Jonny’s Retro-Cinema Hall of LAME: Goo-Luvin’ Giants … with their own village!

vggiant

JONNY’S RETRO-CINEMA HALL OF LAME presents TODAY’S DUBIOUS HONOREE: VILLAGE OF THE GIANTS (1965)

GUILTY OF VEHICULAR FANSLAUGHTER: Director Bert Gordon with “Stars” Beau Bridges, Tommy Kirk, Joy Harmon, Johnny Crawford, Ron Howard, Robert Random, Toni Basil, Vicki London, and other Assorted Aces of Awfulness

RUDIMENTARY ANALYSIS: Based more loosely than a herd of rabid, wailing cows attempting to dance the Virginia Reel upon H.G. Wells’s novel, Food of the Gods, this colossal 1960s drive-in stinker tells the story of several wayward teenagers who gobble a mysterious (and ominously named) substance called “Goo”, transform into 30-ft. tall, adenoidal, acne-scarred versions of themselves, and proceed to wreak sweaty, giant-teenybopper havoc upon a God-fearing California town (it was still the mid-1960s, hence the combination of God-fearing + California). The film’s primary theme, aside from an attempt to illustrate the dynamic of teens getting the ultimate chance to rebel against “evil adults” is basically …  well … humongous tits. Humongous tits and the notion that humongous tits can be made exponentially larger simply with the addition of a goo-like substance. Clearly, Village of the Giants was ahead-of-its-time — practically oracular.

DEFINITIVE DIALOGUE: “I was big enough before!” (Joy Harmon as “Merrie,” after she notices her new, unwieldy wrecking ball-sized ta-tas)

BRUSH WITH GREATNESS: This film is considered a front-runner on many reputable “Worst Film in History” lists, but one cannot argue with the caliber of certain cast-members who would go on to genuine greatness. Beau Bridges and Ron Howard (the latter of whom guest-stars straight out of his Opie-era days as the pint-sized Goo-inventing “Genius”) are the obvious big names hopefully scarred forever by shame because of Village of the Giants. Even so, once she was reduced to normal buxom dimensions, Joy Harmon went on to littler and better things, and many people still remember the kooky Toni Basil from her “Oh Mickey, What a Pity” chart-topping days. The movie has a special resonance for me because I actually got to know one of its hot-mama “giants” — the lovely Vicki London, who played Georgette. Last I saw her, Vicki had a humorous attitude about her Bad Film Immortality. It probably helped that she went on to become one of California’s most successful realtors, as well as a motivational speaker, jewelry designer, and “transitional therapist.” She lives (under her real name) in the SF Bay Area and cooks a decent lamb chop. That’s all I got.

LAMENTABLE LEGACY: This magnificently awful film was supposedly spoofed by the legendary denizens of Mystery Science Theater 3000, but no one seems to have reissued the original episode. That is lamentable. Infinitely so.

WHERE ARE THEY NOW?: Beau Bridges was last seen (at least by me) in drag in a hilarious episode of The Closer. Ron Howard dog-paddles in a pool filled with Hollywood glitter and freshly minted $100 bills. We know about Vicki’s lamb chops. Toni Basil is hopefully getting at least a $100 a year in Mickey residuals. Who knows? Who cares?

EXPERIENCE THE MAGIC: From the opening “mud-dance” super-classic scene to guest-musicians “The Beau Brummels,” you MUST behold the BADNESS to respect it and believe it.

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Jonathan Kieran is the author of the Rowan Blaize series of epic contemporary fantasy books (Brightbourne 2012), as well as the critically acclaimed (Midwestern Book Review, Manhattan Book Review) Confessions From The Comments Section: The Secret Lives of Internet Commenters and Other Pop-Culture Zombies. His work has also been featured on The Daily Dot.com and in a plethora of other ‘zines, papers, and alt-weeklies. Click on the book covers above and to the right if you want to learn more about Jonathan’s titles and perhaps spend some of your hard-earned money on his multi-formatted gifts to the human race.
Jonathan is currently writing and illustrating a new masterpiece of epic dimensions. Drop-in once in awhile for updates. Mr. Kieran promises to provide them, but only once in awhile, because he doesn’t get paid to blog endlessly for free. That would make him a Wattpadder or a Smashworder, not a writer.

