Monday, December 31, 2012

Crappy New Years, Everyone!


New Year’s Evil (1980)
Directed by Emmett Alston
Written by Emmett Alston (story) and Leonard Neubauer (screenplay)

Tagline: "This New Year's, you're invited to a killer party..."

Well, a buzz-killer party, anyway.

Nighttime in the City of Angels. Suddenly, we get sucker punched in the face with music as the focus puller dicks around with the zoom lens in an effort to make a Holiday Inn look sinister. (Frankly, just a shot of those small, scratchy, high school locker room towels would do it for me.)

Pinky Tuscadero is getting ready for her New Year’s Eve TV show (basically she’s Dick Clark without a dick, and sporting a red fright wig made from 100% cruelty-free Bozo pelts) and things aren’t going well. She calls her assistant Yvonne, a young black woman who has ornamented her braids with so many plastic beads that she’s turned her head into a Clacker, and Yvonne reveals that Pinky’s husband Richard won’t be at the show, because he’s in Palm Springs getting stinking drunk, as required by local ordinance.

Yvonne’s shower is dripping, which as anyone who’s ever watched a slasher flick knows, means that blood will soon be flowing. Sure enough, she reaches in to twist the knob and is grabbed by a black gloved hand out of an Italian giallo. A switchblade is clicked open, the music blares, and the attacker pulls the shower curtain in front of the camera so we can’t see the subsequent evisceration, because apparently he has the serial killer equivalent of a “shy bladder.”

Now let’s cut to an Oldsmobile convertible full of fake punks who cruise around and swig from liquor bottles, scream at passersby, and tongue kiss and strangle each other, but mostly spend so much time driving slowly down Hollywood Boulevard that I began to suspect they were this year’s Grand Marshals for the Hollywood Christmas Parade.

Meanwhile, Pinky cruelly ignores her super-pretty blond son when he shows up at her hotel room in a tailcoat and bluejeans to present her with a bouquet of red roses, then watch her implied nudity through the wide open bathroom door (I presume he’s just trying to work on his New Years Resolutions, which seem to read, “#1: Dress more like a character in a John Cougar song. #2: Try Sun-In Hair Lightener in the new convenient pump aerosol” and “#3: Really commit to the Oedipus Complex in ‘81.”)

Pinky launches her live New Year’s Eve broadcast, assuring us that “it’s time to spin out, and boil your hair,” then visits the phone bank, which looks like one of those pledge drives your local PBS station is always having, except the phones are huge and bright red like Commissioner Gordon’s hotline to Batman, and everybody who calls in to vote for America’s Top 40 is a serial killer.

But enough death threats, let’s cut to Shadow, playing their smash hit “New Year’s Evil,” which we just heard in its entirety a minute and thirty-eight seconds ago during the lengthy Hollywood Boulevard credit sequence. But now we get to see the group in action, and while I thought I was pretty familiar with the raw L.A. music scene of the late 70s and early 80s, I honestly didn’t realize how much punk bands were into pink Zubaz.

Cut to our Killer (not Bruce Jenner, but an incredible simulation), who disguises his voice by screaming through a kazoo, and asks the other characters to address him as “Evil” (which seems a little presumptuous, like making up a nickname for yourself and insisting all your friends call you “Speedy” or “Sky Captain.” Plus, if it caught on with the other murderers it could easily put Nancy Grace out of a job). He sneaks into Clifford Sanitarium, where all the demented inmates are watching the TV show and slam-dancing to “New Year’s Evil” while wearing pink hospital gowns (apparently the sanitarium washed their clothes in the same load with a punk band).

Evil dresses up as a male nurse so he can convince a female nurse to drink Almaden brand California Champagne out of urine specimen cups (which admittedly seems redundant) and slow dance by the dialysis machine.

Meanwhile, Pinky phones her hotel room and interrupts her son’s attempt to overdose on barbiturates. Embarrassed that she caught him at a bad time, she promises to call back later, after he’s dead.

Evil and his bad bubbly-swilling buddy climb onto a gurney (with a pink sheet – seriously, is this a motif, or was there some massive RIT Dye spill in the L.A. Reservoir that I never heard about?) and make the Nurse With Two Backs. But as the clock reaches midnight in New York, he turns on his tape recorder, opens his switchblade, and brutally stabs her to death. He’s still suffering from performance anxiety, however, so the actual murder is symbolized by a cutaway to an elderly man in a party hat blowing a paper “tongue” whistle into the camera.  Or possibly I'm just having flashbacks to Un Chien Andalou.

Evil calls Pinky’s show and plays back his murder. But there was a TV on in the background when he recorded it, and his tape recorder has a crappy low-fi mono speaker, and there’s a lot of traffic driving by his phone booth, so it sounds kind of like the low but excitable murmur you get in one of those smaller hotel-casinos off the Vegas Strip – yes, you might be overhearing a brutal murder, but more likely it’s just a middle-aged woman cramming coins into the nickel slots like a French farmwife force-feeding a goose.

Cut to Pinky’s jilted blond son, who’s using a switchblade to angrily slice up a pair of his mother’s pantyhose. Unfortunately, the knife is dull and it seems like a lot of work for someone who’s taken a fatal dose of Seconal and really ought to spend less time on hosiery mutilation and more time slipping quietly into the gentle embrace of Death. But maybe he’s just bored; as we’ve already seen, there’s nothing good on TV.

Blondie pulls the pantyhose over his face and pushes a hatpin through his earlobe. I guess it’s supposed to be creepy, but given the way the reinforced toe flops around on top of his head, he just looks like a Smurf with self-harm issues.

Meanwhile, Evil puts on a big porn mustache, hoping the police will waste precious time arresting John Stossel, and switches up his M.O. by killing a blonde barfly with his dry cleaning. Then he dresses up like a priest and starts cruising for his next victim, but accidentally and ironically rear-ends the Hell’s Angels, who take offense, and suddenly the hunter becomes the hunted, and the chase is on!

But we don't really have the budget for a car chase, so Evil immediately pulls into a drive-in to hide, and we get to watch trailers of other, better slasher films. We also get to watch Terri Copley smoke dope and get a breast exam before she went on to greater, if equally brief fame as the star of the TV movie I Married a Centerfold and the syndicated series, We’ve Got It Made.

The bikers are closing in, so Evil carjacks Terri's ride, grabbing her boyfriend and shaking him down for his keys, then sliding behind the wheel and checking his mirrors and blind spot before pulling slowly and carefully out of the Drive-In – all while Terri stays in the backseat, fussily buttoning up her sweater.  So she had a good 30 seconds to step out of the car, but decided she’d rather spend that time avoiding a nip slip than escaping a serial killer. On the bright side, the abduction guarantees additional screen time.

Terri gets a lucky break when two drunk guys wander in front of Evil (seriously, this guy cannot drive ten feet without hitting something) and he has to stop to exchange insurance information, giving her a chance to run for it. But despite being shapely, she’s really out of shape, and after sprinting for seven or eight yards, she just gives up and leans against a tree to await the inevitable off-camera knifing. (I’m no hero, but if I were going to die anyway, I’d like to think I’d at least try for a first down.) She’s saved by two cops who happen to drive by, notice a film crew shooting without permits, and decide to see what the hell’s going on.

Evil goes to the Holiday Inn where Pinky is broadcasting, and despite phoning in death threats all night, he’s surprised to see that there’s security, and the cops are checking to make sure anyone trying to murder the star got their hand stamped first.

Pinky goes back to her hotel room to change, and discovers her husband Richard dressed in a white track suit and a Stan Laurel mask. This appears to be part of their regular routine, because she seems even less surprised than we are when the mask comes off and we discover that her husband is actually Evil. Please don’t reveal the shocking twist ending.

Pinky boards an elevator with her beefy police escort, but Evil sticks a screwdriver in a junction box, shorting out the elevator and making it plummet down the shaft (at least, according to Pinky and the cop, who flail around like they're on bridge of the Enterprise and helpfully scream, “It’s dropping!”) Then he pulls out the screwdriver, de-shorting the elevator and making it stop. Pinky is fine, but the police officer loses consciousness, which doesn’t bode well for the LAPD (I doubt even Barney Fife could be knocked out by an elevator ride).

Evil gives a long speech justifying his incompetent killing spree; basically, the fact that their son is always mutilating his earlobes and wearing pantyhose on his head and committing suicide means that Pinky is a bad mother.  So he intends to kill her, and afterwards, Evil says, “I’m going to the Rose Bowl game with my boy.” Which is something my dad never would have done for me, because the traffic in Pasadena on New Years Day is cray-cray.

