happy let’s-take-advantage-of-the-native-population day!

DISCLAIMER: today’s title was, in fact, stolen from someone’s Facebook update for the day, which seems lazy and ridiculous and to which i say “eh, what are you going to do about it?” ultimately, i got a chuckle out of it and it’s thematically correct, since it’s once again Thanksgiving and all. plus, as my Ojibwe forefathers say, “whether you’re looking for casino action with the latest slot games, an exciting night out on the town – or a little bit of it all – you’ll find it and more at the Black Bear.” but i digress.

so many delicious pies
yeah, i don’t know why i lined up all the pies on the washer and dryer either; sometimes things like this happen, and it’s best to not ask too many questions

events of the actual Thanksgiving holiday

even though it was a holiday and all (and one on which i did not actually work for some reason), some things did actually get accomplished. a short but informative recap:

–mass quantities of pies (10+) were created, and more experimental variants once again occurred. last year, we had “Truthful Promise” (chocolate-pumpkin) and “Sharp And Smooth” (banana-pumpkin); this year saw the introduction of “Days Of Penitence” (notable increase in some spices) and “Hot Summer” (central graham-cracker layer). yes, that’s correct, the spicy pie didn’t get the “Hot Summer” label. these things happen.

–i should also probably do some field research on further variants we have in the hopper for next time (marshmallow-pumpkin, heavily-caffeinated pumpkin, the long-awaited “Jerusalem Way” peanut-butter-pumpkin pie)… but then again, there was some trash talk from people who brought other desserts and i MIGHT have vowed to not make pies in 2010. good thing for all of us that i’m all talk!

–there was a dog fight that resulted in a beagle getting doused with mojitos. somehow i doubt this is standard Thanksgiving fare? unrelated note: that beagle was awesome.

–i don’t want to talk about the Oakland-Dallas game. fuck the fucking Cowboys. i am not going to be giving thanks for them.

–also, if you root for the Raiders, everyone in your extended family who comes over for Thanksgiving will make fun of you for it. granted, wearing a Kirk Morrison jersey MIGHT seem like provocation, but consider these facts: a) no one present was a Cowboys fan, b) it’s motherfucking THANKSGIVING, and c) the fact that Kirk Morrison IS awesome should not be disputed. and then people began to text message me to mock the Raiders as well! sole exception to the rule: my grandmother, who partially defended the Raiders and/or myself. she’s the best.

Colt M1991A1 compact model
ooo, guns, guns, guns!

somewhat belated firearms stuff

recently i went out on a hunt for the newest firearm to add to the team, and while i had somewhat intended to make it a 12-gauge coach gun (which would then be used to shoot further L. Ron Hubbard books in half), it ended up being this adorable compact Colt M1991A1. now, i had vowed some time back that, if i should ever get a compact 1911-type pistol, i would then go wild with showing off press-checks “like Al Pacino in Heat.” and i’m not going to let anyone call me a liar on that front!

press-check
now to scream the “because she’s got a GREAT ASS” line at some people

press-checks: the kind of thing gun nerds get WAY too excited about when we see them in films and television programs. we can’t help it, it’s genetic.

final Thanksgiving message

i don’t know why i didn’t post this up in previous years… but here it is for 2009. happy Thanksgiving!

Gordon Parks Jr’s action masterpiece Three The Hard Way

so, some time back my sibling gave me a copy of a film i’d been looking to add to my collection for some time: the 1974 action/blaxploitation film Three The Hard Way, which has a ridiculously awesome title and a ridiculous cast (Fred Williamson, Jim Brown, and Jim Kelly) and which i know to be, well, ridiculous. and it occurred to me that there’s a solid chance that as many people on the internet might not have seen it and/or heard of the insanity containing within it… well, it’d make for a solid “running diary” film for this here website (as opposed to my long-promised RoboCop 2 running diary). so here we go!

preparatory information: well, i’ll just let Wikipedia sum this one up for you. “A white supremacist and his fascist sect plan to poison the United States water supply. The water supplies of the cities of Detroit, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles are targeted. The toxin will not harm whites, only African-Americans, and the agent is lethal. Protagonists Jim Brown, Jim Kelly, and Fred Williamson attempt to foil the evil plot by any means necessary.” it’s also directed by Gordon Parks Jr, whose father directed Shaft and who himself directed Super Fly. what a crazy family. what’s not immediately obvious for those of you without this DVD is that the back of the case has a wicked collage of photos of Jim Kelly.

