Feb 01

Music Mondays – Sound of Silence

Music Mondays

Pictured: Not Dahlia

Hey there!  Happy Monday to all of you! I enjoy the new start of the week when I can sit down in front of the computer and get to work. Check out the new graphic!  I figured if I didn’t have to create a new graphic every time I had to write this blog post, it would make things a little easier.  We’ll see!

Music Monday -Cover Songs – Sound of Silence

I am always a little behind when it comes to music. I don’t really listen to the radio and depend on my Google Play library. My music library includes the American Songbook, show tunes, some almost up to the minute music and of course, a healthy dose of the eighties.
I was tooling around on youtube a week or so ago and I found this song by Disturbed. I liked their cover of Land of Confusion: it has a much darker tone and is a little less “poppy” than the original Genesis version. However, I am a bit of a folk music fan. I love my John Denver, Simon and Garfunkel, and Peter, Paul and Mary. Curious to see what they did with the song, I clicked. And was hooked.

First, however, if you haven’t heard it, take a listen to Simon and Garfunkel’s version:

 

 

 

When Simon and Garfunkel did the song, it was a telling commentary on society’s behavior toward one another…”People hearing without listening”….”People writing songs that voices never share” and “The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls and tenement halls.” Nice, kinda abstract statements.

Disturbed takes it and makes it personal. Way personal. The singer’s voice is gut-wrenching, giving the impression he’s given the lyrics a lot of thought and things haven’t changed so very much since the song came out over thirty years ago.

Once you add in the sparse, minimalistic images of the video, you see Disturbed has turned the song into an experience.

Listen the first time. Pay attention to David Draiman’s growl and how he attacks the words. Then, once you’ve absorbed, add the video.

What a stirring interpretation of this song.

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Jan 11

Music Monday – Vocalese – Moody’s Mood for Love

Dance Couple with LyricsI dug back into the archives of my music collection for my first post of the New Year.  I’ve always loved this song, not only because of the fine vocal stylings of King Pleasure and Blossom Dearie, but also for the history behind the song itself.  Moody’s Mood for Love is a swoon-worthy slow dance song, full of references to magic, stars, enduring love and all the stuff that romance is made of.  If you want to get starry-eyed, this is one of the best songs to listen to.

That being said, here’s the story of the song.

The “original” song was “I’m in the Mood for Love” written by Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields.  It may be famliar to many because of the line “I’m in the mood for love/Simply because you’re near me…”.  Here is Sarah Vaughn’s cover of the song.

 

While playing in Sweden, saxophonist James Moody improvised a solo while in concert in Sweden.

 

Eddie Jefferson penned words to Moody’s saxophone solo as well as , which then was made famous by King Pleasure and Blossom Dearie.  And we have…

 

Amy WInehouse did a version of the song, and while I do love Amy, I don’t feel she captured the true contours of Moody’s sax solo.  She simply put the words and melody over a reggae beat.  Which is okay, I suppose, but she just made it another song, rather than a call back to the vocalese tradition.

Queen Latifah also does a version.  It’s…okay, but again, is simply another interpretation of the words and melody.

 

EDDIE JEFFERSON MOODY´S MOOD FOR LOVE LYRICS

As sung by King Pleasure and Blossom Dearie

There I go, there I go, there I go, there I go
Pretty baby you are the soul, who snaps my control
Such a funny thing but every time you’re near me
I never can behave
You give me a smile and  then I’m wrapped up in your magic
There’s music all around me
Crazy music, music that keeps calling me so
Very close to you, turns me your slave
Come on and do with me any little thing that you want to
Anything, baby just let me get next to you

Am I insane or do I really see heaven in your eyes?
Bright as stars that shine up above you
In the clear blue skies, how I worry ’bout you
Just can’t live my life without you
Baby come here, and don’t have no fear
Oh, is there wonder why
I’m really feeling in the mood for love

So tell me why, stop to think about this weather, my dear
This little dream might fade away
There I go talking out of my head again

Oh baby won’t you
come and put our two hearts together
That would make me strong and brave
Oooo, when we are one, I’m not afraid, I’m not afraid
If there’s a cloud up above us
Go on and let it rain
I’m sure our love together will endure a hurricane
Oh my baby won’t you please let me love you
and give me relief from this awful misery.What is all this talk about loving me, my sweet
I am not afraid, not anymore, not like before
Don’t you understand me, now baby please
Pull yourself together, do it soon
My soul’s on fire, come on and take me
I’ll be what you make me, my darling, my dearOh baby, you make me feel so good
Let me take you by the hand
Come let us visit out there
In that new promised landMaybe there we can find
A good place to use a lovin’ state of mind
I’m so tired of being without
And never knew what love’s about
James Moody you can come over man
you can blow now if you want to, we’re through

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moody%27s_Mood_for_Love

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Dec 10

Movie Review – Flashback – Stir of Echoes

Title: Stir of Echoes
Genre: Thriller/Supernatural Horror
Director: Davis Koepp
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0164181

Hey there lovelies!

