Omnium Gatherum: 22sept2021

An irregular hodgepodge of links gathered together … Omnium Gatherum for September 22, 2021

Here’s a variety of notable things I’ve recently found that you may also be interested in checking out:

  • Man-Eaters: The Cursed #3 (of 5) by Chelsea Cain and Lia Miternique—”‘WITCHCRAFT FOR CHILDREN’. This book is required reading for all young witches. It is routinely updated with the latest frog self-defense techniques. Other topics include the history of Craft Camp, potion-making, fairy identification, the rules of Pickleball, and necromancy. Now with spell cards! Clip and save! Please bring this book with you to camp.”
  • Mutual Aid: An Illuminated Factor of Evolution [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Peter Kropotkin, lllo. by N.O. Bonzo, introduction by David Graeber & Andrej Grubacic, foreword by Ruth Kinna, preface by GATS, afterword by Allan Antliff—”One hundred years after his death, Peter Kropotkin is still one of the most inspirational figures of the anarchist movement. It is often forgotten that Kropotkin was also a world-renowned geographer whose seminal critique of the hypothesis of competition promoted by Social Darwinism helped revolutionize modern evolutionary theory. An admirer of Darwin, he used his observations of life in Siberia as the basis for his 1902 collection of essays Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution. Kropotkin demonstrated that mutually beneficial cooperation and reciprocity—in both individuals and as a species—plays a far more important role in the animal kingdom and human societies than does individualized competitive struggle. Kropotkin carefully crafted his theory making the science accessible. His account of nature rejected Rousseau’s romantic depictions and ethical socialist ideas that cooperation was motivated by the notion of “universal love.” His understanding of the dynamics of social evolution shows us that the power of cooperation—whether it is bison defending themselves against a predator or workers unionizing against their boss. His message is clear: solidarity is strength! Every page of this new edition of Mutual Aid has been beautifully illustrated by one of anarchism’s most celebrated current artists, N.O. Bonzo. The reader will also enjoy original artwork by GATS and insightful commentary by David Graeber, Ruth Kinna, Andrej Grubacic, and Allan Antliff.”
  • You Alive Home Yet? [Amazon, Publisher] by Daniel Beauregard. Ebook is a gratis download from the publisher.
  • The Dust of Rhll [Amazon] by J. F. Meskimen—A dark sword-and-sorcery adventure for adults featuring cover artwork by the legendary Erol Otus, The Dust of Rhll is J. F. Meskimen’s first novel. Told from the perspectives of an ensemble of sinister and desperate characters — an assassin returning from his retirement as a medical college instructor; a young outlaw who fancies himself a lord; a master breeder and smuggler of narcotic beetles; a jaded mercenary captain; and more — it is the story of an expedition to a destroyed city to retrieve a relic on behalf of a mad emperor. Readers of Joe Abercrombie, N. K. Jemisin, George R. R. Martin, Patrick Rothfuss, and others who portray morally ambiguous or rotten characters dealing with an alien, corrupt, and often terrifying world will likely enjoy this chilling and wickedly funny debut from J. F. Meskimen.”
  • Ramses the Damned: The Reign of Osiris [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Anne Rice and Christopher Rice, book 3 in the series, due Feb 2022—”The gilded adventures of Ramses the Damned, iconic creation of the legendary Anne Rice, continue in this breathtakingly suspenseful tale of a titanic supernatural power unleashed on the eve of war. A pharaoh made immortal by a mysterious and powerful elixir, Ramses the Great became counselor and lover to some of Egypt’s greatest and most powerful rulers before he was awakened from centuries of slumber to the mystifying and dazzling world of Edwardian England. Having vanquished foes both human and supernatural, he’s found love with the beautiful heiress Julie Stratford, daughter of Lawrence Stratford, the slain archeologist who discovered his tomb. Now, with the outbreak of a world war looming, Ramses and those immortals brought forth from the mists of history by his resurrection will face their greatest test yet. Russian assassins bearing weapons of incredible power have assembled under one command: all those who loved Lawrence Stratford must die. From the glowing jewels at their necks comes an incredible power: the power to bring statues to life. As Ramses and his allies, including the immortal queens Cleopatra and Bektaten, gather together to battle these threats, Ramses reveals that the great weapon may have roots in an ancient Egyptian ritual designed to render pharaohs humble before Osiris, the god of the underworld. The resulting journey will take them across storm-tossed seas and into the forests of northern Russia, where they will confront a terrifying collision of tortured political ambitions and religious fervor held in thrall to a Godlike power. But the true answers they seek will lie beyond the border between life and death, within realms that defy the imagination of even an immortal such as Ramses the Great. In Ramses the Damned: The Reign of Osiris, Anne Rice, revered and beloved storyteller (queen of gothic lit, the maestro of the monstrous and the diva of the devious –The Philadelphia Inquirer), in collaboration with her son, acclaimed bestselling novelist Christopher Rice (a magician; a master –Peter Straub), bring us another thrilling, seductive tale of high adventure, romance, history, and suspense.”
