Here's a word of advice to anyone thinking of letting a bunch of teenagers have the run of your house for the evening:
I'm not going to elaborate. Let's just say that I woke up with a hangover today and I haven't had a drink in weeks.
Did we scare them? Hell yes. And it was more out of a desire to wipe the punkass smile off of the faces of a few of the more obnoxious girls than a desire to make the party fun.
In the end, it was simplicity that did them in. We had no elaborate plan in place, we just winged it. While they were watching Texas Chainsaw Massacre in the living room, my hubsand revved up the chainsaw sounds on the computer in the adjacent office. While they were freaking out about that, my brother-in-law crept down the hallway in a hideous mask and wig outfit, holding a fake machete. He burst into the living room screaming like a maniac just as my sister and I started banging at the living room window, while wearing equally hideous masks.
It sounds lame, I know. But wow, did they crap their pants. Some of them refused to finish watching the movie because they were so freaked out by the scare that they went in Nat's room to watch the Friends DVD. Babies. DJ's friends - the 11 year olds - were the least scared out of the whole group. The 14 year old girls who swore all week that nothing scares them probably got very little sleep last night as my brother-in-law's masked visage haunted their minds.
And I'm happy about this because, let me tell you, the obnoxious level of 14 year old girls is always turned up to 11. I spent most of the night staring at the clock and willing it to move to the time when the parents would arrive to take their beasts home. When I finally got to bed, I dreamed that I was being attacked by a horde of teenage zombies who all had PMS. Worst. Dream. Ever.
I did invite them all back here today to clean up the yard, though.
Happy Halloween, everyone. Hope you get more treats than tricks. Unless, of course, you prefer the tricks. Getting them. Not turning them. Because that's a whole different meaning of getting candy in your bag.
[Side note: The lounge version of Disturbed's Down with the Sickness heard during Dawn of the Dead is inspired genius. If I can scare up an mp3 today, I'll post it.]
Dear local teenagers, As we approach the dawn of another Halloween, I would like to take this moment to have a word with you. I will say this once, and only once, and there will be no second chances. Not this year. If any one of you so much as looks at my pumpkins in a way other than admiration, I will pick your eyes out with a spork. If any of you dare approach those pumpkins, or my scarecrow, with theft and/or smashing in mind, I will chase you down the street and slice your hands off with a butter knife. If you have the balls to actually cross my property and touch my festive lawn decorations, I will slice your dick off with a razor blade and feed it to the rather large dog next door. If I find one ounce of shaving cream, whipped cream, or other cream-like substance on my car in the morning, I will hunt you down and make you lick it off until the car looks like new. Do not doubt me. Do not make me act upon my words. Just walk on by the house and don't even look. Thank you.It worked last year. Let's see what happens on the new block. I don't trust those kids next door. Now, go look at these famous monsters. Good stuff.
At some point, every child learns the valuable lesson of patience. Patience is a virtue, we tell them. Good things come to those who wait. Patience and fortitude conquer all things. (use of which always hammers home the point that Emerson is not quotable to the under 14 set).
Most kids learn the value of having patience through the anticipation the arrival of Santa Claus or the countdown to a long awaited family vacation. Not my son. He met his patience challenge with zombies.
The Dawn of the Dead DVD finally arrived on the shelves of our local Best Buy yesterday. I, like any good mother would, used my lunch hour yesterday to go buy my eleven year old son the unedited, unrated version of a zombie movie.
But oh, the look on his face when I got home. It looked something like this. As I pulled up in front of the house, he came lumbering out of the front door, approaching the car with arms extended, legs all awkward and moaning like he hadn't had a good brain to eat in days. He grabbed the DVD from my hand, mumbled something about brains and sped off to his room.
Hours later (those hours interrupted by a bout of homework and a trip to religious ed) he emerged from his room, wild-eyed and grinning.
So, was it worth the wait?
Well, you know how sometimes you think something is the greatest thing ever, that nothing can ever beat it?
So, I though all this time that Dawn of the Dead was the greatest movie ever, but now that I'm watching it again, it's not. But that's good.
'Cause if I saw the best movie ever when I'm 11, then there would be nothing to look forward to.
Ah, the mind of a young boy.
It was interesting to watch him wait for the arrival of this DVD. He had a countdown going on his computer. Every day, he would announce how many days left until the release. Every Friday, he would go to the movie site, where they would show a different clip each week. While he was waiting, he took the time to become an expert on all things zombie. He read through my copy of The Zombie Survival Guide. He watched other zombie movies like the original Night of the Living Dead (review: awesome for an old flick!) and 28 Days Later (review: that wasn't a zombie movie! HUGE rip-off!) and then we went to see Shaun of the Dead (review: can we sit through it again? Please?!). (I tell you, it was a very proud moment for this mother when he got the "We're coming to get you Barbara" reference in Shaun.) He scoured the internet for stories about zombies, learned how to kill them, how to summon them and how to dress like one for Halloween.
To say he obsesses about things is an understatement. Once DJ takes a liking to something, he goes all out with it. Not content to just watch a zombie movie, he has to completely submerge himself in the zombie lore and culture. His world becomes a focused, intent place in which he will take his given obsession of the moment and relate it to anything that is happening around him.
This obsessive sort of behavior started very early. When he was about two years old, he had a collection of little Disney movie figures that he kept in a plastic bin. These figures were collected via many trips to McDonald's or Toys R Us and, let me tell you, it was a very complete collection. Because you couldn't have just one Little Mermaid figure. You had to have them all. Once I bought Ariel, it was a slippery slope right down to Eric, King Trident and that sea hag that looked like a fat, wet Malificent. Yes, I was enabling his addiction. Make no mistake about where DJ got his obsessive compulsive trait from.
Anyhow, one day we were putting his toys away for the evening. As usual, he had them all lined up around the living room in the straightest line possible, one little Disney character after another. I'd say there was about 80 figures in his collection at that time. I gathered them all up and threw them in the bin, which I then placed in his room, right next to his bed, per the usual routine. Five minutes after I left him in his room I heard a scream. I went running back in and found DJ staring in horror at the jumble of plastic figures in the bin.
Ho-hant-as? Ho-hant-as? He was pointing at the figures. I looked at my son, looked at the bin and though, no way. Sure enough, I went into the living room, got on my hands and knees, and found Pocohantas under the radiator. That, my friends, is what you call obsessive. A two year old looking into a tub filled to the brim with little plastic princes and animals and widowers knew immediately that his Ho-hant-as was missing.
And that was just the first of all the obsessive phases DJ went through. Power Rangers. Star Wars. Oh god, the Star Wars phase. He was three and knew every single character, vehicle and weapon. And the sports. He didn't just watch baseball or hockey or football. He lived, ate and breathed those sports. He knew Don Mattingly's batting average on days when it was below 75 degrees. He knew the number of every player on every NHL team. He picked my football teams for the office pool every week when he was five. With point spreads. I came in first place that year.
The phases would go as fast as they would arrive, and I'd be left with boxes of paraphenelia associated with the various obsessions. This is what happens when a woman with an addictive personality has a son with obsessive traits. I fed his action figure/trading card/video game hunger with reckless abandon. Pokemon? We caught them all.
At some point, I learned to stop feeding his obsessive needs. Probably when I sat down and figured out how much money I spent on all that Pokemon crap. But something went wrong when DJ started his horror movie phase. I couldn't help it. All those years of restraint had built up against the wall I created and the dam burst. Can you blame me? What better way for mother and son to bond than over a love of horror movies? What says quality time more than a shared viewing of George Romero classics? What better dinner conversation starter is there than:
Mom, if I got bit by a zombie would you kill me before or after I turned into one?
I gave him a blank stare. He turned to his stepfather.
Ok, Justin. What about you?
Justin didn't even blink. "I'd shoot you as soon as you got bit. Right between the eyes."
I blanched in horror. "You would not do any such thing. How could you kill my son while he was still....him?" I imagined the scenario in my mind. DJ writhing on the floor, blood pouring from his zombie infected wound, the undead hovering around him, waiting for dinner. My motherly instincts kicked in. "I would wait. I would wait until I saw that you were no longer my son, but some hideous creature. Then I would kill you. Maybe."
I looked expectantly at him. He stared hard at me.
"Bzzzz. Wrong answer! Justin is right!" DJ shook his head disapprovingly and Justin sat there all smug, laughing.
"I would expect you to kill me, mom. You don't take chances with the undead. Duh."
Duh. Well, at least we were actually conversing over dinner instead of watching the Simpsons and that's always something to be happy about. Even if the conversation did revolve around zombies.
And so, everything is zombies today and will be until this new DVD wears out its welcome, which probably won't be anytime soon given all the extras on it*. DJ will pop out from under the couch at odd times pretending to bite us and he'll quiz us on various aspects of zombie survival. And he'll critique the movie to no end.
Modern zombies suck, he says. They're too fast and they think too much. He thinks the movie would have been better if the zombies were more like those in Night of the Living Dead.
Of course, he still thinks it was worth the wait and all the countdowns. I'm just glad that part of it is over, as he can now concentrate on things like, oh, how many days until his book report ('Salem's Lot) is due.
I was about to mention this to him last night when he said "How many days until Land of the Dead?"
Well, at least this particular obsession doesn't cost me much money. And I'm really glad he's keeping his obsession with Lindsay Lohan's boobs mostly to himself.
* One part of the extras is the anatomy of exploding heads.
Now that the end of the year is barreling down on us, ger ready for hundreds of pretentious music snobs, writing for pretentious magazines, giving you lists with titles like Albums from 2004 You Better Own If You Want to Be Cool and itís stupid brother If You Own These Recent Albums Youíre a Dork or an Asshole or Both.
Yea, so I write a lot of lists myself. But I donít phrase the titles in such a way that Iím pointing my finger at you and calling you an idiot for not liking my music, nor do I word my accompanying article in a fashion that says I am superior to you in taste and intellect because my record collection can beat up your record collection.
Iím not much for year end lists, anyhow. If you narrow yourself down to one particular year, sometimes youíll get stuck with 365 days of sucky music and, then what? Instead of a top ten, you have a top five? Or a top negative ten? Yea, there are a lot of Worst Albums of the Year lists, but they read more like the authorís middle finger salute to music he hates, rather than a critical look at albums that were supposed to be the Next Big Thing and turned into the Next Big Drink Coaster.
Besides, half of these year end lists consists of bands you and I have never heard of. Theyíre bands that you only know of if your indie cred is up to date, bands that no one in your circle of friends has ever heard of but every High Fidelity-type record store employee raves about, and you wonder if indie music is like a dog whistle and you can only hear it if youíre wearing an oversized sweater, black rimmed glasses and a permanent ironic smile.
My biggest rock critic/music list pet peeve is the use of the word IMPORTANT in any list title. Just because you think itís important doesnít make it so. Maybe you believe that Nevermind was the Most Important Record Ever because it paved the way for all the grunge bands that followed, but there are millions of us who hate if for that very reason.
