A NIGHT AT HALSTED'S ADULT GAY DVD, 1982

STUDIO: Cosco, 1982
SCREENSHOTS: link
WATCH: link
MY GRADE: B

FROM DVD: Fred Halsted could create a fantasyland where anything and everything goes, a place where you can meet the video stars of your dreams, and make them come true. Gloryholes, slings, and other toys become a living playground for this orgy of tight, glistening flesh! Fred Halsted's a crowning achievement.


SCENE 1: Some guy who looks like he's in his forties goes to a club and talks to the guy working inside. He walks outside to the back yard(?) that's fenced in, and spots a curly haired guy he likes the looks of. A man is standing inside a building outside getting blown by a guy who's on his knees. Another guy is standing there watching. This scene is very brief and I have to wonder why it was even in the film since they showed so little of it.

SCENE 2: The curly haired guy is inside now walking naked down a hallway with red lighting. He goes into a tiny room with a glass/Plexiglas wall dividing it from the other room. There's an oblong gloryhole in the glass. He jerks off a little then a guy wearing a leather jacket walks into the other room that's on the other side of the glass wall, so they're facing each other. A penis appears in another gloryhole on the naked guy's wall, so he blows it. We don't see who it belongs to.

SCENE 3: A Latin uncircumcised guy in red shorts goes into a room with a mirrored wall. He drops his shorts and jerks off, staring at his refection most of the time.

SCENE 4: Back to the room with the naked guy and glass wall. A man with a green hat walks into his room and blows the penis that's sticking through a gloryhole that's in a different wall. When he's finished with that guy, he goes over to the gloryhole in the glass wall and along with the naked guy, they blow the man in the leather jacket, as seen below in the first photo. You can't really tell the glass wall is there. He comes on the glass and the two guys are trying to lick it through the glass.

SCENE 5: The naked guy and guy with green hat are now alone and the guy with the hat blows the naked guy. He comes on his face, rubs it in, then leaves the guy alone with his poor green hat. He gave three bj's and got no action himself.

SCENE 6: JW is standing in the hallway leaning against the wall, shirtless. A guy walks over to him, unzips his pants, undresses himself, and JW blows him. JW fucks him in the ass while the guy's laying on his back on a table, then fucks him from behind. JW comes on the guy's ass and the guy jerks himself off. See photos 2 and 3.

SCENE 7: A guy is laying back in a swing. A guy goes over to him and fucks him. He pulls out and they jerk off at the same time. See photo 4.

SCENE 8: Threesome with young guys, two brunette, and one dark blond. They're on the top bunk of some odd looking bed. There's lots of bj's in different configurations and positions, pictured below. Anal with one guy on his back while blond guy fucks him. Guy on his back comes on his own stomach, rubs it in, and the blond guy drags his tongue through it and they kiss. The other brunette fucks the same guy who's still on his back. See photos 5 and 6.

SCENE 9: The original leather-clad man from the beginning goes into a room with the curly haired guy he first spotted, the same naked guy from the room with glass wall. Leather man sits in a chair and the other guy licks his boots then licks up his leg, then gets blown while standing up. He jerks off on the naked guy's face then naked guy jerks off.


MY THOUGHTS: First off, that's a horrible DVD cover and that scene's not even in the movie. I don't know who any of the guy's are except for two of them because there aren't photos to match the names on the porn actor sites. Two guys got bj's but their faces weren't shown. The lighting was terrible in this but it was supposed to be dark anyway. But that combined with the poor quality of the copy I watched online made it a bit difficult to see at times. If not for the poor lighing I'd have given this an A.

The sex in this was what you'd expect with basic gay m/m porn, nothing out of the ordinary. It had far more blow jobs than anal. The threesome got the most time.

This porn used all new wave and punk music by the original artists, which was a big surprise. I heard Anarchy in the UK by Sex Pistols, What I Like About You by the Romantics (hate that damn song), I Didn't Have the Nerve to Say No by Blondie, Devo's cover of (I Can't Get No) Satisfaction, Lucky Number by Lene Lovich (one of the worst songs ever recored), Look Back in Anger by David Bowie, etcetera, and the music never stopped. I wish it would have. All dialogue except with the leather guy at the beginning and end is done in voice over.

Fred Halstead, the guy on the cover, overdosed on sleeping pills and died in 1988 at the age of 47.
JW King died from an AIDS-related illness in 1986 at the age of 31, just five years after this was filmed.
Ben Barker died from an AIDS-related illness in 1995 at the age of 44.






CARNAL ENCOUNTERS OF THE BAREST KIND ADULT DVD, 1978

STUDIO: Ferret Films, 1978
LENGTH: 76 minutes
RATING: XXX
SCREENSHOTS: link
WATCH: link
MY GRADE: C

FROM DVD: These hot, willing women and hard, horny studs are boldly going where no kinky crew has gone before! Aliens from outer space think that all we Earthlings care about is sex! They are ready to prove their point by infiltrating the human race and breeding us out with silly, but sexually deviant antics! Get ready for a cheese ball XXX sci-fi skin-flick notable for its clay-mation aliens, stop motion disembodied alien cock fuck scenes and a pick-nicker getting a fried chicken leg stuffed up her snatch!


SCENE 1: Nancy Patterson and Robert Bullock. Bill Margold is giving some speech in front of a fake audience taken from stock footage inside some building. Nancy and Robert are sitting beside each other in the audience. She blows him then jerks him off until he comes.

SCENE 2: Vicky Glick and Dan Rathernot. Vicky's on her bed watching Dan on the television news. She's naked and masturbating to a magazine and using a vibrator. Dan gets up, passing by this infamous poster of Farrah Fawcett with one of her teeth blacked out, disrobes, sits back down behind the desk, jerks off, then gets a blow-up doll and fucks it in his seat behind the desk, reverse cowgirl position. Vicky's still watching him and switches to a dildo. Dan jerks off until he comes.

SCENE 3: A spaceship appears, a man drops down from it, Bobby, and enters Vicky's home and goes into her bedroom, where she's still masturbating. He's wearing some stupid white wig and mustache, pictured below. They kiss on the bed, he fingers her and licks her clit. She blows him then gets on top, then they're on their left sides. He pulls out and she jerks him off until he comes.

SCENE 4: A spaceship beams down Hans. He's wearing some strange outfit with a cape and has a gun. He stumbles and the gun goes off on the fish bowl that has two frogs in it. The frogs turn into women, pictured below. Cindi has the lighter hair and Maria is the one on the left of the photo. They hop down. The three get on the bed and they blow him. Maria gets on top of him, then reverse cowgirl, then he fucks her from behind. Cindi is underneath Maria a little, kissing her. He pulls out and comes on Maria's ass, gets dressed, then leaves in the spaceship.

SCENE 5: Marlene, a brunette, Nancy from scene 1, Robert, and Bill from scene 1 go on a picnic. Bill is the one standing in the white shirt in the fourth from last photo. They're chowing down on KFC chicken. The bucket of it is shown several times and you can see it in the photo of Bill, bottom right. Bill tells Nancy to dip his dick in the glass of wine so she does. Marlene blows Robert, then he fucks her on her back. Nancy blows Bill on his back. Bill tells her he tastes better than chicken. Then he does the grossest thing- he fucks Marlene with a his partically eaten chicken leg. He pulls it out, sucks it, then puts it back inside her. Nancy gets on top of Bill, he pulls out and she jerks him until he comes. The men throw around a football, naked from the waist down, while Nancy and Marlene eat each other out.

SCENE 6: Angel and Gerry are kissing in a parked car and a spaceship scares them away. They go home, they're in the kitchen, naked. She's sitting on the counter, he's standing in front of her and fingers her. He picks her up, turns her upside down, and she blows him. They 69 on the sofa. She gets on top, reverse cowgirl, then on their sides. He pulls out and comes on her public hair. She's on her back and he continues to fuck her. A claymation dildo slides across the carpet, then it hits him in the head, knocking him out. The dildo slide into her and fucks her very fast.

SCENE 7: Bill's giving a speech again. Marlene's blowing him behind the podium it so the audience can't see it.

SCENE 8: Crystal and R.J. are watching tv and the picture on it goes out. They get naked, she blows him. She gets on all fours, he eats her from behind, fingers her, then fucks her. She gets on top, reverse cowgirl, him rubbing her clit. He gets on top.

Pat and Lee show up in some weird costume with black and white faces and body makeup on, pictured below. The women blow the men, then get on top, reverse cowgirl, pictured below. The men pull out and come on them.

SCENE 9: Marlene and Bill are in the shower. He eats her out, then she blows him. She runs out of the house, he chases her, they argue about her being an alien and she steals his paperwork, there's a big white spaceship-type thing above them, pictured below, and it explodes. Marlene's in the spaceship and turns into a claymation alien.


MY THOUGHTS: This looks lower than low budget but I had to watch this because of the claymation. Who puts claymation in porn?! I learned of this through a porn documentary called Rated X: A Journey Through Porn. The opening scene is a closeup of a woman's vagina with a spaceship flying out of it. The closing scene is the spaceship flying back into it.

