Creep Out, by Jeff Strand – 5/5

Reading another book by Jeff Strand is always a pleasure and will certainly interrupt the old “To Be Read” queue like no other. Well, like no others. Plural. King. Konrath. Strand. Crouch. These are my favorite authors and will always take precedence.

Strand’s latest tale weaves together feels of the classic Devil Doll (1964), Amelia (part two of the Trilogy of Terror), and Conky (from The Trailer Park Boys), and throws them at you all at once. Coincidentally, Amelia has always been the most scary movie I have ever watched. I remember watching it with my dad, who then terrorized me for many nights after, chasing me around the house with his comb as a make-shift spear, sliding it back and forth under the door. So thanks for bringing those memories back, Jeff.

Ezra visits his mom after the death of his father and receives his inheritance – a box containing a ventriloquist dummy, named Virgil. What happens next is neither traditional nor expected from the Devil Doll subcategory. Prepare for Strand’s typical fast paced delivery, quirky dad-jokes, and immersion into a hellish story that will certainly have you locking up your own dolls and sleeping with the lights on. Warning: do not fall asleep.

Available at all the usual sources.

I’ll leave you with my favorite quote.

“He wanted to strangle that bitch. Rip her head off and gargle the blood as it poured into his mouth.

Ezra, Creep Out

Can I Use My Welding Helmet to View the Solar Eclipse?

Titanium 9.3 sq in Welding Helmet from Harbor Freight

For those of you who may have been curious, such as myself, if you can use your welding helmet to view the upcoming eclipse, here is our answer from NASA.

Short answer is yes – if your lens is at least a shade 12. NASA claims 12 may be too bright for others and 14 too dark, and most don’t offer a 13. But this article is from 2017. My Harbor Freight Titanium 9.3 sq. In. claims it’s a shade 13.

Many people find the Sun too bright even in a Shade 12 filter, and some find the Sun too dim in a Shade 14 filter — but Shade 13 filters are uncommon and can be hard to find.

NASA

So am I going to attempt to look through my Harbor Freight welding helmet? Fuck no. I aint gonna trust my already aging, worsening vision to some Harbor Freight tool. In the last words of Michael Dewayne Smith, who was convicted of killing 2 people in 2002, “Nah, I’m good.”

Automakers Sharing Our Driving Habits with Insurance Companies.

Amazing how much data these new cars are sharing with the manufacturer who then share with insurance companies – for a fee. GM is making in the “low millions” from LexisNexis. GM. Subaru. Kia. Honda. Hyundai.

Users are unknowingly agreeing to this when they click yes on the user agreement for Starlink and Onstar or the manufactures’ equivalent. Instructions on how to opt out or get your own report that is being shared can be found at the story.

Read the full New York Times article here thanks to Dan Gillmor for the paid link.

Cross Bailey Medalist

I’ve always been passionate about fountain pens. As a kid I used this desk in school that still had ink wells and they always fascinated me. I tried to imagine the children before me who used to dip their nibs into it, knowing it had to be years ago. That also attests to the quality of the desks. There I was in 1976 sitting in a desk that had been in circulation since before modern pens and pencils were used.

Here’s the latest fountain pen acquisition. Decided to get this one engraved. Love it!

Wendy’s Reverses Crazy Price Surge Plan. Or do they?

The other day Wendy’s CEO announces his crazy plan to use price surging on their new menu boards. Like Ubers. Or airline fees. Intended result? Higher prices during the day’s busiest hours while lower cost during slower periods. The update would happen autonomously (I assume) and work seamlessly with the registers.

Society’s response? They lost their proverbial shit. As if millions of voices suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.

Wendy’s response to Society’s response? Our bad. Here is what our CEO meant to say: It’s not price surging. The system will just apply discounts to our less busy periods of the day.

Society’s response? Wait. What?

My response? Wait a minute. <does some math> Higher prices during the day’s busiest hours while lower cost during slower periods. You haven’t fooled me Wendy, you red-headed stepchild. I still respect your mad rapping skills though.