Friday, May 27, 2016

S.Z. Presents: Cashin' In On Cats!

[Stolen from Sheri's Facebook page]

My new kid's book:

If you give a cat a bite from your sandwich, maybe a bit of ham, he will want another piece, and then another. And then the ham will be all gone, and he will want more, so you give him some cheese. And when the cheese is all gone, you will give him a piece of lettuce, and he will look disgusted, and leave it on the carpet, where you will step on it. The end.

Except that it's not. This will happen EVERY TIME you eat a sandwich. And soon the dog will want to get in on the act, and you will have to deal with doggie eyes every time you eat. Eventually, all you will get to eat will be soggy lettuce and maybe some bread that the dog didn't want. So, you have the idea of giving the mouse a cookie so that the cat will eat him instead of your sandwich. But the mouse will just join forces with the dog and the cat, and you will die of starvation.


Thursday, May 26, 2016

Happy Birthday, Hank! I Got You Another Head! Again!

Yesterday was the natal anniversary of Wo'C film critic and memoirist Hank (grouchomarxist) Parmer, but I wasn't feeling up to sitting at the computer searching for glamorous reptiles and disgusting casserole dishes from the 1950s. However, I did entice my ancient laptop to boot up, so I was able to lie on the bed and power-snort The Manster.

Now why, I hear you ask, would someone who's already in pain subject themselves to that cheap, Made in Japan sushi roll combo of film noir and creature feature? Because I believe in Tradition, with a capital "T", and last year I reviewed The Thing With Two Heads for Hank's birthday, thus the theme of Dual Overhead Heads has already been established. Also, I was on opioids, so if this movie was ever gonna make sense, now was the time.

The Manster (1959)
Directed by George Breakston, Kenneth G. Crane
Written by George Breakston (story), Walt Sheldon

We’re in Japan. You can tell because the doors are made of paper, three ladies are bathing in a frog pond, and a geisha is powdering her neck. Suddenly, the silhouette of Moon-Watcher, the bone-tossing hominid from 2001: A Space Odyssey arrives and hits the Geisha so hard she’s reduced to a Rorschach Blot on the rice paper (Hm...I see my Mother, who told me I’d never amount to anything if I sat inside all weekend watching crappy movies. So as blots go, it’s kind of a smug one).

Cut to the credits (just so you know, all the characters are fictional, and no Geishas were harmed in the making of this movie). Cut back to the Frog Pond, where all three ladies are dead, freeing up an ecological niche for the frogs to fill, and leading to their eventual attempt to conquer the world in Frogs (1972). Spoiler alert: it doesn’t go every well, but they do manage to conquer Ray Milland, which is more than I’ve ever done with my life. Dammit, Mother you were right! You were always right! Why must you torment me?!

A Japanese man, Dr. Suzuki, scales a matte painting of Mount Fuji, until he reaches a remote cabin. Dr. Suzuki’s pencil mustache and mountain-climbing business suit makes him seem untrustworthy, an impression reinforced when his slinky Eurasian secretary, Tara, hands him a pistol and says his ten-thirty is waiting. He goes down to the basement and finds another employee, a half-mad woman with half a face. He apologizes for deforming her on the job, but reminds her there’s a risk with any new technology, and she did sign the Apple Terms of Service. He finds Moon-Watcher, who was once the doctor’s brother but is now just a “failed experiment,” and shoots him. Then Suzuki bathes the body in a jet of steam, presumably to get the wrinkles out, since they’ve got to have the gorilla suit back to Crash Corrigan by five.

A Caucasian man climbs the same mountain, moving in a stiff, awkward manner that is later explained when he opens his mouth and we realize he’s Jeff Tracy, the Dad from THUNDERBIRDS.

Jeff is a reporter who’s come to interview Dr. Suzuki, but he’s terrible at his job because he spends the whole time talking about himself, and his wife back in New York, and how he’s so great because he’s caught so little V.D. in Japan. The Doctor roofies Jeff to shut him up, then sticks him with a needle full of Manster-making juice.

Jeff awakes and says he has to return to Tokyo, but Suzuki insists that he drink a lot of Scotch first, because while legally intoxicated may not be the safest way to descend a steep mountain, it’s potentially the fastest.

Back at the office, Jeff gets a call from his wife, Linda, a breathy bottle blonde in a filmy peignoir who talks to him while staring at three separate reflections of herself in a tri-fold mirror. It’s a needlessly weird, arty shot, but it did give me insight into what it would have been like if The Prisoner had starred Eva Gabor.

Jeff professes his undying love to Linda, then goes to a geisha house with Dr. Suzuki where he gets plowed on sake, loudly forces his opinions on everyone, and bangs a hostess. I was a little peeved at the Japanese filmmakers for trafficking in this crude stereotype of the ugly American, but then I remembered this movie was a Japanese-American co-production, so maybe it’s only half racism and half self-loathing.  Besides, the Ugly American is actually an Englishman only pretending to be American, so I guess my beef is actually with the U.K., but if I punched out the first Brit I saw and shouted, “That's for Manster!”, it might be hard to explain at the police station.

