Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Sunday, May 31, 2015


A short explanation of the scientific method by Richard Feynman.


BeBe Winans, "In Harm's Way"

Saturday, May 30, 2015


Boxcar Willie, "America's favorite hobo," who was never a hobo but an air force flight engineer turned full-time performer.


This issue of Boy Comics features two (count em, two!) adventures of Charles Biro's* Crimebuster.  Crimebuster is really young teen Chuck Chandler, who left military school in 1942 after his journalist father was killed by the Nazi villain Iron Jaw.  Iron Jaw also kidnapped Chuck's mother and the Chuck sauntered off to Germany to rescue her.  Sadly, his mother was killed during the escape.  Vowing to battle crime and villainy, Chuck becomes Crimebuster, wearing his school's hockey uniform and the school's miltary cape.  (Since his school was Custer Military Academy, there was a convenient "C" emblazoned on the shirt; after the war, Chuck's school becomes Curtis High School -- still with a "C".)  Joining Crimebuster is his performing monkey, Squeeks.  They pursued Iron Jaw for thirteen issues before the bad guy is killed.  Crimebuster and Squeeks pursue crime until 1956, when Boy Comics suspended publication.  By that time the restrictive Comics Code went into effect, banning the word "crime,"  so Crimebuster became known as "C.B."  (He had previously rid himself of his costume because a girl had [rightly] called it dorky.)

[Meandering thoughts:  Boy Comics was a Lev Gleason publication.  Another of Gleason publications was Daredevil Comics -- not the later Marvel comics superhero mind you -- which was also drawn by Biro.  (Daredevil was a character owned by New Friday, Inc. and was purchased from them by Gleason in 1942.)  Anyway, Daredevil Comics later introduced the characters of The Little Wise Guys.  These kids (Meatball, Jock, Scarecrow, and Peewee -- and later Baldy, when Meatball was killed off) helped Daredevil on his various cases until they became so popular that Daredevil was reduced to just introducing their adventures.  Where am I going with this?  Well, Biro brought back Iron Jaw as a recurring menace for The Little Wise Guys and that's where I met the whole gang -- one of my first and fondest comic book memories.  Loved them.  That's all.  Pardon my wandering down Memory Lane.]

So, Crimebuster...

In the first story, he and Squeeks are watching some neighborhood boys swimming off a pier.  One on the boys dives deep. into a corpse with cement shoes!  There's no ID on the body, only a racing ticket that leads Crimebuster to the local track and a murderer.  After a prolonged battle (and a dead police officer) the killer is caught and -- in the last panel -- is sentenced to hang because "Crime Does Not Pay." (which happened to be the title of one of Lev Gleason's most popular comics).

It's interesting to see that the police willingly accept this costume kid's help.  Even more interesting is race track tout Dottie English's brilliant realization, "I know who you are now -- you're Crimbuster!"
(This after three pages of interacting with  the costumed boy with a monkey on his shoulder.)  Then there's the track official, after Crimebuster captures the murderer on the track itself (and after Squeeks jockeys a 50-1 nag to win the race), who says, "I thought that was you, Crimebuster!"  Way to go incognito in your hockey uniform and school military cape, C. B.!

In the second Crimebuster story, a bank clerk readily admits to embezzling $50,000.  The question is, what happened to the money?  Once again, the kid with the dorky costume works hand in hand with the police as Crimebuster goes undercover as a hardcore criminal, complete with beard stubble and a mustache.  I guess crooks in 1946 are easily duped.

But that's not all you get for your dime.  There's also

  • an adventure of Swoop Storm, kid aviation inventor, and his buddy Winky
  • the true story of Don Molony, a seventeen-year-old Coast Guard lad who saved a dozen people on June 28, 1945, when an army B 25 crashed into the Empire State Building
  • a comic adventure of Yankee Longago, "the Boy of TODAY in the LAND of YESTERDAY" 
  • "Death in a White Suit," a two-page text story by Sidney Mason featuring Daredevil.
  • Young Robinhood** and His Band,  young crime fighters dressed as the Merry Men of old, face the Caselli gang in modern day New York
  • Little Dynamite and his gang (think the Dead End Kids) go up against Dirk Derranger and his protection racket,
And then there are the advertisements.  Yes, you can get rid of pimples and blackheads (and hickeys!), gain a manly sculpted body, practice to be an airplane pilot, make the dead ends of your hair work for you, wear tattoo transfers of you favorite comic book heroes, send coded messages in invisible ink, and learn to play the piano without music!  Not only that, but you can a Gene Autry holster set for selling just one order of American Seeds!  Sure, one order is 40 packages of seeds, but, hey.

And best of all (IMHO), Girls can't resist the Kiss Me Necktie as it GLOWS in the dark!  Not only does it glow, but it spells out the words "WILL YOU KISS ME IN THE DARK, BABY?"  Yessir, by day it's a smart wrinkle-free, tailored cravat the is smart**, superb class by day, but at night when the shades are drawn and the curtains are drawn. then boy-o-boy!  Did I mention girls can't resist this? ere's  Gotta order me a dozen or so of those, PDQ!

Anyway, in all its glory, here's Boy Comics #26.


* Some sources credit Bob Wood as Crimebuster's co-creator.
**That's correct.  One word.
***So the word "smart" is used twice.  Both I and the ad's copywriters feel that it is proper -- nay, necessary! -- to emphasize this point.

Friday, May 29, 2015


The Beatles.


Great Short Stories of Detection, Mystery and Horror, Third Series edited by Dorothy L. Sayers

In the third and final anthology in this series Sayers presents another doorstop (1069 pages!) collection of great stories, many of them unjustly forgotten.  In the US these anthologies were published as The Omnibus of Crime (First through Third Series) with somewhat different contents.

The line-up:


  • "The Perfect Murder" by Stacy Aumonier (from The Strand Magazine, 1926)
  • "Stain!" by Alex. Barber (from The Story-Teller, 1931)
  • "The Bullett" by J. J. Bell (from The Strand Magazine, 1926)
  • "The Mystery of the Child's Toy" by Leslie Charteris (from Boodle, Hodder & Stoughton, 1934)
  • "Poker-Face" by Carl Clauson (from The Strand Magazine, 1926)
  • "The Level Crossing" by Freeman Wills Croft (from The Cornhill Magazine, 1933)
  • "The Brown Sandwich" by St. John Ervine (from The Story-Teller, 1933)
  • "The Judge Corroborates" by J. S. Fletcher (from The Malachite Jar, Collins, 1930)
  • "The Echo of a Mutiny" by R. Austin Freeman (from The Singing Bone, Hodder & Stoughton, 1912)
  • "The Perfect Crime" by Ormond Grenville (from Pearson's Magazine, 1932)
  • "No Man's Hour" by Laurence Kirk (from The Passing Show, 1933)
  • "Blind Justice" by Ethelreda Lewis (from The Strand Magazine, 1928)
  • "Saxophone Solo" by G. R. Malloch (from Cassell's Magazine, 1931)
  • "Wilful Murder" by H. A. Manhood (from Apples by Night, 1932)
  • "Member of the Jury" by John Millard (from The Story-Teller, 1933)
  • "The Blue Trout" by Basil Mitchell (from Pearson's Magazine, 1933)
  • "A Sleeping Draught" by Anthony Parsons (from The Strand Magazine, 1929)
  • "Wet Paint" by Robert E. Pinkerton (from Pearson's Magazine, 1932)
  • "The Wrong Hand" by Melville Davisson Post (from Uncle Abner, D. Appleton-Century Co., 1918)
  • "On the Irish Mail" by Garnet Radcliffe (from The Windsor Magazine, 1931)
  • "Risk" by Margery Sharp (from The Strand Magazine, 1933)
  • "Leading Light" by Frederick Skerry (from The Strand Magazine, 1931)
  • "The Leak" by Harold Steevens (from The Strand Magazine, 1928)
  • "The Missing Undergraduate" by Henry Wade (from Policeman's Lot, Constable, 1933)
  • "Buttons" by E. M. Winch (from Pearson's Magazine, 1933)
  • "Inquest" by Loel Yeo (from The Strand Magazine, 1932)
  • "A Busman's Holiday" by Francis Brett Young (from The Cage Bird and Other Stories, Heinemann, 1933)
  • "The 19 Club" by A. J. Alan (from A. J. Alan's Second Book, Hutchinson, 1932)
  • "Sombrero" by Martin Armstrong (from The Fiery Dive and Other Stories, Gollancz, 1929)
  • "Lord Mount Prospect" by John Betjeman (from The London Mercury, 1929)
  • "The Wendigo" by Algernon Blackwood (from The Lost Valley, Nash & Grayson, 1910 [Grayson & Grayson])
  • "A Song in the House" by Ann Bridge (from The Cornhill Magazine, 1933)
  • "Couching at the Door" by D. K. Broster (from The Cornhill Magazine, 1933)
  • "The Dumb Wife" by Thomas Burke (from Whispering Windows, 1921)
  • "The Bargain" by A. M. Burrage (original to this anthology)
  • "Arabesque:  The Mouse" by A. E. Coppard (from Adam and Eve and Pinch Me, Jonathan Cape, 1921)
  • "The Mistaken Fury" by Oswald Couldrey (from The Mistaken Fury and Other Lapses, Blackwell, 1914)
  • "Sophy Mason Comes Back" by E. L. Delafield (from Time and Tide, 1930)
  • "Our Distant Cousins" by Lord Dunsany (from The Travel Tales of Mr. Joseph Jorkens, Putnam, 1931)
  • "A Jungle Graduate" by James Francis Dwyer (from The Story-Teller, 1932)
  • "The Scoop" by Leonora Gregory (from The Passing Show, 1933)
  • "The House of Desolation" by Alan Griff (from The Cornhill Magazine, 1934)
  • "The Island" by L. P. Hartley (from Night Fears, Putnam, 1924)
  • "Double Demon" by William Fryer Harvey (from Moods and Tenses, Blackwell, 1933)
  • "The Book" by Margaret Irwin (from The London Mercury, 1930)
  • "The Interruption" by W. W. Jacobs (from Sea Whispers, Hodder & Stoughton, 1926)
  • "The Diary of Mr. Poynter" by M. R. James (from A Thin Ghost and Others, Arnold, 1919)
  • " 'You'll Come to the Tree in the End' " by Cyril Landon (from The Novel Magazine, 1931)
  • "Time-Fuse" by John Metcalfe (from Judas and Other Stories, Constable, 1931)
  • "Decay" by J. C. Moore (from King Carnival, Dent, 1933)
  • "Stowaway" by Claire D. Pollexfen (from The Story-Teller, 1931)
  •  "A Pair of Hands" by Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch (from Old Fires and Profitable Ghosts, Cassell, 1910; Dent [Duchy Edition], 1928)
  • "The Hill" by R.Ellis Roberts (from The Other End, Palmer, 1923)
  • "The Pattern" by Naomi Royde-Smith (from Madame Julia's Tale, Gollancz, 1932)
  • "What Can a Dead Man Do?" by Herbert Shaw (from The Strand Magazine, 1928)
  • "The Virtuoso" by Vincent Sheean (from The Story-Teller, 1933)
  • "No Ships Pass" by Lady Eleanor Smith (from The Story-Teller, 1932)
  • "The Idol with Hands of Clay" by Sir Frederick Treves (from The Elephant Man, Cassell. 1923)
  • "The Frontier Guards" by H. Russell Wakefield (from Imagine a Man in a Box, Philip Allan, 1931; also published in Ghost Stories, Jonathan Cape, 1932)
  • "The Story of the Late Mr. Elvesham" by H. G. Wells (from The Idler, 1896; Collected Edition:  Dent, 1927)
  • "Witch-Trot Pond" by Ben Ames Williams (from The Story-Teller, 1931)
  • "Anniversary" by Clarence Winchester (from The Story-Teller, 1932)
On her blog this week, Patti Abbott asked what constitutes a mystery.  For Sayers, the lines are blurred.  This anthology covers the mystery story from multiple directions, from crime and detection to both real and supernatural horrors.  Many of the authors are still well-known today and most were very popular in their time.  (There are a few I'm unfamiliar with.)  Some of the stories are tarnished by age but most hold up very well.  For fans of the Golden Age of Detection (that is, the years between World Wars I and II) there is a lot here to enjoy.  (BTW, Martin Edwards has a new book out, The Golden Age of Detection, which is highly recommended.)   For fans of the weird tale, there is some pretty scary stuff.

In short, there is something here for almost every taste, solid tales that range from good to great.  All three of Sayers' anthologies (and their American counterparts) will provide hours of pleasure.


Thursday, May 28, 2015


How about some good time music?  Few do it better than these guys.

Fishin' in the Dark:

Ripplin' Waters:

Mr. Bojangles:

Stand a Little Rain:

Catfish John (with Alison Krauss):

Dance Little Jean:

Working Man (Nowhere to Go):

Rocky Top:

Battle of New Orleans:

Leon McDuff:

I Saw the Light (with Roy Acuff)

You Ain't Going Nowhere:

Baby's Got a Hold on Me:

Make a Little Magic:

And So It Goes (with John Denver):

Will the Circle Be Unbroken (with Johnny Cash and a host of country and bluegrass greats);


The Traveling Wilburys.


From November 6, 1945, here's an Inner Sanctum Mystery featurng Boris Karloff and Jackson Beck in a spin on Poe's 'The Telltale Heart."  Produced and directed by Himan Brown, the original radio play was written by Milton Lewis. Your host is Paul McGrath, who replaced Raymond Johnson earlier that year.  Mary Bennett is the lady shilling Lipton tea.

Inner Sanctum Mystery began on the Blue network on January 7, 1941 and ran to October 5, 1952 for a total of 511 episodes.  It tied into Simon and Schuster's Inner Sanctum line of mysteries.  BTW, the Inner Sanctum mystery novel of that month was Devil in the Bush by "Matthew Head" (art critic and histoian John Canaday).


Wednesday, May 27, 2015


A union song from Pete Seeger.


How can you tell a blonde at a funeral?

She be the one trying to catch the wreath.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015


Phil Harris's #1 song from 1950.


Episode 38:  Operation Flypaper (February 3, 1956)

Science Fiction Theatre certainly wasn't the greatest SF anthology series to appear on television but, considering its low budget and hectic production schedule, the series deserves major props.  Produced by Ivan Tors and Maurice Ziv,  

Science Fiction Theatre ran for two seasons from 1955 to 1957.  The first season was produced in color and the expense and the slow rise of color television at the time forced the studio to film the second season in black and white.  The show featured common science fiction tropes, often featuring scientists working on new inventions and theories.  Robots, space flight, telepathy, flying saucers,aliens among us...all were grist for the mill.

Truman Bradley, radio announcer and occasional actor, hosted the series, often doing simple scientific experiments that tied in with whatever was the theme of that week's show.  Among the directors used in the series were Jack Arnold and William Castle.

In Operation Flypaper, scientific experiments are being sabotaged by disappearing equipment and documents.   The scientists begin realize that these items are not the only only things stolen.  Time itself is disappearing.

This episode stars the great Vincent Price.  Others in the cast include George Eldredge and John Eldredge (real-life brothers playing brothers in the episode), Argentinean-born Kristine Miller, Swedish-born Mauritz Hugo, well-known character actor Dabs Greer, and William Vaughan.

Operation Flypaper was directed by Eddie Davis from a script by Doris Gilbert.


Monday, May 25, 2015


My go-to song for today.

As we remember those who gave the greatest sacrifice, let us remember that they were people,,,with hopes and dreams and unrealized futures.   Some wars are necessary; most are not.  What better way to honor the the fallen than to eliminate the unnecessary ones?


  • Daniel Abraham, A Shadow in Summer.  Fantasy novel, Book One of the Long Price Quartet and the author's first novel.
  • "Victor Appleton II" (Jim Lawrence this time), Tom Swift. Jr. and His Diving Seacopter.  SF juvenile.
  • John Joseph Adams, editor, Dead Mans Hand.  Horror anthology with 22 weird western stories.
  • Mike Ashley, editor, The Mammoth Book of New Sherlock Holmes Adventures.  Mystery anthology with 26 non-Canonical stories.
  • John W. Campbell, editor, Analog 6.  SF anthology with 13 stories and one article from Analog.
  • Bernard Cornwell, Sharpe's Company.  The fourth volume in this historical novel series brings Richard Sharp to the Siege of Badajoz.
  • Ben Counter, Dark Adeptus.  Gaming (Warhammer 40,000) tie-in novel; the second volume in the Grey Knights series.
  • David Stuart Davies, editor, Children of the Night:  Classic Vampire Stories.  Horror anthology with twelve mostly familiar stories.
  • L P. Davies, Twilight Journey.  SF novel.  In the 22nd century, a process has been discovered that will allow a person's mind to time travel -- with unexpected results.
  • David Drake, The Far Side of the Stars, In the Stormy Red Sky, Some Golden Harbor, The Way to Glory, and When the Tide Rises.  Military SF novels in the RNC series featuring David Leary and Adele Mundy,
  • David Drake, editor, Foreign Legions.  Military SF anthology with 6 stories in the shared-world universe of Drake's Ranks of Bronze.
  • Loren D. Estleman, editor, American West.  Anthology with twelve original stories from the Western Writers of America.
  • John Everson. Sirens.  Horror novel.  A beautiful creature of the sea seduces a man mourning the loss of his son.
  • Edward L. Ferman, editor, The Best from Fantasy and Science  Fiction, Nineteenth Series.  Anthology with 15 stories and six Gahan Wilson cartoons from F&SF.
  • Steve Frazee, Lassie:  Lost in the Snow, Lassie:  The Mystery of Bristlecone Pine, and Lassie:  Trouble at Painter's Lake.  Film/television franchise tie-in novels.  These are three of at least four Lassie novels that Frazee wrote for children's publisher Whitman; each has a note that Frazee had recently been awarded the LASSIE-FOREST RANGER CONSERVATION  AWARD presented " to individuals or organizations who have contributed effectively and in an outstanding manner to conservation" and sponsored by the United States Forest Service and the Weather Corporation.
  • Mary Gentle, Grunts.  Fantasy novel "with attitude."  Orcs --foot soldiers for the Evil House of Darkness -- are doomed to lose in this slapstick comedy.
  • Carolyn Graham, Ghost in the House.  A Chief Inspector Barnaby mystery.  Who would want to kill the most-liked man in the village?  And with a cannonball?
  • Heather Graham, The Dead Room and The Hexed.  Paranormal romantic suspense novels.  Graham also writes as Heather Graham Pozzessere.
  • Martin H. Greenberg, Jon L. Lellenberg, and Daniel Stashower, editors, Sherlock Holmes in America.  Mystery anthology with 14 more non-Canonical stories and three essays.
  • Martin H. Greenberg, Charles G. Waugh, and Frank D. McSherry, Jr., editors, Jack the Ripper.  Horror anthology with seven stories and one novel (A Study in Terror by"Ellery Queen" and ghosted by Paul W. Fairman).  Originally published as Red Jack.
  • Charlaine Harris, Grave Sight and An Ice Cold Grave.  Harper Connelly mysteries.
  • Brian Keene, Ghost Walk.  Horror novel.  A Halloween haunted attraction hides real evil.
  • Jessica Khoury, Origin.  YA SF novel.  A search for immortality in the Amazon.
  • Damon Knight, editor, Orbit 10.  SF anthology, the tenth volume in this noted series, with eleven stories.
  • Louis L'Amour, High Lonesome and The Man from Skibbereen.  Westerns.
  • Robert Lawson, Rabbit Hill.  A classic juvenile animal fantasy.
  • Richard Laymon, The Woods Are Dark.  Horror novel, the restored version of an early book by Laymon.  Kelly Laymon's introduction provides a logical reason why her father's books were far more popular in England than in America.
  • Edward Lear, The Complete Nonsense of Edward Lear.  A grab bag of Lear's poetry, stories, drawings, and miscellany.  Lear, of course, popularized the limerick poetry.  He did not popularized the dirty limerick, which honor (I believe) goes to my brother.  [insert rim shot here]
  • Todd McCaffrey and Leah Wilson, editors, Dragonwriter:  A Tribute to Anne McCaffrey.   Twenty essays about McCaffrey, her writing, and her legacy.
  • Gary McCarthy, Mesa Verde.  Epic novel dealing with an ancient Anasazi tribe.
  • Steve Moore, V for Vendetta.  Movie tie-in novel.
  • William Morris, News from Nowhere and Other Writings.  Morris' 1890 utopian novel along with two romance stories, two extracts, five lectures, six pieces of occasional prose, and three letters.  Edited with an introduction by Clive Wilmer.
  • Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore.  Fantasy novel and an international best seller.  Translated by Philip Gabriel.
  • Marie O'Regan, editor, The Mammoth Book of Ghost Stories by Women.  Horror anthology with 25 stories.
  • Sarah Pinborough, Breeding Ground.  Horror novel.  Pregnant women begin giving birth to monsters.
  • Kathryn Ptacek, The Hunted.  Horror novel from the Gila Queen.  Jessie is frightened by memories she never had.
  • Gian J. Quasar, Into the Bermuda Triangle:  Pursuing the Truth Behind the World's Greatest Mystery.  Non-fiction about the area of ocean that has engendered a whole lot of bushwah (IMHO).
  • Fred Saberhagen, Ariadne's Web, The Arms of Hercules, and The Golden Fleece.  Fantasy re-working of old myths.  Part of Saberhagan's Book of the Gods series.
  • Ken Scholes, Lamentation.  Fantasy novel.  War is coming to all the Kingdoms in the Named Lands.  The author's first novel.
  • "Darren Shan" (Darren O'Shaughnessy), Hell's Horizon and City of the Snakes.  The second and third books in the YA fantasy The City trilogy.  Also, the following books in the YA fantasy Cirque du Freak series: #3 Tunnels of Blood, #5 Trials of Death, #6 The Vampire Prince, #7 Hunters of the Dark, #10 The Lake of Souls, and #12 Sons of Destiny.  Finally, the first three books in the prequel series to Crique du Freak, Birth of a Killer, Oceans of Blood, and Palace of the Damned.
  • John Skipp, editor, Zombies:  Encounters with the Hungry Dead.  Horror anthology with 32 stories.
  • "Lili St. Crow" (Lilith St. Crow), Strange Angel & Betrayals.  Omnibus volumes of the first two novels in the YA fantasy Strange Angels series.  Sixteen-year-old Dru Anderson hunts evil supernatural beings.
  • Jean Marie Stine and Forrest J. Ackerman, editors, I, Vampire.  Horror anthology with twelve stories.
  • Harry Turtledove, American Empire:  The Victorious Opposition.  The third volume in the alternate SF series in which the South won the Civil War.
  • Kaaren Warren, Slights.  Horror novel.  A killer keeps bringing her victims back to life.
  • Edward L. Wheeler, Deadwood Dick:  The Prince of the Road; or, Rider of the Black Hills. Western.  Reprint of the first (of 32) Deadwood Dick novels that Wheeler wrote for Beadle's Half-Dime Library from 1877-1885, when the author (and, coincidentally, the character) died.  (From 1886 to 1897, there were 97 Deadwood Dick, Jr. novels published under Wheeler's name, all ghosted.  In fact, many were ghosted so poorly that one fan, John Whitson, rewrote them at the publisher's request.  Whitson was not told that Wheeler was dead and he was led to believe that Wheeler had suffered a physical breakdown, which led to the poor quality of the scripts he revised. [The publishers had a large financial stake in letting the public believe that Wheeler was still alive.]  Another twenty-five of these novels have been identified as being written by Jesse C. Cowdrick.)

