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Welcome to Mike Redmond's home on the Weird Wide Web!

Greetings, Earth People. I'm Mike Redmond. Not the baseball player. Instead of making you guess the rest, I'll just go ahead and tell you who I am and what I do.

  • I'm a newspaper columnist -- formerly the feature columnist for The Indianapolis Star (back when you could call it a newspaper). I bailed out of the place about two years after Gannett bought it, and I still count that as the best decision I ever made. My creditors don't always agree.
  • Now I write for papers around Central Indiana, a magazine or two, and this site. I'm also a public speaker, a teacher, an historical (as opposed to hysterical) interpreter, a farm tour guide, and occasionally, when I can be talked into it, an author. They're all my favorite jobs.
  • This is where you'll find my online column, posted every Wednesday, unless I get ambitious and post it Tuesday. But don't count on it.
  • This is also where to look for news about speaking engagements, new jobs, friends, and stuff that strikes me as interesting. I'll probably throw in a few recipes, too. I get wild like that sometimes.
  • Take a look around. Let's have some fun.

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Ideas? Sorry, They're Fresh Out

Just as a way of reminding us they really ARE out of ideas on the left coast, the Entertainment Cabal is at this moment brewing up a remake of the old TV series, "Hawaii 5-0."

What'll they call it? Hawaii 5-0.2?

Look, we already HAD a Hawaii 5-0, and one was plenty. Whose idea was this, anyway? Book him, Dan-o.

Wait, wait. It gets worse. That's TV. Over on the movie side of the street they're even more bereft of creativity, which is why they're concocting new versions of (hang on to your popcorn):

The Shadow

The Phantom

The Fantastic Four

Daredevil

And other examples of comic-book-generated spectacles that were widely regarded as giant Stinkburgers the first time around. Hollywood: Taking flops and turning them into ... more flops!

Actually, you could count The Shadow as radio generated, although the number of people who actually remember The Shadow on radio - or for that matter, radio itself - grows smaller by the day. It would join the coming movie of The Green Hornet, which is in fact a movie based on a TV show based on a radio show. What I've heard of the radio show was pretty good; what I've seen of the TV show, not so much.

Which apparently is one of the qualifications for remakes of this sort - it has to have a really bad first version somewhere along the line, so Hollywood can come along and make a really bad second version. As proof, I give you back-to-back bombs about The Incredible Hulk.

 Now, don't think Hollywood is picking on the comic book industry alone, even though there will be another Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie we didn't need. Studios are also busy cannibalizing their own products. It's a show business Donner Party.

How about a new version of Guys and Dolls, except that the story is being moved to London, which makes sense because ... ok, it makes no sense at all.

Or Arthur, the movie about a lovable drunk that was a hit until people realized that alcohol addiction really isn't cute and cuddly with a happy ending.

Barbarella, anyone, about the beautiful space libertine who va-va-vooms her clothing-optional way across the galaxy? OK, that one I might want to see.

There are others - The Creature from The Black Lagoon, Judge Dredd, Alien, Highlander, and coming-next-December True Grit.

What's going on? I think the generation coming into power in the entertainment industry has been raised on a constant diet of digital, wide-screen, stereophonic input. They were parked in front of TV sets and computers for so many hours that they have lost the part of their brain where imagination used to dwell.

Am I done? Of course not.

I just saw that Garry Marshall, a director I like, has been talking about wanting to adapt Laverne and Shirley for the big screen. Oh please, Garry. Don't. This has been going on for years and it seldom works. We all saw the movie version of The Beverly Hillbillies, for example. Oh, wait. No, we didn't. Which turns out to be a good thing.

You wait. Before this is over, someone will want to do a movie version of Green Acres, too, complete with Oliver, Lisa, Eb, Mr. Haney, Sam Drucker, the Hoyt-Clagwell tractor and Arnold the pig. It'll fail, though.

No self-respecting pig will want to be involved.
Tue, February 23, 2010 | link 

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

O Canada! Nice Colon You Got There, Eh?

Canada, our friendly neighbor to the north, home of my favorite game played on ice with sticks and mayhem, land of back bacon and ketchup-flavored potato chips, is calling to me.

It does this from time to time.

Usually, the calls come when I am hungering for a Big Turk candy bar or jonesing for a Leafs game (that's the Toronto Maple Leafs, L-E-A-F-S, and the game, for those of who you are basketball-crazed like my mother, is hockey). I'll be sitting there, minding my own business, when the phone inside my imagination will ring and the voice on the line will whisper, "Canada... Canada... Canada."

Then I will check my travel fund and it will say "Indiana... Indiana... Indiana."

Anyway, Canada dialed me up again this morning when I learned of a health display that practically demands I load up the truck and head for ...

Waterloo, Ontario, and the giant colon you can walk through!

Imagine strolling through a 40-foot inflatable model of a human colon, illustrated to show various colon diseases from the inside, guided by a puppet character named Dr. Preventino, who gives brief puppet lectures on how to keep things healthy down there.

Now that's what I call a trip with educational value. Grab the family and the point-and-shoot. No doubt the kids will want to make a Power Point display for extra credit at school ("I call my presentation ‘Vowels About Bowels.'")

And just imagine the slide show you can bring back for your friends:

"All right, this is Jeffrey and Violet standing at the entrance to Danger! Diverticulitis! (Click) Here we are at Volvulus Village with a guy dressed as Ronnie Roughage. (Click) This is Violet going into It's A Small Polyp, After All ..."

OK, maybe not.

I know. Let's think of the display as a Tunnel Of ... well, not Love, exactly, although I suppose you could kiss when you got out the end of it, if you could stop laughing long enough.

A guided tour through Your Lower Self would probably not be a bad idea for all of us, Canadians and non-Canadians alike. I'm thinking next year's State Fair, right next to one of those wagons that serve the mystery meat hot dogs. But why stop there? The colon should be the end of the line, so to speak. How about big inflatable tours through:

Esophagus World!

Liver Land!

Six Flags Over the Digestive System!

OK, maybe not again.

Actually, the inflatable colon thing is a tool in the fight against colorectal cancer, which is the number two cause of cancer deaths in Canada. The idea is to get people familiar with what happens down there, and how the cancer can be prevented with the simple steps of diet and exercise.

It would work for me. Given a choice between a walk through a giant tunnel and a lecture by a doctor wielding a colon scope, I'll take the walk every time.

And if I have to go to Canada to do it, no problem. I've been meaning to go anyway. In fact, my imagination phone is ringing again. Back in a minutes.

Huh. It was Tahiti.  I could hear the surf in the background.

Tahiti.

Canada and the big colon will just have to go on hold.

© 2010 Mike Redmond. All Rights Reserved.

-- Mike Redmond is an author, journalist, humorist and speaker. Write him at mike@mikeredmondonline.com or P.O. Box 44385, Indianapolis, IN 46244. For information on speaking fees and availability, visit www.spotlightwww.com.

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Tue, February 16, 2010 | link 


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By the way -- everything on this site is Copyright 2009 by Mike Redmond. If you copy it without my permission, I will hunt you down with either my dog or my lawyer. I'll probably go with the dog. She's smarter.

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