June 12 Can’t Come Fast Enough

To prepare for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, ESPN is doing a very nice job at covering every team until the tournament begins (32 Teams in 32 Days). Additionally, some cool, specialized artwork has been created for every team (you can see all of them here) and I’ve added some of my favorites below. The teams I’m rooting for, in no particular order: Italy, because I’m an Italian and and have greasy hair.  The Netherlands because I like their style of play and because they win the prize for brightest color in the tournament.  America, because, well….I live in America and the poster features a guy who looks like me (a bald tough guy). Can’t forget France, because I didn’t think it was possible to make French people look so intimidating.

 

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Famous Novel by Way of Japanese Woodblock Prints

What novel? What characters? WHAT IS HAPPENING? Only imgur user seiji knows! Ok, ok…you can know too, but only AFTER THE JUMP. Patience is a virtue, kids.
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With a Jolt, My Mind Awakens…Chapter Seventy-Two: Connections, Man, Connections…

Last night, I dreamt I was the Beastmaster. However, I was wearing more than just the loincloth Marc Singer adorned in 1982, so don’t call an adult thinking you need supervision to read this post. Chances are strong you’ve never seen “The Beastmaster” without commercial interruption, for I discovered this legendary sword-and-sorcery trailblazer via a WPIX Channel 11 Movie of the Week about thirty years ago and have only re-watched the movie on this network (which seemed to air it at least four times a year), Superstation TBS, and the USA Network. As great as this movie was, we must not overlook the co-star of this adventure, the oddly-cast-yet-goddamned-brutal John Amos, several thousand miles away from any good times…for your benefit, a rare portrait of John Amos from this movie, one so awesome it is unlikely to ever see its parallel:

I hope John Amos made that his Christmas card. In my dream, I maintained a farmhouse/dungeon in rural Nebraska where I held captive the actors of the Brat Pack and demanded they re-make all their pictures featuring Jon Cryer as the Anti-Christ. You will be shocked to know Judd Nelson was truly enthusiastic about this idea. Molly Ringwald was less thrilled.

Yeah, hang on tight, baby, and don’t let go. That grip couldn’t halt Judd’s march towards “Suddenly Susan”. I don’t know what was worse, “Friends” or the vomit of “Friends”, those subsequent NBC sitcoms that tried to copy the formula (“The Single Guy”, “Jesse”, “Veronica’s Closet”, “The Naked Truth”). Well, whatever vomit of quickly-cancelled sitcoms NBC mops up, rest assured USA sneaks into HQ and wrings the putrid substance from the mop for their devious, early-morning, crap-a-thon purposes. Two shout-outs for the ol’ USA Network in one post. I should be getting paid for this gratuitous grenade tossing.

Today marks the 85th anniversary of the first appearance of Popeye, the Sailor Man. Maybe I should just refer to him as Popeye. Otherwise, he sounds like a World Wrestling Federation mid-carder from 1996. No one needs to be reminded of that…which I just did. Well. What an unpleasantly-tasting pie in the face. Happy Birthday, Popeye!

In 1982, I wanted to dress as Popeye for Halloween, but my mother detested the violence of his cartoons, as well as the violence inherent in Tom & Jerry and Woody Woodpecker cartoons, so the lot was prohibited in the household. Balance: watching a bloody Indian strap match between Chief Jay Strongbow and Sika the Wild Samoan or a chain match between Bruiser Brody and Carlos Colon…sure, son, if your homework is done. This woman would sit with me while I watched “Space Ghost and Dino Boy” and “Battle of the Planets” but turned into the prison warden if she saw Tom bothering that poor, little mouse. This existence is splintered with incongruency. Featured below: a group shot of Space Ghost’s version of the Legion of the Doom, the Council of Doom, comprised of (l to r) Zorak, Brak, Metallus, Zoltar, The Creature King and the Spider Woman –

For Halloween 1982, I was Lumberjack E.T. I had a plastic mask, Dad’s purple and black flannel shirt, Grandpa’s red suspenders and construction boots. Mom’s contribution was the rejection of my request to carry a dulled axe. After devoting my kindergarten years to the daily consumption of paste, she would no longer tolerate, nor would her weak, weak heart endure, any more soberly admonitory and perfectly creased notes of concern from my teachers. Grandma suggested I carry a whisk. I went to school with the E.T. mask, the shirt, the suspenders, the boots, and the whisk, prepared to change into my costume after lunch for the Halloween Parade. I couldn’t stop thinking about the whisk, how inappropriate it seemed. Then this thought would be scolded by the Other Powerful Thought, Mom’s Weak, Weak Heart. Shame, shame, shame on me. After lunch, I changed into my costume and discovered the eyeholes on the mask were too small. I used the classroom scissors to enlarge the holes, but a classmate startled me, resulting in a jagged line in the mask, running two inches from the right eye to the mask’s side. During the parade, I kept my eyes closed, wishing I could do the same with my ears. At the class party, I ate my english muffin pizza and my brownie in silence. I remember placing the whisk in my bookbag, but somehow it never came home with me. Mom wasn’t upset; she said whisks were cheap. The damage to the mask caused more grief, as there wasn’t time to go to K-Mart for a new costume before Mom took me and my brother around the neighborhood. The mask was scotch-taped, but I returned the shirt to Dad and the suspenders and boots to Grandpa. I borrowed Dad’s New York Mets cap and told anyone who asked me I was now M.E.T. This was met with general smiling approval. After I gave away my Halloween candy to my brother (retaining my tiny boxes of raisins), and before I went to bed, I remembered a word my Grandpa said that day and decided to look it up. Halloween 1982 concluded with my comprehension of the word, ‘defeatist’. I would say this was the only victory of that day, but that M.E.T. thing was actually pretty nifty.


***READ THE TITLE OF THE POST, PEOPLE…***

For Halloween 1983, I was Blackjack Mulligan. The man born Robert Windham was a villainous pro wrestler, a “heel”, whose son, Barry, was starting to earn his reputation in the business. Blackjack was a big guy, tough and intimidating, who used an “iron claw” to squeeze his opponent’s face until he gave up. He also had a mean, thick black mustache, a feature previously featured on my Dad’s face that disappeared on Labor Day weekend. Dad told me it simply had to go. “You can’t get far in life with a mustache”. I remember thinking about the U.S. Presidents of the later half of 19th century: Hayes, Garfield, Arthur, Cleveland, Harrison. Perhaps he was right. I still wanted to grow that mustache. Mom wondered why I had chosen this particular guy to emulate, and I told her about my need to be a giant for fifteen minutes. Grandpa mentioned Andy Warhol, and I didn’t know what he was talking about. I purchased a black cowboy hat and an Indiana Jones “bullwhip” (plastic replica) at the Great American Party Store. I would paint a handlebar mustache on my upper lip with shoe polish. At school, the outfit revealed me as an outlaw, but no one knew who Blackjack Mulligan was. My teacher, Ms. Curving, thought I was Black Bart and advised me not to use the bullwhip on anyone (I didn’t). The art teacher, Mr. Panarotto, said I looked like Doc Holliday and gave me a high-five. His hairpiece shifted as I slapped his hand. I knew the name Doc Holliday because I had seen a black-and-white TV show where an actor had that role, but I couldn’t remember the title. Later that day, Grandpa told me I had watched “The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp”. After school, I went trick-or-treating with my brother, who was dressed as a hobo. I thanked everyone who gave me candy, tipping the brim of my hat with a declaration of mostly “Ma’am” or occasionally “Sir”. The next day, Mom and I saw Mrs. Kyritz at the Shop-Rite, who told us that I was the most polite outlaw she’d ever seen in these parts. I remained an outlaw for a few more days, as I had complemented the shoe polish with black Sharpie marker. Polite, yes. Bright, no. For the record, I didn’t use the “iron claw” on anyone, either. Perhaps I should’ve been Wyatt Earp.

For Halloween 1984, I was Robot Cowboy. I was directly inspired by the Superfriends episode, “Outlaws of Orion”, in which intergalactic bounty hunters try to cash in on Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Batman and Robin. Dad complimented me on my ingenuity and also stated if I ever wanted to be The Boy Who Combed His Hair, Mom would likely faint. Being a Robot Cowboy meant I had to work on perfecting what I called “The Cold Dead Stare”. I had to look like I meant business with that stare, that’d I’d make your Daddy move to Brooklyn, your Mommy run away screaming, and your Grandma spontaneously combust. I spent hours in front of the mirror, scowling, growling, sneering, leering. I had to put the absolute fear of extinction in anyone who crossed my path. The first person to cross my path (the carpet in my room) was my brother. However, he proved immune to the scowl, as he merely chuckled and told me I looked like I need to have a BM. That night, he wrapped himself in aluminum foil and invited me to a showdown at 8:00 PM. “Too bad,” Dad said, “8:00 PM is Bedtime for Robot Cowboys”. Mom was displeased that my brother wasted the aluminum foil on his outfit; she wasn’t assuaged by my exclamation, “He’s puttin’ on the foil, coach!”, a reference to the Paul Newman hockey movie, “Slap Shot” (which Dad acknowledged). At school, my costume consisted of last year’s cowboy hat, overindulgence of silver body paint, stiff body movements, and various clicks, whirs, and tics. I ate three english muffin pizzas that year, using a knife and fork so my make-up wouldn’t smear. “Robot Cowboy was hungry,” said Mrs. Pellegrino, the class mother. A cheap toy pistol completed the outfit for trick-or-treating. I must’ve been intimidating since my candy collection was especially high. I tried a fun-sized Snickers bar, but the caramel didn’t agree with me, and I spat it into the garbage can. “Does-not-compute, does-not-compute, does-not-compute” was added for dramatic measure, before I “shut down” (went to bed) after a good bath. Robot Cowboy never returned – the Snickers fouled the works. Actually, I missed a few spots of body paint and ruined my “Return of the Jedi” bed spread…C-3PO’s Revenge.

“There is freedom within, there is freedom without/Try to catch the deluge in a paper cup”
— “Don’t Dream It’s Over” by Crowded House

The Future is WOW: Future Fossils

Christopher Locke shows us the artifacts that will be invariably found by Will Smith, Tom Cruise, Bruce Willis and others after humanity’s destruction at the hands of the Oregon Super Mushroom. Check out his Heartless Machine for more archaeological wizardry.Christopher-Locke-Heartless-Machine-Fossils-7 Christopher-Locke-Heartless-Machine-Fossils-6 Christopher-Locke-Heartless-Machine-Fossils-5 Christopher-Locke-Heartless-Machine-Fossils-3 Christopher-Locke-Heartless-Machine-Fossils-2 Christopher-Locke-Heartless-Machine-Fossils-1 Christopher-Locke-Heartless-Machine-Fossils-11(via Visual News)

With a Jolt, My Mind Awakens….Special Edition: The Week the Music (and Jack Tripper) Died…

In a previous post, I talked about my musical “Supergroup”: Roky Erickson, Tom Waits, Mike Patton, Daniel Johnston, and the Ghosts of Warren Zevon & Johnny Cash. The Werewolf of London and the Man in Black passed away five days apart a decade ago, WZ on September 7 and JC on September 12. To say these fellas have kept me movin’ along through the years would be a gross understatement – they’ve been the guiding light/comfort of darkness for ol’ Kentucky Jay in his misanthropic evolution. I can’t provide any accolades that have not already been poured upon these gentlemen, but to these outlaws, I will offer humble gratitude and appreciation. I do hope that someday we will have a good laugh together that will shake the afterlife something silly…

Warren Zevon was a wry, malcontented, and deeply sentimental cat whose sardonicism strummed his chords. I present this folksy fable of flash fiction as tribute, penned by ol’ Kentucky Jay:

‘This is really fucked up’, Ronald thought.
“A cancerous caterpillar,” the doctor said, “wrapped around your stomach. Been growing and feasting for years. Something you ate as a kid? Spoiled meat? A bad stick of licorice?”
Roland folded his arms against his stomach, pressing hard, trying to feel the creature. ‘How the heck could he be so calm? A caterpillar? When did my insides become an all-night diner for some sort of alien caterpillar?’ Roland rubbed his abdomen, wanting to tear into his skin and squash this Lethal Lepidoptera between his fingertips.
“Well, it explains the stomach pains, that’s for sure,” said the doctor, tapping his finger on his nose. “You’re medical history, Mr. Thompson. No more moshpits for you, young man!” The doctor’s levity was cold and further sickened Roland, a cheap joke like a dodgeball to the gut…which the caterpillar would likely have enjoyed. Sadist.
“I’ll tell what’s funny, they don’t eat meat. No, I read that on Wikipedia…”
‘You read that on what?’
The doctor went on to tell Roland the usual rhetoric associated with the diagnosis: a couple of months, get your life in order, take those vacation days at work, call me if I can do anything for you, slap on the back, skedaddle.
Roland had barely the strength to walk to the elevator from the doctor’s office. Naturally, he evaluated his entire thirty-three-year existence while waiting for the elevator’s arrival. Naturally, this didn’t mean a thing to the caterpillar.
“Wait! Roland!” The doctor jogged towards him. “Oh, boy, you almost left without your button!” He slapped a button into Roland’s right hand and jogged back to his office. “Remember, don’t hesitate to call me! Aruba! It’s lookin’ good right now!”
Roland looked at the button in his hand, a sharp metallic pin on the back that gently stuck to his palm. A black-and-white picture of an eyebrow-raised Warren Zevon, with these words written in red Times New Roman:
‘MY MUSIC’S ALL YOU’VE GOT LEFT.’
Roland placed the button in this shirt pocket, thinking,
‘This is really fucked up.’

