Sunday, September 30, 2012

Looking For Fun Halloween Activities?

I do so much planning for school that when it comes to our personal life, I like to just wing it.  Which generally works fine, in my opinion, although certain people may disagree, like when they accuse me of forgetting their birthday just because I looked surprised when they finally mentioned it at eleven o'clock at night, and I may or may not have replied, "Uh...Um...I'll be right back," and then rooted around in the back of the refrigerator until I found a bottle of beer with a 2009 expiration date and presented it with a great flourish, before going back to playing "Words With Friends."  Because what's a birthday without a surprise party?  And by "surprise party" I mean "unexpected and expired beer."  So I think I pulled that off rather neatly.

In a totally not related development, I decided to try to plan something nice for Scott's birthday in advance this year, and since the occasion falls around Halloween, I got to wondering if the Spook-a-Thon was still a thing.

For those who aren't in the know, the Los Angeles Conservancy is a group that has worked to preserve, among other local landmarks, the gorgeous moving picture palaces on Broadway in Downtown L.A.  One of the ways they raise funds is through a program called "Last Remaining Seats," in which they present special events in the restored (and a couple of the still-badly-in-need-of-restoration) theaters, and a few years ago, they had a Halloween event at the Orpheum (built in 1911, and the oldest remaining Orpheum circuit theater in the country).

It included the The Mummy (1932), preceded by the 1939 Three Stooges short I Want My Mummy, which was preceded by some very cool neo-Vaudevillian acts, including a septuagenarian stripper who had performed in the same theater back in the Fifties when it was a burlesque house, and who basically did her same act (she lost her nerve at the last moment, but a standing ovation finally brought her out of the wings, and inspired her to shake her various and elderly moneymakers.  It was awesome).

Sad to say, the Spook-a-Thon isn't a thing anymore, but when I did a web search, the following (click to embiggen) was recommended as a reasonable facsimile:
 Scary, boys and girls!  In fact, the only way this could be scarier is if it were in 3-D!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Dimension 5, Logic 0

The review below is my modest contribution to The Camp & Cult Blogathon, hosted by the fabulous Stacia of She Blogged By Night.  And in the event someone unfamiliar with our methods happens to wander by, I should point that it's nothin' but spoilers from here on out.
Dimension 5 (1966)
Directed by Franklin Adreon.
Written by Arthur C. Pierce.

Our story opens somewhere in Europe, where Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, driven by fading heartthrob Jeffrey Hunter, is being chased by a Jeep full of trigger-happy “Policia Militar.”  Things look bad for our hero, but at the last instant he foils his pursuers by abruptly leaving Europe at the first exit and pulling into Bronson Canyon.

Suddenly, a helicopter appears, just like that scene in From Russia With Love, except in this case it’s just Channel 9’s traffic chopper which happened to pass overhead while the bored Second Unit was trying to shoot footage of a raccoon eating a pinecone.  Undaunted, Secret Agent Double-O Jeff lustily smooches the busty brunette in the passenger seat, then coldcocks her with a brutal backhand, presumably because she had garlic for lunch.

He takes off running and the Policia start to give chase; then suddenly realize that if they just shoot Jeff dead, the director will probably call Lunch.  But Jeff puts a ring on his finger and vanishes!  So our hero has cool spy gadgets just like James Bond, the only difference being that 007’s are built by Q Branch, while Jeff’s equipment is supplied by tricksy Hobbits.

Cut to stock footage of Pan Am jets taking off from Los Angeles International Airport, pulling up their landing gear, then lowering their gear and landing at Los Angeles International Airport.  The implied seat belt and oxygen mask safety demonstration is the most breathtaking action sequence so far.

Jeff’s stunt double climbs into the traffic chopper and takes a scenic tour of Inglewood.  If you were planning to make some microwave popcorn or heat up a Hot Pocket, this might be a good time.

Ah, I see the helicopter has finally landed – on LA’s ugliest skyscraper, the California Federal building.  Inside, Agent Double-Naught Jeff meets his boss, Cane, who apparently took his character’s name as a stage direction, since he affects an exaggerated limp and uses a cane.

Cane runs a private intelligence agency called “Espionage, Incorporated.”  Originally he’d planned on hiring someone to devise a less obvious brand name, but he wound up spending the money on a fancy espresso machine for the break room.  He also apparently can’t afford an office, since he and Jeff deliver all their exposition in the elevator (although, judging by the top of the frame he does own a boom mic, and it’s a very gifted photo-bomber).

Anyway, it turns out Jeff’s gadget isn’t a magic ring after all, but a “time converter,” and he must use it to foil “the Dragons,” who are planning to destroy Los Angeles unless “all Allied forces get out of Southeast Asia.”

So, our choices are:  1.) Get out of Vietnam two years before the Tet Offensive, or 2.) Watch another 79 minutes of this movie.  I kinda gotta go with the Dragons on this one.

Cane’s organization has captured a Dragon, and is bringing him to LA for interrogation (pro-tip: if you work for an international organization of supervillains, and someone knocks on your door and says, “Espionage, Incorporated” -- pretend you’re not home.  Chances are, it’s either a counter-spy or a land-shark).  Cane is also giving Jeff a sexy young partner, because we’re 14 minutes into the movie and our hero (whose name is “Justin Power” – did I mention that yet?) hasn’t boned anyone.  Hard to believe for a Sixties spy film, but so far it’s all been elevators, promotional consideration provided by Pan Am, and exposition delivered by the Minister of Silly Walks.  But things potentially heat up when Jeff asks Cane to run away with him to a South Sea paradise.

