You can’t cheat an honest man so never smarten up a sucker or wise up a chump
WC Fields

Edmund DuLac
Click images for desktop size: “Untitled” by Edmund DuLac
I’ve seen an amazing increase in spam lately. Rough estimates are I’ve won about 1 billion in lotteries I never entered. I’ve had about 2 billion left to me by dead relatives I never knew I had. My puppy and I have had our bank accounts our paypal accounts and our other personal information compromised about 80 times, all at banks where we don’t have accounts. Hangmen Also Die And the usual suspects offering us great penny stock tips and the usual porn sites and sexual enhancements.
I resent the ones offering money the most.
There are too many people driven to desperation in our world today where cash is the only solution. It takes sociopathic guts to steal from people. It takes a sheer coward to steal from you and not be able to look you in the face.
Con men used to at least be entertaining. They used to give you a show as they fleeced you. The Flim Flam Men were always known and usually endured until they robbed the wrong person of too much.
They even made movies about them, Oscar winning movies where the con men were the heroes! (“The Sting” for only one of them.”
Now the cowardly ilk advertise in the papers or people who are multilingual. Its a lot more convincing to get emails from someone who can at least approximate the language, I guess. But they advertise in the newspapers and the newspapers take the ads . . .
Its like a legitimate business now. Why not. They’ve only prosecuted one spammer. The government must condone it or they’d do something to stop it. In a lot of ways the government condones it. I’ve gotten spam from political candidates . . .
Considering that the government allowed Comcast to hijack the investigative meeting to discuss the despicable acts committed by Comcast its not a great surprise. (Net neutrality and tiered pricing are ugly cruel things that need to be abolished and not encouraged. The government disagrees. They don’t care about the people anymore it seems.)
In China and Russia they are openly and actively recruiting hackers and programmers. I do wonder if anyone ever bought anything they saw advertised when their browser has been hijacked by a malicious script?
Do Us All A Favor
Click images for desktop size: “Do Us All A Favor”
Someone must or they wouldn’t invest so much money in getting it done. The self centered self righteous jerks we keep electing wouldn’t keep approving these tactics. They wouldn’t ignore the deplorable acts of Microsoft and the lesser companies who emulate them. (Microsoft gets fined over a billion in Europe but gets a nudge nudge and a wink in the USA).
Maybe they view all of this corruption of something as pretty as the computer and the internet as just another poor tax, like the insane profits of the oil companies (who will again set records for the low taxes they will pay.)
There used to a great operating system for computers: BeOS. It was elegant, refined, powerful and ran on machines that stuttered with Windows and Macs running 9.0.
BeOS had features 10 years ago that are just now The Big Store entering into Windows Vista and Mac OSX. (Indexed searches – integration of OpenGL etc)
Microsoft pointedly and fixedly destroyed the company. It did so illegally. Microsoft got prosecuted. Of course this was after they accomplished their goals and bankrupted the little BeOS company.
They had to pay the BeOS stockholders a lot of money and they got fined 100 million. Microsoft never paid of course. I’m sure it was quite legal on their side, the not paying I mean, but once again no one in power was watching out for us; the little guys who just wanted to have some fun on our computers or make a little web site about our hobby or the club we belong to. No one in power cares about the little guys like you and me communicating with each other.
I thought that was supposed to be their job, to look out for us and t understand things we didn’t grasp and to make sure we could live a free and a happy people. I thought they were meant to safeguard us, not to encourage the slugs to rape and pillage us.
I guess I was wrong. Again.
I’m just not feeling human. A long strident rant because I got some junk mail in my email folder. I’m not human today.
Still feeling sick. Still worried about my little blind dog who still is keeping me up all night. Still worried about money and desires unfulfilled.
I shouldn’t rant about things I can’t change just because I can’t reach out at them and give them a kick in the pants.

A lot of fellows nowadays have a B.A., M.D., or Ph.D. Unfortunately, they don’t have a J.O.B
Fats Domino

Steam Insect By Conte
Click images for desktop size: “Steam Insect” by Conte
I am often overwhelmed with a desire to make stuff. Unfortunately my handiwork invariably looks like . . . pretty bad.
I’m good with electronics. I can solder and wire fine, sometimes better than fine. Most of my electronics, even today, I’ve messed with and “improved”.
When we sold the recording studio we were able to pay off all our debts Creature From The Black Lagoon - 1954 by selling my customized Neve analog board. The board was superb. I’d spent a few years customizing it . . . actually repairing it. The only way we could afford a Neve back then was to buy a pretty trashed out one from the Record Plant and gut it.
The buyer was stoked until he opened it up and realized that the board had nothing but Hi Q components but we had reconfigured it and added in my own fillips that his tech couldn’t grasp what we had done. Fortunately for me he hired a new tech who loved the board. (Including the fact that I’d built my pirate radio station from Army Surplus walkie talkies and stashed it inside the board so I could be in the car and listen to what was happening in the studio . . . or play the outboard CD changer. Back then I knew about shielding for RF interference . . . )
I got away with it on the Neve because I already had that beautiful Neve case. All my other projects; my homemade cases and boxes looked like . . . pretty poor.
I once built an Signal tracker and stuffed it into a tomato paste can . . . That was the best of my cases . . .
I once made some bookcases for my home office. They looked . . . acceptable. They held up for almost a year! Which is far better than some of my old home built recorders, amps and PA’s. I’d be pleased if those cases lasted through 2 gigs. But the tone! Ah, the tone . . . while watching a speaker cabinet disintegrate while ripping through a power chord gallup can be used as entertainment, its daunting to have to put the whole thing back together again.
My eyes are bad now. So bad I can’t pour over circuits and copper wrappings with my old sense of elegance and hot solder burning style. I can’t even be sure now if they’ll work until I plug them in.
Celtic Princess
Click images for desktop size: “Celtic Princess” by Unknown
I can’t even get my busted iRobot to work again.
I remain fascinated with Steam punk. Mainly because the cases are what make them punk. And the cases are so graceful and bordering on the right side of campy tacky.
I feel confident that if I even attempted one it would somehow melt into a glob of foil and brass in a month. But what a glorious month it would be!
So when I get these creative urges, these handicraft flings I work on this site.
I spent an inordinate amount of time making a movie of some pictures of my puppy. They were pictures I had thought I had lost in the great hard drive crash of ’06, they move me a lot so it was time well spent in my opinion.
I also have been grappling with my movie catalog. A lot of collectors have been griping that a straight alphabetical listing is too difficult to search. I also don’t have a search engine easily attached to the movie listing.
I’m working on it.
The Blob 1958 As a stop gap I’ve added another link to the little bar up top. This will take you to the catalog broken down by genre.
Its not as pretty as the straight alphabetical listing but it is serviceable.
Clicking on a title will open up the listing to give you pertinent details and, in most cases, a picture/poster from the movie.
People click through so fast I need to explain this. Since no one is probably going to read these detailed instructions I’ll probably have to explain them again and then again.
Macintosh now seems to natively support SQLite databases. I’m working on setting up the queries in my movie database so it will spit things out in a more friendly fashion. The idea of transferring the database to the server is appealing . . . and difficult. I’m still working on that too.
Right now the genres are arranged pretty creepily. Like the “A”s list as _ Adult Animation etc. And the pages like “D” are stupid long and take a bit of time to download (D for Drama, see?”
But now you can go to “K” and see all the Kung Fu movies or “Z” to see all the Zombie flics.
Feel free to send me corrections.

