Saturday, August 12, 2017

Kirk Hammett’s Movie Poster Collection

Peer Into the Horror That Is Kirk Hammett’s Movie Poster Collection

Song of the Day

(22) Kim Carnes - Bette Davis Eyes (HQ) - YouTube:

I'm Sure You'll All Agree

Best Dystopian Books: 100 Great Works OF Dystopian Fiction Tales about a world gone wrong.

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12 Seductive Facts About ‘The Graduate’

12 Seductive Facts About ‘The Graduate’ 

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Jack Hanley, Very Private Secretary, Intimate Novel, 1952

But Not by Readers of This Blog

11 Popular Quotes Commonly Misattributed to F. Scott Fitzgerald

On the Rise of Scandinavian Crime Fiction

On the Rise of Scandinavian Crime Fiction

Blanche Blackwell, R. I. P.

The Washington Post: Blanche Blackwell inspired one of Noel Coward’s plays about an upper-crust love triangle, and swashbuckling Hollywood star Errol Flynn wanted to marry her. She was a member of one of Jamaica’s richest families, but she was best known as the mistress and muse of Ian Fleming, the rakish author who was the creator of James Bond.

Ken Kaiser, R. I. P.

The New York Times: Ken Kaiser, a no-nonsense umpire who was unafraid over his colorful 23-year major league career to confront players and managers, but who lost his job during a misguided labor action by his union, died on Tuesday in Rochester. He was 72.  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Philippa Gregory: By the Book

Philippa Gregory: By the Book: The author of “The Last Tudor” is no fan of “sloppy genre novels”: “The typing alone is so exhausting — surely if you’re going to undertake 150,000 words, you might as well have something interesting to say?”

Friday, August 11, 2017

2017 Hugo Award Winners

Announcing the 2017 Hugo Award Winners

I Found a Penny in the Walmart Parking Lot Last Week

20 Amazingly Valuable Thrift Store Finds 

Song of the Day

(22) Buggles - Video killed the radio star 1979 - YouTube:

Rubber Soul, the Beatles' Breakthrough Album

Rubber Soul, the Beatles' Breakthrough Album

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10 Little Known People Who Changed the World

10 Little Known People Who Changed the World 

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James Clayford (Peggy Gaddis), Man Crazy (Passion Pulls the Trigger), Exotic Novel, 1951

It's Scientific Fact!

The 15 Worst Movies Ever Made

It's about Time

Scientists create the first mutant ants 

FFB: Potent Stuff -- Al James (Albert James Hjertstedt)

Al James, the son of Day Keene, wrote mostly for the low-end paperback houses, like Midwood and Novel Books.  His father's talent eclipsed his, but that doesn't mean he didn't sell a lot of books.  And when Bill Pronzini mentioned that Potent Stuff  "was particularly reminiscent of his father's crime fiction," I knew I had to read it, even thought Bill added that it's "not nearly as good" as Keene's work.

He's right on both counts.  The plot is one that Keene would certainly have used and probably did.  The writing isn't in Keene's league, though, and there are some things that happen in the story that I was never clear about. 

About the plot: It's classic.  Fred Macon wakes up in his apartment feeling like he has the world's worst hangover, even though he doesn't drink.  He has no memory of the previous six hours of his life, and his fiancĂ©e has been shot to death in the next room.  After that, the book becomes a man-on-the-run story, and I have to admit that James really puts Macon through the wringer.  I'm not sure I've ever read a book in which the protagonist has so many close calls and escapes.  There's an interesting section in which Macon goes to a town full of migrant workers, and some of the comments might even be relevant today.  Unfortunately there's an unpleasant thread of misogyny running through the story, and when everything is supposedly tied together, it doesn't really make a lot of sense.

This isn't the kind of book I can really recommend for any reason other than it's a fine study in what used to sell paperbacks.  It's an interesting historical artifact.  If that kind of thing appeals to you (as it does to me), the book's worth a look.

Amusing aside: This is book full of potent stuff for manly men, as the title and cover copy (front and back) tell you.  But in this virile environment, the protagonist can't say "Piss on the cops" or anything else.  He says, "Water on the cops."  This happens often, and I laughed a lot.

