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Friday, August 31, 2007


The three-day weekend approaches and I've weighed my entertainment otions, coming up with the following gameplan:

1. I'm gonna run around with Suzie as much as possible, getting into trouble in the local watering holes and generally being a civic menace and perpetual pest.

2. On Sunday night there's a show in Manhattan that sounds ridiculous enough to merit my attendance; it features Beatallica, the Beatles/Metallica fusion group out touring for their first official album release, "Sgt. Hetfield's Motorbreath Pub Band,"

Queen Diamond, an all-girl tribute to King Diamond (and hopefully Mercyful Fate as well),

and Tragedy, the heavy metal Bee Gees cover band.

I've seldom heard of a show so utterly stoopid, and therefore right up my alley! And don't worry, I'll take photos. I mean, "Queen Diamond?" How could I not?

So that's my plan. I'm gonna have a damned good time, so I hope that all of you out there on the interweb have a great holiday too. Write in with any adventure stories!


Tennis hooligans from all over the globe flock to the Rotten Apple each year for the US Open, and while picking up breakfast this morning I ran into this group of gals from the Lone Star State who were on their way to root for whichever player is from their territory. It was impossible not to notice them since they were all dressed alike — an instant marker of the tourist — and sported charmingly hideous (and cheap) pink cowboy hats.

When I asked if I could take their picture they giggled like school kids and obliged, one of them suggesting that I ditch work and join them. Believe me, with all the shit that's gone down at the design gulag lately I gave it serious consideration but couldn't do it because the mighty Martina has been long retired, and if I saw Serena Williams in person I would have no choice but to bite her bullet-proof ass and probably get arrested in the process.

And just to make sure that I recorded the ladies' t-shirt slogan for posterity I asked one of them if I could take a closeup, requesting that she hold the shirt out since I wasn't trying to get "a boobie shot (one of her companions noted "That's all you're gonna get on her!!!"). It reads "Texas Girls Love Any X' Cuse 4 Tennis."

Man, I love Texans.


They just moved the last gigantic piece of equipment from the photo lab, and now my camouflage is gone.

Don't ya just envy my happenin' office?

Thursday, August 30, 2007


During my two years at the barbecue joint I seldom got to see the friends I've know and loved forever — one of the chief reasons why I left — and during that time I began to unintentionally take many of them for granted. I'm doing my damnedest to rectify that now that I have normal work hours and weekends again, and this morning I stopped to think about how effortlessly awesome my friends can be. As a case in point, I refer you to one Susan Boardman.

Susan is the sweet and sunny partner of my buddy daniel, and the two are one of the few couples I know who make any kind of actual sense together; yes, I have plenty of friends who are paired off and/or married, but these two seem as natural together as Tarzan and Jane. Anyway, Suzan's one of the sweetest, kindest, most all-around excellent human beings I have the pleasure to know, and she a renaissance woman on top of it; she's a six-foot two-inch tall bespectacled brunette who plays a mean bass and has a twisted sense of humor that's doubly shocking thanks to her innocent Campbell's Soup Kids-cherubic face.

And she also dabbles in pottery.

During my period of unemployment a few years back, Susan took a pottery course not far from where I live in Brooklyn, and one day she gave me a tiny, turquoise-colored bowl that she'd made by hand.

For something so small it's extremely dense and sturdy and without it being intended for such a purpose, it's the most perfect bowl I could ever imagine for whipping up a pair of scrambled eggs. Since acquiring it I never, and I do mean NEVER, prepare that particular breakfast item at home without using the Bowl By Boardman thanks to its ideal shallow depth that causes the user to pay attention to their scrambling technique and eventually the subtleties required by the bowl become an ingrained habit. I find that when using my favorite three-tined fork I can lift the eggs and fold in a good deal of air, a technique that adds to the fluffiness of the finished breakfast treat and inadvertantly improved my skill at this seemingly minor task.

This innocuous little bowl has gone on to become one of my most prized possessions and is utterly irreplaceable in every way; a perfect kitchen aid made even more incredible thanks to being given on a whim by a good friend who made it just for me.

Thank you, Susan. I may never have told you how much I love that little bowl, but I'm sure as fuck telling you — and the vast internet — now.


Now that the design 'ho house has been bought out by a corporation I knew it was only a matter of time before the layoffs started in earnest, and two of the three people I share space in the photo lab with have just been handed their walking papers after years of service. And wouldn't you it that the two people in question are among the few people at the gig whom I really like?

As for my own self, I'm not too worried about my own position here because I haven't been here long enough to get attached to anything, along with the fact that I handle the copywriting and proofreading burden and do so rather well, but I'm curious to see how long it is before this place looks like a goddamned ghost town, after which I'm sure the corporate drones will populate the empty seats with even-lower-paid staffers of their own choosing who will have to put up with untold amounts of abuse.

Well I say, "Fuck that shit." If the new owners give me even a drop of abuse I will walk, hold up a stiff middle finger and tell them in no uncertain terms to kiss my sharries. I could use another few months of being a carefree unemployed man about town anyway, but I have to find out which of my friends will be about to join me on the usual all day/all night liver-busting...

Shit, I got downsized at Marvel Comics so I've been through this before, and I honestly don't give a flying fuck what happens one way or another. And besides, gay "bear" porn beckons, and who am I to disappoint the legions out there who like it fat, hairy, and leather-chapped?

Publicity still from the upcoming BEARQUAKE BUFU, by Manhole Productions.

But until then, I remain employed and doing inane shit.


In the latest of volley of appears to be a concerted effort to drive me mad, the photo lab continues to morph, kicking up tons of allergy-aggravating dust and replacing my makeshift desk of photo chemical boxes with two large computers that have supposedly never been used.

Today's workspace arrangement.

Don't you envy my life?

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Well, after just under five hours in my new workspace I am once more positioned with my laptop perched upon the photo chemical boxes thanks to the air quality being unbreathable in the new area. Toward the end of the short time I was in there I began to sneeze and cough uncontrollably, so I finally said "Fuck this shit!" and returned to where I was. Let me tell you in no uncertain terms that inhaling microscopic particles of sheetrock is not an experience you want to have, and I'm certainly not getting paid anywhere near enough to endanger my health.

