Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Join the Army

Join the Army - you get a real gun and your girl will cook for you

Saturday, September 27, 2014

New book trailer for Victim City Stories 1

And not at all an excuse to recycle old, unfinished musical projects from a misspent youth.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Fictional Books - The King in Yellow

The King in Yellow
First appeared in The King in Yellow by Robert W. Chalmers, 1895

True Detective may be the best show I will never watch.  There are two mumbling, southern, stoner actors that are fine performers who I have an unjustifiable dislike of, and they are both on this show.  Somehow this southern gothic raids Ambrose Pierce and all of the other authors who have raided him, from Robert W. Chalmers to HP Lovecraft to Thomas Ligotti.

Chambers wrote "The King in Yellow", an anthology of stories loosely connected by a mysterious play, "The King in Yellow", which drives its readers insane.  I listened to the Librivox of it and I couldn't tell you a thing that happened - most 19th century literature needs one's full attention.

Since nobody likes detailing and ruining the mysterious and inexplicable like latter day Cthulhu Mythos writers, The King in Yellow becomes an actual entity with a tentacle face or something.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Butcher 07 - Death Race

Death Race
The Butcher 07
by Stuart Jason
1973 Pinnacle

I'm calling horse hockey on this one.  What the hell was this, Jason?

Bucher is sent to an Alaskan village to find out if soldiers manning the Dewpoint early warning defense system are being replaced by duplicates.  After the obligatory dispatching-sleazy-mob-hitmen scene, he's off to a tiny village to speak with Sonja Rostov, an Eskimo woman whose brother has been replaced.  Lucky for Bucher, he speaks this particular Eskimo dialect and knows all their customs, because that information was useful when he was the head of the west coast syndicate.

He hangs around the village a bit and sends someone off to relay a message to his handlers at White Hat.  He's attacked by three Eskimo thugs, including the unlikely named Sugar Hazard, and the sight of Sonja disemboweling one of them sends his heart aflutter.  A good half of the book is them being cutesy together, with the sex all off page.

Bucher sees an old school picture of an Eskimo child that he recognizes as Dr. Wan Fu, distinguishable by literally having a second brain on the outside of his face.  Sure.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Things I Didn't Finish - The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum

The Girl Next Door
by Jack Ketchum
1989 Warner Books

I know I'm actually missing out here, but this has two of my biggest pet peeves - first person narrative and regional dialect.  Combined, it doesn't even register in my brain - I didn't make through one page.

Instead, try the always excellent Crime Library's account of the true story it's based on, the torture and death of teen Sylvia Likens at the hands of a 37 year old woman and gang of children and teens.  The case inspired several books prior to Ketchum's, as well as the Pain Teens' song "Basement".

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Scottish Independence

Or is it Scotch Independence?  I don't know much about politics, so I better watch the personification of Scotland talk turkey with the loud, bullying, bloated voice of reason.

Fictional Books - The Crime Bible

The Crime Bible
first appeared in 52 #23 (DC Comics)

Like most fake books, the effect is better the less you know about it, or if there is a mystique that has a life of its own.

Case in Point - The Crime Bible.  The Crime Bible is from DC comics, and is supposed to be written by the first criminal, Cain, with a stone cover made from the rock he used to kill Abel.

I had some assumption that this dated back to Jack Kirby and his New Gods stuff, probably because Intergang was involved in both, and because it had a "Anti-Life Equation" vibe to it.  There are a few mafia/occult crossovers: Max Payne, The Darkness, and this.

Unfortunately, the Crime Bible dates back only to 2006, where it played a role in various Rene Montoya/Question & Batwoman storylines, some lackluster titles that thought that being gay was somehow shocking or daring fifteen years after network TV started doing the same shtick.

The idea of the Bible was cool, but the more excerpts (or entire pages) it revealed, the more meh it became.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

1PW All or Nothing

1PW All or Nothing
by James Dixon and Chris Gilder
Self published 2012

An overlong oral history of a British indie pro-wrestling promotion.  Not much here, but there's a lot of it.  I've never skimmed so much in a book.  There is an almost move-for-move recap of almost every match, and then page after page of result at the end.  Ten people say the same thing about something, then another ten give a slightly different take.