Instead of flying home to his whispery, three-faced wife, Jeff goes on a weeklong bender with Suzuki and gets progressively more unshaven and surly. It all climaxes at a hot springs hotel where Jeff shares a mineral bath with Tara, the doctor’s secretary, and has an implied climax.

Things are going great for Jeff, what with all the boozing and the man-slutting, but every time someone touches his shoulder it triggers a Theramin, so it’s not all gravy. Then he and Tara waltz into his apartment and find Linda waiting there, and we settle in for a big juicy dramatic scene about love and honor and fidelity. Except Jeff just grabs Tara and announces, “Well I’ll just go bang her somewhere else, then!”, and waltzes back out, leaving Linda feeling deeply betrayed that she memorized all those lines for nothing.

Before we can get to the extramarital loving, however, Jeff develops a touch of arthritis and his shoulder starts playing the score from Forbidden Planet, so he goes back home to have it out with Linda.

Suddenly, he comes down with the heartbreak of Hairy Hand, and it looks like we’re finally about to get a monstrous transformation. (And none too soon. It’s 30 minutes into the movie, and aside from that pre-credit geishacide, there’s been very little monster in this monster movie. So far the experience has consisted entirely of me watching an unpleasant British guy enjoy massive amounts of sex, drugs, and alcohol, and if that’s what I was into I’d turn this off and go watch that HBO documentary on the Rolling Stones.)

But when Jeff starts choking her with his hideously mutated hand, Linda decides she’d really rather not, and goes into the other room. It’s a brilliant strategy for not getting killed, and I don’t know why more potential monster victims don’t do it, although if you flee into the bathroom, take a magazine.

Jeff goes to confession with a Shinto priest, but winds up killing him because the priest’s bald cap is wrinkly and badly applied. Then he seems to fall into a pattern:  By night he wanders the streets, while his mutant hand strangles every women he runs into. But by day he must confine his murderous appendage to an oven mitt, which makes him sulky and alcoholic.

Jeff’s editor Ian brings over a psychiatrist to see why his star reporter has been turning into a Supermarionation Mr. Hyde, but Jeff doesn’t want to talk because he’s busy growing an eyeball on his shoulder, and to hear him cry and fuss it must hurt like an ingrown pimple.

 Later, Jeff squeezes a little Visine onto his trapezius and goes to visit the psychiatrist. But apparently mutations are like menstruation – there’s never a good time for it to happen – and while leafing through the old Highlights magazines in the waiting room, Jeff grows fangs and a spare head.

He kills the shrink, then runs around Tokyo and tosses empty cardboard boxes at police officers, because apparently the new head is in charge and it’s an idiot. To be fair, however, this sequence leads to the one cool shot in the movie: two cops hear a bell tolling, and run around a corner to find the body of a third police officer draped over the wooden striker as it gently swings against a temple bell.

Not that this one image makes up for the preceding 54 minutes, but credit where credit is due. Now back to the stupid monster.

Linda goes to Jeff’s apartment, and finds him hiding behind a curtain. 

"Heeeeeeere's Johnnies!"

He begins killing her, but once again Linda decides that she’d simply rather not die, and he respects her choice and instead jumps out the window and resumes killing cops. I know Jeff and Linda are going through a bad patch, but when you factor out his infidelities, homicidal rage, and extra head, they do seem to have a mutually respectful relationship that really works.

Tara and Dr. Suzuki, on the other hand, are having a tougher time of it. She gives him a knife so he can commit suicide, then rats him out to the cops, while he goes down to the basement and shoots the deformed lady, who we learn used to be his wife. Meanwhile, two-headed Jeff scrambles up Mt. Fuji, which causes it to suddenly erupt, I guess because his monster make-up isn’t very convincing and that’s how mountains do spit-takes.

Jeff coldcocks Tara, then interrupts Dr. Suzuki’s suicide. Suzuki stabs Jeff with a syringe containing the antidote, while Jeff stabs Suzuki with a knife containing death.

Jeff carries Tara outside so she won’t miss the climax, then splits into two separate beings: himself, and his Evil Self, which looks like Sid and Marty Krofft started designing a character, then got bored and went to lunch.

Jeff wrestles with his Evil Self just long enough to allow the director to legitimately claim that he made a film about Cartesian Dualism, then Evil Jeff pushes Tara off a cliff, so Jeff shoves Evil Jeff, sending his alibi plummeting into the abyss. I guess we know which head wound up with custody of the brain.

The cops carry Jeff off on a stretcher, while his editor looks into the camera and delivers an Ed Woodian speech about the evil and good in all Jeffs, everywhere. The end.

So there we go. Unlike kaiju movies from this era, which were metaphors for the devastation suffered by Japan during World War II, The Manster -- although filmed in Japan with a local crew -- was made from the perspective of the occupying power, so this appears to be an allegory about V.D. Go to a geisha house for a little head, come back to your wife with another head -- and a big headache. But if you part with your evil ways, the hairier half of you will push your mistress off a cliff, and you'll get a restorative shot of penicillin and a boring lecture from your boss.

