Tag Archives: Balladeer’s Blog

HAPPY BIRTHDAY COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Northeastern_Oklahoma_AMIt was on November 6th, 1869 that Rutgers and Princeton played the very first college football game “on the banks of the Raritan” as the Rutgers fight song says. One of the things I love about college football is how far back its history goes.

It feels odd to think that Ulysses S Grant was in the White House when  Continue reading

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VIV SMACKS DOWN TERMINATOR: DARK FATE

terminator dark fateTerminator: Dark Fate is – as of this writing – on course to lose 120 million dollars due to its lackluster performance. (UPDATE: The projected loss has now been increased to 130 million dollars)

That lackluster performance is due to its many failings – chief among those the killing-off of John Connor in the first few minutes of the movie.

Reviewer Viv of Hey Viv fame passionately and brilliantly dismembered this pathetic excuse for filmmaking. Enjoy her review below and be sure to subscribe to her  HERE

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EVEN MORE HILARIOUSLY WRONG PREDICTIONS FROM PSYCHICS

One of Balladeer’s Blog’s biggest hits in recent years was my look at 55 Hilariously Wrong Predictions From Psychics (click HERE ). You readers have been asking for more, so here we go with predictions for 1975-2000:

New York City underwaterMALCOLM BESSENT

*** By 1979 the United States will have a war with China.

*** New York city will be uninhabitable by 1980 because of rising water levels. People are STILL trying to sell that one. They just keep pushing the alleged time period further and further into the future.

DAVID BUBAR

*** By 1980 social drinking will virtually come to an end in America due to health consciousness.

*** By 1979 M.D.’s will ally themselves with faith healers. (Maybe as a Bowling League, but certainly in no other way)

*** By 1990 psychics will hold important government positions as intuition and clairvoyance become more important.

nuke-the-moon*** During the 1980s consumption of the chemicals in food will cause generations of freakishly tall people. Their abnormal size will weaken their bodies and personalities.

*** By the mid-1980s both America and the Soviet Union will try to colonize the moon, leading to military “police actions” on the moon itself. Continue reading

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL RESULTS FROM NOVEMBER 2nd

HEADLINES

Concordia Moorhead CobbersNUMBER FOUR TAKES A FALL – In NCAA Division Three the CONCORDIA (Moorhead) COBBERS visited the number 4 team in the nation – the SAINT JOHN’S UNIVERSITY JOHNNIES. The Cobbers were on top 10-6 by Halftime but the Johnnies tied things up at 12-12 to force Overtime. In the extra session Concordia won the game 19-18 off a missed PAT by Saint John’s U.

Lindenwood LionsKNOCKING OFF NUMBER SEVEN – Up in NCAA Division Two the LINDENWOOD UNIVERSITY LIONS welcomed the country’s 7th ranked UNIVERSITY OF INDIANAPOLIS GREYHOUNDS. After a scoreless 1st Quarter the Lions put the Greyhounds on Upset Alert with a 14-10 lead at the Half. From there Lindenwood University fulfilled the Upset by a final score of 34-27. 

Union NY Dutchmen helmetAND NUMBER EIGHT CAME TUMBLING AFTER – Back in D3 the number 25 UNION (NY) DUTCHMEN took it on the road against the number 8 ITHACA COLLEGE BOMBERS. A 10-7 1st Quarter edge for the Dutchmen became 17-14 by the break. After a scoreless 3rd Quarter Union went on to a 31-21 win over the Bombers. Continue reading

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KILLRAVEN FOURTEEN: THE REBELS OF JANUARY AND BEYOND

FOR PART ONE OF BALLADEER’S BLOG’S EXAMINATION OF THIS OLD, OLD MARVEL COMICS STORYLINE CLICK HERE  The revisions I would make are scattered throughout the synopsis below.

Killraven rebels of januaryAMAZING ADVENTURES Vol 2 #30 (May 1975)

Title: The Rebels of January and Beyond

Freemen: Killraven, M’Shulla, Old Skull, Hawk, Carmilla Frost and her creation Grok (Deathlok in my revisions)

Synopsis: This is a story that provided a wealth of additional lore for the world inhabited by Killraven and his Freemen, especially regarding Killraven’s use of The Power, a pre-Star Wars version of The Force.

It is still April, 44 years in the future. The High Overlord (in my revisions Abraxas the High Overlord), executive leader of Earth’s alien conquerors, walks the streets of occupied Washington D.C. 

