Friday, August 18, 2006

Oh for God's sake, John, sit down!

You will all agree, I am sure, that the only thing to improve upon a two-hour musical based on the signing of the Declaration of Independence is to make it two and a half hours.

O! Awaited day! Recently released was the director's cut of 1776 (with signing scenes too hot for the MPAA!) and it includes a complete remastering of the negative. I've seen this movie approximately eighty billion times on the tired pan-and-scan VHS tape I've had since I was a sophomore in high school, and suddenly I'm noticing gold thread on waistcoats and harps in the underscore and a fuller embracing of the hopeless loser I really, truly am. Deleted material has reappeared, making it... closer to the director's original vision. Nuance is in town and I am delighted.

How is this different from the legendary sacrelige known as Greedo Shot First? Because it doesn't suck, for one, and the changes make cinematic sense, for another. The add-ins are all gorgeous, original footage of the wildly pathos-ic Mr. Feeney that floated to the floor of the cutting room thirty years ago. It is the original vision, it is removing the Atari-style boxes from around the X-wing fighters, not shoving in such crap as the Ewoks New Age music at the new end of Return of the Jedi, which sounds like something Barry Manilow vomited, Yanni performed, and John Tesh remixed.

I suppose you've heard that the original Star Wars trilogy is to release in September, "each packed with a bonus disc containing the original unaltered theatrical version of the classic film," which means we have to buy the crappy digi-Anakin in order to get our hands on it. Oh, and LucasArts just happens to be releasing a new video game involving Legos on the same day. Uh.... huh.)

Clearly someone got next to Lucas while he was in the middle of digitally adding breasts to Yoda for the next re-release and was all, "Um, George? People hate you for destroying their childhood memories? And they tend to be the types of people who have never been within fifteen feet of the opposite sex, but they do know how to burn a VHS tape into a digital file? Which is what they're going to do with the un-effed-with trilogy anyway, so you might as well get your eighty-seven cents from it."

Actual logic penetrated the plaid, somehow, and here we await what is, by my count, the seventh home-release of the trilogy. I dare him to not replace the Tusken Raiders' gaffi sticks with chewing gum. I DARE him.

respectfulLY at:

Thursday, August 17, 2006


Mary Beth Ellis is a highly esteemed scientist regulary showered with peer recognition and prizes (most recently: second place, St. Jude Elementary School's 1989 Junior High Science Fair, for a groundbreaking representation of the solar system featuring styrofoam balls and Tempora paint.) Currently she is studying the effects of popular music upon natural and social phenomena, which is to say she watches reruns of Mystery Science Theater 3000 until she runs out of Cheez-It money, at which point she resigns herself to slapping together some attempted science (see below).

QUESTION: What effect does Andy Williams have upon fine motor skills?

MATERIALS: 1991 SounDesign AM/FM receiver/double cassette recorder/CD player; Andy Williams Greatest Hits: Live From Moon River Theater in Branson

HYPOTHESIS: I predict that 47 minutes of exposure to Andy Williams will result in a significant drop in fine motor skill abilities — those functions that allow us to type, perform self-grooming tasks and prepare a really fine gin and tonic.


1) Remove Andy Williams Greatest Hits: Live From Moon River Theater in Branson, Mo., from case.

2) Experience concern with Andy's hair on album cover photo. What's going on here? It's too ... comby.

3) Take scientific nap.

4) Press "play."

5) What the hell? Become alerted to something serious going down in CD player. Immediately investigate as to why Andy Williams sounds like The Bangles.

6) Remove "Rad Hits of the '80's" from underneath Andy Williams Greatest Hits: Live From Moon River Theater in Branson.

7) Check on progress of "Summer Spectacular of Pro Figure Skating"on We.

8) Press "play" again.

9) Press "pause" again.

10) Visit Little Scientist's Room.

11) Flush.

12) Press "play" again.

DATA AND OBSERVATIONS: The Hawaiian Wedding Song: Test dexterity by opening one (1) 12-ounce can of Coors. Successful save for experiencing small chip in fingernail of right index finger.

Moon River: Begin filing down fingernail, which results in tragedy when, in act of filing, accidentally chip index fingernail of other hand.