Sunday, May 24, 2015


From 2001, here's Ray Bradbury's keynote speech to the Sixth Annual Writer's Symposium by the Sea.

Words, ideas, dreams, love, to do it right.


"Hail, Gladdening Light" is one of the oldest Christian hymns extant and dates from the 3rd or 4th century.  Admittedly, it's not a knee-slapper, but the innovation of music to the Christian service was a radical move at the time.

Saturday, May 23, 2015


Johnny Preston in 1959.

Note the comment: why didn't the idiot just build a freakin canoe?   Something I've always wondered.


Having read Ron Goulart's novel Skyrocket Steele and his short story "Skyrocket Steele conquers the Universe," it was interesting to the very first comic book adventure of Bill Everett's 26th century hero. (Note that although this was the first Skyrocket Steele story, the character has graced the cover of the previous issue of  Amazing Mystery Funnies. Ahhh, the vaugarities of the publishing industry.)

The year is about 2500 (yes, "about" -- evidently there are no calendars in the future) as we meet our hero Steele Dodge, he of the thick, wavy brown hair and the finely chiseled features.  Exactly what his position is we are never told, but he does have his headquarters and lab at Merne (which we presume is the capital city).  Steele has two loyal friends:  Sari Marston (a sexy red headed Veronica Lake wannabe who may be more than a friend, if you know what I mean **nudge, nudge, wink, wink**) and Peter Muhr (a thin dude with curly dark hair and a pencil-thin mustache of "the Boston Blackie kind" that any Parrothead could relate to).

Anyway, the king -- King Kurt, although Steele just calls him "Kurt" because...well, I don't know why -- is concerned about his outpost on Mannin.  No one has reported back from there for several days and the KODAKON (a spy device that reminds me of the stargates from SG1) reveals nothing.  And the number of "'bat raids" on Mannin have been on the upswing.  (These may be real bats, or not.  In either case they are deadly.)  Steele and Sari and King Kurt (along with a suitable amount of redshirts) head out to Mannin where they find everybody there dead and we find the story is to be continued next month.

Also in this issue:

  • "The Sacred White Elephant," a jungle tale by Victor Dowling, featuring Brailey of the Tropics
  • "Diamond of Doom," featuring Speed Rush, hard-boiled ace of the private sleuths
  • "Rocks of Fate," a prospecting story of the old west
  • "2038 A. D.," the first appearance of this one-page humor strip
  • "Flying Bluff," a filler story about an air encounter between an American flyer in the Chinese Flying Corps and an enemy Japanese plane.  These prose filler stories were a standard part of comic books in order to meet Post Office regulations.
  • "The Brothers 3," a Moroccan desert adventure by Will Eisner
  • "Treachery on the Trail,"a western adventure with a pretty gal, a treacherous guide, bad Indians, good Indians, and a stalwart hero
  • "The Red Raider." Lt. "Smoky" Battle and his small band of Gurkhas go up against Rango Osef and his horde of outlaws in this tale of British India

All in all, a pretty good issue for ten cents.  And it has a great GGA cover!


Friday, May 22, 2015


Ruth Etting. Her cover of this standard was one of the biggest hits of 1927.


Murder Will Out by "Murray Leinster" (1932)

Leinster (real name, William Fitzgerald Jenkins, 1896-1975) is probably best known for his science fiction, which he began publishing in 1919, giving him the sobriquet of the Dean of Science Fiction. His long career Leinster produced works in many genres and was a stable in the western, adventure, detective, romance and SF pulps, as well as the slicks.  Murder Will Out, Leinster's third mystery novel, was only published in England by London's John Hamilton Ltd.  To my knowledge it has never been reprinted.

Which may be a good thing.  Unlike Leinster's first two mysteries, Scalps and Murder Madness, Murder Will Out falls a little flat.

Leonard Staunton receives a strange request from Fitzhugh, an acquaintance from Staunton's New York City club.  Fitzhugh want's Staunton's company for dinner that evening.  Staunton does not want to spend part of the night alone because (he said) he was going to be murdered at midnight.  He had refused to pay a hundred thousand dollar blackmail demand from a mysterious Chinese gang who communicated only by cards stamped with a purple hieroglphy.  These cards appear by seemingly magical means and have convinced Fitzhugh that he will die at midnight no matter what.  Sure enough, at midnight Fitshugh disappears.  His body is discovered the next day in the river.

A second man is threatened and given a deadly poison at a party hosted by Senator Baldwin, the father of Staunton's fiance, Jeanne.  The rare poison can only be counteracted by an antidote at the victim's lab.  In a race against time, Staunton mangages to get the victim to his lab with minutes to spare and administer the antidote.  Or so he thought.  The antidote had been replaced with common water and the victim dies.  Shortly afterward, the body disappears.

Now Staunton is threatened.  Half a million dollars or his fiance will be killed.  Although aided by a New York police captain, a London secret service agent on holiday, and vast resources of Senator Baldwin, Staunton cannot stop the approaching danger.  The  mysterious gang reaches out invisibly to foil any move made by Staunton.  The fight against this powerful gang seems hopeless.

And then...

First off, I understand that a callous xenophobia was accepted in stories of that decade, but in this case it somehow grated more than normal.  Probably because the book was deficient in so many other areas the xenophobic attitude against the Chinese stuck out.  (Not even Staunton's loyal Chinese valet is exempt.)  Jeanne Baldwin (not beautiful but somewhat attractive) comes across as a whining simpleton.  Staunton is dumb and un-heroic -- even when he appears to be acting heroic.  When the two "canoodle," Leinster describes it as acting foolishly; "canoodle" in this case means a few stolen kisses.  Condon, the Secret Service agent, manages to be an idealized and fatuous character at the same time, often being enigmatic for now reason.  The Chinese gang's actions -- albeit mysterious and seemingly impossible -- are easily explained.  Their motives other than monetary appear non-existant.  The ending is disappointing.

All in all, Murder Will Out is a jumbled mess.  A shame, really, because it could have been a much better novel with a little bit of work.  As it stands. I'd rate it as fodder for a very low standard pulp magazine of the time.

File this under:  I read so you won'r have to.

For Leinster completists only.

Thursday, May 21, 2015


From a 1920 recording, Edith Day sings the best-known song from the musical Irene.  Surprisingly, this was the B-side of the record; the A side was the title song from the musical.

Edith Day was born in Minneapolis in 1896.  She began her career on Broadway in 1916 and in the following year she starred in the musical Going Up, which ran for 351 performances.  It was 1919's Irene which made her a star on both the Broadway and London stages.  A few years later she returned to London and became the first lady of West End musicals with such shows as Rose-Marie, The Desert Song, Showboat, and Rio Rita.  Edith Day retired from the stage in the Forties and did in London in 1971.


 From August 27, 1936, here's the story of Sam Bass, the feared train robber.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015


From 1937, Django Reinhardt with the Quintette du Hot Club de France.  (Yes, you could say this is Django unchained.)


Because I'm so cultured, here's a little poem:

                                         CAP'N CRUNCH

I swear if I hear you chew your food,
I'll be sad and do some stuff.

I knew a kid who chewed his food,
Little did he know, he was in the hood.

One guy didn't like it, not for lunch
He busted a cap'n the crunch.

                                                           -- Benjamin Ellis
                                         (from the Bad Poetry at Its Finest blog)

Tuesday, May 19, 2015


The number one Billboard song 25 years ago.  Here's Montell Jordan.


(Apologies for the late posting.  My cats decide to do the marimba on my keyboard; I don't know what keys they hit but it took almost a day to get back online.  Then my accident-prone family decided to prove how prone they really were -- nothing serious, mind you, just enough to make me wonder what I had done to make the gods angry.  Anyway, here's this week's Overlooked Film.)

The City of the Dead is a neat little New England tale of witchery.  Nan Barlow (Venetia Stevenson) is a college student writing a paper on New England witchcraft.  Her professor (Christopher Lee) suggests she spend her winter vacation researching in the small village of Whitewood where a witch had been sentenced to burn in 1692.  Nan is barely settled in Whitewood when the local clergyman warns her to leave -- the town is a nest of evil and had been in the control of the Devil for three hundred years.  Stubborn Nan soon vanishes.  Nan's brother (Dennis Lotis) and her boyfriend (Tom Naylor) come to Whitewood to investigate.  Will they be able to save Nan from being burned at the stake as a sacrifice?  (No peeking for the answer!)

Directed by John Moxley, who began his career directing a few television shows before moving on to this, his first feature film.  Moxley went on to a long and productive career directing majot television shows and made for TV movies.  The script was written by George Baxt, who began a prosperous career several years later writing mystery novels (the Pharaoh Love series, the Sylvia Plotkin/Max Van Larson series, and the Celebrity Murder series).  Baxt work from a story provided by Milton Subotsky, a noted producer and writer of low- and middle-budget films.

If the film seems vaguely familiar, you may have it under its alternate name, Horror Hotel.


Monday, May 18, 2015


The Mamas & The Papas, featuring the great Cass Elliot.


  • Joan Aiken, The Midnight Moropus.  Children's story.  The last moropus survives only as a lonely ghost.
  • Donald Barthelme, Snow White.  A literary retelling of the fairy tale.  Barthelme pulled out all the pyrotechnics in this cobbled-together novel.
  • Terry Carr, editor, On Our Way to the Future.  Sf anthology with ten stories.
  • Barbara J. Ferrenz, Worse Than Death.  Mystery novel.  Horror writer Theodora Zed must catch "The Vampire Killer."  Signed and inscribed to the previous owner.
  • "Dirk Fletcher" (Chet Cunningham), Spur Double Edition:  Colorado Cutie and Texas Tease.  Omnibus of two novels in the adult western series.
  • Rick Hautala, Winter Wake.  Horror novel.  Evil comes to Glooscap Island.
  • Nancy Holder & Debbie Viguie, Wicked, Book 3:  Resurrection.  YA fantasy, the concluding book in the trilogy.  A new threat faces the Cahors family of witches.
  • Bernie Lee, Murder Takes Two.  A Tony and Pat Pratt mystery.  Murder in a London recording studio.
  • Paul Levine, Slashback.  A Jake Lassiter mystery.  Football player turned attorney Lassiter tackles the death of a lawyer turned drug dealer.
  • Chris Pavone, The Accident.  A literary agent in New York, a CIA operative in Copenhagen, and an author in Zurich cross paths in this thriller.
  • Lynda S. Robinson, Eater of Souls.  Historical mystery.  Lord Meron, the Eyes and Ears of the Pharaoh, must find a shadowy murderer who is terrorizing the citizens of Memphis.
  • S. M. Sterling & David Drake, The General, Book II:  The Hammer.  Military SF, written  by Sterling from a detailed outline by Drake.

Sunday, May 17, 2015


Today is my youngest daughter's birthday.  I have mentioned many times how proud I am of her.  Forgive me, because I'm going to do it again.

From a quiet, determined youngster to the accomplished woman she is today, Christina has always filled us with awe.

When she was three, my father looked at her and said, "I don't care what she's doing. you'd be a fool not to put money on her."  He was right, as usual.

When she was very young, her name was "Christy."  Early in elementary school she came home and announced that her name was "Christina."  And it has been since that day.

She had specific tastes.  She didn't care for Nancy Drew.  ("A turnip-brained fathead," said she, channeling her inner P. G. Wodehouse.)   Any television show she liked was cancelled after one season, or less.  The only show she liked that did not face early cancellation was Magnum, P. I.  She videotaped the show where Magnum died (he came back the next -- and last -- season) and labeled the tape "SACRED MAGNUM TAPE -- DO NOT ERASE!

In junior high school and high school she worked with us at a local Actor's Equity Theater.  Between scenes the actors would help her with her homework.  (One actor, who spoke fluent Russian, unknowingly gave her all the wrong answers to an assignment about Russian history.)  Invariably, she would get a crush on one of the actors and, invariably, that actor would be gay.  At the theater (and at every other gathering where she volunteered) she conducted herself with a warm friendliness combined with a professional gravitas.

In high school she and her sister and another friend started a group to help integrate students with special needs into regular student activities.  As a member of the high school band, she traveled to England, Germany and Austria to play in concerts.  She also traveled to Japan as a Foreign Exchange Student -- the youngest selected that year.  When she was inducted into the Spanish Honor Society, she used the opportunity to pull a prank on her high school dean, one that he would remember fondly for years.   She participated in school musicals, always in the background.

Christina was shy as a child.  She was not happy we told her she had to (for example) buy a stamp at the post office and return the change to us.  She's used the same trick with her children (and they, too were not happy).  We also made her bring roses on-stage for performers we knew at the end of concerts.  Slowly she gained an inner confidence that she did not know she had -- even today it can be hard for her to accept how talented and adaptable she is.