POP HAZMAT HEADLINE DU JOUR: Rat-Meat Ring Busted in China! posted by JONATHAN KIERAN

A sweeping modern fairy-tale is born. Book One is the timeless magical cornerstone – a lavishly illustrated, all-ages epic poem and genuine “spell” to treasure (and share) for a lifetime. Rowan Blaize launches the series, while the following works bring our warlock’s world to luminous life within the framework of several (witch)crafty novels! Click here for all of the special $0.99 Kindle e-book downloads.

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HAZMAT HEADLINE DU JOUR: RAT-MEAT RING BUSTED IN CHINA! posted by JONATHAN KIERAN

Add a little bit of mint jelly and you've got yourself a delightful Sunday dinner in Shanghai!

Add a little bit of mint jelly and you’ve got yourself a delightful Sunday dinner in Shanghai!

CULTURAL TOXICITY QUOTIENT: 15 (Pretty Much Off The Toxicity Richter Scale)

RUDIMENTARY ANALYSIS: Food inspectors and other regulatory officials in China have busted a rat-meat ring! Yes indeed, it appears that some naughty culinary deceivers were attempting to foist the gnarly flesh of furry, sewer-dwelling vermin upon unsuspecting consumers, who were led to believe it was nuttin’ but mutton. Authorities revealed that people have been unwittingly enjoying steaming bowls of Rat Kung-Pau since 2009. I think I’d be a little peeved. Wouldn’t you?

EXISTENTIAL RAMIFICATIONS: This puts the UK horse-meat scandal on a slightly lower “nausea rung” in the Hierarchy of Gastronomic Outrage, but I’ll probably be giving the Shanghai Street Dumplings a pass the next time I go to P.F. Chang’s. Seriously, I consider it a loss, but I’m not going to be able to help it.

TAKE-AWAY QUOTE: “In March, the Shanghai government also pulled more than 10,000 dead pigs from the Huangpu river, a water source for the city.” (This is such an additional disappointment: My all-time favorite bottled beverage is Huangpu Sparkling Water! Sure, it was a little cloudy and tasted kind of rancid, but it had that subtle, alluring bacon-y taste that everyone’s talking about these days.)

THERAPEUTIC CINEMA: Ratboy (1986)

MUSICAL REHAB: “Ben” by Michael Jackson. Suggested lyrical changes: “Ben, most people would turn you away … er … but the Chinese lady down the street really wants to have you over for dinner.”

DETOX DINNER: PF Chang’s Shanghai Street Dumplings! (Ask your waitress for an extra side of whiskers. They’re the best!)

FURTHER READING: Adulteration

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Escape the Imminent Collapse of Civilization, Friends, if Only for a Few Hours. Get acquainted with the comparatively sane world of Rowan Blaize …

One witty 2,800 year-old warlock. A suspicious storm that hurls him to earth near London. A goddess who wants to destroy the world. The catch? She needs Rowan’s face. REMOVED.

A deliciously twisted magical adventure is born with Rowan Blaize and the Enchanted Heritage Chronicles. Use any of the Rowan Blaize book icons on the upper-right (or use the links below) to learn more or purchase with an enchanted click.
Amazon Kindle Version (Only $0.99 Each!)
Book One
Book Two
Book Three
Amazon Author Page (Kindle and Paperback versions)
Barnes and Noble
IndieBound
Books-A-Million
Rowan Blaize Official Website
Goodreads

Pop HazMat HOF: Lovably Bad Candy from Childhood … Licorice Laces! posted by JONATHAN KIERAN

A sweeping modern fairy-tale is born with the adventures of Rowan Blaize. Book One is the timeless magical cornerstone … the subsequent books lift our warlock’s world into the framework of several spellbinding novels. Click here for all of the special $0.99 Kindle e-book downloads!

