Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Beefcake or Death?

Let me state upfront that I like Italy. I’ve spent time there, I enjoy the cuisine, the culture, the landscape and architecture, and I find their politics more entertaining than Bravo’s entire lineup of reality shows. So I don’t mean to perpetuate any stereotypes when I say that if you’re a Greek small businessman who operates a Mom ‘n’ Pop pantheon, you really shouldn’t allow more than three Romans inside at a time, or they will shoplift the crap out of your gods. And not just the major, big ticket deities either – they’ll swipe the demi-gods and heroes off the impulse rack near check-out, too.

Hercules, of course, is a Roman knockoff of the designer demi-god Heracles (you’ll note that when filching intellectual property, the Romans are smart enough to change the names a bit so they don’t get a takedown notice from Viacom). But they don't confine themselves to taking the Greeks’ theological sloppy seconds; no, they even knocked off their own knockoffs, as witnessed by the long and undistinguished film career of Maciste.

Created for the epic Italian film Cabiria (1914) and played by a moonlighting longshoreman, Maciste was a super-strong slave who just got stronger and more super and less slavey as the decades wore on, until by the 1960s his physical prowess was the equal of Hercules. But despite his enormous popularity in Europe (okay, Italy), in the U.S. Maciste remained the moral equivalent of a regional store brand of soda – the Shasta Cola to Hercules’ Diet Rite.

"You ever considered manscaping?"

Which is why Embassy Pictures, which started the whole greasy beefcake craze with its release of the Steve Reeves Hercules, bought up all the Maciste films after the craze cooled and slapped on new titles, giving the off-brand demi-god a variety of assumed names (Samson, Colossus, Goliath) and making it very difficult for Maciste to qualify for even a subprime mortgage. They packaged the whole mess for syndication under the rubric “The Sons of Hercules” and added a kickass theme song, an earworm so fiendishly catchy that once heard, it is never forgotten:

The mighty Sons of Hercules,
Were men as men could be!
These men of steel,
Had curb appeal,
And skin-tight Beefy-Ts!

Okay, maybe I don’t actually remember it all that well…Let’s just get on with our feature presentation, originally titled Maciste, l'uomo più forte del mondo (Maciste, the Strongest Man in the World).

Mole Men Against the Son of Hercules (1961)
Directed by Leonviola
Screenplay by Marcello Baldi and Giuseppe Mangione, Based on a Story by Leonviola

Maciste stands at the shore and pulls on a big rope, grunting and squatting and flexing as he plays tug of war with the ocean. Eventually he hauls in a blue whale, which is pretty good for surf casting, particularly since he’s using fairly light tackle – 11-foot rod, Penn Spinfisher reel, and a 4/0 circle hook with a sliding egg sinker on 40 lb test line.

He stares dumbly at the leviathan for a moment, trying to figure out how to stuff it into his creel, when two groups of horsemen approach. Group A are typical Greeks – swarthy men in micro-mini tunics, while Group B are mysterious masked figures dressed in white robes (which I understand were widely available in 1961), who are busily shooting arrows into Group A.

With no clue what’s going on, Maciste pulls his blade from the whale (and is rightwise declared King of Sea World) and just decides to start killing, stabbing one from Column A, and one from Column B. But before he can work up a decent body count, the sun rises and the Klan members shield their eyes. moan histrionically and writhe around before collapsing into the whale-flavored surf. So, these drama queens are the Mole Men, eh? I wouldn’t have expected a burrowing species to wear white, especially after Labor Day, but perhaps they’re big Tom Wolfe fans.

Maciste goes to Group A’s village, and finds that the Mole Men have razed it to the ground and abducted the inhabitants. He resolves to hunt down the bloodthirsty albinos and punish them for getting top billing.

He finds his quarry standing around in a clearing at high noon, which is confusing, because we’ve already established that sunlight makes Mole Men melt, but the filmmakers would appreciate it if we’d pretend it’s night time even though they couldn’t be bothered to put a blue filter on the lens and shoot day for night because jeez, do they have to do everything around here? Maybe we’d like them to tie our shoes and wipes our butts too, huh?

Anyway, the M&Ms have got a big, brawny black man tied to a tree, and are prancing around him in their white robes. Maciste cuts their victim free before squaring off against the Dancin’ Klansmen, so we can get a gladiatorial twist on The Defiant Ones, a delicious and ass-kicking chocolate-vanilla layer beefcake. Despite his muscular, well-oiled physique, however, the black dude just pops his eyes like Mantan Moreland and shinnies up the tree.

