Saturday, March 26, 2011

Does Anyone Know Where Ernie Was?

Hawaii News - "A flotilla of yellow rubber ducks intended for a fund-raising event has been stolen from a police academy in suburban Chicago."

Hat tip to Fred Zackel.

New Story at BEAT to a PULP

BEAT to a PULP :: Big Cat :: Jim Wilsky

First It Was the Thin Mints Melee . . .

Police: Dog defecating in yard leads to shooting


Robert O. Saber (Milton K. Ozaki), The Deadly Lover, Phantom Books, 1952

For People with Books and Cats . . .

. . . the cat library!

Courting to Dueling: Antiquated Etiquette Guides

AbeBooks: Courting to Dueling: Antiquated Etiquette Guides

If You're Prone to Jealousy, Don't Read about the Snuggie Guy

8 Ridiculous Ideas That Made People Ridiculously Rich

Today's Western Movie Poster

I Like the Pizza Fork

Ten products you won’t believe that actually exist

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Starbucks Coffee Sold in Texas Funeral Home: "Owners of a funeral home in this Dallas suburb who hope to project a more progressive image have taken their customer-service concept to another level: They now sell Starbucks coffee."

Diana Wynne Jones, R. I. P.

Diana Wynne Jones - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "Diana Wynne Jones (16 August 1934-26 March 2011) was a British writer, principally of fantasy novels for children and adults, as well as a small amount of non-fiction. Some of her better-known works include the Chrestomanci series and the novels Howl's Moving Castle and Dark Lord of Derkholm."

Ted Turner Leads the Way - News From AP: "Ted Turner's bison help save historic Texas herd"

Odd Book Title Prize

Dictator dentistry wins odd title prize

Hat tip to Art Scott.

It's Showtime

Not a trailer, but I couldn't resist. Not safe for work language warning!
Link via Neatorama.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Another of My Old Reviews Has Surfaced

Reviewed by Bill Crider: MARVIN KAYE – My Brother, the Druggist.

10 Animals That Look Like Yoda

10 Animals That Look Like Yoda

‘The Hobbit’ illustrated by Maurice Sendak? The 1960s masterpiece that could have been

‘The Hobbit’ illustrated by Maurice Sendak? The 1960s masterpiece that could have been

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Willie Nelson to dodge jail over pot bust — in exchange for playing a song

Elizabeth Taylor: The Best Performances

Elizabeth Taylor: The Best Performances

I remember that there was much comment at the time about Taylor's Academy Award for Butterfield 8 being given because she should have won for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

Texas and Taylor, Together Again

HDNet Movies remembers the legendary Elizabeth Taylor with a special showing of the 1956 critically acclaimed classic film “Giant” starring Taylor alongside Rock Hudson and James Dean.

HDNet Movies will present this matinee airing of “Giant” in full high definition and without commercial interruption this afternoon Saturday, March 26 at 1:00 p.m. ET/10:00 am PT.

“Giant” is the sweeping drama covering the life of Texas rancher Bick Benedict, his family, and the story of their rivalry with cowboy turned oil tycoon Jett Rink as it unfolds across two generations. “Giant” won the Academy Award for Best Picture and was nominated for an additional three nine awards in 1957. The beloved film also won the Directors Guild Award and was nominated for multiple Golden Globes and a Writers Guild Award.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

'Fat Ho Burgers' Offends Gospel Cafe and Bookshop: "A woman in Waco, Texas, who named her burger joint 'Fat Ho Burgers' has found herself in a big fat conflict with a neighboring cafe.

Lakita Evans, 23, opened the restaurant earlier this week, and customers are reportedly flocking to it to order pimped-out dishes like 'Sloppy Ho Brisket' and the 'Supa Dupa Fly Ho With Chz.'"

Delaware Cracks Down "Delaware Department of Transportation crews escorted by state police tore down basketball hoops this morning in two neighborhoods in Claymont amid protests from residents who say the nets aren't harming anyone.

Last fall, DelDOT sent letters to at least eight residents in the Radnor Green and Ashbourne Hills subdivisions saying their street-side basketball hoops violated the state’s Clear Zone law, which prohibits hoops, trees, shrubs and other objects from being within seven feet of the pavement's edge in subdivisions."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way "A police chase, a woman jumping out of a moving vehicle, a HAZMAT situation and more. No, it's not an action movie. It's a Thursday afternoon for local law enforcement..."


Hot dogs may be healthier than chicken: "But did you know that new research shows that Hebrew National or Oscar Mayer Weiner may be better for you than other choices, like grilled chicken.

