SOMETHING WENT BUMP IN THE NIGHT

From ghoulies and ghosties
And long-legged beasties
And things that go bump in the night
Good Lord, deliver us!
– Traditional Scottish Prayer

Never met a ghoul and I have various issues with long-legged beasties, but I can speak from personal experience about “Things That Go Bump in the Night.” Long ago in a house far away, we had our ghosts. Friendly ghosts or at least, friendly to us.

Ghosts have been part of human mythology as long as tales have been told around campfires. Maybe before campfires. I don’t think if any religion excludes the possibility of ghosts. There seems to be a general agreement that ghosts and wraiths are spirits of the dead who linger on Earth after they have slipped that mortal coil. Some are malevolent, others benevolent or merely curious. Ghosts vary by mythology, religion and era. Even today, there are rumors and stories.

I cannot claim to have seen a ghost, but I lived in a house where everyone could hear our ghosts. It was 1965 when for $20,300, we were able to buy a tidy little brick house built in 1932. On the first floor were two bedrooms and a bathroom. There was a big bedroom on the partially finished second floor. The house was small but solid, walking distance from the college where my husband worked and I was finishing my degree.

The ambiance of the house from the moment we walked into it was overtly friendly. It welcomed everyone and made them feel at home. The little house had been built by a couple who had lived, raised children, and then died in it. They were not murdered or anything sordid. They merely grew old and passed on in the home they loved.

We loved it too. My son wouldn’t come onto the scene for 4 more years, but it was a good house to raise babies. I could feel it.

The house was a bit neglected. Not falling down but in need of paint and some modernization of its infrastructure. It still had its original heating system, converted from a coal burner to an oil furnace. Not very efficient and the radiators were huge, old and iron. Oil was cheap; we didn’t worry about it. We’d get to it eventually.

 

Initially we lived on the first floor since the bathroom was there. The upstairs had been an attic, but half had been turned into a big bedroom. We wanted to move up there. It was much bigger and had wonderful light, but we wanted to fix it up first. Before anything else, we wanted to paint. The entire house was painted pale salmon pink. It wasn’t ugly, but it wasn’t any color we’d have chosen. Worse, it was high gloss paint, like one would use in a kitchen or bath.

We painted the downstairs first. Every night, we heard our ghosts walking. You could hear the sound of heavy, loud footsteps upstairs, sharp, like the soles of hard leather shoes or boots. Everyone on the lower floor heard it. The walking started around eight in the evening, continued for a few minutes. Then the footsteps would pause and restart randomly until around midnight. The footsteps always stopped by midnight and never began before eight at night.

We called them “The Old Man” and “The Old Woman.” They wore different shoes. Her shoes had a sharp sound, like high heels on a hardwood floor. His were clunkier, like maybe work boots. Both of them had died in the house, so they were prime candidates for ghosthood, especially since no one else ever in the house we moved in.

At first, we also heard them on the steps, but after we painted the stairway, the footsteps retreated and we only heard them in the attic and bedroom. After we began painting the bedroom, we continued to hear them for a while in the attic and then, one day, they were gone, never to return.

Were they watching to see if we properly cared for and loved their home? I thought so. Were we all hallucinating? It was the 1960s, so anything is possible, but I think it was the couple who had lived there before us, watching to make sure we did right by the house. We did indeed. I guess they felt it was okay to depart.

Life is full of strangeness. Panicked might be too strong a word, but it was definitely weird. Meanwhile, if anyone has bumped into a long-legged beastie, please tell me about it. I’m dying to know.

MEET THE EXORCIST: FELIX CASTOR – MIKE CAREY

When I first wrote about these books, Mike Carey was not famous in the book world, though he was very well-known as a screen writer and graphic novelist. Since then, he’s had a couple of big best sellers. And he has promised he will come back and finish this series with at least one more volume. I can hardly wait!

I discovered Mike Carey because I reviewed a Jim Butcher book and someone suggested I’d like the Felix Castor series by Mike Carey. I’d never heard of Mike Carey, but I was out of new authors to read at the time and I was ready to try anything that sounded good. I got what I hoped for plus a whole lot more.

Mike Carey is not merely a good writer. He is what I would term hyper-literate. He uses words like a rapier. His prose is beautifully crafted, often lyrical, yet never treacly or sappy. He is crisp.

He actually uses words I have to look up because I don’t recognize them. It has been decades since I learned a new word. Sometimes I don’t know the word because it’s British slang with which I’m just not familiar, but sometimes, it’s a word I’ve never seen before.

He does not repeat himself. He never uses the same descriptive passage more than once, nor does he — as many popular authors do — copy and paste sections from one book to another to (I presume) save writing time. Mike Carey doesn’t use short cuts.

