Friday, August 01, 2014

I Want to Believe!

NASA: New "impossible" engine works, could change space travel forever  

Hat tip to Art Scott.

First It Was the Thin Mints Melee

Inadvertent photobomb leads to beach wedding brawl

Free for Kindle For a Limited Time The Time Trap eBook: Henry Kuttner: Kindle Store: 1939 Retro-Hugo Awards Best Novella nominee A titan of the genre, Henry Kuttner, weaves a spellbinding tale of a time-traveling archaeologist in one of the most fantastic adventures ever conceived.

My advice:  Don't pass this up!

Once Again Texas Leads the Way

And keep off her lawn!

Armed 90-year-old TX woman arrested after SWAT stand-off: ‘She’s hard to get along with’

Noel Black, R. I. P. Noel Black, a director whose first feature film, the 1968 black comedy “Pretty Poison,” divided critics but became a cult hit, died on July 5 at a hospital near his home in Santa Barbara, Calif. He was 77.  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Once Again Texas Leads the Way

Houston Bigfoot hunter offers college-style class for budding cryptozoologists

Song of the Day

Buster Brown - Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Baby - YouTube:


Dallas/Fort Worth Named America’s Top 3 Tourism Destination

Today's Vintage Ad

11 Little Quirks in Baseball's Early Rules

11 Little Quirks in Baseball's Early Rules

Two eBooks Free for a Limited Time

The Education of a Pulp Writer: Free eBooks: Hardboiled 2 & 3


Richard S. Prather, Pattern for Panic, Berkley, 1956

He's No Einstein

Sheriff: Man who wore Einstein mask to rob Venice bank is arrested

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Breathtakingly Beautiful Pictures From The 2014 National Geographic Photo Contest

Breathtakingly Beautiful Pictures From The 2014 National Geographic Photo Contest

Gator Update (Free for All Edition)

'Monster' Alligator Fight Captured In Stunning Photos

First It Was the Thin Mints Melee

Albuquerque Journal News: Unanticipated Comcast fees made one Albuquerque woman so angry she pulled a gun on a worker for the cable company, according to a criminal complaint filed in Metropolitan Court.  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

First It Was the Thin Mints Melee

Airline passenger attacks crew with prosthetic leg, demands parachute: witnesses  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Interesting Story about a Forgotten Book

Sex, Lies, and Cooperstown

Vintage Treasures: Runyon First and Last by Damon Runyon

Vintage Treasures: Runyon First and Last by Damon Runyon

Forgotten Books: The Real Cool Killers -- Chester Himes

It's hard to call a book that's included in the Library of America "forgotten," but since it's my blog, I'll just talk about it, anyway.  I first read the Coffin Ed and Gravedigger Jones books in the Avon editions (which I still have, of course) not too long after their publication.  However, I had this Berkley reprint on the shelves, and because it's a lot less brittle than the Avons, it's the one I reread the other day.

The first chapter's a dilly.  I don't think anybody could read the first couple of pages and not want to go on.  The writing is colorful and vivid.  It brings the joint where the action takes place to life.  And then the violence begins.  There's a lot of violence, and it's described in short, sharp bursts.  Pretty quickly we're out on the streets of Harlem and a white man has been murdered.  This draws a crowd.  It also draws Gravedigger and Coffin Ed, two cops who are at least as violent as the criminals they're after.  Maybe more violent.  In mere minutes, Coffin Ed has killed a semi-innocent teen and wounded someone else.  The Real Cool Killers, a teen gang, what's left of them, escape with the actual suspect.

The rest of the novel all takes place in the hours following the murder.  There's more over-the-top violence as Gravedigger pursues the killer on his own, Coffin Ed having been suspended.  Oh, sure, the white cops are involved, too, but they're not exactly geniuses.

The novel is also very funny, believe it or not, in its outrageous way.  There's social commentary, too, though it's not presented in the way you might expect.  Some it is oblique, some a little more direct.  Nothing in the book is politically correct, however, and there are things that current readers might find offensive.  

Since I haven't read the Library of America edition, I don't know if the euphemism "mother-rapers" has been replaced by the real term.  Even when I read the books the first time, I thought "mother-rapers" was just as bad as the phrase it was replacing.

Himes could've used a good editor, and the writing in spots is a bit rough.  It's as if he wrote the book very quickly and didn't do much, if any, revision.  Great stuff, though, and there's a nice ending twist as the last ten or fifteen pages turn everything upside down.  Check it out.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Margot Adler, R. I. P. Margot Adler, a longtime correspondent for NPR who was also a recognized authority on, and a longtime practitioner of, neo-pagan spiritualism, died on Monday at her home in Manhattan. She was 68.  

