The Digital Sanctuary of Author and Journalist Ray Van Horn, Jr.
Ray Van Horn, Jr. is a veteran entertainment journalist whose writing and live photography has been featured in Blabbermouth.net, Dee Snider’s House of Hair Online, Fangoria.com, Horror News.net, About.com Heavy Metal, MetalManiacs, New Noise, Music Dish, AMP, Hails & Horns, Unrestrained,Noisecreep, Impose, Pit, The Big Takeover.com, Rough Edge.com, Pitriff and others. His blog The Metal Minute won a “Best Personal Blog” award in 2009 from Metal Hammer magazine and he wrote and produced his own hard rock e-zine, Retaliate.
He has contributed essays to UK author Neil Daniels’ Iron Maiden and ZZ Top biographies. Ray’s fiction has been published in various periodicals and anthologies, including his flash fiction piece “Off the Record” for Akashic Books’ “Mondays Are Murder” noir series. His recent short stories “Before the Ball” and “Widow” were featured in subsequent editions of Alex S. Johnson’s Axes of Evil anthologies. Ray wrote serialized original superhero fiction for Cyber Age Adventures and five of those stories appear in the anthology Playing Solitaire. He was the winner of Quantum Muse’s fiction contest in 1999.
Ray is a former NHL game analyst for The Hockey Nut and one-time host of the forum “Comic Books” at ReadWave. He has done beat reporting, photography and lifestyle articles for Metromix, an affiliate of The Baltimore Sun, Carroll Magazine, The Northern News and The Emmitsburg Dispatch.
Sunday Triple Play gets relocated to Thursday this week in honor of St. Patrick's Day, so here's a trio of fun Irish nuggets to celebrate the day. I consider myself an American mutt, but there is a strong strain of McDermott blood running through my lineage. Thus I've always been real keen on Irish music, bangers and mash, Tullamore Dew shots and a pint or four o' Smitticks.
You don't need March 17th to enjoy Irish culture, but in the spirit of Saint Patty's, Slainte, and be sure to wear your green, lest you subject to some pinchin'.
I spent a large chunk of my youth collecting baseball cards, along with Star Wars and Kiss cards, and then when I was an NHL game analyst, I collected hockey cards so I could have the players within my reach while writing up games (before many were traded, as happens so frequently in the sport). I still have that binder full of hockey cards, but these are my lone baseball card survivors.
I don't eat anywhere near as much candy as I used to, but this one had my name all over it.
Listenin' to: In this spirit of today's post, this damned song (Babymetal - "Gimme Chocolate") over and over, 'cuz it's one of the insanely addicting songs I've heard. Throw me a life line and pull me free!!!
Feeling Godzilla strong after this weekend. 2 hours of pumps and an hour of pickleball on Friday. An hour fifteen of pumps and 2 miles run, plus 2 hours of floor hockey with 2 Dads against the kiddos yesterday (most of it full court). 2 more hours of pumps this morning. The power of 2 and a 'zilla roar to the heavens, thanking the Lord for giving me the will and the strength. I'm now who I'm meant to be.
Over at Blabbermouth, I have reviews of recent albums by Megadeth, Voivod, Danzig, Girlschool, Primal Fear, Opeth, Baroness, Drowning Pool, Kylesa, Pinkish Black, Anvil, Entombed A.D., Bobaflex and Axel Rudi Pell. Plus, DVD reviews of the Twisted Sister documentary "We Are Twisted F***ing Sister," the Scorpions' "Forever and a Day" and Nazareth's "No Means of Escape."
From time-to-time, I've posted these photos from what I consider the best assignment ever to this point in my journalism career. I'd been given private access to the location most horror fans would give an appendage or two to see: the Boy Scout camp doubling as the most notorious patch of woods the genre's ever seen.
Camp No-Be-Bos-Co has been around since the early 1900s and continues to operate today. I'll never forget this trip as I was given a green light by the management to do an article on the camp when it was announced a remake of Friday the 13th was on its way. Ranger Tom, the only official presence on-site, gave me some terrific stories but advised that, just like the deputy in the original Friday says, they don't stand for no weirdness from uber-fans trying to sneak onto the camp. I was allowed to photograph "Camp Crystal Lake" to my heart's content. It really does have a creepy feeling, particularly around the edges of Sand Pond, constituting the movie's "lake."
I later ventured into Blairstown, New Jersey to see the town used in the establishing shots where ill-fated camper Annie tramps through on-foot. To no surprise, I couldn't get anyone to talk to me about the film for my article, but I did find a jewelry store owner with the last name of Voorhees. As it turns, Voorhees is a common last name in the Jersey region. Later, we ate at the Blairstown Diner used in the film, but naturally, our waitress vanished when I tried to kick up convo about the film.
Nonetheless, the piece was a success and it was capped by an interview with the late Betsy Palmer. Betsy was the sweetest woman and she'd called me after our interview ran, telling me I was the first writer to ever quote her 100% accurately. I still feel proud about that. She'd invited me to a future lunch date in Manhattan, which I'm terribly sorry to say it never happened, even when I made the attempt to follow up a couple years later. RIP Mama Voorhees.
