Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Sunday, October 23, 2022


 Openers:   Kris sat in the basement, hunched over her guitar, trying to play the beginning of Black Sabbath's "Iron Man."  Her mom had signed her up for guitar lessons with a guy her day knew at the plant, but after six weeks of playing "Twinkle Twinkle Littl Star" on a JC Penney acoustic, Kris wanted to scream.  So she hid in the park when she was supposed to be at Mr. McNutt's, pocketed the $50 fee for the two lessons she skipped, combined it with all her savings. and bought a scratch-to-hell Fender Musicmaster and a busted-up Radio Shack amp from Goldie Pawn for $160.  Then she told her mom that McNutt had tried to watch her pee, so now instead of going to lessons Kris huddled in the freezing cold basement, failing to play power chords.

Her wrists were bony and weak.  The E, B, and G strings sliced her fingers open.  The Musicmaster bruised her ribs where she leaned over it.  She strapped a claw around the guitar's neck and pressed her sore index finger on G, raked her pick down the strings, and suddenly the same sound came out of her amp that had come out of Tony Iommi's amp.  The same chord 100,000 people heard in Philly was right there in the basement with her.

-- We Sold Our Souls by Grady Hendrix  (2018)

Kris Pulaski lived for metal because metal never, retreats, metal never surrenders, metal never dies.  Sshe would never be a great player, but that didn't matter.  She could be a player.  And she could make music.  It was the music tht mattered.   Gathering together other metal heads, she formed a  band, Durt Wurk.  Firsst they played for themselves, then for small gigs wherever they could.  As medium-sized fish in a small pond, known only locally, they released a couple of albums and were working on the third, Troglodyte.  Although poorly recorded, that album had a raw power, perhaps coming from the mythology that Kris had created when she wrote it.  Durt Wurk's lead singer Terry Hunt then deliberately sabotaged their one chance for the big-time when they signed to open for a name group.  Terry walked off the stage and Durt Wurks was fired.

Durt Wurk's manager, Rob, had planned the whole thing.  He and Terry had signed with a major label in a lucrative deal.  They offered a token payment    To the other band members for all rights to their music.  In addition, they could perfrom with Terry but only as employees, able to be fired at any minute.  Plus, they must promise never to perform any of their old songs anywhere.  Terry and Ron got three of the band members drunk.  Kris, while she also drank, was too mad to do much of anything and tormed out.  She returned later that night to find her bandmates passed out, having signed the contracts that Rob had pushed on them.  Rob and Terry were gone.  She roused her friends, got them into a car and began to speed after Rob and Terry.  Then came the accident that totaled the car and put one of her friends in a wheelchair for life.  That was the end of Durt Wurk and that was the end of Jris's music career.

But that was not the end of Terry Hunt's career.  He went on to become music's biggest star.  And over the following twenty years while Kris's life was in a shambles, Terry kept soaring to new heights of fame and power.  Now Terry was staging his "Farewell Tour" -- three cities, five dates, pay-per-view cable hooked up to arenas all over the country.  Terry had taken everythibg from Kris and now it seems with the large nation-wide billboards proclaiming his tour and displaying his face, that Terry was just rubbing it in.  But Kris is metal and metal never retreats, metal naver surrenders, metal never dies!  And metal can carry a grudge.

Death and terror follow Terry as she travels across a paranoid-infused country for her final showdown with her enemy.  With the entire nation out for her blood, Terry finally remembers the horrifying events of that fatal night as it truly happened, not as it had been implanted in her memory.  The fate of millions -- and perhaps th world -- rests on Kris's showdown with Terry, the Blind King.

Grady Hendrix is on a roll.  His best-selling novel Horrorstor (2014) -- which answers the question we hve all asked ourselves, "What happens when an IKEA store turns evil? -- has been optioned for a television series from FOX and for a film.  His second novel, My Best Friend's Exocism (2016).  His Stoker award-winning non-fiction paean to papeback horror novels, Paperbacks from Hell:  The Twisted History of '70s and '80s Horror Fiction (2017) has been incorporated into an ongoing series of reissued novels from Valancourt Press.  His third novel (discussed above) was a new look at the deal with the devil trope and has garnered positive reviews.  The Sputhern Book Club's Guide to Slaying vampires (2020) has been optioned for television as has Hendrix's next book, The Final Girl support Group (2021).  In addition, Henrix has published several novellas, Occupy Space (2012; reissued as Badasstronaut, 2022) and Satan Loves You (2012).  He has also pubished a graphic novel cookbokk and Li'l Wimmin, a graphic novel take on the classic Louisa May Alcott novel.  A short story collection, Dead Leprechauns & Devil Cats, came out in 2020.  His book on Kung Fu movies, These Fists Break Bricks, was published last year.  His latest book, How to Sell a Haunted House, will be released early in 2023.

