Saturday, June 04, 2011

Another Trip Update

My San Francisco Life: Tonga Room

Andrew Gold, R. I. P.

Andrew Gold Dies From Heart Attack At 59 - News: "Singer / songwriter Andrew Gold has died at the age of 59 from a heart attack.

Gold was best known for his 1977 hit ‘Lonely Boy’ and 1978’s ‘Thank You For Being A Friend’, the later became the theme for the hit TV series The Golden Girls that ran from 1985-1992."

Hard Case Crime Update from Charles Ardai

I know it's only June and September feels far away -- but it's only 3 months, so I wanted to make sure you knew that's when Hard Case Crime is coming back, after a whole year away.

Our year's hiatus was due to the exit from the book publishing business of the publisher we'd worked with since launching the line, Dorchester Publishing. We're now working with a new publisher, the terrific UK-based Titan Books, who in turn works with Random House in the States, and it feels like our books couldn't be in better hands.

To kick things off we'll be publishing our first ever hardcover title, a brand new novel by Lawrence Block called GETTING OFF. It's the first original novel Block has ever written for us (all our previous Block titles were reprints of his early work), and honest to god, this thing is going to startle people. For it, Block is resurrecting a female pseudonym he last used almost 40 years ago (we're publishing it as by "Lawrence Block writing as Jill Emerson"), under which he wrote six frankly erotic novels in the 60s and 70s. GETTING OFF is a Jill Emerson book all right, in terms of its rather explicit content -- but it's a Lawrence Block book, too, in terms of its compelling crime story plot and its disturbingly appealing main character, who may have the highest body count on her hands of any woman ever to headline a mystery novel, but whom you find yourself quite liking despite that.

It's hard, these days, to call a book shocking and really mean it, but I would bet money on readers genuinely being shocked by some of this book's content.

In a good way, of course.

Also coming in late September is a new story about Max Allan Collins' popular hit man character, Quarry, in QUARRY'S EX, and then in October we have two titles people have been waiting for for a long time: CHOKE HOLD, Christa Faust's follow-up to her Edgar Award-nominated Hard Case Crime novel MONEY SHOT; and THE CONSUMMATA, a novel Mickey Spillane started writing in the 1960s (and that Signet announced in its catalogue at the time), but that he set aside unfinished until shortly before his death, at which time he asked old friend Max Allan Collins to complete it for him. It's taken 44 years, but THE CONSUMMATA is finally finished and we're very excited to be the ones bringing it to readers at last. Set in Miami's Cuban-American community and starring the main character of Spillane's bestselling THE DELTA FACTOR, it's a great read, Spillane at his irrepressible Spillaniest.

If you'd be interested in writing anything about the relaunch of Hard Case Crime or about any of these four books, please drop me a note. In some cases, I know Titan Books has already shipped advance copies to people on our mailing list, so you might have ARCs already -- but if you don't and would like to read these titles, just let me know. (I can get them to you as pdfs immediately if you like reading ARCs that way, and Titan has some printed ARCs left as well. And of course we should have finished books from the printer in a month or so.)

Spillane's not around anymore, alas, but the other three authors are (and I am), so if you wanted to interview any of them, I can set that up, too. And I can supply copies of the cover art, or anything else you need.

For a quick peek at the four books (as well as our first 2012 title, a never-before-published novel by Donald E. Westlake!), visit

Many thanks,
Charles Ardai
Editor, Hard Case Crime

Trip Update

My San Francisco Life: Ocean Beach

PimPage: An Occasional Feature in Which I Call Interesting Books to Your Attention

Walt Longmire is back in Craig Johnson's Hell is Empty. If you've read the earlier books in the series, that's all you need to know. If you haven't, this is as good a time as any to get started. Smooth first-person narration, quirky characters, great outdoorsy setting (Wyoming), plenty of action. Longmire's fine company, and the mystery's got plenty of twists. I believe these books are being considered as a TV series. I hope they make it. Should be great fun.