I’m taking a little vacation for the month of the December, which means I’m cleaning house (literally and figuratively) and sussing out my goals for 2016. Which in turns means movies and music galore! It’s a relief sometimes to take a step away from the pen and paper….but that doesn’t stop the ideas from bubbling over.

0509008_BRWrapv4Back to the movies. I took a little step back in time to screen Stir of Echoes. I remember watching this back in the day when it first came out on DVD. It’s based on a novel by Richard Matheson, who, as you must well know, wrote Nightmare at 20,000 Feet, I Am Legend and a few other horror/thriller stories. (I use the word “few” as being funny. Matheson was pretty prolific.)

I must say, for a film from the 90s, it holds up pretty well. I enjoyed Kevin Bacon’s younger incarnation – he’s got the loveliest clear blue eyes. I could have done without the “magical negro” trope and the only non-white people in the film were located in a crappy part of town, but other than that, the narrative surrounding Kevin Bacon’s hypnosis by his sister in law (played by a cool Ileana Douglas) and the resulting plot madness is pretty good.

I’ve read the original Matheson story, and because of the dated plot, the screenwriter took some liberty in changing the plot that I don’t really think affected the overall tension and theme.

Also, a slightly tattooed (on his back)  Kevin Bacon, sweaty and shirtless. He’s kind of thin in this movie, but it’s still kinda hot in a trailer park kind of way.

stir-of-echoes-kevin-bacon-digging-yard-shirtless

Watch or not to watch?:

If you like supernatural thrillers and messages from the other side visited upon a common group of folks, I’d recommend this movie. Screen it for the story and remember it takes place in the 90s when cell phones were NOT commonplace. If you put yourself back in time and watch the movie for what it is, you’ll enjoy it. I know I did.

Grade: A minus

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Nov 01

Giveaway – Starter Bug Out Bag

bugoutbag

 

A great bag to keep in the car for those emergencies.  Add bottled water, some energy bars and a sturdy zombie-beating crowbar to complete the kit.  Doll not included in the prize…she’s there to pretty it up.  Enter below for more entries.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Oct 26

Blogtoberfest – Weird New Jersey

It’s only fair, since I’m writing about scary stuff this month, is to highlight some spooky places in New Jersey.  Despite being the Garden State, there’s a ton of mysteries surrounding some of the horse pastures and lovely farms.

 

So light the lantern and let’s take a closer look behind the cobwebs.

The Jersey Devil

Picture Courtesy of WeirdNJ.com

Picture Courtesy of WeirdNJ.com

From Wikipedia: 

 

The Jersey Devil is a legendary creature or cryptid said to inhabit the Pine Barrens of Southern New Jersey, United States. The creature is often described as a flyingbiped with hooves, but there are many different variations. The common description is that of a kangaroo-like creature with the head of a goat, leathery bat-like wings,horns, small arms with clawed hands, cloven hooves and a forked tail. It has been reported to move quickly and often is described as emitting a “blood-curdling scream.”[1][2]

 

From Me:

I’ve seen some pictures of the Jersey Devil that looks my dog trying to dress up for Halloween.  There is even reported “video” of the Jersey Devil.  Obviously, is a legend and a kinda corny one at that, but still, it makes me laugh to see the claims.  If you happen to see the Jersey Devil while you’re wandering around in the Pine Barrens, give him (or her) a carrot and a cube of sugar.clinton-road-nj

Clinton Road

Snippets from the New York Daily News:

“It’s like a dark highway into people’s innermost fears.” That’s how Mark Moran, publisher and co-creator of the Weird NJ magazine and website, sums up Clinton Road, a quiet and twisty stretch of road roughly 55 miles northwest of New York City.

“People definitely play on the legend [of Clinton Road],” said Mark Moran. He mentions the menacing black truck that lurks on the road.  Appearing out of nowhere, the truck gets extremely close to your rear bumper, flashes its lights, and then suddenly disappears into the night.

From WeirdNJ.com

This rugged ten mile stretch of deserted road is so rich in lore that it has been attracting late night visitors for generations.  The stories that these sightseeing sojourners have brought back with them of their adventures are sometimes harrowing, often terrifying, and almost always intriguing.  Many of these tales of midnight joyrides may seem unbelievable, while others leave one wondering just where truth ends, and an overactive imagination begins.

