In Defense of Beauty and the Beast

Brief History:  It’s French. Super French. Even if it’s not French originally, the French have claimed it. It’s theirs now. There are other similar stories from other cultures, but this one belongs to France. The most popular version is the simple one: merchant wants a rose for his only unselfish child, Beast locks up dad, Beast locks up Beauty in order to let Dad go, they have a very awkward dinner every night, and finally she saves the Beast with love (after almost killing him in the first place). This was the version Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont and Andrew Lang wrote down. They both based it off a story by an entirely different French person, Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve, whose version includes a lot of confusing backstory. Some argue that all of this was inspired by Petrus Gonsalvus, a man who suffered from that condition where hair constantly grows on your face and body. He, by the way, was not French, but was living in France when he met his wife.

Analysis: As a child, I loved this story. This was partially Disney’s fault in creating a heroine who read more than I did. This was also partially a pretentious predisposition to prove that looks truly did not matter. Overall, this is another story where the main character is both victim and hero. She is courageous and kind, but she isn’t desperate to make everyone around her happy. Beauty puts up with a lot from her brothers and sisters and then gets dumped in the castle. By the time Beast is trying to win her over, she must have been pretty fed up. She isn’t willing to bend to his will or marry him right away simply because she is his prisoner. There is some part of her that still wants to be defiant. This becomes a central theme in the famous La Belle et la Bête film by Jean Cocteau (Disney stole from this, by the way).

Blame it on the Victorians: Modern illustrations always give the Beast a human look. He’s an animal, but his face isn’t quite like any animal you can name. He walks on two legs and eats with a spoon. You wouldn’t see him at the zoo. However, Victorian illustrations usually just put clothes on a walrus or warthog or lion and called it a day. Here’s where it’s going to get gross. When the Beast is humanized, you think, “Eh, Beauty isn’t stupid. Some part of her has probably figured out that he’s a human under a spell”. But when you look at a picture of Beauty crying over a dying mammoth that you feel looks more like her pet than her would-be husband, the idea of her confessing her love for him is…as I said, kinda gross. If he never changed into a prince, they would have had some truly horrifying children.

Last thoughts: Insert Stockholm Syndrome joke here                               

*If you want know any of the places where some of my research comes from, just contact me.

In Defense of Bluebeard

Brief History: I told you I’d come back to this topic. Bluebeard is the gruesome, yet oddly satisfying French story of a young woman who marries a wealthy, mysterious lord. Within a short time, she discovers that he has laid a trap to test her obedience to him. He piques her curiosity of a locked room before leaving her alone for the afternoon. Within, she finds the bodies of his former wives and that his cleaning staff doesn’t know how to get clotted blood out of anything. There are a few theories of where this delightful tale comes from, but most popular is it being an adaptation on the French serial killer, Giles de Rais. De Rais had been a medieval war hero who supposedly snapped and murdered over a hundred young boys on his lands. Historians have disputed whether these murders took place or were just a fabricated excuse to take away de Rais's land. Still, the fact remains that sometime after he became infamous, so did Bluebeard.

Analysis: Even though this is, at its core, a story of punishment for female curiosity, the fact that the main character lives suggests some deeper thinking. Instead of marrying for love, the protagonist seems to be a realist. She agreed to be with Bluebeard because he could provide her a better life, making her more practical than most fairy tale heroines. And when she finds out that her new husband is psychotic, she tries to stall his murderous hand until her brothers are scheduled to visit. Although, it was super convenient that her brothers were a dragoon and a musketeer. And in the end, she gets all loot and land Bluebeard owned. She becomes a woman of power and means by surviving brutal attack. Also convenient, yet, as I said before, oddly satisfying.

Blame it on the Victorians: Victorians, for all of their prim, proper hypocritical rules, really loved the morbid. They were fascinated with spiritualists and graphic murder. Some historians argue that many murders were wrongly classified until Victorian society got a predisposition for reading about it in the paper. Because, remember, female sensibilities can’t handle voting without fainting, but let’s all read about Jack the Ripper at breakfast. Naturally, a fairy tale that wraps female suppression and gore into a nice, neat package was right up their alley. Plays called pantomimes of Bluebeard were fairly common (often preformed at Christmas time, because why not). The discovery of the wives was usually played by a bunch of actresses standing with their heads peeking through holes in a sheet to make it look as if they’d lost their bodies. For some reason, this story would become less popular with audiences after the Victorian era. No clue as to why.

Last thoughts: Blood is bad for the carpet.

*If you want know any of the places where some of my research comes from, just contact me.

In Defense of Snow White and Rose Red

Brief History: Snow White and Rose Red was one of my favorite fairy tales when I was about five years old. This story really doesn’t have a lot of other versions and the Brothers Grimm were the first known people to write it down. For those of you unfamiliar, let me give a brief synopsis. First of all, no, it is not a sequel or prequel to Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Apparently, that’s just a popular name in the fairy tale world. These two girls lived in the woods with their mom and two rose trees (one red, one white – get it?). Not sure what mom did for a living that they lived in the woods, but I digress. They take in a talking bear for the winter, because why not? When spring comes around, the bear leaves saying he has business to attend to (no toilet paper commercial jokes please) and Snow White and Rose Red go about their daily lives. Then, they keep running into a nasty little dwarf in danger and each time the girls rescue him, then are verbally abused for their troubles. In the end, the talking bear shows up, kills the dwarf, and turns into a prince, explaining that the little man had enchanted him in order to steal royal treasure.

Analysis: First off all, what were the circumstances that the prince was turned into a bear in the first place? Was he just wandering through the dark forest with a sack of jewels and no entourage? Seriously, where were his guards when this mean dwarf transmogrified him into a grizzly?

Second, the way the girls would to play with the bear involved a lot of rough housing. There’s a rhyme in the story that usually goes something like “Snow White, Rosy Red, Will you beat your lover dead?” You know, on second thought, I’m not going to analyze that. Moving on.

Lastly, the bond between the sisters is a large part of the story. They get along without any sibling rivalries, despite Snow White being sweet and gentle while Rose Red is a little wilder. A lot of fairy tales and folk tales have a theme of drama between sisters over men or how they are treated by the parents. Usually when siblings were close it was because a brother or brothers had been turned into some kind of animal while the sister had to face many tribulations in order to be the savior. In Snow White and Rose Red, the girls just love each other unconditionally because, other than their mom, they were all they had. It’s weirdly sweet for a fairy tale.

