Saturday, January 09, 2016

Troy Shondell, R. I. P.

Obituary at this link.
Troy Shondell This Time - YouTube:

Free for Kindle for a Limited Time

Guilt (A Noah Milano novella) - Kindle edition by Jochem Vandersteen. Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com. Years ago Noah Milano was the son and bodyguard of gangster boss Robert Milano. He was forced to shoot Lisa Waxman's father, turning her into an orphan, saddling him with a lifetime of guilt. 

Free for Kindle for a Limited Time

Buck Fever (Blanco County Mysteries Book 1) - Kindle edition by Ben Rehder. Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.  Buck Fever: It's the week before deer hunting season, as close to a statewide holiday as you get in Texas, and the locals are getting restless. Game Warden John Marlin has his hands full with poaching complaints coming in faster than he can write out-of-season tickets. Then a call of a different sort comes in. A man dressed up in some sort of deer costume has been shot at the Circle S ranch, and witnesses are reporting a massive wild-eyed buck prancing about the pasture in a lovesick frenzy. Marlin's seen a lot in his years, but this is wilder than he could have imagined: the man in the deer suit is a good friend, and the whacked-out whitetail isn't exactly a stranger either. It's the beginning of a mad, frantic weekend in Blanco County, one that will see a few more men shot, an invasion by Colombians with more than hunting on their minds, and damn near the end of Marlin's life. Ben Rehder serves it all up with a huge helping of humor in this debut comic mystery that will firmly establish him as the funniest crime writer in Texas. 

10 Ruthless Serial Killers Who Were Never Identified

10 Ruthless Serial Killers Who Were Never Identified  

Slideshow warning.

Song of the Day

Red Simpson, R. I. P.

Red Simpson ~ I'm A Truck - YouTube:

Or Maybe You Do

11 Things You Might Not Know About 'Moby-Dick' 

Today's Vintage Ad


I Want to Believe!

Swirling ‘UFO Gateway’ Appears Over Large Hadron Collider In Bizarre Video 

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Ted Mark (Ted Gottfried), The Girl from Pussycat, Lancer, 1965

Renee Paley-Bain: R.I.P.

Mystery Fanfare: Renee Paley-Bain: R.I.P.

I Miss the Old Days

Christmas Shopping 1958

How Green Bay, Wisconsin Became the Toilet Paper Capital of the World

How Green Bay, Wisconsin Became the Toilet Paper Capital of the World

Friday, January 08, 2016

Meet the Original “Victoria’s Secret” Beauties of the 1920s

Meet the Original “Victoria’s Secret” Beauties of the 1920s  

Some images mildly NSFW.

Song of the Day

Elvis Presley - Burning Love (Video) | With The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra - YouTube:

10 Times History Was Captured in Living Color

10 Times History Was Captured in Living Color

Today's Vintage Ad


How Jessica Mitford Exposed A $48m Scam

How Jessica Mitford Exposed A $48m Scam From America’s Literary Establishment

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Jack Woodford, Cravings, Beacon, 1963

First It was the Thin Mints Melee

Man punches veteran for refusing to let daughter pet service dog

I Miss the Old Days

The Time Tiny Tim Went Disco On The Tonight Show

Watch to the end.  It's s great performance.

Pop-ups & Movable Books: The Art of Paper Engineering

Mickey Mouse in King Arthur's Court by Walt DisneyAbeBooks: Pop-ups & Movable Books: The Art of Paper Engineering: Paper engineering is the cutting, gluing and folding of paper to create books and ephemera with pop-ups, pull-tabs, flaps and a variety of other moving parts.  Pop-up and moving books are most commonly associated with children, but some of the earliest movables were academic titles that used the technique to explain anatomy and astronomy.

FFB: The Jungle Kids -- Evan Hunter

This collection of short stories appears to have been issued to capitalize on the success of The Blackboard Jungle.  Most of the stories appeared first in Manhunt, and and all of them are of course about the bane of the '50s, juvenile delinquents.  I'd read some of these before, probably in a more recent collection of Hunter's early work, Learning to Kill.

One story that wasn't from Manhunt is "To Break the Wall," which appeared in discover no. 2.  It's of interest because it's set in a vocational high school and is about a confrontation between a group of tough students and a young teacher named Rick Dadier.  It's the story that led to The Blackboard Jungle.  There's another story also set in a vocational high school, "The Jungle Kids" (original title, "The Mild Ones") that appeared in Adventure.  It's about a different kind of confrontation and about two different kinds of teachers.

