Wednesday, December 24, 2014

K.A.C. 2014 - T - 1 ...

      And so we come to the end of another year of the K.A.C. - we've traveled down many weird and wonderful roads ... and speaking of roads, that brings me to my final Christmas gift to you, my patient readers. Besides, doesn't the cover at left just scream Christmas goodwill and cheer to you? No? Well, read on ... 

     Seabury Quinn (1889 - 1969) was one of Weird Tales' most prolific and popular writers during the magazine's run, winning multiple readers polls over the years for favorite author. He was mainly known for a series of 93 stories and novellas, which ran from 1925 - 1951 that starred his French 'occult detective' Jules de Grandin and his companion in crime Dr. Trowbridge (which is how I became introduced to his writing, when Popular Library reprinted a number of the stories in a paperback series during 1976 - '77). He also wrote a number of other stories, including our selection for this year's Christmas tale.

     Looking back over all the years I've done the K.A.C., I'm surprised I've never posted this one before. First published in the January, 1938 edition of WEIRD TALES (with the amazing Margaret Brundage cover at left), it's a marvelous novella entitled ROADS. Anthologist Sam Moskowitz called the story, "the greatest adult Christmas story written by an American". It was so favorably received that it was genre publisher Arkham Books' first hardcover book in 1948, beautifully illustrated by my favorite fantasy artist, Virgil Finlay. Red Jacket Press has published a limited edition facsimile reprint volume of the Arkham Books edition, and have this to say about the story: 

     "Divided into three sections, Quinn’s tale begins in the days of the Roman Empire, where the mighty gladiator Claus — a barbarian from the frozen Northland — has just finished his term of service in the province of Judea. On the journey back to his homeland, Claus chances upon a poor family under attack and saves them from a murderous band of soldiers. With this selfless act, his life is changed forever.

     Claus goes on to travel further than he ever could have imagined. Crossing from one end of the Empire to the other and back again, he eventually outlives the power of Rome and the dark ages that follow it, and witnesses the rise of new civilizations on its former lands. Immune to the effects of time, Claus accumulates the wisdom of many lifetimes before discovering the final road he is destined to follow — a path which will lead him to his true calling, and fulfill a promise made to one very special child on behalf of all the children of the world."

     You can order their edition here: (well worth it, especially for the accompanying Finlay illustrations), or for you digital types, you can get it for your Kindle via at this link:

     Surprisingly, the story has not been anthologized very often. In fact, I know of only one out of print anthology that carried it, a 1965 Pyramid Books paperback called Worlds of Weird (seen at right), which had a second printing in 1977. For you used book lovers, this is one to keep your eyes open for next time you go on a store run! Plus the cover by Finlay (with a 'Space Santa' and his bag of planets) is rather fitting for the season, yes?

     Whatever the format, you owe it to yourself to track down and read this timeless tale. It's one of the best pieces ever written by Quinn and it just MAY change the way you look at a certain jolly fat man for years to come.


     And with that recommendation, our time is done. I hope we've entertained, enlightened and brought you some enjoyment over the last few weeks, and have made this season a little less hectic and a little more humorous. Thank you all for reading and for your support and comments. As usual, we'll do it again starting December 1st next year.

Until then, I wish you all the happiness under the moon and stars - Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

K.A.C. 2014 - T - 2 ...

     Welcome to our next to last offering of 2014 - it's time for our Image(s) of the Year! First the nice ... seriously, was there ever any doubt what it would be this year? Since Krampus has been our official K.A.C. mascot from the beginning, this one was a shoo-in. 

     Now to the 'naughty' ... rather than publish the image itself, I'm going to provide the link and you can choose to see it or not - I'll give you some hints. It is reminiscent of our very first Image of the Year back in 2008 (which I republished in 2012). It also has a similar theme to a Fox 'documentary' hosted by Jonathan Frakes in 1995. And I think that's about all I'm saying in the clue department - if you thought the 'shaved reindeer' from a few days back was unpalatable, then you might want to skip clicking on this: 

      Think that was something? Well, kids, we've saved the most astonishing for last! The literary trend called 'paranormal romance' hit its peak a few years ago with Twilight and all its sequels ... as a result, every kind of 'vampire romance' flooded the shelves. When that cooled off, it moved on to sexy werewolves, etc. I had figured these kind of books had run their course - sadly (or not), I was wrong ... so, so wrong. 

