Author Archives: george

BUFFALO BILLS BYE WEEK

After the “Hail Murray” play that ended the Arizona Cardinals game last Sunday with a bitter defeat for the Buffalo Bills, the Bills needed the Bye Week to heal and regroup for the last six games of the NFL regular season. When the Bills play the LA Chargers next Sunday, there could be snow in the forecast. How will your favorite NFL perform today?

IN THE ORANGE ZONE

Just a month ago, the Western NY coronavirus infection rate was 1%. Now it’s 6% and going up. Governor Cuomo has moved us from the Yellow Zone to the Orange Zone. On the horizon is the dreaded Red Zone when everything pretty much shuts down.

The Orange Zone designation forced the closure of my beloved Pool. Gyms and work-out places are also shut-down. No indoor dining in restaurants, but Take-Out is okay. No mass gatherings. Schools are closed for in-person classes, but distance learning is okay.

We’re going backwards. Instead of Opening Up, we’re Closing Down. And with Thanksgiving and the Holidays ahead, the covid-19 numbers are only going to rise. Those vaccines can’t get here fast enough! What are your plans for Thanksgiving and the Holidays?

FRIDAY’S FORGOTTEN BOOKS #618: THE MASK OF FU MANCHU By Sax Rohmer

Back in the 1960s, a paperback publisher called Pyramid Books brought out a series of Sax Rohmer volumes. Many featured the evil genius, Dr. Fu Manchu, whose goal was World Domination. Standing against the awesome might of Fu Manchu and his minions is Sir Denis Nayland Smith of Scotland Yard. In book after book, Nayland Smith thwarted the maniacal plots of the evil doctor. The Mask of Fu Manchu is a bit unusual because it is not set in England as most of the books are. The novel opens in Afghanistan and Persia and moves to Egypt. Dr. Fu Manchu, and his equally evil daughter, Fah Lo Suce, practice their cunning schemes to stroke groups who see the golden mask of the past as the key to their future.

“Sax Rohmer” was the pseudonym of Arthur Wade. He wrote 14 Fu Manchu novels as well as other tales that contained supernatural elements. Several movies were made based on Sax Rohmer’s books. Were you a Fu Manchu fan? GRADE: B

STEVIE NICKS: THE 24 KARAT GOLD TOUR [2-CD Set]

I’ve been a fan of Stevie Nicks since her early days with Fleetwood Mac. I followed Nicks during her solo career favoring her early albums over her later ones. I enjoyed her brand of rock & roll with its imagery and driving beats.

Stevie Nicks: The 24 Karat Gold Tour presents many of Stevie Nicks’s biggest hits along with some more obscure tunes from her albums. I liked “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” although the original version with Tom Petty is a classic. “Gypsy” was a crowd favorite. “Rhiannon” was the song that made Fleetwood Mac a successful group while “Landslide” has been covered by many other artists. All in all, I enjoyed these concert CDs. Diane and I saw Fleetwood Mac a couple years ago when they appeared in Buffalo ( you can read about the concert here). Are you a Stevie Nicks fan? GRADE: B+

TRACK LIST:

DISC ONE:

Gold And Braid (Live)
If Anyone Falls (Live)
Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around (Live)
Belle Fleur (Live)
Gypsy (Live)
Wild Heart / Bella Donna (Live)
Enchanted (Live)
New Orleans (Live)
Starshine (Live)
Moonlight (A Vampire’s Dream) [Live]

DISC TWO:

Stand Back (Live)
Crying In The Night (Live)
If You Were My Love (Live)
Gold Dust Woman (Live)
Edge Of Seventeen (Live)
Rhiannon (Live)
Landslide (Live)

WEDNESDAY’S SHORT STORIES #5: FAR FROM HOME By Walter Tevis

Walter Tevis is receiving renewed interest because of the Netflix series, The Queen’s Gambit, which is based on his novel of the same name. I’ve had Tevis’s short story collection on my shelf for decades so I decided to read Far From Home (1981). “Rent Control” is the story of a couple who discovers a way to stop Time. At first, the Time stoppage is just fun for them. But, later, the couple get obsessed with Time. “A Visit from Mother” and “Daddy” are two connected tales. A son gets a visit from the ghosts of his Mother and Daddy. A lot gets revealed as the son comes to grips with the dysfunctional dynamics of his family.

I also enjoyed “The Apothesosis of Myra” where a man commits murder on a strange planet and finds that he really isn’t rid of his victim. The stories in Far From Home display Walter Tevis’s unique vision of the human experience. Excellent stories by an excellent writer! GRADE: A

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

PART ONE: Close to home:

Rent control.–3

A visit from Mother.–15

Daddy.–29

The apothesosis of Myra.–43

Out of luck.–67

Echo.–85

Sitting in limbo.–105

PART TWO: Far from home:

The other end of the line.–123

The big bounce.–131

The goldbrick.–143

The ifth of oofth.–155

The scholar’s disciple.–167

Far from home.– 177

THE NAKED GUN [DVD]

During the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve been watching a lot of comedies. One of our favorites is The Naked Gun, a1988 crime comedy film directed by David Zucker and released by Paramount Pictures. The movie stars Leslie Nielsen as the bumbling police lieutenant Frank DrebinPriscilla PresleyRicardo MontalbánGeorge Kennedy, and O. J. Simpson also star in supporting roles. The Naked Gun is an extension of the TV series Police Squad which features slap-stick comedy and plenty of silliness. Leslie Nielsen’s dead-pan delivery of comic lines is legendary.

The Naked Gun was a hit movie and spawned two sequels: The Naked Gun ​2 12: The Smell of Fear (1991) and Naked Gun ​33 13: The Final Insult (1994). Are you a fan of these movies? What comedies are you watching during the Age of Coronavirus? GRADE: A

IS THIS ANYTHING? By Jerry Seinfeld

TV COOKING

I will never understand why they cook on TV.

I can’t smell it.

Can’t eat it.

Can’t taste it.

The end of the show they hold it up to the camera.

“Well here it is.

You can’t have any.

Thanks for watching.

Goodbye.”

Yes, this is an example of what you’ll find in Jerry Seinfeld’s new book, Is This Anything? According to Seinfeld, comedians ask each other “Is this anything?” when trying out new comedy material. So here are hundreds of Seinfeld jokes, some funny, some very funny, and a few clunkers. I loved the Seinfeld TV show from the start. Even today, if I’m channel surfing and run across a favorite Seinfeld episode, I’ll watch it even though I’ve seen it a dozen times. Are you fan of Jerry Seinfeld? GRADE: A

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

The Seventies — 1

The Eighties — 81

The Nineties — 205

The Double O’s — 251

The Teens — 353

Acknowledgements — 453

Index — 455

BUFFALO BILLS VS. ARIZONA CARDINALS

Buffalo Bills quarterback, Josh Allen, threw for 415 yards for three touchdowns and ran for another touchdown in the Bills 44-34 victory over the Seattle Seahawks a week ago. Allen played while also dealing with the sudden death of his grandmother. The NFL named Josh Allen their Offensive Player of the Week.

The Arizona Cardinals, led by QB phenom Kyler Murray, present the same problems that Russell Wilson and the Seahawks gave the Bills: red-hot offensive and a mobile quarterback. The Cardinals are a 3-point favorite.

How will your favorite NFL team fare today?

FRIDAY’S FORGOTTEN BOOKS #617: THE CEREMONIES By T. E. D. Klein


Back in 1972, T. E. D. Klein wrote an Lovecraftean story, “The Events at Poroth Farm.” It made The Year’s Best Horror Stories. Then, in 1984, T.E.D. Klein expanded his brilliant horror story into a 505-page novel. Klein cranked up the horror and the dread in this story of an ancient alien about to destroy our world.

What makes Klein’s story so effective is contrast of the mundane story of life on a small farm in New Jersey with the growing menace of the evil entity. If you’re looking for an classic horror novel, The Ceremonies is one of the best.  GRADE: A