Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Zoinks!: Zippy the Pinhead Says Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah As We Come to the End of the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge

Well peeps, it appears that the month long entity known as the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge, or the BFAtZAC as all the cool kids are calling it, is at an end. Hence all the Z's in the post's title. Many of the bloggers involved in this so-called challenge, have talked about how tiring it is to blog 26 days out of the month. Really? I just don't see it. Granted, I average around twenty posts a month as it is (many of the aforementioned tired bloggers seem to post an average of four or five times a month) so stretching it to 26 just ain't all that bad. After all, I do like talking about stuff I like, and that is all I do through my blog, so there's always that too. Basically, I like to ramble and babble and all that jazz, so it ain't a-hurtin' me none. I did pick up some fresh new followers during this period though (and some I am following as well) and hopefully these fresh new followers will stick around to see what's in store for the future of All Things Kevyn.

For several years, I ran a cinema-centric blog called The Most Beautiful Fraud in the World (now defunct), and just recently began All Things Kevyn. Back in November to be exact. Back on November 24, 2013, to be even more exact. Anyhoo, sometime during the A to Z Challenge, I posted my 100th post here at All Things Kevyn (the one on PEZ, for those who want to know the details) and just wanted to pat myself on the back for reaching that goal in less than five months. It took just over ten months to do the same thing at The Most Beautiful Fraud in the World (I became a bit more prolific after the first year over there, and would end up averaging at least 22 posts per month for a long while). Anyhoo (again) I digress. All I really wanted to say here, in my challenge closing remarks, is that I had a good time, and perhaps you too had a good time. But enough of what is behind us. What exactly is ahead? Well, let me tell ya'll.

First off, tomorrow I will be announcing who won our Star Trek Captains Poll, which ends tonight at midnight EST. I will also be kicking off a brand new poll. It's going to be quite fab. After that, there will be new editions of many of my regular series', including Spectacularly Bad TV, Some of My Favourite Things, The Great Albums, Heavenly Body of the Week, Classic Cinema Corner, and The Great Recasting, as well as some brand new regular features, including The Alphabet Game (inspired by the A to Z Challenge) and Don't Touch the Silver Surfer. More on these last two later.  And don't worry, good ole Rufus Dangerman will keep on making his presence known with his monthly guest post. I know you were worried about that, he says with a snarky tone. There will also be new La-La & Lu-Lu strips, as well as the long-awaited (by some, at least) debut of Smiley-Face Land Adventures. And, of course, there will be lots of new Top Ten Lists comin' your way. I will also keep going with new release film reviews and add in some TV reviews as well. And my comic book reviews for ComicSpectrum and Top Tens for Geek League of America, will also be continuing.

But enough of this rambling (see, I told you I like to do that), as Zippy is crooning above, we gotta go. It has been my pleasure to serve you during the BFAtZAC (see, I'm one of the cool kids) and I hope if ya liked what you've seen lo this past month, you will stick around and keep checking out just what All Things Kevyn is all about. Because I don't plan on stopping anytime soon. Yeah, I'll probably go back down to my regular run of 20-22 posts per month, but all the fun stuff (well, some people think it fun stuff) will keep on keepin' on, as they say. All the pop culture-y fun that you have come to expect from All Things Kevyn, and The All Things Kevyn Entertainment Network (the boilerplate behind the blog), will keep on keepin' on, baby! After all, the blog's tagline does read, "Anything that pops into my head, might just pop up on this blog. So there!" And since this is a Zippy kinda post, I thought I would leave you with my own Zippy-fied comic strip, endorsed by the Zippy creator himself. Seriously, I sent it to Bill Griffith, and he actually liked it - or least said he liked it. Either way works for me. That's it gang. See ya 'round the web.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Y is For the Freakin' New York Yankees!!

The following is the story of the New York Yankees. It is in celebration of the greatest sports franchise ever, as well as being part of the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge., where we bloggers do a different post each day (sans Sundays) during the month of April, putting them all in alphabetical order. Today is Y-Day, so let's talk about the Freakin' New York Yankees. Here we go...