On the other front there was a big police stand off about 50 yards from my home! It was on the local news and made to sound terribly dramatic.
A two hour car chase, armed man, SWAT teams YOW!
I found out about it when I took out the garbage and was wondering why the cops were blocking the street. My puppy barked at the cops. I told her good girl. I still don’t trust any cop until I can see they are worth it.
Butterflies and love
Click images for desktop size: “Butterflies And Love” by Anonymous
The standoff seems to have gone on for hours and in the end NO ONE WAS HURT!
LAPD would have blown the place up with too many tear gas shells that would eventually burned the place down (see how the handled the SLA back in the 70’s, that’s still their approach).
There’s something to be said for small town living. No one was hurt. No one was shot. No one was a hero and no one was a villain.
I like that.

In my quest for World Champion Snow fighter; I seem to have been beaten.
I feel generally unwell. My body is sore and feels like I’ve been in a fight or an overtime game.
Its the kind of unwell where I’d seriously consider taking off work for the day. So you know its semi-serious!
I’ll be fine. I have a new doctor now! I hope I like him.

My little blind puppy is hanging on. He’s still eating and when he’s not feeling miserable he perky and ready for fun!
I pray I’m reading him right and that he’s enjoying life and not suffering. I would despise myself if I was letting him suffer.

An excellent man, he hasn’t an enemy in the world; and his friends don’t like him
Oscar Wilde

The Wolf Man
Click images for desktop size: “The Wolfman” by Universal Studios
Well my Oscar wishes (by proxy) and hopes and predictions were all routinely smashed last night.
I didn’t watch them. Couldn’t be bothered. Sad how things change.
I’m still vaguely stunned that “No Country For Old Men” won best picture. Its not very good. I can’t imagine anyone remembering this in 5 years time. Maybe if everyone had gotten run over by a truck at the end or something. It was just unsettling a movie and not in any good way. Unsettling in that it kept promising but never delivered.
Tommy Lee Jones wand the killer were the best things in it. But it kept missing a core of something.
Twelve O'Clock High My figuring is that “Michael Clayton” and “There Will Be Blood” split the best picture vote. All the SAG members probably wanted to reward Tommy Lee Jones and hence “No Country” slunk in.
The only thing that bothers me is that I can’t for the life of me think of an American movie this year that I thought should win Best Picture.
That is depressing.
I guess “Underdog”, “Aqua Teen Hunger Force” and “Gone Baby Gone” were the ones I enjoyed the most . . . I’m serious. Every other movie was Asian or European. I count a lot more disappointments than hits . . .
At least Casey Affleck didn’t get the award for Best Supporting. I don’t think his performance was even worth a nomination. I have to admit I have a weird thing about siblings who follow their successful family members to Hollywood.
Its gone on forever and will continue. I think of Eric and Julia Roberts (most people forget that he splashed big in Star 80″ and “Pope Of Greenwich Village”), Gary and Jake Busey, even Brittany Spears and whatever her sister’s name is.
Oddly my senseless prejudice doesn’t extend to Hollywood families and their children entering the business. Probably because I grew up with those kids. The cliche is right. Its hard to be prejudiced against something you know.
Brittney Spears has sure turned into a mess. I remember a buddy of mine commenting about her career, back when she first started out, that she’d be doing hardcore porn in 10 years. It hasn’t fallen that hard but its uncomfortingly close.
Where Ever I May Go
Click images for desktop size: “Where Ever I May Go” by Anonymous
Compared to Spears Christina Aguileria is merely a train wreck. Spears is like watching a drunk stagger down the street, trip and fall into oncoming traffic.
Its hard to figure Spears out. I mean Shirley Temple never went through this. If you look at Jackie Cooper it gets closer to the Spears fiasco, but the closest parallel I find is Annette Funicello. They both started on the same TV show.
Its pretty apt, Funicello was the big breakout star on the Mickey Mouse Club. She had her own following and for the most part that following was pretty carnal.
Funicello had a string of hit records (Jamaica Ska is pretty interesting) and did all those ultra cool Beach Party flics.
But she never turned her life into a carnival. Its seems naive to say those old stars were better behaved or better raised. It is too cynical to believe that the press was being kind or ignorant or unaware. Gossip mags were hotter sellers then than now really). Girls Under 21 And its seems foolishly optimistic to think that its all the prying eyes of the internet.
I can’t even buy that as an excuse for Jennifer Lopez to score six million dollars for her baby pics.
Its a conundrum, for sure. What has changed? Celebrity is still the same monster, the world’s changed but the people in it haven’t changed that much, not that much at all.
I guess that’s my reason for celebrity, something worthless to think about so I don’t think about things like my little blind dog.
I was really afraid I was going to lose him last night. He had one of his attacks. Woke me at 1:25. The attack lasted until 2:15. It wasn’t the worst he’d had recently but each of them make me worry whether his time has come.
Today he’s gotten all perky and annoyingly nudgey.
I still worry.
I walked to the drug store and got my meds today.
I like listening to my music when I walk but the weather takes a lot of the pleasure out. I re-injured my hip flexor scrabbling around (BUT NOT FALLING) on all the ice. I have to play close attention to each step. Even when the sidewalk looks clear there are patches with my name on them.
I did get to study some of the better kept sidewalks and I think I’ve picked up on a little secret about scattering salt!
Who ever knew there were salt secrets!
I plan to try them out later today.
If you want to be worried about me, worry about this: I’m excited about trying out my new salt strategy!

