The E(nemma)ys

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You know I love television, I’ve promoted its cultural, psychological, and physical benefits   here in this blog enough.  You know that.  But the Emmys are the one exception.  This batch of back slapping circle jerkers get together each year to supposedly “celebrate” the best of the best.  Well, I’m going to tell you this incestuous relationship only leads to celebrating the worst of the best, the best being TV of course.  If this was truly the best where was River Monsters?  Where were the Kardashians on the so called red carpet?  Where were the housewives of New Jersey, the Amish Mafia, The Barefoot Contessa?  And most of all, where was season 11 of the most watched drama on network television, Naval Criminal Investigative Service?  Where was Emily Wickersham?  What a joke.  Most importantly, where was my vote?  Where does the common man/woman get his/her say?

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Meanwhile shows like Orange is the New Crap, Game of Throwups, Downtown Abbey continue to garner undeserved accolades.  Talk about a crime that should be investigated.  Put Gibbs’ team on it!

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The problem is the Emmy council, or whatever you call it, is run by one of the international conspiracy outfits, the highly secretive Bilderbergs, The Council on Foreign Relations, or the Trilateral Commission.  Maybe somebody else.  I’m sure Alex Jones knows.  It’s another example of the elite oligarchs thinking they know what’s better for “the masses.”  The idea should not be about what’s good for us, but about maintaining the liberty of our entertainment choices.  These eggheads and silver spoon manipulators think they should rule the common man for his own good.  Well listen up folks, the last time I checked this was still a representative republic and not a dictatorship.  But democracy only happens when the common man takes the military-industrial-media bull by the horns and dumps the elites out of the thrones of Emmy power.

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Good TV

We need the equivalent of an Emmy Tea Party.  Boycott the awarded shows on cable and streaming media.  Threaten to drop HBO and PBS from your satellite package.  On commercial television refuse to buy from corporations that continue to advertise during these bad shows.  Disguise ourselves as ethnic stereotypes and raid the local Best Buy or WalMart and dump the DVDs for shows like Big Bang Theory or the overtly socialist Saturday Night Live into the equivalent of Boston Harbor.  Make the Emmy a death sentence for any show that truly doesn’t deserve it.  That is the only chink in the armor of the elite media types and we need to drive a wedge into it.  All they respond to is money, money, money, so hit ’em where it hurts ’em the most.

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Bad TV

Only if we, the common people, wrestle the reigns of power from the elitist snobs and the fixers can we hope to keep television the life enriching, some say life saving medium, it was always meant to be.  Maybe then the Emmys will mean something good.  Otherwise you are going to be consigned to watching Modern Family for the rest of your life.  Need I say more?

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Doctor Crap?

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Somewhere in the David Tennant era the train came off the tracks. It started to be about romance, too many episodes were on earth, there were too many folks following the Doctor around and related to him, too much self-reference to previous lives and eras, too many people actually saying “Doctor Who?” out loud. Too few good stories.  Steven Moffat took control and things really got awful. In the last few years I can only think of a handful of episodes I really enjoyed. I think the Doctor actors have come off pretty well as characters, but especially Matt Smith was fed almost nothing but crap for scripts. He did as well as he could.

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If you go back to the first era the series really petered out during the Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy Doctors. BBC screwed up the franchise then with poor writers and poor choices for Doctors seeing it still as a children’s program with little potential beyond that, and it’s on the verge now. Similar to what NBC did to Star Trek in the ’60s.  Capaldi is a good choice for an actor but somebody has to hand him a bloody script.

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Doctor What?

You cannot save this by bringing back the Daleks to menace the earth once again. How many times have we seen that? Quit bringing back “beloved” characters from previous episodes, eras, without some original and exciting writing to go with it.  Piss on the romance.  It was always about affection not romance.  A certain amount of sexual tension is good until outright romance jumps the shark; a grasping at simpering sentimentality instead of good writing.

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The Current Problem?

I missed Dr. Who when it went off the air in 1989 and I miss it now.

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Classic Doctor Who

Faster and Louder part 2

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Everyone knows that all music is better played faster and louder.  It’s a fact.  Wired into our genes, just like anything in life is better on television, as those of you that have, against my advice, gone to Brazil to watch World Cup Soccer in person have also found out.  Should have just stayed at home in the comfort of your own little cabin and watched on your 72 inch Samsung.  Everything is better on television.  Period.  You wouldn’t have had your purse snatched in Rio either.

And every kind of music is better when played faster and louder.  Period.  The unhallowed premier purveyors of this self-evident fact is the band Me First and the Gimme Gimmes.  These boys have been bangin’ it out for years unrecognized and shunned by the larger media.  It is almost as if there was a conspiracy against this getting out.

