Saturday, August 23, 2008

Movies That Made You Love Cable and Never Want to Go Back to Regular TV

Cable TV was invented in 7th and 8th grade in Miami in the late 70s. The cable guy would knock on your door and say, "We are installing in this neighborhood--free installation if you order it now. You can get the full package with three HBOs, the Atlanta Channel, the Chicago channel, and all of your Basic Cable channels. You'd better hurry because once we stop installing in this neighborhood, it's going to cost you more if we have to come back. Hurry up--all of your neighbors already have it." We begged and pleaded with our parents. When cable showed up, it was a flat plastic box that atop our TV set. There was no remote. We had to get up and drag the clicking dial to whatever channel we wanted to see. Click-click-click-click-click. HBO. Click-click-click-click-click. The Sports Channel. Click-click-click-click-click. The various scrambled adult channels. Yes, late at night when the parents were in bed, we would call upon the skills of our electric brother--everybody had to have an electric brother--he was usually one of the younger ones, and his touch, for whatever reason, could make the scrambled adult channels unscramble for as long as ten seconds, which was usually long enough for the rest of us to get a glimpse of a nude female body part. He had to stand there for countless hours with his finger on the cable box so that we could get these ten-second glimpes of the forbidden. Sometimes when the electric brother was unavailable, or unwilling, one of the others would do the trick with tin foil--he would wrap the measured piece of tin foil to the stem of wires behind the cable box and jiggle it until the sexy images unscambled. Click-click-click-click-click. tinfoil-tinfoil-tinfoil. The Playboy Channel. Poof! Ten seconds later it was scrambled again. But during the day when our parents were still awake, we would enjoy the cable shows that were leagally paid for. Do you guys remember these movies? We watched each of them like a hundred times. We knew almost all of the lines. We thought they were the greates movies ever made (they were not, usually).

At any rate, here are the "Movies That Made You Love Cable and Never Want to Go Back to Regular TV"

Motel Hell--(a brother and sister plant and harvest humans and sell them as meat to motel guests--"Meat's meat, and man's gotta eat!")

Stripes--(Murray and Ramos join the army, hilarity ensues--"Chicks dig me because I really know how to wear underwear.")

Snow Bunnies--(sorry--this was on the scrambled channel).

The Island--(Michael Caine and son are captured by modern day pirates--did you did, or did you didn't do it?")

Body Heat

American Werewolf in London

Friday the 13th


Choir Boys (a great movie)


Clash of the Titans


Airplane--Beaver's mom, the beloved Mrs. Cleaver says, "I speak Jive."

Cheech and Chong's New Movie

Logan's Run


Stir Crazy

The Blues Brothers

Escape from New York

Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger

Porky's (unscrambled nude body parts)

Love at First Bite

The Blue Lagoon (unscrambled nude body parts)

The Onion Field (a really great movie, actually)

History of the World Part I

Nine to Five


Smokey and the Bandit

The Jerk--("I was born a poor black child")

The Great Santini (a movie about my father--except he's white)

Cheech and Chong's Up in Smoke

Midnight Express--under no circumstances, do not get caught with drugs in Turkey.


Heaven Can Wait

Blazng Saddles--"Excuse me, while I whip it out."

The Wiz--"Ease on down, ease on down the road!"

Holy Moses

The Tin Drum--(We loved this movie and we don't know why.)

Watership Down

Invasion of the Body Snatchers

Monty Python's Life of Brian

Being There (Great Movie)

The Deer Hunter

Star Trek: The Motion Picture

Boys from Brazil

Gloria--"I am the man!"

Mad Max

Marathon Man--"Is it safe?"

10--(Bo Derek in cornrows! Unscrambled nude body parts)

Oh God

Animal House--"Road trip!"

Bad News Bears

Kramer Versus Kramer (Great movie)

The Muppet Movie


The Warriors

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Lipshitz 6

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Punk Blood

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Vinegar Hill

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Junot Diaz

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Pulitzer Prize Winner!!!

Edwige Danticat

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One More Chance

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The genius Is At It Again/The Rapper CHIEF aka Sherwin Allen

Sandrine's Letter

Sandrine's Letter
Check out Sandrine's Letter To Tomorrow. You will like it, I insist.