00:00:00: and with that, this film jumps off into some weirdly-scored prison (and by prison, i think i mean “motel with armed guards”) sequence that features some absolutely unnecessary freeze-frame-and-odd-sound moments. or, to put it another way, “freeze the shot as this guy’s handing over a plate of food and then throw in a weird musical cue” moments.

00:02:48: and there’s a “dramatic” escape that gets the plot rolling or something (with all due respect, you know how tenuous these concepts can be in a blaxploitation film)… which starts with a guy using a crowbar to break through a door with GLASS WINDOWS. huh. then he finds evidence of this plot and awkwardly bludgeons one of the white supremacists and gets into an awkward gunfight; i admit that seems like an lot of “awkwards,” but really, watch this and you’ll see that they’re appropriate. also, as a gun nerd aside, i should note there’s a lot of M1 carbines going on already, so that’s nice.

eh, Three The Hard Way
seriously, with a title like that, this title sequence should have been a lot more awesome

00:06:35: so we finally get the credits sequence, and man, is this credit sequence incredibly inappropriate. this is an action movie, right? so why is the theme song a slow love ballad (“Wendy”)? why are we watching footage of Jim Brown romancing a woman in a playful fashion? why is this sequence so long? meanwhile, Brown’s collars are a monument to 1970s ridiculousness.

00:09:35: Jim Brown (Jimmy Lait) has his friend brought to him by these two white kids that were forced to drive him a great distance (“all night,” anyway); if i recall my blaxploitation correctly, Dolomite once did a similar thing to a guy in one of his movies, so i guess this is one of those staples of the genre.

00:14:06: Jim Brown leaves his girl behind with his friend to go to a recording session for the Impressions. seriously, this happens. and again, it’s not brief: the Impressions sing half a song (“That’s What Love Will Do”) complete with close-ups for each of them, after which Brown is unnecessarily harsh and the Impressions unnecessarily foul (i guess even R&B singers have to look tough sometimes). side note: the Impressions are not one of those groups where everyone is good-looking. not at all.

00:17:01: pointless twist: white dudes use one of those maintenance trucks with a cherry-picker to kill Jim Brown’s friend and then abduct Brown’s girl, which begs the question “why not shoot them both?” i mean, okay, we all know it’s to further the plot, but still, in terms of the ridiculous universe the events of this film exist in, it makes no sense.

cars exploding for no reason, part one
there is really no call for the explosion in question

00:21:28: Jim Brown is attacked by two white dudes driving cars in a parking garage, which immediately gets insane as Brown fires a massive revolver at them while never reloading while ALSO never shooting either driver on one of the occasions he’s draped across one of their hoods; on the top level, however, he manages to shoot them and cause them to drive off the roof … whereupon one of the two cars also EXPLODES as it drives off the roof, for reasons that are not adequately explained. and this whole sequence takes less time than that Impressions recording session.

00:22:38: the white dudes take Jim Brown’s girl to a suburban hideout where the villain’s name is revealed to be “Monroe Feather.” seriously, there’s something about the quality of a villain’s name that relates directly to the quality of the movie, and in this case, things aren’t looking good.

00:24:53: Chicago and/or Fred Williamson get much better introductory music than Jim Brown did; i assume this is the reason why Brown “playfully” assaults Williamson as a method of greeting him inside his apartment. Williamson, as “Jagger Daniels,” clearly also has the superior fake name and seems to think that “Chicago soul food” will solve all of Brown’s problems, problems that include an abducted lady and a complicated white supremacist plot.

00:28:55: note to the 5-foot-nothing white supremacist henchman: you attempting to throw Jim Brown in front of a train is the worst assassination idea ever, and it’s just going to result in Brown using said train to kill you and then, it would seem, a complicated foot chase. i’m not even going to dignify the “shooting gallery” pun that occurs with a remark. well, not with more of a remark than that one.

00:31:16: a huge shoot-out breaks out with a swarm of white dudes, which begs the question: why even attempt to push Jim Brown to death when you could have just shot him? although in fairness, all the white dudes do get kind of mowed down in this shoot-out, so it’s not like any of the ideas these goons are bringing to the table are THAT guaranteed to work.

