Sunday, August 29, 2010

Alcoholic Crap: Old Crow


There are many things in this mean old world of ours that I don't understand.  I don't understand why people want vampires that send them FTD bouquets.  I don't understand why people like music without melodies.  I don't understand Mandarin Chinese.  I could fill a book with all the things I don't understand.  And I think I'd have to dedicate a chapter of that book to the subject of alcohol snobs and their expensive follies.

Those of us who drink professionally understand that the goal of the entire imbibication process is inebriation, not another extraneous culinary experience.   Anything that gets in the way of that inebriation is the enemy, and there are several things that can get in the way.  Sugary, fruity, girly drinks, for example.  You can't drink very much of that stuff without losing your ethnic cuisine in the nearest alley, and puking is enough to dampen any sensible person's fun.  Some people never learn that lesson.  Those people are called “sorority sisters”. Another thing that can get in the way of inebriation is the prohibitive cost of certain labels of hooch.  There's a reason that they call them “labels”.  It's because that's what you're paying for.  It's a name and a color scheme.  Don't believe the hype. 

My drink of choice is bourbon.  When it comes to how various bourbons taste, there are those who will go on about hints of this and echoes of that.  Those people are deluded and silly.  Or rather, their words contain hints of nonsense and echoes of yuppie effluvia.

To the untrained tongue, bourbon tastes a lot like ass, and that's ok.  The taste is irrelevant.  We aren't here to tickle our tongues until they coo.  We're here to obliterate our consciousness in the most efficient manner possible.  Priorities, people.  Priorities.  Despite its basic taste, there are some labels of bourbon that go for staggering sums of scratch.  You'd have to be drunk to spend that kind of money on a caustic ghost of urine yet to come.  And if you were already drunk, why bother?  That's why, when I wish to board the swaying train to Lush Town, I often get on at the Old Crow station.

Like a lot of cheap whiskey, Old Crow was once held in loftier esteem.  It's been around for a couple of centuries and was the favorite drink of Ulysses S. Grant, one of history's more productive drunks.  Hunter Thompson and Mark Twain were fans.  The Reverend Horton Heat and Tom Waits have sung its praises.  And then there's me.  At my local liquor store, I can score a half gallon of the stuff for $13.99, which is half the price of Jack Daniels and considerably less than Jim Beam (another personal favorite, which is made by the same folks who grace us with the Crow).  Despite the low price, I can assure everyone that it gets you exactly as drunk as those other brands and inflicts no more pain.

Old Crow doesn't stand alone, or even at the bottom, of cheap whiskeys.  It merely stands in the glass on my desk, which is why I decided to write about it.  Drink cheap, people, and put the money you save toward that new liver you'll probably need in a few years.  Cheers.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Holy Crap: Jack Van Impe Presents

Many of you probably aren't aware of the miraculous fun to be found on Christian television. You likely have three or four or more of these channels being beamed into your home free of charge, but you skim by them as quickly as your sinful fingers will carry you. I'm here to suggest that you pause a moment and revel in the horrifying display. I vow that you won't be sorry, because finding entertainment on Christian television is as easy as drowning in the river Jordan. Consider this a covenant.

Let's begin with Jack Van Impe. I quit believing in God when I was 14, and I started watching Jack Van Impe Presents at around the same time. For a kid hooked on the horror of The Omen, Jack was like manna from heaven. He would sit there and predict the end of the world every week. And, sonofabitch, he's still doing it over 20 years later.

The format of the show is delightfully unchanged after all these decades. Jack's chronically chipper wife, Rexella, reads brief excerpts of news stories from the last week. She then asks Jack what the stories mean. Jack explains that the stories mean that Jesus is returning at around midnight. Rexella praises Jack for his brilliance. Jack chuckles in acceptance of the praise. Then, they throw it to an announcer who hawks DVDs and books.

