Saturday, October 21, 2017

Post-Friday Beast Blogging: The Camouflage Cat Edition

MOONDOGGIE: What? Oh, nothing...Just still depressed about Shadow's mysterious disappearance. One minute she was here, eating half the treats, the next she jumped up on the couch and then just...disappeared. I guess she fell into one of those Narnia furniture portal thingies. Sad, really...

SHADOW: I'm right here.

MOONDOGGIE:  I can almost hear her voice. Eerie. But I'm all right. Don't worry about me. My heart will go on.

SHADOW: He knows I'm sitting here, right? Hey! Moondoggie! Look over here--

MOONDOGGIE: Oh, I suppose we could look for her, but should we defy the dark forces that absorbed her? Probably not. Whatever the answer to this mystery may be, it's something cat was not meant to know.

MOONDOGGIE: Anyway, you should probably give me her treats, as a tribute to her. She would have wanted it that way.

SHADOW: (Sigh)

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Happy Birthday, KWillow! I Got You a Gross Listicle!

Well, this one is late, but it's still officially the 18th for another fifteen minutes, so I'm hoping to get off on a technicality. Anyway, today is the natal anniversary of one of our favorite people -- the kind, witty, and cat-worthy KWillow -- and in her honor, I went where I usually fear to tread these days: the referrer logs which list the Google search strings bringing people to World O' Crap. Here are the Top Ten (Mostly Not Pornographic) ones...

1.)  images of cat dander: If TV was honest with us, this would probably be the climatic moment in any given police procedural. "There! Zoom in! Enhance...Enhance...Enhance!...Yep. Just as I thought...The cat did it."

2.) codpiece ballet: I'm sure you recognize this lovely melody as "A Stranger in Paradise". But did you know that the original theme is from "The Magic Dance Belt of Prince Igor" by Borodin?

3.) inflatable bat inflation: As Halloween approaches, we're all feeling the pinch at that pop-up stop in the former sprinkler fitting warehouse on the frontage road that runs along State Highway 31, as the prices for pneumatic pumpkins and blow-up bats has skyrocketed! Well phooey on that. I'm just gluing eight pipe cleaners to a plastic L'Eggs pantyhose egg and calling it a tarantula and a night.

4.) hitler campaign poster: Let's face it, Trump may get indicted or impeached before the next Presidential election (I mean don't get your hopes up, but it's possible). But the Republican National Committee is on the job, and is already focus-testing some very experienced candidates.

5.) it’s only rock and roll but i like it gay bear: This seems to be a trend, with Hanna Barbera stalwart Snagglepuss being rebooted by DC Comics as...well, I'll let them explain it:

"Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles, written by Mark Russell with art by Mike Feenan, presents Snagglepuss as a gay Southern playwright in the style of Tennessee Williams.

"“Snagglepuss in this story is having to live a double life as a gay playwright living in New York, and he's closeted,” Russell explains. “But he has values and integrity as an artist, and he's trying to stand up for people who otherwise would be shoved under the stairs in this time of great national paranoia in the Red Scare mentality."

I know what you're thinking, but this is true. I learned it via Ivan of Thrilling Days of Yesteryear, who, as Doghouse Riley used to say, is "the last honest man on the Internet".

So my theory is, Question #5 means that somebody is rebooting the William Friedkin film, Cruising, with Yogi Bear in the Al Pacino role.

6.) Arthur batanides nude: I thought about it. I really did. But for all our Just...No.

7. slim big ass: This is probably what Slim Goodbody calls himself in the mirror on days when he's feeling depressed and fat.

8. ruth buzzi nude pics: Stop it! Stop it STOP IT STOP IT!

9. gut bondage: Also known as "tied-up tripe" or BDSM - Bondage Discipline Sadism and Menudo. I mean Slim's gotta do something with his large intestine when he's not prancing around, singing about the trip your food takes on its way to your anus.

10. naked gold glamour wallpapers: I'll take "Things Liberace Would Pick From the Lowes Wallcovering Swatch Book" for 200, Alex.

Please join me in wishing KWillow a very happy birthday. And to make it official, here's a...

Sexy Birthday Lizard! Apparently delivering one of the Fifty Great Monologues For Young Actors.