Or maybe the producers realized that if you put a Don Post werewolf mask on a styrofoam wig-stand and spirit-gummed it to a stunt man's shoulder, you'd could make a really cheap monster. In the end, I suppose the question of how deeply one should delve into the themes and symbolic imagery of The Manster depends on how much this paper counts toward our final grade.

But Hank is not a monster -- nor a Manster -- as anyone who's read his work can clearly tell (and if you haven't dipped into his writings, click on the "Hank Parmer" label to the right, and enjoy). He's also a kind pet owner, a loving husband, and as far as I know, free of most major social diseases. So if you're trapped underground in a huge experimental mining machine, menaced by lava, and tempted to call International Rescue, I'd suggest calling Hank instead. At least he's not distracted by periodic discharge.

Please join me in wishing Hank a very happy and slightly belated birthday. And of course...
Sexy Birthday Lizard(s)!

Saturday, May 21, 2016


I'm driving the bus this episode, and in the grand tradition of comic book supervillainry, it's made me go MAD with POWER! Fortunately, Mary is there to give me marital side-eye when things threaten to get out of hand, and we're joined by the same panel that suffered through Batman v. Superman -- Indy McDaniel, Blanche Ramirez, and John Szura -- because this week's Unknown Movie is BvS's non-evil twin, Captain America: Civil War.

In between there is much chat (come for the Disney snuff films, stay for the luchador proctologists), an unexpected musical, and two post credit scenes.  Click on the title below to check it out.
The Slumgullion Episode 8 “Make Mine Marvel” 
Starring Scott Clevenger and Jeff Holland 
With Indy McDaniel, Mary Clevenger, John Szura and Blanche Ramirez 
Special Appearance by Jim Moon 
Music by James Barkley and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir 
We begin with Jeff and Scott discovering the true reason behind the technical difficulties of late. Then, live from an abandoned building in upstate New York, Indy, John, Mary, and Blanche join Scott for the usual fan geeky chat of Act 1 then, after a surprisingly appropriate musical number, they dive into Captain America Civil War.  Where is Jeff, you may ask?  Where indeed. 
Needless to say, foul language and spoilers abound. 
NOTE:  You might want to make sure you listen to the whole episode.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Chad Everett IS The Bible in...Medical Center!

So in answering the spam email from Doug Hill, Director of the Laissez Faire Club, I thought I was digging for laughs in a particularly dark, dank, and water-damaged sub-basement of the Deep Web. But it turns out that the Biblical Diabetes Cure is a known thing, at least to people to who know things, by which of course I mean s.z., who knows all, sees all, and/or can look up all on Google. She wrote:
The spammer clearly didn't do his market research, because instead of trying to sell you Daniel's Secret Diabetes Cure, he should have tempted you with "BEDROOM SECRET #13: 3 secret nuts turn you into a tiger in the bedroom. Titillating research from the International Journal of Impotence Research shows it’s possible to thrill her with pants-bursting erections without resorting to drugs." And it, along with the cure for cancer, another cure for cancer, a cure for heart disease, and a bunch more cures for cancer, is all in "The Little Book of 77 Censored Bible Cures." Or something like that. Anyway, here's the link.
So I followed the link, and discovered the following "HEALTH SHOCKER":
About six months ago a researcher of mine came to me with a bizarre rumor…
You might wonder who owns the researcher who fetched this bizarre rumor. It's "Brad Lemley, Chief Health Officer, Brad Lemley’s Natural Health Solutions", which appears to be a subsidiary or tributary or dangling participle of Laissez Faire Books.
He showed me an alternative treatment that was taking the diabetes world by storm …
A radical new approach (inspired by page 1117 of the King James Bible) that enables you to cure type 2 diabetes without any of the traditional methods.
This researcher showed me story after story of everyday Americans using this secret to return their blood sugar back to healthy levels…

And effectively begin to cure themselves of type 2 diabetes in as few as 3 days…with a reported success rate of nearly 100% when done correctly.

Just listen:

Mary H from Toronto, Canada, in less than a year, completely transformed her health with this biblically inspired treatment.

After a lifetime of failed diets and diabetes complications, she turned to “Daniel’s Diabetic Miracle" with her doc to lose over 65 pounds cut 6 inches off her waist and get completely off her type 2 diabetes medications!
Okay, this sounded a little too good to be true, so I did a bit of digging, and guess what? It's even more amazing than it originally seemed, because Mary from Toronto managed to lose 65 pounds and 6 inches and cure her diabetes, all while pursuing a busy career as a stock photo model!

