norma

Have you ever watched Sunset Boulevard starring William Holden, Erich von Stroheim, and the unconquerable Gloria Swanson? If not, I won’t mind if you open Netflix or find some other method to stop everything you’re doing just to watch it right now. I can wait.

As you (now) know, this film is a masterpiece of cinema which laid bare the cruelty of these things: aging, celebrity, Hollywood, youth, pride, vanity, EVERY ASPECT OF LIFE, and probably some other stuff. I’m not writing a thoughtful essay here! It did nothing to fix any of it, as far as I know, but it is interesting to see how the old silent stars were thought of and treated in the 1950s. I imagine that the cycle continues and the young talent of today considers the actors and actresses of the 80s and 90s to be weird old fossils from another time. I assume that the fate of Norma Desmond is what every actress fears for her future — or maybe kind of wants it, who am I to say?

None of us will ever be as rich as she was, or as influential in any industry, that is a certainty. I have made a little maze so that we can pretend to know what it’s like. From the comfort of your ostentatious manor, embark upon the wobbly journey to your great return. You will encounter all kinds of obstacles from nostalgic reveries to suicide attempts to homicide, but if you can keep your focus, you’ll be in the pictures again. You’ll get the attention you deserve, you icon. You legend.

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Halloween is many things. It is a socialist plot where America is destroyed by letting children accumulate quantities of candy so vast their little pancreases preemptively shut down. It is parents convincing their children that they are about to be eaten by a dracula. It is getting so hopelessly lost in a corn maze that you forget corn can be walked through, and you call 911, and the owner has to give the police officer a map so they can escort you to safety. Unless you’re black, of course. White people will insist that the corn gluten be free range. Having little Kaelybb exposed to anything more pedestrian would be as bad as exposing him to the MMR vaccine.

This is a holiday whose traditions are always evolving. Once it was a religious festival, then a feast for Catholics. Later, all manner of people would carve turnips into grotesque faces, the horror of which led directly to clown makeup and orange spray tans. Someday oldsters will gather the children around the burning piles of Juiceros, Keurig pods, and participation trophies that are our only source of fuel after the ecological crash. They’ll hope it’s dark and cold because it’s October  and not because of the eternal cloud of radioactive ash that always blots out the sun. They’ll tell the shivering, emaciated children tales of shelves with food and what candy was, how we had smart toasters that would tweet at us when our toast was done, complete with a photo of how toasted the bread is. Hashtag #toast. Then the children will draw lots to see who gets eaten, and the elders won’t participate because even now they are selfish, entitled Millennials.

oh no

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masks

When two friends hold a casual conversation, sometimes it turns into an unexpected confession. Sometimes, it is revealed that one or both of the conversationalists are terrible people, on the inside. In this real life chat that really did happen, cchris seems like he is maybe worried, or at least taking mental notes for some purpose or another, but I’m sure I was just saying what he had already thought for himself before. I’m CERTAIN.

Please, enjoy this comic. And please, don’t run away from me.

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literary corner

The essential elements of a ghost story are Time and Place. Time, because a haunting represents two points upon that continuum (the past and the present) colliding; Place, because the perceptory functions of the human mind are limited by its particular imprisoning body (until the moment of that vessel’s expiration), which necessarily occupies a single location, a point among infinite points in space. The values of these variables, for purposes of this story, are as follows: Time, the 1980s. Place, Sheumakkee Creek.

Bernice Zelewski, a nursing student, crossed Sheumakkee Creek most days of the week by means of a wooden footbridge, erected some decades earlier. Exiting her apartment on the northeast side of town, she crossed the Sheumakkee Creek footbridge, continued some five or six blocks across town, and arrived at the nursing school building, where she studied and socialized for much of the day before walking back through town to the footbridge, which she crossed before continuing to her apartment building. This pattern was interrupted infrequently by holidays, illnesses, and various other occurrences as prosaic and quotidian as the pattern itself, of walking back and forth across a bridge that spanned only fifteen or twenty
feet — an unremarkable interval that served to separate one unremarkable day from the next.

 

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As funny as death is, it also has a serious side. It isn’t ONLY fun and games; you owe it to yourself and others to plan for it and treat it as the solemn event that it deserves. I can think of nothing worse than to find out that you do leave a ghost, and that ghost is embarrassed by a lackluster death and shortly-after events. Eternal damnation has many faces.

Many questions arise when one is faced with the great beyond. Where will I be buried? Will my no-good wife and ingrate children have enough money to squander on shit? Will I die while masturbating? As an expert, I will provide you with a few responsible steps to consider when preparing for death.

dr deathtopus

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The Good Place is a show on NBC that you are missing out on if you have not yet watched! Season 2 premieres tonight, and already has pretty rave reviews from critics. Season 1 is on Netflix and if you’re like me you should run and watch it now, so that you have time to watch it thrice more before you fall behind on the new episodes.

I’ll watch anything with Ted Danson obviously because he’s always fantastic, but he really sells this one. Along with Kristin Bell, they are a superbly weird duo who seem like they’re just trying to figure things out. Michael (Danson) is an architect and designer of this Good Place, where Eleanor Shellstrop (Bell) is sent after her death.

The Good Place - Season 1

 

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We have a lot of fears. Some make sense; others, not so much. This latter type will be featured once monthly until we run out of material, at which point, we might begin accepting the fears of our readers. 

cchris

I love describing my dynamic with cchris to anyone who has a moment to listen, because I never have been able to understand it. I even mention it on here as much as I can, partly because it’s part of my character makeup, and partly because I really am that bewildered by it. Over the years, things have shifted and changed. When I realized that he is very mysterious, my imagination occasionally will step in and try to figure out WHY. Who is so good at not giving out personal facts? For this many years? Is it villainy? Is it because there’s nothing there? Is it to appear more interesting? What is there to hide, and if there is nothing to hide — WHY.

The irrational fear depicted in the comic has OMGJeremy to blame. Apparently he thinks that cchris and I write similarly, and maybe it is HIS irrational fear that I am pretending to be this whole other person. When he first told me of this, I did have a little while where I might have been horrified and fearful at the possibility. That would be world-shattering to realize. But I guess I don’t fear it, exactly. If it turns out it’s all been in my head, that’s almost impressive. I could live with it. I could live with having made a little Canadian Tulpa. That’s fine. Whatever. I would just like to know for sure before I die of old age.

It’s summertime. It has been summertime for a good long while now, actually, but here in Kentucky the full force of summer hadn’t hit me until fairly recently. It must be said that I generally die during the summer time of year. The blistering heat and suffocating humidity do me no favors, and the harsh rays of the earth’s yellow sun give me freckles and a tan. How can I be “Amandoll, Undead Creature of the Night” if I am sporting a healthy tan? I cannot be, that’s how.

I am a girl who enjoys clinging to the silver lining, however, and fortunately I can come up with two things I enjoy about summer: soft serve ice cream cones from locally owned dairy shacks, and grape soda. Grape soda is probably a tasty treat all year long, but I do not thirst for it until the temperatures reach 90F (32C) and above, which actually is a temperature it still can reach in the autumnal months. It is also better when there is a drought on, because walking down alley ways behind businesses while a fine dust blows in your eyes is the PERFECT time to be sipping from a cold and slender glass bottle of that purple wonder elixir.

sssip

Previously, I had been under the mistaken impression that all grape drinks were created more or less the same. How many differences could there be in a product that contained soda water, purple color, and sweetener? Well, actually I don’t really know myself, so I have decided to conduct a Consumer Report for the world to reference as a resource. I am going to select a small variety of grape drink beverages and test them against the horrible summer heat. I will grade them on Flavor, Mouthfeel, Thirst Quench, Packaging, and Arbitrary Impressions. There will be technical jargon bandied about, and an air of scientific study will be apparent. So put on your eye goggles, sneer enthusiasts, because I’m going Purple Drank Sippin’!

 

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There is no love quite like the love of a pet. They’re always there for us, when we’re sick, sad, or lonely. They’ll play with us and keep us company. They are therapists and confidants, best friends and playmates. Unconditional love for a small adoption fee.

When I was about seventeen, my neighbors adopted a kitten for their daughter and named him Samson. Children can be fickle creatures, and it turned out that their daughter wasn’t hugely interested in having a cat, so Samson was pretty much left to his own devices.

He was a longhair, mostly blue-gray, but with a white patch on his chin down to his tummy, and on the tips of his paws. He had beautiful, piercing green eyes.

samson

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Before actually working at a party supply store, I was unaware that there are party supplies for EVERYTHING. I had previously been under the notion that people weren’t so stupid that they would need to run out and buy a giant bull skull to complete the look of their “Tex-Mex party,” which would just end up looking like a regular party except with a giant shitty foam bull skull hanging on the wall.

herein is torture and pain

While perusing the mind-numbing amount of overpriced shit for parties, I wandered upon a section, nay, an entire AISLE, just for celebrating old people’s birthdays and such. Well, let me rephrase that since it’s not entirely the truth: An entire aisle just for mocking old people’s further decline into a miserable old age and eventually to a depressing death that will most likely be filled with memories of the time their children bought them a fake jar of Viagra for their 60th birthday.

Some would call them “gag” gifts, and I suppose they are. Only I have never seen so many, and some so completely brutal, in one area before — all for simply being old. It’s as if to say “Congratulations on living for 3/4 of a century and accomplishing more than most of us ever will, now put this chicken suit on and DANCE YOU OLD SHIT.”

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