Saturday, November 07, 2015

Jack the Ripper Update

Jack the Ripper was renowned poet Francis Thompson: Thompson penned poetry by day and butchered prostitutes by night under the guise of legendary murderer Jack the Ripper, Australian teacher Richard Patterson claims.  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

"Coffee Date"

Some of you old-timers will remember Josh Pachter from Cap'n Bob Napier's fine letterzine Mystery & Detective Monthly.  (I hope I got the name right, Cap'n.)  Some of you may have read his stories and collaborations in EQMM and AHMM.  His latest is Coffee Date, written with his wife, Laurie.  You can read the story at the link.

Hat tip to Kevin Tipple.

Watch 100 Years of Men’s Hair Trends in One Minute

Watch 100 Years of Men’s Hair Trends in One Minute 

Song of the Day

The Hondells - Little Honda - YouTube:

If Bad Reviews Were Displayed On Movie Posters

If Bad Reviews Were Displayed On Movie Posters

Today's Vintage Ad

I'm Sure You'll All Agree

The 100 Greatest Movie Robots of All Time


Robert Moore Williams, The Return of Jongor, Popular Library, 1970

Yet Another List I'm Not On

My 10 Favorite Books: Mary-Louise Parker   

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Bob Dylan’s “electric trilogy” Now comes the release of three versions of “The Cutting Edge 65-66” — a complete, a more complete, and an insanely complete chronicle of what went down in the studio from January 13th 1965 to March 9th of 1966, while The Electric Trilogy was being recorded. There is a 2-disc “casual listener” version, a 6-disc “so, you think you know Dylan” version, and an 18-disc, 357-track, “you must be clinically insane to want to own this” compendium version, with every take, every musical fragment, and every piece of recorded studio banter laid out for listener dissection.

Soon We'll Have No Freedoms Left at All

Man accused of selling alligator on Craigslist 

Vintage Treasures: John the Balladeer by Manly Wade Wellman

Vintage Treasures: John the Balladeer by Manly Wade Wellman

Friday, November 06, 2015

Elvis Presley tops UK album chart again

ahoo News: LONDON (Reuters) - Nearly 40 years after his death, Elvis Presley is back at the top of the British album charts with his 12th UK Number 1 - "If I Can Dream," a collection of Elvis classics featuring orchestral reworkings by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

Knock, Knock

Florida dad in Lutz wakes up in the middle of the night to find an ALLIGATOR at his door

60 Years Of Soul Hits - Part 2

Forgotten Hits: 60 Years Of Soul Hits - Part 2

Song of the Day

Thurston Harris - Do What You Did - Frantic Late 50's Rock and Roll - YouTube:

They Are Getting Too Smart for Us

Report: Yeti Sightings Are Down 

Today's Vintage Ad

Who Says Hollywood Is Out of Ideas?

Flavorwire: ‘Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ Is Officially Happening, Original Director and Co-Stars Be Damned


Batman vs. the Penguin, Signet, 1966

Is Our Children Learning?

Yer durn tootin'!

Alvin, Texas, Inexplicably Not Included

America’s 50 Best Cities to Live

I Want to Believe!

Daily Mail Online: Five-year-old savant from LA who displays signs of being telepathic - and is already learning seven languages - is being studied by scientists

9 Celebrity #TBT Photos You May Have Missed This Week

9 Celebrity #TBT Photos You May Have Missed This Week

Beautiful Vintage Annuals for Children

Blackie's Childrens Annual 1923AbeBooks: Beautiful Vintage Annuals for Children: In the late 1800s, children's stories were published in periodicals and distributed weekly or monthly to readers. To further capitalize on their market, publishing houses put together annuals filled with the best stories, illustrations and games from the year. The book was released for Christmas, and marketed as the perfect gift (both entertaining and educational) for children. The annuals were generally distributed in Britain and its colonies such as Canada and Australia, although sometimes also in the United States.

