The Best of 2020

Look, as a whole, 2020 was a blazing dumpster fire. But I did get in some awesome reads, so there’s that. I read a whopping 89 books this year. Let’s take a look at some of my favorites.

Turn the Page Berk Clerb

My book club makes dope decisions and 2020 was no exception.

  • Middlesex
  • Before We Were Yours
  • Life of Pi
  • The Water Method Man
  • Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts
  • Nothing to See Here
  • A Separate Peace
  • Then She Was Gone
  • Trouble Always Finds Me

Middlesex has been on my list for a minute; Life of Pi is in my top five favorite books list; Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts is a mystery full of Edgar Allan Poe nods, drag Madonna, and a bevy of clues; Nothing to See Here is the funniest book you’ll read about combustible children; Then She Was Gone is bananas; and Trouble Valentine is back with a scarier mystery.

Quarantine Reads

While I spent a fair share of my quarantine time day drinking and playing Mario Kart, I did manage to read some dope books.

  • What in God’s Name?
  • Midnight at the Bright Ideas Book Store
  • The Family Fang
  • The Family Upstairs
  • Fleishman is in Trouble

Fleishman wasn’t all that memorable; Midnight is a murder mystery full of bookish clues; The Family Fang and The Family Upstairs will both make you grateful for your own family. Unless you like living with maniacs or, better yet, maniac cult members. Maybe that’s your jam? I don’t know.

Summer of Stevie

To me, Stephen King is meant to be read in the summer. Most of his books are set during the summer months and, perhaps more importantly, at night he’s too scary and there’s less night during the summer. Oh, I still literally jumped in and out of bed to avoid having my ankle grabbed by the dead woman I believe lives in the deep, dark void under my bed, but it would have been worse in the winter. I just know it.

  • The Dark Half
  • Four Past Midnight
  • Doctor Sleep
  • ‘Salem’s Lot
  • The Institute
  • Bill Hodges Trilogy
  • Dolores Claiborne
  • Dark Tower
  • If it Bleeds
  • Bag of Bones
  • Elevation

First of all, I’d like to take a moment to freak the hell out. I can’t believe it was only 2020 when I read The Dark Half. It feels like a lifetime ago.

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I wrote a pretty decent review of The Dark Half. You may read it here.

It is shockingly Arnold Schwarzenegger themed.

My favorites were The Dark Half, Dolores Claiborne, and The Bill Hodges Trilogy. If you want a quick, sweet read, check out Elevation.

Old Reads Renewed

I hit a slump this year. I missed my friends, still do because I’m still distancing, so I revisited some old ones. Mostly David Sedaris.

  • Best of Me
  • When You Are Engulfed in Flames
  • Holidays on Ice

Of all the old friends I revisited, Barack Obama was the best. A Promised Land was a comfort to me amid all the election drama. I needed to hear from President Obama that we’re going to be okay, and he delivered.

Other Reads

I blew through the Dennis LeHane series, discovered Lisa Scottoline, discovered and hope to soon forget Blake Pierce, finally read a Kristin Hannah, and ended the year with a Wally Lamb that was not at all traumatizing.

So, while it was a year of devastating wild fires, a global health pandemic, and a tumultuous election that STILL doesn’t appear to be over, we also had a sex worker raise millions for wild fire relief, rooftop dates, new ways of interacting with friends and family, and a new president. I’d prefer to focus on that.

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As far as the current President goes…

Okay, byeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee,

Smoky

Gentlemen…Start Your Engines

Drag Race is back, back, back again and we are here for it.

Like most things, Drag Race has a new look. New werk room, slightly new phrasing, and new rules. This premiere served looks, plexiglass barriers, and six lip syncs. Yep. Six lip syncs. The queens were paired up and immediately made to lip sync against the other one. The winner won, duh; the loser got the Pork Chop. Hold up!?!? Six eliminations? No, girl. The Pork Chops of week have been asked to take a seat in the Pork Chop lounge and chill. Well, not chill. There was much speculation about what the hell was happening.

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Oh, and of course Mama Ru comes in clutch with a twist at the end. But more on that later.

I have a prediction. The queens have been divided into teams so they are limiting their exposure and keeping groups small. The bottom queens from each team will lip sync. I’m cool with it; whatever it takes to keep the queens and crew safe. < You guys, that’s what not being a selfish dickhole looks like. It’s not that hard.

