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I am a part-time author of dollarbinhorror.blogspot.com...short story and novel writer. I've found true love with the one I love.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Stardate 0428.10

And so, like all good times, my mini-vacation comes to an end and it's back to bizzaro world, ugh :-(

Another Descent Into...

My Breakfast With Chris Jacques-
*In James Lipton voice* I would like to share with you reader a recent blog post from my next guest. I feel as if this one of the most heartfelt, passionate writings I have read in quite awhile.

I hate to beat a dead horse, especially when that dead horse is my father. For a single man, a man who didn’t do a ton while he was here and a man who lived a rather short life, I sure do write about him a lot. But he has to be here, this time at least, as he figures into this story, too. He figures into a lot of them, it seems. I guess that, despite not living a life full of the fame and grand importance he wanted, he did live one of being loved by his friends and having an incredibly keen sense of dramatic entrances and exits.

Well, this story begins with one of his exits. He died on the 11th of August, 1992…or maybe the morning of the 12th, about 1:45 am. That, I don’t remember. We had the funeral, and Mr. & Mrs. Winston both showed up…

…quick aside: for the 2nd 1/2 of my 4th grade school-year, and all of my 5th grade school year, I was plucked out of the public school system and placed in a school called Samaritan House for Boys. It was a Christian school for wayward and unruly youth, where corporal punishment was dealt with glee. Mr. and Mrs. Winston were the housemasters there, along with their little poodle, a cute black pup named Deuteronomy.

I got sent there because I might very well have been an absolute monster of a child, although the years pass and it seems more like the coincidence of my arrival at the school and our family’s conversion from the Catholic to Lutheran faiths (and the connection that our Lutheran church had with this school) was much more expertly orchestrated than I could have imagined.

Simply put, in 1990, my family went bankrupt. My dad was super sick and needed over $3000 of medications to keep him alive each month. My mom was a hard-working nurse with an insurance plan, but insurance has and always will only cover so much. The family doctors helped with free samples. The pharamacists helped with programs, generics where they could, bargains, running tabs, small, credit card-free monthly payments…and it still wasn’t enough. Dad had disability, Mom worked so hard that she gave up dreams of a great life (which she deserved and still deserves) to work her job and take care of the man she loved. She didn’t re-marry. She loved being a nurse with all of her heart, and she loved my father with more than that. She’s the best woman I’ll ever know, and she was ultimately powerless to do anything but watch him die that night. She stood there, screaming and crying and my father turned as pale as any flesh I’ve ever seen. He died, and she lost. Powerless.

12 days later, school had just begun, I believe. I was wearing my dad’s clothes to school (as I know I’ve mentioned before) because I got very fat very quickly. My mom didn’t even take time to grieve; she went right back to work after only a few days, right back to the hospital where we took my father, her husband to die. School had just begun, but they shut us down and were looking to evacuate the area, because a Category 5 hurricane called Andrew was heading straight for us.

The trajectory, as it had been for days prior, was for the eye to eventually make landfall over Jupiter, FL, which is about 35 miles south of where my family has lived for almost all of my life. My mother took me to work with her, as she’d undoubtedly have to work non-stop, should this hurricane hit. With no electricity, with scarce supplies and death everywhere, she’d have had to work to help the sick. If she was sick, injured, she’d have had to patch up and help everyone else…and she would. I don’t lie, and I don’t exaggerate when I say that my mother is the best woman I’ll ever know; she has since retired from nursing, but in her day, she did it all, and she loved her job more than anyone I’ve ever met in any job they’ve ever performed.

We were staying in the Port St. Lucie Medical Center, the local hospital, and it was rated to sustain a Category 3 hurricane. We were expecting a 5, but I suppose the logic is that it’s somehow better to be in a place that might not completely blow over than one that will become toothpicks in the wind. I don’t remember sleeping that night; I remember my mom trying to sleep, but my eyes were glued to the Weather Channel. I do believe that this was the beginning of my obsession with the news, and with being a bit of a weather hound. For as awful a time as we were about to face, seeing that giant green doppler blob of death was strangely calming.

Eventually, I must’ve fallen asleep, though, and the next morning came. We weren’t ducking under anything, we weren’t hiding. I was being a cutesy boy with the nurses on staff and my mom was probably making her rounds…or maybe just sneaking a smoke break away from her son, Capt. Annoying! Either way, we weren’t dying…Homestead was. Overnight, and really within just a few hours, the storm took a sharp turn to the south-west, and that was that for Homestead, who was absolutely decimated by Andrew. If my hometown of Port St. Lucie, FL, still has visual remnants of the damage left behind by hurricanes Frances and Jeanne, a Cat. 2 and Cat. 3 respectively, Homestead must still have some obliterated sections of town…I hope not, but they weren’t a wealthy town from the start. We dodged a bullet, but that bullet still had to hit someone.

That was the first time I felt powerless. My dad died, and I thought that I just hadn’t prayed enough, hadn’t called in time, hadn’t given him the right meds, or enough of them. I feel like I did things wrong, like others might have done things wrong. I felt like we could’ve saved him…as much as he made me feel like an awful human being, we could’ve saved him, and I would have wanted that.

But Andrew had no conscience. I couldn’t even see the “God” in Andrew. It was a big, mean, unfathomable force of nature that was going to take everything anyone I knew had ever known and turn it to rubble, to ash and garbage. It turned south, just enough, but had it not, I could easily be dead. My mom, sister, so many people I had crushes on or loved…all could’ve been dead. And there was. Nothing. I could do.

Praying? How do I pray, with a clear conscience, for the hurricane to not hit us? That’s basically a prayer that asks for the storm to kill someone else! Who am I to pray for another’s murder?!? It’s out of the question…I still did it…but it’s out of the question.

No, I was powerless, and I’ve felt that way for plenty of storms since. I felt that way when I got cancer and didn’t know what kind of cancer I had. I feel powerless every time I step up on a stage and try to make people laugh, or cry or think or feel with my work. I barely even feel like I have a speck of power as I careen down the highway at 75 mph, just like the rest of the monsters with nowhere to go and only 5 seconds to get there.

But this week, this week was the worst. I have a friend. He or she remains nameless here, but I have a friend. My friend has a life that certainly leaves me dumbstruck and awestruck as what you’d definitely call a “rare” life, a “tough” life, a unique life on so many levels.

My friend had a decision to make this week, one of the hardest decisions a person can make. My friend, he or she had to give so much of what he or she is in making this decision that the decision alone could incapacitate a person. Not her or him; my friend lived through it, dealt with it, and is already following the plan set before him or herself.

Immediately, I offered my support. I’m a friend, a person who loves my friends and loves some of them more than most. This guy or girl is so close to me, so crucial to the composition of my heart that I don’t know what I’d do if this person were to be so drastically altered, changed, hurt, destroyed in any way…God forbid anything worse.

His/her choice was made, after careful consideration and steady, strong debate. That choice is now something in the past, something that lives every day but can not be revoked. It simply can’t be undone, untold, unheard, unexperienced. It, for lack of a better term that conjures up less sickening views than does the movie named after this word, is irreversible.

And there was nothing I could do. If it was a money thing, I didn’t have it to help. If it was an address, a physical support, I couldn’t make it in time. I’m currently unemployed; if I wasn’t, if I’d had the money, I’d have been the fool who gives his friends money to keep them afloat and help them succeed. Man or woman, money is not worth much to me when I have it. When I do, it’s there to make for good times with myself, my friends, my family. It’s there to help those I love. It’s there to be used to initiate change or simply just to plain ol’ buy some fuckin’ painkillers if I can score them, because Vicodin is awesome and I have no shame in saying that. Those…those don’t make me feel powerless. I can’t come to save my life on them, but I’ll have a boner that’d last through a stutterer’s reading of War and Peace.

I had none, so I gave him my support. I was broke, so she got my encouragement and the knowledge that I have her back, would get in a fist-fight and go to jail for a night for him. There was so much more than that, though.

I became 12 again on Monday night, into Tuesday. I, the man who feels pain in believing that there’s a God in this world, got down on my knees and prayed. I offered my legs to God, because I want my arms to be able to right and touch the faces (and occasionally boobs) of the people I love). I offered my stake in that friendship: if God would just save him, save her from what was about to come, I’d never talk to that person again. If it was me, God, I’d have let you put me through so much more pain. I’d have gone to Hell if you’d have let my friend know true Heaven.

