Sunday, November 30, 2014

Flanked by Swank!

Pastor Swank may be retired, but that doesn't mean his spiritual advice is not still as fresh and steaming as the day he first loosed it onto the Internet. After all, if people still read Thomas Aquinas on the Epistles of St. Paul, then why not Swank on the Dead Kennedys?

Originally posted August 30, 2009


Pastor Swank is beginning to feel like Charlton Heston in Planet of the Apes — the one sane man in a World Gone Mad!  He’s also starting to feel a touch like Charlton Heston in Soylent Green — the lone voice of truth drowned out by the din of a World Gone Mad!  And he’s showing increasing signs of feeling like Charlton Heston in Omega Man — the last soul who’s kept his humanity in a World Gone Mad!  And Albino!  Also, I think he sometimes feels like that one girl with the pixilated face who won’t take her top off — the last bastion of decency in a Girls Gone Wild!  But that’s just a hunch.  The important thing is, he thinks you people are dangerously unstable.
Sane people know for sure that this sphere is laden with crazy people and crazy situations.
It’s true, the inmates are running the asylum!  It’s a sort of autonomous collective — an anarcho-syndicalist commune, with the members taking it in turns to act as a sort of executive officer for the week.
Ted Kennedy is one of those personages and his passing is one of those situations.
True.  It took me two or three tries before I could even say “brain cancer” without cracking up.  I don’t think there’s been a wackier demise since Chuckles the Clown.
This man endorsed killing womb babies.
And I thought Bob Dole sold out when he did those Viagra commercials.
One becomes so utterly weary dealing daily with the nuthouse mortals throwing their power around that it becomes a numbing press upon the psyche. That in itself causes some of us moralists the leisure of simply overlooking for the umpteenth time the lunatic happenings that fill up our years here.
The good Pastor has made a good faith effort to deal with our dementia, but it’s just becoming all too much, and he’s seriously considering putting the country in a home.
Kennedy was one of the countless persons championing slaying boys and girls inside female bodies.
Granted, it’s not the Most Dangerous Game, but it’s still nice to get out of the house and into the womb, camping with your buddies, putting out your fetal decoys, sitting in your baby blind with your dog and your gun, sippin’ a beer and occasionally blowing on your Zygote Call.
I know that Barack Hussein Obama is like unto Ted. So is Nancy Pelosi. And therefore the bloody list winds out into eternity.
And once you’re on the bloody list that winds out into eternity, they will not stop spamming you.
But with all that as an hour-by-hour atrocity fact
That’s my favorite Trivial Pursuit edition.
moralists must once in awhile come back to the baseline which is to shout loudly that these creatures are bad. They are evil. They say that righteousness is wicked and wickedness is righteous.
They’re trying to tempt us into Hell with their clever wordplay.
It is heavy enough just to read their lambasting Israeli fruitcakes who thought themselves god let alone have to minister to the devil bent year after year.
Wondering if you’re one of the crazy personages who’s causing a numbing press upon the Pastor’s psyche?  Well, Swank has thoughtfully provided the previous sentence as an eye test chart for your sanity.  Read it through again –  if it still makes no sense, you’re probably okay.
Is there any wonder that Jesus wearied having to minister to the numb in head who wore clergy garb in the name of Jehovah? Thank God Jesus had only three years of public ministry. With enemies attacking His every holy deed, three years certainly was enough.
If they hadn’t crucified him, he definitely would’ve needed a nap.
That is why when liberals read this article they have fits. Their bodies twitch and their jaws drop to the dust. How can anyone type out a sentence stating that Ted Kennedy is a child slayer? How can any decent person even think of speaking such syllables when a man has just breathed his last?
Well, take it from me, it is indeed possible.
Pastor Swank has done the possible!
And not only possible but absolutely necessary in order to cleanse our thought patterns and speech cadences, let alone filter our souls of all that gradually attaches itself to up the mire.
“Up the mire?”  We used to call it “driving the Hershey Highway.”  These Mainers and their crazy New England dialect.
Get this: Ted Kennedy represents one of the most devilish categories of homo sapiens inhabiting God’s Earth because, for one, he could not say and do enough to increase the number of slaughtered womb children.
Listen: Pastor Swank has come unstuck in time.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Zombie Black Friday

Happy Day-After-Thanksgiving (or as our ancestors called it, "Turkey Detox Day").  I am happy to hear that Mary is feeling better, thanks to modern drug technology.  I am happy that some of us got to enjoy the MST Turkey Day marathon.  If you missed it and want to catch up, it's streaming all weekend on Pluto TV, which is still a planet, and which is also a free thing that lets you watch TV on your computer or such.

My proudest moment of the day was being retweeted by Trace B.  If you're on Twitter, you should follow him.  And all the others associated with MST3K - they are all there.  Josh Weinstein,  Frank Conniff, and Bill Corbett in particular have very good accounts, full of amusing/intelligent stuff, as well as info about any projects they're involved with.  On that note, Bill has a new book out that seems perfect for holiday gift-giving.  I'd give you links and photos and stuff, but's about time you stood on your own two feet and searched Amazon on your own.  Plus, I am using an outdated browser to try to post this, and I don't know what I'm doing.  So, find it yourself, and buy it if you are so inclined and want to encourage Bill to give up his life of crime.

In other, wingnutty, news, I was going to share with you the first volley of the seasonal War On Christmas, but it was so stupid it made my head hurt. Plus, I am too lazy to bother with copying it and trying to format it here using Internet Explorer.  But it's by that guy who opines at Fox News and Townhall - you know the one: Squirrely Joe.  Anyway, he tells of the most horrendous battle he's ever encountered in this war, one reported by a single news source, which themselves cite only a couple of named sources, who basically say, "Don't you have any real news to uncover?"  The story is as follows: it seems that an elementary school cancelled their plans to take students to see "The Nutcracker" ballet, but then they quickly changed their minds once the LSD kicked in.  Reasons for this horrendous affront to all that is good and holy (i.e., talking about not taking squirmy little kids with ADD to see a ballet) vary: Squirrely Joe says it's because the ballet features a Christmas tree.  An unnamed gossip in the TV news story says it was because some parents or PTA members thought that the ballet might offend somebody - some liberal-type who might object to this Christian tale of a girl given a phallic-symbol that comes to life and fights with mice.