Blame it on the Victorians: Not much to complain of here except for the fact that most Victorians illustrations depict the sisters as being young children, somewhere between ten and twelve years old. Yet at the end, they marry the prince and his brother, whose ages are never stated and rarely illustrated in Victorian children’s books. When they are included in the illustrations, both princes always look a little old for the two girls.

Last thoughts: If I came across a little man with his beard caught in a fishing lure, I’d probably have trimmed his beard too.

*If you want know any of the places where some of my research comes from, just contact me.

Cheesy Ghost Movies for Kids that Can Appeal to Adults part 4

Cheesy Ghost Movies for Kids that Can Appeal to Adults part 4

1. Canterville Ghost

My favorite ghost movies (meant for kids) which I watched as a kid! There are many versions of this Oscar Wilde satirical short story, but I’m going to focus on the two that I watched the most when I was very young. Both of these versions kept the original idea of the story which is the friendship of a girl/young lady could save a bitter old ghost from restlessness. They also both included the famous blood stain that refuses to be cleaned up (Creepy? Yes? No? Yes.).

The first is the 1940s version which completely rewrites the story in order to create World War II propaganda. Charles Laughton was a cowardly lord cursed to haunt his ancestral home until a “kinsman could do brave deed” for him. Like in the original short story, he becomes a famous ghost through practice, frightening the crud out of his descendants for centuries until he meets six year old Lady Jessica (played by Margaret O’Brien) and U.S. army private Cuffy Williams. Yep. I said Cuffy. Both are his distant relatives and both are trying to do their part for the war effort (remember to buy war bonds in the lobby). The frights of this this film end early on, being replaced by jokes about the cultural differences of two English speaking countries, another shout-out to Wilde’s commentary in the original story. The British characters are all the “stiff upper lip” sort, while the Americans are all loud and brash. The greatest line involves a country dance where Lady Jessica’s aunt comments that she believes the swing style is known as “woogie boogie”. Overall, kids enjoy this version for the scene of chasing a blockbuster bomb through British fields and the ghost spitting at his family portraits, while adults . . . usually enjoy it for the same reasons.

The other version that was dear to my heart in childhood was the 1986 TV version starring Alyssa Milano and Sir John Gielgud. This one is closer Wilde’s short story but changes the setting to something more contemporary. Sir Simon (Gielgud) was a prideful lord whose selfishness leads to the accidental deaths of his wife and daughter. As a result, his wife’s family killed him and, just like in the other version, he went on to be one of the most famous ghosts in England. Enter Jennifer, an American whose father and new step-mother move her into Sir Simon’s home where everything he does to scare the parents gets blamed on her. But of course, all of this is biting Sir Simon in the ass because Jennifer holds the key to releasing him from his ghostly existence. For kids now-a-days, they can associate with Milano’s issues with her parents and school, as well as laugh at some of the 80s-tastic elements like the ghost listening to a Walkman. For adults, many of the so-called “scary” scenes become funny and somehow that makes the move more endearing as it gets older.

Part that was legitimately disturbing as both a kid and an adult: In the Charles Laughton version, the most upsetting part was that his own father walls him up alive in order to kill him. No one really says too much about how awful his death was and the fact that it was HIS OWN DAD WHO DID IT TO HIM!

In the John Gielgud version, a paranormal investigator manages to temporarily call forth Sir Simon’s wife. She keeps whispering Simon’s name in an utterly creepy voice. Every time I watch that scene, it freaks me out a little and feels like it will never end.

Honorable mention:

Hocus Pocus because no one in that was a ghost in the traditional sense save for little Emily who only had two lines. The witches are, as I understand it, resurrected “from under the ground” so they’re technically zombies. Billy Butcherson – zombie. And Thackery Binx is an immortal cat and technically didn’t die. So I stand by my honorable mention.


Cheesy Ghost Movies for Kids that Can Appeal to Adults Part 3

Cheesy Ghost Movies for Kids that Can Appeal to Adults part 3

5. Tower of Terror

This made-for-TV Disney film meant to promote the opening of the ride in Florida was actually written by young adult author D.J. MacHale, who was also a writer for Are You Afraid of the Dark. For those who are unfamiliar with the plot, it’s similar to that of the ride with some added detail. A young starlet similar to Shirley Temple is present for the grand opening of the Hollywood Tower Hotel. She, her nanny, a singer (who some may recognize as Jan from The Office), a man in a tuxedo, and the bellhop all vanish when their elevator is struck by lightning and plummets. Decades later, a tabloid journalist (played by Steve Guttenberg for reasons I don’t fully understand) and his niece (played by Kirsten Dunst who dresses in this movie pretty much exactly like I did in 1997) are asked to look into the disappearances by a mysterious elderly lady. The story goes on from there with the usual slapstick sidekicks and silly paranormal interactions. You have to keep in mind that this was made by Disney. Then you get to the twist ending and your heart seizes up a little, even though you remind yourself that you are watching something from the Magical World of Disney in the 90s. It should not affect you emotionally. Oh and true to the ride, there are a lot of elevators falling.

Part that was legitimately disturbing as both a kid and an adult: Seriously, why Steve Guttenberg? Oh and that bit with the little girl singing “It’s Raining, It’s Pouring” while bathed in green light is pretty creepy.

4. Casper

You know you love it. We all loved it. The generation before mine got a kick out of it. The generation after mine has nostalgia from watching it on TV as toddlers. And my own generation enjoyed it for a number of reasons which I will spread throughout this entry. The plot was pretty simplistic, lonely and abused kid ghost Casper of Harvey Cartoon fame tricks a ghost psychologist played by Bill Pullman to move into his home. Pullman’s character thinks he’s being hired to clear out the ghosts by the current devious owner and her Eric Idle sidekick who think there is treasure. In truth, this is all so Casper can become friends with his new crush the psychologist’s daughter Kat, played by Christina Ricci (who, once again, wore the same clothes I wore in 1995 minus the jean vests...yes, I liked jean vests). There were a lot of jokes in there for the children of the 80s with cameos by Ghostbuster Dan Ayckroyd and the Crypt Keeper, but it wasn’t until I was an adult that I truly appreciated a lot of the jokes about parenthood blatantly splashed around. Fans of slapstick and toilet humor loved Casper’s obnoxious uncles while the rest of us had Kat’s sarcastic one-liners to keep us amused. Then there was the factor which makes some uncomfortable. So many people my age quote this as being one of the movies that made them realize puberty had begun. For me, it was when Devon Sawa came down those stairs and asked Christina Ricci if he could keep her. I admit that my eleven year old self actually swooned, which was a new experience for me. Looking back on it now, his question to her was a little creepy and possessive especially because they were only supposed to by twelve. I also still listen to the soundtrack sometimes.

