Monday, June 30, 2008

Picture Mondays: 6/30

6'4" inches of pure Hex Appeal.

Ms. Haynes was part of Dr. Draculas Den of Living Nightmares, a live midnight spook-show, that toured the mid-west in the '40s and '50s.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Cinema Suicide: Wicked, Wicked

I almost killed three people last night: yours truly, and my good friends Mike and Sarah. Now, homicide was not my intention when I went over to their house for an evening of film and booze to shake off a really crappy week at work, but, while screening the first feature of the night, a cinematic anti-masterpiece called Wicked-Wicked that I brought to the party -- you're welcome, we all almost died from acute asphyxiation. I don't know if it was the booze consumed, the anamorphic duo-vision split-screen, the singing talents of Ms. Tiffany Bolling, the bug-eyed organist banging away at her keys, the teleporting actors, atomically powered euphemisms, or the 70's camouflage costumes that blended in with the wallpaper and carpet ("All I can see is a 'stache and mullet!") that helped set the stage for this near-death experience, but the final catalyst was about a thirty-second montage featuring Scott Brady, Cranky Detective, rapidly recapping how the prime murder suspect kneed him in the junk, then jumped out a window, and then drove his car off a cliff in a flash of hilariously rapid-fire, nonsensical edits that had all of us laughing so hard and doubling over, gasping and fighting for air that we all almost died -- so much so that we had to stop the movie for several minutes until our color and breathing returned to normal, allowing us to continue. Fully composed, tears wiped from our eyes, diaphragms aching, we managed to finish the feature, and though we almost had a terminal relapse during the climax with the brilliant return of Scott Brady, Cranky Detective, who probably flunked out of his hostage negotiation training, we all managed to barely survive the experience. Wow.

Folks, I'm telling you, if you haven't had the pleasure of seeing Wicked, Wicked you definitely owe it to yourself to try and track down a copy. It's so wrong, so wonderfully, wonderfully wrong in all the right ways. Just be sure to have some emergency oxygen tanks lying around. Seriously, unless you want the cause of death on the coroners report to read "Death by Misadventure: extremely bat-crap insane movie."

Friday, June 27, 2008

Trailer Park Fridays: 6/27

Managed to catch a David Cronenberg double-feature last night thanks to a quirk in the cable schedule on a couple of pay channels. I never really had an opinion on the guy because, honestly, I hadn't really seen anything done by him (The Dead Zone and The Fly and that was about it), especially his earlier stuff, mostly for the simple fact of lack of opportunity. Now I have, and holy cow, Shivers and Scanners was a whole six-pack of @#%*ed up. And I mean that in an extremely good way. Scanners was gooey and gross, and perverse doesn't even begin to do Shivers justice. I mean, holy crap! The cherry pie! Sweet bajeezus the cherry pie! Anyway, glad to cross another embarrassing gap off the old cinema shortcomings list and looking forward to tracking down Rabid, The Brood, and Videodrome and finally giving them a look, too.

If you're like me, this is what you have to look forward to:

Shivers (1975)

Rabid (1977)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Good and Pissed. And a little scared to boot.

I honestly can't fathom what it would be like to have a job one day, and then not to have one the next. Especially when you've done nothing wrong to deserve this "privilege."

You have a job. You don't have a job.

You've been employed for a month, six-months, a year, five years, ten. Doesn't matter.

Just like that. *snap* Gone.

Seriously. No sign. No warning. Go into the office as usual; say "hi"; settle in and prepare to dig into the day's crap-pile of stuff to get done. Just like yesterday, and the day before that etc. etc. etc. Just another day in paradise, right? But then, you get called into the boss's office. Uncomfortable silence. Hemming, hawing, nose-scratching, and then we get to the inevitable "There's no easy way to put this..."

Welcome to the ranks of the unemployed.

This did not happen to me today. But it did happen to several of my co-workers. Five all told. Three confirmed, and two more owed more to scuttlebutt than anything else. No word. No nothing, just a few empty desks scattered around the building and a lot of tears come five o'clock.

