Wednesday, December 31, 2008

It's like trying to take down a bomber with a peashooter

But it's all we got.

Just tuned in to the last 15 minutes of the current Twilight Zone episode at the Sci Fi Channel. As usual, for a holiday, they'showing marathons, and also as usual, it's the Twilight Zone.

Unlike usually, or unusually I suppose I should say, the TV guide on my TV (I"ve got satellite) is no help. It tells me that I"m watching Twilight Zone, but doesn't give the title. Most annoying.

Anyway, a police officer and a woman are being terrorized by something out in the dark. All kinds of stilted dialog - you know right away Rod Serling wrote this episode. At the end, the woman runs...and of course she falls. Anytime in a 1950s tv series - heck, probably even up to the 80s, anytime a woman runs she will inevitably fall so that the man can arrive and protect her from whatever it is she's runnng from (or allow her to be captured so the man can rescue her).

Then, we see this giant spaceman, 40 stories taller than they are. Just standing there, not making any threatening moves.

The cop says all he's got is a gun, and that trying to take down the alien with it is "like trying to take down a bomber with a peashooter, but it's all we've got."

And so he starts shooting with this "peashooter" - at an alien that's doing nothing more than standing still, making no threatening moves, but fortunately it's not an alien but a balloon, and so it crumples.

Then they find a teeny tiny flying saucer, and fortunatley the two aliens inside speak English as they beg to be able to return home, as the Earth people aren't frightened.

To put it bluntly, not one of TZ's better episodes.

Anyway, starred Mark Richman, an actor with a recognizable face, but I couldn't place the name to it until the end. Took me slightly less time with Hazel Court, although she did look a bit more aged than in The Raven (Boris Karloff, Vincent Price, Peter Lorre, Jack Nicholson) which is the onl thing I've ever seen her in.

Most of the Twilight Zone episodes are a lot of fun. Several of 'em have "morals" or "messages" that could be well-considered today, but I must say that Rod Serling's dialog does run a little stilted and/or ...grandileloquent isn't the word I'm looking for but the proper word is escaping me for some reason...pompous? It takes great actors to be able to say those lines with a straight face, or convincingly.

Just c hecked the IMDB, and found that this episode, filmed in the 5th season, 1964, was the last episode of Twilight Zone to be filmed. The last episode to be aired was The Bewitchin Pool.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

NCIS Fan Fiction

I don't watch a lot of new TV... for various and sundry reasons, but I typically catch up with them during holidays like 4th of July, News Years Eve, Christmas, etc., when every channel has a marathon going on.

I think it was this 4th of July that I first saw NCIS (Mark Harmon, Michael Weatherly, Sasha Alexander, Cote De Pablo, Sean Murphy), in a marathon, and liked it. And, for the past two months, as I've been struggling with depression regarding those %^&$%^&* adsense people, when I didn't feel like doing any work, I'd write instead.

So a lot of my fiction is at Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) NCIS is one of the most popular targets of fan fiction, with 20 stories or so added every day, so my excellent offerings get buried. So, I decided to start a blog for my fanfiction, called The People Out There, which is the title of one of my stories, and will share material there.

And I also created a fan video, a little story of how Cait and Gibbs got together.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Science fiction at BBC Radio 7, Dec 29

Well, one of my many new year's resolutions is to post in this blog without missing a single day of 2009.

I've also got some new plans for coordinating this blog with its companion webzine, The Thunder Child, so stay tuned for those.

And as always, please support this site by purchasing items through my Ebay links. (If the wealth hasn't been spread your way, find what you need on Ebay.) I invented that slogan, and I like it!

So what's on BBC 7 digital radio for today, Monday, December 29, which will in turn be available to listen to for the next 7 days. (Not to mention, rebroadcast probably two months from now, so if you miss something, dn't despair.)

Doctor Who: The Commentaries. The Doctor Who cast and crew discuss the Christmas special, The Next Doctor.

The Voice of God, by Simon Bovey, is being broadcast again. Unnatural earthquakes in Australia signal disaster for the world. In addition to a great script, I really love the music in this.

Saturday's offerings are still avaialable, of course.

There's Space Hacks, about two journalists who live in a spaceship (Pauline Collins voice as the computer, Mother) trying to do as little work as possible for their employer, a great big mean ol' alien.

A two hour installment of His Dark Materials: Northern Lights (what the movie The Golden Compass was based on.)

Hordes of the Things: A JRR Tolkien parody

So be there or be a large, rectulanguar thing.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

New blogs for 2009

November and December are particularly bad months for the weight-challenged. It's so easy to gain weight, and very hard to lose weight, during this season.

I've started a new blog which will help people lose weight.

Check it out at:

Thursday, December 25, 2008


I've been struggling with depression for the last couple of weeks... not clinical depression, I hasten to add, just general depression because of the way Google Adsense screwed me over, and the fact that I has having no luck at all with Ebay, which is what I'd replaced Adsense with.

Well, today, just got an alert that I'd earned $9.91.

I don't know what for - Ebay's reporting system is not as sophisticated as Adsense, but sometime in the last few days someone went through one of my Ebay ads to buy something, and whatever it was was expensive enough to get me a $9.91 payout.

So I've got a long way to go to replace the lost income stream from Adsense, but at least this shows that there's the possibility of making some real money here. The most a single click from Adsense ever netted me was $2.00, or slightly less, and here I got $9.91.

So my enthusiasm is renewed and I'll get back to work at the first of the new year.

So easily is depression lifted!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Well...I haven't been posting here much lately.

Truth to tell, I'm still struggling with depression. As I posted a month or so ago, after three years of hard work to gradually bring my webzines (the thunder child and you fly girl) to a point where my Google Adsense ads were actually making me money, with every expectation that that income would continue to increase exponentially, Adsense cancelled my account, without warning or explanation.

I wasn't breaking TOS - and even if I was, couldn't they have sent me an email? Hey - you're doing this, which is a violation of TOS. Stop doing it in 24 hours or we'll cancel your account. And then I could have fixed...whatever it was.

But no. Instead I try to access my account and am told it's disabled. I search and search and find an email address where I can send an email asking to be reinstated. So I send this email, pointing out that I don't know why my account was disabled and to please explain. And I get no answer.

So my revenue stream is gone. Three years of hard work. Gone.

I replaced the Adsense ads with Ebay ads, which I actually had high hopes of, because it was the same thing where you could specifically target science fiction books, tvs or movies in the ads that would show up. But it's been a total waste of time. No money generated at all.

So I've got a couch stacked high with books, movies and TV shows I'd been intending to review, articles I'd intended to write, etc. etc.,and I just can't muster up the energy to do anything.

Then of course there's the state of the economy and the country and the world these days, which isn't doing my mood any good, either.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Beverly Garland at Williamsburg Film Festival

Beverly Garland was at the Williamsburg Film Festival in 2006 or so, and I videoed her as she introduced the screening of Not of this Earth, and then took questions afterwards.

Umfortunately, I had a brand new video camera and for some reason I decided I wanted her full body view instead of just her head and torso, so I turned the camera on its side. So of course she's sideways in 1/2 of the first video and all of the second, and I apologize for that.

However, she's fun, she's vivacious, and so I think you'll be able to enjoy anyway.

Here's the Intro to Not Of This Earth:

Part 2 of Beverly, Not of This Earth...all sideways

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Beverly Garland has died

I first saw her in person a couple of years ago, when she appeared at the Williamsburg Film Festival. I have a bit of video of her... unfortnately I was using a new digital camera and didnt' realize that if you held the camera sideways, the video would come out sideways...

I'm tempted to share it anyway...

Nevertheless, here is her obit.

Beverly Garland, versatile actress in film and TV, dies at 82

In a career spanning more than 50 years, she moved from B-movie cult stardom to scores of roles in television, notably on 'My Three Sons.' She also operated a namesake hotel in North Hollywood.
By Dennis McLellan
11:19 AM PST, December 6, 2008
Beverly Garland, whose long and varied acting career ranged from B-movie cult stardom in the 1950s portraying gutsy characters in movies such as "Not of This Earth" and "It Conquered the World" to playing Fred MacMurray's wife on the sitcom "My Three Sons," has died. She was 82.

