Ed Gorman

Headlines that shouldn’t be true but aree

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Aug 292014
Florida pastor lashes out at atheists because he wants school prayer
‘like the Constitution says’

Teacher reprimanded for tweeting desire to stab students...

Georgia cop accused of killing woman he met online, then burning her

Bounty hunter attacks woman with Taser as her family arrives home from

Police chief defends cop in video threatening to ‘put a round in your
ass’ during traffic stop

Stephen Colbert rips Fox News for blaming media for Ferguson violence

Detroit Girl Finds Rifle, Fatally Shoots 4-Year-Old Boy

Georgia student’s family disowns and assaults him in nightmarish gay
‘intervention’ video

COPS: Teacher receives cocaine delivery at school...

Woman Discovers Her Cat Is Cheating On Her

Florida mailman calls cops on meth cooks fending off imaginary invaders
with real guns, toilet

Stephen Colbert mocks GOP for believing ISIS can be defeated with the
power of make-believe

Police altered video showing what happened before cops shot WV man 23
times: lawsuit

Notorious Serial Arsonist Is 11-Year-Old: Fire Chief

Neighbor Hellbent On Shutting Down Kid's 'Illegal' Lemonade Stand

Fred Blosser reviews Spaghetti Westerns

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Aug 292014

The Fourth Sergio

Sergio Leone pioneered the Spaghetti Western.  Sergio Corbucci and Sergio Sollima made significant contributions to the genre in Leone’s footsteps.  When fans think of Spaghettis, those are the three Sergios who usually spring to mind.  But there was also a fourth Sergio in the Italian West  – Sergio Martino – who directed two interesting entries on his way to bigger fame in other Italian B-movie genres in the late ‘70s and the 1980s with “Slaves of the Cannibal God” and “2019: After the Fall of New York.”

Nominally, “Arizona Colt Returns” (1970) was a sequel to an earlier Spaghetti, Michele Lupo’s “Arizona Colt” from 1966, also known as “The Man from Nowhere.”  Both movies were written by prolific screen scribe Ernesto Gastaldi, and both feature character actor Roberto Camardiel as comedic sidekick Double Whisky, but different actors star in the title role – Giuliano Gemma in the original, and Anthony Steffen in the sequel.  Steffen does a pretty fair imitation of Clint Eastwood’s flinty stare under the lowered brim of his hat.

Bandit Keene (Aldo Sambrell) kidnaps Paloma (the sultry Rosalba Neri, hubba hubba!), the daughter of wealthy rancher Moreno (Jose Manuel Martin) and steals Moreno’s gold in the bargain.  Moreno tries to hire gunslinger Arizona Colt to recover daughter and gold.  Colt declines until Keene captures and nearly kills Double Whisky – and now it’s personal.

It isn’t a top-tier Spaghetti, but there’s plenty of action, which becomes non-stop in the last fifteen minutes when Colt stalks Keene and his outlaws.  Like other Italian Western directors, Martino borrows a lot from Leone in his camera placements, stunt choreography, and visual gags.  You may remember Camardiel’s face from other Italian Westerns: among other supporting roles, he was the cynical sheriff in “The Big Gundown” and the snide station master in “For a Few Dollars More.”  Here, he delivers a lip-smacking performance that may give you a greater appreciation for the relative subtlety of Gabby Hayes and Andy Devine in similar roles in American Westerns. 

There are at least three DVD editions on the market.  The one I have is a widescreen Koch Media DVD edition from Germany under the title “Der Tod Sagt Amen” (which translates to “Death Says Amen,” I think, but I may well be wrong).  The visual quality is pretty good if not spectacular, and although the DVD has an Italian soundtrack, there are optional English subtitles. 

You may want to put your TV on mute as the title credits roll; otherwise, you’ll be doomed to have the bouncy bubble-gum title song (“I guess I gotta get … my gun. /  I guess I gotta shoot … someone”) loop endlessly through your mind all day.