You know what I want in a criticís list? Honesty. Donít give me some standard pretentious claptrap as to why Rolling Stoneís Exile on Main Street ranks right up there with the discovery of penicillin. Be honest. You love the album because itís what was playing on the stereo when you finally got that goofy looking chick from the record store to make out with you. I can get behind that. Thatís important. Setting industry standards and enlightening legions of 12 year olds with guitars takes a back seat to flashbacks of banging MaryAnne Brady every time you hear Tumbling Dice.
Just once I would love to see a smug critic put something totally mainstream on his list amidst all the earnest, self-aware bands. Like, right in between Songs Written on a Bleak Afternoon in Prague and This Album Title is Really an Obscure Reference to a 13th Century Philosopher, there would be the latest offering from Papa Roach, with the explanation that it makes the critic feel like a pre pubescent boy just discovering his dick, and he likes that.
Why, yes. I am going to put up or shut up.
Some of my most important albums ever and why they are important to me:
Stabbing Westward, Darkest Days
Because there is nothing like listening to the pathetic whining of someone with a stalkerish obsession with a girl that dumped him to remind you of just how pathetic and whiny and stalkerish you were when you were dumped. Thereís nothing like reliving past bouts of self-hatred to make you appreciate the fact that you donít hate yourself quite so much anymore.
Little Feat - Dixie Chicken
Because it reminds me of that summer we spent eating mescaline and sometimes, flashbacks rock.
Type O Negative - October Rust
Because it makes me horny. Hey, I said Iíd give you honesty.
Tool - Undertow
This album was in constant rotation on my stereo in October of 1996, which just so happens to be around the time that I kicked my then husband out of the house. Good times, good times.
Pantera - Vulgar Display of Power
Because it stokes my hatred for you. And I live off of deep, black hatred for humanity. Itís what keeps my soul from shriveling up and dying.
Bloodhound Gang - One Fierce Beer Coaster
Because I have the sense of humor of a twelve year old and Iím not afraid to admit it or revel in it.
Nine Inch Nails - The Downward Spiral
Because wallowing in angry misery is a favorite hobby of mine, right up there with opening old wounds and stabbing myself in the heart repeatedly.
Oasis - (Whatís the Story) Morning Glory
Because listening to this reminds me that deep inside, I am not as hardcore as you think I am. We should all face our internal wimpiness every so often. Champagne Supernova, baby.
Faith No More - Album of the Year
Because, despite all of the wallowing and hating I do, despite all my idiosyncrasies and neurotic behavior, my husband loves me.
I'm sure I could do this all day, but lunch is waiting. And if you're going to tell me yours, be honest.
Update: You people are LAME. I said honest. I don't care if an album has good guitar riffs or sparkling vocals. I can read that shit in Spin magazine, for the love of jeebus. I don't want to hear what you think of the bass lines, I want to hear that you like an album because you masturbated to it every night during tenth grade. Balls, people! Grow some!
While a good ghost story goes a long way all year round, there's no time like the season of autumn to hear tales of terror. It's not just the particular holiday of Halloween that makes it so; there's more to the spookiness of autumn than that.
Perhaps it's the way the branches of trees start to poke out from where they hid all summer under the leaves. They claw at the sky like bony fingers, making the baring trees look like skeletons rising from the ground.
Perhaps it's the way it gets dark so early and long shadows creep up on you in late afternoon, scaring the sunlight away.
Perhaps it's the crunching of the dead leaves underfoot, the crisp sound echoing in the open space of autumn like the cracking of bones.
Perhaps it's the bright harvest moon, whose eerie face seems to mock you as you walk alone down a dark street, or the sudden onslaught of flocks of sinister looking birds that swoop down by the hundreds with their cacophony of screaming caws and shrieks.
Or perhaps it's just the aura of death around you, as the grass turns a sickly brown and the summer's last hold on the once thriving flowers loses its battle against the cold, turning the flowers into dried out corpses.
I always loved a ghost story, especially if it was being told by a person who knew the art of storytelling; the pitch, the voice, the dramatic pauses all have to be done to perfection in order to make the story come to life. The right storyteller can make even a mundane tale seem frightening. Both my parents had this gift; to this day I get shivers whenever I think of my father's story about the evil Rigatoni. Sounds stupid, doesn't it? But it was told in early fall on a dark night in upstate New York, with bats flying into the window and trees rustling against the house. My father, by adding the right tone of creepy to what was some nonsense he had been ad-libbing, managed to freak us all out with the story of a renegade piece of pasta. That is a gift.
Of course, the way to ensure that any ghost story you are listening to will give you a good scare is to believe. Listening to my mom or dad share their tales of terror was even better when I was fully, 100%, unequivocally sure that the stories were either true or could really happen. As they recited the stories, I would mumble to myself I do believe in ghosts, I do believe in ghosts, like an incantation that would make sure the necessary goose bumps raised up on my arms. But believing in things that live in the dark has its downfalls, as once you actually got into the dark when the storytelling was done - in your bedroom, by yourself - you suddenly did not want to believe in ghosts. You wanted to believe in anything but. Scary stories are a lot of fun when you're huddled around with your favorite cousins and few adults and the smell of popcorn and hot chocolate wafts out from the kitchen. Alone in the night with no one but a stuffed kitten for company and the ominous smell of autumn coming in the window, the stories take on a life of their own. Your bed is an oasis and your feet must not touch the floor or even peek out from under the covers or the dusty corpse of a long-ago buried witch would surely grab you by your toes and proceed to eat you alive, not stopping until she swallows your soul. And when the bed creaks or a branch scrapes against the window, you wish, wish, wish with all your might and your eyes squeezed shut tight that never said you believe in monsters and spirits and evil that walks the night because if you don't believe they can't hurt you. When daylight finally arrives, after a night of horrific dreams, you do it all over again because daytime has a way of making you naively brave.
And so it is time for ghost stories again. Ghost story, in this case, is all encompassing. It's a catch-all for tales that scare, creep, frighten or chill. There could be ghosts or goblins, witches or zombies, spirits looking for revenge or bloody limbs strewn across a graveyard. They could be tales that people swear to be true or tales that are too bizarre to believe, yet scare you nonetheless. They are stories read from books or orally passed down from generation to generation; stories that take place in locations we know or far away lands we hope to never go. Sure, they are all scary enough on any day of the year but, told in the thick of autumn, they take on a more sinister, terrifying tone. Just the way it should be.
Todays's featured ghost stories:
Jen at cupandsaucer will be telling a different story each day this week. Today she recants some ghostly tales from when she lived in Hawaii.
Thomas Hardy's The Withered Arm
I'll be posting one of my favorite ghost stories later. Hopefully you'll print it out and share it with any easily-frightened friends or family you have. If you've got a ghost story to share, let me know. I can always use some new material.
Vote for this or against it. It really isn't that complicated.You would have a cow. A big, loud, heavily-linked cow. Here's what's written on the above linked blog, under the now infamous Abu Ghraib photo, the one that has become the left's catch-all symbol of this election.
The world is watching. The world wants to know which America is the real America: the one which offers a vision of a better world, a more liberal and free world, a safer and more just world... or the one in this picture, a world brought to you by George Bush and his administration and for which no-one of any consequence has been held accountable.Peace and democracy is not an either/or proposition. Bad things will happen during wartime. Ugly things, horrible, unspeakable things. Just ask John Kerry. But those things do not mean that everything we are working for in Iraq will be null and void. Abu Ghraib does not spell the end of good in Iraq. We can still have our vision of a better world, a more liberal and free world, a safer and more just world. I am a Bush voter and I want all those things. In the eyes of someone who believes it as simple as torture/no torture, I don't expect that reality to be seen. I don't expect that you will believe that's what I want because it does not fit in with your pre-conceived notions about who I am and what I stand for and against. To open up your mind to the possibility that not all Bush supporters are fondling themselves to pictures of Lynndie England would just poke an enormous hole in your theory that we are all redneck, violent thugs who hate all Arabs. For me, this is the symbol of Iraq. Not this. I deal in hope, not despair. Which, when you think about it, sort of sums up how the left and the right use Iraq in their campaigning. When George Bush said you are either with us or against us, the left called him simplistic and divisive. But aren't you saying the same thing now? You are either for torture or against Bush and there's no wiggle room in which you can be against torture and for Bush? That doesn't sound simplistic and divisive to you? I understand your point to an extent, and I understand that you are using Abu Ghraib as a metaphor for the entire Bush administration and everything it has done in the past four years. I understand your point, but I do not agree with it. However, it would take me hours and pages to write here why I don't agree with you. Because I understand that the choice we will all make in nine days is not one as simple as black v. white.
So Eliot Spitzer, ever the crusader, is at it again. But this time, I'm going to cut him some slack. While I'm not a big fan of Spitzer or any of his ego-boosting crusades through the halls of perceived justice, he has finally hit upon an issue that speaks to my heart: radio payola.
Yes, I know. We live in troubled times. War, famine, pestilence, whatever that other horseman is. Death? Sure. Lots of death. So why is Eliot (and I) so worried about what radio stations are playing? Well, if you're living in a world of impending doom, wouldn't you want that doom to come down on you with a good soundtrack? Who wants to die to repeated airing of the last Clay Aiken single? Not I.
Ok, so that's probably not Spitzer's intent. Most likely his intent has more to do with next election day than really caring about what radio stations play during the afternoon drive time, a time when Spitzer is most likely sharpening his claws or feeding his piranhas.
According to several people involved, investigators in Mr. Spitzer's office have served subpoenas on the four major record corporations - the Universal Music Group, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, the EMI Group and the Warner Music Group - seeking copies of contracts, billing records and other information detailing their ties to independent middlemen who pitch new songs to radio programmers in New York State.
[....]Broadcasters are prohibited from taking cash or anything of value in exchange for playing a specific song, unless they disclose the transaction to listeners. But in a practice that is common in the industry, independent promoters pay radio stations annual fees - often exceeding $100,000 - not, they say, to play specific songs, but to obtain advance copies of the stations' playlists. The promoters then bill record labels for each new song that is played; the total tab costs the record industry tens of millions of dollars each year.
Did you understand that? If not, don't worry about it. It's not important here. What's important is that we all see through the sham that is rock and roll radio.
See, the program directors think we, the listening audience, are stupid. Case in point: You're driving home from work, flipping through the very shallow offerings of radio stations in your area (this is assuming you, like me, cannot afford to have satellite radio in your car and you're stuck with just a handful of radio stations that run the gamut from the classic rock of Freebird to that insipid new Bowling for Soup song, yet combined they manage to have about 300 songs total on their playlists) and you hit upon the local - and only - real rock station, the definition of real rock being open for debate. Here, that station is K-Rock. You hear the opening riff to a song. Could it be? Could that be...YES! They are actually playing a Toadies song. Sure, it's Possum Kingdom, but at least it's the Toadies, which they very rarely play on this station. So you're all happy thinking that maybe there was some DJ meeting at K-Rock and the program director told them to go freestyle, play what they want, when they want, just go all apeshit on the air with some good, unscheduled tunes.
