Saturday, June 10, 2017

Beautiful Miniature Books

Beautiful Miniature Books That Are Worth Sacrificing Your Eyesight For

Song of the Day

B.Bumble & The Stingers - Nut Rocker - YouTube:

Yes, Gators Are Included

La Specola Zoological Museum – Florence, Italy: An incredible menagerie of more than 3 million taxidermied animals at the oldest science museum in Europe.

Today's Vintage Ad

Or Maybe You Have

The Best Sci-Fi Comedies You've Never Seen


Lee Richards, The Punks, Beacon, 1966

I Miss the Old Days

41 Postcards of '50s Beauties in Swimsuits

I'm Sure You'll All Agree

The 25 Best Films of the 21st Century So Far

Elin Hilderbrand: By the Book

Elin Hilderbrand: By the Book

Friday, June 09, 2017

This week’s tabloids

Space ship found in ice, Hillary’s boozing, and why Ivanka disagrees with Donald, in this week’s tabloids 

Song of the Day

The Chantels - Maybe (1958) - YouTube:

Glenne Headly, R. I. P.

Variety: The film, television actress, and theater actress was known for starring alongside Warren Beatty in 1990’s “Dick Tracy” as Tess Trueheart. She was nominated for an Emmy for her role in the 1989 miniseries “Lonesome Dove,” as well as the 1996 Showtime film adaptation of “Bastard Out of Carolina.” She was in production on the Seth Rogen-Evan Goldberg produced Hulu comedy series “Future Man” at the time of her death.

The Mutilated Currency Division

Atlas Obscura: The colorfully named Mutilated Currency Division at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing is a small office of crack forensics that spend their days poring over all manner of defaced dollars. Provided for free as a public service, the Mutilated Currency employees labor to identify bits and fragments of identifiable denominations that can be redeemed at face value.

Today's Vintage Ad

The Strange Story Of 'Convoy'

The Strange Story Of 'Convoy': How A Trucker's Protest Anthem Became A '70s Hit 


Orrie Hitt, Pushover, Beacon, 1957

I Miss the Old Days

How to Use Hair Rollers in the Right Way? These 40 Color Snapshots Will Give You a Reference Look

The Most Beautiful Office in New York City

Joseph Kanon: There Is No Better Place to Write than the Library

FFB: Mulliner Nights -- P. G. Wodehouse

Probably no Wodehouse book is forgotten, but I'd never read any of the Mulliner books before, and maybe you haven't, either. 

Mr. Mulliner, the narrator of all the stories in this collection, is a gent who frequents a pub known as The Angler's Rest.  Whenever anyone in the place brings up a topic, Mr. Mulliner has a story about it, and the story always involves one of his relatives, often a nephew.  Some of the stories are vaguely crime or mystery related, and my favorite among these is  "Strychnine in the Soup," which has some amusing comments about a bestselling mystery novel.  And that reminds me of "Best Seller," which is about a young man in the publishing game.  He can't stand romance novels, and he's engaged to a girl who's never written anything before but who writes a bestselling romance novel after their engagement.  "The Smile that Wins" is about a detective with an odd smile.  It makes people confess.  There are two fine stories about cats, and every story here made me laugh. I don't think of any of them as top-shelf Wodehouse, but you can't go wrong with Wodehouse, no matter what shelf you're choosing from.  If you need a laugh or a smile, you'll find plenty of both in this collection.

Table of Contents:
"The Smile that Wins"
"The Story of Webster"
"Cats Will be Cats"
"The Knightly Quest of Mervyn"
"The Voice from the Past"
"Open House"
"Best Seller"
"Strychnine in the Soup"

"Gala Night"

Thursday, June 08, 2017

On the Trail of Chandler's Comic Operetta

This is a fascinating essay.  We may never get to see the libretto, but there's a petition you can sign (link in the essay) that might lead to its release.

"The Case of the Lost Libretto: On the Trail of Chandler's Comic Operetta" by Kim Cooper  

Hat tip to Barry Ergang.

Song of the Day

Don't Fear the Reaper- Blue Oyster Cult - YouTube:

I Miss the Old Days

From Punk to Glam to Disco, 17 Worst Fashion Trends That We All Wore in the 1970s

Today's Vintage Ad

A real cowboy who captured the hearts of America.