I've written about "See Him Die" before.  It's the story that was later the basis for See Them Die, an 87th Precinct novel.  And speaking of the 87th Precinct, Hunter could have, if he'd wanted to, written some swell Dragnet novels, as shown by "Small Homicide," which reads just like a Dragnet script.  For example:

"He'll get the chair," I said.  "That's for sure."

"I'll pull the switch.  Personally.  Just ask me.  Just ask me, and I'll do it."

I nodded.  "Except one thing, Pat."

"What's that?"

"We've got to catch him first."

Dum-da-dum-dum.

Okay, I liked about that last line, but you gotta admit that it would fit right in.

Besides the Dragnet style of the story, there are several official documents included, something that would become a hallmark of the 87th Precinct series.  


I read all the stories in this book, but I won't got into detail about the others.  They're Manhunt stories, which means that they're about dope, gangs, tough kids, murders, seedy buildings, guns, and such.  They don't have upbeat endings, not a one of them.

Also notable is that this collection has been mentioned more than once by Lawrence Block as a book that inspired him to try his hand at a similar story for Manhunt.  Here's a bit of what he said in Mystery Scene:  "I thought they were terrific. And I had a solid experience of identification—not with the juvie characters, but with the author himself. Because the two things that struck me about what I was reading were: (a) that these were genuinely good, and (b) that I could see myself writing them."  Here's a link to the highly recommended rest of the essay.


Thursday, January 07, 2016

Happy birthday, Nicolas Cage!

Irrefutable Proof That Nicolas Cage Is An Alien Sent From Space To Entertain Us All

Sundance TV's 'Hap and Leonard' Takes You Back to '80s

Sundance TV's 'Hap and Leonard' Takes You Back to '80s

Kitty Kallen, R. I. P.

The New York Times: Kitty Kallen, her voice sweet and clear, welcomed the troops home from World War II, singing: “Kiss me once, kiss me twice, kiss me once again. It’s been a long, long time.” She turned out hits like “B├ęsame Mucho,” “I’m Beginning to See the Light,” “In the Chapel in the Moonlight” and “Little Things Mean a Lot” — many reaching the Top 10.  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Fans seek to preserve sci-fi legend Forrest Ackerman's last abode as a landmark

89.3 KPCC: Forrest Ackerman — literary agent to sci-fi writers including Ray Bradbury and Isaac Asimov, publisher of Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine and inspiration to generations of writers and filmmakers including Steven Spielberg and Guillermo del Toro — was also a collector of the highest order.  

Hat tip to Rick Robinson.

Pat Harrington Jr., R. I. P.

Yahoo: Pat Harrington Jr., who played the cocky superintendent Dwayne Schneider on the CBS sitcom One Day at a Time, has died. He was 86.

First It was the Thin Mints Melee . . .

. . . and now Man admits stabbing neighbor with pitchfork in chicken dispute

Yet People Say Romance Is Dead

The Smoking Gun: Minutes after proposing to his girlfriend over the loudspeaker at Walmart, a Michigan man allegedly shoplifted a vibrator, an edible thong, and other sex toys from a nearby Spencer’s gift store, according to police.

Uh-Oh

M. Night Shyamalan resurrecting 'Tales from the Crypt' for TNT

The Decline of Western Civilization Continues Apace

Netflix claims its most-watched movie ever in the first month is Adam Sandler's 'The Ridiculous 6' 

Song of the Day

The Police - Every Breath You Take - YouTube:

I Miss the Old Days

Catalogs #42: Montgomery Ward (Fall-Winter 1978) - Men's Casual Fashion 

Today's Vintage Ad


4 Reasons the Spoiler Alert Is Going Away Forever

4 Reasons the Spoiler Alert Is Going Away Forever

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Vin Fields, One After Another, Midwood, 1964

11 Grammar Rules That Make No Sense

11 Grammar Rules That Make No Sense 

Nicolas Cage Update

Hey, look: It's Nicolas Cage at the pet store

Lawrence Block on writing Writing the Novel from Plot to Print to Pixel

Mystery Fanfare: Lawrence Block Guest Post: on writing Writing the Novel from Plot to Print to Pixel

Vintage Treasures: Wasp by Eric Frank Russell

Vintage Treasures: Wasp by Eric Frank Russell

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

First It was the Thin Mints Melee

Roommate assaulted for showering too early

Between the Living and the Dead by Bill Crider - Venture Galleries

Between the Living and the Dead by Bill Crider - Venture Galleries: A Dan Rhodes Mystery and that mystery journey sprinkled lightly with humor is once again what makes this series so much fun.

