26 February 2009

Muscle Boy


I honestly wonder if those stories are true about bodybuilders getting all ragey and agressive. I guess it takes a certain personality to become obsessed with developing extreme muscle tone for the purposes of competition. That's really just aesthetic weightlifting. This is how it works as far as I understand it; you get really into lifting weights, it has a psychological appeal, you feel stronger and maybe tougher. Then there's the actual physical effects, the endorphins, you feel great, energized, and on top of that you can see the difference when you look in the mirror. Thats why gyms are full of fucking mirrors all over the walls.

Pretty soon you're bigger than everybody else, you look and feel like you could crush their heads with one hand. And let me tell you there are a lot of people who fit that description. Anybody who makes you feel small, maybe people who are like your dad, who treat you like you're a failure. They're smart and you're stupid, they're pretty and you're not, rich and you're not.
Doesn't matter, you can crush their heads. You ever feel like less than somebody, hell just beat 'em or get bigger.
It might not go fast enough for you though. You might not be getting big enough quick enough, but there are ways to help solve that problem.

Unfortunately as you become exponentially larger, the causes of your low self esteem do not diminish. Now the steroids you've been taking are starting to fuck with your natural biochemistry and your body starts to do wierd things. You can't put up with peoples shit anymore, you have a short fuse. Anyhting that is smaller than you lives in terror because you exert total physical dominance and are prone to screaming and punching holes in things when you don't get your way, neck muscles rippling as you sour yellow breath causes beads of sweat to break out on the faces of even the most subservient.

Pretty soon anyone that doesn't have a more damged psychology than you is totally avoiding your presence and you find yourself pretty much without friends. People do the bare minimum of interaction with you at work, and before you know it, you're wandering forlornly around at work asking your coworkers, "Hey, does anybody wanna fight?"

Read my co-conspirators take on the same pulp-art postcard atGone to Croatoan

23 February 2009

The Man From Planet X

In the busy town of Monterrey near the border of Estado Nuevo Leon, MX, they came, first singly, then in pairs. Carmelita was the first to meet them one Saturday when she was on her way to visit her sisters family in La Reina. Carmelita was more confused than anything at first because the strange man seemed not to be hostile, but distressed or frightened. The box on his chest emitted a constant staticky gurgle which seemed to become more insistent as he gesticulated more and more and became increasingly agitated as she backed away from his flapping hands saying "Lo siento senor, no entiendo."

Unfortunately, at that time scientific inquiry was still largelybased on the simple mechanical principle of "take it apart to see how it works", and although this did indeed illuminate a great many things about los Dos hombres de la Planeta X, it came at the cost of their lives. Even though their last desperate message was lost for all time, their contributions to the development of hydrophony and brewing technology would have a long lasting impact on the history of modern Mexico.

Read my comrades spin on the same pulp-art postcard at Gone to Croatoan

20 February 2009

Santa Claus Conquers the Martians


In the great summer offensive of 1959 was not as it should have been from the point of view of the Martians. Their scouting parties failed to pick up the presence of the 223 Elfin counterinsugency batallion which had been specially trained and deployed around the North Pole as a desperate last-ditch effort to stall the Martians long enough for Santa to escape.

Unfortunately for both the 223rd and the Martians, both were tenacious fighters. The Elves were driven back only with tremendous loss of life, and Santa was captured as he was filling a final sack with toys.

It was only 7 months later when Santas top Elven generals had built and equipped 18 new crack divisions of robots but more importantly, and more crucially in the coming battle, the 6 elite divisions of Giddy-Children that had been training for nearly 2 years were ready to go into action.

Sadly, by the time the bloodbath was over, it was too late. Santa's shrill weeping only made the whole thing worse. Unknown to his generals, Santa Claus himself had proven to be the ultimate form of psychological warfare, winning the affection of the Martians through his personable jollyness.
Santa was so devastated by the tremendous loss of Martian life that he refused to eat, and within 2 months was reduced to a mere 90 pounds. "Gaunt and Haunted" doesn't quite have the same ring as "Fat and Jolly", and that was the last that was heard of Christmas.


Read my comrades spin on this pulp-art postcard at Gone to Croatoan

18 February 2009

Real Change Native

An illo for a Real Change article about Native American poverty. I'm not sure how I feel about it, but I think the clincher will be whatever I put on the sign. Something along the lines of
"600 Hard Years. Need back respect and dignity, anything helps."

The danger is that as a white male I run the risk of saying something offensive without realizing it. It should be clear that the dignity and respect was stolen. Suggestions?
In any case, it's better than the original one.

15 February 2009

Not Of This Earth


If you'll notice right below the creature, there is an object, which bears a striking resemblance to the Sputnik satelite.
It's not the creature which has got this fair maiden clutching at her face in a silent scream (although lets admit, it's not a very pleasant image that slimy bastard).

