Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween from Event Horizon!

First, thank you all for the many kind birthday wishes, and the offers to stand me a hamburger sammich at Al's Cafe, or launch a bear into geo-synchronous orbit.  Second, I hope everyone is having a sweet and gruesome All Hallows Eve, rich with demonic possession, suffocating terror, and Fun Size Baby Ruth bars.

Unfortunately, I'm coming down with Mary's strep throat, or whatever Andromeda Strain she brought home from school last week, so I wasn't up to sitting through and summarizing a movie as I'd planned.  However, s.z. has come to the rescue with a piece she wrote for our chapter on Black Hole phenomena, tentatively titled Movies That Suck So Hard Even Light Can't Escape Them.

As I mentioned on the Mike & Ike podcast, this movie should be avoided for three to five weeks after undergoing Lasik surgery, and is contraindicated for patients suffering from glaucoma, conjunctivitis, or good taste.

Event Horizon (1997)
Directed by Paul W.S. Anderson
Written by Philip Eisner

Welcome aboard the rescue ship Lewis & Clarke. Our captain is Laurence Fishburne, an efficient, no-nonsense, irritable guy who says stuff like "I do mind if you get dressed! Let’s go, people!" Our crew of stereotypes consists of Macho Chick, Teenage Geek, Single Mother, Angry Skinhead, Funny Black Guy, and Token Smart Person.  Julie will be our cruise director, Isaac will be our bartender, and we’ll be playing the part of the disappointed multiplex customer who thought our friends were talking us to see the Paul Thomas Anderson film, Boogie Nights.

The unwelcome guest on the mission is Sam Neill, for whom the crew feels instant hostility because of that whole Omen III/antichrist thing. We in the audience have some concerns about Sam’s mental stability due to his hallucinations about his wife coming back from the dead with a really bad case of pink eye. Apparently, in 2047 NASA no longer has Dr. Bellows doing psychological screenings before sending people into space.

Once we are outside Neptune, Sam explains why we had to come "a billion clicks" from the nearest restroom: because a transmission from the Event Horizon was recently detected. The crew finds this hard to believe, since they know from the opening titles that the Event Horizon exploded seven years ago. So, Sam gives them the real back-story, which he saw in the trailer. The Event Horizon didn’t really blow up, it disappeared; and it wasn’t really a research ship, it was a faster-than-light secret government project, and Sam invented it. Macho Chick heckles Sam, stating that relativity says that nothing can go faster than light, and relativity won’t let you go out for recess if you don’t do what it says. Sam claims that relativity isn’t the boss of him, and he demonstrates by poking holes in a Pam Anderson centerfold.

Once everybody understands how to fold space/time with porn, Sam plays the transmission, which consists of high-pitched, ear-piercing gibberish and squeals. But underneath the Mariah Carrey song, you can hear a voice intoning something in Latin, the international language of creepiness. Smart Guy translates the message as "Save me" —- which is kind of lame as messages from space go, but probably better than "Mars needs women."

And where has the ship been for the past seven years? Sam says that’s what they’re there to find out, since the Event Horizon’s library books are WAY over due.

They dock with the Event Horizon and everything is "five by five," which is apparently future-speak for "twenty-five." A scan reveals trace life forms through out the ship, which means, of course, that it is haunted, so Laurence, Single Mother, and Teen Geek take the Mystery Mobile right over. Single Mother is startled by a floating dead body with its eyes ripped out, but it’s apparently just an audience member from the movie’s test screening, so nobody pays it much mind.

Teen Geek explores the core of the energy drive, a big interlocking sprocket set with a magic mirror from Romper Room in the center. Teen naturally sticks his hand into the mirror, and gets sucked in! Globs of gunk come flying out and cause an explosion on the Lewis & Clarke, resulting in a hull breech, trash fires, and a general lack of "five by five."

Laurence orders everybody over to the Event Horizon until their ship can be repaired or they all die, whichever comes first. Skinhead predicts that bad things will happen, and sure enough, Teen Geek suddenly reappears, and he’s even more sullen than before. Or possibly possessed. But when Funny Black Guy tells Sam about the strange event, Sam says it’s not physically possible. "Don’t start in with that physics shit!" shouts FBG, who apparently got his Astronaut certification at a liberal arts college.

Sam cleverly avoids scientific stuff by mentioning that the Event Horizon’s drive works by creating a black hole. "The most destructive force in the universe!" explains Macho Chick for the benefit anyone who didn’t see the Maximilian Schell epic. Laurence orders the core sealed off so it can do no further damage. However, a close-up of Sam reveals that he’s got core in his eye, so it’s already too late. Let the terror begin!

Single Mother is alone in a dark, deserted lab when she sees an eerie container. She throws off the cover to find her son, the one whom she felt guilty about leaving to go to work. And he has icky sores on his legs — no doubt as a result of her putting him in day care! Focus on the Family warned her!

Teen Geek goes into convulsions, vomits pea soup, spins his head 360 degrees, and mutters about "the dark," probably referring to his preferences in turkey.

Laurence sees a raging fire containing a burning man. Which, while unnerving, is at least is better than seeing that Nicolas Cage remake of The Wicker Man.

Skinhead shouts something in Australian about the ship being forked (well, that’s what I heard), then adds, "If you break all the laws of physics, what do you expect!" Hmm, a hefty fine? 100 hours of community service? No, I know: eternal damnation!

Laurence continues to hallucinate about the burning man, who turns out to be a former coworker, rather than an annual hippie festival of potlatch and arson; Laurence left him to rot in Bad Company and has been wracked with guilt ever since. "This ship knew about it! It knows my fears, it knows my secrets," exclaims Laurence. Well, he should have used that little heart-shaped lock on his diary if he wanted privacy.

But in only minutes the Lewis and Clarke will be fixed and they can all go home, except that Sam says they can’t go home because the ship won’t let them. Sam also says he is home, which explains why his dirty socks are scattered all over the bridge.

Sam hallucinates about his wife again, this time reliving how she slit her wrists because he made her watch The Piano. He unwinds by blowing up the Lewis & Clarke. The explosion kills Skinhead (who was only 3 seconds from retirement), and propels Funny Black Guy into space. But he manages to make his way back to the Event Horizon by using his air tank as a propulsion device, and by being funny and black.

Single Mother gets killed by her son (in retrospect, the dead, eyeless dude she found earlier should have warned her that things were going to get Oedipal), while Smart Guy gets killed by Sam, whom physics has turned Evil. Sam next pops up on the bridge, bloody and eyeless. He says cheerily, "Where we’re going, we won’t need eyes to see." Hopefully, it’s the movie’s premiere.

Sam, who finally has read the whole script, informs Laurence that when the Event Horizon activated the black hole warp-drive, it opened a gateway into a dimension of pure chaos, a dimension of pure evil: the Adam Sandler dimension. And when the ship came back it was ALIVE! And cranky! And it wants to take them all back to the dark, chaotic place where it has been for the past seven years. However, Macho Chick doesn’t want to go to Portland, and so she jumps Sam, who shoots a hole in the hull and gets sucked into space.

The three survivors could breathe a sigh of relief about the movie being over if only Sam hadn’t already powered up the black hole. Next stop, Hades and ladies apparel! Laurence recalls an old Star Trek: The Next Generation episode, and decides to blow the ship in two. They will stay on the good part, and only the bad part will go to EuroDisney. He heads off to plant the bomb, sadly missing a cameo appearance by the tide of blood from The Shining.

Laurence makes it to the core, only to encounter Sam, now made-up like that guy from Hellraiser. It seems the ship brought him back to life because there were still some horror clichés to exploit. He quips, "The gateway is open, and you’re all coming with me. Do you see? Do you see?" Ha ha, Sam — you really have a way with a Helen Keller joke.

Laurence doesn’t want to see any more (as do none of us), and pushes the "Explode" button. Laurence’s half of the ship get sucked into to hell, while the other half drifts into the rest of the movie, which while not hell, isn’t exactly paradise.

72 days later, a rescue ship finds the incompetent survivors of the first rescue ship. A paramedic pulls Macho Chick out of her grav couch . . .and he’s Sam! Funny Black Guy reassures her that it’s just a dream. He holds her while she screams, but nobody can hear her, because she’s in space, and because everybody walked out of the theater about forty minutes ago to see if they could sneak into Air Bud. The End.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Post-Friday Beast Blogging: The Put the Blame on Mame Edition

Moondoggie:  Look at her...!  Exposing her belly, teasing me with that White Stripe of Wonder.   Oh, she let's you think you can follow that road to your Bliss...that it's a Treasure Trail, like the secret jungle path that leads to the fabled Graveyard of Elephants...but then you jump on her and try to nibble her dewlap, and you find out very quickly that that tantalizing white belly stripe is actually a highway No Passing lane!  She's a Minx!  A Vixen!  A...A Nixon!

I think I maybe mixed my metaphors a little bit there...Okay strike that part about the dead elephants, but everything else is true!  She's a cat tease...

Hall and Oates were right.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Roger's Rules of Ordure: The "I Didn't Lose It at The Movies--In Fact, I Can't GIVE It Away" Edition

For people who like George F. Will, but wish he wasn't so butch, there's the effete alternative, Roger Kimball, or as I like to think of him, George F. Won't, or Little Bowtie Peep.
The OWS virus. Dangerous to your health. Highly contagious.