For those interested in fresh takes on classic horror memes, Grady Hendrix is a must-read.


  • Raymond Mungo, Tropical Detective Story.  A novel, at least that's what it claims to be.  "This tropical detective story is nothing more of less than the sstory of my own life, how I committed the crime, then became my own detective, where I found the clues, and how I finally caught myself and sentenced myself to death.  Now I know who I am.  I'm a has-been.  I'm dead.  Some proud impersonator stalks mountains, claiming to be me.  Don't believe it. Asleep at home, asleep at church, I dreamed an elaborate and perfect dream, of peace and ease on the mother planet.  Peach trees bloomed, the wind was high, the moon appeared behind the graveyard.  But in my pastoral village hearts swelled at possiblities, the smallest promise of paradise, perfect love!  As the warmth and security of the idyllic communities grew, fears fell down.  I reached out for it. I took the greatest leap of faith and lunged for paradise, the real fulfillment of my life's purpose in the cosmic scheme.  I challenged God.  I fell in love.  It didn't work.  I woke up.  I found out.  And when I woke up I was on the moon..."  (And the inside cover blurb goe on and on.  Yadda yadda yadda.)  Raymond Mungo is probably best known for his counter-culture classics Famous Long Ago and Total Loss Farm.  Total disclosure:  I knew Mungo briefly during my college days.  I didn't care for him.  To me he was smarmy and totally in love with his own intellect.  I had been wrong about many, many things back in those days and I sincerely hope that I was wrong in my judgement of him.  Also, his younger brother Dickie played guitr as my wedding as a personal favor to Kitty.  Kitty told me that Dickie (who I did not know but Kitty said he was a nice guy) totally hero-worshiped his older brother.  So there's that.  For fifty cents at a thrift store, I thought I'd give this book a try.
  • Terry Pratchett, The Bromeliad.  Omnibus collection of three fantasy novels, Truckers, Diggers, and Wings.  "I.  There was the Site.  II.  And Arnold Bros (est. 1905) Moved upon the face of the site, and Saw that it had Potential.  III.  For it was On High Street.  IV.  Yea, it was also Handy for the Buses.  V.  And Arnold Bros. (est. 1905) said, Let there be a Store such as the World has not Seen hitherto...  Nomes are four-inch-high people who inhabit the corners of our world.  Like most tiny creature, they live at a faster pace than we large folk do; ten years is ancient in their eyes.  For as long as anyone can remember, nomes have been living comfortably in the recesses of the Store -- Arnold's department store in London.  Then the young hunter Masklin and his small band arrive, thoroughly upsetting the status quo -- speaking of the 'Outside' and carrying a mysterious black box which, they claim, will guide them all home.  The other nomes scoff.  Outside?  Nonsense.  Grass and Sky and Sun, and Rain?  They're just crazy legends.  But when the devasting news arrives that the Store is to be demolished, the nomes turn to Masklin to lead their escape.  And an epic journey through the huge and perilous Ouside begins -- a journey that will ultimately reveal not only the secrets of the human world, but the real purpose of the black box, the surprising facts about the nomes' remarkable past, and the truth about their astonishing destiny."
  • Warren Murphy, Scorpion's Dance.  Political thriller.  "Special Agent Mark Donovan had watched the politicians let Abu Beka and his 'Army of God' terrorize the West for too long.  The self-styled 'holy warriors' struck when and where they wanted, taking hostages and killing with an almost mystical frenzy of hatred.  Negotiations were pointless and attacks on their scattered strongholds only wasted time.  Donovan knew the only way to crush the fanatics was to beat them at their own deadly game:  to fight fire with fire until the smoke cleared in peace.  Russia and the United States had no other recourse and joined forces in the greatest test of glasnost yet.  Donovan and his Soviet counterpart, Anton Petrov, were given only one directive:  stop Abu Beka.  It was only the first step in what would be a lethal Scorpion's Dance."

