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Bad Horror Movie

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A bunch of teens decide to go up to The Old Dark House on the night of the full moon. As they mount the creaking stairs up to the front porch the nerdy guy of the group says, “I don't think this is a very good idea guys.”

Of course it's not.

What the teens don't know … but what everybody in the theater audience knows … is that somewhere in The Old Dark House is:

An escaped lunatic from a nearby insane asylum who has returned to the house where he committed terrible unspeakable murders. It was, in fact, This Very Night 20 years ago when he took an axe and chopped up his entire family.

Or …

An Alien needs to extract fresh pituitary glands from human beings between the ages of 18-24. It needs to do this once every 20 years in order to continue to masquerade as a human and This Very Night is its last chance.

Or …

The house was once inhabited by satanists who performed arcane rituals to open a Portal to Hell in the cellar. A blood sacrifice is needed to keep the gates of hell closed for another 20 years and … you guessed it … The Door opens This Very Night.

Or ...

Hidden in the cellar are the rotting bodies of the victims of the current slasher killer who has been terrorizing the town. Unbeknownst to the teens is one of their own group is the killer. And is probably related to the lunatic currently imprisoned in a nearby insane asylum for hacking up his family This Very Night 20 years ago.

Regardless … it's past curfew … and the band of teens enter The Dark Old House.

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Nightmare Alley

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No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood so for eighty years and might stand for eighty more. Within, walls continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone.”

So begins Shirley Jackson's classic The Haunting of Hill House.

Perceptions and appearances cannot be trusted. Hill House looks like it was properly built, “… walls continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut ...” but Hill House is not sane.

Why?

Because … No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality.

But … is Hill House alive? Ask whatever walks there. It knows. Whenever it dreamt, the dreams too were not sane. When mad dreams and absolute reality are peculiarly inverted … that's when everywhere becomes Hill House … and everyone who lives there … lives alone. Come daylight they dream with their eyes wide open, and at night they keep their eyes sensibly and tightly shut against the darkness of reality.

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Ides and Go Seek

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'Tis the time of the wild-eyed Bewilderbeast which is nearly upon us, boys and girls -- thick as broomstick'd witches on candy bags, heavy as depleted uranium foil strewn on scrawny, screw-together tannenbaums.

You know where we are, calendar-wise:  It's that time of the year in which Life makes even less sense than usual, in an American post-Summer simmer and in a pre-sprung Spring.  Here we are, the lull between the Equinoxes -- the seasonal gap between locked and unlocked, as Vonnegut's sense of season would have it.  It is neither Fall nor Winter, more Hypnotic Lockdown than anything -- making it Hypdown or Locknotic, I suppose.  Up to you.

We're in the No-Sanity Zone betwixt the tart, fictional, Slack-jawed, Sourpussed War on KrissMuss and the all-too-real, tempting jar of Trick-or-Treat Sweetmeats and Jaw-breaker Bribes.

We always worry and fear the wrong things here, in this country.  Halloween has us cringing at thoughts of chain-saw killers and headless horsepersons -- but, right now, and all year long, there are headless Congresspersons taking chain-saws to national life support systems, and pulling the plug on keeping infrastructure alive.

Who knows?  We might even vote another 40 or 50 times to repeal a starting effort at health care for citizens, at pointless costs of hundreds of millions of dollars.  We might even focus another dozen empty and vacuous hearings, and another hundred thousand pounds of baseless rage, against women's health care.  Or, maybe, Poe's pale blue eye of the Tell-Tale Heart, lately of the GOP, will descend its unseeing gaze on concerns of global climate change, and House Republicans will again chase science out of its Science Committees, hoping instead to place religion in all public classrooms, and Ten Commandment monoliths in every public space larger than a two-dollar bill.

Who knows what will happen when the ice-cold violin shrieks from Psycho start up again as marching soundtracks for the Republican faithful?

It's a strange season, all right.  All quicksand and quicksilver.

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One Planet, Two Worlds

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The problem with being a curmudgeon is that you still have things to say long after you know you really should shut up.

And so, as Curmudgeon General of The Benighted, Yoo-nited States -- one of many lifelong self-appointees, I see, based on a quick glance and a hasty listen snatched from around the media fountain -- here I am again.

