Saturday, October 09, 2010

Retro Review

Bill Crider's Pop Culture Magazine: Stage Door Canteen

A Brand-New . . . Typewriter? Typewriting in Zurich: Olympia Traveller Typewriter from 1972 but brand new: "Here is my new Olympia Traveller Typewriter 'brand new' from 1972. It was still in its original packaging since it was produced - never used never opened."

Great pics at the link.


Jack Williamson, The Green Girl, Avon, 1950.

William Norton, R. I. P.

William Norton, a Writer Wilder Than His Films, Dies at 85 - Obituary (Obit) - "William Norton, a Hollywood screenwriter whose own life story would stretch the credibility of most screenplays, died Oct. 1 in Santa Barbara, Calif. He was 85.

The cause was a heart attack, said his daughter Joan.

In his later life, Mr. Norton was imprisoned for running guns, killed a home invader and was smuggled back into the United States by his daughter and former wife.

Until then, however, he had been a successful Hollywood screenwriter, turning out 20 or so feature films, most of them rowdy, uptempo and somewhat tongue-in-cheek adventure tales that served as vehicles for charismatic leading men and women like John Wayne, Burt Lancaster and Angie Dickinson."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Today's Western Movie Poster

Give Me a Jolt

Electric shock treatment 'can cure memory loss', scientists claim - Telegraph: "Researchers found that a tiny surge of power to parts of the brain can improve recall memory by 11 per cent.

The treatment stimulates certain neurons in the brain so when a person tries to retrieve a name from their brain, they suddenly start working,

If developed it could provide treatment for stroke victims as well as people whose memory fades through other ailments or even old age."

BEAT to a PULP: Round One Is Now Available

BEAT to a PULP: Round One

I wrote the introduction for this. Lots of good reading between the covers.

Matchstick Man

The Matchstick Ships of Phillip Warren | Oddity Central - Collecting Oddities: "Throghout his career as a ship model builder, Phillip Waren created over 400 individual ships, as well as 1,200 airplane models that make his aircraft carriers look more real. The average ship in his collection is made using around 1,500 matchsticks and takes about a month to complete, but for his larger creations he used over 5,000 matchsticks and 200 wooden boxes. These took him about a year to complete. All in all, Phillip Waren used around 650,000 matchsticks, to create his entire fleet."

P. K. Dick Update

Ridley Scott goes back to Philip K. Dick for The Man In The High Castle: "According to the Guardian Ridley Scott is producing a four-part BBC miniseries based on Philip K Dick's novel The Man in the High Castle. Howard Brenton, the playwright and Spooks writer, is presently adapting the book."

A Hard Day's Night

Friday, October 08, 2010

Ted Hughes Poem Rediscovered

USA Character Approved Blog | Rediscovered Poem Tells of Plath's Suicide: "A rediscovered poem by English poet Ted Hughes about the night of his wife Syliva Plath's suicide has just been published in the British magazine The New Statesman.

'What happened that night, your final night?' begins the poem, which is read by actor Jonathan Price in the BBC4 video . . . ."

Video at the link.

And Stay off My Damn Lawn!

Age 52: The year people turn grumpy: "Britons find being older than 52 is nothing to laugh about because that's the age when they start becoming grumpy, according to a survey on Friday.

The poll of 2,000 Britons found those over 50 laughed far less than their younger counterparts and complained far more."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Here's the Plot for Your Next Noir Story

103.5 Super X - POR FIN MI MUSICA 80s, 90s y HOY: "A woman accused of murdering her mother with an ax is now facing additional charges for allegedly plotting to have her husband killed."

Best Rumor of the Week

Huge Rumor: ‘Batman 3′ to Feature Killer Croc? | /Film

With Friends Like These . . . .

Man stabbed by friends who wanted to suck his blood | Phoenix News | Arizona News | | Phoenix News: "Police say a man was stabbed for refusing to let two of his friends suck his blood."

No Comment Department

Caught Spying on Student, FBI Demands GPS Tracker Back | Threat Level | "A California student got a visit from the FBI this week after he found a secret GPS tracking device on his car, and a friend posted photos of it online. The post prompted wide speculation about whether the device was real, whether the young Arab-American was being targeted in a terrorism investigation and what the authorities would do.

