Watch Out For The Dead ‘Dear!’

I was going through the law enforcement logs today and found the following reported at 6:41 a.m. at the intersection of 435th Avenue and Marina Dell Avenue: “Dead Dear.”

I guess, in the end, it probably wasn’t such a “dear” to whoever hit the poor deer.

Anyway, I take my chuckles where I can get them.

I imagine the dispatchers are typing things up fast and furious and don’t always catch the little typos that some nerd like me will happen upon and find comedic gold. (And anyone who reads my work knows that I have my own grammatical oversights). I am certainly happy when they send laughter my way. Gracias, amigos and amigas!

Lesterville Fire Story Makes Round-Up Of The World’s Weird News

It’s a big day here at the Inland Voyage.


A story I wrote about multiple fire calls to a residence northwest of Lesterville made the daily round-up of weird news aggregated by the British magazine, the Fortean Times. The publication specializes in writing about the strange phenomena taking place around the world, and it has been one of my favorite magazines since discovering it a decade or so ago. It’s a great and fascinating read every month.

As a reporter, I’m always keeping my eye out for things I think the magazine might find of interest. And with the unfortunate series of fires that took place near Lesterville recently, I thought its editors may be interested.

I was right!

It joins stories such as “Anglo Avenger ordered to stop building neo-Stonehenge, cyber bot goes walkabout, plus liquid worms in space.”

Of course, it would have been better had the fires never occurred and the Bauder family still had its barn and home. I’m not trying to make light of the situation.

It’s just that the Fortean Times holds a very special place in my heart, and its a bit of a privilege to be able to contribute.

While visiting the daily round-up, you may want to read about the drama surrounding the “poo tattoo” story. Apparently, it doesn’t pass the smell test …

Moore Enjoys Watching ‘V’ Enter The Real World

Photo from The Guardian/ The Guy Fawkes mask originated from the comic book series "V For Vendetta" and has become a popular symbol of protest.

I’ve often wondered what writer Alan Moore thinks of the iconic Guy Fawkes mask he and artist David Lloyd created for the “V For Vendetta” series becoming a common sight at protests around the world.

Well, The Guardian recently answered that question for me by interviewing Moore about it.

Here are a few excerpts:

“I suppose when I was writing V for Vendetta I would in my secret heart of hearts have thought: wouldn’t it be great if these ideas actually made an impact? So when you start to see that idle fantasy intrude on the regular world… It’s peculiar. It feels like a character I created 30 years ago has somehow escaped the realm of fiction.” …

… “That smile is so haunting,” says Moore. “I tried to use the cryptic nature of it to dramatic effect. We could show a picture of the character just standing there, silently, with an expression that could have been pleasant, breezy or more sinister.” As well as the mask, Occupy protesters have taken up as a marrying slogan “We are the 99%”; a reference, originally, to American dissatisfaction with the richest 1% of the US population having such vast control over the country. “And when you’ve got a sea of V masks, I suppose it makes the protesters appear to be almost a single organism – this “99%” we hear so much about. That in itself is formidable. I can see why the protesters have taken to it.” …

… It is an irony noted with relish by critics of the protests – one also glumly acknowledged by many of the protesters – that the purchase of so many Vendetta masks has become a lucrative little side-earner for Time Warner, the media company that owns the rights to Moore’s creation. Efforts have been made to avoid feeding the conglomerate more cash, the Anonymous group reportedly starting to import masks direct from factories in China to circumvent corporate pockets; last year, demonstrators at a “Free Julian Assange” event in Madrid wore cardboard replicas, apparently self-made. But more than 100,000 of the £4-£7 masks sell every year, according to the manufacturers, with a cut always going to Time Warner. Does that irk Moore?

“I find it comical, watching Time Warner try to walk this precarious tightrope.” Through contacts in the comics industry, he explains, he has heard that boosted sales of the masks have become a troubling issue for the company. “It’s a bit embarrassing to be a corporation that seems to be profiting from an anti-corporate protest. It’s not really anything that they want to be associated with. And yet they really don’t like turning down money – it goes against all of their instincts.” Moore chuckles. “I find it more funny than irksome.” …

…. He is careful to point out that “I have no particular connection or claim to what [the protesters] are doing, nor am I suggesting that these people are fans of mine, or of V for Vendetta.” Ultimately, use of the mask may be down to the simple fact that “it’s cool-looking. I’m not trying to make a proprietorial statement.”

