Saturday, October 29, 2005

Comment Tarry Cart


10/27 A

She addresses only the other ladies, which is only fitting and proper when proper introductions have not been made."Well, I guess there has to be someone out there ignoring the death knell of proper manners, and who better than your spouse. I wish I could properly announce myself to her but as my Official Gentleman Pedigree papers were unfortunately left in my right breast pocket of the tuxedo that's perpetually at the dry cleaners (one does need to be snappy at social functions, doesn't one?), she'll have to take me on my word. And if she doesn't eqaute my word with truth, what's a gentleman to do but challenge her to a duel?How do Husqvarna Vikings at ten paces sound?DarkoV
Homepage 10.27.05 - 9:02 am #
Husqvarna? As in dirt bikes?Cowtown Pattie
Homepage 10.27.05 - 11:36 am #
Mrs. Bleak always sends me to her duels, which explains the eyepatch, the scars, the missing ear, the crunching sound when I move my jaw, and the wooden leg. She is quite proud, and does not hesitate to accept a duel or issue a challenge. However, she does abide by the old tradition of appointing a "champion," and if I do not quickly step up, I sleep in the stables for a year or two. Hard going in winter.However, she is merciful and good in most matters. She commented that the portrait I posted of her "was accurate," and smiled.Bleak Mouse
Homepage 10.27.05 - 11:36 am #
CP, Husqvarna, as in sewing machines. My wife has one and it does wheelies as it whirls thread through fabric.BM, I'll have to retreat so my wife can act as second. I barley graduated from needle & thread, so mechanized sewing is beyond me.DarkoV
Homepage 10.27.05 - 12:10 pm #
I don't approve of mechanized sewing. If this goes on, we will soon be overwhelmed by roboticized transport,electrical music, motorized theater, the replacement of books with tubes of light, and the use of machines for base sensual pleasures.Bleak Mouse
Homepage 10.27.05 - 12:33 pm #
I shudda known...Maybe I not such a Domestic Goddess after all...Cowtown Pattie
Homepage 10.27.05 - 2:11 pm #
Now, now. You look like quite the Domestic Goddess in your blog photo, which I'm sure was just a casual snapshot. I do hope you don't carry that parasol around indoors, though.Bleak Mouse
Homepage 10.27.05 - 4:01 pm #
Traded the parasol for a pair of pistola's and a bullwhip...Cowtown Pattie
Homepage 10.27.05 - 10:27 pm #
Oh, right."That there's a mighty fine parasol, ma'am. What'll ya take for it? How about my guns and this here bullwhip? Wait! I'll throw in the deed to my ranch..."Meek Blouse
Homepage 10.28.05 - 12:16 am #