  • Tweet thread—”It’s a heritage library takeover here today. Our rare books librarian was back onsite for the first time since COVID restrictions started. It’s fair to say she was quite excited… She’ll be sharing some of the things she saw in this thread.”
  • The Afterlives of E.M. Forster. For decades, Forster could not publish his novel of gay love, ‘Maurice.’ Its importance in his work and to the writers he nurtured is only just becoming clear.”—”William di Canzio’s Alec arrived in the mail looking like an English novel set in Italy, circa 1960: a black-and-white illustration of a handsome young man’s face framed by a gray square, his gaze on something just out of sight, his lips parted as if he is about to say something, or has just said something. The Alec of the title is Alec Scudder, a young man famous to us—if we know him at all—as the final love interest in Maurice, E.M. Forster’s posthumous novel of gay life, begun in 1913, published in 1971, 47 years after his last previous novel. Di Canzio promises us Alec’s side of this story.” About Alec [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by William di Canzio—”William di Canzio’s Alec, inspired by Maurice, E. M. Forster’s secret novel of a happy same-sex love affair, tells the story of Alec Scudder, the gamekeeper Maurice Hall falls in love with in Forster’s classic, published only after the author’s death. Di Canzio follows their story past the end of Maurice to the front lines of battle in World War I and beyond. Forster, who tried to write an epilogue about the future of his characters, was stymied by the radical change that the Great War brought to their world. With the hindsight of a century, di Canzio imagines a future for them and a past for Alec—a young villager possessed of remarkable passion and self-knowledge. Alec continues Forster’s project of telling stories that are part of ‘a great unrecorded history.’ Di Canzio’s debut novel is a love story of epic proportions, at once classic and boldly new.”
  • The world’s languages may be so similar because of how humans talk about language“—”he languages of the world are all unique, but also share important similarities. These mostly lie in the grammatical elements each of the approximately 7000 human languages contain, the word parts and rules that speakers can use to build a sentence. Traditionally, linguists either assume that the explanation for these similarities is that all people are born with a blueprint for these grammatical categories in their genetics or that they emerge from other cognitive capacities (for example, all people have an understanding of time so human languages can develop past tense or future tense). A problem with these accounts is that they can only explain part of the grammatical similarities of the world’s languages and also that they do not explain where grammar came from. In a new paper recently published in Frontiers in Communication, linguists Stef Spronck and Daniela Casartelli from the University of Helsinki propose a radical new theory: these grammatical similarities are due to the way in which humans talk about language. The authors noted that in many languages sentences that reflect people’s speech or thought, known as ‘reported speech’, can develop new meanings that closely resemble grammatical categories. This means that the sentence ‘He said: “I will go”‘ in some languages can become the main way to express meanings such as ‘He was about to go’, ‘He might go’, ‘As for him, he will go’. Each of these interpretations have no clear connection with the meaning of reported speech, but use a sentence structure that derives from reported speech. The meanings associated with these non-speech interpretations of reported speech correspond to common grammatical categories in the languages of the world, which linguists call ‘aspect’, ‘modality’, ‘topic’ and others.” “”Humans talk about other people’s thoughts and statements all the time, from the moment we first learn to speak. It determines our cultures, the way we see the world and who we trust. A phenomenon that is so fundamental to human existence likely leaves its trace on languages and our study shows that this goes far beyond simple sentences of reported speech. We propose that in the evolution of language talking about language was a way of forming some of the first complex language structures and that from these structures new types of grammar could develop.”
