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Sunday, May 31, 2015

Tastes Like Chicken

Things have been tense since he accidentally killed and roasted her brother Will, serving him at a backyard barbecue. He reminds her that Will had grown a layer of feathers and developed the habit of clucking. She thinks he should have noticed that something was amiss when he began to pluck Will. He has nothing to say to that.

Monday, May 25, 2015

If the Amish Developed More TV Shows

Raking Bad
So You Think You Can Plow
The Growmore Girls
Pimp My Buggy
Friday Night Lanterns
The Hex-Files

Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Penguin Pool Murder - 1932

The Penguin Pool Murder
Based on characters created by Stuart Palmer
1932

Funny how simple the answers are when you know them.
(Hildegarde Withers)

Movies starring Stuart Palmer's amateur detective Hildegarde Withers were all the rage during the Thirties and this is the one that kicked things off. Edna May Oliver stars here and in the next two episodes and Helen Broderick and Zasu Pitts took over the role for the last three movies of the series. Though she is a schoolteacher and a civilian, Withers works in tandem with the gruff inspector Oscar Piper to solve crimes and trade mildly disparaging wisecracks. Gleason starred as Piper in all six of the Withers movies.

These movies were not meant to be taken too seriously and The Penguin Pool Murder is no exception. Miss Withers just happens to be visiting the aquarium with her students when a gentleman of the lifeless persuasion is found in the penguin pool. We viewers have already seen some of the background leading up to this murder, but there are various twists and turns that keep things hopping until the no-nonsense schoolmarm finally figures it all out. Piper, as usual, is a few steps behind, but give him an a for effort anyway.

These are not movies that I really watch for the plotting and this one, which gets off to quite a slow start, was more of the same. When Withers and Piper get into crime-solving mode and start pecking at each other things perk up considerably. Recommended, as are the other three in the series that I've seen thus far, as long as you're not someone who takes your mystery movies too seriously.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Minutes of the Monthly Meeting of the Exalted Priests of Yssrygyth

O noble ones,
Who exist to serve our dark and mighty lord Yssrygyth,
Master of all that is seen and unseen.
Arbiter of life and death.
Hearken unto my words.
We gather among the sacred stones under the waning moon on the forty-first day
In the seventeenth year of the reign of our mighty king, Syanshek.

O noble ones,
Ye shall be responsible for keeping thine own abode clean
For it has been brought to our attention that some work areas
Have become the abode of all manner of unclean spirits.

O noble ones,
Foul and unclean spirits will clean up after themselves, particularly in the break rooms.
Ye shall be responsible for the transgressions
Of any foul and unclean spirits you have invoked.

O noble ones,
Obsidian knives are currently on backorder.
Our supplier estimates that they will arrive on the fifty-eighth day
In the seventeenth year of the reign of our mighty king, Syanshek.
We are casting about for a new supplier.
In the meantime, do not place any new orders.

O noble ones,
As noted in a memo, circulated on the three hundredth day
In the sixteenth year of the reign of our mighty king, Syanshek.
Torture chambers must be reserved at least nine days in advance.
There shall be no exceptions.

O noble ones,
When tearing the hearts from live victims
You must follow the procedures outlined on tablet fourteen
Of standard rites and sacrificial procedures, basic - intermediate.
Claims for repetitive stress injuries have risen sixty four percent since last year.

O noble ones,
We are organizing a potluck dinner for our next gathering.
We need someone to supply the following items,
Roasted heart of shammun cat, gryyth crystalworm casserole, potato salad.
If you can help out see Mordhi in accounting.

By William I. Lengeman III © 2015

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Other Dimensions, edited by Robert Silverberg

Other Dimensions
Edited by Robert Silverberg
1974

There's nothing fancy or cryptic about the title of this anthology. The stories, as the title suggests, are concerned with the theme of other dimensions. For my money, some of them worked and some did not. Rather than offer my comments on all ten stories I'll focus on the ones I liked.

And He Built a Crooked House, by Robert A. Heinlein
What happens if you build a house in more than the accepted number of dimensions? Heinlein offers up a rather whimsical account of how it might go. I probably won’t be spoiling it to say this much – not well.

Narrow Valley, by R.A. Lafferty
A quarter of a century after Heinlein’s story appeared, Lafferty took a similar look at the problems of extra dimensions. He too takes a lighthearted approach. His yarn is about a plot of land rather than a house that exists in more dimensions besides the ones we all know and love so much.

Stanley Toothbrush, Terry Carr
I wasn’t aware that the well-known anthologist Terry Carr was also a writer but here he contributes what I thought was the best story of the bunch. In which the protagonist finds that by using the powers of his mind he can cause things to appear or disappear. It’s not an exact science, mind you. This, and the fact that Carr also tends toward the whimsical, makes for a very entertaining story.

Disappearing Act, by Alfred Bester
The military is trying to determine why shell-shocked patients in a secret ward are disappearing. The answer is a fairly simple one having to do with other dimensions. But it's made more interesting by the General in charge, who's rather over the top and constantly demanding another expert to sort out anything he needs to know. Comparisons to a certain Kubrick movie wouldn't be too far off the mark.

Also features stories by Arthur C. Clarke, Alexei Panshin, Carol Carr, John Breuer, Robert Silverberg and Stanley G. Weinbaum.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Man Bites God

He is undergoing a series of tribulations that would have made Job cringe.
He raises his eyes to the heavens and curses God. He is surprised and a bit miffed when God curses back.
He flings a pen cap at God. God causes frogs to rain upon him.
He pulls God's hair. God causes his house to be filled with the blood of swine.
He pokes God in the eye. God causes the sky to rain fire and brimstone, totally trashing his lawn.
He hauls off at God and misses. God takes a mighty swing and does the same. Soon they are embroiled in a particularly nasty slap fight in which no real damage is inflicted.
He stomps on God's foot. God casts a pox upon his kith and kin.
He bites God right on the ear.
Well, that does it.