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The Hotsy Totsy Club

1999-12-29. . . Cholly Kokonino reporting

As regards meme-propagating, the Hotsy Totsy Club has been a slugabed. We've never dogpiled on a Turkish guy, we've had so many days without weblogs that A Day Without Weblogs would've just been silly, and I'm so content-centric that I'm not even sure that owning a dot-com domain name is a vital matter of artistic integrity.

But this -- this is the most straightforward evil-vs.-good Internet story yet:

Meme rating: 9.7 cams -- should be propagated till DiCaprio himself asks to take the stand. Take one down and pass it around.

1999-12-31. . .

Nothing sums up the 1990s better for me than the remarkable document that follows. (For best results, read aloud.)

Here's hoping that the next decade is less large and more pleasant: cheers! -- Cholly

Finally -- a brand-new right-between-the-eyes, slam dunk men's magazine that lays it all on the table. And shows you how to live smart, live stylishly and live large.

Introducing P.O.V. -- the bold new men's magazine for you and your very best friends. Rolling the dice. Taking chances. Scoring big. And playing it smart in-between.

Dear Friend:

Tired of all those super-slick "men's magazines" that show you toys you can't afford, trips you can't take, and clothes you wouldn't be caught dead in?

Wish you could grab the publishers by the lapels and scream, "Get real!!!"

Well here's good news! Because here's P.O.V. Our kind of magazine. From our point of view. Yours and mine. Real guys. Who want real answers.

The first men's magazine to see things the way you do. Speak your language. And give you what you want to know more about. Careers. Cash. And making your weekends count.

P.O.V. is about taking control. Thinking big. Making some cash. Being your own boss. Starting a business. Investing wisely. Staying in shape. Traveling cheap. Getting it right. And getting it often. Living large. And living an active life.

P.O.V. shows you how to do it. Because it's written by guys who are doing it right now.

It looks different. Feels different. And has a fresh new attitude. Irreverent. Witty. Stylish. With a great sense of humor. And a big set of -- well, you know.

P.O.V. lays it all on the table...

It's interviews with people who matter
Like Dave Matthews of the Dave Matthews Band. Matthew Perry of Friends. Seinfeld's Michael Richards. MTV's Idalis. ESPN's Dick Vitale. Governor John Engler. All in P.O.V.

It's sex like you've never had it before
What I mean is, our sex columnn is different. We pose the same question to our male guy and our female gal. He-said-she-said kinda thing. We've asked...

Does size matter? Who wants it more? What's your biggest turn-on? Is it possible to have too much? (What?!)

Just bring up (sorry) a few of these eyebrow raisers next time you're on the Net, and see where things go from there.

Plus we delve into music worth hearing. Movies worth seeing. Books you ought to know about. And other things that matter. All in P.O.V. (You're likin' this already, aren't you?)

If you're ready for a new kind of magazine that packs a big wallop and hits you where you live...

Then welcome to P.O.V.! I'm anxious to hear your opinion of your FREE Charter Issue! Act now! And I'll send it pronto!

Drew Massey

. . . 2000-01-03

James Halstead writes us from Haledon, NJ:
I came across your website by accident, I woke up this morning for some odd reason, thinking about an old horror flick I had seen during the sixties called "Caltiki, the immortal monster" so for reasons unknown to myself, I thought I would look it up in the Google search engine, and...... hot damn! ... There she be.......

I remember that little flick the same way Beth Rust tells it, only my Mom and I were home at night alone, huddled around a little black & white TV, our house was at the end of a long,.....long,......long, dirt driveway, and all around our property were apple orchards, so we were pretty much on our own until my dad got home from his meeting night at the town's firehouse, it was a dark night, and I remember looking out through the screen door on our front porch after watching the movie, just knowing that "Caltiki", would get us, along with "The Crawling Eye" and "The Thing" (all three were on that night). I sat there, in the still of the night, with my hands tightly wrapped around my BB-gun version of the military M1 carbine, which was cocked and loaded, waiting for my father to come home. Needless to say, I dozed off, and as my father got home, trying to gently open the squeaky screen door with one hand (as not to wake my mother) and a can of Carling Black Label in the other, the door opened with a sudden shudder, as the old rusty spring which held it closed snapped off the hinge and flew across the room breaking the window to the bedroom where my Mom was asleep. The next thing I heard was a loud "POP," my old man stood there for a second, dropped the can of beer, and fell to the ground, yelling words still to this day, I have never heard again. So, I would like to thank you for helping me remember one of those "cherished" childhood millennium moments.

ps. I never saw the movie again after that.