     When my wife first told me this existed, I refused to believe her. She finally had to show me the link and I just stared agog at it - I'd say somebody is going to get Krampus' switch for this, but given the audience it is aimed at, they would probably like it! Rather than take my word for it, why not take a look at the link below and read the book's full description:   

     As jaw-dropping as that is, it's still not the most outrageous title out there! At this point, I don't even know how you classify these - 'mythological romances', 'crypto-erotica', etc. - I give up. If A Kiss From Krampus is too 'weak sauce' for you and you want to step up your game, then you're probably ready for the 'Moan For Bigfoot' anthology (NOT its real name ... see below!) ... I wish I was making this up! We're nothing if not gluttons for punishment here at the K.A.C., so in the spirit of completeness, here's the link:

     And (since I know you're going to ask) NO, I haven't read either of these titles! :)



     Well, that went a lot darker than I intended for our next-to-last entry of the year.  C'mon, seriously, you want to make out with THAT? Krampus is not amused! Let's end this column with a more traditional look at all things Krampus and the group dedicated to making sure the Big Guy will be terrifying ne'er-do-well children for generations to come - see the link below! Make sure you watch the accompanying video! 


     One more entry to go as we put the K.A.C. to bed for 2014! I promise it will be a lot more sedate than today's craziness! See you tomorrow!

Monday, December 22, 2014

K.A.C. 2014 - T - 3 ...

     Three days to go! I've touched on many aspects of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol over the years (for example, my December 21st, 2011 entry) and still more trivia continues to come to light!

     It turns out the character of Ebenezer Scrooge was based on a real person, who was actually a bit of a rogue and not at all like the character Dickens wrote. He became the man we know and love due to a mild case of dyslexia and poor eyesight. Read the whole amazing tale here!

      I would be remiss if I didn't mention the passing of Norman Bridwell on December 12th. He was known the world over for his series of Clifford, The Big Red Dog books. Less known, however, is his own take on the season called The Witch's Christmas. It's a charming children's book about how different it is when you're a witch and how you approach the holiday season. She even saves Santa and the reindeer at the end! To learn more about a part of your childhood woefully ignored, go see The Paperback Pirate's writeup:


      Christmas Witches not weird enough for you? Want to stand out and be noticed at the Holiday Party? Say no more! Just slip into this Reindeer Superhero costume and you're ready to take on the world (or a furry convention). There's also Basic Santa Man (that just sounds so sad), Goldmember Santa and Santa's Big Head Suit! Come on, how can you have not figured out these are all Japanese Christmas costumes by now? Stare in shock and awe at the link below!

     Only two more entries to go!      

Sunday, December 21, 2014

K.A.C. 2014 - T - 4 ...

     Before we get going on today's entry, I wanted to wish the Ideals Company congratulations on their 70th Anniversary Christmas Edition this year! I wrote about my long-standing relationship with this annual magazine and the teacher who started me on it - see my blog entry of December 20th, 2010 for the full story.

     The magazine began in 1944, during the height of World War II. I have many of the early issues and was struck particularly by the war-year issues, which I wrote about in my December 24th, 2011 entry. Anyways, I'm glad the magazine is still going strong all these years later - it marks my personal beginning of the holiday season each year, buying the new edition in late November. Here's to many more!


      Here's a nice surprise - Marvel's 2014 Holiday card featuring everybody's favorite sentinent Christmas tree, Groot! Sadly, everyone involved dropped the ball on what could have been the 'must have' toy of the season - a dancing Baby Groot (as seen at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy). The popularity of the film caught the studio off-guard and the rush to come up with tie-in products was delayed as a result. There IS a Dancing Groot Bobblehead out, but it's not the same ... the ACTUAL Dancing Groot is coming, BTW ... it just won't be here before 2015. 


      We're almost done here for the year and we've barely mentioned our K.A.C. mascot, Krampus! Turns out he's been getting a bad rep this whole time - but don't take it from us! When an Oscar-winning actor takes up the Krampus mantle, you've GOT to listen! Take it away, Christoph Waltz!