Nope, what's got her frozen in terror is the idea of a Communistical spacecraft drifting menacingly over Iowa ready to deliver a payload of beets and vodka straight into the foyer of her suburban splitlevel ranch-style bungalow.

The absolute skin crawling horror of knowing that there's something out there, some unspeakable evil for which you have absolutely no evidence other than that you've been told it's out there by other people who claim to have evidence which is too important to national security to reveal so you'll just have to trust them but it really it is irrevocable.

In this case, we may have a little more that hearsay because we have a bit of an image of the creature which may or may not have something to do with Sputnik. But really let's admit that it's just an artists rendition and so it's about as reliable as Columbus' mermaid sightings.

So what we've established is that some people claim to have solid evidence, which they're not revealing, of an imminent cultural threat and that other people believe it. Clearly that is enough for the young lady of the image, and we can close this chapter secure in the knowledge that the wee lass isn't going to be trying out her grandmother's borscht recipe anytime soon.

Found Images








Battle Of Shaho

Battle of Shaho in 1905, between the Japanese and Russians.
(The Japanese are in black)

Pursuit of Vikings

Midterms have really just finished, in fact I still don't have the grades on my exam or essay from the Vietnam Wars course, (I did well in World War 1). But I'm already pretty excited to get going with next quarter. I need pre-modern history credits and of all things being offered is a class on the Vikings.

This is how excited about studying the history of Vikings:


Swedish death metal band Amon Amarth - "Pursuit of Vikings"

12 February 2009

Runaway Daughters


WORDS

How many times had they told her? Lots, lots more than she could remember anyway, and who was counting, maybe they were, her parents, but she wasn’t listening. That was why she was here at the runway, because she wasn’t listening to them.

Her father railed and stomped and said it wasn’t respectable for a young girl like her, from a respectable family like theirs to be out behaving like that and doing those things. What he meant was he was ashamed that she wasn’t doing what older folks expected, and they looked at him funny like he was a bad father. It was his own feelings he was looking after.Her mother was quiet while dad yelled, but afterwards the things she said hurt a little more even though she was speaking softer.

She still came out here though. It was one of the only things that didn’t make her feel stupid or inadequate or like a disrespectful, shameful daughter. The runway was the one place where she could feel like she wasn’t less that something, where the breathtaking roar and lumbering weightless metal made her feel like she didn’t matter at all.

PICTURE

Look, those girls are running away from the scene of a crime! A CRIME! I'm telling you, there's a damn body on the fucking pavement and those girls are running away.
It was in a Denny's restaurant, with a lunch counter type situation, guy in the back with a white paper hat and a scowl. Big long comercial street pointing out of town, two lanes each way with a median down the middle. Probably named Airport Way.
Lot's of stuff to buy, lots of business travelers, fattish ossifying men with thin "youthful" moustaches staying in the area, eating in the area, at Denny's.
Lots of soft marks in an area like that, don't know the town.
The open land, parking lots, wide streets and lots of quiet at night. Open sky except for the occasional roar overhead that semed to suck a little oxygen out of the air.,
You can take those fat suits if you wanna, nobody much around anyway they're all sleepily getting somewhere else.
Thats what them girls did damnit, they spooked some sad old traveling schlep with a sack fulla sewing patterns. Lookit them legs, thats a whole lotta vertical viewfinding for a married man to do over a cup of diner coffee. She sat down next to him and asked him some safe sounding questions about his job, sympathised and suggested something vague.
When he got out to the hotel room... she was too scared I bet, that's why he's in the street. She and her friends couldn't believe what the hell they were doing and they screwed it up. Maybe they whacked him on the head too hard and too soon or the old buzzard just couldn't take the shock of them legs doing that dirty business.
They gotta runaway now, there's a damn dead body in the middle of Airport Way and a police siren echoes like a hungry baby in the middle of all those parking lots and cold diner windows.

Read my comrade's spin on the same pulp-art postcard at Gone To Croatoan

Zombies At Last

As an unabashed 15+ year fan (short for fanatic) of zombie movies I must admit that one of my favorites, in fact my absolute favorite zombie film is Lucio Fulci's Zombi 2 (known to most US viewers of course as simply Zombie).

