Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Skeleton Haunts a House -- Leigh Perry (Toni L. P. Kelner)

Sid the sentient skeleton detective is back for another adventure.  I reviewed one of his earlier cases here.  Sid can see although he doesn't have eyes, hear although he doesn't have ears, and think although he doesn't have a brain.  He'd be insulted by that last comment, I'm sure, but there it is.  He can also disassemble himself in a trice and various bones can move on their own.  How does this work?  Leigh Perry wisely doesn't try to explain it.  It's just the way it is.

Sid lives in the attic of the Thackery family and is Dr. Georgia Thackery's best friend.  Georgia is an adjunct English prof, and she, her sister, Deborah, and their parents, along with Madison, Georgia's daughter, are the only ones who interact with Sid.  Georgia's parents didn't appear in the earlier book I reviewed, but they're back for this one, and just in the nick of time, too.

This is the season for haunted houses, and billboards have begun to appear on the highways around Houston advertising this year's attractions.  'Tis the season.  The Skeleton Haunts a House was the a natural for me to read now since there's a murder in a haunted house (McHades Hall) at the Halloween Howl at the college where Georgia teaches.  Georgia and Sid, dressed as Scooby Doo and Velma, are at McHades Hall when the murder occurs, and Deborah is in charge of things there.  She's normally not a fan of Georgia and Sid's amateur sleuthing, but this time she asks them to investigate.

There's a lot more than a murder investigation going on here, though.  Perry has a lot to say about family issues, the sad conditions that adjunct faculty suffer under, the lives of college students, relationships, and more.  It's all told with humor in the appropriate places and in lively prose.  Sid (he likes to think of himself as Sherlock Bones) and Georgia come through in the end, of course, and there's a lot of fun (and a bit of romance) to be had along the way.  Check it out.


The Secret Cave in Central Park

The Secret Cave in Central Park—And Why It Was Sealed 

Song of the Day

Chuck Wagon Gang - Heaven's Jubilee - YouTube:

7 Hidden Art Secrets That Were Uncovered With Technology

7 Hidden Art Secrets That Were Uncovered With Technology

Today's Vintage Ad


Roadside Curiosities

Roadside Curiosities: Things That Make You Go “What the Heck?”

Jose Fernandez, R. I. P.

Fox News: Miami Marlins ace pitcher Jose Fernandez was killed Sunday morning after a boat crash in Miami Beach, the team announced.  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

PaperBack



Nigel Balchin, The Small Back Room, Lion Books, 1950

I Want to Believe!

Artist fools tourists with monument to giant-octopus attack on Staten Island Ferry  

Hat tip to Art Scott.

Bill Nunn, R. I. P.

BuzzFeed News: Bill Nunn, a veteran actor best known for his role as Radio Raheem in Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing, has died at age 62. The cause of his death is not yet known.

Hat tip to Deb.

Inside the FBI’s Colossal Fingerprint Factory

Inside the FBI’s Colossal Fingerprint Factory

How Cats Conquered the World

How Cats Conquered the World (and a Few Viking Ships)

Robert McGinnis’ New Covers for Neil Gaiman’s Early Paperbacks

Feast Your Eyes on Robert McGinnis’ New Covers for Neil Gaiman’s Early Paperbacks

Stanley "Buckwheat" Dural, R.I. P.

Stanley "Buckwheat" Dural, leader of Buckwheat Zydeco, dies at 68: LAFAYETTE, La. -Stanley “Buckwheat” Dural Jr., leader of the Grammy- and Emmy-winning band Buckwheat Zydeco, died Saturday . Dural, who had lung cancer, was 68.

I'm Sure You'll All Agree

100 Greatest Country Songs of All Time  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

The Mystery of New Dimensions 13

The Mystery of New Dimensions 13

Saturday, September 24, 2016

I Found a Penny in the Walmart Parking Lot Last Week

10 Insane Ways Ordinary People Stumbled Upon Major Discoveries

Song of the Day

Clyde McPhatter - Since You've Been Gone - YouTube:

The Strangest Adoption in the History of the West

The Strangest Adoption in the History of the West: The little-known and bizarre border saga of Santa Anna’s gringo son.

