11/22/63: Episode 4 Recap and Review

So, I think I need to get my eyes checked again…

Seems like they were a little..well…leaky earlier this week…

Yes, Peyton Manning has retired from football.  That’s a good reason for the old eyes to leak.  Especially after that farewell speech…so thanks, Peyton…I needed a cry and didn’t know it!

super bowl 50 1

So, I should have learned my lesson, right?  Go watch something on TV that is light hearted and fun, like say…something based on a Stephen King novel?  Sounds like just the ticket…

Well, apparently my eyes didn’t get the memo, since I suffered more leakage after watching The Eyes of Texas, the fourth episode of the mini series 11/22/63.  Nope, not an easy night for the old eyes the other night…

So, thanks, Peyton!

And thanks, Uncle Stevie!

Stephen King

And just for good measure, let’s thank Obama while we are at it, since I am sure he doesn’t get thanked enough…so thanks, Obama!

In all seriousness, The Eyes of Texas is a pivotal episode in the mini series 11/22/63, especially in terms of character development.  Jake was treated to some character development.  We got to know the Big Bad, aka Lee Harvey Oswald, even better.  Sadie is slowly being drawn out of her shell.  Heck, even Cletus er Bill was treated to some character development.

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The show also dealt with some serious issues, such as domestic abuse, rape and a few others, while still reminding us that we are watching a show where a guy travels back in time to change the past, which does not want to be changed and will let you know in various, non-subtle ways that it does not want to be changed.  Just another typical episode, in other words.

So, without further ado, here is my recap and review of The Eyes of Texas, the fourth episode of the mini series .

And, as always:

Homer spoiler


Synopsis

The episode begins with Jake spying on the Oswalds yet again.  Lee poses for a picture with his rifle, although his wife, Marina, tells him that he looks ridiculous.  Bill also sees Marina and waves at her.  Marina waves back, and seems not to be bothered by the fact that Bill has been stalking her.

Jake and Sadie have begun a relationship, although they try to keep it a secret, so they don’t endanger their jobs at the high school.  Jake sings a Beatles song to Sadie, forgetting that the Beatles have not been discovered yet.  However, they are interrupted when Principal Deke Simmons walks in.  Deke gives Jake a lecture on how he and Sadie are role models and must practice discretion.  Deke also gives Jake a card that has the name and address of a hotel that he and Sadie can use to meet and practice discretion.

That night, Ms. Mimi pays Jake a visit at his home.  She has deduced that Jake is not who he says he is, since she was unable to obtain his immunization records.  Jake concocts a cover story that he is in a FBI witness protection program because he testified against some members of the Mafia.  Mimi is skeptical, but agrees to keep Jake’s secret.  Mimi also hints to Jake that he should tell the truth about himself to Sadie, as their relationship has become more serious.

Sadie meets Jake at the hotel room, and the two consummate their relationship.  Jake realizes that he needs to tell Sadie something, but their time is cut short when Jake realizes that someone has been watching them and taking pictures.  Jake is convinced that the CIA is on to him and attempting to blackmail him, so he will drop his plans of preventing the assassination of Kennedy.

Bill and Jake follow Oswald and George de Mohrenschildt to what they believe is a top secret CIA meeting.  However, the meeting spot is actually a brothel.  They attempt to spy on Oswald and de Mohrenschildt, but the cops raid the place, and Bill and Jake are arrested.

Deke bails out Jake and Bill the next morning, and tells Jake that he still must show up to his teaching job the next day, as he has no substitute lined up.  Mimi reprimands Jake for his disheveled look, but is coughing and appears to be ill.  Jake also catches Sadie talking to her ex husband and confronts her about it.  Sadie becomes upset, and tells Jake about her marriage.  She says that Johnny attached a close pin to his penis on their wedding night.  When Sadie laughed at him, he hit her.  He then hit her again and raped her.  She thought that she had escaped Johnny, but he was able to track her down through her mother and has refused to grant her the divorce.  Sadie is then convinced that Jake is repulsed by her past, and tearfully drives away.

Bill arrives at school and tells Jake that de Mohrenschildt will be taking Oswald to what may be an important meeting.  Jake follows Oswald and tries to listen in on the conversation, but is interrupted by a barking dog.  When Jake tries to quiet the dog, he realizes that he is face to face with Johnny Clayton, Sadie’s ex husband.  Clayton tries to intimidate Jake, but Jake turns the tables on him, telling him that he will hurt him if he does not stay away from Sadie.  Jake realizes that Johnny took the pictures of him and Sadie, not the CIA.  Jake also repeats the story of Johnny and Sadie’s wedding night, telling him that he will tell the secret if Johnny does not stay away from Sadie and does not grant Sadie the divorce.  Johnny is afraid and appears to back down.

Jake then pays Sadie a visit, giving her flowers and chocolates.  He tells her that he knows that she is not perfect, but that he still loves her.  They embrace, and someone appears to be watching them.

Back at the house, Jake finds Bill lying on the couch, drunk and angry.  Bill is frustrated because Oswald mistreats his wife, and wants to do something about it.  Jake stops him, telling him he can’t interfere.  Later that night, Bill finds Marina sitting on the steps, beaten and sad.  He offers her a cigarette and a shoulder to cry on.  Jake apologizes to Bill, affirming that he cannot attempt his quest without Bill, and that they are a team.

At school the next day, Mimi is nowhere to be found.  Deke tells Jake that she is out sick, but appears to be angry with him for something.

Later that day, Sadie stops by Jake’s house with baked goods and a nice note.  She cannot find Jake, however, and calls out for him.  A shadowy figure follows her.  Sadie then finds Jake’s surveillance tapes, and listens to Oswald’s conversation in Russian with his friends.  Jake arrives at the house, and a bewildered Sadie wants to know just who he is.


 

My Thoughts

Usually, my feelings about on-screen adaptations of books are mixed, at best.  Some are watchable (It, cough, cough).  Some are instant classics (give one up for Green Mile, yo).  And then there was the abomination otherwise known as Under the Dome that I simply cannot excuse.

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But, here we have 11/22/63.  And my feelings on this one are not mixed.  Well, maybe they are mixed, but it’s a mixture of love and pride.  Maybe like how a parent feels on his/her kid’s first day of school, where he/she “debuts” to the world?  Or that could be hyperbole.  Well, it’s not far off, though.

Yes, there have been changes from the book.  But remember, the book is told in the first person, so changes are necessary.  Again, a book adapted to the screen will have a different face, so to speak, and there is nothing wrong with that.  In fact, changes are necessary, as television is a visual medium, and the story should be able to reflect that.

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I have not talked much about James Franco in prior posts.  And there is a reason for that:  we were only a few episodes in.  But now, we are halfway through, so let’s start talking about James Franco and what he has done with the character of Jake Epping.

Normally, I am hesitant to make such statements about an actor “being born to play a certain character.”  Different actors can bring different takes to a particular role (Heath Ledger and Jack Nicholson, who both played Batsy’s arch-nemesis are great examples) and the finished product can still be good, even if it’s different from the other actor’s interpretation.  And I still believe that.

