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Saturday, March 31, 2007


My boss and I talked about the ludicrous Choco-Christ controversy today, and he says he remembers chocolate crucifixes being available where he grew up, which lead me to wonder if they were designed to repel both vampires and diabetics. Anyway, that got me thinking about what other chocolate Jesus stuff was out there, and here's what I found:

And my favorite, the chocolate Last Supper!

It's Apostle-licious!!!

Friday, March 30, 2007


Less than a day after I posted that piece on the Milk Chocolate Messiah, the show was cancelled after the torrent of protests from outraged Catholics. And I so wanted to show up and bite Jesus' dick off!

Bunch of pussies at that fucking gallery. I can't wait to read what the world's greatest lapsed Catholic, John Waters, has to say about this...


Before you write back to ask, no, I'm not making this up.

I awoke early this morning, turned on NY1 News, and nearly laughed myself to death at what has to be the funniest news story of the week. Just in time for Holy Week, artist Cosimo Cavallero has crafted a life-size, "anatomically- correct" (meaning it has naughty bits) statue of Jesus Christ out of edible chocolate. And as if that wasn't amusing enough, the piece is entitled "My Sweet Lord."

Soon to be on public display, Choco-Christ has already been showered with outrage and criticism from the city's devout and, needless to say, the Catholic League. But what the fuck are they bitching about? Didn't Jesus say for people to eat of his body? I mean, sure you get the wafer put into your mouth, but if it actually transsubstantiates into actual flesh of the Lamb of God — as is claimed and believed worldwide — I find cannibalism far more distasteful than a sugary sculpture of a naked guy imitating the letter "T" who resembles a pony-tailed David Carradine. If folks want to get upset over a chocolate — read Black, muthafukka!!! — Jesus, why has no one complained about the decades-worth of images where J.C. looks like Greg Allman? Just something to think about, for Christ's sake!

Monday, March 26, 2007


As frequently noted, my life has been all over the place emotionally, employmentwise, and otherwise, and like many people I am a "comfort eater." And, unfortunately, Burger King has discovered what may be my fast food equivalent to pure opium, namely the BK Quad Stacker.

Approximately 1,000 calories, 68 grams of fat, 30 grams of saturated fat, 240 milligrams of cholesterol, and 1,800 milligrams of sodium, this insidious concoction is the fast food panacea for meat-lovers and a surefire ticket to the coronary ward. And, may the gods help me, I love it. On my days off I have sought this burger at several different BK locations, eventually narrowing down the three spots in my area that make the best ones.

The concept behind the sandwich is simplicity itself: multiple patties of beef — anything from two to four — matching amounts of American cheese, a dab of some unidentified sauce, and eight (!!!) slices of bacon squeezed between the requisite buns. It's an unapologetic effort to cater to outright carnivores, and I applaud it for its sheer audacity. I mean, it's about a full day's worth of calories in one shot, for fuck's sake!

So today I wandered into Brooklyn's Fulton Mall area and stuffed my fat face on one of these evil belly bombs, a meal that fills me for an entire day, and while I scarfed it down I looked forward to the soon-to-arrive time when other, healthier things will occupy my mind on my days off, hopefully Saturdays and Sundays like the rest of the known universe.


My buddy Chi just got back from Taiwan and Japan, and sent me the following pictures of some mouth-watering FIST OF THE NORTH STAR goodies, an act that amounts to sheer geek torture.

First up is this display case of dozens of NORTH STAR figures and models, some of which reside on the shelves here at the Vault.

And, as only the Japanese could do it, here's a life-size model of Kenshiro, the Fist of the North Star himself.

I gotta get my ass to Japan...


One thing that I will definitely miss when I leave the barbecue joint is the privilege of remaining at the place when it's closed and taking advantage of the kickass stereo and soundproofed space, getting my loud rock fix and disturbing absolutely no one.

Last night, after the bartender left and the place was locked up tight I sat behind the bar atop the beer cooler and loaded the CD player with an assortment of discs. When I hit the PLAY button the joint was filled with the strains of Dave Edmunds' "Crawling From the Wreckage," and for the next two hours I was anywhere but stuck in Brooklyn, my mind free to roam wherever it pleased, buoyed by a soundtrack of random tracks that shook the premises.

My reverie was interrupted by the welcome arrival of one of my favorite regulars, so I let him in and we chatted over a couple of drinks. Then Tracey the waitress goddess dropped by while taking her leviathan of a dog for a late night walk, soon follwed by my kitchenmate, Scott. We then settled in for about an hour of relaxing and bullshitting, a small, intimate celebration of the bonds made during time served. I quietly considered how I'd come to love these three people — and the noble pooch — as family over the past two years, and though I will keep in touch with them, I will miss my almost daily doses of their good will and friendship, some of the few genuine emotional connections made at the place.

