Saturday, December 17, 2016

Henry Heimlich, R. I. P.

abc7ny.com: The surgeon who created the life-saving Heimlich maneuver for choking victims died early Saturday in Cincinnati. Dr. Henry Heimlich was 96.  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Garrett Morgan, Inventor Extraordinaire

Garrett Morgan, Inventor Extraordinaire

Song of the Day

RAMONES - I Wanna Be Sedated - YouTube:

Free Books for Kindle

In case you missed my earlier post, here it is again.  Open Road Media has set the price of 5000 of its books to $0.  Fritz Leiber, Harlan Ellison, Richard S. Prather, lots of poetry and nonfiction and classic fiction.  You cannot go wrong.  Just go to Amazon's Advanced Search for Kindle, type Open Road Media into the publisher blank and sort low to high.  I hope your Kindle has lots of memory.

The Story of Dr. Seuss's How the Grinch Stole Christmas

The Story of Dr. Seuss's How the Grinch Stole Christmas

NTTAWWT

Pensioner pleases neighbours with his massive flashing cock   

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson and Lawrence Person.

Today's Vintage Ad


Top 10 Machu Picchu Secrets

Top 10 Machu Picchu Secrets 

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Louis Trimble, A Stab in the Dark, Phantom Books (Australia), 1957

I Miss the Old Days

43 Interesting Vintage Snapshots Captured Middle-Aged Women Posing Next To Christmas Trees from the 1950s-60s

PW Staff Picks

PW Staff Picks: The Best Books We Read in 2016

Paris Hilton Update

Who is the Real Paris Hilton? - Paris Hilton interview: The 35-year-old powerhouse gets honest about her lucrative life in the spotlight.

Here's the Plot for Your Next Drug War Comedy/Thriller

Tired of abductions, Mexican townsfolk kidnap drug boss' mom

Friday, December 16, 2016

Free Kindle Books

Rumor has it that Open Road Media has listed 5000 books for free on Kindle, including the Digger novels by Warren Murphy and some Shell Scott books by Richard S. Prather.  For example, this one and this one.  You can search around for more.  Better jump on this deal!

Yes, Another List that I'm Sure You'll All Agree With

The Best TV of 2016 | Houston Press

Forgotten Hits: SWEET 16: Ups And Downs

Forgotten Hits: SWEET 16: Ups And Downs

Song of the Day

The Beatles - Christmas Time is Here Again - YouTube:

Most Popular Baby Names by State 1910-2015

Most Popular Baby Names by State 1910-2015  

Link via Neatorama.

Today's Vintage Ad


Way Too Late for Some of Us

Scientists reverse ageing in mammals and predict human trials within 10 years

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James McCague, The Big Ivy, Ace, 1956

11 Festive Facts About Hanukkah

11 Festive Facts About Hanukkah 

I Miss the Old Days

Gaze Upon the Faded Glory of Route 66’s Signs

FFB: A Run in Diamonds -- Alex Saxon (Bill Pronzini)

A Run in Diamonds was published in 1973, and it's very much of its time.  Often when people say that, it sounds disparaging and condescending, and I don't mean it that way at all.  In this case, it's a compliment.  I mean, look at that cover with the guy wearing two-tone shoes, bell-bottom jeans, and a wide white belt.  That's the way people should dress.  I miss the old days.

But enough about the sartorial qualities of the cover.  The book's protagonist is a man named Carmody, who appears in several short stories by Pronzini, including the one which was expanded into this novel.   I'm not sure why the Alex Saxon name was used here, since the stories are all under Pronzini's own name.  Maybe this was intended as the first of a series of men's adventure novels, since it has a lot in common with that genre, including a higher sleaze factor than Pronzini's novels under his own name.  Not that the sleaze factor is very high.

Carmody lives on the island of Majorca and is a true tough guy who takes work as a bodyguard and does other jobs that require certain skills.  This time he's hired by a woman named Gillian Waltham to guard her while she transports some stolen diamonds from Majorca to Amsterdam.  After the transfer of the diamonds, she wants him to help her disappear completely.  He has his suspicions about the job, but he takes it, and soon afterward the twists and turns begin.  Of course Gillian was lying about almost everything, but that's the least of Carmody's problems.  There's a mysterious patrĂ³n, a killer who loves his work, and betrayals all around.

Pronzini was at the beginning of his career with this book, but his skill is already evident.  The local color is fine throughout, and the plotting is dandy.  The characters are colorful, and the action scenes are very good.  

A Run in Diamonds was published along with the Carmody stories in a collection called Carmody's Run, published as by Bill Pronzini.

