Tuesday, December 21, 2010


I saw two eclipses recently. One was Twilight: Eclipse, which Firecracker had to see "because she saw the other ones." I said she was just a glutton for punishment. I saw Scary Movie 3, and had no desire to see the rest. And while I did enjoy Hellraiser, I managed to avoid most of the sequels. You know, fool me once, shame on, shame on you. Fool me you can't get fooled again.

As expected, the Twilight movie is pretty awful. A vampire whose hair and eyebrows make him look like he's a twitchy bomb technician, and a shirtless heartthrob who turns into a wolf when he backflips are both fighting over a third supernatural being, a girl born without a personality. I can forgive a lot of stupid if a movie doesn't take itself too seriously, or has some fun action scenes, but sadly this movie is as serious as cancer and about as fun to watch.

Fact: Vampires are make of petrified wood and can be broken if you're emo enough when you hit them.

But hey, it's teen twaddle, meant to teach girls to save their virginity for a weird stalker who wants to alienate her from her friends and family, so what's the harm.

The real eclipse worth seeing happened last night at 3 AM, and I set my alarm to wake up and see it. The temperature was below freezing, and I went outside to take shaky photos of a blood red moon eclipsed by the earth's shadow. According to science, this occurring on the winter solstice is truly a sign of the end times, because a black dude is President, and old white people are rising up in a wrinkly, zombie apocalypse. Except shooting them in the brain is illegal, and they can only be stopped with tax breaks for millionaires.
I have a better pic on Firecracker's camera but I left it at home. Oops. I'll add it here later. I like this one, it's all arty, like green Aurora borealis.

© 2010 Tommy Salami

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Deck Us All With Boston Charlie...

Deck us all with Boston Charlie,
Walla Walla, Wash., an' Kalamazoo!
Nora's freezin' on the trolley,
Swaller dollar cauliflower alley-garoo!

Don't we know archaic barrel,
Lullaby Lilla boy, Louisville Lou?
Trolley Molly don't love Harold,
Boola boola Pensacoola hullabaloo!

Bark us all bow-wows of folly,
Polly wolly cracker n' too-da-loo!
Hunky Dory's pop is lolly gaggin' on the wagon,
Willy, folly go through!

Donkey Bonny brays a carol,
Antelope Cantaloup, 'lope with you!
Chollie's collie barks at Barrow,
Harum scarum five alarum bung-a-loo!

Totally stolen from www.pogopossum.com the most awesomelus Pogo repository in the innernets!

My friend Liz used to call me every year and sing this to me, as we are both huge fans of Walt Kelly's Pogo, and love this goofy spoofy song. I don't have her number anymore, but I know she reads this blog sometimes. I hope she- and all of my readers- have a Merry Christmas and a happy holiday season, whether you celebrate or not. Call, write, email, tweet, blog, or facebook someone you haven't seen in a while. It'll make you feel better.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Twitter Celebs

There are a lot of celebrities on Twitter. Sometimes half the news is who said what. I follow a few celebrities, and I often send them replies, as a joke, mostly. A few times I've gotten replies, most often from Jennifer Ehle (of "Pride & Prejudice" fame) Adam Richman from Man vs. Food, and a few others.

I'd say the "biggest" name who's gotten back to me is Carl Weathers, the actor from the Rocky films, Predator, Action Jackson, and of course, his unforgettable comic turn on "Arrested Development."

A while back, I wrote a post about my "uncle" Tony Maffatone, who had performed executive security for some celebrities, such as Sylvester Stallone and Dolly Parton. Once Stallone got on Twitter to promote The Expendables, I noticed that he responded to some of his fans, so I tried to tell him that his former bodyguard, who had done stunts and knife training for some of his films, and had a small role in Rocky IV, had died in 1999. I knew they had had a falling out of some kind. My father only knew it second hand and said that Stallone was trying to run his own security detail, but I have no confirmation of whether that is true. Tony has passed on, and I don't know how to contact his partner, known as "big Tony," and I doubt he'd want to bring up yesterday's news. Does it matter?

Well, Sly never responded to me. Not surprising. It's not something I could expect a big name star to want to talk about. I stopped following him when he started making conspiracy-minded tweets that rubbed me the wrong way. He's been MIA on Twitter now that the Expendables DVD release is over.