  • Ancient spider caring for her offspring is trapped in 99 million-year-old amber“—”Nothing gets between a fiercely protective mother spider and her children. Dripping tree resin trapped adult female spiders and baby spiderlings about 99 million years ago, forever showcasing the maternal care exhibited by these arthropods, according to new research.”
  • From the Wrong Hole dept: “Estudo mostra que sexo ajuda a desentupir o nariz.” (Study shows that sex helps to unclog the nose)
  • From the Sodom and Gomorrah dept: “Evidence that a cosmic impact destroyed ancient city in the Jordan Valley.” Also “A Tunguska sized airburst destroyed Tall el-Hammam a Middle Bronze Age city in the Jordan Valley near the Dead Sea“—”We present evidence that in ~ 1650 BCE (~ 3600 years ago), a cosmic airburst destroyed Tall el-Hammam, a Middle-Bronze-Age city in the southern Jordan Valley northeast of the Dead Sea. The proposed airburst was larger than the 1908 explosion over Tunguska, Russia, where a ~ 50-m-wide bolide detonated with ~ 1000× more energy than the Hiroshima atomic bomb. A city-wide ~ 1.5-m-thick carbon-and-ash-rich destruction layer contains peak concentrations of shocked quartz (~ 5–10 GPa); melted pottery and mudbricks; diamond-like carbon; soot; Fe- and Si-rich spherules; CaCO3 spherules from melted plaster; and melted platinum, iridium, nickel, gold, silver, zircon, chromite, and quartz. Heating experiments indicate temperatures exceeded 2000 °C. Amid city-side devastation, the airburst demolished 12+ m of the 4-to-5-story palace complex and the massive 4-m-thick mudbrick rampart, while causing extreme disarticulation and skeletal fragmentation in nearby humans. An airburst-related influx of salt (~ 4 wt.%) produced hypersalinity, inhibited agriculture, and caused a ~ 300–600-year-long abandonment of ~ 120 regional settlements within a > 25-km radius. Tall el-Hammam may be the second oldest city/town destroyed by a cosmic airburst/impact, after Abu Hureyra, Syria, and possibly the earliest site with an oral tradition that was written down (Genesis). Tunguska-scale airbursts can devastate entire cities/regions and thus, pose a severe modern-day hazard.”rd.”
  • Tumblr just released Post+ which is a feature for subscription posts that can be included alongside regular tumbloging. They say: “Introducing a flexible subscription tool like none other…Post+. Imagine posting your work to a community that supports you and earning a bit of $$ with your unique GIF-illustration-poem-shitposts.” Well, for as long as it lasts, I suppose: “Tumblr’s Post+ Program May Get the Site Taken Down. The new, widely-hated beta feature may cause the legal death of the entire site.” Also “Is Tumblr About to Get All of Its Creators Sued? The platform wants to help users make money, but the legal system might have other plans for them.” Also “Finally, now you can pay for Tumblr posts with Tumblr Post+. Just what everyone has been asking for.”
  • Mark Zuckerberg personally approved a project that pushed pro-Facebook stories into the news feeds of the platform’s users, report says. Mark Zuckerberg approved promoting pro-Facebook stories in users’ news feeds, NYT reported Tuesday. The proposed “Project Amplify” involved running ads and pushing positive news stories about Facebook. Facebook’s overall strategy has shifted to become less apologetic in recent months.”
  • Why Facebook Won’t Stop Pushing Propaganda. Vaccine disinformation. The Big Lie. The hate poisoning your community. It all goes back to Mark Zuckerberg’s business model.”—”Facebook, this episode showed, used its monopolistic power to boost and suppress content in a partisan political fashion…In truth, Facebook has consistently tweaked its practices to favor conservatives.”