All or Nothing

All or Nothing

Editorial Reviews of All or Nothing

New York Times--". . . a cartographer of autodegradation . . . Like Dostoyevsky, Allen colorfully evokes the gambling milieu — the chained (mis)fortunes of the players, their vanities and grotesqueries, their quasi-philosophical ruminations on chance. Like Burroughs, he is a dispassionate chronicler of the addict’s daily ritual, neither glorifying nor vilifying the matter at hand."

Florida Book Review--". . . Allen examines the flaming abyss compulsive gambling burns in its victims’ guts, self-esteem and bank accounts, the desperate, myopic immediacy it incites, the self-destructive need it feeds on, the families and relationships it destroys. For with gamblers, it really is all or nothing. Usually nothing. Take it from a reviewer who’s been there. Allen is right on the money here."

Foreword Magazine--"Not shame, not assault, not even murder is enough reason to stop. Allen’s second novel, All or Nothing, is funny, relentless, haunting, and highly readable. P’s inner dialogues illuminate the grubby tragedy of addiction, and his actions speak for the train wreck that is gambling."

Library Journal--"Told without preaching or moralizing, the facts of P's life express volumes on the destructive power of gambling. This is strongly recommended and deserves a wide audience; an excellent choice for book discussion groups."—Lisa Rohrbaugh, East Palestine Memorial P.L., OH

LEXIS-NEXIS--"By day, P drives a school bus in Miami. But his vocation? He's a gambler who craves every opportunity to steal a few hours to play the numbers, the lottery, at the Indian casinos. Allen has a narrative voice as compelling as feeding the slots is to P." Betsy Willeford is a Miami-based freelance book reviewer. November 4, 2007

Publisher’s Weekly--"Allen’s dark and insightful novel depicts narrator P’s sobering descent into his gambling addiction . . . The well-written novel takes the reader on a chaotic ride as P chases, finds and loses fast, easy money. Allen (Churchboys and Other Sinners) reveals how addiction annihilates its victims and shows that winning isn’t always so different from losing."

Kirkus Review--"We gamble to gamble. We play to play. We don't play to win." Right there, P, desperado narrator of this crash-'n'-burn novella, sums up the madness. A black man in Miami, P has graduated from youthful nonchalance (a '79 Buick Electra 225) to married-with-a-kid pseudo-stability, driving a school bus in the shadow of the Biltmore. He lives large enough to afford two wide-screen TVs, but the wife wants more. Or so he rationalizes, as he hits the open-all-night Indian casinos, "controlling" his jones with a daily ATM maximum of $1,000. Low enough to rob the family piggy bank for slot-machine fodder, he sinks yet further, praying that his allergic 11-year-old eat forbidden strawberries—which will send him into a coma, from which he'll emerge with the winning formula for Cash 3 (the kid's supposedly psychic when he's sick). All street smarts and inside skinny, the book gives readers a contact high that zooms to full rush when P scores $160,000 on one lucky machine ("God is the God of Ping-ping," he exults, as the coins flood out). The loot's enough to make the small-timer turn pro, as he heads, flush, to Vegas to cash in. But in Sin City, karmic payback awaits. Swanky hookers, underworld "professors" deeply schooled in sure-fire systems to beat the house, manic trips to the CashMyCheck store for funds to fuel the ferocious need—Allen's brilliant at conveying the hothouse atmosphere of hell-bent gaming. Fun time in the Inferno.

World Series of Poker


At Books and Books

At Books and Books
Me And Vicki at Our Reading


Preston L. Allen is the recipient of a State of Florida Individual Artist Fellowship in Literature and the Sonja H. Stone Prize in Fiction for his short story collection Churchboys and Other Sinners (Carolina Wren Press 2003). His works have appeared in numerous publications including The Seattle Review, The Crab Orchard Review, Asili, Drum Voices, and Gulfstream Magazine; and he has been anthologized in Here We Are: An Anthology of South Florida Writers, Brown Sugar: A Collection of Erotic Black Fiction, Miami Noir, and the forthcoming Las Vegas Noir. His fourth novel, All Or Nothing, chronicles the life of a small-time gambler who finally hits it big. Preston Allen teaches English and Creative Writing in Miami, Florida.