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BEST OF JANUARY 2019

The end of the year always brings with it retrospectives on the preceding months. We’ll start off with this sampling of January’s Best.

Alan Bates -better Flashman than MalcolmHARRY FLASHMAN NOVELS – My reviews of George MacDonald Fraser’s series of Flashman novels have been very popular items. January saw three items:

FLASHMAN (1969) – CLICK HERE

FLASHMAN AND THE REDSKINS (1982) – CLICK HERE 

FLASHMAN ON THE GOLD COAST – CLICK HERE 

robert gintyROBERT GINTY MOVIE MARATHON – Six of the most psychotronic movies from the one and only Robert Ginty.

White Fire, The Exterminator, Warrior of the Lost World, Goldraiders, Exterminator 2 and ScarabCLICK HERE

PUCK MAGAZINE: ROBBER BARONS THEN AND NOW – CLICK HERE

PUCK MAGAZINE: THEODORE ROOSEVELT – CLICK HERE

masc graveyard newFACULTY LOUNGE FASCIST ROUNDUP: JANUARY 21st – Yet another look at the Theater of the Absurd known as the United States “Educational” System. CLICK  HERE

DENNIS QUAID FILM FESTIVAL – Five films of the biggest DQ this side of Dairy Queen. CLICK HERE 

SHARYL ATTKISSON ON FALSE STORIES IN THE “NEWS” – CLICK HERE 

gentleman jekyll and driver hydeGENTLEMAN JEKYLL AND DRIVER HYDE (1950) – One of Canada’s most bizarrely entertaining film shorts. CLICK HERE  

MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY QUIZ – CLICK HERE

parsifal mosaicTHE PARSIFAL MOSAIC (1982) – My review of the Robert Ludlum novel. CLICK HERE

THE SPANISH CIVIL WAR – From one of my replies to reader questions. CLICK HERE Continue reading

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Filed under Bad and weird movies, Education or Indoctrination, humor, LIBERALS AND CONSERVATIVES, opinion, Pulp Heroes

BARBIE IN A CHRISTMAS CAROL: (2008)

Balladeer’s Blog’s TENTH Annual Christmas Carol-A-Thon continues! Yes, it’s the Christmas Carol adaptation NOBODY asked for … not even KEN!

Barbie in a Christmas CarolBARBIE IN A CHRISTMAS CAROL (2008) – Mattel provides us with a plastic version of the Carol in a plastic cartoon about its plastic creation Barbie. Just as Mr Magoo was an actor portraying Scrooge in Mr Magoo’s Christmas Carol, Barbie is the story-teller relating the tale to her younger sister Kelly.  

As in A Diva’s Christmas Carol the Scrooge stand-in here is a female singing star – Eden Starling. Eden’s mean-spirited Aunt Marie has spent a lifetime molding the young songstress into an equally unpleasant figure complete with Aunt Marie’s credo: “In a selfish world, the selfish succeed.” Continue reading

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KILLRAVEN TWENTY: DEATH’S DARK DREAMER

FOR PART ONE OF BALLADEER’S BLOG’S EXAMINATION OF THIS OLD, OLD MARVEL COMICS STORYLINE CLICK HERE  The revisions I would make are scattered throughout the synopsis below.

killraven dream domeAMAZING ADVENTURES Vol 2 #38 (September 1976)

Title: Death’s Dark Dreamer

Killraven and his Freemen continue their guerilla war against Earth’s alien conquerors of the future.

NOTE: Another fill-in issue by Bill Mantlo and Keith Giffen. Once again I’m having to adjust the order of a fill-in issue like I did with Sing Out Loudly … Death awhile back. This undated fill-in issue was originally set in Miami but because we have Killraven and his Freemen’s adventures in other parts of Florida ahead of us – including the Killraven graphic novel from the early 1980s – I am instead setting it in Prosperity, SC. I’m setting it in November to place it between October’s The 24-Hour Man and December’s Red Dust Legacy.

Unrevised story: The lone Killraven has “ridden ahead of ” his Freemen in response to some troubling feelings he’s having courtesy of The Power, a pre-Star Wars variation of the Force. Riding his pinkish-red scaled stallion he has come upon a large domed structure at seaside. Continue reading

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CHARLEMAGNE: HOW ROLAND AND OGIER BECAME PALADINS

CharlemagneThough Charlemagne was a real historical figure, a body of folkore has risen around him and his Paladins (knights). Part of that folklore was that the Pope crowned Charlemagne as the new Holy Roman Emperor on Christmas Day, even though the crowning really took place the following February. Since the story of Charlemagne’s crowning as Emperor was told as a Christmas story for centuries I always use Christmas time to examine him and his Paladins.