Martino’s second and last Spaghetti, “Mannaja – A Man Called Blade” (1977), was one of the final Italian Westerns as the genre sputtered to an end in the Disco era.  I’m not even sure it had a U.S. theatrical release, at least not widely.  Maurizio Merli plays the title character, a hatchet-wielding bounty hunter who rides into a ramshackle town run by mine owner McGowan (Philippe LeRoy) and McGowan’s scheming topkick, Voller (John Steiner – who looks a bit like American actor John Beck).   

McGowan is a puritanical tyrant who rails against saloons and dance-hall girls while his mines pollute the valley and his workers cough out their lives from lung disease.  Any commentary on the intersection between religious hypocrisy and greed is coincidental, I’m sure.

Where “Arizona Colt Returns” came from that period in which Spaghettis were still pretty much modeled on Leone’s “Dollar” movies, “Mannaja” reflects a wider range of inspirations.  As critics have noted, there’s a Sam Peckinpah influence in Martino’s slow-motion scenes of violence (Sam did it better, of course), and something of Robert Altman’s “McCabe & Mrs. Miller” in the muddy, raw look of the sets and locations.

Nevertheless, among the Peckinpah and Altman touches, the echoes of the earlier Spaghettis are still evident.  The relationship between Blade, Voller, and McGowan is very similar to that of the characters played by Charles Bronson, Henry Fonda, and Gabriele Ferzetti in “Once Upon a Time in the West.”  A plot twist involving Blade, Voller, and McGowan’s daughter is similar to one involving Arizona Colt, Keene, and Paloma in Martino’s own earlier Spaghetti.  Several familiar Spaghetti veterans appear in the cast, including Donal O’Brien and Nello Pazzafini.  

Where “Arizona Colt Returns” was scored by Ennio Morricone’s frequent collaborator Bruno Nicolai, the “Mannaja” score by the DeAngelis Brothers seems to be modeled on Bob Dylan’s score for “Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid” and Leonard Cohen’s for “McCabe.”  The croaking vocals and druggy instrumentation are off-putting at first, but like “Mannaja” as a whole, they grow on you after repeated viewings.  I believe the excellent 2003 DVD edition from Blue Underground is still available.  It’s too bad the genre didn’t survive long enough for Martino to explore it some more.  A meeting between Arizona Colt and Blade would have been interesting.


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Aug 282014

Half in Love with Artful Death
  Every time I finish one of Bill Crider's fine novels about small town Texas Sheriff Dan Rhodes, I think I've just read the finest one yet. So let me say that HALF IN LOVE WITH ARTFUL DEATH (which is an excellent title by the way) is Crider's most nuanced, wry, sly and entertaining Rhodes adventure yet.
  Here's why (and I mean not just because there's a hilarious scene of Rhodes having to lasso a donkey)--Crider has created a series that is as droll and laid back as the "Andy Griffith Show" but is not  superficial. Beneath the wonderful humor the Rhodes books give us realistic depiction of humanity in a small Texas town. 
  Take Burt Collins the irritating jackass who instigates not only the book's set up but also the mystery. Every small town has at least one Burt Collins--and irritating and irritable man who imposes his opinions and sanctimonious judgements on everything and everybody. And they do this without shame, seemingly unaware that their public pronouncements are embarrassing and laughable. He's a buffoon but Crider subtly shows us that he's more, a dangerous man in his simpering way.
  This time Collins is complaining about the artists who've shown up to take lessons from two instructors. He claims they're not the kind of people who should be here. More, he pronounces their work terrible and their attitudes sinful. When their work is defaced Collins is the number one suspect. After all he's long been suspected of other acts of vandalism in the past. 
  Crider makes all his this own by having Rhodes being as baffled by some of the artwork as Collins is. But Rhodes, being a professional law man, keeps his opinions to himself and soldiers on.
  In the course of his murder investigation, Rhodes is distracted by other cases (in case you thought that lassoing donkeys was all he had to contend with) including a naked woman displaying her wonders publicly, convenience store robberies and meth dealers. The latter is an example of the grit Crider always brings to his Rhodes books. Meth is a scourge on our society. No pratfalls here.
   Bill Crider is a very gifted writer who deserves a much larger audience. The prose here is crisp and even eloquent in places. The characters while comic (the amateur investigator Seepy Benton being my favorite) are never cartoons and the world he gives us is detailed with a journalist's eye. And has blunt force trauma ever been inflicted by a more symbolic weapon (for a small Texas town) than the bust of NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt, Junior?  
  So whether you're returning to the series or just starting it, you'll enjoy seeing a master storyteller working at his very best.