Slim Pickens: A real cowboy who captured the hearts of America.


Walter Karig, Lower than Angels, Popular Library, 1958

Charles Simmons, R. I. P.

The New York Times: Charles Simmons, whose five critically acclaimed novels included a savage sendup of The New York Times Book Review, where he had worked as an editor for three decades, died on June 1 in Manhattan. He was 92.  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

First It Was the Thin Mints Melee

CBS Pittsburgh: A man is facing charges after police say he threatened the lives of employees at a restaurant in North Oakland because they put onions on his food.

I'm Sure You'll All Agree

All 213 Beatles Songs, Ranked From Worst to Best

Is Richard Brautigan’s Most Famous Novel a Minor Masterpiece or Naive Relic?

Is Richard Brautigan’s Most Famous Novel a Minor Masterpiece or Naive Relic?

Vintage Treasures: World’s Best Science Fiction 1966 – 1970, edited by Donald A. Wollheim and Terry Carr

Vintage Treasures: World’s Best Science Fiction 1966 – 1970, edited by Donald A. Wollheim and Terry Carr

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

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

Savage Scrolls: Volume One: Scholarship from the Hyborian Age by [Blosser, Fred]
This weekend Robert E. Howard Days will be happening in Cross Plains, Texas.  If you can't be there, you can celebrate by buying and reading a copy of this study of Howard's work. Savage Scrolls: Volume One: Scholarship from the Hyborian Age eBook: Fred Blosser, Bob McLain: Kindle Store  Robert E. Howard's swashbuckling heroes strove mightily against fantastic foes and strode boldly across lands steeped in ancient sorcery, court intrigue, and fabulous wealth. In this vibrant traveler's guide, historian Fred Blosser chronicles the people, flora, fauna, and politics of REH's universe.

No Howard creation looms larger than Conan, and there's plenty of Conan in this book, but there's also much-needed coverage of Howard's other square-jawed heroes, including such equally bold though lesser-known adventurers as Kull, Solomon Kane, Bran Mak Morn, Black Vulmea, and Kirby O'Donnell.
In addition, Blosser examines Howard's wide oeuvre of pulp fiction, from horror and western tales, to his less successful detective yarns.
From Hyborian Age weaponry, justice, medicine, and mercenaries, to the beasts, villains, and nameless horrors of the African jungles, Central Asian mountain passes, and the haunted Texas town of Lost Knob in our own world, you'll experience anew the genius of Robert E. Howard through the tapestry from which he created his pulp masterpieces.

“The Last of the Kingdom of Romance (by R.T. Raichev)

“The Last of the Kingdom of Romance: 90 years since the publication of The Case-book of Sherlock Holmes” (by R.T. Raichev) | SOMETHING IS GOING TO HAPPEN: 2017 marks the 90th anniversary of the publication of the last book of Sherlock Holmes adventures. In honor of the occasion, R.T. Raichev, a lifelong fan of English crime fiction, gives his assessment of the stories in that volume, entitled The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes. Please be aware, if you have not yet read these stories, that there are spoilers in what follows.

Song of the Day

"Charlie Rich ~ Lonely Weekends" - 1960 - YouTube:

My Guess Would Be that Readers of This Blog Know

18 TV Shows You Probably Didn't Know Were Based On Books

Today's Vintage Ad

How Con Air turned Nicolas Cage into a gonzo action star

Con Air turned Nicolas Cage into the gonzo action star we never saw coming 


Donald Hamilton, Texas Fever, Gold Medal, 1960

The World's Unsolved Airplane Mysteries

The World's Unsolved Airplane Mysteries: What May Have Happened

I Miss the Old Days

25 '80s Snapshots Of Times Square That Will Never Be Seen In Real Life Again

Forgotten Hits -- June 7

Forgotten Hits: Top debuts on the chart this week include a couple of my personal favorites from 1967 … "C'mon Marianne" by The Four Seasons debuts at #65, meaning that it'll soon be in competition with Frankie Valli's solo hit, "Can't Take My Eyes Off You", which is currently the #20 song in America.  Stevie Wonder premiers right behind it at #66 with "I Was Made To Love Her", The Dave Clark Five are back on the charts with their remake of "You Must Have Been A Beautiful Baby", new at #71, and Chicago's American Breed make their national chart debut at #85 with "Step Out Of Your Mind".