The first thing that you should do when you win an Oscar is thank God. The second thing you should do is forget it. The third thing you should do is call your agent and tell him you need a job.
Rod Steiger

Thunderbolts-Marvel Comics
Click images for desktop size: “Thunderbolts” by Marvel Comics
Its Oscar night.
I liked it better when it was on Mondays. It was always a good and justified excuse for leaving work.
Even the cops looked the other way on Oscar night. If you weren’t doing anything too dangerous you could get away with most anything.
The streets were deserted because everyone was someplace watching the Oscars.
Roma In LA, even if you never had any plans to make a movie or to be a star, everyone ran their Oscar acceptance speech through their head.
Winning the Oscar was that one moment when you got even with the world. When anybody had ever rejected or neglected you had to stand up and see that you were the best, you had made it. You were something that they would never be.
If living well is the best revenge then the Oscar was the same dish with pesto and chili sauce. Who didn’t want to stand up there before the entire world.
Marlon Brando and George C Scott for two.
Scott, when he won for “Patton”, was making a stand to stop the silly competition between actors. His powerful message was defused when Goldie Hawn made the announcement with a giggling “Oh my god!”
Brando was trying to make a political statement about Indian Rights when he sent Sacheen Little Feather up to refuse his Oscar for “The Godfather”. His message got undercut when Little Feather appeared nude in Oui magazine. Oui was sort of a raunchy sequel to Playboy.
Hollywood seduces. Beauty, money and fame are powerful things. I grew up in them and didn’t even realize that they existed until I wasn’t there. They never went any place.
There’s no particular artistic inspiration to be found in a lust for wealth power and fame.
Jimmy Pickering accepted his Oscar for best animated short subject wearing a tux with a wildly spinning bow tie.
James Cameron knew what it was like to be god.
Transferring The Bear Knife
Click images for desktop size: “Transferring The Bear Knife” by Unknown
Peter Jackson continued his quest to be the man you’d least like to sit next to you on a subway. Which is a different kind of power and arrogance we’ve all seen before.
The Oscars seem to be less and less meaningful.
They were always about money and fame but now it looks like they’re only about money and fame.
Who can forget Slim Pickens killing his chances for an Oscar and nearly wrecking his career by shamelessly begging for the recognition. Now a days that sort of pandering is de rigeur, which doesn’t mean much except the talent is no longer there.
I worked in the tech end of movies. I used to feel smug because I always felt that on the tech and the writing end of things no one could touch the Hollywood product. No matter what committee tried to ruin a movie the sheer talent would win out in the end.
Now the Asians with fewer resources have taken more and more of that away from us. Their tech stuff is blowing things away and redefining State Of The Art.
The South Koreans have even co-opted the Hollywood staple: The Magic Of Sheer Entertainment.
A ludicrously minor film like “Highway Star” brings in the music and the heavyweight actors to make a light souffle that leaves you with nothing but smiles and the feeling of being entertained.
Foxy Brown There’s nothing wrong with entertaining people and taking them outside the world they live in for 90 minutes. It used to be our greatest strength. You’re not ignoring the world when you make this kind of movie. You’re expanding it to fill up the voids and the empty spaces with some light that lets people see their fellows with compassion and a glimmer of understanding. When an actor exposes a bit of the character’s soul in a way that leaves you smiling it enables us to see that bit of soul in each other. That’s always a special thing.
When did I become so strident?
Anyway, now you can place bets on the Oscars. They give odds.
Since there’s no football to pick you have to put up with my incredibly fallible Oscar picks. I’m doing the Best Pictures but the only Awards I care about are the tech ones . . .

“Atonement” – The safest thing to write about is childhood. Lee Harper pulled it off with skill and by putting in the greatest drama that Americans can witness, a racist murder trial. John Knowles and J.D. Salinger both attempted it and had some success. (“A Separate Peace” and “Catcher In The Rye” respectively) “Atonement” is a catholic guilt trip. Its set in the 30’s but uses that as an excuse to “purdy” up and hide the emotional flaws. I thought it was hackneyed and cliched.
When Faulkner won the Nobel Prize for literature for his book “A Fable” it was pointed out that the plot was the same as “All The Kings Men”. Faulkner’s response was something like, “A plagiarist steals, the great artist steals but then makes it his own.” The guys making “Atonement” are not great artists.

Marvel Heroes
Click images for desktop size: “Marvel Heroes” by Marvel Comics
“Juno” – When I saw this film I thought it was okay. Nothing more. I thought it was one of the better teen comedies, right up there with “Chicken Chronicles”. That its cheap cardboard characters and poorly realized and blatantly false issues revolving around teen pregnancy should be considered Oscar worthy is the curse of the Baby Boomers and the nasty influence they’ve had on the world. (A lot of that venom is from having to always do Beatle’s covers at gigs). This movie offers nothing and smacks of trying to show todays kids that Hollywood is still “hep”.

“Michael Clayton” – This is one of those movies that’s been made for no other reason than to win Oscars. Its directed by Sydney Pollack (“Tootsie”, “Out Of Africa”) a guy who can make the most intense moments go through you like spoiled chicken marinated in bad soy sauce. No matter how important the situation in life he can make it appear trivial and not get in the way of the stars. This is the film I’d pick as the possible winner.

“No Country For Old Men” – When the Coen Brothers made “Blood Simple” the casting director told me that these guys were going to be a force in Hollywood. He was right. This movie is mildly entertaining. The Giant Leeches It tries to hide its exploitation movie roots by giving us a totally downer of an ending. This was an old trick by the guys who couldn’t grasp Wittgenstein or existentialism. If everybody dies it means that everything that happened before must have significance. Right?
Its not a bad movie but its got a long way to go before you could imagine this as great.

