Silliness

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Murder Owl Wins First FOTW Spirit Animal Poll

Posted By on Tue, Sep 19, 2017 at 11:47 AM

Your Spirit Animal, Memphis — The High Point "Murder Owl."
  • Your Spirit Animal, Memphis — The High Point "Murder Owl."
Last Friday I asked readers to review a list of popular Memphis creatures and beasties, old and new, that have captured our attention, won our hearts, or made us say "WTF." From this list, I asked them to choose Memphis' first official unofficial Spirit Animal. And, for reasons I'll get around to shortly, I think you've all chosen wisely indeed.

Admittedly — and to get ahead of critics, already skeptical of a process omitting #PipeKitty (too young) and Mohan the unapologetic Sumatran tiger (too soon) etc. — voter turnout wasn't spectacular. It's been scientifically proven that's what happens when you post bullshit Spirit Animal polls on a Friday afternoon, but even taking all this into account, we're talking about Memphis, a place where we've installed City Councilcritters based on less representative samples. Surely that all equates to some kind of tragic legitimacy. Even if it doesn't here's a link to the results anyhow.

So what does it mean to choose the High Point Owl — AKA Murder Owl — as the city's Spirit Animal? Maybe not what you think. But before getting into that let's look at some of the animals you didn't choose.

Al Green's Cows (Bulls, etc.) seemed like boring underdogs in a race filled with exotic beasties like Alleged Albino Raccoon and Hugh Manatee. But for being run-of-the-mill cattle, these gifted escape artists who jump fence and go visiting every time Green takes his show on the road, are far from ordinary. Al keeps saying, "Let's stay together." The Cows keep saying, "Nope." Like Zimm the Escape Monkey, they want to be free, but there's even more going on here. Unlike Zimm, who possesses some small measure of zoo celebrity, these cows are eclipsed by fame and stripped, in some regard, of their own unique bovinity. According to at least one person Al Green's cows have visited they will "take over your yard and stare at you like you're dumb." They're more Otis/Aretha than Al. All they really want's a little respect.
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Frayser Bear confuses us. He's not a guy in a Grizz suit, he's a fucking bear and, as Stephen Colbert has pointed out many times, bears are as great a potential threat to humanity as the eventuality of sentient robots. Midtown Coyote and Barksdale Beaver reflect a special kind of neighborhood loyalty, splitting the famously liberal region like Bernie and Hill. Either one could have been a contender, not both.

Hugh Manatee's name (christened by Drake's partner Zeke, back in the day) says it all. His tragic story of dislocation and struggle still tugs at the heartstrings of those who remember. He was a foreigner — clearly not one of us — but for a moment, he was all of us. The best of us. Stuck in a sewer.

The Alleged Albino Raccoon proved to be more relatable than Balmoral Bobcat. Raccoons and opossums are like neighbors who sometimes get into the garbage and tear out your ductwork. Exasperating as they may be at times, we get to know them — watch them raise their children, and their children's children. And, as for the "alleged" part, who hasn't wondered if people see us for what we really are?
Call me Al's
  • Call me Al's

Zimm the Escape Monkey
seemed like an odds on favorite to win. People admired the little monkey's spunk, tenacity, and sheer desire to be her own little dude. People are increasingly tired of old, limiting definitions and cages of all kinds. Zimm's a real swinger, and for all the propaganda, London's never had much on Memphis, if you knew where to look.

So why Murder Owl? What is it about this storied bird — a creature that captured the imagination of artists and authors — that speaks to Memphis? Since the owl stirred up more startled terror and chaos than actual harm, it probably doesn't have anything to do with Memphis' reputation for violence and crime. Perhaps, just the opposite, since Murder Owl's most famous "victim" was controversial DA Amy Weirch, who described it as the biggest thing she'd ever seen in her life with a "wingspan the size of a Buick."  In light of this eyewitness testimony from one who knows the value of eyewitness testimony, I'm going to put forward a theory that Murder Owl represents lurking, hidden truth obscured by misrepresentation. Or maybe he/she's a symbol — like Batman — that there's true, natural justice in the world, small now but hiding and waiting for the right moment to reveal itself as something enormous, mythic.
Zimm's just got to be Zimm.
  • Zimm's just got to be Zimm.
Either way, owls are badass, and Murder Owl's so badass somebody should record some theme music.

Long story short: The (some) people have spoken, Memphis. Your Spirit Animal is —- MURDER OWL!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Artist Renderings for RDC Riverfront Seen as a Comic Book...

Posted By on Fri, Jul 21, 2017 at 3:52 PM

First this happened. Then...

This happened...
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Thursday, November 17, 2016

Sexy Drug Task Force Eagle Looking For Love?

Posted By on Thu, Nov 17, 2016 at 4:08 PM

DTF?
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Hell yes. You can tell by the majestic bird's sly smile and smoldering bedroom eyes.

Sophomoric? Sure. But sometimes things just hit you funny.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Home Horror Movies: A 10-Year Halloween Tradition

Posted By on Mon, Oct 31, 2016 at 9:00 AM

10-year-old girls think this completely inappropriate title is hilarious.
  • 10-year-old girls think this completely inappropriate title is hilarious.
"Why must it always end in ketchup?"

It's a great line, and my weird family says it all the time. Well, we don't really say it so much as we overact it. It's the angst-ridden cry we unleash when things go wrong. Especially when things go wrong in ridiculous ways — "WHY MUST IT ALWAYS END IN KETCHUP?"  The phrase was coined by my effortlessly absurd daughter Josie, as she prepared to shoot a gore-spattered scene in our very first family zombie movie, Attack of the Bloody Hand, starring her and her fraternal twin, Lucy.

I'm an open book on social media, but, tend to keep family life out of my columns. Today I'm breaking that rule because it's Halloween, and, at the risk of seeming self-indulgent,  I want to share the family tradition that brought this beautifully bloody catchphrase into our lives.
Shot on location, when old Ozymandias was just around the corner.
  • Shot on location, when old Ozymandias was just around the corner.
I've been making homemade monster movies with my daughters for 10 years now. We've made Sci-Fi flicks too. And at least one swashbuckler. But it's mostly horror because we do it in October, usually the week before Halloween. We have rules too, to make sure things never get too expensive or serious. It's an imagination game, not about set-building. The shoot takes place in our house, but can spill out into the yard, and immediate neighborhood. We have a $20 budget, but can sometimes splurge on an item if it's just that cool, or we know we'll use more than once. Shooting has to be completed in one day, and the whole project has to be completed before Halloween.

I'm not a filmmaker, and don't pretend to be one. This isn't fancy stuff— It shouldn't be about that. Our 5 to 15-minute flickers are all lit with natural light and flashlights. They are costumed from closets, shot on Flips and iPhones, and edited in iMovie. Sometimes we make our own special effects and write our own soundtrack music, but we also truck in parody, mixing  in clips and sounds from horror classics. It's the sort of thing  anybody can do with tech they carry in their pocket, and as stupidly fun family traditions go, I can't recommend it enough.

Prepare yourself now for the macabre in miniature — Ten years of highly collaborative short movies made with 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, and 14-year olds.  We're not Hammer, or Universal exactly. But on a good day we can at least compete with Eegah! 

1. The Robbers: It's about pirates, but the girls wanted to call it The Robbers. I don't think we really planned this, but just kind of fell into it while playing with toy swords at the park. Little did we realize this was the beginning of something completely ridiculous. This chase sequence is shot in a small format, and it's sometimes hard to hear. We get better.


2. Three Against the Sky: Costarring their friend Avery, this movie found three little girls saving the universe from a three-headed, lightning-breathing dragon, and flying saucers. Lots of pure joy in this one.


3. Attack of the Bloody Hand: We didn't know it at the time that Attack of the Bloody Hand would be part of a trilogy. Part three, in fact. Though shot out of order the three parts of The Bloody Hand Trilogy are The Ancient Evil Mummy, Ancient Evil From Before the Dawn of Time, and Attack of the Bloody Hand. Trivia: There's no bloody hand in chapter one, The Ancient Evil Mummy. The last one — which is also the first one —is a zombie flick with some familiar horror movie music.


4. The Wolfing: I have no idea what we were doing here. Werewolf movie? Bergman parody? Just hanging out on Saturday?


5. The Ancient Evil Mummy: What happens when you unlock the secrets of Cleopatra's closet? Part 1 in The Bloody Hand Trilogy. Also, a lot of fun. So glad we shot this while the Ramses II statue was still at the Pyramid.

6. Invaders From Uranus: This is an homage to a popular Twilight Zone episode starring Endora, and Earth vs the Flying Saucers. The twins, had just started playing musical instruments (and a band with featured friend Janie). So they wanted to try making some of their own soundtrack music. Who knew monsters could be destroyed by tween rock?

7. Ancient Evil From Before the Dawn of Time: In the past we'd written outlines and just made stuff up as we went along. Here Lucy emerges as a strong writing collaborator, with a real sense for Lovecraftian dread. The girls add a nifty original song to the soundtrack— "Shooting Star." This is part 2 in The Bloody Hand Trilogy.

8. The Devil Doll: Inspired by the scariest part of Trilogy of Terror. More Josie & Lucy songs too.

9. Bride of Boggy Creek: This one's inspired by the Bigfoot cheapie The Legend of Boggy Creek and also by The Blair Witch Project. It's the funniest of the bunch, and probably my favorite. The twins had just discovered Drunk History and borrowed some of that show's storytelling techniques. No, there wasn't any booze involved, but you wouldn't know from all the giggling. Featuring a ukulele remake of the original Boggy Creek theme song.

10. Three Against the Sky 2: This year's project is a cease and desist letter waiting to happen. It should have been a 10-year extravaganza, but became one of our least ambitious efforts due to a number of unforeseen obstacles cutting into our planning time. This is a sequel/remake and, at the very least, it's nice watching little heroes grow up. There are flashbacks, and a lot of pure joy in this one too.
 
Thanks for enduring that. I won't post anymore backyard movies of my kids until we've been doing this for 20-years. In the meantime, I'd love to see other people pick up this tradition. I'll happily publish homemade horror movies here at Fly on the Wall every Halloween. They don't have to be good, they just have to look like they were a lot of fun to make.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Bartlett entrepreneur to the Commercial Appeal: "I'm a chicken pecker..."

Posted By on Mon, Aug 12, 2013 at 12:48 PM

Well, this was an unexpected opening quotation for page one of the CA's business section...

You dont say?
  • You don't say?

And yes, tragically, it's a "small business" story.

Sometimes it's best to quote a source indirectly. "Hunt and peck," seems to be the preferred way to describe site-and-stab typing skills. And if poultry's your thing, "chicken peck typing" might also used.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Food Porn: Eggplant Edition

Posted By on Thu, Aug 1, 2013 at 1:30 PM

Frequent Flyer contributor J.D. Reager isn't just a great music journalist and guitar hero. He's also the guy who documented the existence of a unique eggplant from the Poplar Plaza Kroger. Some have compared it to Squidward from SpongeBob SquarePants. But I've been calling it "The David."

Eggplant & Friends
  • Eggplant & Friends

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