He is also aware of how badly things can go wrong when a fiction of his spreads too far from source. Last year, an unhinged man in Florida went on a shooting spree in a school, spray-painting a “V” symbol on the wall (matching a symbol that appears in the comic and film incarnations of V for Vendetta) before killing himself. “A horrible, pointless episode,” says Moore. “So there’s always… Now I didn’t feel responsible, but…” He does not finish the thought, but trusts the V mask will remain an essentially peaceful tool of protest. “At the moment, the demonstrators seem to me to be making clearly moral moves, protesting against the ridiculous state that our banks and corporations and political leaders have brought us to.”

David Lloyd, V forVendetta‘s co-creator, has admitted going along to a demo in New York to see the masks in use. The extent of Moore’s own activism has been “a good moan in the local pub”; he does not see himself donning a mask (“Be a bit weird, wouldn’t it?”). But his sympathies are with the protesters, and there is a clear sense of pride for him that so many people – if not “the 99%” then a great, unignorable bloc – have caused such a stir. “It would be probably be better if the authorities accepted this is a new situation, that this is history happening. History is a thing that happens in waves. Generally it is best to go with these waves, not try to make them turn back – the Canute option. I’m hoping that the world’s leaders will realise this.” …

To read the entire story, go here.

If you haven’t read any of Moore’s work, such as “V For Vendetta,” “The Watchmen” or “From Hell,” you are doing yourself a great disservice. He is a brilliant writer who has helped elevate the comics/graphic novel medium to new heights during the last several decades. If you’re only familiar with the movie versions of those titles, you are missing out on a great deal. The movies, of course, aren’t nearly as good as the graphic novels.

Meridian Bridge To Open To Public Tomorrow Afternoon

*** UPDATE 12 p.m. Wednesday ***

This is the story published in the Press & Dakotan today:

After being closed down in October 2008, the Meridian Bridge will once again be open for public use today (Wednesday).

“The contractor will be working until about 2 p.m. (Wednesday) to finish all the work that needs to be done — attaching the wire mesh on the structure’s railing and other items,” said Kevin Heiman of the South Dakota Department of Transportation. “The work that they will have to come back to do next week would probably not interfere with the opening of the structure.”

The bridge, which was built in 1924, was cordoned off when the Discovery Bridge to the west opened to traffic three years ago. The plan was to convert the historic double-decker bridge into a recreational trail.

After funding issues at times appeared to threaten those plans, a $4.8 million contract was eventually awarded to PCiRoads. Work began in the spring of 2010 and was to be complete by November of last year. However, unforeseen deterioration to the bridge necessitated more repairs than originally planned and work continued until now.

Heiman said the public should be able to utilize the structure by 3 p.m. today.

“We’d like to thank everybody for being patient during this long project, and we really hope they enjoy the benefits of the work that has been done,” he said. “With the forecast for Thanksgiving, it will be a great day to walk across the bridge.”

City Manager Doug Russell said he will likely be one of the people crossing the bridge Thursday. The city, which will have ownership of the bridge upon completion, has already placed barriers around the structure to prevent any motorized vehicles from accessing it.

“It’s good to see the bridge open and ready for use,” he said.

Additionally , I came across this realated bit of information in a city memo:

The City of Yankton property on the Nebraska side has been examined by walking in the old trails that are
currently on the property.  A south loop will be created this winter and spring on the south half of the
property.  Next fall and winter a north loop will be added on the north half of the property which will
provide access to the Missouri River shoreline.  These trails will be existing trails but they will be widened
and trees will be trimmed or removed to provide more space side to side and from above also.

*** END UPDATE ***

I just got off the phone with city and state officials, and I’m told the Meridian Bridge will be open to the public late tomorrow afternoon once construction crews wrap up their work.

You may notice the lights on tonight. They will get a test run, and work will continue on the structure after dark.

This is a welcome piece of news. Completion of the bridge has been delayed several times, but will now be open for use over what promises to be a beautiful holiday weekend (for late November anyway).

It sounds like the public can expect it to be open around 3 p.m. tomorrow.

I’d encourage you to take your feet or your bicycle to the bridge while the weather is nice and enjoy this historic structure’s new role as a recreational trail. I’ve walked across it several times, and I can tell you that the view is breathtaking.


A Bloody Weekend (Theatrically Speaking)

It was a bloody weekend.

Theatrically speaking, anyway.

I (rather wisely it turns out) procured two films from Netflix during the prior week. I knew little about either, other than their trailers looked quite interesting and one had made a bit of a splash at Sundance.

First, the Sundance hit. “Bellflower.”