Aug 272014

Amazing Author Insults That Actually Raise Insults To An Art Form

Posted: Updated: 
Though readers are well-advised to give all classics a proper chance rather than tossing aside Pride and Prejudice or The Scarlet Letter after a few boring pages, we can rest assured that even if we never come to appreciate Austen or Hawthorne, we would be in exalted company. The most celebrated of authors have long come in for their share of high-profile criticism, even from each other.
Great authors have always been subject to rivalries and artistic differences just like the rest of us -- except that when they resort to disparaging each other's work, their insults are no ordinary insults. When these wordsmiths turn their talents to literary burns, the results can be truly lyrical.
We've compiled 19 author-on-author zingers that are as well-crafted as they are cutting:
henry james novelist
Henry Jamesaccording to H.G. Wells
“His vast paragraphs sweat and struggle ... And all for tales of nothingness … It is leviathan retrieving pebbles. It is a magnificent but painful hippopotamus resolved at any cost, even at the cost of its dignity, upon picking up a pea which has got into a corner of its den.”
Aldous Huxleyaccording to Virginia Woolf
"I am reading [Point Counter Point]. Not a good novel. All raw, uncooked, protesting.”
nathaniel hawthorne
Nathaniel Hawthorneaccording to Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Nathaniel Hawthorne’s reputation as a writer is a very pleasing fact, because his writing is not good for anything, and this is a tribute to the man.”
Bret Easton Ellisaccording to David Foster Wallace:
“[American Psycho] panders shamelessly to the audience’s sadism for a while, but by the end it’s clear that the sadism’s real object is the reader herself.”
David Foster Wallaceaccording to Bret Easton Ellis
"I continue to find David Foster Wallace the most tedious, overrated, tortured, pretentious writer of my generation."
ezra pound
Ezra Poundaccording to Gertrude Stein
“A village explainer, excellent if you were a village, but if you were not, not.”
George Bernard Shawaccording to H.G. Wells
“All through the war we shall have this Shavian accompaniment going on like an idiot child screaming in a hospital, discrediting, confusing. He is at present… an almost unendurable nuisance.”
james baldwin
James Baldwinaccording to Norman Mailer
“James Baldwin is too charming a writer to be major. If in Notes of a Native Son he has a sense of moral nuance which is one of the few modern guides to the sophistications of the ethos, even the best of his paragraphs are sprayed with perfume.”
Crime novelist James M. Cainaccording to Raymond Chandler
"Everything he touches smells like a billygoat. He is every kind of writer I detest, afaux naif, a Proust in greasy overalls, a dirty little boy with a piece of chalk and a board fence and nobody looking."
langston hughes
Langston Hughesaccording to James Baldwin
"Every time I read Langston Hughes I am amazed all over again by his genuine gifts--and depressed that he has done so little with them."
William Wordsworthaccording to Dylan Thomas
"Wordsworth was a tea-time bore, the great Frost of literature, the verbose, the humourless, the platitudinary reporter of Nature in her dullest moods. Open him at any page: and there lies the English language not, as George Moore said of Pater, in a glass coffin, but in a large, sultry, and unhygienic box. Degutted and desouled."
marcel proust
Marcel Proustaccording to Evelyn Waugh
"I am reading Proust for the first time. Very poor stuff. I think he was mentally defective."
Richard Wrightaccording to James Baldwin
“Below the surface of [Native Son] there lies, as it seems to me, a continuation, a complement of that monstrous legend it was written to destroy.”
honore de balzac
Honoré de Balzacaccording to Gustave Flaubert
"What a man he would have been had he known how to write!"
Walt Whitmanaccording to D.H. Lawrence
"The awful Whitman. This post-mortem poet. This poet with the private soul leaking out of him all the time. All his privacy leaking out in a sort of dribble, oozing into the universe."
charlotte bronte
Charlotte Brontëaccording to George Eliot
"I only wish the characters [of Jane Eyre] would talk a little less like the heroes and heroines of police reports."
Bertolt Brecht according to Tom Stoppard
"Personally, I would rather have written Winnie the Pooh than the collected works of Brecht."
jane austen
Jane Austenaccording to Ralph Waldo Emerson:
"Miss Austen’s novels… seem to me vulgar in tone, sterile in artistic invention, imprisoned in the wretched conventions of English society, without genius, wit, or knowledge of the world. Never was life so pinched and narrow."
Harriet Beecher Stoweaccording to James Baldwin
"She was not so much a novelist as an impassioned pamphleteer.”


