Friday, February 26, 2010

The Subject Was Toes-es

For Dog Blog Friday: It's not like we don't know why our bed is always a mess....


Friday Random Ten

Tara Key "Jack of Hearts" Bourbon County
Elvis Costello "All This Useless Beauty" All This Useless Beauty
The Halo Benders "Bombshelter Pt. 1" Don't Tell Me Now
Hem "A-Hunting We Will Go" Eveningland
Spoon "Vittorio E" Kill the Moonlight
Built to Spill "Sidewalk" Keep It Like a Secret
Syd Straw ""Future 40s (String of Pearls)" Surprise
The Replacements "Alex Chilton" Just Say Sire: The Sire Records Story
Talking Heads "Air" The Name of This Band Is Talking Heads
Bright Eyes "Make War" Lifted or The Story Is in the Soil, Keep Your Ear to the Ground

Richard & Linda Thompson "Did She Jump" Shoot Out the Lights

After a few straying, mean weeks, iTunes returns to my door, plaintive, carrying chocolates and flowers. Lots of good in a lot of different flavors.


Thursday, February 25, 2010

The House of Tomorrow (or Tuesday)

So Tuesday is Magnetic Fields in LA day, and to get psyched, and keep that doleful-ness you've come to expect this week, here's a band that's led by a guy everyone says sounds like Eeyore...

First, I really got into the band with the release of The Charm of the Highway Strip, a road album of lost highways and the beloved losers who drive them, and usually they don't do songs from it on tour, but lookie here....

Just as lovely, lovelorn, as it needs to be.

And since that song mentions fireflies...there's what's still his most famous song, "100,000 Fireflies," which also is getting played this tour (and if they don't do it Tuesday, I'll do my best to not cry for the rest of the week, but am not promising anything):

Then, during my YouTube ramble I discovered this, a Stephin Merritt documentary!

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I'll Be a Friend, I'll Tell You What's in Store

The rain today makes it easy to think of this one, especially since it popped up on a 15-year-old mixed tape the other day, especially since it keeps the week's theme of dourness, the Democrats, disconsolateness, drinking, and dysphoria running (damn the D's, full blog ahead). And while Cole makes a joke of it in his story, what does it mean to drag in a chorus of children to sing the la-la-la-la's on a song baldly billed "Unhappy Song," it's like singing Richard Thompson's "End of the Rainbow" to them, or worse, making them sing it themselves. But that's not quite right, is it--they get the leavening la-la-la's, the bit that's meant to be sweet. Cause there's always sweet in the unhappy, isn't there, otherwise we'd never know it for the dolefulness it is. We sing, of all things, our sorrow. How human of us.

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Can't Spell Disease without DC

Nod and point time. Steve Goldman is back at his blog Wholesome Reading, and not just busy at work at BP and Pinstriped Blog, so that means one more sharp cookie is on the political shelf. (OK, nowhere to go with that metaphor--it's kind of like health care reform, or HCR, as they like to call it, which, tellingly is an anagram of HRC or Hillary Rodham Clinton, a symbol for the last time the Dems started "reform" by selling out to the monied interests.) Here's part of how he kicked off his return, and proof you should be paying attention. He says exactly what I feel, so thanks for doing it so well, Mr. Goldman.

Beyond Obama and the ineptitude of an administration that would lead and won’t counter-punch, the paramount reason for my frustration is this: while there has been jockeying between political factions for the hearts of the voters virtually since day one of the Republic, there used to be more of a sense that election season was election season but in between you had to accept the results and get on with the business of running the country. That obviously didn’t mean 100 percent cooperation, but you picked your battles. The basic maintenance of the country wasn’t neglected to score political points. That has changed. On one side of the aisle, we have a party that only says no, which means its loyalty is to party first, country second, and of course the Constitution not at all. On the other side, the Democrats (in case you were confused as to who was who) are, in the words of Winston Churchill, decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all-powerful to be impotent. Putting your trust in these guys is like rooting for the Kansas City Royals. Who would want to who didn’t have to?

So the country, and by extension us, is a priority for no one, and we’re reduced to being the audience for a kind of masturbatory reality show version of a government while Rome burns. The Democrats have won and haven’t shown that they have a plan. The Republicans will win in November on a nihilistic platform that won’t lead anywhere either. There’s nothing left to hope for. As such, I’ve found that even when I’ve had time to write something here, I’ve felt too discouraged to try. What use would it be, when we’ve given up as a country? Karl Marx wrote of history, the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce. I’m not sure which version of the fall of an empire we’re in here, but I’m leaning towards farce. Imagine the ad for the movie: “The United States is a zany romp!–Gene Shalit.”