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But it does seem that Franco fits the role of Jake Epping very well.  Maybe even perfectly, although again, it is early.  Sometimes, low and slow in the way to go (kind of like soul food, actually).  And that’s just what Franco, along with the producers and the writers, are doing with the character of Jake Epping.  Jake comes off as apathetic in the first couple of episodes.  And lost as well, as it seems his life is going nowhere.  But, slowly, that is changing.  Jake is beginning to care about something bigger than himself (stopping the assassination of the leader of the free world).  And he is beginning to care about the people around him.  He stands up against the racism that was accepted in 1961 (and still is in some ways), by helping Ms. Mimi after she has suffered needlessly because some bigot won’t sell her gas.  He helps his present day friend Harry Dunning by preventing the murder of his family.  And he has fallen in love.

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Which brings me to my next point:  the love story.

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While 11/22/63 is a story about time travel, social justice and war written by the master of modern horror, it is also a love story.  The love story between Jake and Sadie is one the main plots of the book, and is one of the greatest in any book I have ever read, let alone a Stephen King book.

And when I watched this episode the other night, I shivered.  Almost uncontrollably, actually.  And no, that’s not because my husband needs to have our house at the temperature of a meat locker in order not to sweat profusely.

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In other words, the mini series is doing a smoking job (see what I did there) with the love story aspect of 11/22/63.  And one of the things that is helping this part is the chemistry between Franco and Sarah Gadon, the actress who plays Sadie.  Every look, every kiss and the overall way that they interact with each other is just so believable.  And sweet.  And tender.  And sexy.  Very sexy, as a matter of fact.  And when Jake makes that speech about how life isn’t all flowers and chocolates, but how he loves everything about the person standing in front of him…I was no longer shivering, but fanning myself instead…woo!

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I also need to give props to the other part of this love triangle:  Johnny Clayton, Sadie’s ex husband.  In the book, this character is not as big a player as he is in the mini series, and he does not have as much interaction with Jake.  However, this has been modified a bit for the mini series, and it works.  In fact, it works really well.  That interaction between Jake and Clayton was just beautiful.  There are no other words to describe it.  I loved how Jake threatened to hurt that bastard if he didn’t grant Sadie the divorce and stay away from her.  I also loved the fact that Jake used a bit of blackmail as well…

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Remember how I was saying that his episode managed to incorporate some serious themes?  Well, the above would be one of them.  In other words, spousal abuse.  Anyone who has read at least some of King’s work (or seen some of his movies) knows that domestic abuse of all kinds is a theme in many of his stories.  11/22/63 is no different.  We saw in the episode The Kill Floor, with the character of Frank Dunning.  And we have seen again this week, with The Eyes of Texas.  The show does not try to hide the fact that Clayton abused his wife, and is still trying to control her, even though she has left him.  To add further insult to injury, no one will acknowledge the abuse.  Even worse, Sadie is blamed for the troubles (a sign of the times then and still true in some ways today).  The mini series even managed to make Sadie’s story more heart-breaking than it was the book, which makes Sadie to be even more of a sympathetic character and makes us root for her (and Jake) even more.

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The portrayal of domestic violence in the mini series has also provided an opportunity for character development from someone else. This character would happen to be Bill.

Now, I have stated that Bill is well…annoying.  I understand the need for this character, in terms of advancing the story.  But I still find him annoying.  However, I have grown a little more tolerant of him after this week’s episode.  His feelings in regards to Marina Oswald and the treatment she endures from Lee (which are likely related to the feelings he has in regards to what Frank Dunning did to his sister) make him a little bit more sympathetic in my eyes.  His interest in the Oswalds has actually gone from creepy to almost sweet.  I still scratch my head over this guy, but at least I can feel something other than annoyance towards him.  So, props, mini series…keep it up!

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Well, that’s it for The Eyes of Texas.  Join me next week for the recap and dissection of episode 5, titled The Truth.

Tune in next week…same bat time, same bat channel!

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The X Files Renewal: Episode 1 Recap and Review

Ooooh, getting the band back together…

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There is just something about those words that just kinda makes me feel a little shivery…

Muppets band

Especially when the band involves ones of the hottest television partnerships in history:

Mulder and Scully 2

Yes, the long awaited season 10 of The X Files, otherwise known as the renewal, finally premiered last night after the real horror, aka the NFC championship game.  Well, I guess it was a horror if you happened to be rooting for Bruce Arians (or his hat, how can anyone not root for that that hat?) and his Arizona Cardinals, but I digress…

BA 1

So the much anticipated first episode of the mere six we are being teased with aired this past weekend.  Was it what I expected?  In some ways, yes.  Was I confused?  You betcha, but as a fan of this series since the first episode (yes, I was a X Phile before it was cool), that’s just par for the course.  Do I want more?  Well, of course, but again, see the previous statement.  Was I bored?  Not on your life!  Will I be tuning in again?  Now what is it about a bear defecating somewhere with trees?

So, without any further ado, here is my recap and review of The X Files Renewal, episode 1, titled “My Struggle.”

And, as always:

Homer spoiler


Synopsis

The episode begins with a voice over by Fox Mulder, who gives a summary of his work on the now defunct X Files, and how the abduction of his sister Samantha when both were children has driven him to seek the truth regarding the possibility of extra-terrestrial life, and the possible government cover-up of the existence of alien life forms and alien technology.  Mulder also mentions his partnership with Dana Scully, who aided him for a time in his quest.

We are then shown a scene in 1947.  A UFO has crashed in Roswell, New Mexico, and the scene is being investigated by the military and a scientist.  The group encounters what appears to be an alien.  The alien is shot by a man in a black coat, despite the pleas of the scientist.

The show flashes back to the present day.  Former FBI agent Dana Scully has returned to medical practice.  She receives a call from her former supervisor, Walter Skinner.  Skinner requests that Mulder and Scully meet with right-wing webcaster Tad O’Malley.  O’Malley is an admirer of the pair’s work, and an admirer of Mulder in particular.  However, Mulder has gone “off the grid”, and the only person able to reach him is Scully.  Scully convinces Mulder to meet with O’Malley, despite Mulder’s initial reluctance.

Mulder and Scully reunite in Washington D.C.  Mulder appears to be stressed over something, but is glad to see his former partner.  The agents then meet with O’Malley, who takes them for a ride in his limousine.  The group ends up at a house in rural Virginia, where they meet a young woman named Sveta.  Sveta claims to have been abducted by aliens, and impregnated multiple times.  She tells the agents that her fetuses were stolen from her, and that some of her DNA is actually alien DNA.  Scully is skeptical, but does agree to test Sveta’s DNA.

Scully meets with Sveta at the hospital, and runs several tests on her.  Sveta tells Scully that she is telepathic, and begins to tell Scully what was supposed to be private information.  Sveta reveals that Scully and Mulder were formerly a couple, but that Mulder’s struggles with depression ended the relationship.  Sveta also reveals that Mulder and Scully have a child together.  These revelations make Scully uncomfortable, and Scully appears especially uncomfortable after Sveta breaks down and tells Scully that she cannot possibly understand what it is like to be abducted against her will.

