Minute by Minute

 

One of the benefits of being a lifelong, outspoken Star Wars fan is that sooner or later you don’t really have to go out of your way to find cool or interesting Star Wars stuff.  Eventually everyone I know realized that a large portion of my conscious thought is focused on Star Wars and unless they’re talking about Star Wars the chances are pretty high that I’m not listening.  Therefore my friends and family are constantly bringing new and exciting Star Wars tidbits to my attention and it’s great!  Whether it’s production news, toy releases, or simply attempting to test my knowledge base I seem to constantly be engaged in one Star Wars conversation or another.

Recently a friend brought something to my attention which has become a new tangent for my Star Wars obsession.  This particular tangent is a podcast entitled Star Wars Minute.  Without the slightest bit of hyperbole Star Wars Minute is a pure work of genius.  It’s one of those simple, yet brilliant concepts that is begrudgingly infuriating only because you didn’t come up with the idea yourself.

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The main premise of the podcast is that the two hosts, Alex Robinson and Pete “The Retailer” Bonavita, watch the Star Wars movies one minute at a time, every day, Monday through Friday, and break those minutes apart, analyze them, celebrate them, and most importantly delve into hilarious prolonged discussions about each glorious minute.  Starting back in 2013 the hosts worked their way through every minute of Star Wars, Empire, and Jedi, and are now currently well into The Phantom Menace.

At this point those of you reading are probably thinking one of three things:

A:  “Oh wow!  This sounds great!”

B:  “I mean, I like Star Wars but this seems like too much . . . . “

C:  “How the hell can you talk, at length, about one minute of a movie?”

Allow me to address these questions before I continue.

A:  You are absolutely correct.

B:  It really isn’t overwhelming at all.  Sure there are a lot of episodes but you can really jump in anywhere, or just pace yourself and start from the beginning.  The episodes are generally 20 – 40 minutes long and if you like Star Wars I guarantee you’ll find yourself soaring through them in no time.

C:  That’s the beauty of the Star Wars movies, there is a lot to talk about.  If you really think about it, in any given minute of any of the Star Wars movies there are any number of elements coming together at the same time on screen.  You’ve got the actors, the characters, the aliens and ships of the Star Wars universe, the production style and cinematic choices of George Lucas, John Williams’ music, the various special effects, behind the scenes trivia, various drafts of the screenplay, and the list goes on.  So in short there is a great deal to talk about, both good and bad, in every minute of these films!

Now I don’t know the exact origins of Star Wars Minute or the duo that hosts it but here is what I’ve uncovered from their on-air conversations and a bit of interwebs research.

Alex Robinson is a comic book writer and artist based out of New York City.  Pete the Retailer was a manager at the New York location of the cult entertainment megastore Forbidden Planet.  Based on pure conjecture and their roster of podcast guests I’m guessing that these two friends pooled their network of contacts within the writing, cartooning, and comedy scenes and brought together this brilliant daily podcast with an expertly understated flare.

Pete and Alex have a great chemistry on-air and their conversations and dissections of the Star Wars movies are both informative and entertaining.  It’s like sitting around with your friends watching the movies, pointing out the interesting aliens that are stumbling around in the background, examining the confident ineptitude of Han Solo, and really analyzing the whininess of Jedi-to-be Luke Skywalker.  However I don’t want it to seem like the hosts exclusively make fun of the Star Wars movies, this isn’t a podcast version of MST3K.  Pete and Alex have an honest love for the fantasy/sci-fi adventures from that galaxy far, far away.

It should also be pointed out that Pete and Alex are Star Wars fans dating back to these films earliest days and the two of them are very knowledgeable about the fictional facts of the Star Wars universe, but not too knowledgeable; which in this case is an asset to a show such as this.  Although these guys are Star Wars super fans with a long running successful Star Wars podcast I do find myself occasionally shaking my head in dismay at some of the Star Wars knowledge they slip up on.  That however leaves the hosts and their guests open for a great amount of comedic speculation meaning the show doesn’t dwell too heavily on the practiced regurgitation of Star Wars lore.

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Sure we all know Wuher was the bartender but Chalman owned the Mos Eisley Cantina.  Duh!