HAZMAT-RETRO HALL OF LAME (LOVABLY BAD FOOD FROM CHILDHOOD) by JONATHAN KIERAN

TODAY’S DUBIOUS HONOREE: SHOESTRING LICORICE! or “LICORICE LACES”

Buy Your Kids a Bag of This Goodness and Be Ready for a Night of Regret

Buy Your Kids a Bag of This Goodness and Be Ready for a Night of Regret

RUDIMENTARY ANALYSIS: I have no idea what possessed parents (or grandparents) to purchase this kind of Tangled-Up Edible Wickedness for children. It was probably due to the relentless begging, pleading, screaming and high-octane tantrum throwing — all respectable, finely honed skills at which any child worth his or her sweet tooth excelled on a par with the most prize-winning and peer-reviewed astrophysicist. Woe to the adult who was foolhardy enough to trundle their child into a Stuckey’s or an Ames or some other derelict establishment where this kind of product was displayed like so many gloriously gleaming bags of freshly scalped Muppet hair. If you were a child with any sense of gastronomic discrimination whatsoever, you pulled out all of your best, most time-tested Brat Routines and hurled them at your parents like a whistling barrage of razor-sharp Shuriken Throwing Stars.

A Kid Had to Bring Out His Best Weapons When it Came to Scoring a Bag of Licorice Laces from Uncertain Parental Units ...

A Kid Had to Bring Out His Best Weapons When it Came to Scoring a Bag of Licorice Laces from Uncertain Parental Units …

You soon scored that bag of Colorfully Candied Colonic Tapeworms and, if you were particularly adept in the Ancient Art of Wheedling, you got more than one bag — sometimes you nabbed enough of the stuff to cover the Entire Corn Syrup Flavor-Spectrum! Sure, Mommy and Daddy may have ground their teeth and thought fleetingly of using some of that newly purchased Purple Grape String to strangle you down in the cellar at midnight and make it look like an accident, but once you had your candy, you gave your parents back a shred of their sanity … at least until you puked globs of green Sour Apple bile onto the bed-sheets or spent the night on the toilet expelling buckets of blood-colored Wacky Watermelon. And friends, that is what inevitably occurred because shoestring licorice was like kiddie crack. You couldn’t eat just one or two strings the length of your arm and be content. No way. You had to finish an entire bag of 225 yards or else playground bragging-rights would be lost forever, and that was a far more frightening prospect than an entire night of Tectonic Intestinal Death-Cramps. What a great candy!

DEFINITIVE QUALITY: Provided hours of flavorful, stringy, non-stop nibbling child-gluttony!

BRUSH WITH GREATNESS: Legendary enough to inspire Broadway-caliber spectaculars. THESE are the TRUE Heroes of Tomorrow.

LAMENTABLE LEGACY: The night my poor naive grandparents had to clean-up after a simultaneous Projectile Vomit & Pajama Bottom-Filling “shoestring licorice accident” at a desolate Howard Johnson’s somewhere in the bleak wasteland of Pennsylvania. At midnight. Yessir, yessir, Three. Bags. FULL.

WHERE ARE THEY NOW?: Still being made by some daring confectioners who are apparently undaunted by the more litigious breed of strung-out parents inhabiting this New Millennium.

SPRUCE IT UP WITH A COCKTAIL!: Coil a few green strings into your next refreshing Appletini!

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Escape the Imminent Collapse of Civilization, Friends, if Only for a Few Hours. Get acquainted with the comparatively sane world of Rowan Blaize …

One witty 2,800 year-old warlock. A suspicious storm that hurls him to earth near London. A goddess who wants to destroy the world. The catch? She needs Rowan’s face. REMOVED.

A deliciously twisted magical adventure is born with Rowan Blaize and the Enchanted Heritage Chronicles. Use any of the Rowan Blaize book icons on the upper-right (or use the links below) to learn more or purchase with an enchanted click.
Amazon Kindle Version (Only $0.99 Each!)
Book One
Book Two
Book Three
Amazon Author Page (Kindle and Paperback versions)
Barnes and Noble
IndieBound
Books-A-Million
Rowan Blaize Official Website
Goodreads

Pop HazMat Headline du Jour: Snakes On a Plane! Virgin America Flights Now Encourage Mile-High Flirting

Upgrade your Sexcapade with a Flight on Virgin America!

Upgrade your Sexcapade with a Flight on Virgin America!

HAZMAT HEADLINE DU JOUR: Virgin America Flights Now Encourage Mile-High Flirting posted by JONATHAN KIERAN

CULTURAL TOXICITY QUOTIENT: 6.5 (Pretty Par for the Current Course)

RUDIMENTARY ANALYSIS: Virgin America’s is implementing a new in-flight “Text and Try to Get a Perfect Stranger Drunk for Purposes of a Quickie!” system on its Los Angeles-to-Las Vegas route. You know, because people really aren’t quite perverted, rude and sleazy enough in today’s world. Also, people on airplanes don’t have a tough enough time as it is worrying about weirdo passengers potentially getting out of line and causing discomfort at 33,000 feet. And who wants to wait all of the interminably long time it takes to actually fly from LA to Vegas before going on safari for that filthy-dirty extramarital affair? No way! Get a head-start on fornication in the friendly skies, people!

EXISTENTIAL RAMIFICATIONS: Surely Greyhound will now wish to “upgrade the sexcapade” for the benefit of America’s more economically minded travelers by launching a similar campaign. Of course, theirs won’t involve a classy Virgin America-type system of “sexting and sending a drink.” No, given society’s present trajectory I expect something more along the lines of: “Club a Hottie Over the Head and Drag ‘Em Back to the Toilet!”

Oh, wait I forgot … some people already consider that to be standard boarding procedure on Greyhound buses. No innovative marketing strategy required.

DETOX RECIPE: Frozen Hot Chocolate Ice Cubes ought to pair nicely with any new one-night (or one-hour) stand you meet in the Emergency Exit aisle!

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Escape the Imminent Collapse of Civilization, Friends, if Only for a Few Hours. Get acquainted with the comparatively sane world of Rowan Blaize …

One witty 2,800 year-old warlock. A suspicious storm that hurls him to earth near London. A goddess who wants to destroy the world. The catch? She needs Rowan’s face. REMOVED.

A deliciously twisted magical adventure is born with Rowan Blaize and the Enchanted Heritage Chronicles. Use any of the Rowan Blaize book icons on the upper-right (or use the links below) to learn more or purchase with an enchanted click.

Amazon Kindle Version (Only $0.99 Each!)
Book One
Book Two
Book Three
Amazon Author Page (Kindle and Paperback versions)
Barnes and Noble
IndieBound
Books-A-Million
Rowan Blaize Official Website
Goodreads

Jack, KB, Dawn, ME(!) and wonderful Ginger the German Shep .. at dusk ... at Galante Vineyards

Jack, KB, Dawn, ME(!) and wonderful Ginger the German Shep .. at dusk … at Galante Vineyards

HAZMAT HEADLINE DU JOUR: Open House Fabulousness at Galante Vineyards

(NOT SO) RUDIMENTARY ANALYSIS: I was invited to the “open house” at the Galante Vineyards Ranch wherein new wine releases were being previewed for the public on Saturday. How do I begin to describe the brilliance of these people, opening their land and their arms to welcome friends and wayward strangers to a glorious wine-tasting experience? HERE’S HOW I DO ITGalante Vineyards occupies 700 acres of rolling, resplendent and righteous farmland in upper Carmel Valley, only 33-ish acres of which are apportioned for cultivating top-of-the-line grapes. Horses nicker in one secret grove, while cattle fart, snort and graze free-and-easy in the upland hills that soar to an elevation of almost 2000 ft. Jack Galante’s mother, Jane, hailed from an urban artistic San Franciscan family that always maintained deep and unmovable roots in dust-and-dirt California. Jack’s mom was truly a debutante and a world-class pianist, as well as a scholar … but she was also a dyed-in-the-wool “ranch-hand” who imparted a thundering-yet-tender love of the environment to Jack.

J. Frank Devendorf (Jane’s grandfather) was the man who founded the renowned town of Carmel-by-the-Sea in 1903. Of course, our sleepy, suave and artistically endearing town was “put on the map” because Clint Eastwood ran successfully for mayor in the mid-’80s … but it was really Jack Galante’s family that established that map in the literal sense. The town’s most beloved park is in fact named for Jack’s grandfather and the first single-vineyard wine-tasting room established in Carmel was, quite wonderfully, the Galante Vineyards Tasting Room … down the magical pathway near Piccadilly Park on Dolores Street, between Ocean and Sixth.