Today's Vintage Ad

Candwich Debuts

Candwich Debuts: Peanut Butter And Jelly Sandwich In A Can


Robert J. Hogan, G-8 and his Battle Aces Flight From the Grave (G-8 #6), Berkley, 1971

Today's Western Movie Poster

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

The 8 Most Dangerous Border Towns in America

20 Best American Cities for Live Music Buffs

20 Best American Cities for Live Music Buffs

The Brood

Friday, June 03, 2011

First it Was the Thin Mints Melee. . . .

Trenton barber is accused of biting customer's ear in half after complaint about slow haircut | "Trenton barber is accused of biting customer's ear in half after complaint about slow haircut"

Will the Persecution Never End?

It’s Official: Nobody Cares About Paris Hilton Anymore -- Vulture: "It’s Official: Nobody Cares About Paris Hilton Anymore"

James Arness, R. I. P.

James Arness: Actor James Arness dies at 88; "Gunsmoke's" Marshal Dillon - "James Arness, the towering actor best known for portraying Marshal Matt Dillon, the strong and commanding symbol of frontier justice on the landmark TV western series 'Gunsmoke,' died Friday. He was 88."

Once Again Texas Leads the Way

10-year-old boy gets ticket for not wearing seat belt properly: "ROUND ROCK — On his way home Tuesday from Jim Plain Elementary School in Leander, fourth-grader Marshall May, sitting in the passenger seat of the family minivan, was ticketed for not wearing his seat belt properly."

Joel Rosenberg, R. I. P.

SF Signal: RIP: Joel Rosenberg: "Author Joel Rosenberg has passed away. Joel was the author of the Guardians of the Flame fantasy series as well as several science fiction books."

PimPage: An Occasional Feature in Which I Call Interesting Books to Your Attention

Steve Mertz's Hank & Muddy isn't due from Perfect Crime until August 1, but I couldn't wait to mention it because I'm really glad to see that it's being published. I read a bit of the manuscript a while back, and I thought it was terrific. It's set in 1952, and the idea is that for a few days that year, Hank Williams and Muddy Waters were thrown together for some drinking, whoring, and adventure. They wind up dodging bullets, Klansmen, and mobsters. And there are alligators! You'll want to put this one on your must-read list for August.

American Singing Groups: A History from 1940 to Today -- Jay Warner

This is a reprint and update of The Billboard Book of American Singing Groups, and it's terrific. It's an encyclopedia of just about every American singing group you can think of, and most of the entries include a discography. I love stuff like this, and I've spent hours reading the entries. Do I have any complaints? Sure. It's the "just about" above that's the catch. I mean, why include folk-era groups like Peter, Paul, and Mary and the Highwaymen but not the Kingston Trio? What's up with that? There are also some other groups that are sorely missed, but the hundreds that are included are all wonderful to read about. Doo-wop, rock, and pop are all treated extensively. If you like this sort of thing, you need this book.

Today's Vintage Ad

7 Insane Easter Eggs Hidden in Movies and TV Shows

7 Insane Easter Eggs Hidden in Movies and TV Shows


Al Conroy (Marvin H. Albert), Clayburn, Dell, 1961

The Gutter and the Grave -- Ed McBain

A long time ago I read a book called I'm Cannon -- For Hire. It was a Gold Medal edition by "Curt Cannon," who was also the novel's main character. Cannon, as you probably know, was a pen name used by Evan Hunter.

Now Hard Case Crime has reissued the novel under what I suppose is Hunter's original title, and the main character's name has been changed to Matt Cordell, who (if memory serves, and it rarely does) was the name of the character in a series of short stories that appeared in Manhunt. (I'm sure someone will correct me if I have the facts wrong.) Some of these stories were reprinted in a Gold Medal book called I Like 'em Tough by Curt Cannon, with the main character's name again being Curt Cannon.

At any rate, The Gutter and the Grave is a highly entertaining novel. You have to believe that Lawrence Block must have read it or the short stories because, like Matthew Scudder, Cordell/Cannon is a former p.i. who has no license now nad spends his time drinking. He can, however, be talked into "doing a favor for a friend." The favor sounds simple enough, but it leads to murder in short order, and then it becomes a lot more complicated. Hunter writes a good bit about musicians in the course of the book, and he seems to have particularly enjoyed it. Some of the "hip" talk will seem a little dated to you whippersnappers, but I remember it well. And when it comes to driving a story a long, McBain is hard to beat. He had the narrative gift. Pick this one up and see what you think.

Today's Western Movie Poster

And Keep Off His Lawn! - Home of the Daily and Sunday Express | UK News :: Bellringers locked in church in a ding-dong over the noise: "THE sound of church bells ringing out on a Sunday evening was hardly music to the ears of one furious villager.
Driven mad by the noise, the angry pensioner stormed into the church and climbed up to the belfry, swearing at the team of astonished bellringers and threatening to damage their cars.
Then the unknown man, believed to be in his 70s or 80s, took even more drastic action to stop the racket."

10 Best Postapocalyptic Movies

10 Best Postapocalyptic Movies

Forgotten Books: Tales from Deadwood -- Mike Jameson

Let's be clear about one thing from the outset: there's no connection between this book and the TV series Deadwood. And let's be clear about something else: the publishers would love for you to think there's a connection between this book and the TV seriesDeadwood.

Now that we have that out of the way, let's talk about the book, which is by that hot new writer Mike Jameson, who looks a lot like that hot, slightly older writer James Reasoner. Even though it's clearly a set-up for more books to follow, it's a dandy historical novel and damned fine entertainment. It mixes the expected historical characters (Wild Bill Hickok, Colorado Charley Utter, Al Swearengen, Calamity Jane, etc.) with some fictional ones (Dan Ryan, Bellamy Bridges), and you can bet their lives with intertwine in the forthcoming books in the series. What I liked best about Tales from Deadwoodwas the surprising ways the characters developed: Dan Ryan's unlikely romance, Bellamy Bridges' changing from an innocent farm boy to something else, Fletch Parkhurst's apparent rejection of a certain way of doing things, and so on. There's plenty of interesting material here for further stories.

One thing I like a lot about the TV series (to which this book is not connected in any way) is the way some of the episodes conclude. The book's epilogue captures a certain mood as well as the pictures on my screen do, and maybe even better. Some top-notch writing here by Mr. Jameson. I'm really looking forward to reading more in this series.

I just have one question for Mr. Jameson. Where the heck did that cover come from? It certainly doesn't depict a scene in the novel, or anything resembling a scene in the novel. That was a shabby trick by the publisher because with a classier cover and better packaging (which it certainly deserves), Tales from Deadwood could have been a best-seller. Maybe it will be, anyway. We can always hope.


Thursday, June 02, 2011

Once Again Texas Leads the Way

Texas city bans sagging on city buses - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana: "FORT WORTH, TX (KXAS/NBC) - One Texas city is banning saggy pants from public transportation.

The Fort Worth Transportation Authority said drivers will start asking customers to pull up their sagging pants, or they won't be let on the bus."

Fayrene 'Faye' Treadwell, R. I. P.

Fayrene 'Faye' Treadwell, Former Drifters Manager, Dead at 84 - Spinner: "Fayrene 'Faye' Treadwell, one of the first female African-American band managers, died May 22 at her Burbank, Calif. home, the Los Angeles Times reports. The 84-year-old former manager of R&B group the Drifters died of complications of breast cancer.

Treadwell began managing the Drifters after the band's manager, her husband George Treadwell, died in 1967. She then took up the reins for the 'This Magic Moment' singers, even winning them a long-running lawsuit that stopped promoters from infringing upon the group's trademark name."

first It Was the Thin Mints Melee . . . .

Xbox Gamer Allegedly Tricks SWAT Team Into Investigating Rival's Home - The Consumerist: "An online gaming disagreement turned into a nightmare for a gamer who refused to do the bidding of a person he spoke to over Xbox Live. The victim alleges a rival somehow discovered his name, address and phone number, then falsely reported a murder-suicide at his home, causing a SWAT team to descend on his home."

5 "Oops" Moments of 'Jersey Shore' in Italy - Jersey Shore

5 "Oops" Moments of 'Jersey Shore' in Italy - Jersey Shore

I'll Just Have Plain Vanilla

Sparky's to debut cicada ice cream Thursday - Columbia Missourian

Hat tip to Rich Prosch.

