Thursday, October 16, 2014

10 Halloween Urban legends

So the original Cos-play holiday is coming.  Good old All Hallows eve.  I like it for semi creepyness.  But more Halloween is the gateway to that holiday roller coaster. Once Halloween goes by it seems like the rest of they days and nights fly by with unparalleled speed.  Soon enough you are toasting a new year and wondering just what happened to the rest of the year.  Well as a kid Halloween was one of the bang up beat all holidays.  You would get to dress up as something weird, horrific or cool and go get free candy.  Nothing better.  At that age, Christmas is light years away.  Once you are older, you're lucky if you can taste Thanksgiving's pumpkin pie before you are done opening presents.  Well this list is more about the urban legends that I remember hearing during Halloween.  I can't verify one of them and I'm not going to snopes.  Here we go...

10. melt the candy -  This one was about kids who's earth grown druid hippy parents didn't want them having any candy but they didn't want them to miss out on all of the fun of the holiday, so they would let each of their children pick out one candy item and then melt the rest in a big pot.  Sometimes instead of melting the candy would be crushed so nobody could make use of this horrible capitalist treat.   No this story didn't make any sense but it did teach me a grave disdain of granola chewing hippies.  No candy, humph!  They must be communists!

9. The cat lady - This was a local tale and a bit more involved as it required people to trespass onto a persons property to witness rows of tiny cat graves.  That's the assumption anyway.  Was I ever able to prove it?  no.   I had heard about it from those that had.  Oddly enough nearly every locality has some kind of story like this that involves someones secluded property and some very tall assumptions.  If you ever have the chance to trespass on private property, I don't recommend it. It's scary at best.  Illegal at worst and these poor people are probably not at all what you think and would just like to be left alone.

8. apple razor blades - This one has been around for ages.  The kid hater that finally gets their revenge by sliding some Remington steel razor blades into a bushel basket of red delicious and hand them out as treats to all the miscreant kids wandering around.  Looking back I keep wondering what kid would be dumb enough to take a bite of an apple without looking it over.  Not to mention the parents examining the candy for potential bombs.  The truth is, no self respecting kid would ever have seen that apple make it home.  An apple is right next to a tooth brush from your neighborhood dentist in the Parthenon of sucky Halloween treats and would probably have been thrown away...or something.

7. kidnap kids - Oh yeah I heard this one a lot growing up.  There were bands of bad people scooping up kids by the dozen and kidnapping them.  Nobody would know the difference because it was Halloween.  I have yet to hear about a kidnapping during Halloween, and if there is, I don't want to hear about it.  But honestly how many witnesses are there on the streets?  Then again, nobody ever accused a criminal of being smart.  It was because of this that I never went into anyone's house to experience peeled grape eyeballs and cold spaghetti guts or the mini hallway of terrors.  I just knew I was going to suddenly be abducted.  I envisioned some kind of giant steel cage filled with costumed kids wishing they had taken heed of their friends mothers advice.

6. old folks giving away full candy bars - If I was only the one street over I would have made a HAUL!!!  Usually the day after Halloween I would hear from my friends about some house or street full of old folks that just loved the young-ins and were giving away a kings ransom in candy.  Full size candy bars of many varieties.  Take one, Take a few!  Enjoy your youth!  For some reason I never found the Eldorado of elderly handing out packaged confections.  I was just happy to have a bag full of small candy and pixy stick dust in the bottom of the bag.

5. kids getting their candy stolen - I had heard about roaming bands of punks that were stealing kid's candy.  I had never witnessed it myself, but it seemed plausible.  Those older kids were capable of anything.  Certainly stealing from the law abiding 8 year olds of the town was not beneath them.   Once again, I had never had my lollipops purloined.  In fact the only thief of my candy was mom and dad and it was never the crap candy either.  They always went for the peanut butter cups and chocolate bars leaving me with peanut butter taffy and smarties.

4. Pop Rocks Mikey - Once pop rocks started coming on the scene, they were a big deal in the Halloween candy rounds.  They were rare and wonderful.  If you did happen to get any, you would immediately hear the inaccurate tale of Mikey the kid from the life cereal commercials and how after eating more than his fair share of pop rocks he downed several carbonated soft drinks the name of the brand escapes me.  Close after he would have to be rushed to the hospital because his stomach exploded like he had an alien exchange student in his small intestine.  Never happened.  Thanks to one of the very first Mythbusters shows this was proven to be particularly impossible.  Great story though.

3. Near Death Ghost experiences - What better time to trot out the Halloween themed story about a ghost or someone you knew that was playing with a ouija board or holding a seance?  My dad had several he liked to entertain us kids with.  One he told was of a local group of 3 friends that decided to go into an abandoned house to play with a parker brothers brand ouija board.  By the end of the night.  They were all hospitalized and were unable to say anything about the horrors witnessed, but they all had shock white hair from the experience.  Oh yeah, it was a chiller.  Dad didn't appreciate a lot of followup questions about a lot of his stories, so we took him at his word.  It was vivid enough that I still remembered the images I had imagined as a kid of these poor shocked kids that were foolish enough to play with the Devil's Telegraph.

