links for 2007-11-30

I Am Confusion

Last night (this morning?), I finished reading I Am Legend. Well, re-reading would be more of an accurate statement. And yet…
This is the I Am Legend I recall from many years before, and at the same time, it’s not the I Am Legend I recall from many years before. For clarification, I have not seen The Last Man on Earth or The Omega Man, but I’m beginning to wonder if maybe I’ve read some homage to Matheson’s original work. Here’s some of what I recall, in the hopes that a reader can point me to the story I remember:
(Oh, and if you haven’t read I Am Legend and you plan to go see the Will Smith movie, there are some potential plot spoilers ahead, so you may want to stop reading now, since it’s likely you cannot help me anyway. Thanks for stopping by, though!)
+ as in the book, the story I remember takes place in Los Angeles, only the Neville character is living in a house on a hill, and has an actual moat in front of the place, so deep the vampires can’t cross it. I want to say he even bulldozed the dead vampire bodies in to the moat.
+ I recall the story mentioning the vampires having blue tattoos.
+ the story was obviously more recent than Matheson’s, since it has the Neville character watching a video of a plague victim, the Ben Cortman character, actually becoming one of the vampire creatures.
+ the Neville character has a dog that goes around with him, as we’ve seen in the trailers of the Will Smith movie adaptation, as opposed to the dog Neville tries to befriend in the book, but which ends up attacked by the vampires.
+ the Neville character, while foraging/hunting in the city, is trapped by a snare attached to a light pole. He spends a lot of time trying to get free, so much so that the sun begins to set, and vampire dogs come out. The Neville character’s dog defends him while he frees himself, and is mortally wounded. This also looks like it will be in the Will Smith movie, and seeing this split-second snare bit in the trailer is one of the memories that jostled me to re-read Matheson’s book.
+ the Neville character goes to a park to wait for any survivors who might still be alive; he leaves signs tacked up all over the city with the when and where.
+ the Neville character discovers a female survivor, very much like Ruth in Matheson’s book; except in this story, instead of hitting him with a mallet, she drugs him after learning how to turn off/undo all of his house’s defense mechanisms, letting the vampires in.
+ the Neville character is taken by the vampires to their underground lair, a miniature city below the real city, where he is somewhat put on display, and some of the vampires feed off of him. The Ruth character has a son or little brother, and the Neville character feels somewhat sorry for them, wants to help them, etc.
+ the Ruth character, and maybe others, help him escape, and they leave the city by a sailboat.
That’s the stuff I remember, and that stuff is not in the Matheson book. So where did I read it? I’ve spent a couple of hours searching the Internet for answers, all to no avail. Perhaps my Google fu isn’t strong enough. Perhaps I just don’t know what I should be searching for. But I know I’ve read this story as I’ve described above. Help me, scifi/horror readers. You’re my only hope.

I would love to witness a conversation like this

Another nugget from Sheriff Bell:

Here a year or two back me and Loretta went to a conference in Corpus Christi and I got set next to this woman, she was the wife of somebody or other. And she kept talkin about the right wing this and the right wing that. I aint even sure what she meant by it. The people I know are mostly just common people. Common as dirt, as the sayin goes. I told her that and she looked at me funny. She thought I was sayin somethin bad about em, but of course that’s a high compliment in my part of the world. She kept on, kept on. Finally told me, said: I dont like the way the country is headed. I want my granddaughter to be able to have an abortion. And I said well mam I dont think you got any worries about the way the country is headed. The way I see it goin I dont have much doubt but what she’ll be able to have an abortion. I’m goin to say that not only will she be able to have an abortion, she’ll be able to have you put to sleep. Which pretty much ended the conversation.

So it’s okay to name your sons Muhammad, but…

From the Religion of Peace™ Department:
A fifty-four year-old English woman, a teacher at a school in Sudan, has been arrested for allowing her students–seven and eight year-olds–to name a teddy bear “Muhammad”.
The article notes, “It is seen as an insult to Islam to attempt to make an image of the Prophet Muhammad.” This seems to be a fundamental problem with Islam: Allah and Muhammad appear to be really, really insecure. I’m trying to discern the logic with which the determination is made that by merely naming a teddy bear “Muhammad”, this somehow is the equivalent of “making an image of the Prophet”. Really? Yet it’s perfectly okay to name your male offspring–living, breathing humans, just like the former Prophet himself–“Muhammad”. Is not the latter more of “an image of the Prophet” than a teddy bear?
Jesus gets insulted all the time, yet you don’t see Christians running around, throwing the insulters in jail, threatening them with jail time and physical beatings (these are known in the land of sharia as “lashes”). You don’t hear about Christians burning mosques down around the world, because the Islamists declare Jesus to have only been a prophet, and not the Son of God; it’s always the Muslims burning down the churches.
If Allah is as merciful as Muslims claim him to be, you’d think he wouldn’t really care all that much that someone might name a teddy bear after his chief prophet.

