Saturday, November 14, 2015

Day Shift -- Charlaine Harris

I enjoyed Midnight Crossroad, the first book in what Harris says will be a trilogy about the town of Midnight, Texas.  "Town" might be the wrong word.  Midnight is too small to be a town.  "Hamlet" is probably a better description.  Anyway, I liked the first book a lot, so I read the second and liked it a lot, too.

The fact that Midnight is located at a crossroad tells you superstitious people something right there.  And sure enough, nearly everyone in Midnight seems to have a connection to the supernatural.  And supernatural connections or not, everyone has a secret or three.  We didn't learn everyone's secrets in the first book, but more of them are revealed in this sequel.  There are more than enough left for another book, however, and I don't see how Harris is going to be able to tie everything up in only one more.

The book begins with a short introduction to the town and its people, and almost immediately afterward there are three murders.  Not in Midnight, but in Dallas, where two of the residents are on business trips.  Olivia Charity is there to kill two people, which she does.  She's a contract killer, after all.  Manfred Bernado, a psychic, is there to give personal readings.  One of his clients is the third victim.  She dies during the reading.  Manfred is a suspect, of course, and the woman's loony son accuses him of stealing his mother's jewels, as well.

Meanwhile, someone has renovated the old hotel in Midnight.  It's become both a hotel and a home for the elderly, who for mysterious reasons that we don't learn (wait for the sequel!) are allowed to live there free of charge.  A young boy comes to town and grows into a teenager almost overnight.  Even for Midnight, these are odd things.  The local vampire, Lemuel, is off on a quest to find a translation for some mysterious volumes that were located in the first book.  The grandson of one of the new residents in the old hotel shows up.  He's a hunted man.  He's also a tie-in with the Sookie Stackhouse novels, as are a couple of other characters.  

There's no one protagonist in the Midnight books.  The whole town is the protagonist, with all the residents working together to care for each other and their strange little hamlet.  I like them all (especially Mr. Snuggly, the talking cat), and I like reading about them.  I look forward to the next book with eager anticipation, and if Harris decides to go beyond three books, I'll be happy to take the trip with her.

Or Maybe You Do (George Kelley Does)

11 Things You Might Not Know About Niagara Falls 

Song of the Day

The Hombres - Let It Out (Let It All Hang Out) - YouTube:

How a Handkerchief Led to Black Bart’s Capture

How a Handkerchief Led to Black Bart’s Capture

Today's Vintage Ad

The Many Lives of Maria Rasputin, Daughter of the 'Mad Monk'

Neatorama: Who knew that Rasputin, advisor to Tsar Nicholas II, had a daughter who became a circus performer -and then an American?


Allen Churchill, The Improper Bohemians, Ace, 1969

An unknown First World War story by Edith Wharton

An unknown First World War story by Edith Wharton  

Link via mental_floss.

The Weird Week in Review

The Weird Week in Review 

A Look Back at When Thanksgiving Was Basically Halloween

A Look Back at When Thanksgiving Was Basically Halloween

The Scariest Bridge in the United States

The Scariest Bridge in the United States: The drive is so daunting that one man has started a booming business that drives people, in their cars, over the bridge.

Friday, November 13, 2015

He's right. I'm too bossy.


I hope you are fine over there in your country. I have waited to hear from you about the transaction business but did not heard anything from you again maybe you are too bossy.  Now i am in South Korea with my new partner who help me finalized everything about the transaction. but did not forget you as you have known about the transaction when transferring those funds abroad, despised you did not reply me when I transferring those funds abroad, despised you did not reply me when I sent you letter regarding the business transaction .

Therefore i kept the total sum of $850,000.00 ( Eight Hundred And Fifty Thousand United State Dollars ), for your compensation in the Cores Bank International under my secretary care Mrs . Elizabeth Thomas,email ( ) therefore contact Mrs. Elizabeth Thomas,immediately via her email address so that she will direct you how to receive the funds.

If you want you can receive it by western union or you can receive it into your bank account in your country , so feel free to contact my secretary Mrs. Elizabeth Thomas, for i have gave them instruction to transfer the funds to you as soon as you contact her, please give some part of this funds to the motherless babies and widowers in your country.