Bonus feature:  Since this is Pronzini/Muller day, I thought I'd reprint my account of a visit to Bill and Marcia about a year and a half ago, along with some links to my previous reviews.  The links are below the story of the visit.

A Visit with the Mullzinis:

I'm visiting my daughter, Angela, and her husband, Tom, in sunny Sonoma, California.  Today, Art Scott and Bruce Taylor came over from Livermore and Napa, respectively, and kidnapped me.  Sort of.  They said they had a big surprise for me, but they wouldn't say what it was.  They just bundled me into Bruce's Honda CRV and took off for and undisclosed location somewhere in California.  The surprise was a visit to the home of Bill Pronzini and Marcia Muller, two great writers whom it was a pleasure to see.  But the real purpose of the visit was the guided tour of the finest collection of crime fiction west of the Mississippi: hardbacks, paperbacks, and pulps included.  I've never seen such great stuff all in one place.  There's no need for me to enumerate things.  If you can think of a key crime fiction title, it was there.  In jacket and signed.  Okay, maybe not all of them, but wow.  Just wow.  And the pulps were amazing.  The paperbacks, too.   At least I own a couple of the paperbacks.  Maybe one or two of the hardbacks.  None of the pulps.  It was tough not to writhe in envy, but I managed it.  Bill, generous to a fault, even gave me a couple of his dupes.  Art and Bruce gave me even more books.  I have small pile of near mint Laser books and some other great crime paperbacks to take home with me.  This was better than the Kayo haul  And when we came back to Sonoma, Tom grilled some New York strip steaks, and Angela had mashed potatoes and salad and butter cake ready to go.  All in all, a great day.

Links:
My review of The Sins of Jordan Wise.
My review of Vixen.
My review of Strangers.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Facebook to Decide What’s Real Vs. Fake News

Actual headline on Infowars:  "Company working to censor alternative information from users"  

I found this on Infowars, a site I won't link to, but I couldn't resist the great double-speak here.  Lies are now "alternative information."

Craig Sager, R. I. P.

abc7ny.com: Craig Sager, the longtime NBA sideline reporter famous for his flashy suits and probing questions, has died after a batter with cancer, Turner Sports announced Thursday. He was 65.  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

First It Was the Thin Mints Melee. . . .

FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — Authorities arrested a Florida woman they say cut her boyfriend because he wouldn't pay for her to have her hair and nails done for her birthday.

First It Was the Thin Mints Melee. . . .

Texas woman arrested after attempt to set roommate on fire for not inviting her to party

Who Inspired Elvis Presley's Haircut?

Who Inspired Elvis Presley's Haircut?

Song of the Day

"PRETTY PAPER" - Roy Orbison (Original version) - YouTube:

Get Out Your Captain Midnight Decoder Ring

10 Unsolved Coded Messages You Could Be The First To Crack

Today's Vintage Ad


I'm Sure You'll All Agree

From Samantha Bee to 'GOT,' here's the best of 2016 TV

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Max Ehrlich, The High Side, Gold Medal, 1974

Uh-Oh

'The Honeymooners' Reboot in the Works at CBS

The Mystery Behind the World's Most Famous Christmas Poem

The Mystery Behind the World's Most Famous Christmas Poem

When Americans Outlawed Christmas

When Americans Outlawed Christmas

I Miss the Old Days

Macaroni: The White House pony who helped inspire 'Sweet Caroline'

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Texas Doesn't Quite Lead the Way

8-story-tall Carvana car vending machine opens in Houston: Soda, pizza, movies and high-end headphones are just some of the things customers can get from Carvana vending machines. On Wednesday, Houstonians can add cars to that list. 

Carvana, an online vehicle retailer, opened its second car vending machine in the United States, located at 10939 Katy Freeway.

Bernard Fox, R. I. P.

NY Daily News: Fox was best known for playing Dr. Bombay, a womanizing warlock, on “Bewitched" from 1966 to 1972. He also famously appeared as Captain Winston Havlock in the 1999 flick “The Mummy” and in “Titantic” as Col. Archibald Gracie.

I Miss the Old Days

Staying Classy with this Kinky 70s Underwear Brand  

Mildly NSFW.

Screen Actors Guild Award Nominations

Screen Actors Guild Award Nominations Released

Jim Lowe, R. I. P.

Famous radio host, native Springfieldian, Jim Lowe dies at age 93: SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KSPR) - Sixty years ago, Jim Lowe’s gold record "Green Door" knocked Elvis Presley out of the top spot on the Billboard charts. After the release of his hit record, Jim Lowe was heard on New York City's flagship radio stations for decades.  

