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26 March 2004
The Circle Is Now Closed

Kiki has given in, as we all knew he would. All welcome
Wasted Words and the completion of the Rock Stupid Blogs.
Jelly Pinched Wolf   2:14 PM
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25 March 2004
At Least I'm Not the French

Found the following on
Catholic Ragemonkey, which in turn Flambeaux had linked to. Have only been able to give the site a cursory glance so far, but repeat visits are most assuredly in order.

Let's not bicker and argue about who killed who!

What Monty Python Character are you?
brought to you by Quizilla
Jelly Pinched Wolf   11:30 AM
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A Call to Arms

My recent post on Devil Movies (thanks for all the comments, guys!) as well as a mention by
Old Oligarch (along with his two cents on the subject, which is worth far more than that) has got me thinking about horror in general. Let's face it, at best, it's lacking. I admit, I've fallen away from seeing horror movies these past few years--in part because my wife would not care to see 'em, in part because I've been so deep into the novel that other sources of horror have been too distracting, and in part because even at a glance I can tell they're just not that good anymore. The "why" has pretty much been covered in the comments on the Devil Movies--not only is the Dark far too shiny onscreen to be feared, but it also becomes more difficult to fear what you've been hip (or neck) deep in for decades.

Now, I'm not saying there are no good horror movies. They're just a rarity. And I'm going to step on a lot of toes here, but zombie movies are just not the thing. I've not seen the latest, I admit, but neither do I have the desire. The approach might change, but the story is pretty much always the same. Where's the creativity? Where are the new plots? Why not a megalomaniac raising the dead to subjugate the world? Why must it always be a scientific accident, virus or plague, or random, unexplained "phenomenon?" Maybe it's me. Zombies attacking the Oscars is one thing, but onscreen, even if they've got some adrenaline, they just bore me. Off the top of my head, I can think of two decent, original zombie flicks--Night of the Living Dead and My Boyfriend's Back (and I'm not entirely sure the latter counts--it definitely wasn't going for the horror aspect).

Of course, when was the last time we had a really good vampire flick? Or werewolves? (Okay, those lovers of Underworld can pipe down--you already know what I thought of that one). Or supernaturalness in general? Of course, that may be the problem--it's all too commonplace. Who's really gonna fear a vampire at this point? We need new things to fear (or mayhap very old things) and most importantly, a revitalisation in our imaginations. Both film and literature are lacking in this no matter the genre.

While Wes Craven has had as many bad films as good, he's a good starting point, I think. The much overlooked Wes Craven's New Nightmare (likely overlooked 'cause not only does it have a lousy title, but also because most people shy away from movie franchises after they pass the third sequel, and this was the seventh) is actually pretty brilliant--at least in its approach. Oddly, it's not so much a sequel as a beginning. It takes the mythology built up in the first six Nightmares, and runs with it, looking at fear itself and breaking down the lines between reality and imagination. After all, fear is one of those things that hovers about in both worlds, but belongs to neither. Essentially, New Nightmare (herafter NN), plays with the idea of what happens when a fictional character, whose sole purpose is to frighten, is killed off in the fictional world. Not a new idea, of course. Stephen King played with it in The Dark Half. And I'm sure countless others have as well. But the great thing about NN is that it's not so much the fictional character that wants back into life, but the fear itself--the fear no longer has a vehicle to do its work, and by goodness, it shall not be denied. Somewhat Ellisonian, but without Harlan's tendency for cynicism. Interestingly, this force of fear in NN ultimately finds life in a very old place--a fairy tale, of the Grimm variety. Dark, disturbing, and completely unafraid to teach us something. That, I think, is what we're really lacking. We need to strip off the conventions of the genre, and get back to the basic seed of what scares us. Because I don't think those fears have gone away--we've just stopped letting them get under our skin. Which is a bad, bad place to be. When we know the Good will win in the end, it's all right to be not afraid. But when we don't fear simply because we don't care, or because we can't even see the things of which we ought to be afraid, then it's time for a change.

Hence my call to arms--at least for myself. I'd love to have compatriots in the fight, but for myself I'm finding a renewed sense of purpose, and I'll go it alone if I must. I need to get the last third of the novel edited. It is, after all, the beginning, and so it's a bit difficult to get going until I've begun. Beside the monetary reward, I've always thought the two best parts of writing would be to get people to use their imaginations, and to scare the heck out of them. Methinks it's time to get doing that in earnest.
Jelly Pinched Wolf   10:38 AM
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24 March 2004

Though I'm not sure she even reads the blog, I wanted to wish my sister a very Happy Birthday today. I'll not say which birthday it is for her, 'cause that'd just be rude. But suffice it to say that my mom was twenty-five when I was born, and my sister is one-sixth of seven times my current age. Not a very good mathematical riddle, I know, but math ain't my thing, alas. (And might I just add: where else but here can you hear "ain't" and "alas" in the same sentence?)

Anyway, back to the point, I say to me sis: Happy Birthday! May your day be filled with happiness and yummy cake!
Jelly Pinched Wolf   8:51 AM
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23 March 2004
Well, That Didn't Take Very Long

Just wanted to extend a welcome to another new blog over in the links section. Citizen Bob has been seduced by the evil that is blogging, and now gives us Weirdsville, USA.

There remains but one former Rock Stupid Student unsullied now....
Jelly Pinched Wolf   7:20 AM
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21 March 2004
Whatever Happened to Scaring the Bejeezus Out of People?
After reading Flambeaux'
post on The Order (which I have thankfully, unlike my wife, not seen), I began to wonder what's become of the Devil Movie genre. They used to be so good back in the seventies. But lately, they're just not working. Granted, while Stigmata and the phrase "theologically sound" are not even remotely synonymous, it was at least cheesy fun. And let us not forget The Devil's Advocate and Fallen, both of which know how to string their audiences along. But the recent entries like The Ninth Gate and now The Order (I will not bother to even include anything involving Kirk Cameron or the myriad Vatican conspiracy blitherings; I will never watch these on the grounds of simple taste), are designed to neither have fun with, nor scare their audiences. And really, those are the two prerequisites for a good old-fashioned Devil Movie.

Was it just the decade? I mean, the seventies had a lot of problems (though not Disco--never Disco; Disco was not a problem, but the Form of Cheese--always remember that Disco and Grape Kool-Aid will save the world), but film flourished. And not only the more serious entries, like, well, anything starring Gene Hackman or Al Pacino. (As a side note, since this be not the point of the post, might I just say that while Hackman is good in everything he's in--even dreck like Marooned--or Space Travelers, depending on when you happened to see the dreck--he was particularly superb in his seventies flicks. The French Connection, The French Connection II, The Conversation--all darn fine movies. But, I blather.) The big fun films--Star Wars, Jaws, Young Frankenstein, Close Encounters of the Third Kind--were just as good, and indicative of, well, something going on in the seventies that seems to be lost now. Maybe it was all the drugs. But who am I to cast judgment?

Either way, we seem to be lacking in good Devil Movies now, and that is a shame. And I mean good, solid, scary Devil movies. The Exorcist. The Omen (which, I mention as a point of trivia, had in it Patrick Troughton, who played the cranky Second Doctor, who looked like Shemp, on Doctor Who). Rosemary's Baby. These films defined, in me own humble opinion, the sub-genre of Devil Movies. They managed to hit that perfect tone of supernatural freakiness that makes your skin crawl, and makes you wonder what demons might be lurking in the hall, or across the way in that other apartment, or just in the periphery of your vision. They were saying something--don't mess with these things, 'cause it won't turn out well for you. It certainly doesn't for Gregory Peck, or Mia Farrow, or Max von Sydow. But now, we get the message from The Ninth Gate that if you're a real slimeball, you just might get to become a Prince of Hell! Won't that be fun! (At least, I assume that's the message of the film--in all that boring drivel, it wasn't easy to figure out what the heck was going--but coming as it was from Roman Polanski, I can't say I'd be surprised if that was in fact the message*).

I don't know. I don't have an answer. Or, as usual, a point, really. Except that, mayhap I really do need to finish that screenplay I started so long ago. Or rather, turn it into what it needs to be--a good old-fashioned Devil Movie, both fun and scary. Not glorifying the evil, but terrifying with it. After all, if I am to be a writer of horror, I should needs put it to a good end, neh?

