Bigfoot Sighted at the Library

Many of us look back at the 70’s with fond embarrassment. Feathered hair, down vests, CB radios. This was the decade in which Clint Eastwood co-starred with an Orangutan, and we liked the idea so much that for three years we tuned in to watch Greg Evigan and a truck-driving chimpanzee in BJ and the Bear, a show that arguably jumped the shark in its opening credits. In celebrity news, a drunken Grizzly Adams’ beard was set alight by a drink called the Flaming Eddy, while another famous big hairy guy did some even more embarrassing things, and I don’t mean Chewbacca.

The 70’s were a heady time for Bigfoot, with movie and TV deals and all the attendant merchandising, and stunned by the glare of Hollywood (or the omnipresent nose candy), Image of Bionic Bigfoot Doll Courtesy of JD Hancock via Flickrthe famously reclusive creature made some very bad decisions. I was reminded of this the other day when I noticed the library’s newly purchased Bionic Woman DVDs included a couple of episodes in which Bigfoot guest starred. I used to be the proud owner of a Bionic Bigfoot action toy, the necessary foil to my truly awesome Major Steve Austin doll, with its creeply peel-back-able arm and bionic eye you could peer right through. The pair could fight just like on TV, or even drag race! In The Six Million Dollar Man franchise, bigfoot actually turned out to be an android scarecrow left behind by space aliens, which was kind of a stretch, but these were crazy times remember, when the pairing of bigfoot and aliens seemed as natural as pairing roller & disco; The Captain & Tennille; BJ & the bear.

Employing my librarian skills, I ventured a subject heading: “Bigfoot – drama.” And hit gold, of a sort. The Bigfoot Terror Collection is a suite of downloadable films which casts its merciless glare on the nadir of Bigfoot’s filmography, before Harry and the Hendersons resurrected his career as a loveable, overgrown plush toy. The best title for true Bigfoot aficionados has to be Legend of Bigfoot, a 1976 shlockumentary in which noted sasquatch paparazzo Ivan Marx – a man who truly has bigfoot on the brain – scours the earth in hopes of capturing the gentle giant on film. When at last he corners his leading man in some far northern desolation, bigfoot is typically camera shy. Sadly, this was not always the case.

Just two years before, Bigfoot’s cousin the Yeti had appeared in Shriek of the Mutilated, a low budget slasher movie that falls well within the realm of so-bad-it’s-good. To attempt to explain the inspired illogic of this bizarre cinematic fever dream is beyond me. I loved every minute of it. In 1979, Bigfoot made another regrettable appearance in The Capture of Bigfoot. By far the scariest part of this movie is the gnashingly bad overacting of Richard Kennedy as the town baddy, Mr. Olsen. (You may remember Kennedy from his equally galvanizing appearances in C.B. Hustlers, Ilsa: Queen of the SS, or Invasion of the Blood Farmers). The less said about The Search for the Beast the better. Made in 1997, it is a softcore drive in flick featuring a goggle-eyed, amorous Alabama swamp ape. (Not that I watched the whole thing, or anything). You’ve been warned, or tempted.

Bite Me

“Vampire? Such a provocative word, wrapped in too many clichés and girly novels.” -Uncle Will, The Radleys

Yup, more vampires…admit it, you love them…or love to hate them, but either way they are here to stay. They are making their way into our literature and our movies, but they don’t always have to leave a bad taste in our mouths.

Author Matt Haig introduces us to what looks like a normal suburban couple, but underneath the facade The Radleys are anything but normal. Peter and Helen Radley are abstaining vampires, who have two teenagers, Rowan and Clara, who know nothing about their supernatural traits. After Clara experiences a tragic night their hidden life is threatened and in a haze of worry Peter calls upon his brother Will for help, but Will, a practicing vampire, has even more secrets that could destroy this family. Together they will come to realize some secrets need keeping; even lies can protect the ones you love.

