My last SUPERCUTS haircut was in February 2020. When the coronavirus hit, all barbershops and hair salons closed in New York State. Now that we’re in Phase 2 of the Reopening, barbershops and hair salons are now open for business. Today, I’m getting my hair cut. Diane has an appointment with her hairstylist on Friday.
Diane did cut my hair about a month ago (you can read about it here). But Diane learned that a career in hair design was not for her. So I’m heading back to SUPERCUTS. With the temperatures in the 90s here today, less hair will feel much much cooler. How are you and your hair getting along?
So far, 71 feels fine. I’m celebrating with a Paula’s Donut and Paula’s wonderful coffee.
Later, the celebration will go on with my favorite pizza for dinner. Diane wanted to bake me a Birthday cake, but the temperatures today are supposed to reach 90 degrees! I’d rather not have the oven going in this kind of weather. In Normal Times, Diane and I would be going to a movie and then head to a swanky restaurant for dinner. But in the Coronavirus Era, a wonderful Paula’s Donut and a yummy pizza will have to do.
“Prosecutors are investigating the actions of two Buffalo police officers who were suspended without pay on Thursday night after a video showed them shoving a 75-year-old protester, who was hospitalized with a head injury.
The video taken by WBFO, a local radio station, shows the man, identified on Friday as Martin Gugino, approaching a group of officers during a protest stemming from the death of George Floyd. He was identified by the Western New York Peace Center, a nonprofit that named him in a Facebook post, saying he is a peace activist and a member.
After the video shows Mr. Gugino stopping in front of the officers to talk, an officer yells “push him back” three times; one officer pushes his arm into Mr. Gugino’s chest, while another extends his baton toward him with both hands. Mr. Gugino flails backward, landing just out of range of the camera, with blood immediately leaking from his right ear.
An officer leans down to examine him, the video shows, but another officer then pulls the first officer away. Several other officers are seen walking by the man, motionless on the ground, without checking on him.”
That’s the story that made the New York Times and most major news outlets. The video of the incident has been viewed 70 million times. Buffalo has been under a curfew for most of the week after some stores were looted earlier in the week.
What’s the state of the protests in your neighborhood?
Fred Blosser mentioned the great comic book writer Gardner F. Fox. Fox also wrote a variety of Science Fiction and Fantasy paperbacks. I just happened upon Fox’s Kyrik: Warlock Warrior which was published by a fringe paperback publisher, Leisure Books, back in 1975. As the cover says–“In the tradition of CONAN”–Kyrik is a fighter and powerful tactician.
But Kyrik first appears in this novel as a small statue. An evil sorcerer imprisoned Kyrik in this statue for a thousand years! A beautiful sorceress named Aryalla finds the statute and casts the spell that frees Kyrik. In return, Aryalla wants Kyrik to help her overthrow the dictator Devadonides. Devadonides relies on the evil sorcerer, Jokaline, to keep him in power.
Kyrik, with his sword Blue Fang, and Aryalla with her Magic, Gardner F. Fox launches them on an adventure worthy of Conan. Sure, this is a pastiche of the Real Thing, but if you’re looking for Sword & Sorcery action, Kyrik is a fun substitute. GRADE: B
Harry Dresden is Chicago’s only wizard who works as a private investigator. I’ve enjoyed the first four books in this series (you can read my reviews here). Death Masks is the fifth book in the series and Jim Butcher jams it with action. A dangerous vampire from the Red Court challenges Dresden to a duel. Then group of hit men target Dresden and his VW Blue Beetle.
But the key plot line in Death Masks concerns Dresden being hired to find the stolen Shroud of Turin. The Shroud becomes a key element in a devastating spell of evil.
And, on top of all this, Dresden’s ex-girl friend, Susan (part vampire) , shows up and complicates his life. The pages fly by when I read a Harry Dresden novel. I read Death Masks in a day. Great fun! If you enjoy Urban Fantasy action novels, you’ll get a kick out of Death Masks. Are you a fan of Urban Fantasy? GRADE: B+
A few weeks ago I posted about Women & Songs: Beginnings (you can read my review here) and now I’ve listened to the sequel: Women & Songs: Beginnings 2. Like the first collection of songs, the choices include several musical eras. It’s not often that I hear “Johnny Angel” by Shelly Fabares (who I had a crush on back in 1961). I want to get up and dance whenever I hear “The Loco-Motion” by Little Eva. And who can resist “Your Precious Love” by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell!
Women & Songs: Beginnings 2 presents several hit songs like Carly Simon’s “Anticipation” which was the theme song for Heinz Ketchup commercials from the 1970s to the 1980s. “You Made Me Feel Like a Natural Woman” was one of Aretha Franklin’s biggest hits. And Dionne Warwick’s version of “Walk On By” has always been one of my favorites.
On the minus side, I was never an Edith Piaf fan. Do you remember these songs? Any favorites here? GRADE: B+
I’m sure most of you have already received your Economic Stimulus payment. We filed our income tax through Turbotax which somehow delayed our payment. But, better late than never! We plan on using this extra money for charitable purposes in these troubled times. How do you plan to use your Economic Stimulus payment?
In 1984, I read a book that surprisingly made it to the top of the Best Sellers List: Tom Clancy’s The Hunt for Red October. Clancy would go on from that shockingly successful novel to dominate the Military Tech genre at the end of the Cold War.
The Hunt for Red October is the story of a captain of a Russian submarine who wants to defect with his crew and the advanced technology on the nuclear sub. Jack Ryan, a military analyst (who would go on to star in many more Clancy novels and their movie versions), believes the captain’s story, but elements of the Government think the captain wants to launch a nuclear attack on the U.S. instead. Jack Ryan is given three days to confirm or deny the captain’s true intentions.
The 1990 movie version of The Hunt for Red October stars Sean Connery as the Russian captain and Alec Baldwin as Jack Ryan. Both actors are brilliant in their roles. However, Alec Baldwin blew his chance at starring as Jack Ryan in future movies when he described his boss, Disney studio Chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg, as “the eighth dwarf — Greedy.”
Are you a fan of the Jack Ryan movies? Do you like Tom Clancy’s novels? GRADE: A
If you’re a fan of Lisbeth Salander (aka, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo) and Henning Mankell’s earnest Kurt Wallander you’ll find Scandinavian Noir an informative exploration of mysteries from Norway, Sweden, and Denmark.
Wendy Lesser takes the reader on a tour of Jo Nesbo’s Harry Hole novels and Stieg Larsson’s noirish mysteries as well as the Martin Beck series of police procedurals by Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö. If you’re interested in this genre, you’ll find much to learn and enjoy in Scandinavian Noir. GRADE: B+
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
Fiction As Reality
Reality As Fiction
Appendix: An Annotated List Of Mysteries And Thrillers