Before I knew it, 3AM had rolled around and Tracey departed. I took a car service cab home, and Scott stayed behind to play his guitar, a practice he hadn't engaged in for a few days while entertaing relatives who were in town from Texas. As the cab rocketed me to my building I finally realized that despite my bitching, moments like the previous few hours will be missed, but I'm still leaving and will not return. Except for special events, that is, and then only as a participant and not an employee.

Sunday, March 25, 2007


I’ve had just about all I can take
Ya know I
Can’t Take it no more!
- excerpt from “Gut Feeling” by Devo

I just walked back into the barbecue joint after stepping outside to witness a fist fight in the middle of the street, a testosterone-fueled melee that brought traffic to a halt in all directions, attracted gawkers from nearby tenement buildings, and resulted in the presence of two police cars and an ambulance. And what, you may ask, ignited this spectacle? A dispute over a parking space.

But that’s typical of some parts of Brooklyn, so it’s just a tiresome case of same old shit, different day, and there’s just too much of it going around. I mean, along with the street fight, I just went outside for some fresh air and witnessed some very agitated Hispanic dude screaming at no one in particular about “I pay for everything in cash, motherfuckers! Ain’t no WIC, no Medicaid or welfare up in my house! I pay cash, and too fuckin’ bad if you don’t fuckin’ like it!!!” The neighborhood is a twenty-four-hour-a-day freak show, its explosions of violence, profanity and dysfunction occasionally interrupted by periods of outright turgid tedium, and while I used to crave day-to-day madness as a form of adventure, I am now thankfully beyond that. I suppose working in a bar/restaurant comes with a certain amount of built-in lunacy, but I am simply sick to fucking death of it. Once I leave the barbecue joint, I will ride outta town like the Lone Ranger — minus some hot Injun dude named Tonto by my side; I’d rather have the incendiary topless Injun gal played by Toni Basil in GREASER’S PALACE — knowing that my job here is done, and leave behind the following irritants:

FUCKING COKEHEADS- there’s a certain element at the joint that indulges in the Bolivian Marching Powder a bit too much for my tastes, and when one of them offered it to me I told him in no uncertain terms that such shit was not welcome on the premises; he could do all the coke he wanted to elsewhere, but any snorting or selling of such while I was around would earn him a swift ninja boot straight up the jacksey. To his credit, he cooled out on that shit immediately. I’ve had a low tolerance for cokeheads since I was in my teens and saw that shit do some insidious shit to one of my best friends, so it’s best for me not to be around such idiocy lest I get violent.

This group consists of neighborhood locals of Italian, Irish, and Hispanic descent who have lived in the area since the invention of dirt and expect to be accorded the rights and privileges of conquering heroes or some such that they once enjoyed during the days when the barbecue joint was a neighborhood dive. If the staff doesn’t bend over backwards to kiss their asses or give them buy-backs and free shit they get obstreperous to an irritating degree and curse us out in fluent Brooklynese. With the exception of Brooklyn Blarney Chick, they can all lick my hairy ass-crack.

DRUNKEN HORNY CHICKS WHO ARE HALF MY AGE- some of you might think that I’m bitching about this one for no good reason, but try to look at it from my perspective; these young wimmerns come into the joint looking for some play, they’re liquored up and feel safe enough because they know me and the rest of the staff and as a result they flirt and get waaaaay too physically friendly, so where’s the harm? I’ll tell ya where the harm is: they’re too young for me to have much in common with other than an interest in fucking, and at this stage in my life I’ve realized there’s more to it than that. Plus, many of them smoke like fiends, and the cigarette thing is a major deal breaker for me. But they’re soooooo damned cute…

And while we’re on the subject of cute drunken chicks, where there is blood in the water, there will be sharks fast approaching. The joint has a number of guys in regular attendance who lurk about in hope of snaring one of the tipsy tarts, regardless of how sloppily wrecked the girls may be. Seriously, one of them recently spent a good amount of time talking to me about a woman he wanted to go after, but the second he saw a smashed, friendly blonde he forgot about the other girl and descended like Dracula at the blood bank. Now, bear in mind that the guys in question are not rapists and definitely understand that no means no — I’ve heard proof of that from both sides — but I personally find it sleazy to circle like a carrion bird after prey that’s so obviously debilitated by booze. Yes, there are some women out there who get themselves shitfaced in order to unleash their Rampant Pink with no sense of inhibition, but maybe I’m old fashioned in my preference of a level playing field.

OBNOXIOUS BAR REGULARS I DON’T LIKE IN THE FIRST PLACE WHO JUST WON’T SHUT THE FUCK UP AND GO AWAY- there are several regulars whom I genuinely like and will continue to associate with when I’m gone, but there is also an element of utter douchebags who act like assholes from the moment they arrive until the moment they leave, unless frozen out by the well-practiced indifference of the staff. Not only will they yack your fucking ear off about absolutely nothing for hours on end if given the opportunity, but they get belligerent as all fuck if you don’t hang on their every word and whim.