The study finds that hot dogs are nearly free of chemical compounds called HCA's, which have been linked to increased risk of cancers."

I'll Bet You Knew All These Already

Logos' Secret Messages

It's Azalea Time in Alvin

Today's Vintage Ad

Archaeology Update

The Associated Press: Archaeologists discover saber-toothed vegetarian: "Surprised scientists have discovered the remains of a saber-toothed vegetarian. The leaf-crunching animal — about the size of a large dog — lived 260 million years ago in what is now Brazil, researchers report in Friday's edition of the journal Science. Its upper canine teeth were nearly 5 inches long.

Such large teeth are more often the mark of a meat-eating animal, used to capture and kill prey.

The enormous canines were likely used by the plant-eating animals to fight each other or protect against predators, said research leader Juan Carlos Cisneros of the University of Piaui in northeastern Brazil."

Devil Red -- Joe R. Lansdale

Hap and Leonard are back. Need I say more? I didn't think so, but you know me. I can't resist a few more words. If you're wondering if there's the usual mixture of hilarity, vulgarity, and extreme violence, wonder no more. It's all there put together in the way only Joe Lansdale can do it. Others might try, but Lansdale's the original, and there's just nobody else around like him. He transforms the material into something that's much more satisfying than the sum of the parts, and reading him is a unique experience. That's all you need to know.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Texan sentenced to 40 years for attacking brother: "Stinson testified that he 'bushwhacked' Danny Stinson on June 1, 2010, with a baseball bat and a knife. He said he told his brother while stabbing him that he wanted to be more appreciated. Danny Stinson testified that his brother cursed him and told him to die."

Hat tip to John Duke.


Albert L. Quandt, Cellar Club, Original Novels, 1951

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way - Houston Chronicle: "Two Houston surgeons have successfully implanted the world's first continuous-flow artificial heart in a human patient, a significant advance that promises a smaller and much more durable alternative to existing artificial hearts.

Drs. Bud Frazier and Billy Cohn took out the dead heart of 55-year-old Craig A. Lewis on March 10 at the Texas Heart Institute.

After harmful proteins built up in his heart to the point it could no longer work, Lewis lived only with the aid of external breathing, dialysis and heart support machines.

The Houston man had maybe a day to live when Frazier and Cohn were given the opportunity to test their device — a pair of turbines cobbled together to mimic the function of the heart's left and right ventricles — that had been implanted only in 37 calves.

So far Lewis is recovering well, doctors say."

The Decline of Western Civilization Continues Apace

Contactmusic: "Glee Cast Storms The U.S. Pop Charts With Seven New Hits"

Today's Western Movie Poster

Leonard I. Weinglass, R. I. P.

Leonard I. Weinglass, Lawyer, Dies, 77 - Defended Renegades and the Notorious - "Leonard I. Weinglass, perhaps the nation’s pre-eminent progressive defense lawyer, who represented political renegades, government opponents and notorious criminal defendants in a half century of controversial cases, including the Chicago Seven, the Pentagon Papers and the Hearst kidnapping, died on Wednesday. He was 77 and lived in Manhattan."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Lanford Wilson, R. I. P. "Lanford Wilson, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright whose work — earthy, realist, greatly admired, widely performed — centered on the sheer ordinariness of marginality, died on Thursday in Wayne, N.J. He was 73 and lived in Sag Harbor, on Long Island."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

I'm Afraid to Read This

Confessions of a book hoarder

Texas Has Always Led the Way - Houston Chronicle: "Texas scientists have found the oldest confirmed site of human habitation in the Americas just north of Austin, where the Edwards Plateau meets the coastal plains.

The unprecedented haul of artifacts from as far back as 15,500 years ago brings archaeologists much closer to answering the mysteries of who the first Americans were, where they came from and how they got here."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Dallas - Fort Worth Local News: "A Texas lawmaker wants to ban emails, text messages and Internet posting by city and state leaders when they are doing the public's business.

A bill by Rep. Todd Hunter of Corpus Christi would amend the Texas Open Meetings Act. The proposal says an official would be committing an offense if he or she transmits an electronic message during a public meeting."

Forgotten Books: The Executioner: War Against the Mafia -- Don Pendleton

We all know about Helen and the face that launched a thousand ships. Well, here's the book that launched a thousand rips. Or maybe it just seems that way, but after this one came out in 1969, the stands were suddenly crowded with The Sharpshooter, The Butcher, The Death Merchant, The Penetrator, The Marksman, The Enforcer, The Assassin, The Destroyer (admittedly not the same thing after the first book), and many more.

