Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Top 10 Hidden Grave Sites Found With Satellite Images

Top 10 Hidden Grave Sites Found With Satellite Images

Song of the Day

First It Was the Thin Mints Melee

Man's widow, girlfriend have brawl at funeral home during viewing

Elvis Presley: 1977 Obituary

Elvis Presley: 1977 Obituary on Anniversary of Death

Today's Vintage Ad


I Miss the Old Days

25 Beautiful Photos of Women Who Defined Rock Music in the 1960s and 1970s

On Endings -- Janet Hutchings, Editor of EQMM

ON ENDINGS | SOMETHING IS GOING TO HAPPEN: Recently I was asked to serve on a short-story panel at the Bouchercon World Mystery Convention in Toronto (October 12-15) that will attempt to provide advice to new writers on various aspects of craft. The panel’s moderator, frequent EQMM and AHMM contributor James Lincoln Warren, asked each panelist to provide a list of topics for discussion. That got me thinking about endings.

PaperBack



Bruce Manning, Off Limits, Intimate Novel, 1951

A Sports Car is Born

A Sports Car is Born: One measure of the desirability of a sports car is whether or not it has teenagers drooling over it before they’re even old enough to drive. Here’s the story of one of the most drool-worthy cars in auto history. (See how long it takes you to guess which car we’re talking about.)  

When I was a kid, our next-door neighbor was a car salesman.  I got to ride in the first one of these cars ever to appear in Mexia, Texas.

Collecting Vintage Postcards

Collecting Vintage Postcards: Postcards (sometimes spelled out in two words as "post cards") became popular at the turn of the 20th century, especially for sending short messages to friends and relatives. They were collected right from the start, and are still sought after today by collectors of pop culture, photography, advertising, wartime memorabilia, local history, and many other categories.

Bonus FFB for Wednesday: Silence -- Thomas Perry

This is a little bit of a cheat, since I don't usually write about books I don't finish, but I thought I'd make an exception just this once.  It's rare for me not to finish a book once I've started, and I never thought I wouldn't finish one by Thomas Perry, who's entertained me many times.  Silence didn't work for me, though.

I should have known it was trouble when I saw that it was well over 400 pages long with fairly small print.  I'm not a fan of long books, but Perry's such an expert at pacing, I didn't think the length would be a problem.  I was wrong.

Here's why. Perry seems to have intended this to be a character-driven thriller, which is fine, although I think thrillers are generally plot driven.  I got bogged down in all the backstories for the characters in Silence.  There's so much backstory in the first 120 pages (which is as far as I got) that there's enough material for a couple of other books.  Maybe all this stuff will pay off later in the book, but not for me.  The thing that drove me to put the book down was the lengthy backstory (eight or nine pages) of one character, who's then killed only a few pages later.  I figured enough was enough.  I'll be reading other Thomas Perry books, no question about that, but this one was a disappointment.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Writers Read: Bill Crider

Writers Read: Bill Crider: Crider's newest novel is Dead, to Begin With, the 24th Dan Rhodes Mystery. Recently I asked the author about what he was reading.

B.K. Stevens: R.I.P.

Mystery Fanfare: B.K. Stevens: R.I.P.: Such sad and unexpected news. Bonnie Stevens: R.I.P. She will be missed by so many in the mystery community. Sending sympathy to her family and friends.

The Best Trick U.S. Marshal Bass Reeves Ever Pulled on a Criminal

The Best Trick U.S. Marshal Bass Reeves Ever Pulled on a Criminal

Song of the Day

This is the first recorded version.  The Kingston Trio didn't have a hit with it, however.
(24) Let's Get Together - YouTube:

He Gets Around

Rescuers discover body in Modesto creek is Dracula  

Hat tip to Art Scott.

I'm Sure You'll All Agree

Stephen King's 10 Most Terrifying Human Villains

Today's Vintage Ad


41 Brand Names People Use as Generic Terms

41 Brand Names People Use as Generic Terms

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Kathie Reed, Shack Woman, Intimate Novel, 1953

10 Crime-Fighting Tricks the Bad Guys Didn’t See Coming

10 Crime-Fighting Tricks the Bad Guys Didn’t See Coming

Second Glance: ‘Cop Land’

Second Glance: The Scorsese-esque Melancholy of ‘Cop Land’: James Mangold's 1997 police corruption drama boasts a jaw-dropping cast, headed up by a startlingly natural Sylvester Stallone.

Overlooked Movies: Bulldog Drummond (1929)

Bulldog Drummond was made at the very beginning of the sound era and was Ronald Colman's first talkie.  He was one of the lucky silent stars who had the right kind of voice for talkies, or for just about anything. In this movie he shows a talent for acting and a natural charm that made him a star in both silent and talking films.