It took just 48 hours to find out: The device was real, the student was being secretly tracked and the FBI wanted their expensive device back, the student told in an interview Wednesday.

The answer came when half-a-dozen FBI agents and police officers appeared at Yasir Afifi’s apartment complex in Santa Clara, California, on Tuesday demanding he return the device."

Arkansas Update

No pants or cash for accused Pine Bluff bank thief - Little Rock, AR: "Pine Bluff police couldn't recognize an alleged bank robber by his clothes but that wasn't a problem because witnesses knew the man by name."

Hat tip to John Duke.

Man Bites Dog

Man Sinks Teeth Into Police Dog | NBC Connecticut: "It's often said, if a dog bites a man it's not news, but if a man bites a dog, you've got a story.

Well, here is that story."


Philip B. Kaye, Taffy, Avon, 1950.

Today's Western Movie Poster

No Comment Department

Scottsdale man's remains found in three Arizona counties: "The remains of a Scottsdale man whose wife admitted to accidentally killing him last year have been located in three separate parts of Arizona, police confirmed Thursday.

Police verified through DNA testing on Sept. 30 that the human remains found in three different counties over the course of a week late last year all were that of Dwight Tobyne, said Officer David Pubins, Scottsdale police spokesman."

Top 25 Vampires

Retrospace: Greatest Vampires of Retrospace

Forgotten Books: THE LAST BUFFOON -- Leonard Jordan

A couple of weeks ago Juri Nummelin discussed a book by "Steve Jenkins," who is, it seems, actually Leonard Levinson, author of numerous men's action paperbacks from a couple of decades ago. Juri mentioned Levinson's non-genre novel The Last Buffoon, which is an account of the life of a paperback hack. So I figured I'd get out my copy and read it.

The title character and narrator is Alexander Frapkin. He's the author of fifteen novels, so far. He's also paranoid and given to masturbation, and he believes he'll eventually be recognized as one of America's great writers. Just as soon as he can write his masterpiece. In the meantime, he's turning out series books, like those in his Triggerman series. In fact, the novel opens with an excerpt from that series, and as soon as I read it, I knew without question that Levinson had written books like that. The passage could have been lifted right out of one. So I checked, and, sure enough, Levinson is credited by Pat Hawk with having written at least three novels in the Sharpshooter series as Bruno Rossi.

Later on, Frapkin mentions in passing that he's written a kung-fu novel. Back to Hawk to discover that as "Lee Chang" Levinson wrote book #6 in the series Kung Fu, featuring Mace.

Near the end of the book, Frapkin writes a tough cop book. Hawk tells us that Levinson wrote book #3 in Nelson de Mille's Ryker series. He also wrote Joe Blaze #2, The Thrill Killers. There's a nice inside joke when the editor tells Frapkin that he needs to change the name of the cop from Benson to Shanahan. Frapkin's already half through with the book, so he complains about making the corrections. The editor says she has a hundred starving writers who'd be glad to write the book if Frapkin doesn't want to do it, so he caves. So what's the joke? Well, thirty-five years ago, give or take, I wrote a review of these books for some fanzine or other, maybe The Armchair Detective, and one of the things I mentioned was that the names of the cops are all mixed up in the books, maybe in more than one. Maybe Levinson's letting us know how it happened back in those days before "search and replace."

But back to the plot. Frapkin does get his big break, but his mental problems don't allow him to accept it. The Last Buffoon's not a particularly good book, but for those of us who love the old paperbacks and remember the series books, it's good entertainment.

They Died with their Boots On

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Roy Ward Baker, R. I. P.

Roy Ward Baker (1916-2010) - The Saint News: "Sad to hear the news today that Roy Ward Baker has passed away. Baker is most famous for directing A Night To Remember (1958) for which he won a Golden Globe award, which was then re-done as the Academy Award winning film Titanic.

Saint fans will remember him for directing many episodes of The Saint with Roger Moore, and The Return of The Saint with Ian Ogilvy."

Hat tip to Randy Johnson.

