Monthly Archives: April 2021

EIGHT JAMES WOODS MOVIES

James Woods is like a force of nature. When he’s on the screen he virtually blows away most of the people with whom he shares that screen. His staggering versatility also marks him as one of the few true actors in the industry. Here are some of the movies which harnessed Hurricane Woods:

VideodromeVIDEODROME (1983)

Role: Max Renn, cable television entrepreneur

Comment: Sorry to start with such an obvious choice but I’m amazed that there are still people out there who haven’t seen this movie. David Cronenberg’s patented body horror and other surreal visuals needed a thespian who wouldn’t fade into the woodwork among them. Woods as the intense, sleazy Max Renn fit the bill perfectly.

James proved you don’t need to be twitchy and leering to portray a character who is virtually amoral in his pursuit of money, kinky thrills, Deborah Harry … and the ultimate underground broadcast called Videodrome. Anticipating the Deep Web, there was this magnificent film about how – before the internet came along – it was cable television that was considered a doorway to the forbidden and the depraved.

A cable titillation peddler tries to locate and strike a broadcast deal with a seeming Snuff Show called Videodrome. The sinister parties behind the pirate broadcast are the ultimate villains for the time period, and Cronenberg’s treatment of them shows that SUBTLETY can be more effective than hammering your audience over the head. LONG LIVE THE NEW FLESH!   Continue reading

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A.D.A.M. (1973) FORGOTTEN TELEVISION

A.D.A.M.A.D.A.M. (1973) – Written by Donald Jonson and directed by Michael Lindsay-Hogg, this made for British tv item served as an episode of ITV Sunday Night Theater on April 8th, 1973. The story is part science fiction and part horror with the A.D.A.M. of the title being an acronym for a super-computer called an Automated Domestic Appliance Monitor.

A.D.A.M. (voiced by Anthony Jackson) is basically the Smart Home from hell and was designed by military engineer Roger Empson (Mark Jones) to run the household and care for his physically disabled wife Jean (Georgina Hale). The computer system turns sinister, acquires independent thought and “falls in love” with Jean. Continue reading

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THE CAVERN OF FIRE (1888): ANCIENT SCIENCE FICTION

boys of new yorkTHE CAVERN OF FIRE (1888) – Written by Francis W Doughty. This novel was originally serialized in The Boys of New York from September 15th to November 3rd of 1888. The main character is Professor Hardcastle, head of Merton College in Illinois. Hardcastle’s pet theory over the years has been that America’s mound builders were really from ancient Greece.

At long last he gets some proof of his belief when a tornado not only slams Merton College but also tears open one of the aged mounds in question. Hardcastle, his student Jack Merton and their Chinese aide John Foo discover an iron chest in the opened mound. The chest contains leather pages which, when translated by the professor, are revealed to feature the account of an ancient Greek adventurer named Polyxaphanes.

Polyxaphanes explored far northern caverns leading deep into the Earth, past the realm of the Hyperboreans and ultimately surfacing amid the Toltecs of what is now Mexico. From there the resourceful Greek eventually found his way to America. Hardcastle, Merton and Foo set off in a lighter than air balloon to search for the Mexican end of the vast subterranean cavern system described by Polyxaphanes. Continue reading

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TRUMP VINDICATED AGAIN AS ANOTHER FALSE MEDIA STORY IS EXPOSED

democrat republican or awakeHere at Independent Voter site Balladeer’s Blog I can certainly understand hostile feelings toward given presidents. Regular readers know how much I despise George W Bush and Barack Obama, but I also pointed out when I thought negative stories about them were absurdly over the top. With de facto Third Party President Donald Trump it’s like the media did nothing BUT absurdly over the top stories about him that fell apart under the most casual scrutiny. This most recent example involves the lie about Russia and bounties (links below) which turned out to be as untrue as all of the “Russian collusion” nonsense. 

sharyl attkisson picNon-partisan journalist Sharyl Attkisson, the Ida Tarbell of the 21st Century, has catalogued well over ONE HUNDRED negative Trump stories which were proven to be false, yet still get repeated by unstable anti-Trump loons as if they were true. 