However, I do follow someone else on Twitter who was in a movie with my uncle Tony. Carl Weathers was in Rocky IV, too. And he'd replied to me months ago, when I made a joke about his "predator handshake" with Arnold Schwarzenegger being the manliest form of greeting ever devised. So I talked to him about Tony.

And to my surprise, he asked if I meant "big Tony" or "little Tony," as they were known, because my uncle was a diver and marathon runner, making him the skinny one. He remembered. And he said all that needed to be said, that Tony was a stand-up guy, and may he rest in peace. Carl is a nice guy, and while he's done tough guy roles almost exclusively, he does it in a way that commands respect. Apollo Creed wasn't just a champ, he was a businessman; Dillon wasn't just muscle, he was a shrewd operator. And you get that sharp intellect just from one look.

His reply took seconds, but it meant a lot to me.

I want to thank my blogger buddy Darius Whiteplume from Adventures in Nerdliness for posting his own twitter conversation with Carl, which inspired me to do this one.

© 2010 Tommy Salami

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Classy T-shirts available

Follow @tommysalami on twitter and you may wear these classy t-shirts.

Design by Firecracker.

© 2010 Tommy Salami

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Warrior's Way

There now exists a subgenre known as the Samurai Western; they were made for each other, as Kurosawa directly inspired spaghetti westerns, and now it's come back at us like a kid's boomerang in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. We've had SUKIYAKI WESTERN DJANGO, SIX STRING SAMURAI, SHANGHAI NOON and NIGHTS, and now we get cowboys, carnies and carnage with THE WARRIOR'S WAY. Written and directed by Sngmoo Lee, who's IMDb resume includes only this film. So I'm calling him Schmoo for the entirety of his review, in case he does not actually exist.

Dong-gun Jang from the excellent Korean war flick TAE GUK GI: THE BROTHERHOOD OF WAR stars as the Yang, Greatest Swordsman of All Time Ever, as we are told in glittering Comic Sans. We see him pose dramatically after slicing apart a dozen warriors in a few seconds, and he finds the treasure they are guarding is a baby girl, the last of the enemy clan. He cannot kill her, so his assassin's guild- the Sad Flutes- vow he will die. He flees to the mythical American West, and comes upon a ghost town that a group of Carnies have chosen to build a Ferris Wheel in, hoping to lure pioneering tourists to the middle of the desert. It's like Vegas, built by extras from "Deadwood" and "Carnivale."

The movie keeps us interested by having an absurdly comic tone, from Yang carrying the baby girl like a shopping bag to how he kills innocuous-seeming bystanders, only to have assassin's weapons fall out of their hands after they collapse. There are references galore, from Lone Wolf & Cub, to John Woo, and more, but they never feel like cribbing. Yang strolls into town, Walkin' the Earth like Kane in "Kung Fu," as lone killers are wont to do. We meet Geoffrey Rush as the Town Drunk, Tony Cox as the midget ringmaster who's quick to crush someone's nuts in his hands, and Kate Bosworth as Jesse the Cowgirl from TOY STORY 2, at least at first. She manages to mellow out into less of a caricature, but still has plenty of fun with their role. Rush is very memorable as the drunk, staggering around in his pajamas and getting the best lines.
The closest you get to boobs in this R rated bloodless film.

The wild west equivalent of a post-apocalyptic wastelands motorcycle gang rides into town on horses, like they have once before; Kate has a score to settle with their leader, and Yang can't draw his blade without alerting his Sad Flutes to his whereabouts. But you know he'll have to, and thank goodness he does. That's when we get to see six guns versus samurai swords, and it's a lot of fun to watch how they make it less one-sided than it seems. The town drunk is of course a great gunslinger; they nod toward BLAZING SADDLES
some more with how they use dynamite. It's not long before blood, explosions and gunplay light up the town, and we get to settle that childhood bet, who kicks more ass? Toshiro Mifune or Clint Eastwood?

The director makes great use of his bizarre set, with merry-go-rounds and circus freaks and clowns fighting against masked marauders with a Gatling gun and ninja swordsmen. It's a lot of fun to look at when the overuse of CG doesn't get in the way. I have made peace with CG blood after @AxelleCarolyn on Twitter- better known as the smokin' hot killer Pict babe from CENTURION- told me how much money it saves independent productions. But I noticed CG cowboys climbing the Ferris Wheel, and CG swordsmen in black leather all over the place. It really stood out and made it look like anime at times, which I know the story owes a lot to, but it was very distracting from a very fun film.