I’m no gearhead, but the “Medusa” is an insane and awesome piece of machinery.

It’s like everything in this film — overblown, oppressive and single-minded.

At first, I wasn’t sure what to make of “Bellflower.” It was awesome and a bit annoying at the same time. I couldn’t quite buy, for example, that two people who didn’t know each other would go on a long road trip.

But I was eventually won over, and since watching it I’ve come to like it even more. It’s as if my brain were not quite prepared for what it had consumed, but then came to find the fruit of the material upon digestion.

The look of the film gives it an apocalyptic feel though it is really a love story, or rather the story of love lost. We all know that the end of a relationship can feel quite apocalyptic, so in a way it’s appropriate.

The fact that you have the Medusa shooting flames into the air, as well as a homemade flamethrower in the movie, only adds to that atmosphere.

“Bellflower” is an excellent film, and I can’t wait to see what this group of filmmakers does in the future.

The second film was “Stake Land.” It’s about humans in a world where many have been turned into vampire/zombie creatures. Called “vamps,” they are quite creepy.

The film follows a vamp hunter and a boy he has saved as they venture to a northern climate where it is supposedly too cold for the reptilian systems of the vamps.

Admittedly, I found myself reminded of “The Road.” A man and boy traveling in an apocalyptic (there is that word again) world looking for refuge, how could I not?

I went in expecting a B-movie, but got a well-made and emotionally-engaging genre film that made me feel quite invigorated. I enjoyed it enough that I shunned my usual bedtime by an hour.

It’s quite possibly the best horror film I’ve seen this year.

I also had the pleasure of stumbling upon a disturbing music video that I somehow missed when it was released in August.

This dark gem provides visuals for “First of the Year (Equinox)” by Skrillex.

I was immediately reminded of the iconic video that Chris Cunningham did for Aphex Twin’s “Come To Daddy.” It is one of my favorite videos of all time.

They share creepy children doing nasty things to adults. They also have similar looks. I’d be surprised if Tony Truand didn’t get some inspiration from Chris Cunningham. However, the video is his own. I am happy to have found it.

Finally, I’m looking forward to viewing this little gem later this week.

Anyone up for some Santa Claus claws?


Pauly Shore Talks With The Inland Voyage About Yankton, Playing Small Towns

Pauly Shore will perform two stand-up comedy shows in Yankton Dec. 15.

Shortly after I got to the office today, I received a call.

“Hey, this is Nick from Pauly Shore’s office. Would you like to speak with Pauly?”

My answer: Yes.

“Can you do it in 45 minutes? Some time opened up today.”

My answer: Yes.

My next thought? What the heck am I going to ask Pauly Shore??? I had planned to interview him in advance of his upcoming show in Yankton. However, I hadn’t expected to do it TODAY. IN 45 MINUTES.

I know performers sometimes have days spent just talking to reporters, and so I like to prepare a little bit so they remember me as one of the decent interviews of the day. Not the dumbsh*t who didn’t know anything about what they have been doing.

As far as I can recall, I was NOT a fan of Shore during his 90s heyday. In fact, I remember being a vocal hater of his “Weasel” persona. I couldn’t stand the way he spoke and remember making fun of my brothers for watching his movies.

It was nothing personal. I also couldn’t stand the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Maybe I have something against surfers.

But over the years, I’ve grown more accepting of Pauly Shore. I think it’s kind of a respect for the fact that he survived the show business game. Based on the persona that he had cultivated publicly, I probably wasn’t alone in thinking that after his star dimmed he wouldn’t emerge again. Perhaps I was even hopeful for that outcome.

But that isn’t what happened. Sure, Shore kind of disappeared for a while, but then he decided to soldier on with stand-up shows, films and television projects. I haven’t paid that close attention to it, but I’ve been kind of amused when I see that he’s still doing things.

And lately, I’ve even caught some of his material and thought it was funny. I would have had a hard time imagining that 15 years ago.

I certainly never would have imagined at that time that one day I’d not only interview him but then blog about it. Hey, bu-ddies, I realize that many of you are much more interested in Shore than what I usually write about. Even if it’s just a morbid curiosity in finding out what has been going on with him.

Do I plan on going to his show? Well, yes. I’m pretty sure I’ll get some good laughs, and I’ll get to say that I saw Pauly Shore. I guess in the end, Pauly wins. Damn it!

So how was he to interview? He was very polite and honest.

Below are some of his uncensored comments. If you are sensitive to profanity, proceed no further. A full-blown story for the Press & Dakotan (including censored quotes) will come in the weeks ahead.