Monkeys, butts, etc.
See, later that night you are driving to the Dairy Barn for a gallon of milk and a loaf of bread and a chance to escape from your children. You turn on the radio in the hopes that K-Rock has turned over a new leaf and you'll be able to rock out to some good, non Billboard rock for the 45 second ride to the store. And what do you hear? Possum Kingdom. Your initial reaction is wtf? (until you realize that acronyms don't work outside the internet so you say out loud, to the radio, what the fuck?) and it dawns on you that the powers that be at K-Rock think you are stupid.
Here's how that DJ meeting really went:
Program Director: Ok, we need to appear cool and hip and whatnot in order to counterbalance the amount of absolute crap we are playing.
DJ: Uh, why do we play crap, then?
PD: Because Karl Rove tells us to. Hah, just kidding. Because our bosses tell us to.
DJ: What do the bosses know? They don't even like this music.
PD: No, but they like the bags of cash that the record companies, agents and promoters drop off on the roof of the building every Friday morning!
All DJs: Hahahahahah!
PD: I'm not joking. Now here's the playlist for today. Oh, and every once in a while - ok, every hour - play the Toadies Possum Kingdom so we appear cool and hip and whatnot. Next week, we'll change it to something from Tool's first album.
DJ: Are our listeners that stupid?
PD: They bought the latest Limp Bizkit album, didn't they?
DJ: Ohh, good point.
And that's my interpretation of how it works at K-Rock, which really has nothing to do with the Eliot Spitzer thing I mentioned above. As far as I can tell, Spitzer is pissed because radio stations are circumventing the payola laws with secret handshake deals and contracts written in invisible ink. Which would explain why the local station whose playlist consists almost entirely of Stairway to Heaven, Freebird and Hotel California will suddenly break out the new Green Day record. It also - perhaps - explains the popularity of Modest Mouse. Come on Epic Record, fess up. You're lining the press release envelopes with cash, aren't you? It doesn't however, explain the popularity of Nickelback. As far as I know, Roadrunner records isn't exactly flowing with the green. The only explanation I can think of is that the lead singer is actually a hypnotist who mesmerizes the vulnerable into buying their albums. Which, in a way, is more nefarious than payola. What if Chad Kroeger has been teaching his hypnotic, evil skills to Ashlee Simpson? What if he holds monthly meetings in which he and Roadrunner records give workshops to the likes of Jimmy Eat World (whose new offering sounds suspiciously like Livin La Vida Loco)? Perhaps Spitzer should be looking into this instead. The world is in enough trouble as it is. Imagine five horsemen. War, Famine, Pestilence, Death and Kelly Clarkson. That should make us all shudder.
I'm in a mood today. It's party the weather, partly an abundance of rude people looking for confrontations and partly some really insipid emails, one of which said "I just discovered your blog and I'm too lazy to go through the archives so can you tell me about yourself because you don't have an about page and I'd like to know what makes you tick, like what you like and don't like and what you think about certain issues because I think people should know upfront your biases and stuff, like I was reading at Instpundit and some other blogs talking about biases." Just like that. No punctuation. Breathe, girl, breathe.
I'm sure I've said this all before, but it's worth repeating. I am under no obligation to be objective in my posts and I have every right to flaunt my biases, loud and clear. That's the difference between blogs and MSM. We don't have to hide behind a fake wall of fairness. The blogosphere is, and should be, a WYSIWYG world. So, in tribute to that thought and in order to give full disclosure to each and every one of you, I will announce every single one of my biases right up front so you can check back to this post every once in a while just to know where I stand and to be sure that you are getting the utmost in biased, non-objective writing that I can give you. You can see right up front where I stand on all issues. I think this will save some of you a lot of time and effort, considering the lot of you who often comment with suggestions on what news I should be presenting and how I should be presenting it, or - my favorite - try to tell me what I should be thinking/doing/eating/reading/writing in order to be a better person (read: like you) or more informed (read: to view the world through the same filter as you). So, I present to you, my biases.
I support George Bush. In fact, I love George so much I want to have his babies. I am a Republican. I am not a Conservative. I like dick. Cheney, that is. I'm not so hot on Rumsfeld. I think he swallowed a land mine once and is going to burp it up at any given moment. I support gay rights, I'm walking a thin line between pro-life and pro-choice. I'm not that much into feminism. I don't read Ann Coulter and I don't listen to Rush Limbaugh. I think John Stewart is funny even when his bias goes completely opposite mine. I think John Kerry looks like he swallowed a swordfish. I hate his wife. I think she's an arrogant bitch, to be blunt about it.
I enjoy capitalism. I like money. I like spending money. You'll never see me diving into dumpsters for food even though I can afford a meal because that is the most ridiculous thing I ever heard of. In fact, I think most of those far leftie ideals are ridiculous. Hey, if you got your food out of a dumpster last night, thank the capitalist who made it possible for that leftover food to appear in the dumpster! I think PETA are mental terrorists. I think anarchists are just societal drop outs who have raised self-centeredness to an art form.
I hate the Mets and most Met fans. I hate the Cowboys, the New York Rangers and all of the NBA, but most especially the Knicks, who are the major reason why I stopped watching pro basketball. I think fighting belongs in hockey and I miss the days of the bench clearing brawls. I hate inter league play in baseball almost as much as I hate the DH. Duke sucks.
I don't care if you think my taste in music sucks. I like loud, obnoxious music with terrifying, offensive lyrics and bass lines that you can feel in your pancreas and drumming that would give your mother seizures. I also like slow, hypnotic music, and a lot of songs that don't have more than four chords throughout. I don't think Metallica sold out, but I think everything from Black on sucked like a Hoover. They've never made a better song than Battery. I love Pantera but hate Phil Anselmo. I think Faith No More is the best band that ever existed and I will fight you to the death on that. I like emo and some pop punk bands and I've been known to sing along to Air Supply songs. I hate country music. I hate rapcore. Limp Bizkit is clearly a plague upon the ears, and that whole genre (see POD, etc.) is a bigger plague than the great 1990's epidemic of boy bands.
I like to read. I will read anything from children's books to forty pound biographies of Robert Moses. I read comic books and graphic novels and frankly, I don't care what you think about that. I do, however, think that Chuck Palahniuk is a hack who wrote one ok book that turned into a pretty good movie and one decent book that will probably turn into a shitty movie. I hate romance novels and I despise books that are laden with so much sap you'll contract diabetes just from reading them. I hate ironic post modernism and authors that take themselves too seriously for their own good. I love the Unfortunate Events books because not only are they good reads, but they teach kids that life can be a real bitch and there's not always going to be a fairy godmother that will come save your ass when someone is looking to give you the beatdown. I believe that kids need to know that so they don't turn into wimps who can't fend for themselves.
I hate what you're doing to your kids, by the way. You've turned them into pussies who whine at the slightest provocation and who freak out when they come upon a minute of their day that isn't scheduled for them. They're also rude, selfish and arrogant. I think my father's friend was right on all those years ago when he wore a shirt that said children should be seen and not heard. Well, it goes for your children, at least. Shut them up, please. You really need to inform them that the world does not owe them a living. Unless, of course, you think it does. Then you're a crappy parent.
I'm sick of multi-culturalism. I don't want to read every single pamphlet, instruction card or traffic sign in ten different languages. I don't want to have to include your holiday traditions in mine. I think my kids should be able to sing about Santa Claus in school, right after they sing about dreidels. I'm tired of trying not to offend you with my own traditions and cultures. You live in America? Then you're an American. When my son had to bring in something from his culture to school, he brought in a baseball mitt. Because he's American. We're about as Italian as the cooks at Olive Garden. And you know, I really don't mind people who want to speak their native tongue while living here, I just don't want them to do it while they are attempting to take my burger order. If you don't speak the language well enough to be understood by the customers, go cook fries or work in the stock room and leave the order taking to people who speak my language. Oh wait, that can't be done because the youth of America some time ago decided that menial retail/fast food jobs were beneath them and now they just sponge off their parents until they decide what it is they want to do with their lives. Or worse, they dive in dumpsters for their meal and feel smugly altruistic about it.
Speaking of food, I'm a carnivore. I love to eat dead animals. I don't care how a chicken died as long as its breast ends up on my dinner plate with some lemon pepper seasoning. I don't care how badly the cow was treated if the end result means steak au poivre for dinner tonight. I'm not going to cry for the penned pigs because I love bacon too much to care. Also, I think fur coats are ugly as sin and a woman weariing one looks like some upstate road kill, but I'm not gonna throw paint at you for wearing it. If it takes a carcass to keep you warm, so be it. Hey, I have lots of leather clothing. Eat the insides, wear the outsides. Good rule to live by.
Empire was better than A New Hope and Jedi mostly sucked. Ewoks ruined everything. I hated Ghost World. Everyone said I was going to love it. I thought it was a piece of pretentious, self-aware crap. 90% of my television viewing, aside from news, is of animated shows. There hasn't been a good prime time show that I revolved my schedule around since Twin Peaks. Ok, maybe Freaks and Geeks. I don't think I've laughed at a live action sitcom show since Barney Miller went off the air. If you laugh at America's Funniest Videos, then we probably don't share the same view of what's funny. Watching a redneck get kicked in the nuts by a snot nosed kid week after week is just not hi-lar-ious. You know what is? A shape shifting glob of meat and his french fried buddy.
I'm an atheist. I really don't want to read your ten page emails on how you're going to save my soul. I don't need anyone else to tell me what to believe or not believe in. You know what I believe? That most people are complete morons. I believe this world is weighted heavily toward the stupid and some day they are just going to take over and then we'll be left with nothing but Jerry Lewis movies to entertain us and caution labels on everything, including our bodies.
I hate rude people. How to tell if you are rude? Do you step into an elevator before the people exiting have gotten a chance to get out? Do you park in handicapped spaces when your are not really permitted to do so? Do you talk over other people or always make the converstation revolve around you? Do you use your cell phone in a movie theater? Do you leave your empty shopping cart right up against someone else's car? Do you not use deodorant even when it's 90 degrees out? Do you use those stupid walkie talkie cell phones in public so that every single person within a 500 foot radius knows that your girlfriend caught a case of crabs from her first cousin? Do you endlessly beep on your horn in front of your boyfriend's house when picking him up, even at 1am? Do you tell people what to blog or how to blog or do you treat someone else's comments section as your own personal forum, replete with tons of links back to your own blog and threadjacking discussions that revolve around you and your opinions? All so very rude. Especially the elevator thing.
Well. That felt good. Honesty really is the best policy, you know. Probably keeps the advertisers away, but they weren't banging down the door, anyhow.
[Added by request]
Pizza toppings are good. Traditional pizza toppings, that is. Pepperoni, mushrooms, onions, peppers - all good. Once you get into pineapple, you lose me. I mean, if you're going to take off the cheese and sauce and top the thing with lettuce, tomato and salad dressing, don't call it a salad pizza. Call it what it is - a side salad with bread. A pizza isn't a pizza unless it's got sauce and cheese on it. Putting salsa, ground beef and sour cream on a pie doesn't make it a taco pizza, it makes it a big ass tostada. Doesn't anyone make real pizza anymore? The kind where the cheese slides down your throat and you have to soak up the extra grease with napkins?