  • ‘Don’t be evil’: Google’s iconic mantra comes into question at labor trial. The ethos has set Google apart from other companies for decades. It’s under the spotlight again.”—”The brief exhortation, which Google has deemphasized in recent years, is now a focal point in an NLRB complaint against the company that alleges the tech giant wrongly fired five employees for their labor activism.”
  • Tweet thread—”Okay y’all, I promised you a thread on the most bizarre case of image repair/Googlewashing/PR cleanup I’ve ever encountered, so buckle up. Enjoy the tale of Harry Potter and the PR Pastor Disaster. 1/” “We started to piece together that these people were attempting to plant articles in their search results that portrayed them positively. That raised the chilling question: *What were they trying to hide?* We started Googling the names of all the subjects, and … 13/” “the results were far more disturbing than we ever could have imagined… 14/”
  • 🤔 “‘Secret office’ mansion owned by Larry Page burns down.”
  • Florida’s new surgeon general issues rule ending required school quarantines, says parents will decide“—”Florida parents can now decide if their children should quarantine or stay in school after exposure to someone who tested positive for COVID-19, according to an emergency rule the state’s new surgeon general signed Wednesday, the day after he was tapped for the job. The new rule wipes out a previous one that required students to quarantine off-campus at least four days after exposure to someone with the virus. It does not alter Florida’s ban against mask mandates, however, as it reiterates the previous order’s requirement that parents be able to opt-out their children from wearing face coverings.”
  • The pandemic’s true death toll. Our daily estimate of excess deaths around the world.”
  • Tweet—”One in ten nursing home residents has died of COVID. **ONE IN TEN**. Those people did not have to die. They died because our society had already written them off as dead the day they entered a nursing home.”
  • Tweet—”THIS! Science writer @anniemurphypaul backs up the idea by research psychologist @JudithDanovitch that gestures are a huge part of thinking AND communication. Wearing masks in schools could teach kids how to use gestures more effectively. #ExtendedMind”. See “Actually, Wearing a Mask Can Help Your Child Learn.”
  • It’s shocking to see so many leftwingers lured to the far right by conspiracy theories. It’s not just anti-vaxxers. The themes of resisting power and regaining control of our lives have been cynically repurposed.”
  • Conspirituality Will Never End. Garbage platforms are as infinite as integrity and resilience are precious.”—”He’s got a hundred million reasons from Spotify for never having to doubt himself. When it comes to COVID, his vaccine skepticism, and his parade of Ivermectin-hawking guests, he is literally paid to parasitize and existential crisis, and convert it into jokey, bro-science content that degrades public health.”
  • Tweet—”It took years — eight years and counting in exile — for me to realize that I was missing the point: we talk about conspiracy theories in order to avoid talking about conspiracy practices, which are often too daunting, too threatening, too total.” See: “Conspiracy: Theory and Practice. Toward a Taxonomy of Conspiracies.”—”This, in sum, is our problem: the truest conspiracies meet with the least opposition. Or to put it another way, conspiracy practices — the methods by which true conspiracies such as gerrymandering, or the debt industry, or mass surveillance are realized — are almost always overshadowed by conspiracy theories: those malevolent falsehoods that in aggregate can erode civic confidence in the existence of anything certain or verifiable.”
  • Lawsuits Filed Against Texas Doctor Could Be Best Tests of Abortion Law. Legal experts said two lawsuits filed this week might test the constitutionality of the Texas law more than federal challenges by abortion providers and the Justice Department.” Twitter—”Texas anti-abortion leader says SB 8 was not intended for lawsuits to ever be filed, just put the fear of liability into providers” Horrible, if true. But, also, was it really, tho? I doubt the idea of getting a case to this current Supreme Court never crossed somebody’s mind.
  • 710 Indigenous people, mostly girls, were reported missing over the past decade in Wyoming, the same state where Gabby Petito reportedly disappeared.” Also “Authorities believe they have found the remains of Gabby Petito near Grand Teton National Park.” Tweet—”The Difference Broken heart Is Deep” with art by Soni Lopez-Chavez.
