Saturday, June 10, 2006

No Comment

Deputy fired for allegedly going topless


This photo provided Friday, June 9, 2006. by the Garland County Sheriff's Office in Hot Springs, Ark., shows Dawn Rene Roberson, 38, of Royal, Ark. Roberson was fired Wednesday from the Garland County sheriff's office and charged with misdemeanors for allegedly going topless at a campground at Lake Ouachita. (AP Photo/Garland County Sheriff's Office)

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. -- A sheriff's deputy who is accused of going topless at a campground has been fired and charged with indecent exposure and disorderly conduct.

Dawn Rene Roberson, 38, of Royal, was fired Wednesday after she turned herself in on the misdemeanor charges.

According to incident reports, a marine patrol deputy and a park ranger told a topless Roberson to cover up in separate encounters Sunday.

Later, authorities received a complaint that a woman without a top was in view of children.

One report said a grandmother complained that the topless woman became "loud and disorderly" after she told the woman to cover up. Another camper told authorities the woman became belligerent when confronted.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Horror Stars on Radio

The Datajunkie has a ton of old radio shows for download. Stars are Peter Lorre, Boris Karloff, Vincent Price, and others. Check it out.

Off on a Jaunt

Judy and I will be visiting her mother this weekend. Blogging will be mostly nonexistent for the next couple of days. Visit some of the fine blogs on the right while I'm gone, and check back in here on Monday. See you then.

Great Pretenders -- Karen Schoemer

I couldn't resist a book of interviews with some of the stars of '50s pop music. Included are chapters on Frankie Laine, Pat Boone, Patti Page, Connie Francis, Tommy Sands, Georgia Gibbs, and Fabian. But the book's not really about them. It's about the author and her attempt to somehow connect with her mother through the music and stars that her mother knew.

Schoemer was for a long time a music critic who wrote about rock. For her, music wasn't worthwhile if it wasn't out there on the cutting edge. She knew she wasn't supposed to like anything recorded by the likes of, say, Pat Boone. But she did. One thing she discovered in writing this book, she says, is that it's all right to like bad music.

I don't think she really gets it, though. She still speaks disdainfully of "Mule Train" and calls it "a silly song." Well, sure it is. That's the point. What someone who wasn't there can never seem to understand is that people knew at the time that "Mule Train" was silly but that it was also a lot of fun. I was just a little tyke when it came out, but it had a beat and a melody that I could sing along with, and it was something that my parents and I could laugh about and joke about. It was a pleasure that a kid could share with adults. We all knew it was silly. Who cared? What's wrong with songs that have energy, melody, harmony? Are those such bad things? And if they can make you smile, what's wrong with that?

I'm not sure Schoemer gets it about "cover records," either. Sure, sure, you've heard it a thousand times: Pat Boone covered Little Richard and Fats Domino and got rich. He cleaned up the lyrics and put white shoes on them. Schoemer does mention that this didn't happen just to black artists. Country records got covered and spiffed up for the pop market, too. Guy Mitchell did it all the time, as did many others. But the cover record was a common thing. Everybody covered everybody. In the '40s and '50s there might be three or four versions of the same song on the charts every week. It wasn't about race. It was about money. Or so it seemed to me. I lived in a part of the country (Texas) where the radio stations played both versions of "Tutti Frutti," and nobody thought anything of it. I have a bunch of Little Richard 45s in a box in my closet, but I don't own any of the Pat Boone covers. I heard both and made my choice.

That's not to say I don't like Pat Boone's records from the '50s. I like some of them a lot. I think it's a big mistake that he and Connie Francis aren't in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. They were part of the experience for everybody who grew up then.

But I digress. Schoemer finds that she likes most of the performers she talks to, some more than others. Her chapter on Tommy Sands is a heartbreaker. If you're an Old Guy like more, or just a Young Whippersnapper who'd like to learn something about those old 45s in your parents' closets, Great Pretenders is the book for you.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Robert E. Howard Days

Brownwood Bulletin: "Cross Plains welcoming fans of Robert E. Howard

By Gene Deason — Brownwood Bulletin

CROSS PLAINS — Cross Plains is the destination of dozens of Robert E. Howard enthusiasts this week as over 150 people have registered for three days of events celebrating the fantasy fiction author.

Era Lee Hanke, president of Cross Plains Project Pride, said many those who have registered to attend the annual celebration of the Conan creator will come from 20 states, the District of Columbia and four foreign countries.

“We have such interesting people come to this event every year,” Hanke said Tuesday. “You see them enough times that we feel like we know them. It’s so good to see them every year.”

The schedule calls for a series of discussions on Howard’s literature and the potential work he appeared poised to create in various fields. The screening of movies dealing with Howard and his life will also be offered, along with displays of Howard memorabilia.

On Saturday, Cross Plains will host its eighth annual Barbarian Festival downtown with exhibits and games throughout the day.