This Incoming Deserves Its Own Space; or, Why Jerry Is Apt to Rant More and More in His Dotage:
  • Benjamin Wiker, Ph.D., 10 Books That Screwed Up the World (And 5 Others That Didn't Help).  Opinion, upon which I call bullshit.  "You've heard of the 'Great Books'?  These are their evil opposites.  From Machiavelli's The Prince to Karl Marx's The Communist Manifesto to Alfred Kinsey's Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, these 'influencial' books have led to war, genocide, totalitarian oppression, family breakdown, and disasterous social experiments.  And yet these authors' bad ideas are still popular and persuasive -- in fact they might influence your own thinking without realizing it.  Here with the antidote is Professor Benjamin Wiker.  In his scintillating new book, 10 Books That Screwed Up the World (and 5 Others That Didn't Help), he seizes each of these evil books by its malignant heart and exposes it to the light of day.  In this witty, learned, and provocative expose, you'll learn:  - Why Machiavelli's The Prince was the inspiration for a long list of tyrannies (Stalin had it on his nightstand)   - How Descartes' Discourse on Method 'proved' God's existence onlly by making Him a creation of our own ego   - How Hobbes's Leviathan led to the belief that we have a 'right' to whatever we want   - Why Marx and Engles' Communist Manifesto could win the award for the most malicious book ever written   - How Darwin's The Descent of Man proves he intended 'survival of the fittest' to be applied to human society   - How Nietzche's Beyond Good and Evil issued a call for the world to be ruled solely by the 'will to power'   - How Hitler's Mein Kampf was a kind of 'spiritual Darwinism' that accounts for his genocidal anti-Semitism   -How the pansexual paradise described in Margaret Mead's Coming of Age in Samoa turned out to be a creation of her own sexual confusions and aspirations   - Why Alfred Kinsey's Sexual Behavior in the Human Male was simply autobiograaphy masquerading as science   Witty, shocking, and instructive, 10 Books That Screwed Up the World offers a quick education in the worst ideas in human history -- and how we can avoid them in the future."  Phew.  There's a lot to unpack here.  The other books that supposedly have done humanity dirt are Rousseau's Discourse on the Origin and Foundations of Inequality among Men, John Stuart Mill's Utilitarianism, Lenin's The State and the Revolution, Margaret Sanger's The Pivot of Civilization, Freud's The Future of an Illusion, and Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique.  It's no surprise that the book's thesis has a strong conservative, pro-religious (er, the right kind of religion, that is) bent.  The aauthor is a noted Roman Cathlic ethicist and professor of political science and Human Life (note the capitals) studies at Franciscan University of Steubenville and the author of such books as 10 Books That Every Consevative Must Read :  Plus Four Not to Miss and One Imposter, The Darwin Myth:  The Life and Lies of Charles Darwin, Moral Darwinism:  How We Became HedonistsArchitects of the Culture of Death, and Worshipping the State:  How Liberalism Became Our State Religion, among others.  The book was published by Regnery Publishing, Inc. -- an uber-Consevative political and religious publisher.  It was a main selection of the Consevative Book Club.  (I had no idea there was a Conservative Book Club; I can only imagine that its monthly offerings usually include a burned copy of a children's book that dares to mention gender.)  Anyway, the book consists of cherry-picking, extreme generalizations, rigid thinking that brooks no opposition, a not-so subtle subjugation of women, conclusions not based on fact, a lack of historical awareness, and a holier-than-thou attitude that just makes me want to smack someone on the face.  In the face of this, I am happy to note tht one copyright holder -- The Kinsey Institute for Reseach in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction -- flat out refused to llow Wiker to quot anything from Knsey's book.  The author says that the Institute does not want itss namesake to be judged by his own words, which is a typical weasel way to put it.  More likely, the Institute did not want to have the words cherry-picked and distorted to suit the author's purpose.  The book was published in 2008 and would probably do well today if marketed as red meat for the MAGA crowd.

Sad News:   Word has come down that the Liz Truss School of Economics is closing down.  The revered institute, located in the bucolic English village of Trickle Down-on-Bullskat, had never fully achieved its purpose of promoting economic theories that ran counter to reality.  Indeed, its graduates tended to become politicians and pundits rather than bonafide economists.  A last-minute attempt to save the ivied halls of LTSOE by changing the school song from 'The Impossible Dream" to "You Can't Always Get What You Want" was deemed "just too little, too late."