I’ve never seen The Andromeda Strain, but I gather the plot revolves around a deadly and highly contagious virus from another planet that’s been let loose on earth.
I've never seen The Human Centipede, but I gather the girl who pulls the "caboose" position spends most of the film swallowing metabolic waste, an experience familiar to any devotee of Roger's Pajamas Media output.

(Also, Spoiler Alert: the "virus from another planet" [it's not a virus] was "let loose on earth" due to a Pentagon biological weapons program.  Damn Sixties anti-government paranoia!  Fortunately, in 2001 a presumably pro-bio warfare libertarian went Galt with an actual virus, and eventually got even with the Hippies by mailing anthrax to Democrats.)
Contemplating the hysteria that has greeted the Occupy Wall Street protests, I begin to wonder if a less deadly but no less contagious virus hasn’t been let loose among the left-liberal commentariat.
Oh, it's the liberal pundits who have been driven into a frenzy by the OWS movement, and shriek "Communists!" every time they're startled by a co-worker popping into their cubicle.  I was confused.  We need an easier way to tell the left-liberal commentariat from the right-rightier -- shirts versus skins, perhaps, or silk cravats versus those "tulip" bow ties, as worn by flight attendants or Julie, Your Cruise Director.
The virus — call it the OWS virus — doesn’t kill, it merely mentally maims its victims. The chief symptom is a certain childish senility fueled by unassailable sensations of grandiosity. I minuted some yesterday in “The 99-Percent Solution.” 
Ah, it's the Discount Final Solution -- 1% off on those economy-size cans of Zyklon-B tablets at the Dollar Store.  Anyway, I love when Roger minutes stuff!  Let's check it out:
The 1960s certainly had their tragic elements
But if you put aside the wars, riots, assassinations, civil rights violations, and pervasive abuse of power at all levels of government, from local police chiefs to the President of the United States, the only real crimes were fringed vests and sitar music.
 and the passage of time, I suspect, mutes the bitterness of the many blighted lives and botched futures which that farcical repetition of earlier revolutionary idealism involved. Now, from our perch 40 years on, it all seems faintly ridiculous: the incense and love beads; the imbecilic pseudo-radicalism; the bad taste in haberdashery, heroes, and haircuts; the mindless mantras of indemnified insurrectionists whose “idealism” was little more than an alibi for unfettered selfishness and insatiable hedonism. 
The Sixties:  Everybody was Leonard Bernstein, Nobody was Martin Luther King.  I'm beginning to understand why this piece appeared on RealClearPolitics and not Pajamas Media, owned by Roger L. "My premature anti-Fascism excuses my tendency to premature ejaculation") Simon.

Anyway, it seems yesterday's unfettered selfishness and insatiable hedonism has met today's childish senility and unassailable sensations of grandiosity:
The media, natch, has gobbled it up: “Extra! Extra! Read all about it: Anarchists Occupy Wall Street! People with funny hair, unpleasant tattoos, and bad spelling demand revolution!” In one sense, the sideshow that is Occupy Wall Street has been a gift to copy-hungry publications. It’s always fun to quote the permanent adolescents. As Art Linkletter knew, they say the darndest things.
An Art Linkletter reference?  As much as I hate to admit it, Roger really gets these kids today, he really groks their lingo.  I'm reminded of Nixon limo-ing down to the Lincoln Memorial in the middle of the night to rap with the protestors -- it's just that kind of game-changing ability to get inside your opponent's head.

Anyway, I second Roger's minuting, but he does go on for awhile in that column, until it began to feel like houring, so let's get back to the PJM post. Roger is peeved that the New York Times architecture critic thinks people might one day use "Zuccotti Park" as shorthand for a certain moment in history, or type of political event, the same way we do with “Kent State, Tiananmen Square, the Berlin Wall.”

"[I]ncontinent drivel," Roger huffs:
But it seems almost tame in comparison to a Talk of the Town item in this week’s New Yorker called “Wall Street Postcard Preoccupied.” It’s by one Lizzie Widdicombe. I rarely see The New Yorker these days, so I do not know if Dizzy Lizzie is a regular staffer or a recruit from a new experiment in surrealism undertaken by the magazine. Or maybe it’s that mentally incapacitating virus I mentioned. I don’t know. 
Roger then goes on to venture an opinion about the work of a woman he's never heard of and can't be bothered to Google, because as he learned in Pundit Prep School, willful ignorance is the most powerful form of disdain, and immediately gives one the upper hand in any argument.

Then again, Socrates argued that accepting one's own ignorance was the first step toward wisdom, so before I begin casting aspersions, I should admit that I honestly don't know if Roger writes this way because of peer pressure, a weakness for mixing absinthe and paint fumes, or because his mother was frightened by a sudden and unexpected exposure to William F. Buckley while Roger was in utero.
...also known as "Fetal Asshole Syndrome."
From one perspective, this spectacle of febrile mental paralysis is simply sad: The New York Times, The New Yorker: they’ve always listed left, but not always looney left. What a falling off there’s been!
It's sad to see that the Newspaper of Whitewater and Judith Miller abandon it's once-rigorous standards. 
It’s not every congregation of anarchists and anti-corporate layabouts that earns endorsements from the secretary of the Treasury, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, and the President of the United States. But so it is in this case, notwithstanding the mixture of incoherence and mendacity that characterize the phenomenon. How to explain it? I’m not sure, but I suspect anyone uninfected by the OWS virus will find it inspiring not sadness but irritation and contempt.
If only there were journalists -- even online journalists -- around who could observe these occasions and describe them to other people, using words; perhaps even ask questions of people who were present at the scene, or at least had an informed opinion about the precipitating events, and then repeat their answers in some sort of format.  Alas, that's impossible, but I'm not giving in to irritation and contempt, because whenever I'm on the verge of surrendering all hope, I remember the lesson I learned from a movie.  I don't remember the title, and I haven't actually seen it, but I gather there's dialogue in it, spoken by that one actor -- I don't recall his name, and I'm not really familiar with his work, but you could probably look him up on imdb or something.  Q.E.D.

Anyway, I've minuted you enough.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Mad...Or When I'm in a Hercules Movie

Not to go all Jimmy Wilson from I Accuse My Parents, but it's my birthday, so I'm giving myself the day off from wingnuts.  Instead, I thought I'd post another preview of the sequel to Better Living Through Bad Movies, plucked fresh from the Low Hanging Fruit tree.  The movie itself is a sequel to the 1983 Golan-Globus epic, Hercules, which is perhaps most famous for the scene in which Lou Ferrigno is sodomized by a bear.  Enjoy!

The Adventures of Hercules (1985)
Directed by: Luigi Cozzi
Screenplay by: Luigi Cozzi. Story by: Luigi Cozzi (this credit subject to change, as Mr. Cozzi has received a cease and desist letter on behalf of Homer from the law firm of Dithyramb, Dithyramb, Hungadunga and Pederasty).

The sequel begins with another planetarium show, narrated by Ileum, the God of Making Shit Up. “There existed an angel-like figure,” he tells us. “A goddess.” (If you’re a goddess, but you can only get work as an angel, I would suggest going back to night school and getting your GED.)

“From within her came the seed of fire and light, that was to issue forth all stars, planets, and moons. “ To demonstrate this concept, a large sperm wearing Eva Gabor’s chiffon house dress from Green Acres wanders past the camera. Suddenly, the Foley guy drops a shopping bag full of cowbells, waking up the Eye of Sauron, which immediately starts hurling bowling balls from its tear duct, knocking down two-thirds of the audience, but leaving itself with a tricky 4-10 split. Naturally, all this adds up to the gods creating… HERCULES! (Presumably they followed the Biblical paradigm of molding a man from the earth itself and breathing life into his nostrils. Except in this case, Zeus was a little low on modeling clay, so he fashioned Hercules out of Muscle Juice brand posing oil and a tube of Sudden Tan.)

Zeus has been ruling the universe thanks to his “seven mighty thunderbolts,” but then four gods (represented here by three aging Italian starlets and a Michael Rennie impersonator whose spiral-permed beard gives the impression he killed the lead singer of Dead or Alive and glued the victim’s scalp to his chin) went rogue and stole the lightning bolts as part of an elaborate scheme to electrocute Lee Trevino.

Cut to Earth, where a drag queen in a maribou-trimmed muumuu and Lucille Ball fright wig brings a whimpering girl to an ancient altar, which is all that remains of a once-mighty civilization that was apparently based on Masonite and corrugated boxes. Lucy bellows, “the fires await her silken flanks!” So, we’re having flank steak. Yum. Good thing I brought my Mom’s famous German potato salad. Say, how long do you like to marinate your ingénue?

He spread-eagles her over a granite sphere that vaguely resembles the kind of exercise ball Wilma Flintstone would have used to work on her obliques, then Anteus, the guest of honor shows up. Anteus consists of some rotoscoped footage of the Id Monster filched from Forbidden Planet, and he burns the girl to a smoldering crisp, which completes the sacrifice but ruins the barbeque (I hope everyone’s hungry for potato salad). A Hippie Chick observes the ritual, then jumps on a horse and rides over to the next scene, where she proceeds to bitch about the whole thing to Pocahontas.