“There Will Be Blood” – I love lurid title! I found this movie to be a turgid exercise in over indulgence and lack of control. A real turgid mess about money. It took me 6 attempts to sit through it. And I could barely remember what happened before. It drips phony significance from every frame. The actors are out of control and the director’s main task was to keep them from stepping on each others lines. It also offers up smacked around kids. All of this adds up to Oscar dynamite! Art is like medicine that is good for you. My pick to win cause its the movie I liked least that will be forgotten soonest.

I like the sounds of destruction

Rust And Dirt
Click images for desktop size: “Rust & Dirt”
I walked myself to the hospital yesterday. Emergency room.
About a 3.5 mile walk. Funny thing, I felt better the more I was moving. Would have been great if I’d had a dog with me.
Dirty Mary And Crazy Larry I was bleeding and it was embarrassing bleeding. Not blood gushing stuff.
It was from eating a jalapeno pepper for dinner the night before. I remember thinking how odd that I hadn’t eaten a pepper in such a long time . . . It wasn’t until I was sitting in emergency that I remembered.
I got scoped out. I re-opened my ulcer, which was caused by too many pills that I have to take to stay alive.
Sometimes this life is tedious.
They looked at other stuff. I strained my shoulder. It still hurts. Seems it was a mild separation. I can accept that. I remember having to pop it back into place but I’m surprised that it still causes me pain. I used to heal so well.
And I strained my right hip flexor. That was from shoveling snow and slipping on ice.
I am working on Zen Master status on snow shoveling. I need to hurry that up. Its snowing now.
That was a joke . . . hurrying up Zen . . . they’re seldom as funny when you have to explain them . . . especially when they’re not that funny to start with.

I’ve gotten a couple of emails chastising me for my opinions about Tobe Hooper. No one defending him but trying to convince me that Wes Craven was then the new Romero.
Well, I thought “Last House On The Left” had a great ad campaign, “Keep repeating to yourself its only a movie! Its only a movie!” but I thought it was only mildly interesting. Better was the speculation about all the different versions in there that had even better gore and splatter.
Anime by Mota
Click images for desktop size: “Anime Wallpaper” by Mota
I saw it first in downtown LA. One of the other films on the triple bill was, “They Call Her One Eye” (originally “Thriller-A Grim Film”). “One Eye” was definitely more disturbing.
It wasn’t until Craven did “The Hills Have Eyes” that I thought he might be a serious talent. But he sold out to Hollywood too quickly for me.
“The Hills Have Eyes” was staggering. While “Last House” was just a more explicit retelling of Bergman’s “The Virgin Spring” “Hills” was an Adlerian exploration of a Freudian psychic nightmare. And it had dogs!
But then came the dreck. The Freddie Krueger movies and that almost entertaining piece of B tripe, “Swamp Thing”. Craven was never a prophet. He worked for the money until he became bankrupt. (as in bereft of talent and ideas, not short of cash.)
When you start making art for the money instead of wanting to tell a story you become something that I can respect but I can never love.
George Romero has been quirky but he never sold out. He went to Dario Argento for financing and turned his back on Hollywood cash and what he perceived as the compromises he’d be unwilling to make.
The Edge Of Hell Its sad that even Jim Jarmusch finally gave in to Hollywood bucks, so only George, standing out there in Pennsylvania, all alone is the only guy with nothing to be ashamed of in his career. He always stayed true to his vision, even when we didn’t know what the heck he was talking about.

My friend sent me a link showing that this web site is slanted towards males . . . I can’t figure out what that means.
This site also points out that I have no advertisement. I appreciate that. Further my domain name is worth between 800 and 1200 bucks!
The basis for this seems sketchy to me. I figure the domain name is worth the 10 bucks a year it costs to keep it.
But I have been toying with the idea of trying to do some web site design, maybe to earn a few bucks.
I don’t know if that infringes on my no-ad policy. I have to think about that.
Its just that through stubbornness and without any desire to learn anything I’ve gotten pretty good with media and the basics of web design. I don’t know. It sounds desperate to me but maybe I am desperate.
You might not know about this, unless you have kids or work for an uptight company, but there is an entire industry built around filtering the internet. For schools I think this is a decent idea.
I remember when you could do a search for lemon pie and get 2 recipes and 45 porn sites.
My puppies site still gets heavy spam for bestiality sites.
But the nice thing is that more and school systems are opening up their filters so that the kids can see her page and photos and little movies. Becasue her site is powered by Movable Type it is automatically blacklisted as a “BLOG”. I wonder why they restrict blogs out of hand. Laziness? Or do they all have “ADULT CONTENT” like this one?
Rhino Bliss By Lawn Elf
Click images for desktop size: “Rhino Bliss” by Lawn Elf
That pleases me. I always like it when a hospital or school lets the kids see my puppy. Its pretty humbling and scary.
A ten year old girl wrote me a while ago and explained to me how she had found a way to circumvent her schools filters! It was very detailed and made a great tutorial. Even I could follow it!
Ten years old! That’s why I don’t worry too much about the future. Although I did vaguely worry about what other sites she was checking out. I liked that she didn’t write to me but that she wrote to my puppy.
Although I still have not changed my policy of ever eating an unwrapped, unsealed food given to me by a child, no matter how much love is in their heart.

When You coming back Red Ryder?
Mark Medoff

New York City Madness by Tim Melideo
Click images for desktop size: “New York City Madness” by Tim Melideo

I think the main reason I hate grocery shopping isn’t just the money. Its the enforced reminder that I’m no longer perfect.