     Last but not least, we're two days away from the Image of the Year. How can we top the shaved reindeer, you ask? By embracing the spirit of the season and nominating TWO photos ... one naughty and one nice! Check back with us for their unveiling - more tomorrow!   

Saturday, December 20, 2014

K.A.C. 2014 - T - 5 ...

     Five days left and my wife sends me this pic ... excellent! It reminded me of a book my cousin Jane had given me a number of years ago when she worked in the publishing business, an art book called On Tender Hooks featuring the off-the-wall works of Isabel Samaras. She has a unique take on all the old pop culture icons, unlike anyone I've ever seen - just a warning that some of her paintings are NSFW. Take a look at her website below:



      Here's the original illustration from her book that I was reminded of by the photo above - it also answers the question posed by my friend Mark when he asked, "Who would be the Three Wise Men in this scenario?" Here's your answer, Big Guy! 

     For more of her truly bizarre (and kinky) art, you can get a copy of her book here - makes a perfect last-minute gift for Grandma!

     Let's jump now from Monster Nativities to Monster Trees. Proving if you look long and hard enough, you can find a film about anything, we present the infamous 2008 short film TREEVENGE. It's exactly what it sounds like and - fair warning - if you're squeamish, this film is not for you! Here's the official description: " (The film) details the experiences and horrifying reality of the lives of Christmas trees. Clearly, for trees, Christmas isn’t the exciting “peace on earth” that is experienced by most. After being hacked down, and shipped away from their homes, they quickly become strung up, screwed into an upright position for all to see, exposed in a humiliation of garish decorations. But this Christmas will be different, this Christmas the trees have had enough, this Christmas the trees will fight back. ‘Treevenge’ could be a short film about the end of days for Christmas trees, or perhaps, the end of humanity?” It's films like this that bolster my case why we should get an artificial tree each year! 


     I don't think I can top that today, so we'll end it here! Come back tomorrow after we clean up the mess! 

Friday, December 19, 2014

K.A.C. 2014 - T - 6 ...

     Breaking news! It has just come to our attention here at the K.A.C. that the original inspiration for a Charlie Brown Christmas and the 'Charlie Brown Tree' came from none other than ... Vincent Price and his daughter Victoria! :)  OK, we may be stretching things a wee bit, but isn't this a great picture? Thanks to Mark R. for the find!

We're going to ramp it up for our final six days, and what better way to start than with a look at the ten most bizarre Christmas gifts. They include the Monkey Brain Bowl, Bacon Toothpaste, Blood Bath Shower Gel and ... this! They're all found at the link below!

     At this point in the game, if you're still looking for last-minute holiday gifts, you're pretty much out of luck, unless you pay extravagantly fast shipping expenses. Just get a gift card and call it a day. BUT - if you want to rock out a New Year's Party and need something to bring, look no further! What you need is the five pound life size Gummi Skull! Celebrate the death of the Old Year with this shockingly sweet reminder that the clock's a-tickin'! 

     More tomorrow!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

K.A.C. 2014 - T - 7 ...

     One week to go ... YIKES! That and more is what you're going to be saying (or shrieking) when you see this year's collection of Creepy Santas! A BIG thank you to Jackie for the link! Prepare to be horrified! 

     And speaking of horrifying, what better way to following up that photogenic nightmare than with these wildly inappropriate Christmas ornaments for your tree - thanks to Jen for the link! .

     Taking a break from all the horror, it's time for our annual visit with Santa's three special helpers, Hardrock, Coco and Joe! They premiered on December 18th, 1956 (see my entry of December 18th, 2010, for their full story) and have been going strong ever since. Of course, Santa looks like a madman in this version, so hey - he fits right in with the other crazed Kringles on display! Sing along, everybody!

     More tomorrow!



Wednesday, December 17, 2014

K.A.C. 2014 - T - 8 ...

     OK, I think we can all agree no matter what you put on top of your tree (angel, star, etc.), it's not going to be more awesome than THIS! Thanks to Monica and others for forwarding this along! 

We continue with another Christmas short from the animation studio Blue-Zoo. Based out of London, this was their 2013 video Christmas card sent out to their clients. It's short and sweet, so take a look! 