10/27 B

Having lived through, in some mental capacity, formed or unformed, through the 60's, the 70's,the...(you get the addiotn of decades part), I come to one conclusion. Looking at the pictures of the Sixties and wincing in pain when recalling the other decades, it's obvious that every hairstyle in the last 45 years looks STUPID. When, I sincerely ask, did anyone's hairstyle look reasonable? I'm thinking that bedhead hair (a la the main character in "My Name is Earl", which, despite the twin curses of hype and the positive critical response, is a funny and clever show) is the best (and the most natural) hairstyle of these last 4 decades. And let's not even talk about the 50's. Now, That was a decade for hoot-n-holler hairstyles. Tonsorial comedy of the nth degree.DarkoV
Homepage 10.27.05 - 9:10 am #
..one addition. You know you're getting old when the topic of your conversation on paper products now refers to toilet paper when in your youth it was rolling papers. Nice little pic on the latter.DarkoV
Homepage 10.27.05 - 9:13 am #
Oh, that's what those were? I thought they were collectible matchbook covers... uh huh.Captain Beefheart - I shall shuffle thru some old posts, but I did one on him a while back. Mentioning said oldies results in my stepteens getting a blank look on their faces and I suddenly feel older than the dirt on the bottom of Wavy Gravy's jesus boots.Cowtown Pattie
Homepage 10.27.05 - 11:41 am #
I do not think that men were intended to have hair. Perhaps having stupid hair was an evolutionary disadvantage as men passed the age at which they were hearty enough to defend their right to look like idiots from men from different hairstyle-tribes. This would explain why it tends to fall out after a certain age.Talk to me not of The Moody Blues. My first girlfriend at college just LOVED the Moodies, so much so that to this day I get ill even thinking about them -- and our relationship lasted only a few months, with the musical problem doubtless being a strong contributing factor to its demise. She also said that jazz sounded "like noise."There were many things about the 60s wisely lost to the dustbin of history. Somehow, the Moodies managed to retain a hold on indiscriminate nostalgists, such as PBS marathon programmers.You know you are getting old when you prefer a carefree appearance to looking in the mirror. At least I have not started using expressions such as "By gum!" and "By cracky!" and telling long dull stories about Responsibility, Thrift, and Hard Work. Let kids find out about these things the easy way, through experience; rather than the hard way, by listening to some tiresome git talk endlessly about them.Bleak Mouse
Homepage 10.27.05 - 11:52 am #
CP -- I was just looking at a website devoted to collectable matchbook covers last night. I can see we think along similar lines, more's the pity for you. But I realize that my time here on earth is limited and precious, which is why I try to devote it to vital things such as looking at 1940s matchbook covers with pictures on semi-undraped women on them. It's a dirty job, but somebody has to do it.Captain Beefheart was always one of my favorites, and the album pictured was always a guaranteed room-clearer even among braindead dope fiends, and remains so to this day. That's some legacy.I even find myself singing some of his songs, which is not an easy thing to do.Bleak Mouse
Homepage 10.27.05 - 12:01 pm #
These are not the 'sixties I recall. Mine were tidy, school-uniformed years marked by a succession of increasingly-pious primary school teachers with lengthening litanies of prayer (first it was morning prayers, later the "Angelus" was added at noon, and later yet a full Rosary every morning and a Credo thrown in for luck) and by the consequent refinement of counter-preachy measures.Hairstyles were strictly fifties, being short-cropped; combed and brilliantined every morning with "Mummy's Spit".Nobody got laid.Fcb
Homepage 10.27.05 - 12:04 pm #
FCB, "Mummy's Spit", a noble home-brewed concoction, easily more preferbale than the Clairol VO5 or Dippy-Do stuff here in the states, which had the consistency usually associated with those "results" of over-sexed under-used adolescent boys.DarkoV
Homepage 10.27.05 - 12:15 pm #
I was not born yet and am very glad of it.stephenesque
Homepage 10.27.05 - 1:19 pm #
Excellent division of the eras - I have always thought the fifties ended with the death of Kennedy. The sixties beginning with the Johnson administration and ending with the pull out of Vietnam. It is a interesting coincidence that the change in music followed the political climate changes. I enjoyed your post.Kate
Homepage 10.27.05 - 3:08 pm #
Fcb - The defining mark of the arrival of the 60s (varying according to location) was that everybody got laid. After near total chastity through most of high school, I abruptly found my services much in demand when I moved to a liberal arts college in 1968. I thought myself quite the irresistible fellow, until I realized that my doofus roommate had female companionship, too, and even the paunchy kid who never bathed down the dorm hallway began (despite his best efforts) to get successful. I then decided that a girl who cost me no effort wasn't worth the trouble.I remember hair goo. You wore it when you outgrew the crewcut and moved up to the "regular boy's haircut," which required "training."Stephen - I know. I asked after you in 1968 and was advised that you hadn't been born yet. I was looking for someone to dump my Velvet Underground records on, as well as someone who thought that Ken Russell was pretty cool.Kate - Thank you muchly. The division of eras is usually made by professional era-dividers who look for Big Events to conveniently slice up the past. Actually, the entry into Vietnam, the Kennedy assasination, and the LBJ ascendancy made little impact on the general culture, which was still very 50s. A few oddballs were giving poetry readings in San Francisco, and a few beatniks were smoking pot in Greenwich Village, but the general culture was very unsixtiesized until well into 1968. The death of the 60s was not the withdrawal from Vietnam, but the ending of the draft, which deflated the protest counterculture like a pricked balloon -- because middle-class boomers were no longer in danger of being shot at. It sounds cynical, but it's the truth.Bleak Mouse
Homepage 10.27.05 - 4:49 pm #
I think the 60s were a terrific influence on children's illustrated books - post-Yellow Submarine stuff, with paisleys run amok and fish in the air sort of thing. These works were such a literally delirious treat, it left me with no impression whatsoever of what a grimy period that had been, for anyone who coming of age. That realization came some time later.Whisky Prajer
Homepage 11.03.05 - 10:34 am #