It seems their tribe is being flame-roasted like Whoppers by a monstrous copyright infringement, but Pocahontas reminds Hippie Chick that she is destined to save them with her power of prophecy, and maybe she should, you know, get off the pot. Hippie Chick (whose name is Urania – which prompts the question, “How can you have Uranus without Us?” It just seems snooty and elitist) -- sinks to the ground and says No, she’s not ready. And Oh, by the way, I just predicted you’ll be the next victim.

Well! I guess the Color of the Wind this season is black. In desperation, Urania goes to consult “the Little People.” My hope that Peter Dinklage will show up in this film is immediately crushed, however, when we see that the Little People are just the Mothra Twins, who've been forced by a poor job market to move into a double-wide Hibatchi.

They tell her that Rebel Gods stole Zeus’s thunderbolt collection, and now the Moon is going to crash into the Earth, and she really should look up that Hercules guy.

“But nothing has been heard from him in ages,” Urania complains. Or at least not since the first movie came out in 1983. Not so, say the Mothra Twins, for their gift of prophecy and access to imdb.com reveals that in the past two years Hercules has appeared on both Night Court and The Fall Guy.

Meanwhile, on Olympus (which, for some reason, is on the runaway Moon), Zeus wonders if he’s actually guest starring on Space: 1999, and if so, can he get Catherine Schell to sign an 8x10 glossy? But his secretary Della Street convinces Zeus to hire Hercules to recover the stolen thunderbolts and offer him the same 10% finder’s fee Banacek used to get.

Cut to Herc, standing in out space, arms akimbo, and sporting a flesh-colored posing pouch that brings the phrase “anatomically incorrect” to mind. Seriously, thanks to the steroids, he makes G.I. Joe look like Johnny Wadd.

Herc uses the Enterprise transporter to beam himself down to Earth, where he's attacked by American gymnastics champion Mitch Gaylord, who is dressed as an Afghan hound. Mitch uses the ancient art of Gymkata on Herc, but the fight quickly winds up, as most fights do, on the ground, with the guy in the pedigreed dog costume straddling the weight lifter with the Ken Doll groin.

Herc impales his foe with a fallen tree branch, and Mitch quickly evaporates, leaving behind a lightning bolt! So remember, if you’re ever attacked in the woods by an Olympic gold medalist dressed like a Westminster Dog Show contestant, stab him with a stick, because there’s a prize inside.

Cut to the Rebel Gods (which would make a cool name for a rockabilly band), who discuss their scheme to crash the Moon into the Earth by hiding thunderbolts inside of furries. Hercules must die, and they decide that the only man who can beat him is King Minos, the guy Herc killed at the end of the last movie. So the gods murder a member of the USC Trojan marching band in order to use his blood to resurrect Minos, and to prevent him from breaking into “Tusk.”

Back in the forest, Herc comes upon a gruesome scene. A riderless horse grazes in a clearing, empty leather man-purses are scattered about, and a mannequin lies on the ground, pierced with spear and drizzled with pizza toppings.

Suddenly Pocahontas bursts from cover and throws herself into Herc’s massive arms, weeping that Urania was taken by “Slime people! They rise out of the mud and the mire and hold you by suction!” What’s more, they took her “toward the Great Mouth.”

Fortunately, they’ll be easy to find, because they advertise in the “Adult Entertainment” section of the L.A. Weekly classifieds.

Herc shakes her violently and admonishes, “You should know, this is a very dangerous region!” Which the director illustrates by cutting away to a random shot of a moss-covered stone tortoise in a sculpture garden.

Hercules and Pocahontas find Urania tied up outside a Lions Club haunted house. They cut her down, and are immediately tackled by the Slime People (they vaguely resemble Morlocks who fell into a septic tank, except without the Rod Stewart hair).

Mitch Gaylord is back, and is still quite nimble for a man hand-dipped in human waste. Herc punches away (each time he connects with one of the bipedal turds, fireworks go off, making the epic battle scene resemble a combination of a German Scheiße fetish video and the opening credits to Love, American Style).

They retreat into the haunted house, but their feces-flocked attackers feel that the $7 door charge is a bit pricey for some foamcore tombstones and a bowl of grapes masquerading as disembodied eyeballs, so they shamble off to the showers.

Inside a cavern, Herc and the girls are met by a regal woman who has teased her long, silken tresses into a stately dunce cap of hair. She conducts them through a wax museum consisting of spray-painted models from the life drawing class at the local community college, then points out the back door to the cave, which she assures our hero is almost completely free of crap-coated tumblers.

Suddenly, blindingly bright creatures burst out of the walls! They’re seemingly made of light, and humming with electricity, but kind of tubby and ill-defined, due to the bad post-production matte job, so they look a bit like laser Shmoos. And the best part? They pop when you punch ‘em!

Hercules deduces that nobody but the Gorgon Medusa would keep laser Shmoos inside a wax museum. Fortunately, he saw Clash of the Titans back in ‘81, and we’re treated to a cheap, shot-for-shot remake of the shield-mirror-decapitation scene, leading to 9 seconds of actual stop motion animation! Granted, it’s a really crappy claymation model that makes Davy and Goliath look like Jason and the Argonauts, but it’s a relief from all the Mitch Gaylord cameos.

Herc and his two groupies wander down a scenic jogging path, until they come upon some crudely made plaster of Paris dolls dangling from the trees like Christmas decorations.

“It’s like Hell on Earth!” Urania whispers, deeply unnerved by the lack of twinkling lights and popcorn strings. Actually, it's more like a wind chime clearance at Pick 'N' Save, but an outraged Hercules charges into the bushes, determined to find the fiend responsible. Or maybe that Big Gulp kicked in and he just has to pee real badly.
Herc is attacked by the Ajax White Knight, who is not only stronger than dirt, but armed with a neon battleaxe that shoots blaster bolts. But before he can use his unholy powers to remove the stubborn grass stains from Herc’s loincloth, our hero gives him a clumsy, playground-style push. The White Knight obligingly dies, and a piece of lightning falls out of his pants.

So: three thunderbolts down, four to go, with three minutes left in the first half.

You remember that Dedalus chick from the first film? The greatest artificer known to Man, who expresses her belief in the supremacy of science over myth by wearing a shower curtain cape, a vinyl singlet and a protective groin cup? Well, she’s back, and she and Minos are hatching a plan: they will exterminate all life, both human and divine, then Dedalus will recreate Mankind in her own likeness; so if these two maniacs are successful, we can look forward to genocide, deicide, and a severe shower curtain shortage.
To beat Anteus, the Forbidden Planet monster that’s scheduled to fricassee Pocahontas, Herc needs to fire-proof himself, so he and Urania wander around the bottom of the ocean looking for the cast of Spongebob Squarepants. Instead, they find three telepathic, sub-aquatic strippers, who are sitting in a cave wearing pasties and mermaid tails that appear to be made from shiny foil gift wrapping paper.

They tell Hercules that he can survive the fire of Anteus if he just nips down to Hades and siphons the Styx with a turkey baster, because the River of the Dead is made from sunblock with a 35 SPF rating. So, we’re all primed to follow Herc on a trip to the Underworld, and watch him battle an army of corpses in a major action set piece. Instead, one of the mer-strippers reaches into her make-up bag and just hands him a bottle of Styxblock.

Meanwhile, the drag queen from the opening sequence has returned, and has Pocahontas bound in chains and spread-eagled over Wilma’s fitness equipment.

Anteus appears, and Pocahontas screams, ‘it’s Hell on Earth!” Actually honey, it’s scratches on the emulsion, so relax. Then our hero shows up and challenges Anteus to a clash of titans, which takes the form of Hercules punching a blurry white cursor around the screen until we’re not sure if we’re watching a duel to the death between god and demi-god, or if Herc is just playing Pong.

Hercules wins, is awarded another thunderbolt, and advances to the next level. But we’ve still got 30 minutes to go, so all I can say is, the End Boss better be worth it.

A giant skull slips Urania a roofie and she goes on a cosmic trip; by which I mean she stands in outer space in a cheesecloth bikini while the itinerant sperm from the opening credits zips around her like Tinkerbell.

Meanwhile, Herc and Pocahontas are attacked by Amazons, which sounds fun, but the women warriors are clearly the same stunt men who played the poop monsters earlier in the movie, except now they’re wearing body stockings to hide their hairy Italian forearms, and sporting darts in their breastplates. The fight ends when the Amazons drop a net on Hercules, which, as fans of the genre know, is the equivalent of giving Superman a kryptonite suppository.

They lay Hercules out in a web-shaped hammock, then summon their “spider queen” from the Tri-Wizard Tournament Goblet of Fire (it’s a small role, which the Goblet only took in order to get its SAG card). She means to do the nasty, in the long tradition of Herc-bedding evil queens, but Herc just rolls on top and strangles her in a rather ugly scene that feels like it was lifted from the 1976 film Snuff.  But then she dissolves and we see that she was just another mule who had swallowed a condom full of lightning.

The Rebel Gods bitch about how Hercules is repo-ing all the thunderbolts, then Minos shows up, and thanks to SCIENCE!, he can shoot lasers from his eyes. He disintegrates two of the gods (it’s not clear who, exactly, but I think he kills Poseidon, God of the Sea, and Debbie, Goddess of Pore-Tightening Astringents).

Herc and the girls climb up through the Eye of Sauron, and emerge in the Attic of the Gods, where they find the Sixth Thunderbolt, some squirrels chewing on the fiberglass insulation, and Apollo’s secret stash of bodybuilding magazines hidden behind the water heater.