     Want to skip the whole 'having to decorate a Christmas tree' thing this year, but still impress the neighborhood? Want to make everyone who visits you have their hair stand on end? No, I'm not speaking metaphorically - I mean really stand on end! How? By having your own one-of-a-kind Tesla Coil Christmas Tree! Check out the site with some other fine photos! 

     Before we leave for the day, remember to clean your chimneys before the Big Day! Don't let this happen to you!  See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

K.A.C. 2014 - T - 9 ...

     Our second Christmas short of the season is this wonderful extended trailer for a proposed film called CHRISTMAS KNIGHT. Made in 2012 by Mike Hill and his partner Jessica Capasso, it's an inspiring tale of the one person the world can depend on to protect the planet when aliens attack. Take a look at it and see how many superhero homages you can spot! I would have loved to have seen this as a full feature, but it will (sadly) have to remain an unfulfilled Christmas wish.! 


     Let's wrap up the holiday gift guide with the third and final part of Quint's List, Part 3! This edition is chock-full of games, both the board and computer variety, of every shape, size and description. It's also got every sort of toy and bizarro gift for the impossible to buy for, starting with this:

     Remember Colorforms? No? You would if you grew up during the 1960s or '70s - they consisted of a laminated background set and various plastic pieces you could put down on it, then peel off and replace them somewhere else on the set. Hey, don't look at me like that! This is what passed for FUN back in the day! Yes, I had them (and actually still have one today) - if YOU want to find out what the fun and excitement was about, here's your chance! The toy has been updated and re-named (for pesky legal reasons), but WE know what it really is! And who better to star in such a cheesefest than the one and only Nicolas Cage! Titled the 'Nicolas Cage Adventure Set', YOU can have hours of fun with NC on the moon OR in a thrilling jungle adventure setting, battling to find a lost city. How much is this going to set you back, you ask? Can you believe only $12.00? How can you pass up on THAT bargain? Answer - you can't! Here's how to get yours!

     Next up: Avengers Nesting Dolls! I shouldn't even need to say any more about this, except to point out that neither Hawkeye nor Black Widow made the grade here ... perhaps that's just as well, as that might be weird ... yeah, even I can't believe I just typed that! You know you want a set, so here you go! 

     If you're TRULY stuck trying to find the perfect gift for the fanboy or fangirl on your list, we have you covered there, as well. Why get them ONE gift when you can give them a WHOLE BOX of surprise gifts each month? There are two companies that offer this service - they're called Loot Crate and Dinosaur Dracula. You never know what you'll get each month (that's why they're called SURPRISES), but it will be interesting! Here's the link to both companies:

Loot Crate: 

Dinosaur Dracula:

     There's all sorts of Legos of licensed figures, as well as action figures, collectible statues, etc., for every budget. I was particularly taken with this H.P. Lovecraft bust, showing a number of his more memorable literary creations encircling him. He comes from Black Heart Enterprises and is going to set you back a cool $200, but ... say, what's that whispering voice? Ah, I see, the Great Cthulhu demands you get this! Think long and hard on your reply - it's not nice to piss off the Old Ones! 

     If you want the bragging rights of being the Ultimate Star Wars Fan (and if you've struck it rich in your smuggling runs in the Millennium Falcon), you're going to want to display this Life-Size Boba Fett! I have absolutely NO idea what you're going to DO with this thing once you have it, except dust it, talk to it when you're alone and wonder where your $7,500.00 went ... no, that is NOT a typo. Even without moving a muscle, Boba Fett has already made a nice commission on this bounty!

     There's a ton more stuff to explore at the link below, so get crackin!


     That closes out our gift giving guide for this year - come back tomorrow as we wind down our final eight days!

Monday, December 15, 2014

K.A.C. 2014 - T - 10 ...

     This just in - DON'T let the reindeer in your house! Oh, sure they LOOK cute when you first bring them home ... but they are NOT housebroken and they SHED like crazy ... and then you wind up with THIS. A public service message from the K.A.C. - and now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

     Ten days to go, frantic ones! If you're truly stuck for that hard to buy for person on your list, maybe some of these suggestions will help! Let's continue with Quint's List from Ain't It Cool News, Part 2.

