Saturday, March 02, 2013

Doc Savage Meets James Bond?

Doc Savage Fantasy Cover Gallery

Hat tip to Toby O'Brien.

Dave Zeltserman Reads "Some People Deserve to Die"

Other EQMM podcasts available at the link.

PodOmatic: EPISODE 43: “Some People Deserve to Die” by Dave Zeltserman

First It Was the Thin Mints Melee . . .

Woman accused of leaving poop in ex-employer’s oven and refrigerator 

Song of the Day

Emmylou Harris & Rodney Crowell: "Hanging Up My Heart" - YouTube:


Top Suspense Group: Sherlocks

Don’t Affect the Effect

January Magazine: Don’t Affect the Effect

Today's Vintage Ad

Len Deighton’s Bomber, the first book ever written on a word processor

Len Deighton’s Bomber, the first book ever written on a word processor.


Earl Derr Biggers, Keeper of the Keys, Dell, 1944

PimPage: An Occasional Feature in Which I Call Attention to Books of Interest

The Go For Broke Jazz Band
Okay, so it's not a book.  Still worth a look and a listen.

Jack Vance Website - Shop Music: Traditional jazz is Jack Vance's abiding passion. After dabbling with cornet in the '40s through '60s he took up ukulele in the early '70s, and learned all the standards with vocals and kazoo. The ukelele has been his constant companion ever since--at parties, conventions, and around the world.  Vance's drive to share his music is realized in the Go For Broke Jazz Band. He is accompanied by Kevin Boudreau, whose skill and talent made the recordings possible. The upbeat sound is informal, optimistic and joyful. Get ready for a good time with the Go For Broke Jazz Band!

Unsolved Missing Persons Cases

Unsolved Missing Persons Cases 

Slideshow alert.

Top Ten Movie Mistakes that Made the Final Cut

Top Ten Movie Mistakes that Made the Final Cut

21 Totally Weird-Looking Pets On The Covers Of Romance Novels

21 Totally Weird-Looking Pets On The Covers Of Romance Novels

Death on the Mississippi

Death on the Mississippi: Few people know about the Sultana, despite the fact that it suffered the worst maritime disaster in U.S. history. For some reason, it is almost completely ignored by history books. Here's the tragic story.

Popcorn, the snack that saved the movies

Popcorn, the snack that saved the movies 

Link via mental_floss.

First It Was the Thin Mints Melee . . .

Kenneth Fulmer allegedly 'battered' dad with birthday cookie cake

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

It's Texas Independence Day!

Texas Independence Day - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: Texas Independence Day is the celebration of the adoption of the Texas Declaration of Independence on March 2, 1836. With this document, settlers in Mexican Texas officially broke from Mexico, creating the Republic of Texas.[1] Texas Independence Day is an official holiday in the state of Texas.[2]

2013 Derringer Finalists

The Short Mystery Fiction Society: 2013 Derringer Finalists

6 Movie Characters You Didn't Know Died Horrible Deaths

6 Movie Characters You Didn't Know Died Horrible Deaths

A Study In Terror

A Study In Terror - Trailer - YouTube:

Friday, March 01, 2013

First It Was the Thin Mints Melee . . .

. . . and now we present the Chips and dip fight

King Kong Turns 80: 10 Things to Know About the Groundbreaking Film

King Kong Turns 80: 10 Things to Know About the Groundbreaking Film 

Interview with James Reasoner

Lowestoft Chronicle | Issue 13: Spurs, Stetsons and Stagecoaches: James Reasoner on Writing Westerns

Free Today for Kindle

The Concrete Maze: Steven Torres: Kindle Store: Hard-boiled, Noir this book is a look at the consequences of just one simple mistake... 

When 13-year-old Jasmine Ramos goes missing, one man, her father, races desperately to save her from the horrors of life and death on the streets of New York City. Can he rescue his daughter from the pitiless concrete maze, or will he be swallowed whole?

Free Today for Kindle

Killer Instincts: Jack Badelaire: Kindle Store: While on spring break in Paris, 21-year old William Lynch learns that his family has been murdered and his home burned to the ground, the brutal act of a Boston crime syndicate. 

William vows to seek revenge and hires Richard, a grizzled, mysterious ex-mercenary. For a hundred thousand dollars, Richard offers to train the college student in the ways of the killer-for-hire, giving him the skills he needs to seek vengeance on his own terms. 

As William matures under Richard's tutelage, he never counts on what happens when he awakens the killer within him... 

