August 31, 2006

What Jeff Killed


During times of blogging self-loathing, I become envious of such ingenious ideas as What Jeff Killed, which I discovered via GorillaMask.net. According to the background link:

Jeff is a large orange tomcat that lives and kills in Shadow Hills, CA.

Jeff has adopted our back porch and yard as his home. He uses our dog's house when it rains, but mostly he likes to sleep on our patio chairs and keep watch over his domain.
Though he doesn't really belong to us, we provide Jeff with food and water; however, this does little to lessen his killer instinct. To humans, Jeff is an exceptionally good-tempered and friendly cat; to rodents and other small animals, he is death itself.

It could be that Jeff likes to bring us gifts to repay our hospitality. Perhaps he is simply a hardwired killing machine. All we know for certain is that he hunts down a wide variety of small animals and disembowels, decapitates, and dines on them. Often.


What a great concept for a blog! Alas, my kitties (bastards, the both of them) are indoor cats. So all they can "kill" is my stuff (furniture, carpets, etc.).


August 30, 2006

Shaw's swan song (UPDATED 9/3/06)

I've got to hand it to the owners (or former owners, as it appears) of Shaw's Department Store--they seem to have a sign for every possible phase involved in a business closing its doors. These latest signs went up this past Saturday (August 26):


Tuesday, 6 am (yesterday morning)

Taken in the last two months:

The old girls gearing up for one, final job.

Last October:

My favorite Shaw's picture:

The hat I "rescued" (what I call the Come Dance With Me! model):




I think that's it!


All of my Shaw's posts (in chronological order):
  • Shaw's
  • Shaw's mystery thickens...
  • The days of our Shaw's
  • Clearance = closing?
  • Sun sets on Shaw's
  • The final, thrilling episode of Shaw's, in which I rescue a hat
  • Shaw's update

    *****UPDATE*****

    This article and picture ran in the Nacogdoches paper, the Daily Sentinel. I'm quoting the entire article, because the Sentinel doesn't seem to archive their articles.

    Dick and Shirley McLain work the register at Shaw's Department Store which opened back up briefly this month for one last hurrah — as the McLains attempt to liquidate items from a bygone era.


    "Shaw's closing, one last time"

    By JOHNNY JOHNSON
    The Daily Sentinel

    Friday, September 01, 2006

    In case you missed it the first time, Shaw's Department Store on the downtown brick streets is closing — this time for good.

    But this past week, the Shaw family got a little help from an old friend and longtime downtown merchant, Dick McLain.

    McLain and his wife, Shirley, bought the remaining merchandise inside and decided they would open the store up one last time and give it the proper send-off that a 50-year-old independent department store deserved.

    Shaw's Department Store was opened by Noble Shaw, who ran and operated the store from 1952 until his retirement a few years back, when his nephew, Terry Strong, took over the business.

    McLain was a friend of Shaw's, but he knows a little bit about the retail clothing industry, as well, having operated a men's clothing store downtown for a number of years.

    But McLain saw the writing on the wall. The days of the small independent clothiers were numbered.

    "Things change," McLain said. "And when things start to change, it's either time for you to change with it, or get out."

    McLain changed. He retired from clothing and took the logical step into dealing antiques in the oldest town in Texas.

    Shaw's, however, did not change.

    "He felt like it was his job to provide a service," McLain said of Shaw. "He always felt it was important to dress right. He really liked people, and he took special pride in taking care of his customers."

    As a result, he had a loyal customer base that kept his doors open, and, for the most part, the building remained unchanged for five decades.

    McLain shared a letter that Shaw had written in 1983 to a former Mississippi governor who stopped in the store one day and bought a hat. According to McLain, the letter sums up a lot about Noble Shaw's business philosophy.

    "One of the problems of our time is that people are more concerned with turnover and corporate profits than they are rendering a useful service to society," Shaw wrote. "Stetson Hat Company is one of the remaining firms that considers their customers above their own corporate welfare.

    "Our store started to be a neighborhood venture, satisfied with a clientele of the immediate neighborhood.

    "Then when we moved into a larger building, we considered ourselves to be a town store.

    "Some of our departments, like hats and boots have increased, while children's and women's wear have diminished ..."

    Before the end of the month, everything in the store will be sold, from wall to wall.

    The McLains temporarily closed their antique store, next door, so they could do the sale right — talking to customers, trading tales of times past and fond remembrances of a man who always believed in putting the customer first.

    "So many people come in here and tell us that they just can't stand that this place is closing," McLain said. "One lady said this was where she bought her first pair of boots, when she was a young girl, and it just broke her heart to see it going away.

    "I think it speaks to Mr. Shaw's ability, that we are still having people — after 55 years — still talking about him and telling us that this is the only place they got merchandise, and they are so sad that it's closing up," he said. "But we're going to try to close it out in a way that will give dignity to his life."
  • August 29, 2006

    "A veritable clearinghouse of pop culture esoterica"


    You know this series of exchanges from The Office (season two, episode 1 of the BBC version)?:
    This post is my version of that. I'm the blog of the month in the back to school double issue of Buzz Texas magazine.

    That's me(!), on the cover!! No, not really.

    If you enlarge the following scan, you'll see that I "spread the wealth." Let me know how it feels to be pulled along on my coattails (wink, wink).

    Since that's kind of hard to read, here's the online version. And, I promise to never forget where I came from. All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up, and then I vant to be alone.

    Thanks, Kendal!

    South Park season 8


    I know which DVD I'll be buying today, as well as what I'll be spending some time doing over the Labor Day Weekend.
    This may be my favorite season (Season 8, 1997) of South Park, ever. Here are the episodes (summaries and links via South Park Studios):

    "Good Times With Weapons"
    South Park takes on the look of Japanese Anime. The boys are transformed into Japanese Warriors after they buy martial arts weapons at a local flea market. Their sworn enemy, Professor Chaos, confronts them and a highly stylized battle ensues.

    "AWESOM-O"
    Cartman dresses up like a robot, calls himself AWESOM-O, and moves in with Butters. His plan is to learn all of Butter's innermost secrets and then use them against him. While Butters is thrilled to have found a new best friend, the Army believes AWESOM-O is some new secret weapon, and Hollywood is after the phony robot to develop their next big blockbuster.

    "Up the Down Steroid"
    Jimmy is in training for an upcoming sporting event and he's determined to win at any cost. Cartman feels he can easily take first place against Jimmy. He just has to convince the qualifying committee he's handicapped.

    "The Passion of the Jew"
    Kyle finally sees "The Passion" and is forced to admit Cartman has been right all along. Meanwhile many of the film's hardcore fans band together under Cartman's leadership to carry out it's message.

    "You Got F*d in the A"
    It's up to Stan to put a team of South Park's best dancers together to compete against a rival troupe from Orange County. While Butters has won awards for his dancing, he refuses to help Stan out, as he hasn't been able to dance since the tragic death of eight audience members at his last competition.

    "Goobacks"
    Humans from the year 4035 are arriving in droves in South Park! Everything gets a little too crowded when people from the future arrive through a recently discovered time portal. When the boys try to earn some extra money, the time immigrants, who are willing to do the same work for next to nothing, take their jobs.

    "The Jeffersons"
    All the children of South Park are attracted to “Mr. Jefferson”, his son and their home filled with games, toys and animals. Cartman goes out of his way to get “Mr. Jefferson” to love him while the local police force resent him for being black and wealthy and decide bring him down.

    "Douche and Turd"
    When PETA demonstrates against the use of a cow as South Park Elementary’s mascot, the student body is forced to choose a new one. As the election approaches, Kyle tries to convince everyone that his candidate, a giant douche, is better than Cartman’s nominee, a turd sandwich.

    "Something Wall-Mart This Way Comes"
    The streets of South Park are like a ghost-town when a giant Wall-Mart lures all the townspeople to the new store with its incredible bargains. Cartman becomes a boy possessed by the power of Wall-Mart and its low, low prices. In order to save their town, Stan and Kyle have to find a way to destroy the ever-expanding superstore while keeping Cartman from stabbing them in the back.

    "Pre-School"
    For five long years, Stan, Kyle, Kenny, Cartman and Butters have kept a secret about an illegal incident that happened back in pre-school. Now, the kid who took the fall for the group, Trent Boyett, is getting out of “juvie” and his first order of business is revenge.

    "Quest for Ratings"
    The boys of South Park produce their own morning news show on the school’s closed-circuit television station and are immediately caught up in the intense competition for ratings.

    "Stupid Spoiled Whore Video Playset"
    All the fourth grade girls idolize a rich, famous and spoiled socialite. They even have her brand new toy set that comes complete with video camera, night vision filter, play money and losable cell phone. In an effort to impress their idol, the girls pursue the boys to make their own videos.

    "Cartman's Incredible Gift"
    After sustaining a severe head injury, Cartman appears to have the power to see into the future. South Park detectives are quick to enlist his help in cracking unsolved murder cases and Cartman is more than willing to help, for a price. In the meantime, a group of “licensed” psychics cry foul when Cartman refuses to join their ranks.

    "Woodland Critter Christmas"
    Stan is approached by the forest critters and asked to help them build a manger in anticipation of the birth of their Lord and Savior. Stan complies, only to find out that they serve a... very different Lord.

    Related posts:
  • "Tom Cruise Foiled Again"--Gawker
  • Modern day Jonathan Swifts
  • The First Amendment was created for Trey Parker and Matt Stone
  • It puts the lotion on it's skin, or else it gets the hose again
  • It's Fingerbang Friday!
  • August 28, 2006

    Lost in Translation locations


    The inspiration to do this post (as well as many [but not all] links, data and descriptions) came from this guide to travel in Japan.

    Lost in Translation tells the love story between Bob Harris (Bill Murray), an American actor in his mid life crisis, who travels to Japan for an appearance in a whiskey commercial, and Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson), an equally depressed, young American lady, who accompanies her husband on a business trip.

    Lost in Translation was almost entirely shot in Tokyo's two loudest and most colorful districts, Shinjuku and Shibuya.

    Neon lights of Shinjuku

    The neon lit building facades, shown repeatedly in the movie, are located around the entrance to Shinjuku's notorious entertainment district Kabukicho along Yasukuni Dori, just northeast of Shinjuku Station.

    Bob Harris (Bill Murray) Suntory Whiskey ad

    Shinjuku, a large business and entertainment district around Japan's busiest railway station, is the location of the Park Hyatt Tokyo, the hotel where Bob and Charlotte stay and meet each other.

    Occupying the 14 top floors of a 52-storey skyscraper, the Park Hyatt Tokyo is one of the city's best and most expensive hotels. It can be reached in a 15 minute walk or 5 minute bus ride from Shinjuku Station.

    Pulling in to the Park Hyatt Tokyo

    Bob spends most of his nights in the New York Bar on the hotel's top floor. While the bar offers an amazing view of Tokyo, a bottle of domestic beer for 1,000 Yen is the most inexpensive item on the menu, and that a 2,000 Yen cover fee applies after 8pm (7pm on Sundays).

    New York Bar


    Charlotte's (Scarlett Johansson) view of Tokyo from the Park Hyatt


    For relaxing times, make it Suntory time.

    Several other scenes were also shot in the Shinjuku district, for example Charlotte's visit to a small temple in the beginning of the movie (she mistakenly calls the temple a shrine).

    Charlotte, attempting to figure out Shibuya station railway map




    I'd like to punch Charlotte's husband right in the mouth.


    Many other scenes of the movie were shot in Shibuya, a youthful entertainment district three stations south of Shinjuku on the Yamanote Line. They include the pictures of the busy intersection in front of Shibuya Station's Hachiko Exit, which gets periodically stormed by huge crowds of pedestrians and is surrounded by large and noisy advertising screens.


    Intersection in front of Shibuya Station's Hachiko Exit


    Bob Harris doing the "Lat Pack" for a Suntory Whiskey ad shoot; not that I need to tell you, but the first shot is of Ol' Blue Eyes, next is Dino, then Joey Bishop.

    A view of Tokyo from Park Hyatt Tokyo's New York Bar


    Bob, Charlotte and their friends enjoy karaoke at the Shibuya branch of Karaoke-kan (30-8 Utagawacho), less than five minutes from Shibuya Station by foot.

    The only scenes shot outside of urban Tokyo show Bob playing golf in front of Mt. Fuji and Charlotte traveling to Kyoto.

    Bob Harris teeing off with Mt. Fuji looming in the background

    Riding the shinkansen (bullet train), Charlotte passes Mt. Fuji and the coastal hot spring resort of Atami (in the wrong geographical sequence). In Kyoto, she visits Heian Shrine and Nanzenji Temple, where she observes a newly wedded couple in traditional attire.


    Shinkansen (bullet train) to Kyoto




    Nanzenji Temple

    Heian Shrine


    We'll always have Paris???



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