A Star Trek Barbershop Quartet? Fascinating.

Hilarious barbershop quartet parody of Star Trek by H-Fidelity Quartet. Go here for more. Thanks to Denise Wallentinson for pointing this out.

Part I

Part II


A Heartwarming Christmas Story

The story which follows didn't happen to me, but it did happen to the writer, Mark Evanier. If you go here, read his story, and when you finish reading you'll feel the corners of your mouth pulled upward. Enjoy.


Looking Back: A Blast At Films From The Past

As we approach the end of the year, the common thing to do is to look back at natural disasters, political events, and entertainment events that have shaped the futures of people across the globe. Without a doubt, Top 10 Lists and The-Year-In-Review articles and television shows will be popping up in about a week. Until then, I want you to turn you attendtion to How It Should Have Ended , a site in which a crew of talented people have animated their concerns and ideas on how movies should have ended.

Go here to know more about the people who worked so hard to share their humor.

Links to the film parodies
It's A Wonderful Life


Dealing With Aliens

Dead Mans Chest

Lord of the Rings


Matrix Revolutions

Texas Chainsaw Massacre

Blair Witch


Weird Science

Star Wars: A New Hope

Willy Wonka


New Mac Ads For The Holiday Season

It's that time of year again, time for companies to make profits to carry them throughout the rest of the year. Apple has been busy, introducing new iPods, releasing their new operating system: Leopard. Oh don't forget, Apple's new ad campaign to ridicule Microsoft's Vista OS.

To see the collection of ads at Apple's site go here.

Give Up On Vista

The Pr Lady

The Boxer

At The Podium

Microsoft iPod Parody


Bill Scott & June Foray aka Bullwinkle J. Moose & Rocket J. Squirrel

I was over at Mark Evanier's blog News From Me and I was so delighted with the June Foray and Bill Scott news clip I found there that I just had to share it here. Enjoy!


Writers Guild of America on strike: Perspectives

This was originally posted at http://harlanellison.com/heboard/unca.htm

- Sunday, November 11 2007 11:58:36


I got out here in 1962, very soon after the WGA strike that damn near bludgeoned into poverty every screen/tv writer I knew ... including the magnificent, dear Robert Bloch, who loaned me $300 to find a place to live upon my arrival. Three hundred bucks Bob did not have, nor could he afford to loan out. It took me six years to pay him back.

I have been through every strike since that time, sat on prelim negotiating committees, sat on the WGAw Board of Directors for two tough terms, have worked on policing committees whose purpose was to keep the Alliance honest, and I have written "pr" voicing the writers' position for all manner of mediums...many many times.

And I must tell you, from a clear and high view of the past, THIS strike is singular. It is unlike any OTHER strike of the writers I have ever been witness to. In the following way:

The general public...all of YOU who come here...totally uninvolved and essentially unaffected people in Wisconsin and New Jersey and Montana and even Hawaii...you all GET IT!

Miraculously, unbelievably, no amount of AAMPT badmouth of writers in general ("MILLIONAIRES PICKET FOR MORE $$$") is making any inroads. Heaven only knows what it'll be like in a month or two, but RIGHT NOW this is perceived by the general public and (to my amazement) the Internet as a gestalt, as a RIGHTEOUS WORK STOPPAGE!

As one who has unrelievedly been a growl and snap pit bull about the Internet, per se, I humbly and a bit embarrassedly thank you all for your yeoman support.

And you may post this everywhere, anywhere, it makes you feel good to have a committed viewpoint tug its forelock in public.
I ain't saying I have come to love trolls or scammers or YouTube jackasses...but gee whillickers, folks, I am impressed as hell by your sagacity and solidarity.

With considerable respect,

Yr. Pal, Harlan

The above video, while not directly related to the WGA strike, is a concise, succinct, and clear explanation of why the writer should be paid for what the writer does best: write. The clip is from Erik Nelson's documentary, "Dreams with Sharp Teeth."
go here for more.

I've been following Mark Evanier's unique perspective on his "News From Me" blog and I recommend that you enter "WGA Strike" in "Search."

WGA Rally at Fox Studios 2007/11/09


"Family Guy" from near failure to pinball classic

Chris Bucci's "My Gameroom" review of the "Family Guy" pinball machine. To learn more about Chris go to http://www.buccisarcade.com or to http://www.youtube.com/user/spida1a.

"Family Guy" Pinball review, part 1

"Family Guy" Pinball review, part 2

Other views of "Family Guy" pinball.