An Interesting List this Time

AbeBooks' Top 10 Most Expensive Sales in May 2011

Major Opportunity!

If you could ask Paris Hilton any question, what would it be? - EiTB News Life: "This Friday, Paris Hilton will give an exclusive interview to EITB during her visit to Bilbao. is offering you the opportunity to put your questions to the famous heiress, as easy as leaving a comment at the bottom of this page."

Well, not this page, but at the link. What are you waiting for?

Mental Illness in Fiction

Mental Illness in Fiction on AbeBooks: "Few conditions are as often stigmatized, misdiagnosed and misunderstood as mental illnesses. Whether schizophrenia, depression, anxiety disorders, or any other maladies of the mind, you can be sure there has been controversial debate about it. At times it seems as though early treatments were little more than trial and error or process of elimination."

Gator Update (Concrete Edition)

Independence Police Shoot At Concrete Alligator - WDAF: "INDEPENDENCE, Mo.— An alligator caused a lot of commotion for one Independence man Sunday when three Independence police officers shot at his concrete lawn ornament.

Rick Sheridan was working in his garage when he heard gunshots. He went around the back of his house to a pond, where he saw three police officers.� The three officers had spotted the gator and were lined up on the bank, shooting at the large reptile.� �"

Here's the Plot for Your Next SF Thriller

Worms from hell identified far below the Earth's surface: "Worms from hell identified far below the Earth's surface"

Today's Vintage Ad

World's Most Extreme Bridges

World's Most Extreme Bridges


Herbert Asbury, Gangs of New York, Avon, 1950

Ten Best Science Fiction Songs of All Time

Ten Best Science Fiction Songs of All Time

Link via SF Signal.

Today's Western Movie Poster

If -- Worlds of Science Fiction January 1954

I won this issue of If on eBay the other day. If was probably never thought of as one of the major SF magazines of the '50s, but it was a favorite of mine. After reading this issue, I can't see why it wasn't more highly regarded. The lead "short novel" is "Malice in Wonderland" by Evan Hunter, and it's a dilly. It's almost as if Hunter had been been reading Alfred Bester. The ending is weak, but maybe Hunter fixed that when he expanded the story into a novel called Tomorrow and Tomorrow, published under the Hunt Collins name. I have two or three copies of the novel, but I've never read it. The narrator of the story is a literary agent, which made it interesting right off the bat. His society is divided between the Vikes and the Rees, and the Vikes are required to shoot up with dope on a regular schedule, wear as little clothing as possible, and avoid marriage and having children. The Rees are opposed to the Vike way of life. It's a fast-moving, interesting story, and I guess I'll have to read the novel.

The issue also contains Damon Knight's "Anachron," which has become something of a classic time-travel story. I'd almost be willing to bet that no SF magazine that appeared in January 1954 had two stories of equal quality.

Admittedly, however, the Mack Reynolds story, "Off Course," is minor. Very minor. It's one of those stories that you read and say, "I could write a better story than that." Maybe you couldn't, but you'd like to think you could. It's supposed to be humorous, but it's only trite.

James E. Gunn's "A Word for Freedom" is a little preachy, and it has a basic idea very similar to "Malice in Wonderland." It suffers a little by comparison, but it's still not bad.

Harry Harrison contributed a very short story called "Navy Day," which is not much more than a shaggy dog story. The best thing about it is that it's funnier and better written that the one by Reynolds.

Richard Wilson's "Double Take" is another story that reminded me a little of "Malice in Wonderland." Maybe it's just me. It also reminded me of a far superior story, "Spectator Sport," by John D. MacDonald. It has a twist ending that you might not see coming if you've never read an SF story before.

Alan E. Nourse has the third-best story, "Letter of the Law," which reads like a story written for, and rejected by, John W. Campbell. It's about a trader on an alien world where all the natives are accomplished liars. The trader has violated their laws and is on trial for his life. He can survive only by astounding them with a bigger lie than they've ever heard before. He does, of course, but there are consequences.

