Friday, October 31, 2003

Well, Happy Halloween to everyone out there in Blog land. Hope that you stay safe and survive whatever you have planned. Remember to check those goodies for hidden dangers and illegal substances before indulging. As the Sarge used to say on HILL STREET BLUES, "Let's be careful out there." :-)

Personally, the only thing I'll miss is not being able either attend in person, or view on TV the annual Village Halloween Parade. Next to Brooklyn's own Mermaid Parade and the Gay Pride March, the Halloween Parade is probably one of the most entertaining events you can attend free of charge in the city. Trust me, the Macy's Parade can be fun in small doses, but you have to experience the Village parade at least once to be a 'real' New Yorker. :-)

I think I saw my first costume here on campus earlier today. Then again, having never gone to a single sporting event here at UNH, the young lady might very well have been a cheerleader in uniform. Do they often were knee-high black boots and mesh stockings? Didn't back when I went to high school, but then I'm not much on today's fashions.

Donna and I are seriously considering going into Brooklyn for the weekend, if only to get together with some friends we haven't seen for a while. Unfortunately, this will mean having to deal with the tailend of the marathon on our return trip this coming Sunday.

In the close to fifteen years I lived in Brooklyn I can only remember twice actually viewing any part of the event in person. Once when trying to get to class, while attending Pratt Institute, and the other when I had to get to work one Sunday, only to find that I had to detour several blocks and then sneak past a police barricade. Please, don't get me started on my anti-marathon rant!

Thursday, October 30, 2003

Believe it or not, there was actually a reference question here at the library and I accidentally ended my HERETIC review mid-rant. I know that nobody really cares, but just for my own amusement I’m going to finish it off.

Linda Blair is joined this time out by Richard Burton, who seems to be only partially there for much of the film. The man does have some acting chops left at this point in his career, but it is pretty obvious that he’s just paying some bills. Anyway, Burton goes around looking grim and then will explode, chewing up the set and anything that gets in his way. You can almost feel the spittle hitting you from the small screen. I’d love to know what the seventeen-year-old Blair must have thought, being jumped by the aging Burton in the final scenes. Since poor Regan actually becomes two separate beings (one the innocent Regan, the other the demon who killed Merrin and continues to exist in Regan), Burton gets to nuzzle the neck of the ‘evil’ Regan and then leap up to strangle the ‘good’ one.

Easy to see why the preview audiences laughed at this fiasco, which isn’t saved by the last minute editing of director John Boorman. Sydow and Blair seem to be the only ones who are taking this halfway seriously, and I really can’t blame either of them for the results. You’ve got to pity poor James Earl Jones, who portrays Kokum, an African priest/witchdoctor, who survived a possession by the same demon who now lives within Regan.

The special FX are about the only enjoyable things here and I’m almost (but not quite) interested in seeing what this film is like without the editing for television. One odd thing (so okay, there were a lot of odd things going on in this film, but this one was too blatant to ignore) was that in one scene where young Regan is sleepwalking, she is wearing a long, white nightgown. Apparently, someone at SCI-FI or elsewhere, felt that Blair’s outfit was a bit too revealing, since she spends half the scene with her bosoms obscured by a very, obvious white haze.

Not the most productive way to spend the morning, I’ll grant you, but I can’t say that I didn’t enjoy myself.
So, anyway....

While Frankenstein's grandson was creating chaos among various buxom co-eds, the SCIC-FI network was filling space with a very forgettable WES CRAVEN PRESENTS MIND RIPPER (1995). Unfortunately, this looks like something Wes became attached to in order to get his son Jonathan's script actually filmed. The senior Craven doesn't seem to have had anything to do with this film, which was also released as THE OUTPOST. The only saving factor here is Lance Henriksen, doing his usual professional best but with little to actually do, except get tossed around by the 'monster' he created.

I don't think I'm giving anything away when I tell you that this has one of those all too common 'horror movie' cliche endings where you just know that the folks involved (at least the director and possibly the screen writer) are trying to set up a sequel.
This is actually kind of funny if you happen to know that the working title for this film was THE HILLS HAVE EYES 3, a sequel to films which the elder Craven both directed and wrote.

