Shock Totem Radio
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Here are a handful of links from around the Internet that we found interesting this past week.
I’m sorry, zombie friend, but I didn’t quite catch that. One of the funniest things I saw this week was a Bad Lip Reading of The Walking (and Talking) Dead.
Zombies aren’t creepy. Children are creepy. Nothing exhibits this better than this very cool, very strange Reddit conversation about the creepiest thing your young child has ever said to you .
And after you’ve been chilled by little Jimmy’s prophecy of your death, or sweet Molly’s insistence that SOMEBODY IS RIGHT BEHIND YOU, you can finish freaking yourself out by looking at these hyper-realistic dolls…of you.
Knock yourselves dead, darlings. See something cool that should be in the roundup? Drop me an email, or leave a post on our forum. Let’s while away our time in the dark.
I’ve been thinking about this. If I were a female, I would spend a lot of my time swooning. Not fainting, mind you. I’d be doing that dramatic Southern Antebellum thing with the back of my hand pressed to my forehead.
“Someone call the Colonel! Ah think ah’ve got a case of the Vapahs!”
Because, in this day and age, men can get away with doing almost anything a woman can do. We can be metro-sexual and nurturing. We can wear eyeliner and have it run when we cry in public. We can’t give birth yet but I bet that horror show is right around the corner with the flying cars and sexbots.
But we still can’t get away with a good public swoon.
I would change that shit. I would be the Susan B. Anthony of falling out.
AMENDMENT: Okay. So I guess this doesn’t make a lot of sense since the premise involves me suddenly becoming a female. In which case, I would totally be allowed to swoon whenever the fuck I felt like. So maybe I wouldn’t be much of a cultural trailblazer. But you bet your ass all of my friends would be ready to catch me at a moment’s notice at parties and at Arby’s and shit.
UNUSUAL EVENT of NOTE: The Mothman Festival in Point Pleasant, West Virginia.
If you aren’t familiar with the tale of the Mothman, that’s okay. He doesn’t get as much high-profile attention as his fellow cryptids Bigfoot and Nessie. He doesn’t have the ancient cache of the Yeti or the sheer persistence of the Chupacabra. Nonetheless, every year around this time, thousands flock back to this river town to pay homage to the creature, its legacy and place in Point Pleasant history.
And to eat fried foods.
The tale of the Mothman is a fairly brief and simple one. The people of Point Pleasant saw this strange creature for about a year starting in November of 1966. Two couples reported to police that they saw, and were subsequently chased by, a “flying man with ten foot wings”. More people saw it over the next few weeks. In December of 1967, the Silver Bridge collapsed, killing nearly fifty people. After that horrible accident, the Mothman sightings ceased, causing speculation that the creature and the incident were somehow connected.
The legend of the monster has grown over the years, and in 2002, the town held the first Mothman Festival, which has also flourished in the decade since. Like the 12-foot statue of Mothman erected that first year, the whole thing is very much bigger than life.
I attended again this year, as I have a number of times in the last few years. I certainly encourage you to check it out if you have the opportunity. It is definitely family-friendly and takes on the atmosphere of just about any festival in small town USA. It just has a little bit of a twist to it. They crown a Miss Mothman at a pageant on Friday, have a karaoke contest, and show movies (including The Mothman Prophecies, staring Richard Gere).
Other activities? Wander through the Mothman Museum, which features various artifacts from the sightings, props from the movie and headlines from the local paper; Take a hayride out to the locations of famous sightings; participate in the Mothman 5k; or visit vendor’s alley for Mothman t-shirts, comic books, buttons, mugs, or just about anything else with the Mothman on it.
This year, if you showed up on Sunday at noon, you got the opportunity to see a sneak preview of the Mothman play. If you missed it here, you’ll have to wait for the touring company to come to your town.
The food is also tinged with the specter of Mothman as well. There are some amazing festival delicacies that I’ve had a hard time saying no to. Mothman Pancakes, anyone?
I have to admit, I came to the Mothman Festival for the first time with my tongue planted firmly in my cheek. I was fully prepared to come, laugh a little, and then have the story of it for years to come. It turned out that I had more fun than I had anticipated. The town was full of nice people having fun and bonding over the legend of this strange creature.
