Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Unborn: full body silicone baby boy





It's getting late, I'm feeling sick, but had to share this with my Beloved Readers. I have been doing a serious study of the squickfest that is the Reborn Doll, but this all-silicone version, quivery, rubbery and virtually transparent, takes the freaking cake. It's called the Full Body Silicone Baby Doll, and it's unlike anything you will ever want to see again.




One might almost be convinced this is a real baby, until she starts bending his arms backwards at a 90-degree angle.




Let's diaper the sweet little son-of-a-gun, so his teeny rubber wee-wee won't keep quivering like that.




Quick! Call Child Protection Services! Silicone baby in trouble!




Hey, lady, listen to me. That baby ain't breathin'. 




Rubber baby buggy bumpers.


Bonus link!  More pictures of full-body silicone baby dolls. Warning! Don't go alone.

http://www.anhuangbabies.com/full-body-silicone-babies



Post-blog thoughts. Like the Grinch, I just had an awful idea. There could only be one way these babies could be manufactured with such eerie, even grotesque realism. Are you thinking what I'm thinking? A cast? A mold? And how would a cast be made? Let's not consider the possibilities. We look at Victorian post-mortem photography with repugnance, and yet it looks like someone is taking a dead baby and making a cast from it, then squirting in a bunch of pink silicone. Often these dolls are "recommended" to bereaved parents as a substitute, but then the possibilities grow even more macabre. Cloning pets is a new industry that is booming, but is that much more extreme than casting babies? The next step will leap across the gap: cloning a dead baby so that the parents receive an exact duplicate of the one that has died.

This idea is much creepier than those tired old stories about dolls coming to life. Even this quivering little homunculus doesn't come anywhere near the horror of a cloned baby.

I feel a short story coming on.




Post-post-blog thoughts: The internet is both great for me and awful for me, for it takes only seconds to find a treasure trove of pictures of my latest obsession. There are people who make a fat living from creating these things. Often it's carefully rationalized: well, men get obsessed with model trains, don't they? Yes, but model trains don't look so lifelike they seem to be ready to cry at any minute.




Come to think of it, there are distinct advantages over a real human being. You have complete control here. This baby does what you want. Period. It never changes. It can become a focal point for all your expectations, all your love. I have already read about marriages breaking up over this, when love for an inanimate mold of silicone supercedes love of a messy, ageing, cranky, needy, "real" human being. Though reborns seem needy, they are not. They can be put aside for years if you want, or taken into the bath with you.





And they never die. This is a real bonus for women who have lost babies. They never die because they were never born, in spite of their weird-sounding name.






I won't get into the weird "extras" some of these have. And I don't want to think about why they are there.



And as a kicker. . . 


Monday, December 29, 2014

Stella and Ella: Public Access Gold!




As you are well aware - OK, then, you aren't because you never read this - I am always on the lookout for good public access kitsch. This is some of the finest I've ever seen: Stella and Ella, identical twins in their 70s with oddly unlined, expressionless faces, doing a "panno-mahn" to Bing Crosby groaning Silent Night. As we find out in the introduction, one of them is dead, which explains a lot (though they may be mistaken about that: to me, it looks as if BOTH of them are). They wear white choir gowns and do a lot of outstretched-arm stuff. There is this "local radar" weather warning thing which I at first thought was some new YouTube feature. It never goes away and lends a bizarre stained-glass effect, along with the orange fibreglass curtains. 

These things aren't parody, which is what makes them so fascinating. They are sincere efforts at worship. Of what, I am not sure. No doubt both ladies are dead now, wearing their white crimplene gowns permanently in that great Public Access Station in the Sky.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Interview: the day the lights went out


Power Outage During Final Moments of 'The Interview' Startles Audience

Dec 26, 2014, 3:55 PM ET

By MEGHAN KENEALLY

MEGHAN KENEALLY More From Meghan »

Digital Reporter




Allwood Cinemas 6 in Clifton, New Jersey appears in this screen grab from Google Maps.

Google Maps

Everyone knew what was coming -- the controversial death scene in the movie about a fictitious assassination plot against North Korean leader Kim Jong-un -- but then the lights cut out.

One packed movie theater was left bewildered when a sudden power outage struck 1,300 customers in Clifton, New Jersey, including Allwood Cinemas at a critical moment towards the final moments during a screening of "The Interview."

Barry Cohen, who attended the 1:30 p.m. screening with his wife and grown son, said they "had no idea" what was going on.

