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Our standards are firmly in place. Like veering away from Starbucks to try a new, Mom & Pop coffeehouse, or opting for a period, Danish-language film when one could just watch another episode of The IT Crowd, it often takes a strong tug of the leash to venture away from our favourite fire hydrant, no matter how bright and shiny our favourite is. Holiday seasons especially bring about a kind of good ol' stand-by comfort. The paths of tradition and convention are followed innately and without question, usually with good reason. The standards are so because they are simply the best. We love and revere our fave films, fabled tales and customary characters during Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Still, just because your BFF is sitting at the head of the holiday table, doesn't mean you can't have fun talking to the new kid at dinner ... in this case, The Halloween Kid.

Peanuts, The Addams Family, Ichabod Crane, Jack Skellington, Edgar Allan Poe et al, be they fictive or not, rest dearly within our hearts, year after year as Hallowe'en rumbles down the block, announcing the start of the full, holiday season. For some of us, these cherished characters and their creators will continue to stick around, well after the Christmas trees are down and the New Year's glitter has worn. As much as we love Snoopy and the gang, it is nice to widen our circle of friends and invite in others, sometimes. Rhode Montijo has moved into town and his Halloween kid is a rough 'n' ready, mummy-bustin', vampire-quashin', werewolf-vanquishin' rowdy boy born in the oh-so-American vein of Howdy Doody and Spin and Marty: a now-kitchy, black-and-white, kid-cowboy drama made popular on the original The Mickey Mouse Club. Montijo's The Halloween Kid is a joyful, pleasing blend of the 1940s/'50s cowboy craze and man's timeless terrors hiding under the bed, in the back of the closet, up in the attic and down the alley.

For centuries, Hallowe'en has been a celebration of autumn harvest and a time to let loose before a punishing winter can set in with surprising speed and brutality. Hallowe'en is also the one night of the year the spirits may cross over from the netherworld and mingle with the mortals and muggles, like a great, spooky cocktail party. We, as said-mortals and -muggles play dress-up in our best efforts to confuse the spirits and protect our souls. In our contemporary day, Hallowe'en and all its accompanying fright nights leading up to October 31st can, sometimes, go a tad  far for some, where the realm of gore and purposeful, obligatory, instigated terror are concerned.

Modern psychology deems that our psyches and we, in our cozy, comfy, cushy 21stC. lives of heated BMW seats and Peet's organic coffee, need a little cage-rattling now and then. Hence, there exists the quizzical, überpopular appeal of zombies and serial killers as subject matter: note The Walking Dead, True Blood, The Originals, Game of Thrones. All quality productions with unarguably impressive fanbases. Nevertheless, the table is somewhat crowded with voracious zombies, mythical Barbarians and ravenous vampires; it's nice to keep seats open for not just Greg Nicotero (The Walking Dead's exec. prod./SFX designer) and Bill Johnson (The Originals' SFX makeup artists), but the traditional likes of Walt Disney, Charles Schulz and, now, Rhode Montijo.

For this girl's take, I find it wonderful that Hallowe'en has become a welcome domain for adults. Some of us have never outgrown the joy of October and, unlike many a day past, those of us whom have transferred the holiday to adulthood can find far more ephemera and moral support today for our spooky penchant. Even so, some enthusiasts might take Halloween to an uncomfortable level, especially for neighborhood children. When trick-or-treating is just too terrifying for the tiniest of fairy princesses and fearsome pirates, your decorations might be too much.

Case in point: enthusiastic homeowners in the Minnesota suburb of Eden Prairie have been asked to remove some of their more realistically disturbing designs, including a bloody torso in a cauldron, a hanging man and a headless corpse. It seems to be a bit much for the wee ones in the neighborhood. Local police, though, state there is no ordinance forbidding such special effects. Maybe the neighbors draw the drapes, light some candles and read The Halloween Kid instead.

Besides the Leave it to Beaver, rolled-up jeans, all-American, good-time tale of good vs. evil in The Halloween Kid, Montijo's happy style of illustrations, kind of a Candy Corn-meets-Dennis the Menace, is pure visual contentment. Pages of goblins, ghosties and suburban streets full of kids dressed as clowns, superheroes and pirates await you: Hallowe'en at its Americana best! If you met someone from, say, Siberia or Mars and they said, "Vhat ees zis Halloveen?", (Yes, they have Eastern European accents on Mars.) to best describe it, you might invite them to watch It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown and Hocus Pocus, then give them copies of Halloween by Jerry Seinfeld and The Halloween Kid by Rhode Montijo.

