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Wednesday, March 31, 2010


Dear Vaulties-

I once again beg your patience as I wait to have my at-home wireless issues sorted out. All should be well by sometime next week, so fear not.

Sunday, March 28, 2010


Dear Vaulties-

As you know, I am currently unemployed (save for some piecemeal freelance) and I am taking a little bit of time off from the job hunt to detox from the design 'ho house (which is pretty much done) and just enjoy a "staycation" break. I've been merrily wallowing in not having to wake up at a specific time and have been finishing up some articles for PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, but that does not mean I have been idle in regard to this here blog. I've been reading, researching and watching a variety of items and will be posting about them soon, so you have not been forgotten. Please stay tuned and new stuff will be up in short order.

-Yer Bunche

Friday, March 26, 2010


Cover for the American DVD release.

Everyone who loves movies has a particular genre that floats their boat and makes them feel glad to be alive when they see a particularly good example of that genre. For some it's musicals, for others it's westerns or horror offerings, but for me it's all about martial arts flicks (and giant monster junk, but that's not relevant to this post). Once affectionately nicknamed "chopsocky" flicks — a term that has fallen out of favor in the wake of the juggernaut that is political correctness — martial arts films in recent years have relied far too heavily on contrived plot gimmickry, too much wire work and, most unforgivable of all, the curse of CGI, so when I saw the trailer for HIGH KICK GIRL last year I was intrigued but not entirely hopeful. I've been burned too many times to get my hopes up anymore, so HIGH KICK GIRL came from out of nowhere to hold me riveted to the screen with its sheer simplicity and honest execution. No lie, I fucking loved it!

After 2008's gravely disappointing CHOCOLATE, which failed thanks to a dull script and some of the most mechanical fight choreography on record, comes this film featuring a schoolgirl named Kei Tsuchida (Rina Takeda) whose martial skills far outstrip her deeper understanding of the art she's learning. The basic gist of the story is that the girl in question, though only a brown belt, can throw down against karateka of higher rank and smash the living crap out of them in process. Seeking to prove how "strong" she is, the girl "hunts black belts" by going from dojo to dojo and challenging the top fighters, utterly decimating all her opponents.

The humiliating aftermath of brown belt/schoolgirl/Paris Hilton lookalike Tsuchida's lightning-fast and powerful kick upside a black belt's skull.

This practice does not sit well with her old school sensei (Tatsuya Naka), who advises her that what she is learning is strictly for self-defense and urges her to change her ways. Ignoring her sensei's guidance, Tsuchida accepts an invitation to join The Destroyers, a group of martial arts badasses from various disciplines, who use their skills as thugs and enforcers for underworld interests. Once she passes their brutal "entrance exam," Tsuchida discovers she's stepped into more than she bargained for when the leader of the gang is revealed to have held a major grudge against her sensei for fifteen years and she is now the bait to lure him to a long-delayed confrontation...

HIGH KICK GIRL's martial arts are stunning and what deficiencies may exist in some of the acting are more than made up for by the electrifying choreography. Takeda is nothing short of amazing in her role, looking like a Japanese Paris Hilton and exuding just the right amount of bullying arrogance when handing out butt-kickings. The film is briskly paced and never boring, and speaking as a longtime martial artist enthusiast, I recommend this to anyone who has daughters with an interest in practicing. Takeda is a hero guaranteed to pique the interest of girls and young women, offering a refreshing alternative to the cynical marketing scam that is the Disney Princesses. She starts off as a smug, bullying jerk and learns some serious attitude-adjusting and humbling lessons by the end of the story, so there's more to this than just endless fight scene after endless fight scene (unlike CHOCOLATE).