While Project Pride hosts the Howard celebration each year, it has partnered with the Robert E. Howard United Press Association in co-hosting this year’s activities. The amateur press association founded in 1972 is dedicated to the study and discussion of Howard and his writings.

Increased interest in the event was expected because this year in the 100th anniversary of Howard’s birth, and planning for it began almost as soon as last year’s program was over.

Featured as guests of honor at this year’s event will be Glenn Lord and Roy Thomas, two of the world’s top authorities on Howard and this literary genre."

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Gator Update

United Press International - NewsTrack - Student escapes from gator-infested canal:

MIAMI, June 7 (UPI) -- A Miami college student managed to escape an alligator-infested canal after a large truck ran him off the road.

Eddie Melendez, 21, told the Miami Herald he was headed home from Tampa on Alligator Alley when he found his 1993 Honda sailing into the canal.

'I skidded across the median and four lanes. I tried to use my emergency brakes and everything. I broke the fence and went into the canal. The next thing I know, I feel water through my legs,' he told the newspaper.

Though legally blind without his glasses, which flew off in the crash, Melendez managed to climb back up to the road where he was spotted by a passing trucker who called police.

When police arrived on the scene, they found four alligators lazily circling Melendez' car.

Melendez suffered only minor injuries in the Tuesday morning crash. He went to work at Wendy's later in the day."

It's a Bitter Little World -- Charles Pappas

It's a Bitter Little World is a great little book. It's a collection, as the title plainly states, of "the smartest toughest mastiest quotes from film noir." It's organized by topic and then by decade within each topic. Some of the topics are "The Dicks and the Desperate," and "The Dames and the Mugs." You get the idea, right?

This is the kind of book that you sit down with to browse a little and then find yourself unable to stop reading. You'll find some great stuff here, but I'll resist the urge to quote everything in the book. A couple of samples won't hurt, though. Some are familiar, some aren't.

From The Phenix City Story:
Sid: What's he got that I haven't?
Elly: I don't know. I never went to kindergarten with you.

And from one that's always a favorite, The Maltese Falcon:
Wilmer: Keep on riding me. They're gonna be picking iron out of your liver.
Sam Spade: The cheaper the crook, the gaudier the patter.

There's a nice introductory essay, and some entertaining appendices. My favorite is the one where celebrities give quotations from films that were never made. One example from Gary Hart, who titles his film The Last Free Election in America:
Gore: These are desperate men and they will stop at nothing.
Kerry: Now you tell me.

You should definitely check this one out.

Bob Dylan on XM

Bob Dylan Theme Time Radio on XM
June 7, 2006
Theme: Jail, the Slammer, the Graybar Hotel, etc.

Johnny Cash, Folsom Prison Blues
Magic Sam, 21 Days in Jail
Bessie Smith, Send Me to the ‘lectric Chair
Warren Storm, The Prisoner’s Song

The Pretenders, Back on the Chain Gang
Andre Williams, Jail Bait
Cannon’s Jug Stompers, Prison Wall Blues

Kenny Layne and his Bulldogs, Columbus Stockade Blues

Joe Simon, Nine Pound Steel

Jimmy Patton, Okie’s in the Pokie

John Prine, Christmas in Prison

Sir Douglas Quintet, In the Jailhouse Now

Mississippi Sheiks, Jail Bird Love Song

Wanda Jackson, There’s a Riot Going On
Merle Haggard, Sing Me Back Home
Hurricane Harry, The Last Meal

Happy Birthday, Harry Crews!

Harry Crews was born on this day in 1935. He's written some great books. was the first one I read was The Gospel Singer. It was a Dell (I think) paperback that didn't look that much different from any of the others on the newsstand, but boy, it was. Check out A Feast of Snakes or Car. They won't be like anything else you've read lately.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Billy Preston, R. I. P.

'Fifth Beatle' Billy Preston dies at 59: "Washington - Grammy-winner Billy Preston, often described as the fifth Beatle for his work as a keyboardist with the group, died Tuesday at age 59 in Scottsdale, Arizona, media reports said. Preston collaborated with the Liverpool rockers on the albums Let it Be, Abbey Road and the White Album, but also worked with the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, Ray Charles and Bob Dylan, to name a few. He was signed by Apple records in the 1960s and followed up his collaborations with a string of solo hits, including the Grammy- winning Outta Space, as well as Will It Go Round In Circles, Nothing From Nothing and Space Race. Preston died in a hospital in Scottsdale after falling into a coma on November 21, from which he would never emerge, after medical complications that included kidney failure."