10/28A

Neato! (Not to be confused with Sheb Wooley, of course.)Cowtown Pattie
Homepage 10.28.05 - 4:32 pm #
I can't recall where I lifted this photo, but doesn't that fellow on the left (suit and tie, not dancing, with chick) look an awful lot like David Nelson (brother of Rick, son of Harry and Ozziet)?Bleak Mouse
Homepage 10.29.05 - 4:40 pm #
That is a VERY TALL gal dancing. No wonder the other women bowed out of this one. The next photo would show her clipping her two partners' heads off. The head on the shoulders. I mean.DarkoV
Homepage 10.31.05 - 11:49 am #
Yes, now that you mention it, the girl IS awfully tall -- and she's wearing flat heels. It's hard to tell from the perspective of the shot and relative sizes, but I'd imagine that she's around seven foot three. And considering that most of a person's height tends to be in the legs -- well, we won't go there.The fellow in the front with white socks and loafers is the sort who looks very cool in freeze-frame, but you can tell by the way people are looking at him that, seen in motion, he was the type who "dances like a spazz."Bleak Mouse
Homepage 10.31.05 - 8:48 pm #

10/28 B

You know, the words "on the pillow" affixed to the end of "her hairs spreadeagled luxuriantly on the pillow" change the meaning of that sentence in an incredibly chaste way.stephenesque
Homepage 10.28.05 - 11:08 am #
Ahh, truth was but a bitter pill made even more unbearable with no absinthe to dull the pain. His fondness of the drink could not be denied; the foggy oblivion, the blissful numbing of its properties. The Queen! The Queen would be his salvation and answer!Cowtown Pattie
Homepage 10.28.05 - 11:15 am #
Like Nigel, I too "crouched on a single leg and buttock" once, but was told that such a position on the main entree was not the most appetizing of sights. Since I did not have a "sword in mittened hand", I slinked off of the table and back to my high-seat.That last paragraph. Isn't there something in Strunk & White that limits the number of sentences in a paragraph that can being with the word "How"? Seven of them? It's a good thing you weren't writing in the current modern style. Those babies would have been lined up like soldiers, all bullet-pointed.DarkoV
Homepage 10.28.05 - 11:44 am #
Why, Stephen, whatever makes you think that I anything unchaste ever crossed my mind in the construction of this passage? A grammatically minded libertine might note that there are various ways of placing pillows, but I for one would not bother to listen to him.The Queen remains imprisoned at the fortified estate of Sacheveril of Dudleigh, even as her evil double treats secretly with the French to destroy Lord Pouftril and his massed forces at Fez. The sequel, "The Queen's Garter," will take up these pressing matters.The number of "hows" is limited only by the extent of Nigel's sudden illuminations, and the extent of the author's patience with breathless parallel construction. The author can assume not responsibility for reader attempts to duplicate the amazing physical feats described herein, which have been performed by expert stunt doubles.Pete Best
Homepage 10.28.05 - 2:32 pm #
Pete Best?Bleak Mouse
Homepage 10.28.05 - 2:33 pm #
All right, Pete Best made the grammatical errors in that passage. It hasn't been his only mistake in life, God knows.Bleak Mouse
Homepage 10.28.05 - 2:35 pm #
Pete was never the same after Mrs. McGinty denied him the role of Little Drummer Boy in the school Christmas pageant. His mum had bought the pretty red snare drum with the nice leather strap down at Edwin Toft & Son's on Oxford Street. Saved all her charwoman's wages for a week, she did, and for naught. (His brother, Roag, omniously hinted that a certain old schoolmarm hag might awaken some morning to the sight of her London Times soaked in cat urine, shredded to bits and tossed aimlessly all over the hedges.) However, this would only be the first in a series of terrible disappointments for Pete, like the disastrous concert at Aldershot, and the cruel loss of fame suffered because of a slight misunderstanding with Brian Epstein. Perhaps Brian just did not fully appreciate Pete's loud bass drum?Cowtown Pattie
Homepage 10.28.05 - 5:09 pm #
Cat urine -- or something far, far worse?There was a strange chalked message on the blackboard that Monday morning: "MRS MAGITNY GONE AWAY FOREVR SIGNED MRS MAGINTEY." Authorities thought this slightly ominous, but, fearing that the unstable Best boys were involved, decided not to investigate the matter further. Files were closed when the school received a letter from "Washington, Amerca" that read, in part: "I am ALIVE. I am not dead. Signed, Mrs McGinnty." "Flighty woman," muttered the school superintendant, who was secretly relieved.The Brian Epstein incident came about because of Epstein's hearing problems. "Pete Breast?" he shouted. "Pete Breast? We can't have a name like that in the band. Fire him and get the Starkey kid!"Bleak Mouse
Homepage 10.28.05 - 6:17 pm #
Mrs. McGinty's long-suffering sister-in-law, Clementina "Buttercup" O'Shaughnessy, was relieved at the disappearance of her meddlesome relative. She never knew what her brother, Neville, ever saw in the woman. Buttercup had her suspicions that Neville's death was far too convenient and neat. Found slumped in his favorite wingbacked chair with the Times rugby results lying scattered over the floor, a cup of half-drunk Earl Grey gone cold on the lamp table, and his spectacles no where in sight. Very odd; Neville was blind as a bat and certainly wouldn't be reading the paper without them. Buttercup hoped the Constable would demand an autopsy, but she wished in vain. The coronor said Mr. McGinty died of heart failure. "Heart failure, indeed", thought Buttercup who knew for a fact her brother forever lamented his hasty marital decision 10 minutes after the "I do's". The widow McGinty was left with 100,000 £'s. Buttercup just knew there was murder afoot.Cowtown Pattie
Homepage 10.28.05 - 7:19 pm #
Lemuel Tupperware sat cross-legged on the mat in Oriental fashion, his brows knitting as he sucked at his water pipe. "Mrs. -- O'Shaughnessy, is it? -- pray take a seat," he muttered abstractedly between puffs. Clementina gathered her skirts and nestled her bustle on the wooden stool that seemed to be the sole piece of normal furniture in the exotic appointments of this bachelor's room."You see, sir," she began as she unpinned her hat. Her eyes drifted nervously over the wall's paintings of ancient foreigners in odd positions doing unspeakable things."I have not yet indicated I will take your case, madam," interrupted Tupperware, tipping his pipe over impatiently with his bright yellow slippers as he stood and began to pace the room. "As I see it," he continued, there is not merely the question of foul play here, but a multilayered conundrum that could lead to the palace itself. If you haven't the stuff for it, ma'am," he sniffed, "I suggest you abandon this line of inquiry right away. But if I decide to take the case, and I am by no means sure that I will, there can be no turning back." He paused and fixed her with a glittering eye."But, sir," said Clementina, beginning to have grave doubts, "I haven't said a word about why I am here.""Nor," spake Tupperware in a clipped manner, facing her abruptly. "This is London. You are a woman. The rest can be easily deduced." Upon which he lowered himself to the floor and was soon fast asleep.Bleak Mouse
Homepage 10.28.05 - 8:07 pm #
Now thoroughly agitated, Clementina pulled her worn but well-stitched kid gloves from her drawstring velvet clutch. Whenever faced with unpleasant decisions, she found a calming sensation in donning her best gloves, meticulously smoothing the glove over each finger. Suddenly, her nostrils filled with the horrid odor of Tupperware's hookah gurgling dry. The stemmed mouthpiece had slipped from his hand onto the persian rug and the last ribbons of smoke curled like ghost snakes around his yellowed fingers. Jumping up from her perch on the wooden stool, Clementina gingerly picked up the pipe with her fingertips. Sniffing closer, she recognized the scent of blackberry var, more commonly known as "Lady's Garters"."No wonder the fool is higher than the bell tower on Winchester Cathedral." She quickly tapped the last of the burning var and its remaining dottle out of the pipe bowl and into an empty brass cuspidor. With her host most likely out for the night, Clementina took advantage of the opportunity to inspect the rest of the strange quarters. Padding over to a narrow red lacquered shelf adorned with oriental dragons, she noticed a small green leather-bound notebook.Cowtown Pattie
Homepage 10.28.05 - 10:01 pm #
Every fiber of her being warned Clementina not to explore the leatherbound volume. (Yes, this is the same fibrous being that yearned with unutterable longing; that thrilled with strange sensation; that shuddered with dire apprehension; and that longed with unutterable yearning. Clementina's complete historical adventures are available in e-bookstores everywhere.) She knew that the book would hold dire secrets of vast import, as did most small volumes lying about in plain sight nearly everywhere she went. Accounts of secret assignations by persons of quality; plots to kidnap the Queen and replace her with a lookalike airhead; lists of murdered prostitutes written with the cold eye of a medical man; ancient maps of lost treasures in darkest Africka; long-suppressed Biblical writings that would shake the foundations of the Church were they ever to become known; secret rites for invoking Satan -- all these and more were to be found in seemingly innocuous volumes just such as these.Clementina did not hesitate, for much was at stake. Sweeping the oriental dragons from the shelf, she noticed with disgust that her gloves were now hopelessly stained with that hideous red. With the same swift motion that had caused consternation in the highest quarters, she flipped the book's cover open, and it was as she had feared: the dark etching clearly portrayed the leg, the stocking, the hand -- the stigmata of the Order of the Scarlet Garter. And below, written in a florid hand that, with a sudden intake of breath, she knew to be strangely familiar, was the single, impossible signature: "Buttercup."The sudden scream was not her own.Bleak Mouse
Homepage 10.29.05 - 10:37 am #
With shaking hands, Clementina snapped the dusty tome closed and shoved it roughly into her small traveling valise, the one poor Neville had given her as a birthday gift just last year. She had not been terribly thrilled with the present, thinking Neville was quite the boring spouse; a husband who couldn't see with his own two eyes how she had coveted the fox fur stole with the mink tail that graced the mannequin in the shop window of Lillicrapps and Davies on Dowgate Hill. Odd thing though; upon unwrapping the unimaginative present, Clementina had noticed a lone stray garter tucked neatly into an inner side pocket, its red silky lace looking quite incongruous with the grey flannel lining of the traveling case. Most likely a nearsighted shopkeeper had inadvertantly left the garter there by accident as Neville most assuredly did not have that kind of kinky taste.Or did he? What if the shopkeeper was not old and moldy, but young and lithesome? Had Neville been secretly meeting his little tart amidst the cases and leathergoods at Spitalfields Market? Was there more to Neville than met the eye? "Oh, crumb and biscuit, what have I gotten myself into?" Clementina lamented as she shut the image of a fornicating, but dull-as-dishwater Neville from her mind. The wretching scream seemed to have originated from below Tupperware's quarters, towards the rear of the house. Clementina edged around the room, opened the smoke-stained door and stepped out onto the landing. The hallway was eerily without sound, except for the loud deliberate ticking of the grandfather clock one floor below in the foyer. Making her way carefully down the worn carpeted stairway and stepping sideways so as to keep her ample backside to the wall, Clementina groped her way slowly to the front door. With one hand gripping the balustrade and the other holding her valise and its valuable contents, she failed to notice the shadow creeping along the bottom of the stairs, keeping pace with her every step.Cowtown Pattie
Homepage 10.29.05 - 5:34 pm #