But, anyway, let’s meet the queens, shall we?

Kandy Muse – formerly of the House of Aja. If I had to describe her in one word, it would be loud. But not in a Silky Ganache way, thank the gods.

Joey Jay – filler queen. Her words, not mine.

Denali – the self-proclaimed ice queen. Girl, she came in on ice skates, so I guess she gets to keep that title. She lip synced in them, even. I’m super glad we didn’t have a Winter situation. If you don’t know what that means, read our damn books. There’s a rad ice skate killing that is equal parts gross and hilarious.

LaLa Ri – Olive Garden pasta with Popeye’s chicken. I’m not even going to pretend to know what that means, but I do know I love it. Between T Swift and LaLa, Olive Garden is gettin’ some love, y’all.

Symone – she’s originally from my home state and wore a dress made of Polaroids of herself, so she is one of my favorites. She also had this funny gag about how she and Ru might be related.

Tamisha Iman – straight up adorable and can pull off a power shoulder.

Gottmik – campy, spooky, fashion, transgender. Gottmik is DR’s first transgender male contestant. And he is adorable. I also believe Gottmik may be the reason for the slight change from “May the best woman win” to “May the best drag queen win”. Since reading that Gottmik was cast, I’ve been thinking about how exactly to refer to Gottmik. Since Gottmik is a transgender man, I want to respect that and use he/him. But drag queens are often referred to as she/her. So, I’m going with Gottmik until Gottmik specifies. < Again, this is what not being a dickhole looks like.

Utica Queen – okay, I LOVE this gal. She had a massive strawberry on her head and, when asked about it, she shared her story of overcoming a strawberry allergy. This immediately following the judges and audience learning that Tamisha is a stage 3 colon cancer survivor. But Utica didn’t know that, and she is precious.

Rose` – pinky princess. She was so cute. Her wig was ON POINT.

Olivia Lux – nice diva with possibly the most beautiful smile in the universe.

Tina Burner – okay. So, initially she reminded me of Nina West. And then she spoke. I’m not a fan. I think it’s because she relies on being gross, and that is not my jam.

Kahmora Hall – of the House of Hall. And with those clavicles, it’s not hard to see why. She is stunning and casually brought up Valley of the Dolls while wearing a real Bob Mackey that she had refitted because she’s a sample size. She humble bragged with the best of them. I like her.

Elliott with 2 Ts – Okay, so I loved her entrance look. Her two fellow queens were reading her for it, and then Ru was like, “Girl, I love your look.” So, take that Tina Burner! Elliott seems super fun and cute.

Winners:

  • Kandy
  • LaLa Ri
  • Symone
  • Gottmik
  • Olivia Lux
  • Tina Burner

Pork Chops:

  • Everyone else. I’m not retyping all that.

Team Pork Chop is NOT sashaying away. Well, not all of them. The PC group has been told they must eliminate one of their own.

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It’s some All Stars style rules, but different in that the AS casts all know one another. These gals literally just met. So, it seems a little unfair to me. I would have cast an even number of queens and let them all go on to week two. Because, as we’ve established, I’m not a dick.

Aside from the AS-style elimination, I liked the episode. The only thing I missed was the squealing when the queen comes in and see other queens they know. I love that part of the premiere. I also secretly love it when they see a queen they don’t like. I don’t like drama and shade in my own life, but I enjoy the hell out of other people’s beefs.

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I’ve had a drag queen shaped hole in my heart since All Stars 5. I’m glad Ru and crew are back.

Okay, byeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

Smoky

A Separate Peace of Shit or Frank Hardy and the Mystery of What Exactly Happened in that Goddamn Tree

0 Pretzels. After the testicle song, I kinda lost my appetite.

That’s right. We’re ringing in the new year with a testicle song. I’d feel bad that the guy only had one, but he’s a Nazi, so does anyone even care?

No. No one cares about Nazi balls.

Look, when I realized we were actually going to watch this movie, I knew it wasn’t going to be as good as the book, which I ended up quite liking. I mean, the whole underlying theme is that Phinny and Gene are in love, but some deeply felt sense of inadequacy and internalized homophobia caused Gene to lash out just once, just one damn time, and it ultimately ends up destroying the very thing he loves; and it’s all set against the backdrop of a bunch of kids preparing to go to war.