Cut to Manilla.  By which I mean, splice in more footage of Pan Am jets landing at LAX, then cut to an empty terminal at Burbank Airport, where Sam from Quincy is waiting to board a flight to LA with the Dragon agent, which is confusing, since his flight just landed at LA, so who knows where the hell his luggage is.  Meanwhile, as Sam watches the Dragon, France Nuyen (whom MST3K fans will remember as the disinterested love interest from the failed TV pilot Code Name: Diamond Head), watches Sam.  Suddenly, a middle aged Asian man appears and threatens to blow up his briefcase unless Sam and the Dragon each swallow a pink capsule, which will either 1.) kill them, 2.) expand their minds, because no one can be told what the Matrix is, or 3.) relieve sniffling, sneezing, and watery eyes for up to 12 hours.  But France effortlessly kills the terrorist with her ballpoint pen, then goes back to making out her grocery list, because she’s a badass.

Back at Espionage, Inc., resident egghead “The Professor” subjects the Dragon agent to a lie-detecting beauty salon hair dryer, while Jeff asks Sam if he’d like to run away with him to a South Sea paradise.  Meanwhile, the torture thing really pays off: the agent reveals that Dragon has brought a hydrogen bomb into LA.  But it’s in pieces, some assembly is required, and since the H-bomb only came with those confusing diagrams you get from IKEA, it won’t be completed until Christmas Day.  Unfortunately, even though Cane turns the hair dryer up to 11, the agent doesn’t know what kind of delivery system they’ll use (ship, aircraft, missile), but given the timing of the attack it seems obvious the bomb will be delivered by Santa.
"Let's have a lip-pursing contest.  Go!"

Jeff goes home to meet his new partner, and we see that like most secret agents, he lives in a spacious, split-level rambler in a modest suburban housing tract.  Also, his mailbox contains a huge closed circuit TV camera, which is cool, but probably makes it tough at the end of the month for the mailman to cram in the utility bills and the Pennysaver.

Jeff is surprised to discover that his partner is France – a girl! -- and that she’s moved in and strewn her feminine products all over his guest bathroom.  Also, she’s half-naked and refuses to put pants on, telling him to “check my I.D.”  Then she slowly pulls up the hem of her crotch-length sweater.  I can only assume there was a jump cut, and she actually told him to “check my I.U.D.”

After he fingerprints her vagina, Jeff takes her to a chop suey house in Chinatown, because “I figured you were homesick.”  But then he orders steak and mashed potatoes, so instead of an after dinner mint, the proprietor hands him a time-bomb.  His Pontiac Catalina blows up, but Jeff cheats death by suddenly stopping at a liquor store to buy cigarettes in a weirdly hesitant manner (“Oh!  Yeah, gimme a package of…those.  Uh!  On second thought…gimme the whole carton!), even though he never smokes in the film (maybe they were candy cigarettes; I know they made me feel extremely suave in 1966 – at least when I wasn’t wetting the bed).

France is clearly the smartest person in the film (she escapes the explosion by the clever tactic of climbing out of the car for no apparent reason) and quickly deduces that the Chinese hostess at the chop suey restaurant planted the bomb.  Jeff snaps into action and goes to the girl’s apartment; but just because he's demanding to know why she tried to kill him, that's no reason not to guzzle every glass of mysterious liquid she hands him.  Then he tries to torture the information out of her by twisting her arm behind her back, but she wriggles around and Jeff has such a hard time holding on to her that it looks less like a brutal interrogation and more like someone trying to put a snowsuit on a three-year old.  In fact, our hero gets so flustered that he doesn’t notice she’s pressing a stiletto to the back of his neck and is about to pierce his cerebellum.  Fortunately (for him -- it’s a bit of a blow for us), France suddenly appears and kills the Dragon lady with her ballpoint pen, then resumes her journaling (“Dear Diary: You won’t believe what a useless puckerhole they partnered me with…").

The Dragons capture our hero, and France waits patiently around for Jeff to do something, which he finally does – he gets tied up – but that’s not good enough for her (Women!  What do they want?), so she secretly alerts headquarters to their predicament, karate-chops all the bad guys, then wearily cuts Jeff loose.

“You don’t mind if I’m a little confused,” he says, attempting to recover his dignity.  “About which side of the fence you’re prowling on?”

 “There’s only one side,” she sighs, then saunters out of the room, leaving him sitting there with his metaphorical dick in his hand.  The only thing that could possibly make her seem like more of a badass would be if she was walking in slo-mo, while the whole building exploded behind her.
Jeff puts on a red and white sweater set that looks like something Andy Williams would wear for a  mid-Sixties Christmas special, and decides to thwart the Dragons’ scheme by jumping into the future to meet a freighter bringing toys from Japan. I’m not sure how that’s going to help, since the bomb components are already in Los Angeles, but I assume Jeff is misusing government resources to make sure he gets that Special Edition Beanie Baby he wants for Christmas.

Cut to Oddjob from Goldfinger, who is sitting topless in a wheelchair, covered in corn oil and verbally abusing his minions with Boris Badenov’s voice. Cut back to Jeff – who I’m actually glad to see for once – who has broken into Oddjob’s warehouse of the FUTURE!  He wanders around, determined to find that Beanie Baby, while France rolls up her sleeves and locates the H-bomb.  I’m sure glad she’s doing the same job he is, for only 50% less money, and 100% less pants.

