Confessions of a Teenage Blue Heeler: Part I

I’m baaacccckkkk!!!

Duncan 6

Bet you guys really missed me, huh?  I’m so cute, how could you not miss me?

Oh, right.  I’m Duncan, the pup at arms, just in case you don’t know who I am.  And you should know who I am, my mom takes a lot of pictures of me for some reason and puts them on some place called Facebook.  Come on Mom, geez, sometimes you really embarrass me (even though I am pretty cute)!

I am almost 10 months old now.  Pretty soon I will be a big boy and turn a year old!  Mom says I am a teenager.  I don’t really know what that is, but maybe that’s why she gets mad at me so much.  She even grounded me from the computer, but I sneak on it when she isn’t around.  Her blog gets boring sometimes.  Who cares about television shows and books?  I am way cuter than any television show or book!

And Mom is just too obsessed with that weird writer guy and Tower thingy…good thing she has me to take away her attention from that, huh?

gunslinger_sunset_hisface

But guys, I have to tell you something…

critters 1 010

I’m (gulp) not a good dog sometimes.  Actually, I’m a bad dog.  Like a lot, actually.  I think that’s what Mom means when she calls me a teenager or other things I can’t say (I’m only a puppy after all!)

I like to talk.  I talk a lot.  So what if sometimes I talk when Mom and Dad are watching that black square thing (I think its called a television, maybe?)  Really, I am much cuter and have more important things to say than these guys that Mom likes so much!

Sons 1

 

I make Mom so mad sometimes…she just doesn’t get it that I love everything she touches, especially her garden!  Wasn’t it so mean of her to put cages around those plants?  I wanted to play with those plants so badly!

Duncan 4

 

And I love to help Mom when she cooks.  That’s my favorite thing, actually.  Food is so yummy!  So what if I put my paws on the counter sometimes…why doesn’t Mom want my help in taste-testing her delicious food?  I just want to make sure that everything tastes good for Dad!

candy bar pie 010

And I like to play with things.  Isn’t everything a toy?  You know, like pieces of poop? And Mom’s blanket?  Pieces of poop and Mom’s blanket together were so fun!  I decorated the floor with pieces of poop and even threw in pieces of blanket!  But Mom didn’t think that was fun…you should have heard some of the words she said…I don’t think they were very nice!

And the floor is a good toy…its so much fun to chew on!  I was pretty proud of myself for finding a new toy, actually.  But Dad wasn’t proud when I showed him yesterday.  In fact, he said I was a BAD DOG.  And that made me very sad, because I think I am a pretty GOOD DOG who likes to have lots of fun!

Husky

 

I try so hard sometimes to be a GOOD DOG.  Mom knows I try too.  In fact, she still lets me be in the kitchen with her when she cooks.  And I think she likes me being in the garden with her.  Maybe she likes the company.  After all, I’m so cute!  Its always good to have someone as cute as me around…I make really good company!

Duncan 7

Well, I gotta go guys…Mom says I have to get off the computer…can you believe she is going to blog about that weird writer guy AGAIN?  Geez, come on Mom, write about cute things (like me!), books are boring!  But don’t worry, I am sure I can sneak back on the computer again when Mom isn’t looking…

TTFN,

Duncan, the pup at arms

duncan

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Penny Dreadful Recap and Review: Season 2, Episode 2

Good afternoon everyone, and welcome to this week’s trip to the sundae bar, aka my review and recap of Penny Dreadful!

sundae 2

And this week’s trip to the sundae bar was interesting, to say the least.  In fact, the flavors this week were…well…odd to say the least.  In fact, I don’t know if it could even be properly called a sundae, as opposed to a very mixed, confused batch of ingredients randomly thrown into a bowl of vanilla ice cream, and called a sundae.  But the flavors were indeed interesting, even if they didn’t make any sense after being thrown together.

sundae 1

With that being said, here is my recap and review of Penny Dreadful, season 2, episode 2.


Synopsis

The episode begins with Vanessa in a state of shock, presumably after the disturbing visit from the witch’s coven.  She seeks comfort with Malcolm.  Vanessa then accompanies Malcolm to a soup kitchen for cholera victims, and meets Caliban.  Caliban introduces himself as John Clare, and he and Vanessa speak of religion and poetry.

Inspector Rusk finds the sole survivor of the Mariner’s Inn massacre.  The man’s face is mutilated beyond recognition, but Rusk intends to question him anyone to find those responsible for the massacre.

Dorian Gray makes another appearance.  He is propositioned by a woman who turns out to be hiding a big secret:  she is actually a man.  However, this does not seem to bother Dorian at all.

Dorian Gray 1

Ferdinand Lyle makes another appearance in this episode, ostensibly to help Malcolm, Vanessa and Ethan to make sense of the strange words uttered by Vanessa and the witches in the previous episode.  Dr. Lyle tells Vanessa that an 11th century monk wrote these words on whatever materials he had available for writing, until the other monks learned of his possession and burned him at the stake.  These words are Verbis Diablo, or Words of the Devil.  Ethan accompanies Dr. Lyle to retrieve these artifacts from a museum.  Ethan sees artwork depicting wolves, and begins reminiscing about the wolves he encountered during his time in the New Mexico territories, stating that those wolves simply fed and did not protect anything.

Malcolm encounters Evelyn Poole, who is the head of the coven of witches that has been terrorizing Vanessa.  Evelyn and Malcolm go on a date of sorts to the shooting range.  Evelyn impresses Malcolm with her shooting skills.  Malcolm reminds Evelyn that he cannot divorce his wife, but this does not seem to bother Evelyn, as she still attempts to seduce Malcolm with her magic.

Evelyn Poole 1

Victor Frankenstein and Caliban are successful in resurrecting Brona, but begin to argue over Brona’s “upbringing” and re-assimilation into society.  Caliban wants to read poetry to her, but Victor states that she needs to regain her language skills.  Victor works with Brona, and her language skills return quickly.  Victor tells her that she is his cousin and provides her with fictional details of her previous life, telling her that she suffers from amnesia.  Victor also cuts and dyes Brona’s hair, and renames her Lilly (which is also the flower of resurrection).

Brona 1

Evelyn Poole convenes with her coven, and Ferdinand Lyle is included in the meeting.  It turns out that Evelyn is blackmailing Dr. Lyle, and attempting to force him to help her and the coven terrorize Vanessa.

Evelyn Poole 2

Hecate, Evelyn’s daughter, follows a young couple into the London Underground.  Hecate murders the couple and their infant.  Hecate then removes the heart from the infant, and the camera shows doll versions of Malcolm and his friends.  The last doll shown is one that bears a likeness to Vanessa, and the episode ends with the camera panning to Vanessa, who takes a sharp breath.

Vanessa Ivers 2

 


 

My Thoughts

Oh, my thoughts.  Aka the jumbled mess that they became after this particular episode…

However, I will try.  I will even give it the old college try.

old college try

And I felt like I needed a doctoral degree to comprehend this episode.  I still enjoyed, but man oh man…just so much stuff crammed into a tiny suitcase!

I think this sums up the expression on my face:

breaking bad

Or maybe I felt more like this:

Hurr

Well, I’m exaggerating (at least a little).  But boy, did I feel a bit confused at times while watching this episode!

First of all, Dorian Gray made another appearance.  Not that this a bad thing.  Not a bad thing at all, actually.

Eva Green as Vanessa Ives and Reeve Carney as Dorian Gray in Penny Dreadful (season 1, episode 2). - Photo: Jonathan Hession/SHOWTIME - Photo ID: PennyDreadful_102_2151

But sheeeeesssshhh!!!!  Where on earth does he fit in?  And when are we going to get more salacious details?  All we know so far is that he is a tri-sexual (nothing is off limits, in other words) and he is a good looking guy that seems to want to play the field (I know, and I want more salacious details?  Yikes!)  But really nothing on this background, and we haven’t really seen the painting (although he does appear to be obsessed with pictures).  And just where does he fit in on the show?  With Vanessa?  With Ethan?  Maybe with both (that tri sexual thing, after all)?  Or is he just a pretty face thrown in to confuse us?  Come on, writers…little help here!

And then there was Dorian’s love interest on this episode.  Well, maybe hook up would be a better word, but I will be nice.

First, my mind went here

Crying Game 1

And then I remembered:  think horror movies, self!  So naturally, my mind went here:

camp sleepaway

Although Dorian’s new friend did at least seem a little happier than the dude in the pic above.  And yes, I searched Google for this specific image.  You are welcome, my friend!

In all seriousness, I was left scratching my head.  What is going on with Dorian Gray?  Really, just throw me a bone, even if its a small one…give me something I can work with!

Per usual, this episode was a tease about the wolf

Wolf 2

Well, the werewolf that is actually masquerading as the other pretty boy, aka Ethan Chandler.  Again, this episode teased, but still gave us no real information about the werewolf.  Although there has to be an episode coming soon that will do more than tease, as the murder investigation for that horrible slaughter at a certain inn apparently has not been closed (in other words, Ethan’s hulking er wolfing out may come back to haunt him).  And I am all for a slow build up, but this is getting ridiculous…again, throw me a bone (see what I did there).

