Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


When I was a kid, I was fascinated with Lash Larue.  For a while, he overtook Hopalong Cassidy as the first in my heart.  Lash was simply cool -- he didn't need no stinkin' gun, he had his whip!

     I imagine if the character were to be rebooted today, the whip would take on a kinkier meaning, but to the seven-year old of long ago it meant something exotic and unique.  Lash was the real goods.

     Plot and acting abilities could always be ignored in his films.  The girls swooned over him and the boys idolized him.  You can't ask for much more in a B oater.

     Here, from 1945, is his first movie in a starring role, pre-Lash (billed as Al Larue) and playing The Cheyenne Kid.  Also starring Eddie Dean (who felt this was his best picture).

Monday, May 30, 2011


Memorial Day is just one of 365 days each year when our fallen should be remembered and honored for their sacrifice, dedication, valor, and service.  The remembrance can be heartbreaking.  There is a cost to war.  Here's my go-to song for this day:


Some nifty books followed me home this week.  Can I keep them?
  • Hugh B. Cave, The Dagger of Tsiang and Other Tales od Adventure (Collection of eleven pulp stories about a British outpost in Borneo) and Escapades of The Eel (collection of fifteen stories about an adventurer/crook originally published in the pulps as by "Justin Case").
  • Allan Drury, A Shade of Difference.  Political novel.
  • Alan Dean Foster, Interlopers (SF novel) and Star Wars:  The Approaching Storm (media tie-in).
  • Harry Harrison, The Stainless Steel Rat Gets Drafted.  SF novel.  An adventure of Slippery Jin diGriz.
  • Brian Hodge, Hellboy:  On Earth As It Is in Hell.  Comic book tie-in.
  • David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas.  Sf novel -- oops, I mean lit'ry SF novel.
  • John Ringo & Julie Cochrane, Sister Time.  SF novel.  Ninth in the "Legacy of Aldenata" series.
  • Clifford D. Simak, The Fellowship of the Talisman.  Fantasy novel.
  • Dan Simmons, Hardcase.  Mystery.  The first Joe Kurtz novel.

     I should mention that the two Hugh B. Cave books were bought on sale from Black Dog Books, one of the very great small publishing houses.  Check them out.

Sunday, May 29, 2011


From Bill Bryson's fascinating book The Mother Tongue

     "Many British apellations are of truly heroic proportions, like that of the World War I admiral named Sir Reginald Aylmer Ranfulry Plunkett-Ernel-Erle-Drax."  [Any relation to the fantasy writer Edward John moeton Drax Plunkett, Lord Dunsany, I wonder?  I digress.  Back to Mr. Bryson.]  "The best ones go in for a kind of gloriously silly redundancy toward the end, as with Sir Humphrey Dodington Benedict Sherston Sherston-Baker and the truly unbeatable Leone Sextus Denys Oswolf Fraduati Tollemache-de Orellana-Plantagenet-Tollemache-Tollemache, a British army major who died in World War I.  The leading explorer in Britain today is Sir Ranulph Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes.  Somewhere in Britain to this day there is an old family rejoicing in the name MacGillesheatheanaich.  In the realms of nomenclature clearly we are dealing here with giants.

     "Often, presumably for reasons of private amusement, the British pronounce their names in ways that bear almost no resemblance to their spelling.  Leveson-Gower is 'looson gore,' Marjoribanks is 'marchbanks,' Hiscox is 'hizzko,' Howick is 'hoyk,' Ruthven is 'rivven,' Zuill is 'yull,' Menzies is 'mingiss.'"

     The British, of course, do have sole ownership of this type of thing.  My wife's family name is Keane, pronouced "Cain;" the Australian branch of her family pronounce it "Kine," strangers tend to take the easy wat oout, pronouncing it "Keen."  In my hometown, living next door to each other were close members (either siblings or first cousins -- I'm not sure which) of a family named Girauldi; one household pronounced the name with a hard "G," while next door it was pronounced with a soft "G."  In every state in the country you can find towns and cities that are not pronounced the way they are spelled -- I live about a hundred miles from "Balmerr, Murrlin," for example.

     To me, all this means that the members of the pesky human race remain independent and ornery, ever putting their own individual stamp on things.  There's a kind of beauty in that, and something to be thankful for. 

Saturday, May 28, 2011


Locus Online is now listing e-Books -- five titles from January to April and eight titles for May, some of them pretty interesting.  They appear to be just dipping their toes into the water now.  Expect a deluge soon.


Here's a look at some prize winning mysteries awarded in 1961, a half a century ago:

     The winner of the Edgar award for Best Novel was The Progress of a Crime by Julian Symons.  Runners-up were The Traces of Brillhart by Herbert Brean, The Devil's Own by "Peter Curtis" (Norah Lofts), and Watcher in the Shadows by Geoffrey Household.

     Taking the Edgar for Best First Novel by an American Writer was The Man in the Cage by John Holbrook Vance (yes, Jack Vance -- this was his first mystery under his real name).  Runners-up were The Mercenaries by Donald E. Westlake, Case Pending by "Dell Shannon" (Elizabeth Linington), The Killing at Big Tree by David McCarthy, and The Marriage Cage by William Johnston.

     Fifty years ago there was no Best Paperback Original Edgar award; that catagory began in 1970.

     There was an Edgar award for Best Short Story.  That went to "Tiger" by John Dunham.  There were three runners-up:  "A Real Live Murderer" by Donald Honig, "Summer Evil" by Nora Kaplan, and "A View from the Terrace" by Mike Marmer.  Two of the stories  (Honig and Marmer) came from ALFRED HITCHCOCK MYSTERY MAGAZINE; the other two came from COSMOPOLITAN.

     Continuing with fiction, the Edgar for Best Juvenile belonged to The Mystery of the Haunted Pool by Phyllis A. Whitney.  This was the first year that the juvenile catagory existed; the Young Adult catagory did not begin until 1989.  There were no runners-up in 1961.

     James Sandoe of the NEW YORK HERALD TRIBUNE was honored with an Edgar for Best Mystery Criticism.  This was an occasional award given only 14 times beteen 1946 and 1967.  Special Edgars were given to Philip Wittenburg (legal counsel), cartoonist Charles Addams, and Elizabeth Daly (grande dame of women mystery writers).  Three Raven awards were given:  To Ilka Chase (Reader of the Year), to Scribners (Hardcover Book Jacket for A Mark of Displeasure by Elizabeth Hely), and to Dell (Paperback Book Jacket for The Three Coffins by John Dickson Carr).