KILLER INSTINCTS is a story of revenge and retribution in the style of Brian Garfield's vigilante killer novel DEATH WISH, mixed with Charles Bronson's classic assassin-in-training thriller film, THE MECHANIC.

Free Today for Kindle


Five years ago John Coburn watched as his father was gunned down by a masked man. Tortured by the fact that the killer was never caught, Coburn fights the feelings of failure that haunt his every waking moment. 

Now, history has repeated itself. When his best friend Felix is murdered after agreeing to protect a witness, John Coburn dives in to catch the killer before the police and FBI. Battling official law enforcement and his own demons, Coburn turns over every lead, rattles every cage, and stretches his own moral code to the breaking point. As he digs deeper into a mystery that involves team of thieves, corrupt businessmen, and a mafia kingpin with a price on his head, Coburn realizes that revenge has a cost he cannot calculate. 

If he fails, can he live with another ghost? 

If he succeeds, can he live with the consequences?

Well of Course They Were

NYC Breaking News: The man claimed they were intended as food for personal consumption.

Or maybe he owned a French restaurant.

Bonnie Franklin, R. I. P.

Yahoo!: Bonnie Franklin, the pert, redheaded actress whom millions came to identify with for her role as divorced mom Ann Romano on the long-running sitcom "One Day at a Time," has died.

I Always Enjoy Going to the Bank

Song of the Day

Heart - Barracuda (HQ) - YouTube:

Bad Movie Accents: 10 Unconvincing Performances

Bad Movie Accents: 10 Unconvincing Performances

Annoying slideshow alert.

Today's Vintage Ad

14 Forgotten Sequels To Classic Movies

14 Forgotten Sequels To Classic Movies


Mignon G. Eberhart, Speak No Evil, Dell, 1952

Crocodile Dung Leads the Way

Black Cat Bones, Crocodile Dung, and Coca-Cola: 9 Fascinating Historic Methods of Contraception

5 Despicable Things People Do for Good Online Reviews

5 Despicable Things People Do for Good Online Reviews 

Bigfoot Update

Search for Yeti: The Foreign Service memo advising yeti hunters: The American Government's Advice for Yeti Hunters, 1959

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Pelican Books: A Flock of Non-Fiction

Bird Recognition: Sea-Birds and Waders (1947) by James FisherPelican Books: A Flock of Non-Fiction on AbeBooks: Pelican Books (not to be confused with the Pelican Publishing Company) was the non-fiction imprint of Penguin Books. While the Penguin umbrella may be best-known for fiction and for keen design, the Pelican imprint was brought about with an eye on education over entertainment. The move toward academia and the creation of the Pelican imprint along with it occurred in May 1937, two years after Penguin's founding.

Wait'll They Hear Some Barry Manilow

Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air Theme Song Prompts School Lockdown

Rodential Masters Update

First this.  Now this:

Scientists link two rats' brains, a continent apart

Overlooked Magazines: Suspense, Fall 1951

Suspense Magazine was connected in some way to the famous radio show of the same name.  The masthead says it's "The High- Tension Magazine Inspired by CBS Radio and Television Series Suspense." There's not much information about it available on the Internet, but I found out here that there were four issues published in 1946-47.  That incarnation died, but in 1951-52 another run of four issues appeared.  Not mentioned at the link above is at least one novel that appeared in the same format.  The copy of that one I have was written by Bob Wade and Bill Miller under their Will Daemer pseudonym.

The radio show, even in the early '50s, occasionally delved into SF, so I guess I shouldn't have been surprised to discover in the issue before me a story by Fritz Leiber.  I was a bit taken aback, however, when I saw it was a story about Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, as the radio show didn't wander into that kind of fantasy as far as I know.  The story, as you can see on the cover scan, is "Dark Vengeance," and that's what threw me, as I didn't know of a story about Fafhrd and the Mouser by that title.  That's because the title was changed to "Claws in the Night" when the story was reprinted in Swords Against Darkness where I first read it.  It's one of those stories that was written before passage of the law against using adverbs and before the law about telling instead of showing was put on the books.  And you know what?  It's still a dandy story.  I think people sometimes worry too much about supposed "rules" of writing and don't let the story develop the way it wants to.  Anyway, if you don't like birds, this story will creep you out. And maybe even if you do like birds.

"Wall of Fear" by Will Jenkins (Murray Leinster to SF fans) is a reprint.  It's about an escaped convict, a favorite theme in this magazine, and probably on the radio show, too.  It's predictable but okay.

William Sambrot's "The Saboteur" is about a mercenary who's helping to plan a mine to blow up the Golden Gate Bridge.  He's more successful than you might think.