[Added in response to a comment about Stairway to Heaven being the best song ever].
Let me dip into my archives to give you my very biased opinion on that fallacy:
There was a time when I considered Led Zeppelin to be gods. Most people my age went through that phase. We quoted lyrics left and right and debated the meaning behind each song. Plant and Page were geniuses, deep thinkers, philosophers.
Yea, right. What passes for deep thinking to a 14 year old mesmerized by heavy guitars and pounding rythms and Robert Plant's hair turns into foolishness and pretension when you take away the haze of few joints and flights of teenage fancy.
I mean, they were a good band - I loved them once upon a time, and yes I had teenage girl dreams about Robert Plant. But all these years later my passion has diminished as I realize I was being had by the greatest lyrical con-artists in history.
If there are any other biases of mine you would like to know about or any other issues you would like to know my feelings on, be they important or ridiculously inane, let me know while I'm in the ranting mood, which may or may not last depending on how much tryptophan is my lunch today or how much of this repressed baseball anger I let go over at Total Fark today. I'll probably end up turning this into the longest About the Author page ever.
I'm home today with some flu-type thing and suffering from fever, chills, delerium and all sorts of other assorted symptoms - as well as a toothache that probably will not get taken care of today because my dentist's office staff are idiots.
I figured the best thing I could do would be to go back to sleep. You know, seal myself off from this dark, dreary day and all of my various ailments by cozying up in bed with extra blankets. To sleep, perchance to......dream.
And dream I did. I won't bore you with the entire story line of the dream. Instead I'll just relay this one defining moment, which succintly summed up every single thing I have been thinking about in the last 24 hours:
I was standing in my parents' basement, near the oil burner, which looked more like an old time furnace. Flames were shooting out the furnace, licking the ceiling and lighting the wooden beams on fire. Freddy Kruger himself stood before me, decked out in his striped t-shirt and signature hat. He was holding a baseball bat in one hand (I recognized it as my signed Dan Pasqua bat, long since forgotten about) and was wearing a catcher's mitt on the other hand. Long, sharp claws extended through the worn leather of the mitt.
As the fire raged all around, Freddy's face started to change. In rapid succession, his face changed a million times at least, each new face disappearing too quickly for me to figure out who I was looking at. The changes occurred in a morph-like way, from top to bottom, and it looked like a slot machine with an endless supply of faces had embedded itself in Freddy's face. The Pope, Karl Rove, my boss, my dentist, Johnny Damon, Johnny Depp, the genie from Aladdin - they all made millisecond appearances on Freddy's visage. The slot machine movement finally slowed down and settled on one face: Tim McCarver's. I tried to scream but, of course, nothing came out. Tim started yelling about extra innings, waving the bat around and clawing at the charred beams above the furnace. One of the beams fell down on him, crushing his chest. When he fell to the floor, I went over to him and pulled the beam off, revealing a gaping hole where his heart should have been. For some reason, I reached for McCarver's wallet. I was suprised to see it was cheap leather, not the real thing. Inside the wallet were three pictures: one of Al Leiter and two of Tim McCarver. As the flames danced around me and the heat became almost unbearable, my only thought was who the hell would carry a picture of himself in his own wallet, let alone two? Then I noticed a piece of paper tucked behind the photos. I pulled it out. It was a blank absentee ballot from Florida. I thought to myself, I wonder who Freddy Kruger would vote for? I grabbed my Dan Pasqua bat off the floor, smashed Freddy/McCarver in the head. I was finally able to find my voice and I screamed with each blow "Just. Shut. Up!" Then I got tired and woke myself up.
Scary part is, this kind of dream was quite normal for me. But unlike most of my dreams, this one could probably be analyzed with some accuracy.
Remember that you are completely blocked from the outside world, you only read newspapers and books allowed by the government, the rest are censored. You only watch state-sponspored tv channels. Websites that are 'unacceptable' are blocked by state-sponspored Internet providers. The government tells you that 'this is for your own good', they protect you from 'the other' which is trying to poison your thoughts, undermine your faith, and destroy your traditions. Your fellow countrymen who inadvertently step over the lines are strictly 'punished' by the state because they have become 'spies' and 'agents'. Anyone else who dares to ask for more liberties, reforms, who criticises or acts against the ruler/government/state is an enemy acting on behalf of Zionists and imperialists, or is part of a grand plan (that has been planned for centuries) against 'the revolution' or the historical role of the ummah/Caliph/Sultan/ruler/government/state. The above situation is not out of George Orwell's 1984, it is what all Iraqis for the last 50 years had to endure.Perhaps the good people of the Iraq photo project could go tell Zeyad that they are sorry he and his family no longer have to live like that. Here's one of my favorites. The sign reads: We hold no hatred for the Iraqi people. Who does? Are they saying that those of us who are pro-war or the administration itself hates Iraqis? You can read a whole lot into one sentence and I'm sure this nice old couple really believes that our soldiers are over there fighting because we hate the citizens of Iraq. Here's another. The sign reads: We apologize for the suffering inflicted on the Iraqi people in our name. Great, we'll pass that message onto Alaa, who says: bq. Hail our true friends, the Great People of the United States of America; The Freedom giving Republic, the nation of Liberators. Never has the world known such a nation, willing to spill the blood of her children and spend the treasure of her land even for the sake of the freedom and well being of erstwhile enemies. I would like to know how the good people of Ohio who express the sentiments know just how the Iraqi people feel? Have they gone their to visit with them? Talked to them? Asked them at all? Or do they just know what their liberal brethren relay to them through the wonders of the internet and oh, so truthful sites like Indymedia and Iraq Body Count. This one says: We are all God's children. Forgive us. Forgive us. For this - bq. Today we were freed for ever from the fear that a man and his family might once again control Iraq. Is that what you are sorry for? These people are ashamed. They beg forgiveness. bq. There are so much potential for Iraq as a country not to mention the people of Iraq. Now they have tasted some freedom they will never let go of it, I am certain of that. I am extremely optimistic about the new government and the new Iraq. Is that what they are sorry for? Takes balls to apologize for bringing people out of a brutal regime. I'm not going to sit here and tell you that the war in Iraq is without its problems. Yes, I am aware of the deaths of the innocent. But the people involved in this photo project make it appear, with their words, as if we just woke up one day and decided to go kill us some Iraqis. For sport. We are not a barbaric nation. Our intentions are good. And someday, hopefully soon, our intentions will be fulfilled. Look at the picture of the child here. That child, living under Saddam's regimne, was dying from hunger. Would the folks who made those signs prefer this is the way it was left? Yes, children have died in the war. But there are 80,000 children in Iraq right now who are looking at a better future because we are liberating them. You want to see signs? Look at these signs seen in Iraq. Read the good news from Iraq here. There are eleven parts of this series so far. Eleven long pieces about the good news from Iraq. That's a lot of good news. But the people who want to apologize on behalf of the U.S. don't see that. In their complete arrogance, they overlook the amazing steps towards freedom that the citizens of Iraq are taking. It has not been easy and there are hard days ahead of them. But the members of the coalition are there to help them along, to build schools and hospitals, to train new police forces, to weed out the insurgents and terrorists who fear democracy. And yet there are people ashamed of that progress. There are people ashamed that we have taken it upon ourselves to help an oppressed nation help themselves towards a brighter future not just for Iraq, but for the Middle East. Perhaps those people are sorry for what the U.S. government has done, but they do not represent all of us. I certainly am sorry it was not a smooth, death-free process, but war never is. And without this war, the people of Iraq would still be being starved, killed, tortured, raped or just ignored by their own government. And they would be living without hope, which is something they certainly have now. You cannot build a good future without that hope and if that is what we have brought them, then I, for one, am not sorry. I am just sorry that there are American people who wish Iraq was still the way it was when Saddam was in power. These are the same class of people who want to end the war and pull the troops out now, leaving the Iraqis to fend for themselves against the warlords and terrorists who want to keep democracy at bay. Perhaps they should apologize to the hopeful citzens of Iraq for that.
Mavens are information geeks Ö they live on information, love to surface new information, and love to share that information with others. These are the people who are always bringing you new restaurant recommendations, new books to read, new products to use. Mavens and connectors have always been out there Ö the only problem was that their ability to connect and spread the message was primarily contained to those people with whom they lived or worked. The Internet, and weblogs in particular, have ďlit upĒ the otherwise latent power of mavens and connected them in a very real way. A weblog is nothing more than a megaphone for a maven Ö and the Internet serves to make mavens instantly connected to the rest of the world Ö and more important Ö to other mavens. Thereís a very important lesson here: bloggers should not be underestimated. They are not just average people Ö they are people who, long before blogs came along Ö had the ability to surface information and present it to others in a persuasive and compelling way. They are opinion leaders, and weblogs have only served to exponentially increase their reach and their power. Thereís a second lesson here: and itís that weblogs, are also read by other mavens. And so thereís an accelerant effect for information flowing through the network. When something comes up in the blogosphere itís talked about by a few thousand people who drive opinion for large networks of people around them Ö which is why the mainstream media ultimately has had to recognize issues raised by bloggers Ö theyíre things people are talking about. And thereís a third lesson: Itís that while the network kills brokers, it LOVES editors. Mavens are editors Ö the people around them trust them to cull the information thatís out there and surface whatís worth attending to. I donít bother to try every new restaurant in town Ö I rely on my local food maven to try them for me. I think that in the newsroom of the future the role of the editor will change Ö from someone who works primarily as a gatekeeper of the facts with an interest in quality, to someone who ďservesĒ the reader as a consumer based on an understanding of what readers will consider relevantRead the rest.
The Army is investigating up to 19 members of a supply platoon in Iraq who refused to go on a convoy mission, the military said yesterday. Relatives of the soldiers said the troops considered the mission too dangerous, in part because their vehicles were in poor shape. [...] On Wednesday, 19 members of the platoon did not show up for a scheduled 7 a.m. meeting in Tallil, in southeastern Iraq, to prepare for the fuel convoy's departure a few hours later, the military statement said. ''An initial report indicated that some of the 19 soldiers [not all] refused to participate in the convoy as directed," the military statement says. The Clarion-Ledger, citing interviews with relatives of some of the soldiers, said platoon members refused to go on Wednesday's mission because their vehicles were in poor condition and they had no capable armed escort. They were going to Taji, which is north of Baghdad. The mission was ultimately carried out by other soldiers from the 343d, which has at least 120 soldiers, the military said.My commentary here is not on the specifics of the story - I cannot put myself in the place of either a soldier who fears for his life or a commander that fears for the lives of his soldiers. I don't feel as if I know enough of what really went on there to comment on the "mutiny" aspect of the situation and I don't have the military background required to know the legal aspects of the situation. What alarms me is the cheerleading approach to this story taken by some on the left. Over at DU, they're calling the soldiers who refused the command heroes and hoping that more soldiers take similar actions. And suddenly they are making a big deal about "supporting the troops." I suppose a mass mutiny - which would spell certain disaster for the people of Iraq - would be a huge victory for the anti-Bush crowd. Here's some choice comments: bq. [thumbs up] soldiers, for knowing that your lives are not worth sacrificing for oil. This idea is championed throughout the comments on several other message boards I've been checking. Can you say projecting? How could they possibly know that these soldiers were thinking of the war being about oil when they decided to not follow their orders? It looks like they were thinking "our trucks are in crappy shape and we're gonna die," but that doesn't work as well as the fantasy that seventeen soldiers were chanting No blood for oil! as they broke rank.