O’Malley then brings Mulder to a covert site where scientists experiment with “alien” technology.  Mulder sees an aircraft disappear before his eyes, and is told that alien technology has been around for many years.  Mulder then meets with the old man who is actually the doctor who investigated the crash at Roswell.  Mulder tells the man that he believes that he and Scully were mislead during their work on the X Files, and that man, not alien, is responsible for a massive, global conspiracy.  The old man tells Mulder that he is close to the truth, but there is still more to be revealed.  Mulder returns to his old office, and lets Skinner know that he is angry as he feels that he has been mislead over the years.

Mulder meets with Sveta again, who tells him that she did not tell him the truth when he spoke with her previously.  Sveta confirms that men experimented on her, not aliens.

O’Malley visits Scully at work.  Scully tells him that she performs surgery on children who were born without ears.  O’Malley expresses admiration, and Scully accepts a date with him.  Before she leaves, Scully receives the results for the tests on Sveta’s DNA.  She is unsatisfied with the results, and orders another test.

While on a date with O’Malley, Scully receives a frantic phone call from Mulder, who still believes that he has been mislead over the years.  Scully and O’Malley meet with Mulder, and Scully tells Mulder that he is treading on dangerous ground.  Scully also reveals that the tests did not find that Sveta possessed any alien DNA.

Several things happen, in succession.  Sveta recants her previous statements in an interview, stating that she was convinced by O’Malley to lie to the public.  Sveta then seemingly disappears when Mulder tries to speak to her again.  O’Malley’s website is shut down.  The site that contains the alien aircraft is destroyed by men dressed in military uniforms, and the scientists are murdered as well.  Sveta is then seen in a vehicle on an isolated road.  Her car is obliterated by a UFO, and Sveta is seemingly killed when her car is destroyed.

Mulder and Scully then meet again.  Scully is distressed, and tells Mulder that they must protect Sveta at all costs.  Scully confesses that she tested Sveta’s DNA again, along with her own DNA, and that both samples appear to contain alien DNA.  The agents then receive a text from Skinner, who requests to meet with them both.

The episode ends with a reveal of the presumed deceased Cigarette Smoking Man, who tells us that the X Files have been re-opened.


 

My Thoughts

Well, the band got back together.  And like I said, I do enjoy it when the band gets back together.

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In many ways, this episode was akin to coming home to visit your parents after you had been away for some time.  Everything is familiar.  And comforting.  In fact, it feels like a big hug.

But then again, your parents have the nerve to change things!  They get a new new couch.  They remove that ugly carpeting and replace it with hardwood floors (actually, that was a good thing but you get my point).  So it’s like trying to impose two pictures on each other.  A headache, in other words.

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Well, I am not sure that watching this renewal really gave me a headache (actually, that’s tax season’s job, but again, I digress).  But I did have the feeling of trying to impose an old picture on a new picture: sometimes, things lined up.  And sometimes, they didn’t.  But then again, who expects things to line up all the time?  And should they line up all the time?

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We had aliens.  So that lined up, sort of.  I did enjoy the flashback scene that actually showed the spacecraft and the alien.  That scene makes me think that we will get more than in previous seasons, and that is something I would not mind.  Geez, Chris Carter, you can be such a tease!

THE X-FILES: L-R: Mitch Pileggi, David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson and William B. Davis. The next mind-bending chapter of THE X-FILES debuts with a special two-night event beginning Sunday, Jan. 24 (10:00-11:00 PM ET/7:00-8:00 PM PT), following the NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME, and continuing with its time period premiere on Monday, Jan. 25 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT). ©2015 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Frank Ockenfels/FOX

And then there was Mulder.  Mulder and his earnestness.  Mulder knowing that he is right, and that he needs to convince everyone around him, including Ms. Skeptical to a Fault aka Scully.  Mulder getting closer and closer to the truth, and gaining some powerful enemies in the process.

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But now we are told that it’s actually not aliens that are the enemy, it’s men!  This is something that does not line up.  Or does it?  No, I don’t think aliens are out of the picture, at least not completely.  And in the older episodes, men played a pretty big part in a lot of these issues.  Who was responsible for getting Scully kidnapped?  Definitely a man.  Will Mulder get some answers this time?  Or is he just doomed to repeat his quest over and over?  Only time will tell…

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And speaking of Ms. Skeptical to a Fault er Scully…

Well, the more things change, the more they stay the same, right?  Scully bordered on being bull-headed in the past, and she was pretty bull-headed in this episode as well.  Did she forget everything that she saw when she worked with Mulder on the X Files?  She saw pretty much everything known to man (and alien), but seemed to have blocked it all out, at least until the end of the episode.  Live a little, Scully…is that hard to believe that poor Sveta could have alien DNA and be telepathic too?  I think not!

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Tad O’Malley.  What are we doing with Tad O’Malley, I wonder…

Is he some kind of stand-in for these guys?

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Or is he dues ex machina?  In other words, was he just introduced to the show so that we could get the band back together?  And what of him and Scully?  I think he is just a little out of his league, actually…

I will say that this episode ended with a bang.  Or is that a cigarette?

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Yes, one of the baddest on-screen motherfuckers made his presence known in the last 30 seconds or so of this episode.

Samuel L. Jackson

Well, maybe he is not that bad a motherfucker, but he is pretty close!

You may be bad, but you will never be as bad as the Cigarette Smoking Man (CSM, for the uninitiated) smoking a cigarette via his traech.

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And the CSM is someone that lines up, in some ways.  He is a villain that we all love to hate.  He is an antagonist, always in Mulder and Scully’s way, trying to stop our heroes from doing the right thing and finally getting some answers.  And that is comforting, in some way.

But then again, see the presumed deceased line.  Apparently, there is now another show with a Lazarus Pit that can resurrect anyone on demand.  Hey, it is The X Files, I can’t put anything past my favorite arch-villain!  And I am sure the tale of resurrection will be interesting, assuming that tale gets told.  Which it better, or I may have to seek out some vigilante justice of my own!

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Yes, there are definitely lots of questions in this review.  But then again, that is one of the things that lines up when super-imposing the pictures:  The X Files often contained more questions than answers.  And that is part of the intrigue and what kept me hooked, tuning in every week to see I could get a little closer to some answers, right along with my favorite on-screen duo.  And the present and the past do line up in that respect:  I will not stop tuning in during this run either, and I will be seeking answers in 2016, right along with Mulder and Scully.

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So that’s it for My Struggle.  Join me week, as I review and dissect episode 2 of the renewal, aka Founder’s Mutation.

Tune in next week, same bat time, same bat channel!

batman and robin

My Top 10 Scariest Stephen King Books

So, it’s that time of year again…

Yes, Halloween is drawing upon us…

The season for scary stuff!

Like watching scary movies…Jason Vorhees and Michael Myers, here we come!

Oh, and don’t forget watching NFL football, especially Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts!  And I am not talking about the good kind of scary here, unfortunately…

Oakland Raiders v Indianapolis Colts

But there is a good remedy for when your football team is so embarrassing that the local Fox syndicate switches from the Colts game to the game played by the other not scary good team (the Washington Redskins, as a matter of fact)…

Yes, a little therapy from The Master!