Then Minos climbs into the Attic to confront Hercules and look for his water-skis. He gives Herc the old, “Join me, and we will rule this Galaxy as Father and Beefcake!” speech. But Herc refuses, so Minos Tasers him with SCIENCE!

But all is not lost, because Athena bequeaths Hercules a shield that will protect him from “evil science.” Unfortunately, it’s a Dalkon Shield, and Hercules is immediately tied up in litigation, sued for compensatory and punitive damages, and later forced to file Chapter 11.

Herc and Minos meet in outer space, where Minos turns a couple of stunt men into rotoscoped line drawings; then Athena rotoscopes Hercules, and they have an epic battle of crude coloring book illustrations which lasts exactly 17.7 seconds, because I timed it. But hey, special effects this lavish are costly.

Minos turns himself into a menacing stick figure, and he and Make Sure You Color Inside the Lines Hercules dance around until Herc impales Mr. SCIENCE!, causing Minos to turn into a Tyrannosaurus Rex. And where did they get the rotoscoped dinosaur footage? Funny you should ask, because Herc suddenly transforms into a line drawing of King Kong, and we get to watch that famous giant ape versus thunder lizard fight sequence again, but this time acted out by neon Magic Marker sketches on one of those black dry erase boards they use to post drink specials in sports bars.
Finally, Kong Herc throws neon reptile Minos at the green screen, and he explodes. Great! The villain’s dead. But there’s still 10 minutes to go in the running time. Crap!

It turns out that Hera hid the seventh thunderbolt inside Urania’s heart, which explains the young woman’s history of heartburn and acid reflux. Urania begs Hera to give her “the kiss of death.” By this point, I’m beyond hoping for a lesbian make-out scene, and if the kiss works as advertised, I’d like to get one myself, please.

Meanwhile, the Moon is hurtling toward the Earth, so Zeus turns Hercules into the Amazing Colossal Basketball Player, and tells him to block the shot. Hercules stops the worlds from colliding, then holds them apart while the Earth gives the Moon a Golden Shower (again, I assume this scene was inserted to increase box office and VHS rentals in the German market).
All is well. Urania is appointed a Muse, which is a great honor, although she later quits when she realizes the job involves sharing a cubicle with Olivia Newton John. Hercules turns back into a line drawing, and uses the Enterprise transporter to exit the movie, because he's just booked a guest spot on Matt Houston.

So, what have we learned? Well, from the closing credits we learned that the single biggest department working on the film was “Cell Animation and Rotoscoping.” We learned that the wigs were by “Sexy Wigs.” And we learned that Cannon Films had the brass-plated balls to slap a copyright notice on this thing. The End.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Pod is Cast

Still Life: Falcor with Stoners, designed by Matt Dillon (@geekplanetmatt on Twitter).

First, I want to thank you guys for the many fine horror movie pets and peeves you left in comments; they were indispensable in putting me in the proper frame of mind to be ASSJAM'd.

As I mentioned on Sunday, our friends Mike and Ike, the marihuana-fueled pop culture critics who produce podcasts and videos (such as this Long Days Journey into Larry Buchanan's It's Alive) for GeekPlanetOnline, were good enough to invite me onto their show this week, and I was bad enough to oblige, because who am I to go around rescuing people from their own questionable judgment?

My conversation with Mike & Ike (mostly Ike, although Mike puts in an appearance toward the end to talk about dinosaur eggs and self-surgery) is now up, and you can listen, if you feel so inclined, by clicking here.  It's a rambling chat about Better Living Through Bad Movies, a preview of the As Yet Untitled Sequel, TV shows old and new, horror movies good and bad, Mark Singer, and the best way to darn a scrotum.

It was my first experience of the medium -- as a participant, anyway -- and I was a little nervous.  Also, I couldn't find my USB microphone (although I suavely covered its absence by shouting hoarsely in the general direction of my computer), so I may be both unintelligible and incomprehensible, when I'd only planned on being the one.  But I had fun.

And I have another quick poll question for you. The podcast experience has inspired me to do a BLTBM-style review for Halloween, in the spirit of our annual Christmas movie extravaganza, and I wanted to solicit your suggestions:  What movie would you like to see us to do?  Please feel free to nominate films of any vintage, high or low budget, infamous or obscure, just as long as it can reasonably be considered horror (or you can make a case that it should be).

Monday, October 24, 2011

Animal Crackheads in My Soup

 Dr. Mike S. Adams or actor John Michael Higgins -- You Decide!  (Image courtesy of Brian Schlosser)

WoC's favorite academic, Dr. Professor Mike Adams, finally turns his literary skills and scholarly expertise to the textbook market, penning a reader for today's elementary school children:  A is for Ass.
Alphabet Soup for the Conservative Soul
It isn’t always fun being a conservative activist. There are some days I want to throw in the towel and find an easier job
This is a job for Dr. Mike?  I always assumed his writing a column for Townhall was more of an autonomic process, like peristalsis, since it produced roughly the same result.  Still, even though the anus may only work once or twice a day, you wouldn't call what it does a hobby, exactly, so I'll concede Dr. Mike's point, if he stipulates that he's less industrious than a cloaca.
It all started when I took a long road trip to try and resolve a First Amendment issue with a university attorney. That was a big mistake.
According to comment cards collected after test screenings, audiences were disappointed with Dr. Mike's road trip mainly because it didn't end in the same way as Thelma & Louise.
I not only failed to resolve the issue but had to sit and endure personal insults from someone bent on defending the indefensible, simply because he knows the burden of losing the case will be shouldered by the taxpayers.
I agree, this sounds like an needless exercise in muscle-flexing, because while Dr. Mike's job as a conservative activist requires him to fling personal insults like a catapult loaded with road apples, he's always careful to make sure that the person he's insulting is A) not in the room with him, or B) doesn't actually exist.
University officials are like that. They do stupid things because they are shielded from the consequences of their stupidity. 
He's right.  They hired Dr. Mike, allow him to teach classes, even gave him tenure, and yet somehow, the Hague has still not been notified.
To make matters worse, I started itching unbearably during my “discussion” with the statist employee – Oops! I meant the “state” employee.
Dr. Mike takes his "job" seriously, and is always looking for additional ways to monetize his column.  Witness the fruits of his lucrative product placement deal with Cruex.
From Dr. Mike's official bio:  "Playing music in bars and at fraternity parties and weddings financed his education."  And his ointment.
I wasn’t sure what that was all about until I got home and changed clothes – only to discover I was covered with rashes. I had gotten into poison ivy again. Just another reason I should have joined the Boy Scouts instead of picking up that third sport in grammar school. 
I don't know what's more horrifying here -- that the decorative plants in the university attorney's office  included poison ivy, or that Dr. Mike insisted on attending the interview in the nude.
So, instead of going to bed at a decent hour, I was headed to the Medac to beg for a steroid shot. Steroids have never made me huge.
That's what she said.
I knew it was going to be a sleepless, itchy night. I was completely miserable and dejected about the future of our constitutional republic, too.
This is reminiscent of the last, difficult night of King George V, whose final words were reported to be:
"How stands the Empire?  And if you wouldn't mind, scratch my balls...there's a good lad."
So I decided to take some advice I had given my readers a few years before. Living in accordance with your own teachings is a good way to avoid being called a hypocrite by liberals who can’t be hypocrites because they don’t believe in anything. 
For some reason this puts me in mind of the MST3K episode Master Ninja II, when a puffy, hungover-looking David McCallum (as the World's Greatest Terrorist, "Castillo,") is scolded by blonde, up-and-coming young terrorist Serena ("of the Groovy Ghoulies!") for his lackluster devotion to The Cause:

DAVID:  (Disdainfully)  I no longer believe in causes.

JOEL:  Now I just believe in effects.
The advice I followed was simply to make a list of things for which I should be grateful. Actually, my advice required making a list of 26 things for which I should be grateful – one for each letter of the alphabet. I got started on “A” because that’s the first letter in the alphabet. I only know that because I went to public school in Texas.
I, on the other hand, went to a parochial school in California run by the vestal nuns of the Mithraic mystery cult, and while it had a reputation for academic excellence and a strong lacrosse team, vowels were taught only on a "need to know" basis.
A: I thank God I was born in America where I have the right to criticize public officials who can only insult me because they can’t send me to summer camp in Siberia during the middle of the winter.
This remark is taken from the syllabus of Dr. Mike's class on "The Comic Paradox: What It Would Sound Like if Oscar Wilde Had Gone to School in Texas."
B: I thank God for Glenn Beck who flew me to New York City to let me criticize hippies who broadcast anti-corporate musings on their I-pads. Oops, sorry, they had I-pad 2s. That’s the cool thing about America, though. Stupid people also have a right to speak. 
And to free air fare, apparently.
 C: Back in the 1990s, Coral Ridge Ministries used to broadcast anti-ACLU sermons by Dr. James Kennedy. When I was an atheist, I used to watch Dr. Kennedy on TV – swearing and shouting at the TV screen every Sunday morning.