13 Nobel Prize In Literature Winners You Should Read
1 of 14 

Headlines that shouldn’t be true but are

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Aug 272014

Police: Denver man shot his wife dead, then asked 7-year-old son to do
the same to him

Maryland suspect reportedly beat man to death, set body on fire, took
victim’s dog for a walk

County Forgives $2.4M in Bad Speed-Camera Tickets8/22/14 | 2:32 PM ET

Suspicious Object Turns out to Be Star Wars Toy8/22/14 | 12:32 PM ET

Kansas police shot unarmed suicidal teen 16 times as family says they
begged them not to

Fox News guest: Was Michael Brown too large to be an ‘unarmed teen’?

Pastor calls to imprison gays for ‘ten years hard labor’ with new
constitutional amendment

Arizona Girl Accidentally Shoots Her Shooting Instructor In The Head

OOPS: County Wrongly Figured Blood-Alcohol Levels8/22/14 | 12:00 PM ET

Man Has Kept All His Nail Clippings In A Jar -- Since 1978!

WATCH: TX police draw guns on mother and young children they mistook
for gun-waving males

CNN host rips Fox for ‘sowing doubt’ with baseless report on officer’s
fractured eye socket

Massachusetts man fears his horns, ’666? forehead tattoo will make a
fair trial impossible

Fox host kicks off two black lawyers after they accuse her of
‘distracting’ from Brown’s death

Someone in Brooklyn Keeps Filling Trash Bags With Pee, and Their
Neighbors Are Not Happy

Iowa GOP Official Warns That Child Migrants Might Be Highly Trained

Another GOP Candidate Says Migrant Kids Might Have Ebola. (They Don't.)

Anti-Israel Protesters in London Defend Hitler...

Cops Accused Of Using Police Database To Screen Women Found On Dating

Texas babysitter reportedly set ‘disrespectful’ kids’ house on fire

Lawyer Wants Seized $125K Wine Collection Back8/22/14 | 11:51 AM ET

UN-BEE-LIEVABLE: 50,000 Bees Living in NYC Ceiling8/22/14 | 11:14 AM ET

California Permits Outdoor Dining With Dogs8/22/14 | 10:09 AM ET

Md. Ban on Grain Alcohol Hurts Violin Makers

German Man Evicted for Squeaky Swing Set Sex


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Aug 252014




Ed here: Pauline Kael once referred to Dick Powell as "the sappiest crooner" of the Thirties. Yet he ended up doing well by Philip Marlowe. On the other hand a William Powell's fedora tip to the crime genre was playing Philo Vance as well as appearing in several other mysteries. Susan Doll's take on the two is well done..

