Thursday, March 23, 2017

Kong: Skull Island

My friend Max Allan Collins walked out of Kong: Skull Island after 50 minutes.  I stayed and had a good time.  To quote Binx Bolling in Walker Percy's The Moviegoer, “The fact is I am quite happy in a movie, even a bad movie."  Not that I thought this was a bad movie, just not a very good one if you're looking for a good script or depth of character.  If you're looking for some spectacular action, though, you'll find you're in the right place.

At the end of the Vietnam conflict, John Goodman leads an expedition to Skull Island to prove that what he saw there in 1946 was real.  He has a military escort led by Samuel L. Jackson.  Both groups offer lots of diversity and hastily sketched characters.  Tom Hiddleston is the guide, and Brie Larson is the photographer.  They look great but are pretty much ciphers.  John C. Reilly is the American who's been trapped on the island since WWII.  He steals the movie, except for Kong, who's an awesome presence.

The movie takes a while to get started, but then it provides the goods: action, CGI monsters, human conflicts, and Kong.  Did I mention that Kong was awesome?  I went on "3D Discount Day."  I got my money's worth.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Dallas Green, R. I. P.

Houston Chronicle: PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Dallas Green, the tough-talking manager who guided the Philadelphia Phillies to their first World Series championship, died Wednesday. He was 82.

Forgotten Hits: March 22nd

Forgotten Hits: March 22nd: "Sweet Soul Music" by Arthur Conley moves from #58 to #41, a jump of 17 places, "Tell Me To My Face" by Keith climbs from #73 to #54, a move of 19 places, "Don’t You Care" by The Buckinghams jumps from #95 to #65, a leap of thirty places, "Gonna Give Her All The Love I've Got" by Jimmy Ruffin (brother of Temptations vocalist David Ruffin) climbs from #89 to #66 (that's a 23 point move), "At The Zoo" by Simon and Garfunkel climbs twenty spots from #88 to #68 and "On A Carousel" by The Hollies makes a 17 point leap from #90 to #73.

Song of the Day

Mystics & ( Jerry Landis aka Paul Simon ), All Through The Night 1960 Laurie 3047 - YouTube:

10 Fearless Female Daredevils

10 Fearless Female Daredevils

Today's Vintage Ad

I'm Sure You'll All Agree

The Best Breakfast Spot in All 50 States


Dale Wilmer (Bob Wade & Bill Miller), Memo for Murder, Phantom Books (Australia), 1954

11 Words Coined 100 Years Ago

11 Words Coined 100 Years Ago

I Miss the Old Days

Follies on Ice: Showgirls, men in drag, an ice-skating chimpanzee, a robot, and Elvis 

Chemo #4

If everything is on schedule, I should be sitting in the Mayes  Clinic at M.D. Anderson, waiting for the blood draw that precedes my visit with the oncologist.  That visit precedes chemo treatment #4, and after that one, only two more to go.  So far I'm doing pretty well, and I hope that continues.  As always, prayers, good thoughts, good karma, and cash in small bills (but large amounts) will be appreciated.  Some of the cash seems to have gotten lost on its way to me last time, but they other things got through and did me good.

Chuck Barris, R. I. P.

'Gong Show' Host Was 87: He also produced 'The Dating Game' and 'The Newlywed Game,' shadowed Dick Clark for a year and wrote 'Confessions of a Dangerous Mind' and the pop song "Palisades Park."

As Is His Constitutional Right

Houston Chronicle: SAN ANTONIO — A man dropped his pants at the Alamo on Saturday then rode a stick pony and swung a rubber chicken, and it almost got him arrested.

If This Is Wrong, I Don't Want to Be Right

Student busted for taking baby gators into taxi

Bonus FFB on Wednesday: The Machine in Ward Eleven -- Charles Willeford

I've had a copy of the Belmont edition of this book for well over forty years, but I'd never read it.  Then I picked up the 2001 reissue by No Exit Press and decided I'd give it a go.  The covers on the two editions are the same, but the No Exit copy is a trade paperback. 