Once upon a time, there was a baseball team called the Baltimore Orioles. No, not those Baltimore Orioles, a different Baltimore Orioles. These Baltimore Orioles were one of the eight founding teams of the American League, waaaay back in the year 1901. Okay, that other Baltimore Orioles team, the one that plays their games at the snazzy Camden Yards, next to Inner Harbor, Batlimore, were also one of the eight charter members of the AL, but they were called The Milwaukee Brewers. No, not those Milwaukee Brewers. Wow, this is getting complicated. Let me try to ease things up a bit. You see, back in 1901, The American League was formed. A league to compete with the already long established National League. The original eight teams were the Baltimore Orioles (no, not those Baltimore Orioles), the Milwaukee Brewers (no, not those Milwaukee Brewers, who would someday come into existence after starting out as the Seattle Pilots) as well as the Cleveland Bluebirds (eventually called The Indians), the Boston Americans (later to become the Red Sox), the Philadelphia Athletics (later to become the Oakland Athletics, after temporarily being the Kansas City Athletics), the Washington Senators (who eventually became the Minnesota Twins, and not to be confused with the other Washington Senators, who would become the Texas Rangers), and the Chicago White Sox (actually the White Stockings, at first), and the good ole Detroit Tigers, who never changed a damn thing about themselves. See, I told you it was confusing. Anyhoo, you are probably wondering when the Freakin' New York Yankees (Y is for Yankees, after all) are going to make their first appearance. Well they already did, boyo!

After two seasons in Baltimore, the Orioles (no, not those Orioles - those Orioles started out as the Milwaukee Brewers, then moved and became the hapless and rather sad sack St. Louis Browns, before finally getting to Baltimore in 1954) would move to New York in 1903, and become the New York... that's right, they would become the New York Highlanders! Wait, what? Yup, between 1903 and 1912, the Baltimore Orioles (no, not... well you get it by now) were the New York Highlanders. In 1913, they changed their name to the New York... drumroll please... Yankees. It's about time, dammit! Anyway, when the AL was formed, the NL's New York Giants, a powerful team at the time, blocked the AL from coming into New York, hence the team setting up camp in Baltimore. The NL thought of this so-called Junior Circuit, as a lesser entity, and really wanted nothing to do with it. After Orioles owner John McGraw jumped ship and joined the Giants organization, and started raiding the Orioles for players to play in New York, the leagues got together and came to an agreement, and thus, the New York, I mean Highlanders were born. As the Highlanders, playing in Hilltop Park, New York's buding new AL team would not see the World Series. They almost made it in 1904, but were eliminated on the final day of the season. There were no playoffs back in these days, by the by, just the AL winner vs. the NL winner. The team which eliminated them? The Boston Americans, later the Red Sox. It would be another hundred years before the Red Sox were once again able to defeat the Yankees in a pennant race. Incidentally, the persnickety Giants refused to play in this World Series (and it was only the second year of such a series) because they might have to play against their rival New York team.

Things would eventually cool down between the two teams, and they would even share the Polo Grounds from 1913 through 1922. During this time, now officially the Yankees, things did not really get all that better for the team, playing-wise. The Yankees would still not see any post-season play through the teens (even though they won more games than any other team in their league during this period), but after being bought by a rich brewery heir (maybe they should have become the Brewers at this time - no, not those Brewers) their fortunes changed. In 1920, a young pitching phenom would come over from the rival Red Sox. This pitcher would end up going into the outfield, and would change the New York Yankees forever. This pitcher-turned-outfielder, Red Sox-turned-Yankee, was of course, George Herman 'Babe' Ruth. Many in Boston say this trade cursed their team, and they would not see another World Series title for another 86 years. I don't think it was a curse so much as the Red Sox just really sucked for 86 years. Anyway, I digress. In 1920, Babe Ruth would hit 54 home runs. This was more home runs than almost every other team had. Whole teams! The Philadelphia Phillies hit 64 that year, but no other team managed to hit as many as that one guy in New York did. Now granted, 1920 also marks the year that baseballs began to be made differently (more tightly wound inside), and this "live ball" era was responsible for more home runs being hit. But still, ya didn't see anyone else hitting 54 home runs that year. Just the Bambino, baby! In 1921, the Yankees would win their very first AL Pennant. The first of an eventual 40...and counting. They would win again in 1922, but in both years, they would lose the World Series to those damn crosstown rivals, the New York Giants. But then came 1923, and the iconic Yankee Stadium - and their first of 27 (so far) World Series titles. And it would be against those damn New York Giants too!

