Saturday, May 20, 2017

First It Was the Thin Mints Melee

Woman charged for macing fast food employees over stale french fries  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Stevie Nicks --Tougher than You Thought

Getting Kicks With Stevie Nicks - Self-defence Book  

Link via Messy Nessy.

Song of the Day

Blackland Farmer - YouTube:

The Enduring Mystery of the Antikythera Mechanism

The Enduring Mystery of the Antikythera Mechanism 

Today's Vintage Ad

Good Luck!

10 More Missing Treasures You Can Still Find


Eugene Cunningham, Gun Bulldogger, Dell, 1954

Oscar Winning Movies & Biggest Box Office Hits From Your Birthday Year

Thrillist: Your birthday gifts you a Zodiac sign, a generation, a gemstone, a Chinese animal avatar, a spiritual celebrity twin born the same day, or just your own personal holiday to tide you over until the next national day off. But why stop there? Your entire birth year deserves a symbolic movie, too, the BIGGEST film from a 12-month window that surely says something about where you've come from, and who you've become.

Forgotten Hits: May 20th

Forgotten Hits: May 20th: A British radio station world premiers the brand new Beatles album "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band", airing it in its entirety.

Well, almost.

BBC Disc Jockey Kenny Everett had the honors and broadcast the album on his BBC Light Program, "Where It's At".

However, he was not allowed to play the LP's final track, "A Day In The Life", as the BBC had banned it the day before due to its drug references.

All Right!

'Mamma Mia' Sequel in the Works

Time for a George Kelley Road Trip


Friday, May 19, 2017

The Rosicrucian Mummies of San Jose

The Rosicrucian Mummies of San Jose: Tucked away in an area of San Jose best known for its green lawns and high-end homes are ancient mummies of everything from cats to catfish, including a few mummified people. These mummies rest in San Jose’s Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum with more than 4,000 other artifacts (originals and replicas), the largest collection of Egyptian artifacts on exhibit in the western United States.

Song of the Day

OTIS REDDING-respect - YouTube:

I Miss the Old Days

When Roller Disco Was All the Rage! 16 Interesting Vintage Photos of Famous People on Roller Skates from the 1970s and '80s  

Some pictures are mildly NSFW.

Today's Vintage Ad

Dennis Lehane Interview

Dennis Lehane Can Quote The Great Gatsby Endlessly


Lincoln Drew, Die in the Saddle, Perma Books, 1956

Yet Another List I'm Not On

Top 10 Luckiest People In The World

17 Famous Authors and Their Rejections

17 Famous Authors and Their Rejections

Forgotten Hits: May 19th

Forgotten Hits: May 19th: Notable debuts on this week's chart include "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell (#68), "Seven Rooms Of Gloom" by The Four Tops (#77) and "Sound Of Love" by The Five Americans (#82).  The Everly Brothers make their first chart appearance in awhile as "Bowling Green" debuts at #99, followed at #100 by "Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat", a rare, non-hit single by Bob Dylan.  

Includes a couple of surveys.

FFB: Rafferty: Last Seen Alive -- W. Glenn Duncan

About nine years ago I reviewed a book in W. Glenn Duncan's Rafferty series, and you can read those comments here.  What I said then is still true today, and I still find these books as entertaining as ever, solid p.i. novels like the ones from the Old Days, but with some more modern touches (well, modern means the '80s to me).  Be sure to check out the comments on the post linked above, as Duncan's son has recently posted some updated information and says the series is coming back into print.

In Last Seen Alive, Rafferty is taken out of his comfort zone and  the plot puts him in a sailboat on Lake Texhoma.  For a while.  The boat doesn't last that long.  But I'm getting ahead of myself.  First Rafferty has to meet a woman in a bar and do a little flirting, and then she has to get herself killed.  That's where the title comes in because Rafferty is the last one to see her alive, and he's soon the sheriff's top suspect in her murder.  Drugs are involved.  And goons and rednecks.  Cowboy and Mimi are called in to help (see the linked review for comments on those two; great characters).  Rafferty cites a number of his rules.

It's all sorted out in the end, and this is another fast-moving, often funny, always enjoyable outing for Rafferty.  P.I. fans take note.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

This week’s tabloids

Trump saves America, Hillary caught fleeing, and drugs, sex and lies at Fox News, in this week’s tabloids 

Song of the Day

The Youngbloods - Grizzley Bear 1967 - YouTube:

Ranking authors by their adverb use

Ranking authors by their adverb use: The famously spare Hemingway used 80 words ending in -ly per 10,000 words of prose; JK Rowling uses 140 adverbs per 10,000 words, and EL James uses 155.

