Saturday, June 11, 2011

PimPage: An Occasional Feature in Which I Call Interesting Books to Your Attention We Might Have: Poems eBook: Gerald So: Kindle Store: "In this collection of 24 poems, Gerald So takes on love with wit, heart, and a maturing eye."

Final San Francisco Trip Update

My San Francisco Life: Sausalito

And then there's this.

New Story at BEAT to a PULP

BEAT to a PULP :: The Man in the Alligator Shoes :: Chris F. Holm

PimPage: An Occasional Feature in Which I Call Interesting Books to Your Attention Dismal River (9781610090131): Wayne D. Dundee: Books: "The Nebraska Sandhills of the 1880s are a vast, untamed expanse of treeless, rolling hills scoured by harsh wind and blistering sun. Into this rugged landscape former Indian scout Lone McGantry reluctantly agrees to lead an expedition of explorers and adventurers headed by an English lord. The hardships of the environ-ment soon become secondary, however, when other threats—both from within and without—overtake the expedition. Deceit, betrayal, stampeding buffalo, a raging grass fire, and a band of ruthless marauders all must be dealt with. The very survival of the expedition is at stake. Lives will be lost and the banks of the Dismal River will be scorched and stained by blood before the ordeal is finished."

Want a Great Western Swing CD?

Pitch in $25, and you'll get one of the best. But that's not all! You get an MP3 and Undying Gratitude!

Today's Vintage Ad


Hubert Creekmore, Cotton Country (The Fingers of Night), Bantam, 1950

Tokyo Leads the Way

Yahoo! Finance: "World's Most Expensive Cities 2011"

Top 10 Reasons not to Live in a Small Town (According to Movies)

Top 10 Reasons Not to Live in a Small Town (According to Movies) | Stars and Popcorn

Today's Western Movie Poster

I'll Need More Hot Sauce, Please

Health department bugs out over grasshopper tacos – Eatocracy - Blogs: "Yesterday it was cicadas in the ice cream. Today's taboo is grasshoppers in the tacos - but there's a difference.

While Sparky's frozen critter crisp dessert was invented on a lark, 'tacos de chapulines' are a popular cart and bar snack in Mexico City, Oaxaca and even in certain parts of the United States. Devotees cite the cooked bugs' appealing crunch and protein content - said to be twice that of beef."

Unusual Bindings

AbeBooks: Unusual Bindings: "We all know the old adage, but never mind what they say. Sometimes it's okay to judge a book by its cover."

Quick Millions

Friday, June 10, 2011

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

Christa Faust's Hoodtown is now available for Kindle. Here's my review of that scarce book. Check it out.

Help Save Western Swing!

Pitch in $25 and get a signed CD. Not to mention an MP3 and Undying Gratitude.

Today's Vintage Ad

Get Out the Checkbook

Bob Dylan | Bob Dylan Lyrics Up For Auction | Contactmusic: "Drafts of Bob Dylan's original lyrics are expected to fetch thousands of dollars when they hit the auction block later this month (Jun11).

The newly-discovered papers, which are heavily edited and even feature notes in crayon, date from the mid-1960s, when Dylan hit a productive peak."


A. Merritt, Dwellers in the Mirage, Avon, 1953

On the Road Again

Judy and I are about to take off for a visit to the old hometown. Regular features will continue here on the blog, and there'll be some other stuff, too. We'll be in the land of little or no Internet, so I can't answer e-mails or respond to comments. Have a great weekend, everybody.

17 Craft Disasters

Sometimes craft projects go horribly wrong

Hat tip to the crafty Art Scott.

The 10 Best Films With No Plot

The Ten Best Films With No Plot |

Today's Western Movie Poster

Here's the Plot for Your Next Comic Thriller

Charges Dropped In Facebook Spy Vs. Spy Case | The Smoking Gun: "JUNE 9--In an embarrassing about-face, federal prosecutors yesterday abruptly dropped criminal charges against an Indiana man who they accused of bugging his ex-wife’s automobile."

