Monthly Archives: January 2008

Thursday Thirteen: The Greatest Television Show of All Time.

northern  exposure   

bestever  everbest

There really hasn’t been any other television program to even come close to the magnificent magick that is Northern Exposure.  Yes, Nina owns the actual handmade rabbit coat that Shelly wore for six years.  Yes, we have seen each episode at least twenty times.  Our favorites we have seen at least sixty.  We use it as background music while we draw or paint or write.  We pop it in as a bedtime story, quite often.  It causes good dreams.  Sure, the final season was a major letdown.  But.  Nothing in the history of television is as brilliantly satisfying to our hearts.  Each episode is better than nearly every movie being produced today.  The show is so well written that it echoes the wonderworld inside our own heads.  The pure poetry of those surreal situations and phenomenal character studies is perched at the top our list, and it probably will be for the rest of our lives.  Here are thirteen greatest moments, enjoy.

1. From A Wing and a Prayer, Season Five:

Shelly: But do I get a real priest?   No!  I get this dud.  Some smoke-ring blowing arm wrestler with a rip in his pants! 

2. From Cup of Joe, Season Five:

Joel: Did you just say ‘Who would you eat?’

Shelly: Yeah, if you had to.

Ed: You mean like… ‘Who’d be good?’

Shelly: Uh huh.

Joel: Who would be good to eat?  Well, it’s not an uninteresting question, really.

3. From Slow Dance, Season Two:

Joel: If you don’t dance with me O’Connell, you know what you are doing?  You’re turning your back on reason.  On mankind’s struggle to pull itself out of the mire of ignorance and superstition.  You are saying yes to witchhunters and inquistors, you are slamming the door on enlightenment, and you are inviting back the Dark Ages.  Now I am not doing this for you, O’Connell.  I am doing this for civilization.  What do you say?  Pretty please?

4. From Mud and Blood, Season Four:

Chris: The thing that gets my juices flowing is the whole truffle metaphor thing.  Think about it Maurice, how the dank corruption of the forest floor, the black root of humus becomes this perfect food.  This total gift of nature.  The whole gestalt is just so… Spring.

Maurice: Stevens, is anything simple to you?

Chris: Maurice… Life and death all rolled up in one little fungus.  What could be simpler man?

5. From Aurora Borealis, Season One:

Bernard: It’s my dreams that are keeping me awake… My single biggest nightmare is that I’ll nod off and I’ll fall asleep.  And then I’ll have to wake up, and none of this will be as if it ever happened!

6. From The Body in Question, Season Three:

Elijah the Prophet: Maybe you’d rather turn me into an amusement park, Joel.  Sell autographed cups?  Elijah’s back, Fleishman’s got him?

7. From Old Tree, Season Five:

Holling, singing: Shelly honey, dry your eyes.  Worry not, we’ll harmonize.  In my opinion, talk is cheap.  Who needs to make a speech?  Truth is, my lovely bride.  Sing or talk, I’m by your side.

8. From Get Real, Season Three:

Chris: It seems to me, as you get into the onion of an atom, and you get into smaller and smaller particles, you find that, like, you don’t have any particles at all.

Physicist turned Circus Magician: Correct.

Chris: So subatomic particles might just really be like vibrating waves of energy?

Physicist turned Circus Magician: Right, listen.  No mass, no thing!

Chris:  The essential building block of everything is nothing.

Physicist turned Circus Magician: All is an illusion.  That’s what I hated about the business.  What are you supposed to do with information like that?

9. From Nothing’s Perfect, Season Four:

Holling: You know Maurice, when I was a boy I used to sit in my mama’s washtub, cup my hands, and try to hold water.  No matter how tightly I squeezed my fingers, I couldn’t do it.  The water always dribbled away.  Time is like that.  No matter how hard you try, it always leaks through your fingers.  And I’ll tell you something.  You think about time too much, you’ll go crazy.

10. From Animals R Us, Season Three:

Maggie: So last night I asked.  I asked ‘Are you Rick?’

Joel: You asked the dog whether or not he was Rick?

Maggie: Yeah, I said ‘If you’re Rick, bark three times.’

Shelly: Did he?

11. From Ill Wind, Season Four:

Chris: You and I are bound in ways we can never comprehend.  What happened up on that roof is an extreme example.  We depend on each other every day for a mutual survival and I just… I can’t take money for that.

12. From Ill Wind, Season Four:

Maggie: I mean, when my fist hit your face, I felt, in that brief moment, I knew who I was.

13. From Spring Break, Season Two:

Chris: It’s a time for madness.  A time for our fangs to come down and our eyes to glaze over so that the beast in us can sing with unmitigated joy.  Oh yes, ecstasy I welcome thee.  Ah-oooh!!!

