Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Sunday, January 28, 2018


Happy Birthday!:  Actor John Forsythe was born 100 years ago today, although back then he was known as Jacob Lincoln Freund.  Although he had a long career that included radio, the stage, and movies, he is best known for his iconic television roles in Bachelor Father, Charlie's Angels, and Dynasty.  An original member of the Actor's Studio, he taught such actors as Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift, Julie Harris, Patricia Neal, and his future Dynasty Joan Collins.  The secret to his success?  "I'm a vastly usable,not wildly talented actor."

January Incoming:  It's a bit larger than I expected, due to a "fill a bag for two bucks" deal.
  • Mary Higgins Clark, editor, Manhattan Mayhem.  Mystery Writers of America anthology with 18 stories taking place in the Big Apple.
  • Don Cortez, CSI:  The Killing Jar.  Television tie-in.  Let's see if this guy writes them as good as Max Allan Collins did.
  • Greg Cox, CSI:  Headhunter.  Television tie-in.  Ditto on what I said above.
  • John Ellis, Diary of a Hangman.  Marketed as True Crime in this British paperback edition, the book is memoir (of sorts) from Britain's official executioner from 1901 to 1924, during which time Ellis executed 203 people, including Dr. Crippen.
  • Clifton Fadiman, general editor, The Little, Brown Book of Anecdotes.  Six hundred double column pages of anecdotes about famous men and women from all walks of life.  In a quick skimming I found some old chestnuts among more than a few gems.
  • Lillian Garis, Connie Loring's Dilemma.  A "Girl's Book" from 1925, the second of two books about young Connie.  Lillian Garis wrote hundreds of books for the juvenile market, including some of the earliest Bobbsey Twins stories.  (Her husband, Howard R. Garris, also wrote gazillion juveniles, including the Uncle Wiggily books and most of the original Tom Swift series.)  This copy has been totally beat to ****, with both covers torn off, the spine missing, end papers torn out, and pages crinkling with age
  • Ken Goddard, CSI:  In Extremis.  Television tie-in.  What I said for Cortez and Cox, above.
  • Harvard Lampoon, The Hunger Pains.  Parody.  Back in the day, one crew wrote the James Bond parody Alligator, later another crew wrote Bored of the Rings.  Let's see if this 2012 crew can do as well.  (Note:  I have not read the Harvard Lampoon's sparkle in the daylight Nightlight.)
  • James Herbert, Others.  Horror novel.
  • Hans Holzer, Great American Ghost Stories.  Holzer, a well-known ghost hunter (who may have been serious), made a good living gulling the public with supposed true tales of hauntings and supernatural escapades.  This book gives us eighteen tales "culled from his own investigations" and all "accounts are based on sound scholarship."  And I have a bridge I'd like to sell you.
  • L. Ron Hubbard, Slaves of Sleep & Masters of Sleep.  Fantasy; the first story coming from the July 1939 issue of Unknown; its sequel from the October 1950 issue of Fantastic Adventures.  This is pre-Dianetics and pre-Scientology Hubbard, from when he could tell a fairly good tale.
  • Charlie Huston, Six Bad Things.  Crime thriller, the second in the Hank Thompson series.
  • Larry Niven, Ringworld's Children.  Science fiction.  the fourth book in the Ringworld series.
  • Otto Penzler, editor, The Big Book of Rogues and Villains.  Doorstop anthology with 71 stories.  A late Christmas present to myself.  Yummy!
  • Donald E. Westlake, The Road to Ruin.  Crime comedy.  A Dortmunder novel.
Books Finished This Week:  Jesmyn Ward's Sing, Unburied, Sing, a good, absorbing read; Roger Dee's An Earth Gone Mad, a routine half of an Ace Double about an alien attempt to influence humanity; Skottie Young's Rocket Raccoon and Groot:  Tricks of the Trade, a graphic novel with various artists; Jason Aarons' The Unworthy Thor, a graphic novel with art by Olivier Coipel and others; Michael Avon Oeming & Daniel Berman, Thor:  Ragnaroks, graphic novel with art by Scott Kolins &Andrea de Vito and with the most annoying lettering in comicdom; and the penultimate Sheriff Dan Rhodes novel from Bill Crider, Dead, To Begin With.  I'm currently reading The Girl with the Deep Blue Eyes by Lawrence Block.

A Not-So-Dreary Anniversary:  Poe's "The Raven" was published on January 29, 1845, in New York's The Evening Mirror.  It's influence in popular culture cannot be underestimated.  Since 1953, the Mystery Writers of America have handed out the Raven Award to non-writers for contributions to the mystery genre.  Past winners have included Tom Leher, Dorothy Kilgallen, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Phyllis McGinley, Alfred Hitchcock, Joey Adams, Isaac Beshevis Singer, Edward Gorey, Vincent Price, Bill Clinton, Otto Penzler, and Jon and Ruth Jordan.

Texas Leads the Way (with apologies to Bill Crider):  Oscar, the wayward mule, wnt walkabout from his Wise County farm two years ago.  The most diligent search could not find him.  Then this month he reappeared and was very thirsty.  It seems that Oscar is a Dr. Pepper junkie and missed his favorite drink.  Sheriff Dan Rhodes feels your pain, Oscar.

But Kansas Also Leads the Way:  In selling Tide Pod donuts, that is.  Kansas bakery chain Hurts Donut is now selling donuts decorated like Tide Pods.  That's one challenge I can get into.

Florida Man!:  This one's from 2017, but what the heck, I like it.  This particular Florida Man is Miami attorney Stephen Gutierrez's pants caught on fire while he was defending a client on a arson charge.  Was it the batteries from his electronic cigarettes that caused his pants to combust, or was it merely fate?

Sing Along:  An old Kellogg's Corn Flakes commercial with Homer, Jethro, an abominable snowman, and a catchy tune.


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