  • The Horrifying Legal Blueprint for Trump’s War on Democracy. Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, in their new book, ‘Peril,’ uncover a memo by Republican lawyer John Eastman arguing for Mike Pence to use the Electoral Count Act to disqualify electoral votes that Trump lost and give him a second term.” About Peril [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa—”The transition from President Donald J. Trump to President Joseph R. Biden Jr. stands as one of the most dangerous periods in American history. But as # 1 internationally bestselling author Bob Woodward and acclaimed reporter Robert Costa reveal for the first time, it was far more than just a domestic political crisis. Woodward and Costa interviewed more than 200 people at the center of the turmoil, resulting in more than 6,000 pages of transcripts—and a spellbinding and definitive portrait of a nation on the brink. This classic study of Washington takes readers deep inside the Trump White House, the Biden White House, the 2020 campaign, and the Pentagon and Congress, with vivid, eyewitness accounts of what really happened. Peril is supplemented throughout with never-before-seen material from secret orders, transcripts of confidential calls, diaries, emails, meeting notes and other personal and government records, making for an unparalleled history. It is also the first inside look at Biden’s presidency as he faces the challenges of a lifetime: the continuing deadly pandemic and millions of Americans facing soul-crushing economic pain, all the while navigating a bitter and disabling partisan divide, a world rife with threats, and the hovering, dark shadow of the former president. “We have much to do in this winter of peril,” Biden declared at his inauguration, an event marked by a nerve-wracking security alert and the threat of domestic terrorism. Peril is the extraordinary story of the end of one presidency and the beginning of another, and represents the culmination of Bob Woodward’s news-making trilogy on the Trump presidency, along with Fear and Rage. And it is the beginning of a collaboration with fellow Washington Post reporter Robert Costa that will remind readers of Woodward’s coverage, with Carl Bernstein, of President Richard M. Nixon’s final days.”
  • Haitian migrants face tough choices in Del Rio amid crackdown at Texas-Mexico border“—”As the Haitians tried to climb onto the U.S. side of the river Sunday afternoon, the agent shouted: ‘Let’s go! Get out now! Back to Mexico!’ The agent swung his whip menacingly, charging his horse toward the men in the river who were trying to return to an encampment under the international bridge in Del Rio after buying food and water in Ciudad Acuña, Mexico. One migrant fell as he tried to dodge, others shielded their heads with their hands.” Tweet—”Border Patrol agents on horseback cracking whips and charging into crowds of Haitian asylum seekers in Texas, shouting at them to go back to Mexico.” Tweet—”If you doubt that there is continued thread of racism from slavery to now in America, read this. THEY USED WHIPS ON THE HAITIAN ASYLUM SEEKERS.” Tweet thread—”Someone will try to convince you that Biden’s border patrol whipping Haitian immigrants at the border isn’t THAT bad because maybe it wasn’t an actual whip being used by a whip or maybe this is standard operating procedure or maybe somehow we need to see video for context…” “Ignore them. This is heinous. And there’s no way this administration or its supporters can say this is ever fine.” Also “White House, House Homeland Security chair denounce ‘horrific’ mistreatment of Haitian migrants by Border Patrol officers – The Washington Post.”
  • He found forgotten letters from the ’70s in his attic. Turns out they were missives from the Unabomber. The Chronicle’s Jack Epstein gave the Unabomber travel advice, after the famed terrorist read his book about a journey through South America. The letters provide a sense of Kaczynski’s larger plans.”
  • William Dampier, Pirate Scientist. An oft-overlooked explorer who traversed the globe, driven by his thirst for scientific discovery—and a love of piracy.”
  • The cost of misogyny. Societies that treat women badly are poorer and less stable. Oppressing women not only hurts women; it also hurts men.”
