Category Archives: Humor

And Now For Something Completely Different–Man arrested for overnight feast inside Mt. Washington ValuMarket

You really just have to read this for yourself.

“The subject was also on camera going into the beer cave to get beer, which he drank while cooking and eating six steaks, shrimp, salad, deli cake and a gallon of tea,” the report states. “The subject also got a carton of cigarettes and two lighters. Sometime during the events, the subject pooped in his pants and got a pair of Bullitt East underwear, along with a couple of t-shirts.”
And that isn’t all he allegedly did. Huffman said he huffed over 50 cans of Reddi-wip.

Read the rest of the article here.

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New Monday Feature: English Quandary Of The Week

Why is it that if one decides to share something with the wedding party when told to “Speak now, or forever hold your peace,” one is saying one’s piece?

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Roll Tide

http://college-football.si.com/2012/06/28/roll-tide-usa/?sct=cf_bf2_a4

 

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Things About Harry Potter That Make You Go Hmmmmmm….

I went home to Alabama this weekend, and I found myself watching a lot of Harry Potter.  In fact, I think I saw all or part of every Harry Potter movie with the exception of the first one.  They are really great movies, and I remain astounded by the brilliance of J.K. Rowling’s masterful series.  And yet, having seen the movies dozens of times now, I’ve started noticing a few things that, in the immortal words of Arsenio Hall, make me go hmmmmm.  For instance,

Why do the wizards act like they know absolutely nothing about muggle life?

It’s a reoccurring joke in the series.  Hermione or Harry mention something related to the muggle world, and all the other wizards look at them like they are crazy.  We see this most prominently in the fifth movie when Harry and Mr. Weasley travel through the subway system to the Ministry of Magic, but it happens all the time.  No one knows what a dentist is.  They’ve never heard of cappuccino.  You’d think they knew nothing about muggles at all.

What is this magical contraption!?!

But we know that’s not true.  Mr. Weasley is a muggle expert.  They have a class called muggle studies.  But it goes beyond that.  Unless wizard and human society developed—magically, as it were—along the same track, at some point in the past wizards were far more integrated.  They have trains.  They have quills and books.  They build with brick and mortar and glass.  They divide themselves along the same geopolitical lines (Ireland plays Bulgaria in the Quidditch World Cup).  It makes you think that sometime around the turn of the century, there was a break between the muggle and human worlds.  The wizards are now stuck with whatever technology they had at the time.  I suppose that is not surprising.  When you have magic, you don’t have much of an incentive to develop new technology.  But man, wouldn’t it have been nice to have Google when they were trying to figure out who Nicholas Flamel was in The Sorceror’s Stone?

Doesn’t the Snitch completely ruin Quidditch?

Quidditch is a pretty cool game.  You get to fly around on broomsticks.  It has the best parts of football, basketball, soccer, and hockey.  It’s exciting.  It’s violent.  People die.  Pretty much everything you need in a great sport.  But then there’s the snitch.

Capturing the snitch ends a match of Quidditch.  That in of itself isn’t so bad.  I can imagine the strategy.  You’re down a goal.  The snitch is in sight, but you have to let it go because you don’t want the game to end.  But here’s the problem—getting the snitch also earns you 150 points.  That’s the equivalent of 15 goals in a sport where goals don’t come that easy.

The disparity between catching the snitch and virtually anything else you can do in Quidditch is so dramatic that I can’t imagine it wouldn’t quintessentially affect the game.  For instance, why have one seeker?  Take some of the other offensive guys and send them after the snitch.  Have all your offensive players go after the snitch.

Now, I am sure somebody is going to say that only the seeker can touch the snitch.  OK, that gets rid of one issue, but it brings up another.  Quidditch would turn into basketball, pre-shot clock.

The smart thing for both teams to do is hold on to the ball for as long as you can, keep the score low, and wait for the seeker to get the snitch.  That’s particularly true if you have a decent seeker.  And that means that no position in any sport—not QB, not point guard, not goalie, not pitcher—would be as important as the seeker.  Basically, you might as well put two seekers out there and just let them go at it.  Quidditch would go from football to tennis in the space of a generation.

And a bunch of other random stuff?

I’m getting long winded here, so let’s hit the highpoints.