Anyway, you can look up that column too if you want to.  Just search for "War on Christmas" "Nutcracker" and "liberal elementary school out to destroy Jesus in the name of politically correct hatred of male ballet dancers."  Or something.  I've got to go.  I am only posting this because I am high on Clorax fumes.  Bye for now.

P.S.  Here is the link to the War on Christmas piece:  

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Turkey Sign!

So what are you guys doing for Thanksgiving?  Our plans have been derailed by an excruciating flare up of Mary's TMJ (she can't talk, let alone chew, and there's not much point to her making a dinner she can't eat, so unless I can quickly find an affordable Home Turkey Liquifier...), but there is one consolation: the MST3K Turkey Day Marathon is back!
Actually, I should say, it's back again, since Shout Factory (in association with the Necronomicon) revived this ancient rite last year, bringing in Joel Hodgson to host a six-episode rock block of episodes broadcast over the internet.  This year the festivities start at 9 AM PST, and will be streaming at MST3KTurkeyDay.com, and the Official MST3K Youtube Channel, so if you, like me, are into that kind of thing, I hope you get a chance to indulge! Your only other options are football or a parade, and I can almost guarantee the Turkey Day Marathon will feature fewer traumatic brain injuries and less shots of a helium-bloated Underdog.

(Also, if you didn't happen to see it, our friend D.Sidhe lost her cat Iala after 21 years, and wrote a very touching tribute, full of heart and her usual blithe eloquence. Take a look if you have a moment and maybe leave a comment -- I have reason to know how much that helps.)

In the meantime, enjoy your solid food, and have a happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

UPDATE:  Woo hoo!  Joel's introductory host segment featured Trace Beaulieu and J. Elvis Weinstein, the original Crow and Tom Servo as...Original Crow and Tom Servo (I'm a KTMA nerd).

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Think of Iala on #GivingTuesday

In an attempt to use social media for something good for a change, somebody has come up with #GivingTuesday.  It comes after Thanksgiving, when you think of what you're grateful for and count your blessings.  And it comes after Black Friday, when you grab bargains out of the hands of the slow, the weak, and the elderly.  So, on December 2nd, you are encouraged to renounce your selfishness and put your gratitude to work; you are supposed to give back, help, do something good, and basically not be a selfish jerk.  If you want to be trendy and hip, then you take a picture of yourself doing nice stuff, and you post it with the hashtag #Unselfie , to show that you're not shallow, and you're not a teen doing duck-face photos.

I would like to urge everybody to dedicate their #GivingTuesday acts of kindness to the memory of Iala.  As she is a cat, she would probably appreciate you doing something to help her cat kin, like maybe making a shelter for a feral cat, or putting out some food out for that stray who looks so skinny.  Or donate to a no-kill shelter or rescue group in your area.

Or, as D. so kindly said, you could make a donation to Four Paws to help provide food, shelter, and vet care for the homeless cats in my valley  In fact, while I was typing this post, I got a call from somebody who found 5 baby kittens in a box by the side of the road.  The caller has been feeding them scrambled eggs and doing her best to care for them, but she can't keep them, and asked if Four Paws could find them homes.  I said I'd call back, because I'm not sure if we have the resources to take on 5 more babies.  But in honor of Iala, I will take them.   And if you make a donation, I will give you the privilege of naming one of them.

But your acts of pre-Noel goodness don't need to be limited to helping animals - I'm sure Iala would approve of your doing something nice for people, in honor of her obedient human slaves.  D. Sidhe and her partner strike me as the kind of people who would like to see homeless people helped, kids educated, old people get meals, etc.




So, start thinking of what you could do to spread a little compassion and love in the world.  Do it for Iala and her wonderful human, D. Sidhe.

Farewell, Iala

[Note from Scott:  D.Sidhe posted this news in the previous thread, but it deserves to be on the front page.  And D.?  If you have any photos of Iala you'd care to share, I would be more than happy to add them to your lovely tribute.]

Hey, guys. Scott, I need to threadjack.

So our beautiful fluffy twenty one year old kitty Iala died this last weekend. It was old age, we knew it was coming, and she died as I think she would have been content with, at home, in her perch on the bed, between me and my partner, both of us there at the end telling her we loved her and were grateful to have had the time with her. It sucked, but it wasn't terrible, just heartbreaking, if you understand that.

Iala, whose name is taken from a sort of bipedal cat vampire of Romanian folklore, could draw blood through carelessness, or when she was getting a pill, but she spent a lot of time happily showing off her belly to play venus flytrap, too. Which also drew blood. Well, vampire.

She was the most good natured cat I've ever met, and sweetly tolerant of our other cats, she spent a lot of time grooming her humans and sitting on top of them while we all slept. An adventurous, deeply amusing whirlwind in her younger days, as she got older she spent more time with social works like Groom Humans and Clean Water for Cats and Occupy Chair and Bed. We respected her work and tended to end up sleeping and sitting in weird configurations to not make her move.

She was six months or so when she started squatting our doorstep, and following me everywhere I went. This led to a confrontation with a truck, at which point we said "Fuck it" and took her in. She wasn't much good in the wild, but smart enough to find a good home for a long and spoiled life.

Some of my favorite moments, the time she managed to crawl behind the water heater and get stuck there so we had to drape a towel behind it for her to climb up. Her general willingness to not bat around the obnoxious kittens we adopted, even when they were playing with her tail. Her occasional late night roaming across the pillow covering my partner's face at night. The time she stalked by the dryer and smacked the door closed while the younger cat was sleeping in it.