Brute Force Finished watching “Valley Of Elah”. I still tend to watch movies in chapters, putting them down to resume later. Only the really great movies can hold my attention for a full 90 minutes. They have to be unworldly to keep me interested for two whole hours. Longer than that and I figure the filmmakers don’t know how to go about telling their story. (Their are a few exceptions, just a few).
“Valley Of Elah”: It was a pretty turgid mess. Obvious, pretentious and meandering.
Susan Sarandon gave one of the most vapid empty performances I’ve ever seen. It was staggering in the way she conveyed nothing and gave no depth to any part of her character. It wasn’t so much that like all these characters were made of card board but hers she played like it was a stiff pice of saran wrap.
They were giving Charlize Therzon plenty of face time and all she could do was be boring, obvious and a anti-illustration of of everything the heavy handed direction was preaching about (as regards women). It was an unrestrained performance that paid no dividends.
In spite of all this, or maybe because of it, Tommy Lee Jones gave one of the most memorable performances in movie history. He was brilliant. The only talent Paul Haggis (director/writer – “Crash”) showed was in not getting in his way.
Jones has always been good, sometimes remarkable, but he’s never had a showcase where he could keep such a high level going. The character, as written, was pretty much a stupid mess with no foundation or real sense. Jones forgot about it and gave the character an inner monologue that never falters. He doesn’t burn or smolder he simply exists and lives.
The genius of his performance is in keeping himself shuttered but still letting us, the audience, know that the thoughts dreams and anguish burn inside of him. The character lies to his friends, but with no tools other than his face and voice he lies convincingly and lets us know exactly why he is lying. It is always human and always true to the person he is.
Anime by Mota
Click images for desktop size: “Anime” by Mota
Jones takes a hunk of creepy cardboard and creates a human being out of it. I’ve seen the other performances nominated. I expect Jones won’t win the Oscar which would be a shame, but not a sin.
At least he’ll get more work.

For some reason Jones performance got me to drifting thoughts about great movies that had no acting ability, where the filmmakers had told there story so well and convincingly that lesser talented actors contributed instead of distracting from the story.
Probably the best horror film ever made was “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”. It had everything. Bright sunlight and dripping oozing cadavers. It shocked and it horrified and still does today. Every minus became a plus. Bad acting somehow made the characters seem more real. It made them not laughable but identifiable.
Even Marilyn Burns high pitched screaming throughout (normally an aggravating feature of grind house horror) seemed to be a keening note in a drum and bass line of depravity.
Chafed Elbows And Scorpio Rising The cheap Fuji stock and daedo lighting kit that were so unimpressive in other grind house flics added the surreal quality of a home movie to the story. It was such an impressive connotation of reality that it became a cliche, an effect strived for less effectively in “The Blair Witch Project” and “Cloverfield”.
In Texas Chainsaw the blazing sunshine and the unexpected dances in light and darkness made the arcane rooms of savage sculpture and cannibal art seem too close and easy to touch. Like you’d accepted an invitation to that creepy kids house because he had some cool comics to trade and you walked into the ultimate joke and were more stunned that he didn’t mind the sense of savage filth than you were by the filth itself.
In that one movie Tobe Hooper took over from George Romero as the new clear eyed sober voice of unspeakable nightmares. Or so it seemed.
And then what happened
The only people still working are Director Tobe Hooper and cinematographer Daniel Pearl.
Kim Henkel, the writer, has his name attached to things, but its only as an attachment. Like he keeps taking co-producer credit and money for all those Chainsaw remakes and sequels.
Marilyn Burns who seemed ready to rear her bloody laughing head into the same B Movie status as Lianna Quigley does cameos.
Ed Neal, the wine stained hitchhiker with a straight razor has gotten work doing Japanese TV shows and other sorts of day player bits.
Purple Rain
Click images for desktop size: “Purple Rain”
Daniel Pearl found Chainsaw was nothing more than an intro to Hollywood. A note from your mom to a successful producer she dated in High School.
He worked hard. I met him when he was DP on a Pia Zadora music video. He wouldn’t even talk about Chainsaw except with heavy anger. He shot “Alien vs Predator 2: Requiem”.
Hooper followed up Chainsaw with a Hollywood movie, “Eaten Alive”.
It proved that Neville Brand could act as creepy as he looked. It also managed to forever my long standing crush and desire for the once beautiful Carolyn Jones (Morticia, come back to me!!).
It looked like almost any other cheapo horror film, but it could also be read as a talent looking to learn the Hollywood system, the crews, and the actors. If you had a kind heart and great hopes.
Next up for Hooper was “Poltergeist”. Big money, big cast, Steven Speilberg producing. It could have been something and then it wasn’t. It was just another ghost story with glitzy production values and the start of CGI.
Dillinger Plenty of sequels and then the TV series. People made a lot of money but the audience looking for something more were jilted.
After that Hooper spent his time making the worst kind of slumming fodder, “Funhouse”, a remake of Abel Ferrara’s “The Toolbox Murders”, all weak and watery stuff that wouldn’t wake up a patron in any grind house theater.
Its sad and only proves that sometimes inspiration and madness only strike once.

When I first decided to keep a personal web site it was to force me to spend some time each day to reconsider and think about what I was doing and where I’d gone and why.
It was intended to force me to become human again.
There were the other perks I’ve mentioned previously. It still serves that purpose. It makes me reflect instead of hurtling head on. (Hurtling is what I think I’m best at.)
For a guy who finds it hard to read emails longer than 4 mails and is a master of writing one line responses all these words perplex. I like it broken up with the pictures. I spend more time choosing, editing the pictures than the words.
Aladdin - Maxfield Parrish
Click images for desktop size: “Aladdin” by Maxfield Parrish
ecto, the tool I use for laying out and posting to this site, is up to Beta 33! This one has seemed a huge step backwards. Its addressing some of those crazy things for other people but forgetting about guys like me.
It does odd things with images. So that I have to re-upload them via ftp. Which is just annoying and not that big a deal.
What is a big deal is that its not being true WYSIWYG at present. MarsEdit, a competitor, has taken the clue from some of the innovations in ecto and now does some of the tasks better! Regrettably it doesn’t do everything that ecto does and does somethings important to me far worse.

My friend has gone on a job interview today. I’m pleased. Its a lot easier to suffer and complain at a job that stresses you than endure the grief of being judged by someone you might dislike.
People can get used to anything. Its hard to ignore inertia and get moving. I’m proud that she’s trying.