Speaking of the guests, almost every episode of Star Wars Minute has guest hosts who are Star Wars fans and experts of varying degrees.  Most of the guests seem to be friends and colleagues of the hosts who each add interesting and humorous points of view that help keep the daily podcast fresh week to week.  A few of my favorite guests that I’ve heard so far are Tim Kreider, Chris Radtke, Jackie Kashian, and the best of all Tony Consiglio.  When perusing the various episodes keep an eye (and ear) out for those guest stars and make it a point to listen to weeks when they appear.

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If you can appreciate this image, then you’d probably appreciate Star Wars Minute.

Overall I’m just going to say this: if you’re a Star Wars fan and are looking for a new Star Wars related podcast to listen to I highly recommend Star Wars Minute.  You can jump right into the daily show which is now covering the Prequel Trilogy or you can go back to the beginning and make your way through the hundreds of episodes which minute-by-minute examine the classic Original Trilogy films.

And Pete and Alex if you’re ever in need of an extremely knowledgeable Star Wars fan for an open guest spot just go ahead and send me a message.  I’ll just be over hear studying my many tomes of Star Wars lore!

That is all!

The New Hit Meme

Bonjour mon prouts!

We’ve got another blog for you today and if you’ve been waiting for a Star Wars related post, well you didn’t have to wait too long!  As you may or may not know one of my favorite aspects of the Star Wars universe are the droids.  C-3PO and R2-D2 are the absolute best of course but where would that far, far away galaxy be without the ubiquitous gonk droid?  And who could forget the menacing Imperial probe droids?  Even the group of notorious bounty hunters summoned by Darth Vader to find the Millennium Falcon was comprised of two droids; IG-88 and 4-LOM!  Hell I even enjoy the comically inept antics of the prequel’s battle droids!  Roger, roger!  And now with the Force Awakens we’ve got the spunky and loyal BB-8!  Which I’m fairly certain is just a small robotic puppy inside a robotic puppy play ball.

Droids!  They’re awesome!

In the intervening time I’ve been away from this blog I’ve still been trying to leave my mark on the world and these days there is no better legacy then creating a meme!  Right??

I mean meme creators are probably some of our most well-known internet celebrities!  I think we’re all familiar with the creator of the “Keep Calm and Carry On” meme, the British Government.  I’m no expert of course but I’m guessing it was that gem of internet masterwork which made that Empire what it is today.

Then there’s the photographer behind the “Ermahgerd” meme whose name escapes me at the moment of writing this but I assure you I know their name and speak of them often, as I’m sure you do as well.

And of course let’s not forget the big daddy of them all the Trollface meme!  I don’t think I even need to tell any of you who created that heavy hitter, they are after all a household name!

Anywho so several months ago I was struck with the idea for a hilariously immortal meme which I could combine with one of my favorite elements of the Star Wars movies!

You:  “Wait Josh does that mean it’s a droid meme?”

Me:  “You’re damn right it’s a droid meme!  Now get out of that oil bath and take a look at what late night ideas in conjunction with boredom produces!”

void6

You see the joke here is that the droid has been used in a way that might void any type of theoretical warranty the manufacturer would have provided which may have been stipulated in the fine print of some long discarded user agreement

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Protocol droids shouldn’t have their parts swapped and used in battle, it’s all there in the user agreement

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Tusken Raiders shoving the droid off a cliff instantly voids the warranty.

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A droid chassis to carry your guts around should not encounter blaster fire.

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“Use aboard starships” does not mean “trudging through swamps”!

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I hate sand.

 

So go ahead and take the “Voided Warranty” meme out into the world and spread it throughout the interwebs, repurpose it, reapply it, and make it your own.  Put it on a picture of you and your toaster or maybe plaster it on a picture of Michigan’s governor next to Flint’s water treatment facilities!

The important thing here is that by cannibalizing the hard work of the creators of Star Wars I’m sure this’ll finally bring me the creative recognition I’ve soooooo longed for!

AND if you’d actually like to learn the origins of the memes mentioned above OR any meme ever thus ruining the entire premise of the above set-up make sure to visit: knowyourmeme.com

EDIT:  There have been two updates to this post along with some new additions to the meme!  Check them out HERE and HERE!

That is all!