10/29

Beast-stalker with lipstick, dah-ling -- always lipstick. Indeed: Halloween is child's play Searchie
Homepage 10.29.05 - 5:42 pm #
Yes, yes.I think it's a given at this point that any beast-stalking activities you engage in, will be civilized, stylish without being merely fashionable, tres chic, attractive, and always well-appointed. This goes without saying. Which is why we are both saying it, I suppose.I'm really not sure how much help lipstick would be to me with my beast, no matter to whom applied. I'm not even sure it's less expensive than medication, unless this is the LATEST THING, fresh from the mad laboratories of Happitimes Industries, Ltd.That sounds like a Hungarian accent, not a French one.Bleak Mouse
Homepage 10.29.05 - 7:52 pm #
I was channeling my inner Zsa-Zsa, dah-link. Regarding lipstick: If you shop as I shop, medication is infinitely cheaper, Monsieur Bleaque. Infinitely.But style certainly must count for something, as you have noted. I attended a Schiele exhibition yesterday, and was stopped on numerous occasions by individuals (bleak and Germanic though they might be) who complimented me on my style.There is something to be said for being dashing, I believe. It compensates for a multitude of sins, as it were.I must post on this Schiele fellow soon ..Searchie
Homepage 10.29.05 - 9:11 pm #
Add my compliments, also (bleak, obviously, though not Germanic.)I no longer shop as you shop, or indeed as anyone shops, but I used to do so -- thousands of books and recordings, plus once-dashing items of clothing (now hung in the closet of history.) For quite a while, I fancied myself the modern type of the Edwardian aesthete (heterosexual version, please), dressing sufficiently in fashion to pass for sane, but sufficiently out of fashion to get inquiries from the ladies at work. ("I wish MY husband..." etc.) But dash becomes untenable after one passes age fifty, and now I just go for the eminence-gris-in-his-shirtsleeves look, with the spectacles I found I needed a few years ago helping immensely. Vests are always good, too.Based on our extensive survey of two, we can, I think, safely put to rest the stereotype that the melancholic is a humorless drab. (I'm sure there's a far greater correlation between humorless drabness and irreproachable mental health.)Being dashing is not necessarily a compensation for anything, as most multiple sinners do not trouble to compensate in any manner whatsoever, least of all personal style -- unless they think being tiresome is compensation; surely, regret and doubt never cross their minds, if anything does.I do a good snob, don't I?I thought you were channeling Loulou.Bleak Mouse
Homepage 10.29.05 - 10:46 pm #
Searchie sounded more Marlena to moi!Cowtown Pattie
Homepage 10.30.05 - 1:51 am #
Hm, yes, I can see that; there's a certain cabaret huskiness now that I think of it.Or Garbo: "I vant to be ALONE."Bleak Mouse
Homepage 10.30.05 - 5:59 am #
Lovely window-dressing of a post. The picture that intrigued me, well actuallly, had me trembling with jealousy was the last pic. The one with the MOIST hand rising up seemingly to catch a foul ball(perhaps one of the resting-in-peace Balck Sox).What's the secret? How does that gardener keep his hand so moist. OUr backyard, a conglomeration of red clay and construction trash cannot retain water whatsover! After this Halloween thing is over, gardening tips would be appreciated at this sight. It's never to early to plant your dead flowers, is it?DarkoV
Homepage 10.30.05 - 10:02 am #
Manual moisture is the key to so many things in life.Don't you raise hands in your garden? ("Now, plants, raise your hands if you want to be watered.")Mrs Bleak does most of the gardening here, although I am allowed to keep my hand in, so to speak, by carrying huge bags of soil from the car to the back yard.Bleak Mouse
Homepage 10.30.05 - 11:38 am #
I despise Halloween becasue it has become merely an excuse for people to dress up as something humorous/alter-ego-ish. If you are going to "be something" you should be a ghoul or nothing at all.And that is the bloody law.stephenesque
Homepage 10.30.05 - 1:59 pm #
I was skulking about the fringes of a friend's book party recently. After several glasses of wine, he generously revealed his partygoing philosophy:"I don't dance. I don't do costumes, either."And there you have it. That's the bloody law, too.Searchie
Homepage 10.30.05 - 2:43 pm #
I agree. I'm afraid that it all began with the innocuous, asexual, infuriating character, "Casper the Friendly Ghost." Friendly? A ghost? Even those with the best intentions -- and why should souls damned to haunt the scenes of their tragedies and crimes have good intentions? -- will frighten the everloving crap out of you before they get it across that they just want the fiend who poisoned them to be drawn and quartered, after which they will retire politely.It was but a short step to Mickey Mouse and Cinderella and The Safe Sex Fairy Princess. There seems to be a concern among perpetually timid parents that children might become "frightened" or "disturbed"? But children love to be frightened. Has anyone checked out Grimm lately? Some of this stuff scares me even as an adult.Teens seems to have the spirit of the thing without having much inspiration. The Goth vampire thing -- pale skin, bloody fangs, cape -- is getting very, very tired. So are the Freddy Krueger and Jason outfits; they're as domesticated as Casper now.We used to enjoy putting on scars and coloring our skin pale green and affecting horrible deformities. But I suppose that that's un-P.C. for a variety of reasons nowadays. It's a nasty old world, but everyone must be "nice." Even the Victorians had more sense.Fortunately, we haven't gotten any trick-or-treaters for a few years now.I think the old urban legend of razors in apples is given wider credence as decades pass without a single such incident.Bleak Mouse
Homepage 10.30.05 - 2:54 pm #
Searchie -- I suppose it's all right for adults to have their costume parties at Halloween, if they must. (Though they seem not to realize that they wear their REAL costumes every other day of the year.) It's nothing to me, as the last party I attended of any kind was some years ago. I'm not a party person. (Nor am I a Party Member, although I'm sure I'd be denied security clearance on other grounds.)But as for trick-or-treaters, the cutoff age ought really to be fifteen at the outside, and children should do something chilling, like pretending to be a medieval plague funeral procession. They have the rest of the year to purvey that lowest-common-denominator "cuteness."Do something constructive. Raise the dead on Halloween.Bleak Mouse
Homepage 10.30.05 - 3:06 pm #
"I don't dance. I don't do costumes, either." ???Searchie, this friend of yours must be a Wit of the Highest Order.I had always thought that Wit was the highest level one could attain at Partydom.Just below that was physical charm, whether displayed via dancing or physical charisma.Fashion, or the Art of Costuming, was next with judicious placement of fabric subsituting or hiding one's mental or physical flaws.At the bottom of the party creature breakdown was the drunk. Not bright enough for Wit, too lazy for physical charm, cursed with blindness to matching blues with yellows, this person was the designated room-emptier. The host/hostess would just aim them in the right direction and..... The drunk was usually a relative of the party-givers, which makes relatives, I guess, the next lower rung on the party ladder.DarkoV
Homepage 10.31.05 - 11:46 am #

