Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Hey, Y'All! We've Got Ourselves A Bigfoot!

Oh, Gawd bless the Intarweb, without which I would never have known that the deep, dark, and skeery backwoods of Virginia, my home state, might possibly, maybe, just conceivably harbor a Bigfoot! Yeah, baby, you heard me, a BIGFOOT, so screw you, West Virginia and your wimpy-ass, red-eyed, flighty little Mothman, WE'VE GOT A BIGFOOT!

No, really! Check out "In Search of Bigfoot" in the August issue of Blue Ridge Outdoors:

"It’s midnight and the black veil of darkness that pervades the woods has been transformed into varying shades of green, thanks to the night vision goggles we’re using. It’s as if we’ve stepped out of reality and into a video game."

"We’re looking for Bigfoot in a wildlife management area on the edge of the Rappahannock River, about an hour from Washington D.C. It’s a strange thing to be doing on a Sunday night in the woods of Eastern Virginia, because A) Bigfoot does not exist according to mainstream scientists, and B) if he does exist, it’s hard to imagine the creature living here, half an hour from the nearest D.C. Metro stop."

"But Dranginis claims to have seen a Bigfoot creature not far from here several years ago, and a number of sightings have been reported in this general vicinity dating back to the 1950s."

There's lots more information (including a sightings map) over at the Virginia Bigfoot Organization and Sasquatch Watch of Virginia websites

See also "Hot For Creature."

A big "thank-you!" to kitten_moon for making my Wednesday evening just a leetle more interesting by posting this in the Shenandoah Valley LiveJournal.

Monday, July 28, 2008

How Did I Miss This?

So last night (Sunday) Turner Classic Movies was showing Muscle Beach Party, the second of AIP's Beach Party films (beach party films being a particular guilty pleasure/closet obsession of mine--ask me about it sometime*) and for the life of me I couldn't remember the name of the actor playing bodybuilder "Mr. Galaxy" Flex Martian. I knew his name wasn't really "Rock Stevens" (as billed), that he'd played a character in the original Mission: Impossible series (Willy the strongman), and his first name was Peter (Peter Lupus, as it turns out), but other than that I was drawing a blank.

Well, as you can see (and as I so often do), I immediately consulted Wikipedia, which for a trivia junkie such as myself is the informational equivalent of heroin binge, and there I went progressively deeper into serious geekmode by scanning such peripherally related topics as Back to the Beach, a 1987 parody/homage, Dwayne Hickman, Bob Denver, and Maynard G. Krebs.

Now, the Maynard G. Krebs entry took me into a somewhat different direction. Apparently, there is this book that came out in 2003 deconstructing the story of Gilligan's Island:

Gilligan's Wake.

Sounds pretty cheesy, huh? Well, maybe not. From a review by Richard Romeo:

"Gilligan’s Wake is told in seven long chapters, each focusing on a different castaway – and if you know the old theme song, the order will come as no surprise. Appropriately, the novel begins in a madhouse, where Carson echoes the layered prose of Finnegans Wake through the bebop, thorazine-addled consciousness of a poor guy who thinks he’s Maynard G. Krebs. As this pre-Gilligan ("and I remembered what the G in my old name had stood for..."**) beatnik receives shock treatment, the novel’s main symbols, themes, and secondary characters emerge in a frenetic and surreal overture, from the Maxwell House Coffee clock outside the window to Richard M. Nixon, pregnant (yep) in the room next door. After shocking “Maynard” into a new level of consciousness, Carson turns to the Skipper, spinning a small war story involving PT boats, a certain naval commander named McHale, a dead Japanese soldier, Nixon (again), and a seemingly invincible, certain soon-to-be president. Thurston Howell III arrives next, a hilarious, buffoonish member of the upper class, harboring a secret love of jingoistic action comics and pining away for his Lovey. Like Coover, who brilliantly mustered up the soily, pathetic inner workings of Mr. Richard Nixon in The Public Burning, Carson shows Howell to be oblivious to the Cold War machinations revolving around his well-insured head as he helps Alger Hiss get his first government job. After so much mawkishness about his darling “L.,” Lovey’s chapter is a chilled martini flung in the face. A shallow socialite with a vague Electra complex, she wanders across a jazz age panorama, cultivating a heroin addiction and falling into a dysfunctional affair with The Great Gatsby’s Daisy Buchanan. Although the idea of a lesbian affair between Daisy and the future Mrs. Howell might seem a bit too-clever on paper, their scenes have a brutal honesty that cuts right through the intertextual high-jinks, exposing the emptiness and brittle despair at the center of their sad lives."

