Tuesday, July 28, 2020

The Lemon Cake Story

Fine fine fine.

When my FIL, The Playboy Of The Western World passed on, instead of a eulogy, the Biker asked people to come up and share their favorite stories about the Playboy.

 The funeral parlor was SRO that day, folks.  Not just the family - and there was a lot of family; but also strangers, people who saw the death notice in the papers and came to pay their respects to a man they'd known when they were children and he was their DeMolay leader, their school chef, the man who raised Morgan horses on the family homestead and hosted Halloween parties for all the neighbor kids.  He was well loved, he was a four-times Past Master of the Masonic Lodge, and he never met a stranger.

One after another people came up.  People began to smile, and then to laugh at some of the stories.  One man acted out a time when the Playboy had gone off in a rage because the only boat to the mainland from Sucia Island had been left untied and floated away, leaving the whole DeMolay group stranded overnight.  The laughter was becoming more unrestrained by this point.

Then Mailman Mark, a dear, dear friend of the family, stood up and said "I'd like to tell you a little story that The Playboy used to tell.  It was his favorite joke, and the way he told it was half the fun.  I think I can get away with it.  It's a little off color, but not terrible, you know.  What do you think?"

"It's the story about the Lemon Cake," hollered a man from the front row, and just about everyone in the room applauded and laughed.

"It sure is!" said Mailman Mark, smiling big.

The funeral director looked in, and he seemed a little surprised.  People are laughing?  Huh? This is a funeral, you barbarians!

And then Mailman Mark told...

The Lemon Cake Story.

(Now you have to imagine that the people in this joke are country yokels from way, way back in the old days.)

A man comes walking down the road, an old dirt road way out in the country.  He's tired and he's hungry.

Up ahead he sees a farmwife, a farm, and the wife is hanging laundry on the line.

"Well, she looks nice," he thinks.  "I'll ask her."

"Excuse me, ma'am," he calls to her.  "I've been walking a long time and I have to admit, I'm really hungry.  Thirsty too.  If you have any wood I could split for you, or a job to do, you see, I'm a carpenter and I will do that job for you in, you know, exchange for a meal."

"Why sure, that would be just fine," the farmwife says. "You just come right in here.  You can do this and that, split firewood or whatever."

And that man, he sets right to it and he really is working away there in the hot sun, splitting firewood, stacking it up nice and neat, and then he fixes the fence, and this and that, and finally hours have gone by and he just can't go on any longer.

He sits on the step there and here comes the farm wife.  She's got a big, cold glass of milk, fresh from the icebox, and a plate, and on that plate is a great big slice of cake.  "I hope you like lemon cake," she says.  "I just made it this morning."

Well that man sets to.  He's drinking that cold milk, and he takes a bite of that cake and it's just Heaven. Oh my goodness, he thinks.  This is great! The best cake he's ever eaten!  It's yellow and it's so pretty and perfect and it's just delicious.

He eats and he eats and finally he's done, and he says "Ma'am, I believe that's about the very best lemon cake I've ever had in my life.  I truly mean that.  That is the best lemon cake I've ever put in my mouth!"

"Oh I'm so glad," she says, all pleased.  "And there wasn't a thing wrong with it?"

"No ma'am, that was the best lemon cake I ever ate in my whole life, that was."

"Oh good!"  she says.  "I did my best with that old flour there, and sure enough, it worked just fine, once I'd strained out all the rat shit."

That's how my FIL was sent on to that Big Gay Bathhouse In The Sky, folks.  It was awesome.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

....and, speaking of the Human Bollard...

My Biker has an Infamous Family Member named Dana.  She's a cousin.  She's a kindergarten teacher.  Yes, she has Kindergarten Teacher personality, too, and that's fine, once you get used to being spoken to s l o w l y  a n d   c l e a r l y with a great deal of inFLECTion EVery time you TALK to her!  She's married to a nice man, has a couple of kids, good life.

And the woman is an absolute noodge.

Yeah, she's a Human Bollard.  She's been one all her life, because my FIL had pictures of her as a child.  Just a cylinder rounded off on top.  She proved conclusively that she had no frontal lobes, just a hindbrain, and was an empty vessel filled with Satan when she was in her late teens, long before I came into the picture.  According to my FIL, the Playboy Of The Western World (my Bikers bio-dad, who was a bon vivant until his last breath) a  beloved family member had just passed away.  Who should show up bright and early the next morning at Beloved Family Members residence but Dana? 

Well...OK.  The grieving husband and adult kids let her in, and Dana pulls a post-it notebook out of her purse and proceeds to go around the house sticking post-its with 'DANA' written on them on all the objects she wanted.  And left.

Blink. Blink.  Whaaa...?

She never stopped being AB so LUTE ly a MAZED! that she did not receive all the objects that she had peed on.  She brought it up in every family conversation.  She just DID not UN der STAND it!  And on she'd go, and on and on, and the Biker family members would give each other longs looks that meant "Here we go again, man."  And you could do it right in front of her; she didn't appear to care.  Even when that rare family member who would engage straight up on the subject would say "You know, that wasn't really your place to do something like that, Dana" she'd just continue to insist that, despite there being a will, and her being way down the list of people to whom the deceased was going to leave anything to, she should have been able to choose what she wanted and take it on out the door.

She did this at other family events.  Did your big Corningware casserole go missing from the potluck dinner?  Dana had it.  Who mopped all the table centerpieces from the wedding reception?  Dana. Was a wrapped gift missing at the baby shower?  Call Dana.

She'd give the stuff back without a scene, but was always AB so LUTE ly  a MAZED that she was asked for these objects back.  She was a member of the family too!  WHAT was  the PROB lem?  Well, if O ther people WAN ted those things MORE, they could HAVE them.

A few years later.
A Biker family member had died suddenly.  Yes, the man was 98, but he was a bull, this guy.  We'd just celebrated his birthday a few months before, and everyone was astounded at the shape this guy was in. Sharp, informed, strong, healthy, all that.  One morning, he simply didn't wake up.

We were seated in the side chapel of the funeral home, the Close Family Mourners area, behind a beautiful gauze curtain, when The Playboy Of The Western World gives me a nudge and goes "There she is.  I wonder which one of the displays she's going to leave with."

Dana came walking in with her husband and children, and they sit up close to the casket, which was fine, it was appropriate.  Nobody is wearing a pickle costume.

Myself, the Biker and The Playboy are seated at the far end of the same pew, and that's fine, it's appropriate, we're all clothed.  I even have a hankie.  That's the only part that mystifies me.  Where did I get the hankie? I don't own hankies.

Everyone arrives, the music and lights go up a bit, and the pastor begins the eulogy.

Dana begins to cry.

Dana is really putting her whole natural self into this, too.

"AHUAAAAAAAAAA HA HA HA HUH HUH *snerrrrrk k k, snuffle, HOOOONK* WAAAAAAAAAAAAA HA HA HAAAAAAA, *gasp* A HA HA HUH HUH HUH HUH HUH *snerrrrk, snuffle snuffle sniff sniffffffff, pause, HONK, HONK*  WHA OOOOOOH, HO HO HO HO HOOOO"   and people, I lose it.

I lose my shit.  I have been fighting it back and it just comes out and I am laughing.  It is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard in real life.  Once the 'HO HO HO's started I was gone.

Thank God for that hankie.  I was able to lean way over and cover my face with it, holding it in my hands, and hitch and rock with silent laughter.  I'd think I had it under control, and then she'd go "UWAAAAAAAA" like Lucille Ball and I'd lose it again!

I felt my husband put his hand on my back and I lost it again!

I was trying so hard not to make a sound I was getting stomach cramps.  This is a funeral!  This is serious!  I'm in the front row of the Close Family Mourners chapel!  But all I could do is hold that hankie over my face and go nuts while Dana, clearly the star of her own personal movie, is sobbing like a bad, bad actress, way over the top, utterly fake, at 'hog hollering' volume.

When I laugh that hard tears run down my face.  I soaked the hankie.  I was creditably red nosed and smeared when I finally came up for air.  Of course, Dana cuts loose again.

Down I go again, bam.

I am grateful as hell that Dana is making such a commotion this time, because nobody can hear me going *snerrrrrrrrkkkkkkkk*, you know that noise you make back in your glottal region when you're suppressing laughter, the one that hurts?  Yeah.

Somehow I make it through.  Danas' histrionics begin to pall.  I gather myself together and compose myself to play 'dewy sad Mrs. Biker' sitting in the Near Family Chapel, awww, she's so tenderhearted.  And I do this, because the deceased deserves respect and I need to get my shit together and act right. And I do this.  The funeral goes on, and finally we're all moving outside.

My FIL finds me and gives me another nudge. "Look," he says, big grin, and points.

Dana is carrying a huge, huge floor arrangement of baby's breath, potted geraniums and fern sprays, the one that was in front of the altar, the size of a small foothill.  She is trying to stuff it into the back seat of her tiny family car.

I leaned on that mans shoulder and just howled.

"Shush now.  Oh shush," he said, and then he started laughing.  Me and the Playboy have to run hide behind a nearby Irish Yew and laugh, and we're leaning on each other going "Shhhh!  Come on!" and it's just not happening, people.

Then the Biker comes around the shrubbery and we get caught like naughty children.  Laughter ceases.

We three go home in the same car.  But all the way home, whenever the Playboy and I would happen to catch each other's eyes, we'd start giggling all over again.

Nearly home, The Biker says "Oh, didja notice Dana sneak out with the big arrangement?"

Lit me off?  Off!  I am wheezing with laughter! Slapping the back of the seat and stomping my feet!  The Playboy is laughing and gasping for breath.  My husband just shakes his head and refuses to ask at that point.  And this is a thing he does.  He will not ask at you.  And he didn't ask at me whenever the subject came up for about a week afterward, and finally he forgot all about it.

One day long afterward, the subject comes up finally, and he goes "Did my dad tell you a dirty joke? The way the two of you were hiding back there laughing, I figured he'd told you the story about the lemon cake or something." (Different post.)

"Biker!  Your dad didn't tell me a dirty joke at a funeral," I said.  "No no no.  We were laughing at Dana."  And then the whole story comes out.  Me cracking up all through the pastors' eulogy.  Dana making a horses ass of herself with her theatrics.  Her poor stolid husband just staring straight ahead the whole time.  The Playboy nudging me and egging me on.

"I thought you were really crying," the Biker said.  "I even tried to comfort you.  Geeze."

"I'm sorry.  I'm glad I came off so genuine though.  But I swear to you I could not help it.  I feel like I need to go to confession or something.  I busted up all through your uncles' funeral.  I'm really sorry."

"I thought Dad told you the story about the lemon cake," he says.  "When we went to my grandma's funeral, he told it to me."

