Archive for September 24th, 2012

First off, I want to give y’all a heads-up about some book-related stuff.

Personally, I never could get through Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.  I tried.  God knows I tried.  But the first part just drags on and on with characters yammering and philosophizing and not much happening but still the narrators keep talking…

On the other hand, the 1931 movie with Boris Karloff is sheer genius.

Did the movie stick closely to the book?  Hell no.  Instead it’s proof that Hollywood can be the best thing to happen to a bad book.  From the opening scene in a graveyard where Dr. Frankenstein and his helper are digging up a body and cutting down another one hanging from a gibbet, to the mad scientist laboratory in a castle, to lightening galvanizing a monster to life, to peasants with torches chasing the monster, we are talking about original images and dialogue (“It’s alive! It’s alive!”) that became famous archetypes.  Even Karloff’s flat head and bolts in the neck were the result of a make-up artist’s brilliance and not thanks to Shelley.

So you may like to know that the TCM channel is sponsoring one-night double-feature showings in select theaters of the original 1931 Frankenstein and the1935 Bride of Frankenstein.  The date, of course, is close to Halloween: October 24.

And on a similar paranormal / scary note…

The current issue of Smithsonian has an article called The Great New England Vampire Panic.  It seems how even late into the nineteenth century some Yankees became convinced that vampires were draining the life out of love ones, who in reality might be dying of diseases like tuberculosis.  So the living went to graveyards and exhumed certain bodies, and cut out and burned hearts or cut off heads.  One such exhumation of a young woman very likely inspired Bram Stoker to write Dracula.

This same issue also has an article on how a young Mark Twain became friends with a larger-than-life fireman named Tom Sawyer.  And yes, the man inspired Twain’s first book.

From Tom Sawyer I can segue naturally into the topic of slingshots.  As in I’ve now added one to my small inventory of weapons.  Okay, so a slingshot isn’t exactly action-hero glamorous.  But I wanted one when I was a ten-year-old tomboy and never got one but now I bought one and it’s really cool and fun to shoot little metal balls and rocks with.  And you never know what villains I might take down with it.

As for my pistol crossbow:  I can confirm that at near distance it does indeed send a dart a full inch into a phone book.  Trouble is, the bow is FREAKING HARD TO COCK! (Yes I know, I just typed hard and cock in the same sentence, but I’m being literal and frustrated.)  I told you it has an eighty-pound pull, but the way it’s designed you’re just supposed to “easily” push the back part down, which pulls the cord back.  No problem, I thought, as I watched this being done on YouTube videos.  But you know what I shoulda noticed?  That they were being cocked by BIG HAIRY MAN HANDS!  When I try to do it… Let’s just say it’s really, really tough for me and I had to use the edge of a table for leverage.  But I’ll get stronger.

Anyway, that’s all for now.  Hope you have a splendid week.