The film is also notable for featuring none of the graphic/sadistic gore and violence one might expect from this, and there's also no cursing, nudity or fetishistic fan service that usually goes along with a Japanese flick whose protagonist is seen in a schoolgirl's uniform for most of the running time. If this were given an MPAA rating, I could see this getting by with a PG-13 at worst, and that solely because it contains wall-to-wall fights, but if we lived in the more permissive era before 1995, I bet this would get a PG. In summation, HIGH KICK GIRL is a tougher-than-usual film for kids that solidly entertains from start to finish and maintains a very moral standard throughout. If all the viewer wants is quality ass-kicking, that's certainly to be had here, but the resolution of the character's arc comes as the satisfying icing on a tasty budo cake. And when watching the DVD, don't miss out on the two extra features focusing on Takeda and Naka's skills and their training for the film's fight sequences. There's also a standard "making of" featurette that, like the other extras, is untranslated, but in the case of the features on Takeda and Naka their physical acumen speaks for itself and delights the eye. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Poster for the Japanese theatrical release.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Robert Culp as international tennis pro/secret agent Kelly Robinson on I SPY (1965-1968), seen with his co-star, some random Negro who went on to sell pudding or something before fading into total obscurity.

It's always a kick in the head when one's childhood heroes pass on, adding further evidence to one's own advancing in age...

Robert Culp, co-star with Bill Cosby in the groundbreaking Sixties spy series I SPY (1965-1968), is dead at age 79 after a fall-induced head injury outside his Hollywood home. I liked Culp's work a lot and am sad to see him go, especially after meeting him at the last NY Comicon. He was really cool and quite endearingly snarky when signing the photo he autographed for me (see below) and I was fortunate enough to be standing there as he cursed out some idiot on the phone for fucking up his very simple sandwich order.

Someday I hope to get Cosby's signature on this shot as well, but I'm happy just to have Culp.


Chris Evans as Johnny Storm: redefining the term "flaming douchebag."

In a move that once again proves that the so-called minds at work in Hollywood are bugfuck insane, Chris Evans, the guy who played the utterly loathsome version of Johnny Storm in those fucking awful FANTASTIC FOUR films, has signed to play Captain America — CAPTAIN FUCKING AMERICA!!! — in 2011's CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER. On behalf of Steve Rogers, I weep in great wracking sobs. If The Red Skull truly wanted to kill Cap, he wishes he could have come up with a scheme as dastardly as this.

Yes, this guy is going to play the sentinel of liberty. I never thought I'd live to say it, but...BRING BACK REB BROWN!!!

Monday, March 22, 2010



There are times when the edited-for-television version of a film can be an improvement over its original theatrical release, and MONSTER FROM A PREHISTORIC PLANET is a perfect case in point. Also known as GAPPA, THE TRI-PHIBIAN MONSTER, this flick ran perennially as an expected part of the New York City's late, lamented THE 4:30 MOVIE's periodic and very popular "Monster Week" cycles, only with its original running time of 95 minutes was shorn to fit within a ninety-minute time slot with commercials, and while it might seem like much would be lost during the trimming, that necessary editing actually proved to be an act of mercy to viewers who were none the wiser. Unleashed upon an innocent public by the Nikkatsu Corporation, a company now best remember for its softcore Roman porno flicks ("Roman" being shorthand for either "romance" or "romantic") of the 1970's and 1980's, the film appeared during the heyday of the original Japanese giant monster movie boom, this highly derivative time-waster is one dull motherfucker, which defies all logic since it contains three monsters and much of the carnage and mayhem requisite for the genre. The American dubbed version is included on the cheap DVD of the Gamera flick RETURN OF THE GIANT MONSTERS, and watching it for the purposes of this review was the first time I had seen this version of it since the late-1970's; I saw the high-end subbed and letterboxed version that was released domestically some years back, but I was drunk at the time and that edition utterly failed to hold my attention, but I remembered the version I saw several times as a kid as being entertaining enough...

Shamelessly cribbing from three vastly superior giant monster films — specifically KING KONG (1933), MOTHRA and GORGO (both 1961), but most especially from GORGO — the film tells the uninvolving story of a bunch of Japanese who show up on a South Seas island (complete with Japanese actors in head-to-toe shoe polish and adorned in Halloween party "native" garb), ostensibly to bring back animals to populate a theme park, but instead find the egg of an ancient and feared monster called Gappa. The party steals the baby monster in spite of the natives' profuse and vehement warnings, and in no time the bay's enormous and very pissed-off parents make their way to Japan in search of their offspring, causing much death and destruction along the way. The adult Gappa pair can fly and emit a devastating heat ray, so, just like when faced with the rampaging Mothra, mankind's feeble efforts are pretty much useless.