     The list begins with a ton of books, with topics as varied as The Art of _________ (these have caught on heavily in recent years, showcasing preproduction art on many blockbuster films) to retrospective interviews with directors, etc. 

     One retrospective book I was particularly pleased to see on the list this year is this book by Taschen Publishers. Our friend Joann gave my son the 75 Years of DC book a while back and it is H U G E, to the point it could probably take out a small animal if it fell on them! I've spent the better part of a year reading it, on and off, and am nowhere near done with it. I remember when I first saw it saying, "I WISH they would do one of these on Marvel Comics!" (being the Marvel whore that I am) - lo and behold, here it is! If it is anywhere near as comprehensive as the earlier volume, I'll be reading this in the nursing home! If you've got a 'True Believer' on your list, here's the link!

     The list continues with the release of a LOT of new vinyl LP pressings various film soundtracks and other albums. Yes, vinyl LPs are actually making a comeback! Even more near and dear to my heart is the Galaxy of the Guardians mix tape that was actually released on audio cassette tape! Yeah, I'm old, deal with it! :)

     If cooking is more your dish, then look no further! We always knew R2D2 was a handy little droid, but now he can help you in the kitchen, as well, by disassembling into four different sized measuring cups! The best part? This bit of culinary magic will only set you back $20! Go see! 

     R2 can also be found as a wine bottle cork and pizza cutter - NO, not at the same time! Even he's not that versatile!

     There is SO much more to see on the list that I don't have room for here, from the H.R. Giger Alien beer bottle opener to the Han Solo frozen in carbonite shower curtain (THAT would go over well on a dark night), but my personal favorite item (and one that needs to teleport into my basement man cave STAT) is the TARDIS mini-fridge! It's just the thing for hungry and thirsty Time Lords!


     To see all the rest of the amazing items, go here:


     Come back as we wrap up this year's holiday shopping guide next time!     

Sunday, December 14, 2014

K.A.C. 2014 - T - 11 ...

     In case you ever wondered exactly what the Claus-meister did the rest of the year ... let's just say he gets his hairy keister out of the North Pole come the frigid month of February and beats feet to New Orleans and Mardi Gras ... par-tay time! 

     Best part of all? You can be right there with him! Just pony up 125 large and you and your bestie and five other couples can have the experience of your lives! You can eat, drink and party yourself silly ... and if that's not enough, you all get to ride in the freakin' parade! Get your pitching arm in high gear and toss those beads (and - more than likely - your cookies)! All the details can be found here:,a,b,c,e,z&r=cat48140738&rdesc=The%20Fantasy%20Gifts&pageName=ULTIMATE_MARDI_GRAS_EXPERIENCE&icid=CBF14_H7M45 

     Of course, rumors abound that the S-man may be starting the party a tad early ... like on Christmas Eve. Figures - the old dude only has to work ONE DAY A YEAR and is already whooping it up with the reindeer. What? Don't believe me? Just how exactly do you think he gets them to fly? Let's just say it's not the first time this tale has been told ... here's the latest version of it: 


     More tomorrow!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

K.A.C. 2014 - T - 12 ...

     Have you sent out your cards yet? Do you still even send any? A lot of people I know have foregone the whole exchange of Christmas cards tradition, due to the cost and the immediacy of the Internet. Whether you do or not, I thought this would be a good time to present some of the strangest vintage cards I've discovered this year in my research.

     Maybe it's because of the nature of the holiday itself - the getting together of family and friends at someone's house, the baking and cooking ahead of time of all sorts of food to feed the hungry mob, that so many of the early cards had a food theme. A number of them are rather quaint, such as our titular pun-filled card to the left. Think sending your nearest and dearest a sausage card is a bit much? It's got NOTHING on the weirdness of the Christmas pudding cards! 

For example ... seriously, what kind of message are we sending here with this card? Think THAT'S odd? Try the one below on for size!


     So after selling everybody on the whole 'traditional Dickensian Christmas pudding' thing, you then send a card out telling them NOT to eat it? If this anthropormorphic flaming pudding gets any closer to this hapless lass, the card may have to be revised, e.g.:

     "The sad Christmas Pudding set your dress to a-burn,
        Now you know what it's like to be cooked to a turn!" 