You'd think that by around noon, I'd have been tired of this type of thing, but then you don't know me very well. I love this stuff and could watch (and have to be honest) hour after hour of bad movies, especially bad horror/sf/slasher movies. To be honest, there is not much, save movies on Lifetime that I can't sit through.

Low and behold, SCI-FI decided to screen THE EXOCIST 2: THE HERETIC(1977). This sequel was both critically bashed and a box-office bomb. Surprisingly, considering how much I loved the first film I have never actually seen the sequel. On the other hand, I do have to admit that I actually paid to see THE EXORCIST III in the theatre. There at least we get some nice scenery chewing by George C. Scott and discover that Father Karras (Jason Miller, reprising his role) may NOT have died after all. To be honest, I actually enjoyed that film, but can certainly see how fans of the first would be pretty ticked off.

THE HERETIC brings back Linda Blair (she of the headturning and green pea vomiting first film) as Regan MacNeil. Not seen is her mother, played in the original by Ellen Burstyn, but we do get Kitty Winn (as Regan's nanny, Sharon Spencer) and Max von Sydow (in flashbacks, as Father Merrin), both from the first film. Here Regan is being treated by Louise Fletcher, who seems to be only slightly more caring than Nurse Ratched (whom she portrayed, marvelously in ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST the previous year).
The week or so before Halloween, many of the cable networks drag out scores of horror/slasher flicks. Most are forgettable and deserve obscurity, but occasionally they'll put on some film which the audience might actually enjoy.

Sadly, early on a Thursday, when most folks are at work or watching the soaps (I guess) the networks figure they can cram in just about anything to fill the airtime. Since the Hallmark Channel appears to have dropped the reruns of Perry Mason (replacing them with The Waltons (a show I never watched when it initially ran) there wasn't much to do except surf the channels and try to find something remotely (pardon the expression) interesting.

AMC, in the midst of Monster Fest, had FRANKENSTEIN'S DAUGHTER (1959), which is not to be confused with the more well-known (at least in the strange circles I run with) JESSE JAMES VS FRANKENSTEIN'S DAUGHTER (1966). FD is one of those grade-Z films cranked out to fill the second bill of drive-in theatres and low-budget movie houses. Actually, the title is misleading, since the villain is actually Victor Frankenstein's grandson, now going by the name Prof. Frank and continuing the experiments of his father and grandfather. In JJvsFD, on the other hand, the evil work is done by Maria, the granddaughter of the good Baron. Neither film is memorable, except that JJvsFD was released as part of the "great" double-bill with BILLY THE KID MEETS DRACULA, both of which were directed by William Beaudine, who went on to direct a number of Disney TV shows, as well as episodes of THE GREEN HORNET. At least BTKMD, had John Carradine doing an over the top performance as the Count, a role he had first taken up back in 1944 in HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN.

More bad horror stuff in a few.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Just a few things that have crossed my mind since yesterday.

Don't want to say where I heard this, but at one point earlier today I heard guy say something to the effect that he'd "like to pull a 'Kobe' " on some female. Is Bryant's name going to become a common expression for a certain sexual act?

I'm certain that everybody has heard the news that long-time PRICE IS RIGHT announcer Rod Roddy has passed away. If anybody has a chance to go to just about any Las Vegas or Atlantic City casino they are going to continue to hear Roddy's voice, as he did several announcements for the PRICE IS RIGHT video slot machine. There is even an animated Roddy head that appears at some points during the game.

Monday, October 27, 2003

So, okay nothing major happening here, but a few quick items while I'm thinking of them.

First off, my best wishes for a safe outcome for anyone readng this who either lives in the effected areas of California or who may have family out there. I spent a couple of years in the San Diego/Long Beach area during the mid-1970s, while in the Navy, and really grew to love the area. My fondest wish is to one day live out there on a permanent basis. Keeping my fingers crossed for those folks that Donna and I know out there.

We spent the weekend rearranging the furniture and replacing our old entertainment unit with a smaller one, which goes better with the new livingroom set. My step-daughter, Kristina and her partner Devin were around to lend a hand, which made things easier. The motto I came away with is "Two lesbians and a Librarian can do anything, as long as they have a straight woman to supervise." :-)

Finally, the original item I was going to post, before other things took place.


Thanks. I feel much better now. :-)

Friday, October 24, 2003

Apparently, if I go to sleep before the game ends the Yankees lose. I blame myself now for actually watching the BoSox/Yankees series and jinxing my boys. Anyway, coincidence or not, it does do my heart good to see that at least the Marlins aren't making it easy for the Bums.

I was actually surprised last evening to see a report on the ABC evening news investigating the sweetheart deals that Haliburton has gotten in Iraq. While it certainly isn't a surprise to anyone halfway paying attention, it is nice to see the mainstream broadcast media actually speaking up. I doubt that this will have any effect come the actual election, since nothing else the Bushies have done seem to have removed the blinders from the majority of Americans. Still let's hope that this stuff does cause a moment or two of discomfort for G.W. come the campaign next year.

Thursday, October 23, 2003

Mark Evanier, over at his site (link to the left), has a link to a transcript of CROSSFIRE where Jerry Falwell backs up the remarks of General Boykin. Since the good Reverend knows God much better than I ever will, I guess the Big Guy is not only a Republican, but also has a pretty wicked sense of humor since he installed Bill Clinton in the White House just to get our attention.

If I'm following this God must have come up with this back before G.W. was even governor of Texas, so it proves that he does have some plan for all of us.

Hell, the old bastard must be a New York Yankees fan as well.
I expect that anyone who reads this blog is a fan of Doonesbury (or at least familiar with the strip). If you've missed the past few days you'll what to check to see how Trudeau is handling (pardon the expression) the Guber-nator situation.

While I was never a fan of the show "What's Happening!" it was still sad to hear of the death of Fred "Rerun" Berry. Whenever someone younger than me passes away it does make you think about your own mortality. Rest in peace!

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

I had to add a link to this item at It has to do with the recent lawsuit filed by David Gest against ex-wife Liza Minnelli. If this is all true than I'm even more disappointed that the 'reality show' dealing with their marriage didn't come about.

Also, sorry to hear that Jack Elam passed away the other day. This obit from New York Newsday covers the main points. Elam could either be the most comical or scariest guy on screen, depending on his role. He didn't even have to say anything, as his facial features allowed him to convey exactly the right emotions for the part. Happy trails, Mr. Elam!

Monday, October 20, 2003

Usagi Yojimbo continues to be among my Top Five comics. While other titles come and go on my list of favorites, Stan Sakai’s rabbit samurai remains one of those books that I immediately grab from my latest pile. I really think that if some folks could get over the fact that Sakai uses 'funny animals' as his main characters the sales on this book would rival many of the lesser titles from the Big Two.

The current story line involves the “Lone Goat & Kid” characters created by Sakai in homage to the manga classic “Lone Wolf and Cub”. As in the original book, Yagi (the Lone Goat) is a samurai hunted by a corrupt lord and his men. Traveling with son, Gorogoro, Yagi seeks to remain free and to raise his son as best he can in the Way of the Warrior. For the first time, this pair meets Jotaro, Usagi’s son (although Jotaro himself is unaware of this fact, thinking that Usagi is his uncle). At the end of the previous storyline, Jotaro had become separated from his father and was in fact, feared killed. Discovering that his son remains alive, Usagi attempts to trail the lad, unaware that Jotaro is in mortal danger.

If you're hesitating picking up a book that already has a long history and such a large cast you might want to check out the Usagi Yojimbo website. I don't think that you'll be disappointed.
Got the first advance e-mail regarding the Great International Beer Festival in Providence. This is the tenth annual event and I've attended the past two.

If you happen to be a fan of beer than you might want to consider checking out the site and see if it interests you at all.

I don't know if my pal Gerry and I will be going again this year, since I submerged my car a few months ago. Still it is a lot of fun and you'll probably never have a chance to sample so many different brands and kinds of beers in one place.

My personal recommendation is to attend the event (either afternoon or evening session) and then hit one of the restaurants that Providence has to offer. I happen to like Fire & Ice a fun 'all you can eat' place, where you choose your ingredients and watch the chefs cook it in front of you. This allows you to sober up so you're not hitting the road under the influence.

Another recommendation is to head to Border Books and spend a few hours browsing. Have some coffee or tea in the cafe and then hit the road.

Don't let anyone say that we don't look out for you here.
Nothing of import to report today here on the homefront. I do want to get back in the habit of blogging on a more regular (if not daily) basis, so be prepared for short posts that do little but allow me to vent on one thing or the other. Hell, that seems to be what most bloggers are doing anyway. :-)

We spent the weekend getting used to our new furniture. Frankly, the stuff didn't look quite this big in the showroom, so we've found ourselves a bit crammeded. One thing we'll probably do is to either remove the side shelves from our entertainment unit, or to replace it with a much smaller one that I had back when I was just seperated from Elayne. We're using it as a printer stand now, but actually have another printer stand that we use simply for storage. Doing one or the other will give us several extra feet of space.

Saturday, October 18, 2003

Well, let’s get the worst out of the way, shall we? The BoSox blew it and while I personally blame the manager for stupidly keeping Pedro in the game, there’s not much to do but ‘wait until next year.’

Hopefully, with a new manager the Sox can keep up the momentum they had during the last month of the regular season.

As for the World Series, even though I hate the Yankees I can’t work up any enthusiasm for the Marlins. I’m just sitting this puppy out and will once again be able to turn off the nightly news before the sports segment.

Donna and I watched the USA Network movie “D.C. Sniper: 23 Days of Fear”. It was actually better than your average telefilm, but probably nothing that will pull any nominations come Emmy time.

Since Chief Moose was the focus of the script it wasn’t a surprise to see the work of the FBI and other investigative organizations being diminished. It was amusing to see the FBI ‘profilers’ (usually held up as brilliant by Court TV and other network programmers) shown to be guessing at best and misinterpreting just about everything.

The news media also came in for some bashing, but considering how they act in most situations it certainly felt ‘right’ that they did. The one scene that didn’t make sense, given how the news reporters had been portrayed up to that point, was when a reporter (who had been one who accepted and used leaked information previously, and shown to really have no scruples) was shown on the phone telling his wife to keep his own children inside. The reporter was nameless and it made no sense to suddenly try to make him sympathetic, if in fact that was the point. If it was to show his hypocrisy, it was still unnecessary since it was evident already.

Last night, I also saw my first episode of the TREMORS series on SCI-FI. Since my knowledge comes from the three films the characters really didn’t mean much to me, but it was nice to see that the creators have maintained the same tongue-in-cheek style that made the movies such cult hits. Sadly, Michael Gross wasn’t in this particular segment, but his character was frequently mentioned, so it’s evident that he probably appears often. Depending on what else is on Friday nights TREMORS may become regular viewing at Chez Chaput.

Thursday, October 16, 2003

Okay, it's time for "More Than You Need To Know", which was a common household phrase that I used to hear all the time, to paraphrase Groucho.

Being a life-long fan of comics, both strips and books, it probably isn't strange that at a certain point in my life I ran across Tijuana Bibles. There have been several books written on these 8-page precursors to mini-comics and undergrounds. I have the Bob Adelman book home on my shelf, next to books on MAD magazine, manga and other comics related material.

My first exposure (pardon the expression) to the TBs were several that a cousin had discovered. When you are a couple of thirteen year olds finding out that Popeye and Olive were doing more than kissing was quite a revelation, believe me.

Anyway, I discovered this site on Tijuana Bibles and wanted to point it out to anyone else remotely interested. Be warned that some of the art is pretty graphic and even pretty offensive in some cases. You probably shouldn't even go there if you don't like that sort of thing.

I'll try to go back to being PG-13 from now on, but I couldn't resist pointing this site out.
Unfortunately, I'm working this evening so I'll have to resort to sneaking into the back and listening to portions of the Red Sox/Yankee game on my radio. Sigh

It really has been an interesting series so far, to say the least, but I can't help but feel that the outcome is going to be the usual. My BoSox really do have a hard time when it comes down to getting the job done. My poor father never lived to see the Sox win a World Series ring and I have to wonder if I'll be around long enough to do so.
Here we go again with another Western movie review. For those of you who really couldn’t care less, just move along. J

Song of Texas (1943) Dale Evans is nowhere in sight, so Roy finds himself attracted to Sue Bennett (played by Sheila Ryan), the daughter of Roy’s one time idol Sam Bennett (Harry Shannon). Roy and the Sons of the Pioneers are working for crooked rodeo owner Jim Calvert (Barton MacLane, who would go on to play Gen. Peterson in I DREAM OF JEANNIE), until they discover he has fixed a race that leads to Sam being injured. When Roy and the boys quit, trying to start their own rodeo, Calvert does all he can to sabotage their efforts. As usual Roy and the Sons drop everything to sing a few songs, including “Mexicali Rose” and “Rainbow Over the Range”. Typical Rogers film with the only surprise the appearance of Arlene Judge. Ms. Judge, a delightful comedian, who starred in the ‘classic’ exploitation film “Girls in Chains”, the granddaddy (or grandmother) of all women-in-prison flicks.
That wasn't so bad, was it?

Monday, October 13, 2003

Spent a good part of the past weekend shopping for furniture. Both Donna and my recliners have seen better days so we made the decision that since we had some money set aside (thanks to the insurance settlement following my automobile accident) we'd use it to improve our living space. Why can't things ever be simple?

We hit several stores on Saturday and Sunday, but ended up going back to Bob's Furniture. For those in the New England area you're probably familiar with Bob and his wife popping up seemingly several times an hour on just about every station. One of the benefit of cable advertising, I guess. Anyway, the place is close by and the prices are certainly comparable to the other stores, being cheaper than most.

Anyway, unless we change our minds again (and by that I mean Donna deciding we've spent way too much) we're going to go tonight and pay for the merchandise in full. Somehow the recliners turned into an entire living room set (recliner, sofa/recliners, coffetable, two end tables w/lamps) but I suppose it is a good investment.

Stay tuned and I'll let you know if we go through with it, or not. :-)

Friday, October 10, 2003

Some more western movie reviews, which you are welcome to enjoy or ignore.

Riders of the Western Pines (1949) – Gene Autry plays a forest ranger who has recently retired. While on his way to take over a campground he has purchased he shoots at a mountain lion, only to apparently shoot a fellow ranger. Even though it is ruled a ‘hunting accident’ many of the town’s residents, including the man’s daughter Helen (played by Patricia White, who continued working in television & film into the early 19990s). Naturally we all know that the ranger was actually killed by Bill a henchman for the local logging company. It seems that the ranger has discovered that many of the trees were infested with a destructive moth and logging had to be stopped. Once cleared of the crime Gene is put in charge of the spraying the forest, which puts him at odds with the loggers. Of course in the end, Gene wins the day and the girl. Plenty of singing by Gene and others along the way, plus Clayton Moore (known for his long-time role as The Lone Ranger) does a nice turn as another logging company henchman. He actually displays a comedic side in a scene involving a ringing phone. Typical Autry fare, but fun and actually touching in some scenes with a young, Jimmy Lloyd as a fellow pilot who mourns his late wife.

King of the Cowboys (1943) – A wartime flick that actually was filmed with two versions. The DVD has the version shown in general release, followed by the additional scenes filmed for the Armed Forces. In the general release film the head saboteur (Lloyd Corrigan) is the governor’s secretary, while in the ‘government’ version he is an unnamed industrialist. Why they change the occupation of his character doesn’t make any sense to me, since he meets the same fate in both films. Anyway, Roy and sidekick Smiley Burnette are asked by the governor to bring in a group of saboteurs, who have been blowing up warehouses and otherwise disrupting the war effort. The gang is never said to be working for the Nazis, nor is there more than a few mentions of the ongoing war (mostly shown in newspaper headlines or in posters on walls talking about buying bonds, etc.). Roy finds himself in enough life threatening circumstances to fill your typical Republic serial, but he’s able to take down the gang, plus sing a number of songs all in a single feature. No wonder the guy was so popular!