Ethan Chandler 3

But this episode was not all bad.  Far from it, in fact…

The witches’ coven.  Yes, the very same one that seems intent on torturing Vanessa like a cat would torture a mouse (or a lizard, in the  case of my cats).  This episode did deliver on the witch action.  And dolls…shudder.  Hey, dolls are scary, ummm-kay!

In fact, my mind went here when I saw those dolls:

Chinga 1

Tres creepy, no?  And of course, that particular episode was written by the master himself, so I have to pay homage!

But the dolls in this episode…again, shudder.  And of course, the writers had to incorporate voodoo (I am assuming that’s what they were trying for, due to the likeness of the dolls of Malcolm and his friends).  And voodoo, don’t get me started!  And the end, with Vanessa drawing a sharp breath, and the end credits rolling and leaving a bit of a cliffhanger…that is how its done, friends!

But I have saved the best part for last:

To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour
-William Blake
I need this engraved on my tombstone.  Or at least quoted at my funeral.  I love William Blake!
And Caliban quoted William Blake!  I have always been sympathetic to The Monster in Mary Shelley’s work, and thought he got an unfair rap.  And apparently, at least one writer on Penny Dreadful agrees with me, as Caliban (he will never be just The Monster to me) is turning out to be one of the most sympathetic characters on the show.  There will never be enough love for him (at least on my part).  His conversation with Vanessa at the soup kitchen was simply beautiful.  A so-called “monster” telling a woman being hunted down by demons that his focus is what good he can do in this life, as opposed to the “after-life”…just priceless.  And that is the only word that describes it!
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And he quoted my favorite poet of all time.  Way to go, Caliban!  Now no matter what terrible thing you may do (although I am sure it will be justified), I will be forced to root for you!  After all, how can I root against someone who QUOTES WILLIAM BLAKE????!!!!!
Caliban 1

So that’s it for this week’s trip into literary Avengers.  Or the adult version of a sundae bar.  Or Penny Dreadful.  And whatever you want to call it, there was never a dull moment.  Tune in next week for my review of the next episode…same bat time, same bat channel!

adam west

 

Time to Save Someone’s Life: My Review of Wolves of the Calla

 

Well, going back to work after a vacation can really suck.  I have been back from my vacation for a few weeks, and am finally get back into the swing of things.

So, yes, it can be rough.  Really rough sometimes.

Maybe sometimes, you feel like you are getting thrown to the wolves…

Just like our favorite ka-tet!

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Yes, they had a nice vacation, even if the weather was a little rough.  And they were treated to a couple of stories by their friendly neighborhood gunslinger.

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But now, its back to work for them.  Although really, I don’t think gunslingers ever have much time off (kind of like people who work in the tax resolution industry).  And its a tough job they have ahead of them, as they will be responsible for saving the lives of several someones.  And will literally be thrown to the wolves…

South Park wolf

The Wolves of the Calla, that is.  And these aren’t your ordinary every day wolves…no sir!  So let’s find out what makes these wolves so special.  That’s right, read my review of The Wolves of the Calla right here!


 

Synopsis

Wolves of the Calla begins in a small village (presumably located in Roland’s world) that we learn is named Calla Bryn Sturgis.  The villagers gather in the town hall, to discuss an important matter.  We learn that the villagers are again facing the prospects of some their children being kidnapped by creatures they call “wolves.”  The children are kidnapped every generation, and a robot named Andy always brings warning.  Any child who is a twin and between the ages of three and thirteen is in danger.  Only one twin in any set of twins will be kidnapped, and will be returned what the villagers call “roont“.  This means that the children return with almost no mental facilities, and will also be cursed to grow into extremely large adults who are unable to care for themselves, and will die an early, extremely painful death.

Callabrynsturgis

Tian Jaffords, who is the father of two sets of twins, was warned by Andy of this round of kidnappings.  Tian’s sister Tia was kidnapped the last time the wolves paid the village a visit, and is now little better than an idiot.  Tian wishes to fight the wolves, but not all of the villagers agree with him, and there is much arguing during the meeting.  However, the meeting is interrupted by an elderly gentleman, who informs the villagers that gunslingers are nearby, and that they gunslingers may be able to help the village with its problem.

Callahan 1

 

We then learn that Roland, Eddie, Susannah, Jake and Oy are continuing on the Path of the Beam.  However, Eddie realizes that the action is about to pick up.  The group also begins to inexplicably see the number 19 nearly everywhere, and wonders about the significance, if any.

The-dark-tower-19

That night, Eddie, Jake and Oy go to-dash, or travel to another world after eating what Roland calls “muffin-balls.”  Eddie and Jake travel to the bookstore in New York City that Jake had visited in The Wastelands and observe Jake’s past self.  They also learn that the owner of the bookstore, Calvin Tower, is being threatened by the same mobsters who were responsible for the death of Henry Dean some years later.  Calvin Tower is the owner of a lot that houses the “real world’s” version of The Dark Tower:  a lone rose that grows where no rose should.  Eddie and Jake realize that keeping the rose safe is key to also keeping The Dark Tower safe, and pledge to do anything they can to protect the rose.

Calvin Tower 2

That same night, Roland and Susannah also go on a journey.  However, neither travels to another world.  Roland follows Susannah in secret, as his suspicions have been growing.  Susannah appears to be pregnant, although she is not showing the typical signs of a pregnancy.  Roland determines that another being who is called Mia has stolen Susannah’s body, and that it is Mia who is pregnant.  Roland is troubled, and knows that he needs to discuss this Eddie, as Susannah’s life could be in danger.

Mia 1

 

The following day, Roland and his friends encounter Father Callahan and some of the villagers from Calla Bryn Sturgis, along with the robot, Andy.  The villagers tell Roland of their problem, and ask for the gunslingers’ help.  Roland agrees to help them, as he, Eddie, Jake, Susannah and Oy are bound by the gunslingers’ creed.

That night, Roland, Eddie, Susannah, Jake and Oy all go to-dash, visiting New York City.  However, Mia has taken over Susannah’s body, giving Susannah temporary use of her legs.  The ka-tet visits the rose that is the manifestation of The Dark Tower.  Susannah chooses not to go near the rose, as Mia feels that her pregnancy will be endangered by the presence of the rose.  Roland agrees with Jake and Eddie that the rose must be protected at all costs, but is unsure of how that will be accomplished.  The tet then returns to Mid-World, and Mia exits Susannah’s body for the time being.

Rose

 

 

Roland and his friends then take up residence in Calla Bryn Sturgis, with less than a month to find a solution to the villagers’ problem with the “wolves” that have been plaguing the village for so long.  Jake makes friends with a boy slightly older than him named Benny Slightman.  Benny’s father, Ben Slightman, is a ranch hand for Wayne Olverholser, one of the wealthiest men in the Calla.   It is noted that Ben Slightman is the only person in the village who wears eyeglasses.

Roland, Jake, Susannah, Eddie and Oy then begin to speak to the villagers to gain intelligence on the “wolves”, and also to earn the trust of the villagers, so that Roland may convince the village that they have a chance to defeat the “wolves.”  There is a party held for the tet one night, and Roland impresses the people of the Calla (thus gaining their confidence) by dancing a dance called the “commala.”  This dance is hard on Roland, as he is suffering from a form of arthritis he refers to as the “dry twist”, but helps him to come across as more “human.”

Roland dance

The tet also speaks to Father Callahan, and learns of his time in a town called ‘Salem’s Lot.  They learn that Father Callahan is from the “real world”, and was born into Mid-World in much the same manner as Jake Chambers:  he died in the “real world” but actually somehow traveled into Roland’s world upon his death.  In fact, Father Callahan was transported to the same way station as Jake upon his death, and also encounters the Man in Black.  Father Callahan is also given an extremely dangerous responsibility:  he is forced into guardianship of Black 13, one of the most dangerous pieces of Maerlyn’s Rainbow.  Black Thirteen enables the user to travel between worlds, but also has the ability to drive the user insane, as it can deep into secrets in one’s mind that are best left alone.  Father Callahan requests the tet’s help in disposing of this object.

Black_13

 

Susannah’s bizarre nocturnal journeys continue.  Roland speaks to Eddie, and lets him know of the pregnancy and that  Susannah’s body is being co-opted by Mia, who is actually pregnant with a creature that is not human.  Jake also discovers Susannah’s journeys and speaks to Roland about it.  Roland and Eddie begin to fear for Susannah’s safety.  Eventually, Susannah also confesses that she too is aware of the pregnancy.  Roland chooses to simply keep an eye on Susannah, as the problems in Calla Bryn Sturgis and the problems in New York regarding the rose are simply too consuming at the moment.

In the meantime, Roland and his friends continue to also worry about protecting the rose in New York, as Roland makes plans for dealing with the “wolves.”  Eddie speaks to an old man who provides some valuable information on the wolves, as the man claims to have had a friend who killed a “wolf” many years ago.  However, we are not told of what this detail is.  Eddie also plans to use Black 13 to make a trip to 1977 New York, as he is aware time is moving forward there, and he does not have much time to help Calvin Tower.