2. LSD Candy - This was the more modern version of the razor blade apple.  It was lsd laced candy.  Since LSD was often ingested on a sugar cube, why not on candy?  Once again, hippies ruin everything.

1. Hot Pennies - Along with the razor blade apples I had heard of bitter old people only scant days away from their final death rattling breath that wished nothing but ill for the youth.  The tale goes that they would heat up stacks of pennies and put them in the kids bags.  The pennies were so hot that they would melt the candy and go right through the plastic candy bag rendering it some kind of time lapsed pinata.  I'm sure they would peer out their window and laugh their bitter cold laugh as kids tried to collect their nights booty as it was spilling out into the street.  Never witnessed, but heard nearly every year.

Once again, I thought maybe this was it.  But then another idea crept into my addled brain.  Who knows?  maybe it will happen again in 15 days.  Come back and find out!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

10 Traits a hero apparently needs

A hero here , a hero there, there are lots of hero's on the big screen these days.  They are everywhere.  We love the hero, they are people we wish we could be.  But every hero has a few things in common with his fellow hero's.  Here is a few I thought of...

10 - Personal Tragedy - The hero's journey always seems to start with this.  Some kind of personal tragedy.  The interesting thing is that as characters, hero's need some kind of tragedy that is universal.  Usually the loss of a parent.  I've never seen anyone driven to a life of crime fighting because they got a C on a test or came home to find their pet hamster had died.   It has to be a genuine life changing event that usually ends in you losing one or both parents.

9 - No specific need for food - Hero's have an interesting life in that they rarely eat or use the bathroom.  Mostly this is because there isn't anything interesting happening at those times so why bother?  Besides, your average hero might not need those things anyway.  A notable exception is the Flash.  He's always gotta be eating because he burns up thousands of calories running as fast as he does, or even just standing still.

8 - Really dumb people around them - There is something about hero's that make everyone around them helpless and stupid.  It's not very far off to say that we are really that way.  When you call technical support and find someone that can answer your questions, you immediately turn your brain off.  Super Tech is here and will solve all the problems.  Same with driving.  When you are driving somewhere, you are master of time and space.  When you are a passenger, you barely know where you are, you leave it in the hands of the one with the steering wheel.

7 - No sense of self preservation - Hero's seem to rush into danger headlong.  You start to think to yourself, 'Yeah, I'd do that too if I had _____'  where blank is some power that helps the hero.  Well unless that hero is Superman and impervious to everything, you would still be giving yourself second thoughts.  Who want's to get burned? Drowned? Crushed?  Nobody.  But hero's don't really care.  It's probably because they lost their parents.

6 - Really smart person that replaces a parent - Now just because the hero has lost their family doesn't mean they don't have mentors.  A good hero will always have the one or two people that they talk to in order to help them out of a jam.  Usually this person is dispassionate enough to tell the Hero what they need to hear, but enough of a friend to stick by them through thick and thin.

5 - Super powers of some sort - Really without powers, you are just a dude that gets himself into other peoples business.  Once you have a selection of super powers, you are ready to take your show on the road.  Strength, Speed, ESP, There are loads of powers out there, just pick one and have at it.

4 - Weakness - Unfortunately a good hero needs a weekness.  Something for the bad guys to exploit.  Usually this weakness is uncovered by one of that hero's well meaning idiot friends.  Either by helping or by accident, the weakness always comes out.  The real weakness of any Hero is the friends and family they have around them.  Once a bad guy discovers that, they have a real edge.  Unless of course the Hero finds their friends and family.  Except the hero never looks for that.  I wonder why...hmmmm.

3 - No problems with money - Rich or poor, the hero always seems to have what they need.  In fact, sometimes money IS the super power.  Can you imagine Bill Gates in colorful underwear stopping crime?  I'm sure he can.  Since Heros are nearly invincible on a regular day, Money shouldn't really be a problem even if they aren't rich.  Spider-man always needs money, but doesn't need a car, The flash is faster than a car, Superman doesn't need anything.  Money is for regular mortals.

2 - Costume(s) - Speaking of colorful underwear, a Hero needs some kind of disguise.  Why?  primarily because they don't want to be identified as liable for all the collateral damage they wreak capturing criminals.  If you are going to be a hero, you need your anonymity.  After all, Just because Wonder Woman is a great crime fighter doesn't mean Diana Prince wouldn't like to see a movie sometimes.

1 - Your Tax dollars Hard at work - We already discussed that hero's don't need money, but under the pretext that they do, the best they can be is a consultant or entrepreneur.  Once in a while, they get into a profession of some sort that helps them solve crimes, but usually they rely on benefactors like the Government.  Fantastic 4, I'm looking at you.  Even Batman has Government contracts that make his company profitable.  Tony Stark (Iron Man) might as well BE the Government.  Wonder Woman works at the Pentagon.  If they aren't directly involved, Hero's are often in Law enforcement or Research fields, each heavily subsidized by tax dollars.  American way indeed.

There it is.  Think you're close?  Don't take the bait.  Just get a job and start paying into the debt hole.  You won't be the hero we want, but you will be the hero we need.