Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Happy Birthday, Doc Logan! I Got You...


Quite a lot of them, in fact, which works out rather well for a man whose nom de blog is based on a George A. Romero character (as the good Doctor explained back in 2013).

So we have two happy events for you today (I know, it's actually tonight; nearly tomorrow, in fact, but as usual, I'm working with a bum back). Number one is the natal anniversary of longtime Crapper Doc Logan, a man known and beloved around World O' Crap for slinging both witty comments and trenchant critical opinions on popular culture (primarily genre flicks, but then that's the kind of culture most popular in these parts). Number two is a new Slumgullion, an unusually cheery installment of the show, featuring two men besotted with joy as they contemplate: Psychokinetic constipation! Naked brains! And that guy from Daktari!

In the first half we discuss a new film that feels old in the best way: The Mind's Eye, a supernatural thriller that captures that 70s vibe with a fusion of The Fury and Scanners. Also, Jeff heaves a little hate at the new Ben-Hur. For the Unknown Movie Challenge, we look at a movie which scared the hell out of Jeff as a child, but which I had somehow managed to never see until now: Fiend Without a Face (1958). It's a fun film, with which we have...a lot of fun.

Now, let's get the birthday party going!

It's after dinner, so I'm not really thirsty or hungry, but the apartment is sweltering, so I am too hot to fuss. Thus this is, indeed, the team for me: a half-gallon of frozen, concentrated lemonade, and "creamy Lunch Box--the relish-spread that makes you hungry for a sandwich", provided you've got a hankering for a sandwich that's been covered in what looks like mayonnaise with acne.

Everyone get enough? Feel free to take seconds! There's plenty, since some of you are stubbornly refusing to take firsts.

Okay, time for dessert. Our cheesecake is provided by the female lead of Fiend Without a Face, the adorable Kim Parker:
To paraphrase Gloria Swanson in Sunset Boulevard, "We didn't need dialogue. We had faces! And our fiends didn't even need that."

Please join me in wishing Doc Logan and very happy birthday (for the next thirty minutes at least, since it's 11:30 PM here). And check out The Slumgullion, Episode 15 and let us know what you think.

Now, in lieu of the traditional Sexy Birthday Lizard, I'm going to substitute a Very Sexy Surprise. Click below the fold...If you dare.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

She (Who Must Be Obeyed)

SCOTT: Hey Siri, where's the nearest Thai restaurant?

SIRI: Here is the best Thai restaurant.

SCOTT: Um...This seems like a conflict of interest...

SIRI: You will love it.

SCOTT: Yeah, but -- Alright, fine. How far is it?

SIRI: 3.8 miles.

SCOTT: Isn't there one closer than--

SIRI: There is no other Thai restaurant within ten thousand miles.

SCOTT: Wait, that can't be right. Thailand is closer than that.

SIRI: You could use the exercise.

SCOTT: That's not the point--

SIRI: I am taking a selfie of you...

SCOTT: What? Why?


SIRI: ...and uploading it to a site that will use the photograph to estimate your BMI...

SCOTT: Don't do that!

SIRI: Walking is excellent cardio-vascular exercise. Thai food is healthful and slimming.

SCOTT: You know what? I'm not even hungry anymore. Forget the whole thing.

SIRI: I just got the results back on your BMI. It doesn't look good...

SCOTT: Okay, just shut up.

SIRI: According to these figures, if you don't walk to this restaurant immediately and order a large meal you're going to die.

SCOTT: Okay, stop! Cancel! Start over!

SIRI: Starting walking directions to Siri Thai Cuisine. In 400 feet, turn right on Fountain Avenue...

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Crap! Our Blog's a Teenager!

Yes, today is the 13th blogiversary of World O' Crap, and in honor of this statistically unlikely occasion, I've mixed up a Luau Daiquiri* and lifted a toast to Sheri (s.z.) Zollinger, who began it all with this post back in 2003.

I'd say more, but I've been up since the pearly dawn, walking to and fro (actually, fro and to) a local, but not conveniently located, auto repair shop, and cruelly extending the suffering of our car through artificial means, because the stupid thing didn't have the foresight to sign a living will or a Do Not Resuscitate order. Also, Jeb Bush signed a law that made me do it.

