Tuesday, November 25, 2014

JK Rowling Update

JK Rowling finishes Harry Potter spin-off script: what to expect 

Win a Kindle Voyage Loaded with Brash Books

Win a Kindle Voyage Loaded with Brash Books

Release Day!

I'm "And Others."

Instant Karma

Florida man pulls back gun hammer to threaten wife, dog — then accidentally shoots self in face

The top 10 words invented by writers

The top 10 words invented by writers 


The Perils Of Technology, The Dangers Of ‘Email Apnea’ 

Song of the Day

This Wheel's On Fire - Ian & Sylvia - YouTube:

“Crime Writing in Iceland? Really?” (by Ragnar Jonasson)

“Crime Writing in Iceland? Really?” (by Ragnar Jonasson) | SOMETHING IS GOING TO HAPPEN

Today's Vintage Ad

First It Was the Thin Mints Melee

Woman faces assault charge after Monopoly game gets out of hand  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.


Eric Ambler, Journey into Fear, Pocket Books, 1943

Shakespeare Update

Rare copy of William Shakespeare’s First Folio found in French library

Screwball Comedy: The Essential Characters

Flavorwire: The 8 People You Meet in a Screwball Comedy

Archaeology Upate

Ancient Settlement Discovered Off Greek Island Of Delos

The 25 Best Inventions of 2014

The 25 Best Inventions of 2014

Overlooked Movies -- Heaven Can Wait (1943)

Yes, once again I'm cheating.  Many of you will be familiar with this movie, but I'm guessing that some of you have overlooked it.  (When Warren Beatty made a movie called Heaven Can Wait some years after this one, he took the title but nothing else.  His movie is based on one called Here Comes Mr. Jordan.)

The movie looks great.  (I miss Technicolor that practically blazes off the screen.)  The opening scene is a gem as Henry van Cleve (Don Ameche) descends a long stairway down to the magnificent art deco anteroom to Hell, where he meets His Excellency (Laird Cregar) for the interview that will determine whether Henry can enter Hell itself.  He feels he's fully qualified because of the life he's led, which he begins to describe to His Excellency.

His story is mostly about women.  He's known his share, but he falls hard for Martha Strable (Gene Tierney) the instant he sees her, and there's a fine flirtation in the Brentano's Bookstore of the latter 19th century.  Martha is engaged, and though she's obviously attracted, she flees.  Later Henry is attending an engagement party for his priggish cousin Albert (Allyn Joslyn).  It's no surprise to us that Albert's intended is Martha.  Henry finds her alone and proposes that they elope right then and there, which they do.

During their marriage, Henry continues to dally with other women.  Martha leaves him once and returns to her Kansas home (and some great scenes with Marjorie Main and Eugene Pallette), where Henry and his grandfather (Charles Coburn) track her down.  So does Albert, but Henry and Martha "elope" again.

After Martha's death, Henry is still gallivanting around, although it's obvious that he was deeply in love with his wife.  In his last illness he has a dream that a boatman has arrived to take him away.   Henry tells his nurse that he wouldn't get into such a shoddy rowboat and  insisted on a beautiful ship.  And the boatman returned with it and with a beautiful woman, too.  

After hearing Henry's story, His Excellency directs Henry to the "Up" elevator and tells him that his wife and grandfather are waiting for him and that there might be a small room for him there.

This is a funny and touching movie, and it's the best role Don Ameche ever had, at least for me.  He had a nice late-career revival in movies like Cocoon and Things Change, but in this one he's just tops.  So is everybody else.  A movie like this would no doubt flop today, but I liked just about everything about it.  Watch the trailer down below, and you might find that you'd like to see the movie, too.

Heaven Can Wait

Heaven Can Wait (1943) Trailer - YouTube:

Monday, November 24, 2014

Sunset as Seen from a Hospital Room at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center

Top Hits at British Funerals

Monty Python tune tops funeral songs

Hat tip to Rick Robinson.

Dave Appell, R. I. P.

Billboard: Dave Appell, the Philadelphia songwriter-producer behind such 1960s rock 'n' roll hits as "Let's Twist Again" and "Limbo Rock" from Chubby Checker and Dee Dee Sharp's "Mashed Potato Time," has died. He was 92.

Frank Frazetta ~ Burroughs Artist Portfolio ~ Canaveral Plates ~ 1968

The Golden Age: Frank Frazetta ~ Burroughs Artist Portfolio ~ Canaveral Plates ~ 1968

Song of the Day

Hold on tight to your Dreams - ELO - YouTube:

The Sci-fi Films of Robert Wise

The Sci-fi Films of Robert Wise

Today's Vintage Ad

10 Authentic Historical Artifacts No One Can Explain

10 Authentic Historical Artifacts No One Can Explain

Matthew McConaughey to take The Stand

The Guardian: Matthew McConaughey is tipped to take the role of villainous Randall Flagg in The Stand, a Hollywood franchise based on the 1978 Stephen King novel. Backed by Warner Bros, The Stand will be released as four standalone pictures directed by Josh Boone. Discussing the project on Kevin Smith’s podcast, Boone described The Stand as “the Godfather of post-apocalyptic thrillers.”


Cynthia Sydney, Give and Take, Midwood, 1966

New Poem at the Five-Two

The Five-Two: John David Muth: November Storm

I Prefer the Term "Homage"

Author, 17, Says It’s ‘Mixing,’ Not Plagiarism 

I For One Welcome Our New Robot Masters

Microsoft turns to robotic security guards to watch for trouble

You Deserve A Break Today

Motorist Hit Man In McDonald’s Drive-Thru, Then Backed Over Him To Grab Order 

I Love Stories Like This

This Way to Texas: A box of books

The most-stolen vehicle in every state

The most-stolen vehicle in every state 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Point of View

It seems that more and more often these days I see readers complaining about what they call "point of view hopping."  I can see why they might object to shifting points of view in a paragraph or mayb even a chapter, but what the heck is wrong with telling a story from the points of view of several different characters.  When did this become a sin?  About the time that adverbs were outlawed?  I can think of one story that I used to teach in my American lit classes, "The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky," in which we even get the point of view of a dog for a sentence or so.  Was Stephen Crane wrong to write it like that?  

My problem, and I realize it, is that I'm a geezer.  I grew up reading people who didn't know the rules.  I love the opening paragraph of "The Fall of the House of Usher," but no editor today would let it pass.  Too many adjectives.  I'm just going to keep on enjoying stories written in all kinds of styles, and if the author wants to switch the point of view now and then, that's fine with me.

Or maybe I'm wrong about this and I've misinterpreted what I've read.  I'm sure someone will let me know if that's the case.

New Story at Beat to a Pulp

NightSweats: NIGHT SWEATS Garnett Elliott

Yet Another List I'm Not On

Meet the 100 Most Significant Americans of All Time

Song of the Day


What 1939 Thought Fashion in 2000 Would Look Like

What 1939 Thought Fashion in 2000 Would Look Like 

Today's Vintage Ad

A Visual Guide to All 37 Villains in the 'Batman' TV Series

A Visual Guide to All 37 Villains in the 'Batman' TV Series 


John Godey, A Thrill a Minute with Jack Albany, Gold Medal, 1968

9 Celebrity #TBT Photos You May Have Missed This Week

9 Celebrity #TBT Photos You May Have Missed This Week

Soon to Be a Lifetime Movie

My husband was no match for the fantasy hunk in my erotic novels... so I've ditched him, says bestselling writer of steamy fiction

Here's the Plot for Your Next Espionage Thriller

Modern art was CIA 'weapon' 

Nic Cage Update

Fact Fiend: Spend enough time online and you’ll eventually learn a lot about the mysterious and legendary figure known to the world as Nicolas Cage. Over the years much has been written about Cage and not a lot of it is flattering, so we wanted to correct that by explaining how Cage is literally one of the most generous celebrities out there.

The 50 Hottest Cars Of The Past 100 Years

The 50 Hottest Cars Of The Past 100 Years

Or Maybe You Did

Films You Didn’t Know Were Ripped from the Headlines