Free for Kindle for a Limited Time

Blaze! (Blaze! Western Series Book 1) - Kindle edition by Stephen Mertz. Literature & Fiction Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com.  J.D. and Kate Blaze are two of the deadliest gunfighters the Old West has ever seen. They also happen to be husband and wife, as passionate in their love for each other as they are in their quest for justice on the violent frontier! 

“Faster, Miss Marple! Kill! Kill!” (by Catherine Robson)

“Faster, Miss Marple! Kill! Kill!” (by Catherine Robson) | SOMETHING IS GOING TO HAPPEN: Catherine Robson’s accomplished debut fiction, the short story “Just Desserts,” appears in EQMM’s January 2016 issue, in the Department of First Stories. The Southern California native is a lifelong fan of the mystery in all of its forms, as is evident from the following post. She also has a longstanding interest in classic cinema, and once worked in the film industry. Her current novel-in-progress, set during the time of the Hollywood blacklist, draws on her knowledge of both. —Janet Hutchings

Song of the Day

The Olympics - Western Movies - YouTube:

First It was the Thin Mints Melee

. . . and now it's a Serial spitter . . . being blamed Tuesday night for more than a dozen incidents in Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Brooklyn – including at least one involving a pre-schooler.

Today's Vintage Ad


I Miss the Old Days

 "Go Over There, By the TV" – 22 Funny Vintage Photos of People Standing Next to Their Televisions  

Link via Messy Nessy.

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Tom Powers, Virgin with Butterflies, Dell, 1945

The Most Iconic Dance Scenes in Film History

Watch This Toe-Tapping Supercut of the Most Iconic Dance Scenes in Film History 

6 Famous Actors (Who Had No Clue What Movie They Were Doing)

6 Famous Actors (Who Had No Clue What Movie They Were Doing)

Elizabeth Swados, R. I. P.

The New York Times: Elizabeth Swados, a composer, writer and director who fashioned a unique style of socially engaged musical theater, drawing on a global menu of musical styles and a street-level engagement with the politics of the dispossessed, died on Tuesday in Manhattan. She was 64.

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Pierre Boulez, R. I. P.

The New York Times: Pierre Boulez, the French composer and conductor who was a dominant figure in classical music for over half a century, died on Tuesday at his home in Baden-Baden, Germany. He was 90.  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Vintage Treasures: Tales From Gavagan’s Bar by L. Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt

Vintage Treasures: Tales From Gavagan’s Bar by L. Sprague de Camp and Fletcher Pratt

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

First It was the Thin Mints Melee

Volusia woman beats grandfather with cellphone over cat ban


The Beast of Cretacea -- Todd Strasser

Who'd ever think to reboot Moby Dick as a YA novel?  Todd Strasser, that's who.  And while he was at it, he threw in a bit of Billy Budd, Typee, A Narrative of the Most Extraordinary and Distressing Shipwreck of the Whale-Ship Essex, and a little bit of Sinbad the Sailor.  And probably a few other things I missed or have forgotten.

The Earth is dying under a shroud of dust and darkness brought about by years of ecological disasters.  Food is something called Natrient, a food product produced from the beasts of Cretacea.  It's not a good life, and even at that it won't be lasting much longer.  Earth is doomed.

Ishmael a sprightly lad of 17 is offered a chance to go to Cretacea, where he hopes to earn enough to get his parents off Earth and give them a new start.  On Cretacea he sees blue skies and plants and water for the first time.  That's the good part.  The bad part is that he's on a nuclear-powered ship named the Pequod, captained by a man named Ahab, who's determined to get the great white Terrafin that took his leg when he was captain of the Essex.  

There's adventure aplenty along the way, what with pirates, storms, a hostile crew, lots of strange beasts on land and sea, an island culture that's not supposed to be there, mysterious shipmates, and more.  It's no Moby Dick, but it's a lot of fun.  I'll not give away the ending, but I will say that it's not entirely Melvillian.

Remembering Jim Ingraham

Remembering Jim Ingraham | Trace Evidence

Gator Update (Log in the Road Edition)

Video:  Man not impressed when he learns log in the road is just an alligator

Song of the Day

Ray Parker Jr. - Ghostbusters - YouTube:

Celebrate 100 Years of National Parks With These Stunning Photos

Celebrate 100 Years of National Parks With These Stunning Photos 

Today's Vintage Ad


I Found a Penny in the Walmart Parking Lot Last Week

Man finds $180K Dodge Charger Daytona rusting away in barn

PaperBack



Joseph Foster, Time to Embrace, Popular Library, 1955

50 Of The Creepiest Places In The U.S

50 Of The Creepiest Places In The U.S

Feeling Old Yet?

