Friday, May 30, 2014

We Get Stacks and Stacks of Letters

I get a lot of email, most of it unsolicited testimonials for products which don't exist (penis enlargement pills) or which I don't need (uh...penis enlargement pills!).  Some of it comes in the form of marketing for commonplace products, such as fad diets, undermined by delightful misspellings ("Eat This...And Never Die Again!", while others are merely poorly targeted sales appeals for otherwise legitimate products, such as the persistent (and vaguely threatening) reminders I've received lately that a person in my position really ought to take out a reasonable amount of nautical collision insurance.  But rarely do my unknown correspondents ask me about myself; and since posing questions is the mark of a good conversationalist, I thought I should single out the few who really took the time to learn what makes me, Scott Clevenger, tick.

Unfortunately, the question I received today is not one of those casual, light-hearted queries you could imagine Deborah Kerr asking during the "Getting to Know You" number from The King and I . It is, in fact, a serious question, and its seriousness is underscored by following the question with the word "serious" between parentheses, which I just now realized is an entirely different form of punctuation than underscoring, but dammit, there's some (serious) shit going down, and I can't afford to get bogged down in your Shift Key Characters and your Strunks and your Whites! In fact, we've already wasted enough time, and I still have to get quotes over the phone from at least three reputable marine underwriters, just in case I mow down a waterskiing group of Go-Gos with my cigarette boat, so let's just deal with the big issue, the elephant in the room here:

If you do, then the elephant is superfluous. If you don't, then the elephant will unquestionably help you to reach your quota, but then you'll be faced with another question: to shovel its manure, or give up show business.
Hello Scott,
Please excuse the somewhat personal nature of this email, 
Hello, Poopologist Pete! (Since we're being so chummy and personal here, I figured you wouldn't mind if I dubbed you with a pet name. Feel free to call me No-Shit Scott.)
but the information we are about to share below is extremely important for both you and your digestive health.
I gotta admit, your phrasing concerns me, Pete. If there's anything I've learned from Tea Party pols and wingnut pundits, it's that "women's reproductive health" doesn't mean what it says, but is actually a synonym for abortion, therefore I worry that the same is true of "digestive health," and in this scenario the feces is the fetus, so my rights don't matter because your only concern is that I bring every turd to term.
You may not think that you're constipated, but in reality, it is VERY likely that you ARE.
This isn't argument, it's contradiction! Nevertheless, it'll probably make a better than average episode of Crossfire. "On the right! An email scam! On the left! Some blogger's blocked-up colon!"
You see, constipation is not simply "not being able to go", or only eliminating once a week...that's severe constipation. The truth is, a healthy digestive system should be eliminating after every meal.
In fact, if you're waiting until after the meal to release the bounty of your bowels, you're toying with death, so play it safe and shit yourself during the dessert course!
Are you moving your bowels several times a day, once for every meal you eat? 
Well, I certainly move myself several times a day (usually to the kitchen or the living room sofa), and whither I go, goest my bowels, because -- and forgive me for boasting -- I have a very Story of Ruth-style relationship with my lower G.I. tract.
If not, you are suffering from constipation, which will cause a build up of toxins and undigested, rotten, putrid food in your digestive system.
Unfortunately, thanks to a reduction of USDA food inspections going back to the Reagan Administration, that's pretty much the way it goes in.
This can make it much harder for you to lose fat while also wreaking havoc on your digestive system and overall health...really bad stuff. 
But is bad stuff better or worse than (serious stuff)? Maybe (serious stuff) is not as bad because it's only a parenthetical, or perhaps the punctuation marks are like the French horns in Peter and the Wolf, only in this case the parentheses represent your crap-choked colon?
Just imagine all that rotted, disgusting food sitting there in your digestive system...yuck!
You don't get a lot of second dates, do you?
Fortunately, this can be corrected rather quickly, with a few simple steps:

CLICK HERE==> 4 tips for healthy digestion and regular bowel movements
I didn't actually click the link, because I think I've got the gist: brush your teeth twice a day, but defecate after every meal. And don't just relieve yourself, really let go, punch that toilet water like a depth charge, hose down the stall walls like your anus was a Wagner Power Painter. And when you're finished, don't light a match, because lingering bathroom odors keep the Grim Reaper away.

I realize this topic is a little outside our normal bailiwick, but I thought it was an important PSA.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

I Liked the Baptists Better When They Were Making "Plan 9"

Bill S. was kind (?) enough to send me the following trailer for a new blockbuster film from American Family Studios, Accidental Activist. As you might have guessed, AmFamStu is a subsidiary of Donald Wildmon's non-profit hate group, the American Family Association (where our old friend Bryan Fischer is "Director of Issues Analysis," which doesn't really make sense as a job description, until you remember that Tobias Funke was "an analyst and a therapist -- the world's first analrapist," so Bryan's title probably just means he's the nation's foremost authority on anal electrolysis. Keep Crack Canyon SMOOTH, boys and girls!)