3 out of 5 midgets with specially designed spiked gloves for crushing your nutsack

© 2010 Tommy Salami

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Try not to become a brand

I watched Alice in Wonderland, mostly because Firecracker wanted to. The trailers looked atrocious, and Burton's disappointed me with everything after Mars Attacks!

That's around the point Tim Burton went from being a creative director and became a brand. It happened to M. Night Shyamalan, too. He made interesting movies like Unbreakable, which flopped, so he had to become Mr. Twisty Guy. Burton flopped with the hilarious spoof on invasion epics, so he had to switch to making Hot Topic friendly remakes and reimaginings of known properties. Next up is his & Depp's take on the cult TV horror favorite, Dark Shadows.

I don't care about that- seems right up their alley- but I've been a fan of Lewis Carroll's twisted little children's tales from a young age. I've read the Annotated versions, where every possible interpretation is in the margins, and find the obvious retellings with the innocence removed rather boring and banal. What makes the books so endlessly amusing is how they ignored convention. The problem is, Gothing things up to appeal to teenagers is conventional now. So is turning it into a fantasy action movie, down to Alice reciting an Arnie one-liner as she beheads the Jabberwocky (sic).

I'd have loved to see what Julie Taymor could have done with this concept and budget. The under-appreciated Across the Universe was much more exciting and interesting than this video game cut scene put to film. Backstory kills mystery, and I didn't care for any of it. Alice should be any clever girl who feels out of sorts because she doesn't act like she's expected. That's all the story you need. They turn the Dormouse into Reepicheep from the Narnia films, Depp's Mad Hatter is like watching 90's-era Robin Williams in drag, and the rest of the excellent cast is truly wasted, and not in a good way.

Yes, they call the draconic beast the Jabberwocky, and not the Jabberwock. Not sure why. The Red Queen (played by Helena Bonham Carter in one of the few amusing roles) is actually the Queen of Hearts from the stories. But the goody good in "Underland" as it is now called, is the White Queen, so her enemy must be a queen as well. This leads to a climactic battle of playing cards fighting chess pieces, and the rest of the fantasy world is as jumbled as you can imagine such a battle being. Logic and proportion don't fall sloppy dead, they come and go by the whims of the script.Which makes for 2 hours of cotton candy. I don't know about you. I can eat a peach for hours, but cotton candy gets a little boring.

There's even a blessedly brief dance number at the end. But it's Disney after all; you can't expect them to take risks anymore. They became a brand long ago.

© 2010 Tommy Salami

I am thankful for...

I pledge allegiance, to the star spangled booty, of Wonder Woman of the Justice League of America. For which it jiggles, under Zod, supersqueezable, with lassos of truth and Veronica Carters for all.

© 2010 Tommy Salami

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

True Crime

Found at the local Barnes & Noble (look lower right)

© 2010 Tommy Salami

Monday, November 22, 2010

NetFlix Explained

From Shoeboxblog.com via Hacking Netflix

© 2010 Tommy Salami

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Starbucks Consumer Whore

In the late '90s an artist named Kieron Dwyer created this hilarious satire of the Starbucks logo, after millions flocked to pay $5 for a cup of coffee from a chain, thus bankrupting the thousands of local coffee shops that had sprung up earlier in the decade. I still feel skeevy going into one and spending my money on their burnt roast. Unfortunately there are few choices these days, but I try to find local coffee shops and frequent them if only for a nostalgic memory of be-pierced and tattooed kids sullenly manning the espresso machine while Bikini Kill and the Eels played.

He was of course sued, and can't use the image to make any money, or even post it on his own website, so I'm posting it on mine.

© 2010 Tommy Salami

Sunday, November 14, 2010

I drank some of BP's toxic sludge

That is, Blue Point's Toxic Sludge 7% Black IPA. It's on tap at the Cloverleaf Tavern, which also has an excellent new chicken lettuce wraps appetizer with some spicy sauces. Something that healthy rarely tastes so good.

The beer is a bitter, piney dry hopped IPA with a smooth malty finish. "Like water off a duck's back," so saith the label. All proceeds go to bird rescue causes. Because "birds of a feather stick together, but their feathers shouldn't." It's a tasty beer for a good cause. Not as good as Abita S.O.S. pilsner, but very tasty and worth a try if you like the hoppier beers.