I've told my superiors that I refuse to set foot in there until all the renovations are 100% completed, and, needless to say, they were cool with that; not that they wouldn't have been, because the possibility if a lawsuit would really suck ass.


I recently heard from Chris Weston, my man in Eastbourne, and he sent in the following followup to a previous post:

Chris Weston, scribblin' purty ptchers.

Remember my run-in with one of the less charming juveniles that frequent my local park (if not, you can read it here )...?

Well, there's been a strange follow-up:

Yesterday, my wife Karen and I took the kids to our local pool, and who should I bump into but the very same kid... on his own this time. I promise you, the thought of holding him underwater for a good two minutes never entered my head! Instead I just decided to ignore him. I was playing with the older two members of the Ginger Squad — my redheaded sons — while Karen left the pool to feed Alex and get changed... and once she was gone the brat from the park swam over in our direction. I prepared myself for some more "grief"... but he clearly didn't recognise me. In fact, he kind of "attached" himself to me and the kids: chatting, joking, showing off his underwater moves, splashing about. It was all quite harmless, if a little annoying and intrusive... but my elder kid, Charlie enjoyed his company.

He was clearly on his own so I decided to indulge him, and smiled through his more unruly, attention-demanding antics of spitting water about and splashing a bit too rigorously for the infant area... but I was keen to move my kids away from him and give my attention to them instead... however, he followed us everywhere. I could not shake him off.

As I eventually made moves to leave, he asked me if I would stay another half an hour 'til it was time for him to go too, but I really needed to move on by then.

On meeting Karen in the changing area, I reported my meeting with "that kid from the park," and she said yeah, she'd seen him arrive... on his own. (And he was only ten years old). I remembered what he said to me at the park: "I don't F$*cking do what my mum tells me... so what makes you think I'm gonna do what YOU tell me?". Putting two and two together, I'm guessing he doesn't have a dad on the scene.

His behaviour kind of makes sense... he's craving attention. I feel a bit guilty now for trying to lose him in the pool... would it have killed me to show him a bit of interest? Sure, I faked it for a bit, but all the time I was thinking "Leave us alone". In my defence, the memory of his verbal attack was still fresh in MY mind, at least... but I think I understand now what produces such hostility.

I'm reluctant to let this letter descend into some kind of hippy "Let's all just reach out for eachother" sermon... but there is such thing as society... and we should occasionally ask ourselves what WE can do for others. It's not easy, though, is it...? And sometimes it's not much fun.

Chris Weston, ginger tosser — doing his part for human kindness.


Always, always, ALWAYS have a digital camera close at hand, because you never know what kind of fucked-up shit you'll see. A case in point:

I walked out of the design 'ho house onto Third Avenue in search of this week's new comic books and a salad for lunch, and as I turned to walk up the avenue I caught sight of some dude wearing nothing but shoes, socks, a pair of sneakers, and a skimpy pair of what were either undies or a swimsuit. Plus, his hair was braided like he was an Injun brave.

I've seen a lot weirder stuff in my seventeen years in the Rotten Apple, but it was in no way hot enough for this outfit, and along with several wolf whistles and cat-calls that opinion was loudly voiced by several passersby. The guy didn't seem to care, though, and he merrily went on his way, eliciting much laughter from construction workers and innocent pedestrians. One corporate blonde was clearly shocked to the core, and exclaimed, "Isn't that indecent exposure?" I didn't catch a glimpse of the guy's package, so I can't judge that one way or another.

Once I got a look at the dude's face, just before I had to turn left on 45th Street for the comic book shop, he reminded me of an under-dressed lookalike for Jimmy Carl Black from the Mothers of Invention, the self-described "Indian of the group."

Jimmy Carl Black as Bertram Redneck in 200 MOTELS (1970).

So repeat after me kiddies: Always, always, ALWAYS have a digital camera close at hand.


As the renovations at the design gulag drag on like a fucking iceberg, I have once more been moved from my workspace, this time to provide a location for various pieces of printing equipment. The only place to put me was inside the actual construction area, only inside one of the unfinished offices rather than just leaving me out in the construction-dust-covered main areas. Fine enough in theory, and while I once again have a desk fit for a human I'm still somewhat afflicted with the ambient dust and debris.

Here's my current work space, but it's only temporary; I'm in the space meant to be my immediate superior's office, and he wasn't pleased to find out where I'd been moved to. He's supposed to have this space next Tuesday, and the space that's been reserved for me can be seen through the open door of the office, not even remotely finished and still awaiting the simple amenity of lights.

And here's what will be my new, actual workplace, to be completed whenever it happens.

I swear on my mother's eyes, there is no sort of plan for any of this, at least none that I can discern.

And, no, I'm not performing amateur abortions; thanks to the lousy air quality that sets off my allergies like a motherfucker I had to don an air filter to function. Thankfully the office has windows that open, and the MIS guy found me a floor fan to circulate the air and blow as much dust and other invisible crap out the window into Manhattan's already questionable atmosphere. Oh, and did I mention that thanks to the lack of air conditioning it's also hot and stuffy as all fuck in here?

Some days it just plain sucks to be a Bunche.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


"I came to Earth to save you from yourselves, and this is what I get? Thanks a fuckload, douchebags!!!"

One of the greatest science fiction films ever made, THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL (1951), is about to be remade (read "desecrated"), proving once again that Hollywood has apparently run out of ideas and/or doesn't know when to leave well enough alone. And as if remaking one of the bona fide classics of the genre wasn't bad enough the casting for the thoughtful and benevolent extraterrestrial, Klaatu, could not possibly be worse. The character was soft-spoken yet firm in intent, classy, and genuinely likable in his thankless task of preventing humankind from wiping itself — and potentially spreading the madness off-planet — and Michael Rennie's portrayal of him ranks among the five most awesome alien visitors ever.

