Archive for November, 2013

William Shatner’s Annual Warning Not To Set Yourself On Fire Frying a Turkey

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

Just as I’ve done the last two Thanksgivings, I bring you a public service announcement from William Shatner: try not to set yourself on fire while frying a turkey.

For those with low Shatner thresholds, the advice is:

  • Don’t overfill the pot with oil.
  • Turn off the flame when lowering the turkey into the oil.
  • Always fry your turkey away from your house.
  • Properly thaw the turkey before cooking.
  • Use a grease-approved fire extinguisher.
  • If you’re going to fry a turkey, this is pretty sound advice.

    The remix!

    Shoegazer Sunday: Golden Garden’s “Ghostwood”

    Sunday, November 24th, 2013

    I was in the mood for something mellow, and Golden Garden‘s “Ghostwood” admirably fits the bill, even if the video comes in almost entirely on the cheap side of the “cheap but arty” continuum.

    Lead singer Aubrey Rachel Violet Bramble (if in fact that’s a single person’s real name and not a real name + fake name combo) has the most obvious “little girl” voice this side of Alison Shaw of Cranes.

    Reader Requested Book Scan: Joe R. Lansdale’s Molly’s Sexual Follies

    Friday, November 22nd, 2013

    Over on my post about the first hardback edition of Texas Night Riders, reader Jason Bovberg asked for a scan of Joe’s rarest book, the pseudonymous porn novel Molly’s Sexual Follies, since he had never seen one before. I checked online, and indeed there seem to be no scans of this book’s cover, so here’s a scan of my copy.

    Lansdale, Joe R. with Brad Foster (as Mark Simmons). Molly’s Sexual Follies. Beeline Books, 1982. First edition paperback original, a VG- copy with considerable creasing and 1/2″ of separation between front cover and spine at heel.

    Molly's

    Molly's Title

    Any other rarities from The Person Collection (he said vaingloriously) people want to see?

    The Complete Monty Python Reunion Press Conference

    Thursday, November 21st, 2013

    In case you hadn’t heard, Monty Python’s Flying Circus is reuniting for a live show at London’s 02 Arena next July 1st.

    Because I like Monty Python, and because I’m not above blatant click-bait, here’s a video of the entire press conference announcing the reunion.

    Random Notes:

    1. The sound seems screwed up after about 5 minutes, but you can still hear them.

    2. Love the wrong names.
    3. Love Gilliam’s Mr. Bill shirt.
    4. Carol Cleveland looks really, really good for her age.

    Finnish Bread Ad, As by Ingmar Bergman

    Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

    Don Webb alerted me to this Finnish bread ad which is so depressingly grim that it’s hilarious:

    Translation to the only dialog: “Well are you hungry or not?”

    On Don’s Facebook page, Marc Laidlaw suggested that the father and son might be the same actors who were in Rare Exports, and I think he might be right.

    I worked with a Finn once, and he said Finnish National Health care didn’t bother with such frivolities as Novocaine when they were drilling your teeth when he was growing up. No wonder they kicked the Soviet Union’s ass in the winter war…

    Library Additions: A Random Collection of Signed Books

    Monday, November 18th, 2013

    Some more library additions, with no particular theme except books signed by the author.

  • Bear, Greg. Early Harvest. NESFA Press, 1988. First edition hardback, #173 of 250 signed, numbered copies (800 print run total), a Fine copy in a Fine dust jacket and slipcase. Supplements a signed trade copy. Bought off the Internet for $37.50.
  • Bradbury, Ray. Driving Blind Avon Books, 1997. First edition hardback, a Fine copy in a Fine dust jacket. Inscribed by Bradbury: “Marilyn! /Onward!/Ray Bradbury/Oct. 18, ’97”. Bought for $20 off eBay.
  • Gaiman, Neil. Fortunately the Milk…. HarperCollins (UK), 2013. First edition hardback (the UK and U.S. edition were evidently simultaneous), slipcased limited edition (“with exclusive bookmark”) sold by UK bookstore chain Foyle’s signed by Gaiman and illustrator Chris Riddle, a Fine copy, sans dust jacket, as issued, still in shrinkwrap. I think this state came out about a month after the trade edition. Young adult novella. Bought for £19.99 plus shipping off eBay.