The Werewolf Howls in Passaic, New Jersey…

To me, every performance of Johnny Cash is pacifying. He, too, reveled in his droll, aslant jocularity with a hint of shade; I haven’t crafted a Johnny Cash story to my satisfaction, so I simply present a performance that remains memorably off-beat:

Meanwhile, on September 11, John Ritter died from an aortic dissection caused by an undiagnosed thoracic aortic aneurysm, tragically misdiagnosed as a heart attack. I loved everything this guy did, from “Three’s Company” to “Hooperman”, “Hearts Afire” to “8 Simple Rules…”, “Stephen King’s IT” to “Problem Child” (yes, I endorse his participation in that movie and its yak-attacky sequel!) Hey, let’s trip over the sofa together, hmm?

Meanwhile, Rock ‘n Roll is hushed by the passing of Keith Moon, 35 years ago on September 7:

September 7 also marks the fiftieth birthday of a poet who left us before the party kicked into overdrive:

Ah, September…sweet, sweet September…

Winter is Coming…..But Football’s Here Now

Today is the day that most of America waits for (ed.note: not me). No, its not the first day of school. That’s just me.  My new school looks a lot like Alcatraz from the outside…and on the inside as well, surprisingly enough.  I don’t know how that place passes inspection every year.  What I’m mean is Thursday night is the kickoff off the NFL season.  Could it be possible that people who watch 300 pound guys brutalize each other over a ball also really enjoy fantasy political gamesmanship, dragons, dire wolves and 800 feet walls of ice? Eh, it’s probably the copious, copious boobs.  But if you ask The Bleacher Report, they would say “yes, yes, one thousand times yes” (ed.note: I checked with BR; they said they would never say that).  Here are some awesome pics of your favorite team getting the Game of Thrones treatment. Check out his page for the full list.  (via Djroomba)

With a Jolt, My Mind Awakens…Chapter Sixty-Six: Perfection

Good morning, Mr. Bassett…

Perfection (Ode to “Tremors”)