In 1923, Yankee Stadium would be built, and it would be called "The House That Ruth Built." With help from some guy named Lou Gehrig, and a team dubbed Murderer's Row, the Yankees would take back-to-back championships in 1927 and 28. These teams are still called the greatest Yankee teams of all-time. Ruth would hit 60 home runs in one season, and would cement his place in baseball history. Eventually he would have a statue of himself erected in his hometown of Baltimore - right out front of Camden Yards, the home of those other Baltimore Orioles. The Yankees would go on to win lots more titles (including 4 in a row between 1936 and 1939) but while this was happening, tragedy would hit the team, as Lou Gehrig would finally succumb to Lou Gehrig's disease. Really, how did he not see that coming? Anyhoo, the Iron Horse would retire due to this disease, and give probably the most iconic speech in the history of baseball, maybe in the history of speeches. But this story has now gone from confusing to uplifting to downright sad as hell, so perhaps we should skip ahead now. The late thirties would bring Joltin' Joe DiMaggio to the team, and he had to be cool, because he would marry Marilyn Monroe. Okay, he may have slapped her around a bit, but that has never been proven, dammit! Then came Yogi Berra, Billy Martin, and Mickey Freakin' Mantle. The team would break their old record of four consecutive titles, as they would win five straight World Series between 1949 and 1953. Eventually Roger Maris would show up and break Ruth's record of 60 home runs, by hitting 61 in the appropriate year of 1961. Since it took Maris more games to accomplish this feat than it did Ruth (the season was expanded from 154 games to 162, the year Maris did his deed) they placed an ugly little asterisk. Perhaps this is why the guy is not in the Hall of Fame. Oh, and by the way, Maris is the only two-time MVP to not be in the Hall of Fame. He could get in as an "Historical Pick" later this year. Fingers crossed. But I digress,

After the 1962 championship season, and pennant winning years in '63 and '64, the Yankees would not see post season play again for another twelve years. After being bought by some guy you may have heard of, Mr. George Steinbrenner. The team would finally make it to the post season in 1976, but would lose to the Cincinnati Big Red Machine in the World Series. After this, all hell broke loose. Steinbrenner acquired Reggie Jackson from that other Baltimore Orioles team, and he quickly made enemies of team captain Thurman Munson and manager Billy Martin (both before and after he was fired again and again). The team was dubbed the Bronx Zoo by the press, but this did not stop them from winning the both the 1977 and 1978 World Series'. The 1980's though, would bring nothing but disappointment. Steinbrenner would hire, fire, re-hire, and re-fire about 367 different managers during this down period. Oddly enough, the Yankees would win more games than any team in the major leagues during the decade of the 1980's, but would only reach the post season once, in 1981. The one bright spot though, was Donnie Baseball, aka Don Mattingly. Mattingly, would play for the Yankees from his rookie year of 1982 through his somewhat early (due to injuries) retirement after the 1995 season. The really sad part is that Mattingly only saw the post season once, in his final season, and losing to the Seattle Mariners. Being one of the best players of his generation, his team just never made it. They were in the World Series in the year before he came up AND the year after he retired. Sad really. Perhaps this lack of post season stats is the reason Donnie Baseball (now manager of the L.A. Dodgers) is not in the Hall of Fame.