   The Best Motion Picture (of course) was Psycho, witten by Joseph Stefano, with a Scroll going to Robert Bloch as the book author.

    Also, an Edgar was given to the Best Episode in a TV Series:  "The Case of the Burning Court" by Kelley Roos (Dow Hour of Great Mysteries).  Runner-up was "The Day of the Bullet" by Bill Ballinger (Alfred Hitchock Presents).

     Across the Atlantic, the British Crime Writers Association gave their Gold Dagger to The Spoilt Kill by Mary Kelly.  Runners-up were Call for the Dead by John le Carre and One Away by Allan Prior.  The CWA also gave a Special Merit Award to Berkley Mather "for the outstanding quality of his television crime plays."

     (To my knowledge, those were the only English-speaking mystery awards given out fifty years ago.  The information came from my very battered copy of The Armchair Detective Book of Lists edited by Kate Stine.)

     How many books and authors do you recognize?  How many have you read?  Do any unfamilar titles/authgors pique your interest?

Friday, May 27, 2011


The Adventures of Gremlin by DuPre Jones (1966)

My pick for this week's Friday's Forgotten Books is a quirky little fairy tale, The Adventures of Gremlin by DuPre Jones.

     Gremlin is a little girl who lives with her brother Zeppelin and their father in a forest in the kingdon of Etaoin.  Their mother (named Little John) had dumped the family to become a seamstrees for a philanthropist named Robin Hood.  Tired of living only on kumquats and rutabagas, the pair decide to leave home.  In a short time they encounter a Latin-speaking wombat and then a Latin speaking kakapo, who warns them to avoid the Enchanted Forest where people enter and come out as a toad or a snake.  The two immediately decide to go to the Enchanted Forest.  Among those they meet on their adventures  are a witch (they eat her house), a bear (who eats Zeppelin -- don't fear, Zeppelin dies several times in the books, a la South Park's Kenny), a metaphysical poet who writes only limericks, a giant, a knight, and many other stock fairy tale figures -- each with a unique and sly twist on their tropes.

     Some pirates and beatniks and a white whale later, Gremlin and Zeppelin arrive at the palace, where they stop a revolt.  Somehow, Gremlin is the country's long-lost princess, so she and Zeppelin ensconce themselves in the palace, where Zeppelin starts on the road to depravity.  While the king is demanding that Gremlin marry, Zeppelin plots to take over the kingdom and Gremlin looks to Etaoin's neighboring and rival kindom Shrdlu for help.

     All this in 112 pages.

     Here the king must punish his head manservant for calling Gremlin "rabble":

               "Then I have no recourse but to have your head cut off."  The king turned to Gremlin.
          "I hope you consider that sufficient punishment."
               'Oh, yes," Gremlin said.  "That's capital."

     As an extra bonus, not only are the illustrations by Edward Gorey (Zeppelin's shirt changes slightly in each marvelous illustration), but he also did the book design.

     This one's a winner.


Thursday, May 26, 2011


Police:  Man, 66, Shoots Skateboarder (Southern Calvert Gazette, May 2011)

     One Southern Maryland homeowner has found a solution for pesky kids on his lawn.

     According to the article, Charles Joseph Armiger, 66, of Solomons, Maryland, was charged with first-degree felony assault and second-degree assault, after he pepper sprayed a skateboarder who "called him a profane name."  The victim was one of 7 or 8 juvenile skateboarders who were using profanities and b anging on the doors of several residents in the area.  After the one juvenile was pepper sprayed, the rermaining group fled while Armiger went into his house and got his shotgun.  Armiger told police that he fired the shotgun intending to scare the juveniles but hit one of them.  The juvenile (it was unclear if he was the same person pepper sprayed) was struck just above the right knee.

     Does this mean Texas no longer leads the way?


I couldn't post this in the preceding post, but Steve Gillette and Cindy Mangsen have posted an armload of their favorite jokes on their homepage.  Chuckle away:


Steve Gillette has been on the folk music scene since the 1960s, so he isn't as much forgotten as he is overlooked by many people.  This is a shame, because he deserves to be as well known as, say, Gordon Lightfoot.

     He's still performing, most often with his wife, Cindy Mangsen, in venues and folk festivals all over the world.

     His songs have  been recorded by Ian Tyson, Garth Brooks, Waylon Jennings, John Denver, Linda Ronstadt, Tammy Wynette, and Anne Murray, among others.

     Here's an early one, Back on the Street Again:

     Probably his best known song is Darcy Farrow, which became a signature song for Ian & Sylvia. Here's Steve and Cindy doing that classic:

     A haunting legend and a haunting song, The Erlking.  The graphics on this video are fantastic:

    Sing Me That Song About the River:

     Here Steve and Cindy recall When the First Leaves Fall:

      Choppy, poor video.  Good song -- West Texas Wind:


    For more Forgotten Music, go to Scott D. Parker's blog.

Monday, May 23, 2011


A mixed bag this week, but a lot of good science fiction by some favorite authors, including Farmer, Lafferty,
and Spinrad.  Gilman, Hoffman, and Loomis are great Western finds, just as Warner and Yarbro are for fantasy. 
  • Piers Anthony and Mercedes Lackey, If I Pay Thee Not in Gold.  Fantasy.
  • Donald Bacon, The Midnight Hour.  Horror.
  • Brian N. Ball, The Regiments of Night.  SF novel.  This one's an early DAW paperback (#19) witha great Freas cover.
  • Philip Jose Farmer, The Stone God Awakens.  SF novel.
  • Eric Flint and David Drake, In the Heart of Darkness.  Science fiction/fantasy.  Another in the saga of Belisarius, Roman general.
  • George Gilman, Edge:  Slaughterday.  Adult western, #24 in the series.
  • Donald Hamilton, The Devastators.  Spay novel, #9 in the Matt Helm series.
  • John Hardin, Tar Heel Ghosts.  Non-fiction.  Stories of ghosts and such from North Carolina.
  • Lee Hoffman, Nothing But a Drifter.  Western.  A brilliant writer, sadly forgotten.
  • Hans Holzer, The Ghost Hunter's Strangest Cases.  Non-fiction.  I've made no bones about my feelings that Holzer was a humbug, but I do enjoy reading about his "cases".
  • K. W. Jeter, Dr. Adder.  SF novel.
  • Joan Kahn, editor, Some Things Dark and Dangerous.  Horror anthology.Electric forest  Sixteen stories, including crime, mystery, and non-fiction.
  • Tanith Lee, Electric Forest.  Science fiction.
  • R. A. Lafferty, Annals of Klepsis.  SF novel.  The rights to Lafferty's entire literary estate were recently auctioned off, with Locus Enterprises the winner; this is good news.
  • Noel Loomis, Heading West.  Western collection of seven stories.  Introduction by Bill Pronzini; I wonder if this is one of the single-author collections that Pronzini has edited.  Also, unfortunately, there's no reference to where the stories were originally published.
  • Nancy Martin, Some Like It Lethal.  Mystery novel.  Third in the Blackbird Sisters series.
  • Jack McDevitt, Infinity Beach.  SF novel.  Nominated for the Nebula, Campbell, and Locus awards; published in England as Slow Lightning
  • Thomas Mordane, Bloodroot.  Horror.
  • Andre Norton, Zarsthor's Bane.  Science fiction.  A Witch World novel.
  • Julie Phillips, James Tiptree, Jr.:  The Double Life of Alice B. Sheldon.  Biography of a writer whose tragic death is still mourned.
  • Norman Spinrad, Bug Jack Barron.  The classic SF novel that was denounced on the floor of Parliament.
  • Ramsay Thorne, Renegade #11:  Citadel of Death.  Adult western actually written b y Lou Cameron.
  • Robert W. Walker, Disembodied.  Horror.
  • Richard S. Wheeler, Second Lives:  A Novel of the Gilded Age.  Historical novel/western. 
  • Sylvia Townsend Warner, Lolly Willowes.  Fantasy.  Interestingly, this novel (Warner's first) was the first Book-of-the-Month Club selection.
  • Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, Ariosto (fantasy) and Sins of Omission (horror).  I used to devour Yarbro's novels like peanuts, but for some reason, got out of the habit.  She's a solid writer I have to revisit.
  • Roger Zelazny and Gerald Hausman, Wilderness.  Historical novel/western.

