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“What is a Jack-o’-lantern?” she asked.
“It is a pumpkin, hollowed out, its flesh carved with a design, usually a face, and a candle placed inside turning it into a lantern. Do you not have them?”
“No. But why is it called Jack?”
“I don’t know. I suppose, since there is usually a face carved in it, it was given a name – Jack.”
“No. There is always a reason why,” she said.
The Jack-o’-lantern is related to the Will-o’-wisp. It literally means “Jack, of the lantern.” The Will-o’-wisp occurs in folklore throughout the world, in various forms, the lights seen in the distance being souls, lost souls. Usually witches.
Meanwhile, their erstwhile compadre, the Jack-o’-lantern exists in various folklores. Occasionally, it is known as Jack McLantern. For Jack was a wicked soul. And the devil one day came to claim him. But he made a deal with the devil. As one would sometimes, often, do in a folktale. For our dear protracted protagonist, a jack of all trades, was, in fact, a thief! And one day he was being chased by villagers. It was this day the devil came to claim his soul. But he made a deal with the devil. The devil protected him from the villagers. For Jack was more afraid of their wrath than the wrath of the evil one. And as part of the deal, the ever wily Jack, he made the devil promise that he would never go to Hell. And it was agreed. And Jack was off. He got off, Scott-free, or so he believed.
“Who is Scott?” she thought.
But sadly, he did not bargain for immortality. For he had heard the betrayals that occurred in such deals. So when he died he was, by his own bargain, disallowed entrance to Hell. While his additional years of wickedness insured he could also never enter the kingdom of Heaven. With nowhere to go Jack was doomed to roam the Earth forever as a Will-o’-wisp. However. Jack was ever a wily one. And his favorite food was a turnip, later morphing into a pumpkin, as things happen in folktales. And his spirit, a shiny, shimmering spirit, giving off the light of Hell fire, was trapped within. It turned a mundane foodstuff into a shining lantern. And it protected those who utilized it from spirits ever-more-so malevolent and powerful than Jack by showing them a terrible fate.
I acquired a copy of the 1947 novel ZOTZ! By Walter Karig, who also wrote Nancy Drew novels. It was later made into a Tom Poston (George on Newhart) movie directed by 1950s schlock master William Castle (The Tingler) .
It’s full of Soviet spies. And ladies, Strange ladies, sitting on sofas. Strange sofas. And magical coins.
A Vintage fridge keeps things slightly cool.
But mine does not. For as of almost a week ago it is dead. I mean I still have it, but the insides hold at 68°. And rising. It’s where I store the room temperature food.
A new one will be delivered tomorrow. A no-frills version – according to the repairman and three salesman at three stores the new refrigerant is more corrosive than Freon and burns out compressors, and they declared my 8 1/2 year-old fridge to be “A good life span.” And I said “then there’s no reason to buy anything but the cheapest cheap fridge. Since they’re not built to last anyway.” Why pay for the fancy stuff that will keep working even after the compressor renders your refrigerator a room temperature box?
PS, since I have an abandoned refrigerator stationed in my kitchen I guess I have to be on the lookout for roving bands of street urchins who may wish to play inside. Next to the homemade sauerkraut.
H.G. Wells went to the theater with Charles Chaplin. It was an early sound film and Chaplin fidgeted in his seat all the way through it. When it was over Chaplin said, “It was a terrible film.”
“Yes,” said Wells. “But there was talking. And that’s enough for me.”
My own personal favorite backhanded compliment was a letter I received which simply said, “Sometimes I love you.”
Can’t afford the status quo of War, Big Business Giveaways, Private Prisons, Institutionalized Racism, Unregulated Healthcare, College Loans.
Can’t afford the lack of a Living Wage.
Can’t afford Outsourcing, Offshoring, Free Trade shenanigans.
Can’t afford businesses declaring everyone an independent contractor.
Can’t afford driving a personal car into the ground for someone else to profit.
Can’t afford the shifting of the burden to the bottom.
Can’t afford payday loans.
Can’t afford the sky high rent.
Can’t afford the money so far spent that profited only the very top.
Can’t afford to pick up the tab for those who attend $20,000 a plate fundraisers While you and I may skip meals.
Can’t afford the bailout of the ship that sunk mine. Do I look like a fool’s goldmine?
Can’t afford $7,000 a pill to stay alive.
Can’t afford not to invest in the future.
Can’t afford the status quo. It’s unrealistic. It has no future. It was obsolete when it started. Why should you and I have to pay for it?
It is not necessary to say nice things about public figures when they die.
In the case of Supreme Court Justice Scalia, he is perhaps best remembered as the judge who said “a claim of factual innocence is not a legal claim” in denying a hearing in a death penalty case.
Only a complete asshole would write that.
He was not a “great legal writer” he was a petulant ass. He was not “a man of strong opinions” he was a closed minded ideologue. He was a supporter of the constitution only when it was convenient for him. He was a hypocrite. A bigot. He was on the wrong side of history. And this is how he should be remembered. Save the praise for the praiseworthy.
About a decade ago there was a kid who danced on Reagan’s grave. He should dance on Scalia’s grave. He’s our designated dancer.
This is a true story.
In the old days wealthy estates would set up a Hermitage. In the hermitage would live one hermit. The Hermitage would be set up on the outskirts of the estate, probably near the entrance. Visitors entering the estate would be able to see the Hermitage, and possibly the hermit, actively pursuing the hermit lifestyle. But they would not speak to the hermit for the hermit was paid to hermit.
Modern life is different. But the same.
“CHRISTIAN, n. One who believes that the New Testament is a divinely inspired book admirably suited to the spiritual needs of his neighbor. One who follows the teachings of Christ in so far as they are not inconsistent with a life of sin.”
Excerpt From: Ambrose Bierce “The Devil’s Dictionary” 1906
Professional wrestler “Rowdy” Roddy piper came to my high school to speak to my world problems class. He gave a long blustering right wing tirade.
He was there to talk about his expertise vis-a-vis violence in society. He did not come in his work clothes but dressed in jeans and a dress-shirt. On the wall was a signed photo of the teacher’s hero: Ronald Reagan.
He did bring his rasslin’ bluster, somewhat toned down, as he launched into a tirade about how society was too lenient on youth and other crimes. As he worked himself into a boil he finally reached his crescendo with a statement that people should be beaten and shot for petty crimes and hijinks. The room laughed at him. He was taken aback and growled, “You laugh because none of you have ever been shot!” And the laughter exploded. You could barely hear him protest, “If any of you had ever been shot you wouldn’t be laughing.” He had the room rolling in the aisles.
In the center of the room, laughing, was a guy in a leg cast. He had been shot.
After Piper left, the teacher, a friend of Piper, gave a long blustering speech about how we were mean to Rowdy Roddy Piper.
I know what you’re saying. Roddy Piper died today. This is a terrible memorial. But I enjoyed the film They Live; just not as much as Hell Comes to Frogtown.