If you ever decide to travel down Clinton Road at midnight, stop at the bridge by dead man’s curve.  As the story goes if you sit on that bridge and throw pennies into the river, the ghost of a young boy will throw them back to you.  –Anonymous

My friends and I decided to find out for ourselves what is true and what is not.  We went to the bridge and threw a quarter off.  Not but a minute later you hear the bloop, as if you dropped the quarter in again. The water filled with ripples and a child’s reflection appeared.  I flew back to the car.  That scared all of us.  –Dina, West Milford

 

The Devil’s Tree

From Wikipedia:

Local legend suggests the tree is cursed: those who damage or disrespect the tree (usually by urinating on it, or making disparaging remarks about it while nearby) will soon thereafter come to some sort of harm, often in the form of a car accident or major breakdown as

Picture courtesy of Weird NJ

they leave.[1] The tree’s history is surrounded by superstition, and common theories claim that Bernards Township was one of the central headquarters for the Ku Klux Klan in New Jersey and that the tree had been used to lynch African Americans and rebellious slaves since Colonial times.[2][3][4] Another theory claims that a farmer hanged himself from the tree after killing his family and that anyone trying to cut the tree down will “come to an untimely end”.[5] Other urban legends surrounding the tree allege that visitors who get too close to the tree will get chased by a black Ford pick-up truck that will then disappear at a certain point, or that anyone who touches the tree will find that their hands have turned black if they try to eat at a restaurant.[4][6]

In winter, the ground beneath the tree is allegedly free from snow, no matter how much has fallen or how recently.[1] A nearby boulder called “Heat Rock”, and sometimes the tree itself, are said to be warm to the touch regardless of the season or time of day,[7] and is believed to be a portal to Hell.[1]

The township’s plans to develop the land might have required the tree’s removal, but it decided to protect the tree and keep it intact. In 2007, a sign was posted at the site stating when it is open to the public. The Devil’s Tree is currently surrounded by a chain-link fence due to vandalism.[4]

 

There are so many other scary/haunted places in New Jersey!  Check out WeirdNJ.com if you want to read more.

 

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Oct 23

Blogtoberfest – Recipe: Fudge Skeletons

fudge-skeletons-1500

I love an easy recipe and this one you can make in the microwave!

Ingredients
8 oz (about 3 cups) semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup white candy coating or white chocolate chips, to decorate
Gingerbread man cookie cutter
Yield: 12-15 Fudge Skeletons

 

Preparation

 

1. Prepare a 9 x 13 by lining it with parchment paper or aluminum foil.  Spray the lining with non-stick cooking spray. Make the paper/foil overhang the pan to use as handles later.

2. In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine the chocolate chips, condensed milk, and salt.

3. Microwave the bowl on high for 1 minute, then stir with a spatula. If the chocolate chips are not completely melted, return the bowl to the microwave and heat for another 15-30 seconds, then stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth. It is very important not to burn the chips.  Stir, stir, stir, stir!

4. Add the vanilla extract, and stir to mix it in. Scrape the fudge into the prepared pan and smooth it into a thin, even layer.

5. Let the fudge set at room temperature for 2 hours, or in the refrigerator for 1 hour, until it is firm.

6. Lift it from the pan using the foil as handles, and then use the gingerbread man cookie cutter to cut out body shapes from the fudge. Depending on the size of the cutter, you will probably get about 12-15 men from one batch. You can save the scraps to munch on, or chop them up to use them in cookie or brownie recipes.

7. Melt the white chocolate candy coating or white chocolate chips. Make a paper cone and pour the candy coating into the cone, or alternately, pour it into a zip-top plastic bag and cut off a small corner of the bag to use as a makeshift piping bag. *I use Wilton Royal Icing for this.*

8. Use the melted candy coating (or candy frosting) to decorate your fudge men with bones and skulls so that they look like skeletons.

9. Let the coating set completely, then the Fudge Skeletons are ready to serve.

Store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two weeks.

 

Recipe courtesy of about.com 

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Oct 20

Blogtoberfest – Colors in Darkness Halloween Party

 

Colors in Darkness

The 1st  Multicultural Celebration of Horror, Paranormal and Dark Fantasy!

Come and Celebrate With The Fear! There will be contests, excerpts and more!

 

Have you marked your calendars?  On October 29th, you must attend the first Colors in Darkness Halloween Party.  Come hang out with writers of color who love spinning dark fiction, horror, paranormal and dark fantasy.  If you like all things scary, , you’ll love the party that we have planned.  Author excerpts, prizes, trivia and all around scary fun.  Come and discover a new Gothic author, a super-scary horror author, or on the lighter side, a dark paranormal with a little romance.

Spread the word about this event…..click to tweet below….and see you at the end of October!

 

Multicultural Celebration of Horror, Paranormal and Dark Fantasy...Join us! http://on.fb.me/1OQ2R8h Click To Tweet Come celebrate your fear! Multicultural celebration of horror, paranormal and dark fiction. http://on.fb.me/1OQ2R8h Click To Tweet Like scary stuff? Colors in Darkness Halloween Party. Stop on by! http://on.fb.me/1OQ2R8h Click To Tweet We're going to have a wicked good time! Colors in Darkness Halloween Party. http://on.fb.me/1OQ2R8h Click To Tweet

 

 

 

 

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Oct 19

Blogtoberfest – Scary Stories – Pet Sematary

Horror is different for everyone.  I don’t think the “experts” can agree on what horror is and thus there are tons of movies and books that represent the horror

Cover of "Pet Sematary (Special Collector...

Cover via Amazon

genre, as it should be.

I also believe that horror is different depending on where you are in your life.  What’s represents horror for a twenty-year-old might be old-hat to a forty year old. Books that resounded for me in my twenties are just “eh” now that I’m a lovely seasoned woman of a certain age.

But Stephen King’s Pet Semetary broke that mold.  It’s just as frightening now as when I first read it many years ago.

Here’s the blurb

“Sometimes dead is better….”When the Creeds move into a beautiful old house in rural Maine, it all seems too good to be true: physician father, beautiful wife, charming little daughter, adorable infant son — and now an idyllic home. As a family, they’ve got it all…right down to the friendly cat.

But the nearby woods hide a blood-chilling truth — more terrifying than death itself…and hideously more powerful.

 

SPOILERS  SPOILERS   sort of SPOILERS sort of  SPOILERS  SPOILERS 

My goodness, what a story.  It runs the gamut from the “real-life” horror of the death of a child and the grief that follows, to the otherworldly horror that awaits when the family tries to alleviate the grief that follows the death of a family pet.

The first time I read the story the scene on the hill wasn’t so horrifying.  You know why?  Because I didn’t have children of my own.  I think I was more touched by the death of the pet than I was by the other.  However, when I read it now, that scene on the hill makes my gut twinge and jump.  After reading it, I had to go “check on the children”.  Having children of my own makes the following scenes more poignant and so much more touching.

Sympathy turning to empathy.

SPOILERS END (they were half-assed anyway)

My theory of horror if you’re “just watching” it makes it a lot less scary.  “This could never happen to me because blah blah”.  When an ordinary situation turns into a “horror” situation, something that could happen to anyone, something that is plausible (with a little “what if” thrown in)  that’s when the true terror begins.

Pet Sematary is about grief, loss and at its core, the horror of not letting go and where it can get you.

 

 

 

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Oct 16

Blogtoberfest – Urban Legends to Keep You Up at Night – Part 2

thousand stepsUrban Legendsto keep you upat nightPart 2The Thousand Steps

Behind a rusty, broken gate at the top of the bluffs overlooking the Mississippi in Eagle Point Park (Clinton, Iowa) is an ancient set of steps plagued with tragedy and wrought with mysteries and fables. Locals call them the “Thousand Steps”, and they were built in the 1930’s along with the rest of the neighboring park to allow access from the top of the bluffs to the beach below. Although originally used frequently by families and other people looking for a scenic hike, the stairs soon fell into disuse and began to decay- becoming filled with holes, structural cracks, and covered in slippery moss, making them very dangerous to use.

But of course, nothing compels children to do something more than being told not to do it.

In the 1960’s, it soon became a right of passage to descend the stairs and live- which many children and adults did successfully, but many others did not. Dozens of children died attempting to master the stairs every year all the way the 70’s, when attempts finally slowed and with it, the death toll until it was down to one per year, where it remains at today.

However, an obviously dangerous set of steps does not a legend make – it’s what began to happen after the many deaths that make the steps so intriguing. Frequent reports of ghost sightings, the confirmed discovery of human remains and even rumors that the sight used to be a Native American “Indian” burial ground began to circulate and gain credibility over the years.

The steps still stand today, as dangerous and mystifying as they were 50 years ago. If none of the legends are true – the burial ground, the human remains, or the ghosts – the death toll still stands. More than 20 people lost their lives on those steps, and the question remains… Who is the next victim?