It's genetic.  That fucked-up sense of humor?  When you find your people, you know them.  It's magic.

Friday, July 24, 2020

Let Dracula Be Dracula FFS

OK.  Bram Stoker wrote a few books.  "The Jewel Of Seven Stars" was entertaining.  "The Lair Of The White Worm" was deplorable.  "Dracula" was his flash in the pan, his One Big Thing, and dammit, let dudeboy keep Dracula just the way his bad bat ass is.

I am past sick and tired of people who cannot leave Dracula alone.  I blame Anne Rice for this.

True, she wasn't claiming that her bloodsuckers had anything to do with Bram Stokers creation. But she cherry picked so much from the Big Bat that it's become inextricably associated, and that's just bullshit.  It's not to say that 'Interview With The Vampire' wasn't entertaining - it really was.  It's just that none of her other vampire books are.  All they do is hammer that difference between her leeches and Dracula into oblivion.

Anne Rices' vampires are all exercises in edging.  That's it.  That's all they are.  Sooooo much rapture, so much tease, so much anticipation - but no climax.  Nope.  Am I the only person who's noticed this about her vampires? They're like junkies chasing the effect of that first perfect fix who just can't get there anymore.  They get right to the very tipping point, approaching true ecstasy, and then it all just fades, every single time.

Dracula?  He GOES THERE.  He triumphs.  He vaunts. He prevails.  He enjoys being evil. Dracula  invites us to envy him because he knows he's awesome.  Lucy Westenra?  Bleed, bitch, and die!  Rise in glory and pillage, Lucy! Bite those children! Be the sexy beast you couldn't be in life!  Dracula creates MONSTERS.  Lestat creates whiners, drama queens and frustration addicts.

If you're uncomfortable with Dracula being associated with Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular, then don't read Dracula and don't call your amended reboot reimagining mashup version Dracula.  Sorry.  If you're going to do Dracula you have to follow the rules.

Dracula can:  fly, become a mist, turn invisible, climb walls like a gecko, turn into a large dog, a bat and a wolf,  use hypnotism, create blood slaves, create full-on fellow vampires with the same powers he has, beat your ass and nineteen other peoples' asses at the same time, slip through any barrier, teleport, control storms, fog and mist, and command rats, owls, bats, moths, foxes and wolves. Among other things.

Dracula cannot: cast a shadow or a reflection, come onto hallowed ground, deal with garlic, wild roses, ash wood, silver or any trappings of the Catholic religion, deal with being denied, and you know what, go here:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Count_Dracula#Powers_and_weaknesses

Those are the rules.  You have a lot to work with there. That Dracula can still create a lot of flamboyant havoc, and as long as you've got a devout Catholic around, you're all set.

Now vampires in general?  Wide open category.  'They drink blood and.....' pretty much describes vampires.  I'll read your version and probably be entertained, because I like icky things.  I've had to learn to live with sparkly vampires, living close to Forks as I do. (For a Twilight fan this means 'all of Washington State.)  I can live with your plaid vampire, dog vampire, car vampire, go nuts.  Just don't call it Dracula.

It's like Cthulhu.  Now Davy Jones in Pirates of the Caribbean is often referred to as 'The Cthulhu Pirate" because the dude has an octopus head.  Which is awesome, but is not Cthulhu. Cthulhu is "a monster of vaguely anthropoid outline, but with an octopus-like head whose face was a mass of feelers, a scaly, rubbery-looking body, prodigious claws on hind and fore feet, and long, narrow wings behind."  If you look at Davy Jones, you'll go 'whoah, that's freaky.'  If you look at Cthulhu, you'll go stark raving insane.  You don't go around looking at Cthulhu.  You look at a statue of Cthulhu. 

 Pretty much all Cthulhu does is be dead but sleeping (don't ask me, this is H.P. Lovecraft) and send out horrible dreams if you get too interested in him.  Ancient writings warn us that he will one day arise and bring about chaos.  He is taking a sabbatical at present. He/it did bad things in the past, and he'll/it'll do bad things in the future.  For now, worship him/it, don't look at him/it, and don't wake his/its ass up.

Davy wears a pirate hat and has a ship and wears shoes and has conversations and oh, all kinds of things.  You can interact with Davy.  He sails around and acts like a dick.  His sheer ickiness, and that of his crew and ship, is incredibly impressive and cool as heck.  He brandishes a cutlass, and at one point in the past, was fully human. He even had a girlfriend.

Cthulhu does not have a girlfriend.  Cthulhu spawned some...things, in the distant past.  We don't know if they just fell off him and went running around, or if he squitted them out or what, but they were evil.  He is all about chaos and insanity. Cthulhu is a member of the race of the Great Old Ones.  His job title is the High Priest of the Great Old Ones. 

And so we see: Any resemblance between Cthulhu and Davy Jones is superficial.  

Using the same measure, then, Original Bram Stoker Dracula bears only a superficial resemblance to other vampires.  Dracula is a specific character with specific attributes, just like Davy Jones, Cthulhu, Bernadette Peters, and me. He does not faff around in Ikea or front a rock and roll band like Lestat de Lioncourt. He's not a complicated man (Shaft! John Shaft!) Dracula is a simple guy - dead, evil, drinks blood, likes things that way. He  has no second thoughts.  He does not regret being who he is and doing what he does. You either kill him, or run and hope someone else kills him, because he's a walking cancer, a virulent disease, implacable.  He is not going to be overcome by your sparkling psychological rhetoric.  He is going to bite you and drink your blood and really, really enjoy it.

Anime creators?  Game creators?  Do your reading.  If you don't have the gumption to use a character that someone else has created correctly, then don't use it.  Readers?  If you're not willing to go back to source material because "It's written all weeeeeeird, I don't understaaaaaand it, it's so old faaaaashioned" then you need to push yourself harder and use a fuckin' dictionary already. 

Dracula's actions brought to be a group of the most genuinely human heroes you'll find in fiction, and this is in 1897, when nobody in fiction came off real.  Johnathan Harker goes from being a hapless doofus into the definition of righteous vengeance.  It's an incredible character transformation.  Their resident sage, Dr. Van Helsing, is imperfect - his English is regrettable and he falters and makes wrong decisions.  Mina Harker is a throw pillow, until the worst happens.  She makes herself go forward by sheer act of will, every single step toward the foe, even after being 'raped' by the vampire, knowing that she's a liability at times, but entirely willing to go so far as to acknowledge, and then use the after-effects of that horrible event against their common adversary. They defy society, mores, rude inkeepers - and all to do the right thing.

Now tell me Dracula has no relevance. Try him out for size and see if you can live up to the challenge.  Dracula fucking rocks.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

I Lash Out At Stuff

If there is one thing that throws me right out of a movie or a book, it's BAD RESEARCH. That's because I'm really smart. Us smart people hate that shit.

Steven King, God love him, is so very very guilty of this; and while I'll keep reading, because after all it's Steven King, his description of an asthma inhaler in "IT" was a speed-bump that put me off the book for a week. In fact, his whole explanation why that kid had asthma sucked dick.  I have asthma. He got it so wrong it was just pitiful.

He did it again after crowing about how he'd 'done his research' for the story Dolan's Cadillac.  Sure, he got the 'angle of attack' part right.  The part about being able to hotwire road equipment?  Not so much.  The part about being able to continue doing anything whatsoever after you've just herniated a disk?  Nope.  Plus Dolan's Cadillac was a rip-off of The Cask Of Amontillado.  So ha.

As long as I'm on my high horse:

Big-screen, Ray Bradbury wall sized television is a fact these days, film makers.  Run your stuff through a shitty old Visio or a Samsung to experience what the majority of your audience sees, and then bear these things in mind:

Not everybody needs fuschia lipstick.  Really.  Honest. They don't.

Makeup needs to extend past the margins of the jawline. Honest.  It does.

Never let interviewees do their own makeup.  This always results in heavy blue eye shadow.  I don't know why it is, it just is.

People need their tone matched.  Poor "Man Boosting Formula - And Trust Me, She'll Like It Too" dude looks like a roll-on deodorant standing out there on the baseball diamond in the sun.

People with large pores should not use liquid makeup.  Do not do this, people with large pores.  You will look like The Sweat Planet Of One Thousand Craters under those hot lights.  Beat a little clear powder into that shit if you must and use a lens filter.  If I wanted to see "Damn, Granny' face, I'll watch Danny Trejo because he works that look.  If you are not Danny Trejo, listen up.

Ladies, check those diamond cutters before you go on and make sure they're level.  Everybody is going to be looking at them, and if they're pointing in different directions it'll just be sad.  This goes for you too, Brian Johnson of ACDC.  You're excitable. It's weird.  Plus you got me kicked off Facebook so fuck you.

If you have a really large, unusually large, frighteningly large nasty thing on your face, just because you're ignoring it doesn't mean that the audience is.  It's the only thing we'll remember about you too.  Get over yourself and pop the fucker. Please.

Men get boob sweat too.  Believe.

Now lets work on our visual language arts, children.

Our hero gets kung fu'd all to shit by seven dudes, shot, stabbed, hit by a car, kicked by guys riding past on motorcycles, (this is an actual scene from a Run Run Shaw movie I'm describing) runs up the stairs to the top floor of a skyscraper, has another fight, gets lectured by an old guy, stabbed, falls off a balcony, hits the street and then gets shot with a freakin' spear gun - and still gets up, staggers around, delivers a long soliloquy, and then dies by slow, painful degrees as the music goes all legendary. Stop it. By that point you want the guy to shut up and croak already.

Our hero gets kung fu'd all to shit by seven dudes, etc. to 'hits the street' - and then staggers into a room and has epic, athletic, mind-bending porn sex with a woman who is by no means off put by this sweaty, bloody, stinky, battered guy and his raging boner that cannot be denied.
This one just, forget it.  Next.  I'm done.  Seriously?  Really?
Antonio Banderas got away with this once, because it was Antonio Banderas and he was boning Salma Hayak = bisexual Heaven.  But nobody else. I am done with this stupid trope. Even a sixteen year old guy is going to be put off his feed after being kung fu'd by just one dude, let alone seven.

Sword and Sorcery characters speaking in weird sentence constructions. For lo, it is undeniable that you, yes you, Reith'kla vStaaj Eyghanor son of Fungar the Puissant, though puissant you are not; nay, none of your blood dare claim puissance - would speak thus!  Before all Creation I stand and I do refute thee, I condemn thee, I wish to fuck you'd just spit it out already.  C'mon man.

Creepy music played on a toy piano.  OO, child ghost?  Where?  Where dat child ghost?  I know it's here somewhere!  Is that you Damian?  You rascal.  Quit stabbing that kitten.

Knowing exactly who on the elite forces unit is going to get it, and how.  Dude with tiny eyes is going to die.  Short Dudes die.  Woman You Only See Briefly is going to die and the camera is going to skim over that.  Somewhat Shorter Than The Rest Unfunny Smartass is gonna die. Red Head Guy is a super sadist and he dies really, really horribly. Best Buddy-dead.  Skinny Science Embed Guy lives and saves the day with Last Stand Grizzled Veteran Called Out of Retirement.  Wisecracking Cuban girl lives.  Plain Karen the electronics whiz lives and plays a small but crucial role in the success of the mission.  Enormous Hot Dude with Bigorexia lives, but is wounded. Enormous Plain Dude with Bigorexia dies.  Enormous Straight up Ugly Dude With Bigorexia dies.  Guy That Puts His Hand On The Front Of His Helmet As He Runs, dies, and he has the only radio, which gets blasted to bits.  Guy Standing Behind a Railing dies.  Large Almost Hot Funny Wisecracking Guy gets wounded by shrapnel and left.  Greatest Generation Brass Dude dies and you cheer it because he's a dick.  Guy Who Never Wears A Helmet dies, as he should, dumbass.  First Up dies when the alien jams a chitonous appendage through his chest or open mouth. Hot Science Lady becomes the plaything of the Gods, but she lives, and usually has to be rescued.  'Predator' and 'Starship Troopers' are prime examples of this kind of booshwah. Although "Predator" is awesome.

Soldiers moving through an occupied city, testing the doorknobs, opening cabinets and flipping over books, stacks of paper and deaders.  This is how you get dead quick in real life. Can you say 'rigged with a mine/grenade?'  I knew that you could.

Good is plain, Evil is hot. This goes particularly for an all female cast.  The Hot Baddie has the best clothes, lines and a loyal entourage.  The Plain Heroine is earnest and restrained in her fashion focus, has constant buddy conflicts, and one Saucy Mob Member with small tits and a smart mouth.

Are we really hanging onto this, ladies?  Is this real?  Because in my experience, the Heroine is usually Any Woman.  Evil is usually miss 'rode hard and put up wet' Butt-Ignorant Hippo with cheap mascara and a flat ass (or a freakishly extreme shelf ass), or the 'rode hard and put up wet' ninety pound Butt-Ignorant Skank with a flat ass (or a freakishly extreme shelf ass), or the Human Bollard, a woman who is shaped like a lingam.  Look it up.  You're sitting in front of a computer.

Arguably, The Human Bollard is the most evil of the three because she has no frontal lobes, just a hindbrain.  The Human Bollard is the one who blurts out "All folks who don't believe in Jesus are going to hell. That means cavemen too," in the middle of Thanksgiving dinner for no reason. She does not shut the door when she uses the bathroom and does not flush, either.  She will tell your children that your whole family is going to hell because Daddy isn't a (place religion or political belief here) and asks everyone how much money they make.  She is an empty vessel filled with Satan.

Pseudo-science gobbledegook is one thing.  Actual scientific principles can and will be checked.  Either make it up our of whole cloth and make up laws that hold the concept in place, or go by the book, people.  You want to cite actual science, you better follow through on every single detail or the nerds will pee on you.  I'm a nerd.

Mumbling is not a plot device.  Yeah, I'm talking V E R Y   C L E A R L Y  to you, Johnny Dep. If you can't speak up, don't expect me to sit through that shit.  The only reason I put up with Cloverfield is that I was able to watch it years after it came out and pause it and go back over the mumbled dialogue with the sound up.  I don't regret the time spent because Cloverfield was cool, but it's not 'worth watching again' cool.

If you think you're going to overcome a weak plot and weak dialogue with sets and effects, they better be pretty damn super-spectacular.  Metropolis got away with this like a motherfucker.  It still gets away with it. George Lucas got away with it twice - Star Wars, A New Hope, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.  Alien I is basically an excuse to let H.R. Giger get loose (forever and always, I love you H.R. Giger.)  Pirates of the Carribean, Dead Mans' Chest gets away with it only because of Davy Jones, his ship and crew; the rest of the movie and the franchise can be flushed.  They all got away with this. There's the yardstick.  Use it.

Shall we visit Parts Foreign?  Well then let's just film the Gritty Urban Poor.  Hell, let's just visit the poor, period, OK?  I know that when I visit another country, the only thing I want to do is hang around and watch people be poor.  Poor is relevant, man.  It's real.  Those suburbs and that huge city there? And all those supermarkets with roofs? Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!

OO Egypt!  Let's grab Zahi Hawass and let his frenetic annoying ass hold forth at length, without subtitles!  No.  Let's not do that.  Tell ya whats lets do:  lets lock Zawi Hawass in a sarcophagus with a recording of his own voice as he berates everyone around him like a crackhead and make him listen to that shit for a few weeks.

President Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe, Diana Princess of Wales, Amelia Earhart, Jimmy Hoffa.  All dead.  Next.

Oh, I got a bunch of them.  Tune in next time for my brilliant throwdown "Let Dracula Be Dracula" and until then, happy trails to you, and keep your stick on the ice!

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

The Carnival of Man Ass and Side Boob that is Netflix

Netflix gives the best schlock in the known universe.  The kind of visually rich, detailed, CGI enhanced, reliably violent schlock that you can't get anywhere else, pulling from a pool of actors who are uniformly fit as hell and surprisingly talented.  Man, you give me a Netflix limited series, as long as it's not European style sword and sorcery dreck, and I am THERE.