Susan Doll:

Today, TCM pays tribute to Dick Powell, airing 14 of his films as part of Summer Under the Stars. Earlier this month, a day had been devoted to William Powell. As a major fan of both stars, I can’t decide if I was more excited to listen to Dick Powell croon and crack wise, or watch William Powell woo his costars with wit and style.
Like several male stars from the Golden Age, neither Powell was classically handsome. Yet, both are attractive and appealing because of their cultivated charisma and star images. WP was the elegant gentleman who exuded romance and class, while his keen sense of humor prevented his characters from becoming too high brow or pompous. Though he played oily cads very early in his career, his star image as the suave gent was cemented by the 1930s and remained remarkably consistent until his last movie, Mr. Roberts, in 1955. I admire those Golden Age movie stars who were able to maneuver their images through the changes in the industry and the ravages of aging. But, then again, who doesn’t respect Dick Powell for completely changing his star image from the sweet-faced crooner of backstage musicals to the wise-cracking, hard-boiled anti-hero of film noir.
William Powell is the very essence of romance in his films from the 1930s. His graciousness and consummate manners seem like a throwback to another era, when men treated women with respect and approached them with gallantry. Or, perhaps there never was such an era and it is only “movie memory” that makes me think there was. Even when his character deceives Myrna Loy—his most constant costar—in Libeled Lady or goads her inDouble Wedding, we know he will ultimately act in her best interests at the expense of his own. WP’s best tool for charming women was his voice—so smooth, soothing, melodious.
Dick Powell’s voice was also his best asset, and not just because he could sing in that high tenor voice (see 42nd Street today at 1:00pm). With his impeccable timing and sarcastic tone, he could toss off a verbal barb with wit and aplomb. Of all the actors to play Philip Marlowe, Dick Powell was the best at handling Raymond Chandler’s wise-cracking one-liners and smart dialogue. Revisit Murder, My Sweet this evening at 9:15 on TCM and focus on Powell’s line delivery. The back-and-forth banter between Powell and his leading ladies in his film noirs is a verbal dance—sexy in its sarcasm and modern in its suggestion that all romance is a sham. This is miles away from William Powell’s star image—yet I find both romantic in different ways.
for the rest go here:

I. Asimov Ben Boulden from Gravetapping

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Aug 252014

Posted: 24 Aug 2014 07:45 AM PDT
Shortly after Isaac Asimov’s death in 1992 his memoir I. Asimov was released by Doubleday.  It is a series of essays Asimov wrote, seemingly, from the narrative and the date of its publication, on his death bed.  The book meanders—it starts at childhood, but jumps forward to his early writing career, and then back.  It is a patchwork of related postcards rather than a chronological narrative of his life, and it works very well.  

The essays run about four or five pages—sometimes longer, sometimes shorter—and cover a specific event, person, or idea.  He discusses his early life in detail; specifically, working in his parent’s Brooklyn candy store as a boy surrounded by the pulp magazines of the 1920s and 1930s, which he wasn’t allowed to read until he convinced his father the science fiction magazines were about science. 

The bulk of the book is devoted to his literary life, which, in his own estimation was his life.  In several sections of the book he wrote he would rather write than anything else.  He did not enjoy travel, and while he did enjoy the company of others, he did not tend to seek it out, and, especially in his early years, he had difficulty getting along and making friends. 

He touches on his major works—The Foundation series; specifically the original trilogy—“Nightfall,” “The Ugly Little Boy” and many others.  He freely admits he enjoyed writing nonfiction more than fiction, and in fact, he considered himself a much more accomplished writer of nonfiction.  A sentiment I tend to agree with; however I enjoyed the original Foundation trilogy immensely when I read it as a teenager.

The most interesting essays in I. Asimov are the short pieces he wrote about his experiences with other science fiction writers.  He had lifelong relationships with many writers, some of whom were part of the science fiction fan club The Futurians.  The Futurians, as Asimov describes it, was an off shoot of the Queens Science Fiction club. The split occurred because the Queens club wanted science fiction to keep itself above politics, and specifically not speak out against fascism, which was spreading across Europe at the time, and The Futurians wanted fascism denounced.   The Futurians included Frederick Pohl, who has written extensively about the club on his blog, Cyril M. Kornbluth, and Donald A. Wollheim. 