The result is a style that is richly descriptive, a delicious combination of gritty street slang banging head-on into literary English. Guttersnipe meets Jane Austen in the streets of Liverpool. It gives the narrative a rare and rich texture.

What’s it all about? Felix (Fix) Castor is an exorcist. He sees the dead and the undead. They see him. He is no wizard who magics his problems away with the wave of a hand or wand. He can send the dead away when they linger and cast out demons who possess humans.

Where do the dead go after he sends them away?  He’s not sure, an issue that looms successively larger as the series progresses. His weapon is music in the form of a tin whistle, a thin armament in the face of some of the perils he faces. He has a few allies — human, formerly human plus one demon (in recovery).

The series consists of five books, each building on the previous one to form what is essentially a single story in five parts. Best to read the series in order. All the books are now available on paperback, for Kindle and as an Audible download.

In order, the books are:

  1. The Devil You Know
  2. Vicious Circle 
  3. Dead Men’s Boots
  4. Thicker Than Water
  5. The Naming of Beasts.

None of the books are exactly a lightweight romp through a sunny meadow, but the first three books are much lighter in tone  … and funnier — Carey has a sharp, ironic sense of humor– than the final two, which are pretty intense.

Mike Carey Photographed by Charlie Hopkinson © 2005

It’s a unique series, unlike any other I’ve read. I wish there had been more of them, though I suspect the author is done with this series. Fix Castor works hard for short money, is rarely appreciated by the people he helps, has more than enough of his personal demons, not to mention some very real, otherworldly demons who are seriously out to get him.

There are so many surprises in this series. The characters constantly surprised me by growing and changing, developing in unexpected ways and not doing the obvious. Characters make unique choices and don’t take the obvious or easy way out.

Mike Carey can be very funny. His subtle and elegant humor contains no belly laughs, but irony pervades his prose. None of the books are traditionally funny nor are the situations humorous or light-hearted, but the author’s writing style is wonderfully cynical. The stories, pun intended, are dead serious. Darkness notwithstanding, you can count on Mike Carey’s plays on words and twists of phrase to keep the dread from becoming too heavy to handle.

The plots are gripping and creepy. Any or all of the books would make great horror movies. I’m surprised no one has grabbed them yet. Maybe they will. Sooner or later, someone is bound to notice, right?

The books are available on Amazon and from other booksellers, and as audiobooks from Audible.com.


LUCIFER BEGINS A NEW SEASON TONIGHT ON FOX TV

I would like to mention for those of us who follow Mike Carey’s amazing tales of Lucifer in his graphic novels, that story has been made into a television show. It initially got lousy reviews. Those of us who watched it, loved it.

Apparently the reviewers did what they so frequently do: they either didn’t watch the show at all, or based their reviews on what they thought we were supposed to like. After the show was on for a while and it was one of the top shows of the season, they changed their opinions. Duh.

Lucifer as a graphic novel character comes from a group of writers. I like Carey’s interpretation because I love the way Carey writes. His graphic novels are far more novel-like I expected. Amazing graphics, too.

These are not merely comic books in fancy covers. These are a different kind of entertainment. The books are worth reading and the television show, when it is on (it has short seasons, so grab it when its running), starts tonight on Fox — Monday night at 9 (EDT). If you get American television, you will like it.

READY FOR THE APOCALYPSE?

I used to be worried but I wore out. Now, I’m waiting for the post-apocalyptic world I have been reading about for years.

I have been worried about everything. The environment. Health care. Social security. War, guns, and bombs, and any number of other catastrophes. Yet, here I am, in a world I thought impossible.

This piece of real estate that might solve all our problems.

WELCOME TO THE LAST SAFE PLACE ON EARTH!


The above-ground home is 2,000 square feet. But if you use the keypad entry to the basement, you’ll find 2,300 more square feet that was a former launch control center and has been converted with dining and entertainment space and two bedroom suites – complete with marble bathrooms. It has 10-foot tall ceilings, simulated daylight — and what we all need in our post-apocalyptic home — an open floor plan.

Another view of the house.

Aerial shot of the property.

Views from the property.

Your own personal runway.

Great media room!

Basement entrance. Good solid construction.

Inside the basement house. it’s a whole new world!

Comfy bathroom.

Stairway to the silo.

Tunnel to the silo. This could use a little work. Maybe some paneling?

Inside the missile silo is a 9-story structure, currently empty. Consider it would be perfect for underground condos. Bring your friends on board and recycle that air!

It used to be selling for a mere $1.7 million. If it hasn’t sold by now, maybe we could make a deal?

