Yesterday something reminded me of a story in an old horror comic that I used to be fascinated with when I was a kid. When I was about 7 or 8 a friend of the family gave my brother and me a stack of their son's horror comics. These were 70's horror comics; not much like the famous EC's I love so well like The Vault of Horror, except for when they would occasionally reprint a 50's story if it was a long-running title. One time our next door neighbor said "Oh, those kids are sittin' over there on the porch swing readin' them ghoul books!" So of course, they were referred to as ghoul books ever after in our family. Some of them were silly, some were creepy, and some scared me hours after reading them when I was lying in my bed trying to go to sleep. The quality ranged from as good as an old horror comic could be to- well, to just plain trash. Like this one from 1972 that's almost completely disintegrated (see the cover image).
The story I was thinking about yesterday is called "The Hungry Vampire". The protagonist is a man named Harvey who meets two wealthy and exotic women: one is a Hungarian woman named Ilka, the other a Romanian named Carlotta. In a classic move, he decides to marry them both, keeping one secret from the other in the usual bigamist setup.
So one day he looks in the mirror and decides that he really must lose some weight. That evening as he and Ilka, the Hungarian wife, are getting ready to go to bed he tells her that he's going on a diet. She protests with concern, but he denies emphatically. She relents, they say good night, and he falls asleep.
"You sound so surprised, darling...but it's not strange, dear! Many Hungarian women are vampires!"
Harvey is shocked and terrified and manages to get away from her somehow. He leaps into the car and travels to his other home and his other wife, Carlotta. On the way he worries that she might be a vampire, too, since she's been fattening him up as well. So the next day he feels her out a bit about vampires in general. She reacts instantly with repulsion and says that vampires, and Hungarians in general, are "utterly ridiculous!"
For some reason, this puts him at ease. That night at dinner he mentions to her that he's planning to lose some weight and gets the same reaction he did from Ilka. She protests that he's too skinny, then relents. I think we all know what's coming. Sure enough, he's awakened in the middle of the night by Carlotta.
Aaaiiiiieeee! She's after him, viciously going for the throat! "You are a vampire! You, gasp, you tricked me!!" Ah, you are wrong, my friend. Listen to what the nice lady has to say.
"I am not a vampire! They're disgusting! Thoroughly disgusting! We Romanians hate vampires! I'm proud to say I'm a werewolf!!"
Harvey's on his way out and "the last thing he saw was Carlotta's distorted face peering down at him- this was it- The End."
There's a lot to discuss in this story, but the thing that always stuck with me, besides the wonderful line "I'm proud to say I'm a werewolf", is the mysterious but bloodcurdling rivalry they come up with between werewolves and vampires. According to this story, they can't stand each other. Plus there's the nationality thing- in this particular ghoul book they've set up this thing where Romanians think Hungarians are "utterly ridiculous". I don't know how Hungarians feel about Romanians, but I think the feeling is probably mutual. So, you know, be on the lookout for that.
Hello and welcome. Every Sunday pop in and enjoy a baffling photo and accompanying bewildering sound clip from a crappy movie! Mind you, the clip won't necessarily be from the same scene depicted in the photo. Thanks in advance to badmovies.org for supplying the audio files and some images. Visit every week- you're guaranteed a satisfying feeling of "Wait...what?!"
I went to a wedding today that was at the Center for Puppetry Arts. A nice man named Bobby Box, who's pretty much a permanent fixture down at the Center and directs a lot of shows, was marrying his boyfriend Graham. It was a nice ceremony out on the lawn in front of the building and I thought it was cool that instead of corsages and boutonierres, the wedding party wore white leis made of tuberoses.
After the ceremony, everyone went inside to the atrium for the reception. The atrium is named after a woman in Atlanta with an unusual name who is a big patron of the arts, especially the Puppetry Center, and they named the atrium after her.
So Bob and Graham's wedding reception was held in...The Gay Love Atrium.
No really! Gay Love is actually her name, honest!
Hey, I added a new photo album over there on the right! Make sure you take the full slideshow tour so you can see the largest possible image and get the full effect. I wish Typepad photo albums had a comments feature, but that's OK. If you want to comment (or just say "..the FUCK?"), feel free to comment over here in the texty wordy section. I love feedback!
Oooh, I'm excited. 'What Do You Care?' is getting a new weekly feature this Sunday- a hook! I've been amassing material for this over the past few days and I'm rubbing my hands together with frisky anticipation. You'll love it. Or you may be underwhelmed. Either way, make sure you poke your head in and enjoy a brief mixed media themed weekly presentation entitled "B-Movie Non-Sequitur Sunday"! Ths Fall on NBC!