He came from outer space to save the human race: Michael Rennie as the wondrous Klaatu.

So why, WHY the fuck would you cast eternal burnout archetype Keanu "Whoa, Dude!" Reeves in this role???

Reeves can be entertaining as hell, but he sure as shit isn't a good actor; here's a rundown of Keanu's greatest hits:


"Whoa, dude! You're, like, a vampire!"


"Whoa, dude! I'm like, in the FBI, or something!"

SPEED (1994)

"Whoa, dude! This bus is, like, going wicked fast!"


Whoa, dude! My dad's, like, the Devil and Michael Corleone, or something!"


"Whoa, dude! There's, like, something in my skull!"


"Whoa, dude! I'm, like, in Toyland! Bogus!"


"Whoa! I know kung fu!"

And this is to whom the part of Klaatu has been assigned. Plus you just know there will be lots of action scenes and the robot, Gort, blowing shit up in orgiastic displays of the pyrotechnician's craft. Oy gevalt...

Klaatu waves goodbye to his own cinematic legacy.


I've done some pretty inane shit here at the design 'ho house, but one of today's assignments involved writing the text for a bunch of fake arts listings for a proposed database in Ridgefield, Connecticut. I was asked to simply create a dummy list — something that the person working on the database could have done, but fobbed off on me with the excuse, "I suck at writing, so I need you to handle this" — and the only guideline was that it had to represent different arts and the possible people/studios that one could contact. Realizing immediately that this would be some dull-assed shit, I decided to write a bunch of silly drivel that the clients probably won't bother to read anyway, and here's what I came up with, and remember to use Google if you don't get the gags:


Elizabeth Bathory-experimental painter
Rates: call with inquiry
Studio: Sanguinary Solutions
Phone: (203) 555-5555

Eccentrica Gallumpits-nude portraiture and still life painting
Rates: negotiable per course of study; please call for info
Studio: Voluptuary Visuals
Phone: (203) 555-5555

Mustafah Kikbooti-Afrocentric sculpture, poetry, printing
Rates: negotiable, but cold, hard cash up front, no checks.
Studio: Upraised Fist of the People’s Revolution Productions
Phone: (203) 555-5555


Albert Fish-specialist in stews and roasts
Rates: $80 per hour (But I’m worth it!)
Studio: Kettle O’ Fish Culinary Classroom
Phone: (203) 555-5555

Vermin As Victuals-turning roadkill into delicious taste treats!
Rates: $120 for ten-week course (shovel not included)
Location: the dumpster behind the A & P, Route 1
Phone: N/A; go to dumpster and yell, “Hey, Possum Face!”
Email: see above

Chard Explosion-All you’ll ever need to know about chard!
Rates: $20 one-year comprehensive instruction. A bargain!
Phone: (203) 555-5555

Ipecac Can Be Fun!-a new spin on an old emetic favorite!
Rates: $30 per hour; bottle of Regan McNeil’s “Devilish Greenie” provided
Phone: (203) 555-5555, or use OUIJA board; ask for captain Howdy


Peg Leg Pete’s Pirate Pirouette Palace-ballet instruction for buccaneers, brigands, and bully-boys!
Rates: $100 per week, or a purse of dubloons (Spanish only)
Phone: N/A; hoist the Jolly Roger and we’ll keep our eyes open

Nunzio’s Disco Oasis
$20 to get in, and it’s up to you to do the dancin’, capisce?
Phone: Phone: (203) 555-5555

Seamus O’Leprechaun’s Riverdance Pub
Rates: $60 per hour, green curly shoes not included
Phone: (203) 555-5555


LePetomaine’s Wind Orchestra
Rates: seasonal prices; call to confirm
Phone: (203) 555-5555

Brainless Hair-Metal Apocalypse-We’ve got riffs for days!!!
Rates: it’s not about the money, dude; It’s about the Metal!!
Phone: (203) 666-6666

The Kazoo Consortium-in fervent service to the muse of wax paper
Rates: $5 per hour
Phone: (203) 555-5555; ask for Kenny

The GG Allin Memorial Conservatory
Rates: $200 per hour, or a fifth of Jim Beam
Phone: (203) 555-5555
Email: N/A


The Chad X. Budidowitz Method-now YOU can learn the techniques that made Chad X. Budidowitz a household name!
Rates: $675 per hour; not cheap, but look how it worked out for DeNiro.
Phone: (203) 555-5555

Life’s Too Short: The Dwarf Theater Troop
Rates: $200 per week; must bring own elf outfit
Phone: (203) 555-5555

Shakespeare Sock Puppet Workshop
Rates: $60 per week, must wash own sock puppets after production of “Titus Andronicus”
Phone: (203) 555-5555

Now let's see how soon it is until I get fired!

Monday, August 27, 2007


By now you’ve probably heard about how great SUPERBAD is — and for the most part I agree with the majority of the critics — so I’ll spare you the details save for the plot in a nutshell: two best friends and a dorky classmate find themselves saddled with the task of obtaining $100 worth of liquor for a party thrown by a hot girl that one of them likes, and using that catalyst for a springboard all manner of insanity ensues. It’s basically every last-shot-at-high school-fun-before-we-go-to-college story you’ve ever seen, only with the raunch factor amped up to the the level one would expect from a post-AMERICAN PIE (1999) outing for the genre, but it’s a lot funnier than AMERICAN PIE and, with the very notable exception of the two most irresponsible and over-the-top cops seen onscreen in years, SUPERBAD is a dead-on accurate look at what suburban American teenagers, especially the males, can get up to when having their youthful adventures.

That said, I’d like to discuss the thing that really puts SUPERBAD into the firmament of teen movie classics: the awesome majesty that is McLovin.

Christopher Mintz-Plasse plays Fogell, the very definition of the word “Nerd” and a truly grating presence that one would avoid in the halls of the high school when not kicking his dorky ass on general principle.