Friday, October 13, 2017

This Flagboy's Life

As Told to Scott Clevenger

My name is Lachlan Henley. I'm 23 years old, and I grew up in the small community of Blanched, Connecticut. I'm not sure why they picked me to be principal Flagboy to His Serene Majesty Ryan Zinke, First of His Name, Rider of Jets, Breaker of Regulations, and Queen of All the Interiors. I mean, I wasn't in the Army or the Boy Scouts or anything, but I did work as a PA one summer during junior college on Martha Stewart's TV show, and  maybe that's why, because this job is all about etiquette and protocol and stuff. But more than's about honoring the flag. Specifically, the flag we had designed and made by AAA Custom Flag & Banner of Sepsis, Maryland...I think I'm supposed to mention their name, 'cause we got a discount.

You see, raising His Majesty's Own Standard over a building to show Queen Zinke is in residence...Well, I mean, that's an ancient military ritual -- so ancient nobody in the military's actually heard of it -- so it's kind of boring. I can say that, right? C'mon, you've seen military guys when a flag goes up or down; they just stand there like they're all playing freeze tag while somebody blows a sad song on a trumpet or a French horn or whatever the hell it is. Bor. RING.

But the Queen has a sense of style. He likes to zoom off in private jets to exclusive destinations like the Virgin Islands -- not when they're all soggy and gross after a hurricane, but like, when the weather's nice and there's a lot of European tourists, 'cause sometimes they take their tops off! It's true! Me and my friends Liam and Ethan and Blake went to St. Croix for Spring Break one year, and we all felt like we were the mayor of Nip City!

So I guess when you think about, I do have some government experience after all [laughs]!

More than most of the Cabinet, anyway. [Laughter dies. Smile is slowly replaced by a pensive and foreboding look as he stares across the Interior Department parapet toward the Potomac]

Anyway, so it's a solemn ritual that proves His Majesty's commitment to transparency by showing you what building he's in. Most of the other cabinet secretaries, you gotta file a Freedom of Information Act request to find out if they're in their office or not, but I haul down the flag when Queen Zinke leaves the office, and raise it over the Starbucks on E Street NW whenever he takes his motorcade for a macchiato. So really, people should be thanking me, instead of being such dicks, 'cause now they know which Starbucks to get their coffee at if they want to be in the radiant presence of the Queen of All the Interiors, or at least rub elbows with a guy who's seen areolas in the Caribbean.

When you get past all the glitz and the ritual and the bullshit, this job is about solemnity. First, I put on white gloves. Then I unfold the flag (refolding it's a bitch, but I took Elective Origami at Phillips Academy when I got cut from the Lacrosse team). Then I turn on my Bose SoundLink Revolve+ Bluetooth speaker, and play "God Save the Queen" as the motorcade approaches the building. But you gotta be constantly thinking in this job, 'cause the first time I hit the wrong playlist on my iPhone and accidentally blasted the Sex Pistols' version.

It's an awesome and humbling responsibility, but as I look back I realize how much I've grown as a person these past few months, and how much I've learned (like, always bring sun screen to work, 'cause you never know when you're gonna wind up standing on the roof). In some ways this has been the hardest job I've ever had, but like I told my friends last week when we were doing shots at the Caliente Cab Company in Arlington (it was Thirsty Thursday), I know that ultimately I'll miss it when I have to leave next week to take up my new position as National Security Advisor.

Late To The Party

Well, between my exile to Alabama and a ton of work that piled up in the meantime, and certain ch-ch-ch-changes in Jeff's life, The Slumgullion is way off schedule. Waaaaaaaaay off.

But good news:

Episode 38 is here! Or as we like to think of it, 38 Special!

Okay, we'll stop thinking of it that way.

Current events have sent a tender and bruised Jeff scurrying for his safe space - talk radio. Meanwhile, Ike returns to face off against Mother!, while the remains of a Revolutionary War soldier musically whines about how long it's taking his own mom to come collect his corpse.

Then it's spies, housewifely drug lords, and implied buttsecks with the composer of The Lion King, as the New Movie Crew gathers at Golden Corral to watch Kingsman: The Golden Circle.

[Click here to subscribe on iTunes]

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Happy Birthday Annti! Enjoy These Slightly Irregular Homosexuals!

I am neck-deep in swamp water and only wearing hip waders, so I hope you'll pardon me for postponing the party a few days. However, there's a classic Bill S. review from 2011 that I think would be the perfect way to celebrate the day. So please sit back and enjoy some gay that you can't pray away, no matter how hard you try...

Just Call Him Angel of the Morons
By Our "Goes Where Angels Fear to Tread" Correspondent, Bill S.

As we all know, October 11 is the birthday of Anntichrist S. Coulter. Additionally, it's the birthday of the beautiful and talented Matt Bomer, who in the parallel universe where my life is perfect, is my husband.

