Archive | Uncategorized RSS feed for this section

The Truth Is No Laughing Matter (Classic Paranoid Repost)

19 Sep

September 19, 2012.

Wow, this is nearly five years old. And what lunacy! Paranoia abounds but don’t worry, I’m all better now, that’s what they keep telling me, I’m all better now, all better now…

from October 8, 2007

So I’m working on the yearbook and we have a Hollywood theme, and it seems to have carried over to my blog-slinging (and damn if I’m not sticking with that word ’til it hurts.) As I type this I am wearing cool shades, sitting in a director’s chair, and I refuse to talk directly to anyone, preferring to let my assistant do all that.

OK, you caught me in a lie. (Read any blog at random and you’ll catch me in anywhere from three to infinity lies.) I am not wearing shades, nor am I sitting in a director’s chair, nor do I have an assistant, though I do prefer communicating through emails rather than actually talking to people, so I guess there is a modicum of truth there.

And a modicum is enough nowadays. Who wants the truth? As a wise man once said; “You can’t handle the truth!” And no, we can’t.

Would you like to know the truth about such dangerous topics as “grave robbers from outer space”? While I won’t spill any secrets of NATIONAL SECURITY, I will merely point out that in 1959 a courageous young documentary filmmaker named Edward D. Wood Junior attempted to inform the public of an immediate crisis that endangered not just the citizens of Hollywood but the entire world. He had discovered, through long weeks of research in hidden national archives and secret military installations worldwide, that aliens were about to attempt a conquest of Earth, with our own dead as their invading army. Try as he might, Mr. Wood was thwarted at every attempt to rally the public into action, and for his efforts, the government poisoned his image in the eyes of the public. This once promising Harvard graduate with a PhD in Psychology and an MBA in Business Management from the Wharton School of Business, was ruined and became a laughingstock in an angora sweater.

Would you like to know the truth about atomic testing in the South Pacific?  For decades, the government has suppressed knowledge of the radiation-induced abnormal hyper-growth of certain reptiles, both prehistoric and contemporary, to gargantuan size. Similarly, the abnormal growth to epic proportions of common ants in the American mid-west due to atomic testing has been suppressed. Newsreel footage of fire-breathing dinosaurs have been leaked to the public from time to time by intrepid truth-seekers, but the government’s black-ops division has managed to convince the public that these actual films of dangerous creatures are really just Japanese movies with men in rubber suits, not monsters.

Would you like to know the truth about asbestos? It is a well-known fact that asbestos is NOT a carcinogen. It is totally harmless and may in fact cure acne. Asbestos was first used as a government cover-up in 1941 when the Air Force claimed that the area around Roswell New Mexico was contaminated to keep the public far away from what was really going on- a flying saucer crash. After the debris was moved to Area 51, the government continued to use the asbestos story for any operation they wanted to keep classified. To this day, CIA incursions into Hanoi during the Vietnam War are blamed on asbestos. Famously, when the Soviets captured Francis Gary Powers after his Blackbird spy plane crashed in the USSR, the US government claimed that he was not spying, and that his plane entered Soviet airspace because of asbestos in the cockpit.

Would you like to know the truth about the Yeti? The Yeti is not a hoax, nor is it a sort of prehistoric “ape-man” as the press (well-known as the propaganda arm of the government) would have you believe. The Yeti are in fact a well-organized and well-hidden militia created for the sole purpose of protecting the nation from a Soviet invasion in 1978. In the late 1970′s the Soviet Union prepared a full-scale invasion of The United States using mercenary Indian Monkey-Man soldiers. These soldiers had, among other futuristic technologies, invisibility-rendering pants. Facing a “primate-soldier gap,” the President authorized the creation of “an elite Yeti squadron,” capable of repelling the Soviet mercenary Indian Monkey-Men. These proved more than capable, and all knowledge of the Yeti had been suppressed, often violently. The Yeti remain America’s ever-vigilant first line of national defense.

Would you like to know the truth about the moon landing? The popular conspiracy theory states that we never landed men on the moon, and that the 1969 moon landing was filmed on a soundstage. That is just not true. We did land on the moon. In 1952. During world War Two, Germany was creating advanced V-2 rockets capable of reaching England. They also created, just as the war was ending, the first jet aircraft. Using German scientists and technology smuggled out of Germany after the war, America created the first lunar rocket in 1952 on a small hidden base in New Mexico. When we reached the moon, astronauts discovered a lunar base constructed on the dark side by aliens from Alpha Centauri. Soon after reaching an agreement, we received advanced alien technology (Did you really think we created Velcro?) in return for turning a blind eye to the mass abductions of humans.

I have been very careful, in the writing of this blog, not to name actual names or reveal too many specific details. It is not safe to do so. In fact, I was very careful to couch it in vague terms and even to write it as if I was being silly with all the “Hollywood” nonsense in the first paragraphs, in case this was being monitored. But it is all real and the truth must get out.