N:B Note that i will not be checking my email because i am too bossy here now in south Korea, I have instructed my secretary to direct you
how to receive the funds.
Best Regards,

Dr.Basham Daouda

5 Habits of Highly Effective Outlaws

5 Habits of Highly Effective Outlaws

Ray Bradbury Reads His Poem “If Only We Had Taller Been”

Ray Bradbury Reads His Poem “If Only We Had Taller Been” in a Rare 1971 Recording

Song of the Day

MOUSE AND THE TRAPS - A Public Execution - YouTube:

No Comment Department

The Daily Beast: "Justin, 28, had been threatening to hurt himself on his bed, armed with a knife. Within minutes, he was shot and killed several times by police."

Update: The above is a direct quote from the article.  Apparently the article has now been rewritten without any mention of the correction.

9 Celebrity #TBT Photos You May Have Missed This Week

9 Celebrity #TBT Photos You May Have Missed This Week

Today's Vintage Ad

First It was the Thin Mints Melee . . .

. . . and now it's Denny's Pancake Rage!

10 Serial-Killing Long-Haul Truckers

10 Serial-Killing Long-Haul Truckers


Gerald Butler, The Lurking Man, Lion 1952

Sumatra Unavailable for Comment

Giant Rat Fossils Discovered on East Timor

Soon We'll Never Have to Deal with Actual Reality Again

This Was The Week Virtual Reality Became Totally Normal

How to catch an emu

How to catch an emu: Here's some advice on how to nab a wayward emu like the one that's been on the run for more than two months in southern New Castle County: "you catch it from behind."

In other news, Wayward Emus WBAGNFARB.

Just a Reminder

It's Odd Day.

50 Essential Graphic Novels

Road to Perdition by Max Allen CollinsAbeBooks: 50 Essential Graphic Novels: While the term 'graphic novel' only entered common usage as recently as the late 1970's, novel-length works in either pictures-only forms or pictures in combination with text have existed since the 19th century. Baby boomers who haven't picked up a comic book since childhood will most likely associate the term with the Classics Illustrated series, which does not quite fit the modern definition.

FFB: The Bob Dylan Scrapbook 1956-1966

This is pretty much what is says it is: a scrapbook.  It's interactive.  It has all kinds of stuff, but reproductions, natch, not the real things.  Concert tickets, handwritten lyrics, newspaper clippings, a press kit, and so on.  Great stuff for fans.  There's even a CD, but there are no songs on it.  Instead there are excerpts from 14 different interviews from the early years of Dylan's career and later ones when he's looking back on those days.  There's text, too, of course, but I don't think a Dylan fan is going to learn a lot from it.

The book was released as a companion to Martin Scorsese's documentary No Direction Home, but it's pretty much independent of it.  You don't have to watch the documentary at all to appreciate all that's here.

This is an oversized coffee-table book that comes in a sturdy slipcase.  It was originally a pretty pricey item, but now it's in all the Half-Price Bookstores in Houston.  I got mine for $3, and cheap copies abound on the Internet.  If you're a true Dylan fan, you already have it.  If you're a mere dilettante like me, this isn't a bad time to buy.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

One More Reason to Avoid Yard Work

Gator bites Lake County man doing yard work

Eric Beetner Interview

More Talk, Less Hock #6: Eric Beetner - Steve's Web Place

Song of the Day

Willie The Weeper (Single Version) - YouTube:

The Curious Case of Secret Agent 003-1/2

No One Knows Who Wrote This James Bond Novel

Today's Vintage Ad

Raymond Chandler Didn’t Care About Plot

Raymond Chandler Didn’t Care About Plot

I'm Sure You'll All Agree

101 Funniest Screenplays


Fredric Brown, Death Has Many Doors, 1952

Norman Lloyd on upstaging Orson Welles and playing tennis with Chaplin

Norman Lloyd on upstaging Orson Welles and playing tennis with Chaplin: This year, Lloyd became Hollywood’s oldest working actor when he appeared in Judd Apatow’s Trainwreck, which is now available on home video. Given that he was less than a month away from his 101st birthday when he spoke to The A.V. Club, it seems fair to say that Lloyd is also the oldest actor ever interviewed for Random Roles.