Even the other two main characters who hang out with him on a regular basis can’t stand him much, but that all changes when he acquires a fake ID that identifies him a twenty-five-year-old resident of Hawaii named “McLovin.” No first name, just McLovin, and as if that weren’t ridiculous enough he doesn’t look a day over fifteen despite being about two months shy of becoming a college freshman. Upon adopting the McLovin moniker, Fogell is pressed into doing the actual purchasing of the required liquor, but the instant he whips out his ID and actually convinces the cashier of his alleged age, the poor dork gets sucker-punched by a thug who makes off the with the contents of the cash register. When a pair of goofball cops arrive to investigate, they take him under their wing for what turns into what can only be called a young heterosexual male’s perfect fantasy night come true; over the next few hours McLovin hangs out and drinks in a bar with his newfound policeman pals, collars a drunk and disorderly bum, gets chauffeured around town in a police car with the cops getting him and themselves more and more wasted with each passing hour,

hooks up with the other two characters — who ditched him when they thought the cops were arresting him and ended up having their own adventures — makes it to the big party with the liquor he purchased, gets (mostly) laid by the cute redhead he’d admired from school — lets put it this way: he gets it in, but the cops bust the party and while searching the house for underage drinkers they bust in on McLovin getting’ some, which causes his very willing partner to flee, for which the cops are deeply apologetic — leaves the party in a style that makes him an instant legend, and finishes the evening by helping the cops torch their own now-totaled squad car while using it for target practice.

If all of this sounds incredibly puerile and sophomoric, it certainly is, but its hilarity lies in the telling and the making-of-an-urban-legend nature of McLovin’s saga; Joseph Campbell — the late sage behind THE HERO WITH A THOUSAND FACES and THE POWER OF MYTH — would have had a field day with this modern heroic journey that traces a callow youth’s progression from inexperience to capable adulthood and coolness within the space of one night’s whirlwind of adventure, complete with wise (?) guide-figures in the form of the fun-loving and somewhat insane cops, a couple of monsters (the thug and the bum), the getting of all sorts of wisdom, and actually winning the girl of his dreams. That’s the stuff of the straight-up, classically defined heroic journey archetype, and it was fun to see it told in such a way; it actually eclipses the more realistic exploits of Mitch Kramer (Wiley Wiggins) in DAZED AND CONFUSED (1993), and as that was a hell of a story in its own right, that’s something to be proud of, Jack! And since the SUPERBAD is making a mint at the box office, it’ll probably spawn a shitty sequel and that would be a shame because the magic of McLovin is not something that can just be shat out by the studio assembly line.

McLovin: one superbad motherfucker.

As for the rest of the flick, SUPERBAD is a very solid piece of entertainment, but its raunchiness reminded me of the anarchic and unbelievably tasteless stories found in issues of NATIONAL LAMPOON that I adored when I was growing up (or not), a cornucopia of humor that was the antithesis of everything PC. So if you aren’t of a sensibility that can handle foul dialogue, drunken tomfoolery, gross-out bodily humor — most notably the felonious and hilarious misuse of one of the protagonist’s legs that’s sure to polarize the women in the audience as to whether the gag was funny or not — and young people painfully embarrassing themselves, then you might want to give SUPERBAD a miss. Otherwise, get ready to smile at a film that just may drag you on a beer-soaked, hormonally charged trip down memory lane.



"A staggeringly powerful, magnificent film. Must be numbered among the most significant, brutal, liberating and honest American films ever made. It is a movie of great art and courage." -The New York Times

"Horse feathers!!!" -The Vault of Buncheness

I finally got around to seeing Ralph Nelson's infamous SOLDIER BLUE, one of many Viet Nam-era flicks taking place in disparate genres that were thinly-veiled protests against the war, and I have to say that on all fronts — political allegory, western saga, romantic comedy — it's pretty much full of shit.

When Sam Peckinpah's superlative THE WILD BUNCH (1969) opened the door to outrageous displays of graphic cinematic ultra-violence, it did so with a talented (if whisky-marinated) hand guiding the camera and had a compelling story with characters who had actual depth, but in no time flat there were scores of imitators that fell far from the benchmark set by Peckinpah's epic, and SOLDIER BLUE definitely falls into that category.

SOLDIER BLEW, er, BLUE tells the story of foul-mouthed New Yorker Cresta Lee (Candice Bergen) a blonde proto-hippie chick who's been "rescued" from two years of "captivity" among the Cheyenne and is now being sent to a fort where she'll be reunited with the fiancée she only wants to marry for his money. Also on board the wagon she’s traveling in is a shipment of government gold, cash the Cheyenne need to buy guns with, so in short order the soldiers are wiped out and Cresta flees to the hills, accompanied by Honus Gant (Peter Strauss), the lone surviving cavalryman. Calling Gant by the snarky nickname “Soldier Blue,” Cresta demonstrates that her years among the “savages” was time well spent, outstripping Gant in survival skills, common sense, and sheer balls, and over their journey toward the fort they must persevere against the elements, a band of hostile Kiowa, an unscrupulous trader — played by Donald Pleasance, here giving one of his most ridiculous performances — and, in the tradition of many previous western-set romantic comedies, each other.

Gant’s basically a decent sort, but his jingoism and naiveté constantly clash with Cresta’s views on the Indians and their treatment by the military; when Cresta attempts to enlighten Gant about massacres in which women and children are raped and tortured, Gant refuses to hear it and labels her a liar. He also considers her a traitor for her views and is shocked to discover that the only reason Cresta left the Cheyenne was that she wasn’t unhappy or being mistreated, but because they just did things too differently for her to ever feel at home as one of them. Oh, and she was also married to the leader of the band that killed soldiers escorting the wagon, meaning that her sacred Whiteness has been tainted by intimacy with an Injun.

During the course of their misadventures the two opposites are inevitably — and predictably — attracted to each other and eventually end up getting it on — while Gant has a freshly-treated bullet wound that went clean through his leg, no less — in what was surely the only conveniently located cave for at least a twelve mile radius that wasn’t filled with rattlesnakes, mountain lions, or who knows what, to say nothing of the Cheyenne, who could have done something really spiffy with such a primo apartment (there I go, thinking in NYC real estate terms again).