Maybe the time was right (Mack Bolan was a Vietnam war hero), or maybe it was the subject (one man against the mob). Maybe it was the graphic violence and the sex. Surely it couldn't have been the cover, which isn't exactly a powerful illustration. Whatever it was, the book struck a chord, and was followed by hundreds of sequels that continue to appear today.

The book didn't just launch dozens of imitators, though. It launched a publishing company. The cover, as you can see, says "Pinnacle Books," but the copyright page says Bee-Line Books. Bee-Line was a softcore house for which Pendleton had written in the past, and when the publisher wanted to start another line, Pendleton showed him an outline for The Executioner. You know the rest.

It's fun to look at this book now and to read it again and wonder what happened to the audience for this kind of thing. Did it move to the books on the bestseller lists? To DVDs? Computers? I suspect that some of the audience must have been the same readers who picked up the hundreds of titles of the "men's adventure magazines" that also no long exist. Take a look at one of those. Look at the large pages crammed with tiny print and long paragraphs. Many thousands of those sold on newsstands all over the country. No more. Look at The Executioner. Pages dense with print and long paragraphs. Probably wouldn't sell now, at least not without some heavy editing. I have no idea what this means. I'm just saying it and remembering a different time and a forgotten book.

Daredevils of the West

Thursday, March 24, 2011

In Texas This Would Take Six Years

Japan tsunami and earthquake: Road repaired SIX days after it was destroyed

Before & After photos at the link.

First It Was the Thin Mints Melee . . .

North Seattle woman calls 911 over alleged Frisbee assault

The Decline of Western Civilization Continues Apace

Mail Online: "It is a decision likely to break the hearts of traditionalists.

Once the sole preserve of tacky tourist T-shirts, the heart symbol – as in I ‘heart’ New York – has become the first graphical entry in the Oxford English Dictionary in its 127-year history."

Soon to be Available in Trade Paperback!

Maybe as early as next week.

This Is Why Sheriff Rhodes Doesn't Have a Secretary

News, Weather, Sports: "Authorities say Colleton County Sheriff George Malone's wife is accused of attacking the sheriff's secretary while holding onto the victim's moving car."

Bigfoot Update

Thomas Byers Claims to Have Video of Bigfoot in North Carolina: "Did a North Carolina man capture video of the elusive Bigfoot? Or does the short, blurry sequence show a gorilla-suited hoaxer?

Thomas Byers of Shelby contacted WCNC NewsChannel 36 in Charlotte, claiming he videotaped a 7-foot-tall, 300-pound, six-toed Bigfoot, from a distance of 15 to 20 feet away, walking across a local road in Rutherford County on Tuesday evening."

Yes, the video is at the link!

Philly Leads the Way

One Girl Lost A Weave While Another Parted With A Fake Arm During An H&M Brawl In Philly: "While the fight itself is nowhere near the caliber of the I(ride the ride)Hop, Oakland B.K. or Chuck E. Cheese's brawls, there's something to be said for a headless mannequin wearing a 'Knot Violence' T-shirt."

Hat tip to Art Scott.

First It Was the Thin Mints Melee . . .

News from The Associated Press: "A South Florida woman is accused of biting off the tip of another woman's ring finger during a fight over an alleged affair."

First It Was the Thin Mints Melee . . .

Video shows bikini brawl in PCB Burger King: "A cell phone camera captured the action in the Panama City Beach Burger King on Front Beach Road Saturday, as a crowd of tourists nearly rioted at the restaurant.

Employees dialed 9-1-1 for help, as one bikini-clad woman, later identified as Kimesia Smith of Montgomery, Ala., jumped up on the counter and threw a charity coin jug at employees, and 3 of Smith's friends also began throwing napkins, utensils, and trays throughout the location."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Bloomberg: "The worst Texas drought in 44 years is damaging the state’s wheat crop and forcing ranchers to reduce cattle herds, as rising demand for U.S. food sends grain and meat prices higher."

Cheeky Update

Courier Mail: "ALTHOUGH we have never been introduced, many of us know this lady a little better than we should.

Her cheekiest of poses on a sunny tennis court way back in the 1970s remains one of the world's best-selling posters.

Now, after more than 30 years and countless refusals to pose again, Fiona Walker has decided to show her face for the first time."

Hat tip to Art Scott.