Garland, who also was an involved owner of her namesake hotel in North Hollywood, died Friday evening after a lengthy illness at her Hollywood Hills home, said son-in-law Packy Smith.

In a more-than-50-year career that began with her film debut in a supporting role in the 1950 film noir classic "D.O.A.," Garland appeared in about 40 films and scores of television shows.

She was once called "one of the finest actresses in this windblown theater" by former Times TV critic Cecil Smith and was nominated for an Emmy Award in 1955 for her performance as a leukemia patient in the pilot of the medical drama "Medic."

"Not only was she a terrific actress, she was one of those special gals who was fun to work with," said Mike Connors, who appeared with Garland in director Roger Corman's low-budget 1955 film "Swamp Women" and later worked with her when she made guest appearances on his TV detective series "Mannix."

"She had a great sense of humor, she was very thoughtful and had a great laugh," Connors said. "You couldn't help but laugh with her when she laughed."

Despite her reputation for doing heavy drama -- including playing a suicidal alcoholic in a "Dr. Kildare" episode -- Garland showed her lighter side playing Bing Crosby's wife in the short-lived situation comedy "The Bing Crosby Show" in the mid-'60s.

She returned to comedy in "My Three Sons" as the second wife of MacMurray's widower Steve Douglas during the last three seasons of the popular series that aired from 1960 to 1972.

"The only thing that bothers me is that everybody loves this character so much," Garland told The Times in 1969. "I don't remember anybody loving me all that much."

Garland also played her fair share of mothers in TV series. She was Stephanie Zimbalist's in the 1980s in "Remington Steele," Kate Jackson's in the 1980s in "Scarecrow and Mrs. King" and Teri Hatcher's in the 1990s in "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman." She also had recurring roles in the TV shows "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman," "7th Heaven" and the ABC soap opera "Port Charles."

Early in her career, Garland played undercover New York police officer Casey Jones in the 1957-59 syndicated series "Decoy," reportedly the first American TV police series built around a female protagonist. Garland's big-screen credits included roles in films such as "The Joker Is Wild" (1957), "Pretty Poison" (1968), "Where the Red Fern Grows" (1974) and "Airport 1975" (1974).

But her starring roles in low-budget exploitation films in the '50s such as "The Alligator People" gave her an enduring cult status.

For Corman, she starred in five films in the 1950s: "Gunslinger," "It Conquered the World," "Naked Paradise," "Not of This Earth" and "Swamp Women."

"Part of what made her a favorite of B-movie fans was that she was seldom a shrinking violet in her movies," Tom Weaver, a science fiction and fantasy film expert, told The Times. "In fact, she was just the opposite."

In "It Conquered the World," "she grabs a rifle and goes gunning for the monster in its own lair. In 'The Alligator People,' she chases an alligator man into the swamp, and so on," he said.

"She didn't play the demure, reserved heroines very well," Weaver said.

Garland acknowledged that in a 1985 interview with Weaver for Fangoria magazine.

"I never considered myself very much of a passive kind of actress," she said. "I was never very comfortable in love scenes, never comfortable playing a sweet, lovable lady."

She was born Beverly Fessenden in Santa Cruz, Calif., on Oct. 17, 1926, and grew up in Glendale, where she studied acting in high school and began working in little theater, which she continued after the family moved to Phoenix. She became Beverly Garland when she married actor Richard Garland; they were divorced in 1953 after less than four years of marriage. An earlier, brief marriage to Bob Campbell when she was 18 also ended in divorce.

In 1960, she married real estate developer Fillmore Crank, a widower with two children, Cathleen and Fillmore Jr. They had two more children, Carrington Goodman and James Crank.

In 1972, the couple built their mission-style hotel in North Hollywood, now called Beverly Garland's Holiday Inn. They also built a hotel in Sacramento that bore Garland's name in the '80s but later sold it.

Garland, whose husband died in 1999, remained involved in running the North Hollywood hotel.

She was the honorary mayor of North Hollywood and served on the boards of the California Tourism Corp. and the Greater Los Angeles Visitors and Convention Bureau.

Garland is survived by four children, eight grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

Plans for a memorial service are pending.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Forry Ackerman has died...

Read tributes to Forry at various message boards:


From the AP wire...

Sci-fi's grand old man, Forrest J Ackerman, dies

By JOHN ROGERS, Associated Press Writer John Rogers, Associated Press Writer - 10 mins ago

LOS ANGELES - Forrest J Ackerman, the sometime actor, literary agent, magazine editor and full-time bon vivant who discovered author Ray Bradbury and was widely credited with coining the term "sci-fi," has died. He was 92.

Ackerman died Thursday of heart failure at his Los Angeles home, said Kevin Burns, head of Prometheus Entertainment and a trustee of Ackerman's estate.

Although only marginally known to readers of mainstream literature, Ackerman was legendary in science-fiction circles as the founding editor of the pulp magazine Famous Monsters of Filmland. He was also the owner of a huge private collection of science-fiction movie and literary memorabilia that for years filled every nook and cranny of a hillside mansion overlooking Los Angeles.

"He became the Pied Piper, the spiritual leader, of everything science fiction, fantasy and horror," Burns said Friday.

Every Saturday morning that he was home, Ackerman would open up the house to anyone who wanted to view his treasures. He sold some pieces and gave others away when he moved to a smaller house in 2002, but he continued to let people visit him every Saturday for as long as his health permitted.

"My wife used to say, 'How can you let strangers into our home?' But what's the point of having a collection like this if you can't let people enjoy it?" an exuberant Ackerman told The Associated Press as he conducted a spirited tour of the mansion on his 85th birthday.

His collection once included more than 50,000 books, thousands of science-fiction magazines and such items as Bela Lugosi's cape from the 1931 film "Dracula."

His greatest achievement, however, was likely discovering Bradbury, author of the literary classics "Fahrenheit 451" and "The Martian Chronicles." Ackerman had placed a flyer in a Los Angeles bookstore for a science-fiction club he was founding and a teenage Bradbury showed up.

Later, Ackerman gave Bradbury the money to start his own science-fiction magazine, Futuria Fantasia, and paid the author's way to New York for an authors meeting that Bradbury said helped launch his career.

"I hadn't published yet, and I met a lot of these people who encouraged me and helped me get my career started, and that was all because of Forry Ackerman," the author told the AP in 2005.

Later, as a literary agent, Ackerman represented Bradbury, Isaac Asimov and numerous other science-fiction writers.

He said the term "sci-fi" came to him in 1954 when he was listening to a car radio and heard an announcer mention the word "hi-fi."

"My dear wife said, 'Forget it, Forry, it will never catch on,'" he recalled.

Soon he was using it in Famous Monsters of Filmland, the magazine he helped found in 1958 and edited for 25 years.

Ackerman himself appeared in numerous films over the years, usually in bit parts. His credits include "Queen of Blood," "Dracula vs. Frankenstein," "Amazon Women on the Moon," "Vampirella," "Transylvania Twist," "The Howling" and the Michael Jackson "Thriller" video. More recently, he appeared in 2007's "The Dead Undead" and 2006's "The Boneyard Collection."

Ackerman returned briefly to Famous Monsters of Filmland in the 1990s, but he quickly fell out with the publisher over creative differences. He sued and was awarded a judgment of more than $375,000.

Forrest James Ackerman was born in Los Angeles on Nov. 24, 1916. He fell in love with science-fiction, he once said, when he was 9 years old and saw a magazine called Amazing Stories. He would hold onto that publication for the rest of his life.

