By Mari Wadsworth
COUNTDOWN: For those who can't tear themselves away from the web for even a second this holiday season, we have just the site for you: www.deathclock.com. While everyone else is waiting for that electric-light spectacle of forbidden fruit to fall over Times Square, you can watch the precious minutes of your very own life ticking away, online. You decide which makes the whole endeavor seem more trivial. Perhaps having life's greatest mystery unraveled by the latest digital technology will aid in weeding out needless resolutions for the coming year.
BARD TO BE WILD: Once again dogs have their day, this time in a new pictorial by artist Mark Lamonica. The spunky trade paperback Junkyard Dogs and William Shakespeare (Woodford Press, $12.95) pairs a wide variety of color portraits with beast-oriented quotes by the bard himself. Lamonica, a photographer, sculptor and welder--whose own four dogs guard the gates of his studio in Altadena, California--celebrates the relationship between man and beast with 125 images, captured on his forays for found objects in junkyards all across the United States.
Though at first glance it seems a little silly to skeptics of the pet-obsessed, those who've fondly scratched the soft underbelly of Lamonica's project include the American Play Company, which calls Junkyard Dogs "great, educational entertainment for readers of all ages"; and the Shakespeare Society of America, which says, "It is indeed a new way to teach and advance the works of Shakespeare."
While some of the images are little more than richly colored snapshots, others are truly artful renderings of the beloved canine; and in all, Lamonica makes an alternately inquisitive, fierce and comical case for the prevalence--metaphorical and otherwise--of dogs in our culture. And duly referenced as they are, his quotes (canvassing more than 25 of Shakespeare's plays) may yet inspire the Tempest-tossed to revisit one of the greatest masters of the English language.
MAKE A SPLASH: This just in, from one of our favorite (but sadly anonymous) workaday pop-culture commentators:
"Have you ever been on Splash Mountain in the morally reprehensible Disneyland? There's one part of the ride where you plunge thousands of feet into the water (okay, so it's only 15 feet) and at the same time, a camera takes your picture as you begin your plunge. After the ride, you get to purchase a picture of yourself screaming bloody fucking horror, if you wish.
"Well, bless their hearts, a lot of women have taken the idea to flash their tits as the camera goes off, effectively making the ride 'Flash Mountain.' There is a website which collects pictures of these flashers: www.flashmountain.com/
"I didn't have much time to go through it, so I'm not sure if any men flashed, too. And some of the breasts are so large, it appears they fell out of the dress on their own rather than having been flashed."
There you have it: The cheapest web porn you'll find, brought to you (indirectly) by the decent folks at Disney.
TV HITS A NEW LOW: More proof that Variety is not the spice of life: The trend-sensing magazine reports that the new year will bring Harlequin Romance Movies to a television station near you! As if the run-of-the-mill soaps aren't intriguing enough, now our most pathetic presumed fantasies will air as weekly, one-hour movies based on the grocery store check-out novels everyone loves to hate. Chivalry may be dead, but the jury's still out on its ratings.
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