Anyway...Accidental Activist starts with a young Maggie Gallagher asking our hero, Ted, if he'd like to sign a petition. He instantly snaps, "Yes!" before thinking to ask what it's for, I guess because he just really likes to sign his name. Maybe his best subject in school was Cursive, and he's like one of those former high school football heroes who are always hanging out on the sidelines, trying to relive their glory days.  But the petition is to "protect traditional marriage!" (please enjoy the actress's brutally chirpy line reading, which lets us know she has only love in her heart -- if a bit of hate in her petition) and before you know it, Ted is "Crucified For His Beliefs," just like our Lord and Savior, although unlike Jesus, Ted kind of tries to weasel out of it.

The Gays, however, are having none of that.  Soon, Ted is reduced to weepy despair, complaining that just because he wants to deprive certain American citizens of their civil rights, people think he's a bigot, and suddenly homosexual baristas and femmy newscasters are coming out of the woodwork to torture him with stern talkings-to.  "I shouldn't have signed that petition," he cries to his wife, who doesn't get a single line in the trailer. "It's going to cost us everything!"

Fortunately, a Black preacher shows up to organize an American Spring-style rally for Ted, telling him that he is Heaven's chosen warrior against the gays.  "If you believe that God oversees our lives," he intones, "You can't look at this like a fluke." Particularly not a Sandra Fluke.  And then he zings Ted (and through Ted, us, the audience) with a potent, yet poetic political metaphor: "Like the wind blew you to the left...when it should've blown to the right."

As Coming Attractions go, this one is more than usually orgasmic, and I really wanted to give it the BLTBM treatment. Unfortunately, I'd have to buy the DVD, so forget that. But I urge you to watch the trailer below. It's 60 seconds of your life you'll never get back, but never regret.


Accidental Activist Trailer from American Family Studios on Vimeo.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Farewell, Newman

I heard some unhappy news today, and since I've been told (by a Norwegian!) not to repress my feelings so much, I wanted to share it with you guys.

Long-time Friend O' the Blog Emily, who is a bit like Gamera, in that she is "the friend to all children," and by "children," I mean "cats," wrote to tell me that the senior member of her menagerie, 19 year old tabby Newman, passed away.  She included a few photos, knowing I'm a sucker for that kind of thing, and was kind enough to let me share them:
Here is Newman as a kitten. To put the time in perspective, about the time I adopted him, I went to a Hootie and the Blowfish first-run concert non-ironically.
Look. We all regret the 90s.
True. But no one regrets a face like that:
Newman was a perfect little gentleman who liked eating grass and getting stuck on roofs. He was born in San Francisco’s Marina district, but didn’t let his privilege keep him from yelling when the toilet seat lid was down or the bathroom door was shut. Mr. Newman left us peacefully with his head in my hand, just like he slept every night. He is survived by his two associates (pictured below) Richmond and Burnaby, who now refuse to sleep in the cat bed they used to steal from him.
Rest in peace, Newman.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Post-Friday Beast Blogging: The "Attack of the Butt Ninja" Edition

RILEY: Finally! I can get some rest without that Creamsicle-colored moron using my ass for a bolster.

RILEY:  AHHHH!

RILEY:  Oh for the love of--

RILEY:  I want you to kill him.  Kill him now.  Kill him with fire.

RILEY: WELL...?

RILEY:  (SIGH) You're fired.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Brain From Planet Arous

The movie which proves that the brain is the most important sex organ; in that it's kind of a dick.
The Brain From Planet Arous
Directed by Nathan Juran (as Nathan Hertz)
Written by Ray Buffum

One of the lens flares from J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek crash lands on Richard Dreyfuss’ mashed potato mountain from Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and startles John Agar, whom we’ve apparently caught on his day off, as he’s engrossed in curating his large vintage toaster collection.

But John can’t relax, because he keeps picking up mysterious radioactivity readings on his waffle iron, so he decides to cross the room to bitch at Robert Fuller, who tries to hide behind a magazine and just wait until it’s the Seventies so he can star in Emergency! But John demands that Robert come out of there and act with him, so together they determine that this radiation is so mysterious, it could only have come from one place: Mystery Mountain.

Joyce Meadows, last seen being strangled to death by Jack Elam in The Girl in Lovers Lane, has an even more depressing role in this film (she’s John girlfriend) and gamely drops by to declare that she has to make them lunch, because vagina. John and Robert scarf down burgers with Joyce’s father, who’s there primarily to panhandle spare exposition, then load their Jeep with pith helmets and drive into the blistering desert to check out this “hot blast of gamma.” Should I stop here and make the obligatory “sounds like a Japanese bukkake video starring the Incredible Hulk” joke, or can we all just stipulate to the monster semen gag and move on?

Let’s move on. Our heroes drive into the desolate and remote nuclear proving grounds of Griffith Park, where they pretend John's blow dryer is a Geiger counter and explore Bronson Caves, in a scene that would be really suspenseful if I wasn’t so distracted by John’s incredibly extensive network of sweat stains, which change from shot to shot like Rorschach’s mask in Watchmen.

Suddenly, they’re accosted by a large, brain-shaped Happy Birthday balloon.  Robert is shocked, but he’s also a scientist, and with the curiosity typical of his profession, asks, “What is it?”  John, on the other hand, just bugs his eyes out and fires wildly at it with a .45.  Their teamwork proves that it is indeed possible to reconcile the Scientific Method with Tea Party doctrine.