I said something I haven’t said in a long time, and I meant it more than I ever have.

“Save *******, God. Save ******** tonight and I will lay down my life for you. Take it, or ask me to live as a preacher of your word. I will give you everything of me. Please God, just don’t let this happen!”

I’ve never felt so powerless in my life. I knew that the wheels were in motion, that just like when I was powerless to save my cat’s life in 2002, because I was broke and couldn’t afford the tests that would need to be run on his frail, sickly body, I couldn’t save my friend because I was broke. Again. A decade later, and I still didn’t have the simple fucking quantity of money to save my friend, and as a result, everything I’d never want my friend to experience was on the nearest horizon.

I drank a lot that last Monday night. I did an episode of The Four Horsemen Podcast with some of my closest friends, and we had a great time. I stayed up the rest of the night, drank bottle after bottle of wine, didn’t get drunk, then went to work and the doctor’s office later that next day. My blood pressure was fantastic. Work was fantastic. I was anything but. I was powerless, adrift in the first breezes of a maelstrom that was coming to kill me, and I stayed up for over 2 days before my body would finally let me sleep.

I woke up the next day, and things were a little better. With each day, they’ve become better yet. Through it all, I have to remind myself that my friend is an adult, and adults don’t need to be saved. Maybe they need advice, people who love them, and people who will tell them the truth without destroying their hearts…but they don’t need saviors. And if they do, I have to resign myself to the knowledge that I can’t be that savior.

I saved one woman’s life, one time. Her name is Marie. I haven’t seen her in a decade, but I still think about her all the time. I can’t be the savior I want to be because I can’t take the weight on my heart of being responsible for rescued victims for the rest of my life. I am, after all, here to live a life of my own, too. And maybe, just like my friends and I never knew it, I don’t want to be saved and they might not want it, either. What’s better? Protection or peace?

This gentleman not only writes on his blog, http://xtopherjacques.wordpress.com/, he also co-host of The Four Horseman podcast, http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.blogtalkradio.com%2Fthefourhorsemen1%2F2010%2F04%2F27%2Fepisode-3&h=95596. He hails from the City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia.
Ladies and Gentleman, would you please welcome...

                                                                Chris Jacques
1. Your recent blogpost was, without question, one of the most heartfelt pieces I've read in awhile. What is your take on the current healthcare system in America? Do you feel the recently passed reforms will make any impact?

I assume that the post in question was "Powerless," and if so, I really appreciate your opinion of it! Whether the quality is up to par or not, if I read or hear the word "heartfelt" in response to my work, it makes me very happy!

It wasn't hard to write, once I committed to finally throwing it down, I ran through and pounded it out in about 90 minutes or so, very few edits. I'm sure it shows all over my style, but I don't edit much. But then, that's not the question here, is it?...

...My take on the healthcare system is much like everyone's, I'd say, or at least like everyone whose current healthcare setup is sub-par, barely-affordable or non-existent. We do need radical reform of the healthcare system in the U.S., but I really feel that what was finally passed isn't going to do much of any good for anyone. I really hope I'm wrong and that it works as smoothly as the very best government programs ever have...one has to allow for that inefficiency! But overall, I think that the Democrats crafted a terrifying plan, and the stubborn Republicans did nothing to fix it, everything to fill it with pork payoffs, and then went into a corner to pout about it. It was a classic example of politicians doing their very best to COLLECTIVELY be the biggest assholes in the universe. They succeeded, and that just means that we the people get another big failure in our lives. So it goes, and so it sucks.

2. Tell me and my readers more about The Four Horsemen podcast. What other topics have you covered on the show? What are your future plans regarding the show?

The Four Horsemen is a project that makes me feel very fortunate. I've known the other guys in our team--Jerry Dennis, Jon Medina and Phil Grech--for half a decade at the very least, and we've always had a mutual admiration for each other's points of view and various passions and the way we wrote about them. Jerry's our podcasting mastermind, doing two other podcasts every single week, and The Four Horsemen came about as a result of a podcast Jon used to do a couple of years ago. Jerry loved it because it was free-form...we all loved it for that. So we put it together, Phil was the final piece of the puzzle, and that's us.

We'll cover everything, but so far we've covered music, movies, dealing with stress, coping with the death of loved ones, Brooke Shields, having sex with Simon Birch, politics, reflections on Columbine, 4/20 and the Oklahoma City bombing. And we're just getting warmed up! We're open to absolutely everything, so the future plans are very amorphous. I think we're all very comfortable with that.

3. What is that you LOVE about Philadelphia,if anything?

There's a lot to love about Philly! For the arrogance and a bit of stupidity that can make life here sad and tough on occasion, it's an awe-inspiringly beautiful city. The history here is as much as one will find in the U.S., pretty much, and it's an amazing thing to see. The rich people are definitely shitty and out of touch with the world; or not!

They talk only to each other and don't really care if we hear their conversations or not. It's in the news and on TV, and the only real info we middle-class folks get from the major media is dumbed down and interjected with more opinion than fact. It's weird like that, but it underestimates the undercurrent of very thoughtful, bright people with strong senses of a decent, yet truly human morality that are all over this city. This city focuses on its dumb, macho jerks, its mindlessly arrogant upper crust and its abject social failures. But for all of that, there are a lot of really cool people in this town. They have to be sought, but that's a fun thing about living here, too. Wow! Sorry about the rambling there!

4. Who influenced you to write? What are your favorite novels?

My mom influenced me early on, actually by being disinterested in my stuff. I felt I had a knack for it, and really just loved putting a pen or pencil to paper and writing until my hand was sore...then giving myself a minute to rest and doing it again! I don't know if she's come around to actually liking what I write, but she at least likes the fact that I write now, and I'm not going to press my luck any more than that!

As far as really getting motivated to make writing the love and the real work of my life, though, I have to thank Mr. Tickner and Dr. Trew, two high school English teachers of mine. Mr. Tickner always supported the fact that I was a different writer--whether my work was stunning or stunningly awful--and encouraged me to search for the writing voice within me, introducing me to stuff like ee cummings that really got me thinking. I don't particularly care for ee cummings, but his work was definitely a motivation for my desire to constantly play with the language, however I could.

Dr. Trew, on the other hand, introduced me to Beowulf. It remains my favorite story, though I love all manner of horror authors, love Bukowski, Hunter S. Thompson, Tobias Wolff, Albert Camus, a touch of Ayn Rand, Hugh Nissenson, Terry Pratchett. I basically like drunks, dreamers, losers and lovers, and I think all of these folks fit those bills a bit, in one way or another.

5. Why atheism?

For me personally? I don't know. I suppose it's a convenient answer when the topic of religion comes up (or I forcefully bring it up) in conversation. More accurately, I'm trying to take a permanent vacation from God. When I was in high school, they called that "willful disobedience," and I got suspended for it a couple of times!

Basically, my experience has been that my belief in God is very childish. I used to pray, and I really thought that someone was up there, listening to me, who was going to help me. Time after time came, horrible thing after horrible thing, and those prayers never got answered. Not a single one, not ever. It wore on me, to the point where I felt I truly hated God. And then, I started saying I was an atheist, meant as a dig of sorts at God.

But despite my friends who I think are so bright, despite the women who have passed through my life that I wanted to have sex, relationships, love with so badly that I'd have said just about anything, including a booming decree of my untrue atheism, I do believe in God. I chalk it up a bit to just being raised in a Catholic, then Lutheran household, having a lot of religious talk in our house and just being immersed in the Christian culture as a child. But then, I do feel a little something more, something I can't explain...

...and that's ultimately where the "permanent vacation" begins to make sense in my life. I don't know for sure if I have an eternity somewhere else after this life. I don't know if I'm reincarnated, if my life energy takes another form, if I become a unicorn's foreskin or become a part of God him/her/itself. I have so many questions, so many doubts, and so many options in this world that I realized that nobody really knows what they're talking about with this stuff! We're all right! We're all wrong! We're all both, or neither!

