I stared at Robert Hunt. He was leaning forward in his chair as he spoke, his keen face gleaming with suppressed excitement. Both he and Jean Hunt, his slim,dark-haired sister, seemed watching the effect on me of what he had said. We were sitting in the soft-lit living-room of their up-state country home, where their telegram had brought me this night.
"Visiting Uranus tonight, Hunt?" I said finally, smiling. "Is Jean going with you or is this only a weekend trip?"
"I'm not joking, Devlin," Hunt said calmly, and his sister nodded affirmation. "Rob is really in earnest, Dev."
-- from "The Terror Planet" by Edmond Hamilton (Weird Tales, May 1932; reprinted in The Reign of the Robots: the Collected Edmond Hamilton, Volume 4)
I'm Back: Maybe. At least I hope to be blogging on a regular basis again. A quick update: We decided to sell our house and the real estate agent (a friend of a friend) did not really know what he was doing. For example, we were listed as having a two-garage when we did not have a garage; or homeowner's fees were listed at $204 a month, instead of a year; he listed the house a full two weeks before we were ready and included the most off-putting pictures possible in the listing; and so on and so on. We fired him but we had already lost the momentum of a new sale and of first appearances. In the meantime we rented a small, older apartment -- which had its own problems. All during this our oldest girl was undergoing chemo and then radiation for breast cancer and out youngest daughter and her husband were taking their part-time soap business (Cove Lake Soapworks -- look them up on Etsy -- they have fantastic products) to a new level, renting warehouse space, moving the operation from their home, and coming up with new products. Basically, I just did not have the time to put into the blog.
Now, we're pretty much ensconced in the new place and we're meeting with a new (and knowledgeable) agent today to plan out a sales strategy on the old house. Jessamyn is responding to treatment very well and, fingers crossed, may be declared cancer-free in a year. Christina and Walt have moved their operation and are now experimenting with holiday gift baskets. I did something evil to my back a couple of weeks ago and can't do anything around the house so I'm able to sit in front of the computer more.
So things are ducky, albeit sore, for me.
Please Keep in Mind: Things are not necessarily ducky for others however. Please keep Kevin Tipple in your thoughts. His beloved wife Sandi passed away a year ago this past Saturday and this anniversary (as well as the entire past year) has been very hard on him. Kevin is the president of the Short Mystery Fiction Society and blogs at Kevin's Corner (kevintipplescorner.blogspot.com).
Also, please keep Patti and Phil Abbott in your thoughts. Phil has been battling cancer and has had a few bad turns recently. Patti is our Friday's Forgotten Fiction Fearless Leader and a very accomplished writer in her own right. She very popular site at pattinase.blogspot.com is a go-to location for many of us, although she has been basically on hiatus for a couple of weeks while she deals with personal stuff. Patti and Phil are two of the good ones.
I know that all of us have people that are dealing with difficulties. Please keep them all in mind. Kind thoughts and kind deeds can make the unbearable bearable.
Florida Man: While I have been inactive, Florida Man has not been.
This past week, an unidentified Florida Man went shopping at Walgreens in South Beach wearing only a long Santa hat, white boots, a red garter. and angel wings. Perhaps we should change the words of the holiday songs "It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas" and "Jingle Bells.'
Not to be outdone, Tallahassee Florida Man Philip Bailey was arrested for urinating on a bus stop seat and then flashing a policeman. Spreading the joy of the holiday season, perhaps.
In Marion County, a 21-year-old Florida Man admitted to having sex with a miniature horse. Reminds me of Tom Leher's old joke of majoring in animal husbandry until they caught him at it.
And in Sebastian, Florida Man brought a decaying human skull into a Publix supermarket and was using it as a hand puppet.
And a few miles from where I live, an intoxicated Florida Man burned down his house while trying to bake cookies on a George Foreman Grill. And, yes, he was naked. Naked seems to be the official uniform of Florida Man.
Finally, although this happened a few months ago, I have to report that an armless Florida Man used his feet to stab a Chicago tourist in Miami.
91 Years Ago Today: The first Laurel and Hardy film, Putting Pants on Philip, was released. This seems like an apt time to recommend he, John Connolly's wonderful fictional biography of Stan Laurel.
Happy Birthday: To Ludwig Holberg, author of 1741's The Journey of Niels Klim to the World Underground (born 1684); to American painter and portraitist Gilbert Stuart (born 1755); to novelist Joseph Conrad (born Josef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski in 1857); to African-american songwriter Gussie L. Davis, whose more than 300 published songs included "Irene, Good Night," which formed the basis of the folk song 'Goodnight, Irene," and the horribly un-PC "There'd Never Been No Problem If They'd Kidnapped a Coon" (born 1863); to singers Ferlin Husky (born 1925), Andy Williams (born 1927), and Ozzy Osbourne (born 1948); and to newly-wed Daryl Hannah (born 1960).
Donald Trump: Ptah! Can he get any worse? Wait, don't answer that!
by Michelle Faulkner
Crowned in icy white
Polar robe of regal snow