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Album after album, genre after genre, put through the buzzsaw of distorted guitars and frantic backbeats proving each and every time the song would have been better if played this way.  Why hasn’t this caught on?  Why haven’t Christina Aguilera and Barbara Streisand championed the cause of chainsaw guitars and frantic paced power chords in pop music?  The media.  Once again it’s a media conspiracy back-fueled by the music industry and ultimately the entire entertainment industrial complex to promote stars that are on top one day and then cast aside for another unknown under the music industry shackles tomorrow.  If you and I were in charge none of this would be allowed to stand.

I could go on and on about this, and I will at some future time, but right now let’s get back in the trenches and talk about those that are trying to bring the truth back to the people.

Me First & the Gimmie Gimmies

The Me Firsts.  Starting way back in 1995 these boys have been putting out themed albums of various genres and styles, everything from Broadway musicals to R&B to C&W.  Every single cut has been better than the original:  buzzsaw chords and a frantic pace.  Every once in awhile they sneak in an old punk riff just to prove that even these songs were better than all of the top 40 “songs” today.  Once you’ve heard “The Way We Were” you’ll wonder why Barbara Streisand never sported a black leather jacket and a pink mohawk.

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Not much more to say.  The music industry and media conspiracy are too powerful to ever be threatened and changed unless you want to end up taking the dirt nap, or at least your dog will.  Sadly Justin Timberlake and Katy Perry are never going to “kick out the jams.”

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The International Feel

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No, I’m not talking about groping foreigners so all you NSA peepers can leave now.

What I want to talk about is the increase and predominance of non-US hits this blog is getting.  Either I’ve managed to thoroughly piss off the OUS community or people outside the United States are starting to now do what you in the US have only been able to do up ’til now:  apply my life-changing formulas to your lives.  I know which one I’m voting for.

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Unlike people in the US, Europeans have long embraced my concept of a D-minus effort. Europeans enjoy months of vacation annually along with a holiday practically every-other week.  In addition, work weeks are often legislated to be less than 40 hours and nobody has to worry about health insurance, so I’m surprised any Europeans or Canadians work at all since this lack is what primarily entices many Americans into the workforce in the first place. On top of this, scandalous unemployment has made, by comparison, the US look like the land of milk and honey it most certainly isn’t.

It is also clear that most foreigners embrace the concept of always making sure somebody else is that last guy.

Hey, now that I think of it, maybe I’m just preaching to the choir here.  Perhaps most OUS hits are just losers affirming their lifestyle.  Sometimes people just like to be reassured of things they already knew deep down inside.

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What Foreigners Do for Fun

The worst thing about traveling internationally is television.  Except for imported US programs, the fare produced and broadcast overseas is distinctly inferior.  Britain is particularly bad with endless parlor dramas and talking heads all produced by the government.  The fact that some of these shows are actually imported to America is beyond me.  Most of them end up on public television, in other words US socialist TV.  Hardly anyone except a few really old people watch public TV in the US so these imports hardly make a dent in the A+ prime US television offerings.  The programs are mostly old so you get elderly US tourists to the UK going on about episodes of Eastenders from decades ago.  East Germany had the worst TV I ever saw.  France was the best with triple-X programs on the cable late at night that made Skinemax look like Mr. Rogers.  In Japan the only thing going was the seemingly endless pop music programs.

I digress…

Finally I urge all my international fans to embrace the concept of always expecting the worst. This will leave you never disappointed.  I especially recommend this for people in the former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, and any countries afflicted in the “Arab Spring.” Countries like Greece, Spain, Ireland, and Portugal should take heed also.

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Anyway, I just wanted to thank all the international readers that support my jingoistic American rants, er, essential essays.

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The Great Spectator Sports Swindle

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Yeah, you know it.  I’m talking about the Olympics, that Grecian spectacle of the best “amateur sports talent” the world has to offer.  I could provide another cogent and timely expose about the Olympics in general, but you already know I’m going to focus on the ultimate in Olympic swindles:  the Winter Games.

You already know of my disdain for the corrupt world of spectator sports in general from chess to the ultimate fixer sport: NBA basketball, so I’m not going over that again.  There are numerous posts in the archive that any pinhead can see about the sorry state of spectator sports, so go there for the lowdown and my on-target comments on that life-entertainment waster.

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Let’s jump right into the ultimate sports Ponzi scheme.  If you hadn’t already figured it out the Winter Olympics is merely an inferior spin-off of the Summer Olympics.  When the Olympics were brought back from their justly deserved grave there were only Summer games.  This actually made some kind of sense since Greece, the site of the real historical Olympics, was a nice summery place.  They didn’t even know anything about snow shoeing, much less ice dancing, in Greece.  So some get rich media con men realized that  playing childrens games only in the summer meant that only fair weather “sports” were going to be featured.  “Hey, hows about we make some more money off the suckers by staging a winter event, then we can rake in a bunch more dough in places like Norway and Canada where the yokels are too stupid to know they could get a nice condo down South and avoid the bad climate?”  Well, anyone with only half a brain like you could see that this was going to catch on with the masses like a bottle of Jack Daniels at an AA meeting.

Instead of having the only legitimate full-contact scoring sport possible for the Winter Olympics, ice hockey, the paddock had to be filled with such pseudo sports as curling, biathalon, speed skating, figure skating, cross country skiing, and similar non-events.  The only thing close to a sport other than hockey were the so-called Alpine events which all basically consisted of seeing who could fall down a mountain the fastest.  Again, I think you can see why these events would appeal to people who only see the sun for half the year.  The incredible thing is these non-events are pandered to a global community population many of whom live in tropical or sub-tropical zones where they are still wildly popular to watch.

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Not to be outdone in the con game, some wise fixer figured that having both the summer and Winter Olympics in the same 12 months was a marketing snafu so they brilliantly alternated the summer and winter games to be every other year.  Now the suckers would have the five rings of confidence tricksters in front of them all the time instead of just once every four years.

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This year’s Wintercon is in the former Soviet republic of Russia.  In the Wikipedia entry for Sochi it is listed as not only claiming to be the longest (?) city in the world but “was primarily Muslim before 1864” but now is “primarily Christian.”  I wonder what hallowed event in 1864 caused all those conversions?  We are all hopeful that there are not some hunkered down Chechens in Sochi province thinking about 1864 intending to reenact the 1972 tragedy at the Munich summer games.  Anyway, don’t let the Chechens compete in the biathlon and everything will be all right.

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Official Sochi Olympics Welcoming Committee

Now that we have established Sochi as the Eastern bastion of peaceful ethnic bliss that every Olympic host city should be, we can get down to the real nitty-gritty of why this is the worst possible way you can spend your entertainment time this winter:  boring and pre-staged.  The fact that some of my favorite shows are going to be preempted for this sham is blasphemy and you know the other networks are just going to peg reruns and endless cycles of The Green Lantern until this ratings fiasco is over.

One of the biggest problems the winter games has is a dearth of scoring sports.  Other than ice hockey it is really only curling and we already know that any sport where you can smoke a cigarette while playing it is going to be duller than dishwater.  Really if you get right down to it you know this north of the border version of shuffleboard has gotta be sad when the hottest player is going to be known as “The Janitor.”  I don’t care if there are curling clubs all over Canada.  There are rats all over Calcutta and we don’t have rat bashing as an Olympic sport.  I rest my case.

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Speed skating dull.  Ice dancing, not a sport.  Figure skating, fixed and also not a real scoring sport.  All downhill sports, dull except maybe for ski jumping.  Ski jumping would actually be better if they put some of those tire slashers that they use to catch criminals down the slope.  You would have to get over these clean to even place.  Adds that Evel Knievel factor that would class up the “sport.”  Bob sled and luge, again falling down a hill and too few spectacular crashes.  X-sports, mainly to attract children and winter-bored skateboarders.   All shooting sports, no comment except to say that live ammunition assassins along the course could make this worthwhile TV fare, even more exciting with a live audience along the way.  Cross country skiing, give me a break!

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So now you know the sad truth about another of the bread and circuses the suckered masses are going to sit down to instead of reading a book or watching the NCIS marathons on the USA cable network.  Talk about wasting your life!

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Tour de Crap

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Bicycle. Duh!

I took a little hiatus after the 50th post.  I figured I deserved a little rest.  Even a servant gets to sleep once in awhile.  But I’m back and ready to take on another important topic for your betterment.

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I was reading about this big bicycle race, the so-called Tour de France, the other day.  I know it’s not really bike racing weather here in the northern hemisphere but no time is the wrong time when you find out something that is to everyone’s benefit.  The Tour de France is a complete sham!  A total spectator sport swindle.  For those of you who don’t know what the Tour de France is, and I know many of you don’t get out of bed much, much less keep up with any sports other than boxing, professional wrestling, and dog racing, the Tour de France is a supposed bicycle “race” where guys ride bikes all over France and then finally come to a finish where somebody, no doubt some steroid crazed pretty-boy with a Hollywood contract already in his back pocket, “wins” the race.  So what’s the big deal about that you say?  I’ll tell you the many reasons why, and by the time I’m done you’ll want to take a shower if you just read about the Tour de France in the newspaper.