New York Leads the Way

Rat Fashion Show Brings Rodent Couture To New York City (PHOTOS)

PimPage: An Occasional Feature in Which I Call Interesting Books to Your Attention Adventures of Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles eBook: Edward A. Grainger: Kindle Store: "Adventures of Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles is a western noir, short story collection spotlighting the thrilling tales of two deputy U.S. Marshals working in 1880s Wyoming Territory. Cash Laramie, raised by Native Americans, is known as the outlaw marshal for his unorthodox way of dealing with criminals and his cavalier approach to life. Gideon Miles is one of the first African American marshals in the service and has skills with guns, knives, and tracking that are unrivaled. This collection broaches issues like racism, child abuse, and morality."

Destination Moon Update

Saturday afternoon, 2:30 P. M. CDT, on TCM. Set the DVR.

Hat tip to Gene Kelly.

Forgotten Books: We'll Always Have Murder -- Bill Crider

Yeah, I know, I wrote it. Still, . . . Last week in San Francisco this book happened to be on the shelf near the bed. I pulled it off and thought I'd take a look since it's been nearly 10 years since I wrote it. I started to read, and then I kept right on going. I really liked it. Gee, I didn't know I could write so well.

The story is a first-person private-eye novel set in late 1940s Hollywood. The shamus is looking into a blackmail threat against Humphrey Bogart, who has a big role in the story. I did a great job with him if I do say so myself.

I'd love to have this out as an e-book, but there's not much chance of that, since iBooks went out of business when Byron Priess was killed. I did the book as "work for hire," so I have no idea who owns the copyright. Maybe the Bogart estate. Anyway, this book was fun to write, and I had fun reading it. Cheap copies are available everywhere. Worth it for the cover alone.

Adam's Rib

Thursday, June 09, 2011

No Comment Department

Police: Man faked brain injury to get diaper changed

Steve Popovich, R. I. P.

Variety: "Veteran record man Steve Popovich, whose label Cleveland International fought and won long-running battles with CBS Records over profits from his top act Meat Loaf, died June 8 in Murfreesboro, TN. He was 68."


io9: "So despite the disaster that was The Wolfman, the monster train is still racing forward. Moviehole is reporting that instead going ahead with plans for a Wolfman sequel (box office returns being pretty poor for the picture) they're just rebooting the whole franchise altogether."

Not That They Have Anything to Hide

TSA Considering Banning Photography Of Checkpoints

The Bicycle Thief

Bike Thief Cuts Down Tree To Steal Chained-Up Bicycle (VIDEO)

Paul Levine to Donate Proceeds from Sale of Legal Thriller to Children's Cancer Fund

Omnimystery News: Paul Levine to Donate Proceeds from Sale of Legal Thriller to Children's Cancer Fund

Leonard Stern, R. I. P. "Leonard Stern, an [adjective] writer best known for writing [number] episodes of classic TV shows like “The Honeymooners” and “Get Smart,” [verb ending in 'ing] [adverb ending in 'ly'], and creating the fill-in-the-blanks party game Mad Libs along with partner Roger Price, died Tuesday in Los Angeles. He was 88. Stern got his start in show business at the tender age of 16, when he began writing jokes for Milton Berle. He and Price came up with the idea for their popular game in 1953, according to The L.A. Times."

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

Coming in July:

"They took the wrong groom. Callan is fresh off the black ops battlefield and in Vegas to see his kid sister married. When the groom goes missing, when the police can't get the job done right, Callan dives in. And his partner is a sexy security expert who just popped out of the bachelor's party cake at the wrong time.

Time to roll the dice."

A Vampire Named Fred

This is a link to the Nook version. The Kindle version should be out in a day or two, and I'll link it then.

A Visit to the House of Scott

Art Scott is, as some of you know, a regular commenter here, and he was the Official Editor for DAPA-Em, the only amateur press association devoted to crime fiction, for just about its whole existence. He was the OE, in fact, for my entire tenure in that illustrious group, a tenure that was pretty much matched his as OE. I visited him at his home when I went to the San Francisco Bouchercon in 1982. He lives in a different house now, but Judy, Angela, Tom, and I found our way there with no trouble at all. It was quite a nice place, as you might expect, but the outside wasn't what interested us. Or me. I was more interested in the interior and its contents.