It's disturbing to learn that before Dr. Mike's religious conversion, he was an obnoxious, self-centered loudmouth with a compulsive need to impose his witless, spittle-flecked opinions on inanimate objects and anyone unlucky enough to be within earshot.  I guess I owe Christ an apology.
Dr. Kennedy later helped found the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF). After I converted to the right side, literally and figuratively speaking, my employer tried to strip my weekly opinion column of First Amendment protection. 
Or at least declined to recognize articles such as:  Steers Queers and Social Engineers, Texas Gay&M University, Queer Theories and Theologies, The Pink Berets, Get Back in the Closet, The Gaystapo, Fat Lesbians on Crack, A Queer and Present Danger and Five Great Cigars and Why I Smoke Them as academic research in the field of criminology.
Every now and then we must also catch ourselves and make sure we recognize our blessings instead of mistakenly labeling them as curses. No man can win a culture war all by himself. But that is actually good news. It also reminds us that no man is strong enough to subvert God’s will for another man’s life.
If you can get enough men to join your culture war, however, you can subvert the crap out of the ladies' lives.  In the meantime, Praise the Lord and Pass the Cruex.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sub-Contract Your Spleen-Venting!

Hey guys, I have a request.  I'm going to be chatting with Ike (and possibly Mike) of Mike and Ike's All Star Summer Jamboree (or ASSJAM) podcast over at Geekplanet Online (if you haven't heard it, check out their latest episode, Fork Scorpion, a great interview with Barry Bostwick, who finally, and for the first time ever, clears up what the hell the deal was with that whole thumb-kissing thing in Megaforce!  [See Better Living Through Bad Movies, pp. 124-126 for details]).

We're going to be discussing Halloween and horror films, both good and bad, and -- not to go all Jonah Goldbergian in my crowd-sourcing of research -- I wanted to ask what your scary movie pets and peeves are.  Are there any particular Samhain-flavored flicks you love and make a point of watching this time of year?  And, conversely, are there other films of the same type that hurt you, and make you get mad, and then get mean, until you're just a walkin' chunk of mean-mad?

Let me know in comments.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Peanut - In Memoriam

As you may have seen in comments, our friend KWillow recently lost her beloved cat Peanut.  We asked if we might post a photo in tribute, and she sent along this rather Churchillian portrait:
I have it on good authority that she was not only very striking, with an expressive face redolent of character and authority, but also "The Pea-nuttiest Cat In The World!"

If Nature Abhors a Vacuum, Then Why Does It Suck?

World O' Crap's correspondent Keith is back, in a segment we like to call "Keith on Kieffer."

Today’s scuba-dive to Townhall.com scooped up Ms. Katie Kieffer, a "conservative multimedia personality, writer and public speaker."  In today's feature she offers her cogent and deeply-moving opinions on theology and its symbiosis with late capitalism.

I contend that if you profess to believe in God, you must also embrace capitalism.
I contend that if you profess to believe in gravity, you must also embrace practical, comfortable foot-wear (reasonably priced, of course).
 Lately, many religious shepherds are abandoning reason in favor of sentiment. Catholic nuns are joining Occupy Wall Street revelers, like zombies witnessing to rapturous fans. Meanwhile, Jewish activist and commentator Jake Goodman is hailing the Manhattan demonstration (which includes numerous blatantly anti-Semitic protesters) as a group of people ‘philanthropizing [sic.] with their feet.
Hello, we are Sisters from the Scared Order of the Immaculate Brains. In order to fulfill our  philanthropic mission, do consider donating to our sensible, reasonably-priced footwear fund. Also, kindly consider donating your brains for lunch, as we are very hungry.
If you believe that God created the universe, then you must assume that he wanted man to live differently from animals. Otherwise, man would not have reason. Upon realizing that reason both defines and differentiates man, wouldn’t you set logic―not sensation―as the moral compass for human activity? Or would you “shepherd the flock” by encouraging young people to bully job creators, embrace sloth, strut topless in Manhattan and openly mate in parks?
[I thought the strutting, topless sloths were were driven out of New York when Giuliani cleaned up Times Square, and shut down all the Xenarthran peep shows.--ed.]
"Yeah?  You like that?  Is that what you want?  You can see more baby, but it's gonna cost you..."
Squirrels scamper about and get frisky in public parks.  Squirrels are also feral; they will never cultivate the land, own property, develop iPhones or create a monetary system. I think humans who reject reason by acting like squirrels have no business preaching about God.
Hate to break the news but there are no more squirrels in Zuccotti Park (B'way & Liberty St.) The topless, licentious zombie nun convocations have slaughtered the entire squirrel population of the financial district, tossing the once-scampering, frisky and now brainless squirrel corpses onto the trash-heap where they shall burn in Hell for eternity. (And just as they were on the cusp of figuring out a fiat currency based on acorns.)
I find that atheists admit the metaphysical more than progressives who claim to believe in God. For, atheists revere reason while progressive “believers” adore emotion: They shop around until they find a church that washes them mindless with foolishly sentimental and entertaining services. They make themselves feel charitable by marching two-by-two past wealthy residences in midtown Manhattan with signs like “No Billionaire Left Behind.” They interpret the eighth commandment that God gave to Moses as: ‘Thou shalt share.’ ”
Thank you, Ms. Kieffer; as an atheist I like the occasional acknowledgment that I'm on the side of reason. And no better method to be “washed mindless” than by topless zombie nuns who mate in public with the sentimentally-inclined, whilst playing whack-a-mole for squirrel brains. (Actually, Ms. Kieffer, those are “Manhattan” squirrels, i.e., rats. But they’re every bit as frisky and feral, as well as cute.)

Now, dear readers, before continuing take a deep breath. Don’t hyperventilate, mind, but do get some extra oxygen.
Aristotelian philosopher and theologian Thomas Aquinas contends that all men are governed by a natural law that is rooted in reason, not emotion. He argues thus in his Treatise on Law [ed. Summa Theologica]: ‘As, in man, reason rules and commands the other powers, so all the natural inclinations belonging to the other powers must needs be directed according to reason. Wherefore it is universally right for all men, that all their inclinations should be directed according to reason.’

Capitalism acknowledges reason and natural law whereas socialism denies natural law. By reason, we know that we have the right to own private property and the fruits of our labor. Capitalism is rational because it allows you to keep the fruits of your labor.
This author doesn’t bother to explain how Aquinas goes to bat for capitalism as he was not at all interested in modalities of finance (nothing like industrial capitalism had been invented in the Thirteenth century) and Summa Theologica is a treatise on the finer interpretations of Christian theology. There’s a suspicious disconnect here I hope isn’t due to intellectual dishonesty. She doesn’t go further to explain how wanton destruction of much of the modern world’s wealth (and the notion of property) all through reckless speculation fits into the Aristotelian viewpoint. Or does she?
As John Locke points out, reason tells you that you own your body. No one else owns your body―not your neighbors, your family or the government. If you use your body to till the land and make it useful by growing wheat, then logic tells you that you own the land and any profits from the wheat, not the hungry passerby who comes across the land and steals the wheat that you grew.
Mr. Locke also implies by reason that you own your brains. No derelict undead nun may demand you surrender them. Your brains are your property. (Shotgun to the head is all that works in this scenario.)

But, Ms. K, you and your ancestors didn’t exactly use your own bodies to till the land and make it useful, did you? You used other people’s bodies ... either from the workhouse of indentured servitude or outright slavery ... to till that land. In the rare instance where you tried to till it you ended up like Ty Ty Walden in God’s Little Acre, digging ditches all over the place to grab grandpa’s buried treasure.
Rational men glorify God just as glowing candles glorify a candlestick maker; men must behave rationally in order to completely function and prosper―just as candles must hold a flame in order to fulfill their purpose of brightening a room. Said differently, a man that acts like an animal must be as disappointing to his maker as a candle that cannot hold a flame.
Like pork bellies glorify the butcher and baguettes glorify the baker, to each its own. Yes, Ms. K., men must behave rationally in order to function and prosper. This is why your lame column is so aggravating. This correspondent wishes there were rational men and women in positions of power, but sadly at this moment there seems to be a deficiency in reason, as well as in wealth. In our current dismal situation, any wealth created will go to service the cataclysmic debt bestowed upon us by the Masters of Late Capitalism. The totality of the debt, worldwide, has not been sufficiently disclosed as to predict when capitalism will return to a steady-state. My guess is it ain’t gonna’ happen, but I’m not capable of channeling the early empiricists, much less the Aristotelians. My periscope don’t go that high.

So, as you have stated, Atheists: 1; Believers: nill. Ms. Kieffer, what on earth are you smoking?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Cal Thomas, Fetus Fashion Photographer

2011 Miss Wingnut Cal Thomas is afraid that if Republican amendments eliminating abortion rights aren't passed by Congress immediately, then these desperate would-be laws may seek passage from one of the many disreputable and unsanitary "back alley" legislatures that prey on innocent proposed statutes.  And that is how a bill becomes a corpse.
To Live or Die 'On the Floor'

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi sometimes sounds as if she has cast aside any attachment to reality. Responding to a bill co-authored by Rep. Joe Pitts, Pennsylvania Republican, that would prevent federal funds from going to pay for abortions under the slowly unraveling health care law critics call "Obamacare," Pelosi said that if Republicans vote for the measure, "they will be voting to say that women can die on the floor and health care providers do not have to intervene."

