Category: Movies

That Poppy

I highly recommend you check out the YouTube channel/persona “Poppy,” which is to internet video what Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job was to basic cable and what Pee Wee’s Playhouse was to children’s programming. There’s an obnoxious Wired article going around about it (which is how I discovered it, so thanks for that, Wired, although your tone was super condescending) which makes me suspect I hate most of its fanbase (skews heavily toward “my imaginary girlfriend”/”solve this mystery” obsession), so maybe you should avoid reading anything about it at all. But the video art itself? Very, very worthy. Extremely funny. Extremely well-observed.

Some favorites:

My Phone Is Not Plugged In

The Queen of YouTube

Thursdays Are So Boring

Headed to Massachusetts

I’ll be moving back to the U.S. in July (specifically Massachusetts), which is bittersweet. I mentioned it in passing about a month and a half ago, in Italian. I will very much miss my friends here, and also the vegetables. But I have stuff to do in the states.

In any case, if you have plans to visit me in Italy, June is the remaining month in which to do that (and I am producing a short film that’s shooting at the end of June, so you’ll be drafted if you show up then). After that, if you want to hang out, I suggest Massachusetts in the autumn, when the leaves are pretty. Or you can wait a few years and figure I’m likely to move again, since I tend to do that every few years.

Rodney says:   A moving target is the hardest to hit, Romie! Good luck.

Travis says: Tell me more about these vegetables of which you speak.

Romie: As a combination of agricultural subsidies and a climate more suitable to farming than most of the U.S., most of the produce we get comes from very nearby, which means both that it doesn’t need to be picked before it’s ripe and that cultivators can select for flavor rather than durability, or resistance to awful weather. So it just tastes better.

But specifically:

– broccoli romanesco is not actually broccoli but looks like broccoli if it was a fractal and tastes mild and creamy

– montepulciano grapes are tiny and full of seeds but taste just like good red wine, because good wine is made from them

– very good sauce tomatoes are usually available

– along the same lines, the apricots actually taste like something instead of rocks

– there’s this weedy thing called agretto which is pretty hard to describe

I think a lot of the “don’t like vegetables” thing in the U.S. is because our vegetables suck, and either taste sour or like nothing. (U.S. pickles are better, though.)

Travis: Can I tell you how refreshing it is to have a face-value conversation? Ask a question, get an answer. Beautifully explained, btw… I must know more about agretto, but I’ll happily research myself. Been thinking about doing some indoor gardening on account of the harsh Texas sun. You’re just the best.

Deal With the Devil

If you make a deal with the Devil, you lose your soul, but also, you don’t get the thing you sold it for, because the Devil is the prince of lies.

In any case, while we’re trying to exorcise the old boy, I found a list of Satanic nicknames assembled by the Dictionary of American Regional English between 1965 and 1970, which you may enjoy deploying, such as Old Booger Man, Old Lutherfud, and Error.

Incidentally, Jimmy Squarefoot may stand out to you as it did to me: he’s an obscure mythological boar-headed biped from the Isle of Man, associated with the (also obscure) Manx Pig Legend. He’s not particularly a devil figure.

Jeff says: I wish this list included the locations for each name. Papa Legba, not mentioned, is a fascinating Vodou figure who isn’t a devil, but has often been mistaken for one. The Talking Heads and Pops Staples did a song about him, too.

Romie: Seconded on wishing there was a distribution map. I wonder whether they’d give you the expanded data if you e-mailed. Meanwhile, a copy of True Stories has been on my “want” list for a while; I’ve been holding out in hopes there’d eventually be a remastered version, but this is probably foolish.

Edward says: “Most Immediate Enemy” gets my vote for most apropos.

Angela says: Error is so perfect. BRB; writing sci-fi version of “Young Goodman Brown.”

Chelsea Manning Day

Whistleblower Chelsea Manning will be released from prison today, and my brain has unhelpfully conflated this with “Rex Manning Day” from the movie Empire Records, largely as an excuse to get “Video Killed the Radio Star” stuck in my head. Thanks for nothing, brain. If I ever thought you were smart, you have proved me wrong. I’m renaming you “buggles.”

It is a good song, though.

Live, from News Chopper 6…

This is not a post about James Comey, but about L.A. news stations’ obsession with covering any and all news stories from helicopters.

People of L.A.: This is not normal. Anywhere else in the United States, the local news broadcast isn’t 40% overhead shots of highways. In fact, most news hours include no helicopter shots at all.

It’s like the old adage: When you’ve got a helicopter, everything looks like something you need to shoot from a helicopter. But you can get past this, L.A. You have excellent filmmakers in your area. They can help you to find impactful, narrative news images which aren’t the roof of James Comey’s car.

You don’t need the helicopter. The beauty was inside you all along.


Gareth: There are so many helicopters in the sky in L.A. All day. Everyday!!

Edward: I’m pretty sure the fact that people in L.A. spend 40% of their lives on those highways may have something to do with this.

Romie: I agree to some extent, in that the news stations need helicopters to do the traffic report, and once you’ve got it up there…. But I must say the last thing I’d want to see, after getting out of my car in the afternoon (or just before getting into it in the morning) is yet more gridlock.

Natalie: Oh man, there is nothing I like more after a long commute than laughing at all the other suckers still stuck in theirs.

Michelle: Yeah, this way we can see what the traffic is like at the same time. So, I know not to take the 405 to get to LAX because it’s bumper to bumper even in the carpool lane.

James G: Do L.A. residents have over 40 words for helicopter?

Rex: More Submarine Coverage!!

Nic:  Every news item should be shot from a helicopter irrespective of content.