FFB: Only the Wicked -- Gary Phillips

Only the Wicked is the fourth book about Ivan Monk, and it's been out of print for a while.  Luckily we have Stark House around to bring books like this back into print.  This is the 5th Black Gat book, and it's a dandy private-eye novel.  

The plot is set in motion when Old Man Sears dies in the Abbyssinia Barber Shop & Shine Parlor.  Nobody knew much about him, and when it comes out that he played in the Negro Baseball Leagues alongside one of Monk's cousins, Monk is curious.  Monk's family has been on the outs with the cousin, Kennesaw Riles, for years because of his testimony against a noted activist.  The activist wound up in prison.  Riles turns up dead next, and Monk knows something strange is going on.  He sets out to find out the answers, travelling to Mississippi and Tennessee in the process.   He finds out, as you might suspect, that the south hasn't changed as much as people might like to think.   

Also figuring into the plot is a lost recording by Delta bluesman Charlie Patton.  The song, "Killin' Blues," seems to have been important to Riles.  Monk locates the man Riles testified against, Damon Creel, and discovers what we already know -- the past is never dead.

Ivan Monk is a great character, very much a part of his community, a believer helping people and doing what he can for the neighborhood.  Phillips tells the story in a straightforward and affecting style, moving it along with occasional humor, violence, and social commentary.  It's a fine mixture, and it's good to have this book available again.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

George Barris, R. I. P.

Boing Boing: Comic Book Resources broke the sad news today that the great car customizer George Barris, who created the Batmobile for the 1966 "Batman" TV series, has passed away.

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

The Big Shutdown: John M Whalen: 9781517742874: Books  The Big Shutdown. An entire planet is about to be made obsolete. Chaos rules as Nomad gangs terrorize what’s left of Tulon’s cities. Jack Brand, ex-Army Ranger, semi-retired Tulon Security Officer, searches for his missing sister, Terry. His journey takes him from desert wastelands to a domed city, and beyond. Along the way he meets the unforgettable Christy Jones, But love will have to wait until Brand finds his sister, and soon the last ship will leave for Earth. "The Big Shutdown" is a new, revised edition of "Jack Brand," a space western classic first published in 2010. Out of print for two years, Flying W Press brings it back with an introduction by Johne Cook, Overlord of Ray Gun Revival, the e-zine where the stories that became a novel were first published. Also included is an additional story from Whalen's "This Raygun for Hire." series, featuring Frank Carson, a futuristic trouble shooter for hire.

How True

Dear Government Or Whatever, No One Asked For Daylight Saving Time

It's About Damn Time

Ozzy Osbourne to appear at the Alamo Thursday, will apologize for urinating there 

We're Number 11!

Legatum Institute Prosperity Index 2015: The Top Countries

In Case You Were Wondering

Why Does "K" Stand For "Strikeout" In Baseball? 

Song of the Day

The Platters - Twilight Time - Lyrics - YouTube:

60 Years Of Soul Hits (Part 1)

Forgotten Hits: 60 Years Of Soul Hits (Part 1)

Today's Vintage Ad

Attention Bouchercon 2016 Attendees

40 Things to Do in New Orleans for $10 or Less


James Hilton, We Are Not Alone, Avon, nd

Charles Herbert, R. I. P.

The New York Times: Charles Herbert, who was 4 years old when he was discovered by a Hollywood talent scout on a bus while shopping with his mother and went on to become a top-earning child actor of the 1950s and ‘60s, died in Las Vegas on Saturday. He was 66.  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Once Again Texas Leads the Way

Man loses hand in machete fight outside of Texas nightclub


10 Best U.S. Two-Year Colleges That Actually Pay Off

Judy Stutts Crider, November 5, 1943 - November 27, 2014

Wednesday, November 04, 2015

Melissa Mathison, R. I. P.

LA Times: Screenwriter Melissa Mathison, whose enormously successful “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” became a landmark in film history, specialized in stories revolving around children. But, as she often said, she made a point of not condescending to them.