Whatever the case, the "permanent vacation" is that I'm going to finish this life, living as though it's the only one I'll ever have. I want to focus my love on people who are here. I want to focus my energies on making this life, this world and my time here work as well as it possibly can. And worrying about the nature of a God, what that God has in store for me, questioning its will or, worse, spending time being angry or hurt by that God, are all things that take away from the loads of things there are to do here and now, both work and play. I doubt more with each day that, if there is a God who created us and all of this, and never came down to hang out with us in two millenia, or only gave us the vaguest clues...

...If God couldn't even come down and do a book tour or some autograph signings, I just really doubt that God wants us to think about what's going on beyond this life. And besides, if there's a Heaven, wouldn't you want it to be full of really awesome, loving, caring, cool, open-minded, bright people who made the most of the opportunities they had when they had them? I know I would; if Heaven is full of the fundamentalists of any religion I've seen, then I think my soul is actually begging to get sent to Hell right now!

Thank you very much, Mr. Jacques

Nightmare on Elm Street(1984)-

Knowing I have planned on seeing the remake within the next week or two and the fact that I only have four movies in my HOF, I hit good ol' Netflix and instant streamed this 1984 Wes Craven-directed American classic. What is not to love about this film? It gave the sagging honor genre a much needed kick in its rotting rear end, it spawned seven sequels, a t.v. show, a crossover(Freddy vs. Jason). If there is ever an icon of 80's horror if not mainstream 80's culture-and I know there are many cases for many figures-it would have to be Mr. Freddy Krueger.

Tina Gray (Amanda Wyss) has a disturbing nightmare in which she is stalked through a dark boiler room by a mutilated figure with distinctive razor-sharp knives attached to the fingers on his right hand. Just as he catches her, however, she wakes up screaming, only to discover four razor cuts in her nightdress identical to the cuts in her dream.

The next day, she finds out that her friend Nancy Thompson (Heather Langenkamp) experienced a similar dream involving the same sinister figure, but Nancy is convinced that all is well. That night, Tina, Nancy and her boyfriend Glen Lantz (Johnny Depp) have a sleep-over to make the distraught Tina feel better, as she is still troubled by her nightmare. Tina's rebellious boyfriend, Rod Lane (Nick Corri), crashes the party. He and Tina have sex in her mother's bedroom. However, Tina has another nightmare, and this time the killer catches her and murders her brutally. Rod wakes up to find Tina being cut open by invisible knives and then dragged up the wall and across the ceiling. Rod, being the only other person in the room at the time, is accused of the murder, flees the house and is caught the next day.

Nancy then has three violent nightmares in which she is viciously stalked, then attacked, by the same terrifying figure who attacked Tina. These nightmares cause her to talk to Rod in jail, who tells her what he saw in Tina's mother's bedroom, and also remarks he had a nightmare involving the fiend with the "knives for fingers". Much to the dismay of her mother Marge (Ronee Blakley), Nancy becomes increasingly convinced that the figure appearing in her dreams is the person who killed Tina. Nancy and a skeptical Glen rush to the police station late at night to talk to Rod, only to find that he's been strangled by his own bedsheets. To everyone except Nancy, it appears to be a suicide.

Nancy's mother takes her to a Dream Therapy Clinic to ensure she gets some sleep. Once again, she has a horrendous nightmare. This time, her arm is badly cut, but she finds that she has brought something out from her dream: the killer's battered hat. It arouses concern, but also other feelings in Marge, who is clearly hiding a secret. Eventually, while drunk, Marge reveals to Nancy that the owner of the hat, and the killer, was a man named Fred Krueger (Robert Englund), a child murderer who killed at least twenty children over a decade earlier. Furious, vengeful parents burned him alive in his boiler room hideout when he was released from prison on a technicality due to an improperly signed search warrant. Now, it appears he is manipulating the dreams of their children to exact his revenge from beyond the grave. Nancy's mother, however, reassures Nancy that Krueger cannot hurt anyone, pulling Krueger's bladed glove from a hiding place in the furnace as proof. Eventually, Marge installs bars on all the windows and begins to lock the door as "security".

Nancy and Glen devise a plan to catch Krueger, but when Glen falls asleep that night he is pulled into his bed and regurgitated as a spew of gore and bone. Nancy is left alone with Krueger after pulling him out of her dream into the real world. She runs around her house and forces him to run into booby traps she had set earlier. After setting Krueger on fire Nancy locks him in the basement and finally gets her father, police lieutenant Donald Thompson (John Saxon) and the rest of the police to help. After discovering that Krueger has escaped and that fiery footsteps lead upstairs, Nancy and her father witness Krueger smothering Marge with his flaming body, disappearing to leave her corpse to sink into the bed. After sending her father away, Nancy faces Krueger on her own and succeeds in destroying him by turning her back on him and draining him of all energy.

The scene changes to the next morning as Nancy gets in a car with Glen and the rest of her friends, on their way to school. Krueger possesses the car just as she gets in. The car drives away with Nancy screaming for her mother, and Marge being pulled through the door window by Krueger's bladed hand.

I know everyone and their brother has scene this movie so I'm not going to go into what worked and what didn't, we all know. For me personally, I see this as a girl's descent into(no pun intended) maddness. I mean you have this All-American gal who by the end of the movie is a couple sandwiches short of a picnic. I didn't pick up on this until I just watched the movie again this evening. Oh sure, Freddy is the one people talk about, but it's Nancy who provides a perfect countermeasure to Krueger's evil deeds.


I declare Nightmare on Elm Street as the fifth member into the exclusive fraternity that is my HOF.



Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Stardate 0427.10

Greetings. Today we go In Search Of...the career that is the legendary Leonard Nimoy.

Welcome reader to my tribute to THE Mr. Spock, Mr. Leonard Nimoy. Recently, Mr. Nimoy announced his retirement for acting thus ending his forty-five year tenure as THE Mr. Spock. It truly breaks my heart. He breathed life into the one of the most iconic characters in t.v. and science fiction. Not only that, he is an accomplished writer, artist, director, singer...the list goes on.

And now this...

Leonard Nimoy is a film director, poet, musician, and photographer. Nimoy's fame rests on his playing the role of Spock in the original Star Trek series 1966-1969, as well as reprising the role in various movie and television sequels. He wrote two autobiographies, I Am Not Spock (1975) and I Am Spock (1995).

He was born in Boston, Massachusetts, to Yiddish-speaking Orthodox Jewish immigrants from Iziaslav, Ukraine. His father, Max Nimoy, owned a barbershop. His mother, Dora Nimoy (née Spinner), was a homemaker. Nimoy began acting at the age of eight. His first major role was Ralphie in Clifford Odets' Awake and Sing, at 17. He studied photography at the University of California, Los Angeles and took Drama classes at Boston College in 1953 but he failed to complete his studies. He has an MA in Education and an honorary doctorate from Antioch University in Ohio. Nimoy also served as a sergeant in the U.S. Army from 1953 through 1955.

Nimoy's film and television acting career began in 1951. But after receiving the title role in the 1952 film Kid Monk Baroni, a story about a street punk turned professional boxer, he spent most of the rest of his early career playing small parts in B movies, TV shows such as Dragnet, and serials such as Republic Pictures' Zombies of the Stratosphere (1952). This included more than fifty movies or television shows. He played an Army sergeant in the 1954 Sci Fi thriller, "THEM!", and had a role in The Balcony (1963), a film adaptation of the Jean Genet play.

On television Nimoy appeared as Sonarman in two episodes of the 1957–1958 syndicated military drama, The Silent Service, based on actual events of the submarine section of the United States Navy. He had guest roles in the Sea Hunt series from 1958 to 1960 and had a minor role in The Twilight Zone episode "A Quality of Mercy" in 1961. Throughout the 1960s Nimoy appeared in a number of other TV series including Bonanza (1960), Two Faces West (1961), The Untouchables (1962), The Eleventh Hour (1962), Combat! (1963, 1965), Perry Mason (1963), The Outer Limits (1964), and Get Smart (1966). He appeared again in the 1995 Outer Limits, again in the episode 'I, Robot'.