Three stories here feature a main character named J.C. Blake, the title story, "Selected Incidents," and "Jake's Journal." The first and last are first person accounts; the second is related to a listener by a Hollywood producer.  The stories don't appear in chronological order, with the third one being set at the earliest time.  However, it's not clear if this is the same Blake, as it seems unlikely that it could be.  Trust me on this.  The first and third Blake stories deal with forms of madness, and in "The Machine . . . ." Blake is in the madhouse and not likely to be leaving.  

"Just Like on Television" is a very funny police interrogation.  "A Letter to A.A." is a criticism (maybe) of how getting sober might not work out for anyone involved with the alcoholic.  "The Alectryomancer" has to do with fortune telling and the powers of the mind.  The stories are told in Willeford's spare style, and while the collection's not on a par with most of Willeford's novels, it's worth a look.

"The Machine in Ward Eleven"
"Selected Incidents" 
"A Letter to A.A. (Almost Anybody)"
"Jake's Journal"
"Just Like on Television"
"The Alectryomancer"

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

“Spinning Gold from Family Hay” by Nancy Pauline Simpson

“Spinning Gold from Family Hay” by Nancy Pauline Simpson | Trace Evidence

Texas Led the Way with El Kineño

Just A Car Guy: they had some extremely odd ideas of what a sports car for the ranch ought to look like. 6 rifle sheaths? Seriously?

Song of the Day

Bo Diddley - before you accuse me - YouTube:

Bring Back the Book Jacket Photo

The Millions : Bring Back the Book Jacket Photo

Today's Vintage Ad

Colin Dexter: R.I.P.

Mystery Fanfare: Colin Dexter: R.I.P.

10 Trailblazing U.S. Law Women

10 Trailblazing U.S. Law Women

Hap and Leonard - The Young Adventures of Hap and Leonard

Hap and Leonard - The Young Adventures of Hap and Leonard: In the River of the Dead (Chapter 1): Journey back in time to witness one of Hap and Leonard’s young adventures in this never-before-seen story by Joe R. Lansdale, “In the River of the Dead”. Sign up today to receive weekly chapters in your inbox.


Matthew Blood (Davis Dresser), The Avenger, Phantom Books (Australia), 1953

I Miss the Old Days

49 Amazing Color Slides Captured Everyday Life of Students of Eastern Kentucky University in the 1960s

Brooklyn Led the Way

Vintage newspaper asks the question, ‘If a woman needs it, should she be spanked?’

First It Was the Thin Mints Melee

Woman splashes bleach on husband in fight over her new girlfriend  

Hat tip to Deb.

Overlooked Movies -- Song of Old Wyoming

There's no trailer available for this available, but you can watch the whole movie on YouTube if you want to.  That's what I did.  Why?  Well, if you look at the bottom left of the poster, you'll see the reason.  The actor is billed as Al LaRue, and you might be familiar with the outfit.  He plays The Cheyenne Kid, and while the nominal star is Eddie Dean, who sings the songs and gets the girl, it's LaRue who steals the picture with that black outfit and his bullwhip.  This was the first of three movies LaRue made with Dean He wears the outfit in two, but uses the whip again in only one.  After that he graduated to his own series, where he was, of course, known as Lash LaRue.

The plot of Song of Old Wyoming won't win any prizes for originality.  The crooked town banker wants the ranch belonging to Ma Conway, who's not going to give it up.  She believes that if Wyoming can just become a state, all her troubles will be over.  Eddie Dean rides for her, and he doesn't wear guns.  He's in love with her adopted daughter, Vicky.  The banker hires The Cheyenne Kid to get help get hold of the property, and he goes to work for Ma.  Vicky engages in some serious flirting with the Kid, and Dean doesn't like it a bit, even though the Kid saves his life when one of the baddies draws on him.  Dean and the Kid have a pretty good fist fight before it's all over.  The Kid is easily rustling all of Ma's cattle, but at the end he (of course) comes to his senses.  Dean straps on his pistols, with which (surprise!) he's darn good, and the final gunfight is on, with the Kid on the side of the ranch.   Would you believe that Ma had a son who disappeared when he was young?  And would you believe that . . . well, far be it from me to spoil any surprises.

There's not a lot of singing in the movie, and the print I saw wasn't a good one, but it's fun to see Dean and LaRue in the same film, especially knowing what it's going to mean for LaRue's career.  If you like the B-westerns of the '40s, check it out.