Saturday, August 26, 2017

Stark House, Carter Brown, and Al Wheeler

Stark House has entered upon the ambitious project of reprinting all of Carter Brown's Al Wheeler adventures in order of their original publication.  There will be a couple of books that were never published in the U. S., so fans will want to grab those for sure.  The first volume is a triple decker, and the cover has the titles for you.  It will be out in October, and you can order it here.

9 Mysterious Facts About Murder, She Wrote

9 Mysterious Facts About Murder, She Wrote

Song of the Day

For the Trigonometry Fans

This 3,700-year-old Babylonian clay tablet just changed the history of maths

Today's Vintage Ad

The Many Faces of Brooklyn's Greatest Imposter

The Many Faces of Brooklyn's Greatest Imposter


Florence Stonebraker, Oriental Nights, Venus Books, 1952

Yet Another List I'm Not On

17 Living Writers Currently Immortalized on Stamps 

Louise Penny: By the Book

Louise Penny: By the Book: The author of mystery novels, most recently “Glass Houses,” recommends reading her fellow Canadian writer Margaret Atwood: “And I don’t just say that because the government compels me to.”

Harvey Update

Things are okay here in Alvin so far. I checked the rain gauge, and I've now had 7 inches of rain. I suspect there'll be a lot more over the next several days, but what's happening here is nothing like what's going on farther down the coast. I hope everyone in that area is safe and that there hasn't been too much destruction from the storm.

This week’s tabloids

Priscilla Presley killed Elvis, Michael Jackson’s tomb is empty, and the Queen quits!

Friday, August 25, 2017

In Case You Were Wondering

Here’s What To Do With Gators Displaced By Hurricane Flooding

Will the Persecution Never End?

To No One's Surprise, Paris Hilton's Dogs Live Better Than We Do   

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

PimPage, and Occasional Feature in which I Call Attention to Books of Interest

Sand River by [Vaughan, James]
Sand River - Kindle edition by James Vaughan. Literature & Fiction Kindle eBooks @  Jack Grice had spent his life running. He grew up at a wild time and did what he had to do to survive. The law took one view of it; he took another. And the law wouldn’t get off his back. He did time, broke out of prison. He went north, hoping to leave the past behind. But the past followed him. And now there were murder charges. Whichever way he turned, trouble was right there. This is his account of what happened.

Jack was born in Charleston in 1861. His parents died early of cholera and his guardian died when he was fifteen, leaving him penniless and alone. He went west and got work as a cattle drover. He shot an outlaw who was trying to rob him. Another outlaw, named Ibbetson, got away alive.

Later, he ran across a cowboy called Skeeter on a cattle drive. They met again in a saloon and Skeeter asked him to help drive a herd of horses. Jack didn’t know they were stolen. He was arrested, went to jail. During his trial, he broke out of the courthouse with another inmate, who shot a courthouse constable. After that, a rope was waiting.

He went north and got work on a ranch called Sand River. For a while it looked like he’d outrun trouble. He did the job and stayed clean. But up there, range wars were being fought. Ranchers hired range detectives to handle trouble. To some, they were hired killers. One of them was Ibbetson. When they met again, Jack knew it wouldn’t end well. His past had arrived.

Four book series that are shaping the future of science fiction on television

Four book series that are shaping the future of science fiction on television

Song of the Day

(24) Ray Charles - Busted - YouTube:

Sheriff Rhodes Has Tangled with One of These

10 facts about alligator snapping turtles

Today's Vintage Ad

Rock stars with their cats and dogs

Rock stars with their cats and dogs 


Mitchell Wilson, The Panic Stricken, Dell, 1948

Bite Into the Whys Behind State Fair Food

Bite Into the Whys Behind State Fair Food: This American institution has changed a lot, but some things remain just the same

The City of Literature: 40 Books Set in Paris

Murder on the Eiffel Tower by Claude IznerThe City of Literature: 40 Books Set in Paris: Hemingway wrote, "If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast."

It's a book lover's dream to wander the very streets that inspired Marcel Proust, Émile Zola, Samuel Beckett, Albert Camus, Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir and so many others. You might step into the Salon at 27 rue de Fleurus where Gertrude Stein mentored Ernest Hemingway, or have a drink at the café littéraires Les Deux Magots and Café de Flore, the long-ago haunts of James Joyce, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ezra Pound and their fellow The Lost Generation writers.

Free for Kindle for a Limited Time

Rafferty's Rules - Kindle edition by W. Glenn Duncan. Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Kindle eBooks @  First book in a terrific series.  Grab it while you can.

Forgotten Hits: August 25th

Forgotten Hits: August 25th: Some interesting debuts on the chart this week.


The rain from the outer bands of Hurricane Harvey has already begun here in Alvin.  It appears that this area isn't likely to suffer too much from the winds, although they'll be high tomorrow morning.  It's the rain that will be a problem.  My house is supposedly safe from flooding, but there's going to be a heck of a lot of rain here, maybe up to 25 inches if the forecasts are correct.  It's raining heavily now, and this is just the beginning.  It should be an interesting four or five days for me and the cats.  I have plenty of supplies, so I'm hunkering down.  I have a whole-house generator powered by natural gas, so if the power goes out, I'll still be fine.  The people down the coast near Corpus Christi are the ones who'll suffer most from the hurricane, but a lot of the state will be devastated by the floods.  This is going to be a major disaster for thousands.

FFB: What's New Pussycat -- Marvin H. Albert

Marvin H. Albert did a ton of movie novelizations, but this is the only one I've read.  I read it for the first time when it originally appeared back in 1965 after Judy and I saw the movie.  I was already a big fan of Woody Allen's comedy albums, and I was curious to see what he'd be like in a movie.  He was just like he was on the comedy albums.  It may be the only character he can play.  So I was then curious to see how that would translate into fiction written by someone else.  The answer: good but not great.  

The fact of the matter is that I reread this book mainly because I've remembered one particular line in it for more than 50 years.  I thought it was hilarious the first time I read it (I don't remember if it's in the movie), but this time it wasn't as funny.  Oh, well.  Nostalgia ain't what it used to be.

The plot?  Michael James is irresistible to women. He's in love with Carol, but he can't commit to her because he can't resist the other women.  Victor is in love with Carol, too, and she tries to carry on with him but can't because she loves Michael, who's going to a sex-crazed psychiatrist to get help.  Believe me, the psychiatrist isn't much help at all.  Many sex-farcical complications ensue.

Like the movie, the book is a product of its time, a time long gone, or so we'd like to think.  It doesn't hold up too well, although there are some funny scenes.  I haven't seen the movie since 1965.  It probably doesn't hold up, either, but I remember it fondly, especially the performance of Peter Sellers as the sex-crazed psychiatrist.  Maybe I'll look for the movie and see it again.  Or maybe not.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

And People Say TV Is Out of Ideas

‘Starsky and Hutch’ Reboot in Development With James Gunn

Jay Thomas, R. I. P.

Variety: Actor Jay Thomas, best known for his roles in the classic sitcoms “Murphy Brown” and “Cheers,” has died, Variety has confirmed. He was 69.

Paging Sheriff Rhodes

Feds want to kill more hogs from helicopters in SC

He didn't have a gub

Would-be robber was armed with projection screen

Sounds like a good time

Tennessee sheriff sent to prison for sex with inmates

Beatles Monuments in Unexpected Places

Beatles Monuments in Unexpected Places

Song of the Day

(23) Claude King - The Comancheros (Original Mono 45) - YouTube:

Here's how Eerie #1 ushered in the age of horror comics 70 years ago

Here's how Eerie #1 ushered in the age of horror comics 70 years ago 

Today's Vintage Ad

10 Things You Should Know About Ray Bradbury

10 Things You Should Know About Ray Bradbury

Feeling Old Yet?

Beloit College releases 2021 Mindset List


Bernard Frizell, Julie, Popular Library, 1961

I Miss the Old Days

Curls, Mullets, Wigs, and Great Lengths: Here Are 10 Cher's Most Iconic Hair Moments From Between the Mid-1960s and '80s 

“Doing the Twist” (by Laura Pigott) |

“Doing the Twist” (by Laura Pigott) | SOMETHING IS GOING TO HAPPEN: With our September/October issue just on sale, this morning we introduce a writer whose Department of First Stories debut appears in that issue. Laura Pigott works in the field of corporate communications, but she has been interested in mysteries since childhood. She has won the Golden Pen Award for best writer from UnitedHealth Group twice, and now she has turned her hand to fiction writing. We’re anticipating that her debut story,�“Therapy Dog,”�will soon be followed by other published fiction, as she tells EQMM she is working on a collection of short stories. In the following post, she shares some insights into the type of short story she favors.—Janet Hutchings

100 Books Across America

100 Books Across America: Fiction and Nonfiction for Every State in the Union 

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Song of the Day

(22) The Dave Clark Five - Any Way You Want It. Stereo - YouTube:

Today's Vintage Ad


Shock!, M. C. Allen, editor, Pyramid, 1965

Thomas Meehan, R. I. P.

Playbill: He is the only creative to have written the books for three shows that ran more than 2,000 performances on Broadway: the aforementioned Annie (2,377 performances), The Producers in 2001 alongside Mel Brooks (2,502 performances), and Hairspray in 2002, which he wrote with the late Mark O’Donnell (2,642 performances). He earned Tonys for all three shows.

Bonus FFB for Wednesday: The Body Beautiful -- Bill S. Ballinger

I'm a big fan of two Bill S. Ballinger books, Portrait in Smoke and The Tooth and the Nail.  The Body Beautiful isn't like either of those.  It's a hard-boiled p.i. novel, sort of, but it has elements of the cozy, too.

The p.i. on the case is Barr Breed, and the murder is of a beautiful chorus girl whom Breed has been dating.  Someone throws a knife and kills her during the performance of a show.  There's a knife thrower in the show, and one of his knives is missing.  I don't think it's a spoiler to say that he's not the killer.  Later someone else is also killed with one of his knives. He should have kept them in a more secure place.

Breed naturally tangles with the cops, as most private-eyes do, and he's really under pressure to get the case solved.  It's pretty complicated, and the solution takes a good many pages to explain.  It involves a gathering of all the suspects and a staged explanation from Breed.  I was surprised at a couple of things, though, which was fun.  Another good thing about the book is the authenticity of all the show business material, and there's quite a bit of it.  This won't ever be my favorite Ballinger book, but it's worth a look. 

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

I'm Sure You'll All Agree

40 Classic Books & Why You Should Read Them

Song of the Day

How Phil Collins Accidentally Created the Sound That Defined 1980s Music

How Phil Collins Accidentally Created the Sound That Defined 1980s Music

I Miss the Old Days

37 Stunning Color Photos That Capture Teenage Girls in Dresses From the 1950s

Today's Vintage Ad

Time Traveler by Merriam-Webster

Time Traveler by Merriam-Webster: When was a word first used in print? You may be surprised! Enter a date below to see the words first recorded on that year.


Carson Bingham (Bruce Cassiday), Payola Woman, Belmont, 1960

Formula for making a movie blockbuster trailer

Formula for making a movie blockbuster trailer

Bad Movie Night

Bad Movie Night: The Uproarious Silliness of ‘Ninja III: The Domination’

Chemo #2, New Series

I'm getting ready to head to M.D. Anderson to receive the second chemo infusion in the new series of treatments.  I sure hope this one is the magic bullet because I'm getting tired of all this stuff.  

Overlooked Movies -- This Is Elvis

Last week TCM went all out for Elvis Presley on the 40th anniversary of his death.  One movie that I hadn't seen, although I'd heard a bit about it, was This Is Elvis, a sort of documentary.  I say "sort of" because while there's a lot of great archival footage, mixed in with it are a number of reenactments.  And while it's supposedly Elvis narrating the film, it's actually Ral Donner doing his best Elvis speaking voice.  Sometimes the reenactments are obvious, as with the three different actors playing Elvis at various stages of his career, but sometimes they're not quite so obvious, as with some of the interviews supposedly conducted at various times.  I'm assuming that the B&W segments aren't reenactments, or that most of them aren't.  I could be wrong, however.

The film worked pretty well overall, I thought, and it didn't flinch from the downfall at the end of Elvis' life.  Okay, maybe it did flinch a little in not spending much time on it, but it presented it honestly.  It shows a segment of the 1968 TV special, which Judy and I watched live back then.  Both of us thought that the real Elvis was back, and I know I, for one, thought it would be a turning point in his career and life.  It was, all right, but not in the way I thought.  He managed to sustain the quality for a short while, but it was all downhill after that.  I'd recommend this film for anybody who's too young to remember Elvis and the impact he had and for nostalgic old folks like me.

***And now for a personal aside.  The only time that Judy and I saw Elvis in person was when he appeared in Abilene, Texas, on March 27, 1977.  We didn't have great seats, but I had a pair of binoculars that we shared throughout the show.  It was a great show, but afterward I told Judy that Elvis didn't look good at all.  She got upset with me because Elvis, to her, always looked good.  I was right, however.  Only a few months later he was dead.

The day the Elvis died, Judy and I were eating dinner with the kids when the news came on TV.  Judy started to cry as soon as she heard it.  I'll bet the kids still remember this, though they were small at the time.  It was a shocker, for sure.

This Is Elvis

Monday, August 21, 2017

These are slightly better than the one I took

Stunning Photos Capture the Solar Eclipse Across America

My View of Today's Eclipse

Once Again Texas Leads the Way

Texas man drinks liquid explosives after he’s busted trying to bomb Confederate statue

Two New Ones from Stark House

Stark House and its Black Gat imprint have two great new publications, both from Clifton Adams.  Here's my review, from Steve Lewis's Mystery*File of Never Say No to a Killer, which originally appeared as by Jonathan Gant:  "Adams also wrote a paperback original for the Ace Double line. He used the name Jonathan Gant, and the book is one half of D-157, Never Say No to a Killer.

"It seems to have been influenced by Horace McCoy’s Kiss Tomorrow Good-Bye, as it’s narrated by an intellectual killer and begins with an escape from a prison work gang. Roy Surratt deludes himself in much the same way that Joe Hooper and Roy Foley do, though he’s well aware that he’s far from the innocent they think themselves to be before they begin their crime sprees.

"This book has a nice twist in that it doesn’t appear to be a mystery novel until the very end, when it’s revealed that one character was indeed doing some detecting and putting the clues together. Maybe this one’s not quite in the league with the two Gold Medals, but it’s worth a read."

And here's what I added about The Desperado and A Noose for the Desperado:  "If you’re curious about Adams’s westerns, I highly recommend two of his earliest, The Desperado and A Noose for the Desperado.

 "These are dandy noir westerns with a protagonist worthy of Jim Thompson. They’re hard to find, though. They hardly ever turn up even on eBay."  

But now they're available in one handy volume, and they're top-notch reading.

10 Awful Final Roles Of Actors That Deserved Better

10 Awful Final Roles Of Actors That Deserved Better

Song of the Day

The 59 U.S. National Parks, In Photos

The 59 U.S. National Parks, In Photos  


Today's Vintage Ad

The Rise of the Cow-Boys

The Rise of the Cow-Boys: In search of the real Curly Bill.


Theodore Sturgeon, The Synthetic Man (The Dreaming Jewels), Pyramid, 1957

The true-crime memoir

The true-crime memoir: when MFA grads and literary aspirants write true crime

I Miss the Old Days

Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis: 30 Fascinating Photographs Capture Funny Moments of the Comedy Duo in the 1940s and 1950s

Sunset 8-20-17

Brian Aldiss, R. I. P.

Brian Aldiss - Wikipedia: Brian Wilson Aldiss, OBE (/ˈɔːldɪs/; 18 August 1925 – 18 August 2017[1]) was an English writer and anthologies editor, best known for science fiction novels and short stories. His byline reads either Brian W. Aldiss or simply Brian Aldiss, except for occasional pseudonyms during the mid-1960s.

18 space suits from science fiction, from worst to best

18 space suits from science fiction, from worst to best: When has Hollywood actually gotten it (somewhat) right?

Sunday, August 20, 2017

A Review of Interest (To Me, Anyway)

Words & Music: Bill Crider, Dead, To Begin With

Jerry Lewis, R. I. P.

Hollywood Reporter: Jerry Lewis, whose irrepressible zaniness and frantic creativity vaulted him to stardom as a comic movie star who wielded unparalleled green-light power at Paramount in the 1960s, died Sunday. He was 91.  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

I Miss the Old Days

Photographs capture New York from the 1960s to the 1990s  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

10 Unconventional Facts About William Burroughs

10 Unconventional Facts About William Burroughs 

Song of the Day

‘Casey at the Bat’ Leaves a Lot of Unanswered Questions

‘Casey at the Bat’ Leaves a Lot of Unanswered Questions: Was there a Casey? Where did he strike out? Does it really matter?

Today's Vintage Ad

Colt vs. Schofield

Colt vs. Schofield: During much of the Indian Wars era, the U.S. Cavalry relied primarily on these two revolvers—each with its own peculiarities. Which one would you prefer?


Robert Finnegan (Paul William Ryan), The Bandaged Nude, Signet, 1957

Voyage to the Otherworld: A New Eulogy for Ray Bradbury

Voyage to the Otherworld: A New Eulogy for Ray Bradbury

Seepy Benton Could Have Solved It If He'd Tried

The Romance of Fermat's Last Theorem 

Dick Gregory, R. I. P.

Dick Gregory, civil rights activist and comedian, dead at 84: (CNN)Comedian and civil rights activist Dick Gregory, who broke barriers in the 1960s and became one of the first African-Americans to perform at white clubs, died Saturday.  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

I Found a Penny in the Walmart Parking Lot Last Week

Part of Henry VIII's Birthplace Discovered: Workers at London’s Old Royal Naval College were prepping the site of a new visitors center for the Painted Hall, considered the Sistine Chapel of England, when they unearthed something equally incredible: two rooms from the Palace of Placentia, reports Giles Broadbent at The Wharf.