This film is typical old porn- they don't really spend a lot of time on each scene. In fact, it's pretty hurried. No shaven vagina's or shaven men either. The greatest part of this is there are no breast implants, body piercings, and only one man has a tattoo, and it's so tiny you can barely see it. It's the outline of a cross on his arm or leg.

The claymation aliens are supposed to be penises, at least some of them are anyway.

Bill Margold died January 17, 2018 at the age of 73, possibly from a heart attack.

R.J. Reynolds died from cancer in January 1987 at the age of 32. It's speculated he may have had AIDS. He apparently was 'mostly straight' but did gay porn and had a boyfriend at the time of his death, according to this post.

Maria Tortuga died from cancer in November 2014 at the age of 65.

Bill produced a documentary in 1982 called What Would Your Mother Say?!, where he interviewed male and female porn actors, including the late Maria Tortuga. Arcadia Lake was interviewed. She died from an accidental drug overdose in 1991.

Here's a great interview with Bill from around 1982 from Oprah's Baltimore talk show People Are Talking.






STILL HUNGRY AFTER ALL THESE YEARS: MY STORY by Richard Simmons

PUBLISHER: GT Publishing Corporation, 9/1999
GENRE: Nonfiction/Memoir
AUTHOR SITE: link
PURCHASE: link
MY GRADE: A-

FROM PUBLISHER: On a sweltering New Orleans evening in 1948, Shirley Simmons, eight-and-a-half-months pregnant, had an overwhelming craving for Chinese food. But she would never get the eggroll she'd longed for; she went into labor in the restaurant. Sixteen hours later, her youngest son Milton T. Simmons was born. And so begins the saga of fitness guru Richard Simmons and his lifelong love affair with food. Along the way he's helped millions of Americans with their battle of weight loss. Many know him through his groundbreaking infomercial products like Deal-A-Meal, Get Down the Pounds, and his exciting new Move, Groove, and Lost program. Still more have enjoyed his best-selling low-fat cookbooks Farewell to Fat and Sweetie Pie.



MY THOUGHTS/SUMMARY: What's not to like about Richard Simmons?! He has such a good nature. The book is pretty well-written and full of his trademark humor. He seems to be a very good-hearted person who has done so much for a lot of people, including many he's never even met. Examples would be him calling strangers who've written him letters and arranging doctor appointments for obese people in crisis. He maintains relationships with some of those people as of the book's publication in 1999.

He didn't have that great of a relationship with his father when he was young. His father seemed annoyed by him and saw him as the source of any discord between he and his wife. They got closer as Richard got older. His father Leonard was fifty years old when Richard was born. He's always had an excellent relationship with this mother, Shirley. His older brother Lenny wasn't mentioned too much in here but Richard seems to get along fine with him. The only relative Richard's ever known is his father's brother, Milton. Milton paid for Richard to go to college. Milton died around 1969.

Richard's been an overeater since he was very young. He was teased for it by boys at school so he naturally bonded with females since they didn't pick on him. He began taking diet pills around sixth grade, pills he'd get from his female friends, who got them from their own mothers. He took laxatives that were in the form of chocolate (Exlax or similar brand) and was also bulimic for awhile. He stopped taking diet pills when his heart rate got very fast and it scared him. In his late teens-early twenties, after receiving an anonymous note on his car's windshield telling him he needed to lose weight (he was well over 200lbs and he's 5'7"), he became anorexic. He once passed out and went to the hospital. He worked at a resturant and when he was twenty-two, a female coworker taught him how to be bulimic, so he gave that a try. During a doctor visit he somehow knew Richard had been purging and he told him how bad it was for his health, so Richard stopped it. He got his act together and started eating healthy and exercising. He opened up his own exercise studio in 1974/75, before he was famous.

A sad story is he had a client named Ellen, a petite woman with a young-sounding voice. She had a job making teddy bears. Richard noticed she kept getting thinner and thinner but he never asked her about it. She didn't show up to his class a few times and he didn't know how to get in touch with her. One day he went to a place that sold her handmade bears to inquire about her. He was told she died from anorexia. After that he got the idea to start exercise class thirty minutes early so he and the class could discuss diet, health, and any other issues they wanted to talk about. He even got anonymous letters from the women with topic suggestions.

A funny story would be that when Richard was in seventh grade or so, he'd steal the heads off of Barbie dolls and store them in a drawer in his bedroom. His father was snooping and found them one day.

Richard never mentioned dating anyone at all so that part of his personal life was left out completely, which is too bad and it's why I didn't give the book an A+.

Richard's comment about being out of the closet here.

I've uploaded some photos from inside the book here.

Missing Richard Simmons podcast here.

Richard on left with older brother, Lenny.


DELICIOUS POKE CAKES: 80 Super Simple Desserts with an Extra Flavor Punch in Each Bite by Roxanne Wyss and Kathy Moore

PUBLISHER: St. Martin's Griffin
GENRE: Cookbooks/Baking
PURCHASE: link
AUTHORS' SITE: link
MY GRADE:

FROM PUBLISHER: Poke cakes mean year-round fun and flavor. No stress--just rave reviews. From the authors of Delicious Dump Cakes, this collection of fifty tested recipes is a quick, easy guide to delicious desserts. Begin with a baked cake, prepared from a box mix, or use one of the cake recipes included. Poke holes in the baked cake with a fork, the handle of a wooden spoon, or a skewer so all of the goodness and flavor can soak into the cake. Then just pour pudding, a topping, glaze, gelatin, or sauce over the cake and let the flavor seep into every crevice and permeate every morsel of cake. Finish it off with a luscious, creamy whipped topping or frosting and suddenly that everyday cake is new, unique, and oh-so-inviting, with an extra flavor punch in every bite.



THINGS I'VE MADE

CHOCOLATE-PEANUT BUTTER POKE CAKE


I made the Homemade Quick and Easy Chocolate Cake recipe instead of using a boxed cake mix like all the recipes state to do. The cake is extremely moist but it needed a lot more salt than called for. I made half in a 9"x1.5" round pan and it baked in 22 minutes. This exact cake recipe is one I've made several times before. This one called for a little more cocoa powder than I felt it should so I used 1.5 tablespoons less, so I used just 4T. for half a cake.

The peanut butter sauce wasn't at all 'pourable' like the recipe said it would be so I had to use a lot more milk (I used milk in place of cream since I didn't have any) and it still wasn't pourable and it didn't seep way down into the holes like shown in the photo in the book. It tastes very good. I didn't make the chocolate frosting recipe in the book because it had too much chocolate in it so I made my own chocolate glaze for this.

The cake was excellent and the peanut butter filling was good but because it didn't seep into the holes properly I won't use the poke method but will continue to make this cake, minus the filling.


MY THOUGHTS: I've only made one recipe out of this book but the book is filled with very simple recipes that take basic skills. They give you one from scratch recipe for chocolate cake, white, and yellow cake. The recipes use store bought boxed cake mix but you can use their homemade recipes in place of boxed.

There's a great variety of recipes and flavorings: Make Your Own Cakes, All-Time Favorite Poke Cakes, Chocolate Poke Cakes, Flavorful Poke Cakes, Boozy Poke Cakes, Bundt Poke Cakes, Frostings.

There are a lot of photos but not one for each cake. The full book is in color too.

I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.



WHO KILLED CINDY JAMES? A WOMAN'S STORY OF PERSECUTION AND TERROR by Ian Mulgrew

PUBLISHER: Seal Books, 1/1991
GENRE: Nonfiction/True Crime
SETTING: British Columbia, Canada, 1980's
PURCHASE: link and link
AUTHOR SITE: link
WIKI: link
MY GRADE: A+

FROM PUBLISHER: On May 25, 1989, Cindy James, a former nurse and social worker, disappeared. On June 8, 1989, her body was found in a vacant lot in suburban Vancouver. Her hands and feet were bound. She had a puncture wound in her right arm. Initially police investigated the case as a murder, but later claimed it to be suicide. On May 28, 1990, a coroner's jury ruled the cause of Cindy's death "indeterminate."

For nearly seven years Cindy's life had been a nightmare. At least ninety incidents had been reported to the police, including threatening phone calls, abusive notes, cut phone lines, strangled animals left in her yard, and physical and sexual assaults. Several of these events could be substantiated by coworkers or relatives who were present when they occured.

Was Cindy killed by a sadistic tormenter who is still free, or did the very real persecution drive her to stage horrifying incidents to gain the help and attention she so desperately needed? Why did all our social institutions fail her at every turn? Because one thing is certain: Cindy James's death was the result of systematic indifference and abuse on the part of the authorities-all men-who might have saved her. From difficult relationships at home to the indifference of psychiatrists and members of the police force, Cindy James's tragedy embodies a nightmare women everywhere share.


