Matango!

Matango_1963You know what?  I was engaging in America’s #1 leisure time activity last night, and guess what it is, it ain’t sex, it’s television.  So what you say.  So what!  I was supposed to be out camping and I was but I didn’t let a little thing like that get in the way of MY leisure time.  You see I had my smartphone with me (and what an apt name for the little gadget, get one with the biggest screen size you can).  I was merrily ensconced in the supine position in my sleeping bag watching television and eating Reese’s Pieces while the rest of the clan and friends were out freezing their butts off, getting bug-bit, getting smoked out roasting weenies, S’mores, telling stories, etc.  No sir, your’s truly isn’t going to be found wasting valuable clicks in the ol’ lifetime game on stuff like that when through the wonders of modern technology I could be sitting by myself watching television.

But this is not the main thrust of this essay.  What was I watching you ask?  Why Matango of course, crudely translated into English as Attack of the Mushroom People or Fungus of Terror.  And what a bit of tasty 1963 Japanese fare it was too.  Now I’m sure by now you think you know where this little piece of arcana is going, but you, with your degraded sense of perception are oh so wrong.  So stick around if you want to get that Jethro Bodeen 6th grade edecation stretched a bit.

matango4by3First let’s get a few things about foreign language films straightened out.  This Matango affair is a Japanese language film.  Now I want to make it clear from the start that this is no art film.  Sometimes foreign language and art cinema get confused.  See all art cinema is bad.  Some foreign language films (most) are art films, but by logic not all foreign language films must be art films.  So some foreign language films can be good (but not many).  Did you follow that?  I hope so, most times I’m not too sure about you.

“The body lay outside an abandoned, boarded-up theater. The theater had started as a first-run movie house, many years back when the neighborhood had still been fashionable. As the neighborhood began rotting, the theater began showing second-run films, and then old movies, and finally foreign-language films.”  ― Ed McBain

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Typical Art Cinema

Unfortunately before TV took over as the #1 entertainment venue, most foreign language film venues (almost all the dreaded “art film” theater) were in the seedier neighborhoods, in the same alley as the porno houses and peep shows, so a lot of people weren’t aware of the few gems that came out of the foreign language cinema.  Now your intrepid host here, being a courageous sort, wasn’t afraid of these neighborhoods of ill repute so I actively sought out these far too few baubles on the foreign cinematic charm bracelet.  You wouldn’t believe the amount of infantile and prurient fare I had to, um, let’s save that for later.  Where was I?  My point is we don’t want this Matango confused with some far inferior motion pictures, I would say worthless, from Sweden or Italy made by so-called artistes of the cinema.

Then the next thing we need to make clear about enjoying a good foreign language film like Matango is turning the subtitles off and turning the alternate language track for English on.  I know the lips don’t match and the dialog almost certainly doesn’t either, but the last thing we want to do is let something as tedious as reading interfere with our quality leisure time activity.  Sometimes you just have to give up one thing for another better thing.  Anyway with your reading comprehension I wouldn’t want your enjoyment to be ruined by having to hit the pause button all the time to ask a lot of questions.

What most people don’t know about Matango is it’s based on a piece of classic sea faring horror literature.  It’s based on a story called The Voice in the Night by William Hope Hodgson.  This is a most creepy early horror story that influenced a lot of later horror stuff and not the usual drivel that was clogging up literature at the turn of the 19th century.  Hodgson practically invented the giant sea monster and did invent the attacking fungus genre and the latter is what we have here.  See how important he is to modern art?  Now with your education and lack of casual reading I wouldn’t expect you to know any of this plus it’s kind of not that well known anyway so I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt here.

88d78386572b8dae02ad5600649b8b0d3ac30448Well Matango was produced by the far seeing and justly famed Toho studios the visionary folks that also pretty much invented the giant monster flick single handedly.  It’s advertised to be in Tohoscope whatever that is.  Anyway it is wide screen and in color, real pluses.