In H. L. Gold's "Love Ethereal," a woman trapped in a loveless marriage falls for an invisible man.  And has an invisible baby.  That's not the punchline, though.

"How Can You Be Reading This" by Charles H. Gesner shows you what can happen when you say the word pungent to the wrong person.  It's not pleasant.

"Not a Leg to Stand On" is another escaped convict story.  "Don Mardick" is supposed to be a pseudonym, but I don't know who's behind it.

Talmage Powell is a familiar name, and his story set in the Florida back country has a bird tie-in that's even more unpleasant than the one in Leiber's tale.

"Pattern for Dying" by Morris Cooper is yet another escaped convict story.  Things never seem to work out for escaped cons in these stories, and this one's no exception.

Sir Arthur T. Quiller-Couch is a name I encountered in my grad school days, but not in a way related to his fiction.  "The Seventh Man" was at one time a pretty famous ghost story, and it's still a good one.

Philip Weck's "You Can't Run Away" is a returning vet tale. The old hometown's not the same. The woman he left behind is married to a no-good, who turns up dead.  Style is everything in this story, and I thought it worked.

I haven't read the other stories yet, but it wasn't quality that caused this magazine to fail.  The ones I read are all well done.  Maybe the public just didn't want a general fiction magazine of this kind.  Here's the entire ToC:

Jack the Ripper

Jack the Ripper (1988) Trailer - YouTube:

Thursday, February 28, 2013

How’d That Happen?

How’d That Happen?: Angela Zeman | Trace Evidence

First It Was the Thin Mints Melee . . .

Police: Davison woman bludgeons Bay County niece with casserole dish 

I For One Welcome Our New Rodential Masters

First mind-reading implant gives rats telepathic power 

Or Maybe You Can

A Social Media Grammar Lesson: 24 Tech Terms You Can’t Live Without

Hat tip to Michael Bracken.

First It Was the Thin Mints Melee . . .

Police: Garfield mom beat teen boy, threatened him with machete after finding him home with daughter

And They Wonder Why

J.C. Penney Lowest Sales in Decades

I have a hint for them.

Lawrence Person's Big Score

Completing my Joe R. Lansdale Hardback Collection

Song of the Day

Lavern Baker- Saved - YouTube:

Today's Vintage Ad

Yes, You Do. You Know You Do.

You NEED This Nicolas Cage Crystal Pepsi Denim Jacket

My Home Not Included

25 Fascinating Photos of Famous Writers at Home 


Delano Ames, Nobody Wore Black (aka Death of a Fellow Traveller), Dell, 1953

Rick Perry's Ego Not Included

55 Things That Are Definitely Bigger In Texas

Video of Me Not Included

12 Great Videos of Famous Authors Giving Advice to Aspiring Writers

The Three Stooges as the A-Team?

8 TV mashups almost as good as the originals

Link via mental_floss.

Not Forgotten by Some of Us

19 Dreamy Photos Of Forgotten Style Icon Tuesday Weld

Animal House 2013

Cops: 2 Arrested At Tulane Frat House On Drug Distribution Charges: Matey told WWL-TV that a subsequent search of the house found LSD, psychedelic mushrooms, marijuana, opium, cocaine, and DMT (a psychedelic compound.)

Once Again Texas Leads the Way

Great morale booster

King Kong Lives!

King Kong Lives! Get a Haunting Look at the Giant Gorilla in a Sneak Peek for the New Australian Musical

Hat tip to Rick Klaw.

Pioneering Schoolgirl Fiction from Angela Brazil

A Patriotic SchoolgirlAbeBooks: Pioneering Schoolgirl Fiction from Angela Brazil: Angela Brazil (1868-1947) is not a name familiar to most people, but this English writer was a literary trailblazer for more than 40 years. Her ‘schoolgirl fiction’ moved away from the Victorian ideal of teaching moral principles and ethics to young girls and simply entertained the reader.

Sunrise in Alvin, TX

Forgotten Music: LaVern Baker

LaVern Baker - I Waited Too Long - YouTube: The second female artist inducted into the R&R Hall of Fame (the first was Arethan Franklin).  Her story is here.

The Racket

The Racket (1951) Trailer (Robert Mitchum, Lizabeth Scott and Robert Ryan) - YouTube:

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

First It Was the Thin Mints Melee. . . .

And Keep That Squirrel Off Her Lawn!

OAP neighbour from hell, 78, ripped out homeowner's flowers in row over a SQUIRREL she thought was trained to enter her garden 

First It Was the Thin Mints Melee. . . .

FDNY Firefighter Accused Of Beating Wife With iPad

I Think I Read this Story in Astounding in 1956

Millionaire plans to send man and woman to Mars and back: A US millionaire who became the first private space tourist has unveiled ambitious plans to send a man and woman – probably a married couple – on a round trip to Mars when planetary alignment allows in 2018.

Barhopping Sausage WBAGNFARB

After a night of barhopping in Cedarburg, racing Italian sausage is missing


Hat tip to Art Scott.

This Is Exactly Why We Have Emergency Numbers

Man calls 911 nine times trying to order a cheeseburger

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

I May Live Forever

Telegraph: Older people blighted by pessimism and fear for the future are more likely to live longer, according to scientists.

Van Cliburn, R. I. P.

The Dallas Morning News: Pianist Van Cliburn, one of the most celebrated musicians of the 20th century and a resident of Fort Worth since 1986, died Wednesday morning at his mansion near Fort Worth at age 78. He had been diagnosed with advanced and aggressive bone cancer.

R.I.P. Dale Robertson

A nice tribute can be found here.

Hat tip to The Rap Sheet.

Nic Cage Update

Just sit through the advertisement and watch the video.

Video: High School Quiz Show Team Loves Nicolas Cage

Hat tip to Angela Crider.

PimPage: An Occasional Feature in Which I Call Attention to Books of Interest

Dead Letters: Stories of Murder and Mayhem: Chris F. Holm: Kindle Store: This collection from award-winning author Chris F. Holm features nine stories of crime, horror, and, uh, whatever you'd call a tale that takes place at the North Pole and stars an elf-detective. Featuring "Action," which first appeared in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine; the Anthony-nominated novella "The Hitter," which was selected by Harlan Coben and Otto Penzler for THE BEST AMERICAN MYSTERY STORIES 2011; and a brand new, never-before-seen horror yarn called "One Man's Muse." Also included are "The Putdown," "A Native Problem," "The Man in the Alligator Shoes," "A Night at the Royale," "The Final Bough," and "Green."

The 10 most dysfunctional couples in movie history

The 10 most dysfunctional couples in movie history

First It Was the Thin Mints Melee . . .

Cops: Woman Stabbed Roommate After Wasted Electricity Argument

Song of the Day

Creedence Clearwater Revival - Proud Mary - YouTube:

5 Bizarre Factors That Secretly Influence Your Opinions

5 Bizarre Factors That Secretly Influence Your Opinions

Today's Vintage Ad


“Murder, He Giggled” (by Jack Fredrickson) | SOMETHING IS GOING TO HAPPEN

Top Ten Greatest Epitaphs

Top Ten Greatest Epitaphs


Are you in danger of spontaneously combusting? The risk factors according to a 1799 physician


Henry Kane, Report for a Corpse, Dell, 1949

My Syllabi Not Included

Learn from the Best: 10 Course Syllabi by Famous Authors 

Top Ten Haunted Places in America

Top Ten Haunted Places in America

The Best Of Online Literary Curiosities

The Best Of Online Literary Curiosities

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Plans for Titanic replica set sail as Australian billionaire avoids sink jinx

So You've Always Wanted to Do a Stretch in the Big House

Notorious Dutch prison transformed into luxury hotel (but guest still sleep in the cells)

10 Most Amazing Observation Towers

10 Most Amazing Observation Towers


Possessed (1947) Trailer - YouTube:

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

They Should Be Tending Their Lawns

Randy grands take over online realm - number of seniors playing the field more than doubles

First It Was the Thin Mints Melee . . .

Hunted: Buttock-flashing, false teeth-brandishing basketball thief on Kings Hill bus

PimPage: An Occasional Feature in Which I Call Attention to Books of Interest

Rivers of Gold: L. J. Washburn, James Reasoner: Kindle Store: In 1849, news of the California Gold Rush swept the nation like wildfire. Hundreds of thousands came west to a small spot in the Sierra Nevadas to dig for their fortunes in gold. For some, it was a dream with a price – all they found was relentless hardship. But for others, the mountain mining camps were the starting point of a new life – with the promise of a bright future and the hope of striking an overnight fortune. In a time of greed and lawlessness, it was the dream that fired the American spirit. And for the lucky, it was a dream that came true …

First It Was the Thin Mints Melee . . .

Cops: Florida Man, 36, Assaulted Teen Relative With Taco Bell Burrito 

Once Again Texas Leads the Way

Drunk Texas man shoots girlfriend during game of ‘quick draws’

First It Was the Thin Mints Melee . . .