MY THOUGHTS: This is the true story of an incredibly sick woman who seems to have lost her mind when she separated from her husband in 1982. The separation and divorce was Cindy's decision. Her maiden name is Hack, married name is Makepeace, and she changed it to James after divorcing Roy. So to answer the book's question of who killed Cindy James, in my opinion she killed herself. All roads lead back to Cindy. There isn't one shread of evidence to support someone stalking or raping her but there is evidence to suggest she stalked herself. She has an above average IQ, is anorexic with breast implants, and has been hospitalized for depression and suicidal thoughts multiple times.

She died from an overdose of morphine, flurazepam, and diazepam despite the fact she was found bound with a stocking around her neck. She'd been prescribed a lot of medication for depression over the years and she appears to have been stockpiling it. Police and her family found a lot of it in her house after she died. Her family got rid of a lot of it for some unknown reason.

One or two psychiatrists predicted she'd stage an elaborate suicide to make it look like murder and damn if they weren't right. She took several medications then hog-tied herself, which can be done. All legitures on her body when she was found- around her neck, wrists, and ankles, were all loose, so loose in fact they never even left a mark on her and she had no bruses anywhere. A knot expert, Robert Chisnall, was asked by those involved in the investigation to see if he could knot legatures himself and he could indeed do it within a few minutes. From page 207: "He (Robert Chisnall) tied himself up using similar strands of nylon and found several different ways of producing the knots and simulating their tightness. He even found a way to do it with his hands and feet in front, and then rearranging the knotted stocking so that the hands appeared to have been tied from behind. Self-tying could have been effected with a minimum of effort, he said." Robert, before the experiment with tying himself, didn't think Cindy could have tied herself up but he proved himself wrong.

The book is very well written and fair. He looks at it from both angles. The book includes eight pages of black and white photos of Cindy and her family. He was "the only person given access to the personal diaries of Cindy James by her family. He has conducted hundreds of hours of interviews with her family, her ex-husband, her friends, and officials involved in the case." He also used police files and her own psychiatric files. He came to the conclusion that Cindy killed herself. Her afore mentioned diaries are unreliable. She was told by a psychiatrist to keep one as a way of expressing her feelings. When she realized they weren't going to read them, she stopped writing in them.

There's a section in the back of the book with a chronological order of all the police calls that were made by her, beginning in October 1982. She claims she was first assaulted in 1983 and she even had sticks and debris up her rectum once, page 142, "...and there was evidence that twigs were shoved up her rectum during one attack and that a cigarette had been butted out in her vagina in another." She claims that she was raped with a knife (1/27/83) though she never actually saw the knife. And I'm assuming she means she was raped with the blade. About the knife incident, page 15: "Cindy was vague on details and doctors found no evidence of rape or serious injury to her vagina." She claims that she's never seen her attackers, ever. She claims too that a dead cat that had been strangled to death with a stocking and was left at her door two different times but no one ever saw them, or so I assume, so I'm assuming there never were any actual dead cats. At least I hope that's the case. She came home once and her dog had been beaten and was bloody with a stocking around its neck, sitting in its own feces. It was the same type of stocking that was on the dead cats. Someone was with her when she got home, of course, and saw it and they stupidly assume that since the dog ran over to Cindy that Cindy couldn't have been the one who abused it in the first place. And after several assaults, including the one where she died, she had 'pinpricks' on her inner arm at the elbow, at least once it was on the right arm (she's right-handed) that was from a hypodermic needle. Some say she couldn't have done that to herself with her left hand because she's right-handed. Stupid thinking.

Edit- No one actually saw the two strangled cats and one cat that had supposedly been hit by a car and was found at her door. That information came from her own diary/log she'd been keeping.

It's proven that some of the threatening phone calls to her home were made from inside her own home. It's not a coincidence that several times she was found bound by someone who was due to be at her house later that day. How convenient. There were a few house fires at her home and they were proven to have been started from inside the home. She was hellbent on framing her ex-husband for the attacks and threatening calls and letters. What she didn't know was that when one of the fires took place not only was he out of the country, he was on another continent. And he too got a few threatening phone calls. Let's pretend Cindy really did have a stalker/tormenter. Why would he call her ex-husband? He wouldn't. It doesn't make any sense. And at least once she claimed someone threw something through her window, breaking the glass, and it was proven that the object was thrown from the inside of the house to the outside. She also claimed that while on vacation in 1981 with her husband and sister Melanie, her husband murdered and dismembered a young couple.

Cindy reminds me of Joanne Chambers, a Pennsylvania school teacher who was stalking herself and trying to frame her female co-worker. You may know of Joanne from an episode of Forensic Files called Sealed With a Kiss.

