Natasha Henstridge, the Newfoundland-born actor, decided to do what she called a Screech-In during an appearance on The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien the other night. You can see the clip below.[UPDATE: I've been informed this is a six-year-old clip, which makes sense; Henstridge is promoting a show that went off the air in 2004. See the comments below.]
I groan whenever I encounter a Screech-In, and actively avoid them. I have to say I was caught off guard by Henstridge's explanations.
In the clip, you'll see her define Screech first as "moonshine," although she later calls it rum. (If you look closely, it looks like the dark rum she describes has been replaced by something clear. Like water. Especially when you see O'Brien ham it up and reach for the bottle.)
Then there's explanation of when Screech-Ins occur.
"In Newfoundland, we celebrate a little differently," she said, adding that Screech-Ins happen "when you have babies, or you get married."
Um ... what??
Here's a thought. A Screech-in, in which unsuspecting tourists are told this is a fine tradition (but aren't told that it was invented as a marketing ploy, dates back only to the Seventies, and is as widely loathed as it is admired), might just as well adopt Natasha Henstridge's proposed new definitions. They are, after all, just as authentic as what the NLC once came up with, and as genuine as the codswallop that the downtown bars get on with to this day.
John Lydon is reforming PiL, a.k.a. Public Image Limited. In a piece published in today's Guardian in London, the expat Brit and punk founder comments on Youth of Today:
On a recent visit, he says, he berated some schoolkids for
throwing stones at passing buses. "Younger people at the moment are
very mouthy and aggressive," he complains, oblivious to the irony.
"You're all terrified of your own youth. You're not allowed to give
them a clip around the ear and send them home." But weren't people
scared of him in his youth? "Mmm. That was the power of words, but this
lot use violence."
(Before we continue: Aside from the Lolcats trend that has kind of overstayed its welcome by, oh, many moons, I think Huh has something to answer for because of the Fail meme. I've quite had it with teens and young adults, with no practical life or work experience, instantly and angrily labelling something as "FAIL!!!" - not because it doesn't work, but because they simply don't like it.)
Huh's sites (more than 20 of them) are making a mint:
These spellbindingly inane blogs were built with the kind of
user-generated content that has made Facebook and YouTube tremendously
popular. But unlike these bigger sites, Huh's company has been in the
black since its first quarter. Pet Holdings managed to haul in seven
figures from advertising, licensing fees and merchandise sales during
the first six months of this year, according to a report given to Huh's
Yes, this is completely tasteless, but I laughed out loud when I watched this clip this morning: the latest in a long, long line of parodies using Hitler's breakdown scene from the movie Downfall. (More on that here.) The subtitles are not for the easily offended.
You can tell a lot about an era from its advertising, and you can tell something about a company, sometimes, by how it presents its brand to fit the times.
I came across, by accident, a pretty decent (and unintentionally funny) example in the video below, which shows three videos for Avon cosmetics (you know, "Ding dong ...") with the first starting in Camelot-era 1962 and the third ending in Carly Simon-era 1970s.
The three are pretty different. The first has a higher word count than some magazine articles: wall-to-wall narration, all to suit the elegant milieu. (I've always been struck by how print ads from the era also included walls of text; it's as if the copywriters were paid by the word.)
The second piece, which I'm guessing is from the late Sixties, is the comic relief, as Avon tries to keep hip with the psychedelic era. If I didn't know otherwise and couldn't hear, I would have thought it was from an outtake from Laugh-In.
In the third, you'll see how writing had changed: fewer words, but charged words. And doesn't walking through tall grasses just say "fragrance"?
Consider this an excuse to sneak an image from Saturday Night Live's iconic Land Shark sketches in this morning; the character is, believe it or not, one of several pop-culture citations of sharks featured in this Radar piece.
The Grim Reaper has appeared in countless films, TV shows, New Yorker cartoons ... but rarely delivers the giggles as in Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey, in which a Bergman-like Death goes shopping, plays Twister, etc. He's featured in a new Entertainment Weekly gallery about immortal characters featured in pop culture.
Mario is one of the best-known game characters ever concocted. The plumber gets the proletarian treatment in The People's Mario, a sendup that imagines the mighty fist of the worker smacking down evils everywhere (mushrooms included).
Tara Bryan's hand-made books are something to look at, but that's only part of the experience: you really want to touch them. George Murray wrote a profile of Bryan, who lives in Torbay, for CBC.ca that was published Monday; you can read it here.
You'll remember Ken Jennings, I'm sure; even those who never watch Jeopardy knew about Jennings by the time he walked over the record books, becoming something of a pop culture savant in the process. Jennings writes a blog which you may enjoy; last week, he made the news when some not-too-sharp journos mistook a tongue-in-cheek "rant" about Jeopardy and its format. Among other things, Jennings blasted such supposedly esoteric categories as U.S. history ... with the New York Post taking the post seriously, and the Associated Press distributing it widely without even blinking. Here are these thoughts from a posting earlier this month:
... Wake me up when you come up with something that middle America actually cares about. I think it would rule if, just one time, Alex had to read off a board like:
The Arby’s 5-for-$5.95 Value Menu
Skanks from Reality TV Who Got Naked in Men’s Magazines
Thinking about Jeopardy categories brought to mind the classic Cheers episode in which postal worker Cliff gets on Jeopardy, and winds up with his dream board of topics, including civil servants, stamps around the world, celibacy and (of course) beer.
Dot Dot Dot is Morse code for the letter 'S,' the full message Guglielmo Marconi claimed to have received atop Signal Hill in St. John's in 1901. It ushered in the age of telecommunications. My maternal grandfather worked as a telegraph operator for Canadian Marconi on Signal Hill for many years.
As well, I have a habit of overusing the ellipsis when I write ... as frequent readers might notice.