But October 11 is also National Coming Out Day, and I'd like to mark the occasion (which, unlike Columbus Day, isn't a national holiday) with a look at a movie aimed at LGBT youth.  In their book Better Living Through Bad Movies, Scott and s.z. failed to include such an entry -- a forgivable oversight, since there are only so many bad movies a human being should be expected to endure. Fortunately, I'm here to pick up the cause. Every movie genre gets the Manos: the Hands of Fate it deserves, and I do believe I've found it: a 2007 gem titled An Angel Named Billy.

One of the comments posted at YouTube reads, "omg i used to work with that guy at jamba juice!" The commenter doesn't specify which guy, or when they supposedly worked together. It could be anybody in the cast, and as recently as a month ago. But I'd rather not focus on the batch of virtual unknowns who populate this movie, except to note that the actor playing the titular role was, according to the IMDb, born in December of 1987, which means he was over 18 when this was made. At least I hope so; who knows how long it was sitting on a shelf before it saw a release date?

Instead, I think most of the credit for this movie should go to one George Osborne, who wrote, directed, and co-produced it. Mr. Osborne's artistry and insight into human nature take him where Todd Haynes and Gus Van Sant would never go -- on a fast track to total obscurity. At least I hope so.

Before I dive into the plot synopsis, I must confess I only watched this once before mailing it back to NetFlix. While I'm 99% sure I'm recalling it right, there does exist a possibility I've misremembered the order of some scenes. I offer my apologies for any errors, and I offer my sympathies to anyone who saw it enough times to spot an error.

This is the story of Billy, a teenager living in an unamed rural area. We know it's rural from the presence of cowboy hats and bales of hay. Billy's mother left the family years earlier, and he's being raised by his dad, who's a religious fanatic, an alcoholic, and an abusive asshole. We know these things because he sits at the kitchen table poring over a Bible, slugging down one Scotch after another, and screaming at Billy's younger brother Zack, who looks like a scared rabbit everytime the camera is on him.
Billy has one close friend, Rick, who we rightly, and incorrectly assume will be a major character, since he's featured prominently on the video box, but only has one scene with him. Rick may be moving away. Before he does, he wants to reveal his True Feelings for Billy, and one blissful sunny day, they share a kiss. Billy is dumbfounded (not just now, but frequently.) It never occurred to him Rick might be gay; it seems to have never occured to him that he might gay himself. This moment of clarity, and budding romance, are both disrupted by the appearance of Billy's dad, who's been spying on the boys, and comes lumbering down a hill like a drunken water buffalo, screaming homophobic epithets. He catches up to Billy and drags him back home to berate him in a more appropriately private setting. Seething with rage, he snarls, "Fer all ah know, yew might alriddy have AAAAIDS!!!"

He orders Billy to leave, and the young man trudges over to a nearby closet, grabs a tiny bookbag, and heads for the door. Zack appears in the stairwell and pleads with him not to leave, but Billy shakes his head mounfully and exits. We rightly, and incorrectly, assume the brothers will try to remain in contact, but for the rest of the picture Billy seems to completely forget about Zack, or maybe the director does. As Billy walks down a long, desolate stretch of road, a car stops, and Billy gets in to journey to places unknown.

A scared, broke, homeless teenager is traveling the state by hopping into strange cars, and this seems like a good time for the director to cut away from him to introduce us to some of the other characters. Thomas, a bald, aging drag queen, is seated at his vanity table, dabbing on makeup and talking to himself, announcing each action before he does it. This is the most depressing, humorless drag queen in movie history ("Priscilla, Queen of the Desolate"), and as this scene played on (and on and on and on), it marked the first of many times during the film that I began to wonder if it might be some kind of stealth project by an anti-gay wingnut. Who else would have such trouble coming up with a decent drag queen name?

Thomas gets a call from his straight friend Mark, who he appears to have a crush on. His slurred speech suggests Mark is recovering from a stroke; his dialogue however, suggests a far more severe form of brain damage. Mark has an adult son named James, who lives in an apartment next door to Mark's house. James is a gay photographer in his late thirties. Thomas and Mark are concerned that James is lonely; they'd like to see him settle down with Mr. Right. Mark has even started looking at websites for gay singles, hoping to find his son a date. Which isn't creepy and disturbing at all, at least not to the director.

Before Mark can sign his son up with, tragedy strikes: late one evening, James is awakened by a noise next door. Sensing it's a medical emergency, he LEAPS OUT OF BED URGENTLY...dutifully hunts for his bathrobe and carefully puts it on, then...RACES TO HIS FATHER'S SIDE. He realizes it's another stroke and dials 911, sobbing hysterically. This second stroke leaves Mark confined to a wheelchair. It becomes clear to James that his dad will require round-the-clock assistance from a qualified health care proffessional, or failing that, the assistance of the first person he can find who can work cheaply and move in immediately.

