We don’t just report off-beat news, breaking news and digest the best and worst of the news media analysis and commentary. We give an original take on what happened and why. We add lols, satire, news photos and original content.
AS impossible as it is for me to believe, Glen Larson’s version of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (1979 – 1981) turns thirty-five years old this year.
Today, this cult-TV series is often remembered for its spandex fashions, its gorgeous female stars and guest stars, its penis-headed robot Twiki (Felix Silla/Mel Blanc), and its oppressive re-use of familiar or “stock” visual effects in the space dogfights.
Though Buck Rogers in the 25th Century had its weak installments, for certain (like the dreadful “Space Rockers”) it was also a light science fiction series — a romp, essentially — and the series is recalled fondly by fans on those terms too.
THE obvious way to sell men’s clothing is to proclaim that the garments will somehow turn the average guy into an irresistible Studasaurous. From the late Sixties to early Eighties, when Baby Boomers were in their sexual prime, this marketing tactic went into hyperdrive. Boomers were ready to mate, and menswear adverts proclaimed that their apparel was the gateway to sweet, sweet lovemaking. Here are a few examples.
EPIC Intros presents Michael Parks in Then Came Bronson:
“Hang in there”
FLASHBAK to August 4 1967:
Actor Eli Wallach takes advantage of the studio lights on the set of “MacKenna’s Gold,” Aug. 4, 1967, to make some stills of tone of his co-stars in the film, Edward G. Robinson. Robinson plays the role of an almost blind prospector. Wallach adjusts the lights on his subject and takes pictures with his own Nikon F camera. (AP Photo/David F. Smith)
MOST of today front pages concentrate on just one story: the hacking trial and Rebekah Brooks’ aquittal. It turns out that only her News Internaional junior, Andy Coulson, knew it was going on.
A BBC Internt spends their lst day in the job:
Victory gardens, or sometimes known as war gardens, were vegetable, fruit and herb gardens planted at private residences and public parks in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Germany during World War I and World War II. They were used along with food stamps to reduce pressure on the public food supply. Around one-third of the vegetables produced by the United States were from victory gardens. In addition to indirectly aiding the war effort these gardens were also considered a civil morale booster — in that gardeners could feel empowered by their contribution of labor and rewarded by the produce grown. This made victory gardens become a part of daily life on the home front.
FLASHBAK to September 7 1973:
TV and radio star Jimmy Savile entertains schoolchildren trapped in a broken-down lift in London. The youngsters were being presented by Mr Savile with a £7,500 cheque for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.
THE young students at Scargill School in Rainham, east London, are rehearsing for the end-of-year show Lights, Camera, Action!. We join the action as the school caretaker cahracter, a Mr Jim Fixit arrives. He is, as the notes sugegst, “ready for any challenge.”
He produces a letter. He reads:
“Dear Jim, could you please find time to retrieve my sixteen footballs from the roof of the school hall.”
TRANSFER Balls: A look at Ander Hererra in the trusty news media:
Today the Mail tuned into Spanish radio and yelled in a story posted online at 9:26am:
Manchester United will sign Athletic Bilbao midfielder Ander Herrera for £28m TODAY
At 1:57, the Mirror had news:
Manchester United expect to complete the signing of Ander Herrera within 48 hours.
OF course we should never look at what our betters actually do: their function is to tell us what to do, not to live up to the rules that they would impose upon us. So it is with those self-appointed moral arbiters at Greenpeace. We should not fly, oh no. For that would be there mere unwashed peasantry enjoying themselves. But when there’s a Greenpeace manager who happens to live in Luxembourg but his work is in Holland it’s fine for him to have a few flights a month to get between the two.
Think I’m kidding?
One of Greenpeace’s most senior executives commutes 250 miles to work by plane, despite the environmental group’s campaign to curb air travel, it has emerged.
Pascal Husting, Greenpeace International’s international programme director, said he began “commuting between Luxembourg and Amsterdam” when he took the job in 2012 and currently made the round trip about twice a month.
The flights, at 250 euros for a round trip, are funded by Greenpeace, despite its campaign to curb “the growth in aviation”, which it says “is ruining our chances of stopping dangerous climate change”.
THIS is an extremely strange complaint from the BBC here, that Eastenders is just too white for the part of London that it’s supposedly about:
EastEnders is ‘twice as white’ as the real East End according to the head of the BBC Trust, who has called for the corporation to do more to ‘provide an authentic portrayal’ of modern Britain
Acting head of the BBC Trust Diane Coyle, said the popular BBC One soap is also too young and has too many people born in the UK to be an accurate reflection of an area such as Walthamstow, one of the boroughs on which the fictional Albert Square is based.
In her first public speech since taking over as chair of the BBC’s governing body Miss Coyle – who is in the running to replace Lord Patten as head of the trust – said the programme did not provide an accurate picture of modern day Britain.
IN 1934, Alexander Wiederseder recorded this architect’s nightmare on the area surrounding Los Angeles.
That dog looks like a French bulldog.
BY THE 1980s, the Baby Boomers, who had enjoyed the Sexual Revolution as trim youth, suddenly found themselves with a little extra weight as they entered their thirties. The alarm was sounded, and what followed can only be described as a cocaine-fueled mania. One manifestation of this fitness assault was an aerobics explosion. I don’t think anyone really knew what they were doing, but they looked wonderfully insane doing it.
Of course, this whole maniacal phenomenon would’ve never gotten off the ground were it not for the necessary endorsement from celebs. Jane Fonda made a mint off her workout video, but other famous names were only too quick to jump on the new trend.
THREE Israeli teenagers have been kidnapped by Islamists.
Naftali Frenkel and Gilad Shaar, both 16, and 19-year-old Eyal Yifrach were hitchhiking their way home when they vanished.
Israeli military spokesman Lt Col Peter Lerner makes a statement:
“As long as our boys remain abducted, Hamas will feel pursued, paralysed and threatened. We are committed to resolving the kidnapping and debilitating Hamas terrorist capacities, its infrastructure and its recruiting institutions.”
ADD this to the list of things that give Daily Mail readers cancer:
FACES of the week: Bridget Mulread (left) and Mona Venables, residents of Curragh Lawn nursing home in Kildare were treated to a world cup party and BBQ on Tuesday June 17, 2014. Niall Carson/PA Wire.
TO Port Charlotte, Florida, where Kayla R. Oxenham, 23, used a hot stick to brand her 5-year-old and 7-year-old children. She did this because to better identify the children as being hers.
Oxenham, who says she loves fire (note that her head resembles a match), works as a medical assistant.
“YOU are to have absolutely no contact with the alleged victim,” says Judge Mary Jane McCalla Knisely to Bonnie Lynne White, a 35-year-old woman accused of sexually molesting a boy in Billings, Montana. “I’m going to add the additional condition that there is no contact with anyone under the age of 18.”
The age of consent in Montana is 18.
The boy, who first encountered White when he was 10, says she “pushed him onto a bed, pulled off his clothes and fondled him”. He claims White threatened to hurt him and his family if he told anyone. There are further allegations that she assaulted him and other children.
White has yet to face trial.
But in the meantime, we’re invited to look at her mug shots.
‘The Same Animals…Only Functioning Less Perfectly:’ The Five Most Underrated George A. Romero Movies
GEORGE Romero’s impressive movie-making career stretches back to the Pittsburgh area in the late 1960s and spans over forty years.
Like many horror filmmakers of his generation, Romero has seen his share of big successes, like Dawn of the Dead (1978) and Creepshow (1982), critical darlings like Martin (1976), cult classics such as The Crazies (1973) and the occasional out-right bomb, like Diary of the Dead (2007).
But several of Romero’s finer films didn’t meet with financial or critical success, and deserve to have further light shone on them. Accordingly, my selections for the most underrated of his feature films are listed below.
Hungry Wives (1971)
George Romero’s self-described “feminist” horror movie, also known as Jack’s Wife and Season of the Witch, involves a bored suburban house-wife, Joan Mitchell (Jan White) who is only able to define herself in terms of her place in the suburbs as a married woman and a home-maker.
In an attempt to rebel against her “accepted” role in society, Joan delves into witchcraft and then adultery, but the movie’s crafty point is, commendably, that witchcraft is no more defining or self-actualizing for Joan than being a house-wife had been. She has merely changed her demographic affiliation or club, while everything else in her life remains the same
Hungry Wives is so powerfully-wrought because George Romero serves as both editor and director, and his editing flights-of-fancy make the movie’s point plain in terms of visualizations. Early on, for instance, Joan experiences a telling dream in which her husband leads her around on a leash, like a dog. One of the film’s final images reveals Joan involved in a coven ritual, a red rope looped about her neck, and the symbolism is plain: she has merely traded one trap for another. This visual counterpoint is underlined by the counsel of Joan’s therapist, who advises her that she is imprisoning herself, and must change that pattern if she hopes to make her life better.
Day of the Dead (1985)
Before 2007 at least, Day of the Dead (1985) was the least-appreciated of the famous Romero living Dead cycle. This lack of approbation was a result, in part,of the film’s overtly and relentlessly serious tone. For all its mayhem and violence, Dawn of the Dead — set at a shopping mall — also had a fun or jaunty side to it. But Day of the Dead proved a totally different animal: a solemn and extremely gory exploration of mankind’s last chapter as the dominant species on Earth.
Rather unconventionally, the movie ends with a committed and likable protagonist, Sarah (Lori Cardille) realizing it is all over but the crying, and essentially giving up the fight so as to live her last years (and the last years of humanity…) on a nice island beach somewhere with two decadent helicopter pilots.
But importantly, Day of the Dead also moves the cycle forward in significant fashion via its introduction of Bub (Howard Sherman), a zombie who has been domesticated, after a fashion, and reveals both rudimentary memory, and rudimentary humanity.
In fact, this lovable zombie shows more humanity than the film’s brutal military leader, Rhodes (Joe Pilato), and thereby suggests that the change in the social order might not be all that bad, if the zombies continue to evolve towards something…civilized.
Finally, Day of the Dead features an epic and awe-inspiring opening,:a view of a city in Florida completely overrun by the living dead. This moment is arguably the biggest in scope of the entire dead run, and establishes brilliantly the zombies’ numerical advantage. As this shot reveals, Day of the Dead is actually the Twilight of Man.
Monkey Shines (1988)
I still remember discussing this Romero horror film at length with visiting movie critic Molly Haskell at the University of Richmond in the late 1980s. We agreed that the critical community had virtually ignored what was a very powerful and very relevant film about human nature.
Monkey Shines involves a man, Allan (Jason Beghe) who is paralyzed in an accident and becomes a quadriplegic. As such, he is provided by his scientist friend (John Pankow) a capuchin monkey named Ella to act as his arms and legs. Before long, Ella and Allan form a close bond of friendship and dependence…but then each begins acting on each other’s emotional states and desires. Soon bloody murder is being committed…but is it at Ellas behest, or Allan’s?
Monkey Shines informs audiences that the “devil” is “animal instinct,” which acts by its “own set of laws,” and then asks the pertinent question: are we that different from the lower animals we treat as pets? Are we truly evolved, or — underneath the surface — are we just as violent and capricious as cousins in the jungle?
The scenes involving Ella in Monkey Shines are convincing and powerful, save for a few moments where an inert stand-in is clearly utilized, and the film’s debate about instinct (an avatar for the human subconscious in some critical way…) makes the film stand out in an era when rubber reality and slasher movies reigned supreme.
The Dark Half (1993)
Here’s a Stephen King adaptation that almost nobody loves, or even remembers. In The Dark Half (1993) Timothy Hutton plays Thad Beaumont, a writer grappling with his famous nom du plum, George Stark. When Beaumont elects to kill his famous literary name, however, the alter ego comes to life and threatens the writer and his entire family.
A deliberate and modernJekyll-Hyde story, The Dark Half is part of an early 1990s “meta” or post-modern movement in horror. Films such as Wes Craven’s New Nightmare (1994) and John Carpenter’s In The Mouth of Madness (1994) gazed at worlds in which the line between fiction and reality were blurred. The Dark Half treads meaningfully in similar territory, and gazes at the act of writing as literally a physical birth, as an independent creation that – much like a human child – can no longer be fully controlled by its creator.
There’s nothing flashy or expensive about The Dark Half, and the ending is a bit of a bust, but otherwise Romero crafts a thoughtful, low-key horror film that possesses some electric jolts. One early scene, set in an operating room is downright terrifying, and another — with a woman broaching an invader in her dark apartment — also gets the blood flowing.
More than anything, however, The Dark Half explores the idea that the creative act of writing represents a violent assertion of will. “The only way to do it is to do it,” one character notes, and this same determination indeed is what wills the Dark George Stark into the world.
Survival of the Dead (2009)
Survival of the Dead is yet another Romero living dead movie, and another seriously underrated work of art. Since the very beginning of his career in 1968, director Romero has used his zombie saga to explore political and social issues of the time.
For example, Night of the Living Dead speaks to the political violence and upheaval of 1968, and to race relations in America. Dawn of the Dead very much concerns conspicuous consumption and the “Crisis in Confidence” Carter Age. And Land of the Dead (2005) explores post 9/11 territory.
Similarly, Survival of the Dead is a thoughtful, point-for-point allegory for American involvement in the Iraq War. Unfortunately, horror movie fans were too busy complaining about CGI blood effects to notice the movie’s clever thematic framework.
In short, Survival of the Dead involves a refugee, O’Flynn (Kenneth Welsh) — the fictional equivalent of Ahmed Chalabi — who tricks American armed forces into fighting his war for him, and ousting his enemy, Muldoon (Richard Fitzpatrick) — a Saddam Hussein figure – from the land that he would like to lead, paradise-like Plum Island.
Obligingly the National Guard moves in — guns blazing — only to find that matters aren’t so straight-forward. The soldiers have become involved in a pissing match that, ultimately, doesn’t concern them or their well-being.
The film features an Old West sort of milieu on Plum Island, with rivals O’Flynn and Muldoon (Richard Fitzpatrick) wearing cowboy hats and riding horses while zombies (here called Dead-Heads) are trapped in the nearby corral.
Again, Romero’s thoughtful set-up makes it impossible not to think of the post-911 “dead or alive” rhetoric from the Bush White House. The film’s final imagery — which depicts cowboy zombie versions of O’Flynn and Muldoon trying to kill each other under a bright moon — makes one despair that human nature is ever going to change.
With neo-con dead-enders everywhere on cable news stations this week attempting to re-enlist America in the war in Iraq a decade later, Survival of the Dead is more relevant than ever. Accordingly, this Romero film is really about discredited zombie ideologies that have long outlived their usefulness, but which keep coming back from the dead to threaten the rest of us.
THIS record is proof of a glitch in the Matrix. Life is an illusion, a computer simulation, created by aliens to harness our biologic energy…. it’s literally the only explanation for this record.
Apparently, in 1968 the Milton Bradley Company tried to market their new “Bump Ball” by issuing a corresponding record. The rules of the game: (1) Throw the Bump Ball into the air, then (2) you and your partner attempt to catch it between your bodies.
AMNESTY International’s new campaign features a tortured Iggy Pop saying “The future of rock is Justin Bieber”. The message is “Torture a man and he’ll tell you what you want to hear”. Also, the Dalai Lama (“A man who does not have a Rolex at 50 years of age is a failure”) and fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld (“The height of elegance is the Hawaiian shirt with flip-flops.”).
NO more breast augmentation operations will be available on the NHS. At least that’s the promise, that there should be no more fittings of Bulgarian Airbags, or boob jobs, on the NHS.
Cosmetic surgery should not be paid for by the taxpayer, Jeremy Hunt said today in a clampdown on NHS spending.
The Health Secretary said he could understand public anger at high profile cases of breast enlargements, dental work and slimming treatments being offered by the health service.
Mr Hunt insisted that all decisions must be taken on ‘clinical need’ and public money must not be used to pay for surgery just to improve someone’s looks.
Of course, this doesn’t cover women getting reconstruction work after surgery for breast cancer. Or anyone at all who the doctor says is being made really miserable by not having the cosmetic surgery done. Which means that this changes absolutely nothing in fact for the NHS doesn’t do purely cosmetic surgery anyway.
FLASHBACK to 16 June 1914: German prisoners help French wounded to reach the rear lines on stretchers during the Great War, date and location unknown. (AP Photo)
WHAT did you do in the war, dad?
Russian tourists enjoy a Black Sea beach about 35 kms (22 miles) from Yalta, Crimea, Sunday, June 15, 2014. When Russia annexed the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea earlier this year, it regained not only harbors for its navy and abandoned Ukrainian military bases but also long stretches of pebble beaches that were the summer destination of choice for millions of Soviet citizens. The Kremlin is hoping to attract tourists to Crimea, which Russia annexed in March, by asking state-controlled companies to send their employees on free vacation trips.(AP Photo/Andrew Lubimov)