Let’s start this tirade with my usual disdain for “spectator” sports in general.  Why anybody watches any other adult play a children’s game is beyond me.  If you are not going to do it or aren’t trying to learn how to do it, why watch it?  Everything from ice dancing to professional football is a waste of your life and valuable entertainment time.  Let’s start with the basic statistics, you already know whatever team, or jockey, or bowler you are watching is going to lose approximately half the time.  Who invites a 50% failure rate into their lives?  Now I’ve told you all to expect the worst, but this is different, this is hoping for the worst and that is a much different thing my friend.  Just because you know you are a loser doesn’t mean you have to roll out the red carpet for it.  That’s just crazy!

The other reason I hate spectator sports is they are boring.  Even when the time isn’t taken up with endless commercials for Duck Dynasty Chia Pets, nothing pretty much happens.  Everybody just runs around mostly.  Even in high scoring basketball, the ultimate fixer sport, only about one one-millionth of the time is actually spent scoring, the only half-way useful thing that happens during a “game.”  Even if the scoring aspect was somehow increased in each sport, how much can you watch a ball going through a net or someone spinning in the air?  Compare this to watching the Three Stooges or Castle of Blood and I think I’ve made my point.  By comparison you sports fanatics are just wasting your useless lives.  Besides, while watching films and TV shows you might actually learn something, like how medieval siege engines work, but you know nothing can come of watching that lacrosse contest.  If the alternative in this hell we call life was watching a fly crawl up the wall, then maybe sports would be a step up from your present misery, but this just isn’t the case with cable, WiFi, satellite, and 4G available almost everywhere.

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Typical “accident”

Next comes the rigging.  Everyone knows that everything from wrestling to to tiddley-winks  is run by the mob nowadays.  The outcomes are more or less a foregone conclusion.  If somebody steps out of line with a muffed dive or a caught pass, then they run the risk of keeping Jimmy Hoffa company.  Once the big money came in, what little was left of interest in synchronized swimming was gone.  For awhile drownings became synonymous with fair play until the athletes wised up and started following mafia orders.  If this alone doesn’t put you off sports, well you are just a hopeless waste of human flesh.

Next we have to deal with the aesthetics of bicycle racing.  The helmets are stupid, dorky looking things that sit on top of your head like a hen on a nest.  At least in sports like auto racing, football, and hockey the headgear looks butch.  Also those tight racing pants don’t look good on most people and are a turn off in a sport that you would think would want to be more inclusive.  There is supposed to be zero contact in bike racing and even when there is contact the crashes are usually uneventful, unlike auto racing.  ‘Nuff said.

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Now here is where the real BS nonsense about the Tour de France comes in.  Say it takes two weeks, ten days, a month, I dunno it doesn’t matter I’m too lazy to look it up and the exact number doesn’t matter; it takes more than a couple of days for the Tour de France to finish, it’s a really long race.  But here’s the real crapola, they get to go to a hotel and get a hot meal and sleep a few hours every day before they all get up to start again at the same time from the same place!  You think they are killing themselves with this day and night torture of riding all over France but really they are just having a nice ride, looking at a couple of chateaus each day, stopping for some wine tastings, and all finishing at the same place to have a few cocktails and some escargot each and every night.  Who do they think they’re fooling?

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Mafia “spectator”

Well, they also do this thing called “sharing the yellow jersey” which means that a different guy gets to do the heavy lifting each day while the others try to knock the other jockeys off their bikes or just enjoy the day.  It doesn’t matter because they all get to start over again tomorrow unless they have a heart attack, fall off a cliff, or get run over by a car.

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Typical steroid crazed pretty boy

So now you see how it goes.  The only day that “matters” is the last day of the race.  So everyone stores it up and gets their blood doped, and takes their steroid shot, eats a big spaghetti dinner, and skips the vino for that night and gets a good night’s rest.

So how do you win?  Just give the yellow jersey to the best, most rested guy on the last day and have the other guys on the “team” throw banana skins out on the track all day.  Except for the teams that are being paid off to take a dive.  These teams drop out along the way due to so-called “accidents” like a squirrel in the spokes or a “leg cramp.”  The fixers are all along the final leg of the race to make sure each racer does what he’s been paid to do.  It has even been reported that a few “warning shots” have been taken at certain racers that had “second thoughts” about throwing the race.

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Mob Fixer

 So there you go, what was already as dull as dirty dish water to begin with becomes even less interesting when you realize it’s all a sham.  The only real excitement that comes is if you can get an insider tip and make a little money off the race.  Even then it’s not too smart to win too much because then you are going to get a visit from “Vinnie” and your dog is going to wander off or worse.  If you keep your winnings modest all you’ll get is a “warning”  Take it from me.

In recent times the Commissioner has tried to make the whole thing seem legit with trumped up charges of blood doping and steroid use.  This is a joke.  Everyone does these things.  You could test any of the athletes and find the same thing.  The only reason this happened is a new family in the mob took over power and now wants to show the others that they mean business.

