Springfield Vermont Will Host Simpsons Movie Premiere

I live in Vermont, so of course I was excited yesterday when I learned that Springfield Vermont had won the nation-wide contest to host the premiere of the Simpsons movie. A total of 13 Springfields from around the country entered the contest and made Simpsons-like movies to convince the judges that their respective Springfield would be the ideal place to host the upcoming movie. Springfield Vermont won with a video depicting a Homer-like fellow chasing a giant pink doughnut through the town and wreaking havoc. All the videos can be seen here.

Thru-out the 18 seasons of “The Simpsons”, the location of the fictional town has never been revealed. The creators have often frustrated the audience by cutting the scene just before the state would be named, leaving them to wonder which town Matt Groneing had in mind when he conceived the show. If Springfield Vermont is, indeed the place, is hard to say. There is no Shelbyville nearby, but the town is not too far from the Vermont Yankee nuclear power-plant, and the vermont climate does seem to fit with the show. Perhaps we will never know for sure, but I sure look forward to seeing the movie in my home state.

Team Zissou Shoes

With the exception of “Bottlerocket” I’m pretty much a fan of all Wes Anderson movies, but I have to say that “The Life Aquatic” is by far my favorite. The other day I went looking for team-zissou.mp3 so that I could make it the ringtone on my cellular phone when I stumbled across this set of directions for making your own Team Zissou style sneakers.

It pretty much involves finding a pair of Adidas Rom Classics with blue stripes, some light blue shoe paint, and yellow shoelaces. Paint out the dark blue middle stripe with light blue, lace up the yellow shoelaces, and replace the “Rom” logo with “Zissou” and your all set to go.

The trick, as it turns out is finding yourself a pair of Roms. They were first introduced in 1959 and Adidas does not seem to be making them anymore. You can sometimes find remakes, but they don’t have the white gum soles like the shoes from the movie. I did manage to find a pair on ebay, but the were a little large for me, and they are going for $75 a pair. I also understand that you can find them at certain online retailers in Europe, but I didn’t have much luck finding them when I looked.

Anyhow, it’s a cool idea, and a lot of fun. Some people have contacted Adidas directly hoping to get he actual model used in the movie, but they say they are not offering them for sale. There is, however, some indication that they may if enough people ask for them.

USA TODAY has even run a story about the demand for these sweet sneaks. They say that the prospects don’t look good as far as Adidas putting out an official Team Zissou shoe, but they did write thatabout 600 people have signed a petition asking the company to release the model.

But just like The Life Aquatic’s spotted shark, the Zissou shoe doesn’t exist in the real world. But that hasn’t stopped the Web set from launching a petition with nearly 600 names and e-mailing consumer.relations@adidasus.com.

Adidas is fully aware that potential buyers are fishing around for their very own Zissous. But it’s unlikely that the company will produce such a limited edition of its Rom design.

Academic Film Archive

Their website is not much to look at, so you’d never know it, but The Academic Film Archive is the leading group dedicated to the preservation of all those ridiculous educational films from the 1950’s.

Full of simple words, short sentences, and corporate propaganda, these “educational films” have long since become outdated and relegated to dumpsters and dusty old school warehouses. Usually having fewer than ten words per sentence, they are now valued more for their cheesy entertainment and nostalgia than for their ability to shape young minds. Even so, the Academic Film Archive is trying to change all that. They’ve rescued thousands of 16mm reels and have been working with the Library of Congress to make a worldwide database of all the old educational movies they can find.

These days most school teachers don’t even know how to use a 16mm projector, but as sad as it is, these films were still being used for educational purposes up into the early 1990’s! I, myself, had to suffer through many of these films in school, and it’s simply amazing to me that our education system would use such obvious corporate and government propaganda to educate our children.

Take for instance “The Living Soil”, which was a film produced by Shell Oil Company in the 1960s to extol the virtues of pesticides. Using scary music and little words, children were brainwashed into thinking that their food supply was being saved by the benevolent Shell Oil Company. They were taught to trust these corporations and made to believe that they truly had their best interest at heart… Yeah right… Anyone remember DDT? I’d hope that we’re all smart enough now to realize that we can’t trust corporations to think much about anything other than their share holders and the bottom line.

Seriously though, I love these films. I even bought one on DVD a while back on drunk driving. I just have to keep picking my chin up off the floor from my constant amazement that these people were actually being serious when they made them.

I Like Full Metal Panic

To make a long story short, I love Full Metal Panic. I have watched both the Japanese TV series, and Fumoffu, and I’m left wanting more.

Lately I have become tired of “regular” movies and TV shows. Perhaps this is because they have become less interesting, or simply because I just want to see something different… No matter. About a year ago I began looking for something new, and along came anime. I rented a number of disks, but found that I didn’t really like any of them. Eventually Zach loaned me his copy of Neon Genesis Evangelion and I loved it. I watched the entire series in one weekend and then went looking for something new.

