Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Soon We'll Have No Rights Left at All

The News Herald: HICKORY — Hickory police arrested a Connelly Springs man after a store manager spied him talking to bushes Monday, officials said.  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

First It Was the Thin Mints Melee

300 in brawl at New Jersey wedding; 2 arrested  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.


Alabama man claims penis mistakenly amputated  

Hat tip to Mel Odom.

Best Coming-of-Age Films: An Essential List

Best Coming-of-Age Films: An Essential List 

Song of the Day

Ray Adams - "Hear my song, Violetta" - YouTube:

Edd Cartier ~ illustrating The Hand of Zei by L. Sprague de Camp

The Golden Age: Edd Cartier ~ 1914-2008 ~ illustrating The Hand of Zei by L. Sprague de Camp from Astounding Oct/1950-Jan/1951

Louise Shivers, R. I. P.

NYTimes.com: Louise Shivers, whose debut novella, “Here to Get My Baby Out of Jail” — a story of adultery and murder in the Depression-era South — surprised no one more than herself when it was published to wide critical acclaim when she was 53, died on Saturday in Evans, Ga. She was 84.

Today's Vintage Ad

We've Observed Mars for Decades, But Still Have No Big Theories

We've Observed Mars for Decades, But Still Have No Big Theories


John Steinbeck, The Wayward Bus, Bantam, 1952

Why you should really take a nap this afternoon

Why you should really take a nap this afternoon, according to science


Pulling the Plug on English Departments: “Within a few decades, contemporary literature departments will be largely extinct,” Pulizzi submits before predicting that “communications, composition, and media studies will take English’s place.” 

Rather than expressing anxiety, or at least, worry over the impending destruction of one of the only mechanisms for introducing young Americans to a pillar of art, human history, and the Western tradition, Pulizzi credulously asks, “Why should college students read narrative prose when they get their fill of stories from television, cinema, and interactive video games?”

The 23 Most Memorable Blackboard Gags From "The Simpsons"

The 23 Most Memorable Blackboard Gags From "The Simpsons"

James Shigeta, R. I. P.

Variety: James Shigeta, one of the first prominent Asian-American actors, who co-starred in “Die Hard” and starred in “Flower Drum Song,” died Monday at 81.

Once Again Texas Leads the Way

Cross-dressing bandit chugs soda, dances for security camera

First It Was the Thin Mints Melee

Elderly woman allegedly assaulted over beer run  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Exhumed Films' Forgotten Film Festival 2014

Johnny LaRue's Crane Shot: Exhumed Films' Forgotten Film Festival 2014

Overlooked Movies: Slightly Scarlet

This post originally appeared in 2005.  I'm repeating it because I was on a film noir panel at Armadillocon and was reminded of how much I enjoyed this movie.

Why would anybody make a film noir in Technicolor? Let me put it this way: If you were going to make a film noir starring Arlene Dahl and Rhonda Fleming, you'd be crazy not to. Dahl and Fleming are a couple of Hollywood's most gorgeous redheads, and they play the bad sister and the good sister in Slightly Scarlet. The only way this movie could have been improved would have been to have Maureen O'Hara in the cast as the in-between sister. But the movie is wonderful enough as it is.

It opens with Arlene, the bad sister, a man-crazy klepto, getting out of prison. Her hair and make-up are perfect, and her outfit is a knock-out. Rhonda, the good sister, is there to pick her up in a beautiful 1955 Plymouth convertible with a Pompano Peach paint job. (I couldn't find a photo of that color, but here's a nice one of the car.) John Payne, wearing a suave propeller bow tie is across the street taking photos with a long lens.

It just gets better from there. Rhonda and Arlene arrive at Rhonda's house. The house number is 1313, so you just know things aren't going to go well. And they don't, except for the person watching the movie, which is a visual treat. You wouldn't think the film noir techinques that work so well in b&w would work in color, but they do. John Alton, who apparently shot a lot of the b&w kind, does a great job here. Check out the lighting, the shadows, the composition. It's all there.

The interiors are almost as gorgeous as Rhonda and Arlene, and the swinging bachelor pad that is the bad guy's beach house is impossible to top. You have to see it to believe it. It's '50s kitsch to the max.

The outfits that Rhonda and Arlene wear are perfection, and of course perfectly color-coordinateded for redheads. I can't decide which is my favorite, but Arlene's green dress with matching hat, shoes, gloves, and scarf has to be a front-runner. Arlene is also quite fetching in a leopard-skin bathing suit. How John Payne resists her advances is beyond me. But I think I'd have to vote for Rhonda's short-shorts. Hubba-hubba!

And did I mention how great Arlene and Rhonda look? I mean, all the time. For example, there's a late-night phone call, and when Rhonda rouses herself to answer, her lipstick, hair, and make-up look as if she just stepped out of the dressing room.

The use of Technicolor in the movie is amazing. It's as vivid as anything you can imagine, and to people who say it's not "realistic," I say, "And you're going to tell me that b&w is realistic?"

Some people might wonder about the plot. Does it really matter? John Payne is a good/bad guy who's taking photos one minute and in charge of the mob the next. Kent Taylor (without his pencil-thin moustache, the Boston Blackie kind) is the reform mayor. Ted de Corsica is the crime boss who leaves town but who you can bet will be back for the big shoot-out at the end. Ellen Corby (Grandma Walton!) is Rhonda's maid, who tries to carry on as if she were working in a slightly normal household. It's all good.

The DVD I have has a commentary track by Max Allan Collins (when does that guy ever have time to write?), which I haven't listened to. Maybe I will, one of these days.

I found out about this DVD from Vince Keenan's blog. You might want to pay a visit and see what he had to say about it.

Slightly Scarlet

Slightly Scarlet - YouTube:

Monday, July 28, 2014

Shaft and the Ghosts of Ernest Tidyman

The Rap Sheet: Shaft and the Ghosts of Ernest Tidyman

New Poems at Beat to a Pulp

ThreePoems by Keith Rawson.

2014 Scribe Awards Announced

2014 Scribe Awards Announced 

Happy Birthday to the Blog

I almost forgot to mention it, but this is the blog's 12th birthday.  It's gone through a couple of incarnations before settling into the current format, whatever that is.  I'm still not sure.  

It's been a good distraction for me over the years, so I'll keep it going for a while longer.  So far there have been 41,725 posts prior to this one.  That's kind of scary.  Maybe I should just get a life.


You Can Own Too Many Books: How many books does a person have to own to officially be labeled a book hoarder? According to Shelfari’s Compulsive Book Hoarders Group, the answer is simple: 1,000 or more.  

Hat tip to Beth Foxwell.

Comic Strip of the Day (well, yesterday, but who cares?)


No Comment Department

Semen collecting is tricky and dangerous: Working with penises, semen and testicles is no laughing matter but a sense of humour is essential, says a bull whisperer.

6 Survival Tips from a Professional Adventurer

6 Survival Tips from a Professional Adventurer 

Song of the Day

Roy Orbison : Lana - YouTube:

Some of You Won't Care

Three Previously Out-of-Print J.D. Salinger Stories Published 

Alvin Led the Way!

After 35 years, Alvin still holds U.S. record for most rain in one day

Today's Vintage Ad

Not That I'd Be Interested

Hotel WiFi Test website ranks hotels by the speed of their internet connection

A Visit With Wayne D. Dundee

A Visit With Wayne D. Dundee


Richard Poole, West of Devil's Canyon, Crest, 1958

Uh-Oh or OK?

Bruce Campbell to Headline Evil Dead TV Series

Cursive Update

Should Arizona schools still teach cursive writing?  

Auto-start video warning.

36 Nature Photos That Prove Texas Is Not Just Tumbleweeds

36 Nature Photos That Prove Texas Is Not Just Tumbleweeds

New Poem at the 5-2

The Five-Two: Paul Hostovsky: Paul Hostovsky THE EMPEROR'S NEW CLOTHES

I Miss the Old Days

Forty years ago, chaos reigned in pop culture 

I'm Back from ArmadilloCon

Judy and I had a great time at ArmadilloCon over the weekend.  Judy was very tired when we got back yesterday evening, but then I was a bit tired, too.  I was on some panels that I thought went very well and had a good attendance.  Saw a lot of old friends and got to spend a little time with some of them.  I was away from the Internet for most of Friday, Saturday, and today, and I survived.  Since this weekend went well, it's likely that we'll take a full week starting on August 2 and visit our daughter and son-in-law in California.  That should be interesting, and fun.

Satan Met a Lady


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Dean Koontz Interview

Dean Koontz: By the Book 

One Day Late, but Still a Good List

Satisfaction: Ten great Stones songs to mark Mick Jagger’s 71st birthday 

Behind the Scenes with Lee Goldberg (Short Videos)

Well worth your time.

The Story Behind WATCH ME DIE

The Story Behind McGRAVE

The Story Behind FAST TRACK

Writing My First Book

My Living Outlines

My Writing Process

This is the Golden Age of Publishing

Or Maybe You Did

Things You Didn't Know About Dickens's London

Song of the Day


Today's Vintage Ad

30 Vintage Photos of People in Libraries

30 Vintage Photos of People in Libraries


Nelson Nye, Riders by Night, Crest, 1958

8 Cons that Seem Too Ridiculous To Be True

8 Cons that Seem Too Ridiculous To Be True

Philosopher-on-Philosopher Insults: The 30 Best

Flavorwire: The 30 Harshest Philosopher-on-Philosopher Insults in History

An Investigation Into the Delicious Origins of Ice Cream

An Investigation Into the Delicious Origins of Ice Cream

Or Maybe You Did

36 Things You Probably Didn't Know About "The Catcher In The Rye"

The Old Fashioned Way