Saturday, May 20, 2006

Freddie, R. I. P.

Strangely, "Do the Freddie" isn't mentioned. - Freddie and the Dreamers star dies - May 20, 2006: "British pop star Freddie Garrity, former lead singer with 1960s band Freddie and the Dreamers, has died at the age of 69.

Garrity died on Friday in hospital in North Wales, his agent said on Saturday.

His five-piece band had hits in Britain and the United States with 'I'm Telling You Now,' 'You Were Made For Me' and 'Over You.'"

Why I Am Cooler Than You

Because I own this book. And a big thank you to Richard Moore for making it possible. (Click on a pic to enlarge it.)

Paperback Exhibit

Thanks to a tip from the author of the article below, Judy and I had a look at this exhibit a couple of weeks ago. Some nice books, but nothing like the collection at the Crider manse, of course. | UH paperback collection follows 150-year history: "Ten-cent thrills on exhibit
UH paperback collection follows 150-year history

Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle

Paperback books were not always as ubiquitous as hardcovers. A small exhibit at M.D. Anderson Library on the University of Houston's central campus uses about 100 paperbacks to track the history of paperbound books from the mid-1800s to the present.

Modern paperback history is usually dated from 1935, with the introduction of Penguin paperbacks in England, or 1939, with the first Pocket Books editions in the United States.

The Penguins, Pulps and Pretty Ladies exhibit at UH uses a broader definition to trace paperbound-publishing history back to cheap booklets that we would call pamphlets."

Get a Rope!

iWon News - 8-Foot-Tall Statue of Bob Wills Vandalized: "
GRUENE, Texas (AP) - Vandals toppled a wooden statue of the King of Western Swing. Now he has to wear a sling.

'We came in (Wednesday) morning, and he was laying on his back with his arm broken off,' said Clair Devers of the Lone Star Music store in Gruene, home of the 8-foot-tall carving of Bob Wills by local musician Doug Moreland.

Gruene is about 30 miles north of San Antonio.

The music store and a radio station offered a $500 reward for information leading to an arrest. The vandalism apparently happened early Wednesday and could not have been accomplished easily."

Friday, May 19, 2006

Today's Gator Update - Gators, Gators Everywhere -- But Why? - Local News | News Articles | National News | US News: "Speculation has been swirling about why three women were killed by alligators in one week in three different regions of Florida, with everything from mating season to the drought being pegged as culprits."

Thanks to Jeff Meyerson for the link. Click on the cool videos if you have a high-speed connection. There's one on "gator psychology," for example.

Tales from Deadwood: The Gamblers -- Mike Jameson

This is the second book in Mike Jameson's Deadwood series, and it's another good one. Jameson, in case you're wondering, looks a lot like this guy, and one thing I've always admired about his writing is his ability to keep a complex storyline running through a series of novels. Check out his Abilene series as by Justin Ladd, for example. Anyway, in this second Deadwood novel, several of the major characters from the first one put in only cameo appearances, while some of the ones in the background of the first (and some new ones) take over the main storyline. And there's plenty of story here. Al Swearengen and Calamity Jane have big roles, and Bill Hickock is prominent as well. Plenty of action, and you never know who's going to get killed off. As with the first book, the ending leaves you wanting to know more about who's going to do what to whom and about how things are going to work out. And of course you're still wondering about some of the characters from the earlier book. I'm confident we'll get back to them as the series unfolds, and I'm looking forward to going along for the ride. Pick up you copy of this one and the first one today.

Maybe I Should Read those Gor Novels after All

BBC NEWS | UK | Officers discover sex-slave cult: "A sex slavery cult based on a series of 1960s science fiction novels has been uncovered by police in Darlington.

Durham Police discovered the bizarre sect after raiding a home in the area, after receiving complaints that a woman was being held against her will.

But a spokesman said the Canadian was a willing participant and the other people involved were consenting adults.

The group, called Kaotians, follow the Chronicles of Gor novels which depict a society where women are dominated."

The Terrorists Hate us because of our Freedom - Town won't let unmarried parents live together - May 17, 2006: "BLACK JACK, Missouri (AP) -- The City Council has rejected a measure allowing unmarried couples with multiple children to live together, and the mayor said those who fall into that category could soon face eviction.

Olivia Shelltrack and Fondrey Loving were denied an occupancy permit after moving into a home in this St. Louis suburb because they have three children and are not married."

Happy 100th Birthday, Bruce Bennett!

Bruce Bennett (or Herman Brix, if you prefer) is 100 years old today. I remember him as Kioga of the Wilderness, Tarzan, and a few dozen other characters, most notably James Cody in Treasure of the Sierra Madre. He appeared in serials (Daredevils of the Red Circle), TV shows, and movies for many, many years. I hope he's still in good health and that he has a great day.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

So what does Patricia Cornwell Think?

DNA hints at Jill the Ripper | | The Australian: "DNA hints at Jill the Ripper
By Jade Bilowol
May 17, 2006
JACK the Ripper could well be a Jill.

In a bid to crack the identity of one of the greatest murder mysteries of all time, technology developed in Australia has tested 118-year-old DNA the notorious serial killer may have left behind and built a partial female profile. Scientist Ian Findlay today said the partial profile had been created from saliva possibly from the Ripper on the back of stamps on the envelopes of letters sent to London police."

700-Pound Gator Update - News - 700-Pound Alligator Pulled From Fla. Canal: "A giant 700-pound, 12-foot-long alligator was captured and pulled from a Florida canal after fearful residents called for help, according to a Local 6 News report."

There's a great photo at the link.


David Loeb Goodis Convention (Goodiscon)

Deen and Jay Kogan Award for Writers of Importance and Distinction

Who? DLG was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on March 2nd, 1917 (90th Birthday). He died in Philadelphia on January 7th, 1967 (40th Anniversary of his death). David Goodis is best known for his major contribution to American hard-boiled crime fiction via pulp fiction writing (Dark Passages [1946]), hardback novels and paperback originals (Cassidy’s Girl [1951]).

What? A seminal meeting celebrating Philly Noir, featuring David Goodis and those influenced by his work.

Why? This conference is the first planned yearly symposium to spotlight writers of significance and importance. It will be a unique opportunity for writers, fans, collectors and friends to get together and discuss fine writing in a collegial setting. The intention is to allow all attendees to meet, revel, discuss and experience the Philadelphia Noir in a brand new way.

Where? Philadelphia is the setting for GoodisCon 2007. Several different venues will be utilized to capture the “spirit(s)” of David L. Goodis and his wonderfully dark writing. These include, but are not limited to Temple University, The Legendary Blue Horizon Boxing (#1 Boxing Venue in the World), Yards Brewery and the Port Richmond Bookstore (PRBS).

When? January 5th, 6th and 7th 2007. Hotel, registration fee and schedule of events TBA .The intention is to have three fun-filled days to celebrate the life and writing of David L. Goodis in the spirit with which he would have enjoyed it.

Contact: Lou Boxer ( and Deen Kogan (

The Da Vinci Parody -- Check it Out

DO THE MATH: The Da Vinci Parody: "To commemorate the release of the movie The Da Vinci Code, Do The Math offers up a retelling of the prologue of Dan Brown’s book in the style of Richard Stark."

Happy Birthday, Dobie Gillis

Dwayne Hickman is 72 today. I hope he has a great one.

Gator Aide

Gator Update

WorldNetDaily: No end to gator attacks in Florida: ". . . on the western coast of the Sunshine State, a woman used a handgun to fend off a gator that was attacking her own dog, and was issued a warning citation for hunting without a permit.

Candy Frey of Bradenton, Fla., shows the dog door where she was able to push a 3-foot gator out after it scuffled with her dogs.

Candy Frey says a 3-foot gator confronted her golden retriever at her East Manatee, Fla., home.

She and he daughter were able to push the creature through the dog door of her patio, but she also got her gun and opened fire.

'I was running on so much adrenaline,' Frey, 48, a former U.S. Marine aviation technician, told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. 'I just freaked out and shot him – boom, boom, boom, boom.'"

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Ghosts of Elkhorn -- Kerry Newcomb & Frank Schaefer

This is a fine book, but I wonder if it could even find a publisher these days, much less The Viking Press, which published this edition.

Newcomb and Schaefer wrote a number of bestselling paperbacks under various names. Eventually Schaefer drifted away from the partnership (I assume), and Newcomb continued on his own. His westerns and historicals are well worth looking for.

This book is about The Wind River Kid, who lives alone in the ghost town of Elkhorn. Well, alone except for the ghost of Aden Creed, a horse, a bear that may or may not be a ghost, and a pesky falcon. The Kid's tired of that life, and he decides to move down the mountain to civilization. But it's 1927, and The Kid finds it a tad difficult to accept that his favorite whorehouse is now a beauty salon and that the general store where he bought his supplies has sold out to a Piggly Wiggly. So The Kid returns to Elkhorn, only to find that it's been invaded by a young man and woman on the run from a bagman for the mob. Before it's all over, The Kid will have to confront more than gunmen. He'll have to face the ghosts of his own past.

The next time you're in the mood for something entirely different, something stylish and nostalgic, see if you can find this one.

Frankie Thomas, R. I. P.

Thanks to Jeff Meyerson and Art Scott for alerting me to this.

Yahoo! Top Stories - 'Space Cadet' Frankie Thomas Dies: "Frankie Thomas, who became famous in the 1950s for his starring role in the TV children's show 'Tom Corbett, Space Cadet,' has died. He was 85.

Thomas died Thursday of respiratory failure at Sherman Oaks Hospital, said his stepdaughter, Julie Alexander.

Thomas began acting on Broadway in the early 1930s and soon ventured west to Hollywood, where he appeared in films including 'A Dog of Flanders,' 'Boys Town' and 'The Major and the Minor,' as well as four Nancy Drew movies."

Where is Robert Forster When You Need Him?

Thanks to Jeff Meyerson for this important update. - Local News - Latest Alligator Reports: "Alligator Nuisance Hotline Getting Flooded With Calls
Operators at the Statewide Nuisance Alligator Program in Okeechobee are swamped.

Program officials said they logged 225 telephone calls Monday -- more than double the amount of calls answered last year.

Operators are staying late to handle all the calls. "

Bob Dylan on XM

This week's theme on Bob Dylan's radio show was "The world of Liquid Libation." I was hoping for at least one Amos Milburn song, but I didn't get one. Got John Lee Hooker's version of one instead. Here's the eclectic playlist:

George Zimmerman and the Thrills, I Ain’t Got no Money to Pay for this Drink
Electric Flag, Wine, Wine, Wine
Loretta Lynn, Don’t Come Home a-Drinkin’
Porter Waggoner, Daddy and the Wine
Mary Gauthier, I Drink
Charles Aznavour, I Drink (not the same song as the one above)
Jimmy Rogers, Sloppy Drunk
Lonnie the Cat, I Ain’t Drunk
Johnny Tyler and the Riders of the Rio Grande, It Ain’t Far to the Bar
Hank Williams, Jr., What’s on the Bar
The Clovers, One Mint Julep
The Andrews Sister, Rum and Coca-Cola
John Lee Hooker, One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer
Charlie Walker, Who will Buy the Wine?
Betty Hall Jones, Buddy Stay off that Wine
The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem, Whiskey You’re the Devil

End of an Era

New York Daily News - Breaking News: "NEW YORK (AP) -- Lew Anderson, who captivated young baby boomers as the Howdy Doody Show's final Clarabell the Clown, has died at the age of 84, his son said.

The musician and actor died Sunday in Hawthorne, N.Y., of complications of prostate cancer, Christopher Anderson said.

Long mute as Clarabell, Anderson broke the clown's silence in the show's final episode in 1960. With trembling lips and a visible tear in his eye, he spoke the show's final words: 'Goodbye, kids.'

Though Anderson was not the only man to play 'Buffalo Bob' Smith's mute sidekick, he was the best, Smith said in his memoir."

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Noir Night Guys Make EW's "Must" List

Entertainment Weekly's | Feature: The Must List: May 19, 2006:


A cheating husband, a smart floozy, and a poetic killer are enmeshed in the web of this tense, witty, cold-blooded noir.

Noir Night Guy Hits the Big Time

Reed Coleman Writes of Crime and Brooklyn - New York Times: "The name of the bank has changed, as with most of this block of Jerome Avenue in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn. But it's still a bank, and the building next door is still a post office, and Reed Farrel Coleman can still hear the gunshot and see the man lying there in the street more than 30 years later.

He was around 15 that summer day, walking to his job at a Baskin-Robbins. 'I heard a gunshot. I was here,' he said, pointing, 'and I ran right to this building right here. There was a guy lying in the street, a middle-aged guy. He had a little blotch of blood right here.' Mr. Coleman pointed to his stomach. 'His chest was just heaving in and out.'

Later it was determined that the man had been carrying a large amount of money for his business payroll, and the killer had robbed him. 'It changed my life,' Mr. Coleman said. 'Crime really happens. People really do get hurt.'"

You Might Want to Reconsider Your Florida Vacation Plans

After Fatal Alligator Attacks, High Alert and Lowered Eyes - New York Times: "MIAMI, May 15 — Frank Mazzotti, a wildlife ecologist at the University of Florida, has some advice for people who never want to come face to face with an alligator: Stay out of Florida.

Todd Hardwick, a trapper, taped the mouth and eyes of an alligator he captured Monday in a lake behind homes in North Miami Beach, Fla.

