Monthly Archives: January 2021

REVIEWS OF TWO NEGLECTED MOVIES

GizmoGIZMO! (1977) – Though the exclamation point in the title makes this seem like it might be a stage musical, Gizmo! is actually an entertaining documentary about some of the oddest inventions you could possibly imagine. Some never made it anywhere close to actually working, while others worked but proved so hopelessly impractical that you’ll howl with laughter at the wasted effort.

You’ll see failed aircraft and land vehicles as well as in-home contraptions powered by moving animals like the joke appliances on The Flintstones. Continue reading

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MYTHS OF FIJI – GODS AND OTHER ENTITIES ON THE SOUL’S JOURNEY

FOR BALLADEER’S BLOG’S LOOK AT OVER TWENTY FIJIAN GODS CLICK HERE

Fiji 4The people of Fiji believed in an epic journey for the souls of the deceased. That journey is even more detailed than the Soul’s Journey envisioned by the Tupari of Brazil.

I. For four days the spirit of the deceased lingers in the vicinity of its host body’s death. Then it begins the long and perilous journey to Mbulu, the land of the dead.

II. Upon reaching the headlands at Naithobokoboko the spirit encounters the goddess LEWALEVU. This deity tries to prevent the soul from proceeding unless she is propitiated by offerings of leaves.

III. If the deceased successfully passes Lewalevu it next encounters the sandalwood tree at Vuniyasikinikini. The spirit is required to pinch the bark of the Yasi/ sandalwood tree with its fingernails.

              If the nails are long and sharp enough to sink into the bark it proves the person did not do much fighting or hard work in life. If its nails are short and dull it proves the deceased worked and fought hard in life and may continue their journey.

IV. Next awaits the goddess NANG-GA NANG-GA, the Devourer of Bachelors. Nang-ga Nang-ga sits on a black rock by the edge of the sea. On one side of her stone perch lap the ocean’s waves and on the other side steep jagged cliffs jut up to the skies. Continue reading

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PROFESSOR VAN DUSEN: RIVALS OF SHERLOCK HOLMES (1973)

rivals of sherlockFor Balladeer’s Blog’s review of the very first episode of this 1971-1973 series about London by Gaslight detectives from both the Victorian and Edwardian Ages you can simply click HERE

*** This review will cover the two Professor Van Dusen stories that were dramatized in Season Two of The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes

Superfluous fingerEpisode: THE SUPERFLUOUS FINGER (March 11th, 1973) 

Detective: Professor Augustus S.F.X. Van Dusen, created by Jacques Futrelle. The very first Professor Van Dusen story was published in 1905.

Comment: Though the professor, also called “The Thinking Machine,” was an American character created by an American author, this British series saved money by depicting him as a British detective solving crimes in England.

Professor Van DusenReview: Professor Van Dusen (Douglas Wilmer) is engaged by his acquaintance, Doctor Prescott (Laurence Payne), to solve a mystery. A perfectly healthy woman (Veronica Strong) wanted the physician to amputate one of her fingers but refused to say why.

When the doctor refused, she immediately inflicted an injury on herself forcing the amputation of that finger by the MD. Prescott wants the professor to find out what was behind this strange incident.

The woman refuses to offer any explanation or to give her real name, so Van Dusen has her followed by his reporter friend, Roderick Varley (Mark Eden), a replacement for the original story’s Hutchinson Hatch. (In those original Van Dusen stories Hatch worked for the fictional newspaper called the Daily New Yorker. In this series the reporter character is employed by a London newspaper.) Continue reading

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TULSI GABBARD BLASTS JOHN BRENNAN, ADAM SCHIFF AND BIG TECH AS DOMESTIC ENEMIES FAR MORE DANGEROUS THAN THE CAPITOL PROTESTERS

Tulsi GabbardIndependent Voter site Balladeer’s Blog is still impressed with nominal Democrat Tulsi Gabbard. She may have joined in the general overreaction to the Capitol protests but she is calling out people like Democrat Adam Schiff, the privileged white Big Tech rich pigs and former CIA Director John Brennan.

Brennan, if you’ll recall, resigned amid a scandal over his agency spying on members of Congress. On top of that he headed the CIA, the dirty organization often slammed as the “reason why they hate us” when referring to any overseas hostility toward America. There are probably drug dealers who could look down their noses at people like John Brennan.