The Protect Life Act passed the House last week, but will likely die in the Democrat-controlled Senate.
Ironically, it will die on what Beltway insiders call the "Senate floor," and yet Mrs. Pelosi doesn't seem to care that there's a hemorrhaging amendment, slowly perishing from blood loss and septicemia on the carpet where Mitch McConnell might accidentally step in it.
There are more stirrings on this fundamental social issue. The November 8 ballot in Mississippi will include Initiative 26, known as the Personhood Amendment, that says: "The term 'person' or 'persons' shall include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning, or the functional equivalent thereof."
I wonder what "the functional equivalent" of "the moment of fertilization" means, exactly?  I presume it has something to do with carefully -- carefully! -- inserting an egg into your Realdoll™ before dropping your pants and "applying the hollandaise sauce," as it were.

In any case, now we know where corrupt billionaires who want to cheat death will go to have themselves cloned for spare parts, as they do in movies like Parts: The Clonus Horror, or Michael Bay's The Island (but I repeat myself).
I just never thought of these glossy, super high-tech secret installations being in Mississippi, but I guess it would allow the billionaires to drop off a sample rib, ala Adam, then swing by the Biloxi casinos and enjoy the loose slots.

Now if only Missouri would get off the pot and pass a similar law, they could compete for the abundant disposable income of these parthenogenic plutocrats.  Maybe put together a vacation package in Branson: tissue donation, followed by a meal and "Yakov's Dinner Adventure" show at the Yakov Smirnoff Theater.  "Get Your Remaining Ribs Tickled!" or "What a Country (For the Top 1%)!"  I mean, the ad copy writes itself.
Perhaps an even greater counterattack on what former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop's seminal documentary on the issue "Whatever Happened to the Human Race?" referred to as "the slaughter of the innocents" is a series of initiatives organized by a coalition of pro-life groups to put legislation on ballots in every state requiring an abortion-minded pregnant woman to see a sonogram image of her fetus prior to termination.
But suppose the woman just rolled her eyes, or studied her nails instead of attending to the image?  To ensure compliance, the law would also have to require the patient to wear those clamps that propped open Malcolm McDowell's eyes in A Clockwork Orange.  Which means there would need to be a staffer on hand to constantly drip Visine onto the pregnant woman's corneas, like in the movie, so when liberals complain that Republicans haven't offered a jobs program, you can tell them to piss off, Mississippi has it covered!
I have long favored this approach as a means to substantially reduce the million-plus abortions performed every year in the United States. It imposes no restrictions on abortion, but gives women information.

Information they might not have known, such as "We don't trust you to make decisions about your own body," and "Fetuses are masters of disguise.  See that vague, shapeless lump?  No, there.  No, there...This thing!  That's a fully formed baby, but it's using camouflage to blend into its surroundings and fool its natural enemy, the Abortionist.  Being pregnant is like having a chameleon in your womb.  Or the Predator ..."
The Chicago Tribune, reporting on the "Ultrasound Opportunity Act,"
Also known as SB-341 or "The George Orwell Is Jealous Act."  (Heaven forbid the government should cover health insurance, but paying for medically unnecessary embryonic Glamour Shots?  Turn out those pockets, Uncle Sugar, this clump of cells is ready for its close-up.)
Mandating sonograms creates for "pro-choicers" an impossible intellectual, not to mention moral dilemma. If they oppose women receiving information, they are censors. Pro-lifers are aligning themselves with truth in labeling and truth in lending laws requiring that information be provided to women (and men) in order to help make decisions presumed to be in their best interests.
Well, at first glance this doesn't seem like an insoluble dilemma -- it seems like transparent bullshit -- but as we know, intellectual consistency cannot be satisfied until the slippery slope becomes an avalanche, so let's follow Cal's logic.  If the price of a woman choosing to terminate her pregnancy is the government first forcing her to undergo a medical procedure against her will, then what happens when she remains unmoved by the Rorschach test that results from sounding her innards?

Besides Awkward Family Photos of the uterus, the other impossible moral and intellectual dilemma anti-choice activists (or as we were taught by Judie "pro-aborts" Brown to call them, “an-cho-vies") is "fetal pain."  There's no credible evidence it exists, but fortunately Republican lawmakers are no longer hung up on that kind of thing, so the next step would be a "Fetal Pain Opportunity Act," which would mandate that the attending physician repeatedly jab the patient's calves with a shrimp fork while she thinks things over.
When pro-choicers stand in the way of women receiving information about such a critical decision, they place themselves where they say conservatives reside, in the land of intolerance and ignorance.
Oh -- I thought this was the land of Dairy Queen.  No wonder they're not treating me right.

Okay, how about this:  a law that requires abortion providers to perform a sonogram, free of charge, if the woman requests it?  Of course, this would open states or the Federal government to the "free rider" problem, and they might find themselves funding procedures for women who just wanted a free ultrasound, and were only pretending they were considering abortion.  Hell, I'd be tempted to take advantage of it myself, just to see if that gum I swallowed at age 9 was still in my appendix, like my mom predicted.
The response to this proposed legislation goes something like this: "You are insulting the intelligence of women who are smart enough to figure out these things on their own."

"Fine," I say, "then let's remove labels from cans, bottles and packages and do away with paperwork at the bank when a woman applies for a loan. Let's also rip Monroney stickers off vehicles at car dealerships because women should be smart enough to figure out the price, options and miles per gallon on their own."
They're not coming into the showroom to buy a zygote, so Caveat Emptor doesn't really apply.  And if they were fetus-shopping, you can bet there would be corporations that would manufacturer them under unsafe and unsanitary conditions, cut corners, use inferior materials, import toxic embryos made by slave labor in China, or produce babies whose planned obsolescence would have them falling apart before their second birthday.  But if you want to get the Consumer Protection Agency involved, Cal, why don't we require obstetricians to lecture every pregnant woman on every conceivable complication of gestation and child birth, from the merely unpleasant to the frequently lethal, before she's allowed to carry her pregnancy to term?  Lawmakers could christen it "The Mary Wollstonecraft Maternal Fatality Information Act" ("On 30 August 1797, Wollstonecraft gave birth to her second daughter, Mary. Although the delivery seemed to go well initially, the placenta broke apart during the birth and became infected; puerperal (childbed) fever was a common and often fatal occurrence).
The reason pro-choicers don't want women to see what their babies look like in the womb is because
...they all look like Mister Peanut.  It's a little disturbing.
...for too many of them, abortion has become a sacrament. 
Sadly true.  And while it's one thing for Catholics to eat a wafer and call it the Flesh of Jesus, pro-choicers need to devour actual pieces of fetus, and if the abortion mills stop producing a fresh supply, there's going to be quite a bit of grumbling at the altar rail.
 They embrace a right to kill while simultaneously denying the right to life. Showing a pregnant woman a picture of her baby in the womb, heart beating, can only enhance the possibility that the child will be given the opportunity to live.
Plus, it would prepare the child to grow up in an America where all industries have been outsourced, and the only job available is Reality TV contestant.
Over many years of speaking to women who regret their abortions, the most common response has been, "If I had seen a picture of my baby, I would have made a different choice."
The second most common response has been, "I saw your picture on the Op-Ed page, and realized I didn't want to bring a child into a world of devastating financial crises, catastrophic climate change, and constant upper lip shortages."

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Get Bushed!

I'm a bit of a homebody and rarely attend Events, so I'm not quite sure how I ended up on Eventful's mailing list.  I will, if the occasion demands and I'm feeling dressy, attend an Affair; and I have been known, if rarely, to glad-hand my way around the odd Happening (although I have stopped hosting my own Happenings, as painful experience has shown that they freak me out), but I'm not easily seduced by Events, especially Mega-Events.

Nevertheless, I opened my email this morning and the first thing I saw was Eventful.com screaming at me: "Don't Miss Laura Bush at the Staples Center!"  This led to a moment of pre-coffee confusion, because a lot of Eventful's events (at least the ones I hear about) are concert performances by lesser known troubadours and troubadesses, fringe comics, or theatrical productions of the off- and off-off Broadway type.  So naturally, I assumed Laura was getting away from George and his obsessive herbicidal tendencies (it's one thing to incessantly clear brush on the ranch as a means of avoiding intimacy, but it's a different matter in the tony Dallas suburb in which they now live, because the trees and shrubs are stately and mature, and when his Weedwhacker proves impotent he'll often get sullen and pouty), taking her act on the road, and performing her One Woman Show, "I Ran Over a Man in Midland, Just to Watch Him Die."

Sadly, she's just part of an itinerant Business Seminar, but it's an impressive line-up, sort of the Cream or Traveling Wilburys of motivational speaker tours.
Bill Cosby!  Colin Powell!  Joe Montana!  General Stanley McChrystle!  Rudy Giuliani!  The woman who invented the All-Meat Breakfast Buffet!
At this workshop you will learn:
  • Cutting-Edge Business Skills
  • Relationship & Personal Development
  • Goal Achievement
  • Wealth-Building Strategies
  • And Much, More More!
Naturally, I couldn't resist a sales pitch like this, so I clicked through and discovered this sales pitch was designed to sell a seminar teaching you how to craft and deliver a sales pitch, presumably so you could then pitch people on taking your seminar which offers to sell them pitches they can use in making sales.  Frankly, Get Motivated ought to replace their current logo (a stylized masochist leaping for joy as he's whipped with a Red Vine) with Ouroboros, because after reading their sales pitch pitching sales pitches, I couldn't get the taste of snake-ass out of my mouth.