Eddie then makes the trip to 1977 New York, via Black Thirteen.  He is able to scare away the mobsters who have been threatening Calvin Tower, but warns Tower that he must leave town quickly.  While in the bookstore owned by Tower, Eddie sees a book written by someone named Ben Slightman, and realizes that Ben Slightman of Calla Bryn Sturgis is actually a traitor.  Eddie also has Calvin Tower leave the zip code of where he will flee too on a fence near the vacant lot that houses the rose.

Balazar 1

Jake makes another nocturnal journey, as he also begins to have suspicions about Ben Slightman.  Jake sees Andy and Ben conspiring, and also realizes that Ben Slightman is a traitor, and that Slightman is the one who is revealing details on the village to the organization that sends the “wolves” to kidnap the children.  It is also revealed that there are cameras all over the village that are used to spy on the villagers.  The wolves kidnap the children who are twins because the children’s brains contain an enzyme that enhances powers of telepathy.

Jake and Oy

 

Roland then begins to formulate a plan to fight the Wolves, as the time draws near.  Father Callahan is also sent back to 1977, to assist Calvin Tower in saving some valuable books.  The night before the Wolves are scheduled to attack, Roland has the village gather the affected children into one place, so that he and the tet can attempt to keep them safe from the Wolves.  Roland also assigns roles to various villagers.  Some will help fight the Wolves, and others will help mind the children.  Roland confronts Slightman the Elder, and tells him that he knows that he is the traitor.  Slightman promises Roland that he will help fight the Wolves, but Roland is skeptical.  Eddie also confronts Andy and destroys him, as Andy is responsible for the kidnapping and torture of several generations of children.

The Wolves then attack the next morning, as scheduled.  Roland then has Jake lead the children to the rice fields, but actually has others leave behind belongings of the children, such as articles of clothing, to trick the Wolves into thinking the children are hidden in the caves.  Roland also reveals to the villagers that the Wolves are actually robots, and that they can be killed by shooting the “thinking cap” on their heads.  This enables the tet to defeat the Wolves.  However, this comes at the cost of the lives of a couple of villagers.  One is Margaret Eisenhart, the wife of Slightman the Elder’s employer.  The other is Benny Slightman, who had become a close friend of Jake Chambers.’  Benny’s death leaves his father childless, and Jake angry and shaken.

Jake 2

Susannah has gone into labor during the fight with the wolves because Mia is now ready to give birth to her “chap.”  Susannah is able to hold off the birthing process, however, and fights alongside her friends.  However, once the fight is over, Mia takes over Susannah’s body and steals Black 13 to travel to another world to complete the birthing process.  The book ends with Susannah vanishing, and her friends frantically searching for her.

 

Susannah 1


 

 

My Thoughts

So many thoughts, so little time…but I will try to summarize them here without rambling too much (ha).

First of all, Wolves of the Calla is all western.  Obviously, the theme for the entire Dark Tower series centers around westerns, but the western motif is most prevalent in Wolves of the Calla, in my opinion.

In fact, I couldn’t help thinking of this classic from my childhood.

Three-Amigos3

And I think this is not a bad comparison, given how even Eddie states that he feels like he has walked on to the set of a western movie.  Eddie also states that he feels like the whole business with the village that is troubled by the Wolves is staged, and the entire book does have that feeling.  It feels that King is setting the reader up for something major to happen, making him/her eager to rush to the next book in the series.

I also love that Wolves of the Calla further develops the character of Roland.  The Drawing of the Three, The Wastelands and Wizard and Glass also do this, but Wolves of the Calla just adds to this character development.  For example, Roland shows vulnerability when we are told he has a form of arthritis referred to as “dry twist” (my fingers hurt just typing that phrase, actually).  Again, it is reinforced that Roland has chinks in his armor, and sometimes even friendly, neighborhood gunslingers need help.

Roland 2

Speaking of help, Roland gets plenty of it from Rosalita.  This starts with Rosalita and her cat oil, which gives Roland some relief from his “dry twist.”  Roland then takes Rosalita as a lover.  While we know that these two cannot possibly continue to be a couple, and that Roland’s heart is with Susan Delgado (where it will always remain),  However, their brief courtship (if we can even call it that, since most of their time is spent in Rosalita’s bed) is still very sweet, and even sad, as we know that it will be ending all too soon, leaving Roland once again alone and even vulnerable.

Susan Delgado 6

And then there is Andy.  The robot we all love to hate…

Bender

Well, that’s the wrong robot, actually.  But somehow, I can still almost hear Andy saying “bite my shiny metal ass!” to Eddie, and getting that ass kicked even harder by Eddie…teehee.

Andy 1

Not only was Andy a great villain in this book, he suffered one of the greatest deaths I have had the pleasure of reading about in any book, let alone a Stephen King book.  And he was disposed of by my main man, Eddie Dean.  I am pretty sure Eddie’s bad ass quotient increased exponentially after he disposed of Andy.

Andy 2

Wolves of the Calla is also the first book in the series to mention the number 19.  In fact, the entire book is littered with references to that particular number (which will become significant pretty shortly).  I blame this book for my obsession with that number, and I am sure it is also responsible for a lot of other obsessions.  Unless I am alone in my excessive geekiness (now that’s a thought scarier than anything King ever wrote!)

Father Donald Callahan.  Yes, the damned priest from Salem’s Lot.  So, if you spent years wondering about whatever happened to that poor priest who fled ‘Salem’s Lot after being forced to drink the blood of a vampire (not bitten, there is a big difference, which is discussed at length in Wolves of the Calla), let’s see a show of hands!

Donald Callahan 1

Ok, good, I am not alone (in this thought, at least).  Who didn’t wonder about poor Donald Callahan, whose faith wavered just a teeny bit, resulting in the vampire Barlow being able to capitalize on the situation, and therefore (seemingly) be able to damn the poor priest for eternity?  At the end of ‘Salem’s Lot, Father Callahan is shown committing an ultimate act of cowardice:  fleeing the damned town just when it needs him the most, and leaving the dirty work to poor Ben Mears and Mark Petrie, who weren’t even able to completely finish the job.

Ben Mears 1

I always felt that Donald Callahan was too good for that ending.  He may have been a coward, but I liked the guy.  I identified with him.  Who hasn’t struggled with his/her faith (religion or just faith in humanity in general) after seeing the horrors humans are capable of inflicting on one another?  Callahan saw plenty of horror even before his confrontation with the vampires (his first, at any rate).  And it could not have been easy for him to continue to believe in a God who would (supposedly) allow such cruelty.  Callahan was human, and his faith wavered.  And he turned to alcohol, which is actually understandable.  However, I never thought of him as a bad man, just as a good man who felt alone and lost his way.  In other words, I thought Callahan deserved much more than that ending given to him in ‘Salem’s Lot.

'Salem's Lot 1

Apparently, Stephen King felt the same way.  So how do you tie up a loose end like an alcoholic priest who fled when his town needed him the most?  That’s easy, just make him a part of Roland’s tet!  And bonus points for giving him a fascinating back story!

Calvin Tower 1

And King did exactly this.  And it worked.  It worked very well, in fact.  Somehow, the blending of what many consider to be the first modern vampire story and an epic fantasy series with a western motif just makes sense.  Only the genius that is Stephen King could blend two seemingly unrelated stories and have it work so well.  This merger is one of my favorite parts of the book, and it actually helped put my poor brain to rest (sort of, I’m pretty sure after the question of Donald Callahan was put to rest, my brain came up with  new questions to keep me up at night.  Something compelling, like “do penguins have knees” or some other piece of absurdity).

The fact that Donald Callahan was born into Mid-World on December 19th, which is the birthday of my awesome grandfather, is just an added bonus to a series of books that is already awesome

 

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.

 


So that’s it for Wolves of the Calla.  It seems that the tet will be in for a really long day soon.  A really long day…

In other words, tune in for my review of Song of Susannah next week…same bat time, same bat channel!

adam west

 

 

 


 

 

Connections 

Yep, time for the connections to other King books!  Here are the ones I found:

-Eddie thinks of a tabloid magazine called The Inside View.  This particular magazine is mentioned in several other King works, including The Dead Zone.

the-dead-zone-1983-01-630-75

-Roland and his ka-tet encounter the spirits of dead people who are apparently unable to move on.  Roland refers to them as “the vagrant dead” or “vags.”  These entities seem to be similar to the spirits encountered by Danny Torrence during his time in the Overlook Hotel as a child in the novel The Shining.  Danny, along with Abra Stone, also encounters these entities in adulthood in the novel Dr. Sleep.  Again, this connection reinforces the inter-connected-ness between all of King’s works, no matter how far removed they seem from The Dark Tower series.

redrum

-Tian Jaffords speaks of an “opoponax feather” during a meeting of the villagers of the Calla Bryn Sturgis.  This feather gives the one who holds the right to speak and be heard.  “Opoponax” is a word thought of by Jack Sawyer in the novel Black House, and is used to bring his attention to an important matter.  This is very similar to how the feather is used by the villagers in Wolves of the Calla:  the feather is used to bring attention to important matters.

