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RIP, Leonard Nimoy

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Put on your pointed ears, speak in a sonorous baritone.
Silence the communicator, put your phaser in its box
Bring out the coffin, live long and prosper, Spock.

Help Me Identify the Skiing Cat-Human Dog Murder Film I Saw at Age Five(?)

Found on Google. Not from the movie. Wish it was.

Found on Google. Not from the movie. Wish it was.

The Internet has helped me solve numerous mysteries over the years, mostly in the vein of “What was that film/song/book/TV show where the ______ did _____?” Here’s a new one that I’d sure like to solve before I die.

Long ago, probably in the first half of the 1970s, I went to see a movie with my sister Eileen (who should chime in if she remembers this…but I doubt she will). I remember that it was a double feature. The second movie MIGHT have been Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, but it may have been Pippi Longstocking, or even the Johnny Whittaker version of Tom Sawyer. Anyway, now that you have an idea of how old I am… The first film was a kids movie with a lot of skiing in it. I recall seeing the ad for it in the newspaper, and I THINK “Skis” was part of the title. I can’t recall the plot, but I do remember the protagonist was a girl and she had a Saint Bernard…and they skied a lot. I think avalanche fear was a big part of the movie, but don’t hold me to that.

So, here’s what I remember most. It gets weird.

At some point, the dog goes to sleep, and begins twitching, as dogs do, while dreaming. We enter the dog’s dream, and we see the Saint Bernard on a snowy mountainside, dressed (and this might be creative memory on my part) as Nana, the dog from Disney’s Peter Pan (who was, it would seem, NOT a Saint Bernard). The dog starts to run, kicking up snow, because…get ready…a person dressed as a terrifying black cat is skiing down the mountain toward her. The dog panics and tears through the snow trying to escape. Meanwhile, I recall sound effects of frantic music and  cats meowing as the cat-person gets closer. Swiftly, the cat overtakes the dog. In a quick cut the cat-beast fills the screen as it slides into (presumably) the dog, and, to my freaked out five year old mind, stabs it with its ski pole. The dog wakes up, thank goodness. What sticks out for me is that I was completely freaked out by this sequence, and I started crazy laughing. At that point my sister quickly turned to me, annoyed, and whispered, “Stop it! It’s NOT funny!”

Well…it kind of is now.

Have you heard of it? I should ask the Kindertrauma people for help with this one. It certainly traumatized this Kinder.

THIS IS THE BEST POST EVER. LET US DISCUSS THIS FOREVER.

Two highly successful talented and attractive people who have money to burn and have traveled the world doing what they love have an equally rich and talented person complaining that one of them deserves to add yet another award they’ve all already earned several times before to her trophy cabinets, because it’s a god damned shanda her dancey-dance music wasn’t recognized as the best ever created last year.

Meanwhile, I heard a bunch of kids died somewhere. They got shot or bombed or were starved to death or whatever. But what are you gonna do?

Don’t fight for rich people. Even the cool ones.

Passion

I experience passion in short spurts of time. I’m in awe of anyone who can sustain passion about a subject for months or years and especially to their death. Even when nothing, absolutely nothing captivates me about a subject, I can listen to a true fan—provided he or she is reasonably lucid—for hours. I envy them their passion; I need it to fuel my own.

#CYBERMANDAY

Cybermen-series-6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE CYBERMEN HAVE INITIATED TECHNOLOGICALLY ENHANCED DEALS AND DISCOUNTS ON QUALITY MERCHANDISE IN ALL OUR ONLINE STORES. WIDE-SCREEN TELEVISIONS…MICROWAVE OVENS…FOUR-SLOT TOASTERS…PLAGUE-DISPENSING CYBERMATS POWERED BY THE BRAINS OF HUMAN CHILDREN…ALL SHALL BE SOLD AT ROCK-BOTTOM PRICES AND GRAFTED TO YOUR PRIMITIVE ORGANIC FORMS. END COMMUNICATION. #CYBERMANDAY

 

Damned If I Don’t

6ceff63329cb68f4_landingI had a dream that I was in some sort of writing master’s class headed by a grouchy Philip Roth figure—except he was played by some character actor I couldn’t place; possibly David Straitharn in make-up. The class was held downtown in the writer’s gigantic, gloriously sterile loft, and was attended by me, an unidentified man and woman, and Benedict Cumberbatch. I arrived late, and was immediately berated by the writer when I explained I had the sniffles (they were a disgusting, high-intensity, dream version). He told me that I didn’t get a chair for the entire class. As I sat on the floor, everyone presented the rough drafts of their novels in final, perfect-bound editions, with cover art, no less. I had a typewritten manuscript—it looked exactly like the kind of MS I’d generate with my word processor back in the 90s. Everyone sneered

Predictably, the writer was a martinet, tearing up everyone’s work. The interesting part of the dream was when he said, “You know…I recently viewed a little-known, independent film from the 80s about a ballet dancer.” Benedict Cumberbatch at once look frightened and sweaty. The writer shrieked, calling him a plagiarist and ordering him out. Cumberbatch stood up and literally flew away, ashamed.