The cover is by Ken Fagg (I'm not making that up).

All in all, this issue of If was a lot of fun to read. I miss the days when I could go to the Corner Bookstore in Mexia, Texas, and find a new batch of SF digests every month. Those were the days.

50 Foreign Words Every American Should Know

50 Foreign Words Every American Should Know

Top 10 Greatest Dracula Portrayals

Top 10 Greatest Dracula Portrayals

The Giant Spider Invasion

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

The 100 best movie threats of all time - Viral Video -

The 100 best movie threats of all time - Viral Video - "The 100 best movie threats of all time"

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

DALLAS, TX – Two superbly documented fragments of the original Star Spangled Banner, which inspired America’s national anthem in 1814 as it flew in defiance of the British over Ft. McHenry in Baltimore, MD, and were later in the collection of a Philadelphia museum, are expected to bring $60,000+ when they come up for bid as part of Heritage Auctions’ June 21 Arms & Militaria auction.

It is the first time in modern auction history, to the knowledge of Heritage specialists, that any fragments of the flag have appeared in a public auction.

Hey, I'd Do the Same Thing

Pacific Heights: Larry Ellison Buys House Next Door for $40M, Shrubbery Fracas Settled - Billionaire's Row

Hat tip to Fred Zackel.

Will the Persecution Never End?

Paris Hilton comes off as shallow, spoiled jerk on new Oxygen show 'The World According to Paris'

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Today's Vintage Ad

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Dallas-Fort Worth again leads nation in job growth

Best Use of 3-D "It’s a big universe out there.

Now astronomers are getting a better idea of just how big, thanks to a new 3-D map of the local universe, the most complete ever created."

Comic Strip of the Day


Evan Hunter, The Blackboard Jungle, Cardinal, 1955


By the time you read this, I'll be ready to head off on a little vacation. The cat-sitter says she'll clean the litter box, but she won't blog. Not to worry! Thanks to blogger's scheduling function, all the regular features that you know and love should appear as usual, not to mention all kinds of exciting new stuff. Maybe I'll even work in some reports from the trip. At any rate, keep on visiting and commenting. I won't be able to reply to comments or to do much e-mailing, but I'll check in now and then to be sure all is going well.


DC Universe Reboot Confirmed - Comics News at IGN: "At last, DC Comics has shown their hand after weeks of speculation. The rumors of a massive DC Universe reboot have been confirmed. In September, comic fans will be the recipients of 52 #1 issues as the entire line of DC Universe titles gets a relaunch. Everyone from Superman to Booster Gold will be getting a revamp, which includes redesigns and a 'younger' continuity."

Hat tip to Randy Johnson.

Launching Today! The Dead Man: The Dead Woman eBook: Lee Goldberg, William Rabkin, David McAfee: Kindle Store: "BOOK #4 in thrilling DEAD MAN saga, the action/horror series that readers and book critics alike are hailing as 'an epic tale' that compares to the best of Stephen King and Dean Koontz...

Matt Cahill thought he was alone with his torment, that he was the only one who could see the evil in people’s souls as rotting flesh. But in a small town in Tennessee, terrorized by a vicious serial killer, Matt meets a woman who may see what he does…and together they must confront a horrific and immortal terror that thrives on death."

Stilwell Put the Twin Cities over the Top

The Atlantic: "The fittest metro in America is Minneapolis-St. Paul, according to the annual American Fitness Index™ (AFI), just released by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM). The Twin Cities finished third last year; this year they pushed perennial winner Washington, DC into second place. Their winning rank reflects the cities' relatively low (and rapidly-diminishing) smoking rate, their above-average percentage of regular exercisers, moderate-to-low rates of obesity, asthma, diabetes, and other chronic concerns, and rising share of farmers' markets (indicative of a trend towards healthier dining). Boston takes the bronze, with Portland, Oregon fourth and Denver in fifth place. At the opposite end of the spectrum, Oklahoma City ranks as America's least fit metro, followed by Louisville, Memphis, Birmingham, and Detroit."

Today's Western Movie Poster

Peacemaker Awards

Western Fictioneers (WF) is pleased to announce the WINNERs for the first annual (2010) Peacemaker Awards.