Anyway let’s get started.  A bunch of high rollers are on a sailing holiday somewhere in the Pacific where their ship is severely damaged in a storm and then becalmed.  Eventually they are shipwrecked on an uncharted weird island that just happens to have a creepy hulk of its own with a lot of fungus on it.  Can you see a classic in the making?

matango-6Well they clean up the old tub and try to make a home out of it until they can get rescued.  The island is all covered with little and big mushrooms and fungi and other weird alien looking stuff.  They’ve got food but it sort of runs out and those little toadstools look tasty and smell so fresh.  Guess what’s on the menu?  Shiitake happens!  Now you know what happened to all the folks on the other boat, and it ain’t rescue.  The usual body snatcher type mayhem ensues.

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Don’t eat that!

The movie is in color and the island is filmed in such a freaky color scheme you might think you’ve eaten some ‘shrooms yourself.  The transformation pustules are pretty gross to look at so that makes ’em cool while your eating some Reese’s Pieces.

Once this little known classic was over it was nighty-night time for your’s truly no matter what nonsense the others were up to, probably eating the toadstools in the campground or those colorful plate things that stick out of trees since the S’mores were gone, but I know better now.  See TV can be informative as well as entertaining.

Anyway, unless they have me tied down and are force feeding me those toad stools I’ll be up early because Saturday morning means just one thing besides breakfast, The Three Stooges!

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Fright Night

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Socrates (artists rendition)

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Plato (not actual size)

Preface:  A lot of people, okay some people, alright one guy actually asked me:  Why do you use so many question marks?  Well if you had ever paid attention in school you would know that this Greek guy named Plato wrote about a great teacher named Socrates.  Socrates was maybe the greatest teacher ever.  He might even have been able to impart some knowledge on you, my poor friend.  Well Socrates wanted people to think.  He didn’t want to give the students all the answers so he actually asked more questions than he answered; to make you think about stuff.  Some naysayers say Socrates didn’t have enough sense to come in out of the rain and he asked all those questions because he really didn’t know anything, but Plato was a pretty reliable guy so we have to give ol’ Socrates the benefit of the doubt.  Anyway that’s what I’m trying to do with all these questions, get you to think, and you don’t have to tell me how frustrating that can be.  So from now on just pay attention and quit asking all these stupid questions.

Horror films are the pinnacle of modern intellectual entertainment.  The highest achievement of art in humankind’s long and dreary history.  This isn’t to say that the cinema is the best place to experience the fright, but the modern Digital 3D IMAX movie theater is probably the equivalent of the Roman Coliseum as far as entertainment is concerned.  Television, your mega home theater system, where you can sit with your nuts hangin’ out, is of course the best venue for experiencing even the most tedious parlor drama, so horror fare is going to be best there.  There is no substitute for fast forward, rewind, pause, freeze frame, and picture-in-picture, so the cineplex is just going to have to ride in the back seat.

How can I make this statement?  Well the answer is self-evident but you are a little slow so I’m here to spell it out for all you history and sociology professors.

F1-race-car-crash-photo-auto-racing-accidentFirst let’s take a little quiz.  Why do you go to auto races?  To see the crashes and drink beer, not to watch cars endlessly go around in circles.  Why do we go to the amusement park?  To ride the monster upside down backwards 10g roller coaster, not the teacups.  Why do we go to the opera?  Not for the singing but for the blood and guts, murders and battles.  I think I’ve made my point.  People likewise go to the cinema not to see some guy play chess with Death or some other guy meet a gal on the Empire State building but to get the bejeezus scared out of them in a gory monster fest of demon mayhem.  That’s right, the zenith of cultural entertainment is the horror flick and it has been since the 1930s.

First lets get something right out of the way.  Live entertainment, any live entertainment, is inferior entertainment.  Why?  Because the technology involved is inferior to movies and television.  I know I am going to get all sorts of whining about artistic merit but this is Luddite thinking.  We live in a technology driven culture and what is more technologically advanced than television, digital cinema, computers, tablets, etc.  Nothing except maybe NASA and how many of us are going to get to ride a spaceship in our lifetimes?  Besides we don’t have to.  With surround sound, subwoofer, 3D giant screen HD TVs you can experience virtual spaceflight in your home without the fear of upchucking your beer and popcorn or being blown to bits, or burning up in the atmosphere.  You’re having a good night’s sleep after the Alien chest burster breaks loose.