Sure, you wanna get angry -- and rightfully so. What happened in all honesty is wrong, horrible, unfair, and downright unconscionable. @#%*ing-A right it is. It also @#$%ing sucks to the Nth degree. But then there's that nagging voice warning you to stay calm, pal. You could be next. Be happy that you still have a job.

Thanks, inner voice. Like I didn't feel enough guilt already. I'm just one big ball of anger, disillusionment, guilt, shame, and more than a little scared shitless that's threatening to boil over into I don't know what.

But seriously, even if you did lose it, rant and rave, scream, put your foot thru your Mac, pull out your hair, and set the building on fire -- who is that really hurting. I mean: Who do you rant and rave to?

I have no doubt that this batch of unforeseen layoffs are due to some greater mismanagement or incompetence performed way, way up the corporate food chain. One has to wonder: Are they punished or laid off for this, too? Maybe. Maybe not. Who knows.
Bottom line, baby. It's all about the bottom line, no matter what the collateral damage. And I feel it's only get worse, a lot worse, with no sign, at all, of it ever getting better any time soon -- if it all.

What I do know is that five people had jobs today. Tomorrow, the don't.

Today, I have a job. Tomorrow?

Picture Mondays (6/23)

More Inclement Weather:

Seems to be the same disturbing pattern these days. Humid and sultry afternoon, six o'clock a severe thunderstorm warning, six-o-five it's raining and hailing to beat hell, then by six-ten the sun is shining and all is right with the world. Go fig.

Monday, June 23, 2008

In Memorium: George Carlin (1937-2008)

I don't have much to say on this, too hard, so I'll just offer one of my favorite bits:

Friday, June 20, 2008

Trailer Park Friday: 6/20

Sure, you've seen a few Godzilla trailers. Heck, you've probably even seen the original Japanese trailers. We all have. But have you ever seen them in German?

Nope, me neither. So here ya go.

Frankenstein und die Monster Aus Dem All (Destroy all Monsters):

Frankenstein -- Zwekampf der Giganten (War of the Gargantuas):

? Your guess is as good as mine on that translation. And as an added bonus, here's the Teutonic trailer for Gamera gagen Gaos:

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Health Update.

All good news from the doctor. A "viral" lung infection he called it. Nothing to worry about. And sure enough, the morning of the appointment that I put off and put off I wake up feeling the best I had in about week and half. No lung butter, no rasping and hacking. Figures.

Anyways, Doc Reimers assures me I'm on the downhill side of whatever was coagulating my bronchial passages but just to be safe he prescribed me some anti-biotics and some industrial strength cough syrup that I've affectionately dubbed "The Red Tar." Now, loyal readers of the old review website probably remember that I do not get along well with cold medicine, which led to this conversation with my physician describing my normal reaction to over-the-counter cold remedies:

"Well," I said, "when I took some Alka-Seltzer Plus once it took about two-minutes before my heart felt like it was going to explode out of my chest like that thing in Alien. And when I took some Sudafed I got all fidgety and very, very paranoid, which led to the unfortunate K-Mart incident when I was escorted out of the store for accusing a customer of giving me the stink-eye. And since that didn't work, I took some Nyquil which immediately rendered me unconscious for several hours and when I woke up about two hours later I was completely hot-wired and stuck to the ceiling of my bedroom with all twenty fingers and toes embedded in the plaster."

"You might just want to stick with one teaspoon of that, then" the doctor said without batting and eye, handing me the scripts.

Needless to say, I'm getting better -- and I'm very cautious while operating heavy machinery.

Tuneage Tuesdays: 6/17

Ballad of the Hollywood Tough Guys.

First up, Robert Mitchum and and ode to Thunder Road.

And then Clint Eastwood croons a tribute to all the lonely drovers out on the trail with Rowdy.

Pretty damn good, aren't they? (And I'm just as shocked as you are.)

Monday, June 16, 2008

Picture Monday: 6/16!

From the Low Deserts of Nevada:
Dry Lake Bed Derby with your Momma's Cadillac.