The Brain flashes his headlights, which causes John to stagger around like Fred Sanford faking a heart attack, then it sits on his sweaty chest and presumably dangles loogies in his face and makes him say “Uncle.”

A week passes. Joyce is worried and tells her father that she’s leading a group of men on a rescue mission to Mystery Mountain, but first she has to make them lunch. Just then, John shows up and tongue-kisses her so aggressively she nearly faints from passion. Or disgust. Actually, I think it’s an artful combination – the character is overwhelmed, while the actress is clearly repulsed.

Joyce notices that Robert didn’t come back from the desert with John, and asks him, basically, “Say, you didn’t get possessed by a big, superimposed brain balloon in Bronson Canyon, did you?” John is coy, and tries to allay her suspicions by throwing her down on the chaise lounge, kissing her like a drunken frat boy, and tearing her blouse off her shoulder. Apparently there’s a typo in the opening titles, and this film is actually called The Brain From Planet Aroused.

On a side note, this is the second film I’ve seen Joyce Meadows in, and the second film in which she's had a blouse torn off her shoulder.  Maybe it’s a coincidence, or maybe this was her signature bit, like that popping noise Fritz Feld made with his mouth. I’ll have to check to see if it also happens in that 1987 episode she did of Punky Brewster.

Fortunately, Joyce’s dog comes to her rescue. John leaves in a huff and goes back to his lab, where he sits down and proceeds to sweat, grimace, twitch, and jiggle so violently he looks like a death row inmate in an electric chair just after the switch is thrown, and just before the Executioner realizes he also accidentally turned on the Magic Fingers feature.

John chats up the Brain, who reveals that his name is Gor, and like most things called Gor, he’s into bondage and rough sex. But he’s not only going to use John’s unattractive body to create a hostile work environment, he's also going to lay waste some capital cities and conquer the world.

Joyce’s dad goes to the lab, where he tells John that he looks terribly, terribly sick, and should come over immediately for lunch. John responds by making goofy funhouse faces in the water cooler, then pops in a couple of creepy contact lenses – the universal sign for “I’m Possessed” -- and starts screaming. I would too; they look painful.
Joyce talks her dad into driving out to Bronson Canyon. They enter the dark cave, but where John wet his pants and ran, leaving his friend to die, Joyce fearlessly tracks the radioactive signal to its source, and barely flinches at the sight of Robert’s corpse.

They meet Vol, a cop-brain from the planet Arous. He was given just 24 hours to track down the criminal-brain, Gor, or it'll mean his badge! Which might not be a bad thing, since the badge is pinned to his Olfactory Bulb, and it's making him hallucinate the smell of toast.

John makes plans to party-crash an atom bomb test, then he does a jerky, Joe Cocker thing while Gor floats nearby, laughing lustily and calling him “stupid.”

Vol shows up at Joyce’s house and explains that he needs to arrest Gor while he’s outside his host, since Arous doesn’t have an extradition treat with John’s body.  He also needs a host of his own. Joyce and her dad both bravely volunteer, until he explains what it involves, then they get squicked out and say, “Oh, uh, maybe you should possess our dog instead.”  Vol sighs, but agrees to occupy Sandy, the Anti-Molestation Mutt. Now he’s an alien cop on Earth disguised as a dog, which would make for a great black-and-white Japanese cartoon series of the 1960s.

But just as Joyce’s pet becomes a brain, John’s brain plans some heavy petting with Joyce. First, he’ll put on a nice suit. Then he’ll pull over to the side of the road and make a badly superimposed airplane explode. With his mind! Then maybe they’ll go dancing.

Vol says they mustn’t make Gor suspicious – Joyce must treat John the same way she always does.  She agrees, and when John arrives she chirps, “Ready to go, Master?” So maybe that whole BDSM thing wasn’t actually Gor’s idea…

They take the dog to Lover’s Lane (I don’t know why; maybe they played that Chinese fortune cookie game with dog food jingles – “My dog’s better than your dog…in bed”), and John-Gor gets aggressively kissyface. When Joyce rebuffs him, he gets self-conscious and makes awkward small talk, basically telling her his entire plan for world conquest in excruciating detail.  Then he maneuvers her onto a chaise-like rock and prepares to tear the blouse off her shoulder again, apparently thinking that human sexual intercourse begins and ends with a targeted exposure of the glenohumeral joint. What do you want to bet that back in school, Gor totally tanked his Xenobiology mid-term?

“I want you! And what I want, I take!” he snarls, thereby sacrificing all the good will he’d previously built up by pretending to be someone other than John Agar. Fortunately, this skin-crawling scene is broken up the heroic barking of Detective Dog.

They hear a radio bulletin about the plane John-Gor blew up with his brain, and Joyce convinces him to drive out to the crash site and see if he can help. Once there, however, all he does is stand around and gloat, so she goes home and complains to her dad that it was the worst date she’s ever had – except for that one time at Junior Prom when Tommy Matthews got drunk on a mixture of cooking sherry and Sun Drop soda and puked on her dress at the Dairy Queen.