Nimoy and William Shatner first worked together in an episode of The Man from U.N.C.L.E., The Project Strigas Affair (1964). Their characters were from either side of the Iron Curtain, though with his saturnine looks, Nimoy was predictably the villain, with Shatner playing a reluctant U.N.C.L.E. recruit.Nimoy's greatest prominence came from his role in the original Star Trek series, as the half-Vulcan, half-human Spock. Nimoy formed a long-standing friendship with Shatner, who portrayed his commanding officer. The series ran from 1966 to 1969, and Nimoy earned three Emmy acting nominations for his work.

He went on to reprise Spock's character in a voice-over role in Star Trek: The Animated Series, in two episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, and in six Star Trek motion pictures featuring the original cast. He played an older Spock in the 2009 Star Trek movie directed by J. J. Abrams.

Following the cancellation of the original Star Trek, Nimoy immediately joined the cast of the spy series Mission: Impossible, which was seeking a replacement for Martin Landau. Nimoy was cast as an IMF agent who was an ex-magician and make-up expert, 'The Amazing Paris'. He played the role from 1969 to 1971, on the fourth and fifth seasons of the show.

He co-starred with Yul Brynner and Richard Crenna in the Western movie Catlow (1971). Nimoy appeared in various made for television films such as Assault on the Wayne (1970), Baffled (1972), The Alpha Caper (1973), The Missing Are Deadly (1974), Seizure: The Story Of Kathy Morris (1980), and Marco Polo (1982). He received an Emmy award nomination for best supporting actor for the TV film A Woman Called Golda (1982). He also had roles in Night Gallery (1972) and Columbo (1973) where he played a murderous doctor who was one of the few criminals to whom Columbo became angry.

In the late 1970s, he hosted and narrated the television series In Search of..., which investigated paranormal or unexplained events or subjects. He also has a memorable character part as a psychiatrist in Philip Kaufman's remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

It was during this time that Nimoy won acclaim for a series of stage roles as well. He appeared in such plays as Vincent, Fiddler on the Roof, The Man in the Glass Booth, Oliver!, Six Rms Riv Vu, Full Circle, Camelot, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, The King And I, Caligula, The Four Poster, Twelfth Night, Sherlock Holmes, Equus and My Fair Lady.

From there,when a new Star Trek series was planned in the late 1970s, Nimoy was to be in only two out of every eleven episodes, but when the show was elevated to a feature film, he agreed to reprise his role. After directing a few television show episodes, Nimoy started film directing in 1984 with the third installment of the film series. Nimoy would go on to direct the second most successful film (critically and financially) in the franchise to date after the 2009 Star Trek film, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986) and move beyond the Trek universe with Three Men and a Baby, the highest grossing film of 1987.

Nimoy has written two autobiographies. The first was called I Am Not Spock (1977) and was controversial, as many fans incorrectly assumed that Nimoy was distancing himself from the Spock character. In the book, Nimoy conducts dialogues between himself and Spock. The contents of this first autobiography also touched on a self-proclaimed "identity crisis" that seemed to haunt Nimoy throughout his career. It also related to an apparent love/hate relationship with the character of Spock and the Trek franchise.

His second autobiography was I Am Spock (1995), communicating that he finally realized his years of portraying the Spock character had led to a much greater identification between the fictional character and himself. Nimoy had much input into how Spock would act in certain situations, and conversely, Nimoy's contemplation of how Spock acted gave him cause to think about things in a way that he never would have thought if he had not portrayed the character. As such, in this autobiography Nimoy maintains that in some meaningful sense he has merged with Spock while at the same time maintaining the distance between fact and fiction.

During and following Star Trek, Nimoy also released five albums of vocal recordings on Dot Records including Trek-related songs such as "Highly Illogical", and cover versions of popular tunes, such as "Proud Mary". In regards to how his recording career got started, he stated:

The albums were popular and resulted in numerous live appearances and promotional record signings that attracted crowds of fans in the thousands. The early recordings were produced by Charles Grean, who may be best known for his version of "Quentin's Theme" from the mid-sixties goth soap opera Dark Shadows. These recordings are generally regarded as unintentionally camp, though his tongue-in-cheek performance of "The Ballad of Bilbo Baggins" received a fair amount of airplay when Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings films were released.

In addition to his own music career he directed a 1985 music video for The Bangles' "Going Down to Liverpool". He makes a brief cameo appearance in the video as their driver. This came about because his son Adam Nimoy (now a frequent television director) was a friend of Bangles lead singer Susanna Hoffs from college. He released a version of Johnny Cash's song "I Walk the Line".

Nimoy's voice appeared in sampled form on a song by the pop band Information Society in the late Eighties. The song, "What's On Your Mind? (Pure Energy)" (released in 1988), reached #3 on the US Pop charts, and #1 on Dance charts. The group's self-titled LP contains several other samples from the original Star Trek television series.

In May 2009, he made an appearance as the mysterious Dr. William Bell in the season finale of Fringe, which explore the existence of a parallel universe. Nimoy returned as Dr. Bell in the fall for an extended arc, and according to Roberto Orci, co-creator of Fringe, Bell will be "the beginning of the answers to even bigger questions. This choice led one reviewer to question if Fringe's plot might be a homage to the Star Trek episode "Mirror, Mirror", which featured an alternate reality "Mirror Universe" concept and an evil version of Spock distinguished by a goatee.

On the May 9, 2009 episode of Saturday Night Live, Nimoy appeared as a surprise guest on the skit "Weekend Update". During a mock interview, Nimoy called old Trekkies who did not like the new movie "dickheads". In the 2009 Star Trek movie, he plays Spock of the future (Zachary Quinto meanwhile, portrays the younger Spock).

In April 2010, Nimoy announced plans to retire from acting after 60 years in the movie business, citing both his advanced age and giving Quinto the opportunity to enjoy full media attention with the Spock character.

We'll be back

I recently watched a couple of Star TreK:TOS episodes featuring Spock as the main focal point.
The Menagerie is the only two-part episode of Star Trek: The Original Series. On stardate 3012.4, the USS Enterprise diverts to Starbase 11 when Mr. Spock receives a subspace call from the former captain of the Enterprise, Christopher Pike (under whom Spock served for 11 years, and since promoted to Fleet Captain). When the ship arrives, the commander of the starbase, Commodore Mendez (the first appearance of a rank higher than Captain in the series), states that communication with Pike is impossible, since he has been severely burned and paralyzed by exposure to delta rays during a maintenance accident aboard a J-class training vessel. He couldn't have possibly sent the message. In fact, it is revealed that Pike is confined to a wheelchair operated by brainwaves. He cannot speak, and only communicates with a flashing light: one flash means "yes", two flashes mean "no".

Pike is at the station, and refuses to talk to either Captain Kirk or Dr. McCoy and only allows his old friend and former officer, Mr. Spock, to talk with him in private. Spock partially explains his appearance by indicating his intention to take Captain Pike against Starfleet regulations.

Back in Mendez's office, Kirk discovers that the communication logs reveal that Spock had not received any messages from Pike at all, and can't understand his deception. Spock sneaks into the station's computer center, nerve-pinches the technician, and proceeds to override the computer system, sending the Enterprise fake orders to go to the quarantined planet, Talos IV. He informs the navigation chief on the bridge that the navigation data will automatically pilot the ship. He overrides the voice authorization protocols with bogus recordings of Kirk's voice. The bewildered navigator accepts the strange authorization and Spock uploads the data. Meanwhile, another station technician enters the computer room and confronts Spock, but Spock easily subdues him with another nerve pinch.

Dr. McCoy is tricked into returning to the Enterprise by a request for medical assistance, after which Mendez shows Kirk a secret file on the fate of Talos IV. The file contains minimal background information on an earlier mission to Talos IV, not even explaining why unauthorized passage to Talos is grounds for the death penalty under Starfleet General Order 7. Spock then transports himself and the disabled Captain Pike aboard. By the time a duty nurse notices Pike is missing, the Enterprise has left orbit about Starbase 11 and warped away to Talos IV.

Kirk and Commodore Mendez head out and follow the Enterprise with a starbase shuttlecraft. Spock detects the pursuing craft, which is rapidly exhausting its fuel reserves just to keep up, and surrenders himself to the Enterprise crew for arrest, confessing that he mutinied and that he never received command orders. The Vulcan is taken away. Commander Scott beams Captain Kirk and Commodore Mendez aboard. They demand that the system's computer explain Spock's actions and return control of the ship to the navigator. The computer informs them that any attempt to override the navigation computer will disable ship's life support, and that the system cannot disengage until the Enterprise has reached Talos.

Commodore Mendez orders a preliminary hearing on Spock, who requests immediate court martial, which requires a tribunal board of three command officers. Spock points out there are three already there – Kirk, Mendez, and Pike, who is still listed as being on "active duty". Spock begins showing video footage of the recorded events that took place during "The Cage" to explain how this "story" begins.

The video recounts how 13 years earlier the Enterprise, commanded by Captain Pike, received a weak distress signal from the SS Columbia, a survey ship reported lost 18 years earlier. The Columbia reportedly crash-landed on Talos IV.

A landing party beams down and a few remaining survivors are found, including a young woman, Vina, who was born shortly before the Columbia's crash, and whose parents had died. Pike immediately takes an interest in her. Unknown to Pike and the others, they are being monitored by the planet's native inhabitants, the Talosians, who can create very realistic illusions and wish to study the humans that have come to their planet.

Dr. Boyce, Pike's chief medical officer, monitors the survivors but finds them in remarkable health, far better off than he expected and becomes suspicious that something isn't right. Before he can inform his Captain, Pike is lured away into a Talosian trap by Vina. Pike disappears behind a stone door and the survivors all disappear, having been only illusions.

The trial continues at Kirk's request, even though Starfleet has denied the Enterprise further access to the Talosian transmission. The recordings show Pike in a cage, and he learns that the Talosians wish for him and Vina to mate and produce offspring so that the Talosian captors can rebuild their destroyed civilization. Aboveground, Pike's crew frantically try to rescue him, but cannot get past the first hurdle, a door which not even the ship's weapons can penetrate. A larger problem is that the crew cannot trust their own senses, as the Talosians are capable of casting illusions on the planet's surface as well as underground. An attempt by the crew to force open the entrance where Pike was taken with a heavy phaser cannon was apparently unsuccessful. In reality, it managed to cut open the entrance, but the Talosians' illusions completely hid that reality from them.

The aliens send Pike through numerous virtual realities with Vina, hoping that the settings will move his interest with the girl into passionate love for her, and the two will copulate. Pike, however, resists their mind games and demands to be set free. The Talosians threaten him with traumatizing illusions to punish him, inflicting a few agonizing seconds of an illusion of Hell on him to make their point. The Enterprise attempts to beam a landing party directly into the Talosians' underground network in order to rescue Pike. The Talosians, aware of this raid, manipulate the transport operators so that only female crew members beam into the cage thus providing Pike with a wider choice of 'mates'. Furthermore, the new captives' fully charged phasers are seemingly rendered inert, thus precluding the option of shooting their way out.

That night Pike captures a Talosian attempting to confiscate the guns while the captives sleep. Pike tells his new prisoner that he believes that the phasers had successfully burned through the cage wall but the results were hidden by illusion. Pike threatens to test out the theory by shooting the Talosian unless the phaser damage is revealed. The Talosian complies and reveals the large hole in the transparent cage wall, and the humans escape. Upon reaching the surface, however, the Talosian reveals that they were allowed to escape so as to settle the new slave colony on the planet's surface.

In reaction, Number One sets her phaser on overload to kill all of them instead of being enslaved. She is persuaded to deactivate her weapon when more Talosians arrive with the results of their scan of the Enterprise's records and reveal that humans are far too dangerous and violent for their needs — the humans are free to go. When Pike complains that they are getting away with kidnapping and threatening himself and his crew, the Talosians explain that if their captives wanted revenge, they should realize that they were the last hope for the survival of the Talosian species, which is now doomed by their resistance. Concerned at their plight, Pike suggests that the Talosians open up diplomatic relations so the Federation can render assistance, but the Talosians decline explaining that would mean that Pike's people would learn their illusion casting power and doom themselves as well.

Number One and Yeoman Colt are beamed back to the ship, while the Talosians hold Pike for just a few moments longer. Vina is revealed to be hideously deformed, the results of the injuries she sustained in the crash of the Columbia and her beauty was only maintained by a Talosian illusion. As Pike leaves he requests her illusion be restored. After the Keeper replies "and more" Vina is immediately transformed back to health. Pike leaves, satisfied that Vina is happy to live on Talos with an illusion of beauty. Suddenly the video transmission ends and Kirk understands what Spock has been planning. Pike, now disfigured and disabled, can be "revived" by the Talosians' power.

To Kirk's surprise, Commodore Mendez suddenly disappears, having been a Talosian illusion, created so he could force Kirk to watch Pike's story, and delay regaining control of the ship and diverting away from Talos IV. Starfleet Command, which has been watching the trial footage from Starbase 11 and satisfied by the explanation, gives Kirk official permission to finish the journey to Talos IV and beam Captain Pike to the planet as a matter of recognition for his illustrious years of service.

Spock is cleared of all charges against him. Kirk demands to know why Spock did not tell him what he was planning so he could help. Spock explains that doing so would have put the captain at risk of execution himself as an accessory while Spock was confident that he could manage on his own. Kirk expresses concern about Spock's mental state, but the Vulcan maintains that he has been "logical about the whole affair". Spock sees Pike out, and once Pike is beamed to Talos, the Talosians return the former captain to his normal state (via illusion). Pike is reunited with Vina. The Talosians' final message to Kirk is "Captain Pike has an illusion, and you have reality. May you find your way as pleasant." The Enterprise then leaves Talos and returns to Starfleet.

This is the first we truly see Mr. Spock as the strong character he would become in future episodes and, of course, in the movies.

Amok Time-
Spock requests a leave of absence to his home planet of Vulcan after displaying irrational behavior. Captain Kirk and Dr. McCoy witness one of Spock's outbursts, and McCoy agrees Spock needs some "time off."

Kirk is baffled by Spock's behavior, but diverts the Enterprise to Vulcan. Soon however, Kirk receives a priority signal with orders to proceed to Altair VI to represent the Federation at an inauguration ceremony for the planet's new president. Kirk tells Spock his leave will have to be delayed, but Spock secretly has the ship rerouted to Vulcan.

Kirk confronts Spock, who says he has no memory of changing the order. Kirk orders him to report to Sickbay. Dr. McCoy discovers Spock's blood chemistry is extremely active and has the presence of unknown hormones. If the condition persists, Spock will die in eight days. Spock does not wish to discuss what is currently affecting him, but Kirk demands an explanation.

Seemingly embarrassed, Spock informs Kirk that his condition is called Pon farr, a syndrome that all Vulcan males painfully endure periodically throughout their adult life. (In the episode "The Cloud Minders" Spock claims that the cycle occurs every seven years, although he does not state which planet's years he's referring to). During this time, they must mate or die. He cites precedents in nature, such as Earth salmon, which "must return to that one stream where they were born, to spawn...or die trying".

Kirk contacts Admiral Komack at Starfleet and requests permission to divert to Vulcan. The admiral denies permission, but Kirk ignores the order, arguing there are already two other starships attending the inauguration.

The Enterprise arrives at Vulcan, and Spock invites Kirk and Dr. McCoy to accompany him. Spock explains that Vulcans are married as children ("less than marriage, more than a betrothal") with the understanding that they will fulfill this commitment when they become adults. His bride T'Pring, who was betrothed to him at the age of 7 (played by the child Mary Elizabeth Rice in a view screen Spock crushed), awaits him.

T'Pau, a highly respected member of Vulcan society, and best known as the only person to ever turn down a seat in the Federation Council, arrives to conduct the ceremony. T'Pring arrives accompanied by Stonn, a pure-blooded Vulcan, who is obviously her lover. She invokes kal-if-fee, her right to a physical challenge between Spock and Stonn, but instead of Stonn, she picks Kirk to be her champion. Spock asks that T'Pau forbid it because Kirk "does not understand, he does not know," but T'Pau allows Kirk to decide, telling him another champion will be selected if he declines. Kirk accepts the challenge thinking he can let Spock win — and only then discovers that the fight is to the death.