Ackerman, who had no children, was preceded in death by his wife, Wendayne.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

What's on Radio, December 3

Today, and for the next seven days at the BBC 7 digital radio website, you can listen to:

Before the Screaming Begins, episode 2
Alien abductee Tom Harris is removed to protective custody. Wally K Daly's sci-fi trilogy stars James Laurenson

Out of the Silent Planet Episode 7
Ransom journeys into the mountains to find Augray's Tower and views, through a Malacandrian telescope, his own planet the Earth.

The website isnt' as easy to navigate as it once I'm providing the links in a different manner.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Well...I've been working for the past couple of days replacing my Google Ad Sense ads with an Ebay ad... not that I expect anything to come of it. I've had a couple of other affiliate tries, Warbirds - which did aircraft models, and some kind of poster store, and had no luck, and no clicks, with either. Adsense was my one profitable revenue stream, and for them to just take it away from me...

What's worse of course is that they didn't bother to tell me why! I have no porn on the site, no racist remarks, no offensive content (that any "normal" person would deem offensive - I call Obama a socialist and he is one!) .... what else is there? Click fraud? I can't click on my own ads, that's the rules, but even if I *did* click on them, I earn no money because the system knows that the click comes from my how can I be involved in click fraud?

So I'm sitting here, bewildered and pissed off, and if I had deep enough pockets, I'd start a lawsuit so quick it would make their heads spin. Because that's what really irks...the fact that they won't explain why they've done this. Their "explanation" page says they don't explain why in order to "protect" their customers, but you know it's because they're trying to protect themselves from lawsuits. Well, I'd sue 'em anyway if I had any money.

So...with my money-making webzines rendered useless, I've just been putzing around for the last few days, thinking, "What's the use..." Even if I made any reasonable amount of money, the guvmint would just find a way of taking it away... either through mismanaging the economy so that the dollar becomes worthless, or increasing taxes so all my hard-earned money gets taken from me and "spread around" to other people who did nothing to earn it (and therefore, and this is human nature, won't appreciate it - and therefore demand more as their "due"!)

God I'm pissed off!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Good Search

As far as I know, Google hasn't bought out Yahoo yet (interesting how Bill Gates gets in trouble for "monopolies" when huge corporations like Google can buy up stuff like Dejanews and Blogger and nobody says a word...)

Anyway, don't use Google as your home page or your search engine! Use Good Search.

It's Yahoo's search engine, and by using it, and choosing a charity of your choice to receive the money, you will be helping out a charity. It's only a nickel or so per search, which is not much at all, but hey, every lil bit helps out.

Is the URL for Good search.

If you don't have a charity already in mind, may I suggest either:

Alzheimers CURE Foundation (one of several Alzheimer's charities participating in this program)


International Women's Air and Space Musuem

Boycott Google Adsense

My rage at Google Adsense continues to grow.

Saturday morning, I signed on to my Google Adsense account to see how many nickels I'd earned up to that point. I don't earn much from this revenue stream, a couple of dollars a day at most, but at the end of the year it was enough to pay for my hosting account for my website.

But... I found out that my account had been disabled. Absolutely no warning. No explanation. I found a form letter "request for reinstatement" or whatever the heck it was called at Google's Help Section, and sent that in, and supposedly it takes 48 hours before they decide if they'll reinstate your account.

But...this just annoys the hell out of me. I don't know what I've done...I don't know what's wrong, and they won't tell me. (Their policy is that they have the right to terminate your account at any time, and don't have to tell you why. Presumably this is to avoid law suits, should you find out that they're doing it because they don't like the content of your website.)

Well, all I've got on my site is science fiction, a tribute to a few actors, and that's it! I recently started a site in which I planned to cover Obama's first four years as President "through the prism of a small business owner who isn't looking forward to "redistribution of wealth"", but surely they wouldn't disable me because of that.

As for click fraud, what the hell's that? Even if I click on my own page's ads, I don't get any money, their system catches it. So if someone *else* clicks on an ad a gazillion times, shouldn't *they* be the ones punished by having their ISP banned, not having my site ruined????

Now, what I just found out today, is the Search box that I had on every page is also no longer functional. Presumably this is because if anyone does a search, there are Google ads on the search page... but if my account is disabled why not just make those ads invisible? Instead, my entire search box just...won't.... work.

So, I'm assuming that the 48-hour thing meant Monday through Friday, so I'll be giving them until Tuesday night to reinstate me.

But even after that, I'm 90% determined to get rid of all their ads from my site. I'll write up some ebooks or other material of my own to sell, and make my own ads for them, and to hell with Adsense!

Hate to lose the searchbox, though, because that was a nice feature...

Nevertheless, I also won't be clicking on anybody else's google ad sense ads... and if you're a friend, you wont either! (The URL that the ad is supposed to direct you to is at the very bottom of the ad. So just type that in to the Address bar and hit enter, and let that take you where you want to go. Save money for tthe advertiser, and takes money away from Adsense. I love it.)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Wednesday on BBC Radio 7

Here's whats on Thursday, Nov 6, 2008 at BBC radio 7, and they will be available for 7 more days before dropping off hte system.

They're all programs that have aired several times in the past - nothing new.

Episode 3
7 days left to listen
What are strange noises coming from the hold? Karen's shocked when the crew investigate.

The House on the Strand
Episode 3
7 days left to listen
Dick makes a third 'trip' into the past.

Adventures in Science (NON-FICTION) - 5 minutes.
Series 2, Flu
Ben Silburn goes to war. His enemy is the influenza virus, his battlefield the human body.

Wednesay is still available

The House on the Strand
Episode 2
6 days left to listen
Dick Young finds himself transported back six centuries.

Adventures in Science (NON-FICTION)
Series 2, Recalling the Past
6 days left to listen
Ben Silburn journeys around the neural network of our brain.

The World As We Know It
The End
7 days left to listen
Comedy about four housemates who seem to be the last people left on Earth.

Episode 3
7 days left to listen
What are strange noises coming from the hold? Karen's shocked when the crew investigate.

Tuesday still available

Episode 1
5 days left to listen
An alien princess proves to be problematic for the crew. 00:30 -01:00 The House on the Strand

Episode 1
5 days left to listen

Adventures in Science
Series 2, Supermassive Black Holes
5 days left to listen
Ben Silburn explores 'the most spectacular objects in the universe'.

Dick Young makes his first 'trip' into the past.


Doctor Who
Brave New Town
4 days left to listen
The Tardis arrives in a sleepy seaside village. Or does it?

Beyond the Vortex
Series 2, Everyday is like Sunday
4 days left to listen
Relive Bryan Adams being number one forever!

Adventures in Science
Series 2, The Morning after the Night Before
4 days left to listen
Ben Silburn follows alcohol through our bodies to find out why it gives pleasure and pain.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The Delicious Death Society

Introducing The Delicious Death Society (also known as The Friends of Mr. Cairo).

Many years ago, when Geocities was Geocities, and free, I put together a website called The Friends of Mr. Cairo. Then, Geocities sold out to Yahoo, and all of a sudden advertisements appeared on the site. That was okay, they had to make some money off their free sites, and the first ads were unobtrustive pop-ups that appeared in one corner and then disappeared, never to return. But after a few months, the ads became more obtrusive. They occuppied the entire right side of hte page, and even when you "closed" it, there was always a section of it there, right beside the up-down scroll bar, such that if you moved your mouse over it in order to scroll up or down, the ad would reappear, and you'd have to close it again.

That really annoyed me. I felt like I was being blackmailed into buying their "no-ad" service, by being forced to have ads on the site that were soooo obnoxious that no one would want to have anything to do with the site.

So, I gave up on the site.

Now, however, I have my own domain, etc. etc. and decided that I'd move over the complete website, so that at last I could get some benefit out of it.

So.... originally it was called The Friends of Mr. Cairo, and actually only a few of the sections are active, but I'll be working on it from now on and get it up to snuff.

So, please check it out.

Jim Moran, Democrat from Virginia

Keeping your own wealth is a simplistic notion.

