henson, Jim Henson's daughter, which means they're being created out of Henson Studios, not Disney (also why it's NBC and not ABC). While I thought Disney did a good job, I've always been saddened by the loss of the Muppets from the Henson Studios, and I'm glad that the studio is getting back into primetime. Plus, the writing team is being headed up by a "30 Rock" veteran, John Riggi, so expectations are high on this one!

Now we just have to hope that NBC orders a pilot from them - and then a season order!

[via AOL TV]

Federal Judges Says Publics Needs a Trial for Citigroup

It's a rare day that there's a moral victory in the arena of politics, especially financial sector politics, but today we had one.

From Think Progress:

Federal judge Jed Rakoff just rejected “a $285 million settlement that Citigroup reached with the Securities and Exchange Commission, citing a need for truth about the financial markets,” choosing instead to force the case to be taken to public trial. The “judge wrote that there is an overriding public interest in knowing the truth about the financial markets. He set a July 16 trial date for the case.”
Baddass. This is not only baddass because the $285 settlement that Citigroup agreed to is a paltry sum not anywhere near in accordance with their crimes, but also for a federal judge to acknowlege that settling, skirting the outer limits of the law, just plain isn't enough justice for these huge corporations that have so many more rights than the people who work for them and the people just trying to get by. So great call, Judge Rakoff. This was a small victory (who knows what will happen in court), but an important one.

Ruff Day? Shake It Off!

I honestly didn't even read this NPR story about animals getting dry via the "shake enough off you to make everyone else so wet you don't really feel all that wet yourself" technique. I just looked at the wonderful photos of dogs shaking their heads. Yes, we've seen these Carli Davidson images before (I think I posted them on this blog!), but that's no reason not to delight in them. You just have to love that face.

Plus, the hummingbird video is just plain neat.

[via Mental Floss]

Bert + Ernie = Bernie the Poodle Mix!

Ok, this is one of the few upcoming posts that isn't Muppet-related (believe me, there are a lot of Muppet-related posts coming up), but I couldn't not use that title. The only other Bernie I can think of is Bernie Madoff, and he really shouldn't be compared to an adorable poodle puppy.

Anyway, how cute is Bernie the Poodle Mix? I love the patch over his ears and eye. That's like the quintessential classic cartoon puppy look. Somehow, though, he looks so old and wise. I almost can't believe he's a puppy and not a fifty year old shaman!

Great find, Daily Puppy!

Owl Patting

I don't know about you guys, but I need this right about now.



[via Neatorama]

Monday, November 28, 2011

Emma Stone on 'Sesame Street'

Emma Stone is funny and adorable in pretty much everything, so combine that with 'Sesame Street' and you've got a pretty great mix. Here she is demonstrating how to (and how not to) balance objects on your head!



Also, here's that great sketch she was in a few weeks ago on SNL. I can't embed it, but it's at the 52 min mark here.

Sometimes you really do just need a good cry.

History of the World (as told by paper)

I totally love this short history of the world animation by Kalle Mattson, Kevin Parry, and others. It took them six months, but that was clearly worth it (and still a lot shorter than it takes to animate a Pixar film!). They really did a great job, keeping a consistent look throughout the "history" and keeping the tone lively and upbeat without making the pace too fast.

Great work!



[via Neatorama]

Porcupines Can Talk, and They Sound like the Seagulls from "Finding Nemo"

Never invite a porcupine to Thanksgiving dinner. They're very possessive, and their tiny voices will drive you insane, as my transcript from the following video shows you:



"Mine! My corn! Mine! My corn! Stay away! Bleck!"

Seriously, doesn't it sound like words? And don't you think you'll be hearing that tiny, tinny almost-human voice in your nightmares tonight?

Puppy Made of Sprinkles!


No, I haven't just made your wildest dream come true, People Who Want to Eat their Dogs, but I love that flickr user jbrochu chose this image to use when creating a 4' by 1.5' mosaic made out of 221,184 sprinkles.

A closer look:


Amazing, adorable, and appetizing.

[via Neatorama]

Idiot Oil Company Renames Itself "Pixar"

Wow, this is low even by evil oil company standards.