15 Famous Authors Who Were Published Late In Life

15 Famous Authors Who Were Published Late In Life

Today's Vintage Ad

Yeti Update

Scientific institute to study yeti | Orange UK: "Officials in Siberia are considering setting up a scientific institute to study abominable snowmen.

The region of Kemerovo in western Siberia will announce its final decision after hosting an international conference on yetis later this year, reports the Daily Telegraph."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

And the World is Now a Safer Place

Fruit basket exploded by state police in Bridgeton

All Righty, Then

2011 North American Manure Expo Homepage: "The theme of the 2011 North American Manure Expo is 'Professionalism in Manure Management' and will include commercial field demonstrations, 'Hands-on' product and safety education, educational sessions and commercial vendor displays.

The 2011 North American Manure Expo will reach an expanded audience: operators and producers across all of North America. New this year, is the application of manure through sprinkler systems."

Dorothy Young, R. I. P.

Yahoo! News: "Dorothy Young, the last surviving stage assistant of illusionist Harry Houdini and an accomplished dancer, has died. She was 103.

Young's death was announced Wednesday by Drew University, where she was a prominent donor and patron of the arts. Spokesman Dave Muha said she died Sunday at her home in a Tinton Falls, N.J., retirement community.

Young joined Houdini's company as a 17-year-old after attending an open casting call during a family trip to New York. She initially sat in the back because she was too shy to step forward, but Houdini and his manager soon noticed her and asked her to dance the Charleston. They signed her to a contract, and she eventually persuaded her parents to let her join the stage show."


Ben West, Rock 'n' Roll Gal, Beacon, 1957

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Missions Unknown: "Over the years, several cities have likely made proclamations honoring sf writers. Heck, some may even have presented an sf writer with a key to the city.

How many, though, can claim to have elected one to its city council?

San Antonio can."

Texas Doesn't Lead the Way

10 Most Famous Bars in the World

Seepy Benton Gets a Day Off on Every One

14 Holidays Every Math Major Must Know

Today's Western Movie Poster

New Issue of Clues

The Bunburyist: Clues 29.1 issued: Christie, Spencer-Fleming, Borges, Temple, et al.: "Volume 29, no. 1 (2011) of Clues: A Journal of Detection has been published, with a slew of interesting articles."

Life is Good

Dread Central: "How can you possibly top Sharktopus? One word: Piranhaconda!

Matchflick brings the news that Dinocroc/Dinoshark/Supergator/Sharktopus producer Roger Corman has another high concept mutant up for cinematic gene splicing, a hybrid of a piranha and an anaconda. Sharktopus scribe Michael MacLean is penning the script to be directed by Jim Wynorski of Chopping Mall, Return of Swamp Thing, and Dinocroc vs. Supergator fame."

Hat tip to Jeff Segal.

A Site of Possible Interest to Some Readers of this Blog

Comic Book Art Gallery: "This page is solely dedicated to sharing my collection of paperback cover art. This hobby is something I've very passionate about. Although my collection is made up of art from every decade from the 1940's through to the 2000's, my primary interest these days is in vintage covers from the 50's & 60's. The genres I'm most interested in pusuing art from are the 'Hardboiled Crime/Detective/Murder/Mystery genre, and also from the 'Good Girl Art' genre, many of which can be found in the horribly named 'sleaze' genre. But even beyond those genres, I'm interested and open to buying from most genres as long as the imagery speaks to me. I focus on art first, and artist's name second. While I do have my favorite artists and seek work by those men, I'm just as likely to buy covers from unidentified artists or artists whose name don't carry any 'cache' within the hobby. I focus is collecting 'paperback art first', and artists second. That is the precise reason why I've chosen to display my collection alphabetically by the name of the title, rather than by artist."

You'll Find Out

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Dino Update

The Raw Story: "Fossils of a recently discovered dinosaur species in Argentina is a 'missing link' in the evolution of the long-necked giants that roamed the earth millions of years ago, paleontologists said.

Long-neck, long-tail plant-eaters like Diplodocus, Brachiosaurus and Brontomerus -- the largest land creatures ever to walk on earth -- are dinosaurs known as sauropods. They lived some 170 million years ago.

Paleontologists see the recently discovered Leonerasaurus Taquetransis as the connection between the smaller prosauropods -- also known as near-sauropods -- like Sellosaurus and Plateosaurus from the Triassic period (248-205 million years ago) to their much larger descendants, the sauropods."

Will the Persecution Never End?

Mail Online: "They say the couple that plays together stays together and this appears to be true for Paris Hilton and her boyfriend Cy Waits.

The loved up couple enjoyed and afternoon tennis game yesterday at courts near their Beverly Hills home.

