Friday, October 31, 2008


OK...i just stumbled across the best soviet-made cartoon i've ever seen... apparently in 1985, the US managed to slip lsd into their water, that's all i can figure...

i'm pretty frustrated that this one has no subtitles, because i don't even know enough russian to make sure not to order elk balls at a restaurant. so, i'm going to try to give a synopsis of what i think is happening at the risk of getting it completely backwards....

First, the film is called Контракт....i'm going to guess that this means 'contract...' because thats sort of what the word looks like to me, and also this dude is waving a contract around in another dudes face halfway through....but i'll get back to that later...

so, this cosmonaut is shooting space demons on the surface of some mars-like planet...i'm guessing that he is a colonist, for a corporation or state called "Sezan" or "Sezam." It was a little hard to make out and neither word seems to mean anything on babelfish... so, this colonist is suddenly surrounded by more space-dinos than he can handle and out of nowhere comes a robot that looks suspiciously like a golden cash register (they really know how to beat you over the head with heavyhanded symbolism...). Magic cash register robot joins the colonist under a forcefield he has made around them to keep the dinos out...i think the robot is telling him they should go back outside, but the colonist is like no way, dude.

'trust me, i'm a metaphor!'

so then the robot shrinks the aliens and safely stows them inside his stomach. ok. sure. crisis averted. the colonist disengages the forcefield and starts walking. then i looked away for a second and when i looked back up, a rubiks cube was unfolding into like a chair and a home entertainment console...

on the tv is a guy with the word SEZAN or SEZAM behind him...he's the typical banker/fatcat oligarch type...even has a monocle (c'mon, wasnt that dated even in the 40s?)... the robot hands the colonist a bill...i don't read russian (still) but i think it's for 'dinosaur removal and storage.'

the colonist/spaceman seems pretty pissed about this...i'm guessing because he's a recon guy for the corporation and here they are charging him for the tools he needs to keep himself out of harms way and to do the job he was hired to do....sort of like when you get hired as a waiter at a restaurant and they make you buy the apron and shirt you're required to wear (dicks).... ok, maybe marx was onto something there.

moving on, the corporate fatcat holds up a contract and is like (in russian) "you should have read the fine space print in this space contract, spaceman!" and he's like no way dude! so they send the big head from Zardoz to blow up his robot...

from this point on, i don't know what the fuck is happening...he tears up the contract, he fixes the robot and it starts laughing maniacally and then sky literally falls in....capitalism is a madness that will lead us into nuclear winter? is that right??? did i get it?

but we arent done yet. i mean that's where i would have ended this thing, but they go and top that movie where bruce willis was dead the whole time.... the camera pulls wide, and then wider, and then holy crap, the planet was actually a flower the whole time.

happy halloween...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Anti-Booze Pill Sold with Viral Soviet Vid

A friend of mine who knows I like old Soviet junk got really excited telling me all about this video a few weeks back. She was convinced it was some seriously cool real-deal stuff and started searching online for some way to buy it. (She drinks.)

(It's not like it's a huge problem or anything. She just goes out probably two or three times per week and usually has a pretty bad hangover the next day.)

(It's not like she's some raging wino, either. Although now that I think about it, I did once see her drink a bottle of scotch that had a pirate or sea captain on the label, but we've all had one of those nights. She's together. She's got a good job and a good relationship. She has a lot of good relationships. It's part of the reason why she goes out a couple times per week.)

(Ok, I just looked up the stats for what constitutes "binge drinking" if you're a woman, and I guess that means she binge drinks, which I guess makes her an alcoholic, but she's really obviously NOT an alcoholic, which I guess means that my point is that whoever comes up with the limits for bingeing and being an alcoholic seriously has no one to hang out with and must live in a place with no nightlife and winds up barfing like an SNL skit after half a glass of sherry.)


Because she was fired up about finding the pill in the video, she did her best to track it down online and figured out pretty quickly that the video was just part of a viral campaign. I wish I could tell you which one, but she hasn't answered my email, and googling the video's title isn't turning up a product name. I'm guessing the video's been rehosted since, which is why it's not pointing me at whatever they're selling.

