Samhain.

Another year, another Halloween.

The inevitable is upon us: the year is almost over.

You find yourself out somewhere, you’ve got a drink in one hand and your cell phone in the other. In your stomach is chocolate and booze. On one side of you is a girl in a leotard with cat ears on and she’s telling you what an asshole her ex is. On your other side is a girl dressed up as sexy Mother Teresa and she’s sleeping with the other girl’s asshole ex. Trick on one side of you, Treat on the other, and your drink is almost empty. It’s getting colder now outside and darker earlier and earlier. It’s time to start self reviewing and battening down the hatches.

via Google today.

Last night I got into a conversation with someone who told me that they hated Halloween. They didn’t see the point of it anymore, they said. I have to say that I wasn’t exactly super enthused about this year’s festivities but in a way, I still feel like Halloween is one of the last pure holidays available to us.

The various Halloween decorations sold to you  leading up to tonight feel more welcome in your home, I feel, than the Christmas ones. And the fact that the Christmas decorations start rolling out in store aisles as early as October now doesn’t make the sentiment that comes with them feel any more genuine or less hollow. But there’s still a kind of joy in those who put up something around their house with the intent of scaring a person or reveling in a bit of annual darkness.

Then there’s the candy. That one’s self evident, I think.

The movies. Halloween movies, or the movies that they play on TV around Halloween or the ones you specifically seek out because of this holiday, they aren’t just seasonal. They’re timeless, in their own special, twisted, beautiful way.

from here.

There’s always a mood that can strike a horror fan for movies about witches or demons or zombies or psycho killers or what have you and that mood isn’t solely isolated to Samhain. It’s just amplified there, maybe.

Besides, there’s just a handful of true, genuine Christmas cinema classics and the rest is bullshit. A movie can feature Rob Lowe in a pullover standing in front of a Christmas tree or feature an orphan meeting an angel who cures his syphilis or whatever, but that doesn’t mean I want to watch it. And as far as “holiday cinema” goes, Christmas is Halloween’s only real competition, and just like the holiday itself, it’s an empty category.

Never mind the fact that Halloween is the last real holiday where you can be yourself. You can be independent. Maybe you need to put on a costume and go out and get drunk and pretend to be someone else for a few hours after the sun sets, but it’s worth it. Maybe that’s how you need to express yourself. Either way, it’s your time. Enjoy it. After this it’s Thanksgiving and your circa Christmas fare, and you’re surrounded by family and you have to pretend to be someone else. No, you’re not a disappointment to your parents or extended relatives who know nothing of the real you but have some concerns based on your facebook status updates. No, this year hasn’t been a disappointment despite all the big plans and hopes you’ve had for it. And no, you’re not a disappointment to yourself, you hope.

Just to reiterate, Halloween is nothing but: Candy, booze, spooks, thrills, sexy costumes, ghosts, goblins, ghouls, an excuse to break free and have a little fun while leaving a little bit of your dignity behind. That sounds amazing. It also sounds like your average day on the internet just IRL.

Oh well, right? October is over, and another holiday has passed. Here on Counterforce the past month has been about the words of dead writers and witches and vampires and comic books (and comics on the web) and television shows (and television shows based on comic books like The Walking Dead) and actresses and wondering where they’ve been and who they’ve been fucking and all sorts of ridiculous shit on the internet in it’s silly labyrinthine ways. So, business as usual, I guess.

And tomorrow is another day. And probably more of the same.

Las ruinas circulares.

And today, as the month comes to a close on All Hallow’s Eve, let’s enjoy a short story by everyone’s favorite Argentinian short story writer, Jorge Luis Borges. This, from his collection entitled Ficciones, is “The Circular Ruins,” and…

No one saw him disembark in the unanimous night, no one saw the bamboo canoe sink into the sacred mud, but in a few days there was no one who did not know that the taciturn man came from the South and that his home had been one of those numberless villages upstream in the deeply cleft side of the mountain, where the Zend language has not been contaminated by Greek and where leprosy is infrequent. What is certain is that the grey man kissed the mud, climbed up the bank with pushing aside (probably, without feeling) the blades which were lacerating his flesh, and crawled, nauseated and bloodstained, up to the circular enclosure crowned with a stone tiger or horse, which sometimes was the color of flame and now was that of ashes. This circle was a temple which had been devoured by ancient fires, profaned by the miasmal jungle, and whose god no longer received the homage of men. The stranger stretched himself out beneath the pedestal. He was awakened by the sun high overhead. He was not astonished to find that his wounds had healed; he closed his pallid eyes and slept, not through weakness of flesh but through determination of will. He knew that this temple was the place required for his invincible intent; he knew that the incessant trees had not succeeded in strangling the ruins of another propitious temple downstream which had once belonged to gods now burned and dead; he knew that his immediate obligation was to dream. Toward midnight he was awakened by the inconsolable shriek of a bird. Tracks of bare feet, some figs and a jug warned him that the men of the region had been spying respectfully on his sleep, soliciting his protection or afraid of his magic. He felt a chill of fear, and sought out a sepulchral niche in the dilapidated wall where he concealed himself among unfamiliar leaves.

The purpose which guided him was not impossible, though supernatural. He wanted to dream a man; he wanted to dream him in minute entirety and impose him on reality. This magic project had exhausted the entire expanse of his mind; if someone had asked him his name or to relate some event of his former life, he would not have been able to give an answer. This uninhabited, ruined temple suited him, for it is contained a minimum of visible world; the proximity of the workmen also suited him, for they took it upon themselves to provide for his frugal needs. The rice and fruit they brought him were nourishment enough for his body, which was consecrated to the sole task of sleeping and dreaming.

At first, his dreams were chaotic; then in a short while they became dialectic in nature. The stranger dreamed that he was in the center of a circular amphitheater which was more or less the burnt temple; clouds of taciturn students filled the tiers of seats; the faces of the farthest ones hung at a distance of many centuries and as high as the stars, but their features were completely precise. The man lectured his pupils on anatomy, cosmography, and magic: the faces listened anxiously and tried to answer understandingly, as if they guessed the importance of that examination which would redeem one of them from his condition of empty illusion and interpolate him into the real world. Asleep or awake, the man thought over the answers of his phantoms, did not allow himself to be deceived by imposters, and in certain perplexities he sensed a growing intelligence. He was seeking a soul worthy of participating in the universe.

from here.

After nine or ten nights he understood with a certain bitterness that he could expect nothing from those pupils who accepted his doctrine passively, but that he could expect something from those who occasionally dared to oppose him. The former group, although worthy of love and affection, could not ascend to the level of individuals; the latter pre-existed to a slightly greater degree. One afternoon (now afternoons were also given over to sleep, now he was only awake for a couple hours at daybreak) he dismissed the vast illusory student body for good and kept only one pupil. He was a taciturn, sallow boy, at times intractable, and whose sharp features resembled of those of his dreamer. The brusque elimination of his fellow students did not disconcert him for long; after a few private lessons, his progress was enough to astound the teacher. Nevertheless, a catastrophe took place. One day, the man emerged from his sleep as if from a viscous desert, looked at the useless afternoon light which he immediately confused with the dawn, and understood that he had not dreamed. All that night and all day long, the intolerable lucidity of insomnia fell upon him. He tried exploring the forest, to lose his strength; among the hemlock he barely succeeded in experiencing several short snatchs of sleep, veined with fleeting, rudimentary visions that were useless. He tried to assemble the student body but scarcely had he articulated a few brief words of exhortation when it became deformed and was then erased. In his almost perpetual vigil, tears of anger burned his old eyes.

He understood that modeling the incoherent and vertiginous matter of which dreams are composed was the most difficult task that a man could undertake, even though he should penetrate all the enigmas of a superior and inferior order; much more difficult than weaving a rope out of sand or coining the faceless wind. He swore he would forget the enormous hallucination which had thrown him off at first, and he sought another method of work. Before putting it into execution, he spent a month recovering his strength, which had been squandered by his delirium. He abandoned all premeditation of dreaming and almost immediately succeeded in sleeping a reasonable part of each day. The few times that he had dreams during this period, he paid no attention to them. Before resuming his task, he waited until the moon’s disk was perfect. Then, in the afternoon, he purified himself in the waters of the river, worshiped the planetary gods, pronounced the prescribed syllables of a mighty name, and went to sleep. He dreamed almost immediately, with his heart throbbing.

He dreamed that it was warm, secret, about the size of a clenched fist, and of a garnet color within the penumbra of a human body as yet without face or sex; during fourteen lucid nights he dreampt of it with meticulous love. Every night he perceived it more clearly. He did not touch it; he only permitted himself to witness it, to observe it, and occasionally to rectify it with a glance. He perceived it and lived it from all angles and distances. On the fourteenth night he lightly touched the pulmonary artery with his index finger, then the whole heart, outside and inside. He was satisfied with the examination. He deliberately did not dream for a night; he took up the heart again, invoked the name of a planet, and undertook the vision of another of the principle organs. Within a year he had come to the skeleton and the eyelids. The innumerable hair was perhaps the most difficult task. He dreamed an entire man–a young man, but who did not sit up or talk, who was unable to open his eyes. Night after night, the man dreamt him asleep.

In the Gnostic cosmosgonies, demiurges fashion a red Adam who cannot stand; as a clumsy, crude and elemental as this Adam of dust was the Adam of dreams forged by the wizard’s nights. One afternoon, the man almost destroyed his entire work, but then changed his mind. (It would have been better had he destroyed it.) When he had exhausted all supplications to the deities of earth, he threw himself at the feet of the effigy which was perhaps a tiger or perhaps a colt and implored its unknown help. That evening, at twilight, he dreamt of the statue. He dreamt it was alive, tremulous: it was not an atrocious bastard of a tiger and a colt, but at the same time these two firey creatures and also a bull, a rose, and a storm. This multiple god revealed to him that his earthly name was Fire, and that in this circular temple (and in others like it) people had once made sacrifices to him and worshiped him, and that he would magically animate the dreamed phantom, in such a way that all creatures, except Fire itself and the dreamer, would believe to be a man of flesh and blood. He commanded that once this man had been instructed in all the rites, he should be sent to the other ruined temple whose pyramids were still standing downstream, so that some voice would glorify him in that deserted edifice. In the dream of the man that dreamed, the dreamed one awoke.

from here.