Sunday, May 22, 2011


Well, I cleared ny schedule yesterday, just in case, but I was not raptured, so I had to mow the lawn this morning.

Friday, May 20, 2011


THE OTHER SIDE OF THE MIRROR by Enrique Anderson Imbert, translated by Isabel Reade (1966)

Enrique Anderson Imbert (1910-2000) was an Argentinian academic who, despite spending more than  half his life in the United States, regularly returned to his beloved homeland to refresh and recharge his batteries.  A noted writer and teacher, he was one of the main founders of the "magic realism" school that made modern Latin American writing such a vital and interesting literature.  Guggenheim fellow, member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Academia Argentina de Letras, the first Victor S. Thomas Professor of Hispanic Literature at Harvard University, Don Imbert was noted for his uniquely dramatic method of teaching.  Imbert was a proud lifelong Socialist, far more Fabian than Marxist.

     He wrote literary criticism, novels, and histories, but was probably better knoown for his "microcuentes", short -- sometimes absurdist -- sketches blending fantasy with magic realism.  Which brings us to The Other Side of the Mirror, a collection of 31 stories/sketches first published in Spanish in 1961 as El Grimorio.  As if to point out how slippery literature can be, these 31 stories actually contain 71 stories, some only a few lines long.  Imbert plays at conventions:  a locked room murder mystery suddenly veers into a supernatural game; the legendary French villain Fantomas becomes an ardent philosopher,  angels are willing to be bribed -- nothing is as it seems and anything can happen (often for no reason at all) in Imbert's world.  To set the tone, The Other Side of the Mirror opens with one of Imbert's most famous stories, Light Pedro, which begins with Pedro almost falling into the sky (reminding me so much of Shel Silverstein's Falling Up).  Somehow, the more fantasic the story, the more solidly grounded in human nature it is:

          I was practicing medicine the, in Humahuaca.  One afternoon they brought me an injured child:  he had fallen down
     a mountain cliff.  When, in order to examine him, I took off his poncho, I saw two wings.  I examined them:  they were
     intact.  the minute the boy could talk, I asked him:
          "Why didn't you fly, son, when you felt yourself falling?"
          "Fly?" he asked.  "Fly, and have people laugh at me?"

     Not all of the sketches in the book worked for me.  Several presented in play formats seemed a bit too pedantic.  Overall, though, the generous use of language and imagery take these very short stories and extend them to almost infinite length, tickling and stimulating the mind.  Recommended.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Here's a few more titles credited to Evan Hunter under the "Dean Hudson" name:

  • Casting Couch
  • Lust Dream
  • Wanton Rendezvous

     Also Glass Mistress is actually titled The Glass Mistress.

     And The Virgins of Cadabra is the third in a series of four books about Phil Scott, Secret Agent XX96.  The other three books in the series are (in order):

  • Love Defector
  • The Sexpert
  • The N.U.D.E. Caper

     Finally, William Hamling, the publisher, was very worried about being prosecuted by the government for obscenity and was constantly closing old publishing lines and opening new ones.  For a while, he also slightly altered the authors' pen names in an attempt to avopid prosecution.  Thus, "Andrew Shaw" became "Andrew Shole", "Alan Marshall" became "Alan Marsh", and so on.  So, for at least one book, Sin Dealer, "Dean Hudson" became "Dean Judson".

     (Prosecution did come, finally.  Details can be found in Earl Kemp's constantly fascinating online magazine eI, which should be required reading.)

     More on "Dean Hudson" as I get more information.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


When Jessamyn, our oldest, was born, we thought there couldn't been a more perfect child.  Turns out we were right.  But then -- thirty-seven years ago -- Christina came along and we learned there it was possible to have two most perfect childs, each better than the other.  Less then a hour after Christina was born, Kitty and I were dancing in her room while a surprised candy-striper was trying to get Kitty into her bed; the candy-striper gave up and ran to find some food for us because, you know, birthin' them babies is hard work.
     Anyway Christina came along, determined from the very start to make her own mark in the world.  She first tried to do this by having colic for her first seven months.  My mother-in-law determined that we were poor parents and took Christina for a night, convinced that she had the magic touch to make the baby sleep.  The next day, she told us, "I was going to rock the baby to sleep, but I couldn't find a big enough rock!"  At seven months, the pediatrician told us that Christina was fine, but he was prescibing cranky baby drops for us.  Within a day, the colic stopped and Christina morphed into the sweetest baby ever, and evidently has been trying to make up for it ever since.

     Up until first grade she was called "Christy"; then one day she solemnly told us her name was "Christina", and she has been Christina ever since.  Christina grew up smart, outspoken, friendly, and talented.  Despite all that she is slow to get a joke, laughing several minutes after everyone else.  (Her favorite jokes:  "A man walked into a bar...and it hurt!" and "Why did the monkey fall out of the tree?  Because it was dead!"  With that reportoire, she'd better keep her day job.)  For a person with just about the greatest amount of common sense I have ever met, she still can get lost trying to find items in a grocery store.  Try as I might, I can't think of anything else even close to negative to say about her.  So anything else I have to say will be nice.

     She always worked hard and studied hard.  Everything she got she earned.  Every obstacle was overcome.  While in college at George Washington University, she took up Tae Kwon Do, eventually earning her Black Belt; her instructors said that every time she hit a plateau (which seemed to happen often) she just kept at and kept at it and then would suddenly make a huge improvement.  In High School, she toured England, Germany and Austria with her school orchestra.  When she was fifteen, she was the youngest student from the school in the Japan foreign exchange program.  When she worked at a bakery near D.C., she would take the muffins that were about to be trashed at the end of the day and hand them out to the homeless.  While working as an emergency room technician, she often spent hours with dying patients -- not because it was part of her job, but because she felt no one should die alone, and no one did on her watch.  As an EMT, she volunteered on an ambulance for over eleven years, always capable, always professional, always compassionate.  She served as an adjuct teacher at George Washington University (adjunct teachers are the ones that teach and do not receive benefits) giving instruction in cardiosonography.  She's now traveling two and a half hours each way to Baltimore to train as a sign language interpreter.

     In her personal life, she met and married a wonderful man, and helped him and cheered him on as he continued his education to move into a technical field.  She has two children and is a strict and loving mother.  ("I love you and I want you to hug me for a full minute, then I'm going to yell at you because you __[fill in the blank]__."  This technique works; the kids are happy, well-adjusted, and well-behaved.)  She is active in their school life and in their activities.  She and her husband coached a girl's soccer team when no one else would stand up -- even though she had never played soccer before.  She spent her thirtieth birthday kayaking with whales in Alaska, her thirty-fifth birthday hiking in Ireland.  She feels a responsibility to her pets (three dogs, one cat, one python, two goat, and a continuously changing number of fish), and spent one night last week nursing a sick goat.  She recycles.  She and her husband take their kids on nature walks.  This Easter marked a spur-of-the-moment trip to Atlanta to check out the aquarium there (a whale shark defecated in front of the kids, which impressed them greatly).  She donates blood every eight weeks because it's the right thing to do.  She's a good person and we are very proud of her.

      (Did I mention that she's also beautiful?  When she was in her early teens, one actress with whom we worked at a professional theater mistook Christina for her good friend, the actress Jacqueline Bisset.)

     (Did I mention she's funny?  I think it's the Irish in her, but nobody can tell tell a story like Christina.)

     (Did I mention that everybody likes her?  Well, no.  But nobody can dislike her.  And almost everybody loves her.)

     (Did I mention that I'm proud of her?  I think I have.  I can't claim responsibilty for the the type of person she has become, but perhaps I helped.  I know my wife had a major input because Christina has the same glow of love and kindess that Kitty does.)

       (Did I mention that I had no white hair before she came into my life?  'Tis true.  My hair is now snowy white.  Any correlation, I wonder?  Christina does take pride in giving me grief.)

     So, Happy Birthday, Christina!  I love you.



There's nothing like a cheesy horror film to make my day.  Carnival of Souls is the 1962 brainchild of Herk Harvey, a producer/director/writer whose previous work was in industrial and educational films.  His otto seems to have been "We Don't Need No Stinkin' Hollywood!"  Shot in three weeks in Salt Lake City and his home base of Lawrence, Kansas, Harvey utilized local actors almost exclusively for Carnival of Souls, although he did tap Strasberg-trained Candace Hilligoss for the lead.  Never heard of Candace Hilligoss? 
Don't fret, not too many have.

     Hilligoss plays Mary Henry, who is the only survivor when a car goes over a bridge.  From that point on, she is haunted by the reflection of a ghoulish figure.  Slowly, her personality changes as she seemingl;y becomes possessed.

     Why bother explaining it, when you can view it.  So here's the cult classic, Carnival of Souls:

     For a complete rundown of this week's Overlooked Films, Television, A/V and Whatnot, check out Todd Mason's Sweet Freedom blog.

