Saturday, March 19, 2016

Free for Kindle for a Limited Time

The Nations - Kindle edition by Ken Farmer, Buck Stienke. Literature & Fiction Kindle eBooks @  THE NATIONS also known as "Robber's Roost" and "No-Man's Land", was regarded in the latter part of the 19th century as the bloodiest and most dangerous place in the world. It is the year 1885. A notorious band of outlaws, known as the "Larson Gang", has been terrorizing Arkansas, Missouri and the Nations for years. Judge Issac Parker, the Hanging Judge, orders an all-out concerted effort to capture the gang and bring them to justice. "If they will not respect the law; then, by God, we will make them fear it." 

Marshal Bass Reeves, the first black U.S. Deputy Marshal west of the Mississippi, along with his partner Jack McGann, two other deputies and two Indian Lighthorse are tasked to take the youngest member of the gang, Ben Larson, on the treacherous journey to Fort Smith with their prisoner shackled to the bed of the Tumbleweed Wagon. 

A Childhood Memory

First It Was the Thin Mint Melee . . .

. . . and now it's the firing of a staple gun to the face, a broken nose, stitches and a grab of the groin!

19 Creepy Unsolved Crimes

19 Creepy Unsolved Crimes That’ll Keep You Up Tonight

Song of the Day

Smoke on the Water (HQ) - YouTube:

The Weird Week in Review

The Weird Week in Review

Today's Vintage Ad

I'm Sure You'll All Agree

Creature Features: The Top 10 Stephen King Movies

Link via mental_floss.

Q. and A.: Joe R. Lansdale

Q. and A.: Joe R. Lansdale on ‘Hap and Leonard,’ Poverty and Writing a Gay Character


John Lahr, Hot to Trot, Fawcett Crest, 1975

First It Was the Thin Mint Melee

And once again Texas leads the way!

Woman stabbed husband for not getting out of bed

John D and me: Rick Barry

John D and me: Rick Barry

Had You Forgotten about Him?

Famed model Fabio becomes handsome, golden-haired US citizen

Once Again Texas Leads the Way

Tyler-Longview: TYLER (KYTX) - One East Texas man believes he found fossils from Noah’s flood and a self-proclaimed fossil expert says he's right. “From Noah’s flood to my front yard, how much better can it get,” Wayne Propst said.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Joe Santos, R. I. P.

LA Times: Joe Santos, who played Lt. Dennis Becker on "The Rockford Files," has died at 84.

Once Again Texas Leads the Way

Texas Official Reportedly Used Taxpayer Money To Get 'Jesus Shot' To Cure 'All Pain for Life'

First It Was the Thin Mint Melee

Inmate threatens officers after unsatisfactory brownie  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

First It Was the Thin Mint Melee

Man arrested for egging 85-year-old neighbor's house over 100 times

First It Was the Thin Mint Melee

Canadian man hijacks bus to take him to Tim Horton's: On Friday, at approximately 12:30 am, a 31-year-old man hijacked a Toronto bus and held it up at knifepoint. He allegedly forced the driver to drive through several lights, and speed to his ultimate dream destination: Tim Horton's.

Hollywood's first nude star

Annette Kellerman: Hollywood's first nude star 

Lee Andrews, R. I. P.

Rolling Stone: Lee Andrews, lead singer of the Philadelphia doo-wop group Lee Andrews & the Hearts, died Wednesday. He was 79. Andrews' son, the Roots drummer Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson, confirmed his father's death with a written tribute where Questlove called Andrews "the Greatest Teacher in my life."

Song of the Day

"Long Lonely Nights" Lee Andrews & the Hearts - YouTube:

London’s Hidden Crime Museum

Getting in the Minds of Murderers at London’s Hidden Crime Museum: Many of the items on display look innocuous enough; a silk scarf, a pair of stockings, an old garden spade, a rusted kitchen knife. But each artifact in the Metropolitan Police’s legendary Crime Museum has a grisly story to tell.

Today's Vintage Ad

Archaeology Update

6 Archaeological Finds Made by Badgers


Carlotta Baker, The Fallen Woman, Knickerbocker, no date

Don Winslow Interview

Why Don Winslow loves Germany so much he set his latest book there 

Winner of the 'Oddest Book Title of the Year'

Winner of the 'Oddest Book Title of the Year' award has been revealed

I Want to Believe!