In college, she worked part-time in a Crystal City muffin shop.  After work she would take the muffins that were to be discarded and give them to the homeless near her D.C. dormitory.

Nothing came easy to her.  Christina joined the George Washington University Tae Kwon Do Club and determinedly work to improve herself.  One of the leaders of the club remarked, "Christina always hits a plateau and stays there while she keeps working to overcome it, then she suddenly makes a quantum leap in her abilities and hits a new plateau, and the cycle starts all over again."  The plateaus eventually won her a black belt and elected her president of the club.  The plateaus were also evident in some of her courses.  The dreaded Summer of Physics has been burned into our brains.

Armed with her BS in biology Christina ventured out into the world, first working for an ambulance company, then becoming a paramedic and an EMT (and the lieutenant of her volunteer rescue squad).
She became an emergency room technician and the ER doctors were happy to see her because when she was on duty everything ran smoothly.  A career change to cardiosonography involved some heavy-duty training and classes.  She became an adjunct teacher of sonography at GW and worked at hospitals in Virginia before moving to her current position in Southern Maryland.  Her skill and knowledge have earned her the respect of the heart doctors who work with her.

Christina has just finished a multi-year retraining and is now a certified sign language interpreter.  I predict she will have as much success in this field as she has had in everything else she tackled.

She and her husband Walt live in an octagonal glass house (no stone throwing allowed) overlooking the Chesapeake Bay, along with two goats, three dogs, three cats, a ball python, a bearded dragon, and two hedgehogs.  Soon a tegu will be added to the mix.

Oh.  They also have three kids.

Mark, 15, is a quiet kid with a great sense of humor and a passion for soccer and track.  Yesterday he found the first copperhead of the year in their garden.  He's also a youth soccer referee.

Erin, 13, is whip smart and beautiful.  She loves animals and fingernail polish.  She has almost 200 different shades of polish and does a professional job of designing nails.  Erin, too, is a youth soccer referee.

Both kids are sweet, kind, and honest -- the type of kid I wish I had been.  Both were named Students of the Month at their respective schools this year.

The Kangaroo is the newest addition.  He's almost three and was formally adopted this past January.  He has a number of obstacles still to overcome (he was born drug-addicted and spent the first weeks of his life in the hospital detoxing).  Christina and Walt have been working hard with the Kangaroo since they began fostering him when he was six weeks old.  He's come a long, long way.  He's smart and sweet and friendly and melts the hearts of everyone he meets.

All three kids are lucky to have someone like Christina in their lives.  She fill them with love, humor, and a sense of responsibility.  If only everyone could have a Christina in their lives.

Unfortunately, they can't.  Fortunately, we do.  Nyah, nyah, nyah!

So, happy birthday, Christina!  We love you.


From 1988, here's three of the best minds of the 20th Century -- Carl Sagan, Stephen Hawking and Arthur C. Clarke -- in a fascinating conversation.


The song is "The Lighthouse. "  The artists are a mystery.

Saturday, May 16, 2015


For those who want to remember the 70s, here's Gloria Gaynor.


Published by T. V. Boardman and Company in London, Buffalo Bill Wild West Annual 4 presents comic book action, colored and black and white art, and prose stories all jumbled together in 189 exciting pages.  The comic book stories run the gamut from biographies of Billy the Kid and Cochise to gunslingin' thrills in the stereotypical West.  The prose stories -- and there are quite a few of them -- feature the cowboy (emphasis on "boy") trio of Tom, Dick and Harry, along with their friend Gordon Gregory.

Cowboys, Indians, lawmen, ranchers, pretty girls (in moderation, of course -- we don't want the British boys of 1952 to get unchaste ideas), miners, gamblers, road agents, and all kinds of varmints stride across these pages. Denis McLaughlin's artwork is far above of the industry of the time.  Arthur Groom wrote all the stories.


Monday, May 11, 2015


  • Lois McMaster Bujold, Cryoburn.  SF.  A Miles Vorkosigan novel.
  • Hugh Cook, Wizard War Chronicles II:  The Questing Hero.  Fantasy.  Also published as The Wordsmiths and the Warguild.
  • E. V. Cunningham" (Howard Fast), The Case of the Poisoned Eclairs.  A Masao Masuto mystery.
  • Christie Golden, Star Trek:  Voyager:  Spirit Walk, Book One:  Old Wounds and Book Two:  Enemy of My Enemy.  Television tie-in novels.
  • William H. Keith, Jr., Renegade's Honor.  Gaming (Renegade Legion) tie-in novel.
  • Daniel Keyes, Unveiling Claudia:  A True Story of Serial Murder.  True crime.  The story of Claudia Elaine Yasko and a 1972 triple homicide in Columbus, Ohio.
  • Kevin O'Brien, Left for Dead and Unspeakable.  Thrillers.
  • Elliot O'Donnell, Scottish Ghost Stories.  Folklore.
  • Lillian O'Donnell, Ladykiller.  A Norah Mulcahaney mystery.
  • Peter Schweighofer, editor,  Star Wars:  Tales from the Empire.  Movie franchise tie-in anthology with 9 stories and a four-part short novel done "round robin" style.
  • Robert Terwilliger, Betrayed:  Murder in the Bahamas.  Suspense.  Inscribed and signed by the author (as "Viper Bob").
  • Tad Williams, Overland, Volume Four:  Sea of Silver Light.  Concluding volume in the epic fantasy.

Friday, May 8, 2015


The Last Spin and Other Stories by Evan Hunter (1960)

For over half a century, from 1951 until his death in 2005, Evan Hunter produced a body of work any writer would envy.  Under the Hunter name there were The Blackboard Jungle, Strangers When We Meet, Buddwing, Last Summer, The Chisums, and many others.  As Ed McBain, he wrote the 87th Precinct mysteries and the Matthew Hope mysteries.  Along the way he used many other names, including S. A. Lombino (his birth name), Richard Marston, Hunt Collins, Curt Cannon, John Abbott, Ted Taine, Dean Hudson, D. A. Addams, and Ezra Hannon.  (There maybe more hidden in the magazines of the 50s, and it is not known how many of the "Dean Hudson" novels he actually wrote.)

Some of Hunter's best early stories were published in Manhunt, a crime magazine fueled by clients of Scott Meredith's literary agency, at which Hunter worked when he sold his first story.  Many of these that Hunter wrote were tough, gritty stories about juvenile delinquency, the best of which were included in his first collection, The Jungle Kids, a paperback published in 1956 by Pocket Books which (to my knowledge) has never been reprinted.

A number of the stories from The Jungle Kids were included in The Last Spin and Other Stories, a collection published in 1960 by British publisher Costable & Company Ltd.  Of the 15 stories in The Last Spin, least eight appeared in The Jungle Kids and two others in later collections.  Of the five remaining stories, one is the often reprinted Mickey Spillane satire "Kiss Me, Dudley" and three are science fictions stories.

Included in this collection are some of Hunter's most powerful early stories:  "The Last Spin," "Small Homicide," "Kid Kill," and "The Fallen Angel."  (The last was adapted for a well-received episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, marking perhaps the first time Hunter's name was linked with Hitchcock.)