Just roll me on down the aisle

JW McGinnis
Click images for desktop size: “Book Cover” by JW McGinnis
One of those days where all I feel is the waiting.
Life in stasis.
Of course the waiting is for money.
I know a whole lot of guys who’ll insist the only things worth waiting for are women and money, and generally in that order.
Th Big Bird Cage From that the general supposition is that you need money for the women . . . or vice versa. Not sure. I am sure that time and education has taught us that’s not really true.
Waiting for my tax refund. Got it in my head that the tiny pice of money will solve some issues, relieve some stress.
I have a friend who has a retirement plan. He buys a lottery ticket every week. Always picks the same set of numbers and one quick pick. I never thought much of his plan but at least it was a plan.
I have noticed that people are different with money. I think its might even be a genetic thing. Maybe there’s a capitalistic gene.
You give some people five hundred bucks and in a month they’ll turn that into a thousand, in two months four thousand. Then there are guys who’ll get five hundred and pay off some bills and save a third. Then there are guys who get themselves a new toy. We all have friends who’ll use the money to pay off some bills and then feel so good about that they’ll go off and buy a gift for the girl friend or wife and get themselves a new toy and end up a g-ball in the hole.
Money.
Not required to be the root of all evil but sure as the full moon doesn’t give a damn about your broken heart when you look at most of the superficial problems we all have it always seems the root is money.
School lunches and designer shoes. Money.

Edmund Dulac
Click images for desktop size: “Untitled” by Edmund DuLac
My friends who jobs I was stressing about yesterday seem to have had better times of it.
I’m all for that. I’m all for people having a better time with their stress than I have.
For my friend with the job bad review one of her superiors stepped forward and told the bigger boss that the comments attributed to her were false.
In a court of law that one statement would be enough to get the whole kaboodle tossed out. When the crux of one statement is found to be made of whole cloth lies the courts will bounce the whole package as unreliable. Or maybe that’s the old days way of handling it. Justice has always been transitory. Look, the Senate just made it justice for the FBI and ATT&T to spy on you, listen to your phone calls and read your email. Six years ago that would have been injustice.
Don’t know much about how corporations handle things like this. I’d guess they’ll do whatever till save them money and keep the unions out of their shops.
Bride Of Frankenstein At least the fear of unions, the fear of having to treat your family of employees fairly and equitably is enough for that at least. (Corporations get like snippy men – They claim they want to treat people fairly they just don’t want to be forced into it . . . that’s why they use threats and intimidations and lies to keep unions out of their shops . . . )
At least it looks like she’ll be as alright as you can be working in a corporation. They still haven’t fixed the health insurance issue.
My other friend ended up working completely left alone yesterday. She worked about twelve hours and discovered she likes her job. The hell comes from other people. No surprise there. Even Sartre realized that correctly.
Sartre just left out the part about money.

Heaven and hell don’t exist in the next world. They’re here in this one.
Tadashi Imai

Happy Morning

Click images for desktop size: “Happy Morning” by Anonymous
It was a quiet weekend for me.
I spent most of it fighting the ice storms and playing with the puppies. Smells almost like good times.
With all my wild ice and snow fighting I never even fell once. I slipped a few times but I never fell.
For the first weekend with no football and waiting for Spring Training to start, those nebulous weekends, it was pretty good.
The Wolf Man 1941 For me, at least.
For my friends it appears that their jobs have ended in the pit of “office politics”. Not the everyday kind but the venal.
For one its a matter of coping with rude people who don’t relate to any one else’s humanity, only their own. Of course they demand you recognize their rights as they blithely amble along ignoring everyone else’s.
An intelligent manager starts to prune these sorts well. It looks like they may have by moving them out of one branch and dumping them all in my friends.
She is dreading going in to work.
I empathize. Once on a climbing surfari my buddy Mark and I got jobs repairing glass houses for a huge indoor nursery.
Of course neither us imagined or had a vague clue as to what this job entailed.
It appeared that you had to find broken panes of glass and replace them. Your about 3 stories above the ground and you had to clamber up the glass roof using a series of “ladders”. These wooden things were a two by one and had six inch slats nailed crossways on the single support for you to clamber up on.
If you put a foot or, worse, a hand wrong you punched it strait through a hunk of glass.
They gave us a weird tool belt harness that carried a putty knife, putty and a glass cutter. We had to cut the panes of glass to fit while we balanced on the perch.
We cut our hands constantly on slivers of glass. You couldn’t wear gloves well as they just slipped as you tried to climb. We watched two guys fall through the rook and one slide down to the bottom.
Creating The War Shield

Click images for desktop size: “Creating The War Shield” by Unknown
This was all done in the heat and the glare of a glass desert that left your eyes tearing and your skin baking.
There was no question why they hired day labor for this and no question why they paid a whole dime more than minimum wage.
Four hours into it I dropped one of my finely cut panes of glass and watched it fall to the floor. I watched it break in half on a taut wire and then take what seemed a half day as it bounced around of different obstructions before finally disintegrating when it finally struck the pipes and concrete on the bottom.
It wasn’t a big stretch to imagine that being my body.
When the lunch whistle finally blew Mark and I didn’t even discuss it. We quit.
I was glad Mark was more persistent than me. He actually got our money for the half day. Cleared nearly thirty bucks. Enough for a tank of gas and a sandwich.
I imagine my friend sees her job the same way Mark and I saw climbing up on that glass roof when we had a chance to escape. I’m sad she feels that way. Sadder that I don’t have a quick solution.
Pickpocket We only needed a meal and some gas so it was easy to walk away.
Another friend works for a store that sells coffee. That big international one that keeps building and competing with itself.
It pretends to be a bit hip and a bit aware. But like Nike using child labor and Apple using Chinese camps the hipness fades away when making even more money is most important than anything else.
She’s held the job for three years. Struggles to keep it because the money is poor but they offer Health Insurance.
To stay alive in the new America you have to do that too often.
She’s had the job three years and watched the young and old move around. Like McDonalds this company preys on the young and aged.
In three years she seen a lot of managers and a lot of District Managers (the Simon Legree role I’d guess) come and go. Not to promotions but to out the door.
Her last manager had some issues. She had a lot of rage but she was the tight buddy of the new district manager who it appears like the grandesse of passing out jobs.
This manager lasted two months. She was incompetent. She did a faux pax that cost my friend her insurance.
Maybe it wasn’t an error. For her final official act she decided to give my friend her performance review. Now the shock is all there.
What idiot lets a short term employee who is quitting in an incompetent huff give a performance review to a long term employee of good standing?
There’s a quick and dirty answer to that but no quick and easy solution.
Jo In Wyoming - Edward Hopper

