Monday, May 15, 2017

See ya at the movies.

I first started this blog as a way to talk about pop culture and my varied interest in books, movies, music and things that go bump in the night. I rarely have written about  those things. I tend to talk about life and faith and things that are of immediate concern. But, every once in a while I like to post  on things that are “out there.” I always loved horror. Books, comics, movies. I also have always enjoyed off the wall subjects such as ufo’s . I’m highly skeptical of U.F.O’s but I still enjoy the pop culture that goes along with them. Also, I’ve had a few incidents in my own life that I really can’t explain. So, who knows? The cosmos is infinite and some people think that everything that can happen will happen in another universe.


I’m Dracula and I welcome you to my house…Christopher Lee


My love of horror comes from an unlikely source or at least it was encouraged by an unlikely source. My mother who is very conservative and very much a product of her generation and  religion is, actually one of the first people I can remember sharing  the off beat movies with. If a vampire or horror  “Dusk till Dawn” movie marathon came on at our neighborhood drive in we were there. Christopher Lee and Vincent Price and Boris Karloff.  I remember the old Dialing for Dollars afternoon movie on local T.V. and the old Colossal Man or Monster movies would come on and even though we didn’t share a whole lot of interest that was something we would watch. I got in so much trouble once for trying as a child to make a James Bond movie the focus of an evening. Really wasn’t my fault. I was coming into my own and I saw a commercial with a Bond Beauty. Anyway, that’s a whole nother story.

I always loved the Rebel Drive In. That was in our neighborhood in Walnut Park/Gadsden, Alabama. My sister and I would put on our p.j’s and my mother and step dad would warm up the car and off we would go the few miles if that many to the drive in. Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee and a host of horror stars and starlets. Get a Chilly Dilly giant dill pickle or a hot dog from the concession stand and here we go. If it was summer take a lawn chair. If winter then at least it would be an Alabama winter which although it can be cold it isn’t always frigid.


I like quiet and seclusion.  This house, I think,

offers that…Jonathan Harker


I remember a scene where Dracula was finally caught out in the sun. Living Technocolor! I saw his body actually start to age and crumble and gloriously turn to dust right on the big screen. My young eyes wide and shoving popcorn in my mouth and guzzling soda (coke, in the south back then it didn’t matter which brand. It was all called coke.”  I saw a bevy of hissing beautiful  bossomy girls that were “Brides of Dracula” I saw bright red technocolor blood as Dracula bit into the neck of his fem fatale victim.  I loved it. I enjoyed the small screen dialing for dollars movies with the black and white desert as the corny high pitched sounds of  the 50’s and 60’s U.F.O.’s came into view. The square jawed scientist named Rick or Rock or Steve or Paul. The swooning fem fatale named Ann or Carol or Joan would be joined by the assistant scientist who would either be giving his life in the end or comedy relief or both.

I would find old horror comics in stores and immerse myself in ghost and graveyards and lurid tales of vengeful victims returning to drag  the killers off to their just rewards. I would read horror stories ordered from my Weekly Reader at Walnut Park Elementary. But, noting quite compared to those giant screen memories of movies that were already old. Played out on the drive in screen.


Dr. Paul Lindstrom….Now, the reason for this is rather technical, Carol, but to give you a simplified layman's explanation, it might be explained that, since the heart is made up of a *single* cell for all practical purposes, instead of millions of cells like the rest of the organs of the body, it's reacting in an entirely different manner to this unknown stimulus or forces behind this whole thing….The Amazing Colossal Man.

Manning…Perhaps it isn't I who's growing, but it's everyone who's shrinking!..The Amazing Colossal Man.


"No live organism can continue for long to exist sanely under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood for eighty years and might stand for eighty more. Within, walls continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone."….Shirley Jackson “The Haunting of Hill House.

My absolute favorite all time horror story made into film. Not the so called remake of the late 90’s. No, I’m talking the stark black and white early 1960’s version. It scared the yell out me as a child. Still holds up today. But, that one deserves it’s own blog. Maybe this coming Halloween.

Finally, one of the best lines of a “horror movie” and I think it’s in the book too. But, you have to see it to truly understand the sheer scariness of it…..

God God," Eleanor said, flinging herself out of bed and across the room to stand shuddering in a corner, "God God—whose hand was I holding?


See ya at the movies.


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Rock and Roll Never Forgets.

