Sunday, March 30, 2014

Holy 75th, Batman!

...Already regretting that title.

Well, know what started 75 years ago today?

Yup. That's right. Batman. Or, Bat-Man...It's Batman.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Rifftrax, Getting Ready to Riff

It's time to welcome some more Rifftrax shenanigans. For the Spring and Summer they are planning out some events, outside their regular output of new movie riffs (Cyborg Cop 2, etc.).

By Rifftrax, I mean Mike Nelson, Bill Corbett, and Kevin Murphy, the leads of the last half of the run of Mystery Science Theater 3000. They went on to put out DVD's where they skewered bad movies (like Giants of Marathon) as The Film Crew. Then they eventually found themselves continuing the laughs at Rifftrax. (Many of the other writers and faces of Mystery Science Theater 3000 worked on Cinematic Theater, a similar concept.) Along with releasing riffing commentaries and some movies with the commentaries laid over, they do live shows. But now we get something new.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

The Horror Of...The Masque of the Red Death (1964)

Ah, hello there! I see you to are wandering the countryside. I just decided to see if the rumors were true, that a strange malady was preying these lands.

I fear it may be true. The peasantry seem quite restless, and a strange tinge inflicts the landscape. It is unnatural.
"The 'Red Death' had long devastated the country. No pestilence had ever been so fatal, or so hideous. Blood was its Avatar and its seal. -- the redness and the horror of blood..."
But not to worry. My castle is near. And I have such entertainments awaiting us. Humor. Spectacle. Succor.

Why, have you ever been faced by the Masque?

One, in times like this, one need to partake of it.


It is time for you to experience...

...The Masque of the Red Death

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Adolfo Suarez, Democratic post-Franco leader of Spain, dies at 81

Photo by Gerard Julien/AFP/Getty Images
The nation of Spain has mourned for the last three days. On Sunday, Adolfo Suarez, former Prime Minister, was taken to hospital, suffering from respiratory issues. Even before this he'd been suffering from Alzheimer for nearly a decade, it had been years since he remembered his time in power. At hospital, he passed, age 81.

Alfonso Suarez - Photo by AFP
38 years had passed since he'd risen from more regional prominence to national prominence. In the wake of Francisco Franco's death (the longtime dictator of Spain), King Juan Carlos had chosen Suarez to act as Prime Minister and lead efforts to restore the electoral process. While he had served in Franco's government, he proved to be an honest broker in bringing about elections for Spain, and seeing democracy reestablished in the country.

During his efforts he worked to bring all the factions into the process, including those that had long been ostracized and demonized. He worked to restore trade unions, and convinced the Communist Party to engage in the elections. It was not popular with conservatives or the military, but it set the first steps to reviving the democratic process that continues operating to this day.

In the first elections his party won a majority in the parliament and he was properly elected Prime Minister (the first elected since before Franco). But controversy over some of his stands, and economic and social issues, led to him resigning at the next elections. 

Suarez and his Deputy Prime Minister arguing with
military officers - Photo by Manuel Hernandez
de Leon/European Pressphoto Agency
But before he could see the swearing in of a new Prime Minister, the military attempted to retake power. A group of officers marched into the parliament and opened fire. Suarez was among a few that didn't drop to the floor. He later said that as Prime Minister he should never go on bended knee. He helped keep the piece in the parliament as the king and others sorted out the military. He then left power. But he was remembered.

In the years since his time in power, he's become more and more respected for what he accomplished. It was a scary time post-Franco and Suarez acted honestly to do his duty in reasserting elections, and leading the country out of the state Franco had left it in.

Today, following the three days of mourning, Suarez was taken from the Parliament and to the city of Avila, north of Madrid. There he was interred in the Avila Cathedral. His wife, who died, more than 10 years ago of cancer, will be laid to rest beside him.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Good news, everyone. I've discovered jump breaks!

Good news, everyone!

I've discovered jump breaks.

...Well, I didn't discover them as much as find them in my pocket, and remember that I put them there back in the early days of HTML...

...But it means I am trying to put them in my posts: current, future, and past. Hopefully, it will make going through the pages of posts much much easier.

The reviews and recaps won't swamp you as you scroll down! You can actually get around like this is a competent blog!

The blog may at long last be tolerable. Or, not really horrible.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Saint Patrick's Day: The Céilidh Has Started! *UPDATED*

Cribbing again from last March 17th...You know what that means...

Sniff my butt, I'm Irish.
It's that Saint Patrick's Day season yet again.

So get yourselves up and get to work aping Irish culture. You know, wearing green, wearing funny hats, talking in a funny accents, and... getting plastered on watery American beer?

