Entertainment News 8-31-11
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Editor, The Konformist
Steamshovelpress.com is back! New web content! New book product! New conference information! PLUS: a new, daily, twitterish quip: "Parapolitics Offhand!"
Now available on CD and through US Mail only: Popular Parapolitics, 219 pages, illustrated, of comentary on the nexus of parapolitics and popular culture. $15 post paid from Kenn Thomas, POB 210553, St. Louis, MO 63121.
Does It Include a Rug, Man?
FYI all Big Lebowski fans: El Duderino's bungalow is on the market. In fact, all six bungalows are on sale together:
606-608 Venezia Ave.
6 One Bedroom Cottages
"The Big Lebowski" Compound
Six historic one bedroom cottages on a 10,628 sq ft lot, all just blocks to the beach and Abbot Kinney. These historic, bigger-than-average bungalows feature spacious side-yards, garage parking and a lushly landscaped gated courtyard.
In 2005, property underwent major renovations, including new sewer line, roofing. This a perfect candidate for a residential subdivision.
Compound was used as location for classic film "The Big Lebowski," starring Jeff Bridges.
Recent Media Coverage:
The Huffington Post
The Beat of Young Los Angeles
The Dude's Paper
Guest of a Guest LA
Movie Locations Guide
Offered at $2,295,000
Poe & Lovecraft
Reprinted from Ambrosia No. 2 (Aug. 1973)
Comparisons between Edgar Allan Poe and Howard Phillips Lovecraft are, I suppose, inevitable; seemingly, in recent years [writing in 1973] they are also interminable.
I shall not, therefore, repeat the usual recital of similarities to be found within their work -- there will be no mention of black cats, revenants, or Antarctic settings per se.
But at the same time I have no intention of making a calculated bid for attention by deliberately asserting, as some have also declared, that no real resemblance exists aside from superficial employment of stock characters and themes common to virtually all stories in the genre.
To me, this is an untenable statement: Lovecraft, like every writer of fantasy and horror fiction subsequent to Poe, was necessarily influenced by the work of his predecessor -- and to certain extent his work needs must be derivative in some slight sense. Actually, Lovecraft's homage to Poe in his essay Supernatural Horror In Literature, indicates a degree of appreciation and admiration which leaves no doubt as to the profound impression made upon him by the earlier master.
But to me the most fruitful area of comparison lies within an examination of the backgrounds and personalities of the writers themselves.
Consider the facts. Both Poe and Lovecraft were New England born. Both were, to all intents and purposes, fatherless at an early age. Both developed a lifelong affinity for poetry and the elements of a classical education Both utilized archaisms in their writing styles and affected personal eccentricities which in time became consciously cultivated.
Although Poe spent a part of his youth in England and travelled along the Atlantic seaboard in later life -- and while Lovecraft ventured up into Canada and down into Florida on vacations a few years prior to his death -- neither man ever ventured west of the Alleghenies. Lovecraft, on one occasion, did skirt them to visit E. Hoffman Price briefly in his New Orleans home, but essentially he and Poe were Easterners. Their outlook was, to a marked degree, provincial; even parochial.
Both men distrusted "foreigners" in the mass: both retained a profound admiration for the English. These attitudes are plainly evident in their work, which is many particulars removed and remote form the main current of American life.
A reader attempting to capture some glimpse of the United States in the 1830-1850 period would gain small enlightenment from the poetry and fiction of Poe. At a time when the entire nation was engaged in a westward thrust, beginning with the peregrinations of the mountain men and ending with the Gold Rush in the year of Poe's death, one searches in vain for a wet which does not seemingly even exist in his literary compass.
Byronic heroes sequestered in British and continental locales scarcely reflect the American attitudes or aptitudes in the era of Old Hickory, Davy Crockett, the fall of the Alamo, the Mexican War and the growing turmoil over slavery.
Nor would a reader find more typically American protagonists amongst the pendants, professors and regionally-oriented recluses of Lovecraft's tales, in which there's scarcely a hint of the manners and mores of the Roaring Twenties or the Great Depression which followed in the ensuing decade. Aside from a few remarks regarding the influx of immigrants and concomitant destruction of old folkways and landmarks, plus brief mentions of the (intellectually) "wild" college set, Lovecraft ignores the post WW1 Jazz Age in its entirety: Coolidge, Hoover, FDR, Lindbergh, Babe Ruth, Al Capone, Valentino, Mencken and the prototypes of Babbit have no existence in HPL's realm. It is difficult to believe that Howard Phillips Lovecraft was a literary contemporary of Ernest Hemingway.
And yet a further comparison between Lovecraft and Poe remains; one of profound importance in any consideration of their work, because it softens any charge that two writers were totally unaware of the actual world and unrealistic in their treatment of their times.
I refer, of course, to their mutual interest in science. Both Poe and Lovecraft were acute observers of the scientific and pseudo-scientific developments of their respective days, and both men utilized thee latest theories and discoveries in their writing. It is only necessary to cite Poe's use of mesmerism, his employment of the balloon hoax, his detailing of data in the Arthur Gordon Pym novella, to prove the point.
Lovecraft, for his part, relies on scientific background material in his Pym-like At the Mountains of Madness, "The Shadow Out of Time" and other efforts; notable is his immediate adoption of the newly discovered "ninth planet" in "The Whisperer in Darkness."
Lovecraft's interest in astronomy undoubtedly led to his increasing interest in other fields of scientific endeavor, just as Poe's early experiences at West Point must have fostered his preoccupation with codes an ciphers. And both men, as professional writers, were well and widely-read in the contemporary work of their day: Poe as a working critic, demonstrates his knowledge in his nonfictional efforts and Lovecraft, in his correspondence, proves himself no stranger to Proust, Joyce, Spengler and Freud.
But the point is that Poe and Lovecraft deliberately chose to turn their backs on contemporary styles and subject-matter and created their own individual worlds of fantasy. In this above all else they were similar.
And in this, above all else, we readers of Poe and Lovecraft are fortunate indeed. We shall never know, and never care, what Edgar Allan Poe though of Andy Jackson's "kitchen cabinet" or how H. P. Lovecraft regarded the Teapot Dome scandal. Small loss, when both have given us glimpses of worlds peculiarly and provocatively their very own.
For the final similarity is this -- Poe and Lovecraft are our two American geniuses of fantasy, comparable each to the other, but incomparably superior to all the rest who follow in their wake.
Copyright Notice. This article was first published in Ambrosia #2 (August, 1973), © 1973 Alan Gullette and Robert Bloch. It was subsequently revised slightly by the author and reprinted in H.P. Lovecraft: Four Decades of Criticism, ed. S. T. Joshi (Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 1980), pp. 158-160, © 1980 Ohio University Press. The present text is the original.
About the author
Robert Bloch (1917-1994) was a horror, suspense, and science fiction writer and screenwriter, best known for the novel Psycho (1959, adapted to film by Hitchcock in 1960). A member of the "Lovecraft Circle," his correspondence with Lovecraft (edited by S. T. Joshi and David E. Schultz, with introduction by Bloch) was published by Necronomicon Press (1993). Following his first publication in Weird Tales for May 1935, his work would appear in such classic pulps as Amazing Stories, Famous Fantastic Mysteries, Strange Stories, and Unusual Stories.
Altogether, Bloch wrote over 220 stories collected in over 2 dozen collections, 2 dozen novels, screenplays for a dozen movies and three Star Trek episodes, a volume of essays, and the award-winning Once Around The Bloch: An Unauthorized Autobiography (1993).
His many awards included one Nebula Award, two Hugos, three World Fantasy Awards (including Lifetime Achievement), and five Bram Stoker Awards. He also the received a special award at the first NecronomiCon in 1993; after his death it was renamed in his honor. He died on September 23, 1994 in Los Angeles after a long battle with cancer.