     Our ancestors weren't about to let such trifles as living puddings being their only weird card messages being sent out for the holiday season - the more I dig into this, the more strange things I keep finding! You may remember the 'chihuahua and rifle' Christmas card from 1895 (for a refresher, see my December 9th, 2009 entry) - fifteen years earlier (in 1880) came this oddity. Imagine opening up your holiday card and seeing ... a mouse ... riding a lobster ... what the ... ??? The felicitations on the sheet of paper are appropriate to the season, reading "Peace, Joy, Health and Happiness". That's nice, right? Until you stop and think, "Who wrote that note ... the mouse or the lobster?" 

     Stop and think about that - by and large, the animal kingdom are fine to live and let live. Leave us alone, we'll leave you alone. But now you're going to make us deliver your damn Christmas greetings on top of everything else? SCREW YOU! You may be able to pull that crap with these small critters, like a mouse and lobster, big man, but just try that with someone your OWN size ... like an EMU and THIS is what's going to be greeting you come the 25th!  Yes, that's a real card! :) 


     The moral here - leave the poor critters alone and have the mailman deliver your cards, cheapskate! Come back tomorrow for more!

Friday, December 12, 2014

K.A.C. 2014 - T - 13 ...

     It's Reader Submission Day here at the K.A.C. and you've all outdone yourself this year! Let's take a gander inside our holiday grab bag ... SO many people sent me this, I don't know who to credit, so thank you all! Looking to spice up your holiday meal this year? Want to make sure this is the LAST year the relatives all decide to crash at your place for the Christmas feast? Then just watch that mouthwatering look in their eyes slowly glaze over into one of unrelenting horror when you proudly march out of the kitchen with THIS BAD BOY ... forget the Turducken - may we proudly present the Cthurkey! Invented by Rusty Eulberg for his wife, who is a fan of H.P. Lovecraft (and a woman after my own heart), the Cthurkey consists of an octopus stuffed inside a turkey, garnished with crab legs and bacon. Hey, BACON! So you know it's gotta be good, right? To get the whole story, follow this link: 

     Next up on the left is this cute meme making the rounds of our K.A.C. mascot sharing snuggle time with the Claus-meister ... thanks, Susan! To our right is this card from Ms. Laney --- that should quiet down all the crowing mothers! :)

     Corby sent along this STUNNING link to an item that may end the whole concept of Ugly Christmas Sweaters once and for all ... the Christmas SUIT! Called the Opposuit, you can choose from "Treemendous" (on left), "The Rudolph" (LOVE the name! - in the middle) or "The Christmaster" (??? - still trying to wrap my head around the name of that one, since it's all snowmen - on the right). But that's not all! In addition to their amazing holiday suits, you can look like someone who needs to be locked up and have the key thrown away all year long with their other amazing designs! Must - not - order ...  if you can't resist the siren call for one (or all three) of these bad boys, here's the link to order yours today! 

     While you're rockin' the house in your badass Christmas suit, you're going to want to make the occasion memorable {although, trust me, people are going to remember the suit} - what better way than to go caroling? Not just ANY Christmas carols, mind - I'm talking Heavy Metal carols! What's that, you say? You can't do that because you're too old? Would it help if I told you the person who got all metal on your ass was 92 - years - old??? Would it help if I told you it was CHRISTOPHER LEE??? Oh, yeah, it happened - it's called 'Darkest Carols, Faithful Sing' and you can hear it HERE!

     And if Sir Christopher is TOO metal for you (I understand, it happens ... no, that's fine, it's nothing to be ashamed about ... it happens to a lot of folks), then what say we ratchet it down a notch and have an Avengers Caroling Mashup Jam? It even comes with a special guest caroler who can show you how to NEVER forget a lyric to any song ever again! It's truly a Christmas miracle!

     Finally, after you've had one too many helpings of the Cthurkey and all the sides, you may have to 'take a moment' to ... move things along, shall we say. When that moment strikes, make sure you're prepared - don't be caught with your pants down like poor Santa here!


     Thanks to everyone who sent in submissions - come back for more lunacy tomorrow!