Monday, May 16, 2011


'Twas a great week, courtesy of two wonderful bookstores:  Second Look Books in Prince Frederick, Maryland, and McKay's Used Books in Manassas, Virginia.
  • Evan J. Albright, Cape Cod Confidential.  Collections of  "true tales of murder, crime and scandal from the Pilgrims to the present", from a veteran Cape Cod reporter.  Cape resident and writer extraordinaire Paul Kemprecos did the intro.
  • Isaac Asimov, The Neutrino:  Ghost Particle of the Atom.  Non-fiction.
  • Greg Benford, editor, with Martin Harry Greenberg's Tekno Books (uncredited on cover), Microcosms.  SF anthology with thirteen stories.
  • John W. Campbell, editor, Astounding Science Fiction, July 1939.  A facsimile edition of a classic issue of the best science fiction magazine of its time.  This issue had A. E. van Vogt's first science fiction appearance (the classic Black Destroyer), Isaac Asimov's first major story (trends), with stories by Nat Schachner, C. L. Moore, Nelson S. Bond, Ross Rocklynne, and Amelia R. Long.  (Coincidently, one of the two articles in this issue, Willy Ley's Geography for Time Travelers, I had read just the day before in (the other) Martin Greenberg's non-fiction anthology Coming Attractions.)  As a facsimile edition, this has everything -- ads, fillers, illustrations, and the letters column (which had letters from Isaac Asimov and P. Schuyler Miller, among others).  A hard-cover edition with dust jacket in perfect condition.  ConfessionSince I am a cheapskate and the opposite of wealthy, I seldom pay more than a buck for a book; this one cost me $1.65 -- whoot!
  • Ted Chiang, Stories of Your Life and Others.  One of the most celebrated SF collections in recent years; eight stories.
  • Hal Clement, Half Life.  Hard SF novel by a master of the form.
  • John Creasey (as "Kyle Hunt"), This Man Did I Kill.  A Dr. Emmanuel Cellini mystery.
  • Ellen Datlow, editor, Omni Best Science Fiction Two.  Ten stories, six original to this collection and just four orignally published in Omni.
  • Ronald Burt De Waal, The World Bibliography of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.  Massive reference book (6,221 entries!), covering everything Sherlockian.  (This one cost me $2.64!  **does happy dance and throws out back**) 
  • George Alec Effinger, The Zork Chronicles.  Gaming tie-in fantasy novel.
  • Roger Elwood, editor.  Continuum 2.  SF anthology with eight stories.  This is the British papaerback with a much cooler cover than the US edition.
  • Katherine V. Forrest, Murder at the Nightwood Bar.  Lesbian mystery novel.
  • Vic Ghidalia, editor, Satan's Pets.  Horror anthology with ten stories.
  • Mirra Ginsberg, editor and translator, The Ultimate Threshold:  A Collection of the Finest in Soviet Science Fiction.  Thirteen stories from 1963-68.
  • Donald Goines, Crime Partners.  Crime novel.  This was the first book that Goines originally published under his "Al C. Clark" pseudonym.
  • Ed Gorman and Martin H. Greenberg, editors, Desperadoes.  Western anthology with seventeen stories.
  • Matin H. Greenberg, John L. Lellenberg, and Carol-Lynn Waugh, editors, Holmes for the Holidays.  Sherlockian mystery anthology with fourteen stories.
  • Jim Harmon, The Great Radio Heroes.  Nostalgia.  Harmon was really good at this type of writing; I'm looking forward to this one.
  • James Herbert, '48.  SF/thriller/horror novel.
  • Rich Horton, editor, Science Fiction:  The Best of the Year, 2007 Edition.  SF anthology with twelve stories.
  • Matt Johnson, editor, Triage.  Horror novellas by three of the field's best:  Jack Ketchum, Richard Laymon, and Edward Lee.
  • William W. Johnstone, with J. A. Johnstone, Blood Bond:  Texas Gundown.  Western.
  • Marvin Kaye, editor, Lovers & Other Monsters.  Horror anthology with fifty-two stories and poems, plus a play.
  • H. F. R. Keating, Crimes Waves 1:  The Annual Anthology of the Crime Writer's Association.  Seventeen stories from some of England's finest authors.  Keating recently passed away;  Inspector Ghote weeps.
  • Louis L'Amour, Jubal Sackett (318 in the series) and The Rider of Ruby Hills (four pulp novellas which were later rewritten).  Westerns.
  • Stanislaw Lem, Memoirs Found in a Bathtub, an SF novel, and Tales of Pirx the Pilot, a collection of five SF stories. 
  • Jon E. Lewis, editor, The Mammoth Book of the Western.  Western anthology with twenty-seven stories and lists (great for starting arguments) of the Hundred Best Western Novels and the Hundred Best Western Short Stories.  The cover is a painting of a stern-looking Gary Cooper.
  • Bentley Little, The Return.  Horror novel.
  • George R. R. Martin, editor, with an assist from Melinda M. Snodgrass, Inside Straight.  An SF "mosaic novel", another phrase for a themed shared-world anthology.  This one has eight stories and appears to be the eighteenth book in the Wild Cards series.
  • China Mieville, Perdido Street Station.  SF novel, winner of the Arthur C. Clarke Award and the British Fantasy Award, as well as a nominee for both the Hugo and the Nebula.
  • Warren Murphy and Richard Sapir, creators, The Destroyer #107:  Feast or Famine.  Men's adventure; Will Murray wrote this one.
  • Yvonne Navarro, Elektra.  Movie tie-tin, based on the Marvel Comics character.
  • John Jacob Niles, The Ballad Book of John Jacob Niles.  The cumulation of fifty years of study and collecting in Appalachia.  This has the music (which I can't read) and the words (which I have been forbidden to sing by those who do not appreciate toneless, off-key music) and a heavy dose of information about each of the songs (which is fascinating).  A great find for two bucks.
  • [Mel Odom, for both], Don Pendleton's The Executioner #140:  Wild Card and Don Pendleton's The Executioner #296:  Nuclear Game (Book 1 of The Moon Shadows Trilogy).  Men's adventure.
  • Frederik Pohl, Martin Harry Greenberg, and Joseph Olander, editors, Science Fiction of the 40's.  SF anthology with twenty-one classic stories.
  • Byron Preiss & John Betancourt, editors.  The Ultimate Witch.  Horror anthology with twenty-five stories.
  • Kenneth Robeson, Doc Savage Omnibus #5.  Omnibus with five pulp hero novels:  No Light to Die ByThe Monkey Suit, Let's Kill Ames, Once Over Lightly, and I Died Yesterday.  All ficve were ghost-written by Lester Dent and originally appeared in Doc Savage magazine in 1947.
  • Robert J. Randisi, editor, Boot Hill.  An anthology of fifteen western stories.
  • James Rollins, The Judas Strain.  Thriller.
  • Fred Saberhagen, An Old Friend of the Family.  Horror; one of Saberhagen's Dracula novels.
  • Jessica Amanda Salmonson, editor, Tales by Moonlight II.  Horror anthology with thirty-seven stories and poems celebrating the contribution of small presses to the genre.
  • Hank Schwaeble, Damnable.  Horror novel.  I've been meaning to try Schwaeble for some time now.
  • Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Coliins, editors, Murder Is My Business.  Crime anthology with seventeen stories.
  • Jonathan Strahan, editor, The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year, Volume Four.  Twenty-nine stories from 2009.
  • David Thompson, Wilderness:  The Lost Valley.  Western, #23 in the series.  I think Thompson is approaching Randisi/Reasoner productivity levels; how many books has this guy written?

I usually don't list my wife's Incoming, but Kitty was very happy to get these:

  • Bill Bryson, The Mother Tongue:  English and How It Got That Way.  Wonderful, wonderful book.
  • Mark Haddon, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.  Whitbread Book of the Year and a New York Times Notable Book.  Both of us are looking forward to this one.
  • William Martin, Back Bay.  We have had a number of copies of this in a the past, but they went walkabout.  When this book was first published, Kitty won "A Night in Back Bay" for us in a contest from Pocket Books, which included a reception with Bill Martin.  Kitty made me read the book beforehand and I wasn't sorry she insisted.  A great read.

Sunday, May 15, 2011


Most people don't know the name Handwerker, but they surely have heard about Nathan's Hot Dogs.  Murray Handwerker, 89, the man who turned his father's hot dog stand in a national chain, passed away Saturday.

     No announcement had been made about what will be done with his remains, but I'm very suspicious.


I just finished reading Ken Bruen's A White Arrest.  One of the major characters, Detective Sergeant Tom Brant, has at least one admirable trait:  he is a major fan of Evan Hunter/Ed McBain's writing.  The only books Brant owns were written by Hunter, with separate shelves for the 87th Precinct mysteries and for the Matthew Hope mysteries, as well as a shelf for books published under the Evan Hunter name.  This got me thinking about how many books Hunter wrote and how many names he wrote them under.  He was born Salvatore A. Lombino and published some stories as "S. A. Lombino".  He legally adopted his first major pen name "Evan Hunter".  He was also "Richard Marston", "Ed McBain", "Hunt Collins", "Curt Cannon", "Ezra Hannon", and "John Abbott".  If my memory serves, he was also "D. A. Addams" and "Ted Taine", although I may have gotten those names wrong.  [Despite one reference, he was not "Hodge Evans" [or "Evens"]; that appears to have been Dudley Dean McGaughy ["Dean Owen"].)