(see also "The Minnow Found Again" by David Kelly)

How on earth did I miss this? It'' me!

Yet another link added to my ever-expanding wishlist.

*Oh, all right. Just a little. When I was a kid one of the (damned few) TV stations we received in those pre-cable days used to show these movies on Sunday mornings and I was fascinated by them. Remember: I was living in a small Southern factory town in the middle of Virginia at the time so anything involving California beaches, surfing, and Kustom Kulture seemed impossibly exotic and appealing. Plus, I thought Eric von Zipper was the funniest thing since Beany & Cecil even though I didn't have a sufficiently multicultural background (in either instance) to catch all the jokes.

**Walter. Yes, I know.

Saturday, July 26, 2008


There are a slew of humorous webcomics out there (Sluggy Freelance* probably being the best-known), but only a few I find consistently funny; of course, given the extreme nature of what I find funny, your mileage may vary considerably. My current favorite is R. K. Milholland's Something*Positive (background here), what with its singularly cynical, dark, and jaundiced view of the world and human nature. I mean, Rippy the Razor ("rippy," as in "It's down the block, not across the street!")? That's some funny stuff right there! Anyway, the panel from this strip had me guffawing loudly enough to scare the cat:

*The beginning series wherein Riff attempts to summon Satan online had me loling and spewing Diet Pepsi all over the place. Of course, we all know now that Satan was already online and had an AOL e-mail address.

You Really Can't Go Home Again

So I was Googling some addresses in my old hometown of Waynesboro, VA the other night and in one of those bizarre-o moments for which the Intarweb is infamous I ran across an ad for this particular piece of real estate:

119 Robin Road, $214,000*

People, that's where I grew up.

It looks a little different: there was no porch to speak of, only that concrete stoop, the sidewalk was edged with monkey grass, and there was shrubbery all along the front. It also appears that someone got smart and removed those wretched Chinese elms with their tiny, unrakeable leaves and lawnmower-jarring roots from the front yard and I sincerely hope they did the same in the back--no love was lost between me and those rat-bastard, thin-branched, lame-ass pseudo-trees. That's a red maple in the picture, incidently, a tree for which I have a great deal of respect.

There's a virtual tour, which probably won't be online for long, which made me feel... strange... since I never, ever expected to see the inside of that house again. Lots of changes to the interior--the dining room and kitchen were both miniscule and I see subsequent owners knocked out the wall separating the two to make a semi-decent-sized eating area (don't be fooled by the pics; that's one hell of a wide-angle lens they're using). They've repainted everything (except the basement, which the realtors are calling a "family room"--you'll need a family to huddle with to avoid hypothermia during the fall and winter) and ripped out the wall-to-wall carpeting, probably because most people were overwhelmed by my mother's fondness for robin's-egg blue.**

The open door you can see at the top of the staircase leads to what was my room.

Ah, me. Do you suppose the new owners will ever wonder why there's a large patch of discolored concrete flooring in the laundry room**** or discover the small pet cemetery in the back yard? Are there still (much missed) boxes of toy Civil War soldiers and a Playboy centerfold hidden under the floorboards of the attic?

Guess I'll never know.

*My parents had that house built in 1959 for, oh, I dunno, maybe $15,000 and sold it in 1988 for easily ten times that amount.

**Everything was robin's-egg blue***--the walls were blue, the ceilings were blue, the carpeting was blue, the sofa was blue, the painting over the sofa was predominantly blue--hell, for several Christmases the lights on the tree were blue (and blue electric candles in the windows). Maybe this explains my penchant for black.

***Okay, not quite everything. My parents' bathroom was a subdued pink, the bathroom I used (which was also the guest bathroom) had gray tile and off-white walls, the kitchen cabinets were that yellowish knotty pine so popular in the early '60s, some of the living room chairs were pinkish and they had some wood furniture in natural finishes.

****Hint: don't allow your 10-yr. old to mix household bleach with strong acid from his/her chemistry set.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

"Cows! They'll NEVER Suspect Cows!"

So it's early Saturday morning and I'm tooling around the IntarWeb, as I'm apt to do, clicking this and copying that, fiddling with Google Notebook, and praying fervently that I won't encounter any Furry Porn (always a risk when reading reddit), when suddenly I hear the little Mozilla Thunderbird double-ding, which means I've got mail.

Mail? Who the hell do I know that's up on a Saturday morning?

Upon further investigation I discovered that Big Gay Cliff (remember Big Gay Cliff? Sure you do!), who must have been up all night doing Big Gay Cliff things had sent me a YouTube link to an animated episode of The Fantastic Four...

...merely to amuse me with the line "Cows! They'll never suspect cows! Idiot!"

Nope, no one ever suspects cows.

Unless you're a fan of Howard the Duck (the comic book, not that reprehensible movie), in which case you know about the Hellcow.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Musical Trivia You Don't Care About

One of my co-workers, hereinafter to be referred to as Anorexic Stoner Girl, or ASG for short,* dragged in a pile of CDs the other day.

The rest of us huddled in apprehension.

See, ASG's musical tastes are a little...well, they're kinda...sorta...uh...they just don't coincide with mine, which are otherwise surprisingly eclectic and run the gamut from Beethoven & Bach to hard-core '70s punk***. ASG, on the other hand, leans toward country & western ballads; ass-kickin' (not in a good way) truck-driving tunes; squeaky-clean, vapid-voiced female vocalists of all stripes and persuasions, the blander the better, apparently; and generically-rendered Christmas carols, which she plays all year long at least once a damn day every damn day.

The girl couldn't be any whiter if she tried.

Oh, wait. Yeah, she could. She's from Iowa.

Anyway, on this particular day she was particularly enamored with--as in played it repeatedly for the entire damn morning and on and off during the afternoon--a "Best Of" compilation by (brace yourselves) The Kingston Trio.

Yeah. The Kingston fuckin' Trio, the Whitest Boyz in Da (Gated) Hood, second only to SCTV's 5 Neat Guys (and they were playin' it for laughs).

My feelings for the American folk music revival, at least as presented on television in the late '50s and early '60s, pretty much follow the tone of 2003 mockumentary, A Mighty Wind: "Gawd, that was awful; let's make (pointed, but gentle) fun of it!" This is probably because my parents were devoted followers of The Ed Sullivan Show, which I loathed with almost the same vehemence I reserved for the soulless Bland-O-Tronic outpourings of Lawrence Welk**** because, well, bland and squeaky-clean never appealed to me, even as a child. What I wanted was total immersion in stuff that was edgy, exciting, innervating, fast-paced, and adrenaline-inducing, something ol' Ed (and Lawrence and the commercially-oriented folk music of the time) was not. However, as a kid I also operated on the (decidedly faulty) assumption that bad television was better than no television and thereby endured a helluva lot of disgustingly wholesome, commercially-slick folksingers with perfect enunciation, bad haircuts, and musical cues so precise they seemed machine-generated.

Including The Kingston Trio.

Anyway, ASG was merrily playing her album and offering various asides on how funny these guys were, how creative and innovative, while all the time I'm gritting my teeth, wondering if I can get a bulk discount on the gallons of insulin I'm going to be needing before the day is through, when up came one of The Kingston Trio's best known ditties, even to me, "M. T. A.".

So okay, yeah, I gotta admit "M. T. A." is funny. What surprised me is that ASG didn't quite get the metafunny parts.

First, a quick listen for those of you who may be unfamiliar with the song:

Definitely snickerworthy. The surprising part, given her extensive country music background, is ASG didn't know this was a parody/mashup***** of "The Wreck of the Old 97", pretty much a standard for Old School country singers everywhere******:

Anyway, the upshot was ASG was fascinated, and I mean fascinated all out of proportion by these odds and ends of useless musical trivia I happen to have stowed away in the dim recesses of my brain.

My guess is she'll be torturing us with a whole bunch of new CDs real soon now.

I have no one to blame but myself.

*Because, well, she's a classic anorectic and she's always high on...something. My guess is she's a-rockin' the ganj and poppin' speed, which gives her**...bipolar disposition.

**Annoying as hell.

***With possibly unhealthy doses of Jimi Hendrix, Lou Reed, Meat Loaf, and Tom Waits.

****No offense to my paternal grandfather, who loved Lawrence Welk which, I suppose, was merely age-appropriate. He even had an autographed picture atop his television console.

*****Mashup as in "The Wreck of the Old 97" and an even earlier song, "The Ship That Never Returned."

******Well, maybe "The Wreck of the Old 97" is something found only in the Southern collective unconcious; certainly by the time I was in 4th grade I knew this variant:

He was runnin' down the road makin' 90 miles an hour
When the chain on his bicycle broke
He was found in the grass with the chain up his ass
And his teeth playing "Dixie" on the spokes
(scat "Dixie")

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Inter Alia

Honestly, I really am working on some substantive posts, but in the meantime feel free to shudder at the workings of my dark and cluttered mind--I find be laugh-out-loud funny.

(that last one is from Warren Ellis and

Happy (?) Trinity Day

Both Boing Boing and remind us that on this day in 1945 the United States detonated the first atomic bomb.