Wasn't There a Recent Movie about This

Riverwest has real-life masked avenger - JSOnline: "When the two main loves in your life are helping people and reading comic books, the call is loud and clear: Become a superhero.

He calls himself the Watchman. He won't give his real name.

His identity is obscured by a bright red mask that covers half his goateed face. He wears black boots, black pants, black leather gloves and a black trench coat, but there's a large yellow circle on the chest of his black hooded sweatshirt, with a big W.

'I'm what people refer to as a real-life superhero,' he says."

Terriers Update

My first impression of Terriers wasn't good, but I continued to watch. In my first comments, I said, "Maybe the second show will turn this stuff on its head. We'll see." Well, I continued to watch, and by golly, the show did turn some of that stuff on its head. Daniel Logue did destroy the rich and powerful and evil California real estate developer, but not in the way I'd expected. As it turns out, there are other forces even richer and more powerful and more evil. The show's gotten darker by the week, and I've pretty much developed a long-term commitment to it. Which pretty much guarantees it'll be canceled, dagnabbit.

50 Most Famous & Impressive Debut Novels of All Time

50 Most Famous & Impressive Debut Novels of All Time - Learn-gasm

Peru Update

Peruvian author wins Nobel Prize in literature - "Peruvian Mario Vargas Llosa won the Nobel Prize in literature on Thursday, the Swedish Academy said.

Vargas Llosa won the prize 'for his cartography of structures of power and his trenchant images of the individuals resistance, revolt, and defeat,' the academy said."


Dean Owen, Reptilicus, Monarch, 1961.

Vampire Update

Dracula fish, bald bird among strange new species: "Dracula fish, a bald songbird and a seven-metre (23 feet) tall carnivorous plant are among several unusual new species found in the Greater Mekong region last year, researchers said Wednesday.
[. . . .]
With fangs at the front of each jaw, the 'dracula minnow' is one of the more bizarre new species found in 2009 in the Mekong River region, which comprises Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and China's Yunnan Province."

Today's Western Movie Poster

You'll Want to Have a Look at This


And certainly this.

Don't skip this.

The Decline of Western Civilization Continues Apace

ABC Making ‘Awkward Family Photos’: "Contractually, ABC’s show will be based upon the “Awkward Family Photos” book, though the print version and year-old Web site were both created by Mike Bender and Doug Chernack and contain the same content — funny, embarrassing and, yes, awkward family portraits that have been submitted by readers.

How the concept will translate to series TV is still unclear."

Need a Notepad?

Murder Ink

Charlie the Chimp, R. I. P.

Famous Smoking Chimpanzee Dies At 52 - TIME NewsFeed: "Charlie the chimp, known for his cigarette habit, has died at his home in a South African Zoo.

After picking up a smoking habit because of cigarettes being thrown into his enclosure at the Mangaung Zoo in Bloemfontein, South Africa, Charlie began to bum smokes from zoo visitors by gesturing to his mouth with two fingers, mimicking the actions of smokers he'd watched."

Hat tip to David Cranmer.

No Comment Department

Confessions of a used-book salesman. - By Michael Savitz - Slate Magazine: "I spend 80 hours a week trawling junk shops with a laser scanner. I don't feel good about it."

Panther Girl of the Kongo

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Nice-Looking New Zine

Ampheta'Zine | American Made Trash

I Have No Comment . . .

. . . on this.

Or, for that matter, on this.


Dale Wilmer (Bob Wade & Bill Miller), Jungle Heat, Pyramid, 1954.

Ward, I'm Worried about the Beaver

Hunt for the Stolen Beaver: Houston restaurant mascot being held for ransom - KIAH: "Last week, a man and woman stole a 40-pound wooden mascot from Beaver's on Decatur.

The beavernappers have since posted Internet 'ransom' notices on web sites and blogs, requesting the restaurant staff to perform singing routines or to wear certain colors of clothing. The perpetrators send an anonymous person to the restaurant to make sure the demand is met before posting another."

Gator Update (If You Can't Do the Time, Don't Do the Crime Edition)

Alligator spends night in cells | RFI: "An alligator spent Tuesday night in the cells of a police station in south-eastern France after a local woman found it wandering on a road outside a restaurant. The beast had been roaming the countryside for nearly two months."