James Ellsworth (Jim) Lowe died on Monday morning at his home in East Hampton, on Long Island, New York, after a long illness. The native of Springfield was 93. He was a longtime resident of New York City but lived in East Hampton in recent years.


Song of the Day

The Virgin Mary Had A Baby Boy By The Kingston Trio - YouTube:

I'm Sure You'll All Agree

All 8 ‘Star Wars’ Movies Ranked Worst to Best  

Hat tip to Art Scott.

This Year’s National Film Registry Picks

Here Are This Year’s National Film Registry Picks, Including ‘Paris is Burning,’ ‘The Breakfast Club,’ and ‘Thelma and Louise’ 

“Of Jigsaws, Roller Coasters, Crosswords, and Mazes” (by A.J. Wright)

“Of Jigsaws, Roller Coasters, Crosswords, and Mazes” (by A.J. Wright) | SOMETHING IS GOING TO HAPPEN: Although his work appears in EQMM for the first time in our January/February 2017 issue, on sale December 20, A.J. Wright is a historical mystery novelist who already has three books to his credit, all belonging to a series set in his native Lancashire. The first book, 2010’s Act of Murder, won the Dundee International Book Prize. The second, Striking Murder, was shortlisted for the British Crime Writers’ Association’s award for best historical crime novel. A third book, Elementary Murder, is about to be released. In this post we get a glimpse of what led the former teacher to write fiction, and a hint of what we can expect to find in his novels and stories.—Janet Hutchings

Today's Vintage Ad


James Edgar, the Pioneering Department Store Santa

James Edgar, the Pioneering Department Store Santa

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Jonathan Craig, Case of the Nervous Nude, Gold Medal, 1959

I'm Sure You'll All Agree

The best young adult books of 2016

10 Surprising Sisters Of Famous Historical Figures

10 Surprising Sisters Of Famous Historical Figures

First It Was the Thin Mints Melee. . . .

Daily Mail Online: An extreme couponer is attacked by a furious customer after holding up the grocery checkout line for 20 minutes

Bruce Arthurs on “Beks and the Second Note”

Bruce Arthurs on “Beks and the Second Note” | Trace Evidence: Bruce Arthurs is a writer in the mystery, science-fiction, and fantasy genres across several different mediums, including television and, occasionally, poetry. Here he talks about his story “Beks and the Second Note” from the December issue [of AHMM]—his first to appear in a mystery-specific publication.

Or Maybe You Did

5 Places You Never Knew Were Penal Colonies

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Alan Thicke, R. I. P.

fox8.com: LOS ANGELES, CA – Iconic TV dad Alan Thicke has died at the age of 69. Thicke was known for his role as Jason Seaver, on ABC television series “Growing Pains”. He is also the father of singer Robin Thicke. 

According to reports,Thicke was playing hockey with his 19-year-old son Carter when he had a heart attack.  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

E.R. Braithwaite, R. I. P.

‘To Sir, With Love’ author E.R. Braithwaite dead at 104: New York — E.R. Braithwaite, the Guyanese author, educator and diplomat whose years teaching in the slums of London’s East End inspired the international best-seller “To Sir, With Love” and the popular Sidney Poitier movie of the same name, has died at age 104.

I Miss the Old Days

The Downward Slide of the Seesaw: What they did not know was that they were in one of the last places in New York City where they could seesaw. Once ubiquitous in the city’s hundreds of public playgrounds, as they were around the country, the seesaws adults remember have largely vanished from the city and much of the nation because of safety concerns and changing tastes.

Croc Update (Park Closed Edition)

This dangerous park used to let you feed crocodiles: The Elephant Kingdom Park in Thailand was locally famous for allowing hundreds of visitors annually to go out on the water and feed their crocodiles. As it turned out, though, their safety standards weren’t exactly up to par…  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Song of the Day

Christopher Lee. A Heavy Metal Christmas - YouTube:

Because What Could Be More Christmasy?

9 Jolly Santa Slasher Movies

Today's Vintage Ad


I Miss the Old Days

Big hair and lipgloss: Unsung girl groups of the 70s and 80s

PaperBack



Alan Garner, The Weirdstone of Brisingamen, Ace, 1960

I'm Sure You'll All Agree

The Worst Christmas Songs of All Time

Gator Update (Hitchin' a Ride Edition)

Alligator seems to go for a little ride on a manatee

First It Was the Thin Mints Melee. . . .