He also writes admiringly of John W. Campbell, the editor of Astounding Science Fiction (ASF), who gave Asimov his first real hope of publishing his science fiction stories and also, later, gave him the idea for his short story “Nightfall”.  The seed for the story came from a Ralph Waldo Emerson essay titled “Nature”.  

Asimov seemingly knew everyone writing science fiction in the 1940s through the 80s.  A few of the more interesting comments Asimov makes about his contemporaries follows.

H. L. Gold.  Gold was the editor of Galaxy; a top tier science fiction magazine where Asimov placed several stories.  Gold was an ill-tempered editor, who changed story narratives and titles, and replied with meanness when the authors objected.  Galaxyserialized Asimov’s novel The Stars, Like Dust and changed the title to Tyrann“Worst of all was his pernicious habit of writing insulting rejection letters.”              

Robert Heinlein.  Heinlein is considered the father of modern science fiction, and Asimov worked with him during World War II, as a civilian employee of the Naval Air Experimental Station (NAES) in Philadelphia.  Asimov wrote that he and Heinlein had an uneven friendship.  He quipped about Heinlein: 

“…although a flaming liberal during the war, Heinlein became a rock-ribbed far-right conservative immediately afterward.  This happened at just the time he changed wives from liberal woman, Leslyn, to a rock-ribbed far right conservative woman, Virginia.”

Clifford D. Simak.  In 1938 when Asimov was still a teenager he wrote a letter to ASFregarding Simak’s story “Rule 18”; he didn’t like the story much.  Simak wrote a polite letter to Asimov inquiring what he didn’t like about the story.  In response to Simak’s letter Asimov wrote:

“…I promptly reread [it]…and I found, to my intense embarrassment, that it was a very good story and that I liked it.”  

I. Asimov doesn’t have the depth and detail of an autobiography.  It has the feel of a congenial conversation, but it seemingly reveals his character, and he makes a point to highlight his flaws.  It is an appealing book written by one of science fiction’s most well-known writers, and it is more entertaining and enlightening than I would have imagined.

This review originally went live June 3, 2012; however the stories Mr Asimov tells in its pages has stuck with me over the past few years, and I have especially been thinking about it again over the last several weeks.

Libby Hellman’s Street Team

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Aug 242014

Libby Hellman's Street Team

LIbby's Street Team


Libby Hellman's Street Team

LIbby's Street Team


Hi Ed,
I'm not Martha and the Vandellas (♪ Dancin' in the Streets ♫), but I have an invitation
for you to do some "virtual" Dancing in the Streets in exchange for some freebies... i
f you're interested.

Maybe you've heard that it takes a village to sell a book today. It's true, and many
authors, myself included, have begun to use Street Teams (they originated in the
music industry) to help spread the word about their books.

I'm looking for a few, select, enthusiastic fans to do some minor tasks online,
in-person, or both to help get the word out about my books, audios, and short stories.
Examples include: writing an honest review, doing the   occasional social media share
or post, and maybe even asking a library or bookstore to carry one of my books.

In exchange for these undertakings -- things that you might do anyway, I hope --
 the Street Team will have daily access to me and other members of the team.
You'll also get some fun goodies from time to time.

You'll be the first to learn about my upcoming books and events, get an ARC
(Advanced Reader Copy) of my latest novel, and generally be "in the know"
about my goings on.

Ready to learn more?

Head to the Street Team page on my website here, fill out the form, and I'll
be in touch.  If you're approved, we'll get you signed up for our private Facebook
Group (being on Facebook is a requirement since that's where we will interact).

I'm eager to see who among you wants to be a Street Teamer! You can sign up here.

Even if you decide the Street Team isn't for you, if you've read Nobody's Child
 and liked it, could you please tell another crime reader about it? Word of mouth is
the most powerful recommendation tool there is, and it would make a huge difference.
Thanks so much.


Please add my email address to your safe sender list so my emails don't get trapped in the netherworld of your spam box.

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