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Wolves of the Calla features “low men“, or creatures than may appear a combination of human and animal, but are actually supernatural agents of the Crimson King.   Low men are also featured in the short story “Low Men in Yellow Coats“, a story in the collection Hearts in Atlantis.  Hearts in Atlantis also features Ted Brautigan, who is likely a Breaker.  Brautigan is also pursued by the Low Men, in much the same way as Father Callahan was pursued by the Low Men before his death and subsequent “birth” into Mid-World.

Ted Brautigan 1

 

Wolves of the Calla speaks of characters going to-dash, or traveling to another reality.  This concept is also used in several other King books, including Bag of Bones, when Mike Noon and Kira travel back in time to Fryeburg Fair.

-Father Callahan also speaks of going to-dash, and watches the funeral of Ben Mears, where Mark Petrie gives a eulogy for Ben.  Ben and Mark are two of the major characters in the book ‘Salem’s Lot.

'Salem's Lot 3

-Father Callahan also speaks of a “doorway” that leads to 1963.  Eddie speculates that one could try to prevent the assassination of John F. Kennedy, but Callahan advises Eddie against changing history.  This is a possible precursor to the events in the book 11/22/63, in which the main character Jake Epping does indeed attempt to change history.

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-However, the most major connection to King’s other work in Wolves of the Calla is Donald Callahan himself.  Donald Callahan was a major character in the book ‘Salem’s Lot.  This book featured a town that was overtaken by vampires, and Father Callahan was one of those who attempted to stand against the vampires.  However, his faith waivers, and he is forced to drink the blood of a vampire.  After Callahan drinks the blood of a vampire, he flees town in disgrace.  He is also granted some powers that are perhaps similar to those of someone like Ted Brautigan, who is one of the Breakers.  Wolves of the Calla gives us even more information on Father Callahan’s story and further solidifies the King universe.

salem's lot

 

Man Crush Monday 5/18/15

Good morning, and thanks to all both of you for tuning in to read my little old blog…aw shucks, I feel so warm and fuzzy now!

aw shucks

And yes, its Monday again…yay (not really)!

Trust me, I would much rather be home hanging out with my crew,..

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We were watching Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring this weekend.  So, I would much rather be doing that than working…alas, someone needs to be put dog and cat food on the table!

And to my old man who tried to tell me Lord of the Rings is overrated (*gasp*), all I can say is, like my favorite bastard, you know nothing!

Jon Snow

However, I do know something…and that something is…wait for it…Man Crush Monday time, in the very nerdy style that is this blog!

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Oh, The Lord of the Rings.  I loved the books and I loved the movies.  And I decided that I needed to once again pay Middle Earth a visit, and drag my poor bastard along this time.  What’s the fun in visiting Middle Earth if I can’t force it on the uninitiated, right?

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And, I fell in love again…

Don’t worry, this is another book boyfriend.  And I have an open marriage when it comes to book boyfriends, thankfully.

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Yes, Aragorn.  He was swoon-worthy in the books, and Viggo Mortensen made him even more swoon-worthy in the movies. If it wasn’t for Arwen…oh boy, is all I can say.

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Again, there is something about the quiet leadership of a man like Aragorn.  At times he seems reluctant, almost unwilling even, but he pulls through in the end, and does whatever he needs to do to keep everyone safe.

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And (surprise, surprise) the master himself is also a big fan of Lord of the Rings, although I’m not sure if he counts Aragorn among his book boyfriends (but hey, no judgement if he does, that would be cool, actually).

Stephen King

 

Stephen King has often stated that the series has been a huge influence on his work, and counts Tolkien’s books as some of his favorite books.

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In fact, King has also stated that he dreamed of writing his equivalent to The Lord of the Rings.  The series had inspired him that much.

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And King did write his equivalent to The Lord of the Rings, when his book The Stand was written and published.  The setting may have been contemporary (‘Murrica!) and the book may not have contained hobbits, but the underlying themes were strikingly similar to the ones appearing in Tolkien’s work:  friendship. environmental issues, casualties of war, self-sacrifice and so forth.  The Stand even came with a scary, evil wizard to rival good old Saruman!

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And of course, heroes.  Like Tolkien’s saga, The Stand contained its share of heroes.  And all of these heroes are human.  And some are more human than others, as they openly question the roles that they have been thrust into, oftentimes against their will.  But like Aragorn, in the end King’s heroes also rise to the occasion, and will do whatever it takes to protect their hobbits  charges against those who would do them wrong.

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As stated before, King’s heroes tend to be human, and many are fallible.  In other words, Stephen King heroes are kind of like stars:  they really are just like us!

Which brings me to the subject of this week’s Man Crush Monday!

Ladies, meet my favorite Stephen King Everyman…Nick Andros!

Nick Andros 1

Well, Nick is almost an Everyman.  Other than the fact that he is deaf.  And mute.  And somehow still learned to read and write, despite the fact that he was an orphan almost everyone had given up on and no one believed would amount to much, on account of poor Nick being unable to communicate with the outside world.  And did I mention he rescues stray cats from trees and helps little old ladies cross the street?

Well, maybe that last part is a bit of hyperbole.  Nick is not an Everyman, he is just too awesome to be a mere man.  So go ahead and feast your eyes on Nick Andros!


 

Name:  Nick Andros

Profession:  Worked odd jobs and was obtaining his GED until the apocalypse interfered with those plans.

Family: See section on being orphaned.  Was mentored by someone named Rudy.  See section on learning to read and write.

Friends:  Mother Abagail.  Reminds him that a certain deity believes in him, even if Nick does not reciprocate.

Mother Abigail

Ralph Brentner.  Some friends can just help a person break down walls and open up communication.

Tom Cullen.  M O O N that spells some friendships can even transcend death.

Nick and Tom 1

Enemies:  Aragorn had them, and Nick also has them.

Julie Lawry.  M O O N, that spells traitorous bitch.

Harold Lauder.  Some people will just blow up everything, including houses that incredibly awesome folks just happen to be hanging out at.

Harold Lauder

Randall Flagg.  See section on evil wizards, who are probably everyone’s enemy anyway.

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Special note:  Keeping plenty of paper and pencils on hand will score points with Nick.  See section on “handicap.”

 


So here there it is, ladies…I give you Nick Andros!  There is just something about the strong, silent type, isn’t there?  And did I say Nick is compassionate, and will not tolerate any kind of bullying, even from pretty girls?  M O O N, that spells guy who looks out for the underdog, since he has been there before!  And anyone who is willing to take up the fight for the little people, whether they be humans or hobbits, is crush worthy in my book!

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So that’s it for this week’s edition of Man Crush Monday.  Tune in next week, when we will swoon some more over literary characters that we will never have a chance with!

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Penny Dreadful Recap and Review: Season 2, Episode 1

I am a nerd (I know, in other news water is wet, the sun sets in the west, etc).  But since I am a nerd, I have a few things that I am fan of…

Well, maybe more than a few.  Maybe I have quite a few, actually.  So, I guess that makes me a fan girl…

I also remember the sundae bar at restaurants when I was a kid (and I may still visit the sundae bar in my adulthood, but that can be our little secret).

Now, there is nothing better than an ice cream sundae…for dessert, at least.  Ice cream, whipped cream, chocolate sauce, maybe some sprinkles…now is that pure awesomeness or what?!

sundae 1

 

But there is something extra special about a sundae that you make at the sundae bar at some un-named buffet restaurant (really, is there any other reason for visiting those places?)  You get to choose what you put on it, and mix it up!  Gummy bears, crushed oreo cookies and maraschino cherries?  Sure, why not?  Live dangerously, I say!

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I think the reason why the sundae bar is so appealing to kids (and us adults who never really fell into the trap of growing up) is because they can take their favorite things, and put them into one bowl of delicious.  Your favorite things are special when they are not together (when are gummy bears not special?  I dare you challenge me on that one!), but when they are together, they are…well…magic.  That’s the only word I can think of.  A sundae made up chocolate sauce, maraschino cherries, crushed oreo cookies, gummy bears and maybe some other candies randomly thrown in (M&M’s are the bomb diggity on sundaes) is an example of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.  In other words, you now have something made up of the familiar, but its a brand new product (with a guarantee of a major sugar hangover, but like I said, live dangerously).

And the ice cream sundae bar analogy can also apply to fandoms.  We love, love, love our fandoms (whoever said nerds are not passionate needs to log on to any website that discusses Batman, for example, and that notion that we are not passionate will be almost immediately disproved) but when seemingly separate universe converge, it turns into something beyond love.  Luv, perhaps?  Or if the convergence is done really well, maybe “multiple orgasms” would be a better word than “love” or even “luv”…

And the notion of converging seemingly separate fandoms is not new.  Marvel is perhaps the most famous for it, as they have given us the Avengers movies, and we have been told that everything, from billionaire Tony Stark, to the green monster no one wants to piss off, to the raccoon with the foul mouth, is all interconnected (and now you can’t leave a Marvel movie without staying past the opening credits to get a sneak peek at the next movie and start puzzling out how that relates to that movie you just saw).  And this has been quite the clever move by Marvel, as the fact that their universe is tied together has likely made their franchise even more popular.