Game-in-game Stewie mini-pinball

Dark Dreamer: Harlan Ellison

Stanley Wiater interviews Harlan Ellison about being attacked by his heart, would-be-writers, and the craft of writing. For more info go to http://www.stanley-wiater.com/

Dark Dreamer - Harlan Ellison, part 1

Dark Dreamer - Harlan Ellison, part 2

Dark Dreamer - Harlan Ellison, part 3

Stumbling across "Star Wars"

I came across this video on YouTube, followed the instructions and watched the show. I've condensed the instructions below. Enjoy!

While this may or may not work in other versions of Windows, I know it works in XP. Go to "Start" then select. Go to "Run" then select. Type "Telnet" and click enter. Type the letter "o" and click enter. It will drop down a line and ( to ) will appear on the screen. Now type "towel.blinkenlights.nl" and click enter. Three screens of credits will appear and then "Star Wars: A New Hope" will appear, rendered in askii.



On October 14th, 2007, my wife, Laurie, and I attended the annual Estrella Mountain Community College United Way Breakfast & Bowling event to benefit the Southwest Lending Closet. SLC is a non-profit, all volunteer organization that lends medical and home health equipment, for free, to any resident of Avondale, Buckeye, Goodyear, Litchfield Park, Luke Air Force Base and Tolleson.

I won the HIGH GAME ADULT award with a score of 161. The last time I had gone bowling was at the previous years event.


Dr. Who Themes

The theme music from Dr. Who has always really reved me up! Here are a few variations.

From a documentary about the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, this shows how the distinctive theme tune for Doctor Who was first created.

Footage of the early 80s remake of the doctor who theme song for the show of the same name by Peter Howell. Get a great behind-the-scenes view of how it was made and close glimpse at the equipment used (this is edited down with 2005 commentary from Peter Howell, taken from the Doctor Who Leisure Hive DVD)

A Dance-type Doctor Who Theme.

Jon Pertwee's narration with theme music

Dr. Who Theme, backwards

Playing Doctor Who theme

John Barrowman sings Doctor Who theme


Zuner or Later: The Zune Phone

A parody video, but is it a parody of Microsoft or Apple?



HaHaHoHoHeHeHaHa: The Wallace & Ladmo Exhibition

If you grew up in Arizona between 1954 and 1989, you know Wallace and Ladmo. If you've only heard about the hilarious kid's show (which included adult humor), now is your chance to learn more. Uber fan, Steve Hoza, is exhibiting his personal collection of memorabilia now through August of 2008 at the Mesa Historical Museum.

Saturday, September 15th, Hoza will join a host of well-wishers as Bill Thompson (aka Wallace, Wallboy, Mr. Grudgemeyer)and Pat McMahon (Gerald, Marshall Good, Captain Super, etc.)as they examine the 2,000-some collection of items ranging from props, costumes, buttons, t-shirts, Ladmo ties, and more. Opening day hours will be 10a.m.-4p.m. with Thompson and McMahon signing autographs. Ladimir Kwiatkowski(Ladmo) died in 1994.Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, and $3 for children.

On October 18, Hoza will talk about curating the exhibit, with Bill Thompson in attendance. Admission is free.

The Mesa Historical Museum (to be renamed the Arizona Museum of Natural History in October)is located at 2345 North Horne in (surprise!)Mesa. For more information call (482) 835-7358, or go to these web sites:Mesa Historical Museum, Mesa, AZ, or, Wallace Watchers


Comic-Con International 2007: The Galactus of Conventions

Shane Shellenbarger

I did it again. I subjected myself to rubbing elbows, hips, and other body parts with nearly 130,000 perfect (and imperfect) strangers for the 38th Annual San Diego Comic-Con International (my 34th and possibly last.) The huge exhibit hall, the massive media presence, the recreation of the Bataan Death March (courtesy of the Fire Marshal.) Yes, it was the best of times; it was the worst of times. I did it; I survived to tell the tale, so here we go.

Gary Owens

If you’ve never gone to Comic-Con (hereafter referred to as S.D.C.C.) and you have any interest in comic books, films, or television, go. It’s as simple as that, go. S.D.C.C. is an E*X*P*E*R*I*E*N*C*E*!

Rob Paulsen

If you haven’t been to S.D.C.C. since it’s moved from the U.S. Grant Hotel, or Muir College, or the El Cortez Hotel, or the Sheraton on Harbor Island, or back to the El Cortez, or to the Convention and Performing Arts Center, or back to the El Cortez, or back to the Convention and Performing Arts Center, or to the San Diego Convention Center (its present home since 1991,) give serious thought to what you are about to undertake: Crowds in the thousands, hotel costs nearing six Benjamin’s (and that’s for a crummy room,) inflated food prices, transportation nightmares each day, and other issues too numerous to go into. However, if you want the opportunity to see and hear the movers and shakers from a multitude of industries, if you want to bear witness to the pioneers of comic book history, if you want to encounter the new wave of artists and performers, then there is nothing like S.D.C.C.

Syd Mead

As for me, I was able to manage (just able) this year by staying away from the massive media events in Halls H and 20: Lost, Heroes, The Simpsons Movie, Battlestar: Galactia, The Bionic Woman, and Zachary Quinto and Leonard Nimoy for Star Trek XI. I’m sure that Lee Whiteside covered many of those events (he seemed to be reasonably healthy and sane when I saw him at the Spotlight on Joe Straczynski.) As long as you didn’t need the use of a lavatory, food, or drink (it is all interrelated, you see) you could easily campout in a single room all day, since the committee doesn’t clear the room after each program.

Jess Harnell

Even so, limiting my program attendance to programming rooms 1-8 still involved entering the room through one door, exiting the room through another door, entering a hallway from the East side, exiting down and around the hall on the opposite side, and spending more time then I cared for to plot the shortest route from Room 8 to Room 1. It wasn’t until Sunday when I heard that restroom re-entry passes were available (the pass let you re-enter the programming room after you’d gone to the restroom, you silly goose.)

Andrea Romano

One nice thing about the convention is getting together with old friends. Granted, most of my friends who used to attend S.D.C.C. have given up on Comic-Con, but some of them are forced by their employer to attend. I was able to get together on Friday evening with John Clark, Gemstone Publishing's editor-in-chief for the Disney comics line, (and since I hadn’t seen John in about a year) spending time with him was the highlight of the convention.

Mark Evanier

However, I was able to listen to Rob Paulsen, Jess Harnell, Cory Doctorow, Syd Mead, Gary Owens, Andrea Romano, Mark Evanier, Mark A. Altman, Robert Meyer Burnett, Daren Dochterman, Jeff Bond, The Pixar Story: To Infinity and Beyond, Harry Turtledove, Peter David, R.A. Salvatore, Paul Dini, Orson Scott Card, Richard Christian Matheson, Wally Wingert, Kathy Garver, Joe Alaskey, Max Allan Collins, David Morrell, Scott Shaw!, Maurice LaMarche, Joe Straczynski, Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy, Bill Corbett, Alana Ubach, Carlos Alazraqui, Tom Kenny, Michael Bell, April Stewart, and Gregg Berger.

Oh yes, I lived and I mostly enjoyed it, but I’ve been asking myself if it’s all worthwhile. I’ll have to let you know.

Comic-Con International 2007

J.M. Straczynski at Comic-Con 2007

“Heroes” at Comic-Con 2007

Tim Kring at Comic-Con 2007

Tom Spurgeon’s comments on attending Comic-Con

Mark Evanier’s comments on Comic-Con 2007

Publishers Weekly – The Beat – 2007 Eisner Awards

Comic-Con 2007 Interviews

YouTube videos of Comic-Con 2007

Iron Man: Behind the scenes at Comic-Con 2007


Final Fantasy Thriller

On the 11th of July, 2001, Columbia Pictures and Square USA released "Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within" a spin-off of the popular video game RPG. In this milestone computer generated film, Dr. Aki Ross leads a group of scientists and military personnel in a fight against invading alien . . . well, er, ghosts. Yeah. Anyway, here is a video mash-up of the FF characters in Michael Jackson's "Thriller."


I Remember Groucho

When I was in high school, I talked my way into a party by creating an homage to Groucho Marx. I call it an homage, some might call it a blatant rip-off, but what I did was memorize bits of business, snippets of songs, and pieces of pomposity centered on Groucho's appearances in the movies and on television appearances. For that night at that party I would be the one, the only, Groucho Marx! I did not fail miserably, only mildly! Fortunately for the entertainment industry, I opened and closed in the same night.

August 19th marks the 30th Anniversary of the death of Groucho Marx, which was over-shadowed by the death of Elvis Presley as reported by Mark Evanier here and here.

CBS Sunday Morning created a segment about Groucho which is in print here.

And now, without further ado (because too much adew gets things awfully wet) I present: Groucho Marx. Adieu.