Wayne Dundee, “This Old Star” from the anthology Bad Cop…No Donut (Padwolf Publishing)


Carol Crigger, “Left Behind” from the anthology Roundup! Great Stories of the West (La Frontera Publishing

C. Courtney Joyner , “Two-Bit Kill” from the anthology Law of the Gun (Kensington)

Matthew P. Mayo, “Scourge of Spoils” from the anthology Steampunk’d (DAW Books, Inc.)

Pete Peterson, “Catch a Killer by the Toe” published by Untreed Reads



Lyle Brandt (winner), Manhunt (Berkley)


Lyle Brandt, Avenging Angels (Berkley)

D.H. Eraldi, Settler’s Chase (Berkley)

Dusty Richards, Wulf’s Tracks (Berkley)

Kit Prate, Long Ride to Limbo -- Western Trail Blazer

(an imprint of Publishing by Rebecca J. Vickery)

S. Craig Zahler, Congregation of Jackals (Dorchester Publishing)

Western Fictioneers (WF) was formed in 2010 by Robert J. Randisi, James Reasoner, Frank Roderus, and other professional Western writers, to preserve, honor, and promote traditional Western writing in the 21st century. Entries were accepted in both print and electronic forms. The Peacemaker Awards will be given out annually. Submissions for the 2011 awards will be open in July, 2011. Submission guidelines will be posted on the WF web site. For more information about Western Fictioneers (WF) please visit: or

Contact: Larry D. Sweazy, WF Awards Chair,, 317-773-9809

As Well They Should

Burlesque Stars Fight Those Who Would Strip Away Risque History

Block/Silverberg Conversation

The evening's conversation is covered here, with lots of other interesting info: - Earl Kemp: eI56 - e*I* Vol. 10 No. 3

California Leads the Way

15 Most DangerousNeighborhoods for Property Crime

I Feel Old Enough Already

40 Things That Will Make You Feel Old


Tuesday, May 31, 2011

First It Was the Thin Mints Melee . . .

Airplane annoyance leads to brouhaha in skies over D.C. - The Washington Post: "Before things got out of hand, it was a typical annoyance that happens once a flight gets airborne: A passenger hit the recline button and sent his seat intimately close to the lap of the guy sitting behind him.

What followed wasn’t typical at all: a smack to the head, peacemakers diving about the cabin to intervene and a pair of Air Force F-16 fighter jets scrambling into the night skies over Washington."

Today's Vintage Ad


Octavus Roy Cohen, There's Always Time to Die (I Love You Again), Popular Library, no date

Archaeology Update

Tunnel found under temple in Mexico: "Researchers found a tunnel under the Temple of the Snake in the pre-Hispanic city of Teotihuacan, about 28 miles northeast of Mexico City."

Today's Western Movie Poster

Gator Update (What Rough Beast Edition)

Alligator captured in Bethlehem park

Not My Childhood

This is for the whippersnappers.

Awesome childhood memories

Art Scott Already Knows This

The Science Behind Stupidly Hot Peppers [CHART]

Here's the Plot for Your Next Hollywood Art World Thriller

Steve Martin Swindled: German Art Forgery Scandal Reaches Hollywood - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International: "German police believe that American actor, comedian and collector Steve Martin played a minor role as a victim in what may be Germany's biggest-ever art forgery scandal. According to investigators at Berlin's state criminal police office (LKA), the art lover purchased what he believed to be a 1915 work by the German-Dutch modernist painter Heinrich Campendonk. He bought the colorful 'Landschaft mit Pferden,' or 'Landscape With Horses,' from the Paris gallery Cazeau-Beraudiere for what would have been considered the bargain price of an estimated €700,000 (around $850,000 at the time) in July 2004.

Before the purchase a Campendonk expert had confirmed the painting's authenticity and identified the painter's signature on a label attached to the back. But 15 months later Martin, who would later publish a novel about the New York art scene called 'An Object of Beauty,' tried to re-sell the work. Art auction house Christie's finally auctioned it off in February 2006 to a Swiss businesswoman for €500,000 -- a loss of €200,000 from Martin's original purchase price."