Suddenly, Oddjob appears, brandishing a pistol and Paul Frees’ larynx.  Jeff and France activate their “time converters” and leap 30 seconds into the future, precious time that France uses to disarm Oddjob and Jeff uses to cower behind some barrels.  So, it seems our plucky, pantless heroine has saved the day!  Unfortunately, screenwriter Arthur C. Pierce has loaded her down with about a page and a half of lachrymose back story, and by the time she’s finished delivering it, Oddjob’s henchmen have gathered round like they're all having some sort of group therapy session.

Finally, Jeff has a chance to save France for once!  But then he spots a Buffalo nickel, and by the time he manages to pick it up (it wasn't easy, there was a little gum stuck to the bottom) Oddjob and a henchman who resembles the Poor Man’s Tor Johnson have escaped with an unconscious France.  (She wasn’t knocked out or anything, I think she just happened to glance at her watch, realized the movie still had 11 minutes to go, and bit down on that cyanide capsule in her hollow tooth.)

Jeff follows them back to Oddjob’s apartment, and promptly gets his ass kicked by Poor Tor.  (You remember that scene in Blazing Saddles, where the overwrought chorus boy bangs his fists on the cowboy’s chest, screaming, “you brute, you brute, you brute!”?  That’s pretty much the fight choreography here.)

Naturally, France, who is bound and gagged, still manages to get one of the villain’s guns and toss it to Jeff, who shoots his unarmed opponent point blank in the face, because he’s a hero.  But then Oddjob somehow gets the drop on Jeff with his own gun, and things look grim; Jeff and France will be shot, and Los Angeles vaporized by an H-bomb.  Fortunately, the producers can’t afford to show that, so a nameless Chinese extra wanders into the shot and abruptly stabs Oddjob in the cerebellum (apparently that’s a thing in China).  And even though he’s been using a wheelchair throughout the movie, Oddjob jumps to his feet and suddenly it’s Heidi (“Grandfather!  I can walk!”), then he drops dead.

The world is saved!  Jeff tries to kiss France, but she uses her time-converter to quantum leap six months into the future, when this piece of crap is already playing the bottom third of drive-in triple features, and she’s moved on to a series of guest starring roles on I Spy, where she doesn’t have to hand-hold Robert Culp and Bill Cosby through every frigging assignment.

So…What have we learned from Dimension 5?  Well, we’ve learned that while Jeffrey Hunter wasn’t the worst actor in Hollywood (after all, John Agar was still alive), this really isn’t his best work; if I had to choose, I much prefer his performance as Captain Christopher Pike in the first, failed pilot for Star Trek, especially the part where he was paralyzed, mute, and played by another actor.

We’ve learned that France Nuyen could beat Oddjob with both hands tied behind her back.  And we’ve learned – or at least had our suspicions confirmed by the Internet -- that Jeff’s character name, “Justin Power” was the inspiration for “Austin Powers” (which becomes obvious every time Jeff walks through Espionage, Inc. and the all-girl staff coos in unison, “Hel-lo, Mr. Power.”

Oh, and always carry your I.D. in your vagina.  It’ll come in handy if you’re ever challenged by counter-intelligence agents, or the Pennsylvania Board of Elections.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Project Funway - Part Deux

Vivienne Vyvanse Presents ... London Fashion Week!
Hello again. It's great to be back in St. John's Wood after that horrible episode with NY Fashion Week and my nonfeasant, derelict sponsor (AARP). To keep things moving along: I was run over by the M-15 downtown bus on Ninth Avenue outside Lincoln Center. Well, my foot was run over. The bitches at Roosevelt Hospital gave me a baggie full of Motrin and discharged me. I went back to my very sub-standard hotel (the Milford Plaza at 45th and Eighth Ave.) and after struggling to sleep, woke up to discover bed-bug bites on my arms and ankles. Then asked the concierge the location of nearest public house. That's all I can summon from memory.

After the press coverage of my rescue from the industrial garbage bin (there was an abortion or something wrapped in a blanket in there as well) I was quickly deported from the United States. The detour through Bahgram, Afghanistan and the subsequent amputation of three toes is of no concern here.

Because London is swinging again! And we're back to report it!

There are several offerings for Spring/Summer 2013 any fashionista would be foolish to ignore:
We in London do have our share of surveillance cameras on every block so of course we must present our very best in addition to protecting ourselves from whatever else the security boffins have installed. It's no guess as to why "Radio-Frequency-Insulated" millinery is making its comeback this season with a vengeance.
Unless you go in for "climate change denial" why not incorporate a bit of common sense into your wardrobe for Spring/Summer 2013? This artful designer has achieved the perfect symbiosis of elegance and protection from  mosquito-borne diseases. My understanding is that Neiman-Marcus (the Dallas, USA retailer) has put in a requisition for several hundred of these. 

Now if you do go out for that special stroll and don't want to risk tripping over the netting here's another option to consider.  While the eyes may be the window to the soul, this fetching dress is the screen door to the crotch.

In closing, I must mention the most frequently-discussed and most controversial style of the Spring/Summer 2013 season: "Infantile Regression!"

Tawdry Victorian streetwalker or nursery rhyme shepherdess?  Now you can be both, with the Little Ho-Peep Collection!
And remember always, if you must ask the price you can't afford it. Kiss-Kiss & many Hugs,

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Happy Birthday, M. Bouffant!

I'm laboring over my contribution to the Camp & Cult Blogathon (check here for the latest entries, and don't miss Ivan's take on Rock Hudson in Seconds), by which I mean, I'm doing everything I can to get through a movie that's doing everything it can to stop me.  But that's fine, because I needed to pause anyway and note that today is the natal anniversary of our friend, and fellow Hollywood Commie, M. Bouffant.
[Insert traditional cheesecake photo of Hollywood Commie for demonstration purposes.]

