Saturday, October 23, 2004

Friday, October 22, 2004

Yesterday I visited The Dollar Tree ("Everything's a Dollar") and checked out the DVDs. I wound up with a stack that included mostly old TV shows: "The Jack Benny Show," "Topper," "Mr. and Mrs. North," "Ozzie and Harriet," and "Flash Gordon," which starred Steve Holland. It was filmed in Europe and syndicated in the U.S. in the mid-1950s. The episode I watched ("Flash Gordon and the Planet of Death") is so bad that it makes PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE look like CITIZEN KANE. The climactic fight scene is truly pathetic. The costumes worn by the Evil Invaders are hilarious (one of the E.I. looks exactly like Old Weird Harold from the FAT ALBERT cartoons; Bill Cosby must have seen this Flash Gordon episode). The pseudo-science in the story is even funnier than the costumes. Naturally I can't wait to see the other two episodes. Posted by Hello

Thursday, October 21, 2004

School District Bans Halloween

komo 4 news | School District Bans Halloween

And the reason for the ban? Check it out. Halloween is offensive to real witches. I'm glad my new Sally Good book is so up-to-date!

Up from the Depths

A song kept running through my mind yesterday after I posted the news about A Bond with Death. The song was written by Harlan Howard, and I first heard it sung by Hank Cochran, though others have recorded it since. It's "Sally Was a Good Old Girl." Maybe you've heard it:

Sally used to carry my books to schoool.
Sally was a good old girl.
Do my homework 'cause I was a fool.
Sally was a good old girl.

After a while, it dawned on me that a song I heard more than 40 years ago gave me the name of Sally Good, the main character in my series of novels set in a Texas community college. This is pretty scary, and I don't even want to think about where any of my other character names and/or plots might have come from.


Thrilling Days of Yesteryear : "Nostalgia isn't what it used to be." -- Peter DeVries

Click on the link above for some good commentary on THE NAKED CITY (TV version) and reviews of a couple of shows. (Andy Jaysnovitch, take note.)

Horror Film Quiz


Another link via Incoming Signals. I confess that I missed two, but one of them was #3, and I'm sort of glad I missed that one.

Book Heaven

Book Heaven

There's a new blogger on the block. Andy Jaysnovitch, compulsive madman, has some great stuff at the URL above, so click on it to find out about Google Whacking, among other things. Great stuff.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

This is my new St. Martin's release. I really have fun writing these books, which have a community college setting, and I think this one's the best of the series. The bad news is that I've heard from my editor that "the numbers" for this series aren't as good as the numbers for the Dan Rhodes books, which means that Sally Good will quitely fade away, I'm afraid. The good news is that "the numbers" for the Dan Rhodes novels are actually improving, so I'm supposedly going to sign a two-book contract for that series Real Soon Now. Still, if you'd all rush out today and buy ten or twelve copies of A BOND WITH DEATH for Christmas and birthday gifts (one size fits all!), maybe my editor would see the light and let me write another one. Posted by Hello

Monday, October 18, 2004

Scholars Grapple With Godzilla Legacy

Yahoo! News - Scholars Grapple With Godzilla Legacy: By JOHN HANNA, Associated Press Writer

LAWRENCE, Kan. - He's attacked other monsters and terrorized Japan for decades. Now Godzilla is confronting academics who want to wrestle with his legacy.

AP Photo

The University of Kansas plans to pay homage to the giant lizard later this month, organizing a three-day scholarly conference for the 50th anniversary of his first film.

And I say it's about time!

Hidden Gags in WB Cartoons

Via Incoming Signals, here's a link to a page that you Warner Bros. cartoon fans (and I include myself in that group) might find of interest. It's a list of stuff the cartoonists and directors slipped into the cartoons for their own amusement. I suppose some of you might know all this stuff already, but it was mostly new to me.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Shall We Dance?

The other day Judy and I were going to the movies. I had decided that we’d see Team America: World Police. Judy had decided that we’d attend Shall We Dance?.

So, you’re probably asking, how did you like Shall We Dance? It was OK. I’ve seen it reviewed (in the Houston Chronicle, for instance) as a “chick flick,” but it’s not. It’s a “male mid-life crisis” flick, with Richard Gere having the crisis.

Gere, you see, is a lawyer. He writes wills all day and makes plenty of dough. He’s married to Susan Sarandon (!), and he has a teenage daughter who doesn’t think he’s a complete doofus. And yet . . . there’s something missing. He knows he should be unreasonably happy, but he’s not. He feels somehow incomplete, filled with vague longings. He doesn’t know what he needs, or what he’s longing for, but every day as he rides the el-train home, he looks up at Miss Mitzi’s dance studio, where there’s often someone standing in the window looking down at the train. So Gere decides that what he needs is . . . Geritol. Ha ha. Just kidding. What he decides he needs is . . . is . . . Jennifer Lopez.

Well, who among us can blame him? After all, she glows in that window like a religious icon, and, as it turns out, she’s a dancing fool. It’s only when she’s called upon to deliver dialogue that the fantasy takes a serious hit. Maybe that’s why, by the end of the movie, [SPOILER ALERT!] Gere has decided that he what he needs really isn’t J Lo after all. Or maybe it’s because he takes a second look at Susan Sarandon. What he really needs is . . . ballroom dancing! Except that it seems that he might have given it up at the end, which wouldn't be good, so I plan to disregard that implication. I prefer to think that the movie ends with Gere happy and complete and light on his feet. [ END OF SPOILER ALERT!]

This is a nice little movie. It has some laughs, it has a uniformly good cast. Gere is rumpled and relaxed and seems to be having a fine time. Sarandon doesn’t have much of a part, but she’s gorgeous. Among the supporting players, Stanley Tucci, Richard Jenkins, Mya, and Anita Gillette rate special mention. This movie may not give you complete happiness, but it will most likely make you smile and feel good for a little while.

I’ll bet it’s no Team America, though.