Bottom line, though, the effort is pretty good. I like that they've distorted the film to make it look old. The uniform looks pretty authentic, and the scenery doesn't leap out at you as obviously being in Northern California or anything like that. Plus, it's interesting. I watched it all the way through, and if my friend hadn't told me about what her googling turned up, I probably would have googled myself (NO, NOT LIKE THAT, PERVERTS) and wound up finding the product too. By those standards, it's a good campaign. I get exposed to the product and have a decent time doing it. Plus, I did this all at work and got paid for it. Triple word score.

The video's got a few problems though.

First, I can't really tell if there's a cut scene or a wipe happening, but it seems like the soldier gets drunk INSTANTLY.

Second, the doctors had to be giving him PURE alcohol, which could always potentially just make him puke. If they wanted a control group, wouldn't they inject alcohol directly?

Third, they distorted the video pretty well, but the band on the right side is really regular. I think it's supposed to look like the ragged edge of an old film, but it seems like someone just slapped four photoshop filters onto the side of frames 1,2,3&4, repeat. It's cool, but kind of slick. Or maybe I'm talking out my ass.

Lastly (and this is the biggest one), they're running a test. A test where they get someone royally fucked up. A test where they get someone royally fucked up while he's standing behind a big wall. Then they hand him LIVE GRENADES. And ... stand there???

Maybe I'm not a good judge b/c I went into this one knowing it was fake, but even without knowing that, I think I would have still thought, "WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU TWO STANDING THERE FOR?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!" You've got a drunk who could pull the pin and drop the grenade, or pull the pin and pass out, or pull the pin and throw the grenade into the wall. The whole POINT of this exercise is that you've made this guy almost totally incapable of functioning AT ALL, and you've GIVEN HIM THINGS THAT BLOW UP.

If they'd just hopped back behind a blast barrier or something and watched through a slit where we could see them, it would have "sold" the video about 100x better.

As it is, though, it's still pretty cool.

The other two videos aren't nearly as good. The second one goes by in about 15 seconds, and the third one is about four minutes long and really boring. This one seems to be the one that really hit all its marks.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

army units on american soil for "civil unrest"

i really hate getting lumped in with the paranoid gun nut crowd, but this whole situation is pretty unbelievable

here are the quick & dirty bits:
An initial news report in the Army Times newspaper last month noted that in addition to emergency response the force “may be called upon to help with civil unrest and crowd control.”

"Any military force has the inherent right to self-defense. And if the situation was inherently dangerous, then potentially the Secretary of Defense would allow them to carry their weapons, but it would only be for self- and unit-defense. This force has got no role in a civil disturbance or civil unrest, any of those kinds of things."

"Colonel Boatner talked about this unit, what it’s trained for. Well, let’s look at what it’s trained for. This is the 3rd Infantry, 1st Brigade Combat unit that has spent three of the last five years in Iraq in counterinsurgency."

"The whole question here about what the Pentagon is doing patrolling in the United States gets to the real heart of the matter, which is, do we have a democracy here? I mean, there is a law on the books called the Posse Comitatus Act and the Insurrection Act that says that the president of the United States, as commander-in-chief, cannot put the military on our streets. And this is a violation of that, it seems to me.

"President Bush tried to get around this act a couple years ago in the Defense Authorization Act.... the President isn’t supposed to be using the military in this fashion, and though the President, true to form, appended a signing statement to that saying he’s not going to be governed by that.

"National Security Presidential Directive 51, that he signed on May 9th of 2007, Amy, this gives the President enormous powers to declare a catastrophic emergency and to bypass our regular system of laws, essentially, to impose a form of martial law.

"And if you look at that National Security Presidential Directive, what it says, that in any incident where there is extraordinary disruption of a whole range of things, including our economy, the President can declare a catastrophic emergency. Well, we’re having these huge disturbances in our economy. President Bush could today pick up that National Security Directive 51 and say, 'We’re in a catastrophic emergency. I’m going to declare martial law, and I’m going to use this combat brigade to enforce it.'