A Canadian tar sands (one of the absolute worst ways to obtain oil - and none of them are very good in the first place) oil corporation has named a new subsidiary the "Pixar Petroleum Corp." - "Pixar" for short.

I wonder where they got that name from? Hmmm....

Seriously, I can't imagine how they think this will work. Do they think people will be like "What a funny coincidence? That's also the name of my favorite animation studio! Now I'm strangely drawn into purchasing their environment-eradicating product... Fascinating!"

Big Screen Animation helpfully pointed out that Leslie Iwerks, the director of 'The Pixar Story' and 'A Day in the Life of John Lasseter' has even made a documentary series denouncing the practice of extracting oil from the tar sands in Alberta. He links to one of them, 'Downstream' here.

Well, at least this should bring to light some of the issues about tar sands, so maybe it'll end up being a good thing? Unlikely, but, like any Pixar protagonist, we can hope!

[via Big Screen Animation, formerly The Pixar Blog]

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

'Hunger Games' Trailer!

Woah, I just realized I didn't post the "Hunger Games" trailer that was released on Monday. Silly me!

Here it is, in all of its glory:



What do you think? I love the music, and the overall feel. I'm somewhat concerned about the costumes. For some reason I was expecting even more outrageous outfits in the Capitol. I also expected more color in the Capitol, and less color in District 12, but those are minor notes. It looks like Josh Hutcherson just might be able to pull of Peeta (which I was not expecting), but I'm really not expecting much from the guy playing Gale. Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss is, of course, totally awesome, but we all knew that going in.

Overall, I'd say I'm still super excited about it, with only mild concerns. May the odds be ever in your favor!

New 'Brave' Trailer!

I'm a regular trailer blog here lately, but this is huge! The new "Brave" trailer was released today and there's a ton of new footage. I assume it also explains the plot, but, to be honest, I've only been able to watch it on my computer at work with the sound off so far...



What do you think? Exciting? Amazing? Again, I can't form my complete opinion until I watch it with sound, but this could be pretty awesome.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Snow White and the Huntsman Trailer

Who else is super excited about "Snow White and the Huntsman"?



Apparently, everyone at The Hairpin is, and for good reason! It really does look like a fantasy version of Lord of the Rings, and they did a great job of keeping Kristen Stewart the F out of this trailer, since she's bound to be the weakest link in this, dare I say, baddass fairytale revamp.

I can only hope that "Mirror, Mirror" can be equally delightful, albeit in the opposite direction (since it's supposed to be more lighthearted, youth-oriented, etc).

Life as a Dog Toy

Looks like fun to me!



My favorite part about this video is watching the dog's eye roll around and his skin stretch and scrunch as a he runs around the yard. My second favorite part is how his grip on the dog toy barely ever changes - pretty incredible considering how it's totally lopsided with the camera on one end.

[via Neatorama]

Muppet Trailer Round-Up

Despite saying they were done with all parodying, the Muppets released yet another parody trailer!



Plus a parody TV spot (it's playing off of the ABC Family show, "Pretty Little Liars" about a group of mean girls who get texted by a mysterious person named "A")





And a satirical (/Film exclusive) look at behind-the-scenes footage!



They're on a roll and they're not quitting while they're ahead! Fortunately, I don't think anyone's asking them to.

[via TV Squad, /Film]

Skating with a Dino

It's getting to be that time of year...



Ok, so it's just a cute promo for the Denver Museum of Science & Nature, but it would be pretty awesome to see a dino skating in Central Park, am I right?

Also, I really hope that's not a brontosaurus in that video, seeing as they never existed! THAT would make this video truly implausible;.

[via Neatorama]

Monday, October 31, 2011

John August: Writers, Don't Forget about Adoption!

John August posted an open letter to Cindy from "Blue Valentine" on his wonderful blog a few weeks ago.

In it, he discusses Cindy's options in regards to her (spoiler!) unwanted pregnancy. She chooses continue the pregnancy to term, but does not consider adoption. August believes that our media portrayals of adoption keeps many women with unwanted pregnancies away from that option due to misconceptions and perpetuated stereotypes.