It's almost Odd Day

Odds are, you didn't even know it's almost Odd Day: Odd Day is coming up Nov. 13, which is abbreviated in the U.S. as 11/13/15, which are all odd numbers and, in sequence, make up a phenom that only happens six times a century. And, well, this is the sixth. So get your odd on, or you'll have to wait until Jan. 3, 2105, for the next one.  

Hat tip to Art Scott.

First It was the Thin Mints Melee . . .

. . . and now it's the Brawl amid the burgers!

First It was the Thin Mints Melee . . .

. . . and now it's the Toilet lid attack!

Feeling Safer Now?

TSA airport screeners’ ability to detect weapons declared “pitiful”: "In looking at the number of times people got through with guns or bombs in these covert testing exercises it really was pathetic. When I say that I mean pitiful," said Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.), speaking Tuesday during a House Oversight hearing concerning classified reports from federal watchdogs. "Just thinking about the breaches there, it's horrific," he added.

I Own Three of Them (and one of them is signed)

Fragile Treasures - the World's Most Valuable Paperbacks

Song of the Day

Ooh Poo Pah Doo Part 1 - Jesse Hill - YouTube:

First It was the Thin Mints Melee

Man stabbed woman over bag of chips in Raleigh  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

I'm Sure You'll All Agree

Halloween-Themed Movies, Ranked

Today's Vintage Ad

12 Feathered Facts About 'Charlie's Angels'

12 Feathered Facts About 'Charlie's Angels'

“An Alias and a Dame” (by Jean B. Cooper)

“An Alias and a Dame” (by Jean B. Cooper) | SOMETHING IS GOING TO HAPPEN: Jean B. Cooper’s work first appeared in EQMM after a story she’d submitted to the Mystery Writers of America’s Fiftieth Anniversary Short Story Contest was named a finalist in the competition. EQMM published that story in the August 1995 issue and it went on to win the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Short Story of 1995. Jean has also been nominated for the Anthony Award and her stories have been anthologized in best-of-the-year anthologies and elsewhere. She talks about “genre” in this post, but her own work defies such categorization. She writes “literary” as well as genre stories and has won the South Carolina Writers Workshop Fiction Award and been recognized by the South Carolina Fiction Project. In recent years she has devoted much of her time to writing for theater. Her plays have been produced at Piccolo Spoleto and at Playwrights Horizons in New York City. We’re delighted to have a new short story by Jean coming up in our June 2016 issue—something not to be missed!—Janet Hutchings


Max Brand (Frederick Faust), The Hair-Trigger Kid, Pocket Books, 1953

170,000 incredible Great Depression photos

Yale releases 170,000 incredible Great Depression photos

I Want to Believe!

Study may have found evidence of alternate, parallel universes

Archaeology Update

Archaeological mystery solved? : Israel’s antiquities body claimed Tuesday to have solved “one of Jerusalem’s greatest archaeological mysteries” by unearthing an ancient Greek citadel — the Acra — buried under a car park.

Norm Siebern, R. I. P.

The New York Times: Norm Siebern, a solid outfielder and first baseman who was an American League All-Star three times and played in three World Series, but who may be best known as part of the trade that brought Roger Maris to the Yankees, died on Friday in Naples, Fla. He was 82.  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Colin Welland, R. I. P.