One thing we didn't expect was the cut flowers in honor of our anniversary. A nice touch, but then Art's that kind of guy. He also provided me with Dr Pepper, of which I drank copious amounts.

Now about the stuff you're interested in. Where to begin? With the LPs? Thousands of them. Art has listened to them all on his incredible sound system. Even I, who have no ear at all, can tell the difference in his system and others I've heard. It's for audiophiles, and it'll blow you away.

Or how about the McGinnis originals? You can see some of them in the photo of me and Judy with the flowers. Art even has the sketch of himself that McGinnis made for the book that Art did. (It's appreciated considerably in value since I bought mine.) And speaking of McGinnis, Art has every book that McGinnis did a cover for, two shelves of them, double stacked. He has quite a collection of McGinnis movie posters, too, including some obscure and rare ones.

And then there's the book room. That's where I spent the most time. Amazing. I lingered over the British digests with their great titles and covers, and then spent a bit of time with other things before moving to what I'm convinced is the world's greatest and most complete collection of Novel Books and Merit Books. If not every title is represented, I don't know what's missing. Art really needs to start a blog about those two imprints. Great stuff, for sure.

While I was doing all the looking and admiring, Judy, Angela, and Tom were off with another friend, Bruce Taylor, touring a few wineries. Bruce was once known as "Mr. Bouchercon." Now he lives in Napa, where he's devoting his studies to Broadway shows, among other things. When they came back, Art grilled some skirt steaks and served them with corn and potatoes. Bruce provided the desserts, various pies. I had the chocolate. It was a fine meal, and we talked about books and movies and music and such. The best kind of talk.

We had a wonderful time. This visit was a highlight of our trip to San Francisco.


HealthWatch: "Smoking cigarettes is the cause of so much preventable, deadly disease. But now new research shows sitting for long stretches of time may be just as dangerous."

Today's Vintage Ad

Hat tip to Bob Levinson.

Happy Birthday, Mona Freeman!

Pym -- Mat Johnson

Mat Johnson's Pym is a modern-dress retelling and re-examination of Edgar Allan Poe's The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym. The more you know about the Poe tale, and the more criticism you've read of it, the more fun you'll have with Johnson's novel, but previous acquaintance with Poe's work isn't required.

When Chris Jaynes is fired from his professorship (in part because of his Poe obsession), things happen fast. First he obtains a manuscript that proves that Poe's narrative, is not fiction but based on truth. The next thing we know, Jaynes is off to Antarctica with an oddly assorted crew, which includes his cousin, his childhood friend, his ex-wife, her current husband, and a dog. Soon after that, the world as we know it is pretty much destroyed, they discover a lost race, and the adventures really begin.

Social satire, academic satire, and lots more. Plenty of laughs, and if you have it in for the painter of light, you'll get a lot of satisfaction from this, too. Great footnotes. When you're in the mood for something different, give this one a look.


C. S. Lewis, Out of the Silent Planet, Avon, 1949

Another Kindle Millionaire

Today, announced that Michael Connelly is the seventh author to sell over one million Kindle books, becoming the latest member of the “Kindle Million Club.” The Kindle Million Club recognizes authors whose books have sold over one million paid units in the Kindle Store ( Connelly joins Stieg Larsson, James Patterson, Nora Roberts, Charlaine Harris, Lee Child and Suzanne Collins in the Kindle Million Club.

From the Cornell Hurd Band

Dear friends:

The CHB has engaged with Kickstarter to help fund our upcoming CD.

Kickstarter connects artists with financial backers, large and small, in order to get artistic projects “off the ground.”

It’s not the way we normally do things, but we find their approach fascinating.

We believe that it’s a good way to do things on several counts, especially the part about involving your fans in this process.

Here’s a look at Kickstarter:

Here’s our page:

You can contribute as little as a dollar, and it costs nothing until we reach our goal.

Thanks, as always

Cornell Hurd

Japan Leads the Way

Asian Correspondent: "To earn this Ph.D., you need to hit the books — specifically, Japanese comic books.

Japan’s Kyoto Seika University said Tuesday it will launch the country’s first doctoral program in manga studies next year."

Today's Western Movie Poster

Okay, Let's See You Argue with This One

Top 10 Most Extreme Substances

Link via Neatorama.