The Umbrella Academy.  Tokyo Stories. Dracula (2010) Luke Cage. Pose.  Hell, even the first season of 'Sabrina.'  Stranger Things (first story arc)  the list goes on...gimme a break here, I'm uncaffeinated.  You can stop an episode and just glory in the incredible detail that goes into every single frame - and just being able to pause the movie and do that is great!

That said, do not try this with 'Scorpion King - Book of Souls.'  There are a lot of people in that movie with big old honkin' lip herpes.  I have never seen so many lip-herpes in one movie.  A lot of ancient Mesopotamia or wherever they're at is made out of two-by-fours from Home Depot.  Still, it would be a good one for little kids, and since I am the worlds oldest 13 year old boy, I was entertained by it too.

That said, I do miss my b/w movies.  I could roam around the apps and hunt and peck, but you usually come up with The Classics, and there's only so many times you can watch 'Double Indemnity', you know what I mean?  I wanna see the pre-Hayes Code stuff like Night Nurse, and Tiger Woman.  If there is a channel out there that carries this stuff, do mention it in the comments, my thousands of fans, and do so in an orderly fashion.  My in-box is absolutely crammed (and don't you go laughing Mistress Maddie because you're just jealous.)

Suddenly, finally, full Summer has arrived here at Rancho FirstNations, and my sad old ass is miserable.  It went from temperate and enjoyable to HOT.  I do not do well with extremes of temperature these days and I never could stand hot weather, even as a kid.  It's only been three days and I'm sitting here with two fans going and a squirt bottle full of water, indoors; only emerging to mow the lawn and do a little weeding in the evenings.  I'm the only known example of Diurnal Gardening Draculette known.  Roll up and see this freak of nature, this marvel of strange science, and stand aghast at the amount of ice water she consumes!  Watch her mix her strange cooling spray with a drop of isopropyl and a dot of patchouli as the smell of old curries past rises from her cleavage!  See her spritz herself and gain new life - if only for a few minutes - during which time the audience may throw peanuts and ask questions!

Saturday, July 18, 2020


Tony, the prick, the snide, superior bastard, had my heart from the first.  My husband and I were confirmed foodies, the Biker all about flavor, me technique, and Tony was our culinary Hunter Thompson - Sonny Barger.  He was our thing.

I had to learn to like Andrew Zimmern.  I used to call his show "Watch the Fat Jew Eat a Bug."  Still, over time, I got over his shtick.  What he has to say about food is valid, if gimmicky.  You have to watch his face and listen to his descriptions.  Just because the man will put anything into his mouth and swallow doesn't mean that he really likes it, despite his seeming enthusiasm.  "I mean that in the best possible way" is code for "God I hate this, but I can get it down."

It's pretty clear when Tony and Andrew are being paid to play.  Their commentary becomes smooth and sincere.  Tony suddenly develops an acute case of inflection. Speed-delivery occurs.  Pork is glorified to ridiculous excess.

Here's my problem:  Austin, Texas and the Pacific Northwest.

Tony could not, and Andrew can not DEAL with Austin, or Portland, or Seattle.  Both men came up worshiping France and being awestruck by El Bulli. The French Laundry and Chez Pannise? Anaethema.  Too out front.  Too West Coast.  Too young. Smells trendy. Pass.


We've been out front and making change since I can remember, it's nothing new.  It's not 'hipster'.  It's not 'new wave' or 'Pacific Rim'.  It's what we do with what we have since 1960 and a lot longer ago than that.  After all, where was chow mein invented?  San Francisco, during the Gold Rush years.  Hangtown Fry?  Salmon in dulse? Tex-Mex?  The pioneers were eating that stuff, kids.  I have the old, old cookbooks, put out by Ladies Auxilliaries, Junior Leagues, Bible Study Groups and all the small town, rural organizations of women making do with what was at hand since the native Americans were living here side by side with the settlers, to prove my case. I have boxes of those cookbooks.  They are history. They are naive and crude and often egregiously non-P.C., but they are real as fuck and relevant fact.

Amazing things continue to occur in Austin, in Portland and in Seattle.  Some stuff, yeah, it's ridiculous.  I am not a fan of the 'polymerized tamari on a long wire' school of eating.  To me, food is meant to feed hungry people.  But the chefs out there on the screaming edge are the ones who are taking the heat and making change happen, if only in defiance of their preciousness. 

Out here we have secret chefs, people who work for the extremely wealthy and reclusive in the San Juans, or the very poor and in need of a carb fix cheap along Guide Meridian Road, who are doing excellent things. 

Chicken finished under pastry with the tips of fir branches is astounding, and it was invented here.  Dulse and geoduck sushi; invented here.  Camas and celeraic, mashed - here. Air-dried oolichan smoked over alder was invented by stone age people and it's killer good, from right here, on the beach, looking out over the Pacific toward the East.  The California roll, well, that's from California, but give it a break.  The salmon taco, here.  The Sikh feast made with wild local garlic that comes up all over my garden (anything that the Guru Nanak Gursikh Temple wants from me, they get, and it's here about five miles down the road.)  The Chinese buffet that uses local ingredients and turns out stuff that you've never seen before because the Guatemalan and Montagnard chefs in back are substituting stuff that grandma used to save cost.  That's here too, and it's astounding.

