It’s that most wonderful time of the year! Well, it’s the loudest, anyway. Christian, Muslim, Jew or Pagan, it’s virtually impossible to avoid Christmas Carols in America during any given December. Classic yuletide tunes drift from every store’s PA system; street corner musicians put their jazzy spin on holiday favorites; radio stations devote all their programming hours to seasonal music; church, school and community choirs belt out a litany of sacred and secular harmonies; TV ads for everything from cars to candies are scored to jolly jingles. It’s the interminable symphonic backdrop of the Christmas Crush, that frenzied, hectic, crazy-making post-Thanksgiving mad dash to pick the presents, wrap them, string the lights, deck the halls, trim the tree, bake the cookies, buy the festive foods and (e)mail the festive cards.
Asteroid Astrology: Page 6
You know Dasher and Dancer, and Prancer and Vixen, but do you recall that there are asteroids named Rudolf, Santa and Yule? Though none of these were designated for the holiday they have come to represent, they function very well as markers of its importance in the lives of those who have made Christmas a central focus of their biographies.
On Thursday, 30 November 2018, George H. W. Bush died at his home in Houston, Texas, at age 94. The 41st president of the United States, Bush was the son of a Senator, the father of the 43rd US president and of a former governor of Florida. Bush served two terms as Vice President for Ronald Reagan before succeeding to the office for a single term, losing the presidency to Bill Clinton in 1992. The subsequent friendship which grew between the two men (Bush and his wife Barbara often referred to Clinton as another son) was a beautiful example of a nonpartisan spirit that seems quaint and antiquated in today’s cruder, rough-and-tumble political atmosphere.
Halloween has always formed an important part of my writing, and this month AAA presents three of my classic short story favorites. Written in the ‘80s, these tales of vampires run the gamut from atmospheric to downright bizarre. There’s “Silent Partner”, an HP Lovecraft-inspired story about the symbiotic relationship between the living and the undead. “No Looking Back”, about a one-night stand gone terribly wrong, has the immediacy and irony of a Robert Bloch tale, in a “Twilight Zone”-style framework. “Ruby Oak” is perhaps the most unique offering in this Trio of Terror – it’s certain you’ll never look at vampirism the same way again!
“Welcome to my house. Enter freely and of your own will.” From this first intonation of his opening line in the 1931 horror classic “Dracula”, Bela Lugosi was a star. Suave and elegant, with opera cape, top hat and cane, sans the fangs and gore, Lugosi’s portrayal of Bram Stoker’s malignant villain virtually singlehandedly vaulted the vampire from grotesque to sex symbol. His sophisticated appearance and exotic eastern European accent set him in the firmament of Hollywood glitterati, indelibly linked with his undead character for all time.
On October 25, 1978, in Kansas City, Missouri, director John Carpenter premiered his third feature film, “Halloween”, with a plot involving a psychotic, knife-wielding killer stalking a group of libidinous teens in a sleepy Illinois town on Halloween night. The movie starred Hollywood scion Jamie Lee Curtis, daughter of Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh, in her film debut, with a role that would soon become known as that of “the final girl”, that is, the lone survivor of the killer’s rage. A new terminology was required, for “Halloween” broke unhallowed ground in the horror genre, essentially inventing the slasher film