Part that was legitimately disturbing as both a kid and an adult: Underneath it all, they turned the silly cartoon about a ghost who just couldn’t catch a break in the friend department into an honestly sad story. They turned him into a little boy who sticks around after death so his father won’t be lonely. That same father dies with the obsession of wanting to bring Casper back to life. But why didn’t his dad become a ghost? If he was that devoted to his son, why didn’t he stick around after death to return the favor? That upsets me more than anything else in this movie and always has.

3. Corpse Bride

Based on a Jewish folktale, most people have seen this bittersweet love triangle of a bride unjustly killed, a young woman trying to get some happiness away from her miserable parents, and a young man who struggles to fight for what he really wants. I confess that I was actually an adult (legally, not mentally) when this film came out, but I can still see it from a child’s perspective. As it is Tim Burton, all of the main stop-motion characters have giant eyes and long necks, but the myriad of supporting characters provide a great deal of variety. What I loved best about this was that, despite the nastiness of the villain and the mysterious horror surrounding the bride Emily’s death, the story goes to great lengths to make death less scary. It’s a kid’s movie, after all. You want children who are dealing with loss to think that their loved ones are having a party somewhere and, if they could come back to Earth, their first action would be to visit the people they left. It’s a nice thought, no matter your age.

Part that was legitimately disturbing as both a kid and an adult: “Can a heart still break once it’s stopped beating?” You shut up, bad guy!

2. Paranorman

Again, I was grown when this movie came out, but I wanted it on the list. This is an obvious message about bullying. As far as modern kids movies go, Paranorman does it’s best to show a modern, inclusive world where people don’t seem to always realize how much of a problem bullying still is. Norman is a boy who can talk to ghosts, a power he is very well-adjusted about, but no one else really believes in or wants to get behind. He lives in a small, New England town where they make all of their tourism money from a famous witch’s curse legend. It has a lot of humor pointed at adults and meant to go over kids’ heads, but is still full of the sort of silly, physical jokes children like. The zombies are very funny, yet give you a bit of a scare simultaneously. The standard angry mob is ridiculous enough to keep youngsters watching from thinking that all rational adults would turn on them if they were fighting a witch. Although, the twist at the end is fairly heartbreaking and would have probably been a little heavy for me if I’d seen Paranorman when I was small.

Part that was legitimately disturbing as both a kid and an adult: My mom hates this movie because of the twist. I cry each time I watch the twist. However, the most disturbing, yet brilliant part of the twist is how it drives home the anti-bullying message in an even better way through a reference to a historical truth. Don’t believe me? Look up Docas Good of Salem.

Cheesy Ghost Movies for Kids that Can Appeal to Adults part 2

Cheesy Ghost Movies for Kids that Can Appeal to Adults part 2

8. Restless Spirits

Another made-for-TV Canadian “masterpiece” for kids, this one had a historical background and a more realistic teenage protagonist. Made in the late 90s and starring Marsha Mason as a no-nonsense grandma, it’s about Katie, a girl who still harbors bitterness over her father’s death from years earlier. She, her little brother, and the crush-worthy neighbor boy (the 90s were a magical time for standardized romantic tropes) discover the ghosts of Charles Nungesser and François Coli. The spirits are based on two pilots who really did vanish off the coast of Newfoundland in the 1920s. For the most part, the movie is an adventure tale of the kids trying to salvage the wrecked plane so the ghosts can finally finish their flight. The Canadian government is after them and locals try to stop their plans, blah, blah, blah. But Katie’s part in it all focuses more on how we don’t always completely move on from death and how sometimes when a kid acts out, even they don’t know the reason for it.

Part that was legitimately disturbing as both a kid and an adult: The Canadian government is coming for me if I try to help ghosts!

7. Amazing Mr. Blunden

I doubt most of you have heard of this one. It was directed in 1972 by Lionel Jeffries (Grandpa Potts from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang) and was based on a now equally obscure book simply called Ghosts. First of all, in case you haven’t already noticed, this movie was super British. Not just the language and plot, but the production values have a certain look like the film is somehow slowly dying in front of you. This look could only mean it was filmed in the UK before the BBC got its budget. The story is part ghosts-part time travel, where a pair of children want to rescue a different set of children who died a century earlier. This includes a lot of the signatures of a paranormal mystery which have since become cliché. Tropes such as surprise names on gravestones, adults that just won’t listen (specifically the titular Mr. Blunden), and the anniversary of a tragedy. Mr. Blunden is really more of a secondary character, but a major theme by the third act is his guilt over the past. I really liked this movie as a kid. As an adult, there are parts which are a little difficult not to focus on like that fact that some of the actors’ lip sync is off and the time travel stuff doesn’t make a lot of sense. Still, this is a descent film that was one of the earliest ideas of a ghost story meant make adults rethink dismissing childhood “fanciful tales”.

Part that was legitimately disturbing as both a kid and an adult: The children who are fated to die are at the mercy of their selfish uncle, “childlike” new aunt, and her wicked parents. The aunt is a former dancehall girl who speaks in baby talk and whines when things aren’t about her. There was a particularly strange scene where she comes down the stairs softly singing about her new dress to her niece, unaware that her mother was just abusing the girl a second before. As an adult, I want to smack the aunt.

6. Haunted Mansion

I know, I know. This movie “bombed” at the box office. It’s one that most people catch on television, riddled with commercials, and realize that it wasn’t an awful film. If you love the Disney ride, you should at least appreciate this movie, whether you are a kid or an adult. For those who don’t know, it’s about workaholic dad played by Eddie Murphy bringing his family to a secluded bayou manor where their ghost host wants to get with Murphy’s wife. You should secretly love it. Secretly love it for Terrance Stamp saying “Hell” in a Disney movie (an honor formally reserved for Maleficent). Love it for the awkward graveyard scene which was pretty much identical to the ride. Love it for the fact that there is no logical reason why Madam Leota (played by Jennifer Tilly) and the singing busts are leftover when all other ghosts move on. If only the Hatbox Ghost could have been a character.

Part that was legitimately disturbing as both a kid and an adult: It wasn’t so much disturbing as it was just sad. The opening sequence gives hints to the death of a young woman in a mask while a party goes on in the ballroom. What looks like a hundred people in the mansion and no one knows that this woman is dying just a couple of rooms over. Of course, if they had saved her there would have been no plot. Damn story structure.