'The Interview' Opens to Singing, Sold-Out Crowds as Sony CEO Explains His Decision to Show Film

What People Think After Seeing 'The Interview'

"When it lasted more than five seconds, we though that maybe it was part of the movie and then we realized that it wasn't," Cohen told ABC News.

Even though a power outage would have caused confusion in any circumstance, the threat issued by a hacking group that it would attack theaters screening "The Interview" led to understandably hyped tensions, moviegoers said.

"Some people ran out of the theater," Cohen said. "There was another couple near us, the woman turned to her husband and said, 'Let's get out of here!' She didn't even wait for a refund or anything."

Allwood Cinemas did not immediately respond today to a request by ABC News for comment, but a spokesperson for the power company, Public Service Electric and Gas Co., confirmed that there was an outage in Clifton on Thursday afternoon.

"At 4:01 p.m. on Thursday, December 25, a downed wire on Market St. caused approximately 1,300 customers to lose power in Clifton. PSE&G crews arrived on the scene and restored power to all customers at around 4:15 p.m.," PSE&G spokesperson Lindsey Puliti said in a statement.

Cohen said that after realizing that the blackout was not part of the movie, he went out into the lobby -- where the lights were still on -- and asked for a refund once it was clear that the theater was not going to be able to rewind the scene to fill in the gap.

He and his family got refunds, went home, and downloaded the movie on Google Play so that they could see the final 15 minutes, Cohen said.

"Anything Seth Rogen does is going to have gratuitous violence, gratuitous sex scenes, gratuitous baseless humor at times," Cohen said. "I give it an A-minus."




BLOGGER'S OBSERVATIONS. This was a strange one, but no stranger than anything else I've heard about this situation.  I'm just glad I wasn't there. It all screams of Halloween prank, fun-house effects designed to thrill and chill and gather attention from the media. And apparently, it worked.

The audience should just play along. Be good sports.  After all, they knew there was still some shred of danger from going to this thing, so the laugh's on them, right? I'm not too sure about that.

This whole thing is just getting too creepy for me. It wasn't a good concept from the start. Who thought it was a good idea to make a gross, frat-house-style comedy about a dictator with dangerous power? Did anyone actually think this through?

Then the whole "Sony hack" thing, which Sony will eventually have to admit was either an inside job or the work of some 19-year-old high school dropout with an IQ of 276.

But it was still a lousy idea. Incendiary. Maybe this is how far you have to go to get people's asses in seats. There has to be a trumped-up element of scandal (someone insulting Angelina Jolie's eyebrows, or something equally horrendous), a sense of lurking danger. But danger may lurk nonetheless.

Wouldn't that be ironic - if the world ended, not by climate change, the gathering storms and surging floods washing away the Biblical weight of human sin - but repercussions from a bad comedy.

But on second thought: isn't life itself a bad comedy, one that even lacks a plausible ending? Few lives wind up neatly. As a matter of fact, in most cases, the same thing happens as in Allwood Cinemas 6 in Clifton, New Jersey. Everything just goes black.

P. S. I just noticed something when I read the piece again. When customers dashed out of the dark theatre and into the lobby, THE LIGHTS WERE STILL ON. Emergency lights, maybe? I don't get it. Why would there be emergency lights in a movie theatre?

Friday, December 26, 2014

Creepiest doll EVER?? You decide




This time, no gifs. This time, every precaution must be taken to keep the windows from blowing out and the ceiling caving in. The dead shall live, the corpses shall rise from the cemetery, and the world will listen, as Baby Saucy begins to speak! Talk about twisting someone's arm to get them to do something - to get any sort of facial expression out of this thing, you practically have to wrench its arm off. Some of the videos make such hideous sounds that - oh well, here's another one for you.




I post these only because it's a little bit difficult to describe just what is going on here. Technically, I can't begin to explain what's happening. There must be some sort of awful mechanism grinding around behind the skin of her Stepford Baby face, pulling it this way and that. The crunching, cracking, popping noises suggest cartilage being twisted, limbs pulled out of their sockets and bones snapped in two.




I can imagine some little girl getting one of these on Christmas morning. No, I can't.








(I lied about the gifs.)

Are you in Crimbo Limbo?


British slang for "christmas present"
I'm only getting one bloody crimbo pressie this year!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

When is a blackbird white?