Friday Funny Pages: I Was Wondering Where They Got To

 

Today I grace your sightballs with a few precious panels from Star Wars: The Return of Tag & Bink Special Edition #1.  Written by Kevin Rubio with art by Lucas Marangon, I would dare to say that Tag and Bink are one of the most beloved Star Wars parodies of all time.  They are right up there with one of Rubio’s other Star Wars parody creations Troops.  Both Troops and Tag & Bink have an “in continuity” comedic style that masterfully fills in scenes and details that go unviewed in the movies, and with a hilarious goofball twist somehow it all winds up making perfect sense.  It’s difficult to explain here to the uninitiated, but let’s just say that if you are a Star Wars fan there’s a good chance you will enjoy Kevin Rubio’s take on the universe.  Although if you consider yourself a Star Wars fan and DON’T know who Tag & Bink are there’s a good chance you aren’t really a Star Wars fan.  Oh burn!

And because I was idle for a few weeks here, and missed one or two Friday Funny Pages, I will grace you with a BONUS panel from the issue.  This image takes place a little earlier in the book (as the setting should make obvious) and just happens to feature a small cameo from a character from one of my other sci-fi fandoms, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.  Yup, that’s Arthur Dent wandering around on Jabba’s sail barge.  Just another reason I enjoy these books so much and think Kevin Rubio is a genius.

This just gave me a thought.  I know there are plans for a Star Wars comedy cartoon series in the works with Seth Green at the helm, but if they really want that show to work they should get Kevin Rubio involved.  That would be television gold.

Just a suggestion.

That is all!

Mindless Philosophy’s 100th Post!

So here it is ladies and gentlemen, the post you have all been waiting for!  This is Mindless Philosophy’s 100th post!  Huzzah!  Break out the champagne, send in the strippers, and let us commence the debauched celebrating!

Actually this post probably won’t really be all that exciting.  When I realized number 100 was approaching I started thinking about what sort of epic post I could create to exclaim my 100th blog installment to the world.  I thought about listing 100 of my favorite things, or sharing 100 bits of my personal observations, or some other such list of 100.  As I began to really mull it over however, I realized that would be rather wordy and quite an undertaking just to come up with 100 various items and then type it all out here.  So I kept putting it off, and putting it off, until finally several weeks have gone by without any posts whatsoever!  I was forced to postpone a couple of Friday Funny Pages because I didn’t want those regular segments to be my grand 100th post.  Now however you just get this. (Cue fanfare).

To start off let’s take a look back at a few of my personal favorite posts from the 100 thus far.  These aren’t necessarily the ones that have had the most views but the ones I enjoyed writing or have a real connection to:

#3 – Updated!  Possible New Series For Babylon 5?

This particular installment does actually happen to be one of my most read blogs on the site.  I really am proud of this one because I was on the forefront of this news at the time.  Thanks to the efficiency of Google Alerts I happened upon this story rather quickly.  In my continuing mission to raise the general awareness about Babylon 5 I hurried to address the rumors and tossed in a few of my own opinions as well.  I’m usually not the type of person to be on the forefront of knowledge, generally information like this goes through several filters before it comes to me.  I’m pretty sure my post here actually was a primary source for a few people, and I’m kind of proud of that.  Sadly however the rumors were false, and the hopeful talk of a new B5 series was swiftly squashed which necessitated this follow up article:  Babylon 5 NOT Returning According To JMS

#2 – Listening To Star Wars

This wordy proclamation regarding all things Star Wars, and the radio dramas in particular, is a favorite post of mine.  It has not been heavily viewed over the course of its life here on the blog, but it has incited a few comments and pushes of the like button.  I have a tendency to ramble in some of my blogs which generally is a detriment to articles in this type of forum.  More often than not people are just looking for a humorous picture, short review, or relatable anecdote.  Generally if a blog post is more than a few hundred words long folks just pass it by.  I’m as guilty of this as anyone, a story has to focus on something I’m truly interested in if I’m going to invest my time reading it, either that or it has to lure me in with the promise of some sort of revealed knowledge at the end.  Anyway, this article is just me sharing a portion of my love for the Star Wars films and my obsession with the Star Wars Radio Dramas which have been one of my favorite elements of Star Wars since about middle school.  It focuses mostly on how I believe the radio dramas are wrongly overlooked these days, how they fill in some crucial moments that are absent from the movies, and how I think real Star Wars fans should be as excited about them as I am.

#1 – Two Cents From Two Witsamans. Our Oscar Picks.

This one has lost some of its relevancy now that this particular group of Oscar nominees has come and gone.  The one nice thing about that however is that you can immediately see which of our Oscar picks were correct and which were way off.  The reason I enjoyed this so much was because I was able to convince my wife to participate in this mundane little blogging hobby of mine and I think with our combined talents we were able to come up with some good picks with some fairly solid reasoning to back them up.  Plus there’s no shortage of witty banter between us.  My wife is incredibly amusing, if you haven’t read her interview in my very first People I Know segment I suggest you do so now by clicking HERE.

Now over the course of my 100 posts I’ve somehow prompted a few misguided souls to actually subscribe to my blog!  Sure I only have 13 regular followers, but hell, that’s one more than Jesus!  So I’d like to take this time to personally mention and thank the loyal readers of Mindless Philosophy and encourage them to keep reading and make sure to comment and share their thoughts on my writings, after all that’s what this is supposed to be about right?  (Of course at this point those Mindless Philosophy email notifications have probably been flagged as spam.)

But without further ado I say thank you to:

Eldon

LouLaMay

secretcastle

pimpdaddylovemuffin

RiverUnderWater

Arlo J. Wiley

comfortingstrangers

Scott

Hannah

Carl

Brian

ryuk8488

and last but certainly not least

salsabiscuit82

Please continue to read, tell your friends, and share your thoughts!  You guys are the best group of mostly anonymous blog subscribers a fella could ask for!

Moving on now to the future!  In the next couple of days I will have my next installment of People I Know in which I interview Jason Lemmon, a friend of mine and fellow blogger, one of his blogs can be found HERE.  During our chit-chat before and after the interview we casually discussed the idea of starting a combined podcast where we would talk about the various plethora of things that interest us in the humorous manner in which we generally discuss such things.  Since then we’ve been toying with the idea more and more and have tossed a few ideas around.  While I won’t confirm or deny anything at this time, I will say that it is quite possible that there just might be such a production in the very near future.  Expect to read more news about that here as it develops!

And finally, I would like to know what you the readers would like to see on this blog.  After 100 posts of me spouting off randomly perhaps there might be some unexplored or underexplored topics you’d like to see get the Mindless Philosophy treatment, what subjects should be subjected to the Joshua Witsaman filter?  Therefore I present to you this poll with which you can help shape the future of my random spoutings.  Vote.

So there you have it folks, big ol’ post 100.  Now as always . . . .

That is all!

Occupy Coruscant: Life Imitating Art

Now I don’t claim to know the specifics about the whole Occupy Wall Street movement, nor do I wish to be perceived as having a complete grasp on all the implications of the Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission case.  I’m fairly laid back when it comes to politics and I try to shy away from getting into political debates.  However being a big geek I do enjoy drawing parallels between real life situations and my favorite fictional universe, Star Wars.

When it comes to Star Wars I consider myself something of an expert.  Obviously my love of the movies stems from the original trilogy but I do enjoy the prequels as well, and don’t have quite the feverish hatred for them as some others out there.  In fact one of my favorites of the three prequels, despite the great fount of dissenting opinions from across the opinion-sphere, is The Phantom Menace.  Sure there’s too much Jar Jar, despite that though I found myself extremely engrossed by the scenes on Coruscant and the political environment there.  For as we all knew, this would be the political realm that would usher in the end of democracy in the old Republic, and set up the power base of the nefarious Emperor Palpatine!  One of my favorite additions to the Star Wars mythos in the prequel films was the Trade Federation and its lot of greedy cronies.