.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Chupacabra Update

Chupacabra rumors swirl after golfer spots mysterious creature   

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

The Deadliest Natural Disaster in US History

The Deadliest Natural Disaster in US History: By September of 1900, the city of Galveston, Texas, was the center of maritime shipping on the Texas Gulf Coast and held a virtual monopoly on commerce of all kinds. One of its main streets, the Strand (Avenue B), was known as the Wall Street of the Southwest. Many millionaires lived in Galveston, having made their fortunes there. Life was good for practically everyone, wealthy or no, but that was about to change.

Song of the Day

(22) Maxine Brown - All In My Mind - YouTube:

I'm Sure You'll All Agree

Top 10 Museums of The West 2017

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I Miss the Old Days

29 Stunning Photos of Dancefloor Styles That Defined the '70s Disco Fashion

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Katherine Brush, Red Headed Woman, Avon, 1942

“The Trials of Writing at 65 MPH” (by M.C. Lee)

“The Trials of Writing at 65 MPH” (by M.C. Lee) | SOMETHING IS GOING TO HAPPEN: Fiction writers come from all walks of life, as this post demonstrates. And those who really have it in them to write will often endure many difficulties, even hardships, to make it possible. I’ve known writers who composed all their early works on trains while commuting to and from work, many others who got up in the wee hours of the morning or burned candles late at night in order to fit their writing in around full-time jobs, child-rearing, and other commitments. I’ve known a traveling salesman who wrote in his car while stopped at convenience stores between appointments, but never before have I met someone who wrote while in the driver’s seat of a vehicle moving at 65 mph. Mike Lee’s first published work of fiction, “Angel Face,” appeared in EQMM’s May/June 2017 issue under the name M.C. Lee. I think it’s a fine debut. I’ll let him tell the rest of his story himself. . . . —Janet Hutchings

This week’s tabloids

Obama’s secret bunker and a stool-pigeon parrot, in this week’s tabloids

8 Dazzling Facts About Hedy Lamarr

8 Dazzling Facts About Hedy Lamarr

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Susan Breen on “The Countess of Warsaw”

Susan Breen on “The Countess of Warsaw” | Trace Evidence: Susan Breen�is the author of the Maggie Dove series (Maggie Dove’s Detective Agency is available now from Penguin/Random House) as well as The Fiction Class, which received the Washington Irving Award. Here she talks about the genesis and plot of her story “The Countess of Warsaw” from the July/August 2017 issue.

The A.V. Club’s exhaustive guide to fast food sauces

The A.V. Club’s exhaustive guide to fast food sauces

Song of the Day

(21) 1960 HITS ARCHIVE: Just One Time - Don Gibson - YouTube:

8 Scientific Benefits of Napping

8 Scientific Benefits of Napping 

Do You Really Need to Go There?

Check out Angela Crider Neary's latest blog post and leave a comment if you're so inclined.

Fire Star Press: Many fiction writers set their books and stories in interesting or exotic locales, making the reading as well as the writing process entertaining, and often providing a much-needed escape from reality for both author and reader.  They talk to their accountants about the tax write-offs of traveling to Paris or Italy to research their next book.  But do you really need to actually visit the particular setting you are writing about?

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I Miss the Old Days

Mullet: The Badass Hairstyle of the 1970s, 1980s and Early 1990s

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Faith Baldwin, Bride from Broadway, Dell 10 Cent Book #5

I'm Sure You'll All Agree

10 Female Killers in Fiction 

But Nobody Here Does

38 Word Usage Mistakes Even Smart People Make

Bonus FFB on Wednesday: The Broken Vase -- Rex Stout

I've been reading Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe books for well over 50 years now, but I'd never read any of his mystery novels outside that series.  I decided that it was time, and since a beaten up old Mapback of Bad for Business was handy, that was the one I chose.  Unfortunately it's the third and final book in the Tecumseh Fox series, and it's supposedly a bit different from the other two.  However, I enjoyed it on its own merits.

Fox has contributed $2000 toward the purchase of a wonderful violin for a young man named Jan Tusar to play in concert.  The concert turns out to be a disaster, not because of Tusar's playing but because of the sound of the violin. Distraught, Tusar commits suicide at the intermission.  But was he driven to it?  And if so, how?  The violin disappears but turns up later at a meeting of the contributors, one of whom is poisoned at the meeting.  Fox takes possession of the violin and discovers that it's been tampered with.  He believes that Tusars' suicide was, in effect, murder.  After that, things get complicated, but Fox figures it all out, and there's a gathering of the suspects much like in the Wolfe books.  

