Showing posts with label Science Fiction. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Science Fiction. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

First Look at Poor Things

As you've probably gathered from the trailer, this year's "Poor Things" is a reimagining of Frankenstein, with Emma Stone playing the role of the reanimated corpse.  In this version, her body is that of a young pregnant woman who took her own life, reanimated by a scientist who replaces her brain with that of her unborn child.

You'll hear a lot about how the film handles social roles, particularly sexual roles, and the frank way the creature discovers the world through her attempts to understand sexuality.  You'll also hear a lot about the arresting visual style of the film.

Most of my thoughts watching the film were about comparing how Boris Karloff handled this character in the 30s vs how Emma Stone handled it today.  

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

To Be Well-Read

How many books does it take to be considered "well-read?"  I'll go to my grave, considering myself just the opposite.  Part of it is because, even after fighting that dragon for more than fifty years, it's still a struggle for me to read any book, to keep my eye on the page rather than focusing on the flicker of a light bulb filament or the legs of a moth as my ADHD demands, frustrated by trying to arrange the words and letters on the page that my dyslexia jokingly rearranges.  

I surround myself with people who make me envious of the books they've read.  People like Catherine, who taught generations of young scholars to read Greek, or Brent, who nearly killed us all by demanding we read a new play every week and turn in a card on it, or Suzanne, who quietly sat with Miss Eudora all those years and soaked in all the magic she gave out. 

I used to go to Oxford to try and catch a glimpse of Larry Brown.  In a time when most people who like letters were looking for the more elaborate Barry Hannah, I was fascinated by this quiet fireman who ate one book after another in his firehouse, then settled down and wrote dozens of stories and two novels before deciding to show them to anyone.  

My father wanted me to settle in and become part of the community of businessmen who provided jobs and helped build their community, like his father and his father's father, but all I wanted was to at least sit with the people of letters, even though I never dreamed of being one of them, at least not to where I'd admit it to anyone.

How many books does it take to be considered "well-read?"  I have a bucket list that's quite long.  Plays, novels, collections of stories.  An awful lot of the science fiction I love so much comes in the form of stories because that was how you published them in the years when science fiction grew out of a few nineteenth-century novels into what it is today.  

I'll never finish the bucket list.  That's part of the point of having a bucket list.  I'm a boy who loves to read, born an imperfect and fettered reader.  I suppose that's for the best.  If my reading weren't fettered and restrained, considering the sheer volume of books I'd like to read one day, you'd probably never see me again.  I'd be sitting under a tree, surviving off the fruit it drops, and reading my books.  

Monday, January 15, 2024

Star Trek Honors Actor's Partner

Melissa Navia quickly became a fan favorite on Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.  Something of a newcomer, fans didn't really know much about her going in, but her magnetic personality soon made her a favorite.  Soon after learning that she had a part in the exciting new series, Navia also found out that her husband had leukemia.  Shortly before the last writer's strike ended, he passed away.  Strange New World writers and Show Runners decided to honor one of the fictitious nebulas in the show after Brian Bannon, Navia's late husband.

Thursday, January 11, 2024

Use The Force

 It's supposed to be 12 degrees on Monday.  If I'm not back by noon, send Han out after me. 

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Moonwatcher and Oppenheimer

In the novel 2001: A Space Odyssey, Arthur C Clarke introduces the character of Moonwatcher, a proto-human and the alpha male in a tribe of ape-men who are in conflict with another tribe of ape-men over access to a water source.  A fight for survival.

In filming this section of the book, Stanley Kubrick used the same actors and the same ape-men costumes to represent both Moonwatcher's tribe and their enemies.  Moongzer's mask was different, more articulate, and more detailed than the others, but all the other masks were taken from the same mold.  Kubrick calculated (correctly) that by having the actors play double roles, both as the protagonists and the antagonists, it would look like he was using more ape-men than he actually was.  

Despite Kubrick's clever means of filming the sequence, Clarke had a different point in mind.  Clarke wanted to show that these proto-humans were extremely similar genetically; what tiny differences there were made them mortal enemies, and extrapolating that point out tens of thousands of years, Moonwatcher's tapir bone weapon used to kill his enemy becomes a satellite loaded with thermo-nuclear weapons, pointed at earth.   There are minute genetic differences between us and the Russians, and yet we stand (as we actually did stand at the time of the film) moments away from destroying each other.  Moonwatcher is both Kennedy and Khrushchev.