Cheesy Ghost Movies for Kids that Can Appeal to Adults part 1

Let's take a break from fairy tales for the next few weeks in order explore a topic our inner child might enjoy.


Criteria for this list: movie had to be intended primarily for children (so nothing like Beetlejuice or the 6th Sense) and had to have ghost as a major character or plot point (so no Hotel Transylvania or Scooby Doo). And please no one try to argue with me that original Ghostbusters is a kid’s movie! I’m splitting this list up throughout the month.

Some spoilers ahead.


10. Are you Afraid of the Dark?

      Okay, I know this was a television show and the acting within it was . . . not always easy to watch. But many of the stories of ghost children were the best. This show ran for a long time, so I’m only going talk about 2 episodes. The first is the Tale of the Lonely Ghost which was the first episode I ever saw (I skipped the pilot about the freaky clown). This episode was haunting because of the ghost’s backstory. She was a mute girl who essentially starved to death in her own house while her mother was away because of neighborhood bullies. As a kid watching, that was sad. As an adult watching, that is absolutely horrifying. Who were those bullies? I want to speak to their parents!

The other episode I will mention is the Tale of the Dream Girl, which I bring up because it was the basis for the 6th Sense. This one is less sad and more about coming to terms with death. As I said, M. Night borrowed this premise so I’m going to go ahead and give away the story. A teenager keeps seeing a beautiful ghost around his school and house, but his sister keeps trying to distract him from both the ghost and their mom’s sudden onset depression. As it turns out, the ghost was the teenager’s girlfriend. They died together in a car crash and, for some reason, he lost his memory when he started haunting his sister. What makes this so interesting is the fact that his sister tries to hold onto him and pretend that he’s still alive which gives an bittersweet take on the idea of not wanting to deal with death.

Part that was legitimately disturbing as both a kid and an adult: The general theme of Are of Afraid of the Dark ghost children episodes was that more people ignore ghost children. Won’t somebody think of the children?

9. Believe

This was a made-for-TV film about a pair of teens, played by Ricky Mabe and pre-24 Elisha Cuthbert, who are investigating the ghost of a woman who walks between their adjacent properties. The boy, Ben, is good at creating hoax ghosts and isn’t really a “believer”, but goes questing with his neighbor, Katherine, when he realizes that the see-though woman in his yard looks an awful lot like a portrait in his grandfather’s house. Plus, he has a crush on Katherine and I’m sure he thought he could convince her make-out in the midst of their paranormal research. Large parts of this are cheesy, but the ghost element is more of mystery handled through psychological reasoning as opposed to being just a scary, popcorn flick. That having been said, this title is just awful. Terrible, terrible title.

Part that was legitimately disturbing as both a kid and an adult: The misogynist bullying Katherine endures from other kids in their small town simply because her parents are dead. Oh and the ghost…I guess.


This list will continue throughout October. Comment below with what you agree or disagree with. :-)

In Defense of Little Red Riding Hood (this one will be short)

Brief History: Both the French and Germans have a version of this and it’s included in most popular collections of fairy tales. After talking to a wolf, a little girl is tricked into thinking this hairy villain is her grandmother. In some versions she and Grandma are rescued by a woodcutter who cuts them out of wolf’s belly whole. In others, only Grandma dies while Red manages to escape by saying she has a potty emergency. In the earliest versions both ladies die. The end. This story isn’t based on any known historical events or folklore other than a healthy fear of the unknown and a high childhood mortality rate. Most cultures have some sort of “don’t do that” story for kids.

Analysis: First, there is the obvious – stranger danger. If Red didn’t talk to the wolf, he wouldn’t have beat her to Grandma’s house, eaten Grandma, and discovered how good he looked in a nightcap. Some variations have the kid drugged or pretending not to realize that Grandma has suddenly sprouted fur, instead of her just being so dumb that she thinks all little old ladies have fleas. Then there is the more underlying, evocative theory. Those of you who had to study Bruno Bettelheim will recognize this one. According to many, the story is also about loss of innocence, coming-of-age, and sexuality. “Are you there, Wolf? It’s me, Red Riding Hood.” The whole red cape is the first piece of suggestive symbolism (because little girls wearing scarlet are so scandalous, apparently). This is followed by Red climbing into bed with the wolf and them going through the whole “all the better to” dialogue. Then of course, the wolf devours her and well . . . Or you can just keep thinking of this as a nice stranger danger lesson. Somehow, it’s less creepy that way.

Blame it on the Victorians: Both Charles Dickens and Walt Disney expressed that their first childhood crushes were upon the little girl in the red cape. This story had that perfect mix of damsel, danger, and dim-wittedness that Victorian higher ups adored. The female character makes a poor choice an instead of having the opportunity to realize her mistake or save the day like in other fairy tales, she either dies or is saved by a random outside character. Wait, I’m supposed to be defending this aren’t I. Uh— Don’t talk to strangers, kids. There. Moral re-established.

Last thoughts: Watch the Company of Wolves – it’s trippy, man.

*If you want know any of the places where some of my research comes from, just contact me.


In Defense of Snow White

Brief History: Snow White is the story most people know about the beautiful girl (who was only seven years old in the Grimm version, by the way) experiences attempted murder multiple times by the hand of family member and is rescued by miners. This story is not found as often in other cultures as Cinderella, although there are versions within Eastern European folktales. The Roman story of Chione has similarities, but is also riddled with rape and forced tongue piercings. Some say Snow White was inspired by real wealthy young women who died “mysteriously” so others could take control of their land and mines. I would also like to point out that in the earliest versions the prince does not save the young beauty with a kiss. Someone drops the glass casket and she coughs out the poisoned apple.

Analysis: As a kid, I used to wonder how Snow White could be so dumb. Her stepmother manages to trick her with different variations of the same trick three times. THREE TIMES! But at the same time, I don’t know what her life was like. Maybe she was alone every day in that dwarf house for years and was desperate for the company, even if that company might stab her scalp with a poison comb. Maybe she had lots of peddlers come by the cottage and the evil queen showing up multiple times was simply another person in a weekly routine of solicitors. I did like that her true heroes were the seven little people who probably did not know how to raise a child. So that makes them doubly heroes – once for keeping her safe and again for dealing with her through puberty. As for her marrying a man she never met just because he dropped her casket, I admit I’d do almost anything to not have to hand-wash seven pairs of underwear every day.

