Monday, December 27, 2010

Let's Get Annotated!

Every year, as you well know, the "blog" advent calendar brings fun and enlightenment to young and old alike. The fuel it runs on is surprise, so it would ruin the "blog" advent calendar to explain anything about it until it is complete in its glory and has been enjoyed by one and all in the spirit of anticipation, wonder, and universal good cheer. But sometimes there are one or two items that might be enhanced with footnotes after the fact, and such is the case once again this year. Here are this year's "blog" advent calendar annotations, helpfully numbered according to their original placement on this year's "blog" advent calendar: 10. So Mary Worth was stalked in her eponymous comic strip and they made a coffee mug representing her encounter with her stalker. Okay! I found this one the night before I "posted" it, and here is the weird thing: when I found it, the mug cost $13.99. But THE VERY NEXT MORNING, when I "posted" it, the price had mysteriously gone up to $14.99! AND THAT'S NOT ALL! After I "posted" it, when I visited other "web" sites with advertising sidebars, OFTEN the Mary Worth stalker mug would be featured, probably thanks to "cookies" or some other innocent sounding, horrible "internet" thing I don't understand. Mary Worth's stalker was stalking me around the "internet"! In one case, the mug was advertised for the price of $19.99! I have no idea what this means, except that computers are spying on us, but we knew that. 11. This man has lots of ideas, including one I thought was mine! In my novel AWESOME, the title character - a giant who invents things - wants to construct a highway with grooves like LP grooves in it, and to have cars fitted with special tires that would play the music embedded in the highway, the way a phonograph needle plays a record. I thought I made it up! But I was shocked and sort of depressed to discover that this guy had already thought of it. He writes: "Carve computer-generated ripples in the surface of a main highway, and when vehicles pass over the surface, mysterious voices whisper, and distant music plays... Little sub-threshold voices which say 'Buy popcorn.'" His version requires no special tires. BUT GET THIS! He suffered a letdown too, because he in turn discovered that ROADS LIKE THIS ALREADY EXIST IN REAL LIFE! So I guess we are both suckers for thinking we are so great and everything. 21. You don't know who Charley Weaver is. Why should you? He was a folksy character created by the actor Clifford Arquette (grandfather to Patricia and Rosanna Arquette). Arquette (in character as Charley Weaver) was on HOLLYWOOD SQUARES with Paul Lynde. I want to say he sat on the bottom row, at the end, but I can't swear to it. The little automated Charley Weaver toy is great. In addition to making and drinking its little cocktail, and its nose turning red through special lighting effects, Mr. Ward says that smoke originally came out of its ears. Puzzling, though: the Charley Weaver persona did not involve Foster Brooks-like drunkenness as far as I can recall... certainly Charley Weaver would have never imbibed anything requiring the use of a cocktail shaker - more like a Mason jar. So the toy is weird in that regard. Let me also say that there is one of these behind the counter at the Ajax Diner, inert, and often have I stared at it and wondered about its function - a coin bank? - as I drank sweet tea and ate pot roast and butter beans at the bar. Now I know! 22. I didn't realize until my brother-in-law David sent me the video that the Lambton worm was such a big deal. I knew the song from the Ken Russell movie LAIR OF THE WHITE WORM, but if I thought about it at all, I stupidly and incuriously figured it was a fake folk song they made up to suit the needs of the plot. But man, there are so many versions on youtube! One guy sings it with his shirt off and possibly his pants off for all I know. The brother-in-law visited for Christmas. He walked into Square Books on Christmas Eve and by fate walked straight to a book about dragons containing a chapter on the Lambton worm. Have you ever noticed that whenever you start thinking about the Lambton worm he turns up everywhere? So I guess the Lambton worm is very popular and I never knew it. (I started this "post" last night but then I got too tired to explain who Charley Weaver was. It seemed soul crushing. Life is hard!) Pictured, Charley Weaver and LAIR OF THE WHITE WORM. See if you can figure out which is which!