Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Return of the Night of the Living Dead


Ten years.

That's how long it's been since our Tates Creek Classic Horror Film Club cranked up. Back then, June of 2009, Jennie, a librarian at the Tates Creek Public Library, had a vision of a film club, but not just your typical film club. She wanted to show classic horror films. So, on a summer night, my wife and I headed to the library. There was another woman who showed up, too. And Jennie. First flick to kick things off -- Night of the Living Dead (1968). Wendy, my wife, asked if she could handle a horror film. "Sure," I said, as I prepared to toss her into the deep end of the pool.

Well, Jennie gave a brief intro, cranked up Night, and ten minutes later, the other woman who was there bailed. So, in attendance, it was Wendy and I and Jennie. And Wendy hung in there all the way to that final, tragic, yet heroic, end. The Horror Film Club had officially started.

Last night we grew a bit over the ten years since first watching NOTLD. Twenty-four in attendance for the return match. And no one jumped ship. So, a Big Thank You to all at the Tates Creek Public Library who have made our group possible -- Jennie, Virginia, Heather, and the library itself.

Now, on to the show.

This might be a disjointed blog (like so many of my others -- I know), as it could be a while before my next post, but just a random thought or two on watching Night after a ten-year span.

First, the dream-like quality of the opening sequence with Johnny and Barbra driving to the cemetery. The black-and-white shots felt muted, faded, reminding me of another cult favorite, Carnival of Souls. The isolation kicked off the disquiet of the film. Disquiet in a good way. Johnny taunting his sister with that "They're coming to get you, Barbra" chant.

And then that one lone figure shambling around in the graveyard. Seemingly innocent. Just a shuffling fellow, wandering about....

But no.

More later.

Keep writing, friends.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

A Brief Diversion Afore Returning to my Dragon Fantasy

Wendy and I and a couple of friends of ours were rummaging around a flea market today hunting for fleas. Found no fleas, but we did happen upon some odd and peculiar items. Have a look-see:

Because no one should be without a floating pen clock. Not sure as to how you're supposed to get to the pen.

This next item, supported by our friend Bob (thanks, Bob) is a slight head-scratcher. Not the worst thing we saw today. Saving that for last. This is sort of a variant on the leg lamp.

And, here we go. This one's in the flat-out tacky department, but I had to share, anyway. Shared suffering is the best.
Okay, in case you're in need of Christmas gift ideas, go no further. I'll bet these guys are really groovy.
And in case you get confused, these jars to hold your forks and spoons are helpful. Didn't see one for knives. I nearly bought these before Wendy stopped me. I wanted to put spoons in the fork jar and forks in the spoon jar.
Relative of Cousin It? I don't know.
These dolls were modeled after the kids from the old flick Village of the Damned.
I love this one just because of the sheer intranslationability (yeah, I made that up) of the package. Pretty cool. A defib unit for your car.
And, here we are folks. The grand finale. This falls into the WTF category for sure. Winner of the day for worst item at a flea market... Smelly Shorts.

Keep writing, friends.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Where be the Wordsters?


That's what I want to know. The truly creative word-players, where have they gone?

Back in the day, we had folks like Archie Campbell, Victor Borge, Nipsey Russell, Casey Stengel, who specialized in masticating and mangling the English language. They showed the plasticity of words and how thoughts got all tangled up with those little groups of letters.

This is sort of an extension of my meanderings from yesterday when I misread a magazine title. That got me thinkin' about how easy it is to confuse words, and how meanings slip-slide. I come from a line of word-players, and married into a family of wordsters. My mom and grandad were outstanding wordifiers, and my mother-in-law could hold her own in word-manipulation. Here we go:

Grandad, a man with an eighth-grade education because "....the woodpeckers ate the school down...." read all the time -- two daily newspapers, and all manner of sporting magazines. He, like some great punsters before him, poked fun at the high-and-mighty and the pretentious when he would talk about "....grasping something thusly betwixt the forefinger and the thumb...." in a manner reminiscent of Oliver "Babe" Hardy. He'd sit at the dinner table and announce with great eloquence and a flourish  that he "would now make a great epistle", then would say, "Dig in."

Then there was my mom, who could wrangle a word like nobody's business. In junior high, I had a P. E. (that's physical education for the uninformed -- don't know what they call it nowadays) teacher named Mr. Barlow. Aaannd... Barlow is a brand of knife, so he became Mr. Sharp Knife.

And in one of the glass-fronted display cases in our living room (still don't know why they called them living rooms -- no one lived there. We just passed through to other rooms.), there was this quilted cow. My buddy Cran would stop by for a visit, and she would grab that cow and shake its udders, saying, "This is udderly ridiculous." We got a kick out of her doing that. Pretty funny stuff for a lady in poor health who'd gone through a massive stroked years earlier.