Today's Vintage Ad


100 Must-Read Books About Monsters

100 Must-Read Books About Monsters

PaperBack



P. G. Wodehouse, Jeeves, Pocket books, 1941

The Weird Week in Review

The Weird Week in Review

"Darn," He Smiled

Reflections: "Darn," He Smiled by Robert Silverberg

Instant Karma

Cinnamon Roll Can Explodes Inside Man’s Butt During Shoplifting Incident  

Excellent mugshot included.
Hat tip to Scott Cupp.

Will the Persecution Never End?

6 Movies That Ruined Their Studios 

I Miss the Old Days

50s Hot Rod and Classic Car Covers

Friday, September 23, 2016

I Want to Believe!

“Impossible” Time Crystals May Actually Be Real, Say Physicists  

Hat tip to Howard Peters.

I'm Sure You'll All Agree

50 Best TV Duos of All Time  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

First It Was the Thin Mints Melee. . . .

Customer throws cup of urine at McDonald's employee over cost of Bundt cakes

The Revolutionary Concept of Standard Sizes

Atlas Obscura: Almost every kitchen counter in the United States is 36 inches tall. And 25 inches deep. Eighteen inches above the counters are the cabinets, which are 16 inches deep.

Song of the Day

Andy Williams - Are You Sincere - 1957 - The Crooners Collection lyrics - YouTube:

WTF Secret Lives Your Favorite Celebs Keep Under The Radar

WTF Secret Lives Your Favorite Celebs Keep Under The Radar 

Today's Vintage Ad


Yet Another List I'm Not On

Top 20 Smartest People Who Ever Lived 

PaperBack



W. Somerset Maugham, Trio, Avon, 1951

The Ig Nobel Prizes

Work on sex life of rats, life as a badger honored at Ig Nobel Prizes

Paris Hilton Update

Paris Hilton says she is 'finally an adult' ten years after infamous sex tape scandal   

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Beautiful Vintage Annuals for Children

Blackie's Childrens Annual 1923AbeBooks: Beautiful Vintage Annuals for Children: In the late 1800s, children's stories were published in periodicals and distributed weekly or monthly to readers. To further capitalize on their market, publishing houses put together annuals filled with the best stories, illustrations and games from the year. The book was released for Christmas, and marketed as the perfect gift (both entertaining and educational) for children. The annuals were generally distributed in Britain and its colonies such as Canada and Australia, although sometimes also in the United States.

FFB: The Man with Nine Lives -- Harlan Ellison

The Man with Nine Lives is the other half of the Ace Double Book I mentioned last week.  When I was a youth, I followed two young SF writers in particular.  Robert Silverberg was one.  Harlan Ellison was the other.  Silverberg was selling everywhere, from the low-paying digests to the top ones.  Ellison was mostly stuck in the lower- to middle-paying ones, but for some reason, maybe because he was just starting out, his work had a lot of appeal to me.  I shudder to admit this, but I once listed The Man with Nine Lives as one of my favorite SF novels.  Rereading it now, I can see that it's a pretty bad book.

Ellison isn't a novelist.  He's best at shorter lengths, and that's what he's stuck to for most of his career.  This book isn't actually a novel.   It's a sort of a fixup of a previously published novelette and short story with a couple of more related stories and a framework tossed in.   A man named Cal Emory is seeking revenge against a powerful guy, Paul Lederman, and to get it he has to undergo the "nine lives" of the title.  Lots of adventures ensue.  

The good news is that Ellison is Ellison, so nothing is exactly standard.  As in "Run for the Stars," which I discussed last week, the protagonist is a coward.  He doesn't undergo the changes that the previous one does, but he does learn and change.  So the ending might not be the one you expect.

The Man with Nine Lives is a minor book by a major writer.  Not anything to go out of the way to find, but an interesting historical document and fun in its own way.  Certainly not one of my favorite SF novels now, though.