Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Health Update

I don't like writing these things even when there's good news, so I'll keep this short.  My most recent test results at M.D. Anderson weren't good.  Those pricey pills didn't get the job done.  The upshot is that I'll be having chemo by infusion again as soon as the arrangements can be made.  This will be different from the first chemo, a cocktail of two different drugs.  What fun.  As ever, all good thoughts, prayers, and karma (not to mention cash) is appreciated.  Love to all.

Cracking the History of L'eggs Pantyhose

Cracking the History of L'eggs Pantyhose 

Song of the Day

(11) The Lovin' Spoonful - Summer In The City (1966) - YouTube:

Ernest Hemingway’s Guide to Life, In 20 Quotes

Ernest Hemingway’s Guide to Life, In 20 Quotes

Today's Vintage Ad


26 Things We're All Going To Forget About In 10 Years

26 Things We're All Going To Forget About In 10 Years

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Peggy Gaddis, Temptation, Venus Books, 1950

I Miss the Old Days

1980s San Francisco: A Cool Women Fashion Collection Taken by an American Photographer

5 World-Famous Landmarks (That Have Totally Weirdo Secrets)

5 World-Famous Landmarks (That Have Totally Weirdo Secrets)

Overlooked Movies -- Lost Horizon

Okay, I know it's not overlooked, but I wanted to write a little about it since I'd read the novel recently and since TCM obliged by showing Frank Capra's 1937 version starring Ronald Colman.  The introduction says that Capra turned in a six-hour movie.  What was he thinking?  I have no idea.  He edited it down to three hours plus, but the previews weren't encouraging.  Harry Cohn took it away from him and edited it himself. It's complicated, and I'm not sure who created the final version, which comes in at a bit over two hours.  Even part of that version has been lost, but the restoration shown on TCM covers the missing few minutes with stills from the production.  The entire soundtrack was preserved, so we do have the words that cover the missing scenes.

The plot of the movie changes that of the book considerably, and the opening action scenes are truly impressive.  So is the B&W photography throughout.  So is the acting, for the most part.  I've seen a good bit of Ronald Colman lately, and he's never been better than here.  The only questionable player is Isabell Jewell, who seemed to be to overact egregiously in the first part of the film.

While the plot has been changed from the book, the theme is the same, and some of the ideas expressed in the book are quoted almost directly in the movie.  Some of the plot changes are for the better, as they clarify points or explain some things better than the novel itself.  As for the ending, well, I suppose some people will like the ending of the movie better than the one in the book, but I'm not sure it's an improvement.  Anyway, a great movie, highly recommended.

LOST HORIZON (1937) Reissue trailer

(10) LOST HORIZON (1937) Reissue trailer - YouTube:

Monday, July 24, 2017

Endgame -- Bill Pronzini

A couple of weeks ago I found myself in the ER at M. D. Anderson for what turned out to be a kidney infection.  Since I walked in under my own power and wasn't in serious pain, the triage nurse didn't give me a very high priority.  I was put on a rolling bed, taken to the area where the rooms are, and shoved up against a desk, where I remained for the next six hours.  Luckily I'd had the foresight to take a book with me, and luckily it was a book that could hold my attention while people were constantly coming and going.  The book was Bill Pronzini's latest Nameless novel, Endgame.

The agency has two cases in this one.  Jake Runyon's handling one of them, in which a man's body is found inside a locked and barred cabin.  Clearly he died by accident, right?  That's what everybody thinks until Runyon shows up.  He thinks it's murder.

Nameless is working a case in which a woman has disappeared.  Her husband says she couldn't have left on her own because of her extreme agoraphobia.  When her body is found, he's arrested for murder, and Nameless is his only hope.

Over the years the personal lives of Nameless and his operatives have become as important to the stories as the cases the agency works, and it's good to see a good bit of that kind of thing included here.  I found the book gripping and entertaining.  It got me through an unpleasant time, and I can't think of a better recommendation than that.

10 Terrifying Facts About the Yakuza

10 Terrifying Facts About the Yakuza

Song of the Day

(8) 1959 HITS ARCHIVE: The All American Boy - Bill Parsons (Bobby Bare) - YouTube:

The Sunken World

The Sunken World Hiding Under the Water's Surface: 27 drowned places that used to be above ground.

Today's Vintage Ad


Cool Looking Castles In And Around Los Angeles

Cool Looking Castles In And Around Los Angeles: The castles of Los Angeles aren't limited to Sleeping Beauty's Castle at Disneyland (which is actually in Anaheim, not L.A.) or Hogwarts Castle at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter inside Universal Studios Hollywood.

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Wilson Tucker, To Keep or Kill, Lion Library, 1956

The Most Anthologized Short Stories of All Time

The Most Anthologized Short Stories of All Time

I Miss the Old Days

America's Malls and Department Stores Are Dying Off: Why the Death of Malls Is About More Than Shopping

Voynich manuscript update

Author of mysterious Voynich manuscript was Italian Jew, says scholar: One of the world’s most confounding literary mysteries may finally be, in part, solved: the author of the mysterious and as-yet untranslatable Voynich manuscript has been identified as a Jewish physician based in northern Italy, an expert in medieval manuscripts has claimed.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Illuminating the Secret Language of Lightning Bugs

Illuminating the Secret Language of Lightning Bugs: Lightning bug lamps can glow yellow, orange or, as is the case with the ghosts, even shades bordering on electric blue. They can appear as single blinks or long, glowing trails. Some fireflies will flicker when threatened by a predator or caught in a spiderweb. Others light up to compete with rivals or after they’ve been rejected by a suitor. Some females are completely dark, while others offer flickers to let males know they’re on the market.

Song of the Day

(10) The Statler Brothers - Turn Your Radio On - YouTube:

La, La, La, Can't Hear You

The Cautionary Tale of the Harlem Hoarders

Today's Vintage Ad


22 Facts About Ernest Hemingway

22 Facts About Ernest Hemingway 

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Edgar Walton, The Night-Club Mystery, Red Seal

AbeBooks' Most Expensive Sales of April, May & June 2017

AbeBooks' Most Expensive Sales of April, May & June 2017

Agatha Christie’s Fiery Letters

Agatha Christie’s Fiery Letters Offer New Glimpse Into the Queen of Crime

Debunking the Mechanical Turk Helped Set Edgar Allan Poe on the Path to Mystery Writing

Debunking the Mechanical Turk Helped Set Edgar Allan Poe on the Path to Mystery Writing