He is clad as always in his full-body suit of biochemical armor, complete with a Japanese feudal helmet like the kind Darth Vader would later wear. (This was published 2 years before Star Wars came out) The High Overlord’s armor, however, is steel-grey, not black like Vader’s. The sight of one of Killraven’s WANTED posters as he walks along annoys him more than it usually might.  Continue reading

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LIVING ALONE (1919): A WITCH DURING WORLD WAR ONE

With Halloween just past and Veteran’s Day (Armistice Day) on the horizon, here’s a nice segueway – a novel featuring a witch and other supernatural figures during World War One.

Living AloneLIVING ALONE (1919) – Written by Stella Benson. This novel is like a World War One forerunner of Bedknobs and Broomsticks. In 1918, during what was then called The Great War, a London woman named Sarah Brown busies herself with War Savings Committee Work.

One day a witch invites her to move into a home called the House of Living Alone, which turns out to be a boardinghouse for practitioners of magic as well as assorted supernatural figures like faeries, imps, etc. Sarah accepts the invitation, taking her dog David Blessing with her.

This house is located on Mitten Island in the Thames River. Sarah becomes involved in the adventures of Peony, who is plagued by an Imp wanting to be born. She also meets Richard Higgins, a practicing warlock who runs – not a dairy farm – but a Faerie Farm, which is supervised by a dragon. 

At one point a German bombing raid strikes a cemetery, waking up all of the dead. They rise from their graves, convinced that it is the Final Judgment, until Sarah and her new friends set things right.

Whimsically enough, circumstances later lead the witch who runs the House of Living Alone into mounting her flying broomstick and having a magical dogfight over England with a German witch. Continue reading

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THE MONKS OF MONK HALL (1844-1845): HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Happy Halloween! Balladeer’s Blog marks it with a neglected work of American horror.

Monks of Monk HallTHE MONKS OF MONK HALL aka THE QUAKER CITY (1844-1845) – Written by George Lippard, this strange and macabre story was originally serialized from 1844-1845 before being published in novel form. This bloody, horrific work was America’s best-selling novel before Uncle Tom’s Cabin

I always refer to this book as “Twin Peaks Goes To The 1840s.” On one level The Monks of Monk Hall deals with crime, corruption, drugs and sex-trafficking among many supposedly “respectable” citizens of Philadelphia the way Twin Peaks did with residents of the title town.

On another level the novel deals with supernatural horrors that lurk behind the Quaker City’s murders, vices and sexual perversions, again like the David Lynch series. The center of the darkness is Monk Hall, an old, sprawling mansion with an unsavory history and reputation. Many have disappeared into the bowels of the building, never to be seen again. The power players and criminals who mingle at the Hall in bizarre orgies, secret murders and drunken debauches are known as “Monks” – Monk Hall’s exclusive membership.

Think of Monk Hall as a combination of Twin Peaks establishments like the Black Lodge, One-Eyed Jacks and the Great Northern all rolled into one. The vast, multi-roomed Hall is honey-combed with secret passageways and trap doors. Beneath the mansion are a subterranean river plus several levels of labyrinthine catacombs filled with rats, refuse and the skeletal remains of the Monks’ many victims from the past century and a half.   

The sinister staff of Monk Hall are happy to provide their members with all the sex, opium and other diversions that they hunger for behind their public veil of respectability. Throw in the occult practices of the members and there’s a sort of “American version of Sir Francis Dashwood’s Hellfire Club” feel to it. Among the novel’s more horrific characters:

Monks of Monk Hall 2DEVIL-BUG – The deformed, depraved and deranged bastard offspring of one of Monk Hall’s members and one of the many prostitutes who are literally enslaved there. Devil-Bug has spent his entire life in the Hall and has no other name. He is squat, incredibly strong and grotesquely ugly with one large gaping eye and one small, withered, empty socket on his face.

This monstrosity works as Monk Hall’s combination door-man, bouncer and executioner, gleefully murdering on demand and secreting the corpses away in the sub-basements beneath the mansion. Just to make him even more unwholesome, Devil-Bug sleeps next to the corpse of one of his victims and uses occupied coffins as furniture in his creepy rooms.

RAVONI – Interchangeably referred to as a sorcerer, mad doctor, astrologer and anatomist, this handsome but sinister man pulls the strings behind the supernatural evils of Philadelphia and vicinity.

Monks of Monk Hall 3Master of an occult method of eternal youth, Ravoni has been alive for over two hundred years. (The novel repeatedly says just two hundred years, but the villain refers to having been present at the Saint Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, which happened in 1572, so it has to be longer)

Ravoni has powers of mesmerism, prognostication and can even raise the dead. He was the original owner of Monk Hall under another name long ago. Readers eventually learn the kind of dark rituals the man performed at the Hall but don’t learn the full extent of his evil plans until the climax of the novel.          Continue reading

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