Monday, March 31, 2008

At this recent post, I shared a picture of an albino alligator. (Or perhaps it was a colorless crocodile-- I can't keep them straight.) Anyway, I just found a photo of what might be its natural prey:

Cute and creepy at the same time, hunh? (Coincidentally, that's how my wife describes me.)

I sort of like how the reflected light in its left gives a zombie look. Bambi, by way of George Romero!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Natural horror

Just over a week ago, I heard the horrible news of the flooding of the Meramec River in Missouri and the White River in Arkansas, The news brought back a lot of painful memories. In '93, I lived in St. Louis, and the Mississippi flooded much of the metro area. Friends and neighbors lost property, businesses shut down, and transportation was difficult. The Meramec flooded nearby communities west of St. Louis at that time. Here's a typical photo of much of the metro area:


The recent flooding news in Arkansas had a personal connection. My father grew up on a bluff overlooking the White River, in a town called Calico Rock. Many relatives and friends of the family grew up in the area. Many are still there. So the news saddens and horrifies me.

I grew up in a town about 30 miles away, called Mountain Home. They recently got a foot of rain in 24 hours, and more rain the next day; my brother's house suffered damage.

In my e-mail I got some photos and video showing how powerful and destructive a force water can be. Here's two, showing a small shack or large appliance floating downstream, (hard to tell, the perspective is from a low bluff), a reminder that someone was experiencing loss and misery:



This business was ruined:


Here is the video of the house that was carried away and demolished by a collision into a bridge:



I like this blog to be fun, and this is definitely waaay into no-fun territory. But sometimes, pain and trouble just pushes into life, and you might as well acknowledge what parts are fascinating, if sad. And the mystery of water, and how powerful it can be, fascinates me.

Seeing those photos and video brought back every anxious and scary memory that's associated with water that I have from childhood: my father telling of going "canoodling", when he was a boy, along the river bank (that's reaching into an underwater hole to grab a fish)-- and how a friend of his lost a finger to a snapping turtle that way. Seeing images of a corpse in water in the films "Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte" and "The Tingler" (the former in a late-night viewing at age 4 with my mother, and the latter in "Famous Monsters" magazine.)


And seeing in "My Weekly Reader" this famous image and wondering what might lurk in our local lake, Lake Norfork:

To tell the truth, despite being a nervous and anxious little kid, I didn't let my imagination keep me from swimming in the lake! Just not by myself.

As a kid, I thought we were protected from floods, because I heard adults mention that we lived in a "dry county"!

That reminds me-- I think I need a drink.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

One more thing...


...the "thing" being another cool (and ghostly-looking) reptile!

I forgot that I had in my files a picture of an albino alligator. I had found it somewhere on the 'net; I forget where. But there it is.

I hope that the thing winds up taxidermied when it passes away (if it's still alive). I have fond memories of seeing "Big Arkie," a 13 foot, 500 pound alligator that was big attraction at the Little Rock Zoo when I was a child; I remember seeing him both alive and when he was dead, because when Big Arkie died in 1970 he was stuffed and put back on display at the zoo for another few years.

At the time of his death, he was thought to be the largest alligator in captivity in the western hemisphere. He'd been caught in 1952 in a flooded pasture near Hope, Arkansas.

His body, seen below, is now in a university reference collection in Arkansas and is no longer on display to the public. But a lot of Arkansans, and former Arkansans like me, sure have vivid memories of the big hulk.

Photo by Dr. Stanley E. Trauth

Now THIS would make a great pet!


This very large cane toad was found a few years ago in Australia, one of the biggest ever seen. About as big as a small chihuahua, it was dubbed "Toadzilla". I think it would make a great pet!

I've always been fascinated with weird beasties. The denizens of the amphibian, reptile, and insect worlds, being cold-blooded and hairless, are so fundamentally alien. I kept pet turtles as a kid, my older brother had snakes.

As a horror movie-loving kid, I was fascinated by the poster below when it was put in the COMING SOON window of the local theater:

When I was a small child, my grandparent's house had some concrete steps in back, and the bottom step had a hole in it. A toad lived in that hole for some time and as a kid I wondered if that toad would ever lunge out at me if I got too close to the hole.

The little guy seen in the photo below looks like he would. This toad was seen at the American Dime Museum in Baltimore. When the ADM closed last year, it sold off most of its collection of oddities. I could not afford to buy anything in their online auction, but I sure found a wealth of images. Alas, my computer crashed later and all my ADM images but one-- this one below-- were lost.


The stuffed-and-embellished toad above would truly be a cherished pet in my home. It's perfect: nice to look at, easy to care for, and makes no noise. No muss, no fuss!

