Friday, August 26, 2016

13 Fast Facts About 'Smokey and the Bandit'

13 Fast Facts About 'Smokey and the Bandit'

Song of the Day

Pretenders - Back On The Chain Gang (1982) - YouTube:

The Real Cowgirls of American West

Girls of Western United States in the early 20th Century: The Real Cowgirls of American West  

Link via Messy Nessy.

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10 Hidden Secrets In History's Greatest Artworks

10 Hidden Secrets In History's Greatest Artworks 

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Richard S. Prather, The Sweet Ride, Pocket Books, 1972

Lost TV -- The Della Reese Show

Decades Before Oprah, Della Reese was the First Black Woman to Host a Talk Show: The digital remains are down to two 10-minute clips on YouTube. One is an episode with singer Eric Burdon of the Animals; another is with comedian Lou Alexander. No other trace has surfaced of a show that sits as an entry in the Lost Media Wiki, a crowd-sourced compendium of history’s abandoned media artifacts. Its disappearance has inspired curiosity as to whether these episodes will emerge from obscurity, resulting in at least one man’s dogged efforts to recover the show’s full archive.

First It Was the Thin Mints Melee. . . .

North Conway Burger King Manager Arrested for Throwing Sauce at a Customer  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

“When Does the Past Become History?” (by Elizabeth Zelvin)

“When Does the Past Become History?” (by Elizabeth Zelvin) | SOMETHING IS GOING TO HAPPEN

The Scrapbooks of a Real-Life Tarzan

The Scrapbooks of a Real-Life Tarzan torn between Africa and Studio 54  

Great photo at the link.

FFB: Cross the Red Creek -- Harry Whittington

Stark House has done it again -- a triple-decker of Harry Whittington westerns that includes Trouble Rides Tall, Cross the Red Creek, and Desert Stake-Out, with an excellent and informed introduction by the Whittington expert, David Laurence Wilson.  I've said this again and again, but it's even more true this time: The introduction is worth the price of the book.

I first read Cross the Red Creek in an Avon paperback long ago.  It presents a situation that Whittington excelled at, a man in trouble who just keeps on getting deeper and deeper in the hole.  Jim Gilmore, looking for a fresh start, is headed for the town of Kiowa City when he's surrounded by a posse and accused of robbing a bank.  He escapes, but then in one of the story's first twists, turns himself in.  A jury can't prove he's guilty, but only a couple of people in Kiowa City believe he's innocent.  He doesn't care.  He decides to stay, send for his wife, and settle there.  Complications ensue.

Plenty of action, some complex relationships, and some tense scenes that would be great on film, particularly a shootout in a burning barn.  Although the story is ostensibly a mystery, you won't ever be in any doubt about who the villain is.  That doesn't detract from the enjoyment, however, because what matters is the human relationships in the story and what Jim Gilmore comes to realize about himself and other people.  If you're looking for a solid traditional western, you can't go wrong with Cross the Red Creek of the other two in this volume.  Highly recommended.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Dream Treehouses

Fancy Living in a Tree? Take a Look at These Dream Treehouses

Song of the Day

Madonna - La Isla Bonita (Official Video) - YouTube:

Alvin Crime Report

The other morning about 3:00, several car loads of cops descended on the house next door to me.  Flashing light bars, floodlights, the whole deal.  My neighbor, I hasten to add, was totally innocent of any wrongdoing.  His pickup had been stolen from his driveway and used as a battering ram on a local convenience store.  The cops were making sure he wasn't part of the gang who did the deed.  At the same time his pickup was stolen, a van was stolen from a driveway across town.  The gang members used the van to haul away the ATM they took from the convenience store after battering down the wall.  The Houston cops later found the van and the emptied ATM.  The battering and taking of the ATM are all on video, but the gang all wore masks, so finding them is unlikely.  It created some excitement for the neighborhood, but we're once more quiet again.

This has been your Alvin Crime Report.

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Did You Know There Was a Wright Sister?

Did You Know There Was a Wright Sister?

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Basil Copper, The Dossier of Solar Pons, Pinnacle, 1979

First It Was the Thin Mints Melee. . . .

Horrifying moment a waiter opened fire in a famous Texas steakhouse during a fight with two diners who complained he had brought the wrong order  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

First It Was the Thin Mints Melee. . . .

Woman arrested for slashing husband after he drank her beer  

Hat tip to Deb.

Manual Dexterity at Its Best

Watch These Cardists Perform Artistic Tricks With Playing Cards

11 Toothy Facts About Gharials

11 Toothy Facts About Gharials 

I Found a Penny in the Walmart Parking Lot Last Week

Paleontologists Find a Nearly Complete T. Rex Skull in Montana

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

The most famous and over-analyzed fight in the West

True West Magazine: The Earps & Doc Holliday vs The Clantons & McLaurys

Song of the Day

Barracuda- Heart - YouTube:

7 Strange Tales From the Wild West

7 Strange Tales From the Wild West

Today's Vintage Ad

Hat tip to Richard Moore.

15 Obvious Movie Anachronisms

15 Obvious Movie Anachronisms

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William Johnston, Max Smart and the Perilous Pellets (Get Smart #4), Tempo Books, 1966

How Cuba's Greatest Cartoonist Created 'Spy vs. Spy'

How Cuba's Greatest Cartoonist Fled From Castro and Created 'Spy vs. Spy'

The Big Sleep: Proof That Plot Doesn’t Matter

The Big Sleep: Proof That Plot Doesn’t Matter

Once Again Texas Leads the Way

Texas cop chooses Whataburger over providing backup  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Fantastic, August and September 1964: A Retro-Review

Fantastic, August and September 1964: A Retro-Review

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Steven Hill, R. I. P.

abc7ny.com: Steven Hill, a versatile character actor in theater, films and television who achieved his greatest success late in life as grumpy District Attorney Adam Schiff on TV's long-running "Law & Order," died Tuesday. He was 94.  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

I'm Sure You'll All Agree

BBC - Culture - The 21st Century’s 100 greatest films  

Hat tip to Rick Robinson.

Free for Kindle for a Limited Time

The Last Call (The Bill Travis Mysteries Book 1) - Kindle edition by George Wier. Literature & Fiction Kindle eBooks @ Amazon.com. THE LAST CALL starts with a protagonist on the edge of an impending midlife crisis. Add a blond and an old friend with a fetish for high explosives, and you have the kickoff of a first rate crime novel. George Wier writes with wit, verve, and a gut-bucket knowledge of Texas and those who people its quirky underside. This book does not disappoint.

The Scottish Scoundrel Who Changed How We See Data

The Scottish Scoundrel Who Changed How We See Data

Song of the Day

Gene Pitney It Hurts To Be In Love - YouTube:

Bad Movie Night

Bad Movie Night: The Notorious, Disastrous, Fascinating ‘Island of Dr. Moreau’ 

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Or Maybe You Did

15 Things You Didn’t Know About Jacqueline Susann’s ‘Valley of the Dolls’

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John D. MacDonald, The Brass Cupcake, Gold Medal, 1958

7 Obsessions That Influenced H. P. Lovecraft’s Work

7 Obsessions That Influenced H. P. Lovecraft’s Work 

Donna Wold, R. I. P.

StarTribune.com: In 1989, Donna Mae Wold was outed around the world as the longed-for “little red-haired girl” in the “Peanuts” comics strip. “Good Grief,” Rheta Grimsley Johnson’s biography of Minnesota cartoonist Charles M. Schulz, devoted an entire chapter to Wold, the Minnesota woman who got away — from him and from character Charlie Brown.

Behind the Hits

Behind the Hits 

It's Her Constitutional Right

Woman, 24, defends capturing and wrestling ALLIGATORS up to 12ft long for fun  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Overlooked Movies -- So Fine

Andrew Bergman has written some dandy private-eye novels, not to mention the script for The In-Laws (the original).  So how could you go wrong with So Fine, a movie he wrote and directed?  Answer: You can't.  Or I couldn't.

Ryan O'Neal is Bobby Fine, an English prof up for tenure.  His father, Jack Fine (Jack Warden) is an unsuccessful clothing maker, in deep debt to Big Eddie (Richard Kiel).  Through a complicated set of circumstances, Bobby is kidnapped and set up as head of the company.  He's also quickly involved with Kiel's beautiful wife, Lira (Mariangela Melato).  While fleeing Kiel's bedroom, Bobby accidentally invents So Fine jeans (see poster) and saves the company from financial ruin.

The movie's full of jokes, so many that you might miss one while laughing at another.  It has the greatest production of Verdi's Othello ever.  It has Richard Kiel lip-synching to "Walk Like a Man."  It has O'Neal giving a version of Henry V's St. Crispen Day's speech to the garment workers.  Maybe this movie's not as funny as I think it is.  You can let me know in the comments.

So Fine

So Fine (Original Theatrical Trailer) - YouTube:

Monday, August 22, 2016

Campaign for the American Reader: What is Bill Crider reading?

Campaign for the American Reader: What is Bill Crider reading?

Writers Read: Bill Crider

Writers Read: Bill Crider

How Sam Phillips Invented the Sound of Rock and Roll

How Sam Phillips Invented the Sound of Rock and Roll

Song of the Day

ELVIS PRESLEY//Mystery Train - YouTube:

I Miss the Old Days

Watch a Groovy Synchronized Swimming Routine From the 1960s: Complete with pineapple-esque swim caps.

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The Mummified Train Robber

The Mummified Train Robber Who Became a Circus Prop 

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William Johnston, Max Smart Loses Control (Get Smart #8), Tempo Books, 1969

Hard Case Crime Update

How Hard Case Crime Will Bring a Seedy Underbelly to Comics

I Have a Feeling This Has Happened Before

New deja vu theory may explain mystery of human phenomenon

The Cowboy Novels that Inspired Hitler

The Cowboy Novels that Inspired Hitler   

Some of you must be thinking, "Cowboy novels?  WTF?"

Uh-Oh

Whatcha Gonna Do When a COPS Movie Comes for You?

Sunday, August 21, 2016

2016 Hugo and Campbell Awards Winners

2016 Hugo and Campbell Awards Winners

No. 44 Stuyvesant – New York, New York

No. 44 Stuyvesant – New York, New York: The Stuyvesants were the founding family of New Amsterdam, so it follows that their 220-year-old house on a street named after them in the Bowery (which derives its name from the Old Dutch word for "farm") still stands today.

Song of the Day

Jack Scott - Save my soul - YouTube:

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Scientists have created an entirely new form of life in the lab: After making more than 62,000 changes to the genome of an E. coli bacterium, the researchers have essentially invented an entirely new form of life. This new supermicrobe will be so different from the natural tree of life that it will be resistant to all known viruses on Earth and will be capable of producing proteins unlike any found in nature, reports New Scientist.

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Croc Update (Evolution Edition)

The Secrets of the 13 Million-Year-Old Crocodile

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Talbot Munday, Liafail, Lancer, 1967

12 Refreshing Facts About Coca-Cola

12 Refreshing Facts About Coca-Cola

The Lost Gardens of Emily Dickinson

The Lost Gardens of Emily Dickinson 

The 11 Oldest Amusement Parks in the U.S.

The 11 Oldest Amusement Parks in the U.S.