Although we see a leopard kill and eat one of Moonwatcher's tribemates, the real threat, the difference between extending his genetic material and oblivion, was the other ape-men.  

A principal theme of the 1960s was xenophobia on many levels.  Arabs hate the Jews.  Russians hate the Americans, whites hate the blacks, and North Koreans hate the South Koreans; all genetically very similar, but all are perceived as a mortal threat by their counterpoint.  In 1967, when Kubrick and Clarke were making 2001, in Mississippi, some white men in a truck set bombs in the office of Perry Nussbaum in the Beth Israel synagog in Jackson.  After tens of thousands of years, ape-men were still willing to kill each other over access to water they could have shared.

Clarke was a very prolific writer.  Much more prolific than I.  Of all his works, 2001 remains his most famous by far.  It's hard to say if it's a hopeful work or not because the aliens make us take the next evolutionary step even though we still have death pointed at each other.  He discussed the matter further in 2010, but not that many people read it, and even fewer saw the movie.

This weekend, when Oppenheimer comes to Jackson, I'll see it at the Capri.  I'll also spend some of the time thinking about Arthur C Clarke and Moonwatcher.  We can't seem to escape what he said about us.  

Wednesday, July 5, 2023

Per aspera ad Astra

 Nero ruled Rome from 54 to 68.  For those of us born in the sixties, that's quite a number.  He was generally considered a horrible person.  Besides feeding Christians to lions and setting fire to Rome, and blaming the Christians, Nero also ordered the suicide of his mentor, the philosopher Seneca.  Nero accused Seneca of taking part in a plot to overthrow and murder him.  To this day, historians argue whether or not the charges were false.  If Seneca had a part in the plot, it wasn't a large one.

In the first century, stoicism dominated Roman philosophy.  Stoics pondered such things as the nature of matter, happiness, virtue, divinity, and more.  Their influence on what was to become Christian thought is unmistakable; even though Seneca spoke about Christianity and Judaism, he was a pagan and a pantheist.

Seneca was known for his poetry.  He had a remarkable way with words.  One of my favorite thoughts from Seneca was "Per aspera ad Astra."  It's now part of official Star Trek lore, which is what started me thinking about it.

By "aspera" challenges, difficulties, struggle, effort, and resistance, we achieve "Astra" the Stars.  Through hardship, we reach the stars.  The Romans didn't have a very clear idea of what the stars actually were, so, like many cultures before them, "the stars" became an idea, the highest accomplishment, or the greatest goal.

We get the word "exasperate" from "aspera."  Considered a Southern expression, our use of exasperate probably comes from the 19th-century Southern obsession with romanticism and classical philosophy.  A fairly common practice among Southerners was to name slaves after classical figures, both real and mythical.

This idea that we reach the stars through hardship resonates with what I've been going through for the last two years.  I had to get really, very near death before I flipped the switch and started becoming something much greater than I had ever been.  Robert St. John tells a similar story.  He had to come very close to destroying himself to ultimately become himself. 

You see the influence of "Per aspera ad Astra" in Christian thought.  There are a number of instances where Christians advise perseverance in the face of adversity as the only path to a higher place.

In Star Trek, they take the ad astra part as quite literally the stars around us.  The real world isn't quite there yet; we have to make do with our one star.  Seneca's thought remains valid and strong though.  Through struggle, we become much more than what we were.  

Monday, July 11, 2022

Shrimp and Grits

 1985.  Ruben Anderson is appointed to the Mississippi State Supreme Court.  My dad decided to have a dinner party in his honor.  My dad was making a point.  He probably thought his points were subtle, but they never were.  There were men in Mississippi who might make a face at having a black man on the State Supreme court, and my dad wanted them to know his opinion of their opinion.  

Besides Judge Anderson and his remarkable wife, the guest list was the regular suspects, Brum Day, Rowan Taylor, Charlie Deaton, and added in George Hughes, Bill Goodman, and of course, everyone's respective spouses or public girlfriends.  A lot of times, I was more pleased to see the spouses and girlfriends than the men themselves.

Daddy was making a point.  His side of the Capitol Street Gang approved of Judge Anderson, and he didn't care who had other opinions.  Not just approval of Judge Anderson, although he's a genuinely remarkable man, but approval of having black men in positions of power in Jackson, Mississippi.

