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byronius's Journal
byronius's Journal
November 26, 2021

'Hellbound' is scaring the crap out of me.

I love a good ghost story, but that's not what this is.

This is a warning about what happens when ignorant people get scared and follow an opportunist down a rabbit hole.

It's Korean, Netflix original, and it's freaking me out.

Best political thriller of the year -- way relevant for us, you'll understand what I mean if you watch it.

Just shivers. Woah.

September 30, 2021

An Odd Bit Of History.

Ron "The Ghoul" Sweed circa 1972 saying it right out loud on broadcast television. I'd never hear of this fellow until today. But I ran across a link to the wikipedia about the first black-owned television station in the United States (WGPR, an interesting story in itself featuring The Scene, a 'Soul Train' style dance show and some other truly interesting variety shows) and their Detroit broadcast of 'The Ghoul' after Kaiser Broadcasting took him off the air for his politically-charged, popular segments like this one.

He passed away in 2019 but was clearly loved by his diehard lefty fans. The clip above is about Nixon's visit to Russia in May of 1972, and he pulls no punches.

From the wikipedia:

Known for his zany, early-adolescent humor (particularly surrounding his abuse of a rubber frog named "Froggy," his well-known penchant for blowing up model ships and aircraft with firecrackers, and his habitual smearing of Cheez Whiz over everything in sight), late night monster movies were a unique experience for Cleveland viewers in the 1970s. Catch phrases included "zingy-zingy," "Overdey!" and "stay sick, turn blue".

The Ghoul would typically take an unbelievably bad horror movie and dump in sound bites at appropriate moments, using audio clips from novelty records, George Carlin, Firesign Theater and rock albums of the '60s and early '70s. And whenever a character took a drink of something on-screen, The Ghoul would supply a good, loud belch.

Shooting from no-budget studio sets, the Ghoul inserted his own dialogue and sound effects over insufferably bad B movies, blew up food, model cars and figurines with firecrackers, and produced strangely compelling, culturally relevant skits and parodies. The show was destructive and childish enough for little kids, subversive and timely enough for young adults.

The Ghoul was well known enough in the Cleveland and Detroit markets that some of his catch phrases ("Overdey!", "Hey group!", "Scratch glass, turn blue", "Stay sick, climb walls", "Pluck your magic twanger, Froggy!", "Holy Parma", "Amrap" and Froggy's "Hiya gang, hiya hiya hiya!&quot are still widely recognized among the children of the 1970s.

An interesting side element is that the aforementioned rubber toy referred to simply as "Froggy" (and much abused by the Ghoul) was a toy dating from 1948 by a company named Rempel and featured often in comedic skits on the 1955 television show Andy's Gang where he was named Froggy the Gremlin. The Ghoul's oft-uttered catch phrases "Hiya, gang. Hiya, hiya, hiya" and "Pluck your magic twanger, Froggy" originate from that earlier show.

I would have loved this guy in 1972, but I was growing up in Dhahran. Missed his wave altogether until this very day.

Bonus Clip of the opening show for The Scene:

May 16, 2021

Tom Jones: Talking Reality Television Blues

Dude is 80 and just released this excellent tune from an excellent new album.

It's Relevant. I dig it.
May 7, 2021

4/28 to 5/6.

there is darkness you don't want
to escape places we can go
to make it too late there is
no hole deep enough to stay
stupidity dna stumbles from
conflagration to skirmish
hound and the hoof scatter
scale and leaf matter the growing
sensate bound by only chemistry

TURN BLUE the thing screamed
TURN GREEN and i streamed
GO FAST and we fly
DEAD STILL the walls rise
i'm the lunar elevator
the proton motivator
i'm the beast from the east
with the loud girlfriend
nobody rolls my roll i
am the heart and soul
i am the king of bright
truth in the night fly!

a scorpion planet faces an
invasion of ticks from deeper
underground. horrible acts of
cruelty spread to an all-out
attempt to survive. the ticks
overwhelm the scorpions and
force a harsh armistice but
three generations later their
intermixed children smoke a
hallucinogenic plant together
that makes them feel brotherly

Captain Kerwin rolls
quick down the turnpike
free air on his bike there's
a fierce face on the hamster
two could say they know him
and the high whine of genius
radiant around him from
green grass in his heart

guitar shed fred rips it up
wild arpeggiated monster mass
the truth to power! the care
less fringes burn away for
a name a face nameless never

swella wella good good
that boy never stops
raises his arms and shouts
at the wind and the long flow
pattern primed for modern
set for the science nonfiction

April 29, 2021

Randi lays it all out.