DISTURBED AND DISTURBING DRUNKS WHO HAUNT THE JOINT- Birthday Girl and a guy I’ve nicknamed “Sturgess” after the director (there’s your clue for his real name) are the prime example of this category. They show up already soused, escalate their condition, and thereby amplify their various psychoses, often scaring the living shit out of the staff and the clientele. I understand about having issues, but stay on your meds and avoid inflicting your snakepit of a head on innocent people, for fuck’s sake.

PARENTS WITH LITTLE ONES WHO EXPECT THE STAFF TO ACT AS BABYSITTERS WHILE MOM AND DAD GET THEIR DRINK ON- a classic example of old school Black/ethnic parenting working better than that of the current crop of fucksticks who see their kids as accessories, these assholes reside in a special section of the barbecue joint’s hatred arena thanks to their towering inconsideration and generally lackadaisical douchebaggery. They show up with their uncontrolled genetic waste (translation: verminous children), turn them loose, and then mom and /or dad get fucked up while their brats run about the place like lunatics, shrieking and causing all manner of destruction (namely spilling food all over the fucking place, puking, and breaking glassware) despite my warnings to the parents about the dangers of the kids entering the kitchen (hot and sharp things are present there) or running head first into the solid steel pole that stands in the middle of the restaurant. That pole saves my sanity on a daily basis since it acts as the target for my physical aggression and has helped me hone my hand skills — particularly my shuto — to a degree that I will probably never use, but let it suffice to say that the thing is a solid, steel-hard motherfucker, and I’ve seen kids run into it and nearly pass out, after which much crying ensues while I flash idiot parents a look that states “I told you, you dumbass!” And to top it all off, the dipshits usually leave next to nothing by way of a tip for the waitress or bartender who has to clean up after their kids, sometimes not even leaving a goddamned dime.

simply put, most of this crew that I’ve had to deal with are uncouth, walking, talking stereotypes who would shame most Italian-Americans, and for the most part dumber than a bag of doorknobs. Basically harmless, but highly annoying.

WOULD-BE HIPSTERS- be they self-proclaimed poets, musicians, actors or whatever, you know the type: so-called artists who are clearly more focused on their own artifice than their art, they try to dress trendy and spout off endlessly about their latest alleged creative endeavors, boring and irritating the living shit out of all within earshot before waking up the next day for another glorious shift at the local cardboard warehouse.

there’s a semi-regular who comes in and, after a few drinks, puts the moves on certain overweight men in the room, including yours truly. The fucking closet queen once got totally soused and would not keep his hands off of me until, after three stern warnings, I threatened to put my fist through his head. You’d think the guy would have learned after that, but about a week later he felt emboldened enough to return and, as I sat with my back to him on a barstool, he walked behind me and ran his index finger slowly across my back before retreating into the men’s room. That move was so creepy that I got what some folks refer to as the “douche chills.” And the motherfucker had the balls to pull that one while he was here with his beard, er, wife!

the joint occasionally gets blessed with a visit by some of NYC’s actual gypsies, a group despised by restaurants across the five boroughs thanks to their strategy of finding a place that doesn’t yet know them by face, arriving en masse and ordering a shitload of food and drink while loudly proclaiming whatever alleged lucrative businesses they’re involved in, and then either shorting the waitress or running out on the check altogether. The first time we dealt with these pricks, they told us that they were thirty bucks short on the tab and they’d come back the next day to pay us the remainder, a promise made after they attempted a dine-and-dash but were chased down by our bartender. Needless to say, they did not return the next day and the bartender covered what they shorted with his tips for the night. They have returned a few times since, but we called them on their bullshit, so now they pay, but they make a thousand annoying, piddling demands, leave no tip and leave their table looking like a cat exploded across it.

