Blog Tools
Edit your Blog
Build a Blog
Buddy Page
View Profile
« September 2005 »
1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30
You are not logged in. Log in
Entries by Topic
All topics  «
Johnny LaRue's Crane Shot
Sunday, September 11, 2005
Late Night With...
Had a couple of late nights this weekend. The Drakes came into town Friday night on their way to Carbondale. A bunch of former WCIL-FM'ers were getting together in C'dale this weekend, but with my next two weekends booked up and expenses to accompany them, I decided it would be prudent for me to not make the trip. Still, I got to see Di and Young Will Friday night over at Marge's. Pearce was also in the house, and it was just a nice, quiet night of sitting outside by the hot tub and chatting 'til about 1:30am. The unfortunate side effect were the mosquito bites around my ankles making my feet all itchy the rest of the weekend.

Saturday I did some laundry and was still pondering what to do that night when Stiner called and demanded that I show her movies with "vampires and zombies". So we started with VAMPIRE CIRCUS (1971), which is a very good Hammer movie about a 19th century Eastern European village that is victimized by a curse after the townspeople burn down the castle of Count Mitterhouse (Robert Tayman). While VAMPIRE CIRCUS contains enough crosses, wooden stakes and vampire bats to please purists, the next generation of horror fans certainly will find much to like. These vamps can float through the air, transform into cat creatures and, of course, mesmerize the beautiful young women of the village. Dripping with unusual touches (like a very sexy dance involving a naked woman painted in tiger makeup), period style and enough heavy dollops of sensuality and raw violence to push the "R" rating of the day, VAMPIRE CIRCUS makes Hammer's Dracula series appear almost quaint; even the films (such as THE SATANIC RITES OF DRACULA) that were made later seem old-fashioned compared to this audacious entry.

Then came NIGHT HUNTER (1996), a Roger Corman production starring pro kickboxer Don "The Dragon" Wilson as a vampire hunter tracking a quartet of immortal Eurotrash bloodsuckers led by Christopher Guest's brother Nicholas. Not one of Don's best, but it delivers 90 minutes of chases and kung fu.

The NIGHT HUNTER tape contained a trailer for ELECTRA (1996), which I had, but had never seen. Stiner suggested we watch it, and I'm glad we did. It's pretty bad, but not boring and is easy to mock. A crippled billionaire named Roach with a pair of sexy, leather-clad, kung-fu-fighting sidekicks wants a secret serum that will allow him to walk again. It provides its subject with super-strength and -stamina, but the scientist who created it is dead, and the only person who knows anything about it is his son, a muscle-bound, long-haired wuss named Billy who lives with his widowed stepmother Lorna, played by late-night-Cinemax staple Shannon Tweed. The only way the serum can be transmitted to another human is through sexual contact (why?), which is why teenaged Billy has so far refused to give in to his horny girlfriend Mary Ann's desires. Lorna also has the hots for Billy, so when Roach eventually captures her and convinces her to seduce her son, she doesn't put up much resistance. And, stepmom or not, if you're Billy and strapped to a table and Shannon Tweed strides in, clad in an eyepopping leather ensemble, and straddles you, there's no way you're not going to perform. He does, and Shannon is transformed into an evil superpowered minx named Electra. Mary Ann, who has one of Billy's power pills in her possession, pops it and receives the same powers as Electra. She kicks the shit out of the two sexy sidekicks, pulling the heart out of one of them and feeding it to the other. She also has a battle with Tweed where the two shoot lightning out of their fingers like Dr. Doom. The sad part is that Shannon only gets naked once briefly and doesn't even disrobe for her on-top sex scene with hunky Billy.

Grady made it over for the night's closer, 1990's I COME IN PEACE. I first saw this theatrically and thought it was a lot of fun. Where's the Special Edition DVD of this? Dolph Lundgren is a Houston cop who is reluctantly teamed with a square FBI agent (Brian Benben, shortly before starring in DREAM ON) to investigate some mysteriously brutal cop killings. An albino alien with a long mullet (Matthias Hues) is struting around the city killing people, either with a high-propulsion CD with a razor-sharp edge that shoots around the room lopping off heads and ricocheting off walls or by pumping them full of stolen heroin and then sucking the adrenaline juices out of their brains with a sharp spike to the forehead. Director Craig R. Baxley, who also made the equally entertaining ACTION JACKSON (with Carl Weathers) and STONE COLD (with Brian Bosworth), blows up dozens of cars in this fast-paced action movie.

Posted by Marty at 10:52 PM CDT
Post Comment | View Comments (3) | Permalink
Saturday, September 10, 2005
Republicans Continue To Demonstrate That They Are Fucking Assholes
If there is a larger bunch of morally bankrupt humans on the planet, it would surprise me. I think there's more honor among prison inmates than there is in the Republican party, which never stops showing the world how insensitive, foolish, corrupt and out-of-touch it is.

House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, while touring the Astrodome, told some little kids that it was like being at summer camp and asked them, "Now, tell me the truth, boys, is this kind of fun?" Um, no. "Gee, Tom, living without food and water for several days, sloshing through water over my head. being surrounded by gun-toting soldiers, having everything my family and I have ever had or known completely destroyed...yeah, it's fucking awesome. We're having a great time. Of course, since one of Trent Lott's mansions was also destroyed, I'm sure you can identify, Tom."

Pennsylvania's Rick Santorum, who is bought and paid for by several private weather services, publically blamed the National Weather Service for the Gulf Coast deaths. This is perhaps the biggest lie yet told this month by a Republican. The National Weather Service, in fact, did a stupendous job, predicting Katrina's path and strength with about a 90% accuracy. It is probably the only government agency--local, state or federal--which has performed at an above-average level.

Right-wing radio host Glenn Beck says the refugees in the Astrodome are "scumbags" who he hates even "faster" than the victims of the World Trade Center bombing.

Another Republican radio host, Mark Williams, says that the Gulf Coast victims are too stupid to live anyway: "They didn't have the necessary brains and common sense to get out of the way of a Cat 5 Hurricane and then when it hit them- stood on the side of the Convention Center expiring while reporters were coming and going."

I blogged this before, but it bears repeating, because it's a perfect indication of where the President received his learned attitudes towards minorities and the poor. Former First Lady Barbara Bush said, "What I’m hearing, which is sort of scary, is they all want to stay in Texas. Everyone is so overwhelmed by the hospitality. And so many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this--this is working very well for them."

I've heard right-wingers blast Kanye West for proclaiming that "George Bush doesn't care about black people," but when you hear his mother say something like that, combined with the President's abysmal record on civil rights and unemployment and his administration's bungling on rescue operations in Louisiana, well, what else is West to think?

And just in case you have forgotten, Mrs. Bush had this to say two days before her son invaded Iraq, ripping news media for doing their jobs: "Why should we hear about body bags, and deaths, and how many, what day it's gonna happen, and how many this or what do you suppose? It's not relevant. So, why should I waste my beautiful mind on something like that?"

And, finally, Michael Brown, whom President Bush has still not fired from his position as head of FEMA, had this to say at his confirmation hearing:

"State and local governments are looking to us for leadership. They are looking to FEMA to tell them where are the holes in response plans? Where are the holes in our mutual aid agreements? What incentives can you provide us to fill those holes? I think my role is a very serious one. I think the agency's role is a very serious one, that we should not just wait for someone to petition or request that we evaluate, that those types of plans should be evaluated (plans regarding evacuations) on an ongoing basis. It would be my intent to somehow implement the ongoing evaluation so we do not have to look in hindsight and say, gosh, we wish we had looked at that. We should be looking at that all the time to make sure they (plans) are adequate, and I will pledge to you that we will certainly do that."

Looks like his golf game kinda got in the way of doing his job.

Posted by Marty at 3:12 PM CDT
Updated: Saturday, September 10, 2005 3:16 PM CDT
Post Comment | View Comments (1) | Permalink
Wednesday, September 7, 2005
Rest Well, Little Buddy
Bob Denver passed away this week at the age of 70. He had been in poor health for awhile. He underwent quadruple heart bypass surgery earlier this year, and finally succumbed to cancer near his West Virginia home with his wife and children by his side.

Denver was, as we know, the star of GILLIGAN'S ISLAND, and was likely the first celebrity that I was a fan of. When I was a little kid growing up in the 1970's, I was a huge fan of GILLIGAN'S ISLAND. In fact, it was my favorite TV series. This is when I was between, say, five and nine years old. I used to watch the reruns every afternoon on WICD Channel 15 after school. They rotated somewhat, but usually in there someplace were GILLIGAN, THE BRADY BUNCH and THE PARTRIDGE FAMILY. I remember others in there too--I LOVE LUCY, THE DICK VAN DYKE SHOW, MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE, BEWITCHED, THE ODD COUPLE, I DREAM OF JEANNIE--and later MCHALE'S NAVY, THE ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN and BATMAN were added to the lineup, but GILLIGAN was almost always on. It rarely was unavailable to after-school TV watchers during the 1970's, which were the days before tabloid talk shows and infomercials took over the airwaves. I sometimes watched THE EARLY SHOW over on WCIA Channel 3, which had a massive library of movies. In fact, THE EARLY SHOW and the weekend LATE SHOW were as much an influence on my current love of film than anything else.

On a tangent here: I also was a big fan of GENTLE BEN, which ran every morning before school, I think on Channel 3. I remember seeing GENTLE BEN, the Abbott and Costello cartoon, TENNESSEE TUXEDO, UNDERDOG, BULLWINKLE, stuff like that. On the days when Bob Denver wasn't my favorite actor, Dennis Weaver was. Weaver was a forest ranger on GENTLE BEN who had a wife (Beth Brickell), a son (Clint Howard) and a pet bear named Ben. The Animal Planet actually remade GENTLE BEN recently with Dean Cain in the Weaver role. I really liked the show when I was a kid, and liked Weaver also because he was starring in new episodes of MCCLOUD on Sunday nights.

But back to GILLIGAN'S ISLAND. I was such a fan that I remember "writing" a play version of the series and putting it on in the playground during recess. I also remember the series actually holding me in suspense--would today be the day that the castaways finally get off the island? I actually believed that, eventually, Gilligan would not fuck up, and everyone would be rescued. They did get off the island once, but only to another island where a mad scientist switched everybody's brains around. Don't you miss plots like that in sitcoms? Now everyone sits around the living room and complains that they can't get laid. Wouldn't you love to just once see Ray Romano deal with a jungle boy or witness Kevin James fighting a giant spider or find out how Charlie Sheen deals with being captured by a Japanese soldier who thinks World War II is still going on?

I also remember taping episodes on my cassette recorder and listening to them over and over again. The shows were just as funny, but more importantly, I think I learned a lot about comedy and TV production by listening to them. I certainly became very familiar with the mid-'60s laugh track and started recognizing it in other shows like I DREAM OF JEANNIE.

Denver starred in another series I watched as a kid: a Saturday-morning live-action show called FAR OUT SPACE NUTS. It was basically GILLIGAN'S ISLAND IN SPACE with Denver playing another lovable klutz and Chuck McCann doing the slow-burning Skipper part. Since Alan Hale, Jr. basically played the Skipper as Oliver Hardy, and McCann had done a famous Hardy impression in commercials, FAR OUT SPACE NUTS was a perfect vehicle for the kind of comedy that Denver and Hale did on GILLIGAN. I think it ran for only a season, but was pretty fun to this kid's eyes.

FAR OUT SPACE NUTS wasn't Denver's only turn on Saturday mornings. There was also an animated GILLIGAN spinoff called THE NEW ADVENTURES OF GILLIGAN (my brother and I played the board game) and a later SF spinoff called GILLIGAN'S PLANET. You can guess what the premise was.

Denver's other famous TV role was one I didn't see until I was in college. That was Maynard G. Krebs, the ahead-of-his-time beatnik best friend of Dwayne Hickman's title character on THE MANY LOVES OF DOBIE GILLIS. DOBIE was a Nick at Nite standby for a long time, and I wish it was still airing instead of same-ol'-same-ol' stuff like FAMILY TIES and THE COSBY SHOW. DOBIE had really good writing, a funny cast and was about as close to real teenagers as TV sitcoms got during the Eisenhower/Kennedy years. It wasn't until THE MONKEES that we really got "real" teenagers, but DOBIE was pretty close.