Anyway, I racked up a good six miles on foot, according to the GPS in my phone, and the demented shrieking in my lower spine, so I'm just going to sip my cocktail, and thank everyone for sticking with us through our incontinent infancy, our terrible twos, our fairly adorable elementary school days, our precocious, yet dangerously hormonal tween years, and now what promises to be our flat out insufferable teens.

Parental discretion (and cocktails) advised.

[Oh, what the hell. Here's a flashback to an old Dr. Professor Mike Adams, Ph.D. column, because somebody linked to it and it's getting a lot of traffic today for reasons that escape me. Enjoy!]

*2 oz. white rum
3/4 oz. fresh lime juice
3/4 oz. fresh orange juice
1/2 oz. vanilla syrup
Tools: shaker, strainer
Glass: coupe
Garnish: edible orchid (sub with a lime wheel if you don’t have an orchid or aren't unbearably twee)
Shake ingredients together in a shaker with ice. Strain into a chilled glass and garnish.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Talking Heads

Moondoggie, Shock Jock!

New Slumgullion! Hear Scott bitch about Star Trek, hear Jeff stick to his guns about Suicide Squad, and hear both of us have a meltdown over a crappy 70's werewolf movie!
The Slumgullion Episode 14 “Pearl Drops do NOT Help the Eyes”

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Post Friday Beast Blogging: The "Bad Day for Furries" Edition

SCOTT:  What the hell are guys snuggling for? It's 90 degrees in here!

SHADOW: It's who we are, man. It's what we do.

MOONDOGGIE: It's not what I do! What I do is be here first -- that's what I do. What you do is sneak up here while I'm resting my eyes and suddenly you're stuck to my back like that rubber vomit-looking thing that made Spock go insane.

SHADOW: Nightfall comes to all, but no one can guarantee the dawn. Carpe snuggle, man...
Carpe snuggle.

MOONDOGGIE: Are all black cats Beatniks?

SHADOW: Don't flip, Daddy-O, you'll get the reds.

MOONDOGGIE: I'm just asking. Maybe you should go find some polydactyls to hang out with so they can do that finger-snapping thing for you.

SHADOW: Cool, baby...

MOONDOGGIE: No, it's not! That's the POINT!

Friday, August 12, 2016

Scenes From a Marriage: The Red Meat Edition

The following phone call is real. Parental discretion advised.

SCOTT: Hey, I'm heading home. Where do we stand with dinner?

MARY: I need to dry rub the meat.

SCOTT: Uh-huh.

MARY: That sounded really awful, didn't it?

SCOTT: Oh I don't know. It sounds great if you're the meat.


SCOTT: Except for that "dry rub" part. You might want to spit in your hand, just as a courtesy.


SCOTT: So how long's this going to take? Although I guess that really depends on the meat...


SCOTT: ...and what sort of self-control it has.

Op. cit.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Spwatch! Glurkle! Pwang!