At that moment I became incredibly sad and began crying. The two other students disappeared, and I was left alone with the writer. He looked sympathetic, and asked, “What’s the problem?”

I delivered one of those disjointed dream rambles that makes no sense in waking life. Something about never realizing anything I set out to achieve, my inability to actually craft what I want to create; and a general disgust with myself. The usual.

The writer looked at me, placed a hand on my shoulder, and said, with an expression of utter paternal sympathy: “Not to worry, Dan. Not to worry. Someday you’ll be dead.”

I left, amazed, and soon found myself in the concourse of the building, which was entirely occupied by a massive Panda Express. I couldn’t find the way out and eventually came to a hallway webbed with yellow “CAUTION” tape. I lifted it and walked through, trying to find the way out. I soon came across two stoner dudes in orange jumpsuits.

“Hey, how the hell do I get out of here?” I asked them, my voice echoing.

They cackled and said, “Good luck, man!”, and turned a corner, still laughing. When I followed them they’d disappeared, and I was facing a massive white wall. Then I heard loud machine sounds, gears grinding and panels lifting, and I realized I was inside a dam tunnel (that’s what I called it in the dream), and I could hear thousands of gallons of water rushing toward me.

And yes, at that moment I woke up, slightly depressed that I couldn’t write a non-obvious metaphorical death for myself, even in a dream.

Creepy Things That Have Happened to Me That I’ve Never Told Anyone

Once, when I was a kid, I was “camping out” in the living room. This consisted of spreading out my bear-shaped sleeping bag on the shag carpeting, crawling in, and falling asleep. At some point in the night I snapped awake, thinking I heard someone call my name, “Danny…Danny…” I looked up, and there was my deceased grandfather, sitting on the loveseat, staring at me. He mumbled something I couldn’t pick up, and then he suddenly melted away, like a candlestick. Gone.

I don’t believe in ghosts, and I know I didn’t see my grandfather (sorry, you’re not going to convince me), but it’s funny how our brains work, isn’t it? Why grandpa, whom I liked well enough, but was too young to have established a relationship with? And why would he melt, rather than fade away? Weird, brain, weird.

Starfookers

There’s a point when others’ crushes on minor celebrities grate on me. They shouldn’t, because people are entitled to like what they want to like, and, more importantly, Mr. Dan Grumpy can go fuck himself for being the jealous bastard he’s always been. But I get so damned tired of hearing how so and so minor talent is the smartest, bravest, prettiest, wisest, and most talented being what ever lived. I think I just hate seeing people submerge their own selves so they can bask in the glow and proclaim the majesty of Mr. or Ms. Slightly Better. I’ve done it myself, but gradually, as with all the groups, religions, philosophies, and so forth that I’ve dabbled in, I didn’t like how small I was becoming for the greater glory of someone or thing else.

Ten Books That Have Stuck with Me Off the Top of My Head as I Make Them Up

1. Teddy’s Skin by Margaret Wise Brown—The peculiar recurrence of furry animals and fur-lined rooms in Brown’s work becomes apparent in this little-known and strangely horrifying entry in the author’s whimsical oeuvre. Uncommonly, Brown is a character in her own children’s book, having been made by the Color Kittens when they mixed together “all the colors of the world rejected by God.” The Brown character is locked in a room with only two chairs. She sits in one, her childhood bear in the other, mute but obviously too, too alive. It is unclear how long she’s been in the room, or if the room exists. An example of a passage from the book:

“Miss Brown had spent the morning (was it just this morning? Or another?) purchasing parsnips and leafy green vegetables from the local grocers, when she was overcome by a wave of nausea. The world went black and she awoke in a windowless, doorless room. The farthest wall wavered in her sight until she approached it, at which time its infinitude coalesced into a blank, bleak solidity. She imagined she heard a duck kicking at the wall outside, cursing her with quacks and heaving small pebbles at the house for spite.

‘Goodnight, room,’ said Miss Brown.

‘Goodbye, Margaret,’ it replied in her father’s voice. She fell to the floor, chattering, and counted the seven shiny brass buttons on her jacket.”

Throughout the book, Brown is taunted by her beloved Little Fur Family, who appear through orifice-like openings in the very air, demanding that she explain what the fuck they’re supposed to be, and why the fur son found an even smaller fur-being living in the ground, before snapping shut with disgusting liquid sounds. “I don’t know! I don’t know!” sobs Brown, before Scuppers the Sailor Dog appears in his yellow rain slicker and hat with a large baling hook. He swings at her, but vanishes before connecting, representing her deceased mother’s distant personality.