WE’RE ALL BRUCE BANNER – TOM CURLEY

Usually when I write one of these blogs I try to be funny.

pineterest.com

OK, maybe just humorous.

sonnyradio.com

Fine. Mildly amusing.

thedodo.com

Problem is, I can’t be funny right now because I’m angry. Really pissed off. And I’m not alone. Pretty much the whole country is really pissed off right now — but for different reasons. The media “narrative” or “explanation” or “excuse” for how SCROTUS got elected was that middle class white folks were pissed off. They wanted to give a big F-You to Washington.

orrazz.com

orrazz.com

And they succeeded beyond their wildest expectations. But here’s the thing. They are only about 20 to 25 percent of the population.

The day after the election, a really odd thing happened. The remaining 75 percent of the population woke up REALLY PISSED! And not the grumpy old man “Hey you kids get off my lawn!” kind of pissed.

chicagotribune.com

chicagotribune.com

It included not only the people who didn’t vote for Trumpy McTrumpface. But everybody else.

Us. The other 75 percent. For us, this is a different level of pissed off. It’s “Incredible Hulk”  level pissed off.

youtube.com

youtube.com

For those of you not in the Nerdverse like me, The Hulk is Bruce Banner. A nice, quiet, nerdy kind of guy. A scientist. He gets caught in a Gamma bomb blast (think Hydrogen bomb on steroids) and turns into The Incredible Hulk.

tvtropes.org

tvtropes.org

Whenever somebody pisses him off, and for some reason people are always pissing him off,  he turns green and grows to be about 15-feet tall. And starts throwing tanks and other large military objects at the people shooting at him. Usually the Army. The whole  Army. Or at least a few platoons.

moddb.com

moddb.com

When you think about it, we’re all a lot like the Hulk. We were, for the most part, going about our daily lives. Minding our own business. Many of us quiet and nerdy. Many of us are scientists, or at least we believe that science exists.  Then a huge Gamma bomb went off. Around midnight November 9th 2016. After which, we got really, seriously, pissed off.

freemalaysiatoday.com

freemalaysiatoday.com

Lately, you hear lots of people saying variations on the same theme:


“This is exhausting!”

“How much more of this can we take?”

“I can’t keep up. Something new and worse happens every day.”

“I can’t believe it’s not butter!”

beforeitsnews.com

beforeitsnews.com


Pundits warn that we will get used to the endless barrage of crap coming out of the White House swamp. That we can’t maintain this level of anger. That we’re getting worn out.

blogs.mpnews.com

blogs.mpnews.com “This is getting old”

Well, here’s the thing. The reason the Hulk always wins is because his real power is not his strength. It’s his anger. The madder he gets, the stronger he gets.


There is no upward limit on his strength because there’s
no upward limit on his rage.
theunrealtimes.com

theunrealtimes.com “You did not just gut the EPA”


And that’s the thing that the people shooting at the Hulk never understand. If you just stop shooting at him, he calms down. He turns back into Bruce Banner.

tomanyposts.wordpress.com

tomanyposts.wordpress.com

SCROTUS could do the same thing– more or less. You know,he could stop shooting all sorts of crap at us.

observer.com

observer.com

He won’t, though. It’s going to go on for a while. Years. Will we get tired?  Will we stop being pissed off? Will we give up and go home?

Nope. Because we may have drubbed him on the health bill, but while we were dealing with that, he’s destroying the water, the air, and every living creature on our continent. There are a lot of things on the block.

Stay mad!

Why?


BECAUSE THE MADDER WE GET, THE STRONGER WE GET. 
WE ARE ALL BRUCE BANNER NOW. 
weknowmemes.com

weknowmemes.com


AND NOW, YOU CAN GET YOUR OWN SHIRT!


It’s on Custom Ink. The complexities of ordering the shirts then sending them out to each person are a bit much. But you can order directly from Custom Ink … so here’s the CustomInk link for the Bruce Banner tee.

These are pretty cool tees and if you think it sort of fits how you feel about the world and the way things are going? This is the tee that will tell your tale.

The profits from these shirts are not going to charity. To be precise, they are not going to us either. All profits go directly to CustomInk who print and deliver the shirts. You can use this design as a money raiser. If you would like to use it and change the back of the tee logo to something personal, I give you my permission to do so. If you do, please let me know what you are doing. We can do your own little feature here.

Just wanted everyone to recognize that this is not raising money for anyone other than the producing company. It was too complicated for we simple souls.

