Posted in Holidays, Movies, Parenting, Televison, Uncategorized, Zombies

Welcome to my Nightmare

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Around this time of year people often pose the question: what’s your worst nightmare? For me, something horrible happening to my son, and the rest of my family and friends.

My nightmares, when I actually sleep, are few, but they all start the same, running. Not jogging, all comfy shoes and music, but frantic, desperate, trying-to-get-away-from-something-running. I’m not scared of the running, but of what I’m running from. Maybe that’s why I love to walk, little chance I’m leisurely strolling away from a zombie, vampire, alien, mass murderer, serial killer, etc., right?
Luckily in the nightmares my son is usually running ahead of me; he’s fast, so he makes it.

I know what you’re doing right now…hopefully reading this:

1. The origins of Halloween are ancient and include: sacrifices, celebrating Harvest, fairies, demons, feasts, Druids, Celts, scaring away spirits, appeasing spirits, passion, death, and so much more…and this is for children now, hmmm.

2. In Medieval England hearing an owl’s call meant someone was about to die, well, duh, it was Medieval England, of course someone was about to die.

3. Ireland is believed to be the birthplace of Halloween so why does no one drink green beer on October 31st?

4. Harry Houdini died on Halloween 1926…coincidence?

5. We have carved: beets, turnips, potatoes, and pumpkins for Halloween, weird amount of veggies for a candy holiday.

6. Safety first, sadly, children are twice as likely to be killed in or by a car on Halloween.

7. Some animals shelters have stopped adoptions of black cats near Halloween, because people sacrifice them. What is wrong with…sigh, I have no words.1alice18. Orange symbolizes: Harvest, Fall, and strength. Black implies darkness and death, including the death of summer…I just like wearing it.

9.Witch comes from wicce which means wise woman. I know a lot of witches.

10. Halloween can cause poor behaviour and deindividualization. In costume, together, people care less about consequences of individual actions; doing things they normally wouldn’t do alone.

1alice311. The Michael Myers mask in 1978’s Halloween was actually a William Shatner mask. And now he has a renovation show, William Shatner, not Michael Myers although it’s reality TV so who knows?

12. Some suggestions for definitely too-soon Halloween costumes: Sexy Hazmat suits, zombie Robin Williams, terrorist, Ray Rice dragging a doll…just don’t.

13. Halloween has had many names: All Hallows Evening, All Hallows Eve, Samhain, Witches Night, Lambswool, Haunting Night, Summer’s End, Snap-Apple Night, wait, doesn’t that last one just sound like Snapple Night? Mmmm, Snapple.

And if you inadvertently find yourself in a horror movie this Halloween, here’s some help: https://yadadarcyyada.com/2014/03/20/25-ways-to-stay-alive-in-a-horror-movie/

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Posted in Books, Holidays, Movies, Televison, Zombies

Supernatural Calgon Take Me Away!

1bane10The supernatural has intrigued humans for all long as anyone can remember, but does anyone think of their side of the story? Do supernatural creatures ever get a chance to just kick back and enjoy life?
They seem too busy conjuring, hunting, and doing evil to just enjoy the little things. Maybe they should visit a supernatural spa, take a long supernatural walk, enjoy a stunning supernatural sunset, or read a supernatural book, give themselves a supernatural break.
Instead they enrage already angry mobs, dodge bullets, arrows, demon hunters! Avoiding being burned at the stake or getting a stake through the heart! Avoiding the sun, salt, garlic, silver, conflict with others in various realms – there’s a lot of avoidance behaviour there.
Just seems exhausting.
They must feel like saying, Supernatural Calgon take me away!
They just don’t seem like they get a lot of time to themselves.
So they’re creepy but are they happy?

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None of that explains why we like the supernatural, superstition, mysticism, religion, etc. so much.
Does scaring ourselves let us come to terms with our fears in a sort of safe mode?
Can we sense the supernatural in the natural world and we’re trying to make sense of it?
Perhaps it’s the illusion of control? To believe in supernatural causality, that somehow one thing causes another to happen without any natural process between them, perhaps it’s comforting.1bane8

In the spirit of Halloween I’ve been reading creepy and kooky and sometimes even spooky books, including The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan and Maureen Johnson (Margaret K. McElderry Books/Simon & Schuster), a sort of spin-off from The Mortal Instruments series where Bane (not one of my top characters at least in this series, but these historical follies were amusing), an immortal warlock goes on a supernatural bar hop scavenger hunt through time.  I got a chuckle from the inference that he’s the reason we have the idiom, Bane of my existence…hmmm, I suppose that could refer to Batman’s Bane as well. But I digress…

Of course, reading this made me wonder even more why we can’t get enough of stories of: warlocks, witches, zombies, aliens, demons, demon hunters, ghosts, angels, monsters, fallen angels, werewolves, vampires and other supernatural beings?
Do we need to put a face and a name on the things that go bump in the night?
Try to calm the inner turmoil caused by our fight or flight response?
Or is dressing up at Halloween and scaring ourselves with movies, books, TV now merely entertainment?

