Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Here's How Book Covers Look In The UK Vs. The US

Here's How Book Covers Look In The UK Vs. The US

Song of the Day

Hot Blooded - Foreigner - YouTube:

I'm Sure You'll All Agree

The best cereals of all time, ranked

Today's Vintage Ad


Maybe You Should Write a Book

The Trap of Solid Gold: Maybe You Should Write a Book

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Philip Benjamin, Quick, Before it Melts, Avon, 1964

24 of the Most Banned Books of All Time

24 of the Most Banned Books of All Time

I Didn't Know #9

12 Things You Might Not Know About T.S. Eliot 

Overlooked Movies: Have a Nice Funeral, My Friend, Sartana Will Pay

This movie goes by several variations on the title above, I think.  It's part of a spaghetti western series about Sartana, another man in black, who's not just a skilled gunman but a con man, a gambler, and a guy who can kill you with a playing card.  He's always after money, it seems, and in the town of Indian Creek he plays a banker and the Chinese owner of a gambling hall against each other as they vie for a property they believe to be valuable.  Lots of people die.

Here's the kind of movie this is.  Three guys are going to kill Sartana as he rides through a canyon.  Instead of shooting him, which would be far too easy, they're going to kill him by letting 15 or 20 logs roll down the side of the canyon and crush him.  Somehow they get these logs to the top of the canyon wall, every one of them perfectly round and of perfectly identical size.  They get them stacked and ready to roll when the ropes holding them are cut.  All this would have taken about a month to accomplish, but they get it done in a few minutes, it seems.  We don't know how they do it.  They just do.  And believe it or not, their cunning plan fails.

Gianni Garko is very good as Sartana, and the soundtrack is excellent.  There are a number of good scenes.  The plot mostly makes sense, with a nice little twist at the end.  The movie probably won't convince you to become a spaghetti western fan, but it's good second-rate fare and fun while it lasts.

Bad Movie Night: ‘Valley of the Dolls’

Bad Movie Night: The Deliciously Campy Showbiz Exposé ‘Valley of the Dolls’

Have a Nice Funeral

HAVE A NICE FUNERAL SARTANA WILL PAY TRAILER - YouTube:

Monday, September 26, 2016

First It Was the Thin Mints Melee. . . .

Quarrel Over Orgy Got All Stabby 

The 2016 British Fantasy Awards Winners

The 2016 British Fantasy Awards Winners

Robert Weinberg, R. I. P.

Robert Weinberg: 1946-2016: Longtime pulp collector and historian Robert Weinberg died Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016. He had been in poor health for a number of years.  

Hat tip to Howard Peters.

30 words and phrases that will soon disappear from American English

30 words and phrases that will soon disappear from American English   

Hat tip to Deb.

Herschell Gordon Lewis, R. I. P.

Bloody Disgusting!: Lewis is the man responsible for such films as Blood Feast, Two Thousand Maniacs!, A Taste of Blood, The Gruesome Twosome, Scum of the Earth!, and She-Devils on Wheels, which is only a few of the titles he worked on. Lewis took an extended hiatus from directing after 1972’s The Gore Gore Girls only to return for 2002’s Blood Feast 2: All U Can Eat, the sequel to the 1963 film that is widely considered to be the first splatter film.

First It Was the Thin Mints Melee. . . .

Man stabbed after cutting DC pizza line

Phillip Thompson -- Outside the Law

Outside the Law is an original novel, not a reprint.  (Brash Books is doing a lot more originals these days.)  It's set in a rural Mississippi county that has more murders per week than Sheriff Dan Rhodes sees in years.  Someone's ripping off meth dealers who work for the Memphis mob and then someone's killing the dealers as an object lesson.  It's a good thing Sheriff Colt Harper is more like Raylan Givens than Dan Rhodes.

Harper is a man with a troubled past and his own moral code, and that means sometimes he doesn't mind doing things that are outside the law, especially when it comes to killers like the man called Hack.  Also pursuing Hack is Molly McDonough, who's gone rogue from her job at the FBI.

There are survivors in the end, but hardly anyone comes out unscathed in this fast-moving story (I read it in two sittings).  Thompson provides lots of gunplay, snappy dialogue, and plenty of intriguing characters.  Good stuff.  Check it out.

The Socialite Spy Who Outsmarted the Nazis

The Daily Beast: Big game hunter, legendary French Riviera partier, and a quintessential WASP—Gertrude Sanford was also a vital U.S. spy who managed to outmaneuver the Nazis after being captured.

Song of the Day

If Teardrops Were Silver - YouTube:

One of the Earliest Science Fiction Books Was Written in the 1600s by a Duchess

Atlas Obscura: No one could get into philosophical argument with Lady Margaret Cavendish, Duchess of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and walk away unchanged. Born in 1623, Cavendish was an outspoken aristocrat who traveled in circles of scientific thinkers, and broke ground on proto-feminism, natural philosophy (the 17th century term for science), and social politics.

