Saturday, March 31, 2012

Scream and Scream Again Will Make You, Well, You Know

I recently re-watched the 1970 classic of convolution, incredulity, and exhilerating car chases titled Scream and Scream Again. I had to watch it in ten episodes on You Tube because no matter how much money you are willing to pay Netflix these days they just seem to have less and less movies available. 

Here's all you need to know to get yourself motivated to watch this classic (in my mind, at least) piece of unfollowable schlock... it's one of the few movies that Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, and Vincent Price all appear in. That's enough right there to send you to You Tube right now, but, wait, there's more. Wait a minute, let me backtrack. The movie begins when....

This jogger collapses, then wakes up to find his... well, let's just say something is missing.

Peter Cushing as Major Heinrick Benedek

Then it's revealed it's all taking place in some convoluted 1984/Nazis actually won World War II Rollerball evil corporation/government fascist (redundant, I know) state, then Peter Cushing gets the Vulcan nerve pinch from this guy who's apparently more than he appears and, well..

Michael Gothard as Keith
Michael Gothard as Keith

This effeminate, dandy looking David Bowie type guy is going around stalking chicks in discos and he's really... (well, I'll let the story tell itself)

This guy is a copper who is on the case. I think he gets Vulcan nerve pinched, too.

This guy is in it. He's some affable gwat I suppose he's the hero but I haven't seen the ending yet.

Dr. Browning
Vincent Price as Dr. Browning
Vinnie the P is in it I think he's a mad scientist. After the first half hour you won't be able to keep track of anything that's happening anyway so just relax and enjoy...

One helluva car chase shot with some amazing low angles that happens about thirty minutes in, followed by a foot chase and an iconic scene where the dandy serial killer guy with amazing strength and flexibility manages to escape handcuffs by...

well, you'll see. 

Then it looks like Vincent Price ends up in an acid bath but I haven't watched the ending yet and I can't remember from seeing it twenty-five years ago probably on Elvira's Movie Macabre if the sinister fascists are foiled. 

Here's the English quad poster saying something about stuff. I guess all that could have happened in the movie, not sure.

Christopher Lee as Fremont
Oh, ya, Christopher Lee is in it. He probably gets nerve pinched eventually. Watch Scream and Scream Again it makes no sense and so what?

March 29, 2013: Almost all of the movies on Elvira's Movie Macabre are considered classics by me.

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Death Ship Is An Unsinkable Cult Classic You'll Be Happy To Go Down On

The movie, Death Ship (1980) is another installment in the late 70's, early 80's craze of aquatic zombie movies which includes far better movies like Shock Waves and Zombie Lake.

Zombie Logic
Death Ship British quad poster
This is a quad poster. These are what movie posters look like in Britain and for collectors you can get some really nice variations and rare posters if you search for quads.

Anyway, Death Ship is terrible. The kind of terrible I actually enjoy. You probably won't, but to each his own. Here's what happens. George Kennedy goes nuts after he gets fired by Richard Crenna (the jerk from Summer rental) and his ship crashes. The survivors find a huge, black ship with no one aboard. Then

This chick takes a shower...

The water turns to blood, George Kennedy throws her bloody ass overboard...

Then they run through the halls in slow motion for about half an hour and 
Apparently this little girl sees this, which seems like it might be pretty cool, but I haven't got that far yet. Anyway, that's my review of Death Shit, I mean Death Ship.

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Friday, March 30, 2012

When The World Is Running Down...

You know you're in some deep shit when the people of the Quad Cities start making fun of you. I've been to the Quad Cities. It's sort of like being made fun of by the chess team in high school. 

Only a few months after Forbes Magazine named my hometown, Rockford, Illinois, one of America's most dangerous cities in America, a Gallup poll named the city America's fourth fattest, which brought to mind Dean Wormer's infamous words to the members of the Animal House fraternity: "Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, son," but fat, drunk, stupid AND violent does seem to be the Rockford way.

