Monday, September 27, 2010

"...Now here in this forsaken jungle Hell, I have proven that I am all right!"

And hoo boy, it's hot!  Hellish heat.  Late at night, and as Marilyn Monroe would say, "We're having a heatwave."  This is obviously going to have an effect on today's entry.  Please bear with me.  Any crankiness for this week is barometric--not cinematic, as in past weeks.

As a matter of fact, Monday's film du jour was the Columbo 5th season episode starring Hector Elizondo and Sal Mineo.  Hector plays a murderous, Middle Eastern politico.  I've never seen this episode.  My wife bought this set because of Patrick McGoohan, so the Hector episode is a bonus.  I and my wife got to know Hector through my old, dear friends, Sandra Liddell and Harry Reese, talented artists and bookmakers, founders of Turkey Press in Santa Barbara.  Hector's wife, Carolee Campbell, is also a talented bookmaker, and through Harry, the chain of friendships began.  All very nice people, lovely memories in Sandra and Harry's home.  And through their friendship, Hector became a dear friend and guest on Space Pirate Radio and my KTMS Entertainment Magazine radio show.  So, despite the heat, I'm not as cranky as I was previous blog-time with Harry Brown or Werner Herzog. 

So, onto the next bit.  Here we are winding up September and it feels like we are halfway up the Amazon.  Odd, as I write this from the miraculous community known as Santa Madre Teams Teresa ("Mother of Trucks!").  The All-Armenian City.  More earthy, more working class than my previous haunts of Santa Barbaria.  A more religious, conservative community than I'm used to, there are shrines to Our Lady of Guadalupe and the Pep Boys at every crystal meth lab on every block near you.  This is the home of Darth Maul-De-Nada.  Culture?  You'll find it in yogurt.  This is the home of tri-tip, trucks and big tires.  Once a year, men with accordions and bubble machines ride cattle.  They call it the Lawrence Welks Rodeo.  Wunnerful, wunnerful.  It's a military town with an overflow of people who work at the Jean-Claude Van Damme Denberg Air Force Base.  It's like an old Bowery Boys movie:  spooks galore (Langley types who hate the cold).

And you can hardly call it a jungle. Vegetation has long ceased to exist here.  Between pesticides and petroleum, anything green and over 1' doesn't exist. This town hates trees.  The only trees in this town are actually cell phone towers.  The native Indians, before creating casinos, called this place the Valley of Sickness and refused to live in it. They chose the highlands.  Sometimes I think it's purgatory or a rejected M. Night Shyamalan script.  And that's bad.  Because every script by M. Night Shyamalan should be rejected (sorry, I can't stand takes him 2 and a half hours to do what Rod Serling could do in 20 minutes).

So here in this forsaken jungle, it's kind of jungle free. I certainly don't feel the sort of atmosphere of Tarzan or Ramar of the Jungle or Jungle Jim.  No Johnny Weissmuller.  No Jon Hall.  No Sabu.  Some, but not enough Maria Montez.  And definitely no Turhan Bey.  So, "See Jungle See Jungle..." What does this all mean?  Well, you may ask.