Realizing that their love could never flourish outside of the cave, Cresta leaves Gant and makes it to the fort by herself only to discover that the dickhead in charge won’t spare a couple of men so they can rescue Gant; the regiment needs all available personnel to launch an attack on the nearby Cheyenne village, and once Cresta gets wind of that she slips past her obnoxiously horny hubby-to-be and makes a beeline straight to Cheyenne to warn them of what’s coming. The tribe’s leader for some reason has faith in the word of the Army — after all, they gave him a medal and promised no hostilities — and against the judgment of his advisers neither flees nor takes the fight to the cavalry.

What happens next is what gained the film its infamy; it turns out that all the wacky misadventures and squabbling were all just a lead-in to a hideous reenactment of the 1864 Sand Creek Massacre, an orgy of rape, torture and general sadistic evil perpetrated in the name of “keeping the country clean,” and almost forty years after its release this sequence still disturbs and nauseates for its sheer cruelty. Children are trampled beneath the hooves of charging horses or impaled on bayonets, unarmed people are beheaded — a nice effect, I have to admit — women are stripped and pawed by gangs of slavering brutes, then raped and mutilated — in one truly sickening instance a naked native woman puts up too much of a fight, so her rapist instead decides to cut off her breasts, which we thankfully only see the start of before the camera moves on to chronicle some other hideous act — and scores of innocent people are shot and dismembered, their component parts impaled on pikes and waved about in victorious celebration or kept as the most ghoulish of souvenirs. No bullshit, this scene would instantly garner an NC-17 rating if released today, to say nothing of possibly spurring Native American interest groups to riot in the streets over the incredibly exploitative manner in which the atrocities are depicted.

Gant manages to hobble to the action and witness for himself the horrors described by Cresta, and when he attempts to stop the inhumane mayhem he’s declared insane, a coward, and a traitor. When the smoke finally clears and the plains are literally strewn with bodies and severed limbs, Gant is lead away in chains and Cresta, in full Cheyenne garb, joins the pitiful remnants of the village and begins a long march to either incarceration or a miserable existence on some reservation.

I’m all in favor of westerns that don’t shy away from honest portrayals of how the west was won (or stolen if truth be told), but this film has no idea of what kind of movie it wants to be; one minute it’s a heavy-handed pseudo-hippy lecture about how the treatment of the natives was totally fucked up (no shit, Sherlock), then it’s a light-hearted battle of the sexes farce wherein Cresta proves herself five times the man Gant is and manages to look hot in her tasty red calico poncho (with no undies), but that all goes out the window when Donald Pleasance shows up with an unintentionally (?) hilarious pair of buck-toothed dentures and our heroes must figure out how to escape from his murderous clutches in a sub-plot that goes nowhere, all of which culminates in the aforementioned apocalyptic climax. Any one of those tacks would have been okay for a coherent film, but the end result is a slapdash mess that milked the horrors of its final ten minutes for all they were worth in the film’s promotion and poster imagery. Sadly, the only thing that works in the film is the violence, an unflinching display tries to out-Peckinpah Peckinpah — which it doesn’t — and even rips off his famous slo-mo squib compositions to much diminished effect. Western auteurism as grindhouse exploitation movie, if you will.

But by trying to be all things to all audiences, SOLDIER BLUE ends up as an incoherent, preachy Mulligan stew of presumably well-intentioned political correctness, but if they were going to tell the story of the Sand Creek Massacre, wouldn’t it have been a good idea to have some Injun characters who were more than just walk-ons with Murphy Brown acting as their mouthpiece? We get to know absolutely nothing of the people who get wiped out solely for what appears to be a crass ploy to lure gorehound moviegoers into seeing “the most savage film in history.” If you, like me, were intrigued by the provocative ads and reviews that shower almost endless praise upon it for its “daring to tell it like it was,” take my word for it and let SOLDIER BLUE slowly fade into cinematic obscurity. A feel-good flick it ain’t and it’ll really kill all the joy in the room when you make it past the first forty-five minutes. The perfect companion piece for a double bill with the even more exploitative and offensive CUT-THROATS 9 (1973), which is a subject for another post and a much better film.

Oh, and did I mention that the characters reference the Battle of Little Bighorn, which did not occur until twelve years after the events of this story? Way to do your research, fuckstick!


Friday, August 24, 2007


In much the same way that THE ATOMIC CAFE (1982) explored the horrors of nuclear devastation through old film clips of atomic preparedness shorts, HEAVY PETTING takes viewers down the hormonally-raging road of adolescent sexuality with ancient sex education footage, interspersed with various celebrities relating their own teen fumblings.

The film segments are almost uniformly alarming in both their stodginess and the way they practically kill all interest in sex thanks to scare tactics and stern lectures (you haven't lived until you've heard Lorne Greene, Ben Cartwright on the classic TV western BONANZA, talking about nocturnal emissions and menstruation in that deeper than God's balls stentorian voice of his), and the celebrity segments are in turns both tragic and downright hilarious; Allen Ginsberg's discussion of his feelings of being unloved is a real kick in the guts, while an account of a circle jerk with the goal of filling a milk bottle boggles the mind, especially when one considers how much — or how little — population paste you actually end up with after rubbing one out (unless you're famed porn firehose Peter North, see below).

Filling that bottle must have taken a loooooong time...

The film covers all the — pardon the expression — bases, from the onset of secondary sex characteristics to dating rituals to teen pregnancy, the existence of GASP!!! homosexuals, V.D. and pornography, and not one second of it is boring. There's also a second disc that features several of the sex ed films in their full-length versions, some of which are must-sees for sheer scare tactics and graphic content akin to gory driver's ed movies, only this time featuring dripping, sore-covered cocks in hideous closeup rather than your run of the mill mangled corpses. The all-Black, made-for-the Army "Easy To Get" is a WWII-era shocker that depicts in waaaaaaaaay-too-graphic detail the misadventures of a number of servicemen and their encounters with women whose pussies are roilling cesspools of virulent disease, and we get to see these poor bastards whip out their pus-drooling units right into the camera (presumably stunt-Johnsons with actual nasty goo, which the afflicted squeeze out at the viewer, thank you very much), along with a ghastly shot of soldiers stopping at the local Prophylactic Station for a "Pro," which is where they drop trou en masse, vigorously wash their junk — calm down, gay readers, this is light years away from being even a bit erotic — and then schlamp a tube of anti-V.D. ointment straight up their urethras. *SHUDDER* It's horrible, but it's also incredible to see such material from back in those days.