Here's the thing. The government most certainly "shares the wealth." What are welfare payments to people who don't work anything other than "sharing the wealth?" For every family who legitimately hit hard times and needs a little help to *get back on their feet,*, there is the family which consists of a "single" mom with ten or eleven kids, who has no education, who doesn't value education, who demands Section 8 housing and will burn down the home of anyone who won't give her what she *wants*. Too bad she doesnt' get given what she deserves... ie having her tubes tied for her.

This was posted on the Sean Hannity forums, and it is just shocking. For everyone who is infuriated by this guy's statement, there's another person who says, "Yes, it makes sense."

Seems to me the wealthy give a great deal to charity, they pay a great deal in taxes (and if they don't they go to jail. Anyone remember Leona Helmsley?), and they get a raw deal.

And the problem is these people think that wealth applies *only* to those whom Americans consider rich. Problem is. For the rest of the world living in poverty, even a poor person in the US is rich... and doesn't deserve to be, eh? If everyone can't be rich, then no one can be. That's the philosophy of the socialist... never mind that 10 % of people in a socialist country are rich - the rulers - while 90% of the people are dirt poor.

I prefer the American system, flawed though it is when it comes to enabling welfare.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Forrest J. Ackerman

Forrest J. Ackerman, interventor of the term "sci-fi," editor of the magazines Spacemen and Famous Monsters of Filmland, was born in 1916. He is currently home at the "Mini-Ackermansion", struggling with pneumonia.

Read tributes to him at:

Classic Horror Films Message Forums

Scarlet Street Message Forums

and from July 8, 2008 - he last appeared at a ComicsCon Convention

The Price of Fear

The Man Who Hated Scenes, starring Vincent Price and Peter Cushing.

The first Price of Fear episode currently playing on BBC Radio 7.

Playing for the next 5 days.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Affectionate otters

A popular video on YouTube. Two otters floating around in their pond, holding hands. You tellin' me they don't feel love?

Friday, October 31, 2008

The Joys and Jolts of EBay

A few days ago I was surfing EBay looking for works of WIlly Ley and saw a copy of Galaxy Science Fiction that had on the cover, "Wanted-Dead or Alive," by Willy Ley. I knew that Ley wrote a science column, but I didn't expect such a column to rate a mention at the very top of the magazine's cover, as this was, so I wondered if it was a short story.

Turns out it wasn't, it was an entry in his For Your Information column. (Which was 13 pages long! Nice to see!) Anyway, "Wanted - Dead of Alive" dealt with the discovery in the 1860s of the Ceratodus, and in the 1930s of the Coelacanth.

I find the Coelacanth story fascinating, and had read up on it previously, so I thought it was pretty interesting that Ley had discussed it.

The book review column is interesting...I'd love to see some of the books reviewed:

-Your Sins and Mine, by Taylor Calswell. A fantasy, with a Christian religious theme
-Report on the Status Quo, by Terence Roberts
-The Edge of the Sea, by Rachel Carson (non-fic)
-Guide to the Stars, by Hector MacPherson(non-fic)
-Frontiers of Astronomy by Fred Hoyle(non-fic)
-Revolt on Alpha C, by Robert Silverberg (teen)
-Martin and His Friend From Outer Space, by Ivo Duka and Helena Kolda (teen/kids)

The annoying thing, though, is that this digest-sized magazine comes from England, where it was published "by special arrangement with Galaxy Publishing Corporation" is that there is no date on this thing! I don't know when it was published. It's Nuumber 40, and it cost 35 cents. Price in England 2/- whatever that means. Two shillings? Two pounds?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Asimov Project

Two new items have been added to the Asimov Project.

A 121-page PDF index of all of Asimov's Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine essays. (F&SF). It's free, download it from here:

And we're running a contest. Asimov had a habit of using the phrase "To be sure." If you have one or more of Asimov's essay collections - or can check 'em out of the library, read 'em to find that phrase, send in the titles of the essays where they appear, and you can win prizes. For more details, go here:

If you're a fan of Isaac Asimov, you'll love this material,so check it out.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Rave Notice starring Vincent Price

The Thunder Child is a science fiction webzine, but I'm adding a new section to it, featuring mysteries, which is called The Delicious Death Society. And to inaugerate this new section, I've uploaded Rave Notice - starring Milton Berle from 1950, and Vincent Price, from 1958.

Suspense was a mystery/crime drama/occasionally SF anthology radio series which ran for 20 years. In its heyday, it attracted many top Hollywood stars, like Humphry Bogart, James Mason, Judy Garland, and so on. Vincent Price appeared on the program ten times... Milton Berle once.... but they both played the same role.

In Rave Notice, an actor in a play is fired by the director, and kills him. In order to escape the death penalty, he decides he must play the greatest role of his life, that of a homicidal lunatic.

Milton Berle played the role first, in 1950, and Vincent Price reprised it in 1958 (although 95% of the dialog is the same, there are some slight changes due to the fact that in 1950 the show had commercials, and in 1958, there were shorter, public service announcements.

I've uploaded 4 parts, which has about 5 minutes of Berle's version, then switches to the same scenes for Vincent Price. The 5th part is all Milton Berle at the end of episode, the 6th is the same scene with Vincent Price.

Listen to the show...and decide for yourself who does "insanity" better.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

A is for Abbey

I haven't had time to read a lot of fiction lately, and while I've got dozens of books here in the office that I need to review for The Thunder Child, I was in the library and decided I'd do something that I'd been thinking of doing for decades, namely reading the books in the library from A to Z.

So I picked up an "A" book in the fiction section (which has mystery, SF, fantasy, and literature all intermixed), an "A" book from the biography section, and an "A" book from the Children's section.

So the fiction book I'm starting with is Out of Time, by Lynn Abbey, copyright 2000, Ace Books, and I'm actually enjoying it a great deal.

It's a "contemporary" or "real world" or "urban" fantasy. Heroine Emma Merrigan, librarian at a prestigious university, was abandoned by her mother shortly after she was born, and knows nothing about her. When she reaches her 50s (or however old she is, we're not really told) circumstances cause her to search her attic and find a box full of some things her mother left her... in particular a book that tells how to lift curses.

This comes in handy because Emma befriends a girl in the library stacks one day, who is haunted by invisible things trying to attack her.

Turns out Emma has the power to lift curses from an alternate universe, and she's going to have to start using that power.

Although written for a female audience, it's not a romance novel. More of a mystery-fantasy novel as Emma tries to figure out what's going on.

I'm only half-way through the book, actually, but I highly recommend it.

Turns out there are 4 books in the series:
Out of Time (2000)
Behind Time (2001)
Taking Time (2004)
Down Time (2005)

In looking at the covers for these books (viewable at I've got to say I'm not too impressed with them. Center figure of a woman, smiling vapidly... might turn off any guy looking for a contemporary fantasy novel who thinks it will be a romance fantasy instead...)

Lynn Abbey, of course, has written several novels, in the Thieves World series, and at one point was married to Robert Asprin.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Charge of the Light Brigade

Isaac Asimov wrote an essay called The Sacred Poet in which he lists a lot of poems that have caused public opinion to rise for the subjects of those poems (or songs).

This is the poem, The Charge of the Light Brigade, set to music and sung by The Three D's.

I don't actually think much of the animation - it doesn't fit... but the song, especially toward the end, is quite emotional.

Apparently, acording to Isaac Asimov anyway, the stanzas are written in such a way as to mimic the sound of horses hooves as they charge forward.

Bqackground: During the Crimean War, a British general ordered the Light Brigade (horsemen wearing light armor, as opposed to heavy armor) to charge into a heavily fortified French post. Everyone knew it was a mistake... they had no chance to achieve their aim... nevertheless, they made the charge, and most of them died.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Denny Crane on Gun Control

I don't actually watch Boston Legal, but I came across this clip and thought it was amusing. William Shatner as Denny Crain.

Of course, in real life, the crook would have shot first, without saying a word, and taken what he wanted off their dead bodies, but still...

Cooling off

Well, after a few hours to cool off...I'm starting to regret quitting..

Not for the reasons you think...but for the reasons I had continued to work for the jerk as long as I did.

Which was simply... he wanted me to quit. That had been obvious for a long time, and as equally obvious, I wasn't going to quit because I knew that's what he wanted.

But there were more forces at work last night than just my frustration over his dishonest Elance antics, and his persistence in communicating with me through a third party...

So although I regret falling into his trap and actually quitting, what I'm really starting to regret is not sending him, and his secretary, a detailed list of the crap he's been pulling about that Elance stuff for the last two months (before quitting, I'd downloaded all the emails for the last two months between me and him, and me and his two secretaries, about trying to get that Elance matter solved... a matter that should have taken no more than 24 hours...) just so that he'd know that I knew how dishonest he was, and she'd know immediately what a jerk he was (well, she'll doubtless find out about that soon enough, as several ex-employees have done...) I'm still relieved that I quit.

(Because the emails prove that he'd been jerking my chain, and this blogger's chain, and his secretary's chains, all along.)

Well, although I'm fortunate enough not to need the services of a loss mitigator, or run in the circles of people who do, if I can ever shine a little light on his company and prevent suckers from falling into the Loss Mitigation snare, I will certainly do my best to do so...

Lost Opportunity...

I have blogged in the past about some freelance work I've been doing for a company in Idaho. Well, I finally quit yesterday, and today I regret the way I did it because a much more "poetic justice" way of doing it occurred to me.

So I'm annoyed with myself.

Anyway, I'd been working for a loss mitigation company in Idaho for several months. (And here's a clue for anybody thinking of using a "loss mitigation" company. Don't. They charge you two mortgage payments-worth of a fee, up front (which I don't think they're allowed to do, by state law, actually) which is money you could be using to pay your mortgage to begin with! And then, for every "go-getter" on their staff who actually knows someone at a mortgage lender's office, they've got a dozen bodies hired off the street who don't know anything.

If you're going to work with a loss mitigation company - it should be one that only charges for results. IF they don't save your house, you don't pay!

Anyway, I'd initially started working with the CEO of this company about 5 months or so ago, when he was first starting it. And we got along fine. I don't like to talk on the phone, but we IM-ed each other via YahooMessenger, and I was given a company email, and things were just dandy.

Because we got along so well, I thought it would be okay to send him some advice on how he ran his business (after he'd cc-ed me on an email he sent to an angry client). Yes...I'm a $1,000 a month copyrighter and he's a $1,000 a day CEO, but I'd worked for people in his position before and I knew (and know) what is professional behavior and what is not. And sending angry emails to clients who are angry at you - albeit for mistaken reasons - is not a professional thing to do, in particular when the angry client is in the position of losing his home and may just decide to go postal on the next person who upsets him...

Anyway, my boss did not take kindly to this advice, and all of a sudden, that was it as far as our good relationship was concerned. Instead of IM-ing me each day and keeping me abreast of what was going on, nothing. Anytime I IM-ed him with a question, or emailed him with a link to a news article I thought he should know about, I met with a curt response or no response at all, so much so that I finally said to myself, fine. I will no longer exert myself to go over and above my duties...if there's something this guy needs to know about (such as someone at a Scam Website dissing the company) he won't find out about it through me.

Then there was the issue with my paychecks. Initially he'd paid me through Paypal, then it was supposed to be Direct Deposit (except his company still doesn't have Direct Deposit in place, he's as efficient in getting that done as he's efficient in everything else he does...)

So the first paycheck took two weeks to get here, the next eight days (even though sent via Priority)..and simultaneously with these delays were the issues I had paying one of the guy's workers, who worked through Elance - one of the things I'd been tasked to do back when we got along well.

His old credit card no longer worked all of a sudden, so he needed to input a new credit card into the system so I could pay the guy. I emailed him and told him so, and he promised his secretary would get right on it. And she emailed me and told me she would.

Then, nothing. And nothing. And nothing. For two months, nothing. For the first couple of times I emailed the secreatary, she would respond, "Oh, I'll get righton it." The next several times I emailed her... no response at all.

I initially thought it was the incompetence of the secretary, afraid to talk to her boss and get the necessary info, but now I'm beginning to think that she was just stonewalling me, as she'd been told, because now she's gone and a new secretary is in her place... who is asking me the same things initially that the first secretary had done, because their boss is pretending to have no knowledge of Elance!

So after two months of trying to get this guy's credit card validated so I could get his blogger paid - I finally IM-ed the guy last night and asked straight out about it. (I'd done this before - three times, but this time I was going to quit then and there if he gave a snarky reply.)

But, he doesnt' respond to the IM, but rather tells his secretary to email me with a response - and so I decided it was more than time since I quit. But then I had to decide how to do it. Should I show him the professionalism of an official resignation email - professionalism which he wouldn't appreciate and a courtesy which he didn't deserve - or should I just.... stop sending in my nightly newsletter to the company and stop doing my own blogging.

The email from his new secretary says that rather than paying the blogger via Elance, they'll just cut him a check, and asked for the blogger's contact details. So I shoot her back the guy's email, and I email the guy concerned and give him the woman's phone number. (Ironically, I'm more upset about the gross negligence of the situation then the blogger is. He still trusts the guy in charge and thinks things have been stalled for two months just because the guy is "so busy." Well, I threw up my hands after reading that. If the guy never gets paid, and works for a third month for free, he's only got himself to blame.)

So, I would have preferred to have quit by simply no longer sending in my newsletter, and no longer blogging, and letting the guy figure out for himself that I'd quit, (because, as I said, he deserved no other courtesy) but a week ago I'd been contacted by one of the company's VPs who was going to be in charge of upgrading the newsletter, and since I didn't want him to think I was so unprofessional as to not tell someone I was resigning and letting them figure it out after they hadn't heard from me for a few days, I decided I'd better make an official announcement.

So I emailed the head-honcho and CC-ed his secretary on it, telling him I was resigning. I CC-ed the new secretary because I didn't want her to think that I'd been fired by the creep, but was rather giving up my $1,000 a month job because I couldn't stand working for the jerk any longer, as I'm sure she'll find out for herself soon enough.

Of course I didn't say that in the email, just that our communication had deteriorated so much in the past three months that there seemed little point in continuing the relationship. (I IM him, he responds to me through his secretary, too bogus.)

But this morning, right as I woke up, it occurred to me what I should have done. I shouldn't have emailed him at all. I simply should have sent the email to his secretary - and asked her to give it to him!

That would have been poetic justice!

Anyway, I feel better after this rant. And if you are one of the poor unfortunates who is struggling to save your home from foreclosure - there are a lot of programs out there to help you. Go to your local neighborhood center to find out about Hope 4 Homeowners, the various HUD programs, and so on, ad don't deal with a "loss mitigation specialist" at all - unless you get references from people you actually know who can prove that it worked for them. And remember that the law says you don't have to pay them up front for their services!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Jack Webb on Johnny Carson

A classic from Jack Webb (of Dragnet fame)

The Case of the Copper Clappers

"I think Claude Cooper copped my copper clappers, kept in the closet."

The Last Wish

Over the past several months I've gotten several books for review, and have fallen behind on reviewing them.

I'm going to try to remedy that, and start with The Last Wish, by Andrezej Sapkowski, which introduces "The Witcher."

In other words its a horror novel, which I dont' really care for, but they sent it to me so I'll review it.

Here's the back flap:

Geralt de Rivia is a witcher. A cunning sorcerer. A merciless assassin.

And a cold-blooded killer.

His sole purpose: to destroy the monsters that plague the world.

But not everything monstrous looking is evil, and not everything fair is good...and in every fairy talethere is a grain of truth.

The Last Wish is "the international hit that inspired the videp game The Witcher."