Vol reveals that alien brains have to turn solid every 24 hours in order to assimilate oxygen and cheap plot devices, and when that happens, Joyce can kill Gor with a sharp blow to his “Fissure of Rolando,” assuming she bothers to do the minimum amount of due diligence and figure out where this vulnerable spot is located, which she doesn’t.

The Sheriff drops by John’s lab to accuse him of murdering Robert, but John-Gor roasts him. With his mind! Meanwhile, at the Pentagon, the Joint Chiefs learn the plane was destroyed by an unearthly force, and realize we’ve been invaded by aliens. But that’s fine, because we ourselves want to “invade the moon,” so maybe we can find these visitors “and work with them.” Sure, they killed a hundred innocent people, but we’re already employing Nazi war criminals, so at least they’ll all have something to chat about in the break room.

John-Gor goes to the nuclear test, where the military has built a fake town to test the blast effects, and blows it up prematurely. With his MIND! Then he cackles evilly, probably because he noticed that Dr. Indiana Jones survived the blast by hiding inside a refrigerator, and even on a planet populated by semi-transparent brains that float around like The Red Balloon, that’s hilariously stupid.

John-Gor comes back to Joyce’s and falls asleep on her chaise lounge, and Vol reveals that Gor is now helpless. Joyce asks, “Oh, you mean I should whack him in the Fistula of Orlando?” and finally decides to quit procrastinating and pull down the Encyclopedia Americana, Volume B.  But she gets distracted by the entry on Bullfinches, and the moment passes.

John-Gor goes to a meeting of all the major nations, does his airliner-blowing-up act again, and the whole world promptly surrenders to him like a puss.

Joyce decides to pass the buck, and just leaves the torn-out encyclopedia page on John’s desk, with the words “Gor’s Achilles Heel” and a big arrow scrawled on it. It’s a stupid plan, and works perfectly; Gor evacuates John, John sees the brain diagram, then glances meaningfully at his axe. But Joyce screws it all up by bumping into the Sheriff’s corpse and screaming her head off (even though she’d remained perfectly calm at the sight of Robert’s dead body, and he was a personal friend and frequent lunch patron).
John grabs his axe (every physics lab should have one) and starts flailing away. He never gets close to the alien brain’s Ficus of Mongo, but since it's just a painted balloon on a string and can only take so much punishment, the body-snatching invader eventually gets its implied off-screen desserts.

So: happy ending, right, with John back to being the patronizing dick he always was. Unfortunately, Vol has vacated the dog and gone back to his own planet (where he will later be killed three days short of retirement, forcing his rookie partner to go undercover as a cat), which means there’s no space alien left to corroborate John’s story that he was infested with brain balloons.  There’s also the little matter that John is legally culpable for downing civilian airliners, frying local law enforcement, and killing about a division worth of troops, all in front of witnesses. Of course, the world did just surrender to him, so if I were in John’s place I’m not sure I’d immediately go back to the global leaders I’d terrorized and announce, “Hey guys, good news! I’m regular ol' me again! Totally free of super-powerful aliens, and vulnerable to any—“ (SFX: Sounds of multiple overlapping GUNSHOTS from every corner of the room).

Instead, I think I'd rather see a sequel about John, now king of the world but totally powerless, and his frantic, zany efforts to maintain his guise of omnipotence -- sort of a sci-fi Moon Over Parador.

So what would you guys do if an alien brain used your body to conquer the earth, and then left you holding the bag?

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Satan's Back, and The Pope's Got Him!

Pope Francis seems to be steering a new course for the Catholic Church, away from hot button cultural issues and toward a more Christ-like focus on social and economic justice, which I certainly applaud. But along with Christ-like, he's also sounding a bit Flip Wilson-like in his belief that the Devil made you do it.
Vatican insiders say Francis has not only dwelled far more on Satan in sermons and speeches than his recent predecessors have, but also sought to rekindle the Devil’s image as a supernatural entity with the forces­ of evil at his beck and call. [...]
“Pope Francis never stops talking about the Devil; it’s constant,” said one senior bishop... Cardinals in Milan; Turin, Italy; and Madrid, for instance, recently moved to expand the number of exorcists in their dioceses to cope with what they have categorized as surging demand.
Not only is the Vatican hiring new demon dispossessors, they're also pulling old (and I do mean old) exorcists out of mothballs to cope with the rush:
"The sad truth is that there are many bishops and priests in our church who do not really believe in the Devil,” said the Rev. Gabriele Amorth, the 89-year-old priest who is perhaps the closest thing the church has to a Hollywood-style exorcist. “I believe Pope Francis is speaking to them. Because when you don’t believe, the Devil wins.”
But believing in the Devil isn't enough, as we learned from the Rev. Amorth's previous appearance on World O' Crap. You must also believe that yoga is a gateway drug, and that putting on stretchy pants and doing Pelvic Tilts is the moral equivalent of performing a Black Mass in your bonus room.
During the conference, the Rev. Cesar Truqui, an exorcist based in Switzerland, recounted one experience he had aboard a Swissair flight. “Two lesbians,” he said, had sat behind him on the plane. 
Wow, those Swissair flight crews are thorough.  "There are four restrooms, located four and aft, six exits, and two lesbians. Please take a moment to locate the lesbians nearest you, keeping in mind that the closest lesbian may be behind you."
Soon afterward, he said, he felt Satan’s presence.
...fighting with him for the armrest.
As he silently sought to repel the evil spirit through prayer, one of the women, he said, began growling demonically and threw chocolates at his head.
Beelzebub has really upped his game when it comes to promotional giveaways. In the 70s, he'd just hose you down with pea green vomit, but now he's chucking fancy Swiss chocolates at you. Next thing you know, he'll be wooing your soul with a Grammys-style gift bag and an Andres Créme de Menthe on your pillow.
Asked how he knew the woman was possessed, he said that “once you hear a Satanic growl, you never forget it. It’s like smelling Margherita pizza for the first time. It’s something you never forget.”
HUSBAND: Honey, I'm home! What's for dinner?