THE TROLL AND COTTON EAR- there’s a truly hideous middle-aged couple who have plagued the joint since the day we opened, and I have often prayed for them to be gnawed to death by rabid penguins. This odious pair are known to us as the Troll and Cotton Ear because the guy looks like a scaled-down under-the-bridge goat harasser, and his wife once charmingly pulled a wad of puss and earwax-encrusted cotton from her ear while sitting at the bar, so the moniker of Cotton Ear just stuck. Proof that hillbillies exist above the Mason-Dixon Line, these two are apparently major abusers of substances yet to be figured out by the staff — my money’s on heroin — and whenever they arrive they’re fucked up and obnoxious, initially attempting to get gigs as the house entertainment until my boss put the kibosh on that horseshit; y’see, the Troll and his beast-woman came in with their little one — an adorable toddler whom Tracey and I were convinced had to have been abducted from somewhere because she was too cute to have sprung from the Troll and Cotton Ear’s burnt-out loins — and immediately sucked down two whiskeys and three beers each, then the Troll began his pitch by telling us how he was allowed to play his guitar at a bar down the street — conveniently unidentified — and how he and the wife used to headline in Atlantic City, but “dem places is all closed now.” Then he attempted to get his wife to give us a sample of her vocal stylings, but she thankfully declined due to the aforementioned ear infection, stating her case in a voice that could scrape the rust from a battle ship’s hull, an unfettered display of fluent Brooklynese that made all within earshot long for sudden deafness. They then got into the first of many shrill arguments at the bar while the baby screamed, and then they announced they didn’t have enough money to cover the bill. And as if that wasn’t enough, they asked us if we put bleach in our garbage, and when we bewilderedly said no, Cotton Ear asked if they could pick through our garbage at the end of the night for any food that had been thrown out. That’s pretty fucking sad when you consider that they own a nearby house — which has a backyard that’s an uncleaned, reeking minefield of dogshit, and mountains of discarded beer cans and liquor bottles visible through the living room window — and are raising a child in such a pit.

Saturday, March 24, 2007


It’s now officially a week until I leave the barbecue joint, and I already have an agenda in mind during the one or two weeks I’ll have off (I’ll still trawl for work, but it’s gonna be great to have some uninterrupted time to do fuck all).

First up, I can finally spend the proper time and divest my apartment of the mountains of extraneous crap that’s kept it a crowded, cramped repository of geekery and junk, and hopefully make some cash out if it by selling the stuff that I really don’t need to hang onto. I know I’ve said it before, but now I can really focus all my energy on it. I feel one’s environment tends to reflect the individual’s psychological state, so it’s time to clean things up and be able move about the place.

While I haven’t let my creative chops languish during my time at the barbecue joint, I have felt a certain void in my efforts at self-expression and I’m ready to sit down at the drawing board again (another reason for cleaning out the Vault!). I’ve had several stories and comics in development and I want to devote time to properly fleshing them out.

I’m going to get out of my apartment a lot more, open up again and embrace the outside world. The restaurant/bar biz tends to be painfully insular, what with the crazy hours, seeing the same regulars and locals every single day (and believe me, in some cases familiarity really does breed contempt) and the incestuous friendships/naughty encounters with others in the food service work force. Don’t get me wrong, illicit fun is always welcome, but it’s still firmly placed within the restaurant circles, and that got old for me really quick.

Once my schedule starts to jibe with the rest of the waking world once more, I intend to chase women with a new focus, and if I don’t necessarily get down to the skin-to-skin as soon as I’d like, I’ll hang out with my female friends and bathe in their indomitable “womanness,” absorbing all of that estrogenic positivity that I have sorely missed for the better part of the past two years.

And as for other social matters, I’m going to solidly reconnect with my family of friends, and spend as much time getting to know my sister as possible. It’s been a real kick in my ass to remember that I’m cared about by people other than the cast of characters at the barbecue joint…

I plan to attend the San Diego Comicon this summer, a massive festival of outright geekery that is not cheap by any means, but I’ve intended to go for the past ten years, and now it’s actually feasible. And after that I intend to haul my beige ass across the pond once more to England and visit an assortment of my favorite knuckleheads, gorge on fattening British food — which is in no way the culinary atrocity you’ve been lead to believe it is, especially the glory of sausage rolls — fill in some of the missing spots in my 2000 A.D. collection (particularly the issues featuring Grant Morrison and Steve Parkhouse’s screamingly-hilarious BIG DAVE), and spend time with the Jewish Warrior Princess. Good times all ‘round!

Seriously, I feel very good about my decision to move on, and my prediction that ’07 will be the year when I finally get it all together looks like it’s on its way to becoming an in the flesh reality.

Monday, March 19, 2007


As if the idiots my mom associates with hadn’t pissed her off enough with actions detailed in the previous post, my mom called me this morning to fill me in on the latest idiocy.

Before leaving for church yesterday, my mom checked her emails and received the following from one of her congregation. Oh, and FYI, the woman who sent it is a super-wealthy White southerner:

From Subject: FW: Black ppl should read this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is deep, so take your time.

Why Did You Make Me Black Lord ....
Lord .... Why did you make me black?
Why did you make someone
the world would hold back?
Black is the color of dirty clothes,
of grimy hands and feet...
Black is the color of darkness,
of tired beaten streets...
Why did you give me thick lips,
a broad nose and kinky hair?
Why did you create someone
who receives the hated stare?

Black is the color of the bruised eye
when someone gets hurt...
Black is the color of darkness,
black is the color of dirt.

Why is my bone structure so thick,
my hips and cheeks so high?
Why are my eyes brown,
and not the color of the sky?

Why do people think I'm useless?
How come I feel so used?
Why do people see my skin
and think I should be abused?

Lord, I just don't understand...
What is it about my skin?
Why is it some people want to hate me
and not know the person within?

Black is what people are "Labeled"
when others want to keep them away...
Black is the color of shadows cast...
Black is the end of the day.

Lord you know my own people mistreat me,
and you know this just ain't right...
They don't like my hair, they don't like my
skin, as they say I'm too dark or too light!

Lord, don't you think
it's time to make a change?
Why don't you redo creation
make everyone the same?

GOD's Reply:
Why did I make you black?
Why did I make you black?

I made you in the color of coal
from which beautiful diamonds are formed...
I made you in the color of oil,
the black gold which keeps people warm.

Your color is the same as the rich dark soil
that grows the food you need...
Your color is the same as the black stallion and
panther, Oh what majestic creatures indeed!

All colors of the heavenly rainbow
can be found throughout every nation...
When all these colors are blended,
you become my greatest creation!

Your hair is the texture of lamb's wool,
such a beautiful creature is he...
I am the shepherd who watches them,
I will ALWAYS watch over thee!

You are the color of the midnight sky,
I put star glitter in your eyes...
There's a beautiful smile hidden behind your pain...
That's why your cheeks are so high!

You are the color of dark clouds
from the hurricanes I create in September...
I made your lips so full and thick,
so when you kiss...they will remember!

Your stature is strong,
your bone structure thick to withstand the
burden of time...
The reflection you see in the mirror,
that image that looks back,..that is MINE!

So get off your knees,
look in the mirror and tell me what you see?
I didn't make you in the image of darkness...
I made you in the image of ME!

And as if all that wasn’t maudlin enough, it also included this postscript:

"Send this to every African-American/Afro-Caribbean/African person you know."

Why? In order to piss us off? This trite doggerel reads like something I’d write as a parody of such “inspirational” ramblings, only minus words like “motherfucker,” “race music,” or “White women.”

Anyway, upon arriving at church mom confronted the sender and chewed her a new one. I mean, is it National Irritate Mildred Month, or what?

And for the record, the poem is credited to one RuNett Nia Ebo, an actual American Black person, and was apparently inspired by the Book of Genesis 1:26 a, and 1:27 a & c. No wonder I fucking hated Sunday school.

Thursday, March 15, 2007


So my mom just returned from doing missionary work in Honduras — a looooong story, so don’t ask — and the first thing she says to me is “I loved working with the children, but the adults I went there with were a bunch of ASSHOLES!!!” Upon hearing that, I settled into a comfortable spot on my sofa/futon and listened to my mom’s latest rant against humankind.

If you read this blog with any regularity, you have no doubt noticed my somewhat irascible nature. Well, guess what? I got it from my mom. She’s seventy-four now, and grew up in extremely adverse conditions in the pre-Civil Rights era south, only to end up in Westport, Connecticut, a bastion of classist and racist horseshit that constantly puts her colorful verbal skills to the test, unleashing seven decades of Black female vitriol and bitterness upon all idiots imprudent enough to piss her off. You see, while it’s not as bad as it was when I was growing up there, Westport has an undercurrent of condescension and superiority toward non-whites, and if you happen to fall into that unwanted category the only way to deal with it is to just sit there and take it, or do like my mom does and put much verbal foot to ignorant ass.

For example, when that tamponathon Oprah Winfrey book club happened, my mom would walk into the local Barnes & Noble book retailer and a “helpful” salesperson would tell her, “Here, honey. The Oprah section is right over here.” Cue “The Imperial March,” and head for cover, kiddies. And that kind of shit has continued unabated for the thirty-five years she’s been a Westport resident.

So mom told me the leader of her fellow missionaries asked what she liked to be called; this question confused her, and she answered “I like to be called by my name. Mildred.” “No, no,” said the missionary, “What do you like to be called, like Black, African-American, or Negro? You know, so we can use it as a marker in case we need to describe you?” As I heard that I pictured my mother’s eyes narrowing and all ambient sound dying down as she restrained herself from ripping the missionary’s head off and taking a high-fiber shit down her hemorrhaging neck hole. “First of all,” she said through gritted teeth, “I was born in America to American parents, so I am an American who happens to be Black. But if you must have a label for me, I guess I’d accept Black. And exactly why the fuck would you need to know what I think since I’m the only Black person in this group?” The missionary could not provide an answer.

