Thursday, October 19, 2017

Monty Python Unavailable for Comment

Hawaii’s Spam black market blamed for spate of crime  

Hat tips to Jeff Meyerson and Art Scott
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Danielle Darrieux, R. I. P.

NY Daily News: Danielle Darrieux, a prolific French actress whose movie and theater career spanned eight decades, has died. She was 100. One of France's best-loved actresses, Darrieux appeared in dozens of plays and more than 100 films during her long career.

Hat tip to Jeff Meyerson.

The Story of Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein

The Story of Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein 

Song of the Day

10 Books That Have Been Lost To History

10 Books That Have Been Lost To History

Today's Vintage Ad


I Miss the Old Days

20 Fascinating Vintage Photographs of Children Celebrate Halloween in the 1950s

PaperBack



Elizabeth Gill, Young Sinner, Cameo  Books, 1953

A List This Blog Is Not On

The 15 Most Influential Websites Of All Time 

Yet Another List I'm Not On

30 Essential Mystery Authors: Think all mystery books are the same? Think again. Thrillers, suspense, crime novels, detective fiction - whatever you call them, mystery books make for some of the most exciting literature out there. The mystery genre has been around for over two centuries, with pioneers like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Wilkie Collins, Edgar Allan Poe and G.K. Chesterton leading the way. From real-life spies (John le Carr, Ian Fleming, and Graham Greene) to politicians and journalists, mystery authors come from all walks of life and so do their protagonists. From elderly spinster Miss Marple and hard-drinking P.I. Phillip Marlowe, to dashing spy James Bond and medical examiner Dr. Kay Scarpetta, the mystery genre spans far and wide. Whether it's Victorian era crime you're after, or contemporary psychological thrillers are your thing, enjoy our list of essential mystery authors.

For nearly a half century gators have called this Alvin bank home

Houston Chronicle: The First Bank of Alvin has been home to alligators for nearly half a century. In 1969, a rice farmer donated three 6-inch gator hatchlings to the bank, to live in its goldfish pond, according to an Associated Press story, published in 1983. The trio - J. Paul Gator, Mitzi Gator and William Teller Gator - soon grew to be about 7 feet long, and became a major attraction for locals. The goldfish didn't last long.  

Great article, excellent video.  This is, of course, where I've been banking since moving to Alvin in 1983.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

“Bayou City Breakdown” (by Susan Perry Benson)

“Bayou City Breakdown” (by Susan Perry Benson) | SOMETHING IS GOING TO HAPPEN: Susan Perry Benson debuted in EQMM’s Department of First Stories in July 2013. A native Houstonian and a frequent contributor to the Houston Chronicle and Texas Magazine, she had already moved to North Carolina by the time she turned her pen to fiction, but she continues to have close ties to Houston. In this post she shares some thoughts about Hurricane Harvey, which made landfall near Houston on August 25, 2017. EQMM salutes all of those who have weathered this season’s hurricanes and are bravely rebuilding their cities and towns. And we thank Susan for letting us see the catastrophe from the perspective of someone to whom it is deeply personal. The author’s next story for EQMM will appear in our March/April 2018 issue.—Janet Hutchings

Song of the Day

Mata Hari: Famous Spy or Creative Storyteller?

Mata Hari: Famous Spy or Creative Storyteller?

Today's Vintage Ad


I'm Sure You'll All Agree

23 Songs That Will Make Country Haters Be Like, "I Actually Really Like This Song"

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Gene Harvey, A Girl Called Joy, Cameo Books, 1951

I Miss the Old Days

31 Colorful Photos Show Hat Styles That Audrey Hepburn Often Wore From Between the 1950s and '60s 

The Imperials Inexplicably Not Included


Bonus FFB on Wednesday: The Emperor and the Maula -- Robert Silverberg

I know what you're saying.  You're saying, "How can a brand-new book be forgotten?" Well, I'm not saying it's been forgotten by current readers. I'm saying that even the author, Robert Silverberg, had forgotten it.  The short version is that he wrote The Emperor and the Maula, a 30,000 word novella for a publisher as part of a multi-author project that never came to  fruition.  Silverberg eventually sold the story again by cutting it in half and selling it to a space-opera anthology.  Then he forgot about it until one day he happened to run across the original on his computer's hard drive.  He read it, liked it, and decided to sell it again, this time in is almost original version, with the difference being that he added an ending that was more conclusive than the original one.  It's all in Silverberg's introduction, which is not to be missed. 