But there's more!
Or meet Sean C.--
After being completely written off the by medical community – Sean used “Daniel’s Diabetic Miracle” to not only lose 50 pounds…
But to heal a whole host of other ailments. 
Including vaginal dryness, which he didn't even know he had!
He wrote, 
"I went back to my doctor. After bloodwork, he babbled like a child with a new toy. He was beside himself with astonishment: "It worked!"
And the best part of the story? Sean pulled off a whole host of ailment-healing, all while doing his taxes!
No...the difference is you, Sean!
So how in the world could there be a cure for this treatment buried in ancient scripture written over 2,500 years ago?
Probably in the same way The Omega Code claimed the Bible is actually a three-dimensional computer program that only makes sense if you read it on the Holodeck, and that's impossible because Picard is always gadding about in there dressed up as Robin Hood or some crap.
And, if this biblical treatment is so effective, why you haven’t you heard of it?
Because it's on page 1117! Who even gets that far in the Bible? In fact, God probably hid it there just to test us. So if you've got diabetes, you probably nodded off in Sunday School; if you don't, then you're either truly devout, or you've spent a lot of time in motels with poor TV reception.
My name, by the way, is Brad Lemley…
"I'm the Ed Begley, Sr. son they don't talk about..."
Imagine…Enjoying a fat juicy steak, large beer or even a decadent piece of cheese completely guilt free.
Ooh, a piece of cheese! Imagine the decadence!
Here’s the full story… 
Bible Turning almost 100 years of Diabetic Dogma on its Head? 
The first thing you need to know is this: 
Daniel’s Diabetic Miracle is no quack science. 
In fact, entire medical clinics are popping up all over the world dedicated to using this principle to naturally defeat this 21st century plague. 
Places like the Buchinger Clinic in Germany,

Little known fact: the German word for "Emergency" is apparently "Emergency."

In addition to being a Teutonic pop-up hospital dedicated to the replacement of insulin therapy with bible verses, Buchinger Clinic has an identical twin famous for its pest control problem.
These medical clinics have discovered that by using biblically inspired principles many people are naturally healing themselves from type 2 diabetes. 
Take Michael Mosley MD. 
Being a doctor, Mike had nearly every drug at his disposal…
And in his system.
"I’m not a religious person but I do believe that the world’s religions have a lot to teach us. [Daniel's Diabetic Miracle] is the first thing I’ve come across that I genuinely believe if everyone took up it could radically transform the nation’s health.”
Correction: The phrase in brackets should read "[horse tranquilizer]". World O' Crap regrets the error.

Well, it's getting late, there's about three feet more of this web page to scroll, and I haven't even gotten to the Cancer Beaters, Heart Disease Cures, or Bedroom Secrets, so I think we'll leave it there for now. And remember: if you want to avoid "Raging fungal infections" and "Amputations", talk to your local Stock Photo Model and see if page 1117 of the King James Version is right for you.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

With Special Guest Villain...Me!

My friend and co-host on The Slumgullion, Jeff Holland, has been cheating on me with another podcast -- a fun little side project he cooked up called The Writers Block, which I like to describe as "Storytellers telling stories about storytelling."

Recently, Jeff invited me to appear on the second episode as a guest, which was exciting, partly because he had to be polite to me and let me use the nice towels, but mostly because I got to share the mic with the multitalented Larry Blamire, playwright, screenwriter, and director of brilliantly funny films such as Lost Skeleton of Cadavra, Dark And Stormy Night, and Trail of the Screaming Forehead.

Check it out; it's brief, but packed full of insights and outrages.
Writer’s Block Episode Two “Larry Blamire and Scott Clevenger” 
What happens when Jeff gets to talk to the writer/director/star of several of his favorite films? He turns into a babbling idiot. Thankfully, his Slumgullion co host Scott Clevenger is there to ground him and ask some intelligent questions. 
Strap in. This one’s a lot of fun.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Ask Dr. Bible!

While some of the spam I receive consists of partisan political appeals (I'm looking at you NRA, and you, Reince Priebus), most of it is ecumenical in nature and clearly designed to lure the broadest possible range of Americans -- by which I mean rubes, patsies, and morons -- irrespective of party or religious affiliation. But today's random phishing expedition is rather narrowly focused, and seems to have been purpose-built to entice one specific demographic: libertarian Old Testament scholars.
Science Proves Biblical Cure (Atheists Stunned)
Reconstruction of the crime scene confirms that an atheist was stunned, but CSI believes it was a blunt instrument -- possibly a folding shovel -- rather than a peer reviewed paper on the Honey and Locust Diet.
Dear Reader,
So far I'm more of a Skimmer, Mr. Scammer, but do go on...
I just came across some research you need to check out…
Granted, I'm no constitutional expert, but I'm pretty sure random spammers are not legally entitled to assign me homework.
Although this is a little out of character for me, take a look at the picture below…
There was no picture below, which ironically, is totally in character for you. Or I forgot to enable images, which would be totally in character for me. Anyway, it's ironic.
It’s a detailed look at one of one of the most controversial passages in the entire Bible.
"If she sends one of yours to the mikveh, you send one of hers to the menstrual hut. That's the Canaanite way!" (Modess 3:16)
Its meaning has been studied and examined for thousands of years, but recently, scientists have linked this passage with something no one could have imagined.
Toaster pudding! It came as a surprise to everyone...
In a shocking twist, researchers may be looking to the Bible to cure one of our deadliest diseases.
Or researchers may be looking to Bob to make the Starbucks run because it's like 10:30 already and yes it is your turn Bob, because you skipped out on it last time, and no I don't care if you had a dentist's appointment. Learn to schedule around your responsibilities, Bob!