Go-go dancer helps subdue man wielding ax at Phoenix gay bar

Dead Aim -- Joe R. Lansdale

Those who have kept up with Joe Lansdale's Hap and Leonard series over the years might be forgiven it they glanced at the cover of this novella and thought that we might be flashing back to "Hap and Leonard: the Teen Years."  Not to worry.  The guys are the same ones we've come to know and love.  Leonard is still jonesing for vanilla wafers and that tightwad Hap is hiding them from him.  So all is well.

Hap has come to a kind of peace with the fact that he's never going to get his college degree and teach school and that he's already found his life's occupation, which is being whatever it is that he is, a sometime bodyguard, investigator, and even now and then a killer.  He's good at the work, and so is Leonard, though when it comes to detecting, Leonard will be the first to tell you he's a lot better at that than Hap.  Even Hap will admit it when it's to his advantage.  Hap discovers a new skill of his own in this story, but you'll have to read it to find out what it is.

This time the guys are hired to protect a very attractive woman from her soon-to-be-ex-husband.  Seems simple enough, but as Hap points out, he never bothers telling us about the simple cases.  Soon enough things have gone south, with the husband being murdered and Hap holding the bag.  That's all straightened out, and the job is officially over.  But for Hap and Leonard, who don't like to be messed with, it's just starting, and the twists and turns are only beginning.

Lots of snappy patter, some laughs, some serious thoughts about life and love, and a tricky plot.  Plus it's Lansdale, so you know you can't go wrong.  Check it out.

Song of the Day

The Velvet's - Tonight Could Be The Night - YouTube:

Not That There's Anything Wrong With -- Oh, Wait, Maybe There Is

Part-time judge accused of having sexual relations with inmate

Or Maybe You Did

15 Terrible Chick Flicks You Probably Had No Idea Existed

Today's Vintage Ads

Enter The Strange World Of Vintage Lingerie Ads

Richard III Update

Controversy erupts over where Richard III’s recently discovered bones will be buried

‘Argo’ and Other Forgivably False “True Story” Films

‘Argo’ and Other Forgivably False “True Story” Films 

Virgil Johnson, R. I. P.

Lubbock Avalanche-Journal: Only after a career spent as a beloved educator, was it discovered by the late rock historian Bill Griggs that Johnson was, in fact, also the lead vocalist for doo wop recording group The Velvets. 

The vocal ensemble is remembered for 1961 hit song “Tonight (Could be the Night),” which climbed as high as No. 26 on the Billboard music charts.


Henry Kane, Arm-Chair in Hell, Dell, 1949

The Town that spent 25 Years Underwater

The Town that spent 25 Years Underwater

Link via mental_floss.

A Phone Box Shrine To Sherlock At St Barts

A Phone Box Shrine To Sherlock At St Barts

10 of the Most Divisive Authors in Recent History

10 of the Most Divisive Authors in Recent History

First It Was the Thin Mints Melee . . .

. . . and keep off his lawn!

Zephyrhills neighbor dispute ends with machete attack: An 80-year-old man is accused of slicing his neighbor with a machete after a conversation soured Sunday morning.

Once Again Texas Leads the Way

The kids are all right.  Check the video.

High School Player Purposefully Inbounds The Ball To Opposing Team So Disabled Manager Can Score

Overlooked Movies: Demetrius and the Gladiators

First you need to see The Robe, which was one of the first big CinemaScope productions, since this movie is the sequel.  The Robe was based on the novel by Lloyd C. Douglas, who decided to give a fictional answer to the question of what happened to the soldier who won Christ's robe in a dice game at the foot of the cross.  

In the movie version of the book that soldier is played by Richard Burton.  The movie must have been a big hit, since a sequel came out not long afterward.  It's not based on a novel, but some of the characters from The Robe return.  Not Burton, as you'll see in the opening of Demetrius and the Gladiators, which begins with the last couple of minutes of The Robe, as Burton and Jean Peters are marched off to die.  Peters hands the robe to a man in the crowd and says, "For the big fisherman," Peter, of course, played in both films by Michael Rennie.

