Tag Archives: Balladeer’s Blog

THE WRECK OF A WORLD (1889): VINTAGE SCIENCE FICTION

The Wreck of a WorldTHE WRECK OF A WORLD (1889) – Written by W. Grove. (No other name available) This novel is the sequel to Grove’s A Mexican Mystery, an ahead-of-its-time work about a train engine devised to have artificial intelligence. The machine – called only The Engine in that story – rebelled and took to preying on human beings in horrific fashion. For Balladeer’s Blog’s review of that novel click HERE  

The Wreck of a World is not a direct sequel to A Mexican Mystery but does use one of that novel’s elements as its springboard: the deliciously frightening notion that the Engine’s artificial intelligence might have  included the capacity to design and build others of its kind. Though A Mexican Mystery never explored that concept, Grove deals with it in much more detail in this second novel.   

demon-1300-859-wallpaperOur story begins in what was to Grove “the far future” of 1949. After a fairly superficial depiction of the world’s political and scientific situation in this imaginary future the meat of the tale begins. All in all the author did not present 1940s technology as being much more advanced than what was available in the 1880s. Grove might have done better to set his tale in 1899 or just into the 1900s to detract from his lack of vision on this particular element.

The revolt of the machines begins with train engines, presumably as a nod to the memorably malevolent Engine from Grove’s previous novel. The engines begin constructing others of their kind with the same robotic arms and with each new edition flaunting deadlier and deadlier weaponry to boot.

The engines soon modify themselves beyond the need for train tracks and become more like tanks, so kudos to this neglected author for nicely predicting the advent of such mobile death-machines.   Continue reading

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XAVIER (LA) GOLD RUSH WIN FOUR OF FIVE VERSUS NCAA DIVISION ONE

XAVIERLANEW ORLEANS — For the fourth time in its last five attempts, Xavier University of Louisiana has defeated the University of New Orleans in men’s tennis.
      Tushar Mandlekar and Karan Salwan won in doubles and singles, and Antoine Richard and Moses Micheal saved the doubles point in the Gold Rush’s 4-3 victory at UNO Monday.
     XULA (11-5), ranked second in the NAIA, snapped a 2-dual losing streak but won its third in a row against an NCAA Division I opponent. It was the Gold Rush regular-season finale; next will be a May 17 dual match in the second round of the NAIA National Championship at Mobile, Ala. The NAIA will announce the 24 qualifying teams May 8 and the pairings and seedings May 9. Continue reading

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PSYCHO GOTHIC LOLITA (2010): MOVIE REVIEW

Psycho Gothic LolitaPSYCHO GOTHIC LOLITA (2010) – Also available under the title Gothic & Lolita Psycho, this ultra-violent and blood-soaked movie was Japanese filmmaker Go Ohara’s follow-up to Geisha Assassin from 2008.  

Rina Akiyama stars as Yuki, the black-clad title character whose fashion sense combines two Japanese fetish looks in one. The film begins with Yuki already enacting her revenge quest against a bizarre quintet of villainous supernatural figures. Disjointed flashbacks  provide background details as the story  unfolds, with the most crucial secret being withheld for last.  

In fact, I’ll give you my personal guarantee: if you aren’t as blown away as I was by this movie’s climactic revelation … I don’t know what you can do about it. (Just a little something for my fellow Marx Brothers fans out there.)

At any rate lovers of J-Horror know the type of surreal, over-the-top bloodletting and gory violence that awaits in Psycho Gothic Lolita. Yuki’s weapons of choice are umbrellas that are souped-up like the guitars in Once Upon A Time In Mexico and in many Spaghetti Westerns. If you don’t see the logic of her using modified umbrellas just remember it goes with her “look.”

Psycho Gothic Lolita 2Umbrellas are essential to Goth women to block out the sun and keep their skin pale, so Yuki makes a virtue out of fashion necessity by wielding high-tech bumbershoots that have razor-sharp points, shoot bullets like a machine-gun, are bullet-proof themselves and are stronger than steel. Burgess Meredith, eat your heart out!