The guts and the details of the dinner party fell to my mom.  She was a self-taught cook and a great one.  Her regular co-conspirators were Mrs. Kroeze, Mrs. Lewis, Mrs. Flood, Mrs. Bass, and my Aunt Linda.   Jane Lewis was the best baker I've ever met.  They told me it was a rare disease that took her from us, but several other dear Mississippians died of the same condition, so maybe it wasn't all that rare after all.  That disease stole vital human beings from me.  That makes it my enemy.

Mother was a very experimental cook, which I appreciated, but my siblings often had another opinion.  Sometimes her menus were unconventional.  Gazpacho, different forms of liver and oysters, and calf's tongue were served at family dinners but not well received.

"What are you serving?"  I asked as she was cutting onions.

"Shrimp and Grits," she said.  I could see the shrimp in the sink where she de-veined them.  She bought them from a man coming up from Biloxi every week and parked his truck with ice chests full of fresh seafood at Deville Plaza.  Every woman in town made occasional trips to meet him and cut a deal. 

"Mother, this man is a judge; you cannot serve grits for supper."  I was adamant.

She ignored my opinion, as she often would.  In this instance, she was correct.  This was a few years before Bill Neal made shrimp and grits famous and Southern Cooking respectable.  If you've never heard of Bill Neal, I'll include a link to a video about him.  He's a remarkable man and responsible for many of the recipes you eat.

Years later, I asked her how she knew ten years before anyone else that Shrimp and Grits were a thing.  She said she got the recipe out of Southern Living, but I've looked, and there weren't any Shrimp and Grits recipes in Southern Living that year.  Further research told me that Galatoire's in New Orleans had occasionally been serving Shrimp and Grits since the seventies.  Her recipe was similar to that.  Either she had it there, or one of her co-conspirators had it there.

The best Shrimp and Grits I've ever had was at City Grocery in Oxford.  Their recipe was similar to Bill Neal's but had a little extra push to it.  By now, if you're from here, you've had the dish somewhere unless you were kosher or suffered a shellfish allergy.  

For me, Shrimp and Grits mean a time when my mother was right, and I was wrong.  They represent a day when my Daddy wanted to make a blunt point, and my mom made it graceful.  Food isn't just food.  It's art, and it's culture, and sometimes it's memory.

A video about Bill Neal

Friday, May 27, 2022

Strange New Worlds Episode 4 Memento Mori

If you're curious, Memento mori is a Latin phrase meaning: "remember you will die."  You see the expression in the bible, Sirach 7:40 "In all thy works remember thy last end, and thou shalt never sin."  Both have meaning in the episode.

Star Trek Strange New World is catching the world on fire if you haven't heard yet.  Episode 4, Memento Mori, is an ensemble episode, including a good bit of time for my personal favorite: Bruce Horak as Hemmer, the blind passivist Andorian engineer.  

This episode introduces everybody's favorite carnivorous aliens; the Gorn and La'an Noonien-Singh has a personal history with them.  Ethan Peck as Spock shines in this episode, and there seems to be some effort to tie up what some fans consider loose ends in the Spock-Michael Burnham story.  

If you don't have Paramount Plus yet, between Strange New Worlds and The Offer, it really is worth the seven bucks a month (with Amazon Prime).

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Deville Theater Adventures and Lessons

Technically, my first theater was the Lamar downtown because they had Disney movies.  The very first movie I can remember seeing was Toby Tyler, which I remember more for the painted walls and staircase in the lobby than anything else.  There was a scene in Toby Tyler where a monkey gets hold of a pistol and started acting up that scared the bejesus out of my little sister, who saw the rest of the movie from the crying room, while I sat in the big seats with my grandmother who we called Nanny.   We also saw Snowball Express and the revival of Dumbo there.

Besides the Lamar, the best source for movies when I was a kid was the Deville Cinema, off the recently constructed Interstate 55.  It was closer and newer.  It had a single screen and a capacity of six hundred kids.  Technically, it was close enough for me to ride my bike, but that involved crossing Ridgewood road, so I wasn't allowed to very often.

Deville had a summer Saturday matinee revival series.  For five dollars, a kid like me could see a movie with a coke and a red and white striped box of popcorn.  And, oh what movies they had:  Godzilla vs the Smog Monster, The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad, The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, The Mysterious Island, The War of the Gargantuas, Destroy All Monsters, Gorgo, King Kong Escapes, and more.  Every boy I knew would be there.  It's possible there were girls too, but I don't remember any.  In those days, girls who liked Godzilla were pretty rare.

Besides the matinees, they had some of the most important first-run movies of the seventies at the Deville.  I saw Star Wars there as many times as I could talk somebody into taking me.  Rocky played there for months, as well as Logan's Run and Westworld.  Johnny Kroeze was my most common co-conspirator in those days, and we saw pretty much everything that didn't have much girl stuff in it.  There was one girl in Star Wars.  That was enough.

The Exorcist played at the Deville.  I wasn't allowed to attend, but I remember the reports on the news and in the paper of the protests.  A movie about the devil in Jackson Mississippi in the seventies had no choice but to draw some heat.  I suspect the hullabaloo increased ticket sales by a factor of ten at least.

Many people from Jackson remember Deville for its Saturday night midnight showings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show that ran through the seventies into the early eighties.  I was aware of it too.  I heard it was a gay musical making fun of science fiction and horror movies, and I wanted nothing to do with it.

I didn't know much about homosexuality in those days.  I heard a guy from my church lost his job when he got arrested for "loitering" at Smith Park.  I don't know if he was doing anything nefarious or actually just loitering, but anything involving Smith Park at night could get you in trouble.

There were a couple of times when I would pick my little sister up from United Methodist Youth Fellowship and get catcalls of "Hey!  We're over here!" from the interior of Smith Park.  They didn't seem all that dangerous, but I wasn't taking any chances.

In high school, I couldn't name one single person who admitted to being gay.  In college, I knew precisely one.  Andrew Libby ended up teaching me a lot about that side of life.  He was my first gay ambassador.

Later in college, I met a girl who often got me into trouble.  Maybe more than one, but this one really had my number so I was doomed.  Deville had a one-weekend revival of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and she not only wanted to go, but she wanted me to go as well.  I won't say her name because she might be reading, but she was from the Delta and had green eyes, and had she asked me to put on a dress and go to a dog fight, I most likely would have.  That probably gave it away.

We packed up our little group to go, including her friend, whom I was equally taken with.  She had skin like alabaster and hair like obsidian and was slightly less likely to get me into compromising situations.  Slightly.  Who am I kidding?  She was just as bad.  Their powers combined, I was pretty much condemned to seeing the whole movie.

They had newspapers, and toast and rice and water guns ready for the performance.  I had a bad attitude and lots of doubts.

The lights went out, and the screen lit up with a pair of lips...

Michael Rennie was ill
The day the Earth stood still
But he told us where we stand
And Flash Gordon was there
In silver underwear
Claude Rains was The Invisible Man
Then something went wrong
For Fay Wray and King Kong
They got caught in a celluloid jam
Then at a deadly pace
It came from outer space...

Holy shit! 

 The scales fell from my eyes.  Gay or not, this was my people.  This was my tribe!  It would be another five or six years for me to learn that my beloved Fay Wray was a gay icon, but just the mention of her name made me open my heart a little bit and accept, not just a new movie, but a who new body of human beings.

Toward the end of the movie, Frankenfurter sings, "Whatever happened to Fay Wray?"  I knew the answer!  She was living in Beverly Hills with her last husband, the surgeon.  Her son had a pretty famous music store there, and her daughter was in New York becoming a writer and teacher.

In the years to come, I would see Rocky Horror in something like twenty different theatres and live at least five times.  I owe it all to two little girls from Millsaps, who knew better what I liked than I did myself.

In the years that followed, multiplex movie theaters took over the business and The Deville faltered.  The last movie I ever saw there was The Nightmare Before Christmas, in 1993 with Jay Cooke.  I loved the movie and Jay was possibly the only person I knew who could have appreciated it like I did, but that was the swan song for the Deville.  

I do love single-screen theaters.  Jackson had some grand ones.  Except for the Capri, they're all gone now.  They hope to keep the Capri going by making it as much of a restaurant as a movie theater.  I hope fortune shines on them.

In the years that followed, the Deville became a pretty popular store for china and whatnot, and a nightclub after that.  It makes me a little sad to drive by it now.  So many memories.  So many movies.

Saturday, May 7, 2022

Godzilla and Perry Mason

 In 1954, Japanese studio Toho, released Gojira, a copy of America's Beast From 20,000 fathoms, remade with political and strong anti-nuclear overtones.  It quickly became the most attended, highest-grossing release in Japanese film history.  

The uncut film in Japanese found a limited release in the USA, almost exclusively in Japanese neighborhoods.  In 1956, American producer Joseph E. Levine paid Toho $25,000 for the American rights to distribute Gojira.  Gojira was a made-up word with no English equivalent, so Levine sounded it out phonetically and came up with "Godzilla."

Afraid American audiences wouldn't appreciate the film's political overtones, Levine trimmed out almost twenty minutes.  He then injected scenes shot in Los Angeles with American actor Raymond Burr with body doubles of Japanese characters in the original footage to try and match the existing Japanese footage.  He randomly picked Steve Martin's name for Burr's character many years before the banjo-playing comedian became famous for his song "King Tut".  

Adding the subtitle "King Of The Monsters", Godzilla was released to American Audiences in 1956 to the same baby boomer, drive-in audiences that fueled the 50's sci-fi craze and rivaled the success of many home-grown films.  

The original Japanese version was hard to come by in the US.  As monster obsessed as I was, I never saw it myself until bootleg versions became available on VHS in the 90s.  

In 1957, CBS hired Burr to play Perry Mason, one year after Godzilla King Of The Monsters.  Mason was a pulp novel character featured in over eighty novels beginning in the 1930s.  He appeared in films and radio with other actors before television.  

Perry Mason flipped the typical pulp novel detective formula by making the title character a defense lawyer rather than a policeman or a private eye.  Perry Mason never really defended anyone as we know it. His clients were never guilty.  He used detective skills rivaling Hercule Poirot and invariably proved his clients never committed the crimes they were accused of. Often he exposed the true culprit in the courtroom itself! 

Burr's original run as Perry Mason ran from 1957 to 1966, revived in the seventies, and several made-for-tv movies in the eighties.  Burr was tall, steely-eyed, and wore impossibly angular suits.  He had the looks of a matinee hero, and he was also quite gay, in a time when American men were being arrested just for being gay.

Burr had a short-lived, studio-arranged marriage to a woman he hardly met.  Following that, he simply lied and made up two more wives, both of which he invented melodramatic deaths for, making him a grieving widower in the public's eye.  

Burr's actual life partner was actor Robert Benevides.  They were together from 1960 until Burr's death in 1993.  Benevides was not a terribly successful contract actor who had small parts in The Outer Limits and The Monster That Challenged The World.  He gave up acting to do production work on Burr's projects, including executive producer of all the Perry Mason TV movies. 

After 1975's Terror Of Mecha Godzilla, the fifteenth Gojira film, Toho Studios put the character in abeyance for nine years.  In 1984, Toho considered reviving the character for its thirtieth anniversary.  Koji Hashimoto took over the reins as director, with the working title: Gojira Returns.  Hashimoto took the bold step of making his film a direct sequel to the 1954 original, ignoring all the intervening fifteen films.  

Roger Corman's New World Pictures purchased the rights to distribute Gojira Returns in the US.  Renamed Godzilla 1985, they again reached out to Raymond Burr to shoot American sequences to cut into the Japanese footage.  Burr was delighted to comply, expressing a fondness for the monster.  In the thirty years since Godzilla King of The Monsters, comedian Steve Martin became a star, so Burr's character was renamed just Mr. Martin.

Corman negotiated a deal with Dr. Pepper for product placement in the American shots.  Burr refused to comply, so another actor was shot constantly holding a Dr. Pepper can
.  Burr's scenes took a little over a day to shoot.  He reportedly wrote Godzilla's epilogue himself.  

Gojira Returns gave new life to the series and new Japanese and American Godzilla films continue to this day.  Perry Mason returns to television without Burr and both franchises thrive into the twenty-first century.

Saturday, April 23, 2022

Mississippi Mummy

In the 1920s, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History purchased an extensive collection of Native American artifacts from Colonel Brevoort Butler.

Included in these artifacts was one item that was clearly not of Native origin, an Egyptian mummy said to be a princess.

For decades the mummy was displayed in the Old State Capitol Building, becoming a much-loved attraction and source of local pride that Mississippi should have such an exotic item.

In 1969, Gentry Yeatman, a local medical student interested in archeology, asked the museum for the "human remains" to study for evidence of disease.

Permission was granted to remove the mummy and send it to the University of Mississippi Medical Center for an autopsy, where radiological examination showed quite a surprise!  

