Walking With The Lord

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With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.

~ Psalm 119:10

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Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.

~ Ephesians 5:1-2

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I’m Dreaming of a Christmas In July: Warner Bros. Studio Store Catalogue, Holiday 1999

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Do I need an excuse to think about Christmas? Never. But when the thermometer in the car hit 40ºC recently during my monthly pandemic grocery shopping trip, I started longing a bit harder for colourful lights, glittery tinsel, and much cooler temperatures.

If I live to be 90 years old, you’ll still find me with a paper book in my hands, not a digital one. And there is a particular type of paper book that will forever hold a special place in my heart: The lowly catalogue.

A few years ago, I had so much fun poring over the 1992 and ’93 Sears Christmas Wish Books, seeing what I had gotten for Christmas as a kid, and making a wish list of things I wanted but didn’t receive. Today we’re going to thumb through the pages of another Christmas catalogue: The rare Warner Bros. Studio Store catalogue, Holiday 1999 edition.

The Warner Bros. Studio Store is a place that I wish I had been able to visit at least once in my life. Sadly, there were no brick and mortar stores in Canada, and in 2001, they all went out of business anyway. But fortunately, my mom and dad did manage to buy me a few things from their store via online and telephone in the late ’90s. And just what did the Warner Bros. Studio Store sell that I was interested in? Two words:

Scooby. Doo. Continue reading

The British Weekly, July 1, 1897: “Mr. Bram Stoker: A Chat With the Author of Dracula”

It is undoubtedly a very fascinating theme, since it touches both on mystery and fact. In the Middle Ages the terror of the vampire depopulated whole villages.

When Irish author Bram Stoker’s Gothic novel about a mysterious debonair Count was first published in 1897, he couldn’t have possibly known that he’d penned a masterpiece as immortal as the Count himself.

Yes, it is unquestionably Mary Shelley’s disturbing horror story of “Frankenstein” which is credited with birthing the genre of literary horror. But it was Stoker’s distinguished and dauntless Count Dracula who truly refined that genre into the tantalizing, forbidden fantasy world we, in the year two thousand and twenty, have come to know and love.

“Dracula” was published on May 26, 1897. Little more than a month later, an article appeared in the July 1, 1897 issue of The British Weekly: A Journal of Social and Christian Progress: “Mr. Bram Stoker. A Chat with the Author of Dracula”. Stoker was interviewed for the article by Miss Jane Thompson Stoddart, known affectionately to readers of The British Weekly by the name “Lorna”. At the publication, Stoddart was chief assistant to Dr. William Robertson Nicholl, proprietor, editor and contributor to British Weekly. He also helped found the paper in 1886. Continue reading

Recipe: A Summer Pie That’s Just “Peachy”

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Peach Pie: Two Ways
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When the cool chill of October rolls in, there’s no question that I start craving the warm spiciness of apples and cinnamon. Perhaps you’re more of a pumpkin person, and thoughts of pumpkin pie or any of the umpteen dozen things you can consume of the “pumpkin spice” variety begin to permeate your mind once the September calendar page has been discarded.

But when the welcome-yet-debilitating heat of Summer finally wafts in, bringing sunshine and flowers and birds, high heels and pretty dresses, for me, there’s one thing I look forward to most of all: Peaches.

Ripe, juicy, fuzzy peaches.

Okay, living in Northern Ontario, I’m not sure I’ve ever actually even seen much less tasted an actual “ripe” peach, but if you put enough sugar on anything, it usually tastes pretty good!

I love the smell of peaches, the taste of peaches… I even love the colour peach. And two weeks ago, when I ventured out for my now-monthly grocery run, I saw that peaches were on sale and quickly snagged myself a bag. Continue reading

Twilight Zone Mystic Seer Replica: My Full Custom Set of 15 Fortune Cards from “Nick of Time”

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When I was little Billy Bayles’s age, I didn’t want a toy telephone that could talk to dead grandmothers. I didn’t want the ability to send people to the corn field with my mind, like pint-size Anthony Fremont could. No, what I desperately wanted when I was a child was my very own Twilight Zone Mystic Seer fortune telling machine.

The devil-headed, rhinestone-eyed, fortune-distributing napkin dispenser was the true star of the season 2 TZ episode “Nick of Time“. Starring William Shatner and Patricia Breslin, “Nick of Time” is a lesson in the perils of superstition, and the dangers of all too readily giving up our free will, and abandoning logic for the sake of emotion.

The Mystic Seer is just a fun novelty napkin holder, living out its relatively short pre-digital-age life on a table in a diner, in a small town called Ridgeview. But to highly suggestive people like Don Carter, this little hunk of metal and springs becomes a tyrant, a tyrant that will take complete control of your future… one penny at a time.

In 2014, I spent $400 on a “super-deluxe” Mystic Seer replica from Entertainment Earth. Yes, I said $400. I’d rather not talk about it, thanks. If you’re interested in reading my detailed review, complete with a fun photo documentation of how my relationship with Don (what I named my Seer) began, then click over to “Penny For Your Thoughts?“.

While there were definitely other things about my replica Seer that I was disappointed with, its biggest failure was the fortune cards. Or lack thereof.

The Seers came with 24 cards. But it was three copies each of 8 different fortunes. There are 15 unique fortunes in the “Nick of Time” episode. 7 fortunes were missing. Continue reading

Sacrifice: Giving Of Yourself Instead of Taking From Others

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You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

~ Psalm 51:16-17 Continue reading

Chiller Diller “Collectors Haven” Thriller: My Scooby Doo Collection Video Feature with Mike Pingel

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How much stuff does one accumulate in 30 years? Well, why don’t we find out!

I was four or five years old when I fell in love with the cute but cowardly cartoon Great Dane known as Scooby Doo. And honestly, 30-ish years later, nothing has changed.

I have been interviewed before about my not-so-secret, ever-growing Scooby collection, by both Syfy Wire and Scooby Addict respectively. Then last week, I was invited by Mike Pingel to be a guest on his new YouTube show “Collectors Haven”. Always excited at the prospect of waxing poetic about my ol’ pal Scooby Doo, I, in turn, welcomed Mike into my closet (quite literally — that’s where my Scooby collection is displayed!), and the result was a 40-minute video where we laughed, chatted, and explored the depths of my Scooby memorabilia.

I had so much fun doing this video interview with Mike, an acclaimed author whom you might recognize from a show called “Chasing Farrah” — among other impressive accomplishments, for a time, Mike worked as assistant to actress Farrah Fawcett of “Charlie’s Angels” fame. Continue reading

Terror Tuesday: Horror Anthologies (Part III): “Ghost Story”

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When I sit down to watch television, my preference is a show that has a clear beginning, middle, and end; where I don’t need to have any prior knowledge of the plot or characters, and no need to wait another week (or an entire season) to find out what happens.

Give me a procedural over a serial any day of the week. Better yet, give me an anthology!

A few years ago, I began a blog series that featured some of my favourite horror and mystery anthology programs. Terror Tuesday: Horror Anthologies Part I rounded up my top picks, and a few of the most notable: Hammer House of Horror, Tales from the Dark Side, The Twilight Zone, Beyond Belief, The Outer Limits, and Tales From the Crypt.

Part II covered some classics, like Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Goosebumps, and Night Gallery, but also introduced my readers to some lesser-known gems: The Ray Bradbury Theater, Hammer: House of Mystery and Suspense, and Boris Karloff’s Thriller.

Today, I want to finally revisit the horror/mystery anthology universe and focus on one forgotten series in particular. Produced by horror legend William Castle himself… this is “Ghost Story”.

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Fear Not, The Lord Is With Us

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This is what the LORD says – He who created you, O Jacob, He who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.

~ Isaiah 43:1-2 Continue reading