I know there's not much left of the day, M., but I hope the sunlit hours were happy, and that you continue to remorselessly wring the last few drops of happiness out the evening, right up until midnight, as if your birthday were a chicken that you particularly loathed.  (I realize that sentiment appears on every other Hallmark card, but what can I say -- I'm a traditionalist.)

Happy birthday, M.!

What Price Douchebaggery?

[Quick programming note:  The Fabulous Stacia of She Blogged By Night is hosting the Camp & Cult Blogathon, which we hope to join in on later this week.  Check out her opening salvo: KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park, then click here to sample the other worthy entries.]

As Mitt Romney has pointed out, firing people is highly enjoyable.  Like stimulating conversations with friends, long walks on the beach with someone special, or reading the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition while sitting on the washing machine during the spin cycle, it's just plain good fun.  But it's more than that; it's an act of profound patriotism.

Who is John Galt?  A crashing bore, if you wind up reading the last 60 pages of Atlas Shrugged after losing a bet.  But the more important question we face today is...Who is Kevin Price?

Well, he'll tell you a bit about that subject himself, both in the post below, and in his RenewAmerica biography, which is 367 words long (versus 614 words for the entire article).  Spoiler Alert:  He is not -- as his bio makes abundantly clear -- that guy from the Dos Equis commercials.
Operation "Atlas Shrugged"

In addition to hosting the Price of Business radio show and managing US Daily Review, I own a media and marketing company that is doing its part to keep this economy afloat. 
It's probably just as well that Hitler's efforts to conquer the world occurred in 1940, back when we still had a manufacturing base that could turn out the ships, aircraft, and munitions that allowed us to act as the "Arsenal of Democracy."  Nowadays, with our largely media and marketing-based economy, if Nazi Germany was poised to invade England, the most we could send them would be some spin.  And maybe some re-branding advice ("United Kingdom...It's got good name recognition, but frankly, the Other Leading Brand of empire is kicking your ass at the moment, so we were thinking -- go Younger.  Bolder.  More forward-looking.  Something like..Uni-Dom!")
Recently, because of the implications of the political races and the concerns of an onslaught of new regulations, taxes, and other laws that could follow if Barack Obama is reelected, some clients are now requiring a new term to their agreements — the ability to discontinue the contract, without consequences, if the president is reelected.
In contract law it's called Force lèse-majesté, or the "Act of Godless" clause.
I have been in business for decades and I have never seen anything like this.
Some  wingnut flinging fistfuls of bullshit around the Internet like a coprophilous Johnny Appleseed? You should get out more.
On the other hand, I have never seen anyone like Barack Obama
"Okay, there was that one guy on Benson..."
 nor have I seen such a war on the economy being waged by a president on his people.
After hours in the Oval Office, Obama likes to unwind by playing Risk with the economy, and occasionally Ka-Bala with foreign policy.

"Will it be war with Iran, or a Two-State Solution for Israel and Palestine?  Only the Eye of Zohar knows!"
Under Obama, the United States has the highest tax rates, the worst regulatory environment, and hostile liability situation of any industrialized country in the world.
And our once-thriving rates of polio infection are now lagging far behind Third World nations like Pakistan and Nigeria.   Thanks to the iron heel of the CDC, our iron lung sector is on life support.
My response to this new request is typical of most people who are involved in selling, "wait a minute, aren't you going to have to be in business regardless of who is elected?"
"Or do you hope to weasel out of our contract on the flimsy pretext that you're a figment of my deranged imagination?  Well it won't work, because there ain't no sanity clause!"
Most people who want such a clause are ready to answer and the typical response is, "not necessarily. If Obama wins, I will not be able to afford to stay in business." These people are serious; this is the new reality facing the country right around the corner.
We've never before been faced with this particular reality: that made-up people in unnamed industries may refuse to continue doing imaginary business with Kevin's fake online newspaper, US Daily Review, which looks like it aspires to be a rich man's WorldNetDaily.  Or perhaps they're canceling their contracts with his blog,  BizPlusBlog (apparently a regular blog combined with an enzyme-based, color-safe "pre-soak" treatment for stubborn laundry stains), where his bio describes him as the Publisher of, which seems to have gone out of business behind his back:

Online operations closed

We closed our online operations on July 31, 2012.