Oh well, that just means more Mole Men for Maciste to manhandle, and he proceeds to drive them off, but not before their leader loses his mask, revealing that he’s actually David Bowie from the Thin White Duke era.

Maciste coaxes the frightened bodybuilder out of the tree, and the man promptly flings himself on the ground and tenderly places Maciste’s foot on his own neck, whimpering, “I will be your slave forever.” Hmmm. You know, I should probably check the Freshness Date on this thing, because I’m beginning to think there was a typo on YouTube and it was actually made in 1861.

Anyway, the black guy is named “Bangor.” I’m a little disappointed by his lack of an authentic Down East accent, but I’ll meet the filmmakers halfway and just imagine all his lines being spoken by that guy from the Pepperidge Farm commercials. Bangor, by the way, is played by Paul Wynter, who was crowned Mr. Universe in 1960 and immediately cashed in his fame for a role in this piece of shit, a decision which later made Vanessa Williams feel much better about her bumpy reign as Miss America.

Next morning, Bangor serves Maciste breakfast in bed. Bangor has obviously been up for hours, because he’s had time to split a coconut and apply a fresh coat of glistening body grease. The two engorged specimens eye one another over the rims of their respective nuts as they gulp down the milky contents.

Okay, sorry, just had to get that out of my system. I should be fine for the rest of the movie.

The Mole Men have cleverly disguised the secret entrance to their hidden base, but they made one fatal error: they left all their still-saddled horses tied up next to it, so even a lead shot-for-brains like Maciste can figure it out. He immediately hatches a brilliant plan to get inside, which involves taking a nap.

Meanwhile, the Thin White Duke’s dad performs surgery on him without anesthetic, while Bowie screams and writhes and drips poster paint. It’s supposed to be harrowing, but I was too distracted by dad’s headdress, which eerily resembles the hat worn by the Grand Poobah of Fred Flintstone's lodge.

The cameraman finds the blue filter so it can be night again, and the M&Ms sneak up and surround Maciste, who lies on his back, pretending to be asleep, confident for some reason that these guys won’t all just stab their swords into him like so many ruffled toothpicks plunging into a chafing dish of Vienna Franks and cheese fondue.

Instead, they tie up Maciste and Bangor and take them underground, where they find Group A being forced to work in the M&M mines, and to listen to that one Midnight Oil album.

The prisoners castigate Bangor, who was supposed to be guarding their ruler, Princess Salubrious, and not practicing Japanese rope bondage with photophobic Klansmen, or sucking coconut milk with his beefy new friend.

Maciste and Bangor are put to work with the others. For the purposes of this film, “mining” means pushing around a giant wooden merry-go-round while screaming with excitement like you’re on a rollercoaster. Unsurprisingly, there isn’t a long line for this ride, and even without a Fast Pass the wait is often less than half an hour.
"This is so bogus."

Meanwhile, Queen Bouffant, the evil but shapely monarch of the Mole Men makes a pass at Princess Salubrious, then snaps, “Put this girl in chains!” and suddenly I couldn’t love this movie more. Who needs Persian Kitty?

Queen Bouffant is betrothed to the Thin White Duke, but spends most of her time peeping through the drapes and watching Maciste and Bangor sweating, bulging, and glistening as they run around the merry-go-round. This comes as a surprise, because she doesn’t look like the kind of chick who would normally date carnies.

Later that night, the Queen’s black handmaiden, Sophocles Jones, goes to the prison cells and tells our heroes that the Queen plans to sacrifice Princess Salubrious, then make Bangor and Maciste fight to the death, because apparently achieving orgasm was a lot more involved back then.

Cut to a gravel quarry, where Queen Bouffant unveils a cage which contains a huge and savage ape (and the worst gorilla suit this side of the Nairobi Trio), and announces that anyone who defeats it gets to be her husband.  I'm sorry, but this is the wackiest episode of The Bachelorette I’ve ever seen, and I’m seriously tempted to switch over to Ice Road Truckers.