If you're interested in the world of fly-by-night wrestling promotions that get in over their head, there's some interest here, but compared to most of these type of things there's very little drama or debauchery to hold one's interest.  There are a handful of nuggets spread around.  There's some more to add to the Jay Phoenix story, and according to a fourth hand report, Ric Flair does his signature "Whoooo!" in the sack.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

RIP - Maelstrom

I've never seen Frozen, probably never will.  A Frozen ride is replacing Maelstrom in the Norway Pavilion in Epcot.  I love Maelstrom and I will miss it when it is gone.  I don't know what kind of ride Frozen will be, I'm sure I'll still prefer Maelstrom and wish it was still there, but I can tell you that Frozen will be a better ride.

This reminds me a bit of Delta Dreamflight being replaced by Buzz Lightyear.  Delta Dreamflight was an omnimover ride past various projected screens.  It was low-tech, non-interactive, and a shameless commercial.  I loved it and wish it were still there.

In contrast, Buzz is a Disney property, has something to do with the future, and kids enjoy it.  Imagine going the other direction, and tearing down Buzz to install an airline ad.

Winnie the Pooh is better than Mr. Toad, and as bad as Mission Space is, it's still probably more popular than Horizons.

I will miss Norway, the exciting land of barely moving animatronics and oil rigs.  Your unload area was your best part.  At least we'll get a Martin's Tribute out this.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Queue Review - Jungle Cruise

This was a tough one.  Despite having more themeing than most queues, there is very little footage.  I know they are nicely put together, but I hate these queues.  Jungle Cruise skippers are supposed to be the funniest folks at Disney and they are horrible.  The queue attendants aspire to that level of incompetence.

Hong Kong Disneyland

Hong Kong Disneyland only exists to make the other parks look good.  This park has three lines, one for each language in which the skipper speaks, and each line looks like the chutes to a slaughterhouse killing floor.  It takes a lot of work to beat Magic Kingdom to last place, but your unthemed switchbacks did the trick.

Magic Kingdom

Everyone hates this queue - I can't find any decent video.  Look here instead.  There's nice stuff, it has a nifty background loop, and I hate it.  It's inexplicably hotter than the rest of the park despite the shade, and the queue can open out to four different sections, each hidden from the others, so when it's busy there's no sense of how close you are to the end, something the hilarious cast members love to torment you about.  Keeping working on your material, guys, one day you'll be able to wait tables at Applebees.

Tokyo Disneyland

I got nothing.  There was a revamp that is officially opening as I write this, but all I know is that the queue for the Western River Railroad is on the second level above it.


 Much like the Imagination Pavilion was Eric Idle Land, stuff in Disneyland's Adventure land is themed to Indiana Jones.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

RIP Richard Kiel

Wasted Opportunity - Dream Faceoffs Too Little Too Late

The last few years have given us, and by that I mean me, lots of dream matches that have made me thrilled, then pleased, then nonplussed, then depressed and very, very old.

Jet Li vs Dolph Lundgren
Jeff Hardy vs Rob Van Dam
Stallone vs Jean Claude Van Damme

All twenty years too late, or ten years for wrestlers, who age twice as fast.

So here's Donnie Yen and Ken Lo, the fastest kickers in Hong Kong, both in their fifties and looking much older with the clothes, haircuts, and tattoos.  Having said that, they still move better than me.  But not as good as 1994's Donnie Yen and Ken Lo.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

TV Horror Anthology - Quinn Martin's Tales of the Unexpected

Quinn Martin's Tales of the Unexpected aka Twist in the Tale
8 Episodes
1977 NBC

Which is ironically pretty much exactly what you'd expect from Quinn Martin.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

The Mammoth Book of the Mafia

The Mammoth Book of the Mafia
Roger Wilkes Editor
Running Press 2009

A collection of excerpts of various mobster autobiographies.  Career criminals, turned snitch, writing for profit via a ghost writer.  Probably not the most accurate reporting -sadly, I trust the mobsters more than the undercover agents and mob family members.

