Monthly Archives: July 2007

Simpsons Squirrel

Finally, I’m getting around to writing about seeing The Simpsons Movie this weekend.

It definitely lived up to the high expectations set by its television predecessor. The fact that it was basead on a TV show was brilliantly parodied in the opening bit.

I loved the details they were able to plug into the more panoramic format. The mob scenes were a marvel as I kept trying to keep up with all the myriad familiar characters that streamed past the camera’s point of view. I also enjoyed the jabs at government that are so typical of the minds behind Bart and Homer. I loved that they were true to their characters’ original ideals. I do wish they’d spent a bit more time in Springfield so we could get more visits to Moe’s Tavern and encounters with Montgomery Burns and Milhouse and Patty and Selma.

I did dig that Green Day was the celebrity rock and roll cameo. And even more so the creative use of Tom Hanks. Albert Brooks is always up to the task of doing great voice over work, matching the top talents of the original cast.

I did find Lisa’s new friend was a bit of a “flat note”, if you will.

My favorite line came from Homer:

“It’s not the worst day of your life. It’s the worst day of your life so far.”

Ahhhh, the wisdom of Homer. You can’t beat it with a stick.

Of course, I have to point out the fact that one of my legion had a major role in carrying the plot forward. I didn’t know that when I created my Simpson squirrel in photoshop the other day. If I’d known ahead of time, it would have had many, many more eyes.

And if you bump into me any time in the next few weeks, you’ll likely still hear me humming the “Spider Pig” theme song. Even though it was used in the promotional commercials, it was still hysterical to hear Homer singing whilst hoisting his new porker pal to the ceiling. The tune’s been stuck replaying in my head since I peeled my shoes off the sticky theater floor and traipsed outside into the sunlight and I don’t mind that ditty whirling around in my brainpan one bit.

So let’s all hoist a Duff and toast a successful transition to the big screen. All Hail The Simpsons Movie.

Entering a “Darkplace”

I made a discovery yesterday that I want to share.

Everyone needs to pay a visit to Garth Marenghi’s DARKPLACE. Here’s a link to the episodes.

This UK spoof combines the horror genre and soap operas set in hospitals all done with the worst possible production values and talent. Brilliant! It also throws in a substantial dash of explosions, gunfire and action of the variety viewers who loved the original Starksy and Hutch will appreciate.

Viewers with more eclectic tastes will recognize an homage to Lars von Triers “Kingdom”, the UK TV show set in a gloomy, spooky hospital. Stephen King worked an American version of von Triers’ show for television called “Kingdom Hospital”.

I found DARKPLACE online and then I found out the SciFi network started airing it as of Friday night.

It’s a must see for those who have laughed their way through horrible horror movies for years. This one takes the bloody cake. Parody at its finest.

Here’s a snippet of the amazing stilted dialogue from the script of Episode 1.

(Cuts back to hospital. Liz walks up to, and leans on the reception desk, where The Extra is working) Liz
Hi, I’ve come to apply for the doctor’s job. I can assure you my credentials are top-notch, I’ve just graduated from Harvard College Yale. I aced every semester, and I got an ‘A’.
The Extra
(Woodenly) Well that sounds excellent. Our last doctor only just recently died in horrific circumstances. Can you start immediately?
Sure, do I have time to go to the toilet?
The Extra
Not really, I’ve already paged Dr. Sanchez who should be here any minute now.

 Dun, dun, dun – The dramatic prairie dog would be working overtime watching these episodes.

For more, go check out this fan site from the UK.

Take this bit of Garth Marenghi wisdom with you as you begin your voyage to … DARKPLACE.

Garth Merenghi: I have never exploded. But, I know what it would be like. Don’t ask me how, I just know. I’ve always, just known.

Constantly expanding

If you feel like the recent marketing and fan worship of The Simpsons are inundating your gray matter and leaving it feeling a bit yellow and mushy, here’s some science for you.

With a twist. I mean, come on, it is Eric Idle. Brilliant!

And if you’d like to see more of the fabulous pinball machine pictured above, go here.

Better than donuts?

Here’s a little something to help sate your appetite for the yellow family on this big Simpsons weekend.

From, it is a Top 10 list of the Weirdest Stuff Homer Simpson Has Ever Eaten.

These culinary mistakes certainly make those giant pink donuts look even tastier.

mmmmm, donuts.

Bye bye Bat Boy

The Squirrel Queen is in mourning this week.

I found out the horrible news from Newscoma who heard the word from Cuppa Joe. Drastic news of this sort travels fast, leaving many tears to be shed and cloth to be ripped.

The Weekly World News is shutting down.

A staple of my life for more than two decades, my source for news about Bat Boy, Bigfoot, Alien invasions, the Loch Ness Monster and so much more will no longer ease my passage through the checkout lines in stores. It won’t be there to comfort me as my cheeks adjust to the chill of the cold porcelain. How will I go on?

My love for the rag began so long ago. Working alone late at night at a radio station, I not only read WWN, but I also perused every page of the Memphis Commercial Appeal looking for odd A.P. stories for the radio station’s morning show team to use. There, tucked away at the bottom of a column many pages deep inside the traditional Appeal, I’d find tales of dogs walking hundreds of miles back to their original owners after getting lost during a family vacation or stories of singing birds alerting their owners to a blaze within the home in time to save lives or the odd story about what was recovered from the gastric areas of humans in emergency surgeries just in time to keep them upright and on planet Earth.

Then a few weeks later, I would find many of these same stories inside the WWN acting again as filler between the brilliant Dear Dotty and Ed Anger columns. I would alert people to the veracity of many of the stories inside the grocery store tabloid and would often be scoffed at. But I kept those clippings from the Commercial Appeal and showed the doubters the A.P. evidence. It rarely did much to convince the naysayers.