  • Funcom Acquires Full Control of Conan the Barbarian and Dozens of Other IPs. Funcom acquires full control of some of the most beloved intellectual properties in popular culture and will merge them into the IP studio Heroic Signatures.”—”Funcom today announced the acquisition of Cabinet Group, home to dozens of intellectual properties, including Conan the Barbarian, Mutant Year Zero and Solomon Kane. Cabinet Group’s entire portfolio will be incorporated into the IP studio and Funcom subsidiary Heroic Signatures. Funcom CEO Rui Casais said he has high ambitions for the IPs and noted at least one unannounced project is already in development. ‘We are currently overseeing the development of an unannounced game which will combine many of the characters in the Robert E. Howard universe,’ said Casais. ‘And if you combine Funcom’s knowledge of games with Heroic Signatures’ knowledge of the TV/entertainment, publishing, and licensing industries, it makes us perfectly placed to take this venture to the next level. It’s exciting times ahead for us and for fans of the IPs.'” “The Heroic Signatures President was responsible for acquiring and reviving the popularity of multiple IPs. Most notably, licensing deals with companies such as Penguin Random House, Panini, Titan Books, Monolith and Funcom enabled Conan the Barbarian to reach a whole new generation of fans around the world. Marvel Entertainment is publishing a new Conan comic book every month, and there is also a Netflix series based on the same IP currently in the works.”
  • Netflix Acquires Roald Dahl Story Company“—”Netflix has acquired the Roald Dahl Story Company for an undisclosed figure, giving it access to the full catalog of works from the famed British author. The deal extends a relationship between the two companies that began in 2018 with an initial pact that gave the streamer access to 16 titles for animation adaptations. To date, projects put into motion include Taika Waititi and Phil Johnston’s upcoming series based on the world of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and an adaptation of Matilda The Musical with Sony and Working Title. Netflix said today it was eyeing the creation of a universe of projects based on Dahl properties across animated and live-action films and TV, publishing, games, immersive experiences, live theater and consumer products.” Also “Some pitches for Netflix’s Roald Dahl Extended Universe.”
  • Watch “BLADE RUNNER Roleplaying Game – Announcement Trailer” coming from Free League. (Trailer art by Martin Grip and music by Simon Stålenhag!) “Walk the neon-noir streets of Los Angeles in the official BLADE RUNNER Roleplaying Game. Coming in 2022” Also “BLADE RUNNER RPG. Walk the mean streets of Los Angeles 2037 in a new game from the award-winning team behind the hit ALIEN RPG.” “This is the BLADE RUNNER roleplaying game – a neon-noir wonderland that’ll take your breath away. One way or another. An evocative world of conflicts and contrasts that dares to ask the hard questions and investigate the powers of empathy, the poisons of fear, and the burdens of being human during inhumane times. An iconic and unforgiving playground of endless possibilities that picks you up, slaps you in the face, and tells you to wake up. Time to live. Or time to die.” “The official Blade Runner RPG will propel players into the streets of Los Angeles as Blade Runners with unique specialties, personalities – and memories. The core game and its line of expansions will push the boundaries of investigative gameplay in tabletop RPGs, giving players a range of tools to solve an array of cases far beyond retiring Replicants. Beyond the core casework, the RPG will both in setting and mechanics showcase key themes of Blade Runner – sci-fi action, corporate intrigue, existential character drama, and moral conflict – that challenge players to question your friends, empathize with your enemies, and explore the poisons and perseverance of hope and humanity during such inhumane times. The rules of the game are based on the acclaimed Year Zero Engine, used in award-winning games such as the ALIEN RPG, Tales From the Loop and Forbidden Lands, but further developed and uniquely tailored for Blade Runner.”
  • Via email—”We are thrilled to say that Free League and Chris McDowall (Electric Bastionland) today announce a publishing partnership for the new edition of his acclaimed weird-fantasy tabletop roleplaying game INTO THE ODD!” Also, crowdfunding now: Into the Odd Remastered. A rules-light, flavour-heavy roleplaying game of industrial horror and cosmic strangeness.” Also watch “Into the Odd Remastered Readthrough” Watch announcement trailer.
  • Upcoming crowdfunding effort: “Follow Me Down. A GMless, two-player tabletop roleplaying game inspired by the myth of Orpheus & Eurydice, Powered by the Apocalypse.”
  • David Lynch’s Dune Kept Science Fiction Cinema Strange“—”Lynch might not be a science fiction scholar. But Lynch understood the mystic and strange side of Herbert’s creation, and of so much brilliant science fiction literature that gets scrubbed on its way to a film adaptation. So yes, Lynch’s Dune is a mess with many flaws. But science fiction cinema would be a poorer place without it.”
