A postscript and a compass

Posted By on August 21, 2014

As promised long ago, I'm doing book reviews over at the Pandora Society. Here's the first of what may be many. I encourage everyone to go visit the Society – they're good people. Thanks!

Celebrate HP Lovecraft’s birthday with a custom bust from Cryptocurium

Posted By on August 20, 2014

Available on August 20th for 24 hours only!

Hand cast in solid resin, this effigy of H.P. Lovecraft in bust form is enveloped by a Shoggoth at the base with a propped-up moldering tome with an inscription that reads, H.P. Lovecraft 1890 -1937.

The “Cryptocurium Lovecraft Bust” measures an economical 6.5″ x 4″ for those looking to add some eldritch horror to their surroundings without taking up too much space!

Each is signed and numbered by artist Jason McKittrick

Purchase at: http://www.cryptocurium.com/cryptocurium-lovecraft-bust/

Dieselpunk Engagement

Posted By on August 14, 2014

Anyone around planning to get married soon?

You’re not? You may want to reconsider your decision once you will have watched this very Dieselpunk ring “work” on the video:


Film legend Lauren Bacall dies at 89

Posted By on August 13, 2014

Lauren Bacall, a bewitching actress whose husky voice and smoldering onscreen chemistry with her husband Humphrey Bogart made her a defining movie star of the 1940s and who decades later won Tony Awards in the Broadway musicals “Applause” and “Woman of the Year,” died Aug. 12 in New York at 89.

Robbert de Klerk, co-managing partner of the Humphrey Bogart Estate, confirmed the death in an e-mail.

Ms. Bacall was one of the last surviving major stars of the studio system, which flourished from the silent-movie era to the dawn of the television age. She was a willowy, ash-blond fashion model when veteran film director Howard Hawks plucked her from the pages of Harper’s Bazaar in 1943 and molded her seductive screen persona.

Hawks gave Ms. Bacall, then 19, an electrifying film debut: as a sexy and insolent woman of mystery in “To Have and Have Not” (1944), based on an Ernest Hemingway story and set in the Caribbean during World War II. The movie shaped her public identity: a woman as sexually confident as she was formidable, or, in Bogart’s words, “steel with curves.”

In the film’s best-remembered scene, Ms. Bacall sidles up to Bogart, who plays a hard-boiled charter-boat captain named Steve. She kisses him, then says, “It’s even better when you help.”

Rest in peace, Lauren. We love you.

The great Houdini escapes to The History Channel this Labor Day weekend!

Posted By on August 12, 2014

History Channel is bringing us the adventures of master escape artist Harry Houdini this Labor Day weekend (September 1st – 2nd).

The two-night scripted miniseries Houdini follows the epic tales of Harry Houdini as he emerges as America’s first bonafide world-renowned superstar. From humble beginnings at circus sideshows to sold-out concert halls, Eastern European immigrant Erich Weiss rose to become a household name across the globe–Houdini.

Academy Award winner Adrien Brody (The Pianist) stars as The Great Harry Houdini as he finds fame, engages in espionage, battles spiritualists and encounters the greatest names of the era, from U.S. presidents to Arthur Conan Doyle and Rasputin. A thrilling ride throughout Harry’s psyche, Houdini delves deep behind the curtain into his life through his stunts, his visions and his mastery of illusion.

Joining Brody is Kristen Connolly (House of Cards, The Cabin the Woods) as Bess Houdini, the love of Harry’s life and right hand when it came to some of his most amazing feats, and Evan Jones (A Million Ways to Die in the West, The Book of Eli, Gangster Squad) as Jim Collins, Harry’s assistant and confidant.

Check out the trailer below:

Hexayurt for Burning Man

Posted By on August 8, 2014

My family and I are headed to Burning Man this year. 

I have been twice in the past and have always stayed in a tent. I was reasonably comfortable, however sleeping late was problematic. As soon as the sun rose over the RV I had pitched my tent next to, it simply got too hot to continue sleeping.

So this year I built a Hexayurt to stay in. The Hexayurt is a structure originally developed for disaster response. It's a hexagonal hut built out of foam insulating panels and super strong bi-filament fiberglass reinforced tape. The particular design I chose is made from 12  4' x 8' panels. Six of the panels are cut diagonally and connected together to form six triangles. These triangles become the roof. The other six panels are laid on their side and set out in a hexagon and make the walls of the Hexayurt. The foil surface of the panels and their insulating qualities make this an ideal structure for desert camping.

I won't go into too much detail concerning the construction of my Hexayurt. If you are interested, you should go to Hexayurt.com the repository for all such information 

My Hexayurt will be shipped to the playa on the Boston burning truck. We'll be flying in at the beginning of the event and taking the bus from Reno to Black Rock city. However, the Burner Express stop where we'll arrive is about half a mile from the place where the Hexayurt will be deposited. Keep on reading to see how I'll deal with that situation.

