Saturday, December 08, 2007

Out of the Gutter #3

It's hard not to compare Out of the Gutter with Murdaland. Both started up at about the same time, and both offer an alternative to the other print outlets for short mystery fiction. Murdaland is slicker and more "literary," but it nevertheless offers cutting edge stories that might have trouble finding a home elsewhere. Gutter flaunts its in-your-face attitude. If anything, it seems to take an anti-literary stance, not that there's anything wrong with that. I enjoy reading both of them, and I'm wish them both long life and success.

The theme of the latest Gutter is "War is Hell," with the term war being fairly broadly defined. For example, Pearce Hansen's "Good to be a Man" would probably fall into the "man's war with nature" category. Good story, though, and there's an interview with Hansen that's well worth reading.

Dave Zeltserman's "Adrenaline" should get you cranked, but it's certainly not for the faint of heart. It's a man vs. man story, but it has its origins in war, as does J. D. Rhoades' "So Round, So Firm, So Fully Packed." It's not for the faint of heart, either, but then I didn't read a single story that was. Don't say I didn't warn you.

In case you're wondering about some of the cover stories, the midgets with AKs appear in "The Bitch Pit." I haven't gotten to the chicks with chainsaws yet.

There's nonfiction, too, from 9/11 conspiracy theory to gun control, and there are lots of flash stories. Even poetry.
Ror the stout of heart and strong of stomach, Out of the Gutter #3 is full of the kind of stuff you're looking for. Check it out.

[Sort of an aside: I have to argue with the squib at the bottom of page 35, though. It says that "The last surviving Civil War veteran, Judge Thomas E. Webster, actually died in 1940 . . . ." I guess the facts are in dispute, but in 1959 I attended the funeral of Walter Williams, who was supposedly the last Civil War vet. The Franklin, Texas, homepage mentions that his grave is in the community cemetery there. I once wrote a short essay about the funeral for the ACWL BULLETin.]

No Word on Whether the Shoes were Blue Suede

Texan kills man who stepped on shoes, gets life | - Houston Chronicle: "BEAUMONT — A jury has sentenced a Port Arthur man to life in prison for fatally shooting a clubgoer who had accidentally stepped on his shoes.

Richard Trahan, 30, was convicted of killing 39-year-old Todd Hall outside a Port Arthur nightclub in May 2005.

A jury in nearby Beaumont deliberated less than two hours before sentencing Trahan on Friday.

Witnesses said Trahan became angry when Hall stepped on his shoes inside the club as Hall was moving back from the bar after ordering drinks."

Database of Bestsellers

Beth Foxwell has found a great resource if you're interest in what people have been reading for the past 100 years or so.

The Bunburyist: "I stumbled on a fascinating online resource from a 2006 class taught by John Unsworth, dean of the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. It's a database of twentieth-century U.S. bestsellers, organized by author, with entries by his students. The entries include physical descriptions of the particular work, publication history, analysis of sales (if information is available), and quotes from reviews."

Peru Update

Woody Harrelson, Owen Wilson rough it in Peru - "LIMA, Peru (AP) — A cheap hotel and a bath in an irrigation ditch — not the usual travel arrangements for Hollywood celebrities.

But Woody Harrelson and Owen Wilson were apparently out to show the locals in Peru that they aren't your average high-maintenance movie stars.

Local celebrity gossip program Magaly TeVe aired video Wednesday night of the two actors deep in Peru's Andes bathing in an irrigation ditch wearing nothing but their boxer shorts. It showed the pair pouring handfuls of water over themselves under the highland sun."

Update: Walter Satterthwait provides this video link.

Archaeological Update #2

Dining, Roman-style, as London dig finds history by the bucketful - Times Online: "Wine buckets, bowls and dishes with an elegant beaded design are among a spectacular Roman hoard of international importance that has been discovered in London.

Archaeologists have unearthed more than 1,100 objects dating from the first to third centuries AD that they described yesterday as unprecedented in size and scale.

