Archive for October, 2008

h1

Today’s Moron: David Storck, Republican

October 31, 2008

Today’s Moron is David Storck, chairman of the Republican Party branch in some Florida town. He’s on the hot seat today for distributing an email he received from a volunteer in which the threat of BPG (Black People Gathering) was raised.

The name of the email’s original author has not been revealed, but he or she wrote about noticing “car loads of black Obama supporters coming from the inner city to cast their votes for Obama. This is their chance to get a black president and they seem to care little that he is at minimum a socialist and probably Marxist in his core beliefs. After all he is black — no experience or accomplishments but he is black.”

Storck, who is a middle-aged white man, trotted out a classic excuse: he didn’t know what he was doing. “I never should have done it. I do not agree with the statement or anything else. That’s not what we’re all about.”

First, he said he sent the email on because the first few paragraphs were all about getting voters out, and he missed the end. Then we read the actual full e-mail, so that became sort of not true.

So he issued a statement in which he said he hadn’t read the whole thing through before forwarding it to hundreds, if not thousands, of  Republicans, and included this odd remark: “I can certainly understand how the email could be misunderstood.”

Misunderstood? “No, I said you look FAT in those PANTS” is a misunderstanding. This is not a misunderstanding. This is moronity. And it’s all too common. Hey, this exact same thing happened a little while back, with the same excuse: “I didn’t really understand the email before I forwarded it.”

For every moron like David Storck — and the ubermoron who actually wrote the original message — there are many more who aren’t obvious enough to be caught.

I’m kind of sorry this is the last weekend before Americans go to the polls. This election has provided me with so much material, whether it’s daily morons or just general finger-firing Palin-bashing. I’ve said this before: I love watching America from up here in the sunny north.

h1

Music Review: Type O Negative

October 31, 2008

It’s Halloween, and under these black sad skies and by the light of the rotting jack-o-lantern, I bring you the music of Type O Negative. I think it’s appropriate. Demons roam the Earth tonight, and so do these New York rockers.

Type O Negative is Halloween on CD. All those years Rob Zombie was power-rocking his way through schlock horror stereotypes, Type O Negative was creating the real deal, crafting dark gothic (not ‘goth’) metal with a tunesmanship and sense of melody that rescues it from the shit-for-brains dirges of death metal.

I’m of two minds when it comes to Type O Negative. There are about a dozen of their songs that rotate in and out of my playlists, and others I can’t stomach, mostly due to boredom. They can be hit or miss. But that’s okay, because the ones I do like, the ones that matter, are so monstrously epic that I am happy to go through life with a handful of brilliance.

The good songs I’m talking about include Love You To Death, Black No. 1 (the only song ever written abour hair dye; its subtitle is Little Miss Scare-All), My Girlfriend’s Girlfriend, Cinnamon Girl, Summer Breeze, I Know You’re Fucking Someone Else (there’s a title for you) and September Sun.

You know why this music works? Two things: keyboards, played like a Wagnerian opera and not like Howard Jones or whoever, and also the voice of Peter Steele.

Steele is a seven-foot-tall bodybuilder who sings like a low-register banshee. His voice is so rumbly and low-end that you can often find songs attributed to Type O Negative that are really just slowed-down versions of actual recordings. There’s a Hit Me Baby One More Time floating around out there like that. Peter Steele is also notorious for being the first Playgirl model to insist on appearing, uh, as the extended remix version.

Anyway, this is not everyone’s cup of tea, and not always mine. But there are days when Type O Negative makes perfect sense. Today is Halloween. So that’s one of them.

Here’s a couple of Type O Negative videos, one for Halloween:

And one for when you’re just feeling confused about things:

h1

My Brilliant Little Geek

October 31, 2008

My youngest son is five, brilliant, funny, extremely cute … and he knows all this.

A while back, he wandered into the Weather Station and noticed the screensaver on my laptop: the Enterprise, the 1701, the original ship. He looked at it for a moment, then turned to me and said what is probably the best thing a child has ever said to me: “Is that the ship that brought you to this planet?”

Of course, I said “yes,” not thinking much of it at the time. Well. Since then, the little guy has concocted an entire sci-fi scenario better than most movies, all to explain just how it is that he and I (not his siblings, or anyone else) happen to be from a different planet.

He talks about it all the time. He told his teacher, in earnest intensity, about how we left our planet many years ago and took a long time to come to Earth, because we wanted to help people learn to play video games. He tells people that we look like humans because we all came from the same place a long time ago, only we went to our planet and the rest of you came here.

Yesterday, he and I were flopped on our backs in our field, watching a small plane cross the sky. “That’s smaller than our ship,” he said. I agreed. And then he came out with this:

“Did you know that gravity is different on our planet? And we have a thing we had to put in us to make gravity the same for us on Earth.”

“Really?” I asked.

You should know that he has a very serious voice. “Yes,” he said. “And if you take it out you would float up to the clouds and that’s where you would have to live.”

Now, what struck my about this is (a) it’s pretty inventive for a kid who just turned 5, and (b) it’s remarkably similar to a story I wrote when I was a kid about people who lived in cities hidden in the clouds. So I don’t know what’s going on here, but I’m pretty sure my kid is something exceptional.

All in all, I’m pretty happy to have a little sci-fi genius hanging around. It makes me feel like I’ve done something right for a change.

h1

Horror Movies You Should See

October 30, 2008
Lemoras iconic backwoods bus sequence

Lemora's iconic backwoods bus sequence

Happy Halloween. For those of you not in North America, Happy Friday.

I’m going to honour the occasion by running through some scary flicks you may not have seen. I am a serious horror movie fan and have seen more than I can remember, and thus can tell you with confidence that for every excellent scary movie there are nine more that bite weiner.

Now, I should tell you that I don’t like zombie flicks and I’m not big on this “torture porn” stuff that’s been coming out lately; I liked the first Saw, hated Hostel, really, really hated Captivity and have not seen any of their sequels, nor do I care to. So you won’t see stuff like that on my shelf. Don’t get me wrong; a horror movie can be gory. It can be bloody. Or it can just be scary, with chills hinted at via mood and sound, not graphic violence. I just don’t get this two-hours-of-people-cutting-people-up business. But I like Rob Zombie’s stuff, so hey, what do I know?

Quality horror has been lacking in recent years; The Ring (the American version) was a rare scare for me in the 21st century. Prior to that? Maybe The Blair Witch Project. I am of the opinion that you either absolutely got that film, or you absolutely didn’t, with no in-between, and I think it has something to do with the power of the viewer’s imagination.

Anyway, here are some horror movies you should see:

  • Twitch of the Death Nerve: I would actually recommend you see any Lamberto and/or Mario Bava films you can, but this one is a standout. I haven’t seen it in years, come to think of it … maybe this weekend will be the time, if I can find a copy. I think it’s also the best movie title of all time. Sometimes it’s packaged under the title Bay of Blood, and somehow isn’t as good under that name. But I’m weird about things like that.
  • Black Christmas: The Canadian original, which actually kicked off the “slasher” film craze and is a clear influence on the first Halloween movie. There’s an iconic image involving a clear plastic bag and a rocking chair that will haunt you.
  • Lemora: I first saw this on late-night TV when I was in my early teens. Actually, I saw just one sequence, involving a girl being locked in an old shed after being attacked by creatures in the forest, but it was so frightening that it stayed with me for years. It wasn’t until last summer that I finally (a) learned what it was called and (b) found a copy. It doesn’t really hold up; it’s extremely low-budget and very, very disquieting, but there’s still something about it that works for me.
  • Suspiria: My favourite horror movie, and one of my favourite films. It’s surreal, a dreamscape of horror hallucination and witchery. It makes little sense and doesn’t have to. Dario Argento initially conceived of this as a film about little girls, then cast adults as teenagers, but didn’t change the dialogue … it makes for a strange trip. It has two “sequels,” 1980′s Inferno and this year’s Mother of Tears, both inferior.
  • Last House on the Left: Brutal and gripping and dark as pitch, this is the ultimate exploration of ultraviolence. It isn’t spooky; it’s a scary, realistic story of a gang of killers on the loose. Long before The Strangers or Funny Games, this was the way to scare America: Do you really know who’s knocking on your door?
  • The Little Girl Who Lives Down The Lane: Jodie Foster is Bryn, a 13-year-old who lives by herself in a rambling old house in the country. Or maybe not. This is a quiet, slow movie about suspicion and fear that features a young Martin Sheen as one of cinema’s best-ever villains. It also stars a young actor named Scott Jacoby, whose face, for me, sums up the 70s.
  • Bad Ronald: Scott Jacoby headlines this one, a cheapie about a teenaged boy who gets into some trouble, so his mother (played by Zira from Planet of the Apes) hides him in a secret room in their house, and then dies. When a new family with lovely daughters moves in, they have no idea a creepy kid is living inside their walls.
  • Carnival of Souls: You can usually find this on those cheap DVD box sets, which are worth the price just for this movie alone. A young woman survives a deadly car crash and finds herself drawn to a strange old carnival pavilion in the middle of nowhere … again, it’s fairly low-budget but the power is in the performances and the spooky pavilion.
  • Candyman: I still watch this whenever I can. And it’s still frightening. The sequels are garbage, but the original, with Virginia Madsen’s perfect performance, Tony Todd’s menace (“I am the writing on the wall, the whisper in the classroom”) and a story like nothing else before or since, is an excellent Halloween scare.
  • Race With The Devil: Two couples in an RV accidentally witness a Satanic sacrifice in the middle of nowhere, and as they flee learn that pretty much every American in the southwest is a Satanist. This has Peter Fonda, Loretta Swit and some dirtbikes, and is super-cool.
  • Blood on Satan’s Claw: It’s the 1600s, and a demon creature is turning a village’s children into evil little satanists. The title is dreadful, but this is a perfect example of a low-budget, mildly stupid movie achieving exactly what it set out to do, and scaring the crap out of young Weathereye, somewhere around 1980, in the process.