The 30-year-old heiress showed off her ball skills in an all white outfit which included a short white tennis skirt and a white T-shirt."

April R. Derleth, R. I. P.

Locus Online News: "Publisher April R[ose] Derleth, 56, died March 21, 2011. The daughter of author August Derleth, April was co-owner of Arkham House with her brother Walden Derleth, and ran the company as president and CEO starting in 2002."

Hat tip to SF Signal.

Horror Writers Honor Datlow and Feldstein

Horror Writers Association: "The Horror Writers Association has chosen two long-time icons of the genre to receive the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award this year. The award, given in recognition of the recipient's overall body of work, will go to Ellen Datlow and to Al Feldstein."

Here's the Plot for Your Next Newspaper Reporter Thriller

Reporter Becomes Pimp After Having Pay Cut | The Frisky: "Newspapers had a tough time in the recession with many shutting down, cutting staff, or starting mandatory furloughs. Kevin Provencher, a reporter at the New Hampshire Union Leader had an interesting idea on how to weather the storm. He became a pimp. This week, he was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in jail for running a prostitution ring out of his local SpringHill Suites hotel."

A Gentle Reminder

Nunawading Cracks Down

Whitehorse Leader: "CHILDREN drawing with chalk on a Nunawading footpath have been labelled graffiti artists.

Whitehorse Council has drawn the line over pre-schooler’s scribbles outside White’s Cafe in the Mt Pleasant Rd shopping strip.

Sally White, who runs the family-friendly cafe with husband PJ, said she was told by a council officer that the children’s drawings were graffiti and had to stop, after a complaint from a resident."

Today's Vintage Ad

Elizabeth Taylor: Unpublished Pics

Elizabeth Taylor: Unpublished Pics - Photo Gallery - LIFE

Yet This Blog Is Still Brought to you Free of Charge

Talk Is Cheap, but Laughter Costs More Than Ever: "According to the 2011 Cost of Laughing Index -- a compilation of 16 leading humor indicators, including rubber chickens, Groucho glasses, comedy club tickets and the fee of writing a TV sitcom -- Americans are paying 3 percent more per laugh than last year."

David Nevin, R. I. P. "David Nevin, an author of historical novels, including the best-seller “Dream West,” the epic tale of John Charles Fremont’s role in the opening of the American West, died on Friday in Greenwich, Conn. He was 83."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Old Spring Town health club creates controversy with new pole dancing fitness class set to Christian music

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Pants on the Ground

CBS Dallas / Fort Worth: "Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant found himself at the wrong end of the law for not properly covering his hind end Saturday.

Bryant and three of his friends were ejected from the NorthPark shopping center Saturday after a dispute between Bryant and two off-duty officers over the men sagging their pants below their hips, exposing their underwear."


Ben West, Secrets of a Co-Ed, Uni-Books, 1952

Elizabeth Taylor, R. I. P.

Elizabeth Taylor, Movie Legend, Dies at 79 - E! Online: "Elizabeth Taylor, the Oscar-winning movie goddess and pioneering AIDS activist whose off-screen marriages, divorces and death-defying exploits rivaled her films for drama died today, her family said in a statement.

She was 79, and had been hospitalized in recent weeks for congestive heart failure.

'Her legacy will never fade, her spirit will always be with us, and her love will live forever in our hearts,' son Michael Wilding said."

You Can't Handle the Truth! "What's in the popcorn? Cinemas would rather not have to say"

10 Accidental Inventions That Became Big Business

10 Accidental Inventions That Became Big Business

Some of You Hope this is True

Middle-aged? Believe it or not, you've never been brainier

Today's Western Movie Poster

10 Early Works Every SciFi Fan Should Read

10 Early Works Every SciFi Fan Should Read

The dreaded "SciFi."


Hollywood Reporter: "Author and screenwriter Jerry Stahl has been tapped to pen the script for The Thin Man, Warner Bros.’ remake of the classic private eye movie which has Johnny Depp attached to star and Rob Marshall in negotiations to direct.

The original movie was based on a Dashiell Hammett novel, which centered on former private detective-turned-professional drunkard Nick Charles, his lovely socialite wife Nora and their schnauzer Asta."

I Thought They All Were

10 Law & Order Plots That Were Shamelessly Ripped From the Headlines

I Couldn't Join Even if I were a Scientist

The Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists

The Rug Cop

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone 1st edition sells for $29,875

No Comment Department

BBC News - BBC reworks Wuthering Heights with swearing: "A contemporary adaptation of Emily Bronte's 1847 classic Wuthering Heights is to air on BBC Radio 3 on Sunday - complete with swear words."

I'm Guessing Readers of this Blog are not at Risk

Yes, sex can kill you, U.S. study shows

Ralph Mooney, R. I. P.

Ralph Mooney, Steel Guitar Icon, Dies at 82 - The Boot: "Ralph Mooney, the legendary steel guitarist credited with helping create what became known as the 'Bakersfield sound,' has died. Mooney passed away Sunday, March 20, in Kennedale, Texas, according to the Los Angeles Times. He was 82.

An Academy of Country Music award winner, Mooney's iconic steel can be heard on tracks by some of the most influential artists of the last several decades, including Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, Wanda Jackson and Waylon Jennings, with whom he performed for more than 20 years."

No Comment Department "Amanda Hocking, the darling of the self-publishing world, has been shopping a four-book series to major publishers, attracting bids of well over $1 million for world English rights, two publishing executives said.

Ms. Hocking, a 26-year-old Minnesota native who writes young-adult paranormal and dystopian novels, began self-publishing her books last year. Since then, she has sold more than 900,000 copies of nine books, mostly in electronic form, she wrote on her blog."

Another Ancient Review Surfaces

Reviewed by Bill Crider: WILLIAM L. DeANDREA – The Hog Murders.

And Stay off Her Damn Lawn!

Woman, 92, Denied Kiss Fires Shots

Chutzpah Update

Man Brings Beer to DWI Court Appearance

Hat tip to David Cranmer.

Style Changes at the NYTimes

The Latest in Style - "One broad category of changes was the deletion of some aging or outdated technical terms: CD-ROM, floppy disk, Dictaphone, Usenet, newsgroups, VHS, CAD-CAM and I.S.D.N. We have left a few historical relics that might require style guidance if they come up: CB radio, for example, takes no points. Listserv should be capitalized (it’s a trademark) but also generally avoided: say e-mail list instead."

Tim Byrd's Column

The Pulp Pit™ : "I Am Doc Savage"

Today's Vintage Ad


Yahoo! News: "The Las Vegas deputy district attorney who prosecuted Paris Hilton for cocaine possession was arrested over the weekend after allegedly buying a rock of cocaine, authorities said on Monday."

I'm Glad They Cleared all that Up

Alligator Not Expected At Sentencing: "23 year old David Wesser was charged with Criminal Possession of a Weapon-- which was not the alligator--and with Possession of a Wild Animal as a Pet --which was the alligator.."


Steve Harragan! (William Maconachie), Smuggled Sin, Uni-Books, 1953

10 Legendary Directors Who Dropped Out of School

10 Legendary Directors Who Dropped Out of School

What about Bookshelves?

What's the next chapter for book shelves? | "Books have played a major role in shaping the American house. But with e-readers rapidly turning bookworms into techies, what's the future for home libraries, bookshelves and coffee-table tomes?"

Some of These Really Surprised Me

The 15 Most Profitable Movies of All Time

Today's Western Movie Poster

Cartoon of the Day


Seepy Benton Will Get All of These

The Movie Math Quiz

Link via Neatorama.

10 Best Sci-fi Shows Canceled After One Season

10 Best Sci-fi Shows Canceled After One Season

Forgotten Films: Daredevils of the Red Circle

Okay, so I've run this before. It's called recycling.

Here's the set-up for this highly regarded Republic serial: An escaped convict named Harry Crowel (he prefers to be called by his prison number, 39013, pronounced Thirty-nine-Oh-thirteen) sets out to ruin Horace Granville (Miles Mander) by destroying all his holdings and properties. Charles (Ming the Merciless) Middleton plays 39013, who, by wearing a really good mask is posing as Granville.

The real Granville is being held captive in a prison cell in the basement of his own home, and the cell is an exact replica of the one 39013 was in when he was imprisoned. Don't ask me how 39013 was able to build this cell in Granvilles basement or how he was able to honeycomb the house with secret passages without anybody knowing. He just did it, the same way he arranged to have the garage fitted out with pipes that pump poison gas.

No one suspects the impersonation because 39013 never lets anyone near him. Granville has supposedly had a stroke, so 39013, taking advantage of Granville's supposedly weakened condition, can meet people only if they are separated from him by a glass wall. He speaks to them over a microphone. 39013 of course looks and sounds just like Granville, and he never slips up because, as he tells Granville, as long as he wears the mask he speaks in Granville's voice. When he removes the mask, he looks and sounds just like Charles Middleton.

