My Friend Mr. Kong

I love King Kong.
Pull up a chair kids, let Grampa Andy tell you a story about a time when there were no such things as VCR's!

What's a VCR?

Okay-- there was once a time when there were no DVDs!

What's a DVD, Grampa?

Okay, okay-- there was once a time when you couldn't instantly stream anything you wanted on your tablet or phone okay?  Jesus kids, let me get through a story will ya!

Once upon a time you used to actually get this thing in the mail (or free in the paper if you were cheap) called TV GUIDE.  It was a magazine that featured a guide to what was on TV that week!

WOW!  Was it 1500 pages long??!!

No kids, once upon a time we not only didn't have VCR's, DVDs, streaming and movies on demand, we also only had about 12 TV channels, because dinosaurs interrupted the TV signal.

What's a TV signal?

Ha-- okay-- so you looked through TV guide when it came on Thursday and made note of the shows you wanted to watch next week.

Now if it happened to be Thanksgiving-- you were in for a treat- because Channel 9 in New York would show a TRIPLE feature of KING KONG (1933), SON OF KONG (1933) and MIGHTY JOE YOUNG (1949)!

Kong is a great movie, Son of Kong is an okay movie and Mighty Joe Young-- well, by then the Turkey kicked in and you'd be sound asleep so it didn't matter that it was King Kong lite-- King Kong for the kiddie crowd.

So Kong and I became friends-- good friends.

1976 rolled around and Dino Delaurentis released KING KONG with Jessica Lange, Jeff Bridges and Charles Grodin.  I was a kid so I didn't get that it was kind of bad.  Through the harsh winter of 1977 my friends and I would trek down to the Showcase Cinema in downtown Wootown and see KING KONG.  We'd often sneak in through the exit or we'd pay to see one showing and then hide while they cleaned the theater so we could stay and see it again.

We saw it 44 times in the winter of 1977.

44 times.  I'm not making that up.  In the Summer of 1977 a little movie called STAR WARS hit theater screens and we saw that one 44 times too-- that was a little more challenging because it only played at White City Cinemas in Shrewsbury-- which was either a long bus ride or an even longer day of begging a parent to take us and drop us off so we could sit through 3-4 showings of that.

But STAR WARS is another story for another time.

Mr. Kong and I were buds.
Flash forward to 2005 and I go to Peter Jackson's big budget remake of KONG-- with cinema buff and former WoMAG editor Mike Warshaw.  I apologize to Mike because I'm sure I drooled on his shoulder when I fell fast asleep twenty minutes into this bloated boring spectacle.  I admired Jackson for setting in in 1933 but that's as far as I go.

His casting choices were all wrong.
His pacing is all wrong.

And his biggest crime ladies and gentlemen, Jackson purported to be a fan yet he missed the completely obvious thing-- KONG IS NOT A GORILLA.

Yup you heard me right.  He's not a gorilla.  What he is; a prehistoric relic and possibly the missing link between man and ape.  It's right there in the original screenplay and it's why the original Kong looked like this:

While he's ape-like-- he's also MAN-like.

That's the key.

It's also a good idea-- you know why-- because a real gorilla looks a lot like this:

Jackson chose to make Kong a silverback gorilla, complete with gut.
That just didn't work for me.

Yes in 1977 they had a lousy looking robot Kong in the movie-- not the cool one from KING KONG ESCAPES mind you, but a publicity grabbing one that they hoped people would think was the actual thing used in the whole movie.  It was not.   The minute and a half it's on screen my friends and I laughed out loud at it.  The rest of the time it was makeup genius Rick Baker in an amazing Kong suit that looked sufficiently ape and man like to get the job done.

Now I hear they're making another Kong film-- this one with Michael Keaton.   I'm going to hedge my bets that they use the same lame Peter Jackson designed Kong, if so, that'll be $30 I save.

Because I still have a DVD player- and I can watch the REAL King Kong anytime.

Movie Monday: THE PHANTOM Chapter Two & Sherlock Holmes

The Phantom continues in the Columbia Pictures Serial from 1943- and last week's Sherlock Holmes was such a hit I pulled another one out of the vault.   Basil Rathbone is a lot of people's ideas of the perfect Holmes-- get lost Cumberbatch-- but I go with Jeremy Brett as the best Holmes-- and here he is to prove it.

Live Long and Prosper, Mr. Nimoy

Very sad to hear of the passing of Leonard Nimoy.

Born in Boston, Nimoy made the move to Hollywood where he landed the role of science officer Spock in the classic Star Trek series from the 1960s.  He spent the better part of a decade trying to distance himself from the character before finally embracing it with the big budget films.
Nimoy was also a photographer and artist.

The new movies recast the series characters, and to me its like watching a bunch of kids playing dress up.
There will never be another Spock.

The Evil Gets Smarter

Last week I talked about how the PayPal thieves try to get your information.  Take a look at this one.  It's a message from FedEx telling me there was a problem delivering my package.

Now think it through-- these bad guys are trying to get us to click on things-- because that's how they get us with viruses and coding to grab our information.

That's the key here CLICK ON THINGS.

So I want you to heighten your own homeland security for a minute here and ask yourself this DO I NEED TO CLICK ON THIS each and everytime someone sends you something.

What's more-- it can come from a friend too-- because their email gets compromised.  The suspicion to look for in that case is does it SOUND like the person you know writing to you.

A few years ago I had a friend traveling in the Mideast.  She was traveling alone teaching.  I hadn't heard from her in a while and got an email saying she was in trouble and needed $2,000 wired to her right away and that she would explain it when she got back.