From: http://urbanlegendsonline.com/thousand-steps/

Berrys-Chapel-BannerChapel Still Appears at Night in Flames

There is a site located in Quinton on the outskirts of Salem that was home to an African-American Church when slavery was still intact. The church was built in the woods by a pastor named Berry. It was burned down twice. The first time no harm was done to anyone, the second time the entire congregation died, including Berry. There are many stories surrounding the burned down church and remaining graveyard, which also became a teenage drinking spot along with a supposed cult meeting ground.

They say on many nights if you go out there, you can see the church fully intact and burning and you can see and hear the parishioners dancing and praising. They also say you can hear metal scraping and people screaming. Click To TweetBerry himself was also buried here and his grave is marked by a stone with his name, but for some reason he was buried farther into the woods and no one can ever seem to find his gravesite. –Shannon  (From http://weirdnj.com/weird-news/berrys-chapel/ )

 

Enjoy!

Dahlia

 

 

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Oct 15

Blogtoberfest – Urban Legends to Keep You Up at Night – Part 1

Urban Legendsto keepYou Up at Night

We all know ’em, don’t we?  The friend of a friend of my cousin who….they all start out that way and always end badly for that sort-of person we kinda know. They even made a movie (or three) about it, then there was that television series that acted them out (badly) for you.

Let’s talk about a few of these, shall we?  And remember to leave the light on….

The Clown Statue Murderer: An Urban Legend

The story of the clown statue murderer is an urban legend. It is not a true story but can spark fear in anyone who reads it. It has been passed around as a chain letter online since 2004.

Here is the story:

“A girl in her teens is babysitting for a family in Newport Beach, Ca. The family is wealthy and has a very large house – you know the sort, with a ridiculous amount of rooms. Anyways, the parents are going out for a late dinner/movie. The father tells the babysitter that once the children are in bed she should go into this specific room (he doesn’t really want her wandering around the house) and watch TV there.

The parents take off and soon she gets the kids into bed and goes to the room to watch TV. She tries watching TV, but she is disturbed by a clown statue in the corner of the room. She tries to ignore it for as long as possible, but it starts freaking her out so much that she can’t handle it.

She resorts to calling the father and asks, “Hey, the kids are in bed, but is it okay if I switch rooms? This clown statue is really creeping me out.”

The father says seriously, “Get the kids, go next door and call 911.”

She asks, “What’s going on?”

He responds, “Just go next door and once you call the police, call me back.”

She gets the kids, goes next door, and calls the police. When the police are on the way, she calls the father back and asks, “So, really, what’s going on?”

He responds, “We don’t HAVE a clown statue.” He then further explains that the children have been complaining about a clown watching them as they sleep. He and his wife had just blown it off, assuming that they were having nightmares.

The police arrive and apprehend the “clown,” who turns out to be a midget. A midget clown! I guess he was some homeless person dressed as a clown, who somehow got into the house and had been living there for several weeks. He would come into the kids’ rooms at nights and watch them while they slept. As the house was so large, he was able to avoid detection, surviving off their food, etc. He had been in the TV room right before the babysitter right came in there. When she entered he didn’t have enough time to hide, so he just froze in place and pretended to be a statue.

Yeah.  As I said earlier on a discussion group, between IT and John Wayne Gacy, I don’t have any time for clowns.

And another to make your hair stand on end.  This is an oldie but a still a goodie:

The Killer in the Backseat….

One night a woman went out for drinks with her girlfriends. She left the bar fairly late at night, got in her car and onto the deserted highway. After a few minutes she noticed a lone pair of headlights in her rear-view mirror, approaching at a pace just slightly quicker than hers. As the car pulled up behind her she glanced and saw the turn signal on — the car was going to pass — when suddenly it swerved back behind her, pulled up dangerously close to her tailgate and the brights flashed.

Now she was getting nervous. The lights dimmed for a moment and then the brights came back on and the car behind her surged forward. The frightened woman struggled to keep her eyes on the road and fought the urge to look at the car behind her. Finally, her exit approached but the car continued to follow, flashing the brights periodically.

Through every stoplight and turn, it followed her until she pulled into her driveway. She figured her only hope was to make a mad dash into the house and call the police. As she flew from the car, so did the driver of the car behind her — and he screamed, “Lock the door and call the police! Call 911!”

When the police arrived the horrible truth was finally revealed to the woman. The man in the car had been trying to save her. As he pulled up behind her and his headlights illuminated her car, he saw the silhouette of a man with a butcher knife rising up from the back seat to stab her, so he flashed his brights and the figure crouched back down.

The moral of the story: Always check the back seat!

Yes, they’re (mostly) not true, but don’t they give you a shiver?

Pleasant Dreams!

 

Dahlia

 

 

 

 

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