She is survived by the young annoying girlcat Nagi, and her human slaves, who she always treated with patient contempt. She will be placed in a box in the closet with Cypress, and Tora, two other cats whose company she tolerated, and I'll talk to her when I walk by. Also, she liked boxes. And sunlit patches, to which I will occasionally move her when we spend time.

Scott, you can move this away from your much-needed lols review, or whatever you want.

My family here at WoC, you guys don't have to say anything if you don't want to, it's always hard to find things to say. If you could spare it, maybe a small tribute to Sheri's foundation, or just a hope for a sunny blanket in a window for Iala to watch squirrels from in the beyond.


Monday, November 24, 2014

Always the Bridesmaid, Never the Bride of Blood


Man about Movies Hank Parmer (known to his underworld confederates as Grouchomarxist) is back this week with another film which, by all the laws of physics, should not exist, and dares you to believe it!...Or Not!

Brides of Blood (1968)

A Hemisphere Pictures production, directed by Gerardo de Leon and Eddie Romero (George's sleazier brother) from a script by your friend and mine, Cesar Amigo.
The movie begins with some Filipino -- I mean, Polynesian -- extras standing around in sarongs, holding spears, as they watch a tramp steamer approach their island.

On board the steamer young, handsome Peace Corps volunteer Jim Farrell (John Ashley), boring middle-aged stiff Dr. Paul Henderson (Kent Taylor, the Scientist) and his 30-ish wife, Carla (Beverly Hills -- no, really, and her wardrobe will emphasize these prime tracts of real estate) are dining with the captain of the Greasy Bastard. No, strike that: it's the captain who's the greasy bastard.

The captain inquires: "Wha' for you want to bury yourselves on thees island? No one veesits Blood Island except this sheep, and that's only once every seex months." What 'sheep'? Sheesh, what a maroon: he thinks he's the skipper of a sea-going even-toed ungulate!

Here we first become acquainted with this film's penchant for not simply telegraphing but sky-writing the storyline, cluing us in from the start that this bunch has the collective IQ of a wad of dryer lint. I mean, seriously, "Blood Island"? ("We wanted to go to Entrails Island, but they were booked solid. And Lingering, Agonizing Death Island is soooo last year.")

Jim's aching to civilize the simple natives, while Paul's enthusiastic about studying the island's flora and fauna. (I think that's enthusiasm, but it's hard to tell with Kent Taylor.) Carla's clearly not pleased, even though she'll have a fresh field in which to pursue her hobby: publicly emasculating her husband. She makes eyes at one of the sweaty, bare-chested sailors. When Jim cattily remarks there'll probably be a mutiny when she leaves the ship, Carla offers to stay aboard and keep the crew happy. (I think she wants to organize a shuffleboard tournament.) The captain guffaws.

Hubby gets huffy, says he'd better go below and check his equipment. Jim say's he'd better check his gear, too. (Will two 50-gallon tubs of Brylcreem be enough to last six months? What if Paul runs out, and wants some of his? He looks like at least a quart-a-day man.)

Carla asks Paul if he needs any help. But she doesn't mean it: she knows that checking his equipment is something he prefers to do in private. On her way to her stateroom, she stops off to check out the sailor's equipment. That's right: she's a slutty slut slut. So she'll deserve whatever bad thing is going to happen to her, right? God, how I love that good, old-fashioned morality!

By the time they pull up to the pier, Carla's temporarily satisfied her cravings, and changed into a new dress. Looking down from the bridge at the islanders, she says she's never seen so many sad and frightened faces. Not since the SWAT team took out Mr. Munch by mistake, in that embarrassing incident at the East Moline Chuck E. Cheese.

The new arrivals file ashore just in time to see a picturesque native procession. The islanders are carrying a lumpy, cloth-wrapped bundle on a litter and mouthing the monotonous chant which will accompany each and every one of their ceremonies: "Ba Ba -- Ba Ba Ba -- Ba Ba -- Ba!" It's a catchy little number.

Unbeknownst to our Americans and the villagers, a sinister figure watches from the edge of the jungle.

One of the bearers twists his ankle and upsets the litter. Out from the bundle pops a dismembered leg and a decapitated head. Carla quite understandably freaks. The islanders gather up the people pieces, take them out in the bay and respectfully dump them over the side of their canoe.

But it's nothing to get excited about. Arcadio, the village headman, shows them to their hut, and introduces his granddaughter, the love interest, Alma (Eva Darren). Carla, who's quickly recovered from her shock, wants to know what happened to those two girls. (Incidentally, how did she know these were pieces of two bodies, both of them female, as well as their approximate age? Did she take a correspondence course in forensic pathology?)

It was an accident, explains the headman. Their leis exploded ... and … then they fell into the coconut peeler ... didn't have a chance, what with all the rotating knives. Yeah, that's the ticket.

Nobody bats an eye. Happens all the time on these primitive islands, where they've likely never even heard of OSHA. Arcadio informs them he and that sultry granddaughter who's sporting the suspiciously un-Polynesian ronnie are the only English-speakers on the island. Except, Alma reminds him, for the mysterious Mr. Powers and his faithful detainer, Goro.

Then Alma launches into a lengthy speech on behalf of the islanders about how grateful they are to Jim and the others for coming to their island. She finishes up by promising him "We are your servants."

Jim gently corrects her: "We're here to serve, not to be served. I only hope it works out that way."

"I, too," she answers demurely, with downcast eyes, each of them no doubt thinking of services they can provide for the other.

Jim introduces everybody. Alma says it will give her great pleasure to do whatever she can to help. Carla replies that her husband won't be much help in the pleasure department, dear. She offers to do a three-way with Alma and Jim. It's going to be a long six months.

Later, everybody's in the hut, unpacking. Alma is enthralled by the high tech of a Coleman lantern.  Arcadio now decides to tell Paul they chose a bad time to come to the island. Jim wants to know why, but the headman won't elaborate.

Alma says they are ashamed. Jim assures her they weren't expecting laundromats and supermarkets. A White Castle or an Arby's would have been nice, but they'll manage to cope, somehow.