And that's the feast day of St. Patrick!

Okay, okay. I know I have been one to point out that holidays grow and change, and break out of cultures or religions. And St. Patrick's has done that to an extent. But it is also odd to me that it's a national holiday as well. All so people can act out certain stereotypes.  I'm not fond of perpetuating stereotypes. 

Of course, it's also become a day that the Irish like to promote cultural awareness. Like Italians and other cultures that settled in the United States, the Irish struggled on for years to even be considered white. Yes, American culture and politics of that day refused to see many Europeans as white. There were places where the Irish and other cultures (like black and Hispanic people) were denied entrance, living spaces, or use of facilities. (But the Irish and Italians were eventually welcomed as equals ( unlike other groups). So getting people to join in to your celebration can be a point of merging with the greater culture. 

As well, like Mardi Gras and Christmas, this day is also just an excuse to have a party, do some dancing, and, maybe, wear some green. ...And I do love green.

But let's get back to it's origins. (Now YOU Must Learn. HAHAHAHAHA!)

March 17th is deemed to be the date of St. Patrick of Ireland's death. It's said he was then buried at Down Cathedral in Downpatrick, Down County. Common for the day, St. Patrick, patron saint of Ireland, was never officially canonized by a pope and church. It was more a regional decision. But from that start his sainthood has been embraced by the Catholic, Lutheran, Episcopal  and Orthodox churches. It took time for him to gain acceptance, but more and more he was acknowledged in the church. So, he got a feast day, and became a rallying point in Irish culture. But that's the end of the his tale.

Looking at the start is a little trickier. He is considered to be a Romano-Brit, of noble birth. His family had been in the religion business at that point for generations. Early in his life he was captured by Irish raiders and taken to Ireland as a slave. He later was able to return to Britain. He entered the Church then, and after rising to bishop was sent back to Ireland to convert the island to Catholicism (and fight crime as a proto-Zorro -- But that may just be my own head canon. Or I may be confusing the Green Bishop with the Green Hornet.). And with that he descends into legend.

The trouble with stories and writing of Patrick's time in Ireland is that it is not necessarily clear what is him and what is others that were evangelizing before and after him in Ireland. As often happens when cobbling together history, legends, or parables, the names may be changed and events altered to protect the innocent...or just make a better/easier to understand story.

Before Patrick was sent to Ireland, Palladius was sent to Ireland on the same mission, becoming the first bishop in Ireland. So some of his writings, words, and actions likely were blended in to the activities of Patrick.

But Patrick is remember for the overall effort to bring Christianity to dominance in Ireland. Which did occur. (And once the Magdalene Asylums were set up, it was smooth sailing for Ireland. We will be taking no questions.) That is where the imagery of St. Patrick driving the snakes out comes from, the conversion of people from Druidic faith to his own (We'll hope it was just converting.). It may be similar to the story of St. George and his "dragon".

It's like the story of his walking stick which would become a tree. The story goes he would plant it in the ground and preach. Then when he found it had taken root in the place, he would move on. Get it! It's alluding to something. It's cute...kinda.

Then their is the embrace of the shamrock, three-leafed clover. It is said that Patrick used it to describe the concept of a Holy Trinity (Insert your own sex act joke here. Whoa hey!), and then carried and wore them as a symbol to people. They say that.

Trouble is, can you actually tie the shamrock to any of his direct teachings. Because it seems to only arise as tied to him more than 1,000 years after his death. So, like with so many tales and legends, St. Patrick may have been rebooted and upgraded. Perhaps shamrocks had started to be used as a symbol of trinity or the crucifix, perhaps it had become more significant to people, and it was decided to go back and tie it to this significant religious figure.

Going back long before Patrick, the shamrock was a revered image in Ireland. It was green, which was an important symbol to them. And it represented the number three, also significant to the early peoples of Ireland. So it is not hard to imagine, like in other lands and times, Christian proselytizers taking advantage of the symbol and it's parallels to further sell the faith. It's just a question of if it was a practice predating Patrick, of his making (but no records survived), or just adopted later on. I could not say. Still, no one cares, and here we are, with a shamrock. And people seem to love them.

But what about the vaunted four-leaf clover then? If the three-leafer represents the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, what's the fourth one for then? This...

Finally! A positive image of Ireland.
Yes, yes, their is a corny explanation:
"The first is for faith, the second is for hope, the third is for love, and the fourth is for luck."
But, come on! Leprechauns. Leprechauns! That's where it's at. It's always the answer.

At least it's better than faith, hope, love, and luck...Yeesch.

So, a millennia later all the pieces were falling in place for St. Patrick's Day.

  • We have the snakes. 