Ma and Pa Gappa do the urban renewal two-step.

By the time that the humans relent and let the baby loose to join its parents on an airport landing strip where they all fly away (also as seen in MOTHRA), I simply did not care. While ripping off three of the best giant monster movies ever made, MONSTER FROM A PREHISTORIC PLANET is dull, dull, dull, and completely lacks even a trace of the fun or magic of any of its inspirations, but the shortened-for-TV version livens up the full-length version's glacial pace by excising long bits of boring and pointless dialogue that only served to unnecessarily pad out the running time. I bet that the 4:30 MOVIE's cut would still hold up as an at least passable bit of filler programming, but that edit was unfortunately not included on the Gamera disc. Whatever the case, I'm glad I saw MONSTER FROM A PREHISTORIC PLANET just so I could speak on it from an informed standpoint. Now that that's done, I most likely won't ever revisit it. In short, miss this one and you miss nothing.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

"UGH-UGH-UGH-UGH-UGH-UGH!" (or "Arf! Arf!" if you prefer)

Seen in Jersey City, NJ yesterday: Popeye the Sailor is one of my all-time favorite characters since I can remember, but this quarter-fueled kiddie ride of him in a dinghy is horrifying. It may be intended to simulate a ride over the bounding waves when activated, but the rocking motions and one of the locations of where a child would sit in it makes it look like Popeye's raunching kids up the fudge tunnel.


While in Tribeca on Thursday night, I witnessed this cute woman innocently petting this police horse, and the more she petted him an cooed in his ear, the more he visibly showed his appreciation, if ya know what I mean...

Sorry about the photo quality, but the lighting sucked and didn't want to be too obvious and spook the horse or piss off the cop. To make the image as visible as it it, I seriously had to futz with the exposure.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


I just got back from meeting George A. Romero, one of the gods of horror cinema, and I am giddy with happiness. I'll write more on this at length later, but meeting him was not only an honor, the guy was as warm and genuine as you'd expect Santa Claus to be.

Life is good.

"BUNCHE HAMLET" by Kevin Kobasic

A beautifully-rendered and amusing response to a photo on one of yesterday's posts, courtesy of old friend and Marvel colleague Kevin Kobasic. Hey, Kev: can you believe it's been twenty years? We still look gooooood!!!


Two words: Caveat emptor.

While most martial arts movie buffs favor Bruce Lee or Jackie Chan, my ass-kicker of choice is my man Sonny Chiba, so when a four-film set of Chiba flicks I had not seen hit the video store shelves, how could I pass it up? I'll review all four films as I watch them, and the first one up is 1978's YOKOHAMA UNDERWORLD: MACHINE GUN DRAGON, a film starring not Chiba, but instead Bunta Sugawara, an actor renowned for playing assorted yakuza toughs and criminals in flicks like the BATTLES WITHOUT HONOR OR HUMANITY series.

Poster from the Japanese release of YOKOHAMA UNDERGROUND: MACHINE GUN DRAGON, featuring Bunta Sugawara in fetching pimp attire and opera cape. Note the conspicuous absence of Sonny Chiba anywhere on the poster.

The flick is typical of the yakuza pictures of its era and tells the story of a criminal who, with the aid of his equally criminal (and apparently incestuously-inclined) mom, steals a valuable shipment of drugs (about enough to fit into a medium-sized backpack) from a local crime syndicate. The pair stash the drugs in a wall deep within a sewer and lay low, hopefully until the media attention and mob interest dies down, but their identity is sussed out when a newspaper picture of the heist's aftermath clearly shows the machine gun used to mow down the drug mules. Automatic weapons are hard to come by in Japan, so the ripped-off crime lord sends his men to find out who sold the particular weapon, thereby learning the thief's identity in the process, and from there the mother and son duo must contend with corrupt cops, the irritated local yakuza boss, and his equally-pissed-off American mafia partners. It all gets off to an entertaining enough start, but once the film reaches the halfway mark it just coasts along in a very much by the numbers manner before reaching its "who cares?" conclusion, a climax marked with the over-wrought melodrama and would-be "moving" theme song common to the genre.