Quick, name a vicious fish from the Amazon River that kills humans.
Pffft! You said, “Piranha,” didn’t you? Don’t lie, you did.
Well, I don’t know if the piranha just has a poor press agent (or a good one, depending on the fishy creds we’re trying to establish), but under most circumstances, piranhas don’t kill.
That’s not to say that they aren’t dangerous. Those teeth certainly are sharp, and people occasionally lose fingers and toes to piranhas. Most attacks occur when there is a lot of other food such as fish entrails floating about, but their reputation as a fearless killer is a myth.
The piranha is a scavenger, mainly eating off of things that have already died. They only rarely attack live prey, and almost never kill.
But wait a minute, you say, didn’t Teddy Roosevelt witness an entire cow being devoured in “under a minute”? He did indeed, but that was a setup, with purposely starved fish. Despite their reputation from the movies, you don’t have much to fear from these sharp-toothed fish unless you are wading through chum.
But there is another fish in the Amazon River that poses a serious risk to humans, especially to guys.
Meet the pacu.
Chris, pictured here, is now known around the village as Christine
Now you might already be getting an uneasy feeling just from the sheer size of that thing. While the pacu are related to the piranha, they are much larger, reaching up to three feet in length and 55 pounds. You could feed a large family with just one of these monsters.
Teddy Roosevelt also wrote about the pacu in his book Through the Brazilian Wilderness, but only to pronounce them “delicious eating.” You would think he would have mentioned the teeth.
[ We're the pacu! We're the pacu! We're the pacu! Chomp, chomp, chomp! ]
And as weird and disturbing as that mouth full of human-like molars looks, what they do with those teeth is even worse. Although the pacu is not native to Papua New Guinea, it was released there in the 90′s as a food source and has since been dubbed the “ball cutter,” which is every bit as bad as it sounds.
While the pacu mainly use their teeth for cracking seeds and nuts, it’s apparently not too selective about which nuts to crack.
At least two fishermen in Papua New Guinea have been castrated by the pacu since it’s introduction and subsequently bled to death.
There is even an unsubstantiated report that a 24-inch pacu actually jumped out of it’s aquarium in Fort Worth, Texas, in order to bite its owner on the testicles. These fish apparently zero in on the crotch like an ornery three-year-old. Losing a finger doesn’t sound so bad now, does it?
The pacu are sold by pet stores as a “vegetarian piranha,” but they can quickly outgrow a home aquarium. Some unprepared owners have been known to release their fish into lakes and streams when they grow too large for their tanks.
When the pacu recently made headlines after having been found in an Illinois lake, biologists were quick to point out that it is a tropical fish and could not possibly survive the winter.
More ominously, for US swimmers, pacus have been found in 19 states, including warmer states like Florida, Texas, and California, where it’s chances of establishing a large population would presumably be much better.
It sounds like shrinkage could actually be desirable if you’re swimming with a fish like that.
When the first stuffed specimens of the duck-billed platypus arrived in Europe, many biologists were certain that those wacky Australians had to be hoaxing them, the nineteenth-century version of a rick roll. The English zoologist George Shaw was so skeptical he even cut one apart looking for stitches.
And can you blame them? This thing looks like something Warner Brothers cartoonists might have cooked up after a night of speedballs and hookers.
In the age of Facebook, e-mail and Photoshop, hoaxes are even easier to pull off and are foisted on us at a dizzying pace. From black-market kidney thieves to a check from Bill Gates to photos of the latest celebrity death, we are confronted with a daily fecolith that even Arthur C Clarke could not have predicted.
So I was more than a little skeptical the first time I saw a picture of a spider with the scientific name Theridion grallator, popularly known as the happy face spider. “C’mon…really Internet? I’m not falling for that,” I said in my best bored/jaded voice. No online prankster would get the best of me.
But it is true. Found only on four of the Hawaiian Islands, the spider is about five millimeters long on average and looks like every “Have a Nice Day” t-shirt you’ve ever seen. Long before Harvey Ball created the iconic black-on-yellow smiley face, nature had beaten him to the punch. Is God just messing with us? Of course. How else do you explain a Sixties insurance marketing gimmick on the back of a freakin’ spider?