This has nothing to do with TV, but I went to the post office today after work to pick up a package that was waiting for me. I parked in the small lot on the south side of the Neil Street facility; there's only room for six or seven cars there. As I was walking around the edge of the building, I looked down, and there was a shot glass setting on the curb. It was empty and looked clean. I have no idea how it got there, but it sure looked odd there.

Posted by Marty at 10:26 PM CDT
Post Comment | View Comments (2) | Permalink
Tuesday, September 6, 2005
Bush Says He'll Find Out What Went Wrong
Talk about a conflict of interest:

Buffeted by criticism over the federal response to Hurricane Katrina, President Bush said Tuesday he will oversee an investigation into what went wrong and why _ in part to be sure the country could withstand more storms or attack.

Isn't that like asking Charles Manson to investigate the Tate-LaBianca murders? "Well, I spent eight months looking into this terrible event, and I have decided that I didn't do it." Even Ken Starr could lead a more competent investigation than Bush. And he's the guy who spent $50 million to ascertain that Bill Clinton had sex. I could have found that out with $500.

Posted by Marty at 1:50 PM CDT
Post Comment | Permalink
Monday, September 5, 2005
Bush Ignores His Own Plan
The Bush administration has spent much of today blaming Louisiana and New Orleans officials for its slow response in managing the aftermath of Katrina. One of the White House's claims is that the federal government is legally unable to respond until requested to do so by local authorities. This is, in fact, bullshit, thanks to the 2004 National Response Plan, which was implemented by the Bush administration last year. It says, in part, that the federal government can preempt the authority of state and local government in the case of:

any natural or manmade incident, including terrorism, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the population, infrastructure, environment, economy, national morale, and/or government functions

I'd say Katrina applies, wouldn't you? You can read it for yourself here.

Meanwhile, the President's mother, Barbara Bush (the former First Lady), demonstrates as much sensitivity as her son, who lamented last week that Trent Lott's house had been destroyed (yeah, boo hoo, I'm sure all the survivors trapped in the Superdome were real sympathetic), when she says these poor people are better off now anyway.

And for some great television, here's a bitter commentary by MSNBC's Keith Olbermann.

And where the hell is Dick Cheney anyway? We know Condoleeza Rice is busy seeing Broadway shows, but has anyone seen Dick lately?

Posted by Marty at 8:40 PM CDT
Post Comment | View Comments (1) | Permalink
Blanco Is Being Sheehanized
Looks like the Bush administration has started doing what it always does when it screws up: blaming and slandering others. A "senior Bush official" tells the Washington Post that Louisiana governor Kathleen Blanco has still not declared a state of emergency. This is, in fact, a big lie; Blanco declared a state of emergency on August 26. But the White House was counting on, as has been their successful strategy in the past, the mass media not bothering to fact-check its fallacies. It worked again here, although I understand the Post has since printed a correction. Probably on page F-8.

Posted by Marty at 3:24 PM CDT
Post Comment | Permalink
Enough Blame To Go Around
It should be noted that it isn't just the inept and crooked Bush administration that should take the blame for the New Orleans fiasco. Some Democrats need to step up and accept some responsibility, including the Democratic mayor of New Orleans.

Even Bill Clinton is full of shit, based on this CNN interview in which he and President Bush's father, the former President, concoct some ridiculous spin:

G.H.W. BUSH: Let me -- I just to want finish. I believe the administration is doing the right thing, and I believe they have acted in a timely fashion.

And I understand people being critical. That happens all the time. And I understand some people wanted to make, you know, a little difficulty by criticizing the president and the team. But I don't want to sit here and not defend the administration which, in my view, has taken all the right steps. And they're facing problems that nobody could foresee -- breaking of the levees and the whole dome thing over in New Orleans coming apart. People couldn't foresee that.

CLINTON: Yes. I think that's important to point out. Because when you say that they should have done this, that or the other thing first, you can look at that problem in isolation, and you can say that.

But look at all the other things they had to deal with. I'm telling you, nobody thought this was going to happen like this.

As we all know, there are many people who did indeed know it could "happen like this". You can forgive George Herbert Walker Bush for lying his ass off for his son, but Clinton? Clinton is not naive--he knows there were fuck-ups. So why is he defending them?