But then, there'ss\ this:

Also, to test her durability a Prime Minister, a Britissh newspaper livestreamed a head of lettuce to see which would last longer, the lettuce or Truss as Prime Minister.  The lettuce won.

Big Mama:  Legendary blues singer Willa Mae "Big Mama" Thornton (1926-1984)was honored Saturday in ther hometown of Ariton, Alabama, with a renaming of a treet to Big Mama Thornton Circle.during which her career wa highlighted and a meet and greet was then held at the Ariton Baptist Church.  Also on Saturday the street where traditional blue artist J. W. Warren (1921-2003) lived was renamed J. W. Warren Alley.

The songwriting team of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller were amazed when they first heard Thornton sing.  It took them about fifteen minutes to write her biggest hit, "Hound Dog," specifically for her.  "Hound Dog" was the first record that Leiber and Stoller produced.  (The song also did wonders for a young man from Tupelo who covered later three years later.)

She was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1984.  One of the songs she wrote, "Ball 'n' Chain," a later hit for Janis Joplin, was included in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as one of the "500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll."

She died at age 57 of heart and liver disorders due to long years of alcohol abuse.  She had lost 355 pounds during the illness, going from a weight of 450 to 95 pounds.

 Acoustic guitar bluesman J. W. Warren was born in Enterprise, Alabama, but spent his youth sharecropping with his family in Ariton.  Extreme poverty, the conditions of the Jim Crow South, and the Depression took its toll:  his schooling was minimal and he was barely able to read and write.  As a teenager be began playing in local juke joints and at barbecues.  A veteran of World War II, he spent fourteen years in the military, returning afterward to Ariton.  He briefly dated Big Mama Thornton when they were young.  (Thornton later came out as a lesbian.)  As an exemplar of the acoustic country blues style, "Warren played two or three guitar parts, simultaneously picking out bass lines, rhythm, melody, and harmony.  He used a variety of guitar tunings and was a stunning slide player, using an old jackknife for a slide."

Here's a taste of Big Mama:

"Hound Dog"

"Ball N' Chain"

"Rock Me Baby"

"Nobody Knows You When You're Down: (with Aretha Franklin)

"Little Red Rooster"

"Big Mama's Bumble Bee" (with the Muddy Watrs Blues Band)


"I Smell a Rat"

And here's a little bit of J. W. Warren:

"You Gonna Miss When I'm Gone"

"Rabbit on a Log"

"Have You Seen Corinna?"

"Hoboing Into Hollywood"

"Careless Love"

"Sundown Blues"

Diwali:  Today is Diwali, the "Festival of Lights," one of the most important festivals within Hinduism.  Diwali actually runs for five (and, in some areas) six days, but today is the day of Lakshmi Puja, the main festival day of Diwali and is an official holiday in India, as well as Fiji, Guyana, Malaysia, Muritius, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Suiname, and Trinidad and Tobago.  It symbolizes the "spiritual victory of light over darkness, good over evil, and knowledge over ignorance."

From Wikipedia:  "During Diwali, people wear their finest clothes, illuminate the interior and exterior of their homes with diyas [oil lamps made from clay or mud] and rangoli [an elaborate and colorful art form created on a floor or tabletop; the word roughly means "rows of colors"], perform worship ceremonies of Lakshmi, the goddess of prosperity and wealth, light fireworks, and partake in family feasts, where mithal (sweet) and gifts are shared.  Originally a Hindu festival, Diwali has transcended religious lines and is also celebrated by Jains and Sikhs.  It is a major cultural event for the Hindu, Sikh, and Jain diaspora."

I can go along with anything that celebrates good over evil and knowledge over ignorance.

For a taste of Diwali, try these sweets:  Sitaphel Barfi, Pista Barfi, and Karela Pak.  Recipes courtesy of Chef Swapnadeep Mukherjee, Executive Chef, Metropolitan Hotel and Spa.    NOTE:  A lot of these ingredients may not be found in the typical American kitchen, but the sweets will be worthwhile for those of you who are patient and determined.

Take Back Your Time:  Today is also Take Back Your Time Day, created to bring attention to the epidemic of overwork in America.  This is a day to mindfully take back your time, celebrate relationships, promote work-life balance, and restore balance in our communities.