2007-08-19 CBS Sunday Morning

"Duck Soup"

You Bet Your Life October 11, 1956:
Groucho Marx & Lord Buckley

The Dick Cavett Show September 5, 1969: "Lydia, the Tatooed Lady"

"Animal Crackers": "Hello, I Must Be Going"


Endless Summer

As we near the end of summer, I wanted to share a few videos of the group that embodies Summer: The Beach Boys! Enjoy.

Wouldn't It Be Nice

Good Vibrations

God Only Knows

Sloop John B

California Girls


California Dreamin


Fond Childhood Memory

LikeTelevision Embed Movies and TV Shows

I was six years old during the Christmas of 1973. Time has faded the memory of what Santa brought, save for the Electro Shot Game by Marx Toys. To me it was like having an arcade in my own home! Thirty-four years late, I don't recall if the Electro Shot broke down or if my mother disposed of it in a yard sale, but I sure remember it was fun while it lasted.


Stan Freberg Turns 81 on August 7th

The following are bits and pieces of Stan Freberg's career. If you don't know who Stan Freberg is now's your chance to further your education.

Dump TV on Stan's 80th Birthday

Winding Down The Vietnam War

Jeno's Pizza Rolls Ad written by Stan Freberg (cameo by Tonto & The Lone Ranger.)


Bee Movie-Jerry Seinfeld

Trailer 1 - Live Action

Trailer 2 - Live Action

Trailer 3 - Animated

Access Hollywood - Jerry Seinfeld on "Bee Movie"

Game Trailer


The Chaotic Afternoon and Unruly Evening Hanging with Harlan Ellison: Part 2 of 2

---Correction: The photo used in ConNotations Vol.17, Issue 3 should have been credited to Rick Wyatt ©2007---

The clock read 6:15 p.m. and Harlan decided it was time to leave Pink’s Hot Dogs and head to the Writer’s Guild of America Theater for the premier of Erik Nelson’s documentary, Dreams with Sharp Teeth: a film about Harlan Ellison. The crowd dispersed to various vehicles and Rick Wyatt (HarlanEllison.Com) rode with me.

The very organized Steve Barber had handed out maps and even so, Rick and I found our way to the parking garage of the theater. Soon, David Loftus and the Richmonds arrived, little knowing that they would be helping Rick and me to schlep the many boxes of books into the theater for the autograph session after the event. I lead the parade of pack mules across the lobby, located Susan Ellison,

and asked her where she was setting up. Susan indicated a spot and we all laid our burdens down. After I came out of the event in the theater, I noticed that everything had been moved, presumably to allow more room for the attendees to belly up to the bar. I located some of the people from Pink’s, schmoozed a bit, and then headed into the theater to grab a seat.

I spotted the Richmonds, and accepted Andrea’s kind invitation to join them in the “Friend’s of Harlan Ellison” row. Sitting down, I glanced to my left, noticing a woman five seats away, her eyes narrowing, counting the seats. After deciding I was not sitting on one of her imaginary friends, the woman turned her attention elsewhere. However, her attention returned each time someone stopped to talk to Tim,

or Andrea, or Alexia and when the inevitable time came when someone stopped and raised a finger indicating the empty seats between myself and the woman, she called out, “They’re saved!” I shrugged and, dejected, the seat inquirer shambled off. This event seems to repeat itself endlessly. It was just as the lights were going down that the woman’s imaginary friends popped into reality and took their places. I wonder if they ever knew of the valiant battle waged by their friend to safeguard their seats.

I watched the documentary and a series of emotions washed over me. I felt the chagrin I’d felt when I’d been with Harlan and he’d pointed out to someone that they’d just littered, it was a bad thing, and they shouldn’t do it again. I felt the heart-in-my-throat feeling about my father as I viewed a much older Harlan watching a film-to-tape transfer of a much younger Harlan as his father put his hand on the boy’s shoulder. I felt a smirk break into a grin as Susan Ellison told the tale of Harlan locking her out of their home, while she was sans clothes. I felt myself smiling as Neil Gaiman, Peter David, Dan Simmons, the irrepressible Robin Williams, and other friends shared their thoughts and feelings on what Ron Moore had called, “…the small parade that is Harlan Ellison.”

After watching the documentary I whole-heartedly agree with screenwriter, Josh Olson (A History of Violence), when he said to Harlan, “It’s as close to the experience of hanging out with you as I can imagine on film.”

