. . . Beth Rust

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I Know What You Did Thirty Summers Ago: Beth Rust contributes this critique of the spine-biting chiller Caltiki - il mostro immortale.

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For the last couple of summers, it's been Halloween. Now it's gators, sharks, and the Maryland Chainsaw Massacre. When is Hollywood going to do a truly scary retread? Lepus Gargantuas

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As if they weren't in enough trouble, Beth Rust tells us that Amazon is now competing with drivers-ed films and Variety box-office predictions:

The link is to Dead Men Do Tell Tales, one of my favorite forensic-anthropologist-memoirs books. The auction suggestions that came up?

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November 1999 will be remembered as the month that e-commerce-based art collecting finally came of age, what with Buddy Ebsen's "Uncle Jed Country" series (via Robot Wisdom) and the Delft painting of Charles Krafft (via Beth Rust).

Speaking of Folk Art, a couple of friends during our freshman year in college developed a concept for a TV show to be titled "Buddy Ebsen with an Axe in His Head":

The pilot episode begins deep in Greenland. Towards the camera through the frozen wastes trudges dapper Barnaby Jones. Cut to the top of a hill some distance off. A Viking warrior observes the tiny figure below, pulls from his furs a photo of Uncle Jed, examines it, and grunts: "Buddy Ebsen." Back to a medium-shot of Barnaby Jones, who suddenly pitches forward with an axe in his head. Behind him the Viking strides away. For the next twenty-five minutes the camera is fixed on Barnaby Jones's body. And for the next two seasons' worth of shows.

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Lyrics server: Frequent-Hotsy-Totsy-flier Beth Rust was actually responsible for correcting my notion of "Rawhide"'s lyrics to the above. For many years my memory waffled between:

Don't try to understand 'em
Just rope 'em, tie and brand 'em,
Soon they'll be sitting by your side.
Don't try to understand 'em
Just rope 'em, tie and brand 'em,
Soon one of them will be your bride.
-- both of which seemed to express warmer sentiments towards cattle than cowboys are rumored to feel.

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James Halstead writes us from Haledon, NJ:

I came across your website by accident, I woke up this morning for some odd reason, thinking about an old horror flick I had seen during the sixties called "Caltiki, the immortal monster" so for reasons unknown to myself, I thought I would look it up in the Google search engine, and...... hot damn! ... There she be.......

I remember that little flick the same way Beth Rust tells it, only my Mom and I were home at night alone, huddled around a little black & white TV, our house was at the end of a long,.....long,......long, dirt driveway, and all around our property were apple orchards, so we were pretty much on our own until my dad got home from his meeting night at the town's firehouse, it was a dark night, and I remember looking out through the screen door on our front porch after watching the movie, just knowing that "Caltiki", would get us, along with "The Crawling Eye" and "The Thing" (all three were on that night). I sat there, in the still of the night, with my hands tightly wrapped around my BB-gun version of the military M1 carbine, which was cocked and loaded, waiting for my father to come home. Needless to say, I dozed off, and as my father got home, trying to gently open the squeaky screen door with one hand (as not to wake my mother) and a can of Carling Black Label in the other, the door opened with a sudden shudder, as the old rusty spring which held it closed snapped off the hinge and flew across the room breaking the window to the bedroom where my Mom was asleep. The next thing I heard was a loud "POP," my old man stood there for a second, dropped the can of beer, and fell to the ground, yelling words still to this day, I have never heard again. So, I would like to thank you for helping me remember one of those "cherished" childhood millennium moments.

ps. I never saw the movie again after that.

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Self-expression: Yes I believe the messages I've paid to have my computer display to me yes I said I do Yes oops go away now (via Beth Rust)

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Hotsy Totsy at Large

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Dedicated consumer and Mistress of Morbidity Beth Rust uncovers evidence of previously unsuspected information sharing between Amazon and DoubleClick:

They know too much about me... I just looked up a new Feng Shui book in Amazon - you know, the "put a green glass bowl in the southwest corner of your office to encourage the flow of energy" stuff - and the "Auctions" cross-reference that showed up was:
POISON & DRUG Labels from 1910's-1920's: LOT of 10 (Current bid: $8.99)

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Congestive heart success

Sating the desire to have let all available space. A voluntary discomfort, like sitting in an odd position too long or lying underneath someone. It delimits, it's delovely. People have outlines; thus growing experiences (e.g., hernias) are painful.

I was dumped where once I filled. Roommatic fever: absence makes the heart grow enlarged.

Love in Disguise
Humus Where the Heart Is
(via Beth Rust)

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Tireless researcher Beth Rust comes through again, with pointers to:

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Sticky Fingers

This graphic (via Beth Rust) does for connectivity what Microsoft Outlook has done for love letters, prompting the question: Might David Cronenberg have a future in Bell Canada commercials?

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My Book, Beth! Hotsy Totsy favorite daughter Beth Rust reflects on the Word of the Yesterday:

If I merge it with the concept of "forensic taphonomy" I come up with "bibliotaphonomist" - one who studies caches of buried books, with an eye to figuring out how they get buried and what happens to them after that:
"I know that annotated 'Dracula' is in here somewhere - but it can't be in the pile topped by the third 'Harry Potter' book because that's the pile I moved from the living room in March, and I saw 'Dracula' after that, so... Maybe it's in that big heap of books that the cats knocked off the shelves while hunting for that snake."

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A Musical Interlude

A Musical Interlude Doug Asherman says that "Cuba Solidarity: Send a Piana to Havana" "don't know why, reminded me of you. Maybe the rhyme?"

Could be, 'cause my only real knowledge of Cuban music is from when we were stationed at the US military base in Guantanamo Bay and I obsessively played a Roger-Miller-ish novelty single whose chorus went:

Cuba, Cuba, Cuba is my home.
Cuba, Cuba, Cuba is my home.
Fidel Castro, don't you pout,
Six more months and I'll be out.
Cuba, Cuba, Cuba is my home.

+ + +

And I suspect that Beth Rust sent me the following because my own nose was once such a growth industry, although it seems to have stagnated for the nonce:

Believe it or don't, I picked up a CD of Johnny Crawford's -- remember him? The Rifleman's doe-eyed son. According to the amusingly matter-of-fact liner notes, he got coerced into a brief career as a teen idol, having "a pleasant tenor voice". He apparently quit the biz as soon as he got out of high school and went off to be a rodeo cowboy, but no matter how tough he gets there will always be "Your Nose is Gonna Grow" as a reminder of his rebellious youth. "No One Really Loves" (a clown) is a bit on the edgy side for Johnny, but I think he handled it well.

I did a quick check for Crawford web sites; this one's "unofficial" but apparently condoned. I was astonished to find that the guy is running a big band now... There was also something about a new movie, the entire cast of which appears to be former child stars (it is, of course, science fiction).

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Extreme Unction, What's Your Function?

Here's our seasonal link from Beth Rust (thanks, Beth!), and our seasonal scary story:

His arm craned over his head, the back of his hand resting on the street. The posture might have been uncomfortable if he wasn't so tired; instead it was good not to have to move.

Without moving he watched the plashes, slow and steady, off the wrist.

Still going...

... 21, 22, 23, 24, ...

-- no, wait, you're supposed to count backwards, aren't you? A wave of confusion and shame overwhelmed him.

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Stalwart Beth Rust trots out the unwelcome news that the Green Street Grill, the only decent restaurant (other than ice cream parlors) I ever found in the greater Boston area, has changed its image. Let's hope it's still distinguishable from the ruling overpriced mediocrities once you close your eyes and stick your fork in your mouth.

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On a similar stream of thought, comics scholar Beth Rust mentions:

I usually follow "9 Chickweed Lane" for the Hallmarks-of-Felinity sub-series, but the April 25 strip touched on a theme familiar to many of us but, oddly, seldom dealt with in books or film...
I also follow "9 Chickweed Lane," because it looks good and because its creator is an old-fashioned leg man, as opposed to one of those noisome infants....

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A mess Little Deaths

Beth Rust must have, at some pre-Web point, told me about the Nutshell Studies of Unexplained Death, the deduction workouts constructed by her fellow New Hampshirt Frances Glessner Lee, but Juliet Clark sent me a reminder yesterday. What a lost killer app for QuickTime VR....

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Speaking of consumption, Beth Rust forwards the following list of shopping ideas from Amazon:  


See more by the authors

    all books by Chilled The Fresh  
    all books by Frozen Horse  
    all books by Ass Meat Research Group   

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Old punks never die; our clothes just smell that way

It's not exactly true that black Shows Dirt Less. It does Show Sweat Less, which is how a dancin', swingin', up-tight, nervous cat can still slip on his 1979 "Clash Take the Fifth" T-shirt once every two weeks, even though it's completely blank (i.e., black) at this point, all overlay having been washed away by harsh detergents over the years.

But what choice was there? Because, sweat stains or no, black still vividly Shows, for instance, dandruff, cigarette ash, dog hair, ice cream, face powder, text from 1995-era Cool Web Pages, and virtually all body fluids other than sweat.

Well, ask no more! (Don't get offended; that's me I'm ordering to ask no more -- see, I'm referring back to the rhetorical question in the previous paragraph. Rhetoric is nice 'cause it lets you talk to yourself and most people will still think you're sane, just kind of tedious.) Because Beth Rust is here with important news for neatnik punks, nihilists, goth honeys, priests, and fat geeks everywhere!

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...merely old rubbish out of books...

Prince Prigio by Andrew Lang

New from the Repress, an illustrated edition of Andrew Lang's Prince Prigio.

Because there are wittier fairy tales, and there are more profound fairy tales, but there aren't any fairy tales with a better moral.


What serparates the brain into two sides?

A Tibetan neurosurgeon. Next!

Let Manly, house of Manly rejoice with the Booby a tropical bird. And give thanks with the rest of us, and credit where due.

jkljklkkjkj. Next!

Long-lost Beth Rust sends:

Greetings from the Great Old Pumpkin Patch

John Holbo wisely draws non-parallels.

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The Death Wish in American Publicity Material

Part 3 in an Occasional Series

Very occasional, given our eccentric avoidance of most American publicity material.

Which is why we only learned via tough-as-nails correspondent Beth Rust that HP Digital Photography has taken the Kinks' caustic "Picture Book":

Picture book
    of people with each other
    to prove they loved each other
    a long time ago...

Picture book:
    Your mama and your papa
    and fat old Uncle Charlie
    out boozing with their friends...

Picture book:
    When you were just a baby
    those days when you were happy
    a long time ago...

And rubbed it in by overlaying footage of isolated narcissists with a swooping attack of "YOU", "YOU", "YOU"s....


what is vermont?

Better to ask, what isn't Vermont? 'Cause Vermont's got it all, baby!

Picture Book: Oh, Hotsie Totsie, the HP campaign is even worse than you describe. The visual schtick for these ads is a sort of Sherlock Jr/Purple Rose of Cairo break-the-plane video trick, where protagonists hold up prints, which magically dissolve into video or stills of the subject and the print becomes an empty frame. Of course, prior to the Kinks' song, HP used The Cure's "Pictures of You", which was a song about how *useless* pictures were to replace memories, which are in turn useless to replace the real presence of a person now gone.

Lyrics, other than a short catch phrase don't matter: just the feeling from the song. The assumption is that the audience won't even try to connect any kind of meaning with the song, but will cut and paste the feeling. Go back to Nike using the Beatles "Revolution" for the ultimate sell-out to mass consumption, $150 sneakers, etc.

It makes me ponder the series of product/song combinations you could advertise with songs with a message completely *opposite* of the sales implications of the product. Heck, we could find whole campaigns just in the Kinks' Korpus:

"I'm Not Like Everybody Else" -- Advertiser: The US Army, for it's "Army of One" campaign.

"Lola" --- Advertiser: Korbel Champagne. Visuals show two attractive people hooking up over the proferred beverage.

"Village Green Preservation Society" -- Advertiser: Walmart, announcing new stores.

"David Watts" -- Advertiser: US Department of Education, in support of 'No Child Left Behind'

"Well Respected Man" -- Advertiser: Apple, in a follow-up to its "Think Differently" campaign. Ads will show a conservatively-dressed man gyrating wildly while wearing his iPod.

Your pal,

- Renfrew Q. Hobblewort.

the 'prove they loved each other' line is even in the commercial...

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Ba-lue Mun-deii Ba-lues-Are : Ed's Radio

Ed's Redeeming Qualities with Dom

On 12 October 1989, about four months after factory reset, near the end of my two-hour commute, WMBR's live music program Pipeline! announced Ed's Redeeming Qualities. During the first verse of "Coriander Eyes" I gingerly parked between my alotted concrete columns, then walked to my apartment and slapped in a cassette. (Later, Beth Rust very kindly filled in the start of the set by taping a re-run of the show.)

That cassette heard a lot of play over the next few years, a lot more than some friends could fathom.

Ed's Redeeming Qualities as trio

Its appeal certainly wasn't as self-evident as, say, the Bags' first album or Big Dipper's Craps or the Happy Flowers' Oof. ERQ were uneven from song to song. They were uneven within a song. (While in observational mode, "Minor League Pain" is the best song about depression I know. Spicing it up with surreal abstractions was sand in the spinach.) And even when they were most uneven they stayed kind of samey. (That level of musicianship can support only so much variation.)

But they played the Real Nice Folk Blues. They expressed a recognizably overimaginative underemployed working-class life of shoddy goods, bad coffee, leaking ceilings, suspicious neighbors, and three-legged dogs. They knew what suffering was for (to feed humor), and they knew what humor was for (to justify suffering), and they knew what a song consists of (suffering + humor + you're done). What appealed was something worth aspiring to and something almost within reach.


Copyright to contributed work and quoted correspondence remains with the original authors.
Public domain work remains in the public domain.
All other material: Copyright 2015 Ray Davis.