Archives for October 2008


I’m Batman.

The Owl and The Hunchbacked Beggar

Christmas Tree and Christmas Present

[The Wife would like it known that because the economy is what it is, she spent only $2 on costumes this year. Everything else was already lying about the house.]

This is Halloween

How Inspiration Works

It starts with a casual remark to The Wife:

“‘Hookers in the desert’ is the new ‘Skeletons in the closet.'”

Then the ol’ train of thought pulls out of the station….

There are probably an awful lot of bodies out there…hookers, hustlers, mob folks, losers who couldn’t pay their debts…imagine if THEY ALL CAME BACK AS ZOMBIES AND CONVERGED ON THE CITY FROM WHENCE THEY DEPARTED.

So yes, zombies are played out. And Vegas got zombified in Resident Evil 3 But this would be different. This would be Bruce Campbell funny/creepy…stay with me here:

Bruce is a down on his luck small-time gambler, the sort who haunts what remains of the old, seedy Vegas. The places he goes are tacky, and not in a retro/cool way. He’s usually surrounded by Seniors with cups of nickels.

He’s up against it. He needs something – still working on what. Naturally, he meets the devil, and they agree to gamble for whatever it is he needs. You know, betting your soul and all that. Bruce, inspired by his desperation, manages to cheat the devil and win. The devil has to pay up, but boy is he angry about it. He decides to make sure Bruce can never enjoy his winnings. So he reanimates all the corpses in the Vegas desert, and they attack this run-down casino full of losers and Senior Citizens. (Naturally, this includes a just-past-her-prime cocktail waitress with a heart of gold…)

Of course, whatever it is Bruce has won from the devil becomes crucial to the group’s eventual survival.

The American Shaun of the Dead


This is Halloween

Today in Porn, Kevin Smith Edition

The NYT is not overly impressed with Zack and Miri Make a Porno:

“Mr. Smith tries, with mixed results, both to rub our faces in the tawdriness and to erase it altogether. The movie wants to insist that pornography is a jolly, innocuous pursuit, but also to take refuge in a sincere, romantic traditionalism that is antithetical to the cynical, often playful sexual ethos of pornography. Mr. Smith is intent on making a love story, which is almost by definition the opposite of the kind of movie Zack and Miri set out to produce.”

Ah, the often playful sexual ethos of pornography… Still:

“The gauzy sweetness that envelops the end of the movie is not unwelcome, but not very convincing either. The ‘porno’ remains unfinished, and so does ‘Zack and Miri,’ having — like most pornography, interestingly enough — thrown away an imaginative premise to get down to predictable, mechanical business. It’s as if Mr. Smith were a plumber who knocked at your door and then, against all reasonable expectations, insisted on fixing the sink.”

Godsbody suspects that Apatow would have found a way to have the couple repudiate their porny ways – “Dammit, why does it feel like this jolly, innocuous pursuit is supposed to mean something?” – but without giving up the funny. It rather sounds like Smith is trying to have his cake and eat it too.

Birthday Limerick

A woman named Alice was born
To make Peter feel less forlorn
By sharing her cake
And letting him rake
The rows of her barley and corn.


It happens that I have in my possession a little book called Evidence of Satan in the Modern World, written by the French(?) priest Leon Cristiani in 1961. He spends a good deal of time on accounts of exorcisms, and on the diabolical characteristics of both capitalism and communism. But the very best bit comes on p. 171:

“It is therefore without any particular satisfaction, but without diffidence, that one may declare that there are certain undeniable proofs of the presence of Satan in our contemporary ‘civilisation,’ proofs which few can refuse to admit:

1. The mediocrity of our great media of communication such as the wireless, cinema, and television: not mediocrity in technique or in propaganda, but in the beauty and nobility of their influence on people’s minds;

2. The erotic atmosphere exuded by our novels and plays, in popular songs, in all that can be summed up as ‘show business’;

3. The degradation of modern art, which seems to have lost all feeling for beauty, and to be concerned only with ugliness and obscurity.”

Outstanding. What is the proof of Satan’s presence? Bad art.

We Know All Problem in Your Sexual Life

It’s that you’re OLD! HURRY UP! Have some more sex before you DIE!

Good morning, Internet! Thanks for the reminder of my impending mortality!

Next Week …

Today in Porn, Godspy Edition

Brian Pessaro has a new essay up. It’s brief, just the way the Internet likes it. Sample line:

“You don’t just put down a 19-year porn addiction like yesterday’s newspaper and walk away from it.”


Obama on Abortion Rights and His Christian Faith

If Obama’s position on abortion rights is the main reason you’ve decided you can’t vote for him, you should at least give this excerpt from Audacity of Hope a fair reading. It suggests a degree of soul-searching and a willingness to bend on the issue that offers a glimmer of hope to those of us who are probably going to vote for Obama while harboring serious misgivings about his — and the Democratic Party’s — refusal to impose legal restrictions to reduce the number of fetuses that are brutally killed and consigned to U.S. dumpsters (3,700 per day, according to one source). Cf. also Sojourners‘ Jim Wallis: A New Conversation on Abortion.

Better than the Original?

Local kids The Wrong Trousers take on The Postal Service:

From the YouTube Music Video Archives: He Doesn’t Know Why and White Winter Hymnal by Fleet Foxes

Where I work, they hired a guy with a huge trailer filled with goats to build a fence around the grounds, and when they let the goats out of the trailer they ate up everything within the area set apart by that fence. Something like that is going on in this video, in that anything that doesn’t belong has been left out or taken away, so all that remains sounds so stunningly pristine and beautiful … that … just listen. Please listen:

Penniless and tired with your hair grown long / I was looking at you there and your face looked wrong / memory is a fickle / siren’s song I didn’t understand / In the gentle light as the morning nears / You don’t say a single word of the last two years / Where you were or when you reached the frontier / I didn’t understand / See your rugged hands and a silver knife / Twenty dollars in your hand that you hold so tight / All the evidence of your vagrant life / My brother you were gone / And you will try to do what you did before / Pull the wool over your eyes for a week or more / Let your family take you back to your original mind / There’s nothing I can do …

In this video, The Beach Boys meet Wallace and Gromit and get together for a version of A Simple Plan. The visuals are … fun. It’s like a fairy tale, except that this one is scary. A grim fairy tale, unless they’re really just singing about scarves. In any case, it’s beautifully sung.

I was following the pack all swallowed in their coats with scarves of red tied ’round their throats to keep their little heads from falling in the snow and I turned ’round and there you go and, Michael, you would fall and turn the white snow red as strawberries in the summertime …

Four is Five

From the YouTube Music Video Archives, Dept. of Coincidences: Space Cowboy

While driving around the Italian countryside in our rental car last week, Mrs. McCain and I occasionally turned on the radio and dialed through the stations, rarely finding anything to listen to. On one occasion, however, the Steve Miller song Space Cowboy came on. I cranked up the volume and enjoyed the incongruity of it.

On returning home, after 24 hours and various connecting flights from Milan to Spokane, I was badly in need of a shower. I turned the water on hot, stepped in, and then turned on our radio-on-a-rope, tuned into our favorite Spokane station — 99.9. And guess what song was coming over the airwaves? That’s right, Space Cowboy. “I’m a picker, I’m a grinner, I’m a lover, and I’m a sinner….”

Chesterton said coincidences are God’s puns, which is clever, but I like to think of them more as God’s postcards, and this one got forwarded from Italy to Spokane.

The YouTube clip shows a more aged Gangster of Love playing a benefit solo acoustic version at a Seattle radio station.