Thursday, December 31, 2009

Twilight Zone Time

The Twilight Zone Marathon marathon started today. Watching this has become a tradition at La Casa de Spihntingle. It never gets old and I love seeing all of the famous actors (or not so famous at the time) who are in some of the episodes. Captain Kirk, Oscar Madison, Will Robinson & Dr. Smith, Rober Vaughn, and too many others to mention. Rod Serling was an incredible talent and if you have the opportunity, I recommend reading the short stories that some of the episodes are based on. I found a great compilation book at the library. Happy New Year to everyone!!!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Vacation Reading

Along with my very much appreciated Christmas gift, Stephen King's "Under The Dome", I'm also reading a couple more intriguing novels. One of them, "The Church of the Dead Girls" by Stephen Dobyns, I got based on title alone, and it has been interesting so far. The other is "Regeneration" by Pat Barker. I'm not too far into it, but I like the premise and for whatever reason, the writing remindeds me of "The Talented Mr. Ripley". Lastly, "Under the Dome" has been very good so far. It's amazing that Mr. King can essentially re-use the same formula over and over again, yet still produce such great entertainment.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Spot

Ebony friend
Living on me
A sun feeding serpent
New shapes and sizes
On my shin
Malignant foe

I was playing around and pretty sure this is not an offical format but, my rules were: 1) First letter in each line had to combine to spell a word and 2)The line structure had to be, 1 word, 2 words, 3 words, 4 words, then 4, 3, 2, and 1.

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Great Escape

I can remember the exact moment, two years ago, that I decided to leave the humdrum confines of my hometown. This is not a knock on the town. Humdrum is good. The catalyst of this epiphany was the infestation, or more accurately, the scourge of “reality” television. I had to escape, or risk becoming one of the millions of human marionettes the media has created. Fortunately, I had the financial means required for my journey. I could talk endlessly about the fascinating places I visited, people I met, and things I learned, but for now, I will only share a few.

There was bullfighting in Spain, marlin fishing in Cuba, drinking absinthe in London, fashion week in New York, and traveling with the Hells Angels in California. I have been to Ireland, India, The West Indies, Australia and South Africa.

During my journey I have met leaders of counties, CEO’s, writers, actors, everyday people, and even a yuppie serial killer.

I can tell you about a group of young campers in Arizona who saved hundreds of buffalo from a gratuitous slaughter, a mountain in Montana that is actually one big diamond underneath the trees and dirt, a painting where the man in it physically ages as time goes on. There was the king who killed his brother to take his throne, the prospector in Alaska who was so frozen, he had to light his own hands on fire to keep warm. These are just a few of the things I could tell you about.

Along the way I laughed, cried, loved and hated. I was scared, haunted, guilty, remorseful, resentful, and grateful.

The cost of this extraordinary journey was absolutely nothing, and I never traveled further than my own house. There is no fee for a library card in my hometown. We who live in this small slice of Americana are lucky. Our town is not, as far as I know, run by people with special interests and hidden agendas. Inquires into fiscal or hiring decisions are not met with smug or indignant replies. Most importantly, the town has not reverted to numerous attempts at Proposition two and a half overrides. It is understandable that police and fire departments could outgrow their buildings, need more up to date technology, or require certain staffing levels to perform their duties.

What I find totally unacceptable is the use of scare tactics that use the public library as part of the coercion. It is a disgrace that such treasured institutions are forced to justify their existence and worse, beg and plead for their livelihood. The library is a precious resource and should be treated as such. It is a sanctuary that gives freely, asks absolutely nothing in return, and should never be compromised for any reason.

Friday, November 13, 2009

A Classic Life?

I was on my way to work, scanning the radio for something to make the daily pilgrimage more tolerable, and settled on “Back in Black” by AC/DC. The song ended with the deejay recapping the title and informing me that I was listening to the Loren and Wally show on the station that plays the classics of the sixties, seventies, and eighties.

I was dumbfounded that this song had reached classic status. It seemed like not that long ago, I was listening to this song in the football locker room. The harsh reality set in: that was twenty five years ago( a quarter of a century.)

Equally disturbing, was the fact that Loren and Wally were playing AC/DC. I remembered these two guys as the purveyors of Christopher Cross, Air Supply, and James Taylor; the music that no self-respecting fan of Aerosmith would ever think of listening to. They played Barry Manilow, not Bon Scott.

I started to think about how drastically things have changed since I was a kid. The youths of today have worries, issues, and pressures on them that were unheard of thirty years ago. Sure, we had things to worry about. It was agonizing having to wait an entire week to see if “The Fonz” made it over the chicken stand. There was no internet around to leak the results to us.

Going to McDonalds a.k.a “that Scottish restaurant” as I’m told my wife’s Great Grandmother used to call it, was a special treat and not considered part of the five essential food groups.

Kids today are inundated with graphic public service announcements regarding the hazards of all sorts of things. This is commendable but if you went on a field trip to the Museum of Science in the seventies, I bet you never forgot the image of the “Cancer Lung” that greeted you as you walked in.

The intricate nuances of the human body are now forced on kids while they are still in elementary school. Posters of Farrah Fawcett and Cheryl Tiegs pretty much covered this subject for the youth of my era.

The after school activities for most of today’s younger generation consist of staring at the computer or playing the latest video games. Back in my day, the house was the last place you wanted to be. There was too much fun to be had outside. Rain was about the only thing that kept you inside. Snow was considered an extra bonus.

Times change, society adapts, and we move on. Sesame Street passed the torch to Barney, who handed it off to Hip Hop Harry. In the end, I do take solace in the fact that most of the music of my bygone era has stood the test of time and is still relevant. I don’t think the same will hold true for Soulja Boy, Britney and all of the others though.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Great God Pan

"The Great God Pan" is a novella written by Arthur Machen. I decided to read it based on a list of novels Stephen King listed in the back section of his book "On Writing". I highly recommend it, as it is a perfect example that horror can be just as scary without all the blood and guts. A couple of other nice finds from Mr. Kings list: "The Ax" by Donald Westlake and "Speed Queen"by Stuart O'Nan

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

What A Find Today:

I absolutely love scary things; not blood and guts for the sake of it, just good old fashion scary / thrilling shows. Night Gallery, Twilight Zone, Tales from the Crypt & Darkside, and Chiller to name a few. You can imagine my delight when at my works book fair, I see the complete DVD compilation of Kolchak: the night stalker, on sale for only $4.00!!! This was one of my favorites when I was a kid, and I can't wait to get home and devour it!