Who also wants to sit in row 52 in the balcony, wait in line for a seat, wait 10 minutes for the bathroom, or get busted for smoking weed when we can always have a front row seat at home?  So now we have eliminated live theater, classical music, ballet, performance art, rock concerts, and mimes, etc. from our menu of preferred entertainment unless we can watch them on TV.   I think I’ve made my point.

936full-pitch-black-posterWhy horror you say?  I knew your attention span was short, because we’re here for the car crashes, remember?  When Tom Hanks is in a film we don’t want to see him acting like a little kid, we want to see him as a prison guard when a swarm of bees come out of a prisoner’s mouth and into another guy.  When we see Vin Diesel we don’t want to really see all those fake car crashes and ultraviolent shooting, but we do want to see the lights go out and alien monsters attacking spaceships and astronauts.  Again, I think I’ve made my point.

Back to the Coliseum thing.  Listen, we are in the modern equivalent now of the decline of the Roman Empire in our cultural history and what did the Romans’ value in their time?  Bread and Circuses.  Now they didn’t have the luxury of popcorn and horror movies so they had to settle for a sandwich and some lions beating up on Christians or even better some gladiators beating the piss out of each other.  See the similarity:  lion = monster, Christians = scared teenagers in a cabin.  History repeats itself.

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Bread and Circuses (Roman Entertainment)

Look how far we’ve come and who’s to say the Roman Empire isn’t something to aspire to?  They conquered most of the known world in their time and what are we trying to do today?  I rest my case.

On to what is best in horror entertainment.  Every artistic era has its good, its bad, its imitators, and charlatans.  What is the state of horror films today?  Well only so-so I would say including an over-reliance on crappy comic book superheroes.  Superheroes are kiddie fare.  I don’t want to see ’em fighting my monsters and ghosts.  I want to see frightened teenagers victimized by berserk psychopaths or better yet, real monsters.

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Evil Dead II (original)

Probably the best movie ever made is Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead II, it includes all the classic horror elements jacked up for the end of the century and Bruce Campbell, the greatest actor of all time is in it.  Evil Dead II is the Mona Lisa of film making.

To start with Evil Dead II is really just Evil Dead with better special effects.  Now any movie will rise in quality if more technology, for example, special effects, are involved.  So Evil Dead II has to be better than Evil Dead by definition, no argument there.  So what are the elements that make it so good.  This is going to take awhile so sit back.

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The Dutch Masters of Film Sets

Teenagers in a cabin in the woods cut off from any rescue or escape, the pinnacle of horror setups.  Next we have the menace of the invisible unknown demon.  Next we have a demonic murder and burial.  Then we have demonic possession.  Now we have the monsters themselves. We have blood shooting out of walls, possessed body parts, rednecks, shotguns, the undead, and the ubiquitous chainsaws.  See why this is a classic?  In the end we see a hole into another universe open and deposit Campbell complete with car and shotgun in Medieval times.  What artist has ever included all the elements for his/her field of art in one masterpiece?  None before!  The fact that there was a 2013 reboot speaks for itself as far as classic is concerned.  How many times has Citizen Kane been rebooted?  ‘Nuff said.

So go see the new Vin Diesel flick Riddick right now.  See the under appreciated Drag Me to Hell .  See the Evil Dead reboot.  See the most excellent Cabin in the Woods, perhaps the greatest monster fest of all times.

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You will finally be contributing to modern culture as well as being entertained and if your hoity-toity artist friends demean your tastes, leave ’em off the invitation list.

Television

vintagetelevisionI promised to tell you how watching television can enhance any part of your life and with today’s 21st Century wireless technology the future of 24 hour TV is even closer than you think. As you know I’m not here to disappoint so hang in there while I get up a full head of steam.