Lady Pinkertons

Lady Pinkertons: The smart and savvy female sleuths who placed themselves in harm’s way to protect America.

Bonus FFB on Wednesday: Dragon's Claw -- Peter O'Donnell

Dragon's Claw opens with Modesty Blaise sailing a yacht from Australia to New Zealand.  She's alone and doing fine when she sees an inflatable boat with one passenger who's not doing fine at all.  And a shark is after him.  Modesty rescues the man, who turns to be Luke Fletcher, quite a famous artist who had mysteriously disappeared from England.  He has no memory of how he came to be in the boat or where he's been.  Modesty sees no reason to become involved in that mystery, but she does help Fletcher to begin painting again.  And then he's murdered.  That's a big mistake on the part of the killers, as Modesty vows to find them and repay them in kind. 

The main villain in the novel is a tad bland, but he has some colorful helpers, including a preacher who's a fast-draw and a killer, a nymphomaniac, and a fey heist mastermind.  Modesty and Willie Garvin are eventually captured wind up on an escape-proof (ha!) island with them and a bunch of underling henchpersons, and the battle of wits and bullets really begins in earnest.

Like all the Modesty Blaise stories and novels I've read, this one is a ton of over-the-top fun.  I'll be reading another book in the series soon.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

#25 is so wrong

25 of the Worst Casting Choices of All Time

Hat tip to George Kelley.

Annoying slideshow warning.

The Digest Enthusiast Book Six

The Digest Enthusiast Book Six arrived at my house a couple of days ago, and it's great, as usual.  Start with the cover.  How can you go wrong with a gorilla on the cover?  And the contents are equally good.  So far I've read the interview with Edd Vick, the synopses of the stories in Manhunt, and the review of the card sets annotated by Max Allan Collins.  Great stuff.  You know you need this, so get a copy ASAP.

• Digest News Previews of Rick Ollerman’s Down & Out: The Magazine #1, Karen Valentine’s Betty Fedora #4, Pulp Literature #15, The Pulpster #26, our joint venture with Uncle B. Publications, Pulp Modern, and much more.

• Interviews with Edd Vick (Analog, Asimov’s)* and B.K. Stevens (AHMM).

• Manhunt 1953 #1–4 synopses by Peter Enfantino of the greatest crime digest ever.

tde6back_500• International Science Fiction #1 & 2 a fascinating look at this short-lived digest.

• Bob Hope’s They Got Me Covered, a title that turned out to be all too true, by Steve Carper

• Sharon Tate’s Fate, weird reporting on the horrific murder by Tom Brinkmann

• Digest Dolls Trading Cards by Max Allan Collins

• Weirdbook #34 reviewed

• Fiction by Lesann Berry, Alec Cizak, and Joe Wehrle, Jr.

• Artwork and cartoons by Brad W. Foster, Michael Neno, Bob Vojtko, and Joe Wehrle, Jr. Haiku by Clark Dissmeyer

TDE Book Six
152 pages
Print: $8.99 from amazon and select booksellers
Digital: $2.99 for Kindle and Magzter

The Untouchables is still, well, untouchable

Tampa Bay Times: Is there a crime-fighting movie from the entire ’80s that can possibly live up to The Untouchables? Released June 3, 1987, Brian De Palma’s retelling of Prohibition-era Chicago and the battle between Eliot Ness and Al Capone was an instant classic.

Song of the Day

1959 HITS ARCHIVE: Quiet Village - Martin Denny (45 single version) - YouTube:

D-Day remembered in photos

D-Day remembered in photos: Showing the contrast from 1944 to now 

Soon We'll Have No Freedoms Left at All

Mom charged after boy's teeth pulled in Walmart restroom

Today's Vintage Ad

I Miss the Old Days

'50s Ladies in Kodachromes: Looking Back to Women Fashion Over 60 Years Ago


Frank Castle, Dakota Boomtown, Gold Medal, 1958

The True Case that Gave Poe a Murder Mystery

Neatorama: How did New York City, a famous cigar girl, and Edgar Allan Poe combine to create one of the world’s first murder mystery stories? Read on.

The Difficulty of Being a Writer in Prison

My Beautiful Oubliette: The Difficulty of Being a Writer in Prison

2017 Howard Days coming this weekend to Cross Plains

2017 Howard Days coming this weekend to Cross Plains: The annual Robert E. Howard Days return this Friday and Saturday to Cross Plains, celebrating the life and work of the acclaimed author and Conan the Barbarian creator. 

The event will include tours of Howard’s home, bus tours, a silent auction, a swap meet, panel discussions, a poetry reading and lots of food as Howard enthusiasts from across the country join together to remember the literary pioneer.

Roger Smith, R. I. P.

77 Sunset Strip star Roger Smith dies at age 84: LOS ANGELES - Actor Roger Smith, who brought glamour to the TV detective genre as a hip private eye on “77 Sunset Strip,” has died. He was 84.  

Hat tips to Don Coffin and Jeff Meyerson.

Dylan Finally Delivers on Nobel Prize Lecture

Smithsonian: Now, reports the Associated Press, Dylan appears to have overcome his final layer of Nobel Prize shyness by delivering the prize lecture. Though the Swedish Academy confirms it has received the lecture, the AP reports that they have not acknowledged where it was given, to whom, or when. What they have done is provide the lecture itself: a rambling acknowledgment of Dylan’s many musical and literary influences. Dylan ruminates on the influence of Buddy Holly, whom he calls “everything I wasn't and wanted to be,” and praises artists like blues legend Lead Belly and Appalachian folk singers as sources of early musical inspiration.

Overlooked Movies -- In a Valley of Violence

In a Valley of Violence is an imitation spaghetti western from 2016.  The opening credits might as well have been filmed in 1968, and the music will remind you of that era as well.  

A man named Paul (Ethan Hawke) is the enigmatic "hero," who drifts into the isolated town of Denton, along with his dog, Abby.   A group of bullies, led by Gilly (James Ransome), the son of the town marshal (John Travolta) get on his case, and Gilly is determined to fight him.  One punch is all it takes Paul to humiliate Gilly, who later gets revenge [BIG SPOILER] by killing Paul's dog, in a scene I found hard to take [END OF BIG SPOILER], and believing that he and his buddies have killed Paul. They haven't, and Paul is going to get his own revenge, by killing Gilly and his pals. 

You already know how this one will play out.  There's the added attraction of Travolta trying to persuade Paul not to kill everybody, and of the young woman, Mary-Anne (Taissa Farmiga) who's attracted to Paul.

The movie's short and moves in a straight line from beginning to end.  It has some amusing moments and at times verges on an affectionate parody of spaghetti westerns.   My favorite in this area remains The Quick and the Dead, but this one was okay.  Except for the one scene I mentioned above.  Check it out if you have an interest in current westerns, of which there aren't many.  And if you can take scenes like the one mentioned in the spoiler above.

In a Valley of Violence

In a Valley of Violence Official Trailer 1 (2016) - Ethan Hawke Movie - YouTube:

Monday, June 05, 2017

Peter Sallis, R. I. P.

NY Daily News:  Peter Sallis, the veteran British actor who had a late-career renaissance voicing a cheese-obsessed human half of the Wallace and Gromit duo, has died. He was 96.  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

First It Was the Thin Mints Melee

Cellphone video captures nasty brawl unfolding at McDonald's: The fight began when the customer wasn’t getting her McChicken sandwiches quickly enough, police said.

Eyeball Update

Well, I saw the retina specialist, who told me that there are two thread-like veins going into the retina.  One takes the blood in, and one takes it out.  In my case the one taking it out is partially blocked.  The treatment, as I mentioned, is a shot in the eyeball, which I had this morning.  The doctor said that my case was more severe than most and that I had a chance of recovering some or none of my vision.  He said it’s possible that I’ll be essentially one-eyed from now on.  I’d hoped for a better diagnosis, but I’ll deal with this one.  Dagnabbit.

Song of the Day

(1) The Kinks - Apeman (Official Audio) - YouTube:

I'm Not Saying It Was Aliens, But . . . .

10 Facts About The Pyramids That Could Prove Advanced Ancient Technology 

Today's Vintage Ad

20 Bands Named After Classic Literature

20 Bands Named After Classic Literature


Shepard Rifkin, King Fisher's Road, Gold Medal, 1963

I'm Sure You'll All Agree

Dr. Beach's Top 10 Beaches for 2017

I Miss the Old Days

41 Kodachrome Snapshots Show Everyday Life of American Men in the 1950s

Happy Birthday, Francelle Bettinger!

My sister has always been a water sprite, and here she is long ago, standing on the beach in Galveston at the edge of the Gulf of Mexico and waving to the camera.  Off to the left in the background, my brother and I wade ou, holding hands with my mother.  Francelle is smart, talented, and the strongest person I know.  Happy birthday, sis!

Forgotten Hits: June 5th

Forgotten Hits: June 5th: Aretha Franklin holds down the #1 spot with "Respect" this week.  In fact, The Top Five songs in America ALL hold their positions from the week before:  "I Got Rhythm" by The Happenings is at #2, "Groovin'" by The Young Rascals holds at #3, "Release Me" by Engelbert Humperdinck stands tough at #4 and "Creeque Alley" by The Mamas and the Papas remains at #5.  ("Mirage" by Tommy James and the Shondells also holds the #10 position from the week before.)  

Medical Update

I don't post a lot of personal stuff here, but I thought I'd mention my latest adventure.  About 11:00 P. M. on Friday night, a blood vessel burst in my right eye.  A big black blotch soon covered the center of my eyeball. I didn't know what had happened, but I figured it was either that or a detached retina.  There wasn't anything I could do at the time, but the next morning I started calling eye doctors.  I managed to get squeezed in with an on-call doctor who took a lot of pictures of my eye and diagnosed the problem.  Today I'll be seeing the retina specialist, but the on-call doctor told me that the problem would most likely be treated by a series of injections in my eyeball.  Just what I wanted to hear.  I  know people who've been treated for this same thing with eye drops, but whenever things  happen to me, the easy way never seems to work out.  

So that's the latest.  Cross your fingers, say a prayer, send me some good thoughts, or whatever tickles your fancy.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Dinner in Deadwood with Calamity Jane

Dinner in Deadwood with Calamity Jane: Food adventures in the frontierswoman’s Dakota Territory hangout.

Jim Piersall, R. I. P.

Houston Chronicle: Former major leaguer Jim Piersall, who bared his soul about his struggles with mental illness in his book "Fear Strikes Out," has died. He was 87.

Song of the Day

The Virgin Mary Had A Baby Boy By The Kingston Trio - YouTube:

Watch over 200 alligators feast in Florida

Watch over 200 alligators feast in Florida: “It’s just a boiling mass of toothy carnivores” says Jim Darlington, referencing the scene that he’s called his office for the past 23 years.

Today's Vintage Ad

How ‘Sgt. Pepper’ Reinvented the Record Album

How ‘Sgt. Pepper’ Reinvented the Record Album: It may not be the greatest record of all time, but in changing forever the way we thought about what an album could do, it reigns supreme as the most important record of all.


Lewis B. Patten, Home is the Outlaw, Gold Medal, 1958

Friendships of the Lost Generation

The Boxer and The Professor: Friendships of the Lost Generation | Literary Hub: In the early summer of 1924 two American writers sat in a Paris café. One author came armed with a dictionary, believing that reading the small type would improve his vision. The other brought a King James edition of the Bible. They took turns reading passages aloud from the Old Testament. The Chronicles and Kings were their favorites, along with the Song of Deborah.

I'm Sure You'll All Agree with HST

The 10 Best Albums of the 1960s as Selected by Hunter S. Thompson

Long Ago

Judy and I were married on June 4, 1965, fifty-two years ago.  I miss her every minute of every day.  People tell me to remember the good times, and I surely do, but that just makes me miss her more.  There are some things you just don't get over.