Oh yeah, there's definitely a story behind that shot.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Trailer Park Fridays: 6/13!

We're gonna do something special today. A tribute to a criminally under-appreciated icon of '70s Sleazoid Cinema, Ms. Tiffany Bolling. Blond, beautiful, and tough as nails, you name it, she's done it genre wise. Don't believe me, then check out these trailers:

Wicked, Wicked (1973)

The Candy Snatchers (1973)

Kingdom of the Spiders (1977)

Okay, okay, fine; so she can't act worth a poop, but I don't care. She is teh awsum!!!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Under the Weather...

This past winter I went thru one hellish round with the flu and something I like to refer to as "the lingering crud." I beat it then with nothing but OJ and Ibuprofen, though it took nearly two weeks, and I thought I could beat it again when I relapsed this past weekend when my lungs slowly started to coagulate like a couple of sacks of wet cement. Is there anything worse than a summer cold? Bleech. Well, everyday I thought I was getting better, but as soon as I went to bed and lay down, the cement came back and I'd start hacking up this vile, greenish goo. But no doctors for me; no sir. What doesn't kill me, blah blah blah; but then night before last I was having a strange dream. And in that dream I was choking on some dust. And when I woke up, I couldn't breath. No, I wasn't congested; I couldn't breath. At all. As my head pounded and muscles weakened for lack of oxygen, a little voice cried out "breath through your nose, stupid." That helped, and I was able to get just enough air in to dislodge the gloppy obstruction before I freakin' died. Still have it in a soiled hanky. I call it Orpheus. Thinking about having it bronzed.

Anyway, I do have a doctor's appointment scheduled for today. I think this is something more serious than a bad cold or allergies. And a quick Google search on my myriad of symptoms tells me I either have bronchitis -- or congestive heart failure.

Sometimes I really hate the internet.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

A Futile and Stupid Gesture: Part II

When we last left our heroes back in the Spring of 2007, against all better judgment, they had decided to embark on a two city, two stadium tour to watch and root on the Chicago Cubs -- the team they both had the shared misfortune of rooting for. So this might make more sense if you read this part first.

When it was first announced that Lou Pinella would be taking over the recently terminated Dusty Baker, the small group of baseball enthusiasts I pal around with were already working on the over/under for how many games into the season it would be before "Mt. Lou" erupted. Over his long and storied career as a baseball manager, Sweet Lou has been involved in many memorable outbursts and dust-ups. And when the Cubs stumbled badly out of the gate in '07, floundering and stinking up the bottom of the NL Central, it seemed that the only thing to look forward to was the inevitable explosion from their volatile new manager. At the time, we had hoped the volcano would remain dormant until August when we saw the Cubs play the Rockies. And when that was scuttled, replaced by this new adventure, we hoped the pending blast would at least wait until the weekend of June 2; D-Day for our two day double-header.

Somehow, I got roped into tracking down tickets and hotels for this expedit
ion. (Thanks, Bob.) And after a few panicky online attempts at reservations of several Chicago Hotels, I finally managed to find one way out by O'Hare. Not to worry, Bob said. He'd navigated the L-Trains from the airport to Wrigley Field before -- I typed ominously. We don't call him Scout-Master Bob for nothing, folks. The sidewalk Magellan who has a bad habit of circling several blocks to find a location right next door to the starting point, was to be our navigator. Tickets proved just as tricky. Both of us wanted to sit in the Wrigley Field Bleachers at least once before we died, so bleacher seats it would be. Since it was pretty well into the season, I jumped on the first batch of tickets found on eBay and paid waaay too much money. But, you only live once. What the hell. Matching bleacher seats for Miller Park soon followed, and with horrific mathematical computations on what gas would probably cost us, we were ready to roll.