Hat tip to Todd Mason.

Dick Smith, R. I. P.

Movie makeup master Dick Smith dies at 92: Dick Smith, the Hollywood makeup legend who turned Linda Blair into a demon in The Exorcist and Marlon Brando into an aging mafia don in The Godfather, has died at the age of 92.

Robert Halmi Sr., R. I. P.

NY Daily News: Prolific TV producer Robert Halmi, Sr., has died. Halmi died Wednesday in his New York City home at 90, said spokesman Russ Patrick. The Hungarian-born Halmi found success as a magazine photographer after arriving in America in 1951, shooting pictures for such publications as Life and Sports Illustrated.

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

JK Rowling Update

JK Rowling’s crime books to outnumber Harry Potter series

All Spoilers All the Time

The 38 Most Absolutely Absurd Things That Happen In "Sharknado 2"

Scientists reveal the secrets of mysterious ship found under 9/11 ruins

Scientists reveal the secrets of mysterious ship found under 9/11 ruins

Song of the Day

Norman Fox & Rob Roys - Pizza Pie - YouTube:

The 100 best sci-fi movies

Time Out Film: Leading sci-fi experts, filmmakers, science fiction writers, film critics and scientists pick the best sci-fi movies ever made  

Link via SF Signal.

Today's Vintage Ad

Rats on the Rampage WBAGNFARB

Rats on the rampage at Louvre museum gardens

Latest Getting Away With Murder Now Online



John McPartland, The Kingdom of Johnny Cool, Gold Medal, 1963

Sharknado 2: 10 Things We Learned From Syfy's Cult Movie

Sharknado 2: 10 Things We Learned From Syfy's Cult Movie

Eight of the greatest film noirs

Eight of the greatest film noirs

Annoying slideshow (and not all of them are noir by my definition)

Texas Has Two of The Top 10

Wisconsin drive-in theater rates No. 1 with moviegoers in U.S.: The world's largest travel site took on July 30 announced the 10 top drive-in movie theaters in the United States based on its "popularity index." That index uses reviews — the quality, quantity and recency — from TripAdvisor users for the rankings.

In that case, ma'am, you are free to go

Ohio woman slits sleeping husband’s throat, claims she was dreaming of filleting a fish

Jay Maeder, R. I. P. Jay Maeder, a columnist and editor for The Daily News and The Miami Herald and the last writer of the comic strip “Annie,” died on Tuesday at his sister’s home in Houston. He was 67.  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

I Found a Penny Last Week

Family finds 300-year-old sunken treasure off Florida's east coast 

Forgotten Music -- Watch If You Dare

The absolute worst music videos from the 90s

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Once Again Texas Leads the Way

Naked woman who broke into Texas house through doggy door, was found in bathtub, reveals what happened that night  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

Mathematically Correct Breakfast -- The Kind Seepy Benton Has

Mathematically Correct Breakfast   

Hat tip to Art Scott.

Wally Wood ~ artwork for Galaxy 1957-59

The Golden Age: Wally Wood ~ 1927-1981 ~ artwork for Galaxy 1957-59

Soon We'll Have No Rights Left at All

Naked Man On Leash In W. Va. Could Face Charges

And They Say TV Is Out of Ideas

FremantleMedia North America & Jeff Gaspin To Revive 'To Tell the Truth' 

Song of the Day

Jan & Arnie - Bonnie Lou - vinyl 45 - YouTube:

All Spoilers All the Time

The Alternate Endings of 20 Famous Movies

Today's Vintage Ad

Top 10 Golden Age Mystery Novels

Top 10 Golden Age novels

Typewriter manufacturers see boom in sales

The Local: German typewriter manufacturers are enjoying a boom in sales following the NSA spying scandal. A German defence manufacturer switched to typewriters last year, while last week a leading politician called for the government to use the old technology.

“Visit Greeneland!” (by Kevin Wignall)

“Visit Greeneland!” (by Kevin Wignall) | SOMETHING IS GOING TO HAPPEN


Jane Gaskell, Atlan, Paperback Library, 1968

Admit it -- you've watched some of them

The Strangest TV Shows to Grace the Small Screen 

And I've Never Seen a Single One

35 Campiest Made-For-TV Movies Ever Made 

But Only If You're a Whippersnapper

9 Novelty Dances You've Probably Never Heard Of

They'll Bite Anybody

Nun bitten by crocodile

Hess' Triangle

Atlas Obscura: The smallest piece of property in New York City is a triangular concrete slab that remains private land as a matter of principle.  

Link via mental_floss.