Recently, even more news stories have surfaced regarding JUDGES RULING THAT DEMOCRATS VIOLATED ELECTION LAWS BY COUNTING MAIL-IN BALLOTS WHICH ARRIVED AFTER ELECTION DAY WITH NO POSTMARK or by Democrat governors making unilateral changes to election law in their state – changes which by law MUST be done by the state’s legislature. Obviously, nobody can go back and exclude all those ballots at this late date since most evidence has not been preserved. That’s because of Democrats and their media outlets insisting over and over that Trump was “lying” when he pointed out the widespread 2020 vote fraud, and pretending the fraud stories had been “debunked” or “discredited” even though various cases were – and are – still working their way through the system.

mascot donkey and republican headsNow come revelations about the utter falsehood of last year’s media hit pieces claiming that Putin was offering bounties to Taliban troops in Afghanistan, and that Trump was aware of it and did nothing. Now the media – and America’s forever-vile “intelligence community” – have walked back those ridiculous claims. THE BOUNTY OFFERS NEVER HAPPENED, so there was nothing for Trump to know, but hey, they got to damage Trump close to the election by implying he answered to Putin and was letting him offer bounties on U.S. troops.

One of the reasons I USED TO BE a Democrat was because Democrats used to openly criticize the dishonesty and vile behavior of America’s rightfully despised intelligence community, but in recent years the Democrats have sold out and are fine with repulsive behavior from the intelligence services if the behavior benefits their political party.

Just like the media claimed Trump was lying about the Biden Family scandals, especially involving Hunter Biden, only to recently backtrack and admit that they were wrong. Big Tech even censored remarks by Trump and/or his supporters last year calling attention to those scandals on the grounds that it was supposed “election misinformation.”

corporate mediaBack to the Russian Bounty lies – here’s an excerpt from a terrific article (link below) about that miscarriage of intelligence work and “journalism.” FAKE NEWS is an accurate description of what America’s corporate media inflicts on the public.

“If the Russia Bounty Hoax is not the final straw for those who still rely on the corporate media for news, you obviously enjoy being lied to and misinformed. This is how it works: In an effort to meddle in a presidential election, some lying, anonymous Deep Stater leaks deliberate misinformation to the far-left New York Times. The Times uncritically publishes what it knows is disinformation. The rest of the corporate media spend days spreading what they know is a lie. The target of the lie, in this case President Trump, denies the story. The corporate media fact checkers declare him a liar with the full boat of four Pinocchios.” 

“And then…

Long after it no longer matters…

The fake media tell the truth — that it was all a lie.”

“Back in July, the left-wing propagandists at the Times published this pile of obvious horseshit: “Russia Secretly Offered Afghan Militants Bounties to Kill U.S. Soldiers” (I don’t link fake news). The goal of this attack on Trump was the claim he knew about it and did nothing. The obvious narrative is that Trump cares more about Putin than our troops.

corporate media lies“At the time the Russia Bounty story was an obvious and blatant lie, an unconfirmed report, a manufactured narrative to undermine one of Trump’s many presidential strengths — in this case, his affection for the U.S. military and his string of foreign policy success at making the world a safer and more peaceful place.

Again and again and again, this is how the corporate media use fake news … They find or invent a source to tell them a lie they are desperate to report, then the rest of the scumbags — the entire institution of the corporate media — coordinates to go hog-wild with it so the lie consumes the news for days and weeks. Then the Democrats go hog-wild with it. Then, when the target of lies denies the lie, the fraudulent fact checkers go to work.” 

FOR THE REST OF THE ARTICLE AND LINKS TO OTHER NEWS ITEMS ABOUT THE RUSSIAN BOUNTIES LIE Continue reading

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFFS: FIRST ROUND RESULTS

After all the postponements last fall, NAIA football teams were finally able to finish regular season play over the past couple of months and moved on to the playoffs yesterday.

