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The House at Review Corner: Magic Bullets – Or, How to Become a Skeezy Pick-up Artist without actually using the term

As many of my stories tend to begin, I was browsing the internet one night . . . and came across an online set of discussion boards called The Attraction Forums. The top post on there was from a guy opining his issues with women, but it took me a minute to figure this out, as he was using all of these odd word choices, such as “opening,” “closing,” “transitioning.” It sounded like a corporate merger rather than an attempt to get off with a chick. As I continued to scroll, I encountered a lot more of this type of coded language, as well as acronyms I certainly had never seen before.

Enter the world of men’s self-help.

Of course, they will never, EVER call it that, because then it brings it to a woman’s level, and we can’t have that. No, call it a “system,” call it a “model,” but don’t EVER call it self-help. And be sure to include all of this ridiculous acronyms and code-words, so all the dudebros can feel like they’re in this secret frat.

There are so many of these – Love Systems, Mystery Method, Bad Boy Something-or-Other, The Game – but they all have one thing in common: they promise that, if you use their system, and retrain your brain to think in their ways, you will be swimming in tail. Even if you’re not all that hot! (I’ve looked at some of these “gurus” and “masters” online. Some of them are not that hot, but supposedly, they can get any lady they want).

My curiosity was piqued, so I managed to track down a copy of the book. What are guys telling guys about how to pick up women? They claim that they can’t ask women, because, damn it to hell, we don’t know WHAT we want!! Because of course, we’re all the same, and have teensy brains that get exhausted easily.

I honestly was surprised to find a section on “relationships” in this book. Of course, that could also be taken to mean “friends with benefits,” but in the main, this book has one endgame: sex. As a matter of fact, they encourage men to bone the ladies BEFORE pursuing any type of relationship with them.
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200th entry – A Look Back

Dear readers,

In the fall of 2007, I embarked on a side project that, to the surprise of everyone (most of all, me) has continued to this day. This blog has endured through two serious relationships and lots of bad health days. I even have survived past Television Without Pity, which I used as my model and internet idol (I used to wile away many an hour reading their recaps of television shows), as they closed up shop in 2014. My readers are mostly silent, but I always get visitors; however, in the end, it’s all about me. The minute this stops being fun, an amusing hobby, I will turn off the lights and go.

It’s still fun, so onward and upward!

For the 200th entry, I thought we’d celebrate by looking back at some of BWP’s “greatest hits,” which would be a good retrospective if you are a regular reader, and a good primer if you’re new here. Something for everyone!

The Books Without Pity origin story is all thanks to a “hygiene” book by one of the first female doctors in the United States, Mary Wood-Allen. A pioneer of the temperance movement, Dr. Wood-Allen also believed that children should be taught about sexuality, but of course, under extremely veiled euphemisms. Enter “What a Young Girl Ought to Know.” This strange artifact is in the form of twelve Twilight Talks, which a fictional young girl has with her mother, about “the birds and the bees,” sometimes quite literally!

Our next selection – Excessive Venery, Masturbation, and Continence – was a tremendous undertaking. Written by one Dr. William Howe and supposed to be used as a medical textbook, I was inundated with lots of unfamiliar terms. I think I did a pretty good job, and the majority of these entries are still popular today, if my search terms are any indication. (I just hope that people are not taking these entries seriously)!

Sorely needing a break after all the reading about Faradic currents, strychnine, and lots of cases of priapism, I decided to shift my focus a bit. I set my sights on something quite popular which I was finagled into reading and absolutely despised. My target? Twilight. I did New Moon next. Eclipse was a snore-fest and bored me to tears, so much so that I couldn’t even muster up the energy to skewer it. I did finally do Breaking Dawn, this year, in fact, and I think the break of several years honed my game a little better.

One of my absolute favorites is up next. Phil Phillips is probably not a name you’ve heard, unless you grew up in a certain type of religious household in the 1980s. I had never heard of him, until the Southern Fried Ex told me about this book that his mother read when he was a child, basically ruining any and all popular culture motifs that were de rigueur for any one growing up in the “Me Decade.” And he was not alone. Turmoil in the Toybox was apparently responsible for ruining many a childhood, for all of the cartoons the rest of us loved and cherished are actually Satanic and evil, and no good Christian parents should let their children watch He-Man. Or Care Bears. Or Rainbow Brite. I ended up losing my notes after writing up half of the book; I would later check the book out and finish the rest. Phil Phillips would make a separate appearance in a different book, entitled Halloween and Satanism.

