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Where Was Everybody?


A coworker came in the other morning and said, “I can’t believe how fast I got here today. There was absolutely no traffic on the road. I hardly even saw any cars on my way in. Is something going on?”

I’d heard on the news earlier that a car on the interstate had burst into flames. Miraculously no one was hurt but the accident was bad enough that emergency crews had closed all lanes for a while and she had been lucky enough to time her commute just when they’d reopened.

“I’m so glad there’s a logical explanation,” she said. “It was so weird, like something out of The Twilight Zone.”

“It’s funny you should say that,” I said, feeling a fire spark in my brain. “The first episode of The Twilight Zone was called ‘Where Is Everybody?’ and is about an astronaut who returns to Earth and finds the whole place deserted.”

She chuckled and said, “That’s interesting.”

The fire in my head was building.

“It premiered in 1959 and starred Earl Holliman. You might remember Holliman from his role as the ship’s cook in Forbidden Planet.”

She chuckled and said, “Only you would know that,” not realizing this was fanning the flames.

“I’ve always wondered why a ship that’s capable of interstellar travel with a crew that spends most of its time in hibernation needs a cook, but I do love the scenes with Holliman and Robby The Robot.”

“I haven’t seen Forbidden Planet.”

“Oh, you should!” I’m pretty sure my eyes were glowing at this point and I could feel smoke coming out of my ears. “It stars a young Leslie Nielsen. This was years before he did Airplane!

“I love Airplane!

And with that I had to run to the kitchen and run cold water over my head.

Sometimes I just shouldn’t be around people.

A Werewolf Problem In Central Park.

Source: Untapped Cities

While reintroducing wolves in many areas has been controversial the introduction of wolves into New York City wasn’t controversial at all, since it took care of a much more serious problem. The Mayor Ed Koch Wolf Foundation, which has a new monument to the decision to release wolves in New York City parks, explains the history:

In the late 1970s, New York Mayor Edward I. Koch launched an unprecedented campaign against subway graffiti. The city employed new guardians to patrol its vast train yards—wolves. Captured from upstate New York and set loose in various borough depots, the wolves successfully kept taggers at bay until anti-graffiti technology eliminated the need for the animals.

It goes on to explain that the wolves then migrated underground and survive in tunnels, although I think this had absolutely nothing to do with graffiti, which the wolves did nothing to prevent, and it was really an excuse to distract people from the problem of alligators in the sewers.

Why wolves? For that matter, where wolves? “There! There wolf! There castle!” as Marty Feldman said, but that’s another story.

Lycanthropy has long been a subject of fascination. There’s also ursanthropy–transformation into a bear–which isn’t as well known, although the term “berserk” can trace its etymology back to an Icelandic term for warriors who wore bearskins in the belief they would impart the bear’s power. And that’s really useful if you want to go into battle and eat a ton of salmon and blueberries. Maybe that’s why werewolves are more famous: bears hibernate through the winter, but wolves are on the prowl all year long, and lycanthropes can be out even when there’s not a full moon.

Now I’m not saying there are werewolves among New York City’s wolves. I’m also not not saying there are werewolves among New York City’s wolves. New York City is a big place that’s seen a lot of history, and if you can’t find werewolves there you can’t find ’em anywhere. And if wolves, or werewolves, can make it in New York City they can make it anywhere.

Honestly I’m surprised New York’s werewolf population, or just its wolf population, hasn’t become a bigger tourist attraction. As the monument reminds us tourists have a real way of attracting wolves.

Anyway there’s something to look out for if you’re ever in New York. Just don’t go looking after dark.



Tears Of A Clown.

Source: Rip Taylor website

I can’t remember when I first saw Rip Taylor. It was probably on The Hollywood Squares or Match Game or, well, if you look at his IMDB credits he popped up all over the place and was unmistakable. I’ve probably forgotten where I saw him because he just overwhelmed everything else.Regardless of the role he was always Rip Taylor, the big-haired, big-moustached, confetti-throwing character sometimes known as “the crying comedian”. For most performers pretending to break down and throw themselves on the mercy of the audience would just be pathetic, but Rip Taylor made it work with a combination of charm and energy. It didn’t matter that his persona was probably as fake as his hair or that his jokes were ridiculously silly. He just made me laugh, and it’s fitting that his roles ranged from children’s shows—including just voice work—and more adult entertainment. Even when I was too young to understand the jokes other comedians made on game shows, or, for that matter, the jokes he told, I understood that Rip Taylor was funny.

It also didn’t matter that he regularly stole or recycled old jokes. If anything that was part of the fun, and I don’t feel bad about frequently stealing one of his lines. Any time I tell a joke that doesn’t go over so well I say, “This is it, folks, I don’t dance!” And that always does get a laugh, and every one of those laughs go to Rip Taylor.

Hail and farewell.

There’s A Lunch.