Following the film, Olson attempted to interview Ellison, but it was mostly a lost cause as Ellison spotted old friends in the audience he wanted to talk to, he was bribed into singing Shel Silverstein’s You Treat Me Like A D-O-G, he had stories he wanted to tell which were only tangentially related to the questions posed by Olson, most of which seemed to cause only a slight consternation on the part of Olson and all of which delighted the audience.

The crowd moved to a reception area in the lobby that included a dessert buffet, a no-host bar, and Harlan’s autograph table. I mingled, setting up a late breakfast with the Webderland Irregulars, speaking with Josh Olson, singing a bit of the Mickey Mouse Club theme with Len Wein (Swamp Thing), and chatting with Steven Barnes (Great Sky Woman). Eventually the crowd dispersed and at 1:00 A.M., the W.G.T. closed its doors and the only ones remaining on the sidewalk were the Ellisons, the Richmonds, Len Wein, Christine Valada, Rick Wyatt, and myself.

When the crew and passengers of the S.S. Grey Ghost went down with the ship (see part 1 of this article), six people needed transportation. Wein and Valada were transporting the Ellisons, so I loaded Wyatt and the Richmonds into my Saturn Vue, leaving Beverly Hills behind and headed to Sherman Oaks.

The trip was definitely a group effort, as I’d never been to Ellison Wonderland at night, nor from the South. We made it to the motel where they were staying, but it was only to drop off Wyatt.

The Richmonds’ rented car was parked in front of the Ellisons’ home. We pressed on. Stately Ellison Manor is near the top of a hill, bordering watershed land, with tortuous and winding roads. After nearly twenty minutes of driving back and forth up hairpin turns, we were just around the corner from the house when we spotted it: a deer in a hedge. We looked at the deer, the deer looked at us and then bounded into a lawn, over some shrubbery, and it was gone. I recovered, drove to the Ellisons’, said my goodbyes, and followed the Richmonds’ car back down the hill, past their motel, on to Laurel Canyon, and eventually back to my hotel and bed.

Four hours of sleep and a half hour of tossing-and-turning later, I gave up and got ready for the day. We’d had a great day with perfect weather, but that was yesterday and today it was raining. I called the Original Pantry Café (where I had arranged to meet the Webderlanders) and got a vague idea of its location from the very busy person who answered the phone. As I was checking out of the Best Western Beverly Pavilion, I asked the reception clerk if she knew where the Pantry Café was located. She looked it up and printed out a map. I was on my way.

I had given myself plenty of time which was fortunate as I had passed the Pantry without knowing it, went down a one-way street that forced you back onto the freeway, ended up parking in a mall a couple of blocks from the Pantry, and getting lost in the rain while on foot. I made it to the Original Pantry Café at 9:55 A.M.,

bypassed the line of people snaking out the door and down the sidewalk, and checked inside: no Webderlanders. I went back outside, got in line, and waited. The previous night Keith Cramer had asked for my cell number, but I’d forgotten the charger and didn’t turn on the phone unless I was making a call. Of course, if I’d gotten his number I could have called and found out that weather and traffic had conspired to delay the group, but I didn’t so I left the Original Pantry Café, alone and hungry on a solo journey.

The ride from L.A. to Phoenix was mostly uneventful, with one exception: gasoline. I hadn’t been too concerned about fueling up the Vue, so I passed Banning, Palm Springs, Indio, thinking I could make it to Blythe. Nope. So when I saw the “Desert Center: Gas Ahead” sign, I exited I-10, went north on Desert Center Rice Road, spotted the station, and pulled in. The attendant exited the office, unlocked the old gas pump, flipped the crank, and stood by while I pumped gas. I was almost hypnotized as I watched the numbers blur by, the sound coming from the pump reminding me of a one-armed bandit. I released the pump trigger, looked at the cost, and my jaw dropped: $10.57. I looked at the price-per-gallon and it read $4.39. Remember, this was on April 20th when the average gas price was $2.97. I did some rough calculations, pulled the trigger until I was at $12.23, paid the attendant and headed for Blythe and the relatively cheaper gas of $3.38 per gallon.

Despite some minor issues, I had a great time, met some new people, reestablished some friendships, and saw a great film. What more could I ask for?

Creative Differences Web Site
(Warning: Music starts immediately)
IMDB - Dreams With Sharp Teeth: A Film About Harlan Ellison
Webderlanders at Pinks by Steve Barber
The Rod Searcey Gallery
Original Pantry Café
more about the Original Pantry Café
ABC's info about Masters of Science Fiction and "The Discarded"by Harlan Ellison with Josh Olson