Monday, June 27, 2005

gig, zadar, cruise

My New Gig
Hello, gentle readers.

A new job beckons – well, a gig, actually, that could possibly blossom into jobhood. It required required the signing of non-disclosure agreement, which I mailed off immediately after receiving it a week ago Friday.

After waiting a week for a work-for-pay contract, and wondering what was going on, on Saturday, the envelope containing the signed NDA was returned to me. I had used stamps that had been previously been placed on other, unmailed envelopes, which is apparently a no-no with the US Post Service.

So this morning, I delivered the NDAs by hand (fortunately the company is here in San Francisco).

I’ve been out of the corporate environment for a while, so the soullessness of the building in which this company takes residence rather took me aback. The six-story building consisted of office suites overlooking a central court – rather like certain Hyatt hotels. But there was no reason to enter the central court that I could tell. Its desolation and emptiness was marked only by some wilted and pale (if large) potted plants.

Sometimes I just don’t get architecture. If the point of the building is create hundreds of cubicles to warren the dreaming beavers who hope to construct the world of tomorrow, or at the very least, the next hot thingie, what is the point of wasting half of the space on an uninviting, intimidating, and slightly sinister public plaza?

Zadar! Cow From Hell!
Thanks to the efforts of its director, Duck’s Breath’s first (and only) feature film is available on DVD. Go to for ordering info, if you’re interested. Here’s the press release:
Duck’s Breath Mystery Theatre has been bringing you fine comedy in fits and starts since 1975. To celebrate their first 30 years in show business, they have already created the collector’s edition of the DUCK’S BREATH 30th ANNIVERSARY DVD.

And now they have something really special….



Before FIELD OF DREAMS (okay, around the same time), there was… ZADAR! COW FROM HELL!

Duck’s Breath’s lost cinematic treasure, ZADAR! COW FROM HELL, is now available on DVD – only at

Filmed on location in Iowa, this 1988 full-length feature (showcased at the Sundance Film Festival!) is the story of a director who returns to his hometown to shoot a low-budget horror movie.

Clashes between the Hollywood filmmakers and straightforward Iowa citizens lead to an angry mob, a haunted house, a possibly Swedish mime who may or may not be an alien, and (of course) a giant radioactive cow. With musical score by Greg Brown, it's the epic and unique tale of a community forging its destiny - through cheesy special effects.

At the time, ZADAR! was nominated for best picture in the first (and perhaps only) Iowa Film Awards.

The critics spoke!

"An udderly funny movie" -- Iowa City Press-Citizen

"Zadar is a good first film by Duck's Breath Mystery Theatre, with flashes of both human insight and strong comedy" -- Cedar Rapids, Iowa Gazette

The Ducks had hoped that ZADAR! would become a cult favorite. Let’s make that happen! For only $19.95!

All the Ducks are here in their youthful cinematic glory!

Merle Kessler plays the director (and wrote the screenplay, based on a Duck’s Breath scenario), Leon Martell his beleaguered assistant, Dan Coffey the pompous hero, Jim Turner the possibly Swedish mime who may or not be an alien, and Bill Allard as the entire Mafia.

The production was directed (and the DVD created) by Robert C. Hughes (who also did the Ducks’ DR. SCIENCE children’s show, for Fox Television).

Go to for your own DVD of ZADAR! COW FROM HELL. And while you’re there, get the collector’s edition of the DUCK’S BREATH 30TH ANNIVERSARY DVD, taped live at San Francisco’s Great American Musical Hall in August, 2004.Act now! The Ducks won’t be 30 forever!

Cruise on.
Karl Rove’s snipe at liberals and Dick Durbin’s apology for his (indirect) comparison of Guantanamo Bay conditions to that of Nazi death camps notwithstanding, I find myself obsessed with Tom Cruise these days.

Okay, there’s the Katie Holmes thing. I am married a to Child Bride myself, so I cannot go after him on that one. His demeanor seems a tad hysterical, but whom am I to judge? I’m more of a phlegmatic type myself.

But then there was his strange encounter with Matt Lauer on the TODAY show last Friday, when he began lecturing the host on the evils of psychiatry – in an interview supposedly arranged to promote his new movie WAR OF THE WORLDS.

I know that Scientology has it in for Freudianism, though I don’t quite see why. They share something, I believe- the tenet that events we have hidden from ourselves prevent us from achieving what we could. With Freudians, these events are buried in our subconscious. With Scientologists, these events manifest themselves as “engrams,” which can be cleared, with time. And money, of course.

Today’s Salon theorizes that Tom Cruise may actually have become an OT-VII – that is an “Operating Thetan,” in the next-to-final stage of ultimate priesthood in Scientology. That is why he is suddenly being so – well, giddy.

According to Salon, “…Stephen Kent, a professor of sociology at the University of Alberta who has published articles on Scientology and Hollywood, also said that Cruise's behavior strongly suggests OT-VII.”

Cruise, according to Kent, "feels he's more in control over his environment and can convince more people to look into the organization. In the high OT levels one supposedly gains the skills to master one's universe. One is removing countless entities that have been holding people back. Cruise feels that he has freed himself from thousands of errant thetans, and he seems to be in a kind of euphoria he hasn't experienced before."

So Tom Cruise may be leaving this whole movie star deal behind, to become a kind of Billy Graham for the Dianetics set.

Here’s the Scientology backstory, by the way, courtesy of Salon:

“About 75 million years ago, a nefarious intergalactic warlord called Xenu rounded up the inhabitants of numerous planets, killed them, and brought them to Earth, then set off a chain reaction of cataclysmic volcanoes (the volcano pictured on the DIANETCS cover was Hubbard's favorite symbol for the notion of breakthrough and self-actualization), which dispersed their thetans into the atmosphere. These thetans now fester inside the bodies of all humans. They are to be located in specific body parts and summoned out.”

Scientology owns more than half of Los Angeles now, I believe. Errant thetans, beware!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey! Xenu died for your sins! There is only one true Xenu and Lafayette Ronald Hubbard is his greatest prophet!

(Or was that Sun Myung Moon, or maybe Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh? Hmm, better consult Deepak Chopra.)

Wm. J in San Jose

10:08 AM  

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