North Korea 1973. By John Bulmer
When freelance photographer John Bulmer gained access to North Korea in 1973 it was something of a coup. On assignment for the UK’s leading-edge Sunday Times Magazine, Bulmer was one of the first foreign journalists to be given access to the country since the end of the Korean war in 1953. Working in colour, then still seen largely as the domain of the advertising world, Bulmer brought back pictures that gave a rare and fascinating glimpse inside a country that was little known about and less seen.
To see the full set go to: http://www.gettyimages.co.uk/Search/Search.aspx?EventId=142918417
I’ve had this experience at the movies before. Scotch egg film. You go in expecting entertainment and bite into the rancid not-falafel of hard-boiled mediocrity.
Stoner FM is not, however, a Scotch egg film. It wasn’t worse than I thought it would be, it wasexactly as bad as I thought it would be.
Okay, there’s exactly one decent joke in the film. This occurs when the film’s villain, Richard Fa’Got (Get it? HE’S GAY), says to our hero, “we’ll settle this like men… with badminton!”
Since that thoroughly okay joke was spoiled by bad delivery, my conscience won’t be pricked by regurgitating it here.
So, what’s the plot of the film? Even the movie’s not quite sure. The basic conflict is between cousins Fa’Got (Kent Brown) and Jack (Donny Love). Jack inherits the highly profitable Mount Zen and wants to keep it open as a ski resort. Fa’Got, always clad in pink, wants to develop the land and is in cahoots with a cowboy-hat wearing capitalist (Greg Malone, delivering a performance that could kindly be described as “shitting the bed”) and a dwarf terrorist named Ali Ka Boom Boom (played by Danny Santuccione in a turban and what appear to be …blackface).
When Fa’Got (is it funny now? The movie sure thinks so) wastes time and money while he has sex with a cockatoo (there’s three scenes of this), Ka Boom Boom sends two terrorists (played by Brown and Love in blackface) to blow up Jack. 80+ minutes of jokes about gays, women and ethnic groups ensue.
Want to know what the difference is between, say, the racism themed sketches on Chappelle’s Show and the racist content of Stoner FM? One was made with a satirical aim and the other thinks anything non-white is by default hilarious. Jokes about racism can be funny, but Stoner FM feels like it was made by Pierce Hawthorne, Chevy Chase’s bigoted character from Community.
Paul Shaffer as George Costanza? According to Shaffer’s memoir, We’ll Be Here for the Rest of Our Lives, Jerry Seinfeld personally left a message stating that the role of George Costanza on his upcoming pilot was Shaffer’s if he wanted it. But Shaffer was preoccupied with his other work and said he never got around to returning Seinfeld’s call.
I don’t think Seth MacFarlane will be invited back next year, guys. (Gotta love Jennifer Lawrence, though.)
Update: Mediaite has the entire opening. Coke-fiend sock puppets? Smokey and the Bandit jokes? I’ve changed my mind: I want MacFarlane back next year. (And, yes, Naomi Watts and Charlize Theron were in on the joke.)
Alf Landon in Massachusetts, circa 1940
Kansas Governor Alf Landon was the Republican nominee in 1936, competing for the presidency against incumbent President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
The popular Literary Digest, which had correctly predicted the winners of the past five presidential elections, famously printed a poll predicting a win for Landon. In the end, though, FDR won in a landslide, sweeping all states except Maine and Vermont, with 98.49% of the electoral vote.
Maine had enjoyed a long-standing reputation as a bellwether state for presidential elections, leading to the popular phrase “As Maine goes, so goes the nation,” which contemporary Democratic strategist Jim Farley would amend to “As Maine goes, so goes Vermont.”
Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.
Lada: A Whole Car for Half the Price! (Back home in St. John’s, the few Ladas that didn’t rust away to nothing were purchased by visiting sailors from the USSR, who then had them hoisted onto their fishing boats.)
The province is finally pulling the plug on the troubled ferry Nonia.
The Telegram has been telling the story of the Nonia for several years through exclusive reports on the state of the used foreign-built vessel.
Built in Estonia in the mid-’80s, the ferry — originally called the Ahelaid and known as the Hull 100 when it arrived here — has been a money pit since the Brian Tobin government bought it.
The Liberals then expected to have it operating for $2 million.
Efforts to make the Nonia seaworthy dragged on and on.
The Conservatives continued piling money into it after they gained power in 2003.
By the time it met Canadian standards and was put into service six years after its purchase, the price tag was five times greater than anticipated.
Since entering the provincial ferry system as a swing ship in 2005, it has caused considerable headaches for users.
The low points include running aground near St. Brendan’s Island in 2006 and being so unreliable on the Bell Island run that residents there gave it its unflattering nickname.
Finding parts has been one of the biggest challenges in keeping the Nonia going. A number of key components are unique to the Russian manufacturer that built the ship. So much so, that before the province bought the ferry, recommendations were made that its sister ship be purchased, too, for parts.
That the ship’s instruction manual is written in Russian has reportedly been another obstacle.
A Transport Canada memo written in those early years expressed concern about the quality of vessels for sale on the foreign market and Canada becoming a dumping ground for junk ships.