Arcadio: "We wish you had asked to return where you came from, while the ship was still here." But wouldn't it have been a bit more timely if Arcadio had said something before the ship left? You simply can't assume this bunch is quick enough on the uptake to catch broad hints like “Blood Island” and mysteriously mangled people parts.

Paul doesn't understand.

Arcadio: "We have gone back to primitive ways. There are things which we do now, which we did not do before." He departs, without offering any further explanation.

After Arcadio's exit, Paul asks Alma what he meant. She says, "We have returned to the ways of our primitive ancestors. We are not too proud of it." She bows, then quickly exits. Got it? They're doing something primitive. And they're ashamed.

The next day, Jim is showing the awestruck islanders how to construct a rickety cabana. He tells Alma it's going to be a health center. Then they're going to build a schoolhouse, and maybe an irrigation system. And after that, a secret fort! And then a full-scale replica of Trump's Taj Mahal! He promises Alma he's here to improve their village, not tell them how to run it: they'll have to do the work themselves. No leaving a bowl of milk out at night for the elves!

Then he notices an odd-looking tree. That is, he says it looks odd, but from all we can see of it, it just appears kind of scraggly, and in need of a little judicious pruning. He asks Alma about the tree, but she clams up. When he wants to know if something's wrong, she runs away. He continues to gaze in wonder at this arboreal freak.

Cut to the jungle. Carla's bored, while hubby's doing scientist things. Strangely, Carla notices the sun is setting at 4:30 in the afternoon. It's more likely her watch has stopped, or she has trouble with the concept of time zones, than the Earth has suddenly sped up its rotation. But this is Blood Island, after all, where anything can happen.

Carla poses seductively against a tree trunk. Paul stops taking samples and stares at her.

Carla: "I'm not one of your specimens."

Paul: "Sometimes I think it would be simpler if you were." He'd need one hell of a big jar, though.

It looks as if she and Paul might reconcile, or at least indulge in a quick hate fuck, but the moment passes. I see: this is the Filipino-American remake of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Starring Carla as Martha, Paul as George, Jim as young Nick and Alma as Honey. ("Don't talk about the monster, Martha!")

On their way back to the village, they come across a bizarre critter which looks like someone glued an eggplant onto a land crab's hindquarters. Paul, ever the perfect gentleman, assures the crab that it doesn't make its butt look too big.

Back at the village, the setting sun is almost touching the horizon. Another fascinating native ritual: this one's a lottery, to choose two of the island's maidens for some special honor. Strangely, the lucky winners don't seem at all elated by their good fortune.

I guess the script forgot about that sunset, since now Jim, Carla and Paul are ambling through the jungle, and from the angle of the light it can't be more than a couple of hours past noon. Manservant Goro -- the sinister, scar-faced guy we briefly glimpsed when the Americans set foot on Blood Island -- suddenly materializes from the underbrush, and invites them to dinner at Mr. Power's mansion.

Goro leads them into the jungle. Mist rises, and an unearthly racket assails their ears. They notice a banana tree has grown a weird appendage, which -- like the movie -- is flailing about aimlessly. Scientist Paul appears only mildly interested by this incredible discovery. (Okay, Taylor only seems capable of mildly portraying any emotion, but still ...) He readily agrees with Jim that it can wait until morning. They sure are in a lather to meet that enigmatic Mr. Powers.

Goro is nervous; he tells them they must hurry. Another banana tree menaces them with its fronds as they walk away. They arrive at the Powers mansion, where the groundskeeper has apparently been burning a lot of yard trash. Inside the courtyard, two diminutive servants clad in red silk diapers sprint to the gate and open it, while a third peeks around a bush.

The visitors are suitably awed by the place. "It must be over a hundred years old!" exclaims Jim. Sure, it looks more like it was built in the 1950s, but why not take the script's word for it? They enter the mansion, while a half-dozen or more little people in diapers scurry around or furtively watch the visitors. (Apparently, Powers has developed his own breed of Oompa Loompas.) The little people whisper among themselves. Something about wanting to climb those Hills, I'd wager.

The Americans first meet Ricky Ricardo -- I mean, the mysterious Mr. Powers -- in his parlor, as he pounds out a tempestuous tune on a grand piano. (I suppose a pipe organ would have been a little too much of a tip-off.) I think he's playing the theme for The Secret Storm. Goro whacks one of the servants on the head, tells the little guys something which I'm sure would roughly translate as "Stop ogling the dame and scram!" He then gently interrupts his deeply preoccupied Master, informing him that his guests have arrived.

Esteban Powers introduces himself to his "fellow Americans" in a thick Spanish accent, and invites them to stay at his mansion. Carla, salivating over the new meat, easily persuades Paul. Jim declines, reminding them he has to live among the villagers to do his work.

They sit down to dinner. Before they can begin tucking in, they're interrupted by the sound of Goro whipping one of the Oompa Loompas. Goro explains the little guy stole Paul's flare gun. Powers chides Goro for leaping to conclusions, then apologizes to his guests: he hopes the beating hasn't spoiled their appetites.

This crowd? Are you kidding? Jim and Paul have elevated obliviousness to the level of high art, and Carla's ... intrigued.

The script dishes up some exposition: turns out Blood Island was on the fringe of the fallout from the bomb tests. Powers says there's no radiation here, but Paul tells him about the mutated land crab, and reveals that his tests showed it was radioactive. They blather for a while about radioactivity and mutations. Powers wants to know if the mutations could affect -- dramatic pause -- humans. Paul isn't sure.

After dinner, Goro leads Powers' guests back through the jungle. Assuming the filmmakers were trying for a day-for-night effect here, they failed miserably. More mist, and again with the mixed-up, kooky sound effects, as they trudge along the trail.

In a pioneering example of tentacle soft porn, Carla is attacked by a tree root. Jim stabs the root with his knife, while Goro watches impassively. Trees are waving their roots at them on every side. Orchids puff clouds of pink pollen at them, but prematurely, while they're still well out of range. (I think this may be a subtle metaphor for Paul's little problem.) They hasten past. A giant inchworm -- or maybe it's an ambulatory penis, you never can tell with these wacky atomic mutations -- humps across the trail after they pass by.