Let's see how each speaker uses his own unique experience and expertise to motivate people who are trying to overcome the depressing thought that they are now $225 poorer.
Bill Cosby is one of the most popular entertainers of our time. "The Cos" has been making America laugh for decades. In his side-splitting session, you'll discover the master keys to using humor to create agreement, close the deal and advance in your career.
In Cosby's trademark style, he will explain how the seemingly nonsensical lyrics to "Hikky Burr," the theme song of his 1969-71 sitcom, were actually a secret message to the reptoid Illuminati, volunteering his services (literary translated, "Hikky Burr" means "I’d like to remind you that as a trusted TV personality, I can be helpful in rounding up others to toil in your underground sugar caves").  The Global Elite ultimately accepted The Cos's offer, and from the mid-80s to the early 90s, he would appear on television each week in a different sweater, whose hideous and incomprehensible patterns were designed to convey coded data to the Queen Mother.
Lou Holtz RENOWNED NOTRE DAME HEAD COACH. He will show you:
  • How to Turn Workplace Stress into Gridiron Success
[Note:  The Management will not provide refunds to customers who may later discover they don't work on a gridiron, or whose bosses may object to them spiking their optical mouse after completing a particularly complex spreadsheet.]

General Colin Powell
World-Famous Soldier Statesman

Colin Powell is one of the most distinguished and admired men in America.
Hm.  That seems like less of a sales pitch, and more of a beanball thrown directly at the head.
As a four-star General, chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Secretary of State Gen. Powell has experienced leadership at the highest levels. 
Not that anybody actually told him anything.  At least, nothing that might make him an accessory.
Gen. Powell shows you precisely what it takes to be a leader, providing strategies for "taking charge" during times of great change.
This sounds familiar.  I believe I already sat through this seminar when it was given by another general -- Al Haig, I think, or Augusto Pinochet.
He will show you:
  • How to Improve Processes, Organizations and People
  • How to Remain Focused in Crisis
  • How to Forge Winning Alliances [Don't forget Poland!]
  • Keys to Creating Diplomatic Solutions
 So if you've ever wondered how far a crack vial full of Arm & Hammer and a PowerPoint presentation featuring blurry images of weaponized Good Humor trucks can take you, the answer is:  the Los Angeles Staples Center, and the Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario, California (For One Night Only!).

Krish Dhanam
Top Sales Expert

Krish Dhanam acclaimed sales trainer, will give you income-producing gems to improve your sales and negotiation skills.
He will show you:
  • 8 Specific Phrases that Eliminate Objections
Among them are:  #4:  "Overruled!" and #7:  "If my demands aren't met, I'm gonna start tossing out bodies every fifteen minutes!"
  • How to Master the Art of Prospecting
Grow a big bushy beard, leverage existing contacts to increase your network, and sprinkle your speech with action words like "consarnit!" and "dadgummit!"

General McChrystal
Celebrated Four Star General

Stanley McChrystal is one of the most decorated and distinguished Generals of our time.
Later in the program, he and General Powell will strip down to their jockstraps and wrestle in corn oil to determine who's more distinguished.

Rudy Giuliani
America's Mayor

Rudy Giuliani provided strength at a defining time in American history as he helped lead New York - and the U.S. - out of the devastation that followed the attacks on 9-11.
And just when we think we're out -- he pulls us back in.

Sadly, there is no biography for Laura on the site, and no hint about what she will show us, so I'm just going to assume it's:
  • 8 Drug Cocktail recipes that relieve the need to blink and will finally allow you to win that staring contest with your cat.
If you haven't had a chance, please check out Annti's piece below on Billy the Kid vs. Dracula, and leave a comment letting us know which movies you'd most like to see us tackle in the sequel to Better Living Through Bad Movies (currently under construction).

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

John Don't Carradine

Our friend Anntichrist S. Coulter wrote to suggest a film we might want to consider reviewing for the sequel to Better Living Through Bad Movies, and her email reminded me that we've been meaning to poll you guys (no, not like that).

Which movies would you most like to see us abuse in the new book?  More recent films are preferred, since we've got a fair number of classics in the on-deck circle, but we're happy to consider any movie -- new or old -- that has gotten under your skin and festered sufficiently to raise a hot, throbbing little boil of resentment.

So if you've been heavy petting with a peeve, please share your pain in comments, and by Grabthar's Hammer, you shall be...avenged.

Anyway, I thought Annti's recommendation was so evocative, that it was selfish to keep it all to myself.  Enjoy!

By Our Dollar Store DVD Cut-Bin Curator, Anntichrist S. Coulter:

Please tell me that you've seen this flaming pile of horseshit, sadly and strangely bereft of horses (especially for a "western"! Mebbe Frau Blucher got to the horses first... huh...) known as, I shit you not...Billy the Kid vs. Dracula.

If not, dig up this truly classic piece of melodramatic manure so that you, too, may thrill to the demonic timbre of Carradine's sotto voce attempts at "otherworldly intimidation" (whilst "whispering" and "mournfully speaking 'softly'" no less) that could be heard out in the parking lot of Dodgers Stadium during a game when they're actually WINNING. The man had pipes, this we know. What in the fuck kind of Drāno he imbibed to get to this point of pre-mortem decomposition, I really don't wanna know.

And, I gotta tellya, the stagecoach with no horses didn't bother me nearly as much as the 99-cent rubber bat that is always flying IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STRATOSPHERE, no clouds, no smog, no fog, no insects, no birds, no stars, no buildings, no trees, no NOTHING but a medium-blue cobalt scrim and "magical" twinks of light-sparkles on every fourth wing-flap. And the poor fucking thing can't even flap his/her/its wings like a real bat would, y'know, with bones and skin and fur and all that shit, nope, they're like a pre-Wright Brothers attempt at a "hover-plane" with rigidly-arched "wings" that just turn, up and down, up and down, as if poked by a medium-blue cobalt-colored stick on a repetitive basis, as "squeaky bat noises" are squished out of somebody's guinea pig in a very cruel manner. It never flies, it never dips or soars or ascends or descends, even before Carradine's about to re-embody and suck on a neck. Just bouncy-bouncy on the rubber/elastic string that it came with, alternated with the pivoting/dead & rigor-mortised "wing" movements that remind one of a hang-glider who wants to die.

I can't decide which is sadder... the rapid decline and decomposition of one of the last truly trained actors in this country, who could have been so influential (aside from us, Rick Baker, and FANGORIA), but missed it by thatmuch; or, that emphysemic but once-grand pipes like his are being so wasted on the bug-eyed "hypnotic" stares that remind one more of Aqualung than Dracula.
 The crap "co-stars" are beneath notice, aside from the fact that they're either cliche' "Eastern European ignorant superstitious immigrants" who try to warn all of the vampire, or the overly-apple-cheeked, secret-alcoholic townfolk/stagecoach rats who profess a "faith in humankind" that even Billy Graham would call "bullshit!" upon.

The 2:36 blurt of "exposition" from a "folk-tale" book handily whipped-out by the female "doctor" (Alcoholic #1), explaining the mechanics (the story says that, according to the old myth...) of vampirism and necrophiliac love-matches with all of the sincerity of the pimply-faced "Mormon missionary" who tried to force his way into my house one Saturday morning with his equally-greasy "co-Elder" --- I've heard more-convincing exposition in informercials, dood. They just don't make pulp western-vampire shit or opportunistic-attempted-home-invasion criminals like they used to... *sigh*

[Below, the key scene from Billy the Kid vs. Dracula which demonstrates that while vampires are immune to bullets, you can still pistol whip the crap out of them.  Also, while we see "hero driving a stake through Dracula's heart," thanks to the Foley guy we hear "Chinese immigrants working on the Transcontinental Railroad." --Scott]

I can't take any more tonight, I'm going to Coma Town.

Sweet dreams of rubber bats and John Carradine's eyes nearly popping-out of his skeletal skull, barely sheathed in parchment-dry mummy skin and over-Bryll-Creamed stringy grey hair...

Monday, October 17, 2011

Spotlight Dance on...Roy Edroso!

As I've said many times in the past, I consider Roy of Alicublog to be in a dead heat for title of Best Writer on the Internets, a literal genius in a virtual world (which sounds like a great gig, but probably gets annoying, because like Oscar Wilde he has to declare it every time he goes through Customs.  Plus,  overzealous CBP agents will often pull him aside at ports of entry, don greased latex gloves, and search his ports of entry, just to make sure he isn't trying to beat the import duties by smuggling any undeclared genius into the country.)


Anyway, he wrote a book (yay!), but the publisher rolled belly up like a neglected goldfish (sigh).  After a suitable mourning period, or extended blackout, he has joined the digital frontier, and his neo-noir novel Morgue for Whores is now available as an "e-book" (I'm not up on all the latest technical patois of cyberspace, but I presume that stands for "edroso-book").

I'll be purchasing a copy as soon as recent financial reverses reverse themselves, but in the meantime, if you'd like one of your very own, and and I suspect you do, click here.

I'm told Morgue for Whores has lots of violence, and weltschmerz, and the sex scenes are not only as hot as the one in Bill O'Reilly's novel, Those Who Trespass, but they are (to my mind at least), even hotter than the ones in Scooter Libby's novel The Apprentice, because the bear-on-girl intercourse is fully consensual, and the bear -- while still locked in a cage and poked with bamboo sticks -- is given a safe word.  However, in the interest of full disclosure, I have heard that it's not quite as funny as Jerome Corsi's Where's the Birth Certificate?.