I enjoyed the novella.  Although it was written about 1992, it reminded me very much of the kind of SF I liked to read much longer ago than that.  It's an old story in a new form, the story of Scheherazade and the thousand nights and a night as space opera.  Laylah Walis is the teller of the tales, and she's telling them to the emperor of the Ansaar. Her purpose is to stay alive from night to night, but also to tell him about her world of Earth, conquered by the Ansaar, and about the things that happened there after the conquest. And also to tell him about her travels through parts of the Ansaar empire.  The story's old-fashioned in the best sense, with a real sense of wonder (and bushels of adverbs), along with Silverberg's usual storytelling panache.  Since Silverberg isn't writing fiction anymore, it's a real gift to have something new from him.  Check it out.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

How Shirley Jackson Makes Us Lose Our Minds

How Shirley Jackson Makes Us Lose Our Minds

Song of the Day

15 Netflix hidden-gem horror movies: 2017 version

15 Netflix hidden-gem horror movies: 2017 version

Today's Vintage Ad


I Miss the Old Days

20 Beautiful Color Photos of Julie Andrews in the 1950s and 1960s: Singer and actress Julie Andrews was born Julia Elizabeth Wells on October 1, 1935, in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, England. Andrews has endured as a popular star of stage and screen for many decades. She came from a musical family; her mother was a pianist and her stepfather, from whom she took her surname, was a singer.

PaperBack



Alan Marshall (Donald E. Westlake), All About Annette, Midwood, 1960

I'm Sure You'll All Agree

10 Films Where The Supporting Role Was Better Than The Lead

I'm Back

Bouchercon was great.  I missed seeing some people I wanted to see, but I got to visit with a lot of friends.  My panels were all well received, and in fact turned out even better than I could have hoped.  My daughter, Angela, was there, and she took good care of me.  We visited the CN Tower, the railroad museum, and Casa Loma.  Photos to follow.  Maybe.

Overlooked Movies: Blood from the Mummy's Tomb

Blood from the Mummy's Tomb is one of the later Hammer horror films, and not one of the best, but when it showed up on TCM, I recorded it and took a look.  It's based on Bram Stoker's Jewel of the Seven Stars, and it's not a real mummy movie.  That is, there's no wrapped up menace.  Instead we get Valerie Leon, who's Tera, the sorcerous woman placed in a tomb in some sort of suspended animation by Egyptian priests, who then cut off her hand and throw it to wild dogs.  Not that it does them much good, as they all wind up with their throats torn out.  There are a good many torn-out throats in the movie.

Many years after the entombment, Prof Fuchs (Andrew Keir) leads an expedition that discovers Tera. While he's in the tomb, his wife back in England dies in childbirth, and the child dies, too.  But she revives when Fuchs speaks the name Tera.  She grows up to look just like Tera, and she's also played by Valerie Leon. She has a red scar on her wrist. And Fuchs just happens to have smuggled Tera's body and sarcophagus into his basement.  Don't ask how.  On his daughter's birthday, he gives her a ruby ring taken from Tera's severed hand.  You can probably guess the rest, as the new Tera is gradually taken over by the old one, who uses the new one to get revenge on the members of the expedition and to take and artifact from each one.  The artifacts will allow her full return to live when all are gathered.  

There's an evil member of the expedition who's trying to facilitate Tera's return, and there's the new Tera's boyfriend who's trying to help her fight the takeover.  Lots of people die, and the ending of the movie is either satisfactory or not, depending on how you like ambiguity.

Blood from the Mummy's Tomb isn't great, and it's pretty slow, but it's passable Halloween entertainment.

Blood from the Mummy's Tomb