Even though I've never adopted a child, it's always what I've planned on doing if I decide I want to have children someday, so I do look for stories and depictions of adoption on TV and film. I have to agree with August. It's really hard to find an accurate or uplifting view. "Glee" has certainly done a crap job this season. "Once Upon a Time" isn't doing any better (and may be doing worse), which is really too bad because I actually enjoy that show.

I'm with John. TV and film writers, get to work writing accurate portrayals of adoption! And, John, you're a successful screenwriter, maybe you can put some positive portrayals out there of your own? I know I'll try to once I've gained success!

Just a thought.

Ok for REALZ the Last Muppet Trailer

Technically, this one was released back in mid-October, but I forgot to post it. So here it is! With more Mahna Mahna with Neil Patrick Harris! Also, other funny things! Hooray!


This American Laugh: Ira Glass Sex Tape

My friend Michael Grinspan co-wrote this totally awesome parody of This American Life. Of course, it's shrouded in a sex tape story (boys will be boys), but the parody of the actual show itself is spot on.



My favorite part is when Ira Glass tries to make an overarching statement about life based on his sex tape. I feel like they do that even with the tamest stories. Ah, well. I just listened to this week's episode, "Middle School," and I enjoyed it. Although, I have way better middle school stories than the ones they listed.


Hunger Games Posters (!) (?)

Ok, it's really hard for me to get excited about posters (unless they're Harry Potter related), so as much as I want to be psyched about these Hunger Games posters, I'm really just happy that there is some Hunger Games related news. It's been forever!

Also, I'm totally with /Film on this one - Cato and Peeta look exactly the same! What's the deal? Are they making some literary commentary I hadn't thought about before? Or are they just now regretting casting all white guys? Heyo! (Also, you know that's totally true)

Below are Cato and Peeta. Seriously. It's freaky.

[Via /Film]

The Final Muppets Trailer

This last Muppets trailer is jam-packed of parodies - they really went out with a bang! Literally, because they have that guy that always explodes everything. Love that guy.



PS. Did you see Neil Patrick Harris doing Mahna-Mahna? I can't wait for this movie!

[via /Film]

Pirates! Band of Misfits, Trailer #2

I actually think I like the original trailer better, but I'm still super stoked for the latest Aardman stop-motion animated film. Plus, you actually get to learn what the movie is about in this one! Fancy that!



[via /Film]

It was Fungus, in the Cave, with the Fat-Eating

Scientists have (finally!) definitively identified the fungus that is infected bats all across North America with white-nose syndrome, a deadly disease that kills millions of bats each year.

This Scientific American article goes into more detail, but the basic gist is that this fungus, which is common in the UK, affects out bats more severely because ours are smaller. When the fungus attacks, our bats don't have enough body mass or insulation to survive. The fungus eats it all up!

What's the solution? Unclear. But knowing is half the battle, so this should give scientists a fighting chance to knock out white-nose syndrome for good.

Then can they tackle colony-collapse disorder? Because we need bees as well as bats to pollinate our crops.

Uuugh, New G-Reader!

Has anyone else gotten a look at the new Google Reader? Am I the only one who thinks it looks really gross? It's so drab and gray. I miss my colors! And all of my shares!! While I like the idea of using Google Plus more, why did they have to deactivate my awesome Google Reader sharing list? Boo, Google, boo!

What do you all think of the new Google Reader? Have you figured out a way to make the layout less totally blah and boring? The color palette is right out of the Twilight Saga - grays, whites, and red. Barf!


Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

[MoMA via Neatorama]

Foxxy the Pembroke Welsh Corgi

I'd say she's pretty fox-like, wouldn't you? Another adorable (corgi!) puppy courtesy of The Daily Puppy.



Sunday, October 30, 2011

October Unprocessed: Update

This year I took on the October Unprocessed challenge. It's been an interesting month. Here are my findings:

1) When your only qualifications for processed are "ingredients you would find in your kitchen" then you can still have tons and tons of tasty treats, such as everything from Liddabit Sweets (our favorite sweet stand at the New Amsterdam Market), ice cream from Blue Marble (which is now being stocked at grocery stores, can you believe it!?), and special work cupcakes. However, we did give up certain clearly-processed sweets like anything from the CVS. Plus, most of the sweets we did have (minus some super-special work chocolate-chip-cookie-covered Oreos) were organic and came from local, sustainable food places. That made our treats even sweeter!