Inside the mummy were a few animal ribs and several square nails holding together a wooden frame. He discovered the "mummy" primarily consisted of paper-mâché, including German newsprint and pages from an 1898 issue of the Milwaukee Journal.  Our prized artifact was a forgery!

The fake mummy is 
The Mummy and the X-Ray
more famous now than ever and considered a prized possession as an artifact of Mississippi Folklore.  The Old Capitol Museum often displays the Dummy Mummy around Halloween.


Friday, April 22, 2022

The Real Carfax Abbey

 In Bram Stoker's 1897 novel Dracula, we are told that Harker procures a Carfax Abbey in Whitby, London, England, for his client, Count Dracula, to reside.  Carfax Abby is an imaginary creation of Stoker but based on Whitby Abbey, an actual structure in the same location.

The initial construction of Whitby Abbey began in the 7th century.  It housed Benedictine monks until it was confiscated at the orders of Henry VIII in his battles with Rome in his efforts toward the dissolution of the monasteries (1536-1541).  It was abandoned after this and remains a ruin to this day.   

Stoker visited Whitby in 1890 and found the gothic ruins the perfect setting for a story. 

Henry Irving
At the time, Stoker worked as an agent for Henry Irving, the actor.  His first thought was to make his vampire story a play for Irving, but when Irving decided he had no interest in the part, Stoker used Irving's likeness and personality to create his vampire, Dracula.
There are other real-life locations used in the novel, but I thought you might enjoy a photograph as this one was so remarkable visually.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Gay Spider Man and His Tiny Sidekick

I really have no adequate explanation for this.

It's a lap dancing spider man with red bikini bottoms entertaining office workers which is strange enough on its own, but when mini gay spider man joins in, who is either a child or a little person also in a spider man costume (without red bikini bottoms) the whole video becomes something one might expect if Salvador Dali's retarded little brother had a YouTube account.

Link: YouTube

Sunday, January 18, 2009


Re-posted From The Constant Monster Blog When I was a kid, between the years of 1971 and 1975, WAPT-TV, the ABC affiliate in Jackson Mississippi had their own horror movie series called Horrible Movie. 

 Horrible Movie was broadcast on Saturday nights after the news. It featured mostly old Universal Monster movies. Movies both from the classic 30's era, like Dracula and Frankenstein, but also the revival in the 40's like The Wolfman and even Universal's Sci-fi Era films from the 50's like The Creature From The Black Lagoon and The Monolith Monsters

 The host of the show was an unpleasant woman named SCARTICIA, who wore a slinky black dress similar to The Addams Family's Morticia, who she was clearly named for. Unlike Morticia or Vampyra, who wore similar outfits, Scarticia had a painted-on extreme old-age makeup, and her black wig was more matted than luxurious. 

I haven't been able to find out a whole lot about Scarticia, except that her real name was Annette and she was fairly young at the time. Her day job was working as a secretary to the station's general manager. Scarticia called her loyal viewers (like me!) "animals" and generally acted like they were monsters themselves, which was a lot of fun. 

Usually, Horrible Movie was broadcast from the studio with only a chair or a sofa as set pieces. I can remember at least one occasion though when the show was broadcast from a wrestling ring in the old Armory on the fairgrounds where WAPT also occasionally broadcast Mid-South Wrestling. Scarticia's guests included characters like "Thing" which was a guy covered in fabric looking like a cross between the blob and McDonald's Grimace, The Black Genie, and Dr. Choke Throttle. 

 Her regular co-host was Scoop Gravely, played by local radio and TV personality Ed Hobgood. Horrible Movie was a big hit among a certain age group in Jackson. In one episode, Scarticia showed a stack of letters she received from a local junior high school. She acted like she was going to read them, but instead threw them up in the air saying "who has time?" 

 The early seventies was also the era of "Streaking" where people ran naked in public places for no particular reason. One Saturday night, Scoop Gravely said Scarticia was caught streaking and he'd show us videotape after the next commercial segment. When Scoop returned, the videotape he promised showed a naked doll with black hair "running" in front of a still photograph of downtown Jackson. 

When Horrible Movie ran the 1933 classic King Kong, Scoop said he also had a videotape of a real, live dinosaur in Jackson. The tape showed a yellow Marx Toy Brontosaurus in front of the same photograph of downtown Jackson.

I only have this one photograph of Scarticia. (click to enlarge) If you have any more, please send them in and I'll post them. If you have any information about Horrible Movie or memories about this classic show, please share those too and I'll post them here.

