Category Archives: Movies

Overlapping Shadows

Time now for an occasional (OK, this is the second one, ever) feature of Trail Baboon – Connect Three.

Three current news stories share a common feature – in this case the linkage is anything but obscure – it’s a simple shadow.

The first one has to do with a particular portrait of Bill Clinton in the National Portrait Gallery. Artist Nelson Shanks says the canvas he painted of President Bill Clinton in 2006 includes the shadow of a blue dress, a reference to the famous Monica Lewinski garment which, having been smeared by Clinton himself, left a permanent stain on his presidency.

This, I suppose, is where being an artist trumps having political or financial muscle in that you get to make a lasting commentary. It’s not clear why Shanks would reveal this particular artistic choice right now. Perhaps it’s a bid to set his Clinton image apart from at least 54 others in the Portrait Gallery.

Ah, the Shanks Portrait. That’s the one with The Dress!

Credits: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA
Credits: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

Meanwhile, far out in space at the constantly moving intersection of comet science and human ingenuity, the Rosetta spacecraft has taken a picture of its own diffuse shadow on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. This news is getting enough play to suggest that we retain our ability to be amazed by simple things. Not only could we locate, chase down and go into orbit around a comet – we’re able to throw a little shade on one too. Fascinating. We are enthralled at any bit of evidence that hints at or own existence. Does this light make my butt look big?

And finally, Disney Characters shadowed shoppers in a mall in Massapequa, New York. I’ve been to Disney World and believe me, it’s just like this – you walk along minding your own business while a duck follows your every move just a step behind.

Close enough to reach into your pocket.

How are you as a mimic?

Some Gratitude for Gravity

While I don’t usually dig into the archives to re-purpose old material, I’m inclined to do so on MAO Day, which is not a holiday set aside to celebrate Chinese Communism but rather, my acronym for  the Monday After the Oscars.

This one goes way back – to the old Trial Balloon blog in 2010.  Many current Trail Baboon commentators had a thing or two to say to this five years ago – take a look and see if you still feel the same way!

Awards show season can be frustrating for artists and their fans. If your favorite singer, actor, writer, set designer or foley artist doesn’t win, it’s a reminder that these shows are a pointless waste of time, an exercise in snobbishness, the purest form of self congratulation and the voters are a bunch of no-taste noodle heads.

And if your favorite wins, well, this is a date that will go down in history! Justice was served. The world acknowledged greatness.

My favorite awards show thank you speech pre-dates television. I loved what Nephew Thomas said when he accepted the prize for 1938 Stunt Man of the Year, receiving his first Marconi (the “Oscar” of the radio world) thanks to his uncanny ability to make it appear he was flying through the air using only his voice and manipulating his proximity to the microphone. He said:

I have so many people to thank, I’m going to have to disappoint them equally and not mention any names at all. Sorry, everybody. Kill me if you must, but that will be hard. I’m a Radio Stunt Man after all.

My only thank you tonight goes to gravity, because it has made my career possible.

It was gravity that pulled me off the side of HMS Indomitable when I played “Semaphore Operator 1″, valiantly trying to signal Vice-admiral Beatty aboard HMS Lion during the riveting WW1 drama, “The Battle of Dogger Bank”.

Gravity kept me from getting launched all the way into space when I played the Human Cannonball in “Carnival People!”.

And it is gravity holding me here right now, at a time when I am so happy, I could float right to the ceiling of this auditorium, which would be a wonderful effect to do in some future radio dramaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaa…”

Of course at that point he did a vivid fade off mic that sounded for all the world like he was being inexplicably lifted upward – the sort of detail only a master can pull off.

If you had to give an acceptance speech right now, who would you thank?

 

Use Other Exit

I loved the post from Clyde yesterday, along with the conversation that ensued.   I was especially tickled by this comment from Renee in North Dakota.

Screen Shot 2014-11-12 at 4.46.35 PM

That is a beguiling image  – a would-be farmer, forsaking his chores for art.   It got me to thinking about old fiddle tunes, including Stephen Foster’s “Camptown Races”.

 

Uncle Albert had a barn,
Doo-dah, Doo-dah.
Often he’d relate this yarn,
Oh, do doo-dah day.

All them cows produced for sure,
Doo-dah, Doo-dah
Tons and tons of ripe manure
Oh, de doo-dah day.

Piling up all night.
Piling up all day.
When the cattle tried to leave
Guess what was blocking the way?

Albert got his fiddle strung
Doo dah, doo dah
On a hillock made of dung.
Oh, de doo-dah day.

Never did a bloomin’ chore,
Doo Dah, Doo Dah.
Sat beside a fragrant door,
Oh de doo-dah day.

While he played he never frowned,
Doo Dah, Doo Dah,
Watching bovines turn around
All de doo-dah day.

He would just recline,
Looking at the birds.
Now and then Albert would say,
“Man, what a mountain of turds!”

When have you let something pile up?