The New York Times: Colin Welland, a Liverpudlian screenwriter who won an Oscar for “Chariots of Fire” (1981), the dramatic tale of two Olympian runners who defied both the odds and the British establishment in 1924, died on Monday at his home in London. He was 81.  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

First It was the Thin Mints Melee

Man injured after being attacked with a fish 

Tuesday, November 03, 2015

First It was the Thin Mints Melee

Texas man 'stabs his roommate to death for eating last piece of fried chicken'   

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Comic Strip of the Day

Betty Comic Strip, November 03, 2015 on

Miles to Lost Dog Creek -- Ron Scheer

"Miles to Lost Dog Creek' was the last work of fiction that Ron Scheer completed before his death.  It's a western novelette that finds Gideon Miles taking a vacation to Nebraska in the dead of winter.  He arrives at the same time as two miscreants who are being pursued not by the law but by a man more dangerous than they are, a stone killer who's more dangerous than just about anybody.  Throw in a rebellions teen, a jailbreak, and that terrible weather, and you have the makings for a fine tale.  Scheer's find prose is a bonus.

The only drawback is that there's obviously more to the tale than has been told, and because Scheer's no longer around to tell it, we aren't likely to find out the rest of it.

The volume is filled out with another novelette, "Origin of White Deer," by Edward A. Grainger with Chuck Tyrell.  It's an origin story, all right, but the name that comes at the end might be a surprise.  This tale makes a nice companion to Scheer's, and both are well worth any western fan's time.

Not at All

How Necessary Are the Recently Announced TV Revivals and Reboots?

Song of the Day

Wanda Jackson - Let's Have a Party - YouTube:

I'm Sure You'll All Agree

The 25 Most Rewatchable Films

Today's Vintage Ad

9 Writing Tools That Helped Create Legendary Works

9 Writing Tools That Helped Create Legendary Works


Lee Floren, The Hard Riders, Macfadden, 1962

How Bob Dylan Brought It All Back Home

How Bob Dylan Brought It All Back Home: Five decades ago, Dylan went into the studio and made three of his greatest albums in just over a year. A new boxed set of alternate material shows how he did it.

I Found a Penny in the Walmart Parking Lot Last Week

Archaeologists Discover 'Ancient Shipwreck Capital of the World': In a “once-in-a-lifetime discovery,” underwater archaeologists have uncovered 22 ancient shipwrecks near the small Greek archipelago of Fourni.

Who Says TV Is Out of Ideas?

Greatest American Hero Remake Getting Closer To New Pilot 

Vintage Treasures: Cautionary Tales by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro

Vintage Treasures: Cautionary Tales by Chelsea Quinn Yarbro

Overlooked Movies: Fort Ti

A couple of weeks ago I talked about how I liked to go to movies when I was on vacation as a kid and how impressed I was at age 10 by The Frogmen.  When I was 11 or 12 (I don't remember whether it was early summer or late summer), my aunt and grandmother took us to Galveston instead of Corpus Christi, and the movie I got to see was Fort Ti, in glorious Technicolor and 3D.  I couldn't find a trailer for the movie, but I did find the whole movie, so I embedded it above.  You should watch the opening and try to imagine how impressive that was in 3D.  It was great.  Trust me.

George Montgomery plays Jed Horn, a member of Rogers' Rangers, and the setting is the French and Indian Wars.  There's a complicated plot that involves multiple betrayals and lies, but what really matters is that there's plenty of action with tomahawks, knives, and cannonballs appearing to fly from the screen.  It was called by some reviewers “the throwingest picture yet. What I mainly remember about the first time I saw the movie is my grandmother yelling, "Get away from me!" as an Indian seemed to stalk off the screen and right into the theater seats.  My grandmother was quite a character, and I don't know to this day if she was serious or just kidding.

There's also a romance in the picture, and what red-blooded 11- or 12-year-old boy could resist a beautiful woman named Fortune Mallory?  Not me, especially when there was lot of shooting going on around her.

Since I was just a kid, I didn't care about things like historical accuracy, and I'm sure the movie didn't care, either.  It was produced by Sam Katzman and directed by William Castle, and that should tell you film buffs all you need to know.