A lot of my other favourites are ones you would expect: Rosemary’s Baby, The Omen, Texas Chain Saw Massacre, etc. Over the past couple of years it’s been the Vengeance Trilogy and some, but not all, Japanese stuff. Oddly, I have never been a big fan of The Exorcist, but I really like The Sentinel, which is similar. And I have a soft spot for the Flowers in the Attic movie. But don’t tell anyone about that.

The spooky visitor from Carnival of Souls

The spooky visitor from Carnival of Souls

h1

People Who Don’t Understand Facebook

October 30, 2008

I work with a guy who is also a Facebook friend. Actually, a lot of my coworkers are on my Facebook list, and some of them aren’t, and they know why. The ones who are? It’s helped me get to know them a little better without actually having to socialize with them, and vice versa.

Back to my point: Let’s call him Buddy. Buddy joined Facebook about a year ago. I remember him asking me about it and remarking that he found it incredible that people could have, wow, 50 friends on Facebook. “Who even knows that many people?” he asked. I said nothing. I have a lot of Facebook friends, and I know them all.

When he joined, he sent me a friend request, and I accepted, and that was that. Over the last few months, though, I’ve noticed he has a strange habit of befriending attractive young women. It usually goes like this:

  • Buddy is now friends with Julie Jones
  • Julie Jones: ‘Do I know U?’
  • Buddy is now friends with Samantha Brown
  • Samantha Brown: ‘Hey, how do you know me?’

Facebook being Facebook, though, these girls tend to keep him around, because they like having lots of ‘friends.’

Then, a few weeks ago, came Round 2: Buddy started commenting on their photos. These comments would pop up in my news feed, and in all his friends’ news feeds, because that’s what Facebook does.

  • Buddy commented on Samantha Brown’s photo: ‘WOW! Nice!’ You should let me come take your photo!’
  • Buddy commented on Julie Jones’s photo: ‘I’d chew your bubblegum, baby!’

Now, knowing that Buddy is a family man, I started to wonder what he was thinking. And then it dawned on me: He has no idea how the news feed works. He doesn’t understand that Facebook broadcasts everything he does to everyone he knows. So I mentioned it to him tonight at work.

‘Hey, Buddy, you sure you want to be telling young ladies you want to chew their bubblegum?’

He looked at me, his face pale. ‘How do you know about that?’

I explained it to him. He sat there. I left and went back to my own department. A few minutes later, my phone rang. ‘I don’t understand this,’ he said. ‘If I wrote it to her, on her page, how can you read it?’

‘Because that’s what Facebook does,’ I said. ‘It goes out on the news feed.’

‘Oh,’ he mumbled. ‘Like, a community kind of thing.’

‘That’s right,’ I said. ‘I wouldn’t worry about it.’ Then a new thought dawned on me, and I asked him: ‘Say, is your wife on Facebook now?’

‘For about a month,’ he said, and I could hear his voice crumble.

‘Nice knowing you,’ I told him.

There may be a job opening at my office, by the way.

h1

Shamans For Obama

October 29, 2008

Well, if Barack Obama hasn’t quite drummed up enough support yet, here’s word out of Peru that the South American country’s indigenous shamans have held a mystic ceremony and chosen Obama as their presidential pick. Because, you know, the U.S. president holds a lot of sway over these mountain magicians.

After indulging their visionary powers, here’s what a couple of them had to say:

Obama is growing stronger, I’ve seen that he has the spiritual support of Martin Luther King and John F. Kennedy to protect him,” Juan Osco, president of the Apus-Inka healers association, told The Associated Press. “He’s going to win.”

“Obama will win and he will change history … he is going to help all the Latinos living in the United States,” said Mary Gomez, a healer from the city of Chiclayo.

Now, I know I tend to be pretty sarcastic here at Weather Station 1. Not this time, though. As a person of indigenous background, I have nothing but respect for old earth faiths. In fact, after reading as much as I can tonight about these shamans of Peru, I think they’re on to something.

Wouldn’t it make more sense to just leave elections in their hands? They have no vested interest, and rely on their ancient methods: They chant and burn special wood before rubbing ashes over posters of the candidates, thereby generating the visions they need to make their choice.

Whether you live in the U.S., Canada, the U.K. France or Australia, you have to admit this sounds as sensible as anything we do. They’re practising ancient rituals dating back thousands of years, passed down orally from father to daughter, mother to son, never written down … still, it’s probably easier to master than the electoral college system.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 410 other followers