Dogs Playing Cards

ImprovementOkay here’s a new one in the self-improvement vein.  Most of you have little interest in improving your intellect so just piss off now, you’re wasting your time and my breath here. This is of no import to your life so just move on. For those of you still here, today’s critical essay is about the visual arts.  It’s mainly about flat things you stick on the wall but we may touch on three dimensional objects known as sculptures too.  What I’m going to do is try to bring your knowledge of art up to at least a Kindergarten level.  It’s a tough pull but I’m game if you are..

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Crap “Art”

Most colorful objects that you stick on the wall, so-called paintings, are crap.  Why?  Because they can’t move around and they are not about anything relevant.  Since the advent of film and television the static graphic objects:  paintings, prints, tapestries, sculpture, etc. are irrelevant and boring.  Technology has passed traditional art by.  It’s perpetually standing at the bus stop of history during a transit strike.  It’s Luddite thinking.

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More Crap

However before TV and movies paintings and such were relevant forms of entertainment.  There was nothing to do except reading parlor novels and playing the piano, so if you weren’t musically gifted, as you surely aren’t, sitting around literally watching the paint dry was pretty exciting.  But of course the graphic arts went through its ups and downs too.  There was okay art like the Impressionists and bad art like Cubism and Jackson Pollock.

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Dogs Playing Cards

Well the pinnacle of oil painting and most static art in general was Dogs Playing Cards.  Yep, you knew it deep down inside if you have ever seen this collection of 19 paintings by the unjustly overlooked C.M. Coolidge.  If you look at the Wikipedia entry for this there is a lot of misinformation probably added by some self styled artiste.  Don’t believe it.  I’m here to set the record straight.  Any simp can edit Wikipedia and there is a lot of nonsense in there like the earth is 4 billion year old and earthquakes are from the continents moving around (Did you ever see a continent move?).  As if.  Just because these were commissioned for cigar adverts doesn’t mean that they couldn’t be the best paintings that ever were.  It is well known that lesser achievements like the Moana Lisa were painted to sell olive oil and Andy Warhol was commissioned to sell canned soup.  So there!

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Vintage Olive Oil Adverts

But C.M. was no sellout.  I know for a fact that he was really commissioned to paint people playing poker but true to his artistic ideals he refused to change his subject matter and you cannot say he wasn’t a true revolutionary, nobody painted dogs doing stuff other than walking around or chasing foxes before this.  He risked being ridiculed and never making a dime.  My personal favorite has always been Sitting Up With a Sick Friend but all of them are classic.  Coolidge even created the school of anthropomorphic art and this has continued until even today, but the zenith was still Dogs Playing Cards, a success never to be equaled.

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Sitting Up With A Sick Friend

To digress for a moment, one thing that Dogs Playing Cards has also shown is that women don’t get true art.  Women just don’t dig Dogs Playing Cards, or the Three Stooges for that matter.  Dogs Playing Cards prints can mostly be found in places like a wood paneled finished basement where the pool table or second TV with the video games usually are; a man’s realm.  Or so called “Men’s Clubs” around the bar area.  Men appreciate good art and drunks can spend literally hours looking at the exquisite details in these paintings when they aren’t watching sports or action movies..

Well even Dogs Playing Cards is ignored these days, swamped by the technological artistic wonders of television, movies, and “short films” on the internet static art has been left behind.  Now the only reason to buy a a painting or print is to cover a hole or stain on the wall, or a safe.  You might as well put another TV up anywhere where there used to be a painting.

So go out right now and get some Dogs Playing Cards prints to cover up that place where you put your fist through the wall in a drunken rage.  Also avoid those self styled art museums like the plague unless you want to be frisked for a few bucks to look at your shoes for two hours.  Go to a movie instead.  Better yet find a rerun of NCIS on TV and If you got this far, don’t say I never did anything for you.

Matango!

Matango_1963You know what?  I was engaging in America’s #1 leisure time activity last night, and guess what it is, it ain’t sex, it’s television.  So what you say.  So what!  I was supposed to be out camping and I was but I didn’t let a little thing like that get in the way of MY leisure time.  You see I had my smartphone with me (and what an apt name for the little gadget, get one with the biggest screen size you can).  I was merrily ensconced in the supine position in my sleeping bag watching television and eating Reese’s Pieces while the rest of the clan and friends were out freezing their butts off, getting bug-bit, getting smoked out roasting weenies, S’mores, telling stories, etc.  No sir, your’s truly isn’t going to be found wasting valuable clicks in the ol’ lifetime game on stuff like that when through the wonders of modern technology I could be sitting by myself watching television.