There are several reasons for this effusive gushing affection (I choose my adjectives with care).
  • The spiritually uplifting poster art, see right.
  • The effusive gushing gore brought to you by Gianetto DeRossi (more recently he did Haute Tension, a gory (duh) French slasher film from the directors of the decent remake of The Hills Have Eyes.
  • The low budget plot which is taken up primarily by zombies eating people, zombies shuffling, zombies rising slowly from improbably shallow graves, and people shrieking as they flee the shuffling hungry zombies. Of course there's some dramatic tension and character development in there too, oh and some nudity, but who's counting when the impromptu tracheotomies-via-zombie-mandible are taking place?
  • Tisa Farrow and more importantly Ian McCullough two steadfastly mediocre actors who put every ounce of passion into every zombie induced shriek.
  • Ummm, it's fucking Italian, and frankly you cannot get much better than an Italian exploitation film. The Wops did it best and they did it best, period. There is something in the Italian cultural mentality that allows for envelope pushing extremes, just ask Benito.
  • The soundtrack which just adds a level of low budget menace which cannot be equaled I think by anything American, and few things Italian. Piercing, unnerving, almost nauseating, it is the perfect compliment to the film. When Phill and I at Kung Fu Grindhouse showed this movie, one of the things we were most excited about was getting to hear the soundtrack over a full PA system. It was a thing of beauty.
This last point is a big one, and it is what inspired me to write this blog entry. I've long wanted to have myself a copy of the soundtrack in order to assail my ears with images of undead mastication whenever I so pleased myself to do so. Alas, the one semi-bootleg copy available retail was ridiculously overpriced and had to be shipped from the land of really bad movies (see also the United Kingdom), not to mention being out of print.
Enter The Manchester Morgue, a blog which I found because it was kind enough to post a link to my film blog Lost Video Archive. I wasn't sure for a while what Manchester Morgue was trying to do besides being exploitation movie nerds (which is fine by itself) but hey, on closer inspection I got it. If you want to find the music from an old exploitation movie, Manchester Morgue is the place to look. Once I figured that one out (which took all of 3 or 4 minutes) guess what I began searching frantically for?

Oh sweet wienie roast. Now I can think of flesh eating all day long with a smile on my face.

Manchester Morgue (thank you sir!) also does something with creating cover art for home videos of lost B-movies, which is also near and dear to my heart. So visit them, a link will be on this page and Lost Video Archive from here on out.

09 February 2009

Brothers

Kintaro was the older brother of Bunso Horihanso. The only two children of their parents, the brothers had developed a very close relationship ever since they were born. Kintaro, being the elder brother, made a point of taking special care of his brother whenever necessary.

While growing up, Kintaro and Bunso remained very close. Some atributed this to their lack of playmates in rural Miyagi Prefecture but the fact remains that the brothers were never apart. Their parents were originally rice farmers but during the industrial improvements of the westernization period post 1870, their mother Hiyasa took a job in a textile factory near Sendai.

Kintaro often acted as his younger brothers safekeeper during their outings to the city, or when they went camping in the mountains. Although there was a three year difference in their ages it was nearly impossible to tell the two apart because they were never separated and often responded in unison to either of their names.

In November 1903 When Kintaro was conscripted at the age of twenty one, Bunso volunteered but was not accepted because he was not of age. However, apealing toone of his classmates childless elderly uncle with a promise of a small amount of monthly food assistance to be secured from his soldiers pay, he was able to secure a voucher.

Their mother did not dissaprove becuse it was generally felt that if brothers or close friends served side-by-side together they would be able to protect one another, or bring each other luck in battle.

Although Kintaro was finished with basic training in June 0f 1904, four months before Bunso, the latter was able to secure assignment to the same unit in the 4th Army. By this time, the Japanese Imperial Army had been engaged with the Russian Army in Manchuria for 2 years and had driven the Russians back on all fronts.

The Horihansa brothers each joined their unit after a month at home before they were deployed, Kintaro in August and Bunso in Novemebr.
By the time Bunso joined with his brother, Kintaro had already had his first taste of battle at the Sha River in Korea at the battle of Shaho.





The Horihansa brothers, Kintaro (left), and Bunso in a
photo taken just before Bunso's graduation from secondary school in 1902.

By the end of 1904 the Army had advanced into Manchuria and it was thought that further battles would not occur during the particularly harsh winter of that year. In January however the Russians attacked but they were held. On March 7 at Mukden, after more than two weeks of skirmishing, the Japanese attacked again and the brothers advanced with their infantry battalion towards the Hun River. As the infantry neared the river, the Japanese artillery firing in in front of ahead of their advance blasted numerous holes in the otherwise frozen over river. As their unit advanced under the confusion of rifle and artillery fire, Bunso fell through one of the holes in the ice, and owing to the weight of his equipment was unable to stay afloat. Within seconds Kintaro noticed the absence of his brother but that was all the time it took for Bunso to sink and be swept some distance under the ice by the current.