10/30 A


is the finest film treatment that's come across my desk in months. What a story! I see it as a mid-budget $100,000,000.00 surprise blockbuster, but with an artistic side. It's not only funny, it's frightening, it's tragic, it's something people can relate to in their daily lives, and it has a message! I see it as character-driven, and I see maybe Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes as the married couple, let's call them Spiff and Dorcas. No more than 20% on special effects, we want star power and production values here. Plus it's a metaphor for contemporary American abuse of power and the Bush administration. But it's not just for us intellectuals. It has S-E-X, which is the magic word here in Movie City. I see a PG-13 version to the theaters to placate the rubes and bring in the kids, then a three-disc unrated collector's DVD set for the connoisseurs. Then maybe a cartoon series, or something serious on The Discovery Channel.Look, here's $500,000. Do a full script and send it over later today. Wow! Great stuff!SteveS. Spielberg
Homepage 10.31.05 - 10:44 am #
Thanks, Steve.I'll consider it and have someone get back to you.Bleak Mouse
Homepage 10.31.05 - 11:32 pm #
Okay, yer killin me.Here's $500,000.00. more.Can you just do a five-page treatment before Friday?Steve
Homepage 11.01.05 - 1:47 pm #
No, no. I just don't have the time, really.I tore up your check.I appreciate the offer, but I just don't need this kind of aggravation.Bleak Mouse
Homepage 11.03.05 - 3:07 am #