He handcuffs her to the bottom of the elevator, then does the shorting out thing again, but the cops show up and shoot it out with Evil and a stray bullet just happens to de-short the junction box and stop the elevator, which I find totally plausible.

Evil runs up to the roof, dons his Stan Laurel mask, and misquotes Hamlet to the cops, then leaves to browse the Craft Service table while some grips drop a tackling dummy off the building. Crazy Blond Son does a “Twas Beauty Killed the Beast” thing with his father’s track-suited corpse, then collects the mask, which you’d think the police would regard as evidence. But then, it was the Eighties, and their Property Room was probably already overflowing with serial killer masks.

Pinky is loaded into an ambulance, and what do you know, the driver is dead, and her crazy son is behind the wheel, wearing Stan Laurel’s face. I feel kind of bad for the kid – not because he had to do the lame sequel set-up for a movie that didn’t even become a franchise, but mostly because the last person to wear that mask was Evil and his Bruce Jenner hair, and the inside probably reeks of The Dry Look by Gillette.

Meanwhile, the announcer tells us that it’s midnight in Hawaii. Does that mean it’s time for our third reprise of “New Year’s Evil” by Shadow? Why, I think it does. By the way, the end credits are pink too. Which either means I need to adjust my monitor, or this movie was originally shot in black and white, and Ted Turner is just fucking with us.

Happy New Years, guys.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Stand By For Action!

I mean, don't get up if you're comfortable, but if you happen to be standing -- maybe you're in line at Anthropologie to return that Flounced Peplum Tankini, or possibly creating a Year End expense report in Excel at one of those ergonomic stand-up desks, then perhaps you wouldn't mind standing by for action while you're at it.

1.  As you've probably seen, Batocchio of Vagabond Scholar continues to torchbear on behalf of the Jon Swift Memorial Round-Up, featuring the best posts from smaller blogs.  We weren't asked to participate this year (not that I'm bitter), probably because our previous entries all point to a now dead domain.  But this oversight did save us from having to comb through the archives in search of a post that didn't suck, so we're kind of grateful, and as always, happy to catch up on blogs and posts we missed the first time around.  Click the link above for more.

2.  Boy, that last post, about the Japanese author we might call the Jack LaLanne of Anal Fitness, has attracted more spam (and apparently better spam, since an unprecedented amount of it got through -- and continues to penetrate -- the filter) than any other piece we've published since moving to Blogspot.  If it doesn't let up soon, I might have to temporarily re-enable the verification ritual for comments.

By the way, don't blame Keith for this, because he actually submitted a tasteful, even bespoke essay, but I was so intoxicated by Mr. Nishigaki's theories and personal story that I sought out additional excerpts and shoehorned in a few observations during the editorial phase which appear, in hindsight, to have been nothing but naked bot-bait.  On the bright side, if Westworld ever becomes a reality, I can probably get the android prostitutes to sleep with me without having to pony up the price for a ticket to the park.  (The preceding sentence is also likely to excite a lot of spam-bots, so I'm really not helping myself here.)

3.  Holiday Crap Movie Spectacular.  We take our traditions seriously at World O' Crap, and it pained me to miss posting our Annual Wo'C Bad Christmas Movie, but as I mentioned the other day, I was briefly overwhelmed by work and largely confined to rugged and lonely locations with lousy cell phone reception and no Netflix streaming.  However, I intend to make it up to you guys by posting a holiday-appropriate review on New Years Eve.  (Now, if we can manage to coordinate things so you read it while deep in your cups, all the better, but if you can't get to the post until New Years Day that works too, as your hangover will undoubtedly do a better job than I can of simulating the experience of actually sitting through this film.)

Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Falcon and the Snowman, the Phenix and the Anix

By Keith, World O' Crap's ForeSeen is ForeArmed Correspondent
Amazon most satisfying website to shop-survey
Well, I suppose that depends which hand you control the mouse with, and what you're doing with your other hand while you surf.
Amazon bottoms disagree, however, because despite what the Amazon tops seem to think, the bottoms' index is actually exit only.  Plus, ForeSee condoms are a poor substitute for Forex, especially when you've got a latex allergy.
Dec 27 (Reuters) - Amazon.com Inc remained the best website for shopping online while JC Penney Co Inc suffered the largest drop in customer satisfaction of any major online retailer this holiday season, according to a survey released on Thursday.

Flash sale sites Gilt.com and RueLaLa.com were among the worst performers in online shopping satisfaction this season, according to ForeSee's Holiday E-Retail Satisfaction Index.
So while in 2011, we saw a surge in consumers hiring drag queens to flash them, this year people seem to prefer buying the Kindle version of 50 Shades of Gray's Anatomy, or whatever the hell that thing is called.
"The importance of satisfying them and giving a great consumer experience is going to pay back huge dividends in terms of profitability for these retailers," said Larry Freed, president and chief executive officer of ForeSee, which measures customer satisfaction for companies, including retailers.
 ForeSee employs a base-10 logarithmic scale, much like the Richter scale, to measure satisfaction ranging from Fake Moaning Just To Get It Over With In Time For Conan, to Pillow-Biting, to Back Scratching That Leaves Fingernail Polish In The Wound And Requires The Immediate Application Of Neosporin.

I assume that everyone has experienced a happy holiday. I'm also assuming that everyone is also experiencing the post-holiday doldrums, particularly here in the Northeast where the sun shone briefly for ten entire minutes this afternoon and for the first time in at least a dozen days.

Not depressed, really, just looking for some "self-help" advice to get me through the New Year. And off to America's most satisfying shopping website for a truly satisfying web shopping experience.
Just in case that subtitle is a little unclear, it reads: If you constrict anus 100 times everyday. Malarkey? or Effective way?

Here's the book description, via, presumably, the author himself:  "I think constricting anus 100 times and denting navel 100 times in succession everyday is effective to good-bye depression and take back youth. You can do so at a boring meeting or in a subway. I have known 70-year-old man who has practiced it for 20 years. As a result, he has good complexion and has grown 20 years younger. His eyes sparkle. He is full of vigor, happiness and joy. He has neither complained nor born a grudge under any circumstance. Furthermore, he can make #### three times in succession without drawing out.In addition, he also can have burned a strong beautiful fire within his abdomen. It can burn out the dirty stickiness of his body, release his immaterial fiber or third attention which has been confined to his stickiness. Then, he can shoot out his immaterial fiber or third attention to an object, concentrate on it and attain happy lucky feeling through the success of concentration.If you don't know concentration which gives you peculiar pleasure, your life looks like a hell."

How to Good-bye Depression has certainly changed my mood, although not sure if exactly for the better. For instance, I've been performing the simple exercises the author has suggested but now have an upset tummy and, this evening, had to sit on a pillow in order to watch the PBS Newshour.

Before I begin with today's set of contractions, let us conduct research to identify our author.

Amazon is of no help here. They offer only a brief biographical snippet:
Hiroyuki Nishigaki, a graduate of Osaka City University in 1963, resides in Japan. He was employed by the Kyodo News Agency until 1976. He is the author of four books in Japanese, including How to Attain Silent Knowledge, and the author of one book in English Rejuvenation and Unveiled Hidden Phenix
I suppose, Mr. Nishigaki, you have acquired a non-farting attitude and thus have achieved Silent Knowledge. But your method for depression has turned this correspondent into a virtual methane factory that can't be stopped, not even by the EPA.

Now we're really interested. What exactly is the "Unveiled Hidden Phenix?" What exactly is a "Phenix" in the realm of the possible or imagined? Help please, Wikipedia. (And no, I don't have any damn money for you right now so stop asking.)

Thanks to the tireless efforts of Barnes & Noble, you can purchase the Unveiled Hidden Phenix here for $13 (paperback).   But we shouldn't buy a pig in a poke.  Less should we poke a pig, because he might be in the midst of his 100 daily anal constrictions, and assuming he's faithfully kept up this regimen, there's not enough lube in the world.  Anyway, here's the author's description:
Carlos Castaneda accomplished the feat to introduce the ancient Inca-Shamanism (how to beckon the spirit, how to bring up supernatural power or our immaterial fibers or third attention—called a phenix in Egypt—within our bodies, how to become healthy-happy-efficient, and how to fuse with the universe without losing consciousness and live there for 2 billion years) through his 12 best selling books. He sent another new bible to the world.