Blame it on the Victorians: Originally, when the Brothers Grimm wrote the story down, Snow White’s nemesis was not a jealous stepmother, but the very woman who had given birth to her. Even the Grimm boys thought that having her mom order little Snow’s lungs and liver cooked into a stew was too dark. And thus begins the myth of the evil step-mother. Victorians seemed weirdly okay with this, despite that so many children grew up with stepmoms due to the high death rate caused by childbirth. First wife dies and you don’t want to raise the kids – marry another women.  As for the Victorian’s view of little people, well… Most illustrators drew the dwarfs as ordinary men with long beards. Yet, there were a few, most notably from the Victorian era who chose to draw them more like hobgoblins or gnomes; fanciful or comical. Circuses of the day were partially to blame. It was difficult for little people to be widely accepted in Victorian society and some chose to be the stars of freak shows. P.T. Barnum’s young actor, known as General Tom Thumb, made bank allowing people to ogle him. Because, again, the Victorians were swell.

Last thoughts: An apple a day. . . is almost the set-up for the perfect crime.

*If you want know any of the places where some of my research comes from, just contact me.

In Defense of Cinderella

I’m going to start with both the most popular, most retold, and most criticized of all fairy tales.

Brief History: This is literally the oldest, most retold fairy tale. Every time and culture has a version of a tale which begins by making you feel the unfairness of an abused young woman’s life. Then, there is an opportunity for her to have a break from her awful situation, but can’t get to said event without some help (whether be fairy godmother, birds, or fish). In the end, her suffering ends with some violent end to her tormentors, the arrival of a wealthy male, or both.

Analysis: What I feel needs the most put into context is the constant belief that Cinderella was the victim of the story, a poor sap who could have rescued herself at any time and did not need a prince to do so. First of all, in the original versions of the tale, our heroine lives in times and societies which would not have given her opportunities to save herself without desperate measures. In the earliest versions, such as the Egyptian/Greek tale, she is slave or a captive. In the most popular versions, Grimm and Perrault, she lives in a world where a woman on her own would have had very few opportunities. If she had run away from her wicked family, she would have been at the mercy of expected roles for women of the time. And how nice would the ending of the story have been if she had joined a brothel or become a beggar? A true inspiration to little girls everywhere.

In most versions, she needs help, this true. But again, this is because of the world she lives in. Women could not help themselves, especially a woman of middle or higher classes. She accepts the help because without it her life can never change. Of course, the child of abuse, she is also willing to only take that help for one night. Only one night to make her life just a little better. In hindsight, she really should have been asking for a job in a shop or a house of her own complete with inheritance.

Lastly, and men I apologize in advance for this last part, the prince is not the hero. He is the booby prize. He is what is given as a way out and reward in the midst or her hard life.

Blame it on the Victorians: The focus on Cinderella’s domesticity and lack of complaint are very much Victorian attributes. Women were to go through life with the hand they had been dealt and if men chose to the change their fate, then so be it. But Heaven forbid that a woman attempt to change her own position or try to better her own life. This can be seen in other literature of the time like Tess of the D’Urbervilles and Vanity Fair, where women who try to act in a way which was classified as “masculine” (as in they take charge and try to use whatever means necessary to better their lives) always meet horrible ends. Where as other women of these novels who are victims, innocents who are mistreated by society like Emily in David Copperfield or the sisters within Woman in White are conveniently rescued by circumstance.

Last thoughts: I confess, it’s all about the shoes.

*If you want know any of the places where some of my research comes from, just contact me.

In Defense of Fairy Tales

My next few blogs will be one of my favorite topics – fairy tales.

I’m going to try to focus on fairy tales which are fairly popular, but have received a bad reputation over the years from society.

Each blog will include an extremely short history and explanation of the fairy tale and an analysis so show what needs defending. The analysis will really only focus on the main character of the story (because analyzing step-mothers and wolves takes too long). It’ll be semi-educational. It’ll be funny. It’ll be my answer to the princess and poisoned apple haters. Well, I guess you should hate poisoned apples. I guess they aren’t doctor recommendation. Did my rant just lose steam? Damn.

*If you want know any of the places where some of my research comes from, just contact me.

Westerosminster Kennel Show

Welcome to the annual Best in Dragon Show! I’m your host, Alistair Fizzibottom, here to give you a full play by play of the competition this year. And as always, this year’s competition is sponsored by Viking Hordes. Remember, nothing says conquest like a Viking brand Horde.

Oh, it looks like the competition is under way.

Our first contestant is Glitter, a great serpent. Gorgeous scales, but the animal seems a little sluggish. Oh! The owner should not tug on the leash like that— And yep, yep. Glitter jut ate her owner and went to sleep. The judges have declared her disqualified.

Next we see in the same category Hopper the sea serpent. Although Hopper shows excellent color and barnacle to flipper ratio, I know the judges will not be happy about that leftover yacht still in Hopper’s teeth. Looks like Hopper’s owner forgot the floss.

Put out a few extra bowls of kibble, here comes Gail the hydra! At fourteen feet high and seven heads, it might be hard to beat this beautiful specimen. Oh, wait. It looks like two heads have not fully grown back in. That is gonna cost a lot of points.

Here comes the great bearded dragon from Southest China. What a gorgeous, graceful specimen of the golden variety. Oooooo. Ouch. His name is Chop Suey. That just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Owners should lose points for that one. Can we all agree that no one would be sorry to see this dragon eat his owner?

Now there is a breed you do not see everyday. A genuine well-dwelling Lindwyrn. Ladies and gentlemen, feast your eyes on this rare treat. Apparently, her name is Marigold and she is only four hundred years old. She’s practically a baby! Look at those judges stare. She might have this competition won.

Wait, wait. Here he comes! Our reigning champion, fifty-two years running – Mr. Twinkles the green drake! Looks like his claws and wings have been polished for the event. Such a majestic creature. And those hindquarters! Mr. Twinkles has one of the best physiques of any dragon here today. Oh, ladies and gentlemen, he’s coming to the announcer booth. Hey there, fella. You wanna treat. Those are some big teeth you ha—

Forgotten Dragon Films

Dragons have been a staple of special effects ever since George Melies used a smoke breathing puppet to wow audiences. Most people can name the most popular dragon films like How to Train your Dragon, Dragonheart, Shrek, Pete’s Dragon, Neverending Story, and the Hobbit films. But what about the more forgotten dragons in film? Sure, not all of them were state-of-the-art CGI, but many of these forgotten mythological creatures deserved a place in your cinematic memory. Here’s a list of the top 5 forgotten film dragons and why you should remember them:


5) Spot from the Munsters

I have always been partial to the Addams Family myself (the Munsters were a little stuck-up for my taste), but I was jealous of Spot, their pet dragon that lived under the stairs. Eddie had the awesome choir of taking Spot for walkies and I always wondered how he actually got the dragon out of the house. I was excited to see that Spot was going to be included in the Mockingbird Lane reboot Bryan Fuller wanted to make, only to have my excitement dashed to pieces when the reboot was turned into a single episode Halloween special. At least Fuller got to do some dragon related writing on Hannibal.


