comic updated October 17, 2008
Haven't been much of a TV viewer over the last
decade, but I do tend to have one on, most of the time, for the sake of
background noise. And when I have one on, it's usually tuned to good, neutral
programming -- vaguely pleasant, passingly informative, but nothing so clever
or interesting that I run the risk of having my train of thought hijacked.
The Travel Channel, the History Channel, Boomerang, all useful towards this
This being the Halloween season, the Travel Channel
has been leaning heavily on shows of the "World's Scariest Places" and "World's
Creepiest Destinations" stripe. I like 'em well enough; I'm an easy mark
for ghost stories, and they're all similar enough that I usually don't have
to break my stride whilst working. Haunted hotel, old castle, secondhand
mansion with rattling light fixtures; check, check and check.
And yet, I can't help thinking that these shows
would benefit from a little truth in advertising. World's Creepiest Places?
Come on. We're talking about well-lit buildings with guided tours and gift
shops. I can tell you one thing -- the REAL scariest places on earth don't
Where's the show about the basement you were left
alone in when you were nine years old? Or the long-neglected bathroom
at the back of your grandparents' house, or the deserted hallway on the second
floor of the church that only has red emergency lighting at night? For sheer
creepiness, touring Dracula's castle doesn't hold a candle to having to spending
an hour on a stained sofa in a ratty apartment keeping up a conversation
with a bearded herbalist while your friend makes a run for a bag of
*All right, not technically true, but they
usually also have signs out front saying things like, "Bartender Has Shotgun,"
"American Cars Only," and "Don't Ask About the
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