The stories:

  • First Offense
  • The Fallen Angel
  • Silent Partner
  • Small Homicide
  • The Girl With the Pretty Eyes
  • See Him Die
  • Escape
  • Kid Kill
  • Alive Again
  • The Innocent One
  • Robert
  • The Prisoner
  • ...Or Leave It Alone
  • Kiss Me, Dudley
  • The Last Spin
A collection well worth your time looking up, as is The Jungle Kids.

Thursday, May 7, 2015


From 1921, Fanny Brice.


Baby Snooks was a popular vaudeville, radio, and film character created by Fanny Brice in 1912.  he name was a take-off from the George McManus comic strip character Baby Snookums.  As Brice evolved Baby Snooks (sometimes called "Babykins"), Snooks gained a background story in a sketch  written by Philip Rapp and David Freeman for Zeigfield Follies of the Air in 1936.  By 1936 Brice (as Snooks) was appearing on the Good News Show, which led to a regular spot on Maxwell House CoffeeTime in 1940.  In 1944, Snooks was given her own show, Post Toasties Time, which soon was retiitled as The Baby Snooks Show.

The Baby Snooks Show was destined to be of the popular radio sitcoms of the 40s.  Snooks (whose last name turned out to be Higgins) now had a "Daddy" (Lancelot), a "Mommy" (Vera), and soon had a baby brother (Robespierre).  Danny Thomas was added to the cast for a while as postman Jerry Dingle.  Snooks was a mischevious little imp (whose pranks these days might be a sign of psychotic behavior but, hey, this was the 40s and people laughed at that stuff then).  The show ran on CBS until 1948.  A year and a half later, The Baby Snooks Show was resurrected by NBC where it continued until Fanny Brice's death in 1951.

From June 9, 1938, here's a short sketch featuring Baby Snooks "At the Doctor's."

Wednesday, May 6, 2015


Whose cruel idea was it for the word "lisp" to have an "S" in it? -- George Carlin


The Andrews Sisters.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015


Here's Gene.


Happy Cinco de Mayo, everyone!  To celebrate (in a groanworthy fashion) here's:

Monday, May 4, 2015


Helen O'Connell.


  • Joan Aiken, The Kitchen Warriors.  Children's fantasy.
  • Isaac Asimov, Breakthroughs in Science.  YA non-fiction collection of 29 essays that first appeared in Senior Scholastic magazine.
  • Big Pulp, Fall 2011 and Fall 2012 issues.  Magazine of fiction and poetry in a number of ygenrle catagories.
  • Simon Brett, The Torso in the Town.  The third Fethering mystery.
  • Victor Canning, A Handful of Silver.  Suspense.
  • Orson Scott Card, Pathfinder.  SF.
  • "Nicholas Carter," The Four-Fingered Glove; or, The Cost of a Lie.  From 1904, the original Nick Carter.  This one is  reprint (No. 1170 in Street & Smith's New Magnet Library), most likely from The Nick Carter Library.  The author is probably Frederick Van Rensselaer Dey.  BTW, this edition is not a dime novel, it's more of a two-bits novel.
  • C. J. Cherryh, Fortress of Ice,  Fantasy, the fifth in the Fortress series.
  • Agatha Christie, Mrs. McGinty's Dead.  A Hercule Poirot mystery.  One of two of her mysteries that I have not read.  I checked and I did not seem to have a copy.  Quelle horreur!  So I remedied the situation.
  • Mary Higgins Clarke & Alafair Burke, The Cinderella Murder.  Mystery featuring a Clarke character from I've Got You Under My Skin.
  • Tim Cockey, The Hearse Case Scenario.  A Hitchcock Sewell mystery romp.
  • Michael Connelly, The Gods of Guilt.  A Lincoln Lawyer mystery.
  • Thomas H. Cook, The Interrogation.  Crime novel.
  • George Harmon Coxe, Suddenly a Widow and Top Assignment.  Mystery novels.
  • John Creasey, Doorway to Death.  An Inspector West mystery.  Also published as The Trouble at Saxby's.
  • William C, Dietz, Earthrise,  Alien invasion SF, the sequel to Deathday.
  • Allison DuBois, The Secrets of the Monarch.  Self-help hints from the dead (?).  DuBois is the one who inspired the television show Medium.
  • R. J. Ellory. The Anniversary Man and A Quiet Belief in Angels. Crime thrillers.
  • Jules Feiffer, Grown Ups.  Three-act play.
  • David Feintuch, Children of Hope.  Sf novel in the Seafort Saga.
  • Bruce Felton & Mark Fowler, The Best, Worst & Most Unusual.  Miscellany.  This is an omnibus edition of The Best, Worst & Most Unusual and More Best, Worst & Most Unusual.
  • Ruth Fenisong, Miscast for Murder.  A Gridley Nelson mystery.  Also published as Too Lovely to Live.
  • Martin Gardner, aha!  Gotcha.  "Paradoxes to puzzle and delight" from a puzzle master.  These came from a set of filmstrips, cassettes, and teacher's guides published by Scientific American.
  • William Campbell Gault, The Oval Playground.  YA dirt-track racing novel.  Gault left the mystery field in the 60's to write a pile of YA sports novels before returning to mysteries.  He was very good in both fields.
  • David Gibbons, Crusader Gold and The Mask of Troy.  Marine archeological thrillers featuring  Jack Howard of the International Maritime University.
  • Michael Gilbert, The Country House Burglar.  Mystery novel.  Also published as Sky High.  And Over and Out, a WWI spy-guy thriller.
  • Brian Greene, The Elegant Universe:  Superstrings, hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory.  Nonfiction and fascinating.
  • Gayle Greeno, Mind Snare.  SF.
  • Lois H. Gresh & Robert Weinberg, Termination Node.  Cyberthriller.
  • James Neal Harvey, Flesh and Blood.  A Lieutenant Ben Tolliver mystery.
  • "Robin Hobb" (Megan Lindholm), Assassin's Apprentice.  Fantasy, the first book in the Farseer trilogy.
  • Nancy Holder, The Evil Within:  A Possessions Novel.  YA horror, the first in a series.
  • Jane Holleman, Hell's Belle.  Mystery.
  • Lisa Jackson, Lost Souls.  Thriller.
  • Stuart M. Kaminsky, The Last Dark Place, an Abe Leiberman mystery, and A Whisper to the Living, the final Porfiry Rostnikov mystery.
  • Jonathan Kellerman & Jesse Kellerman, The Golem of Hollywood.  Supernatural mystery.  The first collaboration between the best-selling father and son.
  • J. Gregory Keyes, The Waterborn.  Fantasy.  The author's first novel and the first volume in the Chosen of the Changeling series.
  • William Kotzwinkle, The Bear Went Over the Mountain.  Fantasy.
  • Holly Lisle, Last Girl Dancing.  Paranormal thriller.
  • Frances & Richard Lockridge, A Key to Death.  A Mr. and Mrs. North mystery.
  • Richard & Frances Lockridge, Burnt Offering.  A Captain Heimrich mystery.  These authors sound suspiciously like the authors listed just above.
  • William P. McGivern, Rogue Cop.  Crime novel.
  • Graham McNamee, Acceleration.  Edgar-winning YA mystery.
  • Calvin Miller, The Singer.  Poetic narrative/Christian metaphor.  It had an interesting cover.
  • Walter Mosley, Killing Johnny Fry.  "A sexistential novel."  Oh, Walter, you little devil!
  • "Old Sleuth," The King's Detective; or, A New York Detective's Great Quest.  This one's copyrighted 1898 and is reprinted as No. 10 in the Old Sleuth's Special Detective Series.  Also included is a second novel, Young Dash; or, The Detective's Apprentice.  The author may be Harlan Page Halsey, who created the dime novel character in 1872 and continued writing the books until his death in 1898.  (Old Sleuth's adventures continued under other writers until 1910 [I believe].)  Once again, this dime novel is really a two-bit novel.
  • Katherine Hall Page, The Body in the Cast.  A Faith Fairchild mystery.
  • Stuart Palmer, Unhappy Hooligan.  A Howie Rook mystery.
  • "Christopher Pike" (Kevin McFadden), Until the End.  YA horror omnibus containing The Party, The Dance, and The Graduation.
  • Joseph Pittman, The Original Crime.  Crime novel, originally published as a three-part e-Book serial.
  • Richard Powell, False Colors.  Mystery novel.  Also published as Masterpiece in Murder.
  • "Kelley Roos" (Audrey Roos & William Roos), Made Up to Kill.  The first Haila and Jeff Troy mystery, back when Haila was Haila Rogers and she was Jeff's "best girl."  This theater mystery is an old Dell Mapback (#106) and has creepily-taloned green skeleton hands about to clutch a lady with even creepier blue mascara on the cover.  Also published as Made Up for Murder.
  • Mabel Seeley, The Whispering Shadow.  Mystery novel.  Also published as The Blonde with the Deadly Past.
  • Tom Sharpe, The Great Pursuit.  Satire, this time on the publishing industry.
  • Karin Slaughter, Fractured.  A Will Trent mystery.
  • Sherwood Smith, Coronets and Steel.  Fantasy, the first in a series.
  • Bart Spicer, The Taming of Carney Wilde.  A PI Carney Wilde mystery.
  • Nancy Springer, Rowan Hood, Outlaw Girl of Sherwood Forest and Rowan Hood Returns. YA novels with a twist on the legend of Robin Hood.
  • Dana Stabenow, A Deeper Sleep.  A Kate Shugak mystery.
  • Neal Stephenson, Anathem.  SF.
  • Wm. H. Thomes, A Whaleman's Adventures in the Sandwich Islands and California.  An 1890 edition of a novel originally copyrighted in 1884.  Part of "Thome's [sic] Series of Adventures on Land and Sea."
  • "Dodge Tyler" (pseudonym used by John Edward Ames for some in the series and -- perhaps -- this one), Dan'l Boone, The Lost Wilderness Tales:  A River Run Red.  The first in the frontier series.
  • Andy Weir, The Martian.  The SF bestseller.
  • Colin Wilson & Damon Wilson, editors, Illustrated True Crime:  A Photographic Record.  From Franz Muller, the Railway Killer (1864) to September 11, 2001, familar and unfamiliar images take through almost 500 pages of crime.
  • Tom Wood, The Enemy.  Thriller.
  • Timothy Zahn, Dragon and Thief.  YA SF, Book 1 in the Dragonback series.