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Football team got ya down?  Go read some Stephen King, and be reminded as to what is really scary!  Suddenly, two interceptions thrown by your darling quarterback (sorry Andrew, you know I still got love for ya) seems pretty tame!

Yes, Stephen King is scary.

Well, his writing, at any rate.  He doesn’t look too threatening in that picture, but one never knows.

Stephen King is many things, and I have spent an incredible amount of time on this blog (who knew) addressing those things.  Most importantly, he is a great writer.  He has the ability to even appeal to the non-horror fan (well, the one who will give him a chance, anyway).  He creates characters that readers get attached to (and kills them off and seems almost gleeful about it, but I digress).  He is also the Everyman, giving the reader realistic scenarios, and then casually placing in the horror and/or fantastical element, making the story that much more believable.

But, I would like to get back to fundamentals for a moment, if I may.  Stephen King writes scary stories.  This may sound like Captain Obvious tooting his horn, but the man is able to frighten folks.  And frighten folks badly.  It could be the fact that seemingly “good” characters often go “bad”, at the drop of a hat.  Or maybe it’s the element of realism that makes it seem a certain room in a hotel really could be bad news.  Or maybe because he makes great villains, including evil clowns, that haunt the dreams of many a 90’s kid.

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Whatever the reason, people find Stephen King books frightening.  And many enjoy being frightened.  Some people skydive (eek).  Some watch Indianapolis Colts football (eeek, maybe I should skydive instead).  Some people enjoy drag racing.

And then there are the stalwart, the steadfast, the bold (you know, like me?)…we read Stephen King for our fear fix!  After all, gotta get the good old adrenaline rush somehow, right?

And a King book will give you that and then some!  In fact, many King books may just scare you into a change of pants!

With that being said, here is my list of the top 10 scariest books of all time.  Please note, this is my opinion only, and not to be taken as gospel…

Oh, and as always:

Homer spoiler


 

10)  Rose Madder

As I have stated before, one of King’s strengths as a writer of horror is the human horror.  Sometimes (well actually, a lot of times), men are beasts to their fellow man…

And woman.

The villain in the book Rose Madder is human.  Well, in appearance at least.  However, on the inside, Norman Daniels does not pass for human.  Not even remotely.

Norman Daniels savagely abuses his wife Rosie, for the nearly 14 years of their marriage.  To boot, he is racist.  And uses his position as a police officer to grossly abuse his power and literally get away with murder.  It is only a mere drop of blood on the sheets that awakens Rosie one morning, when she runs away from her hellhole of a marriage and attempts to begin a new life, free of the horrific abuse.  But, as can be expected, Norman does not take Rosie’s flight lightly, and leaves behind a trail of bodies in his quest for revenge and his hunt for Rosie.  It takes a magical painting set in the world of our friendly neighborhood gunslinger for Norman’s trail of blood to be halted.  Even then, the death count is enormous, and Rosie is barely able to cope with the events.

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There is a line in the book that where Rosie thinks that after surviving her horror of a marriage to Norman, anything else is pretty cut rate.  As a survivor of an abusive marriage, I would have to agree with that assessment.  When you are married to an abuser, you don’t need to Stephen King or scary movies to get your fear fix.  An argument with your spouse will give you that fix in spades.

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9)  From a Buick 8

The unknown is scary.  HP Lovecraft played upon on our fears of the great beyond, with stories such as The Colour Out of Space and The Dunwich Horror.

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Stephen King has cited HP Lovecraft as an enormous influence.  This is evident in his novel From a Buick 8, which tells the story of a mysterious vehicle that becomes the charge of a police department in a small town in Pennsylvania.

It quickly becomes evident to one of the officers of that police department that the “vehicle” is not actually a vehicle at all, but rather an object from another dimension beyond human understanding.  The vehicle becomes the center of many odd occurrences, and the police department struggles to do damage control.  However, the vehicle is responsible for the disappearance of at least one person and the death of the department’s mascot, a dog named Mr. Dillon.  There is even a confrontation of sorts with one of the creatures from the unknown dimension.  The images King paints are disturbing, especially when he references the fact that our world may be as frightening or even more frightening to those creatures as their world is to us.

What is perhaps most disturbing about this novel is the fact that the “vehicle” very nearly traps a young man who is the son of a fallen police officer, and sees the “vehicle” as his one remaining connection to his father.  The young man is saved by timely intervention from another officer, but barely.  Sometimes, a person with an obsession is the most frightening of all.

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8)  Revival

Revival is another novel that deals with our fear of the unknown.  More specifically, Revival deals with the last of the unknown frontiers:  death, and what may happen once we die.

Revival is also a morality play, much like Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.  If we have the means to find out what happens after death, should we?  And what will be the consequences if we intervene in matters that we (probably) have no business intervening in?

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The consequences for Jamie Morton and his friend Charles Jacobs are not pretty.  Jamie Morton first met Charles when he was a child, and Charles was the pastor in his rural hometown.  However, tragedy strikes Charles Jacobs, and he is forced to leave town after a disastrous sermon that comes to be known as “The Terrible Sermon.”  The experience shakes Jamie’s religious beliefs to the core, and Jamie is never quite the same afterwards.

Charles is also shaken to the core by this tragedy, and quickly becomes a man obsessed.  Charles discovers what he refers to as “the secret electricity”, and believes that this mysterious force will allow him to find out what happens after death.  Jamie refers to Charles as his “fifth business” throughout the book, and encounters him by chance when he is an adult.  Jamie is addicted to heroin, and Charles is able to use his “secret electricity” to cure Jamie of his addiction.  Jamie feels that he owes Charles a debt, and agrees to help him conduct what turns out to be his final experiment: using the “secret electricity” to find out what happens when we die.

And it turns out that sometimes ignorance is bliss.  As stated before, the consequences are not pretty for Jamie and Charles, and Jamie’s “cure” for his heroin addiction has come at an enormous price.  The ending is disturbing, reinforcing the belief that at least sometimes, not knowing is the best option of all.

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7) Desperation / The Regulators

Yes, I know that this entry actually consists of two books.  However, I am considering one work for my purposes, since both books mirror each other, with one being written by Stephen King, and the other being a posthumous script from the poor, beleaguered Richard Bachman, who died an untimely death due to cancer of the pseudonym.

Stephen-King-Sons-of-Anarchy

Both Desperation and The Regulators are also tied together by one of King’s uber-villains, Tak.  Tak may not be as creepy as Randall Flagg or Pennywise the Clown (at least to some), but he is able to hold his own in the King universe.  Tak is frightening because he is able to drain people almost like human batteries (mostly), and discards them in the same manner.  However, there is one human that Tak cannot drain, and that is Seth Garin (the autistic boy in The Regulators).  What Tak does to Seth is perhaps even more frightening:  he uses Seth body to manipulate his surroundings, causing the suicide of Seth’s uncle, exploiting Seth’s aunt and killing many people in Seth’s neighborhood.  Ultimately, Tak is beaten, but at the cost of Seth’s life and many others.

Desperation and The Regulators are not only frightening because of the entity Tak, but also because they deal with a theme that many of us can relate to:  isolation.  Desperation begins with a couple who becomes stranded in a small, seemingly abandoned desert town after they experience vehicle trouble.  In The Regulators, Seth and his aunt are isolated due to Seth’s handicap and Tak’s effort to alienate Seth’s family from those who might help them.  Isolation is a big theme in many King books, and once again it adds that element of realism to the story to make it that much more frightening.

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6)  The Stand

It is no secret that horror and fantasy are closely related.  In fact, one could almost say that horror is fantasy taken to the next, darker step.  From the Orcs in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, to the witches in SA Hunt’s Malus Domestica, to the Others in the Game of Thrones series, many works that are considered to be fantasy and not horror certainly contain some frightening elements.

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The Stand is another book that toes the line between dark fantasy and horror.  On one hand, there are reluctant heroes (Larry, Stu and Nick).  But on the other hand, there is an evil wizard figure (Randall Flagg).  The evil wizard tends to be a common archetype in fantasy stories (Sauron is a good example).  But Flagg is something beyond the ordinary evil wizard (if such a thing exists).  Flagg invades the dreams of the survivors of a great plague that has wiped out most of Earth’s population.  Frannie Goldsmith is one of those survivors.  Frannie is pregnant, and dreams of being chased by The Dark Man (Flagg), who has a coat hanger in his hand.  Nick Andros and Tom Cullen, two other survivors who are a deaf-mute man and mildly mentally handicapped man respectively, encounter Flagg’s presence when they seek shelter from a tornado that may have been sent by Flagg to dispose of them.  Mother Abagail, who is Flagg’s counterpart on the side of the White, encounters Flagg when she is gathering food for her charges.  Flagg has transformed to a weasel, the one creature that frightens the old woman.  Mother Abagail is nearly beaten by Flagg, but is still able to best him the end.

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The Stand is one of King’s best books, blending both elements of fantasy and horror to make it a truly frightening, yet fantastical read.

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5)  Black House

Black House is another novel (co-written by Peter Straub) that may be considered part of the fantasy genre, along with its predecessor, The Talisman.  However, it is Black House (much like The Stand) that toes the line between fantasy and horror.

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One of the reasons Black House is so frightening is because it contains a human villain that is unfortunately all too realistic.  There is a supernatural villain, a creature known as Mr. Munshun, and King’s ultimate uber-villain, the Crimson King, is also alluded to in the book.  However, the human villain, Charles Burnside, is another person that is human in appearance only.  Charles Burnside appears to be a senile man suffering from the indignities of dementia and living out his final days in peace in an unsuspecting nursing home.  However, the reader learns that Burnside is actually a serial killer who targets children.  Burnside has made a grisly contract with Mr. Munshun and the Crimson King:  he allows Mr. Munshun to possess his body so that he may murder children, in exchange for seeking out children PSI abilities who Munshan and the Crimson King can use for their evil purposes.  Charles Burnside and Mr. Munshun are eventually defeated, but not before Burnside has murdered several children and left a small town nearly paralyzed in fear.

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Charles Burnside is another one of King’s chilling examples of man’s inhumanity to man.

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4)  ‘Salem’s Lot

If I mentioned ‘Salem’s Lot to you, and you responded with “vampire story”, you would be correct…

But, wait…there’s more!

‘Salem’s Lot is indeed a book about vampires.  And those vampires are scary.  The head vampire is killed but his TEETH are still alive and bit Ben Mears…so the vampires in this book are indeed gruesome.

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But, like most really everything single thing he has ever written   of King’s work, ‘Salem’s Lot is much more than a vampire story.  Much, much more, in fact.

‘Salem’s Lot is a story about a small town, and how the small town succumbs to the vampire plague.  There is clinical language and some medical terms included when the “patients” are diagnosed, and that just adds another level of gruesomeness to what is already frightening.  Also, the description of how quickly the people in the town are either transformed to vampires or killed in some awful manner is quite disturbing, given how attached the reader gets to these characters and the town itself.

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However, ‘Salem’s Lot is also a haunted story.  Most of the action centers around the Marsten House, which is the local haunted house.  We learn some of the history of the house through Ben Mears, who believes he saw the ghost of the former owner as a child.  The house was a site for many terrible deeds that involved children, and King is able to weave this seamlessly into the vampire tale, thus adding an extra dimension of terror to an already scary story.

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Note:  Nowhere is it mentioned in ‘Salem’s Lot that vampires sparkle!

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3) The Shining

The Shining is another King work where there is more than meets the eye.  Perhaps the most famous, or perhaps infamous (thank you, Stanley Kubrik), of all King’s work.  On the surface, the story is another haunted house story (well, haunted hotel actually).  The ghosts wreak havoc on the Torrance family, and there are some truly scary moments involving the supernatural aspect of the story (the blood from the walls, the dead woman in the bathtub and a ghostly New’s Year Eve party all come to mind, along with several others).

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However, what many people may fail to realize is that The Shining is also frightening because it tells the story of the disintegration of the family unit.  Humans are social animals, and to most of us, the family is the most important unit of all.  The Torrance family feels the same.  Danny loves his parents, even they (especially his father, Jack) have failed him on many occasions.  Wendy and Jack Torrance love Danny, and each other as well.  Jack wants to do nothing more to provide for his family, which is why he takes a job that is less than ideal, given his education and his addiction to alcohol.  But that family unit slowly begins to dissolve even at the beginning of the story.  However, we are led to believe that maybe there is hope for this family, as they make an effort to draw together and achieve a fresh start.  Tragically, this is not the case, as Jack ultimately succumbs to his demons, and Wendy and Danny barely escape with their lives.

Again, Stephen King is a master at including that element of realism in his stories, making them that much more believable and terrifying.

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2)  It

“We have nothing to fear but fear itself.”

Obviously, John F. Kennedy did not ever encounter Pennywise the Clown

We all have fears.  When you are an adult, they may be more abstract, such as fear of failure, financial worries, fear of divorce and so forth.  But children’s fears are pretty concrete:  most fear things such as movie monsters, vampires, spiders and so forth.  So what if there was a monster out there that could take the form of whatever a child feared most, and literally scare them to death?  And maybe this monster needs to only be visible to kids (since adult fears are too abstract to capitalize on) and live under the sewers, where It can quietly do its dirty work?

pennywise

Enter Pennywise the Clown!

And yes, Pennywise the Clown makes the novel It terrifying.  He is a clown that lives under the sewers…first strike.  He can take on the form of ANYTHING that one fears…strike two.  And Pennywise is an extra dimensional monster…I know, not really giving that clown a good character reference, am I?

However, as frightening as Pennywise is (which is at a level 19, at least), there are so many other aspects to this book that nearly beat out the clown that lives in the sewers.  It deals with spousal abuse, child abuse and bullying.  The Losers Club spends most of that terrible summer in a lot of danger, but much of that danger is NOT supernatural.  The children face bullying from the local town bully, and must constantly watch their backs.  The adults in town do not care about either the danger under the sewers (even though most can’t see it, nearly everyone is aware of its presence).  Nor do the adults care about the bullies, even though they are as aware of the bullies as they are of the monster under the sewers.  The lone female Loser, Beverly Marsh, is being abused by her father, and the abuse is becoming increasingly sexual in nature.  Other children are abused or neglected.  It seems that no one is safe from the town of Derry, and if one is not killed by Pennywise, his/her parent or spouse will step in and do the job instead.