Note that we no longer accept credit card payments - just checks - for our Live Programs.
I had my suspicions about Kevin's vaunted business acumen, but here is proof positive that as far back as July he knew that Obama would win in November,  allowing him to beat his clients to the punch by going out of business first, avoiding the rush and probably getting higher prices for his office chair and fax machine at the subsequent yard sale.
When I think of how these business owners are responding to the political economy they live in today, I think of the great novel by Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged. The novel is about businesses and their owners going on strike in response to excessive and even oppressive government taxes and regulations, largely putting the country out of business.
If Obama wins, we might just wake up on November 7th and find that the United States has closed their online operations, and are no longer accepting credit cards.
It appears many companies are getting poised to do just that after the elections, as seen in the example of working with our clients above as well as untold number of surveys painting a similar picture. However, would not waiting until Election Day be a great example of doing "too little, too late" (which is how, as they say, wars and battles are lost). If businesses are planning something like Atlas Shrugged, shouldn't they do it today in order for it to have an impact in November?
I dunno, Kevin.  Obama has cut taxes on small business -- 18 times according to some measurements -- and it's not like the financial sector is groaning beneath the leaden yoke of regulation.  The stock market is booming, the automobile industry is one the rebound...I'm not exactly sure who has the incentive to Go Galt.  I guess the Media and Marketing industry could try vanishing overnight, but if you don't leave a breadcrumb-like trail of perpetual motion machines, you may be be disappointed in the number of leggy, sexually insatiable railroad heiresses who come looking for you.
In my own company, I have roughly 1/3rd the people working for me than I had in 2009, when Barack Obama was sworn in as President. I know this sounds harsh, but I would get rid of those I have left, right now, if I could still stay in business. I am not quite willing to go all the way on my own "Operation Atlas Shrugged," but I am willing to make my business as lean as it has been in years in order to make a point to the voters that this situation is bad and only getting worst.
In some philosophies, having the courage of your convictions might require you to give up your job, your home, your income in order to make a principled point.  But in Objectivism, you can make the same point by taking all that stuff away from your employees.  So simply by becoming job destroyers, the job creators can teach the 47% a lesson without having to go live in a crevasse in Colorado.
So, attention business owners; you know you will likely have to let go of some (if not many) of your employees if Barack Obama is reelected, so why are you not doing that now when it can still make a difference?
 Don't "Go Galt" -- make your workers do it.  What are you no longer paying them for?
 Business owners should vote with their pink slips today in order to have the political environment to rebuild the economy tomorrow. 
It takes a village to raise a child.  Unfortunately, we had to raze the village in order to save it.  On the bright side, without the annoyingly nurturing village around to retard progress, the child is now available to work in a sweat shop for $2 a day.  Let's fire her to make a point about how mean Obama is to the rich.
This will not happen if Barack Obama is reelected. It is painful to do, I'm sure, but it is better for your employees to let them go temporarily today (after all, the elections are only around 8 weeks away), then having to have to dismiss them permanently as victims of an Obama second term after November. Vote with your pink slips... do it today. Do it for your employees and the country.
"You remember when Nathan Hale said, 'I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country'?  That's pretty much the way I feel about your jobs -- I'm very Founding Fathery that way.  Anywho, sorry about you losing your home and your health insurance Bob, but by throwing you out of work, I'm building a brighter future for the both of us.  I know you keep saying you can't see how bright the future looks, but that's only because the overpass you're camping under blocks direct sunlight.
So fire an employee for America!
It's what Thomas Jefferson would do!  (Well, Jefferson would probably enslave an employee, then have six illegitimate children with her, which is actually worse than firing, while having the ironic effect of producing greater job security.  But I bet Button Gwinnett would do it.  And maybe Zipper Whipple.)

Anyway, while I don't have employees, I'm considering firing myself, because satire has officially gone the way of the buggy whip.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Random Scenes of Hollywood

Pink clouds behind the pink Max Factor building on Highland at Hollywood Boulevard.

Where the (faintly visible) rainbow came from I have no clue, since it hasn't rained here in weeks (click to embiggen).

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Happy Birthday S.Z.!

Yes, it's the natal anniversary of our beloved friend s.z. Authoress, founder of World O' Crap, and human Humane Society, she's also the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I've ever known in my life, unless you show her the Queen of Diamonds, then watch out.

As a 15-year veteran of the CIA Office of Counter-intelligence, she's naturally camera shy and security conscious; fortunately, I have a copy of her last known photograph:
The world's leading Supermodel/Astronaut/Spy briefing two of her rescue cats/intelligence assets.

Happy birthday, s.z.!  You've enriched more lives, in ways both big and small, than you'll ever be willing to admit, and I don't know where you find the strength or the time, especially since you have to go to all the trouble of removing one of those enormous clip-on earrings every time you want to use the phone, which has to cut into an already busy schedule.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Project Funway

Guys, we're delighted to bring you a new Special Correspondent today, the ever-divalicious Vivienne Vyvanse, who has deigned to cast a bit of second-hand limelight and slightly irregular glamour our way as she struts, pouts, and puts it out at the schmatta trade's biggest annual event:
Hi, this is Vivienne. I'll be covering this year's anticipated Mercedez-Benz sponsored "Fashion Week" in fabulous New York City.

At dusk, as I strolled past the hors d'ouvres and cocktails in Bryant Park (not to mention the riot squad protecting these treats from the indigenous "Occupiers") I realized: "Gee Vi, Fashion has become such a bore." One might conceive that by now we ought all be adorned in a "Jetson" family prêt-à-porter. Or perhaps wearing spray-on togs or something similar. So sad, the street scene seemed totally retro, like the 19-somethings. Ripped jeans, ripped tees, ripped shoes...ripped abs on the guy who casually snatched the cocktail weenie from my hand as he sashayed, quite satisfyingly, through the grounds.

Then, in a moment empty-mouthed and -handed, your correspondent had an Epiphantholic experience (my bad, darlings, check the next OED).

Even before I learned the technique of cutting fabric in such a way that it was impossible to repair, my "Jetson" leisure-line was rejected by Marks & Spencer. This was just the beginning. My exclusive line of "spray-on" casual-wear (developed thanks to a generous grant from E.I. du Pont de Nemours) didn't exactly capture the Zeitgeist in a sustainable manner to continue the crusade.

But every brave designer working this industry will agree: one must be open. And open. Always open. Open to the new -- the deep, wide & tall. So enough about Vivienne, and more about the first night of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.

One of the first and foremost trends noticed upon entering the white tent was "hair." Did you know hair-ironing is now back in vogue? Girls (& guys if your man enough) locate your Proctor-Silex ASAP. (The thing with the flat bottom with holes around the edge).

To be honest we all get on in years, so I cannot remember this celeb's name. I'm very sure she is not the young woman who portrayed the "Donna" character in That 70's Show).

I can't remember this name either. She didn't speak to me when I approached. But still evidence of more "chores for scores" on the Big Apple night-life circuit.

I must warn you -- always engage the "steam" option on the Black & Decker or Hamilton-Beach. Make sure moisture is properly distributed or you may end up like this unfortunate creature below:
Well ciao & ta-ta, readers. Greetings from New York. And wait until you see the extraordinary HD-CAM video I found abandoned on Sixth Avenue today! It was destined for Oglivy before the bike courier was involved in a hit-and-run! Can I say "it's to die for" or have the police not yet released the young man's name pending notification of next-of-kin?

Yrs always,


Saturday, September 8, 2012

Carl Weathers IS "Caption Jackson"!

I'm currently beavering away on some minor work for hire, but I came across a horrifying image that must be captioned!, because according to the Necronomicon, that's the only way to kill it.  I'll get the ball rolling, shall I? (Click to embiggen)
"It seemed like such a coup at first, but by mid-afternoon the organizers of the 1930 Venice Beach Beauty Contest were beginning to have second thoughts about celebrity guest judge Salvador Dali."

I'm sure you guys can come up with something better, so I'll pass the Talking Stick.  And speaking of something better, Ivan has posted Chapter 3 of The Adventures of Sir Galahad: Prisoners of Ulric.  Let's all grab some bear grease and penetrate the guards!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Happy Birthday, D.Sidhe!

I seldom check my Google Voice Mail, which transcribes the audio messages for your convenience, but for some reason I looked in on it today and found this:  "When Meco ratings the sandwich over 27 says well goodbye he said his something I don't understand you all about to get food and he will pull it together and she said yes teamwork you all get the food y'all just don't know how you know who's the best at some point."

Naturally, I was both thrilled and frightened, thinking that somehow Pastor Swank had gotten my number.  Sadly, it was just some poor schmoe who had misdialed, and didn't realize he was dictating his deli order to the world's most incompetent robot stenographer.

Still, it got me to thinking that whenever my head reels after going on the Tilt-a-Hurl of wingnut logic over at Townhall, American Thinker, RenewAmerica, or their moral equivalents, I can always count on you, the World O' Crap reader, to apply a cool and soothing compress of sense and sensibility.  And few people of my acquaintance make more or better sense than D.Sidhe.

Now I don't want to go off on a panegyric, because she's exceptionally humble, despite being, as s.z. has said, "one of the sharpest cookies around."  So sharp, in fact, that she could be effectively wielded as a shiv during a rumble over turf between two rival groups of juvenile delinquents, street punks so tough they don't fear their manhood would suffer at all were they to dance into battle using Jerome Robbins choreography and delicious baked goods as weapons.

But if I'm not going to read off a litany of her virtues and accomplishments as a light unto the comment threads, I do believe that at minimum she deserves credit for coining the term, "Zombie Bigfeet," which feels like it was purpose-built just for this occasion:
Montana Man Killed During Bigfoot Hoax

A Montana man dressed in a Bigfoot costume in an apparent attempt to provoke reports of sightings of the mythical creature was killed when he was struck by two cars on a highway.

Randy Lee Tenley, 44, of Kalispell, in Northwest Montana, was standing in the right-hand lane of U.S. Highway 93 Sunday night when he was struck by a car, the Montana Highway Patrol said. A second car then hit him again as he lay in the road, authorities said.

Schneider told the local newspaper the Daily Inter Lake that authorities determined Tenley’s motive, posing as Bigfoot, after interviewing the man’s friends.  Alcohol “may have been a factor,” in the incident.
Ya don't say!  But this is probably the best part:
The military-style “Ghillie” suit worn by Tenley was a full-body suit made of strips of camouflage fabric, making it difficult for drivers to spot him.  The suit is typically used by military members to camouflage snipers in combat.
Like one of these:
A clip from the Monty Python sketch, "How Not to be Seen."  

I doubt I would have taken Mr. Tenley for Sasquatch, or a chupucabra, or even the Legend of Boggy Creek, as I don't get out in the country much, so my cryptid-watching skills are nothing to brag about; certainly nowhere near James Wolcott's.  I suspect, what with all the camouflage he was wearing (which worked, mind you; it might have been a crazy plan, but the part that called for him to stand in the middle of the highway sporting sniper clothing that would render him invisible to motorists really worked!) and him being out in the woods, that my first impulse would be to assume he was a Predator.  My second impulse would be to GET TO THE CHOPPA!
If that proved impractical (and as someone who's depended almost exclusively on public transit for the past two years, I can attest that there is rarely a choppa around when you need one), my third impulse would be to take a hand pruning saw and cut Mr. Tenley off at the ankles, then strap him to the car roof, and surprise Mary as I dragged him through the front door and began beautifying him with our most festive ornaments.

(Because, to be perfectly honest, my first reaction upon hearing this story was to think, "Whoever drew the obituary beat at that local newspaper must have thought it was Christmas!")

Anyway...this seems to have wandered a bit off-topic, even for a Wo'C birthday card, so I'll just sign off with the short film we made to honor the occasion last year.  It was our third cat video, but the first motion picture in which Moondoggie is actually seen in motion.
Happy Birthday, D.Sidhe!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Happy Birthday, AnnPW!


I'm going to be out most of the day, but I didn't want to hit the road before reminding everyone that today is the natal anniversary of longtime Crapper AnnPW of Beginning to Wonder (one of my favorite blog titles).  She's probably out too -- in fact, you're probably not even reading this -- nevertheless, please join me in wishing Ann a very happy birthday!
And to get things started off right, here's a photo of Cary Grant and Randolph Scott working out at the beach house they shared in Malibu for ten years, before finally succumbing to studio demands that they stop showing up together at movie premieres and nightclubs, and get married.  But not to each other.  Grant married Virginia Cherrill, the blind flower girl from Chaplin's City Lights, reasoning that she'd never know if he was in the room or not.  Sadly, he discovered she'd only been acting blind in the film, and Grant began to distrust this whole "magic of the movies" thing, leading to his early retirement in 1966.

Anyway, they look pretty carefree here, and I hope Ann is having a similarly happy day.  After you've signed the card, don't forget to check out Keith's Labor Day Special below, in which he has somehow managed to find the only Antipodean Oligarch more loathsome than Rupert Murdoch. 

Update:  The calendar-savvy Bill S. points out that Ann shares her birthday with the sublime Eileen Brennan, and asks if we can dig up a clip of the latter singing "La Vie en Rose" from the sublimely ridiculous The Cheap Detective.  Here you go, Bill!
Here you go, Bill.

Stop Smoking! I Provide You People Black Lung Free of Charge!

By Keith
World's richest woman says those who are jealous of her wealth should 'stop drinking, stop smoking and work harder'
A bit of hyperbole from the headline crafter: She's really Australia's richest woman. (I believe America's richest woman is Lady Gaga. Or Anne Romeny?)
The richest woman in Australia has caused a storm by calling her struggling fellow countrymen 'whingers' and telling them to get out of the pub and work harder.

In her regular column in Australian Resources and Investment magazine, she warns that Australia risks heading down the same path as European economies ruined by 'socialist' policies, high taxes and excessive regulation.
Gina, according to the Canberra Times, your industry and holdings have benefited quite spectacularly from government subsidies:
And then there is the $4 billion a year in subsidies that we give the miners. While our politicians talk endlessly about the support given to the car industry, and what that may or may not say about our approach to protectionism, the fact is the mining industry receives far more taxpayer support than the car industry. And for what?

The purpose of a subsidy is to encourage more of something, but you can't pick up a newspaper without reading a whinge from the mining industry about the shortage of skilled labour. So, if there is a shortage of miners and construction workers, why would we be subsidising its already rapid expansion?
In addition to the direct tax subsidies we give away, our state and federal governments are quick to pay for the ''infrastructure'' that the miners need. Infrastructure usually refers to the kinds of networks, roads, rail, electricity and water that connect us. The 'infrastructure' that the miners get, however, doesn't so much connect them to us, but to their foreign customers.
Ouch, Gina. Sounds like "socialism" to me. BTW, how much in taxes do you pay? Or are you a "Mittens" kind of operator with cash parked with off-shore shell companies incorporated in the Cayman or Channel Isles?
'There is no monopoly on becoming a millionaire,' writes Mrs Rinehart, who has built a $20 billion-plus mining empire since inheriting lucrative tenements from her father, Lang Hancock, in 1992.
Gee, Ms. Rinehart, it must have been great back in the day, hanging out with Olivia Newton-John and Kiri Te Kenawa. Did you gals try roller-skating about the wharfs surrounding the Sydney Opera House? Tripping over cracks in asphalt? Bonding through shared vomit?
Her Majesty Elizabeth II:  Ah, excellent!  I asked for a command performance by the biggest asshole in Australia, and I see the Governor-General has not let me down!
'If you're jealous of those with more money, don't just sit there and complain. Do something to make more money yourself - spend less time drinking or smoking and socialising, and more time working.'
Right!  I'm going to put down this Amstel Light and finally start that 12-step program of self-improvement.

Step 1:  Be born to a rich daddy who owns tenements.

Step 2:  Cut off all contact with friends.  I used to think they were a fun and humanizing influence, but now I realize they're just obstacles to success who are dragging me down and preventing me from achieving my goal of being fathered by a millionaire slumlord.

Anyway, from the above rantings attributed to Gina R., this correspondent concludes:

(1) Miss Thing drinks a litre of whiskey a day (with back-ups hidden in chandeliers);

(2) Smokes two packs of Lucky Strikes each and every day, flown in on skids from Bahrain without duty;

(3) Has "people" to manage the elaborate finances and day-to-day fucked up world of the mining industry. (People who have people/they're they luckiest people in the world.)

For now let's assume our subject of today's treatment is constantly "hung," (as Auntie Mame might remark to Patrick), is suffering from COPD and perhaps on an oxygen tank or three, and has never, ever worked a goddamn day in her life, except perhaps color-coding her dad's dossiers on his worst union enemies in the Australian mining industry.

All that Crayola high-lighting certainly paid off: "She makes more than £630,000 every 30 minutes, say financial experts."

Ms. Reinhart: I have some advice for this weekend. Do not, under any circumstance, go trolling the pubs. Follow your pattern of drinking at home with the shades all drawn and in total darkness. Should you encounter reality you might get your ass whipped by the hide of "Fred's friend‚" and that hide has been out curing on the shed for 50+ years or so. The reason I mention this is because, according to the Canberra Times newspaper, you've laid-off quite a bit of your workforce. They will be waiting for you, with squeaky shoes!
When commodity prices fell during the global financial crisis the first thing the mining industry did was sack thousands of their workers. Indeed, according to Treasury, if all industries had been as quick to punt their employees as the mining industry the unemployment rate would have hit 19 per cent rather than its peak of 5.9 per cent.
As Australia's richest woman, I assume you have access to the finest health care available, but this photo worries me, because -- judging by the beaming pride with which you display your most recent stool sample --
 -- you could very likely benefit from adding a bit of roughage to your diet.  And while I don't wish to seem impertinent -- your interest in curbing the vices of your social inferiors says all that need be said about your sincere commitment to good health -- you do look rather -- I don't want to say "sweaty," but perhaps a trifle "glowy" for a woman wearing pearls in a posed publicity photo.  Have you tried a diuretic? On your morning walks to kick pigeons and koalas, do you sweat profusely? I've heard that excessive perspiration leads to a higher incidence of attack by crocodiles.

Anyway, I always applaud women who are successful in business, but you, my dear, come off as something akin to a three-card monty gamer. Gina, if you're not an artist, don't run scams.

Happy Labor Day Weekend, everyone.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Happy Birthday, Ivan!

Today is the natal anniversary of Ivan G. Shreve, Jr., and we're gonna party like it's 1939!
Update:  I replaced the prior Birthday Babe Cheesecake shot with TDOY goddess Jane Greer, because plucky young Midwestern sportscaster Ronald "Dutch" Reagan just wasn't doing it for me.

World O' Crap and Ivan's online homestead, Thrilling Days of Yesteryear, have a Special Relationship, much like the U.S. and the U.K., inasmuch as Ivan has been around this blog nearly as long as I have.  Not only was his one of the earliest names to turn up in the comments at the old Salon address, but he was also Sheri's first-born blogchild, recognizing her unique contribution to the National Debate and thinking, "I can do that.  Well, not exactly that...I mean, she's got the Regrettable Food, Subliminal Family Circus, and Wingnut beats fairly well covered, but I've got a few cherce remarks to make about bad movies myself.  Plus Old Time Radio, TV series dating to the era of drug store tube-testers, and the regional snack foods of Appalachia.  Not to mention, this mysterious s.z., Lord love her, has left the plum chance of weekly Mayberry RFD blogging just hanging there, ripe for the picking.  At last, it's Howard Sprague's turn to shine!"*

Ivan is a good friend and a fellow of sterling character, whom Doghouse Riley once called "the last honest man on the Internet" (I don't remember the precise context, but I assume this encomium was inspired by Ivan having hooked him up with graymarket copies of Whirlybirds or Frontier Circus).

He's also one of my favorite writers.  Witty, opinionated, and incredibly well-informed, Ivan somehow manages to make you laugh or thoughtfully stroke your chin while he sneakily infuses you with little known facts about 20th Century pop culture.  It's amazing -- his blog literally softens your hands while you do the dishes!

And I'm not the only one to recognize this, since he was recently hired to blog professionally at Radio Spirits, where the frequent confluence of Golden Age movies and Old Time Radio allows him to write about both.

I don't link to TDOY often enough, probably because, as it's one of my daily stops (did I mention he's also prolific?) I just assume most Crappers are already reading him.  But if you aren't, now is a great time to jump in.  One of Ivan's specialties is deconstructing old movie serials (which reminds me, I really need to bite the bat and finish the 1943 Columbia Batman), and his current subject, also a product of Columbia is:

The Adventures of Sir Galahad.  Boldest Knight of the Round Table!
Starring future Superman, George Reeves.  Click here for Chapter 1 and here for Chapter 2.  Trust me; you won't be sorry.

But I bet George was.

*Ivan's Internal Monologue not guaranteed verbatim.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Why Does She Put Up With Me? A Continuing Series

(Note:  Mary has caught the first of what will no doubt be many colds from her students, and is spending the Labor Day Weekend suffering the effects.  Note also that this in no way stopped me.)

Mary:  Is Dick Clark dead?

Scott:  Yes.  Why?

Mary:   I never know when he's dead.

Scott:  I didn't realize he commuted between this world and the next.

Mary:  You know what I mean.

Scott:  "Is Dick Clark alive this week?"  "I dunno, let me check my menstrual calendar...Yep, there's a full moon tomorrow."

Mary:  I mean I never know when famous people are dead.

Scott:  That must make it awkward for you at funerals.  "Mrs. Johnson, I'm so sorry for your loss.  Fortunately, your husband was a complete non-entity, so I could tell he was dead..."

Mary:  That's --

Scott:  "If he'd achieved the slightest bit of success or renown, I'd be confused about his current state of mortality, but since he died in utter obscurity, I instinctively knew he was a corpse!"

(Mary guzzles tumbler of Ny-Quil.)

Scott:  Have your cold symptoms come back already?

Mary:  No.

Post-Friday Beast Blogging: The Chiaroscuro Edition

Cats and window treatments.  Traditionally mortal enemies, they can occasionally combine to provide the ambitious photographer with a variety of effects and narrative devices:

1.)  Social satire of mid-20th Century bourgeois values:
"Mrs. Riley...You're trying to seduce me."

2.)  A metaphor for the human condition in the form of stark contrasts, such as a harsh oasis of light in the midst of a vast inky darkness:
"Please leave me out of your clumsy attempts at German Expressionism."

3.)  The Art of the Cute, as demonstrated by Special Guest Cat, Miss Zoe Luna, feline companion of our friend The Minx.
"I bet you're wondering how I can get my eyes to glow like this when the light is behind me...Well, to quote Crow T. Robot from the MST3K episode Pod People: 'It's called evil, kid.'"

(I pilfered Zoe Luna's portrait from FaceBook, with the Minx's permission, but it occurs to me that Crappers, by and large, are a highly animal-friendly community, so if you guys have any photos of fuzzy friends you'd like to share, feel free to email me.)