Showing posts with label werewolves. Show all posts
Showing posts with label werewolves. Show all posts

09 March 2023

Truth in What?


We've had some crazy times up here in the South Dakota Legislature.  (I know, so what else is new?) 

We had "Boobgate" – where a Senator and her husband decided to discuss breast feeding and how to get your spouse to help you (with hand gestures) to a young female staffer in the staffer's office.  You really can't make this stuff up.  (LINK

We have had seemingly endless anti-trans, anti-drag, anti- bills.  The anti-trans / anti-gender affirming care passed.  BTW, no one seemed to note that this bill denied parental rights in medical care for their child, i.e., if the parents agreed that their minor needed gender affirming care.... it was still illegal.  And how about this bit from HB 1080?

Section 2: Except as provided in section 3 of this Act, a healthcare professional may not, for the purpose of attempting to alter the appearance of, or to validate a minor's perception of, the minor’s sex, if that appearance or perception is inconsistent with the minor's sex, knowingly:
(6) Remove any healthy or non-diseased body part or tissue.

And the only exceptions in Section 3 are for a "medically verifiable disorder of sex development, including external biological sex characteristics that are irresolvably ambiguous; A minor diagnosed with a disorder of sexual development... or A minor needing treatment for an infection, injury, disease, or disorder.

Sounds like that outlaws circumcision, doesn't it?  I see lawsuits coming up. 

The anti-drag show bills did not pass, perhaps partially because "Tootsie: The Musical" was playing at the Washington Pavilion during the legislature, and enough legislators realized that they'd occasionally enjoyed a good comedy that depended on one of the male characters being dressed as a woman and wanted to continue to be able to have a good laugh.  (As I've said before, you can have my copy of "Some Like It Hot" when you tear it from my cold, dead hands.)  

The legislature declined to help local counties build new jails with funding, ignoring "the drastic increase in crime" that was the reason they passed at least one of Governor Noem's pet projects, two new prisons, one in Rapid City, and one outside of Sioux Falls.  

And they went into a real tear about inmates serving their time.  There was a "Truth in Sentencing" bill which would require that inmates convicted of violent crimes serve 80% of their sentence before being considered eligible for parole.  Well, I wrote a lot of people about that one.  Because here's the deal:  sentencing comes after a conviction, which comes after a trial, which comes after being charged by the state's attorney, and what the state's attorney charges someone with can... vary.  

True story, no names given:  When I was teaching at SDSU, I had a white student who was arrested, tried and convicted of killing his father.  He was charged with Second Degree Manslaughter and got 20 years.  Meanwhile, a Native American was arrested, tried and convicted of killing someone in a bar brawl that got taken out into the parking lot.  He was charged with First Degree Manslaughter and got life without parole.  So killing your father gets less time than killing someone in a drunken brawl?  What's fair about that?  

True story, all names given:  Former AG Jason Ravnsborg struck and killed a man while driving late at night.  The sheriff drove him home, and no alcohol test was made until the next day; Ravnsborg swore he thought it was a deer, even though the man's eyeglasses were in the front seat of his car, proving the man went through windshield; etc., etc., etc. Prosecutors chose not to charge Ravnsborg with vehicular homicide or second-degree manslaughter. (Yes, I know guys who are doing time in the pen for such behavior.) Instead, he was charged with careless driving (which was dismissed), driving out of his lane, and operating a car while using a cellphone.  He had to pay $1,000 and court costs, and that was it.  In that case just about everyone agreed with me that this was special treatment, and the uproar eventually resulted in his impeachment:  but he never spent a day in jail.  He was never even fingerprinted.  

So I've basically been screaming START WITH WORKING ON HAVING FAIR AND BALANCED CHARGES!!!!  

Except we know it won't happen.

Then there's a recent case where a Native American got out on parole and got arrested for his 8th DUI.  So that launched a new set of demands for mandatory prison sentencing for multiple DUIs, etc., which will only apply to "certain people". I know this because, back when I worked for the UJS, I saw a man whose family was very influential / wealthy / powerful in a certain county, who was constantly being stopped for DUI, often in possession of drugs, often escorted home, and was never arrested.  I used that guy as the prototype for Vic Adger in my story, "The Closing of the Lodge" (AHMM, Nov/Dec 2022), except that Vic was far more of a gentleman.  Look, I'm not saying that alcoholics with multiple DUIs aren't dangerous - but some treatment would help, and they're not going to get that in prison.  