WIFE:  GrrrRAWRRR!

HUSBAND: Mmm, smells like Satan! Honey, I love you!

Anyway, it seems that Rev. Truqui simply endured the confectionary fusillade and went back to his SkyMall magazine, rather than wheeling around, whipping out a crucifix, and crying, "The power of Christ COMPELS you to quit kicking the back of my seat!" Which is a shame, since a priest attempting to perform a mid-air exorcism on a jumbo jet would make for a great reboot of Snakes on a Plane (you tell me that "Samuel L. Jackson wears a Roman collar and a scowl in Lesbians on an Airbus," and I am hitting Fandango.com so fast it'll make your head spin 360 degrees). Although you'd probably have to tone down the cursing in order to get Vatican approval.
"I am fatigued by these Oepdial Sapphists on this incestuous aircraft!"

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Bill S. Presents: The 4th Annual Mommie Dearest Awards

It's Mother's Day, a time of the year to show the lady who gave us life what she really means to us. I'll always love my mama (she's my favorite girl), but not everyone is lucky enough to be able to say that. And with that in mind, here's this years list of Worst TV and Movie Moms-

WORST TV MOMS:

INGRID SVENSON (Inga Swenson) on Soap.  The biological mother of the Tate family's adopted middle child ("Corinne, Corinne, Corinne") was less interested in re-connecting with her daughter than she was in trying to ruin the lives of the family who raised her.
INGRID: You haven't seen the last of me. You think I'm finished?
JESSICA: No! Swedish!

PATRICIA EMERSON on Boston Public and BARBARA REYNOLDS on It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, both played by Anna Archer. 

Suppose your teenage daughter has a crush on one of her teachers, who not only looks like a teen idol, but is actually played by one (Joey McIntyre of New Kids On the Block, to be exact)? How best to deal with this? Well, Patricia took the approach of convincing that teacher she had the right stuff, baby, and sleeping with him. Which certainly helped her daughter get over that crush, but wouldn't win Patricia a "World's Best Mom" mug...

....unless her competition was Barbara Reynolds, who her husband Frank calls "a dirty, dirty whoooooore". Barbara is the mother of twin siblings Dennis and Deandra "Sweet Dee" Reynolds, the latter of whom she derides as "a disappointment and a mistake".
SWEET DEE: I haven't seen you for a month, and I'm standing here in a neck brace. Are you gonna ask me how I'm doing, or what happened?
BARBARA:assume you did something stupid.
SWEET DEE: Dennis ran over me with his car!
BARBARA: There you go again! Don't you think it's time you took responsibility for your own actions?

BETTY DRAPER (January Jones) on Mad Men. Wants to be seen as a perfect mom, without doing the actual work to earn such an honor. The most recent example was an episode in which she accompanies son Bobby on a field trip. After Bobby does something really dumb, which, Lord knows Betty should be used to by now (after all, we are, and we don't live with the kid), her reaction is to completely freeze him out for the rest of the day. If passive-aggressiveness was an Olympic sport, Betty would have more medals than Michael Phelps.

WORST MOVIE MOMS:

MARY TYRONE (Katherine Hepburn) in Long Day's Journey Into Night (1962).  Denial ain't just a river in Egypt. Sometimes it's a morphine drip that lets you swim in a drug-induced haze  to avoid the harsh realities of life. 

ROSE HOVICK, AKA "MAMA ROSE" (Rosalind Russell) in Gypsy (1962). The prototype for every pushy, overbearing stage mom who ever was. When her younger daughter, child star "Baby June" runs off to get married (at age 14), just to get the hell away from her, Mama Rose focuses her attention on her older, less talented (but considerably hotter) daughter, swearing she will transform Louise into a meal tick--um, star.
"Sing out, Louise!"

RUTH PATCHETT (Roseanne Barr) in She-Devil (1989).  In her quest to exact revenge on her husband and his mistress, Ruth's kids are just collateral damage. Imagine coming home from school one day to find the house you grew up in, and all your possessions, completely destroyed (under suspicious circumstances that will never be investigated). Then with no further explanation and only the clothes on your back, your mom loads you into the car, drops you off at the house of a total stranger (who she despises but still trusts to look after her kids), then straight up deserts you. (I guess we're supposed to think the kids will be better off living in a mansion, but it ain't like Ruth's pulling a Stella Dallas, is it?)