There was a little bit of insight into mob politics and the practical side of mob hits, but one would be better served by reading the source material in full if there was an interest.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Queue Review - It's a Small World

Disneyland Paris

Starts off strong with a spacious, nicely themed area and wonderful facade, something most of the parks share.  A nice walkway in the front before being dumped into switchbacks with nothing but an aluminum roof and millions of French people to look at.  I think the has the best transition from load to the interior of the ride.

Hong Kong Disneyland

A cruel bait and switch.  Decent facade, a lovely bridge entrance to a narrow flat hallway, then...switchbacks.  As a side note, this is the version of the ride that began the sometime despised practice of adding Disney characters to the countries.  I'm just happy they painted the ceiling black - nothing I hated more than the well lighted white acoustic panels of Magic Kingdom.

Tokyo Disneyland

Nice facade, but that isn't where the line is.  OK mural with cramped metal walkways, and a mundane door.  This is the best version I could find.

Walt Disney World - Magic Kingdom

This has the lousiest facade of any of the versions, but there is a decent simulacra inside the load area.  The exit and entrance switched a few years back, and now you find yourself walking behind the clock.  This one has the window to Pinocchio's Village Haus, which I always wave at because I'm four years old.


The original(ish) and still the best.  A simple long walkway to duel, outdoor loading areas, with an unobstructed view of the facade.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Wasted Opportunity - Vincent Zhao

Vincent Zhao replaced Jet Li in the Once Upon a Time In China series, but failed to take his place in general when Li came to make mediocre films in America.

This is one of Ken Lo's two good fight scenes, the other being the amazingly kicky Drunken Master II, but frankly I think Lo probably got more of a career out of that than could have been expected.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Red Menace 4 - A Red Letter Day - by James Mullaney

A Red Letter Day
Red Menace 4
by James Mullaney

As I mentioned in my review of the first installment, the Red Menace series has signifiers of genres it doesn't really deliver in, such as pulp and comic heroes.  I enjoyed this installment much more because my expectations were better tempered, and because this one has more "stuff happening", something the first book was light on.

The series reads better as straightforward action/espionage with light sci-fi and alternate history elements.  The Red Menace is a secret agent from the 1950s that wore a cloak with special fabric that allows him to disappear into the shadows.  He is assisted by the crotchety and mysterious Dr. Wainwright.  The series has the retired Menace coming back into action in the early 70s.

This book starts with the Red Menace hassling a transvestite Muammar Gaddafi before returning to the states.  The late Edgar Hoover's safe is discovered at a construction site and promptly stolen.  This time Wainwright gets a bit more focus, as he was the designer of the safe and is being consulted on how to open it.

This entry does better in the "stuff happening" department because of the players.  We've got the Red Menace and company, the mafia, a crackpot environmentalist, and the enigmatic billionaire recluse Claudius Long and his ghastly, unkillable henchman.  More action than the first one, and a decent showdown at the UN Plaza at the end, but the series would benefit from being turned up a notch.

The humor isn't really my style, but at least it doesn't rely so much on picking on third world countries in this one.  I remember the kind of crackpot claims that were around in the 70s, calling for new ice ages or that all trees will run out in two years, but there was a particularly groan-worthy satire on energy efficient bulbs.  In case you already forgot, the banning of incandescent bulbs was treated like Kristallnacht by some folk, yet less than a year later it's completely blown over.

I do take a little exception at one of the series' premises.  The Red Menace receives serum treatments from Dr. Wainwright for him to remain active at such an advanced age, but I don't think having a 42 year old skulk around and occasionally jump over something requires a sci-fi explanation.

The satire and arrogant mentor figure reminded me of the Destroyer series, and sure enough I forgot that Mullaney wrote several later installments of that series.  He is also named to co-write the script to the Destroyer film by Shane Black, according to always accurate internet reports, so let's hope that works out for him.

Please note that this review was based on a free review copy.  We have the highest ethical standards here at Trash Menace, but if anyone wants to send us to Tokyo Disneyland, we'd be willing to reconsider our review of the Astro Orbiter queue.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Queue Review - Little Mermaid

Disney California Adventure - The Little Mermaid: Ariel's Undersea Adventure

They must be trying to make Hong Kong Disneyland feel better about themselves.

I can appreciate their dedication to a theme, down to the public restroom stall wall at the load area.

Walt Disney World - Magic Kingdom - Under the Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid