Category Archives: movies

pulling some strings

Emily of Wheels on the Bus sent out an unusual plea, having recently gone to see Puppetolio, an LA-area puppet theater that is closing its doors this weekend unless they manage to…um…pull a few strings:

If you know anyone who lives in L.A., anyone in the media, anyone who loves puppets, anyone who reads blogs, anyone who cares about the arts, then you know someone who will find this of interest and might be able to help.

I’m not around L.A., but I do care about the arts, and children’s entertainment, and I hate to see such a time-honored tradition dying out. So, if you can, go see what Emily has to say. And if you can, pull a few strings to help out the puppeteer in his plight.

But first, I’m putting on ashow of my own with this ThThTh¹ list o’ puppets.

  • Punch and Judy: traditional English puppet theatre, typically performed in a booth-type stage.
  • Pinocchio: a famous wooden puppet of fiction and film who comes to life.
  • punch-bw-puppet

  • Muppets: a range of mostly cloth and plush puppets, originally created by Jim Henson.
  • puppet: an expression for a person or entity whose actions are covertly dictated by some other person or entity. Political figures are sometimes disparagingly called puppets.
  • the_godfather

  • The Godfather: The poster for the 1972 movie shows a hand holding the string controls for a marionette, alluding to the “puppet master” status of a mafia boss
  • “The Lonely Goatherd”: A scene from The Sound of Music (1965) in which an elaborate puppet show is performed
  • “Puppet Man”: A song performed (separately http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=12771 ) in the early 1970s by The 5th Dimension Tom Jones. Here’s the Tom Jones version:

    Baby, Baby, I’m your sweet pet
    I’m just your personal marionette
    Wind me up and let me go
    Don’t you know I’m a one man show?
    Raise your finger and I’ll perform
    I’ll crack a jack till’ the crack a dawn
    If you wanna see me do my thing, baby pull my string

  • “Puppets”: a song by Depeche Mode from their first album, Speak and Spell. (YouTube vid)

    And I don’t think you understand
    What I’m trying to say
    I’ll be your operator baby
    I’m in control

  • The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre: What can I say? They are sock puppets. Who sing in falsetto voices. With Scottish accents. Watch their latest video, “Back in E.D.I.N. BRAW“:
  • Lamb Chop: a sheep sock puppet operated by comedian Shari Lewis.
  • Bob from the TV show Soap.
    A ventriloquist’s dummy operated by Chuck, but a character in his own right. (Watch a scene with Bob here)
  • Mr. Hat: Mr. Garrison’s puppet from the show South Park
  • The Puppet Show: an episode from Buffy the Vampire Slayer involving a ventriloquist’s dummy.
  • Puppetmaster (1989) A horror movie with puppets that come to life.
  • Being John Malkovich (1999) John Cusack plays a puppeteer, and puppeteering features prominently in the plot. The movie also boasts a gigantic Emily Dickinson marionette.

——-

¹ It’s been a while since I put up my last Themed Things Thursday² post. (Has it really not been since April? Craziness. I’ve drafted probably a good dozen or so lists, but haven’t quite gotten any together and ready to post.)

² Yes, I know it’s Friday. Don’t quibble with me. I’m tired.

Image sources: Godfather poster, Punch puppet, Pinnochio from Ginn and Company The Common School Catalogue (Boston: Ginn & Company Publishers, 1906) 40 via etc and puppet show from Harper’s New Monthly Magazine (New York: Harper and Brothers Publshers, 1871) XLII:831 via etc.

not quite Sesame Street

We don’t watch a lot of TV in our family, but sometimes we do let Phoebe and Theo watch some short videos. They like shows best that have colorful costumed characters and musical numbers with lots of rhymes:

This episode was brought to you by the letter T.

sock it to me

I just can’t get enough of those socks. I figure you can’t either. So, I’ve rifled through my sock drawer to share with you this sock-themed ThThTh list.

  • knock your socks off: an idiom meaning “impress” or “surprise in a good way,” as in The excitement of this sock list will knock your socks off.
  • put a sock in it: “be quiet.” (Differs somewhat from “put it in a sock.”
  • bobby-soxer: a 1940s term for a teenage girl, especially fans of Sinatra
  • The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (1947): a movie with Cary Grant and a teenaged Shirley Temple.
  • sock hop: a dance popular in the US in the 1950s in which participants took off their shoes and danced in their socks
  • stocking_23

  • Christmas stockings: socks hung by the fireplace as part of a Christmas tradition. They are then filled with eggs by the Easter Bunny. (Do I have that right?)
  • Fox in Socks: A Dr. Seuss book (featuring a fox wearing socks) filled with particularly tricky tonguetwisters:

    New socks.
    Two socks.
    Whose socks?
    Sue’s socks.
    Who sews whose socks?
    Sue sews Sue’s socks.
    Who sees who sew whose new socks, sir?
    You see Sue sew Sue’s new socks, sir.

  • foxinsocksbookcoverpippi.jpg

  • Pippi Longstocking: A character from a series of children’s books by Astrid Lindgenwho wore socks that were not only long (long stockings) but noteworthy for being mismatched
  • Diddle Diddle Dumpling: a Mother Goose rhyme featuring (at least in some versions) stockings:

    Diddle diddle dumpling
    My son John
    Went to bed with his stockings on
    One shoe off and one shoe on.

  • bluestocking: a term for an “educated, intellectual woman” used commonly in the 18th and 19th centuries. Also Blue Stockings Society.
  • redsox

  • Red Sox: a baseball team based in Boston, MA
  • White Sox: a baseball team based in Chicago, IL
  • Chartreuse Sox: a baseball team based in my imagination
  • threesockmonkeys

  • sock monkeys: stuffed toys traditionally made from socks. (Perhaps less traditional is the sock monkey dress.)
  • sock puppets: hand puppets made out of socks.
  • sock puppet: a dummy internet account
  • The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theater: a sock puppet duo of YouTube fame

  • The Bureau of Missing Socks: “the first organization solely devoted to solving the question of what happens to missing single socks. It explores all aspects of the phenomena including the occult, conspiracy theories, and extraterrestrial.”

tiny_sockstiny_sockstiny_sockstiny_sockstiny_sockstiny_sockstiny_socks

on the bridge

My ThThTh posts are falling down.¹ I’m having trouble finding enough time for blogging, at least of the variety that necessitates typing. (I’m doing a lot of reading, but little commenting or posting.) And I have a backlog of barebones drafts of these lists, but no time to flesh them out.²

Anyhow, I’ve had this bridge post under construction for a bit, and Saturday’s bridge photos seemed a good prompt to finish the job. So, here’s a ThThTh list on the bridge.

  • burn one’s bridges: create circumstances such that there’s (metaphorically) no going back.
  • Bridges of Madison County : A novel by Robert James Waller that become a runaway best-seller, and a 1995 movie based on it starring Meryl Streep and Clint Eastwood.
  • burning one’s Bridges of Madison County: an expression meaning “rid one’s library of fad novels.” (Oh, fine, I just made that up.)
  • we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it: an expression meaning that plans about how to deal with a situation won’t be made until that situation arises.
  • The Billy Goats Gruff: a classic fairy tale about three goats who want to cross a bridge, and encounter a troll. Who leaves nasty comments on their blogs. (No, wait. Wrong kind of troll.)
  • water under the bridge: an expression one says of negative events when one has decided not to dwell on them.
  • “Under the Bridge,” a song by Red Hot Chili Peppers.
  • “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” a song by Simon and Garfunkel.
  • “Water Under the Bridge Over Troubled Water:” a non-existent song title.
  • bridge: part of a musical composition
  • bridge: a card game
  • bridge: a type of dental work used to fill a gap
  • bridging the gap: making a connection between ideas, or other abstract concepts
  • “London Bridge is Falling Down:” a nursery rhyme and traditional song with many verses, the first (and best known) of which is:

    London Bridge is falling down
    Falling down, falling down
    London Bridge is falling down
    My fair lady.

  • Bridge to Terabithia, a Newbery Medal-winning children’s novel by Katherine Paterson. Also a 2007 movie based on the same.
  • Bridge to Nowhere: let’s not go there.

bridge_29473_lg
Image: The New London New Bridge from The Encyclopedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition (New York: The Encyclopedia Britannica Company, 1910), via clipart etc.

¹Falling down, falling down.
²Hey, those two metaphors worked together!

moo

With Chinese New Year having brought us into the Year of the Ox, it seems a good time to bring on the bovines.

Seeing as oxen aren’t all that plentiful in the universe of things in my head, Babe aside¹, I’ve decide to round up some more plentiful bovines instead. This ThThTh brings you cows².

A herd of cow things

  1. Cows are used in the branding of several companies, such as Ben & Jerry’s (ice cream, which is a dairy product), La Vache Qui Rit/Lauging Cow cheese (more dairy products), A black and white cowhide pattern is also used for Gateway Computers, which are computers made entirely out of cheese. Or are they made out of beef?
  2. ben_and_jerrys gatewaylogo vache_qui_rit

  3. cow pie: Not anlagous to a chicken pie, this is not a beef-filled pastry.
  4. cowlick: a section of hair that grows in the wrong direction, sticking out as if licked by a cow.
  5. Vachement: a French slang adverb. Vache being the word for cow, and -ment being an adverbial suffix along the lines of -ly, vachement could be translated as “cowly.”
  6. Graceless, Aimless, Feckless and Pointless: the cows from Cold Comfort Farm (1995), one of my all time favorite movies. (Also in the novel by Sella Gibbons). Loads of other movies featuring cows, can be found at a cow-obsessed website called Bovine Bazaar.
  7. “The cow jumped over the moon”: a famous line from “Hey Diddle Diddle”
  8. cow_jump_over_moon