The wizard carried out the orders he had been given. He devoted a certain length of time (which finally proved to be two years) to instructing him in the mysteries of the universe and the cult of fire. Secretly, he was pained at the idea of being separated from him. On the pretext of pedagogical necessity, each day he increased the number of hours dedicated to dreaming. He also remade the right shoulder, which was somewhat defective. At times, he was disturbed by the impression that all this had already happened . . . In general, his days were happy; when he closed his eyes, he thought: Now I will be with my son. Or, more rarely: The son I have engendered is waiting for me and will not exist if I do not go to him.

Gradually, he began accustoming him to reality. Once he ordered him to place a flag on a faraway peak. The next day the flag was fluttering on the peak. He tried other analogous experiments, each time more audacious. With a certain bitterness, he understood that his son was ready to be born–and perhaps impatient. That night he kissed him for the first time and sent him off to the other temple whose remains were turning white downstream, across many miles of inextricable jungle and marshes. Before doing this (and so that his son should never know that he was a phantom, so that he should think himself a man like any other) he destroyed in him all memory of his years of apprenticeship.

His victory and peace became blurred with boredom. In the twilight times of dusk and dawn, he would prostrate himself before the stone figure, perhaps imagining his unreal son carrying out identical rites in other circular ruins downstream; at night he no longer dreamed, or dreamed as any man does. His perceptions of the sounds and forms of the universe became somewhat pallid: his absent son was being nourished by these diminution of his soul. The purpose of his life had been fulfilled; the man remained in a kind of ecstasy. After a certain time, which some chronicles prefer to compute in years and others in decades, two oarsmen awoke him at midnight; he could not see their faces, but they spoke to him of a charmed man in a temple of the North, capable of walking on fire without burning himself. The wizard suddenly remembered the words of the god. He remembered that of all the creatures that people the earth, Fire was the only one who knew his son to be a phantom. This memory, which at first calmed him, ended by tormenting him. He feared lest his son should meditate on this abnormal privilege and by some means find out he was a mere simulacrum. Not to be a man, to be a projection of another man’s dreams–what an incomparable humiliation, what madness! Any father is interested in the sons he has procreated (or permitted) out of the mere confusion of happiness; it was natural that the wizard should fear for the future of that son whom he had thought out entrail by entrail, feature by feature, in a thousand and one secret nights.

His misgivings ended abruptly, but not without certain forewarnings. First (after a long drought) a remote cloud, as light as a bird, appeared on a hill; then, toward the South, the sky took on the rose color of leopard’s gums; then came clouds of smoke which rusted the metal of the nights; afterwards came the panic-stricken flight of wild animals. For what had happened many centuries before was repeating itself. The ruins of the sanctuary of the god of Fire was destroyed by fire. In a dawn without birds, the wizard saw the concentric fire licking the walls. For a moment, he thought of taking refuge in the water, but then he understood that death was coming to crown his old age and absolve him from his labors. He walked toward the sheets of flame. They did not bite his flesh, they caressed him and flooded him without heat or combustion. With relief, with humiliation, with terror, he understood that he also was an illusion, that someone else was dreaming him.


Season of the witch.

In honor of Halloween and Tuesday’s election and Gawker‘s recent ridiculous and intriguingly lame (and anonymous) account of “I had a one-night stand with Christine O’Donnell,” we present to you a selection of comments from that very page…

“I’d be bitter too if an attractive MILF asked to come back to my place and I still couldn’t figure out a way to hook up with her. I’d be bitter, but at least I’d direct my angst towards my own failings, not run off to tell the Internet. What a douche.”

“Based on the title I was expecting Penthouse Letters. I can’t believe how anticlimactic this story is. This douche, nor his douche-roommate, couldn’t get laid.

It should have been titled, ‘BREAKING EXCLUSIVE! O’Donnell has hairy pubes, turns off anonymous dude.’

Anyway Gawker wins, it got my click, and it seems a million other people’s…”

“Dear Gawker, please tell me this man did not benefit financially from this story. This is a non-story story. It would have been relevant if there was deviant sexual intercourse, but not by much. it would have been “groundbreaking” if she’d made out and slept in the same bed with another woman.

But this? This is your exclusive? The title is misleading. You really should retitle it ‘Wax On, Wax Off: The True Story of Christine O’Donnell’s Bush.’ Because the only issue Americans care about is waxing.

Talking about O’Donnell’s sexuality is hard to avoid since many of her platform’s positions are related to the social issues of sex. There’s no way a candidate can say ‘I will stop America from having sex’ and not have constituents wonder if The 40 Year Old Virgin was written about her. So part of it is her own doing.

But why keep beating a dead horse? If you were trying to cast doubt on Christine O’donnells purity/integrity, you failed. O’Donnell is not a virgin. If you wanted the nitty gritty, contact the dude she slept with in college. Contact the witch dude she went on one date with. But don’t say you have an exclusive one night stand tell all when all you have is a dude who kissed and told.

There are many, many reasons not to vote for Christine O’Donnell. But the Ladybug costume and this douchenozzle with the photographic memory are not one of them.”

from here.

“Perhaps Ms. O’Donnell should consider changing her surname to Bush.”

“Remember Gawker, whenever you recall this particular stunt, NEVER GO FULL RETARD.”

“What a tool!

How do you get a women, naked and and natural in your bed, after only five minutes of initially meeting, and not close the deal?!”

“Actual irony here because this will bump her about 5 points and move people into her camp.”

“I think the real story here is an adult dude in a boy scout uniform unable to perform unless a vagina looks like that of an 11 year old.”

from here.

“Damn you, Gawker; damn you for making me feel sympathy for this woman.

The only silver lining here is that the author didn’t get laid. In light of what he wrote, I’d say he deserves a prolonged bout of involuntary celibacy. He’s also a coward for editing himself out of the pics.

That puts him somewhere above ‘Big Ben’ Mills of Peaches Geldof fame –illustrious company, right? — on the Great Big Scale of Douchebaggery™.

Bravo…”

“Damn 700,000+ pageviews. Christine O’Donnell in a ladybug costume is the new iPhone 4 leak.”

“Anonymous should have held out for a pageview check instead.”

And then there’s a post on Gawker noting that Christine O’Donnell has responded to the previous article. Below is a selection of comments from that page…

“I can’t believe they try to pull the woman card here. Someone who knows a candidate has a story with pictures, and people are actually against Gawker running it?

Just terrible. We’re talking about a candidate who won’t even give an interview to anyone but FOX, but would jump on Bill Maher any chance she got to expouse her craziness. Now we finally might have some insight into her real character, and its an invasion of privacy? GTFOH!

Remember that the person in question has pretty much offered themselves as holier than thou. A story like this about a young, single Hilary Clinton or Obeezy wouldn’t be a story at all, because those people don’t shove family values down people’s throats.”

“It’s amazing how many people feel empathy for Christine and decided to vote for her, because of that post. She deserves to be in the U.S. Senate now!!!
She’s the main beneficiary of the posting and should thank Gawker for the effort, besides sending an apology to Chris Coons.”

“RUH ROH!!!

Christine O’Donnell is closing in on Coon’s lead. According to the latest poll results O’Donnell has cut Coon’s lead in half in just the past two weeks.

And that is according to polls that were completed before Gawker’s latest attack on her character. According to the Washington Post an informal poll of female and independent voters in Delaware taken this morning found them to be more symphathetic to O’Donnell after this latest attack.

I just hope the Republicans show proper manners and thank Gawker Media for helping them win BOTH the Senate and the House instead of just the house. Perhaps they can name the bill to repeal the healthcare reform package (or maybe the one repealing the financial reform of Wall Street–or the one restoring the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy) after Gawker Media.”

“I didn’t see anything particularity sexist about reporting that O’Donnell is a lush.

Sure, the dude who was telling the story didn’t shy away from gender-based statements, but this story didn’t make Gawker because she’s a woman, but because she’s ridiculous.

In fact, her insanity up to now has actually helped her here. If this were a male candidate who got drunk and seduced a stranger, it would be the defining scandal of the election.”

“Two, separate issues here:

1. It was pretty despicable of Gawker to publish that article, especially some of the more hurtful personal details. That’s not nice.

2. Regardless, it shows that O’Donnell is a hypocrite and displays little to none of the introspection and self-awareness required to come to terms with her own nature as a human being. I’m not sure that that’s who we want voting on, say, who we go to war with.”

“I see a lot of people saying they are thinking about supporting her now because of this. Please, yes the guy was a douchenugget for airing his almost one night stand publicly but lets not forget that she is Palin level crazy and doesn’t deserve to be anywhere near a political office.”

Editor’s note: You have to love the different variations on the word “douchewhatever” that are used by the various commenters.

“I can’t tell you how much I hope this dopey twat and the rest of her ilk get their asses handed to them on election day.”

“I have to side with Gawker 60/40. The story shows Christine as human, dealing with a world that’s lots of shades of grey (just ask Cheney and his gay daughter). In this way, it’s a sad girl-meets-boy, girl-sorta-lets-boy-get-past-second-base-but-will-still-probably-have-to-spank-one-out-later story.

But she likes to tell people that there are not shades of grey, that your choices are either good or evil, and frankly it doesn’t take much to fall over to the dark side. And I can’t get behind that sort of ridiculousness because once you label them “evil” for masturbating, why not steal, or murder or even cut people off in traffic? What’s to lose? Evil is as evil does!”

“Sexist? Please. Put an idiotic hot male Republican and I’ll make the same ‘I want to hate fuck you’ comments.”

“Yeah, that article was pretty disgusting.

But trying to blame it on your un-involved opponent is too.”

“Christine O’Donnell reminds me of Margaret White (the character played so brilliantly by Piper Laurie in the movie Carrie): condemning sexuality while secretly relishing it.

‘After the first time, before we were married, he promised never again. He promised, and I believed him. But sin never dies. Sin never dies………..He took me, with the stink of filthy roadhouse whiskey on his breath, and I liked it. I liked it! With all that dirty touching of his hands all over me.’”

“I don’t know about ‘sexist,’ but publishing anonymous letters is pretty bush league.”

Editor’s note: I hope that was an intended pun.

“She could have had some sympathy out of this, but then she tries to tar Coons as somehow – what? – being involved with the Gawker story? Where the hell did that come from?”

“Sexual harassment? Isn’t that taking it a bit too far? Why is it that when women in politics are exposed it’s not alright, but when the men are exposed, the media tries their best to delve deeper and deeper into their personal lives? If O’Donnell hadn’t portrayed herself as a “pure religious virgin” in the media, I would think this story was unacceptable, but she IS portraying herself that way and I think that she should be exposed. I have no sympathy for this anti-gay, anti-sex, anti-masturbation, anti-abortion, and anti-first amendment bitch.”

“It was a terrible article. Full stop. I felt dirty and petty for reading it.”

Paradise Circus.

The other day as I was wasting time away on the internet, as I’m typically wont to do, someone posted this song for all the world to hear and join in on appreciating…

That’s Massive Attack’s “Paradise Circus” featuring Hope Sandoval  (whom you might know from her Warm Inventions or, of course, Mazzy Fucking Star), from their last album, Heligoland. The person who posted that song the other day, Sarah Lynn Knowles, had previously listed Heligoland as one of her favorite albums of this year so far and mentioned that “Paradise Circus” was probably her favorite track of the year.

It was so weird to me, seeing those words from another person, which basically forced me to realize that this is also my favorite song from this year. I had wanted this song to my song of the summer, and what a great summer that would’ve been, but instead “Paradise Circus” became, if not the song I most identified with in some sad way over the summer, than certainly the song I probably listened to the most.

Months and months ago Conrad Noir had sent me a link to the original promotional video that went with the song, directed by Toby Dye, and I had enjoyed it, thought it was the usual amusing and charming NSFW stab at internet marketing that a serious musical artist with cred usually takes (think Sigur Rós’ “Gobbledigook” previously), but, while I loved the song, and thought that promotional video really fit it, I think something about the novelty of it just… lost me. I forgot about the song.

Not shocking. It’s been a busy year for me, and the summer has been especially crazy. Crazier than I usually am, and that’s a pretty astounding feat. Plus, I cram a lot of new music into my head. It’s a sponge most times, sucking in all the good and the bad and the everything in between, but sometimes things go in one ear and bypass the chewy center and slip right out the other ear…

But then somewhere in the past few months this song worked it’s way back into my life, back into my head, as songs are wont to do. Something about that first hearing (second, actually) was amazing, and it was probably due to my having heard it before, but either way, the song started to grow on me. I downloaded it somewhere, possessed it, played it whenever I wanted, commanding it like a snake charmer, summoning it like a genie in a musical bottle. And, like I said, it became the song of my summer, if you will. And if it wasn’t that, then it was certainly, as my itunes will certainly attest to, the song I listened to the most.

And when I started to slowly realize that, that was when the universe started throwing it in my face. As the universe is wont to do, of course. First it’s used in an episode of True Blood from this past season…

…and it’s used perfectly. And the dancer in that video is absolutely right when she mentions that she knows the secret to life and it’s simply this: “A hell I’ll never get out of alive.” And then Bill the vampire tells her, “No one ever does.” And then he adds, SOOKEH IS MAHN!”

And again, the song is used perfectly there. It’s the perfect song to be playing during a particular poignant moment with a stripper in a darkened club somewhere. It’s also the perfect song to be playing on a show about vampires and werewolves, with all the metaphors for darkness between humans at play there, and all that dirty, raunchy, wonderful sex. “Paradise Circus” is just a song that evokes something in you, something twisted but smooth, something sexy but hidden away from light. It reminds you of a time in your life that you had something nasty but wonderful going on, of when you related in a way to parts of season 6 of Buffy The Vampire Slayer and you have a hard time putting that resonance in words.

Or maybe not. Maybe that’s just me.

As I was sitting down to write this, just browsing around the wildways of the internet, as I am always so wont to do, I found another video that someone made, somewhat amateur-ish, but a glossy production.

Then, the other day I’m laying in bed watching something on my ipod, watching the first episode of Luther, the police drama that Idris Elba (Stringer Bell!) did back in his native country not too long ago, and of course “Paradise Circus” is the theme song to that song. Of course.

But, again, it fits perfectly. Luther is a dark, sexy show about a brilliant cop who’s always walking just little bit more than just a little across the dark side. I truly wish that American cop shows had not just the weight and intensity of a show like this, not just the style, but the intellect. And it’s nice to see Idris Elba (who is soon to take over the role of Alex Cross from Morgan Freeman, in addition to starring in both Kenneth Branagh’s upcoming Thor and the new Nic Cage/Ghost Rider movie) in a role where he sacrifices nothing of his presence but does shed the cleanness that we’ve seen from him on The Wire or on The Office a year or two ago, whenever it was.

The show starts with Luther tracking down his prey, a killer of women and children, and quite possibly letting the man fall to his death intentionally without helping him. The first episode, trying to avoid spoilers as much as i can here, ends with Luther’s new antagonist, whose nothing that he’s faced before or can predict, finding that killer of women and children, who survived the fall and ended up in a coma. Somewhere between those two points, Luther went a little crazy from what he did, took some time off from the job and was separated from his wife for a while. When he’s cleared of all wrong doing (oh, you foolish police inquiry boards) and returns to the job, he decides that he’s well enough to return to his wife…

When it finally happens, we’re dreading it because we know that his wife will have some bad news for him and Idris Elba’s Luther is a big and ferocious guy. The moments after she tells him her bad news in the living room of the house they once shared, the screen is absolutely charged. It feels for a moment as if no room will ever be big enough to hold his rage and sadness.As he storms off into the night away from her, I heard the echoes of the Massive Attack song just pinging around in my brain.

And then I saw the thing there on tumblr, from SarahSpy, and all of this coalesced together in my brain. But that’s okay. It’s a great song, one to be appreciated by people who have great taste in music, but also those identify with a certain something, maybe. A kind of long ago sadness or darkness, and an appreciation of that time in their life. You only see connections and links after the fact and pain, suffering, and/or sadness can only really be learned from far removed from the infliction of the wounds. And it’s all so much better when it’s set to music.

Vampire sluts.

Previously on Counterforce: Fuck you, Dracula.

One of my favorite webcomics out there is Kate Beaton‘s Hark! A Vagrant, which takes a hilarious look back on history and literature. I’m a little behind on it, but was elated when I checked the internet today and saw that, in honor of Halloween, Kate Beaton was reading Bram Stoker’s Dracula

…and getting at what the book was really about more than a fear of undead bloodsuckers returning to life, but the horrific idea of sexually-liberated women. What a terrifying notion, right? Anyway, I would always recommend the works of Kate Beaton and Hark! A Vagrant, but the stuff on Dracula is especially good and you should get it out.

The risk of going too far.

Meanwhile on the internet…

Some bullshit happening somewhere.

Beck and Palin “letterbombed” via Facebook by Stephen Colbert fans.

Don’t forget: The Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert rally is tomorrow.

The recent Halloween episode of Modern Family is a pretty good example of that show at it’s finest.

There’s two new planets out there, fuck yeah.

Inside the war between Conan O’Brien and Jay Leno.

Ellen cured Portia’s fear of eating out.

My husband wants me to imitate animals in the bedroom.

“Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.”

-T.S. Eliot.

One of my favorite words in our current existence: Cyberwar!

Dear DC Comics: Please fucking reprint Flex Mentallo already.

The pictures in this post are actually paintings by Andy Denzler and can be found here.

True Blood‘s Ryan Kwanten to play Charles Manson. I can totally see it.

Newly released files show Hitler’s daily routine.

The world’s most precise clocks could reveal that the world is a hologram.

Your fingers know when you make a typo.

Ma-Sheen Man.

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You were an island and I passed you by.

Okay, for today, let’s start at something we know and go somewhere we don’t and end up… who knows?

1. This man:

Sawyer from Lost. Remember him?

2. This is a picture of Sawyer reading a book:

That’s in “Eggtown.” How odd was it that Sawyer was the most prolific reader on the show? And Ben came in second place. We saw lots of glimpses of Ben’s and Jack’s bookshelves but Sawyer was the one we always saw actually reading (and Ben just occasionally). I wonder if Sawyer and Juliet (re)started a book club somewhere in their three years in the 1970s DHARMA Initiative… Hmm.

2 1/2. I’m all about Sawyer and Juliet reading Erica Jong‘s Fear Of Flying, I gotta say.

Go ahead, say it with me now: “Zipless fuck.” That felt good, didn’t it?

2 3/4. Like I said…

Ben actually read sometimes. In his mind, it goes like this: James Joyce > Stephen King. And I’d have to agree with him.

Sorry, Juliet.

3. Anyway, that book that Sawyer happens to be reading there is this:

The Invention Of Morel by Adolfo Bioy Casares, written in 1940. It’s about a fugitive who ends up on a mysterious island where strange things are happening…

4. That particular cover above is based on the fact that the lead female role of the book, a character called Faustine, is based on silent film star Louise Brooks, whom is on the cover. This is another picture of her:

It’s also been said that the book was written, in part, as a reaction to the decline of her career at the time.

5. The plot, rather roughly, is: a man hiding from the authorities ends up on a mysterious island. Eventually a group of people come and the fugitive falls in love with one of the women with them. He keeps a diary, in which he talks about observing these people and their actions all the while trying to not be discovered by them, and how they seem to repeat some of the same conversations over and over, and then disappear. The fugitive tries to confront the woman, Faustine, and tell her how he feels about her but, as Wikipedia puts it, “an anomalous phenomenon keeps them apart.”

6. This is the original first edition cover of the book:

And another:

…which were designed by Norah Borges, the sister of Jorge Luis Borges, one of the author’s closest friends and a serious advocate of this novel. Borges even wrote a prologue for the book in which he said: “To classify it [the novel] as perfect is neither an imprecision nor a hyperbole.”

7. Supposedly the novel was inspired in part by earlier novels, such as 1934′s XYZ, by Clemente Palma, which I don’t know much about, but also the much more popular novel, The Island Of Dr. Moreau by H. G. Wells.

8. This is an image from the 1996 film version of the movie:

9. And below is a joke that was inspired by that little detail:

Yeah, that’s right.

10. I only saw that 1996 version of The Island Of Dr. Moreau once, which was directed by John Frakenheimer, and it was incredibly long ago, probably not long after it came out, but I love hearing accounts of the considerably rocky production, which suffered all kinds of shake ups, script rewrites almost daily, the original director being fired just three days into shooting on location in the tropical wilderness of North Queesland, Australia and, of course, the perfect storm that is Val Kilmer and Marlon Brando.

Anyway, so just a day or two after they got to their tropical location shoot, Kilmer decided that he wanted his role (as the lead character who happens upon the unethical villainy of the mad Dr. Moreau) cut by 40%. Some of this was because, yes, Val Kilmer is insane, but it was also right around the time he was going through a painful divorce. And after quite a bit of examination, it was discovered that there was no way to cut down the role Kilmer had been hired for, so he’d have to trade roles with David Thewlis, who had been cast as one of Moreau’s creepy flunkies.

11. Only slightly related: “I’m Val Kilmer. Take me to the strip club!”

12. Val Kilmer, even at your greatest heights, you’re still no Charlie Sheen. That’s a fact to both be ashamed of and to take pride in.

13. Speaking of weird actor bullshit on the set of a movie, if you ever get a chance, and are bored enough, you should go read up on the crazy demands that Marlon Brando came up with on the set of 2001′s The Score starring Rober De Niro, Edward Norton, and Angela Bassett. It’s some great stuff like not wanting to wear pants (so therefore a majority of his scenes are shot from the waist up) or refusing to take direction from director Frank Oz, whom he would only refer to as “Miss Piggy,” which lead to Oz having to sit in a van outside the set with a monitor and relaying direction via walkie talkie to De Niro to give to Brando.

Honestly, it’s enough to make you want to get really huge (mostly in a fame and talent sort of way, but possibly also in physical size) and just go really splendidly crazy, you know?

14. Getting somewhat back to our original topic… The Invention Of Morel. Interestingly enough, it was adapted into film in 1974 and starred the lovely Anna Karina, famous from so many Jean-Luc Godard films, and who was also in the film adaptation of The Magus. But that shouldn’t be held against her, should it?

15. But more interesting than that is the theory that the novel was a serious influence on the classic and notorious Alain Resnais film Last Year At Marienbad.

Many a person hate the film, which has inspired so much satire and so very many attempts at deciphering it, at finding meaning in it’s voluptuous qualities, but that’s an almost impossible task to do definitively.

16. If you’ve never seen it, shame on you. But if that’s true, I’ll try to sum the film up succinctly as best I can:

At a European château, a man approaches a woman. He claims to know her, but she doesn’t seem to know him. He tells her that they had met last year at Marienbad and that she had told him that she’d be waiting here for him now. He’s positive of this but again, she doesn’t remember. Her husband shows up. There’s a question of dominance at play, a power struggle, and the continuing effort to try and convince the woman of what the first man says is the truth. The characters have no names, but in the screenplay, the first man is X, the woman is A, and her husband’s name is M. Conversations happen again and again throughout the château, and reality seems to be a changing whim and there are many a haunting, cryptic voiceover hanging over lush, ambiguous tracking shots.

This is a very necessary film if you have any plans of calling yourself a pretentious film buff or a lover of the French New Wave.

17. The film is a thrill for guessing at, for surrendering yourself over to it’s masterful pace and tone, and then for pondering over with enlightened friends after a viewing.

18. Trust me, the film becomes a lot more fun and the guess work far more potent if you take on the assumption that it’s a science fiction story. Or a ghost story. Wander through that same mesmerizing landscape as the characters in the story and you’ll have a fun time.

19. Of course this all kind of ties into Lost, with certain echos of similar scenarios throughout the show and it’s mysterious island setting.

One example of that would be: Horace appearing to John and talking about Jacob’s cabin while chopping wood in a continuous loop. Of course, this was in a dream, but it’s an interesting visual representation of stone tape theory.

Remember back in the early, glory days of Lost theories, there was always stuff like “The Monster is nanotechnology,” which took a long time to fade after repeated denials from the producers, but that I always liked was holograms. Like “Jack’s dad is a hologram” or “Eko’s brother is a hologram,” meaning that they weren’t ghosts in the classic supernatural sense.

20. Last Year At Marienbad inspired the video for “To The End,” a 1994 single by Blur from their album Parklife

Jesus, remember Blur? Fuck, I miss Britpop. Damon Albarn has held on pretty strongly musical, both with Gorillaz and more recently complaining somewhat unnecessarily about Glee. Anyway, in the lovely video, that’s Albarn as “X” and Graham Coxon as “M.”