Now, after you've read The Halloween Kid to your Hallowe'en kid, or to yourself over a very figgy-noted bottle of Black Mountain Fat Cat Cabernet Sauvignon, the book deserves a key spot amongst your holiday décor. Leave it closed on a side table with a glowing candle nearby, or open it to your fave page; mine is the Giant Miami Werewolf, natch, being Miami-born. The best thing about Montijo's charming black-and-orange artwork? There are bushels more available at his website: portraiture of Victorian Jack o' Lantern ladies, orphaned skeletons to adopt, art postcards, children's books, the comic book adventures of Pablo's Inferno, antique jars of "Wind for Indoor Kite Flying" and various Halloween Kid related goodies.

Besides The Halloween Kid, my fave bit of Montijo is a fleeting bit of fantasy which, sadly, eludes me online. Fortunate enough to have met and spoken with the elusive Rhode Montijo at San Diego Comic-Con this year, he told me the inspiration behind a certain artwork. It is a giant, friendly sort of pumpkin-moon with glowing, orange eyes and a chipper glowing, orange smile; the rest of the pumpkin-moon is painted all the beautiful colours of The X-Files: blacks, pewters and navy-blues, all set against a starry, stormy, autumn night. The piece is, in his words, Montijo's "vision of what The Great Pumpkin looks like as he's coming to town". Splendid! (Mr. Montijo, if it comes available again, before next year's SDCC, please do LMK @JennyPopNet!)

Fortunate I was indeed, to chat with Mr. Montijo at SDCC, as he is a bit like a Republican at WeedCon: out there, but hard to find. Even according to the official Montijo website, "Very little is known about children's book author and illustrator, Rhode Montijo; he was discovered at the front steps of the Elden Library."

Were I able to chat with Mr. Montijo again, I would thank him for a cherished new addition to my treasured collection of Hallowe'en books. May The Halloween Kid feel right at home, in our home, with Poe's raven, Morticia and Gomez, The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror comic books, Cranberry Halloween, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Seinfeld's Halloween, The Teeny, Tiny Witches, Cinderella Skeleton and so many more of my fave, autumnal friends of childhood as well as my childlike adulthood. (I suppose I can thank him at next year's at Comic-Con ... if he appears.)

As The Halloween Kid exclaims, "Y'all keep trick-or-treatin' now, ya hear? Yee-Ha-lloween!"

 

For a full list of JennyPop's fave Halloween films, TV specials and books ... voila!

Follow or Tweet @JennyPopNet #Halloweenbooks #TheHalloweenKid #RhodeMontijo

 

 
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Chris: Yay! A crossover always brings out the best in each show! It certainly doesn't smack of desperation. The priorities are always creative and not driven by marketing...

Stewie: Okay, that's enough.

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The first taste was doled out in an almost masochistically small dose, like a wildly-anticipated Beaujolais delivered via medicine-droppers used to feed baby squirrels. Magnanimously proffered to those willing to wait hour-over-hour at a Family Guy Q&A panel at San Diego Comic-Con 2014, The Simpsons-Family Guy crossover episode sneak-peek was released for semi-public consumption. After that, after July of 2014, it seemed an eternity before it would eventually air. Late-September? Narf! That's so far away! Still, patience endured and summer passed by and September 28th hath come, and now gone, at long last: Family Guy's S13-premiere, "The Simpsons Guy", was easily the highlight of the annual, autumnal, FOX Animation Domination kick-off: minus American Dad and Bob's Burgers, both to air their season-premieres in October.

Like an easy-peasy, light clean-up of an early-autumn backyard in Connecticut, "The Simpsons Guy" (S13e1) raked in 8.4 million viewers, a whopping 73% increase over last year's premiere, "Finder's Keepers" (S12e1). "The Simpsons Guy" hit a ratings jackpot, at least compared with Sunday night's competition, nailing the #1 entertainment-slot amongst the advertiser's drool spectrum of 18-49, 18-34 and 25-54-year-olds.