WE’RE ALL BRUCE BANNER NOW – BY TOM CURLEY

Usually when I write one of these blogs I try to be funny.

pineterest.com

pineterest.com

OK, maybe just humorous.

sonnyradio.com

sonnyradio.com

Fine. Mildly amusing.

thedodo.com

thedodo.com

Problem is, I can’t be funny right now because I’m angry. Really pissed off. And I’m not alone. Pretty much the whole country is really pissed off right now — but for different reasons. The media “narrative” or “explanation” or “excuse” for how SCROTUS got elected was that middle class white folks were pissed off. They wanted to give a big F-You to Washington.

orrazz.com

orrazz.com

And they succeeded beyond their wildest expectations. But here’s the thing. They are only about 20 to 25 percent of the population.

The day after the election, a really odd thing happened. The remaining 75 percent of the population woke up REALLY PISSED! And not the grumpy old man “Hey you kids get off my lawn!” kind of pissed.

chicagotribune.com

chicagotribune.com

It included not only the people who didn’t vote for Trumpy McTrumpface. But everybody else.

Us. The other 75 percent. For us, this is a different level of pissed off. It’s “Incredible Hulk”  level pissed off.

youtube.com

youtube.com

For those of you not in the Nerdverse like me, The Hulk is Bruce Banner. A nice, quiet, nerdy kind of guy. A scientist. He gets caught in a Gamma bomb blast (think Hydrogen bomb on steroids) and turns into The Incredible Hulk.

tvtropes.org

tvtropes.org

Whenever somebody pisses him off, and for some reason people are always pissing him off,  he turns green and grows to be about 15-feet tall. And starts throwing tanks and other large military objects at the people shooting at him. Usually the Army. The whole  Army. Or at least a few platoons.

moddb.com

moddb.com

When you think about it, we’re all a lot like the Hulk. We were, for the most part, going about our daily lives. Minding our own business. Many of us quiet and nerdy. Many of us are scientists, or at least we believe that science exists.  Then a huge Gamma bomb went off. Around midnight November 9th 2016. After which, we got really, seriously, pissed off.

freemalaysiatoday.com

freemalaysiatoday.com

Lately, you hear lots of people saying variations on the same theme:


“This is exhausting!”

“How much more of this can we take?”

“I can’t keep up. Something new and worse happens every day.”

“I can’t believe it’s not butter!”

beforeitsnews.com

beforeitsnews.com


Pundits warn that we will get used to the endless barrage of crap coming out of the White House swamp. That we can’t maintain this level of anger. That we’re getting worn out.

blogs.mpnews.com

blogs.mpnews.com “This is getting old”

Well, here’s the thing. The reason the Hulk always wins is because his real power is not his strength. It’s his anger. The madder he gets, the stronger he gets.


There is no upward limit on his strength because there’s
no upward limit on his rage.
theunrealtimes.com

theunrealtimes.com “You did not just gut the EPA”


And that’s the thing that the people shooting at the Hulk never understand. If you just stop shooting at him, he calms down. He turns back into Bruce Banner.

tomanyposts.wordpress.com

tomanyposts.wordpress.com

Scrotus could do the same thing– more or less. You know, stop shooting all sorts of crap at us.

observer.com

observer.com

He won’t, though. It’s going to go on for a while, maybe years. Will we get tired?  Will we stop being pissed off? Will we give up and go home?

Nope.


The madder we get, the stronger we get.
We are all Bruce Banner now.
weknowmemes.com

weknowmemes.com

GOD, THE WORLD, THE DEVIL, AND LATE NIGHT TV

Colbert had Ricky Gervais on this evening. He’s not a particular favorite of ours, but we like him well enough. Tonight, he and Colbert got into a mini debate on the existence of God. Gervais, an avowed atheist versus Colbert, the avowed Catholic. No, it wasn’t angry or mean. It was interesting, lively, and thought-provoking.

Colbert asked “Why is there anything rather than nothing?”

Gervais said that was a meaningless question.

They went back and forth for a while, but in the end, the answer is, was, and always will be — we are all agnostics on some level because, unless we think God speaks directly to us — or we are in touch with spirits from “the other side.” We believe what we believe because that’s what we believe. We don’t know anything.

Buddha, Tibet, probably 19th century

Buddha, Tibet, probably 19th century

Garry said he enjoyed it. For once, something interesting that wasn’t politics and I had to agree. But I’m an armchair philosophy and religion nerd. I can talk about this stuff for hours. I never get bored.

I’m a skeptic, closer to an atheist than anything else. But, as I have no direct knowledge, all I can say is “I doubt it, but I suppose it’s possible.”

72-Ganeesha-001

Garry would more likely say: “I believe in something, but I’m not sure exactly what.” The same, but different.Nonetheless, he has an inherent buoyancy and optimism which lets him believe things will work out even when it looks hopeless. I envy that.