That’s good shit. That’s a pretty rich story, you know? So I felt like the movie would be cheesy and probably a bit overwrought in a very specifically ‘70s kind of way. Damn though, I had no idea how absolutely awful it would be until the movie began.

When we had to listen to “Old Gene ” go on and on in voiceover while walking around the campus for approximately two hours, I knew it was bad. The narration finally, mercifully, came to an end while the camera focused on the back of “Old Gene’s” head while he stared forlornly up at a woefully miscast tree, and that’s when I knew we were in for an absolutely crap film. You know why? Because “Old Gene” was clearly wearing a terrible wig. It looked like the corpse of Norman Bates mother wearing a preppy overcoat, to be honest, and we end on that same damn close up. Is it a subtle acknowledgement of the horror we’re about to witness? Methinks the answer is yes.

If I’m being real with you guys the actual details of what happened in this movie are fleeing my brain faster than I fled the garage to get a drink the night we watched this movie. So, I’m just gonna list the main points that I remember for posterity and what not. 

  1. Nobody in this movie can act. Or, maybe they can and just chose not to for some reason? I don’t know what their deal is, but I do know that I did an adaptation of Jane Eyre during my sophomore year of highschool starring finger puppets. Literally just my fingers with google eyes stuck on and mouths drawn in Sharpie. My slender digits shared a truly rich, deeply felt performance compared to the cast of A Separate Peace. I see now why the guy who played Phinny never did another movie.
  1. That one guy who played Brinker was easily 102 years old and clearly a cannibal. Funnily enough, he’s younger than Parker Stevenson. I looked it up.
  1. There’s a whole scene where a busy body group of teens in robes breaks into some kind of weird clapping, flapping performance of “Hitler has only got one ball” (It’s a real song!) that is stiff and disorienting even for a bunch of rich white kids. Why did that happen? It made no sense. How did they know who they were going to pick up and carry around? Did that guy also have only one ball? Was that an elected class position? If so, what was his campaign slogan? Honestly, it was baffling. Also, why did Phinny and Gene even go along with any of it? I guarantee you, if I’m ever in a situation like that and I get even a notion that a testicle based song and dance is about to happen, I will fight my way out. Forget missing balls, I’m ripping throats and eyes out.
  1. Which brings me to Gene. He damn near claws Leper Lepellier’s eyes out for no reason and leaves his “friend” curled up and bleeding from his eyes in the middle of a snowbank. Did not happen in the book. There was a section about dining rooms in the book. It was so good it actually made me appreciate dining rooms for once. Dining rooms have always been a notion that my feral, white trash ass considered overly fancy. And when Gene attacks, he has this stiff, arms out, hands tucked into claws posture that is almost identical to the pose I struck when I needed my diaper changed when I was a toddler. No joke. There’s a picture somewhere to prove it.
  1. That doctor was the worst. He was almost emotionless when delivering the news to an unsuspecting Gene that Phinny was dead. What an asshole this guy was. He just bopped by Gene in the hallway, was like “My dude, your boyfriend died of a broken leg because I’m not great at doctoring. That’s good though cause it’ll get you ready for all the death you’re about to witness when you go to war.” And then he just scoots back on down the hall to get a cup of coffee or some shit. The. Worst.
  1. Why were there so many crowd scenes with indistinguishable dialog that focused on people who were not even in the main cast of the movie? Were they just hoping that one of those extras was a better actor than the dudes in the movie? Did the cinematographer just get bored and start shooting random stuff in the middle of scenes? Did the director lose a bet, the consequence of which was that he had to make an utterly confusing film? I don’t know, my gals.

So, there you have it. Our second annual book club Christmas party and first annual book club movie night. The movie sucked but you guys were great and made it really fun. Next year let’s watch Like Water for Elephants or, hell, even Lord of the G-Strings. You can at least follow the plot in that one.

The Great Alone…A Review

3 Pretzels

Lynx and LeRouxnatics, it has been a minute. Look, honestly, this year has been…uninspiring. It’s hard to read, it’s even harder to write, and, if we aren’t doing those things, what the hell are we supposed to review? I’ve been reading some. I’ve been writing none. So,

let's do it drag queen GIF by VH1

The Great Alone, Kristin Hannah.