In 1996 Money Magazine rated Rockford the 300th and worst city in America, an honor which elicited exactly the response you'd expect from people who are fat, stupid, and violent... they started a big fire and burned Money Magazine. Which is, I suppose as good a show of civic pride as one's likely to see around here, but what might be a better response to being called out for being woefully inadequate is to try and get better. But that shit ain't going to fly around these parts. The outrage over Money Magazine's appraisal of our worth soon dissipated, but what didn't go away was the blight, ignorance, and resignation to failure that caused the ranking in the first place.

I was born in Swedish American hospital 43 years ago. I currently live two blocks from Swedish American Hospital, where I was born 43 years ago. Is there something wrong with me? 


But maybe I just like an underdog. Maybe I like a lost cause. Call me nuts, but maybe I like Rockford. I live on a block with five restaurants, any one of which you could go in and get a really good meal any day of the week. I create poetry and art in a community with other artists I have great respect for. Every day I walk amongst great architecture and pass by shops where people with a deep commitment to this community are trying their best to bring the Downtown area back from the dead. What's more,  you get a mile outside of Rockford and you're in the place that feeds the world. It's beautiful. So, what's the problem?

Well, last week I heard sirens and I look out my window, not because there are sirens because that happens hourly, but because we'd been having an unheard of streak of beautiful weather, and I saw the emergency vehicles had coalesced on the next block, also not unusual, because there is a huge, historical hotel there that is now used to house the elderly and if a crane isn't tipping over while workers are repairing the building someone is calling for an ambulance every thirty minutes. But this time it wasn't the Faust, it was the equally historic theater across the street, The Midway.

The roof had fallen in. 

Problem is no one will admit to owning the building. No one knows who owns the Midway. Over the past decade several groups have tried to raise public awareness about restoring the Midway, but no owner could be contacted to even talk about selling. So, it sat. And it rotted. And it sat. And it rotted. And eventually the roof fell in.

The roof of the Midway theater collapsed

I contacted the mayor's office that afternoon to inquire why a landowner would be allowed to let a structure on a very busy street sit and rot until it became a public danger, but of course I received no adequate explanation. A week later I have seen no effort to stabilize that building. No one has stepped forward to take responsibility for this symbol of our collective decay and collapse. My guess is whatever powers that be are conspiring to relieve whatever slum lord who allowed this to happen to abrogate his responsibility for fixing it. Hell, that person will now probably make a profit and the city will be left holding the bag for demolishing the building. 


I like it here. But I also like boxing, cheap whiskey, and the poetry of Charles Bukowski. I'm far from being shocked by any act of corruption, ignorance, or hatred I see, so all that's left are the good surprises. The times when the underdog wins. Instances of the forsaken and condemned defying expectations and doing the right thing for the right reasons. It happens. It happens here every day. Sometimes a place can be rotten but the people as decent and honest and willing to change for the better as anywhere else.

A good power clean of the filth and sewage that's piled up over generations in this city's places of influence and power might be all that's needed to give Rockford, Illinois a new lease on life. Too many parasites and blood-suckers in this city feeding on the carcass of the past and fending off anyone who wants to make a change with a blind rage to think it will be easy, but it has to be done. Too much federal money simply being poured into a trough for hogs to feed on while no one seems to be offering the oversight to how those funds are allocated to think anyone really cares or wants to make an effort. 

There's apathy and there's learned helplessness and there's cynicism here. Maybe this city will never get up off its knees. Maybe there are forces that benefit from a city and a workforce and a populace that has been trained to expect less than nothing. Maybe we all just feed off of each other's sense of helplessness like the Ouroboros, but I'll tell you what, and maybe this is just a spurt of three a.m. bitterness: when the roof collapses on a building in the geographic center of your town, get off your ass and either put the fucking roof back on or at least show enough backbone to make someone get their ass down their and show some sense of civic responsibility. Someone wanted to profiteer from holding that building hostage until it became profitable, and now I want to see that person down there taking responsibility for yet another embarrassment to a city that is too often embarrassed by this type of invisible leadership. 