Look, the point is, it may be a shocking twist, it may be caffeine withdrawal -- we just don't know. Researchers are inscrutable that way.
Thanks to a misunderstood phrase buried on Page 1,117 of the King James Bible… people from across the country are miraculously curing themselves of diabetes…
While people who correctly interpret the phrase are still suffering from foot ulcers and renal failure. So while the Scientific Method has proven useful in certain fields of study, the greatest advances in medical science continue to be achieved through poor reading comprehension.
Sometimes in as little as 3 days!
So misread the Bible, head to Bonneroo, and by the time Tiki Disco is closing out the festival, you'll be diabetes free!
Atheists hate this… but they can’t refute it.
ATHEIST: Your ability to scientifically misunderstand Early Modern English translations of Greek and Latin translations of Hebrew and Aramaic transcriptions of Bronze Age oral traditions has left me in a logical cleft stick from which I have but one way out!
See full details here.
tl;dr: Does not actually contain full details of the Biblical diabetes cure, but you will learn a fair amount about what identity theft feels like.
You may never look at your family Bible the same way again.
That's already the case, since I'm a modern, technically savvy man, and I had our Super8 home movies transferred to VHS, and our family Bible transferred to View-Master slide wheels; and believe me, you've never misunderstood the the Good Book until you've misunderstood it in 3-D!
Doug Hill
Director, Laissez Faire Club
P.S. If you have any atheist friends, show them this and watch their faces.
They should light up with either hilarity or pity, depending on whether they think you're in on the joke.  Then show them Doug's face...
...and see where they think he falls on the Voit-AMF Punchability Scale. (Personally, I thinks he ranks a solid 500 -- 1 for every poor sap who's accidentally clicked "Yes" on one of Doug's LinkedIn friend requests.)

So there you go. Please join us next week, when we'll be curing shingles and jock itch by mispronouncing verses 591 through 603 of the Bhagavad Gita.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

To Be Young, Gifted, and Black Enough to Annoy Kurt Schlichter

Kurt Schlichter is still bitter about lower primates getting higher educations. The first time the subject came up, he was peeved that Obama wanted to send poor kids to junior college, and insisted that anyone who benefited from such a program should be hazed. Not by Axe-scented Alpha bros with six pack abs, but by middle-aged white men with weak chins, and dewlaps that angrily swell and throb like the throat sac of a Sumatran siamang; so what Kurt is really proposing is the world's worst remake of Animal House.

Long story short: if you want the chance to earn an Associates degree in Business Administration even though you can't afford tuition, then you're going to have to wash Kurt's car. I'm sorry, but that's just the way life works -- apparently somebody slipped an amendment into the G.I. Bill when I wasn't paying attention -- and put a little elbow grease into the rims this time, wouldja?  But as Kurt has recently discovered, there's more to this outrage than just the prospect of underprivileged youths getting sent to a community college instead of a car wash. Now we're faced with the threat of privileged Black kids whose parents are paying for them to go to Harvard! And there's no way Malia Obama is going to cream and buff Kurt's BMW.
Usually, the admission of another rich child of privilege to the selective liberal finishing school known as Harvard is a non-story. But in the case of Malia Obama, it provides yet another example of the cynical elitism of modern liberals.
I think Kurt is confused here, because my elitism is idealistic, and my cynicism is egalitarian. But then, I'm an old fashioned liberal.
FULL STOP: This is where liberal liars will try to distract you from the glaring hypocrisy of the elite by accusing me of attacking the innocent child of Barack Obama. It’s unclear whether this reflexive misdirection is the result of them being too stupid to understand an argument or whether they are simply falling back on their default move, dishonesty, or whether it is some combination of both. I’m better on the latter.
Don't be hard on yourself, Kurt. You may be better on dishonesty, but you're no slouch on stupidity.
Now, Malia may well be fully qualified for Harvard in the way some other young person would need to be – through grades, activities and talents. We don’t know, any more than we know her father’s grades at any of the revered institutions of higher indoctrination he allegedly attended.
Allegedly. Birtherism may have lost steam, but there's still time to sow doubt about whether Obama actually went to school. After all, unless he becomes the first President to publish his college transcripts, how would we ever know for sure? Back in junior high I got a D in algebra once and hid my report card from my dad, and he naturally assumed I'd been skipping school to go undermine neo-colonialism in Africa.
 But what is interesting was the immediate assumption on social media that her admittance was something to congratulate her on, as if there was any doubt that the daughter of a rich, liberal president was going to get into whatever elite college she chose. She’s not a student; she’s a status symbol. Take that, Yale!
This custom humans have of congratulating one another on good news is baffling. Recently, a friend of mine passed his fortieth year, and people where all over Facebook wishing him Happy Birthday as if there was any doubt that a 39-year old man was going to turn 40 if he didn't drop dead.