The plan was to drive to Chicago on Saturday, check into the hotel, and then head downtown for some pizza at Gino's East and then a few beers at the famed Billy Goat Tavern. (Famous for "The Curse" and providing the inspiration for the old Belushi "cheezboiger, cheezeboiger" SNL skit.) Sunday we had a day game, then a tour of several Wrigleyville watering holes where we would probably drown our sorrows over another ugly loss. One more night at the Best Western, then off to Milwaukee on Monday for a night game. And when that concluded, the plan was to head out of town and trust to luck in finding accommodations somewhere between Wisconsin and home when we or the car ran out of gas.

When the big week arrived and we ticked off the final days until our Futile and Stupid Gesture Tour embarked (and man, we need to get T-shirts for that), the Cubs started their annual June Swoon a little earlier than normal. The final two weeks of May had been pretty wretched, even for the Cubs. They had lost five straight and eleven of thirteen by the day before we were to leave. Another game and another loss was pretty much cemented when it happened. No, not Lou losing it. I'm referring to pitcher Carlos Zambrano beating the hell out of his catcher, Michael Barret, in the dugout after giving up a two-run homer. I'm telling ya, it makes a guy wanna start rooting for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Could it get any uglier than that? Well, yeah; it could. But, even as bad as they were, there was still an outside chance we could see Mt. Lou erupt.

This was my eighth trip to Chicago, second to the Friendly Confines, so do the math and most of the trips were in the dead of winter with horrible weather and bitter cold as I sojurned to B-Fest -- a 24 hour bad movie festiv
al. (Details here.) Welcomed sunny skies shone on us all the way, we were making great time, and by the time we hit Illinois and turned onto I-88, we picked up WGN and listened to Ronnie and Pat call the latest series of fiascoes between the chalk lines. The Cubs were losing. Again. To quote Mr. Santo: "Awww, man. Awww. That's just awful..."

But then, what's this -- a rally? No way. But it di
dn't last very long, ending with a real close play at third base when Angel Pagan was thrown out.

And then it happened:

Missed it by one damn day. One DAMN day!!! Bob and I were both incredulous as the spectacle played out on the radio. And as bad
as these guys were stinking it up, the only thing to really look forward to, baseball wise, had already happened. And to make matters worse, it was starting to drizzle -- and it wasn't supposed to stop raining until the middle of the week. Ah well, I hear Gino's has got some great pizza.
One. Damn. Day.

What happens next? Stay tuned for Pizza tails, train rides, biblical rain, and adventures into the bowels of downtown Chicago in A Futile and Stupid Gesture: Part III.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Tune-Age Tuesdays: 6/10

Ladies and Gentlemen, Satan's Pilgrims.

Haunted House of Rock:

Burnin' Rubber:

And I really wish I could find a clip of them tearing through the Devil's Punchbowl. Alas, no such luck.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Picture Mondays: 6/9!

"Can you make that out 'To My Favorite Primitive Screw-head?"

Friday, June 06, 2008

Trailer Park Fridays: 6/6!

You see that guy over there? ---- >

That guy is Percy Rodrigues, and it was his deep, dulcet and menacing tones that did more to scare me out of the water than any old mechanical shark ever could back in the '70s.

Jaws (1975)
Directed by: Steven Spielberg Starring: Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss, Robert Shaw and Bruce the shark.

And just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water...

Jaws 2 (1978)
Directed by: Jeanot Szwarc Starring: Roy Schieder, Lorraine Gary, Murray Hamilton, and Bruce the shark as Jason Vorhees.

Mr. Rodrigues provided the narration for a lot of trailers; comedies, dramas, it didn't matter, he still scared the beejeebers out of me.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Biblical Weather

Okay, it hasn't been all that bad. But honestly, I can't remember the last quiet night we've had around here when something didn't rumble threw and take a crap on us.
If you click on the picture for a closer look, you'll see those white dots aren't rain, that's hail. A mish-mash of marble to ping-pong sized variety. The latest storm blew in and blew out in less than ten minutes, leaving small drifts of hail in its wake. Gotta love livin' in the Great Plains.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Harvey Korman (1927-2008).

I don't think this clip needs much of a set up:

This one either:

Comedian, straight man, it didn't matter. Thanks for all the laughs, Harvey. Viya con dios.

Tune-age Tuesdays: 6/3

A Special Memorial Tribute to the late Ellas Bates.
But you probably knew him better as Bo Diddley (1928-2008):

From 1966's The Big TNT Show: Bo Diddley, with drummer Clifton James, bassist Roosevelt Jackson, and
the amazing Bo-ettes; Norma-Jean Wofford a/k/a "The Duchess" on the second guitar, Lilly "Bee Bee" Jamieson, and Gloria Morgan.

He left us too soon at the age of 79, and I'll leave you with one of my favorite of his songs that really needs no introduction:

Man it's been a bad week. Can we please stop it with the memorials?!? First Harvey Korman, and now this. Color me massively bummed.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Picture Mondays: 6/2!

No, that's not your creepy uncle Larry, whose breath always smelt like scotch, and cousin Claude, whose general odor was something akin to raspberry Kool-Aid; no, what that is, is a photo I found on the web awhile back featuring one of the oddest of odd couples from the 1970s, nudie filmmaker Russ Meyer and film critic Roger Ebert.

Most folks are probably aware that Ebert wrote the screenplay for one of Mr. Meyer's few forays into major studio territory, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. But did you also know that he penned the scripts for Up! (as Reinhold Timme) and Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens (as R. Hyde), two more gloriously gonzoid opuses and odes dedicated to large breasted, well-hipped and long-legged women and the violence that surrounded them? Well, now you do -- and knowing is half the battle. I've always liked and respected Mr. Ebert and his opinions. He's always given genre films a fair shake, and this only makes him even that much more cooler in my book.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

In Memorium: Kearney Drive-In 1950 - 2008

When I posted about that tornado warning in my take on the latest Indiana Jones flick, I mentioned gawking at the panicked and spooked mall patrons scrambling about. Yeah, I'm one of those guys who at the first hint of bad weather runs outside for my own look instead of heading to cover. Nine times out of ten, it's a "no big deal" situation, but Thursday, when I stepped outside of the mall and the change of barometric pressure hit me and sucked the air right of my lungs, and as I looked around and saw the sky was painted an unholy shade of green, I muttered a quick "Uh oh," before picking up the pace as I headed to my car. And my feeling of dread only grew worse when I tried to tune in a weather report on the radio and all of my programmed stations were off the air! The sky was rumbling and some nasty lightning was popping off to the west when I got home, just as the sirens started sounding again. Inside I went and tuned the TV to the local radar channel, confirming that a large ball of red was blossoming and bearing down on my hometown...

In the end, we got lucky as the storm slid just to the south of us. But just to the west of us, in Kearney, NE, they weren't so lucky. Thank Thor that there were no fatalities and the only injuries reported were during traffic accidents by those puttering around to take in the aftermath of the storm. Which brings me to the bad news:

Alas, part of that aftermath was the Kearney Drive-In Theater. Half the screen was obliterated during the storm, but the marquee was undamaged, which now simply reads "Gone With the Wind." Scuttlebutt for the longest time said the owner was looking for any excuse to shut it down and sell out. Scuttlebutt also said one of the main reasons they didn't was because they couldn't afford to tear down an asbestos filled screen. Now that mother nature has stepped in, the rumor mill already has an apartment complex going up on the property.

Regardless, it sounds like the old Kearney Drive-In is now gone for good, which bums me out to no end. I made it a personal goal several years ago to get over there at least once a summer,
and a couple weeks ago I had a night off and called over to see what was showing. Prom Night and 21 were the double-bill, and sadly that wasn't enough to get me over there that night; thought I'd wait for something else. Which makes me doubly bummed because I blew my last chance to see an honest to god double-feature, with a "Three Stooges" short, vintage intermission footage, trailers, death-dogs and a possible dead battery when the night ended. *sigh*

So I ask you all to fly your tinny Dr'in Speakers at half mast for at least a week as we mourn the passing of one more, ever dwindling piece of Americana, and one of the last functioning Drive-In theaters in the state of Nebraska.