Click images for desktop size: “Jo In Wyoming” by Edward Hopper
That saddens me too.
And as an American when confronted with that special feeling of helplessness I let my mind wander tot he Oscars.
The Oscars are rapidly becoming irrelevant. I guess they always have been as a fair measure of quality. I think their biggest appeal was that moment of standing up there in front of the world and getting to say, “Hey Mom!”
I think the nominees this year are sad. I mean Johnny Depp for that piece of garbage ultra flop Sweeny Todd? Juno? A pretty dull slightly progressive teen comedy that clubs its final message home with a bric a brat bat?
And the foreign nominees are worse. No Chinese films, no Korean and no Asian! Unless you want to include that mind numbing Russian mess as Asian. Mind numbing must mean good. Like “The Blair Witch Project” and “Cloverfield” clever is passing for talent and being depressing and boring is passing for art.
This is why playing with puppies and fighting ice storms is a good weekend.

Don’t you care about me anymore Mikey?
Douglas Sirk

Positively No Smoking - Tiffany Fallon
Click images for desktop size: “Positively No Smoking” by Tiffany Fallon
When companies are posting record profits and their stock price keeps falling, that tells you something.
When gas and oil companies are trebling their record net profits and the gas prices don’t drop and the workers don’t get a raise that tells you something more.
Tobor The Great When the quality of your life can be ensured with an injection of 5 or 600 bucks that tells you all you need to know.
You do the things you have to in order to make it through. Shave every other day to cut down on the cost of a razor blade. Make the coffee a little bit weaker cause its better to have weak coffee than to have no coffee at all.
It does make what you’ve got taste better. It makes love seem more real. The good shines like a buried marble peeking out looking for only a glimmer of a sunbeam.
The politicians who don’t have a clue as to what to do, except to protect what they have in their bank accounts, manage to throw up some pretty distractions.
The economists all pretend they have an answer. Some do. Most of the ideas work for a few years and then blow up in our faces. Corporations don’t care if you live or die and they have a lot of talent invested in figuring out loop holes.
Funny though. Some good things, even some great things have come out of the depressions and recessions of the past. Many of them better than the stuff that happens in the good times.
In the great depression we got Woody Guthrie. We got the unions so we could stand together and get a living wage. It took nearly 60 years for corruption and Republicans to destroy them.
Comic Books flourished. A dime could buy you 3 loaves of day old bread or days of fantasy.
And we got Raymond Chandler.
We wouldn’t have any of that and much more if the country hadn’t been nearly destroyed by incompetent politicians and uncaring corporations. I’ve been reading a book: “Killer In The Rain”.
Its a book that Chandler would never let come out in his lifetime. He was insecure about his skill, not definite in his genius. I think he was probably insufferable but not about his skill and art. The Dark Knight
Click images for desktop size: “The Dark Knight” by DC Comics and Warner Bros
If, like me, you think Chandler is one of the great 20th century writers, its a lucky thing that executors of estates and heirs don’t care much about a man’s feelings when there’s money to be made.
Chandler had what he considered to be a serious flaw as a writer. He couldn’t come up with enough good plots to move his stuff along. The plot was trivial in his work but he didn’t want his stuff to turn into anything boring. His adage about poor writing “If you can’t think of anything else to do have somebody come in with a gun,” was a part of his self criticism.
Plots are hard. Chandler had all the tools, style, an ear for dialogue and a love of people that let him show us how they really are and still not hate them.
I guess his predicament is like being a great band but not having anybody able to write great songs. (The Byrds come to mind – super tight singing and playing but they only really shined when they did covers.)
White Heat What Chandler hated about the stories in “Killer In The Rain” is that they were all originally sold to pulp magazines. He assumed, rightly, that they were rapidly forgotten. In these stories are the beginnings of the plots of almost all his novels, plot and sometimes characters.
He thought that going back and reinventing dreams he’s already had, meeting great characters he’d already introduced us to made him less of a writer, less of a man.
Certainly it must have seemed that way to him.
As a simple example though there’s the character of Steve Skalla. Skalla was the beast of a man who moved behind the scenes in the incredible, “Farewell My Lovely”. In the novel he’s a brute, a killer who’s only decent quality is the love he had for a woman, a woman who betrayed him. Even that betrayal does not tarnish his love for her.
All the highly entertaining plot mechanisms revolve around the tear inducing tough conclusion where Chandler insists nobility is not only the par vue of the genteel and wealthy, but that a deeper more permanent nobility exists in a man who can forget rage, hatred and violence and care only for love.
Steve Skalla was first introduced in the short story, “Try The Girl”. Amazingly the character remains exactly the same. Chandler painted in in broader strokes and with fewer nuances but its the same man. In this story he’s even tougher, even more understanding and a bit pathetic, but he remains a durable classic character.
Chandler was making the same points in the novel and the short story but in the short story its sort of clubbed home. He also tears away the veneer of the cultured by having them act more brutally than the giant brute would conceive.
dominique-CarlosDegas.jpg
Click images for desktop size: “Dominique” by Carlos Dega
The telling scene is in the house of Skalla’s girl. He’s never gotten to see her. There’s a dead body there and the wife of the dead body. She’d been stalking her husband in a jealous rage.
When she finds him dead she assumes that the brute Skalla killed her man. She shoots him five times in the stomach.
Five bullets don’t do much to slow Skalla down. The ever present detective takes the gun from her roughly. Skalla says, “Take it easy on her. Man the little ones hurt as much as the big ones, don’t they?” (his only acknowledgment of being shot while he holds his guts in with both hands).
The up scale woman response to Skalla’s protectiveness is to walk up to him and spit in his face. The detective jerks her away and throws her into a chair. Skalla says, “Don’t be so rough, maybe she loved the guy.”
1938 - Prison Without Bars.jpg “Maybe she loved the guy.”
Its a beautiful line and a beautiful scene. Of course, in Chandler’s world, Skalla didn’t commit the crime he was assassinated for. He was taking the rap for the woman he loved, a woman he hadn’t seen in 8 years, who hadn’t written to him, had changed her name and well . . . that’s love and that’s Chandler.
In the novel it is even sadder and crueler but subtler than that.
I hurt my back yesterday. Chopping holes in the ice so the dogs and I can walk (or run around) without slipping and hurting ourselves . . . its just soreness and nothing else.
My little blind dog is more of a concern. He’s not doing great. He had a bad night. I’ll lounge around, heal and do my exercises even watch a couple movies. He’ll only have me to comfort him. He ate today so I have hopes.
What else do we ever have.