This Halloween think of our supernatural friends…I know they’ll be thinking of you!

Posted in Holidays, Movies, Televison, Uncategorized

My Fair Munster

1addams1Married in 1865 Herman and Lily Munster had a love that was timeless.

With Universal Studios as producer, The Munsters were able to use classic monster images to which they added running gags, including the central theme that they considered themselves just an average, middle-class family to make a typical sitcom into a brilliantly campy classic.

Fred Gwynne as Herman Munster, Frankenstein’s monster/joke-cracking suburban Dad was electric. Yvonne De Carlo as a blood-sucking Donna Reedesque PTA Mom was inspired. Add cool cars, pets, a young werewolf, older vampire and of course, the family oddball, the ‘plain’ niece, Marilyn, and they had a runaway hit.

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What I could piece together about The Munsters:

1313 Mockingbird Lane has been used in many TV series and movies in various forms including Desperate Housewives.

Spot was alleged to be a fire-breathing T Rex, not a dragon.

The Munsters and The Addams Family ran concurrently, 1964-1966. The Munsters had higher ratings, but was knocked out by Batman, in colour. Kapow!

Fred Gwynne and Al Lewis were in Car 54, Where Are You? together before The Munsters. Gwynne says “Car 54, Where Are You?” in the Munster Go Home! film.

Herman worked at Gateman, Goodbury & Grave Funeral Parlor. The spooky John Carradine played Mr. Gateman.

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Fred Gwynne continued acting, including Jud Crandall in Stephen King’s Pet Semetary (I guess you could say Gage was his Achilles’ Heel) and who could forget his conversation with Joe Pecsi about the ‘yutes’ in My Cousin Vinny.

Pat Priest replaced Beverley Owen as Marilyn Munster after episode 13; the two were so similar most people didn’t even notice.

Butch Patrick played himself, dressed as Eddie Munster in The Simpsons in 1999.

Fred Gwynne’s costume weighed about 50lbs and filming in black & white they had to use violet face paint to catch the light.

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The Munsters did have a certain built-in charm.

Posted in Holidays, Televison, Uncategorized

Hide and Shriek with The Addams Family

1addams6Those famous finger snaps, and like Pavlov’s pups so many of us are transported into The Addams Family mansion.

Growing up I always thought maybe I’d been switched at birth with The Addams Family; I don’t believe I was the only person in my family who felt the same.

For me,  John Astin brought the Charles Addams cartoons to life with his irresistible paranormal charm.

Though wealthy, The Addams Family macabre eccentricity caused them to live as outcasts; it was a role they seemed to relish. They were also portrayed as close-knit, respectful, and loving. This satirical translation of an ideal American family may not have lasted long, but their influence refuses to give up the ghost, including: movies (the best with Raul Julia, Anjelica Houston, Christina Ricci, Carol Kane, Christopher Lloyd, Joan Cusack, etc.), cartoons, books, games, musicals – they simply refuse to pass on.

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Creepy, kooky, mysterious and spooky Addams Family bits and pieces:

The Addams Family motto: Sic gorgiamus allos subjectatos nunc. In Addams Latin, simply: We gladly feast on those who would subdue us.

Their mansion at 0001 Cemetary Lane was inspired by Edward Hopper’s 1925 painting about the alienation of modern life, House by the Railroad. Looks like Charles Addams’ friend, Alfred Hitchcock may have liked the painting too, think Psycho.1addamsCharles Addams had no names for the family in his one-panel cartoons, for the TV series he helped pick some out. The nursery rhyme line, Wednesday’s child is full of woe was inspiring.

Margaret Hamilton, the Wicked Witch of Wizard of Oz fame  played Morticia’s Mom.

1addams15The Addams Family loved pets, including but not limited to: a vulture, piranha, an octopus, a giant squid, a man-eating plant, a jaguar, spiders, and who could forget Kitty Kat?

 Ted Cassidy as Lurch gave himself a speaking role by ad-libbing, “You rang?” and also played Thing T. Thing (guess what the T stands for).

 And I’m listening to the CD of original music from The Addams Family, composed by incomparable Vic Mizzy right now, cara mia.

Joyeux Halloween!

 

Posted in Books, Canada, Family, Holidays, Political, Televison, Uncategorized

Religion, Politics, and The Great Pumpkin

Halloween19Halloween crawls inexorably toward us, a wild beast about to attack with treats, costumes, and decorations, horror movies and specials.