But this is not the main thrust of this essay.  What was I watching you ask?  Why Matango of course, crudely translated into English as Attack of the Mushroom People or Fungus of Terror.  And what a bit of tasty 1963 Japanese fare it was too.  Now I’m sure by now you think you know where this little piece of arcana is going, but you, with your degraded sense of perception are oh so wrong.  So stick around if you want to get that Jethro Bodeen 6th grade edecation stretched a bit.

matango4by3First let’s get a few things about foreign language films straightened out.  This Matango affair is a Japanese language film.  Now I want to make it clear from the start that this is no art film.  Sometimes foreign language and art cinema get confused.  See all art cinema is bad.  Some foreign language films (most) are art films, but by logic not all foreign language films must be art films.  So some foreign language films can be good (but not many).  Did you follow that?  I hope so, most times I’m not too sure about you.

“The body lay outside an abandoned, boarded-up theater. The theater had started as a first-run movie house, many years back when the neighborhood had still been fashionable. As the neighborhood began rotting, the theater began showing second-run films, and then old movies, and finally foreign-language films.”  ― Ed McBain

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Typical Art Cinema

Unfortunately before TV took over as the #1 entertainment venue, most foreign language film venues (almost all the dreaded “art film” theater) were in the seedier neighborhoods, in the same alley as the porno houses and peep shows, so a lot of people weren’t aware of the few gems that came out of the foreign language cinema.  Now your intrepid host here, being a courageous sort, wasn’t afraid of these neighborhoods of ill repute so I actively sought out these far too few baubles on the foreign cinematic charm bracelet.  You wouldn’t believe the amount of infantile and prurient fare I had to, um, let’s save that for later.  Where was I?  My point is we don’t want this Matango confused with some far inferior motion pictures, I would say worthless, from Sweden or Italy made by so-called artistes of the cinema.

Then the next thing we need to make clear about enjoying a good foreign language film like Matango is turning the subtitles off and turning the alternate language track for English on.  I know the lips don’t match and the dialog almost certainly doesn’t either, but the last thing we want to do is let something as tedious as reading interfere with our quality leisure time activity.  Sometimes you just have to give up one thing for another better thing.  Anyway with your reading comprehension I wouldn’t want your enjoyment to be ruined by having to hit the pause button all the time to ask a lot of questions.

What most people don’t know about Matango is it’s based on a piece of classic sea faring horror literature.  It’s based on a story called The Voice in the Night by William Hope Hodgson.  This is a most creepy early horror story that influenced a lot of later horror stuff and not the usual drivel that was clogging up literature at the turn of the 19th century.  Hodgson practically invented the giant sea monster and did invent the attacking fungus genre and the latter is what we have here.  See how important he is to modern art?  Now with your education and lack of casual reading I wouldn’t expect you to know any of this plus it’s kind of not that well known anyway so I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt here.

88d78386572b8dae02ad5600649b8b0d3ac30448Well Matango was produced by the far seeing and justly famed Toho studios the visionary folks that also pretty much invented the giant monster flick single handedly.  It’s advertised to be in Tohoscope whatever that is.  Anyway it is wide screen and in color, real pluses.

Anyway let’s get started.  A bunch of high rollers are on a sailing holiday somewhere in the Pacific where their ship is severely damaged in a storm and then becalmed.  Eventually they are shipwrecked on an uncharted weird island that just happens to have a creepy hulk of its own with a lot of fungus on it.  Can you see a classic in the making?

matango-6Well they clean up the old tub and try to make a home out of it until they can get rescued.  The island is all covered with little and big mushrooms and fungi and other weird alien looking stuff.  They’ve got food but it sort of runs out and those little toadstools look tasty and smell so fresh.  Guess what’s on the menu?  Shiitake happens!  Now you know what happened to all the folks on the other boat, and it ain’t rescue.  The usual body snatcher type mayhem ensues.

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Don’t eat that!

The movie is in color and the island is filmed in such a freaky color scheme you might think you’ve eaten some ‘shrooms yourself.  The transformation pustules are pretty gross to look at so that makes ’em cool while your eating some Reese’s Pieces.

Once this little known classic was over it was nighty-night time for your’s truly no matter what nonsense the others were up to, probably eating the toadstools in the campground or those colorful plate things that stick out of trees since the S’mores were gone, but I know better now.  See TV can be informative as well as entertaining.

Anyway, unless they have me tied down and are force feeding me those toad stools I’ll be up early because Saturday morning means just one thing besides breakfast, The Three Stooges!