Forgotten Films: Stage Door Canteen (A Classic Reprint)

Vince Keenan has some comments today about wartime propaganda movies, and by coincidence I watched Stage Door Canteen last night. Stage Door Canteen isn't your usual propaganda film. It's not about battles or courage under fire or any of that. It's the story of four soldiers and their last few days in the states before shipping out for the European theater in 1942 or so.

And of course it's also about the galaxy of stage and screen stars who perform or work at the canteen. There are far too many of them for me to name here. You need to click the link above, go to the IMDb and see for yourself. One great moment, however, just has to be mentioned. It's the scene where Johnny Weissmuller and Franklin Pangborn are in the kitchen washing dishes. Pangborn remarks about how hot it is, and Weissmuller removes his shirt. Pangborn shrieks, "What chest!" Then he does an imitation of Tarzan's ape call and swoons into Weissmuller's arms. Talk about your subtext!

Stage Door Canteen is truly a relic of another time, a past so distant that to a lot of people reading this it might as well be about the Trojan war as about WWII. It was a time when everyone was a patriot, a time when movie and Broadway stars not only supported a war but went out and mingled with the soldiers (sure the movie's romanticized, but there really was a Stage Door Canteen, and a Hollywood Canteen, too), a time when innocence wasn't just a word. (In fact, I think it would be almost impossible for a teenager today to watch the movie without laughing at a good-looking 18-year-old guy who's never kissed a girl and to whom a first kiss could mean so much.) It was a time when "The Lord's Prayer" could be sung to a group of men and women who would automatically stand at its first words and say "Amen" when it was done. It may not have been a better time, but it was beyond question a different time, and one that I'm old enough to remember. The plots and situations might seem sappy or corny now, and maybe they even seemed that way even 60 years ago, but by golly they're effective.

Some of the highlights for me were the antics of Kay Kyser, the "strip" by Gypsy Rose Lee, Benny Goodman's clarinet playing, Ray Bolger's dancing, and the great bit with Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy, which is why I recorded the movie in the first place. Great, great stuff, like opening a time capsule.

Stage Door Canteen

No embeddable trailer available. You can see one at the link, however.

YouTube - Stage Door Canteen Trailer

Monday, May 30, 2011

Charles Dickens Update

BBC News - Charles Dickens' Kent home to be opened to the public: "The former Kent home of Charles Dickens is to be turned into an International Heritage Centre.

The plans have been revealed by Gad's Hill School, which currently occupies the building at Higham, near Rochester."

Hat tip to Richard Prosch.

Today's Vintage Ad


Way Back in Them Hills, Fabian Reader, 1963

I Was Going to Read This Article, but I Couldn't Concentrate Long Enough

Writer urges Internet junkies to 'switch off' and think: "Every new technology in history -- like the map and the clock -- changed the way people think but Carr sees special dangers in the Internet."

An Alligator Cannot Grow a Moustache



Dumb Politicians, Celebrities And Criminals: Reader's Digest 'Dumbocracy' Suffers Fools Gladly:

Today's Western Movie Poster

This Will Surpise Only Those Who Haven't Taught in College Lately

Report: Over a third of students entering college need remedial help

Latest Getting Away With Murder Now On-line


Headline of the Day

Plague of ravenous mice eat farmer John Gregory's pigs

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Arlington Cemetery: Hallowed Ground

Arlington Cemetery: Hallowed Ground - Photo Gallery - LIFE

It's a Gator-Eat-Gator World

LiveScience: "Baby alligators can't depend on their elders for a helping hand. In fact, young gators are a perfect bite to eat for large gator adults.

Now, a new study finds that between 6 percent and 7 percent of young alligators fall victim to the cruel fate of cannibalism. On the other hand, a little gator-on-gator cannibalism may help keep their populations stable."

Great photo at the link.
Hat tip to Art Scott.

