Thursday, July 30, 2009

Auto: Part One

It was a dark and stormy night. It was just a little past 10pm and I was looking forward to curling up to a long winter's night sleep. As it turns out, there would be no sleep for me that night, a night that would completely change the world as I knew it.

The events of that evening started with a small headache that grew worse and worse. The pain grew in intensity until it felt like a vise was crushing my skull, pushing in on the sides of my face. The top of my head felt cold, colder than anything I had ever felt before. Then, in an instant, the pain stopped and a blinding white light... well...blinded me, momentarily. My entire body went cold from head to toe. I tried to scream but I couldn’t catch my breath. I felt something clamp down around my ankles and then WHACK, a sudden and sharp pain in my buttocks made me gasp for air and let out a scream. At least that’s the way I imagine it felt.

The day was Saturday, January 23rd, 1954. The place was Faulkner Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts. While my Mom was pushing me out, my Dad was in the waiting room having a smoke. A smoke you say? ? Yes, that’s right and no, everyone in the hospital that day didn’t die from second hand smoke inhalation. Apparently, the human lung was a lot tougher back in the day. The waiting room you say? ? That’s right too. In the 50’s men were not required or guilted into sitting in the labor room “coaching” their wives in ridiculous breathing exercises that did nothing to help the pain. Lamaze my azz. After three breaths, any woman with half a brain will be screaming for a spinal block. And to those who wish to brave the excruciating pain for hours on end so that they can say they had a “natural” child birth, I say you’re a moron and shouldn’t be allowed to have children. But I digress.

I had just left the warm, secure confines of the womb and been thrust into the real world. Going from having my food conveniently placed in my belly to having to work for my meals. All the crying and sucking made my cheeks sore. At first I thought I was doing something wrong because after every meal my mother would hit me on the back over and over and over again. She would continue hitting me until she knocked the wind out of me each time.

It was a strange new world and was going to take some getting used to the peculiarities. I was used to hearing muffled but intelligent conversation and classic stories by famed authors as my mother read to me in the womb. Now I could hear quite clearly, but no one would say anything that made any sense. Just things like “goo goo, ga ga” and “cootchi cootchi cootchi”. Although, the change in conversation wasn’t nearly as terrifying as the change in music. For nine months I had listened to classical music and some lively swing tunes sung by angelic voices. Now each night just before falling asleep I would hear a single haunting voice singing a sick song about putting me in a tree and waiting for the wind to blow me out so I would fall unmercifully to the ground in my cradle. Holy Smoke I’ve been afraid of heights my entire life and could never figure out why. It just hit me as I wrote that last sentence!

I wasn't like most other babies. Take the crib for instance. In yesteryear the crib was designed so that the bars were far enough apart that you could push your head through them but couldn't pull it back without ripping your ears off. They only cared that your shoulders and hips couldn't fit through, thus preventing escape.

Most kids learned after the first or second time. Not me, I was ..................... um ................persistent! Some would say it was because I was a dumb ass, but I hate labels, don't you?

And let's talk about the mobile hanging over the crib. Most babies (who are dumb asses) are perfectly content looking up, mesmerized at the site of the moving objects. Me? I wanted to reach for the stars so to speak. The problem was that while I could use the bars on the side of the crib to help me stand and keep my balance, the mobile was strategically placed so that as I stretched out to grab the stars, my other hand would slip off the side bar and I would fall flat on my face. That caused me to see more stars because the crib pads back then were only about one eighth of an inch thick. The fall onto the thin pad covering the thick wood would have driven my nose into my skull if my nose cartilage hadn't still been in a softened state. I did this so often, many people started to think I was of Chinese descent.

To be continued...............................

Friday, July 24, 2009

Child Proofing, 60's Style

Kids these days are unbelievably over protected. I lived through this with my kids because my wife is a safety psycho. How did this all start? Either a group of like minded safety psychos got together and started spreading the word or a guy who's very rich now saw the potential in scaring mothers into believing their kids were in mortal danger and it was their fault.

Let's take a look at bef0re and after child proofing became a fad:

Present-Electrical outlets are covered by a stupid plastic insert (that I can't believe I didn't think of) that keeps the baby from sticking a coin in the socket.
60's - Give the baby a penny. He'll do it once, but never again. I know this from personal experience. I also touched a cast iron radiator.............once.

Swallowing Coins and marbles
60's - Don't worry about it, they come out the other end. My mom had to check a lot of my poop in the early years.

Learn how to ride a bike
Present- Before attempting to sit on the bike, make sure your helmet strap is fastened, your elbow and knee pads are on and your body armor is snug. Ride, fall, ride, fall, ride, fall.
60's - Put the kid on the bike. Push it to get it going, then let it go downhill so the kid doesn't have to pedal so much. After the first fall, balance increases dramatically. (My daughter will attest to this).