Just a minute please

weeki_wachee.jpg
Click images for desktop size: “Weeki Wachee” by Unknown
There’s a few things bugging me.
The RAIA, the Congress and baseball. Not necessarily in that order.
The RAIA has always bugged me. They are a bunch of jerks who view people only as walking wallets, sort of like the worst kind of pimps you find in the seedier parts of town.
twilight_people_(1973).jpg This is the group set up to make sure that the records were made to the same specs so that all records could play them. They were sort of like a 50’s version of THX Sound.
Then when the record companies decided they didn’t want to pay the record artists any more money the protected that.
Its one of the interesting things they touched on early in “The Soprano’s”. It was common practice to sign acts to record records. They never got paid, even though the record companies were dumping thousands to DJ’s to bribe them to play the records. That led to the payola scandal. The RAIA was a part of that.
They justified it all somehow: The acts, they claimed, benefited because they got free advertisement. They didn’t get paid but they got to keep all the money from playing clubs and concerts . . . which promoted the records but they never bothered to justify that part so there’s no official line there.
As to the payola a a lot of DJ’s lost there jobs and ruined their careers and lives. No record company went out of business. No record company exec went to jail or got fired.
I guess, you could say the RAIA did a good job for them.
Now the RAIA says that when you buy a record or a CD or a digital download you don’t own anything. You’ve bought air. You’re allowed to listen to it at their grace. And the rapidly escalating prices are so that the musicians will get paid their fair share, except now they want to cut the musicians share from 9% to 4%.
AngryShark.jpg
Click images for desktop size: “Angry Shark” by Anonymous
Don’t confuse the RAIA with ASCAP or BMI. ASCAP and BMI collect money to pay to the writers of the songs. The RAIA has no connection to the musicians or writers. They only represents the suits who hate music but like money.

And now the Senate has completed the rape of the Constitution. They increased unilaterally the right of our Government to spy on us . . . by a 67 to 31 vote. Rah!
Amazing that the constitution which has done pretty well for 220 years has suddenly found itself obsolete after 8 years of George Bush. Some of the Supreme Court Justices are even saying nonsense about how the Constitution is outmoded and no longer valid . . . they’re Bush appointees of course.
For some reason every thing that comes out of a conservative mouth lately sounds more and more like the old commie rhetoric, rhetoric we were taught to fear and take with skepticism.
Underworld I guess you really do become what you hate most.
Clinton didn’t attend to vote on the measure. Obama has remained silent. The Republicans are all for it.
Its the old, “the guilty don’t deserve any rights” and the innocent don’t need any rights.
I think I’m going to vote for whatever sacrificial lamb the Green Party is running this year. Nothing can be worse than supporting the wholesale merchandising and destruction of America.

Then we have the new witch hunt, the new McCarthyism – Steroids.
I remember when Lyle Alzado died. He was a killer line backer for the Raiders back when the Raiders were good.
He died because of steroids and Human Growth Hormone. He died directly because he wanted to be bigger and stronger.
I remember Canadian Ben Johnson blowing Carl Lewis off at the starting line and setting a world record because of steroids.
And I remember the NCAA barring Oklahoma’s Brian Bosworth from a bowl game because of steroids. (Bosworth was a bust for the Seahawks – but he did make an amusing movie, “Stone Cold”).
Nobody reacted then, when it could have done some good.
When I was coaching in Texas its impossible to believe how many of my kids came to me and asked if I thought they would benefit from juicing up.
At first I thought they were trying one on to see if I’d bite. They were serious.
Of course I told them no and explained all the pitfalls and told them about Lyle Alzado etc. I worry most now about the kids who didn’t ask me.
I never had a kid come back from summer break 25 pounds heavier and 20% stronger. I don’t know how I would have handled it. Probably the wrong way.
Astro Boy
Click images for desktop size: “Astro Boy” by Makaski Inc
Instead of protecting the kids and not just punishing them we have a stupid congressional investigation.
One the one hand our country is falling apart but we take massive amounts of time and man hours and money to protect our entertainments so that they can be sold more readily to us.
As much as I think that this investigation is wrong headed and not geared to accomplish anything meaningful (There’ll be no penalties for the owners who demanded bigger faster athletes, or to the coaches who turned their eyes away and only viewed the results. There’ll be no lessons for the vulnerable children, there’ll only be Joe McCarthy style headlines for the witch hunters who bring down the biggest stars.) I’ve been following the testimony of Roger Clemens. I would like him to be innocent. I would like to think he did all he has done out of toughness and stubbornness and a lively arm.
The Descent After the inept display by congress today I really don’t know. Clearly most of the committee have already made up their minds as to how they’re going to decide and proceed. Most of the questions weren’t fair and slanted in an ugly way.
Henry Waxman is the head of the committee. He was also my congressman for an incredible amount of years. I always thought of him as a Hollywood lobbyist. I voted for him because my unions recommended him. He was the kind of Congressman who sent you a survey at election time so you could tell him what he needed to be doing. It was multiple choice and there was no space to write anything down. You had to put your own stamp on it to mail it in, proof he wasn’t corrupt I guess.
Waxman did not behave very properly I thought. He didn’t keep things smooth and fair in a pursuit of the truth. He accepted things at face value and without a sense of fairness. He let cruel things be said to Clemens, cruel things that were not in pursuit of truth but sounded more like a punter who dropped a hundred bucks on a game Clemens pitched in.
I want Clemens to be drug free. I will be disappointed if he took drugs.
But I don’t think America will be a better or a worse place to live in no matter what he has done.