My Curmudgeon General website is on hold.  I am tired, listless.  (Oh, a sizeable lottery win could still perk me up, but we'd have to be speaking about "Sharing-Size" quantities at this point.)

I mean, it's everything:  It's getting cold here again.  Durable Goods are failing after four years after replacement.  There's been another school shooting.  The car needs to keep its tires and wheels, and get everything else replaced.  Politics, Stupidity, Futility, Ignorance, and Pride in being hard-of-thinking are all in full bloom.

You know: The usual.

So, rather than fuss with a new website that won't even web or site, I thought I'd vent some pesky thoughts here, and let the bees in my head play on your screen for a while, if you don't mind.

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Is the GOP Clown Car a Volkswagen? It should be.

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China marked its President's visit to the US by announcing a cap and trade program on the burning of carbon starting in 2017. Now the Right Wing Nut Jobs really can call Obama's Cap and Trade proposal a Commie Plot with some small measure of truth.

 

China's economic problems are likely to get somewhat worse, but it's hardly the global disaster the short sellers would like you to bet on. Literally bet on, Wall Street has instruments to sell you that will cover you against China's collapse for a small fee. Check out their Brooklyn Bridge penny stocks while you're at it.

 

It appears China's problem revolves around moving to a consumer driven economy. They have 600 million middle class people to serve and are planning for 400 million more over the next 15 years.

 

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Stupes on the Loose: Add-a-Nope

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Welcome to the Bonus Round on today's episode of "How to Cope with Stupes on the Loose, and the Holy Hypnosis of Nope-a-Dopes!"

Please welcome today's special Scope-a-Dope guest, Judge Vance D. Day!

JUDGE: [waving energetically]  Howdy!

ANNOUNCER: We'll be right back, after this word for Dammitol ointment, for personality schisms and hard-of-thinking disorders -- just massage into the scalp, and, presto!  You're a Tea-Bagger, and all your logic has been magically whisked away!

* * *

Yes, we have another stupe, someone looking directly at the thumbs-up, same-sex marriage ruling from the Supreme Court of the United States of America, and then turning to the camera, and saying, in effect, "Nope, ain't gonna marry them people, and you can't make me."

This would normally be followed by an extended tongue-raspberry, and a thumb touched to the tip of the nose, while waggling four fingers upwardly.  But, that salute was stylistically popular a long way back.  We now go a much more economical route, using only one thumb, or one finger.

Not shaken or stirred, but served straight up.  (Usually on the rocks, too, so to speak, come to think of it.)

Yep:  It's part of the nation's enduring fanaticism of the past couple decades,  in the culturally-mandatory reduction of thoughts, syllables, actions, and catch-phrases -- call it a sort of a lazy-man's energy conservation program.  Something best handled from a La-Z-Boy, in front of a blaring wall screen, tuned to Fox.

* * *

On the one hand.... You've already heard about the county clerk in Kentucky.  Now, we've handily swapped out our two, key, functional digits -- going from that major thumbs-up, thank-you motion to the Supreme Court, and now, converting it, and flipping an ever-bolder, screw-you, middle-finger, ante-upper to the Justices of SCOTUS -- this time. from a judge in Oregon.

Yes, this particular no-can-do is from yet another balky judge, one of those lengthily-schooled, highly-trained law professionals who are certified to have something right next door to a clue on How to Recognize the Legally Right Thing to Do When One Encounters One of Those Law Thingies.

Especially one of those Highest Court in the Land Law Thingies.  On paper, and everything.

* * *

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The Ghosts in the Clock

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A bell tolls each life event.

Bong … New Year's … Bong … Birthdays … Bong … Spring … Bong … Summer … Bong … Halloween-Thanksgiving-Christmas and … Bong … Happy New Year.

Before we can catch our breath the bell tolls again for the very next thing as we continue to race around the sun at the speed of time. To remember what we have seen, rushing from one thing to the next, we watch television, the medium designed to make us forget. To facilitate the forgetting process the most trusted television news network tells us lies 60% of the time.

The second hand sweeps around the face of the clock, every second a new story is told, and with every revolution memories are wiped clean. Memory is a palimpsest; the new erases the old and is itself overwritten by the next. But … stop the clock … and we can see the ghosts who live between the tick and the tock. Before the present is erased by the future, we can still see the faint traces of the past. As Faulkner said, “The past is never dead. It's not even past.”

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