Head Protection
Present - Helmet. Fall off the bike and no bumps or scrapes. Your head just bounces a couple of times and then you get back on the bike and fall off again because you know you're not going to get hurt.
60's - Hair. The thicker your hair, the less likely you are to lacerate your head upon impact. You do end up with a couple of large lumps called "goose eggs" on your head but you consider yourself lucky you didn't get a concussion this time. Instead of getting back on the bike, you walk it home because you can't see straight. The next time you get on the bike, you don't fall off.

Fight after school - you come home with a fat lip and a black eye.
Present - Your mom calls the police, the paramedics, the child psychologist and her lawyer.
60's - Your dad asks you who won and then says "Put some ice on it, you'll be fine." My dad said that no matter what was wrong with me. Bruise, sprain, cut, fever, it didn't matter. We didn't have health insurance back then so we didn't go to the doctor much. Whenever I'd see a doctor with his doctor's bag, I always thought it was full of ice.

Present - All plastic slides, seat belted swings firmly anchored in the ground and plastic monkey bars all on a rubber base.
60's - Slides have wooden steps and a metal slide. Splinters on the way up and a nice friction burn on the way down. That's on top of the 3rd degree burn you got from the metal sitting in the hot sun all day. Swings, monkey bars and everything else were all on a good solid cement base.

Riding in the back seat of a car
Present - Seat belt fastened, child proof door lock on, child proof window rolled up.
60's - Those big cars had plenty of room to stand up in the back and hold on to the door handle to keep your balance. No, I'm not kidding.

In the end it really doesn't matter. I survived, albeit with a few scars. And even though my wife psycho-child-proofed the entire house, (including that stupid thing, that I can't believe I didn't think of, that locks down the toilet seat lid so well that I couldn't get it opened myself a couple of times and had to go in the yard) my son slipped on the driveway and punctured his forehead, he fell out of the tree in the back yard and broke both his arms, broke his wrist skateboarding and dropped a tree trunk on his toe, splitting the big toe bone lengthwise. And that's just what comes to mind at the moment. No matter what you do, kids will always find a way to do dangerous stuff.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

"B" Horror Movies You Should See.

Cover of "Feast (Unrated Edition)"Cover of Feast (Unrated Edition)

Ginger Snaps (2000) - A completely unique werewolf movie. Low budget, but in this case it made the movie seem very realistic and almost like a documentary. Two teenage sisters going through puberty suffer through more changes than most.

Dog Soldiers
(2002) - A nice little low budget British werewolf flick. Tense, edge of your seat action with some great dialog. No innocent teens here, just half a dozen soldiers armed to the teeth.

The Feast (2005) - From the winners of Project Greenlight comes "The Feast". Low budget, funny and very, very, very bloody. It reminds me of "Evil Dead" in a lot of ways

Cover of Cover of Dog Soldiers

, which is a great movie but outdated at this point.

Cabin Fever (2002) - A group of teens up in the woods dealing with toxic waste as well as some local hillbillies. I don't like movies when babies, mothers, or elderly people are killed but you can take out all the teens you want. That's just good clean fun.

Wrong Turn (2003) - Another group of teen / twenty somethings venturing into the woods. This time they're up against a family of inbreds. There are actually some really terrifying moments in this one. The female lead, Eliza Dushku, you may recognize from TV's "Buffy" and most recently the series "Dollhouse".

Cover of Cover of Wrong Turn

House of Wax (2005) - I think a lot of people missed this one because Paris Hilton starred in it and they figured it must be terrible. It isn't terrible. It's actually pretty good. The good: Elisha Cuthbert is in it. The bad: Paris Hilton is in it. The good: {SPOILER ALERT} Paris Hilton gets killed and in a fairly gruesome way.

Night of the Creeps (1986) - At 20+ years old this movie is an oldie but goody. It's classic in every sense of a "B" movie. Over the top acting, some very funny dialog and lots of blood make up for the lack of special effects. If you can get it cheap, pick it up.

Cover of Cover of House of Wax [Blu-ray]

Jeepers Creepers (2001) - A relatively unknown Justin Long stars in one of his first films. A brother and sister driving through the countryside run into a flesh eating monster. Low budget horror at it's best. It's one of those movies that you find yourself yelling at the TV "Look out!" or "Turn around!". A must see for horror fans.

The Faculty (1998) - A low budget film with a slew of stars appearing, including Josh Hartnett, Clea DuVall, Salma Hayek, Famke Janssen, Robert Patrick, Jon Stewart, Elijah Wood and Louis Black. Someone's become a monster, but who? There is more character development than most movies of this type but it didn't take away from the film at all. :)
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