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Childhood is hell.  There is no other way to put it.  And It capitalizes on that concept, showing us just how much more hellish it is for some than others.

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And now, for what I believe to be the scariest Stephen King book of all time…

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Pet Sematary

Yes, Pet Sematary has made the top of the list, and I consider it to be King’s scariest book of all time for a multitude of reasons.  So let’s talk about those reasons.

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First of all, the concept of Pet Sematary is really scary.  An ancient Native American burial ground, poisoned by the spirit of a Wendigo that has the ability to re-animate dead animals that come back as zombies, which teaches kids that “sometimes dead is better.”  Can anything get scarier than that?  I have read a lot of stories about the Wendigo too. and the Wendigo is one of the creepiest entities I have ever come across.  So, yes, very disturbing right there…

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But the burial ground is not only for animals.  No, the burial ground can be used for humans too, so yay?

Well, not really.  When humans are buried at the site, they do not come back right either.  And the problems are way more serious than a nasty smell or the need to hunt more rodents than usual.  The Wendigo is able to possess the body of the human, and render its subject with knowledge that he/she should not have.  And this knowledge is not pleasant.  Most of the knowledge is of the hateful variety: affairs and other dastardly deeds that were better off to remain secret.  The Wendigo is not benevolent, and has malice towards the living.

Stephen King's Pet Sematary (1985)

However, to me, the scariest thing about Pet Sematary is that I relate to Louis Creed.  The only evil in the book is the Wendigo spirit.  Gage Creed is not evil, he is the victim of a terrible tragedy, in both life and death.  Jud Crandall is not evil, he is a kind man who was only trying to help his friend.  Rachel Creed is not evil, she is only a protective mother who has an (understandable) fear of death.  Church the cat is not even evil, he is simply a beloved pet who also became an unfortunate victim of circumstances.

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Most of all, Louis Creed is not evil.  He is a loving father who (again, understandably) became mad with grief, and was willing to do anything to bring his son back and make his family whole again.  He believes that he has found a way to do that, and that he can also use science to combat any problems.  Sadly, he is proven horribly wrong, condemning himself and his family to an eternity of damnation.  But if I were Lewis, and placed in his tragic situation, who is to say that I would not do the same thing?  I am close to someone who has lost a child, and the pain is unbearable.  You will do anything to stop it, even if it is something that may have dire consequences later on down the line.

So if I knew there was a possibility that I could bring back a deceased loved one, who is to say that I wouldn’t?  I would be thinking about my loved one, not about any consequences.  And that is frightening to me:  to be that mad with grief that I would be willing to ignore Nature, and get involved with matters that I really have no business being involved with.  And grief is frightening in that way:  the pain blinds us, so we cannot see what is in front of us that may actually be worse than the grief.

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Ghosts are scary…

Vampires are scary…

Haunted hotels are scary…

Heck, Indianapolis Colts football is scary!

But what is the scariest thing of all?

That’s right, someone who has never experienced the awesomeness that is a Stephen King book!

Why should Christmas get all the fun?  It is also allowable to give gifts on Halloween, so do your part, and give someone who has never had this experience the greatest Halloween gift of all:  a Stephen King book!

Happy reading!

RoaldDahl

Time to Take up the Right Fight

Again, folks are outraged.  And the outrage is for a good reason.

In fact, ESPN’s Keith Olberman had a passionate rant session about it.

And I agree with his outrage.  I applaud him, in fact.  And I consider him to be on “the side of The White,” or perhaps one of the Jedi Knights.

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Keith Olbermann is actually someone I have come to admire greatly in the past several months.  He works for ESPN and may be “just a sports guy” to some, but to me he is much more than that.  He is smart, and he cares about society.  And not afraid to speak his mind on tough subjects, such as the Tamir Rice shooting.

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Last week, Olbermann made an impassioned speech about Jameis Winston and Floyd Mayweather.  Jameis Winston is a soon to be NFL quarterback who may be chosen in the first round of the 2015 draft.  Mayweather is a boxer who will be participating in yet another televised match this weekend, where the prices of the tickets were ungodly, and the price of watching the pay per view is also ungodly.  A much anticipated match, in other words.

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Jameis Winston was accused of sexual assault in 2012, when he attended Florida State University.  Winston was also the quarterback for the Florida State Seminoles, and was a Heisman trophy winner as a freshman.  Both the college and local law enforcement “investigated” the accusation, and no charges were filed, despite some compelling evidence that indicated otherwise.

Jameis Winston

Floyd Mayweather is also no stranger to troubles with the law.  Mayweather has been accused of domestic violence multiple times, and unlike Winston, the charges have stuck.  Mayweather has been prosecuted several times, and has served some form of punishment several times.  In other words, like a certain pseudonym come to life in a book by my favorite writer, he is “not a nice guy.”

George Stark

And Ser Olbermann is outraged.  As he should be.  As we all should.  Clearly, we live in a society that does not value the safety of women and children, and does not treat domestic violence and sexual assault with the gravity that both of those topics deserve.

In fact, Olbermann is calling for a boycott of the fight and NFL draft…

And let me stop you right there. Ser Olbermann.

You are noble and your intentions are good.  And I admire that.  I will always admire that.

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But let me make one thing clear.

Boycotting the NFL draft and the upcoming fight will NOT do a FUCKING thing to address this problem.  Not a FUCKING thing.

We talk about the problem the NFL and the sports world in general has with domestic violence and sexual assault.  And this is true, even outside of Winston and Mayweather.  More than a few athletes have had brushes (or worse) with the law in regards to these issues.

But really, its not the sports world that has a problem with domestic violence and sexual assault.

Our society has a problem with domestic violence and sexual assault.  A big problem with domestic violence and sexual assault.

Consider this.  Most victims of rape and sexual assault do not report the attack, out of fear that they will not be believed and/or that the perpetrators will actually receive any form of meaningful punishment.  And the statistics will back that up.

Consider this.  Domestic violence is also a crime that is under-reported.  I am a survivor of domestic violence from my first marriage.  I never called the police on my ex husband.  Never.  What was going to happen if I called the police?  He gets thrown in jail for maybe a few hours and is bailed out?  Then he comes back, and maybe hurts me even worse?  Possibly even killing me?  Again, this is the likely scenario, and the statistics will back me up once again.

People often believe that perpetrators such as Ray Rice, Floyd Mayweather and even Jameis Winston are not punished due to their money and fame.  This is true to an extent, but does not tell the whole story.  Men who are not rich and famous (like my ex husband) do not face very much in the way of punishment, either.  Our justice is system is harsher on people who smoke marijuana or fail to pay their traffic fines (see John Oliver’s brilliant rant on that subject here).  In short, someone is more likely to get the attention of our judicial system if he/she runs a stop sign and then can’t pay the ticket, as opposed to either raping or beating up a woman.

Running a stop sign

And this is where the outrage must go, Ser Olbermann.  Boycotting the NFL draft and an overpriced boxing match may be noble in theory, but does not address the real problem.

The real problem is our judicial system.  Our judicial system simply does not value the health and safety of women.  Many states may brag how tough they are they are on domestic violence, but this is lip service for the most part.  If this was actually true, women would not be murdered by their intimate partners at such a high rate.  And women’s shelters would not be at maximum capacity, since their services are so badly needed.

And our society.  I remained silent on my own experience for far too long.  For one, it is difficult to talk about and still extremely painful.  And one of the reasons it is so difficult to talk about is because of the judgement.  Yes, judgement.  I was the one who was choked, received black eyes and endured all sorts of horrible things, but I was afraid of judgement.  Judgement for marrying my ex in the first place.  Judgement for not leaving.  Judgement for staying far too long, as if I was the one who had something wrong with me, even though I wasn’t the one trying to choke another human being and then blaming that human being for my actions.  And the judgement is ever present.  Women who work in what we consider to be “low life” professions, such as strippers and even prostitutes, experience rape and sexual assault at an alarmingly high rate.  And yet, these incidents are under-reported even more than by women who do not work in these industries.  And again, the reason is judgement.  Women who work in these types of professions (rightfully) fear judgement, as society has instilled in them that they deserve what happens to them, as it is a punishment for being employed in a “bad” job, and that women employed in these professions are not worthy of even being treated like human beings in the first place.  Or if alcohol was involved in any way.  Or drugs.  Even if the guy pays for the date and the woman doesn’t “put out.”  Our society is very quick to judge women’s sexual behavior, and if the behavior is not up to code, then the woman is deserving of any punishment she receives, including rape and any other form of violence that men care to throw at her.

Like I said, Keith Olbermann is awesome and always will be.  But Ser Olbermann, re-direct your anger.  You are right to be angry.  You are even right to be angry at the sports world, for it does far too little to address this problem.  But a boycott of one fight and one NFL draft is not the answer to this problem.  In fact, I don’t know what the answer to this problem is.  But perhaps if everyone, including Keith Olbermann, could direct their anger towards society and our judicial system, maybe one day we will not even need to have this conversation of whether or not to boycott sporting events.  Maybe the perpetrators will be ones who fear judgement, not the victims.  And maybe myself and the other survivors will be in a little less pain, because society will final recognize that the perpetrators are the ones who need to be punished and actually fear that punishment, instead of the survivors, who have already endured enough horror and fear.  Just maybe, this will happen one day.

 

 

Since Everyone is Entitled to my Opinion 2.0

Well, it looks like this is my week for giving opinions.

I treated everyone to mine a couple of days ago, in regards the proposed Dark Tower movie.  And that was fun.  Speculation always is always fun.  Casting threads are too.  And I can never have enough conversation about Stephen King and his magnum opus.

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But life isn’t always fun.  And I think we all know that.  Sometimes, you need to cast aside the fun and be serious, at least for a minute.

Like this post today.

There will be no casting threads.  No speculation.  And I don’t even think this post will be especially nerdy.

So you have been warned.  Feel free to skip over to any of the other posts, if they are more likely to suit your fancy.  For today’s post will have a bit different of a flavor, and may not be to everyone’s taste.

Yesterday, it was announced that former Carolina Panthers‘ defensive end (who now plays for the Dallas Cowboys) Greg Hardy will be suspended for 10 games during the 2015 NFL season for his role in a domestic dispute that allegedly turned violent.  Hardy was accused of assaulting the woman and threatening to kill her.  The criminal charges against Hardy were dropped and the case was settled in a civil court.  The NFL determined that Hardy was guilty of violating its personal conduct policy, and doled out what Commissioner Roger Goodell determined to be an appropriate punishment.  In this case, it was suspension without pay from 10 regular season games.

Greg Hardy

There is also the more notorious case of Ray Rice, former player for the Baltimore Ravens.  Ray Rice and his now wife Janay Rice were the subjects of the famous video footage that was leaked last year, where Rice could be seen beating his then fiancee unconscious in a hotel elevator, and then dragging her body across the hotel hallway.  Rice was originally suspended for only two games, but the release of the video and the ensuing public outcry changed that punishment to indefinite suspension, and Rice was also released by his team, the Baltimore Ravens.

Ray Rice

Many would agree that the punishment is an appropriate one for Greg Hardy (Mike Golic certainly does).  In fact, I would like to think that most would agree with this statement.

But once again, the aforementioned trolls have come out of hiding.  But really, is that too surprising?

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And the trolls always have an opinion.  And they also seem to think everyone is entitled to that opinion, and they are not shy about voicing that opinion.

Well, trolls, you know what you need to do?

That’s right…SHUT THE FUCK UP!

And I would tell you where you can stick that opinion.  Let me give you a hint:  sunlight does not make its way there.  Enough said.

Greg Hardy strangled his girlfriend.  That’s right:  strangled.  Have you ever been strangled before?

Well, I have.  I am a survivor of domestic violence.  I was married for nearly seven years to someone who abused me, both emotionally and physically.

For seven years, I lived in terror.  I walked on eggshells constantly, never knowing what may set him off.

And no, my ex did not come with a sign saying “I beat up women for fun.”  My ex came across as a nice guy, but as someone who had a hard time in life, and just needed some understanding.  I would provide him that understanding, and be able to fix him.

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But boy was I ever wrong.  My ex was not the man I thought he was.  Scratch that, I know men (my father, husband, brother and various male friends.  Even my two neutered male dogs).  My ex is not in that category.  He may rank a little above a cockroach (I hate those fuckers) but my two neutered male dogs know way more about manhood than my ex ever will.

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So I lived with the abuse, hoping it would go away.  And really, I was just afraid for seven years.  But like a blind person who does not know he/she is blind because he/she has always been blind, I never knew I was afraid.  I accepted it, just a the blind person accepts his/her lack of sight, because there is no other choice.

And I accepted a lot.

I accepted being strangled to the point where I had to fight for air, and where my lungs just wouldn’t function.

I accepted my hair being pulled so hard that my scalp bled.

I accepted the black eyes and the bruises.  I accepted having to lie about those on a regular basis, even though I really don’t think anyone else I knew accepted those lies.

I accepted being beaten in a hotel room, where I was pinned in a corner and used as a human punching bag.  And I accepted the cuts, scratches and bruises on my face and other parts of my body.  After all, if I had not aggravated him, I would not have been put in that position.

And I accepted being a shell of my former self.  Even when you don’t know you are afraid, the fear will still whittle you down to almost nothing, until you look in the mirror, and are unable to recognize that husk staring back at you.

Luckily, I am a survivor.  It has been nearly eight years.  I am married to a wonderful man and I would not trade our relationship for the world, even though we have had our ups and downs.  My life is (usually) pretty awesome, if I do say so myself.

But my ex (unlike Greg Hardy and Ray Rice) never faced any consequences for his actions.  No jail time.  No monetary punishment of any kind.  His parents never even held him accountable, and chose to blame almost anything and everything else on his behavior, including me.  So he was able to just walk away.  Nothing happened to him.

However, I was not able to just walk away.  If only.

There were the trust issues.  My poor husband.  I really am married to a saint.  What I put him through, because it took me so long to be able to trust him completely and actually feel safe.  When you know nothing but fear and the fear disappears, you have no idea of what to do with yourself.  So you will try to re-create that fear, in order to bring back what you know.