     One pen name that had been hidden until recently was "Dean Hudson", the name he used for over eighty soft-core paperbacks in the 60s and 70s.  According to Earl Kemp, the editor of those paperbacks, it came about because Hunter's then-wife had a tight control on his finances and he needed cash she couldn't know about to finance some of his baser habits.  The agreement was that "Dean Hudson" would deliver a book a month for a flat fee of $1000.00 cash.  Kemp said that many of the books Hunter wrote himself and some appeared to be written by his writing students, but that Hunter was the author of record for the "Dean Hudson" books.  (One bookseller has stated that the pen name was also used by William Knowles, better known as "Clyde Allison", but I haven't seen anything to verify that claim.)

     It should be understood that these softcore lines of that time were pretty mild; most of today's women's romance books are more graphic.  The formula was simple:  any type of plot (logical or not) with sex scenes every so-many pages.  Metaphors for sex and body parts were preferred, and no really bad words.   These books proved to be great training grounds for new writers, among them Donald E. Westlake, Lawrence Block, John Jakes, Marion Zimmer Bradley, Harlan Ellison, and Hal Dresner -- all hidden under pseudonyms.

     One problem with identifying the "Dean Hudson" books is the publisher's habit of retitling when the books were reprinted.   Another problem throughout the field was plagerism; books were often lifted by other publishers and rewritten as new titles under new names.  Writers also often played games with each other, inserting in-jokes and references into the books.  It all gets pretty confusing.  Adding to the confusion are those booksellers prone to listing titles and authors wrongly.

     Anyway, yesterday I took a look through Abebooks and eBay to see what "Dean Hudson" books were for sale.  I came up with seventy-four, some of which may be the same book under a different title, or a book wrongly listed as by "Dean Hudson".  Here they are:

  • Alumnus of Sin
  • The Art Sinner
  • Bedroom Champ
  • The Come Out
  • The Delltown Sinners
  • Dream Lover
  • Flesh Fiesta
  • Flesh Sisters
  • Fleshpot
  • Glass Mistress
  • Happy Town
  • Hasbeen
  • Her Shame in Lights
  • Honeysuckle Rose
  • House of 7 Shames
  • Jet Set Stud
  • Las Vegas Lust
  • Lover's Exile
  • Lust Legacy
  • Lust Lei
  • Lust Lost
  • Lust Son
  • The Man from O.R.G.Y. (No relation to the bestselling Ted Mark series published by Lancer Books)
  • Million Dollar Mistress
  • The Muckrakers
  • Next Stop, Sinland
  • Nightmare Clinic
  • Office Party
  • Orgy Man
  • Orgy Scouts
  • Other Brother
  • Passion Adonis
  • Passion Daisy
  • Passion Floor
  • Passion Legacy
  • Passion Man (also published as Carnal Candidate)
  • Passion Prodigal
  • Passion Suburb
  • Psychopast
  • Quest for Ecstasy
  • Randy
  • Roadhouse Wanton
  • The Robot Lovers
  • The Seduction Game
  • Sex Town
  • Sextus
  • Shame Camp
  • Shame Lane
  • Shame Stage
  • The Shame Takers
  • Showcase for Sin
  • Silver Shames
  • Sin Cats
  • Sin Family
  • Sin Gallery
  • Sin Grifter
  • Sin Hungry
  • Sin on Salary
  • Sin Queen
  • Sin Search
  • Sin Sheet
  • The Sin Swappers
  • Sinkeeper
  • Sinner, Come Home
  • Sinner's Shroud
  • Sinsanity
  • Sinville
  • Skin Queen
  • Tropic Lust
  • Twisted Tulips
  • The Virgin of Calabara
  • Wall Street Wanton
  • West End Wanton
  • Yesterday's Man
     A very incomplete list, I'm afraid.  At a later date, I'll try to add the specific publisher's line and number and year of publication.  In the meantime, any information you have on titles, alternate titles and background information would be greatly appreciated.

Saturday, May 14, 2011


As Bill Crider pointed out on his blog, today is World Naked Gardening Day.  Bill forgot to mention that's it's also Dance Like a Chicken Day.  Consider my imagination truly boggled.

Friday, May 13, 2011


The Mystery Companion, edited by A. L. Furman (1943)

My selection for Patti Abbott's Friday's Forgotten Book project this week is the first of four meaty anthologies that A. L. Furman produced between 1943 and 1946.  Not surprisingly, the remaining three volumes were titled Second Mystery Companion, Third Mystery Companion, and The Fourth Mystery Companion.  The titles may be prosaic, but the pulpish qualities of the stories certainly aren't.

     I haven't been able to trace the origins of all 19 stories in The Mystery Companion, but some of the sources were Blue Book Magazine, Black Mask, Detective Story Magazine, Short Stories, and Weird Tales.  The authors, too, have well-established pulp cred:  Richard Sale, Philip Ketchum, Robert Bloch, Allen Vaughan Elston, Dale Clark, Cornell Woolrich, Geoffrey Homes, Fritz Leiber, Frank Owen, and Vincent Starrett, among others.  And since this volume was published in 1943, there is a healthy dose of Nazis, spies, war profiteers, and air wardens -- there's even one nautical tale set in Old California.

     One of the most interesting items is the sole nonfiction piece:  America's Most Famous Murder by George L. Porter (1838-1919).  Porter was the commissioned officer in charge of the interment of John Wilkes Booth and was an official at the hangings of four of the conspirators:  Mrs. Mary Suratt (whose home was used as headquarters for the plot), Lewis Payne (real name Powell, who wounded Secretary of State Seward), David E. Herold (who joined Booth in his flight), and George Atzerodt (who was supposed to kill Vice President Johnson).  [The use of the word "conspirators" is ill-advised; there is some question about Mary Suratt's guilt, although there seems to be no doubt that her son was part of the conspiracy.]  His article covers some interesting points about the days after the assassination.