The finds, which will give dramatic new insight into Londinium, the Roman city, include the most complete timber door to have survived anywhere in the Roman Empire, as well as shiny metal vessels in an exceptional state of preservation and the large-scale remains of an entire Roman streetscape."

Archaeological Update #1

Roman repairs last the distance - World - "Archaeologists in Germany say they have found a 2000-year-old glue that Roman warriors used to repair helmets, shields and other accessories of battle.

'Caesar's Superglue' — as it has been dubbed by the co-workers of the Rhine State Museum in Bonn — was found on a helmet at a site near Xanthen on the Rhine River where Romans settled before Christ.

'We found that the parade cavalry helmet had been repaired with an adhesive that was still doing its job,' said restorer Frank Willer."

Friday, December 07, 2007

The Best News Yet from Stark House

At least from my point of view. I have copies of all three of these, but my copy of Mink is in French, so I've never been able to read it.

Hello Mystery Fans:
I just want to announce that Stark House Press has just signed a contract with Harry Whittington's Estate and will be bringing back three rare short novels by Whittington in one edition next November 2008.
The novels are:
To Find Cora -- originally published as Cora is a Nympho by Novel Books in 1963 -- To Find Cora is Harry's original title, and much truer to the story.
Like Mink Like Murder -- originally published only in French in 1957 as Mink, then rewritten later by Harry as Passion Hangover for one of the sex lines and published under a pseudonym -- again, Like Mink Like Murder is Harry's title.
Body and Passion -- originally published by Original Novels in 1952 under the Whit Harrison pseudonym -- a strange story of switched identities that will keep you guessing until the end.
Three hard-to-find books in one volume, with a new introduction by Whittington specialist, David Laurence Wilson. Three compelling stories from one of the noir masters. Three novels of suspense and hardboiled action.
We hope you are as excited as we are.
Greg Shepard, publisher
Stark House Press

Bring It On

Britney Spears threatens Paris Hilton with lesbian footage | Herald Sun: "IN THE latest battle between the wild girls of Hollywood, Britney Spears has reportedly threatened to leak footage of Paris Hilton in a lesbian romp.

The singer and her pals sent the heiress a letter warning her that they would leak the footage, which shows Hilton in a compromising position with one of Spears' friends, unless her attitude changed.

'The letter warns Paris that if she continues being rude to people, the footage will be leaked online,' says an insider."

Black Book

I thought this was a very entertaining movie. It's kind of an old-fashioned WWII espionage thriller, put together like a good Alistair MacLean novel translated to film, but with one major difference: the main character is a woman, played with intelligence and spirit by Carice van Houten. Wow. She's terrific.

Van Houten plays a Dutch Jew, a singer who's hiding out from the Nazis. When her hiding place is destroyed, she has to find other ways to survive. The story takes off at a run and doesn't let up again, not even at the end. There are betrayals galore, there's twist after twist, there's romance, there's sex (okay, that's another major difference from a MacLean novel), there's violence, there's degradation.

There's even a bit of moral ambiguity as director Paul ver Hoeven makes the Nazis almost human. The worst of the villians plays a mean piano, whistles a nice tune, and even sings a little tenor harmony. But he's a monster all the same. Not so the SS officer played by Sebastian Koch. He's hardly a monster at all.

I missed this one in the theater, but it's way better than the last batch of big-budget Hollywood thrillers I've seen. Check it out.

Gator Update (Pittsburgh Edition)

Big Alligator Surprises Police In Pittsburgh Home - Pittsburgh News Story - WTAE Pittsburgh: "PITTSBURGH -- It seemed everyone was trying to escape the snow in Pittsburgh on Wednesday -- even a 6-foot alligator.

Police said they found it in the basement of a home in the 500 block of North Murtland Avenue in Homewood while trying to make arrests in a robbery case.

Animal Control workers were called to remove the gator. They said it's the biggest one they've ever seen in the city."

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Sell that Netflix Stock Now

You don't mess with the USPS.

Post Office Drawback Cited in Dark Forecast for Netflix - New York Times: "When Netflix’s seven million subscribers send their DVDs back to one of the rental service’s 47 distribution centers, the discs do not represent many happy returns for the Postal Service.