Carla panics. She has to be hustled along by Jim and Paul. They emerge from that screwy jungle just in time to catch another procession: now the islanders are carrying two litters, bearing the lucky lottery winners. Jim, Paul and Carla follow the crowd to an idol topped by an enormous gap-toothed Mr. Bill head. This idol really shouldn't have put off those visits to the dentist.

The islanders tie the girls to upright bamboo frames, and Arcadio strips their halters off. (Because of the blip in the movie here, I'm betting the original cut probably showed some breast.) The headman shoos everybody off, telling them there's nothing they can do for the women.

Again, I can only marvel at these Americans' enlightened acceptance of local customs.

Back at the hut: eerie roars are heard from the jungle. Well, actually, it sounds more like a telephone breather, with his head stuck in a culvert. Paul, however, thinks it might be an earthquake. And this guy is supposed to be a scientist?

"No!" replies Alma, mentally adding, "What kind of a numbskull are you?"

A fake moth, with construction paper wings embellished with markings crudely scrawled in Crayola, flutters into the hut and, accompanied by a theremin, hovers in the air. It changes form before their very eyes! Off-camera, and not in the brief glimpses they show of it, but look, just go with them on this: it has fangs and other scary stuff, okay? Paul tries to capture the putative were-moth, but it attacks him! It wounds his hand and flies away, because it was never really his ...

While Carla helps Jim bandage Paul's bloody hand, the breather gets louder and more urgent. He's either having a possibly fatal asthma attack or working up to something ... Carla demands to know what's happening. Paul speculates that some creature on the island has undergone a drastic mutation. (Ya think?)

Cut to the idol. The monster shuffles into the torchlight. It's a hideous amalgam of Sean Connery and H.R. Pufnstuf, with glowing red eyes, and dried-up liver slices stapled to the costume. The non-human creature attacks one of the girls. She screams.
Back to the hut: Jim wants to confront the creature, but Arcadio insists it's too late. The headman threatens Jim with a knife, vows to stop him at all costs. Suddenly, the roars cease. Oh ... well, never mind. Lights out, everybody!

Friday, November 21, 2014

I Sound My Mighty Yelp

I was so delighted and inspired by Sheri's piece on Wo'C favorite Robin of Berkeley that I just had to pluck a fruit from the poisoned tree and take a big crunchy bite of it myself. And then Weird Dave, one of our favorite, and certainly one of our nudest Crappers, wrote in comments, "Before we bid Ms. bin Berkeley adieu check out her complaining about Yelp.  I will bet dollars to doughnuts she got a bad Yelp review (or three)." And if you know me, you know how difficult I find it to ignore the advice of a man who spends most of his time frolicking naked in the desert. So I followed his link, and sure enough, Robin is as upset by this crowdsourced Consumer Reports as she is by the Andrew Breitbart murder, or Rosemary's Baby (but happily she's still proud of her whiteness):
Real Men Don’t Yelp
They just jump straight to their safe word.
Everyone is Yelping these days, that is, using the website, Yelp, to play critic. But in my opinion, the name “Yelp,” is a misnomer. Instead, it should be called “Whine.”
That'd be great, Robin; unfortunately, "Whine" has already been reserved as a synonym for "Blogging."
Because that’s what most people do on Yelp, complaining about this restaurant or that physician’s office. As a bumper sticker I saw aptly put it, “Yelp. Ruining small businesses since 2004.”
Well far be it from me to refute the peer-reviewed conclusions of a bumper sticker, but the only time I ever wrote a Yelp review, it was a rave for the Mom 'n' Pop computer cobblers who resurrected my wizened Mac after the harddrive died.  Now I realize my experience is completely anecdotal, and lacks the large data sample and rigorous statistical analysis typically performed by the rear collision guard of your Kia Elantra, but according to this site designed to help local merchants leverage social media, Yelp users most often come to praise Little Caeser's, not to bury it:
Take “Becky from Oakland.” She ordered her burger from the local bistro medium rare, but it came well done. Did she politely speak to the waiter? Complain to the manager? Try to work things out like, I don’t know. . . a grown up? 
No, Becky typed out an incendiary attack against the restaurant and posted it on Yelp. In that moment, as Becky seeks revenge for her disappointing dinner, the restaurant owner isn’t a person like her, someone with dreams and feelings. He is just a vehicle for her to unload frustration and bitterness.
Unfortunately, Robin didn't link to Becky from Oakland's review because we can't handle the truth!, so we don't know if she did try speaking to the waiter or the manager, or just sullenly accepted the cremains of her burger and placed it in a tasteful urn next to Aunt Sadie's ashes on the mantle. And since a search of Yelp for "Becky from Oakland" yields no reviews at all, positive or negative, it's possible Becky is another one of Robin's imaginary enemies. Or one of her patients. But I repeat myself.
Yelp plays to basest instincts for vengeance, imparting a false sense of power and bravado. In that online moment, Becky becomes a mini, online Rambo.
What you call Hell, Becky calls Help.
Then there’s Jim. He didn’t like the attitude of the person at the local dry cleaners so decided not to use them. Rather than simply bringing his garments to another shop, he gave the place (which, by the way, he never actually used) a nasty review and one star. In the age of Yelp, business owners can’t be in a bad mood because of a troubled marriage or a sickly child. Every potential customer is now a Secret Shopper, scrutinizing all possible wrong moves.
It doesn't seem to dawn on Robin that people actually read the reviews on Yelp, and if "Jim" says "The dry cleaner was all pouty about his kid's lymphoma, so I refused to let him touch my fine washables. One star!", then users will probably accord his opinion the weight it deserves. On the other hand, I find Robin's stubborn belief that everyone is as stupid as she is -- in spite of all evidence to the contrary -- a touching act of faith.
I suppose Yelp isn’t all that different from many sites on online, with the trolls and the hostile, sometimes obscene, comments. 
Back on the Old Wo'C Site, Sheri quoted Robin on the mystifying, nay, suicidal effrontery of trolls.  "Why," Robin puzzled, "Would they subject themselves to scrutiny by a licensed psychotherapist?", to which Sheri responded, "Robin, you routinely diagnose mental illness in the Left while being a nut yourself. You’re a humorless, tone-deaf scold. And you tell the most far-fetched, improbable, entertaining stories about the trials and tribulations of being you. Of COURSE the trolls are going to be drawn to you. You’re their queen!"
Virtually, people can brandish words like knives to attack anyone who dares to disagree. It’s all anonymous, of course; one can say things that would never be allowed in polite conversation. And the recipient of the abuse isn’t a quite a person, but an objectified, disembodied thing, someone different than oneself.
Robin of Berkeley would like you assholes to stop insulting people from behind your curtain of anonymity.
Maybe I’m touchier about the subject than others. My father owned a very small store post-WWII, when leases were easy to get and red tape nil.
Before the days of intrusive government regulations, our father's were free to run their wildcat organ harvesting business out of the neighbor's toolshed!
Because ultimately, it’s not about burgers and fries or dry cleaners; it’s about something deeper and more essential: dignity, and a culture bereft of it. No longer do we treat each other with basic dignity. The business owner isn’t someone’s father or mother, not a person trying to carve out his little piece of the American dream. No, the other is an obstacle in our way, a barrier to our achieving our own perceived rights and privileges.
So what if he poured sawdust into the drive train and then charged you for a new transmission -- he might be somebody's dad for all he knows!
I propose something radically different, something that harks back to a bygone era, that is, the one prior to the creation of the World Wide Web. How about if someone has a problem with someone else, that he speaks to them? If Becky doesn’t like her burger, she should send it back. Speak to the manager, if necessary. Worst comes to worst, she can order something else from the menu.
By preemptively posting a bad review on Yelp, Becky will never know if the manager would have preferred -- given the opportunity -- to address her complaint in a more personal way, by making her a new burger and spitting on it.
How about if everyone stops Yelping and Whining, and returns to talking to each other with basic respect. We’re all in this human soup together.
Okay, although I prefer to think of it as Homo Bisque.
In my opinion, real men (and women) don’t Yelp. And real human beings don’t seek revenge on each other, by trying to destroy reputations and businesses on impulse. 
I think Dave is right, and a few well-placed consumer complaints to the California Board of Behavioral Sciences (I'm lookin' at you, Chris Vosburg), may explain why Robin no longer identifies herself as a "licensed psychotherapist."
Real people see that we are all connected in some mystical way that none of us can really understand. 
Yes, there's few things more mystical in this veil of tears than the ethereal bonds between "fraud" and "gullibility," or "carnies" and "rubes."