I checked out THEM and found that the Full Metal Panic series was highly rated and had received some very good reviews. It was listed in the category I like (big robots and romance), so I decided to drop the cash on the first disk in the series. After watching it, it was all I could do not to run out and buy the next disk. The characters were incredibly likable and the plot was compelling, if not a bit recurring. Hey, it’s anime.

Eventually, I bought the remaining disks from amazon, along with the nice box to put them in.

The plot pretty much goes like this:

Kaname Chidori, the lead female character is among a small group of people known as “Whispered”. These are a kind of human databases of “Black Technology”, which allows them to understand complex weapons technology without ever having been taught.

Clearly this ability would be convenient in the hands of the bad guys. Enter Mithril, an altruistic military group that is tasked with eliminating terrorists and drug labs all over the world. Sensing that the bad guys are out to kidnap Kaname, Mithril assigns a very very serious and dedicated sergeant named Sousuke Sagara to protect her.

Kaname falls in love with Sousuke, but he’s usually too consumed with blowing things up and over-reacting to benign events that he perceives as threats to notice. He ends up loving her as well, but is not quite sure what to do about it, which builds a romantic tension that lasts the entire series. Amazingly there is some heart warming dialogue at the very end which gives the series a little more closure than we find in most other anime series.

While many complain that FMP is simply an amalgamation of other anime series, I feel that it is one of the best out there… Or at least the best that I have seen. The artwork is amazing, and the characters are very well developed and likable.

Open Source Radio

last week I listened to “Open Source” on NPR for the first time and I must say, I tuned in with a great deal of anticipation and excitement! “Open Source” is a radio show that uses blogs and internet sources as fodder, bringing the fast-paced independent reporting of the blogosphere to more traditional media outlets. This kind of “Old Media” meets “New Media” is exactly the kind of thing I feel will salvage what is left of unbiased reporting in mainstream journalism, and I was thrilled to hear about the show.

The show “Iraq’s First Fourth Estate” covered Iraqi Director Haydar Daffar’s new documentary film entitled “The Dreams of Sparrows” which was released on May 26th 2005. The film deals with the challenges of rebuilding Iraq, and the effects of long-term combat, violence and strife on the people of that country. The movie appears to be very well made, and extremely effective in delivering its message. You can read more about the documentary, view the trailer, or purchase it on DVD at Harbinger Productions.

In general, I like “Open Source”, but what I did not like is Host Chris Lydon’s propensity to interrupt his guests. For example, while interviewing Director Haydar Daffar from a Baghdad rooftop, with marginal cell phone reception he repeatedly asked “Are you still with us?”, interspursed with as many as three rapid-fire questions at a time. Daffar was dealing with a three to four second voice delay, a terrible phone signal, and a somewhat limited ability to speak English, while trying his best to answer quickly delivered, ambiguous questions like: “What were you looking for?”, “What did you find?”, and “What were the rules?”

Daffar had no chance of answering these questions, and it very much detracted from what was otherwise a very interesting and well put together show. “Open Source” has a great deal of potential, and I think it is exactly the direction in which traditional media should be headed. If Chris Lydon settles down a bit and lets his guests speak without interruption, “Open Source” may very well mark a turning point in how we all consume media.

Interview with the Brothers Chaps


Interview with The Brothers Chaps from Cliff Pearson on Vimeo.

Several months ago my friend Chuck found this interview with the guys that put together homestarrunner.com. The “Brothers Chaps”, as they refer to themselves, have created an internet cartoon series with flash that has quickly gained popularity. Most new cartoons come out on Mondays, which gives us all something to look forward to, and helps make the first day of the week tolerable.

As fans of the site will discover, the coolest thing about this video is that you finally get to see the people behind the voices. On the screen is a guy you’ve never seen, but out of his mouth is coming Strong Bad’s voice. The voice of Marsipan looks nothing like I had imagined she would, but why should she? I don’t really know why I expected her to look like a broom in the first place.

Sorry it’s an WMV file. We don’t always get to pick the way these things come to us, but check out the video… I think you’ll enjoy it.

Watch the video >
Check out homestarrunner.com >

Howard Dean speaks at Plymouth State University


Howard Dean Speaks at PSU from Cliff Pearson on Vimeo.

Today at 2:30 EST, on the eve of the most important election of my lifetime, Howard Dean came to Plymouth State University and delivered a most rousing speech. Since I work at the University, the staff handed me a Kerry sign and asked me stand right up front and wave it high for all the news media to see. This was great since it put me in a prime location to capture some pictures and video.

Even though we were all there to show our support for Kerry, I couldn’t help noticing how many Dean t-shirts, stickers and buttons were scattered throughout the audience. I have to admit that, watching him speak, I began feeling saddened that it wouldn’t be his name I’d be seeing on the ballot tomorrow. Maybe it’s because I’m a Vermonter, or maybe it’s just because I admire Howard Dean’s honesty and integrity, but he is, and always will be, my political hero! DEAN 2012!