The message came from her regular email (which was either Yahoo or Gmail).  I was ready to send the money-- but instead I took the risk that if she was able to email me this once, she would be able to email me again-- so I contacted her-- NOT WITH REPLY,  but closing this email and composing another. 

Sure enough, her email had been hacked.

But back to the FedEx-- this looks moderately real and after all how often do we look closely at such an email.

Now I do 90% of all shopping online.

Why?  Because I hate shopping.

So a missed package is a concern to me.  They almost had me.
Lucky for me I run a program on my Mac called Sophos that alerts me when something doesn't look right and it stopped me from clicking the attachment.

A quick google search of FEDEX PARCEL DELIVERY EMAIL brought up countless links of people who WERE taken by this scam.

So don't let these horrible people get you-- be careful my friends!


Superman really hit his stride by the early 1940s-- the art was more finished and his stories were better.  Here's a good one.

Remember to stop by every Wednesday for a new comic book adventure!  And Fri-Sun is the BATMAN DAILY COMIC STRIP!

The World is Full of Idiots.

I love Amazon, and I've written about this before-- I love them because you can read reviews of products before you buy it.  There is no comparison to standing in a store listening to the sales pitch of a commission salesman.  The reviews are from people who (for the most part) have bought the item.

BUT-- and this is a big but-- YOU need to actually READ the reviews, don't just look at the stars, as this one shows:

Here's the product a 1lb rubber weight ball.

I have three of these-- they are great, not only as stress balls but as exercise balls.  I've even used them to play catch.  Absolutely great.  Bought my first one in Japan-- and on another trip back I took one with me to use on the plane and got pulled out of airport security when it showed up in my coat as a solid black circle in the X-Ray (they are filled with metal sand).

Now if I review this product-- should I give it one star because it got me pulled out of airport security?  No of course not.  The product is great, I was an idiot for leaving it in my coat and not thinking it wouldn't get flagged.

But that doesn't stop some people from leaving one star reviews for idiotic reasons:

"My husband bought one of these at Big 5 sporting goods. He had it for about two weeks. He used a hand bicycle pump to inflate it. A ten year old girl was holding it (not squeezing it, just holding it) and it blew up, throwing metal fragments in her face. Why on earth did they put metal inside this thing??? It felt like coarse sand but it stuck to a magnet when we were trying to clean up the mess. This could have been a horrible accident if that stuff had gotten into someone's eyes."

What were they thinking?? 1. why would you inflate it?  2. what did you think it was filled with?  Candy?

So use Amazon to make smart buying choices, but READ the reviews to weed out the ones like this.

MM- Sherlock Holmes The Voice of Terror HOLMES VS NAZI'S & PHANTOM CHAP 1

We start a new serial after wrapping up Captain America-- here ladies and gentlemen is one of my favorites THE PHANTOM (1943) with Tom Tyler


 And of course our feature presentation...

First Up-- one of my favorites in the Rathbone series of Sherlock Holmes-- brought to (then) contemporary World War II London.

Wanna know what things were like during WWII?  How about this cartoon on rationing?

Things To Do Thursday: SHIRAZ!

I love this place-- here is my take on it via my YELP review.  If you want to see more of my YELPings click HERE.

What are you going to do in the Northeast in February?  You're going to shelter in place.  It's sixteen degrees out and there is friggin' snow everywhere.  If you feel like going out-- here's a great place:

359 Park Ave
The Big Woo


Okay-- the decor, if that's what you call it, is in need of some help.  And Carpeting in a restaurant is ALWAYS a bad idea.  Cafeteria style chairs and tables, laminated menus-- get all that out of the way-- you aren't going to impress someone coming here, unless they are a foodie, because the food is outstanding.

The Chicken Shawarma, The Pork Kabobs and the Falafel Wrap (I ask them to add some chicken to it when I order it) are all my favorites.  I love their house salad too-- it's got the right amount of everything.

Very friendly waitstaff, prompt and courteous and it's never busy enough that I have to wait.  The Turkish Coffee is enough to curl your hair but I love it.

Parking lot in the back.

How to Spot Fake PayPal Notices attempting to Defraud You.

Hopefully it goes without saying that PayPal is a safe viable way to handle online transactions-- but you as a consumer have to be smart because there are thieves out there trying to access your account.

BE SUSPICIOUS with ANY email that asks you to log into ANY account you have.  I myself, who I would consider fairly savvy got snookered when a friend's TWITTER account got hacked and they sent me a message saying I can't believe so and so wrote this about you in their blog-- so I clicked the link to read it-- and sure enough, got hacked.

The important thing is to take a minute before you respond to anything.  Be wary.
MOST of these attacks come from countries where English is not the first language so they usually are laughably phrased, but sometimes they look good.

Let's take this one that came in on Sunday Feb 1st.

There it is among my regular email-- a message that seems to come from PayPal itself telling me there has been unusual activity on my account which needs my attention.

So I open the email-- and look for clues.

At first glance, this looks like a real email PayPal might send.

BUT here's the big warning-- it's asking me to click on a link to log on to my account.

Instead, if you're not sure, close the window and open a new window-- maybe even in a different browser-- go to and log in manually yourself.  NEVER NEVER NEVER do it from an email.

Now a closer look at this email reveals the real tell.

Return address-- SERVICE@PAYPAL.COM
Sounds right enough-- but then look at the actual LINK email-- it's a random ass email from who knows where.

So-- fraudulent indeed.
I forwarded the email (as you should to) to and they will investigate and get this clown shut down.
Sadly, the thieves will try again from a different domain.

So be smart folks, and take a minute before reacting.