Monday, March 30, 2015

Will ‘Walking Dead’ companion show use the word ‘zombies’?

The creator of “The Walking Dead” comic book and TV show, Robert Kirkman, has made a point of not using the word “zombies” to describe his living dead ghouls.
The people in the “The Walking Dead” world apparently have never heard of the term zombie or seen a zombie movie like “Dawn of the Dead” or “Zombieland.” Instead, they use the term “walker,” which previously was only used to describe people getting exercise by walking (such as “mall walkers”) or a crutch frame for the disabled or elderly.
In “The Walking Dead,” set on the East Coast of the U.S., the main characters use the term “walkers” to describe zombies. Other people they have met have called the living dead “biters,” “rotters” and “roamers.”
This summer, AMC will air a companion series called “Fear the Walking Dead,” which is set in Los Angeles, home to Hollywood. It is an original series, with characters and stories not based on a comic book.
But Kirkman is likely to stick to his concept that the people in “The Walking Dead” live in an alternate universe where zombie movies, books and other fiction were never made, so the term “zombie” would be unknown to the characters.
In a time of post-modern horror movies and TV shows, where characters are familiar with all the concepts of vampires, werewolves and the like, characters in “The Walking Dead” are blissfully ignorant.
It will be interesting to see what characters in “Fear the Walking Dead” call zombies. Will they independently come up with the term “walkers”? (That’s a stretch.) Or will they use some other term?
We’ll find out this summer.

Photos: Scenes from the upcoming “Fear the Walking Dead.” 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Sexually transmitted horror: Latest Hollywood trend

In the slasher movie era with films like “Halloween” (1978) and “Friday the 13th” (1980), characters who had sex usually died while virgin heroines survived.
The sex-can-be-scary metaphor is a familiar trope in horror movies and TV shows.
In some movies, beautiful women lure men to bed to kill them. Some of these ladies are succubuses who want to suck out their victim’s life force (“Lifeforce,” “Lost Girl”). Others are alien black widows who want reproduce (“Species”). And still others are just plain psychos (“Basic Instinct,” “Gone Girl”).
The latest trend is sexually transmitted horror. In these films, someone has consensual sex and is infected by a demon or turns into a monster.
Now in theaters, the hit movie “It Follows” features an evil supernatural force that follows a girl after a sexual experience.
Last week, on the second episode of the CW’s new show “iZombie,” a woman becomes a zombie after having sex with someone infected with the affliction.
Sexually transmitted horror has been depicted in movies before. David Cronenberg’s “Shivers” (1975) is one example.
Usually the sex in these movies leads to pregnancy. An alien, demon or monster gets a woman pregnant with his spawn. Often it involves rape, such as in “Rosemary’s Baby” (1968) and “Demon Seed” (1977).
But sometimes it’s consensual as in “The Fly” (1986), “The Fly II” (1989) and “Prometheus” (2012).

Photos: Poster from “It Follows” (top); still from episode 2 of “iZombie.”

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Favorite websites in review, part 10

These websites were featured on Tech-media-tainment. So they bear the TMT stamp of approval.

226. Movie Title Stills Collection (
227. The Final Image (
228. Famous Objects from Classic Movies (
229. Google Street Scene (
230. Quiet Earth (
231. No. 1 Song on Your Birthday (
232. What Ridiculous Food Day Is Your Birthday? (
233. Sad Kanye (
234. This Charming Charlie (
235. Inspirational Rap Lyrics (
236. Selfies at Serious Places (
237. Lady Parts (
238. Endorsement Bombing (
239. TL;DR Wikipedia (
240. Sleeping MIT Students (
241. Napping All Over Rutgers (
242. Ephs Sleeping In Public (
243. White Boys in Salmon Shorts (
244. Humanitarians of Tinder (
245. Signs from the Near Future (
246. WTF Comcast (
247. Pendleton Ward’s Cartoon Tumblr (
248. Wrong Hands (
249. Song Lyrics in Chart Form (
250. Candy Wrapper Archive (

Photos from Song Lyrics in Chart Form (top) and Google Street Scene from "Goodfellas."

Monday, March 23, 2015

Niche websites: Candy bar wrappers, soda cans, comic book covers, etc.

The World Wide Web is full of websites devoted to niche topics, which is great. I appreciate the dedication of people who maintain online resources in specific areas of interest.
What follows are a few particularly interesting ones.

Candy Wrapper Archive

The Candy Wrapper Archive is a collection of standard and king-sized candy wrappers. The archivist started collecting them in 1983 and began digitizing them in 2008.
As a candy lover, I enjoy looking at the variety of wrappers, including such favorites as 3 Musketeers, Baby Ruth and Snickers.

Evolution of Soft Drink Cans

Leibold, a branding, marketing and packaging design company, put together a photo gallery and article about the “evolution of soft drink cans.”
As a soda lover (hey, I have a sweet tooth), it’s fun to look at how beverages like 7Up, Coca-Cola and others have changed their can designs over the years.
Visual News adapted the photos for its own article on the subject.

Cover Browser

Cover Browser displays galleries of comic book covers as well as covers from books, video games and other materials. Created in 2006, the website has more than 455,000 covers.
I enjoy browsing through covers for “The Amazing Spider-Man” from when I was a kid.

RadioShack Catalogs

RadioShack Catalogs provides an archive of catalogs from the consumer electronics store chain from 1939 to 2005.
Check out this 1985 catalog entry for the TRS-80 portable computer. Brings back memories.


Logonoid has collected a large gallery of company logos, brand logos and trademarks. It has over 7,100 logos in 33 categories, from airlines to watches.