You can read more about Cindy at the following places:

Unsolved Mysteries Wiki

Cindy's Unsolved Mysteries segment called Scared to Death, originally aired 2/13/91, season 3, episode 20 , rebroadcast 7/17/2009 on Spike.




EASY COOKIE RECIPES: 103 Best Recipes for Chocolate Chip Cookies, Cake Mix Creations, Bars, and Holiday Treats Everyone Will Love by Addie Gundry

PUBLISHER: St. Martin's Griffin, 11/2017
GENRE: Cookbooks/Baking
AUTHOR SITE: link
PURCHASE: link
MY GRADE: B

FROM PUBLISHER: In Easy Cookie Recipes Addie Gundry adds elegance to no-frills baking with delicious results. From Apple Pie Bars to Red Velvet Thumbprints, No-Bake Coconut Graham Cracker Cookie Bars, and the best chocolate chip cookies ever, 103 Easy Cookie Recipes shows you how to use expert tips and shortcuts to make over a hundred types of cookies, plus plenty of customizations to make these recipes your own. Once you have your baking basics down, you can explore fun inventive types of cookies. This book is a collection of 103 playful recipes that add to, change up, and make old recipes new and exciting, while maintaining what makes cookies classic. Each recipe is paired with a gorgeous, full-color photo.

Categories: Bar Cookies, Cake Mix Cookies, Fruits and Nuts, Sugar and Spice, Chocolate, Old-Fashioned, Holiday.


THINGS I'VE MADE

MONSTER COOKIES 


This is just an oatmeal peanut butter cookie that has chocolate chips in it. I followed the recipe, omitted the chocolate chips, and like usual, my doughballs barely spread out for the first batch. The photo in the book shows a very thin cookie that obviously spread nicely. I scooped out the remaining dough with a cookie scoop, placed them on a cookie sheet then flattened them with the bottom of a measuring cup and stored the dough in the refrigerator until I was ready to bake more.

I used a 1.5"/1T. scoop and got 32 doughballs. They baked in ten minutes. These taste good but are a little dry inside and because of that, I wouldn't make them again.


CHEWY CLASSIC OATMEAL RAISIN COOKIES

I made half the recipe and like the peanut butter cookie from the same book, the doughballs barely spread, as you can see in the photo on the left. When I baked the rest I flattened the doughballs first and as you can see in the photo on the right, they're much flatter. The cookie is very good and is crunchy outside, like I prefer. I used a little more raisins and nuts than called for. I used one third the amount of vanilla extract, so I used 1/2t.

I used a 1.5" diameter/1T. cookie scoop and got 34 doughballs. After I baked the first batch I used the cookie scoop to scoop out the rest then flattened each one all the way with the bottom of a measuring cup.


RASPBERRY OATMEAL COOKIE BARS


These are great and have no egg in them. They have all brown sugar, no white. I omitted the cinnamon and added 1/4c. ground toasted almonds to the mix and added a drop of almond extract to the raspberry jam filling. I will definitely continue to make these.



HOMESTYLE AMISH SUGAR COOKIES


These are made with equal parts butter and vegetable oil and also have powdered sugar in them. I divided the dough in half and added lemon extract to half and dried cherries, ground almonds, and almond extract to the other half. I got 40 total. I rolled the balls in sugar after refrigerating the dough because the lemon part was soft. The directions should have told you to do that.

These don't have a lot of flavor, are a bit crumbly, and they have a little too much salt. Not worth making again.


RED VELVET THUMBPRINT COOKIES


I omitted the red food coloring and I didn't make the cream cheese filling that gets dolloped on top of the baked cookies. These have cocoa powder and butter in them and I added 1/4c. mini semisweet chocolate chips. The cookie doesn't taste very good, and there's not enough chocolate flavor in them. I made half and got thirty using a 1.5" diameter scoop. These are a huge disappointment.


MY THOUGHTS: Of the five things I've made I've only enjoyed two of them- the oatmeal cookie bars and the oatmeal raisin cookies. There are two chocolate chip cookie recipes I'd like to try one day as well as two other chocolate cookie recipes and a quite a few others, including Apple Pie Bars.

There are photos of every recipe. I don't know what cookie is on the cover because I didn't see one like it in the book and the author never responded to my message.

I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.




SCARY STORIES TREASURY: THREE BOOKS TO CHILL YOUR BONES (Scary Stories #1-3) by Alvin Schwartz, illustrated by Stephen Gammell

PUBLISHER: HarperCollins, 6/1985
GENRE: Fiction/Children's Literature/Horror
MY GRADE: B

FROM PUBLISHER: Schwartz's three best-selling collections of scary folklore- Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, and Scary Stories 3, are made available in one book, each one in its complete form.