2) At first, not having the choice of processed foods was especially difficult at work. There are so many cereals and snack bars to choose from, but I was very tough on myself in that regard. The only thing from work I let myself have was catering (and cupcakes), and even then I cut down on my bread and pasta intake. After about a week, though, I started bringing in more food from home and overcame my hunger and cravings that way.

3) Roasted broccoli makes a great dinner when you're eating at 9pm. It also makes a good work lunch.

4) I ate a lot more vegetables in general! Almost every day (minus weekends), I've eaten at least one serving of a real, healthy vegetable. That may not seem much to you, but for someone who literally hates vegetables (especially the healthy ones!), it really was a challenge. Covering things in cheese and/or pasta sauce can greatly help, though. Also chugging water and swallowing it along with the barely-chewed vegetables can help, too. Although, I don't think that's how people are supposed to eat anything except maybe pills. I do take a lot of pills, which is probably where I got the idea.

5) Having a supportive partner makes all the difference. I gave the BF Sundays off from Unprocessed October so that he could enjoy his football games to the fullest, but he didn't even take them! He stuck with me through the whole month. The only exceptions he took were a few sodas here and there to help ease a migraine, which is totally understandable. He's the best!

To all of you who tried October Unprocessed I hope it went well for you! I certainly plan on carrying over my habits from October into November and beyond... with a very strong exception for midnight on October 31st. No one denies me my Halloween goodies!


Mt. Rainier: Superhero?

The cape pretty much gives it away.



For more pictures of this awesome phenomenon (sunrise sky shadow!), check out Komo News.

Hyperbole and a Half: Adventures in Depression

I thought Allie Brosh was too busy writing her new book to post on Hyperbole and a Half, but it turns out she was suffering from depression. Her first post in almost six months discusses in a heartbreaking, yet somehow funny, way, what her depression felt like and how she started to overcome it.

I certainly hope Allie continues to get better and wish her all the best.

Elbee the Cockapoo!

To get off the Halloween subject for a bit, here's an adorable puppy, courtesy of The Daily Puppy. Look at that face and them paws.



That is all.

13 Epic (and Spooky!) Pumpkin Carvings



The weirdest part is that most of these wouldnt' work as Jack-O-Lanterns. That being said, they're still pretty darn cool.

[Mental Floss]

Have a Stuff Mom Never Told You Halloween!

Ladies, if you are still in need of a Halloween costume, check out Stuff Mom Never Told You's list of 35 fun costumes inspired by the podcast!

Check it out if you're looking for a paradoxical costume like Sexy Spongebob or historical costume like Hypatia, lady Egyptian mathematician extraordinaire. If you'd like even more fun and wacky inspirations, try The Hairpin's "Take This Halloween Costume Idea... Please."

Fellas, if you're still in need of a costume, I'm pretty sure some of those corgi costumes can be translated into people costumes, though you may not look quite as cute.

The Nest Thermostat: Heating of the Future!

I feel like this fancy, iPod-looking thermostat should be called the iStat or the iThermo. It actually looks like a fun way to save money on your heating and cooling bill, and will be out in November. Of course, in my apartment all you can control is turning the heat on/off, so this would be worthless for us. Generally, we just keep it off and let everyone's apartments around us keep our apartment warm or cool. I will say, it definitely keeps our electric bills in line!



Also, it's probably a bajillion dollars.

[via Mental Floss]

We are the 1%: College Humor Parody

I'm not always a fan of College Humor videos, but this sketch is a spot-on parody of the 99% Movement.

My favorite part? "Look at those fat cats!" Plus, butler jokes will always work on me. Oh! And shirtless men. That'll win me over pretty darn fast.

Puppy Plays Fetch with Himself

This is one smart pup! I love that in his self-made game of fetch he still gets the opportunity to really "catch" the ball, since it bounces pretty high. Also, I love that he gives his owner the chance to play with him before resigning to playing by himself.

"Pirate's Life" Soothingly Creepy Music Video

Hand drawn animation is generally pretty awesome, but, I can say this as someone who has taken drawing classes, animating water and liquid effects with only markers and positive/negative space is truly outstanding. Bravo, Kijek/Adamski! The song is "Pirate's Life" by We Cut Corners.

We Cut Corners "Pirate's Life" from Kijek / Adamski on Vimeo.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Happy Hallowdogs!

Yes, another post about dogs in costumes - this time, we've got 50 adorable pooches marching in the Tompkin's Square Dog Halloween Parade. Huzzah!

Buzzfeed has all the spooky-cute photos.

PS. I know it's not as wonderful as 90 corgis (and, yes, MTA bus corgi was also in the list of 90 costumed corgis), but it's still pretty great. Plus, more poodles!


The Greatest Song Ever Written

You know how much I love Axis of Awesome. Well, here are another forty songs comprised of the same four chords, courtesy of YouTuber bethj007.



[via Buzzfeed]

Yogurt: Carb Killer

Ok, yogurt doesn't kill carbs, but a new study suggests that it can help us digest carbohydrates, and that's close enough for me.

I hope this means that every time I eat yogurt, I can eat a donut without feeling guilty. Not that I do that or anything...

[via Cosmos]

Thursday, October 27, 2011

90 Corgis in Costume: Best Thing Ever?

I have been rationing myself to 10 corgi pictures a day all week so that on Friday I can go crazy and look 40 pictures and then my heart will explode. The full list is on Buzzfeed.

Seriously, just look at this squirrel corgi!



We should have him infiltrate the squirrel militias and defeat their plans to take over the world from the inside. That corgi could totally do it with just one puppy-eyed look.

And this businesscorgi could sweep financial and (further) health reform through Congress no sweat! No one would say 'no' to a millionaire's tax if HE suggested it!


Friday, October 21, 2011

Reunited

A couple from Des Moines, Iowa who had been married for 72 years passed away this week an hour apart from each other, holding hands.
Gordon died at 3:38pm holding hands with his wife as the family they built surrounded them. "It was really strange, they were holding hands, and dad stopped breathing but I couldn't figure out what was going on because the heart monitor was still going," said Dennis Yeager. "But we were like, he isn't breathing. How does he still have a heart beat? The nurse checked and said that's because they were holding hands and it's going through them. Her heart was beating through him and picking it up." 
"They were still getting her heartbeat through him," said Donna Sheets.
It sounds like a beautiful way to leave this world.

I know of another couple who have been reunited in the great beyond this week. I'm happy for them, though I'm sad that so many of us here below will miss having them around us. But you can't separate love like that forever, and one had to return to the other.

[KCCI via Neatorama]

Got Your Ducks in a Row

What is going on here? Where are they going? And why are they waddling when they could be flying? Seriously? The squirrels must have something to do with it...

 [via Neatorama]

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Simon's Cat: Double Trouble

It's been a while since we had a Simon's cat short. This one involves a kitten, which automatically makes it doubly adorable. My BF loves to talk about the differences between cats and kittens (and how cats are far superior) and I think this cartoon lays out those differences pretty darn clearly.

A Good Day for Goldendoodle

It's been a rough week so far, and I thought everyone could use a little goldendoodle love. Meet Mason, Professor of Cute Studies at Adorablenstein University in Loveableton, NY.





Thanks, as always, to Daily Puppy.

Dr. Spaceman Movie, Please!

This needs to happen:


30 Rock


Also, I need to check out that donut place. Probably after I complete my October Unprocessed month, though...

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Gumby Google Doodle Today!

Head over to Google today to see a fun Doodle featuring some of the late animator Art Clokey's famous characters, like Gumby, Pokey, the yellow dinosaur, and those two wacky Blockheads. When you click on the clay lumps, they turn into each character (then back into a little clay lump). Very entertaining.

Were you a fan of Gumby when you were little? I loved him and Pokey! I was really into clay and animation, so it was the perfect show for me.

Also, isn't Art Clokey the perfect name for an animator? Seriously. The Doodle is in honor of what would have been his 90th birthday.

For more information on the Doodle and Clokey himself, check out this Washington Post article