NEW 125

“If all ideas have equal validity then you are lost, because then, it seems to me, no ideas have any validity at all."
--Carl Sagan

Jump to the Newest of the New


       I bought a pound-sized bin of Temptations cat treats, as it was 50% off. I should've bought more, as that's as cost-effective as it's going to ever get. I did find an advantage to getting the smaller ones in bags. I dropped the bin, it exploded open, and I had to shovel the treats back into it. Of course, I had 3 helpers. One mammal's disaster is another mammal's dream.
      It could've been worse. I could've spilled the catnip.

      Having exhausted all the CDs at two libraries, I went to the next closest. It looked like they had a few--and I mean, like very, very few--I would borrow. They're free, and mine forever once they're on iTunes. It looked like maybe 2 visits worth. I passed on classical for now, as that spinner rack had a very heavy table blocking the lower shelves. Although the Xmas music rack was easy to get to, which is helpful in January. I grabbed about 25, and went to check out. And that's when they slapped the cuffs on.
      I'm a fugitive from Library justice! The one I haven't gone to in over a year claimed I still had 1 CD out. Yeah, I have iTunes, I don't need to physically steal anything. I searched the only likely places it could've gone. I have some vague recollection of getting home after the last time I was there and finding 1 leftover CD that I put in the book drop, which you're not supposed to do. But I wasn't expecting to be liable for $16 for stealing a CD that I have no need to take. The librarian at this place said that maybe they put it on the shelf without processing it. That would mean that no one's checked it out since then. I can't imagine why one of their top rentals wouldn't be the soundtrack to "Pride and Prejudice," 1995 TV version. I think Beyonce was on it, or maybe some other of today's big stars like Mary J. Blige or those guys who did "Lump".
      When I said that I had no problem getting CDs from the 2nd library I went to, she let slip that "They're on a different computer system than we are." A-ha! The flaw in your plan! I'll go to the fourth closest library, and continue my bloody reign of borrowing! I renounce the name Bill the Splut for my new crimes name, Borrowin' Bill Scarface! (although I may still go by Spitball Jones)
      I checked their collection online, and like all libraries, it makes no fucking sense. I was under the vague impression that libraries had this thing called "the alphabet." But Nah, just put 'em in any order you want. I searched under "CD Music" because I had to, and then had to click on "CDs" because Dewey and his decimals were murdered I guess. I tried to figure out how things must be kept in their department. Why, when looking under Rock, do the same titles appear in Pop? And Alternative? And Rap? Why is everything under everything else? Why did a David Halpern CD--which, in my old Lechmere music department would've been in New Age, have EIGHT different categories? Of course, 4 of them were "Relaxation," "Meditation," and "Music for Meditation, " and "Music for Relaxation." One of the categories was for this CD alone. In fact, every CD was hashtagged as "CD," so don't go looking in the 8 Tracks. Things must've been organized in some Mandelbrot set of fractals. Maybe it's Schroedinger's Library, and titles only turn up where you didn't look. Maybe everything was just dumped in one big section, haha!
      (nods) Yep.
      The sections were New, Classical, and Everything Else. And it was handily placed at waist height, except for 2/3s of it, which required crouching on the floor to look through, so sorry about your arthritis Grandma, no Coldplay or Barenaked Ladies for you! (There were a lot of the same artists, over and over. One series: the BBC Sound Effects Library. One was called "Industry," and the tracks are "Brewing -- Milk bottle plant -- Textiles -- China Factory -- Stainless steel making -- Refuse skip -- Grinding -- Water-mill" because who us hasn't needed 8 minutes of fucking china factory sounds on our mix tapes)
      I went in looking for 1 Halpern CD, 3 Mobys, and 2 Enyas. I found the Moby. The Enya wasn't there, unless it was (I'd never seen the cover, which turned out to look pretty much the same as an earlier album by her, so I might've flipped past it). The Halpern, I later learned, went missing in 2017. So sure, keep it listed online. I need to find the guy who has it, so that he can join me in my looting frenzy. Especially as the website listed Halpern not as "Missing" but as "Billed."
      Librarian looks around in a panic at an empty CD section: "We've been--BROWSIN' BILLED!"

