12 July 2012
That is, if you look up my website "wesclark.com" in Alexa.com, the popular website rating service, you will see that's my ranking. While 1,391,077 doesn't seem very high, reflect that there are, by various estimates, around 346,000,000 websites on the Internet. That makes puts me in the top .4% of all Internet websites. I guess I can brag about that... yes? No? No.
I took out one of the cypress trees in front of my house the other evening... bag worm damage. You have to kill them in early spring; once they get to chomping there's no stopping them. (I lost the other cypress tree to them last year.) They are rather disgusting; they make themselves a bag which hang from the branches. The bags look like a part of the tree.
I donated blood yesterday; at the registration/questionnaire desk the volunteer lady invited me to donate "double red," which is something I've never heard of. It involves connection to a machine which separates the various blood components. Donating this way effectively doubles the donation while drawing only the same pint as a regular donation. I declined for now until I read up on it some more. It involves not only being fitted to donate blood, but to receive it from the machine once the blood is processed. Uhhhhh.... not yet. I need to research this more.
Apparently I was the blood flow speed king in the Bloodmobile. Not that it's a race, but I filled the pint bag faster than the other two people in the chairs. High blood pressure? Nervousness? Big diameter veins? Serendipity?
My grandson: Bigfoot caught on film!
I watched a documentary about Roger Corman last night: Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel (2011). Corman, of course, is the shock/exploitation producer/director of 400 films, including the great 1960's Edgar Allen Poe adaptations The Fall of the House of Usher, The Pit and the Pendelum, The Raven, The Tomb of Ligeia... my favorite being The Masque of the Red Death, which I saw when it was first run in 1964. It made a huge impression on me; to this day it's still one of my favorite horror films. I didn't see it again until 1981; it was the kind of thing where I wondered for years, "Was that film as good as it seemed, or was it just that I was a kid and was easily impressed?" I was happy to discover that, yes, it was as good as I remembered.
My childhood friend Jimmy's sister Kathy took us to see it when we were eight. We got to choose between this film or a Frankenstein movie. Kathy, a huge fan of the Beatles, wanted to see this film because Jane Asher, Paul McCartney's then girlfriend, was in it. She was sizing up the competition! That and the fact that the poster art for this film was much more lurid than the one for the Frankenstein one, so we chose Masque.
I've always liked the climatic Dance of Death in this one. It's eerie.
In the documentary it was pointed out - accurately, I think - that with the arrival of the sensationalist Jaws in 1975, mainstream Hollywood had pretty much turned to Corman's way of thinking and had started to produce Cormanesque films of their own - with much bigger budgets. Quentin Tarantino, who knows a thing or two about exploitation films, credits Corman with setting much of the current tone in Hollywood.
Another good Corman film: A Bucket of Blood (1959), a horror/comedy/Beatnik/film noir hybrid. It is, I think, utterly unique. As I recall, there is one shot of the city where the action takes place that is just amazing, the perfect dreary and blighted urban environment in the half light of dusk or dawn - we film noir buffs go for that sort of thing. Hmmm. I may have to watch this one again...
You have got to admire Roger Corman's knack for making money taking advantage of the zeitgeist. In the 1960's, when the Youth Culture was being endlessly discussed, he presented Wild in the Streets (1968). The plot: A 22 year old rock star gets to the Oval Office based on his call for votes for fourteen year-olds. It stars Shelly Winters, whose volume and bombast perfectly suit the material. The amusing ending: A twelve year old resents being told what to do by a fourteen year old, The Man, and plots a social upheaval. Votes for twelve year olds! Hahaha!
Another Corman masterpiece: Gas - or - It Became Necessary to Destroy the World in Order to Save It (1970 - note the Vietnam War phrase reference in the title). The plot? A gas is let loose upon the world that kills anyone over 25 years old. Brilliant!
I also watched a Globe Trekker travelogue last night: Megan McCormick in London. It was okay.
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