An account of visiting the American Dime Museum, complete with another picture of the terrible-toothed horny toad, can be found here.

And a recent news about the discovery of the fossilized remains of a giant "devil toad" (complete with artist's rendering) can be found by clicking here.









While you're wearing out your finger checking out links , go here and here to see some photos of some dazzlingly odd, cannibalistic, real horned frogs!

Monday, March 24, 2008

My kinda Easter egg

Found this image at another blog, and traced it to the Flickr photos of "bcompetent". It delighted me-- I like the artistic talent and whimsy seen in the photo!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Holiday wishes


Hope your basket of gaily-colored caviar lacked toxins! My sympathies if it didn't!

Spring's sprung!

I'm a little late in posting this, but Spring is officially here, and I want to share one my favorite ways of celebrating the vernal equinox: listening to Zacherley's "A Sure Sign of Spring".

Enjoy it from me-- here's a link to the song, which is available for a limited time:

A Sure Sign of Spring

This song always puts me in a great mood at this time of year-- I hope it will you, too.

************
You can buy Zach's Rondo Award-winning CD
Interment For Two
by sending a $19.00 money
order only ($15.00 plus $4.oo shipping; first class with delivery confirmation) to

Mike Gilks
P.O. Box 520
East Quogue, NY 11942


Saturday, March 22, 2008

Updates

A week ago, I posted about the closing of INCREDIBLY STRANGE VIDEO, a local store offering the best in macabre and unusual dvds, videotapes, posters, magazines, posters, t-shirts and collectables-- great place that was going to be missed. Well, go back and read that entry, because I've added a photo of this besotted noggin with Bruce Lentz, the hard-rockin' owner. I've also added both a link to an online article about the closing of ISV, as well as links to web pages where you can listen to Bruce singing! (He's the vocalist and main songwriter of the horror rock band FORBIDDEN FIVE.)

One of the most popular posts here at TDSH is about artist Linda Miller, who specializes in black and white watercolors inspired by old horror movies. I've added five new pictures by Linda to this post, as well as a comment under a portrait of characters Dr. Pretorious and Karl, from the movie The Bride of Frankenstein. So...

Go back! Go back!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Why I moderate all comments--

In response to my posting the news that famed sci-fi author and intellectual Sir Arthur C. Clarke had died, I got this comment yesterday from "Celular":

"Hello. This post is likeable, and your blog is very interesting, congratulations :-). I will add in my blogroll =). If possible gives a last there on my blog, it is about the Celular, I hope you enjoy. The address is http://telefone-celular-brasil.blogspot.com. A hug."

Then, perhaps forgetting having sent in a comment already, "Celular" later became "MP3 e MP4", and sent in this comment:

"Hello. This post is likeable, and your blog is very interesting, congratulations :-). I will add in my blogroll =). If possible gives a last there on my blog, it is about the MP3 e MP4, I hope you enjoy. The address is http://mp3-mp4-brasil.blogspot.com. A hug. "

Gee, that's swell. I needed a couple of hugs yesterday!

In honor of spam:

Click here for an online Monty Python SPAMALOT video game, sponsored by Hormel, makers of SPAM!

Below-- The "Spam sketch" with Asian subtitles!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Author Arthur C. Clarke is gone

Legendary science-fiction and science fact writer SIR ARTHUR C. CLARKE has passed away at age 90.

He will be long remembered for the screenplay and novel of 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY, but he wrote much, much more than that; he was as important to speculative fiction as Jules Verne and H. G. Wells, and like Isaac Asimov, also wrote knowledgeably and entertainingly on scientific matters.

If you haven't read his novel RENDEZVOUS WITH RAMA, the Drunken Severed Head recommends that you do.

Two of Sir Arthur's famous quotations come to mind while I write this:

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

"It has yet to be proven that intelligence has any survival value."

Associated Press reporter Ravi Nessman has written a well-crafted informative obituary, portions of which follow, with photos of Clarke added.

Arthur C. Clarke dies at age 90

By RAVI NESSMAN, Associated Press Writer Tue Mar 18


Arthur C. Clarke, a visionary science fiction writer who co-wrote "2001: A Space Odyssey" and won worldwide acclaim with more than 100 books on space, science and the future, died Wednesday, an aide said. He was 90.

Clarke, who had battled debilitating post-polio syndrome since the 1960s, died at 1:30 a.m. in his adopted home of Sri Lanka after suffering breathing problems, aide Rohan De Silva said.

Co-author with Stanley Kubrick of Kubrick's film "2001: A Space Odyssey," Clarke was regarded as far more than a science fiction writer.

He was credited with the concept of communications satellites in 1945, decades before they became a reality. Geosynchronous orbits, which keep satellites in a fixed position relative to the ground, are called Clarke orbits.

He joined American broadcaster Walter Cronkite as commentator on the U.S. Apollo moonshots in the late 1960s.

Clarke's non-fiction volumes on space travel and his explorations of the Great Barrier Reef and Indian Ocean earned him respect in the world of science, and in 1976 he became an honorary fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

But it was his writing that shot him to his greatest fame and that gave him the greatest fulfillment.

"Sometimes I am asked how I would like to be remembered," Clarke said recently. "I have had a diverse career as a writer, underwater explorer and space promoter. Of all these I would like to be remembered as a writer."

From 1950, he began a prolific output of both fiction and non-fiction, sometimes publishing three books in a year. He published his best-selling "3001: The Final Odyssey" when he was 79.

Some of his best-known books are "Childhood's End," 1953; "The City and The Stars," 1956, "The Nine Billion Names of God," 1967; "Rendezvous with Rama," 1973; "Imperial Earth," 1975; and "The Songs of Distant Earth," 1986.

When Clarke and Kubrick got together to develop a movie about space, they used as basic ideas several of Clarke's shorter pieces, including "The Sentinel," written in 1948, and "Encounter in the Dawn." As work progressed on the screenplay, Clarke also wrote a novel of the story. He followed it up with "2010," "2061," and "3001: The Final Odyssey."

In 1989, two decades after the Apollo 11 moon landings, Clarke wrote: "2001 was written in an age which now lies beyond one of the great divides in human history; we are sundered from it forever by the moment when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped out on to the Sea of Tranquility. Now history and fiction have become inexorably intertwined."

Clarke won the Nebula Award of the Science Fiction Writers of America in 1972, 1974 and 1979; the Hugo Award of the World Science Fiction Convention in 1974 and 1980, and in 1986 became Grand Master of the Science Fiction Writers of America. He was awarded the CBE in 1989.

Born in Minehead, western England, on Dec. 16, 1917, the son of a farmer, Arthur Charles Clark became addicted to science fiction after buying his first copies of the pulp magazine "Amazing Stories" at Woolworth's. He read English writers H.G. Wells and Olaf Stapledon and began writing for his school magazine in his teens.

Clarke went to work as a clerk in Her Majesty's Exchequer and Audit Department in London, where he joined the British Interplanetary Society and wrote his first short stories and scientific articles on space travel.

It was not until after the World War II that Clarke received a bachelor of science degree in physics and mathematics from King's College in London.

In the wartime Royal Air Force, he was put in charge of a new radar blind-landing system.

But it was an RAF memo he wrote in 1945 about the future of communications that led him to fame. It was about the possibility of using satellites to revolutionize communications — an idea whose time had decidedly not come.

Clarke later sent it to a publication called Wireless World, which almost rejected it as too far-fetched.

Clarke married in 1953, and was divorced in 1964. He had no children.

He moved to the Indian Ocean island of Sri Lanka in 1956 after embarking on a study of the Great Barrier Reef.

Clarke, who had battled debilitating post-polio syndrome since the 1960s and sometimes used a wheelchair, discovered that scuba-diving approximated the feeling of weightlessness that astronauts experience in space. He remained a diving enthusiast, running his own scuba venture into old age.

"I'm perfectly operational underwater," he once said.

At a 90th birthday party thrown for Clarke in December, the author said he had three wishes: for Sri Lanka's raging civil war to end, for the world to embrace cleaner sources of energy and for evidence of extraterrestrial beings to be discovered.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Clarke once said he did not regret having never followed his novels into space, adding that he had arranged to have DNA from strands of his hair sent into orbit.

"One day, some super civilization may encounter this relic from the vanished species and I may exist in another time," he said. "Move over, Stephen King."

Copyright © 2008 The Associated Press.
__________________

Recommended Link: The Arthur C. Clarke Foundation

Monday, March 17, 2008

Leprechaun: the "Goldfinger" remix

Posted to YouTube by Wookierocker.

Evan and the Leprechaun

From Evan and Gareth, a fairly amusing story of a guy satisfied with his life, and his encounter with a leprechaun. Warning-- has a little scat humor.

http://www.myspace.com/evanandgareth

Biggest alcoholiday in the calendar!

Best St. Paddy's Day wishes both to my green Catholic friends...



And to my orange Protestant ones! I'll drink to you, and to my friends of all faiths! Or no faith!

Bottoms up!

An odd LOTT

Along with several other blogs, I've been invited to join LOTT D (The League Of Tana Tea Drinkers-- the "tana tea drinkers" part is an in-joke for monster movie fans.) It's a new association for horror bloggers that want to promote awareness of quality horror blogs.

I think I got my invitation by mistake. (If not-- well, as Groucho Marx once said, I'm not sure I want to join any group that would have me!) Of course, I am actually very flattered.

I think I'll just hope they don't notice that I've slipped in! I'll probably take a spot under the conference table.

Other members of LOTT D can be seen in my links section, highlighted with capital letters.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Sad local news-- INCREDIBLY STRANGE VIDEO is closing!

INCREDIBLY STRANGE VIDEO is closing, I am very sad to say! A fantastic Pittsburgh-area outlet for weird films, horror magazines and books, odd comics, cool t-shirts, posters and more, it has been a great shop for fans of all things incredibly strange!

Owned and operated for more than a decade by super nice guy Bruce Lentz (the lead singer/songwriter of the ghoulish garage band FORBIDDEN FIVE), it was the sponsor of some marvelous local film screenings, celebrity appearances, and the local horror host show IT'S ALIVE. This is really disheartening (and sobering!) news for the drunken severed head.

(Click here to see the MySpace page of the Forbidden Five, and listen to some of their songs. I recommend "Chop You Up" and "Baby I'm No Good". Also, this page includes a download for their song "Psycho Rat Phink F*ck A Go Go".)

GO NOW to get some amazing bargains before all the stock is bought up!!! (I just purchased a ton of stuff there today!) Tell Bruce that the drunken severed head sent ya!

Links:

ISV website closing notice

Incredibly Strange Video website


An article in the Pittsburgh alternative paper about Bruce and the closing of ISV

"Journey to another dimension..."

Here's a phunny photo cartoon that a friend, Nathan Poling, sent to me:


"You've just crossed into...THE TOILET ZONE!"

Thursday, March 13, 2008


IT HAPPENED!!! My dream came true!! I made "Honorable Mention" in a category with 38 nominations! HOO-HAH! I mean, Hoo-Rah!

Must be because I've been wearing my LUCKY hat. It's the one you see in the previous post, the one that makes me look like a Lubavitcher or a Leprechaun. (Feh and begorrah!) I had been wearing a top hat last month, while practicing my Rondo acceptance speech; I looked rather dashing, even if I say so myself. (I was one fly guy! A phat head!) But I had to switch to my "lucky hat" after one of my overweight cats sat on the top hat (I must stop feeding them Bailey's Irish Cream), reducing it to a mortarboard.

For those of you under the influence of my lucky hat who voted for me, THANK YOU. I respect you less now, but I love you more! And I shall keep my promises. I will buy TDSH voters a beer when next I encounter any of you! And leave a comment for the substance you wish to see slathered on my dome!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Anxious, waiting...


...for the 2007 winners of the Rondo Awards to be announced tonight at 10:00 pm EST!

I'm so nervous I'm chewing my nails!

Friday, March 7, 2008

One day left, my friends--

The campaign to get The Drunken Severed Head an honorable mention in the Rondo Awards for BEST WEBSITE OR BLOG enters its final day (DEADLINE: Midnight Sat., Mar.8!). I am not ashamed to say that I am desperate for votes! (I have even changed my last name to O'Bama, in the hopes of getting the "Irish-Americans-Who-Get-Confused-Easily" vote.) With the pressure on, I'm unveiling my plans and future promises should I reach my goal of mention-worthiness! So I now unveil...

THE PLATFORM OF THE DRUNKEN SEVERED HEAD
(Of course I have a platform. I have to rest on something!)

PLEDGE NUMBER ONE: Obey your thirst!

Anyone whom I meet with a copy of the image below printed out will get a free beer and Skittles from me. (I'll be at various cons, so yez gotta a decent chance at a freebie!) Who says life can't be skittles and beer?


PLEDGE NUMBER TWO: What the hell?

My friends, if you vote for me, I will endeavor every week to make TDSH the most irrelevant site in the blogosphere! No one else has the courage to make this promise. But, full of strong drink*, I can boldly go where sober minds dare not tread!

PLEDGE NUMBER THREE: Schadenfreude is fun!

If I get honorable mention or runner-up status-- no one in his/her right mind would expect me to actually WIN-- anyone who leaves a comment saying that they voted for me will get to choose a substance to be poured on the drunken severed head, which will be photographed and posted here. Substances must be relatively cheap, commonly available, legal-to-possess, and non-toxic or corrosive. OR, a drawing/slogan of your choice not X-rated will be placed anywhere on my noggin.