Now think about it, what do you like better than watching TV? Be honest. Okay, I’ll give you that  but TV second best, I’m going to show you how even #1 can be made better with television. So now we have established that TV viewing is just about the thing you most like to do. On top of that it is one of the most relaxing pastimes. It’s so relaxing you can even sleep in front of the TV and you should for your mental health. C’mon, what other hobby lets you sleep while you do it? So don’t tell me that mountain biking or kayaking is more relaxing than TV viewing. Even going to a movie or, god forbid, live theater, isn’t as enjoyable and relaxing as sitting front of the ol’ telly. Try to sleep sitting up in those “stadium seats” after you’ve shelled out $100 for tickets and concessions. You can’t rewind, record, fast forward through the boring parts, stop to get a better look at an actress’s breasts, none of that. You can’t stop it to go to the bathroom, that’s a game breaker for me.  Inferior entertainment. The good news is that even if you are chained to your spouse, friends, family, or kids that insist on doing any sort of these tier two or three hobbies or entertainments you can now always enhance that experience and make it less tedious with television!

sexontv-silverLet’s get right down to first and second best:  sex and TV.  How can we combine these?  Well there’s a rich mans solution and the poor man’s solution.  Rich Man:  60 inch or better LED 1080p on every surface in your bedroom even above the head board and the ceiling.  The poor man’s solution has some actual advantages over the rich man solution:  mirrors on every surface and only one or two 1080p LEDs (as big as you can make ’em) placed strategically.  Now when your team scores you can score!  You’re doing both your favorite things at the same time unless she’s a two bagger and then you can stick with the sports.  In case you’re wondering both these solutions are actually gender neutral and also work for the G&L crowd too, I just used a guy example because they generally like both sex and TV more than gals.

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Here’s another problem solved.  How to use TV when engaging in a more active lifestyle.  Let’s take mountain hiking and camping.  Both spouses can mount a small TV in their backpack.  All you have to do is cut a little window in the back of each pack and voila, even the remote will work.  Now only the following parties can watch but if you change places regularly everyone else can take their turn.  You can even get your kids to participate in active leisure time (what an oxymoron) activities with you.  Only broadcast and DVDs will work with this setup while moving (make sure you get a shock-free DVD player and a battery powered or better yet a solar powered setup).  Once you setup camp or your picnic you can break out the dish and enjoy literally hundreds of channels instead of telling dull stories or worse yet, singing around the camp fire.  Have each person haul at least one extra (or better yet more) charged Li batteries and a solar charger.  Leave out food, water, and other extra stuff if necessary to save weight.

PIA0001002059Now with the heads-up-display TVs in glasses offered there literally is no excuse to not watch TV constantly and we have now proved that everything is enhanced by television.  Today there is no reason for you to whine about that mall trip or the amusement park so no more bitching about how I never make your life better.

I’ve got to finish this NCIS marathon I’ve been watching while I’ve been putting this together so excuse the typos.  I hope your miserable life has at least been slightly improved.

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Special NCIS Agent Ziva David

 

Naval Criminal Investigative Service

NCISWelcome back friends and relatives.  Did you enjoy our little diversion into the wistful memories of childhood?  Were you taken back to the years of your wasted youth?  Well today we are back to serious business so no talking in the back there.  Hey, you, do you want to share that with everybody?  No, I didn’t think so, sit down and pay attention.

Today’s essential essay deals with the television program Naval Criminal Investigative Service, NCIS.  I’m going to show you why this is not only the most entertaining and inspiring but also the most important show on TV today.  If you watch nothing else on TV, you should be watching NCIS.  The very survival of our democracy and your sanity depends on it and you know I never exaggerate.