Sheriff: Man uses front-end loader to repeatedly pick up, drop son's mobile home: PARSONSFIELD, Maine — Authorities say a Maine man used a front-end loader to repeatedly pick up and drop his son's mobile home during a family dispute and only stopped when he learned his 7-year-old grandson was inside.  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Or Maybe You Have

7 Christmas Movie Sequels You've Probably Never Heard Of

Overlooked Movies --The Hound of the Baskervilles (1959)

The best version of The Hound of the Baskervilles is the 1939 version with Basil Rathbone as Sherlock Holmes, but this version is very good.  It's from Hammer Studios, and the plot was changed to make it more of a horror movie, but it works pretty well.  

Peter Cushing is an excellent Holmes, one of the very best, and AndrĂ© Morell is tops as Watson.  Christopher Lee is the romantic lead here, and he's okay.  He towers over the rest of the cast, being a head taller than any of the others.  I really enjoyed Miles Malleson as the comic relief bishop.  The movie's in color, and it looks great for a low-budget production.  Plus -- quicksand!

I don't want to spoil too much for you, but the hound in this one is real.  Aside from that, I won't say any more about the plot.  You should know it well by now, and while it's somewhat different here, it's close enough to the original to be both familiar and new.  This version of the story is definitely worth a look.

Hound of the Baskervilles

Hound of the Baskervilles 1959 Original Trailer - YouTube:

Monday, December 12, 2016

Kiss the Devil Good Night -- Jonathan Woods

Jonathan Woods writes wild and crazy books, and Kiss the Devil Good Night is no exception, except that it might be even wilder and crazier than his earlier work (see herehere, and here.)  

Bill Derringer is a veteran if the Iraq (he calls it I-rack) conflict who's spend some time in the mental wing of a VA hospital and who, while maybe not quite crazy, is close enough to do some strange things.  The novel opens as he and his wife, Edie, decide on the spur of the moment to drive to Florida with the kids to attend the trial of a woman who killed her child and (maybe) ate it.  They plan to stay with Edie's Aunt Ida.  They never attend the trial, but they do decide to rob a gun show, which results in a five-year prison sentence for Bill, while Edie and Aunt Ida run off to Mexico together.

And that's just for openers.  When Bill gets out of prison, burning for revenge against Edie and Aunt Ida, he winds up in a very odd halfway house where he meets Jane Ryker (who appears as a minor character in A Death in Mexico), and eventually they go to Mexico to find the fugitives.

This brief summary barely hints at the copious amounts of sex, violence, and dark humor in Kiss the Devil Good Night.  It's not safe for work, or for your own Aunt Ida, who, I'm positive, is nothing like Aunt Ida in the novel.  With a narrator like Bill, we're never quite sure what's real and what's not.  Even Bill's not sure.  But we know it's a strange and engrossing trip, which eventually involves a locked suitcase that once belonged to William Burroughs, who'd probably appreciate the weirdness of this novel, which is offbeat and wild and crazy (or did I say that already?).  Check it out.

10 Must-Listen True Crime Podcasts

10 Must-Listen True Crime Podcasts

NSFW Song of the Day

Dropkick Murphys - "The Season's Upon Us" (Video) - YouTube:

I'm Sure You'll All Agree

Deslided: The Worst Movies Released in 2016

Today's Vintage Ad


I'm Sure You'll All Agree

Deslided: The Best Movies of 2016 

PaperBack



Richard A. Lupoff, Space War Blues, Dell, 1978

New Poem at The Five-Two

The Five-Two: Daniel D'ArezzoPOISONED

I Want to Believe!

Shock claims massive civilisation lies frozen beneath a mile of ice in the South Pole

Golden Globe Nominations 2017

Golden Globe Nominations 2017: Full List of Nominees 

6 Little-Known Facts About 'The Dick Van Dyke Show'

6 Little-Known Facts About 'The Dick Van Dyke Show'

Amazing Stories, November 1961: A Retro-Review

Amazing Stories, November 1961: A Retro-Review

I Want to Believe!

Huge UFO object captured crossing moon was alien spaceship say extraterrestrial hunters

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Patti Smith will heal your broken heart with this Bob Dylan tribute

Patti Smith will heal your broken heart with this Bob Dylan tribute

Song of the Day

Boney M ~ Rivers of Babylon - YouTube:

10 Mysterious Libraries

10 Mysterious Libraries

Today's Vintage Ad


Some Great Old Posters

Circuses, Magic and Hypnotism: Welcome to the World of Victorian Entertainment 

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Charles Schulz, Here Comes Snoopy, Crest, 1968

I'm Sure You'll All Agree

The Best Book Covers of 2016 - The New York Times

Roman dodecahedrons

Roman dodecahedrons: Mysterious objects that have been found across the territory of the Roman Empire