The mad (boy, is he!) emperor Caligula (Jay Robinson) gets the idea that the robe is magical and tries to force Demetrius (Victor Mature) to tell him its location.  Demetrius refuses and is sent to fight in the arena, where he fights but won't kill.  He's visited by Lucia (Debra Paget), who's assaulted by the other gladiators.  Demetrius prays to God to save her, but she falls (apparently) dead.  Demetrius renounces God and Christ and goes out and slaughters the gladiators he blames for Lucia's (apparent) death.  Caligula appoints him to the Praetorian Guard.  Further complications ensue, some of them involving Susan Hayward, back from The Robe and totally glamorous.  With her and Debra Paget, you just can't go wrong.  And besides those two and the others I've mentioned there's a wonderful  supporting cast: Richard Egan, Ernest Borgnine, Anne Bancroft, William Marshall, and even Julie Newmar in a small role.

The '50s were a great time for big-budget biblical spectacles, and this is one of the better ones, with lots of action, a good story, and that dandy cast, not to mention CinemaScope and Technicolor. [SPOILER ALERT]  As you'd expect, Demetrius is reconverted to Christianity by the end, and lots of people even live happily ever after.  Not Caligula, though.  

The entire movie's available on YouTube, but this is one better seen on the big screen.  The bigger, the better, not that there's any chance of that.

Demetrius & the Gladiators

Original Trailer: 1954 Demetrius & the Gladiators - YouTube:

Monday, February 25, 2013

First It Was the Thin Mints Melee . . . .

Spilled drink leads to shooting at Ocala Entertainment Complex, police say

No Wonder I Look So Young

Why 72 Is the New 30: "The probability that you'll live through the year in our evolutionary past that was experienced at age 30 or even 20 is now typical of people who are 70," he added. "Seventy-two is the new 30."

C. Everret Koop, R. I. P.

WMUR Home: C. Everett Koop, who raised the profile of the surgeon general by riveting America's attention on the then-emerging disease known as AIDS and by railing against smoking, has died at age 96.

Mystery Fanfare: Hammett Prize Nominees

Mystery Fanfare: Hammett Prize Nominees

A Podcast of Note

You Drive Me Ape, You Big Gorilla: The LEOG returns once again to Apes, and the expert, Rick Klaw who comes on to talk about his new book, "The Apes of Wrath", bringing along one of the authors from the compilation, Scott Cupp, who both bravely put up with our monkey business (arrrghh, monkeys!) as they try to give us the salient details. Check it.

PimPage: An Occasional Feature in Which I Call Attention to Books of Interest

First in a new short-story series.

Dead Rednecks Are My Specialty (Dead Rednecks!): Troy D. Smith: Kindle Store: ~ The Dead Rednecks! Series ~ From the dark streets of Knoxville to the hills and hollers of the Smoky Mountains... dead rednecks are stacking up like cordwood. Private eye Howard Qualls, fearless paragon of justice, is on the case... and his older, smarter, tougher ex-con brother Hoss is tagging along to make sure Howard doesn't get himself killed. 

In Book 1 ~ Dead Rednecks Are My Specialty ~ Ex-con Hoss Qualls and his eccentric brother Howard (who has watched too many Bogart movies) set out to prove their cousin Ivory's innocence in a murder case – a task that is complicated by the fact Ivory has killed in just such a way before...

J. C. Penney

Bloomberg: The retailer has posted five consecutive quarters of losses as Chief Executive Officer Ronald Johnson’s seeks to transform the chain by creating in-store boutiques and reducing reliance on coupons and sales events.

On Saturday Judy and I were at a Half-Price Books (imagine that).  There's a J. C. Penney store nearby, and since we'd been talking about buying some sheets, I, being a "hip" and "with-it" guy, checked the Internet on my phone. I saw that Penney's had some 600 thread-count sheets that looked nice, and we went over to the store.

We wandered around until we found the linens.  No one to direct us, but we found the sheets easily enough.  We looked around for a while.  No salesperson in sight.  We located every kind of sheet we'd seen on the Internet except the kind we wanted.  200 thread-count, 300 thread-count, 400 thread-count, microfiber, flannel, and others.  All there.  

Still no salesperson.  I drifted around and finally found someone who looked like as if she might be helpful, even though she had no name tag.  Sure enough, she was a store employee, and she asked me what she could do to help.  I explained about the sheet problem.  She told me that she'd get someone from that department to come and assist us.

I went back to the sheets, and eventually a guy showed up.  Because of the glazed look on his face after I explained the problem, I'm not sure he had a clue about what was in the linen department.  Or even if he was in the linen department.  He half-heartedly looked at a few displays and then said, "I don't think we have any 600 thread-count sheets.  We don't have anything above 300 thread-count sheets here.  As he was standing beside a rack of 400 thread-count sheets at the time, I figured he knew even less than I'd thought at first.  At that point, I probably knew more about the linen department than he did.