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And this guy…this guy is probably the master at weaving together a universe, and I will just leave it at that!

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So we have all these cool, fictional universes and super hero mash up movies…you know what would be really cool?  To have a TV show where all these fictional characters are in one universe!  Maybe Dr. Frankenstein, Dracula and Dorian Gray?  And have it take place in turn of the century London, which is just a great setting, period?  Sounds cool, yo!

Well, we actually do have such a TV show and it called Penny Dreadful.  So far, Penny Dreadful is a mash up of Frankenstein, Dracula and Dorian Gray.  And it has a beautiful woman who is prone to becoming possessed by unknown forces.  And it has a werewolf!  A really, really hot werewolf, in fact!  And yes, it takes place in one of favorite historical places and time periods:  turn of the century London!

And since this blog is really nerdy (in case you haven’t figured that out yet), the show Penny Dreadful fits right in.  And will be subject to a recap and review by yours truly!

Penny Dreadful 3

So buckle up, and let’s take a ride to the literary Avengers universe aka the show Penny Dreadful!


Synopsis

Season 2, episode 1 of Penny Dreadful begins with Vanessa Ivers experiencing some disturbing visions while walking in the snow.  In the meantime, Ethan Chandler awakes, and discovers blood and dead bodies that he was likely responsible for.  Vanessa and Ethan meet up, and take a carriage ride together.  Ethan begins to tell Vanessa that he will probably leave town and possibly take up residence in Spain, as he feels running away will prevent him from hurting anyone else.  However, the discussion is interrupted when the pair are attacked by what appears to be a band of female demons.    Vanessa is able to speak Latin and fend them off, but the driver of the carriage and the horses are killed in the battle.

Eva Green as Vanessa Ives in Penny Dreadful (season 1, episode 7). - Photo:  Jonathan Hession/SHOWTIME - Photo ID:  PennyDreadful_107_1048

Dr. Victor Frankenstein and Caliban (The Creature) anxiously look after the corpse of Brona, who was dying of consumption but had her death sped up by the good doctor, in his desire to create Caliban a “bride.”  Caliban wanders the streets of London and happens upon a wax museum that rivals a certain famous wax museum, and finds employment at the museum.  The business is a family run business, and Caliban seems taken with a female employee.  Caliban also gives a false name of John Claire, and agrees to start work right away, even though the salary is low.

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Malcolm Murray and his wife bury their daughter, Mina Murray Harker.   Gladys blames her husband, as the couple is now childless.  Malcolm attempts to convince Gladys to sell their home in the country, but Gladys refuses, stating that she will remain married to Malcolm in name only.

Malcolm, Victor, Sembene, Ethan and Vanessa meet in Malcolm’s house in London.  The group argues over the nature of the demons who attacked Vanessa and Ethan, with Victor proclaiming their existence to be impossible, as they are speaking what he calls a “dead language.”  The group is unable to come to a consensus on how to best deal with the threat.  Vanessa agrees to stay with Malcolm, and Ethan states that he will not leave London and will stay with Malcolm and Vanessa, at least for the present.

Malcolm 1

A group of women is seen gathering at an undisclosed location in London.  It becomes clear that these women were responsible for the attack on Vanessa and Ethan.  Their leader is seen bathing in the blood of a young woman.  The creatures discuss Vanessa and Ethan, and their leader kills one of the group for speaking out of turn.

Vanessa appears to begin praying in front of a cross in Malcolm’s house, and mutters an incantation in Latin.  The group of women also begin an incantation.  Vanessa spills her blood on the floor and continues with the incantation.  The demons encountered earlier appear behind Vanessa, but they do not attack her.  Instead, the creatures seem intent on tormenting her.

Vanessa Ivers 2

Victor has returned to his lab, and there is a thunderstorm.  Victor and Caliban realize that their chance to resurrect Brona has now arrived, and rush to complete the task.  Their efforts pay off, and the episode ends with the corpse of Brona coming to life.

Brona 1


 

My Thoughts

Last season, Penny Dreadful ended on some cliffhangers.  It appeared that Ethan was indeed a werewolf, and we would see more of that this season.  It also appeared that Brona was headed for a major change (being dead and being resurrected tends to do that to a person).  And lots more questions were raised about Vanessa:  just what was possessing her and why?  And what can she do to fight it?

Well, this episode of Penny Dreadful was…wait for it…a cliffhanger!  Yes, I still had questions.  Just why the heck is Vanessa being pursued by these really, really bad folks?  What on earth did she do to warrant that?  And where is the un-dead bride aka Brona?  And most, importantly, where is the wolf?  I wanna see the wolf!!!

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Well, wrong wolf there…sorry, got a little carried away.

No, I want to see Ethan’s werewolf side.  We had been teased about it all last season, and the writers are still teasing about it…just go ahead and go full werewolf already, Ethan!  Don’t worry, I won’t judge as I will still think you are hot!

Ethan Chandler 3

Another thing I noticed about this episode was that the demons were actually visible.  In many of the episodes last season, the enemy (may be Dracula, may be Lucifer himself, maybe something else entirely that we are not familiar with) was not actually visible.  And believe it or not, the show still managed to be creepy, largely due to the efforts of Eva Green, Josh Hartnett and Timothy Dalton.  And when the evil did become visible (which was actually rare), the payoff was pretty great.

Demon 1

However, this episode went another route:  we could actually put names and faces to at least one of the enemies.  They appeared to be a coven of witches who worshiped Satan himself.  And these women were nasty, as they appear to be able shapeshift and are also pretty mean fighters.  So that was a change of pace, and it made me wonder just what direction the show is going take in season 2:  is it going to focus more heavily on the bad guys, perhaps show some more gore?  I tend to think that answer is yes, but we shall see…pun intended!

Poor, poor Vanessa.  Apparently, she pissed someone (or perhaps something) and its not good enough for that creature to kill her.  No sir, whatever it is seems to want to toy with her and just outright torture poor Vanessa.  And whatever it is means…yes sir, it sure does!  And it also seems to go by the saying:  If you can’t beat them, join them.  Well, actually whatever it is wants to apply that to Vanessa, as it appears that Uncle Evil wants Vanessa to serve it!  However, Vanessa is a fighter, and has some friends willing to fight for her as well.

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And then there is Victor Frankenstein.  Victor is…well…he’s a douchebag.  And he ranks up there (or is it down there?) on that list of literary and film douchebags I have been compiling for all of these years.

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Nor did Victor disappoint in this episode.  There is one constant in Penny Dreadful: Victor Frankenstein can be counted on to be a douchebag.  And conniving and arrogant.  And manipulative.  And I shudder to think of what will happen when Ethan finds out that Victor helped Brona along to her death to serve his own purposes.  That fight scene may actually rival a wedding of a certain unnamed shades of red   color…

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All in all, the season opener to the second season of Penny Dreadful was expected:  it had some interesting moments, and managed to raise even more questions.  But that’s all the reason to keep watching, my dear!


 

So tune back in next week, where we will revisit the grown up person’s sundae bar, aka Penny Dreadful, and talk more about our favorite literary Avengers, extremely handsome werewolf and poor hapless demon magnet!  And have a dreadfully good time doing it!

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Man Crush Monday for 5/11/15

Good morning everyone, and happy Monday to all!

Well, that’s an oxymoron.  Especially when this adorable little turd decides to make an ungodly mess when I am in the OMGIamrunninglateforworkanddon’thavetimetocleanupanastymess mode…

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I had to clean up a combo of dog shit and pieces of a shredded blanket.  Just don’t ask, that’s just how I roll because I am awesome like that!  Aren’t Mondays grand?

Well, maybe Mondays aren’t so grand (and the combo of dog shit and shredded blanket covered in dog drool on the floor you just mopped yesterday is never grand) but there is one good thing about Mondays…

Yep, Man Crush Monday in the extremely nerdy style of this blog!  Alex, we have a winner!

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I have mentioned before that outlaws are kind of cool…there can be something about bad boys that is just so hot!

Especially when the bad boy belongs to an outlaw biker gang, but the bad boy really does have good heart and is just misunderstood, dammit!

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Dreamy…just dreamy…

Ok, back on topic, this is a post about Stephen King, after all!

But law enforcement guys can be kind of hot, sometimes.  Especially when they are more outlaw than law

JUSTIFIED: Timothy Olyphant as Raylan Givens. CR: Frank Ockenfels III / FX

And really know how to wear a pair of jeans.  After all, wearing a pair of jeans is an art form that few have perfected!

