Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Golem Universe: A Retrospective

The people, places and events that shaped a blog.

Play me off, Keyboard Cat.

Farewell (Almost) from The Golem

I just want to thank everyone who has followed this site for the past year or so. It’s been great fun to do, and I hope you’ve enjoyed it.

I wanted to give this site a proper finish. I didn’t want it to just fade away due to boredom, or because I became "too busy" to update it. So I arbitrarily picked an end date (Super Bowl Sunday) - although I never realized that date would come so quickly!

Feel free to drop me a line, or check out my Twitter account.

Look for a special video tribute coming up later tonight.

Thanks again.

Squirrel Nut Zippers - "The Ghost of Stephen Foster"

Here's the fully-animated video for "The Ghost of Stephen Foster" by Squirrel Nut Zippers from their 1998 album Perennial Favorites.

Animators from The Simpsons did the video.

Bert Parks

Back when the Miss America Pageant still meant something (1976) - host (and old fraud) Bert Parks attempts "Let 'Em In" by Paul McCartney and Wings.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Old Logos

And now, for your amusement, we present a collection of old Golem Universe logos - suitable for framing (or wrapping fish).

The following prototypes were never used:
Eternity (wide)
Eternity (wide) minus Eternity
2001 Baby
2001 Baby (left)
2001 Baby (left; nicer font)
2001 Baby (left; nicer font and PBS logo)

The following logos were used, but have since been retired:
First Official Logo
Moon (Earth moved a bit)

The following are variations on the current logo:

The Blogs That Got Away

I was browsing my Picasa Web Albums tonight (that's where Blogger stores all the graphics uploaded for its sites), and uncovered a treasure trove of old graphics and folders devoted to this and other blogs I have attempted over the years.

Since it's getting very near the end (of this blog)... here is an overview of others I have considered, started, aborted and/or accidentally deleted.

Marvelous Mondays
Every Monday, I write about a different classic Marvel comic. Never got any further than the logo.

Paul is Dead / I Bury Paul (above)
I take a look back at all the "Paul is Dead" clues. This was the logo I finally settled on.

Superman: As Seen On TV
I write about each and every episode of The Adventures of Superman. I have the complete series on DVD, so why not? Got as far as this logo and an outline of the first episode. Surprisingly, it was not as much fun to do as you might think.

Golem's Incredible Hulk

I write about every issue of The Incredible Hulk. (Have them all on DVD-ROM). Here's the logo.

Golem's Amazing Spider-Man
Kind of like Golem's Incredible Hulk. Logos are here and here.

MacDade Boulevard
I write about a street near and dear to my heart. This was up and running for some time, and then I accidentally deleted it. In retrospect, it would probably make a better Facebook group. (Don't look at me to start one).

The Three Stooges Blog
I write about the Three Stooges. At one point, it was to be called "All the Blog's a Stooge". Actually, I still plan on doing this.

Golem and Company
One of those "me posing as a bunch of fake contributors" blogs. A lot of fun, but a lot of work. Early logos can be enjoyed here, here, here and here.

It's Golem Time
This actually exists (in fact, it's what the URL points to) - but I only update it about twice a year. Early logos can be seen here and here.

Here is a parody ad for Mickey Rooney's Tabas Hotel in Downingtown, and an aborted Spider-Man parody that I really must go back and finish. (I only wish these were bigger and more legible).

Go-Go Golem
Interestingly, this was the original version of The Golem Universe. I really like the logo, except the colors are fixed at red and black.

The New Golem Times

I think this was supposed to be a "funny" take on the news. Graphics indicate I wrote some things about Obama and Mike Huckabee before bailing on it. Here's the logo.

I also attempted two "geek" blogs with (IMHO) great names - "Hour of the Geek" and "Golem: Invasion Earth 2007". These were going to be devoted to computers, comic books and Doctor Who. Never got further than their titles, but here was a proposed graphic from the latter.

Joey Bishop - "Your Cheatin' Heart"

Here's a cut from comedian Joey Bishop's horribly ill-conceived country album Country Western - which I vaguely remember him plugging on 70's talk shows while the hosts looked on in horror.

Not sure if this was some kind of Andy Kaufman-esque joke (doubtful, this is Joey Bishop after all) - but isn't it amazing how many bad records were made in the 60s and 70s by non-singers like Leonard Nimoy, Jack Klugman, etc...? It's almost like they foresaw the Internet, and how much fun sarcastic bloggers would get from posting about them.

Thanks to April Winchell for the MP3, and all the great MP3's over the last few years.

Squirrel Nut Zippers - "Put a Lid On It"

I am reminded today of Squirrel Nut Zippers - one of my favorite bands of the 90's.

There was a "swing revival" in the middle of that decade, and although the Zippers denied being a retro act - they were at it's forefront. They looked and sounded like a swing band, and lead female vocalist Katherine Whalen (above) sang in a style similar to Billie Holiday.

They broke up in 2001 (numerous band departures, and a divorce for founding members Whalen and Jimbo Mathus) - but reunited in 2006, so we haven't heard the last of them.

Here's "Put a Lid On It" - one of their most successful songs from the album Hot.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Devo - "Jerkin' Back n Forth"

The first live concert I ever attended was Devo at the Tower Theater in Upper Darby, Pa. They did an entire show similar to this 1981 appearance on Fridays - which is to say they did the entire show on moving treadmills.

They actually perform two songs here. The first, an instrumental, is called "(Theme from) Adventures of Smart Patrol" - at least that's what it's called these days. The second is "Jerkin' Back n Forth". Devo is wearing their "New Traditionalists" gear - which is basically a boy scout uniform and plastic hair based on John F. Kennedy's "pompadour".

For additional information on Fridays (the show that gave us Larry David and Michael Richards) - check out this informative article at TV Party.

Japanese Commercial (1978)

Here is a Japanese commercial for (??? - it looks like tuna, but it sounds like they're saying "cheese chicken").

It contains characters and themes clearly based on a rather popular movie of the time. See if you guess which movie I'm talking about.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Origin of the Golem (Short Version)

I’ve been the Red-Headed Golem since 2000.

In the early part of that year, I was obsessed with the word Golem. Probably influenced by its use in an episode of Batman Beyond - a favorite DVD at the time - and ignorant of it’s origins in jewish folklore; I assumed the word was synonymous with "boogeyman" or monster. I liked how it sounded.

Some people assume it’s a misspelling of Gollum - the character from Lord of the Rings. It doesn’t help matters that my original blog had Gollum in the header image. That was just a coincidence.

Anyway, in 2000 I was working as a project manager for a local I.T. consulting company. For complicated reasons (see the Long Version), the company thought it would be a good idea to dump their existing clients and replace a lot of their experienced employees with MBA types, most right out of college.

Some managers stayed on; I was one. But a lot of good people were let go. If you want a good idea of what the company soon became, check out the Simpsons episode "I am Furious Yellow". We were just like the fictional Better Than TV, with a lot of noisy slackers, and stock options dispensed like toilet paper.

There was some tension between the old guard and the next generation. Nothing serious, but a lot of mutual mistrust.

Anyway, a friend of mine - one of the employees that had been let go - sent me an e-mail asking how the company was doing. "Okay," I replied, "but the new kids stare at me like I’m some kind of red-headed golem."

So that’s where the name came from.

Yellow Submarine comic book

In 1968, Gold Key published a 60+ page Yellow Submarine comic book for the princely sum of 35 cents. Never reprinted, back issues - if you can find one - start at around $300.

What's most interesting about the comic is that its creators (writer Paul S. Newman and artist José Delbo) had to produce it without a finished script. So the story within the comic is quite different from the story in the movie. The artwork is impressive however - very much in keeping with the style of the film.

I've always wanted to see this Yellow Submarine comic. I'm not a collector - I'd be perfectly happy reading a good reprint. Lo and behold, a blog called Cartoon SNAP has made my dreams come true. You can read it here online (in some confounding tiny-window format) or download the whole thing as a PDF.

Lost: 5 Seasons in 10 minutes

I've never seen Lost. Not even for a few minutes between flipping channels. Besides the fact that it involves castaways on a deserted island, I know nothing about the storyline of the show.

I've avoided it for a reason. First, deliberately mysterious shows like this this almost never pay off (see Twin Peaks), and when they do (see Life on Mars, U.S. version, ) it's too literal, or terribly disappointing.

Second, I've avoided Lost because if and when I do decide to watch it on DVD - I don't want the story spoiled for me (see Battlestar Galactica, another show I've never seen, and probably won't because I know too much about what's going to happen.)

For those who've missed out on Lost, but wish to catch up - here are the first five seasons in ten minutes, courtesy of The Reduced Shakespeare Company.

I haven't watched this, so it might be complete bollocks.


The Joey Bishop Show

Between 1967-69, Joey Bishop hosted a 90-minute talk show on ABC, competing with Johnny Carson's Tonight Show on NBC.

Despite much publicity, and the occasional visit from fellow "Rat Pack" guests like Sammy Davis, Jr, Peter Lawford and Dean Martin (but never Frank Sinatra, interestingly enough) - Bishop flopped against Carson, and was replaced by Dick Cavett in 1969. (Who also flopped, as did Merv Griffin - who ran a competing show on CBS).

Bishop's sidekick was Regis Philbin. Yes, that Regis Philbin (above, left) - making his first big splash on national television. Regis actually walked off the show one night, in response to negative reviews from critics - citing that the network was against the idea of hiring him in the first place. (This was one of the only episodes to top Carson in the ratings.)

Here's a clip from the show on a night when Joey and Regis wore Nehru jackets - a gift from guest Sammy Davis, Jr.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Leeroy Jenkins

One of my all-time favorite YouTube videos is Leeroy Jenkins. There's nothing better than seeing super-serious Worlds of Warcraft gamers being upended by a clueless moron.

The video is spoofed - almost verbatim - in a deleted scene from the movie Year One. Since it's doubtful anyone is buying or renting that particular DVD - I present it to you here.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Keyboard Cat

Here is Keyboard Cat (above) "playing off" a contestant on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? who was unlucky enough to blow the first question.

The key to these "Keyboard Cat" videos being especially funny is to the show the cat in preparation for the pending failure.

Bob Dylan - "Things Have Changed"

One of my favorite "modern" Bob Dylan songs, "Things Have Changed" was from the soundtrack to the film Wonderboys - hence the cameos from Spider-Man, Michael Douglas and Downey, Jr.