Eventually running out of parsnips and leafy green vegetable, hunger and cold gnaw at Brown. She looks to her bear who would surely provide SOME sustenance and warmth, but at the cost of removing her fondest memories, and perhaps her sanity. The illustrations by Garth Williams are soft and edgeless yet filled with Much-like anxiety. Here is a man tired of drawing cute fluffy animals and filled with a desire to see the world melt and burn, as hinted at by the cover of Wise’s other collaboration with Williams’ Fox Eyes.

The book ends with Brown eying Teddy over her shoulder, fondling a Opinel knife left behind by Mister Dog/Crispin’s Crispian after he appeared in the form of a fur tornado and dared her to finally “belong to herself…or belong nowhere.” Brown weighs the possibilities in her mind and the knife in her hand, but the final page shows only a wordless illustration of a crib filled with flaming autumn leaves. What it means is left to the reader’s imagination, but it probably has something to do with fucking.

Right Up Dere

Here’s a fun fact. if you want to get on my bad side very quickly, ask me to help you, and then criticize me while I’m doing it. I might very well leave you adrift among sharks if, when I try to throw you a life preserver, you make a crack about my hurling technique. I will especially despise you if you are a stranger, because you’re violating all the social contracts at once for no apparent reason than, as I see it, to argue with a stranger. Why, why, WHY would anyone ever do that?

Case in point: Yesterday I went for a lunchtime stroll along Wabash, looking for interesting skyscraper ornamentation, because I am socially inept and pathetic. As I approached Monroe St., I saw a grandmother-type and her, I assume, two granddaughters—a perfectly adorable image. I stopped at Monroe to look up and around at the surrounding cornices, when I heard behind me. “Excuse, please. Can you help me find a restaurant?”

In Chicago, you become well-accustomed to identifying accents. This woman had a thick one.

“Sure!” I said, cheerfully. “What are you looking for?”

“Magginas,” she replied.

“Sorry? Maggiano’s?” I said. I confess, I’m a wee bit hard of hearing downtown, amidst the horns and construction noise.

“MacDonough’s”

After reading that, you might have figured out what she was asking for. But remember, I’m a trifle deef. Also, what I heard was “MacDonough’s.” Moreover, Chicago has several Celtic-themed pubs, grills, and restaurants, and I knew of several in the Loop. Just not “MacDonough’s.”

“I don’t know that one, sorry. Why don’t I look it up on my phone,” I say, still shit-grinning.

“What?” she says in that ‘I’ve got something over you, college boy” tone I grew up with around here. “Aren’t you from here? I’m looking for McDonald’s!”

Am I from here?

The two little girls have said nothing the entire time, just looking up at the doofy guy who knows not of what Grandma speaks nor happiness meals nor hammed-burglings.

“Ah, McDonald’s,” I say in my polite maître d’ voice. “Yes, I am from here, ma’am. Lived here for 47 years, actually. I don’t know of any McDonald’s nearby, but I’ll use my phone to find you one.” Mind you, I’m starting to get a tad supercilious, but I AM STILL TRYING TO HELP HER.

She looks incredulous. How in the name of the Black Madonna of Częstochowa could I not know where a McDonald’s was? Today grandma wins points from making the yuppie, or whatever the hell stereotype she awarded me, rely on his electronic pocket imp.

“Nearby McDonald’s,” I say to Siri.

“Doesn’t know where a McDonald’s is…” she sighs, shaking her head. “Heh heh heh!” My eyes start to bug out.

Sweetheart, you don’t know where McDonald’s is, I wanted to reply.

Instead I say, “Well, I don’t eat there, ma’am, so I don’t keep tabs on where the restaurants are. Sorry I wasn’t able to immediately accommodate you. Just a second.” The girls say nothing. They look like sweet individuals. I hope they retain that sweetness before grandma rudes it out of them.

Siri reports that a McDonald’s is a block ahead. I look up and gesture southward.

“Okay… Yeah, it’s…” I start. Suddenly I’m interrupted by a male voice, old but not wise, and stumbling with the pebble-mouthed, Old Style-lubricated diction of duh city of Chicagah.

“McDonald’s!?!” says a white-haired dude of the Chicago fireplug species. “It’s RIGHT UP DERE ON THE CORNER!” I look at him, once more beholding another smug piggy-face who has won! WON! the battle against the young educated doofi who populate HIS city, eating tofu, drinking gay booze, and not knowing where da fuck Mickey D’s is.

“Yeah,” I continue, “It’s…”

“You’re looking for McDonald’s? Right up dere!” he has that “Fer gahd’s sake. Whatteryou, retarded, college boy?” expression I saw frequently while growing up and working blue collar jobs so I could go to college. And not work blue collar jobs with guys like that.

“Yep,” I say, clapping my hands together. “That is EXACTLY right. Glad we all figured that out together. Okay? Okay.” The walk sign comes on and I stride off without looking back.

Old, rude, white Chicagoans! I curse thee to an eternity of swilling from McDonald’s grease traps. It’s right up dere. On the corner. You thick-headed louts.