Learn to deal with it, people.  We're here.  We're weird.  Get used to it.  And have a salmon taco already, OK?

Thursday, July 16, 2020

Hard, Hard Thinking Going On

More in-home misheard madness for my huge raging audience! WHOOOOOOO YEAH!!! WOOT WOOT WOOT WOOT WOOT come on alla you, join in!

There has been an ad running for a few weeks that I've paid half an ear's worth of attention to, and it's for a Tyler Perry series called "Ruthless."  Ruth apparently joined a cult, and everyone is upset about it and various other things.  Just a whole lot of upset people. And a cult.

Now I'll register the fact "Oh, it's that ad again," and think of Madea, and trans shaming; then someone announces "They call their selves the Rocka Douchies."

Rrrrrreally?  You couldn't do any better than that?  Because this sounds like something that Madea, in character, came up with in one of her lovable wacky movies and submitted to a focus group full of people transitioning out of a mental health group home or something.  Sure!  Rocka Douchie!  Scares the hell outta me!  Sounds real culty!  My mother is an airplane!

See, back in my misspent youth, I WAS a member of a cult.  I guarantee you it did not have no lameass name like Rocka Douchie.  It had a solid straight up 'we are legit as HELL' name AND logo.  A good logo.  That's what a pseudo-religion needs. A good logo.  The cult I belonged to had a cross for a logo! Doesn't get any more legit than that, right?  And the only thing in their doctrine that came the slightest bit close to biblical mention was to teach that Jesus was a child molester, because the cult leader had been in Galilee during one of his incarnations and seen that mess first hand.

I really wish I was joking about that, but I am not.  I've given you (thousands and thousands of readers) enough clues to look it up for yourself online.  Even off line.  Go nuts looking that up.

But you see, here's the thing.  Once I was in far enough that I heard that bullshit, I stepped out. And I'd heard a lot of prizewinning, fully ripe bullshit by that time too, which I regarded as harmless, and forgettable, since it was all for the sake of keeping my astoundingly hot, yet abusive thieving misogynist sociopath husband.  Kinda wish I was joking about that too, but onward.  Anyway, I stepped out, and kicked the sociopath to the curb, because folks, some shit is just TOO STUPID.

Now you take these Rocka Douchies. Had I been presented with Black Gandalf  and his weak logo who called his cult The Rocka Douchies?  Even as stupid as my ass was back then I would have still thought twice about that.  So, you go to church here locally?  Yes I do!  I'm a Rocka Douchie!  Come join me and wear all purple robes with only your face stickin' out, just like all the other women who belong but no men have to like that isn't suspicious at all and listen to Gandalf Extensions tell us whatever stupid crap crosses his mind like it's true!  There'll be coffee later!

I think way too much about this kind of thing, I know.  On the other hand, I'm no longer married, a Scien-a cult member, OR a Rocka Douchie.  So, yeah.  Think about that shit, kids.  Thinking. That's what I'm about.  I do it for me, and I do it for YOU.
 Here's a link.


Monday, July 13, 2020

Tongue Ass! Paging Mr. Tongue Ass!

We have a chain of corner stores here called AM/PM.  They're interchangeable with Seven-Eleven, Plaid Pantry and a hundred other stop and go gas-marts.  But AM/PM  recently got themselves a new spokes-mascot whose name is apparently Tongue Ass. In the commercial, he is addressed as 'Tongue Ass.'  Every time I hear the commercial, I distinctly hear this...assemblage...declaring 'Tongue Ass!' at the end of the ad.  He is jiggly and grotesque and clearly the product of a diseased imagination. Imagine Bigfoot, if he were a fat, red haired, Scottish Rastafarian made out of snack food, with cheese doodles for beard hairs, hot dogs for fingers and a double cheeseburger for a nose.  It looks like the contents of a morbidly obese persons' intestines wearing a tie.

Who thought this would  be a good idea?  I had to look this up.  I've heard this thing say "Tongue Ass!" about seven times today and I just gave up and gave in.

Mr. Internet informs me that "Tongue Ass" is actually the wordification ( look at me doin' neologisms like a hot momma) of an acronym.  TMGS.  Too Much Good Stuff.  That's AM/PM's catchphrase these days. 

Some bright light in the Advertising Department decided, while ripped to the tits on LSD and bath salts, that if you took the first letter of each word in that motto and made it into a word, it would be pronounced "Tumgus" and it would be the name of a horrifying Frankenstein conglomeration of junk food seven feet tall and four feet wide that works in a quickie mart; and that people would really take to this sucrose-golem and think "Yo I must now go to AM/PM only forever because this thing is a wacky hoot-a-roo!"

My local AM/PM is run by a she-dragon, a tiny terrifying hurricane of a woman single-mindedly determined to make money, who will literally throw you your change and say "OK leave. Next, hurry up, next, next" as you scrabble with your wallet.  I opt to use the cashpoint at the pump to avoid this broad.  Mr. Tongue Ass was made to be this woman's husband. Between her caffeinated avarice and his demented ickiness, they could go on to produce a quickie mart dynasty of mutant dragon-hotdog progeny who would jounce around happily and dump people upside down and shake the money out of their pockets.  They would be genetically incapable of cleaning a bathroom or applying a price tag and would leave a trail of powdered sugar wherever they went.