Mutiny on the Bounty!! It is far past time. Let all our brave soldiers refuse illegal orders. It is far past time.Do these people put any thought into what they say? Do they think of the implications beyond what their selfish needs are? Apparently not. Imagine the scenario if all soldiers in Iraq suddenly refused orders. How do you think the "insurgents" would react? With bombs, gunfire, glee and victory, that's how. And then you'd have thousands of dead U.S. soldiers and who knows how many dead Iraqis. Ah, but I don't expect these people to think about the consequences of their words or to even think about the lives of the Iraqi people. The only time they bring them up is when they're touting their inflated body counts and blaming the deaths on "gung-ho" soldiers who love to kill, kill, kill. Does anyone see the hypocrisy here besides me?
I'm also SO proud of them for valuing their own lives more than Halliburton, and more than the military values them, and THINKING FOR THEMSELVES!! Woohoo! Freedom really IS on the march, just not where George Bush says it is.Again with the Halliburton. Yes, I'm sure that's what they were thinking about. Freedom on the march? What flavor Kool-Aid are you people drinking?
These 17 are troops that I am PROUD to support - and it's about damn time...One fragmented sentence is worth a million fuck yous. For every soldier who has bravely fought against Saddam's henchmen, the "insurgents" and terrorists of all stripes who want nothing more than to stop the spread of democracy, fuck you for that statement. Now you support the troops? Good god. The left of this nation have really sunk to a new low. Ohmigod! Now even our military hates America! Idiotic statement of the year. Seventeen troops refuse to perform duty because their equipment is not up to par and suddenly the military hates their own country. Get your head out of Michael Moore's ass and start breathing a bit of oxygen again. Maybe then your thinking will clear up. Oh, by the way:
In a survey of U.S. troops and their families, President Bush is the strong favorite over John Kerry, with 69 percent saying they place greater trust in Bush to handle the responsibilities of commander-in-chief.More from the Kool Aid drinkers:
Next group will be smarter, don't go to jail for 5 years, just take out the lieutenantThat's after a few comments about the fragging they believe is about to start.
They will be known as the Platoon that saved America and the World!!!And, of course, when a story quotes one of the seventeen soldiers saying that he like being in Iraq and it felt like home to him, one of the DU idiots says:
Being at Home in the single wide-- drinking a 12er of Pabst tonite Sounds like Lynndies House--- You know stripping a few "Rag Heads" and then Pissing on them.How quickly they revert back to the non-supporting of the troops and the belief that all soldiers are poor, stupid killing machines. That's followed by:
. I want to know what color the 17 members were on this suicide job Anyone taking wagers on how many white guys are in the group?
I'm going to email Michael MooreYou do that. Email the guy who thinks the "insurgents" are heroes. I really hope that some day you all look back on this and feel like the fools that you are for pinning your hopes on a lying publicity whore whose only real cause it to reap the monetary rewards that his sycophant followers lay at his feet. And I really don't want to hear how DU doesn't represent the left. Maybe a year ago, I would have given you some slack on that statement. Not anymore. There is no far left anymore. They've all gone anti-Bush apeshit. And don't forget that the "moderate" Oliver Willis posts over at DU. The border between the sane and the consumed by hatred left is so blurred it's unrecognizable. All the quotes above are just case in point on how they are so narrowly focused on getting Bush out of the White House that they cheer on things that could be disastrous for our troops, our freedom and the lives of Iraqis. I read things like this DU thread and I continue to be amazed at the selfishness and win at all expense attitude of these people. To actively cheer on a mass mutiny, to get excited over the prospect of a total breakdown of our military in the midst of a war - I can't find the words to convey what that makes me feel. Seventeen Days. I keep saying I can't wait for this election to be over. And then I think about the pent up rage of the left and I wonder - and fear- what the level of animosity will look like eighteen days from now. I get emails from people wondering if I'm talking about them when I write stuff like this. Here's a little test: Are you a Democrat (or Republican or Independent, etc.) who is voting for Kerry because you believe in him and truly believe that his policies will make this country a better place? Then I'm not talking about you.
The Speech I'd Like to Hear George Bush Give My Fellow Americans: As you all know, the defeat of Iraq regime has been completed. Since congress does not want to spend any more money on this war, our mission in Iraq is complete. This morning I gave the order for a complete removal of all American forces from Iraq. This action will be complete within 30 days. It is now time to begin the reckoning. Before me, I have two lists. One list contains the names of countries which have stood by our side during the Iraq conflict. This list is short. The United Kingdom, Spain, Bulgaria, Australia, and Poland are some of the countries listed there. The other list contains everyone not on the first list. Most of the worlds nations are on that list. My press secretary will be distributing copies of both lists later this evening. Let me start by saying that effective immediately, foreign aid to those nations on List 2 ceases immediately and indefinitely. The money saved during the first year alone will pretty much pay for the costs of the Iraqi war. The American people are no longer going to pour money into third world Hell-holes and watch those government leaders grow fat on corruption. Need help with a famine? Wrestling with an epidemic? Call France. In the future, together with Congress, I will work to redirect this money toward solving the vexing social problems we still have at home. On that note, a word to terrorist organizations. Screw with us and we will hunt you down and eliminate you and all your friends from the face of the earth. Thirsting for a gutsy country to terrorize? Try France, or maybe China. I am ordering the immediate severing of diplomatic relations with France, Germany, and Russia. Thanks for all your help, comrades. We are retiring from NATO as well. Bon chance, mes amis. I have instructed the Mayor of New York City to begin towing the many UN diplomatic vehicles located in Manhattan with more than two unpaid parking tickets to sites where those vehicles will be stripped, shredded and crushed. I don't care about whatever treaty pertains to this. You creeps have tens of thousands of unpaid tickets. Pay those tickets tomorrow or watch your precious Benzes, Beamers, and limos be turned over to some of the finest chop shops in the world. I love New York. A special note to our neighbors. Canada is on List 2. Since we are likely to be seeing a lot more of each other, you folks might want to try not pissing us off for a change. Mexico is also on List 2. President Fox and his entire corrupt government really need an attitude adjustment. I will have a couple extra tank and infantry divisions sitting around. Guess where I am going to put em? Yep, border security. So start doing something with your oil. Oh, by the way, the United States is abrogating the NAFTA treaty --- starting now. We are tired of the one-way highway. It is time for America to focus on its own welfare and its own citizens. Some will accuse us of isolationism. I answer them be saying, "darn tootin." Nearly a century of trying to help folks live a decent life around the world has only earned us the undying enmity of just about everyone on the planet. It is time to eliminate hunger in America. It is time to eliminate homelessness in America. It is time to eliminate World Cup Soccer from America. To the nations on List 1, a final thought. Thanks guys. We owe you and we won't forget. To the nations on List 2, a final thought.. Drop dead. God bless America. Thank you and good night. If you can read this, thank a teacher. If you are reading it in English, thank a soldier.And now, a pre-emptive strike: the first person to not take this for what it is - a piece of tongue in cheek humor (bordering on wishful thinking in some parts) will get smacked upside the head and probably banned from commenting here until after the election is over.
I've decided to take Jason Clarke of MooreLies.com up on his Yankee/Red Sox bet offer. Here's how it works: Loser donates either 40, 50, 60 or 70 dollars to a charity, depending on how long the series goes (seven games, $70, etc.). Jason has chosen as his designated charity Garden of Angels, this month's Strengthen the Good charity. I haven't decided on mine yet. If you have a favorite, let me know and I'll look into it. Either way, no matter which team loses, someone worthy ends up winning.Please note that other people have joined in on the bet, pledging money to either mine or Jason's charity, depending on who they are rooting for. If you'd like to join us, please leave a comment saying so. Thanks to everyone who has jumped on board.
It was hard trying to watch both the debate and the game while at the same time trying to maintain a presence in the Command Post chat room while looking for a lost Language Arts notebook while keeping the cycle of laundry to dryer to basket going strong while listening to a litany of Halloween costume ideas my daughter didn't choose. It took ten minutes for her to get to the one she decided on. She's going to be a banana. Her best friend is going to be a phone. Together they make.....banana phone! If you have to ask, you'll never understand.
Sort of like Pedro Martinez. He lost to the Yankees last night. His team is down two games to none. Here's what he had to say, mostly in reference to the Who's Your Daddy chants:
"It actually made me feel really, really good," said Martinez, in another bizarre late-night press session. "I actually kind of like it. I don't like to brag about myself, but they did make me feel important. I got their attention."
Nice to know at least one Red Sox came out of that loss feeling good.
As Jason says: Red Sox Nation, your Game 6 starter. I'd just like to take this moment to point out that Britain made the Falklands feel important, too.
Well, at least with the Yankee game we had a clear winner. As for last night's debate, the winners were the people who fell asleep ten minutes in, drool dripping down chin, can of beer balancing precariously on stomach. That's how I imagine Mr. Undecided Voter. Comes home late from work, tired, disheveled and cursing his commute. Strips off his tie and jacket, and near everything else. Gets right down to his boxers and Hanes t-shirt. Keeps the black socks on, though. Reads the note from his wife that she's gone out. Find his dinner in the microwave, heats it up and heads for the couch. Not before grabbing a cold one from the fridge. He's determined that by the end of this debate, he'll have made up his mind. He will pay attention. He will open the laptop so he can check the scorecards of the pundits, which help to clarify things that may be over his head. He's going to study the candidates for body language and facial tics, for hidden receivers and crib notes.
Just two minutes in a tiny bead of drool forms in the corner of his mouth, which has been hanging open, slack jawed since Kerry and Bush first shook hands. He wipes the drool, takes a swig of beer and takes a quick run through the Internet to keep from falling asleep. He hits CNN, Drudge, FOX and MSNBC, all the while keeping one eye on the tv, sure that at any moment one candidate will say something so brilliant, so stupendous, so amazing that Mr. Undecided Voter will, in the blink of an eye, become Mr. Decided. He goes back to paying full attention. Something about flu vaccines. He takes a bite of the overcooked chicken his wife left him. He silently bitches about her cooking and wonders where the hell she goes every night. He wonders if you could die from the flu. His eyes glaze over.
He switches briefly to the Yankee game but feels guilty because he's supposed to be doing the right American thing by watching the debate so he can make an informed choice. He takes a minute or so to nod approvingly at Lieber and switches back to the debate.
He falls asleep. Immediately begins dreaming. [Ed note: Let me insert here that this is the actual dream I had last night, which played out like a home movie of this strange, boxers clad man] He's in Yankee Stadium, holding a huge platter overflowing with hot dogs, sausages and pizza. Someone offers him a bowl of New England clam chowder but he declines. He's in the mood for barbecue. Texas barbecue. He finishes what's on his platter and asks the vendor to bring him barbecued steak. The vendor, who look suspiciously like Terry McAullife, winks at him. He turns his attention to the game. George Bush is throwing out the first ball. He beans Bob Schieffer, who was standing at home plate, in the head. Schieffer goes down and John Kerry comes running over with a Band-Aid. Mr. Undecided Voter lets out a belch that shakes the stadium. Everyone applauds and the strains of a Slayer song, Bitter Peace, come through the Yankee Stadium speakers. Bob Sheppard sings along on the PA system. Initiate blood purge, coalition in massacre! The whole of the Stadium is banging its collective head, like 55,000 bobbleheads bobbing in unison. Mr. Voter does the Beavis and Butthead head bang thing, all flying hair and pumping metal sign. He has a ring of barbecue sauce around his mouth, making him look like a heavy metal clown, maybe one of those guys from Slipknot, if he were chowing down.
The scoreboard camera is panning the crowd and faces appear on the screen, larger than life. Mr. Voter stares at the screen, his eyes wide, his gaze transfixed just like when he's home watching porn. He chomps on his chicken leg and sauce goes flying everywhere, along with bits of chicken skin and spittle. The people sitting next to him don't seem to notice. They, too, are fixated on the giant screen, which is now showing Bill O'Reilly, who is seated in the bleachers, in the top row. He's grinning, but his grin is too wide, his teeth too clenched for it to be real. Mr. Voter notices that Bill O'Reilly has lettuce caught between his two front teeth. The camera pans back to reveal a woman sitting on Bill's lap. Mr. Voter recognizes this woman as his wife. The wife notices Mr. Voter staring at them, his mouth hanging open to reveal little chewed up pieces of steak and green beans speckled with A-1 steak sauce. A piece of steak falls out of his mouth. His wife mouths the words "I love you" on the screen and Mr. Voter realizes she's talking to O'Reilly, who is now standing on the pitcher's mound, trying to wrest Lieber's hat off of him. Lieber falls to the ground and blood gushes out of a head wound. Kerry again rushes over with a Band-Aid. The crowd goes insane when see the blood and as Bob Sheppard once again invokes Slayer (Can't stop the warring factions!) 55,000 New York Yankee fans pelt Bill O'Reilly with loofah sponges. As Mr. Undecided Voter pounds his chest and does a Tarzan yell and flies hover about his head, eyeing the ketchup that has lodged in his hair, the dream abruptly ends.
Mr. Voter is still on his couch, his beer still balanced, his chicken lukewarm. Bush is talking about Tommy Lee! Oh, no. Tom Lee. The Yankees are winning. John Kerry wants to be respected in the world. And Bill O'Reilly wants to sex you up with a falafel.
It's another busy day 'round these parts, so for now I'll just regale you with our Halloween costume shopping story from three years ago (first posted at the defunct Raising Hell).
The following is a true story that took place in Party City in October of 2001, during a last minute (think 10/30 at 7pm) costume shopping trip.
Me: Oh look, Natalie, Teletubbie costumes!
Natalie (who is almost 13): Mom!
Me: What about Bob the Builder?
Me: Fairy princess?
Natalie: I don't know you.
We look around a bit more and Natalie decides on wearing a black t-shirt that has a candy corn on it and says "sweet," black and orange striped stockings and a black skirt that used to be mine. I used to be thin. Sigh. She picks up orange hair spray and her outfit is complete.
Me: Now, what about you, DJ?
DJ: I don't know.
Me: Baseball player?
DJ: I've been a baseball player the last three years.
Silence. Long pause while we look around.
DJ: Can I be Christina Aguilera?
DJ: You were going to let me be Britney Spears like two years ago.
Me: Thankfully you changed your mind.
DJ: Why can't I be Christina?
Me: Because she's a slut.
DJ: What's a slut?
Natalie: A slut is a dirty girl who sells herself for money.
DJ: Like those girls we saw in the city last year?
Long silence. More looking.
DJ: Ok. I know what I want to be.
DJ: A hooker!!
Me: A baseball player.
Natalie: A baseball player in a dress?
DJ: Oh! Mike Piazza!
More on Halloween costumes later. I'm a bit on the busy side today. But feel free to recount your own tales of costume hell. Plastic masks, anyone?
Something for the members of the Coalition of the Dark Side
Lyrics below. Now start singing.
Here come the YANKEES
Let's get behind and cheer the YANKEES
They're gonna learn to fear the YANKEES
Everyone knows they play to win, cause
They're the New York YANKEES
Show them today why your the YANKEES
No other way when your the YANKEES
Wadda ya say we win a brand, new, ballgame
We're gonna shout when ya powder the ball
We're gonna scream, "put it over the wall"
The other teams gonna know what it means to play the
We love the Yankees
Shout it out loud , We Love The YANKEES
We're really proud of our YANKEES
And we're gonna win today
2, 3, 4, Hit, Run, Fight, Score, Go! Go! Go!
We're gonna shout when ya powder the ball
We're gonna scream "put it over the wall yo"
The other teams gonna know what it means to play the
We love the Yankees
Shout it out loud, We Love The YANKEES
We're really proud of our YANKEES
And we're gonna win today
[I'll get back to baseball in a bit. I've been sidetracked by a conversation with a friend, which led me to channel Grandpa Simpson]
I kind of feel sorry for kids these days. Thanks to several things - the self-esteem movement of the early 90's; the paralyzing touchy-feely don't-let-your-kids-deal-with-reality method of dealing with life that is rampant in our public schools and the endless parade of rules and regulations designed to protect but only stifle - our children are living the life of Bubble Boy.
Back in my day, we didn't worry about self-esteem or agonize over feelings. We didn't care about elbow pads and cooperative games where everyone was a winner.
We played musical chairs at birthday parties and laughed and pointed at the kids left standing. We played dodgeball without sissy rules and our gym teachers coached us to hit the other players where it hurt the most. We used the stones from hopscotch games to beat the winner senseless. Ok, no. But sometimes we would draw on her stupid pink, frilly shirt with yellow chalk. It made her sneeze. And she would tell on us and our mothers would say "Oh, stop complaining, Lori. It's just freaking chalk." Can you imagine this happening today? I'd be sued by Lori's mother for the emotional damage I caused her child and my Saturday mornings would be spent in an overstuffed chair in some dark of office of the state-appointed psychiatrist who would ask me how I feel about being so evil.
Not back in my day. There were two boys in my neighborhood who used to throw bricks at me on my way home from school. Bricks. When the principal found out that the same boys were throwing rocks at me on the playground, he took action. The boys got the shit beat out of them by their fathers and no one - not one person - blamed me for being bullied or looked for root causes as to why those children behaved like monsters. They just got detention and sore asses.
I laugh and laugh at extreme sports shows today. Extreme? How can anything be extreme if you're wearing fifteen layers of protective gear while you're doing it? You want extreme? Try powering a rickety, unstable bicycle going about 50 miles per hour - with your sister riding on the handelbars - down the steepest man made slope on Long Island, a slope which ended at a wall of pure concrete into which you would smash and die if you didn't apply the brakes with just the right amount of pressure at the right time. No helmets. No knee pads or elbow pads. We didn't even carry Band-Aids with us. That's extreme.
We played soccer without headgear. The boys played baseball without cups. We rode in the backs of station wagons, not wearing set belts and hanging out the window to wave to strangers. We walked to the candy store by ourselves. We rode our bikes after dark. We called each other horrible names and sometimes we had fistfights right on my front lawn and my mother would tell us to shut up because the noise was drowning out Dark Shadows. And when we got up from the fistfight all bloodied and scraped, mom would tell us to stop our crying, slap some Bactine on us and shoo us outside again.
Oh yea, you saw this coming. In my day we walked to school. Our district was on an austerity budget for years. Walked in the rain, the snow, the sleet and hail. Our parents never drove us because our fathers were at work and our mothers were busy preparing for the fondue themed dinner party they were throwing that evening. So we walked to school and when we got there we learned about history without the P.C. agenda that you get today. And we read books in English that would make P.C. people shriek in horror. We sang Christmas and Hannakuh songs in the winter concert and nobody batted an eyelash.
Self-esteem? We didn't exist to build up each other's egos. We were supposed to knock them down. Life was all about rivalries and competition. If a teacher back then ever told us how wonderful and beautiful and special we all were, we would have reported her to the authorities on suspicion of being a pot smoking hippie.
You know when the world went to hell? When Coca Cola decided to teach the world to sing. The second that commercial came out, a death knell sounded across the playgrounds and schoolyards of America. Parents everywhere, suckered in by the feel-good lyrics and hand-holding sappiness of the commercial felt an awakening of sorts. All those who missed the hippie train of the 60's were going to jump on the Free to be You and Me train of the 70's, and ride it hard.
Back in my day, kids weren't sheltered. We were fed the day's news raw and uncensored. Our parents took us to see gory, bloody horror movies. We were read fairy tales, grim and perverse and wicked as they were, without remanufactured endings where everyone is beautiful and everyone smiles.
We had real playgrounds with merry-go-rounds and metal slides and wooden see saws, all placed on concrete. None of this plastic adventure-in-learning crap sitting on a gentle bed of soft wood chips. We had broken noses and we had scabs covering half our bodies. The school nurse would wipe up our blood, swab us in Bactine (the panacea of our time) and send us back outside for more. Today's kids get a piece of wood chip dust in their eye and they're carried to the nurse's office on a stretcher where they're handed ten different accident and liability forms to give their parents and forced to sit through a video taped lecture on playground safety, presented by a singing, dancing, man in an elephant costume.
We learned about life with all its cuts and bruises and hurt feelings. We worked hard around the house and yard and built up a work ethic. We earned our allowance and walked half a mile to the candy store where we spent it all on sugary, fattening candy and rolls of caps for our cap guns. We would point our guns at each other and say things like bang, bang, you're dead.
Who knew that a generation later, that phrase would probably get you sent to the principal's office and an appointment with the school psychiatrist?
Sure, I lived in dangerous times. Maybe somewhere in 60's or 70's America there were babies flying out of cars or kids smashing into concrete walls and maybe death came calling to some in the form of an errant merry-go-round or a lethal dose of Red Dye #2. But most of us made it. And most of us made it without the lingering head wound side effects.
A little head wound builds character, you know.