She's been on this since the beginning. And I'd forgotten most of it.

Worth the watch.
April 10, 2021

Kim Stanley Robinson's 'Ministry For The Future' is a brilliant, moving vision of where we can go.

The one thing about this author -- every book of his that I read, I learn a great deal from.

This NYT bestselling author lives in my town. I've managed to have dinner with him a few times, courtesy of a friend of mine that hangs with the Mars Society. KSR is a down-to-earth human, but he's also overly intelligent and too well-informed to just 'hang out' with. I consider myself intelligent, but I found the dinners sort of like sitting down across a table from a high-powered searchlight. Engaging and exhausting. Just wow.

He's -- a serious mind. He spends his time around working scientists from all over the world, and he's married to a famous UC Davis geneticist. His speculative fiction rings with research and hard fact. I love his style. 'Galileo's Dream' is always with me. It's just beautiful writing. True art. An important part of my life.

'Ministry For The Future' is the newest and best of his climate-change thrillers, full of international political/financial intrigue and desperate science bound up in the incredible drama of climate change that's going to push humanity to the edge of extinction. It's dark, deep, and hopeful. Visionary. No one else could pull something like this off. Hard to explain this novel properly without spoiling it. Uplifting. I so want us to find ourselves on the path he creates. I loved it.

I feel uplifted. Educated. Entertained. Read it. Steal it if you have to. So good. This artist is peaking.

April 4, 2021

I noticed something when I went for my first shot.

It was a well-run drive-through operation. Volunteers in orange vests holding clipboards guiding a long line of cars through a series of stops that ended in a quick innoculation and a fifteen-minute pause in a monitored parking lot. On the way out they handed me my card and a slip for my second shot three weeks from now.

I live in California. Maybe it's not the same everywhere. But the whole thing was professional from end to end. Seamless. The volunteers were dedicated and courteous. I felt part of -- a national endeavour. A World War II response to a public health crisis.

This kind of serious organization -- a group of Americans helping other Americans get beyond what's been a very bad year -- filled me with pride. We're back. America is real again, if that makes sense.

I was at the still-socially-distant Easter in-law grouping this morning. About half have been vaccinated, the others have appointments. We were talking to the kids about all of it, about the difficulty they've faced this past year.

One of them -- my fifteen year old nephew -- said that it wasn't this past year that he was traumatized by. It was the last four years. His anger at having to survive a presidency clearly designed to degrade the nation -- that's what he felt traumatized by. COVID was just a symptom.

It's been a good two days; a tangible effect of having an actual Federal government at work. Joe and Kamala are doing a better job than I imagined anyone could do given the circumstances.

I'm proud. Proud of my state and proud of the Better Part of my nation.

April 2, 2021

I'm watching an excellent Antifa Manifesto on Netflix right now.

‘Saving Private Ryan’. Stars that cannibal guy, what’s his name — Tom Hanks.

It’s all about the cost of letting conservative bullshit grow roots.

March 3, 2021

There is always a terrible cost to allowing fascism and nazism to propagate in any form.

They and all the primitive 'rule by strongman' ideologies (including authoritarian communism) inevitably result in mass death. Their methods were damaging enough to the tribes that embraced them before the advent of technology, but now they threaten the survival of the species.

I advocate zero tolerance for these beliefs and their public expression as a matter of law.

I was suddenly and forcibly reminded of this simple truth today. If we do not stamp them out now, the later cost will be measured in human heaps, misery, incalculable loss.

It is a demonstrable fact of history.

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