Top 10 Most Expensive Sales on AbeBooks for September 2010

Discover the Top 10 Most Expensive Sales on AbeBooks for September 2010: "September's top 10 most expensive sales list is a fascinating and eclectic assortment. Topping the list is a collection of personal files and documents from late Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci."

Today's Western Movie Poster

Gator Update (Bruce Willis Edition)

Co-star stashes alligator in Willis' trailer: "Hollywood tough guy Bruce Willis nearly snapped on the set of his new movie 'Red' after his co-star Mary-Louise Parker stashed a live alligator in his dressing room van."

Texas Is #9

Also #12, 13, and 14.

The U.S. cities with the most drunk driving offenders

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Gallery of Broken Arts

Museum of Broken Relationships shows off gallery of broken arts |

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Top 100 most sought after out-of-print books in 2010 Report Fall 2010 @ "Top 100 most sought after out-of-print books in 2010"

Winners of the West

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

New Language Discovered

Field Researchers Discover a Language New to Science - "In the foothills of the Himalayas, two field linguists have uncovered a find as rare as any endangered species—a language completely new to science.

The researchers encountered it for the first time along the western ridges of Arunachal Pradesh, India's northeastern-most state, where more than 120 languages are spoken. There, isolated by craggy slopes and rushing rivers, the hunters and subsistence farmers who speak this rare tongue live in a dozen or so villages of bamboo houses built on stilts."

Link via Neatorama.

Why Can't the U. S. Have a President Like This?

Video: Evo Morales caught kneeing player in groin during football match - Telegraph: "Evo Morales, the Bolivian president, has been caught on camera kneeing an opposing player in the groin during a football match against a team of political rivals."

Hat tip to Fred Zackel.

Time Travel

Parisian flat containing €2.1 million painting lay untouched for 70 years - Telegraph: "Behind the door, under a thick layer of dusk lay a treasure trove of turn-of-the-century objects including a painting by the 19th century Italian artist Giovanni Boldini.

The woman who owned the flat had left for the south of France before the Second World War and never returned.

But when she died recently aged 91, experts were tasked with drawing up an inventory of her possessions and homed in on the flat near the Trinity church in Paris between the Pigalle red light district and Opera.

Entering the untouched, cobweb-filled flat in Paris' 9th arrondissement, one expert said it was like stumbling into the castle of Sleeping Beauty, where time had stood still since 1900."

Once Again, Texas Leads the Way

How To Fry Beer, Butter, Pop Tarts And Your Mind

Hat tip to Art Scott.

To Protect and Swim

Noise Complaint in So. Calif.? Cop Gets Naked, Jumps Into Pool with Three Women - Crimesider - CBS News: "Police in Cathedral City, Calif. are investigating a complaint from a female resident that a male officer responded to a noise complaint at her home by stripping naked and jumping into her pool, while she was in the water with two girlfriends."

Killers on the Road

Along highways, signs of serial killings - "During the past four decades, at least 459 people may have died at the hands of highway serial killers, FBI statistics show. Investigators do not know how many people may be responsible for the killings but at least one such case — of murder, attempted murder or unidentified human remains — has been reported in 48 states, along roads as far north as Alaska and as far south as Key West. They believe the killers find their victims and dispose of the bodies along highways, sometimes near quiet roadside rest areas or at bustling truck stops."

Now Available as an e-Book!

Jack MacLane - - Blood Dreams

Anna Nicole Smith Update

iWon News - Anna Nicole Smith portrayed as coconspirator: "In a new twist at the Anna Nicole Smith drug trial, prosecutors are casting the dead celebrity model in the role of coconspirator who pressured her two doctors and her lawyer-boyfriend to provide her with excessive prescription drugs.

In closing arguments Monday, Deputy District Attorney David Barkhurst portrayed Smith as a drug seeking addict, discounting defense claims that she was a woman in extreme physical and emotional pain when she began taking opiates and sedatives including Methadone, Vicodin and Dilaudid.

Witnesses have said Smith suffered from chronic pain syndrome, seizures, migraines, spinal pain and fractured ribs, among other ailments. But Barkhurst suggested all the ailments were a ruse to get drugs.