If avada kedavra is unblockable and deadly, why do the bad wizards ever use anything else?  Why stun when you can kill?  Even Voldemort fails to use the killing curse the one time it could have saved his life—against Snape in the last book.  (Though let me say, the fact that in the Harry Potter Universe abracadabra is a muggle mistranslation of avada kedavra is brilliant.  Of course the only curse we would have heard of is the most infamous one, and we turned it into a saying to delight children.)

Why don’t they use magic more?  Harry has glasses.  Why not just use magic to fix his eyes?

Isn’t their education woefully underdeveloped?  Do they learn math?  Science?  History?

Where are the American wizards?  Surely we have just as many as England, and does anyone really think we’d stand by and let Voldemort come to power without sending in the wizard Marines?

Questions to think about my friends.  Questions to think about . . .

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For God, For Cthulhu & For Miskatonic

Johnny Depp, aka spoiler pirate.

Arrr!  There be spoilers ahead!

Yesterday I discussed how traditional good vs. evil struggles are not absent from Lovecraft’s fiction.  Today I want to get to the point—the presence of religion in That Which Should Not Be.  The best way to do that is to discuss what I was trying to accomplish in this crazy book.

  1. Create a Gothic, traditionally themed horror novel with an emphasis on Lovecraftian fiction.
  2. Treat the mythos as if it were another of the great religious traditions.
  3. Explore how legends, religions, and myths might be a way for the human mind to conceptualize the Great Old Ones, their fall, and the prophecies of their return.

For whatever reason, some people just could not handle the mention of anything religious in relation to the Cthulhu mythos.  The funny thing is, there’s not that much in TWSNB.  Sure, there are several references to the Bible, but almost all of those are reinterpreted as referencing the Great Old Ones.  I mean, if that guy on the History channel can see aliens in every verse of the Bible, why not Cthulhu in Revelations?

Yeah, this guy.

In fact, I think there are only three overt references to Judeo-Christianity in the TWSNB.  The first and second are actually the same—Jack’s use of a cruciform to defeat the Wendigo and Weston’s subsequent use of that weakness to fend off Thayerson towards the end of the novel.  The last is Captain Gray’s use of the name of God in a spell. Now, I have no problem if you want to read that as a straight Christian allegory.  I’m a Christian, and Christian themes have been present in literature in every form for the last 2000 years.  But the thing is, such a simplistic reading sorta misses the point.

As is stated multiple times in TWSNB, one of the driving principles of the book is that there is truth in every legend, every myth.  Take the cross, for instance.  Lovecraft scholars who objected to the power of the cruciform might be shocked to learn this fact, but the cross as a holy symbol predates Christianity and indeed is present in nearly every culture.  (Hence the reference in TWSNB to the ankh).  Indeed, the ankh of ancient Egypt was the ultimate symbol of life.  We see the cross in Eastern and Aryan religions, and archeologists regularly find Bronze Age objects (and even bones) engraved with the cross.  Lovecraft talks about certain signs and sigils that were used to keep the Old Ones at bay.  Why not a cross?  That Jake stumbled upon this defense because of his Christian faith doesn’t mean my book is the equivalent of Left Behind:  The Cthulhu Stories.

I mean, is there anything this guy could tell you that you wouldn’t believe?

Finally, the name of God.  The use of the name of God as an instrument of power isn’t from the Christian tradition, at least not in the way I used it.  It’s Kabbalistic mysticism.  According to some strands of Kabballah, it was the name of God that was used to create the world.  What a powerful word THAT must be.  What better way to bind Cthulhu? (And let’s recall, SOMETHING put Cthulhu and the Old Ones in their place. Whether it was the Christian God or not, it was something pretty powerful.)

In reality, I knew that there would be some in the Lovecraft community who would reject the book as an insult to Lovecraft.  There’s nothing I can do about that.  But when people like Mike Davis over at the Lovecraft eZine give the book the praise they do, I know that it was worth the slings and arrows.  And hey, there’ve been a lot more good reviews than bad ones.

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So How Many of You Forgot Rue was Black?

(I promise this is not turning into a Hunger Games blog.  I just think these things are interesting.)

Wait a minute!

So the Internets and the Twitterverse are all . . . a-twitter . . . about the reaction some Hunger Games fans have had about the choice to portray the character of Rue as a young black (African-Panemian?) girl.  There’s been a backlash to this reaction, with a lot of people throwing around the dreaded “racist” charge.

