Tag Archives: Ray Bradbury

Snappier Answers to Stupider Headlines (September 2014)

4 Sep

September 4, 2014

You’ve got to love Newser.com, that plucky little news site that no one cares about. No one makes it their homepage, no one goes there for breaking news, but they keep on putting their links out there, everywhere, on the theory that if they throw enough funny pictures in your face you’ll eventually click on something. It’s cute the way they try, like that little puppy that just can’t reach the top of the couch but keeps making those silly little hops in a vain attempt to reach the cushions.

I’ve posted a couple other Snappy Answers to Newser headlines before (HERE and HERE, have fun, click away) and the response has been overwhelming. My great-aunt’s sewing circle, The Newkirk Needles, has sent me no less than three (!) glowing emails heaping praise upon the last installment. Check it out!

Dear Great-Nephew. I received your latest posting of your blog called More Snappy Answers to Stupid Headlines. I read it. Regards.

Dear Mr. Tepid Blog. Your great aunt passed on to me your Snippy Answers essay. What class is it for? I thought it was for American history but I’m not sure. But good luck and I hope you get an “A.”

To Mr. Blog’s Tepid Ride: UNSUBSCRIBE

They love me! and here are three more headlines to love!

newserb

“House Fire Was Dog’s Fault: Police. No One Else Was Home, Pet Gets Saved.”

Seriously? Isn’t this another variation of blaming your farts on the dog? Everything gets blamed on the dog. Who broke the lamp? The dog. Who spilled milk all over the living room rug? The dog. Who took Ambien, sleepwalked into the kitchen in the middle of the night, tried to broil a steak, then fell asleep on the kitchen floor and woke up late for work and rushed out the door, forgetting about the steak in the oven, and a few hours later the grease caught on fire and set the house ablaze? The dog.

newsera

“Woman’s Buttocks Impaled When Texting While Driving. Christina Jahnz Says She Just Checked Phone For A Split Second.”

To quote Seinfeld, when Frank Costanza found himself in a similar back door predicament (The Fusilli Jerry): “It was a million to one shot, doc. Million to one.” When Oprah issued her No Cell Phone Challenge, I don’t recall getting anally penetrated being listed as one of the dangers of texting and driving. Because that would sure keep me from texting behind the wheel.

newserc

Kid Writes Story About Killing A Dinosaur, Gets Arrested. Mom: ‘We Don’t Have dinosaurs Anymore.'”

And WHY don’t we have dinosaurs anymore? Because of punk kids like your son! Take that, Lady! PWNED!

Somebody better read Ray Bradbury’s story “A Sound of Thunder” because it is about exactly that- a hunter kills a dinosaur. The Simpsons even did a parody of this! Sheesh, it is a good thing Ray Bradbury died in 2012 or he’d be under arrest today.

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Some Of My Literary Influences

2 Sep

September 2, 2014

Over on Facebook, Matt Cowen tagged me to list, off the top of my head,  10 books that stayed with me in some way and a brief explanation. Matt is a man who knows his stuff. I urge you check out his blog over at Horror Delve (horrordelve.com) if you are interested in finding new, old, popular, and obscure horror stories.

This is off the top of my head, and I’m sure I’m leaving out a lot that deserve to be here. I’ve read many lists that other people posted, and their lists were full of “Golden Parachute” books, academic treatises on aging, and no telling how many books that are considered classics but honestly, no one reads very much anymore. (War and Peace, for example.) Those people were liars, more interested in having an impressive list than being honest. I have a few children’s books on my list. Why? Because it is the childhood influences that stick with you, that form you. Who doesn’t still have fond memories of The Cat in The Hat? A lot more than have fond memories of The Lives of the Great Composers by Arnold Schonberg, which someone listed.

And frankly, where’s the fun?

I’ve expanded my descriptions just a bit from what I wrote on Facebook, and, in no particular order, here we go.

1- The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. More than any other book, this influenced my sense of humor and writing style. (So you know who to blame for my blog.) I also read to tatters a couple of copies over the years. Although I think his second book, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, has the single funniest section (dinner at Milliways) of anything Adams ever wrote, it is this book that is the overall classic.

2- Tales of the Lovecraft Mythos by HP Lovecraft and others. My Grandmother had a whole set of Lovecraft, and one rainy month at summer camp she sent me this book and I was hooked. There are HPL books I like more, but this started it all. Plus,  it has Notebook Found in a Deserted House by Robert Bloch, which is just superb. (And not on the list, but at about the same time I first read Dracula, which I went on to teach.) Coming in right behind this one is At The Mountains of Madness and The Strange Case of Charles Dexter Ward.

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3- To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street. Hands down the best Dr.. Seuss book, in my opinion. The power of imagination!

4- The Martian Chronicles. I was always a casual sci-fi fan, but it was this book, given to be by a high school science teacher, that got me hooked on the genius and beauty of Ray Bradbury. The originality of the fates of the first few missions just drips from the pages.

5- Encyclopedia Brown by Donald J. Sobol, any volume. These short mysteries are still in my mind when I write my own Hollywood Russell mystery stories. I still remember the one Encyclopedia solved based on how a man ate his hot dog with mustard on top of the sauerkraut instead of below.

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6- Beware The Fish! By Gordon Korman. First in a series of sadly out of print YA novels about Bruno and Boots, two kids at a private school in Canada and the hijinks they get into. I always wanted to be one of them.

7- A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain. The Knights of Camelot, time travel, and Mark Twain wit. Looking back, my gateway drug to alternate realities and Quantum Leap.

8- Han Solo at Star’s End/Splinter of the Mind’s Eye. Yes, a pair of Star Wars novels. Not only the first of the “Expanded Universe” books, but, written by Brian Daley and Alan Dean foster, brought a more hard sci-fi tone to the fantasy of Lucas. To this day, I call them the only Star Wars books worth a cent.

9- Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. Wow. Just wow. After Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath, this is the ultimate American novel, and I dare you not to cry at the end.

10- Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes. Wow. Just wow. If I could read only one book for the rest of my life, this is it. I’ve not only read it over and over, I taught it five or six times and there is always something new to find in there. More than any other book on this list, I could fill a book about this book.

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I left out my first Nero Wolfe book, forgot about all the UFO books I devoured as a kid, didn’t add The Hardy Boys, and this really could have been a top 50 list. Hunt for Red October, and on and on and on…

And not a single book credited to the Department of Elder Affairs at a major university among them.

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