Jim 'the Dragon' Kelly in action
this is probably my favorite ridiculous kick in the film, but without the accompanying crazy noise, it cannot truly be appreciated

00:33:00: Jim Kelly (“Mister Keyes”) is introduced with what i can only assume is an attempt to plant drugs in his car by the cops; unluckily for them, Kelly is highly-skilled when it comes to wrecking cops with karate attacks (as these cops would know if they’d watched Enter The Dragon). i did not fully realize, however, the weirdness of the noises that Kelly makes when karate attacking cops, especially when those noises are played in slow-motion. Brown and Williamson materialize right as this fight is ending (how convenient), and they all have a good laugh… and that’s how we learn we’ve traveled to New York.

00:37:46: we’re investigating a warehouse for some reason? and now another gunfight is breaking out? there’s been absolutely NO explanation of how we got here or what’s going on, but at least we get a sequence of Jim Kelly holding a guy while people shoot him, which is just unsafe.

00:39:24: there’s a dramatically-scored sequence where a trio of bikers clad in red, white and blue (respectively) cruise through the streets of the city. if i’d been directing this film, this is time i would have used to explain what the hell was going on with that warehouse shoot-out. that said, these bikers are apparently a trio of ladies that interrogate people for Fred Williamson.

man, don't ask
whatever you do, Jim Kelly, DON’T ASK WHAT’S IN THE BAG

00:42:31: as further proof that we’re currently in the middle of a blaxploitation film, these ladies have their shirts off already. i’m getting the impression they’re dominatrices (really? that’s the plural of “dominatrix?”) of some creepy sort, although this white dude ends up looking mysteriously untouched for a guy who’s supposedly been tortured into submission.

00:46:31: well, according to this white supremacist plot, apparently, if you want to kill all blacks in the US with a poison, you need only poison the water supplies of Washington DC, Los Angeles and Detroit. never mind the part where Chicago and New York have been the locales for all the action involving black guys so far, i guess.

00:50:49: based on the music accompanying this scene, Monroe Feather and his evil white supremacist doctor seem to be having a bit of a romantic interlude.

cars exploding for no reason, part two
at this point, i have no business being surprised by the notion of this truck exploding for no reason

00:53:58: an incredibly awkward attempt to kill Jim Brown by running over a phone booth with him in it (seriously) results in him somehow surviving, climbing over the dump truck, throwing one goon out and then leaping off the truck, causing the other to drive it into a billboard… which somehow explodes, of course. i guess that saves Los Angeles?

00:58:50: still more proof that we’re currently in the middle of a blaxploitation film: Fred Williamson is totally getting laid in Detroit for reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with the plot, though it’s funny for Williamson to ditch the girl by telling her he has work to do. you had that work to do before you sexed her up, Fred!

01:01:03: if there’s anything i have learned from this film, it’s that Fred Williamson can cause cars to flip over ridiculously like no other man before him; in this case he accomplishes it by nudging the rear of said car with his own car. he then proceeds to shoot some white dudes (excellent), get into a violent car chase that DOESN’T make any cars flip, but which does save Los Angeles, and shoot more white dudes (still excellent).

karate in motion
ATTENTION HENCHMEN: this is the part where the team of you guys with guns are supposed to shoot Jim Kelly

01:04:36: as soon as the heavily-armed strike team of white dudes began to pour out of their cars, i thought to myself “i guess this is where Jim Kelly beats another pile of guys up using kicks and zany noises.” but he also uses ninja ropes and his Asian assistant “Link” in addition to those kicks (and actually, i think his assistant beats most of the guys up).

01:09:15: to be perfectly honest, at this point i don’t even know what Jim Brown is doing or where he is. i thought he already saved Los Angeles, although i admit that doesn’t mean it’s still not fun to beat the shit out of some white supremacists past that point.

01:11:14: tragically, Jim Brown’s happy-go-lucky assistant is killed while trying to protect Brown from a random white dude Brown forgot to beat up. it’s sad, but luckily the accompanying scream(s) of them falling to their death(es) are so ridiculous as to cheer you up.

01:12:27: Jim Brown avenges his friend (or friends, really) by shooting the hell out of a lot of white dudes, several of which choose to turn and run and be shot in the back rather than shooting back at Brown with the guns IN THEIR HANDS. the idiocy of this is redeemed by the theatrical death of a guy who goes flying off the top of a dam. also, NOW Los Angeles is saved. finally!

Jim Brown
if there’s one thing we should all know by now, it’s this: don’t fuck with Jim Brown

01:17:32: wow, there is NOTHING on the face of the planet as lame as this white supremacist party. and Monroe Feather, let me just tell you this: when you earlier declared that “no power on earth can stop us now,” you were basically begging god to have Fred Williamson (or Jim Brown or whoever) punch you in the face as hard as they possibly can.

01:20:44: not really sure why Jim Kelly took his shirt off… but i’m sure he has his reasons. he also makes the same crazy noises as before when he’s a) killing guys with knives or b) setting off alarms and thus negating the entire purpose of their stealthy entry.

01:22:11: apparently, Jim Brown’s submachine gun fires tiny missiles. because the way this house seems to EXPLODE when he shoots at it, there is no better explanation.

01:24:08: WHY ARE ALL THESE GUYS ON THE ROOF

mad scientist
mad scientists are never long for this world

01:24:49: apparently, our mad scientist’s “lab” is actually a restaurant’s kitchen. oh, and if you shoot a gun in there, he will immediately be lit on fire.

01:25:59: at least this time when the jeeps explode, it’s explained either a) Jim Brown shooting “explosive” rounds into it or b) Jim Brown doing something mysterious to it that causes sparks and explodes the villain? also, apparently Fred Williamson is a bad enough dude to dodge a hail of bullets being fired into a jeep in which he is fist-fighting three henchmen.

01:27:37: now we’re just blowing up random sedans from a van with hand grenades like this is the A-Team or something. seriously, that’s the conclusion: “finishing it” after the villain’s killed by blowing up everyone’s cars.

really, the most ridiculous thing about this film is this: it’s only 89 minutes long, and yet you could probably trim another 15 unnecessary minutes off it. or, even better, use that 15 minutes to make some additional sense out of the film we got. but the song “Three The Hard Way” is pretty excellent.

“a bear is very strong; very hard for a human to kill a bear with simple methods”

it’s pretty well-established that there are some animals that i think are totally excellent: dogs and elephants mostly, but also lesser-beloved entries like bears. and it is bears that we shall celebrate this week!

raging, raging bear
yeah, i totally get how people could look at something like this and think “that thing needs to be wearing a fez and ice-skating on a rink somewhere”

ice-skating bear kills circus head
on the one hand, i get the reason behind making bears wear little hats and drive little cars and perform otherwise anthropomorphic actions: they’ve got that “they stand on two feet sometimes LIKE US” thing going on. but on the other hand, i think “wait, that’s not a good enough reason AT ALL.” did mankind suddenly forget all those years of shoving Christians into arenas with bears? bears are massive and prone to mauling and eating you should you wrong them.

so perhaps i just happen to think that things like this shouldn’t occur:

“A circus bear killed one person and injured another during rehearsals for an ice-skating show. The bear, which was part of the Russian State Circus, killed Dmitri Potapov, 25, a circus director who was visiting the show in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan. An animal handler who tried to stop the attack suffered bruising to the brain and lacerations to his scalp. It is unclear why the bear, which was wearing ice skates at the time, attacked Mr Potapov. The bear was later shot by police.”

oh, i’ll tell you why the bear attacked Mr. Potapov, because the answer seems pretty obvious: because it was wearing ice skates at the time. i doubt it was voluntary. remind me again why this is a good idea?

“Deadly attacks are rare in the country’s circuses, which often train bears to wear skates and play ice hockey.”

oh… right, the ice hockey. “bear ice hockey” is a top 13 all-time awesome phrase. as you were, Russians, as you were.

Himalayan black bear
bears: harboring surprisingly strong feelings about separatists in Kashmir

bear mauls, kills two high-ranking separatists hiding in cave in Kashmir
but since bears are pretty excellent, we don’t want to start thinking that bears will never suddenly flip out and maul people to death in the name of good. so here we have this heartwarming story from the Indian subcontinent:

“A group of Muslim separatists in Kashmir picked the wrong cave for a hideout. A police spokesman said an angry bear mauled two high-ranking Hizbul Mujahideen commanders who had set up camp inside its cave in the southern part of the Indian-run state, the Hindustan Times reported.

Though the men were armed with AK-47 machine guns, “the attack seems to have been so violent that both the militants got no chance to fire back at the wild animal,” the spokesman, Col. JS Brar, told the Indian newspaper. Two other militants were injured by the Himalayan black bear, but managed to escape and make their way to a nearby village for help, the BBC reported. One of the dead men was later identified as Siafullah, the insurgency group’s district commander.”

so not only is this awesome because an angry bear attacking some separatists in a cave (again, this is one of those phrases which is immediately awesome to everyone upon reading it), there are some other awesome factors at work:

–these separatists were actually armed at the time and the FOUR of them still couldn’t manage to get off a shot at this bear. actually, maybe they could, but the story seems to imply this bear struck and then faded into the night, like Batman;
–two guys got merely injured and escaped, which means we have an anxious exchange between separatists wherein they have to explain that they weren’t attacked by some kind of American drone, but rather, a bear. actually, if it was me, i’d be telling them that it was some kind of American drone;
–the bear in question was a Himalayan black bear, not one of the normal bears you expect to wreck shit like this (say, a grizzly or Kodiak or maybe polar bear), which immediately raises that bear’s stature in the world;
–the bear killed the insurgency group’s district commander. i choose to see this as proof that the US has some kind of high-speed low-drag special bear forces on our payroll, and i will NOT be dissuaded from believing this conspiratorial nonsense.

Fedor Emelianenko
when Fedor saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more bears to conquer

“i met a bear in a zoo”
and now we come to the quote that started off this week’s random update, courtesy of Russia’s baddest dude not named Vasily Zaytsev or, you know, Vladimir Putin:

“Asked on a conference call if it were true that his brother, Aleksander, once killed a bear with a knife and a fork, [Fedor] Emelianenko stoically gave an answer instead of laughingly dismissing the question. “I met a bear in the zoo,” he said. “A bear is very strong; very hard for a human to kill a bear with simple methods.””

i seriously have no doubt that Fedor “the Last Emperor” Emelianenko fought and killed a bear in a Russian zoo. for god’s sake, they make them ice-skate over there!

black bear
it was then that this bear realized “hey, why am i not inside a beer cooler?”

black bear chills out in beer cooler
now, i think my love affair with animals getting drunk and being ridiculous has been pretty well established; this might seem like the same kind of thing, as we’re talking about a 125-pound black bear that wandered into a grocery store in Wisconsin, found its way to the beer cooler and then proceeded to “chill out” in there… hey, wait a second… i think i talked about this weeks ago! perhaps this is the cause of my recent bear theme, and not Fedor? no, no, it’s probably the latter, who certainly doesn’t have connections to Russian Mafia types who might kill me for suggesting otherwise.

in which i steal Bruce McCullough’s idea for political reasons

in the wake of recent elections that are supposed to be such a big deal, i find myself once again confronting some notable anger (which i am apparently composed of, or so some studies tell me) regarding some statements from the right before, during and after the elections. and as the past has shown us, there might be no better way to express this than with some kind of missive on the internet that everyone can read. i guess i should add this DISCLAIMER: i don’t think there are any jokes coming. sorry.

and now, janklow with an open letter to the conservatives that keep pissing him off at election time.

Richard Viguerie
fuck you, man, fuck you

well, why did you do it? are you some sort of jerk or something? and by “do it,” i mean “continue to behave in the counter-productive, short-sighted, gloating manner than you always seem to act in.” and by “you,” i mean the hardcore conservative members of the GOP that seem to approach and respond to elections in the exact same way that drives me absolutely crazy. i suppose this all started when i happened upon the news that conservatives were pushing for this third party candidate in the race for NY-23, where a “liberal Republican” (Dede Scozzafava) and a “regular Democrat” (Bill Owens) were competing with Conservative Party representative Doug Hoffman. now, look, they have their principles, and that’s fine; it’s perfectly acceptable to a) be very conservative and b) expect your elected officials to respond to that. well, maybe not “perfectly acceptable,” but whatever.

so cut to Scozzafava dropping out of the race and all the conservatives essentially getting what they wanted; we THEN get an arch-conservative like Richard Viguerie gloating about it (although this was before their candidate ultimately LOST the election. still, because it highlights some of my points, i shall now break his statement from that article down.

“The GOP leadership’s backing of Ms. Scozzafava was a slap in the face to Tea Party activists, town hall protesters, and conservatives across the country.”
this is, however, a local election. yes, there are national ramifications, but we’re talking about a political office that is supposed to respond to the LOCAL electorate in New York. so why is it a slap in the face of anyone for New York Republicans to nominate a New York candidate? why are politicians in Alaska or anywhere else offended by their whims not being heard in elections that have nothing to do with where they live?

“The Washington GOP establishment’s abandonment of fiscal responsibility led directly to the election of Barack Obama as President and Nancy Pelosi as Speaker.”
and you know, i get that, and i get that not every conservative was on board with the way Bush and his administration planned and spent. that said, i don’t recall this level of outrage when Bush was actually in office. and i don’t recall these conservatives attacking his legacy so specifically during the last presidential election. in fact, i’m pretty sure that they consider this “Washington GOP establishment” to be something that exists, but not include anyone they KNOW. who makes up this establishment?

“The American people see the GOP leadership and establishment every bit as much a part of the problem as the Democrats.”
true. but what Viguerie doesn’t seem to understand is that this includes people like him as well.

“Doug Hoffman and NY-23 is an earthquake in American politics, and is the first of many challenges to establishment Republicans that we will see for the 2010 elections and beyond.”
now, again, he said this before the actual election, so this may seem petty: but this is a challenge that resulted in a DEMOCRAT taking the seat. a seat that’s been held by a Republican for 100+ years. so we’re not talking about a challenge that has resulted in anything more for the conservatives than the “establishment Republicans.”

“The stupid decision by Republican leaders to pour $900,000 into the NY-23rd race [to support Scozzafava} against a conservative [Hoffman] has unleashed a fury that will lead to new GOP leadership.”
i can flip this right around and point out that the stupid decision by conservative Republicans to alienate the moderates that supported Scozzafava and who thus didn’t vote or voted for her on principle or voted for Owens are the reason Owens bested Hoffman. and so i will.

here’s the thing that i have been saying since the presidential election in 2008: these conservatives are fucking morons, for several reasons:

01. hypocritical stance on “being heard”: conservatives are obsessed with having their voices heard in the GOP tent, and often phrase this as if no one listens to them. but McCain bent to please you. and Palin wound up on the ticket to please you. and yet every time moderates want something (such as for you to NOT ruin the election of a moderate Republican), it’s an outrage. good job preaching what you preach, guys.

02. counter-productive results: during the national elections last year, conservatives talked about staying home rather than voting for McCain or whoever for Senate/House seats. but when you reject a moderate GOP option in favor of nothing… you get a Democrat, and i can’t imagine that sits better with you. and wanting someone you think is a poor choice in office now to get votes down the line is an ignorant attitude.

look at the Scozzafava/Owens/Hoffman situation. Scozzafava may be a “liberal Republican.” she may not vote the way conservatives and/or the national GOP like every time. but let’s say that she votes with the conservatives 50% of the time… how often is Owens voting the way they want? if a Democrat is less of the vote you want than a “liberal Republican” is on a regular basis, what’s the percentage in helping the former get elected?

03. this shit is all about money: look, i am sure that there are conservatives who are really about the issues, really about the politics, and really taking stands on principle. but when half of the people crowing about this stuff are on radio or television or might very well end up there (i’m looking at you, Palin), then i have to think seriously about the notion that says Beck and Limbaugh and Malkin aren’t so much about ideas or solving any problem as much as they are about being ridiculous to fuel outrage that, in turn, fuels their personal finances.

and when you tell me or anyone else that we’re Republican In Name Only because we don’t agree with you 100%… man, fuck you. when you’re declaring that NEWT GINGRICH is a RINO because he didn’t leap to back Hoffman… FUCK YOU. Gingrich can say with a straight face that he got a bunch of Republicans elected in 1994; who can you tell me that you got elected, Malkin? or better, come to Maryland and tell me how you get Republicans elected to state seats that require independent votes to happen by being as hardcore right-wing as you possible can. because i don’t see how it works.

that’s it, i’m done. fuck these short-sighted assholes.