Bottom line: HEAVY PETTING is a thoroughly entertaining documentary that belongs in any collection, and just may scare your young 'uns int keeping it in their pants until they're, oh, maybe thirty-five.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

ANITA (1973)

I’m not usually suckered into checking out a DVD by provocative packaging, but there are always exceptions and this film is a distinct case in point. I mean, look at this image, weathered to look like a dirty novel, ferfucksake!!!

I purchased this one out of porn curiosity, and what did I get? A sensitive sexploitation flick about an insatiable nymphomaniac, that’s what. Who’da thunk it?

I’ve only seen two of her films — THRILLER: A CRUEL PICTURE and SEX & FURY, both from 1973 — but I’m a huge fan of Swedish sex goddess Christina Lindberg’s work for the simple facts of her honest to the gods acting talent and her normal-person beauty; well that and the fact that she was very kindly not afraid to drop her clothes like they were a bad habit. I normally hate soft-core stuff, but for Lindberg it was wholly appropriate since she was too adorable and pixie-ish for the “butcher’s shop window” visuals found in the more explicit world of actual pornography and it was also nice to see her in a film where her character was not a victim of off-putting sexual violence. Sure, her character in this one gives it away like flavorless soup at the local homeless shelter, but that’s beside the point.

Lindberg plays young Anita, a girl whose loveless home situation sends her down a path of compulsive promiscuity, a situation that alarms her parents, but not enough for them to actually get off of their self-centered asses and try to give their daughter the help she so obviously needs. Anita’s nymphomania is totally joyless — an interesting aspect to the film since this kind of stuff usually features women who enjoy being endlessly and mindlessly used by the sleazy, conscience-free guys in the story — and her encounters with complete strangers occupy much of the film’s running time, getting the first three trysts out of the way within the first ten minutes.

As her compulsion rages out of control, Anita becomes notorious in her hometown for sucking off, jerking off, or fucking any guy who’s willing to go into a broom closet with her, and the locals of her age become hostile and violent toward her — the girls are threatened by her crazed sexuality and the guys who haven’t fucked her tend to be outraged — so she leaves town and moves in with a house full of college students, most of whom are musicians. The notable exception among the schoolies is a psychology major named Erik (played by a very young Stellan Skarsgard), who meets Anita after stumbling over her as she emerges from a makeshift tent after fucking some scumbag at the side of a construction site, and when she moves into the house he shares with the musicians he puts his psychiatric chops to the test.

The story unfolds as a series of flashbacks related to Erik by Anita, and over the course of the film it becomes apparent that Erik has fallen in love with his patient. The problem with that is that Anita feels she’s a worthless person, so her intimate encounters with junkies, illegal immigrants, strangers and other users are all she can handle, and she won’t entertain the idea of a man actually loving her for who she is. Erik convinces Anita that all she needs to do is have an orgasm — something she never experienced during her countless encounters or masturbation — so how does she accomplish this? She finds a lesbian character that just shows up from out of nowhere, and they have the first truly tender sex in the whole film. Then Anita runs away from the university house and becomes a performer in a nudie club, where she realizes that she’s now ready to have a healthy relationship after seeing her co-workers degrade themselves for a living. She hooks up with the truly nice Erik, and it’s alluded to that they’ll get married; after all the miserable shit, they made it through and they’re finally happy. THE END.

During all of this there’s plenty of skin to satisfy the trench coat brigade, but once you suss out the semi-artsy structure of the flick you may find that you have compassion for this poor girl who just cant stop her drive for intimacy sans a human connection. I certainly did, and while I will never tire of Lindberg’s nudity — particularly her absolutely perfect, PERFECT breasts — about halfway through the film I no longer wanted to see her nude within the story’s sad context, and if the grindhouse regulars who saw ANITA during its original run had any kind of human feeling, they didn’t either.

ANITA is very interesting, but since it’s still a sexploitation flick I can’t recommend it for the casual viewer, unless the individual viewer keeps an open mind when approaching it. Yes, there’s wall-to-wall nudity and prurient content, but it’s all within a legitimate narrative context. So, what the hell? Give it a chance.

Again, gaw-DAMN!!!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


I just went to a Citibank near work to make a deposit, and as I stood at the ATM there was a kindly looking old geezer to my left who was about to slide his deposit envelope into the receptacle. His shaking, liver-spotted claw positioned the envelope, but he dropped it just as it was about to go in and proceeded to voice his annoyance while bending to retrieve it. "FUCK! Sonofabitchfuck...Pisscunt...MOTHERFUCKER!!!" he eloquently noted as he slowly lowered his rickety self to the floor, the litany of cuss words ending only when he straightened up. He then successfully made his deposit, his sweet, grandpa-like veneer back in place.

So much to look forward to when I'm seventy...

Monday, August 20, 2007


Biopics are always an iffy prospect, especially if you're seeing the film because you're a fan of the person being depicted. As a martial arts enthusiast I'm willing to sit through virtually any historical reenactment flick because some of them have been downright excellent — THE 36TH CHAMBER OF SHAOLIN (1978, aka MASTER KILLER) being a perfect case in point — and in my quest to see as many Sonny Chiba movies as possible I came across THE POWER OF AIKIDO, purportedly the story of Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969), the founder of aikido. A movie about Ueshiba, starring my man Sonny and directed by Shigehiro Ozawa, the genius responsible for THE STREET FIGHTER? How the fuck could I pass that up?