Anyway, Kurt's not attacking the innocent child of Barack Obama, he's merely reducing her to an emoji.
And take that, West Point! The special snowflakes of the elite don’t join the military. 
Kurt frequently claims to have been in the Army, so I guess I'll have to take his word for it that it's populated primarily by idiots.
No, the elite’s spawn’s glorious presence on our soil is service enough. Tens of thousands of regular Americans will earn their GI Bill carrying rifles in places that will not appear on any rich kid’s itinerary. In contrast, Malia will spend her “gap year” in a festival of self-actualization traveling the world unraveling the mystery that is Malia.
This isn't a political column, it's a high school slam book. What happened, Kurt? Did you ask Malia to the Enchantment Under the Sea dance and get humiliatingly rebuffed in the hallway while the Glee Club looked on and tittered?

Anyway, Obama should start a fresh war, so his daughter will have somewhere to go fight without having to take the Bush Twins sloppy seconds. Okay, they didn't exactly hump M-4s through Anbar Province, but they did follow the example of Red Cell and test the security of the Dallas Chi-Chis, thereby preventing potential terrorists from getting drunk on margaritas with fake I.D.s.
It’s odd that the left is not recoiling to the shameful elitism this latest example demonstrates. It really shows that the Sanders insurgency was less about reforming the system than about the suckers demanding a few more scraps from the elite’s table. All they wanted was to be bought off with subsidized college. They were not interested in overturning the table; they simply wanted a place at it.
ADMISSIONS OFFICER: Ah, a poor Latino. I assume you've come to burn down the university?

STUDENT: No, I'd just like to register for classes...

ADMISSIONS OFFICER: (SIGHS) Fine, fill this out... (MUTTERING) Hypocrite.
What is most shameful is how the elite talks such a great game about education and the plight of inner city minority children, then leaves those same kids to the mercy of incompetent hacks in schools mired in chaos and dysfunction. The elite chooses the unions over the kids every single time because union slugs vote and contribute and little black kids in the inner city don’t.
As the spouse of an inner city school teacher, I hope you won't mind if I just pop in here for one sec Kurt and invite you to go fuck yourself. Because that's the most Libertarian way to have sex.
So congratulations, Malia, on your golden ticket into the elite. Good for you – in the sense that everything liberals like your parents do will be good for you and for people like you. Everyone else, though? Well, we don’t matter.
There’s your first lesson in liberalism. See, just because you take a gap year doesn’t mean you can’t learn something.
This has also been your first lesson in Adult Onset Petulance. Maybe take part of your gap year and help organize a telethon.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Special Monday Beast Blogging Featuring Guest Cat: Sydney!

Wrong Place, Wrong Time

By Keith

Starring Sydney, the Cat.

Wherever she might nap, surprise is all but certain and not necessarily welcome.

Sid, that tub hasn't been cleaned in weeks. It has soap-scum ... and mildew! And I have to take a shower STAT, cat.

I just brought those towels in from the dryer. Don't suppose you want to pass one over,'eh?

"Would you like that towel hot or lightly steamed?"

Sidney, how the hell am I supposed to shave? OK, I give up, it's Norelco today.

"Not likely to help, Buster. You don't look so hot this morning."

Oh Sydney. We could never stay angry at you!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Bill S. Presents: The 6th Annual Mommy Dearest Awards!

Mother's Day is once again here, and it's time have a look at some moms in movies and TV who leave us grateful for the ones we have.


Meredith Jones (Charlotte Rampling) in Georgy Girl (1966). So beautiful on the outside that men trip over themselves to get her attention. On the inside she has ice water in her veins -- she's so cold and soulless you practically root for her husband to cheat on her with the plain (by movie standards) Georgy. After giving birth to her daughter, she feels absolutely nothing, except revulsion. She ignores the baby's crying, won't hold her or touch her -- it's just as well, the child would probably get frostbite. When she ditches the kid and lets Georgy raise her, it turns out to be the best thing for all concerned.

Eve (Geraldine Page) in Interiors (1978) You can tell what her personality is like by her wardrobe: white, black, grey and -- for a more festive mood -- gray. So judgmental and critical that at one point she even complains that her daughter is breathing too hard. So, not exactly a life force.

Mari Hoff (Brenda Blethyn) in Little Voice (1988) A boozy, man-hungry loudmouth, she's a bit like Shelly Winters in A Patch of Blue. Her house is a deathtrap of faulty electrical wiring, with garbage strewn from one end to the other, and fridge full of expired or rotting food. And she treats her daughter with the same level of neglect, failing to even notice how special and talented she is. For me the most telling moment is in their final confrontation, when Mari calls her daughter "Little Voice"(her pet name for the soft-spoken girl), and her daughter angrily corrects her: "It's Laura!" The stunned look on Mari's face suggests that she seems to have actually forgotten this.