10/30 B
Colonel Edward Ridley Colborne Bradford, "Teddy" to his closest friends, had just settled down to his second cup of Pinhead Gunpowder, it's distinctive smoky taste always his favorite tea blend. The phantom pain from his left arm was aflare this early Thursday morning, and it looked like it was going to be a very long day at the Yard. The memory of the tigress attack during that fateful hunting trip in West Malwa was never far away, unlike the mauled and severed limb which was hastily buried far away from their campsite in the alluvial plains of northern India, between the Ghaggar and Sutlej rivers south of the Bist Doab. The Malloi tribesmen who were assisting their hunt were a superstitious lot and there were certain tribal protocols to be observed, not to mention the temptation rotting human meat had to other beastly carnivores. Late at night and after tiring days, the nightmare would jolt him awake in a sweaty panic; the vision of a hungry mother tiger crashing through the brush, her massive front paws raised and cruelly armed with razor-sharp claws, replayed in his dreams far too often. With his right hand shuffling through the morning reports of drunken sailors, pickpockets, and the fourth arrest of Pearly Poll, an aging prostitute who still called Whitechapel home, the Colonel's eyes were quickly drawn to a report of a missing woman, Mrs. Clementina O'Shaughnessy. Surely that could not be his old friend, Buttercup? He fondly recalled their long-ago childhood games upon the moors between their families' estates in Cornwall. He himself had bestowed the sweet nickname to Clementina during a particularly memorable day as they played "Damsel in Distress" amongst the early spring wildflowers (though she never divulged the true origin of the name to her Da who thought he himself was responsible for her endearing moniker). Ah, and sure it was a sad day when he discovered the TreMellyn clan had moved quite abruptly in the dark of night to the city, leaving with nary a wave or a last sweet chaste kiss from Buttercup's little bow-shaped mouth. Weeks later, he overhead his parents speaking in low tones about a certain gambling debt owed by the Squire Connan TreMellyn. The man was well known for his drinking and carousing, although a finer horsemen never graced the polo fields. And now it seems, Buttercup was caught in a far more serious game of Distressed Damsel. Lost in his reverie of Buttercup's other more secret virtues, the Colonel did not immediately hear the jangle of the bell announcing a visitor to his office. His attention snapped quickly, though, to the red garter rudely tossed onto his desktop and partially into his now tepid cup of tea. A sepulchural voice came from across the room...Cowtown Pattie
Homepage 10.30.05 - 3:36 pm #
...its unctuous tones like honeyed liver, though with a vague undercurrent of malignancy, as though a spider had become trapped in the honey. Edward stiffened, as he often unaccountably did in these situations."So," darkly whispered the oiled voice, "we meet again, Colonel Bradford.""You fiend!" cried Edward in a voice louder than he had intended. "I thought we'd put paid to you and your evil schemes in the lime pits of the Hindoo Kush!"The shadowy figure slithered into the light, the fine cut of the fashionably cut London suit belied by the unholy gleam in his wicked, squinting eyes, and the repeated clutching of his bony, clawed hands. "I have escaped," he hissed through his sharp yellow grin. "I admit that your clever little trap caused me more than a modicum of inconvenience. But I never fall prey to such obvious trickery."Edward struggled to restore himself to composure as he casually wiped teastains from his vest. "Doctor Van Vliet!" he said with disdain. "If you're still calling yourself a 'doctor.' And if that is the name by which you now call yourself." Edward stood. "You'll pardon me if I don't shake hands, Doctor, but I've just, ah, CLEANED them."The impression of demonic rage passed briefly across Van Vliet's scarred features, but vanished so quickly that