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Bob Alexander's Commentary

Welcome to “The Other Side”

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A note to Mike Malloy at

I noticed during the 2015/2016 television season that characters could say … shit, along with the shit-esque variations: Bull and horse. Oh … and asshole. You can say those on TV now. But I'll be dead and stuffed into an urn on the mantle long before anyone can say fuck on AM radio.

I've sent you about 180 “moments” over the last ten years and not once have I been able to write precisely what I meant to say. But you know exactly what I'm talking about. You've spent your entire career skating along the edge of what the Federal Communications Commission will allow on the air.


And so we must use … euphemisms … in order to avoid paying hundreds of thousands of dollars in “indecency” fines.

From my dictionary:

Euphemism: Noun. The substitution of a mild, indirect, or vague expression for one thought to be offensive, harsh, or blunt.

It is indescribably frustrating, when facing the wreckage the Republican party has wrought since Reagan affably strolled into office, to substitute mild, indirect, or vague expressions for … the truth. I hate euphemisms. The only reason I've used them in the past was to keep elderly relatives from ramping up their blood pressure in faux outrage and then stroking out. And, of course, to avoid the fines.

Our conversations became infantilized. Years and years ago, my then wife upbraided me for “my language” I used around our daughter. So I … watched my language. Months of studiously avoiding “bad” words finally became a habit. I “talked good.”

I was in a meeting with an idiot who was rationalizing the gutting of my budget. “You did so well last time,” he said, “Let's see what you can do with half the budget.”

I stood up enraged and called him … a poop-head.

We looked at each other in stunned silence. Then he started to laugh. I had to leave the office because there was no way to recover after calling someone … a poop-head.


Following in the Footsteps of Victor Frankenstein

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James Whale's 1931 classic film, Frankenstein spawned six direct sequels. In The Bride of Frankenstein, The Monster learned to speak. In the next film, The Son of Frankenstein, the screenwriters dropped the idea of a talking Monster, and invented the character of Ygor, the doctor's assistant. In The Ghost of Frankenstein Ygor's brain is transplanted into The Monster, and after the operation The Monster speaks … with Ygor's voice. And then, because brain transplants can be tricky, The Monster went blind.

And now a little backstory …

After the success of Dracula, Bela Lugosi was offered the role of The Monster in Frankenstein. Lugosi considered the part to be beneath his talents, said he was a star in his own country, and did not come to America "to be a scarecrow." William Henry Pratt, a struggling British actor, took the part, changed his name to Boris Karloff, and became a movie star.

Karloff played The Monster in the first three Frankenstein films. Bela Lugosi played Ygor in The Son of Frankenstein and in The Ghost of Frankenstein. Lon Chaney Jr. assumed The Monster's role in The Ghost of Frankenstein.

At the end of The Ghost of Frankenstein, the laboratory is in flames, Lon Chaney Jr. is stumbling around as the blind Monster speaking in Ygor's (Bela Lugosi's) voice, and finally the roof caves in trapping The Monster in a white hot inferno.

The Monster Movie
was the cash cow that kept money rolling in to Universal Studios throughout the Great Depression and beyond. But by 1942, Frankenstein's Monster wasn't the impressive draw it once was. It was time to rejuvenate the franchise by adding another monster into the mix. It was time for Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man. But there was a problem.

Last Updated on Thursday, 28 January 2016 21:27

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.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 02 December 2015 22:36

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.


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.

Last Updated on Thursday, 29 October 2015 21:39

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.”

Last Updated on Wednesday, 26 August 2015 17:46

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