Every bit as beautiful and tragic as it looks.

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Monday, March 26, 2012

Bribes In America Webcomic By David Pedersen

As the legality of President Obama's national health care act is debated in the Supreme Court, this webcomic arrives in the mail from my good friend David Pedersen. 

David Pedersen webcomic
Bribes In America by David Pedersen

You can buy David's great book of poetry Love Is Meat <----- there 
More poetry, music, and webcomics by David Pedersen

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Baron von Raschke Meets the Soup Nazi

I would like a bowl of soup, please.

There is no soup here for you, Baron von Raschke

One bowl of soup, please.


Lead singer of Devo Mark Mothersbaugh requests one bowl of soup, please.

Professional wrestler and former school teacher, Baron von Rascke, your thinly-veiled canard designed to obtain a bowl of soup has not deceived me. You shall obtain no soup. 



Baron von Raschke AND Mad Dog Vachon? please enter my humble establishment and partake of a fine bowl of soup.

Go fuck yourself. We're going to Arby's.

November 21, 2013: RIP Mad Dog Vachon. A true gentleman according to many who had the good fortune to meet him.

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Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Ubermenscher and Trayvon Martin

My favorite episode of The X Files is titled "Ubermenscher." In the episode, the Ubermenscher, a demonic entity called a tulpa in Tibet, was summoned from the Earth by Gene Gogolak to enforce his reign of terror on The Falls at Arcadia. Arcadia, in Greek mythology is the home of the god Pan, and an unspoiled, harmonious plane. In the episode, Arcadia is a harmonious, gated community where everyone is scrupulously careful to obey the rules and becomes very, very upset when any rule of decorum is broken. 

People start to disappear. People who just don't seem up to code. Clumsy people, odd people, anyone who deviates from the rules and regulation that make Arcadia pristine. Stray from the path or express any sense of individuality or eccentricity and an anonymous warning is issued. Your mistakes are corrected for you. Disobey again and the demonic Ubermenscher is dispatched to rise up out of the dirt and devour you. 

The Ubermenscher has no face. It is the summoned hatred and ignorance and will to maintain obedience and conformity of an entire community. 

Once the disappearances are reported, agents Mulder and Scully are dispatched to pretend to be a married company moving into Arcadia. Mulder soon begins tweeking the nose of the community by flouting the rules and acting in his typical eccentric way. But he finds his attempts to disrupt the harmony of Arcadia usurped at every turn. A mailbox he intentionally skews to one side is magically restored to its upright position while he goes to the bathroom. The secret helper who maintains order so obsessively is never seen. This wrankles Mulder, who goes on 24 hour watch to catch the super helper in the act. But he can't. 

No one ever does. The Ubermenscher comes from the collective will but no one person is ever held responsible for it. It's a manifestation of our collective neurosis that something or someone among us is ruining it for everyone by being deviant, odd, or upsetting the apple cart. 

In everyday life we encounter some comical examples of The Ubermenscher, like the obsessive compulsive legion of Wikipedia editors just waiting for someone out there to make any slightly askew statement about Ayn Rand or who appeared as an extra in episode seven of season three of Dr. Who so they can blow their whistle and scold the perpetrator about keeping their beautiful patch of the Universe unsullied. 

In politics we see more serious examples of people who would like to impose their morality on the rest of society with a Procrustean bed of laws designed to make the rest of us behave to the exact specifications of their God. Not ours, but theirs. All the Gods help us if these people ever have their way again. 

I'd like to keep my legs (and my own set or morals and ethics) thank you.

So, what are you on about this time, Thomas? Greek Gods, monsters, Procrustean beds, Wikipedia, what's the point?