They're Everywhere!

Crocodiles found in Croydon house

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Must Have Guy Item of the Summer

The Vroominator

Be sure to play the video.

Playing Cards on Books

AbeBooks: Playing Cards on Books: "This royal flush of literature - including Ian Fleming, Agatha Christie and Rex Stout - illustrates how book designers have embraced the humble deck of cards."

North to Alaska

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Even a man who is pure in heart and says his prayers by night, may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright. "A man who allegedly acted violently after drinking “copious amounts of vodka” told Lorain County sheriff’s deputies he had been scratched by a wolf in Germany and now “goes on the attack when the moon’s out,” deputies reported."

Hat tip to Art Scott.

Yet Another Trip Update

My San Francisco Life: Sunday Dinner at Uncle Art's

Roy Skelton, R. I. P.

Mail Online: "Actor Roy Skelton, who provided voices for the Daleks and George and Zippy in long-running children's show Rainbow, has died today aged 79.

His daughter Samantha said he died at home in Brighton surrounded by his family after a long illness."

And You Thought Mood Rings Were Kinky

BBC News: "Japanese inventors have devised a gadget to make you prick up your ears - electronic cat's ears.

Strap on the furry headgear, and its ears are programmed to move in ways that reflect the user's inner mood.

Necomimi, as the toy is called, uses sensors to measure brainwaves, and the cat's ears perk up or flatten accordingly."

Hat tip to Rich Prosch.

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

Ultimate Astros Touching gesture by Astros, drafting paralyzed San Jac player: "Of the 50 names, most unfamiliar, in the Astros’ draft class, there is one story that stands out beyond the others.

Buddy Lamothe, the 40th-round pick, will never play for the Astros.

The San Jacinto College star reliever, was paralyzed in a recreational accident last month, and the Astros drafted him as a nice gesture to a devastated family."

Otto Penzler Marches On


Penzler Launches to Acquire Classic and Original Mystery and Crime Titles, Which Open Road Will Digitally Publish and Market

Launch Ebooks Include Titles from James Ellroy, Charles McCarry, Ross Thomas, Joseph Wambaugh, Thomas H. Cook, Colin Dexter, Donald E. Westlake and Others

(New York, NY June 6, 2011) Open Road Integrated Media Inc. (, a digital publisher and multimedia content company, and Otto Penzler, the founder of the Mysterious Press and the Mysterious Bookshop, announced today a new digital publishing partnership to bring classic mystery and crime books to E. Penzler is launching to acquire a diverse range of mystery and crime titles which Open Road will digitally publish and market. The announcement was made by Open Road Cofounder and CEO Jane Friedman and Otto Penzler.

Penzler is one of the most respected experts, editors, booksellers, and publishers in the crime and mystery genre and will utilize his experience and relationships to build a catalog of backlist and original titles from renowned writers.

Friedman said: “Otto Penzler’s incredible reputation, vision, and experience and Open Road’s powerful marketing platform are the perfect combination to bring a wide range of classic and original crime and mystery titles to E. Otto has already acquired an exciting launch list which complements our crime and mystery catalog and we are eager to digitally publish these and future books.”

“Having created the Mysterious Press, a traditional print publisher, in 1975,” Penzler said, “it is thrilling to begin this new venture with Jane Friedman, one of the most successful and brilliant publishers I’ve ever known. She and her team are already acknowledged as the most creative and innovative publisher in this vibrant field. I am confident that the strengths of Open Road and will mesh perfectly.”

Open Road will work with Penzler to digitally market the ebooks. Open Road will produce marketing videos about the authors, books, and the themes that they explore. These videos, along with other curated and originally produced marketing materials, will be distributed though Open Road’s online platform and syndicated to online content partners.

A number of titles will be available early in the summer and numerous others are in the pipeline. In addition to the authors mentioned above, such iconic titles as James Grady’s Six Days of the Condor, Mark McShane’s Séance on a Wet Afternoon, and Ellery Queen’s The Roman Hat Mystery will soon be made available, as will original, never-before-published titles by Charles McCarry, Nelson DeMille, Lorenzo Carcaterra, and C.J. Box.
This announcement builds on Open Road’s growing mystery and crime list, which already includes renowned authors such as Lawrence Block, Ruth Rendell, and Jonathan King.