A Synopsis. In brief.

It’s the 1970s. Patty Hearst has been abducted. In Washington state, College age women are disappearing. Ernt (Yep. That’s a name.) has just returned from Vietnam. He lives in Seattle with his wife and daughter, Cora and Leni respectively. Ernt, like a lot of POWs, has some issues. He struggles to hold down and job and his growing more and more paranoid. So he moves his family to Alaska! Because that makes just a ton of sense! They go to the great alone totally unprepared. I mean, Cora is wearing purple hot pants and they’re driving a VW bus. But a war buddy left them a homestead, so they’re all set. Right? Girl, no. The “homestead” is essentially a shack, Ernt is reluctant to accept help, Cora’s strengths are flirting with men to piss Ernt off, gluing fake eyelashes on, and smoking – she’s a woman after my own heart – Cora rollin’ up on Alaska like

alaska thunderfuck GIF

And then there’s Leni, who is a sweet baby child. Thankfully, Large Marge is a total boss. She and the other women in town really come together to help the Allbrights. And, despite Ernt being a total ass, they make it. They learn to live in the great alone. Until winter when there is literally no daylight. Ernt’s paranoia grows. He becomes obsessed with bug out bags, protection, moonshine, and punching Cora in the face. Things…take a bad turn for the Allbrights. It gets a little Alldark up in here.

Okay, so, what did I think about this book? I liked it. It’s a great story, particularly the first 2/3 of it. It had some pacing issues, but kept me intrigued. The last 1/3, however, was bonkers. A lot happens at a breakneck pace. The reader is bombarded with plot points and given no time to react before Hannah hit us with another one.

Slow down, girl.

Here’s why I docked the stars. Adverbs. So many adverbs. And DUMB ones! Like woodenly. What..the…actual…

gif alaska rupaul's drag race drag race alaska thunderfuck RPDR logotv •

But I can look past the adverbs. Can I, though? Probably not. But let’s pretend I can. I was totally fine, riding the avalanche of drama, when this sentence happened:

“No. Not a bridge, a ramp. A wheelchair ramp. Mr. Walker walked up the ramp-like bridge.”

Girl, is it a ramp or a bridge? You just spent time telling us it’s a ramp and then turn around and call it a damn bridge. Look, that’s not Hannah’s fault, that’s the editor. They should have caught that.

So, overall, I liked the book. It did absolutely solidify in my mind that, while I do enjoy the cold – my makeup doesn’t sweat off and I can make the most of my vintage fur collection – I am not made for Alaska. Like, I’ll look at pictures of it, but that’s where it ends.

Should you read this book despite the few issues?

alaska thunderfuck gifs Page 2 | WiffleGif

Nigthmare Before Christmas: A Love Story

5 Delicious, fresh out the oven pretzels

What up, pumpkinheads? It’s been a minute, but I thought I’d pay tribute to what might be my favorite movie ever. I’ve watched it at least once every October, November, and December since I was eleven-years-old. So, a long time. And I’m probably low balling the number of watches to avoid sounding like a complete nerd. But I love every damn thing about this movie, so we’re going to get in to a few reasons why I love it.

The Art Form

First of all, stop motion is, while maybe a little spooky, a damn art form. I mean, we’ve all seen “Requiem for a Tuesday”. It took Ben Wyatt three weeks to make that one second of hot garbage.

Requiem For A Tuesday GIFs | Tenor

Can you imagine making a feature film with about a gazillion characters? I would have lost patience and burned that place to the ground.

Catherine O’Hara

Catherine O’Hara is a gem who should be universally adored and celebrated. She voices two different characters in Nightmare, Sally and Shock. And, most recently, she portrayed a nightmare on Schitts Creek. A delightful nightmare. A nightmare full of awesome advice. I want to be her.

Disgruntled GIFs | Tenor

Catherine O’Hara has starred in about a million things, but my very first memory of her is my beloved Sally. Sally is everything MOST people would want to be. Smart, kind, helpful. I’m still shooting for Moira, but if I land on Sally, that’ll work, too.

