HP Lovecraft Slept Here — and So Can You!

lovecrafthouseThis sounds like a writer’s dream — or nightmare, depending on how one looks at it: A one-bedroom apartment in the same house in which the master of weird fiction himself, H.P. Lovecraft, lived and wrote is available to rent for just $965 a month in Providence, R.I.

The room is in a Victorian house at 10 Barnes St. — an address that Lovecraft actually incorporated into The Case of Charles Dexter Ward as the home of Dr. Marinus Bicknell Willett. It boasts hardwood floors, high ceilings, off-street parking and basement laundry facilities.

Lovecraft was born in Providence in 1890 and moved to New York City when he married Sonia Greene in 1924. But hated Brooklyn so much — have you read “The Horror at Red Hook”? — that he moved back to Providence without his wife just two years later. He was taken in by two aunts who lived in this house.

As you can see, the photos of the rooms provide no hint of the “queerly irregular shape” and “peculiar angles” or sloping floors that one might expect to have nurtured the author of “The Dreams in the Witch-House.”
Continue reading

The Thing About 9/11

My sister Michele asked me this morning what the mood was in New York City on the anniversary of the terror attacks. I’m sure she wasn’t expecting the rant I texted her, stream-of-consciousness style. But I realized it was a pretty good summary of how I feel about 9/11 so many years on, and I figured it was time to update my original Sept. 11 post, so I decided to share (and amplify) my thoughts…

The city typically feels sad on this date, but it’s not an ominous thing. There’s a real sense of community on the surface that is usually only a subtext among the denizens of NYC. There is a sense of community loss. It’s usually much quieter on the streets — though nothing like the eerie silence that dominated on the afternoon of 9/11/01

The hustle of Grand Central Terminal is much more hushed, even among the throngs of tourists, who somehow seem to perceive the public mood. There’s a genuine pall over the entire island of Manhattan, and an almost palpable longing. It’s hard to articulate, but it’s a longing for what the world was like before the World Trade Center towers fell.
Continue reading

Blast From the Past: the original 1976 Teaser for ‘Star Wars’

Yes, this is a true treasure from the past: the original teaser trailer for 1977’s Star Wars! This was the first taste we got of George Lucas‘ space opera set a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. It was just Star Wars then — no “Episode IV,” no “A New Hope” — just plain ol’ Star Wars.

 

This was Star Wars the way it used to be… truly old school!

As you can tell, this was an earlier age of movie promotion. The editing is very static and slow-paced, the music is generic filler. Can you imagine a Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens trailer cut like this?

Notes on Lovecraft’s ‘At the Mountains of Madness’

madnessnotesHere is a page of history for my fellow lovers of H.P. Lovecraft: a page of his notes made while writing the novella At the Mountains of Madness, one of his finest works — and one of my favorites.

These notes were made on an envelope that Lovecraft unfolded; he wasn’t doing too well financially in 1931, so he was saving paper. Good thing, too, since ATMoM wasn’t published until 1936.

Lovecraft made about seven pages of notes, and this one details the anatomy of the Elder Things, just one of the mind-bending creatures from the story. If you’ve never read it, you definitely should. The entire text is available here for free. You will doubtless recognize a number of elements that have been ripped off homaged by lesser writers ever since.

Why the Stanley Cup is the Greatest Trophy in Sports

Stanley-CupThe Stanley Cup Finals begin tonight, and although my dearly loved New York Rangers will not be part of the contest this time, the Cup itself is still majestic and magnificent — and simply the best trophy in all of sports.

The 1993-'94 Rangers' names on the Cup

The 1993-’94 Rangers’ names on the Cup

It is a thing of beauty (unlike that… object that gets foisted on the winner of the World Cup) and simplicity (unlike the Commissioner’s Trophy in Major League Baseball), and everybody who wins it gets his name engraved on it forever. It’s not just a hunk of metal that gets passed around each year (unlike the NFL’s Lombardi Trophy). It’s a prize that is imbued with the spirit of the victors; every player becomes part of the Cup, literally and figuratively.

It’s the hardest prize to win, but unquestionably worth it.

Click on the link to see a brilliant cartoon infographic from The Nib that distills the Stanley Cup’s riveting history into pictures.

You can watch the Chicago Blackhawks and the Tampa Bay Lightning begin the best-of-seven series tonight.

The X-Men. All of Them.

The good folks over at gaming site IGN apparently had a little free time on their hands, so they decided to make a video covering every X-Man in the Marvel Comics universe — ever. That’s a pretty daunting task on its own, but the editors also decided to try to explain X-Men continuity! They do a pretty good job for such an expansive subject.

It all goes by too quickly to be sure IGN got everyone, but it looks to be pretty inclusive.

DOCTOR WHO Gems From a Different Vault

How about a couple of brief yet fun DOCTOR WHO treasures of yesteryear? These video clips are examples of what’s in the archives of British Pathé News and just recently made available to the public at YouTube.

Dalek bookseller circa 1964:

Cyberman and Yeti

I know, I know… all-too-short and quite weird. But that’s what I like about these clips. We fans who weren’t in Britain in the mid-1960s can never truly understand the depths of Dalekmania or places the Doctor’s classic enemies held in the hearts of British children. But I think these videos can begin to hint at it — if you imagine the culture that could give rise to an automated magazine seller in the form of a malevolent pepper pot!