The Sunday Funnies & Factoids, The ‘It’s Snowing, I’m Pissed’ Edition
by Keith Lennox, All-len-All, 11/16/14 –
Happy Sunday, ladies and germs. Thanks for stopping by to check out the latest edition of the SF&Fs….. it is muchly appreciated.
I hope the polar vortex isn’t being too brutal on you. I awoke to the sight of a snow-blanketed world and the sound of city plows and sanders taking up their appropriate position on the streets……. grrrrrrrrr. Sorry, I digress. It’s not like I’m the only person on the planet who has to deal with that fickle bitch, Mother Nature……. so without further pause, on with the facts and giggles.
2) With a nurse and a calligrapher, Saddam Hussein had a copy of the Koran written using his own blood.
3) Swearing to tell “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth” dates back to English Common Law. Interestingly enough, there were no penalties for perjury until the 1600s; prior to that time, it was believed that the fear of God’s wrath was enough to keep witnesses honest.
4) In the 1950s The Adventures of Superman television series, the characters Clark Kent, Lois Lane, Perry White, and Jimmy Olsen always wore the same clothes so that several episodes could be filmed at once, and that some scenes could be used in several episodes without anyone noticing.
5) Actor Barry Fitzgerald was Oscar-nominated in 1945 for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor for playing a priest in Going My Way. He won the latter but conceivably could have won two Oscars for playing one role. The rules were later changed to prevent this from happening again.
6) There are roughly 70 ingredients in the McRib……. mmmmmmmmmm, petroleum products….. mmmmmmm
7) 111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321
8) When Cosmopolitan started it was a very different magazine. Early issues included stories by Henry James and Theodore Roosevelt, and covered topics like climbing Mount Vesuvius and the life of Mozart.
9) 11 Famous Books That Have Proven Impossible to Film
1. A CONFEDERACY OF DUNCES
Filmmakers have been attempting to turn John Kennedy Toole’s 1980 novel, which traces the exploits of “slob extraordinary” Ignatius J. Reilly and his mom in New Orleans, into a movie nearly since it was published. At various times throughout the past 34 years, a series of big names have been attached to the film—or at least rumored to be attached—including Harold Ramis, John Waters, Steven Soderbergh, John Belushi, John Candy, Chris Farley, John Goodman, and Will Ferrell. The latest attempt has Flight of the Conchords co-creator James Bobin set to direct Zach Galifianakis in the starring role. But Soderbergh isn’t betting on it. “I think it’s cursed,” he told Vulture in early 2013. “I’m not prone to superstition, but that project has got bad mojo on it.”
If an adaptation of the book itself never gets made, maybe some enterprising screenwriter will write about the novel’s unlikely publication; Toole’s mother found a carbon copy of the manuscript following the author’s suicide. After 11 years of championing the book, it was finally published by LSU Press (with the help of The Moviegoer author Walker Percy, whom Toole’s mother pestered endlessly to read it) in 1980. In 1981, it won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction.
2. ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE
It’s not that there aren’t a ton of filmmakers out there who would love the opportunity to turn Gabriel García Márquez’s epic tome of love and loss as seen through seven generations of a family into next year’s Oscar bait. And there are certainly millions of fans of the novel, which has been translated into 37 languages since its 1967 publication, who would happily fork over $10 to see it play out on the big screen. The biggest hurdle with adapting this one is the author himself, who passed away in April. Despite many approaches, he remained steadfast in refusing to sell the book’s movie rights—though he did tell Harvey Weinstein that he’d sell the rights to him and director Giuseppe Tornatore under one condition: “We must film the entire book, but only release one chapter—two minutes long—each year, for 100 years,” according to Weinstein.
3. THE CATCHER IN THE RYE
J.D. Salinger’s 1951 coming of age novel is yet another iconic title that had its movie rights carefully guarded by its author, who passed away in 2010. Many believe that Salinger’s reluctance to see it adapted was a result of the disaster that was My Foolish Heart, Mark Robson’s 1949 movie based on Salinger’s Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut. And while the number of filmmakers who have expressed interest in adapting the book reads like the most epic Hollywood dinner party ever assembled—think Billy Wilder, Elia Kazan, Marlon Brando, Steven Spielberg, Jack Nicholson, Terrence Malick, and Leonardo DiCaprio—Salinger was always concerned that the book’s narration wouldn’t translate to film. And he didn’t want to be around to see the potentially disastrous results! However, in a 1957 letter Salinger did say that he’d be open to a posthumous adaptation, noting that: “Firstly, it is possible that one day the rights will be sold. Since there’s an ever-looming possibility that I won’t die rich, I toy very seriously with the idea of leaving the unsold rights to my wife and daughter as a kind of insurance policy. It pleasures me no end, though, I might quickly add, to know that I won’t have to see the results of the transaction.”