     All 19 stories in The Mystery Companion had never received book publication before.  Here's the table of contents:

  • Active Duty, by Richard Sale
  • The Body in The Ostrich Cage, by Vincent Starrett
  • The Sword of God, by Hal Hode
  • The Greek Poropulos, by Edgar Wallace
  • Bond of Reunion, by Carl Carmer
  • Believe It or Die, by Philip Ketchum
  • Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper, by Robert Bloch
  • The Street of the Little Candles, by James Francis Cooke
  • The Blackout Murders, by Allan Vaughan Elston
  • "You're Killing Me!", by Dale Clark
  • If the Dead Could Talk, by Cornell Woolrich
  • America's Most Famous Murder, by George L. Porter
  • The Judge Finds a Body, by Geoffrey Homes
  • The Phantom Slayer, by Fritz Leiber, Jr.
  • Tears of the Virgin, by Thomas Grant Springer
  • Me and His Majesty and Trouble, by Joseph C. Stacey
  • Death in a Gray Mist, by Frank Owen
  • A Pair of Gloves, by Carl Carmer
  • The Man in the Cask, by Vincent Starrett

     Only the Bloch story would be familiar to many readers, leaving 18 fresh tales to enjoy -- and the Bloch is enjoyable even after constant re-reading.  All in all, a great collection and a mirror back to the days of pulp when fiction magazines abounded.  Recommended.


      Blogspot has had a few problems yesterday and today, going offline, eating some Friday's Forgotten Books posts, and delaying others -- all of which is probably giving organizer Patti Abbott the bejeebers.  To find out how she has been handling all this, go to her blog, Pattinase.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Samuel O. Beeton, a well-known publisher and editor of the 19th century, passed away in 1861.  Yesterday I happened to be looking through early copies of Beeton's Christmas Annual and came across a long elegy of the man, praising him above all others and placing him on a pedestal at least twenty miles high.  Sadly for Mr. Beeton's memory though, this was the title:

                                                            IN MEMORIAM

     Oh. well...

Monday, May 9, 2011


During what may be referred to as The Week of the Haul, these lonely books found their way to my doorstep:

  • William Bayer, The Dream of Broken Horses (crime novel), Stardust (crime novel), Wallflower (the third Frank Janek mystery).
  • Gregory Benford & Martin H. Greenberg, editors, What Might Have Been, Volume 2:  Alternate Heroes.  SF collection of 14 stories.
  • Rhys Bowen, Evans Above.  Mystery novel, the first Constable Evans novel.
  • Charles Bukowski, Betting on the Muse:  Poems & Stories.  Posthumous collection of previously uncollected work.
  • Italo Calvino, If on a winter's night, a traveler.  A novel by Italy's master fantasist.
  • Ramsey Campbell, The Nameless.  Horror novel.
  • Edmund Cooper, The Tenth Planet.  SF novel.
  • Michael Crichton, Travels.  Nonfiction.
  • Peter Dawson, Man on the Buckskin.  Western.
  • Lester del Rey, The Mysterious Planet.  SF novel, originally published in the Winston Adventures in SF series under the name "Kenneth Wright".
  • David Drake, The Jungle.  SF novel set in the "world" of Henry Kuttner's 1943 classic story "Clash by Night", which is also included in the book.
  • Bruse Elliott, Asylum Earth.  SF novel.
  • Michael Flynn, In the Country of the Blind.  SF novel.  Revised edition.
  • Victor Gischler, Vampire a Go-Go.  Gonzo fantasy.  I've been looking forward to this one.
  • John Gribbin, Father to the Man.  SF novel, a "Ben Bova Presents" selection.
  • J. Roy Guyther, M.D., Mechanicsville:  The Story of Our Village.  Local history.  Mechanicsville, Maryland, is a hop, skip, and half-a-jump from where I live, so I was interested.
  • Carolyn Haines, Revenant.  Thriller.
  • Peter Haining, editor, Scottish Stories of Fantasy and Horror (original title, Clans of Darkness).  Horror/fantasy anthology of 21 stories, along with Haining's always interesting story notes.
  • Joe Haldeman, Worlds Apart.  SF novel, the second in the Worlds trilogy.
  • Parnell Hall, Last Puzzlement & Testament.  Mystery novel, the third in the Puzzle Lady series.  I love Hall's Stanley Hastings books and the Steve Winslow books written as J. P. Hailey, but I haven't read this series.  About time I started, don't you think?
  • Dr. Hans Holzer, Beyond this Life.  Non-fiction (?) by the noted (take your pick) ghost-hunter/hokum artist.  This book cannibalizMayes part of an earlier book, Life After Death/The Challenge and the Evidence.
  • Alex Irvine, Batman:  Inferno.  Comic tie-in.
  • J.A. Johnson, The Loner:  The Bounty Killers.  Western.  The seventh in the Loner series.
  • Louis L'Amour, The Lonesome Gods,and A Man Called Trent.  Westerns both, the last being an omnibus of two pulp novels originally published as by "Jim Mayo".
  • Frank Lauria, Communion.  Horror novel, "based on an original story by Rose Mary Ritvo & Alfred Sole".  A movie tie-in for a movie never made, perhaps?
  • Doris Lessing, Shikasta, The Marriages Between Zones Three, Four, and Five, and The Sirian Experiments.  The first three volumes in Lessing's SF series Canopus in Argos:  Archives.
  • Richard Lupoff, Sun's End.  SF novel.
  • Mary Ann Madden, Maybe He's Dead, and Other Hilarious Results of New York Magazine Competitions.  Humor.  I'm a fan of this sort of wordplay.
  • Robin McKinley, Beauty.  Fantasy novel.  McKinley's take on Beauty and the beast.
  • Vance Randolph, collector, The Talking Turtle and Other Ozark Folk Tales.  A collection from one of America's premiere folklorists.
  • Martin Roth, The Writer's Complete Crime Reference Book.  Revised and updated through 1993.
  • Al Sarrantonio, Skeletons.  Horror.
  • Particia Wentworth, The Watersplash.  A Miss Silver Mystery.

Friday, May 6, 2011


Ossian's Ride by Fred Hoyle (1959)

My selection for this Friday's Forgotten Book is a strange thriller/mystery/SF, the second novel by Fered Hoyle.  Ossian's Ride takes us firmly into John Buchan territory with a young adventurer caught in a vise, desperately hunted as he tries to find answers before the whole political framework of the world topples.

     The time is 1970, eleven years into the future.  Ireland has suddenly become one of the most powerful countries in the world because of a new industrial complex -- Industrial Corporation Eire, or I.C.E. -- that has harnessed thermonuclear power and has syphoned off many of the world's leading scientists.  I.C.E. jealously guards its secrets, turning Ireland into almost a police state.