As I prepared to adopt another bird (more later!), an old song about a bird kept playing in my head. A French Canadian song. A song I had heard only once. A song I thought was attached to a piece of animation. The animation being done by the legendary Canadian film innovator Norman McLaren. But do you think I could find it?

I had no idea of the title. All I had was "French Canadian folk song about a bird" - specifically, a bird whose body parts drop off, then multiply. Strange?

But not if it's Norman McLaren, the mystic pioneer of animation who was known to draw images and even a sound track directly onto film stock.




Where did I see this? On TV? In school? It might have been at Bondi, the mystical vacation spot of my youth, where on Friday nights we saw films, not on a TV but projected on a screen. This was up in the "rec room", a woody-smelling place meant for rainy days (which was seldom used). All I remember is a ping-pong table, some old 78 rpm records (including the complete score for South Pacific), and a wheezy old organ you pumped with your feet.

But ah, those Friday nights! Often the movies were from the National Film Board, a Canadian institution which spewed out educational films, movies that were Good For Us (and taught us something, too!). But there was also this wacky aspect of the NFB, the animation. (Canadian animated shorts still win a disproportionately high number of Oscars.). McLaren's work was known for being surreal to the point of dadaism.




With this one, I remembered the sorrowful Gallic minor-key tune and even the French lyrics vividly, and the poor bird made of white chalk lines with its body parts flying all over the place. But what was the song called, what was the name of the film, and (more to the point) could I dig it up on YouTube and see it again?

The internet never ceases to fill me with wonder. It didn't take long, after all: I tracked it down on (naturally) an NFB web site/film archive.  I knew it as soon as I saw the title. It's called La Merle (The Blackbird), even though, ironically (though not for McLaren), it's white.




Post-bird reflections. I thought of one more Bondi special, called Glooscap Country. Found it easily, as this was something every Canadian schoolchild was required to see. I remembered the narrator, and beautiful scenes, and just one line: "Amethyst. The eye of Glooscap." And by God, not only did I find the movie - I found the line. So one more bit of seemingly-irrelevant information rattling around in my head has clunked into place.


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

WTF did I just see???





The creepiness of dolls is a topic I return to again and again, just because I haven't squeezed all the squick out of it yet. Not by a long shot.

This all started with a '60s ad for Baby Echo, which took me to Baby Secret, which then landed me squarely in the Oz of Doll-land, that place where women (and men? Who knows, maybe they're out there but still in the closet) conspire to treat the inanimate as not only animate, but precious and irreplaceable.

Wikipedia talks about reborn dolls in a way which is obviously years out of date. There is no mention of the newer all-silicone, rubbery pink dolls that can be plunked into the bath water (as opposed to the older models with stuffed cloth bodies that have to be wiped down). It refers to the reborn phenomenon as being the province of bereaved, pathetic, disturbed older women. My research contradicts that. It's even more disturbing to me how young most of these "mothers" are: in their twenties or even their teens. Is this the "new parenthood", I wonder - no mess, no fuss, no pesky stages of maturation, just an endless, powerless babyhood? For unlike a kid, a reborn baby will never answer you back. Or answer you - at all.




There are hundreds, if not thousands of YouTube videos of women with their "reborn" dolls, taking them for walks, bathing them, buying clothes for them, etc. Some of them would class themselves as collectors, though this is often a mask for a fetish. "Dollers" insist there's nothing harmful about any of this. Isn't it normal and natural to treat a quivering pink blob of silicone like an infant?

As with not being able to look away from a train wreck, I've sat through lots of these. Mostly they're really long, maybe fifteen minutes of giving Little Presley her bath, or outlining Baby Grayson's morning routine: "Grayson! What do you want for breakfast this morning?" (Grayson is the one who gets sick and has to go to the doctor. What doctor would be willing to play along with this - a plastic surgeon who implants silicone breasts?). Many feature the grand opening of the box from eBay that the doll comes in.

But the Birth of Ellie Mae video takes the proverbial birthday cake, and the candles too. It's a youngish woman actually going into labour and giving birth to her blob of silicone, depicted in excruciating detail. I thought most of us gave up this sort of "role-playing" when we were ten years old. But apparently not. Apparently there is a whole class of adults who never grow up, who continue to "play" like Peter Pan, to play at babies, bondage, and a whole lot of other stuff I know nothing about. Last time I checked, relying on that kind of extreme behaviour to cope with life meant you weren't coping very well, if at all. But now - am I sounding old here? (yes) - it seems that anything goes. Nothing is a perversion any more. The line is blurring.