As I re-watch It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown for like the millionth time (sadly, this may not be as much of an exaggeration as it should be), this time I’m trying to see it through the eyes of a child, today.

So with that in mind, I’m putting aside the symbolic struggle represented for those whose beliefs are in the minority, as with certain religions, theories, or Linus and his Great Pumpkin; also, everything I’ve learned from this, including parts that, at times, seem a bit weird.

Here are a few older posts that look into that.

https://yadadarcyyada.com/2013/10/29/stuff-i-learned-from-its-the-great-pumpkin-charlie-brown/

https://yadadarcyyada.com/2013/10/27/its-the-great-pumpkin-charlie-brown/

  • Do children now really like these older classics or are we transferring our fond memories to them, assuming they’ll like them as much as we did? Are they humouring us?

  • Lucy getting dog germs from Snoopy, is that still a thing?

  • How about the sucker getting leaves stuck on it?

  • Does anyone even remember what a Sopwith Camel is?

  • Do they think Schroeder should just use an app to make music?

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  • Do they think the homemade costumes are bizarre?

  • That old-school animation is boring?

  • Do they need more sophisticated animation? Bigger musical numbers? Action? Adventure?

  • Is this show just too slow and too old-fashioned for modern audiences?

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I guess I’m hoping in this frenzied, mixed-up world there’s still a place for the simple joy of Charlie Brown and friends…

Posted in Books, Movies, Uncategorized

Maybe Anna Karenina should have taken a bus

1anna1Some books should be reread at various stages of your life, not only to view the book differently, but to view the world differently.

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy is one of those books.

As a teen I thought this book wildly romantic. A tragic tale filled with noble nobles; and I didn’t fully understand why the peasants were so upset.

In my 20s I thought Anna Karenina was a narcissistic neurotic birdbrain; the nobles pompous gits; and the peasants noble.

Now, in my 40s I decided to read this again, so I borrowed the recent Oxford University Press version, an inspiring and edifying translation with notes and a wonderful introduction by Rosamund Bartlett from Netgalley.com for the low price of an honest review. As the pages flew by I realized how differently I now see the novel as well as the complicated navigation of life’s path. The message that finding happiness without causing damage or destruction is so clear, though easier said than done, and for Anna Karenina, apparently impossible. Trapped in a loveless marriage, surrounded by sociopolitical upheaval, and bound by the brutal intolerance and hypocrisy of society, she made poor choices.

No idea how I will see this years from now.

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Rosamund Bartlett’s patient guidance through the troubled waters of Tolstoy’s complicated soul offers generations a chance to experience the passion and progress, still relevant today. Translations of Tolstoy can be thorny, his remarkable ability to link realist and modern writing to emphasize differing attitudes and lifestyles can be difficult to communicate without altering or losing his viewpoint.

1anna4There have also been many visions of this classic presented on film. The latest adaptation by director Joe Wright, screenplay by Tom Stoppard starring Keira Knightley, Jude Law, and Aaron Taylor-Johnson was a sumptuous  delight for the senses, yet in the 1927 silent film, Love starring Greta Garbo and John Gilbert  had a consummate romance and depth of despair that spoke volumes.

All in all, maybe Anna Karenina should have taken a bus.

Posted in Books, Family, Holidays, Uncategorized

Thankful I know enough to be thankful

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Here in Canada we have Thanksgiving in October, weeks before Halloween…go figure.

A few things I know and things I’m thankful for, including but not limited to:

1. Happiness can be…a smile, a furry friend, snowflakes dancing against the darkness, absorbing books, family, friends, a movie that makes you laugh and cry, a TV show where you can’t wait for the next episode, a cozy bed, chocolate melting on your tongue, a slow dance, walking in the Fall and more.

2. Those who believe in fate or faith should never look both ways or check an expiry date.

3. Fear is more contagious than any disease and stronger than an army.

4. People make choices. How you feel about those choices or the consequences has little or no bearing. Really.

5. The Earth will still be here in one form or another after we’re gone.1thanks106. Everyone has their own window on the world, with it’s own screen. You can’t make someone see through your screen and it’s impossible to see through theirs.

7. You can’t walk away from yourself the way you walk away from other people. If you’re going to stay, play nice.

8. Truth can be painful and can take you places you may not wish to go. Go anyway.

9. Even the most basic beliefs about reality aren’t true alone, our thinking makes them true in our experience. Hopefully this isn’t true about zombies.

10. We forget. Our mind is designed to remember and to forget, but too often we forget when someone has been there for us or not. Don’t forget.

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I’m thankful my son makes me laugh and vice versa.
Thankful for family, friends, and virtual friends.
Thankful for things that keep my weary mind amused.
Thankful for what I’ve had, what I’ve lost, what I might have.
Thankful I know enough to be thankful.