Here's a song to listen to while you read. It will also explain the post title. I was getting Back-to-School-Clothes-Buying flashbacks recently while in birthday present discussions with my mother. She asked me what I wanted for my birthday a while back and I immediately answered "I need warm-weather clothes to wear to work! Badly!" What I should have said was "I need money for warm-weather work clothes!" But I just blurted out what I wanted in a very short-sighted way, much like Ralphie in "A Christmas Story" when his mom asked him what he wanted for Christmas. All the short sleeve stuff I have that's suitable is mostly ancient history and worn out, with several exceptions. Lately when I've been getting dressed early in the morning, I look at some old top of some sort and think "OK. This will be the 8,396th time I've worn this and it has a small permanent stain, but I have no choice." So my mom and I had a couple of extended long-distance discussions where we looked at the same catalogues and I pointed out what I wanted.
Now, for some reason, she was making the strangest suggestions! Of course, I'm used to her spluttering and eye-rolling whenever I want to wear anything black (which she hates and thinks is dreary and boring), but it slowly became clear that she had a weird 80's formal office wear picture of what I should be wearing to work (see examples).
"You know what looks really good? A very long vest with one of those pretty silk scarves draped over your shoulder." "You know those beautiful scarves your uncle gives you every Christmas? You could knot one loosely around your neck or pin it on with a big pin and that would look really sharp. It would look great with a really nice blazer. You need one of those." She just kept going on like that! What's weird is she knows very well what I like to wear- she loves the kooky goofy stuff I've gotten from Hannah (see link to the right), but she's gotten this strange wrinkle on her brain about how I should be dressing like the 50 year old principle of Harry Truman High in 1985.
I was getting worried.
So a couple weeks later my mom called me: "If you don't mind, I think I'm just going to send you some money and you can pick everything out for yourself. Is that all right?" "Oh, sure Mom, that's fine! Thanks so much!" "Oh, good. I couldn't remember which things you wanted and I didn't want to get things you didn't like." She's so sweet.
But yeah- she gave me a bit of a scare, there. Like I said, it reminded me of shopping for Back To School clothes in the 80's. I'd be all hopped up with Benetton ads and Forenza swirling around in my head and she would buy me a kilt. Let me repeat that. A kilt. Well, not a real kilt with the pleats and a ceremonial dagger or anything, but the girl version with the giant gold safety pin which was very popular with hardcore old school preppies. On the last day of school in the 6th grade, there was to be a shaving cream fight amongst all the kids who walked home via Murray Avenue, which included me. I was prepared. I had a can of Barbasol, specially bought for the fight, crammed in my little wooden-handle-detachable-reversible-fabric purse (also known as a "Bermuda Bag") my Mom had gotten me (another preppy indoctrination), and I wore my red sweater and the kilt. I had a great time and came home utterly ruined. Mom looked at me, amused but bewildered, asking why I'd worn my nice kilt for a shaving cream fight. "......I don't know.."
Here's another problem with school clothes buying that those of you who grew up in the hotter states of America will understand. You go out with your mom, you get long pants, long sleeved shirts, sweaters, etc. But when school starts, it's still blazing hot and will be for a while. So you roast in your new finery for a few weeks until it cools off in late October. That sucked.
This beautiful gathering is what I wish Christmas was like every year.
Perhaps they could be singing "Oh Come All Ye Faithful", that seems about right- no, make that "Adeste Fidelis" because they look like they would enjoy singing Latin. Well, maybe not 'singing' per se, but...communicating it with their...arms.
Seriously, wouldn't you like to just sit, watch, and admire this assemblage for a few hours once a year? Except maybe for the Starman guy- that's just a guy and kind of ho-hum compared to all those other things.
Late Saturday night/Sunday morning, my brain was being very mean to me. I'd gone to bed feeling so tired and achy and for once I fell asleep right away. I love to sleep, but I just don't do it very well; I've always had problems sleeping for as long as I can remember. Things have actually improved over the past year, though, and I was pretty sure I'd get a good night's sleep on this particular night. Plus, I was happy that I was going to get to sleep an extra hour because I didn't have to be at work quite so early Sunday morning.
So I woke up suddenly at 3:00 in the morning feeling hot and uncomfortable. Thufir saw that I was awake and started meowing at me and asking for attention. I turned over, messed with the pillows and blankets, and petted Thufir while I tried to go back to sleep, but I started feeling vaguely anxious for no reason. This is where my brain's Evil Plan came into play. It must have gotten bored over the few hours I'd been asleep and decided to fuck with me because it chose this particular time to go through my recent memory and show me every stupid, dumb, inept thing I'd done or said over the last year or so. It was terrible- it was having a great time, as if it were going through old records and playing a lot of favorite songs. 'Oh, this is great- remember when you blah blah blah looked like a moron? I like this one, too- you chose just the right moment to be clumsy! I think this is my favorite- when you said blah blah.. that was beautiful! Oh, and why did you wear that?!'
Finally, I thought "DAMMIT!! Will you shut up and get me back to sleep, please?! Just leave me alone, you vicious bastard!! You goddamned heartless...fiend!!" It faltered a moment, half-heartedly showed me a couple more episodes, then shuffled off and left me alone.
Of course, I was still hot and uncomfortable. I threw the covers off, got up and had a glass of water, then went back to bed. The whole thing had kept me awake for an hour. This was the percieved extra hour of sleep I was so pleased about having. Happy now, Brain?? Sheesh.
This last Sunday I went to see a play that Jeff's in at the Marcus Jewish Community Center, which I've never been to before. We drove there together, finally found space in the crammed parking lot, Jeff practically ran into the building (concerned that he was about to be perhaps 28 seconds late), flew through the theater door, and I had a half hour to kill before the show started. So I wandered around.
The place is huge and I was surprised to see that there was not only a theater, but a ton of stuff like gyms, a lap-swimming pool, other auditoriums, exhibit spaces, and a bunch of other things in addition to the several baseball and soccer fields I'd seen outside. After walking along the central promenade a bit, I was quietly excited to see that there was a snack bar. I sidled up and glanced at the little menu to see if they had anything good and it was instantly confirmed. They had latkes! Served with a side of sour cream, of course (or applesauce, bleahhh)! Sold! One, please.
I love latkes, which, for the uninitiated, is a certain kind of potato pancake. In my mind, it's the kind of potato pancakes my mom made once in a blue moon which have never been duplicated, but I'm always happy to try anything remotely simlar. In fact, anything involving potatoes is usually fine with me but latkes in particular are a rare item. I just never see them around. I should try to make them more often, but I'm just kind of lazy, especially after work when grating a lot of potatoes and onions doesn't sound particularly appealing. So on those rare occasions when I see them on a menu, I have a hard time ordering anything else and... right now I'm fondly remembering walking into Corky and Lenny's in Cleveland, Ohio a couple years ago. Jeff and I were visiting Ellen, who is the cousin of my grandmother. I don't know what that makes her to me, but she's a wonderful and fun person who has great taste in restaurants and makes a mean chocolate cake. She took us to an unremarkable shopping center which secretly concealed the most fantastic Jewish delicatessen I've ever seen. I knew it was going to be great as soon as I walked in and saw large buckets of big green half-sour dill pickles sitting around. Honestly, I would have been happy enough just to sit at a booth and eat those delicious pickles, but I had latkes to order. Needless to say, they were great. In fact, I'm a fan of a lot of Jewish food in general, but I never see any of those great restaurants like Corky and Lenny's around here- there's the odd bagel shop around, but that's about it. And I don't think any of them have rugelach.
The latkes from the snack bar were good and I was enjoying them, but I totally felt like an impostor. I know I was sticking out like a sore goy thumb. People sometimes think Jeff is Jewish when he was actually raised Catholic, but no one has ever ever thought I was Jewish. Although, I used to love to read this one series of Young Adult books I had when I was a kid that were about a Jewish family with six daughters in turn-of-the-century New York City. I was fascinated with these books and read them over and over, pondering over holidays and ceremonies that were completely foreign to me. And, when I was 18/19 I had a Jewish boyfriend. His name was Jason and he enjoyed taking me along to the synagogue (when he felt like going) as well as to a seder, a bar mitzvah, and a couple of Jewish Food Festivals in Savannah, among other things. Lots of people at these functions after talking to me for a while would eventually ask me if I was Jewish, but they seemed to already know the answer and seemed to be asking it as a formality. And I was always slightly uncomfortable as to what to say after I said "No" or "Nope" or "No, actually". They always just sort of quietly nodded and smiled and conversation came to a dead halt for a bit. It made me feel really bad. When people ask Jeff this question, he says "No, I'm just nebbish-y," which works great for him. I can't come up with anything as simple as that, but if I ever get asked again, I'm thinking of trying "No, but it's fascinating and I like the food."
That is, if anyone ever asks me again if I'm Jewish, which they probably won't.