Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Chester: legend of the haunted automaton







Say hello to Chester.

Chester is a handmade antique automaton which some believe to be possessed by Satan. The automaton is known to be so damaged that it is practically in pieces, yet it has been secretly filmed by a hidden camera, standing, talking and brandishing a sword. 




Linguists have yet to decipher the unknown dialect he speaks. The fact that three murders have taken place in the house in which he is stored (in a trunk in the attic which is kept nailed shut) is purely coincidental.




"The horror!" Antique automatons





Monday, October 30, 2017

ASTOUNDING: black cat speaks!





I first saw this wonderful piece of animation on a gif, but did not know the origin of it. Now I find it here, and still don't know! As with much of what is on YouTube, information is scant, but I love this cat. No doubt he speaks only at this time of year.


Turning Halloween





1




TURNING JAPANESE  (The Vapors, 1980)



I've got your picture of me and you
I sit there staring and there's nothing else to do
Oh it's in color
Your hair is brown
Your eyes are hazel and soft as clouds
I often kiss you when there's no one else around

I've got your picture
I've got your picture
I'd like a million of you all round my cell
You've got me turning up and turning down
And turning in and turning 'round









I'm turning Japanese
I think I'm turning Japanese
I really think so
Turning Japanese
I think I'm turning Japanese
I really think so

I've got your picture
I've got your picture
I'd like a million of them all round my cell
I want the doctor to take a picture
So I can look at you from inside as well
You've got me turning up
And turning down and turning in and turning 'round





I'm turning Japanese

I think I'm turning Japanese
I really think so
Turning Japanese
I think I'm turning Japanese
I really think so

I'm turning Japanese
I think I'm turning Japanese
I really think so
Turning Japanese
I think I'm turning Japanese
I really think so

No sex, no drugs, no wine, no women
No fun, no sin, no you, no wonder it's dark
Everyone around me is a total stranger




That's why I'm turning Japanese

I think I'm turning Japanese
I really think so
Turning Japanese
I think I'm turning Japanese
I really think so

I'm turning Japanese
I think I'm turning Japanese
I really think so
Turning Japanese
I think I'm turning Japanese
I really think so




Turning Japanese
I think I'm turning Japanese
I really think so
Turning Japanese
I think I'm turning Japanese
I really think so

Turning Japanese
I think I'm turning Japanese
I really think so
(think so think so think so)
Turning Japanese
I think I'm turning Japanese
I really think so


NOTE. I have no idea what this song means. In actuality it has about two verses, though it seems to go on forever. I first heard it on SCTV on the Jerry Todd Show, with Rick Moranis crooning those strange lyrics (pronouncing it "Japa-NEESE"). I thought it was racist and stupid, but since it was on SCTV I more or less forgave it. Then I forgot it. More or less.

THEN, a billion years later I see this Value Village ad for used Halloween costumes, with a song and dance number called Turning Halloween! I recognized it from somewhere. Turning, what, something else? Ah! Of course. Turning Japa-NEESE!

So now I find out that the original was by a British group called The Vapors, and as far as I am concerned it iS sort of racist, or at least damn stupid, so I don't know why I'm posting it except that no one else seems to think so. And the Value Village ad is way cool.



Sunday, October 29, 2017

What happened to YouTube??





Nothing good. Or - too much of a good thing. Or - much too much?


The rise and fall of Betty Crocker





An animation of kitchen goddess Betty Crocker, rising up like Venus in a grey poplin suit. In the background is her magnificent Coronation cake, the recipe torn from the pages of one of those magazine-type-of-things. 


Saturday, October 28, 2017

How is prangent formed?





I never knew misspellings could be this gorgeous. It's amazing how inventive people can be in NOT spelling things correctly. It must take a lot of energy and creativity. Either that, or they're just plain dumb.


Jack and the pile of oatmeal




This is my first 40-second-long gif, and if it posts successfully it will be a miracle. Most people hate gifs because they are just one or two seconds of endlessly-repeating jerks. I say that the gif is an art form, or should be treated as such. I have made thousands of them over the years. This came from a one-minute animated ad for some kind of oat cereal, likely made in the 1950s.

Uncanny Valley of the Dolls: the movie





I am not sure how it happened, but one night, those two reborn dolls I bought began to move.

I should have seen it coming. I began to regret my purchase the moment I unswathed the too-realistic infants from their layers and layers of bubblewrap.

I should have known, when little Alex's eyes began to follow me around the room.

I was taken aback to discover Alyssa and Alex floating around the room in a state of total weightlessness.

I wish I could tell you that then, I woke up.


Thursday, October 26, 2017

Hilarious Freak Out on Live TV





Live television is a strange thing, or it can be. In my project to make a playlist of bizarre old YouTube videos (mostly pre-2010), I encountered this one, late at night, trying not to laugh so hard I'd wake up my mate. I have never seen a freakout like this one! I still don't understand it, but then, I don't speak Turkish. The man literally hurls his body across the room like a projectile. This is better than those Parliamentary fist-fights and chair-throws you see in Korea and Russia and other volatile parts of the world. I didn't even know about this one, though it's considered a classic, so I will have to keep digging for more YouTube gold. 


