Day 9: the Sound and the Furry

Kayla Roche and Kim Drogan Prentice

Material issue: Kayla Roche, Kim Drogan Prentice, and their potentially complicit cloth compatriots

Our cute and cuddly critters won’t save us, fellow LDBCers. In fact, anecdotal evidence suggests they may be part of the problem. If nothing else, they’re certainly not helping. The two ladies above were done in while in the company of an assortment of wee, fuzzy pals. Kayla Roche was shopping among them when The Boy found her and laid her low. Kim Drogan Prentice was trying to find a good home for those she created. Think about that. Behind the fabric visage, could there lurk the spirit of a being that would happily create musical matricide? (Yes, this paragraph is polluted with a lot of alliteration. I fall into that now and again and have no doubt posted about it before, though I’m too upset to go find where and when.)

The body count, going by those who’ve reported in via the official form, has now topped 300—and the real number is probably higher. Some were felled by already documented toxic media. Others simply shopped when they should’ve stopped.

I don’t know. After a while, it’s all we can do to resist the temptation to go numb. But to resist is the point. I can’t speak for the rest of you, but I don’t tend to zombie-walk through our struggle like an over-injected famous face full of Botox. (And there I go again, plus I’m mixing metaphor and simile.)

What can I tell you? I’m rattled. And I think that’s understandable, given that our casualty rate has just passed that of the Spartans at Thermopylae. And all we can do is run, hide, and earbud our way to safety. No stabby solutions for us.

I have nothing more profound or promising to offer on this cold, rainy Chicago Saturday, folks. If we’re to weather this thing of ours, it’ll be together—hand in hand, heart beating against heart. The Boy’s a hunter. A tracker, as noted bounty hunter and philosopher Leonard Smalls once said. Some say part hound dog.

Tex_Cobb

The most recent casualties are pictured below. Mourn them. Learn from them. Pay your respects, and then do your damndest not to suffer their fate. But should you fail and fall, post it to the Facebook page, add it to a comment on an existing post, or Tweet it to us.

And one more thing. I don’t want to flog our new charity effort to the point of being tiresome (too late, maybe?) and keep asking people to donate to Americares, our official charity this year. (Though I’ll note that the donation button is on this Facebook post.) But I wanted to call out fallen LDBCer Justin Fermenich, who pledged a very generous 50 dollars whether he won or lost. He went face first into the turf, alas, but he is a man of his word:

Justin-Fermenich

Love and altruism will get us to the other side of this thing, friends. Well, that plus cowardice, planning, panic, and dumb luck. But who’s counting? I am. And we’ve topped 500 bucks in donations thus far. So again, there’s absolutely no obligation to give. But if you can and you feel like it, here’s that link one more time.

Live or die by the rules, comrades, and don’t forget our First Fallen.

For Sloppy Joe!

Faces of the Fallen: LDBC-elfies

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Day 5: Can We Go Home Now?

Jaws pier

So long, holiday roast.

You’ll notice that certain movies get mentioned a lot in this thing of ours, people, and Jaws is certainly one of them. But the parallels between the shark terrorizing Amity and The Boy are fairly obvious. And I was reminded of another earlier today, when I pre-ordered a two-bag venti English breakfast and walked into Starbucks to drink it there, only to realize they were in full holiday-tunes mode.

I have nothing but respect for those who try to alter their circumstance using earbuds or careful planning, but lately I’ve been more in organic mode, taking normal care to avoid obvious places but otherwise trusting my luck to get me through. It often results in my exit, but today, I was able to finish my tea as harmless Christmas song after harmless Christmas song ticked by.

Though I did panic a bit when I was packing up and getting ready to leave because I was almost home. And it took me right back to sitting in a darkened theater the summer before fifth grade, freaking out as Charlie, one of the knuckleheads using a hunk of meat chained to an old pier, swam for his life while the shark approached, and his pal yelled for him to just keep swimming and don’t look back.

That was me, wet shoes slipping uselessly on wet planks as I struggled to get to safety before doom struck. I couldn’t get my Mac into my bag fast enough. Why were people blocking the trash can? And was the music playing outside, too, through external speakers? I couldn’t recall.

Still, I survived, which is in stark contrast to the 180-plus unfortunate LDBCers who’ve already reported in via the official form as having gone down. Some missed out on the warnings from our list of toxic media. Others just decided to play fast and loose and drew a bad card.

Some submitted LDBC-elfies (gallery below), and you can, too, should you be taken. Just post it to the Facebook page, add it to a comment on an existing post, or Tweet it to us.

Also, if you’d like to donate to Americares, our official charity this year, the donation button is on this Facebook post. Using that allows us to track how much has been given thus far. (We’re almost at $500, so thanks very much those who’ve contributed!)

And again, below are some of those who’ve already left us.

That’s it for now, faithful LDBCers. Step lively, keep the rules in mind, and honor our First Fallen.

For Sloppy!

Faces of the Fallen: LDBC-elfies

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Day 1: Already, a First Fallen

Moby Dick and Ahab

“[F]rom Hell’s heart I stab at thee; for hate’s sake I spit my last breath at thee.”

The fun part of this thing of ours? It just keeps growing. The tragic part of this thing of ours? There are enough people playing that it doesn’t take long before we have a First Fallen. And so we do, people. For the rest of the game, let us cut loose with our battle cry for Sloppy Joe, taken down while testing his music-playing clock. (And if I do say so myself, I think it’s my favorite name since starting the tradition of First Fallen.)

As always, check the rules for a refresher and updates. (Parodies count this year.) And should tragedy strike, be sure to report in via the official form.

Ever vigilant, people. For Sloppy Joe!

Day 30: “Someday This War’s Gonna End”

Colonel_Kilgore_1600w

The end is relative due to that little thing known as the Earth’s rotation. As you read this, the struggle is over for the year for our friends in places such as New Zealand and Australia. (And I know we have some because I see where those who visit this blog are from. But don’t worry—I can’t see who you are or anything intrusive like that.) The dark time just expired in the Middle East, too.

But here in the U.S.? It’s hours to daylight—or, if you want to be overly literal—midnight.

As I type this, 961 people have reported in as having been taken out by the dreaded Boy. And there are plenty more who haven’t had a chance to let us know yet, I’m sure. Mrs. LDBC and I are stone dead, having been laid low in two separate incidents. Desperate cries of, “Don’t drum me, bro” carry no weight with The Boy.

When it’s your moment, you’re gonna get it.

Billy Joel slaughtered thousands—including LDBCers the Peckmans (no relation)—at The Garden a few days back, and the Piano Man probably doesn’t even know what he did. Probably. Kay Morris went down right in front of my old office building, which makes The Boy’s evil feel even more personal. Justin Fermenich‘s downfall was such a tragedy that a press release was issued.

Yet there is hope. And it’s that hope, a small flame in all this darkness, that allows us to go on.

Billy Joel

He’s seen the lights go out on Broadway. As have his victims.

Midnight. Just a word—a word so distant, though brimming with relief. Yet it will arrive all the same.

But the nail-biting hours we have left feel much like, as a friend of mine pointed out today, Henry Hill‘s cocaine-fueled day of paranoia. Sure, the drug made him jumpy and nutty. Still, the helicopter was real. And Lois, despite all her yeah-yeah-yeahs, did made the call from the house.

Meanwhile, here are the LDBC-elfies submitted since the last go-round. May their sacrifice not be in vain.

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Ever vigilant, people. And remember: if midnight your local time hits and you’ve survived, report your victory via the form. Then post a victorious LDBC-elfie on the Facebook page. If you’ve lost already and haven’t reported it yet, there’s still time to do that, too.

For Joyce!

Day 19: Just Another Day

Frank-Sheridan

The Boy by Van Frank (courtesy Libby); Santa ornament by Maggie Sheridan (courtesy Clare)

So Mrs. LDBC and I are just getting around to watching the second season of Stranger Things, which sets the mood nicely for this Thing of Ours. And in only the first episode, they include the perfect song, which I’d forgotten all about:

Because it has been just another day. Nineteen of ’em, in fact—dark and deadly ones. And as Mr. Elfman says, there’s murder in the air. And a lot more of it to come, I’m afraid.

Now, it’s not all doom and gloom, people. Well, it is for the time being, but I’d like you to keep the children’s art (on loan from the offspring of generous LDBCers Libby Frank and Clare Sheridan) in mind so that the creative pixie dust of the wee ones’ drawing implements may help you face the butchery ahead.

We’re about 600 people down thus far in the game, which is more than 30 blown away daily, on average. And that’s just those who’ve reported in. Madness. (Not the band. I’m talking true lunacy here.)

Alec Rose suffered a Moldavian Massacre-like episode in Whole Foods, which might as well be called Whole Family from this day on. Lisa Andrews wanted a banana—and for her sins, The Boy gave her one.  Desiree Kern got wrapped up but goodPeggy Gannon survived a day of paintball, only to get pasted. And Lillian Murphy. Ah, Lillian Murphy. In a year where more people than ever are being taken down by the dreaded Pentatonix, Lillian Murphy managed to do it live, in person, at a concert. That kind of suffering takes some doing, folks.

While I’m at it, let me just stress: stay away from Pentatonix. And for pity’s sake, do not watch that Pee-wee Herman/Grace Jones video being sent around. Oh, and avoid Psych: The Movie, which has been mowing people down right and left. And when you see the Amazon Echo/Alexa and Blue Man Group ads coming, run like hell.

What else? A couple nice mentions from The Boston Globe and The Indianapolis Star, both of which we’re very grateful for. Spreading the word about the menace of The Boy means lives may be saved. And speaking of lives saved, LDBCer Marine Madesclaire filed this dispatch from the Land o’ Disney, which she managed to escape unscathed. We’ll take our inspiration where we find it, so thank you, MM.

(Please note that there should be a video above. If there isn’t, please try another browser or watch it here. Chrome on the Mac can sometimes be wonky with Facebook embeds, for some reason.)

All of that said, there’s no avoiding the sadness, people. Thus, we present a gallery of the latest victims, here to be mourned along with those from the last batch. And a strange idea I’ll toss at you: while assembling and tagging this gallery, I was listening to the Hilarious World of Depression podcast. And as it turns out, clicking through the gallery while the theme song from that plays makes for an oddly appropriate multimedia experience. Give it a try.

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OK, remember, please: should you go down, let us know on the Facebook page, and fill out the reporting form. And all the while, be true to the spirit of Carlin Reed, who really does manage to sum the entire LDBC dynamic up in one simple statement here:

Carlin_Reed_Simian

And let’s be careful out there.

For Joyce!

Day 5: “Mumma, We Lost”

Kris Blackmore

Kris Blackmore LDBC-elfie

I’m gonna level with you, LDBCers: heartless as I may appear to be, I’m actually a big, giant softie with gooey insides. Sort of a molten-chocolate cake, if you will—if said dessert had a crust of hardened steel and a core consisting of my vital organs floating in a living aspic of empathy, remorse, blood, and weeping. (Hey, nobody told you to eat while reading this thing.)

Thus, when ‎Heather Cvitkovic McGregor shared this Black Friday tale punctuated by her broken-hearted six-year-old, I swear to you, I misted up a bit. I mean, look: I don’t do this thing to make little girls cry. And I think what really gets to me is the way the kid thinks not of herself, but of her family unit suffering together. I’m not kidding, people: it’s lump-in-the-throat time.

Let me set the scene. Black Friday. A second Thanksgiving dinner spent with my family. My sweet children and innocent nieces and nephew are idyllically playing. Christmas music hums in the background. Bellies full, my sister and I laugh as we do the dishes. And then my precious six-year-old comes to me with giant tears in her eyes. “Mumma, we lost.” I look at her quizzically. And then I hear it. And a string of obscenities come pouring out of my mouth. What?!?! Who put this station on? Who jeopardized mine and my children’s chances of making it through the holiday season? Why?!?! So I didn’t make it an entire 24 hours. And it took me two days to recover from the loss. It will take my nieces and nephew a lifetime to recover from my foul mouth. I did not take a picture. I could not even tell you what version it was. I can only tell you I lost—and not at all graciously. Damn you, Drummer Boy. Maybe next year!

See? How can I go on after that? But then I remember that you’re all counting on me to keep making the donuts, so I relegate that grieving child to the statistical scrapheap. I man up and move on. I volunteered for this, after all. I’m just saying I’m not a monster, okay? That would be The Boy. Not me.

Anyway, as of this posting, we’ve got 152 casualties reported on the official form. That’s twice what we had as of this date last year. It like somebody invited us to go swimming with sharks and then dumped chum in the water. Only it’s not toothy fish we need to worry about it, it’s holiday-themed evil incarnate. You get the picture.

A couple fun things to note, though: we got a great write-up from The A.V. Club the other day. And I did my yearly thing with our pals at Good Day Sacramento this morning:

Also, here’s LDBCer Kara Lang on family tradition. And if this doesn’t uncork your holiday sentiment, I doubt there’s anything else we can do to help you, to be perfectly honest.

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So there’s that. Plus we’ve got a whole host of LDBC-elfies turned in already (gallery below). If you’ve gotta go out, might as well go in style and send a snapshot of the tragedy our way. And we have our First Fallen, too, whose name is the battle cry that gives us strength to make it through LDBC 2017, the valorous Joyce Dudley Hindman.

Ever vigilant, people. For Joyce!

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We Are the Champions

Sauron's Tower Falling

That moment when evil topples, and you get to stare at its one big, dumb eye as its own loss begins to dawn on it? Yeah.

We did it.

The Boy is vanquished for yet another year, people. Now comes the fun part. Fill out the form (below) with your win. Post victory LDBC-elfies to the Facebook page or tweet them to @LDBChallenge. Smiles, people! Show us some teeth! Or better yet, let us see some Freddie Mercury-level rejoicing.

But let us not forget the fallen we’ve left along the way. For they have been us in past years, and they will be again.

You know the routine, old-timers (and you rookies, pay attention). I’ll nag you a bunch more times over the next week or two to fill out the form so I can do all my wondrous statistifying and post all of the LDBC-elfies along with the Wall of the Fallen in the year-end wrap-up. And then we put this thing to bed.

So rejoice! Fill out the form! And the happiest of Happy Holidays to all!

For Mike!