September 27, 2014

Superman Saturday: Robbery, assault and battery

Clark and Lois are assigned to interview Lois' uncle, meteorologist Horace Morton, at his observatory outside the town of New Birmingham. Morton has an uncanny ability to predict the weather with near-perfect accuracy, and Perry White wants to know how.

However, there is apparently also a connection between Dr. Morton's predictions and a crime spree in New Birmingham. Morton's assistant Elmer Rogers knows something but is afraid to let Clark and Lois know what he knows in Morton's presence. Then, during a freak hailstorm, Lois and Clark hear a gunshot, and discover Rogers dead . . .

Episode 54: Horace Morton's Weather Machine, Part 3 (1940/06/14)

Listen!

Clark and Lois examine the body of Elmer Rogers, and Clark finds the gun that was used to shoot him. Just then, Dr. Morton comes in. He behaves quite erratically: he suggests that the fatal wound was self-inflicted, and despite Clark's warning he picks up the gun and examines it as if tampering with a crime scene is the most normal thing in the world. When Clark tells him to call the police, he questions whether they need to be involved.

September 25, 2014

Sleep with one eye open, gripping your pillow tight

In Stephen King's Doctor Sleep, child protagonist Danny Torrence is now in his 40s and goes by "Dan." Traumatized by the events of The Shining and self-medicating to suppress his psychic abilities, Dan is now an alcoholic. When he drifts into a New Hampshire town, he quits drinking, joins AA, and lands a job in a hospice. He becomes known as "Doctor Sleep" because his psychic "shine" (re-emerged since he gave up alcohol) enables him to comfort and ease the passage of terminal patients.

Meanwhile, a young girl named Abra Stone, born shortly before 9/11, has manifested a shine of her own that is possibly even more powerful than Dan's. As she grows up, the two of them share a psychic bond. Abra unintentionally has a vision of the ritual murder of a boy in Iowa by the "True Knot," a band of vampire-like roamers who feed of the psychic "steam" given off by those who die in pain. This brings her to the attention of the True, who realize they could feed off her for a very long time.

I've been reading Stephen King's works in order, but I decided to let Doctor Sleep jump the queue, as I mentioned earlier this month. I'm glad I did. (I should make a general policy of reading King's new novels while playing catch-up with the older ones.) King has called this novel a "return to balls-to-the-wall, keep-the-lights-on horror," but I'm not sure if I found it to be that, exactly. The Shining was pretty much a straight-up ghost story-cum-psychological thriller. King's work since about the mid-1990s has been as much fantasy as horror, and Doctor Sleep seems to fit that mould pretty well.

Actually, the horror-fantasy and the very weird antagonists make this novel feel like it was conceived by Clive Barker before it was written by Stephen King. But it was fun to read nonetheless. Apart from the ongoing Dark Tower series, sequels by King are few and far between, so it was interesting to read what had happened to one of his earliest, most engaging characters.

By the way, this is the first time that a Stephen King cover has made me jump. I only noticed today what was in the background behind the text.

Sure, it's less than a week till the end of the month, but Science Fiction-Free September moves apace. On deck: In Cold Blood.

September 24, 2014

And now . . . this - Sept. 24/14

On 22 September 2014, a strange story of body modification appeared on the social web. According to several circulating articles, a Florida woman named Jasmine Tridevil underwent cosmetic surgery to add a "third breast" to her body. . . .

the Tampa television station (WTSP) that recently interviewed "Jasmine Tridevil" reported that earlier in the month Alisha Hessler had filed a stolen baggage complaint at Tampa International Airport that listed a "3 breast prosthesis" among the items lost. . . .

[Full Story]

Surprise, surprise, surprise.

Well, good luck getting that reality show now, Jaz.

September 22, 2014

And now . . . this - Sept. 22/14

A Tampa massage therapist who calls herself "Jasmine Tridevil" says she spent $20,000 on a procedure to add a third breast to her chest. . . .

"My whole dream is to get this show on MTV,” she told Real Radio. “I got it because I wanted to make myself unattractive to men. Because I don’t want to date anymore . . . Most guys would think [the extra breast is] weird and gross. But I can still feel pretty because if I wore makeup and cute clothes, I can still, you know . . . feel pretty."

[Full Story]

Really? Speaking for myself as a man, the vampire makeup did the trick pretty well without the help of the vandalism and stripper name.

September 20, 2014

Superman Saturday: Raindrops keep falling on my head

Aaaand . . . we're back, after a one-week hiatus. This week: a new Superman adventure: "Horace Morton's Weather Machine." So, without further ado . . .

Episode 52: Horace Morton's Weather Machine, Part 1 (1940/06/10)

Listen!

Clark Kent and Lois Lane are called into Perry White's office with a new assignment. Dr. Horace Morton is a leading private meteorologist with an uncanny accuracy—"practically 100 percent correct," as Perry puts it—but he refuses to reveal his prediction system. He also happens to be Lois' uncle, so Perry wants her to take advantage of the family relationship to try and soak him for his secret. (I'm sure there's a conflict of interest involved here, but this is a children's program, so we don't have to worry about such trivial matters as journalistic ethics.) Lois is reluctant, but relents, and she and Clark drive to the town of New Birmingham, where Morton lives at an observatory atop Music Mountain with his man Friday, Elmer Rogers. "Give my regards to Uncle Horace," snarks Perry.

September 06, 2014

Superman Saturday: Treasure, that is what you are, honey, you're my golden star

Here we go again! We're on the home stretch of "Alonzo Craig, Arctic Explorer."

Clark Kent is on assignment in the Arctic, in search of the missing explorer, the aforementioned Captain Craig. He and his navigator, Captain Walters (whose first name, we now learn, is Ike) have rescued fellow searchers Ray Martin, also of the Daily Planet, and Professor Peters, from the museum, from the Kunalaka Indians. Martin died shortly after revealing the location of the Indians' treasure hoard, hidden in a sunken temple carved into the Arctic ice. Clark, Peters, and Walters explore the temple, where Clark (as Superman) confronts the Kunalakas' never-dying medicine man—none other than Alonzo Craig himself, apparently gone mad. . . .

September 04, 2014

The anniversary and the moratorium

Welcome to September 4. This is the official 11th anniversary of this blog—though it was actually created in July of 2003, the first post went up in September. This has traditionally also been the date on which I rolled out a new look for the Crusty Curmudgeon, though this is something I've done very little of in recent years. Ever since they rolled out Blogger 2.0 some years ago, re-skinning a Blogger blog has meant more than just writing up a new HTML template and style sheet. I already know what I want the next iteration of the CC to look like, and plan on learning the new language. Sometime.

September 4 is one of two times of the year that I tend to reflect on the state of the blog, the other being New Year's Day. Usually I don't have much to say in September, either than that my writing hasn't been as prolific as I hoped, but I expect to get better, and despite my decreased output, I'm not going anywhere just yet. So, by way of my twice-yearly status updates: Unfortunately, my blogging hasn't been as prolific as I would like (though it has increased recently), I expect to post more in coming weeks, and despite my decreased output, the Crusty Curmudgeon is not dead yet. So there.

September 01, 2014

Superman Long Weekend: We come from the land of ice and snow

Happy Labour Day! There's nothing like a long weekend for relaxing, resting, and taking in the simple pleasure of a pulp radio serial. So we return to the adventures of Superman and "Alonzo Craig, Arctic Explorer."

Clark Kent has been dispatched to Ellesmere Island in the Arctic to determine the whereabouts of vanished Arctic explorer Alonzo Craig, or of fellow Daily Planet reporter Ray Martin and Professor Peters, who also disappeared after going in search of Craig. Captain Walters, Craig's crusty navigator, thinks the explorer might have discovered the Luck of the North, a vast treasure hoard possessed by a tribe of white-skinned Indians who live in the Arctic and are ruled by a witch doctor who is rumoured to never die.

In spite of a seemingly supernatural warning to stay away, Clark and Walters travel by dogsled and find an igloo that is the last known location of Martin and Peters. There, they are ambushed by the Indians, and Walters is injured. Clark changes to Superman and fights their attackers off. Inside the igloo, they find a mysterious clue to the fate of the previous search party . . .

August 28, 2014

If you can't stop rape completely, you might as well not bother trying

Anyone remember back when feminism was about empowering women instead of perpetuating a state of victimhood?

This, from Newsweek:

Four students from North Carolina State University have invented a nail varnish that detects common date rape drugs by changing colour. . . .

The nail varnish indicates the presence of date rape drugs, such as Rohypnol, Xanax and GHB, by changing colour after being dipped in the drink.

[Full Story]

Huzzah! Another tool with the potential to stop a very serious crime even before it start. It never hurts to help!

Right?

August 26, 2014

And now . . . this - Aug. 26/14

Sum Ting Wong

The Philadelphia Public Record newspaper has apologized for using racial slurs in a photo caption depicting City Councilman Mark Squilla with a group of Asians in Chinatown, referring to some in the photo as "Chinky Winky," "Dinky Doo," and "Me Too."

[Full Story]

"That editor is a Britisher," Tayoun explained, puzzlingly. "He didn't mean anything by it. The Public Record is the most inclusive publication in Philadelphia."

[Full Story]

"Didn't mean anything by it"? Good Lord, man, do you know what this means? Tourette syndrome has jumped the tracks and evolved into a written tic in addition to a verbal one!

Moo goo gai pan!

[claps hands over mouth]

Well, there's your problem

Jessie Nizewitz is suing VH1 for $10 million, saying while she agreed to appear on the network's reality show "Dating Naked," she said the network promised to blur out her special lady parts.

They didn't. . . .

She told the New York Post she wants a "huge apology" from the companies, since the show cost her a "budding relationship" with someone she'd been seeing for a month. . . .

"He never called me again after the show aired. I would have hoped we could have had a long-term relationship. He was employed, Jewish, in his 30s and that's pretty much ideal," Nizewitz said.

[Full Story]

Ideal, except apparently for that whole thing about not dating women who go naked on TV on the first date with other men.