Say what you like about National Socialism, Dude, at least it's an ethos

John Goodman, the bearish and beloved character actor whose many fine performances have illuminated both big screen and small, has taken a respite from his guest starring role on the hit NBC show Community in order to inform the Negroes that they have a Negro Problem, and then to solve it for them in 22 minutes, with time out for station identification and commercials for Godfathers Pizza.

But wait, this isn't the John Goodman who delighted audiences with his madcap antics on the long running sitcom Roseanne.  This John Goodman is a doctor, by which I mean he has a Ph.D in Milking the Teats of Dyspeptic Billionaires, and serves as president of the National Center for Policy Analysis, "a free-market think tank" which subsists on hand-outs from the Koch Brothers.

He's also smarter than the average bearish actor, because his official think tank bio shyly reveals that Dr. Goodman was Student Body Vice President, and "is a crossword puzzle aficionado, and most days he is able to conquer the puzzles in The New York Times in ink."
"I'll show you the life of the mind...!"

So rather than our usual -- and frankly, impertinent -- habit of snarking at the subsidized opinions of right wing rent-a-scholars, today we will fold our hands in our laps and listen attentively, because it seems that while black people will be black people, Dr. Goodman's unique perspective -- as a man who was not only a heartbeat away from the Student Council presidency, but who is now only a single initial away from being a celebrated character actor -- allows him to see and pinpoint exactly how they're doing it wrong.
USA Today Columnist DeWayne Wickham took presidential candidate Herman Cain to task the other day on the issue of race. His complaints: (a) Cain is vying for white votes rather than black votes, (b) Cain’s claim that blacks tend to mindlessly vote for Democrats is insulting and insensitive and (c) Cain is insufficiently critical of Republicans for pursing a racist southern strategy over the past 40 years.

Now since Cain and Wickham are both black, I’m sure that most non-black columnists will choose to sit this one out and let it be just an intramural squabble.
But this is one columnist who's willing to take up the Non-Black Man's Burden.
I think that’s wrong. All Americans, regardless of color, should find Wickham’s comments offensive for two reasons.

First, it takes a lot of chutzpah for a pro-Democratic writer to criticize a Republican for being insufficiently critical of his own party on matters of race. For all its sins, I don’t believe the party of Lincoln has anything to apologize for to the party of slavery, the party of segregation, the party of Jim Crow and a party that even today routinely uses the NAACP to run election eve, race-baiting radio commercials in order to fan the flames of racial hatred and get out the black vote.
Here's where the sort of free market perspective in which Dr. Goodman specializes proves so illuminating.  The party of Nixon, of the Southern Strategy, of Reagan's "states rights" speech in Philadelphia, Mississippi, of a DOJ Civil Rights Department focused on "voter fraud," is trying to make voting more difficult only because that would make voting more special.  And the rarer a thing is, the more valuable is.  Scarcity creates demand, and by allowing fewer people to vote, more people would want to vote, thereby increasing the perceived value of the ballot for those who can cast one.  It's like the difference between common and preferred shares of stock.

Or to put it another way:  making voting an easy, casual thing would encourage people to vote promiscuously, and some day you'll would look back and regret it, feeling that you cheapened your franchise by casting ballots only because you were drunk, or gave in to peer pressure.  And then suddenly you meet that special someone, perhaps when your Hoverounds collide at a Tea Party rally and comically lock bumpers, and one thing leads to another, and before you know it, you're sitting in a Denny's at 4:00 in the afternoon, exchanging life stories over a slice of coconut meringue pie and a cup of Sanka, and you'll look across that table and see his face fall when you confess how many times you voted, and for how many different candidates

Because the problem is, Americans of the black persuasion don't value voting, otherwise they wouldn't require race-baiting radio commercials to get them to the polls.  Naturally, this principle applies to all radio advertising, which is why I consider the commercials for Sit 'N' Sleep, a local discount mattress chain, to be the moral equivalent of The Turner Diaries.
But more is involved here than misplaced chutzpah. Wickham is simply wrong about the two parties’ roles in modern politics. I know. I was there. I grew up in Waco, Texas, in the 1950s and early 1960s. At that time, virtually all the elected officials in Waco were (a) racist, (b) segregationist and (c) Democrats.
Now they're only two out of three.
Whether mindlessly or not, the black voters in my city did tend to vote for the entire Democratic ticket in election after election.
I don't want to accuse Dr. Goodman of "tolerance," because I know where he comes that's regarded as little more than a liberal euphemism for "pussy," but I do think it's nice of him to give his black neighbors the benefit of the doubt and allow as how they might have minds, albeit stupid ones.
"You vote for a Democrat for President just because he's black, but you never stopped to think that John C. Calhoun was also a Democrat before he died a 160 years ago?!  You see? You see? Your stupid minds! Stupid! Stupid!"
As in many places today, the black church was the principal institution through which the party organized the black vote. Think about the incongruity of that. Racist politicians and black Baptist ministers delivered votes in election after election to candidates who did little or nothing to help blacks and who went around assuring whites of their dedication to segregation!
I don't want to commit a brazen act of intellectual lése-majesté, Doctor, but I don't think civil rights activists risked prison, injury, or death just to secure the right of Black people to vote for White supremacists.  I suspect that the Southern Democrats who did attract support in Black communities were the ones who weren't bigots -- in other words, the ones who didn't become Republicans after Goldwater -- if only because it doesn't make a lot of sense that segregationist Democrats would work so hard to preserve Jim Crow, just to keep black folks from voting for them.
How did the national Democratic Party respond to their Southern comrades? They welcomed them at the national Democratic conventions with open arms. By “they” I mean the Kennedys, the Byrds, the Gores and other mainstays of the Democratic Party. Further, a lot of people are unaware of the fact that the 1964 Civil Rights Act received more Republican than Democratic votes in Congress.
I share the Doctor's outrage.  Personally, I find it shocking how many people in this country remain ignorant of the basic made-up facts about our own history.  True, government schools and liberal textbooks go out of their way to suppress untruths like this, and people who actually lived through the Civil Rights Era (many of whom now spend their days sucking vampirically from the Socialist Security Trust Fund like it was some kind of blood money bank) may offer argumentative "memories" about how "things" actually "were," but still, there is no excuse in the age of Fox News and AM radio for anyone with half a brain to remain uninformed about bullshit of such historic significance.

But just for the record:  In the House, Democrats voted for the Civil Rights Act 153-91 (63%–37%), while Republicans voted 136-35 (80%–20%), so while a higher percentage of the fewer Republicans in the house voted yea, it's not true that the bill"received more Republican than Democratic votes."
Now a lot of Southern Democrats switched parties and became Republicans through the years. Sen. Strom Thurmond of South Carolina is an example. But the behavior of these politicians as Republicans differed markedly from their behavior as Democrats. The difference was not merely a difference of degree. It was a difference of kind.
Yes, they began acting more like the existing Southern Republicans, as we see from the regional breakdown of the vote tallies of the 1964 Civil Rights Act:

By party and region

Note: "Southern", as used in this section, refers to members of Congress from the eleven states that made up the Confederate States of America ... "Northern" refers to members from the other 39 states, regardless of the geographic location of those states.
  • Southern Democrats: 7–87   (7%–93%)
  • Southern Republicans: 0–10   (0%–100%)
  • Northern Democrats: 145-9   (94%–6%)
  • Northern Republicans: 138-24   (85%–15%)
The Senate version:
  • Southern Democrats: 1–20   (5%–95%)
  • Southern Republicans: 0–1   (0%–100%)
  • Northern Democrats: 45-1   (98%–2%)
  • Northern Republicans: 27-5   (84%–16%)
So the Republicans who voted for the CRA were the kind of Northeastern RINOs and country club elitists the bulk (which is to say, the Southern faction) of the current Republican party hates.

Dr. Goodman then dares us to find "a single Republican candidate openly endorsing racial segregation."  He then mumbles an aside about David Duke, hastily adding that he doesn't count, nor do all the Dixiecrats who joined the Republican party after 1964.
Most Americans today are anxious to put party aside and race too, for that matter.
Except for Eros, who still can't believe that a group of people could actually be so swayed by media propaganda that they would vote against their own economic interests.  He'll be appearing on Fox & Friends Tuesday morning to discuss the matter.
What we should want to know from Herman Cain is what he wants to do for the future, not what he thinks about politics of the past. 
 And especially not what he thinks about certain large rocks that may, in the past, have sat beside the entrance to a hunting ranch which was, many years ago, leased by Rick Perry's family, and which was previously, at some point in the forgotten mists of yesteryear, emblazoned with a word which was, in the past, commonly used to describe the heads of people who were stupid enough to vote Democratic had they actually been allowed to vote.  Nobody cares about excavating all that ancient history, Herman.  We're not frigging archaeologists over here, man.
And on that score, Herman Cain looks really good — especially if you are black and out of work. Cain’s 9-9-9 plan (9% personal income tax, 9% corporate income tax and 9% sales tax) would do much more to get the economy moving than anything being proposed by the Obama administration.
 People who are better educated than I have pointed out that this sounds less like a cogent economic policy and more like a Meal Deal, so I'll just say this: what little I've seen of Cain's plan suggests that it's not the bread that's crazy.