Can't Get Used to Losin' You: Give up on fingernail. Turn attention to 12-ounce can of Coors instead. Williams is suddenly easier to bear.

Born Free: Terrifed to discover an inability to tie shoes until reach realization that am in fact wearing cowboy boots.

MacArthur Park: Concern with fine motor skills suddenly surpassed by overpowering desire to off self.

Canadian Sunset: Drag self from floor, vastly relived that Williams is no longer concerned with striped pants and drinking wine while it is warm and never letting you catch him, as stated in "MacArthur Park." Attempt to do "This is the church, this is the steeple." Fail miserably. Sob.

Lonely Street: Greatly comforted by fact that can still do this thing where I sit crosslegged on the floor, push off with my arms and make a complete, 360-degree rotation on the axis of my buttocks. Beer now warm.

May Each Day: Still recovering from terror of MacArthur Park. Fine motor skills are slightly diminished, but notwoiwaeeoiu !oag7yn%,8uA43T?}.

L.O.V.E: Oh, the hell with it.

CONCLUSIONS: What's up with my nails? I buff them, I apply calcium overcoats, I avoid manual labor. Still I get this chipping.

Also, I highly recommend "Rad Hits of the '80's." It has Cyndi Lauper AND Richard Marx.

CONTROL EXPERIMENT PROPOSALS: This groundbreaking information raises more questions than it answers. I cannot sleep nights fretting about the following:

-The effect of Perry Como on the apogee of the orbit of Mercury

-The effect of Whitney Houston on the performance of Proctor & Gamble stock options

-The effect of John Denver on the setting of a Mandarin Orange Jello salad

Only with further experimentation can we fully develop the Andy Williams Theory of Fine Motor Skill Interference, which, although formerly a corollary of the Law of the Mutating Effect of New Kids on the Block on Kraft Cheese Singles, is poised to revolutionize formerly held scientific assumptions and create a safer universe. For instance, will we ever again subject the secondary of the Cincinnati Bengals to the Ray Conniff Singers.

I will, of course, require a massive amount of federal and private funding in order to continue. So if anyone out there has a copy of "Poems, Prayers and Promises" and/or "Savin' All My Love For You," pitch it my way. Proctor and Gamble stock, too. Lots and lots of P&G stock. Also Cheez-Its.

branson must be stopped at:

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Word "Oiled" Is Used

If you've ever wanted to know what I sound like in deep thought without the unfortunate side effect of actually having to look at me, then here's your big fat chance. BONUS: Chuck Norris is mentioned.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Aunt Beth Horse

Finals are over! Pictures are in!

Will The Newborn Nephew is my little Gobbles. He has a very long neck. It kind of freaked me out, because sometimes I was in charge of holding it up, which is why I spent most of our bonding time lying down with Will scrunched in a little ball on my chest so that if he rolled off, it was his fault.

When I bent down to greet my new nephew, this is what happened. "Horse! Horse!" Too bad that, at two, Jim The Small Child Nephew is already too tall for jockeydom. Also only the most elite jockeys suck their thumbs in the win photo.

Aunt Beth As Floor Horse lasted perhaps a day before it got boring, and we moved on to more efficient ways of injuring ourselves.
This is my job, as godmother.

Will's main talent at this point is burrito impressions. This is likely as non-German as he will ever get.

Jim is showing an intense early talent for baseball.

Still better than the Reds with men on base.

"TWO babies!" One is allowed to be dressed. One is not. Therapy starts next Tuesday.

Aunt Beth always pushes me around. Do you hear your biological clock ticking, Aunt Beth? Oh, you just saw the price point on the Huggies? Never mind.

I enjoy taking my nephews out drinking.

Jim prepares for the SAT's

Monday, August 14, 2006

Sleep tight!

I had to fly recently, and the following slid right through the airport's crack security in my carry-on and purse:

1. sanitizing hand gel
2. foundation makeup

The plane somehow did not fall out of the sky.

Randomly selected people had to go through the Puff Arch, which is a doorway-like looking... arch... that shoots big jets of air underneath the passenger's clothes. I lost count of the number of things upsetting about this, and was very sad I had thought to wear a skirt. Because when we retain our dignity, the terrorists win.

remove your shoes please at:

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