My second favorite set of posts is from the Life Cycle Library, a set of family life type books from the 1960s. A set of four books, the one I snark here is for teenagers going through puberty, and dating and relationships. It’s like a Prelinger Archive film, but in text form!

The rest of this crazy ride includes the horrible trilogy that should not exist: Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker, and Fifty Shades Freed. Apparently, I am a masochist. There are also some Golden Age comics, Life magazine articles and adverts, and even some V.C. Andrews up in here!

I hope that this has been a worthwhile look into the last eight years of snarkdom. See you really soon!

Love,

N

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Creepy, creepy Comix (All Romances, Volume 2)

I can’t believe it’s been over a month since we last visited with each other, dear reader. Especially since I found the following gem RIGHT AFTER reading Garden of Shadows.

“He Suspected the Worst,” from Volume 2 of All Romances. The year is 1949, and this is the second story in the magazine.

We open with a girl standing on a broken bridge, rescued by a handsome youth with an unfortunate-looking jacket. Once on safer ground, the girl introduces herself in an odd way:

All Romances    Ace  archiver USA #2 (1949) - Page 11

Not, “Hi, I’m your step-sister, Leslie?” Not that it matters, as our young man is suddenly obnoxious, calling Leslie’s mother a gold-digger, but not exactly in those terms.  “Uncle Jim,” as Leslie calls him, is determined for the two young people to be friends.

Ross is being a bit intimate with his second cousin, Mavis, when he discovers Leslie kind of spying on them. Then this happens:

All Romances    Ace  archiver USA #2 (1949) - Page 12

“I also forgot that Ross was my STEP-BROTHER.”

Ross decides to leave and head for New York, because he knows where he’s not wanted; he’s going to go with Mavis and Friends to the West Indies, because that’s where winners and not-gold-diggers go! (And this time, he actually does say “gold-digger.”)

Leslie is sad that Ross is going away, because feelings, I guess. And then “Uncle” Jim makes up his will, but her mother and Leslie are not privy to his decisions.

Jim kicks the bucket soon enough, and Ross is all “I’m’a kick you outta this house because I’m the king now” or some shit, but in reality, Jim left everything but $10k to his wifey. Ross also has to stay at the house for the next two years if he wants the dough to which he is entitled. This doesn’t sound like a lot, but according to the inflation calculator (love that thing, especially when looking at old prices in magazines), it’s equivalent to ~$100k today. Cha-ching! Of course, Ross doesn’t believe that his step-family were ignorant of the changes to the will, so he is pouty and goes to his rooms.

He starts insulting Leslie about the gardening, and then Mavis shows up again. Mavis essentially invites herself to the house, and then is insolent and lazy, not to mention a bitch. Ross piles on about the girls duping his father out of his money, and maybe even murdering him. After the spat, Ross leaves and then Mavis goes out for a walk. Down by the water, where the suspension bridge is out!

Mavis is in trouble and Ross dives right in to save her, which nearly kills the both of them. Until Leslie and her canoe save the day.

So, is Mavis grateful when she comes to? Of course not! She tries to spin another story, this time about Leslie trying to kill her. Ross has finally had enough of it, but before he can say anything else, Leslie faints from all of the exertion.

All Romances    Ace  archiver USA #2 (1949) - Page 17

Which is the 1940s version of:

And now, for the squicky conclusion!

All Romances    Ace  archiver USA #2 (1949) - Page 18

What in the . . . WHAT??

Ladies, if the man you love is a close relation, SHUT IT DOWN.

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Garden of Shadows; or, A Different but still kind-of-the-same perception of evil [Dollanganger, Book 5]

When last we left the Dollanganger family, we would have been looking at Seeds of Yesterday, which was so scintillating I completely forgot to write about it! If you absolutely MUST know, there is a Wikipedia page to fulfill your desires! This book, however, is a “prequel,” if you will. It is written from the point of view of Olivia Foxworth, nee’ Winfield – aka, the evil grandmother. Honestly, it very nearly makes one pity her – even taking into account the inconsistencies between this volume and the others in the series. According to sources, the ghostwriter finished this one from Andrews’ notes, which may account for some errors.