4) Magellan from Eureeka’s Castle

Not a lot of people remember this puppet-filled Nickelodeon show written by R.L. Stine (yes, of Goosebumps fame). Usually if you mention it, children of the late 80s/early 90s will get that squinty “oh yea” expression. It was about a wizard-in-training named Eureeka who lived in a giant’s castle music box with her other friends who mostly consisted of unusual creatures and talking animals. Most popular among them was Magellan, a child-like dragon whose tail was out of his control. He often spoke to his tail like it was separate person, which looking back on it is a little strange. Actually, it’s a lot strange. But he was lovable, so we’ll let it go.


3) Yowler from Dragonworld

A recently orphaned little boy moves to Scotland where he befriends a baby dragon, only to grow up and have to keep greedy amusement park owners from taking control of his beloved pet. If this sounds like a cheesy mid-90s direct to video tale to you, then dingdingding! You won! Yes, this was a poorly produced fantasy film by the same company that made the Prehysteria film series (raise your hand if you just had dinosaur puppet PTSD). Still, Yowler was an adorable puppet/stop motion creature. He had a goofy face with big expressive eyes and a lot of overall personality. It was the sort of movie that made an 8 year old think that owning a pet dragon was a possibility. Plus, it starred the hot guy from Monarch of the Glen.


2) Taro from 7th Voyage of Sinbad (SPOILER ALERT)

Always show respect for the Ray Harryhausen creatures! The stop-motion genius created this obstacle chained to a wall in the final battle of the first of the Sinbad adventure films. The dragon is not made to be cuddly or pathetic, yet you feel a little sorry for him. He lives his life trapped as a guardian of a cave. Taro is freed by Sinbad in order to rescue himself and the princess from a cyclops. Taro does indeed fight the cyclops, giving the heroes a chance to run away. However, in order to fully escape from the Island, Sinbad and his men then have to kill Taro with a giant crossbow. The dragon accidentally lands on top of the story’s villain, killing the sorcerer, thus saving Sinbad a second time. As the crew rows away, they see the giant reptile cry out as he dies upon the beach. Not really fair for poor Taro. May he rest in peace. For shame, Sinbad.


1) Gorbash, Smrgol, and Bryagh from The Flight of Dragons

This 1980s Rankin and Bass animated film is never as easily remembered as the Last Unicorn or the cartoon version of the Hobbit, but it was still a decent film. Written a part study of dragon anatomy and part typical fantasy story (the main character slips from his modern world to a world where magic is an everyday occurrence) by borrowing from two different books, The Flight of Dragons was a good mix of action and pseudoscience. Peter, the main character voiced by John Ritter, is accidently merged with a dragon and discovers first hand why dragons can fly and breathe fire. The explanations seemed completely logical to me as a child and Peter as a dragon was very lovable. The final battle against James Earl Jones is pretty epic too.

The Tale of Ragsy


Little Billy loved Ragsy, his rare hairless Azawakh-Great Dane-Thai Ridgeback mix which his uncle gave him. At least, that was what Billy assumed Ragsy was. He’s looked up a lot of dogs on the internet and, although the pictures didn’t quite match, he just had to assume that was what Ragsy was. After all, the animal was almost the size of a pony with a square head and a long neck. True, the ridgeback dog in the picture had fur ridges and Ragsy’s were more like a dinosaur, but Billy figured that the dog in the online picture would have the same scales without fur.

Billy’s parents, not being too well-versed on the matter, assume all of little Billy’s research must have been accurate and saw no reason why he shouldn’t take Ragsy in for show-and-tell. They dropped Ragsy at the school around 10am, when the teacher said it would be alright for the dog to be there. When he came in, tugging on his leash as he sniffed the classroom air, the class as a whole jumped. The teacher ran to create a barrier between her students and the strange looking creature. Then, Billy jumped up.

“Ragsy!” he cheered and the hairless animal wagged his thick tail.

The teacher regained her composure and moved slowly to her desk. Ragsy watched her, his cat-like eyes blinking at her sinisterly. “Okay, Billy. Tells us some things about your . . . dog.”

“Ragsy is a year old, so he’s still kinda a puppy. He likes to play fetch and sometimes he barks at the mail truck. I’m teaching him tricks.” The little boy took out a baggy of jerky from his pocket. Ragsy excitedly licked his long, forked tongue over his sharp teeth. “Watch. Speak, Ragsy!”

Billy held out a piece of jerky over Ragsy’s nose. At first, the beast tried to nip it out of Billy’s hand. The boy held it out of reach and repeated, “No. Speak!”

Ragsy moved his bottom jaw once and a shrill cry rang out. Children plugged their ears while Billy giggled.

“Good boy!” He tossed the jerky in the air and Ragsy leapt for it. When he landed back on the floor, the classroom tremored from his weight.

Billy went on with his explanation. “Because Ragsy is still young, he’s still growing. He’s starting to get longer nails, which I think might be a Great Dane thing, I’m not sure. And he’s getting these two lumps on his back. I tried to take him to the vet, but he vet wanted to call some people called ‘cryptozoologists’ to look at Ragsy. Mommy said that sounded expensive.”

When Billy ran his fingers along the two golf ball sized humps growing from his pet’s back, the animal made a fearsome purr, then snorted in happiness.

“He like beef the best. Last week, the neighbor’s pet potbelly pig went missing and she kept thinking Ragsy ate him. My daddy kept telling her that Ragsy doesn’t like pork, but she didn’t believe us until we found her pig hiding under her porch. Turned out Ragsy was trying to play with it and the pig got scared. I guess pigs don’t like dogs.”

Ragsy lifted a back leg and started to scratch behind a scaly horn, making his collar jingle in the process. Billy took over the scratching and the forked tongue hung from one side of the toothy grin in pleasure. “He likes to be pet behind the ears. Does anyone else want to pet him?”

A couple of children raised their hands, but the teacher motioned a no and their limbs when back down.