I remember holding you while you sleep
Every day, I feel the tears that you weep
Looking out of my lonely gloom, day after day
Bring it home, baby, make it soon
I give my love to you...Badfinger

I play guitar. Well, to be honest I plunk and peck and at times put a tune together that actually is recognizable if you heard it you, might say “oh yeah I know what you’re playing." I play piano but not as well as I play guitar. My right hand knows what it’s doing for the most part when it comes to hunting the notes. But, the left hesitates in finding the chords. Anyway, I’m not a world class musician and I don’t play often where anybody else can hear me.  But, like most people my life has been defined by the music I grew up with. I always say the Eagles wrote the soundtrack of my youth.  But, as a child my mother sang country music all over the house. Now, by country I don’t mean Florida-Georgia Line silliness or the other pop country you hear today. I mean actual Country Western. George Jones and Loretta Lynn and Hank Williams and Patsy Cline and Porter Wagner and Buck Owens. Kitty Wells and Tammy Wynette.  My step father had an old Martian Guitar and he would wap out the rhythm.

I hated it. No, really I did. I  don’t now. Now it’s nostalgic to me. Now, I have learned to appreciate Patsy Cline and understand that Hank Williams was an absolute poet and genius. I love Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings and Emmylou Harris and Dolly Parton. But, not then. That was the music of my parents. The music of dances on Saturday nights when I would be going to my Grandparents house because I sure didn’t want to attend the square dance up on the mountain in Boaz or Albertville, Alabama or the fairgrounds in Attalla. But, I bet ya I can ( I won’t, but I can) sing and play or chord almost any country song you can name from about 1962 until 1970 or so. George Jones, Hank Williams, Conway Twitty, Tammy Wynette. It was in my blood but it wasn’t my music. My music was on late at night when I would have my radio on in my room and WLS out of Chicago would come pouring out of the magic box. James Taylor and Alice Cooper. BadFinger and Areosmith. Rolling Stones and the Beatles. During the day the Mighty 690 in Birmingham.

Later as I came to my teens in the 70’s I would gravitate to Foghat and Linda Ronstadt. Nazareth and Jackson Browne. The 70’s had a great mix of Motown and Southern California sound on the same stations. I know people my age can remember a station in Birmingham, Alabama. I can’t remember the call letters now but I can just name the format and people will say “Oh Yeah, the greatest rock station ever!” They played Album Rock! The complete album of your favorite band and they would take request throughout the week. The DJ would come on in that smooth late night voice and call out the order like a waiter. Tonight we have the latest FleetwoodMac followed by Houses of the Holy and  the new Nazareth. Some SuperTramp and Wet Willie. We have some ZZ Top and Jackson Browne and later some Dead and deep cuts from the Stones. We have some Ronstadt and Jackson Browne. Followed by an order of Yes and some Foghat Also Rumors and Hair of the Dog. Some more Black Sabbath and Zeppelin.

These were full uncut and no commercial complete albums and it went on all night long. That little station in Birmingham was even written up in The Rolling Stone! Which in those days was The source for all things cool and happening in music and cool entertainment. Doctor Hook even sang “Cover of the Rolling Stone” as a humorous homage to it.

I grew up and as I got a little older I discovered KISS and loved Hair of the Dog by Nazareth. I heard the Eagles and felt I had never heard better harmonies and the songs they sang seemed to be exactly what I was feeling. I discovered Pony Millers and Marijuana and the boy finds girl, girl finds other guy, boy drowns in beery smoky rock and roll night full of angst. But, hey it was crazy times and I was a little lost sheep to say the least. But, Eagles and Linda Ronstadt and Foghat understood. I also discovered southern rock of course. Marshall Tucker and Molly Hatchett and Wet Willie and The Outlaws. But, the greatest Southern Rock band of them all was and is and will always be Lynyrd Skynyrd. Simple Man and Freebird. I’ve heard Sweet Home Alabama so much over the years that I really get tired of hearing it. But, I tap my feet and sing along every time it comes on anywhere in my hearing. I hate/love that song.

I also started to really get into Willy Nelson and Waylon Jennings and Leon Russell. Jessie Coulter and Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt.

But, music is a funny thing with me as I get older. I don’t listen to it constantly any more. I find my self bored if I am sitting around and just have a bunch of songs playing. I enjoy playing guitar or piano or trying to play. But, just to sit around and listen? Not so much. But, every once in a while it hits me. I put in some Queen or Styx and crank it up. I’m taken back to my youth. I can almost reach up and brush the hair out of my eyes again. I can almost see that certain girl walking down a hot paved road in rural Alabama wearing a halter top and shorts and my mind goes back and sixty years become 16 again. That’s the power of music. That’s the power of Rock and Roll.
Come back baby
Rock 'n Roll never forgets
Said you can come back baby
Rock 'n Roll never forgets...Bob Seger