Now, hang on … Jack Galante’s family did not simply start growing grapes in the Carmel Valley appellation just for fun, or as some sort of “trend.”

They planted small lots of the best quality grapes (Cabernet Sauvignon, to start) in the mid-1980s and sold their voluptuous crop to budding vintners like Morgan Winery.

Nestled in absolute majesty like a “secret kingdom” off of Cachagua Road, their family’s glorious 700-acre spread seemed to burst with earth’s riches. They grew world-class roses on the property. They raised and rescued horses. And their grapes started attracting HUGE notice in the viticultural world … along with awards. In the early 1990s, Jack, who is a globe-trotting renaissance man and gifted cartographer/scientist, unleashed a portion of his magnificent vision upon the family property: small-batch estate wines aged in French Oak and treated with the kind of freedom that would let the zesty, brooding Carmel Valley fruit speak for itself … without any undue help, without interfering with Nature’s decisions.

Jack succeeded beyond expectations — Galante Vineyards produces an average of 1,500 cases a year and the plaudits have never ceased to tumble upon the Galante brand and team (which includes gifted oenologist Greg Vita). “Best in Show” awards from national and international panels have been awarded to Galante vintages, again and again, and their success is all the more remarkable given the very limited, exclusive production that has been their hallmark. Much of this greatness, of course, has been due to the stunning quality of the crop, but those who love Galante wines (and there are thousands across the planet!) would never have heard about the magnificence of the product had it not been for the talent and drive of Jack.

Jack Galante, all by himself, is a genuine “force of nature” — this is a “man’s man” and a Gentleman Scholar with some serious cred. In a world where small business owners have to wear multiple hats, Jack Galante towers above pretenders and posers. I have always been astonished by how hard this man works for his company, and how graceful he is when it comes to communicating the unique aspects of his estate grown vintages. I don’t care where he “came from” — one look at Jack Galante will tell you that he could conquer the world no matter where he came from. Yeah … Jack Galante is like that. Everyone who knows Jack knows this to be true about him. He possesses a “movie star” personality (the type of persona when being a cinematic genius meant something) with a heart both softened and forever hardened by his direct experience with the dirt, and the earth, right up in his face.

This is a man to be reckoned with.

If one of the calves needs branding on the ranch … Jack can get it done with strength and grit and love.

If his community needs him, Jack Galante is extravagant in his generosity. You better believe it.

I have met and worked-for and known someone who actually exemplifies the image of a “man for all seasons.” I’m very grateful.

I consider that man a living legend and I wish I were half the person he is. Seriously. I wish I were half as good. I’m working on it.

Now, let’s talk. Galante Vineyards estate wines are as bold as their creator(s). Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, and even Malbec are thrilling “tasters” at every turn. One of the things people “look for” in Monterey County vintages is the rarified, estate-grown earthiness and SULTRY, hypnotic fruit. Jack Galante’s ranch breeds fruit that wants to show-off its earthy coattails. Take a sip of Jack’s new releases and introduce yourself not only to exquisite vintages but to the earth, rock, rain, shine and PEOPLE who make the entire experience “once in a lifetime.”

Oh, gee … Jack’s wife, Dawn, is producing her own gorgeous wines — wines that reflect her particular, vivacious personality. This is the glorious thing about Jack and Dawn Galante — they are as REAL as the color in the sky, my friends … and they never let anybody down. I said a few words to describe Jack, but Dawn is a powerhouse/whirlwind/star on her own. Oh boy. I know how to describe people quickly and Dawn Galante is a blast of pure sunshine that ricocheted off a sapphire. How do ya’ like that?

If you met Dawn, you would know exactly what I am talking about.

I have also, in the past, described Dawn as a “most wonderful sunflower … that has come to life in a lady.” Yeah, that’s pretty fluffy, but there’s a reason for it. I think that’s accurate in Dawn’s regard — the kind of lady that makes you go, “That’s a helluva woman.”