Once more, for the cheap seats:  Incarceration does not "fix" addiction.  

And now for something completely different!  Hirsutism!  

Did you know that humans still carry the genes for a full coat of body hair?  (WaPo)  Turns out we're kind of like elephants, which historically speaking, began as woolly mammoths.  Which instantly made me think of werewolves:  Hypertrichosis, a/k/a werewolf syndrome, is "an abnormal amount of hair growth over the body."  But now it seems like it's less of an infection and more of a throwback. 

Anyway, meet Petrus Gonsalvus, 1537-1618, "the man of the woods", and his wife Lady Catherine.  Their marriage is considered to be a partial source of the "Beauty and the Beast" legend.  Four of his seven children suffered from the same syndrome:


  http://www.nga.gov/content/ngaweb/Collection/art-object-page.69680.html

Gonsalvus served in the courts of Henry II of France, and successive rulers of Parma. "Despite living and acting as a nobleman, Gonsalvus and his hairy children were not considered fully human in the eyes of their contemporaries."  



Well, they said the same thing about Larry Talbot (a/k/a Lon Cheney).  Whose makeup appears to have been modeled on poor Petrus: 


"Even a man who is pure in heart, and says his prayers by night;
May become a wolf when the wolfsbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright."

For those who don't know, wolfsbane is one name for a member of the aconitum family. Like Monkshood (Below):


Aconitine is a potent neurotoxin and cardiotoxin. "Marked symptoms may appear almost immediately, usually not later than one hour, and "with large doses death is almost instantaneous". Death usually occurs within two to six hours in fatal poisoning (20 to 40 mL of tincture may prove fatal).[25] The initial signs are gastrointestinal, including nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. This is followed by a sensation of burning, tingling, and numbness in the mouth and face, and of burning in the abdomen.[3] In severe poisonings, pronounced motor weakness occurs and cutaneous sensations of tingling and numbness spread to the limbs. Cardiovascular features include hypotension, and ventricular arrhythmias. Other features may include sweating, dizziness, difficulty in breathing, headache, and confusion. The main causes of death are ventricular arrhythmias and asystole, or paralysis of the heart or respiratory center.[25][26] The only post mortem signs are those of asphyxia."  (Wikipedia)  (My emphasis added.)

I'd say there's more to worry about than wolves or werewolves when the wolfsbane blooms.  In fact, aconite sounds like a handy plant to have in the garden... in a cloud-cuckoo land sort of way, of course. We "do but jest, poison in jest, no offense i'th' world."




And now for some BSP:

My story, "Cool Papa Bell", is in Josh Pachter's Paranoia Blues;

Just because you're in prison doesn't mean there's no more crime...

https://downandoutbooks.com/bookstore/pachter-paranoia-blues/
And on Amazon HERE

My noir novella, Cruel as the Grave is in Crimeucopia:  We'll Be Right Back


There's nothing like toxic friendships, murder and a South Dakota winter to make everybody crazy...

Available on Amazon HERE.



You can keep a secret for a long time in a small town, but eventually it will come out...  And always at the wrong time...

On Amazon HERE.


27 October 2016

A Celtic Halloween


When you say folk music in America, the first thing that comes to most people's mind is Peter, Paul, and Mary, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, and music that's a mixture of politics and sweet ballads. Folk music in Britain? Try some of the dark stuff. You want to know how to cheat the Fairy Queen? Kill a monster or two? Go crazy? Be killed by a werefox? Try old British folk songs.

Back in 1969, a British group called Fairport Convention issued their fourth album, called "Liege and Lief". It's been credited as the beginning of the "British folk rock" movement, and in 2006 it was voted "Most Influential Folk Album of All Time". I love this album, because it's chock full of traditional British and Celtic folk material, done with an edge and a steel guitar. And the amazing vocals of Sandy Denny.   Let's just say it makes for a good, alternative Halloween sound track.

My personal favorite on Liege & Lief is Reynardine. Listen to it here:

A Scarfolk Council-issued card to remind you you're always being followed."Your beauty so enticed me
I could not pass it by
So it's with my gun I'll guard you
All on the mountains high."
"And if by chance you should look for me
Perhaps you'll not me find
For I'll be in my castle
Inquire for Reynardine."
Sun and dark, she followed him
His teeth did brightly shine
And he led her above mountains
Did that sly old Reynardine

And, to prove that fairy tales can come true, they can happen to you, try this (fairly obscure) movie by Neil Jordan, "In the Company of Wolves", starring Angela Lansbury as Granny, who tells her granddaughter Rosaleen stories about werewolves, wolves, innocent girls, dangerous strangers, and full moons... (See the trailer below:)



Back to Fairport Convention and the eerie "Crazy Man Michael":



Pair that with Francis Ford Coppola's "Dementia 13", set in an Irish castle, and you'll probably check under the bed at night.  And lock all the doors.  Maybe burn a little sage...



Of course, sometimes they aren't crazy.  In "Grabbers", directed by Jon Wright, a small rural Irish village is taken over by monstrous sea creatures who love the typical Irish day:  constant rain and drizzle.  The creatures are killing off as many people as they possibly can, as gruesomely as possible. But they have one weakness – alcohol. If you're drunk, they can't kill you.  So, the whole village takes to steady drinking...  Laughs, gore, and terror, what more can you ask for?



The remainder of the instructional booklet, complete with a helpful quiz.A poster from a Scarfolk Council anti-people campaign.
BTW, all the photos above are from "Scarfolk, England's creepiest fake town,".  A big shout out to AtlasObscura.com for a great article.  Check out, also:
Carmilla, the first vampire story by Sheridan LeFanu
The Essential Guide to Living Lovecraft
Traveling Thru Transylvania with Dracula
Satan's Subliminal Rock Music Messages

Finally, two things:  first of all from Pink Floyd, a wonderful song that is, perhaps, the Addams Family lullaby, "Careful with that Axe, Eugene":


And for a last video, check out Michael Mann's 1983 movie, "The Keep".  It is World War II in German-occupied Romania. Nazi soldiers have been sent to garrison a mysterious fortress, but a nightmarish discovery is soon made. The Keep was not built to keep anything out. The massive structure was, in fact built to keep something in...




Happy Halloween!


05 November 2015

Halloween Ain't Over By A Long Shot


I know, Halloween is over, but there are some things that just have to be mopped up.
First up, "verd√Ętre". In the King James Version, Revelations 6:8 reads: "And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth." But, believe it or not, it gets creepier in the French SG21 translation, where that pale horse is "verd√Ętre", or "greenish." Just like pus. Or decay. Or the Frankenstein's monster, which only adds to the oomph, don't you think?

Except that the Frankenstein's monster was actually yellow in the original. But then, 60% of all newborns get jaundice.

Secondly, thanks to John Sutherland, who in his collection of literary questions, "Who Betrays Elizabeth Bennet?" raises the best question of all, "Why isn't everyone a vampire?" I'm going to quote Mr. Sutherland here (pp. 239-240):
"Let us assume that each vampire infects one victim a year, and that this victim dies during the course of the year to become, in turn, a vampire. Since they are immortal, each vampire will form the centre of an annually expanding circle, each of which will become the centre of his or her own circle. The circle will widen at the rate of 2(n-1). In year one (say, 1500) there is one new vampire, in 1501, two, in 1502, 4; in 1503, 8; and so, by the simple process of exponential increase, there will be 1,204 new vampires in 1510. And, since they never die, the numbers are swollen cumulatively. Within thirty-one years the vampire population will have reached 2 billion. By 1897, the presumable date of Stoker's novel, the numbers are incalculably vast. In fact, so vast that they will probably have collapsed to nil. Long since everyone will have been vampirized; there will be no more food-supply... Dracula and his kind will die out. And with them, the human race."
Going out, we presume, with a whimper of hunger…

BTW, this idea works perfectly with werewolves, too. After all, if you get scratched/bitten by a werewolf, you become a werewolf, so we should all be werewolves by now, right? And, on top of that, the children of werewolves become werewolves, making (as a friend of mine pointed out) werewolves the original anchor babies!