A couple years ago, I was approached by Allentown, PA writer David Zernhelt about my "Crystal Lake" photos I'd posted around the web. He'd put together a few small booklets about the Friday the 13th series and asked to use some of the photos you see here. Some were used and I thank David for his exposure of my work. However, some of the photos you see here haven't yet been put out there to my readers, sooooooo.... Without further ado, here's an expanded edition of my No-Be-Bos-Co trip:
This week's edition of Sunday Triple Play has the theme of "What's Ray reviewing for Blabbermouth this month?" While I have a big handful of albums to take on in February, I also have three videos on my plate: Twisted Sister's docufilm "We Are Twisted F***ing Sister," The Jam's "About the Young Idea" and Rigor Mortis' "Welcome to Your Funeral: The Story of Rigor Mortis Part 1."
If you're a media reviewer, you know that's a ton of time invested in video material. Thus far, I have two out of the three knocked out for the month, whew... So with that, here's a clip from each of these bands I'm reviewing this month, including a song that's one of my personal theme songs. You can probably guess it for yourselves, although if you say "Re-Animator," you probably know me better than I know myself, ya sickies.
I'm way late to the party on this, but I tripped over this clip from one friend's post, me been more attuned to nautical things lately as another friend is about to chase her doctorate in marine biology. I've always been fascinated with the sea since my main phobia as a child was drowning. Having conquered that, I'm always up for ocean, reef and other marine documentaries, as I am with anything on animals.
Wow, man, this 20 foot behemoth, Deep Blue, who was filmed off of Guadalupe Island near Mexico...
Check it out as the diver snags a high five with this beastie. Awesome sauce.
Spring Training officially starts today, yeah, baby!
Is Bryce Harper gonna remain the hype machine of the NL this season or will the Cubbies' Kyle Schwarber (there's a catchy syllabic link between the two, so the baseball cosmos will prevail as it will) steal the limelight from Nats Number 34?
In his debut major league season last year, Schwarber knotted 16 dingers. His total included three multi-homer games during the regular season and another one in Game 4 of the NLDS. With five crushed during the playoffs, he is now the Cubs' leader for playoff round trippers, this as a flippin' rookie. In that fated moment during the playoffs, Schwarber had the stones to call one of his shots, if you'll remember. He also tagged one into the Wrigley Field jumbo tron that was, for a short time, preserved by an awestruck Chicago.
Let the case be made before the first Spring Training pitch today, that Schwarber means business this year, following the shattered windshield of a homer he put out during batting practice yesterday.
Oh, it's gonna be a willllllllld MLB season...
Listenin' to: Kurtis Blow Presents the History of Rap, Vol. 1
Here I go hijacking one of my old posts from ReadWave Comic Books since it vanished into the cyber ether following the site's disassembly.
I first wrote directly to Marvel with a for-fun hypothetical playlist the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy sequel. Like so many other people, I loved the first film not only because it was mega fun, but because of its slamming retro soundtrack. Being of his generation, I resonated with Starlord's "Awesome Mix Vol. 1" left to him by his dying mother in the film. That cassette tape filled with cuts by the Runaways, David Bowie, the Jackson Five, Blue Suede, Elvin Bishop, the Raspberries, 10cc and Redbone was not only way-hip throwback material recycled with style, it was also a clever part of the plot. Those songs represent not only Starlord's connection to his mother, but to Mother Earth.
As those who have seen the film know, Starlord's mom left him a final parting gift, which he'd refused to open well into his adult life as a celestial treasure scavenger and playboy. That gift is ultimately revealed to be a second tape of music, which shrewdly leaves us in wonder what the next film's score is going to be like.
Being the music dweeb that I am, I set out to not only hypothesize what Marvel has in store for us musically in Guardians 2, I wanted to chime in and play the game with them. Considering the first Guardians soundtrack went platinum (a rarity in this sales-strapped market), you know the opportunity is huge to strike hot again come the sequel.
So, in case you missed it over at ReadWave Comic Books, here's how I would assemble a potential Guardians of the Galaxy 2 soundtrack:
Maxine Nightingale - "Right Back Where We Started From" (could be the opener or closer and it has such a positive vibe with a message that might resonate with the new film, depending on where the script's going - plus it's been field tested to success in the Slapshot film)
ELO - "Telephone Line" (an opportunity to have a touching scene with Starlord in a private moment with this song as he remembers his mother)
Bad Company - "Bad Company" (a marching stride anthem for the quintet in the same fashion as The Runaways)
Doobie Brothers - "China Grove" (a cool, energetic scene transition number)
Barry White - "I'm Gonna Love You Just a Little More, Baby" (or ANYTHING by Barry White, since no mother of the Seventies could resist this cat)
Three Dog Night - "Shamballah" (a peppy little number to drive a spaceship by)
Steppenwolf - "Magic Carpet Ride" (more pep while keeping in theme of gliding through space)
Atlanta Rhythm Section - "So Into You" (a sexy number for Starlord and Gamora - or whomever might constitute a love interest for our hero-pimp)
Bob Marley - "Is This Love" (another flirty number to consummate a romance in the film)
Ozark Mountain Daredevils - "Jackie Blue" (because it has one of the most killer riffs ever and a pumping groove)
James Brown - "Get Up Offa That Thing" (could be used for comedy relief or even in the midst of a high energy action sequence)
Christopher Cross - "Sailing" (breezy transition scene song to keep in theme of crossing the galaxy, no puns intended)