MIMI SLOCUMB (Susan Sarandon) in Igby Goes Down (2002) Her son calls her by her first name because "Heinous One" is cumbersome, and "Medea" was taken.
IGBY: It's ironic that the first time in my life I feel remotely affectionate for her, is when she's dead.
OLLIE: You beat up her corpse.
IGBY: I know, but after that.

JEWEL (Brenda Blethyn) in Sonny (2002). Trained her son to join the family business. Which in this case is prostitution. And the ungrateful kid wants to break free and let all that training go to waste.

BARBARA DALY BAEKLAND (Julianne Moore) in Savage Grace (2007) How much did she screw up things with her son? Well, let's put it this way: they have a three way with a man they've both been sleeping with...and it's not the creepiest thing that happens between them.

MARY McGARRICLE (Eva Amurri) in That's My Boy! (2012). A middle school teacher who conceived her son with a student of hers, who's a 13 year old version of Adam Sandler. Which is somehow worse than having sex with the adult version.

ROSALYN ROSENFELD (Jennifer Lawrence) in American Hustle (2013). Her habit of accidentally setting things on fire (you can't put metal in the "science oven"!) raises serious concerns about the safety of her little boy.

VIOLET WESTON (Meryl Streep) in August: Osage County (2013). A foul-mouthed, racist, hypercritical, pill-popping walking nightmare whose most redeeming virtue is that her own mother may have been even worse.
VIOLET: I found the boots in a window downtown and just went crazy: praying for those boots, rehearsing the conversation I'd have with Raymond when he saw me in in my boots. Must've asked my momma a hundred times if I could get those boots. "What do you want for Christmas, Vi?" "Momma, I'll give all of it up just for those boots." Bargaining, you know? She started dropping hints about a package under the tree she had wrapped up, about the size of a boot box, nice wrapping paper. "Now, Vi, don't you cheat and look in there before Christmas morning." Little smile on her face. Christmas morning, I was up like a shot, boy, under that tree,  tearing open the box. There was a pair of boots, all right...men's work boots, holes in the toes, chewed up laces, caked in mud and dog shit. Lord, my momma laughed for days.
[Silence]
BARBARA: Please don't tell me that's the end of the story.
VIOLET: Oh, no. That's the end.

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY, FOLKS!
-Bill S.

UPDATE: This just in. Chris Vosburg writes: I notice with some amusement that the Sundance Channel has apparently caught the Bad Mother meme from past WOC Mother's Days, and is today presenting (twice!) a double feature of Mommie Dearest and Carrie, hee hee. 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Believe Me, You Idiots Are Really Gullible!

As you may recall, we've visited with WorldNetDaily columnist Mychal Massie before (here and here), but for some reason I went ahead and read his latest column anyway. Please don't judge me.


You know, Mychal, I've been getting "lies and distortion" fed to me my whole life, and not just via the media. One of my earliest memories involves sitting in a high chair in the breakfast nook as my mother gently pushed a spoon toward my mouth and cheerfully declared, "Here comes the choo-choo!" And you know what? It wasn't a train. It was never a train. It was always fucking applesauce. So I feel you, man.

Although looking back, I'm not sure why I was so excited about the prospect of eating a locomotive in the first place. I mean, it was only a few years later that I got my own Lionel Train Set, and I was never even tempted to eat the thing, although I did lick it once, just to see what would happen, and got a shock that made my hair break the surly bonds of its Butch Wax and stand on end.

Anyway.
A friend forwarded me a Wall Street Journal article on a study published in the March issue of the journal Annals of Internal Medicine pursuant to “the dubious science behind the anti-fat crusade.”
Ah yes, the pro-fat counter-crusade. In case you've been spared the right wing glee, the WSJ published an article by an author flogging her new book, in which she argues that we'd be less obese if we ate more lard.
The study validated what several of my friends and I have long believed
...that congealed bear grease makes an excellent dessert topping.

Mychal's friends evidently include a lot of professional and amateur wingnuts, since a quick Google search reveals the top sites jabbering about the WSJ piece include Power Line, Instapundit, freerepublic, and lucianne.com. In other words, people who'd just as soon you die now and decrease the surplus population, but who have a vested interest in portraying any kind of government regulation -- even dietary guidelines -- as the worst blow to civil rights since the Nuremberg Laws -- a kind of Kristallnacht at the Golden Corral.
This brings me to my point. People are gullible, and, the greater the desire to be viewed as knowledgeable, the greater the ease with which they buy into lies – lies that are agenda-driven by those seeking control of our lives.
Probably the most heinous example of agenda-driven people seeking to control our lives was Project MK-Ultra, which ran from the early 50s to the early 70s, and involved efforts by a collective of sustainable farms to control human behavior with doses of organic Mega Kale.
People would be willing to believe horse manure is the greatest facial cream ever if you package it in a “made from recycled materials” container and have some actress (who probably doesn’t know her ZIP code) paid a heap (pun intended) of money to seemingly smear it on her face at bedtime.
As a prediction I don't find this particularly impressive, since it pretty much happened twenty years ago:

I remember vividly the lies in the late 1970s and early 1980s which claimed that, due to global cooling, by 1990 we would witness environmental catastrophes of “biblical proportions.”
I actually don't remember this, but it must be true, because if there's one trait all scientists share, it's a tendency to use the Old Testament as a metric. Did it all the time in Ghostbusters.
We were told people were going to die, crops would fail to grow and food shortages would be rampant. Time magazine and other so-called respected publications ran major features that supported the lies. Suffice it to say, catastrophes never happened.
Catastrophes are like the Cottingley Fairies -- a hoax perpetrated by climate scientists and Edwardian school girls.  Take all those people stranded at the Superdome in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina -- a lot of people called that a catastrophe, when in fact it was just a Mad Max II: Beyond Thunderdome cos-play that got out of hand.
Then came Al Gore. While his foolish theocracy of man-made global warming has made him a very wealthy man, his fabricated myth is being dismissed by scientists near daily.
That hasn't stopped Ken Ham.
The most available, efficient and clean source of energy will, in all likelihood, never be utilized. Nuclear energy has been rendered verboten because of a movie, “The China Syndrome.”
Those who are seeking control of our lives may try to convince you it was the partial meltdown of the Three Mile Island reactor (fun fact, the radioactive gasses produced by the accident were released the same year -- 1979 -- as The China Syndrome) that turned people off nuclear power.  Or the 1986 Chernobyl catastrophe special event ("[The] explosion and fire released large quantities of radioactive particles into the atmosphere, which spread over much of the western USSR and Europe...The battle to contain the contamination and avert a greater catastrophe ultimately involved over 500,000 workers...During the accident itself 31 people died, and long-term effects such as cancers and deformities are still being accounted for"), or the Fukushima Daiichi disaster in 2011, in which three of six reactors melted down, and which continues to prove how "clean" nuclear power is on a daily basis.

But no.  Those of us who aren't in thrall to the agenda-drivers know that it's really a 35-year old movie that's been controlling energy policy in this country, just as we realize that Georges Méliès's Voyage dans la Lune is the reason we've been shooting manned bullets at the moon since 1902.
And perhaps the greatest fabricated story in the annals of history is that of Barack Obama.
He's America's Imaginary Friend.
 But people are still near manic in idolizing a person about whom less is factually known than is known about the Old Testament priest Melchizedek. 
I hate those Melchizedek-bots at Firedoglake.
And to compound that, these same people still bow before his every word even though he has been proven to be a pernicious subverter of truth, time after time.
Look, Myc, I voted for Obama, but even I don't bow before his every word.  Granted, I'll genuflect when he says "shins," but when he says "rumpus," I only curtsey.
Within the past two weeks we witnessed the media savaging Cliven Bundy – including many in the so-called conservative media who turned on him like rabid dogs the moment he was accused (falsely, I might add) of being a racist.
Man...President Obama doesn't exist, Melchizedek the Priest-King of Salem doesn't exist. Even racism is a figment of Sean Hannity's febrile imagination. If shit gets any more unreal, I expect Laurence Fishburne to show up and offer me my choice of color-coded Contac cold capsules.
Regardless what truth ultimately is uncovered and revealed, Donald Sterling will always be a racist – when, in fact, if he is guilty of anything, it is poor judgment regarding the scheming little fortune hunter he became involved with. 
Mychal isn't a bigot, by the way; he doesn't hate all scheming little fortune hunters, just the uppity ones. He thinks some of them -- the good ones -- are hard workers, know their place, and don't whistle at white women on the street.
There was no mention of his First Amendment rights
Exactly. Why were our frostbitten forefathers dying by inches at Valley Forge, if not to protect the average billionaire-on-the-street from the consequences of a public relations faux pas?
...or the fact that whatever his personal opinions may be his players were treated like royalty, with his team having the fifth-highest payroll of all 30 NBA teams.
That doesn't mean he's a Kid Power-like rainbow of tolerance, it just means he's a bad negotiator, considering what a shitty team the Clippers are.
Millions of people receive brainwashing every evening vis-à-vis some news programming. 
So what else is new? I remember when I was a kid, and sometimes, after The Huntley-Brinkley Report, my dad would suggest we get out of the house, maybe head down to McDonald's for some food, folks, and fun, but my mom would always be a killjoy and say, "No, I just washed my brain and I can't do a thing with it."
And just as with the “dubious science” surrounding the anti-fat crusade, if something is said enough times and/or said by the equivalent of a nilpotent able to use a teleprompter without blinking, the lie becomes fact.
You call it "brainwashing," Roger Ailes calls it "a business plan."
People write me daily asking, “What can we do to save our nation?” My answer is always the same: “Trust God, not man – and stop believing the lies.” 
But don't trust Genesis 14, or Psalm 110, because that Melchizedek guy seems a little dodgy, and has never furnished his birth certificate or college transcripts.
The truly tragic part is that the people who embrace the lies are also the ones who viciously attack those who refuse to believe what they know to be untrue.
Well said.  Well...said, anyway.
The public is spoon fed lies and distortion every day on every level.
Remember: it's not a train!
 And yet the same lies and subterfuge continue to be believed. One can only conclude that people want to be deceived, and the deceivers are eager to oblige them.
So anyway, we can eat more saturated fat now. But that's just according to the Wall Street Journal, which is part of the lying, brainwashing media, so maybe split the difference? Fight the Power by having a big, thick steak, but still put I Can't Believe It's Not Butter! on your baked potato.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Dear Wally (Part Two)