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Fright Night

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Socrates (artists rendition)

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Plato (not actual size)

Preface:  A lot of people, okay some people, alright one guy actually asked me:  Why do you use so many question marks?  Well if you had ever paid attention in school you would know that this Greek guy named Plato wrote about a great teacher named Socrates.  Socrates was maybe the greatest teacher ever.  He might even have been able to impart some knowledge on you, my poor friend.  Well Socrates wanted people to think.  He didn’t want to give the students all the answers so he actually asked more questions than he answered; to make you think about stuff.  Some naysayers say Socrates didn’t have enough sense to come in out of the rain and he asked all those questions because he really didn’t know anything, but Plato was a pretty reliable guy so we have to give ol’ Socrates the benefit of the doubt.  Anyway that’s what I’m trying to do with all these questions, get you to think, and you don’t have to tell me how frustrating that can be.  So from now on just pay attention and quit asking all these stupid questions.

Horror films are the pinnacle of modern intellectual entertainment.  The highest achievement of art in humankind’s long and dreary history.  This isn’t to say that the cinema is the best place to experience the fright, but the modern Digital 3D IMAX movie theater is probably the equivalent of the Roman Coliseum as far as entertainment is concerned.  Television, your mega home theater system, where you can sit with your nuts hangin’ out, is of course the best venue for experiencing even the most tedious parlor drama, so horror fare is going to be best there.  There is no substitute for fast forward, rewind, pause, freeze frame, and picture-in-picture, so the cineplex is just going to have to ride in the back seat.

How can I make this statement?  Well the answer is self-evident but you are a little slow so I’m here to spell it out for all you history and sociology professors.

F1-race-car-crash-photo-auto-racing-accidentFirst let’s take a little quiz.  Why do you go to auto races?  To see the crashes and drink beer, not to watch cars endlessly go around in circles.  Why do we go to the amusement park?  To ride the monster upside down backwards 10g roller coaster, not the teacups.  Why do we go to the opera?  Not for the singing but for the blood and guts, murders and battles.  I think I’ve made my point.  People likewise go to the cinema not to see some guy play chess with Death or some other guy meet a gal on the Empire State building but to get the bejeezus scared out of them in a gory monster fest of demon mayhem.  That’s right, the zenith of cultural entertainment is the horror flick and it has been since the 1930s.

First lets get something right out of the way.  Live entertainment, any live entertainment, is inferior entertainment.  Why?  Because the technology involved is inferior to movies and television.  I know I am going to get all sorts of whining about artistic merit but this is Luddite thinking.  We live in a technology driven culture and what is more technologically advanced than television, digital cinema, computers, tablets, etc.  Nothing except maybe NASA and how many of us are going to get to ride a spaceship in our lifetimes?  Besides we don’t have to.  With surround sound, subwoofer, 3D giant screen HD TVs you can experience virtual spaceflight in your home without the fear of upchucking your beer and popcorn or being blown to bits, or burning up in the atmosphere.  You’re having a good night’s sleep after the Alien chest burster breaks loose.

Who also wants to sit in row 52 in the balcony, wait in line for a seat, wait 10 minutes for the bathroom, or get busted for smoking weed when we can always have a front row seat at home?  So now we have eliminated live theater, classical music, ballet, performance art, rock concerts, and mimes, etc. from our menu of preferred entertainment unless we can watch them on TV.   I think I’ve made my point.

936full-pitch-black-posterWhy horror you say?  I knew your attention span was short, because we’re here for the car crashes, remember?  When Tom Hanks is in a film we don’t want to see him acting like a little kid, we want to see him as a prison guard when a swarm of bees come out of a prisoner’s mouth and into another guy.  When we see Vin Diesel we don’t want to really see all those fake car crashes and ultraviolent shooting, but we do want to see the lights go out and alien monsters attacking spaceships and astronauts.  Again, I think I’ve made my point.

Back to the Coliseum thing.  Listen, we are in the modern equivalent now of the decline of the Roman Empire in our cultural history and what did the Romans’ value in their time?  Bread and Circuses.  Now they didn’t have the luxury of popcorn and horror movies so they had to settle for a sandwich and some lions beating up on Christians or even better some gladiators beating the piss out of each other.  See the similarity:  lion = monster, Christians = scared teenagers in a cabin.  History repeats itself.

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Bread and Circuses (Roman Entertainment)

Look how far we’ve come and who’s to say the Roman Empire isn’t something to aspire to?  They conquered most of the known world in their time and what are we trying to do today?  I rest my case.

On to what is best in horror entertainment.  Every artistic era has its good, its bad, its imitators, and charlatans.  What is the state of horror films today?  Well only so-so I would say including an over-reliance on crappy comic book superheroes.  Superheroes are kiddie fare.  I don’t want to see ’em fighting my monsters and ghosts.  I want to see frightened teenagers victimized by berserk psychopaths or better yet, real monsters.

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Evil Dead II (original)

Probably the best movie ever made is Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead II, it includes all the classic horror elements jacked up for the end of the century and Bruce Campbell, the greatest actor of all time is in it.  Evil Dead II is the Mona Lisa of film making.

