A news nerd in an ‘Avengers’ world

Several years ago I was appalled when I kept hearing what seemed like to me, lighthearted reviews of a new film. There was even talk of it being a musical, which I simply could not believe. How, I wondered, could you make a musical about war starring Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor?

The movie in question was, of course, 2001’s Moulin Rouge!, a far cry from the musical I had imagined depicting the atrocities committed by the notorious Cambodian Communist Party led by Pol Pot, the Khmer Rouge.

Not a Khmer in sightReally, how could you even make that kind of a mistake? Even given that I’m a semi Broadway geek, at that? I chalk it up to a life more or less in the news business. As a former reporter and college political science major, it’s just in my nature to keep up with current events, even when I’m not particularly keeping up with current events. This happens frequently during Big News Stories. After a solid week of tsunami coverage, though something like this is intensely interesting, important, and grave, I still get on overload and take a break from daily NPR, CNN, and Facebook friends’ updates. Consequently I miss other stories that they manage to squeeze in between Snooki and Tan Mom updates.

So recently I began to hear about the new movie, The Avengers. I don’t actually go to the movie theater all that often any more. A month or so ago we ventured out to the art-house cinema here and saw The Artist, the Academy-Award winning silent film. Loved it. Before that — eh. I can’t remember. Probably something Cohen-related.

But the point is when I heard “Avengers,” my mind again went totally elsewhere. Namely, to cat suits and bowler hats. Yes, I was expecting a remake of the 1960s British television series with the awesome clothes. If I could be said to aspire to anything when I was under the age of 10 years old, I probably wished I could be Emma Peel in skin-tight clothing, dangerous-looking boobs, and a gun. When I wasn’t wishing I had my own horse, naturally.

Like when reality finally dawned and I didn’t expect to see Nicole Kidman in the jungles of Cambodia, at some point I realized that this new Avengers movie wasn’t going to be about Mr. Steed and a lady with the awesome rack. No, there was too much yapping on the Internet about it. Oh sure, I do have plenty of geeky friends online, but “avengers” seemed to be a bit too prominent on a bit too many lips. I wasn’t hearing anything like “the new Diana Rigg” for instance.

She's got man appeal. Emma Peel. Get it?

Then the teen crowd began to get involved and I knew my assessment of the situation was rather, shall we say, off base. Midnight showings? Tickets purchased in advance? Behavior for The Hunger Games and Harry Potter, maybe. Not the revival of an ancient (to them) TV series featuring English eccentricities with a side of science fiction, fantasy and fighting crime.

But hey, it more or less pegs me for who and what I am, when I make these hare-brained assumptions. I know pop culture, but it’s my pop culture. Call me if you need market research on the nerdy preferences of a Southern/midwestern white lady of a certain age. Just keep me out of the jungles of Southeast Asia if at all possible.

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And yes, I totally want Diana Rigg’s boots. As if you didn’t know.

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Accessorizing for the apocalypse

This post originally appeared in March 2012 and is consistently one of my most popular blog entries. I’m repeating it today for Halloween. Enjoy!

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When the dead rise and zombies take over the world, it is comforting to know that I am equipped with the appropriate footwear.

AMC style zombiesI’ve been, you see, watching The Walking Dead on AMC, a series now in its second season based on the graphic novels by the same name. It was conceived of by Kentuckian Robert Kirkman, who hails from Cynthiana, so zombification-wise, I’m pretty much at Ground Zero.

I never read the books, but since watching the series I’m becoming more interested in them. What preoccupies me at the moment, though — in addition to following the ethical struggles, babydaddy drama, and child-in-peril moments the show spews in abundance (and oh yeah, zombies and bullets to the head) is Frye boots.

I’m sure this comes as no surprise.

Frye and small frySince stomping onto the set in the pilot episode, female lead Lori, wife to Our Hero Rick Grimes, has been ubiquitously clad in my go-to shitkicker, the Frye harness boot. It’s even the same color as mine, so my preoccupation is justified (sort of). You go, girl.

While I’m a little surprised she’s wearing the things even in the height a hot Georgia summer, I’ve got to go hey, you flee your home with little more than the clothes on your back of course you’re going to pull on the most serviceable good-looking boots in your closet.

“Carl! Pack up some t-shirts, jeans, and a metric buttload of sunscreen, we’re hitting the road!” Lori yells, standing in the bedroom, pulling on her negative-2 size Levis and throwing all the family photos into her luggage.

“Daddy’s dead and the neighbors want to eat us, honey. Pack appropriately.”

Now of course when I’m sitting in front of the screen watching this thing, these thoughts are far from my mind. I am of course much more interested in the moral struggles these people must face, including and up to killing other living, breathing survivors and having unprotected sex in zombie-infested woods, or perhaps abandoned pharmacies. Kiss me before we get eaten!

But give me some time to reflect and my thoughts return to preparing for these conditions with style and comfort in mind.

Of course, the Frye selection is good-looking. Dansko clogs would also be a good choice if you have to plan for wearing the same shoes while squishing over rotting corpses until the year 2525. Flip-flops are right out, unless the Zompocolypse caught you out while on vacation in Myrtle Beach.

Standing in my closet, I ponder the End Times appropriateness level of my own wardrobe. Yes, these capes and shawls could be excellent protection against the elements, as extra bedding, and perhaps even camouflage if the zombies lose their sense of smell. No, I doubt the prairie skirts and  faux fur are going to be of much good. Better stick with skinny jeans, fleece and utility vests.

Wedge-heels and mules are right out, of course — who can run when you’re in danger of throwing a shoe? Running shoes (well, walking shoes in my case) could pose a problem; any length of time spent running in them results in run-down Reeboks, but I suppose in a Mad Max world, there will always be plenty of Foot Lockers to plunder.

Lori, Andrea, Carol and Maggie, our Walking Dead women, seem to favor tank tops under cute tops for their zombie-world wear, though I have a sneaking suspicion that it’s the wardrobe designers who prefer them so uniformly. Anyway, Lori’s going to have to make a run to Motherhood Maternity at some point, unless she’s got a zom-bun in the oven.

Maybe she plans on taking over Rick’s old sheriff uniforms — hey, that worked splendidly for Margie in Fargo, at least. Yah!

Ready to fight zombies at workI know there’s going to be a lot I have to give up when facing down the undead every day. Fashion just isn’t a priority when the only medical practitioner you’ve got is more familiar with fillies than impaled fibias.

But it is good to know if I’m gonna be walking dead, at least my feet are firmly planted in boots already endorsed by one of the survivors.

Get thee behind me

Apparently my investigative work into all things rump in Lexington was woefully inadequate; earlier this morning I received a phone call from Alert Reader Teresa, who informed me that my catalog of assinine-named businesses obviously, was incomplete.

Photo via Hugh Ass Burgers websiteBehold. Or rather, perhaps — “BEHIND!”

Here we have a beer and burger joint down by the University of Kentucky reveling in its endearing moniker. A certain amount of sophomoric hijinks can be expected near a university campus — yet this nobel enterprise is aiming higher: franchise opportunities are available.

So if you want to hit this action, buddy, time to get your butt in gear.

We have a 2319

If you’re like me and have children, you’ve seen most Disney movies approximately 3,298 times each. In addition, you probably foresee a future when you watch one Pixar offering or another at least another dozen times or so before it’s retired and the kiddoes have moved on to MTV, Horders, slasher flicks or some other horror that passes for popular entertainment.

But some of us are still squarely in the Cars, Up, Finding Nemo, and Monsters Inc. phase. With each repeated viewing, the dialogue becomes ever more cemented in we, the adults,’ consciousness and with alarming frequency, we start quoting them as we go about our daily lives.

To take an example from television, any form of agreement is now rendered, in my house, as “Yes. Yes I am,” a la Phineas from each episode of Phineas and Ferb on the Disney Channel. “Aren’t you a little young to be building a nuclear reactor?” he’ll be asked. “Yes. Yes I am.”

Similarly, we went through an intensive few years when Trassie was addicted to the Disney/Pixar feature Cars. At one point Mater, the grungy tow-truck voiced by Larry the Cable Guy, is asked if he’s got his tow cable. “Well yeah, I’ve always got mah tow-cable,” he answers. Now, if anyone is asked if they’ve got a particularly something with them … purse, car keys, water bottle, whatever … the answer is always, “Well, yeah, I’ve always got my tow cable.”

Which brings us to Monsters Inc., a general favorite and in heavy rotation a few years ago. If you recall the movie, you’ll remember that it’s a huge plot point when the scream factory is contaminated with an artifact of the human world. A sock returns to Monster World with a monster just fresh from a kid’s closet. Immediately there is a shut-down on par with a nuclear core meltdown. Decontamination experts are dropped from the ceiling. It’s a 2319!!

Much to our amusement, the address of the local elementary school which Christopher attended for one year and where now Trassie is a kindergartner is 2319.

Yes, sirree. The location that is filled to the brim with children, those toxic beings of Monsters Inc. The individuals who could bring Monster World to its knees, to quote the movie, merely with their mind powers are contained each day within a school at street address 2319.

This amuses us to no end … and often, when we take one child or another over there, it is just impossible not to say, “We have a 2319! 2319!”

It helps if you can make your voice sound like it’s being broadcast over a PA system.

“2319! 2319! Bye kids, have a great day! If anyone tries to run from you, don’t pick them up with your mind powers, now, and shake them like a dog!”