JUSTIFIED: Timothy Olyphant in the season finale of JUSTIFIED airing Tuesday, June 8 (10:00PM ET/PT) on FX. CR: Prashant Gupta / FX

Ok, ok…back to Stephen King again.  Need to stay on topic after all.  Although Raylan Givens may actually give a certain friendly neighborhood gunslinger a run for his money…

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Actually, law enforcement guys don’t always need to be more outlaw than law to be hot.  Sometimes, the truly good guys are actually the hottest guys.  Think about it:  they don’t play games with you.  They are honest and will always give you the truth.  They make you feel safe and protected.  And the mark of a really good guy:  he doesn’t judge.  Acceptance of another person, no matter the other person’s past, perceived shortcomings, faults.  Acceptance is hot, after all!

Which brings me to the topic of this week’s Man Crush Monday…

Ladies, I give to you…Jack Sawyer!

It is true that Jack was 12 years old when we first met him in The Talisman.  And we rooted for him, and feared for him.  We hoped that everything would turn out ok for little Jacky, and for the most part, it did.

But then Jacky grew up, as evidenced in the sequel to The TalismanBlack House.  In other words, now he is legal.  And its perfectly ok to have a crush on someone as long as they are legal!

Daniel Radcliffe

And Jack grew up to be a law enforcement officer coppiceman.  He became one of the good guys.  And never really an outlaw, either.  Jack always wants to do what is right and will risk his life to do so.  And he will always protect the underdog, again at the risk of his own life.  Jack is not just a good cop, he is a knight in shining armor.  And there is nothing wrong with knights in shining armor!

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Jack is special.  Very special.  But then again, spending time in the wacky wonderful world of The Territories and seeing all kinds of strange sights will make someone turn into a special person (although I don’t think Jack needed that much help in that department).  More importantly, it will turn a curious, inquiring boy into an open-minded, accepting adult.  And open-minded, accepting people are just sexy!

So without further ado, I give you Jack Sawyer, the subject of this week’s lusting after fictional characters that we will never have a chance with!


 

Name:  Jack Sawyer.  Aliases include Travelin’ Jack, Jacky and Jacky Boy.  Was also known as Jason, but that was in another lifetime (literally).

Occupation:  Police officer, although he mysteriously retired after a seemingly minor incident in Los Angeles.   Sometimes he will still do pro bono work.

Relationship status:  In love with a married woman…sort of.  Actually, he is love with her Territories Twinner.  In other words, its complicated!

Family: Mother:  Lily Cavanaugh Sawyer (d).  However, queen bees don’t die easily.

Father: Phillip Sawyer (d).

Friends:  Jack may be a loner, but even loners sometimes need a little help from their friends.

Richard Sloat.  Richard also has some family issues.

Wolf.  Because…bromance!

wolf and jack

Speedy Parker.  Speedy plays the Jim to Jack’s Huck.

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Parkus.  See entry on Speedy.  Also see entry on Twinners.

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Henry Leyden.  Being blind does not mean you don’t see everything that is going on around you.

Enemies:  Even good cops have a few:

Morgan Sloat:  See entry on Richard’s family issues.

Sunlight Gardner.  Sometimes, what looks like to be a home for wayward boys is a hell on earth.  And that hell is not even limited to Earth.

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Morgan of Orris:  See entry on Morgan Sloat.  Also see entry on Twinners.

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Charles Burnside.  Since serial killers who target children and do unspeakable things to be them ought to be everyone’s enemy.

Mr. Munshun.  The only thing worse than a serial killer who targets children is the demon that helps him do it.  Especially when that demon is in the business of kidnapping children with PSI abilities and sending them over to the Crimson King so that those poor children can begin their future careers as Breakers.

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So there we have it…Jack Sawyer!  And ladies, you are in for a treat, as Jack Sawyer is unique.  He is one of a kind.  Really, he is one of a kind and you will literally not find anyone who comes close to being Jack Sawyer…he has no Twinner!   All the more reason anyone who gets their hands on Jack needs to keep him close, or at least close to The Territories (I hear travel may now be problematic for poor Jack).

So that wraps up this week’s edition of Man Crush Monday!  Tune in next week, as we lust after more fictional characters that we will never have a chance with, like the nerds we are!

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Top OMG Moments in Sons of Anarchy

OMG…Sons of Anarchy.

OMG…I get to see some icons of my childhood being bad asses.

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OMG…a member of one of the best bands in history had his character killed off.  Maybe that makes him even more bad ass, perhaps on a level with Optimus Prime!

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OMG…Jax has 99 problems and a bitch accounts for at least a few of those.

OMG…another ass shot of Juice?  I can’t un-see that!

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OMG…they just killed my favorite character!  Kurt Sutter, have you been talking to George RR Martin AGAIN???

Sutter and Martin

OMG…I just spent how many hours binge watching this show and now I need to clean my house, cook dinner and oh yeah, sleep since I need to go to work tomorrow as I don’t think Jax and co. can pay my bills, as awesome as they are.

Jax 1

In other words, I love Sons of Anarchy.  I just finished watching all seven seasons (seven!) over the space of about two months (two months!) and all I can say is OMG.

As in OMG, this show is so incredibly well written, with fantastic acting and I can’t really think of a bad thing to say about it.  Not one, single, solitary bad thing.  And the ending was heart-breaking, but soooo well done and soooo satisfying.  In fact, I can’t remember when the last time I was that satisfied…ok, to my husband (if you are reading this) I hope you know I’m kidding about that!

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But seriously, Sons of Anarchy is one fantastic show.  And it was actually a cable show, which makes it even more amazing, as it can be difficult for a show that deals with controversial topics (racism, gang rape and spousal abuse are just a few of those tough subjects that Sons of Anarchy dealt with on a regular basis) to be amazing, due to the limitations constant, unnecessary censorship  that network television is subject to.  But somehow, the genius otherwise known as Kurt Sutter managed to make it work.  And he made it work brilliantly.

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And I think that the reason this show worked so well was because of the writing.  Charlie Hunnam, Kurt Sutter, Katey Sagal and several others did some amazing acting.  However, the fact that the writing was tighter than grandma’s butthole (sorry grandma!) didn’t hurt either!  Kurt Sutter always managed to keep us guessing, and threw in quite a few curve balls.  And he was not afraid to go for the jugular when it was called for…I really can’t recall when the last time was that a TV show made me gasp, cry and even laugh so much, oftentimes in the same episode!

Which leads to this post.  Sons of Anarchy, as stated before, pushed the envelope.  And pushed it quite often, sometimes in ways I had never seen before…

So I present to this blog post:  My top OMG moments from the show Sons of Anarchy.  No particular order or anything, these are just moments that stood out to me.  Some are tragic, some are simply gruesome and some are even funny.  But put them all together, and you weave together the incredible tapestry known as Sons of Anarchy.

Oh, and this should go without saying but I will warn you anyway…

Spoiler alert


 

The head in the chili (Season 4, episode 8)

Well, don’t eat before watching Sons of Anarchy.  That warning goes without saying…

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However, I don’t think I have ever had to warn anyone off of chili…until I saw this episode.

Yes, after watching this episode, the thought of eating chili may make you lose your head…

Chucky 2

In all seriousness, this moment in this episode is gross.  Really gross.  But also hilarious.  Bodily functions are hilarious.  And so are heads in a pot of chili.  In fact, heads in a pot of chili may be even funnier than bodily functions.  Alfred Hitchcock was known for inserting a little dark humor into his films, and this moment was a perfect homage to Hitchcock as well.  In fact, I am sure Hitchcock was looking down and smiling after he watched this episode (this show is actually so awesome that dead guys watch it too).

Alfred_Hitchcock

Chucky was also an odd character (in a great way), and it was nice to see him have a moment to shine as well.


 

Gemma choking Wendy and causing her to overdose (Season 1 , episode 1)

Sometimes, you just have to set the tone.  And the pilot episode to Sons of Anarchy certainly accomplished that.

Especially when one of the shocking acts was committed by a female.  And the victim was another female.

GemmaChokesWendy

Ah, yes…Gemma.  Referred to as “the matriarch”, she takes the role seriously.  Actually, seriously is too tame a word to describe the lengths Gemma will go to in order to protect her family, especially her son Jax, if she feels that anyone or anything is a threat to her family.  So maybe psychotic would be a better way to describe Gemma…

Gemma and Jax

And I am sure Wendy would agree with that.  Especially as she was on the receiving end in the first episode, when Gemma strangled her and injected her with heroin, in the name of protecting her grandson Abel, who was born 10 weeks prematurely, partially due to Wendy’s heroin addiction.

Wendy and Jax

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And Gemma’s actions certainly did the trick.  As in, set the tone for the series, and establish Gemma’s character, allowing the viewer a glimpse into just exactly what Gemma is capable of.

Oh, and Gemma’s actions also did the trick in terms of frightening Wendy, as Wendy stayed away from Gemma and her family for a couple of years…

Wendy 1

 


 

Clay’s Amen for Pussy Sermon (Season 6, episode 9)

Not only are bodily functions hilarious, body parts can be hilarious too.

And in this case, the bodily part in question is the vagina aka pussy (and no we are not talking about cats!)