Tulsi Gabbard picOne of the reasons I used to be a Democrat was because of the Democrats’ outspoken criticism of the CIA and its activities. In recent years the Democrats have sold out and seem to have decided that the CIA’s dirty tricks are okay as long as they help the Democrat Party.

At any rate, excerpts of Gabbard’s stirring remarks (link below) included:

“I call upon you [and] all of Congress from both parties to denounce efforts by Brennan [and] others to take away our civil liberties endowed to us by our Creator [and] guaranteed in our Constitution,” Gabbard urged.

“But let’s be clear, the John Brennans, Adam Schiffs and the oligarchs in Big Tech who are trying to undermine our constitutionally protected rights and turn our country into a police state with KGB-style surveillance are also domestic enemies,” she continued.

Tulsi Gabbard in leiGabbard alleged that they are also “much more powerful, and therefore dangerous, than the mob that stormed the Capitol.”

“If you don’t stand up to them now, then our country will be in great peril.” was also stated by Congresswoman Gabbard at one point.

So, to underline the utter uselessness of the Republican Party, it took a Democrat to denounce Brennan, Schiff and Big Tech fascists with passionate language, despite their efforts to virtually criminalize support for certain Republican candidates. And to turn Republican voters into public enemies.

Republican voters deserve better. Republican elected officials, on the other hand, are spineless, bought and paid-for whores for failing to care about their own constituents. Continue reading

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Filed under LIBERALS AND CONSERVATIVES, Neglected History, opinion

THE SPIRIT AND SOME OF HIS GREATEST FOES

Spirit baseSuperheroes rule pop culture right now and as usual Balladeer’s Blog readers have been letting me know it’s been awhile since I ran a blog post on the subject. Will Eisner’s iconic superhero the Spirit – who debuted in June of 1940 – rose from the grave of his secret identity, Private Investigator Denny Colt, after his apparent death when he got saturated in some chemicals of the supervillain Doctor Cobra.

Fan arguments still rage over whether or not the Spirit had any superpowers beyond his initial chemically-induced state of suspended animation which let him survive and rise from his grave days later. I’m of the school of thought that says the Spirit DID have superpowers, largely because I grow bored with alleged “super” heroes who are just regular shlubs who slap on a costume and fight crime. To me that’s more of a Pulp hero.

mascot sword and gun pic

BALLADEER’S BLOG

I don’t think it’s outrageous to attribute paranormal abilities to the Spirit. Just going by Will Eisner’s original stories let’s approach it this way:

GREATER THAN HUMAN STRENGTH – Taking this hero’s origin story at face value with no ret-conning necessary, when Denny Colt came to in his coffin he dug his way to the surface. It would require much more than the strength of a normal human to burst through the coffin lid AND force his way upward through six feet of soil. For all I know The Big Bang Theory guys may have once done a calculation on how much actual strength it would take to accomplish this feat.

EXTRAORDINARY RESILIENCY/ HEALING ABILITY – Early Spirit stories often show his body taking the kind of punishment that no non-powered human being could survive. The villains occasionally point out how impossible it is that the hero just keeps coming after all the damage they inflict on him. And again, taking his 1940 origin at face value his body would have had to have “healed” from the invasive procedures of embalming or similar treatments, before he woke up in his coffin.

Many fans feel that Frank Miller’s 2008 movie The Spirit took that too far by making his durability front and center and more like Wolverine’s notorious Healing Factor. Personally, I’m okay with it.

ROGUES GALLERY  Continue reading

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Big Tech and corrupt parties are bleeding Amercia just to secure their power

A GREAT BLOG POST FROM A GREAT FELLOW BLOGGER.

Anhle.blog

Brief on the USA right now:

They – the Big Brothers and their corrupt pets – are sending millions to foreign country in the name of “Help Act” but trust me, none of my relatives in Vietnam have received anything from the government for Covid help so far. So where has the money gone? Into the pockets of corrupt corporations and people like Hunter Biden or so?! Into the pockets of the Communism party who have their children living a fancy life in USA without having to work a day in life?!

They wanted to destroy Trump’s wall and open up the border but at the same time sending billions to the middle East countries to help them build wall to secure their borders and protect them from terrorists. What about Americans? Who will protect us? TRUMP has been fighting to protect our borders, to secure our country’s safety for…

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PUCK – BOSS PLATT, FATHER KNICKERBOCKER AND EUGEN SANDOW

puck father knickerbockerBalladeer’s Blog takes another look at a political cartoon from Puck magazine (1871-1918), the famous humor magazine. For more Puck click HERE 

This time around it’s the cover illustration from June 9th, 1897. The cartoon depicts a furious Father Knickerbocker breaking chains labeled “Raines Law” and “Hayseed Legislation” while the caption reads “Let Boss Platt beware: Father Knickerbocker is in training for this Sandow Act.”

