Random Thursday: Inexplicable Loves and Too Many Puns

It’s Thursday! It’s Random! It’s Random Thursday!

Some of these might not be entirely inexplicable.

But the pun thing is true enough.


The Morbidity of Bathtime

Artist Eden Gorgos makes beautiful, skull-themed soaps that she hopes will remind us of the “brevity of life” and possibly also what cleanliness is next to,
though as she is also offering “Astral Goat Soap” as aKickstarter incentive, I shouldn’t presume.

She calls them “bath and body products for the morbid.”

That tickles me.  Don’t know why.


 And can I just say that the mere existence of Astral Goat Soap makes me inexplicable happy?

‘Cause it does.


Please Note the Time

Musical Clock

And syncopate your watches.


Yub Dub

By which I mean the 1983 version of Meco’s “Ewok Celebration” on a 45, with C3PO rap.

It took me a very long time to find this, so I could show it to Sunny,
who wanted to know why, in her new Darth Vader & Son book,
Luke was dancing to a record player (which she also didn’t understand)
that was blasting a “Yub Dub!” word bubble,
while Darth Vader tried to get him to listen to anything else.

There are plenty of versions on Youtube, but they were all the wrong one. Club mixes and orchestral things and even someone doing a banjo version.

That last one was actually pretty good.

But I accept no substitutes.

When I was thirteen, I played this record seventy-five times a day on a turntable with no headphones.

The moment I left for college, I’m pretty sure my mother destroyed it with a hammer, a blow torch, bleach, and burial on holy ground.

I’m sure Vader knows exactly how she felt.


Eyeing Private Puns

K.B. Spangler, creator of the weird, wonderful, and politically skewed webcomic Girl and her Fed, is throwing her old bonus Patreon comics onto her tumblr, Puns are Lazy Humor, where everyone can see ’em

Some are adorable, some are NSFW (find ’em yourself), some are not safe anywhere.

Most are the kind of puns that one applauds by groaning and *headdesking*,
though if dick jokes are also your thing, Ms. Spangler has you covered.
So to speak.

I like the Pun Noir, Private Eye series, myself.

Go figure.

Pun Noir Private Eye


So, SO Eighties . . . But . . .

I love this song.  I love this scene.

It’s not my very favorite—this one is—but it makes me happy.

I offer no excuses or apologies.

When are those ribbon barrettes coming back?

I used to rock those.


The Hobbit: The Desolation (and Subjective Pronunciation) of Smaug

Desolation of Smaug

Watson and I abandoned the children to my husband’s care Saturday night so that I could finally see The Desolation of Smaug.

Most of you have probably seen it already and/or read all the reviews, and/or just absorbed the unavoidable reactions to and opinions about it via sheer proximity to other human beings/Wi-Fi hotspots.

This has never stopped me from sharing my own reactions and opinions, and it won’t now.  The blog must be fed, people.

But if you haven’t seen this movie and still want to,* you might want to watch out for mild spoilers below.  I generally try to be careful about those, but unlike Unexpected Journey, which, with only a few exceptions, was taken from stories Mr. Tolkien actually wrote, Desolation, like the Dwarves in Mirkwood, ventures far enough off the source-material path that I can’t take the Librarian High Road and say with a sniff that my post can’t possibly spoil anything for anyone who’s read the book(s), which I’m sure you have, yes?**

So I’m going to lead off with something that I hope will earn me your forgiveness, if I do end up mentioning something you wish I hadn’t.

No matter what I say about this movie, any scene in which Smaug appears is worth the full price of admission and I cannot take that away from you, even with a frame-by-frame break down of those scenes.

Same goes for the Spiders.


There’s a lot of good stuff in this movie.

The Dwarves, who are outgunned (or at least out-Orc’ed) for most of the flick, remain impatient, endearing, infuriating, competent, clumsy, stubborn, and undeniably badass (I’m looking at you, Dwalin and, oddly, Bombur). Thorin continues to wallow gorgeously in brooding refusal to make sane, reasonable decisions about almost anything, because his head is apparently also made of solid oak—but at least it was carved to look like Richard Armitage, so thank you, movie.   Bilbo is troubled, determined, smart, and irresistibly huggable in that special Martin Freeman way and Gandalf manages a couple of badass—if ill-advised—moments himself.

Beorn is played with great power and heartbreaking gentleness by Mikael Persbrandt, whose accent adds both beauty to his words and a certain weight of history to his character. Bard the Bowman is noble and angstridden—Luke Evans has the perfect face for this—as behooves a man who aches to Fix Things, but can’t get enough support from his downtrodden, complacent neighbors.  And Stephen Fry’s Master of Lake Town is so sodden with privileged discontent and brandy that you can smell the rot, and so perfectly jealous of his power over a place he hates that it’s a joy to detest him.

King of the EyebrowsIt was nice—if technically unnecessary, for reasons I’ll explain later—to see Legolas again; he’s decades younger and far more arrogant here, but still as pretty as a sharpened stiletto.  His childhood friend Tauriel—whose necessity is discussed a little further down—seemed natural in a way Arwen Evenstar never really managed.  His father, King Thranduil of the Disturbing Eyebrows—who is necessary—is the ethereal and far more hygienic flip side of the Master of the Lake.

The Necromancer did a good job of scaring the holy crap out of the audience—or at least this member of the audience—and the Orcs were . . . plentiful.***

And Smaug . . . Oh, Smaug.^

In fact, there’s enough good stuff in here to make three movies . . . but only one of those movies is  The Hobbit.

Look, I’m not a purist. I wouldn’t have minded if Mr. Jackson had kept the script strictly to what happened between the covers of The Hobbit—if nothing else, there would have been fewer parts and a shorter wait to see the whole thing—but since he already made LOTR, and a goodly percentage of the whole world watched it, I have to admit that it might be weird from a continuity standpoint if Legolas didn’t show up at the Wood Elves court or the Ring didn’t have at least an indication of the same terrifying effect on Bilbo as it did on Frodo.

I say “might,” because without the second of the three, merged minimovies, which is undeniably a prequel to Mr. Jackson’s hit trilogy, it probably wouldn’t have mattered as much.

Tolkien’s two or three sentence explanation about a necromancer hiding in the woods never quite did it for me, motivation-wise,^^ so it’s not that I don’t appreciate being offered a solid and beautifully filmed reason why Gandalf reluctantly abandons Thorin’s Gang of Thirteen at Mirkwood, just when a wizard would have come in handy—plus a more detailed account of what prevented him from returning until the penultimate chapter of the book.

And again, LOTR is a thing that exists—a fixed point in time, to jump franchises for a second—and cannot be ignored, lest the Goddess of Continuity be angered, even if Mr. Jackson was the one who evoked her in the first place.

It’s still not The Hobbit.  But it works.^^^

So, really, the only minimovie in the amalgamation that gave me real problems was the third one, and here’s where I’m going to drop spoilers, because Tolkien didn’t write it and it messes with what he did write, and that annoyed me.

I’m talking about Kili in Love.

I have nothing but admiration for Evangeline Lilly, who takes what could have been a token love interest/catalytic part in The Rise of Sauron and makes it goodAnd heaven knows I’d happily watch Aidan Turner eat sandwiches for three hours, if there wasn’t a semi-decent script available.  These two have undeniable interspecies chemistry—enough to make Legolas realistically jealous, which he is, which may even have been the point—and their scenes together are enjoyable and bittersweet.

But in my opinion, those scenes don’t belong in this particular flick.

I’ve been told that Tauriel’s existence isn’t Peter Jackson’s fault—according to rumor, the studio insisted on a female elf and a romantic subplot involving Legolas, either because without Galadriel, they were afraid of backlash from the gender imbalance, or they thought audiences wouldn’t go see a Middle Earth movie without the prospect of a possibly-doomed romance between two sentient bipeds.°

Fine.  A little insulting to movie-lovers and Tolkien’s work, but the flirtation of Tauriel and Legolas doesn’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world, et cetera and so forth and fine.


I’m not sure whose fault it is that Kili became the unlikely third corner of an elf-majority love triangle or that his involvement ends up changing things about the plot of The Hobbit (remember The Hobbit? It was in here somewhere . . . ) in ways I can’t personally condone, especially when those changes were specifically made to promote the romance.

I’m guessing that whoever it was figured that Tauriel by herself wasn’t enough to get Legolas moving along the Path of Good Guydom in time to join the Fellowship, so they decided to add some hottie Dwarf incentive for Legolas to Impress the Girl, flipped a coin, and Dean O’Gorman lost won chose heads instead of tails.°°

And to be absolutely truthful, these scenes were brilliantly filmed.  There’s a quiet, emotionally-wrought moment here that made my shriveled old heart melt.  It was beautiful—really, really beautiful, see compliments to actors above—but it doesn’t belong in this flick.

The thing is, Desolation has three great parts, but it isn’t greater than the sum of them.

But Smaug is. 


Trust me.

*I’m not sure why you’d be tuning into this blog if you’re the kind of person who didn’t and don’t, but you’re welcome anyway and feel free to explain in the comments, if you like, or not.

**To be honest, I don’t feel guilty spoiling things that are directly from The Hobbit, because it still shocks me that there are literate people out there who haven’t read it—I’ve been known to mail copies to people who claim they haven’t.  Oddly, I also don’t mind spoiling the bits taken from The Simarillion, even though it still shocks me that there are literate people out there who read that thing for fun—but  anyone who’s already read or seen LOTR knows the score anyway.

***Seriously—a band of thirty Orcs split up and the Dwarf-chasing half was killed right and left and never seemed to get smaller.  They were like the fantasy equivalent of thirty continuous shots with a pair of six-shooters.

^There is, by the way, nothing like hearing the collective reaction of a hundred-plus fellow movie lovers the first time this dragon is called by name on screen:


It totally trumped the reaction to all the extra syllables the LOTR cast put into Mordor.  I’d personally agree that UK audiences have a prior claim on the official pronunciation of Tolkein-produced vocabulary, but Americans really aren’t feeling the Sm-oww-gg.  Sōrry.

^^Even after I started writing stories of my own and realized that sometimes there are perfectly legitimate plot- and page count-related reasons you wouldn’t want to bring a perfectly good wizard to a dragon fight.

^^^ And regardless of how one feels about Mr. Jackson shoehorning The Rise of Sauron into the movie he was supposed to be making, his retro-plotting still beats the hell out of the first three chapters of Star Wars.  So there’s that.

° Rather than a doomed relationship between a brooding dwarf prince and a giant diamond—or a simple Hobbit and his precious  golden ring.


I see what you did there

It’s Always Sunny In Sunnyland . . .

Sunny Swims

Are all six-year olds like this?

Can we bottle this stuff?


It was recently discovered that instead of putting their clean laundry in their dresser drawers, both of my children have been tossing everything into the back of their closet and, when told to clean up the bottom of the closet, have been tossing the aforementioned clean clothes back into the hamper.

This explains why we’re doing four loads of laundry a week for kids who literally can’t find anything to wear in the morning.

This is also not on.

I explained this in the car on the way back from church on Sunday and told them that I was very disappointed—Janie started to sniff and Sunny went quiet—and that the moment we arrived home, they would clean out the bottom of the closet, hang up the dresses and skirts, fold the rest, and put it all away in their drawers.  And then they would be responsible for washing, drying, and folding their own laundry.*

“Do you understand?”The Laundry Monster

“Yes, Mom,” Janie said, tearfully.


” . . . What?”

“Do you understand?”

” . . . What?”

“Do you understand that I want you to fold and put away the clothes in your closet the minute we get home?”

“What clothes?”

I went through it again, with, if I may say so, admirable patience.  “Do you understand what I want you to do?”

“Yes, Mommy.”


We drove in silence for a moment.



“Does that mean we have to do what we understand?”



A little later, I found out that there is NOTHING funnier than watching a three-and-a-half foot six-year old try to fold a double-sized comforter all by herself.

At one point, I walked past the bedroom and saw the thing moving on the floor, with a small foot sticking out.

For a second, I thought she was being digested.


Magellan Blazer12 GPS Receiver.

You know your family might be depending on Watson’s GPS a little too much when your  six-year old, impatient to get things on the road, puts her hands on her hips and says,  “Come on, Daddy!  We need to recalculate!”


Moving Pictures

Sunny MinionGuess which movie Sunny, Jane, Watson, and I went to see  this past Saturday?

Hint:  it wasn’t Pacific Rim.

My kids watch movies very differently.

Janie doesn’t do well in movie theaters, because there’s nowhere to hide when things get tense on the screen or even might get tense—she’s been known to freak during meet-cute scenes (“He could have said no!  It would have hurt her feelings!”)—and always assumes the worst. So she can’t sit still when we watch movies at home* and hides behind couches or goes in and out of the room, even during films like Curious George and Cinderella.  So I’ve learned to find the plot on moviespoiler.com and let her read the whole plot before deciding if she wants to come with us or wait for the DVD.

She thought she could handle Despicable Me 2, because she liked the first one, but changed her mind within ten minutes, insisting she couldn’t stay and had to leave and she didn’t like this movie, and could she go to the bathroom again and/or get another drink from the water fountain.  I finally told her to stick her fingers in her ears and close her eyes during the parts she couldn’t handle until I tapped her shoulder for the minion scenes, which were, I’m sure, the reason she’d agreed to go with us in  the first place.

Sunny, on the other hand, sat still through the whole thing, her attention glued to the screen.  She only crept into her aunt’s lap once or twice and seemed to forget completely about the movie snack I’d bought her.  Right before the part where Our Hero Faces Certain Destruction—which shouldn’t be a spoiler, if you’ve ever  seen a movie—Sunny came inching around Janie, who had wrapped herself up in a mute ball in her seat, eyes clamped shut with her fingers, and possibly her knees, stuffed in her ears. Sunny Minion2

“Mommy?” she said, in a small voice, touching my knee.  “Mommy?”

I pulled her into a hug.  “I’m right here, sweetie.  Want to sit in my lap during this part?”

“Noooooo!” she said squirming away and staring at the screen.  “Let go—I just want my gummy bears.”


*With supervision, because I’m not that far gone.

**Unless she plugs herself into my Netbook with headphones so she can pretend she’s playing a video game instead of paying any attention to, say, the first Harry Potter movie.  Which she totally was, because she kept mixing up Hedwig and Hagrid.

Something In a World . . .

I’ve always admired voice actors (Kevin Conroy, Cree Summer and Clancy Brown, anyone?)—heck, if my voice didn’t bring to mind a happily drunk frog hiding in a foghorn, I would have loved to be one.

But I never noticed how few female narrators there are in movie trailers—in fact,  I can’t think of a single trailer with a female narrator who isn’t a member of the cast.  It never even occurred to me to pay attention to this.

But Lake Bell noticed.  And she’s  written and directed and acted in a movie about it that looks as thought-provoking as it is funny:

I completely agree with that last line.

Who’s with me?

Much Ado about Something

Get this:

To wind down from making The Avengers (one of my favorite movies), Joss Whedon (one of my favorite writer/director/producers) gathered his friends (many, many of my favorite actors) to do his own contemporary version of Much Ado About Nothing (one of my favorite Shakespearean plays) in his own house.

And it’s not even my birthday.  Though it will be by the time it’s released.

The cast list is like a game of Name that Whedonverse Alum:
Reed Diamond is Don Pedro.

Fran Kranz is Claudio

Clark Gregg is Leonato.

Nathan Fillion is Dogberry.

And Amy Acker and Alexis Denisof—as Beatrice and Benedick—will finally get together, after their tragically brief romance in Angel.

Here’s the trailer:

I watched this three times and did the squee thing every single time.

And then I noticed that Joss Whedon talked about it at the Glasgow Film Festival.  I particularly liked his four reasons why working with a Shakespeare text is so awesome (around 1:45), especially the last one.

Okay, we’ve got to get a group together to see this—who’s with me?