According to a recent audit by the service’s Office of Inspector General, the adhesive flap that seals the Netflix mailers often jams machinery and requires sorting by hand, adding $21 million a year to the service’s labor costs. The Office of Inspector General has recommended a 17-cent surcharge on every package that requires hand sorting (not just Netflix discs)."

I Don't Want Minimize the Horror . . .

. . . of what happened in Omaha, but where do people like Mike Fahey (and for that matter, George Bush) learn to speak the English language? And how do they get elected to office? Maybe I'm wrong to be opposed to politicians who can't speak (and probably can't write) a coherent sentence, but isn't it possible that if their thought processes are so screwed up that they can't speak or write, they might not be able to govern, either? Or maybe I'm just being cranky.

ABC News: Dumped and Fired: Hawkins Snapped: "The mayor of Omaha, Neb. summed up the shock in the community following Wednesday's shooting rampage in a shopping mall that left nine people dead.

'We will not accept this evil action to occur in our community,' Mayor Mike Fahey proclaimed at a news conference today."

Paris Hilton is Classy

Paris Hilton Turns Down 'The Bachelorette' - Starpulse News Blog: "Paris Hilton has ruled out appearing on a future season of reality show The Bachelorette because she finds the program's male contestants a turn-off.

The Simple Life star was recently rumored to be the single lady who gets to choose her ideal man on the show, but Hilton insists she'd never consider such an offer."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Texas couple celebrates 80th anniversary - "PALESTINE, Texas, Dec. 5 (UPI) -- Melvin and Minnie Lou Scott enjoy the simple pleasures in life in their Texas town and recently a rare one -- celebrating their 80th wedding anniversary.

At the age of 100 and 99 respectively, Melvin and Minnie Lou may be the oldest married couple in the United States, having celebrated eight decades together last month, the Tyler Morning Telegraph said Tuesday.

While the pair's habits of eating bacon almost every day and doing their own yard work may not be recommended for anyone their age, they do offer some key advice to a lengthy successful marriage.

'If people want to stay married, I guess I would tell them to live right, stay off dope and live a clean life,' Minnie Lou said."

The Most Dangerous Game

Maybe in a couple of years the hunters will get real bullets.

Sci Fi show gives contestants Run for Money | Oddly Enough | Reuters: "LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Sci Fi Channel has ordered a pilot for 'Run for Money,' a reality competition that pits contestants against one another in the quest for cash prizes as they are stalked by 'hunters.'"

Best Policework of the Day

Behold the power of Google. Thanks to Walter Satterthwait for the link.

Woman found canoeist photo via Google | Special reports | Guardian Unlimited: "A single mother put police and journalists to shame in their attempts to unravel the mysterious reappearance of the canoeist John Darwin by using a simple Google search, it emerged today.

The woman found the picture that apparently shows Darwin with his wife, Anne, in Panama City in July last year.

When confronted with the picture, which was printed in the Daily Mirror yesterday, Anne Darwin is reported to have admitted: 'Yes that's him. My sons will never forgive me.'

The photograph was available on a website of the firm Move to Panama.

It was found by the anonymous woman after she tapped in the words 'John, Anne and Panama' into Google. She then forwarded the picture to both Cleveland police and the Mirror.

She said when she forwarded the picture to detectives, she was told: 'You're joking.'"

The 100 Best Characters in Fiction Since 1900 —

The 100 Best Characters in Fiction Since 1900 — "Book Magazine, now defunct, compiled a panel of 55 authors, literary agents, editors, and actors in 2002 to “rank the top one hundred characters in literature since 1900.”"

Hat tip to The Good Girls Kill for Money Club.

Too Much Information?

Maybe. This is certainly a waste of good chocolate, if you ask me.

Rare Maya "Death Vase" Discovered: "An extremely rare and intricately carved 'death vase' has been discovered in the 1,400-year-old grave of an elite figure from the Maya world, scientists say.

