Tag Archives: Holidays

4th of July: Top Ten List of What Has the Power to Unite the USA

Fireworks on July 4th, at Gasworks Park; People recording fireworks on cell phones; Space Needle in background, Seattle, Washington State, USA

Let’s start off with some music fun facts: Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” is one of the biggest songs of 2019, sitting on top of the Billboard Hot 100 chart for six straight weeks as of May 13. If you’re looking for an example of the power of pop culture and music, then this is it. The Billy Ray Cyrus-featuring remix also holds five of the top seven spots on Billboard’s list of the biggest streaming weeks in the publication’s history.

Don’t underestimate the power of that which can unite and that which we share in common. We all want family, friends and community, right? We all want good health. We all want to be inspired. So, here’s a list of that which can unite us and that which most, if not all of us, have in common one way or another as the USA celebrates the 4th of July in 2019:

  • Plants: Trending now in a big way are plants! Opening a boutique shop? Consider plants. Plants have become the new hot item to post on your Instagram.
  • Gardening: Right along with plants, think gardening. The farm to table movement has taken root all over by now!
  • Pets: Pets are beloved in the USA. Movies have been dedicated to pets. People carry them in baby carriages and dress them up in outfits. You can’t walk for long without spotting a dog and human strolling together.
  • Family: Blood is thicker than water, as they say, and there are all kinds of family. Office family. Step-family. Bi-racial family. Adopted family. You need your family!
  • Health and Fitness: Cross-Fit. Vegan. Carnivore. Weight Watchers. Noom. Fitbit. Paleo. Keto. Watch your step and buyer beware. But, whatever you do, stay active!
  • Pizza: Dominos. Grocery store bought. Wood-fired. But let’s get serious, you really want a New York slice!
  • Comics: Now, more than ever, comics has the power to entertain, to inform, to be inclusive and to inspire. Beyond the superhero genre, comics can take on any subject in a variety of formats and styles.
  • Movies: No doubt, we all have of favorites. Superhero movies are still going strong and, if the trend holds out, there is still much more to explore. The actual comics, ironically, are not nearly as popular.
  • Home Entertainment: Netflix. Hulu. Amazon. HBO. There’s a lifetime of new entertainment no further away than your couch and, in 2019, we’re still in a golden age.
  • Music: We round it out with perhaps the best way to unite people: the power of music! Yes, music can help create goodwill and send you soaring to new heights.

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Filed under Entertainment, Lists, Music, pop culture

Comics Grinder Winter Giveaway!

It’s time for a Comics Grinder Winter Giveaway!

I have some treasures to give away. Here is the plan: I will mail out any of these treats to you in return for a little good cheer back. My prime objective is to get more folks to become aware of my book of collected works in comics, “A Night at the Sorrento and Other Stories.” What I ask of you is to read the book and give it a review on Amazon. Of course, say whatever you like. I will truly appreciate the feedback. And it can be as short and sweet as you like too. You can easily purchase my book (or read for free) at Amazon. Just go right here. I think this will be a natural fit for my thoughtful readers.

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Filed under Comics, Comics Grinder, Giveaway, Holidays, Promotions

Movie Review: ‘Office Christmas Party’

office-christmas-party

You do know about the T.J. Miller Uber kerfuffle, right? To recap, after a heated exchange involving Donald Trump, the “Silicon Valley” star allegedly slapped his driver. There’s nothing like a big red cup of Starbucks product placement (prominently held in the hand of Jason Bateman for the first few minutes) to take you out of the movie unless every time you see Miller on the screen, you start thinking about Uber drivers being manhandled. The good news is that watching “Office Christmas Party,” even with Uber drivers on the brain, pays off. At first, Miller does not seem up to it as he delivers his lines in the first segments with self-conscious snark. But the dude makes up for it.

OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY

OFFICE CHRISTMAS PARTY

Come for the laughs and stay to enjoy two heavy hitters, Jason Bateman and Jennifer Aniston, who make this comedy stuff look so easy. While the actual movie they are in has its fair share of clunker gags, Bateman and Aniston own their characters and command razor-sharp chops. A weak early scene with Miller lamenting the misunderstood needs of bald men is saved by a perfectly-timed answer by Bateman: “Hair?” Miller says over a dozen words. Nothing. Bateman says one word. Comedy gold. It’s that simple. I’m not led to think about Donald Trump or Uber drivers being terrorized. I’m only enjoying pure comedy gold. The same with Aniston. In a somewhat similar set-up, Aniston’s character asks a simple question to Vanessa Bayer’s character who proceeds to chew the scenery. Aniston, now irritated, asks the question again in a tone that demands a quick answer. Bayer answers. Very funny performances from both of them.

Now, as for the plot, the whole shebang hinges on Miller’s character throwing this incredible office party that will save the company, save jobs, and make America really really great again. Okay, not necessarily that last part. Anyway, there’s more. Aniston and Miller are brother and sister in the movie. The two run the family business. Actually, Aniston runs it and Miller gets to act a fool at the Chicago branch office. But, if Miller can just get his act together this once, and this is where the office party comes in, everything could turn out great. Maybe even America could turn great again. Who knows. In fact, a good part of the plot rests on the action of the character played by Olivia Munn who shines as a tech genius. Another good reason to see this movie. In fact, there are quite a lot of moving parts to this movie and it works remarkably well considering unnecessarily bad humor and some rather maudlin subplots.

If only they had trimmed some of the frat house humor, this might merit another star for those keeping score at home. Otherwise, don’t sweat the weak spots. And we come full circle with the character of Lonny played by Fortune Feimster. She actually plays the role of a Uber driver! In the backseat is not Miller. No, instead, it’s Aniston who is none too patient with her chatty driver. Another good example of some good laughs.

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Filed under Christmas, Comedy, Humor, Movie Reviews, movies

Santa Has a Shadow: KRAMPUS

Krampus movie

The shadow brings balance to the light. And so it is even for Santa Claus. When was the last time you saw a really good Christmas horror movie? Well, now we have “Krampus,” the movie. And as writer/director Michael Dougherty makes clear in the interview below, the dark side to Christmas isn’t new. Consider, for instance, the chilling Dickens classic, “A Christmas Carol,” or the noirish Frank Capra classic, “It’s a Wondefrul Life.” Below is footage from the KRAMPUS premiere with writer/director/producer Michael Dougherty, writer/producer Zach Shields and writer Todd Casey:

Krampus is the one-man cleanup crew for all the naughty boys and girls. Seems like Santa couldn’t be in charge of everything. Maybe he had no choice. The origins of Krampus go further back than Santa Claus. By the 17th century, folklore had teamed up Krampus and Santa. Perhaps we’ve made a mistake to separate these two for American tastes. Then again, for the purposes of this movie, we want Krampus to work alone.

While I would never begrudge anyone’s enjoyment of a traditional family comedy this season, we need its polar opposite: typical family gathering but with bloody horror. Oh sure, and a touch of comedy. “Krampus” stars Toni Collette, Adam Scott, David Koechner, and Conchata Ferrell. Writer/director Michael Dougherty has contributed to the screenplays for “X-Men 2,” “Urban Legends: Bloody Mary” and “Superman Returns” before directing his debut, “Trick ‘r Treat” in 2007.

KRAMPUS release date in the U.S. is this Friday, December 4, 2015.

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Filed under Holidays, movies, Universal Studios

Review: THE WALKING DEAD: THE POP-UP BOOK

The zombie book of the season!

The zombie book of the season!

It is ingrained in our DNA to thirst for bloody horror. Oh, wait, I think I just used that opening line recently. Well, it’s a good one and it certainly applies to The Walking Dead. I firmly believe that, when you strike the right balance of evenly spaced blood splatters and evenly paced plotting, it will resonate with an audience. It’s the next phase a horror creator wants to get to and fast just like Robert Kirkman has succeeded in doing. In tribute to horror done right, behold “The Walking Dead: The Pop-Up Book,” published by Insight Editions.

Lots of details and hidden goodies

Lots of details and hidden goodies!

This is no mere pop-up book! Look it over form every angle, there is plenty to look at and marvel over. This masterful work is created by paper engineers David Hawcock (Journal of Inventions: Leonardo Da Vinci) and Becca Zerkin, with text by Stephani Danelle Perry, and illustrated by Sally Elizabeth Jackson.

AMC Walking Dead Insight Editions

Zombie Surprise!

Zombie Surprise!

Based on AMC’s hit television series, “The Walking Dead,” this has got to be the ultimate gift idea for many a friend and loved one into zombies, horror movies, or pop culture in general. It’s big but also compact enough to fit comfortably on your coffee table or wherever you like to keep groovy ghoulies.

THE WALKING DEAD: THE POP-UP BOOK is a hardcover featuring five glorious page spreads and over 20 pop-ups. For more details, visit our friends at Insight Editions right here.

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Filed under Books, Gifts, Holidays, Insight Editions, Television, The Walking Dead

Everyone Can Enjoy Cosplay at PureCostumes.com

Deluxe Darth Vader Adult Costume available at PureCostumes.com

Deluxe Darth Vader Adult Costume available at PureCostumes.com

Cosplay is for everyone at PureCostumes.com. It can be anytime and anywhere. If you feel like dressing up as Darth Vader, just go for it. I know I’d like to. And there’s so much more to find at this unique outlet for all kinds of costumes.

Steampunk Fantasy Adult Costume from California Costumes available at PureCostumes.com

Steampunk Fantasy Adult Costume from California Costumes available at PureCostumes.com

Let’s say you’re into steampunk, PureCostumes.com has got you covered with the steampunk costumes by California Costumes. The key is in all the details and this year will see a bunch of new styles that are sure to please any steampunk enthusiast.

Pinky Pie Adult Costume available at PureCostumes.com

Pinky Pie Adult Costume available at PureCostumes.com

Keep browsing and you are bound to find something that strikes your fancy. Maybe you’re a fan of My Little Pony. Then check out all the options, from the youngest fans to adult fans, at PureCostumes.com.

Spider-Man costume available at PureCostumes.com

Spider-Man costume available at PureCostumes.com

Or maybe you’re looking for something classic, like a Spider-Man costume. You can find it right here.

Minions costumes available at PureCostumes.com

Minions costumes available at PureCostumes.com

With something for the whole family, PureCostumes is definitely your one-stop-shop. So, the next time you’re feeling like cosplay, go visit PureCostumes right here.

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Filed under Comic-Con, Comics, Cosplay, Costumes, Halloween, Holidays, Lifestyle, pop culture, Purecostumes.com

Gifts 2014: ‘WHAT IF?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions’ by Randall Munroe

What-If-Randall-Munroe

Geek out this holiday season with Randall Munroe’s “WHAT IF?” This #1 New York Times Bestseller will undoubtedly make the perfect gift for the science lover, the comics lover, and the geek in your life.

Millions of people visit xkcd.com each week to read Randall Munroe’s iconic webcomic. Now, its sister blog has been transformed into a book, “WHAT IF?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions.”

“WHAT IF” is published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and is available here, here, and here.

You can read a roundup of praise below:

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Filed under Comics, Gifts, Gifts 2014, Randall Munroe, Webcomics, xkcd

Book Review: ‘Art & Sole: A Spectacular Selection of More Than 150 Fantasy Art Shoes from the Stuart Weitzman Collection’ by Jane Gershon Weitzman

Art-Sole-Weitzman-4thOfJuly

David, a new assistant at Comics Grinder marched right into the offices of CG. He had a rather sheepish grin on his face. I wasn’t sure what to make of his quick familiarity. Like past friends of CG, he had a treat for us to consider. But he wasn’t going to give it up until he gave me a little grief. “Alright then,” David said, “you have a thing for feet, don’t you?”

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Filed under Art, Art books, Book Reviews, Books, Design, Fashion, Feet

ART: The Snow Queen

The Snow Queen

With winter fast approaching, here is a recent painting I did, “The Snow Queen.”

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Filed under Art, Henry Chamberlain, Painting

ART: KAWS: Some Edge at Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade included a balloon even more ironic than SpongeBob SquarePants. This little gray guy, by the artist, KAWS, gives the holiday season some edge whether it needs it or not. Do we really need a smirk with our good cheer? No, but what the hell, we don’t need a lot of things. If you take a closer look at the KAWS character, his eyes are X’d out. We’ve come a long way since Snoopy. For those keeping score at home, perhaps the nontraditional KAWS balloon is one of the most honest items in the parade. Enjoy.  Here is the blurb all about it at our friends at Gothamist:

Graffiti artist KAWS has a balloon—Companion—as part of Macy’s Blue Sky Gallery that features balloons by famous artists (last year, Tim Burton had a ballon; the year before that, Takashi Murakami had balloons; previous years also include Keith Haring and Jeff Koons).

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Filed under Art, KAWS, pop culture