Florida Man:
  • 49-year-old Florida Man Jacob Spinoza of Spring Hill has been arrested for possession of 1.2 pounds of fentanyl -- enough to kill 200,000 people.   In a search of Spinoza's home, Hernando County Sheriff deputies also found roughly 2.5 grams of methamphetamine, 34 suboxane strips, approximately 130.9 grams of marijuana, three guns, and over $2000.  Needless to say, police suspect Spinoza of being a narcotics dealer.
  • Florida Man and Daytona Beach store owner Eddie Kastul is being lauded for the inventive way he successfully waterproofed his store, Midwest Motorcycle Sales & Rentals, from hurricane Ian.  Kastrul covered his store with spray foam and Flex Seal.  Kastul did not know if his idea would work but after the storm, he found the store completely dry inside.  Katul posted video of his store on Facebook and Tik Toker Cori Bosco re-posted the video to her account where it has been viewed over a million times.  Bosco herself had tried the standard methods of protecting her home from the hurricane by attaching panels to her windows and doors but that didn't work.  Hopefully, Kastrul unique method may help save other homes and busnesses when the next big hurricane hits.
  • Florida Grandfather David Towner, 62, of Port Orange, forgot something when he returned a rental car at the Hertz car rental at Daytona Beach international Airport -- his one-year-old granddaughter who was found by Hertz employees some 45 minutes after the car was returned.  The rental vehicle was locked and parked in an unshaded area.  The toddler was warm and her face was streaked with tears but she was breathing normally.  Paramedics at the scene determined that she was not harmed.  The girl's mother said that Towner had originally told her that he had left the girl at his home while he returned the car.  Towner was arrestd on one count of child neglect.
  • Remember the handful of former felons that Florida Man Ron "Just Put Me in Front of the Cameras" DeSantis had arrested for voter fraud earlier this year?  It turns out that most, if not all, were told that they could vote by various state and election officials; none, it seems, had any intention of committing fraud.  Voters in Florida passed an election measure that would restore voting rights to felon,, but the Repubican-led state legislature stepped in and passed a few caveats.  Felons had to meet certain requirements, but the requirements were nebulous and difficult to pin down.  One, for instance, required felons to pay back any money they owed the state.  Most were not aware nor were they told they owed any money and the state record keeping was so diffuse and erratic it was impossible to tell in many cases who owed money for what.  Evidently there was also some required paperwork that many felons and state employees were never told of.  Many of the officers who were sent to arrest these people had no idea why they were told to arrest them; several said they had never heard of such a charge; some officers seemed to apologize to the ones being arrested.   The law that caught these evildoers states clearly that the crime was in "knowingly" voting falsely, which these poor souls did not.  As more and more videos and stories about this "crime wave" become public, more and more people are questioning DeSantis's motives.   Should they?  I mean, here's a guy using Florida taxpayer money to bus supposedly illegal immigrants from Texas to Democratic-run cities in the North, opening himself up to possible charges of coercion, false imprisonment, fraud, and kidnapping -- all for the promotional glory.  And a guy who is firmly opposed to relxed mail-in voting laws but, because of Hurrican Ian, has eased voting restrictions for three counties that tend strongly Republican while refusing to do the same for Democratic counties that were hit much harder and suffered greter losses.  Certainly, reasonable people cannot call Florida's governor self-serving, can they?  Or can they?

Good News:
  •  The first wild bison in 6000 years has been born in the UK
  • Amazing 4th century mosiac depictng the Trojan War unearthed in war-torn Syria
  • Watch a sea lion hug a snorkling teenager
  • Dog ha collected over 600 lot golf balls at golf course; they are now being donated to charity
  • Hero honeymooners ressscue sleeping babies from nursery fire in Spain
  • Boy uses birthday money to start a food bank in his garden shed
  • Texas trucker named "Highway Angel" for stopping to rescue trooper pinned beneath his car

Today's Poem:
Stay Home

I will wait here in the fields
to see how well the rain
brings on the gress.
In the labor of the fields
longer than a man's life
I am at home.  Don't come with me.
You stay home too.

I will be standing in the woods
where the old trees
move only with the wind
and then with gravity.
In the stillness of the trees
I am at home.  Don't come with me.
You stay home too.

-- Wendell Berry

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