Bowie can’t fight the monster because he’s still on the 15-day DL, so Queen Bouffant tells Maciste and Bangor they can fight each other, and the winner gets ten minutes in the cage with the monkey. Suddenly it’s the end of Spartacus, where Kirk Douglas and Tony Curtis are forced to duel, each trying to spare the other a long painful death by crucifixion by stabbing him. Except here Bangor and Maciste are fighting over the right to wrestle J. Fred Muggs, and they don’t really fight so much as they just sort of squat there and repeatedly trade light slaps, like they’re auditioning for a Skin Bracer® commercial while suffering from a bout of diarrhea. Hilarity ensues, however, when Bangor takes a fall, and rises with sand sticking to every inch of his baby oiled body, making his pecs resemble two panko-encrusted chicken breasts.

It all finally ends when Bangor head-butts Maciste, and knocks himself out. Maciste realizes his friend was only trying to save his life, and he honors this beau geste by squatting on the unconscious man’s chest like he’s about to deposit a Cleveland Steamer.

After the implied German fetish video, our hero gets in the cage, kills the gorilla costume, and is declared the rightful fiancé of Queen Bouffant. But Maciste is a confirmed bachelor, and he runs off with the comatose Princess Salubrious in his arms and escapes on a surprised horse who didn’t really want to get involved, and was just there to watch the primates wrestle.

Maciste takes Salubrious to Cypress Gardens, Florida, where they shower under the waterfall and watch The Go-Gos perform a precision aquaplaning exhibition. Then he heads back to the Mole Men’s subterranean empire, where he plans to stick a garden hose down their hole and drown them.

Meanwhile, the Grand Poobah wants Bouffant to punish the Mole Man who let Maciste escape. The Queen sentences him to lay on a beach towel until dead, and sure enough, the condemned guard doesn’t get through even one Top 40 hit on his Panasonic Toot-A-Loop transistor radio before the rays of the sun burn all the flesh off his bones, leaving nothing behind but the great smell of Sea ‘N’ Ski.

Hey, anyone hungry? Because we’ve got a steam tray full of plot nuggets over here. Grand Poobah tells David Bowie that Queen Bouffant isn’t actually a Mole Man – she was born on the surface, which means she’s got melanin, so the Thin White Duke has to breed with her, so his children will grow up to frolic on the beach and get their pants pulled down by a Scottish terrier.

Bowie baits a trap for Maciste by tying Bangor to a tree again. And again, Maciste arrives to free his steroidal sidekick, except this time he falls into a Malay Mole Mancatcher, then he gets hoisted up in a net, and then presumably minced and canned in spring water.

We cut to a Mole Man hitting a giant gong, and experience a brief surge of hope that we might have somehow switched over to TCM in time to catch a Rank Organisation film.

Nope. Queen Bouffant wants to see if Maciste is actually the strongest man in the world like it says in the title, and fortunately, Mole Man Land has a machine designed to test that very thing. It’s kind of a Rube Goldberg device, and the only thing I remember about the scene is the part where Sophocles Jones runs to give them water, and we get to watch two muscle men tongue a sea sponge.
I think I had a dream like this in Junior High...

But Maciste busts out some awesome feats of strength, and the Queen gets so turned on we suspect her throne could benefit from a few sea sponges. She frees Maciste so he can be her husband, because Bouffant doesn’t know she’s actually an above ground model, like a Doughboy Pool, and figures if she mates with our hero, then her kids will be able to tolerate sunlight. And if not, at least they'll look good in skin bronzer.

The Grand Poobah is pissed, and sets “the sacred lions” on them. But Maciste grabs the mallet from the gong and bonks the lions on the head, knocking them silly and dealing the worst blow to leonine dignity until Daktari.

Saved from certain death, and even more turned on by his ability to stun large cats, Queen Bouffant commands her minions to conduct Maciste to the Royal Booty Call Suite. But Poobah and Bowie slip him a roofie, then dump his body on that conveyor belt that Lucy and Viv worked at in the chocolate factory, except this one leads to a Bronze Age auto press.

Finding her booty call is getting a busy signal, Bouffant fears that Maciste has run off to be with Princess Salubrious (remember her?) and she decides to ride to Busch Gardens. But the other Mole Men (except for Bowie) refuse to accompany her because it’s almost dawn and they have to get up and go to work in the morning.

