Monday, October 23, 2017

Saving Savings

Today is a pretty quiet one, I merely had to show up to work for a few hours to lock up one of the sites after some students in an enrichment program left... no long endurance tour dealing with the public. I had some time to check the news and was surprised that Trump bucked a Republican plan to drastically cut the tax benefits of 401(k) plans. Basically, the Republican plan is to kill 401(k) plans by rendering them useless- no tax benefit, no real appeal in the plans.

I like to say that I am doing okay- I can actually put away ten percent of my wages in a 401(k), though I live a pretty frugal lifestyle. The organization matches the contributions to some extent, but it's the tax benefit which is most appealing. Any plans to cut the benefits to Joe and Jane Clockpuncher in order to give even bigger tax breaks to plutocrats is utter sociopathy.

It's somewhat surprising that Trump has been so vocal in defense of the 401(k) plan- I don't know whether to chalk this up to hatred of McConnell and Ryan, or a realization that this sort of legislation directly attacks his base.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

The Devil Is Not Mocked, but Nazis Are

Earlier this week, there was a failed attempt by emo-boy Nazi Richard Spencer to spread his message of fourchan fascism on a Florida University campus. Spencer is best known for being punched on television and bringing Nazi-punching back into fashion. Nazis are irredeemable villains, the lesser of two evils in just about every matchup imaginable, as pulp master Manly Wade Wellman (whose Appalachian regional tales of supernatural menace are wonderful) illustrated in his tale The Devil Is Not Mocked. The story was adapted as a fun segment of Rod Serling's Night Gallery:



Night Gallery S2E06 A Question Of Fear, The... by carsambadizileri


The ending is pretty well telegraphed from the get-go, but the whole thing is entertaining enough that this foreshadowing is forgivable.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Clark WolverAshton Smith

I have long been a big fan of teller of weird tales Clark Ashton Smith, whose stories combine a highfalutin' vocabulary with a detached-yet-macabre sense of humor. One of Smith's best known stories is The Vaults of Yoh-Vombis, a creepy tale of an archaeological expedition on a Percival Lowellesque Mars. Smut Clyde clued me into a comic book adaptation of the story by Richard Corben. Poking around the intert00bz, I found a comic by legendary cartoonist Basil Wolverton which is eerily similar to CAS' tale of terror:




The Brain-Bats of Venus is available in its entirety at Archive.org. It's a fun-yet-creepy comic by a legend, who looks to be ripping off inspired by another legend.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Busy October... Quick, Post a Link!

As is typical for me, October is a busy month with fundraising activities on the job. Therefore, I think I shall post a Halloween-appropriate link. My introduction to the creepy aspects of Japanese legendry was Lafcadio Hearn's 1904 collection Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things. The book formed the basis of a 1964 film of the same name directed by Masaki Kobayashi:





My favorite story from Hearn's collection is Mujina, a creepy-yet-funny tale which actually features a Noppera-bō, though a mujina could conceivably pose as such using its supernatural powers.

One of my favorite sites on the t00bz is Yokai.com, a beautifully illustrated collection of the various creepy-crawlies from Japanese folklore. The site was an invaluable resource while I was binge-watching Ghost Sweeper Mikami a few months ago:





There's a manga available for this entertaining-yet-salacious supernatural comedy, but the pop-up ads are a real horror. One of these days, I should post a review of the series... it's fun, but there's some content which in this day, in the 'States, would be considered problematic.

For the record, my favorite Yokai is the Karakasa kozō, or paper umbrella priest boy. Now that is one comical monster.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

There's a Reason Why He Calls It the 'Caveman Formula'

I must confess that I have a fascination with 'conspiracy theories', though I have a dim view of most purveyors of such. The worst of this lot, in my estimation, is Alex Jones, who sells snake oil along with his paranoid right-wing fantasies. As if his hucksterism wasn't bad enough, some of the supplements he sells have dangerous levels of lead contamination. For a guy who claims that he's trying to protect his listeners from 'globalists' who are trying to poison them with 'chemtrails', he sure seems to be comfortable with poisoning his marks, just like an old-timey charlatan.

By pushing lead-tainted tinctures to his audience, Jones is also making them more receptive to his bullshit narrative, because lead causes intellectual and behavioral deficits. My favorite detail about this is the fact that one of his tainted products is his 'Caveman Paleo Formula'... if you keep taking this crap, you'll end up with the intellectual capacity of an Australopithecus.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Past the Half-Way Mark

October has turned a corner- we are now past the half-way mark in the month. It's time to give a rundown on the major events on the job. So far, things have been going pretty well, I have recognized a bunch of regular October visitors, including three intrepid souls from Pittsburgh, a very nice local couple, and a patron who had come to me with a complaint a few years ago, who is now a fast friend (I have really come to appreciate his daughter, a really nice kid who is a talented artist and a budding bassist). Hilariously, the public seems to have a knack for pulling off things that management hadn't anticipated- now there is a bag-check so nobody sneaks bottles of booze onto the site, and last Saturday, a couple of guys decided to start a barbecue in the parking lot, in a well-traveled traffic lane. I was tasked with telling these bros to douse the grill, and they were cool about it, probably because they had finished heating their hot dogs. Tonight, I will be sending an e-mail to management detailing the latest in the organization/public 'arms race'... we may need signs detailing more individual behaviors which are disallowed on the property. Sure, there's no smoking on site, but a charcoal fire is not a cigarette.

Generally speaking, it's tiring but fun. 99.9% of our visitors are wonderful people, the occasional obnoxious drunk, while drawing a disproportionate amount of attention, is in the minority. I haven't had an urge to hit anyone with a shoe yet. The month is halfway through, and I haven't had a day off yet, but on the whole, I can't complain. Much as I'd hate to have it become public knowledge, I don't mind dealing with the public.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Scary Monsters

I am on record being a fan of the late, great David Bowie. One of my particular favorite Bowie Songs is 1980's Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps). Poking around the intert00bz, I found a great live version from 1995, with Bowie fronting Nine Inch Nails:





Now, isn't that an appropriate track for the Halloween season?