Father Knickerbocker, then as now, was the symbol of New York. The figure was based on Washington Irving’s Diedrich Knickerbocker, the pseudonym under which he wrote his History of New York in 1809. That history was told from the alleged perspective of the old-line Dutch families who had settled New York before it was taken by the British.

There had actually been a Knickerbocker family in New York since the 1600s and the name appealed to Irving as being quintessentially Dutch-American. 

Boss Platt was Thomas C Platt, successor to the corrupt Roscoe Conkling as the head of New York’s Republican Party Machine. (Tammany Hall, synonymous with political corruption, was still the name used for the state’s Democrat Party Machine)

Joseph Keppler at Puck magazine disdained Platt and the New York machine as much as he disdained Tammany Hall. The Raines Law chain being broken by Father Knickerbocker symbolized the Blue Law banning the sale of alcohol in New York on Sundays. Keppler held Boss Platt responsible for Raines Law and other parochial legislation known as Hayseed Legislation, the other chain being broken by Father Knickerbocker. Continue reading

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SUPERCUT OF DEMOCRATS CALLING FOR POLITICAL VIOLENCE

Here at Independent Voter site Balladeer’s Blog the biggest regret of my life is having once belonged to the fascist, intolerant party of the Democrats. Here’s a hilarious reminder from a gab video of JUST SOME of the times in recent years that Democrats called for violence and “uprisings” and outright murder of people they disagree with. Yet now they try to act appalled. 

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Filed under LIBERALS AND CONSERVATIVES, Neglected History, opinion

SPIELBERG … ANNE SPIELBERG

masc graveyard smallerSteven Spielberg’s sister Anne got her start as a producer for many of the cheapjack science fiction films of Robert Emenegger and Allan Sandler. She had worked with them – and Cameron Mitchell – as far back as 1975’s Death: The Ultimate Mystery. With apologies to fans of the original Doctor Who series, to me “E-Space” will always mean EMENEGGER SPACE, as in the Emenegger-verse of his series of movies in 1980 and 1981.

Emenegger Space is full of Grade Z special effects, bad acting, a few good ideas and an overall feel of striving for Alien and Star Trek levels but falling far, far short.  

Warp SpeedWARP SPEED (1981) – Set in the far-off year 2013 (!) this movie features the crew of a spaceship sent to determine what happened to the vanished crew of a multi-year mission to Saturn. The organization they serve is called Starfleet, which serves as a reminder that by 1981 there was just the original Star Trek series, its cartoon version and one movie, not the enormous universe of spin-offs that we have today. Point being that the term Starfleet was apparently open for use by other creators. Starfleet features in another Spielberg/ Emenegger/ Sandler joint, too.

Adam West plays Captain Lofton, the leader of the now-lost mission, and has assorted offspring of Cameron Mitchell backing him up in this movie. One such Mitchell, Camille, stars as Dr Janet Trask, a psychic who is sent into the abandoned Atlas vessel to investigate the cause of the crew’s disappearance.

Trask is outfitted with tech which sends back images of the psychic visions she receives of past events on the ghost-ship. Amid assorted David Lynch-style psychosexual interludes we see disaster strike the Atlas, followed by an aborted mission and ultimately a mutiny as the crew try to get the damaged craft back to the Earth. Continue reading

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OBJECT Z (1965): FORGOTTEN TELEVISION

Object ZOBJECT Z (1965) – Directed by Daphne Shadwell and written by Christopher McMaster, this was one of the many six-episode science fiction serials from British television of the 1950s and 1960s. The Quatermass serials are among the best remembered of those programs but there were also items like The Trollenberg Terror, a serial later adapted into the B-Movie The Crawling Eye.

If you’ve seen any of the other British programs like this you’ll know what to expect and whether or not you’ll enjoy this one. Personally I find them fun AND fun-bad all at once so to me they’re more than worth watching.

The storyline in Object Z involves the sighting of a distant space object which, as it draws nearer to the Earth, is determined to be at least six miles long and made of either stone or metal. Soon it becomes clear that it is going to collide with the Earth. Continue reading

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