Billy arrives at Donna's Cafe. At least, I think it's supposed to be a cafe; it looks more like someone set up a bunch of patio furniture on their lawn and hung a sign out. He befriends the waiter, Guy, a spiky-haired twink who has a laid-back attitude about everything, including the fact that Billy can't pay for anything. He helpfully directs Billy to a bulletin board where there might be want ads posted, and offers to let him crash at his apartment until he can find a place of his own. He then introduces Billy to his boss, Donna, a self-proclaimed "fag hag", who Guy says is helpful to many a young gay newbie, offering protection.

Billy asks, "Protection? From what?" Guy replies, "From them!" pointing at a pair of leering old queens who look like they were bussed in from the '70's. We rightly, and incorrectly assume Donna will be an important figure in Billy's life, but she disappears after this one scene, which is just as well since she's super annoying.

Billy finds the want ad placed by James, and tears off the phone number, then he and Guy retire to Guy's apartment. We are treated to a tour of the place that showcases the director's keen eye. For instance, when Guy a opens the door to the bathroom and lists the available items for use, the camera then cuts to a closeup of the bathroom, revealing all those items, to prove Guy was telling the truth.   (The moral of the story so far: man-pimpin' your offspring leads to cerebral blood clots, and never trust a stranger who picks you up in a diner and takes you home unless you can verify the location of his Listermint and bunion pads.)

The two young men strip to their boxers and climb into bed. We rightly and incorrectly expect them to hook up, but they shut the light, turn away from each other and go to sleep. The director was more interested in showing their pecs than showing any aspect of their relationship.

Billy arrives at Mark and James' place, and James offers him a glass of water, which Billy eagerly accepts (yes, this conversation occurs.) He meets Mark, and the old man hits it off quite nicely with the teen, so he's hired right away. I guess puppy dog eyes and a sweetly blank-faced grin qualify someone to care for an elderly stroke victim. But he soon proves his job skills, taking Mark to the park to do wheelies in his chair. Mark declares Billy is "an angel". Uh, okay. James also begins to take a shine to Billy. His father notes, "I haven't seen such a spark in you in a long time." Perhaps it's the way James looks at Billy: namely, the way he peers into the kid's bedroom as he sleeps, clad only in his boxers. Which isn't creepy and disturbing at all, at least not to the director.

Billy asks James to show him the studio where James does his photography. The studio is a sparsely furnished space with no lighting equipment or darkroom, only a single camera set up on a tripod. We rightly and incorrectly assume this may lead to some kind of erotically charged scene, but they barely look at each other. Billy does however take note of some pictures on the wall, depicting a rather uninteresting-looking middle aged man. James identifies the man as his ex-boyfriend, Todd, who was a drug addict. The two walk back to the main house, and James asks Billy if he'd like to join him later for margaritas. Which isn't creepy and disturbing at all, at least not to the director.

Billy has written to his Aunt Sharon, telling her about his new home and job. She relays this news to his mother's place of work, where the note is intercepted by a Sassy Black Woman whose eyes look like they're about to bug out of her head. S.B.W. delivers the note to Billy's mom. We rightly and incorrectly hope we'll get some insight into why she deserted her family and didn't retain custody of her sons, but this leaves us more baffled than we already were.

Billy takes up the offer to share margaritas, and they have an intimate chat, which goes like this:

BILLY: So, if Todd was your boyfriend, does this like...guys?

JAMES: Yes, I do.

BILLY: Are you still in love with Todd? Do you ever think of getting back with him?

JAMES: No, I'm not still in love with him, and I don't want to get back with him.

BILLY: Then why do you keep his picture up on the wall?

JAMES: It hides a messy stain that's lying there.

Okay, I added those last two lines, but the rest is almost word for word what they say to each other. Billy gets an invitation from Guy to go out to a club. He asks James if he'd like to come along. James declines, saying his days of hitting clubs are over. (Yeah, from the looks of him, he hasn't set foot in one since Falco was big.)

Billy gets a call from his mother. We rightly and incorrectly expect him to be furious with her for deserting him and his brother and leaving them with an abusive drunk. But as we've already seen, the boy's as sharp as a bag of wet hair, so he's happy to talk about his new job, and the two "cool guys" who've taken him in. (Yes, this conversation occurs.) Mark beams, "I'm cool!" and adds, "Chickenpot, chickenpot, chickenpot piiiiiee!!!"