Meanwhile, back in SD, the dog and pony show continues.

Attorney General Marty Jackley (remember him?) held a press conference on Tuesday, November 3, 2015, at 1:00 p.m., at the Community Center adjacent to the Platte City Hall building, Platte, S.D, to discuss the investigation in the deaths of the Westerhuis family.
For the saga to date about the Westerhuises, the federal GEAR UP monies, and a variety of missing funds, see my last SleuthSayers post, "A Little Light Corruption".
I had already told everyone who expected a great deal of detail, substance, even some actual news, that they should meet outside, later, for a special preview of "Bambi Goes Hunting With an Uzi." Jackley did not disappoint. He announced that it was obvious that Mr. Westerhuis - after hearing that the GEAR UP! grant was being cancelled - shot and killed his wife and his four children, poured [unidentified] accelerant all over the house and then shot himself. Period. This all happened some time around 3 A.M. Apparently the Westerhuises had surveillance cameras, but they recorded nothing, and neither of the two (!) security systems were tripped.

Two interesting and very understated points:
  1. Someone called Nicole Westerhuis' cell phone from the Westerhuis landline, leaving a voice message, but the message can't be retrieved because the account was cancelled. (Obvious questions:  When were the accounts cancelled?  Who cancelled them?)
  2. The Westerhuis safe is missing. Mr. Jackley asked that if anyone knew anything about the whereabouts of the safe to please call him.  
Please feel free to comment wildly. I certainly have.

Meanwhile, a new bit of crazy has arrived in time for Halloween. Now, this is a two-parter:

An original, handmade South Dakota flag dating back to Deadwood’s Old West days that went missing from former Secretary of State Jason Gant’s office in January has been returned to its home in the state Capitol. Garrett Devries, former employee of former South Dakota Secretary of State Jason Gant, former intern of our own Senator John Thune, and "Republican operative," picked it up and took it with him to Washington because "it was cool." (I suppose he never heard that theft was wrong...) He's being charged with a misdemeanor, and is working on a plea deal. (Funny how we can spend money and manpower tracking down a flag, but not the $147 million lost to the EB-5 program...)
Jason Gant
Former Secretary of State Jason Gant,
looking a little spooked for Halloween.

Meanwhile, Mr. Gant is accused of being "$43,000 short of what the in-house books said, losing three iPad Minis out of thirty purchased for his over-hyped military voting program, misappropriating tens of thousands of federal Help America Vote Act dollars, failing his statutory duty to print a legislative manual, and letting an employee walk off with a historic state flag." (See above)
(http://dakotafreepress.com/2015/10/30/gant-admits-but-minimizes-mistakes-krebs-needs-democratic-backup-in-pierre/ - once again, thank you to Cory Heidelberger!)
Mr. Gant has admitted that he made "mistakes", but also claims that "his people were just too busy with other projects to get to reconciling the bank accounts... or turn in invoices relating to the federal HAVA money." As for the iPads, well, crap happens.

NOTE:  I love South Dakota: one guy (co-director for Leadership South Dakota) can't remember nine $1000 payments for his consulting services, and another guy (a former Secretary of State) misplaces iPads all over the place and loses an historical, hand-made state flag, not to mention a bunch of bucks...

And did you know it costs $18,518.51 per overseas soldier to get them to vote? To quote from our own Argus Leader:
The Secretary of State's office under former secretary Jason Gant used more than $500,000 in federal grant money to help 27 active military members vote last year... "I know that 27 doesn't sound like a wonderful number, but it was a program that 27 people took advantage of," Gant said.... [And he] spent $79,000 on a public relations and marketing firm to publicize the program on a trip to Germany. "The beauty of the system is that if in a few years there were thousands of South Dakotans overseas, they could be using it," said Gant.
Honey, there's only 853,000 people in the entire state - how many thousands are heading overseas? Is this something we should be worried about? Aware of? Prepared for? Pack our bags?

Here’re a few hints, Mr. Gant:
(1) Start smartening up your explanations/excuses/reasons/justifications.
(2) Watch the Maltese Falcon and think about the character of Wilmer, the fall guy.
(3) Don't go hunting alone.
(4) Keep your doors locked at night.  Maybe get a dog.