. . . 2000-01-05

Henry James Dept.: The most consistently interesting thing about BBC America is its list of advertisers, which seems to have been bought lock stock and barrel from a late night UHF station in Mississippi (Oxford, maybe?). After years of PBS's white glove treatment of turds like that department store sitcom, it's a salutary shock to see Helena Bonham Carter constantly interrupted by ads for trusses, electric nose hair trimmers, arthritis cures, ginsu knives, and Boxcar Willie retrospectives.

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The other interesting thing about BBC America is its occasional presentation of "One Man and His Dog" (or, as we prefer to call it in our more enlightened household, "Person with Puppie"). (Link via Juliet Clark) Most Americans probably only know of sheepdog competitions through their parody in Babe, but the real thing is infinitely better -- if you like to watch genuinely happy doggies more than computer-manipulated pigs, that is (and if you don't, why am I bothering to talk to you?), because nothing could be happier than a working dog working. "Lassie" is soft-core at its most deceitfully mawkish and showdog shows are Victoria's Secret catalogs, but "Person with Puppie" is real hard-core dog-lover porn, hurrah!

So, as with "Iron Chef", we get a TV show premise so sure-fire that it probably doesn't even need a match. But that's not all we get! We also get the heartbreakingly damp beauty of sheep-country scenery, a color commentator who makes John Madden look like George Bush, and shepherds who're usually unflaggingly patient, wildly accented, and sexier than Harvey Keitel by a long shot and a close up both.

. . . 2000-01-07

Our Motto: Y.2.K.L.A.M.F.

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The San Francisco Bay area: William H. Chambliss had the style and humanity of a 19th-century Limbaugh ("Then a man named Booth took pity on society and killed Mr. Lincoln, to keep him from making a giant April fool of Uncle Sam..."), but he also had the gossip of a Drudge:

Married men who were determined to bring their wives out here were advised to steer well clear of San Francisco. They were told that any place in the State, even Sacramento and Oakland not excepted, would be better for married gentlemen who entertained hopes of raising children of their own.
. . .
These were not by any means the only interesting persons whom I saw at San Rafael. Besides Mr. Wilberforce, who always makes people weary when he attempts to talk, and Webster Jones, who is always talking about the quantities of wine consumed at the latest parvenu dinner party, -- but never mentions his father-in-law's "business," or past record, -- and Charley Hoag, who was looking around to see if there was anybody in the crowd whose name he did not have in the Blue Book ; and "Billy" Barnes, who ruined his prospects of getting the nomination of the "Octopus" party for governor, by publishing his picture in the Wave ; and Ward McAllister, Jr., whom C. P. Huntington appointed to a fat position, as Pacific Mail attorney, in order to curry favor with a certain leader of some of New York's prominent dancing people, there were some remnants of a crowd of silly parvenus who disgusted everybody of any refinement at the Sea Beach Hotel, Santa Cruz, in June, 1893, by putting "private parlor" signs on the reading room door.

. . . 2000-01-09

Spoken, this is a very short story: The nicest father-and-son event I can remember was during my 1981 visit from college when we drove together to see Sam Fuller's war movie The Big Red One. When we got back home, my mother asked us, "So how was 'The Big Red One'?"

In print, it needs some explanation. Fuller's title refers to the numeral on the insignia of the First Infantry Division, and so each word carries equal weight: "the BIG, RED, ONE," like "the hootchie kootchie man" or "the solid gold Cadillac." Whereas my mother rendered its "one" more generically, swallowing it, as in "they're all very nice but I think I'll take the big red one."

When I told this story to Earl Jackson, I figured he'd say something about the Phallus, and then I'd say something about not talking that way about my mama, and so on. Instead he said, "That's evidence that English is a tonal language."

