Sunday, September 26, 2004

National Socialist Mushroom Clouds...

What is it about the History Channel?
The are OBSESSED with Nazi Germany's moribund nuclear weapons program.
Every frickin' time I flip on the damn channel no matter what under discussion, be it the Golden Horde of the Great Khan or the Book of Numbers...they somehow seem to come around to Nazi A-bomb projects!

It has gotten plainly ridiculous.

The slightest whiff of the Danzig Corridor and we are locked into fifteen minutes of speculation over the Third Reich's unsatisfying and half hearted hard water experiments.

The facts behind Germany's nuclear research are plain enough; they lacked an advanced cyclotron, multiple ministries competed for the scientific and organizational talent to no profit, and by 1944 Reichsminister of Armaments Albert Speer had diverted most of Germany's uranium stocks for use in artillery shells.
Morever Germany's smartest physicist Werner Heisenberg was working under appalling conditions just trying to produce a sustained and controlled atomic chain reaction-something that had already been done at the University of Chicago in 1940.
In 1945 allies marched in and poor Werner was no closer to pulling off this basic feat of weapons production.

The reality is, the Nazis had nothing, and weren't anywhere close to getting anything.
Yet the History Channel goes on confusing the record, hyping half built V-weapon prototypes and a few barrels of uranium oxide into a "just-short-of-success" a-bomb project.

I don't know what their hang up is, but I wish they'd get over it.

And another thing!
I just read in raymond Fielding's useful tome "The American Newsreel: 1911 to 1967" that battlefield restrictions were so strong in World War One that newsreel companies routinely faked footage on an epic scale.
Remember that the next time the History Channel runs that grainy footage of brave tommies going over the top at Verdun...the shot probably took all day to get on Long Island New York.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Unemployment Books....

Here is a list of books that I've read since being laid off on July 30th 2004:

Dr. Futurity by Philip K. Dick
Invasion by Eric L. Harry
The Peron Novel by Tomas Eloy Martinez
Mr. Strangelove: A Biography of Peter Sellers by Ed Sikov
I, Lucifer by Peter O' Donnell
In Black and White: The Life of Sammy Davis Junior by Will Haygood
The Informer by Liam O'Flaherty
Stan: The Life of Stan Laurel by Fred Lawrence Guiles
Billy Budd: Sailor by Herman Melville
Beyond Good and Evil by Friedrich Nietzsche
Doctor Fischer of Geneva or The Bomb Party by Graham Greene
Night by Francis Pollini
The Colorist by Susan Daitch
Thomas Hobbes: Radical in Service to Reaction by Arnold A. Rogow
Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler

I am currently reading:
The Grand Guignol, Theater of Fear and Terror by Mel Gordon
Conservatism Revisited by Peter Viereck
The American Newsreel 1911-1967 by Raymond Fielding
Yellowback Radio Broke Down by Ismael Reed

Nothing like idleness to get a few books read...
PS This blog is going on a brief one week hiatus while I do some serious job hunting. I know I haven't gone "all up" with this blog yet but stick with me a bit-the best is yet to come.
Anyone checking this space out for Channel Zero events here in Boston be advised we are at the Zeitgeist Gallery October 25th for our special "Welcome to Stalinville U.S.A." video show.
The leaflets will be ready in a week and our standard mass-mailing will go out about then.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Pick of the Week...

hands down unquestionably it has to the potent combo of "Paparazzi" and "Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow" at the Tri Town Drive in this weekend.
Show time commences at 7:15pm directions can be found at:
lets hope the remnants of Hurricane Ivan keep their distance, the drive in weekends are coming down to a precious few and "Sky Captain" is as good a film to end the season on as any.
"Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow" is also on a double bill with "Without a Paddle" at the Mendon Twin Drive In (Route 16 West Mendon Ma.).
However given a choice I'm still going with the Tri Town on this one, their HUGE outdoor screen trumps the Mendon Twin's many amenities when it come to raw action spectacle.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Wordsworth Books in Harvard Square has...

filed for reorganization under the auspices of Federal Bankruptcy Protection.
Jeezus I am always the last one to find these things out.
I went down to harvard Square tonight to buy my brother a copy of Chester Himes' "Rage in Harlem" for his birthday and found Wordsworth locked and dark.
Ghod I've been shopping in that store for something like twenty seven years going back to my dim dark days of summer school at Manter Hall.
Harvard Square has finally gone over the hump once a bohemian paradise now a wretched urban mall with all the usual vices included.
Sad....there were once something akin to sixteen book stores in Harvard Square they are now officially down to three and one of those is a Barnes and Noble.
Thanks to that neat-o global economy and it's herald the internet, localism and local-ness are a dying phenomenon all over the nation. We do a great deal of "heritage preservation" which is naught but an adjunct of boosting the tourist trade but we do very little to maintain a particular local mood or lifestyle.
Which is why whole tracts of Fort Myers Beach Florida looks exactly like the Middlesex Turnpike in Burlington.
Sooner or later this is gonna bite us in the backside.
Meanwhile my heart goes out to Wordsworth's owner Hillel Stavis he fought the good fight and still ended up with his back to the wall.
I wish I could help but I'm on relief at the moment and make a poor prospective investor.

Monday, September 06, 2004

I have a confession to make...

I religiously watch “Amish in the City”.

When it finally goes, it takes my Wednesday night with it that is all I can say.
Yeah….I know it is a “reality program” one that shamelessly exploits the na├»ve foibles of five Amish young people on their once-in-a-lifetime “rumspringa” (ergo “running around” a time when young Amish volk are encouraged and sometimes forced to “get it out of their system” so to speak).
Besides, the Amish shun television and even decline to be photographed…so absent a proper documentary this show is a rare window on their whole lifestyle.
Given that, UPN decided it would be mad phat fun to lock this quintet of farmers and farmer’s daughter’s in a Beverly Hill’s mansion with a collection of photogenic yet callow “city kids”.
This would be a pretty tasteless and ill-mannered program were it not for the essential sweetness and unpretentiousness of the Amish cohort. Whether it’s buying vegetables for a salad, cooking breakfast, cleaning the lav or taking belly-dancing lessons they are a friendly, eager to please bunch.
The show is also thankfully lacking in any challenges and dopey contests…in fact they’ve had one to date and it ended in short term acrimony and unhappiness for both sides.
Frankly, neither the “city kids” nor the Amish seem cut out for the cutthroat world of modern reality programming and so the program generally revolves around helicopter rides and trips to Catalina Island.
They are all a bit too civilized compared to the shopworn freaks on “The Surreal Life”.

If there is inherent drama on “Amish in the City” it is centered on the decision all the Amish have to make as to whether or not they’ll return to their families and be properly baptized into the religion.
“Rumspringa” is fun but it is also a testing time as well…or so the show plays it.
Below are my odds on who will go Amish and who take the secular road:

Mose: Oldest and smartest of the bunch. At twenty four he drawls and makes droll comments like a farmer out of an Artemus Ward sketch. He is also a skilled craftsman and the most outwardly religious of the group. For all that he seems to be wrestling with his Amish status, he keeping coming back to the decision he must make in all his monologues.
Odds: 50-50

Miriam: blonde and bodacious she outwardly fits in with the SoCal zeitgeist. She seems to be enjoying herself no matter what is on the agenda. I get the impression though, she is just living it up and plans to resume the Amish lifestyle once she’s milked Southern California dry. Her allegedly off-screen pre-show fling with Randy demonstrates that there is a battle of the sexes going on even among the plain volk.
Odds: 60-40….Miriam is goin’ back.

Jonas: Plain and simple, Jonas wants OUT! Don’t be fooled by his frequent confrontations with the “city kids”…all he is doing is flight testing his future “secular persona”.
Odds: 80-20 Jonas is out whether he passes his GED or not.

Randy: Tall blonde taciturn and a bit lispy, Randy makes the least impression on viewers. He is appropriately camera shy although he may be intimidated by the presence of his former girl friend Miriam in the mix.
Odds: 80-20 Randy is back on the first bus to Lancaster Pa.

Ruth: Ah Ruth….so full of questions…her monologues are things of wonder and delight. Clearly she was good and surprised by a lot of the things they’ve encountered in the city. Watching her deal with the least little thing like parking meters is really what the show is all about. Ruth is a bit like Mose in that she is constantly and guilelessly asking questions. He mind doesn’t seem to be made up and I wonder if she’ll chuck the Amish lifestyle when the klaxon sounds.
Odds 50-50, Ruth is a mystery.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Welcome to Stalinville USA...

Channel Zero returns to the Zeitgeist Gallery with a screening of:

(1971) Directed by Ron Ormond

In which a young backsliding Christian girl falls asleep during a fiery commie-bashing sermon and dreams (or perhaps…hallucinates) that her small American town has been taken over by the Soviets!

What follows is a fantasmagoric journey into cheap anti-communist lunacy, full of shoddy bloodshed and inept acting.

A triumph of back yard film-making all for mere five dollar donation!

Monday October 25th 2004 7:30pm sharp.
The Zeitgeist Gallery
1353 Cambridge Street
Inman Square
Cambridge Ma.

Suggested Donation: $5