About Open Road Integrated Media
Open Road Integrated Media is a digital publisher and multimedia content company. Open Road creates connections between authors and their audiences by marketing its ebooks through a new proprietary online platform, which uses premium video content and social media. Open Road has published ebooks from legendary authors including William Styron, Pat Conroy, Jack Higgins, and Virginia Hamilton, and has launched new e-stars like Mary Glickman. As part of Open Road’s commitment to bring books to all screens, several book-to-film adaptations, including William Styron’s Lie Down in Darkness and Mary Glickman’s Home in the Morning, are in development.

Dedicated to providing the greatest mystery, crime, suspense, and espionage fiction of the past as well as new works just being created, has the goal to accomplish in electronic format what the Mysterious Press is noted for in traditional print publishing—providing through a recognizable and highly regarded brand name assurance to book buyers of carefully selected and high-quality titles. The Mysterious Press, now an imprint at Grove/Atlantic for traditional print books, publishes such authors as Thomas H. Cook, Joyce Carol Oates, Ken Bruen, Thomas Perry, and Andrew Klavan.

Even Mine?

Moving Towards a Physical Archive of the World's Books - Jared Keller - Technology - The Atlantic: "Internet Archive, a digital repository, wants to collect and preserve a copy of every single book that's ever been published"

If He'd Had a Live Weasel, it Would've Been Different

Man with dead weasel accused of assault

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

The Man in the Rockefeller Suit is an amazing story. It grew out of a Vanity Fair article that you can read here, and it tells about Christian Karl Gerhartsreiter, who was born in Bavaria but who came to the U. S., claimed to be "Clark Rockefeller," and somehow fooled dozens (or hundreds) of people. He got big-money positions with lies and faked resumes, charmed his way into the best clubs, and even married a savvy Harvard MBA who had no idea he wasn't who he claimed to be. He's one of history's great con men, and according to this book he's likely to be a murderer, too. Sounds like some great summer reading.

And Keep Off Her Lawn!

96-year-old woman confesses to 1946 murder

Mildred Wolf, R. I. P.

The Hollywood Reporter: "Mildred Wolf, one of the last surviving movie accompanists from the silent film era, died Sunday in her West Los Angeles home of natural causes, one day after her 101st birthday.

Wolf’s son is Charles Bernstein, a prolific film and TV composer whose credits include work on such projects as Inglourious Basterds, Miss Evers’ Boys, Love at First Bite and Viva Knievel!"

Nicolas Cage Update

Nicolas Cage's Son Taken to Hospital in Restraints for Mental Evaluation

Coming Soon to an eBook near You!

Rancho Diablo Spinoff Coming!

Education Officials Crack Down

Education officials break down Stockton man's door

Buried Secrets -- Joseph Finder

If you read Vanished, the first book in Joseph Finder's Nick Heller series, you're probably eager to get to this one. Heller is a "private spy," which means he's not quite a private eye and not quite a spy. He's ex-special forces, which means he can call in favors from all kind of places and that he knows people everywhere with lots of secrets.

In this case, the man with the secrets is Marshall Marcus, and old friend of Nick's family who'd given Nick's mother a job when Nick's father was sent to prison for financial shenanigans. Marcus's daughter, Alexa, has been kidnapped, and he wants Nick to get her back. As is often the case with clients, Marcus is never able to bring himself to tell Nick the whole truth, but Nick helps anyway because he likes Alexa.

Nick's first-person narration is intercut with third-person accounts that reveal what's happened to Alexa. She's been buried alive in a coffin while the negotiations go on. The man who has her is a very bad man, indeed.

Short chapters, plenty of twists, lots of tech stuff, a bit of romance, humor here and there, slick plotting: just about everything you look for in a thriller. Check it out.

Today's Vintage Ad

Top 10 Travel Destinations for the Ultimate Movie Buff

Top 10 Travel Destinations for the Ultimate Movie Buff

Very Thin Houses

Recycling Billboards into Modern Residential Buildings


C. S. Lewis, Perelandra, Avon, 1951

100 Years of Vincent Price

Snaggle-Tooth Salad: 100 Years of Vincent Price

A little late with this, but it's still neat.
Link via Neatorama.

