Headlines That Shouldn’t Be True But Are

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Oct 292014
 

Bible-toting ‘f*cking Christian’ throws screaming tantrum at In-N-Out
Burger
(these aren't Christians-they're Kristians)

‘So Bill Maher is the Grand Dragon of the KKK?’ MSNBC debate goes off
the rails

Florida cop goes bonkers on ‘f*cking little wise-ass 20-year-old punk’

Georgia GOP county chair accused of attempted rape after crime is
broadcast live on Skype

Georgia investigator: Lazy and violent ‘black culture’ to blame for
1-year-old boy’s shooting death
(you can bet this'll be a fair investigation)

Pat Robertson shames terminally ill woman planning suicide for
promoting liberal ‘culture of death’
(I think Pat should try assissted suicide-I know a lot of people who'd help him)

Chris Christie shrugs off detained Ebola nurse’s threat to sue:
‘Whatever. Get in line.’

Phony Trump University delivered ‘neither Donald Trump nor a
university,’ suit claims
(yeah Trump's name guarantees intellectual excellence)

Halloween ‘lynching’ display removed from on-base home at Fort Campbell
(remember now racism is dead)

6 foods you think are vegetarian but aren’t

Former Texas cop accused of raping teen girl while other officers
watched
(what a crack police force)

Comedian John Fugelsang comes up with great reasons why you shouldn’t
vote next week

Arizona's Sheriff Joe Arpaio ordered to undergo training to stop racial
profiling
(i'm betting this asshole winds up on death row yet)

700-year-old 'zombie' virus shows climate change could unleash ancient
diseases

Ferguson’s police chief denies ouster, but he and other officials
signal possible shakeup
(what could possibly be wrong with the Ferguson police dept?)

‘Young Turks’ rip ‘moron’ Sarah Palin for comparing climate change to
eugenics

Russia offers the US help with space station after rocket explodes
(no irony here--the motor that exploded was Russian)

Fox pundit's 'American jihad' plan: 'Every tax dollar is tithing' in
our 'God-given right' to fight Arabs
(Stephen Colbert refers to this guy(Dr. Keith Ablow) as Dr. Keith A Blow Me)

This is what 10 hours of street harassment experienced by a woman looks
like

Stephen Colbert butchers the NRA for killing bill that banned the
eating of puppies and kittens
(absolutely true--in Penn. (thanks to the NRA you can still butcher and sell and eat cats and dogs)

Jon Stewart mocks Mitch McConnell: He still has to buy friends and
likeability


Oct 292014
 
Reviewed by JONATHAN LEWIS:         


DR. RENAULT’S SECRET. 20th Century Fox, 1942. J. Carrol Naish, John Shepperd, Lynne Roberts, George Zucco. Director: Harry Lachman.

“THE MASTER PLAN OF DR. FU MANCHU.” An episode of The Adventures of Dr. Fu Manchu. Original air date: 2 June 1956. Glen Gordon (Dr. Fu Manchu), Lester Matthews (Sir Dennis Nayland Smith) Clark Howat (Dr. John Petrie), Carla Balenda, Laurette Luez, John George. Guest Cast: Alan Dexter, Steven Geray (Mr. X). Based on characters created by Sax Rohmer. Director: William Witney.

   One of the most terrifying tasks (in a good way) that a successful horror/thriller director can do is to transport the viewer into a claustrophobic, eerie, and self-enclosed celluloid universe in which evil both lurks in the shadows and hides in plain sight. And you don’t even need an oversized budget to do it and to do it extraordinarily well.

   The trick, it would seem, is to keep the running time short, the atmosphere creepy, and the plot concerned with human physicality gone awry.

   Such is the case for two gems I watched this Halloween week.

   The first, Dr. Renault’s Secret, stars J. Carrol Naish and George Zucco in a cinematic admonition against tampering with the evolutionary demarcation that separates man from ape. Zucco portrays the eponymous Dr. Renault, an egotistical, sadistic, and downright creepy French scientist with a beautiful niece, Madeline (Lynne Roberts).

   Naish, in a chillingly sinister role, portrays Noel, Renault’s simian-like assistant, a man of unbridled rage and murderous intent. From the moment you see him lurk about on the screen, you know there’s something just so terribly not normal about this tragic character. John Sheppard rounds out the main players as Dr. Larry Forbes, Madeline Renault’s American fiancé.

   Directed by Harry Lachman, Dr. Renault’s Secret has that I-know-it-when-I see-it film noir aspect to it. Light and shadow are utilized to convey meaning, there are numerous camera shots from oddly distinct angles, and Noel can certainly be considered to be the film’s doomed protagonist, a man trapped in an out-of-control world.

   Also look for the noir-like mise-en-scene, the numerous staircases, doorways, and pathways that play prominent roles in conveying a story about Renault’s psychological descent into madness and Noel’s descent into savagery.

   In “The Master Plan of Dr. Fu Manchu,” an episode of the television show, The Adventures of Dr. Fu Manchu, a physician is pressured into performing plastic surgery on a man long thought dead but who is very much alive: Adolf Hitler.

   Fu Manchu, Satan incarnate, kidnaps Dr. Harlow Henderson, a friend of Petrie, and under the threat of torture, forces him to change the face of Hitler into the visage of an ordinary looking man, a person of unspeakable evil who could then safely hide in plain sight.

   Directed by William Witney, this thrilling episode has it all: murder by tarantula, Cold War paranoia, Nazis in an underground South Pacific hideaway, and the psychologically discomforting notion that physicians, with the use of surgical implements, could fundamentally re-alter a man’s physical identity.

   The last five minutes or so of this episode showcase Witney’s strength as a director of action sequences. After all, we get the thrill of witnessing Smith shoot and kill Hitler!

 Posted by at 7:33 pm

And The Story Changes Again

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Oct 292014
 

I’m sorry. I don’t mean to be a big buzz kill. But the unfolding Ebola story fascinates me in the way that driving by a car crash fascinates rubberneckers. I know that says nothing good about me, but hey, I yam what I yam.

In this latest from the NY Post, the CDC admits for the first time that Ebola can indeed be spread from droplets…like from a sneeze. My suspicion is that the story is changing from the CDC because it knows fairly soon it’s not going to be able to explain away the rash of new cases headed our way within the next month, and it wants to be on record for having covered all bases on warnings.

For those following along at home, we’ve gone from “the risk of Ebola coming to the U.S. is extremely low” from the CDC and the President (when they had both been advised it was 25% within 3-6 weeks at the beginning of Sept), to “Ebola is nothing to worry about, we’ll beat this” from the mainstream media (which abruptly went silent with that BS when the New Yorker printed its expose yesterday featuring statements from some of the foremost experts in the country on the disease who make it clear that it’s the farthest thing from easily beaten or nothing to worry about that you could imagine), to “It’s not that contagious,” to…”It could be spread via a sneeze or contact with sweat.”

Does anyone see the progression here? No? Just me?

Now, before we get started with the witticisms, a la “More people have married Kim Kardashian than died of Ebola in the U.S.,” which while a knee slapper and arguably a worse fate, will likely only hold true for a little while longer, stop and consider the nature of the U.S. response to a deadly BSL-4 pathogen that’s raging out of control in West Africa.

It has been purely politically-driven, and even at that flies in the face of what the majority of Americans say they want (in the latest polls, nearly 70% want a travel ban), and that most U.S. doctors deem prudent (75% favor a travel ban). In other words, continuing to issue visas to hot zone countries flies in the face of the will of the people, as well as what people with medical training recommend.

Does that seem like a smart way to handle a disease that is deadly, contagious, and for which there’s no cure?

Fatal Exchange has a countdown deal right now, and is .99 for a day or so. Get it while it’s hot. My first published novel. You could do worse. Like being sneezed on by a symptomatic doctor who’s just returned from Liberia and isn’t feeling tip top as he rides the subway or bounces next to you in the rock concert.

Just saying.

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Oct 292014
 
Retired Navy SEAL Nate "Nasty" Jepson meets a man on the run, carrying a bag full of beef sticks. When the guy gets killed and Nate manages to get away safe with the beef things get dangerous. When his landlady gets kidnapped things get even more personal.
While he struggles to stay alive and tries to get to the bottom of things Nate Jepson also finds some time for romance.
Nate is a pretty cool and competent PI, but not the kind of superman you might expect if you read that he used to be a Navy SEAL. Sure, he can take care of himself but he also gets scared a little and is not a flawless fighter.
The book's biggest strength is also the weakness. We really get in the head of Nate as he tells the story. It's a nice voice, and I really liked the guy. In some places all his asides started to slow down the pacing a bit, though.
If the writer tightens the writing just a tad this will be a great new series.
Oct 292014
 
I was really happy with this novel, one of the best of this writer in years. Where most of the last few novels seemed a bit by-the-numbers and more of an episode of Law & Order then the great mystery series this used to be this one has Mr. Kellerman returning to form.
When psychologist Alex Delaware gets involved in a custody case the losing party bears him a lot of ill will, endangering his life. When people start getting killed and an innocent child goes missing he, together with gay detective Milo Sturgis investigates.
What makes this one so great is that we see Alex do more than just investigate crimes. There's a whole plot other than him just helping out Milo. It made the story more varied and enjoyable. Also, there was a bit more action than the endless theorizing and interviewing of the last few novels.
Here's hoping Mr. Kellerman continues in this way.
Oct 292014
 

Lynne Patrick

A few days ago my husband raised his head from the sports pages of one of the weekend papers and mused aloud, ‘How do you punctuate this to make sure it means what you want it to?’

