Posted in Women Who Wow Wednesday

The Wicked Witch of the West

No one can deny after seeing The Wizard of Oz, the Wicked Witch of the West is a frightening gal. The first time I saw her on TV was when I was four. If you want to cite childhood memories that may have traumatized a growing young lad, this was it.

The Wicked Witch of the West
The Wicked Witch of the West

What would the end of Women Who Wow Wednesday‘s Horror month be without The Wizard of Oz’s Wicked Witch of the West? I dare you to count the number of w’s in that sentence.

The Wicked Witch of the West
The Wicked Witch of the West

There’s a whole history behind the green-skinned lady, but this post won’t contain any of that. In fact, I’m not even going to include how her sister, the Wicked Witch of the East, died. Well, we know a house fell on her. That’s about it. Has anyone else ever asked what that woman was doing there in the first place? Was she just standing around waiting for it or was she flying on her broomstick when the house slammed into her? Okay, so maybe I have included a little history with this post.

The other thing I remember about the Wicked Witch was her cackle. Oh, such a dastardly laugh it was. That line where she says, “I’ll get you, my pretty, and your little dog, too!” It still sends chills up my spine. Is it me or does she get meaner as the years go on? Maybe it’s just me. She certainly knows how to scare the pants off a grownup.

Since I’m quoting lines from the movie, here are a few more that make me want to run away and lock myself in my room with the covers over my head:

“Well, my little pretty, I can cause accidents, too!”

“How about a little fire, Scarecrow?”

“Auntie Em! Auntie Em! Come back! I’ll give you Auntie Em, my pretty! Heh heh heh heh heh heh heh!”

“Going so soon? I wouldn’t hear of it. Why my little party’s just beginning.”

“What a nice little dog. And you, my dear, what an unexpected pleasure. It’s so kind of you to want to visit me in my loneliness.”

“The last to go will see the first three go before her. And her mangy little dog too.”

“You cursed brat! Look what you’ve done! I’m melting! melting! Oh, what a world! What a world! Who would have thought a good little girl like you could destroy my beautiful wickedness? Oooooh, look out! I’m going! Oooooh! Ooooooh!”

Tell me you don’t hear her voice when you’re reading those lines to yourself. I still can hear it and I’m not even trying.

Yes, the Wicked Witch belongs in an asylum, but you can’t tell me she doesn’t wow. As bad as she is, she is a character everyone recognizes. For this reason, her image has remained with me since a child. Maybe one day, I can watch The Wizard of Oz without that scary feeling I get in the pit of my stomach reminding me of the first time.

Until then, I’ll watch her again and again covering my eyes as if I were on a roller coaster. It’s the only way to survive a scary ride.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ALIEN INVASION, on sale now.

What do you remember of the first time you saw The Wizard of Oz? Were you as frightened to see her the first time I was?

Posted in Freedom Friday, Photo Opportunities

Autumn Photography

Every autumn I go on safari. Not really. I treat it as a safari, though. I pack my camera in my satchel, slip on a warm jacket, and head for the woods. What am I hunting, you may ask? Trees, leaves, nature—anything really to depict this glorious season we call fall. And that’s my Freedom Friday introduction to fall photo gathering.

A path to the foot of the woods
A path to the foot of the woods

The adventure typically begins at the foot of the woods a couple of minutes from my home. You see, I live in farm country, near where all the folks from Toronto get their corn, strawberries, and other assorted goods. How close do I live to the woods? I’ve seen foxes chase rabbits from the brush across the street into the neighbor’s backyard at 5:30 in the morning. This happened ten feet from my walk. I’ve seen multiple raccoons frenzying on garbage cans as if bitten by zombies. And I’ve smelled. Yes, smelled—skunks near where I trod. I’ve seen them, too. Tail sticking up. Those are the animals I fear most spilling from the woods. Oh, did I mention the coyotes? We have them, and they’re the dreadful parasites of our town’s existence.

As I was saying, the adventure begins at the foot of the woods. During this time of year when the forests give up their leaves, I’m there capturing it all. I suppose it has to do with the color the season exhibits. Boy, can anyone deny autumn is colorful? I think not. And here I am, in the middle of the woods, the threat of coyotes at every turn, snapping photos of anything that may inspire me to share with others.

Beautiful morning majesty
Beautiful morning majesty
The woods
The woods
Leaves that have yet to change color
Leaves that have yet to change color

The time I get the absolute best photos is either early in the morning, as the sun makes its appearance in the horizon or in the evening just when the light turns all sorts of golden hues along the edge of the tree line. I’ve taken shots in the middle of the woods just as dusk approached. Reminiscent of Dorothy’s travels through The Wizard of Oz’s Dark Forest, the day fades, the wind howls, and it does get creepy. But it doesn’t stop teenagers hitting the woods at night to have their secret rendezvous. On occasion, I’ve come across the remnant of empty bottles near a felled tree, a spot I suppose popular with the young crowd.

The log where teens hang out
The log where teens hang out
I think I know where I'm going
I think I know where I’m going
Enjoying the crunching leaves
Enjoying the crunching leaves
Inside the woods
Inside the woods

The woods have paths I can walk yet there are times the leaves cover the paths making it difficult to find my way back. I’ve gotten lost several times only to find my way back after having remembered what the trees looked like from mental notes of my journey. Believe me when I say it’s not fun not knowing where you are in the grand scheme of things.

I have to say this: whenever I’m out there with my camera taking those eye-popping photos of the foliage, sometimes my breath catches. It’s as if I’m seeing things for the very first time, enjoying every moment. The colors are vivid and beautiful, the air crisp, and the area is so much at peace without human interference. I’m glad I have the woods as my fortress of solitude. Everyone needs a place of refuge. The woods are mine.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, now on sale.

Do you take photos of the foliage every year? Do you have a fortress of solitude?

Posted in Women Who Wow Wednesday

We’re Off to See the Wizard

She doesn’t curse. She doesn’t swear. She doesn’t even own a gun. She’s the cutest redhead anyone’s ever seen. She’s also the epitome of American moral values. Who is she? She’s The Wizard of Oz’s Dorothy Gale, of course. And I’m proud to feature her as part of this week’s Women Who Wow Wednesday.

The Wizard of Oz’s Dorothy Gale
The Wizard of Oz’s Dorothy Gale

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I’ve dedicated a number of posts to some pretty violent female characters in movies. Other than Wonder Woman, most, if not all, have thrown a knife or fired a gun, beaten the crap out of their enemy, or jettisoned them into space. In a zombie apocalypse, those are the women who I’d love to have fight alongside me.

But Dorothy Gale? Sweet little Dorothy? How could she ever take on the undead?

Let’s take a look at what we got. She grew up on a farm. Not a small feat for a young girl, you know. She’s probably seen things done to animals that’d make a billy goat puke. Like rabbits skinned, chickens defeathered, turkeys beheaded, and the family pig, which I don’t think its name was Wilbur, fattened up for months until it reached implosion weight. Then with tears flooding her face, seen it slaughtered in the cool of the day.

So yeah, Dorothy grew up on a farm. She’s seen things.

The Cowardly Lion
The Cowardly Lion

Okay, so she’s got a tough stomach, but is she strong? I would say so. How else could one explain the absolute fear that gripped the Tin Man and Scarecrow when The Lion showed up? Dorothy stood her ground, though. She didn’t run away. She didn’t cry. Nooo, no. She walked right up to the snarling beast and smacked it across the mouth. “You should be ashamed of yourself!” She snapped, and she stared him down, she did.

Yes, but I can still hear the doubters. She couldn’t hurt an ant, I hear. She’s as gentle as a rose. She’d help a butterfly caught in a web.

Oh, yeah?

She dropped a house. On a witch. Not any ordinary witch, mind you. On THE Wicked Witch of the East. The most fearsome witch of the eastern hemisphere. And then she lied about it. When confronted by The Wicked Witch of the West, Dorothy looked her straight in the eye and lied.

The Wicked Witch of the West
The Wicked Witch of the West

“Who killed my sister?” the Wicked Witch of the West asked. “Who killed the Witch of the East? Was it you?”

“No, no.” Dorothy said. “It was an accident. I didn’t mean to kill anybody.”

“Well, my little pretty, I can cause accidents, too!”

Oh, really. Was that a threat?

Dorothy didn’t take too kindly to those words. No one threatens Dorothy Gale and gets away with it. Especially some cheap floozy who picks her clothes from the leftover Halloween bins at Wal-Mart. No way. From that moment on, the Wicked Witch of the West was on Dorothy’s hit list.

The Wicked Witch Melting
The Wicked Witch Melting

Once the Tin Man, Scarecrow, Lion and her sidekick Toto had the castle surrounded, Dorothy moved in for the kill. She executed her vindictive plan against the witch by drawing in the winged monkeys to the center of the tower. This would ensure she had witnesses, causing no one to doubt her supremacy. Then, in front of all the captains of the monkey army, she melted the witch. And like the coldhearted killer she was, she stood by watching the witch writhe in agony.

She even went so far as to get rid of the Wizard, cutting him loose in a balloon heading for Kansas.

Oh, yeah. I want Dorothy on my team. If anyone can vanquish the undead in a zombie apocalypse it would be Dorothy.

There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home.

Have you seen The Wizard of Oz? If not, have you ever wondered what the movie or the books are about?