Then again, with the often undeserved bad reputation that arachnids have, maybe they do need their own goodwill ambassador.
Who is this irresistible creature who has an insatiable love for the dead?
Earlier today, in an attempt to see if one forum member was using two accounts, I tried to figure out how to look up IP addresses through the admin panel of our forum. I could only figure out how to check the IPs of those currently logged in, so since Mercedes was the only one on the forum besides guests, I checked hers.
(It was all for research purposes, I assure you. I was fully clothed—aside from shirt, pants, and underwear.)
But here’s what I found odd. Accompanying her IP info, which was pinging from Maryland, was this image:
Weird, eh? So I did a little investigating. (Again, for research purposes only.) Upon further inspection, it appears that Mercedes lives under a plot on the western side of the Druid Ridge Cemetery in Pikesville, Maryland.
Here is a more detailed image:
Can’t say I’m surprised, really. In fact, a lot of things about her are much clearer now. It definitely explains the smell. But we wouldn’t trade her in for anything.
As the sagacious Violent J once said: “Cemetery lady, my cemetery girl. Cemetery baby, I want you in my world.”
Dear Darth Maul,
I’ve missed you horribly.
It’s been over a decade now since I last saw you falling into oblivion and out of my life. Who was I kidding? I knew I wouldn’t see you again. The guy from
Moulin Rouge! Big Fish cut you in two. There’s no coming back from that.
Life went on, as it does. I
bought new toys made new friends. Got and got over the clap girlfriends. Some were even Star Wars fans. But not one of them understood my sense of loss.
Flash forward to the other night. I’d heard a lot of buzz for this movie Insidious. You know, the latest horror offering from James Wan, the guy responsible for giving us films like the original Saw and Dead Silence. Did you see those, Darth Maul? Call me and we can
duel with our lightsabers discuss their artistic merit. But really what got me in the theater was—I heard you were in it. Everyone’s been saying so.
They were wrong.
The messy tousles of hair, those teeth, those beady eyes…that’s not you.
So you passed on the role. Hey, I get it. Obviously you saw the flaws in the second act, most notably the part where the story shudders to a complete halt in order to sell the audience on a pretty far-fetched if not completely laughable concept in order to “explain” the paranormal happenings. Maybe you just didn’t like the way it ended, which I hear a lot of people didn’t. I see how it can be divisive, and to be honest, that’s why I LIKED it.
James Wan definitely took risks with the direction the film plays out. He tried some things where other filmmakers would have opted to play it safe, and you have to respect that whether you agree with the results or not.
The biggest risk was the way he handled the role you let go to a muppet.
It felt the whole time that Wan was winking at the audience, deliberately tipping his hand, saturating us with visuals of the terrible denizens from “The Further,” and, in the current world of the whole “less is more” philosophy when it comes to movie monsters, it was refreshing to get a good look at what lays in wait amid the shadows.
There was a lot of stuff to like in this movie, Darth Maul, and I bet you’re kicking yourself right about now. You didn’t count on Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne delivering actual emotion and weight as the distraught parents of a comatose child who seems to have become a ghost magnet. You didn’t count on the scares being genuine. And most of all, you didn’t figure in how the guys from the Paranormal Activity franchise would influence the feel of the film.
That’s the best part.
See, that’s the thing about Insidious. It’s not a gotcha! kind of scary movie. The scary stuff is already in the shot, and you just haven’t noticed yet. Long shots just seem to wander—from the living room, down the hallway—wait, what was that in the corner just standing there, is that AHH IT IS!!!
And that’s scary. These monsters don’t have to find you. They wait like a hellish nightmare version of Where’s Waldo? for you to find them. Terrifying.
Darth Maul, I still miss you, and I hope next time James Wan calls, you’ll at least consider picking up the phone.
And fire your agent. (I’ll be your agent. Call me.)
Would you like a peek into what it is like to read through the slush pile? Amazingly, it is quite a bit like being a high-school English teacher, if the lists being passed around the Internet are any indication.
According to the story (you can’t always trust what you read on the Internet, surprisingly enough), a few years ago the Washington Post ran a contest for English teachers to send in the worst analogies they had read in students’ papers.
From those supposed entries, here are the 56 worst: