Monday, November 22, 2010


This year, like last year, we're having Thanksgiving dinner at a buffet restaurant in Cleburne, a town not far from Whitney. The food there is excellent, and of course there's no hassle about cooking or cleaning up, but I miss the hustle and bustle of holiday meals prepared at home.

When I was little, my Ma and a couple aunts (generally MaryEllen and Delores) would spend the entire night in the kitchen, cooking such wonderful goodies. I could stay up and help, as long as I didn't make a mess. I stirred things, frosted cakes, and of course got to lick all the bowls I wanted.
There was turkey, naturally, and ham, mashed and sweet potatoes, green beans, corn, stuffing, rolls, cake, pies, and ice cream. And one year (I think I was eight), I got to make something of my own.
Aunt MaryEllen was making pies, and my job was to trim the uncooked crust around the rim of the pan. When I'd finished, she said, "Would you like to make something?" I did, but I wasn't sure what I could make.
She had me take the dough trimmings, roll them out into a flat sheet, then cut the dough into circles with a small jar lid. Then, she gave me a jar of apricot preserves, and told me to place a teaspoonful on each circle. Next, she showed me how to fold the sides of the circles over, to make a sort of tube holding the preserves. When we'd finished, we had about two dozen small pastries ready to be baked; they were served with the cakes and pies the next day, Thanksgiving .
Thank you, Auntie...y'know, I haven't made those since then; 'bout time, perhaps.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


The name of this entry is such because that's what we all called this particular event, due to the shape we were in for this gig.
It was September of '77 (or '78) and we were still deep into our party-animal phases. I don't know all the particulars of how Mike(McDowell) and them got booked for this show, or why they, for one night only, fused two bands together under the name "Star", but, there it was. Star was headlining, following Cobra, a Latin-jazz / rock group from Lorain, and Course of the Electric Messenger, an out-of-town fusion band.
The event reminded me of one of those Marvel Summer Special issues they used to put out, guest- starring everyone-my MOTHER was there, along with every head and Martian in the area, it seemed.
The music was great....Cobra and Course funked the place up royal, and Star blasted the wigs back on the whole crowd...a good time was had by all.
There was one unusual event....after the show, someone fell into the orchestra pit. They weren't hurt, but no one seems to remember who it was, although everyone who was there afterwards remembers it happening.
Perhaps it was me....

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


My wife and I were discussing my habit of being a smartmouth this morning....personally, I've never seen it as a problem.
I've always been a smartmouth...I was small for my age in school, plus I'd been skipped a grade, which meant I wasn't going to be much of a fighter. However, I had a quick wit, and scads of role models, everyone from Ghoulardi to Steve Allen to the Man From U.N.C.L.E. had a smart was cool.
We'd have putdown contests in school, just for fun....we had certain rules to go by, 4-X, if someone's mother was dead, we didn't crack on her. The idea was to keep your cool, and respond with something equally (or better) witty.
I will admit, I sometimes used wit to push people away, like the time I asked a nosy classmate, "Say, Judy, if your brother needs a pair of socks, does he reach down the front of your dress?" It had the desired effect....she never dipped in my business again, although I got a trip to the office for that.
I've gotten older, and I don't rag on people like that anymore, although sometimes, I'll get that "heads-up-display" with all the cunning things I COULD'VE said in my mind. To be honest, I'm content to keep my mouth shut, rather than hurt someone's feelings. I still like ragging on the tv people....they can't hear me!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


I'm probably being childish, and it probably won't do any good, but I'm pissed....the yutzes at Channel 8 in Dallas have dropped "THIS"Network, in favor of bad home-improvement shows and infomercials. I e-mailed the station, but I'll be suprised if I even get an answer.
"THIS" showed cool movies....yeh, sometimes over and over, but it was better than most of what's on. Old Westerns, horror films, blaxploitation, and movies I'd never even heard of before, "THIS" showed them all; they'd just recently started running "ELVIRA'S MOVIE MACARBE" on the weekends.
What the #^##* is wrong with people?

Saturday, November 6, 2010


I've mentioned my love of monster movies more than once here; as a red-blooded American boy of the mid-20th century, it'd almost be de rigueur.
A large part of that was the magazine, FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND, which I read from the age of ten until its demise seventeen years later. The copy illustrated here is the first one I ever bought myself, having read borrowed or newsstand copies before.
Forrest J Ackerman, the Editor, was like that uncle who bought you toys and ice cream when no one else would....I remember getting his phone number (213) 666-6326 (or MOONFAN, as it was often put in FM) I called him a number of times, generally getting the answering machine, as Forry traveled a great deal, but occasionally reaching him. I remember back in the fall of '74, calling him whilst a dinner party was in progress...I could hear the unmistakeable voice of Vincent Price in the background, telling a joke. I asked Forry who was there, and he said, "oh, a few friends....Vincent Price, Christopher Lee, Robert Bloch, Ray Bradbury...." "Forry, please, would you call one of them to the phone?" "Now, Alan" he said, " you wouldn't want me to do that; that would be rude". He was right, of course.
Every other month, I plunked down my coins for this shared experience, celebrating the love of the unusual, and those who made it possible. FM folded in 1983, one issue shy of its 25th Anniversary. It has been revived, without Forry, who passed away in 2008, but I've never bothered to read's not the same, nor am I.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


I'm grateful for many things since moving to Texas, my wife, the friendly peoople, but one thing that definitely comes to mind is the weather, especially in the winter.

I grew up on the NorthCoast, and you'd think I would've gotten used to cold, wind-chill, and lake -effect weather; uh-uh. I HATE cold, question the very sanity of those who love playing in snow, and wrestled with Seasonal Affective Disorder for most of my life.

I can still remember when I first realized it. I was seven, down at the foot of the driveway, building a snowman. I'm patting more snow on top of its head when, like a light being turned on, reality blew in.

  • I'm standing in cold, wet snow.
  • It's still snowing.
  • I'm actually HANDLING this cold, wet stuff.
  • I'm out of my gourd.

Ever since then, winter has been four months and change of bummer, particularly on the NorthCoast, where winter hits like Godzilla on a Tokyo weekend. Later for that.

It's snowed twice since I got here, and it's gotten down to about twenty degrees....thank you, Lord.