And the nightmares.  Oftentimes, victims of domestic abuse also suffer from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).  Nightmares are a part of that.  I know that I got out, and luckily got out alive.  But sometimes, after I fall asleep, I forget that fact.  And I would take dreams about an evil clown over dreams of living with my ex any day.

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And the humiliation.  One of the worst parts.  How much time do I spend beating myself for making the mistake that I did?  And how long did I hide this part of my past from nearly everyone that I knew, fearing judgement?  I heard some awful things said about Janay Rice for staying:  that she was a gold digger, why couldn’t she just leave, etc.  But its not that easy.  The Twitter conversations #whyIstayed and #whyIleft shed a little light on this subject, but those who have not experienced what myself, Janay Rice and countless other women have experienced simply fail to understand that it really is not that easy.  I can’t speak for Janay Rice, but I did at one point love my ex husband, and wanted to try to save my marriage.  And I was also afraid, and had every right to be afraid, as women are more likely to be killed by their partners when they attempt to leave, not when they stay in that hell.

So listen up, trolls.  Mike Golic is right.  This punishment for Greg Hardy is fitting.  This punishment is completely appropriate.  This punishment is not about Roger Goodell being on a power trip.

This punishment is actually about the NFL doing what is right.  Our judicial system does NOT do what is right when it comes to cases of domestic violence.  Otherwise, far fewer women would be killed by their partners, as the system would not allow abusers to walk away so easily.  And restraining orders would actually be more than a piece of paper that abusers could walk right through.

Greg Hardy (and Ray Rice) have made millions.  Both will likely continue to make millions, as they play a sport that rewards handsomely, and often turns a blind eye to people’s pasts.  They will likely not have to worry about food, shelter and other basic (and not so basic) necessities for the rest of their lives.

But myself and other survivors of domestic abuse will likely not have it so easy.  And I know I am lucky.  I have a great support system of family and friends.  I have a job and a way to support myself.  And I am resilient.  I have been resilient all my life.  I am able to bounce back, even though it hasn’t been easy.  But I will still be living with the effects of the abuse.  They may now be scars instead of open wounds, but scar tissue is still sensitive if its touched just right.  And its not easy knowing that ex (and other abusers) will never face any kind of consequences, as we live in a society that has so little regard for survivors of physical, sexual and emotional abuse.  Perhaps this will change some day, but change is never fast, and often comes too late.

So trolls, stop being a Greg Hardy apologist.  He has been suspended for 10 games.  Big deal.  He will never be living in fear.  He will never face judgement for being a victim.  Greg Hardy will not have to live with the effects of domestic violence for the rest of his life, like I will.

So, if we have to punish someone like Greg Hardy by suspending him for 10 regular season NFL games, and hitting his pocketbook a little bit, then so be it.  The damage done to his pocketbook is far less than damage he caused to his ex girlfriend, as she will likely be dealing with its after-effects for a long, long time.  The damage done to Greg Hardy’s pocketbook is not nearly enough punishment, but if that punishment can bring some kind of solace to his victim, myself and anyone else who has suffered at the hands of someone like Greg Hardy, then that punishment needs to stand.  Sometimes in life, we are stuck taking the consolation prize.  And the consolation prize is almost always better than nothing.

Fat-Green-Troll

Letter to Sir Reggie Wayne

Dear Reggie Wayne,

This is a letter to you.  I know you wrote one to us.  And it was lovely, although that part didn’t surprise, since you have been a class act since day 1.

But really, Sir Wayne, we need to be writing the letter to you.  The city of Indianapolis and Indianapolis Colts fans everywhere are indebted to you.

Reggie Wayne,  Charles Woodson

People talk about the Colts, and often Peyton Manning comes to mind.  And that’s understandable, as he brought the franchise to another level, with his outstanding play.  He even brought Indianapolis its first (and only) Super Bowl ring.

Or perhaps they think of Andrew Luck.  You know, that young quarterback about to start his fourth year in the NFL.  For some reason, people think he’s pretty good.  Some think that even more rings will be brought to Indianapolis with Andrew Luck under center.  And they are probably right.

Myself, I have so many Indianapolis Colts whom I love, all for different reasons.  So its hard to pick a favorite.  I try to be like how my parents say they are…I don’t pick favorites (yeah, right).

Peyton-Manning

But you, Sir Reggie Wayne, will always stand out to me.  People often say that Colts fans are spoiled, as we have gone from having excellent play from Peyton Manning to having excellent play from Andrew Luck.  Two gunslingers, in other words.

But there is one important part in those two eras that needs to be addressed.  And that part would be you.

You played among the greats, such as Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison.  And Sir Wayne, you would need to be included in that list of greats.  Many others played a vital role, but Peyton Manning could not have done it without you.  You were a favorite target in the Peyton era in Indianapolis for a reason.  You made ridiculous catches.  Oftentimes, you were airborne, or you caught that ball with one hand.  You gave us some truly spectacular plays.

Linus

And then there is the Luck era.  The Colts were not supposed to be good after almost the entire organization underwent a massive rebuild in 2012.  Almost was the key word, as you and a couple of other players from the Peyton era stayed on. No one expected much from you and your teammates that year.  Winning four games would have been an accomplishment.  But, again, the Colts proved their doubters wrong.  Part of that (well, a big part of that) was due to the spectacular play of your teammate, Andrew Luck.  But again, Andrew could not have done it without you.  Once again, you made those ridiculous catches.  Sometimes, you were airborne.  Andrew Luck needed a security blanket that first year, and you made one heck of a security blanket for him, with your spectacular play to boot.

NFL: Denver Broncos at Indianapolis Colts

You have been invaluable to the organization and to the city of Indianapolis.  You have taken young players such as TY Hilton under your wing, and helped mold them into outstanding players and outstanding citizens (although I don’t think that last part was terribly difficult).

Reggie 4

And again, your play during the time you were an Indianapolis Colt…I just can’t say enough about the spectacular plays you made!  I still get shivers down my spine when I think of that game winning drive your teammate, Andrew Luck, put together to win in the last few minutes of the game again Aaron Rodgers and his Green Bay Packers in 2012 (the fact that my husband is a Packers fan has absolutely nothing to do with my memories of this game.  Nothing at all).  That is just one of the moments that stands out to me.  And who could forget that 53 yard touchdown you caught from Peyton Manning in Super Bowl XLI, which was instrumental in bringing Indianapolis its first (and so far, only) Super Bowl Championship?

Reggie Wayne, your number was chanted for a reason.  Number 87 has become associated with excellence.  Excellence both on and off the field.  There is no other way to put it.

Sir, you may no longer be a Colt.  Perhaps you will retire.  Or maybe another team will snap you up.  Whatever the case may be, the city of Indianapolis and the Colts organization will always be the winners, as they were privileged to have not only a great football player, but also a magnificent human being in their midst for so many years.

So, from the bottom of my heart, I say thank you.  It was a privilege to not only have you as a player on my favorite football team, but also as a citizen of Indianapolis for so many years.  And I can’t thank you enough for that honor.

Sincerely,

Your grateful, humble fans.

San Diego Chargers v Indianapolis Colts