Credit to DailyMail.co.uk
Lady Gaga surfing in Mexico
Jennifer Love Hewitt
DON'T Give the Miami Hurricanes the Death Penalty
Give it to the NCAA
Thursday morning's cover of USA Today blared the two words on everyone's lips: "the death penalty." No, this isn't because Texas Governor Rick Perry who just loves executin' innocent and guilty alike - is now running for President. It's the fate that most people believe awaits the storied football team at the University of Miami. The death penalty means that the NCAA will for an indeterminate time shut down the entire Hurricanes program. It's a brutal, financially crippling fate that many believe Miami has more than earned, following a Yahoo Sports expose by Charles Robinson which detailed eight years of amateur violations that would make Dennis Rodman blush. A mini-Madoff financial criminal named Nevin Shapiro, currently serving 20 years behind bars, offered prostitutes, payola, jewelry, yacht parties and every possible South Beach excess for the Hurricane players. While corrupting the athletic program, he was simultaneously being feted by school President, former Clinton cabinet member Donna Shalala and Hurricanes athletic director Paul Dee. They even let him on two occasions lead the team out of the tunnel on game day.
This bombshell has the moral majority of sports journalists in full froth, rushing to the barricades to defend amateur sports. We have people like Sporting News columnist David Whitley, to use merely one example, writing, "The only way to make Miami behave is a long timeout. No more football, smoke and parties for a couple of years. Nothing else has a chance of ending the culture of corruption that is The U." He even calls Miami "the Ben Tre of college football", writing, "American forces wiped out the village to get rid of the Viet Cong, prompting a timeless explanation from the U.S. commander: `It became necessary to destroy the town to save it.' The only way to save Miami is to destroy it, stripper pole and all." But like the war in Vietnam, not to mention the actual death penalty, the call for the NCAA to shut down the program is dead wrong. As with capital punishment, eliminating the Hurricanes is an exercise in hypocrisy that does nothing but ensure these scandals will happen again and again.
What this scandal should produce, instead of the isolation and destruction of one program, is a serious reflection on the gutter economy that is college athletics. Players cannot be paid openly and legally so instead we get the amoral wampum of "amateur sports." Reading the Yahoo Sports story, it's difficult to not be chilled by the casual misogyny detailed as strippers, "escorts" and hookers were purchased and handed to players like party favors. You wonder why over 80% of NFL players get divorced after retirement. It's because as teenagers, they are mentored by parasites like Nevin Shapiro who show them that women are the exchange value for their lucrative labor. This kind of gutter economy also has an ugly echo in old slave plantations, as the prized sports specimens in the antebellum South were handed women by the masters in return for their athletic prowess. Or as David Steele wrote earlier this week, "Of course, America's tender little feelings will be bruised if this is equated to slavery, or a plantation economy, or a plantation mentality. Fine. Maybe it can live with a metaphor like sharecropping. You do all the work, we take all the profits, we compensate you with the bare necessities of life, and tough break if you don't like it."
The metaphor works because once you wave away the smoke and hot air, this is about jock sniffing criminals and corrupted college Presidents taking advantage of primarily poor African Americans from the South, who see everyone getting paid but them. One anonymous University of Miami player told Yahoo Sports about University running back Tyrone Moss, who took $1,000 from Shapiro. "The guy had a kid while he was in college, a little Tyrone Jr.," the player said. "He comes in poor as [expletive] from Pompano and he's got a little kid to feed. I could barely feed myself. I can't imagine having to feed a kid, too. Of course he's going to take it when someone offers him $1,000. Who wouldn't in that situation?"
The solution lies in paying the players but it also lies in driving a stake through the heart of the NCAA as an instrument of enforcement. Having the NCAA shut down the program only reinforces the illusion that they are the motor of morality, compliance and justice, when in fact they are the corrupters of these concepts. Already, NCAA President Mark Emmert, he of the seven figure salary, has been across the national media, preaching about protecting, "The integrity of intercollegiate athletics." Emmert and his 14 assistants, each who make at least $400,000 a year, will stand on their soapbox and quarantine the bad boys of Miami just in time to save the Golden Goose: the billion dollar television contracts, and the $135 million from the Bowl Championship Series used to crown a fake national champion.
