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Monday, October 24, 2016

Pop Culture League: Here comes Halloween!

  It’s the most wonderful time of the year...


     What does Halloween mean to me? Halloween was always my time to be someone else, to shed my skin and become someone else for a night. As I grew older, different outlets opened up, like conventions, D&D, the renaissance festival...But Halloween memories and the feelings this time of year evoke for me have stayed through all those changes. 

     I remember looking for an appropriately sized Ben Cooper costume at Woolco. The costume was folded in a box, with the mask on top. 

     I remember the Batman Costume... Silver age, 1960s/70s era Batman that I wore one year. That synthetic(probably flammable) costume and the stiff plastic mask with the little mouth slit. I found this online with what I remember it being like.
Credit to whoever Erick is for sharing this. If I tried to find my Moms old Halloween pictures...
let's just say there is a closet or two of photo albums.
     I remember one year jumping out to spook someone and bag of candy. I remember the person I spooked patiently helping me pick up my candy, and I remember feeling like an absolute tool. 

     I remember putting on a black turtleneck and draping a piece of cloth over my neck and thinking I had achieved this effect:

I remember later wrapping that cloth around my head to be a ninja.(same night)

     I remember never dressing as the monster or the villain, always the hero. There was one year I had a clown costume, but they really only got super-creepy later on. 

     These days, I prowl the costume aisle and shops to see the trends, usually based on whatever movie was popular this year. I watch spooky movies to set the mood, and I observe All Hallows eve as the traditional last night of the year. I say farewell to the ones lost and bid them good journey to their next place. 

     The last two Halloween parties I went to were at my neighbors, one was a B-movie theme(tuck a katana inside a trench coat and you are the Highlander!) and the other was a superhero party. I dressed as Green Arrow(longbow hunters timeframe) and was mistaken for Robin Hood all night. 

     Some people ain't got no culture, you'know? And I couldn't even tell them they had failed the city...

And now for some folks who did not fail the city:

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Night of the Accident

     Tonight was a weird night. It may have been the man in the next checkout at Wal-Mart who was a face painting victim and knew it.

     It may have been the discussion with my roommate, where she equated my writing style to that of a grandma, talking about the vacation she took with her grandkids at motel six where she liked how clean the room was, and the pool was warm.

     Sam asked if my writing persona was male, female or neutral, and said most of my posts were good " trunk pieces". I told her that evidently my writing persona was that of an elephant, then, or possibly a mammoth, because I am woolier.

      But I think really, that it was the accident with the kid on the hoverboard that set the tone.

     For the record, he hit me.

     We were heading down Garrison, making decent time, when traffic slowed as it tends to around 6 pm. Next to us, along the road were three kids, two afoot and one on what I would have to describe as an iridescent chrome green hoverboard. We passed them, traffic slowed, and they drew alongside.

     And then he seemed to fall backwards, and we heard the thunk! of impact, and felt the passenger side of my car actually lift slightly. He shot his hoverboard out from under him and literally wedged it under my civic. So we had three kids, apologizing and trying to extricate this fancy device from under my Honda.

    Now I feel like my car should be spitting pieces of green chrome for a couple of weeks, but the reality it that the kid was unharmed, and his hoverboard was surprisingly tough, didn't appear to have a scratch on it.
It looked like this, but with a lot more Honda on it.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Pop Culture League Challenge: Are You Scared?

     A Chilling and Horrifying question from

     What scares me? the traditional standbys, from the classic universal monsters to the modern slasher give me a moments pause and nothing more. The only one that disturbed me for more than a moment was Freddy, because he can get into your dreams. Jason, Michael, etc. are just abnormally strong whack-jobs with masks, and they are neither sword nor arrow proof. The original Alien shocked me badly, but mostly the face-hugger scene. It just came RIGHT OUTTA THERE, so that was more camera work than the inherently scary nature of the face-hugger. The chest-burster was just gross and alarmingly fast after that.

     There are things that unnerve me-faces or creatures whose intent you can't read- stray dogs, unexpected clowns (yep, clowns) for example, but they don't terrify, me, they make me justly wary. A creepy clown with a stray dog has a good shot of making me cross the street and go around. But that is millions of years of human survival instinct functioning as designed. If something feels unsafe to us, there is probably a reason that it is.

     These are the things that terrify me, that paralyze me during the day and wake me from a sound sleep at night. The creeping fear that the cough I have is going to go from asthma to worse. The fear that my "Diabeetus" is going to start advancing and incapacitate me. The fear that people are going to abandon me. The fear that some illness I don't know I have is going to snuff my spark in the middle of the night. The fear that my birds and family are going to be left without my care, and the worry of who will care for them. Neil Gaiman said "Every hour wounds, the last one kills." and the Reaper is slow but certain to everyone. Nobody avoids him.

     And then there is the paper. Bills. Medical bills. Medical bills from doctors I have seen, and bills from doctors I have yet to see. the bills that are slowly collapsing into a black hole on my desk, pulling me toward their event horizon and my eventual doom.

     So my fears are... Adulting. Aspects of it at least. This is why I have the plastic bubble. Looks like I bypassed the funny on this one.

Welcome to Adulthood. Sleep with the lights on.

And this made me think of a Song by Jethro Tull

Here are my cohorts and their boogie-men

And you can always access any others from the pop culture league logo above

Saturday, October 15, 2016


     I came across a term a little while back, new to me, referring to a revisionist western. It casts aside and questions the ideals of the traditional western, and deconstructs the mythic nature of lawman vs. lawless. The cowboys aren't always right, the indians aren't always wrong. Good doesn't always win.

Some examples of this Genre are:

All favorites I might add. 

     What this got me thinking of though, was have we come far enough to have reached the revisionist Superhero Film? Looking around, I think we have.

     The first example that came to mind for me was the Dark Knight trilogy. Quintessential superhero films, I know. Why I tend to think of them as revisionist, is because of their tone. The emphasis is not so much on good versus evil as the cost of being the Batman. The trilogy is also designed to end, not to continue. Superheroes never really retire, and they never really die.  They do, however, get rebooted.

     Another one that comes up as revisionist for me is My Super Ex-Girlfriend. the titular Heroine, G-Girl, is an insecure mess and misuses her powers to destroy the life of the guy who dates her, and dumps her for the odd behavior he sees in her.

     Hancock has to hit this list for me, as well. An angry, alcoholic superhero with a history of property damage... call him an asshole, one...more...time. It de-mythifies the origin story by having superheroes as a natural part of the world, set to defend it, and manages to make it's own mythology, in the process.

     Speaking of films that create their own mythology...Unbreakable- Some people are stronger, tougher, have enhanced senses, and that is what our myths are based upon. Likewise, some people are more fragile.

     Surprisingly, I can't add Watchmen to this list, because while it definitely takes a revisionist tone, it owes that to it's source material, to which it is very faithful. Deadpool I can't call revisionist for the sme reason, and likewise Suicide Squad.

     And then there is The Return of Captain Invincible- you have a disillusioned, betrayed alcoholic hero, called back into service to save the world. Music by Richard O'Brien and Richard Hartley among others.

    Just some food for thought. You may come up with others, or you may think I am completely off base. I'd love to hear your thoughts