Monday, May 31, 2010

"I'm on a Ride and I Want to Get Off"

"I'm on a ride and I want to get off" is a my favorite line from the 1980s nonsense song, "The Reflex" by Duran Duran. I picture something like this when I hear it.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Goose, The Monster and the Secret of Life

(By Guest Blogger Ganderdalf the Goose wizard )
Creatures from the 1313th Dimension are extremely intelligent and wise, but a lot of folks don't notice.  The Creatures look like monsters.   They get screamed at.  Or shot at.  No wonder they rarely come our way.
I met one once, briefly, at the Port of Pikooby.
I introduced myself and asked if he'd be kind enough to tell mere goose (me) the Secret of Life.  This way he (or she, or it) would  know I  accepted him as a fellow, if not superior creature.  And I wanted his wisdom!  Two minutes of his advice could be the equivalent of years of study.
I couldn't believe he agreed to tell me!  I looked up in amazement as he floated like a jellyfish, turning different colors and looking at me with his green eyes.  They were the size of grapefruits and stacked on a stalk rising from his head.  His tentacles waved like silk banners in a breeze.     His voice was strange too.  Sounded like he was underwater.  When he chuckled, red and orange sparks rose from his three nostrils.
Then his shuttle came and he was gone.  I stood there, marveling at what had just happened.   A Creature from the 1313 Dimension had just told me the Secret of Life!  And the secret was... ...well what had he said anyway?   I couldn't remember the details.  His alien-ess had completely distracted me.
And that's how I didn't learn the Secret of Life.

Saturday, May 22, 2010


I startle way too easily.  Tap my shoulder when I'm concentrating and I'll leap from the chair.
"I didn't mean to startle you," the embarrassed (or annoyed) party says.  I fear the subtext is: That shouldn't have startled anyone.  What's wrong with you!?
Friends and family are used to it.  Strangers think I'm nuts.   Actually friends and family think I'm a bit nuts too.
I first noticed this in high school.   One day the bell rang and I jumped.  I've been jumping ever since.
Intellectually I know bells, shoulder taps other surprises are harmless.  A more primitive part of my brain must  have other ideas.  "Loud noise?" it reasons,  "Mortal danger!  I repeat, mortal danger!  Dispatch the adrenalin!"
Maybe someday some sense will someday trickle down to the part of my brain that hits the panic button.
Until then, I'll  be jumpy.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Brown Lady of Raynham Hall (Busted?)

When I was a kid, I loved books about "true" ghost stories, even though they freaked me out.  Two stories were extra scary.  One was about a zombie-looking ghost of a murdered woman who appeared in a junk shop basement.  The other tale was famous- The Brown Lady of Raynham hall.
Raynham Hall was built in Norfolk, U.K. in the 1600s (It's still here today).  According to the legend, by the 1800s, visitors sometimes spotted a ghostly lady in brown brocade (sometimes satin) dress.   She'd show up at the bedside or in the hallway, carrying a lamp and "grinning diabolically."   And some said she had "gouged out" eyes!   That was scary enough for me, but there was more- the ghost books had a photograph of her!
Here the photo:
It's an icon of ghostlore.   I took it seriously when I was a kid.  It gave me nightmares!
As an adult more suspicious.
I don't believe in ghosts, but assuming I'm wrong, this serene figure looks nothing like the menacing, disheveled specter from the legend.
A few have noticed the shape looks something like a Madonna statue.   Could it be a double exposure?  Had the  photographers snapped a picture of the former, then captured the staircase on the same plate?
I tried to recreate the process.
First I found an internet photo of a Madonna.  Here's one from a church (also in Norfolk, but 40+ miles away from Raynham Hall):

I digitally cut out the figure, turned it black and white, blurred it a bit and superimposed it  into the famous photo:

Hey!  It fits.
Here's another version, with the Madonna scooted off to the right:

Look familiar?  They look like near duplicates, with the "ghost" facing a a slightly different direction.   I bet the photographer was pulling a fast one using a similar statue.  What do you think?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Mission Hot Link Smuggle

My Mom was in the hospital earlier this week (she's out now).   Her roommate  was  entertaining.  More engaging  than anything on daytime T.V.
Luci was awaiting  surgery or some sort of procedure.   Most of her time was spent on the phone.  She wanted food smuggled in.  I secretly transcribed her conversations:
"Pick up!  Pick up the phone!  I know you're there.  Y'all should be ashamed of yourself!
...Now bring me some food...   ...Hot Links and potato salad, and banana pudding...and bring me some socks!  My feet are freezing...  ...No! I don't wear those hospital booties.   Bring me socks...!
...Is that Penny?  Put that fatass on the line...!
If you don't bring me something to eat up here I'll tear up this hospital!
Who?  She's got no say in what I get to eat!  Tell that %!!# to shut up!  I'll tear her tail up right over the phone!"
In addition, someone brave enough to visit Luci in person was informed she was ready to "knock his #!@@ right out of the ^@!!! window" if she didn't get those Hot Links.
Mission Hot Link Smuggle was a success.  The last time I saw her she had a take out-container full of biscuits, potato salad, fries, and Hot Links. 

Sunday, May 02, 2010

(The Other) Treasure Planet

Long ago, I read the book Treasure Island and saw the 1950 film version. Both times I thought It'd be totally cool if this was set in space! It could have aliens and craziness! It could be called "Treasure Planet!"
Years later I learned something terrible- Disney was making a movie called "Treasure Planet!" How could they? Didn't they know this was my idea?*
The 1999 Disney film turned out a bit different than how I envisioned it.
My version would have been more goofy and cartoony.  No gorgeous steampunk ships sailing through the ether.
For example, early in the book the Jim (the kid narrator) runs into a blind cutthroat who grabs him, pins his arm behind his back, and threatens to break it.  I'd picture Jim as a mallard. The thug is a tentacled alien.  Three mangled eye stocks rise from his head.  It's gross.  It's scary.  More importantly, it's silly.
That's my kind of cartoon.
I suppose it wouldn't be nominated for an Acadamy Award (as was the Disney version).  The critics would think it was stupid.  Maybe everyone would...
...but I'd love it!

*Actually I bet a lot of people have thought, Let's put "Treasure Island" in space! over the years.