     Thomas Sherwood, a young mathematician and Cambridge student is recruited to penetrate I.C.E. and discover its most precious secret -- not that of thermonuclear power, but  how the industrial complex has made such progress in so short a time.  What allowed it to jump-start, to go directly to such power with no intervening steps?

     Sherwood must avoid police and government authorities, as well as various political groups, to penetrate I.C.E.'s secrecy.  The world he has been thrown into is one where he can trust no one and where he is at risk at every turn.  His assignment, supposedly to last only a few weeks, takes over his life as he is trapped in enemy territory for months.  Before he can find out the answers he was sent for, he must answer one other question:  is he the player or the played?

     Fred Hoyle was a world-famous (and controversial) astonomer who penned several well-known science fiction books.  Ossian's Ride is an interesting thriller that leads to a startling and logical conclusion, marred only by a few creaky passages.


     For a complete list of today's Friday's Forgotten Books, visit Patti Abbott's blog Pattinase, where our gracious hostess will provide you with a mix of great, interesting, or just plain strange reading.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


If Ishtar and Heaven's Gate had a child and that child was beaten severely with an ugly stick, it still would be a more pleasant viewing experience than Seth Rogan's The Green Hornet, a film I just rented on DVD.  I kept watching in hopes that there might be some redeeming value.  Sadly, I was wrong.  Perversely, I returned the DVD in full knowledge that someone else would rent it and have to undergo the same dispairing experience.  **For those averse to subtlety, this has been a negative review.**

     Since I was on a roll, I also rented Little Fockers, the third in the decreasingly unfunny series.  At least this one had a couple of chuckles, but not much else.

      Now that Osama bin Ladin has been killed, I suspect the most terrifying thing that could happen to the American public would be if Seth Rogan and Owen Wilson co-starred in a movie.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011



Before there were Rocket J. Squirrel and Bullwinkle Moose and before there were Mr. Peabody and Sherman, there were Crusader Rabbit and Ragland T. Tiger, Jay Ward's first foray into animated television.  In fact, Crusader Rabbit was the first animated series for television anywhere.  Crusader Rabbit aired in syndication from 1950 to 1952 with 195 episodes covering ten story arcs.  Originally, the series was little more than story boards.  He was revived in 1957 for another 260 episodes covering 13 story arcs.  The second series is the one I remember fondly -- wildly inventive and subversively funny, the great precursor to Ward's Rocky and Bullwinkle.

Here's America's very first look at a Crusader Rabbit episode, wherein our hero goes off to battle the state of Texas:


For more Overlooked Movies, Television, A/V, or What-Have-You, tune into Todd Mason's blog Sweet Freedom today for all the links.

Monday, May 2, 2011


Westerns, westerns, westerns...with a few others thrown in.
  • Piers Anthony, Total Recall.  SF Ahhr-nold movie tie-in.  Based on a screenplay, based on a screen story, based on a Phil Dick story.  A remake is supposedly in the works; may be interesting.
  • Raymond E. Feist, Magician:  Master.  Fantasy.  Volume II in the Riftwar Saga.  This is the author's preferred edition.
  • Bernhardt J. Hurwood, Haunted Houses.  Supposedly non-fiction collection about haunted houses written for the school-age market.  Isn't Hurwood the author of Dracutwig, the famously and amazingly bad novel, under the name "Mallory Knight"?
  • Louis L'Amour, Bowdrie (collection; 8 stories about the title character), Catlow, Conagher, Fallon, Galloway (#11 in The Sackett series), How the West Was Won (movie tie-in), The Key-Lock Man, Kid Rodelo, Kilkenny, Lando (#5 in the Sackett series), Law of the Desert Born (collection; 11 stories), The Man Called Noon, Mustang Man (#10 in the Sackett series), Ride the Dark Trail (#14 in the Sackett series), The Rustlers of West Fork (first of four Hopalong Cassidy novels originally published as by "Tex Burns"), Sackett (#4 in the Sackett series), Sackett's Land (first in the Sackett series), The Sky-Liners (#12 in the Sackett series), Son of a Wanted Man, The Trail to Crazy Man (collection of 3 novel-length stories originally published in the pulps), Under the Sweetwater Rim.  Westerns all -- I think it was L'Amour Day at the thrift store.
  • Ron Miller & Frederick C. Durant III, The Art of Chesley Bonestell.  Coffe table art book, with over 300 illustrations from the master of space painting.  Gorgeous!
  • Richard Paul Russo, The Rosetta Codex.  SF novel.
  • G. Clifton Wisler, Sam Delamer.  Western, part of the Delamer series.
  • Roger Zelazny & Neil Randall, Roger Zelazny's Visual Guide to Castle Amber.  Fun literary reference.

Sunday, May 1, 2011


Bill Crider is usually the first post all things gators and crocs, but he's evidently recuperating from this weekend's World Horror Convention, so here goes.

     From The Washington Post, May 1st, quoting from Peter Galuszka's Bacon's Rebellion blog:

     "It came as a big surprise to Laurie Duncan.

     "This past Saturday, the woman was fishing with her husband and 13-year-old daughter on the Pasquotank River near South Mills, N.C., about five miles south of the Virginia Border.  There on the river bank, sunning itself, was a seven-foot alligator.

     "American alligators are common in parts of the Tar Heel state, but the northern extent of their range had been perhaps 30 or 40 miles to the south of South Mills, along the southern shores of the Albemarle Sound.  A state wildlife official says that the gators are moving north as temperatures warm.

     "In other words, alligators, thanks to global warming are crawling or swimming closer to Virginia..."

     The Old Dominon State may soon have to change its tourist motto to "Virginia is for gator lovers."


This weekend, TMC filled in one of its between-the-movie spots with a short feature, 1935's The All-Colored Vaudeville Show, spotlighting a number of talented performers.  Given the year and the title of the short, jingoism was predominent:  one background had cartoonish Black faces painted on musical notes, another had a painted watermelon, the acrobatic troupe played their act like stereotypical buffoons.  But the talent shone through.

     Best of all, for me, were the Nicholas Brothers.  Harold may not have been in his teens and Fayard may not have reached his majority, but the duo had the same presence and energy that marked their act throughout their careers.  For my money, no one could dance as well as the Nicholas Brothers -- even Gregory Hines was a pale imitation.  Astaire, Kelley, O'Connor and other hoofers of Hollywood's heydays couldn't cut the mustard in comparison.  Every performance by the Nicholas Brothers that I have seen was joyous and amazing.

     If you are not convinced, here are a few clips, picked at random, from Youtube: (Their act begins about six minutes in, but you get to see Roy, Dale and Trigger before that)