I know, Bitch, bitch, bitch.
nui∑sance n. 1. One that is inconvenient, annoying, or vexatious; a bother:That's Sen. Kerry speaking, in case you haven't read that elsewhere already. What I'd like to know is, when exactly is Kerry talking about? When were terrorists just a nuisance? Was terrorism every just a bother, an annoyance? Just an incovenience? Does he mean before September 11, 2001? Before October 12, 2000? Before August 7, 1998? Before June 25, 1996? Before February 26, 1993? Before December 21, 1988? Before April 5, 1986? Before October 7, 1985? Before November 4, 1979? Before any of these dates? I'm sure the families of all the victims of all the above attacks would love to know that their loved ones were murdered at the hands of nothing more than nuisances. This, in a nutshell, is why I could never even think about giving my vote to John Kerry and why I will vote for George Bush. Perhaps terrorism should not be the daily focus of our lives - meaning us ordinary citizens - but it should certainly be a daily focus of the President of the United States and all who work for him. The problem with Kerry is he thinks that the war on terror begins and ends with bin Laden. He thinks that once bin Laden is frog marched into some prison cell where he can go think about what he's done, the war on terror is over. Look at this list. And this is just attacks on U.S. interests here and abroad. This does not take into account all of the terrorism that happens world wide, all of which greatly effects us because we want world peace, damn it. The war on terror is a GLOBAL one. It encompasses every nation and hundreds of different terrorist organizations, all with different goals and different targets. It damn well better be the daily focus of my president for a long time. Not only until bin Laden is caught. Not only until al Qaeda is demolished. And it's great that Kerry thinks we should obliterate terrorism to the point that it's just a nuisance, whatever that means, but does anyone have any idea just how he plans to do that? Keeping our coutnry safe should be the number one priority of the president and anyone who thinks that terrorism was ever just a nuisance does not deserve the title of president. [Ed Moltzen has links other blogger observances on this issue]
Used to be that telling a good ghost story to a kid would elicit screams of horror and week's worth of nightmares. Now that all the good urban legends have been made into movies, it's getting harder and harder to give a really good fright to a naive child. And isn't that what Halloween is all about? Scaring the piss out of the innocent children? Hey, don't look at me like that, that's what my own mother told me!
If you want to give a good scare, it's all in how you tell it. A low, whispering voice. Anticipatory pauses. And the extended silence at the end of your story to give the kiddies a moment to think about the implications of not heeding the warning the story provides.
The first legendary ghost story I remember (aside from Lonesome Ghosts), was the tale of the ghostly hitchhiker. I read that one myself in a collection of ghost stories I took out of the library - a perfect book in that it kept me up at night, yet I couldn't stop reading it.
This was before dead babysitters and microwaved babies became all the rage in scary stories. I liked the ghosts; they were almost benign in that I was pretty sure (just pretty sure, not positive) that the stories were fake. I didn't have to believe in ghosts, because there was no proof that they existed. But deranged strangers slicing and dicing babysitters? Totally believable. There's different levels of being scared, and the new urban legends going around at the time (1970's) served a dual purpose; they scared the living shit out of us and they also made us hesitant to go anywhere or do anything alone.
The first of the madman legends I remember was the date gone awry. Guy picks up girl. Guy and girl drive out to the country. Car runs out of gas. You know the rest. But do you know it from having it told to you or do you know it from seeing it in a movie? Because let me tell you, when you're no more than ten years old and your babysitter is telling you the story, the scare factor is tenfold that of watching some B-class actress scream her way through a scene.
The guy decided to walk to the nearest gas station. The girl waited in the car, because it was too long a walk to make in her high heels. Soon after her boyfriend left, she heard a sound outside the car. Like a scritch...scritch...scritch...she though the boyfriend was tapping at the window, so she unlocked the door and waited for him to get in. No one opened the door and still she heard the scritch...scritch...scritch...so she decided to see what was making the noise....she stepped out the car, looked around and saw nothing. That is, until she looked up. And there, hanging from the tree was her boyfriend. Dead. His lifeless body swayed in the breeze, making his sneakers slide across the roof of the car. That was the sound she had been hearing. Her. Dead. Boyfriend.
I didn't exactly scream, but I do recall the goosebumps that ran up and down my arms. The babysitter asked if I was scared. Not wanting to disappoint her, I told her no. I didn't want her to think I was a baby. Well, that backfired because she launched into another story. And another. I did build up my scary story portfolio that night, and even if it came at the expense of sleep, it was worth it. For the next few months, I regaled relatives with my repertoire of fear inducing stories.
I missed the real ghost stories. Slice and dice stories are great to an extent, but I missed being scared in the way that leaves you afraid of the dark. Not afraid of masked men with knives or hooks for arms, but afraid of the things you can't see.
Here's some stories I'll be telling my kids and their friends a few spooky stories during this year's Halloween party, using the greatest collection of scary stories ever assembled - the Alvin Schwartz collection. I'm sure they've heard these all before, but sometimes, it's all in the telling. I'm practicing my creepy whisper and dramatic pauses daily. And if, in the end, these kids would rather have stories with homicidal maniacs and dead babysitters, I always have my cache of urban legends to fall back on.
As always, there's a survey attached.
What's your favorite ghost story/urban legend? Think you have one I haven't heard before? I'm always up for some new scare sources.
[No Halloween stories here, no WMDs, no election rants. The following will be of little interest to anyone but my family. Sometimes a "journal" is like that. If you do choose to read it, thank you.]
The culmination of my long week ends this evening as I attend a swanky dinner at which my father will be honored.
I will miss both the debate and the Yankee game tonight, but that's ok. It's for dad.
About seven years ago, one of my father's friends and fellow firefighter came to him with an idea. No, it was more than an idea. It was a dream. He wanted to create a museum dedicated to the history of firefiighting in Nassau County. Dad thought about it for two seconds and agreed to help make his friend's dream come true.
At first it was just a grass roots movement. My sisters and I spent a lot of time that first year helping with fundraising, publicity and general support. There's nothing like being in on the ground level of a project that you know is going to strike gold some day. Not gold as in riches or making money for anyone; this is a non profit venture. The riches made on this project came in the form of seeing someone's dream built from the ground up - not just succesfully, but bigger and better than he ever hoped.
Seven years later, there is finally a scheduled groundbreaking for the museum. My father has devoted nearly his entire existence to making this happen. It's not always been easy on my mom or my sisters and I (dad wears his frustration on his sleeve), but to see the look on my father's face when he shows us the plans or gives us news of matching funds is priceless.
The man who first had the dream to get this museum built died recently. He'll never see his dream come to light, but his death made my dad all the more determined to get the museum doors open. It's been a struggle. There were many times that they thought the funding wouldn't come through or the space promised to them would be taken away. But they never gave up on this dream.
The museum will be located in a revitalized part of Nassau County now called Museum Row. It houses a world class children's museum as well as the amazing Cradle of Aviation museum (you can see some photos I took of that museum here).
My father has been honored for many things in his life. He is the ultimate giver; I'd say that most people who dedicate their life to the fire service are. He's done so much for our community as well as the firefighting community. When people recognize my last name and ask "Oh, are you Angelo's daughter?" It is with an incredible amount of pride that I tell them yes.
Expect a lot of photos here tomorrow. The dinner is being held inside the Cradle of Aviation museum, a brilliant, dazzling structure that is an amatuer photographer's heaven.
Today's Halloween topic is candy suckage. What kind of suckage? Oh, you know what kind. The kind that comes in a cute little Halloween baggie that you think contains candy but only contains a travel size tube of toothpaste. The kind that at first says "ooh candy corn!" but quickly turns into "Pttoooie! Last year's candy corn? Fucker!"
I had an unnerving moment last Halloween. I was standing on my neighbor's porch eyeing the cache of goodie bags he had ready for the mass of costumed kiddies heading his way. He had a few dozen little plastic baggies stuffed with carrot and celery sticks. Yes. Carrots and celery. For a Halloween treat. As I backed away from this evil man's house, I thought "I am so fisking this guy when I get home." Who fisks Halloween treats? A sick, demented blogger apparently.
But, a sick demented blogger who fisks Halloween candy always has an audience that not only appreciates such an endeavor, but has stories of their own to tell. We all had that one neighbor who hated children so much that, instead of just closing the door on Halloween, she would get her jollies by handing out little tricks instead of treats.
We had the Spider Lady and she handed out pennies. Two. Freaking. Pennies. And she cackled while she dropped those suckers in our bags. But we were anything but complacent little children dressed up in fuzzy bunny costumes. No, we were suburban terror. A gang of twelve year old kids in search of that elusive sugar rush. We were the crack whores of our time, stealing the costumes of our little sisters and brothers just so we could go knock down a few old ladies to get our hands on some Sugar Daddies. Ah, good times. Good times.
And just because I'm in a giving mood, I'll throw in a physics lesson: when thrown by a sugar-deprived teenager, a penny will make a dent in aluminum siding.
Hey, we had to do something with the tricks we got to go along with our treats. Ten year old candy corn? Sprinkle a little water on it and it will stick to the windshield of Mr. "Keep Your Ball Out of My Yard" Brown's brand new Lincoln Continental! Wax vampire teeth? If you warm those things up in the palm of your hand they become malleable. Malleable enough to fashion a waxy covering for the windshield wipers on Officer Goldberg's parked patrol car.
Don't look at me like that. We were destined to be juvenile delinquents. Haven't you ever seen Over the Edge?
And the apples. Who in their right mind would give out apples when they know that any parent who sees that fruit in their kids' bag will immediately take out a machete and hack the damn thing to death in search of that elusive razor blade. Personally, I think there were some parents that actually wanted to find the blade in the apple. It was a prize, a brass ring, a suburban legend that, if true, would propel the average Stepford housewife to new heights of fame. I could envision Mrs. Green, her long Clairol hair tied back in a ribbon, holding the rusted razor blade aloft like Charlie holding his golden ticket. Her name would be splashed across the town weekly, her beaming smile belying the sick-to-her-stomach fear that some crazed madman was out there. Then she would entice the other housewives on the block into forming a posse of the pony-tailed, mad mothers bearing pitchforks and torches, hell bent on finding out who put that razor blade in Billy's Granny Smith.
Of course, in the end it turns out that it was Mrs. Clairol herself who stuck the razor blade in that apple, and it would become a sad social commentary on the boredom that befalls housewives in suburbia. Walter Cronkite would air a special on it and three days later, Mrs. Clairol would check into a clinic to overcome her addiction to mother's little helper.
Uh..where was I? I was talking about Halloween candy, right?
Razor blades and used candy corn aside, what was the worst thing you got in your Halloween bag? Expose your neighbors for what they were: cheap, evil bastards.
Claws down, Halloween is the best holiday there ever could be, except those involving lots of presents. And in my mind, presents are the only reason birthdays and Christmas get billing over the Big Scary.
As long time readers here already know, I love Halloween. It is far and away my favorite holiday, ranking above even Christmas.
Why Halloween? It's all about the atmosphere of October. The cool, crisp weather, the parade of colors taking over the trees, the anticipation of the coming holiday season and, yes, the witches and goblins and ghosties. So I do a lot of Halloween posting each October. This year shall be no different.