© 2010 Tommy Salami

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Voice of God

When I was a boy, and when Dwayne Hoover was a boy, all the people of all the nations which had fought in the First World War were silent during the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of Armistice Day, which was the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

It was during that minute in nineteen hundred and eighteen, that millions upon millions of human beings stopped butchering one another. I have talked to old men who were on battlefields during that minute. They have told me in one way or another that the sudden silence was the Voice of God. So we still have among us some men who can remember when God spoke clearly to mankind.
Armistice Day has become Veterans’ Day. Armistice Day was sacred. Veterans’ Day is not.

So I will throw Veterans’ Day over my shoulder. Armistice Day I will keep. I don’t want to throw away any sacred things.

What else is sacred? Oh, Romeo and Juliet, for instance.

And all music is.

– Kurt Vonnegut, Breakfast of Champions

© 2010 Tommy Salami

Friday, November 5, 2010

Heart Transplant

Heart TransplantHeart Transplant by Andrew Vachss

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Once again Andrew Vachss has broken our conception of what can be achieved with the graphic novel format. Teaming with artist Frank Caruso and clinical social worker Zak Mucha, he takes on bullying and emotional abuse with a great story that goes to the root of the problem.

As someone who was bullied in school, and who learned to fight much later in life, it touched a nerve. When we hear of bullying, we blame the bully, we blame the school, but we don't talk of how to bully-proof our children. By teaching them that they are worth fighting for, and to have the armor of self-confidence that makes bullies seek other targets.

We can't undo the damage that creates a bully. "Give me a child until the age of 7, and I will give you the man." But we can raise our children to not be bullied, or tolerate the bullying of others.

I'll be buying another copy and donating it to my local library, if they don't already have it in stock. It's that important.

View all my reviews

© 2010 Tommy Salami

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


November is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo.

I will not be blogging much this month while I participate.

You can follow my poop jokes on Twitter.

© 2010 Tommy Salami

Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy Halloween

Some photos from the Halloween party I went to at the Pourhouse in D.C., and my favorite costumes there.

 Our friends went as Holy Shit, "Peace" of Shit, Shit-Ton, Shit Hit the Fan, and... the Shit Show!
Our friends Paula and Dennis as Jules & Vincent from Pulp Fiction. I gave Paula the 3-slap "I'm-Not-Gay" hug because I didn't recognize her.

 Godzilla and Mecha-Godzilla. They won the contest. Godzilla is eating a train.
 The band was in drag and played covers of all female bands like Blondie, the Go-Gos, Hole, Lady Gaga, Heart, Joan Jett, and many more. I was in heaven.
 Vincent meets a Mia Wallace!
 Jules and Vincent in... Slash Fiction! So wrong.
 Vincent was always a bit of a brown noser.
My Viking costume on the kitties.

 And... the scariest costume of the night, the singer without his Madonna cone breastplate on.

© 2010 Tommy Salami

Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear

Firecracker and I went to Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert's Rally this weekend in D.C. Neither of us are very political except for the basic American concept of leave me alone and I'll leave you alone, but that seems long forgotten these days. I used to collect coins when I was a kid, and one of the first, known as the Fugio Cent, designed by Ben Franklin, read "Mind Your Business" instead of "In God We Trust." That motto got on the currency after the not-so Civil War. But we don't mind our business much anymore.

The show had a long warm-up by The Roots, John Legend, and the Mythbusters guys who had us do the wave all the way down the National Mall. It took almost a minute! The park service planned for 150,000 people to be there, and everyone seemed well behaved. There were a few political extremists and wackos on the fringes, but the center where we were consisted of fans and people tired of the hyperbole and news focusing on the fringe wackos. They had many, many guests. The Mall was shoulder to shoulder until a block from the Lincoln Memorial. Sanity defeats wackos, easily.

Yusuf "Cat Stevens" Islam and Ozzy Osbourne played dueling versions of "Peace Train" and "Crazy Train" until the O'Jays came out to play "Love Train" instead. Sam Waterston read a poem meant to inspire fear by Stephen Colbert which was hilarious. Tim Meadows did his P.K. Winsome act, Kid Rock and Sheryl Crow did a duet, and Kareem Abdul Jabbar showed up to show us that we've cheered and loved a Muslim, who's just like any other sports star. New estimates count 215,000 at the rally vs. Glenn Beck's 96,000... mission accomplished.

Here are my photos from the rally.

Hitler is Hitler... one is enough

Adam Savage of Mythbusters

I love bacon

You're entitled to your opinion but not your own spelling.

© 2010 Tommy Salami

Friday, October 29, 2010

crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentation of the women

We are your overlords.
Happy Halloween!

© 2010 Tommy Salami

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Tom Selleck vs. the Daughters of Satan!

A friend of mine asked me to find this movie. His wife is Filipino, and because this was filmed in the Philippines and stars Tom Selleck- who he has a man crush on- he wanted to see it. Let me tell you, James, this is no Jesse Stone movie. It's pretty bad, but in a good, witch-sploitation way. They get the titillation out of the way in shot one, frame one, as we see a Filipino witch suspended topless over bamboo stakes by her evil coven, who demand she renew her vows with El Diablo. She is whipped by a witch with crazy eyes, who we later learn is named Kitty Duarte, and finally gives in... we see a rogue's gallery of obvious baddies, including a guy with a witch's peak doing down to the bridge of his nose, and a skeletal cackling fellow... we'll see them all again.

We immediately cut to Tom Selleck, resplendent in a perfectly trimmed porn 'stache, as he goes into a creepy little antique shop run by Mr. Widow's Peak, who is selling a clueless tourist a witch's knife. It's a huge dagger with a serpentine handle, and the tourist is buying it "for luck." I'm a knife nut and even I don't have a Lucky Sacrificial Dagger... maybe I should get one? If I go to the Philippines, I'll look for one. Maybe I'll be attacked by titwitches. That would be awesome, except for the sacrificing me to the devil part. At the shop, Selleck sees a painting of witches being burned at the stake, where the lead witch is a dead ringer for his wife. Horror movie rule #43: Never buy a painting of a dead person that resembles you or your loved ones. It is haunted, you dumbass.
Even Tom's hairy chest cannot protect him from what is to come. He looks like he rolled around on a barber shop floor, doesn't he? (Thanks to Milky for that one.) His wife is played by Barra Grant, a hottie best known for being Miss America Bess Myerson's daughter, and starring in the Bill Cosby flick MOTHER, JUGS & SPEED before giving up on film. She is immediately freaked out by the painting, and who wouldn't be? There are two witches, a black dog, and a mustached Spaniard in conquistador gear in the painting, who looks like Selleck, of course. Even though she's playing the Typical 70's Housewife, who jumps on chairs when mice attack, and still faints at the sound of a dog fart, it's pretty creepy for your husband to come home and say "Hey, I bought this painting of a woman being burned alive because SHE LOOKS LIKE YOU!"
Lies. He never fights Satan.
I mean, if Firecracker came home with a photo of a guy being hanged who looked like me, I'd hide all the damn rope. And her instincts are correct. Not long after the painting comes home, than weird things start happening. A black Rottweiler appears in the yard, and he loves Barra but snarls at Selleck. We see the dog run off, and fade into the grass. Wouldn't you know it, the dog in the painting has faded away? Hmm, wonder what that means. Soon, one of the women in the background fades, just as their new housekeeper shows up for work. And guess who she looks like? Cue the theremin! Creepy shit be afoot!! Really, I hope the horror movie association gave Dr. Theremin some posthumous award for all he's done for these films. The soundtrack here is relentless, and it does help, because it's all rather silly.
Soon Barra falls under her housekeeper's spell, and investigators are brought in, and die suspicious deaths! Tom gets knocked out, put in his Triumph roadster on the edge of a cliff, with blocks of ice chocking the tires.  Will he survive? This is a rare case of a film giving away plot twists with its lobby cards, as you can see below. Wifey gets witchy, and shows off her jugs at the one hour mark as she too is suspended over the bamboo spikes, forced to say the devil's prayer. It's all rather predictable and over the top, and can be a lot of fun if you know what you're getting into. I was surprised that Turner Classic Movies showed it uncut, because the topless scenes aren't quick shots. This is pure '70s exploitation. I liked the ending, but wish there were a lot more witchy goings on, and that Tom Selleck battled Satan, like the poster promises.

I love a good '70s occult flick, and this one delivers. I also love cheesy films from the Philippines, like the Weng Weng James Bond spoofs. So this is a win-win for cheesy horror, perfect for this witchy time of year. If you can track it down, it's worth seeing, if only to see early Tom Selleck battle a coven of sexy witches.

© 2010 Tommy Salami

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