*Don't get me wrong, while Polanski may be one of the most deplorable examples of humanity to ever walk the Earth, he has made good films. Heck, besides Chinatown and Death and the Maiden, he also made the aforementioned Rosemary's Baby. But this does not excuse Gate. In a word--it was a really, bloody vile piece of feculent, lame, often incomprehensible tedium. I'm not even certain you can have a "piece of tedium," but there you have it--that's what this sort of movie does to you.
Jelly Pinched Wolf   9:32 PM
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17 March 2004
Another Victim

The Evil has struck another friend--The Doppler Effect has been added to the blog links. Please visit and enjoy--after all, she's already posted a ton more than Cob! (Sorry Cob, couldn't resist the jab).
Jelly Pinched Wolf   1:19 PM
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16 March 2004
Bubbling Like a Babbling Blog

I've been wanting to post really badly for the last several days--problem being I have naught about which to blog. And so, thought I just a moment ago, why not just babble for a while about a variety of things? Yes! said I to myself. What a lovely idea! And a splendid way to avoid work, which I'm just not feeling like doing today anyway.

My wife and I finally got the opportunity to see The Passion of the Christ this past Friday. I had thought to post some comments on that, but alas, it's really difficult to form comments on such a work. As Roger Ebert
notes, it's not a movie one can really review because it's not a movie so much as it's a meditation. It's not easy to watch, that's for certain--but it's worth every moment, and every tear. And it's beautiful, because no matter how horrible the subject matter, it, too, is beautiful. After all, what could be more stirring and beautiful than this man, who is also God, being born into the world for the sole purpose of dying horribly for our sins?* So, yeah, not very easy to talk about--other than to say that had I not already made it onto the road, The Passion would have flung me head-first onto it.

New music is always a lovely thing. And lovelier still is when new music is really, really good. With that, I urge anyone with some jazzy, loungey inclinations to check out the new album by Norah Jones, Feels Like Home. It does, too. This is a warm, comfy album that makes you want to wrap it around yourself like a blanket. I love her first album, but this surpasses it by far. Jones has added in some down-homey accents that complement her soft, smokey, jazz feel very nicely. And the track with guest star Dollie Parton is terrific. Definitely check it out.

Vindication! My wife has finally begun reading the first Robin Hobb trilogy, and despite her dubiety, she is totally enjoying it. Yay! Also, the final part of the third trilogy (The Tawny Man) is now out, so I can begin on that series without worrying when it'll be finished. Much goodness.

Speaking of novels, though the going has been slower than hoped, I've now completed the editing of 21 of the 33 chapters. With the help of some friends, I've got the next several printed out, and my wife can begin her own editing of those once she has a break from school in a couple weeks. The end grows nearer and nearer. And boy howdy, do I look forward to it.

And that should be enough to babble about for one day, methinks.

*The Jelly-Pinched Wolf is but a pup when it comes to the theological structure of the Faith, so please forgive any errors. And feel free to correct me and elevate my understanding.
Jelly Pinched Wolf   2:47 PM
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11 March 2004
The Stupid Law*

We were discussing in my department this morning the woman in Florida who tried to pay for her Wal-Mart purchases with a
million dollar bill. One lady here said she should go to jail for stupidity. It occurred to me then that if stupidity were a crime, we'd have a very quiet community across the face of the country--and an infinitely worse prison problem than already exists. In fact, prisons would be our industry at that point. Further thinking on it, though, and knowing the way our legal system tends to work, I don't think things would play out this way. Rather, stupidity would not be the crime, but the reason to excuse the crime.

Instead of "not guilty by reason of insanity," we'd have "not guilty by reason of stupidity." Instead of a crime being committed in the heat of passion, it would be done out of a momentary lapse into rank idiocy. Though I'm sure this would be a serious travesty of justice, I can't help but think how great it'd be to be able, upon being stopped for speeding or some other traffic violation, to say, "Sorry, Officer. I was just being incredibly stupid." Of course, I'm having trouble deciding whether his response would be, "Yes you were. Smarten up, and don't do it again," or "Yes you were. And if you think you're not getting a ticket, then you're even dimmer than you thought." I think I'm tending toward the latter.

*This is all purely theoretical. Actually, not even that--it's just a random consideration, really. My knowledge of the law is fairly limited, most of what I do know falling into my brain's lap via friends who are far more informed on such things. I'm a writer, and poet, and occasional dabbler in the philosphical arts--the law is either too weird or not weird enough for my brain. Haven't figured that one out yet. Either way, if you know what you're talking about when it comes to the law, please don't hurt me simply because I don't. At least I freely admit it!
Jelly Pinched Wolf   10:17 AM
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09 March 2004
It's Different!

Okay, not very exciting, I admit, but if you'll note on your left there, I've finally updated my blog links! With so many friends being sucked into The Evil, I figured it about time I got on the ball. Of course, my main delay was because I have a very specific design change in mind for the links--but alas, it's going to take far more HTML work and study than I currently have time for.

Some notes:

I've removed the link to Lone Dissenter. Hadn't been over there in a while, and it seems she's not blogging anymore. No real clue where she went, which is a shame, but hopefully she's still fighting the good Conservative fight out there amongst our silly youth. I've also added a link the Old Oligarch (thanks to friends and me own wife for pointing him out in the first place). Good posts on things afoot in the Catholic world, amongst other things. Also, he's that kind of intelligent cranky that's just a ton of fun to read.

Check 'em all out, if you've got the time. As for the Wolf here, I hope to have something else worthy of posting soonishly.
Jelly Pinched Wolf   10:07 PM
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04 March 2004
Something to Make the Wife Happy

Don't mean to intrude on her bread and butter over at her blog, but having just heard about this, and knowing her posting time is limited of late, I thought I'd share this lovely bit of news:

Disney split takes one job from Eisner, but effect unclear

Could the reign of idiocy be over? We can only hope. But this is at least a beginning.
Jelly Pinched Wolf   10:49 AM
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01 March 2004
In Defense of Animation

Since my wife has found herself having to defend not just 2D animation (check out her blog
here), but the entire art of animation to more and more people, I thought I'd throw in a little bit of help. Found the following article from this past November, and thankfully it's not the typical gloom and doom discussion of 2D animation.

2D Or Not 2D

Nice to know there are defenders of the art out there, and that they shall not go gently into that good 3D night. All we need is a bit of revolution, and I know there are new animators in the gates with fires in their bellies (not sure how mixed that metaphor is, but it sounds good nonetheless). I also know my wife'll be on the front lines of that animation revolution. And I by her side every step.
Jelly Pinched Wolf   4:10 PM
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Forced Fast

So, we and some friends watched the Oscars last night, figuring we could MiSTie it, waiting as patiently as we could for the zombies to show. Alas, the show was too boring to make all that much fun of it, and 'bout midway through, I realised that of course the zombies wouldn't come to eat the Oscar attendees. Zombies eat brains, right? Well, clearly there was a distinct lack of quality fare there last night. Even the least discriminating zombie would be turned off by the bland wit of the Hollywood mind.

It wasn't that offensive--I can at least grant it that. And Jack Black and Will Farrell had a most hilarious song. Hollywood still has very little class and fashion sense, but I've seen worse in years past. And yet, that might be part of last night's problem. Goodness, but it was boring! We missed the first hour or so, but the only real political jab was Sean Penn's inanity--and that was so poorly delivered it was more laughable than angrifying. Pretty pathetic, really. In fact, more offensive than his comment was his win. There are some that'll never forgive him for Fast Times at Ridgemont High, but beyond that, I've just never been all that impressed by the man's acting--and I'm certainly unimpressed by him as a person. Johnny Depp deserved it so much more. But then, as our friend Chris noted, Penn's win was due less to quality and more to his stint as Saddam's PR agent.

Billy Crystal, who once upon a time, back on Soap, was actually funny, was just flat out lame last night . As was the whole show, really. I'm pleased ROTK won so many awards, but Master and Commander, in me own humble opinion, still deserved Best Pic more, and when it gets right down to it, the sweep was really rather demeaning. It wasn't about what the film deserved (though it certainly did deserve what it won), but Hollywood realising that after almost completely ignoring the first two installments, and with the three films' monumental success at the box office, they could never save face if they denied it again. It makes the wins seem hollow. I am happy for Peter Jackson, though--and his comments in his final acceptance about the legitimacy of fantasy films was short, sweet, and hopefully prophetic.

In the end, I'm mostly just feeling a bid sad. 'Cause unless those poor zombies found a group of Mensa members last night, they most assuredly went hungry. I mean, what kind of a world are we living in here, when a working-Joe zombie can't get a decent brain on which to munch? Sigh.
Jelly Pinched Wolf   9:36 AM
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