NCISWhere to start?  Hmmm.  A little history.  I’m not going to look up the dates because I’m lazy and exact details don’t matter anyway, what we’re going for here is the big picture (I give you all sorts of little hints about how to make your life easier by cutting corners so pay attention.  Try to take away SOMETHING).  NCIS was actually a spin-off of JAG and is one of the rare instances on TV where the spin-off actually exceeded the parent.  Now I never watched JAG but I know from hearsay that NCIS is better, so trust me on this.  I’ve seen the pilot NCIS episode say 20 times so I can tell you that most of the critical elements that make NCIS so compelling and intelligent were there at the start and are still there now.  This is important in today’s fast changing world where tradition is casually thrown on the trash heap of history.  NCIS has maintained the same basic formula for like, don’t quote me on this, 11 seasons.  Why is this so important?  Because contrary to popular belief, repetition is the spice of life and the thing that makes living tolerable.  Gibbs, Ducky, Tony, Abby, and Kaitlyn were there from the pilot episode (Kate was in the Secret Service though for this premier episode).

As you can see the casting was exquisite.  Putting aging ex-football star, pretty boy, and method actor Mark Harmon at the helm was sheer brilliance (Did any of you ever see that movie where Mark Harmon plays Ted Bundy?  Outstanding.).  The range of his ability made the ensemble almost beyond failure.  The next stroke was resurrecting David McCallum who all the old folks, the primary broadcast TV demographic, would probably remember from The Man From UNCLE.  Then the third stroke of genius was the casting of Goth Pauley Perrette as the quirky but cheery forensic scientist Abby Sciuto.  With this three legged thespian stool as a foundation you could pretty much throw any actor or actress into the mix and come out with a winner, however Michael Weatherly (Tony) and Sasha Alexander (Kate) turned out to be no light weights either.

Over the years there have been some changes:  Kate was tragically killed off by a berserk terrorist and was sort of replaced by the equally talented and beautiful Cote de Pablo (What kind of a name is that?) as the character Ziva David. The characters of McGee and Mr. Palmer and the agency Director as well as some on and off characters were added in but never was the basic formula tampered with.  This is the key to it’s success:  second verse same as the first.

Now to me watching NCIS is like family.  I’m on a first name basis with all the characters, even the minor ones, and I think about the cast as real people, and you should too.  These characters are all meant to be lovable, good looking, and quirky just like real people should be so you should act like they are real people that can affect your lives.  Talk as though what they said in the show is real.  Your otherwise miserable life will be richer for it.

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Your NCIS Family

Why do I tell you all this?  Well for your mental health.  You need some funny but strong and lovable people to anchor your miserable life on.  People you can count on since the real people you know are never going to come through for you, so why shouldn’t it be television characters?  Pretend Tony and Ziva are your neighbors.  Invite them over for coffee.  Imagine rich conversations and interactions with them.  Relive key moments in NCIS with Gibbs in a cheerful casual way at a barbecue.  Every time you look at NCIS from now on all the characters are going to be like people you really know and love.  And unlike real people they’re never going to let you down.  They’re everything you wish you and your friends could be but never will be:  intelligent, creative, courageous, kind, witty, good looking, pretty much the whole upbeat package.  The worst that can happen to you is that some of these good qualities might rub off on you and bring you one more step up from the primordial ooze.  What’s to lose?

I could get into all sorts of other technical reasons why NCIS is excellent on so many levels, camera angles, direction, special effects, body doubles, mise-en-scene, montage, but I’d be wasting breath on the unteachable and I don’t know much about them, and they don’t really matter anyway (triple whammy!).

The other real reason to watch NCIS is it is all true!  All that stuff they do on their computers, phones, and surveillance cameras is 100% correctamento.  How do we know this?  Edward Snowden, that Jeffersonian patriot weasel who ratted out the NSA surveillance spooks.  He confirmed that all that crap that McGee and Abby and Tony do on their computers to listen in on your phone calls or your Facebook page or your e-mail are 100% real.  Yep.

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Edward Snowden – Patriot

So where’s the problem you say?  I knew you weren’t paying attention.  NCIS is TV not reality.  Forget that right now.  Sure we can trust our private communication with Abby or McGee or even Gibbs, but these are not real people, they’re characters played by actors.  Get that through your thick head.  Where did you ever get that goofy idea that these were real people?  Not real!  Whereas Gibbs et al are only going to use your vital information to catch the real bad guys and are going to forget it the minute they don’t need it, the real world doesn’t work like that.  The real NCIS (and by inference all federal law enforcement agencies) are out to screw you, not protect you.  Think about it.  They are in actuality filled with people like you or me, vengeful little spiteful nobodies who want to get their little piece of the pie by using your e-mail and phone calls to blackmail you or harass you to kingdom come.  Or worse.