Which leaves us with the rebirth of the Freakin' New York Yankees. Winning titles in 1996, and again in 1998, 1999, and 2000, this newly reborn Yankee squad had a few stars of its own. You might have heard of a few guys like Derek Jeter, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada, Tino Martinez, Bernie Williams, Paul O'Neill, Roger Clemens, David Wells, David Cone, and a closer by the name of Mo, aka Mariano Rivera. This new squad would win another title in 2009 (Jeter, Posada, Pettitte, and Rivera each winning their fifth rings) and would bring the Yankees back to where they should be - on top. Granted, there have been some problems here and there (let's not even get into the whole A-Rod bullshit - as far as I'm concerned, that douchebag can jump off the Brooklyn Bridge), but the Yankees, in their brand new stadium ("The Stadium That Jeter Built"), are still the greatest sports franchise ever. You Manchester fans can suck it. Soccer's not even a real sport anyway. How do you end a game 0-0!? Seriously! Anyway, there are many other Yankee greats I could have mentioned here (Bill Dickey, Red Ruffing, Whitey Ford, Elston Howard, Casey Stengel, Phil Rizzuto, Catfish Hunter, Ron Guidry, Dave Winfield, Ricky Henderson, Robinson Cano, Hidecki Matsui) but I have already rambled on way more than I probably should have. So, there ya have it. The history of the Freakin' New York Yankees. No, not those New York Yankees, the othe... oh wait, yeah, it is those New York Yankees. That's it gang. See ya 'round the web.

Monday, April 28, 2014

X Marks the Spot: The 10 Coolest X Things

X does indeed mark the spot. You put an X in front of something, and it automatically makes it that much better, that much cooler, that much X-ier. Anyone can have glasses, but what about X-Ray glasses? Any old office worker can carry around some files, but only the best get to check out the X-Files. Anyone can have a box, but only the sexiest have an X-Box. I think you see what I'm getting at here. X makes everything cooler. End of story. So, with that said, we should probably get on with saying just which X-Things are truly the coolest of the cool. Sure, there are some who did not make the list. Such X-Things as the X-Acto Knife (too sharp and pointy), the X-Games (too skate punk for me, bra), X-Box (I'm old school - it's Atari or it's nuthin'), and the X used in math (much like the supposed Star Wars prequels and the R.O.U.S.'s, I don't believe math actually exists). But I digress. Let us move onto the countdown.

And awaaaaaaay we go...

10. X-Rated Movies

Come on, who doesn't love boobies and porn? Okay, it can be rather ridiculous, and yes, I do prefer the sexiness of a clothed beauty, rather than that of some naked bitch with daddy issues writhing around like  a cheap whore. But at the same time, X-Rated movies can be quite god when done properly. Hell, back before the X-Rating was co-opted by the porn industry, there were such X-Rated films as A Clockwork Orange, Ulysses, Last Tango in Paris, and the Best Picture Oscar winner, Midnight Cowboy. And even afterwards, before the video industry started booming, and long before Al Gore invented the internet so we could watch porn 24/7, there were some (somewhat) artistic X-Rated films. Films like Deep Throat and the like. Okay, maybe I'm just including this one for the boobies. Sue me.

9. X-Ray Glasses

And speaking of seeing people nude, howzabout using X-Ray Specs to see right through a person. I remember these being sold in the ads in comic books back in my childhood, otherwise known as my misbegotten youth, but they (of course) never really worked. Granted, some of the characters in these comic books had x-ray vision (Superman, Booster Gold) but those damn glasses sent through the mail, never worked! A little later on in life, I saw the sci-fi film, They Live, and thanx to a friend who worked as a deejay at teh local radio station that was promoting the film, I managed to procure a pair of the alien-seeing glasses from the film. Alas, these too were useless. Damn those X-Ray Glasses!

8. X-Chromosome

Supposedly, men are from Mars and women are from Venus, whatever the fuck that means. Scientifically speaking though, men have an X and a Y chromosome and women have two X's. I suppose since, as I stated in my introduction, adding an X to anything makes it all that much cooler, means that women are cooler than men. Well duh. No freakin' kidding. Yeah, there are a lot of idiot women out there (seriously, enough with the duck face selfies) but if you take in the average, you ladies are a lot better than we stupid guys. And therefore, the X-Chromosome gets a spot on the list. Thank you ladies.