China girls: animation





China girls were professional models who appeared on the screen for only a split-second. They were meant as a comparison for adjusting flesh tones on film to the rest of the spectrum. I am not sure how they did this in one frame (though it could be as many as four).  I worked on some animations a while ago, fascinated by the whole thing, then put a few of them on YouTube. I do remember seeing them just for a blink, and often wondered if they were really there. They were. But it must have been frustrating for them to have so little exposure (so to speak). 

Though every article I found about them said they were invisible to the public, I saw them. I know I did. Do I have a quick eye, or can I slow down time, being as how I am a time-traveller (revealed here for the first time)?


Wednesday, October 25, 2017

David Hasselhoff - Hooked on a Feeling





I got thinking about the Golden Age of YouTube, and how fun things were then, when bizarre old videos popped up out of nowhere. I have fifty-odd assembled in a playlist:

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLv59M8aSlCSbliH1XhGnK_S3bAhBN6KQM

These include such standards as Gay Boyfriend, the Diet Coke and Mentos rocket, putting a cell phone in the microwave, Jan Terri, Mr. Trololo, John Daker, and (of course) the Double Rainbow guy (who actually got a playlist of his own).

YouTube has changed, and not for the better. It has gotten very slick, and very crowded. It's full of noise, noise, noise, noise. Everyone is hustling and trying to make a living and begging us to subscribe, like, thumbs-up, click, click, click. There is still nice stuff in there, but you really have to comb. My own stuff gets hardly any views at all, no matter how many hours I put into them, but appalling half-minute wobbly out-of-focus pieces of junk get hundreds of thousands.

Not that I care! But it would be nice to think someone, some day, might want to look at them.

It was nice and reassuring to be able to find most of the ones I remembered, though there are a few stragglers. I remember a band consisting of three incredibly old women, a singer, a pianist and someone on a drum kit. Their music was astounding, Lawrence Welk played on the wrong speed, and the audience was even more surprising in that it looked as if most of them were dead. If this video is still up there, I can't find it because I don't have the right search terms. It may have been a cable access program, which many of these are (including the Junior Christian Science Bible Lesson videos, which are beyond my powers to describe). I don't know if I included the Screaming Preacher or not. Maybe he should have his own playlist. Maybe his own planet.


Bible Teaching Gone Wrong





This is one of those YouTube Gold/cable access programs from the early 2000s. I hear he has revived the show, but the new ones are pretty much the same. Indescribable. I'd say it was the weirdest thing on YouTube, but YouTube just keeps on surpassing itself, or hitting new lows. There are a few dozen of these videos up there, if you dare. The confusion just grows.


Tuesday, October 24, 2017

I've got something to say that might cause you pain





I keep thinking of the first line of a John Lennon song called, aptly, You Can't Do That: "I've got something to say that might cause you pain." Funny, though, how no one else seems to preface their own statements that way. 

Like everyone else, I've had Harvey Weinstein shoved in my face lately, and I cannot think of anyone more repulsive to take up space in my brain. I guess I'm just supposed to NOT think about it, not react too much, react only partially, feel good that "now it's all out in the open", and/or just get on with my own happy life because everything really is still great.






It is?

People are going around saying, "Ah! Now, at last, a man like this will be brought to justice."

Just like Jian Ghomeshi. Just like Stephen Galloway. Just like Bill Cosby. It seems that in every case, the man accused of sexual assault drew sympathy, cosseting, and strenuous denial they had done anything wrong. With Cosby, the attitude is "how could you even think such a thing?" This is the Jell-o Pudding man! The next step (which has already happened with the first two, and is just about to happen with the third) is that the whole thing "blows over" and is reburied.

"Oh, no, not THIS time," is the chorus. Oh yes? It will blow over. Just wait. Weinstein will find a role in Hollywood somewhere, the old boys' network (fellow abusers all) will forgive and forget, and he will serve no jail time, while the women he assaulted are haunted for the rest of their lives. (Though really, shouldn't they just forgive him? It's the only way to get over their anger, isn't it? And it's crucial they get over their anger. Anger in a woman is most unattractive.)





I saw a Facebook post or re-post by a young woman I sort-of know, the daughter of someone I used to know actually, just a rant rant rant about Weinstein, with every other word being FUCK! FUCK! FUCK-FUCK-FUCK!!!! This got lots and lots of likes and supportive comments and shares (or, no, sorry! Copy and paste! That's MUCH more noble and spiritual than share), but I doubt if too many will be interested in what I just wrote here. I'm ranting, see. I'm bitter. I'm angry, and that's a no-no. I'm past the threshhold of anger, which ends around age 50 when you are past your female expiry date.

Today I read a Facebook post which was, in essence, one of those gratitude lists Oprah said we should make about everything wonderful in our lives. This was a long one, introduced with, "I know things are horrible in the world, countless people are suffering, and I see all sorts of negative things on Facebook, BUT. . . " It was a list, a long list of a lot of nice things in her life, really nice things, one after another, wonderful and enjoyable and satisfying things, which should have I guess made me feel better.

