February 17, 2021


Happy Random Act of Kindness Day! I suppose I'm already well on my way as far as celebrating goes by sharing all the fun links below with you free of charge, but then I also acknowledge that it's hardly random, as I imagine it's come to be expected of our Wednesday emails at this point. Oh, well. Guess we'll just have to settle for habitual kindness instead.


Today's famous birthday boys/girls/persons are as follows:

• Actor Lou Diamond Phillips, born this day in 1962! Sure, he may be best-known for roles in "serious" films like La BambaStand and Deliver, and Young Guns I & II, but in my humble opinion the two best movies he's ever graced with his presence are the imaginatively-titled Bats — because who doesn't love watching millions of CGI bats terrorize a small Texas town? — and Demon Wind (uncredited), which is pretty much without peer as far as low-budget straight-to-VHS horror movies about backwoods demonic infestations go.

• Basketball player of some note Michael Jeffrey Jordan, born this day in 1963! Mr. Jordan is a 6x NBA champion, 6x NBA Finals MVP, 5x NBA MVP, 14x NBA All-Star, and 2x Olympic gold medalist. Best not to look at his baseball stats, though...

• Actress Denise Richards, born this day in 1971! Sure, Ms. Richards may have made a name for herself in 90s blockbusters like Starship TroopersWild Things, and The World Is Not Enough, but all the cool kids know that her best film is 1994 black comedy sci-fi horror Tammy & The T-Rex. It's a classic tale of boy meets girl, boy gets brutalized and left for dead by girl's psychotic ex, boy's brain is transplanted into animatronic tyrannosaurus rex by mad scientist (played by Bernie from Weekend At Bernie's, naturally), boy/rex goes on vengeful stomping/chomping killing spree, only to be reunited with girl at the end of the movie as a disembodied brain to live happily ever after. You know — the stuff of TRUE ROMANCE.

• Aging punk Billie Joe Armstrong, born this day in 1972! Mr. Armstrong continues to churn out pop-punk nuggets as the lead singer, guitarist, and primary songwriter of Green Day. 

• Actor Joseph Leonard Gordon-Levitt, born this day in 1981! One of the few former child stars  — A River Runs Through It, Angels in the Outfield, 3rd Rock from the Sun — to successfully transition to adult stardom  — 50/50, (500) Days of Summer, Don Juan, Inception, The Dark Knight Rises, etc. 

OK, OK...you've waited long enough. It's link time!

1. Want to live rent- and mortgage-free? It's so easy! Just buy an old double-decker bus and spend time and money to convert it into a livable abode.

Normally this sort of whimsical, tiny home, goat-owning vagabond stuff grates on my nerves, but every day that goes by I get one step closer to just packing it in and fleeing to the desert to live among the bats, scorpions, and lizards. So while I loathe it, I also kinda get it and am not-so-secretly jealous.

2. Sick of your tired urban existence? Maybe this street artist will grace your neighborhood with an upgrade.

Tom Bob documents his brightly-colored re-imaginings of sewer covers, ventilation grates, drain pipes, and more on Instagram, and they're lovely!

3. This website helps those of us pining for the good ol' days.

And by "good ol' days" I mean "back when we gathered mask-less indoors and paid folks to make and bring us fancy delicious adult beverages." I Miss My Bar pairs a great playlist with sliders that allow users to adjust ambient bar noise to their desired volume level as a way to simulate being in a bar. Will it replace the real thing? No. But will it (briefly) trick you into believing that you're wearing something other than sweatpants while you knock back that sad excuse for a cocktail on your couch? Maybe!

4. Are you like me in the belief that stop-motion animation will always be superior to lifeless 3D rendered CGI?

You are? Well you're in luck, then! Dark Corners Reviews on YouTube recently released a super-cut of the ten best stop-motion monsters that horror/sci-fi/fantasy legend Ray Harryhausen ever created!

5. Finally, someone does the world a favor and creates the Legend of Zelda/Beavis & Butt-Head mashup we all didn't know we were waiting for.

Video editor Khalid Shahin and his sister Jameelah did whatever the video editing version of crate-digging is and found the perfect Beavis voiceover tracks to pair with scenes from late-80s cartoon The Legend of Zelda. I think you'll agree with me that moving forward you will only ever hear Beavis's voice when you see Link speak.