keeping the Soviet Russia theme going… [though this makes no sense over here]

one thing that i have realized over the past two weeks is that if you’re going to try and write some remarks about whatever dumb stuff you’ve been doing, then just don’t prep for that by reading Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag Archipelago, which is the most depressing book (and i use this term “book” loosely for a three-volume, 1814-page opus) ever written. it’s even more depressing than books of poetry written by Jewel, which are mainly depressing because of the amount of copies they sold.

“In general, this war revealed to us that the worst thing in the world was to be a Russian.”

this is not an exaggeration.

i blame my father for this reading material because of his passion for, you guessed it, Russia, which has lead to such things as him learning to speak Russian and reading all kinds of books on Russia and also sometimes appearing in photos of us shooting stuff out here in ridiculous Soviet-era military gear. granted, this is a little ridiculous, but i can confirm that the horrors of Soviet communism DID at least produce some super-warm winter overcoats. i will personally vouch for them; wearing them is like wearing a tiny brown sun that really hates the bourgeoisie and warms you with its hate.

as a side note, he mostly uses his language skills for the following things:

-surprising Russian relatives of ours who a) didn’t know my father spoke their particular brand of foreign talk and b) have been subsequently ambushed talking secretly in Russian to each other at family events;

-when i was little, we had a Siberian husky with a Russian name (Misha) that my father used to give direction to in Russia;

-calling me a “capitalist dog” or something along those lines. which is less about him calling me that and more about me, while complaining about his “lack of Russia talk,” demanding that he insult me in Russian. the catch is that since i don’t speak Russian, i can’t confirm these insults;

-making me read books like the Gulag Archipelago and stuff about Khrushchev.

which brings up this point: Khrushchev is excellent because no matter how crazy HIS stories are–and be assured that he has crazy depressing ones as well–there are always some hilarious and endearing ones. good are ones about him hanging out in a hot tub with Mao (insert your favorite “what the fuck” term here); better are ones about hanging out with Stalin and other top Soviets post-war. there’s a big section in his memoirs where he talks about–and this just cracks me up to even write it–the various dancing abilities of Soviet leaders. Mikoyan? an “acknowledged dancer.” Kaganovich? “a dancer of not much higher class than myself.” Bulganin? “apparently had done some dancing in his youth.” Stalin? “it was evident he had never danced before.” Molotov? “he was the city dancer among us.” the crowning moment comes, however, with the best lines of this book, Khrushchev talking about his own dancing skills:

When I dance, I don’t move my feet. I dance like a cow on the ice.

also, it’s seriously my goal to use the phrase “he was the city dancer among us” in my own memoirs one day.

but i digress. here’s the point: Gulag Archipelago is beyond depressing; don’t read it if you want to run around telling jokes and NOT understanding why vodka is Russian for “that shit we have to drink to avoid killing ourselves.” i was going to read some Politkovskaya books about Chechnya i have lying around here, but even if they’re only half as bad as Solzhenitsyn, i’m not sure i can take it. thank god for Yakov Smirnoff putting a smile back on my face.

In America, we put “In God We Trust” on the money. In Soviet Russia, we have no money!

i admit that this was actually the joke that Bobby Hill sold Yakov on that sweet episode of King Of The Hill (though aren’t they all sweet?), but come on, that shit is a classic.

saturday night’s alright for half-naked fighting

so a good friend and myself went and watched 300 last week, and enjoyed it (because people got stabbed to death violently) even though it was very sad (because elephants died and looked very sad doing so, which makes janklow feel a little bad) and even though the Persians had a cave troll. fucking Lord of the Rings, now EVERYONE has a cave troll.

ANYWAY, prior to viewing this film, we were informed by two mutual co-workers that it’s “gay” for two men to go see a movie together, even if both men are straight and even with the requisite buffer zone of seating between them. however, it’s apparently totally straight for one man to watch a bunch of nearly-naked men grapple and stab each other. hell, these guys even defend THE most homoerotic fight scene in all of cinema, the final fight in Commando: you want to put the knife in me, and look me in the eye, and see whats going on in there when you turn it, thats what you want to do, right? yeah, that shit ain’t right.

so we spent the next hour or so after the movie eating and discussing the greatest half-naked fight scenes in movies. here are the ground rules: a) the movie’s setting has to pre-date 500 AD; b) weapons should be involved; c) at least one combatant must not be wearing a shirt; d) those leather bondage straps people “wear” for some reason don’t count as a shirt. and now, the list!

