Friday, October 31, 2014

7 Weird Graveyard Inventions

7 Weird Graveyard Inventions

I Miss the Old Days

26 People Who Totally Won At Living In The '80s

10 Horrifying Stories Of People Who Were Buried Alive

10 Horrifying Stories Of People Who Were Buried Alive

Halloween

I loved Halloween when I was a kid.  Late October in Texas is sometimes cool, but it was never too cool for tricks-or-treats.  I don't remember that I ever had a costume.  What I had was a Lone Ranger mask.  I figured I was completely unidentifiable when I had it on.  This was so long ago that our mothers didn't mind if we took a grocery sack (they were all paper in those days) and got together with a few friends to roam the town and see what kind of treats we could collect.  No supervision.  Nobody worried about that kind of thing in a small town long ago.  Nobody worried about the treats that were put into the sack, either.  We ate them all without thinking a thing of it.

Even better than the trick-or-treating was the Halloween Carnival.  For years it was held in the downtown area.  We'd walk around and collect our treats and then walk downtown.  Still unsupervised.  It was kid heaven.  A cake walk, a ducking booth, bingo, a fortune-teller, and all kinds of little games where you could win a prize by popping balloons with darts or catching a little plastic fish.  One year it was colder than usual, and the carnival moved inside a big car dealership.  After that it was held in the hallways of the elementary school.  

There are still Halloween carnivals everywhere.  We had them every year at the college when I taught there, and I worked in the beanbag booth for the Writers Club.  They still have the carnival every year, but it's a "harvest festival" now.  Believe it or not, there's a War on Halloween.  I think kids still wear their costumes, but they don't get to wander around town without their parents hovering nearby.  There's not much trick-or-treating because to make things safe for all, there's a community treats trail in one of the parks.  I miss the old days.


History of the Jack O’ Lantern

History of the Jack O’ Lantern  

Link via Neatorama.

Happy Hallloween!

The Origins of 15 Spooky Halloween Traditions

A Forgotten Digest

Alien Quakes, Space Birds, and Door-to-Door Salesmen in Space: The Art of The Original Science Fiction Stories

FFB: A Night in the Lonesome October -- Roger Zelazny


This is a repeat from December 13 of last year, but I wanted to do a Halloween book today, and this one seemed like the most appropriate one.

I love Roger Zelazny's early books, but for a time there he was writing things that didn't engage me nearly as much.  I kept on reading them, mind you (well, except for the Amber series) because I kept hoping that he'd return to form.  And then, with his final book, he did.  I should have written about this one for Halloween, but it slipped down in the stack and I didn't get to it until now.  

To begin with, let me say that this is the best book you'll ever read that's narrated by Jack the Ripper's dog.  If that idea puts you off and makes you doubt that this is your kind of book, I'd say you're wrong.  

The dog's name is Snuff, and the story he tells has to do with the Great Game that is played during the month leading up to Halloween in those years when there's a full moon on that date.  That's when the Great Old Ones of Lovecraftian lore make their attempt to enter a gateway into our world.  There are two groups of players, the Openers and the Closers.  Jack has played before, but it appears that none of the others in this game have.  So far, the Closers have always won, but it's often a tight race.  The players this time consist of Jack the Ripper, the Universal monsters (I know they didn't originate with Universal, but their characters in this book come from the movies, not the original sources), a Mad Monk, a witch, a Druid, a clergyman, and a couple of others.  Sherlock Holmes and Watson are also important characters, and all the players have familiars, of which Snuff is one.  The familiars are excellent characters, too, especially Graymalk, the cat, whose relationship with Snuff is one of the book's highlights.

The Game has rules, but sometimes they get violated, and it's fairly complicated.  I'm a little surprised nobody's developed it as an actual game to be played by gaming fans.  I'm sure it could be done.

A Night in the Lonesome October is stylish, poetic, at times hilarious, suspenseful, and just a whole lot of fun.  And did I mention the Gahan Wilson illustrations?  No?  Well, there's one for each night of the month, with maybe a couple of extras. Great stuff.  If you're looking for a treat, don't wait until next year to read this one.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Uh-Oh

Release the Dust Witch!

Disney's 'Something Wicked This Way Comes' Hires 'Wrath of the Titans' Writer

Hat tip to Fred Zackel.

An Evening of Edgar Allen Poe, Starring Vincent Price

An Evening of Edgar Allen Poe, Starring Vincent Price

Keeping Abreast of the Crime News

Thief distracts staff by squirting her breast milk  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

PimPage: An Occasional Feature in Which I Call Attention to Books of Interest

The Naked and The Undead: A Novel of Hardboiled Horror - Kindle edition by Wayne D. Dundee. Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.: What is "hardboiled horror", you say? 

It's not complicated, really. 

You take a handful of ingredients from classic hardboiled crime fiction like, say, a tough-as-nails police detective, a cityscape of decay and corruption, a cynical hit man with ice water in his veins, a couple of savvy, sexy dames … Mix in elements from classic horror lore like a nest of vampires, menacing shape-shifters, a coven of followers who worship the ways of the undead, and a bewitching Queen of Darkness driven by blood lust and bent on the destruction of all who try to stand in the way of her unholy desires … Mix it all together … And you get a chilling, thrilling tale of things that go bump in the night and forces aligned to bump back! 

From the pen of award-winning, veteran hardboiled writer Wayne D. Dundee comes a tale of shocking horror, revenge, undying love, and bloody murder!

Top 10 Most Haunted Cities in America

Top 10 Most Haunted Cities in America

Song of the Day

The Grateful Dead - Ripple (Studio Version) - YouTube:

20 Cute and Creepy Vintage Halloween Cards

20 Cute and Creepy Vintage Halloween Cards

Today's Vintage Ad


In Case You Were Wondering

Here’s What The Cast Of “Grease” Looks Like Now

PaperBack



Reggie Carr, Cycle Fury, Chevron, 1967

50 Best Law & Order Ripped From the Headlines Episodes

Flavorwire: The 50 Best “Ripped From the Headlines” ‘Law & Order’ Episodes, Ranked

Universal Movie Stills ~ 1931-1944

Universal Movie Stills ~ 1931-1944

7 Amazing Things You Didn’t Know About Wonder Woman

7 Amazing Things You Didn’t Know About Wonder Woman  

Link via SF Signal.

Stonehenge Update

Stonehenge Was a 'Giant Echo Chamber to Summon up the Ancient Spirits'

Some Forgotten Halloween Songs

15 Lesser-Known Halloween Songs to Put You in a Spooky Mood

Forgotten Music: ABBA -- Live at Wembley Arena

Some of us haven't forgotten ABBA, but some of you probably weren't even born when they were superstars.  It's really hard for me to believe that it's been more than 30 years since they broke up.  But all of a sudden we have a brand new CD.  Sure, it was recorded in 1979, but it's never been released before.  The big news is that it hasn't been prettied up with studio tricks.  This is the way the group sounded without retouching.  And of course it's great.  

Sure, there are a few little glitches, and the audience interaction is nothing you'll really care about, but this is a  high-energy show, and it's convincing proof that ABBA could rock out.  All the songs will be familiar to longtime fans, but some of them are a lot more uptempo than the studio versions.  And the capper is that there's a song that's never been heard on a recording before.  Just one, "I'm Still Alive," but it's a good one.  This is a 2-CD set, and it's just packed with good stuff.  If you've forgotten ABBA, now's the time to get reacquainted.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

IKEA Does Kubrick

IKEA Halloween - YouTube: Late night shopping may never be the same again after you watch IKEA’s homage to Stanley Kubrick’s horror classic, The Shining.

Hat tip to Mike Stamm.

Amelia Earhart Update

Fox News: A fragment of Amelia Earhart's lost aircraft has been identified to a high degree of certainty for the first time ever since her plane vanished over the Pacific Ocean on July 2, 1937, in a record attempt to fly around the world at the equator.

Soon All Our Precious Freedoms Will Be Taken Away

'Naked Rambler' loses bid to have public nudity declared a human right  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

But You Probably Do

13 Fascinating Facts That Hardly Anybody Knows   

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Alphonse Bertillon and the Identity of Criminals

Alphonse Bertillon and the Identity of Criminals 

Elizabeth Norment, R. I. P.

NY Daily News: "House of Cards" actress Elizabeth Norment, who portrayed Kevin Spacey's secretary on the Netflix drama, has died. The 61-year-old actress passed away Oct. 13 at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, her sister Kate confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter.  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

10 Famous Landmarks That We Almost Lost

10 Famous Landmarks That We Almost Lost

Song of the Day

Jerry Lee Lewis High School Confidential - YouTube:

Ballad of the 13-Year-Old Bride

Ballad of the 13-Year-Old Bride: Myra Lewis Williams—eternally known as the young wife of Jerry Lee Lewis—speaks candidly about their notorious rock & roll romance  

Link via Boing Boing.

Today's Vintage Ad


Rare Americana From ‘Mark Twain’s America’

Rare Americana From ‘Mark Twain’s America’ 

“Sick Hazel” (by Liza Cody)

“Sick Hazel” (by Liza Cody) | SOMETHING IS GOING TO HAPPEN: Liza Cody has been a groundbreaker throughout her career as a mystery writer. Her debut novel, Dupe, brought her the 1980 John Creasey Award for best first novel, and it was especially notable for introducing the character Anna Lee, the first professional female P.I. in British mystery fiction.

Orson Welles Update

Orson Welles’s Final Film to Screen At Last

PaperBack



Clayton Matthews, Discontented Wives, Softcover Library, 1966

We Can All Stop Now, This House Has Won Halloween

We Can All Stop Now, This House Has Won Halloween

USA! USA!

Get your facts right: Italy, U.S. come bottom in modern life survey

First It Was the Thin Mints Melee

Two elderly people get in fight over parking spot

Alamo Update

Rocker Phil Collins brings Alamo collection 'back home' to Texas 

L. M. Kit Carson, R. I. P.

NYTimes.com: L. M. Kit Carson, an actor and writer who earned a following among devotees of independent film with his magazine journalism about movies and his own quirky films, died on Oct. 20 in Dallas, while visiting. He was 73.  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

11 Surviving Drive-In Theaters that are Worth a Road Trip

11 Surviving Drive-In Theaters that are Worth a Road Trip