The author, Andrzej Sapkowski is one of Polnd's most popular writers, outselling Stephen King and Michael Crichton. His books have been translated into Czech, French, German, Lithuanian, Portuguese, Russian, Slovak and Spanish.

The video game:

and the book

and I'll be reviewing the book shortly.

An Hour With Jon Pertwee

Listen to Jon Pertwee discuss his various roles - Doctor Who, Worzel Gummidge, Pertwee of The Navy Lark, from Oct 18-23 using this link for BBC Radio 7.

You can also listen to Part 9 of the Brightonomicon here:

A new Paul McGann radio series begins tomorrow (Sunday) and the first episode is Dead London. Complete in 50 minutes. I"ll share the link when it's available.

The Doctor and Lucie get trapped with a killer in a labyrinth of London's history. Starring Paul McGann and Sheridan Smith.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Monster Model Reviews

I was browsing through YouTube's science fiction authors when I came across the offerings from Monster Model Reviews.

There are more at:

Here are a few of their reviews:

Monster Model Review #24 Moebius Models

Monster Model Review #1 Mummy's Curse by Diceman Creations

Monster Model Review #7 Aurora Monsters part 3

Monster Model Review #55 KreatureKid and Far East Monsters

Arthur C. Clarke at YouTube

Arthur C. Clarke: 90th Birthday Reflections

Arthur C. Clarke in 2001

Arthur C. Clarke and Hal's Birthday

Arthur C. Clarke and Leonardo Di Caprio discuss the endangered Gorillas

Arthur C. Clarke on Fractals - the colors of Infinity

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Jack Benny was a Martian

In 3 parts, because of You Tube's insistence that only 10 minute videos can be uploaded.

Also, there's about a minute of overlap at the beginnings of Part 2 and Part 3, just to get you "back in the swing."

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Monday, October 13, 2008

Recommended site: Technovelgy

Not sure how long this site has been in operation - there's no copyright note at the very bottom of it that IDs howlong its been in existence. - where science meets fiction

is its motto.

"Explore the inventions and ideas of science fiction writers at Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) - over 1,680 are available. Use the Timeline of Science Fiction Invention or the alphabetic Glossary of Science Fiction Technology to see them all, look for the category that interests you, or browse by favorite author / book. Browse more than 1,900 Science Fiction in the News and Beyond Technovelgy articles."

The only problem with the site is that the links to all the good links are shunted to narrow columns on the left and right of the page, while a bunch of google ads run down the middle of it.

However, those are easily ignored - although if you find the site useful it would be nice to click on a few google ads, should you find them of interest, to support the site - and once you actually get to the information contained on the site, it's well worth it.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Michael Goorjian - behind the scenes of Newsies

Just created a new video, featuring a 21-year old Michael Goorjian learning dance and fight choreography for his role in Newsies... It was on the set of Newsies that Goorjian and a few fellow Newsies, lots of time on their hands, decided to create a 20-minute movie, Blood Drips Heavily on Newsies Square.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

That damn fine print

I went to Best Buy yesterday, and picked up the $50 Iron Man gift pack. I got the 2-disc Iron Man DVD, and a small bust of Iron Man, and a gift card for $50 to Sideshow Collectibles.

I figured this was a good deal, I'd be getting $50 worth of free stuff. Not so.

There is verrrrrry little you can buy on the Sideshow Collectibles site for less than $50.

Oh, they used to have stuff. Little Big Heads, of various characters such as Universal Horror - Frankenstein, the Creature from the Black Lagoon, and so on, all sold out, and various other things...also all sold out.

They do have a $49 Indiana Jones framed character key... but you can't buy that with a Gift Card! It's not "Gift card eligible."

They have these little Pirates of the Caribbean "Cosbaby" figurines, 6 of 'em, but only 2 of them are eligible to be purchased via Gift Card.

So it's totally bogus.

Most of their stuff... and I don't deny that they have good stuff, costs between $150 and $400... and it's only on that stuff that you can use this Gift Card.

Had I done enough research two days ago on the Sideshow Collectibles site, before I went out and bought that "Gift pack", I wouldn't have bought it at all, because what I've got sure isn't worth $50.

They've got a cool Creature From The Black Lagoon figurine that I'd really like, but it's over $300, so even with this delightful gift card it would cost me $250, and since I just lost one of my best long-term writing gigs, I can't really afford it... even if I wasn't so upset with this little "bait-and-switch" tactic on Sideshow's behalf.

Because that's clearly what it is. Take those little Cosbaby figurines. They're all the same, made by the same manufacturer, but only 2 of them are "gift card eligible." Give me one logical reason why that should be. A gift card is a gift card, what does it matter what you spend it on? Sideshow it obviously matters because they drive you to their site to spend the big bucks, and they can't get you to do that if they let you buy just anything with their "gift cards."

So, while at one point in time, prior to a few minutes ago, I was going to give Sideshow Collectibles a free plug, now I say they're a bunch of crooks with overpriced merchandise, and don't deal with them!

And anyone want an Iron Man bust? Cheap!

Review: Ghost Town

I went to see Ghost Town yesterday, the 2 pm showing at my local theater, and quite enjoyed it. It came out on September 19, and so has been playing for about 3 weeks, and I'm disappointed to see that it's never even cracked the "Top 5" movie makers that the IMDB reports on its site.

However, Ghost Town is infinitely better than Beverly Hills Chihuahaua or NIck and Nora's Infinite Playlist - garbage. (You will ask, "if you haven't seen them, how can yo call them garbage?" Easy, all you have to do is look at the that's all you have to do for such garbage as Knocked Up and Steve and Mary Make A Porno - or whatever the title of that piece of garbage is.

And yet they will undoubtedly each made more money then Ghost Town, and that's sad. Scary, as well, when I think of the lowest common denominator of movie goer and what they like...

Well, perhaps Ghost Town is hurt by the title, as it doesn't really give an idea of what the movie is about.. who knows?

Here's the plot: Bertram Pincus, a dentist with absolutely no social skills, indeed, even a bit anti-social, goes in for a colonoscopy and ends up clinically dead for 7 minutes. When he wakes up, he can see dead people. (And they annoy him.... love that line on one of the posters!) Once the dead realize he can see them, they all want his help - they have loved ones who need help. However, Pincus, a jerk, refuses to help them. Frank Herlihy (Greg Kinnear) a ghost who had philandered on his wife while he was alive, says he will get rid of all the ghosts if Pincus will just help him, by driving his wife's new boyfriend out of her life.

Pincus agrees. And, since this is a romantic comedy, you can guess what happens.

All the actors are excellent. Ricky Gervais plays Pincus. I've never seen the American version of The Office, let alone the British version in which he stars, but I have seen him in Night at the Museum and liked his "schtick" of getting lost in convoluted sentences and just stopping and walking away. He does a bit of that here, but also shows that he can underplay and overplay with equal facility. [I don't know that I'd like him in real life, however, as apparently he has a big ego, and indeed in the few publicity shots I've seen of him standing with other actors, he's always got a big grin on his face as if he's trying to "steal the shot" as well as the scene....] And I've never seen a pic of him and Tea Leoni together off-screen!

Tea Leoni plays anthropologist Gwen, an expert in mummies and the widow of Frank Herlihy. (So much nicer to have a female character who is an anthropologist and not some check-out clerk or bartender with no ambition to be anything more in life except a sex object to a boyfriend).

Greg Kinnear as Frank Herlihy also does a good job. Bill Campbell plays Richard, Gwen's new love interest. His must have been a difficult role to play, as we're not sure (and I'm not sure if we're supposed to be sure) if he's a jerk or a nice guy...)

Oh, it's a bit derivative of other ghost films such as Topper, maybe even Quantum Leap (in which the character had to solve a situation regarding the character he'd jumped into, and would not "leap" until he'd solved that problem)... but then, name me one film since movies have been made that isn't derivative!!! Everything's combined here to make it fresh and delightful.

Not sure where this poster comes from, but it certainly does the movie a disserve. Makes one think the guy's a gynecologist, not a dentist! Stupid.

Much better is this one:

and here's one of Tea Leoni with her mummy.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

The Irish Washerwoman

I am continuing to work on my index to all of Isaac Asimov's essays, and in so doing I came across his introduction to You, Too, Can Speak Gaelic, in which he says:

"He sang it to the tune of The Irish WAsherwoman.

If you don't know the tune of The Irish Washerwoman, all I can say is that it is an Irish jig; in fact, it is the Irish jig, if you heard it, you would know it. I venture to say that if you know only one Irish jig, or if you try to make up an Irish jig, that's the one.

So I went to YouTube and sought it out, found it, listened to it, and indeed recognized that I'd heard it before.

Where I've heard it before I couldn't say. Perhaps only as early as a few months, when I went to Busch Gardens with my sister, her hubby and their son, and sat in the Irish section listening to some fiddlers while they went through a ride which I didn't want to go on...

But I'd probably heard it before that... I've been to England a few times, albeit many years ago, and may have heard it then, or on any one of innumerable TV shows.

Anyway, it was a hoot that I recognized the tune, and thought I'd share it here.

Iron Man


This will be a two-part post. Today, I'll talk about the exclusive Walmart doublepack...tomorrow I'll talk about the exclusive Best Buy bust, and maybe even a bit about the movie itself... although I will say I enjoyed it more than the first Spiderman, for a simple reason. I am so tired of angst movies, and Spiderman was nothing but angst, but at the end, Iron Man is just a hero. More on that tomorrow.

Anyway, exclusive to Walmart is the double pack. The front of it is an across the DVDs cover that features the three main characters. Flip it over and you see the backs of the two DVDs which of course give the contents of each.

For the Disc 2, it features:

A complete episode of the upcoming Iron Man Armored Adventures

Join young Tony Stark and his friends in these all-new adventures, back when our young hero was in high school...cramming for exams...testing his inventions...thrill seeking and battling evil. Tony has to put his typical teenage desires on hold when he invents a high-tech armored flight suit and becomes armored man.

Image Gallery from the feature film Iron man

Iron Man original motion picture soundtrack

Digital comics that reveal the story behind the special ending to Iron Man, featuring Nick Fury.

I'm not too pleased with the fact that Iron Man Armored Adventures is going to rewrite history.... Tony Stark didn't create Iron Man until he was in his 30s... yet this cartoon is going to have him do it as a teenager? Presumably with no heart problem that necessitates him wearing the pacemaker doohicky all the time...

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Good Knowledge Obtained Still Knowledge

A few weeks ago, I saw a few minutes of a Star Trek: Voyager episode in which the half-Klingon character Belanna has some kind of illness, which can only be cured by activating a Cardassian hologram doctor, who achieved the knowledge of how to cure her by experimenting on captured Bajorans, during the Cardassian/Bajoran road.

(I never watched any of the Star Trek spinoffs, after the first couple of episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation, because they were just too full of gravitas for me. The original Star Trek, to me, seemed to celebrate man's conquest of space, the later Star Trek's just went to show that man brings problems with him everywhere he goes... or at least, there's always wars, death and destruction everywhere.)

Anyway, the driver of the plot is that Belanna does not want this Cardassian doctor to operate on her. She would rather die than have the doctor make use of technology discovered through torture.

And of course this is reminiscent of the Nazi doctors during World War II, who experimented on Jews, on anyone they termed subhuman. There is a lot of medical knowledge there, but it is buried away and not allowed to be used because of how it was acquired.

And I'm thinking... that's stupid. Why should those people, whom the Nazis experimented on, have died in vain? Surely by making use of the knowledge gained, their deaths will have much more meaning that if they are just allowed to remain nameless victims of such barbarism.

And of course, it wasn't just the Nazis. The Tuskeegee syphilis experiment was pretty vicious, in the 50s apparently the government released various nerve gases in the subways... and is it too much to think that Russia and China would be doing the same thing, given that they care less about humans than democratic countries do?

Here's a review of a book that talks about "Nazi Medicine".

God Prefers Atheists

Okay, there is no God, but a rational God (and most people's God doesn't behave rationally) would react just like this...

(Click on the comic to enlarge it.)

Friday, October 03, 2008

Iron Man DVD

I made a late night run to Walmart tonight...I was in the mood for some chocolate...

I also decided to pick up the Iron Man DVD, and I'll be blogging about the movie tomorrow...

But thought I'd just comment on the various versions out there...

At Walmart, I picked upa 2-pack, the movie, and bundled with ("only at Walmart"), an episode of the new Iron Man tv series, a digital comic book, soundtrack sampler from the movie, and cool movie stills.

As I went through the checkout counter, the guy there told me there was a DVD with the hologram on it, and Best Buy had one for $39.99 with a case featuring Iron Man's head. So I'm not opening what I've got right now, will check out Best Buy tomorrow and see what's what.

I checked Amazon and they just have the Blue Ray DVD and the regular DVD ... and if you want, you can pick it up:

The more things change...

I used to report to you the science fiction that was being aired on BBC Radio 7.

Well, yesterday the delightful people at Radio 7 decided to revamp their website, and now it looks like crap, and its impossible to find anything. On the same "Schedule" page, they'd got shows that are airing, and shows that aren't airing - what in the world is the point of that?

What really bugs me about this is what bugs me everytime somebody does an upgrade of some website or something, they never ask anyone who uses the site, how it should be upgraded. The techheads just decide what *they* want, and do it, and leave the real users to figure it out and get used to not having features that worked fine, and having to do three steps when one used to do.

Same thing with software, with operating's just ridiculous!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Double Standard for Spike Lee

Just saw a news report about Italians upset with Spike Lee over the depiction of the massacre of Santa Anna. In the movie (which I wont' see, I don't really care for war movies much, unless they're about the Air Force!) Lee has Partisans flee the village, leaving the citizens behind to be massacred by the Germans.

Santa Anna villagers say that's not how it happened.

Spike Lee's response:

In Florence yesterday Lee defended his film. "It's not a historical text, it's a fiction," he said. "There are different versions of what happened at Sant'Anna di Stazzema, so we don't have anything to apologise for," and the whole row "has been enormously blown up by the media". The controversy, he added, "demonstrates that in Italy there is still an open wound". That is one claim that no one will argue with.

Let's repeat that: "It's not a historical text, it's a fiction,"

So Lee has really no right to get upset because Clint Eastwood didn't have a couple of black extras wandering around behind the scenes during the flag raising at Iwo Jima. (Blacks were indeed there, as they were in most theaters, but were rarely armed or took part in fighting.)

Frankly, why do this Santa Anna movie at all? What should have been told is the real story of the Red Ball Express. A movie made in the 60s with John Wayne had no blacks in it, either, but it was mostly blacks who were the drivers for the Red Ball Express.

Better still, a movie version of the Red Tails - the Tuskegee Airmen, or of Bessie Coleman, first black aviator ever!

(And as a side note... apparently able bodied men in the village saw a flare and fled into the woods, leaving women and children to die in the massacre. What I want to know is, why didn't those able bodied men take the women and kids with?)

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Three Skeleton Key

Three Skeleton Key is one of my favorite OTR programs. It is... the one with the rats.

[[[And as an aside, some school kids adapted this in movie class, we're talking kids 12 or 13, it is GREAT. For kids of that age! Anyway, I don't want to take up room here sharing the video boxes, so I'll just share the URL that takes you to the YouTUbe page for the show.

It's well worth your time! ]]]

Starred Vincent Price as Jean, Harry Bartell as Auguste (Do not be frightened, little children. I will not hurt you. Much.) and Jeff Corey as Louis.

Price reprised the role several times, first on Escape, then on Suspense.

I've put it up on Youtube, and so unfortunately it has to be in three parts:

An Alien Sings Gloria Gaynor's I Will Survive

I like this song, but this video is a hoot.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

OT: Marian McQuade has died

I never knew there was a National Grandparent's Day, and that there'd been one since 1978.

A woman named Marian McQuade was the driving force behind getting the day recognized nationally. She didn't do it, apparently, just for kids to honor their own grandparents, but rather she wanted kids to adopt a grandparent from a local nursing home, some lonely individual who needed personal interaction, needed to be able to share their stories and their experiences of life.

McQuade died at the age of 91, two days ago.


If you've got grandparents, call 'em or send 'em a bouquet of flowers today. If you don't, stop by one of the nursing homes in your area and see who needs a friend.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Words cannot express how P-Od I am at this exact moment...

A few months ago I invested a couple thousand dollars in Freddie Mac stock, when it was at $9, went up to $11, and I was expecting it to skyrocket.

Instead, as you all know, it tanked. I never sold the stock. I'd bought it with discretionary funds and though I didn't really want to lose it, it was an annoyance, not a disaster, and I was just gonna tough it out.

So it was down to 26 cents, then up to 43 cents, and I thought to myself, I've got to buy some more of this stock!

So, I tried to transfer funds from my checking account to my AIG account called Sharebuilder. Only, it didn't work. My bank had changed the routing number to my checking account, so the transfer didn't go through.

So I had no money in the account to buy shares at 43 cents each.

Today...the stock is at $2.46.

So if I'd bought $1,000 worth of shares, and been able to sell that particular stock today, I'd have trebled my money. (Which I would have sold right now, take my profits and ran!)

Instead.... the stocks that I'd purchased months ago for $9 to $11 - I've got 500 total shares - are now at $2.46...which of course doesn't make me happy.

Well...I'm hoping that the stock continues to go up... so I can at least recoup my original investment on those shares...

But I'd really like to be squeezing some people's throats at Suntrust right now!!!!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

John Wyndham's The Chrysalids

I've really got to get my girdle in gear and do an article on John Wyndham. A lot of his work turns up on BBC 7. Indeed, right now, you can listen to The Chrysalids, for the next seven days.

(You need pay no attention to the times listed on any of these broadcasts. Just click on the link, and you can listen to each show immediately.)

Anyway, what has John Wyndam written?

Foul Play Suspected (1935)
The Secret People (1935)
Planet Plane (also known as Stowaway to Mars, 1936)
The Day of the Triffids (also known as Revolt of the Triffids, 1951)
The Kraken Wakes (also known as Out of the Deeps, 1953)
The Chrysalids (also known as Re-Birth, 1955)
The Midwich Cuckoos (1957)
The Outward Urge (1959)
Trouble with Lichen (1960)
Chocky (1968)

Yes, time I did some research and wrote an article about him.

The Plot of the Polls

Have you ever noticed, when you're reading an article or op ed piece based on poll information, that they never tell you, until the very last sentence of the poll, how many people took part in that poll?

You read the body of the article and the author makes sweeping statements (40% of ALL white Deomocrats feel this way. 40% of ALL white Americans feel this way):

1) one-third of white Democrats harbor negative views toward blacks — many calling them "lazy," "violent," responsible for their own troubles.

2) 40 percent of all white Americans hold at least a partly negative view toward blacks, and that includes many Democrats and independents.

3) More than a third of all white Democrats and independents — voters Obama can't win the White House without — agreed with at least one negative adjective about blacks, according to the survey

4) Lots of Republicans harbor prejudices, too, but the survey found they weren't voting against Obama because of his race. Most Republicans wouldn't vote for any Democrat for president — white, black or brown.

5) The poll sought to measure latent prejudices among whites by asking about factors contributing to the state of black America. One finding: More than a quarter of white Democrats agree that "if blacks would only try harder, they could be just as well off as whites."

6) Just 59 percent of her white Democratic supporters said they wanted Obama to be president. Nearly 17 percent of Clinton's white backers plan to vote for McCain.

Now... after reading that.... you probably think that the 300 Million People who make up these United States answered those questions.

Well, you'd be wrong.

Those sweeping statements, about ALL Democrats, come from a poll of a grand total of 2,227 adults.

The poll doesn't answer these questions. From what state was each of the people polled? They were polled by telephone number - how were their phone numbers acquired? (From voting rolls, presumably, since they knew they were Democrats.)

Sentence 4 seems to imply that Republicans were given this survey, too. Of the 2,227 adults given this survey, how many were Democrats, and how many Republicans?

Adults.... how many were 18, how many were 30, how many in their 60s.

Frankly, this poll is useless. Most polls are useless.

Yes, there is racism in America - white on black, black on white, white on the other minorities, the other minorities against white - no denying that.

But how did Obama overcome Hilary Clinton with so many Democrats feeling as this poll says they do? Was "black power" enough to get Obama over the top, or were Democrats just not ready for a woman president?

Could it be that *personalities*, not race, have a role here?

I'm a woman, a feminist, and I would never vote for Hilary CLinton because she should have divorced hubby Bill a long time ago. Not to mention her lies about being under sniper fire, White Water, etc.

Put Colin Powell on the ticket, or Howard Caine...I'd vote for them. But Barack Obama, he of the "funny" name? The guy with ties to terrorist Bill Ayers. Ties to the Reverend Wright who preaches black liberation theology and then has his church buy him a multi-million dollar house in a 99% white GATED community? His ties to Tony Rezko? The fact that he promised to bring "new politics" to the government and is turning out to be justs like any other politician, and even better at it? The fact that his wife tells black women not to try to go to college to get good jobs, but rather enter the "service" professions, while she herself gets a $300,000 a year job at a hospital, right after her husband is elected to the Senate?

Obama think there are 57 states. Does that make him stupid? No...most kids these days, black or white, probably think the same thing. There's a few other verbal gaffes of his I can't call to mind right now.

But there's plenty of good reason not to vote for Obama...but if he doesn't win the presidency... it's going to be because of racism.

That's what the media wants us to think...piling on that white guilt...

Part 2 of Part 4 of The Summoning Dark

Fred and Nobby complete their chat with the museum curator over the missing painting, Angua introduces Vampire Sally to the Watch locker room, and Vimes learns that Hamcrusher has been killed.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Lights Out: The Chicken Heart

Here is the original audio of Arch Oboler's episode The Chicken Heart on Lights Out, first broadcast in 1937. The audio is accompanied by the type of animation that only an artist of my own particular caliber could have created:

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Summoning Dark Part Four

Parts 1 and 2 of Part Four of The Summoning Dark, a film treatment of Terry Pratchett's Thud!

(Had to break it into 2 parts because of YouTube's rule restricting videos to 10 minutes.)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Summoning Dark Part III

Here is the next part of The Summoning Dark. Vimes interviews the vampire recruit, Sally, and the goverment inspector, A.E. Pessimal. Then Carrot comes in and tells him that Hamcrusher the dwarf has been killed, and they think a troll did it!

To see all parts to date, check out:

The original Chicken Heart

I found my version of The Chicken Heart, and here it is:

but I also found a website that also has it.

Although for some reason the davidszondy version does not have the heartbeats as part of the program. I don't understand why. The actors are the same, their vocal inflections are all the same as far as I can tell, which leads me to believe it's the same broadcast, but the ever-present beating of the Heart that gives the show its eerieness... isn't there!

This radio page is full of treasures (all except WoW broadcast in the 1950s), which you can listen to for free:

- Appointment in Tomorrow, by Fritz Leiber
- The Green Hills of Earth by Robert A. Heinlein
- First Contact, by Murray Leinster
- The Seventh Victim, by Robert Sheckley
- Tunnel Under the World, by Frederik Pohl
- Liar! by Isaac Asimov
- The Cave of Night, by James Gunn
- The Roads Must Roll, by Robert A. Heinlein
- Space Merchants, by Frederik Pohl & C. M. Kornbluth
- A Logic Named Joe, by Murray Leinster
- The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells. (1938 version by Orson Welles)
- Junkyard, by Clifford D. Simak.