Well, despite the cover image that places Sonny Chiba front and center, thereby implying that he's the star, THE POWER OF AIKIDO is actually a vehicle for Sonny's younger brother, Jiro, who's probably best known to us chopsocky goons as the poor bastard who takes a thirty-story nosedive and splatters all over the sidewalk early in THE STREET FIGHTER (1974). Jiro's not a bad actor or martial artist, but if you're looking for that signature Sonny Chiba mojo you're pretty much shit out of luck with this one as Sonny's a secondary character who only shows up to liven things up when the going gets slow and show the rest of the cast how to properly kick the motherfucking shit of people.

The story starts somewhere around 1912, when Ueshiba is the leader of a farming village who spends virtually no time farming and instead seeks to create an unbeatable martial art style. Training in some oddball style of jujitsu with — or more accurately, on — his fellow villagers, Ueshiba routs a bunch of thugs who want to force a young boy into a "massage gang" — exactly what that means isn't explained, but I think I have a pretty good idea thanks to how vehemently the kid doesn't want to go with them — at which point Sonny Chiba walks in, announces his style of karate, and then beats the unholy shit out of Ueshiba in what gets my vote as the highlight of the movie; unlike the moves that so perfectly suited his Terry Tsurugi character in THE STREET FIGHTER, Chiba is allowed to cut loose here with a grace and speed that frankly surprised me, and I've seen a LOT of his films. Once he's done putting his foot up Ueshiba's ass, Chiba leaves, taking the thugs with him and allowing the villagers to take care of the kid.

Mortified at being on the receiving end of such a righteous ass-whuppin', Ueshiba drops farming entirely and begins a quest to try his skills against any other fighters who'll give him the time of day, first challenging a surly, drunken samurai to a contest of sword against fists. Luckily for Ueshiba, the badassed swordsman is kind enough to take him on using a piece of wood rather than a piece of three-foot razor-sharp steel, but Ueshiba nonetheless once more has his ass handed to him. At that point I was ready to settle in for what looked to be an entire film of one man's journey to spiritual and martial epiphany by getting the shit beaten out of him every few minutes, yet as the film went on and Ueshiba's skills improved, the end result didn't look that much like aikido to me, with Ueshiba punching and kicking in full-on Bruce Lee mode; that's probably because aikido is a a discipline that redirects or traps the aggressor without the punches or kicks found in other martial systems. Ueshiba wasn't about killing, stating that "To control aggression without inflicting injury is the Art of Peace," and while that's all well and good it might not go down too well with the bloodthirsty audience that expects to see feet penetrating people's skulls, eyeballs getting gouged out, and limbs getting unceremoniously separated from their source bodies with as much spewing plasma as possible.

In between the set-to's, the drunken samurai cuts a guy's arm off and is sent to prison, Sonny falls in love with a terminally ill woman and becomes a good guy, and Chiba movie regular Etsuko Shihomi — the gorgeous badass of the SISTER STREET FIGHTER series — even shows up with no explanation whatsoever, kicks a wee smidgen of ass and somehow makes it onto the cover image despite being onscreen for about three minutes. None of this does anything for the film other than drag it out and after Ueshiba defeats the now-released drunken swordsman (who incidentally also shot Sonny Chiba's character while he and Ueshiba tested each other's skills in a friendly match), the film ends abruptly as the narrator declares something to to the effect of, "And that is how aikido was born!" I dunno, there's a lot of shit in this flick that's straight out of damned near every other Japanese chopsocky movie ever made, and some of it comes off as bearing so little relation to Ueshiba's real story that the whole thing could have just as easily been entitled I WAS AN AIKIDO FIGHTER ON THE MOON.

Bottom line: this one's worth it only for the bit where Sonny kicks his younger brother's ass, and that happens during the first fifteen minutes. Of interest solely for Sonny Chiba completists, and speaking as one of that group I don't even think many of us Chiba boosters would give this a second look. Save your money for the far superior SONNY CHIBA'S DRAGON PRINCESS (1978) now that it's available in a — finally!!! — decent widescreen print as part of the WELCOME TO THE GRINDHOUSE double feature series.

It's Etsuko Shihomi's second best film after SISTER STREET FIGHTER and is a martial arts tragedy of how a father ruins his daughter's life by training her to be his agent of vengeance, and it's paired with yet another Chiba skull-cracker, the merely so-so KARATE WARRIORS (1976).



There are those who love the nice summer weather for the sun, the beach, the cookouts, baseball, and the legions of women wandering about exposing acres of yummy flesh — yeah, that one’s pretty damned awesome — but my favorite thing about the season in Brooklyn is the stoop sales. Yes, the stoop sales, an urban analog to Portobello Road wherein “the riches of ages are sold, artifacts to glorify your regal abode,” a block-by-block bazaar where you never know just what you may find.

In my decade of living in Park Slope I’ve seen everything you could possibly sell on the stoop of your building — with the possible exception of twelve-year-old children for use as who knows what, but I haven’t been to every stoop sale in this huge borough so I wouldn’t necessarily write that out — from six-foot bongs to crude homemade clay replicas of the cast of STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION (oh, if only I’d had my camera on me to capture that one; Captain Picard looked like the Elephant Man about to audition for a road show of A CHORUS LINE), orange macramé teddies (I can only imagine how that would irritate one’s ninnies) stationed right next to water-damaged copies of THE TAO OF POO and THE TE OF PIGLET, an assortment of those cylindrical PEANUTS waste baskets from the early 1970’s, the Hand of Nergal and the Heart of Tammuz in a lovely collector’s case with a set of 7/11 CONAN THE BARBARIAN tumblers thrown in gratis — I immediately spotted the Hand and Heart for the fakes that they were; I have the real items here in the Vault of Buncheness for safekeeping — thigh-high platform go-go boots that once belonged to a saucy chick who’s now someone’s flappy-titted grandma, back-issues of PLAYBOY and OUI that are now better suited for use as DNA samplers or roof shingles than practical spank material, you name it.