The vase is the first of its kind to be found in modern times, and its contents are opening a window onto ancient rituals of ancestor worship that included food offerings, chocolate enemas, and hallucinations induced by vomiting, experts say."

Headline of the Day

Kangaroo farts could ease global warming | "AUSTRALIAN scientists are trying to give kangaroo-style stomachs to cattle and sheep in a bid to cut the emission of greenhouse gases blamed for global warming, researchers say."

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Happy Birthday, Little Richard!

Watching Little Richard on those TV commercials these days, it's hard not to think he's become something of a parody of himself. But those of us who were around to hear the sheer power of "Tutti-Frutti" blaring out of a car radio in 1955 were changed forever.

Little Richard - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "Richard Wayne Penniman (born December 5, 1932), better known by the stage name Little Richard, is a celebrated African-American singer, songwriter and pianist, who began performing in the 1940s and who was a key figure in the transition from rhythm & blues to rock and roll in the mid-1950s."

The Red State Guys . . .

. . . discuss Evel Knievel's passing. Some of the language is NSFW.

And you can read about the plans for the funeral here.

When Toads are Outlawed . . .

. . . only outlaws will have toads.

Cops: More smoke toad venom to get high - Yahoo! News: "KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Law enforcement authorities have discovered that people are willing to go to great lengths to get high, including a troubling new method that features a frightened toad.

'Toad smoking,' which is a substitute for 'toad licking,' is done by extracting venom from the Sonoran Desert toad of the Colorado River. The toad's venom — which is secreted when the toad gets angry or scared — contains a hallucinogen called bufotenine that can be dried and smoked to produce a buzz.

In October, a Kansas City man was charged with possessing a controlled substance after Clay County authorities determined he possessed a toad with the intent to use its venom to get high."

Genius Update

Sherri Shepherd Doesn't Get That Whole BC Thing, Insists "Jesus Came First" - Media on The Huffington Post: "For whatever reason, the ladies on 'The View' were discussing ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus this morning. Naturally, talk soon migrated to the topic of religion, and Sherri 'I don't know if the world is flat' Shepherd came out to play. More specifically, to spew ignorance and a complete lack of understanding of basic world history! Discussing whether Christians were around during Epicurus' time (Epicurus lived from 341-270 B.C.), Sherri chimed in, '[The Greeks] had Christians 'cause they threw them to the lions.'

When Whoopi tried to cautiously navigate her through the timeline of basic world events, saying, 'I think this might predate that,' Sherri responded, 'I don't think anything predated Christians.' "

B. O. L. O.

42-foot-tall inflatable snowman stolen in Tyler | - Houston Chronicle: "TYLER, Texas — 'Frosty' the snowman has been swiped.

The 42-foot-tall inflatable holiday decoration is missing from a tree farm in Tyler.

Officials at Dixon Farms say Frosty, worth about $10,000, was last seen Friday night.

So far no arrests.

Lot owner Royce Wisenbaker believes Frosty was hoisted over a fence.

A $1,000 reward has been posted for the safe return of the towering decoration.

Frosty is described as a white male, sporting a red hat and scarf, with a pipe in his mouth."

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Problems with Comments Update

I found this on "Blogger Help": "Blogger has removed the URL field for unauthenticated comments. Instead, we're rolling out support for OpenID, a technology for "signing" your comments with your own URL. OpenID lets you comment with the URL you want, while preventing others from impersonating you." This might explain the problems. I have my blog set so that anyone can comment without providing an ID, but Blogger might be having trouble with that.

Top 25 Raunchy Comedies

Hat tip to John Duke, who says he doesn't think some of these are very raunchy.

Best Raunchy Comedies: Moviefone Ranks the Top 25 - Moviefone: We would love to include the hilariously lewd 'Juno' on our list of the top 25 most outrageous, raunchy R-rated comedies of all time. Sadly, it's rated PG-13. But we didn't have a hard time finding 25 other brilliant flicks that contain copious amounts of swearing, drinking, fornicating and anything else that walks a fine line between offensive and outstanding.

Movies Better than the Books They're Based On?

The list is here. I think he's wrong about Shane, for sure.

Hat tip to Gerard Saylor for the link.

What's Going on with the Comments?

Some people seem to be having trouble with the comments, or not being allowed to comment. I'm not sure what's going on. The blog's settings are such that anyone, even those without a blogger account, can comment, but in some cases that's not happening. Just keep trying, and I'll see if I can dig up an answer.

Mike Ripley's Latest Column Posted at Shots Magazine

With lots of good stuff and nice photos. Click here.

Flash: Paris Hilton Not Even in Top 20!

Lindsay named the dumbest celeb - Access Hollywood - "LOS ANGELES - Hollywood is filled with people who should be sent to the head of the Tinsel town class, for their talents, creativity and influence on the entertainment industry — but what about the ones who should be held back a year, sent to detention or maybe even expelled?"

The Road -- Cormac McCarthy

There have been dozens, maybe hundreds, of post-apocalypse novels, most of them by genre writers and therefore overlooked by the literary guys. Now and then a mainstream writer discovers doomsday, and the resulting novel gets a lot of play. The first one I remember like that was Philip Wylie's When Worlds Collide. Then came On the Beach by Neville Shute. And now we have Cormac McCarthy's The Road, which was such a hit that it won the Pulitzer.

It's basically a two-character story. T
he two, the man and the boy, are among the last survivors of some kind of apocalyptic event and they wander through what appears to be a nuclear winter, looking for food, starving, avoiding roving bands of cannibals and worse. They follow the road, trying to get to the sea. The man's not sure what he expects to find when they arrive. If they arrive. Maybe it's all about someone's search for meaning even where there is no meaning, or maybe it's about humanity's ability to hope when there appears to be no reason to hope. Or if there's no meaning at the end of the journey, maybe the journey itself is meaningful. Or . . . I think I'll stop now.

McCarthy's up to his usual stylistic tricks: no quotation marks, scanty use of the comma, and so on. This time he's very heavy on the sentence fragments, one after another. Took me nearly 100 pages to stop being irritated by them. I was brought up short by other things occasionally, sentences like this one: What are you doing? he hissed. You know what I'm going to say, right? Just try hissing it. And this one, which just made me say, "Huh?": . . . and the fire was good for no more than an hour or perhaps a bit more. But I liked this book better than No Country for Old Men, maybe because I have a weakness for post-apocalypse stories. It turned out to have a more hopeful ending than I was expecting. While it's not exactly jolly, it's not as bleak as the novel had prepared me for.

Here are a few of my favorite post-apocalypse tales, all of them as award-worthy as McCarthy's novel in my book:

A Canticle for Leibowitz, Walter M. Miller, Jr.
I Am Legend
, Richard Matheson
Damnation Alley, Roger Zelazny
On the Beach, Neville Shute
Earth Abides, George R. Stewart
Dr. Bloodmoney, Philip K. Dick

Through Darkest America
, Neal Barrett, Jr.
Alas, Babylon, Pat Frank
The Postman, David Brin
The Stand, Stephen King
Swan Song
, Robert McCammon
Farnham's Freehold
, Robert A. Heinlein
The Long Tomorrow, Leigh Brackett
Day of the Triffids, John Wyndam

Monday, December 03, 2007

Typewriters Can Be Dangerous

Sarasota parking garage reopens; suspicious package turns out to be old typewriter: "The Sarasota County parking garage at East and Ringling boulevards reopened at 10:30 a.m. Monday after police blew up a suspicious package that was discovered two hours earlier.

The package contained an old typewriter inside a case that was discovered in the ground floor stairwell on the northwest side of the garage. The typewriter was inside a locked gate that only county employees can access.

Investigators used a remote-controlled robot to detonate the package. All downtown streets around the garage were closed during the investigation and were reopened at 10:30 a.m."

Name that TV Theme Song!

Some of you can probably score 100% on this one.

Soon to be a Major Motion Picture . . .

. . . starring John Vernon and Sybil Danning. And it's no wonder that Fox News is winning the ratings war. They report the good, wholesome stories that all America is wondering about. - Jailers Fired for Encouraging Female Inmate Bikini 'Fashion Show' - Local News | News Articles | National News | US News: "SHELBYVILLE, Tenn. — Three jailers have been fired and one suspended for encouraging female inmates who put on a mock fashion show that included a bikini made from a sweatshirt.

'They used their prison uniforms and anything else for the fashion show,' sheriff's office administrator Larry Lowman said of the ten Bedford County Jail inmates who participated.

Alma Cantu watched the inmates through a large security window while three male guards — Steven Qualls, Jason Carden and Jamie Farris — watched them on security monitors, Lowman and Sheriff Randall Boyce said.

'There were some remarks made over the intercom into that [cell] block,' Lowman said. 'One of the guards asked a particular female to blow into the speaker ... box of the intercom [which doubles as a microphone] and as she did, he put his microphone down to his crotch.'"

101 Christmas Videos

The Christmas Spot - Another 101 Christmas Videos to Watch and Enjoy (2007 Edition) - Fanpop: "Another Holiday season is upon us and you know what that means: break out the egg nog, light up the tree, put up the stockings, take out a second mortgage for the credit card bill and fire up The Carpenter's Christmas album (turn it up to 11, will you?).

It also means it's time for another list of Christmas video goodies.

So kick back and get ready to enjoy another batch of holiday fun. Oh, and in case you missed last year's list be sure to check out the original list of 101 Classic Christmas Videos."

Hat tip to Rick Klaw over at the Dark Forces Book Group.

Now Appearing on the Right . . .

. . . a slideshow of Mike Shayne's Mystery Magazine covers from the good old days. If you'd like slightly larger photos, there's a flickr slideshow here.

It Figures

Young chimp beats college students - Yahoo! News: "NEW YORK - Never mind that TV show that asks if you're smarter than a fifth-grader. Is your memory better than a young chimp's?

Maybe not.

Japanese researchers pitted young chimps against human adults in two tests of short-term memory, and overall, the chimps won."


Partially mummified dinosaur revealed | The Courier-Mail: "A PARTIALLY mummified hadrosaur discovered by a teenager in North Dakota may be the most complete dinosaur ever found, with intact skin that shows evidence of stripes and perhaps soft tissue, researchers said today.

Enough of the animal remains to show it ran quickly and was far more muscular than scientists believed such dinosaurs were.

'It's sort of King Tut meets T Rex,' paleontologist Phil Manning of the University of Manchester in Britain said.

The creature is fossilised, with the skin and bone turned to stone. But unlike most dinosaur fossils, tissues are preserved as well.

This includes large expanses of the animal's skin, with clear remains of scales.

'This is not a skin impression. This is fossilised skin,' Dr Manning said."

Gator Update (Duct Tape Edition)

Video at link, but you have to sit through a Poligrip commercial. Man wrestles gator with tape in hand 12/02/07: "They found an alligator roaming the streets and it ended up in one family's backyard.

Larry Barnes and his family saw the three foot long gator this afternoon off Waxahachie and Barbara. They were afraid it was going to hurt someone so

Larry's son grabbed some tape and tackled the animal. He put the tape over the gator's mouth. They don't know why it was so far away from water but they're having a good sense of humor about it."

Sunday, December 02, 2007

A Little Culture

Everett Gee Jackson was my great uncle. He was known to everybody in the family as "Beency," which is what his brothers and sisters called him. There are some of his other works pictured at the link.

SAN DIEGO MUSEUM of ART | Everett Gee Jackson: "Everett Gee Jackson/San Diego Modern, 1920–1955 November 3, 2007—January 27, 2008 This major retrospective organized by SDMA presents the work of Everett Gee Jackson, San Diego’s most important Modernist artist. Featuring more than 50 works that span the most significant and productive decades of the artist’s career, San Diego Modern presents a representative range of Jackson’s multi-faceted work, while contextualizing Jackson within the broader scope of mid-twentieth century American modernism."

My Tax Dollars at Work

The Device NASA Is Leaving Behind - "After years of delays, NASA hopes to launch this week a European-built laboratory that will greatly expand the research capability of the international space station. Although some call it a milestone, the launch has focused new attention on the space agency's earlier decision to back out of plans to send up a different, $1.5 billion device -- one that many scientists contend would produce far more significant knowledge.

The instrument, which would detect and measure cosmic rays in a new way, took 500 physicists from around the world 12 years to build. But with room on the 10 remaining shuttle missions to the space station in short supply, many fear that it will remain forever warehoused on Earth, becoming the most sophisticated and costly white elephant of the space era."

The Durango Kid

When I was a mere sprout of a lad, I saw a double feature western movie nearly every Saturday afternoon. Often the movie featured Charles Starrett as the Durango Kid, so when someone tipped me to the fact that TCM was having a mini-festival of Durango Kid movies, I set the DVR.

The Durango Kid
is the first movie in the series, though apparently nobody planned it that way. But the movie was popular, and a few years later the character was brought back for another. And another and another until 60 or so features had been made. I remember the later ones best, after Smiley Burnette had become the comic sidekick.

In this first movie, there is (blessedly) no sidekick. There are, however, the Sons of the Pioneers, with a young and skinny Pat Brady thrown in for alleged comic relief. I didn't find myself laughing much during the opening barn-painting scene, but you can't beat the Sons of the Pioneers when it comes to singing cowboy songs.

The plot is pretty simple: Bill Lowry's father is killed by the bad guys because he (the father) is sticking up for "the nesters." Bill vows to find his dad's killer, and he does so as the Durango Kid. Everybody's pretty cavalier about the disguise. The marshal appears to suspect all along, and Bill even gets Bob Nolan to impersonate the Kid, with the rest of the Sons riding along as his gang. Bill hits at his secert identity to the chief bad guy, and at the end of the movie, the Kid is unmasked.

Starrett is an athletic guy, and he does just fine in the role of the Durango Kid. He might have been a pretty good actor if he hadn't become stuck in the role. Everything in the movie is entirely predictable, but it's fun in a nostalgic way.

There's stuff here that I might not have noticed if I'd seen the movie as a kid. For example, there are scenes from other movies cut in. One night scene of a house burning is painfully obvious, especially since the intercut scenes of the Kid are all daylight scenes. And the people in the house don't seem bothered at all by the raging inferno that's shown in the exterior shots.

And I have a major gripe. What I saw must have been a mutilated print. I didn't know TCM went in for that sort of thing, but I'm certain there are several minutes, maybe ten or so, missing from the movie. Either that, or it has serious continuity troubles. While that's not impossible, it seems more likely to me that TCM showed a bad copy. Of course I could be wrong. I often am.

I've watched only a few minutes of the second movie, The Return of the Durango Kid, but already things have gotten cheaper. The Sons of the Pioneers are gone, replaced by the Jesters, whoever they are. I do plan to see all of this one eventually, and maybe even one of the later ones. Too bad they didn't show one with Smiley Burnett, though.

If You Were the U. S. Editor of this Series, . .

. . . would you have changed the main character's name?

Harry Hole - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "Harry Hole is the main character in a series of, so far, seven crime novels written by Jo Nesbo. Hole is a classic loose cannon in the police force, with few close friends and some unorthodox methods. Hole is a heavy smoker and an alcoholic. The latter brings him into repeated conflict with his superiors and some of his colleagues, but Bjarne Moller, head of Hole's department and one of his closest friends, manages to prevent him from being kicked out. This is not primarily due to pity, but the fact that Harry Hole is also a brilliant detective."

These Guys Need to Visit Blacklin County

BBC NEWS | South Asia | 'Yeti prints' found near Everest: "A US TV presenter says he and his team have found a series of footprints in the Everest region of Nepal resembling descriptions of the mysterious Yeti.

The presenter and his colleagues say they are 'very excited', although they are not saying they definitely believe it is the mark of the Yeti.

Josh Gates and his crew work on a series called Destination Truth, which follows reports of fantastic creatures.

The footprints found on Wednesday have renewed Yeti excitement in Nepal."