But that's the kind of stuff, the type of humor and word play that's missing today. We need that kind of creativity back. If for no other reason than to show us how malleable language is. There are some lessons there, but I'm not going to dig them out. Just root around. You'll find 'em.

More words for the weird tomorrow. Then I'll return to my dragon fantasy.

Keep writing, friends.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

A Werd by any Other Wurd


Mindfungus. I was certain that's what was on the cover of a magazine I saw the other day. Wendy and were shopping at Good Foods Co-op the other day, and as we entered, or rather, pre-entered, the checkout line, as we hadn't truly entered it yet, I did one of those quick glances, and I swear it said Mindfungus.

It was, in fact, a magazine called Mindfulness, but somehow I jumped to Mindfungus, which, after Wendy and I discussed it a little (she does a wonderful job of handling my word meanderings), mindfungus makes more sense. Now, this whole new/old idea of mindfulness, well, it's a great idea to be aware of our surroundings, focus on the moment, be present, etc. But the ever-present and omniscient "they" have decided that doing these things should have a brand-new label. And so, mindfungus applies well to this whole phenomenon of new ideas which are really old ideas getting packaged all nice and shiny by "them" and infiltrating our noggins. All you have to do is give something a new moniker, and you've got a surefire hit.

A few years back, I was working at a company where the newest mousetrap was this bright, shiny object called paradigm theory. Oh, the management grabbed hold of this little gem like religious zealots. We had to attend classes on it and properly worship it, when basically it boiled down to just thinking outside the box. That was it. Look at things with new ideas. But when I brought up that the emperor was naked, they looked at me like I was Damien from The Omen.

Keep writing, friends.

Monday, May 20, 2019

The OFRC


It's an unofficial organization, but this past weekend I joined the Old Fart Riding Club. Proving that we're never too old to do stupid things. But they were definitely fun things.

So, last year, I bought one o' them thar mountain bikes. Well, not a full-fledged mountain bike. We're not going crashing down cliffs. Nothing that insane. Just moderately insane.

My old bud Cran got one and talked/cajoled/convinced me that I needed one, too. I used to be an avid bicyclist many moons ago, and loved it, but I haven't owned a bike in, well, a long time. I knew I didn't want to ride around the streets of Lexington, KY, but a tiny bit of trail riding, yeah.

Gotta say, the basic bicycle stuff hasn't changed much. You know, still two wheels, rides the same, chain drive. But now you can get disc (disk?) brakes, suspension, fourteen-thousand gears, and that helmet thing. Which is kind of important as I discovered this past Saturday.

So, stupid things. Four of us grown-up (debatable) sixty-somethings heard about an easy trail at Capital View Park in Frankfort. Okay, easy sounded good. Especially since my main bike riding experience was limited to roadways.

I prepared fairly well. Sunscreen, water bottles, phone. And off we went. Oh, forgot to mention that none of us had yet done any trail riding. At all. So, off we started.

Now, I will say that I learned a lot. And the biggest thing is that with trail riding you fall. A lot. So, I got some experience with falling. And next time I go out trail riding, someone asks me if I'm going biking, I'll answer, honestly, "Nope. Falling." So I'm going to practice falling. A lot.

We encountered sinkholes (yes, sinkholes -- I didn't see it myself, though. My riding partner and I took a wrong turn at Albuquerque and missed the big hole in the ground. Dang!), lots of branches which our tires always seemed to find, and some uppity-downy sections that are only meant for non-bicycle-riding non-two-legged critters. Goats, perhaps.

Gotta say, it was fun. We survived. It was a beautiful day. We didn't die. No broken bones. And I have all my teeth still.

Two other things I learned. One -- let the bike take the hit. That's what it's built for. Two -- when you come up on a muddy section that veers off, just do like you would with a car on snow or ice -- no brakes, no changing gears. Keep your wheel steady and ease through it.

With that said, I can't wait for the next time when we get to go bike riding... uh, bike falling.

Keep writing, friends.

A Dragon Fantasy


Thought I'd post what I've written so far of my dragon fantasy. I have been writing it as scattered posts, which makes it difficult to read. So, here it is, still evolving, but all in one chunk.


It is said in many of the elder texts, when dragons roamed freely, and were the protectors of Gaia, that cats were the cousins of dragons. The dragons protected all from the sky, cats from the ground. Once each 100 years, an elder dragon, and elder cat, and an elder human were chosen to serve on the Council  of Chelayah, for the good of all. But one day, one of the dark gods worked foul magic, sickening the land.