30 Things Turning 30 in 2016 

Robert Stigwood, R. I. P.

The New York Times: Robert Stigwood, the Australian-born producer, personal manager and music executive whose blockbuster hits with the Bee Gees and work on the films “Saturday Night Fever” and “Grease” made him one of the most successful impresarios of the 1970s, has died. He was 81.  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

First It was the Thin Mints Melee

KPTV - FOX 12: Police: Corvallis man arrested for assault with glass marijuana pipe

Overlooked Movies -- Secret of the Incas

Secret of the Incas is best known for being the movie Stephen Spielberg lifted a few things from for Raiders of the Lost Ark.  There is no trailer available, so I posted a clip of one scene below.  It's a big SPOILER, though.

Charlton Heston plays Harry Steele, a thoroughgoing heel and opportunist who's stuck in Cuzco, Peru.  He wants to steal a plane and get out, but only as soon as he can steal the Sunburst, and Incan artifact that's made of solid gold and embedded with 119 diamonds and 243 other jewels.  I think I have those numbers right.  Anyway, some of you may be wondering where the Incas got diamonds and other jewels.  Don't ask me.  I can't tell you.

Ed Morgan (Thomas Mitchell) also wants the Sunburst, but only Steele knows the location (it's hidden at Machu Picchu).  The beautiful Elena Antonescu (Nicole Maurey) shows up looking for a way to get to the U.S.  She has quite a shady past, and only Steele can provide the letters of transport.  Okay, I made that part up.  Steele can provide the plane to get her there because he's going to steal one.  Which he does, but they don't go to the U.S.  They go to Machu Picchu, where Stanley Moorehead (Robert Young) is conducting an archaeolgical dig.  He's looking for artifacts, including the Sunburst, which he'll give to the Incas' descendants to restore their power.  

The action, such as it is, is interrupted at this point for several songs by Yma Sumac, who was a recording sensation in the early '50s because of her incredible vocal range (over four octaves).  You might find that a little to her singing goes a long way.  Here's a sample of a totally authentic Incan song from the movie, along with a lot of totally authentic Incan descendants.

Steele does get his hands on the Sunburst, but because [SPOILER ALERT] he's fallen for Elena and because of Morgan's greed, he has a change of heart and gives it to the Incas.  This is about as believable in the movie as it sounds here [END OF SPOILER ALERT].

The acting isn't bad.  Maurey is not just a pretty face, and Heston is a convincing cad and bounder.  Unfortunately there's a scene between Young and Maurey that's just downright embarrassing, worse than anything George Lucas ever wrote for anybody.  There's almost no action.  For an adventure film, this one is static, and the final confrontation between Steele and Morgan is pathetic.  There's some redeeming snappy patter early in the movie, however, when Steele chats up some tourists, including Mrs. Winston (Glenda Farrell).  The double entendres went right over my head when I first saw the movie (I was just a kid), and they seem a bit racy for 1954.

The real star of the picture is Machu Picchu.    The movie was shot on location before the site was overrun by tourists, and the scenery is great.  I saw this on the big screen back in 1954, and the only things I remembered were the shots of Machu Picchu, which instilled in me a great desire to go there one day (and I did), and the scenes with Yma Sumac, which instilled in me the desire not to hear much of her singing again (and I didn't).

You can watch the whole movie here if you think you might get a retro kick out of it.

Secret of the Incas (Clip)

Secret of the Incas (1954) - Proto-Indy finds the treasure - YouTube:

Monday, January 04, 2016

Paris Hilton Update

Paris Hilton's Phone Case Is The Greatest Phone Case To Ever Protect A Phone  


Vulgar language alert!

First It was the Thin Mints Melee

NBC News: A Domino's Pizza delivery man stabbed a customer after arguing over a late order, according to police.

Writing the Novel from Plot to Print to Pixel -- Lawrence Block

Whenever people ask me about good books on writing, there are two that I always name.  One of them is Lawrence Block's Telling Lies for Fun and Profit, and the other one is Writing the Novel from Plot to Print.  The latter has now been revised and reprinted with additional material to bring it up to date for the eBook era, and the new title is Writing the Novel from Plot to Print to Pixel.  Needless to say (but I'll say it anyway), it's an essential book, not just for writers but for anybody interested in writing and reading.

Before I say anything about the new edition, though, I'll say a few words about Telling Lies for Fun and Profit.  Back in the '70s when I was looking at Writer's Digest every month, I didn't ever read any of the articles.  The only reason I wanted the magazine was to read Lawrence Block's column.  Telling Lies for Fun and Profit is a collection of those columns, and it's another book that's just plain fun to read for everybody, writer or not.

Now back to our regularly scheduled review.  Writing the Novel from Plot to Print to Pixel says it's been both expanded and updated.  The updated parts are set off in a different typeface from the rest to make it easy to find if you're looking for it, as Block explains in his new introduction.  The intro also tells about Block's writing the columns I mentioned above, and it's worth a read.  In the rest of the book, the advice there is still as solid and convincing as ever.  There's no one way to write a novel, and there's no secret formula.  So don't expect one.  Instead you can expect plenty of commonsense suggestions and comments about the writing process, and in the new sections about eBooks you'll find a lot really good stuff about the new world of ePublishing.  It's as good as the rest of the book, which I consider high praise.  My favorite chapter is Chapter 18, which is the one I advised my daughter to read first after I gave her the book.  You should start wherever you want to.  Just be sure to go ahead and read them all because this is still right at the top of my list of good books about writing.  Highly recommended.

Once Again Texas Leads the Way

Houston-area BBQ favorite offers 25 percent off for gun-carrying customers

Steve Martin as Indiana Jones?

10 Insane Versions Of Famous Movies That Nearly Happened

Song of the Day

Rick Springfield - Jessie's Girl - YouTube:

I Miss the Old Days

7 life skills that tech will make obsolete in 2016

Today's Vintage Ad


9 things 'Starship Troopers' totally nailed about today's technology

9 things 'Starship Troopers' totally nailed about today's technology

PaperBack



Stacey Clubb, The Hot Blood of Youth, Beacon, 1966

10 amazing archaeological discoveries of 2015

10 amazing archaeological discoveries of 2015

I'm Sure You'll All Agree

10 Best Adventures of 1966  

Link via Boing Boing.

I Want to Believe!

NASA Rover Spots Claw Of ‘Living Alien’ On Mars

New Poem at the Five-Two

The Five-Two: Richard Manly Heiman -- GUNSELS NEED NOT APPLY

First It was the Thin Mints Melee

Tavares: The wife of Tavares Mayor Robert Wolfe was arrested Saturday morning on multiple charges after she allegedly hit her sister over the head with an oscillating fan, according to the Lake County Sheriff’s Office.

Sunday, January 03, 2016

First It was the Thin Mints Melee

Naked prostitutes chase gunmen through hotel after they posed as clients and robbed them while they were stripped off

Vilmos Zsigmond, R. I. P.

Filmmaker Magazine: Legendary cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond, who shot a string of iconic pictures for Robert Altman, Steven Spielberg, Michael Cimino and Brian DePalma, among others, died January 1, Variety reports. Hungarian-born, Los Angeles-residing, Zsigmond was a steadfast proponent of shooting on film his entire life, and he was known for innovative techniques — such as flashing the stock on films like McCabe and Mrs. Miller — and his ability to create unique looks for his various movies. His work encompassed rugged styles in films like Deliverance or The Sugarland Express to composed, dense, painterly work in Heaven’s Gate. He won an Oscar for Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind.

Happy New Year! from AHMM

Happy New Year! | Trace Evidence: Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine passes a milestone this year as we celebrate our sixtieth anniversary. You’ll see to the right the special cover we commissioned from Joel Spector for our January/February issue.

Song of the Day

"People Get Ready" The Impressions - YouTube:

Three Great Bobby Darin Posts

Forgotten Hits - The Bobby Darin Story

Forgotten Hits: Bobby Darin - The Music

Forgotten Hits: Bobby Darin - Related Tracks

Today's Vintage Ad


I Think I'll Just Take the Bus

Top 10 Most Dangerous Airports To Land 

PaperBack



Kenneth Millar, Trouble Follows Me, Lion, 1950

They Should Never Have Chosen "Damien" as the Kid's Name

Chilling picture shows 'demon' watching over unborn baby in ultrasound scan

"I Want to Believe!"

Object of Intrigue: The X-Files' 'I Want to Believe' Poster 

I Miss the Old Days

In the 1960s, Adult Coloring Books Were Radical Texts 

Galaxy, October 1967: A Retro-Review

Galaxy, October 1967: A Retro-Review