Back at the conveyor belt, Maciste regains consciousness and throws a spear through four guys who were walking single file because he woke up hungry and in the mood for shish kebab.  Then he frees all the slaves. But it turns out that Mole Man Land is a gated community, because the Grand Poobah locks all the exits, trapping them underground, and this is the signal for Maciste and Bangor to hold hands and stare into each other’s eyes.

It goes on for quite a long time, but they seem really comfortable with it, so who am I to judge? Suddenly, Maciste gets the idea to use a chain and the merry-go-round to pull down the ceiling, and everybody escapes.

Meanwhile, back at Bouffant, Bowie dies from third degree dawn (and it’s a prolonged and overacted death, according to ancient Mole Man tradition), while Bouffant realizes that she’s not actually an albino, and probably will be fine with just a little Bain de Soleil. She sees the world flooded with sunlight for the first time in her life, and it is glorious. A rainbow arches overhead as the awestruck queen walks to the edge of a waterfall, her once stern features softening into a child-like look of wonder. Then the sun gets in her eyes and she falls to her death.

The end.

So what have we learned from all this? Hell if I know – I’m too heavily medicated.  What do you guys think?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Cane And Able

Shout out to all my Crappers.  Just dropping in to thank everyone, again, for the well wishes, friendly advice, adventures in opioids, and Christopher Walken trivia, and to update you on the Great Spinetacular of '13.  It's been two weeks since the injury, and while I'm still confined to the apartment (and sometimes the bed), there has been some progress, which I would cautiously describe as "baby steps" (in that I can now take baby steps without the cane).  I'm still only semi mobile and quasi modo, but I try to remind myself that I've been through this before, and eventually recovered.

In the meantime, Mary is trying to lighten the mood by emailing me Facebook ads, which apparently means we've reached that inevitable scene from a marriage in which the two parties are reduced to communicating entirely in memes.  (I'm no expert, but I believe this typically occurs after the point when a wedded couple begins to resemble their pets, but before they start to march around the mall every morning in matching velour track suits.)

Anyway...Are you a waifish, hydrocephalic refugee from a Walter Keane portrait?  If so, then you may be qualified to (become a) SOCIAL WORKER!

Have you ever wondered what happened to former United Press correspondent Helen Thomas after she was forced to retire following some impolitic remarks on Palestine?  Well, you'll be happy to learn that the one time dean of the White House Press Corps has landed on her feet.  Ms. Thomas is now working the Anal Hygiene beat for Facebook, breaking stories and wind and explaining how toilet paper is like Alta Vista or HotBot, while Moist Flushable Wipes more closely resemble Google:

(click to embiggen, if you dare)

Finally, via the Fabulous Stacia of She Blogged By Night, a series of newspaper ads for the NBC fall line up from 1973, courtesy of Scenes From The Morgue (Banacek!  Police Surgeon!  Chase!  The Magician!  Diana Rigg in a sit com!)

And please check back in a day or so -- I hope to have some new movie stuff for you. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Of Toil, Trouble, and Troll Dolls

UPDATED BELOW with Special Guest Villain

Just wanted to check in and say that I'm not dead -- I just wish I was -- and to thank everyone for the very kind well-wishes.  They lifted my spirits considerably, which is good because physically, things have gone all to hell. I've had to cut my intake of painkillers below the recommended dosage because they were making me ill, and if there's one thing that could take this condition from mere Agony to Martyrdom, it would be suffering the paroxysms of reverse peristalsis while bent over the toilet.  Not that I'd be likely to even reach the bathroom in time, given my current top landspeed (although Riley -- an aficionado of recreational vomit who's turned three-quarters of the carpet into museum quality pieces of abstract expressionism, considers this a plus; but I'd still face a race against time to find a clean spot before hurling, lest I be accused of disrespecting a fellow tagger's work).

Rather than indulge myself with yet another lurid paean to pain, I'll simply quote, in part, Chris Vosburg's comment to the post below, which offers an apt description of my routine:
I think I'm familiar with the "getting out of bed" deal from my bicycle v car crash days: a complicated combination of rolling, momentum, clutching at tabletops and then lamps, and finally, maybe, upright (well, almost!), with clenched teeth.
And then okay, now what, you say, 'cause it's not really any better from there, as you hug a wall across the room.
In fact, this description is so eerily precise that Mary wondered if he'd been watching some reality show of which we were the unwitting stars -- America's Next Top Hunchback, perhaps, or, So You Think You Can Hobble?