“Billy, thank you for bring Ragsy in to see us. Why don’t you put him in the coat closet until your mom comes back for him and we can have the next presenter come up.”

“He doesn’t really like the dark—” Billy started to explain.

“I’m sure he’ll be okay,” the teacher responded.

With a shrug, Billy walked Ragsy towards the back of the room. The animal lumbered behind, sniffing and drooling on each student’s backpack. He dipped his nose into one boy’s bag and came out with an action figure between his jaws. In a single swift bite, he broke the action figure in two and swallowed the pieces.

“Billy’s dog ate my show-and-tell,” the owner of the action figure tattled, more annoyed than upset.

Billy led Ragsy into the coat closet and told him to be good boy as he shut the door. Once Billy was back in his desk, a little girl walked to the front of the room. She started to show off photos from her family vacation when they heard a scratch, scratch, scratch.

The teacher told the children to ignore it and encouraged the little girl to go on.

Ragsy started to yowl and cry from behind the closed door. Still, the teacher just told the girl to talk a little louder.

Then, there was a hissing noise. A second later, the room heated up as a flame ball burst through the closet door and hit the whiteboard behind the teacher’s head. The wooden door had partially disintegrated, the edges of a hole still sizzling. Ragsy poked his head through the hole and made a little whimper.

“I told you he doesn’t like the dark,” Billy stated.

Finally Caught Up and Now I REALLY Want a Baby Dragon!

I didn’t start Game of Thrones until season 6 had ended. I read the first book long ago before the HBO had made the epic deal which made them oh-so-powerful. Okay, I read most of the first book, but that’s beside the point! I finally caught up! I have now finished all seasons 1 through 6 so you can all just get off my back and —

What do you mean season 7 already started? And I’m already behind? What the hell! Well . . . Son of a bi—


*This blog goes out to the victims of the Battle of Blackwater Bay.


Dragon Themed August Blogs

Why dragons? Why not? I live someplace where stepping outside in summer is like being eating by a fire breathing monster so why not end the season with some mythological fun.

A quick note out there to all the dragons who may be reading this blog: I do hope I do not offend any of you, but at the same time I am not entirely sure if dragons can read. Wait, was that assumption offensive? If any dragon is reading this, could you please contact me and set me straight. I totally promise not to capture you and make you a pet.

In Search of a Summer Beach Movie – Part 4: Surfploitation

As the night went on, the party on the beach followed Bubbles’s instructions. They lit a bonfire. They had a ridiculous chase scene. They talked in outdated slang.

Finally, one of her friends asked about the surfing she has boasted about intending to learn. Bubbles, feeling all of the confidence of a beach babe knowing she was successfully making her hunk boyfriend jealous, ran to a board resting beside a sleeping man.

“I’ll show you!”

“I don’t think you should surf at night,” one friend pointed out.

“Or take someone’s board,” another friend said.

But Bubbles would not be swayed. She removed her dress to reveal the swimsuit underneath. She ran with the board skillfully, as if had done so a million times. The freezing water bit at her legs and was like needles pricking her fingers, yet still she went in. She paddled out just far enough, but not too far. She waited until a wave, not too big, but not just a bump in the surface of the water came her way.

She knew she could do this. She could feel the energy of all fictional surfers course through her veins. She paddled a little with the wave and as it gained momentum before she hopped up on the board. Her feet hit the slick surface beneath her and attempted to adjust her balance.

Within a second, she fell off into the icy wave. Salt encrusted the inside of her nose and mouth, burning her lungs. She managed to hold onto the board as she staggered back out of the water. Everything ached.

Her friends brought her a sand covered towel and asked if she was alright. One of them stealthily returned the board to the sleeping beach bum.

As Bubbles shivered and shook out her high ponytail, anger rose within. Surfing wasn’t exhilarating. It was hard! And she had sand everywhere, in places she thought no foreign particle could reach! Even their bonfire was a tiny, piddling flame barely able to keep her warm!

Feeling all of her frustration welling up, she screamed out, “That’s it! I’m done! I’m done with these movies! They’re sexist hooey! I bet the surfing was all fake and no one ever seemed to care that there were several cases of assault going on and no one ever really got hurt and there’s no one who really looks like Frankie and Moondoggie—”

Just then a young man with dark hair coiffed perfectly into a pompadour stepped toward her. His square jaw and broad shoulders made her take a physical step back. “Excuse me.”

“Oh my.” Bubbles murmured.

His dark eyes sparkled at her. “Sorry to bust up the party, especially since I’m off duty right now, but do you have a permit to have this fire on the beach?” He took a badge out of his shorts pocket.

As the word “police” registered in Bubbles’s mind, she let out a squeak. And with that, she ran to her Woodie station wagon, put the car into a decided reverse, and drove away from the beach for a very long time.

In Search of a Summer Beach Movie – Part 3: Ukulele and Bongos

Bubbles and her friends arrived on the beach once again after a long day of tourist activities including shopping and museums. “Today was just nifty!” Bubbles exclaimed. She admired the sun starting to slip beyond the horizon.

Her friends laid out towels and groaned as they stretched out. “Yep. Now I just want to relax for an hour before the others show up.”

A man chasing a woman in a bikini ran by, kicking up sand as they went.

Bubbles’s second friend watched them go, unsure of how to respond. She then turned her attention on Bubbles. “Aren’t you going to sit for a while? We’re going to probably be up half of the night.”

A group of their other friends who were on a road trip were merging vacations for the evening. The girls agreed to let the rather large group crash at their hotel room and hang out for the day. Bubbles was thrilled with this plan since the idea of so many people crowded into a single space reminded her of a Frankie and Annette movie.

She started to rummage through a large duffle bag she had retrieved from the back of her station wagon. Out came her portable radio, a ukulele, a pair of bongos, and several outfits.

Holding out one outfit to the taller of her two friends, she proudly proclaimed, “Look! I bought you a dress!”

The bright blue garment swayed in the breeze. Thousands of polyester strings layered atop of spandex were thrust into the friend’s hands. “That’s a lot of fringe. I mean . . . A lot of fringe. How many lampshades died to make this?”

“It’s so you can go-go dance. This is going to be the absolute ultimate!”

“Uh huh.” Her friend’s mouth hung open as she tossed the dress into her beach bag and allowed it to fall all the way to the sandy-covered bottom.

The woman being chased by the man went by once again. “Should we help her?” one of Bubble’s friends wanted to know as the pair turned at the end of the beach and vanished into a crowd of families.