New artwork was given to these books for the 30th anniversary in 2011. You can see some comparisons here. If you want original versions avoid any with a publication date of 2011.
The July 2017 box set does contain the original artwork. Purchase here. The ISBN is 9780062682895.

If you want a hardcover version that includes all three stories with original artwork, it's here, here, here, and here.

An out of print paperback set containing three separate books of all three in the series can be bought here.

The face on the cover is from the story The Haunted House, from Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.

MY THOUGHTS: The stories were alright considering they were meant for fifth graders. Some are only one page long, some are two, and a few are a little longer. Some sort of end abruptly and leave you asking, "Where's the rest of the story?!" and some just really aren't scary and some seem really pointless.

There's a story from Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark called The Babysitter and it's cleary a ripoff of the first 20 minutes of the 1979 film When A Stranger Calls.

There are only four stories that I really like: Cold as Clay. From Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. I can't sing the praises of this one enough.

The White Satin Evening Gown From Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. Perhaps one of the most unusual ways to die.

Cemetery Soup From More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. Downright disgusting and cringe-worthy.

Harold From Scary Stories 3. Harold's a loveable scarecrow. He's a bad mofo and he knows it.

Just Delicious My eyes widened when I read a certain line and realized what she was about to do to make up for the piece of food she'd eaten.

Below are some of my favorite images from specific stories though none of the stories are favorites.

The Dead Hand
Sam's New Pet
Is Something Wrong?
You May Be The Next
The Bride

Here's an interesting article on the books, 14 Terrifying Facts.

I couldn't find an image online of the gobin thingie below so I posted my own photo of it. I sure like it. It's from page 105 of the bibliograpy section of Scary Stories 3.



CASE FILES OF THE EAST AREA RAPIST/GOLDEN STATE KILLER by Kat Winters with Keith Komos

PUBLISHER: CCW, 9/2017
GENRE: Nonfiction/True Crime
SETTING: California, USA, 1970's-1980's
PURCHASE: link
MY GRADE: A

FROM PUBLISHER: He’s the most prolific, enigmatic, and dangerous offender the State of California has ever known... yet he remains unidentified and unpunished to this day. With over one hundred burglaries, fifty rapes, and possibly a dozen murders, the “East Area Rapist” / “Golden State Killer” / "Original Night Stalker" was truly one of history’s most vile and heinous criminals. He seemed to appear out of nowhere in the mid-1970s near Sacramento, California, where he began a series of rapes and murders that left police baffled and communities on-edge. He couldn’t be tracked, he couldn’t be found, and he couldn’t be stopped. Over a ten-year period, towns like Modesto, Davis, Concord, San Ramon, San Jose, Danville, Fremont, Walnut Creek, Goleta, Ventura, Dana Point, Irvine, and the neighborhoods of Sacramento were all violated by this monster. He left behind thousands of clues spread throughout over a dozen jurisdictions but still somehow outmaneuvered efforts to capture him at every turn. This book culls together information from every source possible to present a comprehensive rundown of each and every attack. Evidence is explained, myths are debunked, and viable leads are presented.

Other cases which might be related like the Visalia Ransacker, the Ripon Court shooting, the Maggiore murders, and the Eva Davidson Taylor murder are explored. Never before has such a detailed and thorough chronological volume been published about this case. Going over the nuances and evidence with such granularity is a worthwhile exercise. This case is solvable, and the offender is probably still alive. The clues to his identity are in here. Because, as they say… The Devil is in the details.


MY THOUGHTS: I've read the previous books on this criminal, who's also know as the EAR/ONS, and because of how well the crimes are detailed, this one's my favorite of the lot.

Such incredible detail was given to each and every rape, including a lot of pre- and post-attack information that was previously unknown publicly. The author couldn't have done a better job.

At times the book had an amateurish quality to it because there was such a large amount of typos and terminology like saying something was 'totally weird', something's 'sketchy', a male victim being 'a big muscular dude', the criminal 'got off' on psychologically torturing this victims, and something being 'creepy', just to give a few examples. There was overuse of words and phrases like 'though' and 'keep your eyes peeled' and I feel things were in quotation marks and too many things were in parenthesis that shouldn't have been. This self-published book definitely needs to be cleaned up by a professional editor. I didn't like the author giving her own speculation or spending time pointlessly analyzing certain phrases the EARONS would use, like 'gimme a good drop'.

Near the end of the book is a helpful section called EAR/GSK Communications. All contact the EARONS made with either victims', police, and others is listed chronologically. There's also a section after that that's dedicated to the break-ins of the Vasalia Ransaker, a man who some believe may be the EARONS, and that too is in chronological order. Another helpful section is last in the book and it's frequently asked questions about the case, including information about paint chips found at a few crime scenes and why the FBI hasn't taken advantage of technology that can render a lifelike image of the EARONS.

A tidbit I learned was that in the early 1990's, years after his last known crime, there were some EAR-like burglaries in Irvine that are being looked into.

Being interested in this case since early 2001 and liking a lot of detail to be given for any crime, I appreciate the hard work and time that went into writing this. It couldn't have been fun.

Other books on the East Area Rapist/Original Night Stalker:

Sudden Terror
Hunting a Psychopath
Hot Prowl
Frozen in Fear (written by an EAR victim)
Murder on His Mind Serial Killer
I'll Be Gone in the Dark

FYI-  The author has proven herself to be immature and disrespectful and likes to play the victim. She's publicly called someone who gave her book a 1-star review on Amazon a 'troll'. She's also released a video to publically shame someone who doesn't like her and she's also posted screenshots of said person's Youtube channel on multiple forums to rally people on her side.

A big thank you to Jason for sending this to me.




CHAIN SAW CONFIDENTIAL: How We Made the World's Most Notorious Horror Movie by Gunnar Hansen

PUBLISHER: Chronicle Books, 9/2013
GENRE: Nonfiction/Memoir
AUTHOR SITE: link
PURCHASE: link
MY GRADE: A-

FROM PUBLISHER: When The Texas Chain Saw Massacre first hit movie screens in 1974 it was both reviled and championed. To critics, it was either "a degrading, senseless misuse of film and time" or "an intelligent, absorbing and deeply disturbing horror film." However it was an immediate hit with audiences. Banned and celebrated, showcased at the Cannes film festival and included in the New York MoMA's collection, it has now come to be recognized widely as one of the greatest horror movies of all time.

A six-foot-four poet fresh out of grad school with limited acting experience, Gunnar Hansen played the masked, chain-saw-wielding Leatherface. His terrifying portrayal and the inventive work of the cast and crew would give the film the authentic power of nightmare, even while the gritty, grueling, and often dangerous independent production would test everyone involved, and lay the foundations for myths surrounding the film that endure even today.

Critically-acclaimed author Hansen here tells the real story of the making of the film, its release, and reception, offering unknown behind-the-scenes details, a harrowingly entertaining account of the adventures of low-budget filmmaking, illuminating insights on the film's enduring and influential place in the horror genre and our culture, and a thoughtful meditation on why we love to be scared in the first place.


MY THOUGHTS: The title says it all. The author, Gunnar, who played 'Leatherface' discusses what it was like filming this over the course of eight weeks in the awful Texas heat in 1973 and getting screwed out of their money. He originally only got $800 for the role.

Most interesting to me was that the story was 'rooted' in Hansel and Gretel (who doesn't love that story?) and that Leatherface's mask and home 'furnishings' were inspired by American murderer Ed Gein, which I already knew, having seen shows on Ed and having read a book about him years ago. FYI- Ed also made leggings and a 'mammary vest' from real humans. He killed two women and robbed graves to get other female body parts. It would have been real cool for Leatherface to have worn a vest like that. Gunnar said that during filming of the final scene when Sally (Marilyn Burns) gets away, he was stepping up into the back of the truck, his foot got caught and the truck driver pulled off, dragging Gunnar. That was a true accident so they refilmed it but I think they should have left that in. Maybe have Sally try to untangle his foot or something. But this was low budget and there wasn't time or money for that.

Gunnar mistakenly said that Ed robbed his own mother's grave (page 92) and put the bones back in her bed. Wrong. He did no such thing. He loved his mother and closed her room off. It was the only clean place in the house.

Some interesting tidbits are: that the opening scene was to be of a dead dog's eye, which they filmed, but they decided against using a domesticated animal. They decided against using a dead horse too. Most of the bones in the film were found in pastures. Some of the dialogue was improvised. Paul, the awful actor who played wheelchair-bound Franklin (I can't stand his character!), wasn't as horrible in real life as he'd lead everyone to believe. During the course of filming none of the actors were allowed to wash their clothes, ever, for fear of colors fading or something else happening to them at the cleaners, since no one had a duplicate set.

Though the book is fairly short I got a bit bored with the day to day goings on at the shoot. There are 16 pages of black and white photos from the set in the book, which is nice.

I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.