You'll notice that I make no mention of my man Sonny Chiba, and there's good reason for that. Chiba plays a bearded purveyor of illegal passports, and he shows up for all of maybe — maybe — two minutes of screen time right near the movie's final fifteen minutes. He sells passports for the hero, his girlfriend and a fellow escaped prison inmate (don't ask) who turns out to be a planted yakuza agent, and once the passport salesman recognizes the plant, he kicks the living shit out of the guy in the signature Chiba way. It's the most one-sided fight I've ever seen; it's Chiba against a vastly weaker opponent, a guy so hopeless that I could envision my 22-years dead grandmother beating the piss out of the poor bastard. Once that non-fight is over, so is Chiba's part. That's it. He just fucks off to god knows where, and all we're left with is Sugawara's uninvolving attempt to flee to Korea by means of a fishing boat. The whole mess ends with Sugawara getting into a machine gun battle against encroaching yakuza and mafia thugs (right after a black mafia enforcer slashes Sugawara's character-void girlfriend's throat with a straight razor), by which point I had long since ceased to be interested.

I'm hoping the remaining films in the set are better than YOKOHAMA UNDERWORLD: MACHINE GUN DRAGON, but the Japanese action films of the period are a famously mixed bag, so I'll go into the next three with zero expectations.

Friday, March 19, 2010


Fess Parker, Davy Crockett himself, draws Old Betsy in outrage over his young fans' vile corruption of his iconic theme tune.

Now that Fess Parker, star of the classic 1950's DAVY CROCKETT teevee series and the later DANIEL BOONE, has died at the age of eighty-five, I have to ask the following question: is my memory faulty, or were there dirty lyrics to "The Ballad of Davy Crockett?"

An instant classic when first heard in 1954 in conjunction with the DISNEYLAND shows about the coonskin-capped frontiersman, "The Ballad of Davy Crockett" became as ingrained into the American pop culture psyche in the same way that "Eye of the Tiger" did in the 1980's, so much so that kids who never even saw the Crockett show could sing it. I think my first exposure to it was as a single included with a shitload of "kiddie" 45's my folks gave me when I was about four years old, and the song appealed to me because it gave the story basics of a hero, all imparted with a catchy tune.

As often happens with songs of such ubiquity, I recall "The Ballad of Davy Crockett" having received the "Ribald Songbird" treatment, but I may be wrong about that. I vaguely remember hearing a filthed-up version of it on the playground before my family left California for Connecticut, so if I did indeed hear it, I heard it before I turned seven. I seem to remember lines like:

Born on a mountain top in Tennessee
Didn't give a damn if he caught V.D.
Raised in the woods screwin' Cherokee
Humped him a b'ar when he was only three
(chorus) Davy, Davy Crockett
King of the wild Frontier!

And from there each verse escalated in smut-value, which comes as no surprise since the song fairly screams for a dirty interpretation. Why, the refrain of "king of the wild frontier" alone can be interpreted in many ways, including "takin' it in the rear," "takin' 'em in the rear" (obviously in reference to the Injuns he fought), or even "wearin' a black brassiere" (hey, being a frontiersman was a lonely path to walk). So with all that to jog the memory, does anyone remember any more dirty lyrics to this landmark of stirring 'Fifties pop patriotism? And if it doesn't actually exist, how about writing some? Send in your entry today!


You find the damndest things here in the Vault: Yer Bunche unearths the long-forgotten skull and spinal array of a fallen enemy that served quite well as an implement for copious drinking.