The Museum of Bags

The Museum of Bags showcases bags as icons of culture and history. The collection has more than 7,000 pieces ranging from retail to political bags.

Porn Parody

Porn Parody keeps track of the adult entertainment industry’s penchant for parodies of mainstream movies, TV shows and real-life politicians and celebrities. (Warning: The website contains nudity and sexual content.)

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Funny pop music diagrams

I love humorous graphics that diagram pop music songs.
Up top is a favorite of mine from cartoonist John Atkinson called “Anatomy of songs,” which he posted on his Wrong Hands blog in July 2014.
The pop music portion appears to have been inspired by an Internet meme that first cropped up online about three years ago on Reddit and elsewhere. It showed a modern pop song interspersed with rapper Pitbull saying weird things.

Pitbull is an easy target and has been parodied quite often online.

Atkinson followed up his original cartoon in January with “Anatomy of more songs.”

Recently I discovered a blog called Song Lyrics in Chart Form from comedian Erik Tanouye.
Instead of poking fun at genres, he diagrams the lyrical content of individual pop songs.
I’ve posted a few examples below.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

12 interesting Tumblr blogs

Tumblr has become the go-to website for viral Internet content. That honor used to belong to Reddit, but the tide has turned.
A study by Priceonomics found that the No. 1 source for BuzzFeed content is Tumblr, followed by Instagram, according to the Washington Post.
What’s interesting is that Tumblr remains popular despite its heavy-handed treatment of users practicing fair use of copyrighted images.
Tumblr deleted my three blogs a year and a half ago after it received complaints from a photographer about my use of a couple of his images on just one of those three blogs. Tumblr didn’t respond to my appeal of the DMCA takedown notice and unilaterally deleted my work.
I criticized Tumblr at the time for not having at least a three-strike rule.
Fast forward to now and it appears Tumblr has finally instituted such a rule, according to a story on Techdirt. This rule may have saved my three Tumblr blogs from oblivion.
But I digress.
There are many interesting niche-themed blogs on Tumblr. What follows is a dozen of them.

Selfies at Serious Places

Selfies at Serious Places collects photos of people taking self portraits in places where they shouldn’t such as at funerals, cemeteries and former concentration camps. (See article by Business Insider.)

Lady Parts

The website Lady Parts compiles sexist casting call notices for actresses. (See article by the Huffington Post.)

Endorsement Bombing

Endorsement Bombing is a website that shows funny examples of “unexpected endorsements for surprising expertise” on LinkedIn, the professional social network.

TL;DR Wikipedia

For people who think Wikipedia entries are too long there’s TL;DR Wikipedia. The humor blog is described as “Wikipedia: Condensed for your pleasure.” By the way, TL;DR stands for “too long; didn’t read.”

Sleeping MIT Students

There have been several websites devoted to photos of students sleeping in libraries and public areas of schools. One was the now defunct Asians Sleeping in the Library, which was archived at least in part by the Chive.
Another is Sleeping MIT Students, which shows students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology sacked out around campus. (See article by the Huffington Post.)

Napping All Over Rutgers

Napping All Over Rutgers covers sleepy students at New Jersey state university.

Ephs Sleeping In Public

Ephs Sleeping in Public highlights passed out students at Williams College.

White Boys in Salmon Shorts

White Boys in Salmon Shorts was started to draw attention to the preppy trend of white males wearing salmon-colored shorts.

Humanitarians of Tinder

Humanitarians of Tinder collects screenshots from the dating site Tinder where the subjects use photos of themselves working with impoverished people in other countries. (See article by the Huffington Post.)

Signs from the Near Future

Signs from the Near Future imagines what road signs and other signage will be like in the future with advancements in technology. (See article by the Huffington Post.)

WTF Comcast

WTF Comcast features funny show descriptions from the Comcast on-screen program guide.

Pendleton Ward’s Cartoon Tumblr

As a fan of “Adventure Time,” I also like its creator’s Tumblr blog.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Find the No. 1 song on the day you were born

After covering some interesting websites related to movies and TV shows, let’s turn to some fun websites related to pop music.

No. 1 Song on Your Birthday

The website has an app that can tell you the No. 1 song in the country on the day you were born and also for the week you were likely conceived.
For instance, on the day I was born the No. 1 song was “Soldier Boy” (1962) by the Shirelles. The week I was likely conceived the No. 1 song was “Tossin’ and Turnin”” (1961) by Bobby Lewis.
I wish someone would put together a similar website for the top movie at the box office on your birthday and maybe the top-rated TV show.
On a similar note, another website can tell you: What Ridiculous Food Day Is Your Birthday?

Everyone Gets Sad Sometimes, Even Kanye

The Sad Kanye blog on Tumblr shows how sullen pop music artist Kanye West is about life.
The blog – officially called Everyone Gets Sad Sometimes, Even Kanye – shows what a glum, miserable person West is. (See article by the Huffington Post.)

This Charming Charlie

The Tumblr blog This Charming Charlie mashes Peanuts comic strips with song lyrics from Morrissey and the Smiths.
The blog is the work of graphic designer Lauren LoPrete. (See article by the Huffington Post.)
The blog successfully fended off copyright takedown notices from record label Universal Music, which doesn’t understand the concept of fair use. (See article by Techdirt.)

Inspirational Rap Lyrics

The Tumblr blog Inspirational Rap Lyrics combines uplifting images with raunchy rap lyrics. The results are comical.

Photos from Sad Kanye, This Charming Charlie and Inspirational Rap Lyrics.

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