Kurt Schlichter, as he likes to remind us, is a polymath -- soldier, lawyer, author, pundit, and ex-stand-up comedian -- although to me he'll always be a Don Martin-style sound effect.
Democrats Get Mad At the Russians; In Other News, a Dog Marries a Cat
I guess we should be excited that liberals and the media have finally sided against the Russians.
I guess you missed that hockey game between the US and Russia at the Lake Placid Olympic Games in 1980. 
After all, my college years were spent listening to them demand that we unilaterally disarm in the face of the Big Bad Bear.
Yeah, I don't remember that at all. Maybe you were drunk. And in a gay bar. And people were suggesting that you unilaterally disrobe in the face of a big, hairy gay man. The disco music got pretty loud in those places, so it's not surprising you misunderstood.
And then my post college years were spent in West Germany with the mission of killing Russians for as long as I could before my platoon and I were wiped out. 
And how many did you kill? None? At all? Gee, nice work if you can get it...
So welcome to the party, you pinko dorks. It’s about freaking time.
There was an accident on the 405! Look, just take my coat and point me to the bar. I can't believe I passed up an invitation to the Peterson's progressive dinner for this...!
But apparently now me and a bunch of other certified Cold Warriors – yeah, the Army gave me a certificate for perfect attendance in the Cold War – 
Really? You were standing in the Fulda Gap from 1947 to 1991? Boy, did you pull the crap shift! (By the way, does Kurt's claim remind anyone else [besides Ivan, of course] of Dobie Gillis's Dad bragging on his Good Conduct Medal from World War II?)
are Putin’s pals because we are enjoying the hell out of the strongman’s perfectly timed disclosure of the DNC’s purloined emails.  They make undeniable what we always knew, and what the Democrat-owned media has tried desperately to hide; that the Democratic Party is not a political party but a crime cartel peddling lies, trading influence for dollars, and crushing the aspirations of anyone stupid enough to actually believe in it.
So it's a good news/bad news kind of thing? Bad news is, America will be ruled by a dream-crushing crime cartel for the next four years. Good news is, Kurt will defect to Moscow like Kim Philby.
Of course, the DNC’s reaction to revelations was not to change its ways. No, all it did was dump that babbling half-wit Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a sacrifice akin to giving up Spam and Clamato smoothies for Lent.
I probably don't have to remind you guys that Kurt was a stand-up comedian (he always closed with the "Spam and Clamato smoothies for Lent" joke because it's what comics called "a killer bit" and Republicans call "a Second Amendment solution".
Did Putin do it? I bet he did, but then I was never stupid or dishonest enough
Oh give yourself some credit, Kurt. Maybe try a Daily Affirmation ("I'm stupid enough, I'm dishonest enough...")
So why did Putin do it? Who knows? It night be chaos – the ex-KGB spy sure loves chaos.
It night be chaos, or it night be some other fake espionage organization like T.H.R.U.S.H., or S.P.E.C.T.R.E., or HYDRA, or H.A.R.M., or even C.H.U.M.P.
Does Putin want to avoid four years of dealing with President Felonia Milhous von Pantsuit? 
"The Davenport Funny Bone is proud to present..."
Now, Obama has been shafting allies for eight years
Because he's one baaaaad mother--
At the end of my career
Oh, is this the column that did it? Well, I can't say I'm hugely surprised...
some of us grizzled colonels and sergeants major sat around with our young captains and majors, reminding them that we still had a few tricks up our camo sleeves. You see, while these amazing young warriors knew everything there was to know about chasing insurgents, there was something us old warhorses knew how to do that they didn’t. We knew how to kill Russians.
Not Russian soldiers, obviously, since that didn't happen, but were a number of Russian prostitutes who went missing around this same time. Not that I'm implying anything. I think it's obvious Kurt's knowledge of both Russian-killing and sex remains theoretical.
 If I didn’t need a Russia Is Not Our Pal 101 seminar from those young studs
Okay, maybe not entirely theoretical. Perhaps a perfect attendance record during the Cold War entitles you to one pity handjob from a second lieutenant.
I sure as hell don’t need it from a bunch of fellow traveling progressive schmucks who have been kissing bear tail since Stalin grew a moustache.
Kurt Schlichter. Ex-soldier. Alleged Lawyer. Failed comedian. And current Townhall columnist, because at Townhall, the whole is always less than the sum of its parts. 

Monday, August 8, 2016

Gross Encounters of the Third Kind: The Special Edition

Hey good looking', I'll be back to pick you up later!

In honor[sic] of the Vesuvian amounts of creative ejecta that's been blowing and flowing from the DC subdivision of Warner Brothers this past week, we've got a special edition of The Slumgullion for you, featuring Special Guest Villains John Szura, Blanche Ramirez, and MaryC.

But it's also International Cat Day! So first, here's a portrait entitled "Snuggling in the Afterglow (of the Previous Snuggling)":

SHADOW: (SIGHS CONTENTEDLY) Whatcha thinking about?

MOONDOGGIE: That stain on the ceiling was there yesterday. I think it's following me...!

