Saturday, October 27, 2012

Wonderful Time of Year

People always tell me how much they like this time of year ... with pictures of fall leaves to share to prove it.  There are a number of them who go on to regale me with stories of how cute cats are, and especially kittens are.  (Hell, there's an A and E show about puppies and kittens for Cripes sake.) Real life however, seldom if ever meets expectations of any of those cute little pictures.

Now for those of us residing in the Mission, Ks area, fall can be said to have been somewhat of a disappointment.  Annual rainfall this year is down about 14", and even the scattered showers of the last few weeks hasn't been enough to turn most of the mud flats back into lakes, let alone bring out the best in the trees.  As a consequence, Fall lasted from exactly 10:32 AM to 10:44AM on October 22nd this year.  I tried to get some really great pictures of it to share (so I wouldn't have to use this one), but the batteries in my camera were dead and by the time I found new ones and got them changed, it was over.  

As for cats, kittens, or any other form of domestic feline; pictures of them is as close as you will ever see get to them.  I am violently allergic to these pesky little critters in a way that the least amount of exposure brings on something quite akin to anaphylactic shock.  Call them cute if you dare; but as for me, these tiny predators have more than once sent me to a hospital, and have come far too close to ending my life by the simple act of rubbing up against me.

Fall is a grand season however, and one of my favorites.  We discovered it in this part of the world during a 30 degree temperature swing, so I had to seek alternative reasons for such pleasure.  Of course as a news junkie, a political blogger, and a columnist, this is the best part of the pre-election season. one that gives me opportunity to feed most of my addictions.  Who couldn't help but love the final weeks leading up to voting, where campaign travel and stress turn all but the hardiest candidates into gaffe machines, intent on ruining their political careers into the dumper during the very process of promoting themselves.  My current favorite is the Obama campaign's message given by HBO's Lena Dunham that 'Virgins' (first time voters), should be careful picking their 'first' (candidate for president to vote for).  The wealth of material in this as a Democratic subliminal message is incredible whether one looks back at the sexual antics of Bill Clinton or simply points out that most if not all incumbent Presidents have been screwing the whole country for almost four years; an indication that you might want your first to be a little less promiscuous (or at least wear the protection handed out at school).

Such bounty is not without peril however, as these politicians attempt to bury us under their last minute political commercials.  Oh, it's not as bad here in the wilds of Kansas (a state where even Democrats say they're conservative); but I pity my poor friends in Ohio or any other battleground state for that matter.  My advice to you is to make sure that you have fresh batteries in you TV remotes, and use DVR's whenever possible.

Of course, this is also the time of year when Halloween occurs; a time in which everyday people get to dress up, put on masks, and beg.  (Come to think of it, it really is a lot like political campaign season.)  Having been born and raised in the Chicago area under the first Mayor Daley, I'm one who's long accustomed to the dead rising from the grave at this time of year, walking the streets attempting to find brains, begging for a bit of candy, and finally casting their ballot before being able to 'Rest In Peace' once more (at least until the next election).  

But while some things have remained the same, a lot has changed since those prehistoric days of my youth.  No longer are neighborhood rampages committed by barely pubescent youth; with homeowners trying to remove toilet paper hanging from the trees and scrub the eggs from their windshields, and put out the fires of lighted bags of crap on their front porches.  Groceries are too expensive to be treated as ammunition these days, TP is too expensive even if you buy it in the Mega-rolls, and if you've got something that you can burn that will provide heat, you better save it to cut down on you heating bills. Besides, what kid (or group of them) can afford the gas required to ride around the block, let along the neighborhood.  Even when not planning on wearing a costume, one cannot help but see Halloween as a time of year when an overweight, middle-aged man (I know I'm giving myself a break here) can go to a store and buy four bags of 'Snickers' or 'Kit Kats' without receiving too many sidelong looks at the register.  One can perform this action of gross caloric neglect, muttering some nonsense about 'Beggars Night', secure in the knowledge that the checkout clerks are unaware that the apartment complex does not allow 'trick or treating'.  (As for myself, I merely say that I am stocking up on non-perishable food items that may even become a form or currency after Taxameggedon or the Zombie Apocalypse while I'm taking full advantage of the stockpiling opportunity.)

It also used to be a great time of year to sit down and watch scary movies, but that's become a rather mixed bag these days.  In spite of the fact that there are ten or twenty channels bragging about showing them, most of the Horror movies on them seem to consist of about 5 percent classic horror pictures and 92 percent semi-cheesy zombie flicks.  In the latter, it's hard to tell one from the other, as the zombie makeup all begins to look the same, and the plot consists of a group of people (normally consisting of at least one hot girl, an equally hot guy, a knowledgeable nerd, and a couple of senior citizens or kids) running from the zombies and losing parts of the group as they go along.  Of the classic horror movies, most suffer now by comparison with their Computer Graphic filled descendants.  'Frankenstein' and the Bela Lugosi's 'Dracula' do well enough, but 'The Wolfman' does little but prove that Lon Chaney Jr was not as good an actor as his dad, and the whole 'bats on strings thing' make the rest trying to capitalize on the title look tragically comic rather than frightening at times.

For those of you who didn't take your math classes at public school, you'll notice that the numbers don't add up.  That of course is because they don't ... unless you include the current crop of Vampire Love stories.  Of course Bram Stoker's version of the blood sucker was a bit racy for the time, but Anne Rice's 'Interview With a Vampire' gets credit for the now-popular trend.  Most of today's vampires are seen as tragic characters with pale skin and good hair, doomed to live forever looking like a male model, while being forced to turn down every hot chick that sets eyes upon them. (Can you say Twilight?)  Perhaps rewriting 'Romeo and Juliet' with some fangs thrown in sounded like good to entertainment executives who still think that Will Ferrell's and Adam Sandler's best work is still before them; but I think the difference between today's lovers (living vs undead) might be a bit more complicated than that between the Shakespeare's Montagues and the Capulets.  (And as for the idea of kissing a corpse, no matter attractive a corpse it might be ... Ewwwwwwwwww.)

I can't help but love the season however.  Living in an apartment means that I have no responsibility for the leaves that fell off of the trees faster than anything in a Charlie Brown cartoon.  Anyone brave enough to bring a cat into my presence (jumping through those leaves or otherwise) only does it to see me turn it into 'Wor Su Meow' and served with fried rice.  As for the rest, my intention is to bring the month to a close and open the next one watching as much football as I'm allowed (which is quite a lot actually since being unmarried, I actually do set the TV rules in my home), with some election coverage thrown in during the commercials and at halftime to see who has done something really stupid lately. (Today I found out that the candidates are adjusting their schedules to avoid an incoming storm.  Who knew that they had the sense to come in out of the rain?) When it's too early or late for that, I'm sure that cable TV can be counted on for a few non-zombie / non-vampire love flicks to capture my attention without eating my own brains (that I leave to those in battleground states caught listening to political commercials that escape their remotes).  Oh sure, it may sound a bit boring, but I can always inoculate myself against the pain and suffering by dipping into my Snickers stash.  I wish you equal enjoyment in this wonderful time of year.



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