  • A decade of The Expanse. Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck look back on their epic space opera series, writing for television, and what they hope its impact will be a decade from now.”
  • First they stole the logo … “Space Force reveals uniforms and Twitter can only see ‘Star Trek’ and ‘Battlestar Galactica’.”
  • Elvira, Cassandra Peterson, Comes Out, Talks 19-Year Relationship“—”Cassandra Peterson — best known to the world as Elvira, Mistress of the Dark — released her new memoir Yours Cruelly, Elvira today and, in the process, came out by revealing her 19-year relationship with another woman, Teresa ‘T’ Wierson.” Partly about promoting Yours Cruelly, Elvira: Memoirs of the Mistress of the Dark [Amazon, Bookshop, Publisher, Local Library] by Cassandra Peterson—”The woman behind the icon known as Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, the undisputed Queen of Halloween, reveals her full story, filled with intimate bombshells, told by the bombshell herself. On Good Friday in 1953, at only 18 months old, 25 miles from the nearest hospital in Manhattan, Kansas, Cassandra Peterson reached for a pot on the stove and doused herself in boiling water. Third-degree burns covered 35% of her body, and the prognosis wasn’t good. But she survived. Burned and scarred, the impact stayed with her and became an obstacle she was determined to overcome. Feeling like a misfit led to her love of horror. While her sisters played with Barbie dolls, Cassandra built model kits of Frankenstein and Dracula, and idolized Vincent Price. Due to a complicated relationship with her mother, Cassandra left home at 14, and by age 17 she was performing at the famed Dunes Hotel in Las Vegas. Run-ins with the likes of Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., and Tom Jones helped her grow up fast. Then a chance encounter with her idol Elvis Presley, changed the course of her life forever, and led her to Europe where she worked in film and traveled Italy as lead singer of an Italian pop band. She eventually made her way to Los Angeles, where she joined the famed comedy improv group, The Groundlings, and worked alongside Phil Hartman and Paul “Pee-wee” Reubens, honing her comedic skills. Nearing age 30, a struggling actress considered past her prime, she auditioned at local LA channel KHJ as hostess for the late night vintage horror movies. Cassandra improvised, made the role her own, and got the job on the spot. Yours Cruelly, Elvira is an unforgettably wild memoir. Cassandra doesn’t shy away from revealing exactly who she is and how she overcame seemingly insurmountable odds. Always original and sometimes outrageous, her story is loaded with twists, travails, revelry, and downright shocking experiences. It is the candid, often funny, and sometimes heart-breaking tale of a Midwest farm girl’s long strange trip to become the world’s sexiest, sassiest Halloween icon.” Tweet—”Elvira dating Elvis, losing her virginity to Tom Jones and then hooking up with her female personal trainer is the new ‘Eartha Kitt had a threesome with James Dean and Paul Newman'” But also tweet—”Grab your popcorn and get ready for my 40th Anniversary, Very Scary, Very Special Special, premiers this SATURDAY 09/25 at 8p ET on @Shudder TV! 📺🍿💀 #Elvira40″.
  • Watch “Night Teeth | Official Trailer | Netflix”—”Benny’s entire world is turned upside down after picking up two mysterious girls who expose him to a secret world he never knew existed. He is suddenly hurled into their cryptic underworld on a mission to save his city from dripping in blood.”
  • Watch “The Humans | Official Trailer HD | A24″—”From writer/director Stephen Karam and starring Richard Jenkins, Jayne Houdyshell, Amy Schumer, Beanie Feldstein, Steven Yeun, and June Squibb. The Humans – coming to theaters and Showtime this Thanksgiving.”
  • Watch “Around the World in 80 Days Trailer“—”David Tennant stars as literature’s greatest explorer Phileas Fogg in a thrilling new adaptation of Jules Verne’s classic adventure novel coming to MASTERPIECE on PBS. (Air date to be announced.)”
  • Watch “The Tragedy of Macbeth | Official Trailer HD | A24″—”From writer/director Joel Coen and starring Denzel Washington, Frances McDormand, Corey Hawkins, Brendan Gleeson, and Harry Melling. The Tragedy of Macbeth – In Theaters December 25. Streaming on Apple TV+ January 14.”