Scans of Tutankhamun tomb show ’90 percent chance’ of hidden chambers

Here Be Dragons: In Literature

Dragon Rider by Cornelia FunkeHere Be Dragons: In Literature on AbeBooks: The ancient mythology of the dragon dates far, far back, centuries before Shakespeare. Originally often presented as sea serpents, modern dragons are now commonly reptilian creatures of land, with legs, and of air, with wings. Though dragons are mythological creatures, it has been widely speculated that their existence was once widely accepted. This belief may have originated with prehistoric art, and with glimpses of large amphibious and reptilian creatures such as crocodiles or komodo dragons.

FFB: Wondrous Beginnings -- Steven H. Silver & Martin H. Greenberg, editors

I can't seem to get off this short story kick I've been on for the FFB posts lately, but this one is different because I'm not going to talk much about the stories in Wondrous Beginnings.  I've mentioned before that I sometimes enjoy the introductions to stories in collections and anthologies as much as the stories themselves, but this book is the first one I ever bought mainly for those introductions.

I'd read a few of the stories before and enjoyed them, but what I was really interested in was the introductions.  The stories are all preceded by a piece by the authors, who tell how they came to write and see published their first work of science fiction.  There's one exception.  Murray Leinster, the author of the first story in the book, was dead when the book was published (2003), so that introduction was written by his daughter.  

Leinster's story, by the way, is one of those I'd never read before, despite having heard of it for most of my reading life.  So of course I read it, and it's still quite readable even though it was first published in 1919, back in the days before there were laws against using adverbs and showing instead of telling.  It's about a skyscraper and a slight earthquake that causes it to drop into a hole, not in the ground but in time.  Makes perfect sense.

The introductions to the stories vary in length.  Arthur C. Clarke's is too short.  Orson Scott Card's is longer than some of the stories in the book.  They were all great fun for me to read because I'm fascinated by how writers come up with ideas and how they break into print for the first time.  If that kind of thing interests you, too, you can't go wrong here.  And the stories I've read are pretty good, as well.  I'll be reading more of them soon.

Murray Leinster, The Runaway Skyscraper, 1919
L. Sprague de Camp, The Isolinguals, 1931
Anne McCaffrey, Freedom of the Race, 1953
Hal Clement, Proof, 1942
Arthur C. Clarke, Loophole, 1946
Gene Wolfe, The Dead Man, 1965
Barry N. Malzberg, We're Coming Through the Windows, 1967
George R.R. Martin, The Hero, 1971
Howard Waldrop, Lunchbox, 1972
Orson Scott Card, Ender's Game, 1977
Jack McDevitt, The Emerson Effect, 1981
Jerry Oltion, Much Ado About Nothing, 1982
Lois McMaster Bujold, Barter, 1985
Stephen Baxter, The Xeelee Flower, 1987
Catherine Asaro, Dance in Blue, 1993
Michael A. Burstein, TeleAbsence, 1995
Julie E. Czerneda, First Contact, Inc., 1997

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Larry Drake, R. I. P.

'L.A. Law' actor, Emmy winner Larry Drake dead at 66: Larry Drake, best known for his role on Steven Bochco's NBC legal procedural L.A. Law and the Darkman movie series, has died, his agent confirmed to Mashable. He was 66.

First It Was the Thin Mint Melee

Irate Frenchman hurled Camembert at manager of Chelsea Waitrose 

Song of the Day

Guns N' Roses - Knocking on heaven's door - Legendado - YouTube:

A Review of Interest (To Me, Anyway)

This is a retro-review from 1992.  Barry Gardner was a fellow Texan and a great guy.

Reviewed by Barry Gardner: BILL CRIDER – Booked For a Hanging.

Today's Vintage Ad

First It Was the Thin Mint Melee

Plymouth Herald: Pants on fire! Plymouth man set fire to love rival's boxers in toaster

First It Was the Thin Mint Melee Pittsburgh police say a man upset that his pizza delivery was late went to the restaurant, broke things and threw objects at the employees.


Robert Briffault, Carlotta (Fandango), Avon Monthly, 1949

10 Records That Are Worth a Fortune

10 Records You Might Have Owned That Are Now Worth a Fortune

The Amazing Pedestrian Race

The Amazing Pedestrian Race: How a highly-heated walk-off between America's top pedestrians created modern spectator sports.

First It Was the Thin Mint Melee

Newlywed Squabble Involved G-String, Dancing, Making Mess While Cooking Dinner

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

7 surprising facts about St. Patrick's Day: What you thought you knew about March 17 may just be blarney.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Drewe Henley, R. I. P.

The Star Wars Underworld: We have more sad to report today. Drewe Henley, who was widely know as "Red Leader" in Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope, has passed away at the age of 75.

Frank Sinatra Jr., R. I. P.

Washington Times: Frank Sinatra Jr. died of a massive heart attack Wednesday afternoon in Florida, TMZ reported. The 72-year-old singer was in Daytona Beach for a concert when he died suddenly, the entertainment site wrote, citing a Sinatra family representative.  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

In That Case, Sir, You Are Free to Go During sobriety tests the man refused to recite the alphabet because he said he was unfamiliar with it.

“Seventy-two Years and Counting” (by Donald A. Yates)

“Seventy-two Years and Counting” (by Donald A. Yates) | SOMETHING IS GOING TO HAPPEN: On the 29th of this month, EQMM’s special “All Nations” issue, a tribute to the original All Nations issue of August 1948, will go on sale. It opens with a story EQMM has always been proud of having been the first to publish (in August 1948), “The Garden of Forking Paths,” the first work in English translation of the great Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges. All of the other stories in the issue—which represents twelve countries and all continents except Antarctica—will be new to English-language readers, and one of them is the result of the collaborative effort of EQMM’s highly valued veteran translator Donald A. Yates. Don is Professor Emeritus at Michigan State University. In recent years he has provided EQMM with translations from Cuba and Italy as well as from Argentina, the country with which his work as a mystery-fiction translator began. His own short story “A Study in Scarlatti” appeared in EQMM in February 2011, and he has also contributed many poems to the magazine over the years.—Janet Hutchings

Archaeology Update

500-year-old shipwreck tied to Vasco da Gama discovered off the coast of Oman

2016 Dove Award Winner: Janet Rudolph

Mystery Fanfare: 2016 Dove Award: Janet Rudolph: Janet Rudolph receives the 2016 George N. Dove Award for Contributions to the Study of Mystery and Crime Fiction.

Song of the Day

Survivor - Eye Of The Tiger - YouTube:

Forgotten Hits: Sweet 16: ROAD TRIP

Forgotten Hits: Sweet 16: ROAD TRIP (3-16-16)

Today's Vintage Ad

I Found a Penny in the Walmart Parking Lot

Hiker Discovers Rare Coin, One of Only Two Known Copies


Larry Butler, Buzy Bonnie, Bee-Line, 1974

I'm Sure You'll All Agree

The 10 Greatest Movie Prisoners of All-Time

I Miss the Old Days

Catalogs #47: Spiegel - Fall & Winter 1961 (Part 2) | Retrospace

You Mean It Didn't?

Why Some People Thought the World Might End on March 10, 1982

Sylvia Anderson, R. I. P.

BBC News: Sylvia Anderson, best known as the voice of Lady Penelope in the TV show Thunderbirds, has died after a short illness, her family has confirmed.

The Robert E. Howard Berkley Covers

The Golden Age: Ken Kelly ~ The Robert E. Howard Berkley Covers ~ 1978-1980

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Barry Award Nominations 2016

Mystery Fanfare: Barry Award Nominations 2016

The Ides of March

The Ides of March: The assassination of Julius Caesar and how it changed the world 

Song of the Day

Bonnie Tyler - Holding Out For A Hero - YouTube:

I Miss the Old Days

In-Flight Fashion Show, 1957 

Today's Vintage Ad

15 Out-of-This-World Facts About ‘Forbidden Planet’

15 Out-of-This-World Facts About ‘Forbidden Planet’


Mal Chance, A Taste of Longing (Web of Flesh), Midwood, 1966

The Forgotten History Of Fat Men's Clubs

The Forgotten History Of Fat Men's Clubs

I'm Getting all 28

28 Beautiful Texas Tattoos You Definitely Won't Regret

I Wanted to Believe!

Roswell was not aliens - it was the Nazis, according to a German documentary

Overlooked Movies -- Send Me No Flowers

There's a story that goes along with my report on this movie.  

The sad picture on the left is of the 25th Street Theater in Waco, Texas, or what's left of it.  While there are people who'd like to save the building, its ownership is disputed, and the city is losing patience.  I'm afraid the building isn't likely to survive.  You can read about the problems here.

Maybe you're wondering what this has to do with a post on overlooked movies.  Well, I'll tell you.  Judy and I used to go to this theater on dates now and then, and on one big date in particular, way back in 1964.  
November 5 of that year was Judy's 21st birthday.  I couldn't be there on that day because it was a Thursday.  I was teaching school in Corsicana, Texas, and Judy was attending Baylor University.  We had a date on Friday night, though, and we were going to see Send Me No Flowers at the 25th Street Theater.  We were also going to have dinner at a restaurant called The Hickory Stick.  It was what passed for a fancy place in those days.  The specialties were steaks and barbecue, and the steaks were cooked on an open fire right there in the dining room.  The Hickory Stick is long gone now, although the building remains (for now)).

My plan was to give Judy the engagement ring at dinner, probably along with some clever comment about it being her birthday present, but I was too excited and couldn't wait.  We weren't far out of Thornton when we stopped at a crossroad.  I got out the ring and asked her to marry me.  Smartest thing I ever did.  I don't think she was too surprised, and it didn't take her long to say yes.  We were both pretty happy about it all.

I could say that everything was a blur after that, but I remember dinner and even the movie, which starred Doris Day and Rock Hudson.  Hudson is a hypochondriac who believes he's dying because he's misunderstood an overheard conversation in his doctor's office.  Hilarity ensues, as Rock tries to push his wife,  Doris, off on another man, played by Clint Walker, in a role very different from the one he played on Cheyenne.  He's good in it, too.  Hal March plays a guy who's always dating widows, and Rock doesn't want Doris involved with him, which is why he's pushing Clint.  Tony Randall is also in the movie as Hudson's best friend, and Paul Lynde is around, too.  You can't go wrong with those two.  Everything is, of course, resolved in the end, as you'd expect.

At the time I had no idea who Jules Epstein, the writer of the screenplay, was, but he's the guy who wrote Casablanca.  This isn't Casablanca, but it's a funny movie.

I did, however, have an idea about Rock Hudson's sexuality, as even in the very early 1960s rumors about him circulated widely.  They didn't seem to affect his chemistry with Doris Day, though.  This was the third of three comedies they made together, and all three are a lot of fun.  Or they seemed to be at the time.  Now they're a more than a bit dated, but I still get a kick out of them.

Years ago I bought Judy a copy of the Gold Medal movie novelization Send Me No Flowers for one of our anniversaries.  I don't think she ever read it, though.  Neither did I, but it's probably pretty good since it was written by Robert W. Krepps.  I miss the old days.

Send Me No Flowers

Send Me No Flowers Trailer - YouTube:

Monday, March 14, 2016

Honky Tonk Samurai -- Joe R. Lansdale

Hap Collins and Leonard Pine are back, and that's all the fans of Joe R. Lansdale's long-running series will need to know.  Why?  Because they know there'll be plenty of snappy patter, some occasionally graphic violence, some beautifully choreographed action scenes, plenty of East Texas interaction among the cast of great characters who show up regularly in the series, and the usual fine writing.  Everything's here, and it's all aces.

This time Hap and Leonard become legit.  Marvin Hanson, the private-eye for whom they occasionally do some jobs, is going back to legitimate law enforcement and wants to sell his agency.  Brett Sawyer, Hap's girlfriend, a nurse, decides that running a private-eye business would be preferable to emptying out bedpans and such, so she buys it and hires Hap and Leonard.  It's all official business now.

Their first case is one of those wandering daughter jobs, which turns out (to the surprise of no one who's ever read a crime novel) to be a lot more complicated than it appears to be.  It begins with Frank, who's also a lot more complicated than she appears be, who's the front for Frank's Unique Used Cars, a business that's a lot more complicated than it appears to be.  Did I mention that this was complicated?  But have no fear.  Hap and Leonard are just the guys to get to the bottom of things, even if they do have to call in a bit of help in the form of Jim Bob Luke, Booger, and Vanilla Ride.  Even the entire Dixie Mafia couldn't stand up to that bunch.