Yet, I am living proof that miracles happen. If anyone should be dead, it’s me. I can’t close that door without acknowledging that I’ve had some amazing close encounters of the providential kind. I think it’s possible that whatever God is, he has spoken to me at least twice and saved me when I was dying. Let’s not debate this. It’s complicated. Very.

So my husband, who has seen some of the most horrific stuff of which the human race is capable is an optimist and I, who have been saved more than once, am always expecting catastrophe. Go figure, right?

entry doorway front hall

There’s no logic to this kind of thing. We believe what we believe because that’s what we believe. We can all justify our beliefs, but in the end, belief is faith-based. No matter what you call it. A minister I liked asked me what more I needed … a picture ID with God’s face on it? Because if the experiences I’ve had don’t prove to me that something, someone is watching over me … then what will?

I can’t argue the point. I don’t know who  — or what — is the watcher. God? Satan? Ganeesh? The Lady of the Lake? Spirit of my ancestors? Buddha? A nameless Power? I have no clue and am not willing to speculate. I do not know the answer. I’m not even sure I’m asking the right questions.

The only thing of which I am certain is I don’t have an answer and neither do you. If I ever find an answer, I promise to let you know.

TIME TRAVEL, PARALLEL UNIVERSES & THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT – ELLIN CURLEY

I am fascinated with the concepts of time travel, parallel universes and the Butterfly Effect. Fortunately for me, there are several TV shows today that deal with these things. One is Timeless and another is The Flash. The Flash is a Marvel comic based series in which the hero can run so fast that he can bend time. He can move both forward and backwards in time. Timeless follows a government team of time travelers who have to keep going back in time to prevent the ‘bad guy’ from messing with major past events and drastically changing the timeline.

In both of these shows, each trip back in time results in an altered present. In each, a seemingly random individual who is important to one of the main characters, is either dead in the present or was never born and no longer exists in the present timeline.

75-BW-clock-tower-old-mill-1911_1

This brings up the Butterfly Effect, a theory popular with time travel enthusiasts. The theory, mostly used in science, states that a small change can result in a large, unrelated change down the road. In everyday life, this means that unimportant decisions, like whether to go out to dinner or eat in, can lead to very different ‘storylines’ in your life.

There is both a movie and a play that depicts the parallel universes created by a minor life decision. The movie is “Sliding Doors” from 1998 and stars Gwyneth Paltrow. It tracks the different careers and love lives that the heroine would have if she a) catches a particular subway train or b) misses the train. For example, if she catches the train, she also gets home in time to catch her boyfriend in bed with another woman. If she misses the train, she also misses this tryst. Her life takes very different paths depending on that fluke of timing.

butterfly-effect-cartoon

The play was a musical called “If/Then”, starring Idina Menzel. The show follows the heroine’s parallel lives if she either chooses to go to lunch with friend ‘A’ or if she chooses to go to a play with friend ‘B’ instead.

Interestingly, in both the movie and the play, the heroine ends up with the same ‘love of her life’, just at different times in her life. Her career paths diverge but I think most people like to believe that some people are ‘destined’ to be together. The Jewish concept of ‘Beshert’ says that every soul is a half soul and that there is another person in the world who is their perfect ‘other half’. So in time travel shows, many aspects of life are allowed to be affected by chance. But we don’t seem to want to accept that chance can also change the big things in life, like true love.

TimeTravelSome time travel writers have a different theory. They talk about the fact that the past ‘resists’ change. Rather than believing in the Butterfly Effect as it relates to time travel, many believe that at least the major events in history are more predestined and less susceptible to change. It might seem easy to keep a major past event from happening, especially if small changes in the timeline can eventually result in big ones. But time writers feel that events, like WWI, the assassination of JFK, or the sinking of the Titanic, will find a way to take place no matter how hard you try to prevent it. You might want to read Stephen King’s brilliant book “11/22/63” about attempting to go back in time to prevent the JFK assassination. It was also made into a mini series, but the book is much better.
I guess it is easier to accept the idea that relatively small things, like the details of an individual’s life, are changeable and not ‘meant to be’. Maybe this is because on a small scale, cause and effect is more linear and knowable. On the other hand, historians are still arguing about the multiple and interrelated causes of the Civil War.

delorean time machineMy grandfather was hit by a truck and killed when he stepped off a curb too soon at the age of 88. I used to obsess about what led him to that exact spot at that exact time. I used to imagine the tiny things he could have done differently that would have gotten him to that spot even a second earlier or later.

For about a year after that, I would imagine each time I reached a curb, that it could be my last moment on earth — if the stars were so aligned. Maybe this is the root of my love for some of these theories.