Mother Gothel (Donna Murphy) in Tangled (2010) In this Disney retelling of "Rapunzel", Gothel holds Rapunzel captive because the girl's tresses have healing powers; they can also restore youth and beauty. Unlike many other Disney villains, Gothel doesn't have any magic powers -- just a talent for manipulation and emotionally blackmailing Rapunzel. She does this chiefly by lying to her about the dangers of the outside world. Her worst lie, of course, is telling her "daughter" she loves her. Sadly, Rapunzel believes this, even when Gothel's true motives are revealed. That's why Rapunzel is upset when Gothel falls from the tower to her death, even reaching out to try and save her. (Has there ever been another Disney movie where a villain's death was treated this way?)

[From Scott: Well, the Evil Queen fell to her death at the climax of Disney's first feature, Snow White (1937), but nobody seemed to give a crap.]

Amy Dunne, AKA "Amazing Amy"(Rosamund Pike) in Gone Girl (2014) Doesn't actually become a mother until the end of the movie, when it's revealed she's pregnant. By that times, we've seen the hell she's put her husband through, and the horrible things she's capable of, including murder. We shudder to imagine what's in store for any kid she might have.


Sutton (Diana Rigg) on You, Me & the Apocalypse. Walking away from the funeral of her eldest son Jude, she bemoans the tragedy of a child dying before his parents. We'd think she was heartbroken if she had a heart to begin with. She murdered her husband, then faked her death for 30 years, leaving her two younger children -- twins Scotty and Rhonda -- orphaned at five, and living in poverty. With the world about to come to an end, she now attempt to track down her family, in the hopes of bringing them to an underground bunker where they might survive. But even that's not enough to make her children too eager to see her. Scotty has to be physically dragged into the bunker because he'd rather die in the apocalypse than see her again.

"My little Scotty bear...I know you have reason to be suspicious of me..."

Indeed he does. Unbeknownst to him and the rest of the family, Sutton's only motive for giving them shelter is to use them for blood transfusions she'll need to keep on living.

BONUS BAD MOM: Mary Conroy (Anastasia Hille), the mother of twins Jamie and Ariel, might be forgiven for leaving infant Jamie in a box in a parking lot, being as how she's nuttier than a Payday bar. But she also let Ariel know, every day of his life, that he was second best -- that Jamie was the special one. And that, more than anything, probably turned him into the evil bastard he grew up to be.

My final entry on this list is somewhat bittersweet, because was portrayed by the incomparable Doris Roberts, who passed away last month at the age of 90. Doris was a veteran of film and television for 65 years. She's best known for her multiple Emmy-winning role of Marie Barone on the sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond. Over the years she's played a number of mom roles, usually dotty, doting ladies who shower their kids with praise and stuff their faces with home-cooked meals.

And then there's the role that puts her on this list: Flo Flotsky on Soap. The mother of young, conflicted priest Timothy Flotsky (AKA Father Tim) only appeared in four episodes, but it was more than enough to land a spot in the Worst Sitcom Mom Hall of Fame. At first, she seems like a typical Doris Roberts role; when Tim comes to visit, she has a pan of lasagna at the ready. But when Tim tells her he plans to leave the priesthood to marry childhood sweetheart Corinne Tate, her reaction is not what he hoped.

God may forgive Tim for leaving the priesthood, but Mama Flotsky isn't going to. When her son brings his fiancé home to meet her, Flo's first impulse is to try and strangle the girl the second Tim leaves the room. TWICE.

"You want my blessing? Is that what you came for? Okay, I'll give you my blessing. This is my blessing: May you never have a happy moment again for the rest of your life. And if you marry, may you know no such thing as peace and quiet. May you only know suffering and hardship and loss. And may you know this until your dying day -- that whatever misfortunes happen, are on your head!"

CORINNE: I can't believe it!

TIM: Neither can I. Actually, she took it better than I thought she would.

She does attend the wedding -- dressed in black -- but only to disrupt the service and cause a scene before being forcibly removed from the church. She then disrupts their honeymoon by calling Tim up ("Mom, it's our wedding night, of course she's here!") and tells him she's had "an attack" of some kind. Tim isn't convinced (she's threatened to die once too many times before), but caves in to guilt and finally arrives at her bedside. This time she makes good on her promise, and drops dead. But not before getting a few final nasty digs at her son and daughter-in-law.

That was the last we saw of Flo Flotsky, but, thankfully, not the last we saw of Doris Roberts. She went on to rack up 11 Emmy nominations, winning five times. For all the laughs (and tears -- her first Emmy win was for her portrayal of a homeless woman on "St. Elsewhere"), we thank you, Doris, and we'll miss you.

And a Happy Mother's Day to any mom reading this!

-Bill S.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

The Artificially Sweetened Blood of Jesus

We've got another episode of The Slumgullion for you, and this one On the bright side, we have a great guest -- BAFTA-winning video game writer Graham Reznick, who's a delight -- but I will freely admit that the Unknown Movie hit us both like the tamping iron that pierced Phineas Gage's frontal lobe.

You thought we were a little pissy about Cronenberg's Rabid? Just wait'll you hear us on the subject of Spike Lee's Da Sweet Blood of Jesus.

