I love my job and I love a good challenge. In that spirit, I will now challenge myself—as a mental exercise—to rid a typical mountain cabin of three common pests using tools only available to cavemen. I’m raring to go, so let’s go.
Ants in a kitchen. Right off the bat, I would grab my deer antler knife and trim tree branches touching the roof—notorious ant highways. How would I get up there? I would fashion a ladder with tree branches and string made of leather. Next, I would look for ant trails on the ground. Finding any, I would disturb the trails as far back as I could. Since ants are guided by scent, I would apply pungent herbs, like rosemary, peppermint and thyme, on any remaining trails. Inside the home, I would clean up crumbs and spilled food, then apply my herbs to repel the insects. Odds of success: 50/50.
Mice inside a home. First, I would take materials from the forest, such as tree bark and big hollow branches, and make a live trap. The mice would run down a tunnel then fall into a holding area, which I would bait with aromatic foods. Being a caveman, I would eat the mice. You don’t want to know what else I eat.
To fill openings mice use to enter homes, I would take mud, pine tar, bear scat, pine needles and so on, and craft homemade caulking. To fill gaps around warped buildup doors, I would use my knife to shape branches into custom filler pieces, then attach them with my homemade caulking and nails made from animal bones. Odds of success: 75/25.
Woodpeckers pecking on siding. I would simply lie in wait with rock in hand and hours later I would be sitting around a campfire with my cavegirl, singing caveman songs, eating roast woodpecker. My customers would be happy and I would be one satisfied Paleolithic pest professional. The major drawback is that cavemen died by age forty so I’d be dead by now. Have a scat free week, everyone!
If you’ve ever wanted to see an oiled-up he-man lift a hay cart and hurl it at bad guys, then weave a makeshift slingshot from a horse’s reins, grab a giant boulder and launch it at a magic apple in an evil tree, then Hercules in the Haunted World (1961) is just the movie for you.
The plot is simple, but nuanced: The corrupt King Tycos has turned Hercules’s sweetheart into a mindless zombie. To free her from the spell, our beloved hurler of all things massive must make an epic journey to the underworld (ruled by Hades) and bring back a magical, spell-breaking stone, fighting demons and jumping over bubbling lava pits all the way. Hercules is no one-trick half-man/half-god pony.
Arriving in the underworld, Herc encounters a rock monster whose job is torturing people. To add insult to injury, the monster has a sarcastic mouth that’s not above body shaming. “You too short,” he says to one victim, then ties him to the rack. Hercules is having none of it. “Of stone you are made and by stone you shall be destroyed,” he quips before hurling the beast into a rock wall. The message from schlock horror director Mario Bava is clear and ahead of its time: no body shaming allowed in this exploitation flick. Bravo, Mr. Bava!
Now, the women. Be they daughters of Hades himself, be they wise oracles, be they slave girls in need of rescue from Hercules, these maidens could give Dior models a run for their money. I’m sure Dionysus, the Greek god of wine and fertility, has his eyes on these lovelies, especially after he’s had a few. For my taste, the gals wear too many clothes, but that’s likely not an issue for most Hercules movie buffs.
In terms of he-men with ripped pecs, psychedelic oracle chicks, rock monsters that get what they deserve, and smoking hot slave babes, Hercules in the Haunted World beats the critics’ darling The Shawshank Redemption by a country mile. Available for free streaming on YouTube because of course it is. Have an epic week, everyone!
If a magic genie offered you one wish, what would it be? Remember, only a fool asks for a fortune in gold because everybody knows the loot was stolen and you spend the rest of your life in prison. That’s magic genie trickery 101.
Personally, I would wish to be an ancient Greek fighting man like the ones in 1960s “sword and sandal” movies. I would happily join Jason and the Argonauts as they sail in search of the magical golden fleece at the behest of the goddess Hera. Of course, I would have to wear a tunic, a sort of man-dress, but I think I could pull off that look after a few weeks on the StairMaster.
I hate pumping iron and I wouldn’t make it as one of the strongmen, but I could serve as the ship’s scribe. In a pinch, I could grab a sword and battle a lesser foe, maybe those brittle skeleton men, but when the sun sets and the boys are drinking wine from goatskin flasks, I would happily take quill in hand and craft tales of glory. “We Argonauts gasped in awe at the heroic Hercules—his muscles glistening with musky man-sweat—as he stood face to face with the colossus called Talos. Suddenly, he seized a boulder and hurled it at the monster with the power and tenacity of ten beefy men.”
Lest anyone think I have a newfound penchant for beefy men, let me sing the praises of our protector, the lovely goddess Hera. She can whisk me away to Mt. Olympus and make me her servant anytime. I just hope Zeus doesn’t notice my wandering eyes as I give my mistress her foot massage. The flesh is weak and I am mere mortal. Nevertheless, I will stoically endure any punishment Zeus metes out. Because that’s what we Argonauts do, dammit!
I’m on vacation and I’m renting lots of 1960s “sword and sandal” movies. They are Italy’s shameless gift to mankind. Have a manly man in a mini tunic week, everyone!