They defend amateurism as an end unto itself, but this is also complete nonsense. As Patrick Hruby wrote at espn.com last year, "Philosophically speaking, amateurism is malarkey, about as credible as the Tooth Fairy. The Victorian-era English aristocrats who came up with the concept ascribed it to the ancient Greeks, who supposedly competed for nothing more than glory, honor and olive wreaths. The only problem? History and the legend don't match. Modern archeology suggests that the ancient Olympics were rife with spoils. Think prize money, prime amphitheater seats, generous pensions and civic appointments. According to Olympic historian Tony Perottet, one Games winner even parlayed his victory into a senatorial seat in Athens. Indeed, the ancient Greeks didn't even have a word for amateur, and the closest term --idiotes -- needs no translation."
Let what has happened at Miami be a wakeup call: the NCAA has about as much moral authority to give "the death penalty" as Rick Perry. If this ends with the NCAA giving Miami the death penalty, then the "gutter economy" survives and we are all the worse for it. If you listen closely, you can hear King Leopold's chains rattling in the NCAA's halls, haunting and guiding the daily maneuvers of this "non-profit" that enriches itself by paying its laborers nothing. Shut it down and end the culture of corruption once and for all.
Dave Zirin just made the new documentary "Not Just a Game." Receive his column every week by emailing dave@.... Contact him at edgeofsports@....
Acharya S, Kenn Thomas & Robalini in Laughlin, Nevada, late nineties...
Stoner Cooking: Cheese Enchilada Stack
12 corn tortillas, cut into quarters
12 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
1 (15 ounce) can enchilada sauce
1 bunch green onion
1 (4 ounce) can green chilies
1 Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2 Spray square 8x8 baking pan with pam (the garlic one is good).
3 Line pan with layer of corn tortillas.
4 Top with 1/3 sauce, cheese, chilis, and onions.
5 Top with second layer of tortillas.
6 Top with second layer of 1/3 sauce, cheese, chilis, and onions.
7 Top with final layer of tortillas.
8 End with final layer of 1/3 sauce, cheese, chilis, and onions.
9 Bake until bubbly (approximately 10-15 min.).
10 You can use green sauce and 2 cups cubed chicken.
11 Or black beans.
12 Or ground beef seasoned with taco mix.
America's favorite fast food chains
Sorry McDonald's, you don't make the cut
Piper Weiss, Shine Staff
Thu Jun 30, 2011
For the best restaurants in the country ask a Michelin guide reviewer. For the best fast food joints, ask everyone else. That's what Consumer Reports did in their new survey out today. They polled 36,733 subscribers to their magazine on their favorite go-to chains for instant gratification.
Based on over 98,000 visits to 53 chains, readers judged the service, speed, cost and overall deliciousness of their quick dining experience. The big surprise: the highest rated fast food didn't come from the biggest chains. McDonald's, Taco Bell, and KFC, also took a backseat to the slightly smaller franchises. Here are readers' picks for the best fast food experience.
Burgers: In-N-Out burger. The West Coast chain beat out Burger King, McDonald's, and countless other burger-flipping joints to rate highest in taste, speed and service. Their freshly prepared, preservative-free patties were a shoe-in for flavor, and also earned high marks for value. Who needs super-sizing when you've got a super-secret menu?
Mexican: Chiptole Mexican Grill. With only 8 chains in this category, the competition is slim, but readers gave this tacos-and-guac haven the highest marks not only for flavor but for speed and service.
Chicken: Chick-fil-A. The fried chicken trays and sandwiches at this nationwide chain beat out KFC's buckets by a long shot.
Sandwiches and Subs: Jason's Deli. The little guy stepped out of the shadows of Quiznos and Subway, as a top pick. It's massive menu options (subs, muffalettas, wraps and even pasta) and "grab-and-go" meals, garnered big-time service and speed points.
Pizza: Papa Murphy's Take N' Bake Pizza. Don't bother making the pizza, we can do it ourselves. That's the message with this surprising fan favorite, a pizza chain that sells prepped, uncooked pizzas that you heat up at home.
Best overall value: Papa Murphy's, CiCi Pizza and In-N-Out Burger. Readers picked these three chains medium-sized chains as the best bang for your buck.
Not everyone was so positive about the fast food experience. Readers rated Round Table Pizza, KFC and the struggling Italian chain, Sbarro's, as offering the least value. And casual dining restaurants like Cracker Barrel and Outback Steakhouse pleased patrons far in terms of experience than the standard to-go chains. Not surprisingly, only 13 percent of those surveyed considered the last meal they ate at a fast food restaurant "healthful." Despite a growing number of lower-fat menu options one thing is clear: they don't turn to the drive-through for diet tips.
