Saturday, July 02, 2005

But Enough about Me

Taking a break over on the photoblog, I've temporarily dispensed with the photos of me and my family and posted a few covers of old SF digests.

Speaking of Bad Movies. . .

. . . my wife is in the other room watching (I'm not making this up) Ishtar for the (I'm not making this up, either) third or fourth time. She loves that movie. I don't know that this proves. I try not to think about it.

The Moviegoer

Lee Goldberg had a blog post the other day about how bad the summer movies are, and Jim Winter complains about the prices. Ray Banks takes them gently to task.

As for me, I can only quote one of my favorite novels, Walker Percy's The Moviegoer. Here's what the narrator, Binx Bolling, has to say: "Our neighborhood theater in Gentilly has permanent lettering in front of the marquee reading: Where Happiness Costs so Little. The fact is I am quite happy in a movie. Even a bad movie."

Me, too.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Houston Crime Lab Problems

Home * Office of the Independent Investigator for the Houston Police Department Crime Laboratory and Property Room: "The Office of the Independent Investigator issued the Third Report of the Independent Investigator for the Houston Police Department Crime Laboratory and Property Room"

The next time you're watching CSI and think how cool it is, you might want to remember the troubles of the Houston Crime Lab. Incompetence, lack of supervision, lack of funding, you name it. With devastating results. The third report of the independent investigator is 83 pages long in PDF format. Well worth your time if you care about that sort of thing.

Now We Know Why They Call Him "Mr. Fantastic."


Film-makers had to shrink IOAN GRUFFUDD's genitals for the new FANTASTIC FOUR movie - so he wouldn't alarm young cinema-goers.

The Welsh actor plays MR FANTASTIC in the summer blockbuster, and found the character's lycra outfit a little too revealing.

He explains, "I started out wearing a codpiece under the suit.

"Then memos started arriving from the studio that we needed to make it smaller and smaller until I was like Action Man."

More Pics

My photoblog has been updated. More pics from my sordid past, including at least one featuring the infamous Birth Control Glasses.

Today's Tasteful (no pun intended) New Product


As they say on the 'net, Not Safe for Work.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

What? There aren't any alligators in the sewers?

Are these college oral-sex parties for real?: "Many say rainbow parties are just a new urban legend - suburban, actually - not much more trustworthy than the old stories about alligators in the sewer."

Voodoo, Ltd. -- Ross Thomas

Sometimes I wonder why I don't just re-read Ross Thomas over and over, the way some people (you know who you are) re-read Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe series. For me, Thomas is The Master.

In Voodoo, Ltd. Artie Wu and Quincy Durant are back, along with their great supporting cast: Otherguy Overby, Booth Stallings, and Georgia Blue. This time they're working a blackmail case involving a beautiful movie star who's pretty sure didn't kill a man named Billy Rice. Her lawyer hires a couple of kinky British hypnotists to help her remember, and they disappear with the tapes they've made of their sessions with her. As usual with Thomas, things get really complicated after that. Everybody has ulterior motives (even the good guys), nobody's telling everybody everything, and the bodies start to pile up. Smooth, stylish, plenty of action, lots of great dialogue, what more could you ask for? Every time I re-read a book by Thomas I wonder why I've wasted my time reading some big bestseller when I could just pick up something like Voodoo, Ltd. and read it again.

I'm on Her Side - News - Woman Who Won Topless Court Fight Plans To Bare Breasts Again: "DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- A woman who won a court fight over her right to bare her breasts in public plans to protest topless on Saturday at a city auditorium.

Liz Book has said it is unfair that only men are allowed to go topless in public places and that women are fined for flashing their breasts at events like Bike Week.

Elizabeth Book planned to stage the protest at the Peabody Auditorium next to three statues of women nude from the waist up."

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Moonlight Graham - MLB - 100 years ago, Doc moonlighted as baseball player: "NEW YORK -- Even a century later, there's still a mystique in the ol' Moonlight.

Archibald Wright Graham only played one game in the big leagues, and it was a glimmer at best. He never got to bat, and was simply a defensive replacement in right field.

'Field of Dreams' thrust Moonlight Graham into the cultural consciousness.

'Two glorious innings in the garden,' the New York Evening Telegram reported then.

Hard to believe how that brief stint for the New York Giants on June 29, 1905 -- exactly 100 years ago Wednesday, at a ballfield in Brooklyn -- became such a part of baseball lore."

Click the link for the rest of the story.

A New Blog

In a post below, Jeff Meyerson mentions that he was given a photo of himself and Jackie in 1971. Just thinking about that drove me into a frenzy of nostalgia, so I created a photo blog. It's located here. It's just a hodgepodge of stuff, and it's only for people who have an inordinate curiosity about looking at other people's old pictures.

Stella's Not Feeling Groovy

How 'Stella's' groove got away from her: "After convincing older women that they can find love with a man half their age, best-selling writer Terry McMillan's Tea Cake has run off -- with a man. Jonathan Plummer was 20 years old and McMillan was 43 when they met while she was staying at a Jamaican resort in 1995. At the time, McMillan had made millions from her novel 'Waiting to Exhale' and was so popular she once complained that she couldn't walk through an airport without sisters stopping her.

But apparently brothers in the United States weren't interested, because McMillan was in Jamaica getting turned on by a local just like legions of other lonely American women who go to the Caribbean looking for romantic adventure. Only McMillan did what a lot of other women wish they could do. She brought the young man home, put him up in her $4 million home, and married him three years later.

Her widely read novel How Stella Got Her Groove Back is based, in part, on the steamy affair between McMillan and Plummer. McMillan is now 53. Plummer is 30 -- and he has come out of the closet. McMillan has filed for a divorce, claiming Plummer 'lied about his sexual orientation' and that he married her 'only to gain U.S. citizenship.'"

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

A Whole Lot about Zorro Zorro still makes his mark: "He seems like a devil-may-care playboy, pursuing women and good times in equal measure. Yet that's only a ruse: In reality, he's a masked hero who emerges from a secret hide-out to fight injustice wherever he finds it.

Bruce Wayne and his alter ego, Batman? No. It's the original Caped Crusader — Zorro. And 86 years after he first appeared in a pulp magazine story, the early 19th century California hero is poised to become the next pop culture craze"

Border Town Girl -- John D. MacDonald (Part 2)

A while back I posted about the title novella in this book. (I used a different cover, too.) Ed Gorman suggested that I re-read the second novella, "Linda," so I did. After I got into it, I remembered it pretty well, and it's still a dandy story, about a steady, unimaginative guy who marries a flashy woman whom he longed for when they were in high school. After a while he finds out that maybe being married to her isn't as great as he'd thought it would be, and before long, he finds out some even worse things about her. As I read this, I found myself remembering quite a bit about it, but it was still fun, right up until the ending, which seemed draw-out and contrived to me this time. Well worth reading, though. And well worth reading again.

Monday, June 27, 2005

"Batman Begins": Bruce Wayne, Defendant

Overlawyered: "Batman Begins": Bruce Wayne, Defendant: "'Batman Begins': Bruce Wayne, Defendant"

What would really happen to Bruce Wayne? Check it out at the link.

The Gun Trail -- H. A. DeRosso

I didn't know about H. A. DeRosso until a year or so ago. I believe it was James Reasoner who clued me in, and I've read a couple of DeRosso's books since then. I don't know what readers expected when they bought The Gun Trail in 1953, but I'll bet they were surprised. The plot sounds perfectly standard. It involves a deputy who's trailed a killer to the White Peaks country, a range war between a powerful rancher and all the little guys, and a beautiful woman. You might even think you could guess how it all plays out. But you'd probably be wrong. This is a brutal, grim, bloody book. There's not a sympathetic character in it, unless you feel something for the deputy, Quinton. But he's almost as bad as the others, adn they're mostly cold-blooded killers or worse. This is about as dark as it gets, folks, with no compromise.

John Fiedler, R. I. P.

New York City - AP New York: "NEW YORK (AP) _John Fiedler, a stage actor who won fame as the voice of Piglet in Walt Disney's Winnie-the-Pooh films, died Saturday, The New York Times reported in Monday editions. He was 80.

Fiedler served in the Navy during World War II before beginning a stage career in New York. He performed in supporting roles alongside Sidney Poitier on Broadway, John Wayne in Hollywood and Bob Newhart on television. "

Another Pooh voice gone, but I remember Fiedler best as Mr. Peterson on "The Bob Newhart Show." He was probably my favorite of Bob's patients, along with Mr. Carlin. And you know what's scary? Here's what's scary. I thought of him as an Old Guy when I watched the show, and he was probably ten years younger than I am at this moment. OK, that might not scare you, but it sure as hell scares me.

Proof that Nobody Copyedits Robert B. Parker These Days

From Appaloosa, p. 266: "The room was quiet and noisy."

p. 238: "Bragg took a tan leather case out of his inside coat pocket. He offered a cigar to Bragg and me."

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Paul Winchell, One More Time

April Winchell: June, 2005: "I got a phone call a few minutes ago, telling me that my father passed away yesterday.

A source close to my dad, or at least, closer than I was, decided to tell me himself, instead of letting me find out on the news, which I appreciate. Apparently a decision had been made not to tell me, or my father's other children.

My father was a very troubled and unhappy man. If there is another place after this one, it is my hope that he now has the peace that eluded him on earth."

I found this link (as I did the previous one) at Mark Evanier's News from Me. I know it shouldn't surprise me that Paul Winchell, who'd brought so much laughter and pleasure to me when I was a kid, was a troubled, unhappy man. It's almost a showbiz cliche. Still, this blog entry depressed me. Life is hardly ever what it should be, I guess. A dman shame if you ask me.

Paul Winchell R. I. P.

news from me: "An amazing man died yesterday at the age of 82. Paul Winchell was a pioneer of early television, appearing on hundreds of shows with his wooden-headed friends, Jerry Mahoney and Knucklehead Smiff. He was a great ventriloquist -- maybe the best ever -- but he was also a great all-around entertainer and inventor."

I was a huge fan of Paul Winchell when I was a kid. He was just about the best ventriloquist I ever saw. Obviously he was influenced by Edgar Bergen, and of course his partners, Jerry Mahoney and Knucklehead Smiff, were a lot like Charlie McCarthy and Mortimer Snerd, but he was his own man, and Jerry and Knucklehead weren't carbon copies of any other dummies. I'm sorry to hear they've all passed on.