Category Archives: The Invention of Hugo Cabret

Hot Air

Faster, Pussycat

You want further proof this holy land is becoming more deranged by the nanosecond? Okay, you’ve got it.

A report on NPR’s Morning Edition today reveals that sales of breakfast cereals have been off the last few years. In fact, trade in sugar-coated sugar cubes upon which aficionados sprinkle sugar before adding their milk have been dropping since cereal’s high-water mark in 1996. (Which, BTW, was the heyday of the sitcom, Seinfeld. In case you’ve forgotten, Jerry was noted for keeping an enviable stash of breakfast cereals in his kitchen cupboard. Coincidence? I think not.)

From "Seinfeld"

Seinfeld And His Cereals

Anyway, people apparently are shying away from breakfast cereals — either the aforementioned glucose bombs or the less hyperglycemic varieties — because…, swear to god, I can hardly believe what I’m typing…, it takes to long to make a goddamned bowl of cereal.

What are we all, firemen? Honest to the Big Daddy-o in the Sky, who in this crazy, mixed-up world is in too much of a hurry to pour out a bowl of Count Chocula? A crystal meth addict?

BTW: in researching Count Chocula for this entry, I learned that its sister cereal, Frankenberry, was responsible for a condition known as, well, Frankenberry Stool. That is, certain kids who slurped that slop were physically unable to break down the dye used in it, so their daily deuces (AKA feces) emerged a rich carmine. Chemistry, my friends, can brighten up your world.

Frankenberry

“Red Is The Ultimate Cure For Sadness.” — Bill Blass

Pluckin’ And A’picnickin’

Whaddya doing Sunday night? Huh? You don’t know?

Silly.

Everybody who’s anybody will be parked out in front of the Bryan Park bandshell to take in the annual outdoor performance of Krista Detor, backed up by her boy band including hubby David Weber, Steve Mascari, and Tim Moore. The yearly Detor outdoor gig is the best excuse on the planet to lay out a blanket and open up the pick-a-nick basket in the South Central Indiana e’en.

Detor

Krista Detor

The shindig is part of an action-packed end-of-summer month for this world class hamlet. The 6:30pm Detor show serves as the unofficial coda for the 4th Street Festival of the Arts & Crafts, which will have just wrapped up at that time some half a mile north of the bandshell. And just as soon as locals recover from those two bashes, the 2014 Lotus World Music & Arts Festival kicks off less than three weeks later.

Time for a shameless plug: Krista Detor’s book/CD, Flat Earth Diary, is on sale now at the Book Corner. Twenty two bucks, babies — as Alfred E. Neuman used to say, cheap.

Check, Mate

So, news has emerged that a large fellow who this year will earn more money than you or I will ever see in our lifetimes because of his ability to prevent other large fellows from catching a football received a $15 million bonus check on July 29th — and he hasn’t cashed it yet!

Patrick Peterson, defensive back for the Arizona Cardinals, got the check when he signed his five-year, $70million contract extension with the NFL team that day. And now it’s been nearly a month and it’s still sitting, presumably, on the passenger seat of his SUV.

Peterson

Payee Peterson

Sheesh. I think of the times I copped $25 checks for stories that’d taken me a week to write and cashing them so fast that I doubt if I left any fingerprints on them. Then again, I have no idea how to prevent a large fellow from catching a football.

Citizen Journos

Kudos to big boss Alycin Bektesh over at the WFHB News Department. She’s conjured a 21st Century solution to an age-old problem at the volunteer scoop shop. She calls it the Wordy 30 Club.

One of the biggest problems Bektesh faces is a dearth of vols to fully staff the Monday-through-Friday news writing shifts at the Firehouse Broadcasting outlet. She and her ass’t, Joe Crawford, have had to pen Daily Local News scripts too many times to count of late. This is especially so in summer when Indiana University journalism students are off for the summer, thereby whittling down the vol pool. Most days in June and July, Bektesh can practice firing off her cannon in the ‘FHB newsroom and not worry she’ll hit anybody.

WFHB

The Wordy 30 ought to remedy that. The way it works is Alycin and Joe will curate a list of news leads that will be available to any volunteer at, well, any place on Earth. All the vols need are their computers or other hand-held devices and they can pick and choose, say, three news leads, then proceed to write headlines or what we in the biz like to call “readers.” These are quick, concise news bits that don’t really deserve the full Woodward/Bernstein treatment but may well be of interest or use to listeners.

Each Wordy 30 shift will last — yep — 30 minutes. Perfect for our fast-paced, short-att’n-span world, nay?

I can see the Daily Local News becoming much more snappy and info-packed once this scheme is in full swing. Those, by the way, are two descriptors few employed in regard to the DLN in the past.

Oh, and don’t fret if your taste in news trends toward long-form, in-depth coverage. WFHB will still churn out those stories. A mix of penetrating journalism and bang-bang headlines ought to make the DLN the indispensable news source for Bloomingtonians.

The Pencil Today:

TODAY’S QUOTE

“The clock talked loud. I threw it away. It scared me what it talked.” — Tillie Olsen

TEMPUS FUGIT

It was a wild ride around the sun this time, no?

Don’t unbuckle your seatbelt just yet. The next one promises to be just as bumpy.

HUGO

The Loved One and I caught Martin Scorsese‘s “Hugo” yesterday. An out and out visual treat. It was the master director’s love letter to the movies.

Understand that I’m a big Scorsese fan. His “Raging Bull” was the greatest sports movie ever made and deserves consideration as the greatest movie ever made, period. At least two scenes from his movies have become conversational mantras: “I’m funny how? I mean, funny like I’m a clown? I amuse you?” and “You talkin’ to me? I’m the only one here.”

Joe Pesci As Tommy DeVito

But Scorsese, in my unhumble opinion, always has kept a distance from his characters. He has handled the likes of Travis Bickle, Tommy DeVito, and Bill “the Butcher” Cutting with an icy reserve. He’s as dispassionate as a surgeon.

Even Hugo Cabret, the train station orphan who’s desperate to discover his purpose in life; Scorsese observes him from a remove. It’s the story of “Hugo” that Scorsese embraces, as if it’s his own.

“Hugo”

I’ll bet in the deepest recesses of his imagination, it is.

Anyway, one thing I couldn’t get past. The movie is set in a Paris train station. The vast majority of characters are French women and men (and kids). So why does everybody speak with an upper-class British accent?

NOCERA SWIPES MY IDEA

Speaking of sports (well, I mentioned the word in the above bit, didn’t I?), Joe Nocera penned a compelling piece for tomorrow’s New York Times Magazine. He suggests we strip away all the pretense and just pay college football and basketball players. He also recommends dropping the whole student-athlete charade.

Nocera

I endorse every word he writes, mainly because they’re precisely the things I’ve been hollering for years.

Living in a college town for more than two years now I realize how important the Hoosiers or the Buckeyes or the Badgers or even the Nittany Lions are to their surrounding communities.

Big time college athletics has become so ingrained in the life of the region around each university that the teams have become, in essence, public trusts. The Hoosiers, rightfully, are more a possession of the local citizenry than they are of Indiana University.

So, run the operation like a business. Which means pay the labor.

Even The Chinese Who Built The US Railroads Got Paid

NEWS AS ENTERTAINMENT

The Herald Times decreed today that the Lauren Spierer disappearance was the top local story of 2011.

I suppose that would be true if by “top story” you mean the one that played out most like a dramatic daily serial.

Me? I figure the top story was — once again — funding cutbacks for schools, libraries, social services, Planned Parenthood, and the like due to the 2008 crash and the inexorable move to the right in our holy land.

Then again, that’s not as riveting as The Case of the Missing Well-Heeled Pretty Blond Coed.

STAYIN’ ALIVE

Hey, if you’re planning to get sloshed tonight, remember to take the Yellow Cab Company up on its offer of a free ride home. IU-Bloomington Hospital as well as the city and the county are helping pay for the service.

Some 19 drivers will be shuttling the tipsy and the downright drunk home from their parties from 9:00pm through 4:00am.

See, It’d Be Better If This Guy Didn’t Drive Tonight

Call 812.339.9744 for your ride.

Oh, and don’t be a smart ass — the free ride is not meant for people shuttling between parties. There’s always some knucklehead.

THE FIGHTING GOP

Peter Sagal on “Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me” revealed this morning that former Minnesota GOP governor Tim Pawlenty claims to relax by logging on to a website featuring hockey fights.

You know, where two uniformed simians on skates pound each others’ heads and faces and otherwise express their version of sportsmanship.

Relaxing

Yep, nothing like watching incidents of otherwise-felonious assault to reach that zen-like state of repose. As long as you ignore the fact that many hockey goons will suffer brain degeneration and may well die young.

Is it any wonder why I’ve never voted Republican?

TIME

It’s a good day to listen to the Chambers Brothers hit from the fall of 1968.

Live this next year as if it may be your last. And let’s hope we can say that to each other fifty more times.

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