Archive for the ‘Cats’ Category

This was the classic, 1989 version, by Mary Lambert and screenplay (as well as a brief role) by Stephen King himself.  Though I think, if it were me, I might have ended the film a few minutes earlier, letting the viewers imagine the last scene.  And I thought there might have been too much suspension of disbelief asked for, not only the main premise which was okay, but also the “friendly” ghost PLUS the little girl’s 100 percent accurate prescient dreams.  But the ghost had some good lines, and the theme of “a man does something stupid, then seeing what he has done — and with plenty of warning against it — does a stupid thing again” is at least well served.

But that’s just my carping. I hadn’t seen PET SEMATARY before, but for suspense, marvelous cinematography, and some neat “down east” accents in the parts of Jud and Missy, I will say the movie is well worth seeing.  To quote the IU Cinema blurb:  The Creed family — Louis, Rachel, and their children, Ellie and Gage — is just settling into a new country home in Maine when the family cat, Church, meets an untimely death.  Convinced by a neighbor to bury the animal in a nearby pet cemetery, Louis soon learns how the ground — an ancient burial site — can change a thing.  Yet, when their toddler Gage wanders onto a busy road and is tragically killed by a semi-trailer truck, Louis is inconsolable and determined to resurrect him by any means necessary.  Based on the Stephen King horror novel of the same name, the film adaptation rights for PET SEMATARY were originally sold in 1984 to George A. Romero, but Romero chose to leave the production to finish another film, MONKEY SHINES.  Mary Lambert was Paramount’s first choice to replace Romero. She began her career in music video — creating iconic videos for The Go-Gos, The Eurythmics, Sting, and Janet Jackson.  Just one month prior to the release of PET SEMATARY, Lambert directed Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” video, which premiered to protests from the Catholic Church and a call for boycott from the pope himself.  Contains mature content.

The Goth Cat Triana, as I write this, is asleep on the chair I usually sit in — I’m inclined just now not to disturb her.  And that about says it.

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So what is “Bizarro”?  According to DARKMARKETS.COM, Bizarro is a genre that thrives on absurdity and satire and often grotesqueness.  It’s surreal and imaginative.  BREAKING BIZARRO will scream weirdness to its readers.  That’s what.  But to the point, Saturday afternoon brought a proof copy of BREAKING BIZARRO with my story “Catskinner Sweet and the Twirling Teacups of Deadwood City” (see June 15) and, what with arts fairs and readings and all, I finally got to the actual corrections late Sunday night.  So done is done, and shortly before midnight I sent my fixes in, to be received presumably bright and early this Labor Day morning.

But does it scream weirdness?  Well, “Catskinner Sweet” is more a tall story, a sort of precursor — or maybe subcategory — of modern day bizarro, but Editor Patrick C. Harrison III apparently thinks it will fit, placing it in the contents as the next to last story.  That is, one true enough to the concept that it’s in a position where readers finishing the anthology may well remember it when or if a sequel is published, and that’s not a bad thing (the story that follows it has to do with a protagonist’s would-be girlfriend’s butt, incidentally, so one can understand placing that where it will be “the end”).  As for more on the anthology proper, for those who can’t wait the Kindle edition can already be pre-ordered now by pressing here, with an announced publication date of September 15.

A busy Saturday!  First there was my writing group’s monthly critique session; then a Bloomington Writers Guild meeting.  If that weren’t enough, the Goth Cat Triana reminds us that August 17 is “Black Cat Appreciation Day” (so, she’s mostly black).  But added to all that is one thing more.

Saturday’s email brought a new story acceptance and not just by any market either, but DAILY SCIENCE FICTION, a story-a-day free website with professional rates for tales of less than 1500 words, plus an amount of prestige.  Not to mention a pretty wide circulation to boot.  And it’s been a while, though I have been in DSF before (cf. April 21 2015, et al.), five times in fact including two starring our New Orleanian vampiress acquaintances, Aimée et les filles à les caissettes, one of which being their “origin story” (for which see also April 17 2014, et al.).  Today’s new, non-vampiric story is called “Steel Slats” and the really neat thing is I hadn’t had overly high hopes for it, it having been written originally for a satirical near-future anthology which, it turned out, decided it could get along with apocalypses that did not include walking dead, and, well, some of the background may be just a tiny bit politically tinged.  That is, in the case of high-circulation magazines, with a possible risk of irritating some of the readers.

As for what exactly “Steel Slats” is about, perhaps I’ll say more in a future post, but for now there may be some hints in such things as the “Tags” above.  And as for why it was accepted despite my misgivings, I’d like to think it’s because it’s a good story.

Well, Wikipedia says so as well:  International Cat Day is a celebration which takes place on 8 August, every year.  It was created in 2002 by the International Fund for Animal Welfare.  International Cat Day is also referred to as World Cat Day in some countries and since its inception, it has been growing worldwide.  While most countries now observe this unofficial holiday on August 8th, Russia celebrates National Cat Day on 1 March and the U.S. celebrate both International Cat Day and their own National Cat Day on October 29th.


(Triana notes there are plenty more days to celebrate cats too!)

 

(Triana says she’s still going to skip the fireworks though)

She thinks she’ll skip the fireworks herself, though.

Catching up, what a wonderful feeling when it’s story acceptances!  This came in after I’d written yesterday’s post (and that for a late Thursday night sale itself!), from Editor-in-Chief Patrick C. Harrison III:  Congratulations! We at Death’s Head Press have chosen to publish your short story, “Catskinner Sweet and the Twirling Teacups of Deadwood City,” in our anthology, BREAKING BIZARRO.  Please look over the attached contract (don’t hesitate to ask if you have any questions) and email a signed copy back to us within the next few weeks.

The story, a reprint originally published in the March 2001 edition of NUKETOWN, to quote myself in my cover letter when I sent it in is written stylistically as a tall tale, yet is still an absurd story of the Olde West, and of how a failed alien invasion, an ace muleskinner who also could herd cats, a failed tree planting, and green-glowing mice turned a dying town into a city as up to date as St. Louis.  That and the invention of a better mouse trap and a warehouse full of dried navy beans, which all also combine to serve young love — although at worst with a mildly implied PG rating.  This one, also, is a bit longer than yesterday’s “Frogs’ Hair,” which actually is about five words shorter than my self-quoted description above.

And so today, Saturday, back went the contract, with more to be reported here as it becomes known.

As the Indiana University Cinema docent put it, this “Caturday” afternoon feature was to “celebrate the joy of the internet cat video.”  Also noted, of what might be (sort of) the feature’s sponsor, “[o]ne of the internet’s most famous felines, Lil Bub, lives right here in Bloomington” (Lil Bub, however, would be unable to attend herself).  More formally put by the IU Cinema’s printed blurb:  CatVideoFest is a compilation reel of the latest and best cat videos culled from countless hours of unique submissions and sourced animations, music videos, and, of course, classic Internet powerhouses.  CatVideoFest is a joyous communal experience, only available in theaters, and is committed to raising awareness and money for cats in need around the world.  A percentage of the proceeds from this event will directly support Lil BUB’s Big FUND for the ASPCA, which benefits special needs pets nationwide.

And so it was for a good cause too, CatVideoFest being an annual compilation (quoting the Fest’s own website) . . . raising awareness and money for cats in need around the world.  A percentage of the proceeds from each event go to local animal shelters and/or animal welfare organizations.  Thus the idea that local presenters can aim the funding to whatever they feel is the most pressing need.  The 70-minute-reel of cat videos is family-friendly and can be enjoyed by anyone.  The wide demographic appeal allows for it to be shown in virtually any type of setting — from museums to theaters to outdoor festivals and beyond.  This flexibility means there are almost no limits to where CatVideoFest can go!

Thus about an hour and a half of weekend afternoon fun (my favorite was the piece about the man who rescued a kitten on the highway, but when he got home could no longer find it in his car — it had to be there, but was also not there!  With the help of a mechanic it was ultimately retrieved from inside the automobile’s engine compartment, and thusly adopted is now named “Schrodinger”), and also a chance to be a do-gooder, which isn’t bad.  But also while doing a little research before the movie, I discovered (courtesy of Le Grande Cinema) that CatVideoFest is founded by filmmaker Will Braden, creator of YouTube sensation Henri, le Chat Noir, and curator of the popular Internet Cat Video Festival.

I know le chat Henri (see picture above, a mostly black cat much like Triana* but not quite that black), which is to say I’m acquainted with some of his own videos, one of which — the seventh, having to do with an incompetent cat-sitter while his real “caretakers” were on a vacation — was also a part of this year’s 2019 CatFest, and I recommend him to those who might not be.  One can find links in the footnotes in his Wikipedia entry or, for starters, Henri having retired from public life in 2018, one can find his final (eleventh), farewell video “Oh, revoir” by pressing here.

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*The Goth Cat Triana was also unable to attend, but received a petting (plus her supper) when I got home.  One wonders though, should they ever meet, how she, a Goth, would get along with the older, Sartrean existentialist Henri.

“All praise to you, Oh Lord, for all these brother and sister creatures” (St. Francis of Assisi)

Actually Triana has celebrated the entire “Carnival” season which lasts from Epiphany, January 6, to Mardi Gras itself, the day before Ash Wednesday and the starting of Lent, the period of fasting and atonement leading up to Easter.  Triana will not be celebrating Lent.  For a bit on New Orleanian Mardi Gras tradition, she recommends that one press here, while for the traditional Mardi Gras parades (most over by now, of course, that run all through Carnival from the first one as early as 6 p.m. January 5), with routes and times, press here.  She also notes that the French Quarter proper, with its narrow streets and sharp corners, only hosts marching parades, while the major parades with their multiple floats mostly run just upriver (southwest) on St. Charles Avenue in the Uptown and Garden District.




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