7. The Man From Planet X

Sure, there are other fun X-titled B-movies, such as X the Unknown and X: The Man With X-Ray Eyes, but my favourite has always been the 1951 Edgar G. Ulmer film, The Man From Planet X. This creepy sci-fi film was just as much film noir as it is sci-fi. After all, it was directed by the king of the B-noir. A highly influential film on future sci-fi movies, we get a cool alien, who no one is quite sure if he comes in peace or not, and we also get intrigue and romance and thrills galore. Trust me, if this guy had been from Planet G or [planet M or any other planet, he would not be as cool as he is being from Planet X. See how that works.

6. The X-Files

Files are as boring as boring can be. They remind me of the drudgery of office work. Booorrrring! But ya add an X into the mix, and you have yourself a very UN-boring show about monsters and aliens and the cooler-than-cool feds who track them down. Ain't no drudgery in these files, baby! One time, my lovely wife fell asleep watching some sitcom (Will and Grace or Frasier or something like that) and when she woke up a few hours later, it was the middle of the night, and she heard the voice of Dana Scully saying "I think the severed head winked at me." Needless to say, this creeped the poor girl out, as she has never watched The X-Files, and isn't really all that much of a fan of horror and the like. Still pretty funny though. 

5. Malcolm X

An icon. A hero. A legend. At first, Malcolm Little was a drug dealer and a pimp. Then he went to prison, converted to Islam, got out of prison and became one of the leaders of the Nation of Islam, a powerful counter culture group who indicted white America, and stood up for the rights of the black man. Coincidentally, this conversion into a radical, coincided with him taking the moniker of Malcolm X. Coincidence? I don't think so. Many claimed Malcolm X was a violent thug, and that he stood against everything the typically more peaceful Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., but in reality, Malcolm X was just looking out for his people. To toss in a geek reference (surprise surprise), one can easily compare Dr. King and Malcolm X to Charles Xavier and Magneto. That is how they were meant to be. Both working for mutant rights, just in two different ways. However you look at though, Malcolm X is cool as cool can be. 

4. X (the band)

There are several seminal punk bands. The Ramones, The Clash, Sex Pistols, New York Dolls. But there is another important band from the time, that many people overlook. But since they not only include an X in their name, but actually have X as a name. And their music is great too. Led by Exene Cervenka, with John Doe, Billy Boom, and DJ Bonebrake, X is not only one of the coolest bands (duh, their name is X, for Christ's sake!) but they are one of the best punk bands to ever get out there and, um... get out there and punk? Whatever, they are cool, and that's that. Now go get some of their records and listen to why they are so cool.

3. Generation X (not the band)

Now Generation X (the band) are a fun early punk band, but I wouldn't put them in the same class as the aforementioned X. Yeah, they do have an X in their name, and yes they did have Billy Idol as their front man (before he got all Rebel Yell on us), but this list has room for just one X-related punk band, and it ain't Generation X. No sir, we are here to discuss the actual generation - my generation. Okay, technically when Robert Capa coined the term back in the 1950's, and when Douglas Coupland popularized it in 1991, the X was meant in the Roman sense, designating the tenth generation since the US's founding fathers, but nowadays we just call it Gen X. And that is exactly what makes this generation (my generation) the coolest generation. Yup, it's the X, baby! Okay, maybe my generation is full of whiners and troublemakers, but at least we aren't Generation Y or whatever that thing out there now calls itself.

2. X-Wing Fighter

Fighters are inherently cool. Space-faring fighters are even cooler. Put those wings (does a ship even need wings in outer space? The answer is no, by the way.) into a the formation of an X, and you got yourself the coolest damn fighter this side of the Kessel Run. Okay, the TIE fighters are pretty bitchin' too, especially Vader's specialty TIE fighter (until it went spinning out of control into the wilds of space), but ya know what the TIE fighter is lacking, that the X-Wing Fighter has in freakin' spades!? That's right, baby. It's the X! Don't even get me started on those lame-ass Y-Wing Fighters.

1. The X-Men

Come on. Anyone who knows me (even a little) had to have seen this one coming. Sure, there are a ton of X-teams in the good ole Marvel Universe. Teams such as X-Factor, X-Force, X-Statix, X-Treme X-Men, Astonishing X-Men, Amazing X-Men, All-New X-Men, Generation X (not the band nor the generation), even Excalibur (if you are okay with your team not start with the letter X). But we all know the original Uncanny mutant team is the X-Men. Named after the X in founder Professor Charles Xavier's name (oh, and the X gene found in all Homo Superiors), the X-Men, created in 1963, just four years before I was born, have been around for over 50 years now (Jesus, I'm getting old!!) and they are still the coolest of cool. X does indeed mark the spot!

That's it gang. See ya 'round the web.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Words of Wisdom to Impart Upon Future Generations

Hello there. My name is Kevyn Knox, and I am a helper - a giver, if you will - and as said helper/giver, I am thus duty bound to impart any and all of my lifelong-gathered wisdom upon any and all future generations. Sounds reasonable, right? Okay okay, maybe not, but I'm doing it anyway, dammit! Below are a few things, a few very important things, that the kids of today, and the so-called adults of tomorrow, need to know.

Do Not Wear Corduroy During the Zombie Apocalypse - Now I don't mean to start things off by scaring anybody, but sooner or later, everyone is going to find out that the inevitable Zombie Apocalypse is coming. Hopefully everyone will be ready for said Zombie Apocalypse (I'm kinda giddy with anticipation, myself), and if they are, then they should be made aware of this very important safety tip. You see, as I am sure is the case with most people out there, while I stroll around the supermarket or book store or any number of other various public places, I am running Zombie Apocalypse scenarios through my head. This is normal, right? Right. Anyway, just the other day, as I am running one of these aforementioned scenarios through the ole noggin, I suddenly hear myself walking through the aisles of the supermarket. It's a swoosh swoosh sound, and it's coming from my legs dammit. That sound, that awful sound, is going to attract the dead, dammit. I can't let them hear me.  I need an exit strategy, and I need it now. Well, after coming back to the current reality (and yes, the Zombie Apocalypse is the future reality), I realized something very disturbing.  Oh no I thought to myself (though I could have said it out loud as well, who knows), I'm not going to be able to wear my favourite baggy red corduroys after the Zombie Apocalypse hits. Bummer, man. Bummer. It's going to have to be jeans or military fatigues if I want to be stealthy and survive. So, the lesson here is to not wear corduroy after the dead begin to walk the Earth. The stealthier, the better.

Always Make Sure You Know the Difference Between an Ape and a Monkey - I am serious about this one kids. Yes, this may happen to be one of my biggest pet peeves, people calling a chimp or a gorilla a monkey, instead of the great ape that they are, but this goes well beyond just a silly pet peeve. There are always going to be stupid people in this world, and it is inevitable that many of these aforementioned stupid people will call a chimpanzee a monkey, and it is just as inevitable that it will piss me off, but more importantly than that (and not pissing me off is indeed a very important thing), it could just save your life one day. You see, just as assuredly as the Zombie Apocalypse is coming, the eventual Rise of the Apes too is coming. Now before you start questioning how we are going to have both the undead taking over the Earth AND the apes taking over the planet (trust me though, they are both coming, though I am not completely sure of the timetables associated with each epoch-defining event) let me tell you how you can possibly save your life come the rise of those damn dirty apes (I'm kidding about the dirty part). You see, when the apes do rise, they are going to kill off many a human, and those who do not escape, will be made slaves of their ape overlords. The thing is though, some humans will be able to become allies of the apes. Perhaps not friends, but at least allies. I will tell you one thing though, anyone who doesn't know that a gorilla is an ape and not a monkey, is not going to become any sort of ally with the apes. That is for sure. So kids, remember this...Chimpanzees, Gorillas, Orangutans, and Gibbons are Apes, Great Apes. The rest are monkeys and baboons and such. Remember it and stay alive. As you can see from the pic in the upper righthand sidebar (an image I use for both my Facebook and Twitter profile pic, as well), I am all ready for our future ape overlords. But enough of all this downer stuff. We can worry about the walking dead and the talking apes at a later time, right now, let's talk about something a little more on the fun side of things...

There is No Food That Cannot Not Be Made Better by Adding Either Cheese or Chocolate - This particular piece of wisdom was given me by an old friend, but I could not agree more. Seriously, there is no food I can think of that would not be made better by putting either cheese or chocolate on or in or around it. None! Just think about it. A hamburger becomes much better when it becomes a cheeseburger. The already wonderful peanut butter is made even greater by the addition of some chocolate (two great tastes that taste great together!!). Potatoes with sprinkled cheese on top. Pretzels dipped in chocolate. Eggs and cheese. Almonds and the joy of chocolate! I defy you to find a food that is not made better by adding either cheese or chocolate - or in some cases (soft pretzel bites, for instance), both! Now all you oddballs out there that do not like cheese or chocolate, you can just shut your traps and go home, because obviously you have no idea what the fuck you are talking about, and therefore are not truly part of this conversation. So there! For all those who do like cheese and chocolate (you know, all the cool kids) I again defy you to find a food not made better by the aforementioned cheese and/or chocolate. You can't do it. No-sirree, it cannot be done. Salmon with melted cheddar on top. Popcorn with chocolate drizzled on top. Spaghetti with Parmesan. Ice cream with hot fudge! Hell, there is even chocolate cheese out there! Howzabout that? Not only is every food made better with cheese or chocolate, but even cheese and chocolate is made better by adding cheese or chocolate. Very meta, if you ask me. Very cheese and chocolate meta. And then there is fondue. Don't even get me started on fondue.

There are Three Star Wars Films, and Only Three Star Wars Films - I do not care what this younger generation says. They think they grew up on Star Wars films. Some movies supposedly called Phantom Menace in the Paradise and Killer Clones From Outer Space and Revenge of the Shitty Movies - or something like that. Apparently many call these three movies, prequels to the Star Wars Trilogy. WTF? As we all know, there are only three Star Wars films. Star Wars (and not A New Hope as it is retroactively subtitled by these same delusional people), The Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi. That's it! Just those three. One may want to add in The Star Wars Holiday Special, but maybe it's better if we don't. Anyway, there are these three Star Wars films, and no more. Sure, J.J. Abrams, my favourite mainstream Hollywood director working today, and the guy who brilliantly rebooted the seemingly dead-in-the-water Star Trek franchise, will be doing three more sometime soon, and these could be good, but that is something to worry about on another day. As for these so-called prequels, I don't think they really exist. Perhaps it is some massive group hallucination set up by George Lucas. Maybe it was just a bad case of food poisoning. Who knows? All I know is that there are three Star Wars films and ONLY three Star Wars films, and no one will ever make me believe otherwise. It's silly to even try. Six Star Wars films!? That's just crazy talk.

Thanx for listening. This inaugural edition of Words of Wisdom has been part of the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge, wherein I post 26 posts through the month of April (with Sundays acting as a day off) all in so-called alphabetical order. This (obviously) was the segment for W-Day in said challenge. I do plan for this to be a semi-regular series (every other month perhaps?) so keep an eye out for more words of wisdom. They may just save your life one day. That's it gang. See ya 'round the web.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Va-Va-Va-Voom: Vulvas, Valkyries, the Venus De Milo, Velveeta, Vicks VapoRub, Velvet Underground, & Various Other V-Things

While coming up with the 26 subjects for the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge, I got stuck on the letter V. The other 25 were easy, but when it came to V, I couldn't make up my mind, so here are some V for Visuals...

That's it gang. See ya 'round the web.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Heavenly Body of the Week: Uranus (snicker snicker)

What? You were expecting maybe some sort of fart or poop joke? C'mon, I'm a little classier than that. Well okay, I'm not really, but I'm still not doing a Uranus joke.


Today is day 24 of the Blogging from A to Z April Challenge (alphabetical postings everyday, with Sundays off for so-called good behaviour), and that means all things the Letter U. So with that in mind, I give you the Heavenly Body known as Uranus. Please check out other entries in this month long blogathon.