On the bright side, in order to pick up anything sitting on a desk or table or other low surface I've been forced to perfect the Bunny Dip, bringing me one degree of separation closer to Gloria Steinem.

On the not so bright side, they're making a Troll Dolls movie:
With an animated film based on the Troll doll toy franchise already in development, DreamWorks Animation has gone one step further and bought the entire brand... 
Deal with the Dam Family and Dam Things of Denmark now makes DreamWorks Animation the exclusive worldwide licensor of merchandise rights for the Trolls, except for Scandanavia, the birthplace of the characters, where Dam Things will remain the licensor.
I'm sure DreamWorks knows what it's doing, but I wouldn't be so quick to discard the products Scandinavian origins.  Personally, I can't think of a better way to describe these dolls than "Dam Things."

Unfortunately, after that news I can't possibly achieve a lower opinion of my fellow creatures, so there's really no point in seeing what Dr. Mike is up to this week.  Instead, let's check the referrer logs and answer our Top Ten Google Queries (although I don't know how much longer I can stay in this chair, so I don't promise to make it all the way to ten):

1.  Anal secretrye:  It's the rye whiskey that's strong enough for a man, but made for a Rick Santorum fan.

2.  the most scariest phiranna in the world:  "Eats my candy, drinks my brandy, gnaws my face off..."

3.  vaginal exam hidden cam: I should have expected something like this when Dateline NBC first announced they'd hired Annie Sprinkle as a correspondent.

4.  please don't poke the ymir:  In this episode of the 1965-67 NBC sitcom Please Don't Eat the Daisies, identical twins Trevor and Tracy find a steel capsule containing an embryonic bipedal lizard from Venus.  The boys try to raise the creature in the rumpus room without their parents' knowledge, but comic hijinks ensue when it grows unexpectedly large and devours them, forcing Mom (Patricia "Pat" Crowley) to gut the creature the way Zeus disemboweled his father Cronos in order to free his siblings, whom Cronos had swallowed -- probably because he was on Jenny Craig and experiencing food cravings.  That happens a lot.

5.  thomas kincaide full of shit: Well, I suppose it's a more accurate byline than "painter of light."
5a.  Thomas kinkade painter of shite:  ibid.

6.  josef mengele savior:  Following the heady success of Jesus Christ Superstar and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber took a slight misstep with this overly ambitious follow-up.

7.  the bench thinker Kevin mccullough:  Okay, this actually seems more of a misnomer than "painter of light," since I seriously doubt that Kevin McCullough could out-think a bench, or virtually anything you'd find a wino sleeping on.
7a.  Kevin mccullough is full of shit: ibid.
7b.  Kevin McCullough sex slavery:
"Yes, Mistress, I have been a naughty, disgusting little worm.  Say, does this shirt look okay? I've got to appear on Hannity later, and I don't want the dog collar to show..." 

8.  oh crap exorcism: said the Devil in Mercedes McCambridge's voice. 

9.  what does amniotic fluid smell and look like: I'm guessing this query represents the initial R&D efforts for a new impostor fragrance ("If you like Gee, Your Hair Smells Terrific, you'll love Hey, I Think Your Water Just Broke!").

10.  swiss guard penis:  Clearly, someone thinks the Pope is a dick.

Bonus Query (since you guys have been so patient with me):

11. clown bomb:  Disgusted by President Johnson's refusal to drop the Bomb on Hanoi, General Curtis LeMay spearheaded a project to develop kinetic weapons which would produce similar devastation, but without the resulting fallout, and asked for volunteers to crawl inside a shell casing.  Quickly discovering that the weight of one man was insufficient, he theorized that a bomb no larger than a Volkswagon Beetle could contain a near limitless number of clowns, and demanded the Pentagon establish an ROTC program at Clown College in Sarasota, FL.  He was later sedated. 

And with that, I'm going to go lie down and time how long it takes before I'm upholstered in cat ass.

UPDATE:   Speaking of trolls...Man, you make one joke about exorcism, and the next thing you know, Jim Treacher is manifesting in your comments (below, and here).  Clearly, I need to send the Pope one of those FTD "I'm Sorry" bouquets ("I'm Sorry flowers from FTD can speak louder than words. No matter the offense, flowers are a great first step toward forgiveness. You can choose from gerbera daisies, lilies and many other great apology flowers.").