Today's Vintage Ad

Get Out Your Quill

Can You Write Like Shakespeare?: Fancy yourself the next Bard of Avon? Well then, here’s your chance: The American Shakespeare Center (ASC) in Staunton, Virginia, announced last month an international playwriting competition called “Shakespeare’s New Contemporaries.” The contest seeks to inspire dramatists to “compose original works that serve as partner plays to Shakespeare’s classics.” ASC hopes to find 38 winning plays--each serving as a modern companion to one of Will’s original 38--and to produce them over the next 20 years.


Howard Fast, The Last Frontier, Avon, 1949

Download 200 Free Art Books, Courtesy of the Guggenheim

Download 200 Free Art Books, Courtesy of the Guggenheim: Titles devoted to Picasso, Rothko, Lichtenstein, Klimt and more are now available for your reading pleasure


Suspicious minds: why Elvis's posthumous popularity is plummeting:  With a third of young adults having never heard an Elvis song and the value of his merchandise sinking, is the king of rock’n’roll destined to be remembered as nothing more than a goofy tribute act?

Jean Fritz, R.I. P.

New York Times: Jean Fritz, an award-winning writer whose work helped transform historical biographies for children from leaden recitals of battles and dates into warm, human narratives full of quirks and crotchets and satisfyingly strange facts, died on Sunday at her home in Sleepy Hollow, N.Y. She was 101.  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Chris Cornell, R. I. P.

Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell has died and Twitter is heartbroken: Chris Cornell, the incredible voice behind Soundgarden and later Audioslave, has died at age 52, his representative told CNN and AP.

First It Was the Thin Mints Melee

Pizza Hut supervisor pepper-sprays employee in Sandy Springs: After an argument sparked by how pepperoni and cheese were placed on a pizza, a Pizza Hut supervisor pepper-sprayed a coworker, according to a police report.

“Write What You Know” is Not Good Writing Advice

“Write What You Know” is Not Good Writing Advice

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Alvin, Texas, Leads the Way!

Mom claims son captured his guardian angel on camera

Free for Kindle for a Limited Time

Shallow Grave: A Pete Fernandez/Jackson Donne Joint (A Polis Books Twist) by [Segura, Alex, White, Dave]Shallow Grave: A Pete Fernandez/Jackson Donne Joint (A Polis Books Twist) - Kindle edition by Alex Segura, Dave White. Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Kindle eBooks @

I Want to Believe!

Multiverse: have astronomers found evidence of parallel universes?

The Old Days Live!

Feels like the 1st time: many '77 rock kings still touring

Song of the Day

The Crickets - Love's Made A Fool Of You - YouTube:

Earl Sinks, R. I. P.

Earl Sinks - Wikipedia: Henry Earl Sinks (January 1, 1940-May 13, 2017), known professionally as Earl Sinks, was an American singer-songwriter and actor, known by many pseudonyms. He led a prolific musical and acting career from the 1950s to the 1990s before retiring. He was best known for his long music career, including his brief tenure as lead singer of the Crickets from 1958 to 1960, and for his acting roles in numerous low budget movies and TV shows in the 60s.

Today's Vintage Ad

Anthony Award Nominations | Bouchercon 2017

Anthony Award Nominations | Bouchercon 2017

“The Whys of Murder” by Sharon Hunt

“The Whys of Murder” by Sharon Hunt | SOMETHING IS GOING TO HAPPEN: Sharon Hunt is a widely published food writer who also wrote for many literary magazines before turning to crime fiction. Her first story for EQMM, 2015’s “The Water Was Rising,” earned nominations for two prestigious best-short-story awards, Canada’s Arthur Ellis and the International Thriller Award. Her second EQMM story appears in our upcoming July/August 2017 issue and it will be followed soon by a third suspenseful Hunt tale. This is the Ontario author’s second post for this site (see “Fleshing Out Mysteries”). In it she talks about one of the great suspense writers who influenced her fiction.—Janet Hutchings


K. R. G. Granger, Ten Against Caesar, Popular Library, 1953

I Miss the Old Days

40 Amazing Behind the Scenes Photos from the Making of the Film "Goldfinger" (1964)

Paris Hilton Update

Katy Perry Shared A Glimpse Of Paris Hilton's Home And I'm Screaming: WAKE UP WORLD! 2017 is OFFICIALLY the year of Paris.

Once Again Texas Leads the Way

Austin man sues date for texting during movie  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Forgotten Hits: May 17th

Forgotten Hits: May 17th: Big movers this week include "Tramp" by Otis and Carla (#62 to #43), "Alfie" by Dionne Warwick (#57 to #44), "Do It Again A Little Bit Slower" by Jon and Robin (#64 to #45), "She'd Rather Be With Me" by The Turtles (up 43 places from #91 to #48!), "Come On Down To My Boat" by Every Mother's Son (#75 to #58), "Long Legged Girl (With The Short Dress On)" by Elvis Presley (#85 to #62), "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" by Frankie Valli (#90 to #67) and "Let's Live For Today" by The Grass Roots (#94 to #73).