Still, even if our leaders have quit on us, we can’t quit. I’m going to stick with it if you will. Let’s light a candle and curse the darkness. Who’s with me?

I have to admit I'm worried my matches are damp....

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

If You're Sad, and Like Beer, I'm Your Film

Oddball that I am, mid-Olympics I had us not watch the NBC-tape-delayed-USfest but a six-year-old movie set 77 years ago and shot like it was made then, set in a Canada not just lost in snow but lost in the Depression, and all-too-eager to remind you that depression isn't just a word from economics. The Saddest Music in the World is a film by unclassifiable filmmaker Guy Maddin who is fittingly named like one of his film's characters, for he's one mad guy. Mad for cinema, particularly German Expressionism, Russian Constructivism, but then other batty bits, a touch of noir, an arc of something arch from Astaire and Rogers. Mad for melodrama; his plots would put a soap opera scribe to shame, but he offers them so matter-of-factly--why of course that dad who believes he's responsible for his young son's death carries the boy's heart preserved in his own tears around in a jar--you want to laugh at the cliche, but it's so goddam believed, so ratcheted up to be more than cliche, you can't.* Mad for memory, not just in his magnificent mish-mash of styles, but in his characters, one amnesiac and lovely, another forlorn and begrudging, another, notably the one who passes himself off as the American, doing his best to bluster and shyster his way past his own terrible history, but we'll see what happens there (look out, America?).

To make a comparison, Maddin sits somewhere between David Lynch and Daniel Handler, a lemony surrealist, a formalist eager to drill down into the psychosexual heart of the world. How could I not love a man who writes things like, "Eschewing digital effects as grotesque artifacts of the present," or "Feeling that happiness depends on structure and hierarchy, I set my rank as director apart by donning jodhpurs and an imposing fez."

Does the contest of battling nations, hoping to prove they possess the saddest music in the world (and win the prize of, as Isabella Rossellini's character puts it, "25,000 Depression-Era dollars"), actually discover the singular song of sorrow? Or does it do something more, finding sorrow in our mini-tribes we know as the family, our pacts and treaties of love that we can't help but betray, mangle, defy, reify into some grand meaning, of a way to have the world feel, if just a tiny bit (I will play my song for my lost love, drives one character; I will repent for my great sin by repairing the one I love with something imaginable, beautiful, glittering and full of beer, thinks another).

It's telling a Jerome Kern chestnut ("The Song Is You"--what else could be more navel-gazingly dolorous, sad-sack?) played by a Canadian cellist posing as Serbian haunts the movie. Worldwide we've all shed tears in our beer, but that doesn't keep us from drinking.

*In his laudatory essay when the film came out, the Chicago Reader's Jonathan Rosenbaum quoted Umberto Eco: "When all the archetypes burst out shamelessly, we plumb Homeric profundity. Two cliches make us laugh but a hundred cliches move us because we sense dimly that the cliches are talking among themselves, celebrating a reunion."

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Monday, February 22, 2010

Parmesan Rhymes with Courtesan

While grating Parmigiano the other night while setting up the mise en place for risotto, it hit me what a great invention the whole block of cheese was. I mean, it had to be invented in my lifetime, for until I escaped from home went to college I would have bet my life that parmesan only came in green cardboard cylinders. Which is one way to say, my god, I've lived through a food revolution, haven't I? Growing up I thought my mom was a killer cook, but it wasn't till I started cooking myself that it hit me she killed more than she cooked, too often--just ask any vegetable that tended to be served as if she were feeding a family of hockey players who couldn't afford dentures. And I won't even get into Slovak food, which answers the culinary question, how many carbohydrates can you fit in one dish?

But my mom did do Italian passably well, making meatballs and sauce from scratch, even. So it's telling when things needed to get cheesy, out came the Kraft's, so much like cheese it doesn't need refrigeration. I love the photo above and its claim "the original flavor enhancer," which is vague enough to mean nothing, beyond a possible lawsuit from Accent, which I also remember in our 1970s spice cabinet. At least our kitchen appliances weren't avocado green.