Currently in production for Season Four in the United Kingdom, Being Human brings George, the werewolf, Mitchell, the vampire, and Annie, the ghost, all under one roof. They decide to live among humans and attempt to live ordinary lives, but  it doesn’t come as easy as they would hope. They struggle with their own natures, the threat of being exposed, and fighting over who does the dishes. With humor and horror alongside one another this series keeps you entertained and on the edge of your seat.

Stupid Cupid

Oh, Valentine’s Day … how I utterly dislike you. Every year I try to avoid this holiday like the plague and try to come up with different ideas so the day doesn’t choke me with its pink tulle grocery store displays, giant 7-Eleven Valentine’s Day cards and red “I LOVE YOU” Mylar balloons. One year I was lucky enough to have all my friends available since we were all single. We decided to dress in black and go out to dinner together! It was lovely. This year, however, all my friends are coupled! What’s a single gal to do!?!? Continue reading “Stupid Cupid”

Héroes: el momento en que gente común se hace extraordinaria por John Quiñones

Our library serves people speaking many languages. Here is one of them.

Below is a review of  Héroes: el momento en que gente común se hace extraordinaria, the Spanish-language translation of John Quiñones’ book with Stephen P. Williams, Heroes Among Us: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Choices. 

John Quiñones es un periodista de la cadena ABC, presentador del programa What Would You Do?, co-presentador de Primetime y corresponsal para 20/20. John es la sexta generación de San Antonianos; aprendió inglés a los seis años de edad. Su vida merece ser contada como otra historia aparte. En su libro, John nos cuenta hechos heroicos de ciudadanos comunes alrededor del mundo. Contado en un lenguaje sencillo, este libro es intercalado con citas Continue reading “Héroes: el momento en que gente común se hace extraordinaria por John Quiñones”

Science Fiction for the Rest of Us

I’ll admit it straight up: I’ve never really liked science fiction.  I’ve never seen a single episode of Star Trek or read a book by Robert Heinlein.  But I’m a librarian, and in order to recommend books to readers of every genre, I have to read outside my comfort zone.  Thanks to a coworker, patrons, blog suggestions, and sheer luck, I’ve found sci fi that I not only like, but truly love and can recommend with sincere excitement!  So for those of you who are absolutely sure sci fi is not for you, try one of these and see if you change your mind.

The Host by Stephenie Meyer.  I’ll admit it, I got as wrapped up in the Twilight series as everyone else.  So when Meyer’s non-Twilight book was published, I automatically checked it out.  Turns out it’s sci fi, and was easily one of the top five books I read last year.  I think I liked this book because while aliens and other worlds are a necessary part of the story, the book hinges on character development.  Before long, you’re so invested in the characters that nothing else matters.  Note: In my personal opinion, the first 75 pages of this book are a tad slow.  Please stick with the book – I promise you it’s worth it!

Eureka on DVD.  My cousin recommended this television series to me.  The concept is unique: the city of Eureka in the Pacific Northwest is the home of the most brilliant scientific minds in the country.  Founded by Einstein after World War II, the normal rules don’t apply in Eureka.  Enter the new Sheriff, Jack Carter, who is not a particularly brilliant mind, but must solve cases usually caused by science gone awry.  It’s filled with laughs, and makes you wonder what might be going on in our country in a small town somewhere.

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card.  I was finally convinced to read this sci fi classic by a friend who doesn’t usually read sci fic either.  I grudgingly picked it up and was immediately engrossed.  By immediately, I mean by the end of the first page.  Similar to my feelings about The Host, Ender’s Game is all about the characters who happen to be set in a futuristic setting.

The Eve Dallas series by J.D. Robb.  A coworker recommended this series to me.  I was a bit hesitant, because I couldn’t imagine how Nora Roberts (aka J.D. Robb) could write convincing sci fi mysteries.  I was thrilled when I realized that, like all good mysteries, the case was at the forefront, with the futuristic sci fi setting as the backdrop.  The mysteries are fun and complex, the characters are fun, and there are some gadgets Robb has thought up that I’m thoroughly looking forward to in the future!

So please, give sci fi a try.  Those of you reading this post who also used to be sci fi-resistant, please share the sci fi gems that you’ve found in the comments area.