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PF Carnival #51

See you in Hell, or at least at the party

If ever there was a marketer's dream date, it's today.

Omen2006 The remake of the 1976 horror classic "The Omen" hits movie theaters today. I suspect this movie would not have been remade if not for the fortuitous calendar:


Yes, I consider the original film a classic. Great adult cast (Gregory Peck, Lee Remick, David Warner), creepy kid and those dogs! Plus, admit it. You've referred to out-of-control children, regardless of gender, as Damien ever since, haven't you? Poor Father Damien and all his good work with leprosy (Hansen's Disease) sufferers long forgotten, his name now a touchstone for the evil spawn of Satan.

I know I've run into a few devil-child Damiens over the years.

The most memorable was the son of a copyeditor, we'll call him Ed, at my first newspaper job. The editorial department had a regular weekend softball game with the guys (and yes, back then they were all guys) from the sports section.

Ed would bring his son, who was about 9, to all the games. At first I thought, what a good father. Then as I was around the kid more, I realized that Mrs. Ed made her husband take the kid off her hands for a while.

The child was horribly spoiled, having finally arrived after his parents had tried for many, many, many years to have a family. So not only was he their miracle son, Mr. and Mrs. Ed were a little older and dad at least did not have what it took to rein in a "normal" youngster, much less one who was, shall we say, as "energetic" as this boy.

Omen1976 Basically, the kid was a hellion. And Ed watched lovingly and helplessly as the little … brat, yeah, that's the word … ran amok and harassed everyone around him. To be honest, I can't even remember the kid's real name because we all took to calling him Damien.

Now I'm not very maternal. Never have been. So I think any child, regardless of how smart or well-behaved or seen-not-heard (does that even happen any more?), is a bit of a fiend. But this Damien truly was a bad seed.

The editorial side, however, needed all the softball players we could get, and if that meant Ed brought the brat, so be it.

One weekend, the sports department was short a player (among other deficiencies those guys had!), so they drafted Damien for the day. He ran around the outfield, the safest place, since few of us got the ball out that far. He also wandered into the infield, pestering his own teammates.

The trouble really started when it came time for the sports department to bat. Somehow the kid got on base; must have walked. I don't think he was hit by a pitch, although that wouldn't have surprised me either.

Anyway, Damien progressed around the base paths as the sports guys pecked away at our pitcher. I'm sure it was some evil spell Damien's real dad put on the editorial team.

I'm playing catcher. The bases are full. Damien's on third. There's a hit and I step on the plate awaiting a possible play at the plate. Damien is barreling right at me. The ball gets away from our guys so the kid's going to score. I step back from the plate.

But the Satan spawn doesn't miss a step. He runs full bore home … and then jumps on my foot! My foot that was well behind the plate by now.
I thought my foot was broken. I thought I was going to die. Damien just stood there smiling at me. Then I thought I was going to kill the brat.

I don't remember who else scored or which team ultimately won (yes, the game went on) or anything else about that day after that. I limped home; OK, I drove, but I limped to the car.

A couple of days later by foot hurt even more, and my doctor had to remove my big toenail. My season was over, but I had already decided no more office events where Ed and his son might attend.

That kid definitely was a very bad Omen.

Party in Hell today! I felt like I was in Hell that day. But some folks in Michigan actually live in Hell. And they celebrated today.

Fire The Associated Press reports that the residents of Hell, Mich., an unincorporated hamlet 60 miles west of Detroit, are having a hot time today to mark the arrival of 6-6-06, or as they abbreviated it, 666.

"I've got '666' T-shirts and mugs. I'm only ordering 666 (of the items) so once they're gone, that's it," said John Colone, the town's self-styled mayor and owner of a souvenir shop. "Everyone who comes will get a letter of authenticity saying you've celebrated June 6, 2006, in Hell."

And of course, Colone will sell most items for $6.66, including deeds to one square inch of Hell.

There are two leading theories about how Hell got its name, which became official on Oct. 13, 1841.

One says a pair of German travelers stepped out of a stagecoach one sunny afternoon in the 1830s, and one said to the other, "So schoene hell" — roughly translated as, "So bright and beautiful." Their comments were overheard by some locals and the name stuck.

The second theory is that George Reeves was asked after Michigan gained statehood what he thought the town he helped settle should be called, and reportedly replied, "I don't care, you can name it Hell if you want to."

So they did.

The 666 revelry is just the latest chapter in the storied history of publicity stunts put on by the town, which currently has 72 year-round residents -- or, as the mayor calls them, Hellions or Hell-billies.

Gee, I always thought Hell would be much, much more populous.

You can check out the town's semi-official Web site, Hell2U, but be warned: Due to the 06-06-06 mayhem, the site's servers are experiencing heavy usage.

I knew activities that could send you to Hell were popular, but who'd a thought Hell itself would be such a hot spot to visit, at least online.

The Devil's own tax publication: Since the world's only certainties are, according to Ben Franklin, death and taxes, then you gotta figure that some of those who meet their maker will end up in the hotter ultimate destination.

So it makes perfect sense that there's "The Devil's Dictionary of Taxation." (Hat tip to TaxProf.)

The dictionary was edited by New York attorney (insert your own Hell/lawyer joke here) Kenneth Ryesky, who notes in the introduction that it was inspired an earlier work, "The Devil’s Dictionary." Ryesky elaborates (lawyer, you know):

The dry wit of American author Ambrose Bierce’s The Devil’s Dictionary has been cited in several American judicial opinions, and by some foreign tribunals as well.

Humor and wit, after all, can make interesting an otherwise dry and dull court decision, so that it might be better appreciated and understood.

Tax law is one legal area in severe need of elucidation. It has stymied even learned members of the judiciary; indeed, several commentators, including this author, have criticized the judiciary’s handling of taxation cases on account of not fully comprehending the taxation law.

Therefore, a taxation-specific lexicon inspired by the style of Bierce’s Devil’s Dictionary, but with legal citations to support its assertions, has great potential to help judges, lawyers, law students and others better appreciate and understand taxation. In such a spirit, this specialized glossary has been compiled.

And you thought the title came from the Devil-made-me-do-it argument used by some tax cheats!

P.S. -- I wanted to post this at 6:06, but couldn't get up that early and, even though I was slow getting this finished, I didn't want to wait another hour for the P.M. clock reading, so 5:05 has to do!


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Wow, great post! Oh, and congrats on making it into the Carnival of PF.

William Perez

You made a reference to the Bad Seed! I love that movie. I saw the movie again a couple of years ago at a theater, complete with a drawing for a yellow rain jacket autographed by Patricia McCormack.

Personally, I've been waiting for someone to raise a toast to "The year one!"

Alas, with the world not ending, I guess we still have to pay our 2nd quarter taxes. :-)

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