Great Expectations

To the tune of The Ballad of Jed Clampett

(“The Beverly Hillbillies” theme song.)

Come and listen to the story of a boy named Pip
Poor little orphan who was something of a drip
Then one night he was staying up late
When a convict told him, “Your ‘specations are great.”
Cash, that is. Moolah. Big inheritance.

Next thing you know Pip is hanging with Estell’
Nasty little bytche who made his life a hell
He never gets a shot at Stella’s bearded clam
‘Cause she’s trained as a c0cktease by ol’ Miz Havisham.
Real nutter. Looney-tunes. Full bubble off plumb.

Six hundred pages later Pip discovers there’s no dough
He has to get a job which just completes his woe
Biddy gets married to someone who’s not Pip
But that’s okay because he is still a drip.
Lachrymose. Lugubrious. The End.

Zombies on my Shoulder

Zombies in the graveyard make me fearful,
Zombies ’round the farmhouse make me sigh
Zombies munching mommy make me angry
Zombies in the mall can make me die.
If I had a gun that I could give you
I’d give to you a gun that’s just like mine
If I had a torch that I could light for you
I’d light that torch so you could see it shine.

Zombies in the graveyard make me fearful,
Zombies ’round the farmhouse make me sigh
Zombies munching mommy make me angry
Zombies in the mall can make me die.
If I had a car that I could drive for you
I’d weld on armor and a big plow blade
And if I saw you bitten by a zombie
I’d cut your f*ckin’ head off with a spade.

Zombies in the graveyard make me fearful,
Zombies ’round the farmhouse make me sigh
Zombies munching mommy make me angry
Zombies in the mall can make me die.

Zombies almost always make me fearful, mmmmmmm….
Zombies always want to make me die….

A Special Hell

So there I was, listening to The Dinner Party on NHPR, specifically Episode 243: Pharrell, Carrie Brownstein & Fred Armisen, and Much MØ , where we learn of musical ice cream, a Broadway show called “The Moose Murders” (that closed after one performance) expressed in the form of a cocktail, and Stonehenge.

But that isn’t what I’m going to talk about. Later on in the program we got an Etiquette Advice segment. And right around minute 34 we meet Jordan, from Greensboro, North Carolina, who has a problem. When he’s watching movies at home with his wife, she “multitasks.” She spends the time talking on her cell phone.

“…you’re going to burn in a very special level of hell. A level they reserve for child molesters and people who talk at the theater.”
— Shepherd Book (Firefly)

The advice-to-the-etiquettely-challenged folks said that it was no big deal, that different people enjoy movies in different ways, and he should just get over it. After all, “You’re spending time together.”

My instant reaction was: Divorce her. There is no future in this marriage.

Supposing that he can’t divorce her (it’s against his religion; her father owns the company where he’s pulling down an executive-vice-president salary just for showing up), he has two choices: either watch movies alone, or get a mistress who knows that talking during a movie is just Not Done.

Which gets us around to today’s Grammar Trivia: when do you capitalize the first word following a colon?

The rule is this: Colons separate sentences. The second-and-subsequent sentences explain or illustrate something in the first sentence. If only one sentence follows the colon, its first letter is not capitalized. If two or more sentences follow the colon, the first letter of each sentence is capitalized.

Examples (taken from our own works; the permissions weren’t terribly hard to get):

Harlin turned the switch patching the EDS to Records, and closed out the comm log on the transmission: time, date, duration, frequency, signal strength.


Here’s the thing: It’s written in no known language, in no known alphabet. It’s illustrated with pictures of no known plants, and with star charts showing no known constellations.

The Supernatural Found

Today let’s look at the 1950 Bugs Bunny cartoon “Hillbilly Hare” (widely available on DVD). Leaving aside the very 1950s attitudes toward the South and toward rural poverty, this cartoon is best known for its long Square Dance sequence. It has also been extensively censored for its violence. But what do we notice?

  • Bugs Bunny is playing fiddle, and the fiddle is known as “the devil’s instrument.”
  • The brothers, Curt and Punkinhead Martin, are clearly terrified but unable to resist following any square-dance call, no matter how painful, degrading, or potentially fatal. They are under a geas.
  • Curt and Punkinhead are unable to cross running water (they make it half-way across the bridge, then re-emerge from the water on the same side that they entered).

And when does all this start? After the Martins vow, “We’ll get that critter ifn it takes until Doomesday,” in the Greenwood. Anyone with a basic knowledge of folklore would know that swearing an oath like that either in the greenwood or on the ocean (see, for example, Peter Rugg the Missing Man of Boston, the Flying Dutchman, and numerous other examples) would have a bad outcome.

I suspect that Sam and Dean Winchester should investigate that Wascally Wabbit. They’ve already met The Trickster. They know what to do.

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