    Gaiman Milk

  • Gibson, William. Zero History. Putnum, 2010. First edition hardback, a Fine copy in a Fine dust jacket. Signed by Gibson. Bought for $12 (marked down from $20) at a Half Price Books during a coupon sale.
  • Lake, Jay. Dogs in the Moonlight. Prime Books, 2004. First edition hardback, a Fine copy in a Fine- dust jacket with a bit of wear at the tips. Signed by Lake. Missed this when it came out, mainly because Prime was still part of Wildside. Bought for $24 off the Internet.
  • Lake, Jay. Endurance. Tor, 2011. Signed by Lake. Bought for 20% off cover at the San Antonio Worldcon.
  • Pohl, Frederik, with Jack Williamson. The Saga of Cuckoo. Nelson Doubleday (SFBC), 1983. First edition thus and first hardback (a book club omnibus edition of Farthest Star and A World Around a Star, both previously published only in paperback), code “N34” on page 433 (as per ISFDB), a Fine- copy with a tiny bit of crimping at head and heel, in a Fine dust jacket. Signed by both Pohl and Williamson. Bought for $22.50 off eBay.
  • Powers, Tim/James P. Blaylock. The Way Down the Hill/The Pink of Fading Neon. Axoltl Press, 1986. First Edition hardback, #178 of 300 hardback copies by both authors and introducers Ed Bryant and Charles De Lint, a Fine copy in a Fine dust jacket. Bought for $30 plus shipping from Heritage Auctions. One of those books I wasn’t sure whether I owned or not, since I had the other Axolotl Press Powers and Blaylock books…
  • Quick Impressions: Almost Human Surprisingly Good

    Sunday, November 17th, 2013

    By accident I tuned into Fox just as Almost Human was premiering, expecting to watch The Simpsons, and actually got sucked in, almost against my will, since I had zero initial interest in a cop/robot buddy series.

    But what what the show is actually doing is broadcast American TV’s first serious attempt to rip-off Blade Runner and much of the entire cyberpunk canon for a cop show, and it actually does (considering the constraints of the form) a halfway decent job of it. The cop/robot interaction is (thus far) only a subplot to the main story of an injured cop returning to the force just as the powerful criminal syndicate that killed his partner and blew off his leg has returned to the scene. Surprisingly, none of the science fiction elements struck me as egregiously stupid, and they actually seem to have put some thought into the near-future setting of the show. Michael Ealy (Dorian the robot partner) hits the underplayed robot cop part very well, Mackenzie Crook brings brings some Whovian British Geek charm to the department’s robot specialist, and Karl Urban is pretty good as the lead; he needs to dial back his Gruff Stoic setting about 15%, but is otherwise fine. I could do without the “look, here’s a flying whatsit at the edge of the scene-bump just to say it’s SF” trope, but it’s not annoying.

    Actually, the most problematic bits are on the police procedural end rather than the SF end. The building they work in looks entirely too clean, sparse and modern to be a real police office (like everything else, Blade Runner did it better with a real lived-in look); it’s too clean even for the already too clean CSI look. Ditto the “look at my spacious, open city apartment on a cop’s salary.” And you can already tell which characters (“Hi there, I’m the love interest!”) are going to be doing which buddy cop cliches. You have bits of The Dark Knight and (I’m guessing) Saw in the “over-complicated villain plotting” device. And it has the “lots of shoot-outs” modern cop/action show trope going on, which may or may not be a problem, depending on the direction they take.

    I’m actually planning on watching this, which may be my first regular non-animated US broadcast series since, geeze, maybe Homicide: Life on the Streets. (I’m not much of a TV watcher, what with all the writing and book buying and Internetting and the Glavin!)

    But despite that, it blends the cyberpunk and police procedural bits pretty (plus obvious dollops of The Caves of Steel and Starsky & Hutch). It’s obviously got money behind the production, which goes pretty far in TV. J.J. Abrams is the executive producer, so it’s possible the characters will turn into idiots further down the line. And it’s not as a good a cyberpunk police procedural as Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. But for now I actually think it may be worth your attention.

    Shoegazer Sunday: Slowness’ “Walls of Blue”

    Sunday, November 17th, 2013

    For your Sunday dose of Shoegaze, here’s San Francisco’s Slowness (who describe themselves as a “drone pop band”) with “Walls of Blue,” a steady-state song that sounds like an extended riff off the end of Pink Floyd’s “Time.”

    They’re Dogs! And They’re Playing…Magic?

    Sunday, November 17th, 2013

    I don’t back that many Kickstarters, but this one is tempting, especially since I do like the iconic work of Cassius Marcellus Coolidge, and appreciate the conniptions he induces in the Art Police.

    The problem is, I’ve never played Magic: The Gathering. But I bet there are enough people out there who have to make this Kickstarter, which is currently 30% away from their $1,000 goal.

    (Hat tip: Moe Lane.)

    The Lion Sleeps Tonight

    Thursday, November 14th, 2013

    Since I’ve reached the age where being “cool” is impossible anyway, I can link things others might find corny, like this version of The Tokens revisiting their big hit “The Lion Sleeps Tonight” in 2001:

    This, of course, was an adaptation of Solomon Linda’s “Mbube”:

    But the Tokens version is better and more interesting, despite the fact that they could be mistaken for 4 Jacks and a Jill. It’s obvious lead singer Jay Siegel still loves singing this song even after four decades.

    But my favorite version, which sort of combines the sensibilities of the two, is Ladysmith Black Mombazo and all-girl acapella group The Mint Julips covering it, from a PBS special called Spike and Company Do It Acapella from back in 1990.