What are we meant to do when confronted by Mr. Tongue Ass?  Are we supposed to love him?  Are we supposed to want to eat him?  Would you hand your debit card to a seven foot tall pile of junk food with hot dog fingers?  Would you ask it for a job application?  If I was still a stoner and this thing appeared on my T.V. suddenly I would scream and pee myself, like I did when Tom Peterson used to knock on the inside of the screen (Only Oregonians will get this) in the middle of Sinister Cinema.

In other news, the Trump shrines continue to come down, one by one, all over the county!  There was even a "Black Lives Matter" demonstration in Lynden!  Incredible!  Lynden used to be the home of the third largest chapter of the KKK in Washington State, and now look....they've joined the 21st century at last!

But the odd thing is that the hardest of the hardcore pro-Cheeto folks are bricking up hard.  Lawns have multiple huge signs.  Trucks and cars are being coated in stickers.  People aren't just wearing MAGA hats - they're wearing full Stars and Bars shirts and pants outfits.  I have seen this!  Someone call these folks' grandkids, please. It's just SAD.

Just down the road from me is a staunch Orangapresident supporter who lovingly hand-built a cement reinforced Trump sign and installed uplights for it, so that the holy name gleams in the night.  I have been targeting this slice of outrage for months.  I went to far as to buy a product in a spray can, and keep it in my car in case I ran into the right set of circumstances. (Use your imagination.) 

And then I saw the dude out there one day picking the weeds around his little exercise of freedom of speech. The guy is about 103, and maybe a buck, if that.  A strong breeze could take him away. He has Essential Tremor.  He was standing out there next to the road with trucks blasting past weeding his sign.  And dammit, I lost the feeling.

But listen up, Mr. Abortion Is Murder - I've still got that spray can in my car.  Your time WILL come.

Friday, July 10, 2020

Breakfast With Ed

I was blearily eating my cold spag bol breakfast at the dining room table this morning, reading my paperback, sipping my coffee, when it suddenly occurred to me that my father-in-laws' cremains were about a foot or so away from my place.  I looked at the box.  "Oh!" I thought.  "That's right!  Ed's going in the ground today.  Dang." 

Ed has been in the back bedroom on a shelf for the past few months in a cardboard box.  Today we drove him out to the graveyard and met a small group of older people, cousins of the Bikers. None of us knew one another.  They were there with their own small box, full of Ed's sister, and we all stood around the family plot and made small talk.  Then the Biker took a piece of plywood and an orange traffic cone off the small hole in the ground and we put the boxes in, stood around making more small talk, and then replaced the plywood and the orange traffic cone and went our separate ways.

It was a lot like waiting at a bus stop. 

When I got home I opened up the house to let the breeze through.  It gets stuffy fast, with the damp weather we've had.  We have no screens, door or window; just never got around to it.  As I was sitting here trying to make my computer into a tool of FirstNations instead of a tool of the State, I kept noticing a flickering out of the corner of my eye.  Not too unusual.  The sun was peeking in and out, and the light glances off passing cars and makes a sparkle on the wall sometimes.  I let it go.  Until the bird flew into the window, inside the house, and I had to open the window to let it out.

The flickering?  Swallows.  Swallows have been flying through my house, from the back kitchen door through and out the front room door, around and around like a game for the past five hours. 

What the heck.  Let them have fun.

The swallows have been nesting on the same beam in my little metal shed out back for close to twenty years now.  I have to whack the side of the shed if I don't want to get a face full of startled bird when I go in.  But once mom bird is sitting on eggs, she'll just look at me placidly as I roam around, and when the hatchlings emerge, I'll have five little fat, bald birds watching me over the side of the nest, which is not more than six inches above my head.  Then one day they will simply be gone, done, flown away, and I will leave the nest there.   This years hatchlings fledged a few days ago, and have taken their first flights around the yard.  It's kind of nice to have them playing in the air through my house, to tell the truth.  I feel like a bird grandma.

They say that swallows will always nest in the same place every year.  I wonder if I have the great great great great etc. grand-swallows of the original pair sitting in there, telling their kids not to worry about the hippie that shows up occasionally. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2020


Computer ordered online, attempt 1 - failed, no longer in stock.  Was told this useful bit of information two weeks after the order was placed.  Money refunded.

Computer ordered online, attempt 2 - failed, shipment lost in transit, refund pending.  According to Mr. Internet, this computer is stranded in Texas, possibly in an internment camp.  I blame Trump.  Refund pending.

Computer ordered online, attempt 3 - success!  It only took...until now!  to get this tiny little itty bitty computer no bigger than a National Geographic magazine with bupkis for storage, that dragooned me into creating a Microsoft/Bing account that I did not want, and shows me plaintive little messages from 'Cortana' who is apparently dying to assist me, and provide me with a customized computing experience by creating a vocal profile of my every utterance, nuance of inflection, regionalism and FUCK OFF CORTANA.  Cortana has been turned off, as have her 'ears' although I have sincere doubts that what I've done actually did anything at all.  Thanks, George Orwell. 

The first thing I did before I even turned the thing on for the first time was stick a piece of tape over the microphone and camera. I won't Skype and you can't make me. 

The whole pre-set raison d'etre for my little computer is to engage me with my fellow humans in any way possible, whether I like it or not.  I've spent a couple of hours opting out of various things, uninstalling others, changing settings, and to be honest I think all I'm really doing is whistling Dixie.  First you have the manufacturers' pre-sets, then Microsofts, then Google Chrome.  Yes I chose this and yes I'm bitching about it.  I get to bitch.  They let me. So there.