'Anna needed her Methadone because she was addicted to it,' he said."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.


Charlie Wells, The Last Kill, Signet, 1955.

Here They Go with the Carrots Again

Do not buy: 10 items with ludicrous markups - Business - Personal finance -

World's Most Prolific Author

How to Write 85,000 Books: "Philip M. Parker is the world’s fastest book author, and given that he has been at it only for about five years and already has more than 85,000 books to his name, he is likely the most prolific.

Philip M. Parker is also the most wide-ranging of authors. The phrase “shoes and ships and sealing wax, cabbages and kings” is not the half a percent of it. He has authored some 188 books related to shoes, ten about ships, 219 books about wax, six about sour red cabbage pickles, and six about royal jelly supplements."

Today's Western Movie Poster

Texas Is #15

And also #21. Yikes. I just drove through that neighborhood last weekend!

25 most dangerous neighborhoods 2010


With crocodiles and alligators, Gatorama lives as old-style roadside tourist attraction - St. Petersburg Times

Excellent video included.

Something You Might Not Want to Read . . . Or See

Say hello to mechanically separated chicken. It’s...: "Say hello to mechanically separated chicken. It’s what all fast-food chicken is made from . . . ."

Link via Neatorama.

King of the Congo

Monday, October 04, 2010

No Comment Department

The strange but inevitable rise of pornography for the Amazon Kindle. - By James Ledbetter - Slate Magazine

Iron Croc!


Click on YouTube users name at the link if you want the video.

Mystery Scene

The new issue of Mystery Scene is on the scene, all in full color inside and out. Looks great, and there's some great reading. Including, of course, my own column. Check it out.

Fall 2010, Issue #116 Contents


John B. West, A Taste for Blood, Signet, 1950.

I'd Buy That!

Or then again, maybe not. Some of the stuff in this slideshow might not be ready for prime time.

Gallery - Coolest new inventions

Today's Western Movie Poster

Yet Another Forgotten Writer

"It's the birthday of the man who said, 'The race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong — but that is the way to bet.' That's fiction writer and journalist Damon Runyon, (books by this author) born Alfred Damon Runyan in Manhattan, Kansas (1880). His mother died when he was young, and his three sisters grew up with various family members in Kansas. But young Alfred Damon was raised in Pueblo, Colorado, by his dad, who was a gambler, an alcoholic, a literature enthusiast, and a newspaperman."

No More Pencils, No More Books

Are Pencils a Thing of the Past? Liveshots: "Teachers across the country are starting to turn to the latest tools to educate a generation that has been raised on technology. In the classroom, they are incorporating electronic books, web-based tutoring and trading in pens and pencils for the latest gadgets.

Along with the required reading list, Emory University professor Tracy Morkin requires her students buy what looks like a television remote at the beginning of the semester. It’s called a “clicker.”

Morkin said it’s a great tool to get every student directly involved in the lecture. She posts multiple-choice questions on an overhead projector, her students then punch their answers into the device and the results are sent to Morkin's computer."

No Comment Department

The test has been canceled - The Boston Globe: "What happens when the final exam starts vanishing from American higher education?

The answer: No one knows. But apparently we’re about to find out.

Across the country, there is growing evidence that final exams — once considered so important that universities named a week after them — are being abandoned or diminished, replaced by take-home tests, papers, projects, or group presentations."


Sunday, October 03, 2010

Latest Getting Away With Murder Now On-line

Shots Ezine: Getting Away With Murder, The Mike Ripley Column - Get The Latest Trade News and Gossip from the Crime, Mystery and Thriller genres

Keep off His Lawn!

Fairhaven man arrested for threatening to kill neighbors - "A Sycamore Street man was arrested Friday night after waving a gun around on his front lawn and threatening to kill his neighbors earlier in the week, police said, the New Bedford Standard-Times reports."

Another Forgotten Writer

Marilyn in Paris by Rafael Campo | The Writer's Almanac with Garrison Keillor: "It's the birthday of Thomas Wolfe, born in Asheville, North Carolina (1900). He wrote autobiographical novels, including Look Homeward, Angel (1929). In that book, he fictionalized his hometown and the people he knew in it. He cast himself as Eugene Grant, a kid who grew up reading history and adventure books."

Wolfe's work hit me hard when I was a kid.

Archaeology Update

Egypt unearths 3,400-year-old granite statues - Technology & science - Science - "Archaeologists have unearthed the upper part of a double limestone statue of a powerful pharaoh who ruled nearly 3,400 years ago, Egypt's Ministry of Culture said Saturday.

A ministry statement said the team of Egyptian archaeologists discovered the 4-foot (1.3-meter) by 3-foot (0.95-meter) statue of Amenhotep III in Kom el-Hittan, the site of the pharaoh's mortuary temple in the southern city of Luxor.

The temple is one of the largest on the west bank of the Nile in Luxor."


Lionel White, Run, Killer, Run, Avon ND. This is a reprint of Seven Hungry Men, Rainbow, 1952, from yesterday's post. The front cover of that book is now up with the back cover if you'd like to take a look.

Art Gilmore, R. I. P.

Art Gilmore, Voice of Movie Trailers, Dies at 98 - Obituary (Obit) - "Art Gilmore, whose disembodied voice, introducing television shows and narrating hundreds (if not thousands) of movie trailers, was a trademark of Hollywood’s self-salesmanship from the 1940s through the 1960s, died Sept. 25 in Irvine, Calif. He was 98.
[. . . .]

His voice — crisp and articulate, just a tad piercing, cagily pitched to the subject matter and inflected with a precisely calibrated measure of enthusiasm — was as recognizable as a theme song.

Among many other television appearances, Mr. Gilmore was the announcer on “The Red Skelton Show” — “Live! From Television City in Hollywood!” — from 1954 to 1971. He was an announcer of the mid-1950s dramatic anthology series “Climax”; he narrated all 39 episodes of the late 1950s western series “Mackenzie’s Raiders.” And from 1955 to 1959, he narrated the crime series “Highway Patrol,” which starred Broderick Crawford."

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Gator Update (Clueless Edition)

Long Island liquor store owner believed pet alligator was just a large lizard: "A pet alligator pulled from a Long Island liquor store this week even surprised its owner, who thought the reptile was just a large lizard.

The 3-foot gator had been living in a storage room for about two months at Alpine Wine & Liquor in Wading River - where workers fed the beast about 45 goldfish a day, officials and the owner said.

'We didn't know it was an alligator,' said owner Nancy Corcione. 'I didn't think it was illegal. We had no clue.'"

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

John Lithgow: Stories by Heart

Judy and I saw this who last night in Galveston and had a wonderful time.

John Lithgow: Stories by Heart - Review - Theater - New York Times: "Simply put, the triumph of successful acting is the audience’s belief that the falseness onstage is true.

A man playing an Edwardian battle-ax, for example, can usually seek refuge in a concealing gown and hat. But what if that man is wearing a suit and an open-neck shirt? What if he is portraying 11 characters, including the battle-ax and a parrot? And what if he is so persuasive that it never occurs to you that he is John Lithgow?"

The Apocalypse Draws Closer

'Jersey Shore' posts series high: "After taking the most modest of dips during the major network's premiere week, MTV's 'Jersey Shore' bounced back up Thursday night to hit yet another series high.

'Jersey' drew 6.7 million viewers and a 3.4 rating among adults 18-49.

That's a higher demo number than anything on broadcast in the hour."

Today's Western Movie Poster

Codebreaking Update #2

Scientists isolate, hold, photograph individual Rubidium 85 atom: "Dr Andersen says that unlike conventional silicon-based computers which generally perform one task at a time, quantum computers have the potential to perform numerous long and difficult calculations simultaneously; they also have the potential to break secret codes that would usually prove too complex."

Hat tip to Randy Johnson.

Codebreaking Update

Mapping Ancient Germania: Berlin Researchers Crack the Ptolemy Code - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International: "A 2nd century map of Germania by the scholar Ptolemy has always stumped scholars, who were unable to relate the places depicted to known settlements. Now a team of researchers have cracked the code, revealing that half of Germany's cities are 1,000 years older than previously thought."

Congo Bill