The thoroughly unlikely, but hopeful, scenario

So the Tigers really blew it on Friday. Looking ahead to the SEC championship? Thinking of playing for the national title game? Distracted by the Miles-leaving-for-Michigan chatter? Whatever it was, the LSU football team was clearly not focused on getting past Arkansas, and it led to their number-one ranking being lost again in triple overtime.
Today’s BCS poll has the Tigers in the number seven spot, which is probably about right. (I think they should be ranked ahead of Virginia Tech, a team they trounced early in the season and which has not had as tough a schedule as the Tigers, but since when has playing in the toughest conference counted for anything with the polls?) It is possible for LSU to still advance to the BCS National Championship Game, but they need a lot of help, which they probably won’t get.
1. The Tigers have to put the rest of the season behind them and take care of business against Tennessee in the SEC Championship. The same team that demolished a good Virginia Tech team in week two needs to emerge once again, because, quite frankly, we haven’t seen that team since around week two. The Tigers have a perennial problem of playing down to the level of their opponent, rather than at the consistently high level they should be playing at. This is what cost them the game against Arkansas, and could spell their doom against Tennessee.
2. Missouri has to lose to Oklahoma in the Big 12 Championship. (Quite possible, as it appears that the Sooners are better now than when they beat Missouri earlier in the season.)
3. West Virginia has to lose to Pittsburgh. (The most unlikely of these scenarios.)
4. Virginia Tech has to lose to Boston College. (Will the Hokies fall twice in the same year to BC? It happened to Georgia against LSU in 2003. Unfortunately, this is probably the second least-likely outcome.)
If all of the above were to occur, LSU would theoretically be in the BCS Championship game against Ohio State. The season is over for Georgia and Kansas. Since they won’t win their conferences, they’re not allowed to play for the BCS title, despite being ranked by the BCS ahead of LSU.
What I think will actually happen is this:
1. LSU beats Tennessee in a closer-than-it-should’ve-been contest to advance to the Sugar Bowl, much to the chagrin (again) of the Sugar Bowl committee and New Orleans Board of Tourism, both of which want the influx of cash from out-of-staters, rather than fans who can drive the 60 miles between New Orleans and Baton Rouge and still sleep in their own beds.
2. Oklahoma upsets Missouri to win the Big 12.
3. Boston College rallies from behind late in the game to upset VT.
4. West Virginia trounces Pittsburgh much like what they did to Connecticut to advance to the BCS National Championship against Ohio State.
So we shall hope for the former scenario, while acknowledging the latter is far, far more likely…

“If it aint too late.”

Some keen cultural insight, courtesy of Sheriff Bell in Cormac McCarthry’s No Country For Old Men (complete with McCarthy’s trademark non-punctuation):

I read in the papers here a while back some teachers come across a survey that was sent out back in the thirties to a number of schools around the country. Had this questionnaire about what was the problems with teachin in the schools. And they come across these forms, they’d been filled out and sent in from around the country answerin these questions. And the biggest problems they could name was things like talkin in class and runnin in the hallways. Chewin gum. Copyin homework. Things of that nature. So they got one of them forums that was blank and printed up a bunch of em and sent em back out to the same schools. Forty years later. Well, here come the answers back. Rape, arson, murder. Drugs. Suicide. So I think about that. Because a lot of the time ever when I say anything about how the world is goin to hell in a handbasket people will just sort of smile and tell me I’m gettin old. That it’s one of the symptoms. But my feelin about that is that anybody that cant tell the difference between rapin and murderin people and chewin gum has got a whole lot bigger of a problem than what I’ve got. Forty years is not a long time neither. Maybe the next forty of it will bring some of em out from under the ether. If it aint too late.
[Emphasis added. –R]