Exploitation Retrospect | The Journal of Junk Culture and Fringe Media
Dante's Inferno06/08/01: Hold Those Goat Horns for at Least 24 Hours!

I just returned from an all-too-brief vacation in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, a paradise-like oasis at the southernmost tip of Baja. I'm well-rested and interestingly shaded, with a bright red burn covering my scalp and a healthy tan over most of the rest of me. Probably shoulda worn a hat. Next thing you know my skin'll be peeling away from me like the guy at the end of RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK. Which, was recently renamed INDIANA JONES AND THE RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK for cable. Why?

Anyway, the food was great, the weather perfect – it IS paradise after all – and the natives pretty friendly. Especially when you consider that I'm a big, white gringo who lives in the country that wrestled California away from them. Sorry guys, but my ancestors were slogging away in Scotland and Poland when all that stuff was goin' down, so don't blame me!

If you want the full, freaky tale of our stay you'll just have to wait for it to appear on the soon-to-be newly redesigned Hungover Gourmet On-Line, probably in a week or so. There you'll be able to read all the gruesome details of our battle with the airline, the booze cruise that turned into an episode of 'Cops Meets Girls Gone Wild,' the many wonderful restaurants, and the wiry water taxi dispatcher whose direction to "Step on my leg" became the trip's oft-repeated catchphrase. And I didn't even mention the bikini-clad dwarf hanging out poolside!

But, like I said, that's a tale best left for THG.

Saturday night – when I was supposed to be enjoying a tasty Sol or Pacifico on the sunny shores of Cabo – I was actually parked on a couch in rainy Baltimore, working on a paint-by-numbers trout picture and watching the momentum of the Stanley Cup Finals shift right before my eyes.

Warhol Paint by NumbersThe paint-by-numbers foray had been inspired by our recent trip to the Smithsonian Institute to view their wonderfully oddball exhibit, 'Paint by Numbers: Accounting for Taste in the 1950s.' I wanted to view the exhibit out of a sense of duty to myself and the readers of both ER and THG On-Line. Honestly, how can one purport to be the 'Journal of Junk Culture and Fringe Media' if you're not going to attend an exhibit of the quintessential kitsch controversy of the last 50 years? We trekked down on Memorial Day weekend and braved the throng of humidity-drenched tourists attempting to grasp the popularity and point of the entire craze.

As one patron remarked while I looked at the exhibit's display of Andy Warhol's paint-by-numbers-inspired works: "I didn't drive all the way down here to look at paint-by-numbers! You wanna look at paint-by-numbers I'll drive you to the hobby shop!"

Believe it or not, I'd never done a p-b-n before last Saturday night. I have a handful of kitschy kits in my pop culture inventory, including the ubiquitous "sad clown" and even a groovy 3-D seaport scene from the days when companies felt they needed to offer something new to the amateur artiste. But I'd never tried an actual picture before, not that I can remember at least. So, with my newly notarized Affidavit of Citizenship neatly folded in my wallet (don't ask, just wait for the article) we picked up a two-pack of trout "action" pictures, a couple extra brushes, and some sushi to complete the whole theme.

A couple hours later I realized why I'd never done a p-b-n before. I'd spent the better part of two hours on the thing and had applied exactly one color (#3, kind of a pale green for any of you scoring at home). There's something like 11 more colors in the picture, so who knows how long it'll take me to complete the entire masterpiece.

But I had to be feeling better than Colorado Avalanche goalie Patrick Roy (pronounced Throatwarblermangrove). With his team on its way to taking a 3-1 stranglehold on their Stanley Cup Finals series with the dreaded, hated New Jersey Devils, Roy coughed up the puck during an ill-advised foray behind his net and watched the gimme goal breathe new life into a beaten Devils team. Suddenly, the 3-1 lead became a 2-2 deadlock, and the Devils skated into last night's crucial Game 6 knowing that they were a mere 60 minutes of hockey away from back-to-back Cup wins.

But – despite what I might've been telling everybody within earshot earlier this week – don't outfit Roy for the goat horns just yet. "Twitchy" responded in Hall of Fame fashion last night, blanking the Spawns of Satan to force a drama-filled loser-goes-home Game 7 Saturday night in Colorado. Will the Avs win another seventh and deciding game, this time without Peter Forsberg, the game's best two-way player? Will Scott Stevens and his gang of thugs score early and clog center ice often, turning the most exciting spectacle in all of sport into a snoozefest? Will Ray Borque finally skate with the Cup after something like 82 years of professional hockey? Will anybody besides my friends and me tune in?

Speaking of the Finals, how about those gritty, never-say-die Philadelphia 76ers? Sir Charles could never get 'em there, but Allen Iverson, the spindly, cornrowed, tattooed one has put a team – and a city – on his back and carried them back to the sport's main stage after 18 looonnnng years.

While I didn't give the team much chance of beating the juggernaut that the LA Lakers had become during these playoffs, Iverson and Co. should never be counted out. And, the league's 2-3-2 finals format may play right into their hands. Steal one in LA – which they've already accomplished – and win two of three in the City of Brotherly Shove (where the FU Center will be rocking and rolling like never before) and they could conceivably return to La-La-Land UP 3-2!

Would I bet on that kind of outcome? No. But I'd never bet against this team of overachieving cripples either!


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