Hi! Scott here, popping in to let you know that I've just received another advice column from teen heartthrob and proto-Wolverine, Wally (whom you may remember from his previous appearances on World O' Crap, here and here).  Enjoy!

Hello everyone,

Sorry for delays in the column. I've been involved in ball-breaking litigation with my scum-bag landlord. And since Lumpy passed away I've been doing the “talk-therapy” circuit here. It's expensive and you may be surprised to guess those royalty checks are not that great ever since “Antenna TV” obtained the syndication rights to LITB

Enough about me. Let's get jiggy with the latest dope:
Dear Wally, 
I'm a sixteen-year old who has apparently gotten my girlfriend knocked-up despite practicing “safe sex.” 
She called last night and the home testing kit revealed a positive result. 
Should I talk to her family about this? Her mom and dad seem nice enough and like me. 
Regards,
Sweating like hell in San Diego

Dear Sweatface,

This is a difficult question and you are asking me perhaps because I portrayed a sensible-enough fellow on a popular television show which for some reason has entered the pantheon of post-war Eisenhower American culture.

Our television “family” were nothing more than a facade for products produced by the Ford Motor Company and encapsulated the innocent nuisances that might arise from the day-to-day. The topic of teen sex was never there for us to explore mostly thanks to our sponsor, who preferred not to remind viewers just how many American girls were impregnated in the spacious backseats of 1957 Ford Fairlanes just like Dad drove in the opening credits.

You can read more critical views of this era from Guy DeBord, author of Society of the Spectacle and one of the founders of the “Situationalist” movement in 60's Europe. However, you may want to read it on the bus. 

Wally suggests that you get out of town as quickly as possible. You are still young, son, and have a life ahead of you. Now, this may seem like unchristian advice coming from someone who grew up in the late 50s and early 60s, but remember, I'm the offspring of a Detroit automobile manufacturer and a media conglomerate, and as the Supreme Court will shortly attest, corporations have their own unique religious beliefs and traditions, so I was raised with the moral compass of a piranha. 

The “Real W” Abides, and best of luck,
Wally
Dear Wally, 
I'm sick of working for $8.75 an hour and trying to provide my family with enough shelter and food to make a difference. My husband has a similar job and between the two of us we can't even cut it without SNAP. Now our benefits have been reduced.  
Crying in Cleveland
Dear Crying,

Stop crying immediately. You need to visit the nearest Barnes & Noble and ask the kindly customer service agent for this title. Although priced at $10 and change, there's no need to purchase. B&N is too poor to afford proper security -- just slip it into your purse after removing the clumsily-hidden security tag that sets off the poorly-maintained alarm systems. (Actually, if you take another book the two security tags will cancel themselves out so you can just exit without question.) You may want to buy a cup of coffee or a snack to look absolutely legit but that's totally optional. Wally is a reader and has honed the method to perfection.

Once home, read this book carefully with your husband. Neither of you want to miss the excitement in the chapter on “surplus value.” Once you “get it," you, your spouse and children will be in the streets picketing your current employers as part of a work action. And get your co-workers involved as well. 

Once-Proud member of AFTRA,
Wally
Dear Wally,
This is a silly question but can't resist asking:  
We're you ever involved in any kind of sexual relationship with members of the cast of your show? 
I'm a gay-curious teen and I have something of a crush on you. You really had a great buff bod back then. I'm just learning about the show through re-runs.  
Horny in Hicksville
Dear Horny,

If you mean Hicksville, NY, Wally feels your pain. But I'm flattered that you are still thrilled by my expensive physique.

There was one episode I remember where I had to teach “the Beave” how to dance ballroom style. He had some sort of erection but I just put it down to multiple takes. Nothing serious between us really.

I did have something of a man-crush on Mr. Beaumont, but my psychiatrist at the time recommended reading Jacques Lacan and to become familiar with his theory of “the lack.” This explained my attraction to older men in a satisfying way. Other than that, I can't give you much info in the gossip files. I'm currently negotiating a contract with Random House and you'll have to wait until I'm on the circuit with the finished product.

Keep it lubed, dude...
Wally

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Post-Friday Beast Blogging: The "I Hope It's an M.C. Escher Lithograph" Edition

Okay, let's just deal with the elephant in the room up front: This is not a photo of a sixty-nine!  If you look carefully, you can see that it is -- at most -- a sixty-seven and seven-eighths. Now that we've gotten that out of the way, feel free to add your own caption in the comments.