I should also mention that down in the basement with the cell there's a Rube Goldberg device on which glass balls filled with poison gas are balanced. If 39013 doesn't return to the room regularly and refill the counter-balancing bottle with water, the balls will fall to the floor and break, killing Granville with the deadly gas.

So much for the set-up. One of the first properties that 39013 destroys is the Granville Amusement Center (Granville owns a little of everything, including a radium mine, which apparently is pretty much like a gold mine). The fire that consumes the amusement center takes the life of the younger brother of Gene Townley (Charles Quigley), one of the Daredevils. Townley and the other two daredevils, Tiny Dawson (Bruce Bennett, aka Herman Brix) and Bert Knowles (David Sharpe), sign on with Granville (in reality, 39013) to put a stop to 39013's depredations. The escaped con hires them so as not to arouse suspicion. Then, of course, he immediately sets out to get rid of them, and we're off to the races.

But let's stop for a moment to talk about Bruce Bennett. He was an Olympic shot-putter, and as Herman Brix, he starred in one of my favorite serials, Hawk of the Wilderness. After he got tired of the athletic roles, he took acting lessons, became Bennett, and had a long career in movies, including a role in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. According to the IMDb, he's still alive. If that's true, he'd be 99 years old.

David Sharpe was a U.S. tumbling champion who started out in movies in 1923. He did mostly stunt work, but he was one of the Rangebusters in that Monogram series. He was the stunt double for just about everybody in Hollywood at one time or another. His last credit was as a stunt driver in 1978. Fifty-five years isn't a bad career in any field.

Charles Middleton will always be Ming the Merciless to many of us. It's sad to look at his career as outlined on the IMDb and see all the "uncredited" parts he took, or, even sadder, the movies that say "scenes deleted." But he managed to hang around for a long time.

Carole Landis is one of the sad stories of Hollywood. She was beautiful, and she could act, but she never really got much of a chance. She was only about 19 or 20 when she made this serial, and ten years later she was dead of an overdose of sleeping pills. She could have livened up the serial considerably, but she's barely used at all.

Miles Mander, as all you fans of Philip Marlowe will recall, played Mr. Grayle inMurder, My Sweet.

Charles Quigley didn't do much of note either before or after this serial. Unless you want to count a minor role in Mexican Spitfire Out West.

The butler, Snowflake, is played by Fred "Snowflake" Toones, who played the same Stepin Fetchit type of character in tons of movies for 20 years. He was often uncredited and often billed as Snowflake. You can imagine the kind of humor he was involved in.

And now back to our story. Oh, what the heck. You know the story. 39013 plots to destroy stuff, and the Daredevils foil the plots. There's a fistfight in every episode, of course, with lots of climbing around gas plants, electric plants, and oil rigs. David Sharpe does some tumbling stuff in most of the fights. The cliffhangers are OK, with the one in the first chapter being the most memorable. It has Quigley racing through a tunnel only yards in front of a wall of water that seems certain to overtake him.

The weakness are those of most serials. Like, why did 39013 put that gas pipe in the garage in the first place? And, when the Daredevils investigate, why does someone say, "That valve comes from the gas plant down the road. Let's go there an check it out," instead of, "Why don't we trace that pipe and see where it goes?" (Because if they'd done that, of course, they'd have found the tunnels, which would have led them to 39013 and ended the serial.)

And of course anybody over the age of five will figure out the identity of the mysterious figure who's helping out the Daredevils, though I defy anyone of any age to figure out how the MF is getting the information that's passed along.

Then there's Chapter 11, a total cheat, since it's nothing but padding to make the whole thing 12 chapters long. All Chapter 11 does is repeat scenes from earlier episodes. But that's why remotes have the "fast forward" feature.

The good stuff? Well, the score is a dandy, the stunts are good, the fistfights are well-choreographed, and all three leads seem to be having a good time. I wouldn't put this one in the same class with some of my favorites, like Captain Marvel and all the Rocketman serials, but it's still worth watching. I'd give it three stars.


Monday, March 21, 2011

Are We Not Men?

Scientists create animals that are part-human

Pinetop Perkins, R. I. P.

Bluesman Pinetop Perkins dies | "Blues musician Pinetop Perkins, who this month became the oldest performer ever to win a Grammy, died Monday at his home in Austin at 97.

Perkins and collaborator Willie “Big Eyes” Smith won the Best Traditional Blues Album for “Joined at the Hip: Pinetop Perkins & Willie 'Big Eyes' Smith."