The Soundtrack

Lookie here, I will fight anyone who says anything bad about the score and soundtrack to this film. Including my Music Appreciation teacher who flunked me because, and I quote, “Danny Elfman isn’t a composer.” Dafuq? Yes he is.

Anyway, the soundtrack is sick. Especially the flute part. I played the flute in junior high and high school. Danny Elfman treats those woodwinds correct.

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The Whole Vibe

The movie really captures the spirit of the holiday season. A spirit I used to hate, but I’m kinda leanin’ in to now thanks to LeRoux kidnapping me and forcing me to be jolly. Well, jolly-ish. It helps that, in Nightmare, Halloween is the star of the show as it well should be.

Also, it’s the Grinch in reverse. Rather than taking down Christmas out of hate, Jack inadvertently takes it down out of love.

Chokeslam brooklyn nine nine GIF - Find on GIFER

And then he’s the most extra about it.

The nightmare before christmas tim burton jack skellington GIF - Find on  GIFER

It’s Tradition…

And…

AI:SS 2019 - You don't fuck with tradition! - The Something Awful Forums

Folklore Flashback: Will O’ the do What Now?

Do you ever watch those ghost hunting shows on basic cable? They always have a presentation of the evidence that they’ve discovered at the end of the episode and without fail they have captured footage of some orbs floating around.

The skeptical ghost hunter insists that it’s dust and the true true believer is always convinced it’s a sign that General Tecumseh Hogsqauble was in the room with them THE WHOLE TIME. I was always convinced that those were the only two orb explanations possible. Either you needed a Swiffer or you had a 200 year old soldier chilling in your laundry room daydreaming about what a Tide Pod tastes like.

As it turns out, if you spot an orb outside, there are a couple of other orbsplanations available. So, let’s say you’re out just a wanderin’ around the woods one night and you see a glowing ball of light in the distance. It could be a one person rave, which is kind of sad but not life threatening. Whatever makes a body’s glowstick gleam is their business, ya feel me?

If you don’t hear even a little bit of techno echoing across the hills you have likely come across a Will ‘o the Wisp, and that is much more troubling.

See, Will ‘o the Wisp are these disembodied blobs of light that float around darkened wooded pathways and beckon you to follow them. If you do, follow they will do one of two things: they either guide you to an adventure that will help you to overthrow the patriarchy and embrace your true destiny like the one in Brave did, or they will lead you right into a swamp or a bog where you will sink to your death while it bobs gleefully about watching you take your last gurgling breath. You don’t know which plan the Will ‘o the Wisp has on its agenda until you follow, so no matter what, you should know that if you get all caught in the magic of the moment and choose to chase one there is at least a 50% chance that you’re gonna die terribly, and if anyone ever finds your body, they are certainly going to think you’re a dummy who can’t tell a walking path from a murder lagoon. They will judge you, and they will be well within their rights.

Nobody actually knows where Will ‘o the Wisps came from but my favorite explanation is that they are the souls of people who have been deemed too evil to enter heaven or hell, so they’re forced to spend their afterlife haunting the earth. There’s this one story about a blacksmith named Will who was just the most atrociously awful person ever. When Saint Peter booted him down to hell the Devil was like, “Nah, girl. Get to steppin. I’m not trying to mess with you. Here’s a lump of coal to light your way through the spirit world or whatever. Peace!” I guess, once Satan himself says that you’re a little too hardcore for his tastes you just do whatever you want. So Will decided to use the Devil’s charcoal to prank unsuspecting people for the rest of his afterlife. Which…seems mean and extra but many people say that’s the origin of the Will ‘o the Wisp. They have been spotted all over the world for hundreds of years, so if you’re the outdoorsy type, you may just come across one some summer night. Lynx & LeRouxnatics, I beseech you! Don’t be a dummy. Do not follow the murder light. Because, well, murder. In fact why not stay inside just to be safe?

Want more folklore? Grab our book here.

Folklore Flashback

Are you ready to get away from it all for the weekend? Trips to the lake or beach are expensive and a snore. You can do better than that. Have you ever wanted to visit an area where nightmares come to life? Get off the beaten path and spend a night exploring historic zombie road. Located in Wildwood, MO just outside of St. Louis this hidden gem has been home to the early days of the railroad, a long abandoned resort town teeming with mobsters, and countless grisly deaths. Come on down the path where the past comes to life every night!