I Suspect that Every Reader of this Blog Has Heard of Him

The Train-Hopping, Nazi-Fighting Literary Hero You’ve Never Heard Of

Nicolas Cage Update

The A.V. Club: If nothing else, the footage proves that when it comes to making fun of Nic Cage, nobody turns in a better performance than Nic Cage.  

Video at the link.

Once Again Texas Leads the Way

Angelina Co. man, upset over sad song, shoots radio   

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Vintage Treasures: A Lower Deep by Tom Piccirilli

Vintage Treasures: A Lower Deep by Tom Piccirilli

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Andy White, R. I. P.

| Daily Express: SCOTTISH drummer Andy White, who replaced Ringo Starr on some of The Beatles’ early recordings, has died aged 85.

Carol Doda, R. I. P. Carol Doda -- who rose to super fame as an OG stripper with huge breasts -- died Monday in San Francisco. She was 78. 

Doda became extremely popular in the 1960s for her topless dance routines and her 44-inch silicone breasts, which became known as "The new Twin Peaks of San Francisco."

Betsy Drake, R. I. P.

Hollywood Reporter: Betsy Drake, the vivacious actress who starred opposite her husband Cary Grant in the comedies Every Girl Should Be Married and Room for One More, has died. She was 92.

Joe R. Lansdale Update

Variety: ROME –American Southern noir writer Joe R. Lansdale will be feted by Italy’s Noir in Festival, dedicated to movies and books broadly belonging to the noir genre which is held in the Alpine resort of Courmayeur.

Free for Kindle Today

Suspense Sampler: 3 Explosive Mystery Thrillers - Kindle edition by L.J. Sellers, Teresa Burrell, J Carson Black. Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Kindle eBooks @  Three great mystery/thriller by bestselling authors: THE TRIGGER, by L.J. Sellers, introduces Agent Dallas, an undercover specialist. THE ADVOCATE is high-rated legal thriller showcasing Attorney Sabre Brown, written by Teresa Burrell. And DARKNESS ON THE EDGE OF TOWN is a long-time bestselling mystery, featuring Detective Laura Cardinal, written by J Carson Black. This ebook trio is an opportunity to try all three series at a great discount price. With unique characters, plots, and settings, this sampler will give you a little bit everything in crime fiction. 

Check Out This Blog Post and Maybe Win A Book

Fire Star Press: That Fall Feeling: Hi!  I'm Angela Crider Neary.  I'm a new writer and my first novella is Li'l Tom and the Pussyfoot Detective Bureau: The Case of the Parrots Desaparecidos.  I also have a short story, “Angel,” in Nine Deadly Lives: An Anthology of Feline Fiction.  Today, I'm giving away a free e-copy of this anthology, a great book to curl up with next to the fire.  And speaking of cozying up by the fire, I would like to talk about that distinctive fall feeling.

Hand Me the Stamps, Ma

Boing Boing: Between 1913 and 1920, many Americans sent their children around the country by mail. Provided your child weighed less than 50 lbs, you could simply affix stamps to their clothing and send them off with the postmaster. They'd be whisked across the country in the railway system's mail compartments and delivered to relatives safe and sound.

Song of the Day

Fred Darian - Johnny Willow - YouTube:

Video of Charles Boeckman and Talmage Powell Discussing the Pulps

What we have here folks is authentic history, a video of Charles Boeckman and Talmage Powell sitting in Powell's back yard in Asheville, North Carolina, around 1995 and discussing pulp magazines, digests, paperbacks, writing, and writers.  The video was shot by Patti Boeckman, and Bill Pronzini was kind enough to let me have a look at it and upload it to YouTube.  It's about 22 minutes long, and while the video's not great, the audio's clear enough.  

I Want to Believe!

Mysterious 14 mile long structure 'buried' in Antarctica found on Google: Spotted on the Google Earth map, the white blur deep in the barren continent has provoked speculation it could be a secret research station hidden by a government or a UFO buried in the ice.  

Today's Vintage Ad

First It was the Thin Mints Melee

Gulfstream Park patron slaps man, says he has 'baby nuts'

“Communicating the Unfamiliar: Writing the Underbelly in Africa” (by Meg Opperman)

“Communicating the Unfamiliar: Writing the Underbelly in Africa” (by Meg Opperman) | SOMETHING IS GOING TO HAPPEN: Meg Opperman’s first story for EQMM was published earlier this year, and she has another tale coming up for us in 2016. Both stories take place in Tanzania, a country the author knows intimately. A former Fulbright scholar, she’s a cultural anthropologist and Africanist by training, and has lived in Tanzania, Kenya, and Zimbabwe. She tells EQMM that her work as an anthropologist and researcher often informs elements of her fiction, but as you’ll see from her post, writing crime fiction based in other cultures presents unique challenges. Meg’s short stories have appeared in Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine, Weird Tales, and several anthologies, in addition to EQMM. She currently lives in the U.S. and writes a column (Write Side Up) for the Washington Independent Review of Books. —Janet Hutchings


 Elliot Brewster, Temptress, Intimate Novels, 1958

Soon to be a Lifetime Movie

Breast-feeding mom exchanges gunshots with home intruders: Semantha Bunce, 21, a combat medic in the National Guard, was in her Charlotte home breast-feeding her 4-month-old son in her bedroom when intruders barged in Tuesday, November 3, according to CNN affiliate WSOC.

They Learned This from a James Cagney Movie

Newstalk: The lawsuit, filed by three men, is against three men who designed a CIA interrogation programme. One of the tactics used in this was playing Westlife records, repeatedly, at prisoners.

Mark R. Kelly on the Best of Isaac Asimov

Mark R. Kelly on the Best of Isaac Asimov

Croc Update (Prison Guard Edition)

GlobalPost: Indonesia's anti-drugs agency has proposed building a prison on an island guarded by crocodiles to hold death row drug convicts, an official said Monday, an idea that wouldn't be out of place in a James Bond film.

It's Veterans Day!

Image result for veterans On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, was declared between the Allied nations and Germany in the First World War, then known as “the Great War.” Commemorated as Armistice Day beginning the following year, November 11th became a legal federal holiday in the United States in 1938. In the aftermath of World War II and the Korean War, Armistice Day became Veterans Day, a holiday dedicated to American veterans of all wars.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

First It Was Gators and Pythons

Australian golfers chased from course by furious kangaroo  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson, who saw Furious Kangaroo open for Strawberry Alarm Clock.

Once Again Texas Leads the Way

Dallas Police Arrest Man Who Robbed Subway With Curling Iron   

He grabbed it instead of his gub by mistake.

All Righty, Then

"Fleek" And "Yaaas" Are Now Actual Words In The Dictionary: announced over 150 new word entries today, including “doge,” “fleek,” and “yaaas.” What a time to be alive.

This Sounds Totally Legit . . .

. . . so can anybody lend me $65?


Dear Two payment was sent to you through WESTERN UNION $4000 each, HERE is MTCN739-189-628,MTCN:296-688-351 it is available for pick up at western union now ,Contact Mr terry cool Email(, Call him with this phone( +229 96834-7365, Bear it mind that you must pay $65 for signing your certificate of
ownership at federal high court Benin before mr terry cool will release the MISSING number to you for picking the $8000,If you cannot pay this $65 don't respond so that we cancel the $8000 immediately

Writing Tips from Stephen King


Song of the Day

Ride The Wild Surf - Jan and Dean - YouTube:

Man interviews himself 38 years later

Boing Boing: When Stoney Emshwiller was 18 years old, he filmed himself interviewing his older self. Thirty-eight years later a 56-year-old Stoney completed the interview by answering his younger self's questions.

Today's Vintage Ad

Hot baby name trends for 2016

Hot baby name trends for 2016


Wright Williams, Beautiful Body, Knickerbocker, 1948

10 Unorthodox Detectives Of World Literature

10 Unorthodox Detectives Of World Literature 

Even Better than the Thin Mints Melee

A Guy In His Underwear Who Attacked Journalists With A Shovel Got Turned Into A Hilarious Meme

Allen Toussaint, R. I. P.

Influential songwriter, producer Allen Toussaint has died: Allen Toussaint, the legendary songwriter, producer, arranger and performer hailed by the Grammys, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and musicians and fans worldwide as one of the most influential figures in New Orleans music, died Monday while on tour in Europe, his family confirmed. He was 77.

First It was the Thin Mints Melee . . .

. . . and now it's Lawn-raking rage! 

You Guys Know You Want One

Clip-On Man Buns Are Here

The Trap of Solid Gold: Soft Touch

The Trap of Solid Gold: Soft Touch

Overlooked Movies: Ride the Wild Surf

The old days really were different.  Don't believe me?  Just watch this movie.  It would be laughed out of the theaters today, and nobody believed it even back in 1963, but it's innocent in a way people wanted to believe in.

Three guys (Fabian, Tab Hunter, Peter Brown) meet three girls (Shelly Fabares, Barbara Eden, Susan Hart).  The guys are surfers who are in Hawaii to surf the big waves and find out who's the best.  Will they also find true love and learn something about themselves in the process?  You bet.  It's as sappy as you think, but it's also great in its own way.

This isn't a Beach Party picture.  It has some great surfing scenes, filmed on location with some of the world's best surfers at that time.  The hair dye budget must have been huge, since the guys had to have their hair dyed to match that of their stunt doubles, and the women had to die theirs a different color from the guys'.  Which explains why Barbara Eden is a brunette here.  

The special effects in the surfing scenes in which the lead actors appear are worse than laughable.  They're just like the ones in the Beach Party movies, where the actor stands in front of a green screen and tries to appear as if he's shooting the curls while someone hoses him down.

Jim Mitchum has a supporting role as a surfer known as Eskimo.  He's a dead ringer for his dad, and you can imagine Robert Mitchum on a surfboard if you're so inclined.

You might hate it.  I, however, love it.  Watch the trailer.  It'll give you a good idea of what you're in for.

Ride the Wild Surf

RIDE THE WILD SURF 1964 Movie Trailer - YouTube:

Monday, November 09, 2015

This Has Already Been a SyFy Movie

An alligator fought a python on a golf course in Florida 

Hat tip to Art Scott.

This Website Lets You Remix Bob Dylan’s Music

This Website Lets You Remix Bob Dylan’s Music | Mental Floss: The record label created the site, called Studio A Revisited, to promote their new Dylan box set, The Cutting Edge: 1965-1966: The Bootleg Series Volume 12. The interactive website lets visitors listen to outtakes from the recording sessions, and even remix one of Dylan’s most iconic songs, “Like a Rolling Stone.”

Judy's New Job

After we finally settled into our new apartment in Austin, I went to the campus to see what the deal was with my job as a teaching assistant.  Someone in the English Department office told me that there was a place to apply for jobs on campus, so Judy and I checked it out.  She decided to apply for a job in the Computation Center.  

If you click the link, you might wonder where the building is.  That's because you can't see it.  It's under the mall.  Or it was when we were there.  They needed a place to keep those giant computers cool, you see.  The picture on the left gives you sort of an idea of what the big computing room with the mainframe was like.  You can see more pictures of the old days in the computing world here.  Times have changed.

Judy didn't work in that room, however.  She was a secretary.  In those days you had to sign up to get computer time, and there was a waiting list.  I'm not sure what Judy's duties consisted of, but one of them included keeping tabs on computer time, scheduling it, and billing for it.  There were other duties, but that was the big one.  When she took over the job, she discovered that her desk was covered with stacks of paper.  The woman who'd left had been three months behind in the billing.  If you think Judy was daunted by that, you'd be wrong.  In two weeks she'd cleared the desk and caught up with the billing.

In a rational world that feat would have endeared her to everyone, but we don't live in that world.  Some of the other secretaries resented it because it made them look lazy.  According to Judy, some of them were lazy.  Two of them became her friends, but one of them never cared for her, and the feeling was mutual.  This one, let's call her Ann, might have been lazy, but she was clever.  I admired her for one trick in particular.  On Fridays about three o'clock she'd turn on her desk lamp and spread some papers artfully on the desk.  She'd put her reading glasses and a pen on top of the papers.  She'd light a cigarette and put it in the ashtray (you can tell how long ago this was).  Then she'd go home while everyone else had to stay in the office until five.  The bosses never caught on.

One of the others I liked for a different reason.  She was from one of the little German communities to the southeast of Austin and had grown up speaking German.  Let's call her Estelle.  She had an interesting accent and manner of speaking.  For one thing she was very literal about her hair.  She didn't talk about getting her hair cut.  She said she was getting her hairs cut.  Accurate but not idiomatic.  

One day Judy told me not to pick her up until after five.  She wanted me to park and come in the office because she had something to show me and didn't want to do it when anyone else was around.  I didn't know what was up, but I went by the office a little after five to be sure everyone else was gone.  Judy took me into the copy room and showed me a sign over the plug for the copy machine.  It seemed that the cleaning team had occasionally unplugged the machine to plug in their vacuum cleaners or something, so Estelle had put up a sign to solve the problem.  It said, "Do Not Unpluck This Cord."  I wanted to cross out the "Un," but Judy wouldn't let me.  We laughed about that sign from time to time for more than 40 years.

Watching This Made Me Feel Old and Clumsy

Stay in Your Pajamas and Watch These Athletic Humans Do Amazing Things 

Song of the Day

The Beat - Rock N Roll Girl - YouTube:

21 Writers On Their Favorite Bookstores

21 Writers On Their Favorite Bookstores

Today's Vintage Ad

Forgotten Hits: 50 Year Flashback - November 9, 1965

Forgotten Hits: 50 Year Flashback - November 9, 1965


Winston Lyon (William Woolfolk), Batman vs. 3 Villains of Doom, Signet, 1966

The Latest Members of the Toy Hall of Fame

NBC News: Twister, the Super Soaker and "the puppet" were inducted Thursday into the National Toy Hall of Fame at the National Museum of Play in Rochester, New York — beating out not only Battleship, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael and Donatello, but also American Girl Dolls, the coloring book, Jenga, Playmobil, the scooter, the spinning top and Wiffle Ball.

Gator Update (California Edition)

Photos of Californians Casually Hanging Out With Alligators in the Early 1900s 

I Want to Believe!

Fortune: Soda and sweets aren’t making Americans fat. In fact, underweight Americans consume more junk food than those who are morbidly obese.

First It was the Thin Mints Melee

Fla. man pulls out gun after being denied job, flips car  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Vintage Treasures: The Joyous Invasions by Theodore Sturgeon

Vintage Treasures: The Joyous Invasions by Theodore Sturgeon

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Coming Soon: Tales From the Otherverse

Rough Edges: Coming Soon: Tales From the Otherverse

Here Are The Winners Of The 2015 World Fantasy Awards

Here Are The Winners Of The 2015 World Fantasy Awards

5 Major Hollywood Mysteries

5 Major Hollywood Mysteries

Song of the Day

Peter, Paul and Mary "Very Last Day" - YouTube:

Yet Another List I'm Not On

20 Writers On Their Must-Have Desert Island Read 

Today's Vintage Ad

5 Writers Who Really Hated Shakespeare

5 Writers Who Really Hated Shakespeare


Batman vs. The Joker, Signet, 1966

First It was the Thin Mints Melee

Lebanon man accused of beating woman who refused to share her pain meds  

Includes classic mug shot.

Archaeology Update

Scientists Find Fanged Amphibian and ‘Fire Frog’ Fossils in Brazil  

In other news, I saw Fanged Amphibians open for Fire Frogs at Armadillo World Heaquarters in 1970.

Have They Located the Double-Secret Grain Storage Chambers?

The Search for a Secret Chamber at King Tut's Tomb Just Got Interesting

Gunnar Hansen, R. I. P.

NY Daily News: Gunnar Hansen, who played the iconic villain Leatherface in the original "Texas Chain Saw Massacre," died Saturday of pancreatic cancer at his home in Maine, his agent said. He was 68.   

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Gator Update (Shop Around Edition)

Huge gator captured outside Sugar Land shopping center

Fantastic, January 1962: A Retro-Review

Fantastic, January 1962: A Retro-Review