Released: West Memphis Three
After over 18 years in prison, and four years after crime scene DNA was presented that found no evidence linking the trio to the Arkansas murders. Credit Eddie Vedder and Johnny Depp with an assist on the statsheet for this one...
"They were convicted for being young, goth, Wiccan metalheads at the height of the Satanic Panic. Today they walk free."
Bill Clinton Goes Vegan
As CNN Notes: "By the time he reached the White House, Bill Clinton's appetite was legend. He loved hamburgers, steaks, chicken enchiladas, barbecue and french fries but wasn't too picky. At one campaign stop in New Hampshire, he reportedly bought a dozen doughnuts and was working his way through the box until an aide stopped him." No more, as over the past year, Big Bad Bill has become Sweet William. Under the dietary guide of Dr. Dean Ornish, director of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute, he has lost over 20 pounds feeding on a vegan diet:
Carrie Fisher has lost 50 pounds since becoming a spokewoman for Jenny Craig, dropping to 130 pounds. She's reportedly thinking of putting on her metal bikini from Return of the Jedi again. Incidentally, Jabba the Hutt would be a good candidate for Weight Watchers...
Jim Thome: 600 Home Runs
And it still may not be enough to get in the Hall of Fame in the age of steroids...
America's Most Walkable Cities, 2011
1. New York
2. San Francisco
By Google, giving them a smartphone maker to stay competitive with Apple, Nokia and Blackberry...
Discovered: Lager Beer DNA
The yeast behind the most popular alcoholic drink in the world comes from Argentina, of all places, according to scientists. It traveled from South America about 500 years ago to Germany. In return, Argentina was rewarded with Nazi war criminals. Thanks for the drink, though!!!
Diagnosed: Pat Summitt
With early stages of dementia. She has won a record 1071 games and 8 national titles as coach for the women's Tennessee Volunteers basketball team...
Married: Kim Kardashian
To some guy, we forget his name. Don't worry, she'll still appear in The Konformist wearing outfits that show off her ass...
The HP TouchPad, July 1 - August 18, 2011
It would be fun to blame this on Russell Brand, their dubious spokesman, but the real culprit is Apple, whose iPad Hewlett-Packard just couldn't compete with. And if HP can't compete, good luck to Motorola, Samsung or Blackberry. (Ironically, after the TouchPad discontinue was announced, its sales skyrocketed over the Internet due to tablets previously priced at $499 and $599 on sale for $99 and $149.) The TouchPad is the tip of the iceberg for HP changes, as they are planning to spinoff their PC business (even though they're the world's biggest PC maker, a title they've held since buying Compaq in 2002) and getting out of the smartphone biz (even though they only bought Palm last year for $1.2 billion as part of a strategy to become a smartphone-tablet giant.) If this sounds to you like HP is flailing around cluelessly, you're not alone:its stock dropped more than it has since Black Monday 1987 on the news...
The Burger King Mascot, 2003-11
For some reason, BK decided its creepy looking mascot was bad for business. He actually has a semi-respectable history, with previous incarnations starting in 1955...
Nick Ashford, 70
Half of the husband-wife Motown songwriting duo behind "Ain't No Mountain High Enough", "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing" and "Reach Out and Touch Somebody's Hand"...
Jerry Lieber, 78
Half of another great songwriting duo with Mike Stoller, penned such hits as "Hound Dog", "Jailhouse Rock", "Yakety Yak" and "King Creole"...
Mike Flanagan, 59
MLB pitcher who won 167 games in his career, including 23 in 1979 while winning the Cy Young for the Baltimore Orioles. He also was part of the last O's World Series team from 1983...
Joey Vento, 71
Owner of Geno's Steaks, founded in Philly in 1966 one of the city's two most famed makers of cheesesteaks...
Last but definitely not least, farewell to Steve Jobs as CEO of Apple, arguably the man who has changed America for the better more than anyone over the last decade. Normally, we don't gush about CEOs on The Konformist, but we'll make a deserved exception for him...