Juliet Clark has since pointed out another tonal moment in movie history: RKO's making Nicholas Ray change the title of his adapation of the novel Thieves Like Us (as in "all those judges and politicians are just thieves like us") because the audience might misread it as "The law-abiding public can't stand to watch this thing, but thieves LIKE us."

. . . 2000-01-11

Union City Homes & Gardens: The tall cast-iron fence holds the piles of litter firmly in place and the well-trimmed lawn sets them off to best advantage.

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It's nice to find out that Lynda Barry is a fellow member of the Class of Jimmy Carter. During that high tide of financial aid, my fancy-pants liberal arts college was pretty much as affordable as Northwest Missouri State. And though the shock of those first encounters with the upper crusts was painful, it was also way too central and complicated an experience to regret.

Not that anyone was waiting for my opinion to resolve its ambiguity. By the time I graduated, a few years of Reaganomics had ensured a shock-free campus whose incoming class seemed split between rich kids who wanted to be the heroes in Animal House and rich kids who wanted to be the bad guys in Animal House.

Which is how it should be, says Nicholas Lemann, who I quote:

I'm more with the American people on this.
mostly 'cause of the patrician tang of that old speakeasy password "the American people": Nicholas Lemann, the American people; the American people, Nicholas Lemann... Nicholas Lemann is the one with the suit.

Lemann is appalled that scholarship kids, in contrast to preppies, are so often intent on selfish ends. But if we drop that nasty pseudo-egalitarian testing crap, how do we decide who should be allowed four years of private school? Simple: we only pick those who have already successfully completed four years of private school!

You should make judgments about people not prospectively based on a score but in real time based on how well they perform the activity for which they are being selected.
Which makes sense as long as you never want anyone to learn anything new. And Plato says you can't really learn anything new anyway, so there you go.

2000-01-14. . .

Dreams: The animal trainer was unthawing a frozen bee for its upcoming scene. Since bees don't seem all that smart, I asked how she controlled it, and she said, "Bee Latin. You've heard of Pig Latin? Well, Bee Latin is similar, except that you remove all the vowels and replace every consonant with the letter 'Z'."

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What's out in comics? Tom Tomorrow! Its "spend three panels setting up a straw man and for a punchline say he's made of straw" formula wasn't funny in the first place, and the passing years have made it as endearing as a three-day hangover. Only Tom Tomorrow and Linux were lame enough to think about using penguins in the post-"Bloom County" era.
What's in in comics? The smooth 3D posed-puppet look! Pioneered by Viewmaster reels of Huckleberry Hound and the Flintstones, it's recently been taken up by that master of "I loathe myself and I loathe you too"-1990s-humor Leisuretown and by the photographed scenarios on Playmobil toy boxes. During our last long Xmas-shopping stint at Mr. Mopps, we compulsively went through rows of stacks of the latter, but our favorite little story was probably that of the Renegade Warriors: first panel shows a cute coyote sniffing at a box; second panel shows the warriors opening the box; third panel shows the warriors happily dancing around with the rifles that had been in the box....

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Support Our Sponsors: Here's Juliet Clark to tell us more!

"HAPPY MILLENINIUM [sic]!" from Playmobil HQ in Zirndorf, Deutschland, where smiling figures from an alternate Fisher-Price utopia transport kids over 4 into the paramilitary future via System X. Before and after: first encounter the Aerial Police Unit (aka SWAT team), then stay a while in the lovingly detailed Hospital Ward.

Although most of these toys are equally applicable to European and North American situations, there are some differences -- for instance, between the American and German versions of the "Western" scenes. (One shoots, the other doesn't.) And certain scenarios are reserved for American kids only -- e.g. the buffalo-hunting Injuns. On the other hand, the Germans get their own Sheriff's Office, "with prison cell and escape route". And only the Germans get to play in the Dschungel (Jungle), complete with colorful African mascot.

(Note: the Playmobil site uses cookies and you may have to click around it a bit on your own before all these links will work.)

... an' anotha thing ...... then again ...

Copyright to contributed work and quoted correspondence remains with the original authors.
All other material: Copyright 2000 Ray Davis.