Category Archives: Frivolity

Vic DiBitetto: Yankee Rant!

For Yankee fans, this rant is gold!

Ten Creepy! Scary! Shocking! LOL! Horror Film Moments: “The Exorcist” (I)

It’s the first of October! And on the last day of this month, it’s Halloween! As a follow-up to my June 2021 “cinematic moments” series, “Ten Iconic Hollywood Film Scenes“, I’m beginning today a new installment that I call: “Ten Creepy! Scary! Shocking! LOL! Horror Film Moments.”

I’ll post these throughout the month, ending on Halloween, of course.

Ah! What exactly is a horror film? Well, here’s what Wikipedia has to say:

A horror film is one that seeks to elicit fear or disgust in its audience for entertainment purposes. Horror films additionally aim to evoke viewers’ nightmaresrevulsions and terror of the unknown or the macabre. Initially inspired by literature from authors such as Edgar Allan PoeBram Stoker, and Mary Shelley, horror has existed as a film genre for more than a century. Horror may also overlap with the fantasysupernatural fiction, and thriller genres.

Not a bad working description. All I can say is that I’ve been fascinated by the genre since childhood, and growing up, there was nothing like being in a crowded movie theater with a bunch of people screaming in shock or breaking out in nervous laughter after a particularly disturbing scene had wreaked havoc on screen! I consumed all the “monster magazines” I could lay my hands on and regularly watched everything from Zackerly to Chiller Theatre [YouTube links] on WPIX (Channel 11) in New York City.

But nothing on WPIX could have prepared me for what I saw in 1973 at the age of 13 when “The Exorcist” premiered. Today, some folks might laugh at this particular scene, the first in our series of ten creepy, scary, shocking film moments, but nobody was laughing in the theater that day when I saw this unfold on the screen. It scared the bejesus out of me (no pun intended). Even looking back, I can say that few horror films capture the terror of this movie, which, in its psychological and visual exploration of the battle between good and evil, the sacred and the profane, still packs a powerful punch.

“Kill the Mothers, That’ll Stop Them!”

This week, the United States Supreme Court refused to block a Texas law (Senate Bill 8) that went into effect on 1 September 2021, which effectively criminalized any abortions that take place six weeks into a pregnancy. But the bill goes a lot further. As Newsweek reported: “The law does not contain criminal penalties for illegal abortions but it empowers private individuals to enforce the regulations through lawsuits against doctors and anyone who ‘aids or abets’ in procuring a ‘criminal abortion.'”

This law allows any private individual in Texas to sue those who “aid or abet” the “murder” of the unborn, rewarding successful litigants “at least $10,000 in statutory damages for each illegal abortion aided by the defendant. … One potential target of lawsuits could be the person who gives a woman a ride to an abortion clinic. … ‘It even means you can sue an Uber driver who drives someone to an abortion clinic’.” That’s one way to get the state’s tentacles deeper into our lives: deputize the citizenry to carry out the moral law!

It occurs to me, however, that if folks in Texas really believe that the abortion of a fetus is akin to murder, why aren’t they taking care of this the ol’ fashioned Texas way? I mean, Texas has long led the United States in executions (since 1976, the state has executed well over 550 people). Granted, the rate of execution has slowed the last couple of years, but the state still far outstrips any other state in the country. So go ahead and criminalize the whole process!

It reminded me of a classic exchange of dialogue from the hilarious 1996 comedy, “The Birdcage“, between “Mother” Goldman (played by Nathan Lane) and conservative Senator Keeley (played by Gene Hackman):

Senator Keeley: Of course, it’s very wrong to kill an abortion doctor. Many pro-lifers feel … I don’t agree with them, but many of them sincerely feel that if you stop the doctors, you’ll stop the abortions.

Mother Goldman: Well, that’s ridiculous. The doctors are only doing their jobs. If you’re going to kill someone, kill the mothers, that’ll stop them! Oh, I know what you’re going to say: If you kill the mother, the fetus dies too. But the fetus is going to be aborted anyway, so why not let it go down with the ship?

Seems to me that the legislators in Texas ought to go all in on this and stop these half-hearted measures. Take a leaf out of Mother Goldman’s playbook and get this done!

Pearls Before Swine: Health Insurance Redux

Pearls Before Swine (by Stephan Pastis) has given us some gems on U.S. health insurance problems in the past. So this one expands on that theme …

Courtesy of the New York Daily News (17 August 2021)

How NOT to Read an Article

It was really late last night, after a long, eventful day, and I decided to open up Friday’s copy of the New York Daily News (Friday the 13th, no less!), and was thumbing through the newspaper, and the Sicilian in me caught the headline on page 18: “119.8 degrees in Sicily is eyed as European record” (by Nelson Oliveira). Wow! — I said to myself.

I gravitated to the center of the article, where something odd caught my eye:

Lucifer was expected to bring more heat and dry weather to Italy and neighboring countries, possibly causing additional wildfires.

WTF?? The West coast is burning, Greece is on fire, and now Lucifer is in on the act “causing additional wildfires” in Italy and elsewhere.

This couldn’t be, I said to myself. “Must be a misprint,” I muttered aloud. Now I’m looking back through the article to see how it is that somehow, on top of pandemics and global unrest, Lucifer has made an appearance to make matters even worse! And I found the answer!

Sicilian authorities said the mind-boggling [temperature] reading was recorded in the town of Siracusa on Wednesday afternoon as the region was hit by a brutal heat wave and an anticyclone dubbed “Lucifer.”

Okay. So at the very least, could we put “Lucifer” in quotes next time!

Liberty Airlines!

Courtesy of Andrew Ginsburg, in a letter to the New York Daily NewsVoice of the People“:

Let freedom ring at 35,000 feet

Southport, Conn.: On behalf of our unvaccinated flight crew here at Liberty Airlines, we’d like to welcome you all aboard!
Here at Liberty, your personal freedoms will not be compromised by public health concerns, and we are proud to be the only airline that gives Americans the choice of wearing a mask. You may also choose whether or not to cover your mouth when you cough — or wash your hands after you poop.

If you enjoy a cigarette at 35,000 feet, one of our flight attendants will be happy to assist you with a complimentary Liberty lighter. If a loaded assault rifle on your lap brings you comfort, our new economy-plus seats will provide you and your “little friend” with a spacious in-flight experience.

We place no limit on carry-on luggage because, unlike our competitors, once the overhead bins are full, we line the center aisle with all remaining bags. Your electronic devices may be used at all times, but headphones are not recommended, as we encourage all passengers to express themselves with a complete disregard for those around them. There are no seatbelt signs, so feel free to roam the cabin and even interact with our pilots, who will be happy to let you fly the plane for up to 10 minutes.

Remember, here at Liberty, your freedom comes first, and we trust that your decisions will be the right ones. Thank you, and we hope you enjoy the flight.

I don’t care what your politics are… this is hilarious. And if you’re going to die on this hill and fight and argue about it, have at it!

Pearls Before Swine: Test Your Knowledge!

SPOILER ALERT: I can’t stand the pressure! Here’s the 21 I’ve uncovered:

  1. HI – Hawaii
  2. AL – Alabama
  3. MO – Missouri
  4. MA – Massachusetts
  5. PA – Pennsylvania
  6. LA – Louisiana
  7. AK – Alaska
  8. ME – Maine
  9. ID – Idaho
  10. OR – Oregon
  11. IN – Indiana
  12. OH – Ohio
  13. MD – Maryland
  14. CO – Colorado
  15. DE – Delawar
  16. OK – Oklahoma
  17. CT – Connecticut
  18. VA – Virginia
  19. WY – Wyoming
  20. IL – Illinois
  21. GA – Georgia

Done! LOL

NYC Board of Elections: Comic App!

The New York Democratic Party primary that will select that party’s candidate for the 2021 Mayoral Election this November has been in disarray due to all sorts of typical screw-ups by the Infamous “Board of Elections” here. “Ranked-choice voting” is starting to smell a bit, uh, rank.

When folks around here used to say that “the Board of Elections has its head up its ass,” I’ve always wondered exactly what that would look like. Bill Bramhall (of “Bramhall’s World“) has finally given us a pic!

Courtesy of the New York Daily News (July 1, 2021)