Heard That?

New Reasons to Have
Nightmares in October

Times have been so scary that not even Halloween spooks kids anymore. Which is fine and won’t spoil the fun out of it. Fake blood? Phony zombies? Made-up vampires? Bring them all on, for who isn’t in badly need of a break these days?
And yet, unlike the ‘horrors’ summoned on Oct. 31, nightmares do exist to torment us. Having one at sleep is haunting, but it’s worst when it keeps vigil and frightens the daylights out of us when we’re wide awaken. Nicely, we prepared a short list of them.
Let’s let the former lie quietly for now, as no one can foresee what a tired mind may conjure when the body finally finds comfort under blankets. Some dreams rattle on, while others slip by unnoticed. But there’s no telling what they’re really about.
The other kind is all around, though. Disturbing visions that palpable reality urges us to bear from dawn to dusk have the added weight of shared experience. How some react to them has often been the stuff wars are fought for, and children are beheaded.
Here are five of the most petrifying, or almost. Not for the feeble of spirit, if there’s even anyone left with such a luxurious prerogative, the bullets of this season’s list are saturated with the fear that a rabid future biting its own tail lies ahead.
It’s not that All Hallows Eve ceased to be a playful way for kids to get acquainted with their ‘dark side.’ Or that there’s no longer sense in make-believe terror. It’s just that the whole world now has gone well beyond what Halloween used to suggest.

A DARK MATTER GHOST CALLED WIMP
Oct. 31 has also been turned into a celebration of the unseen. So-called Dark Matter, that is. 85% of the total mass of the universe remains invisible and undetected, so what you think you know wouldn’t explain the size of the cosmos. Or yours.
It’s out there, though, and one day, yup, it may get you good. For if for an unforeseen event, you’d come into contact with a field full of Wimps, nuclear forces holding your nuclei and protons together would simply vanish, leaving you looking like, well, nothing.
Without something to hold your cells, organs, and body together, needless to say, you’d lose your you-know-what for the very last time. So keep pretending that what you can’t see can’t hurt you at your own risk; the universe doesn’t give a flying… shooting star.

A SPIDER WEB-COVERED LAKEFRONT
That’s a classic, the creature that shares with bats and black cats the iconographic triad of horror. Except that they’re paralyzingly frightening to over 30% of humans. Now imagine the phobic landing on Aitoliko lagoon, in Greece.
Recently, its lakeside got fully covered by Tetragnatha spider webs. The tiny species, which is not the only one periodically taking over acres of land, does like to spook distracted travelers such as yourself.
Picture yourself sinking your feet into the sticky trends and watching thousands of spiderlings crawling up your legs and calling you daddy. Now, now, they’re not poisonous. And consider it your personal experience of the true spirit of Halloween.

INSOMNIA-INDUCING BUGPOCALYPSE
Speaking of weakly particles, as T.S. Eliot once said, the world ends not with a bang but a whimper. For most of us, the prospects for a mass bug extinction may sound more like a relief, and good riddance at that, and not something to care about.
That is, if you’re not into food. Or wouldn’t mind coming across dead bodies laying all over, unable to decay. Animals starving to death and a global collapse of agriculture. And the end for our last food source in case of a climate change-triggered famine. Apart from that, you’d be fine
So, insects may multiply with global warming, but in the end, just like us, may perish exactly because of it. So be careful (more)
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Read Also:
* Stay Awake
* Everything Must Go

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Forget Me Not

When Killers Fancy Storytelling,
It’s Our Vanity That Gets Exposed

To the chronically gloomy and the pathological self defeatist, few things seem more pointless than the wish to be remembered. To transcend this mortal coil, or at least outlast your lifetime-guaranteed Zippo, holds no court  down where wilted, anxious-to-be-forgotten souls dwell.
Yet, to leave a legacy is not a monopoly of the naked ape. From time immemorial, tiny male spiders beat gruesome competition, only to be swallowed by giant mates. Far from suicidal, they’s only seizing the chance to leapfrogging a generation and add their genes to the future.
A similar urge may have driven Italian Giuseppe Grassonelli, in prison for Mafia-related crimes, and Canadian Robert Pickton, a convicted serial killer, to write their stories. When one won a literary prize and the other appeared on Amazon, people got shocked, shocked.
Neither role models nor bottom feeders, they still stand above child-abusing priests, or pension-savings raiders, on some vain moralistic stepladder. Yet while padres and Wall Street psychopaths often carry jail-free cards, Grassonelli and Pickton are both convicted lifers.
They’re all depraved, that’s for sure. But like anyone, it’s their right to tell their story. Again, no prize or blockbuster sale will cleanse the books’ blood stains or redeem the authors before their victims’ grief. But hey, Hollywood makes a killing just trading on such stories.
All this canned outrage about what’s basically someone trying to control their own narrative sounds utterly phony. While we know the score about these two cons, it’s a wild guess to imagine what those feigning rectitude hide in their own closets. But let’s meet our duo.

TALES OF THE MALAVITA
Almost two years ago, when Malerba won the Sciascia Racalmare prize, there was furor in Italy over this confessed killer’s boldly fictionalized account about the Cosa Nostra and its ruthless grip over Sicily, between the 1980s and 1990s. And lots of anger from relatives of the dead too.
What irked them, more than Grassonelli’s preposterous claim to redemption, was the prize itself, named after a famous writer and critic of Italian organized crime, Leonardo Sciascia. It was partially due to his efforts that public opinion turned negative toward the Mafiosi.
Many a Mafia tale has been told, but this was written by an insider’s own blood-dripping hands. Who’s always eager to add that he didn’t break the Omèrta, the feared code of silence. Since he’s still alive, he probably didn’t. In any case, there’s only time in his hands now, since he’s going nowhere for a long long time.

WORDS OF A RAVENOUS PIG
Last January, Robert Pickton, in His Own Words, written by one Michael Chilldress, appeared briefly on Amazon’s book list, before being withdrawn under request of its self-publishing service (more)
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* Last Call
* Out to Get You

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Neverlands

When Snow White, Rapunzel & the
Oz Mean Much More Than Fairy Tales

Cynics may say that video games are the modern equivalent of fairy tales, as movies and books about old-fashioned heroes are ever harder to become blockbusters these days.
But if child psychologist, and Holocaust survival, Bruno Bettelheim’s research was correct, those ancient stories about damsels in distress and their rescuing knights are far from having exhausted their appeal.
After such a florid intro, though, we’re switching gears to focus on some hardly known facts behind two classics of children’s literature, and a book written a hundred years ago that became a breakthrough movie.
If there’s an underlying trait common to most fairy tales is that they seem to be rooted in the confusion and hardship typical of impoverished children going through puberty.
If the classics of the genre predate even the concept of childhood and adolescence, since they’re mostly set in Medieval Europe, there’s never a doubt about what’s the demographics fairly tales appeal to.
Despite their veneer of an idealized world to which the young protagonists long to belong to and often wind up conquering, the stories are not short of intrigue, betrayal, carnage and brutal competition.
TALES FROM THE DARK AGES
Video games, for all their high-definition graphics and sensory-numbness inducing special effects, are no match to the emotional Continue reading

Plato & Pluto

Guinness Book Is Latest
Target of “Lawsuit Zeus”

A Kentucky inmate who’s filed 3,800 lawsuits against an eclectic combination of historical characters, contemporary personalities and even heavenly bodies, may have reached the end of the line. Kerry Harvey, the state’s Attorney General, is seeking to prevent Continue reading

A-Bomb Like No Other

A Global Vigil for Peace
65 Years After Hiroshima

At 8.15am on August 6, 1945, the first atomic bomb exploded above Hiroshima, Japan, killing instantly 140,000 people. About 80 thousand more died in a second explosion in Nagasaki three days later, effectively ending the World War II.
As all the clocks in Hiroshima stopped at that infamous glimpse of hell on earth, so should we today, 65 years after. Let’s take a moment of silence to remember the sacrifice of those souls, along with their descendants and survivors.
Let’s reaffirm our faith on mankind’s ability to learn from its mistakes and renew our vows and commitment to peace on this planet. Let’s once again swear that never again we’ll take that road, no matter how many times we failed to make it good on our word.
Let’s join the fight to retire all nuclear weapons, even if that’d be such a small gesture compared to what so many already went through. War and cruelty rage on everywhere you look but there’s also plenty of kindness and forgiveness left.
The sun, the wind, the human ingenuity shall always provide to us and never threat our own existence once unleashed, the way powers we can’t control may and will if given a chance.
Let’s never forget the monsters that thrive within our hearts. Let’s keep an eye on them but also nurture and shelter whatever else of good is there so we can share our strength with each other.
Dragons may visit and haunt you at night but only the aim at making it right this time will get you out of bed in the morning. Heaven knows those hundreds of thousands stepped into that burning light as if life was as good as it had always been. As it may always be, if it’s up to you and me.

EVENTS & NEWS
* Universal Day of Peace in New York City.
* UN Secretary’s Message, Visit to Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
* U.S.’s first-time presence at ceremony in Japan.
* New York calendar marking 65th anniversary.

Better Late…

The World Prepares to
Celebrate End of WWI

Ok, you can breathe freely now.
After 92 years, and almost 40 million lives lost, World War I will be officially over Sunday. Once Germany pays up the last $94 million installment of war reparations imposed by the 1919 Treaty of Versailles, champagne and cake will be served and thank you notes sent to all involved. Or rather, to their surviving kin.
It could’ve happened much earlier, of course, if it hadn’t been for that nagging Adolf’s objections over the merit of the Allies’ monetary demands. His successful bid to Germany’s Chancellery four years later was built in great part on Continue reading