Stay with me here.  I’m not sure why you are having so much trouble separating fantasy from reality right now but you need to steady the boat a bit.

NSAThe people that are employed by the US Government come out of the same cesspool that other employers get their employees from (remember 50% are below average).  Sure they’re vetted but only so they won’t rat or take drugs.  It doesn’t say anything about not using a little “free time” to access your credit card transactions to Rubber Novelty World and making a little pocket change on the side.  Remember most of these people are hardly being paid enough to live on.  What would you do given the same circumstances?  And we haven’t even gotten to the peepers yet.

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Peepers

 Peepers, yes that’s right, the peepers, freaks who want to look at you and your kids naked and self gratify.  We already know schools, churches and daycares are full of these freaks so why should NCIS be immune.  Via all sorts of bugs, surveillance cameras, and even the webcam on your laptop they are getting their thrills while you go about your seedy private business blissfully unaware.  You know, you’ve seen it used on NCIS, in that episode with the school bomber.  And I’ve just proven to you that if it is on NCIS it’s most certainly true.  Unlike films and live theater, you can’t put stuff on TV that isn’t true or possible.  It would warp children.  You already knew that.

So now you are armed.  I expect you to be tuning into America’s #1 broadcast show religiously.  Watch the new shows faithfully on CBS.  Watch the back to back rerun marathons on the USA cable network.  You will be better informed, more sane, and maybe your pitiful life will just be a little richer for it.

On The Ropes

School-desk-1Today is kind of different so no goofing off.  Hey you, sit down and pay attention.  Unlike other posts where I’ve kept things back for your own good, or those posts that I told you not to read because they were too esoteric, well here we’re goin’ to school so sit down and shaddup.  Don’t make me come over there!  This is a serious topic, not like the Casey Anthony killing or Jon Benet Ramsay.  What I want to tell you about is the sorry state of Professional Wrestling today.

NCISNow I don’t watch much television but what I do watch I like a lot.  On Monday nights I’m usually watching Naval Criminal Investigative Service, NCIS, on USA network.  I love it, back to back episodes.  That Goth forensic scientist Abby Sciuto is a hoot, and Gibbs, well, will Gibbs ever crack a smile?   I’ll tell you someday why NCIS is the most sophisticated and intellectual drama ever aired on television, but not today.  Think future.  I don’t want to make your head explode.  Anyway on Mondays at 8 pm ET my NCIS bliss is interrupted by that abomination that calls itself Professional Wrestling:  WWE Raw.

wwe_rawNow WWE just sucks.  John Cena and The Rock suck.  Big breasted women holding match cards suck the worst.  Half the time it looks like Cena is wrestling in capris which is a disgrace to both pro wrestling and our armed forces.  The people who like wrestling now are retards and knuckle-draggers.  The only thing worse than the current crap that pawns itself off as “professional” wrestling is reality television and MTV.  Vince McMahon ruined professional wrestling.  Wrestling today is 1970s Elvis versus 1950s Elvis.  That pretty much sums it up.

Cuba's Livan Lopez Azcuy fights with Azerbaijan's Jabrayil Hasanov for the bronze medal of the Men's 66Kg Freestyle wrestling at the ExCel venue during the London 2012 Olympic GamesLet’s get one thing straight before we go any further.  This rant has nothing to do with that so-called amateur sport (see above) where geeks (or Greeks) grapple on mats; that stuff they do in college and the Great Spectator Sport Swindle:  The Olympics.  Not that crappy amateur stuff.  We’re talking Professional here not the stuff where nobody gets paid and nobody gets to wear the unbelievably ostentatious title belt.  Nobody, but nobody, really likes watching that even if they say so, even if there seem to be certain doppelgangers that show up in both the professional and amateur “sports” from time to time.  They have nothing to do with each other.  Forget that amateur crap.  Now that I think about it, it may be even worse (= more boring) than the WWE.