I even used WWN to decorate my first apartment. It was in an old home that had been split into a duplex, thus we had a long hallway on our side that went basically nowhere. I used headlines and cover art to create a WWN wallpaper, covering the cheap wood paneling with ink about Bigfoot and Bat Boy art all the way up to the molding just below the 10-foot ceiling. It truly was a decorating masterpiece. Martha would have been very proud.

I still have a WWN cover from a few years ago when Bat Boy hunted down Osama Bin Laden. I taped that one to the wall of my office just across from my desk. Whenever I needed writing inspiration, all I had to do was glance up and make eye contact with Bat Boy and the ideas flowed from my fingertips to the keyboard. Magic.

Unlike Newscoma, I never sent in a resume, but it certainly would have been a “dream” job to dream up news of that sort.

Farewell my black-and-white-and-read-all-over friend.

Seeing Yellow

In only a few hours I’ll be sitting in a darkened theater seeing yellow.

The Simpsons Movie is my focus today. I’ve waited years. If I had a Dunkin Donuts within driving range, I’d go buy a donut slathered with pink icing just to honor the occasion. And in a perfect world, I’d chase it down with a tall, cold glass of Duff.

To hold me over until the local debut from Springfield today, I spent yesterday practicing my movie watching skills by seeing Harry Plopper, er, I mean Harry Potter’s latest trauma. While we were waiting in the lobby to enter the theater, I used my camera phone to snap this giant Simpsons promotional standup. A huge yellow arm and pink donut that captured my attention like no other poster or cardboard cutout lining the lobby walls.

As for Potter, it was merely a diversion. I’m no Hogwarts alumnae. I wasn’t standing in line at midnight recently to purchase the latest and last offering from J.K. Rowling. I don’t care if you spoil it for me. Heck I realized during the movie yesterday, I hadn’t even seen the Potter flick that came out before this one.

All I have to say about this movie – too much sand, not enough Hagrid.

Cowabunga, that Potter kid, he’s no Bart Simpson.


Driving along the loop that forms the bypass around Martin, I saw a sight that reminded me of what the Roswell crash site must have looked way back when in New Mexico.

In the median, a mangled barbecue grill lay crumpled and misshapen after flying out of the back end of a speeding pickup truck. The glossy black dome-shaped lid of the grill was dented and warped. Four silver legs glinted in the sunlight like alien landing gear extended to support a vessel from another planet.

Traveling at 65 mph, I was moving too fast to be able to spot any wee, gray aliens with overly large heads strewn in the grass. 

When the highway department picks up this BBQ-UFO, will they take it back to their own version of Area 51 and do some reverse engineering?


It’s official. I can hardly wait any more, but I know I must. I haven’t been honed in on Harry Potter. I wasn’t pulled into the web by Spiderman. I’m not transforming into a robotic movie fan.

I’m sticking with the gang that put the fun in dysfunctional. I’m dying to see the big yellow fellow on the silver screen. The Simpsons movie is on its way.

The premiere is just days away and I’m beginning to get as fidgety as Milhouse after Nelson drops an entire ant colony down his pants.

In honor of the Simpsons, I created my own Squirrel Queen character today. If you’d like to do the same, you can do it at the web site for the movie. There are some other things to do over there. Let it fill the hours until the movie hits the big screen. I’ll be counting the minutes.

Hunka Hunka burning Pez dispenser



The Squirrel Queen is feeling left out. She’s about the only thing that hasn’t been turned into a Pez dispenser now that the Elvis edition  is on the market.

This may be old news to the folks down in Memphis, but for the rest of you, the King of Rock and Roll has been imortalized in plastic in three versions that come packaged together (in limited edition form natch). There’s the young military Elvis, the smooth and handsome middle Elvis and then the portly, make that rotund, cape- and aviator-glasses wearing Vegas Elvis.

The bad news is that you get the regular old chalky, not-so-sweet rectangles with these plastic candy dispensers. I think they should have come up with a new flavor like a fried peanut butter and nanner sandwich taste for the sweets that will be popped out of the King’s neck. 

The Elvis Pez trio is the second packaging of “collector’s edition” Pez I’ve seen in recent weeks (not that I’ve been seeking them out). I actually saw at some giant retail store the other day a package of Pez that included the Orange County Chopper guys.

The Teutuls (Paul Sr., Paul Jr. and Mikey) of TV fame are the first living people ever immortalized in plastic for Pez. Actors portraying characters (like on the Star Wars figures) aren’t counted in this category. There have been historical people (Betsy Ross), but all were deceased.

digging up more than nuts

Archaeology has twice been the topic of conversation for the Squirrel Queen this week.  Did you know that NASA has an archaeologist on staff? Yup, they do. Archaeologists were also recently aided by a squirrel. We do work for good, not evil. Keep that in mind.

Earlier in the week, Newscoma pointed out a tidbit about one of my legion uncovering some ancient works. She found the link at Russ McBee’s blog. He’s got some interesting reads on a variety of topics. Actually very few of them are related to squirrels. But I do agree with much of his politics.

Then the other night I was watching Nova on PBS and they did a piece on an archaeologist getting lost in the jungle and stumbling upon some “new” Mayan ruins. The same guy also worked with the NASA archaeologist to find several more new sites. The NASA guy studies maps created from satelite images looking for anomolies that might lead to new discoveries. His eagle eye  noted some differences in shots that upon treks through the jungles revealed more Mayan ruins. It seems the huge amount of limestone used by the Mayans as building blocks for their pyramids and structures leaches into the soil and causes those areas to appear differently on the maps.

Interesting stuff. I love a good tale about digging up some history. Who’s ready for the next Indiana Jones movie? Me, that’s who. Ok. I know that’s all fiction, but they’re darned good yarns.