Mt. Holz Science Fiction Society

08/21/20 -- Vol. 39, No. 8, Whole Number 2133

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Co-Editor: Evelyn Leeper, * *

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Hazard (comments by Mark R. Leeper)

First on the Moon (comments by Evelyn C. Leeper)

ALL HAIL THE POPCORN KING (film review by Mark R. Leeper)

Restrooms (letter of comment by Steve Milton)

Americans and Guns (letter of comment by Keith F. Lynch)

Hot Food (letter of comment by Scott Dorsey)

This Week's Reading (Classics Illustrated comics)

(book comments by Evelyn C. Leeper)


TOPIC: Hazard (comments by Mark R. Leeper)

From Mark Leeper's Diary March 13, 1987:

At the request of certain people at certain insurance companies who

provide AT&T benefits, we are moving the science fiction club

notice to Friday, rather than Wednesday.  It seems that there is

concern that some people in the club are not taking the precautions

necessary to avoid Mondays altogether.  Every week, there are AT&T

employees who suddenly come to the realization that it really is

Monday and that they have a whole week of stressful work in front

of them.  Mondays have been attributed to stress, heart attack,

suicide, colitus, Ostran's Disease, and in-grown fingernails.  It

has been considered to move Monday later in the week so that it

would not be so stressful, but that suggestion was dropped after

one very high AT&T official labeled the idea "dumb-ass." More

popular with management has been the idea of encouraging people to

work their normal hours on weekends as well as during the week so

that Mondays would be no more stressful than any other day.  This

of being for the good health of the general employee population,

for the simple reason that it was expected that some of the

employees, not knowing what was good for them, might balk at the

abolition of days off.  Then, one of the bright young executives in

the board room came up with a suggestion worthy of this innovative

company.  It was simple and elegant.  He suggested increasing the

work pressure on employees so they would voluntarily work on

weekends.  The rest is history.

However, until the plan reaches its final phases, there is the

problem that there are still some employees who participate in the

unhealthy practice of not working weekends.  For these it is feared

that the shock of discovering that it is Monday could be

disastrous.  To counteract this danger we are arranging that notice

arrive later to make it more convenient to be read on Monday.  It

is hoped that reading the notice and seeing how bad my writing is

should make anyone feel better and perhaps downright superior.

Please, then, if you get the notice on Friday--and some locations

do--don't read it right away.  Scientists have determined that you

need very little cheering up on Fridays.  That need peaks for

almost everyone at 8:37 AM on Monday as the realization of just how

far away a weekend is dawns on the average employee.  The need then

diminishes as the week wears on.  Save the notice and we can all

read it on Monday.  Jumping the gun or postponing could be a

serious health hazard.  [-mrl]


TOPIC: First on the Moon (comments by Evelyn C. Leeper)

We are re-watching the HBO mini-series "From the Earth to the Moon"

and in the episode about Apollo 11, the TV reporter seems to be

baiting Buzz Aldrin about the fact that he won't be the first to

step on the moon, and wouldn't he like to be?  And this apparently

leads to Aldrin tryiing to get NASA to change its mind about the


I suppose I believe all this happened as shown, since they do seem

to be striving for accuracy.  But my question is whether Aldrin

continued to regret it (or still regrets it), or whether the effect

that Armstrong's selection had on him made Aldrin come to be

happier that he was not first.  [-ecl]


TOPIC: ALL HAIL THE POPCORN KING (film review by Mark R. Leeper)

CAPSULE: ALL HAIL THE POPCORN KING is a study of the surrealist

writer Joe R. Lansdale, author of 50 novels and 500 short stories.

He has a coterie of twisted but loyal fans as twisted as Joe.

This makes for a fun film.  I rate this 55-minute documentary a

low +2 on the -4 to +4 scale or 7/10.

It is hard to tell which is the most insane, Joe R. Lansdale, the

stories he writes, or the effort to disentangle the two.  Each

seems to crawl spiderlike along the border between surrealism and

reality.  Like his fiction, Lansdale's novels and stories do not

fit into a world defined by others.  The result comes tumbling out

of Lansdale's typewriter with a frenetic style like Monty Python,

but with a sharper, darker edge.  The film covers Lansdale from his

pre-school days when he was reading and writing and his age was

deep in the single digits.

This film is a fun biographic study of Lansdale entitled ALL HAIL

THE POPCORN KING.  It clocks in at 55 minutes, just a bit too short

to be feature-length and is just a bit too long not to be

dangerous.  Don Coscarelli, who wrote and directed BUBBA HO-TEP is

among the fanatic Lansdale followers, and is also interviewed in


BUBBA HO-TEP takes place in the present day in an East Texas

nursing home.  It imprisons Elvis Presley (played by Bruce

Campbell) and John F. Kennedy (played by Ossie Davis).  Both are

alive, contrary to popular opinion, but getting darn tired of the

life of dismal routine.  So the two patients set out for reasons

never explained to try to capture the mummy, a walking deadly

Pharaoh, who is wrapped in bandages and thousands of years old.

Lansdale's story may have a great feel of location but also

intentionally uses its time to play with the readers' sense of

passing time.  Joe was born in Nacogdoches.  He got his start in

writing by eating his mother's popcorn made with rancid lard.  It

gave him bad dreams that he used as a source of fantasy for his

writing career, so that, such as it is, is literally built on his

dreams.  Director Hansi Oppenheimer uses an art motif borrowed from

a rundown drive-in.

As director, Oppenheimer shares some secrets of Lansdale's writing

style.  Every page of Lansdale is drenched in Texas atmosphere that

feels authentic.

This film is a paean to deep counter-culture.  Overall I rate ALL

HAIL THE POPCORN KING a +2 on the -4 to +4 scale or 7/10.

Film Credits:


What others are saying:




TOPIC: Restrooms (letter of comment by Steve Milton)

In response to Paul Dormer's comments on "loos" in the 08/14/20

issue of the MT VOID, Steve Milton writes:

"Loo" from the French "L'eau".  [-smm]


TOPIC: Americans and Guns (letter of comment by Keith F. Lynch)

In response to Evelyn's comments on Americans and guns in the

08/14/20 issue of the MT VOID, Keith F. Lynch writes:

Before I lived here (a rented room in a townhouse in Merrifield,

Virginia), a Ukrainian visitor was renting what's now my room.  I

was visiting when he asked his (now my) landlord/housemate and I if

he could borrow a gun, as he wanted to shop at the Target across

the street.  This is a very safe neighborhood, and neither of us

has ever owned a gun.  [-kfl]


TOPIC: Hot Food (letter of comment by Scott Dorsey)

In response to Robert K. Shull's comments on hot food in the

06/26/20 issue of the MT VOID, Scott Dorsey writes:

[Robert K. Shull writes,] "What you get depends a lot on where in

the US you are.  There's an Americanized Chinese dish called

"pepper chicken".  I've seen it in Washington, DC with black

pepper, in New Hampshire with bell/green pepper and on buffets in

Texas it's usually a 50/50 mix of chicken and jalapenos.  (New

Hampshire is still the only place I've ordered Thai food "five

star" spicy and still found no detectable trace of "heat".)

These are two different dishes.  The thing with green pepper will

be listed on the menu as quing/jiao/niu/rou or "pepper steak."  It

is an Americanization of the traditional Fujian


That dish has also become traditional Thai, Korean, and Japanese

food, after being adapted from the Chinese as well.

The black pepper thing is an adaptation of a southern Chinese thing

that you see in Hong Kong as hei/jiao/niu/liu.  (Literally black

pepper beef tenderloin.)

Part of the problem here is that we use the same basic word for

pepper, and the Chinese have totally different words for black and

green peppers.  Don't even get me started on long pepper.  [-sd]


TOPIC: This Week's Reading (book comments by Evelyn C. Leeper)

The other day Mark was looking for the Classics Illustrated edition

of ROBUR THE CONQUEROR that he was sure he had.  Well, we couldn't

find it, and checking the catalog turned up no entry, so it must

have been something from his childhood that had disappeared.  We

did had a Marvel Classics Comics edition of MASTER OF THE WORLD,

but that was not the same story.  This got us into a discussion of

whether the Marvel comics were just the "original" Classics

Illustrated with a new cover.  I thought they were, but Mark

(correctly) said they were not.

Well, it turned out that we had four different editions of

illustrated comics of THE INVISIBLE MAN: the "original" Classics

Illustrated #153 (price 15 cents), Marvel Classic Comics #25 (1977,

price 50 cents), the Spanish-language  edition of the "Classics

Ilustrados" #M-9 (1981, price M$33 in Mexico), and the new Classics

Illustrated #20 (1991, $3.95).  The two Marvel editions are the

same artwork, while only the text in the text blocks differing in

language.  Their artwork is reminiscent of the original Classics

Illustrated edition, but not identical and the text also differed.

The new Classics Illustrated was the most different.  To start

with, it is on heavy glossy paper bound as a book (not on saddle-

stapled newsprint), complete with an ISBN (0-425-12663-3).  And the

artwork is of a much more modern style, and did not imitate the

original nearly as much as the Marvel did.  (The latter had panels

that were very similar except for distance from the action, or

characters wearing the same red scarf, and so on.)

By the way, I put "original" in quotation marks above, because

Classics Illustrated began as "Classic Comics" (1941 through 1947).

However, the series appears to have just changed names, rather than

restarting, so I do not believe there was a "Classic Comics"

version of THE INVISIBLE MAN.  [-ecl]


                     Mark Leeper

* *

          Some of my best leading men have been dogs and horses.

                                          --Elizabeth Taylor