Pro wrestling now is expensive and sleazy.  I liked it when it was cheap and sleazy.  The classic wrestling era was the ’50s to the ’80s.  After that it went downhill.  Overshadowed by glitzy and expensive special effects, people forgot the true nature of the sport and worse yet, wrestlers forgot how to wrestle.  Today’s wrestler is a poster boy for steroid abuse who cannot even master the basic “Claw” maneuver.  Some of them actually think they can “act” and have fall back careers in traditional entertainment.

But here’s the real bombshell, unlike the classic era, today’s Battle Royales are staged!  That’s right you heard it here first, the whole mess is rigged; fixed worse than a Las Vegas roulette wheel.  Big money took over and the whole thing turned into show business with the outcomes as predictable as a Stephen King novel.  Hell predictable, they’re scripted!  Everyone except you, my microcephalic reader, knows what’s gonna happen in the ring.

annieSo the current state of wrestling is essentially that of a big-buck crappy Broadway show (see above).  A theater performance nightly, and we know where that leads.  No wonder some of them think they can become “actors.”  Now you don’t know this but I will enlighten you in a future post, you’re just going to have to trust me here now (you know you can):  live theater is not worth talking about or watching because it is technologically inferior to movies and television.  Hence the current “staged” state of wrestling is not worth a longhorn turd as far as sports or entertainment is concerned.  Don’t you love how I bring logic into the mix to prove incontrovertibly the sorry state of things today?

Well what’s to be done?  Here’s my prescription:  first throw out the current WWE management and replace them with the likes of the golden era’s American Wrestling Association (AWA from now on), guys like Verne Gagne (see photo below) who could spot a real wrestler, not just some steroid pumped pretty boy.  Clean house!

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Verne Gagne

Move the matches to smaller venues.  These big arenas draw graft and cheating like flies to a dead carp.  Let’s use high school gymnasiums, church fellowship centers, senior centers, places that keep the mob riff raff and fixers out.  Places where folding chairs can be substituted for “stadium seating.”

Bring back real international athletes.  That’s right:  Crushers, Bruisers, Chechens, Nazis, Bolsheviks, titled nobility, Sheiks, ethnically stereotyped berserkers, throw in a few Al Qaeda athletes for an international terrorist flavor.  It is essential to get not just talented athletes but ones people can hate without a second thought.  How can somebody possibly get worked up about someone wearing makeup called “The Undertaker,” “Triple H,” or guys with monikers that sound like rapper’s names?

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Titled Nobility

Impose mandatory drug tests.  The current crop of steroid crazed thespians need to be weeded out.  No more steroids.  No more performance enhancers.  No more athletes that trained with Lance Armstrong.  I favor a one strike and out philosophy.  None of this namby-pamby rehab and second chance stuff.  You’ve brought disgrace on a time honored sport and you need to be degraded and humiliated for it.

Make the rules stick.  For crying out loud, a lifetime suspension should stick for at least, say, two weeks minimum.  Suspended athletes should not be allowed anywhere near the venue until the Commissioner has lifted the suspension.  Foreign objects (see brass knuckles below) in the ring should never be larger than a folding chair.  Coming off the top rope should only be allowed when the referee’s back is turned.  You know, put some common sense back into the rules and enforce them.

Brass_knuckles_picAnd finally, keep the big money out.  That’s what ruined the NFL and NBA where rigged games are now considered the “norm.”  Once the big money is in then the mafia moves in and before you know it so-called athletes with a trumped up college transcript are making millions of dollars to take a dive, drop a ball, or throw an entire game.  That’s one of the reasons I don’t “participate” in today’s spectator sports.  They’re all staged, unlike the classic era of professional wrestling where you could count on a generally good clean match with athletes you could really look up to.

Maybe there is hope.  Ring of Honor Wrestling looks like it might have all the elements that made the classic era so great while still being updated for the 21st century.  We can only pray and count to ten.