To start Round Three of Balladeer’s Blog’s look at Charlemagne lore I’ll examine some tales of the young Roland (Orlando to the Italians). Last December I covered Charlemagne’s reunion with his long-lost sister and her son Roland.

Roland storyHOW ROLAND AND OGIER BECAME PALADINS – The Emperor could not expect his nephew to immediately step into service as a Paladin, since he had a great deal to learn. Charlemagne placed him as a Page in the household of Duke Namo of Bavaria, where Roland began his career alongside many other young nobles.

Roland had to learn to curb his independent ways since he had up until then done as he pleased while stealing to feed himself and his mother. The young man adjusted, and learned courtly ways so well that he became a favorite of Duke Namo.

At age fourteen Roland became a Squire and began training for warfare in earnest. He learned how to handle swords and lances and how to care for the armor of the Paladin he served as a Squire. Horsemanship, hunting and swimming were also part of his education. Continue reading

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF AND BOWL RESULTS FROM DECEMBER 7th

NJCAA

Mississippi Gulf Coast Bulldogs helmet NEWNATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME – The number 1 team in the nation – the MISSISSIPPI GULF COAST COLLEGE BULLDOGS – took on the 2nd ranked LACKAWANNA COLLEGE FALCONS for the NJCAA crown. A 7-0 Bulldogs lead in the 1st Quarter became a 13-10 advantage for the Falcons by Halftime. Neither team scored in the 3rd Quarter but Mississippi Gulf Coast exploded in the 4th to win the game 24-13. * THE BULLDOGS ARE NJCAA CHAMPIONS *

NAIA

Morningside MustangsFIRST SEMIFINAL – The MORNINGSIDE COLLEGE MUSTANGS, the defending National Champions, hosted the GRAND VIEW UNIVERSITY VIKINGS (should be the Zebras). The Mustangs were up 7-3 in the opening Quarter but trailed the Vikings 13-7 at the Half. The 3rd Quarter ended in a 21-13 Morningside College lead and from there Grand View U mustered just a Field Goal as the Mustangs notched a 21-16 victory. Continue reading

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THE MERCURY THEATER’S CHRISTMAS CAROL (1938)

Balladeer’s Blog’s TENTH Annual Christmas Carol-A-Thon continues!

Mercury Theater Christmas Carol 1938THE MERCURY THEATER PRESENTS A CHRISTMAS CAROL – In 1938, the same year as the Mercury Theater’s legendary War of the Worlds radio broadcast, came this presentation of the Dickens classic.

By December 23rd, the date of the Christmas Carol broadcast, the radio show had gained a sponsor and was technically called Campbell Playhouse, but the Mercury Theater affiliation was still well-known.

I prefer the 1938 Mercury Theater version to the 1939 version. In 1938 Orson Welles narrated AND played Ebenezer Scrooge, while in 1939 Welles narrated but the venerable Lionel Barrymore, in poor health, limped along as Scrooge. It’s not Barrymore’s fault, of course, but that is why the 1939 version edits down Scrooge’s lines so much to spare Lionel. Filler material was thrown in at the end to pad out the on-air performance since so much was cut.   Continue reading

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COTTABUS PLAYERS (CIRCA 420s B.C.): ANCIENT GREEK COMEDY

Balladeer’s Blog examines yet another ancient Greek comedy which has survived only in fragmentary form.

Theater of Dionysus

The Ruins of the Theater of Dionysus in Athens.

COTTABUS PLAYERS (c 420s B.C.) – This comedy was written by Ameipsias, whose career as an Athenian comic poet ran from approximately the 420s B.C. to the 390s B.C. In the Dionysia Festival of 423 B.C. he won 2nd Place for his comedy Connus and in 414 B.C’s Dionysia he won 1st place for The Revelers. Ameipsias also won 1st place at a Lenaea Festival but the year and title of his entry are not known.

Regular readers of Balladeer’s Blog will remember that Cottabus was a party game in ancient Athens and had two variations. The “lesser” variation involved the hard-drinking guests (and virtually ALL guests at ancient Athenian parties were hard-drinking) throwing the wine-lees at the bottoms of their cups at a plate balanced on a pole, with the winner being the one who knocked the plate off the pole.

masc chair and bottleThe “greater” variation, to the proud, sea-faring Athenians, who “ruled the waves” long before Britons came along, involved throwing their wine-lees at plates floating in a pool, with the winner being the one who sank each plate. This small-scale equivalent of naval warfare was, according to Athenaeus, the more prestigious version and was characteristic of a more “high-end” party.

The all-important Chorus of this comedy by Ameipsias was presumably a set of rowdy, drunken Cottabus players. Let’s take a look at what can be gleaned from the surviving fragments:

** The comedy’s characters were SO drunk (“How drunk were they?”) they were using their projectile vomiting instead of wine-lees to sink the floating plates.      Continue reading

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