21. Albarn vs. Coxon? That’s fitting.

22. A year after “To The End” Blur would use another film as fuel for pastiche in a music video with “The Universal” from The Great Escape. Viddy well:

The film this time being Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange, interesting enough. And the single’s cover was reminiscent of Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.

23. It should be pointed out that these both songs that I like quite a bit, as well as their videos. It was a smart move on Blur’s part, I think in doing these pastiches, not only because it makes them appear more stylistically interesting and intellectual (or as intellectually far as an homage can take one these days), but it really reinforced the strong roots that the 1960s held within the foundations of Britpop.

24. Going back to Last Year At Marienbad, another video:

This short film, called “The Arranged Time,” by a filmmaker named Scott Johnston, clearly owes a debt to the mysterious dream logic of Resnais’ classic, but is also it’s own intriguing thing. It’s well worth the viewing, but if you don’t want to favor the tip of the hat to Last Year At Marienbad, I can always offer you the hipster version of a reference: It’s remarkably David Lynch-ian.

25. I should probably loop this thing back around somewhat, back to where we started…

…but to a slightly different starting point…

…with that guy.

from here.

26. Here’s a nice fun fact for you: Matthew Fox has never seen a single episode of Lost.

Apparently he’s just really uncomfortable with watching himself “act.”

I can just imagine him watching the show and thinking, “Oh man, this Jack guy is just too fucking intense.”

27. This is a great picture I found today…

28. I like Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne, but I also really liked Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne.

28A. It’s kind of like how I’d rather watch a Tony Stark movie than an Iron Man movie.

29. Staying mostly on target here… Don’t forget: They originally wanted Michael Keaton to be Jack on Lost. Granted, had that happened, they would’ve killed him off in the pilot (to shock you!) and Kate would’ve become the lead of the show, but had they kept him, I feel confident that he would’ve mustered up a decent quota of Jackface on a regular basis.

The problem with casting a seasoned film actor like Michael Keaton in the role of Jack would’ve been that he just wouldn’t have taken the chances that a seasoned and angry television actor like Matthew Fox (who always seemed to have something of a chip on his shoulder, a kind of unresolved anger residing within him after Party Of Five) would have and did end up taking. It’s shocking to think and say this in a way, but I just don’t think that Michael Keaton would’ve matched Matthew Fox’s intensity.

30. I made mention the other day, somewhat jokingly, that I kind of assumed that The Venture Bros. would end with the titular characters’ father, Rusty, putting himself out of his own misery (which is a much larger conversation, of course), but in thinking about that in the days since I typed those words, I couldn’t think of a moment in Lost where we saw Jack actually reading a book. Which makes sense for a lost of reasons, one being that Jack always had shit to do, was always on the move. He wasn’t a lounger like Sawyer or Ben or Locke. But, speaking of Locke, that was the only instance I could think of where Jack had a seat and read something rather significant…

…that item being Locke’s suicide note. That’s heavy, right?

31. This picture is funny:

32. It’s a nice thought, thinking back to the humble, mysterious beginnings of Lost

I’d love to someday see a book from Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse talking about all the various things they had wanted to do on the show that didn’t work out. On one hand, obviously, it wouldn’t matter. The show is the final product and that’s all that really matters, but even still, from the perspective of creating and writing and running a big show, one as ambitious as the one they produced, I’d be dying to know tricks they had up their sleeves that didn’t work out (Nikki and Paulo), how things would’ve gone if certain tricks hadn’t worked out so well (the character that became Benjamin Linus was only supposed to be around for three episodes and wasn’t intended to be the leader of the Others but Michael Emerson was just too good), and how they got to where they did.

Just imagine all those creative ghosts that are alive and wandering around the Island of Ideas.

33. All of that said, right now I’d figure this would be the last time that we really talk about Lost on this blog, but I can’t commit to that notion, not fully. To me personally, the show was such a broad, interesting thing that I feel like something can always come along that has relevance with the show. Especially, if you’ve noticed so far, since I have a particular interest in the way things align and connect with each other.

Who knows, maybe we’ll never talk about Lost again here. Or maybe we’ll be talking about it again tomorrow. Memories and locations intertwine differently for all of us and we can only bring our own unique meaning to them. The past has an amazing power over us, a constant hold, but it’s different for everyone. I would love to have a new show come along that inspires and interests us and ignites our imagination just like Lost did, but right now I’m not holding my breath. Maybe we’ll never leave the place we made together.

All things truly wicked.

For some reason after DFW and Vonnegut, I wanted to start this post with a quote by Ernest Hemingway because, if for nothing else, I just wanted to. But I couldn’t decide between two that I’ve always adored, so maybe you’ll tell me which you like you better…

The first: “All things truly wicked start from an innocence.”

And the second: “Never confuse movement with action.”

I’ve always adored that one, as did Marlene Dietrich, who said of it, “In those five words he gave me a whole philosophy.”

In response to people like Juan Williams, here’s a fun new tumblr for you: Muslims Wearing Things.

I found the site via Boing Boing, and while I was there I read an interesting post about how you shouldn’t kill your grandfather while time traveling.

And before we call it a day, here’s three interesting pictures I found online today:

from here.

and

from here.

and

from here.