Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Off We Go, into the Wild Blue Yonder

When you read this, if all goes well, I'll be sitting in an airplane that's about to take off for San Francisco.  I'll be visiting Angela and Tom in their new house in Sonoma for about a week.  Don't worry about the cats, as I've found an excellent cat-sitter/house-watcher to take care of things while I'm gone.  The bad news is that she'll be going to Texas A&M in the fall and won't be able to do this for me if I go to the Bouchercon.  I'll be pretty much off the grid as far as email and such go, but I do have all the regular stuff scheduled to appear on the blog, along with some other things.  I'll probably post some pictures of the trip here, and maybe even some things I run across on the 'net, assuming I have time to do any surfing.  I'm not sure about an old one-eyed cancer patient making a trip like this, but I'm bound and determined to make it work.  

Song of the Day

Dick Curless / Tombstone Every Mile - YouTube:

A Dreamy History of Teen Idol Magazines

A Dreamy History of Teen Idol Magazines, Just for YOU!

Today's Vintage Ad

He Really Wants to Believe!

There’s a $1 Million Bounty on Bigfoot in Pennsylvania


Peggy Gaddis, Temptation, Venus Books, 1950

I Miss the Old Days

25 Amazing Black and White Photographs of London in the Swinging Sixties Era

'Woke' has been added to the Oxford English Dictionary

'Woke' has been added to the Oxford English Dictionary, fellow kids

Vintage Treasures: The Worlds of Jack Vance

Vintage Treasures: The Worlds of Jack Vance

Headline Writers Just Wanna Have Fun

Uranus Opens And Closes Every Day To Let Out Planet’s Solar Wind, Study Finds

Bonus FFB on Wednesday: The Killing Breed -- Frank Leslie (Peter Brandvold)

Frank Leslie's series about Yakima Henry is full of wild action, and that's certainly true of The Killing Breed.  Yakima Henry takes more punishment in this one than most western heroes do in an entire series.  Since Leslie is in reality Peter Brandvold, you can count on the action scenes to be vivid and thrilling.  And a big plus for this book is that it has a fight on the roof of a car of a moving train.  You can't go wrong with a scene like that.

In previous books, Yakima Henry had helped a soiled dove named Faith escape from a brutish roadhouse owner named Bill Thornton.  Faith opens her own place of business, and later Yakima Henry helps her free her brother from a Mexican prison, after which the three of them settle down in Arizona for what they hope will be a peaceful life.  As this book opens, Bill Thornton is still angry about losing Faith, who wounded him with a derringer when she escaped him.  His wound is still festering, and so is his deep resentment.  He hires five hardcases to kill Yakima Henry and bring Faith back to him.  The men do capture Faith and, believing Henry dead, head back to turn her over to Thornton.

But Henry's a hard man to kill, and he goes after them, accompanied by a neighbor who wants to help out.  The long chase has several twists and turns, and even if you think you know how it's going to conclude, I'm betting you'll be tricked by the ending.  

The Killing Breed is fast and furious and surprising.  Check it out.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

I Miss the Old Days

Inside a Women's Hair Salon from the 1960s

Song of the Day

Paul Simon - Slip Slidin' Away lyrics - YouTube:

Worst film of all time or filthy masterpiece of trash cinema?

‘The Lonely Lady’: Worst film of all time or filthy masterpiece of trash cinema? You decide! 

Today's Vintage Ad

The Stories Behind 20 Famous Car Logos

The Stories Behind 20 Famous Car Logos


Jane Manning, Young Sinners, Venus Books, 1953

Things I See in Alvin, Texas

Old pickup trucks

Who Says TV Is Out of Ideas?

'Tremors' TV Series With Kevin Bacon Headed To SyFy Network

First It Was the Thin Mints Melee

Firefighter arrested after attacking a man who wouldn’t give him a cigarette  

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

First It Was the Thin Mints Melee

Couple attacks mom, daughter over cold chicken

Overlooked Movies: The Four Feathers (1939)

There have been several film versions of The Four Feathers, and while I'd seen (and enjoyed) the 2002 version with Heath Ledger in the lead, I'd never seen this one.  I'm glad I caught up with it because it's a dilly.  When people say, "They don't make 'em like that anymore," they might well be talking about it.  It was filmed on location in the Sudan, and the Technicolor photography of the desert is spectacular.  The movie is from a distant time, and it was about a time even more distant than that, the last years of the 19th century, when the military and colonialism were viewed differently from now, and it's all about stiff upper lips and honor and duty and courage.  It works very well.

Jack Clements is Harry Faversham, brought up to be a soldier.  But never having bought into the idea of the glories of dying for his country, he resigns his commission the night before his deployment to Egypt to fight the rebels at Khartoum.  Each of his three best friends sends him a white feather, signifying their belief that he's a coward.  His fiancĂ©e, Ethne Burrows (Jane Duprez), refuses to give him a white feather, so he plucks one from her fan and leaves her house after her father (C. Aubrey Smith), a very military fellow ("Sure, war is great now, but it was even greater when I was fighting") refuses to speak to him.

Harry decides that he's indeed a coward, so he goes to Egypt to prove himself.  Disguised as an Arab tribesman, he [SPOILER ALERT] proves very heroic, indeed, and manages to save all three of his friends from almost certain death and free Khartoum in the bargain [END OF SPOILER ALERT].

Keen-eyed readers might note that in the poster above, Ralph Richardson gets top billing.  That might be because as one of Harry's friends, he has the showiest role in the film.  I won't give it away, but the movie's worth seeing just for portrayal of a noble guy.  Check it out.

The Four Feathers

'' the four feathers '' - official film trailer - 1939. - YouTube:

Monday, June 26, 2017

Missouri Homegrown -- Jesse James Kennedy

The two opening chapters of Missouri Homegrown are as brutal as anything I've read, and Jesse James Kennedy is just getting warmed up.  So if you don't like a lot of violence in your reading, don't even think about this one.  If you do like violence, this is the one for you.

There aren't any heroes here.  The people we're supposed to root for are the McCrays, a family of druggie dope-dealing killers, who are up against a Mexican cartel, made up of killers who are even worse.  Okay, maybe not worse, but just as bad.  And then there are the FBI agents who are after both groups.  They're not quite as bad, but it's a close call.  Lots of drugs of various kinds are consumed.  Many people are killed and maimed or both.  Not that there's anything wrong with that, since Kennedy has strong storytelling chops, and he's a good hand with character.  Booklist compared this to the work of Don Winslow, and I suppose the reviewer was thinking of a book like The Power of the Dog.  Probably not an unfair comparison, so that should give you an idea.  Check it out.

Six Awesome Scenes involving Alligators in Movies

Six Awesome Scenes involving Alligators in Movies

Song of the Day

Ron Holden - Love You So - YouTube:

The Technicolor Life of L. Frank Baum

The Technicolor Life of L. Frank Baum, the Man Who Created Oz

Today's Vintage Ad

I'm Sure You'll All Agree

The Best Movies of 2017 (So Far)


Peggy Gaddis, Farmer's Wife, Venus Books, 1953

The ATU Fable Index

The ATU Fable Index: Like the Dewey Decimal System, But With More Ogres: PICK A NUMBER, ANY NUMBER, and I’ll tell you a story. Fifty-nine? Hunker down for “Fox and the Sour Grapes.” Eleven hundred fifty-one? Good choice—that’s “The Ogre Overawed by Displaying Objects.” Five hundred? That’s “Guessing the Helper’s Name,” or, as you might know it better, “Rumpelstiltskin.”

I Miss the Old Days

America’s Wartime Sweethearts: 25 Fascinating Vintage Photographs of the Andrews Sisters, the Most Popular Female Vocal Group of the 1940s

Forgotten Hits: June 26th

Forgotten Hits: June 26th: "Windy" by The Association takes over the top spot this week in its sixth week on the chart.  But man, what a Top Ten this is … proof again of just how INCREDIBLY strong a year 1967 was musically.  

Includes a SuperChart and links to the Top Ten hits.

13 Wild Facts About ‘Wild Things’

13 Wild Facts About ‘Wild Things’