Saturday, May 21, 2016

CrimeFest Awards

The Rap Sheet: Thanks to the indefatigable Ali Karim, we can now bring you the winners of five different awards given out this evening at CrimeFest.

First It Was the Thin Mint Melee

McDonald's workers' brawl caught on camera as pair row 'over who gets to cook the Apple Pies'


Daily Mail Online: Secret life of the 'human pups': Weird world of the grown men who enjoy dressing up as DOGS in roleplay craze sweeping the nation

Song of the Day

Katy Perry, Keri Hilson & Jennifer Nettles - Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy - YouTube:

I Miss the Old Days

'Vacationland': That time Maine became a hot tourist destination c. 1965
Vacationing in Maine

Today's Vintage Ad

Kiss Me Deadly: Still The Most Hardboiled Noir Ever

Kiss Me Deadly: Still The Most Hardboiled Noir Ever


N. R. de Mexico (Robert Bragg), Marijuana Girl, Uni Books, 1951

So Sad that #11 Never Happened

11 Rapid-Fire Facts About 'The Untouchables' 

The Weird Week in Review

The Weird Week in Review

First It Was the Thin Mint Melee

Man accused of choking ‘nagging’ wife  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Texas Led the Way

Did You Know Belton Man Used Hitler's Stationery to Write Home Near the end of World War II?

Friday, May 20, 2016

Alan Young, R. I. P.

Variety: Alan Young, who gamely played straight man to a talking horse for five years in classic sitcom “Mr. Ed,” died Thursday at the Motion Picture and Television Home in Woodland Hills, Calif. He was 96.

First It Was the Thin Mint Melee

Man Eats Pizza During Brawl - Watch a Man Calmly Eat Pizza Amid Chaos  

Hat tip to Lawrence Person.

I Miss the Old Days

TV Guide #15: Feb. 26- Mar 4, 1977

Song of the Day

Underdog theme song - YouTube:

Who knew gators like watermelons?

Sweet tooth: South Florida alligator caught swiping watermelon  

Incriminating photo at the link.

John Berry, R. I. P.

Original Beastie Boy John Berry Dies at Age 52: One of the original Beastie Boys—and the one said to have coined the hip-hop band's name—has died at the age of 52, Rolling Stone reports.  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson and Deb.

Today's Vintage Ad

I Miss the Old Days

Skinny ties, skinny trousers: The hip Teddy Boys of 1950s London


Jeff Bogar, Hill Billy in High Heels, Uni Books, 1951

Time and chance happeneth to them all

An Interview With Jan Smithers, Newsweek Teen Cover Star in 1966

I Found a Penny in the Walmart Parking Lot

Novice fossil collector stumbles upon new dinosaur species

The Ringer Files: Infinity Science Fiction - June 1958

The Ringer Files: Infinity Science Fiction - June 1958

This Headline Raises so Many Questions

High Speed Chase Leads To Arrest And Discovery Of Decapitated Protected Bird  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

FFB: The Man Inside -- W. Watts Biggers

It's finally happened.  I plucked this book off my shelves the other day, and I realized that I have no idea why I bought it.  Someone must have mentioned it on a blog or in a group that I belong to, but I can't remember.  I find that sad and disturbing.

Maybe I bought it because of the author.  Who's W. Watts Biggers?  Well, for one thing, he's the co-creator of the beloved TV series Underdog, among many others.  He wrote the theme song, too.  You can read all about him here.  This book is nothing at all like Underdog, however.  It's very strange.

A young boy (about 12 years old) with no memory of his past and no ability to remember anything that he's told or that happens to him is dropped off at a boy's school by a man who refuses to answer any questions.  The boy is given the name of Caro.  He gets some odd therapy and improves a bit, but because he's developing sexual feelings for his therapist, he leaves the school, after which time he appears to have no trouble remembering things, although he never recalls his past prior to his time in the school.  He begins a picaresque journey as he searches for his purpose in life, which he believes can be discovered through books and through studying the life of General Douglas MacArthur.  Bad things happen.

In the end Caro learns . . . something.  I'm not sure what.  The book is short, however, and Caro's adventures held my interest, so there's that.

Thursday, May 19, 2016


Man-eating crocodiles found in Florida  

Hat tip to Art Scott.