When his companions found him after the battle, Kintaro was still weakly hacking at the ice with his broken bayonette, his hands bleeding and mutilated from clawing and pounding the ice with his fists and knife. After his unit returned to the staging area he continued to murmur his brothers name and would not respond coherently to his companions or the military doctors.
Clearly no longer able to function as a soldier, he was sent back to Japan where for two months he was kept under observation and for that entire time the only thing he said when spoken to was his brothers name.
Three nights after his return, and just as the plum blossoms began to open in the village, at around 2am, Kintaro cast off his blankets and left his parents house, walked to the neighborhood well and cast himself in headfirst and drowned.

08 February 2009

I Married A Monster From Outer Space


What most people don't know is that I Married A Monster From Outer Space is actually one of the first films in a little known sub-genre of comedy. What began with a 1947 film called I Was a Jew in Hitler's General Staff was taken to new heights of (mediocre) hilarity in I Married A Monster From Outer Space which in 1958 made enough money to guarantee a return to form from notorious B-movie producer Frank Doggerel at some point in the near future. Little was it then known that the "first-person disastrous comedy confessional" genre would live such a long and (some say) despicable life.

The first person disastrous comedy confessional follows a pretty simple formula, take a relatively benign situation and make one of the characters into their complete logical opposite. Then one of the characters, the opposite, or one of the other main characters relate the subsequent (hopefully) hilarious antics which occur in the average benign interactions between said characters.

As predicted, in 1960Doggerel made a sequel of sorts to I Married A Monster From Outer Space, ignoring the ending of the previous film, he called his new outing Our Landlord Was a Negro. Unfortunately for Doggerel (and fortunately for the movie viewing public), Our Landlord panned and the erstwhile producer decided to sell pre-fab swimming pools for the rest of his professional life.

Nevertheless, as mentioned, the 1stPDCC refused to die, and occasionally rears its ugly head to grace our screens with frustratingly torpid subject matter.


Read my comrades spin on the same pulp-art postcard at Gone to Croatoan

05 February 2009

"THEM"

I’m not sure why we called them “Them”, it was perfectly obvious to all of us that they were giant ants. Right? I mean, why then hell not call ‘em “The Ants” right?

It came across as sortof aloof or arrogant, like they were of a lower class than us, like it would have been shameful to be seen in the company of one of “Them”. Your parents would hang their heads and sit in the back of church not talkin’ to nobody if your sister had married one of “Them”.

We tried rifles, but they’re shells were too hard, and we didn’t have anything bigger than a shotgun. The only way we had figured for killing them was to get up some speed in Franks International and go tearing ass straight for their legs and smash through the damn things like hollow fence-posts full of steaming yellow bug juice that stank like a mouthful of dead kittens.

Well dang, they were giant damned ants, what’s the point of acting racist against ‘em if they were just a whole other species that was trying to eat your damn house, why intellectualize it to some level beyond, “that giant damn ant is eating my house damnit.”

Read my comrades spin on the same pulp-art postcard here: Gone to Croatoan

02 February 2009

Jamaican Dichotomy

I have a thing for old ska music from the early 60's . Not a big thing, but every once in a while I do like to listen to a couple of ska records and bob my head like a gangly white man. Some of the compilations I have feature some songs celebrating Jamaican independence when it left the Federation of the West Indies in 1963.

After being a British posession for so long it might not be surprising that there were native Jamaican born white persons who felt more aliegance to Jamaica than Great Britain. One of them was biracial
Michael Manley a greatly respected man who became the Prime Minister of Jamaica (succeeding his father) in 1972 -1980, and again in 1989-'93.

Listening to the celebratory songs about independence, songs like "Independent Jamaica" by Lord Creator, performed here in a version of sorts by Lord Rose (can't find audio of the original) it makes me feel very enthusiastic. The Lord Creator version actually describes the historical events leading up to independence, the song even became the "official" song of Jamaican independence in 1962. Another of my favorites is Derrick Morgan's 1962 song Forward March which as you'll hear, admonishes Jamaicans to work together to make Jamaica a good country.

It's heartbreaking to know what devastation and poverty were to come in the subsequent decades. Little did the Jamaicans know that their oppression was only beginning. Here is the entire hour and a half of Life and Debt, a documentary about Jamaican poverty and economic slavery at the hands of the International Monetary Fund.

The film features excerpts from several interviews with Michael Manley in which he describes the agonizing decision to acquiesce to IMF economic reforms in order to get money to keep the population from starving. I cannot find exceprts exclusively of the Manley interview so you'll have to watch the whole film, it's worth it. Suffice to say, they got the money from the IMF, the people are still starving.

The Honorable Michael Norman Manley

01 February 2009

Battles of WWI


This is an effective way to avoid doing any actual studying of stuff that might be on the test.

Schlieffen Plan

Battle of Tannenberg

Battle of The Frontiers

1st Marne

Dardanelles Campaign

1st YpresThis image is actually a painting by Alfons Mucha depicting the post battle carnage at the 1410 Battle of Tannenberg (Grunwald)