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To quote Larry Daivd, "It's enough already." Sure, it seems fun: these slow, warm, lazy, final days of summer in the sand and surf. Mid-April of the year, I could barely wait to toss off the Hugh Hefner smoking jacket and J. Crew plaid flares. Now, deep into September (standard SoCal heat wave season) I've donned neither real shoes nor actual clothing in months: the de rigueur uniform for April-September around here is a bikini and a Tahitian bark-cloth  sarong. As a rule, unless absolutely necessary, like Kevin Dillon's Entourage character Johnny Drama, I do not venture inland April-October; if I really must, I hydrate well. (Legend has it today was 108 in the Inland Empire. No thank you.)

It's too hot to eat anything and my hair has reverted to its natural, Polynesian-frizz state. I blame Dad's Hawaiian genes. Despite copious amounts of Aveda anti-humectant pomade and Kiehl's "deeply restorative" saffron hair oil, all I can bear to do is whip up my wet blanket of locks into a neat, tight, ballerina bun. In the midst of our current, heinous heat wave, I've given up trying to style myself on any level, leaving me fashioned more like a cross between Rebecca De Mornay in Lords of Dogtown and a wet seal. My preferred, vintage mode of Dita Von Teese-meets-American Hustle shall have to wait. I will concede, however, that nighttime around here smells glorious in the summer, despite being too hot to actually sleep: the evening air conflates with the aroma of bonfires, salt air and suntan oil. It smells like a delivery truck of Hawaiian Tropic SPF2 crashed and spilled all over a Yosemite campground.

 

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Huzzah! Labor Day has come and gone and, for this girl, that means Autumn is nigh! Over-the-knee boots, homburgs and Burberry velvet blazers to be sported with Edgar Allan Poe baby-tees and J. Crew plaid pants wait patiently in the wings as Yours Truly waits patiently for the SoCal weather to cool. (It will. It just has to.) The end of Labor Day also means the beginning of the school-year; that, in turn, means my Savannah of Williamsburg titles begin to sell raw-ther well. (Yea!)

Elementary-age children, tweens and open-minded adults tend toward Savannah of Williamsburg: Being the Account of a Young, London Squirrel, Virginia 1705 (Book I). College-age (especially William & Mary students) and more serious historians -those with a sense of humour, anyway- drift toward the later books: Savannah of Williamsburg: The Trials of Blackbeard and His Pirates, Virginia 1718 (Book II) and Savannah of Williamsburg: Ben Franklin, Freedom & Freedom of the Press, Virginia 1735 (Book III). Whatever your historical poison, Savannah of Williamsburg has a tincture for you.

One of my fave readers is also one of my fave writers/songwriters/poetesses: Ms. Jannie Funster of Texas. You may recall previous posts of mine about Jannie, as well as reviews of her lilting, songbird-styling music. If you have yet to acquaint yourself with Ms. Jannie, do so! She doesn't post regularly, but when she does it's like finding a five-dollar bill in the laundry or an unopened bag of Swedish Fish in an old beach bag. It's awesome!

On this day, more fortunate I could not be. Jannie has penned a wee poem about Savannah of Williamsburg! If you follow Jannie, you'll note her wordsmithing and formatting is as whimsical, unconventional and abstract as she is. I love this best about her! What a wonderful, cozy, weirdly beautiful Autumn this shall be! Thank you, Ms. Jannie of Texas!

 

“Anticipation” for Jennifer Susannah Devore

I just ordered
a real live book
to hold in my hands,
off amazon.com,

“Savannah of Williamsburg: Being the Account of a Young London Squirrel, Virginia 1705 (The Savannah Series,Tales of An American Squirrel.)”

breath is
now suspended
in air like

a
skipping
stone

that will drop
into the water
as i drop into
this cozy chair
to lose myself
in the ruffle
of the pages.

 

by Jannie Funster 2014

 

Follow-up: September 9, 2014

What a lovely sentiment by our favourite Texas songbird, Miss Jannie Funster! If only all the world felt this way about Savannah of Williamsburg! Cheers, Miss Jannie from Texas!

I expect Jennifer Susannah’s book to arrive any day now. Maybe even today!!!!! whoohooo. I’m totally gonna have to brush my hair and put on some mascara for such an awesome event as to hold my own copy of her book in my hands.

 

The Darlings of Orange County - Epub format The Darlings of Orange County - Epub format $4.99

Customer Reviews:

Sea Gypsy  (Saturday, 24 March 2012)
Rating: 5
I can't remember the last time a book made me laugh out loud. This is a must read!!! I've only had the book for two days and i can't wait for the
sequel!!!