Sunday, May 3, 2015


Here's a 1988 interview with Asimov from Bill Moyers' World of Ideas.

Part One:

Part Two:

Part Three:


The Harlem Gospel Singers with "Go Down Moses."

Saturday, May 2, 2015


Today is Free Comic Book Day.  Today is also World Naked Gardening Day.  Guess which one I'll be celebrating.


The Bird and the Bee.


Remember when you could get a trading card as a premium in a pack of cigarettes?  Of course you don't.  You're not that old.  But there was a time...

There was also a time when there was a wireless in every home to provide the night's entertainment for a family.

The two combined some time in the 30s in Great Britain and Ireland when Will's cigarettes began issuing cards of radio celebrities, one in each pack of cigarettes, urging people to collect them all (thus driving up the sale of coffin nails).  These aren't just any radio  celebrities, they're BBC radio celebrities!  Fifty cards in all, each featuring a popular radio act or celebrity you've never heard of. (Exception:  Paul Robeson, the only non-white face in the set and with no mention of the reasons why Robeson was living in England.)

The back of each card contained some biographical information* and was covered with a light adhesive so the card could be placed in its proper spot in a booklet Wills issued in conjunction with the cards.

You've heard of people who have a face for radio?  Some of the photographs in this set point out the truth of that old saw.  More than a few creepy looking people here, folks.

The link will take you to a completed booklet.


* Who knew that E. R. Appleton, popular presenter of dramatized bible stories, was an honorary Druid?  I didn't.  Who knew who E. R. Appleton was?  Not me.

Friday, May 1, 2015


May 1st!  It's May, it's May, the lusty month of May!  From Camelot, here's Julie Andrews.


Tender Murderers:  Women Who Kill by Trina Robbins (2003)

Women, the gentler sex?  Not quite.

Trina Robbins -- artist and cartoonist, historian and feminist -- explores the dark side of the double-X chromosome in this accessable history of twenty-one violent (and supposedly violent) women.  Among the twenty-one are some of my favorite misguided females:  Winnie Ruth Judd, Kate Bender, Belle Starr, and Valerie Solanis.  (I was sadly disillusioned by a nineteenth-century drawing of Kate Bender that Robbins included in the book.  Kate, reported to be a beautiful zofitg blonde, turns out to be a hard-looking woman whose stare could surdle milk.)  Missing from this distaff lineup, alas, is Pamela Smart, the New Hampshire high school teacher who enlivened newspapers in the Merrimac Valley when we lived there in the early 90s.

The Rogue-ess Gallery:

"They Did it For Love"

  • Beulah May Annan and Belva Gaertner (inspirations for the musical and the movie Chicago, among others)
  • Winnie Ruth Judd (the infamous trunk murderess)
  • Jean Harris (the Scarsborough Diet killer)
  • Aileen Wuornos (the hitchhiking serial killer)
"They Did It For Money"
  • Belle Gunness (the Black Widow of the Heartland)
  • Kate Bender (the daughter of the "Bloody Bender" family)
  • Ruth Snyder (inspiration for the book Double Indemnity and movie)
  • Dorothea Puente (taking a page from Arsenic and Old Lace, she poisoned nine elderly people for their Social Security checks)
"Bandit Queens and Gun Molls"
  • Belle Starr (bandit queen of the Old West)
  • Bonnie Parker (she robbed banks)
  • Lai Chooi San (pirate queen of Macao and the inspiration for the Dragon Lady of Terry and the Pirates)
  • Phoolan Devi (India's bandit queen)
"Fabled Femmes Fatales"
  • Charlotte Corday ("Poor old Marat..")
  • Frankie Silver (Appalachian legend and inspiration for Sharon McCrumb's The Ballad of Frankie Silver)
  • Grace Marks (Nineteenth Century Canadian maid and the inspiration for Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace)
  • Lizzie Borden (Did she take an axe and give her daddy forty whacks?)
"Shoots Like a Girl:  Women Who Missed" -- Or, The Also-Rans
  • Lolita Lebron (one of the four Puerto Rican nationalists who attempted to assassinate Harry Truman)
  • Valerie Solanas (author of The SCUM Manifesto and wanna-be Andy Warhol killer)
  • Squeaky Fromme (the Manson follower who tried to assassinate Gerald Ford with a gun with no bullett in the chamber)
  • Amy Fisher (the Long Island Lolita)
A fascinating compilation, breezily told.