Saturday, October 22, 2005

Not That There's Anything Wrong with That

From The Independent: They strut their stuff and shake their booties as well as any pop band worldwide, and their infectious dance tunes are taking the Asian music scene by storm.

But in one crucial respect Lady, the hottest music act to come out of South Korea in years, are not your average girl group. They may have looks that many women would die for - but none of these four singers was born as a lady.

Happy Birthday, Annette!

I suspect that anybody who grew up when I did knew immediately whose birthday I meant in the headline. No last name necessary. She's 63 today. I know her health hasn't been great, and if you want to donate to her fund for neurological disorders, you can click here. There's a good fan site here, and there are some more photos here. Like every other boy my age, I was a huge fan, and I wish her all the best.

Another Bargain from Stark House

Here's another great double volume from Stark House Press. Publication date is December, so get yourself one for Christmas. The two Peter Rabe novels included were both originally published by Gold Medal, so you know you have a couple of winners. Besides the novels you get an introduction by me and Ed Gorman, George Tuttle's essay on Rabe's life, and Donald Westlake's essay on Rabe's writing. Wotta deal!

Friday, October 21, 2005

School Days -- Robert B. Parker

Yes, it's another Spenser, but this time there's no Hawk, and Susan is just a voice on the phone until the last chapter. Pearl, however, is omnipresent.

Spenser's hired by the grandmother of one of two boys who strolled into their school building with a pair of 9mm pistols each and opened fire. The grandma wants to prove the kid's not guilty, and when it becomes obvious that he is, Spenser decides to find out a couple of things the cops don't care about: why the kid did it and where he got the guns.

If you've read a newspaper in the last ten years or so, you'll be a long way ahead of Spenser on this one. Still I enjoyed reading it. I like Parker's writing; it's as simple as that. He's really doing a lot of books lately, it seems like. That's fine, too. Whatever he wants to write, I'll read, though I admit that I check his books out of the library instead of buying them.

More SF Covers

Via Jayme Lynn Blaschke, a link that will give you hours of fun looking at old SF cover art. It's great. Check it out.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


Oh, me of little faith. Pass me that heapin' helpin' of crow, and make the dessert a nice slice of humble pie. Looks like Pujols' homer in the fifth game put a stake in my heart, but not the hearts of the Astros. Tonight it was the Cards who looked listless and distracted, while the Astros went out and played ball. World Series in Houston? I would never have believed it.

Biggio and Bagwell in the big show at last. The irony is that Bagwell didn't do a thing to help the team get there, after all he's done over the years. I hope they'll use him as the DH in the games in Chicago. It would be a nice gesture.

More Emsh Covers

Check out the photoblog for a few of the covers Emsh did for the Ace Doubles series.

Hunter's Moon

Back in March I wrote a short post about the old family plantation. Last night my brother paid a visit to the land, a small portion of which is still in the family (tangled in an inheritance mess that Dickens would envy). The cabin that my great-grandfather built ("The Old Hunter's Retreat") is still there and is show in the picture to the left, with last night's Hunter's Moon.

It's not hard for somebody like me to imagine that there were spirits walking those woods last night: my great-grandfather and his friends Dave and the Old Koon among them. My great uncle Everett was probably sitting on the porch, sketchbook in hand, listening to the barking of the dogs that have treed something down in the bottoms. I wonder if my brother heard them, too.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Happy Birthday, Chuck Berry!

Seventy-nine years old today. I wonder if he can still do that duck walk? One of the greats of my youth. "Maybellene," "School Days," "Sweet Little Sixteen," Roll Over, Beethoven," "Promised Land," "Carol," "Brown-eyed Handsome Man," "Johnny B. Goode," "You Never Can Tell," "Memphis Tennessee," "No Particular Place to Go," "Nadine." And more I can't remember right now. It wouldn't have been the same without him.

Another List

Time's "100 All-Time Novels" via Pop Culture Junk Mail. And I'm left off again! The swine. You've probably read all of the, right?