Let’s start with the facts—Rue is black, people.  She’s described in the book as having dark skin and dark eyes.  Her District 11 cohort, Thresh, is described in the same way.  Her district is largely agricultural, leading some to argue that District 11 is carved out of what remains of the southeastern part of the United States and is largely African-American.  I understand that shots of District 11 in the movie support this view.

The Rue we expected.

Despite that fact, it seems that the image most people have in their head of Rue is that of a blue-eyed, blond haired, cherub of a little girl.  Some of them expressed this view on Twitter and Facebook.  A few (though not most, I hope) went so far as to imply that they could not imagine a positive, hero character as being black.  I don’t have much to say about that.  Another segment were outraged at what they saw as the politicization of their beloved novel, erroneously believing that the directors had engaged in a bit of political correctness in choosing the cast.  Besides overlooking what is written in the book, these people apparently ignored the fact that Suzanne Collins, the author of The Hunger Games, retained a good amount of creative control over the production, and probably would have vetoed such a choice if it actually affected her vision.

But I’m not that concerned about those people either.  I’m writing to defend the vast majority of people out there who simply noted that they didn’t realize Rue was black.  I think they’ve been unfairly labeled as racists, a vitriolic charge in today’s world.  Most of the people who read The Hunger Games simply succumbed to a fairly common occurrence—they saw the characters in the archetypical way of their society and themselves, no matter what the author intended or expressed.

Seriously, a sociologist should do a study and name the phenomenon after me.  Advice to writers—if you want one of your heroes to be ugly and overweight, you need to hammer that into the heads of your readers.  Because if you don’t, the women will always be beautiful, and the men will always be studs.  Rue is portrayed as being this sweet little angel.   So how did people view Rue in their minds?  As a cherub, as the typical American girl.  It doesn’t help that Collins repeatedly compares her to Katnis’s sister who is in fact just that.  This wasn’t a racist reaction.

Now hold on, are you saying this is not an accurate representation?!?!?

It’s the same reason that most Americans think Jesus looked like a blue-eyed, handsome European.   We conceptualize the world in our minds in a specific way, a familiar way.  Those who made a mistake about Rue’s race were simply succumbing to the same phenomenon that has vexed many an African-American parent whose daughters repeatedly choose white dolls over black ones.  Who knows, maybe The Hunger Games can do something to nudge us away from that problem.

Now, you can call this cultural racism if you want, but I still think that phrase is too strong.  Racism has become like Nazism—the word is so charged, it’s so filled with vitriol, and it’s thrown around so often, that it no longer functions as a good descriptor for most situations.  This is one of them.  The mind does funny things.  I don’t think that makes everyone who forgot that Rue was black a racist.

My two cents, now take it to the comments.

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And For Those Who Are Asking…

Edward.  He’s a vampire, and although it’s pretty gross for a hundred year old dude to be hitting on a high-schooler, at least he doesn’t fall in love with newborns.

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And Now I Lose All My Horror Street Cred: Team Gale FTW

The arrival of The Hunger Games in theaters has got me thinking about something.  No, not the stupid title or inane premise, both of which are overcome by a really terrific book.  Something far more important.  The other competition:

vs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now look, I’m not a girl.  And I’m not gay.  But it doesn’t take a gay man or a fifteen year old chick to make this call.  Gale clearly and without a doubt is the guy for Katnis.  And I can give you five reasons right now why that’s the case.  (Spoiler Alert!)

1.  Use your eyes people!  Peeta looks like a scared little boy.  Gale’s a man.  A man’s man!  Talk, dark, and handsome.  Peeta looks like he should be going camping with his local Boy Scout troop.  Look at that neck on Gale.  His neck is so much longer than Peeta’s.  And any model will tell you, a long neck is important.

2.  What the heck kinda name is Peeta anyway?  Sounds like a girl’s name to me.  When I hear Peeta, I think peethetic.  It even ends in an a.  Guys names don’t end in an a.  Other than Joshua, and Peeta ain’t in any Bible I ever read.  But Gale, now that’s a name that only sorta sounds like a girl’s name.  OK so maybe it’s exactly the same as a girl’s name, but Gale is so different from Gail that it’s barely worth mentioning.  Anyway, back to my point.  When I hear Gale, I think of a strong wind, ready to destroy anything that stands in its way.  I think of the zephyr, of the great winds that carried iron men in wooden ships around the world!  When I hear Peeta, I think of something that is about to run out.  Though given how stupid a name “Katnis” is, maybe this is a point in his favor.

3.  And look, if we are thinking long-term here, then Gale is clearly the man who can put food on the table.  Not that Katnis needs it.  But I digress.  Peeta’s a baker, but you can only eat donuts and crescent rolls for so long.  But just think of the savory delicacies Gale can deliver.  Deer, pig, grouse, pheasant, squirrel, armadillo, possum.   Katnis is clearly not an Auburn fan, or she’d be all over Gale for the last two alone!

4.  Not to mention, Gale has done way more for Katnis than Peeta could in his dreams.  He helped her to hunt, he comforted her when their fathers were killed in the mines, he took care of her family while she was off playing in the woods with the other kids.  What did Peeta do?  Oh yeah, he gave her that ONE LOAF OF BREAD.  And somehow, that’s the thing she always remembered.  One measly loaf of bread.  Maybe Gale should go find a woman that appreciates him.

5.  Finally, there’s the fact that this is a question at all.  In the first book in The Hunger Games trilogy, we spend a precious handful of pages with Gale.  Like five.  The whole freakin’ book is about Peeta.  And yet, by the end, not only are we conflicted about which guy Catnip should end up with, I’m pretty sure most of us are thinking Gale.  Why is that?  Because Gale is more complex, better thought out, and more compelling than Peeta, even with a fraction of the interaction we get with baker boy.

The answer is clear.  Blow on, you mighty wind.

Just look at those eyes. Dreamy.

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Girl Tattoos Boyfriend of 1 Week on Her Arm. A Facebook Thread Ensues

I should probably try and keep this site deep and literary.  Dark and scary, that sort of thing.  But when I see a story like this, I can’t help but share it.  Seriously, what kind of idiot gets a tattoo of her boyfriend’s face after a week?  I am calling hoax on this, but for the sake of hilarity I am assuming it’s true.  Click here to read a truly epic Facebook thread.

UPDATE:  Sadly, it was a hoax, just as I predicted.  Things this awesome just don’t happen in real life.  But bravo to the pranksters.

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The Fifth Person You Meet in a Zombie Apocalypse–The Survivor

The Survivor

Then there is the survivor. It may seem trite, but there’s only one type of person who survives to the end of a zombie apocalypse. It takes someone who is resourceful, someone who has some of the characteristics of the leader without the constant need to be the hero. The survivor can make it on his own when he needs to, but he seeks out a good group of other survivors as soon as he can, recognizing that no one can live on their own. He has a gun and can build a fire. He is willing to kill when he has to, and he recognizes that zombies are not people. He also knows that while only the survivors survive, they don’t always. The cruel luck of the zombie apocalypse will strike them down as indiscriminately as anyone else. But if humanity is to rebound, it will be built upon the survivors.

So that’s five. Whatever could the sixth one be?

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The Fourth Person You Meet in a Zombie Apocalypse–The Death Trap

The Death Trap

Zombie Apocalypses are not fair.  Who lives and who dies is as much dumb luck as anything else.  Being in the right place at the right time.  Maybe hooking up with a leader who’s willing to keep you alive.  When things go to Hell, your chances at survival—at least initially—will be heavily dependent on pure, stupid, chance.  And that means that there will be a lot of idiots running around.

Maybe they are the kind of person who makes a lot of noise when they need to be quiet.  Maybe they are the person who is supposed to guard the door and let you in after you go out to get water, but then they get distracted.  These are the guys who always come out of hiding thirty seconds too soon, who start a fire in the middle of the night, who fire a gun to kill a single zombie when a blunt instrument to the back of the head would do just fine.  Sometimes they refuse to accept reality, constantly arguing that the zombies can be saved or that the group shouldn’t kill the guy who has been bit and is clearly five minutes from being a full blown Zed (note the Canadian, eh.  I’m inclusive.)  Or maybe they are the girl who insists on going after the darn dog when it runs off into the midst of the zombie horde.  Or maybe they are the dog.  (I’m looking at you Chips.)  Either way, two things are certain.  They aren’t making it to the end of the movie/zombie apocalypse, and neither are you.