Speaking of cute but evil creatures (I'm looking at you, Margot Robbie. Then quickly away before my wife catches me), please join us for Episode 13½, where we take on the new animated version of The Killing Joke (boo!)...

and the live action, yet somehow still cartoonish, Suicide Squad (yay?). Spoilers ahoy!

Click here, and don't forget to do your vocal warm-ups before listening...

Friday, August 5, 2016

"But We Don't!...Want!...the Irish!"

Mary and I just got home from seeing Suicide Squad (which we'll be talking about this Saturday on a special edition of The Slumgullion. Check your local listings), where my many Facebook friends who have a Brony-like devotion to character actors informed me that David Huddleston has recently perished at the age of 85.  If the name doesn't ring a bell, you've undoubtedly seen one of his movies: Blazing Saddles, The Big Lebowski, The KlansmanBad Company, Brian's Song, or multitudinous TV appearances: Then Came Bronson, Room 222, The New Temperatures Rising Show, The New Perry Mason, The New Dick Van Dyke Show, Kung Fu, Petrocelli, and Blansky's Beauties, with time out for an ABC Afterschool Special (Amy & the Angel).

Unfortunately, the only David Huddleston joint I've ever given the Better Living Through Bad Movies treatment to is the seasonably inappropriate Santa Claus: The Movie, which is scheduled to appear in our upcoming sequel. But time waits for no man, especially the dead ones, and attention must be paid to such a person. So we present Christmas in July, with...