You don’t need reservations or to pay admission fees. All you need is a good flashlight and a reckless disregard for your own safety. Scenic Zombie Road is a narrow path carved into a dense and foreboding forest that leads to a bridge across the Meramec River. Rumor has it that the spirits of the Native American tribe who first roamed the land cursed it once the white man started killing and systematically oppressing them. Their restless spirits will have their revenge. We’ve got it coming, haha! The dark and eerie woods around the road echo with unearthly growling and moaning every night. It’s a truly immersive woodland experience. Parasailing schmarasailing, you feel me?

You will be welcomed onto the path by the shrieking ghost of an elderly woman. “So good to see you!” She’ll howl as she storms out onto the porch of her quaint cabin. “It’s a lovely night for a walk!’ She’ll wail as her eyes begin to bleed a dark goo. Not to be confused with the Black-Eyed Children, this is actual goo. The hairs on the back of your neck and your spirits will rise as you take in the craftsmanship of her cabin. People really knew how to build things back in the day.

After you stop trembling, you’ll continue on down to the railroad bridge. Woowee, there sure is one heck of a view. Way back in the 1950s, a young couple fell right off the ridge just above. The boy’s head got wedged between two tree limbs and his face tore clean off before his body crashed onto the rocks. Their spirits are still on the ridge today. Johnny may have lost his face, but he still only has eyes for his number one girl. Zombie Road is for lovers, y’all!

As you gaze down at the water below, you’ll be gently enveloped by the whispers of the lost souls that local mobsters fitted for a cement overcoats and dumped into the beautiful river. Their skeletal hands are raised towards the surface of the water as they beckon you to release them from their watery prison. Don’t do it! It’s a trap. History really comes to life on Zombie Road!

Speaking of history, let’s talk about the train tracks that snake through the area. So many folks got nailed by one of those majestic old locomotives when the tracks were still active. It’s almost like the place is cursed. Oh wait, it totally is!

The townsfolk with the strongest stomachs would form a search party and gather together the scattered limbs for burial. Now that’s what I call community. The sense of community is so strong that the shadowy revenants of the townsfolk still drift through the darkened woods to this day. Sure, they’ll chase you but it’s just because they’re so excited to meet you. They can’t wait to make you a part of the community forever!

What a special place it is. You’ll stumble blindly down that road for seemingly endless hours praying for daylight. Assuming you survive you’ll have so many awe inspiring stories to tell. Those chumps who went to Cabo will be hella jealous. Sadly, there’s nowhere to buy souvenirs ,but who needs a keepsake t-shirt when you can be forever plagued by night terrors to remind you of the experience? Come on down to Zombie Road, Lynx & LeRouxnatics. It’s a trip you’ll never forget!

Oh, and check out our book for more spooky folklore tales.

Enola Way, Man!

Enola Homes

3 3/4 Pretzels

Y’all know I’m a straight up sucker for a good mystery so I was enticed to watch Enola Holmes on Netflix this week. Had I known that they would cancel Glow, Teenage Bounty Hunters, and I Am Not OK With This just a few days later I would have used that time to toilet paper Netflix’s house. Enola Holmes stars Millie Bobby Brown as Sherlock’s little sister, Henry Cavill as far more ripped and less drug addled Sherlock, and Helena Bonham Carter as their Mom, Eudoria.

As the story goes, the Holmes boys moved out right after Enola was born leaving their mom the freedom to raise baby Enola to do judo, play tennis in the house, and blow things up with science. It’s exactly how I imagine HBC would home school a child in real life. Truly, Enola’s childhood was enchanting but one day she wakes up to discover that her mom has peaced out to do feminist spy stuff without a word or warning. This leaves Enola just as bereft as anyone would be after having been abandoned by Helena Bonham Carter-SO BEREFT- so she calls her brothers to come home and find their mom but Sherlock says that Momma Holmes appears to have ghosted them all for good, and he doesn’t mean she did pottery all sultry like, he means she ain’t coming back.