Headlines We Wish We Hadn't Seen

Trump: I ‘screwed’ Gadhafi

That's FRAHK-en-stein!

Completely Relevant News: Maybe Not The Best Choice

New SF eZine

About Us: "Four Star Stories is an online publishing venture for Science Fiction and Fantasy short stories."

Stories in the first issue by Rhonda Eudaly, Lou Antonelli, William Ledbetter, and David Gray.

Comic Strip of the Day

Today's Vintage Ad

You Can't Escape your Past


10 Most Destructive Tsunamis in Human History

10 Most Destructive Tsunamis in Human History

First It Was the Thin Mints Melee . . . Local News: "Police were searching for suspects Sunday after two men were shot and killed over an apparent lost cell phone in southwest Houston."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.


Charles Thornton, Dangerous Trade, Intimate Novels, no date

Was There Ever any Doubt?

Yahoo! News: "No doubt Sammy Hagar, a former lead singer for Van Halen, has enjoyed a lot of far out experiences in life, but on Monday, the rocker told perhaps his farthest out tale to MTV. He was abducted by aliens."

And Keep Off His Lawn!

CBS Philly: "Fred Mack truly lives his life to the fullest. On his 100th birthday, when most people would be content with a small celebration, Mack decided he would mark this major milestone by skydiving!"

Pop-Up Books

Pop-ups! They're Not JUST for Kids from Bowdoin College on Vimeo.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way "Two sixth-grade boys playing in a North Texas creek found what one paleontologist calls a 'fossil gold mine.'"

Today's Western Movie Poster

Happy Birthday, Bob Elliott!

Okay, so the birthday is not until March 26. But that means you can act now to send a birthday greeting. The e-mail address is

No Comment Department


Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

The Beefy Crunch Burrito incident

No Comment Department

Digital Spy: "Brazilian director Jose Padilha has confirmed that work on the upcoming reboot of Paul Verhoeven's 1987 sci-fi classic RoboCop is already underway."

Ghost in the Invisible Bikini

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Here's the Plot for . . . Too Late -- She's Already Written It

Unlocking passion on Rikers Island - "The female guards working at Rikers Island are sex-starved and promiscuous with the prisoners they are there to keep in line, says a former guard.

'They would do it on the midnight shift when there were not many people around,' according to Yolanda Dickinson, who worked at Rikers from 1997 to 2004 and recently penned a novel called 'Taboo,' based on the jail's out-of-control sex scene.

'They have electronic cell doors, and it's not a problem for someone to crack open the door,' she added.

With 3,890 female officers guarding some 12,000 men, outlaw love blossoms. 'It's a soap opera,' Dickinson says.

'There are a lot of lonely single women on the job, and you're surrounded by these cute guys. They're working out. They're attractive,' she says."

First It Was the Thin Mints Melee . . .

Northwest Florida Daily News: "A man was arrested after he locked his girlfriend in a shed and threw cottage cheese at her."

Today's Vintage Ad

Criminal Genius of the Day

KPRC Houston: "HOUSTON -- A man has been accused of stealing a driver's tailgate and trying to sell it back to her."


Steve Harragan (William Maconachie), The Queer Sisters, Uni Books, no date

it's spring



balloonMan whistles

Those Wacky Kazakhstanis

"I Love Sex" License Plates Drive Kazakh Traffic Police Wild: "Traffic police in a southern Kazakhstan city have complained of a rising tide of motorists replacing their license plates with signs reading 'I Love Sex.'"

Rainbow Sheen Would be a Good Name for Charlie's Kid "The Coast Guard said in a news release that it received a report of a three-mile-long rainbow sheen off the Louisiana coast just before 9:30 a.m. local time on Saturday. Two subsequent sightings were relayed to the Coast Guard, the last of which reported a sheen that extended from about 6 miles south of Grand Isle, La. to 100 miles offshore."

Today's Western Movie Poster

Gator Update (Survivor Edition)

WTAE Pittsburgh: "Pittsburgh firefighters said they were shocked to find that a 3.5-foot alligator survived a fire that left the tenants of four apartments with almost nothing."

eBook Update

One of my favorites among my books is A Vampire Named Fred, a kids' book that was published by a small press here in Texas. It never got much distribution, and the press eventually closed. Which is why the sequel, A Werewolf Named Wayne never saw the light of print. However, both books are now going to be put into eBook format. I have no idea how long this will take, but you can be sure I'll notify you when they're available.

5 Best Books on College Basketball

Best Books on College Basketball

How To Stuff a Wild Bikini