It’s funny. I’m sure I’m all alone. I know I locked the door. But I can swear I just heard footsteps and saw a shadow creeping along the wall. It is funny how the mind can play tri

About these ads

A Brooklyn Love Story (Classic Romantic Repost)

7 Aug

August 7, 2012
from August 5, 2007

Ah, August! Love is in the air! Or is that the humidity? At any rate, I feel nauseous. Inspired by the impending nuptials of Marc and Emily, my tale of my semi-near-sort of-brush with marriage:

This happened about five or six years ago. My building has always had a certain percentage of apartments rented by Russians who stay a few months and then leave. This seems to be their first stop in America. (“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses, send them to Bensonhurst,” you know the poem.) I rarely get to know them for a variety of reasons.

A- They don’t stick around long enough.

B- Many speak only a few words of English.

C- I am an antisocial tool. (But you love me when you get to know me!)

But occasionally I get into a conversation with one or another of them. Usually it begins like this: “Excuse me, you are teacher?” I can’t explain it. For some reason it gets around that I am a teacher. I’ve been asked that by four or five immigrant Russian parents over the years, people whom I could not pick out of a police lineup. I’ve been offered tutoring jobs, once even as a math tutor, but never accepted one.

Well, this story is about a proposition of a different kind. I was in my lobby on a Saturday getting the mail when someone whom I knew on sight only, and just barely, asked me if I knew his daughter. I said “No.” He said “wait a minute” and ran up the stairs.

I took my mail and got in the elevator, back up to my apartment.

A couple of days later I was coming home from work and the guy and his daughter were in the hallway. I had seen the daughter around. She was about 20 or 21 at most, very nice looking but not quite attractive. He jogged over and laughed “I missed you the other day!” Or at least that’s why I think he said. He had a very thick accent. It may have been “I pissed you the other day,” but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t. I said “sorry” and pressed the elevator button. He said “you know my daughter?” And now I really became curious, but mostly suspicious. I said that I’d seen her around. (I’ll try to get the conversation as close as I can remember.)

GUY- You like her?

ME- I don’t even know her.

GUY- She like you. Why don’t you go out?

The elevator came but I was sticking around for this one.

ME- She’s too young.

GUY- You work hard. Why don’t you two go away for weekend? (And some Russian words to his daughter.)

His daughter was standing about fifteen feet away, somehow managing to look both embarrassed and coquettish at the same time.

ME- I really don’t think so.

Now I was ready to get in the elevator but it had left.

GUY- You go away, go to beach, I pay. Food, room, I give money. (With that he took a huge roll of cash from his pocket and waved it at me, then put it away.)

ME- OK, look, forget it, I’m really not interested.

He put his arm around me. Not only did he not lower his voice as you’d expect, he raised it.

GUY- Don’t worry, she cook, she clean, and how about the sex? (Here I felt so sorry for her.) She’ll do anything! She’s good!(And he looked at her, and she smiled!)

I asked him point blank what the hell he was doing. Very seriously, and now with a lowered voice, he told me that his daughter had to go back to Russia and he wanted to marry her off to an American so she could stay in the country. He’d heard I was a teacher and, because I had a steady city job, thought I could be the one. He told me that he’d pay for everything, rent, food, etc. He again told me that she’d do whatever I wanted when it came to “the sex.” The guy was pimping out his daughter for a green card!

I told him, firmly, that I wasn’t interested. I went upstairs when the elevator mercifully came and eventually they left the building and I never saw them again.

But I’d often wondered what it would be like to have married her. Would I have a dacha in Brighton Beach? Would I come home to fresh meals of borsht and vodka? And what about all the “the sex” the father had promised? I figure that by not marrying her, I saved myself from getting in severe trouble with the Russian mob, with whom this guy was undoubtedly involved. So I may be missing out on vacations on the Volga, but I still have two good strong legs.

Could have been my in-laws…

The Big Ape part two- The 1940s

12 Jul

July 12, 2011

from July 2, 2007

Bradford B. Jacobs had sold the movie rights to The Big Ape. Literally anyone with a camera could make a Big Ape film because the rights had become so muddied and legally entangled that it was virtually public domain. Bradford didn’t care. He was richer than he could ever imagine and set to become even richer.

Although he sold the movie rights, he still maintained the merchandising rights. As the 1940′s opened there was a Big Ape merchandising bonanza in the making. Unlike other fictional characters, The Big Ape appealed universally. Men, women, children, of all ages loved the Ape and, more importantly, were willing to spend money on him. Businessmen wore Big Ape neckties. Women wore Big Ape embroidered skirts. Children went to school with Big Ape lunchboxes and read from Big Ape textbooks. Even the normally staid Wall Street investor was likely to be seen with a Big Ape pen and pencil set.

There were Big Ape comic books, Big Ape silverware sets, Big Ape costumes, dolls, toys of every type and even expensive Big Ape diamond jewelry. During this time, The Big Ape  also conquered the world of television, hosting The Big Ape Variety Hour. Although TV, still in it’s infancy, was only in a handful of homes, it seemed as though everyone tuned in at 9 pm on the DuMont Network every Thursday evening. Long before The Cosby Show, this was Must See TV.

Films, however, were where The Big Ape shown the brightest. It should be noted, however, that because there was no one central force overseeing The Big Ape, his characterization often varied wildly from film to film. In some he could talk. In others he could fly. In still others he was average height while in others he was over 100 feet tall. The lack of consistency did not deter the audience. Nearly every single one of The Big Ape films produced in this era made huge amounts of money at the box office.

