Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Slasher brilliance

It's summer, so the horror films are coming on apace. I never actually went to see any of the famous slasher films when I was young, but I can't help noticing that they're being made all over again, and without, it seems, any particular new twist or insight. Just better special effects.

Despite not seeing the Jason, Scream, Nightmare on Elm Street movies, I've read about them, and learned the basic premise: unstoppable monster with vaguely supernatural powers comes back to kill unwary or terrified teens, especially sexually active ones. Death is the punishment for sex, they all seem to agree. One girl is left alive at the end.

Just in time for the movies, here is an utterly brilliant script for the earliest slasher story of them all, written by Shakespeare. I especially liked the 2-line introductions of all the hapless victims:

Exit Chorus; enter Moros & Hippolyta, Satyrus & Carnalia, Impudicus & Lascivia, Turpino & Bimbona.
.
Moros: Come, we must find the camp, and all prepare
For opening – then, frolic without care.
.
Hippolyta: Some passing chill brings goosebumps to my skin,
Some strange foreboding quivers up my spine...
.
Satyrus: From all such foolish fancies am I free;
I think of nought but coming revelry!
.
Carnalia: Aye, thinking on it warms my quickened heart;
In revelry I’ll play no modest part!
.
Impudicus: My thoughts turn to my fair Lascivia’s charms,
And what we'll find when in each other’s arms.
.
Lascivia: You are too froward, sir – think all you please:
You may find I am nothing but a tease.
.
Turpino: Here is much beer and wine – I shall drink deep
And pass the night in sotted swinish sleep.
.
Bimbona: So nothing shall we lack of what we need,
I have with me a casket of fine weed.


(Hat tip, not to mention swirling cape and low bow, to The Trousered Ape)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

The Bags of Summer

A few weeks ago, The Swan of Newark looked up from her volume of Mrs. Beeton's Household Book of Overextended Metaphors and penned this gem:
A few seconds past and I said, "What is it?" A few more seconds and she looked up and said, "++Katharine Jefferts Schori has just hit one out of the park."

It appears "Our Katie" has stepped up to the bat and decided to play good old fashioned American baseball with the Big Boys across the pond.
The occasion was The Madwoman of Second Avenue's Pentecost-timed Grand Remonstrance to the Archbishop of Canterbury. Since 'the Big Boys across the pond' don't play baseball, she must have felt pretty confident that this was going to be as easy as taking candy from a baby, or robbing a conservative congregation of its steeple.
It's her response to the Archbishop of Canterbury's Pentecost Letter, and it's a pip.

There were no swings and misses. She never chocked[sic] the bat. Neither did she foul out for an easy walk to first, just to load the bases.
No, she boasted about the ancient, 50-year long campaign to elevate "Four (Or More) Bare Legs In A Bed" to the status of a sacrament. That was followed by a languishing glance at the self-sacrificing nature that could spend 6 years (2003 to 2009) sullenly sulking through a moratorium they'd agreed to, all the while lying in wait for just the right moment to break their promise with a dramatic flipping of the bird.
She looked over the madding crowd, some of whom boo'd while others shouted words of encouragement. She took the bat and hit the dirt from her shoes with this:
We do not seek to impose our understanding on others. We do earnestly hope for continued dialogue with those who disagree, for we believe that the Spirit is always calling us to greater understanding.

We live in great concern that colonial attitudes continue, particularly in attempts to impose a single understanding across widely varying contexts and cultures. We note that the cultural contexts in which The Episcopal Church’s decisions have generated the greatest objection and reaction are also often the same contexts where women are barred from full ordained leadership, including the Church of England.
Then, she seemed to center herself with a deep breath and then a spit, straddled home plate, took steady aim and knocked that sucker right out of the park.
Spit, eh? I always thought Mrs. Schori had a prominent jaw, but who knew it was loaded up with Copenhagen?
As the crowd roared and cheered, Our Katie took a victory lap around the bases, sliding into home base with this final quote:
As a Church of many nations, languages, and peoples, we will continue to seek every opportunity to increase our partnership in God’s mission for a healed creation and holy community. We look forward to the ongoing growth in partnership possible in the Listening Process, Continuing Indaba, Bible in the Life of the Church, Theological Education in the Anglican Communion, and the myriad of less formal and more local partnerships across the Communion – efforts in mission and ministry that inform and transform individuals and communities toward the vision of the Gospel – a healed world, loving God and neighbor, in the love and friendship shown us in God Incarnate.
But the Swan of Newark hasn't finished waterboarding this metaphor to extract the last possible utility out of it:
We're still going to play baseball on our field and by 'the' rules - not the ones made up by certain "Instruments of Communion" who want to change the rules in the middle of a game that's not going +++His way.

The +++ABC can't be franchise owner as well as the ump who calls the shots as they come over the plate.

So, Rowan, as we say over on this side of the Pond - grab a dog and some suds, park your back end in a stadium seat, keep your pie hole shut and watch the game. You might learn a few things about how to play it.

Alas, a week later it's clear that The Madwoman of Second Avenue instead hit a pop fly directly over the pitcher's mound. Not only that, the moment it was caught everyone on base started to run and they were all thrown out in turn - baseball's stupidest manoeuvre, the Quadruple Play.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Impregnable? I think not.

The Ottawa Citizen today had a story about how raccoons have figured out a way of getting into the new green bins issued to us at the beginning of the year, to inaugurate our Green Box program.

I was skeptical of the program, but I've become a believer. By putting all our food scraps into the green bin, we've reduced our regular garbage to just one can per week, which is half as much as we used to put out. Furthermore, the garbage can is very lightweight now - all that goes into it is pretty much plastic and a little foil. All the heavy stuff is in the green bin.

Now that it's summer, I collect the food waste and keep it in the deepfreeze until garbage day - we have room in the freezer, and I don't like things ripening in the sun and getting smelly, even though the bins are pretty airtight. In the winter I put bags of garbage right into the bin, though, and one day when I moved it I noticed tiny green plastic shavings on the ground. When I looked at the edge of the bin, sure enough I found tiny little teeth marks, so I knew a raccoon had been investigating.

Well, one reporter in town was troubled with a superbrain raccoon, who figured out how to crack the security system of the green bin. Finally, he secretly recorded the raccoon to see how it was done, and this is the result. I love how the raccoon looks surprised when his trick works, then has to figure out how to get the goodies in the bin without letting the lid fall back down on him. His solution was simple and efficient: shove the whole bin right off the porch. At the end, you can't see anything anymore - pushing the bin pushed the top almost out of camera range - but you can hear the raccoon snacking on the garbage!