Despite Spock's condition, he displays superior strength and agility, demonstrating his expertise with the Lirpa, a traditional (and deadly) Vulcan weapon. Kirk is weakened by Vulcan's heat and thinner atmosphere (and, though it is not mentioned in the series proper, the higher gravity). McCoy objects, telling T'Pau that Kirk is seriously disadvantaged, and suggests he inject Kirk with a tri-ox compound to compensate. T'Pau allows the injection. The combat continues and Spock garrotes Kirk with another traditional Vulcan weapon, the Ahn'woon, at which point McCoy pronounces the Captain dead and has his body beamed back to the Enterprise.

With the battle over, Spock gives up his claim on T'Pring but questions her choice of Kirk as her champion. In a display of logic that impresses Spock, T'Pring explains that she "did not wish to be the consort of a legend," and developed a mutual attraction with Stonn. Since she could only legally divorce Spock through the kal-if-fee, and allowing Stonn to take the challenge as her champion would risk losing him, she instead chose Kirk, knowing that regardless of the outcome she and Stonn would be together - as Kirk would not want her and Spock would probably release her. Even if Spock held her to her vows, he would return to Starfleet, "and Stonn would still be here."

On the ship, Spock announces his intention to resign his commission and submit himself to Starfleet, to face the consequences for killing Kirk. However, he finds his Captain alive and well, and expresses overt joy in front of McCoy and Chapel. McCoy and Kirk then explain that McCoy actually injected the Captain with a neuroparalyzer drug that simulated death but merely knocked him out. Spock says that when he thought he had killed the Captain, he lost all desire for T'Pring. Furthermore, Kirk is let off the hook for disobeying orders when Starfleet retroactively grants permission to divert to Vulcan at T'Pau's request. Spock unconvincingly denies having expressed undue emotion at seeing Kirk alive. McCoy is disgusted by this, and Kirk and Spock leave Sickbay without further illogical displays.

Without question, the best of the Spock-centric episodes. You learn so much about Vulcan culture and this episode gave weight and depth, I felt to the series that previous episodes didn't.

In Closing....
I know Mr. Nimoy you will probably not read this but I would like to say THANK YOU for all you have done in your career. You made aliens cool, if not human.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Stardate 0426.10

Ahh, so the weekend has come and gone, I have a new girlfriend and the Pens have moved on to the 2nd round of the NHL playoffs...Life is good :-)

Promotional Consideration Paid for by the Following-
Sadly, there is no more sponsor for this blog. My dear friend Angela Raene(Hill to her friends) has shuttered her online business as to concentrate on her writing. If you are interested in dark, forboding poetry check out houseofhill.org. This woman is very talented.

And Now This...

Another Descent Into...

The Pittsburgh Penguins-
Saturday night, the Penguins suddenly remembered they were the defending Stanley Cup champions. Down 3-1 after two periods, the Ottawa Senators were twenty minutes away from breaking the Curse of Alanis Morrissette. Suddenly, the Penguins became that team I loved for the past two years. They turned up the heat on the Sens, scored two goals in the 3rd and a game-winner in OT to move on in the playoffs.

Now who they face next is TBA. It will be either the Bruins, Canadiens, or the Fryers...errr Flyers.  I don't care who it is, they play with the inconsistency they had against the Sens, then it will not be a third straight Stanley Cup finals for the boys in black-n-gold.

We'll be back...

Sleepaway Camp-

For years, people have asked me, "Have you seen this movie?", "OMG, why haven't you seen this movie?"
Ok, ok, I have. What do I think? Well, the first half-hour scared me but not in a good way. The first half-hour was slow, slow, and slow. I thought,"Oh no, it's House of the Devil all over again." But then, the real juicy parts of the movie kicked in....
The film opens in the summer of 1975, with a family consisting of John Baker and his two children Angela and Peter Baker out on a lake near a summer camp. After their small boat accidentally flips, John and the children begin to head ashore, where John's lover, Lenny is calling to him. As the family swims, a pair of teenagers pulling a water skier in a motorboat fail to notice them in time and hit them, killing both John and Peter. The surviving Angela is sent to live with her eccentric aunt Dr. Martha Thomas and Martha's son Richard "Ricky" Thomas.

Eight years after John and Peter's deaths, Angela and Ricky are sent to Camp Arawak by Martha. Due to her introverted nature, Angela is ridiculed and bullied, her main tormentors being fellow camper Judy and camp counselor Meg. During lunchtime, Angela, having not eaten for some time, is taken into the kitchen by head counselor Ronnie to see if there is anything in there she would like to eat. Left with the head cook Artie, Angela is taken into a back room by Artie, who intends to molest Angela. Before any harm can come to Angela, Artie is found in the midst of unfastening his pants by Ricky, who flees from the kitchen with Angela after Artie threatens him. After the incident in the pantry, Artie is seriously injured when he is knocked off a chair by an unseen figure while tending to a large pot of boiling water which spills on his face and hands. Artie's injuries are deemed accidental by camp owner Mel Costic, who pays off the rest of his kitchen staff, including Ben to keep the event quiet.

The next day, Ricky, Paul and the rest of the boys in their cabin, including geek Mozart, are playing baseball with Kenny, Mike, Billy and the rest of the boys from their cabin. After Ricky wins the game to the older guys, Kenny talks with Mike on how to get back at Ricky. Later that night in the recreation cabin, Angela is accosted by Kenny and Mike who begin mocking her, prompting Ricky and his friend Paul to get into a fight with the boys which several others join in on, fulfilling their plan on getting back at Ricky. After the brawl is broken up by Gene, Ricky and the rest of the boys involved in the fight leave while Paul stays behind and succeeds in befriending Angela by telling her about misadventures he and Ricky would get into when they were younger. Later, out on the lake, Kenny is drowned, his body being found the next day and his death is also ruled accidental by Mel, despite suspicion from camp employees and the police, especially Frank the Cop. Later that day, Angela is hit in the face with a water balloon by Billy, who is then grounded for the rest of the summer by Mel. After Billy is killed when he is locked in a washroom stall which has a beehive dropped in it, Mel grows suspicious of Ricky, who he believes is killing those who bully Angela.

The relationship between Angela and Paul grows strained when Paul attempts to make out with Angela on the beach, causing Angela to have a flashback to her youth when she and her brother witnessed their father in bed with Lenny. Confused and angered by Angela's rejection of his advances, Paul is easily seduced by Judy, who lures him away from a game of capture the flag, a game assembled by counselor Jeff, and into the woods where the two are found kissing by Angela and Ricky. Guilty about what happened between him and Judy, Paul attempts to explain himself to Angela while on the beach. As Paul talks to Angela, he is shooed away by Judy and Meg, who throw Angela into the water. After being taken out of the lake by lifeguard Hal and having sand flung at her by several small children, a clearly disturbed Angela is comforted by Ricky, who swears revenge on her aggressors. After the affair at the beach, Meg, while preparing for a date with Mel, is murdered with a knife while taking a shower, having her back sliced open.

Meg's disappearance goes largely unnoticed and camp activities go on as usual with a social being held. At the social, Angela is approached by Paul, whom she tells to meet her at the waterfront after the social. Next, six young children, the ones who threw sand at Angela, are taken out to go camping with counselor Eddie, and when two of them ask to go back, Eddie takes the two back to his car and drive back to the camp. But when Eddie comes back, he finds the other four children in their sleeping bags, hacked to bits with Eddie's axe (which was used to cut wood) lying on the ground dripping in blood. Next, Judy, who had decided to skip the social, is killed in her cabin when the murderer shoves a pillow on her face and forces a curling iron some where unknown believed to be the vagina. After the social, the camp is thrown into a panic when Eddie calls them back and tells them about the deaths of the four children. Ricky, who had missed the social due to feeling ill, overhears this news before being attacked by Mel, who had discovered Meg's corpse and blames Ricky for her death. After beating Ricky seemingly to death, Mel stumbles into the camp archery range, where he is shot in the throat with an arrow by the real killer.

As the counselors and the police scour the camp, Angela meets Paul on the beach, where she tells him to undress, which Paul enthusiastically agrees to do. After finding the dead Meg and Mel, as well as the still living Ricky, Ronnie and Susie find Angela nude on the beach, softly singing to herself and clutching a large knife and Paul's severed head in her hands.

But there is a twist at the end... and that is...Promotional Consideration Paid for by the Following....

It was very shocking to say the least, reader.  Other than the first half-hour and the acting, this movie is a horror movie classic, not quite a HOF'er but almost...8.5/10

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Stardate 0422.10

I would like to start today in a sad mood*cues Wrestlecrap Radio sad music*...Seems Leonard Nimoy, THE Mr.Spock, is hanging up the ears. I am heartbroken. The man breathed life into one of the most iconic figures in sci-fi and t.v. in general. This Monday, I will post a full tribute to the man.

Promotional Consideration Paid for by the Following-
Hard as it may seem, this blog is sponsored by not one by now two entities...first off it's houseofhill.org. At houseofhill, we love collectors as much as Eric loves Mr.Spock(Note From Eric: Coolest alien, bay-bee!!!) We have gorgeous quilts in all sizes made bu D and E out of Montana. Visitors will also love the hand-painted glass created by Raenell Ascetta of Bellissimo, a very talented artist from Florida who will sign each and every one of her items. Houseofhill.org, THE Site for THE Discriminating Collector.

hillssuperstore.com is my 2nd sponsor of Another Decent Into...Dedicated to the model train community,We feature highly collectible model trains along with many hard to find model trains. The model train enthusiast will also be able to find many unique items for their layout. In addition, Pinewood Derby supplies are also avaliable. hillssuperstore.com.

Another Descent Into...

Ben Roethlisberger-
Yesterday, NFL Comissioner Roger Goddell handed #7 a six-game suspension which can be reduced to four if he successfully completes a behavioral therapy program. My thought is this, the commish did the right thing. Ben has been walking the edge for quite a long time and it is about time he was called on his collegiate behavior. I don't care if the Steelers win another Super Bowl or not. I would rather see my team go 0-16 with players of some character than win with a bunch of off-the-field thugs. I only hope this will finally set Big Ben straight.

My Breakfast With Morgan Rankin
*In James Lipton voice* As an aspiring artist, one invaluable piece of advice I have received is the axiom, "Respect your roots, where you came from." My next guest has taken this to heart. She is the blogger for thekidinthehall.blogspot.com, a retro 80's blog.

She is 18 years old and has a big love for the 80's and film. Currently, she is planning on attending film school this fall to become a screenwriter, so she can make great films of her own.

Ladies and Gentleman,please welcome to my blog...

Morgan Rankin

1. Why the 80's? What is it about my childhood decade you find appealing?
I love the 80's, because it just seemed like everyone that lived in that time was having fun. Everything from the movies, music, television, and fashion was just totally awesome! Even though I was a child of the 90's, I grew up watching a lot of stuff from the 80's.

2. What can your generation learn from the 80's?

I think what my generation can learn from the 80's, is to enjoy yourself. Life is short, and we all should make something good out of each and every day. It doesn't matter what it is, just as long as it makes the person happy.

3. What is the state of youth culture today?

The state of youth culture today is just a mess. No one is doing anything new, it's boring. No one is using their creative minds. Back then, people my age were always looking for new things to do. That's one of the reasons why I love the past, everyone was trying new things to make their generation really stand out.

4. What horror movie character from the 80's would you charge to wipe out all Twilight-induced mayhem?
Since we're talking "vampires" and 80's, I would send Edgar and Alan Frog from The Lost Boys. The Lost Boys was to me, a real vampire movie. Twilight is more of a love story and not horror at all. I don't believe that vampires sparkle. Haha.

5. Big shoulder pads or big hair? What would have been your fashion statement in the 80's?
Definitely big hair! I'm always teasing my hair. I can't pull off the shoulder pads, because I'm so short. My fashion statement would've been wearing a lot of band and movie shirts, like I wear today. I would be making my statement by showing off the things I love and what I'm all about on a shirt. Wham! had "Choose Life", I would have something like "Monster Squad rules!".

Thank You Ms. Rankin
The Cinema Snob-
Back from his state of wedded bliss, The Cinema Snob views Curse of the Cannibal Confederates, wishing the South will not rise again....

Well, the first of anything after an extended break is always rough, but The Snob handles his lengthy absence quite well. This is a funny episode, though not the caliber of some of his other work, but that's ok. You can't hit 'em out everytime. The movie itself would be one of those films I'd spent a vacation Saturday night just LMAO.
This will be my final post until next week but if you would like to be interviewed on My Breakfast With, shoot me an email at redpenguin24_m@yahoo.com. It doesn't matter your walk of life, everyone has a story to tell.....Watch out for snakes....

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Stardate 0421.10

Oh, it is a marvelous time this spring. The NHL playoffs are in full effect. The Pens contiuned invoking the Alanis Morrissette curse agains the Sens last night with a wild 7-4 victory, I do mean wild.

Promotional Consideration Paid for by the Following-
Hard as it may seem, this blog is sponsored by not one by now two entities...first off it's houseofhill.org...At houseofhill, we love collectors as much as Eric loves a 4-day weekend (Note From Eric: coming this weekend, bay-bee!!!) We have gorgeous quilts in all sizes made bu D and E out of Montana. Visitors will also love the hand-painted glass created by Raenell Ascetta of Bellissimo, a very talented artist from Florida who will sign each and every one of her items. Houseofhill.org, THE Site for THE Discriminating Collector.


hillssuperstore.com is my 2nd sponsor of Another Decent Into...Dedicated to the model train community,We feature highly collectible model trains along with many hard to find model trains. The model train enthusiast will also be able to find many unique items for their layout. In addition, Pinewood Derby supplies are also avaliable. hillssuperstore.com

Another Decent Into...
My Breakfast With Samuel Jones, A Second Serving
*In James Lipton voice* An often controversial topic here in the United States is the topic of censorship. For nearly two decades, we have seen the results of the Politicial Correctness movement in our movies, television, novels, and other forms of art. My next guest, making a second appearance on my blog, has requested to voice take on the subject. Ladies and gentleman, would you please welcome back...

Samuel Jones

1.You have returned to my blog because you wish to discuss the issue of censorship, particularly, cartoon censorship. What is it in particular about said issue that is irritating to you?

Well, I would have to say what bugs me the most is the double standard. It's deemed inappropriate to allow anyone to witness Kermit the Frog ordering a grasshopper at the bar because it might entice junior to drink.(this scene is deleted in current releases of the Muppet Movie,so I have read) Yet how many kids watched Heath Ledger as the Joker? You could say Kermit is a character aimed at children. OK. You could say The Dark Knight was clearly for adults only. OK. Then why were there so many Heath Ledger Joker toys flooding the market? You could say it's the parent's responsibility to monitor what their kids watch. That would be correct. So why are we censoring Kermit again?? I use these examples but there are countless others. I could rant on forever!

2. You mentioned in your bio that you served in the United States Army. Did you time in service help you to forge your opinion?
I would have to say partially. Only because my time served was one part of my life that shaped who I am today. But only partially because my time was spent doing a lot of partying when not on duty. At that time in my life I just wasn't giving much thought to such deep philosophical issues! What can I say?? If I had to do it all over again, I probably wouldn't change a thing. If I was 17 again, that is!

3. What if you are approached by a person who finds these older cartoon offensive?
I probably wouldn't push the issue. If they find them offensive, so be it. I can respect that. As long as they respect my opinion as well. That is ultimately why we have had, and most likely will continue to have, censorship. People are too worried about everyone else. Don't criticize what I watch and I won't shove it in your face. As far as the whole racism in old cartoons issue is concerned, I believe this should be part of the rating info. "this program contains violence, nudity, racism, etc..." Racism is certainly wrong, but was very prominent in entertainment at one time. If I chose to let my children watch this material, I would make sure to explain why it was wrong and that they are old enough understand.

4. What if your children, hypothetically speaking, tell one day, "Today at school, we watched Friday The 13th"?
Well, here I would go back to what I said earlier. Parents are responsible for their children. I expect that if the school wishes to show any type of movie, no matter what the rating/subject matter is that they notify the parents in advance. If this doesn't happen, the school and I will have a problem. If I want my kids to watch Friday the 13th or My Little Pony, that is my decision as a parent, not the school's. Or the "PC Police" for that matter.