On February 26, 2012, 17 year old Trayvon Martin was shot dead after being involved in a scuffle with self-appointed neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman in the planned community of Sanford, Florida. Zimmerman claimed he shot Martin, who had reported via a 911 call as acting suspiciously, in an act of self defense. The facts of the case will probably never be clear, but what is known is that Zimmerman called 911 46 times in the year previous to the shooting, predominantly to report young, black males acting suspiciously. One of the calls was to report a child 7-9 years old. 

Already the facts of this matter have become virtually impossible to discern over the outrage of those who feel this is a tragic murder based on racism and those who believe law and order should be maintained at any price, but what seems clear to this writer is that America has become a very scary place where some people feel it is their God-given right, no, their God-appointed duty, to make sure the rest of us conform to their standards at all times. Act suspicious, stray from the lines only they can see for more than one step and you become suspicious, someone who needs to be followed, harassed, and ultimately weeded out.

Certainly an episode of The X Files is insufficient to convey the tragedy of what has happened here. The life lost. For no good reason other than one person wanting to decide who can and who can't walk freely in "his" community. But we've seen this before. We've seen it since the beginning. And we've never dealt with it. So it seeps into the water, the soil, the very Earth beneath our feet, and it waits, and it waits, and it waits. Then it rises like an amorphous golem of hatred and ignorance and snuffs out a life filled with promise and hope. 

People have always longed for that perfect place. Arcadia, Nirvana, Heaven, Elysium. And societies have always flirted with the idea that eliminating certain types of people would make life easier for everyone who wasn't one of those people. As one of those people I always remain wary that the pitchforks and torches will be out for me eventually. Or maybe you. Or maybe any one of us who isn't "them" enough. This battle needs to be continually fought because it has never been won and never goes away. 

Will there be justice for Trayvon Martin? I don't know. I know there's a war going on in America. A war that never really wasn't going on. A war I hope never breaks out into open violence in our streets over violations of humanity that were never punished and never atoned for. There seem to be people out there who not only are unwilling to atone, but never want that war to end. I don't want to live in a society like that. But I also feel it would be wrong to let those people continue living in ignorance and hatred, spewing their venom on the rest of us simply because it may be their "right" to be wrong. I'm not sure what the answer is. Maybe it might even be better to just fight it out. But I hold out hope something like reason or goodness or truth might save the day. 

Ask Pandora. There's always hope.

February 21, 2013 update: It seems I haven't heard anyone in my sphere even mentioned Trayvon Martin in months. Yet it seemed so important to so many people for about a week.

More things the Ubermenscher thinks you should or should not do. Or else.

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Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Night Is So Still Dolphins Swim Through It

When I was a child in school I never listened. I knew it wasn't the right thing to do, and eventually they just stopped trying to instruct me and gave me a pile of books to read. Even then i sensed there wasn't much reason getting knowledge second or third hand, filtered through the voice of someone who may or may not even understand it. Given math equations, I ignored whatever rules they attempted to teach me and simply proceeded using my own trial and error methods. Which, given time, were eventually successful. Either I ran out of time or I solved the problems. Always my brain has worked that way. Sort of a solipsistic inductive reasoning machine. No point trying to learn the rules of the game at this late date. Why do I tell you this? I don't know. Because there's more afternoon than I need. Well, because I use design programs like Photoshop the same way. I can't ever learn the hard and fast rules, which would no doubt save me a great deal of time. "Dolphins" is a poem I wrote probably in 1996 on a porch on Quincy Ave. It went into my second book, Detached Retinas. Jenny did this Tiny Drawing last month and told me a few nights ago it went with the poem "Dolphins." Then she decided it didn't go with the poem "Dolphins," but I had already decided it had by this point. So, I put together the Tiny Drawing Poem this afternoon using my usual trial and error design method. The font is Flowerchild. 

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Friday, March 23, 2012

Partridge Family Poem

In the summer of 2005 I'd just come off of eight straight years in the service industry. I was tired, I hurt everywhere, and my writing had turned bitter and cynical, like me. Too much time watching people misbehave and fade away. All the poems for what would become my book Flesh Wounds were finished, and I just wanted to try something new. So, I took that summer off, sat on the porch, went to the park, down by the river, and just wrote poems with minimal to no apparent meaning. These were the first poems from my book Submerged Structure. Jenny saw this one last night and decided it went with her Tiny Drawing. I think she's right. 

