Archive for November, 2006

The Fantastic in Art and Fiction

An absolutely don’t-miss online exhibit from Cornell University.

Hat tip to Greg at Daily Grail.

Bad people

One has to be careful when selecting front pagers. All the front pagers at The Mystery of the Haunted Vampire went through rigorous testing and screening processes to bring you the finest in horror bloggers.

Andrew Lang Fairy Books

A Victorian fairy tale a day.

Ghost hunters busted

Remember to always obey all laws while ghost hunting:

Three would-be ghost busters ended up simply busted on Thanksgiving after reportedly breaking into an abandoned Pacifica elementary school in search of spirits they believed were inside.

Sharif Adam, Burban Husseini and Kenji Ananda Snow, all 18, allegedly ripped the door off of Fairmont School, an abandoned elementary school in Pacifica, and were apprehended as they tried entering the premises. After their Nov. 23 arrest, the trio reportedly told Pacifica police they belong to the Idaho Spirit Seekers and had information about ghosts at the school, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

The Idaho Spirit Seekers investigates suspected paranormal activity in Idaho, Oregon and Montana, according to its Web site.

Neither Adam nor Husseini belong to the organization, said Executive Director Marie Cuff.

Snow attended one meeting and one investigation of a commercial property but was not asked to become an investigator. The organization has not heard from Snow since he left for college at Idaho State University more than one year ago, she said.

Is Bob Lazar the Kevin Bacon of the conspiracy world?

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

It’s one of the deadliest imaginable poisons, a radioactive substance about 100 billion times as deadly as cyanide — and a Web site run by a physicist and flying saucer enthusiast offers to sell you a trace amount of it for $69 and send it via the U.S. Postal Service or UPS.

Contrary to early news reports, polonium-210 — the poison suspected in the death of an ex-Russian spy in England — is not some exotic material available solely from nuclear laboratories. The isotope is available from firms that sell it for lawful and legitimate uses in industry, such as removing static electricity from machinery and photographic film.

If ingested in large enough amounts, polonium-210 causes a hideous death.

snip

United Nuclear is run by Bob Lazar, who attracted national attention when he claimed to have worked on crashed alien spaceships at a U.S. military base in Nevada called Area 51. In May, the Albuquerque Journal reported that agents from the U.S. Department of Justice raided Lazar’s firm in 2003. Lazar claimed that federal government officials wanted his firm to stop selling chemicals that they said could be used to make explosives, the paper reported.

The Lost Wars of George W. Bush

Let’s not forget what is really important.

We have 144,000 soldiers stuck in the middle of a civil war while President Bush’s lackeys fight the media to try to cowl them (once again) into not reporting the truth.

We have people being pulled from a house of worship and burned alive yet Bush pretends that his war can still be won.

We have Red Staters, the so-called “thinking” Republicans, urging genocidal policies against the Iraqis they not so long ago claimed to support.

Long ago we had Republican President Dwight Eisenhower end the Korea war because he knew the American people no longer supported it. They had grown weary of fighting. He did not continue the war because he feared for his reputation.

But Bush proves the adage that none are so blind as those that refuse to see. He no longer makes a pretense of telling the truth to others. Yet what is even more frightening is he can no longer recognize the truth himself.

We can shout from the mountaintops and the street corners it is time for us to bring our troops home.

But we cannot make our voices heard in the White House.

Bush wants an out. People almost always fall back on familiar patterns. It’s true in crime. It’s true in romance. It’s true in life.

Bush’s pattern is to fail miserably and then others come and bail him out.

But he’s not paying the price for his failure now. The soldiers, sailors and Marines are paying the price. Their families are paying the price. The Iraqis are paying the price. And in a sense, we’re all paying the price because the money squandered so Bush could be a “war president” is not going to benefit humanity.

The costs of his failures as with all wars are long-term, but they are not going to be paid for him. He’s already looking at raising millions to pay for a presidential library (an oxymoron if ever there was one in his case) to spin his lies for history. But he’s not paying the price. What does he care of sinking poll numbers? His arrogance is such that he believes history will vindicate him.

I’ve long said no wars can be won. By their nature all wars are a failure. But even if wars cannot be won, they can be lost. Bush has not lost just one war, but two as Afghanistan slides into a disaster. The war that shouldn’t have been fought in Iraq has led to another defeat in the war that should have been fought in Afghanistan.

One can debate what president lost which war. But no one can debate that never in the history of the nation has a president ever lost two wars at the same time.

I worry that the win by the Democrats of the majorities in the House of Representatives and the Senate has caused many of us to believe we are on our way to getting our troops out.

The Democrats need to be the ones shining the light on the way out for our troops to get out of the Hell on Earth Bush has created in Iraq. Politically and ideologically and morally, it is only correct that Democrats be the ones taking the point to save our soldiers from being the last ones to die for President Bush’s mistakes.

Yet as pointed out on Cursor, the Democrats are at risk of being outflanked on Iraq by Senator Chuck Hagel. God knows those of us in the anti-Iraq war movement are eager to find allies anywhere we can, but let us not forget as Democrats that we hold our own accountable and expect them to be at the lead.

And we need to make certain the Democrats on Capitol Hill hear us.

Now is not the time to let Bush escape his responsibility to the troops by letting him send more to cover for his failure.

Now is the time to bring our people home from Iraq.

The horror of the Halloween remake

The always excellent FinalGirl has the extremely long cast list for Rob Zombie’s version of Halloween in the works for 2007.

Her (warning: spoiler) post carries this tidbit:

He hates his teenage sister, his stripper mother, and her abusive boyfriend Ronnie. He is, however, protective and very attached to his baby sister, who he calls Boo.

His stripper mother? The original Halloween did not go in-depth into the socio-economic background of Michael, but he clearly grew up in a nice, quiet, middleclass suburban home.

In other words, the monster within him was from a fairly normal middleclass family. That to me, makes Michael even scarier.

This latest version by Zombie brings an unnecessary level of class-ism into one of the greatest horror series of all time. His stripper mom and the constant mocking of him by others? Please. Zombie claims to be a huge fan of John Carpenter’s Halloween. I find it hard to believe he even watched it. He certainly didn’t pay attention to the details.

Not only that, but by “humanizing” Michael, it eliminates the mystery about what lurks behind the mask. Michael is more than a serial killer. He’s the shape half-seen from the corner of the eye. He’s the monster lurking under the bed and behind the imagination. He’s unstoppable and you don’t know why he kills other than he is pure evil.

The casting call makes it sound like Zombie is simply going to do a variation of The Devil’s Rejects with a slight Halloween twist. The description of Michael as a stringy-haired kid who likes torturing animals after his school mates mock him for having a stripper mom is banal.

This is going to be the worst Halloween movie yet and that’s saying something.

Museum of witchcraft and sorcery

From Iceland Review:

In Hólmavík visitors can learn about the witch hunt in Iceland in the 17th century, take a look at magical objects on display and take part in scotching ghosts on special ghost days. The most popular object in the museum are the so-called necropants.

“Necropants are part of a complicated sorcery for gaining money,” Atlason explains. “The owner of necropants had to make a deal with a male friend while still alive about digging up his body after a natural cause of death, skinning it below the waste and wearing the skin as necropants.”

Atlason continues: “Then the necropants-owner would have to steal money from a poor widow and draw a magical symbol on a piece of parchment. After placing both in the necropants’ ‘pouch,’ the owner would magically come into possession of money.”

Hat tip to Daily Grail.

Separate truths

Story in The Washington Post about the remains of a pilot in the Vietnam War being identified and the different reactions of the pilot’s widow and sister.

For two women, so much comes down to this: a fragment of bone and the lick of a love letter.

Military scientists recently compared the bone recovered in a North Vietnamese jungle where an Air Force pilot’s plane went down 40 years ago to saliva on letters he had sent his wife. It was a DNA match, they announced. At last, they said, the remains of Col. Charles J. Scharf had been found.
What they couldn’t have known, however, was how differently that announcement would affect two women he left behind.

His widow, Patricia Scharf, 72, of Northern Virginia, has never remarried, has never had children and still considers the Vietnam War officer the love of her life. For her, the announcement was the gentle rub across the shoulder she had waited four decades to feel, one that let her know it was all right to let go.

For Barbara Scharf Lowerison, 72, his sister in California, the announcement was a slap. It meant she was losing — if she had not already lost — her fight to convince officials that her brother is alive, a prisoner of war.

Entire story well worth reading.

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