So we certainly took cheese for granted, or for grated, as the case may be. Now I'm too sophisticated for that, of course, doing my cheese shopping at a proper cheese shop and brandishing my MicroPlaner with abandon at the slightest need for cheese (or zest--what handy tools). The work seems to make the food even better, somehow, or that's what I hope to think. I'm sure it's nothing about the distance I hope to make with even the smallest of choices, my childhood and its expiration date cabineted-away, hidden, I can only hope, by my way with words like Parmigiano, mise en place, risotto.

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Friday, February 19, 2010

Nigel's Julie Andrews Moment*

For Dog Blog Friday: It's a heck of a climb, but if you get to the top of the San Ysidro Trail, you get Nigel and Rickey's view.

*And yes, it would be better if it were a Julie Andrews Bedazzled moment.


Friday Random Ten

Modest Mouse "Tiny Cities Made of Ashes" The Moon & Antarctica
Red Dirt Rangers "Idabel Blues" Vol. 1--Full Tank
Emmylou Harris "Cup of Kindness" Stumble into Grace
Laurie Anderson "Tightrope" Bright Red / Tightrope
Leo Kottke "Three/Quarter North" One Guitar, No Vocals
Esquivel "Lazy Bones" Space Age Bachelor Pad Music
Pavement "Brink of the Clouds" Wowee Zowee--Sordid Sentinels Edition
Elvis Costello & The Attractions "Busy Bodies" Armed Forces
Kate Bush "Deeper Understanding" The Sensual World
Big Star "Baby Strange" (live) Keep an Eye on the Sky

Jon Langford "Buy It Now" Gold Brick

Methinks iTunes is hating on me of late. Pretty blah. Do like that Big Star T-Rex cover, and the box set is so wonderful it's good to see it in the list. That's a lovely, sneaky cynical song by Jon Boy to go out on, too.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Don't Let Your Sun Go Round on Me

Friday would be the 537th birthday of Nicolaus Copernicus if he wasn't dead and rotting in hell as he had the nerve to prove you can't take the Bible literally. (Fortunately no one takes the Bible literally today--after all, Catholics formally apologized for the trial of Galileo in 2000, although many think that was just a Y2K glitch on John Paul II's part.) And no, the church didn't hate him because he was a quadrilingual polyglot (after all that would just be a lucky priest's good afternoon with three altar boys). They hated him for saying the earth wasn't the center of the universe, sure (take that 1 Chronicles 16:30, Psalm 93:1, Psalm 96:10, Psalm 104:5, and Ecclesiastes 1:5), but he also had the nerve to suggest there's stuff called evidence and it can be used to prove things. Luckily no one is like that anymore--I mean it's not like only 39% of Americans believe in the theory of evolution or anything. Of course, making Copernicus the center of this entry would probably perturb him--even during his lifetime his own public persona kept shifting, as the spelling of his name constantly changed, to the point where if he were a dog he would make the noise "woof woof" in English but "hoang hoang" in Thai, not that he ever went there for Thai stick or that sex tour. When he asked you to check out his telescope, he really meant it.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Happy Are the Mirth-Makers

Which came first, the twisted mind or the culture that twisted it? In my case, who knows. But I do know, for sure that Martin Mull and what turns out to be very short stints as Barth Gimble on Fernwood 2Night and then America 2-Night helped shape my sense of wit. We're talking years before Letterman, decades before Larry Sanders. We're talking the same spitting range as Mike Douglas and Merv, other fixtures of our televisual household (we were not an outdoors family). I learned a generation of wordless facial takes watching Mull mull-over the desperate, talentless, and clueless about him, and who doesn't feel that way about the world, especially at 14 and 15? How amazingly ridiculous everything seems, of course starting with one's own self, but it's so much easier to roll one's eyes in exasperation at everything not us, isn't it. (Please do not ponder how far I've grown past that 15-year-old, cause if you do I'll have to make a face.)

But my god how I like to make fun of things. And the roots of me as critic might start in parody like this, that essential sense of "aboutness." Sure you could create, or you can respond to what others create, and thus the ink doth spill, years and years of music reviews (we called them records then, kids!) and film and books and plays. If others didn't create I'd be nothing.

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Friday, February 12, 2010

Damn Those Puparazzi

For Dog Blog Friday: You don't have a camera out in there, do you?


Friday Random Ten

Alan Feinberg "Clap yo' Hands" Fascinatin' Rhythm
Rilo Kiley "I Never" More Adventurous
Shriekback "Nemesis" Oil & Gold
Alison Krauss & Union Station "The Boy Who Wouldn't Hoe Corn" New Favorite
Crooked Fingers "Run, Lieutenant, Run" Forfeit/Fortune
Muzsikas "Bonchidai Lassu Magyar" The Bartok Album
Crooked Fingers "Devil's Train" Bring on the Snakes
Astor Piazzolla "Adios Nonico" Un Siecle de Tango Volume 2
Chavez "Top Pocket Man" Ride the Fader
Stereolab "Monster Sacre" Emperor Tomato Ketchup

The Arcade Fire "Ocean of Noise" Neon Bible

22,852 songs and that's the best you can do, iTunes? And as much as I like Eric Bachmann, he could be much better represented if he's going to hog 2 spots. Barry Andrews and the gang are probably top dog this week. (FWIW, it took to cut 13 to get to a total total fave, Superchunk's "Driveway to Driveway.")


Thursday, February 11, 2010

C'mon Baby Fight My Lyre

Ready to feel old? Not only does Christina Ricci turn 30 tomorrow, Ray Manzarek turns 71. Now perhaps those doors closed for you long ago, and if you're like me you might like him best for producing X and kicking ass on "The World's a Mess, It's in My Kiss," but still, goddam those 60s are far away, aren't they. So here's to Manzarek, the actual talent in the band dominated by a guy as phallocentric as a Maypole (poetry is not the phrase "great golden copulations" ok?). You've got to give props to any man famous for playing his organ in public. And so well!


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Two-Mealed Drive

Alas I somehow never got around to writing about meal 1, even if it was a month ago, but George had more than a little lamb and it was wonderful. Dylan at Hollister hooked up with Barbara and Bill Spencer at Windrose Farms not only to score 95% of the produce, but also a lamb. Then Dylan had to make 40 five-course meals out of 42 pounds of processed lamb. To do that he did what you'll read here (touch it to make it bigger):

And it was all wonderful. That first course was what all the heat over hoof and snout eating is all about--flavors of a richness we too often tend to deny ourselves, out of meekness, squeamishness, politeness, silliness. Just eat the whole thing. If you admit you're a carnivore, it seems silly to elevate some parts of an animal over others. Plus if you want to be a considerate carnivore (is that like a compassionate conservative?), it makes more sense to eat as much as you can, to honor the beast, to avoid the waste. Promise, if cooked correctly (and what else would Dylan Fultineer do?) there's nothing awful about offal.

Otherwise, so much lamb-y heaven. That pasta course, with pasta brilliant enough by itself. The perfect break of the salad, with the tiny apples sliced so thinly they appeared to be radishes, but then deliciously were not. And "The Tender Stuff" was just that, probably the best traditional lamb I've ever had, probably because the folks at Windrose are so good they treat their animals well. And guess what, that caramel in the dessert course? It largely consisted of lamb stock cooked down till syrupy.

Another amazing evening from the folks at Hollister. Here's hoping Eric gets well soon.

Then, just this past Monday Amy and I drove to LA for dinner. Yes, after work. Somehow the traffic just flew (it can happen in LA, no snickering) and we were in Hollywood in no time. (In CA driving, an hour and a half is no time. Your mileage may vary.) We'd been wanting to try Lou for about a year, especially one of their Monday night 3 course, 5 wine dinners, especially for cassoulet, as we are cassou-holics, as you all learned if you read about the last Hollister Beer Dinner. Here's the menu and the amazing, almost all from a stone's throw from Toulouse (they grow the rock-throwers big and strong in that region):

Salade de gésiers confits
Chateau Laffitte-Teston Pacherenc du Vic Bilh Sec “Cuvée Ericka” 2007

Cassoulet with house-made pork and duck confit
Tasting flight of rustic red wine
Domaine Le Roc Fronton “Folle Noir Amblat” ‘07
Domaine Matha Marcillac Cuvée Lairis “07
Domaine des 2 Ânes Corbières “Premier Pas” ‘07

Tangelo and Marsh grapefruit sorbets,
passion fruit gelée, toasted almonds

Chateau Laffitte-Teston Pacherenc du Vic Bilh Moelleux ‘07

All crazy yum. Yep, that first course is all about the duck gizzard, but it's not over-powering at all, a pleasing gaminess that played off the walnut vinaigrette wonderfully. The cassoulet was very very good, but as a personal thing, I like a bit more of a sauce. Still, that house-made duck confit was some of the best I've ever had, meaty and rich with duck fat, crispy skin, completely moist. And now it seems I like Fronton, and I never even had heard of the grape before. The dessert was brilliant, the vivid citrus flavors shooting through the previous richness like a laser. They also serve killer Monkey and Son coffee, which I must now search out.