Normally this is a commercial-free blog, but when White Castle parked a food truck near where I work and started giving away free lunches I couldn’t resist writing about it. I could have resisted taking the free lunch, but I will say their version of the impossible slider is pretty convincing, although it’s also small enough that two bites later you wonder if it was all a dream.

The timing for this, of course, couldn’t be better, because White Castle prompts what is, admittedly, one of the least funny audience participation lines in The Rocky Horror Picture Show:


BRAD MAJORS: Didn’t we pass a castle just up the road?

However it’s soon followed by one of the funniest audience participation lines:

JANET WEISS: I’m coming with you!


JANET WEISS: Besides, darling, the owner of that castle might be a beautiful woman—


Anyway an added bonus is that employees were driving bicycle rickshaws around the area and I couldn’t resist going for a spin in one. I asked the guy driving my rickshaw if he remembered that line from The Rocky Horror Picture Show—he did—and found out his name was also Chris. That was my chance to repeat the joke that in my high school there were so many of us that yelling “Hey Chris!” in the hall was like going to a Cure concert and yelling, “Hey, you in the black!”

Please tip your driver.

Chris and I also talked about a story I’d just heard about the decline of the name “Nigel” in Britain which has prompted a pub owner to hold “Nigel Nights” where anyone named Nigel gets a free pint. That sounds like a pretty sweet deal too–one that goes to eleven, but that’s another story.

Something tasteless in a rickshaw. Also White Castle food!

Chris was a really nice guy, at least he laughed at all my jokes, so maybe the word I’m really looking for here is “polite”, and he had a beard that could have made him an honorary member of ZZ Top. So it wouldn’t surprise me if someone commented that they saw me riding around with some beautiful blonde.

Someone Just Walked Over My Grave.

Hands vermillion, start of five

Bright cotillion, raven’s dive,

Nightshades promise, spirit’s strive,

To the living let now the dead…

come alive.

Otho, Bettlejuice


Monsters are real, and ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win.

― Stephen King


I guess he’s going to Queens – he’s going to be the third scariest thing on that train.

-Patty Tolan, Ghostbusters


You said I killed you–haunt me then. The murdered do haunt their murderers. I believe–I know that ghosts have wandered the earth. Be with me always–take any form–drive me mad. Only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you!

–Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights


People populate the darkness; with ghosts, with gods, with electrons, with tales. People imagine, and people believe; and it is that rock solid belief, that makes things happen.

― Neil Gaiman, American Gods


Sir, what you had there was what we referred to as a focused, non-terminal repeating phantasm, or a Class-5 full-roaming vapor. Real nasty one, too.

-Ray Stantz, Ghostbusters



On Pembroke Road look out for my ghost,

Dishevelled with shoes untied,

Playing through the railings with little children

Whose children have long since died.

-Patrick Kavanaugh, If Ever You Go To Dublin Town


Finally, in answer to the question, “Who are you and what do you want?” the reply came, “I am a spirit; I was once very happy but have been disturbed.”

Authenticated History Of The Bell Witch And Other Stories Of The World’s Greatest Unexplained Phenomenon by M.V. Ingram

If, after I depart this vale, you ever remember me and have thought to please my ghost, forgive some sinner and wink your eye at some homely girl.

― H. L. Mencken


Too often, people make the mistake of trying to use their art to capture a ghost, but only end up spreading their haunting to countless other people.

― Caitlín R. Kiernan, The Drowning Girl


Damned spirits all

That in crossways and floods have burial,

Already to their wormy beds are gone.

For fear lest day should look their shames upon,

They willfully themselves exile from light,

And must for aye consort with black-browed night.

–Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act 3, Scene 2


In The Amityville Horror the ghost told them to get out of the house. White people stayed in there. Now that’s a hint and a half for your ass. A ghost say get the fuck out, I would just tip the fuck out the door! Lou Walker looked in the toilet bowl, there was blood in the toilet. And said, “That’s peculiar.” I would’ve been in the house saying: “Oh baby, this is beautiful. We got a chandelier hanging up here, kids outside playing. It’s a beautiful neighborhood. We ain’t got nuttin’ to worry about, I really love it, this is really nice.”

[loud whisper]  “GET OUT”

“Too bad we can’t stay, baby!”

Eddie Murphy

I Want Candy.

The following candies will be rebranded as “sexy” this Halloween:

Kit Kats


Almond Joy

Blow Pops

Milk Duds


Licorice whips


Malted milk balls


Gummy worms

Caramel apples

M&Ms (all flavors)


Goo Goo Cluster

Reese’s peanut butter cups

Reese’s pieces

Hershey’s kisses


Anything “fun size”

Mary Janes

Jolly Ranchers




Candy corn


Granola bars

Bon Bons

Pop rocks

Swedish fish

After dinner mints

Wax Lips


UNICEF money

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