Sunday, August 31, 2008

One quick note

Has anyone else noticed that while our new VP candidate has lived in Alaska since infancy, she was actually born in Sandpoint? (How long do you think it'll be before the media get hold of that fact and make racist innuendos? That's where Mark Fuhrman moved to after the glove fiasco, too.)

I know, Alaska is the northwest too, but Idaho is rather closer to home. In any event, this may be the closest a northwesterner has ever gotten to the highest office in the country. Go Sarah!

Placeholder post

There's a real one coming as soon as I get a respite from parenting. Meanwhile, here's a cool article from last spring about our new priest, who did Pete's baptism a couple of weeks ago. Christina's mom and sister came up from California for the occasion, and my parents came too, which was cool. My mom tries to be nonchalant about these functions, but I knew very well that a Catholic church is outside her comfort zone. She always looks nervous. My sister couldn't come, but my little niece did, and got to hold the book for Fr. Brooks.

Anyway, I didn't quite know what to make of the new father, but this article explains a lot about his personality. Great guy!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Crass, but true

No time for a real post today, as I have to take 12-year-old Long Drink back to his mother by way of her mother, which means three hours each way to meet in the middle. Instead, here's a cartoon I liberated from Tim Bayly:

Lest we should forget what the Obamessiah really means by "Hope."

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Saturday Matinee: Freaks

I know it's been a long time, and honest, an actual post will follow this weekend. Today, however, we're off to the Grant County Fair. There we will ride rides (the kids will, anyway), consume vast quantities of horribly unhealthy food, and look at animals that we would otherwise have to drive two or three miles into the country to see. After, of course, the obligatory stop at the Spaceburger booth. And I do mean obligatory; the kids aren't allowed to set one little toe in line for a ride until they've had a Spaceburger and lemonade. Alas, the otherwise very intelligent and personable young lady who partially replaced me at the newspaper is of a different opinion regarding them. What she doesn't get is that it's not just the taste of the things; it's the tradition. Spaceburgers were first made for the Seattle World's Fair in 1964 (which my parents attended), and Lord knows how, the Moses Lake Lioness Club acquired the machine to make them and they've been using them for a fair fundraiser since before I was born. As a proud Moses Lakian, it's just not right for me to flout the tradition like that.

If you're a city person, you won't understand, but during Fair Week (yes, it's capitalized), the entire county more or less goes into slow motion. At the paper, you'd be hard-pressed to find anybody in the office except to answer the phones. Same goes for most of the other businesses in town. Even my box plant was on short hours this week, although I think that's a coincidence.

So, since it's Fair Week and since this just showed up in the Archive (hallelujah!), I'm putting this film up in lieu of a more informative post. (As I said, I'll catch up this weekend.) If you've never seen this movie, you've at least heard of it. This is a film that defies genre altogether. Is it a horror film? Is it a melodrama? Expoitation? What exactly can you call it? The only thing it can be safely called is the quintessential cult film, some 43 years before the Rocky Horror Picture Show made cult films sorta mainstream. Since its creation (spawning?) in 1932, among the names associated with it have been Anton LaVey and the king of grungy celluloid, Dwain Esper. There seems to be some question about who if anybody owns the rights to it (one rumor holds that LaVey bought it and put it into the Public Domain himself), but as long as Archive has it up, I'll share it gladly.

The director, Tod Browning, was an interesting case. He'd been a sideshow barker himself, having literally run away with the circus as a boy before moving into film. This was made when he was fresh off his cinematic triumph, Dracula, and he was looking for a way to top that. Well, top it he did, and then some. So much so, in fact, that studio executives were nauseated at the screening and censors across America cut out so much of it that at one point, only about half an hour remained.

To be honest, however, I think anybody who was upset by Freaks was taking an extremely shallow view of it. The characters in it were not creatures of horror or anything like that. They were real people, people who had been born weird in body, but were not that different from anyone else. To be exhibited for their bodily eccentricities was their profession, the only one they could have had, and they took it seriously. There was no makeup wizardry or trick photography here: the "freaks" were all the real McCoy. Look them up on IMDb or elsewhere: these characters had histories and futures. Some of them lived to ripe old ages; others came to sad ends. Tod Browning knew them well; these were his people.

That may be the most important aspect of this film: not the shallow "ick" factor but the loyalty and goodness the "freaks" showed their own when one of them was mistreated by an outsider. God grant everyone should have such a circle of friends to guard his back. "Gobble Gobble, we accept you! You're one of us!"

If you haven't seen this before, do it now. I guarantee you won't come away unmoved.