Though I think most of us forget about them. They aren't dragons.

  • We have our shamrocks.

Good for shakes, pendents, and easily recognizable Irish logos.

  • We also have parades.

...Which aren't an Irish or Patricky idea at all... It's an American thing. But the Irish have taken to it...after 200 years. I'll be honest, and say I'm not big on parades. But if you like them, it's your lucky day.

  • And there's the beer.

Beer. As I noted in looking at Mardi Gras, we are in Lent now. So I wondered how a St. Patrick feast day would work. And even in Ireland their are times during which bars were required to be closed on the 17th. Apparently, most Catholic churches give dispensation for people to eat and drink on the 17th. A loophole to fasting in the in the Catholic Church, I don't believe it! Still, any out on fasting is a good one. So enjoy!

...Unless your gay, apparently.
Many of the parades around the United States are happy to specifically ban gay people and groups from being included. Is this really what those in charge want to represent about their culture? It does not make Irishness or Catholicism look good. Not at all.
At least we know that the mayors of Chicago and New York are boycotting. Also the beer makers, Heineken and Guinness are no longer supporting these parades. If you don't have Guinness approving of your St. Pat's parade, you must be doing something very wrong.


Sometimes people say that Rupert Murdoch is actually liberal, but hides it for the sake of profits.

But then you have times like today. Seems that in the wake of Guinness pulling out support for the New York City St. Patrick's Day parade, Murdoch has gone to Twitter to denounce Guinness, and call for it to be boycotted.

Apparently Guinness is cruelly not supporting a "religious parade". Also, the gays are all bullies.

...So gay people are the ones victimizing? ...And Guinness is obliged to fund religious events that it doesn't want to fund? Is that because of FREEDOM, AND STUFF? And that parade is not religious. It's visited largely by non-Catholics, and is a chance to party. So, please!

Still, if anyone wants to tell you that Murdoch is really secretly a sweetie, you know more surely now that's bunk.

And I do love that he's calling for all Irish to boycott Guinness. Yeah, an Australian who lives in London and New York is lecturing the Irish about their own beloved national drink. HA!

Weekend Viewing - The Blacklist

When it comes to the weekend, there are plenty of things we want to get done. Hike. Bike. Read. Study. Party. Juggle. MMA. Whatever. ...But often we all just want to curl up on the couch and watch something. It can be with friends, family, the cat, or just some alone time. It's a time for "guilty pleasures" (such a dishonest phrase) and/or nostalgia.

To start let's not go with something nostalgic, but new.

So why don't we extract some weekend viewing fun from...

The Blacklist.

Or, The Likable Bastard Show.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Pi Day Returns

Cribbing from last year...

It's Pi Day!

Yes. It's that time every year where all of us math nerds can get giddy at the date, March 14th. As in 3/14. (Yeah, in Europe it's 14/3. Don't point that out to us. It's magic!)

3/14. Or, 3.14. Pi! Woo!!! ...I. Said. Woo!!!

Let's hear it for the circumference of a circle divided by it's diameter! Oh yeah!

Still...It's only semi-amazing. Wait until 2015. 3/14/15?

Mathematicians will be going mental.

...Okay. If you aren't in a country that lists the month followed by the day and then the year, it isn't as cool. But that's why we rock! (I always knew there was a reason!)
But if you need some math puns today, check out the Tumblr link to a slew of them.

So be sure to party like your an irrational number with a seemingly unending nonrepeating decimal value! ...WOO!!!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Friday the 13th on Thursday the 13th - Episode 6 - The Great Montarro *UPDATED*

Damn! So close. It's another Thursday the 13th. But that doesn't mean we can't enjoy a bit more 80's horror cheese....that just sounds filthy.

So let's delve back into Friday the 13th the Series!

As I mentioned last time, I'm skipping passed the fifth episode of the first season. (It's one of the Halloween episodes, and I'm saving it for later.) So let's go to episode 6.

The Great Montarro.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

The Horror Of...Netherbeast Incorporated

Well, it looks like sickness is putting me behind on getting to my horror. But with what last...two weeks back Friday was...Wait? How many weeks? ...Oh, well.

Still, I am not to heartbroken to fail to get this next movie presented to you sooner. I had thought of it as a romance of sorts, with a horror thread to it. But in looking at it, the romance aspect isn't as strong. It is there, but it's a b-plot. ...Maybe that's too strong. What it isn't a Twilight or Love at First Bite, okay?

Yet it is a film you likely don't know. Blood. Cubicles. Limbs. Paperwork. Stakes. Productivity Consults. Magic rocks. President Garfield.

Oh yeah. It's time to invest in...

Netherbeast Incorporated