To start with Evil Dead II is really just Evil Dead with better special effects.  Now any movie will rise in quality if more technology, for example, special effects, are involved.  So Evil Dead II has to be better than Evil Dead by definition, no argument there.  So what are the elements that make it so good.  This is going to take awhile so sit back.

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The Dutch Masters of Film Sets

Teenagers in a cabin in the woods cut off from any rescue or escape, the pinnacle of horror setups.  Next we have the menace of the invisible unknown demon.  Next we have a demonic murder and burial.  Then we have demonic possession.  Now we have the monsters themselves. We have blood shooting out of walls, possessed body parts, rednecks, shotguns, the undead, and the ubiquitous chainsaws.  See why this is a classic?  In the end we see a hole into another universe open and deposit Campbell complete with car and shotgun in Medieval times.  What artist has ever included all the elements for his/her field of art in one masterpiece?  None before!  The fact that there was a 2013 reboot speaks for itself as far as classic is concerned.  How many times has Citizen Kane been rebooted?  ‘Nuff said.

So go see the new Vin Diesel flick Riddick right now.  See the under appreciated Drag Me to Hell .  See the Evil Dead reboot.  See the most excellent Cabin in the Woods, perhaps the greatest monster fest of all times.

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You will finally be contributing to modern culture as well as being entertained and if your hoity-toity artist friends demean your tastes, leave ’em off the invitation list.

Television

vintagetelevisionI promised to tell you how watching television can enhance any part of your life and with today’s 21st Century wireless technology the future of 24 hour TV is even closer than you think. As you know I’m not here to disappoint so hang in there while I get up a full head of steam.

Now think about it, what do you like better than watching TV? Be honest. Okay, I’ll give you that  but TV second best, I’m going to show you how even #1 can be made better with television. So now we have established that TV viewing is just about the thing you most like to do. On top of that it is one of the most relaxing pastimes. It’s so relaxing you can even sleep in front of the TV and you should for your mental health. C’mon, what other hobby lets you sleep while you do it? So don’t tell me that mountain biking or kayaking is more relaxing than TV viewing. Even going to a movie or, god forbid, live theater, isn’t as enjoyable and relaxing as sitting front of the ol’ telly. Try to sleep sitting up in those “stadium seats” after you’ve shelled out $100 for tickets and concessions. You can’t rewind, record, fast forward through the boring parts, stop to get a better look at an actress’s breasts, none of that. You can’t stop it to go to the bathroom, that’s a game breaker for me.  Inferior entertainment. The good news is that even if you are chained to your spouse, friends, family, or kids that insist on doing any sort of these tier two or three hobbies or entertainments you can now always enhance that experience and make it less tedious with television!

sexontv-silverLet’s get right down to first and second best:  sex and TV.  How can we combine these?  Well there’s a rich mans solution and the poor man’s solution.  Rich Man:  60 inch or better LED 1080p on every surface in your bedroom even above the head board and the ceiling.  The poor man’s solution has some actual advantages over the rich man solution:  mirrors on every surface and only one or two 1080p LEDs (as big as you can make ’em) placed strategically.  Now when your team scores you can score!  You’re doing both your favorite things at the same time unless she’s a two bagger and then you can stick with the sports.  In case you’re wondering both these solutions are actually gender neutral and also work for the G&L crowd too, I just used a guy example because they generally like both sex and TV more than gals.

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Here’s another problem solved.  How to use TV when engaging in a more active lifestyle.  Let’s take mountain hiking and camping.  Both spouses can mount a small TV in their backpack.  All you have to do is cut a little window in the back of each pack and voila, even the remote will work.  Now only the following parties can watch but if you change places regularly everyone else can take their turn.  You can even get your kids to participate in active leisure time (what an oxymoron) activities with you.  Only broadcast and DVDs will work with this setup while moving (make sure you get a shock-free DVD player and a battery powered or better yet a solar powered setup).  Once you setup camp or your picnic you can break out the dish and enjoy literally hundreds of channels instead of telling dull stories or worse yet, singing around the camp fire.  Have each person haul at least one extra (or better yet more) charged Li batteries and a solar charger.  Leave out food, water, and other extra stuff if necessary to save weight.

PIA0001002059Now with the heads-up-display TVs in glasses offered there literally is no excuse to not watch TV constantly and we have now proved that everything is enhanced by television.  Today there is no reason for you to whine about that mall trip or the amusement park so no more bitching about how I never make your life better.

I’ve got to finish this NCIS marathon I’ve been watching while I’ve been putting this together so excuse the typos.  I hope your miserable life has at least been slightly improved.

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Special NCIS Agent Ziva David