New Blog Just For Monsters

I've started a new blog. This one is dedicated to one of my favorite subjects, Monsters!

It features Movie Monsters, Cryptozoology, Mysteries, Models, and more madness. I've moved some of the older posts from my other two blogs to the new blog to get it started.

I had a heck of a time coming up with a name for the new project. Just about everything to do with the word "Monster" is already being used. Finally I started playing around with the sounds of the word and came up with The Constant Monster Blog!

Check it out! Let me know what you think.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Cool animated GIF

I hope everybody can see this in all the various formats they read the blog from

At first I thought maybe it was just an optical illusion, but it really is an animated gif. I love images with subtle movement.

The source is an article on the Popular Science website about a real-life cloaking device which sounds way cool but is still pretty limited in its capabilities.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Astronaut Punches Asshole

LaReeca Rucker's really cool article about UFO's in Mississippi, the recent death of Eric Beckjord, and former astronaut Edgar Mitchell's claims about UFO's, made me think about the whole genre of fringe science today and one of my favorite stories ever.

In 1969, Edwin Eugene (Buzz) Aldrin was the second human being to ever walk on the moon. His responsibility was to actually pilot the Eagle Lunar Module from lunar orbit to the surface of the moon. Buzz Aldrin is not only an American hero, but a world hero as well.

Ever since that day, fringe people have put forth the theory that the whole thing was a hoax. There's a million reasons why they're wrong that I don't have time to go into here. Suffice to say, we really did go to the moon no matter what people say.

The reason Bart Sibrel is an asshole instead of just being a guy who thinks we faked the moon landings, is that he has a habit of stalking ex-astronauts. Besides the yelling and screaming and accusations of lying, Sibrel is known to ask moon-walkers to to swear on the bible that they actually went to the moon, carrying his own bible to aid the task.

In 2002, Sibrel laid in wait to ambush Aldrin at a California hotel. When the astronaut showed, Sibrel accused him of being "a coward, a liar, and a thief" to which, the seventy-five year old Aldrin decked Sibrel in the teeth, nearly knocking him off his feet.

Sibrel made noises about charging Aldrin with assault, but the police and court would have nothing to do with it. Watch the punch on the video below.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Is Locke Really Dead?

Since all my Lost friends have commented on the season finale, I thought I'd throw in my two cents plus inflation.

Last year's season finale opened several questions and we had to wait until this year's season finale to get any answers. The biggest of these was "who the hell is in the coffin?"

"I've looked into the heart of this island
and what I saw was beautiful"

If you watched this years season finale, then you know it was John Locke in the coffin. John, knife-wielding, pig hunting, button pushing, Obi-Wan, faithful believer in the island's mysteries, man of faith not science, Locke.

If you can't tell I'm a big fan of Locke.

Like a lot of people, I was pretty sure it was Ben in the coffin. Now that we know it's Locke, fans all want to know if it means he's off the show.

The thing you have to remember is that on Lost, death doesn't mean what it normally means. Dead people come back all the time. Hurley was playing chess with the beaten to death by the smoke monster Mr. Eko in the nut house and Jack's dead dad appears to people who never met him in life.

In the real world, as in the show, the difference between life and death is just a matter of time, literally.

"I hope you're happy now, Jacob."

Marcus Aurelius spoke of great gulf of time before we're born and after we're dead and the brief moment of time in-between when we're alive. Jesus spoke of an eternal life, unbound by time, constituted only of faith. The Lost island operates independently of time. By turning the frozen donkey wheel, the island hops from spot to spot on the (what is to the rest of us) unbreakable sequential progression of time.

"When I said you had to go back to the island,
I meant all of you... Him too."

Clearly, Benjamin Linus intends for drunken, bearded, Jack to steal Locke's dead body and take it back to the island. Why? Because, in a place like the island, where time doesn't matter, then life and death is really only a matter of perspective and dead-in-Los-Angeles Locke will be alive again.

Locke to Jack: Why is so hard for you to believe?
Jack to Locke: Why is it so easy for you?

Wait. Have we seen this scenario before? An innocent man gives his life for his friends, only to have his dead body seemingly stolen from its grave but appears to his friends again, very much alive.

Imagine this: Jin (who also is not dead) is fishing off the now re-located in time island, when a stranger appears on the beach. "Have any luck?" the stranger asks. "No" says Jin, in improving English. "Cast your net on the other side." says the stranger.

Official Ted Lasso