After having the sense enough to give my mom a wide berth, the woman eventually returned and tried to strike up a conversation with the following as her setup: “I think it’s so inspirational how you moved to Westport and overcame your obstacles to get your degrees!” At that, mom looked at this woman like she’d just sprouted an extra head and stated, “What the hell are talking about? I was a teacher long before I met my husband, and I earned my first degree before ever setting foot in Connecticut! Who the fuck said anything about obstacles?” You guessed it, strike two.

But the icing on the cake goes to this charming exchange: “Isn’t it terrific that you can travel as far as Honduras and still be able to find books by Maya Angelou?” At that my mother’s head burst into flame like she was motherfucking Ghost Rider, and she exploded at the missionary with, “What kind of idiot are you? Maya Angelou is a Nobel Prize-winning, internationally famous author, you moron! Why the fuck wouldn’t her books be available here? AAAUUUUUGHH!!!”

When she had calmed down after recounting these tales, my mother softly uttered, “God DAMN it, people are such assholes…”

And people ask me where I get it.

Saturday, March 10, 2007


After not having seen it since a vaguely recalled viewing on Channel 5 while I was still in the single digits, I finally tracked down SUPERARGO VERSUS DIABOLICUS in a widescreen VHS edition thanks to eBay. As you may recall from a previous CINEMA SHITHOUSE posting, its sequel, SUPERARGO AND THE FACELESS GIANTS, is a film so wretched and dull that I still get shit about it from my mother some thirty-seven years after she took me to see it, and I was intrigued to see if the film that spawned such an abomination could have any redeeming merit whatsoever.

SUPERARGO VERSUS DIABOLICUS is yet another of the legion of campy Italian/Spanish 007 and Batman knockoffs made between 1966-1969, this time drawing considerable inspiration from Mexican wrestling flicks of the time (such as WRESTLING WOMEN VERSUS THE AZTEC MUMMY, or EL SANTO VERSUS THE VAMPIRE WOMEN), but with a lot more technical savvy behind the camera (namely the film has such frills as editing, lighting, and a frame that moves). The film looks great and moves with a brisk pace (for a while, anyway), employs a score that is equal parts Morricone and Barry, plus the hero is a masked man of mystery, so what’s not to like?

The movie opens with Superargo (Ken Wood, nee Giovanni Cianfriglia) accidentally killing a friendly opponent in the ring and swearing off his wrestling career forever, but his self-enforced retirement from the world of adventure is cut short when he’s recruited by the government as a spy to take on the evil plans of Diabolicus (Gerard Tichy), a mad scientist bent on — what else? — world domination via uranium theft and turning sea water into gold (?). There are a bunch of fights with thugs, lots of pretty-though-G-rated ladies, super-powers without much by way of explanation, and all manner of mayhem common to this kind of thing, but try as I might I can’t make it through to the end of the film. I have tried four times to get to the end, but about three-quarters of the way through the flick, right about when Superargo ends up in the clutches of Diabolicus, the film hits a wall of sheer boredom brought on by an interminable sequence of Superargo swimming the undersea entrance to the bad guy’s lair. As anyone who’s ever seen the actual James Bond film THUNDERBALL (1965) can tell you, nothing brings the action to a screeching halt like stuff shot underwater, an environment that slows down the movements of life forms not designed to be there, such as a goofy-looking Italian wrestler in a red leotard and black leather mask.

As for SUPERARGO VERSUS DIABOLICUS, it’s worth a look for the curious and those in need of a surefire cure for insomnia. I’m sure my collection could have gone without its inclusion, but I had to measure it against its followup. If I actually make it all the way through it I’ll let you know.

Thursday, March 08, 2007


When I arrived at work yesterday I was bombarded with the regulars telling me, “Bunche, I read in the news/saw on CNN/heard on the radio that Captain America was killed! Did you know about that?”


To most of these people I responded with, “Motherfucker, do you have any idea who you’re talking to?” Of course I knew about the “death” of the good Captain, and don’t buy it for a nano-second. Marvel publisher Dan Buckley and Marvel Editor-In-Chief Joe Quesada can swear up and down all they like that Cap is dead, but for those of you who think this is the absolute tits-up demise of Steve Rogers, hero to millions since the dawn of WWII, I have only four words for you: The Death of Superman. Is Superman amongst the Choir Invisible of Comics? Obviously not.

If you’ve read comics at all in the past four decades you know that death is but a mere inconvenience to the various super-powered cash cows, a state that amounts to little more than a brief respite from world-saving. Is the Green Lantern (Hal Jordan, that is) still dead? Noooooo… Is the Phoenix (Jean Gray) taking the dirt nap? Uh, noooooooo… And of the three characters Marvel said would never, EVER be resurrected — Captain America’s sidekick, Bucky, Kree badass supreme Captain Mar-Vell, and Spider-Man’s Uncle Ben — only Ben Parker has yet to rejoin the living, so if you think that Cap is dead I have some magic beans that I’ll hook you up with for cheap!