I admit to a certain morbid fascination with the Trinity test and the entire Manhattan Project preceding it, though I'm kinda sorta ashamed to admit this. I suppose it's my inner 12-yr. old's obsession with things-that-go-boom and my adult realization that everything, absolutely everything in the world, changed at approximately 5:30 a. m. New Mexico time, July 16, 1945.

For my own amusement (and yours, too, perhaps) I scoured the web and storyboarded the following images:

Those singularly weird-ass pictures (3, 4, 5, and 6) were taken by Harold Edgerton with a series of automatic cameras situated 7 miles from the blast--shutter speed was the equivalent of 1/100,000,000 sec.

I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Happy Bastille Day!

Yeah, baby! Bastille Day! Let's party like it's 1789* and go behead us some aristocrats!

Time to start building that guillotine...

*Well, 1790, actually; Bastille Day commemorates the Fête de la Fédération, held on the 1st anniversary of the storming of the Bastille, but y'all don't really care, do you? Any excuse for a party will do!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Anybody Remember Tank Girl?

And no, not the wretched movie version with Lori Petty, the real Tank Girl, that foul-mouthed, punked-out, hard-drinking, gun-toting, tank-driving, nose-picking, establishment-bucking, kangaroo-boinking, kicking, screaming, biting, farting, totally empowered specimen of feminine outrageousness.

Yeah, well, she's back.

In one of those purely serendipitous moments I relish so much and so rarely experience I happened to be wandering through my local Barnes & Noble looking for a copy of...well...a book* and as I turned down the science fiction aisle what should I see but this:

Tank Girl--Armadillo! and a Bushel of Other Stories

And now it is mine!

I don't know yet if it's worth the ten bucks, but hey! It's Tank Girl! And where Tank Girl goes anarchy and ass-kicking are sure to follow and those are good things!

* Okay, dammit, I was looking for a copy of the recently released Dungeons & Dragons Player's Handbook: Roleplaying Game Core Rules, 4th Edition. There. I said it. Yes, I play D&D on occasion. Shut up. It's not a big deal. Leave me alone.

What I Did For the Fourth of July

Pretty much nuthin'.

I took Thursday off from work so as to generate a four-day weekend and, so far, it's been me, the cat, Thomas Pynchon, the IntarWeb, Windows Media Player, and a, uh, rippin' good time with a bunch of CDs.*

Oh, yeah. And I got a haircut.

A quick glance at my user icon will explain why the young'uns tease me with "Hey, G. W! The 'Seventies called; they want their hair back!", to which I have no particular witticism. I settled on that many years ago because, well, for one, I hate fussing with my hair and this is about as low-maintenance as one can get (wash it, comb it, air-dry it, grow it for months between trims without looking too ridiculous), which leads us to the other reason--I hate having my hair cut.

I admit it's totally irrational and defies explanation; there's just...something...about having total strangers mucking around with my head and moving sharp, shiny instruments near my eyes and ears that generates an intense sense of unease and discomfort. It's not even based on the more typical "OMG! What if I get a bad one and wind up looking goofy?" haircuttery fear (it's hair; it'll grow back); it''s...something more atavistic, some vague but deeply primal fear lurking in the shadowy recesses of my hypothalamus.


But enough of that. Let's wrap this up with a quick video of how the Second Amendment and the right to free expression can be deeply intertwined:

* After my "I Did NOT Make This Up!" post and a little prodding from Wayne** I decided it was high time to convert my collection of spooky-ass music (teen death songs, murder ballads, songs about serial killers, songs with an even remotely Halloweenish theme, etc.) into mp3 format.

** e-mail: "Very cool, Rev.*** I was thinking (almost seriously) that you and I should find a high spot in the Shen(andoah) Valley and set up a something that will run a continuous loop of 'Do You Think I'm Psycho, Mama?'"

"And when the CIA finds it, do you think we will be on the terrorist list or the pain in the ass list?"

*** My Discordian/SubGeniioid alterego is "The (Not) Right (Ir)Reverend Lee." There are those who know me by no other name.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Why I Don't Smile Quite So Much

People who don't know me well tend to react as if I'm suffering terminal depression. This is probably because my face at rest can look sad, angry, put upon, annoyed, or irritated, depending upon the mood of the observer.

"You never seem to smile. What's wrong?"

Nothing. My neutral expression is sort of a Rorschach test and, yes, I don't smile that much and here's why, courtesy of Basic Instructions (I'm going to have this printed and laminated so I can hand it out to casual acquaintances):

Don't think I'm not thinking similar thoughts, by the way.