  9. sacred cows: Cows are holy in the Hindu religion, and are allowed to roam the streets freely in India.
  10. holy cow! An exclamation of surprise. Holy cow! That’s a lot of cows roaming the streets!
  11. “Cows,” A chorus-line inspired song off of Sandra Boynton’s album Philadelphia Chickens.
  12. Cow Parade: a large scale art project/event in which life-sized plastic cow models are painted and/or decorated as works of art and put on display. First seen in Chicago, and later in other cities around the world.
  13. Mrs. O’Leary’s cow: the cow blamed for starting the Great Chicago Fire by kicking over a lantern. She has since been cleared of the arson charges, as she didn’t really exist.
  14. Don’t have a cow, man. An expression meaning “don’t get upset.” A catchphrase used by Bart on The Simpsons.
  15. How now, brown cow? A saying used to practice the diphthong [aʊ], which is contained in each of the words.
  16. “I never saw a purple cow.”: a children’s rhyme.

    I never saw a purple cow.
    I never hope to see one.
    But I can tell you, anyhow,
    I’d rather see than be one.

  17. till the cows come home: an idiom meaning “all day long” or “for a long time.” I could list cows till the cows come home.

cow_sketched

¹ The blue ox, not the pig.
²I’ll spare you the bull, or at least the bulls, for now.

It’s a Wonderful Knife

Watching The Nutcracker is a long-time favorite Christmastime utensil tradition in many homes. But did you know that there are plenty of other excellent holiday specials and movies about utensils?

Lesser-known Holiday Utensil Shows

its-a-wonderful-knife

  • It’s a Wonderful Knife
  • Frosty the Soupspoon
  • Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Strainer
  • All I Want Fork Christmas
  • The Baster Christmas Pageant Ever
  • Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Tongs
  • How the Grinch Stole Chopsticks
  • Spatula on 34th Street
  • The Ladle Drummer Boy
  • I’ll Be Home for Cheese Grater
  • The Sporks of St. Mary’s
  • Whisks in Toyland
  • It Came Upon the Midnight Peeler
  • Yes Virginia, There Is a Garlic Press
  • the cutting edge

    knife_12For last week’s ThThTh list, I set the table with forks and spoons. I said I’d be back later with the knives.

    1. like a hot knife through butter: an expression meaning that something was or can be cut easily
    2. not the sharpest knife in the drawer: an expression meaning “not very smart,” playing of the use of the word sharp as a synonym of intelligent.
    3. The Subtle Knife: A novel by Philip Pullman, second in the trilogy His Dark Materials. (It’s the sequel to The Golden Compass.)
    4. “3 Blind Mice”: a nursery rhyme and song in which a carving knife is used. Possibly is about Bloody Mary.

      Three blind mice, three blind mice,
      See how they run, see how they run,
      They all ran after the farmer’s wife,
      Who cut off their tails with a carving knife,
      Did you ever see such a thing in your life,
      As three blind mice?

    5. going under the knife: an expression meaning “having surgery”
    6. “I always eat my peas with honey”: A poem of largely unknown origins. I first ever heard it while visiting my in-laws last week (and eating peas), and then encountered it a second time the next day when Magpie left it as a comment on my utensil list. Kind of eerie.

      I always eat my peas with honey;
      I’ve done it all my life.
      They do taste kind of funny but
      It keeps them on my knife.

    7. Shonen Knife: an all female “pop punk” band from Japan. They also have an album called Let’s Knife.
    8. Mack the Knife: a song from the Threepenny opera. Has been performed by many, From Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, and Louis Armstrong to Sting, The Doors and The Psychedlic Furs.
    9. “Cuts Like a Knife”: the title track from the 1983 Bryan Adams album (YouTube)
    10. Slash with a Knife, a book of works by artist Yoshitomo Nara with many paintings of angry and threatening-looking but cute litte kids.
    11. Knives can be used for slashing, stabbing, and throwing (as well as slicing, dicing and julienning), so they appear pretty frequently in movies as weapons. You might see them such in fight scenes (eg. West Side Story) or murder mysteries (eg. Gosford Park).
    12. The knife is one of the possible murder weapons in the boardgame Clue.
    13. “That’s not a knife. This is a knife.” A line from Crocodile Dundee. (See the scene on YouTube.)
    14. “Chefs do that”: A line from the movie The Long Kiss Goodnight. Geena Davis plays an amnesiac with no memory of her past life as an assassin. When she discovers her skill with knives, she briefly thinks she must have been a chef. Then she throws a knife and skewers a tomato against the wall, saying “chefs do that.” (You can see at least part of the scene in the trailer on YouTube.)
    15. knife throwing: a sport involving throwing knives at a target. (The goal is to hit the target with the point of the knife, not, for instance, the handle.)
    16. knife throwing act: involves a performer throwing knives around a person, with the goal of not impaling the person. Somewhat ironically considered an “impalement art.” Here’s an example of a mother throwing knives at her little kids in the 50s:
    17. knifehand strike: a martial arts strike using the “blade” of the hand (not the palm or a fist), and sometimes called a “karate chop.”
    18. “In Japan, the hand can be used like a knife.” A famous line from a 1970s commercial for the Ginsu knife.