So Judy and I thanked him for all his help and I left J. C. Penney, never to return.  We don't want to buy the sheets sight unseen from the 'net.  If the folks at Penney's wonder why they've suffered five consecutive quarters of losses, I have a clue for them.

PimPage: An Occasional Feature in Which I Call Attention to Books of Interest

cover_Hardboiled2_533wBEAT to a PULP: Hardboiled 2: Eric Beetner, Matthew C. Funk, Jen Conley, Paul S. Powers, Wayne D. Dundee, Kieran Shea, Charles Boeckman, Robert J. Randisi, David Cranmer, Scott D. Parker: Kindle Store: BEAT to a PULP: Hardboiled 2 follows the blood-soaked trail left behind by the 2011 award-winning collection, edited by David Cranmer and Scott D. Parker, and pumps out another thirteen knuckle-breaking, crime tales. With writers from the 1930s and 40s golden era of pulp (Paul S. Powers and Charles Boeckman) and modern hardboiled masters (Robert J. Randisi and Wayne D. Dundee), this wild bunch is set to blaze a rat-a-tat sweep across the pulp fiction landscape. Keeping the body count high are top-shelf stories from Jedidiah Ayres, Eric Beetner, Jen Conley, Matthew C. Funk, Edward A. Grainger, BV Lawson, Tom Roberts, Kieran Shea, and Jay Stringer.

Song of the Day

Tiptoe through The Tulips (hopefully better) - YouTube:

I Miss the Old Days

World Of Mysteries: High school fashions, 1969

First It Was the Thin Mints Melee . . .

After argument, woman sets bed on fire with firecrackers

Today's Vintage Ads

15 Enticing Vintage Comic Book Ads

Looks Like My Den

Bibliomania #1

Or Maybe Not

101 Vintage Lunch Boxes That Will Make You Want To Be A Kid Again

Here's the Plot for Your Next Lost Continent Novel

Scientists Discover Remains of 'Drowned Continent' East of Madagascar


Henry Kane, A Halo for Nobody, Dell, 1948

Or Maybe You Did

Famous Movies You Didn't Know Were Adapted From Books

Yes, it's an annoying slideshow, and I'll bet you knew every one of them was adapted from a book or a story.

Top Ten Creepiest Burial Grounds Around the World

Top Ten Creepiest Burial Grounds Around the World

Delightful and Hilarious Vintage Library Videos

Delightful and Hilarious Vintage Library Videos

Watch a Hilarious 1987 Workout Video For Librarians

Watch a Hilarious 1987 Workout Video For Librarians

Beatles Update

Unseen Beatles Photographs By Henry Grossman Featured In New Book (PHOTOS): When Henry Grossman was 27 years old, he was hired to photograph the Beatles' U.S. TV debut on the Ed Sullivant Show. 

He spent the next four years traveling with the band, spending time with them in their houses and the studio. The surprising part: nearly all of his 6,500 photographs of the Fab Four have never been published.

You can see five of them at the link.

Navigating the grammatical thicket

The Boston Globe: Navigating the grammatical thicket.

The TSA: Winning Friends, Protecting our Country, Destroying Cellos

A second shock for Alban Gerhardt: ‘airport security broke my cello, too…’: Two weeks ago, the cellist Alban Gerhardt wrote exclusively on Slipped Disc about the way his precious bow was destroyed by careless TSA agents in the US. Now he has found that the cello is damaged, too. Here is the second instalment of Alban’s nightmare travel diary.

New Poem at The 5-2

The 5-2 : Crime Poetry Weekly: J.D. Debris

Pickup on South Street

Pickup on South Street (1953) trailer - YouTube:

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Free for Kindle for a Limited Time

BEAT to a PULP: Hardboiled: Glenn Gray, John Hornor Jacobs, Kent Gowran, Kieran Shea, Thomas Pluck, Wayne D. Dundee, Patricia Abbott, Garnett Elliott, Scott D. Parker, David Cranmer: Kindle Store: BEAT to a PULP: Hardboiled is a compilation of uncompromising, gritty tales following in the footsteps of the tough and violent fiction popularized by the legendary Black Mask magazine in its early days. This collection includes thirteen lean and mean stories from the fingertips of Garnett Elliott, Glenn Gray, John Hornor Jacobs, Patricia Abbott, Thomas Pluck, Brad Green, Ron Earl Phillips, Kent Gowran, Amy Grech, Benoit Lelievre, Kieran Shea, David Cranmer, and Wayne D. Dundee and a boiled down look at hardboiled fiction in an introduction by Ron Scheer. Edited by David Cranmer and Scott D. Parker.