What follows is a list of some of the more notable Big Ape films of the 1940s.

The Big Ape Meets Hitler (1942) This was a propaganda film produced by the U.S. War Department. The Big Ape went behind enemy lines to kill Hitler. In this movie, The Big Ape was portrayed by a marine in a regular uniform, plus a gorilla mask.

The Big Ape Vs. The Little Dinosaur (1944) Largely played for laughs, The Big Ape found himself shrunk down to microscopic size to fight a similarly shrunken dinosaur.

The Big Ape Vs. Doctor Verlucci (1946) Astor Pictures had produced a very popular series of Doctor Verlucci movies in the 1930s and early 1940s. Doctor Verlucci was a scientist who often tried to dominate the world with assorted death rays and giant robots. After six films, the series had run its course. Doctor Verlucci was a villain and again and again he would get to the brink of victory when the hero would finally defeat him in the last reel. The public had just had enough. Looking to turn their fortunes around, the producers turned Doctor Verlucci into a hero and made The Big Ape his nemesis. To show how evil The Ape was, he wore a handlebar mustache and tied a girl to the railroad tracks.

Gorilla of Doom (1947) Wearing a space suit, The Big Ape came from Mars to steal all of Earth’s bananas.

Throughout the 1940s, The Big Ape could be seen virtually anywhere. Bradford B. Jacobs, however, could not. Bradford was busy with first the war effort, then post-war European reconstruction.

General Bruce E. Freedkin, from his Congressional testimony before the HUAC:

            There wasn’t another man like Bradford B. Jacobs. No sir, he was a patriot. Whether it was the bullets he sold the army or the rafts he sold the navy, no one did more for victory than that man. I personally  remember when he visited the front. He brought with him enough ammunition for every soldier to fight for another month. And if the soldiers couldn’t afford the ammo, he was ready to offer a generous line of credit.

While it wouldn’t be accurate to call Bradford B. Jacobs a war profiteer, it wouldn’t be all that far off. While he never sold anything to the enemy, he did keep close at hand a German-English dictionary, “if the need should ever arise.”

During this time he also met the man who would become his right hand. Literally. For a brief period of time Bradford refused to touch anything with his right hand. This was due to a Chinese fortune cookie which Bradford very badly misinterpreted. Reggie Van Der Leek could always be found at the right of Jacobs ready to do anything from shake a hand to lift a fork. This made for some very interesting meals, but BBJ, as Van Der Leek referred to him, was so filthy rich that no one would say a word.

Reggie Van Der Leek eventually became an executive of Jacobs Colossal Studios. JCS had evolved from making pictures to making supplies for the military to making whatever else Bradford could make a few bucks on. Reggie worked very closely with Jacobs as the years went on.

Reggie Van Der Leek, interviewed from his West Texas rest home in 2006:

           Man whee-oh, that BBJ was weird. He insisted on calling everybody “Buck.” I was with him when he met the President and he said “watch it Buck, you’re blocking the buffet.” Hee, we all had a laugh. The President, he wasn’t so amused, but BBJ was more popular with the public so he had to shut up. I once saw a poll around 1948 or so that said that ol’ BBJ would win the Presidency if he ran, so that took the wind out of ol’ Buck’s sails a might.

            Yeah, the public loved BBJ. Of course, he gave them The Big Ape, an’ that woulda been enough for any man, but not ol’ BBJ. He personally came out every Thanksgiving an’ shot a turkey for a poor family. On February ninth it was the anniversary of some relative of his, some ol’ Civil War hero or something. He’d get up in this gray Confederate uniform an’ take out this ol’ rifle an’ take the whole crew down to his family’s ol’ home in Jacobs Landing, West Virginia or someplace. Bought the town presents. Every gol-darned person there got an autographed Big Ape glossy photo.

Reggie wasn’t exaggerating about “the whole crew.” Bradford surrounded himself with a  group of leeches and hangers-on that would make Elvis jealous. (When the two met in 1965, Elvis would profess his jealousy over Bradford’s crew in person.) Many of the people around Bradford had a legitimate business purpose. There were people whose sole job was to film his every move. There were other’s whose sole job was to film the people filming Bradford. There were still other’s whose sole job was to film the people were in the general area of Bradford while he was being filmed. This was not paranoia- in 1948 a crazed Big Ape fan tried to kill Bradford because he imagined that The Big Ape was ordering him to kill.

Other people around Bradford were there because they either amused Bradford, or Bradford thought they might amuse him in the future, or they had amused him in the past.

Bradford also became the host of Gravesend Radio Theater, hosting a series of spooky stories aired over WOR in New York. He didn’t need the money, he did it because he thought it would be fun. In fact, Bradford was motivated by only three things- money, fun, and money, in that order.

As the 1940s ended and the 1950s began, both Bradford B. Jacobs and The Big Ape were poised to make even bigger splashes.

TO BE CONTINUED IN PART THREE: THE ADORING PUBLIC

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 405 other followers

%d bloggers like this: