Sunday, December 8, 2013

Imagine by John Lennon: October 9, 1940 to December 8, 1980

John Lennon

October 9, 1940 - December 8, 1980


Music & Lyrics by John Lennon

Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today...

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace...

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world...

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one

Thursday, November 7, 2013

November 8 2013 - Comet Inspired Cocktails Book Movie Music Recommendations

"Comets are like cats: they have tails, and they do precisely what they want.”

- David H. Levy, Comets: Creators and Destroyers

The night sky is so full of magic. The stars alone dazzle like a sea of gems. The moon reminds us that our life giving sun will rise again as she reflects and reinterprets its powerful forces. Occasionally we are witness to meteor showers, falling stars we can all wish upon. But one of the rarer occurrences is the sighting of a majestic, mysterious comet.

Comets are celestial bodies made of ice and star dust that orbit our sun. They have "tails" because as they near the sun the ice starts to heat up and vaporize. According to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratories, there are about 4,000 known comets in our solar system.

Comets have appeared in art. There is an image of a comet in the Bayeux Tapestry and in the Adoration of the Magi as painted by Giotto.

One of the best known comets is Halley's Comet, famous because of its regular appearance every 75 years. There was also the spectacular Shoemaker-Levy comet, which crashed into the planet Jupiter in 1994 (See David Levy's books below). A recently discovered comet, ISON, is one you might be able to view this week.

Superstitions surround the appearance of a comet. It is usually considered an evil omen. Everything from war to famine has been blamed on comets. Luckily we are better educated than our ancestors and understand that a comet isn't the devil's messenger, rather a wonder of our universe.

I say let us toast Comets and celebrate their beauty and learn their secrets. Below I have recommended a few cocktails, books, music and films I hope you will enjoy! Viva le Comete!

NOTE: There is still no definitive answer as to whether or not it was a comet or meteor (or UFO!!!) that exploded over Tunguska Siberia in 1908. I've included a book regarding this mystery below. I've also included a link to a CD, yes a CD, about Tunguska created in 2007 by the United States Government.


Comet Cocktail
  • Cocktail Glass
  • Cocktail Shaker
  • 2 ounces Cognac
  • 1 ounce grapefruit juice
  • 1 dash Van der Hum Liqueur
  • 1 dash Angostura Bitters
  • Crushed Ice
  • Lemon wedge for garnish
Chill your cocktail glass.
Fill cocktail shaker half full with crushed ice. Add all ingredients except lemon wedge. Shake for about 30 seconds. Strain into chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with lemon wedge.

Fireball Shot
  • Shot Glass
  • Bacardi Rum 151
  • 3-4 Drops Tabasco
Fill the shot glass with the rum. Add a few dashes Tabasco.
Bottoms up!

Pangalactic Gargle Blaster Shot
  • Shot Glass
  • Malibu Rum
  • Midor Liqueur
Fill the shot glass with half rum half Midori.
Bottoms up!


Comets and How to Observe Them (Astronomers' Observing Guides) by Richard Schmude Jr.
Comet, Revised by Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan
Comets, Popular Culture, and the Birth of Modern Cosmology by Sara Schechner
Deep Sky Objects: The Best And Brightest from Four Decades of Comet Chasing by David Levy
Comets: Creators and Destroyers by David Levy
The Tunguska Mystery (Astronomers' Universe) by Vladimir Rubtsov
21st Century Guide to the Tunguska Event, Siberia 1908, Comets, Asteroids, and Near-Earth Object Threats (CD-ROM) by the United States Government.

Now and Forever: Somewhere a Band Is Playing & Leviathan '99 by Ray Bradbury
Lucifer's Hammer by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle
In the Days of the Comet by H.G. Wells


Night Of The Comet (1984)
Shopping and fighting zombies. It's just an ordinary day for two Valley Girls. You're gonna love this one!
Deep Impact (1998)
Yes, this is a big goofy disaster film with a ridiculous plot. But it's fun and it stars Morgan Freeman. That makes it worth the watch!
Maximum Overdrive (1986) This film, directed by Stephen King, is scary and fun. During an eight day pass through a comet's tail all machines on Earth become animated, and not in a good way. For some reason I don't understand you cannot buy this movie new directly from Amazon for less than $50.00. I highly recommend it but unless you are a rabid Stephen King fan I suggest you rent it from Amazon or perhaps borrow it from a friend.


Holst: The Planets
MAGNIFICENT! Great background music to read by.
The Best Of Bill Haley & His Comets: 20th Century Masters-(Millennium Collection)
Okay, so this music isn't really about comets but it sure is great rock and roll!

Special thanks to Dylan A. Kent for all her help with the cocktail recipes. Follow her on Twitter @DylanAKent

If you found these Library of Ghosts recommendations useful, please use the links above to purchase the items from Amazon. This helps support my blog. Thank You.

Comments encouraged. And don't forget to subscribe to get email notifications of new posts.

Have a great day!

Keywords: comet, comets, solar system, space, Halley's Comet, David Levy, ISON, Shoemaker-Levy, cocktails, fireball, pangalactic gargle blaster, Ray Bradbury, Larry Niven, Jerry Pournelle, H. G. Wells, Night of the Comet, Deep Impact, Holst, The Planets, Bill Haley & His Comets, Maximum Overdrive, Tunguska

Thursday, October 31, 2013

November 1, 2013 - Bee Inspired Cocktail Book Movie Music Recommendations

Bees – They Fly, They Sting, They Buzz, They Make Honey – Let’s Celebrate the Bees.

Autumn has arrived in the Northern Hemisphere. The Harvest of summer fruits and vegetables is over. And all that delicious nutritious abundance was brought to us by Nature’s most necessary creation – the Bee.

Bees may have nasty stingers but why not. They need to protect themselves. They are tiny in size but awesome in design and function. They pollinate the flowers and plants, which in turn feed us and our livestock and all other Earthly creatures great and small.

Our existence depends on the bees pollinating the flowering plants. Take away the bees and the whole interconnected system of life will collapse. As Martin Short’s character Ed Grimley might say - without the bees we are as doomed as doomed can be.

So today let’s celebrate the bee. Let’s learn more about the bees and appreciate their significant contribution to our world.

NOTE: the study of honey bees is called apiology. Melittology is the study of all bees.


Bee Cocktails

A classic but often overlooked cocktail:


Served in a rocks glass w/ice
1 1/2 oz. brandy
1/2 oz. white creme de menthe

A real Prohibition cocktail:

Bee's Knees

1 oz. Gin
Juice of 1/4 Lemon
1 tsp. Honey

Shake with crushed ice and strain


Bee Books

The Beekeeper's Bible: Bees, Honey, Recipes & Other Home Uses
A wonderful book that describes the basics of beekeeping, harvesting honey, making goods like making candles, furniture polish and beauty products. I'm adding this to my own holiday wish list.

Attracting Native Pollinators: The Xerces Society Guide, Protecting North America's Bees and Butterflies
A fascinating book co-authored by Dr. Marla Spivak, an expert on bees (see link below). Great book for gardeners and anyone interested in a healthy environment.

The Sacred Bee in Ancient Times and Folklore (Dover Books on Anthropology and Folklore)
I love books like this. I think finding out the meaning behind symbols and the allegory hidden in folktales and fairytales is fascinating.

The Beekeeper's Apprentice: Or On the Segregation of the Queen (Mary Russell Novels)
A great piece of fiction and a wonderful extension of the mysteries of Sherlock Holmes. I really enjoyed this one.

The Compleat Meadmaker : Home Production of Honey Wine From Your First Batch to Award-winning Fruit and Herb Variations
Because life is not complete if you don't have homemade mead!


Bee Movies

Bee Movie (Two-Disc Blu-ray/DVD Combo)
A very funny movie written by and starring Jerry Seinfeld.

The Secret Life of Bees [Blu-ray]
A wonderful movie starring the very talented Queen Latifah, Jennifer Hudson and Dakota Fanning. Special, nice.


Bee Music

Flight of the Bumble Bee / Scheherazade
Yes, this was an obvious choice. But a great recording by Kurt Masur.


Here’s a really interesting NPR/TED Radio Hour interview with “bee scientist” Dr. Marla Spivak. She talks about the importance of bees and the steady decline of bee populations in the United States since the end of World War II.

Read more about bees in this article “The Secret Life of Bees” by Carl Zimmer. Follow Carl Zimmer on Twitter at @CarlZimmer

This post was inspired by my fellow Twitterer @GarlanGlave who, for some reason, has a giant bee atop his head. Follow him on Twitter and be sure to visit his blog.

Special thanks to Dylan A. Kent for all her help with the cocktail recipes. Follow her on Twitter @DylanAKent

If you found these Library of Ghosts recommendations useful, please use the links above to purchase the items from Amazon. This helps support my blog. Thank You.

Comments encouraged. And don't forget to subscribe to get email notifications of new posts.

Have a great day!

Keywords: book, movie, film, music, cocktail, cocktails, bee, bees, honey, Stinger, Bee's Knees, Dr. Marla Spivak, apiology, melittology, beekeeping, Laurie R. King, entomology

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Where the Ghouls Are

Dark Shadows Halloween Special

I couldn't let Halloween and a Red Sox World Series pass without
a little New England fun!

Do you yearn to strolling on a rocky coast after twilight against
a crashing sea?  Do you wish someone would pay you well to live amongst
vampires, werewolves and witches in an old mansion?  Where do all the
cool ghouls and gals hang out anyway?

I suggest popping into The Blue Whale in Collinsport, Maine
and ordering their signature drink, it's in a Collins glass, of course:

The Blue Whale

Collins glass w/ice
1 oz. vodka
2 oz. sour mix
1/2 oz. Blue Curacao

Give it a short shake
Fill with club soda
Orange & Cherry garnish

Carolyn Collins loves what's on the jukebox!

I secretly dream about owning this, what Dark Shadows fan doesn't?


 My Name is Victoria Winters t-shirts, mugs, hats & more at Way of the Vampire on Cafepress

Friday, October 25, 2013

October 23, 2013 Halloween Cocktail Book Film Recommendation – CLOWNS!!!

Scared of clowns? A lot of people are.

 If you want to indulge your fear and have a little fun this October 31st I’d like to suggest a cocktail, book and film to enhance your Harlequin Halloween night.

     First, let’s start with the cocktail. It's called an Opera. I present this as a tribute to that sad and murderous clown Pagliacci of Puccini's opera by the same name.



Maraschino Liqueur
Lemon Peel
Cracked Ice
Cocktail Shaker

Add cracked ice to cocktail shaker.
Add 1 part Dubonnet, 1 part Maraschino Liqueur, 4 parts Gin.
Stir and strain into cocktail glass. Add a twist of lemon peel.

     Ramsey Campbell’s book The Grin of the Dark is a scary, moody, unforgettable novel. Film critic Simon Lester is writing a book about a silent-film era clown comedian named Tubby Thackeray. But when Lester sets out to find a long lost Tubby film, well, things turn rather nasty. Very nasty. Tubby’s performances were known to drive people mad. Literally. After a while Lester begins to wonder if he himself isn’t headed for Bedlam.

The Grin of the Dark by Ramsey Campbell

     The film is, of course, the classic Killer Klowns From Outer Space. Not too many spoilers here but let me whet your appetite with visions of a space ship shaped like a circus tent and weapons shaped liked toys. This is a fun and frightening movie. But if you really are afraid of clowns I wouldn’t recommend watching Killer Klowns alone.

Killer Klowns From Outer Space (1988) Written by Charles Chiodo, Stephen Chiodo and Edward Chiodo. Directed by Stephen Chiodo.

     One additional suggestion.

     If you decide to have a Killer Klowns From Outer Space Halloween Viewing Party don’t forget the delicious piping hot popcorn, properly salted and buttered. To make the serving of this movie house and circus favorite even more fun why not present the popcorn to your guests in these very retro popcorn bags.

     For additional reading regarding the fear of clowns have a look at this article The History and Psychology of Clowns Being Scary. According to the article it may have been Charles Dickens himself who created the image of the scary clown when he edited the memoirs of the comic pantomime player Joseph Grimaldi .

Special thanks to DylanAKent for all her help with the cocktail recipe. Follow her on Twitter @DylanAKent

If you found these Library of Ghosts recommendations useful, please use the links above to purchase the items from Amazon. This helps support my blog. Thank You.

Comments encouraged. And don't forget to subscribe to get email notifications of new posts.

Have a great day!

Keywords: Halloween, clown, clowns, The Grin of the Dark, Ramsey Campbell, Killer Klowns from Outer Space, popcorn, popcorn bags, circus, cocktail, cocktails, Halloween Party, gift, birthday gift, holiday gift, film, movie, book, recommendations

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

October 22, 2013 Halloween Cocktail Book Film Recommendation

Halloween is the time when portals open between worlds.

It’s that one particular night of the year when spirits, faeries and more than a few ghouls mingle with the humans and exchange stories, dark spells and perhaps a kiss or two.
          If you’d like to relax and snuggle with a few revenants this Halloween or if you’re planning on a more intimate human get together, I’d like to suggest the revenants come in the form cocktails, books and films.

Let’s start with the cocktails. We have two recommendations.

For the Gin lover:

New Moon

1 1/2 oz gin
1 1/2 oz triple sec
1/2 oz lime juice
2 1/2 oz tonic water
Lime Wedge

          Pour the gin, triple sec and lime juice into an old-fashioned glass filled with ice cubes.
          Stir well. Fill with tonic water, or add to taste.
          Stir again gently.
          Garnish with a lime wedge, and serve.

For the Vodka lover:

Vampire Kiss


1 1/2 oz chilled Vodka
1 1/2 oz chilled Champagne or Cava (we recommend Freixenet from Spain)
3/4 oz Chambord black raspberry liqueur
Red sugar for rimmed martini glass


          Rim the glass with red sugar (use red food coloring or red sugar from the baking aisle).
          Into a martini glass pour vodka and 1/2 of the Chambord raspberry liqueur.
          Top with Champagne.
          Drizzle the remaining Chambord into the glass over the back of a spoon. This allows the Chambord to make it float.

Drinking Glasses for Your Party:

Now to the books:

          This year let’s take a step back in time to the first decades of the 20th century and peruse the works of three groundbreaking writers. They are known as the big three of the pulp magazine Weird Tales:

H. P. Lovecraft
Robert E. Howard
Clark Ashton Smith

          Lovecraft, Howard (creator of Conan the Barbarian) and Smith all knew one another through voluminous amounts of letter writing. They played off each other’s works, creating tales of chilling viscous gods and weird cosmic worlds that plague the nightmares of human beings.
          These three authors created worlds and characters of true horror. They make Harry Potter’s troubles seem like an excursion to a Hello Kitty store. You might not want to sleep with the lights off after reading a few of these skin tingling tales.

Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre: The Best of H. P. Lovecraft
The Horror Stories of Robert E. Howard
The Tsathoggua Cycle: Terror Tales of the Toad God (Call of Cthulhu Fiction) by Clark Ashton Smith


          For the films I’d like to recommend first a documentary called Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown . John Carpenter, Guillermo Del Toro, Neil Gaiman, Stuart Gordon, Caitlin Kiernan, and Peter Straub discuss the life and work of the forefather of modern horror. Good stuff.

Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown (2009) Directed by Frank H. Woodward

          As for the horror stories on film I must recommend several movies starring the dashing Vincent Price. The first, called The Haunted Palace , is based on stories by Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe. It is directed by the legendary indie film maker and teacher Roger Corman.
          Another Corman classic is The Tomb of Ligeia . Price gives one of his best performances as a troubled, possessed man who cannot get over the death of his beloved Ligeia. Creepy and darkly romantic.
          Last is one of my absolute favorite movies. It’s called The Tingler . This gem again stars Vincent Price and was directed by the great movie showman William Castle.
          Price plays a scientist obsessed with discovering the source of fear in humans. What he finds will shock and surprise him and the audience.
          This movie includes some audience participation which you can do at home. I won’t say what. Also, when the movie was originally released in 1959 the director William Castle had the theatre seats wired so that when The Tingler made an appearance on screen the audience members received a low voltage shock. I was lucky enough to see this movie in a revival house that did wire some of the seats. Sizzling fun! But I don’t suggest you try this at home.

NOTE: A must read is Castle’s autobiography called Step Right Up!...I'm Gonna Scare The Pants Off America . It’s a riot. The version of the book that I own has a forward written by the fantabulous director John Waters.

The Haunted Palace (1963) Directed by Roger Corman
The Tomb of Ligeia (1965) Directed by Roger Corman
The Tingler (1959) Directed by William Castle


          Popcorn is always an ideal food for reading or movie watching. But in keeping with the early 20th century book theme I liked to recommend Deviled Eggs, a food craze of the 1930s. Perfect for Halloween. Here are a couple of recipes:

Classic Deviled Eggs
Alton Brown's 4 Pepper Deviled Eggs

Special thanks to Dylan A. Kent for all her help with the cocktail recipes. Follow her on Twitter @DylanAKent

If you found these Library of Ghosts recommendations useful, please use the links above to purchase the items from Amazon. This helps support my blog. Thank You.

Comments encouraged. And don't forget to subscribe to get email notifications of new posts.

Have a Happy Halloween!

Keywords: cocktails, books, movies, film, H. P. Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith, Robert E. Howard, Vincent Price, Roger Corman, Halloween Party, gift, birthday gift, holiday gift, recommendations