      "For Howard, Things Are About To Get R'lyeh Crazy!"
      From a bin at Dollar Tree, "Howard Lovecraft and the Undersea Kingdom" and yes, it's a kid's movie based on HP Lovecraft. It has the voices of Mark Hamill of "(the Star Wars franchise)", and Academy Award®-winner* Christopher Plummer. If you wonder what the asterisk is for, it's "*2010: Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role: Beginners". Maybe it's a different Christopher Plummer? Little Chrissie Plummer, age 5?
      If you scroll to the bottom of this page, you can watch the trailer and see the fine CGI and productional values and stuff that went into making this. Given the fact that it was marked down from $24.95 to a dollar in less than a year, the thought of watching it fills me with a loathsome, unhallowed, shambling, cycoplean, employee-did-not- wash-hands-after-using-bathroom dread. Well, here we fucking go. I survived "Food Fight!" without being reduced to gibbering madness. There's only one way this could be worse! It could be boring!
      Howard's a bit macrocephalic. Like a watermelon on a toothpick. He has bags under his eyes. He has bags over his eyes. Despite getting plenty of sleep, as he awakens from a weird dream. Which, I bet, sure doesn't mean he's not still dreaming. Oh. He is. There are fish swimming outside his window. He is dragged into the water, grows gills, and meets--CTHULHU! Except he's floating and glowing and named...Spot. Spot is his friend, and calls him Master constantly. Then he wakes up again. Mother wants to send him to school, and she's clearly evil, lusting after Howie's book. Is it the Necronomicon? Then, from the twisted Mythos of Lovecraft, comes an abomination so foul, so blasphemous, so horrifying, that I must shield my eyes! OH NO, NOT--*poof*
      Whaaat the fuuuck? Is this Smurf Village? Some noseless, befreckled cutesy-wootsie kids from the Land of Care Bears? Who talk all wike dis, oh so sweet? I think they're bipedal fish? They're going to see King Didntcatchhisname, and the Littlest Angelfish says "I hope he has something to eat!" Girl Sea Monkey says "I hope it's crispy!" You're a fucking fish person! The last crispy food here was a serving of Your Grandmother & Chips.
      There in the castle, which was "once covered in ice" (there was a first HP movie, involving the "evil king Abdul Alhazred" who was Cold Miser I guess) There are also some Minions or shit, little cute goblin bat clowns doing slapstick--the Slapstick of the ETERNALLY DAMNED! Wait, are these those Mi-go bats? Please tell me no, I beg you, for the sake of my sanity!
      Mi-god-I'm-cute Bat says the King won't see them. Genuine Lovecraftian dialog from the Fish Children: "No way!" Oldest fish, who has no nose but does have ears and earings and sounds like she came from the mall, "No way!" Are you trembling now?
      The King refuses to see them. A kid says "It's Gotha, David, Twat and Innis!" That's what it sounds like. The door bursts open and--CTHULHU!! "SPOT!" scream the kids. Spot hugs them and says "SQUID KIDS!" and hugs them.
      Whaaaaat the fuuuu
      Spot astrally projects to meet Howard, who is still going to school with Evil Possessed Mother. On July 19th, 1898, we are told for some reason. School's in session in July? What unpseakable eldritch horror! Spot goes to some Land of Little Bee Gnomes, sniffing out Howard literally. He ain't there. Maybe it's July 20th? Spot then goes to outer space, where he sniffs some asteroids. Then he goes to Antartica maybe, and the voice actor doing coke? I hope he's on something to get through this.
      HP's at the asylum, dragged by his Mom, and there's Alhazred, and he has HP's real parents, and demands of Howie "All I want is the trout!' What? (turns subtitles on) "All I want is the journal!" Dude, you said trout, I'm sure of it. Spot recommends that they flee, and HP says, in that inimitable way of Lovecraft dialog, "You don't have to tell me twice!" Alhazred says he cast a spell that will turn Howie into a Deep One, which...sure, yeah. Nameless Other Bad Guy doing a clear Darth Vader voice (is this Hamill?) warns that his father will not tolerate failure a second time! Was watching the first movie actually a requirement? Did this crap come with homework? Spot is caught by Al in a fishbowl, and he will awaken him as a Dreamer and Destroyer. So...Spot is Cthulhu? HP's in the Miskatonic U library with Dr Armitage, and Spot's name is Thu Thu Hmong. Does he own a pho restaurant? Howie's journal is part one of the Necronomicon, and Spot is "not yet Cthulhu." Look, we're only 15 minutes into this, I think I'll sit back and just watch this mountain of madness.