The evening at the club, which happens off-screen due to obvious budget constraints, doesn't go over well. Billy returns in tears, telling James that Guy's friends teased him and called him a "nerd" for having a job caring for an old man. WHAT THE FUCK?

Seriously...what the fuck?

James puts his arms around Billy, and assures him there's no shame in the job he has. They share a kiss, and head into the bedroom. We rightly and incorrectly expect a romantic love scene, but instead they lie on the bed, fully clothed, about a foot apart, and the scene fades to the next morning.

Mark has been waiting up all night, and as James shuffles into the kitchen looking disheveled, his father cheerfully notes that he's aware of what happened. He also observes, "You were pretty loud", and proceeds to make heavy breathing sex noises. Which isn't creepy and disturbing, at least not to the director. Billy then enters, equally disheveled, and Mark repeats the observation, because the first time wasn't gross enough.

Now that he knows his son has found True Love with a teenaged runaway, Mark is content that he can die happily. He calls up Thomas to discuss his will. Why, is Thomas a cross-dressing lawyer? And if he is, why didn't they make that movie instead of this one? ("Priscilla, Queen of the Default Judgment.")

With less than 20 minutes left to go in the film, a new complication arrives: Todd wants to get back together with James, and figures the best way to do it is to break into his house. But James catches him and insists he never wants to get back together. He then adds, "I've found somebody else. He's younger, cuter, and less likely to give me hepatitis." (Well, he would have said that, if I'd written the script.) He kicks Todd to the curb.

Mark finally kicks the bucket, once again reducing James to a puddle of tears. Billy's mother arrives. She tell him she's known all along her son was gay ("a mother knows these things."). She then rather matter-of-factly tells Billy his father died in an auto accident, his brother is staying with his Aunt temporarily, and she plans on moving to be closer to him. Billy reacts with a blankness that suggests nobody on the set has the slightest clue how a person would react to such news.

It's time to wrap things up, so we get a montage of the characters as Billy tells us what happens in voiceover:

His mother and Thomas start a computer dating service for gay singles (who better to play matchmaker than an insecure drag queen and a deadbeat mom?), Billy and James get married (we see them in a limo with the words "Just Married" on the back window) and Guy "surprised us all" by moving back to Billy's old hometown, where he inherited a house he now shares with Rick.

Um, okay then.

We rightly and correctly assume there have been porno films better directed. And better written. And better acted. And more rooted in reality. And less skeevy.

But what message of hope does it offer to LGBT youth? I guess it might be this:

If you're a gay teen who feels rejected by your family and you're struggling to find your place in the world, try to look on the positive side of things -- after all, you could wind up being married, at the age of 18, to a creepy, reclusive, middle-aged loser who still lives with his dad. Aren't you glad that hasn't happened to you? So cheer up kids, things could be a whole lot worse.

I guess the movie was inspirational. Just not in the way it was intended.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Scott here again. Thanks again to our own Billy S. for handling the Bad Gay Film Beat around here (and if you enjoyed An Angel Named Billy, check out his review of the execrable Ben & Arthur).

And because birthday traditions -- especially where Annti is concerned -- are a sacred thing around here, let us now close with the traditional...

Sexy Birthday Lizard!

Please join me in wishing Joanna (oops! I outed her. Oh well, it's National Coming Out Day) a very happy natal anniversary.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Saturday With S.Z.

[Re-posted with permission from Sheri's Facebook]

FB kindly scanned my brain and printed out my memories...

It is only now that I realize that these seemingly random photos are actually a story:

1. Young Tennessee Tuxedo the Cat fell under the spell of Young Zamphyr, Master of the regular flute, and was brainwashed into performing a special mission.

2. He reacted in shock and horror when he realized what he was being asked to do.

3. He was charged with bringing down the moon, which the cats know is really a ball of yarn, unless the government gave Zamphyr some shoes, and gave the cats some of that good canned food.

4. The government refused to negotiate with kid and cat terrorists, and so the earth was laid waste, and all the people had to live underground, leaving the empty cities to the cats, who liked to sun themselves on the ruins.

5. Tennessee said, "Now I am become Cat Death, Destroyer of Worlds." And he was pretty happy.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Zombie TV

I try to get out and walk four miles everyday. Not that I expect this will thwart the Angel of Death in her appointed rounds, but I'm hoping she finds it slightly more of a challenge to hit a moving target. Anyway, I keep encountering posters for this TV show on bus shelters -- evidently it's a reboot of the night time soap from the 1980s -- and they're everywhere. I see them so often, in fact, that they've begun speaking to me.