I started yesterday with my survey of movies suitable for my kids' party. Now, some of you don't quite understand just how close to the tree these apples fall. When my kids think of horror movies, they don't conjure up images of Jumanji or Addams Family. Like me, they like their movies scary, bloody and freaky.
DJ, at age eleven, has amassed a collection of both zombie movies and zombie knowledge. If we are ever under attack by zombies, you would do well to make your way to my end of the globe and take orders from DJ. He likes physical horror; gore, guts, severed limbs and half eaten brains.
Natalie, on the other hand, likes creepiness. Her collection of horror movies includes titles like The Ring and Godsend. She prefers her scares to of the mental variety.
Between them, they have done both me and their grandmother proud. After all, it was my mother who introduced me to horror movies at a very early age. I grew up on a steady diet of Vincent Price films. One of my earliest movie memories is listening in stunned silence to the "Help me!" cry from The Fly. When I was ten, my mother took me to see Asylum, a trilogy of terror repleat with crawling, severed limbs. My love of gore was born.
I had already formed a love affair with giant monster/animal/insect movies (Mothra was always my favorite), but a 1976 viewing of Food of the Gods solidified my infatuation with that genre.
A year earlier, at the tender age of 13, I saw a Halloween double feature of Last House on the Left and Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
So my roots were set down early. Movies that dealt with monsters, creepy crawly things, the supernatural and all other forms of fright were considered family entertainment. Together, mom and I (and sometimes my sisters) would watch Chiller Theater together, waiting in anticipation as the six fingered hand waved to us from the grave. We spent many hours as a family watching The Twilight Zone and Rod Serling's Night Gallery.
Today, I boast my own vast collection of horror movies, from the Sleepaway Camp box set to Dead Alive, possibly the goriest and best horror movie ever made. We have every version of all of the Evil Dead trilogy that hit the market (not to mention the posters, lunchboxes and action figures).
While we do watch horror movies all year long, Halloween is when we go into full viewing mode. Zombies, werewolves, severed heads and alien mind control are a constant background to the days and nights of October.
I've taken all your movie suggestions from yesterday and printed them out to go over with the kids and their friends. The bloodier, the better, was what DJ said. Natalie just wants frights. So we'll find a good mix of those two things and settle in that night to the sights and sounds of another Halloween season.
And what would a Halloween post be without a survey? I did this one last year, but it was so much fun to read your answers, we'll do it again.
Today's Survey: Scariest Screen Moment. That is, the specific scene from a movie (tv movies count) that scared you the most. I mean running from the room scared. Nightmares for three days scared. Visions of the scene still haunt you today; that kind of scared. Difficulty: No Sound of Music. You know who you are.
[I think I went over this list last year, or started to. I might have a go at it later.]
It was my adventure debunking Professor Hailey that lead me to an epiphany. I no longer what to be called a blogger and neither should you.No, Paul. No we are not. There are some bloggers who dabble in journalism. There are some bloggers who definitely are pure journalists. And there are bloggers who think that posting about one breaking news item makes them a reporter. I'm sensing a sea change in blogging, courtesy of RatherGate. Suddenly, blogging is in the Era of the Scoop. Everyone wants to break a story, everyone wants the Drudge link, everyone wants to Make A Difference. RatherGate was heady stuff; many bloggers saw their site stats double or quadruple. Ad revenues increased as bloggers raised their prices in accordance with their new site visit numbers. And the feel of the right side of the blogosphere changed, nearly overnight. I've been at this for almost four years. So it's a bittersweet thing for me to see blogging being recognized by big media as a viable source of information, to see bloggers taken seriously as sources. The new guard of bloggers are taking off. The old guard (i.e, Kottke), well they took off a long time ago. And some of us are standing here looking back and looking forward and wondering when it was that we let the bus pass us by. Or maybe not so much that we let it pass as much as it just zoomed on by without stopping. I wasn't really part of RatherGate (I was on hiatus when the story broke). I just reposted links and threw my personal opinion in the mix, so I'm not crying about being left off that bandwagon. I never made the attempt to really hook myself onto it. But as I watch that bandwagon roll on without me, I wonder what it's taking with it. As other's stats have risen, mine have dropped. I get less comments, less repeat visits, less emails. If the face of blogging has changed in the last month, then I'm still wearing the old face. And for that, I'm struggling to even make the relatively inexpensive price I charge for ads justifiable. I's not just me. I've talked to several high profile bloggers who see a dark sort of change happening in this end of the blogosphere. What has Rathergate wrought? Well, it's wrought a need for some people to find that elusive scoop that will propel them to further heights. With the adrenaline of Rathergate still in their veins, they are making a heady, if understandable, attempt to keep the sugar rush going and I don't think they are being very careful about what they are consuming in the process. Sour grapes? Perhaps. In the age of Wonkette and $500 a month blogads, maybe I'm just chewing on a bit of jealousy. It's funny that it used to be the variety of subjects here that attracted my readers. Someone said to me yesterday that that same variety is probably what's driving them away now. The blogosphere - or at least this end of it - has become a tunnel of sorts. It's the same thing on every blog and that's really not supposing given that there's a presidential election happening in thirty days. I'm doing my own share of electioneering. It's been bugging me for a few days, this feeling as if something has changed or something is missing and I figured it out today: fun. Not long ago it was fun to run through my blogroll. I got a few good laughs along with the news and opinions. I read about politics and war alongside funny anecdotes or amusing stories that had nothing to do with whatever was on the front page of the paper that day. And yet, blogging is at it's pinnacle. The word "blog" has been spoken so many times on the evening news in the past month that's I no longer have to explain to people what a blog is. There are bloggers with pieces in the New York Post. They are on tv, on the radio, linked in online mainstream media stories. So I guess my dismay comes from the fact that blogging is reaching a peak - in recognition, credibility, stats and money-making - when I think it's at it's worst. I'm seeing people that are straining to hold onto the post-Rather stats and the rush that came with them and it makes me uncomfortable in sort of the same way that watching someone make a horrible mistake in a movie does; I just want to turn it off until that part is over and hope that when I turn it back on, everything's worked out. No matter how negative I feel, I'll keep writing here, anyhow, because I'm trying to rediscover what made this fun for me to begin with. Oh, no. I'm not going off on that "I'm done talking about politics!" tangent again. Nor am I thinking of quitting. I happened to catch the tailwind of the Rather stats push and it made me way too aware of my audience. I'm much happier when I forget there's actually an audience out there. That's not an insult to you. It's hard to explain, but it's not. Paul's words again: I no longer what to be called a blogger and neither should you. We are not bloggers, We are independent, peer reviewed journalists Nope. I am a blogger. As a blogger and not an independent, peer reviewed journalist, I am able to write about what I had for lunch or my broken coffee pot without feeling as if I'm breaking some journalistic standard. I am blogger, hear me roar. About hot dogs, about the war in Iraq, about the state of pop music, about my noisy neighbors, about the election, about the way Saran Wrap won't stick to Tupperware, about my job, my kids, my life, Iran, Andy Rooney, education reform, crappy computer speakers and why I hate the circus. Roaring into empty space, perhaps. But still roaring.
We are not bloggers, We are independent, peer reviewed journalists.
Oh, young men of Islam, here is our message to you. If we are killed or captured, you should carry on the fight. Don't betray God and His Prophet. Don't wait for the American, British, French, South Korean, Hungarian and Polish forces to enter Egypt, the Arabian Peninsula, Yemen and Algeria to start the resistance. "We should start the resistance from now. The interests of the Americans, English, Australian, French, Polish, Norwegian, South Korean and Japanese are everywhere. "All (these countries) participated in the occupation of Afghanistan or Iraq or Chechnya, or help Israel to survive.I don't have the full transcript of his speech, but you get the gist of it. al-Zawahiri likes the pre-emptive strike idea so much, that he's using it for himself. His idea seems to be, "let's destroy the infidels before they can ever hope to eradicate radical Islam and our evil, murderous ways." Wouldn't it be a great thing if we caught - even killed - al-Zawahari before he could lead his band of thugs to make a pre-emptive strike on the U.S. or any of its allies or interests? On a terrorism level, it would be more important than capturing bin Laden. Zawahari is obviously leading the troops now. OBL is either dead or useless at this point. If we want to crush al Qaeda, we capture Zawahari. Capturing OBL would be important on a more cosmetic level. He is the face of terrorism, the man behind 9/11, a desipicable force hated by millions. While he may not be at the controls now and capturing him would not stop any events already in the planning stages, it would certainly be a victory for the United States and all of its citizens to see the man responsible for the death of 3,000 innocent people be brought to justice. Or killed. But would it? Would the capture of Zahawhari and/or bin Laden be cause for rejoice for everyone? I suppose that depends on when it happens. Say it happened today. Or sometime within the next 20 days.
..Ross Baker, a political science professor at Rutgers University, said the administration risks a backlash. "Producing a high-level al Qaeda leader would immediately invite suspicion about whether this person has been cooling his heels in a safe house some place," Baker said.On a possible OBL capture before the elections, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said: "I think it would be outrageous, frankly, but you know, there's those kind of rumors out there." It would be outrageous if bin Laden were captured now. Not outrageous as in righteous, man. Outrageous as in outrage. And the possible future First Lady says: "I wouldn't be surprised if he appeared in the next month." I don't need to spell out to you what she meant by that. Go through any Democrat or leftist discussion board. They are terrified of a an "October Surpise" ruining the chances of their candidate. Terrified of bin Laden being captured. Imagine that. Take this idiot for example: "But a nuclear, biological, or chemical attack would be in Kerry's favor. This is because Bush has failed to support initiatives against non-proliferation, something Kerry strongly supports." In Kerry's favor? Is this how people are now judging the impact of a devastating attack on our country? How many people will be quietly saying "Yesssss!" if a biological attack occurs before the end of October? And don't tell me none. Do not insult my intelligence. You only have to read around a bit to know how true it is. Kerry at any cost. No, correct that. Bush out of the White House at any cost. That's how you explain the above idiocy spoken by that young college student. If, in the next two weeks, bin Laden was caught, Zawahiri killed and every insurgent in Iraq laid down their arms and declared their insurgency over, there would be a million tongues wagging the tale of the October Surprise, all mastered by that evil genius, Karl Rove. In Zawahiri we have a man who just issued a fatwa upon us. Yet capturing him would be seen as a bad thing to some people. Think about that. There are actually people worried right now that Zawahiri or OBL will be captured before November 2nd. While this guy is planning attacks against us, there are people who are crossing their fingers that he doesn't get caught because of what it will mean to "thier side." Maybe people like Albright and Heinz-Kerry need to be reminded that in this case, we should all be on the same side. If John Kerry himself were to march into Afghanistan right now, hunt down Zawahiri and kill him himself, I'd call him a hero. I still wouldn't vote for him, but he would be a freaking hero to me. If Bush were to do the same, some people would be dismayed. They'd start yelling about plastic turkeys. And that's all the capture of these men in the coming weeks would be to the anti-Bush crowd; a plastic turkey served to the American people. How very sad.