Instead, it clanged. To me it just reeked of upper-middle-class white privilege. Yes, homelessness is rampant, people's houses have burned down or flooded out, children have vanished, women have been raped. . . and it's really too bad. . . but I baked a lovely pumpkin pie today, and everyone just loved it!





I'm not saying it's "bad" to count your blessings instead of sheep. We all have our Julie Andrews moments - and why not? But this had a definite flavour of "I have all this wonderful stuff in my life, and you don't". It's nice if you can go out for a brisk gallop on your thoroughbred mare at dawn, but hey. . . those beasts cost money. A lot of money. It's nice to have a wonderful six-week holiday in Greece coming up before Christmas, but. . . 

All those things she listed were attached to having the means to afford/enjoy them (not that that's an issue to those who have it: they become conveniently oblivious). The blatant smugness I see all over Facebook, with people oblivious to how their words will actually affect others, is disturbing. Of course this person's friends provided the usual Greek chorus of cheers, ooohs and ahhhs that SOMEBODY was (at last) being "positive" about something. How refreshing!

"Hey, YOU had to deal with a fire in your home, YOU lost everything in a flood, YOU got sick, YOU got a divorce or lost your child or your business or your mind, but there's still something positive in the world:  I won a literary prize and I lost ten pounds and I went for a charming walk and I. . .", etc. etc. Spawning a hundred likes, a hundred happy-faced comments, a hundred copy-and-pastes.






I don't know what the answer is, and like everyone else I have to live in the present and enjoy it as much as I can (and though it sometimes surprises me, I do: I lived through enough nightmares of chaos and alcoholism and psych wards to appreciate the bliss of an ordinary, sober day). My husband and I have so little money that we have to write down every expenditure to the nearest dollar, and I don't care because going for a walk in the woods is free. 

I feel most powerless when I look at Trump, feel most alarmed when people still make jokes about him, as if that helps people and doesn't just temporarily numb them. He might just destroy the world, perhaps believes that is his ultimate mission. Weinstein and his ilk are legion, I am sure, but with anything this traumatic, it comes out explosively at first, then tends to get reburied. It's a cycle, which means, ultimately, that nothing happens.

Trump crudely bragged about grabbing women's pussies and STILL got elected. Probably he got a lot of votes because he bragged about it. God knows Harvey did, and for how long we don't know.




My hope is in my grandkids, not so scarred or twisted just yet, and the hope-against-hope that those three beautiful, accomplished, bravehearted girls WON'T be mauled or molested or nastily propositioned, as women and girls have been for countless centuries. I see no signs of it yet, but puberty looms, and I know what comes next. They become fair game.

Weinstein will buy his way out of jail, Cosby will go doddering into an institution somewhere, Trump will serve his four years, and all the rest will keep on being sleazeballs until a small percentage of them actually have to take responsibility for what they have done. What they have done is leave a mark on someone's soul forever, take their joy and never give it back. No jail sentence, not even the death penalty, could cause that kind of pain.



Monday, October 23, 2017

Friday, October 20, 2017

Amish vs. Everybody


End times: when clergy turn atheist






New movie about atheist pastors: “Losing Our Religion”

Losing Our Religion is a feature length documentary about preachers who are not believers, and what atheists do when they miss church. Allowed access to the 600 members of The Clergy Project – a safe haven for preachers from all faiths who no longer believe – the documentary follows ex-members and clergy who are still undercover.

They are not just losing their religion, for many they are losing their friends, community and even family. As well as their job.

As events unfold that change lives forever, their stories also connect with secular communities that are growing in surprising places. New groups are experimenting in ways to have church without god, and asking the same question as unbelieving clergy – “what’s next?”






Losing Our Religion is a documentary about community, acceptance, and a view inside the complicated lives of clergy who are stranded in the rising tide of non-believers.

Losing Our Religion is produced by Zoot Pictures Inc. in association with documentary Channel, the financial assistance of the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit, the participation of the Canadian Media Fund, and the participation the Government of Manitoba - Manitoba Film and Video Production Tax Credit and financial investment from the Manitoba Film and Music Feature Film Production Fund.






I recorded this film which aired on the Documentary Channel, left it on my PVR a while, then watched it last night, kind of reluctantly. And it did turn out to be sort of depressing. (These films are always disappointing somehow, so I don’t know why I watch them). This wasn't so much about The Clergy Project as individual pastors who had “lost their faith” (in essence, become atheists) after a long period of spiritual disillusionment.

Through a lot of very talky interviews and not much else, the film traced their need to get out of the church, or even (in the case of one man) to stay put in it and continue to lead, and preach something he absolutely did not believe in. To my shock, Gretta Vosper (the woman who was asked to step down as a United Church minister because she was an atheist) was interviewed, and presented as something of a martyr. Her hurt and sense of rejection by the mean old church was obvious, though I don't see it that way at all. 





If you are clergy in any mainstream Christian denomination, it makes no sense to me to preach Communism or Buddhism or Scientology – there HAS to be a basic belief system based on the Bible and the teachings of Christ. That is what makes the Christian church Christian, but when Vosper spoke, the filmmaker's sense was, “How dare they persecute such a brilliant, sensitive spiritual leader?" This is what comes of telling five or ten per cent of a complex story.