31 Days of Horror: Vampyr

Vampyr - Der Traum des Allan Grey (1932)

Carl Theodor Dreyer ( The Passion of Joan of Arc) directed this loose adaptation of Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu 's 1872 short story Carmilla.

Allan Gray (Julian West) arrives at an inn in the village of Courtempierre. Once he arrives there - he is drawn into a series of weird occurrences involving an old man's daughter who is the victim of a vampyr or vampire.

This was Danish filmmaker Dreyer's first sound feature - although he uses it sparsely. The film is eerily shot - with a faded washed out look - creating an almost dream / nightmare like appearance. There are several really creepy moments like when the main character is buried alive.

This was the first of the often filmed Carmilla - the story was written 25 years before Bram Stoker's Dracula and probably influenced Stoker. Plus it was the first lesbian vampire - this was down played in this film where the vampire (vampyr) is an old woman but Hammer Productions exploited that particular aspect in their adaptations in the 1970's (The Vampire Lovers, Lust for a Vampire, Twins of Evil).

Meet Stephen Harper's New Brain

Nigel Hannaford, former Calgary Herald columnist and editorial board member has just been appointed as Stephen Harper's new speechwriter. He sure don't like them faggots. Ooooo, goody. (Xtra.ca)

Six in the Morning

1. NO FREE, PUBLIC MAYORAL DEBATE: The Chamber of Commerce is hosting a mayoral candidates forum tomorrow. But it's happening first thing in the morning and will cost $45 to non-members. Thinking this isn't really a public debate, the Cathedral Area Community Association last week started organizing a free-to-attend mayoral forum. They'd booked the Legion for October 26. They got word that the two challengers would be willing to attend. But yesterday, after several days of cajoling, the CACA got word that the incumbent, Mayor Pat Fiacco, would absolutely not be attending because of "prior engagements." Jim Elliott responded saying (I'm paraphrasing here) he shuffled his schedule around to accomodate the CoC debate so why can't the mayor do the same for a public one? (Leader Post)

Now, confession time: I'm a CACA board member (a rec committee chair is me) so I've been in on the organizing emails for this event. And, do I want a public mayoral forum? Heck yes. I can't make the CoC event because it's expensive (I could probably get in free as press, but there's a principle at stake here) and 7:30 am on a Thursday is unworkable for me, as it is for most people with jobs (no, city hall reporter for the prairie dog is not my main gig). So, yes, I'm disappointed there won't be a debate. But at the same time, I'm also a little relieved I won't be volunteering to clean coffee cups or something. And, I should also note I'm in a position to know the space for the debate is still booked.

In other election news, mayoral candidates Jim Elliott and Pat Fiacco have websites (www.myspace.com/jimelliottformayor, www.fiacco4mayor.com) on which there is contact info like phone numbers and email addresses. I'm just saying....

2. PROVINCE TO INTRODUCE WAIT-TIME TARGETS: The new session of the legislature starts today and in the throne speech the Sask Party will be announcing wait-time targets for healthcare. This comes amid hints from Brad Wall that his government is not averse to private surgical facilities. (Leader Post)

3. TUITION GAP WIDENS: Stats Can notes annual tuition in Ontario has hit $6,000, double what the kids are paying in cheaper provinces like Newfoundland and Quebec. Meanwhile, the Walrus does a forensic accounting of why Canadian education funding is lagging behind other developed nations and how education defunding has been the worst in Ontario. (Globe and Mail, Walrus)

4. LIMBAUGH WANTS NYTIMES REPORTER DEAD: The infamous talkradio host calls NY Times environmental columnist, Andy Rivkin, a jihadi and a terrorist then suggests he should kill himself. (Guardian)

5. OIL PRICES CLIMB AS GROUP WARNS OF SUPPLY CRUNCH: The price for US light crude has hit $79 a barrel -- more than double its low point from the spring, but still about half of the high it hit last summer. At the same time, the group Global Witness warns that the world could soon be facing a serious oil shortage. (Guardian)

6. BC STOMPS ON OLYMPICS HATERS: British Columbia government is contemplating a law to allow municipal authorities to enter homes and seize anti-Olympics signs and then fine the perps up to $10,000 a day. (rabble.ca)

When did these guys get into the movie business?

I went through my camera's files this morning -- including some photos from our family's vacation at White Bear Lake -- and guess what I found ...

Greed is God

Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi takes down Wall Street yet again with an entertaining and easy-to-understand explanation of what when wrong.

A shorter version: a group of borderline sociopaths exploited weak regulations to ensure that the playing field is so tilted that your average mom-and-pop investor never stood a chance.

And when they ran out of innocent victims this pack of jackals began to eat each other last fall, with the unintended consequence of consuming all our pension plans.

Pick of the Day: Philosophy Cafe

From my admittedly limited knowledge of religion, I believe that the first religions that arose millennia ago were polytheistic and tied closely to natural processes that we had limited understanding of, but which impacted significantly on our well-being as we struggled to survive in a harsh environment.

It's impossible to put ourselves in the position of our forebears 10,000 or more years ago. But if we had lived back then, what would we have made of phenomena like lightning, thunder, earthquakes, volcanoes, floods, droughts, eclipses and the like? Not surprisingly, people concluded that they, and numerous other equally incomprehensible phenomena like the changing of the seasons and the migration of animals, were the work of supernatural beings -- some benevolent, most malevolent.

Eventually, some people living in the Middle East hit on the idea of consolidating all the gods into one uber-powerful God whom they credited with all facets of Creation. As to what prompted this shift to monotheism, I don't have a clue. But in his talk at Connaught Library tonight called From Gods to God to Euclid Campion College prof Dwayne Raymond is apparently going to argue that the intuition that supported this transition was integral to the work Euclid later did.

Euclid (artist's rendition above) was a Greek mathematician who resided in Alexandria, Egypt during the reign of Ptolemy I in third century B.C. Credited with being the Father of Geometry, he instituted a rigorous system of logical proofs to solve complex problems that remains the basis of mathematics to this day.

In an e-mail exchange, Raymond described his presentation as visual and accessible to a broad audience. To put you in the mood to attend and listen to his philosophical musings here's video of Supertramp's "The Logical Song" (YouTube)