Fort Ti -- Full Movie

Fort Ti 1953 George Montgomery Full Length Western Movie - YouTube:

Monday, November 02, 2015

My 1963-1/2 Ford Galaxie

When I graduated from college in 1963, I didn't buy a car immediately.  I waited until the end of summer, just before I was to start teaching 11th grade English in Corsicana, Texas.  What I wanted to buy was an MGB, but there weren't a lot of MG dealerships in Mexia, Texas, or even in the area.  My family being a Ford family, I figured the next-best thing to an MGB would be one of the Ford Galaxie fastbacks that had come out as a mid-year model (thus the 1/2 tagged onto the year).  You can read more than you'll ever want to know about them here.

I thought the car was a real beauty.  And it even had air-conditioning!  Talk about classy!  The bad news was the beauty is only paint deep.  This car was the biggest lemon I ever owned.

I should have known I was in trouble when I went for the test drive.  The salesman was someone I'd known most of my life.  His wife taught in the elementary school, and his son was one of my brother's great friends.  They lived a block from us.  So at the Ford dealership, I was treated well, not like some kid buying his first brand-new car.  (It was my third car, but the first new one.)  The salesman handed me the keys and told me to take it for a spin.

I drove out of the parking lot and turned the corner onto the street.  That's when the front seat flipped backward and I wound up staring at the roof of the car from the inside.  Somehow I avoided crashing into anything, got the seat sort of upright, and drove back into the parking lot.  The salesman came over and made some joke about the short test drive.  I got out and pushed the seat over.

That gave him a real laugh.  I still remember what he said: "Must've made this one on a Friday."  He looked around the interior of the car and pulled up one of the floor mats in the back.  "Here's the problem," he said, reaching down to pick something up.  He stood up and showed me the screws (or bolts, I don't remember which) that were supposed to hold the seat to the floor.  "We'll get this fixed right up." 

I'd never heard the old adage about never buying a car built on Monday or Friday.  I was naive and in love with the car's looks, so when they got it fixed right up, I drove it for several blocks and made a deal to buy it.  

The troubles didn't begin for a couple of years.  Judy and I drove to Colorado on our honeymoon in the car without a problem.  It was a dry year.  The problems only happened when it rained.  

The first time was the worst.  We were driving back to Denton from Mexia one Sunday, and we drove into a terrible rainstorm.  When we were crossing the bridge over Lake Lewisville between Dallas and Denton, I could hardly see.  And the car died.  The engine just stopped.  I tried to start it.  No dice.  I tried again.  Still no dice.  I didn't want to run the battery down, so there we were, stymied.

This was not a good situation.  The highway was just two lanes in those days, nice and wide, but still no place to be stopped in the middle of a bridge.  There was only one thing to do.  Judy got behind the wheel, and I got out and pushed.  

Those of you who've seen me know that I flunked the Charlie Atlas course, but somehow I pushed the car the rest of the way across the bridge and onto the shoulder of the road, where we were able to park out of the way of the traffic.  I sat behind the wheel, drenched and fuming.  There were no cell phones in those days, and there was no way anybody was going to stop in the rainstorm to see what might be the matter.  I thought we were doomed.

After a while the rain stopped.  I thought I might as well give it one more try.  I turned the key, and the car started right up.  You can imagine my relief.  We drove to Denton and got safely home.  

For a while everything was okay, so I decided that some rainwater had gotten up under my hood but it wasn't doing my motor good (gratuitous Chuck Berry allusion).  Then one day I was in another rainstorm in Denton.  I don't remember where I was going, but I do remember that the car died in the middle of an intersection.  Like the first time, the engine didn't sputter or pause.  One second it was fine, and the next it was dead.

Once again I tried to start the engine with no result.  Once again I stepped out into the rain, and once again I pushed the car.  This time I had to do it by myself, but I got it off to the side of the road without getting killed.  I got back in the car, fumed for a while, then tried to start it.  It started just fine, and I drove home.

 I took the car to the Ford dealership.  They couldn't find anything wrong.  I took it to an independent mechanic.  He couldn't find anything wrong.  Both had suggestions, and both did some work.  I think one of them replaced the distributor cap, or something like that.  