Cards 5, Astros 4

Arrrgggghhhhhhhhh! One out away from the World Series. One pitch away, and Brad Lidge couldn't make it. After Eckstine's hit, Lidge couldn't make any pitches. I blame Phil Garner and Brad Asmus as much as Lidge. I haven't played baseball since Little League, but my theory would be: Pitch around Pujols, and whatever you do, don't groove him one. He hit the kind of home run that's more than a game winner. It's a stake in the heart. My prediction: Oswalt and Clemens won't be able to carry the load. Cards in seven.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Thunder Road Redux

WorldNetDaily: Moonshining 'still' big business in '05:
Some whiskey operations capable of producing $40,000 per week"

A Virginia moonshine still raided last week could be connected to a larger whiskey-running operation, said an Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) official.


Calhoun described the operation as an "average" size still, which included seven pots – one 400-gallon pot, five 800-gallon pots and one 1,200-gallon pot – that were capable of producing 800 to 1,000 gallons of whiskey a week.

By comparison, the largest still ever uncovered in Virginia contained more than 30 pots and produced 4,000-plus gallons of moonshine a week, said Calhoun.

The Axton still's production required about 5,600 pounds of sugar per week as well as 450-700 pounds of grain and 35 pounds of malted barley every five to seven fermentation periods, which last seven to 10 days, said Calhoun.

Irony is Apparent

From "The cover photo on the latest issue of Patrick Buchanan's American Conservative magazine, bearing the cover line "After the Storm," is not that much different from many of the pictures coming out of the hurricane-stricken areas of the South. It shows a family of four children slogging through knee-deep water with two adult women. However, the "woman" on the far right is none other than well-known New Orleans drag queen and bartender Jack "Lady Charles" Nicholson. Kara Hopkins, the magazine's executive editor, had no explanation other than "it was a good photo."

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Ed Gorman

Ed Gorman has made (so he says) his final post to his blog. If you haven't seen it already, click the link and take a look before you read anything else I have to say.

Ed has done more for the mystery field than just about anybody I can think of, through Mystery Scene and Five Star books, just to name a couple of venues. Five Star has revived careers and launched them. It's given writers a place to publish books that the bigger houses wouldn't touch, books that garnered rave reviews in PW and Kirkus when they appeared. Ed's not Five Star, but he's a driving force.

And that's not all. I suspect that there are dozens of writers, maybe more than that, whom Ed has personally helped out in one way or another. He's been incredibly generous with a lot of us, especially me. I'm not going to list all the ways he's helped me, but I owe him a lot. Believe me.

I love reading Ed's blog, or just about anything he writes. I'm always amazed at his ability to write about movies, books, and other writers, especially the books and writers of the Gold Medal era. I think he has a better understanding of them than just about anyone.

I guess what I'm trying to say here is that Ed better not have made the final post to his blog. I'm counting on his complete and total recovery and his eventual return to blogging. I suspect that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of others who feel the same way. I'm not deleting my bookmark, and that's final.

The Wheelman -- Duane Swierczynski

This must be my month for reading novels about getaway drivers. First came Jim Sallis's excellent Drive, and now The Wheelman, which also begins with a heist gone wrong but which is quite a different book. For one thing, the title character, Partick Lennon, absorbs more punishment than just about anybody I can think of in recent fiction. Even moer than Declan MacManus of D. Daniel Judson's The Bone Orchard. Until I read about Lennon, I considered MacManus the champ, but Lennon, well, you should just read the book and find out.

Are there any other reasons to read the book? Duane Swierczynski's the real deal. First there was Secret Dead Men, a tour-de-force if ever there was one, and now this. It's fast-moving, full of double crosses, triple crosses, and maybe quadruple crosses, the action scenes are so good that you wonder when the movie will be coming out, and the characters are the kind you don't want to meet in a dark alley, or anywhere else except in the pages of a book, where they're all equally terrible and equally entertaining. Anybody can die and any time, and will.

If, like me, you have a little trouble spelling Swierczynski, better sit down and practice. This guy's gonna be around a long time.