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Strong Enough for a Man, But Made for a Neuter Noun

I gotta say, any day that sees the triumphant return of both S.Z. and Robin of Berkeley is a damn fine day indeed, one which fills my veins with the non-dairy creamer of human kindness. So I'm going to get the holiday season started early this year, with a preview of our annual gift giving guide.

(The item below appears courtesy of our buddy, film scholar Jim Donahue.)
Dear friend 
Wonderful day! 
Do you still remember Vision 3 ,yes ,vision 3 special package for Christmas is coming.
I don't remember the product, but the inconsistent capitalization rings a bell...
Material:Carbon fiber tube 
Size: (L)130.5mm*(D)17.5mm  
Output Voltage:3.2v-4.8v 
Capacity:1600mah 
Are you still annoying the problem that what is the best guy for Christmas’ selling .Consider vision 3 and I believe you will have a wonderful Christmas day. 
Good luck! 
Vera 
Shenzhen Jinokn Technology Co., Limited  
Facebook: vera wei 
Skype : jinoknecig
I'm such a procrastinator.  Here it is, almost Thanksgiving, and I haven't even begun to annoy the problem of what is the best guy for Christmas' selling, or addressed whether the best guy for the selling is even a guy; perhaps a woman would be more annoying! We must think outside the box.

And while we're out there, you should probably get around to hanging Christmas' lights. But move that apostrophe first -- you might cut yourself.

Anyway, as Vera says in her subject line, Father Christmas will be attracted by them— electronic cigarette battery, so buy one now, and you'll never again have to ask a neighbor to jumpstart your e-cigarette on cold mornings.

(On the downside, use of Vision 3 ,yes ,vision 3 special package has been shown to attract Father Christmas' and occasionally raccoons. We recommend storing it in a Rubbermaid container.)

Sunday, November 16, 2014

14 Years a Berkeley Slave

Since Scott doesn't have the strong constitution necessary for wingnut hunting right now, I thought I'd do a quick scour of the ol' stomping grounds.  Imagine my delight to find that Robin of Berkeley is back on the job.   And she hasn't changed a bit! Seriously, she is saying the very same things she did years ago, so maybe she has actually been replaced by a Google cache.  Anyway, just for old times' sake, here is Robin with a column about how liberals don't have a sense of humor because they won't laugh at her ethnic jokes.
 If You Don't Have a Sense of Humor, It's Not Funny
"There are so many things that get under my skin around here: the crime, filth, and trash; the road rage; the naked people; and the slavish adoration of all things leftist."
It's so sad how nobody will tell Robin about the road that leads out of town and into Oakland.  Or maybe all the naked people are just blocking the sign.
"But one of the most annoying is that so few people around Berkeley have any sense of humor. Imagine living in an area where you have to screen every potential comment for racial, gender, and transgender sensitivity. And every time you dare to open your mouth, there’s a pretty good chance that someone will shut you up."
Imagine living in a society where people expect you to have a little decency, and to not be a jerk out loud.  It's a dystopian nightmare!
"For instance, I was at the bank last fall when we were having a string of lovely, warm days. Amiably, I said to the teller, 'It seems like we’re having an Indian summer.'  To which the well trained, young white male responded, 'Hm. I wonder if the term, ‘Indian summer,’ is racist'.”
We've already reached the point in Ms. Robin's remarks where I have to call "no way."  There was no well-trained, young white male teller, was there, Robin?  No lovely warm day last fall.  No trip to the bank.  The whole thing was an anecdote from the 1984 edition of Rush Limbaugh's "Happiness is a Dead Liberal."  Know what gave away the fictional nature of the alleged encounter?  Yes, it was Robin addressing an amiable remark to somebody.