As always, we hope you'll link to and share our works. 

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Thursday, March 22, 2012

When Did Obama Go Wrong and Why Is Eastwood Right?

I'm just recalling Obama's first thirty days in office. He demanded Guantanamo Bay trials end immediately and the base be closed within one year, he signed a bill requiring equal pay for women, outlined a new energy policy, restored funding to women's health centers, outlined his plan to remove all troops from Iraq, and reached out for peace in the Middle East. And I started thinking the America that had become so frightened of bogeymen that it allowed Congress and the President to strip away its civil rights with the Patriot Act and a series of Presidential letters that allowed everything from tapping our phones to installing a kill switch on the internet was maybe starting to emerge from its shell and demand we return to the days of freedom and liberty. Then things started to change. Slowly at first. Obama fired the general in charge of operations in Afghanistan, then blocked the release of photographs showing torture of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Bush administration had allowed such photographs, even though they caused a great deal of embarrassment and backlash.Alright, I thought. Maybe he's got a point here. Why stir up hatred in countries where our troops have to deal with the consequences of such photos.

Yes to the Patriot Act and NDAA

But it slowly got worse and worse. There were some more promises kept, and some progressive legislation passed over the summer of 2009, including a climate change bill and benefits for partners of Federal workers. Then in July the overhaul of the Medicare and Medicaid systems began and nothing since has made a damn bit of sense. In October Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize, which would later turn out to be quite ironic. The year ended with the Senate passing the health care reform bill.

After a couple of terrorist scares, including the shootings at Ft. Hood and Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab attempts to set off a bomb on a flight bound for Detroit, Obama started to talk tough about terrorism. His demeanor on Gitmo and civil rights started to change. He extended President Bush's wire tap measures, backed off on his promise to close Guantanamo Bay, signed a four year extension of the Patriot Act on May 26, 2011, then on January 2, 2012, when he knew no one was looking, signed into law the most noxious legislation and legion of Congressional cowards any punks had ever dare send to an American president to sign... the NDAA.

The National Defense Authorization Act greatly expands the power and scope of the federal government to fight the War on Terror, including codifying into law the indefinite detention of terrorism suspects without trial. Under the new law the US military has the power to carry out domestic anti-terrorism operations on US soil. In essence, the NDAA makes America a war zone where all civil rights guaranteed to American citizens by the Constitution can be summarily overturned by the government. 

So, how did this President, this President in particular, who campaigned on hope and equality and specifically ending the tyranny of the Bush administration  and Guantanamo Bay and torture end up signing a defense act that authorized powers of oppression and tyranny over its own citizens that would have gagged any previous president? What happened to Barack Obama? 

This isn't what I voted for. It's not something I want to vote for again. But what's the alternative? The Republican candidate? No thank you. Then I have all this and a moral war on everything from abortion to gay marriage to obscenity. One quote i saw that seemed to make a lot of sense to me came from Clint Eastwood. When asked about gay marriage he said  "I don't give a fuck about who wants to get married to anybody else! Why not?! We're making a big deal out of things we shouldn't be making a deal out of ... Just give everybody the chance to have the life they want."

How about we all just leave each other the hell alone?

He went on to say "I was an Eisenhower Republican when I started out at 21, because he promised to get us out of the Korean War," Eastwood tells the magazine. "And over the years, I realized there was a Republican philosophy that I liked. And then they lost it. And libertarians had more of it. Because what I really believe is, let's spend a little more time leaving everybody alone." 

But no matter how one side seems to talk about equality and the other side talks about a smaller government. everybody seems to be getting comfortable with using the government to settle personal moral squabbles. I don't feel comfortable with that at all. I think I'd like to try Clint Eastwood's way and just stay the hell out of each other's business. 

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Dead People (Messiah of Evil)

Dead People is a low budget 1973 horror movie written and directed by William Huyck and shot in various locations in California. Some very attractive women and quality actors were in the production, including Michael Greer and Marianna Hill. A very good, unusual movie with a magnificent eerie feeling to it. several really great scenes, including 

This unbelievably successfully creepy scene in a movie theater and

This one in a Ralph's supermarket. I bet you can guess what happens next.

This is one of those quirky, well-done early seventies horror movies where you wonder if things are going right by accident or if someone really wanted it to look and feel this bizarre. There are some great unintentionally bad gaffs like a classic mispronounciation of Richard Wagner which supposedly resulted from a straight reading of the script, but even these uneven moments will just make you fonder of this one-of-a kind movie. 

Not to be overlooked in the spooky atmosphere achieved by the script, location, and shooting of this movie, is some really interesting art work. 

Dead People, which will probably be titled Messiah of Evil if you see it in a bin at Best Buy, is a movie I can come back to anytime and be entertained and really just admire for it's atmosphere and sense of creepiness in a forsaken place. 

Is it a zombie movie? I'll let you decide that for yourself.

I later saw actress Marianna Hill in The Baby, another really magnificent and unusual early 70's movie.

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Monday, March 19, 2012

Dr. Strangedog Speaks Out Against State Rape

While Republican Presidential candidate Rick Santorum was in my hometown, Rockford, today, I thought it was appropriate to revisit Illinois House Bill 4085, which was passed by an overwhelming majority last month in the Agriculture and Conservation Committee. No, that's not a misprint, The Agriculture and Conservation Committee. Not surprising considering how a lot of leading Conservatives seem to think of women as property or livestock. The storm of protest that resulted from similar measures being introduced in Virginia and Texas cooled the vote on this one. This time. The law would require women to have an ultrasound at least 24 hours before having an abortion. The procedure to do so requires a process that is painful and invasive. Doctors don't want to do it. Most Americans don't want this to become a law, but there seems to be this never-resting minority out their obsessed with telling women (and now doctors), what they can and can't do in their own bodies. Zombie Logic Webcomic's very own Dr. Strangedog offers his opinion on being told by the State what procedures he is required to perform on unwilling women. 

As always, we appreciate when people share our work and encourage you to do so, but please link back to us. We put a lot of work into this those links help us get our work seen by a wider audience. 

Single Zombie Female on the transvaginal ultrasound issue.
Dr. Strangedog on the Penn State Scandal

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Sunday, March 18, 2012

Mitt Romney In Rockford

Both Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum came to my town today. Rockford, Illinois. I know they did because I saw the motorcaid whiz past my window on its way to a very safe location on the outskirts of town. I doubt either of the candidates got much of a look at Downtown Rockford, where I live. It has beautiful aspects and a lot of great people trying to make positive change, but it also has plenty of decay, blight, and legions of homeless, unemployed, and discouraged people hoping for change. But with Mitt Romney's statement that "he's not concerned about the very poor," I don't hold out much hope. 

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Saturday, March 17, 2012

March Madness Gets Even Madder

March Madness gets even madder when it is revealed that Indiana coach Tom Crean is a...


I think it's best Vinnie the P explains what a Shadmock is.

Now that you know what it is a Shadmock is and what they do it is my obligation as to inform you that Indiana basketball coach Tom Crean is...

A Shadmock!!!

No, coach, don't whistle. I'll play help-side defense, I swear.

Tom, this is uncle Lichtem calling up from the old country. I just put a million on IU to beat Kentucky in the third round. I trust you won't let me down, nephew.

Bow down to my awesome Photoshop skills


Sorry, uncle Lichtem.

He really was a good boy. Just couldn't coach a zone defense for shit.

February 21, 2013 update: I just secured a copy of the super rare Monster Club Soundtrack on Ebay, and the Indiana men's basketball team is ranked #1 in the nation. Coincidence? I think not.

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