Song of the Day

Will the Circle Be Unbroken-The Staple Singers - YouTube:

Free for Kindle and Nook for a Limited Time

Lady Gone Bad: Sabine Starr: Kindle Store: A Woman's Secrets The saloon singer known as Lady Gone Bad is the most drop-dead gorgeous outlaw the West has ever seen. Lady has never met a cowboy she couldn't entice, or a lawman she couldn't outrun. But when Lady tangles with a sexy U.S. Marshall, she's tempted to stick around long enough to watch him lay down the law--in her bed. 

A Man's Desires U. S. Marshall Rafe Morgan wants to lock up Lady Gone Bad for good--and he won't let his attraction to her slow him down. But when his attempt to bring Lady to justice goes awry, Rafe is nearly hanged--and by dawn, his face is plastered next to hers on every "Wanted" poster in Texas. 

A Passion Unleashed Now on the run together, Rafe and Lady find themselves in very close quarters--and even more compromising positions. As Lady surrenders to Rafe's touch, she slowly begins to reveal all her secrets--including her real name. Maybe Lady Gone Bad isn't beyond redemption after all. Either way, Rafe is in for one wild ride. . .

Diane Charlotte Lampert, R. I. P.

Spinner: Diane Charlotte Lampert, an accomplished songwriter of the 1950s and 1960s who wrote lyrics to title songs for more than 20 movies, has died. 

Lampert's husband, Fred Stuart, said she died of heart failure Friday at a Manhattan hospital. She was 88. Lampert worked on songs performed by Brenda Lee, Steve Lawrence, Red Foley, The Lettermen and others. 

She also was a writer on a Beatles song, "Nothin Shakin' (But The Leaves On The Trees)" that wasn't released until 1994 on "Live At The BBC."

Ellery Queen: The Art of Detection -- Francis M. Nevins

When it comes to information on Ellery Queen, Francis M. (for Mike) Nevins is the go-to guy. The publisher calls this book "definitive," and I'm not going to argue.  Nevins covers the entire careers of Frederic Dannay and Manfred B. Lee, gives plot summaries, and tells you what he thinks about the books.  The EQ radio shows are covered, too, and so are all the ghost-written Queen novels.  This section particularly interested me, as I've often been curious about some of these books.  One of them was written by Gil Brewer, who seems like just about the last writer anyone would pick to write a novel with the Queen by-line.  Don Tracy wrote a series of historical novels using Dannay and Lee's Barnaby Ross name.  Nevins hasn't been able to discover the reason for these books' existence, and his comment about them is as follows: "Years ago I made myself read one.  Never again!"  There's also a complete Queen bibliography.  Anyone interested in the history of the American mystery story in general or Ellery Queen in particular will want to have a copy of this book.  It's an essential part of any mystery lover's library.

Robin Hathaway: R.I.P.

Mystery Fanfare: Robin Hathaway: R.I.P.

Today's Vintage Ad

2013 Audie Award Nominees

Mystery Fanfare: 2013 Audie Award Nominees

Great Story about a Brick

1 Kitty, 2 Empires, 2,000 Years: World History Told Through a Brick: At some moment a few years after Jesus Christ died but before the second century began, someone made a brick on the island that would become the cornerstone of Great Britain. The area was controlled by Rome then, and known as Britannia and as the brick lay green, awaiting the kiln, a cat walked across the wet clay and left its footprints before wandering off to do something else. The clay was fired, the prints fixed, and the brick itself presumably became a piece of a building or road.

Link via Neatorama.

The Razzies

'Twilight' finale wins worst picture award at Razzies

First It Was the Thin Mints Melee . . .

California girl, 13, accused of stabbing peer for stealing her bag of chips


Leslie Charteris, The Saint vs. Scotland Yard, Fiction House, 1962

Top 10 Oscar Winners Who Won In Unexpected Categories

Top 10 Oscar Winners Who Won In Unexpected Categories

7 Words that Came About from People Getting Them Wrong

7 Words that Came About from People Getting Them Wrong

Croc Update (Kitty Cat Edition)

Whisker away from death: Moment courageous cat battles with zoo crocodile and WINS

Video at the link.

The Oscar Feud that Spans Seven Decades

The Oscar Feud that Spans Seven Decades

10 Contemporary Novels Inspired by Shakespeare

10 Contemporary Novels Inspired by Shakespeare 

Mildred Pierce