I managed not to punch the air and utter a yell of triumph. Instead, I replied mildly,’What?’

He read a sentence which, in the way of these things, could have meant two different things, depending on the judicious placement of commas and hyphens. In the event, the journalist, or possibly sub-editor, if they exist any more, had got it right; the newspaper was a respectable one, and clearly some people still care about these things.

Husband isn’t usually one of them, so the air-punching and yelling, or not in this case, was, I think, an understandable reaction given this maths and science graduate I married, who can make numbers sing and dance, often shows signs of having cut school the day they did punctuation (yes, in those long-gone days we actually did punctuation at school), and doesn’t often get why it matters so much to me. Any indication that my protestations actually have an impact comes as a welcome surprise. No doubt he found English lessons as tedious as I used to find maths – though maybe at the time a little voice in the back of my mind told me I should pay attention because some of it might be useful one day. The little voice was right, and I tried, but a few years ago when weekly sales figures and annual balance sheets played a large part in my life I had reason to wish I had paid more attention.

Numbers invade everyone’s life, even if it’s only to keep track of what we owe on our credit cards. But whole days can go by when the only numbers I encounter are on the cars and houses I pass on my morning walk, or the keypad of my laptop as my fingers hit the rest of the keyboard or twiddle the mouse. Whereas words... Well, words are the stuff of life, aren’t they? They’re the way we communicate, gather information, entertain ourselves. Live our lives, in fact.

So surely it should follow as night the day that we need to use every possible means to ensure they mean exactly what we want them to mean. If you get my drift.

My favourite example of how the humble comma can move mountains. Well, OK, maybe not mountains, but...

Can you sing, Maria?

Can you sing Maria?

I know. You’ve heard it before. At least, regular followers, if I have any who aren’t bored senseless by my constant banging on on this subject, have heard it before. But I’m not apologizing. It matters. I’ve read three uncorrected proofs of new books in the past ten days or so, every one of them littered with glitches: misused or absent commas, sentences I had to read three times because they could have been taken three different ways, all manner of errors which someone, preferably the author, really ought to have picked up before the book arrived at the uncorrected proof stage.

The stuff of life, I called words. More so for writers than for anyone else. They’re the tools of our trade. And if schools don’t teach kids to use them properly any more (I suppose there’s a case to be made for encouraging creativity by not covering the pages of a story in red ink), it’s down to the publishing house to ensure that the book that makes it to the shelves is the book the author meant to write.

And that means editors. They’re not a luxury.

Is anyone listening out there?

Oct 292014
 
VanderMeer: I’ve read a lot of fiction on the noir/horror side, and it's very difficult for me to find something new in a novel of this type. Yet even the most horrible things you describe also have an element of unexpected beauty to them.
Beukes: The novel was always about the artistic impulse. It was always about the urge to try and create something beautiful, to try and remake the world in a way where things are malleable, where things can reach their potential. As far as [the antagonist is] concerned, he is looking inside people to try and bring something beautiful out in them, and he just does it in a terrible way.
With The Shining Girls, I wanted to write a real serial killer, which is a loathsome, empty, broken human being. There is nothing admirable about them. They are just scumbags. Impotent scumbags. That is what real serial killers are. They are opportunistic, violent men, and they have no insight into why they do what they do, and they are certainly not outwitting detectives while sipping Chianti and sautéing someone's liver. With this particular killer, I was much more interested in thwarted ambition. The creative urge, being possessed by the creative urge and trying to find your audience and not being overlooked. It's kind of a broken masculinity as well. It's a hungriness that the killer is filled with … He doesn't mean for this to happen the way it does, and I feel a lot of sympathy for him. Which is not to say that the acts aren't atrocious and horrific and awful.

What recent read really surprised you?

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Oct 292014
 
I rarely put much value on being surprised because I don't read whodunits. But THE GOOD GIRL offered a very late twist that caught me up. Didn't see it coming by a country mile. THE GOOD GIRL is a story of a kidnapping that careens out of control. I liked it all the way through but the ending sealed the deal for me.


What recent read surprised you?