Helena Bonham Carter loved the idea for Enola Holmes: 'It's like a f***  you' to Sherlock | The Independent

That leaves Enola as Mycroft’s ward but he isn’t cool to his ward like Batman would be. Enola does not get a nickname and a costume. Nooooo. Mycroft plans to send her off to a finishing school run by Mrs. Dursley. Since Mycroft is a dillhole Enola follows a series of clues that their mom left and sneaks away to London hot on momma’s trail. On the way she runs into a member of Victorian One Direction who has also decided to run away from home by hopping the same train as Enola. A villan is trying to murder this kid for reasons that are probably political but I believe are deep down related to the boy’s utter lack of personality. Kids a total drip.

Enola ends up spending the rest of the movie trying to save Ye Olde Harry Stiles, find her beloved radical feminist mother, and avoid getting shipped off to Mrs. Dursley’s School for Future Stepford Wives. Will these wealthy white children survive on their own? Will HBC teach me how to blow things up with science? What does a ward have to do to get an underground lair around here?

None of these questions are answered in this film but it’s still fun. The look of it is gorgeous and Millie Bobby Brown is charming as hell. There’s this running bit where Enola looks to camera and talks to the audience that a weaker actor couldn’t pull off.

Exclusive: See Millie Bobby Brown as Sherlock's sis in 'Enola Holmes'

The movie drags near the end but I would recommend it if you just want a fun thing to watch on a Wednesday night. I think I would be madly in love with this movie if I was a kid. It’s made for 6-14 year olds who will idolize Enola and watch it with the fervency that I watched Adventures in Babysitting when I was a kid.

Enola Holmes is far more appropriate and it’s based on a series of books by Nancy Springer so if you or someone you know loves to read words about teen sleuths there’s a whole series of entertaining stories about a brilliant and obstinate firecracker of a detective to get in to. Hooray teen sleuths! I love ’em. Also, Enola is Alone spelled backwards which is a prominent part of the story that seems way more important to the writers than it does to the script. Maybe they just love sister super group Heart? Yeah. How could the not.

Folklore Flashback

Look, we love spooky season. We celebrate all year long. We thought we’d help you get super into it by flashing back to some of LeRoux’s spookier folklore adventures.

First up, the Candy Lady.

Halloween is my very most favorite holiday so I thought I would talk about candy this week. Not just any candy. Spooky window candy. I’m sure most of y’all have heard of/been traumatized by the Candyman, but have you heard the story of the Candy Lady? Grab yourself some Bit O’honey, kids. It’s story time.

candyman gif | Tumblr

It’s hard to say which child discovered it first, but the kids in Terrell, TX began receiving gifts of candy. Someone would creep up to their windows at night while they were sleeping, close enough to just slip an arm in, and leave a piece of candy on their windowsill. The kids didn’t have any idea why the candy began coming, but they were sure happy about it.

Now, no doubt, this is the sort of thing a child should report to a parent right away, but it was 1903; candy was pretty hard to come by and kids can be pretty dumb. So, they decided they wouldn’t tell any grown-ups because what if that made the candy stop coming? After a couple of weeks, the kids started to find notes attached to the candy wrapper. “Come play” was all that it said, and the handwriting was so pretty. Surely, no bad guys could have handwriting as beautiful as that.

It really is a shame no one told their parents. So many lives could have been saved. Of course, the children were too young to remember Clara.

Clara Crane was convicted of murdering her husband in 1885. Their daughter Marcy died in an accident while he was supposed to be watching her and Clara never could forgave him. She did what any grieving prairie wife would do; she cooked up a batch of poison laced caramel and let him eat his fill.

She plead guilty due to grief related insanity and was institutionalized for four years. Other than that one murder she was a real nice lady, so she was released in 1889. There isn’t any record of where she went after that, but a whole lot of people think she came back home to Terrell.

Then, in 1903, the first child disappeared. He went to bed and, when his family woke up the next morning, he was gone without a trace. Soon after, several other children disappeared. Finally, one little boy told his momma the truth and all of the adults just knew it was Clara. She was famous for murder and candy after all. They searched the Crane farm from top to bottom, but no one had lived there for years.

One terrible morning, Jeb Smith was working his fields when he noticed something glinting in the sunlight near the fence. Puzzled, he walked over to investigate and saw that there were no fewer than ten candy wrappers strewn along the ground. What the heck? He bent to pick one of the bundles up and nervously untwisted the brightly colored wax paper. Inside he found two small, bloody teeth. Frantically, he opened another wax parcel and then another. Each one held teeth. Some were jagged or cracked as though they had been torn violently from an unwilling mouth. Jeb was appropriately horrified and ran to get the sheriff.

The town sheriff had been working himself to the bone to find the missing kids. He swore to the town he would find the monster responsible. I suppose he kept his promise; he just didn’t survive the encounter.

His body was found two days later in a ditch. He had been stabbed through each eye with a metal fork and, when they loaded his body into a wagon to bring back to town, they discovered his pockets were filled with candy.

That was the end of it. No more children disappeared after that day. Perhaps the sheriff’s life was enough to satisfy the Candy Lady. Had Clara gone completely mad and taken the town’s children to replace her lost daughter, or was it someone or something else entirely?

Eventually life went back to normal in Terrell. People were finally able to relax and breathe. Still, they would warn their kids, “Behave yourself or the Candy Lady will come get you and never bring you back!” The Candy Lady became a legend. A new boogeyman meant to keep children in line. Nevertheless, in 1903 she was very, very real.

We recently took a trip to Terrell in hopes of tracking down the Candy Lady. Well, not tracking her down, really. We didn’t want to piss her off or anything. So, I thought I’d use reverse psychology on her. I laid out a trail of candy and waited. And waited. No Candy Lady. I lost track of Smoky at some point. That’s when I realized my mistake. I’d laid out those Khalua filled chocolates thinking the Candy Lady is a grown-ass woman, maybe she’d like a little kick to her candy. Turns out, Smokes ate it all. But the trip wasn’t completely wasted. We took a detour and ran into another old friend of mine. More on that later.

Want more folklore? Check out our book, Folklore: A Field Guide. You can get it here! We strongly suggest the paperback for the special bonus features.

The Perfect Wife. A Mediocre Book.

The Perfect Wife, Blake Pierce

3 kinda stale pretzels.

I’ve been in a bit of reading funk, so I’ve been hitting up audiobooks on Hoopla. If Hoopla is available through your local library and you aren’t using it, what are you even doing? Hoopla is dope. Tons of ebook and audiobooks, and you get them for 21 days.

So, anyway, I’ve been all in on these thriller audiobooks. I gave The Perfect Wife by Blake Pierce a shot and here’s what I thought.

If, like Uncle Stevie says, the road to hell is paved with adverbs, then The Perfect Wife is the well-maintained toll road. Good god a’mighty. Every other word ends in ly. Aside from that, I had one major problem. The plots. There are two of them, and one of them is interesting as hell. The other one is full of terrible, gaslighting men. It’s tedious, so we’ll get through that one first. Jessie and her hubby – honestly, I don’t even remember his name – have moved to the ‘burbs. They’ve been accepted at a super exclusive country club and homeboy legit has the vapors. Someone get this man a fainting couch. He’s a huge freakin’ deal.

Meanwhile, Jessie is kinda dope. She’s going to school to be a profiler. Interacting with real life psychos is part of her schoolin’. Thankfully, this weird ass club she and hubs have joined is chock full of them. Anyway, Jessie gets special permission to visit a super high security facility housing the worst of the worst. She begins interviewing Brady. She has her own personal reasons for wanting to meet with him that I won’t get into because it will spoil the best part of this book. The part of the book that will absolutely make me read the second one.

Let’s get back to the douchebaggery, shall we? So, big surprise to no one, the club is a weird sex club. The men get to bang gals from Russia while the wives get unlimited Gucci bags and to have brunch whenever they feel like it. Seriously. The ladies get that laid back glamour life while the husbands get herpes. Probably.

So, Jessie finds out what’s goin’ on in da’ club and is less than pleased. I don’t blame her. Look, he husband didn’t even have the decency to tell her about the brunch perk. I don’t tolerate much, but I’m more likely to tolerate stuff if I’m kept in bloody Marys and eggs Benedict.

Again, I don’t want to give too much of the plot away because the book is decent. So I’ll get back to the actual writing. A lot of people in this book scowled moodily and smiled happily and sat in silence silently. It’s a lot. I think maybe if I’d read it with my eyes rather than my ears, I wouldn’t have noticed.

Okay, byeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.

Smoky Lynx