Our main character expertly employs these weapons to impale, disembowel and shred her opponents to bloody, fleshy ribbons.  Yuki’s most blood-spattered move is to run a foe through with a closed umbrella, then open it while the victim is still clinging to life so they can feel their torso being torn apart by the opening of the umbrella. Look, you’re either committed to movies like this or you just aren’t.     Continue reading

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POLO: VALIENTE WINS U.S. OPEN TO COMPLETE POLO’S TRIPLE CROWN

Balladeer’s Blog continues its coverage of the world’s OLDEST team sport. FOR MY PRIMER ON POLO CLICK HERE  

Valiente 2017 u.s. open winCHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: VALIENTE VS ORCHARD HILL – Valiente – Official Balladeer’s Blog Nickname: The Valiants – came into this 114th U.S. Open having already won the first two titles in this year’s American Triple Crown. History was on the line as Valiente mounted up to face the Defending Open Champions from 2016, Orchard Hill – Official Balladeer’s Blog Nickname: The Clubmen.

valiente shirtFIRST CHUKKER – On the opening Toss-In of the Match Orchard Hill’s Facundo Pieres received a pass from Polito Pieres and swatted in a Goal. After that the Clubmen and Valiente would alternate scoring on Penalty Shots, ending the Chukker with things knotted up at 2 Goals apiece.

SECOND CHUKKER – With the intensity doubling this time around the two teams matched each other blow for blow and knocking in Goal for Goal. The score now stood at 4-4.

THIRD CHUKKER – Orchard Hill’s offense exploded in this Chukker, putting no less than FIVE Goals between the Uprights. For their part the Valiants managed just 2 Goals in return. The Clubmen headed into Halftime holding a 9-6 lead. Continue reading

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SAINT CLAIR COUNTY COLLEGE: COOL-NAMED SPORTS TEAMS

Saint Clair College SkippersSAINT CLAIR COUNTY COLLEGE SKIPPERS

Location: Port Huron, MI

Division: NJCAA (National Junior College Athletic Association)

Comment: You can insert your own Gilligan’s Island comment if you like, but I find the nickname Skippers to be Continue reading

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BEGOTTEN (1990): FILM REVIEW

BegottenBEGOTTEN (1990) – Written and directed by E. E. Merhige, this black and white art film runs 72 minutes. Merhige later directed Shadow of the Vampire, a surreal horror movie about the making of the silent film Nosferatu.

Begotten was grandly described by its creator as a depiction of “the death and rebirth of gods.” If that didn’t make critics and viewers of the time want to belt Merhige in his pretentious face then the movie itself did. Okay, I’m largely just joking with that remark, but I’m sincere when I say that Begotten IS one of those experimental films that practically dares viewers to dismiss it as nonsense masquerading as art. 

Begotten 2I like Begotten but if I was doing a promo blurb for it I would avoid its director’s lofty tagline and instead use something like “It begins with God committing suicide … Then it gets weird.”

The opening several minutes of this movie – the portion where God does indeed kill itself – have been all over YouTube for well over a decade. The footage seems to have inspired many of the creepy, black and white, nonsensically macabre videos that uploaders post when trying to start an Alternate Reality Game or just to get easy hits from sheer weirdness.  (Think of Plague Doctor masks and such.)     Continue reading

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BLACK CONDOR: THE OFFICIAL SUPERHERO OF BALLADEER’S BLOG

Black CondorRegular readers of Balladeer’s Blog know that words like eccentric, oddball, offbeat, weird and damn crazy come to mind when describing me. So, that being the case the most appropriate superhero mascot for this site is the Black Condor.

That’s the Golden Age Black Condor, who debuted in 1940 and is now in the public domain, not the newer comic book characters going by that name. The original Black Condor appeals to me in the same way that bad movies do. Here are the six reasons why this figure has long been my favorite weirdass Golden Age superhero:

ONE: HE STARRED IN A COMIC BOOK TITLED CRACK COMICS! Yep. Crack Comics number 1 marked the first appearance of the Black Condor. Very appropriate for a hero whose whole story sounds like it was inspired by smoking a crack pipe. Continue reading

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