Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Everybody Was Kung-Fu Bull Fighting

Challenge of the Tiger (1980) is the B-side of the "For Your Height Only" DVD. It should have its own disc, complete with a "Making of..." and maybe a primer on topless tennis.

Bruce Le and Richard Harrison are a couple of CIA agents who have to track down a formula that kills sperm. The formula's been stolen by a gal who looks a bit like Sophia Loren, but less mountainous, and hidden in a hat.

The Viet Cong are involved, too.

There's a lot more plot, most of it incomprehensible, but it doesn't matter because there is kung fu.

Lots of kung fu, accompanied by extra-comical dubbed-in kung fu noises.

Not content with your standard "Hah!" and "Ugh," the filmmakers add to the repertoire.


"Ohhhh...gobble gobble goong fow YAAAAAAAH!"

And my favorite, from a character on his last legs: "Oooo-waaah...gurgle bloont froom (gasp)."

We're talking topless tennis. The Mysteries of the Orient, from the (shapely) rear. Brief full frontal nekkidity at swimming pool.


Extremely stupid bad guys, who lift weights and listen to bad pop music on headphones when they should be guarding the woman with the anti-sperm formula.  Hot tub sex. Rottweiler kung fu. Bad driving. Filipino jazz.

The centerpiece is near the start of the film, when Bruce Le combines the ancient art of bullfighting with the even more ancient art of kung fu.

It is a remarkable sequence, including exciting jump cuts, stock footage, a stuffed bull and a brief moment of avant-garde animation.

Here it is, for those of you too cheap to spend $12 on the DVD:

"Challenge of the Tiger," for schlock fans, is a must. An unabashed four coils, and an Iron Coil nomination.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Let Us Now Praise Famous Filipino Death Dwarves

In the dubbed version, Weng Weng plays Agent 00, not Agent 3 1/2. I think this is an important distinction.

It's important because "For Your Height Only" is the greatest film ever made.

You can have your "Citizen Kane" and "Battleship Potemkin." Spare me your "Rear Window" and "The Third Man."

Why? Because none of these so-called great films has a midget secret agent who escapes the bad guys by parachuting from a high balcony. With an umbrella.

This flick's got it all, except breasts. For some reason, the filmmakers demurred in this crucial aspect.

So never mind. It's the second greatest film ever made. (The greatest is "Zombie Lake.")

Agent 00 is a big fan of the groin kick, the groin being the nearest area on the personal bodies of his assailants for a man of his height. (Weng Weng was two feet, nine inches tall.)

Although he's proficient with the mini machine gun and the mini samurai sword.

The real bitch is sitting at the regular person table at the Manila's fine restaurants. (They have signs that say "Food! You Eat!")

The flick also features atrocious dubbing in a variety of dialects — Long Island Lockjaw, British dowager, Brooklyn hood.

And the main villain clearly studied at the Moammar Qaddafi Institute of Fashion.

A rare treat, and an even rarer four coil rating, plus consideration for the next all-time Iron Coil list.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Vacation fishing report Sept. 2013

I was off the last week of September, and beat it to the cozy confines of Pantherkill Road, Phoenicia, N.Y.

An extended dry spell continued through the week. Many smaller streams, including the Woodland Valley creek, were so low it wasn't worth the trouble.

On the plus side, Shandaken Tunnel releases into the Esopus, while still cruddy, weren't as bad, and the flow was low.

This meant that around Boiceville the river was about as clear as it gets in these lax, post-modern times.

So I concentrated on the Cold Spring Road section of the Esopus, with side trips to the Rondout and Neversink, and Chichester Creek.

The latter was fun. I rediscovered an unusual formation, where the stream runs through a narrow cleft in the rock before emptying out into a pool that has a launching pad on the left bank for anglers — bare flat rock several feet above the stream.

Access to the Roundout is via some very well-developed New York state campsites, and on one evening there was a whole herd of people with New Jersey license plates at one spot, presumably indulging in devilries that require privacy.

The creek was low but fishable, and has a good population of native brook trout.

I also fished Trout Creek, which runs right into the Roundout Reservoir and is one of those mossy dark cool streams with surprisingly deep holes carved into the rock where big reservoir fish should be spawning.

But all I got there were a couple of smallmouth bass.

The Neversink was also low, but this is private water that includes the actual Junction Pool of the two branches, which I have permission to fish. And it was a beautiful day. So there.

One night I saw a fellow just starting as dusk approached. He was carrying a fly rod and a small spnning rod, and a giant contraption, about 12 feet tall, made of PVC tubing with a net sticking out the top.

This was Ernie the Night Fisherman. He is allergic to photographs.

He starts fishing when others are packing it in. He throws big streamers and nymphs out, catches big fish, uses his homemade wading staff/net (he calls it "The Lifesaver") and avoids bears.

"How late do you stay out?" I asked.

"Oh, when it's cold like this, I go back early, say one o'clock."

This was at 7 p.m., already dark and getting downright chilly.

What about the bears? he was asked.

"I had one tracking me one night," he said. "I just got out in the river. He went away eventually."

Junction Pool, Neversink. Doesn't look like much at this low flow.

Esopus Creek at Boiceville. Look, green water! Not brown!

Trout Creek, where I caught bass.

Stonefly shuck, Esopus. Stoneflies, isonychia, caddis and itty-bitty olives were the winning flies this trip.

Shot from the Launching Pad, Chichester Creek

This chute is about three feet deep, maybe more, and if you drop a big heavy fly in there you will be rewarded.

A man throwing some nymphs around upstream of Five Arches Bridge, Esopus Creek, Boiceville.

Typical Esopus wild rainbow, aka "silver bullet." There are zillions of them in the river and they fight like fish four times their size. Well, three times. 

My friends the deer. Every morning I shook the branches of the apple trees so they could chow down.

Roundout brookie

Yrs. truly,  Roundout Creek

A bigger Roundout brookie

It was nice to have water not the color of Yoo-Hoo in the Esopus.

Trout Creek

Trout Creek where it enters Roundout Reservoir.

Last night of vacation, Esopus Creek, four fish in the bag after a week of catch-and-release.