Posted by Marty at 2:08 PM CDT
Post Comment | Permalink
Brown & Chertoff: Still Not Fired
It has long been evident that the only people to get fired from the Bush administration are those who disagree with the President, even if they're right (Richard Clarke being just one of them). Even so, it seems amazing to me that Secretary of Homeland Defense Michael Chertoff and FEMA head Michael Brown still have jobs today. In fact, it seems almost criminally negligent to have these men continue to fuck up and destroy human lives.

Even the conservative Michelle Malkin, who doesn't know what she's talking about most of the time, is calling for Brown's head. And this CNN article may be the most damning evidence yet of Chertoff's ignorance. I realize there is no situation so dire that the Bush administration won't lie about it, but Chertoff's lie that nobody could have ever predicted the seriousness of Katrina is so bald-faced that I would prefer to think that he is stupid and incompetent rather than that big of a liar.

The New York Times and other sources have been linking to Brendan Loy's blog, and if you go back a week or so and read forward, it's amazing. Loy is a 23-year-old college student with an amateur interest in meteorology who was still several steps ahead of local, state and federal authorities in predicting the intensity of the disaster that struck New Orleans. He pleaded with mayor Ray Nagin to evacuate the city at least a day before Nagin did. The manner in which he predicted in advance what would happen to New Orleans is astonishing. If some college kid in Indiana knew what was happening, why didn't Brown and Chertoff?

Posted by Marty at 11:20 AM CDT
Post Comment | Permalink
Sunday, September 4, 2005
The lies and stupidity continue in Washington. Tim Russert, ordinarily a Bush apologist, ripped Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff a new one this morning. Once again, he whose only job is to protect the taxpayers of the United States of American claimed that Katrina's aftermath took him by "surprise", which is either a lie or a measure of his incompetence. He also indicated that he receives all of his information about what's going on in New Orleans from newspapers. You'd think the Secretary of Homeland Security would have more immediate sources of information, wouldn't you?

Even Newt Gingrich is pissed off.

I've been following Crooks and Liars, which offers links to various interviews and transcripts with government officials, as well as and Interdictor's Live Journal. Crooks and Liars has some amazing footage of government officials spinning and lying their asses off, and surprisingly being challenged by a news media that has been giving the Bush administration a free pass for four years now. Interdictor is a computer expert who has been barricaded in a New Orleans office building during the entire crisis and has provided eyewitness accounts of the harrowing events, as well as accounts of other people who have been out in the trenches.

Posted by Marty at 8:13 PM CDT
Post Comment | Permalink
Picture, 1000 Words & All That
Here's what New Orleans looked like on Tuesday:

Here's what President George W. Bush was doing on Tuesday:

That's right, he was 1500 miles away in San Diego. Looks like he's having a pretty fucking good time, doesn't he? I bet he's having more fun than this guy is.

If you're wondering exactly what Bush-buddy Michael Brown, the head of FEMA, did right before he was appointed to his current post, he was getting fired from his last job--running horse shows. That's right--he was too much of a fuck-up to organize horse shows, but perfect material to organize rescue operations.

Another great indication of how badly the Bush administration has bungled this is that even his toadies in the mass media are--slowly--starting to turn on him. Even Bill O'Reilly and Rupert Murdoch's New York Post have offered half-hearted criticisms. You can read a few of them here (this one includes a rip by the very Bush-friendly Washington Times and here, where we find out just how clueless the politicians in charge actually are.

To be fair, Bush isn't the only fuck-up here. Louisiana governor Kathleen Blanco was too slow to order the National Guard in to help keep the peace, and then ordered police officers to “shoot and kill” anyone they saw looting. New Orleans Ray Nagin’s evacuation procedures were pitiful. And the rest of the state government had no trouble organizing a special election to pass an amendment banning gay marriage--surely a much less important issue than strengthening the levees. The current levees were built to withstand a Category 3 storm, but not a Category 4, which is how Katrina was classified. And when Bush says, as I quoted in a previous post, that nobody could have predicted that the levees would collapse, when in fact it has been well-documented that they would collapse under Katrina-like conditions, that is cluelessness of the highest order, even by his standards.

Posted by Marty at 11:16 AM CDT
Post Comment | Permalink

Newer | Latest | Older