Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Monday, February 26, 2018


Now That's Pulp:  Blurbs to stories in the February 1945 issue of Strange Detective Stories:

  • The Japs had Steve Pulos and Matt Mercer's left arm when -- six thousand miles from the South Pacific -- three more of the little yellow men threatened to take Matt's kids if he didn't fork over the missing piece of rice paper which would bring terror and wholesale slaughter to half a million Yankee fighting men -- and cold, deadly terror to our biggest war producing center...  (Day Keene, "So Sorry You Die Now!")
  • "My wife," I told the detective, "is asleep.  She's nervously worn out...."  But only that thin door stood between him and the dead body of the girl I once had loved....  The same fragile barrier that was keeping me from that last grim walk to the electric chair....  (Cyril Plunkett, "Deathwatch")
  • Instead of his girl and his best friend meeting Nick at the station, he found a hackie who took him for a murder-ride and threw in the cab and the corpse free...with no questions answered!  (Ken Lewis, "Homecoming in Hell!")
  • Uncle Caleb collected antiques -- strange ornaments, vases, candelabra and oddities of mystic meaning -- but before the night was out he had a record collection of corpses on his hands.  (Larry Sternig & W. Fredric Kruger, "The Fatal Flower")
  • Lollie and Beau were two kids the world had forgotten -- thrown together by Big Jumbo....  But when the cops found Jumbo looking like one of his own hamburgers, it took them no time at all to remember Beau -- an Beau remembered nothing!  (Robert Turner, "Coffins for Two")
  • Gladly would those three men and the woman have traded their stolen fifty thousand dollars for a glimpse of civilization....  But the lonely, remote hill night was filled with strange noises that whispered, over and over again, "Murderers....will die before dawn!"  (Talmage Powell, "Kill Once -- Kill Twice!")
  • Stranded and alone, Mike and Diane looked upon Pa Grubb as a good Samaritan when he offered to take them home with him for food and bed....  But they found, too late, that the price for accommodations at that remote farmhouse was payable in blood and terror!  (Steve Herrick, "Bargain in Bones")
I've Been Reading:  This week I finished Michael Fairless's collection The Roadmender, a strange blend of Christian and nature writing and my FFB this week.  I also went on an Edgar Rice Burroughs kick, reading three minor books by him -- The Efficiency Expert (a mainstream romance-detective novel that took place in Coincidence City), The Scientists Revolt! (a 1939 SF novella that was revised by magazine editor Ray Palmer [uncredited] and eventual release in book form in 2013; no great shakes), and Official Guide of the Tarzan Clans of America (a once rare pamphlet that is now available to read on the internet; interesting in a gosh-shucks, gee-whiz way).  Although Neil Gaiman is credited as the author of the graphic novel How To Talk To Girls at Parties, the adaptation of Gaiman's story was done by Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba, who did appear to veer too far from Gaiman's original concept.  And finally, I've been catching up with Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples' Saga graphic novels, having polished off Volumes Four through Seven this week; this series deserves all the accolades it has received.  I'm currently reading F. Paul Wilson's Panacea (part of his Secret History of the World cycle; the sequel, The God Gene, is in the chute for next week) and Sarah Pinborough's psychological thriller Behind Her Eyes -- one book is by the sofa and the other is by the bed and I'm too damn lazy to carry a book from one room to the other, so I'm switching back and forth.

Conspiracy Theorists:  David Hogg, an outspoken seventeen-year-old survivor of Florida's Parkland shooting, has been targeted as a "crisis actor" and worse by conspiracy theorists.  It has reached the point where his family has been getting death threats.  He realizes that all the wacko theories floating out there are actually aiding him in getting his message out there.  As for the wackos themselves?  "I feel for those people, honestly.  They've lost faith in America.  But we certainly haven't.  And that's OK, because we're going to outlive them."

Smart Marketing:  The San Diego Girl Scout Council is investigating a scout photographed selling Girl Scout cookies in from of a marijuana dispensary.  Evidently, selling in a "commercial area" is not allowed although we've all seen these young ladies hawking cookies at shopping centers.  The business in question, Urdn Leaf, posted the picture on its Instagram account, inviting customers to stop by and buy some cookies.  I wonder how many boxes she sold.

Happy Valentine's Day:  A Texas woman was arrested for theft at a Corsicana grocery store.  In an effort to hide the drugs hidden in her underwear, the woman defecated on her stash, which consisted of 2.3 graams of crack cocaine, a crack pipe, and a Valentine's Day card, because nothing says love like pooping on a card for your beau.

Of Course:  They should arm teachers.  How can they write on the blackboard is they don't have arms?  (I'm dating myself.  Do they even have blackboards anymore?)  On the other hand, the thought of my high school English teacher, Helen Poland, packing a gun terrifies me.

And Not a Drop to Drink...:  Miami is one of eleven major cities that would most likely run out of potable water according to UN-endorsed predictions.  Of the 500 largest cities in the world, fully one-fourth of them have what is termed "water stress."   In Miami's case it is because salt water from the Atlantic continually invades the city's main aquifer.  The remaining ten cities on the list are (in no particular order) London, Tokyo, Cape Town, Sao Paulo, Beijing, Mexico City, Moscow, Istanbul, Cairo, and Bangalore.

Round Trip:  On this day in 1616, Galileo Galilei was formally banned by the Church from teaching or defending the idea that the Earth rotated around the sun.  Truth is a hard-won thing.

Happy Birthday!:  Buffalo Bill Cody, were he still alive, would be 172 years old today.  Here's a song about him:

Gas:  There are three "cheap" gas stations near me.  Each station seems to follow the pricing of the others.  Last week, one of them jumped up five cents in a twenty-minute period.  Another recently jumped up ten cents.  The prices always waver but seem to rise faster than they decline.  As a mere mortal, I cannot figure out the logic behind these daily spurts and starts.  I understand it is supposed to be tied to fluctuations in supply and cost from the sources, but really?  I'm leery.

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