For those who might not be as familiar with the movies as myself, the Trade Federation is a large conglomerate of intergalactic corporations and trade guilds run by a central council which is responsible for regulating and overseeing most of the galaxies trade, trade routes, and trade taxation.  Of course there are some checks and balances on the power of the Federation by the Galactic Senate which had the power to propose legislation for or against the policies of the Trade Federation.  The fictional history of the Trade Federation has its origins as a simple commerce lobbying organization associated with the Galactic Republic, however by the time of Episode I the Federation had been monopolized by the Neimoidians and had amassed such power and political sway that the entire entity of the Trade Federation was granted its own representative in the Galactic Senate in the form of Senator Lott Dodd.  Along with other manufacturing and banking conglomerates similar to the Trade Federation lobbying and special interests in the Galactic Senate were brought out from behind the scenes and given full disclosure and equal voice to those of individual star systems and their local populations.

Senator Lott Dod of the Trade Federation addresses the senate

 

Sound familiar?  I remember when I first heard about the Citizens United case, and the phrase “Corporations are people.”  My initial thoughts were, without skipping a beat, “Wow, they just created the Trade Federation.”  Of course corporations having the ability to create political ads is quite a stretch from intergalactic groups of corporations creating standing armies and invading neighboring planets.  Or is it?  Well not really, when you think that companies like Halliburton and others hire private security contractors and their own groups of armed forces to protect military supply lines and logistics outposts.  The number of private, corporate security forces in Afghanistan and Iraq are second in size only to the U.S. military itself.  For more information on that subject check out this LINK.

I’m not sure exactly what I’m getting at with all of this, I suppose that I’m just doing my own small bit of political activism by trying to illustrate how scary the phrase “corporations are people” really should be.  If that mindset is allowed to take hold, what’s to stop it from becoming “corporations are citizens” and eventually becoming “corporations deserve representation.”  I can almost hear the reasoning for it now, that such a move would be able to alleviate the economic sway of special interests over politicians, when in fact it would simply give special interests exactly what they want, a political voice, and more power.  Such things or course are only theoretical, but we already have corporations theoretically being people.  What’s to stop these theoretical ‘people’ from forming theoretical states within states which could then be granted a voice and legislative power equal to the very real individuals who have to then toil for and deal with these over powered and gluttonously wealthy corporations.  People are people and from what I remember in my social studies classes in middle school governments are supposed to exist to support and protect their citizens, not cater to shadowy businesses who have buckets full of money which they can use to sponsor the direction of political discourse.  Ah but what do I know?

That is all!

I Wish Every Day Was Halloween!

Halloween is approaching hopefully all of you boils and ghouls out there have your houses decorated, your candy bowls filled, and your costumes prepped.  Halloween is my favorite of the major holidays.  When October rolls around I try to bust out the skulls and pumpkin decorations as soon as possible, and the wife and I often disagree on how horrific the decorations should be.  Personally I don’t believe that any type of decorations should be blown out of proportion whether it’s a ridiculously involved Christmas light display, or a sprawling Halloween cemetery scene in your front yard with animatronic vampires, contrary to popular belief it is possible to over do it (and frankly your neighbors probably don’t want to look at your gaudy shit for a month anyway!)

I firmly believe that less is more, and that you can have some memorable decorations without going the Clark Griswold route.  The contention between my wife and I is how scary the decorations should be.  If it were up to me I would pass out the Trick or Treat candy between two poles decorated with mannequins made to look like impaled child clowns, along with a few skulls trickling blood from their eye sockets.  You know, nothing extravagant but enough to really hit home and creep the hell out of the kids that approach my doorstep.  If you want the candy, you’ve got to be brave enough to get it.  Lauren however is more inclined to do the whole family friendly schtick.  Some jack O’ lanterns, a Halloween sign on the door, and maybe we dress the puggles in goofy costumes (which is always a good time.)  Our decoration plans are seemingly in constant negotiation.

However despite my love for Halloween, and my enthusiasm for it, I generally hate this last week right before the big day.

It always seems like when October starts the world comes out guns blazing with Halloween excitement.  The weekends are chock full of horror movie marathons, costumes are on display every where you go, and the Reese’s pumpkins are seemingly around ever corner beckoning you to devour them.  As the weeks go on though, and we come to this last week before Halloween the ghoulish spectacle wanes.  It seems like there aren’t any good horror movies left on the upcoming television lineup, and the Halloween decor has already been put on clearance, torn apart, and decimated like a cabin full of virginal teenage victims who’ve fallen prey to a supernatural serial killer.  With retailers quietly displaying Christmas merchandise earlier and earlier each season, it has gotten so that when we’ve reached Halloween people are already bracing themselves for the X-Mas rush!  It seems like every year around this time I’m forced to summon forth my inner demonologist and take it upon myself to keep the spirit of Halloween bright and alive (or at least undead.)  Thankfully through my experience I’ve come up with a regular routine of grotesque activities that help me keep my thoughts dark and my nights sleepless!  Allow me to go over a few of them for you now.