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Monday, February 08, 2010

Of His Pasta Memories Are Made

I went looking for my youth in a bowl of pasta the other night and didn't quite find it, but at least I came up with this blog entry. It didn't even hit me when I placed the order for fettuccine Alfredo that I wanted more than the comfort of comfort food, but a connection, a memory, days that even when happening seemed like dream so now slip away all too easily. Somehow, while our family was decidedly middle class (the word once meant something, you know), we managed to head to Bermuda for vacation every couple of years, a mere two hour flight from Newark, but a crazy distance away--how genteel Colonialism can seem, especially when you're just a kid, particularly when you're more dazzled by an ocean so blue, you can walk into it and see your feet when up to your neck. This wasn't the Jersey shore, my friends. You West Coasters can keep Hawaii (where I must admit I have not yet been)--Paradise for me was Bermuda, weirdly more mid-Atlantic than Caribbean, and later, even better, the supposed "real" setting for The Tempest. Poor Hawaii's merely got a Brady Bunch episode (OK, a two-parter. With Vincent Price. But still.)

But I have parted far from my strand of pasta, haven't I? That's food for you. It didn't hit me till the other night's to remain nameless place serving me up a just not rich enough, just over-cooked fettuccine to realize what I longed for was the Alfredo served at the Princess, the wonderful once grand, at the time a bit, a tiny, tiny, what probably made it affordable for us bit, down on its heels old hotel where we would always stay. And waiters advanced to captains and they'd remember you year from year, as that's what fine service does, especially Italian waiters abroad who got to flirt with my sisters (older than me, it's not like there was something too weird going on) and deliver piping hot, cheesed to the nth degree fettuccine to teens like me. An odd dish for an island paradise, I know. But that's so often how paradise is, incongruous and everything we could want. Or maybe it's just our family (sans dad as this is all after the divorce, of course) sort of being one for a bit, getting along as the world was just too beautiful not to for a few days. Perhaps my mom came as close to happy as she'd let herself then.

You know what they say--watch what you eat as you never know what might repeat on you.


Friday, February 05, 2010

Hey, Good Lickin', What Ya Got Mookin'

For Dog Blog Friday: Look out, Mooks, the tongue that licked Cincinnati is behind you!


Friday Random Ten

The Mountain Goats "New Star Song" Beautiful Rat Sunset
Destroyer "My Favourite Year" Trouble in Dreams
Space Negros "The End of Transition" Dig Archaeology
Terry Radigan "When I Get Around" Vanguard 50 Years Sampler
Moby "Slipping Away" Hotel
Lucinda Williams "Side of the Road" [live] Passionate Kisses [ep]
Television Personalities "Closer to God" Closer to God
Simian Mobile Disco "I Got This Down (Invisible Conga People Remix)" Wichita Free Sampler Summer 2008
Marshall Crenshaw "Mary Anne" Marshall Crenshaw
Johnny Adams "Release Me" Big Ol' Box of New Orleans

Tom Tom Club "L'Elephant" Tom Tom Club

Well a bit of the all-over there. Still, a classic Crenshaw chestnut, one of Lucinda's under-rated ones, and much other fun. And tonight it's Ahab Music Live!--Langhorne Slim at a local coffee shop! Really.


Thursday, February 04, 2010

It Takes a Pork Pie Hat to Laugh, It Takes a Train to Cry

83 years ago this Friday marks the release of one of the greatest films of all-time, Buster Keaton's The General. Upon release it received miserable reviews--the LA Times, and no, not a young Kenny Turan, called it "neither straight comedy nor is it altogether thrilling drama"--and it performed horribly at the box office.

Today we have Avatar.

Taste, appreciation for brilliant popular art, justice--that's the real unobtanium. (Footnote: Not only is it a clunky term, Cameron nicked it. Even his bad ideas are stolen.)

If you have never seen The General, see it at once for the beauty of Matthew Brady photos and the humor that only a daredevil like Keaton could pull off. And if you've seen it, see it again, as it endlessly rewards--try to find a screening someday with live musical accompaniment.

Here's a cool little clip that discusses Keaton's clever, risky stunt-work:

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Into the White

So on Garrison Keillor's Writer's Almanac in the index for Stephen Dunn this poem gets typoed, and is called "Lineliness." That's poetry for you, and one why, perhaps, I'm giving most of my poetry books away since I've been a deceased poet for over decade now. But I'm not giving away my Stephen Dunn, not when he writes a poem like this one.


So many different kinds,
yet only one vague word.
And the Eskimos
with twenty-six words for snow,

such a fine alertness
to what variously presses down.
Yesterday I saw lovers
hugging in the street,

making everyone around them
feel lonely, and the lovers themselves --
wasn't a deferred loneliness
waiting for them?

There must be words

for what our aged mothers, removed
in those unchosen homes, keep inside,
and a separate word for us
who've sent them there, a word

for the secret loneliness of salesmen,
for how I feel touching you
when I'm out of touch.
The contorted, pocked, terribly ugly man

shopping in the 24-hour supermarket
at 3 a.m. -- a word for him --
and something, please,
for this nameless ache here

in this nameless spot.
If we paid half as much attention
to our lives as Eskimos to snow...
Still, the little lies,

the never enough.
No doubt there must be Eskimos
in their white sanctums, thinking
just let it fall, accumulate.


Tuesday, February 02, 2010

The Night Blogger

Childhood, Saturday night. Sure, other nights too, as they kept moving the _____ Night Movie of the Week around as they were ABC and only had Monday Night Football doing them any ratings good in those days. But this was what made weekends great when you were a kid and couldn't do anything else. Ah, television. Go look at the list of ABC Movies of the Week at Wikipedia and tell me you don't get back most of your childhood memories. Admit it, they aren't of playing catch with dad who was too busy working his ass off and avoiding home. They were of Karen Black turning into a Zuni devil doll, Dennis Weaver being terrorized (in a Plymouth Valiant, no less, what would be the very first car you "owned" as a hand-me-down, if a later model) by a hyper-malicious truck driver, and Kim Darby finding a horrible fate with the fireplace people in Don't Be Afraid of the Dark. OK, you might not remember that last one, as it's not as iconic as the first two, but if you saw it, you completely remember. It's part of your horror film DNA in a way that The Exorcist or Friday the 13th can't be as it was shown right in that little box in your own damn home. And wasn't really violent or gross. It just was intense enough to scare the bejeebers out of you. And you didn't even know you had bejeebers till they were gone.

Of course, who am I really trying to kid with the second person here--I'm writing about myself, perhaps to myself, but no doubt there was a Movie of the Week that dealt with a situation like that. But what a wonderful way to twist a kid's imagination, a series of films with titles like Dying Room Only and The Missing Are Deadly and The Legend of Lizzie Borden, with Elizabeth Montgomery bewitching in the title role. But in some ways I most remember the ones that are almost generic in their titles and promise and delivery, and still so so good, films like Skyway to Death and The Elevator and Trapped (guy gets mugged, left in department store men's room, wakes up after hours to find he's in the store with six vicious doberman guard dogs).

For, of course, child of the '70s I am, nothing beats disaster films, and while the big screen ones were fun, nothing beat the regularlity of one in your home each Saturday. Did I then realize they mimicked where the U.S. felt it was, post-Vietnam, post-hippie-60s euphoria, careening toward Carter's be-sweatered malaise? Did I realize they made grand my own feelings any teen has, the world so much possibility, so much to desire, so much that would say no and reject? Did I realize it was a large scale mirror for my family splitting in two?

Nah, I just liked cool, scary stuff. You can't beat Killdozer, say, the giant machine so brilliant and malignant, and me too young to quite catch camp yet even when a massive bulldozer, even if possessed by an alien force, can somehow sneak up on someone. Perhaps you have to save that knowledge for when what's scary in the world no longer seems supernatural, just mundane.

Instead we would create our own disaster films in our basements, an elaborate form of play when toy train set power boxes doubled as cockpit controls, crawlspace areas were just tight enough to creep through as varied scary passageways, and somehow we often prefered to kill our selves off rather than survive that final reel, death seemed so synthetic, filmic, dramatic, ick when ick was good.

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