World Fantasy Convention Anthology

This year's World Fantasy Convention (November 2-5, Austin, make your plans now) will be devoted mostly to honoring Robert E. Howard on the centennial of his birth. In conjunction with the convention, there'll be an anthology of stories inspired by Howard and his work. It will be edited by Scott Cupp and Joe Lansdale, and it's going to be a must-have item. It doesn't have a title yet, but here's the line-up:

Dean Andersson - Slim and Swede and the Damned Dead Horse
Neal Barrett, Jr. - The Heart
Jayme Blaschke - Prince Koindrindra Escapes
Lillian Stewart Carl - The Diamonds of Golconda
Bill Crider and Charlotte Laughlin - The Heart of Ahriman
Scott Cupp - One Fang
Brad Denton - The King Comes to Texas
Mark Finn – A Whim of Circumstance
Melissa Mia Hall – The Sea of Grass on the Day of Wings
Rick Klaw and Paul Miles - A Penny a Word
Ardath Mayhar - The Pillar in the Mist
Michael Moorcock - The Roaming Forest
Chris Nakashima-Brown - The Bunker of the Tikriti
Lawrence Person – The Toughest Jew in the West
James Reasoner - Wolves of the Mountain
Jessica Reisman – Two Hearts in Zamora
Carrie Richerson - The Warrior and the King
Chris Roberson - The Jewel of Leystall
Howard Waldrop - Thin, On the Ground
Livia Washburn - Boomtown Bandits
Gene Wolfe – Six From Atlantis

Admit it. You know you want a copy right now.

A couple of corrections from Scott Cupp, from his comment below:
"While the book will premiere at the World Fantasy Convention it is actually a joint publication of FACT and Monkeybrain and is not officially associated with the WFC. Also, I misspelled Jessica Reisman's name and story title. It is 'Two Hearts in Zamora.'"

I've made the spelling and title corrections in the listing.

For Shame

Vince Keenan had never seen The Great Escape? That is indeed a shame-faced admission. But check out the whole podcast about chick flicks and guy movies for a good discussion and some fun.

Shame-Faced: "Guy movies. Chick flicks. Everybody knows what the staples of each type are. And everybody knows which ones they haven’t seen.

In installment two of the Shame-Faced podcast, Rosemarie and I delve into what makes a movie work for each gender. We also finally get around to watching a classic chick flick (Dirty Dancing) and guy movie (The Great Escape) that both of us somehow missed."

Blazing Adventures Magazine

Via Tribe's Blog, I've learned about Blazing Adventures Magazine, which will be a paying market (it won't pay much, though) and "bringing back the good ol' style of writing that was made popular by the Pulp." This should be fun to read when the first issue arrives. You can check out the guidelines here.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Butch and the Kid

There's a long story about what happened because I own a copy of the first printing of William Goldman's screenplay for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The short version is that it got me the job of editing a book called Mass Market Publishing in America, my first big credit. So I have a natural affeciton for both the screenplay and the movie itself, which is supposed to be available on DVD in an "ultimate collector's edition" on June 6. There are quite a few special features, including interviews with Paul Newman and Robert Redford, but the one I'd be most interested in hearing is the one with Goldman.

In a time when anybody makes western movies, it's nice to know that one of the better ones has been given a new lease on life. (In a burst of nostalgia, I just recalled a song: "My Baby Loves the Western Movies" by the Olympics. I guess nobody except us old guys can even remember the days when song like that made sense. Well, maybe it didn't make sense even then, but it was kind of catchy.)

Someone told me the other day that Steve McQueen was the first choice to play the Sundance Kid but that problems with billing couldn't be worked out. So the part went to Robert Redford. If that's a true story, Redford's probably glad those problems arose.

Henry Melton

I've known Henry Melton for a good while, having met him and talked to him at regional SF conventions like AggieCon and ArmadilloCon. He has a entertaining blog, and he's published several SF stories (mostly in Analog, and most recently in this year's March issue). You can read some of them here, for free. Now he has a novel available as a PDF download. It costs a mere $2.99, and you pay with PayPal. I downloaded my copy today, and I'll be reading it soon. Scott Cupp recommended it to me, and I always trust Scott. You might want to give it a try, too. It's called Emperor Dad, and the pay-and-download site is here. Sure, I'm pimpin' for a friend. After all, what better use for a blog?

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Earl Kemp's Latest e-Zine

You can find it here. Some wonderful stuff, as always, including a report on the latest Mission Hills Paperback Show. A number of articles on Hustler, too, with one by Todd Mason, an occasional commenter here.

More on Bob Dylan on XM

This guy gives a lot more than my measley little playlist. He's got a complete transcript of the baseball-themed show.

The Beachwood Reporter: "Bob Dylan Plays Ball
By Don Jacobson

We're getting to know the inscrutable Bob Dylan a little better each week as his Theme Time Radio Hour continues through its first month on XM Satellite Radio. Not that he gives us any heart-to-heart, Oprah-style public soul-searching, and that's probably a good thing, all told. I'm really past the point of caring about that anyway - whatever I may discover now about how he thinks isn't going to change my life like it may have 30 years ago. In fact, it could probably only lower him in my estimation, and God knows I need to hang on to whatever tattered bits of idealism I have left from my so-called youth."