And how short are the memories of comics fans? Does no one remember that we’ve been through this “death of Cap” bullshit before, namely thirty-eight years ago?

And don't forget that Cap's body is infused with the Super Soldier Serum, a trope that didn't grant him superpowers per se, but it did boost his body to the peak of human perfection, so that probably includes some sort of kickass healing factor. And the very idea of Marvel actually doing away with Steve Rogers once and for all and he's in handcuffs, shot in the back (!!!) and not going down fighting to the bitter end? No fucking way, dude.

"Captain America is dead." Nigga, please.


My schedule at the barbecue joint allows me little or no time to see my friends from back in the days, so when I do get to see them it's a very special occasion to me. You see, on my days off — Monday and Tuesday — I'm usually so burnt out from the job that I just want to vegetate at home and do fuck all; I catch up on my reading, watch DVDs or several days worth of TV shows, wander about the city in a mentally-depleted daze, procrastinate at cleaning my apartment, cook some soup or stew to last for a few days, or maybe "enjoy" my umpteenth viewing of EIGHTEEN AND NASTY: VOLUME 10.

If given the choice, I'd spend my time interacting with my friends (who are really family), but they all have regular work schedules, and the number of them that have not moved upstate or across the ocean is painfully small. My friends never fail to invite me to get-togethers, but I can't make it unless I take time off from work, and the pool of replacements is miniscule, so over the past two years I have become a remote presence in the family and my friends have become fond memories whom I occasionally communicate by phone.

This past weekend, my pal Lexi told me she was organizing a get-together of as many available family members as possible on one of my nights off, and I was excited as could be. As my time at the barbecue joint winds down I am attempting to acclimate myself into the waking world once again, and if I can interact with real humans again on my days off I will do so with gusto. I even went to the movies with Lexi on Monday, the first time I'd been to a theater in nearly two months, and the realization that I, of all people, was not regularly attending films hit me like a Chuck Norris roundhouse to the jaw.

So when I saw my family on Tuesday night I was overwhelmed by the feeling of sheer happiness and belonging that I had all but forgotten, my friends embracing me back into their warmth as though I had never become a hermit. There I was, surrounded by friendly faces and all-around good vibes, and I was rocked to my soul as I remembered a part of my life that had lain dormant for too long; my lack of a mate is one thing, but the loneliness of being without my family was slowly killing me, and I had become so remote that I didn't even realise it.

So thank you, my dear, dear family. From now on I am BACK, motherfuckers, and as I get my shit together it's good to know you never forgot me, or let me forget that sometimes there is nothing better than the family that you choose.

Monday, March 05, 2007


You’ve seen the trailers, commercials, and the provocative posters, and from those you might think that BLACK SNAKE MOAN is a throwback to the racially/sexually-charged exploitation classics of the 1970’s; I mean, check out this poster, for fuck’s sake:

A scary-looking black dude in a wife beater, clutching a thick industrial chain that happens to be wrapped around a delicious-looking white trash gal in Daisy Dukes, an image that conjures up all manner of questionable — but fun — naughty fantasies, and for about a third of the film you get exactly what you’d expect. But then things get weird.

Set in some backwater Tennessee that feels like a mythological version of the South, the story focuses on Rae (a very much grown up Christina Ricci), the trashiest bit of juicy white trash imaginable, the town pump who’s hornier than forty bobcats in heat, and her shattered mental state when her boyfriend (Justin Timberlake) leaves for the army. No sooner does her man pull out of the driveway than our heroine falls onto the lawn in a crying fit and convulses as though her naughty bits are ablaze, swiftly relieving her needs with a huge, black crack dealer and subsequently attending an outdoor rave party where she gets drunk, scores some Oxycontin, smokes blunts, gets frighteningly ripped, plays a game of topless (except for a pair of regulation shoulder pads) football during which she fucks one of her teammates on the field while play continues (!!!), almost gets raped by her man’s best friend who instead beats the shit out of her when she laughs at how small his unit is, and gets unceremoniously dumped from his truck and left for dead on the side of a back road wearing naught but a cutoff T-shirt and a pair of panties.

On the flipside of this is the plight of Lazarus (Samuel L. Jackson), a farmer and former bluesman whose wife leaves him for his younger brother, an act that is the final nail in the coffin of their marriage. Lazarus is understandably fucked up by his wife’s fucking off with his sibling, and after a drunken binge that includes him ransacking the house to rid all traces of his traitorous spouse and driving a tractor over her beloved rose garden, he discovers Rae’s body in a ditch near his driveway. He rescues the feverish girl, and after discovering who she is by asking around town, Lazarus decides to save the errant slut’s soul by chaining her to the radiator in his living room. Needless to say, Rae’s none too thrilled at that prospect and after a futile escape attempt and an even more futile seduction attempt, she settles in for some tough love, frustrated that her captor doesn’t want to fuck her. From there the film becomes mostly a study of two souls in deep pain and how their strange circumstance forges a bond between them, eventually saving both. And there's even a sweetly-blossoming romance between Lazarus and the local druggist (S. Epatha Merkerson, formerly Reba the Mail Lady on PEE-WEE'S PLAYHOUSE).