Bubbles waved a hand nonchalantly. “Oh she’s fine. They’re just a running gag.”



Her other friend lifted the bongos and tapped the top to a slow rhythm. “What is all this stuff for?”

“A spontaneous musical number.”

One friend grunted and fell back onto the towel. Her she wrapped the edge of the terrycloth around her neck, pretending to choke herself.

“We have to have a musical number!” Bubbles announced. “Every beach party has a musical number. Look. I have lyrics and parts for everyone as soon as they get here.”

“No one will want to sing, Bubbles.” The friend with the towel around her neck tried to say.

“Of course they will. Look at that ocean and that sunset. The entire atmosphere is going to just want to make people sing. You wait and see.”

The same friend rolled her eyes. “Have you met our friends? The only way you’re going to get them to sing is if you get them drunk first and then I don’t think they’ll sound too great.”

“You’re right. We really need a full band, but I figure this stuff will have to do. I printed out the song and if you want we can practice before they get here.”

“Bubbles—” the first friend whined.

Her other friend slapped hand in the sand and they exchanged a silent, “I’ll handle this.”

She looked directly at Bubbles and gave her a sympathetic smile. “This looks like fun, but I thought you said you wanted a spontaneous musical number.”

“That’s how it usually goes when on the beach. If we were in a club or at a party it would be planned because there’s usually a stage but—”

“Then doesn’t lyrics and rehearsing take away from the spontaneity?”

“I guess . . .” Bubbles’s face fell and she sunk to the sand, tucking her legs beneath herself so she could sit in her pencil skirt.

“So just leave it alone. Like you said, the atmosphere is right. If a song and dance number happens, then it happens.”

And so they waited the hour for their friends to join them. As the others cat-napped, confident that they had escaped another of her cheesy plans, Bubbles sulked and ran the sand through her fingers. The stack of printed song lyrics became half buried beside her. The sun dipped below the ocean around the same time that six other boys and girls arrived in a rented van.

They all gathered on the beach, chatting about their different adventures and what their next plans were. Bubbles stayed mum, smiling weakly as times she thought were appropriate.

Then, a strange thing happened. One of the new arrivals picked up the bongo drums, at first goofing off and then absent-mindedly creating a strong beat. Another boy lifted the ukulele and tried to play a melody that matched the rhythm.

One of the girls found the song lyrics in the sand by Bubbles’s. “What are these?”

“Nothing,” Bubbles answered glumly, barely noticing as the other girl passed out the papers.

After a few more minutes of conversation, two of the newly arrived friends tried singing the words on the paper to the beat of the bongo drum. Two more friends joined in. Soon, a full blown sing-along had broken out.

Bubbles hopped to her feet in joy and started to belt out a verse. Other people on the beach came by and joined in with hand clapping.

Her original pair of friends sat amongst the chorus as the radio was switched on and people began to dance. They shrugged at one another before joining in.

Bubbles grinned at them. “See, didn’t I tell you! Isn’t this just the grooviest!”

In Search of a Summer Beach Movie – Part 2: “You Stupid!”

The following day, Bubbles traveled to a different beach and got her start earlier in the day. She spread out a towel under the flimsy umbrella she had dug into the sand. She nestled beside her wicker purse and removed her book, her deflated beach ball, a portable radio with a long antenna, and a bottle of Coppertone which she was fairly certain had expired in 1967. Within the next hour, her two friends showed up with exhausted expressions.

“Hey, girls!” Bubbles eyed their modern swimsuits with her own criticisms, “Thanks for coming out here with me. You missed a swell time yesterday, believe me!”

One of her friends started to apply sunscreen generously to her nose and cheeks. “Yeah, I’m just really not into surfing. Besides, you should have come with us. The amusement parks here are so much better than at home.” The truth was, both friends worried about having the responsibility of rescuing Bubbles from drowning if she tried to do any tricks on the board.

“How was the surfing?” her second friend wanted to know.

“Oh that.” Bubbles blushed and stumbled to get up. “Hey, who wants to go start a game? I can blow up the ball and—”

“I have to let the sunscreen soak in,” her first friend explained as she ducked under the umbrella.

“And I need to answer this text from Mike,” the second friend answered.

“Is that all you two think about is boys?” Bubbles whined.

“I didn’t say anything about boys,” her first friend pointed out.

“And Mike’s watching my cats. Even if he wasn’t my boyfriend I’d want to hear from him. I don’t trust my roommate to feed them,” her second friend explained.

Bubbles sighed and swung her arms back and forth as if dancing to a song in her head. “You just wait and see. He’s going to try to make you jealous by flirting with your roommate, because he probably thinks you’re out here flirting with all of the muscly beach hunks.”

Her two friends glanced at the other beach inhabitants, most of whom were too old or too young for their taste. At that exact moment, a man in a Speedo strolled by with a metal detector. Tufts of curly, dark hair blanketed him and peeked out from under his tan arms. In unison, her friends asked, “What hunks?”

“They’re around here somewhere. They’re probably planning revenge against some bikers who were on their turf.”

“Wait, I thought your thing was beach movies. Why are you talking like West Side Story?”

Bubbles went on, ignoring the comment. She pointed at a group of men and women in leather vests who had just arrived in the parking lot. “See! There there’s the biker gang!” She started to run towards the group while her friends screamed at her frantically to get back to the safety of the beach blanket.

The group was not the clean cut sort from the movies Bubbles loved. They were all middle aged with long, tangled beards or multiple piercings. Still, Bubbles ran up to the one she assumed was the leader. He had the longest beard and his tattoos more elaborate than the other men or women.

“Excuse me, can you tell me when the rumble will be over?” she asked politely.

The rest of the assembly started to grumble amongst themselves, thinking she was laughing at them. Yet, the man she had spoken to directly eyed the girl up and down, noting her 1960s style swimsuit and her bouffant hair. Removing his sunglasses, he asked carefully, “What did you just ask?”

“You know! Where you all have a slapstick fight against the young summer surfers over some bar or nightclub that’s probably run by a celebrity who had nothing better to do. And why doesn’t everyone in the group repeat you for emphasis?”

Each of the motorcycle enthusiasts went silent as the man she addressed twerked his mouth and leaned his head down into a dark stare. “Do you think I’m Eric Von Zipper?”

“Well, yes,” she replied with complete innocence.

The man couldn’t hold it in any longer. His face broke into a smile and the rest of his friends stared to laugh. When the mirth died down a little, he exclaimed, “I love those movies!”