How to Kill a Bar

Dave Sim, creator and writer of the cult comic Cerebus, despite going completely around the bend in recent years, once wrote something very sensible. “Never fall in love with a bar.” This is good advice. Hang around one place long enough, and that bar a person has come to spend so much time in will do the unthinkable. It will change. Favorite staff will leave, choosing to get on with their lives rather than spend their nights feeding the regulars drinks. (Who can blame them? Spending too much time in a bar is bad for a person’s health. Working in one is just no way to live.) The owner will get it in his head to remodel this or that, making everything clean, polished, and prefab. Maybe they will even install windows in the front where there were none before (A truly seismic shift. Depending on how one feels, this is akin either to a facelift, or a horribly disfiguring car accident.). The point is, to a person in love with a bar, any small change can feel like a betrayal. Months or years have been spent acclimating to a bar’s very specific atmosphere. It becomes the reason to go to that particular spot, and when it changes, the process has to begin again. Eventually, change accumulates to the point where a person has been abandoned by their bar, and they have to seek out someplace new. Continue reading “How to Kill a Bar”

October Horrorshow, Retroactive: Prince of Darkness

Victor Wong will kick your ass with a chopstick and a can of Shasta.

This is attempt number five. The fifth time I’ve begun a review of John Carpenter’s Prince of Darkness. Hopefully, I’ll be able to finish this effort. Suppose I start with a declarative statement, then justify it with an argument? Sounds like a plan. Continue readingOctober Horrorshow, Retroactive: Prince of Darkness”

Chlorine Stings the Eyes

The pool at the Tallmadge YWCA was divided into three sections when the kids from the summer day camp had their afternoon swims. The shallow end, the middle, and the deep end. There were about thirty of us, maybe more, six and seven year olds all the way up to fourteen year olds — teenagers who walked among us like gods. All morning long we were packed into a room at the top of a bleak set of stairs and locked in, doing who knows what. I don’t remember. Board games. Activities. But every afternoon, if we weren’t off somewhere on a field trip, it was down to the pool, after lunch had been given an appropriate time to settle, of course. Continue reading “Chlorine Stings the Eyes”

Shitty Movie Sundays: Starship Troopers 3: Marauder

Starship Troopers 3: MarauderI’ve never met a movie I wouldn’t watch. That must be the reason I looked at this dog there in the iTunes store, staring really, wondering, was I really going to do it? Was I really going to spend $2.99 of my hard-earned cash to rent Starship Troopers 3? I wish I could write that watching my hand move the mouse and click on the ‘rent’ button was like an out of body experience, one over which I had no control. But really, I just said to myself, “Aw, fuck it. Why not?”

The first Starship Troopers seemed to have a mission to try and be everything to everyone. Big budget blockbuster, b-movie extraordinaire, sci-fi/horror bloodfest, social/political commentary, etc. It excelled as a movie, it stunk as a film. The bad acting could melt glass, the hot bodies could fire sagging libidos. It was a ridiculous film, and I have no clue how I feel about it. The first sequel was an Alien rip-off that just wanted to cash in on a name. Continue readingShitty Movie Sundays: Starship Troopers 3: Marauder”

Meritocracy, Anyone? – Part 2

If ever there were a more comical sideshow in American politics currently than the plight of Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich, I can’t think of it. The economy is continuing its downward spiral, Congress has effectively checked itself out until the new year, and South Asia is reasserting itself as the most dangerous part of the world, much to the consternation of American foreign policy. Yet the ineptness and strangely frank and upfront attempts at corruption displayed by Governor Blagojevich have pushed all that bleakness aside. Continue reading “Meritocracy, Anyone? – Part 2”

The Empty Balcony: Jarhead & Generation Kill

Marines can be grossly immature. In point of fact, that’s a generalization which can be made about members of all the four services, but especially Marines. A young grunt’s slang and mannerisms are by design repugnant, frequently homophobic or faux homoerotic, and sometimes racist. The young Marine is the very personification of testosterone run wild, machismo fueled by hormones thrown all out of whack by age, temperament, and environment. The young can be crazed and inelegant all on their own, but military training hones these traits to a fine edge, a bizarre side effect of turning what was a boy into a highly efficient killing machine. Continue readingThe Empty Balcony: Jarhead & Generation Kill”

Meritocracy, Anyone?

New York State Governor David Paterson has an interesting problem. The state’s junior senator, Hillary Clinton, will soon be leaving her post to take up duties as the next Secretary of State, and the burden of choosing someone to finish her term has fallen on Mr. Paterson. To put it politely, politics in New York State is disgusting. It is dysfunctional, frequently corrupt, and mostly inept. It usually serves to unapologetically further the ambitions of individuals over their constituents, and there is little reason to believe, despite Governor Paterson’s good reputation, that the selection of the state’s next Senator will be any different. Continue reading “Meritocracy, Anyone?”