We begin with a prologue, where Olivia states that she is forced to tell her own story, when she would have much rather kept it to her grave. She dares her readers to judge her after you discover what she’s been through. I know someone who might be up to that task . . .

What Olivia has been through is a doozy – or de rigeur for Andrews books, depending upon your perspective.

Olivia’s mother dies when she is young, leaving her father to bring her up. He treats her like a son, teaching her about his business accounts and training her as an accountant. She is far from truly feminine and in fact, is pretty gangly and awkward-seeming. She dreams about finding twoo luv some day, and imagines life as the pretty people in her fancy dollhouse. She is not having much luck finding a husband, despite her father’s best attempts.

Until the day Malcolm Foxworth comes to dinner, and seems quite taken with her. Especially her head for business and the fact that she is mature and not flighty. After a walk, a dinner out, going to church together, and some horseback riding, he proposes. Malcolm cites the fact that they have much in common and would make a great partnership.

Olivia is over the moon, as she has fallen for his dashing good looks. It is only later that she realizes – he never once mentioned the word “love.”

The wedding is put together very quickly. Olivia waits with bated breath for her first kiss at the altar, but it’s merely perfunctory. The wedding is attended by her father, her aunt, and her cousin, John Amos (the creepy butler from the other books). And indeed, he is creepy here, too; he has barely met Olivia, as he is from the “poor” side of the family, but he begins insinuating himself right away.

There is no honeymoon; indeed, the bride and groom board the train to Virginia that afternoon. Olivia begins to see already how megalomaniacal he can be – and stingy (he won’t let her order too much food on the train, to save money).

They pull into a deserted depot late at night. The butler/driver meets them and drives them to Foxworth Hall, which Malcolm tells her is her responsibility. She is given a quick tour of the rooms they pass; one of these has a white door. Malcolm says it was his mother’s room, and no one is allowed in.

Olivia is given her own bedroom. She hopes it is just for appearances and puts on her sexiest lingerie (with a V-neck! *gasp*) to await Malcolm’s return. But he never does, and she remains an “unlit candle.” By the way, the dollhouse never comes with her to Foxworth Hall, so it’s unclear how Corinne eventually gets hold of it in Flowers to give to the children.

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“My Soul Wasn’t My Own,” or, the Devil is in New York (All Romance, Volume 1)

Abby is raised in an orphanage until she is sixteen, when it is discovered that she has an aunt, who comes to claim her.

AR pg 17

Now, isn’t this something you would have figured out before you went to claim your niece? Also, she’s sixteen, so it’s not as if she would need constant supervision. She’s also been in an orphanage, so I’m sure she can fend for herself. I think I’m over-thinking a comic book for young girls.

She sends Abby out with the maid to go shopping and get her hair did, and wonder of wonders, she’s pretty! But . . . can she sing? Of course she can, with a little work. Aunt Magda decides to invest in her niece – lessons, a trainer, even finishing school!!

AR pg 18

This is also called “older people living vicariously through the young.” It’s sad that Abby finds this sort of sexism kind – as if the only endgame for a young woman (an aspiring chanteuse, no less) is to snare a rich man.

Abby makes her debut, and everyone finds her stunning, including Mr. Randolph, who is a fine catch!

AR pg 18 a

Sure, he’s a catch . . . if you’re into dudes who could be your grandfather! Also, need I remind you that this girl, Abby, is SIXTEEN. I know the median age for marriage was much lower in 1949 than it is today, but still – EW.

A serious sculptor is also interested in the young Abby, for his new work called “Spring in Flight.” The man chasing Abby will be played by model and wrestler Cal Martin, who is only interested in a serious acting career. He pays no attention to Abby when they first meet, except for letting her lean on him a little when she tires from modelling. Then, in her dreams . . .

AR pg 20

Oh, boy, Abby! *fans self*

Abby is still seeing RichGrandpa, and probably having to sit on his knee (not shown). She only has eyes for Cal, but he doesn’t seem interested – thinks she is a spoiled little rich girl, as she comes to the studio in a hired car. Abby protests.

AR pg 21

Wow, Cal is rather intuitive – for a pretty boy. Abby is so grateful to be out of the orphanage that she will explain away anything her aunt does, including auctioning off her V-card.

After this, Cal is more receptive towards Abby, and indeed, they have a day on the town when the sculptor takes a sick day. They are caught, however, by Aunt Magda, and she is PISSED that a common wrestler should have put his meaty paws on her human Fabergé egg!

AR pg 22

If RichGrandpa can’t take his little dolly seeing New York sights with a young man for one day where they didn’t even mack on each other (they went to the AutoMat, how scandalous, you guys!), RichGrandpa can stuff it. Well, he can stuff it anyway, for being interested in a relationship that is rather pedo.

File:Pedobear.png

Time passes, and Aunt Magda has another hare-brained scheme – let’s get Abby into the movies! She plans an “accidental” meeting with the movie producer at the unveiling of the sculpture. And he loves it! For the man, not Abby.

AR pg 23

NO one has seen Cal, though – oh, wait, here he is. The director makes his offer, and Cal asks to speak to Abby alone. He asks her if she’s married to RichGrandpa; she isn’t, and how dare he ask, after he walked out on her?

AR pg 24 (a)

The famous last words of the wife of “Jungle Billy.”

AR pg 24 (b)

Aunt Magda is an awful person. I mean, he’s standing right THERE; she has no filter, just like Chevy Chase!

AR pg 24 (c)

OH, but now, she’ll make his decisions for him, because he’s going to be a rich movie star. Until she finds out that he has to work with monkeys and swing from trees, because that’s not something successful people do.

So, Abby gets the man of her literal dreams. Hurrah. Now you guys should find a way to dispose of Aunt Magda and get the proceeds from her nightclub, and all will be well!

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Life – shaving cream puns and racism

Barbasol Mar 15 1937

Just take a look at this picture for a second, shall we? The quintessential “heathen Chinee” of lore, nestled between the pages of Life magazine for the purposes of selling shave cream in a handy tube. The image alone is horrifically racist, but let’s look at the actual ad copy. “Life Shaver” – ba dum ching!

The story is supposedly from a real doctor who was doing missionary work in China, and is, of course, a long-time Barbasol user. He’s been plagued by bandits and other miscreants throughout his tenure, but now, it’s gone too far – can’t a man shave without having a gun pointed at him? [Although, actually, the doctor never mentions that the Chinese man pointed a gun at him, or any weapon at all, despite the picture showing otherwise]. The bandit seems more interested in the process of shaving than his original intent to . . . rob, perhaps? The doctor realizes that some of these “bad men are but grown-up children.” So let’s treat the hairy beast like an ickle one, and see what happens.

The man grunts and points to his own face, and the doctor lathers him up with cool, rich Barbasol lather, and strops his razor. He shows the bandit how to use it and then makes him a present of razor and cream, and the bandit is so appreciative of the gift that he leaves soon after, and takes the rest of the looters with him.

Barbasol – not only does it give you a close shave, but it protects you from hairy marauders!

Life magazine, March 15, 1937

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The “Truth” About Stacey, Part Two

Chapter 6. War begins, I guess? The BSC discover that the other agency is actively recruiting soldiers – I mean, sitters at school. A triple-emergency meeting is held at Kristy’s house, where it’s decided that they need to “recruit” some older members for the club.

Chapter 7. Stacey is mad. The new club is hurting her and her friends – how dare those bee-otches! But she’s also mad at parents. They promised to take her to New York at Thanksgiving, then they didn’t – at first, it was because her mom thought it would be nice to stay home… but in truth, it’s because they’re taking Stacey for those tests – and now, it’s for five days, instead of three!

I have to say, I do feel for Stacey a bit here. This doctor they want her to see is holistic and blah, blah – the kid is diabetic, so more than likely she just needs insulin. Get over it. It’s not the end of the world. Anyway, she finds the whole situation grossly unfair, but her parents basically “Nyah Nyah we’re the parents, that’s why” her.

Stacey babysits for Charlotte, and talks to the child’s mother, who is a doctor. Dr. Johansen tells Stacey that this Dr. Barnes is pretty much an expensive quack. She promises to find a way to help.
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