it might have been an illusion. Edward knew that it was not."Names are nothing to us, Bradford. I am Nemesis to you and your kind, and that is all you need ever, or will ever, know," the Doctor said with smooth deliberation.Edward allowed himself a smile. "You say that names mean nothing. Here, in England, they mean a great deal. Perhaps this is wishful thinking on your part. Perhaps you wish to forget that your youth spent in torment at your given name...Chauncey!""You are nothing but a slug beneath my heel, Bradford!" he squealed in a torrent of moist air. "You will pay dearly, as they all will!" But instantly he recovered his preternatural calm. "Perhaps, Bradford, you recognize the item that I have tossed upon your desk."Edward took care not to snap at the bait. "I believe that I do, sir. It is..." He stiffened again, more understandably. "It is the scarlet garter."Van Vliet grinned hideously. "I think that it has a very special meaning for you, Bradford. And now...NOW it has a very special meaning for me. A souvenir, if you will, of one of my...ahem...exploits."Edward could control himself no longer and leapt over the desk, catching Van Vliet by his scarred empurpled throat and squeezing with all his strength. "I shouldn't hurt me if I were you, "wheezed the Doctor. "Not if you wish to see a certain very special person alive again!" Edward cursed and threw him to the floor.Meanwhile, Clementina came awake as though after a long, lingering fever. She could see very little, but the scurrying in distant corners of the room did not reassure her. Nor did the ropes that seemed to be bindingBleak Mouse
Homepage 10.30.05 - 8:07 pm #
her hands and feet. And that hideous draught across her...Where was her clothing? Before she could consider these pressing matters, exhaustion again overwhelmed her, and she fell into a troubled sleep.Bleak Mouse
Homepage 10.30.05 - 8:09 pm #
her hands and feet. And that hideous draught across her...Where was her clothing? Before she could consider these pressing matters, exhaustion again overwhelmed her, and she fell into a troubled sleep.Bleak Mouse
Homepage 10.30.05 - 8:09 pm #
A troubled sleep where Torture Never Stops, perchance? Shall carry the tawdy little pigskin a few more yards tomorrow, my fine young Clemens...*the above being solely a commenting aside...Cowtown Pattie
Homepage 10.30.05 - 9:39 pm #
Who skinned that little pig?I liked that little pig.Rest assured that "The Torture Never Stops" is my motto as a prose stylist.I'll be worrying about Clementina all night now. What were those fitful scurrying sounds? Where is she? What will the drooling fiends subject her to? Will she ever escape? Will she unravel the increasingly labyrinthine mystery that eludes comprehension? Most importantly, will she catch cold?Bleak Mouse
Homepage 10.30.05 - 10:48 pm #

10/31 A
This is just perfect for my Halloween eveing, just perfect.And just scary...The Merchant of Venice
Homepage 10.31.05 - 10:55 pm #
A fine story, and one that has only grown in the telling and retelling.For show and tell, I have an example of spirit photography from the family archives.Bit Player
Homepage 11.01.05 - 6:12 am #
(via the "Homepage" link.)Li'l Bit
Homepage 11.01.05 - 6:14 am #
As most family photos, that's just spooky!Cowtown Pattie
Homepage 11.01.05 - 11:28 am #
Old Harold, at the far right, whom I remember as jovial, companionable, and grandfatherly, evidently reveals a different side of his personality here.Those ghost images don't spook me, but his does. Brr.Bleak Mouse
Homepage 11.01.05 - 2:42 pm #
10/31 B

Thank goodness--for a minute I thought every little breeze was whispering Louie, and I was alarmed.Quicquid
Homepage 11.01.05 - 3:29 pm #
No need to be alarmed, folks. It is merely a simile. Besides, it sounded more like "disease" to me.Bleak Mouse
Homepage 11.01.05 - 5:44 pm #
And there was me thinking everyone on the internet was a pathological obsessive drooling in a basement, silly me...Betsie
Homepage 11.01.05 - 7:38 pm #
No, many of us live in attics.Bleak Mouse
Homepage 11.02.05 - 5:59 am #