Baker U Wildcats helmetROUND ONE: GAME ONE – The BAKER UNIVERSITY WILDCATS hosted the OLIVET NAZARENE UNIVERSITY TIGERS (should be the Purple Tigers). By Halftime in this shootout the score was knotted up at 24-24. The 3rd Quarter ended with the Tigers on top 41-38 but the Wildcats came from behind to win the game in the 4th. The final score was Baker U 59  Olivet Nazarene 54.

Northwestern College Red RaidersROUND ONE: GAME TWO – This game pitted the NORTHWESTERN (IA) COLLEGE RED RAIDERS against the visiting DICKINSON STATE BLUE HAWKS. The Red Raiders parlayed a 7-0 1st Quarter lead into a 17-7 advantage by the Half. After the break Northwestern College shut out the Blue Hawks while adding 14 more points of their own for an authoritative 31-7 triumph. Continue reading

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FOOL KILLER FIFTY-FIVE: APRIL 1912

Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of the many facets of Fool Killer lore. FOR PART ONE, INCLUDING THE HISTORICAL CONTEXT IN THE 1850s, CLICK HERE  

Fool Killer with staff and Bowie knifePART FIFTY-FIVE – Here is a look at some of the Fool Killer’s targets in the April of 1912 edition of James Larkin Pearson’s version of the character:

*** The Steel Trust – Andrew Carnegie, J.P. Morgan, John Rockefeller and other “Big Ikes of the Steel Trust”, as Pearson and his Fool Killer called them. The bloated rich pigs were in the news again because – just like today’s corporate rich pigs at Google, Facebook, Twitter and others they were being called out on their prejudiced behavior and their contempt for the notion that Congress or the Stanley Committee or anyone else could hold them accountable.

              They had recently boasted that they were above nations because without their steel the U.S. and some other countries could not wage war or engage in engineering & construction projects or build cargo ships, railroads, etc. Whistleblowers at the steel companies had recently made public statements about the ways the Steel Trust collaborated to control steel prices, EXCLUDE COMPETITION and undertake other acts in violation of Anti-Trust laws at what they called “Gary Dinners.” Testimony from 55 figures had already been heard.

              Another way they were just as disgusting as today’s Big Tech/ Technofascists was the way that untold numbers of SUBPOENAED DOCUMENTS HAD BEEN DESTROYED BY THE CORPORATIONS INVOLVED (like privileged white one-percenter Hillary Clinton flagrantly destroyed so much of the evidence against her). Those documents allegedly contained proof that Steel Trust figures had not only violated the law but had committed perjury in their courtroom testimony. Corporate fascists like Jack Dorsey, Mark Zuckerberg and others seem to slither the same way no matter the time period.

Fool Killer Red*** Judges and other high officials who betrayed their public trusts. He favored the recall process for judges as well as others. 

*** Tobacco companies plus tobacco users like smokers and snuff-chewers. Continue reading

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THE CLOCK: THE FIRST TWENTY STORIES FROM THE 1930s

Clock chaseBefore Batman, before Captain America and even before Superman himself, came the Clock, written and drawn by George E Brenner. The Clock was the first masked crimefighter in comic books, debuting in 1936, while the much more popular Batman didn’t come along until 1939. I’m not pointing that out to diss Batman, but to point out what a shame it is that the Clock seems to have been forgotten by most of the world. The figure is pretty much the middle character between Pulp heroes like the Shadow and the Moon Man and comic book superheroes. The Clock’s influence on Will Eisner’s iconic character the Spirit is obvious.

clock and pugTHE CLOCK

Secret Identity: Brian O’Brien

First Appearance: Funny Pages Vol 1 #6 (November 1936) His final Golden Age appearance came in 1944.