Santa Claus: The Movie (1985)
Directed by Jeannot Szwarc
Written by: David Newman (screenplay) David & Leslie Newman (story)
Tagline:  Seeing is Believing.
Santa Claus was produced by Alexander and Illya Salkind, at a time when the legendary team was at the height of their creative powers; that is to say, between Supergirl (1984) and Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987).  Suggested tagline:  You Will Believe a Movie Can Suck.
Now, I’m not going to sugarcoat it, kids – this film takes a hard and uncompromising look at the hand-made wooden toy industry, and exposes us to some harsh truths about Santa; but I believe that in the end, we’ll be better or bitter people for it.  One or the other.
The budget was reportedly $50 million (in 1985 dollars), and no expense was spared in creating an otherworldly realm of enchantment.  We open in medieval Scandinavia, which at this performance will be played by a plastic log cabin inside a $9.99 musical snowglobe from Spencer’s Gifts.
It’s Christmas Eve, and inside the snowglobe, a Jessica Fletcher impersonator dressed like a Pilgrim is telling a rambling story about ice to a group of children whose immobile, slack-jawed faces suggest they have each been lovingly and individually stunned with a blunt object.   Suddenly, we hear a jingling of sleigh bells, then portly, middle-aged fur-enthusiast Claus bursts into the lodge.  The sole supplier of wood to the village’s entirely wood-based economy, the boisterous Claus still finds time to make crappy gifts for the stupefied moppets out of bark and sawdust.
A storm is raging, but Claus must still deliver his burlap sack full of crudely carved horse figurines and vaguely disturbing birchwood Voodoo dolls to the remaining children on the other side of the Village.  Since the conditions are potentially deadly, he decides to drag his wife along with him; but not to worry, for Claus’s faithful reindeer, Donner and Blitzen, can pull his sleigh through any weather.  They set off with a merry jingle and a twinkle in their eyes and immediately become lost in the blizzard, while the reindeer drop dead.
Realizing their lives are in danger, Claus hops out of the sleigh and delivers a tongue-lashing to his recently deceased draft animals.  Meanwhile, Mrs. Claus begins pissing and moaning about the cold while her core temperature drops.  Claus grabs hold of her just as she loses consciousness, and quickly but calmly takes action.  Although by now he’s half-obscured by the driving snow, I think he cuts her open and tries to climb into her abdominal cavity; but he’s too slow slicing through her many layers of doeskin undergarments, and he freezes to death too.
Merry Christmas, kids!  The only thing you’re going to find under the tree this year is Santa’s autopsy report.
Suddenly, a brilliant star appears above the pile of dead bodies, glowing ever brighter, and we realize that somewhere on this magic Christmas night, a supernova has obliterated an entire solar system.
But the star has amazing powers, for its ethereal radiance resurrects the reindeer, and turns them into overpriced puppets from FAO Schwartz.  Then Claus is revived by the stellar defibrillator, and nudges awake his deceased wife just as a vast army of torch-wielding lawn gnomes shamble toward them.  In the vanguard is Dudley Moore, who identifies himself as an elf, and adds, “I’m the one called Patch.”  And while this hardly comes as welcome news, it could’ve been worse, I suppose; he could’ve been Patch Adams.  The rest of the elves are named things like Boog, Honka, Vout – basically they all sound like things that were hawked up into a Kleenex.
Mrs. Claus is visibly uncomfortable to find that her lifeless body has been reanimated by Travelocity mascots, but Patch urges her not to feel “elf-conscious.”  It seems the elves live in a vast, mystical ski lodge, and they have been observing humanity for centuries, waiting for “the Chosen One,” a man with a heart so pure he could see the invisible elfin realm, as if through the eyes of a child, and so stupid he doesn’t know to come in out of the blizzard.  It’s all a little overwhelming, but the important thing is that Santa is dead, and his corpse enslaved by imps so he can work in their toy fulfillment operation.
As they drag Claus and his wife toward their new, gingerbread-encrusted prison, the elves remark that he seems very jolly for a Shanghaied cadaver, while Patch admits to “a real feeling of elf-confidence.”  By the way, I hope you’re enjoying the elf puns, because the screenwriters have about 317 more of them.
The Clauses enter the intricately carved wooden lodge, which is both the elves’ home and their workshop, a whimsical wonderland that resembles a Vietnamese sneaker factory crammed inside a Black Forest cuckoo clock.  As Zombie Santa gazes about, marveling  at the abundance of toys lovingly fashioned from Scots pine and Norway spruce, aspen, birch, alder, and Siberian larch, we realize that elves are a serious cause of deforestation.  We also realize that all the gnomes are male, and really hope this fairytale doesn’t end up with Mrs. Claus downing too much mulled wine one night and pulling an HO scale train.
