October 29th, 2008


Turning Tricks for Treats

I like looking at the stuff in Halloween stores, especially the generic brand costumes that are supposed to look like copyrighted characters. You know, like "Hero Girl" instead of Wonder Woman, and "Eurasian Tourist" instead of Borat. There was also an "Umpa Loompa," but I think that was actually licensed Charlie and the Chocolate Factory merchandise, so I'm not sure what's up with the spelling. Maybe they've started using a new Romanization system for Oompa-Loompish, like how Peking is now Beijing.

What bothers me, however, is slutty costumes for little kids. I mean, I'm cool with sexy costumes for adults, although some of them tend toward the absurd. (Since when is a bee sexy, for instance?) But when you get a "naughty wizard" costume clearly labeled "pre-teen," and a picture of a prepubescent girl in a provocative pose on the front. Is that considered acceptable these days? In the GameStop at that same mall, they had a fake guitar for playing Rock Band and Guitar Hero with a picture of Aly and A.J., two more of the bland young pop stars churned out by the Walt Disney Company, and they looked pretty tarty themselves. I don't know how old they are now, but does every crappy pop star have to be sluttified? I mean, just look at Miley Cyrus. Or better yet, don't, unless you like seeing teenage girls posing for smutty pictures, in which case I might advise you to seek help. Ah, but she's no tramp, because she has a purity ring! It's perfectly okay to be as slutty as you want as long as you don't actually have any mutual genital contact until you've walked down the aisle with some boy your redneck dad has picked out. And oral sex doesn't count as sex.
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Crossing the Lion

I finished reading Gregory Maguire's third book in the Wicked series, A Lion Among Men. I think it might well have been my favorite of the three. (If you missed my reviews of the first two, you can check them out here and here.) I found Maguire's take on the Cowardly Lion interesting. While the one in the books and the MGM movie was scared of everything but always did what he felt was right, Sir Brrr rationalized immoral decisions that would get him out of trouble. And while the original Wicked dragged a bit, Lion was engaging all the way through, and wrapped up some mysteries that had been introduced in the first two books. I seem to recall seeing mentions of Maguire planning a four-book series, so maybe the origins of the Time Dragon and the Grimmerie will be addressed in the final volume.

As with the other books, there were some mostly clever references to the Baum books and the MGM movie. This time, a glass cat shows up, although it isn't much like Bungle. There's also a brief reference to Jack Pumpkinhead, and I wonder if the Eminent Pastor whom the Animal ex-professors refer to as "Mumbly" and "Mammly" might be Mombi (who made a bit appearance in Son of a Witch, but was never named). For that matter, the Boar professor himself might be an offhand reference to Baum's own Professor Grunter Swyne, but that's a bit of a stretch.
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