Here's an example :


WILL Tim Lucas of Video Watchblog do this for his readers, should he win? No, my fellow nets of the Internut-- he lacks the cojones! (As a severed head, I speak metaphorically, of course.) All he has is talent and intelligence. Same with gifted film director Joe "Benny Hinn" Dante of Trailers from Hell. Will he allow his hair to be coated with unusual substances (other than Aqua-Net), to reward and delight his supporters, hmmm? I'm sure we all know the answer to that question. A big nope.

So vote for me by midnight, March 8, here. It's the silliest choice you can make!


*
Where does the liquor I consume go, you ask? West Potrzebie province in Lower Blovatia.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Tips and trivia

But not in that order. First, the trivia:

I made a mistake previously when I posted that the blog has had over 13,000 hits in its first year.

I have two counters, both set to "invisible." (I was afraid at first that my stats would always remain embarrassingly trivial.) The second counter (Site Meter) gives me info in more categories than the first (Amazing Counters). However, I started using Site Meter months later; the accurate number of hits in the first year amounts to well over 15,000!

And the blog's fame is spreading. On the day of the first anniversary of TDSH, I got my first hit from Russia! And in the first week of my blog's second year I've now gotten hits from Egypt, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Israel, South Korea, Switzerland and Taiwan!

This can't all be explained by people merely tripping over The Drunken Severed Head accidentally. (Though as a severed head who lays around a lot, I do wind up tripping folks.) No, it shows that there's an appalling lack of sense and mental hygiene in more people, and in more places, than I ever thought possible. Yaaaaay!

Now, the tips, for those of you who may be judgmentally-challenged, like someone I know who I'm very close to. You might say I couldn't be any closer to this guy.

BE CAREFUL WITH EACH OF THE FOLLOWING ITEMS-- THE DRUNKEN SEVERED HEAD KNOWS WHAT HE IS TALKING ABOUT!

Do not buy the item below and leave it near a bathroom sink. It can be mistaken for a tube of toothpaste, with unfortunate results.


Do not eat the wafer below, which comes in an individual cellophane wrapper. It is not a shortbread cookie or freebie from the Girl Scouts. It is a dog treat sample your wife brought home* and left out.



These small, sticky, soft brains are not gummi-style candies. They are small, flavorless, plastic TOYS meant to be thrown at walls. They are definitely not meant to be chewed on and then spat out instinctively, hitting a wall.



The product below is a gyp. It contains no breakfast snack made from mutant feet.


I feel better now that I know TDSH readers are more prepared for some of life's small dangers.






* I'm, uh, speaking hypothetically here-- not that I could do anything like eat pet food. Noooo.

If STAR WARS had been made 15--20years earlier


Video:

Star Wars vs. Saul Bass

Gary Gygax, co-creator of "Dungeons and Dragons", dies at age 69

He will be buried in a 12-sided casket.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

A great short zombie film!

No, not a film about short zombies-- a short film about zombies!

Below is a link to a 3 minute film entered in the George Romero Diary of the Dead contest. It's by a talented young filmmaker named Justin Crimone, and I was impressed with it. Shot with minimal resources, it shows what you can do with a good idea and good actors.

PLANET OF THE LIVING DEAD

I think it's the best entry in the contest. If you have a MySpace account, you can vote for it to make it to the DOTD dvd.

Good luck Justin!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Endorsements!

The Drunken Severed Head has gotten some endorsements in the Rondo Award race! (And a semi-endorsement! Ooooooo.) First, Pierre Fournier at Frankensteinia generally endorsed me and my blog in this post, and he made it clear he'd probably ask readers to vote for my blog if his weren't in the running. (He's pretty smart for a guy who voluntarily lives in the vast frozen north.) And then comic blogger Sparkle Plenty endorsed TDSH for a Rondo award over at her cyberpad, Dinosaur Casserole!

And, after I promised to accept a lower allowance, (and re-enact a scene from the movie The Reanimator*), my wife endorsed me and this blog at her Live Journal account. (Shocked, aren't you?) Thank you, dear adorable wonderful spousal unit!

I'm counting on last minute votes to get me the coveted Rondo prize. (I'll be counting until Doomsday.) Today, I had a team of comely volunteers passing out "get out the vote" fliers:


Since bribes weren't getting me votes, I hoped maybe eye-candy would.

(Yes, they're dressed in aluminum foil. Seems they objected to my always wearing X-ray specs when they were around. Hmmph.)

Link: Rondo Awards



* I somehow have to decapitate a doctor with a shovel. Why, what were YOU thinking?

Saturday, March 1, 2008

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