06. Troy

in the past i have dismissed this film as badly written, directed and acted; filled with inaccurate crap; and being part of this movie-for-women-disguised-as-a-movie-for-men conspiracy. however, i will overlook all that and point out that the opening fight where Brad Pitt kills some huge half-naked dude is alright by me.

05. Jason and the Argonauts

i know, i know, this is sort of cheating, but none of those skeletons that Jason was fighting with were wearing shirts.

04. Spartacus

i admit i haven’t seen this movie in something like 10-15 years, but it definitely has one weird but decent fight in the early going. however, this scene will mainly be defined for me by that episode of the Sopranos in the third season (i want to say it’s “He Is Risen”) where Ralph is watching Spartacus and bitching about Kurt Douglas’ haircut.

03. Gladiator

much to the disgust of everyone i know, i don’t really like this movie. there’s a lot of little things about it that rub me the wrong way, but it’s at least better than Troy. regardless, i can’t remember if anyone is outright SHIRTLESS in the chariot-fight scene, but someone is shirtless in the big Maximus-versus-Tigris fight, which also reminds me of the bullshit involved in guys just shrugging off leaping tigers.

02. 300

i would be a little at fault if i didn’t throw 300 a bone and comment on the fact that it’s pretty excellent when the Spartans actually start fighting people (and thus justify their near-nudity up until this point). if i was forced to decide on one scene, well, forget the elephant murder, let’s go with the Immortals … because, after all, they had a cave troll.

01. Rome

anyone that’s seen the series probably knows where i’m going with this: that ridiculously awesome (and bloody) gladiator fight that occurs near the end of season one where limbs get chopped off and Pullo yells “13” constantly. this is also the scene in which i realized that the ancient Romans, much like the Persians, also had a cave troll. i would like to include the more recent tongue-biting incident from this current season, but everyone appears to be dressed.

i admit this list is a little light by my general standards, but i don’t think i’ve watched a ton of scenes in this vein. but that’s my fault, so drop any suggestions you’ve got.

some flu-inspired rambling about 13 voice replacements or whatever

while spending today alternating between wrapped-in-a-blanket, Schnapps-drinking flu mania and going to watch 300 (which was awesome), it occurred to me that the one thing that keeps me from true excellence is my lack of a really cool speaking voice (this thought probably occurred during the crazy flu time, to be fair). i mean, i’m very loud and i swear all the time (correction: all the FUCKING time) and these things make me pretty cool and loveable, but they’re still not enough to take me to the next level. so obviously, the solution is pretty clear: to freeze myself until whatever time in the future they can give me a “totally awesome voice transplant” (or whatever they call it). i’ll leave the science behind all that to someone else (i mean, come on, i have an English degree, not a super-science degree) and we’ll just discuss the top voices i could replace mine with.

13. Johnny Cash
Cash is only this low because i’m taking revenge on all the hipster doofuses that claim they really, really like him now. this isn’t really the place to get into a whole argument over their bogus “i hate all country but Johnny Cash” stance, but in any event, the man had a cool voice. so cool that only his voice could soothe prisoners and hipsters alike. further, no un-cool voice that loves Jesus would be covering fucking Danzig songs AND making them rock harder than the original.

12. David Ruffin
a lot has been made about his drug abuse and other just ridiculous behavior, and i’m sure the smart guys of the world out there have various causes in mind for all of them, but it’s my understanding that his voice was so cool that it literally drove him mad. the lucky part was that he sung a few tracks like “Common Man” and the like before the voice finally became too much for him to control any longer. plus, look at his ridiculous fucking sunglasses. without a cool voice, that shit would absolutely NOT fly.

11. Reverend Horton Heat (err, Jim Heath)
whenever i listen to the good Reverend laying down a good song or three, it strikes me that he must have a) smoked one million cigarettes and b) drunk one million alcoholic drinks. the end result of this kind of abuse is, of course, one cool rockin’ voice, but i don’t know that i really want to smoke all those cigarettes, so this voice transplantation is about my only hope for having a voice cool enough to bellow out “Baddest Of The Bad” or “Big Red Rocket Of Love.”

09-10. Joe Pantoliano, Frank Sinatra
so it’s a little weird of me to have my hero Pantoliano this low on the list, but i have to admit that his voice isn’t phenomenal. that being said, let’s get this disclaimer out of the way: i don’t really like New Jersey and i make fun of it all the time. some of this might be personal issues (of which i have many), but come on, will anyone defend Camden here? regardless, there are two kinds of incredibly awesome Jersey accents: the low-key excellence of Sinatra (i mean, come on, resist that voice!) and the kind of accent that Pantoliano has that cracks me up when he calls women whores (i think in Jersey it’s spelled “hooahs”).