Anyway, the point is: nobody in Berkeley has a sense of humor, and so you should never, ever open a comedy club there - and if you do, it will fail, and you will have to make your living as an indentured psychologist.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Random Scenes of Hollywood

Update on Mary's condition: she's doing well, with no post-operative infection (I wasn't particularly worried about that, but as Wo'C Chief Medical Officer Dr. BDH remarked, hospitals are "full of germs and mistakes." She's developed a bit of a cough, and every hacking spasm hurts like hell, but otherwise the pain is manageable, and she's able to get around the apartment. We'll know more when she sees the doctor on Monday.

Meanwhile, Moondoggie is exhausted from all the feels, and just wants this week to be over.

Anyway, I haven't really felt like poking a stick into the muddy bottom of the right blogosphere and stirring it around until methane bubbles pop on the surface, but I did manage to take a walk and snap a few photos -- and while I'm certainly not trying to compete with ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© I figure it's been awhile since we've done one of these. So please enjoy The (Mostly) All Cactus Hollywood Sidewalk Revue!
Two cacti embrace, one of whom is extremely aroused.

I don't know what species of cactus this is, I only know that it's Textured for Her Pleasure.

The cactus in the center appears to be delivering a big, rabble-rousing speech. The one on the left, however, seems to have gotten bored, started watching the two canoodling cacti above, and popped a half-chubby (which is always embarrassing if the meeting adjourns unexpectedly, because then you've got to sit there and shuffle your papers around until it wilts).

This cactus is doing it's famous impression of a Sandworm Eating Gooseberries.

I'm not sure, but I think this cactus is flipping us off.

This is either a palm tree that has been eaten away by blight or natural erosion and is about to snap in half and brain a passerby, or it's a Muppet version of a tiki idol.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Good News, Followed by Dubious Advice

Hey guys, just wanted to let everyone know that Mary is home, which means her recovery is excellent or her insurance is lousy.  Anyway, we have Oreo-flavored pudding and Oxycontin, plus a marmalade cat who has been plucked from the gibbering mouth of madness, so all things considered, it's a good day.

I haven't been near the computer much, so there's been no time to go wingnut scouting, but our old friend "Wally" has kindly offered to step in while we are indisposed and offer up a third helping of his unique, Miss Manners meets Nathaniel West-style advice column.  And not just your garden variety home truths traded over the back fence, but the kind of bitter, hard-won wisdom that only comes from growing up on television with Wolverine hair.  (For those who may not remember, Wally made his first appearance here, in a column which attempted to reconcile the ways of Ted Nugent, to Man, then launched his Miss Lonelyhearts franchise here, followed by a second installment here.)

Take it away, Wally...

Dear Wally,

I'm 19 and a Rutgers freshman – and now finally out of the closet.

During orientation week I met a really cool guy, Sam, who lives off-campus and we hang out a lot besides sharing the same major (engineering).

This weekend Sam invited me over to his crib but I met his older brother Todd there instead.

In a nutshell, Todd lured me into helping with bathroom renovation, then compromised me. All afternoon. I still have rope burns around wrists and ankles and other stuff.

I don't know how to tell Sam about this but feel I should if we want to continue our relationship.

Any advice?

Nervous in Newark.

Dear Nervous,

Send more photos.

Your rope-a-dope pal,
Cleaver-Meat

Dear Wally,

I'm discouraged by recent news of terrorist activities, emerging viruses and the general sense that the geo-political situation is way outta control.

I'm under-employed and have a family. Should we just be quiet and build a fortified underground bunker in the back yard or do we acquire enough narcotics and drink the Kool-Aid while watching reruns of LITB?

Cowering in Cincinnati

Dear Cowering,

If you go the bunker route for heaven's sake don't spend all day watching reruns of Beaver. Recent research has proven its potential to induce tardive dyskinesia after about a dozen episodes. Or mount your TV hanging from the ceiling facing down. Either way.

Bon Voyage,
La Wally

Dear Wally,

Took my '98 Acura sedan down to Maaco (Bronx) and waited two weeks for a simple repair and paint job. I picked up the car this morning. It's not my car. Its a '81 Honda Civic hatchback. Pizza car. Refused to take delivery.

Piqued in Poughkeepsie

Dear Piqued,

The odds of you getting your original Acura back are about as low as getting a good blow job from Jay North, aka Little Miss Blue Balls.

Normally our readers ask if Wally might assist them somehow in the day-to-day.

You haven't.

Wally has a fleeting suspicion that as an Acura owner you are nothing more than a white man enjoying white privilege in your every endeavor, whether waiting in line at Whole Foods or perhaps just picking your nose whilst navigating from point A to B.

In other words, Piqued, Wally is telling you as politely as Wally can that you are a significant, if not complete, douche-bag.

Contemptibly yours,
Wall-Mouth

Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Corsican Swanks

Okay, this is weird...

[First, I have to tell you, I brought Mary our Kindle this morning, and she used the hospital wifi to connect to World O' Crap, and all the well wishes in the comment thread below made her smile. Which is no small feat, as she was in a fair amount of pain, and hungry as hell, having gone without solid food since Wednesday night.  But as of press time (I'm writing this at about 9PM Saturday) she's had lunch and dinner and kept both down, and may be home as soon as Monday. Crap, I shouldn't have said that, because now I've probably jinxed it...]

Anyway, I get home from the hospital, eye the Mesa of Lost Laundry and half a dozen other silent, mocking household chores, and figure I'll just take a quick dip into the archives and pull out an old Swank post for a Sunday Sermonette. And since I've been revisiting the Pastor's output in more or less chronological order, I look for the post which followed his last (seen here).