Bonus FFB on Wednesday: A Dark Traveling -- Roger Zelazny

In this YA novel, Jim is fourteen and a werewolf, although he's not a fully developed werewolf yet like older brother, Dave.  Becky, Jim's sister (adopted, not blood), is a witch, and Barry, an exchange student living with them, is a martial arts expert.  A golem patrols their house and the nearby lab when needed, and it's needed the night Jim's dad disappears.  There's blood on the floor, and the transcomp machine is damaged.

About that transcomp machine.  There are all these parallel worlds, see, and the machine is used to travel between them (lightworlds, grayworlds, darkworlds, deadworlds).  So where's old dad gone, who attacked him, and what the hell is going on?

A lot is going on, and frankly I'm not sure I kept up with all of it. There's a war going on with one of the darkworlds, and Jim's dad is involved.  So is his brother.  So dad is probably in one of the other worlds, but which one and how to get to it?  Did I mention that Becky is a witch?  Maybe she can arrange for travel between the worlds with magic.  Yep.  Sure enough.

This is a very short book, a novella, really, and there's a lot going on.  So much that everything is given short shrift.  I like short books, but this is one that needed fleshing out.  Zelazny does bring all the different plot lines together in the end, which introduces a clever twist, but it's not up to his best work.  

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Song of the Day

Deep Purple - Smoke on the Water - YouTube:

Today's Vintage Ad


Frank O'Rourke, Ambuscade, Signet, 1959

John Cygan, R. I. P.

NY Daily News: Cygan was most recognizable for his role as Paulie Pentangeli in “The Commish,” an ABC cop show that ran from 1991 to 1996, starring Michael Chiklis, Theresa Saidana and Kaj-Erik Eriksen.

Hat tip to  Jeff Meyerson.

Overlooked Movies -- The Man in the Iron Mask (1939)

You might have seen articles about how 1939 was a magical year for movies, but I don't think any of those articles mention The Man in the Iron Mask.  Don't ask me why.  I think it deserves a place in the pantheon, or if it doesn't, it's only just outside it.  It was directed by James Whale, and it's a lavish B&W production.  It would have been great in color, but the B&W photography is wonderful in its own way.  Whale even gets into a creepy horror mode in the dungeon scenes with the iron mask in place, much more effective in B&W than they would've been in color.

You know the story, I'm sure, and the movie follows the plot of The Vicomte of Bragelonne: Ten Years Later, which is just one part of a much, much longer novel.  It's sometimes published separately as The Man in the Iron Mask, and it features D'artagnan and the Three Musketeers in their final adventure.  When twin sons are born to the King of France,  Louis XIII (Albert Dekker), one of them is sent away at birth to live in Gascony with D'artagnan (Warren William) and the Musketeers.  This son is Philippe (Louis Hayward), and he's a fine fellow.  His twin is Louis XIV (Louis Hayward), and he's a cruel, self-centered twit.  He's also about to be married to the lovely Maria Theresa (Joan Bennett) of Spain to achieve an alliance between France and Spain.  One of Louis' advisers (and his controller) is Fouquet (Joseph Schildkraut), who's achieved the position because he knows about Philippe.  He hasn't told anyone, especially not Louis.  Another adviser, though not nearly as close as Fouquet to the king, is Colbert (Walter Kingsford), who also knows the secret and was the most trusted of Louis XIII's advisers.  

Complications ensue, and the brothers are eventually brought together.  [HUGE SPOILERS] After Philippe becomes too much of a danger, Louis has him imprisoned in the iron mask.  He's rescued by the Musketeers and D'artagnan, and a switch is made.  But Fouquet sets Louis free, and there's a big final battle in which {REALLY HUGE SPOILER, DON'T READ THIS} Athos, Aramis, and Porthos are killed.  D'Artagnan is mortally wounded and dies at the wedding of Philippe and Maria Theresa.  Louis goes back into the Bastille, and the final scene shows the Musketeers and D'artagnan riding their white horses in the clouds.  [END OF HUGE SPOILERS]

The acting is great in this one.  Fouquet is truly slimy, Warren William is a fine older D'artagnan, and Joan Bennett is lovely.  The real revelation to me was Louis Hayward, who manages to make the brothers truly distinct.  It's not just the simple stuff, either, but extends to the tone of voice and the way of moving.  The guy was a fine actor, but he never hit the big time.  He kept on working, though, so that was good.

This movie's probably not for everybody, but I had a great time watching it.   There's no trailer, but the first sword-fighting scene is embedded below.