Jean Shepard, R. I. P.

Billboard: Country Music has lost one of its’ colorful characters -- and beloved performers -- with the passing of Grand Ole Opry star Jean Shepard, who passed away Sunday morning (Sept. 25) after an extended illness at the age of 82.

Today's Vintage Ad


What does Stephen King think of all those Stephen King movies?

What does Stephen King think of all those Stephen King movies?: From 'Carrie' to 'The Mist,' the author weighs in

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Jack Hanley, Tomcat in Tights, Avon Monthly Novel, 1951

Great books about books

Great books about books

I Miss the Old Days

Witty and macabre Addams Family coloring book from 1965

Michael McDowell’s Blackwater

The Shadow over Innsmouth as a Generational Family Saga in Rural Alabama: Michael McDowell’s Blackwater

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Arnold Palmer, R. I. P.

Arnold Palmer: 'The King' of golf dies at 87: Arnold Palmer was the telegenic golfer who took a staid sport to TV and to the masses

Interview with James Reasoner

Faded Trails: Interview with James Reasoner

The Skeleton Haunts a House -- Leigh Perry (Toni L. P. Kelner)

Sid the sentient skeleton detective is back for another adventure.  I reviewed one of his earlier cases here.  Sid can see although he doesn't have eyes, hear although he doesn't have ears, and think although he doesn't have a brain.  He'd be insulted by that last comment, I'm sure, but there it is.  He can also disassemble himself in a trice and various bones can move on their own.  How does this work?  Leigh Perry wisely doesn't try to explain it.  It's just the way it is.

Sid lives in the attic of the Thackery family and is Dr. Georgia Thackery's best friend.  Georgia is an adjunct English prof, and she, her sister, Deborah, and their parents, along with Madison, Georgia's daughter, are the only ones who interact with Sid.  Georgia's parents didn't appear in the earlier book I reviewed, but they're back for this one, and just in the nick of time, too.

This is the season for haunted houses, and billboards have begun to appear on the highways around Houston advertising this year's attractions.  'Tis the season.  The Skeleton Haunts a House was the a natural for me to read now since there's a murder in a haunted house (McHades Hall) at the Halloween Howl at the college where Georgia teaches.  Georgia and Sid, dressed as Scooby Doo and Velma, are at McHades Hall when the murder occurs, and Deborah is in charge of things there.  She's normally not a fan of Georgia and Sid's amateur sleuthing, but this time she asks them to investigate.

There's a lot more than a murder investigation going on here, though.  Perry has a lot to say about family issues, the sad conditions that adjunct faculty suffer under, the lives of college students, relationships, and more.  It's all told with humor in the appropriate places and in lively prose.  Sid (he likes to think of himself as Sherlock Bones) and Georgia come through in the end, of course, and there's a lot of fun (and a bit of romance) to be had along the way.  Check it out.


The Secret Cave in Central Park

The Secret Cave in Central Park—And Why It Was Sealed 

Song of the Day

Chuck Wagon Gang - Heaven's Jubilee - YouTube:

7 Hidden Art Secrets That Were Uncovered With Technology

7 Hidden Art Secrets That Were Uncovered With Technology

Today's Vintage Ad


Roadside Curiosities

Roadside Curiosities: Things That Make You Go “What the Heck?”

Jose Fernandez, R. I. P.

Fox News: Miami Marlins ace pitcher Jose Fernandez was killed Sunday morning after a boat crash in Miami Beach, the team announced.  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

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Nigel Balchin, The Small Back Room, Lion Books, 1950

I Want to Believe!

Artist fools tourists with monument to giant-octopus attack on Staten Island Ferry  

Hat tip to Art Scott.

Bill Nunn, R. I. P.

BuzzFeed News: Bill Nunn, a veteran actor best known for his role as Radio Raheem in Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing, has died at age 62. The cause of his death is not yet known.

Hat tip to Deb.

Inside the FBI’s Colossal Fingerprint Factory

Inside the FBI’s Colossal Fingerprint Factory

How Cats Conquered the World

How Cats Conquered the World (and a Few Viking Ships)

Robert McGinnis’ New Covers for Neil Gaiman’s Early Paperbacks

Feast Your Eyes on Robert McGinnis’ New Covers for Neil Gaiman’s Early Paperbacks

Stanley "Buckwheat" Dural, R.I. P.

Stanley "Buckwheat" Dural, leader of Buckwheat Zydeco, dies at 68: LAFAYETTE, La. -Stanley “Buckwheat” Dural Jr., leader of the Grammy- and Emmy-winning band Buckwheat Zydeco, died Saturday . Dural, who had lung cancer, was 68.

I'm Sure You'll All Agree

100 Greatest Country Songs of All Time  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

The Mystery of New Dimensions 13

The Mystery of New Dimensions 13