Thursday, July 22, 2021

Ted Lasso is the Best Superhero Show Because Superheroes Save People

 If you're not anxiously awaiting the drop of Ted Lasso season two on Apple TV + at midnight, then you have yet to have watched Ted Lasso season one multiple times. If no one has given you reason to watch season one even once, here is someone who puts it better than I could, and I could sell pens to a penciller.

No lie: A sitcom that wasn't The Good Place (and I LOVE The Good Place) got me through the nightmare we've lived through since 2016. Give it a read. You'll laugh. You'll cry. You'll believe.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

SHOCKTOBER!!! Film Fest!

"They're coming to get you, Barbara, and they dressed so nicely."
Well, Halloween is upon us and SHOCKTOBER is drawing to a close for the year. If you're on the fence about what to watch tonight, I've made a little list of several of my less-well-known favorites. Watch one tonight, if you can find it, or have your own film fest next year.

Dead and Buried (1981): In a coastal town, mobs of townsfolk are murdering the tourists. Then those dead tourists start appearing around town as if they've lived there all along, which they did, before they died, but ... well, just watch it. It's fun.

Willard (1971): Disturbed young man befriends rats. Rats love the disturbed young man and do his bidding. His bidding involves revenge and murder. You might believe that this movie was remade in 2003 and starred Crispin Glover. It wasn't.

Night of the Living Dead (1968): I know. I know. Not obscure. You've seen it. Well, I'm here to tell you that unless you've seen the NotLD HD version currently streaming on Amazon (free with Prime), you, good sir or madame, have not seen this film, nor have you heard it. The sound and picture are so sharp you might just cut yourself. I actually heard all of the dialogue for the first time.

Children Shouldn't Play with Dead Things (1972): Bob (Black Christmas, Porky's) Clarke directed this under a thinly-disguised pseudonym from a screenplay that he co-wrote with the film's star Alan Ormsby. While it starts out as a bunch of silly college kids goofing in a graveyard, this ain't no Porky's romp, son. What it is, instead, is a real "wait for it" film. It's worth the wait.

Peeping Tom (1960): If you have the chance to see this film, see this film. Yet another disturbed young man takes his love of film much too far. Don't we all? Guys?

Alice, Sweet Alice (1976): Alice is a quiet 12-year-old living in New Jersey. When her sister is brutally murdered in their church, Alice becomes a suspect. As the bodies pile up, even those who can't believe that Alice is the killer begin to doubt their belief. You should probably avoid this one if you're a practicing Catholic. Just sayin'.

Strange Behavior (1981): This one isn't obscure to you if you had cable television in the Eighties. That said: Young folks are being murdered in a small, midwestern town. Sounds familiar, right? Well, it gets weird. The weird also seems familiar, but it will still surprise you.

Sisters (1972): Brian (Dressed to Kill, Blow Out) DePalma's debut and his most Hitchcockian film. That's all I'm going to give you. See it.

Little Shop of Horrors (1960): Maybe you've seen it. Maybe you have only seen the cute musical version. If you and I ever have a beer together, ask me about this film and I'll tell you how it changed my life. In the meantime, see it. Roger Corman and I will thank you for it.

Have a happy Halloween, and if you're not feeling like a film tonight, why not download a copy of "The Comeback" to your favorite Kindle device or app, curl up under the sheets, and get your fright on? At $2.99 it's a cheap thrill! Click the link below to get started.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Reader Mail!*

N.E. of Satchamagoo, NY asks: "Should I read 'The Comeback' this Shocktober, or should I stick my head in the mud?"

N.E., I can't tell you what's best, but let these Amazon reviews of "The Comeback" be your guide:

*Any resemblance between N.E. of Satchamagoo, NY and any persons living or dead would be weird since that person and place are figments of my imagination. Now, go buy my book, whydon'tcha? Also, tell a friend and leave a review and you'll be entered into a contest to win my eternal gratitude! Act now!

Monday, October 22, 2018

Knowledge is ... Something. Umm. What is Knowledge Again?

Remember when you left that glowing five-star review of "The Comeback" on Amazon? I do. Remember how I immediately left a comment thanking you profusely for taking the time to leave your thoughts and feelings re: "The Comeback"? Yeah, neither do I. My sincerest apologies.

At the time I didn't know (somehow), that I could comment on reviews. Today, I left a grateful comment for every review on the page. Thanks again for the many kind words left on my Amazon page for "The Comeback" and, again, my apologies for the comment delay. BRAIN BOY LIVES!!!

Speaking of "The Comeback," if you haven't already, click the "Buy 'The Comeback'" link in the sidebar to the right (or the one below), and give yourself some cheap thrills this Shocktober. If you leave a review on Amazon, I promise to leave a nice comment (or answer any questions that you may have after reading my story).

Saturday, June 30, 2018

The Trick

I'd been ready for it for a while. The last few reports I'd read about Harlan had said that his health was poor. I suppose that you can only be Harlan for so long before your body craps out on you. Maybe I knew that the long silence around Harlan meant the end was coming soon. I'd carried the sorrow around like a tumor for some time. Perhaps that's why I'd started playing the game version of I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream again. Even as the voice of the monstrous AM it's still a connection to the man, I suppose. I'm currently stuck in a blimp wondering if I'm supposed to kill my character to get out of the level. Harlan might find that amusing.

Anyway, I got the news today. I'm down another hero.

It's not a word I throw around. Maybe Harlan would have liked the idea. Possibly not. Still, I can count my heroes on a single hand and have fingers left over (Hint: One's in the middle). When I use the word, I mean it, and I mean it deeply.

It all started with something I'd read about him in, I believe, F&SF. That lead to my purchase of these two books from The Science Fiction Book Club. Then I found out he'd written (in a way) the best episode of Star Trek, and A Boy and His Dog, a favorite SF film I'd seen at the local drive-in. The next thing I know, I'm tasked with writing an essay for my (fourth? fifth? sixth? grade) class on my hero. I chose Harlan, of course.

I chose Harlan because he fought for what he felt was right, even when no one else agreed. I chose Harlan because although he may have been afraid, he was fearless. I chose Harlan because he was unique and reveled in that uniqueness. I chose Harlan for the beauty and horror and depth and humanity of his writing. There is a virulent clichè in SF reporting/reviewing that goes like this: "it's a story about what it means to be human." It's lazy writing, every bit as lazy as "SF writers try to predict the future" and just as nonsensical. It's a fallback phrase that people just nod at and move on. Harlan likely hated it, though his work came closer than anyone's to fitting the description.

The Executioner of Malformed Children from the collection Shatterday
I'd played with being a writer from a young age. The words that Harlan put upon pages shored up that play into a conviction. Harlan has been on my shoulder through everything I've ever written. Make that both shoulders.

Excerpt from the short story Shatterday
“The trick is not becoming a writer. The trick is staying a writer.” 
― Harlan EllisonStrange Wine

Harlan inspired me to fight for what is good and true and right. Harlan inspired me to fight for what is mine. Harlan inspired me to write and to write well. For better or for worse, Harlan's words had made me a writer. The trick, as he'd said, was that it was up to me to stay a writer.

Now he's gone. Like Anthony Bourdain, a great and powerful voice has left a void in a world more in need of them than ever. I'm down two heroes. At least I have their words to keep me warm in these chilling times.