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Savannah of Williamsburg: Book I Savannah of Williamsburg: Book I $14.95

Customer Reviews:

admin  (Wednesday, 05 June 2013)
Rating: 4
via "Lisa's List" NPR Review: What a pleasant surprise Savannah of Williamsburg is. At first glance I thought a story about a squirrel who comes to
Colonial Virginia, dressed in pretty frocks and traveling with a steamer trunk and a violin would not be my cup of tea. But I’m game, so I started
reading.


Read more >>

Savannah of Williamsburg: Book II Savannah of Williamsburg: Book II $15.95

Customer Reviews:

admin  (Wednesday, 05 June 2013)
Rating: 5
via J. Carroll on Amazon: An interesting history lesson, much of it told in the third person, through the eyes of a little, English squirrel who made
her way to America and settled in Williamsburg during the early years of this nation. See previous writing by the same author, titled "Savannah of
Williamsburg".


Read more >>

Savannah of Williamsburg: Book III Savannah of Williamsburg: Book III $15.95

Customer Reviews:

admin  (Wednesday, 05 June 2013)
Rating: 5
via Larry on Amazon: Very interesting read. Just enough history to make it interesting. Will look for other Savannah of Williamsburg books. Recommend
to all for enjoyable read!


Read more >>

 

 

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Theme from Savannah of Williamsburg: The Trials of Blackbeard and His Pirates (Book II)

Blackbeard's Chanty:"Me Cup is Broke!"Music by PBIII, lyrics by Jennifer Susannah Devore

Meet Miss JennyPop

Jennifer Susannah Devore

Jenny Pop is the acclaimed Author of the Savannah of Williamsburg series of books and The Darlings of Orange County. In addition, Jen is a prolific consumer of media and pop culture. Never leaving the house without her journal and fave Waterman pen, an old-fashioned, analog book (usually Hunter S. Thompson) and a fresh coat of lipstick, she is constantly on the hunt for fun, espresso, animation  and comics of any kind and always ready for an impromptu day at Disneyland.  JennyPop.net is a natural extension of  Jen's World; so, spend some time visiting. You'll have fun, she promises!

Meet The Darlings

The Darlings of Orange County

The sexy, cashmere beaches of southern California aren't always what they seem. The dirty little secret here is what it takes to survive. Everyone has a trick up their silk sleeve. Liz Lemon meets Parker Posey, Veronica Darling is smart enough to know what it takes and is willing to soil her soul to bring Hollywood to the California Riviera. The Darlings of Orange County is a salacious, hilarious, harrowing romp chock full of eco-terrorism, horse-racing scandals, weed deals and the obligatory lipstick-lesbian affair that inevitably leads to murder. It all climaxes in a white-knuckled, glitzy, celebrity-stacked Laguna Beach Film Premiere that spells success for Veronica Darling and trouble for her friends and family.

Meet Miss Savannah Squirrel

Savannah Prudence Squirrel

Savannah Prudence Squirrel

Meet Miss Savannah of Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia. Equal parts Amelia Earhart, Lucy Honeychurch, Scarlett O'Hara and Miss Piggy, Savannah is a scholar, adventurer and a lady. Moreover, she is a pebble in the silver-buckled shoe of injustice and with her best pals she is not a squirrel to challenge. She carries  the Magna Carta in one paw and the latest Parisian silk bag in her other. Whether fighting to end slavery, arguing for freedom of the press or scheming to end a duel, Miss Savannah does so with wit and persistence. Read more to meet her best friends and accomplices: Ichabod Wolfgang and Dante Marcus Pritchen. Prepare to also meet pirates, a Venetian fox and an Irish gull, The Commodore!

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Meet Miss Hannah

Hannah Hart, ghost dame of the Hotel del Coronado

Hannah Hart, ghost dame of the Hotel del Coronado

So, here's the low down, all you Joes and Janes ... I'm Hannah Hart, dead girl. Don't fret, it's actually a sweet dish being dead. Having perished in 1934 in a terrifically vicious accessories incident with actress Ida Lupino, I reside where I died: San Diego's gorgeous Hotel del Coronado. It ain't a bad gig at all, really! Great weather, swanky guests (not to mention a few fellow ghosties), amazing amenities, my own private turret overlooking the sea and all the java juice and giggle water I can handle; plus, these bartenders know how to make a Planter's Punch like nobody's business! See, I've been waiting for this Internet thing forever ... now, instead of slamming doors and moving lamps, I get to wag my tongue all I like at goodtobeageek.com

Abyssinia, kids!