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Archives for October 2008

Aftermath

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

Sigh.

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.

Proof

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 …

Yes, Yes, Yes on I-1000

I really didn’t want to touch that whole Obama/abortion thing, what with this being a Cathaholic website and all, not to mention my own presidential candidacy, but now that we’re in the process of clearing that issue up once and for all – it really isn’t as thorny as some people try to make it out to be – it’s time to bring up I-1000, Washington State’s own Death with Dignity initiative on the ballot this coming Tuesday.

Allow me to say a few words. Right off the bat, I want to make it clear that I-1000 isn’t perfect, and I can certainly understand your reservations. But this is what we have right now, and what we have here is pretty damn good.

Let me explain. Death is the future. I know it, you know it; everybody knows it except for maybe children under the age of five and small puppies. And sooner or later they’ll know it too, so we may as well include them as well. The kids, anyway. Dogs we don’t have to worry about because we already do the humane thing for them anyway. Read that over again: The humane thing. When in doubt, look at the language. So often it reveals more than we know or even want to acknowledge. And I-1000 is, above all, a humanitarian initiative.

Not that I-1000 isn’t without problems. Let me address a few of these right now. The first problem is with the mental competency clause, as I’m sure you’ll agree when you look at the wording itself. One lie going around is that 1 in 4 people getting lethal drugs suffer from depression.

The fact is that in a study by Linda Ganzini, it was revealed that out of 58 patients, only 3 had some depression. The study concluded that every patient who requested death with dignity was mentally competent and capable of making their own decisions.

Now that’s all fine and good, but what does it really mean to say that depression renders a person mentally incompetent? The fact is, depression actually sharpens the mental faculties of people. There is scientific evidence to back this up. For example, it is well known that people with depression often turn out to be the best artists. Look at Van Gogh. Look at Beethoven. Hell, look at Heath Ledger: he was absolutely brilliant as the Joker in that last Batman movie, and I think it’s fair to say that he was probably depressed.

And it doesn’t end with depression; a researcher in Iceland has found that the incidence of psychosis is greater than expected among mathematical scholars. Just watch “A Beautiful Mind”, that movie about a math genius played by Russell Crowe. You’ll see. Life is about living the odds, and we may as well die by them as well. Who can better figure the odds than a mathematical genius? And let me tell you now, in case you didn’t know it already, the odds that you’re going to die some day are pretty good. Don’t beat yourself up over the fact that you’re not a math genius or Beethoven; it doesn’t take any special brilliance to understand the initiative up for consideration here.

My point here is that the idea that mental illness should somehow bar you from ending your own life is an illogical loop that I-1000 regrettably fails to close.

But, as I said, this is what we have in play right now, and we ought to roll with it while we can and work out some of these kinks later. If those Anti-Choice wingnuts have shown us anything, it’s that incrementalism works in politics.

There is one more item I’d like to bring up here. This might be a little more problematic, being part of the title of the initiative, but what is the real meaning behind the word “dignity”? I bring this up because I think there may be people under the impression that they can only commit suicide with dignity if I-1000 is passed (and let me repeat that I’m sure it will be passed). Indeed, if you simply repeat the words “commit suicide” quietly to yourself in a dark room, I think you’ll find a certain dignity inherent in the phrase. So what can you do?

Believe me, I’m not suggesting that ingesting an economy pack of Tylenol PM picked up at Costco is the preferred method of ending one’s life, much less an easy one. But let us not say that there isn’t a certain dignity in choosing this particular path. There is. Nor should you remain under the false impression that stabbing your wrists over and over again with a bobby pin is somehow lacking in nobility. Indeed, the frenzied frisson that must certainly accompany such a wildly desperate act embodies a kind of nobility that sadly remains opaque to mortal minds cruising along at lower, safer altitudes.

Look at the ancient Romans. Look at the Samurai of medieval Japan. We, for better or worse, live in a different age, an age in which steel blades three feet long are (only somewhat!) less available. But you should know that the means are still there: rope burns around the neck; lungs filled with water; an inferno-blackened hide; every bone in the body broken after tossing yourself from a great height; one, several, or many, many gunshot wounds – it takes what it takes, and it’s all good. Whatever works; that’s what I say.

With I-1000 we can simply add to the list.

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.”

Unless?

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