That's it gang. See ya 'round the web.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Classic Cinema Corner: Them! Them!! Them!!! or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Giant Mutant Killer Ants From Hell

The film starts thus: The police find a little girl, just 5 or 6 years old, wandering through the New Mexico desert near White Sands Proving Ground (the testing area for the first nuclear bombs, a piece of historical fact that ends up being the narrative crux of the story). The girl is in shock, unable to speak or even react to the officer's pleas. Later on, this same girl, still in the same state, is visited at the hospital by one of the aforementioned police officers, an FBI agent and a pair of father/daughter scientists. When she is given a sort of smelling salts by the elder scientist, her eyes open wide and with a look of disturbing horror twisting across her once eerily serene face, she screams "Them! Them! Them!" and runs for the corner of the room, cowering in obvious and utterly all-consuming fear. Until this moment, about twenty minutes in, we are given a feeling of stockpiling dread, after this incident, we are in full-on panic mode. Who or what are Them!, and why is this little girl so scared of Them!?

Yes, of course we all know just what Them! are. Even 1954 moviegoers would have known going in since those gigantic radiated mutant ants are front and center on the poster, but still, knowing or not, the fear in this little girl's face is palpable enough to get even the most jaded of modern hearts a-flutterin'. The real thrill of watching Them! is as basic as basic primal urges can be - we want to see giant mutant ants eating people. But then, who doesn't? Looking back at 1950's science fiction movies, made at the height of the cold war, at the height of widespread (and government sanctioned) paranoia, one should expect to get the type of escapist entertainment that involved beasts from other worlds and other dimensions, creatures from below the ocean waves and burrowing up from the Earth's core, and big-ass freakin' ants, mutated by the very radiation of which we were all so scared! I mean come on, who doesn't love giant mutant ants from hell? Seriously though, director Gordon Douglas (he would go on to direct the best of the Rat Pack films, Robin and the 7 Hoods and then direct Sinatra in one of his best films, 1968's Detective) takes the idea of nuclear testing (a popular topic at the height of the Cold War) and creates one of the best damn monster movies this side of the Pecos.

The first in the genre of "big bug" films (and yes, that was a genre, or at least a sub-genre - as paranoia swept across the nation, everyone was afraid of nuclear attack at this point in history and this fear was exploited by not just the government, but by those in Hollywood as well) and certainly the best, the wonderfully named Them! tells the story of a small New Mexico community that is besieged by an unknown killer or killers. The high pitched screams and screeches of these aforementioned giant killer ants (the film showcases one of the earliest uses of the patented Wilhelm Scream) echo through the desert like mysterious impending doom. Meanwhile, the state trooper, the FBI agent, the requisite old professor and the even more requisite hot professor's daughter, must join forces and find and destroy this mysterious assailant(s). Of course, as we all know, these assailants are giant freakin' mutant ants from hell (or some close facsimile of hell at least), their cursed mandibles snatching their prey at will, and James Arness (the aforementioned FBI agent, the year before he would become Marshall Matt Dillon) and his gang of requisite archetypes, must stop these creatures before they devour the town, New Mexico, the United States, and eventually (insert audible gasps and foreboding music here) the world.

With surprisingly realistic (and Oscar nominated) special effects, at least for the time period (watch a contemporaneous film like Attack of the 50 Foot Woman for some heee-larious comparison) Them! is more than just a fun romp and fodder for the MST3K crowd. Sure, perhaps today's so-called sophisticated movie watcher (the one's lulled into complacency by the ever-ramping up of CGI effects) may find this a bit silly and cheap looking, but what do they know, as most of them enjoyed Avatar, a film that despite it's so-called visual perfection (technologically speaking, of course) doesn't have the story or narrative, or auteuristic chutzpah, to compete with a film such as Them!. Them! is a giddily disturbing look at the paranoia rampant during this era and the dangers of nuclear warfare on nature (Douglas' film predates the first Godzilla by nearly five months - so take that!). Originally meant to cash in on the 3D boom, the film would eventually play as just 2D (some shots, including the titles remain 3D-ready) and be made in black and white (titles are done in colour as was also the original intent of the entire film) and the film would also become a moderate hit at the box office. Its reputation now is as one of the best of the 1950's sci-fi films (the best in the high point of the genre) and that is a well-deserved reputation indeed. This edition of Classic Cinema Corner, has been brought to you by the Letter T, and the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge (click on banner below for answers). That's it gang. See ya 'round the web.