And guess what? It's the one where Swank goes to the hospital!  Specifically, it's the one where he bitches about having to drive his wife to the hospital and then dozes in a La-Z-Boy while she has hand surgery, but it all turns out okay because he meets a "hunk" with a wasting disease.

Okay, except for the napping in the hospital room and the flirting with male patients, this is exactly how I've been spending my last couple days days. You realize what this means, don't you?  Swank is stealing my life! He's the Jennifer Jason Leigh to my Bridget Fonda in Single White Female. He's dopplegangerbanging me!

So...anyone want to join the church I've just founded in the northwest corner of my living room? (Two can play at this game, Pastor!)

Originally published March 27, 2009

Swank Versus The Medieval Barbers


Pastor Swank has lost 40 pounds in 40 days, and now enjoys “increased energy and clarity of thought.” (Let’s hope not, or this post is going nowhere fast!)  Still, you can’t argue with results, and according to the Pastor, an amazing regimen of laxative teas, banana splits, and nasal spray has cranked up his nearly 70-year old metabolism and made the hypothalamus his bitch!
And what’s Swank doing with his new, boyish vim?  Well, let’s check his latest Townhall blog and see…
Monday was hand surgery day for Priscilla, my wife.
Several days prior she had been sick with the flu. Fill in the blanks.
Okay…we need a noun, an adverb, and a breed of cat…
But Monday she was well enough to have the cut-through.
The doctor cut all the way through her hand?  That sounds more like amputation than surgery, but I’m no expert.
However, waking up Monday for me was not fun. I now had the no-energy-at-all. Yet I was to drive her to and from the hospital. After all.
“At which point I would be alone again.  Naturally.”
I literally dragged to the van, turned the key and hoped to stay put on the frost heaves of River Road.
Well no wonder you felt so crappy, Pastor.  I had the dry heaves once, but at least the bathroom was heated.
By the time we got to the hospital, Priscilla went off to see the surgeon. I waited in the state-of-the-art reception solarium.
American medicine has made enormous advances in waiting!  Why, our waiting technology is light years beyond those socialists in Canada!
I was handed what appeared to be a type of remote which would wiggle and tickle when it was time for me to visit Priscilla through those awesome closed doors that signed AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL ONLY.
So they gave you a vibrator?  Yeah, I can see how that would make the time go faster.
At the end of the long, long hall was the cubicle housing Priscilla. Thankfully, the hospital with its most accommodating provisions, had a lazy-boy chair for the visitor-with-patient. I made swift use of the chair, tilted back and closed my eyes.
“I was exhausted from all the hyphenating.  Guess I’m not as young as I used to be.”
It was now mid-day. I dared not put anything in my stomach because of you-know-why. Yet the strength was not upping.
Stupid strength.
Nevertheless, I was the designated driver. So home we went, Priscilla talking about meds for pain and my head gradually focusing on what was really important.
I collapsed on the couch, losing contact with the world through the few hours beckoning. When awakening, Priscilla said, “You know, I’m going to have to go back to the hospital because the nurse left a needle in my arm.”
Sure enough. The nurse had forgotten to take the “port”—is that what it’s called; I have no idea about medical terminology?
“So I’m going to make some up.  I’ve decided that sharp thing they use to take blood from your arm is called an ‘isthmus,’ and that thing they make you poop in when you’re stuck in bed?  I’m either going to call that a ‘grommet,’ or an ‘antimacassar.’”
Anyhow, it’s the needle that’s put into the flesh by which more whatevers can be added to the body for this and that.
Whoa, whoa, whoa!  Ease up on the jargon there, Dr. House.  We’re only human.
Yes, it was there all right. And it could not stay. Infection and so forth.
She might develop inflamed adverbs!
I don’t know if I can drive into the city. The hospital. It seems so far away,” I replied, unthinkingly, for who else was going to do it?
Back in the car. Night had fallen. I felt wretched. Priscilla was dealing with pain-after-hand-surgery.
We got to Mercy Hospital Emergency Room, checked in with the receptionist and so on and so on.
“Then we each told two friends about Faberge Organic Shampoo…”
To my right there sat a handsome young fellow who started to explain to me that my wife could have been taken to the local fire department where a medic would have extracted the object without us having to do what we did.
Set her on fire?
From that subject, we moved to his subject—which was that he suffers from diabetes, has an esophagus problem by which he cannot eat anything but apple sauce diluted with water.
“I’m losing weight. I have gone down from 225 to 155.”
“So you’ve discovered the laxative and nasal spray diet too?”
Then there came out this detail from Jeremy: “My mother is strict when it comes to religion.”
I asked him what church she goes to.
He replied with the name of the sanctuary. “I know where that is. And I believe what your mother believes. You don’t know it, but you have been talking with a minister.”
He looked startled—but pleased.
Well, startled anyway.
Jesus was in charge. And how many times has this same sequence played out in my life over and over again: problems, difficulties, barriers, slumps and then—surprise—the hand of God in-my-face?
“Thank you, Jesus!  May I have another?”
“Thank you, Jesus, for overruling today. The nurse forgot the “port”? We had to go back to another hospital because it was merely a nuisance?
That’s life. It’s a damaged world.
Except in the winter, when it’s really more of a marshmallow world.
Yet Jesus has promised in the consecrated life to use everything “according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28. Recall?
Pray for Jeremy, will you? Pray for Jeremy. It was such a privilege to have met him. He certainly is one hunk who could use a lot of saving grace and a healing miracle besides.
I’d like to help, Pastor, but my Hunks Who Need Praying For list is pretty full already.  Maybe I can bump Wentworth Miller and squeeze Jeremy in after The Thunder From Down Under guys…
Thank you, Jesus. I know you know and are in charge.
Now as to the state of the present-tense world. . .
Oop!  Hold that thought, Jesus.  I’m late for my Smooth Move Tea and Dristan enema.