Friday, August 26, 2016

What's Rambo Doing on His Day Off? #20

Having conversations with whales while scuba diving!

BONUS!: What's Colonel Trautman Doing on His Day Off? #1

Listening to the radio while winter camping!

As seen in Rambo: The Force of Freedom episode 30: Snow Kill.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Working Out With Hulk Hogan

If you’re anything like me, there are two main obstacles to getting fit: lack of motivation and boredom with your workout routine. That’s why, in a recent bid to get my life together, I jumped into an eBay bidding war for the ultimate in exercise technology: a 1985 cassette titled “Hulkamania Workout Set 40 Minute Audio Program.”

That’s right, Hulk Hogan, known worldwide for his 24-inch pythons and also for his large biceps, shared all his most effective workout secrets with the world over 30 years ago. Honestly, knowing this, it’s kind of surprising there’s even an obesity epidemic in America anymore.

$15 later, it was mine. I set it up in my living room, put some athletic gear on… and hit play.

Things begin with the ring of a bell and an announcement that Hulk Hogan is still the champion of the world to the sound of his original theme song, which—true fact!—was later repurposed into “Ravishing”, the second-best Bonnie Tyler song of all time. Give it a listen and just try not to slam that big nasty giant Big John Studd afterwards:

After a few bars of the tune, Hulk himself finally speaks: “Whoa whoa whoa whoa!” Apparently Hulk is recording this on a whim after a match, an impressive feat of multitasking.

The Hulkster launches immediately into a five-minute motivational speech about the benefits of exercising (including saying that he needs “good, strong tag team partners!” which seems like a bit of false advertising). We’re dealing with a very early Hogan here, one who hasn’t quite got a handle yet on all his trademark catchphrases. For example, instead of throwing out a classic “brother” at the end of all his sentences, he’s saying “Daddy” instead. Pretty off-putting. Also, he is repeatedly calling working out “hangin’ and bangin’”, which is so weird that I love it.

Ten minutes in and there’s still no sign of a workout. Instead, Hulk is going through a five-point list of workout—excuse me: hangin’ and bangin’—tips.
1. “Take it easy when you first start.” Done and done, Hulkster.
2. “Dress properly. Wear something loose and always wear sneakers.” Because I was doing this in my dining room, I was going socks only. Nobody tell Hulk, please.
3. “Make sure you have plenty of room. Don’t work out in a place where you could trip over rugs or anybody’s old sneakers!” This tip is so specific that I have to imagine Hulk once hurt himself by trying to hang and bang in a shoe closet.
4. “Pick a time to workout that is convenient for you.” AKA “I needed to come up with an extra tip to get to a nice round five in total.”
4.5 “Always wait an hour or so after a meal before you exercise.” I think that’s a swimming rule, Hulk.
5. “Workout with the help of an adult.” I had this one covered! After I bought the tape, I’d convinced my tag team partner in life for the past nine years to join me for this momentous event. However, when it was time to finally start with the hangin’ and the bangin’, she backed out, claiming she’d already been to the gym that day. Betrayal! Now I know how the Hulkster felt when Miss Elizabeth chose stay in a neutral corner during the main event of Wrestlemania V.
Finally, it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty. First: the warm-up, in which Hulk instructs me to run in place, do some jumping jacks (“Get those arms way out there!”), and then jump rope for a few minutes each. At this point, I realized that the tape was originally sold with actual hangin’ and bangin’ equipment. I would have to make do with common household objects. In this case, my common household imaginary jump rope.

Next up: stretching! The Hogan Method of Stretching involves doing three different stretches for a total of five minutes. “Do the other three tomorrow!” says Hulk, seemingly implying that there are only six total stretches in all of existence. I think stretching theory has advanced greatly over the last 30 years.

Finally, without any more pretense or instruction (which would have been helpful, as there has been not one hint of a discussion on technique on this tape so far), the Hulkster says it’s time to start hangin’ and bangin’. From this point on, the rest of the tape is mostly a musical accompaniment to your workout. Luckily, the music is great—lyric-less ‘80s rock with plenty of synths and sax solos.

And in case you’re slowing down? Every 20 or 30 seconds, the Hulkster pops in with encouraging comments! Some of my favorites: “Keep a pushin’ and a pumpin’!” “Don’t you dare give it up, man!” “Push! Push, little dude!” In a low voice: “Don’t slow dowwwwwn… the Hulkster’s watchin’ you!”