Origin: Brian O’Brien was born into the wealthy O’Brien family of New York City. The adventurous youth loved flying in early biplanes and served in World War One as a fighter pilot. After the war he went to college where he became an All-American Fullback, then moved on to Law School. Following graduation he was a fixture on the High Society polo scene while eventually becoming a District Attorney.

O’Brien gained a reputation as a crusading anti-crime figure but ultimately the extensive corruption in New York City politics and law enforcement frustrated any true attempts at reform. He retired from his D.A. career and, while seemingly returning to his carefree socialite life, secretly adopted the masked identity of the Clock to fight crime through bypassing the city’s systemic corruption. At first only his father knew about his dual identity.

clock fightPowers: The Clock was the prototype for the countless non-powered costumed crimefighters to come. He was in peak physical condition and was a master of unarmed combat. He possessed the agility of an Olympic gymnast and was a marksman with the handgun he carried into action with him. In addition he was a master detective and investigator whose knowledge of the law helped him compile evidence against his foes. 

              This hero’s mask had white eyeholes which allowed him to see in the dark and its fabric would filter out the effects of the knockout gas and teargas his tie-pin could shoot at opponents. The Clock’s cane was a durable weapon in combat plus it featured a few gadgets, like being able to fire its round top at opponents with the force of a bullet. His hat sported a metal lining to help minimize damage from blows to the head and he sometimes wore body armor under his suit and tie. Clock time-bombs which filled entire rooms with knockout gas or tear gas were on occasion employed by this figure.

              O’Brien called himself the Clock just to fit his Pulp-style calling cards which said “The CLOCK has struck” and similar phrases. In later years he would have sidekicks like Pug, an ex-boxer and Butch, a tomboyish teenage girl.        

clock pics1. FUNNY PAGES Vol 1 #6 (November 1936) – #9 (March 1937)

Title: The Clock Strikes

Villains: The Slick Martin Gang 

Synopsis: The Clock handles his first case, tracking down a gang of three bank robbers, outfighting and capturing them all and leaving his calling card identifying himself as the Clock. He also phones Police Captain Kane and tells him where to find the bound and unconscious Slick Martin and Butch.

              In the edgy ending, our hero turns Killer Katz, the gang member who shot a man dead during the gang’s most recent robbery, over to a vengeful mob led by the brother of the slain man. They beat him to death and the newspapers are all speculating on who the Clock may be. We get our first glimpse of our hero’s fairly plush secret office as he writes down the details of this case.    Continue reading

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ASK BALLADEER: CORPORATE FASCISM

mascot donkey and republican headsFor obvious reasons given recent events, overseas readers have been asking me how America has fallen victim to so much Corporate Fascism. As always, I’m humbled by the way some of them point to my contempt for both our major political parties as the reason why they put stock in my opinions on such issues. (And remember, I never maintain that my view is the only one, just that mine is not based on party politics since I despise the career politicians from both parties.) 

Let’s start with the basics – long ago corporate fascists and other bloated rich pigs tended to gravitate toward the Republicans. However, the clueless Republican leadership understands nothing but money, while the Democrats understand power and its use.

Money follows power, so corporate fascists therefore naturally gravitated more and more to the Democrats, who not only get the corporate fascists what they want but manage to make them look civic-minded in the process. Conversely, if rich pigs don’t play ball with the Democrat fascists the Democrats use their media outlets to smear those rich pigs to the point of ruin.

Take the NFL, MLB and NBA for starters. Years ago the national conversation about brain-dead professional athletes was dominated by scandals about the use of performance-enhancing drugs, cheating, law-breaking, fixing and ESPECIALLY violence against women. Mostly domestic abuse and rape. The NFL was also facing endless problems due to the concussion issue and its possible negligence. 

Years down the road, we see that as long as the NFL, MLB, NBA and others are willing to become louder and louder shills for the Democrats’ pet issues of the moment those negatives like domestic abuse don’t get discussed much – if at all – anymore. It’s another way the buffoonish Republican leadership’s failure to keep up with the Democrats in the Media Arms Race leads to defeats in other arenas. Republicans worry about “splitting audience share” while Democrats shrewdly concentrate on saturating the nation with their talking points no matter the cost in mere money. 