But which one?  Since I'd like credit for taking a great first step toward forgiveness without actually having to move, I'm partial to FTD's GOP BFD Bouquet, which doesn't say "I'm sorry I offended you," but rather, "I'm sorry you're offended," thereby evading any admission of liability, while implying that the injured party is a bit of a puss.  If this doesn't work, however, I'm going to need an old priest and a young priest, a piece of string, and a picture of Eve Arden.

And after rereading Jim's comment to the previous post ("Oh no. You're in pain? I guess I should show you as much sympathy as you've shown me...Just kidding. I wish you well"), I guess I also owe him a floral mea culpa.  Fortunately, FTD offers a nice "Apology Flowers for Algernon" Bouquet.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Oh the Pain, The Pain...

Sorry for the lack of posts lately (although I think I deserve a little credit for the frequency with which I apologize for not posting more frequently).  I really expected to be back to more regularly scheduled blogging by now, but I plead guilty with an explanation; unfortunately, I've got too much pain on the brain to actually explain at the moment, so I'm taking a risk that Mark Zuckerberg might sue me for violating his copyright to my words by porting over my last few status updates from Facebook:

April 5

Here's my State of the Union Report on what condition my condition is in. In a word: Ouch. In a more expressive and accurate word: [Expletive Deleted]. Apparently gnomes have been sneaking into my room at night and replacing my spine with a string of Black Cat firecrackers smuggled over from Tijuana, because when I picked up a 24 lb jug of cat litter yesterday and leaned over to pour it out, my vertebrae began exploding one after another.

Without hyperbole, this is the worst pain I've experienced in 3 years at least. Practically immobilized yesterday, and today, getting out of bed was a laborious process that involved a good deal of trial and error, the improvisation of various Rube Goldbergian devices for acquiring leverage, and more weeping and cursing than the Russian Roulette scene in The Deer Hunter.

April 6

State of the Spine report: Spent 9 minutes trying to get up this morning, displaying the grit, determination, and gracelessness of an inverted, ruptured tortoise attempting to right itself. Seriously considered just giving up and wetting the bed, but suspected that might prove legitimate grounds for divorce, so eventually I just put a washcloth in my mouth and pretended I was a cowboy biting down on a hunk of rawhide as I lay wild-eyed and feverish on my saddle, while the chuckwagon cook squatted in the flickering glow of the campfire and used a jackknife and a toasting fork to dig an arrowhead out of my back.

Finally, it came free (which is to say, I got a foot on the floor and a hand on the night stand). Cookie staunched the blood flow with a sweaty neckerchief, then the Trail Boss pulled out the harness strap I'd nearly bitten in half and allowed me a long, grateful pull of whiskey before they rolled me over and cauterized the wound with a branding iron. (Side effects may include pain, infection, unmanly shrieking, persistent scar tissue, and the tendency to be mistaken for a steer while standing in a bucolic environment. Ask your doctor if branding is right for you.)

However, now that I'm upright enough to swallow a pill without choking, I'm finding that helpful meds are helpful, and the pain is less constant, and more like brief, intense floggings with a cat o'nine tails, so I'll probably be switching to "The Story of O" fantasy for the remainder of the day.

April 7

Today's Beast With One Malfunctioning Back report begins with the Riddle of the Sphinx: "What moves on four legs in the morning, on two legs at noon, and on three legs in the evening?" If you answered, "Man," then you correctly guessed that A) I finally answered one of those spam emails for Male Enhancement, or B) I shamefacedly asked Mary to buy me a cane so I can make it from my desk to the bathroom. In related news, a lion with the head of a woman just burst into flames somewhere, and I say Good Riddance, because I think these Monsanto genetic modification products have just gotten out of hand.

So the bottom line is, things are much worse today. I can't straighten up, the meds are barely touching the pain, and I may have to sleep in the recliner tonight, because Mary's back at work tomorrow and I can't get out of bed unassisted. On the bright side, I did manage to slip a Sophocles reference into my daily bitchfest about my back, so while I'm whiny, I'd also edifying.

Okay, this is now officially the most self-indulgent post I've ever written, having navel-gazed all the way through to my backbone, but I wanted you guys to know why I haven't made good on my promise of more regular posts, and why any future posts over the next few days may sound a little on the opiate-assisted side.