5. In your opinion, when does good taste and judgment evolve into political correctness?
This is a tough one. I think political correctness is mostly just the domain of the "holier than thou" crowd. Certainly most of the things that are considered to be PC or not PC make complete sense. However it seems as though the PC thing has gotten way out of hand. Usually when someone is being un-pc, they either don't know any better or they are doing it on purpose. Pointing it out to them isn't likely to change anything. That is not to say you shouldn't point it out to them. Just don't beat a dead horse. There will always be jerks and idiots in this world. It's just human nature. Don't become one yourself by trying to prevent it in everyone else!

In closing, I would like to say this has been great. Answering these questions has really gotten me to think. And ironically, I realized that in Junior High, we all went to see the Muppet Movie at the theater. Perhaps I wouldn't have partaken so much in the Army if I hadn't witnessed Kermit ordering that drink. What was my mom thinking when she signed that permission slip?? Wait 'till I see her!

Thank you, Mr.Jones. You have a standing invitation to return to Another Descent Into...at any point in the future.

Manhattan Baby-With this 1982 Lucio Fulci movie, I have reached the end of my Fulci trilogy. The question is, will Manhattan Baby live up to the standards raised in Don't Torture A Duckling and HOF'er City of the Living Dead? The answer, sadly, is no. It's not a bad film by any stretch. The elements are certainly there.

On holiday in Egypt with George and Emily Hacker (Christopher Connelly and Martha Taylor), her archaeologist father and journalist mother, 10-year-old Susie Hacker (Brigitta Boccoli) is approached by a mysterious blind woman, who gives her an amulet with a blue-jewled eye in the center. Soon after, George is struck blind by a bright piercing blue light when he enters a previously unexplored tomb. But his assistant is not so lucky as he falls from a false floor bottom to his death on spikes in a booby-trapped chamber.

Upon arrival back in New York, George is informed that the loss of his eyesight will only be temporary. Susie begins to act strangely, and her younger brother Tommy (Giovanni Frezza), who stayed behind in New York with the family's au pair Jamie Lee (Cinzia De Ponti), is also affected by the mysterious amulet. Emily soon discovers that both of her children are appearing and disappearing out of their rooms every day and night. Both Susie and Tommy have gained supernatural access to dimensional doorways. A few days later, George's eyesight returns, and he describes the design on the wall of the tomb he'd entered to a colleague called Wiler, Wiler guesses that it may be the Sacred Symbol of the Grand Shadow, a sight of terrible evil.

Over the next few days, the Hacker family experiences more odd happenings. A scorpion appears in a desk drawer when Susie opens it. Later, Jamie Lee is menaced by a snake that attacks her in the apartment building cellar during a game of hide-and-seek with the kids. Then, Emily discovers piles of sand on the floors of their bedroom and adjacent rooms. Also, the building superintendent dies in a supernatural freak accident then the elevator he's riding in malfunctions, and drops open the floor of the elevator car, making him plunge to his death.

A little while later, Luke Anderson (Carlo De Mejo), an eccentric colleague of Emily's, arrives at the apartment to work with her about her latest journalist work detailing her travels in Egypt. When Luke hears a noise coming from Susie's bedroom, he enters it and tries to force open a jammed bedroom door. He opens it only to be sucked into the dimensional portal and finds himself transported to the deserts of Egypt where he later dies from dehydration in the vast, arid desert. The Hackers think Luke's disappearance is merely one of his practical jokes, but they never learn of his fate, nor find any trace of him.

Jamie Lee takes the kids out to nearby Central Park to play where she takes photos of them. A woman picks up a discarded Polaroid photo taken of Susie. It shows nothing but the amulet against the grassy background. The woman contacts a man called Adrian Marcato (Laurence Welles) with her find. The next day, the woman drops the Polaroid down to Mrs. Hacker from a window overlooking the pavement. Marcato's name and phone number are written on it.

Meanwhile, Susie and Tommy continues to appear and disappear from their bedrooms on what Tommy called "voyages". Soon, Jamie Lee herself disappears after entering Tommy's room. When Emily asks Tommy if he seen Jamie Lee recently, he tells his mother that Jamie Lee has not come back from her own voyage. That evening, George's colleague Wiler is killed when he gets bitten by a cobra that magically appears in his office as he is looking over the photo of the amulet that Hackers have given him. The photo magically disappears and reappears in Susie's hand as she recovers from a mysterious fit.

George and Emily track down Marcato to his antique shop and demand to know what his involvement is. He tells them about the evil symbolism of the jewel, and suggest that Susie has absorbed its energy. He also tells the skeptical couple to at least make sure she doesnt have the amulet in her possession. When George and Emily find the amulet in Susie's bedroom drawer, she appears to them glowing with an unearthly blue light, and then faints. Marcato is called to the Hackers apartment to examine Susie, but is possessed by her inner voice crying for help, and falls to the ground, bleeding and foaming at the mouth. Marcato regains consciousness and succeeds in linking minds briefly with George, showing him a glimpse into the eldritch Egypt his children have been visiting. Susie is then taken to a nearby hospital where the physician Dr. Foster (Lucio Fulci) examines her and is baffled by her mysterious illness. An X-ray taken shows the dark shape of a hooded cobra mark in her chest.

While Emily maintains a bedside vigil for the near-comatose Susie, Tommy is alone at the apartment when he is partly affected too. Suddenly, Jamie Lee turns up, bursting through a wall as a briefly reanimated rotting cadaver before she drops dead. A strange blue light of negative energy is shown flowing from Tommy, the bed-ridden Susie, and the dimensional doorways and channeled into Marcato's home where he is inciting a spell in the ancient Egyptian language. George goes to see Marcato again, who tells them that he can stop worrying about his children. Through an ancient Egyptian spell, Marcato has channeled all the evil energy away from George's children and the curse is now on him. Marcato gives George the amulet and tells him to discard it so the curse will not affect anyone else. That night, Marcato is killed at his shop when the re-animated carcasses of his stuffed birds come to life and tear him to pieces. At the hospital, Susie wakes up to see her grateful mother by her side and both are happy that Susie is all better. The following morning, George, following Marcato's last suggestion, flings the amulet into the East River, bringing an end to their ordeal.

In the final scene back in Egypt, the mystical blind woman once again appears and gives the exact same amulet to another young girl, intending to continue the curse for the forces of darkness, bringing it full circle.

The problem, as I see it, is the mess it becomes towards the end minus the money bird shot. It seemed as if Fulci decided to really forsake story for the sake of absurdity. The movie is a bit different then your standard giallo. There is no true killer other than some stuffed birds, an honest to goodness story taking place, and, oddly enough, no nudity.

I give it points for being something different, it's just this film cannot seem to overcome its disjointed final scenes(bird shot and final shot excluded). I do recommend this film only if you are in the mood to see something else instead of the hack-n-slash of the day...7/10

The Final Descent Into Ex-Fiancee-
I normally do not blog about my personal life. Quite frankly, it is no one's concern what I do during my day to day routine unless I choose to share it with my readers. Yet today, I feel compelled to share with you an amusing story regarding Ex-Fiancee. The pilot story begins with my engagement to Ex-Fiancee this past December only to have the engagement, and thus the relationship, come to screeching halt two days later with the famous "I need some space".


We have talked and visited each a few times since just out of friendship(at least from her point of view). Well what happened to me this past Monday can only be described as "WTF????"

I received an IM from Ex-Fiancee informing me she will be married January 1st,2011...UH-OH!!!! You know reader, I hope that happens. I mean who doesn't want that to happen? (Previously engaged for two days...UH-OH!!!) I know reader, I should be happy for her and I am(UH-OH!!!)...(The guy is from Tennessee...they've only known each other a month...UH-OH!!!)

Just do it Ex-Fiancee(UH-OH!!!) Why wait till January?(I need some space...UH-OH!!!!) Why not next month? Why not tomorrow(UH-OH!!!!)? What's taking so long?(He's just like me...UH-OH!!!!) I mean Ex-Fiancee getting married, what can possibly go wrong other than(I need some space....UH-OH!!!)..I'm sorry Ex-Fiancee, what do u need again(Some space because he's just like me...UH-OH!!!)

Ok, how much space do you need(He's from Tennessee, he's just like me...UH-OH!!!)

Anyhoo, congrats Ex-Fiancee, I hope you're finally happy and that you two(days) have a long and productive marriage(Tennessee because he's just like me...UH-OH!!!)....

On that note, I shall leave you to your life...UH-OH!!!!