      Okay, now we're 18 minutes in, and Howie's got Innsmouth hands. "I'm turning into a fish!!" Nameless other Bad Guy is, you got it, Nyarlathotep. Howie's dad isn't with Al, he's on campus a few yards away. Shoggoths say "Tikeli-li" in the same wrenching, abominable, inhuman voices that one hears only in the depths of gibbering insanity or when someone says "Leave room for cream" at Starbucks. They also have a melodious laugh and only say "Tikeli-li.". Dad screams at HP "LIAR LIAR PANTS ON FIRE!" Man, I guess I really don't remember those books at all.
      Finally! A string of Lovecratian adjectives! Crazy-ass Daddy Lovecraft says that HP's being "transmogrified" into "one of those slimy, gill-breathing, web fingered, gross, disgusting little fish men!" I should point out that the adult actors are having fun chewing the scenery, while HP is so bland, I think he won Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role: Beginning to Devolve Back Into a Lungfish, so at least this part of the script he can do.
      Okay, Nyarly has got to be Hamill, because this is such a dead-on Vader. The way he pronounces "insignficant--as a small worm!" and then onscreen, his Cheez-Wiz animation hand makes a teensy lil' "like a worm this teensy" gesture. It's funny. Now, Armitage trains Luke--um, Howie--to levitate boulders. Daddy uses odd diction: "Impatient, he is!" Huh. That seems kinda familiar...
      The next 20 minutes has a bog-standard fistfight with Al and the Shoggoths, which are pronounced shog-GOTH and are hideous floating Beholder-style demons that shop at Hot Topic. Then a flashback to Crazy Daddy's early days with Dr Herbert West. The box says that a voice is supplied by a guy from Re-Animator, so, parents, if your kids like this movie, rent them that next! Crazy Daddy goes to the Distant Planet Yuggoth and meets Dagon, and this drives him so utterly, irretrievably insane that he says "La-dee-da!" a lot. Then they go to the Shunned Circle, aka Crap Stonehenge, and Crazy starts digging with a shovel that I guess was in his pocket, and says some more Lovecraftian dialog: "Time to get DIRTY! LAND HO!" I guess this is where he buried the prostitute's body. Then they're in the Undersea Kingdom, HP gets nabbed by Dagon, don't worry he's a good guy, lots of name-dropping from the Mythos, Azathoth is the real bad guy, they get teleported to the Undersea Kingdom which is where I thought they already were, then Azzy says "outside the ordered universe is an amorphous blight of nethermost confusion, which blasphemes and bubbles at the center of all infinity." Surpisingly, he does not add "Badabing! You snooze, you lose, fart-face!"
      Then Howie has to face three Indiana Jonesish challenges, which are so boring I'm skipping them. Although the Fish Men wearing sport coats and matching vests are notable. He and Spot return so that Al can raise Cthulhu, but this doesn't work because only a Lovecraft can do it, so nice fuckin' plan, Al. Dagon randomly appears and Howard, Crazy Dad, Fishy Mom and Spot disappear in a scene they didn't bother to animate. Nyarly hits Al with force lightning while Dagon stands there like a big goofus.
      Back at Miskatonic, Howie gathers all three trout--um, Journals, and binds them into the Necronomicon. The Necronomicon is a Good Guy, too! He saves his Mom, who has become so much of a Fish Lady that her name almost became Mrs Paul. Crazy Daddy introduces "This is Cthulhu, he eats reality! My wife once ate a whole chicken!" The Necronomicon is so powerful that it obviously inspires a sequel (yeah, good luck with that), but the ever bland HP says that his house is protected by ryunes. "Runes" throughout the movie has been pronounced as "roons" or "ruins," so this is a nice change. Cthulhu/Spot returns to R'yleh, where the Squid Kids are having a fucking tea party--but what about the Mi-go Little Ponies? How will there ever be a fandom of Mi-gonies? And then, at home, there's a knock at the door and it's--HP LOVECRAFT ALL GROWED UP! OMG! LOL! POOP EMOJI!!
      The credits inform us that this was a film by Sean Patrick O'Reilly that was produced by Michelle O'Reilly. Then--a post-credit scene! Cthulhu walks a few steps, then gets knocked out by some colour out of space. Wow, sign me up for the next movie! The credits continue, and seven out of the first eight names are surnamed O'Reilly. Hamill actually did Armitage, while Nyarly was done by a guy doing an imitation of Hamill doing an imitation of James Earl Jones. Christopher Plummer did Dr West, who had maybe 10 lines, and Ron Perlman was Shoggoth, with one repeated line, "Tikeli-li." Then, there's a post-post-credits sequence, which is a bunch of Shoggoths saying their unforgettable catchphrase, "Leave room for cream." "Howard Lovecraft will return in The Kingdom of Madness." Sure he will. Sure he will.
      It was worth a dollar. Even if the animation sometimes wasn't that much better than this:




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