My Pal Trigger (1946) – Roy & Dale Evans had already appeared in close to a dozen films together at this point. Here joined, as usual, by Gabby Hayes this time playing rancher ‘Gabby’ Kendrick, the father of Susan (with Dale in this role) and owner of Golden Sovereign. Roy seeks to mate the Sovereign with his own mare in hopes of raising the offspring, but Gabby refuses the request and insults Rogers while doing so. When Sovereign is killed later by the rancher who first rustles the horse from the Kendrick ranch, Roy is found at the scene and arrested. We then follow Roy as he first escapes and later turns himself in, along with Trigger who had been born during his travels. A convoluted tale for sure, but entertaining and it gives Roy a chance to sing, ride and get into several fights (all of them with multiple antagonists) which he doesn’t always win. A very fictionalized tale of how Roy got Trigger and I doubt that anyone, even the kids in the audience, took it for the truth. A solid Rogers/Evans effort and you can never have too much of that.
I've been sick the past few days so haven't been at work. As I've said before my home computer is ancient and we rarely go on line at home, unless it is to check up on somethings we need to know immediately. Generally cruise and hotel information. :-)

Donna and I had a great time in Atlantic City last weekend. We stayed at the Showboat which has certainly changed since I last was there with my ex in-laws (The Wechslers). They've removed the bowling alley and added some smaller slot areas beyond the main casino. If you have chance to check it out you'll find their buffet one of the best on the boardwalk. Amazing selection and it's great that they actually have bar inside the buffet for those who'd like something alcoholic with their lunch or dinner.

Have some movie reviews I'll try to post a bit later, after I catch up on e-mail and other things.

Friday, October 03, 2003

Hate to tell you folks, but it's that time again! I've just started watching the DVD collections of Gene Autry and Roy Rogers films, so you'll have to suffer my reviews over the next few weeks.
Boots and Saddles (1937) Gene Autry managers a ranch for its owner, a British nobleman. When his Lordship passes away the land is bequeathed to his only son, Edward (played by Ronald Sinclair, who gave up acting to become a film editor), who is only about 12 or 13 yrs old. Arriving in America the young lord is ready to sell his father’s ranch, until Gene convinces him that it would be better to preserve his father’s estate by selling horses to the Army, thereby paying off any debts. Not one of Autry’s best films, but he certainly did lesser fare in his long career in the saddle.

As a kid I usually preferred non-singing cowboys, but Autry (like Roy Rogers) always seemed to be on the air, so I grew fond of both. Personally, Autry always struck me as a singer who learned how to ride a horse, but never seemed a ‘real’ cowboy and he never really convinced me that he was even comfortable out on the range. Still I find that I enjoy his films when I get a chance to view them. With their action and humor it’s easy to see how kids, and even adults, would warm to the star and his films.

Of note here is Bill Elliot (listed as “Gordon Elliot” in the credits) in a small role. Elliot went on to play first “Wild Bill Saunders”, then “Wild Bill Hickok” and eventually “Wild Bill Elliot” in several western series during the 1940s into the mid-1950s. Gene’s sidekick in this film (as in dozens of others) is Smiley Burnette, who teamed up first with Gene and later Charles Starrett in the ‘Durango Kid’ series.

I've already started watching the first of four Roy Roger's films, but don't want to cover that until finish.

Thursday, October 02, 2003

Boy, things have been so busy here at UNH that I've had barely enough time to go through my e-mail let alone post anything here. I have a few spare moments tonight so I'll try to get in a few comments.

Rush said something offensive? I'm shocked! Do you hear me? Shocked! Non-story, move along.

Nothing will apparently prevent Arnold from becoming governor of California. It really doesn't matter what he said more than a decade ago in a magazine, or who he gropped in some elevator. His fans and admirers still feel that he is going to make some radical changes in the way the state is run. They have become so disenchanted with mainstream politicians that they will try anything different. It's all but a done deal, unless a felony pops up in the guy's past, but I doubt anything major will be revealed this weekend. The man has it in the bag.

The Bush White House has a leak, and G.W. really doesn't care since it can't comeback to him, so it is another non-story. The Republicans will block any sort of independent investigation and we all know that the Justice Dept. will drag this out until another story grabs the headlines. Then the thing will be dropped and nobody in the media (the corporate media, anyway) will remember anything ever happened.

More people have lost their jobs, more people are living in poverty and more children are going hungry. There's nothing new and nothing to report, so let's focus on whether or not Ben & Jen are secretly married. The news programs give us all they feel we need to know in ten minutes and then fill the rest of the show with feel-good stories. If something happened anywhere in the U.S. or the world that was caught on video it is more important to show that than to do a serious report on anything.

I have access to news and information 24/7 and feel that I was better off when I was doped up with Wifey #1 and didn't have a TV. No news is good news, especially if you don't know you're ignorant.