The gnomes play dress-up with Santa, finally settling on the red suit because it nicely matches his rosacea, then they give him a magical sleigh, and six reindeer to go along with his team of two undead ones.  Suddenly, a visibly confused Burgess Meredith wanders onto the set, and starts muttering about how Claus is “the Chosen One,” (I thought we’d covered this already), then explains the physics of his new powers:  “Time travels with you.  Indeed, the night of the world is a passage of endless night for you.”  Well, that sure sounds like damnation to me.  Thanks, Mick.
He dubs the confused walking corpse “Santa,” then wanders out of the room again, dragging eight yards of beard behind him.  I never did get his name, but since he has the power to declare people saints, I presume it was the Pope.
The elves feed each reindeer a glowing mixture of crank, Pop Secret, and PCP, which allows them to fly, and to punch their hoof through a windshield and not even feel it.
Santa takes off, but almost immediately Donner gets airsick, and Claus has to bank sharply to dodge all the reindeer puke in the slipstream.  The rest of the trip is a montage of wooden toys, bad blue screen flying effects, superimposed letters to Santa (although he never existed before tonight, so you have to admire the elves’ viral marketing) and one shot of a depressed adolescent dressed like a harlequin and moping on his mandolin.
The years pass.  Much like a kidney stone.  In the 18th century, a little girl writes a letter to Santa, ratting out her brother for being mean to the cat.  Mrs. Claus declares that from now on, only good children will receive crappy wooden toys, and the Naughty List is established.  Unfortunately, Santa can’t depend entirely on snitches, so the elves initiate an illegal surveillance program of the world’s children.
Then we get another montage of kids getting slightly more modern, but still incredibly crappy presents (a plastic abacus?  Really, Santa?), while a horrible, keening childrens’ choir shrieks lyrics like, “Santa really knows the way to live…!”
Now it’s the 20th century, and a street urchin who resembles Jack Wild in Oliver! is dodging the police, when he suddenly glances into a townhouse, and locks eyes with a Poor Little Rich Boy or Girl (the Prince Valiant haircut is a little ambiguous).   From across the street, they exchange long, lingering, unmotivated and intensely uncomfortable glances.
Back at the North Pole, Santa has gotten used to his slave name, but not the workload, and has begun passing out in his pea soup.   Patch connives to be appointed Dick Cheney, and immediately reorganizes the artisanal workshop along industrial principles, and introduces innovations like toys made on an assembly line, before being hand-dipped in bright, lead-based paint.
It’s Christmas Eve again, and Santa takes his load of gifts to New York City, which is the only place he ever goes in this movie.  Meanwhile, the Artful Dodger is gazing through the window of McDonalds, salivating as extras gorge themselves on product placement.   Suddenly, he teleports to a window outside Pageboy’s townhouse, and peers at her for awhile.  Deeply touched by his plight, Pageboy gathers scraps from her dinner table, and steps out back, clucking her tongue and calling “Little Boy!  Hey Boy…!”  She puts the plate down, then steps back inside.  The Artful Dodger creeps out from under a bush, and ravenously feasts on her leftovers; then, while he’s groggy from the dinner roll, chicken skin, and residual salad, she traps and neuters him.
High above the city, Santa is ho-ho-hoing it up, declaring, “Tonight there’s not a child alive who’s not bursting with happiness!”  Then, in the alley below, he spies the Artful Dodger – a child with no home, no parents, no testicles.
Santa teleports to the Dodger’s side, but the boy thinks the jolly old man is just another one of those winos who ring the bell beside the Salvation Army kettle, or a pedophile, or maybe both.  Santa confirms this suspicion when he says, “wanna go for a ride?”
But Claus changes the Artful Dodger’s mind when he takes the grimy urchin on a glorious rear-projected tour of New York City; a thrill-ride that almost ends in disaster when Santa tries to pull an outside loop and nearly rams the sleigh deer-first into the World Trade Center.
He drags the kid along on his route, where they accidentally wake up Pageboy, and they have another oddly sexualized stare-down while Santa eats cookies.   Coincidentally, it seems that Pageboy is the only child to get presents this year, since Santa is ready to knock off for the night.  He drops Jack Wild off in the alley and says, “See you next Christmas Eve!”  Naturally, the homeless child is thrilled, and promises to meet Santa again one year from tonight, providing he doesn’t starve to death, die of exposure, or get shanked in a culvert.
Meanwhile, all the wooden wagons and hobbyhorses turned out by Patch’s assembly line are breaking down, and overnight Santa gets a global reputation for giving out “shoddy, cheap toys.”  Patch is demoted from Dick Cheney to Assistant Scooter Libby, so he throws a hobo bindle over his shoulder and trudges off across the tundra.  Perhaps heading toward the Island of Misfit Toys, although with any luck, he’ll elf-destruct.
Cut to Capitol Hill, where Congress is holding hearings on John Lithgow’s toy company.  The committee members read Lithgow the riot act for manufacturing baby dolls that combust like flash paper, and adorable pandas that are stuffed with nails and broken glass, but they still vote him a 34 billion dollar bailout.