BLACK SNAKE MOAN looks and feels sleazy in that humid, sweaty way found in Dixie-fried films like BABY DOLL (1956) and MANDINGO (1975), making one think it could be the product of Tennessee Williams if he wrote now (instead of being dead), and while it retains that flavor throughout its running time it sheds its vast prurient potential in favor of melodrama appropriate for an “After School Special,” albeit one replete with sex, violence, nearly nonstop foul language, and Christina Ricci’s oft-displayed and incredible boobies (not a body double, thank the gods, thereby guaranteeing a killing when this is released to DVD). You really get to care for Rae and Lazarus, and by the end of the film they develop a sort of father-daughter relationship, especially following Rae’s traumatic confrontation with her estranged mother regarding the incidents that lead to her nymphomaniacal ways. The finale remains hopeful yet ambiguous, as Rae tries to move on with her life and get her shit together, but it leaves the viewer wondering “what next?”

So here are the facts you need to know (SPOLIER WARNING!!!) if you’re looking for unadulterated sleaze:

1. The black man does not get killed.
2. The black man does not fuck the white trash gal, not that she would have been against the idea.
3. The white trash gal, out of sheer desperation, fucks an adolescent black kid while still chained to the radiator. When this is discovered the black man reminisces about his own first time, with his obese second cousin, and comments that he could have done better for himself.
4. Christina Ricci is sexy as hell and frequently topless, turning in the hottest performance by an A-list actress in recent memory. This film will serve as the closest thing to porn that will be seen on HBO and the like for a while, granting La Ricci stroke material immortality overnight.
5. There’s a great scene where the black man takes the more-or-less reformed white trash gal to a blues joint and she gets her squirmy dance on while he brings down the house with a scorching rendition of “Stackolee” that’s so good you’ll want to buy the soundtrack.

The bottom line on BLACK SNAKE MOAN is that it’s a far better film than you might expect, and while it will disappoint those looking for grubby thrills, it delivers with some really fucked up characterizations, good performances, and a story that, while a tad overlong, holds the interest.


Sunday, March 04, 2007


As my departure date from the barbecue joint nears — my last night will be on the 31st, provided I don’t find anything beforehand — the wacky events just keep on coming.

Last evening at the barbecue joint was the usual Saturday night affair, what with the standard assortment of revelers blowing off steam after another shitty work week, and young women looking to get drunk and laid, and after my shift ended I settled in at the bar for a round or two before heading back to the sanctity of the Vault.

Notable among the patrons were three guys sitting close to the door, a group of late-twenty-somethings of the neighborhood “’Ey-Oh!” Guido stereotype ilk, steadily getting shitfaced for hours, but basically quite affable, each vying for the attention of our willowy blonde bartender, Joy (or as I refer to her, “the Frost-Giant’s Daughter”). I paid them little attention, and soon enough caught the B63 bus and made my way home. When I came in this afternoon, Jeff the bartender and Andres of the Kitchen alerted me to the fact that our carved wooden rooster — Clucky, the Magical Cock — had been stolen, presumably by the drunken Italian boys; Andres stuck around until 1AM and said the guys were still there when he left, meaning they’d been at the bar for at least four hours and were quite looped when he left, and since the bar doesn’t close until 4AM it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to imagine them sticking around until the bitter end. During that time it was conceivable that the boys could have absconded with Clucky while Joy was taking care of other customers, which really proves how wrecked they were because there’s a lot of other stuff littering the joint that would have made for a more impressive prize (if some motherfucker had stolen my large Ultraman doll, I would have gone on a sadistic killing spree until he was returned safe and sound).

The Ultraman doll in question.

So as we discussed the absurdity of the theft and the possibility of Clucky being mailed back to us one piece at a time, one of the Guido boys walked in, looking like twelve miles of bad road and unmistakably hung over, with Clucky under one arm. He greeted the slack-jawed three of us and placed Clucky back in his customary perch, then explained what happened. “I woke up this morning,” he said, “and I looked on our living room table and saw youse guys’ rooster and asked my roommate what the fuck was it doing in our apartment. So he says ta me, ‘What, ya don’t like it?’ I stared at him and says ‘You’re fuckin’ retarded, you are,’ so I got dressed and brought it back. Sorry about that.”

We accepted his apology through unrestrained peals of laughter, and began to strategize about how to handle such larcenous intent in the future.