…I say hello

I have returned from my trip to the San Fransisco area and I have to say it was a good time. The girlfriend, family, and I were able to check out Oakland, Berkeley, the Napa/Sonoma Wine Country, and San Fransisco itself. We even made it as far south as Monterrey.

I learned several things during my time out there. First things first, there is no place for a vegan to eat in Sonoma. Napa wasn’t much better but it did have a very, very excellent vegetarian/vegan restaurant, Ubuntu. In Monterrey we a very good vegetarian friend place, called Tillie Gorts. Easily though the best dinning was in Berkeley and San Fransisco. We went to the local chain Herbivore, in both Berkeley and San Fransisco. And, easily, the best place to eat in the whole trip was Millennium. Expensive but extremely tasty.

I was amazed by the sheer number of book stores, especially used bookstores at fair prices. I was able to find a couple of older books that I’ve been looking for (Chants Democratic & The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution) along with a new book that had flown under my radar at home (A History of Histories).

When I was in San Fransisco I was able to hit up two very excellent comic shops, Isotope and Comix Experience. Both are utterly great stores; open, accessible, and very well-stocked. The staffs of both were very friendly (I was able to meet Brian Hibbs of Savage Critics but was too sheepish to really talk to him). Both stores set a great example for other comics stores to follow. I would really wish for a store with the sort of atmosphere of Isotope to open in the DC/VA/MD area. It would be a dream.

With the trip recap out of the way, in the next few days expect to see more from me here. With graduation out of the way and a lot more free time on my hands I hope to really get back to business with this whole blogging thing.

But, of course, we’ll see.


Crossing the Line – Straw Dogs

This week we look at the American Film about British people harassing an American man, “Straw Dogs” (1971). Sam Peckinpah directed, so you know all the old standbys are back: sex, rape, nudity, and some good ol’ ultraviolence!

Tagline: In the eyes of every coward burns a straw dog.

Interesting Fact: In order to express a sick enjoyment in the scene where Dustin Hoffman beats the man on the floor to death, he requested that there would be coconuts there for him to smash. In one shot you can actually see a bit of coconut flying off, which Sam Peckinpah passed off as brain matter.

Objectionable material: British people, Maths, nudity, gang rape, huntin fer sport, murder, cat murder, drinking in copious amounts, marital strife, a very effective bear trap, pedophilia, A NERD!

Disturbing Quote: “No. I care. This is where I live. This is me. I will not allow violence against this house.”

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Crossing the Line – Freaks

A second column without any sex, rape, or murder! Freaks is a 1932 classic by Tod Browning, and features a collection of real freak show members. Let’s have some fun at the expense of the handicapped shall we?

Tagline: Can a full grown woman truly love a MIDGET ?

Interesting Fact: F.Scott Fitzgerald was a member of the MGM writing department at the time the movie was in production. He never felt quite at home with all the movie stars and powerful moguls, and so he often dined in the commissary at the table of the sideshow attractions (freaks) during his lunch hour.

Objectionable material: Evidence against a loving God, A woman with no arms, a man with no legs, a man with no arms and no legs, conjoined twins, a half-man/half-woman, short people, A BIG IMPORTANT MORAL MESSAGE, bearded lady baby, microcephalics, a bird man (or woman?), Man’s Inhumanity to Man, Germans

Disturbing Quote: “We accept you, one of us! Gooble Gobble!”

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You say goodbye…

First things first: I’m sorry for the lack of post from me recently. I just recently finished my final semester of undergraduate education and have been enjoying doing nothing and celebrating my and the girlfriend’s graduation.

Of course, this should be where I say “and now I will be begin posting again!” Sadly, though that’s not the case.

For the next week I’ll be on the West Coast with the girlfriend and the immediate family on vacation. I’ll have virtually no internet or computer access while on the “left coast” and thus no blogging. I will try to put something up if I can but, obviously, no promises.

But when I get back: things will be back to normal.


Presented in Glorious Extra-Color! Venture Brothers Top 6 Countdown! (#6-5)

Introduction:

June 1st marks the beginning of the 3rd season of The Venture Brothers. Is two seasons too few to have a “best of” countdown? Most likely. But we’ve got to anticipate somehow, and the people love their lists, particularly complaining about all my glaring omissions. Because of the dearth of episodes, this will only be a top 6. I could easily have done a top 10, but at that point I’d be dangerously close to going through every episode and talking about why it’s great. (Though I could do that easily.) I’ll split up the episodes into pairs, covering two a week until the premiere.

For the oblivious, The Venture Brothers is a character-driven show that, on the simplest level, is a parody of the old Johnny Quest cartoons. Thaddeus “Rusty” Venture was a Johnny-Quest-type is his own day, now middle-aged and living in his super-scientist father’s shadow along with his hyper-violent bodyguard Brock Samson and two children, Dean and Hank. The parody only works as a set-up though, and the well-written and well-defined cast of dozens quickly takes on a life of its own.

So if you’ve never seen the show, here’s a few suggestions of places to start. If you have seen the show, now’s the time to start disagreeing with me. Here’s number 6:

#6. Ice Station Impossible!

Dr. Venture goes to work at an arctic base with his old college instructor, Prof. Impossible (voiced by Stephen Colbert). Meanwhile, Hank, Dean, and Brock are treated to Race Bannon’s unglamorous death and Hank becomes injected with an explosive serum.
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Crossing the Line – Un Chien Andelou

Somehow I manage to get 2 weeks in a row without a single Smith Michael’s post to mar my perfection! And we’re super on time this week. Today our intrepid band of reviewers looks at the 15 minute surrealist film “Un Chien Andelou” or “An Andalusian Dog”. Salvador Dali and Luis Bunuel team up for this basic long term dream sequence. Among other things, it’s considered a groundbreaking film.

Tagline: SILENT FILM! NO TAG LINE!

Interesting Fact: A cow’s eye was used in the scene where the woman’s eye is slit.

Objectionable material: Eyeball slitting, ant hand, really hard to see nudity, really hard to see animal carcasses and or corpses, poor lighting, 2nd base, sort of nudity, sort of death, a man choking a doppelganger, confusing stuff

Disturbing Quote: WHAT PART OF SILENT FILM IS CONFUSING?

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Crossing the Line – Cannibal Holocaust

Cannibal Holocaust (1985) is up today, directed by Ruggero Deodato and supposedly banned at one time or another in 50 countries. At this point in the column I wonder if I even need to mention rape, murder, or nudity, or if I should just encourage everyone to take it as a given.

Tagline: The men you will see eaten alive, are the same who filmed these incredible sequences

Interesting Fact: The scene where an actor kills a monkey was shot twice, so two monkeys were killed for that scene.

Objectionable material: Nudity, off screen murder, visceral on screen murder, animal cruelty, on screen mutilation of turtle, on screen slicing open of muskrat, shooting of a small pig, there’s a lot of actual animal killings alright, Blair Witch Project style camera, white people murdering savages, disembowelment, sex, mud-girl rape, rock penis rape, forceful removal of body parts, racism, heavy handed message, man’s inhumanity to man

Disturbing Quote: “Today people want sensationalism; the more you rape their senses the happier they are.”

Warning, Very NSFW

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