Namo amitabha Buddhaya, y'all.
This here's a religious establishment. Act respectable.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

This Just In: Aliens Have Possessed My Body. Oh, and Friday Frights.

Playing in the background: Loud Vornado fan, pushing the hot air into the kitchen to be sucked up by the vent. At least in theory.

Well, either that or my brain really is being controlled by a secret CIA experiment. Or maybe Scaley, my neurotic query-letter-fearing dinosaur, is on vacation. Hopefully at a nice rest home with a name like Sunnyville and many hypodermic needles full of artificial sleep. (Don't be too impressed by that line, though, I think I stole it from Stephen King.) Anyway, I somehow managed yesterday to send out five query letters in a single afternoon. I mean that is freaky. That's the intellectual equivalent of climbing Mount Everest, K2, Lhotse, Nupse and Ama Dablam all before breakfast one morning and without changing your crampons. (They're mountains in the Himalayas, gang. That's why we have Google, remember? And you should probably look up what crampons are, too, because it wasn't as funny as it sounded.)

I wish I could tell you that, obviously, I'm cured. I wish I could lay out with exacting precision How I Sedated The Query-Letter-Fearing Dinosaur and solemnly promise all of you that Everything Is Just Fine Now, Thank You. I wish I were reasonably certain I could do it again, like say, today. Unfortunately, it may have just been a one-time thing. But it was pretty darn cool, and I'm patting myself on the head over here. Now, if one of 'em would just come to fruition, that would be awesome.

If nothing else, it was a nice distraction from Jaycee Lee Dugard, America's very own Elisabeth Fritzl. In case you've been held hostage somewhere they don't get CNN, Jaycee was an 11-year-old girl in Northern California who was kidnapped, in full sight of her father, by a whack job and his equally whacky wife. They kept her locked in a weird compound of sheds and tents in their backyard for the last 18 years, where she gave birth to two of the husband's children, before suspicious authorities finally busted their game late last week. Okay, eighteen years is not twenty-four, and a back yard is not a cellar, but come on, people. Why does this keep happening?

Now, with Elisabeth, there was really no way the neighbors ever could have known. She was, for one thing, underground. When the police showed up, they found a door with an electronic lock that you could only get to by going through about eight other locked doors. But this girl was outside a lot of the time. Okay, no point in blaming the neighbors, it was all whack job's fault (though one could also blame the federal prison system; in 1977 the guy was sentenced to 50 years for kidnapping and rape and somehow got released after only 10. If he'd served his whole sentence, or even half of it, this wouldn't have ever happened.) But seriously. If you have a weird neighbor who seems to have an outbuilding attached to his house in which something or other strange may or may not be going on, for God's sake, call the cops, folks. Please? For the Elisabeths and Jaycees of the world? If nothing else you might bust a small meth lab before it becomes a great big really dangerous meth lab. Or just be mildly embarrassed and have to bake your neighbor some cookies or something.

(For the record, I have an idiot neighbor, and while he does have an outbuilding, I think he's in more danger of accidentally decapitating himself with a chainsaw than of abducting someone and keeping 'em in there. But I do watch the guy. Hey, he's entertaining.)

I have some good news, though. Apparently 18 years in a back yard (or 24 years in a cellar) will not ruin your life after all. Elisabeth Fritzl has a boyfriend. She and her kids have 24-hour bodyguards, and one of 'em has apparently fallen for Elisabeth. He's a lot younger than she is, but the family likes him and she seems very happy, according to the German press. Oh, and she got her driver's license recently.

I'm not a big believer in the ruinability of life, anyway. There's only this one, that we know of, and okay, Elisabeth's kids will probably never be CEOs of Fortune 500 companies or top-ranking neurophysicists, but that doesn't mean they can't enjoy a walk outside, feel the rain, laugh at something funny on TV or smile when a cat tickles them with its whiskers. And if you, who have not spent 20 years as a sex slave in somebody's cellar, don't enjoy walks outside or can't smile when a cat tickles you, why not, pray tell? I mean, life's short. A monster could attack your city tomorrow.

Speaking of which, I saw Cloverfield this weekend, which despite the nice peaceful title, is all about a monster attacking a city. You may have heard about this flick, which is supposedly all shot on camcorder from the point of view of the gang of friends that's running from the monster. Guess what, I was impressed all to hell. It was very real. I had no trouble believing this was how people would act in a situation like that, the acting was good, the dialogue was pretty good too (a lot of it improvised) and there were some creepy critters much scarier than whatever was attacking the city. Cloverfield gets somewhere between an AWESOME and a WOW (four and a half stars). Highly recommended.

So send the query letter, already. Tomorrow you might get stepped on. Yeah, kind of a nonsequitur, okay, but I had to come full circle on this post somehow.

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