These people and their extraordinary products are that good and excellent. I don’t quite know if I am worthy to be their friend … but I am mighty glad I am.

TAKE-AWAY QUOTE: “Always drink upstream from the herd.” (Jack Galante’s fabulous signature-line. Think about it for a minute.)

THERAPEUTIC CINEMA: Bottle Shock

MUSICAL REHAB: I don’t know why, but snarky John Prine songs remind me (wonderfully) of the Galantes. Jack is a fine singer/picker as is his son John. He has another son who is in a very prestigious school of music on the East Coast. These men are talented!

DETOX DINNER: Yes! Jack is a killer griller (go figure). The things he can do with tri-tip are shocking. But you really want to keep an eye on Jack’s Beans That Make You Crazy. See … nobody summons-up shit this good, except him. Trust us … we are in the process of goading Jack into a cookbook. This man doesn’t have a minute to spare, but … Oh yeah, we’re trying.

DON’T BE CRUEL: THE ONLY LINDSAY LOHAN POST YOU WILL EVER SEE ON POP HAZMAT

Don't be Mean, Girls

Don’t be Mean, Girls

A rather arrogant goddess wants to skin the face off the most adorable warlock you could ever imagine. YOU can save him for only $0.99. Click HERE.

AT ISSUE: Lindsay Lohan and the Repulsive Ghoulishness of American Society

CASE IN POINT: Actress, universal laughing-stock and young woman Lindsay Lohan took to the David Letterman set the other night and more than held her own in the face of abject humiliation and ghoul-suckage on the part of David Letterman. See for yourself.

HERE ME AS I SPEAK TO YOU: Look. Lohan was certainly declaring herself “fair game” by occupying a chair next to a snotty old beaver like David Letterman, but at least she did it. And she did it with some pizazz. One of the things that makes me want to puke daily is this American fascination with killing talent.

Lohan came from a family that I personally wouldn’t trade for a dead hermaphrodite donkey and the last glass of water on the planet, but she has always had talent. I don’t give a rat’s glutes about her personal Bag of Crazy. I don’t.

This is a young woman who obviously has some problems that are frankly not to be lampooned while she’s actually sitting in front of your face. I am so freakin’ sick of the way Oughtta-Know-Better Americans are treating each other. Clearly, I love to satirize and put a wry spin on the world’s nonsense. I will not, however, use a young woman (famous, infamous, or otherwise) as a scratching-post/dumping-ground/dart-board for my own Feelings of Inadequacy.

Real MEN don’t treat women like garbage. Ever. Ever ever ever ever.

Lindsay was funny, wry, and witty, even if her personal life is a total Trainwreck that Jumped the Tracks of Hell and Careened into the Village of Damnation.

I … I … can handle everything in this world except cruelty. Cruelty cannot be countenanced. If you ever do something truly cruel to someone else, you had better hide under the stairs, cover your head with ashes and BEG the Virgin Mary to spare you from an eternity of Searing PAIN. Yeah, you heard me. Screw-up six proverbial ways to Sunday in your life (we all do) but DON’T be cruel.

Cruelty? I don’t want to know you, whether it’s doled-out to the famous or the forgotten. Damn this world.

(Oh, golly … I think I need a pill. Pray for me, Lindsay)

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Escape the Imminent Collapse of Civilization, Friends, if Only for a Few Hours. Get acquainted with the comparatively sane world of Rowan Blaize …

One witty 2,800 year-old warlock. A suspicious storm that hurls him to earth near London. A goddess who wants to destroy the world. The catch? She needs Rowan’s face. REMOVED.

A deliciously twisted magical adventure is born with Rowan Blaize and the Enchanted Heritage Chronicles. Use any of the Rowan Blaize book icons on the upper-right (or use the links below) to learn more or purchase with an enchanted click.

Amazon Kindle Version (Only $0.99 Each!)
Book One
Book Two
Book Three
Amazon Author Page (Kindle and Paperback versions)
Barnes and Noble
IndieBound
Books-A-Million
Rowan Blaize Official Website
Goodreads