Usually, its penises that are funny.  In fact, penises are just downright hilarious.  But I am equal opportunity I have a juvenile sense of humor and I am not ashamed of that fact   and firmly believe that kitty cats er vaginas can be hilarious as well. In fact, anything remotely sexual is just fucking hilarious!

innuendo

Which brings me to this moment:  Clay’s Amen for Pussy sermon.  As I stated before, this show is dark.  And it deals with lots of serious topics.  But the show is also funny at times, and Clay’s Amen for Pussy sermon is a perfect example of that.  And the fact that this scene takes place in prison church makes it even better, as it adds levity to a serious situation.  It is also unexpected…again, a prison chapel?  Who expects to have prisoner preach about sex in prison chapel?  I sure didn’t, which made this scene one of the gems in the series.

Clay 4

Also, the show has some funny characters (like Tig and Chucky).  However, Clay is not one of those funny characters, for the most part.  Hell, when I watched some episodes I wasn’t even sure if he had teeth, since he never smiled.  So it was refreshing to see a different, somewhat unexpected side of his character.

Clay 1


 

The Cleaner (Season 3, episode 3)

I love Sons of Anarchy.  And I really, really, really love Stephen King (who has been the subject of many a blog post and somehow made his way into some of my other non-King related blog posts, since he is that awesome).

So Sons of Anarchy AND Stephen King?  Is that a really nerdy, wet dream come true for me?

Stephen King

Well, actually yes.  The master did guest star in one episode of Sons of Anarchy.  And his character was true to form.  King played a weird guy named Bachman (I see what you did there, Kurt Sutter) who was hired by Tig to help dispose of a dead body.  And Bachman took part of his payment in the form of a macabre souvenir, and had a penchant for listening to 80’s music, as he took measurements and set up shop so that he could properly dispose of this dead body so no one would find out about the dead body…

Cleaner 1

Pretty creepy, huh?  Almost sounds like something out of a Stephen King novel, actually…

Cleaner 2

But seriously, this show has had many unexpected guest stars.  In fact, probably too many to count.  But I think one with my favorite writer deserves a special place on this list.

Cleaner 3

Oh, and apparently poor old Dickie Bachman did not die of cancer of the pseudonym.  No sir, he passed on to the Sons of Anarchy level of The Tower, where he listens to 80’s music while quietly disposing of dead bodies.

Rose


 

Otto removes his own tongue (Season 5, episode 13)

Oh Otto, you can’t blame the cat on this one, can you?

catgotyourtongue

Nope, only you are responsible for the loss of your tongue.  All felines have been cleared in any wrongdoing in this case.

Again, Sons of Anarchy can be gruesome (I am serious about that warning about not eating while watching this show.  Quite serious).  And Otto Delaney biting his own tongue off is certainly the textbook case of gruesome.  Really, if anyone were to actually write a textbook on gruesome, this moment ought to be included.

Otto 1

This moment also showcased Otto’s character, letting the viewer know that he would always remain loyal to SAMCRO, no matter what extremes he needed to go to.

Otto 2

Apologies if that last statement sounded tongue in cheek (see what I did there).


 

Jax and Tara make love in the same room as the dead body of Tara’s ex (Season 1, episode 8)

So you’ve just killed your former high school sweetheart’s asshole of an ex, who has been stalking your sweetie and apparently can’t leave well enough alone.  Now you’re horny and feel an urge to get it on.  And it looks like the weird, creepy guy who takes payment in blood-covered souvenirs is not around to help with the “cleaning”…what on earth are you going to do?

Well, getting a room is obviously out of the question, so you do the next best thing…

As in, follow the lead of these guys:

Jamie and Cersei 2

No, not commit incest!  Are you sick or something?

Not commit incest, but make love right there in the same room as the dead body, like most sensible people would do, right?

Jax and Tara 1

And maybe the fact that your boyfriend was the one who killed your ex (or rather, helped you finish off the job) is an aphrodisiac.  After all, when the urge strikes, sometimes you can’t fight it.

This scene is also memorable in that it sets the tone for Jax and Tara’s relationship.  Even early in their relationship, the couple is plagued by violence, and also by secrets that may come back to haunt someone later.  This incident is just one of many that will test the relationship, and make one wonder just how far Jax and Tara will go to protect one another.

SONS OF ANARCHY: 203: L-R: Charie Hunnam and Maggie Siff on SONS OF ANARCHY airing Tuesday, Sept. 22'rd, 10 pm e/p on FX. CR: Prashant Gupta / FX

The fact that my hero Jax Teller killed a man who coincidentally shared the same last name as my rat bastard ex husband is just icing on the cake.

Icing 1


 

Clay’s savage beating of Gemma (Season 4, episode 10)

In Sons of Anarchy, no one is safe.  This not only includes individual people, but couples too.  Even the strongest couples will struggle under the influence of SAMCRO, as loyalty to the club can test anyone’s bond.

Clay and Gemma 1

And those bonds include Clay and Gemma’s.  At the beginning of the series, it seemed as if that relationship was one of the strongest and could actually withstand the pressures of the club and the lifestyle that came with it.  Sure, Clay and Gemma had some volatile moments, but it seemed that they were a rock solid couple and would be able to work through anything together…

Until Clay tried to hurt Gemma’s family, by attempting to kill Tara, which resulted in Tara’s hand being injured and her career as a surgeon nearly being ruined.  And as stated before, no sane person ever tries to hurt Gemma’s family.  EVER.

Apparently, Clay never got the memo and tried to hurt Gemma’s family anyway.  And was then rightfully confronted by Gemma.  What followed next was a savage beating.  And it was issued by Clay to Gemma, instead of the other way around. Spousal abuse is always brutal, but this instance was especially brutal, as it appeared that Clay and Gemma were previously a loving couple.  The fact that Clay and Gemma were such a loving couple made this scene that much more emotionally crippling.

This scene was also a major pivotal point in the series.  Clay was traveling a dark path, but it seemed that there may still have been redemption for him.  However, this beating of Gemma foreshadowed the eventual downfall of Clay, in much the same manner as the fall of Claudius from Shakespeare’s tragedy Hamlet, and the rise of a new leader in Jax.

SONS OF ANARCHY: Season Finale: L-R: Ron Perlman and Katey Sagal on SONS OF ANARCHY airing Tuesday, Dec. 1, 10 pm e/p on FX. CR: Prashant Gupta / FX


 

The death of Donna Winston (Season 1, Episode 12)

Everyone is expendable in Sons of Anarchy.  Everyone.  No one is safe, not even the innocent folks (as few and far between as those folks may be).

And Donna Winston was one of those few truly innocent people.  She was troubled by her husband Opie’s involvement with SAMCRO, due to the time he spent in prison on behalf of the club, but also stood by her husband.  She was also the mother to their two children, and was fiercely protective of her children.  In short, she tried to do the right thing.

Opie and Donna 2

Not only was Donna innocent and the victim of a bullet meant for her husband (due to Clay’s paranoia), her death was unnecessary.  Clay believed that Opie had betrayed the club, but that belief could not have been further from the truth.  However, Clay was still determined to have his son’s best friend and fellow member Piney’s son pay for his sins.  This backfired horribly, and the club and Donna’s remaining family was left to pick up the pieces.

Donna 1

In other words, Donna’s death set the stage for even more OMG moments on Sons of Anarchy.

Opie and Donna 1


Jax double crosses Damon Pope and uses Tig as bait (Season 5, episode 13)

When you’re a gunslinger  member of SAMCRO, sometimes you have to make tough decisions…

Roland 2

Sometimes, you have to throw your friends to the wolves, so to speak.

South Park wolf

But good gunslingers  members of SAMCRO know how to use trickery to their advantage.  And that is exactly what Jax did to get rid of his arch nemesis Damon Pope:  he used trickery.  And that trickery would have made a certain gunslinger proud, and perhaps even a little envious.  Oh, and this allowed Jax’s buddy to take revenge on the monster who burned his buddy’s daughter alive.  Oh, one more thing…this was another step in the downfall of Clay, and the rise of Jax as a leader, as the death of Pope was actually placed on Clay and not Jax (stealing your stepfather’s gun can be a good thing sometimes).

Jax and Pope 1

And Tig survived, which made me happy.  Jax may be my favorite character, but Tig would do in a pinch.  In fact, I could have seem fun with Tig, if he just gave me one night…hey, what can I say, he doesn’t judge, and people who don’t judge are just hot!

Tig 1


 

The gang rape of Gemma (Season 2, episode 1)

Again, Sons of Anarchy is shocking.  And violent.  Brutal, at times.  And one of the most brutal moments was the portrayal of the gang rape of Gemma.

Gemma Teller Morrow was one of the most complex female characters in television history.  She was tough, smart and charismatic.  Often, her actions left the viewer scratching his/her head, and sometimes those actions were more brutal than those of any other character on the show, including those of the male characters.  This is exactly why she was a fascinating, if somewhat unpredictable character:  she was capable of surprise, both good and bad.

Gemma 2

And this is exactly why the gang rape of Gemma was one of the most painful scenes in the entire series.  The viewer had seen enough of Gemma to sympathize with her, even if her actions were not always admirable.  The shows producers pulled no punches with this scene, including the build up, where Gemma was kidnapped by none other than another female.  The subsequent fallout and Gemma dealing with the trauma in later episodes, along with the reactions from the men in her life once the rape is revealed to them (as Gemma kept it a secret to protect the club before she finally cracked), were emotionally devastating…there is simply no other word to describe it.

