Wednesday, September 28, 2011

You’ve been Pony’d or Confessions of a Brony

First posted on September 28th, 2011 on The Retroist Retro Blog and Podcast - CW post link

          Sexism is supposedly a very terrible thing, its horrible fingers reaching into every aspect of our society from music to movies and sadly even to childrens toys. We’ve all seen the incredibly offensive items; the toy shopping carts, the miniature kitchens, fake vacuums and worst of all, the baby dolls! They come in all shapes and sizes with diapers and pacifiers and tiny strollers. They talk, they scream, they cry, etc…in fact some of the more expensive models are nearly as disgusting as having an actual baby. Several individuals and groups saw these toys as early indoctrination. They believed that what some saw as innocent playthings were in fact tools, intended to train young girls to become housewives and mothers.

          Now friends, you and I both know that a woman’s place is obviously in the home. They are nurturing, organized and caring but in the long run they are vastly inferior to the powerful dominant force known as man! As this truth was lost on society, soon a cry went out for action. Girls had to be given hope for a stronger future; they needed toys that would help to guide them into the workforce, into the world of big business and ultimately into the world of gender equality. But what career? Being a riveter at the shipyard was not as relevant as it had once been and nobody ever seemed to want to work in the salt mines. Finally the answer arrived and it could not have been a more obvious choice. The future of women workers was in the fast growing field of Horse Ranches! There could not be a more ideal job for womankind than horses. Brushing hair. Riding the range, feeding sugar cubes to things and of course, rustling up them dogies!

          (Wait, is a dogie a horse or a cow? Or maybe it’s a dog? Hmmmm)

          At any rate, horses were the answer. Through a combination of his iron-fist like control of congress and the fact that several major toy companies were deeply in his pocket, President Jimmy Carter enacted emergency toy legislation that would immediately divert all government funds to the ever important Plastic Toy branch of the Federal Government.

          The design, prototyping, and heavy production that followed, would have made an amazing black and white newsreel in the 1950’s and the end result was the creation of plastic gold. A series of toys that I like to call My Little Pony. My Little Pony took the world by storm and instantly became the hands down most popular multi-colored cartoon horse based line of toys in America. Girls everywhere could not get enough of them and soon the merchandising world took notice. There was My Little Pony lunchboxes, My Little Pony book bags, My Little Pony bikes, My Little Pony belt sanders, My Little Pony cigarette lighters to light you’re My Little Pony cigarettes! I could go on and on (and would only get more ridiculous.) Yes dear readers, it was a sight to behold and unlike any other government program ever, it had the exact result that it was intended to have. Girls all over took the love and curiosity spawned by the toys and transferred it to living horses suddenly female enrollment in major horse universities skyrocketed and young women were joining horse track bookie apprenticeship programs at unprecedented levels. Within 12 years, women controlled nearly every aspect of the horse industry, ranging from major horse breeding programs, all the way to Elmer’s Glue and it was quite a change. Women applied everything they had learned from My Little Pony to their new found expertise…with mixed results.

          While horses now felt like distinct individuals with something special to offer and their own wonderful way of bringing joy to the world, not all was rainbows in the ranks. The decision to dye all horses pink, baby blue, and bright peach cover them in glitter and place an adorable and individual mark on each horses flank set the rodeo industry back decades. Once noble jousting tournaments at renaissance festivals had now become precious and delicate frolicking spectacles. Eventually the Council of Female Equestrian Experts realized the error of their ways. They decided that horses didn’t have to be exactly like My Little Pony, besides, their eyes weren’t nearly big enough and the horns kept falling off of the “unicorns”. Men and women decided that they could work together; that no gender should have any specific claim to the workforce of the USA! There was room for everybody! Ever since those dark days, women have proven themselves to be wonderfully productive member of society as nurses, teachers, secretaries and librarians! I have lived my life thinking that the infiltration of My Little Pony into the very fabric of our culture was over. This year I have discovered a shocking and terrifying fact the ponies are back!

          In my unending dedication to all of you and to society as a whole (and most importantly to my own piece of mind), I decided to risk life and limb and begin the daunting task of investigating these new ponies on the block. I knew what I would have to do, in order to get to the heart of the matter and find out what these heathen horses had in store for us and that kind of disharmony they planned to send us in to I would have to view their propaganda. I would have to watch an episode of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. I have to be honest, My Little Pony had a very powerful effect on me that can best be characterized as confusion. First of all the show had nothing to do with training young girls to be experts in horse care and grooming…in fact, humanity was not even represented on the show. In its place was a world run entirely by horses. With human dwellings, furniture and equipment that has been adapted for use by ponies. Now, even disregarding any thoughts about “a planet where Ponies evolved from Men”, it leads one to wonder, that if the creators of the G4 My Little Pony aren’t intending to brainwash our youth toward a sinister future enslaved by the military industrial complex then what do they want? Another strange thing is the title… Friendship is Magic. For one I have always considered friendship and humanity in general something to be avoided and shunned at all costs. Additionally, aside from the blockbuster film The Craft, I have never encountered a situation in which friendship is magic.

          It quickly became apparent that watching one episode of the mysterious show would not sufficiently expose the truth behind the flash animated façade. I would have to go once more into the breach and watch an additional episode. Soon I had watched five episodes of the show and was well on my way to viewing more (in the interest of investigative journalism). I worried that I might not be getting the full effect of the MLP experience I enlisted the help of some of my close personal friends (consisting of a motley crew of mad scientists and cruel villains). I gathered these vicious titans of the unknown, these black-hearted living monsters under the shroud of nightfall and together we had…My Little Pony Viewing Parties….where we lounged in nightmarish sinister glee watching a cartoon, and wickedly ate pony-shaped sugar cookies and fruit punch!!! Mwaha mwahahahaha!

          We watched show after show and still I was unable to uncover the secret that I knew dwelled beneath the surface…I had to dig deeper. I went infiltrated a secret marketplace known to some as eBay. And purchased a piece of the uniform commonly found among the wildly dedicated fans of this program or “bronies” as they are known in this elusive world. Since I was in the marketplace I picked up a Pony hoodie and a couple more shirts as well, you know, to help me find the truth. If at this point any of you have began to think that I actually LIKE this show, I am outraged! I am a professional retro-reporting-werewolf-author-villian…scientist-person-thing and I have my dignity. With the utmost dignity I subscribed to an online RSS feed that gives its readers the latest awesome news and happenings in the rockin’ world of PonyVille. I have begun to learn more but a little more digging definitely wouldn’t hurt.

          While pouring through some of the evidence I obtained in my search I realized an interesting fact. While the show extols the virtues of friendship and acceptance, the fans of the show are some of the most judgmental people I have ever encountered; ready to immediately jump to conclusions about someone right after meeting them. Case in point; I purchased a full access four day pass to a national My Little Pony Convention and within minutes of stepping through the door the other people in attendance labeled me, on sight, as a fanboy. I want to state in no uncertain terms that just because I was at the convention and happened to be wearing a sassy rainbow wig and fake wings does not mean that I love My Little Pony or wait with unbearable anticipation for each new episode to arrive on my DVR!

          I feel that even you, my loyal CooCoo Cola Cult Members, have taken the opportunity of this article to accuse me (even if only in your minds) of being a fan or being a brony. Well let me tell you this, it just isn’t true. Now if you’ll excuse me I have to finish writing my post on this scroll, allow my loyal dragon sidekick to engulf it in the flames of his magic fire breath thus sending it riding upon a magical river of smoke into the castle of Princess Retroist-Celestia. After my work is done I’m going to watch a marathon of my MLP season one VHS tapes that I recorded. While I’m doing these things I want you to think about what you’ve done, and how falsely you judged me.

When Hip-Hop met Horror

First posted on September 27th, 2011 on The Rotting Flesh Raido Podcast and Blog - CW post link

Most people think the world of Horror fandom is like a family. They believe that there is an overwhelming sense of acceptance and community and that we all stand united, hand in hook against whatever adversity the world can throw at us. For the most part this is all true but there is another side to the horror world as many of us know. It can be sinister, it can be competitive…I’ve only been a horror blogger for a couple of months and I’ve already been shot twice! Yes, the sad truth is that no matter how harmonious we like to imagine this world is, there are things that divide us. Freddy or Jason?….Fast Zombies or Slow? Kane Hodder or Derek Mears? Evil Dead or Army of Darkness? Any of these questions can cause an instant eruption of war between your average dedicated deadite but there is a deeper fault line running through the horror community for decades threatening to tear apart the very fabric of everything that we have worked so hard to build.

It will come as no surprise to anyone that I am talking about the Hip-Hop Horror Turf Wars that erupted in the late 1980’s and have only gotten stronger since. When hip hop or “rap” became mainstream it almost immediately began to take off in popularity. Along with its meteoric rise it ignited incredible passion among its fans. That passion took the form of completely new forms of dance, an unprecedented level of poetic expression and the light speed evolution of electronic music. Unfortunately that passion came with aggression, division, and sometimes even violence. Once the world of rap entered into its inevitable partnership with horror movies the division only became worse.

It began small, various hip-hop artists speaking about their fandom of slasher films, giant monsters, and the supernatural…horror directors like Sam Rami and Wes Craven taking on DJ duties at some of the hottest LA nightclubs, and who can forget Stephen King’s short lived segment on Yo! MTV Raps. Soon every monster, unearthly creature and undead slasher began to actively campaign for hip-hop representation. They arrived in Los Angeles by the dozen going to the offices of major record labels, meeting with top executives, slaughtering them and then starting the process all over again. Finally gold was struck, the all American first family of spooky entered in to the ultimate partnership with a struggling, up and coming rapper by the name of MC Hammer. The collective life experiences and vibrant lust for life enjoyed by the Addams’s seemed to be just what Mr. Hammer needed and he was plucked from the depths of total obscurity soon becoming the toast of the town with hit record after hit record. His popularity grew so much that at its peak he became nearly too legit to quit.

After Hammer’s success the floodgates opened and rappers were joining forces with masters of monster movies all across America. Will Smith or the “fresh prince” as he is known on the streets joined forces with the imitable Frederick J “Freddy” Krueger, when Krueger himself senselessly murdered Smith’s long time partner DJ Jazzy Jeff. Smith later said that the rhymes he created with Krueger where not only the freshest he had ever created but also the dopest. He also proclaimed Freddy one of the best natural scratchers he had ever seen. The arrival of the Fresh Prince marked a 180 degree turnaround in Krueger’s career following the end of his 8 year partnership with the Fat Boys who, after defecting from the Krueger Camp announced a newly signed contract with Michael Myers.

Their first hit song under the agreement “Devil’s Eyes (Pass the Fries)” shot straight to the top of the Killboard Top 100 Horror Charts. It wasn’t all success though …for instance when Chucky and Vanilla Ice formed their infamous White Boys and Killer Toys alliance it turned out to be a huge flop and effectively ended both of their careers. And Young MC’s ill fated “Dance Off“ with Pumpkin Head in the follow-up video to his hit “Bust a Move” became a laughing stock.

Some people weren’t content to enter into collaborations, and became crossover artists in their own right. When C&C Music Factory released their single “Things that Make You Go AAAAAHHHH!” The world fell in love with their new blood, gore and pyrotechnic driven performances. Even international artists got into the act. Seamus O’ Shame (The Leprechaun) actually became a rapper. He made his debut with a song entitled “Lep In The Hood” at the end of a movie with a very similar title. After releasing his album he realized he could lay down some ill tracks and bring people unspeakable pain at the same time and he never looked back

While the def jams were flying fast and loose and the money was rolling in, there was something much more ominous brewing below the surface. Turf wars and minor scuffles had began to break out as to who ran what horror neighborhood. The leprechaun laid claim to the Tiny Terror Zone which did not go over well with Chucky or The PuppetMaster Puppets. Jason and Michael Myers left untold death and destruction following the terrifying Silent Lumbering Killer Wars of ‘83.… It all got bad and then it got worse. For decades, record labels and horror movie producers turned a blind eye choosing to focus only on the millions of dollars they were raking in and ignoring the loss of both life and street cred. Sadly, something happened in 2010 that would make the world take notice, when Jackie Earl Haley and Samuel Bayer conspired to do the unthinkable. They murdered Freddy Krueger in cold blood. The worlds of horror, hip-hop, and hip-hop-horror fell silent. They realized that money and fame had gotten in the way of what really counts, poetic expression…and ultra violent gory movies. It was decided by all parties involved that everyone needed to get back to basics and to start doing what they did best. With that in mind, all horror/rap partnerships were dissolved.

Recently it seems as though there have been signs of a mild renaissance in the world of horror rap. Will Smith in partnership with the Saw franchise released the song Getting Jiggysaw With It and it seems to be doing fairly well in the charts so far. We can only hope that this time things will be different. That we can have a real sense of community and produce works that are all about art and not about money or “turf”. Together we can live in a world that undead, horribly disfigured, psychotic serial killers like Freddy Krueger would be proud to call home. With that in mind I hope that each of you can sit back, relax…and have a nice day!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A message from Phishbon3s:

Just realized that I never posted the links to the boss's introduction posts when he joined The Retroist and Rotting Flesh Radio. Gonna fix that now.



First posted on April 4th, 2011 on The Retroist Retro Blog and Podcast - CW post link

Meet New Retroist Contributor, “The Claymation Werewolf”

I realize this is highly irregular, and far be it from me to break with tradition but I wanted to take the opportunity to introduce myself. My name is JC, or “The Claymation Werewolf.” And I have experienced things that some might say are impossible, others however would say Yeah I agree they ARE impossible!

You see, I have listened to in depth interviews with fictional characters on National Puppet Radio. I have watched black and white He-Man propaganda newsreels from WWII. I’ve seen the stranger side of nostalgia and I know the truth about the cartoons we think we remember.

I finally decided that my insane ramblings could be useful for more than just irritating my wife, and alienating loved ones. I spent years wandering the darkest shadows of Nostalgia looking for just the right venue for the Claymation Werewolf, and I believe that Retroist.Com is that place. Of course, I could not have gotten to this point without the words of encouragement I received along the way. I remember when The Retroist himself said to me: JC, I do not want your blog on my website, now please stop sending me Twitter messages! When I read those words, I knew I had found my home.

I honestly feel like I have something special to offer, that has always been missing from Retroist…absurd lies! So give me a shot. If you like what you read, then Great! If you don’t then my parents were right about me all along. Prepare yourself things are going to get weird!


First posted on July 6th, 2011 on The Rotting Flesh Raido Podcast and Blog - CW post link

RFR Casket Crew Welcomes “Claymation Werewolf”: An Introduction

Hello Deadites! My name is JC or the Claymation Werewolf. Jonathan has recently been kind enough to allow me to post my bizarre ramblings on the Rotting Flesh Radio website. I have always hoped to be able to express my strange opinions and weird sense of humor to as many people as possible and blogging for RFR seems to be a great way to do just that. Plus the neighbors (not to mention the police) always get a little weird when I just yell the stuff out on the streets. I will do my very best to stay focused and not go off on tangents. Since my blog experience has been nearly 100% tangents it’s going to be a challenge but I have high hopes!

Before I start posting my “real” blog entries, I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself. Since I will be writing a different kind of Rotting Flesh Blog I want to present a kind of “field guide” to the Claymation Werewolf. I know a lot of the members of the Casket Crew are a pretty intimidating bunch, full of haunt actors with an impressive list of scares and years working in the horror industry. They have been to some of the best horror conventions around and have spoken to the actors who have given their fans thrills and chills for years! Well let me tell you, I’m no stranger to horror myself. Sure my annual haunt events might be a little less Halloween Horror Nights, and a little more Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, and while I might not know how to apply latex gore FX, I can apply a sweet Halloween temporary tattoo in seconds! It also goes without saying that my Madballs collection rivals the best assortment of custom haunted house props out there!
All of that being said I don’t want you to think I’m not tough. I once watched an entire episode of “Tales From The Crypt” and never closed my eyes even once! After all, even though you’re a little bit Friday the 13th and I’m a little bit Saturday the 14th, it doesn’t mean we don’t all howl at the same moon, right? It’s just that I need to be back in at a reasonable hour. If I don’t get a good eight hours of sleep, I can be a real monster!

Until next time…Sit Back, Relax and Rot Away…and have a nice day!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Of Pets and Monsters

First posted on September 15th, 2011 on The Rotting Flesh Radio Podcast and Blog - CW post link

November 18, Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Two:

          I began this log under the advice of one of my most trusted associates. Call it what you like; archive diary, Etc, but the fact remains that its purpose is entirely singular. In recent weeks I was asked to look into a rather unusual insurance claim placed by a local company regarding one of its salesmen. It seems the gentleman arrived in the town on a routine sales call and just vanished into the ether. Letters were sent to town officials and were met with the response that the man in question did indeed arrive and was quickly run out of town on a rail as the citizens of the town detested salespeople. As this was a regular occurrence in their business, this had happened very frequently and the company insisted that they would have heard from Dr. Minto by now. A claim was submitted to collect on the life insurance policy purchased on Minto but before our company was willing to pay out the Forty dollars; I am to be sent into the town, conduct interviews and investigate to bring closure to this matter once and for all.

November 19, Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Two:

          I am currently on a carriage en route to Happy Pines, Iowa and have discovered the most incredible thing! While doing research on Happy Pines, (in preparation for my journey) I happened upon my own family name. It seems that there was a line of my ancestors that branched off some years back. They apparently moved to Happy Pines to pursue business, and shortly cut off all ties with their relatives back east. Several generations remained in the town but I could not find specifics on their whereabouts. Apparently, this trip could end up being of some interest, other than just of the monetary variety.

November 19, Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Two, Supplemental:

          Arrived in Happy Pines the town is strangely silent and I don’t yet know what to make of it. The few people I have encountered all have a strange look to them. It’s nothing I can put my finger on. Just the occasional flash of something…recognition or…I’m not sure but there was something. Additionally, for a place called Happy Pines, the citizens could not be more cold. No one smiles on the street and even the Land Lady at the Inn I am rooming at conducted our business with a severe, ominous tone. Stranger still, at check in she insisted that I have “always been here” and it took some negotiating to secure board for the night. One highlight is that, through conversation with the landlady, I discovered my ancestral home! My family owned a large manor house on the outskirts of town. Sadly no one of my lineage still lived in the town and the house had stood deserted for years. The only people who ever go anywhere near it now are the staff, who’s salaries are paid through a family trust. I will set out tonight to investigate the home and satisfy my own curiosity before embarking on the real business that brought me to the town.

November 20, Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Two:

          Incredible! I hardly know where to begin . My trip to the manor house was more productive than I could have ever imagined. The place is incredible and far more ancient than any descriptions gave it credit for. Some of the halls seem almost cavernous, and it’s almost as though the entire place breathes with a life of its own. Everything is as it was left; all of the cookware in the kitchen. The beds are still covered with blankets and the windows with curtains. Inside the most enormous library I have ever seen, are shelves filled with hundreds and hundreds of books. It’s as if there is still someone in residence here, though I know that isn’t the case. In regards to the library it would provide a feast to a bibliophile such as myself. I know that I really need to be getting back to my vocation, but I plan on return tonight to explore this reader’s paradise.

November 20, Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Two, Supplemental.

          A long day spent in town. No one seems to know anything about Dr. Thaddeus Minto or in the very least do not wish to discuss the matter with me. It is the strangest thing since arriving in the town, I have began to feel that at once I am a complete outsider and that everyone in Happy Pines knows me completely. I spent hours walking the streets of the town and the thing that has bothered me the most has been the whispering; which has come in two distinct forms. The first is easily recognizable but beyond my ability to explain; it comes from the people of Happy Pines. Everywhere I go people begin to talk low amongst themselves and it bares more proof of the suspicious familiarity that I have mentioned. The second form of whispers…now that’s something else entirely. It feels as though it’s coming from the town, not the people of the town but the town itself as though its alive. As though it wants something and is constantly beckoning me forward…driving me on. I have been dwelling upon it in the manor house library for hours and still have no answers. I think it’s time to rest my mind and loose myself in a good book or a few hundred. Who knows, it’s entirely possible I might discover some things about my long lost family.

November 21, Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Two:

          It’s 3 o’clock in the morning. I had to add another entry into this log. I am very thankful that the idea of a journal was given to me as I believe it will prove to be invaluable in sorting out the events I have experienced. The faceless, wordless whispering has increased to a deafening level. It began while I was pouring over the tomes in the library. I was in the midst of discovering some strange occurrence that undertook my family. The reports are sketchy, made up of diary entries and half-torn newspaper articles. There were stories of caves. Of lights from the night sky…lights from the stars and of a terrible scandal. I was beginning to uncover some evidence of the whereabouts of my ancestors and suddenly I was struck by overwhelming pain like an echo inside my mind. Then just as suddenly as it started it ceased, and was replaced by a powerful sense of purpose as if I had to carry out a long standing obligation. I was moved to explore the manor home further and discovered that more than a few secrets lived within these walls. Inside a pantry in the lower level, I discovered a false wall and after some gentle pressure I was able to get it to give under the strength of my shoulder. What was behind it I can hardly believe myself. As if I was in a serialized novel, a hall stretched before me. A hall of bricks winding into the distance, lit by torches bolted to the wall. I had no choice but to enter and to see where it led. As I began to turn what I felt was the final corner, I finally came back to myself. The cold hand of fear gripped me immediately and I beat a hasty retreat to the relative safety of the house proper. I really need to get back to my work but the events of that last few days have been a grand adventure indeed, and one I will remember to a ripe old age.

November 21, Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Two. Supplemental.

          I have spent all morning at my desk in the hotel. Despite my full dedication I have found it impossible to work. Despite every sense of logic and common sense, I must go back to my ancestral home. I have to find out what happened to my family. The work will have to wait I wont be able to set my mind to it until I have answers.

November 22, Nineteen Hundred and Eighty Two:

          I finally walked the length of the hall last night and the whole thing was like a dream. The hall seemed to narrow and darken the further I traveled, and the whispers at once grew louder and somehow more clear. I walked and upon rounding the final corner it opened into a vast cavern. The room was impossibly large and it almost seemed as though you could look far enough up to see the very stars in the night sky, although the fact that I was hundreds of feet beneath my family property this was obviously impossible. Either way, this was not close to being the most remarkable thing in the room. The most remarkable thing lay at its center, nearly filling the entire room with its incredible enormity.

Image courtesy of Sketch O Rama

          There was a beast…a monster laying upon the stone floor. Its size was impossible to describe. But its appearance was amazing. It was covered in red and blue fur with huge sharp yellow teeth protruding from its closed mouth. Its leathery hands and feet flexed and released in unconscious movement displaying the black and blue nails on the tip of each finger and toe. Atop its head was a shock of purple hair and two long horns. It had clearly been asleep for a long time. Asleep for ages. The entire body of the creature was covered in a heavy layer of dust, spider webs and soot. Though it lay not alive and not dead something seemed to stir as I approached, as if something within me brought life to the creature. As if I was what it had been waiting for, all these years. It began to move then and that was when I noticed the chains. Around each wrist and ankle was a shackle made of an orange material that was clearly not of this world. Imbedded in the surface of the shackles was arcane symbols of some variety. The shackles led to chains of the same bright orange color. The beast’s huge arms strained against the massive chains, forged of such heavy material no man could have created them. The longer I stood in the beasts shadow the more it seemed to waken and I noticed a weakness in the links of the chain. At the center where each shackle connected was a link that was not perfectly formed and as the beast pulled against them the chain began to separate. I was so mesmerized by curiosity and fear it was almost too late when I realized the creatures eyes were now open. As I looked up I stared into two ancient yellow eyes that tore away every pretense of every frail and pathetic façade of authority I ever falsely claimed to possess and at that moment I felt a devastating sense of servitude and loyalty to this magnificent being. Slowly a sound that words would lend no justice to began to emit from the being’s mouth; it was a call, a command and I knew that I was intended to respond. My feet began to carry me, slowly at first and then I began to run, I ran across the stone floor toward the light of the torch lit hall. I ran across bones; both human, and belonging to beings that never lived upon this planet. I ran across dirt and insects and strips of clothing and blood scattered around the destroyed remains of what used to be a Boglins sales kit. I ran until no breath could reach my lungs and no thought ignited a spark within my mind and then when I could run no more. I ran.


          Whether it was mere moments or hours or days I can not say with any certainty. All I do know is that I am afraid. I am terrified of what I saw. Of the signs of death, of feeding and of course of the unearthly beast hidden deep with the very caverns under the house of the people who’s blood courses within my own veins. Beyond everything else I am afraid of what I know I have to do. I now know what became of those that came before me. They fell. They fell because of their own weakness. They were unable to do what was necessary, unable to carry out our responsibility. But I now know what is expected of me and I know how to take care of things. All of the things I used to think were so important I now realize were meaningless. All that matters now is that I am the caretaker. The caretaker of this estate. The caretaker of everything…of Him. And I always will be for while it may wear chains this monster is not my pet, I am his. We are all pets of the Monster.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Boglin Fever!

First posted on September 14th, 2011 on The Retroist Retro Blog and Podcast - CW post link

          Hey folks! Do you remember when Boglins took over the world and destroyed every man, woman and child in their unstoppable quest to satisfy their thirst for blood? No you don’t! And do you know why? Well, the answer to that is a little more complicated, but it all started with a town called Happy Pines, Iowa in the year of nineteen hundred and eighty-two. This small town in middle America was really on the move. But like most ideal places it moved at a little slower pace. Happy Pines was the sort of town folks like to write Christmas carols about. It was the type of place with Fourth of July picnics, band concerts and real old-fashioned soda fountains with real old-fashioned sodas. Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean to say that Happy Pines didn’t have its fair share of trouble. They got some youngsters that could be real hooligans; chewing their Big League Chew and spending all evening playing Pac-Man down at the Pac-Man hall. Now trust me when I say that I spent many a day doing research in Happy Pines. And while I may or may not have gotten beaten up by teenagers; two facts still remain.

1.) Happy Pines is a great town.
2.) In 1982 all of that almost changed forever.

          I may be getting a little ahead of myself. Now, I could go on and on about that great little town or getting beaten up in an arcade by some snot-nosed little brat. I mean I had put my quarter on the machine, that meant it was my turn to play next. MY TURN!…but while it might be fun to wax philosophically about sunshine, today I have come to talk about storm clouds. And let me tell you, that as sure as I am standing here, on October Third of 1982, Happy Pines, Iowa was due for a little rain. While there were gathering clouds, the real heart of the storm came in the form of a man. A man named Dr. Thaddeus Minto. Minto rolled in to town, more like a force of nature than any man who has ever walked the streets of Happy Pines. With all the mystery and darkness of the storm that heralded his arrival. With a long black coat and a large dusty briefcase. He arrived on foot to an empty street. You see, most of the townsfolk went inside to look through their blinds, around saloon doors and behind large barrels of gunpowder. Everyone had the same questions on their lips; who was this man and what did he have in store for this community? They may not have been ready to know but they were about to find out.

          The mysterious man walked to the very center of town, proud as a peacock, and unfolded his suitcase into a table. He then cleared his throat and with a twinkle in his eyes, began to speak.

          “Friends, my Name is Minto. Doctor Thaddeus Minto and I’ve come to tell you about something that will truly change your life, no your very world. Friends, I’ve come to talk to you about Boglins. Why Thaddeus! You might say…what is a Boglin? How do I know if I even need one? Well let me tell you, that if you live and breath…hope and dream…plot and scheme…then you need a Boglin. Why this little wonders can cure every ailment, fix every flaw…even mend a broken heart!”

          Old Thaddeus Minto saw the doubt in the eyes of his future customers and he knew he would have to pull out every trick in his book. His Boglin trick book. He had to find a way to sell these creatures to the people of HP or as he thought of them in his heart of hearts “Those barefoot rubes!“ Problem was that it turn out if you think about it…I mean really take the time to think about it, there just aren’t a whole lot of problems that can be solved by adding a Boglin to the equation. I mean you have your usual standbys: “My hands are cold, but only to the point that I need a flimsy rubber puppet to warm them.” “My cat is too complacent; I wish it were much more terrified.” etc. But you would be amazed by how infrequently these pop up. But he had been in the Boglin game for a long time and his pitch was not only well rehearsed, it was a thing of beauty..

          “Now I know all of you folks want the best for your children and bearing that in mind, you do not want your youngster to grow up in a town without Boglins. Why, these great little rubber wonders will keep little Timmy and Susie entertained for hours. You, sir! Don’t you want your kid to have a Boglin? What’s that you say? You don’t have a kid, you’ve got a dog? Well Rover will love Boglins too! That’s a joke, son; always keep Boglins away from your dogs or you’ll have a terrible mess. Pieces of dog everywhere! That’s another joke. I keep throwing them and you keep missing them… But none of you, yes I say none of you will miss out on the fun when you try Boglins!

          Yes Ma’am, a Boglin for every season. And in that vein I would like to announce an all new Boglin line…the Soggy Boglin. He says it’s a fish! She says it’s a Boglin. Well folks, your both right. We’ve got Snish, We’ve got Slogg, and of course Clobster. These jewels of the murky deep are your hardwearing all-season Boglins, appropriate for everything from pool parties, to fancy dinners! Why if Atlantis had a few of these kicking around, they could have avoided all that nasty sinking business. Each Boglin comes individually restrained in their own cage for your…oh, I mean their protection. Each cage is made of the most sturdy gauged cast-cardstock available and is sure to protect you from any “unfortunate incidents” while you sleep.

          You may ask, “But Dr. Minto! How can a humble but respectable member of the community like myself ever hope to care for such a magnificent creature?” Well cast your worries aside, because taking care of a Boglin could not be easier. Just make sure they have the three essentials.

1) A nightly dose of healthy exposure to direct moonlight,
2) A constant supply of stump water to drink, and
3) A steady diet of Popples. That’s right Popples, those cute little balls of vitamins and minerals now available at most quality drug stores and tobacconists. Soggy Boglins will of course need Sea-Popples for that extra zing of natural organic sediment.”

          A small child timidly approached the salesman and asked what the function would be of a horrific skeletal Boglin with sunken black eyes and terrible bony fingers?

          “My boy, that is the largest load of malarkey it has ever been my unfortunate luck to be subjected to. There has never been and will never be a skeleton Boglin.”

          The boy then inquired that if that were the case, then how did he explain the presence of that very same creature, strapped jauntily to the old kit bag that he wore upon his back. He began to go into another barrage of mockery, and derisive laughter but then he managed to spot the boney beast in the corner of one of his eyes. He then began a most undignified display of high pitched screeching, wildly slapping at his back and finally sobbing while rolling around on the ground. Eventually some folks were able to calm him and reminded him that he knew all about Boglins, and was in fact there to sell the beasts. Finally, the good doctor regained his composure, smiled sheepishly and continued.

          “Ahem, I apologize. Well son, what you have so cleverly spotted, is something we call a Halloween Boglin named Bog O’ Bones. There is a second named Blobkin. They’re still being worked on but are top secret so you can’t tell anyone under pain of death! Ha Ha! But seriously though, you talk and I’ll cut you.”

          It went on that way for sometime, Minto’s praises for Boglins growing more and more flowery, and his threats of bodily harm getting steadily more morbid and explicit. He sold like he had never sold before into the night and straight on till morning!

          But alas, in the end it was nothing doing. The townsfolk didn’t take kindly to Minto’s slick city ways and he was tarred, feathered, and run out of town on a Hot Wheels track (as it turns out, Happy Pines was My Pet Monster Country.) all the while on his way out he could be heard yelling. “Boglin fever, Catch it!”

          It makes for interesting food for thought to consider what may have happened to Happy Pines, Iowa if the townspeople had been more receptive to the idea of caged rubber puppet creatures in their community. To find out the answer to that mystery you don’t have to look far. You could just go up highway 80 and ask the people of River City. That is you could if there was anyone left but sadly there isn’t. It seems that River City suffered the same terrible fate as many small towns before it. It usually went like this. The Boglins are sold and suddenly the Popple supply seems to just dry up overnight. Now the funny thing about Boglins is that while they do love Popples, if none are available they’ll try whatever happens to be HANDy and more often than not they get a taste for it. So the Popples leave, then the people follow suite (with a bit more shrieking) and then some unmarked wagons come by and collect all the Boglins and the process starts all over again. But as they say, that was then and this is now and the Boglin Corporation has rededicated itself to a quality product, low prices and service with a smile. In fact we now include with every Boglin purchased, a feedback form to register any dissatisfaction with their experience and so far we haven’t heard from any of our customers yet! So why not bring the gift of Boglin into your life? For a limited time, my company has authorized me to extend to you the deal of a lifetime! With every purchase of a Halloween or Soggy Boglin, you will receive, at no additional charge a standard Boglin. Yes, bring Boglins to your town. They just need loved…and of course, fed.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Strength of the Bear!

A Claymation Werewolf Digital Digest Exclusive!

          As a special treat to all of the Coo-Coo Cola Cult members out there. Tonight we bring you a living legend, one of the most famous animated peace officers of the 1980’s. I have been invited on a “Mosey Along” with none other than Marshall Bravestarr and his deputy 30/30 of the Intergalactic Marshalls Office. Almost nothing has been known about life on New Texas in the years since the Bravestarr reality show stopped airing. We now have a once in a lifetime opportunity to get updated news from this dangerous and exiting world.

3:00pm: Fort Keriumburg (Lower east side.) …

          I met up with the Marshal and his ever loyal deputy at the small apartment they shared on the east side of Fort Kerriumburg . Though the Marshall had left the limelight behind to focus full time on the noble job of cleaning up New Texas, I was curious as to whether they still had their old flashy style, I asked 30/30 for a demonstration of his famous upright horse, to trusty steed transformation.

          I stood back as the famous robo man-horse prepared to activate, and the whole thing took only a moment. It began with Marshall Bravestarr flicking the living room light on and off really fast while 30/30 strapped a saddle to his back. He then completed his transformation by bending over and getting on all fours. He threw his mane back and whinnied. Marshal Bravestarr proceeded to climb on his back and ride around on him. This always more impressive on TV. In reality it was impractical and even a little embarrassing but as we all know show business does tend to glamorize things.

          “Deputy Fuzz was part of an Intergalactic Affirmative Action Program. He was let go during reforms when it was revealed that he was never actually qualified to be a deputy in the first place. Since then it’s been just me and my BIG partner.” The Marshall and his deputy looked into each others eyes for several seconds and seemed to forget I was there. I cleared my throat and Bravestarr seemed to again become aware of his surroundings, he shook his head and continued to speak.

          “So you were asking about what happened to some of the folks from the show?” I hadn’t been… “well lemme see here. Ol’ Stampede was elected to senate based mostly on the fact that he was purely and irredeemably evil. So fer he’s been re-elected three times! Some of the others weren’t so lucky… All them years of breathing dirt and blowing clouds of dust caught up with Sandstorm, he died of silicosis about ten years ago. Sure was a shame…I used to love poundin’ on Sandstorm! Scuzz-Ball was clubbed to death by tobacco protesters since he was the only person on the planet who actually smoked. And as fer as Cactus head,” He chuckled, “You can see that has found a way to make himself a lot more useful nowadays.” The Marshall’s mailbox, which I had at first taken to be normal, was upon further inspection the grizzly twisted remains of the comic relief spy robot. I barely contained the bile that rose inside me, but I calmed myself with the thought that Bravestarr must have had a very good reason for such a savage act.

5:55pm: Intersection of ElectroElm St. and Galactic-Glenn Rd…

While stopped at a traffic techno-light Marshall Bravestarr spotted his old nemesis Tex Hex, or at least he claimed that he did, I do not have the Marshall’s power of hawk sight, but I couldn‘t see anything. He did not miss a beat in his reaction, with a mighty yell of “Speed of the Puma” he leapt from the back of his partner and began running, (at amazingly normal speed) into the darkness, several times he would changed direction, spin and then perform a flying tackle at nothing in particular. Afterward getting up, dusting himself off and starting the entire process over.


          “Why did I decide to be a lawman? Well I reckon it was to help people, you know give a little something back. See I had amnesia and couldn’t remember anything from my childhood, at least in some of the episodes, so I always felt like I had a greater purpose, and that purpose was to fight evil. And it went pretty good for quite a while, I had respect, great pay, all the free Sweetwater I could drink and I scored tail like you would not believe. Then things started to changing…”

          “After the prairie folk sold the mines and moved to that sex resort planet Risa, this place started falling apart real fast. Then for no reason they took away Judge JB’s judgly-ness just cuzz she happened to take part in the arrests of almost all the criminals she convicted…well that just rubbed me the wrong way. What’n the jeckfire is judicial bias anyway? Evil Tex Hex and his crew pretty much run everything now even the local government and the Kerium Mines… Who would ever have imagined that a giant multi-planet mining conglomerate could be turned into a greedy ugly thing.. Yeah they have their fingers in just about everything round these parts, now all you ever hear from the mayors office is the same dern thing.” The Marshall begins using a comically high pitched voice. “Bravestarr you don’t work for us anymore! That was 15 years ago! We have a real police department now…” “Ha! Real police department, with that sorry excuse for a chief of police, lousy pig!”

          The chief of police was in fact Hog-Tie the civil war suited Pig-man, but the insult still seemed inappropriate.

7:30pm: Local eating establishment Cyber Donut…

          “Thank you for stopping at Cyber Donut can I take take your order?

          I immediately recognized the face and especially the voice of the clerk behind the counter, it was none of than the evil stuttering robot Thunderstick. Bravestarr clenched his fist and pounded it on the table.

          “I don’t know what kind of scheme your running, hanging out in this diner but I’m a aim’in to find out!… And when I do, yer gonna be in one heap-a trouble Thunderstick.”

          “Mr. Bravestarr we’ve gone gone over this already, you come in here here every night! I work at the Cyber Donut Donut..”

          “Strength of the bear bear bear!!!!” Shouted the marshal as he dove over the counter taking a swing at the robot, and succeeding only in knocking the chefs hat off of his head. It took two clerks and the manager of the diner to restrain the Marshall and remove him from the premises.


          After leaving the scene at the Donut shop we wandered across the street to what ended up being a strip club. The place was called the “Desert Bush” and it was one of the seediest places I had ever seen. Clearly the Marshall would have no trouble round up some ne’r do wells here. Surprisingly he chose a table near the stage and began watching the act, quietly mumbling “Eyes of the hawk, ahhhhh yeah! Eyes of the muthafuckin’ hawk.” Though Bravestarr wasn’t looking around the place I had already begun to and once my eyes started becoming accustom to the light I was amazed by what I saw. The place was a veritable Bravestarr cast reunion. Behind the bar was Handlebarr who had apparently closed his saloon and gotten a job at this dive. He had also started wearing normal clothing, and serving actual alcohol. I turned back to ask the Marshall about the famous bartender, when I noticed who was on the stage. Vipra and JB were engaged in a performance more entertaining than even the best episodes of Bravestarr. It seemed as if the two beautiful women had long ago set aside any differences they once had, and appeared that they were getting along extremely well now. I won’t go into the details of the show, or who we did or didn’t get lap dances from but I will say that, I was very lucky to have just been paid. And as far as everyone’s favorite red-headed judge goes…the carpet definitely matches the drapes.

10:00pm: the hood…

          We found ourselves in a very sketchy area of town and pulled up in front of an apartment building. There was a faint light shining through the boards on the windows, but that was the only sign that anyone might be living there. Bravestarr climbed off 30/30 looked around nervously and leaning in, began to whisper.

          “We’re gonna have to leave you out here for a minute, gotta go see the uh…Shaman, you know with the sacred flame and all that? Gonna get something to help me re-connect with the spirit animals, know what I’m saying buddy? Heh heh.” The final statement was punctuated with a harder than necessary elbow to my ribs. Sometime later after a dazed Marshal and Deputy returned from their apparent vision quest we were on our way. After a few minutes the song “more than a feeling” came on the radio (a radio that was tied around 30/30’s neck), and Bravestarr’s eyes lit up. Out of nowhere he shouted “Ears of the Wolf!!!!!!” then he said “What’s that?” and pointed randomly to the right….at the same time he smoothly reached down and turned up the volume on the radio. The next hour was filled with me staring bored into the darkness while the Marshal and his deputy swayed and bobbed their heads to a never-ending stream of 80’s power ballads.

12:00am somewhere on the edge of town…

          Bravestarr’s mellow mood has worn off and he appears to be growing more and more paranoid. A strange expression appears on his face and he begins to speak very fast.

          “Well pardners today I reckon we learned that while throw rugs might look scary no goat I ever heard of could climb a greased pole. THEY COULD NEVER CLIMB THAT GREASED POLE!!!! HAAA HAAAA HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!” He then ran into a local shop, followed by banging, crashing and several loud screams

          The last time I saw the Marshall he was repeatedly shouting Strength of the Bear! While attempting to head butt two members of the Fort Kerriumburg Police Department, who were taking him to their patrol hover-car.

          No doubt our favorite Marshall was off to some new and amazing adventure. And we can all rest-assured citizens, that even if we might never notice it, there is a man named Bravestarr somewhere out there watching us, always watching us. And while his body may have the strength of the bear, his heart, yes the Marshal’s heart is even stronger.