The Man in the Iron Mask (1939) -- First Battle

The Man in the Iron Mask 1939 First Battle - YouTube:

Monday, May 15, 2017


The Dapper Daredevil who Documented America’s Skyline in the Making

Song of the Day

Save the Country by the Fifth Dimension - YouTube:

I'm Sure You'll All Agree

Five Current TV Shows With the Best Intro Theme Songs

Today's Vintage Ad

Great Essay on Dragnet

About Last Night If you’re fifty or older, you won’t need to be told the source of these half-recalled phrases: “The story you are about to see is true.” “This is the city.” “I carry a badge.” “My name’s Friday.” If you’re much younger than that, though, I doubt that you’ll remember Dragnet with any clarity. In the early days of network television, Dragnet was the most successful of all cops-and-robbers TV shows, as well as the most influential. It’s still influential—every episode of Law and Order bears its indelible stamp—but TV has since moved in flashier directions, and I doubt that the narrative conventions brought into being by Jack Webb, the director, producer, and star of Dragnet, will remain conventional for much longer.  

Hat tip to Art Scott.


MacKinley Kantor, Wicked Water, Bantam, 1950

I Miss the Old Days

30 Impressive Photos Capture Everyday Life of Times Square Area, New York City in the 1980s

I'm Sure You'll All Agree

The Best Diner in All 50 States 

Yale Lary, R. I. P.

The New York Times: Yale Lary, a Hall of Fame safety and a superb punter who helped take the Detroit Lions to three N.F.L. championships in the 1950s, died on Thursday at his home in Fort Worth. He was 86. 

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Forgotten Hits: May 15th

Forgotten Hits: May 15th: It was only a matter of time as "Groovin'" by The Young Rascals moves into the #1 spot on this week's chart.  (It was a steady climb … #91 to #48 to #19 to #4 to #1).  "Respect" by Aretha Franklin, "Release Me" by Engelbert Humperdinck and "Girl, You'll Be A Woman Soon" by Neil Diamond all make their Top Ten debuts at #'s 4, 8 and 10 respectively.

Peacemaker Nominees


Powers Booth, R. I. P.

NY Daily News: LOS ANGELES (AP) — Powers Boothe, the character actor known for his villain roles in TV's "Deadwood," and in the movies "Tombstone," ''Sin City" and "The Avengers," has died. He was 68.  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Wait, 17 Is Dozens?

Archaeologists unearth dozens of 2,300-year-old mummies in ancient Egyptian burial site: THAT'S A PHARAOH DISCOVERY! Archaeologists unearth dozens of 2,300-year-old mummies in ancient Egyptian burial site

Sunday, May 14, 2017

All Systems Red -- Martha Wells

Planetary explorers are required by the Company to have Security Units (SecUnits) with them.  A SecUnit is an android, partially organic, partially a weaponized suit of armor, supposedly well equipped to handle any situation, and it's one of those SecUnits who narrates All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries), a new novella from Martha Wells.  

SecUnits don't have names, but this one is self-named Murderbot because Murderbot has hacked the governing system and has free will.  Murderbot could have become a serial killer, but has chosen instead to download thousands of hours of video entertainment and is particularly fond of a show called Sanctuary Moon.  What could possibly go wrong?

Plenty, of course, including the murder of every member of a much larger exploratory team on the planet.  Murderbot doesn't particularly like the humans s/he works with, but a job's a job, and the action's pretty much nonstop after the murders are discovered.  Murderbot goes well above and beyond the expected duties, and soon most of the humans on the team begin to suspect that Murderbot is pretty much a human, too.  And they're right, but Murderbot can't stand to be treated as an equal, preferring to cover up at all times or even be in a different room if possible.  So within the action story there's also the story of the developing relationship between Murderbot and the team members and Murderbot's growing realization that there's more to life than being a SecUnit.

All Systems Red is great SF entertainment, with a thoroughly engaging narrator, humor, action, and heart.  Check it out.

I'm Sure You'll All Agree

Celebrate Mother's Day With The Best TV Moms of the Last 7 Decades 

Song of the Day

(1) Mr. T's Mother's Day Rap "Treat Your Momma Right" - YouTube:

Baby Names Update

The Biggest Changes on the 2016 SSA Baby Names List: Say hello once again to Noah and Emma, who made the top of the baby names list for the third year in a row. The Social Security Administration has released the data on what Americans named their babies in 2016, and at the top, it looks almost exactly the same as last year.

Today's Vintage Ad

We love our Southern mamas

We love our Southern mamas, even when we can't be sure if they just insulted us


Amber Dean, Something for the Birds, Pocket Books, 1961

Or Maybe You Do

10 Things You Might Not Know About Mother's Day

Or Maybe You Did

The radical history of Mother's Day you never knew about

I Miss the Old Days

Forgotten Hits: May 14th: Mickey Mantle hits his 500th Career Home Run for the New York Yankees. To the delight of all the fans, it happens at home in Yankee Stadium.

Video included.

Happy Mother's Day!

Frances Antoinette Brodnax Crider and Two Kids, 1943