All of that discarded-yet-collectible detritus was brought to mind while I wandered about in the early Saturday hours, a lovely morning that considerably offset a disappointment from the previous day that I won’t go into, and during the trek along 7th Avenue I saw some kickass stuff up for sale, but as it was on 7th Avenue it was mostly offered at ludicrous prices and I refused to spend a cent on any of it, not even for the foldable bicycle put on the street for the asking price of $85, a sum that my oft-mentioned pal Jessica — who, sadly and for the record, is not my Osh-Osh compadre, so stop writing in with questions about that one — was a pretty good deal.

Over the years I’ve found tcochkes, books, LPs and general weirdness that have caused the Vault to grow to a pretty much unmanageable degree, but I have to say that I’ve never made a better score at one of these impromptu flea markets than that of this wondrous curio:

It was laid out on a blanket in front of the building directly across the street from where I reside, nestled amongst a jumble of crumbling Harlequin romances and novelizations of flicks like THE FISH THAT SAVED PITTSBURGH and BALLISTIC: ECKS VERSUS SEVER.

Yes, it looks like a well-used walking stick — it’s a bit short for a cane — but I recognized it for what it really was and asked the lady selling it if she really knew what it was. She looked back at me with a cocked eyebrow, sensing a fellow enthusiast, and asked me, “do YOU know what it is?” I nodded, picked it up, rolled it over while checking out its engraved bits, and then thumbed the hilt to the left, smoothly unsheathing two feet of solid, pointy Damascus steel.

The blade was dull and may or not be made for sharpening, but the metal was extremely sturdy and with a good shove it could easily penetrate a tire or a person.

“How much?” I asked, and the seller said, “Ten bucks! I just broke up with my asshole boyfriend and I’m selling off all of his shit before he comes back to reclaim it. God, I’m such a bitch…” I forked over the ten dollars, and since she was nice enough to hook me up with an inexpensive antique cane sword I figured I’d see if she had anything else of interest; I ended up adding a hardcover copy of Douglas Adams’ THE COMPLETE HITCH-HIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY — the one with all four novels — and a mint condition Mork doll, still in the original box, both of which cost me another ten bucks. Hopefully I’ll be able to find more such deals before the stoop sale season comes to an end…


As you can see from the photo I finally received the copy of MY PUSSY BELONGS TO DADDY that I won from eBay, but it took forever for me to receive it thanks to those motherless cocksuckers who drive for UPS in my area.

One of the things that an eBay buyer gets used to is the sometimes slow shipping used by certain sellers, but if the seller has a good rating I'm happy to wait, secure in the knowledge that my item will eventually arrive, be left in my building's lobby, and not be stolen by five floors worth of neighbors who very kindly leave packages outside of the recipient's door. But every now and then a package is shipped via UPS and that can lead to a number of problems; the drivers in my neighborhood are notorious and despised for not leaving delivery notices if you aren't there to take delivery personally, they take their own sweet time while allegedly making deliveries, often stopping to hang out at local bars or the low-rent brothel up the street (no, I'm not kidding), and sometimes deliver packages to the wrong buildings, sometimes even leaving packages outside to be damaged by the weather of stolen by local miscreants. All of these scenarios have happend to me over the years, and when I win something from eBay I request that the seller not use UPS for the reasons I just listed.

I had been expecting MY PUSSY BELONGS TO DADDY for almost two weeks, and when I emailed the seller to ask what was going on he mentioned that he'd sent it UPS. I wrote back to tell him I'd handle it on my end and that I didn't blame him for UPS not leaving me a delivery notice, explaining my previous hassles with them, to which he responded with,"Finally! Someone who understands about UPS!!!" I decided against asking him why he still used them if he knew they were problemeatic, and instead concentrated on getting my goddamned LP.

I called the dreaded Van Brundt post office on 9th Street near me and explained the problem; the clearly disinterested postal drone loudly smacked her chewing gum in my ear and with a mushmouthed ghetto drawl that would have made Stepin Fetchit whince she said, "Ah'll havvluk fawya." After putting on hold for a good ten minutes, she returned to tell me, "We ain't gotcho packidge," and as she was about to hang up I told her that the tracking information I got from the seller idicated that the item was indeed there and I also told her it was the size and shape of a record album. "Whatchoo talkin' 'bout?" she shrilled, and when I finally got through to her with the details she put down the phone, not bothering to actually put me on hold this time, and searched for my missing package while muttering, "Nigga makin' me look faw a muthafukkin' rekkid abbum, takin' me away from mah stories..." (NOTE: to those who don't know, "stories" is a blanket term for soap operas used by Blacks and trailer trash) Then, to my surprise and delight, another voice came on the line, this time sounding like someone who had made it out of the fifth grade, and informed me that the package was there and I could pick it up at my leisure.

When I went in early on Friday morning to finally get the item, I found myself first on line at the pickup window, an area that supposedly opened at 8AM, but didn't actually open that day until about ten minutes later, the clerk only bothering to come forward when roused by my incessant use of the buzzer and the irate shouting of the growing line behind me. The clerk who greeted me was none other than the distaff Stepin Fetchit, a frightening sight who defined outright hoochiness, what with her braided blonde weave, a "body by pork rinds" figure sausaged into a much too small (and tasteless) outfit most likely obtained at the Fulton Mall on remainder, enomous and trashy bling-bling earrings, and four-inch curved fingernails that made me wonder exactly how the fuck she could even wipe her own puddinglike ass.

"Oh," she said when I explained why I was there — remember, I did not have a pickup slip thatnks to the delivery douchebags — "Ah talktayoo onna phone yestiddy. I gotcho packidge ovah heah." She briefly vanished, and when she returned she threw my package into the safety airlock, one of those arrangements where they close your item inside a glass booth and when they have closed their side you can open the door on your side and take out your parcel. Finally, I had my record, one of perhaps two good things to happen to me all weekend, but I don't wanna talk about that; I was just happy to add MY PUSSY BELONGS TO DADDY to the Vault's album cover wall, and what a fine addition it is.