10 Technologies that Revolutionized Libraries Worldwide

10 Technologies that Revolutionized Libraries Worldwide

Today's Western Movie Poster

The Greatest Sci-Fi Movies Of All Time

The Greatest Sci-Fi Movies Of All Time

Letter from Ian Fleming

Letters of Note: May I suggest that Mr. Bond be armed with a revolver?


Weight of book collection damaging house -

We're Back

We got back from San Francisco last night. If you've seen the photos on our daughter's blog, you know we had a great time visiting with her and Tom. And with some other friends, too. Photos and a short account will appear here when I recover.

The Star Packer

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Will the Persecution Never End?

Reese Witherspoon Subtly Slams Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton

Hat tip to John Duke.

New Story by Rich Prosch

Chester Dokes

Scary Headline of the Day

New Manilow album inspired by Britney Spears

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

Murder on Sisters' Row is another in Victoria Thompson's "Gaslight Mysteries" series. The setting is 19th century New York, and in this one Sarah Brandt, a midwife, is asked to help deliver a child in a brothel. She gets involved with the young mother and tries to get help from a charity. Soon afterward, the founder of the charity is murdered, and Detective Sergeant Frank Malloy investigates, with Sarah's help. Great setting, and if you like historical mysteries, here's one to check out.

The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck -- Don Rosa

Carl Barks's stories about Scrooge McDuck were one of the things I discovered on my own as a kid. Nobody had to tell me they were something special. I just knew it, and they were among my favorite comics. Later on (years later on) I found out that plenty of other people loved Scrooge and had continued reading the comics about him for a lot longer than I had. I never became fanatical about Scrooge, but even now I enjoy reading one of the old comics if I run across it, and I was happy to hear from Rick Robinson about Don Rosa's The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck, which won the Will Eisner award for "Best Serialized Story" in 1995. (Yes, I'm ten years behind. For me that's about normal.)

Don Rosa has done a lot of Uncle Scrooge stories, but this is a little different. It's a 12-part serial based on the "facts" of Scrooge's life as discovered in Carl Barks' classic stories. Rosa says that every fact about Scrooge's early life, "no matter how minute or obscurely buried the morsel of history might have been" is included in his serial, each chapter of which is followed by Rosa's comments on the story and the facts therein (where they came from, any inconsistencies, and so on). I have to say that I enjoyed this "graphic novel" about as much as any book I've read lately. It made me feel a little like a kid again, waiting at the door for the postman to show up with the latest issue of Walt Disney's Comics & Stories. Check it out.

Today's Vintage Ad

10 White Collar Crime Cases

10 White Collar Crime Cases That Made Headlines - Criminal Justice USA

Another Trip Update

My San Francisco Life: Anniversary Trip to Sonoma: "Anniversary Trip to Sonoma
We took Mom and Dad up to Sonoma to burn some Marriott points at the Sonoma Lodge in celebration of their anniversary. The first stop was Benziger Winery, where we had a quick picnic before the rain started."


A. Merritt, The Moon Pool, Avon, 1951

2011 Robert E. Howard Days

2011 Robert E. Howard Days to Celebrate Several Milestones: "It’s that time again and Conan fans from all over will gather in the town of Cross Plains, Texas June 10-11 to honor Robert E. Howard’s works and life.
Robert E. Howard Days 2011 will be held Friday and Saturday, June 10-11th. Howard History will be the theme, celebrating four anniversaries: 100 years of Cross Plains, 75 Years honoring the legacy of Robert E. Howard, 50th Anniversary of the 1st publication of Glenn Lord’s seminal REH Publication: The Howard Collector, and the 25th Anniversary of the first REH Days."

Today's Western Movie Poster

New Blog on the Block: Marvel University

Marvel University

Forgotten Films: On Guard

Couldn't find a trailer for this one.

Okay, I'm feeling quite intellectual this evening because I've watched a movie with subtitles. It was also the most entertaining movie I've seen in a long time. When it comes to buckling swashes, this French movie makes The Mask of Zorro look like a pathetic wannbe.

One thing I really liked was the filming of the action scenes. Nobody's jumping around on trampolines or doing wire work. The fencing looks like actual fencing, without any of the MTV-inspired quick cutting that ruined most of the action scenes in movies like Gladiator for me.

The cinematograpy is excellent. The movie glows, and the scenery is beautiful. I wish I'd seen this movie in a theater.

As for the plot, it's the old revenge story, with action that hardly ever lets up. Everybody in the movie seems to be having a grand time, and there's plenty of humor mixed into the action. Wit and energy: what a concept!

Why doesn't Hollywood make movies like this anymore? Probably because it's "old-fashioned." Maybe I enjoyed it so much because I'm an old poop.

The Lucky Texan

Monday, June 06, 2011

Lilian Jackson Braun, R. I. P.

NY Times bestseller Lilian Jackson Braun of Tryon who wrote The Cat Who novels dies at 97 |

First It Was the Thin Mints Melee . . . .

Police: Man's ear bitten off, swallowed in fight |

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

My aunt Ellen, who has a lot to answer for, gave me a book for my 9th birthday. It was called The Book of Amazing Facts, and it was filled with all kinds of trivia. I loved it, and there's little question that it contributed to my blossoming nerdhood. I've enjoyed books of trivia ever since, which is why I was glad to come into possession of Eric Grzymkowski's Attack of the Killer Facts. While Grzymkowski doesn't guarantee that every fact is really a fact, the source for each one is given. What more could you ask? If you ever wondered how many cases of rabies were reported in the U. S. in 2008 or when the last member of the Bonaparte family died, and how, or the name of the only American bird that hibernates (and who doesn't?), this is the book for you. Check it out.

Today's Vintage Ad

Here's the Plot for Your Next Social Issue Thriller

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "The Straw Hat Riot of 1922 was a riot that occurred in New York City in 1922 due to people wearing straw hats past the unofficial date that was deemed socially acceptable, September 15. It lasted three days, and it led to many arrests and some injuries."

Amazon Millionaires

Amazon Media Room:News Release: "Lee Child and Suzanne Collins Surpass One Million Kindle Books Sold"


Stanton A. Coblentz, Into Plutonian Depths, Avon, 1950

Spelling Test

Can you spell as well as the winners of the Scripps National Spelling Bee? - By Nina Shen Rastogi - Slate Magazine: "Last night, Sukanya Roy, a 14-year-old from Pennsylvania, won the 84th annual Scripps National Spelling Bee by correctly spelling cymotrichous, a Greek-descended word meaning 'having wavy hair.' Are your orthographic skills better than an eighth grader's? Try our mock spelling bee and find out."

Scholarly Website Revisited

It's nice to know that scholarly pursuits aren't limited to the Groves of Academe. So when a worthy website such as The Encyclopedia of Women in Prison Films is called to my attention (as this one was by the inimitable Steve Stilwell, an old retired bookseller with a heart condition), I like to let others know about it.

Today's Western Movie Poster

Nice Article about Galveston

After Ike, a deluge of reinvention - The Boston Globe

Hat tip to Ted the Younger

Rocket Science -- Jay Lake

I wanted to read this book because of a review I saw here. After all, who can resist a novel set just after WWII in which a fast-talking G.I. has brought to his small Kansas hometown a spaceship dug out from under the Arctic ice by the Nazis? And who can resist reading about the complications that ensue when "Nazis, resurgent Russian Commies, Chicago gangsters and the U.S. military" all come after said spaceship? Not me. I'd never read anything by Jay Lake before, but I can see why some people think he has a bright future in the SF field. He writes clean prose, and he has a good feel for character. His research for Rocket Science seems excellent, as the setting and the people ring true. Some of the plot complications are a little hard to swallow, but it's all in good fun. It's almost as if Lake were trying to prove that he could write a book of the kind "they don't write any more." If you're up for a little SF adventure and you're not too demanding, give Rocket Science a try.

Jeff Meyerson Saw Them Open for the Dead in 1968

Rat-eating plant discovered in Philippines - Telegraph: "Rat-eating plant"

The Miracle Rider

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Shamus Submissions

The Private Eye Writers of America is calling for submissions for the 2011 Shamus Awards for private eye novels and short stories first published in the United States in 2010.  The awards will be presented in St. Louis in the fall of 2011, during the Bouchercon world mystery convention.
The categories are Best Hardcover PI novel, Best First PI novel, Best PI paperback original and Best PI short story. Eligible works must feature as a main character a person PAID for investigative work but NOT employed for that work by a unit of government.  These include traditionally licensed private investigators; lawyers and reporters who do their own investigations; and others who function as hired private agents.  These do NOT include law enforcement officers, other government employees or amateur, uncompensated sleuths.
NOT eligible for consideration are self-published works, e-books or works for which the author is not paid. All submissions must be in hard copy.
DEADLINE for submissions is July 1, 2011.   
For a copy of the full guidelines and submissions information, contact Shamus Awards Chair Ted Fitzgerald at tedfitz[at]

Harry Bernstein, R. I. P.

iWon News - Harry Bernstein, published at age 96, dies at 101: "NEW YORK (AP) - Harry Bernstein, whose acclaimed memoir of an English childhood haunted by anti-Semitism - 'The Invisible Wall' - was published when he was 96, has died at 101."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Benny Spellman, R. I. P.

Benny Spellman, singer of 'Lipstick Traces' and 'Fortune Teller,' dies | "Benny Spellman, the vocalist whose double-sided recording “Fortune Teller” and “Lipstick Traces (On a Cigarette)” ranks as an enduring classic of New Orleans rhythm & blues, died Friday after a long illness. He was 79."

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

It's Boston in 1854. Louisa May Alcott isn't famous yet, but she's already writing. She's writing sensational thrillers, and little does she know that she's about to be caught up in a real-life murder. When her best friend is found floating in Boston Harbor, it's up to Louisa to become an amateur sleuth and bring the villain to justice. Anna Maclean's Louisa and the Missing Heiress is fiction, of course, not fact, a historical mystery with a basis in fact. The Alcotts were an interesting group, and Louisa's adventures

Anna Maclean is the pen name of Jeanne Mackin, a well-known historical novelist, and you can count on historical accuracy and good writing in her new series.

Case Histories -- Kate Atkinson

Three cold cases form the basis for this novel. The cases and their roots in the past are laid out in the beginning, and then in the present a private-eye named Jackson Brodie is hired to look into them. Brodie, a former police inspector, has a number of problems of his own. His wife has left him and married another man, and he's started smoking again. His cases aren't very interesting. For example, one of them involves looking for an old woman's cats. Then the three cold cases come into his life, and things perk up considerably for him.

As he begins his investigations, the lives of the principals in the cases intersect occasionally, but only coincidentally. What really interests Atkinson, it seems, is the lives of all the characters. On rara-avis, the hard-boiled list, a couple of people are discussing one of Elmore Leonard's "rules," the one about leaving out "the part that readers tend to
skip" -- detailed descriptions of weather, place, things, characters, and so on. Atkinson doesn't follow this rule. In fact, most of the book is made up of those things.

There's another rule that every writer or would-be writer has heard a million times: "show, don't tell." Atkinson flouts that one, too. Probably 80% of this book is telling. And I don't see a thing wrong with that. When did the "show, don't tell" rule come along, anyway? With Hammett and Hemingway? Case Histories is a throwback to a different kind of writing, and obviously a lot of people like it. I generally prefer leaner stuff, but now and then something like Case Histories is kind of fun.

My main problem with the intertwined stories is that I knew almost from the beginning where two of them were going. There was no way to know about the third because the information wasn't there. I also knew just about exactly what was going on with the Cat Lady and how that tale would turn out. I didn't really mind. Sometimes the trip is more important than the destination. The next time you want a change of pace from the lean and mean (if you ever do), you might give Case Histories a try.

Today's Vintage Ad


Jack Williamson, The Green Girl, Avon, 1950

Movie mad Scientists

In pictures: Mad, bad and dangerous to know – Fictional scientists | Science |

Today's Western Movie Poster

50Facts about Goodfellas

50 Facts About Goodfellas / Entertainment / ShortList Magazine

Happy Anniversary to Me and Judy!