This isn't true of everyone in the movie.  Some of the acting seems stuck in another era (I found Lawrence Grant as Dr. Lakington especially annoying) as do some of the film-making techniques.  Still, I enjoyed watching this.

Drummond is a demoblized officer who finds himself bored with life outside the military. He says he's too rich to work and wants excitement, so he places a newspaper ad offering his services in exchange for excitement.  He gets a lot of responses, but the one he chooses comes from Phyllis Benton (Joan Bennett), who wants him to rescue her uncle from a hospital where he's supposedly being treated for a nervous breakdown.  She believes something fishy is going on, and of course it is.  The villains, dressed throughout in evening clothes, want the uncle's signature on a paper turning his worldly goods over to them.  Drummond sets about the rescue, both helped and hindered by his friend Algy, the alleged comic relief, and by his valet.

There are escapes and pursuits and disguises, and it's all good fun up until the end when there's a gratuitous (to me) killing, in which the tone is all off.  And then there's "the circus gag," which is pretty hard to swallow.  

Many more Drummond adventures on film followed this one, but I believe that Colman was in only one more.  This movie's nearly 90 years old now, and it holds up surprisingly well for the most part, especially Colman's acting, although I doubt I could convince any whippersnappers of this.  I'm glad I watched it and recommend it for historical reasons if nothing else.

Monday, August 14, 2017

First It Was the Thin Mints Melee

Man Hit Brother With Bat Over Tacos

Top 10 Remarkable Escapes Across The Berlin Wall

Top 10 Remarkable Escapes Across The Berlin Wall

Song of the Day

(22) Ruth Brown - This Little Girl's Gone Rockin' - YouTube:

I Miss the Old Days

Before Ziggy: Rarely Seen Photographs of a Young David Bowie Posed for the Cover of His Debut Album 

Today's Vintage Ad


50 Essential Historical Fiction Books

50 Essential Historical Fiction Books: Whether or not you consider yourself a fan of historical fiction, you've heard the names Hilary Mantel, Eleanor Catton, Anthony Doerr and Kristin Hannah repeatedly over recent years. No longer dismissed as bodice-rippers rife with anachronisms or dreary textbooks dressed up in barely discernible plots, historical fiction is gaining the respect of critics and readers alike, regularly appearing on shortlists for major literary awards and on bestseller lists around the world.

Joseph Bologna, R. I. P.

The New York Times: Joseph Bologna, who looked like the quintessential tough guy but couldn’t seem to resist writing and playing sensitive male characters who longed for love and commitment in films like “Lovers and Other Strangers” and “Made for Each Other,” died on Sunday in Duarte, Calif., near Pasadena. He was 82.  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

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Anthony Scott, Ten Toes Up, Exotic Novel, 1951

Treasure Hunters Who Met An Untimely Fate

Top 10 Treasure Hunters Who Met An Untimely Fate

One of the Most Reprinted English Books Ever

This Obscure Fishing Book is One of the Most Reprinted English Books Ever

Forgotten Hits: August 14th

Forgotten Hits: August 14th

A SuperChart, with commentary.

In that case, sir, you are free to go

Police: Man destroys liquor store construction site, blames 'hookah-smoking caterpillar'   

Hat tip to Lawrence Person.

The Great 78 Project

The Great 78 Project: The Internet Archive has a project going in an attempt to save as many old sound recordings as possible. These are songs recorded on 78 rpm records made between 1898 and the 1950s, when 33 and 45 rpm records replaced them.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Samaritans -- Jonathan Lynn

Samaritans is a sad, scary, and very funny book about healthcare in America.  Samaritans is a hospital in Washington, D.C., and it has plenty of problems.  It's losing money, and it's poorly managed.  So in desperation the board hires Max Green, a man with no experience in running a hospital, to be its new CEO.  Green has been managing a Las Vegas casino, and he's going to run Samaritans like a business.  He plans for the hospital, and for himself, to make money.  Lots and lots of money.

How's he going to do that?  To start with he's going to hire superstar doctors.  To pay them, he'll have to cut costs elsewhere, but who cares about people in the low-paying jobs?  It's the Big Names that count.  This is just the first of many bad (but good for Green and the bottom line) ideas, another of which is that patients are just customers.   They have to pay for what they get.  As Green puts it,  “People can’t have what they can’t afford.  That’s what got America into this economic mess – people wanting something for nothing."
   
Things go pretty well at first, but eventually the luck runs out, and Green's schemes and corner-cutting begin to catch up with him.  Green has to resort to, well, you can't really call it murder, can you?  

You'll laugh a lot when you read Samaritans, but it will be a hollow laughter because you'll realize that what you're reading is all too possible.  This is satire with a real bite.  Check it out.