4. INFINITE JEST
Set in a futuristic version of America, David Foster Wallace’s complex and occasionally rambling satire touches on a range of difficult themes, including depression, child abuse, and addiction. It’s also more than 1000 pages long, and the product of one of the great postmodernist writers of our time. The story gets even stranger when you learn that actor Curtis Armstrong, best known for playing Booger in the Revenge of the Nerds franchise, actually wrote an adaptation of the book for HBO, which was never produced. But shortly after Wallace tragically committed suicide in 2008, reports began surfacing that the author was working on an adaptation of the book with filmmaker Sam Jones. The irony, of course, is thatInfinite Jest is about a movie (called Infinite Jest) that is so all-engrossing that all anyone who has seen it wants to do is watch it again and again and again … until he or she dies. Fun fact: In 2013, an episode of Parks and Recreation came about as close to an adaptation of the book as we’ve yet seen.
5. WHAT MAKES SAMMY RUN?
Inspired by his producer and studio executive dad B.P. Schulberg, Budd Schulberg’s What Makes Sammy Run?—about an unscrupulous kid (Sammy Glick) who works his way up from copy boy to screenwriter—is a brilliant take on the inner workings of the entertainment industry. And while Hollywood usually loves a good meta story, the only successful adaptations of Schulberg’s 1941 novel (so far) have been a couple of television productions and a long-running Broadway musical that debuted in 1964 and was revived in 2006. While Dreamworks paid $2.6 million for the rights to adapt the book on behalf of Ben Stiller in 2001, so far no start date has been announced. In 2007, two years before his death, Schulberg toldThe Jewish Daily Forward that “I still think there’s a sense that it’s too anti-industry” and that while “Ben [Stiller] still talks about how he would like to do it … I’m not holding my breath.”
Believe it or not, there is a Philip K. Dick novel that has yet to be made into a movie. Which isn’t to say that an adaptation of this 1969 sci-fi tale of telepathy and moon colonization (set in the then-futuristic year of 1992) hasn’t been tried. As early as 1974, filmmaker Jean-Pierre Gorin commissioned Dick to adapt his own work for filming. Dick finished the script in less than a month; though it was never produced, it was published in 1985 as Ubik: The Screenplay. In 2006, A Scanner Darkly producer Tommy Pallotta announced that he was readying the film for production. In 2011, it was Michel Gondry who was confirmed to be at the helm … until earlier this year, when Gondry told The Playlist that he was no longer working on it.
7. THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF KAVALIER & CLAY
Considering both his popularity and prolificacy, it’s surprising that more of Michael Chabon’s work has not been given the big-screen treatment (Wonder Boys and The Mysteries of Pittsburgh are the two exceptions). But given the unique mix of history, coming-of-age-ness, and comic books in this Pulitzer Prize-winning novel—about two Jewish cousins who become big deals in the comic book biz—the fact that The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay is 14 years old and still not a movie seems even more astounding. Especially because producer Scott Rudin bought the rights to it before the book was even published (he was sold based on a one-and-a-half page pitch). By 2002, Chabon had written six drafts of the script. Sydney Pollack was reportedly in active development on it at one point, and Jude Law, Tobey Maguire, Natalie Portman, Jamie Bell, Ryan Gosling, Jason Schwartzman, and Andrew Garfield were all bandied about as possible stars. In 2004, Oscar-nominated director Stephen Daldry (The Hours) announced his plans to direct the film the following year. In 2013, Daldry was still talking up the project, telling Collider that he thought it would make an amazing HBO miniseries. No word as to whether HBO got the memo.
8. BLOOD MERIDIAN
Cormac McCarthy’s very specific cadence isn’t the easiest thing to adapt, as many of Hollywood’s most talented directors have discovered (some of whom have had more success with translating his work to film than others). But Blood Meridian, the author’s 1985 anti-Western that follows a teenage runaway known as “the kid,” has proven to be a particular challenge, in large part due to finding a way to incorporate the novel’s excessive violence in an organic and non-exploitative way. But that didn’t stop James Franco from trying. In July, to celebrate the release of his adaptation of McCarthy’s Child of God, the omnipresent actor-writer-director-model-professor-student-etc. shared a 25-minute test he shot of Blood Meridian on VICE. So far, no takers.
9. PARADISE LOST
Though Christian-themed content has found much success at the box office, a true adaptation of John Milton’s epic blank verse poem poses a number of inherent problems, at least from a production perspective. First, there’s the challenge of casting God and Satan and Adam and Eve as main characters. Then there’s that pesky business of nakedness, “which would be a big problem for a big studio movie,” producer Vincent Newman told the New York Times in 2007, when discussing a possible adaptation. A few years later, director Alex Proyas was attempting his own adaptation of the poem—with Bradley Cooper as Lucifer—but that got scrapped in 2012.
F. Scott Fitzgerald once remarked that “I’d rather have written Conrad’s Nostromo than any other novel.” How’s that for a ringing endorsement? While Joseph Conrad’s 1904 book about revolution and warfare in the fictional South American country of Costaguana was adapted for television in 1996, it has never gotten the big-screen treatment it deserves. Some believe that’s out of respect for David Lean, who passed away in 1991, just one month before shooting was scheduled to commence. The film was a lifelong passion project for Lean, which made others reluctant to step in. Though in 2002 the trustees of Lean’s estate announced that Martin Scorsese had agreed to sit in the director’s chair for the project, there’s so far no sign of it coming to a theater near you.
11. HOUSE OF LEAVES
It has been 14 years since Mark Z. Danielewski published his footnote-heavy debut novel. And while it became an immediate bestseller, so far there have been no official takers on turning it into a movie—which may have something to do with the fact that the novel isn’t just difficult to categorize, it’s nearly impossible to summarize (there’s a manuscript written by a blind man about a documentary that doesn’t exist and a house with rather supernatural qualities). Which isn’t to say there hasn’t been interest in the prospect. “We get a lot of inquiries. A lot of offers,” the author told the A.V. Club in 2012. “I was definitely more closed off to it early on. I’m maybe more open to it, but I don’t want to mislead anyone. One of the things that’s sort of shifting me, changing me, is turning House Of Leaves into an e-book. Because as much as it’s the same words, as much as it contains the language that is intimately familiar to me, it is an adaptation. ‘This film has been modified to fit your airline screen,’ you know? In doing that, I realized, ‘OK, maybe it’s the same as a movie in some ways.’”
10) More than 300 million Cadbury Creme Eggs are produced each year.
11) When Parker Brothers acquired the rights to the Ouija board and released its first version back in 1967, the game’s early sales trounced that of the company’s traditional bestseller, Monopoly.
12) When asked where he keeps his Oscars, Pixar’s John Lasseter said, “We discovered that Barbie clothes actually fit pretty well.”
13) Jeans, thought to be a strictly American product, originated in 18th century Italy where Genoan sailors wore snappy outfits made from denim.
14) Feast Your Eyes on This Beautiful Linguistic Family Tree
15) Before hitting the big time, Billy Joel played the organ in a TV ad for Bachman’s Pretzels that featured Chubby Checker singing “The Twist.”
17) The original Pilgrims set out on a ship called Speedwell, originating from Holland. Due to an oversized mast which caused severe leaks, they were forced to acquire “space” on the Mayflower, losing valuable time and beer……… oh my God, not the beer…..
18) At the Great Gettysburg Reunion of 1913, two men purchased a hatchet, walked to the site where their regiments had fought, and buried it.
19) The Golden Hamster is native to Syria. In fact, all hamsters in captivity today can trace their roots back to the original litter discovered in 1930 by archaeologist Aaron Abrahams.
21) The song “Respect” was made popular by a woman, Aretha Franklin. However, it was originally written by a man, Otis Redding.
22) On the week of April 4th, 1964, The Beatles held each of the top five spots on the Billboard pop singles chart.
23) As part of David Hasselhoff’s divorce settlement, he kept possession of the nickname “Hoff” and the catchphrase “Don’t Hassle the Hoff.”….. now, David, could we possibly be more egocentric if we tried….. I think not.
Welllll, that’s it for this week, folks. Thanks so much for stopping in.
During this season of thanksgiving lets not forget the less fortunate among us. When you are out and about shopping for your holiday, pick up a few items for you local soup kitchen or food bank. I do know that my local soup kitchen appreciates fresh produce at any time and my food bank accepts any items gratefully but does always need things we take for granted… toilet paper, dish and hand soap, shampoo, and the like. It’s the right thing to do and it makes you feel so good that although it may be just a small gesture but every one counts and your kindness is appreciated more than you know.