Rexella Van Impe fascinates me. She's a perfectly Stepford kind of wife. Seemingly. I have my dark fantasies, though. I think that when the studio lights are dimmed, Rexella stays behind to light the black candles and sharpen the knives. I imagine that she sacrifices bunnies and plays naked Twister with Satan. But maybe that's just me.

I remember when Jack seemed certain that Pope John Paul II was the Antichrist, but then that Pope up and died without taking the rest of us with him. These days, Jack likes to insinuate that President Obama is the Evil One. He's a bit cagey about it, though. I suppose that when you've been predicting that one world leader after another is the Antichrist for many years, and they all fail to live up to their devilish potential . . . well, that's enough to make even the best prophet a little gun-shy.

Jack bills himself as “The Walking Bible” because he's memorized over 16,000 bible verses. Cool. I guess that means I can call myself “The Walking Elvis Costello”. Someone tell Elvis to sit down. Jack also likes to condemn our dreadful modern ways, so at least we have that in common. On a recent program, Jack came down on modern churches “with their rock bands and chorus lines and lattes on Sunday mornings”. That's what I'm talking about. Religion ain't fun if it ain't crazy, and Jack is nothing if he's not crazy.

Fearless reader, stop depriving yourself. Get to know Jack.  Before it's too late . . . 

Tell 'em why, Rexella.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Crap On Film: Warriors of Virtue


Do Not Think Thoughts

So, there's this movie about a race of idyllic creatures who live in a forest and take soul-giving sustenance from their natural surroundings. There's an evil force that wants to destroy nature and make all the noble savages get real jobs. The movie was filmed using some weird technique that makes everything look the way nothing in life has ever looked. You've probably already guessed the movie I'm talking about. Yes, it's Warriors of Virtue.

I first heard about this film when I read that it made a film critic vomit. In my world, that sounds like high praise. I had to see it. I was not disappointed. Or rather, I was disappointed, which for me is the same as being satisfied.

The movie was released back in 1997 as a joint venture between Chinese and American “filmmakers”. I'm not smart enough to know how they filmed it, but I do know that during the action sequences the figures on screen look both slowed down and sped up and fuzzy. I think that's where the regurgitation comes in. I've never seen a movie that looks quite like it. And for good reason.

The real star of the show (and what makes this must-see crap) is Angus Macfadyen, who plays the villain. Angus chews the scenery like a starving man eating an Angus. His evil Buddhist mantra (Oops, I forgot. Buddhists don't have a concept of evil. They have Richard Gere, instead.) is “Do not think thoughts”. He tells this to his lackies repeatedly. One presumes that the director of the movie used a similar tactic with the actors.

Angus flounces around in a gayly menacing manner, saying things like

Angus: “General, does purple suit me?”

General: “Very much, my Lord.”

Angus: “Then . . . you are dismissed.”

I won't get into the details of the film's plot. If the writers of the movie didn't bother, why should I? Instead, I'll leave you with one final line from this testament to terrible:

“Man, this is stupid. Let's make like Tom and cruise.”


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Base Camp


We suffer from a perpetual shortage of awesome. There are only so many Shakespeares, Mozarts, Scorseses and DeBarges to go around. And yet our days are filled with all these endless empty hours that cry out to be filled with diversion. That's why I decided in my youth to embrace crap. Because crap is eternal. Crap is cheap. There is no shortage of crap.

I've spent much of my life in the pursuit of bigger and better crap. I am a crapoisseur. It seems a shame for me to allow my accumulated crap to simply putrefy, unshared. I have determined that I shall no longer hide my crap under a bushel. A wise man once said that if you love your crap, you have to set it free. That wise man was me.

Of course, I won't be writing about just any old crap. There are already plenty of places where the undiscerning garbage-monger can wallow in the popular sewage-sucking mainstream. No, I reserve my time for the crap that goes above and beyond the call of crap and plops down in a place of awful sublimity. To put it another way, my crap doesn't stink.