This continues until the tape just stops out of nowhere.

More of the same here, except that as the tape rolls on, Hulk’s comments get noticeably further and further apart. Either the Hulkster was running out of things to say, or, more likely, whoever edited the tape didn’t do their math correctly.

Then, before you can even lift an ice cream maker over your head for the 50th time, Hulk yells “BODY COOLDOWN! We’re not done until the cooldown is completed! You gotta be too cool to fool!” And there it is. The first tangible workout tip of the entire tape: If you don’t cool down after hangin’ and bangin’, you’re vulnerable to being fooled. And the best part is this: since he said it before I cooled down, I believe it, brother!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Let's Talk About Rambo: Episode 29: Lagoon of Death

John Rambo and KAT are chilling in Venice, overseeing the renovations to a historic museum. Rambo appears to be super in art, but KAT probably wishes she was hyperextending somebody's elbow.

Incredibly, Gripper and Sgt. Havoc are riding by on a classic Venice gondola at just this moment. They're on their way to a local monastery, where they hope to force the monks to create high-tech missile nosecones from ceramics. They assume that the monks can do this within six hours of being kidnapped. After Gripper spots Rambo through his binoculars...

Apparently he was doing some sightseeing.
... Havoc can't help but take a few shots at Rambo and crew with a rocket launcher. The museum is almost destroyed and Rambo has to swing on a rope to save a burly workman while KAT just hangs out. Rambo asks KAT if she saw where the rockets were being fired from. KAT does not know.

"Why would anybody want to destroy this beautiful old building?" KAT asks, as though they just found some graffiti on the walls instead of just having three canal-to-air rockets shot at them.

SAVAGE's base turns out to be this really cute little house built out on the lagoon. General Warhawk is pissed that yet again Rambo has coincidentally shown up in the same location as one of his schemes. That's the risk you run when you've got schemes going down in literally every corner of the world, says I. Havoc reassures Warhawk that it's just because Rambo is "an art lover." They discover Rambo's hotel but it's too late to launch an assassination attempt tonight so they decide to wait until morning.

The next day, Rambo's pizza breakfast is interrupted by Mad Dog and his gang, who are riding their attack three-wheelers through the streets(?) of Venice and yelling that they "can't wait to cut that turkey into spaghetti!" Rambo stops lecturing KAT about the high quality of Venetian glassware just in time to fend off the attack by weaponizing his pizza, discus-style, and then turning his patio table into a deadly ramp that Mad Dog can't avoid jumping off of.

As Mad Dog escapes in a speedboat, Rambo gives chase in the attack jeep. He drives up ahead, gets on an overhanging bridge, and slices off the back half of their boat with a surprisingly short burst of machine gun fire!

Then he jumps on the sinking boat and beats the crap out of him.
It might be the most Rambo thing I've ever seen, and let me remind you that I've seen Rambo ride on the back of a great white shark.

From there, SAVAGE decides to put their plan—a plan Rambo would know nothing about if they hadn't alerted him to their presence in Venice twice for no reason—into action. Meanwhile, Rambo and Turbo are checking out an arm-wrestling bar in search of Havoc. The competitors refuse to tell Rambo anything unless he goes OVER THE TOP on their asses.

Which he does.
These arm wrestlers really know what's going on in town.

While Rambo does recon on the monastery in the attack chopper, the rest of the Force of Freedom meets with local political leaders to outline the situation. The mayor, concerned about his approval rating if the media finds out, wants to bomb the monastery—which apparently the media would be totally cool with?—but Rambo shows up just in time to stop him. It seems that there's for some reason a lot of precious art in the monastery that Rambo wants to preserve. The mayor agrees and offers him tanks, guns and planes. Rambo refuses: all he needs is some old clothes for KAT and one gondola full of fish.

You can guess what happens next.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

What's Rambo Doing on His Day Off? #19

Overseeing the renovations of a historic museum in Venice.

As seen in Rambo: The Force of Freedom episode 29: Lagoon of Death.

Monday, June 6, 2016

What's Rambo Doing on His Day Off? #18

John Rambo scales a tree and rescues a frankly embarrassed-looking cat from its vile branches. KAT, meanwhile, is nowhere to be seen.

As seen in Rambo: The Force of Freedom episode 28: Night of the Voodoo Moon.