There you go.  A few of the best moments from the best television program of all time.  Beg to differ?  Care to gush along with us?  Hit that comment tab.  And then make your own list to link here. We will still be chilling with good company in Cicely, Alaska.  Forever.


Filed under Thursday Thirteen.

Nothing Feels Better.


(Our friend Pi drew that for a Vs. System fantasy card.  Skrull Doll for the win!  Check his blog too.)

Remember the movie Brainstorm with Natalie Wood and Christopher Walken?  If you don’t, you should.  What full human experience would you want to share with the rest of the world?  For me, it has always been a no brainer: The deep satisfaction that can only come from creating a work of art.  Of course “work of art” is a category as big as the sky, which is as big as the limits of your imagination. 

I am grooving on the glorious Skrull Doll that Pi created last night.  It is a great example of simple bold pop art goodness, kinda like the masterpiece that is Power Puff Girls.  I’m sure he got that little tickle of satisfaction from making it.  Some day we will be able to share that feeling with other people directly, ala Brainstorm.  It is indeed a day to look forward to.


Filed under Magick, The Interwebs Rock!

Fifty Second Question of the Day: The Random Combination Generation.


(That was the random freakiness of the WordPress front page yesterday.)

In the olden days we had to cut and paste from paper magazines to get such profound poetry.  Now we know what happens when you combine Richard Nixon with dog-chewed Super Bowl tickets floating in a Peach Flambe doused with Ginger Punch, for free!  That graphic shows the serendipity sauce we had smeared all over the lips of this blog when the NHL All Star post went nuclear.

What kind of random combinations have been floating your boat lately?


Filed under Sports, The Interwebs Rock!

The Dumbest Use of Technology in Sports History.


(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

I have seen Stanley C. Panther up close and personal, and the 56th NHL All Star Game has him beat, by far, in one important category.  Clownshoes.

Before I cut loose the barn doors and flat out rant, let me assure you that the game was perhaps the most entertaining midseason exhibition ever.  It actually seemed like it meant a little something in the end.  It featured a huge comeback by the West, a thrilling late lead change, and the showcasing of Rick Nash the True Stud.  It even got the crowd in Atlanta all loud and hollerin’, as their favored Eastern Conference All-Stars buried a final biscuit with 20 seconds left for the win.

Now let’s talk clownshoes.  Versus Channel had the bright idea to install some kind of bluetooth voyeur contraption in the goalie masks.  Rick DiPietro and Manny Legace were stupid enough to fall for it.  We are all enriched this morning, since it was the dumbest use of technology in sports history.  Our entire living room exploded in belly laughs and shouts of disbelief.  It went down like this.

Doc Emrick decided to start prodding DiPietro for comments as soon as they dropped the puck to start the game.  It was a classic WTF moment:

Doc: So there is some talk about you getting banged up in the Skills competition last night.  How serious is your injury?

DiPietro:  Ah, I’m a little bit nicked but…   Oof!

Yes, sportsfans, it’s true.  12 seconds.  A new record for the fastest goal in NHL All-Star history, courtesy of the dumbest use of technology in sports history.  Later in the game, when the contest was on the line, Legace actually carried on a decent conversation for a while.  Then he gave up the tying goal in the middle of his reflections on a future as a sportscaster.  Not yet Manny, focus on the puck.

Hilarious, gut-busting, wonderful stuff.  Thanks to Versus Channel, thanks to the NHL, thanks to the two netminders who gave us such wonderful memories.  A good time was had by all.


Filed under Rambles, Sports

Weekend in Heaven: The Coolerator.



Yep, you are not getting much out of me today.  We are chilling like a rabbit in a refrigerator.  With twelve bags of carrots.


Filed under Weekend in Heaven

It’s Friday, Prepare for Flurries.


That is my favorite Geordie Tait banner from back in the day.  I dig the idea of Starro unleashing a sputtering storm of little pink and purple pointy-headed dudes for the win.  Today I am doing the same in my classroom.  Each student will create their own little pink and purple pointy-headed corner of the interwebs with a new WordPress blog, adjusting the color scheme as neccesary.  The world will never be the same.


Filed under The Interwebs Rock!

The Gift Beyond Compare.


Yes, that is what you think it is.  The original Alex Garner drawing from the card heard ’round the world.  Longshot, Rebel Freedom Fighter.  Upper Deck’s Vs. System.  The legendary Mulletman.

For those of you that I know and love from our trading card game community, I beg your indulgence today.  I need to explain how special this gift is in a historical perspective for all our friends who have no idea how I got to this moment.

Nina and I had been playing Magic the Gathering for about 18 months when I saw the first announcement of a new game with Marvel and DC Comics superheroes on the horizon.  The game was called Vs. System, published by Upper Deck, and I dove in with all three feet when it was first released in April 2004.  I carved a niche and made a name for myself, much of it on the back of that little alien luckmaster you see in the original art.  I helped build a worldwide community on the message boards, and eventually earned a spot on the official company website as a writer.

We have suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune as a gaming community, and I have taken my fair share of licks in the process.  I never lost hope, I never stopped being positive and aiming only at the most possible joy for the most possible cardflippers.  Now it has all paid off in a way I would have never dreamed of, let alone asked for.

I pulled the original art from a surprise FedEx package yesterday when I got home from school.  It was a belated Christmas bonus, care of the incomparable Ian Estrin.  This was the note that accompanied it:

Dear Rian,

I can’t think of anyone who deserves or will appreciate this more.  It is the least we could do after all the heart and love you have poured into the game, the company, and the community.  I knew when I first saw the piece in my art director’s office two years ago that the only place Mulletman belonged was in your house.  I am glad it finally made it home.

Long live the mullet!!!

I was speechless for hours, and I still don’t think I will ever find the words to properly describe what I am feeling.  For all my friends in the community that helped me get to this point, thank you.  I couldn’t have gotten here without you.  For Longshot, thank you too.  I have been wearing you on my hat for two years now, and I knew you would bring me luck… but this is ridiculous.  It is a gift beyond compare.


Filed under Art I live with., Vs. System

Thursday Thirteen: The Joker.


(“Pick a Card” by Ed Benes, from Upper Deck’s Vs. System)

1.  Nina and I have been cooking up a short story/novel/screenplay for months, with the myth of The Joker as its focal point.

2.  Yesterday Heath Ledger died tragically, and was quoted in multiple interviews saying his portrayal of the Clown Prince of Crime in The Dark Knight took him to such frightening places that he had trouble sleeping.

3.  The myth has been around for 68 years, first appearing in DC Comics’ Batman #1 in 1940.

4.  Two years ago, The Joker was chosen as The Greatest Villain of All Time by Wizard magazine.

5.  The Joker was created by Jerry Robinson, Bill Finger, and Bob Kane.

6.  He has been previously portrayed by Cesar Romero, Jack Nicholson, and Mark Hamill’s voice.

7.  Yes, Luke Skywalker and The Joker shared a career.

8.  An actor named Conrad Veidt painted his face in a silent film called The Man Who Laughs in 1928.  He was the model for the myth.

9.  Batman once said that The Joker’s motives and actions “make sense to him alone”.

10.  Heath Ledger’s biorhythms were really messed up that day.


11.  The Joker once tricked Mr. Mxyzptlk into giving him total control of reality.

12.  When The Dark Knight comes out this summer, it will be a filmgoing experience unlike any other.

13.  Rest in Peace, Heath Ledger.  Our prayers go out to your family and friends. 


Filed under Thursday Thirteen.

Fifty First Question of the Day: Favorite Heath Ledger Scenes.


Art leaves a residue.  Film is a medium that makes it last a long time for large groups of people.  Heath Ledger lives on in his movies, and our memories.  Nina and I are especially fond of A Knight’s Tale.  We have seen it 24 times.  I can hear the bubbling remix of David Bowie’s Golden Years tickling my ears.  I can see Heath’s smirking hips.  I can feel the clap of the hands.

It is my favorite scene of Heath Ledger’s short but brilliant career.  What’s yours?


Filed under Uncategorized

The Only Constant is Change.


(Incredible stuff by Mark Brooks.  More can be found by clicking here.)

Sigh.  Things at work are in a major fluxus mode.  My Rogue-like superpowers have the empathy melt sizzling like grilled cheese.  I love change, and yet I also love a sense of direction.  So I juggle.

In another sort of change, WordPress just gave us so much extra space with the upgrade that my meter went from 70% full to 99% empty.  The eye candy store just bought the whole mall, for free!  Outstanding news indeed.


Filed under Rambles

Fiftieth Question of the Day.


(Wicked cover by Simon Bisley)

Happy MLK Day everybody, I get to stay home from work!  I need to finish my latest article before Nina wakes up.  It’s all about Doom Patrol.  They are cuh-razy.  Bonkers.  Messy nuts.  I love them more with each new part of their myth I study, they remind me so much of my surrealist dada days.  My life often gets THAT bizarre.

How bizarre is yours?


Filed under Uncategorized

Weekend in Heaven: Fantasy Cards.


Sweet.  I just downloaded a great little toy called Magic Set Editor, thanks to Doc Jones and his call for a Realms set.  The program is keen fun, I hope I can stop playing with it long enough to get my next article finished.  That pic is the first version of a cardboard encapsulation of my true self.  I welcome any suggestions for future expansion. 


Filed under Vs. System, Weekend in Heaven