In 1990, monster movies moved in a new direction –
specifically, underground, in the little town called Perfection.
This sleepy little tract of land was dust and splintered dreams
but underneath this quiet land, nothing was as it seems.
The natives of the terra firma were bloody hungry worms;
The origin of these squirming nasties? Classified and unconfirmed.
They wreaked havoc upon Perfection because New Jersey was too uptight,
Perhaps they didn’t like the stink along the Jersey ‘Pike!
They ran ol’ Edgar up a telephone pole to his eternal rest;
Sadly, he was quite unable to outrun the infernal pests.
He was found by Valentine and Earl, on their way to Bixby,
who were weary of the ‘fix-it’ life and off to the big city.
The doc said Edgar sure was spooked but couldn’t offer why –
Val and Earl paid their respects and made a quick goodbye.
They passed by hermit Fred’s sheep farm, his livestock cut to shreds,
And found the farmer in the ground, revealing just his head.
“What the HELL is goin’ on?!” said Val, who wanted to footloose;
Earl, without the right stuff, just wanted to vamoose.
Back into the truck around the mountain on their ride –
Two repair guys meet the enemy, good luck ain’t on their side.
Val and Earl meet Rhonda, grad student with a plan:
to measure the seismic punk rock that’s been wobbling through the land.
They’ve got a major theory ‘cuz there’s something ‘neath their truck,
A slimy tongue? A tentacle? A snail that’s run amok??
Walter Chang sees dollar signs and offers up them some money
for photo ops with that slice of Graboid – “c’mon, SMILE, Honey!”
The shopkeep’s tempting fate with this scheme to get-rich-quick,
played by Victor Wong, vet of John Carpenter flicks.
We also meet survivalists Burt and Heather Gummer;
For them, governmental presence is a really major bummer.
(Three cheers for the casting director responsible for this scene:
The hippie dad from “Family Ties” holding an M-16!?
Reba McEntire as the girl who’s armed for war,
apocalypse, return of Christ, or Zombiefied Uproar!)
That night, the doctor and his wife enjoy a peaceful sky
When the generator runs south and the doc lets out a cry.
The doc becomes an evening snack, but one with a medical degree –
Smartest cookie the monsters ate, wouldn’t you agree?
Val and Earl pay a visit, but it won’t be a social one:
“Hey, Earl, where are those golden oldies coming from?”
Away they ride on horseback to warn the folks in town
and a Graboid introduces himself by taking one horse down!
Val and Earl are on the run as the Graboid picks up speed,
A leap across a concrete wall, exactly what they need!
The Graboid bursts through concrete and ends up Sloppy Joe’d
Val and Earl triumphant, but it’s a long and rocky road,
for Rhonda’s readings indicate 3 more of the Filthy Four,
time to run as another Graboid wants to settle the score!
Our heroes are trapped on residual boulders but pole vault to their freedom –
Deux ex machina’s always there when you really need ‘em!
At Walter’s store, the troops re-convene and develop a plan of attack,
They can’t reach out for help because the radio’s out – of – whack.
The freezer screeches murder, and the boys try to unplug it,
but a Graboid hears the furor – that’s his jam, he really dug it!
Bursting through the floor, it targets Walter and takes a bite,
because Chinese take-out hits the spot any time of day or night!
The shopkeep’s gone, but the worms ain’t done satisfyin’ their sweet tooth
“They’re under the ground!” says Valentine, “Git up on your roof!”
Mindy with the pogo stick brings the worms’ attention,
but she doesn’t become a feast thanks to Valentine’s intervention!
Shift to Burt and Heather, in their rec room, taking stock
of their ammunition for the impending Ragnarok!
Enter stage right, antagonist: Graboid with Death Wish,
Brother, are YOU in trouble, because Burt and Heather’s favorite dish
is Open Flame Grab-Shish-Ka-Bob, surely a fitting tomb
for the Graboid who broke into the wrong goddamn rec room!
(Burt Gummer: king of badass, Atlanta Hawks fan, Man of the People,
The producers surely loved this scene, screaming: SEQUEL! SEQUEL! SEQUEL!)
The Gummer-nators lock and load, but the Graboids bust their wheels;
Perfection’s going under, and Valentine’s on his heels
running for a semi-end to hitch to a bulldozer
while Nestor’s trailer starts to reel and Graboids tip it over,
“the tire’s no good, Nestor, get high or you’ll get eaten!
Nestor, get up on your – *CHOMP* well, hope they like the taste of cretin…”
The dozer’s up and runnin’ and they all head for the range,
hoping that their situation will dramatically change.
Burt and Heather defend their home, but the Graboids have clearly won;
The best line in the movie sums it up:
“You didn’t get penetration with the elephant gun!”
A pit-trap’s dug in the bulldozer’s path – them Graboids got real smart!
The denizens scramble frantically to the rocks so they can start
their explosive wormageddon to end the Graboid threat,
let those squishy bastards know that they ain’t quite done yet!
One Graboid mistakes a Gummer’s Special for a kosher frank,
and slimy entrails fly through sky, lovely but so rank!
Another bomb is thrown and quickly taken by the wriggler,
who promptly spits it out because he thought it was a Twizzler!
The bomb lands in the rocks, so Perfection’s Finest scatter,
most of them to safety but three may yet be splattered –
Rhonda, Val, and Earl are stranded, placed directly in harm’s way,
But Valentine’s got one more plan to use to save the day!
He “stampedes” the final vermin to the cliff to death unholy –
At 60 MPH, you’ve got Graboid Guacamole!
And so ends a day historic for the people of Perfection,
as Earl suggests for Valentine some quiet introspection –
the motherhumpers have been killed and they surely won’t be missed,
so go and find that college gal and give her a big kiss!
You know the rest – Val and Rhonda started their romance –
Earl, he rested comfortably, knowing there wasn’t a chance
that the earthbound infestation would soon be resurrected;
well, not soon, but in ’96, Earl was quite corrected.
But that’s a story for another day, so I won’t get ahead;
Good night, little Graboids – brush your tongues and go to bed!

I may go on the road with this nonsense…Requests, MB fans?!