  • Watch “Marvel’s Hit-Monkey I Date Announcement I Hulu”—”A Monkey in a suit? Damn right… Marvel’s Hit-Monkey premieres November 17, only on Hulu” with Olivia Munn, Jason Sudeikis, and George Takei.
  • Watch “Finch — Official Trailer | Apple TV+”—”Tom Hanks is Finch, a man who embarks on a moving and powerful journey to find a new home for his unlikely family—his beloved dog and a newly created robot—in a dangerous and ravaged world.”
  • Learning to Love Solitude (and Hate Oatmeal) on a 15,534-Mile Canadian Trek. For six years, the filmmaker Dianne Whelan hiked, biked, paddled, snowshoed and skied from the Atlantic to the Pacific and north to the Arctic. Here’s what she learned along the way.”
  • PM urged to abandon Stonehenge tunnel plans. Campaigners have written an open letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson calling on him to abandon plans to build a tunnel near Stonehenge.” Also Call for Stonehenge Tunnel funds to be reallocated to upgrade London to Exeter rail line. Campaigners against the proposed Stonehenge Tunnel have written to prime minister Boris Johnson, urging him to ‘abandon’ the £1.7bn scheme in favour of ‘less damaging and more sustainable solutions’.”
  • Domains of Delight for 5e from Wizards of the Coast. “All proceeds from Domains of Delight go to non-profit Extra Life, an online grassroots movement working to save sick and injured kids through the power of play.” “Domains of Delight are to the Feywild what Domains of Dread are to the Shadowfell: sequestered realms governed by powerful beings. Whereas a Domain of Dread is ruled by a Darklord, a Domain of Delight is ruled by an archfey—the most powerful of Fey creatures. An archfey gives form to their Domain of Delight, shaping it in ways unique to their personality. Some Domains of Delight are bright and cheery, while others are gloomy, but each one reflects the emotional state of its ruler. A Domain of Delight can be as small as a few acres or as big as a country. This accessory helps you create Domains of Delight and the archfey who rule them, building on the information about the Feywild that appears in the Dungeon Master’s Guide. The ideas, tips, and tables in this chapter are meant to spark your imagination. Use what excites and intrigues you, discard what doesn’t, and make up the rest!” (Emphasis mine.)
  • Sable by Shedworks, from Raw Fury, due tomorrow—”Embark on a unique and unforgettable journey and guide Sable through her Gliding; a rite of passage that will take her across vast deserts and mesmerizing landscapes, capped by the remains of spaceships and ancient wonders.”
  • Watch “Potion Craft – Early Access Release Trailer“—”Potion Craft is now available on Steam Early Access. Heat up the coals and get ready to brew your marvelous concoctions.” See Potion Craft: Alchemist Simulator by niceplay games, from tinyBuild
  • The Legend of Drake’s Drum“—”The drum is also said to mysteriously beat by itself during times of peril. Legend has it that it has been heard to beat at important times in English history: when the Mayflower left Plymouth for the New World in 1620. when Napoleon Bonaparte entered Plymouth harbour as a prisoner aboard the Bellerophon. in 1914 on the outbreak of World War One. in 1918 on HMS Royal Oak just before the surrender of the German fleet. during the evacuation of Dunkirk in 1940.”
  • Watch “SCP Confinement Special – Anomalies!“—”SCPs in order – SCP-1879, SCP-119, SCP-683, SCP-1269, SCP-093, SCP-354, SCP-207, SCP-978, SCP-513 (but not really), and SCP-3662. Everything else was made by me. Characters and locations are directly from/inspired by the SCP Foundation Wiki, please check it out for spooky stuff”. See also quotes I’ve posted from There is No Antimemetics Division by qntm.
  • It’s the evil anti-blackest-black: “Scientists created the world’s whitest paint. It could eliminate the need for air conditioning. The paint has now made it into the Guinness World Records book as the whitest ever made. The idea was to make a paint that would reflect sunlight away from a building. The paint reflects 98.1% of solar radiation while also emitting infrared heat.”