While I don't think this book is in the same class with the Wolfe  novels, it's still fun to read, and I might check out the earlier books in the series eventually.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Glen Campbell, R. I. P.

Rolling Stone: Glen Campbell, the indelible voice behind 21 Top 40 hits including "Rhinestone Cowboy," "Wichita Lineman" and "By the Time I Get to Phoenix," died Tuesday. He was 81. A rep for Universal Music Group, Campbell's record label, confirmed the singer's death to Rolling Stone. During a career that spanned six decades, Campbell sold over 45 million records. In 1968, one of his biggest years, he outsold the Beatles.

A Review of Interest (To Me, Anyway)

Review: Dead, to Begin With by Bill Crider by Terrie Farley Moran

PimPage, and Occasional Feature in which I Call Attention to Books of Interest

Pulp Slam: Rip-Roarin' Tales of Mystery, Murder, and Mayhem: Fred Blosser, Bob McLain: 9781683900733: AmazonSmile: Books  Pulp in Your Face!
In thirteen take-no-prisoners pulp yarns, Robert E. Howard scholar Fred Blosser caroms from the Old West to the noirish streets of urban America, and then beneath the earth itself, into a primitive world of savagery, to slam you silly with the best in pulp fiction.

By bullet and sword, fist and fortune, Blosser's square-jawed yet often brutal heroes face down the worst that evil has to offer:

Ringo and Horn blow away bootleggers, outlaws, Mafia thugs and assassins, and other lowlifes, from the backstreets to the backwoods
Commander Manta and Agent Gila battle the hallucinogenic horrors of a would-be world conqueror in Washington, D.C.
Dax the Go-Run struggles to survive in the savage, subterranean world of Kaal-Dur, as he goes in quest of a captive princess
All this, and hitmen vs Cthulhu, too. You can't go wrong with hitmen vs Cthulhu.

Plus, Blosser serves up a quintology of non-fiction analyses of such pulp topics as Dashiell Hammett's "Nightmare Town" and the Mafia novels of Richard Posner.

Get Slammed!

How the Bristol Sessions Created Country Music

How the Bristol Sessions Created Country Music: During two weeks in 1927, a group of singers gathered at a recording studio in a renovated hat warehouse in Bristol, Tennessee. Johnny Cash once called what happened next “the single most important event in the history of country music.”

Song of the Day

(21) Johnny Cash - Man in black with lyrics - YouTube:

Or Maybe You Do

13 Things You May Not Know About Bob Dylan: Bob Dylan is a legend of legends in the music world. He is rock music's greatest poet. He's sold millions of records and albums and his live concerts have been unforgettable events since the sixties. In 2008, Bob was awarded a Pulitzer Prize Special Citation. Now, as if his career hadn't been incredible enough already, he won the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature. Okay, let's take a look at a few other interesting facts about Mr. Bob Dylan.

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Mock Turtle Soup

How America Fell Into—and Out of—Love With Mock Turtle Soup: The calf’s head concoction that once claimed American hearts.

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Hank Janson,  Corruption, Top Fiction, 1953

25 Books Every Book Lover Should Read

25 Books Every Book Lover Should Read

Bad Movie Night: Madonna’s ‘Who’s That Girl’

Bad Movie Night: The Dopey, Kitschy Appeal of Madonna’s ‘Who’s That Girl’: Madge's 1987 screwball comedy is a mess, but it's hard to ding a movie that works so hard for your affection.

Overlooked TV -- The Count of Monte Cristo

The Count of Monte Cristo was a syndicated TV series in 1956.  There have been others since then, but I've been watching a few episodes of the 1956 version on YouTube, so that's the one I'm writing about.  It's not exactly based on the book.  It's sort of a series of sequels.  Now that Edmond Dantes is all settled in as the Count, he's a sort of do-gooder in various trouble spots in Europe.  Sometimes this doing good involves lending money from his vast fortune (he's a banker now), and sometimes just performing rescues when evil relatives want to take over a kingdom from the rightful heirs, or that's the way it's been in the episodes I've seen, which include numbers 1, 3, and 5

The star of the show is George Dolenz (Mickey's dad!), and his two sidekicks are played by Nick Cravat and Fortunio Bonanova.  You might think that with an acrobat like Cravat in the cast there'd be some great stunts.  But you'd be wrong.  Cravat seems just wasted.  He has little to do, when he's in action, it's usually short and uninspired.  Which reminds me that the fist fights in this show have to be some of the lamest ever.  Nobody comes within a foot of a jaw with a fist.  The sword fights, while not entirely lame, are just mediocre.  Maybe things got better in the later episodes.  All that being said, I kind of liked watching the show.  It's a reminder of the way things were in a different era, which is something I always enjoy.

