Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Pineapples, Peaches, and Doomsday Prophecies

I woke up from a nap a while ago. I fell asleep to a show about the 2012 prophecies of Nostradamus and woke up to The Pineapple Express. Apparently Essie wasn't as fond as the doomsday forecast as I was. Interestingly enough, she too fell asleep while watching TV... Whatever she was watching. When I woke up the Pineapple Express was just starting. Because I didn't know any better it's been on since, and seems to be nearing it's ridiculous conclusion. I'm wondering, does Seth Rogen play the same old dipshit in every one of his movies?

I got up and grabbed a beer. It is St. Patty's Day afterall. I've spent the last hour or so reading blogs and answering emails, and even took a peek at Facebook. A friend became a fan of Peaches!, and this particular FB friend isn't one who would just cling to any ol' fan page, so I clicked the link and decided to see who/what this Peaches! thing was all about. I didn't expect to find a page dedicated to the furry tree fruit, but I really wasn't expecting this gal either:

Well of course I became a fan too. I don't always need to hear a musician to know whether or not their sound is going to soothe my soul. Sometimes you just know... And even if not, oh well.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Time Waits for No One (Except Chuck Norris)

It came to my attention that Chuck Norris turned 70 yesterday.

I was a little surprised at his age... I honestly had him pegged for a man in his 50s. He doesn't look, nor act like somebody who is older than my father. To make my point, my father who just turned 65 last week never made a workout video, never single handedly took on the Viet Cong to save forgotten prisoners of war, nor has he ever donned the uniform of a Texas Ranger. Not once was my dad ever referred to as Lone Wolf, and I have no recollection of him ever inventing his own form of martial arts... In fact compared to Chuck Norris, my father has led a pretty average life. But tell me... compared to Chuck Norris, who hasn't?

Chuck Norris is the American word for tough mother fucker. He trained alongside Bruce Lee, which should have been a clue to me regarding his age, but somehow I missed it. While competeing in martial arts competitions throughout the '60s he dominated his opponents with such verocity that he almost single handedly ended the peace movement (Only to re-build it again later... Read on). There was several times for instance in 1968 that Chuck Norris wiped out an entire block of hippies with one giant sweeping round-house kick. If the U.S. Army had been smart they would have hired him to track down and punish the draft dodgers that so proudly eluded their national service. He became known as a super human destroying machine, and most likely his existence was the prime reason the United States didn't enter any substantial wars in the 1970s and the '80s. Nobody fucked with us during that time period and the reason is quite obvious... Chuck Norris was in the prime of his life.

But back to my point. I find it difficult to believe that Chuck Norris has turned 70. It just seems so old... And if you look at this photo taken yesterday morning, he doesn't look a day over 25. If there was ever a man who found the fountain of youth it is this guy... It's as if his martial arts training has shown him the path to living forever. I find it amusing that he shaved his beard on his 70th birthday... Perhaps another fuck-you to the hippie movenment? Maybe. Or possibly because of his extensive knowledge of the martial arts, his body is actually growing younger. Like the curious case Benjamin Button.

But again, back to the point of this blog post.

Today I read where Merlin Olsen died. Now... Much like I was surprised to find out that Chuck Norris had turned 70, I was even more taken aback at the age of Merlin Olsen at his death. He was 69.

I would have bet my right arm that this guy was at least in his 90's. He seemed old when I was a kid when I used to see his bearded face on episodes of Little House on the Prairie. And even then it seemed that he had been retired from pro football for a few decades... Nobody I knew had his football card, which for a Hall of Famer was pretty rare unless the person played so long ago that the card became virtually unattainable. We knew who Dick Butkus was, and Bronco Nagurski... Night Train Lane, and even Frank Gifford. It only seemed right that a Hall of Fame pro football player would have been on our radar unless he played so long ago that he became barely mentioned. He was nothing to us but John Ingalls's best friend on that television show... His pro football career a mere after thought.

I found a picture of Merlin Olsen when he was 19 years old. Look how old he looks compared to the photo of  Norris on the day he turned 70. I think it is safe to say that life was kind to one man, while totally taking a shit on another. Merlin Olsen might have been a great NFL football player, but he also probably played varsity football when his peers were still in the pee-wee leagues. This kind of training and experience no doubt helped him as he formed his Hall of Fame career.

So yeah... I guess it's plain to see that while two different men can live a life dedicated to good living it doesn't matter much unless father time is on your side. While I am wondering if I read Merlin Olsen's age wrong... Was it 96, and not 69?... I am equally amazed at how old Chuck Norris actually is. Two American icons, basically the same age... And one is a grandfather and one is a young man.

Even the concept of time respects the powress of Chuck Norris.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

It's Alive! (Not to be Confused with It's Alive!)

I learned something today. There are at least two movies with the same name... It's Alive!.

The one I already knew about came out in 1974 and featured a murderous baby. I remember seeing the theater poster when I was a kid, and it scared the hell out of me. Despite that, I wanted to see it badly... But there was no way that my folks were going to let a 6 year old boy watch a movie that featured a blood-thirsty gluttonous baby that gnawed on human flesh... Even in the early '70s. But that poster seemed to beckon me. As my mother grabbed my hand to scurry us past the theater I stared at it unable to shake my glance. It was hypnotic. So like I did with most things deemed too adult for my childhood brain back then, I made a mental vow to myself... I would watch that movie someday. 

Tonight I got my chance... Or did I?

I was flipping through the channels trying to find a good program in which to take a nap to. I was stunned to see It's Alive! had just started on the Independent Film Channel. Immediately recognizing the name of the movie and remembering my childhood vow, I clicked to the channel. It had just started. I hit the INFO button and read what it said: It's Alive! (1969) Tommy Kirk, Shirley Bonne, Bill Thurman A deranged hunter captures and feeds three people to his pet prehistoric monster. There was no mention of the murderous baby and the date seemed a little bit early considering I was born in 1968, and specifically remember that moment when my mother grabbed my hand as I stared at the poster... I knew I was older than one year old. But I gave it the benefit of the doubt, because it did fit the era, thinking that perhaps the prehistoric monster WAS the murderous baby.

That is one hour and a half I will never get back. Upon doing some internet research I discovered that the It's Alive! movie I was remembering was not the same as this film with the same title. The movie I had been thinking of was released in 1974, had an entirely different plot, and  most likely had better acting and better special effects. The film I watched this evening was so bad that I literally could not bring myself to change the channel. Seriously... Like that poster I stared at as a child, this movie had me in some hypnotic spell that wouldn't let me give it up. Maybe I hoped that it would get better, or maybe I didn't want to watch Wheel of Fortune, but I sat through this entire schlock-filled borefest all the while wondering why.

You can read the best review I found of this film here. I don't deem this film worthy of my own review, but I do have a few thoughts worth sharing...

The monster costume was so bad that it left nothing to the imagination. It was obviously a mask made of rubber, and most likely the most expensive prop in the entire film. If I was trapped in a cave with this creature, fear is the last emotion I would feel. I'd probably offer it a handful from a bowl of candy and shoo it on it's way.

The person who plays Wayne Thomas (Tommy Kirk) gets shot in the chest almost immediately after waking up from being thrown down a rocky mine shaft, but mysteriously makes no mention of pain, shows no weakness, and displays no blood throughout the rest of the film. But he does manage to charm his way into the heart of Leilla Sterns (Shirley Bonne), who despite watching her husband get eaten alive by the monster, seems to welcome his advances, stroking his hair and even teasing him about not liking her once they get out of there.

The guy who plays the villian, Greevy (Bill Thurman) looks like a cross between Jack Nicholson and the Sysco Foods rep I use at work. He shot Wayne Thomas in the chest and locked three people in a cave as food for his prehistoric pet, but seemed genuinely concerned that they ate really well while they were alive. He would send his "wife" down with food and coffee, and even bandages to help heal the afore- mentioned unseen gun shot wound.

The movie ends with the words THE END? written drearily on the screen, as if the question mark was going to send the movie goers home with an unsettling thought of this entire tragedy re-occuring, which in effect, is scary enough. Apparently it was the end however, as it's now going on 41 years since the release of this horrific film.

My vow stands. I will watch It's Alive! someday.

Monday, March 1, 2010

What's Wrong With February and a New Blog Shout-Out

Dang, it seems like it's been forever since I have been active on this ol' blogamajig.

The month of February wasn't kind to me in a creative sense. Maybe because we are in the armpit of winter here in the midwest... Or maybe because I have had other frustrations to deal with... Or perhaps it's because of  for whatever reason, the person who designed the calander only granted February 28 days. That seems a little unorthodox considering that January, March, May, July, August, October, and December all get 31 days of allowance..  And February only gets 28 days? What the fuck? That's like Tuesday only having 22 hours. Even in  leap year February comes in a day below the regular monthly standard of 30.

But back to my point... Blogging isn't like riding a bike. It's not something that is easy to pick up again, once you set it down and let it collect dust. The longer you stay away from it, and the less you do it, the harder it is to get the creativity going again or let alone consider any thoughts worthy of sharing. But with the beginning of March upon us, I figured it's time to at least try... Afterall, I do owe that to my '10s of readers who come here regularly... Right? 

I have mentioned the College of Idiots on this site before. It is a blog that masquerades itself as a Cubs blog while maintaining it's true identity as a cork gun taking aim at popular culture. It's a great read... I enjoy it immensely. However in all it's glory it should be noted that it is the bastard son of another blog, Thunder Matt's Saloon, which officially closed it's doors this morning. I would check both of these creations daily in my usual blogosphere meanderings, and I knew several weeks ago that it was holding setting up a clearance rack for it's going out of business sale. But as in most cases in life, when one door closes another one opens. Thus I present to you Exile on Clark Street... The newest addition to what has been a long and very entertaining family of blogs. It seems that Ginger Russ and the guys over there like to keep their material fresh and there is certainly nothing wrong with that. I applaud their efforts and look forward to reading their drunken transcriptions and hilarious and random interpretations of life as we know it. And of course the occasional post about the Cubs.

So yeah it's good to know that even while my creative juices have coagulated into a solid brine, someone else is there to pick up the slack.

Good luck, Exile!