In That Case, Ma'am, You Are Free to Go

The Smoking Gun: Instead, the “crying and angry” Turner, 26, was miffed because, as she told police, “Everyone steals from this store. Why are you picking on me?”

Morley Safer, R. I. P.

Morley Safer Dead at 84: Just days after retiring from 60 Minutes, Morley Safer is dead at age 84, reports CBS News. No word yet on a cause of death for Safer, who had worked on the show about half a century. His retirement, however, was attributed to unspecified health issues, notes CNN Money.  

Hat tip to Deb.

27 Facts That Will Shatter Your Perception Of Time

27 Facts That Will Shatter Your Perception Of Time

Song of the Day

Cookie and the Cupcakes - Mathilda - YouTube:

I Miss the Old Days

The Groovy Age of Travel #14: Stewardesses (Part 3) | Retrospace

First It Was the Thin Mint Melee

Woman Accused Of Taking Bat To Man’s Car For Staying In Front Of Gas Pump For Too Long 

Today's Vintage Ad

Eleven Cringeworthy Sci-Fi Series From the Eighties

Eleven Cringeworthy Sci-Fi Series From the Eighties  

Link via mental_floss.


Delmar Kingsland, Hoyden of the Mountains (Mountain Sinner), Croydon, 1954

From the swamps to the hills to the mountains.  This completes the hoyden trifecta.

Pitmaster has wild plans for barbecue festival

For the event, Pinkerton's BBQ will be smoking a whole alligator: "It tastes like a chicken and a shrimp had a baby," Grant Pinkerton said, "or as I say 'swamp chicken.' "  

Excellent photos at the link.


A Look Inside Florence's Strangest Archive: For six centuries, the Corsini Family has recorded everything that's ever happened to them.

The Key West Private Eye – Gideon Lowry

The Public Life of Sherlock Holmes: The Key West Private Eye – Gideon Lowry

Julia Meade, R. I. P.

The New York Times: Ms. Meade became a household name to Americans as a pitchwoman — as the elegant public face of Lincoln beginning in 1953 and as the promoter of a range of other products, including gas-powered appliances, Hudnut hair products, Life magazine and Kodak cameras.  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Bid Early and Often

Christie’s Announces Sale of 1865 First Issue of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Lawyer: The Retributioners -- Wayne Dundee

 Wayne Dundee has become a reliably entertaining western writer, and I recently read The Lawyer: The Retributioners. Sounds kind of like a title in the Matt Helm series, right? But it’s a western, for sure. The titular lawyer is J. D. Miller, a respectable and respected man until some outlaws kill his wife and daughter. Now he’s tracking the baddies down and getting his revenge. I haven’t read any of the other novellas (not novels) in this series produced by David Cranmer at Beat to a Pulp press, but I know that not all of them are written by Dundee, not that it matters. 

In this one The Lawyer finds himself in a small town just as a jailbreak occurs. The sheriff is killed, but The Lawyer kills one of the baddies, which causes to the town’s civic leaders to ask him to be the new sheriff. He’s not interested because one member of the gang the broke their compadre out of the jail is a guy The Lawyer is looking for. 

Besides, he doesn’t like the leaders because they won’t promote one of the deputies, a black man named Ernest Tell, to the sheriff’s position. The Lawyer goes after the gang after refusing Tell’s offer to accompany him. However, he and Tell eventually join forces for the big shootout. Dundee has a clean hardboiled style, and he knows how to keep things moving.  Good stuff for us western fans.

Once Again Texas Leads the Way

School defends video of San Antonio students jumping rope with cat intestines, PETA upset

Because the Original Was Too Hard for Young Adults to Read?

YA Edition of Dan Brown's 'Da Vinci Code' Announced for Fall

You Know You Want One

Crocodile Bookmark Turns Your Books Into a Literary Swamp

“Ballet, Law, and Mystery” (by V.S. Kemanis)

“Ballet, Law, and Mystery” (by V.S. Kemanis) | SOMETHING IS GOING TO HAPPEN: V.S. Kemanis’s first story for EQMM appeared in our September/October 2013 issue. At that time she was already the author of many published short stories and the first novel in her Dana Hargrove legal-mystery series had appeared to strong reviews. Her third Hargrove novel, Forsaken Oath, was released this past spring. The series was inspired by her own career as a lawyer. She is also a ballet dancer en pointe, however, and she drew upon her dance experience for her upcoming EQMM story, “Journal Entry, Franklin DeWitt,” which will appear in the August 2016 issue. For this new post, she has creatively fused her experiences as writer, lawyer, and dancer.—Janet Hutchings

Song of the Day

The String-A-Longs - Mathilda - YouTube:

I Miss the Old Days

Lost Facades of the 1970s Anti-Walmart: Their Houston store, dubbed the ‘Indeterminate Facade’ with its crumbling bricks, is said to have appeared in more books on 20th-century architecture than photographs of any other modern structure.  

Judy and I shopped there many times when we first moved to Alvin, as it wasn't too far away.

Today's Vintage Ad

This Explains a Lot

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Accuses Kim Kardashian of Being a Secret Agent: A spokesman for the group’s Organized Cyberspace Crimes Unit accused Kardashian of working for Instagram as part of a complicated ploy to “target young people and women,” ostensibly corrupting them with aspirational photos depicting a lifestyle that’s at odds with Islam.


Ann Lawrence, Hoyden of the Hills (She Wanted More), Uni Books, 1951

If This Works, It's Another SF Device Made Real

Pilot earbuds are like a real life, language-translating babel fish

Great authors flying under the radar

Great authors flying under the radar 

If This Works, It's Another SF Device Made Real

Pilot earbuds are like a real life, language-translating babel fish

Dick McAuliffe,R. I. P.

Dick McAuliffe, from 1968 champion Detroit Tigers, dies at 76: Dick McAuliffe, an infielder for the 1968 World Series champion Detroit Tigers, died on Friday. He was 76. The Tigers confirmed McAuliffe’s passing and held a moment of silence before Monday’s game for him and former first-round pick John Young. A three-time All-Star, McAuliffe was known for his unique batting stance and 1968 fight with Tommy John.  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Paris Hilton Update

Paris Hilton stuns in risque plunging white gown with brother Byron in Cannes   

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Tourist crouches down on the back of a wild CROCODILE to pose for the camera in Ghana  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Science Fiction Stories, January 1955: A Retro-Review

Science Fiction Stories, January 1955: A Retro-Review

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

In That Case, Ma'am, You Are Free to Go

Walmart Theft Suspect Told Cops She Was "Too Lazy" To Pay For Stolen Sex Toys  

And you have to admit that she does look lazy.

Free for Kindle for a Limited Time

Southsiders:That's All Right - Kindle edition by Nigel Bird. Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Kindle eBooks @  Ray Spalding's had enough of his wife, Paula. He's left his home in Edinburgh's Southside and headed for Belfast. It's safer there.

Unknown to Ray, Paula's also had enough of him. She's not going back home. Not now, not ever.

Bill Backer, R. I. P.

Bill Backer, Man Behind World's 'Most Famous Ad,' Dead at 89:  If you were alive in the early '70s, you knew the ad. Even if you weren't, you probably do: "I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke" was such a hit upon its Feb. 12, 1971, debut that radio DJs were flooded with calls to play it, "as if it were a song by The Doors or the Jackson 5," notes the Washington Post. It was the brainchild of Bill Backer, who died Friday in Warrenton, Va., at age 89. The tributes are pouring in for the man whose most famous ad featured into the final scene in the series finale of Mad Men.

Hat tip to Deb.

'Face/Off' recut as a spaghetti western

'Face/Off' recut as a spaghetti western is the fake trailer you never knew you wanted

Guy Clark, R. I. P.

Guy Clark dead at 74: Guy Charles Clark, the gravel-voiced troubadour who crafted a vast catalog of emotionally charged, intricately detailed works that illuminated and expanded the literary possibilities of popular song, died in Nashville Tuesday morning after a long illness.

Song of the Day

Jimmy Reed - Bright Lights Big City (with lyrics) - YouTube:

I Miss the Old Days

Funky stock photos from the dawn of disco

Today's Vintage Ad

I Think I'd Learned to Tie My Shoes by the Time I Was Fourteen

This 14-year-old turned down a $30M buyout offer 


Jack Woodford & John B. Thompson, Swamp Hoyden (Sincerely Yours), Uni Books, 1951

I Think I'd Learned to Tie My Shoes by the Time I Was Nine

Self-made millionaire Isabella Barrett reveals how she made her money - aged just NINE

Another Great Book from Stark House

STARK HOUSE PRESS: Ancient Egyptian Supernatural Tales 978-1-944520-05-2 A superb collection of stories in which ancient Egyptian mysticism, mummies, and other supernatural occurrences play a significant role, including tales by Edgar Allan Poe, Louisa May Alcott, Arthur Conan Doyle, Tennessee Williams, H. Rider Haggard, Algernon Blackwood, Sax Rohmer and more. July 2016.

The Trap of Solid Gold: "The Rabbit Gets a Gun"

The Trap of Solid Gold: "The Rabbit Gets a Gun"

Overlooked Movies -- Trancers

Tagline: Jack Deth is back -- and he hasn't even been here before.

Trancers is a dandy little B-movie that spawned quite a few sequels (I stopped watching with Trancers III, but I think there were more).  It's a hardboiled detective time travel movie.  Irresistible?  Sure.  Add to that Tim Thomerson doing a fine job as the trenchcoated star and voiceover guy and Helen Hunt being Helen Hunt (I like Helen Hunt).  It's a great combination.

The plot? Okay, here we go. Thomerson is Jack Deth (great name, right?), a police trooper in the far future (2247) who's after a guy named Whistler, who uses the power of his mind to turn people into zombies who serve him.  He evades capture by means of a drug that enables him to travel back to 1985 and inhabit the body of one of his ancestors, leaving his 2247 body behind (hey, it could work).  Deth finds out what's happened and destroys Whistler's body so he can't return to it.  Then Deth goes to 1985 to get Whistler.  Many complications ensue, including the fact that Whistler's ancestor happens to be a high-ranking cop and that Deth's ancestor is a reporter whose girlfriend is Helen Hunt.  Who'd go back to the future if his girlfriend was Helen Hunt?

If you watched the trailer posted below, you know that the special effects are cheap, and in fact the whole production is cheap, but Trancers is one of those B-movies that overcomes its flaws and brings the fun.  There's a reason there are so many sequels (which, let's face it, aren't as good as this one, although Trancers III isn't bad).  Check it out.


Trancers trailer (1985) - YouTube:

Monday, May 16, 2016

We No Longer Live in the Land of the Free

Rochester Woman Ticketed For Yelling About Toast At Denny’s

Wise Words from a Friend of the Blog

Middle class workers struggling in a ‘gig economy’ 

Night Shift -- Charlaine Harris

This is the third and supposedly final book in Charlaine Harris' series about Midnight, Texas.  I wonder if that's true, now that NBC has announced a TV series based on the books.  Certainly, Harris has left just enough loose ends here to carry on if she wants to, and the characters could easily provide a lot more stories.  After all, living in Crossroads are a vampire, a contract killer, some weretigers, some angels, a witch, a psychic, a talking cat, and even a few normal folks.  I've enjoyed all three books in this series (I talked about the first one here), and it would be fine with me if more books came along.  If not, that's okay, since the ending of this one wraps things up nicely.

In the first two books, the question of why certain kinds of people were drawn to Midnight, located at a crossroad, wasn't answered.  We find out here, however.  There's a demon that's been buried under the crossroad for 250 years, and it's waking up.  It will take a powerful witch and others with supernatural powers to prevent it from emerging for another 250 years.  It's not an easy job, but there are plenty of other things going on in Midnight, too.  People are coming there and committing suicide, for instance.  And some of the residents just don't fit in, although nobody's quite sure what's up with them.  And the love live of Fiji, the witch, is getting complicated, not to mention the fact that her sister, who's not a nice person, has showed up and moved in with her.

The trilogy, and this book in particular, shows Harris' masterful storytelling ability as well as anything she's written.  She's in complete control of the narrative, taking her time, planting hints, developing characters, providing suspense and some laughs along the way.  I'm not sure I'll watch the TV series, but I'm sure glad I read the books.  Check 'em out.

John D and Me: H. Terrell Griffin

John D and Me: H. Terrell Griffin

Song of the Day

Nightshift - Commodores w/Lyrics - YouTube:

Paging Mike Tyson

Cannibal who bit off man's ear told police it was 'chewy' and he was saving it for later

Forgotten Hits: Sweet 16: Elvis and the Beatles

Forgotten Hits: SWEET 16: ELVIS and THE BEATLES

Today's Vintage Ad

Best Idea Ever -- Cage of Thrones!

If Nicolas Cage Played Every Character In Game Of Thrones


Kermit Welles (Manning Lee Stokes), Shanty Boat Girl (Sin Preferred), Cameo Books, 1951

Sylvia Lewis danced with the stars

Sylvia Lewis danced with the stars: The stages of early Hollywood studios are littered with the broken hearts of chorus dancers who failed to professionally transition beyond the dance floor. But Sylvia Lewis, who turns 85 on April 22, was not one of them.  

Hat tip to Jeff Segal.

Great Article

He's got four million doo-wop 45s for sale, but browers beware  

Hat tip to Jeff Segal.

I Missed an Anniversary

I can't believe I forgot about this, but January marked 35 years since the publication of The Coyote Connection, the Nick Carter novel I wrote in collaboration with the late Jack Davis.  It's notable mainly for the serious screwup with a name in the first several pages, but that's a story for another time.

Here's a link to the post I wrote on the 30th anniversary of the book's publication.

Here's the picture of me and Jack and Judy at our publication party.

And finally, here's a link to a little walk down Memory Lane.

Hollywood's Forgotten Gossip Girl

All The Dirt On Rona Barrett, Hollywood's Forgotten Gossip Girl

Sunday, May 15, 2016

First It Was the Thin Mint Melee

Ruby Rose booted from New Orleans restaurant for throwing fries at waitstaff  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Julius La Rosa, R. I. P.

The New York Times: Julius La Rosa, the celebrated 1950s singer who reinvented himself as a television, stage and nightclub performer after his young career was thrown into turmoil by a bizarre and humiliating on-the-air firing by Arthur Godfrey before a national audience, died on Thursday at his home in Crivitz, Wis. He was 86.

Johnny Sea, R. I. P.

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: Johnny Sea, Johnny Seay born John Allan Seay, Jr., July 15, 1940 [Gulfport, Mississippi] died May 14, 2016 (West, TX) was an American country singer. His first hits came in the late 1950s, and his career saw a resurgence in the mid-1960s, particularly with the release of his spoken word single "Day For Decision".

Will the Persecution Never End?

AOL: But while some stars like Kristen Stewart hit high note after high note, others like Paris Hilton totally flopped.  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Madeleine LeBeau, R. I. P.

The Washington Post: Madeleine LeBeau, a French actress who fled Nazi-occupied Europe for Hollywood, where she made the best of a small role as the scorned girlfriend of Humphrey Bogart’s Rick Blaine in “Casablanca,” died May 1 in Estepona, Spain. She was widely reported to be 92.  

Hat tip to John Duke.

Compare the Word Counts of Famous Fictional Works

Compare the Word Counts of Famous Fictional Works With This Handy Graphic

Song of the Day

Scarlet Ribbons - The Browns - YouTube:

It Ain't Me, Babe

The Richest Person in Each State 

Today's Vintage Ad

Vintage Posters of Circus and Magic

Vintage Attractive Posters of Circus and Magic in the late 19th Century  

Link via The Presurfer.


Orrie Hitt, Cabin Fever, Uni Books, 1954

A Review of Interest (To Me, Anyway)

Words & Music: Bill Crider, A Bond With Death

NOMINEES for the Sixth Annual Peacemaker Awards

Western Fictioneers: NOMINEES for the Sixth Annual (2016) Peacemaker Awards

Bram Stoker Award® Winners

Bram Stoker Award® Winners Announced in Las Vegas  

Hat tip to Todd Mason.

The 2015 The Nebula Awards

Women Swept The 2015 The Nebula Awards

First It Was the Thin Mint Melee

Video captures moment drivers leap to accost road rage man and woman in Texas  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

He was arrested for carrying a concealed gub.

Man tries to hold up Rohnert Park car wash with potato chip bag  

Hat tip to Art Scott.

Missouri's Great Snake Scare of 1953

Missouri's Great Escaped Snake Scare of 1953: Between August and October, residents of Springfield fought off cobras with garden hoes.