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The Second Person You Meet in a Zombie Apocalypse–The Loner

The Loner

The loner is, in many ways, the opposite of the leader. He has no interest in protecting the group or saving humanity. His priority is always numero uno. He probably has a military or survivalist background, is heavily armed, and either has a stash of food and supplies or is able to acquire them easily. In the movies, the loner is a leader in disguise, the gruff fighter with a heart of gold just waiting to find the reason to step forward. In reality, the loner may occasionally hook up with others, but only when it is beneficial to him. He will also drop them at the first opportunity, preferably when the zombies need something to distract them.

The problem with the loner is he has no one to rely on when things go wrong. The simple fact of the matter is that it’s hard to survive in a zombie apocalypse. You gotta sleep. Who’s going to keep watch? What if you injure yourself? What if there are more zombies than one gun can possible hold off? No, the loner might live longer than the leader, but at some point, he’s gonna slip up. And when he does, that’s the end.

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The First Person You Meet in the Zombie Apocalypse–The Leader

The Leader/Hero

"Come with me if you want to live."

The leader is the guy we all think we are going to be.  He (or she) is the swashbuckling, charismatic, “come with me if you want to live” guy.  The one who always goes into the “abandoned” house first.  The guy who kills the kid after he’s been bit when everybody else is saying they should give him a chance, just to see if he is immune.  The leader decides which mythical zombie-free land the rest of the group will seek out.  Cause there’s always a mythical land.  Amusement park.  Farm.  Island.  Boat.  Whatever.   It’s there, somewhere just beyond the next rise, and the leader is going to find it.

Everybody wants to be the leader.  Everybody wants to star in their own zombie flick.  We all assume we are the important ones, the guy who is going to save humanity, get the girl, and repopulate the species.  But here’s the thing, you probably aren’t, and you probably don’t want to be.

The thing about being a leader is somebody has to follow you.  When you draw that line in the sand, somebody has to cross it.  Otherwise, you’re just another loner.  And besides, how long do you think you’re gonna last anyway?  How many times can you kick down that door before somebody bites off your leg?  How many times can you be the guy who stays back to hold off the horde while the others escape before you don’t make it out?  The leader is living on borrowed time.   Notice all those pictures?  What do they have in common?  They’re all leaders, and they’re all dead.*

*OK, technically Rick is still alive . . . for now.

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The Six People You Meet in a Zombie Apocalypse

This is how the world ends.  It’s December 21, 2012.  You’re sitting in your non-descript office in a cookie cutter building in a city (Pittsburgh, maybe?) that’s probably not New York or Chicago or Las Angeles, no matter how much you wish it were.  You’re dreading Christmas and having to spend another night with drunk Uncle Tony and you haven’t bought a single present.  Turns out it won’t matter.

Not those zombies!

You have your radio on, and suddenly there’s a report about rioting downtown in the vicinity of the hospital.  No reason is given for the destruction, no cause seems to drive the rioters.  The whole thing is so undefined you assume it’s another Occupy Pittsburgh.  But then you hear about mass hysteria and that the crazed rioters are biting their victims, and it all clicks into place.  The Rising is upon us.  Now it’s time to decide who you are going to be.

Starting tonight, I’ll lay out your six choices.  These six people will appear in every zombie apocalypse.  No question about it.  Who you are will determine how likely you are to make it out alive.

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On Zombies: A Deconstruction

The best thing about publishing a novel is you are suddenly an expert on something.  My opinions and your opinions are both worth

The only thing worse than zombies? Nazi zombies.

about the same (which is, unfortunately, next to nothing), but since I wrote a horror novel, everybody wants to know what I think.  I can pontificate until the end of time, and people will actually pay attention!  Wild, huh?  But I fear I haven’t taken advantage of this opportunity.  Opinion articles on this site are rare, far rarer than they should be.  I’m going to change that, starting with this, my multipart discussion of the zombie and the inevitable zombie apocalypse.

You know it’s coming.  I know it’s coming.  As surely as the world is going to end on December 21, 2012 (probably in a zombie apocalypse), The Rising will occur in our lifetimes  (probably on December 21, 2012).  As such, I feel like it is my responsibility to use my expertise to try and save your lives when the inevitable occurs.  After all, I wrote a book.  I’m an expert on these things.

In the coming days, I’ll be proceeding with a serious of posts pertaining to zombies and the end times.  You will learn much, no doubt.  And remember, the life you save could be your own.

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