Midnight Movie Madness

Dead Alive – Everything you always wanted to know about zombies but were afraid to ask (97 minutes New Zealand 1992)

They’re not dead exactly, they’re just… sort of rotting.”

In the pantheon of horror-comedies, “Dead Alive” easily ranks up there with “Evil Dead: army of Darkness” and “Shaun of the dead”. I’ll say right now that you probably shouldn’t eat custard or strawberry ice cream when watching this early effort from Peter Jackson (“Lord of the Rings”, “King Kong”, “the frighteners”), in the days when special effects included stop motion and gallons of movie blood. Lots of movie blood. So much blood, that “Dead Alive” is reputed to be the bloodiest movie of all time.
1957: the latest acquisition of the Wellington zoo is a rare and dangerous Sumatran rat-monkey, whose bite causes humans to turn into ravenous zombies. The creature looks suspiciously like Kitsune, by the way. Unfortunately for Lionel (Timothy Balme), his domineering mother Vera (Elizabeth Moody) is intent on sabotage as he tries to enjoy his first date there with Paquita (Diana Penalver). Standing too close to the cage, Vera gets bit and stomps the rat-monkey to squishy bits in her rage. Lionel takes her home and tries to hide her horrific condition from everyone, leading to problems growing as fast as the body count.
Virtually everything in this gem is outrageous and the carnage is way past the top, into the stratosphere. It also provides answers to vital questions about zombies:

–         What happens when two zombies fall in love

–         Why you shouldn’t take the resulting offspring to the park

–         How to feed a captive zombie when its head is halfway off

–         How to immobilize a zombie with a garden rake and a vise

–         Why animal stimulant shouldn’t be used to poison zombies

And much, much more… Jackson and writers Stephen Sinclair and Frances Walsh (Jackson’s spouse) packed a lot of chuckles and groans in what may be the definitive splatter-fest.

Jackson’s camera work and skillful direction  keep things lively and all the efforts spent recreating the look of the fifties, with cars, clothes and even hair styles of the era greatly enhance the movie’s charm. Performances are above the average for the genre, especially from the leads, but Father McGruder (Stuart Devenie) fighting off zombies in his graveyard is a classic (“I kick *** for the Lord!”), well worthy of Bruce Campbell’s best, as is Uncle Les (Ian Watkin) showing a lot of spine as the zombies overrun Lionel’s house. Also keep an eye out for Peter Jackson’s cameo as the undertaker’s assistant pumping Vera with embalming fluid…

The JBoD rating for this movie is 4 jellybeans (out of 5)

4 beans


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Beyond the Golden Gate: a short hike through Pinnacles National Monument, California

Most of our hikes have been within about a 70 miles radius from the San Francisco peninsula, so this day trip to Pinnacles Monument, 145 miles to the South of San Francisco and just East of the Salinas Valley, promised to offer something different. Well accustomed as we are to the greenery of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (G.G.N.R.A.), I was particularly keen on visiting what I expected to be a blend between the Bay’s woods and forests and the California desert.

Much of the landscape on the way there bears the marks of seismic activity spread over many centuries and Pinnacles itself is so named because of the spectacular jutting remnants of the long extinct Neenach volcano.

We arrived at the park after an early lunch in Hollister and promptly bought more bottled water at the visitors’ store as the sun was almost directly overhead by then. Even in March, and although it had rained in the previous couple of days, you can never have too much water outdoors.

In addition to some unique geological features, the park is also one of very few places where one can observe California Condors in the wild, thanks to outstanding efforts to re-establish the species. They remain one of the main attractions of the park and we spent a good while learning about them and conservancy efforts from the volunteers at the visitor center.