I couldn't watch all of this, and I don't advise YOU to watch all of this - just skip through it for the high- or low-lights. I have a million questions. . . Do her "friends" watch this sort of thing? Are they into it too, or is this solitary? Is it a sort of sex tape for silicones, made mainly for the participant's pleasure? Do these women already have children, do they want children, do they LIKE children, or have they lost a child and are looking for a substitute?

Why does it vex me so much to see a video of a woman opening her reborn dolls' Christmas presents, fingering the new outfits as if trying to see if they'll still fit in six months? Why does it chill me to hear middle-aged women go on and on about "hanging out all day long" with their "babies", or taking them to the Walmart to see what sort of reaction they'll get (knowing they'll shock the shit out of people, a form of sadism which most would probably vehemently deny)? I have even heard stories of women leaving their reborns in cars for long periods of time, as a weird kind of "bait". It's an unhealthy, even creepy attention-getting device which is one of the less-discussed aspects of the subject, mostly because people don't know how the fuck to respond to all this bizarre shit.

I always object to people who refer to their gerbils or Golden Retrievers as their "babies", but on second thought, I think they should call them whatever they want to. At least they are alive and sensate. They have a pulse. Shouldn't that be a minimum requirement for a baby?






Post-blog revelations. I'm writing this later, in the new year. I notice the original YouTube video has been taken down, for reasons unknown. Was there too much flak from those who are creeped out by the silicone baby phenomenon? Did the user realize it was just too over-the-top to film a "role-playing" video about giving birth to a gelatinous, inanimate blob? I'm not sure. Most of the comments for these kinds of videos are positive, believe it or not - breathless ooohs and aaaahs over how beautiful Little Kaylee is, and how they want one exactly like it. Which can no doubt be had.

You'll have to take my word for it how strange this was. Believe me! I saw it with my own eyes.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Fah who foraze (fa-la-la-la-la)






This is one of those things you don't wonder about, until one day you do. Just what are the Whos down in Whoville singing at the end of the show? All that baw-hoo-bor-ray stuff?

I guess I had it wrong, because I never heard any "fahs" in it, nor did I hear "doraze". But these are Seussian lyrics, and there is a sort of weird beauty to them. They almost make sense, they almost say something. 

They seem to summon, to gather, to announce in an inspired sort of way: come unto me, fah who foraze!  Dah who doraze! Fah (la-la-la-la) who forage, dah (dah-dah-dah, a made-up melody without words) who doraze: and what a beautiful topaz of a non-word this is, as it has both "adore" and "gaze" in it, a real star of Bethlehem feeling. 

While they sound like innocent childish syllables of what is supposed to be gibberish, they also come close to Latin: the tune is hymnal and bell-like and even fervent in its joy, almost a chant. "Fah who rahmus/Dah who dahmus" is an exhortation, an "all ye who" feeling, a "we who gather" to "dah dah dahmus". It's a strange Seussian scat-song full of meaningless meaning.






Fah who foraze! Dah who doraze!

Welcome Christmas, come this way!

Fah who foraze! Dah who doraze!

Welcome Christmas, Christmas Day!

Welcome, welcome! Fah who rahmus!

Welcome, welcome! Dah who dahmus!

Christmas Day is in our grasp

So long as we have hands to clasp!

Fah who foraze! Dah who doraze!

Welcome Christmas! Bring your cheer!




Fah who foraze! Dah who doraze!

Welcome all who's far and near!

Fah who foraze! Dah who doraze!

Welcome Christmas, come this way!

Fah who foraze! Dah who doraze!

Welcome Christmas, Christmas Day!

Welcome, Christmas! Fah who rahmus!

Welcome, Christmas! Dah who dahmus!




Christmas Day will always be

Just as long as we have we!

Fah who foraze! Dah who doraze!

Welcome Christmas! Bring your cheer!

Fah who foraze! Dah who doraze!

Welcome all who's far and near!




Sunday, December 21, 2014

Hitler's dog




If Hitler's dog could speak,
I think it would say everything.
Her body pressed into the snow
ears laid back in fear
shrinking from the Master's touch
the fatal caress.
Her name was Blondie,
she was his favorite,
and he killed her later on,
testing out the lethal properties
of cyanide.




