The Thrift Shop in the Woods

On the heels of “The Cabin the Woods” winning the Bram Stoker in the screen play category, I thought I would talk about my own “…in the Woods” moment.

Okay, so it wasn’t a cabin. And there weren’t any woods around. (Are there any woods in Tampa?) But I swear to god, I felt as if whatever I chose, bought, and brought home would somehow be the death of me. And why?

Because I found these

The Evil Dolls in the Thrift Shop in the Woods
The Evil Dolls in the Thrift Shop in the Woods

at a little thrift shop.

There were plenty of other weird things. A silver (or silver-plated? or not even really silver at all?) etching of a man bowing and giving something to a woman that could have been flowers or could have been the legs of an octopus. A microwave that weighed more than I did and probably wouldn’t have fit in my car without removing the back row of seats and leaving the trunk open. But nothing was as weird as those little statues.

I couldn’t tell what they were made of. Were they some weird clay or polymer or even a wood that had softened or had something else weird happen over time. I also couldn’t tell how old they were. And they weren’t priced. It was like they had appeared there, ready for someone to pick them, like the items in the basement in the cabin in the woods.

I’m not sure if you can tell how creepy they truly are.

The woman (crone?) is holding what looks like an umbrella that she’s leaning on, and she has a scarf over her head. Her face is scrunched up, and her nose is squished flat on her face. Her eyes aren’t really there, and she’s smiling, but there are no teeth in her mouth. Not exactly attractive.

Then there’s the man. He looks like a cross between a grandfather, a lumberjack, santa claus, and a corpse. There are weird holes in his cheeks…and his nose is gone. He looks like he might be interested in getting those holes filled…with human flesh! Okay, maybe that’s my own imagination.

But these things were just creepy enough that, on some level, I wanted to bring them home, stare at them, and then write a story about them. They obviously have an awesome story behind them, right?

But then this little thing in my brain said, “But what if they come to life and kill you in your sleep?” And, somehow, that seems like a logical question to me. Why couldn’t they come to life? Why couldn’t they be evil little voodoo dolls like Robert?

Suffice it to say, I took a bunch of pictures of them and then left them in the thrift store. I almost didn’t do that because there is that nice old legend about the soul existing in photographs, and I still remember the Twilight Zone episode where the photos come to life and try to hunt down the guy who developed the pictures. But I hoped that they didn’t have any souls to capture, so I thought that might mean I’d be safe.

Anyway, just saying – keep an eye on the Tampa papers. You know, in case someone does buy them.


Jebby, Jebby, Jebby…Seriously?

Babies! by VirginiaMol at morgueFile
Babies! by VirginiaMol at morgueFile

So I wake up nice and early this morning and check the news on the computer because, of course, those papery-things filled with news are so hard to come by, and I see an awesome headline that says, “Jeb Bush says immigrants ‘more fertile.”   And, of course, I had to click on it to see what such a highly intelligent man of letters has to say about the immigrant population that he knows so much about.

It happened at a ‘Faith & Freedom Coalition’ conference, a group whose website states “The Faith and Freedom Coalition is a non-profit organization committed to educating, equipping, and mobilizing people of faith and like-minded individuals to be effective citizens.” and who principles include “help the poor, the needy, and those who have been left behind,” “respect for the sanctity and dignity of life, family, and marriage as the foundations of a free society,” “limited government, lower taxes, and fiscal responsibility to unleash the creative energy of entrepreneurs, and “free markets and free minds to create opportunity for all.”

At this conference, Jebby Bush (the former Florida governor…ah, Florida!) stated that “Immigrants create far more businesses than native-born Americans.  Immigrants are more fertile, and they love families, and they have more intact families, and they bring a younger population.  Immigrants create an engine of economic prosperity.”

For some reason, people had a problem with these wide, sweeping statements that seem to be full of stereotypes…

Now, admittedly, women born outside the US have a higher birth rate than women who were born within the US, as per a Pew Research Analysis of Census data for 2010. 

But having more children does not equal more fertile according to the NPR article.  (Fertility is a question of whether not someone is capable of having children, not if they do have them.)  And I’m not sure there is a study that proves that immigrants have “more intact families” or that immigrants “create an engine of economic prosperity” (except for the number of politicians who have been busted using immigrant labor illegally).  

At the same time, it is true that, as a whole, immigrants are younger than native Americans (which sounds wrong, so remember context, people!), that’s more based on the fact that, well, younger people tend to move more.  So, yes, they are younger.

In terms of “intact families”…well, I have no idea if Jebby is right there.  I couldn’t find any articles or information that confirmed or denied the number of divorced based on immigrants versus natives.  Of course, the main reason he said anything about that was to conform to the conference.

Is it a bad thing that Jebby is encouraging immigration, although in a weirdly phrased way?  Is it a bad thing that he believes that immigration is good for America?

Nope.  It’s nice to finally hear a Republican who doesn’t seem to believe that immigrants are here to be evil and steal jobs away from “twue” American.  But it would be nice to see him actually find a way to say those things in non-bigoted ways…

And I have to wonder if he would continue to say “nice” things about immigrants if he went and spoke at another group’s conference…


Devils are rolling up snowballs as we speak

Rocking around the Christmas tree...have a happy holiday...
Rocking around the Christmas tree…have a happy holiday…

I hate to say this – hate to admit it, especially in writing – but I feel the need say something because I actually agree with something Perry (the governor of Texas, for those not in the know) did this week.

Now, and let me say this without too much malice – I hate Perry.  He is petty, his policies suck, and he has hurt higher education (and K-12) horribly.  I can’t wait for him to be removed from office in some scandal that stops him from ever holding an elected post again.  (This is all protected by free speech, right? Let me know, NSA…)

Regardless, this week he signed a bipartisan bill that removed “any legal risk of saying ‘Merry Christmas’ in Texas public schools.”  The bill also allows schools to display traditional holiday symbols, as long as multiple religions are represented.  

And I agree with it.  I loved the fact that my son’s grade school – that he just graduated from and is headed to middle school! – would put up decorations and celebrate the holidays.  They would have a party every year in December, and they would have the kids look at holidays from other countries, other religions, etc., and they would sing songs, give presents, and more.  It was great.  There were menorahs, Kwanzaa candle holders, and Christmas trees.  There were santas and snowmen.  It was awesome.

I was always kind of sad when I heard about public schools that ignored the holidays.  I mean, it’s not like we were “protecting” our kids from holidays.  They saw signs of them every time they went out, and the had a “holiday break” or “winter break” that always seemed to include Christmas…so why pretend? 

I also love that my son’s school would do things for Easter, Halloween, and Earth Day.  They would go over the solstices, and they learned about everything in between.  He probably knows more about other religions’ holidays than I do, and I’m always asking questions to learn about new holidays and celebrations.

So, all that said, I wanted to finish with the ultimate irony.  Okay, maybe not ultimate, but pretty good, and a pretty typical Perry-type move.  When he signed the bill that allowed *all* holidays to be celebrated, he had 10 Santa Claus impersonators to come and ring sleigh bells as he signed.  Ummmm.  Did he just break his own rules there by ignoring other holidays?  (And, yeah, I know, it was all about the schools and not about the state house, but seriously, dude – why not at least have a pretense of caring about other groups?)