Everything was okay until one day in a rainstorm I had to go somewhere.  I left the apartment and got into the car.  It wouldn't start.  This time I hadn't even been driving.  After the rain stopped, the car started.

I took the car to a third mechanic.  He couldn't find anything wrong.  As I drove away, I said aloud, "As God is my witness, I'll never own another Ford product as long as I live."

When Judy and I traded the Galaxie in on our 1967 Plymouth Fury III, the salesman talked to me after the deal was completed.  He said, "You can tell me now.  Is there anything wrong with that Ford?"

"Check it over," I told him.  "I guarantee you won't find anything wrong with it."

He seemed happy to hear it, but not as happy as I was to leave the car with him, and I've never owned another Ford product since that day.

I Miss the Old Days

14 Unusual Ways McDonald's Did Business in the '60s 

Song of the Day


Forgotten Hits: 50 Year Flashback - November 2, 1965

Forgotten Hits: 50 Year Flashback - November 2, 1965

Today's Vintage Ad

Mark Twain never said that

Mark Twain never said that — and 18 other quotes incorrectly attributed to famous people


Vogue's Pocket Book of Home Dressmaking, Pocket Books, 1943

How Prohibition Turned American Writers Into Drinkers

Flavorwire: How Prohibition Turned American Writers Into Drinkers

21 Signs That Definitely Weren't Proofread

21 Signs That Definitely Weren't Proofread

The Man Who Writes Those Travis McGee Stories

The Trap of Solid Gold: The Man Who Writes Those Travis McGee Stories

New Poem at the Five-Two

The Five-Two: Dennis Weiser: FINANCIAL I.V.

Vintage Treasures: The Janus Syndrome by Steven E. McDonald

Vintage Treasures: The Janus Syndrome by Steven E. McDonald

Sunday, November 01, 2015

He Left His Gub at Home

Florida man robs bank with a spatula

Fred Thompson, R. I. P.

Former U.S. Sen. Fred Thompson dies at 73: Fred Thompson, a former U.S. senator for Tennessee, GOP presidential candidate, Watergate attorney and longtime "Law and Order" star, has died.

Latest "Getting Away With Murder" Now Online


Winners of the British Fantasy Awards 2015

Winners of the British Fantasy Awards 2015   

Hat tip to Todd Mason.

We Need To Talk About Daylight Savings, Sheeple

We Need To Talk About Daylight Savings, Sheeple

The 30 Harshest Writer-on-Politician Insults in History

Flavorwire: The 30 Harshest Writer-on-Politician Insults in History

Mel Daniels, R. I. P.

AOL: INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Mel Daniels, the Hall of Fame center who helped the Indiana Pacers win three American Basketball Association titles, died Friday. He was 71.  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Song of the Day

Jerry Lee Lewis "When I Take My Vacation In Heaven" - YouTube:

I'm Sure You'll All Agree

Why Frank Kelly Freas was possibly the greatest science fiction artist who ever lived

Today's Vintage Ad

Herman Melville’s “Bartleby, the Scrivener”: An interactive, annotated text.

Herman Melville’s “Bartleby, the Scrivener”: An interactive, annotated text.


Richard Matheson, Fury on Sunday, Lion Books, 1953

Or Maybe You Did

8 Spicy Things You Didn’t Know About Popeyes

These Are Not the Old Days I Miss

34 Photos From The Great Depression That Will Leave You Humbled

Alvin in the News

Storms, tornadoes lash Texas; death toll rises to 6

Don't Feint When You Read This

Forbes: For fans of the old films and newcomers alike, there’s lots to love. It’s just not for the feint of heart.

8 odd facts about daylight saving time

8 odd facts about daylight saving time

Florida woman!

Florida woman stripped, poured ketchup on herself at diner: One patron told police he grabbed a chair to make a barrier. Other male diners encircled her and waited for police.
Do You Remember How To Balance Chemistry Equations