Hexayurt for Burning Man

I began with polyisocyanurate insulation panels from Lowe's. Unfortunately, the panels from Lowe's come with logos on both sides. I cut them so that the silver side would be on the outside, I edged all of the cut panels with aluminum insulating tape. I used the Camp Danger method to create flexible hinges so that most of the Hexayurt can be pre-taped and folded flat for shipment. Once on the Playa the two halves of the base and the two halves of the roof are taped together and then taped to each other. It should only take about half an hour to erect the Hexayurt once we get to camp.

Sad But True Department

Posted By on August 1, 2014

Today is the 70th anniversary of the start of the Warsaw Uprising

Posted By on August 1, 2014

Today is the 70th anniversary of the start of the Warsaw Rising

By: Jason Morningstar, author of “Night Witches”

Seventy years ago today the Polish underground state and government in exile initiated a general uprising to coincide with the Soviet counteroffensive in eastern Poland. The goal was to greet the Red Army not as liberators but as allies. It was to be the largest and best organized effort to resist Nazi occupation in history, and it was to end in utter defeat.

To say that Poland got a raw deal in the twentieth century is an insult to raw deals. By 1944 she had been ripped in half by the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany like dogs fighting over scraps, then completely occupied by a murderous Germany committed to the systematic destruction of not just the nation but the people. The Jews would be exterminated and the ethnic Poles would be transformed into a slave caste. Poland’s allies effectively abandoned her to this fate.

And despite this the Poles fought.

The Polish Home Army, the Armia Krajowa, was the largest underground resistance organization in occupied territory, and perhaps the only one organized along strict military lines. AK soldiers were just that, soldiers, and if they were also occasionally saboteurs and assassins, well, that was just a side show on the road to the general uprising they knew would come. Maybe knew is the wrong word – in 1942 they didn’t know anything – a future Europe completely dominated by Hitler was not inconceivable. The British weren’t exactly kicking ass. The Americans couldn’t even find theirs. And the Russians were still learning how to make war, when they weren’t killing their own. So the AK was, in a very real sense, an organization built on faith and rage.

Dutch Van Kirk, navigator and last remaining crew member of the Enola Gay, is dead

Posted By on July 30, 2014

Theodore Van KirkNearly 69 years ago, Theodore “Dutch” Van Kirk navigated a U.S. B-29 Superfortress called the Enola Gay over Hiroshima, Japan, on a sunny August day. Once over its target, the Enola Gay unloaded the first atomic bomb dropped in war.

A single bomb blast killed some 140,000 people and helped end World War II — and pushed the world suddenly into the nuclear era.

On Monday, Van Kirk died of natural causes at the Park Springs retirement community in Stone Mountain, Georgia, according to his eldest daughter Vicki Triplett.

He was 93.

His death means there are now no surviving members of the Enola Gay’s crew who, by doing their jobs, became an early and integral part in the ongoing narrative over nuclear weapons.

Read more about Dutch Van Kirk on CNN

Captain Video and the Video Rangers Kids Record + Downloads

Posted By on July 25, 2014

In 1949 the DuMont Television Network introduced Captain Video and the Video Rangers a tv show intended for kids that also became popular with adults as well. 

Set in the distant future, the series followed the adventures of a group of fighters for truth and justice, the Video Rangers, led by Captain Video. The Rangers operated from a secret base on a mountain top. Their uniforms resembled United States Army surplus with lightning bolts sewn on.

In 1953 with the co-operation of RCA DuMont created promotional 78rpm Captain Video themed records that were short 71/2 minute adventures based on the TV show. These records also included a 7 page coloring book that kids followed along with the record’s story, and punch-out Captain Video action figures. I’ve put together scans of the record jacket and its contents, along with an mp3 version of the record’s audio. Now you can follow along with Captain Video and the Video ranger just like kids did back in 1953.

As a point of interest the record’s cover was illustrated by famed comic book pioneer Will Eisner.

Download the files - http://ow.ly/zyRiu
Captain Video Wikipedia - http://ow.ly/zyRlM
DuMont Television Network Wikipedia - http://ow.ly/zyRpr



Posted By on July 17, 2014

The Umbrella Shop Official suppliers of rain cover and jousting equipment to The Chap Olympiad, this formidable company deals in sturdy brollies of all prices by mail order only, thus maintaining competitive prices. Some of their brollies are aimed at commissionaires and doormen, but since these days a gentleman is often left to fend for himself outside his abode, he need look no further than this establishment for all his shower-protective requirements. www.theumbrellashop.co.uk

Swaine Adeney Brigg London’s celebrated maker of leather goods, umbrellas, hats and other luxury items started life as a whip maker in 1750, founded by John Ross, then acquired by James Swaine in 1798. Today they are still St James’s finest purveyor of high quality umbrellas, with prices slightly higher than in 1798. www.swaineadeneybrigg.com

James Smith & Sons Despite being one of the unfriendliest shops in Western civilisation, there is no denying James Smith & Sons’ rightful place in the history of London, and its beautiful store as one of the landmarks of what little remains of gentlemanly London outside of St James’s and Mayfair. www.james-smith.co.uk

Batman 75th Anniversary Short

Posted By on July 5, 2014

A brand new short from producer Bruce Timm featuring a lost tale from Batman’s past, the Dark Knight tracks a strange giant to the mysterious lair of Dr. Hugo Strange.