If Hitler's girls could speak
I think it would say everything.
The fixed and fevered eyes
The crazy tilt of a pillbox hat
So stylish in the spring




and yes, a wave
a wave could say anything
not hello or welcome 
but a gesture of contempt
you may worship the supreme gift
of my presence
(you are fortunate I spare you
it could change at any minute)





I do not know what gave rise to this, the
 It's All Lies theory, when you see such as this.
And these were the chosen, the Aryan adored!
Slung around by the feet.
Babies by the pound. By the ton.
Enough to last a thousand years.




And ah the symmetry, the perfection, a sort of magic
the honest appreciation of conformity
the glory of it
the absolute assurance of its rightness and beauty
for if no one sticks out
we are all the same 
we move in unison
our hearts beat in unison
we think in unison
we are One.




and all the sweet tots 
in their kindergarten wagon
courtesy of Uncle Adolf




the Alpine innocence of tumbling colorful children
the short pants the innocent eyes
did no one doubt
did no one




how does the world know
even now
who this is
ugly little man, bad teeth
no charm
harsh roaring voice
no charm at all
"and yet, we were hypnotized"




The youth were told again and again
that the world belonged to them
or would
if they conformed
if the will was beaten out of them
or just removed
vacated 
so that ideology could be installed
into an empty vessel
but this was before
they had guns in their hands 
and were told to go save Germany




Happy little prance
bizarre Hitler dance
Goering looking on in embarrassment
for all this will reach the people
some day
like his cowering dog
who dares not disobey
his Blondie whom he kills
like Eva whom he marries
in a suicide pact,
a unique kind of reception.




The world squeaked through
by the skin of its teeth
but only with the forces of the world
to bring it down
and many say now
we got it all wrong, he was misunderstood
and none of it happened, it was all posed
These are not real babies, they are animated dolls
the skeletal inmates are dummies
it's all a plot
we won't look at this evil




so don't look, don't look
(we won't look)
and then 
again we won't look


Goebbels' Diary, 30 May 1942: " He [Hitler] has bought himself a young German Shepherd dog called “Blondi” which is the apple of his eye. It was touching listening to him say that he enjoyed walking with this dog so much, because only with it could he be sure that [his companion] would not start talking about the war or politics. One notices time and time again that the Fuhrer is slowly but surely becoming lonely. It is very touching to see him play with this young German Shepherd dog. The animal has grown so accustomed to him that it will hardly take a step without him. It is very nice to watch the Fuhrer with his dog. At the moment the dog is the only living thing that is constantly with him. At night it sleeps at the foot of his bed, it is allowed into his sleeping compartment in the special train and enjoys a number of privileges….that no human would ever dare to claim."

Saturday, December 20, 2014

It's a Wonderful Life: chicken on a spit!




This thing comes on every year and I get caught up in it, even worse than Taxi Driver. And I forget every year that it's the longest, most suffocating piece of drama ever created. A festive favorite about a man who wants to commit suicide because his life has been an exercise in futility and failed dreams, capped off by a totally unfair charge of bank fraud.

Ah! It's a Wonderful Life. Ringling, tingling Christmas trees, Zoo-zoo's petals, bleeding lips, newel-post knobs nearly hurled across the room. Chickens on a spit, bar brawls on Christmas Eve, irrelevant songs about Buffalo Gals, and wild-eyed overacting all around.

Dis guy, see, he's like, um. Kind of disillusioned, like, cuz. His Uncle Billy, who's half nuts but was the father in Gone with the Wind so sort-of famous, has lost the eight thousand dollars that the Bailey Savings and Loan has earned in the past fifty years or so. He sort of dropped it somewhere and the Big Fat Man, the Bad Man, Lionel Barrymore in his most Grinchimous role, went and spent it on a hooker or something.





So da guy, this George, he decides he's worth more dead than alive (do I hear silver bells?), and stands there not jumping off a bridge. Then this old guy in a nightgown jumps off the bridge, and. . . the rest is history.

Oh, I shouldn't be so cynical, but this thing - this long thing, this three-hour marathon of hopelessness and small-town suffocation - it's about the farthest thing from festive you could imagine. Even Scrooge has glimmers of hope in it, but this - . George acts like some sortofa downtrodden saint for two hours and forty-nine minutes, then he kind of explodes and screams at his wife and family and tells them he basically hates them for holding him back and completely destroying his life.

His . . . wonderful life.





OK, I have a few problems with the logistics of this thing. When they get married and have to give all their money away to save the bank, Donna Reed gets chickens going on a spit in this old ruin of a house, the one they use-da throw stones at for luck. And they move in to it? make it habitable? On his salary of $2.70 a week or whatever-the-frick-it-is? Raise a family? George wears the same suit for 17 years, for God's sake.

Jimmy Stewart overacts. I'm sorry, but he does, he overshoots. He smears his facial features around with his hand, his hair is wild, he looks like a candidate for the psych ward, and finally he mumbles to his hokey old guardian angel (the guy in the funny shirt that ties up in front because buttons hadn't been invented in the year 1300) that he wishes he'd never been born at all.




Kind of the ultimate in nihilism, wouldn't you say? Jimmy Stewart, the guy with the 6-foot imaginary pet rabbit, the guy in whatever-else-he-was-in, all those Westerns and Mr. Smith and whatever, attempting to annihilate all traces of his existence on earth. A holiday special?OK, another big problem. He has this obnoxious friend named Sam Wainwright who keeps saying, inexplicably, "hee-haw". A dumb-ass par excellence, he lucks into a strange new business just before the war breaks out:  plastics. This assures he'll be obscenely wealthy doing no work at all.

He's George's best friend, for blippin' sake, and George is all stressed out and wanting to kill himself over 8 thousand dollars when 8 thousand dollars isn't even POCKET CHANGE for Sam Wainwright. In the dramatic ending when everyone turns their linty little pockets inside-out for George, he gets some kind-of-a cable from Wainwright saying, in so many words, "your measly little problem that you were willing to die over is peanuts to me. I'll give you three times that amount and change. There, feel better now?"






I doubt if he would. But think about it. Would Wainwright ever let George be dragged off to jail for such a shabby little amount? Money is power, right? Wainwright could make Old Man Potter dance like a jerky little marionette on a cold winter's night, and George is all stressed out about jail? (I liked his idea that Uncle Billy should go, instead. Made sense to me.)

But hey. He might get conjugal visits from that, who's that little floozie anyway? Jeez, what's she doing in this thing? Spozed to be a family show?

Oh, oh, and I just thought of this: it gets me every year. Why is it that after George yells at Uncle Billy that he's a mental defective, a moron and a lunatic, a squirrel jumps up on his arm? What the - ?? a squirrel? Up to now we've only seen ravens, tortoises, cows, etc. Could this be a foreshadowing of the squirrel from hell in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation? 
(Actually, it screams of "cut the animal scenes, this thing is running too long." But for some reason they left in the squirrel.)








This time around (when as usual I kept saying, "OK, I'll turn it off in another 5 minutes" for 6 consecutive hours), I noticed a few other discrepancies, such as George's mother (Beulah Bondi) bawling and dabbing at her eyes during the final cash-spilling orgy in George's living room. Well, about ten minutes ago when George was on the phone with his brother Harry in Washington, where he just got the Congressional Medal of Honor for filing his nails or something, George repeats to the listening crowd, "Mother had lunch with the President's wife."

Not only do the writers of this thing obviously not know who the President was then, but Mother must be able to teleport herself from Washington to Bedford Falls in a matter of seconds! Hey, lady, tell me how you can be in two places at the same time and I'll buy the patent.




But I gots-ta confess to one thing. No matter how I prepare myself for it, no matter how cynical I try to feel, no matter how cornball I know it will be (and it is), that final scene has me bawling every time. Just bawling. I don't know what it is. The generosity of the people. The look of astonishment on George's face. Zoo-zoo. Beulah Bondi, beamed down from the planet Zargon.




I remember a superb SCTV satire of this scene, in which a succession of ever-more-notable people kept sweeping through the door, from George's brother to the President of the United States to, finally, His Holiness the Pope. It's a potent fantasy, all right - one we wish would come true for ourselves. That one day, in spite of futile sacrifice and grinding toil and zero recognition, something wonderful will happen to make us see that it has all been worthwhile.

This has something to do with the American work ethic, always handing the glory to someone else like that ratfink brother-who-got-the-Congressional-Medal-of-Honor-while-we-got-stuck-with-goddamn-rubber-drives-during-the-freaking-war. Let's face it, there are more Georges than Harries in the world. We all have our lunatic uncles, our goddamn rubber drives. Our eight thousand dollars.

And if George hadn't-a saved Harry when he slid down on that slippery old thingammy on the ice, why then -