08. Master of Master Blaster (Angelo Rossitto)
admittedly, this is sort of a departure from the typical model of “really cool voice,” but as i’m already a tiny guy who hangs out with giant muscle-men (and at least one of them might be retarded) and since i do like to remind Tina Turner who runs Bartertown and lift embargos, i think i could make things happen with this voice. at least it’ll give me more character or something. side note: this dude is so old that he was in the 1932 film Freaks (and was awesome there as well).

07. Dean Martin
Dino may not have the best voice of all time (i can think of at least six better voices, for example), but he certainly has the COOLEST voice of all time. in fact, Dean Martin may actually be the single coolest person of all time. and i’ve certainly got the hard drinking and sass down cold. however, the one problem is that Dean’s voice might require packaging with good looks and money to be 100% effective, which is going to require, if nothing else, even more future surgery.

06. Al Pacino
Al Pacino is probably who i would be (as in, truly excellent) if i had a cool voice: after all, everything we remember him for – “say goodnight to the bad guy” or “buy futures, sell futures, when there is no future” or “cause she’s got a great AAASSSSSS” – is basically Al Pacino yelling a lot (check) and swearing constantly (check). and i’ve already claimed to federal agents that i got all my scars from eating pussy, so we’re essentially one step away from the dream here.

03-05. Ron Pearlman, R. Lee Ermey, Kurtwood Smith
so this is actually an excuse to talk about Fallout; here we go. here on the internet we can probably agree that Fallout is one of the greatest RPG serieses out there, even with that abortion of a console game. some don’t defend Fallout: Tactics; i do, and we’ll get to that in one second. anyway, the game(s) have long thrown in some various and cool voice-over acting, including, say, Richard Dean Anderson and Michael Dorn, not to mention Ron Pearlman’s narration. however, Tactics has possibly the greatest voice-over team of all time: Pearlman narrating (always an awesome voice; see also Hellboy and that shitty Alien movie and so on) and your two officers being voiced by Ermey (all i’m going to add here is Full Metal Jacket) and Smith (made immortal for his Robocop line “bitches, leave!”) respectively. SPOILER: Ermey even voices a crazy robot verson of himself. or maybe he’s a cyborg. but anyway, top THAT teamwork. i dare you.

02. Keith David
hey, it’s that photo of Keith David again. i admit that it’s a little backwards of me to place him only at #2 after declaring two weeks ago that he had “literally, the best voice of all time,” but it’s this kind of adorable inconsistency that makes me fun. anyway, i’ve said it before and i’ll say it again: his voice alone will make me watch a movie. to mention Road House again, the best scene is the one where Keith David has, like, one line (maybe two, but i think just one). i have to cover my ears during those Navy ads lest his voice have me coming out of a daze on an aircraft carrier in the Sea of Japan going “what the fuck did Keith David get me into now?”

01. David Banner
it’s sort of hard to describe why David Banner’s voice is cooler than the awesome list of voices that have preceded it; obviously, it’s not really disputable that David Banner is fucking awesome, but it case you claim it is, i suppose i’ll point out the philanthropy, the song “Fuck Em” and the fact that if it wasn’t for him, i’d probably have no reason to have any respect for the state of Mississippi. i mean, for crying out loud, name anything else cool from Mississippi.

so there it is. now you internet nerds get cracking on the science part.

in which we obsess about Sam Elliott

in my years on the internet, i’ve discovered that some people do NOT, in fact, use it to produce, disseminate, or watch pornography (which i admit goes against my initial estimates of internet usage). and more to the point, it’s my understanding that some of these people are attempting to achieve the long-sought goal of true spiritual release and freedom. “but janklow,” i said to janklow, “if we leave these people to their own devices, Scientology might talk to them about thetans and take their money.” there has to be another way!

clearly, i need to create my own religion to save these people. i admit my last attempt (an optimistic thesis based around Boo Berry) was misunderstood genius, so i’ll have to do better. and then, while watching Road House again (yes, again), it struck me: a religion based on the teachings of the fictional characters played by Sam Elliott that i assume to be a direct reflection of Sam Elliott’s personal beliefs! it’s all so simple!

but i admit there will be naysayers, so, let me handle your major questions:

01. is Sam Elliott (or his fictional roles) qualified to be my savior?

answer: his middle name is Pack. i rest my case.

02. can i join this excellent new religion?

answer: i haven’t worked out the specifics of the payment plan, but yes, we can easily fit you into the flock for a low price.

03. so what the hell is the deal with this religion, anyway?

i’m glad you asked, friend. but why ask me – let Sam Elliott tell you himself!


“I’ll get all the sleep I need when I’m dead.”

wise words. Sam “Wade Garrett” Elliott truly has a larger perspective on life and the afterlife. why waste time on sleep when you’re just going to die and you can better use that time, say, fighting rednecks in a bar in Missouri?


“The Indians have a saying: “Follow the cigar smoke, find the fat man there.””

i admit this one is a tad more cryptic, but that kind of thing is more important for would-be messiahs like Sam “General Buford” Elliott than it is for you and i. but let’s just assume he’s saying that the meaning of life can be deduced by clear signs. don’t waste time sleeping!


“I’m your huckleberry…”

i admit that Sam “Virgil Earp” Elliott didn’t say this one, and that it’s not really “relevant” to this “religion” or anything, but isn’t it adorable to pretend he said it?


“Darkness warshed over the Dude – darker’n a black steer’s tookus on a moonless prairie night. There was no bottom.”

rather than taking this as a commentary on one specific stoner from Sam “the Stranger” Elliott, i choose to take this as a larger commentary on the immense trial that is human life. also, Sam “the Stranger” Elliott makes him sound like he’s closer affiliated with an awesome Billy Joel song, which makes this whole religion so much better!


“I guess that’s the way the whole durned human comedy keeps perpetuatin’ itself.”

amen, Sam, amen.


“Any one of you pussies call me grandpa, I’ll kill ya.”

see, now THAT is the kind of religious leadership i want: sure, Sam “Sergeant Major Plumley” Elliott has great age, and with it, great wisdom, but if you make wise-ass remarks, you might get shot. these things happen … to heathens that call him grandpa!


“Gentlemen, prepare to defend yourselves!”

this is pretty much the central tenet of my religious philosophy right now anyway.

now, i could keep this up all day, but i think i’ve made my point: you WILL start worshiping at the alter of Sam Elliott right now, internet person! unless you don’t want to go to heaven and eat delicious grapes out of the navel of the man himself.


“This place has a sign hangin’ over the urinal that says, “Don’t eat the big white mint.””

oh, Sam, you card!

actor obsessions and MD general assembly sessions

more secret information about janklow

it’s a somewhat well-known fact (well, with people that know me, not, you know, THE INTERNET) that janklow always keeps the television on playing SOMETHING: L&O or Homicide reruns, yet another viewing of Scarface or Carlito’s Way, the results may vary, but it’s got to be something as background noise. however, along with this, i have to admit that there is a holy trinity of actors who, despite not being renowned for their excellence, always make me stop and watch their movies, even when these movies are terrible. this important list follows:

DAVID!
KEITH DAVID

Keith David has, literally, the best voice of all time. granted, there are some stellar members of the voice-acting club (R. Lee Ermey, Kurtwood Smith, Ron Pearlman), but David has them all beat. generally speaking, if i hear his voice, i will turn around and watch the film (this is how i watched Novocaine this one time). but the best example is the fact that i will bash Steven Seagal movies all day long and defend the hell out of Marked For Death. is it because of the voodoo? i don’t know, but it’s worth noting that in said movie, Keith David drives a Bronco all over school property and shoots at Jamaicans with a shotgun. there it is.

SWAYZE!
PATRICK SWAYZE

this one is actually sort of misleading, because i won’t just watch ANYTHING with Swayze in it. i mean, come on, i can’t force myself to give a shit about that movie where he and Wesley Snipes wear dresses and travel the nation. however, if i see him on TV, it’s always in Road House, or MAYBE Red Dawn. and it’s a safe bet that i’ll always watch these films. have i watched Roadhouse every day for more than three consecutive days merely because it came on? no comment, but i will say this: “pain don’t hurt.”

JOEY PANTS!
JOE PANTOLIANO

or, as he is called by a colleague of mine, “janklow’s male crush.” it’s not so much that he’s my crush, however, as it is that i believe he is a being composed of pure energy that’s come to our dimension to enlighten us. did i watch 216 of 251 episodes of M*A*S*H just to see the episode where he guests? oh yes. i may also be the only person in America who bought his book; it wasn’t bad at all, i’ve just never met a single person who also read it.

…don’t judge me. on an unrelated topic, i think i’ll go watch Road House again.

Maryland “assault weapon” tangent

i don’t really want to get into a whole thing about this, because i’ve been fighting with stupid Marylanders all week about it and fussing over the implications of “things i might not be able to buy in the future” and “things that i have to buy right now.” anyway, here’s a relevant photo:

M1A 4 LIFE

oh, sweet M1A, your mere image makes janklow happy on the inside.