Seasons Greetings! See you in January (well, probably before that).

Photo by me.

Photo by me.

First, let me wish you and yours a safe, happy, peaceful, lovely, fabuolous, and wonderful holiday season. Merry Christmas to those of you partake in that particular set of rituals, and a very warm Winter Holiday with family and friends to those of you who celebrate in other ways.

American Horror Story is on a two-week hiatus, and David and I have decided it’s better to reload for January than to try and run a comics post on Christmas Eve.

Contributors are on Christmas break, and we aren’t returning to our normal routine until January, but I’ll pull fun stuff out of the archives and talk about it as I have time. I’ll be around on Twitter and Facebook more than the blogs for the next couple of weeks.

If you find yourself jonesing while we’re away, go and hang out with my friend Not A Punk Rocker. She’s doing the opposite of me. Cutting back on the other social media, and continuing to ramble on her blog. She is also wise and finds amusing art.

I’ll have a drop-dead timeline for Feminist Fridays, and announce a scaled-back A to Z plan, next weekend. Those are written, but Christmas is five days away and they’ll keep.

New contributors: You will have dashboard invitations no later than December 26. And read the contributors page if you haven’t already. It explains how to use the categories and the featured image in this theme.

Happy Holidays!

Weekend Music with New Design Rollout!!

Video

This video seems appropriate today. The design still needs a bit of tweaking, but for the most part, it’s in. First, a very important change in the way I’m using my blogs.

If this blog is the only way you have of keeping up with the Feminist Friday Project or my other fiendish plots, look to Just Gene’O for that info now. Once contributors get rolling  next month, I can’t be telegraphing my every move on our daily pop culture blog.

@Sourcererblog is still my main channel on Twitter. Feminist Friday links and all other Part Time Monster/Just Gene’O links are still tweeted from that account. If Twitter is the way you keep up, don’t worry about @justgeneo unless you’re already following that one.

The New Design

I’ve given you a reason to rate posts and thumbs-up comments. If you look at the sidebar, just beneath all the “Follow Us” and “Recent Posts” widgets, you will find one labeled “Top Rated.” That widget counts the ratings you give posts and pages with the little stars. It also counts comment thumbs-ups.

I’ve put all the ratings at the bottom of the posts/pages/comments so you don’t have to scroll up to find them. If I see enough rating activity going on here over the next couple of months to warrant it, I will leave that widget on the sidebar. The best part about this? Ratings are anonymous. And now they mean something because they affect the “Top Rated” rankings.

Continue reading

Review: American Horror Story Freak Show “Orphans”

Oh, man. Oh, guys. American Horror Story, for the first time in its 4 year run, made me feel a bit weepy last night. “Orphans” marked the fall finale for the show, which will take a two week hiatus before returning with new episodes (some of which feature Neil Patrick Harris and Jamie Brewer!!) beginning on January 7th. As an episode it’s a bit saggy, trying to do too much with too many characters, but parts of it were so, so good. Maggie cried, Jimmy stayed locked away in prison, and now we know all about Pepper, including how she got to the asylum. And it’s heart-breaking. (Warning–spoilers below!!)

Pepper

Naomi Grossman as Pepper

And oh, Pepper. At the start of the episode, Pepper’s partner, Salty, has died. Pepper is distraught. She won’t leave his body, and Elsa has a difficult time convincing her to eat. Theoretically, at least, Salty’s death was a natural one, a stroke. Pepper is distraught. She won’t leave his body, and Elsa has a difficult time convincing her to eat. When she finally convinces Pepper that Salty’s gone, to give up the body, she has no idea what to do with Salty. Stanley does, though. Cut to Stanley hacking away at Salty’s neck, smoke encircling them both, then seeing Salty’s head in a jar, and I’m finding the idea of a stroke a little….Suspect.

Anyway, Desiree steps in to comfort Pepper. She assumes a very motherly position, Pepper curled in her lap while she reads The Velveteen Rabbit. But when she has to leave, Pepper is enraged. So she goes to talk with Elsa, of course, and through Elsa we find out about Pepper’s background.

Just after the war, Elsa moved to the States and started the carnival circuit as a singer/dancer. She found it difficult to get noticed, though, difficult to be a star in

New Orleans sideshow and burlesque performer Ri Dickulous in "Orphans"

New Orleans sideshow and burlesque performer Ri Dickulous in “Orphans”

someone else’s world. And she didn’t like working for anyone. She decided to create her own show, her own collection of oddities that would be both family and underlings. Cue Elsa’s profound ambivalence toward the freaks in the show.

Pepper’s parents died, and her sister couldn’t care for her, so she was dropped off at an orphanage. This is where Elsa found her, at the age of 18, after befriending Pepper, the simply walked out of the door together. Elsa and Pepper went to Jupiter together, and the crowd loved Pepper. It wasn’t long before a rich Indian gentleman came to the carnival, and with him he brought Ma Petite. She was his “pet,” but Elsa convinced him to part with her for 3 cases of Dr. Pepper. Hmm. Anyway Ma Petite became a sort of surrogate child for Pepper.

But still Pepper wanted more. She wanted companionship. Elsa sent a series of letters, ultimately resulting in the arrival of Salty. And it was love at first sight. And there was a lovely, bizarre wedding for the two of them, and it was beautiful.

Cut to the present, where Desiree and her beau are making a night of it. They’re in Maggie Esmeralda’s tent, and she’s using her Powers of Observation to tell their future. Only she’s a little drunk and a lot psychotic, given Jimmy’s predicament and their overall relationship, so she yells about how everything will be awful and end and blah-blah-blah. Later, Maggie sits on the merry-go-round, drinking, in the same spot we once saw Twisty. Desiree confronts her, and for some reason, Maggie decides to entirely spill the beans about Stanley, about being on the grift…But not about what they’re actually doing there. At least, not at first.

Continue reading