Lights Out Extra: COVID19 Edition

Lights Out Extra: COVID19 Edition. Since we’re all cooped up at home, let me bring a bit of ghost hunting to you! I went out for some fresh air, and visited the fine folks at the Peoria State Hospital. (Don’t worry — I did stay six feet away. They’re all in the cemetery.) Enjoy the “cootie edition” of Lights Out!


Book Review: The Last Odyssey, by James Rollins

I’m a librarian, and I’ve been working from home during the coronavirus shutdown. Part of that means processing books (yay!!!). I don’t usually read James Rollins — I have done in the past, but I tend to go more for domestic thrillers rather than action novels. Plus, I really don’t like reading large-print books, as I find there’s not enough material on a page to keep the thread of the story going. But in the box of books that I had to process, I found Rollins’ latest, The Last Odyssey. I’d read most of my library-book stash at this point in the shutdown, so I gave this a go.
I’m glad I did! It’s one of a series (again, not my fave), but I had very little difficulty picking up the nuances between the different characters, even though there were references to previous books. There was a goodly amount of action, and I just skipped over the techy parts (where Rollins got all drooly over weapons and submarines and speedboats). What really drew me in, and what got me interested in the book in the first place, was that the book was an imagination of the travels of Odysseus. I was a Classics major in college, so I happily dorked out to the mythology references.
I was satisfied with the ending, too. The bad guys all separately got what was coming to them. There was even a little bit of redemption, of sorts, for the really reprehensible female bad guy (and I won’t go into it any farther than that, but it was awesome).
All in all, if you like James Rollins in the first place, this is a no-brainer; you should definitely read it. But, even if action thrillers aren’t necessarily your jam, give it a try. There’s history, action, and excellently-drawn characters. I found it really enjoyable.

The Last Odyssey: A Thriller (Sigma Force Novels Book 15)

Lights Out: Glore Psychiatric Museum

Let’s get out of the house and go on a field trip. How does St. Joseph, Missouri sound? Glore Psychiatric Museum is unique. Begun as a simple display for Mental Health Awareness Week in 1966, the museum now has over 10,000 artifacts of life in the St. Joseph State Hospital. And it has ghosts! Join me as we look for them.



Today I Learned …

Deep-sea anglerfish — those blobby things with allll the teeth, enough to give Jaws nightmares — have a very interesting way of reproducing. When a male angler finds a female (who, incidentally, is much larger than he is), he latches onto her with those horrifying teeth and doesn’t let go.


As time goes by, the male actually becomes fused to the female. He basically gets absorbed into her body, losing his eyes and all his internal organs … except of course for the testes. The fish need those to make little baby anglerfish. A female anglerfish can support five or six males at a time, so when she’s ready to reproduce, she has her choice of males.

Today I Learned …

Before Fiorello LaGuardia became a popular mayor of New York City in 1933, he was a judge. One day he presided over the case of a poor man who had stolen a loaf of bread to feed his family.

LaGuardia stated that by law the man should be fined $10. Then he paid the fine himself, adding, “I’m going to fine everyone in this court 50 cents each for living in a town where a man has to steal bread in order to eat.” He had the bailiff collect the fines — and give them to the defendant.

Another Very Special Today I Learned …

And now for another special edition of Today I Learned … St. Corona is the patron saint of epidemics. She was martyred as a teenager by the Romans, probably in Syria. The Aachen Cathedral in Germany has some of her relics in an ornate gold and ivory shrine. The artistic and religious treasure was scheduled to go on display this summer, but restorers are working on getting it ready to view a little earlier than that.

Lights Out: The Patee House

It’s time for another episode of Lights Out! If you’re stuck at home, why not enjoy a tour of this haunted museum in St. Joseph, Missouri?  St. Joseph is known for two things: the beginning of the Pony Express, and the end of Jesse James. And the Patee House has connections to both of these historical events. Come explore this unique museum, and meet its resident ghost, Henry Corbett.


Today I Learned …

Kid McCoy was a boxer, the welterweight champion of 1896. Early in his career, he showed a desire to win that was pretty ruthless, even for a boxer. Here’s one of his dick moves: he was fighting a guy who was completely deaf. By the third round, McCoy had figured out that his opponent couldn’t hear the bell. Halfway through the round, McCoy stepped back, acting as though the bell had rung. (It hadn’t.) When the other boxer dropped his fists and turned to go to his corner, McCoy knocked him out.

Today I Learned …

On the show Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, Mr. Rogers always mentioned out loud that he was feeding his fish. Turns out there was a reason for this. A young viewer of the show wrote to him, saying that she was blind, but enjoyed the show nonetheless, and she was wondering how the fish were doing. After that, Rogers made it a point to say out loud that he was feeding the fish.

Lights Out: Sallie House

Welcome back to the virtual campfire! This time we’re going to visit the Sallie House, considered one of the most haunted houses in the country. Is it haunted by the spirit of an innocent young girl? Or is there something much more malevolent here? I learned a harsh lesson with my visit to this place.