While alligator attacks are not everyday occurrences in the state — only 17 fatal attacks have been reported since 1948 — three women have been killed by alligators in the past week, prompting concern among residents, visitors and state wildlife officials.

'We live in a wildlife state in and among many different species,' said Willie Puz, a spokesman for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. 'Be alert to your surroundings. Any freshwater body in Florida can be home to alligators.'"

Mystery*File Update

MYSTERY*FILE ON-LINE: "Reviews by Steve Lewis. Recently posted are my comments on two more I read in March, one by George Harmon Coxe, Focus on Murder, and the other by William Murray, I’m Getting Killed Right Here. "

Good, thoughtful reviews. Check 'em out.

Monday, May 15, 2006

V for Vendetta -- Alan Moore and David Lloyd

Once upon a time I read a lot of funny books (that's what they were called in the Old Days, even though many of them weren't funny at all). I read everything I could get my hands on, from Captain Marvel to Captain Marvel Bunny (Yes, there was a Captain Marvel Bunny). And then I stopped. I have no idea why. I just did. And the next thing I knew, funny books had become comics and comics had become graphic novels and I hadn't read any of them.

(This brings up a philosophical point: Does one "read" graphic novels, or is that the right term? There's more than reading involved, since the pictures are as much a part of things as the text. But I'll leave that discussion to someone who knows a lot more than I do.)

Having seen the movie of V for Vendetta, I thought I'd have a look at the graphic novel and see what the differences were. For one thing, the structure was changed drastically for the movie. I can see why, and I thought it worked pretty well. The ending was changed, too, and I think the one in the movie was actually more effective than the one in the book, which reminded me for some reason of the Ghost Who Walks. I know that some fans of the book complained quite a bit about the movie, but having seen the movie first, I'm not sure why. I thought it was pretty faithful to the book and that the changes made for the film worked pretty well. (There were some others besides the ones I've mentioned, such as the fact that the movie gives V's time in the experimental hospital short shrift compared to the novel.)

About the artwork. I liked it. It reminded me of the old style used in some of the funny books I read.

I'm glad I took the time to read the book, but, that being said, I'm still a long way from becoming a fan of graphic novels.

Happy Birthday, Katherine Anne Porter

I've posted before about my meeting with Katherine Anne Porter, who was born on this day in 1890, or there abouts. She was notoriously unreliable as to the actual date. Like any memoir (especially these days), my post might not be entirely accurate, but it's the way I remember things. The symposium mentioned on the program to the left was attended by quite a few KAP scholars, two of whom (Joan Givener and Darlene Unrue) went on to write biographies of Miss Porter.

My Mind is Boggled

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Universe 'child of previous one': "A joint UK-US team has put forward an alternative theory of cosmic evolution.

It proposes that the Universe undergoes cycles of 'Big Bangs' and 'Big Crunches', meaning our Universe is merely a 'child of the previous one'."

"At present there may be an alternative 'dark matter' universe that exists at the same time as ours, but we could never reach it," explained Professor Turok.

"The best way to think of this is to think of a pane of double glazing with a fly on it. The fly is unable to cross over from one side to another, just like we are unable to get from one universe to another.

"These two universes are drawn together by the force of gravity and will eventually collide.

"This means that things that are happening now will help to create another universe in the future."

Vince Keenan Has an Epiphany "I had an epiphany at the movies over the weekend. It had nothing to do with what was onscreen, but these moments are rare enough that I’ll take whatever I can get."

I think he has a point. Check it out.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Mystery*File Again

Pulp fans, take note:

MYSTERY*FILE ON-LINE: "May 14. The 17 Detective Magazines. Reprinted from the April 1930 issue of Writer’s Digest are the editor’s candid appraisal[s] of the detective magazines of the day, along with helpful comments and advice for would-be crime fiction writers hoping to make sales to them."

eBay Item of the Day

Remember, guys, you're bidding on the coin.


As I've mentioned before, there's a small buffalo herd located about five miles from Thornton, Texas, where Judy's mother lives. Since we were going to visit Judy's mom yesterday, we naturally drove by to see if the buffalo were in sight. The sky was clear and the sun was hot, so we figured they'd be back in the trees. But we got lucky. Just as we reached the top of the hill, I saw a pickup driving along the fence line. There was a guy sitting on the open tailgate, and he was opening a sack of cattle cubes. The driver of the pick-up honked his horn, and the buffalo came charging out of the trees and across the meadow on the dead run. Those guys are pretty impressive when they're running around in a movie, and they're even more impressive in person. I wish I'd had a video camera. Of course they all stopped as soon as they got to the cubes and started to chow down, so the stampede didn't last long. It was fun for a few seconds, though.