Saturday, October 15, 2005

Baker Knight, R.I.P.

From the 1950s to the 1970s, Knight wrote almost 1,000 songs. More than 40 singers recorded his tunes, which include the 1970 Presley hit "The Wonder of You" and Martin's "Somewhere There's a Someone" and "That Old Time Feelin'." Nelson and McCartney sang the same Knight hit, "Lonesome Town," decades apart.

Perry Como, Jerry Lee Lewis, Sammy Davis Jr. and Mickey Gilley also recorded some of Knight's songs.


Knight went to Los Angeles in 1958 and met Nelson through a mutual friend. Within six months, Nelson's version of "Lonesome Town," a ballad about being lonely in Hollywood, was on Billboard's Top 10, as was its flip side, "I Got a Feeling," another Knight tune. In all, Nelson recorded 21 Knight originals.

I didn't recognize Knight's name when I started reading the article about his death, but I sure do recognize the songs he wrote for Ricky Nelson. Some people might look down on Ricky, but he could rock, witness "I Got a Feeling." He could to ballads, witness "Lonesome Town." I think I'll listen to those two right now. A list of some of Knight's credits is here.

Wallace & Gromit

By now you know how this goes. While you were watching an obscure film noir, or maybe a more recent crime flick, I was at the mall watching a feature-length cartoon. Not only that, but the movie itself was preceded by another short animated cartoon featuring the penguins from Madagascar, which I confess I haven't seen. It was called The Madagascar Penguins in A Christmas Caper, so I suppose, what with the penguins getting above-the-title billing, that they were pretty popular in the earlier movie. I'm not sure I like Christmas shorts in October, but I thought it was pretty funny, another riff on the WWII escape movies that Chicken Run pulled off so wonderfully.

But I digress. I was going to talk about the W&G movie, which I thought was hilarious. The fellas (Okay, one fella and a dog) have set up a business called Anti-Pesto. It's a pest-control concern, of course, and the pests are the rabbits that are eating all the vegetables people are growing for the annual giant vegetable contest. There's romance (Wallace and Lady Tottingham), villany ("What ho!") voiced by Ralph Fiennes, a giant were-rabbit, and bows to every Universal horror movie ever made, not to mention a tip of the hat (I'm convinced) to Dastardly and Muttley in their Flying Machines. Plus plenty of jokes that sail over the heads of the kids in the audience but score big with the older guys. What's not to like?

Friday, October 14, 2005

Gallery of Bellydancing Librarians

Yes, I said "bellydancing librarians." The gallery, I regret to says, is (A) not as exciting as the headline makes it sound and (B) does not include Gary Warren Niebuhr.

50 Best Horror Movies?

Walter Satterthwait sent me this link. The Wicker Man is in the top ten, but I still say that any movie in which Christopher Lee's toupee upstages Lee isn't a contender.

The Naked Cowgirl

This being a family blog, I can merely provide a link and not a photo. I guess this is why everybody loves The Big Apple.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

The Image of Librarians in Porn

I picked up this site from a post on the fictionmags list. It's a great listing of porn titles about librarians, along with some commentary on a few of the books. Gary Warren Niebuhr probably already owns all of them. Sample titles: Lash the Librarian!, Librarian in Bondage, Librarian in Chains. And so on.

Gator Alert!

Game Warden Catches Gator In East Houston Bayou
Reptile Could Be Returned To Greens Bayou, Released In State Park

HOUSTON -- An alligator lurking in an east Houston neighborhood was caught Thursday morning, KPRC Local 2 reported.

Game wardens caught the alligator in a fresh water canal near a water treatment plant on Nimitz Street at Normandy Street at about 9:45 a.m. after wrestling with the animal for 15 minutes.

Douglas Head, one of two game wardens who caught the gator, said getting the reptile out of the canal was easy. He estimated the 10-foot-long animal weighs about 250 pounds and is at least 60 years old.

The wardens said the gator will either be returned to its home, which they believe is Greens Bayou, or be released in a state park.

Unlike some states, we Texans don't "harvest" gators when we catch them. This link goes to the story. There's a nices slide show, or video if you prefer.

Two Heads are Better Than One

Angelo State gets a two-headed rattler

Associated Press

SAN ANGELO, Texas — Angelo State University is getting an unusual addition to its collection of reptiles and amphibians: a two-headed rattlesnake.