Monday, August 07, 2017

Haruo Nakajima, R. I. P.

Lawrence Person's Futuramen: Haruo Nakajima, the original actor inside the Godzilla suit for the first twelve Toho films, has died at age 88.

The Author of 'Robinson Crusoe' Used Almost 200 Pseudonyms

The Author of 'Robinson Crusoe' Used Almost 200 Pseudonyms

Don Baylor, R. I. P.

Former MLB player, manager Don Baylor dead at 68: Former MLB player and manager Don Baylor — a strong clubhouse leader in the game, a pioneer outside it and gentleman in both — died early Monday morning after a long battle with multiple myeloma, his son confirmed to the Austin American-Statesman. He was 68.  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Song of the Day

(18) 1960 HITS ARCHIVE: Peter Gunn - Duane Eddy - YouTube:

I Miss the Old Days

71 Colorful Pictures of Fashionable Furniture and Interiors in the 1970s: Furniture of the 1970s was full of bright colors, lava lamps, flares and flower power. Patterned prints including geometric shapes and stripes were common in most family homes. Vibrancy was key in this era. Curvy and bold designs were popular, including tub chairs and metallic bar stools were heavily featured in living rooms across the country. And don't forget shaggy rugs.

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Top 10 Tragic One-Hit Wonders

Top 10 Tragic One-Hit Wonders

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Mark Shane, Jail and Farewell, Comyns, 1950

When Fairfield County Was the Comic-Strip Capital of the World

When Fairfield County Was the Comic-Strip Capital of the World | Vanity Fair: From the 1950s through the 90s, Fairfield County, Connecticut, was home to many of America’s best cartoonists and illustrators—the men responsible for “Beetle Bailey,” “Little Orphan Annie,” “H�gar the Horrible,” and countless other comic strips. The author, whose father drew “Prince Valiant,” remembers their eccentric subculture.  

Hat tip to Greg Daniel.

I'm Back!

Armadillocon was great, and I'm glad to took the chance and went.  I saw a lot of old friends and new friends, had several meals with my son and my sister, and held up to the rigors of the convention very well.  In fact, I'm feeling better today than I did when I went, so I think I've shaken off the effects of the chemo.  Two weeks or so until the next infusion, and I'm looking for some good days during that time.

The photo on the left was taken on Saturday night by Kasey Lansdale.  From left to right are Dave Hardy, Dwight Simms, Joe Lansdale, Lawrence Person, James Reasoner, me, and Scott Cupp.  Bull sessions like this used to last until two or three in the morning.  This one broke up at ten-thirty.  We're getting old, folks.  Anyway, even though it was shorter than in the old days, it was a heck of a lot of fun.  I hope to get to do it again sometime.

Ty Hardin, R. I. P.

The New York Times: Ty Hardin, who roamed the West searching for adventure in the television series “Bronco” in the late 1950s and early ’60s, died on Thursday in Huntington Beach, Calif. He was 87.  '

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Forgotten Hits: August 7th

Forgotten Hits: August 7th  

SuperChart included.

Television Critics Association Award winners

Television Critics Association Award winners

Sunday, August 06, 2017

15 of Robert Mitchum's Wittiest Quotes

15 of Robert Mitchum's Wittiest Quotes: Though his legacy is as one of Hollywood’s most iconic tough guys, Robert Mitchum was much more than that. In addition to his acting work, the Oscar nominee also dabbled in directing, writing, singing, composing, and poetry—and maintained a wicked sense of humor through it all. On what would be the legendary star’s 100th birthday, here are 15 of his most memorable quotes.

Song of the Day

(18) This World Is Not My Home [Live] - YouTube:

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Thornton Wilder, Heaven's My Destination, Avon, 1945

The Icelandic Translation of 'Dracula' Is Actually a Different Book

The Icelandic Translation of 'Dracula' Is Actually a Different Book

A History of McGruff the Crime Dog

Paw Enforcement: A History of McGruff the Crime Dog