Memorial Day

Memorial Day History: "Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service. There are many stories as to its actual beginnings, with over two dozen cities and towns laying claim to being the birthplace of Memorial Day. There is also evidence that organized women's groups in the South were decorating graves before the end of the Civil War: a hymn published in 1867, 'Kneel Where Our Loves are Sleeping' by Nella L. Sweet carried the dedication 'To The Ladies of the South who are Decorating the Graves of the Confederate Dead' (Source: Duke University's Historic American Sheet Music, 1850-1920). While Waterloo N.Y. was officially declared the birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon Johnson in May 1966, it's difficult to prove conclusively the origins of the day. It is more likely that it had many separate beginnings; each of those towns and every planned or spontaneous gathering of people to honor the war dead in the 1860's tapped into the general human need to honor our dead, each contributed honorably to the growing movement that culminated in Gen Logan giving his official proclamation in 1868. It is not important who was the very first, what is important is that Memorial Day was established. Memorial Day is not about division. It is about reconciliation; it is about coming together to honor those who gave their all."

Sergeant York

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Bill Clements, R. I. P.

The Raw Story: "Former Texas Governor Bill Clements, who was the state's first Republican governor since Reconstruction when he took office in 1979, has died at the age of 94.

Clements, who served two terms as governor, from 1979 to 1983 and from 1987 to 1991, was remembered by current Governor Rick Perry as 'the father of the modern day Republican party' in the state."

Here's the Plot for Your Next Twihard Thriller

Mom: 'Twilight' town cops won't investigate daughter's death for fear of scaring tourists: report: "A Washington mom claims police in a town made famous by the Twilight series won't investigate her daughter's death because it could scare away the area's hordes of 'Twihard' tourists."

Hat tip to Art Scott.

Lee Goldberg Has a Deal for You

It was two years ago today that, at Joe Konrath's urging, I began my "Kindle Experiment" by making my out-of-print book THE WALK available as an ebook. I've sold close to 20,000 copies of THE WALK since then...and to celebrate, and in a blatant to attempt to propel THE WALK into the top 100 on Amazon for the first time, I am selling the book for just 99 cents for the next week.

But to make the offer even sweeter, and to promote my original ebook series THE DEAD MAN, anyone who emails me proof of purchase (at will get a free copy of FACE OF EVIL. That's two books for just 99 cents.

Judy and I read THE WALK before publication, and we thought it was terrific. Highly recommended by both of us.

Another Bigfoot Update

| KOMO News | Local & Regional: "A Spokane woman out for a day hike along the Spokane river claims to have proof of the mysterious and elusive Bigfoot."

Video at the link.

Today's Vintage Ad


Adam Rebel, Stable Boy, Beacon, 1954

Crimefactory Isse #6 Now On-Line

Day Labor, the Official blog of Crimefactory Magazine: Issue #6 is LIVE!!! And a quick note: "Hey Gang,

As you may or may not know already, issue #6 of Crime Factory is Live!!

It's 200 pages of awesome and the line up is huge, so I hope you check it out right HERE"

Headline of the Day

Woman OKed to bring service rat to businesses

Service rat video at the link.


Mail Online: "Gillian Anderson is to star as a ‘sexually charged and alluring’ Miss Havisham in a radical television reworking of Charles Dickens’s classic Great Expectations.

The former X Files beauty is in talks to co-star in the three-part BBC1 drama which The Mail on Sunday can reveal will feature Hollywood hardman Ray Winstone as Magwitch and rising star Douglas Booth as Pip.

The BBC is planning what it calls the most ‘visceral’ adaptation of
the novel yet in an effort to win over a generation of viewers unfamiliar with the original.

It will remain faithful to Dickens’s story, but key characters and situations will be redrawn to give them a ‘contemporary buzz’."

Today's Western Movie Poster

And Stay off Her Lawn!

Six-pack abs at age 74: ‘Age is nothing but a number,’ says Guinness World Record’s oldest competitive female bodybuilder

Bigfoot Update

Caught On Cam: Bigfoot In Colorado?

Hey, Guys!

Sunday Times Rich List 2011: Britain's richest women


Yahoo! News: "A 22-year-old Australian university student has solved a problem which has puzzled astrophysicists for decades, discovering part of the so-called 'missing mass' of the universe during her summer break."

The Tenant