Saturday, October 17, 2015

How Judy and I Met

This is a repeat from 12-29-14.  Patti Abbott asked about it, so here it is again.

Judy and I met on December 29, 1960, on a blind date arranged by her friend Loibeth Black and my friend Fred Williams.  On the left you can read what Judy wrote in our wedding book about that night.  I remember exactly what she was wearing, and though she doesn't mention it, she also wore what was then called a mouton coat.  Just about every girl had one of those back then.  I wouldn't be at all surprised if it were in a closet somewhere in this house.  I don't know if she was impressed by me, but I was certainly impressed by her.  She was a senior in high school, and I was a freshman in college.  She was black-haired beauty.  I was a short-haired, four-eyed geek.  It didn't take me long to learn that she was also very smart, and if I didn't fall for her on that date, it wasn't long before I did.  After a few dates I could tell that she liked me, too, for reasons I'll never understand.

We always celebrated December 29 as an anniversary and gave each other a gift every year.   This is the first time since 1960 that we won't be together on this date.  I miss the old days.

I Miss the Old Days

10 Must-See Movies by American International Pictures 

Song of the Day

Earth Angel - The Penguins - YouTube:

Fleming Is Forever: Why You Should Read the James Bond Books

Fleming Is Forever: Why You Should Read the James Bond Books

Today's Vintage Ad


The Weird Week in Review

The Weird Week in Review

PaperBack



George Harmon Coxe, One Minute Past Eight, Dell, 1960

My Alma Mater Leads the Way

Texas School Ranked the No. 1 College in America: Texas has just been ranked the No. 1 Public University in America, ahead of vaunted schools like the University of Michigan, University of Virginia, UCLA, Cal and yes, Texas A&M University. A&M finishes an impressive 10th itself out of a whopping 1,713 colleges. Which still won’t make any self-respecting Aggie feel better about placing nine spots behind UT.

Hey, Who Wouldn't Want Shirts Like That?

When the U.S. Government Paid Spies With Sears Products

Paris Hilton Update

Paris Hilton's Instagram Account Right Now Is Hilarious AF

Patricia Highsmith's Unpublished Essay on Green-Wood Cemetery

Patricia Highsmith's Unpublished Essay on Green-Wood Cemetery

Friday, October 16, 2015

Cockatoos at Large WBAGNFARB

Cockatoo at large in Brookline, and residents aren’t happy

Joan Leslie, R. I. P.

The New York Times: Joan Leslie, an actress remembered for fresh-faced ingĂ©nue roles in movies of the 1940s, including “High Sierra,” “Sergeant York” and “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” died on Monday in Los Angeles. She was 90.  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

This Is Why We Love Florida

Couple prolongs police standoff for sex 'one last time'

Comic Strip of the Day

Pearls Before Swine Comic Strip, October 16, 2015 on GoComics.com

I'm Sure You'll All Agree

The 10 Best Science Fiction Books

I Miss the Old Days

Watch Film Legend Boris Karloff's Horrifyingly Funny Coffee Commercial

Song of the Day

Rama Lama Ding Dong-The Edsels-original song-1957-58 - YouTube:

9 Celebrity #TBT Photos You May Have Missed This Week

9 Celebrity #TBT Photos You May Have Missed This Week

Today's Vintage Ad


I Want to Believe!

Did parallel universe open up? Hundreds see 'floating city' filmed in skies above China

Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla Inexplicably Not Included

The Top 32 Horror Comedies

PaperBack



Harold Calin, The Young Racers, Lancer, 1963

Here's The Biggest Halloween Costume For Each Year Of The '90s

Here's The Biggest Halloween Costume For Each Year Of The '90s

A Review of Interest (To Jack MacLane, Anyway)

pulpetti: Friday's Forgotten Book: Jack MacLane: Goodnight, Moom

I Want to Believe!

Is the Jersey Devil in Galloway Township?  

Includes photo that couldn't possibly be the result of Photoshop.

Paris Hilton Update

Paris Hilton's 8 Hottest Halloween Costumes Of The 2000s

I Miss the Old Days

Thrilling Days of Yesteryear: “Oh Carol…you got me eatin' my heart away…”

Alvin Leads the Way

Small town wants to build 5 of the costliest schools in Texas history  

Hat tip to Lawrence Person.

Once Again Texas Leads the Way

Panic strikes school after student says ‘gum’   

FFB: The Babysitter -- Andrew Coburn

Stark House has brought back another book that most of us had forgotten.  It's not a mystery novel in the strict sense, since you can't really figure out what's going on from any clues that are presented, and it's not a thriller because there's not a lot of the kind of action a thriller has.  You could call it a suspense novel, I suppose, if you wanted to pigeonhole it, our you could just call it a good book.  It's also short, another good thing from my point of view.

John and Merle Wright return home one evening to find their babysitter murdered and their daughter kidnapped.  They had known the babysitter, a young woman, for a while, and both had liked her quite a bit.  However, it turns out that everything she'd told them about herself was a lie.  

The police are stymied in their investigation, and the FBI men, two of the most soulless Feds in fiction, don't really care about the Wrights of their missing daughter.  They have their own agenda and are willing to manipulate everyone, including the Wrights and the cops, to pursue their own ends.  The Wrights turn amateur sleuths and find themselves mixing with some very shady characters.  

I don't want to say more and give too much away, so I'll keep quiet about the rest.  This isn't a noir tale, but it's quite bleak in its own way.  Check it out.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Christopher Walken Reads ‘The Three Little Pigs’

Christopher Walken Reads ‘The Three Little Pigs  

Hat tip to Art Scott.

First It was the Thin Mints Melee

Henchman threatened pub staff with chainsaw to force them to change security contracts 

And Just Imagine What They'll Do to the Minor Prospects

Top Astros prospect A.J. Reed to get shot in spring training 

Important Thin Mints Melee Update

Fox News: A former meerkat expert at London Zoo has been ordered to pay compensation to a monkey handler she attacked with a wine glass in a love spat over a llama-keeper.  

Thanks to Dan Stumpf for the reminder.

Lots of Great Bouchercon Pics

The Rap Sheet: Bouchercon 2015: Photo Finish

Croc Update (Tricky Maths Question Edition)

Can you answer the tricky crocodile maths question?: A maths question in a Scottish exam was deemed so hard the pass mark had to be lowered.

Song of the Day

Warren Zevon - Carmelita - YouTube:

You Know You Want One

NERF Nuke Fires 80 Darts In All Directions

Today's Vintage Ad


Who Says TV Is Out of Ideas?

Nickelodeon Bringing 'H.R. Pufnstuf' Back to TV After 45 Years

PaperBack



Nathan Sarlat, editor, Spy in Black Lace, Lancer, 1964

50 years of incredible James Bond movie art

50 years of incredible James Bond movie art 

Farewell to the Card Catalog

Not very long ago I linked to a post about the making of the last cards for library card catalogs.  By coincidence, a friend who works at a library where they're getting rid of the card catalog brought me a small stack of the cards for my books.  Here are a couple of them for old time's sake.

Who Says Hollywood Is Out of Ideas?

Len Wiseman to direct Die Hard 6: Bruce Willis to return for sixth Die Hard movie  

Hat tip to Fred Zackel.

Dean R. Koontz’s A Werewolf Among Us

Did the Butler Do It? Dean R. Koontz’s A Werewolf Among Us

Vintage Treasures: The Great White Space by Basil Copper

Vintage Treasures: The Great White Space by Basil Copper

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Now With Added Protein

Dead mouse found in Subway sandwich in Oregon   

Hat tip to Bill Pronzini.

First It was the Thin Mints Melee

The Smoking Gun: OCTOBER 14--An Oregon man has pleaded not guilty to assaulting his girlfriend for failing to bring home In-N-Out burgers for dinner,

Suspicions Confirmed

Male brain is programmed to seek out sex over food

After the Honeymoon (Part 2)

Judy and I set up housekeeping and started to think about money.  Our plan (such as it was) was simple.  I'd taken my pay for teaching at Corsicana High School over 12 months instead of 9, so I'd be getting a check for each of the summer months.  In September, I'd be a teaching assistant and North Texas State University (as it was called in those days), so I'd be getting paid.  But not much.  I've forgotten what the salary was, but it was a pittance.  Our plan was for Judy to get a job to take up the slack.  She was a graduate of Baylor University with a business degree (in economics).  How hard could it be to find a job?

Pretty hard, as it turned out.  Once again we looked in the newspaper's classified ads.  You might not be surprised to learn that there weren't a lot of job openings for young college-educated women.  It surprised us, anyway, but it shouldn't have.  Denton at that time was still a small town with very little industry and very few job opportunities.  However, we did find learn that a new company was going to relocate to Denton from California, and there were job openings.  Judy called up and got an interview.  Here's another surprise.  The interviewer wanted to talk to both of us.  To this day I have no idea why.  So we went to the interview together.

Surprise number three was that the only job openings for a young woman of any education at all was as a secretary.  Judy could type and file and do anything they needed.  The interviewer seemed a little embarrassed that it was the best he could offer.  We didn't see the possibility of her getting a better job, and we were going to be in town for only a year, so she accepted.  It turned out that until the rest of the employees moved to town, the man who interviewed her (or us) was going to be her boss, and that was fine with us.  We both liked him, and things went well for several months.

Then the rest of the employees came to Denton and Judy and her boss moved out to the big new building on the edge of town.  That's then things started to go downhill.  The main problem was that everybody who came from California to Denton hated the place.  They thought they'd been transferred from Paradise to Hell.  It was a toxic workplace before that term was invented.

Things were going okay for Judy, though.  She was great at her job, and her boss was going to move her up to a position with more responsibility.  I can't remember what it was, but she'd be more than a secretary.  It didn't happen, however.  The California contingent decided that a man needed to be put into that job, so they hired someone else and left Judy where she was.  All I remember is that the man's name was Doug and that Judy thought he was more or less incompetent.  She wound up doing most of his work along with hers, and after the first week she never referred to him by his actual name again.  Instead of "Doug," she always called him "that Doug."  You'll just have to imagine the thin edge of contempt that outlined the words.

By that time we still had about six months to live in Denton, and although six months seemed like a long time at our age then, Judy decided that she could stick it out.  The pay wasn't bad, and since the plant was so close to our apartment, she could drive home for lunch.  I'd leave the Auditorium Building, where the English Department was housed, and walk the two blocks to home so we could eat together.  

Often I'd stop at Griff's Burger Bar on the way to the apartment and pick up two of the 15 cent hamburgers Some days they'd have a special, and I could get two burgers for a quarter.  We'd eat burgers and watch TV on our little B&W 19-inch set.  Let's Make a Deal came on at 12:30, and that was a staple of our TV viewing.  After the Big Deal of the Day, Judy would go back to work, and I'd grade papers or do my reading or write a paper or work on my thesis.  I'm sure I did a lot schoolwork, but the one thing I remember doing most was translating old English.  That was tough.   Sometimes I'd do the washing or clean up the apartment.  Or, on a good day, I'd walk downtown to the Fultz Newsstand and buy a paperback book or two or three.  The photo is of me in a typical pose.

And that's how our first year went.  After I finished my thesis in the summer of 1966, it was time to move to Austin.

I Want to Believe!

Mirror Online: A series of mysterious objects surrounding a giant star millions of miles away could be an alien megastructure, experts believe.

Joe James, R. I. P.

 Judy and I met Joe James and his wife, Al, when we moved to Brownwood in 1971.  Al taught with me in the English Department, and she's the one who invited me and Judy to play bridge with a group of faculty members and their spouses.  Joe was an excellent player.  He was also a great guy, as you'll see if you read the obituary.  I was lucky enough to have visited with him and Al fairly recently when they were in Houston.  If anybody should have played Jack Reacher in the movies, it was Joe.  Even at 80 he looked as if he could take on any eight or ten guys who were crazy enough to come at him.  I was lucky to have known him.  As Ali Karim would say, Joe was top biff.

Song of the Day

The Rivingtons Papa Oom Mow Mow - YouTube:

Phyllis Dietrichson Inexplicably Not Included

Bad Women in Literature: An Essential List 

Today's Vintage Ad


Ty Cobb and the Strangest Batting Race Ever

Ty Cobb and the Strangest Batting Race Ever 

PaperBack



Carter Brown (Alan Yates), The Black Lace Hangover, Signet, 1966

Only a Couple of Days Left

Watch a Writer Hammer Out His Novel in Real Time

I'm Sure You'll All Agree

21 Most Annoying TV Characters Ever  

Annoying slideshow, too.

Bid Early and Often

A Monster Auction of Ray Harryhausen's Cinematic Objects

I Miss the Old Days

TV Guide #10: April 21-27, 1979 - Retrospace

Hand Me My Tinfoil Hat

Daily Express: Scientists claim they can change your belief on immigrants and God – with MAGNETS

I'm Surprised This Didn't Work Out

Man tries to put out garbage fire by driving over it in a van loaded with ammunition 

Vintage Treasures: Pamela Sargent’s Women of Wonder

Vintage Treasures: Pamela Sargent’s Women of Wonder

Amazing Stories October 1960: A Retro-Review

Amazing Stories October 1960: A Retro-Review

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

I Found a Penny in the Walmart Parking Lot Last Week

$2 photo bought in Fresno turns out to be $5 million image of Billy the Kid  

Here's a link to the rebuttal and the rebuttal to the rebuttals.  I guess we need to watch the TV show.

Hat tip to Art Scott.

First It was the Thin Mints Melee . . .

. . . and now it's the McDonald's Condiment Attack!

Especially for Bouchercon Attendees

23 Times North Carolina Honestly Had Not An Ounce Of Chill

Bouchercon Again

Everyone in this picture was a member of DAPA-Em, the world's only amateur press association devoted to crime and mystery fiction.  On the back row are Ted Fitzgerald and Ted Hertel.  On the front row are Maggie Mason, Jeff Meyerson, and Jackie Meyerson (an honorary member).

Bouchercon

I might do a little Bouchercon report, or I might not.  At any rate, the best part about these conventions is seeing and talking to old friends.  One night some of us went to an Italian restaurant, and some of these names, if not the faces, should be familiar to you.  On the left-hand side of the table are Angela Crider Neary, Patti Abbott, George Kelley, Yours Truly, and Ted Fitzgerald.  On the right are Jackie Meyerson, Phil Abbott, and Thom Walls.  The vacant chair is where Jeff Meyerson was sitting, but he took the picture.  Thanks, Jeff.

Song of the Day

Mel Tillis - Sawmill - YouTube:

10 Psychotic Old Ads That Basically Sold Child Abuse

10 Psychotic Old Ads That Basically Sold Child Abuse 

The Fashions of Cleopatra in Cinema

The Fashions of Cleopatra in Cinema 

Today's Vintage Ad


11 Popular Franchises You Can Own

11 Popular Franchises You Can Own—And What It Costs To Open Them

PaperBack



Irving Shulman, Cry Tough, Avon, 1950

I'm Sure You'll All Agree

25 Best TV Characters in the Past 25 Years

Annoying slideshow.

First It was the Thin Mints Melee

Fox 5 NY | WNYW: A Brookline firefighter has been arrested after police say he beat up a homeless man for taking too long to order his food at a restaurant.

I Miss the Old Days

Listen to Kmart In-Store Music from 1992 

Vintage Treasures: Special Wonder, Volumes 1 & 2, edited by J. Francis McComas

Vintage Treasures: Special Wonder, Volumes 1 & 2, edited by J. Francis McComas

I Miss the Old Days

The New York Times: As part of a redesign that will be unveiled next March, the print edition of Playboy will still feature women in provocative poses. But they will no longer be fully nude.

Overlooked Movies: Sahara

This is a slightly revised review from 2005, but I think people are still overlooking the movie, if not hating it.  I liked it, though, as you'll see. 

This isn't the Sahara movie with Humphrey Bogart. I kind of like that one, too, but this one's nothing like that. 

There are more explosions in the first five minutes of this one than in anything else I've seen this year. I figure it might hold the record for most explosions ever, but I'm not sure. 

I am sure that it has just about everything you could want in an adventure movie. There's a fine cast, including the hot chick (Penelope Cruz), the high-spirited adventurer (Matthew McConaughey), the zany sidekick (Steve Zahn), despicable villain #1 (Lambert Wilson), despicable villain #2 (Glynn Thurman), the stalwart Old Man (William H. Macy), the other zany sidekick (Rainn Wilson). You have lost treasure, toxic poisoned wells, a Threat to the Entire World, a ticking clock, the flight of the phoenix, guys (and a gal) jumping onto a moving train from the backs of running camels, a Civil War ironclad in the African desert, a neat old car, and I'm sure I'm forgetting eight or ten other things. I didn't see a kitchen sink, but I got the feeling that any minute one could come flying onto the set. And explosions. Did I mention the explosions? 

I was curious about one thing. Was it possible that Penelope Cruz (who looks great on camelback, by the way, but then she always looks great: dressed up, disheveled, sheveled, robed, disrobed (but only down to a bikini in this movie) could turn in a performance (she plays a doctor for the World Health Organization) to equal that of Denise Richards as a nuclear physicist in The World is Not Enough? The answer is: Yes. I was absolutely convinced. Of course the members of the so-called Academy of Motion Pictures of Arts and Sciences, in their overweening envy will never nominate her for the Oscar she so richly deserves, just as they have denied Denise, not only for her performance in the above-mentioned James Bond movie but in the classic Wild Things

McConaughey and Zahn seem to be having a heck of a good time, as if they both know how outlandish the whole thing is and just don't care. Zahn's there to provide laughs, but he more than holds up his end in the action scenes. (There are hardly any other kinds of scenes in the movie.)

And McConaughey can deliver the required dialogue in just the right spirit. I found myself smiling along with him when the Old Man says, "You know I can't ask you and Al to do this alone," and McConaughey replies, "That's what makes it so good, Admiral. You don't have to." And of course in the next scene, he and Zahn are speeding away to take on hordes of bad guys all by themselves if need be.

So if you like the kind of Boys' Own Adventure movie that doesn't care in the least that it's totally preposterous, if you're willing to go along for the ride and the laughs, you should have a great time at Sahara. I did.  I found it all right, all right, all right.

Sahara

Sahara (2005) Trailer (Matthew McConaughey, Steve Zahn, Pen�lope Cruz) - YouTube:

Monday, October 12, 2015

Who Says TV Is Out of Ideas?

Fantasy Island Will Come Back to TV Again with a Woman in Charge

Next -- Saving Decapitated Feet?

Doctors Reattached Toddler’s Decapitated Head 

Uh-Oh

'Luther' Creator Neil Cross to Pen 'Escape From New York' Remake

First It was the Thin Mints Melee . . .

. . . and now it's the 'Out of control' fish assault!

I Want to Believe!

They're not human, but they want human women!  ‘Lizard men abducted me to the moon for sex,’ Niara Terela Isley claims

13 Fascinating Facts About ‘The Thing’

13 Fascinating Facts About ‘The Thing’  

The John Carpenter version.

Song of the Day

The Corsairs - Smokey Places - YouTube:

Forgotten Hits: 50 Year Flashback - October 12th, 1965

Forgotten Hits: 50 Year Flashback - October 12th, 1965

Today's Vintage Ad


I'm Sure You'll All Agree

10 Best Novels by Poets

PaperBack



David Dortort, Burial of the Fruit, Avon, 1948

A Brief History of the Hawaiian Shirt

A Brief History of the Hawaiian Shirt 

Paging Parnell Hall

Hands-free, self-saranwrapping toilet at O'Hare Airport 

Here’s Looking at 10 Facts About 'Casablanca'

Here’s Looking at 10 Facts About 'Casablanca'

15 Infamous Facts About ' Three Amigos!'

15 Infamous Facts About 'Three Amigos!' 

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Uh-Oh

New Elvis album teams king with royal orchestra

53 Wonderfully Pointless Facts About The English Language

53 Wonderfully Pointless Facts About The English Language

Song of the Day

'Round About the Mountain - YouTube:

10 Novels Written Under the Influence

10 Novels Written Under the Influence

Today's Vintage Ad


PaperBack



Robin Maugham, Line on Ginger, Avon, 1951

10 Real Prisons Featured in Films

Arresting Appearances: 10 Real Prisons Featured in Films

Please Please Me: the First Beatles Album

Please Please Me: the First Beatles Album 

11 of the Oldest Snack Foods We're Still Eating

11 of the Oldest Snack Foods We're Still Eating

10 Crazy Facts About Crocodilians

10 Crazy Facts About Crocodilians 

8 Amazing Modern Castles

8 Amazing Modern Castles