As I discuss in Rejuvenation and Unveiled Hidden Phenix, I think the following points are essential for us to attain the goal of Inca-Shamanism. They are: stopping your breath automatically, sleeping without losing consciousness, circulating your energy in your physical body, cleaning up your central energy pipe, making the beautiful, strong, energetic core of abdomen flexible and firm, good spine, the secret of physiognomy, good complexion, rejuvenation, fasting, influence of other people and of devils, cutting the pipe of floating devil above your head, good relationship with opposite sex, dependable self-importance, good repentance, imagining powerful men such as Christ and absorbing the power of various voices and of various flights. So, I have added them.
All well and good, but Mr. Nishigaki's bio, while substantially similar to his Amazon C.V., adds an element which I find highly significant:  "A female inorganic ally gave the author the ability of space travel at age of 10 and 56. His first space travel was at the age of 56."

I'm not entirely sure what a space-traveling female inorganic ally is, but I assume that for a brief time Mr. Nishigaki dated a blow-up doll from Starfleet.  Here's the part that really struck me, though:  He was given the ability of space travel at age 10 and did nothing with it!  And we complain that kids today are lazy.  Of course, it was handed to him by an icky old girl, so possibly he was afraid of contracting Space Cooties, but still...  It had to be embarrassing when she showed up again 46 years later, coughed discreetly and said, "Oh, hey, I just happened to find this ability of space travel.  It fell behind that stack of magazines..." (like most red-blooded males, the young Hiroyuki probably spent his adolescence collecting issues of Sphincter! The Nation's Leading Journal of Anal Bodybuilding and stashed them in the attic).

Regardless -- now we are getting somewhere. The Phenix and the Anix are connected through Carlos Castaneda. The missing ingredient was psilocybin. Of course I'm sitting on a pillow. How could I have mistaken the author's intent?

All enjoy yourself a new years happy time. Thanks you for your reading, and likewise your comments most gracious in the production of crap.

--Keith

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A Very Cuchi-Cuchi Christmas!

Here's an old yuletide ad from the days when Frederick's of Hollywood occupied a gorgeous Art Deco building on Hollywood Boulevard, and its Lingerie Museum (featuring the Celebrity Lingerie Hall of Fame) was the envy of curators the world over. (And if Horrors of the Black Museum had been set in Frederick's, and had featured Michael Gough lifting and separating his victims to death with a demi-cup "shelf bra," I think it would have gotten a lot more play in the late night rotation on Cinemax.)

The Lingerie Museum was looted during the 1992 L.A. riots (tragically, while it was hosting the "Treasures of the Vatican Underwear Drawer" exhibition, which featured Papal underpants that had never been seen outside the Lateran Palace before, including many fine bejeweled and brocaded jockstraps that made the Borgia Era Vatican seem like such a party school).  Also, it had some of those nutty cone bras that Madonna used to wear.  But the Christmas spirit prevailed when "[O]ne repentant looter delivered a bag of pilfered celebrity lingerie, including Ava Gardner's 'bloomers' and a push-up bra once worn by TV actress Katey Sagal, to the pastor at nearby Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, Hollywood. An Austin newspaper noted that Blessed Sacrament's pastor 'may be the only priest in America to ever comfort a man who felt guilty about stealing celebrity bloomers.' In an article titled 'Support Is Generous for Bra Museum', the St. Louis Post-Dispatch noted that such an 'uplifting story could only happen in Hollywood.'"

Alas, Frederick's lost its Deco digs during the developer feeding frenzy that accompanied the so-called "Hollywood Renaissance," and is now just a museum-free storefront.  But we still have our memories, and an old catalog from 1967:
...or at least be his Christmas Charo. 

Back in Sixties, Santa, though middle-aged, was still Swingin' enough to be concerned about his virility, so he resorted to the same shoe-black mustache dye favored by Just For Men spokesmodel Joseph Farah, lest Eartha Kitt think he couldn't get an erection.  (Although the fact that he could go en pointe like a prima ballerina should be been all the proof you ladies needed that he was in peak physical condition, and the pipe he's brandishing clearly suggests he likes to get high, so basically it would have been like doing it with a man who combined the Adonis-like physique and Cheech and Chong-like stash of a Michael Phelps, with the raw sexual magnetism of a Denver Pyle.)
But the most important thing I learned from perusing old FredWood catalogs was that the The 50-Foot Woman, when she wasn't Attacking, was smart (note the glasses), married (note the rings), lazy (note the ad copy), and modest, but mildly amused, about being caught in the nude by a right jolly old elf, who I presume she flattened like a mosquito.
Due to the unexpected, but welcome job that dropped into Scott's lap this past week, he wasn't able to watch and deconstruct the traditional Wo'C Bad Holiday Movie, but we should have something up in the next day or so.  In the meantime, from Riley...
 "It's full of stars...!"

 Moondoggie...
 "That's weird, I must have a fever...My forehead feels warm..."

...and the human staff of World O' Crap, have a very Merry Christmas (or War On same), everyone.

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Joe Gillis Report

Hey guys. Sorry about the dearth of posts lately (and many thanks to Keith for stepping in to keep the place running). I'm doing a rewrite job on a movie that's shooting as we speak, and aside from the usual challenges of independent film (little time, less money, and only intermittent Red Vines on the craft service table), I've spent the last couple days in the middle of the desert with subfreezing temperatures, spotty cellphone coverages, and no wi-fi.
The view outside my trailer.  Watch out for snakes!

Additionally, the director doesn't speak a word of English except "No," and my Berlitz phrase book has been failing me in story conferences, because I can't find a good translation for "dickhead."
Today we moved to a less frigid, but also less picturesque location.

We're supposed to wrap on Sunday, so WoC's regular semi-regular posting schedule should continue next week.  In the meantime, if any of our fine stable of guest columnists (Bill S., Chris V., Mary C., Keith) should -- like Jimmy in I Accuse My Parents -- be seized with an essay idea, feel free to email me.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Bring To A Low Boyle

By Keith:

Hi, just hanging out on the couch wondering if I ought to swallow all the 90 little yellow Klonapin pills in the bottle, or buy a gun. Then I found this. As usual, it's a zero-sum game with these folk, namely Matthew Boyle.

I'm enlisting to fight in Andrew Breitbart's war.
I'm enlisting in the Ukranian liquor shop one block south for more serious spirits in which to dissolve the Klonapin stash. If Andrew B. can chew the pavement, why, oh why, can't I?
The political class in Washington has degraded America. Republicans and Democrats blame each other, and nothing gets done. The media exacerbates the problem, fans the flames and encourages false notions of "civility" and "objectivity" while pushing "bipartisanship" that doesn't actually solve problems.

Matt, think "aggravate" is more appropriate, leave "exacerbate" to fools like yourselves who can't think their way out of a Lipton "Flow-Thru." Also, "fanning the flames" never works unless prevailing winds are in your favor. Always apply more fluid to the charcoal if you really want dinner sooner than later, then let the odor dissipate before grilling.
While this charade perpetuates indefinitely, America grows weaker. She’s digging herself deeper into debt and isn’t even searching for solutions to her problems. Entitlements and government overspending gets worse every day while laws go unenforced and Americans are murdered in terrorist attacks. Nobody in Washington seems to care.
No one in my neighborhood (Hell's Kitchen) has been murdered in a terrorist attack. We do have murders, but Matt, I don't think you would be interested because they are garden variety murders, committed due to financial or social despair. (If real money or real fertilizer were involved in these murders that might attract your attention.)
The institutional left thrives in this declining environment. Record numbers of people are on the government dole instead of being excited to work and succeed. So-called “social justice” is implemented in place of real justice. Kids across the country are fed “Occupy” propaganda in school after their teachers take away their home-made lunches in place of “cafeteria nuggets.”
In light of recent events, I would say they were fed "lead nuggets."

Matt, I'm so excited to "work" that I rise every morning and after fifty push-ups, one hundred jumping jacks, pull-ups, dips and finally my favorite energy suppliment -- become spiritually committed to finding gainful employment. Unfortunately I'm on that "dole" you speak of with such sub-reverence, and looking at my government-sponsored "Klonapin" right now. Those little pills would go down great with a half-pint of cheap vodka.
Many political consultants and career politicians on both the left and the right think this is a game. It’s not.

No Matt, it is not a game. It is nothing more than a grand swindle perpetrated by career kleptos.

If anything, you're the game, Matt. Like Andrew, you are not likely to taste very well -- even when tenderized in the wood-chipper and well-marinated for 24 hours.
The journalists at Breitbart News know that. And they show it day in and day out. That’s why I’m joining them.

For the past few years, I’ve worked as a reporter at The Daily Caller. It’s been the best time of my life. I learned a lot. I broke several stories. But in my time there, I’ve seen some really bad things happening to our country.
Let's have a roll-call of some of the important stories Matt has "broken" for The Daily Caller, in order of importance.

Title:  Hurricane Sandy Allows Time, Inc., Fortune magazine to delay response to Fast and Furious whistleblower's libel lawsuit
Number of Paragraphs: Three.
Dominant Intended Context: Everyone knows that the UN controls the planet's interlocking weather systems.
Most Likely Context: Collapse of electrical and telephone infrastructure due to flooding renders everything south of 34th Street on Manhattan Island useless. All federal, state and city courts are shuttered.
Quality: Poor to useless, but marginally better than the guy at the above referenced Infowars link who replaces vowels with numbers in order to throw off the NSA and confuse the Illuminati.

Title: First-ever transgender elected official resigns after felony past discovered
Number of Paragraphs: Eight.
Dominant Intended Context:  Misappropriation of a Penis is a Class B felony, making all transgenders a Menace 2 Society (suck it, NSA!). We're better off without her or the rest of 'em.
Most Likely Context: Misrepresentations when pursing public service never helps one's cause.
Quality: Tacky, Useless. High paragraph count indicates this article was lifted from the Laconia Daily Sun, as well as The Advocate.

Title: Bidens renew Costco membership cards day before VP's surprise store visit
Number of Paragraphs: Eleven.
Dominant Intended Context: Biden family hypocritical, would never, ever stoop so low as to shop at Costco, despite very good bargains for practical bulk household items.
Most Likely Context: Biden family ignored repeated reminders to renew their Costco Membership.
Quality: Usual Cut & Paste job from other sources too numerous to mention. Poor to useless.
Unexpected Bright Spot: After submitting the piece, Boyle's CNTL and C keys required a pricey Geek Squad service call.

Anyway, Matt, these are some really swell scoops you've cracked wide open. I wish you luck on your next endeavor, and future endeavors as well. Why? Because you're going to need all the luck you can muster.
Political consultants and politicians of both Democratic and Republican stripes profit off the status quo. So does the mainstream media.
Sicut in amet media, ut in fimbria (As in mainstream media, so as in fringe).

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Have a Very Constructivist Christmas

Hollywood is a city of hermit crabs.  If you loiter on the corner of Hollywood and La Brea and look east, toward the touristy environs, most of the major buildings that defined the Boulevard in the 1920s are still standing.  There are some sad exceptions of course, such as the Hollywood Hotel, but the majority of the marquee names -- the Chinese, Egyptian, Pantages, and El Capitan theaters, the Montmartre building, the Hotel Christie, the Masonic Lodge, Capitol Records, and the Doctor Greenleaf Medical Marijuana Clinic -- have endured.  A few have even retained a semblance of their original form and function, but most have been repurposed over the last eight decades.  The Hollywood Theater is now a Ripley's Believe It Or Not; the Vogue Theater is a nightclub for homesick Eurotrash, the old Warner Theater (featured in Plan 9 From Outer Space) is a church, the Broadway Hollywood department store has undergone a painful condo conversion, the News-View newsreel theater now serves a Spanish-speaking congregation, after a prolonged pupal stage as a Pussycat Theater (where a double bill of Deep Throat and The Devil in Miss Jones ran for eight straight years) while the gorgeous S.H. Kress five and dime store became Frederick's of Hollywood, then a restaurant and nightclub, and ultimately a boarded-up monument to Fail.

While I don't have use for any of these new occupants, I'm glad their host organisms have survived, since every example of new construction on Hollywood Boulevard is uniformly hideous.  Which brings us to our local church.

The Fifth Church of Christ, Scientist, 1948.

Built in 1914-1915, its neoclassical facade reminds of a line from Mystery Science Theater 3000, "Visit your government church!"  But it perfectly fit the mentality of Silent Era Hollywood, which like a lot of boom towns had more money than prestige, and made liberal use of the former in an effort to buy the latter.

However, come the Atomic Age, this pile of Greek Revival began to strike the Christian Scientists as unbearably quaint, so in 1959 they gave it a futuristic make over:
There’s a great, big, beautiful tomorrow
Shining at the end of every day
There’s a great, big, beautiful tomorrow
And tomorrow’s just a dream away

But a couple of years ago Christ, Scientist (A Quinn Martin Production) packed up and moved on, and a group of hipster clergy took over, rebranding the church as "MOSAIC."  Now it's all grunge folks masses and liturgical breakdancing, or however it is that hipsters worship, and last week they put up their Christmas tree on the lawn:
And by "put up their tree" I mean "pulled out their Makita tools and painstakingly assembled it," which left me pondering a question I hope you guys can answer (click to embiggen):

Public art installation, or prefabricated bonfire?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

E Pluribus Unum, E Coli...What's the Diff?


John Stossel has two questions for you:

1.)  What's the point of having a big-ass mustache if you can't twirl it?
2.)  Why don't you people just die already and decrease the surplus population?  Or more important, the surplus regulations.
Food Bunk

With America's "fiscal cliff" approaching...
Actually, this raises a third question.  Driving off the edge of a cliff is scary, but generally easy to avoid (unless you're in Thelma & Louise or a Warner Brothers cartoon, and even then it's manageable, since if it's the former, you meant to do that, so shut up, and if it's the latter, then you're safe as long as you don't look down), but what do we do when dangerous geographical features start driving toward us?  I realize the mountain went to Mohammed (only because it had been like three months and Mohammed still hadn't returned the Mountain's hedge trimmers), and I have it on reliable authority that the hills are alive (and have fairly keen eyesight), which is fine, but I am not prepared to be chased around town by a cliff.  Unless it's Cliff Richard, because I'm pretty sure I could snap him in half like a stale breadstick.

...pundits wring their hands over the supposed catastrophe that government spending cuts will bring. A scare newsletter called "Food Poisoning Bulletin" warns that if government reduces food inspections, "food will be less safe ... (because) marginal companies ... (will) cut corners."
This makes no sense, because if they're cutting corners, why would these marginal companies add anything to their food?  Salmonella doesn't grow on trees, you know.  Okay, it grows on chickens, but still...Botulism Before Bolshevism.  Amirite?
We're going to die!
The free market solution is for each American to grow out a luxurious nose hair mustache, allowing the elongated cilia -- so effective at filtering dust and pollen, and other particulate matter -- to strain chemicals, bacteria, and viruses from their food.  Admittedly, women, girls, prepubescent males -- pretty much anyone except those old guys who sit on folding chairs in the driveway playing dominoes on upended trash cans -- might need help with cultivation.  Fortunately, there's John Stossel's Nose Hair 'Stache Starter Kit®, which includes a Minoxidil inhaler, a boar-bristle styling wand, and a tub of mustache wax made from the finest jojoba oil and premium beeswax, and available in the following scents:  Carnuba, Soup, Lemon Pledge, and Hippie Candle Shop.
Most people believe that without government meat inspection, food would be filthy.
But most people fail to reckon with the can-do spirit of entrepreneurs like Food Lion, who refuse to settle for filthy food, and bleach their pork when it becomes unsanitary.
We read "The Jungle," Upton Sinclair's depiction of the meatpacking business, and assume that the FDA and the Food Safety and Inspection Service are all that stand between us and E. coli. Meatpacking conditions were disgusting. Government intervened. Now, we're safe! A happy ending to a story of callous greed.
Yep!  Case closed.  So why does your column go on for another 500 words?
The scheming lawyers behind the "Food Poisoning Bulletin" argue that without regulation companies will "cut corners." After all, they say, sanitation costs money, so lack of regulation "creates a competitive disadvantage for companies that want to produce quality products."
Remember when "scheming lawyers" raked in big bucks working for mafia bosses, or heartless insurance companies, or big industries that were secretly dumping hexavalent chromium into the water table?  Now they're scheming to raise awareness about public health issues, and looking out for the little guy, and working pro bono, and it looks like "scheming" has gone the way of "gay" -- yet another word that John Stossel can't use anymore without people quoting The Princess Bride at him.
But that's bunk. It's not government that keeps E. coli to a minimum. It's competition. ...Fear of getting a bad reputation makes food producers even more careful than government requires.
Which is why we no longer have outbreaks of salmonella or e coli.  Because no corporation wants to take the chance of killing a bunch of people and then getting teased about it on Facebook.
Since the Eisenhower administration, our stodgy government has paid an army of union inspectors to eyeball chickens in every single processing plant. But bacteria are invisible!
Portrait of Two FDA Inspectors at Work (2011-2012), John Stossel.  Tempera on Panel.
Fortunately, food producers run much more sophisticated tests on their own. One employs 2,000 more safety inspectors than government requires: "To kill pathogens, beef carcasses are treated with rinses and a 185-degree steam vacuum," an executive told me. She also asked that I not reveal the name of her company -- it fears retaliation from regulators.
Why would regulators retaliate?  Well, while some FDA bureaucrats grudgingly applaud the innovation and ingenuity represented by using a Rug Doctor on a beef carcass, others feel that there simply isn't much to be gained by giving a dead cow a cream rinse.
None of that is required by government. Government regulation may help a little, but we are safe mostly because of competitive markets. Competition protects us better than politicians.
We should return to the days before the Pure Food and Drug Act, when consumers were free to choose between various but equally reputable medicine shows.  Which patent nostrum would better sooth your catarrh -- the laudanum in a suspension of cane syrup, or the admixture of turpentine and bear gall juice?  If only the government trusted you to make that decision.
But people don't trust companies. So it is easy to scare people about food. And the news media know that finding "problems" makes reporters look like crusading journalists. Earlier this year, my old employer, ABC News, "alerted" the public to a new threat, ground beef made with "pink slime."

It sounds awful! ABC's reporting frightened most school systems so much that they stopped using that form of meat. The food company lost 80 percent of its business.

But the scare is bunk. What ABC calls "pink slime" is just as appetizing as other food.
I don't know who or what ate him, but apparently the Pink Panther is a good source of roughage.

"Pink slime," for those who sensibly averted their eyes from this subject, "is a processed beef product that was originally used only in pet food and cooking oil and was not approved for human consumption...It is produced by processing low-grade beef trimmings and other meat by-products such as cartilage, connective tissue and sinew...The recovered beef material is then processed, heated, and treated with gaseous ammonia...The product is finely ground, compressed into pellets or blocks, flash frozen and then shipped for use as an additive."

"Appetizing" is not a word I would use in this case; still, I guess it's better than that time Stossel spent an entire column trying to convince us to grab a pair of tin snips and cut the seatbelts out of our cars.
"Bunk is the polite word," Dan Gainor of the Media Research Center says. "ABC went on a crusade. Three nights in a row back in March, they pounded on this."

Well, why shouldn't they, if there's something called "pink slime" in beef?

"Because it's not pink slime. It's ground beef."
Bacteria respect your branding; just not as much as your gaseous ammonia.  (Can't you just imagine Dan stamping his feet when he said this?  "It's not pink slime, it's not!  It's ground beef that resembles a turd made from bubble gum.")
Scientifically illiterate, business-hating media will always do scare stories. Don't believe them.
Believe media gadflies funded by Exxon Mobil.  And tonight, celebrate your independence from Consumer Reports by enjoying a delicious, char-broiled, soft-serve steak.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Happy Birthday, Carl! I Got You a Twinge of Whinge

Today's the birthday of our buddy Carl (Code Name: Actor212) of Simply Left Behind, who has, for many years now, been illuminating the Wo'C comments section with the brilliant and variegated glow of pure reason.  Or possibly a Light Brite®.  Speaking of which, it's that time of year when Mary starts posting commercials for bizarre, defunct, and/or unholy toys, so let me get the ball rolling with the aforementioned device, which was apparently an early attempt to bring automation to the output of Thomas Kinkade:
(My sister and I actually had a Light Brite.  As far as audio/visual entertainment goes, it made "Pong" seem like the chase sequence from Bullitt, and I would loved to have been in the conference room at Hasbro when they pitched the concept: "It'll allow kids to experience all the fun and excitement of being an 11th Century monk laboring over an illuminated a manuscript, except instead of the Domesday Book, they'll wind up with a crude likeness of Bozo.")

Anyway, in honor of Carl's Scandinavian heritage, here's a picture of squarehead sex symbol Anita Ekberg:
To quote the French: Va-va-va-VOOM.  To quote the Swedish Chef: Bork-bork-bork-BORK!

In other news, December 1st was the 57th anniversary of the day Rosa Parks sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott by refusing to surrender her seat. The White House marked the occasion by tweeting a photo of Obama on the historic bus, taken back in April when he visited the Henry Ford Museum in Detroit.  Perhaps the Undersecretary for Tweeting thought there might be an inspirational symmetry found in an image of the first Black President sitting in the same seat from which the First Lady of Civil Rights was forcibly removed for defying Jim Crow.  But right bloggers  -- particularly Michelle Malkin -- considered the tweet more evidence of Obama's Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and were outraged that he hadn't grabbed a shovel, exhumed Rosa Parks, and propped her corpse up for a photo op.

As you probably know, Michelle Malkin seceded from Twitter and decreed the formation of her own, Mirror, Mirror universe Twitter called Twitchy.com (even the name says, "Dear God, I'm out of meth!"), permitting movement conservatives to post cat pictures and smirk about the inevitability of Mitt Romney's victory without having to endure...um...

You know, I'm not actually sure why Malkin and her followers felt the need for separate, off-brand social media, unless they believed that American On-Line's "walled city" of the early Nineties was the pluperfect approach to Internet architecture, and things only went to hell when AOL began allowing users to slip outside the Secret Garden and taste such forbidden fruits as an Acapulco H.E.A.T. fan page on GeoCities (the animated GIFs of Spencer Rochfort shaped the sexuality of an entire generation).
Narcissist in chief: President Obama honors Rosa Parks anniversary with picture of himself; Update: Adam Baldwin with the win
Three things seem apparent from the brief post that follows:

1)  Michelle Malkin believes the President writes and posts all the tweets in the White House Twitter feed himself; whereas I (admittedly a cynic) doubts he even reads them.

2)  The idea of actors expressing a political point of view is inherently risible, and they should all just stop embarrassing themselves by having opinions, unless they happen to agree with Michelle Malkin, in which case they are winning so hard they could give a critically injured Charlie Sheen a lifesaving tiger blood transfusion.

3)  Michelle can't seem to get through a single tantrum about Obama without veering into weird sexual innuendo.
Just when you think President Obama’s impossibly large ego can’t grow further, he makes it happen!

"Tell me, schatze, is it twue what they say about the way you people are... gifted?"
President Obama loves to insert himself in other people’s biographies.

You know, anything this steamy really ought to have Fabio on the cover, although I personally think  "biography" is one of the worst pet names for vagina I've ever heard, and I can only hope that when Michelle herself is getting close and needs her husband to "make it happen!" she doesn't demand he talk like Peter Graves.  Anyway, for those following along at home, here's the promised BaldWIN:
(Click to embiggen.  But not, alas, to emsmarten.  Also, Note to the Dixie Chicks: fewer protest songs, more anus jokes.)

Please join me in wishing Carl a very happy birthday (I've seen his Facebook page, and he's already attracting a higher quality of sexual innuendo than the President, so he's got that goin' for him...).

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Post-Friday Beast Blogging: The Hunter-Killer Edition

"You want these underpants back, don't you?  Yes...I can sense the hate swelling within you.  Give in to it, and your journey to the Dark Side will be complete.  Take these underpants off the chair, and fulfill your destiny!  Also, cover your junk -- I think we'd all appreciate that."
"There!  I've perfectly blended in with my natural surroundings!...But maybe...just maybe I've blended in a little too perfectly.  I mean, if I'm totally invisible, how will I ever get my butt scratched?  It's not like they randomly scratch the comforter.  Hm.  Maybe I could cough as they walked by?  No -- that might give them a heart attack, or else they'd think the bedding was diseased, and a coughing comforter would probably get burned, like the Velveteen Rabbit...

Curse you, lethal cunning and predatory instincts for turning me into Nature's most perfect killing machine!  Now I'll never get my ass scratched..."

Friday, November 30, 2012

I Now Pronounce You Man and Moons Over My Hammy®

Our friend KWillow mentioned this in comments to the previous post, but I thought it deserved a bump to the front page.  First, let's set up the clip:
Remember my "Mall-themed Wedding"?
Absolutely, K.  It was one of the wittiest (and yet, oddly, most practical) of the many amusing responses to Mary's Ultimate Wedding Theme Smackdown Challenge:

I like the idea of a wedding in a Mall Food Court, and not a fancy-schmancy mall in Hollywood neither, more like a mall in, say... Reno, or Fresno CA... Orange Julius/Dairy Queen will provide the ice-cream-cone wedding cake, Sbarro's will share food catering with Hot Pot Asian cuisine, McDonald's will bestow the "bibelots" from their Happy Meals on the Bride's (dress from Hot Topic, accessories from Claire's) friends. Grooms clothes will come from Tuxedo Junction and Bridesmaids dresses from Victoria's Secret.

Shoes from Payless Shoe Barn (half-off 2nd pair!). Bridal bouquet from Michael's: it'll never wither!
Liquor will be cheap "white wine" and "rose" from a box, purchased at a nearby Walmart (tho not a part of the mall, the price was too good to pass up!) "André" will be the champagne for toasting the happy couple, with Orange Julius stepping in with complimentary OJ.
Ohhh, K...What gossamer threads of whimsy and fantasy you weave with your delirious flights of fan--

I'm sorry, you had a follow-up?
Denny's read my comment obviously....
Oh oh...
Denny's new Las Vegas restaurant puts weddings on the menu
Denny's, the 24-hour American diner, opened a restaurant on Thursday in Las Vegas with a wedding chapel where couples can tie the knot after a meal of bacon, peanut butter and bananas between two slices of French toast finished off with a bacon vodka chaser.
So apparently, holding a solemn wedding ceremony requires not only planning, but also the purchase of an entree and beverage.  There are only two problems I can see with this approach. 1.) if you serve the food and drinks first, then Uncle Roger will puke on the Maid of Honor during the ceremony rather than the reception, so you might want to go with a patterned fabric for the bridesmaid dresses, and bear in mind that muted, autumnal hues generally do the best job of hiding the stains of half-digested bacon and peanut butter French Toastandwiches®.  And 2.) If the pre-wedding reception takes place before 5 PM, they might not honor my Coffee Coupon.
The restaurant is near the Las Vegas strip on historic downtown Fremont Street. Its modern curves, neon and steel are meant to fit in with the city's "over the top" feel
That'll be a refreshing change.  If there's one criticism I might level at the typical Denny's, it's that the architecture and appointments are a trifle bespoke. 
"A normal Denny's is not going to cut it in Vegas," she said, adding that the restaurant is the first of 1,700 Denny's worldwide that will have a wedding chapel and photo booth. It is one of fewer than 50 Denny's with a full bar.
Only 50?  It's rather shocking to realize that in most Denny's today -- thanks to antiquated blue laws and restrictive zoning -- it's impossible to get cut in the face with a broken beer bottle, and the average customer must still -- in 2012! -- settle for getting shanked in the parking lot. 
The restaurant's neighbours include a zip line that carries visitors above street-level traffic and a restaurant that holds a Guinness Record for the highest-calorie burger. The area soon expects to have what is being billed as the world's largest gay nightclub.
"Woo!  I'm really digging this hard house!  So...!  You come to Denny's often?"

Book your wedding now, and be eligible to dine from our Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Menu (for a limited time only), featuring such middle earthy fare as the Hobbit Hole Breakfast Scramble, and Gandalf's Gobble Melt.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Hollywood Parade Confidential

The venerable Hollywood Christmas Parade has come and gone, and thanks to some grainy, Zapruder-like shots of the backstage area, Wo'C got a glimpse of the contentious, off-the-record tussle between the Media and certain besieged celebrities that took place just before the event:
REPORTER:  Mr. Kermit!  What was your reaction to the recent accusations against Elmo!
KERMIT:  No comment!  I said,  no comment!
REPORTER:  But why won't you address the growing concern about --
KERMIT:  Because I have the right as a Muppet to have no comment and who the hell are you to tell me I can or not?  Besides, I don't even know this "Elmo"...
ELMO:  Hey, Kermit!  Buddy!  Over here!

KERMIT:  Look...Whatever allegations may have been made in other contexts or venues, they have no relevance to the current situation, and do not in any way reflect on the integrity of the Hollywood Christmas Pa--
SMURF:  I've got a vagina!
GRINCH:  Yesss...Yes you do...

Thursday, November 22, 2012

There's More Wattles Around Here Than The Reagan Administration

Jean Arthur and Lillian Roth hunt down Early American pants thieves in Pardon My Blunderbuss!

Happy Turkey Day, guys.  I hope whatever your plans for the day, they come off smoothly, without stressful traffic, discomfiting diatribes from conspiracy-quoting relatives, or untoward diplomatic incidents with your Native American hosts.

Mary and I are traveling about 11 feet today, from the bedroom to the living room (well, she's going all the way into the kitchen, so it's probably more like 15½ for her, which is why I advised her to leave early), and will be having something food-like while watching Santa Claus Conquers the Martians.

And in that spirit, enjoy a quick compilation of classic bumpers from the Mystery Science Theater 3000 Turkey Days of yore:

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Red Dawn at Morning, Critic Take Warning

Friend o' the blog acrannymint reminded us that today marks the debut of the long awaited Red Dawn remake, which has been sitting in the can, relentlessly testing its shelf life for the past three years like some weird David Blaine stunt.  What caused the delay of this hot and eagerly anticipated film?  Well, it was shot in 2009, the same year Obama took office, so clearly Hollywood was hesitant to offend the Powers That Be by releasing a movie that tells the truth about Kim Il Jong's plans to conquer America by sneaking his army into the U.S. and having them plug in a bunch of blenders and blow combs and VCRs all at once, thereby tripping our national circuit breakers and making it impossible for us to retaliate because our clock radios would be all screwed up and our armed forces would oversleep.  Also, taking out the electrical grid in the Pacific and Mountain Time Zones would render it impossible for the Navy to launch ICBMs from sea, because apparently our submarines are all electric now and are connected to the mainland power grid by really long extension cords.

Anyway, cranny went on to write, "In honor of the new version, you really need to repost the original" review, which appears in Better Living Through Bad Movies (in fact, we devote an entire chapter to it).  So here you go.  We hope to compliment this with a review of the remake, as soon as certain financial reverses reverse themselves.  In the meantime...WOLVERINES!
Red Dawn (1984)
Directed by John Milius
Written by John Milius (the semen stains on the screenplay confirm this) and Kevin Reynolds. Story by Kevin Reynolds

The story of Red Dawn is familiar to anyone who had a C. Thomas Howell-induced wet dream during the mid 1980’s: Russians and Nicaraguans invade the United States after the Soviet Union suffers its “worst wheat harvest in 55 years,” which somehow allows them to conquer the world. I found this perplexing but inspiring, since I was recently fined for putting a Rubbermaid storage tub on my balcony. Taking a leaf from the Commie playbook, I poured a bottle of Round-Up into the planter in the courtyard and killed the hydrangeas, which should permit me to conquer the Condo Board and rule the Homeowners Association with an iron hand.

Anyway, this lurid peek into John Milius’ porn collection clocks in at a surprisingly epic 1 hour and 54 minutes, which admittedly sounds long until you actually watch it, at which point you’ll swear that sometime prior to the closing credits the Sun collapsed into a neutron star and humanity evolved into a species of pure energy.

Our film opens in South Park, Colorado. It’s a typical all-American commuity, except they apparently  don’t have cable TV, which means that 1) nobody has been able to switch on CNN and see that the Red Army has invaded America, and 2) they won’t be able to enjoy this movie when it eventually enters heavy rotation on HBO with Ice Castles and The Beastmaster.

Patrick Swayze drops his brother Charlie Sheen and Some Other Guy off at South Park High, whose football team is named…the Wolverines. (Pay attention! Later in the movie this seemingly trivial detail will become an extremely important source of irritation.) It finally dawns on the oblivious townsfolk that something is amiss when Soviet spetsnaz troops parachute onto the campus and blow up the cafeteria. (Apparently their battle plan read: 1) Secure major access roads. 2) Detain local authorities. 3) Destroy all stockpiles of Sloppy Joes and Sporks.)

In the midst of the invasion, Patrick roars back into the parking lot to pick up Charlie and Some Other Guy. Bullets and rocket propelled grenades are flying around the school, teachers are being cut down by machineguns, busses are exploding and burning, but none of the kids seems all that upset, since this basically gives them the equivalent of a Snow Day.

Cut to: a bumpersticker that reads, You’ll Get My Gun When You Pry It From My Cold Dead Hands. Pan down to the vehicle’s owner, who is lying dead in the street with a gun in his cold hand. A kindly Russian soldier pauses to make the corpse’s dream come true.

Patrick collects a motley assortment of future direct-to-video stars and drives them to a service station/armory run by C. Thomas Howell’s dad. Suddenly, there’s an explosion in a distant vacant lot, and Patrick realizes the special effects crew is closing in on them. Under Dad’s expert guidance, they quickly gather up survival gear (soup, toilet paper, a football) and weapons (.38 revolvers, Red Ryder BB guns, Jarts) and pile into Patrick’s pickup.

They get about ten feet before the truck breaks down. The only way to fix it?  Urinate into the radiator. (Although the truck bed is overloaded with supplies, no one thought to bring Antifreeze, or even a bottle of water. They do have several crates of New Coke, however). It should also be noted that co-scenarist Kevin Reynolds again celebrated the salutary effects of man piss ten years later in Waterworld, where the Kevin Costner character is introduced gulping down his own pee like a Jello shot. Anyway, having voided their bladders for the cause of freedom, the daring neo-Minute Men of Red Dawn resume their panicky flight.



Meanwhile back in South Park, the Soviet day players are conquering the hell out of the town. Suddenly, through the billowing fog of war strides Cuban revolutionary Ron O’Neil as Commandante Super Fly! A breathless subordinate tells the Commandante that U.S. Army tanks are approaching the town!

Super Fly doesn't care -- main battle tanks are easy.  What really worries him are the local Tea Party patriots who might just decide to open a can of Second Amendment whoop-ass; for the Commandante knows that these doughy, middle aged men have honed their predatory instincts through many a half-drunken Saturday afternoon spent firing randomly into clumps of sagebrush in an effort to wing a pen-raised quail. The Commandante orders a couple of loitering soldiers to go stop the Third Armored Division, while he routs the real enemy by sorting through a file cabinet at the sporting goods store.

How did it come to this? U.S. soil, invaded and occupied by the Red Army and the Buena Vista Social Club! Well the movie was made in 1984, which means the invasion took place during the end of Ronald Reagan’s first term of office, a time when the President was admittedly having trouble focusing on details. (He later delivered a stirring mea culpa: “A few months ago I told the American people I did not let Russians and Cubans invade the United States. My heart and my best intentions still tell me that’s true, but the facts and the evidence tell me it is not.” Good enough for me, Dutch!

Still, you have to wonder why we didn’t annihilate the invading Soviet forces with any of those tens of thousands of thermonuclear weapons on our ICBMs, B-1 bombers, and submarines. Well, the answer to that is two little words: Good sportsmanship. Or we were so busy watching The Fall Guy and Finder of Lost Loves that we didn't notice we'd been invaded until the Russians were waiting for their luggage at the Denver Airport.

Meanwhile, the Band of Brothers and Other Guys have reached the mounains, and are camping beside their piss-powered 4x4. Several of our sniveling heroes suggest that the only rational course is surrender, but Patrick Swayze is visibly a’swell with the spirit of patriotic defiance, and will brook no whisper of capitulation. He delivers a spine-tingling oration that puts Henry V’s St. Crispin’s Day speech to shame, with lines like “Here, haul ass, take your shit!” and “This is your chance—git walkin’!” Patrick and Charlie Sheen spontaneously hug. Patrick shakes hands with Richard Beymer from West Side Story, then they all snuggle in close as Patrick explains that he and Charlie have been coming up here to Brokeback Mountain for a lot of years, and they can hunt and fish and avoid the invading Soviets and their increasingly suspicious wives for a long time.

It’s now October. Patrick, Charlie, and C. Thomas are all heavily accessorized with pine boughs and ferns (apparently they took time out from the insurrection to appear in the second season of Project Runway). The camouflage suggests that these nascent guerrillas will use their command of wood lore to approach their enemies unseen, or  else we caught them in the middle of some cosplay fantasy in which Treebeard gets it on with that talking apple orchard from The Wizard of Oz.

C. Thomas shoots a stag, and Patrick and Charlie haze C. by making him drink its blood. “You gotta do it,” Patrick says, handing him a cup full of steaming gore. C. gazes queasily into his beverage as Charlie solemnly nods and murmurs, “Then you’ll be a real hunter.” Well, then you’ll be an easily browbeaten moron with a mouthful of bloodborne ruminant parasites, but let’s not quibble.

C. obligingly chugs it down and then grins at them through his blood mustache, and they all exchange manly, plasma-soaked handshakes. Charlie leans in close and confides to C., “My dad said, once you do that, there’s gonna be somehing different about you.” Yeah. It’s called Lyme disease. Enjoy.

As the group opens its last can of Campbell’s Chunky Smoked Chicken with Roasted Corn Chowder, they figure, hey, it’s been a month; they really ought to head to town and find out what happened with their families and that whole invasion thing.

As they approach South Park, Patrick, Charlie and Other Guy are shocked to see that people are strolling around freely, the streets are safe and quiet, the stores are open, and unlike, say, Baghdad in 2003, the town apparently has running water and more than 3 hours of electricity a day. So the main thing I learned from Red Dawn is that George W. Bush should have subcontracted the invasion of Iraq to the Cubans.

Our heroes learn the Commie forces have rounded up local men in violation of the Geneva Convention, and thrown them into a makeshift camp where they rot away without due process. Fortunately the prison is at the drive-in, so the boys can visit their impounded families and still catch that double feature of Blame It on Rio and Police Academy 2: Their First Assignment.

But when they approach the camp under cover of darkness, the boys are aghast at the conditions. Prisoners are beaten mercilessly during interrogations and kept outdoors in a chain link enclosure like animals.  A voice drones constantly over the loudspeaker, “America is a whorehouse,” while soul-crushing propaganda images flash on the screen, interrupted occasionally by that “Let’s All Go to the Snack Bar” commercial.

Patrick and Charlie find their father, Harry Dean Stanton, who takes rather smug satisfaction in the news that his sons are alive.  He gloats, “See? I was tough on you—did things that made you hate me,” but apparently his unique brand of discipline—the verbal abuse, the floggings with extension cords, the forced chugging of doe blood—it built character. So I guess the joke’s on them.

Dad sternly orders Patrick and Charlie to never cry again for the rest of their lives, then he’s dragged away, shrieking, “Avenge me! AVENGE ME!”  The boys turn and saunter off, their body language seeming to say, “Yeah. Sure. We’ll get right on that, Pop.”

After the motivational death of their dad, Patrick, Charlie and C. head on over to Old Man Exposition’s farm, where they learn that South Park is in "O.T.," (which stands for "Occupied Territory") while the far side of Brokeback Mountain is “F.A.” (which I assume is product placement for "Franco-American," the makers of SpaghettiOs).

Old Man Exposition tries to cheer up C. by revealing that the Russians shot his Dad on account of all the guns and Fresca they took from his gas station. C. feigns grief by letting out an ear-splitting shriek, then turning to the farmer’s wife and burying his face in her ample and wizened décolletage (which is as close as we ever get to sex in this movie).

As a consolation prize, Old Man Exposition gives the boys his granddaughters (Lea Thompson and Jennifer Grey) as a consolation prize. He also gives them horses; Jennifer gets her own stallion, but Lea has to ride behind C., and she mounts up with a look that seems to say, “As soon as they yell ‘cut!’ I’m calling my agent and accepting that Howard the Duck offer!”

Our heroes finally start the revolution by murdering three Russian tourists who were in the midst of comically mistranslating a Forestry Service dedication plaque. But they do a crappy job of it, and only succeed in maiming the unarmed men.  However, Patrick corners one of the helpless victims, and summoning the courage of his frontier forefathers and our 46th Vice President, shoots him in the face. (And then presumably drinks his blood. Rules are rules.)

Jennifer and Lea also prove their mettle by catching up to another seriously injured man as he crawls pathetically on hands and knees, and shooting him in the back with a submachinegun. Apparently, this baptism of fire turns them into radical lesbian feminists, because later they angrily refuse Charlie Sheen’s suggestion that they do the dishes. Charlie can’t understand their righteous indignation, but for the sake of union cohesion he grudgingly tries to make peace by offering to pay them for sex.

The Russians line up two dozen townspeople in front of a firing squad, either in reprisal for the Wolverines' attack, or because they're singing a rendition of “America the Beautiful” that’s really off-key and grating. (Here’s a tip for future victims of Russo-Cuban atrocities: When you get to the “above the fruited plain” part, never go up an octave on “fruited” if you just don’t have the range for it.)  Commandante Super Fly orders the civilians gunned down before the local guerrillas can attack, and particularly before they get a chance to belt out that stupid “O beautiful for Pilgrim feet” line.

Charlie observes the massacre while dressed like a sheave (with the coming of fall, our heroes have naturally switched from ferns to wheat and wild grasses to preserve that Fashion Forward look). When he later returns to Brokeback and reports the mass murder, he breaks down and weeps bitterly until Patrick grabs him and screams, “Don’t cry! Don’t you ever cry again as long as you live!  Don’t do it!” He tells Charlie, who just saw their father murdered, to let his grief “turn into something else.” Perhaps a butterfly, or a Pop-Tart—he doesn’t specify.

Back to the uprising. Jennifer Grey destroys a Soviet tank by giving the crew a booby-trapped picnic basket (as seen in Yogi Bear: The Final Conflict). Then, “the greatest pro-gun movie ever” proves that your deer rifle really ain’t gonna cut it come the Conquering Commie Horde, because suddenly our heroes have rockets and grenade launchers, Kalashnikovs and .50 machine guns. They proceed to
slaughter the highly trained Soviet paratroopers, pausing only occasionally to below, “Wolverines!” (Originally the insurgents called themselves “The Magilla Guerrillas,” but the brand performed poorly in focus-testing.)

Just when you thought things couldn’t get any more tedious, the Russkies shoot down Top Gun Colonel Powers Boothe (callsign “Backstory”), who tells the kids that America was conquered by illegal aliens. Apparently, itinerant farm workers opened the door and “the whole Cuban and Nicaraguan armies just waltzed right in” and took over the whole country. I don’t know about you,
but my support for that UFW grape boycott is over!

The seasons pass. In real time. The snows come, and Patrick takes to wearing a white burnoose like Lawrence of Arabia. Some tanks suddenly appear and things get confusing: Ralph Macchio dies, and he wasn’t even in this movie.

Richard Beymer goes to town, and in an astonishing twist, he’s betrayed by his own father, captured by the Russians and tortured until he swallows a tracking device that will lead the invaders right to the Wolverines! Finally! Something exciting happens—too bad it all happens off screen and we just get to hear about it later. Oh well.

Patrick decides to shoot Richard in the face, because frankly, he does one thing, and he does it well. Afterwards, he sits alone and sobs, the little hypocrite, while mooning over a picture of two 8-year old boys in Little League uniforms. This is never explained, which I think is all for the best.

The Russians decide to insult the Wolverines' intelligence by pushing crates of food off moving trucks to lure them into a trap, and they decide to fall for it. Our heroes collect and devour the provisions—providing further proof, as if any were needed, that there is nothing more exciting in an action film than the sight of people eating cornflakes--while the director seizes this belated opportunity to give his characters a shred of personality by having Jennifer Grey squeeze orange juice onto Patrick’s head.

Suddenly, a Soviet attack helicopter appears and shoots Jennifer in the gut, which is tragic, because only moments ago she was so alive, dribbling citrus juice on a mediocre actor’s do-rag. Patrick shouts, “Nobody shoots Baby in the gut!” and throws her onto his horse and rides away, but accidentally drops her.

C. thrusts his rifle in the air and bellows, “Wolverines!” which the Russians interpret as a request to shoot him with a variety of projectiles until he is primarily a stain. Meanwhile Jennifer, despite taking a small rocket through the sternum and falling off a galloping horse is still alive, which seems kind of cruel (what the hell do you have to do to get out of this movie?) and she quite reasonably asks Patrick
to shoot her in the face. But suddenly he’s too much of a whimpering little pussy to pull the trigger.

“Give me a grenade,” she whispers. “I don’t want to be too cold.” Yeah.  That’ll warm you right up. She explodes, taking one of the Russkies with her.  Unfortunately, when it comes time to put her together again after the stunt, they can't find her original nose and she has to go with a loaner.

Back at Red Army HQ, tender, haunting music plays while Commandante Super Fly writes a voice over to his wife, complaining about the weather. It's a beautiful and moving scene, surprisingly evocative of Ken Burns' The Civil War.  ("My Dearest Consuela...Snow blankets this land in the chill mantle of death.  My heart is heavy for want of you, and my soul is sick with the desolation of war.  So many of my comrades lie dead or wounded, the people stare at us with the dull, sullen gaze of caged beasts, and all of our radiators smell like piss.")

Patrick and a Russian Colonel face off in a Wild West style shootout. “You lose,” Patrick sneers, just before the Colonel shoots him to excess.

Although Patrick's lungs now contain a lavish assortment of bullets, he still manages to lift the wounded Charlie -- who's losing a lot of tiger blood -- and carry him to a playground, while Commandante Super Fly watches and whispers, “Vaya con Dios.” They die together, embracing by a swingset.

Meanwhile, Lea and Some Other Guy re-enact the end of The Sound of Music and walk over the mountains to F.A. (turns out it stood for "Free America"). Then she morphs into John-Boy Walton and sums up the Third World War with a pithy and listless voice over which reveals that even though everybody’s dead, we won.

WOLVERINES!!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Why I Should Never Be A Wedding Planner


Most girls grow up, dreaming of how perfect their wedding will be.  Not me. I'm not most girls. Do  you know how I know I'm not most girls? Because my boyfriend became my fiance by turning to me one night while we watched an MST3K episode and muttered, "You wanna go to Vegas and get married?"

I shrugged and said, "Okay."

Based on this exchange, I would probably make a horrible Wedding Planner.

To test this theory (and because I've been stuck on the couch for the last three days with a miserable sinus infection and have already re-read all my comic books), I decided to come up with a variety of Themed Weddings, which I thought were awesome, but which I suspect most women would burn me at the stake for even suggesting.  Which actually makes me want to be a Wedding Planner even more  (I'm a matrimonial masochist, apparently).

So if you don't mind, I'd like to dump the contents of my scratch pad onto the blog and see if any of these ideas tickle your romance bone:

1. The Wedding Themed Wedding:

In this scenario, all the guests would be required to wear the same outfits that they wore to their own nuptials (so the Happy Couple at the altar would be competing with pews full of women in poufy white gowns and men in hired tuxedos and polyester cummerbunds). But what if you've never been married?  Well, chances are you've still been in a wedding, so protocol would oblige you to wear that outfit, whether it was a hideous bridesmaid dress or a flower girl's pinafore.

Now I know what you're thinking: "What could this possibly accomplish, besides a lot of rage and humiliation?'  Well, if you're one of those people with a bloated and unwieldy list of Facebook contacts, this should help streamline things, because I guarantee you the day after the ceremony you'll be greeted by a blizzard of "Unfriend" notices.

2. The Saw Themed Wedding:

There comes a point in every reception (usually right about the time when they start doing the "Bunny Hop") where you think, "I'd give my right arm for a good excuse to leave."  Well, here's where we find out just how sincere you really are.

Suggested party favors include petite hacksaws, decorative scythes, and whimsical Chinese Finger Traps that can only be escaped through traumatic amputation.  (As your wedding planner, I would instruct the caterer to put up a sneeze-guard to prevent getting excessive blood spatter on the cake.)

3. The Thunderbirds Themed Wedding:

This theme would require the wedding party to act like Supermarionation characters.  The dress code would include molded plastic wigs, thick, caterpillar-like eyebrows, and words that were completely unsynchronized to your mouth movements, while guests would be encouraged to get into the spirit of the affair by rolling their eyes slowly from side to side, and prancing around like the Lonely Goat Herd from The Sound of Music.

So, those are my horrific Wedding Theme ideas. Do you have a nightmarish nuptial concept? I mean, more horrible and horrifying than mine?

If you do, please share it in the comment thread, and Scott and I will decide the winner based on its degree of horribleness and the likelihood of it helping you shed friends and estrange family.

The winner will have their idea brought to life should Scott and I ever decide to renew our vows.  (Which, I'll grant you, isn't likely.  For instance, unlike most couples who freeze a piece of their wedding cake and eat it on their first anniversary, Scott poured lighter fluid on ours and burned it in the driveway, because that's what he used to do with his Aurora model kits when he was a kid, and at the moment, I couldn't seem to muster a compelling counter argument.)