Click the title below and taste copper.

Jeff Holland and Scott Clevenger THOUGHT their Divinely inspired technical difficulties were over. They were wrong. First, five minutes of their chat with video game Until Dawn writer Graham Reznick goes the way of the dodo and mood rings. Then after a history lesson from Lin Manuel Miranda, they try to talk about Spike Lee’s Da Sweet Blood of Jesus and it does not go well for anyone. 
WARNING: While the Graham Reznick chat is a lot of fun and informative, the second half of this episode is filled with a lot of strong language and a lot of hate…a LOT of hate…and possible Divine retribution. We really don’t know.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

I Can Name That Idiot in One Note!

Jonah Goldberg has a new piece out, entitled Denationalizing our politics would help draw us together. Thanks to the title alone I feel like mocking it, but I don't really feel like reading it, so instead I'm going to try a little experiment:

My hypothesis is that the first sentence of any given article by Jonah contains more impacted stupidity than can be found in an entire 800 word column by, say, David Brooks or Ross Douthat. While depressing, this may become important later on, if we find that our strategic stupidity reserves have been depleted by too many lofty think pieces on the Trump campaign; and therefore it's my contention that the pundit class could conserve and stretch those dwindling resources by aping Jonah's use of rhetorical starch and powdered cheese, a technique known in journalism schools as "Stupidity Hamburger Helper."

Let's begin, shall we?
Nationalism and socialism are in full gallop in America today while conservatives are without a horse.
You might think that many of those espousing nationalism are conservatives, but look at that sentence again:
Nationalism and socialism are in full gallop in America today while conservatives are without a horse.
Now, remove the word "and" and toss it away, because conjunctions are basically just foam packing peanuts for sentences, designed to keep the subject and predicate from banging into each other and getting damaged in transit. Okay, what do we have?
Nationalism socialism are in full gallop in America today while conservatives are without a horse.
And who were National Socialists? Nazis! And what were Nazis? Liberals! As proven in Jonah's book, Liberal Fascism, Or: How to Randomly Combine Adjectives and Nouns Like You're Playing Mad-Libs.

I think we're getting somewhere! Let's keep going...

The next noun is "gallop." And what is a gallop? It's an organization that skews polls to make it appear liberals are winning. Therefore, going the "full gallop" means predicting a Hillary Clinton victory in the 2016 election, because only Nazis want her to be President.

Now we come to the last half of the sentence, "conservatives are without a horse." Why is this important? Because right wing activist Neal Horsley ran a website called the Nuremberg Files, identifying and targeting abortion providers -- essentially trying them in the press. And who else was tried at Nuremberg? That's right -- Nazis. And what else was Neal Horsley most famous for? Admitting that he liked to have sex with mules, which is sort of an off-brand horse. So basically, Jonah is saying that Hitler is rigging the presidential election for Hillary because Republicans can't get laid with farm animals, probably because of PETA.

Well, I think that's about all we're going to get out of it. I skimmed ahead through the rest of the article, but it's mostly stuff Jonah stole from some other guy's book, and what's the point of Second Hand Stupidity, if you don't get the nicotine buzz, just the cancer?  But feel free to pick your own sentence from his opus and overanalyze it in the comments.

ADDENDUM FROM S.Z.:  I am impressed and delighted with your Goldberg deconstruction (although I've heard that hydrofluoric acid will get rid of the rest). But I have one possible addition: some women with a certain facial type are called "horsefaced." And if you Google this term, whose name comes up most commonly? No, not Ann Coulter (she is not commonly associated with anything mammalian). It's Sarah Jessica Parker. So, an alternate reading is that while Hitler had his Eva Braun, and Matthew Broderick has Sarah Jessica, Jonah's wife is leaving him to campaign for Hillary. Or maybe she already has - I haven't kept up with Jonah's personal life.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Not Exactly Rabid Fans of RABID

Both our equipment and our lives have had some technical difficulties lately, but Episode 6 of The Slumgullion is out! (Please clap.)

This week, Jeff and I talk about David Cronenberg's 1977 body horror classic (?), Rabid, starring that cynosure of Porno Chic, Marilyn Chambers. I also do a dramatic reading Zach Synder's Man of Steel.

The Slumgullion Episode 6 “The Soskas are Going to Kill Us
• May 2, 2016 
Starring Jeff Holland and Scott Clevenger 
We take you back to a gentler time, when people still hated the Walking Dead finale and the Doctor Strange teaser hadn’t dropped yet.  The first half of the show goes by without incident, as Jeff and Scott do their usual pop culture tangent surfing. 
The break is another in depth solo review from Mr. Clevenger. 
The Unknown Movie Challenge this week is David Cronenberg’s Rabid, soon to be remade by the titular twins, and Jeff and Scott discover that the film has a mighty fan.
Please give it a listen, by clicking here. And as we say on the show, we're genuinely interested in opposing views, so if you think we missed the point of the film, or didn't go far enough in our criticism, feel free to comment here, and we'll read and address your thoughts on the next show.

And thanks, as always.