Sign an exclusive deal with Count Chocula:

Like Peeps at Easter, and Candy Canes at Christmas, Count Chocula is a Halloween staple for me.  There was once a time when the Count and his buddies, Boo Berry, and Frankenberry could be found on the cereal shelves all year round, but those days are gone.  Now Count Chocula is a seasonal delicacy and I make sure to get as much of it as possible throughout the month of October.  There’s just something about chowing down on ghost and bat shaped cereal bits first thing in the morning that really helps keep the feeling of Halloween going!  Whether you’re a fan of the fumbling Frankenberry or the beatnik Boo Berry or the coco count himself, make sure to keep your shelf stocked with one of these, the scariest of the breakfast cereals.

I'm almost 100% sure this record won a grammy.

Blast the scary music:

While on my way to work I make sure to set my iPod up to thrill me with some of the best of my Halloween related music.  Things like the theme from Halloween and Night on Bald Mountain are good for creeping yourself out in the early morning darkness.   If you need a little lighter fair, but still want to hit your Halloween groove you can try bands like the Cramps, or classics like the Monster Mash, and Thriller.  A couple of groups that deal almost exclusively with Halloween type themes and who I’ve come to appreciate all year around are Zombina and the Skeletones and Paul Roland.  Musically they’re very different but they both have their own unique darkness that ranges from bizarre and humorous to just plain creepy.  If you’d like to learn more about them click on their links.

Are they a cool band? Yes, they are a cool band.

Horror Movies:

This one really needs no explanation.  Watch. Horror. Movies.  Everyone has their favorites with varying ratios of gore to scare as well as classic to modern.  So I’ll leave the choices up to you.  Oh, and Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas is a must as well, just be ready to watch it again in a few months when X-Mas rolls around!  AND There is a bonus this year (and hopefully for many more years to come) with the television series’ The Walking Dead and American Horror Story!  Two great ongoing dramas that have thus far been filled with plenty of great storytelling as well as well crafted horror elements.  With the modern wonders of DVR you could conceivably save up your recordings of these shows for the end of the week and have a horror drama double feature!  Both shows are unique and will give you varying degrees of “the willies.”

Only on episode 3, and I can already say this show is a favorite of mine.

Other Things:

Take Halloween into your own hands!  If you wait for this last week to carve your pumpkins it can really help to keep those nostalgic Halloween feelings going, and helps ensure that your pumpkins don’t look like the Crypt Keeper by the time Halloween actually rolls around (unless of course you carved it to look like the Crypt Keeper.)  Personally around this time I also like to delve into some fine demented literature.  It’s always a good time to revisit my favorite paranormal superhero, Dr. Strange and his supernaturally macabre adventures.  Also this year I’m working on completing the entire collected works of H.P. Lovecraft which happens to coincide nicely with the holiday.  Finally look back at some other media that fits the themes of Halloween, for instance I plan on  rewatching the episode of the Star Wars Clone Wars cartoon entitled  Legacy of Terror, which features zombie Geonosians.  There’s even an episode of Babylon 5 called Day of the Dead which features a strange occurrence aboard the station where the dead return to the world of the living for a single night.

Undead Geonosians prowling the catacombs in search of clone brains.

Basically when others aren’t getting psyched for Halloween, sometimes you’ve gotta psyche yourself up.  Remember that Halloween is more than just bad movies, girls dressed like sluts, and tooth rotting candy.  Halloween is a holiday that allows us to briefly acknowledge the darkness of the world, and of ourselves.  Halloween expresses death and allows us to come to terms with the fear of all of our inevitable destinies, and Halloween allows us to revel in the mysteries and instinctive imagination of the human psyche!

Happy Halloween everyone, make sure to scare the piss out of someone special this year!

That is all!