The Beatles' First #1 Song

The Beatles' First #1 Song: The Beatles' first record "Love Me Do" was released on October 5, 1962. It was a moderate success, peaking at #17 on the national music charts. Now, the band needed a good, strong follow-up song. "Please Please Me" was written entirely by John Lennon.

Song of the Day

(22) Johnny Cash - Sunday Morning Coming Down - YouTube:

The Planting of Judge Roy Bean

The Planting of Judge Roy Bean: Some of the legends are true.

Today's Vintage Ad


How a German Mathematician Took Responsibility for an Ancient Peruvian Artifact

How a German Mathematician Took Responsibility for an Ancient Peruvian Artifact: Maria Reiche lived in a shack in the desert with the Nazca Lines for 40 years

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Luther Gordon, Any Man's Girl, Exotic Novel, 1949

Elvis Presley, 40 years after his death, remains an icon and a cautionary tale

Elvis Presley, 40 years after his death, remains an icon and a cautionary tale 

10 Rare Recently Discovered Religious Artifacts

10 Rare Recently Discovered Religious Artifacts

When London Bridge Moved … to Arizona?

When London Bridge Moved … to Arizona? 

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.

Today's Vintage Ad


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

Today's Vintage Ad


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

Today's Vintage Ad


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?

Today's Vintage Ad


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.

Today's Vintage Ad


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.

Today's Vintage Ad


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:

Today's Vintage Ad


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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 

Friday, August 04, 2017

The Hampton Beach Tapes -- Jed Power

Jed Power delivers the tough-guy goods again as his Xanax-popping protagonist, Dan Marlowe, finds himself accused of distributing child porn on Hampton Beach.  He's innocent, of course, but in the eyes of one cop, he's the main suspect.  So there's nothing for Dan to do but somehow clear his name.  Not an easy task, and it involves death threats to him and those he loves, a mysterious "Old Man" who seems to be running things but whom no one seems to know anything about, a rock star, a junkie stripper, and porn film makers.  People begin to die, and Dan's life gets even more complicated as the Old Man proves capable of manipulating almost every aspect of life along the beach. 

Fans of the series will welcome the return of its continuing characters, as well as a couple of somewhat surprising returns of characters in slightly different roles.  Check it out.

How Mark Twain Influenced George Herriman

Huckleberry Kat: How Mark Twain Influenced George Herriman

Song of the Day

(18) The Rays - Mediterranean Moon - YouTube:

What's the Longest Bridge in the World?

What's the Longest Bridge in the World?

Today's Vintage Ad





I Miss the Old Days

Roadside America: A Look at Mid-Century Diners

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Vincent McHugh, I Am Thinking of my Darling, Signet, 1950

Relative Genius

Relative Genius: Every family has members that stand out: the sports-star brother with a shelf full of trophies, the mouthy niece who became a big-shot lawyer, the crooner cousin who made it onto American Idol. It’s enough to make you scream “Uncle!” Here are a few also-rans who, despite their own accomplishments, were overshadowed by a close relative.

Uh-oh

Watch Bruce Willis star in 'Death Wish' remake trailer: Bruce Willis as a one-line-quip delivering vigilante? Yeah, that’s believable. What’s so weird though is seeing the whole Death Wish franchise revived 23 years after the last installment. And yet, watch the trailer and that’s exactly what’s coming our way - with an AC/DC-infused soundtrack sprinkled on top.

Major Mistake?

In what might be a major mistake, I've decided to attempt the drive to Austin for Armadillocon.  I think I can do it, and I hope I can do it, but can I do it?  I'll soon find out.  I'll have the regular stuff posted, and some other stuff, too.  I hope to be back safe and sound and feeling fine on Monday.  We'll see.

Rick Ollerman Interview -- Part Two

PAUL BISHOP ~ WRITER: HARDBOILED AND COVERED IN NOIR—PART TWO

FFB: The Backup Men -- Ross Thomas

As I've mentioned many times before, Ross Thomas is one of my favorite writers, and rereading his books is always a pleasure.  This one is no exception.

Mac McCorkle and Mike Padillo, in their third adventure, are hired as bodyguards for the new king of a Middle Eastern country where a lot of oil has been discovered.  They're not the primary bodyguards; they're the backup men to the two primaries, Wanda and her brother, Gothar.  They'll be going up against two of the best assassins in the business, two who might even be better at their jobs than Padillo.  Everyone knows that McCorkle's not really very good, but he tags along because where would the book be without its narrator?

As is almost always the case in one of Thomas' books, hardly any of the characters are what they appear to be at first, and the road trip to get the king crowned is full of dangers that not even Padillo anticipates.  The narration is smooth is silk, the action is fast, the suspense mounts, and all too often the wrong people die (a characteristic of Thomas' books that I admit bothers me more than it should). 

If you've read Thomas before, you know how good he is.  If you haven't, what are you waiting for?