In the midst of all these goings-on, Hap gets tossed a life-changing curve ball.  Naturally I'm not going to tell you what it is.

I was going to say that when it comes to this kind of book, nobody does it better than Joe R. Lansdale, but that would be wrong.  It would be wrong because nobody else does this kind of book.  Nobody can.  Lansdale is his own genre, and it's all good.  Check it out.


Did Charlie Brown's Baseball Team Ever Win a Game?

Song of the Day

Flashdance • What a Feeling • Irene Cara - YouTube:

Song of the Day

Chained and Bound - Otis Redding (1964) - YouTube:

10 Things Found in Unexpected Historic Time Periods

10 Things Found in Unexpected Historic Time Periods

Robert Horton, R. I. P. Boyd Magers at the Western Clippings website has reported that Robert Horton, an actor best known for the western TV series “Wagon Train” has died. He was 91 years old.

First It Was the Thin Mint Melee . . .

. . . and now it's the Fight over fruit!

Today's Vintage Ad

John D. MacDonald and Robert McGinnis

The Trap of Solid Gold: "Kitten on a Trampoline": [T]here is one artist whose name towers above the others when counting the sheer number of both titles and illustrations done for JDM’s work: Robert McGinnis.


Ernie Weatherall, Blonde Trap, Beacon, 1957 

I've Been to this Museum

Object of Intrigue: Moche Sex Pots: Erotic pottery from the ancient Andean Moche civilization is the world’s most renowned...and explicit.

I Miss the Old Days

15 Delightful Hairdos History Has Forgotten  

Link via Neatorama.

New Poem at the Five-Two

The Five-Two: Michael A. Arnzen: DEFINE PI

Pi Day: Celebrate Mathematics on March 14th

Pi Day: Pi Day is celebrated on March 14th (3/14) around the world. Pi (Greek letter “π”) is the symbol used in mathematics to represent a constant — the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter — which is approximately 3.14159.

Marco Rubio Led the Way

Media mogul Dmitry Itskov plans to live forever by uploading his personality to a robot

Sunday, March 13, 2016


Should We Cancel Daylight Saving Time?: Last year, German researchers suggested that our body clocks never really adjust to daylight saving, which causes a host of health problems. Till Roenneberg, a chronobiologist at Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich, told National Geographic that because of DST, "The majority of the population has drastically decreased productivity, decreased quality of life, increasing susceptibility to illness, and is just plain tired."

Song of the Day

♥ "Suddenly There's a Valley" - Gogi Grant - YouTube:

In Case You Were Wondering

What Happened To Elvis The Alligator From 'Clarissa Explains It All'?

Today's Vintage Ad

Birthplace of the Burger?

Louis' Lunch: While many places make the claim, the Library of Congress says this restaurant is the birthplace of the hamburger.

Athens, Texas, would beg to differ, because Texas led the way.


Gene Fowler, Trumpet in the Dust, Readers Choice Library, no date

The 1980s Media Panic Over Dungeons & Dragons

The 1980s Media Panic Over Dungeons & Dragons 

Florida woman selling 'fully-trained' alligator

Florida woman selling 'fully-trained' alligator: "Fully trained alligator, does not bit, potty trained, wears clothes, sits on propts, knows sign language, as well as english. only serious buyers. must have class 2 lic."  
Don't miss the terrific slideshow.

WWA Announces Spur Award Winners

WWA Announces Spur Award Winners: TUCSON, Ariz., March 12, 2016 /PRNewswire/ --Pulitzer Prize winner T.J. Stiles, the prolific Joe R. Lansdale and an 11-year-old Maine girl highlight the 2016 Spur Award winners from Western Writers of America.

Ken Adam, R. I. P.

The New York Times: Ken Adam, a production designer whose work on dozens of famous films included the fantasy sets that established the look of the James Bond series, the car in “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” and, for Stanley Kubrick’s “Dr. Strangelove,” the sinister war room beneath the Pentagon, died on Thursday at his home in London. He was 95.  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Yeah, Right

How to Get Your Hour Back from Daylight Saving Time

Because Much of the World Is Smarter than We Are

NPR: Much Of The World Doesn't Do Daylight Saving Time. How Come?