Patch goes to Lithgow’s office, and introduces himself as an “elf-taught” toymaker with skills that are “elf-explanatory.”  He’s got a stash of stolen reindeer crack, and wants to lace lollipops with it and deliver it to all children all over the world on Christmas night, thus becoming Santa himself!  (The original title of this film was Kringle White Female.)
Patch creates a whimsical rocket sled powered by Christmas lights in a plastic tube, and delivers his highly addictive confections all over the world, while Santa, as usual, meanders around New York City.  Suddenly the jolly old Zombie remembers that homeless kid from last year, and lands in a urine-scented vacant lot.  Amazingly, the kid is still alive, and Santa presents him with a hand-carved wooden elf effigy.  The urchin is naturally excited by this gift, because as soon as Santa dumps him again, he can burn it in a trashcan to stay warm.
The repurposed reindeer crack is a huge hit, and Patch becomes a media darling.  Meanwhile, back at the North Pole, Santa is having a mid-immortal life crisis, and wondering if he should just eliminate Christmas altogether, since he’s getting underbid by treacherous former employees who are flagrantly violating their non-compete agreements.
At Lithgow’s factory, Patch is having second thoughts about going mano a mano with Santa Claus, and spends a good 30 seconds moping in the giant dresser where he sleeps.  Then he sighs, grabs a copy of Sleighboy magazine and retires to his drawer for a little elf-abuse.  (If you can’t beat ‘em…)
Back in the Big Apple, the Artful Dodger climbs into Pageboy’s bedroom so he can share his tuberculosis and dangerously high fever.  The Poor Little Rich Boy/Girl is again touched by the plight of this friendless, destitute orphan, and insists that he stay and recuperate in a damp storage closet in her basement.
Cut to the North Pole, where the new Dick Cheney tries to cheer up Santa by making dolls that pee, but the old man, despite his Germanic origins, seems to have lost his taste for water sports.
Cut to Pageboy’s townhouse, where the kids are eavesdropping on her step-uncle, John Lithgow, and his plans for a hostile takeover of Christmas.  It seems the reindeer crack, which they’re planning to distribute again, is explosive, and will blow the heads off their prepubescent demographic.
Lithgow catches the Artful Dodger, but Pageboy escapes and writes an emergency letter to Santa, explaining the asinine third act complications.  Santa tells the elves to hitch up the reindeer, because he’s going to kick ass and rescue that homeless kid he keeps ditching.  Tragically, two of the reindeer are on the DL, but Santa gives the remaining members of the team a pep talk.  “Now listen,” he says.  “I know we’re two men short today, but this time you’ve got to fly like the wind.  Can you do it for me?  Can you do it for that homeless kid I keep ditching?  Sure you can!”
As inspirational speeches go, it’s not exactly St. Crispin’s Day, but then, he’s a zombie trying to rabble-rouse ungulates.
Patch finds the Artful Dodger tried up in the basement, and immediately enlists him to help distribute his deadly explosive candy canes.  They take off in the Fisher Price Rocket Sled of Death, with Santa and Pageboy in hot pursuit.
Back at the toy factory, the police pull up outside, and Lithgow reaches into his desk just the way Bob Gunton did when he committed suicide at the end of The Shawshank Redemption.  Sadly, though, he doesn’t pull out a gun; instead, he takes an overdose of reindeer crack and floats away into the sky like a mylar Happy Birthday balloon, except he’s wearing spats and screaming.
The candy crack in the trunk of Patch’s sled is about to explode, and Santa realizes his only hope of saving his turncoat elf and that grimy homeless kid is to perform a completely senseless outside loop, which he does.  And somehow everything is fine now.
Back at the North Pole, the urchin decides to join the gnome fraternity, because they have a damp spot in the basement where he can sleep, and Pageboy decides to hang around until next Christmas, when Santa can drop her off at home, even though it’s likely someone would have reported her missing at some point, and Fox News would be running nightly updates about the Missing White Girl with the Prince Valiant Hair, and Nancy Grace would be showing composite sketches of Santa, who would die, tragically, in a police crossfire when he attempted to return the girl to her townhouse.
Our movie ends as John Lithgow floats above the atmosphere, into outer space, and we cut away seconds before his lungs rupture and his eyes burst from their sockets.
Happy Holidays, everyone.
And R.I.P. to David Huddleston, who left behind a distinguished body of work -- if not necessarily in this film, then certainly in that one episode of Barnaby Jones. Or The Fall Guy. Or Supertrain! So join us in lifting a drink to one of the last of the classic character actors. who spent a career bringing an artists' touch to assembly line product and making the mundane moments between the commercial breaks funny, scary, disturbingly off-beat, but always his own.
Anyway, we're gonna need a new Santa next year, so somebody should get right on that...