Gemma 1

I’ve been known to ugly cry over emotional scenes in books, TV and movies, and this scene was one of those moments.  In fact, very few scenes in any book, TV show or movie have made me react this way.

ugly cry


 

The death of Gemma (Season 7, episode 12)

Building something on lies is like building a hut made out of sticks:  it may hold up for a while, but eventually the wolf will find it and blow it away like the hair on his chinny chin chin.

big bad wolf

And like the little pig that chose to build his house out of twigs instead of bricks, Gemma chose to build hers on lies instead of the mortar of truth.  And her house may have held up for a little while, but eventually the big bad wolf found the lies and the house was blown down, exposing its non-existent foundation.

Roland 1

Gemma murdered her daughter-in-law Tara in a fit of rage, and blamed it on members of a rival gang known as The Lin Triad.  Jax sought revenge, and things got bloody.  Very bloody.  However, the truth was eventually revealed to Jax.  And things go from bloody to tragic.  Gemma’s lie sets in motion a chain of events that culminates in her own death, at the hands of her one surviving child, Jax.  And the path Jax had been traveling was dark.  But when he murders his mother, that path becomes even darker, and Jax now knows that his fate is sealed.

Gemma 3

The imagery in this episode was wonderful.  The red and white roses, along with the blood spattered white sneakers, fit the theme of the episode so well, and also provided excellent foreshadowing for Jax’s fate.

Jax and Gemma 2


 

Now, I know I said that I was not ranking any of these moments in any particular order.  However, this blog post is about to prove that is a lie, as there is one moment that stands out to me and that I will never be able to forget…

So here we go…

drum-roll-please

 


 

Opie’s death (Season 5, episode 3)

Many members of SAMCRO made some tremendous sacrifices and suffered greatly, all in the name of protecting the club (Otto immediately comes to mind).  However, no one suffered in the name of protecting the club as much as Opie Winston, son of Piney and best friend to Jax.

Opie 4

Not only did Opie serve jail time for the club, he also lost his wife Donna due to the misguided actions of members of the club.  And the club was also responsible for the death of his father, Piney.  SAMCRO dealt huge losses to Opie, and he had every right to be hurt and angry.

Opie 5

And Opie was hurt and angry.  However, his loyalty to the club remained steadfast.  His loyalty was so strong that Opie made the ultimate sacrifice for the club:  his life.

Opie 2

For once, I have no words to describe the death of Opie.  Brutal and heartbreaking don’t seem to be nearly adequate.  Again, the show spared no detail, and I watched as Opie was clubbed to death in front of his friends, who were also helpless to stop it.  It was simply one of the most painful and heartbreaking moments I had ever witnessed, yet I was helpless to stop watching.  And this was yet another incident that provided some foreshadowing for the dark path Jax would travel down and his eventual fate.

“I got this.”  These are Opie’s last words.  Never has that phrase sounded so chilling.

Opie 3


 

And there you have it.  My top OMG moments for Sons of Anarchy.  I am sure I have missed a few, but this show is chock full of them.  And its chock full of so many other things:  humor, great characters, great symbols, witty one-liners and some awesome literary references.  But more importantly, Sons of Anarchy is chock full of great writing.  So if you find yourself whiling away a Sunday afternoon and doing absolutely nothing productive, at least while your afternoon away watching Jax Teller and his friends…you will have no regrets, I promise!

Sons 1

Man Crush Monday 5/4/15

Oh yay, its Monday again!  Since I really missed not having Monday for a week…NOT!!!

Really. my home cat had the right idea this morning…

Homer 1

Don’t I wish I could join him.  However, someone has to work and support his greenie habit.

And there are other reasons to get out of bed on Monday morning any way…

Like…you guessed it…Man Crush Monday!

Man Crush Monday 1

And you know you’ve missed that over the past week and you really want to read about literary characters whom this really nerdy blogger crushes on, right?  Right?  RIGHT???

keep-calm-its-man-crush-monday

In fact, you would do anything to get your fill of Man Crush Monday, in the style of this blog.  Anything at all…

Like maybe sling a little mud on your neighbor’s sheets…

Needful things 3

Or if that’s not your style, maybe just have your pesky pseudonym that won’t stay dead, even though you had a funeral for him and everything, for gosh’s sakes, wreck havoc until I bow to your needs?

George Stark

 

Well, maybe you aren’t that desperate for my blog posts (but its cool if you are, nerds don’t judge) but folks in a certain town in Maine sure have gotten that desperate.

Yes, I am talking about none other than the fine town of Castle Rock, Maine.  Of course Castle Rock could be located than no place other than the nice, calm perfectly normal the sarcasm is strong in this one  Stephen King universe!

Castle Rock 1

Castle Rock certainly is the hot bed for odd happenings, to say the least…

I mean, sparrows carrying some guy who technically should not exist away (although don’t tell him that, he would be likely kill you in a really gruesome manner with no further questions asked).

Dark half 1

Or people losing their minds over items in a certain shop…you could say maybe that they got a little needful, perhaps?

Needful things 2

 

In case you haven’t figured it out by now, I am talking about Needful Things and The Dark Half, both written by the illustrious Stephen King.

Stephen King

Obviously, both of these take place in King’s (unfortunately) fictional town of Castle Rock.  In The Dark Half, a writer’s pseudonym some how comes to life (this was probably King working out his feelings over poor Dickie Bachman and his unfortunate, early death due to cancer of the pseudonym).

And then we have Needful Things.  Needful Things is one part Wall Street, one part Something Wicked This Way Comes and all horror as only King could bring us.  Like I said before, folks went a little crazy.  Scratch that…people basically lost their fucking minds!  Over things in a shop!  For some reason, people thought they were getting something valuable…gives new meaning to the phrase “one man’s junk is another man’s treasure.”

needful things 1

But every villain has a hero (or sometimes five).  Even if said villains are ones who shouldn’t technically exist, or ones who exist but no one can explain their existence…

joker and harley

Heroes indeed…

batman and robin

Well, its not quite  Batman that I’m talking about here, although I am sure he could have a good time in Castle Rock when Gotham doesn’t need him!

No, I am talking about Alan Pangborn, the lucky subject of this week’s Man Crush Monday!

Alan Pangborn 1

Every city needs a hero, and Batman Alan Pangborn was able to fill that void nicely for Gotham  Castle Rock.

“He’s the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now. So we’ll hunt him. Because he can take it. Because he’s not our hero. He’s a silent guardian, a watchful protector. A dark knight.” – Lt. James Gordon

batman 2

Well, I don’t think Sheriff Pangborn had quite the resources money  but like Batman, he did do his best to be the hero that Castle Rock deserved in its times of crisis.  Or was it the hero Castle Rock needed?  Er, who knows?

And like Batman, Alan Pangborn was fallible.  As in he almost fell for this guy’s tricks…

Gaunt 1

But that’s the cool thing about Batman er Alan Pangborn…he is human!  And humans can be taken down with something far less exotic than Kryptonite!  In other words, we can identify with guys like Bruce Wayne and Alan Pangborn.  On some level, they are us.  And we are them.  And they give us hope, as these guys do strive to do what’s right, and protect their fellow man.

So here you go ladies, here is Alan Pangborn, the subject of this week’s Man Crush Monday!


 

Name:  Alan Pangborn

Profession:  Sheriff of Castle Rock.  Was promoted to position after the rather messy death of his predecessor.

Cujo

Relationship status:  Widowed tragically young, but is now in a relationship with owner of You Sew and Sew.  That relationship has had its rough patches, but both parties now recognize that third parties do more harm than good!

Friends:  Polly Chalmers (see relationship status)

Norris Ridgewick.  Police officers do form a brotherhood after all.

Netitia Cobb.  Like Batman, he is willing to fight for the under dog.

Enemies:  Again, like Batman, Alan Pangborn also has a few enemies:

George Stark.  See section on pseudonyms that won’t die.

Ace Merrill.  Unlike a certain accountant, Ace was rightfully sent to Shawshank State Prison by Alan Pangborn.

Ace 1

Leland Gaunt.  Neighbor to his lover’s shop but definitely not a friendly neighbor.  However, their are rumors that people will kill for the items in that shop.  Bark is definitely worse than his bite, as he does tend to fall for parlor tricks.

Gaunt 2

Hobbies: Magic and sleight of hand tricks.  Often entertains his coworkers.  Even better, it entertains sick, hospitalized children.  Also, see section on enemies.


 

So there you have it, ladies…this week’s subject for Man Crush Monday!  I hear he may be up for traveling, but don’t expect him to ever make a trip to Junction City, Iowa!  And I don’t think he has anything against animals, but there is no love lost between Alan Pangborn and sparrows!  Wherever he is, he will become the hero that city deserves…or is that the hero that city needs?

sparrows

And that’s it for this week’s edition of Man Crush Monday!  Join me next week, where we will fantasize some more about unavailable literary characters!

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