Now that I'm once more "funemployed," I intend to take a few days off before launching full-bore into the job search. It'll be nice to unwind and rinse the effluvium of the design 'ho house out of my kinky hair, and while dong that I don't know how regularly I'll be posting during the next week or so. Don't worry, dear Vaulties, I'm fine — quite happy, in fact — but now that I'm no longer behind a desk at a job where I had little or no work coming in for the past couple of months, I want to take the time to stop and smell the roses (thus aggravating my allergies), enjoy the gorgeous weather while it lasts, and get the contents of my living space sorted enough so I can set up a decent work station for my MacBook. Whatever the case, it's all good and I'm psyched to move on to bigger and better things, hopefully actually making a proper living by freelancing and writing on subjects I actually care about and not coming up with the "philosophy" found on the hang tags for Paris Hilton's line of tweener whore-wear.

Wish me good fortune and stay tuned.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


One of the things I'm thankful for in my family is that my mom, who was born during the Great Depression, grew up reading and very much enjoying comics books, due to them allowing her to escape from the cruddy realities of segregated rural Alabama. Comics were always welcome in our home and she would occasionally pick one up and see what the heroes of the four-color page were like once they'd progressed past her youthful readings and their formative Golden Age heyday (she found Thor and Conan of particular interest; probably the long hair thing), but her excursion back to the realm of comics grew more and more sparse as she entered her frail dotage (she just turned seventy-seven). Sure, she'd check out the stuff I worked on during my time at Marvel and DC/Vertigo, but that was about it in the past twenty years or so.

Then came the release of Robert Crumb's adaptation of the Old Testament in a handsome hardcover graphic novel edition, so I figured I'd get it for her as a Christmas gift she would never expect. Like many people of her age, especially those of her generation who grew up in the south, my mom is rather "churched up" and finds great comfort in her faith, so I figured the Crumb book might be a way to give her an interesting take on the material, as well as allowing her a look at the work of one of my all-time favorite cartoonists, only in a format that would not offend her with graphic imagery of sweaty, trysting hippies, satirical blackface caricatures, cum-spurting cocks or dripping pussies. (NOTE: she did make it through all but the last ten minutes of PINK FLAMINGOS, so she has definitely proven her mettle when it comes to offensive entertainment.) I was especially interested to see how she would react to the Crumb Old Testament because just before I turned seven I begged her to take me to see a new animated cartoon movie called FRITZ THE CAT, and she was only too happy to take me to see it (she's a big movie buff, too). Well. imagine our surprise when we arrived at the movie theater only to be informed that I could not get in to see FRITZ THE CAT because it bore an X-rating, an important detail that we'd both missed when noting the newspaper ad for the film (which featured Fritz stating outright, "We're rated X, baby!"). Anyway, thus enlightened, my mom knew who Crumb was from that day forward, and I'll never forget her state of apoplexy when, at age 13, I obtained a shirt with Fritz and his unnamed girlfriend on it. She refused to let me wear it and even went so far as to claim, in reference to Fritz's girlfriend, "Her finger's going into her vagina!!!" which was of course the end-all bombshell in her argument against the shirt. Anyone who has ever seen the illustration in question will tell you that it contains no trace whatsoever of the alleged intra-vaginal digital shenanigans — the female character's supposedly offending mitt is clearly placed on Fritz's knee — but what amuses me most about this now is that my mom was far less offended by the fact that Fritz is depicted grabbing himself a generous handful of signature Crumb-style big ol' titty.

The t-shirt image that nearly made my mom's head explode.

So now we skip ahead by nearly thirty-two years, and I hand my mom Crumb's Old Testament. It's beautifully illustrated and not at all irreverent (which I admit disappointed me somewhat), so she accepted it with open arms on Christmas Day. Over the next few days I was delighted to see her quite absorbed in it, even to the point of completely ignoring her beloved CNN. I doubt if I'll get her to crack another graphic novel anytime soon, but the sight of my mom reading anything by Robert Crumb with vested interest makes me feel warm all over.

My mom, blowing off her obsession with CNN in favor of reading The Bible as interpreted by the comics medium's grandmaster of well-illustrated filth and tastelessness.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Hey, dear Vaulties-

I, along with roughly half of the staff at the design 'ho house, got laid off yesterday and none of us (to the best of my knowledge) is receiving even two cents worth of severance. I saw the layoff coming so I'm relived that the suspense is finally over, but I am rather irked at the reality of no severance pay. But, fuck it. Might cry a tear in a bucket! It's time to regroup, center, and launch once more into the breach that is the NYC job market, a famously iffy and savage arena where grown men and women have been known to battle one another over an entry-level position at Weiner On A Stick. Nonetheless, I'll actively look for work and file for unemployment benefits, but for the time being it looks like it's going to be another round of "funemployment."


One thing that I always found fascinating about reader's letters and submissions to either Marvel or DC is how sometimes the items sent in would have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with comics. We'd get letters from people with all manner of personal issues that they would not hesitate to share with the total strangers they sent their missives to, and every now and then we'd receive a stream of letters from individuals who seemed more than a little bit unhinged. What follows is what I long ago dubbed "The Persecution Chronicles," a series of detailed accounts relating one man's perceived hounding by "the Persecutors." Several of this guy's letters were received by Marvel, but then one day they just stopped, presumably because the writer (whose name has been omitted) was finally taken away and given the psychiatric attention that he so clearly needed. Anyway, here's a first-hand look into one man's very deep paranoia.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Here's a shot of a purse that was discarded on Fifth Avenue, near where I live in Brooklyn:

Is it just me, or does this look a bit, er..."lippy?" And how about this cave opening from Arches National Park in Utah?

Man, I need a steady girlfriend...

Monday, March 15, 2010


I finally sat down and gave DESTROY ALL MONSTERS (1968) — what is considered by many to be the be-all/end-all of the original Toho Godzilla cycle — the proper review it deserves last year, but here's my cartoon summation of that was swiftly rattled off during my time in the Marvel Bullpen. Double-click on the images to embiggen.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Peter Graves in his most famous role: Jim Phelps, the coordinator and mastermind behind the assignments of the Impossible Missions Force.

Another of my childhood spy heroes has gone on to the big spookshow in the sky. Peter Graves was an indelible part of my formative education on Sixties espionage pop culture and I perched on the edge of my seat as Phelps and his elite team of hand-picked experts traveled the globe from one nail-biting assignment to another on the classic spy series MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE (1966-1973). Phelps was the efficient and businesslike epitome of covert ops professionalism and his crack team of agents reflected his quiet cool, offering an intriguing and tense alternative to the over-the-top spectacles of 007, the surreal shenanigans of the Avengers, and the spoof antics of Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin.

Graves worked in film and TV for years before achieving stardom and household recognition on MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE, appearing in STALAG 17 (1953) and the superb THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER (1955), but I first encountered the big Minnesotan in cheesy sci-fi flicks like IT CONQUERED THE WORLD (1956), which featured an alien invader that resembled a fanged eggplant, the ludicrous giant locust outing THE BEGINNING OF THE END (1957) and the ultra-ludicrous KILLERS FROM SPACE (1954). That last one was among the very first films I remember seeing on the Bob Wilkins-hosted CREATURE FEATURES during my early years in California, and I will always remember it because its invading alien bad guys wore what looked like terrycloth pajamas and sported bugged-out ping-pong ball eyes (SEE BELOW).

But following Jim Phelps, Graves was undoubtedly best known for his memorable role as the twisted Captain Oveur in the comedy classic AIRPLANE (1980).

Graves as Captain Oveur in AIRPLANE (1980). Note the magazine section he's browsing...

That role assured Graves cinematic immortality for his completely inappropriate and increasingly creepy questions to a young boy who tours his plane's cockpit, questions including:
  • "You ever seen a grown man naked?"
  • "Joey, did you ever hang around a gymnasium?"
  • "Joey, have you ever been in a Turkish prison?"
  • "Joey, you like movies about gladiators?"
Reportedly, Graves initially turned down the role because he considered it in bad taste, but eventually changed his mind when Lloyd Bridges, Robert Stack and Leslie Nielsen signed on to the cast. Thank the gods of cinema that he did.

Graves was found dead of a heart attack in his Pacific Palisades, California home. Rest well, Mr. Phelps.


Two more "no thought went into this" porno parodies of TV shows are just out, and I have to ask exactly who asked for either of them?

First up is THIS AIN'T CHARMED XXX, and although I can see some slight potential with a dirty version of CHARMED, the almost comically-phony boobs on the lady in the middle automatically cancel whatever interest I could have had in it.

The intra-familial fuck-antics of rednecks, hillbillies and other assorted shitkickers has been a staple since the dawn of filmed pornography, so I suppose this next one was inevitable:

Yes, it's the imaginatively-titled NOT REALLY THE DUKES OF HAZZARD, which by any leap of logic should have been called THE DICKS OF HAZZARD. I very much doubt that the iconic car-chases that were the source material's stock in trade will be given much screen time, so I hope they did something totally absurd like having the General Lee be alive and more or less sentient like K.I.T.T. from KNIGHTRIDER. That way, they could have some hot chick in a cheap and totally bogus foam rubber General Lee suit and have her get tag-teamed by the Duke boys, finally making the show's eroticizing of the car quite literal. And I guarantee this will feature a scene in which Cousin Daisy finds herself spit-roasted between Bo and Luke.

Saturday, March 13, 2010


It's been a while since I've shared kitchen secrets with those of you who are kind enough to read my drivel, so here's a delicious favorite that is both easy to make and jack-off-on-your-grandma delicious. I learned the basics of this from my mother back in the early-1980's and have tweaked it a little since, but trust me when I say that it's fantastic.

You'll need a crock pot and the ingredients are few:
  • 1 chuck roast
  • beef broth
  • 1 tube of anchovy paste
  • 1 box of Lipton's powdered onion soup mix
  • 1 can of those fried onions that are used to top casseroles
Armed with all of that stuff, it's time to begin!

Pour about two inches of beef broth into the crock pot, basically enough to cover 1/3 of the roast.

The above shot gives you a good idea of the physical size of the roast required for this endeavor.

Unwrap the roast and place it in the broth.

Poke open the tube of anchovy paste and slather the doody-looking stuff all over as much of the roast as remains above the level of the liquid. Use the whole tube.

Smooth the anchovy paste all over the roast in the same way as you would frost a cake.

Then apply the powdered onion soup mix, taking care to pat as much of onto the anchovy paste to make it stick above the liquid level. The average box of the stuff comes with two packets of soup mix and I use them both, but one will do for most tastes.

With that done, cover the roast with as much of the fried onions as you like. I try to liberally coat the whole bloody thing, making it look like one of Ben Grimm's butt-cheeks, and not necessarily caring if some of it ends up in the broth.

Cover the crock pot and set it to "LOW" heat. That's it; just set it and forget it for between nine to fourteen hours, depending on super-tender you like it. I recommend the longest slow-cook as possible, for reasons to be explained shortly.

NOTE: while the "set it and forget it" rule is paramount, the roast must be basted in its own juices after about the second hour. The fried onions will have begun to get mushy, but that's what we want here. I recommend bastin every hour and a half after the first two hours of undisturbed cooking.

By the time the roast is finished (above), the fried onions will have pretty much "sweated" and melted into the very fabric of the meat, along with the anchovy paste and the ambient gravy.

After it's done, transplant the roast to a smaller container, one that will fit in your fridge and not take up too much space.

Pour the drippings/gravy over the roast and allow to cool to room temperature. Refrigerate the roast overnight, allowing it to congeal into a solid mass.

The next day, take the roast out of the pot and place it on a carving board. I recommend slicing it to manageably thin pieces, and that is most easily accomplished with a chef's knife, meaning one with a straight edge, not serrated. The straight edge allows to to slice cleanly and not leave tattered edges on your slices. It's also important to slice against the "grain" of the meat, because of you slice with the grain you'll get something stringy (though tender) that looks like what's seen above, and such stringy stuff can get caught in hard-to-reach places in the eater's teeth.

Slicing against the grain yields results that look like what you see above. It looks great in presentation, reheats more efficiently, and is simply a more pleasant culinary experience all around.

When you're done with the slicing, transfer the meat to a handy container of your choice and make sure to pour the gravy over it before putting it away.

When reheated, the meat will be tender like you will not believe, and juicy/gravy-laden to match. It's awesome on sandwiches and perfect on a plate with potatoes and vegetables. Enjoy!