At present the NBA in particular is down there with scum like I.G. Farben since the NBA is in bed with the Chinese Concentration Camps and the slave labor used to make NBA merchandise. But the Democrats’ media outlets provide cover for the NBA, NFL and MLB since those leagues are basically Democrat Campaign Organizations now.

Nike and Disney have their own horrific ties to Chinese Concentration Camps and slave labor but the Democrats’ media outlets provide cover for Nike and Disney since they own many Democrats in office. 

Democrat fascismBack to athletics, Corporate Sports don’t just publicize the issues the Democrats want publicized they even advocate for or condemn particular political candidates AND SPECIFIC PIECES OF LEGISLATION now. Democrats who get elected with the aid of such support are not likely to pass legislation hurting their corporate fascist allies in the major sports franchises. And the Corporate Sports Leagues know that political favors will keep coming as long as they mouth Democrat talking points. The clueless buffoons who run the Republican Party are irrelevant because of their mindless reverence for “the Free Market” (LMAO). 

Another way that Corporate Sports help the Democrats is by circumventing political contribution laws. Say the Democrats’ media outlets pump up interest in a particular issue. The corporate fascists of the corporate sports world can “donate” countless MILLIONS of dollars to organizations which the Democrat media outlets promote as “socially concerned” organizations fighting for “positive change.”

Those allegedly socially concerned organizations can funnel many of those funds to Democrat politicians by way of third and fourth party organizations pretending to be “non-partisan” and socially conscious. Continue reading

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THE RATINGS GAME (1984): FILM REVIEW

Ratings GameTHE RATINGS GAME (1984) – Danny DeVito directed and starred in this telefilm – now being re-released under the vague-to-the-point-of-meaningless title The Mogul, which was produced by Showtime back when they and HBO Films were emerging as a genuine creative force in original content.

That era saw HBO Films churn out many made-for-cable movies that reflected studio-level production values and often adapted fictional and non-fictional properties that neither networks nor Hollywood felt like tackling at the time.

Telefilms like And The Band Played On, Barbarians at the Gate, Gotti, Kissinger and Nixon plus many, many others received critical acclaim AND proved commercially successful when released on video or in syndication to – ironically – network television.  

Ratings Game bThe Ratings Game – written by Jim Mulholland and Michael Barrie – was a perfectly respectable satire on the network television ratings system but it has become unjustly forgotten. The change of title for its latest release seems like a desperate attempt to change the telefilm’s fortunes. 

Personally I really like The Ratings Game. It definitely qualifies as one for my list of Aristophanes Now productions, in this case because it captures the feel of the Parathespian Comedies from Attic Old Comedy. (But let’s face it, it would probably have been written by Strattis instead of Aristophanes.)

Part of the reason for this telefilm’s obscurity may be the way it satirized the flaws in the network ratings system. This flick was released when Nielsen and similar ratings outfits still often used a mere 1,100-1,200 participating homes to extrapolate the ratings numbers on which television programs lived or died.    Continue reading

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF MATCHUPS FOR SATURDAY

April is a strange month for football playoffs, but last fall’s interrupted season caused postponements. Here are the matchups for this Saturday’s opening round of the NAIA postseason.

Bethel (KS) ThreshersLindsey_Wilson_KYLINDSEY WILSON COLLEGE BLUE RAIDERS

host the BETHEL COLLEGE THRESHERS

 

Northwestern College Red RaidersDickinson State Blue Hawks helmet NEWNORTHWEST (IA) COLLEGE RED RAIDERS

host the DICKINSON STATE BLUE HAWKS

 

Arizona Christian Univ helmet GOODKeiser SeahawksKEISER UNIVERSITY SEAHAWKS

host the ARIZONA CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY FIRESTORM

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