"...Now the Pentagon is doing sweeps of areas before, you know, a political convention? That used to be law enforcement’s job. That used to be domestic civil law enforcement job. It’s now being taken over by the Pentagon. That should concern us."

the domestic spying is bad enough. the president just signing whatever he wants to bills passed by congress, saying "thats nice but i dont care" -- THATS bad enough. but i dont know if i can take the idea of "the army is just here for your own good if things get out of hand. and they have tanks and tons of ammo." if its just for training exercises, do we need the ammo? the tanks? the force multipliers? the non-lethal suppression shit like tasers and who knows what else? (i cant believe im saying this, but -- microwaves? ELF? anything???)

if all its about is preparation and training for coordination with a bunch of different agencies, you can run sims for that. you can dry run over and over. its not like we dont have tons of airbases and national guard units all around the country that can respond and also be trained. why add a bunch of ARMED COUNTERINSURGENCY TRAINED active duty soldiers??? it doesnt make sense for preparation. you can prepare in sims. the air force does it all the time

i think i might ignore all this if it wasnt for one thing. in a month, the hardcore conservative candidate might get totally waxed by a democrat. a black democrat. a black democrat the conservatives keep trying to call a secret muslim. and i think a lot of black people and a lot of unarmed liberals are going to vote for that black democratic candidate. and i think if he loses by some funny means, theres going to be serious shit happening on the streets. serious shit that cant fight back against a fucking army counterinsurgency force

i know, i know, i sound so fucking paranoid

i dont even know where i heard this before, maybe it was this blog, but i want you to think of something:

think of a country, like a banana republic somewhere

the son of the countrys old intelligence chief runs for presidente. only it looks like hes losing. then his brother who runs a province on the outside of the country makes sure that a bunch of votes dont get counted for the other candidate for presidente. then a bunch of judges who got appointed by their father and their father's bosses sign off on not counting the ballots. so youve got the former secret agency chief and his judge buddies signing off on his one son throwing out some ballots so his other son can win the presidency

only that's not a banana republic. that's florida. and the bushes. in 2000.

jeb bush, the son of a former president and CIA chief, had his secretary of state katherine harris purge thousands of people from the voter rolls and prevented a recount of thousands of ballots. there were reportedly also lots of police in poor areas of miami stopping blacks and hispanics and putting them through security checks and keeping them from getting to the polls before they closed. (minorities vote democrat in much higher numers). then a supreme court that was stacked with republican appointees signed off on it. we lived through it, so it doesnt seem so weird. its america, right? we're not really crooked. but if that happened in even MEXICO, wed think that was the most corrupt fucked up shit wed ever heard

but we were okay with it. and maybe wed be okay again. maybe it would sound totally natural for the polls to get fucked up in LA and THE ARMY come in and reestablish order and OOPS the black guy lost in a last minute SHOCKER

i dont know anymore. i feel like fucking crying aabout being worried like this. we know how much those buzzwords from the bush admin meant. compassionate conservatism meant "FUCK YOU" to people who werent conservative and "FUNDING CUTS" to anyone who wasnt. "youre either with us or against us" stopped being about the rest of the world in about 10 seconds, and suddenly it was about anyone who didnt buy their shit 100% and dared to ask questions. "enhanced interrogation" is FUCKING TORTURE

so i guess when i hear "civil unrest and crowd control" you have to just give me a pass for a second for thinking "occupation force" because its not like they havent given me example after example after example to believe that theyd be that ballsy and cynical and fucking evil

Thursday, October 2, 2008

cold war, hot air

normally i call bullshit on 'swamp gas' and 'venus' type dismissals of ufo sightings...i mean i don't know the last time i saw venus change from green to orange and then bifurcate into a fleet of smaller orbs before speeding off at mach speeds in the afternoon... but anyway, i digress. my point is that in the classic gallery of culprits, the weather balloon may be plausible and probable more often than not. especially in the 50's.

see, if it wasn't greys and reptillians plotting our demise from atomic spaceballs, it was the us and the ussr doing it with balloons... not that we were trying to figure out how to rain death on each other with balloons or nuclear carrier pigeons exactly...but the us in particular was going nuts trying to understand what they were up against. the russians were, as churchill stated, "a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma."

and so, under the guise of 'scientific research' and being 'enthusiasts of cloud photography,' we started sending out balloons over the soviet union to take pictures. this went swimmingly until the soviets started catching them with their own planes using the same hooks that we put on the balloons so that we could easily retrieve them on returning...smooth move team america. anyway, check out the article...its a bit more interesting than i care to be this evening...