I’m trying not to step on baby animals.

It’s harder than you’d think.  I swear I almost tripped over BOTH the rabbittwerps you see below.  The second one is the guy that mysteriously sits outside my doorstep, but then darts away whenever I open the door.  (I still haven’t figured that out yet.)  Please, no “Fatal Attraction” jokes if you’re responding to this blog entry on Facebook.  Only we 80’s kids get the reference, and everyone else can tell how old we are.

And it ain’t just rabbittwerps.  A friend out in Botetourt was showing me her garden last week when a fawn shot up and away maybe three feet from me … it startled me enough to make me jump.  I so wish I could have gotten a picture of that fawn, but I am not nearly fast enough.  They’re beautiful animals — the young one’s coats are the color of light coffee with soft, wide speckles of heavy cream.

Part of the irony here is that my friend’s brother (they’re both alumbuds of mine) makes absolutely incredible venison burgers.  I’m serious.


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Yupik Eskimo “tunghak” mask, late 19th Century

Mask depicting the face of a tunghak (keeper of the game), Yupik Eskimo, Alaska, Yukon River area, late 19th century, wood and paint Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, Texas.


Photo credit: By Photo: User:FA2010 (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

A short review of the premiere of “The Mist” (2017)

I couldn’t help but feel just slightly disappointed by the premiere of “The Mist” (2017).  It wasn’t bad … it just wasn’t as amazing as its trailer made it look.  I’d rate it a 7 out of 10.

The first episode’s horror elements felt rote, rushed and cheesy.  The pre-credits teaser was nearly campy.  Director Adam Bernstein just isn’t Frank Darabont.  (Curiously, each episode seems to be helmed by a different director.)  And what seems like “The Mist’s” milquetoast main protagonist is played somewhat anemically by Morgan Spector.

Still, the show displays some promise.  Instead of rushing straight into its otherworldly-monster MacGuffin, it goes to great lengths to set up some interesting human drama, and it mostly succeeds.  Besides Spector’s ostensibly likable Dad, the characters felt fresh and interesting.  (And regarding that human drama?  I strongly suspect the individual accused of the crime here is not the actual perpetrator.  That’s what the clues are telling me, anyway.  It would be devilishly clever, I think, if his accuser turned out to be the one guilty.)  “The Mist’s” attention to characters here is something of which I think Stephen King would approve.

The show also seems pretty ambitious.  It places its diversity of characters in a number of locations throughout its small-town setting, and a couple are embroiled in some kind of interesting conflict even before the titular mist arrives.  For just a single episode, it feels tightly plotted.

Anyway, if you’re curious about what the mist really is … there is an explanation in King’s source material — and I’m not talking about only the vague allusions in the novella of the same name.  Die-hard King fans know it was further described in his “The Dark Tower” series.  It’s been named as “todash space” by the denizens of one of King’s many worlds — it’s a monster-filled limbo that falls between myriad parallel universes: http://stephenking.wikia.com/wiki/Todash_space.





Mary Washington’s grave and the Gordon Family Cemetery, Fredericksburg, VA, June 2017

The entrance to Kenmore Park/Memorial Park on Washington Avenue.  The obelisk itself is the grave of Mary Washington, George Washington’s mother; right behind it is the Gordon Family Cemetery.  Although George’s father died when he was just 11 years old, his mother saw him ascend the presidency.  She died in 1789.






Looking east from the park’s entrance, you can see First Christian Church, on the intersection of Washington Avenue and Pitt Street.



Washington Avenue looking south.



Gordon Family Cemetery.  The Gordons lived at Kenmore; the gravestones date from 1826 to 1872.

If you were a Mary Washington College student returning from a party downtown in the 1990’s, you could pass the cemetery on your way back to campus at night.  I saw a group of high school kids inside the cemetery one night; they scattered in a panic when they realized I’d noticed them.  (To my knowledge, no Mary Wash kids were involved in shenanigans like that here.)  I believe it is illegal to enter a cemetery like this at night … and I have it on good authority that Southern cops take such an offense very, very seriously.







Behind the cemetery is Meditation Rock.  This was an occasional destination for college students out for a walk.  Shortly after I arrived at Mary Washington in 1990 from New York, a patient group of upperclassmen “adopted” me and kindly resolved to keep me out of trouble.  (One of them is still my “big brother” today.)  This is one of the first places they showed me when they gave me a tour of the town.




Am I a weird guy if I suggest that images of Meditation Rock can have Freudian undercurrents?  Is that wrong?  There is a whole “Picnic at Hanging Rock” vibe here.  (The sad thing is, I was actually studying Freud at about the time I first saw it, and it never occurred to me then.)  The juxtaposition with the nearby images associated with death and godliness is aesthetically striking.







The Kenmore Apartments are still across Kenmore Avenue on the other side of the park.






Cover of Myron Kosloff’s “Running Wild,” by artist Eric Stanton, 1963

The artwork for mid-twentieth century pulp novels was sometimes “so bad, it’s good.”

Here’s a head-scratcher — the woman on the table is waving her bra around, yet is … also still wearing a bra.  Did she have on two?  Did an editor or art director feel the need to bowlderize the illustration by inking in a (non-matching) bra to cover her breasts?

“Myron Kosloff” was a somewhat puzzling nom-de-plume for author Paul Little.  This was evidently part of the “First Niter” series.



Throwback Thursday: “Batman” (1966 – 1968)

Of course.

Rest easy, Adam West.

No, I wasn’t alive in the 1960’s, but I loved the show’s reruns as a tot in the 70’s — even before I was old enough to read the “CRASHes,” “WHAMs” and “BAMs.”  I also had (and loved) those crudely made dolls made by Mego.  (I’m starting to think that company made every toy before the 1980’s finally arrived.)