From the Bear Gulch visitor center, we set out onto the Moses Spring trail:

This took us to the Bear Gulch talus caves, which are the result of huge rocks tumbling down narrow gorges during massive earth tremors. Thankfully, it is possible to exit the caves in several places, since in some spots, water was ankle deep and the low ceiling would force us to our knees. Navigating, or rather, contorting through the narrow, claustrophobic passages, I kept thinking we might enact a 30 seconds or less version of “a bug’s life” with a tragic ending should the earth decide to move again, but at least it wouldn’t be thirst we’d die of:
And from there, we climbed up stairs to the Bear Gulch reservoir, a nice place to catch your breath and stretch, where the views are both serene and spectacular:

Hiking the Rim trail was an easy walk away from the reservoir, with plenty of interesting rock formations along the way back to the High Peaks trail, not to mention views very much reminiscent of old Disney nature documentaries. Although we took the High Peaks trail a couple hundred yards towards Hawkins’ peak, we managed to catch sight of only one Condor gliding high above, but were too unsteady to get a clear picture (sorry!).  For more information on this national treasure, check this National Park Service link:http://www.nps.gov/pinn/


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Science droppings

This section is inspired by a DVM who goes by the username of Possum.  I’ve come to greatly enjoy his posts about science, which I will not copy from.  I do like his style though, so that’s what I’ll borrow (a bit of it anyway).  🙂  And since I have no intention of violating copyright law, I’ve provided a paragraph from the article with a link to the rest.  Do take the time to go look.

Who knew?  Animals have emotions and use them.

Happy? Angry? Anxious? How can we measure animal emotions? To understand how animals experience the world and how they should be treated, people need to better understand their emotional lives. A new review of animal emotion suggests that, as in humans, emotions may tell animals about how dangerous or opportunity-laden their world is, and guide the choices that they make.

Read the rest here

Exploding moss?

A primitive, bog-dwelling moss isn’t as simple as it appears: The moss possesses a tiny air gun so powerful it shoots out minuscule mushroom clouds, a first in the plant world.

Read the rest here.

ZOMG!  Zombies!

Problem: you’re a fungus that can only flourish at a certain temperature, humidity, location and distance from the ground but can’t do the legwork to find that perfect spot yourself. Solution:hijack an ant’s body to do the work for you—and then inhabit it.

You can find the rest of the story here.

A bit of poetry

THE LUGUBRIOUS WHING-WHANG

by

James Whitcomb Riley 1849-1916

The rhyme o’ The Raggedy Man’s ‘at’s best
Is Tickle me, Love, in these Lonesome Ribs,–
‘Cause that-un’s the strangest of all o’ the rest,
An’ the worst to learn, an’ the last one guessed,
An’ the funniest one, an’ the foolishest.–
Tickle me, Love, in these Lonesome Ribs!

I don’t know what in the world it means–
Tickle me, Love, in these Lonesome Ribs!–
An’ nen when I _tell_ him I don’t, he leans
Like he was a-grindin’ on some machines
An’ says: Ef I _don’t_, w’y, I don’t know _beans!_
Tickle me, Love, in these Lonesome Ribs!–

Out on the margin of Moonshine Land,
Tickle me, Love, in these Lonesome Ribs!
Out where the Whing-Whang loves to stand,
Writing his name with his tail in the sand,
And swiping it out with his oogerish hand;
Tickle me, Love, in these Lonesome Ribs!

Is it the gibber of Gungs or Keeks?
Tickle me, Love, in these Lonesome Ribs!
Or what _is_ the sound that the Whing-Whang seeks?–
Crouching low by the winding creeks
And holding his breath for weeks and weeks!
Tickle me, Love, in these Lonesome Ribs!

Aroint him the wraithest of wraithly things!
Tickle me, Love, in these Lonesome Ribs!
‘Tis a fair Whing-Whangess, with phosphor rings
And bridal-jewels of fangs and stings;
And she sits and as sadly and softly sings
As the mildewed whir of her own dead wings,–
Tickle me, Dear,
Tickle me here,
Tickle me, Love, in these Lonesome Ribs!

This poem is part of the public domain, thus, there is no copyright infringement.


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Latest Pet Food Recalls

Sponsored by Jellybeansofdoom staff, Tito & Kitsune

For the humans with dogs, please take care that you no longer have any of these in your home.  It would be terrible if any of you got sick.

August 13, 2010 – Merrick Pet Care Recalls Filet Squares & Texas Hold’ems 10oz Bag (Item # 60016 All Lots) Because of Possible Salmonella Health Risk

August 16, 2010 – Merrick Pet Care, Inc. of Amarillo, Texas is recalling all lots of its 10 oz “Beef Filet Squares” for Dogs and “Texas Hold’ems” pet treats because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella. Salmonella can affect animals and there is risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products. People handling the treats can become infected with Salmonella, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the chews or any surfaces exposed to these products. Consumers should dispose of these products in a safe manner by securing them in a covered trash receptacle.

Here’s a link to Merrick Pet Foods

Given that this appears to be a fairly small scale recall that doesn’t involve dozens of items and labels, we ask that you continue to give them your business.  It’s a family owned business and in this economic climate a recall fueled boycott could put them out of business.  We have seen far to much of that lately.


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My turn, my turn

Hello, my name is Kitsune. No, I’m NOT named after the clothing company. Anyhow, they call me Kitsy for short. I’m a Sphynx , which means I have no fur, although I do have some peach fuzz.

Kit a

Naked beast that I am, I race around the house with no shame. I’m quite the exhibitionist. I like to yell a lot. I will also steal my humans’ food when they aren’t looking. I get along well with my brother, Tito. I love to sleep on top of him. Sometimes, he gets tired of it and goes to his cushion.

Kit b

My favorite place to sleep is rolled up in my fuzzy blanket between my humans.


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Let me introduce myself

Hi, I’m Tito.  As dad said, I’m a smoky grey tabby, aka domestic shorthair.

Tito a

I’m not a lap kitty, but I love my family. I couldn’t be mean if I wanted to. I’m phobic when it comes to shoes. I don’t know why. That’s why I hide when my family comes back home from an outing.

Tito b

Once they take their shoes off, I come out to be friendly.  I just love to play fetch with dad.   He throws my little paper balls and I go get them and bring them back for more.   I have a giant cushion that is all mine. Kitsy, my brother, doesn’t like it, so can sleep in peace.


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Welcome to JBoD

Who are we?
Let’s begin with Tito, a smoky-gray domestic short hair without a mean bone in his body. Both he and his brother from another mother, Kitsune, are about a year and a half old as of this writing.
Kitsune, or Kitsy for short, introduced Tito to Parkour, a series of gravity defying leaps and bounds over and against walls, furniture or the unfortunate biped. I should add “naked streaker food thief” to Kitsy’s bio (he’s a Sphynx, so hairless and somewhat lewd). Runs around a lot…
Rudha-an, the other human in the realm, worked as a bookseller for 20 years, has a green thumb, two left feet and a handy love of tools and home repairs (which is cool, because I don’t). She hasn’t met a dust bunny she didn’t like and her favorite writers include Shirley Jackson, Ray Bradbury, Richard Morris, Dan Simmons, Richard Feynman and Stephen Baxter.

As for me, I am a Jack-of-some-trades (guess we call ourselves ronin nowadays) lured westward from Europe over 20 years ago, who worked his way to a corner office, eventually getting laid off) with a marked preference for four-legged creatures, whiskey and wide open spaces, who hasn’t met a dust bunny he couldn’t live with. My list of favorite writers include Gore Vidal, Jean-Pierre Andrevon, William Styron and H.P. Lovecraft.

Now, why jellybeansofdoom?
Those cutesy, not particularly sanitary pads cats walk on?

beans left

beans right

Why, Wolverine’s got nothing on them. As a wee lad, I once witnessed a red tabby put a neighbor in the hospital as the neighbor tried to strangle said kitteh with a snare. Bad move. The cat appeared to have a keen understanding of the human circulatory system and the tools to, shall I say “excavate” his would be assassin’s forearms.
The man bled profusely and “Red” lived to mark his territory for, well who knows how long…
Because cats tend to live and die like outlaws. One day, Fluffy jumps the fence never to be seen again and his or her humans never know what happened. A car? A dog? Some nasty neighbor..?
Unless they dwell in cities and remain indoors for the rest of their life and seem to evolve in front of us. Like the Sphynx breed: no hair nor whiskers, all ears and eyes gauging you. But this is for another post. Jellybeansofdoom, [JBoD], aims to welcome all of us who bear witness to the lives of all these animals whom we share our life with, not solely of the feline persuasion.
These times we live in are rife with challenges and hardships, leading many to find out who and what their true friends are, and as it happens, truest friends wear fur because it actually grows on them. They are kin.

So. To you and them: welcome.


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