Chris McAllister, a visiting professor of biology at Angelo State University in San Angelo, said he found the snake after turning over 400 to 500 rocks last month at a Christoval-area ranch, where he and students were scouring for interesting specimens.

While two-headed rat snakes and king snakes are relatively common, a two-headed rattler is not, McAllister said.

I picked this up from Dave Barry's blog because it reminded me of my happy years in Brownwood, Texas, and the annual rattlesnake roundup. Brownwood is about 70 miles from San Angelo, and we'd often drive there so that I could visit the used-book stores. I have many, many books that I bought at Ye Olde Fantastic and other stores there. I even have a T-shirt somewhere that I got when I ran in the San Angelo Road Lizard Fun Run. Ask me sometime to tell you my rattlesnake stories if I haven't told you already. Those were the days.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Happy Birthday, Susan Anton!

The Goldengirl turns 55 today. The '70's wouldn't have been complete without her. There's a mystery-writing connection here, for you trivia fans. But I'm not telling.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Cavalry Man: The Killing Machine -- Ed Gorman

I'm always happy when a new western by Ed Gorman shows up on the paperback racks because I know I'm in for a good time. The title character of The Cavalry Man is Noah Ford, who was a spy and assassin for the North during the Civil War. It's fifteen years or so later, and Ford's a military investigator, looking into the theft of a sort of super-Gatling gun. The person who stole it is Ford's brother, who was also a spy and assassin during the war, but for the South. Ford locates the gun in the prologue, but before he can do anything about it, his brother is murdered, Ford himself is shot up, and the gun has disappeared. Soon after he gets out of the hospital, the four arms dealers who were to bid on the gun start to die, one by one. Ford has to figure out who's killing them and find the gun, not an easy job for a guy with one arm in a sling.

One thing I like about Ed's westerns is that there's always an edge to them, a tinge of sadness and regret. A lot of his characters, including Noah Ford, have been damaged by life in one way or another, and they're just trying to get by the best way they can. And while this is a novel that deals a lot with character, the action and the plot certainly aren't negelected.

There are other things I like about The Cavalry Man, too. For one thing, Ed's writing is always a pleasure to read. And then there are little touches like this one, when Ford is explaining that he likes drinking cold coffee: "I got used to drinking it cold in the war. Had a friend named Daniel Port who preferred it that way."

If you like westerns or mysteries or both, check it out.

You Know You Want a Drink of This!

Monday, October 10, 2005

This Must be Some Kind of Record

Lucky fan is twice in the right spot

Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle

"I never caught one in a game before."

— SHAUN DEAN, Lucky fan who caught 2 balls in history-making game
Chris Burke's homer might not have been the only history-maker in Sunday's 18-inning victory over the Atlanta Braves. The fan who caught it — Shaun Dean of Porter — also caught Lance Berkman's grand slam shot in the eighth.

Crank Up the Lamborghini, Martha!

- Houston area drivers can soon hit the open road and speed down the track without getting a ticket.

There's a new 380 acre piece of land near Angleton that's a haven for people who want to see just what their cars can do. The black top is 2.4 miles long and has 16 turns.


If you want to drive on the ranch, it will cost you. Membership dues are $7,000 plus $150 in monthly fees. The track should be completed next month. The track is available to anyone with any type of car.

This track is about 20 miles from here. I guess I could drive my old Chevy S-10 truck (1991 model) done there and give it a workout, but the fee is just a little out of my price range. Not mentioned in the article is that you can get a "premium" membership for $15,000. That way, you don't have to pay the monthly fees. Sounds like a bargain to me.

Gator Fest

James Reasoner asks today if I know about Gator Fest. Although I've never attended, I've certainly thought about it. It's held just up the road from here, in Anahuac. I really should try to get to Gator Fest next year, I guess.

Astros Win!

Judy and I are Houston Astros fans. We don't go to the games, but we watch nearly every one on TV each year. When we're out driving, we listen on the radio. So naturally we were there for the whole agonizing 18 innings yesterday. I have to admit that I really didn't think the 'Stros could pull it off, even after the big comeback in the 8th and 9th, but they did it. I'm beginning to believe that Roger Clemens is worth every bit of the $18 million he's getting this year. He lost the play-off game that he started, but those three innings he pitched yesterday proved to me he's one of the all-time greats (as if there was ever any doubt).