The dark god, Baramon, one of Odin's children, was born fetid, for no known reason by the Council elders. Their purpose was to stave off the sickness spreading across the land, if not entirely cure it.

Pherrin, the dragon elder said, "Our first goal should be to restore the crops in the fields. The people cannot eat. Those who were starving fell to consuming the corrupted crops and perished."


Stelleth, representative of the cats said, "Agreed. Whatever this is, it now infects livestock."


Tyber, of the humans, "Yes, all our people are in danger -- humans, cats, dragons. Reports are that now it spreads to the sky domain. Soon it shall be in the great waters."


"What do you hear from Neptunius?" Stelleth asked of Tyber.


Tyber set down his mug of Fawn's Ear, leaned back and shook his head. "No word. We have tried contacting her, but... she had always proven difficult."


A wry smile from Pherrin. “That is because you and she have history, Tyber, old friend. But we need her. We need her knowledge of the waters.”

“Yes, if we are to deal with this plague successfully, we need the Four. She, of course, is the fourth. And I must add that we can’t talk this to death. We need a plan. I would be the last one to act rashly, but speed is necessary,” said Stelleth.

A small dragon messenger sped through the doorway to the Council chambers, panic on her face. All present turned to look as the young messenger landed quickly beside Pherrin.

“What is it, Andor? What frightens you so?” Pherrin rested a clawed hand on Andor’s shoulder.

Resting a trembling hand on the oaken table, Andor would have fallen to the floor had it not been for Pherrin’s supporting hands.

“His face,” said Tyber, “He has the sickness. See the black pocks.” Tyber and Stelleth rushed to the young one’s aid and helped Pherrin place him on the table. Andor tried pushing them away.

“No, stay away. You will become infected, too,” Andor said.

“Fear not for us, son,” Stelleth said. “My magicks will protect us for a time.”

“Stelleth,” Pherrin said, “is there anything to be done for him? His breath weakens.”

Stelleth shook his head slowly and glanced at Pherrin and Tyber. “I can ease his pain. That is all.” He placed one large paw on Andor’s chest. Stelleth’s paw glowed amber. The radiance spread into Andor.

“Ah, thank you. That does help,” Andor said. “I am dying, but this you must know. Baramon approaches and brings the sickness with him. The sentries have it now.”

The young messenger’s gaze focused on a distant horizon as his Ka left him.

"What is the nature of this sickness, that it moves so swiftly through our lands?" Tyber asked.

Stelleth, weak from administering to Andor, returned to his seat. "A moment, please," she said.


Then, a great pounding at the door to the Council chambers, and a splintering of wood, as the door burst inward.


"Barramon!" said Pherrin, as the dark god entered the chambers. "If you intend to harm this young one," Pherrin said, gesturing to the prone figure on the table, "you are too late. The sickness has done your work for you."


Barramon, of dark and distorted countenance, appeared sickly, as well, covered as he was with black splotches, and scarred. Tyber drew sword and advanced, at the ready. Stelleth rallied and stood on the table, the luminous glow of his spells crackling the air. Pherrin's eyes glowed as smoke curled about his mouth.


"Stay your attacks," said Barramon, rasping. "I come not to destroy, but for a reunion. With my father."


The three Council members quick-glanced at one another, still watchful of the dark god.


"Your father?" Stelleth asked.


Keep writing, friends.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Dark Secrets


This is the most recent addition to an ongoing dragon story. To read the previous parts, click here: A Dragon Fantasy.

"What is the nature of this sickness, that it moves so swiftly through our lands?" Tyber asked.

Stelleth, weak from administering to Andor, returned to his seat. "A moment, please," she said.

Then, a great pounding at the door to the Council chambers, and a splintering of wood, as the door burst inward.

"Barramon!" said Pherrin, as the dark god entered the chambers. "If you intend to harm this young one," Pherrin said, gesturing to the prone figure on the table, "you are too late. The sickness has done your work for you."

Barramon, of dark and distorted countenance, appeared sickly, as well, covered as he was with black splotches, and scarred. Tyber drew sword and advanced, at the ready. Stelleth rallied and stood on the table, the luminous glow of his spells crackling the air. Pherrin's eyes glowed as smoke curled about his mouth.

"Stay your attacks," said Barramon, rasping. "I come not to destroy, but for a reunion. With my father."

The three Council members quick-glanced at one another, still watchful of the dark god.

"Your father?" Stelleth asked.

A brief aside: Stelleth's gender has changed. I'll go back and update the other posts accordingly. Unsure as to how or why Stelleth's gender has changed, but there you have it. I am only the writer. My characters tell me these things.

Keep writing, friends.