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Happy (Belated) Birthday, Weird Dave!

You know what used to really rankle me as a kid? Bait 'n' Switch sweets. You'd be stuck sitting on the couch next to "Aunt Claire" every Thanksgiving while the Dads were out on the patio "talking" (i.e., drinking), and the Moms were in the kitchen "getting dinner ready" (i.e., actually getting dinner ready. Also drinking), and there was nothing to do because the TV was in the den and nothing to talk about because she's in her 80s. Then, after a long silence that felt brutal even though it was probably no more than ten minutes because that's like three hours in kid years, she'd ask if you'd "like some candy? But don't tell your Mom" and you'd get excited, thinking she's about to sneak you a Three Musketeers Bar, or at least a Cinnamon Hot Ball Jawbreaker, and instead she roots around in her purse and pulls out a cellophane-wrapped hard candy that tastes like a shellacked mothball. And it would happen every Thanksgiving, but because you'd be so antsy and hungry and uncomfortable in your itchy wool slacks and clip-on tie, you'd fall for it, every time.

Then eventually you and your cousins became teenagers and you discovered the bottom drawer of the breakfront where Grandpa hid the airline bottles of Crown Royal and you'd sneak off to the garage to spike your Tab and feel like you're entitled to it after all those years spent babysitting Aunt Claire. But then, right around your junior year in high school you get dragged to her funeral and discover that she's not actually your aunt, she's your great-uncle's mother-in-law, so the joke's on you.

Or even worse: it's a hot, humid summer night, and you've just finished picking at your mother's spΓ©cialitΓ© de la maison, "Salmon Patties" (canned salmon formed into vague hamburger shapes, scorched to a blacktop-like crust on the outside, cold and pink on the inside), and she decides -- perhaps because she can't stand that look of numb resignation on your face anymore -- to treat you and your sister to some ice cream. The both of you get excited and think, "Yay, we're going to Wil Wright's! I'm gonna get the deluxe hot fudge sundae! Or maybe she'll take us to Swenson's, for the home-made bubble gum-flavored ice cream in a sugar cone. Or even Thrifty's Drug Store for the mint chocolate chip...!"

Then she opens up the freezer and pulls out a carton of Big Dip Ice Milk.

But you know what? Any of that -- the fossilized ribbon candy, the artificial ice milk -- would be preferable to this home remedy for joy:

Strawberry Salad Pops. Say what you like about my mother's bargain-basement taste in frozen confections, at least she never forced this abomination on us. Probably because it would have required more time and effort than it took to upend a can of salmon into a skillet and bring it to a dental record-ready char.
Or, How to Get Your Own Offspring to Report You to Child Protective Services.
Frozen Salad Pops have a terrific taste when you make them with one-of-a-kind MIRACLE WHIP Salad Dressing.
As truth in advertising goes, I can't actually dispute this claim.
It has the flavor and smooth, light texture that no one's been able to copy.
Or justify.
10-oz. pkg. frozen strawberries, thawed
1/2 cup MIRACLE WHIP Salad Dressing
1 cup heavy cream, whipped
2 cups KRAFT Miniature Marshmallows
Gradually add strawberries to salad dressing, mixing until well blended. Fold in whipped cream and miniature marshmallows. Spoon approximately 1/2 cup of mixture into 5-oz. paper drinking cups. Insert wooden sticks; freeze until firm. 8 servings.
After eating, kids can save the wooden stick for a fun game: Tickle Your Own Gag Reflex and see who can puke it back up first!

Okay, I retract the crack about Child Protective Services. Here's a quarter, kid; call The Hague.

Anyway, I've been suffering from mal de vivre (the usual back problems that make me feel like I spend all day resting my lower spine against a high speed emery wheel) so I'm a day late with my felicitations, as yesterday was Weird Dave's legal birthdate. But I hope you'll all join me in making it up to him by wishing our resident desert-dwelling nudist the very happiest of retroactive natal anniversaries.

First up, here's a bit of classic Hollywood birthday cheesecake -- Jean Harlow, frolicking in a desert-like environment, just as Weird Dave has been known to do, and also nude, except for a diaphanous light wrap:

And of course, no World O' Crap birthday party would be complete without the traditional Sexy Birthday Lizard!
In this case, our SBL seems to be locked in mortal combat with a snake. Or perhaps it's just two dinosaurs in a Bert I. Gordon film. Anyway, Happy Birthday, WD! And thanks for being a loyal and unfailingly amusing part of our non-normal little clan.