On not having been to Yankton before, Shore responded, “Who has?”

What can people expect from a Pauly Shore stand-up show?

Well, if you’re looking at it from the standpoint of someone who is going to read this article, they’re going to be like, ‘Holy shit, Pauly Shore is coming to town! I remember him. Where the fuck has he been? Oh shit, he’s here. Let’s go! It’s either this or bowling.’

So fuck it. I’m a part of American culture. People grew up with me, so I’m a part of their lives. It’s pretty cool. If I was a kid, and I grew up watching someone, I’d want to go see them and check them out.

I like playing places I’ve never been. It’s fun.

I’m not Eddie Murphy, dude. I’m not the guy that doesn’t fucking go out in public. I feed off the small fucking towns. I feed off these people. It keeps my comedy connected, and it keeps me connected. It’ like my fuel. I’ll come in for a day or two. I go for a sandwich at the local fucking deli shop or go to the gym. It’s being a politician. These politicians go and shake hands. They feel the people.

If you want to see Shore talk about Yankton, check out this earlier post. To find out about tickets, go here.

My Lord, Herman Cain: Tim Heidecker Takes On Presidential Candidate

I’ve decided that Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain is my lord and master.

Well, at least when I’m listening to Tim Heidecker’s new album “Cainthology: Songs in the Key of Cain.” Otherwise, I’m not really riding the Cain train. Too much baggage, I guess.

The cover of Tim Heidecker's "Cainthology."

Heidecker is part of the comedy duo, Tim and Eric. They are responsible for such comedic genius as “Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job” and “Tom Goes to the Mayor.” Admittedly, their comedy is not for everyone. I happen to love them and had the pleasure of seeing them perform live in Kansas City last year.

Heidecker is apparently just as surprised as anyone that he put out an album full of songs praising Herman Cain.

He talked to Slate about it recently:

On October 24, Herman Cain’s campaign released an impenetrable Web ad featuring the candidate’s chief of staff, a cigarette, a wall, and a slow-motion head-turn set to patriotic music. Almost immediately, fans of the absurdist comedy duo Tim and Eric (Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim) started tweeting at them, saying it looked like the kind of intentional schlock they would have put on their show.

Heidecker agreed. Fueled by Vietnamese iced coffee, he recorded a minute-long jingle for Cain, an inexplicably odd ballad with hints of Jandek and John Philip Sousa. Over the next 15 days he recorded eight more songs, all absurd, all in slightly different styles—skiffle (“King Cain”), riff rock (“Cain is Able”), gospel (“Pray for Cain”), and spoken word with an electro beat (“My Master, My Master”). The result: Cainthology, the first album of Cain music not by Cain himself, with proceeds going to the VIP Medical Clinics for Abused Children and Community Mental Health Center. It is, Heidecker says, hopefully the last music he will write about the GOP’s fading frontrunner.

Slate talked to Heidecker on Thursday.

Slate: How much attention were you paying to the campaign before people started joking about Cain as a Tim and Eric character?

Heidecker: That’s a good question. My hindsight is probably distorted. I was paying attention to it in a sort of general way. I watch all the debates and stuff. I’m a little bit of an amateur political junkie. So I was pretty aware of how silly he was. But I think… the smoking ad really was the first time I saw just how ridiculous. I spent all afternoon making that first song, just in an attempt to try to out-weird the Cain campaign, to see if I could make something that really sounded like a mental patient had made it…

So once I did that first song, I realized I had created a character. He was a little bit of a schizophrenic, or mentally incapable. It just became fun to write songs in that character’s voice.

Slate: All nine of the songs are in that voice? These are very different musical styles.

Heidecker: They’re different styles of music, but that might play to the fragility of this person’s mental state. I think as the songs progressed, they became more paranoid and angry that people weren’t seeing what was going on. I didn’t anticipate any of this sex scandal stuff when I started, but as that started coming out, the songs sort of reflected that. This character was accusing the media, saying he knows what’s going to happen to Cain. And I also came up with the idea that this crazy person saw Herman Cain as his lord, as the second coming of Jesus Christ, which has played pretty well into the craziness of it all.

Read the rest of the interview at the link above.

I’ve been listening to the album pretty regularly, because it’s 21 minutes of craziness that makes me laugh. Plus, the tunes are good.

If you’re looking for some substantive information on Cain and his candidacy, check out this recent post on fellow South Dakota blog Madville Times.

In the meantime, enjoy some more “Cainthology”: