Sunday, December 31, 2006

still another picture from space
To All: Have a Happy & Safe New Year
Now I'm off to work :)

Saturday, December 30, 2006

more from space ... cool

Friday, December 29, 2006


From Take the Lead:
"The people that get what they want in life
are the people who show up to get it."
(the picture above is from the Hubble space telescope)

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Six Word Stories

I believe it was Dom who steered me to this article a couple months ago. Wired Magazine asked for six-word stories for a contest. This was based I understand on what Hemingway considered one of his best stories (all six words of it). “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.”


I decided to play. Didn't enter though. Below are a few six-word stories I came up with. Feel free to critique, ignore or add your own.


"It's alive! Then cat saw it."

"Yes, be very afraid. Or not."

"Alien envoy arriving. Wants Starbucks franchise."

"Defuse bomb. Cut blue wire ... oops!"

"Damsel training -- nightgown, high heels required."

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The other night I watched The Devil Wears Prada. It was an amusing little movie with wonderful performances by Meryl Streep and Stanley Tucci. Afterwards I started wondering about product advertising (I know my mind takes weird and sudden turns that have nothing to do with what I’m doing.) I know there have been movies before with products in their titles. I recall a godawful film called Harley Davidson and the Marlboro Man and a pretty good thriller called Southern Comfort. But we could definitely take this idea to the next level and re-imagine Hollywood films with Madison Avenue advertising.

Angels with Clearasil Faces
A Clockwork Orange Julius
Gone with the Winnebago
House of Bikini Wax
Night of the Living Bra
North by Northwest Airlines
Once Upon a Time in America-on-Line
Starbucks Wars
3 Days of the Viagra
Tootsie Pop

Friday, December 22, 2006

Merry Christmas to all
(it's getting crazy around here and I have to work all weekend
so I'm sending out well wishes today ...
be back after Christmas)
from National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation:
Clark: Our holidays were always such a mess.
Clark Sr.: Oh, yeah.
Clark: How'd you get through it?
Clark Sr.: I had a lot of help from Jack Daniels.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Joseph Barbera
"Thank you, sir, you and your partner, William Hanna, were part of my childhood."

Saturday, December 16, 2006

The Da Vinci Code
(cool idea that ended there ... didn't like the book either ... for a fun "puzzle" movie watch National Treasure -- PS -- I actually nodded off a couple times during the film)
The Break-Up
(just not funny ... for a good "break-up" movie watch The War of the Roses)
Snakes on a Plane
(could have been fun but wasn't ... watch Tremors to see how to do this type of film right)
Mission Impossible III
(don't know why I keep seeing Cruise films ... he hasn't made a good movie since Risky Business ... Top Gun, Jerry Maguire, and War of the Worlds are not good movies)
16 Blocks
(remake of Eastwood's The Gauntlet which wasn't any good either)
(remake of An Officer and a Gentleman with all the good stuff left out)
The Hills Have Eyes
(lame characters and holes in the plot I could drive my SUV through ... I did enjoy the part where the German Sherpherd turned Charlie Bronson and went after the mutants ... okay, the whole film is lame)

Friday, December 15, 2006

The films listed below are ones I haven't seen yet (but really want to):
The Prestige
The Departed
Night at the Museum
The Pursuit of Happyness
The Devil Wears Prada
and (maybe)
Blood Diamond
(coming soon will be the worst films of 2006 and the films I have absolutely no interest in seeing)

Thursday, December 14, 2006


MY FAVORITES OF THE YEAR (of the ones I've seen so far)

(and I kinda liked)

(coming soon: the worst of 2006, the ones I haven't seen yet but will, and the ones I will never see ever)

Wednesday, December 13, 2006



At the Maxim site, they have listed the top 14 holiday movies they think are the worst. Included on the list are Jingle All the Way, Christmas with the Kranks, and It's a Wonderful Life. I'm going to debate Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol (a favorite from when I was a kid) and Scrooged (it's twisted and over-the-top and funny). Personally, for the worst all you have to do to click on Lifetime or the Hallmark Channel in December and you'll see a top contender.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

The day was too short. Way too short. Got grocery shopping, gas in car, laundry, dishes, one bathroom semi-cleaned, bills paid, one Christmas package ready for the mail, a few decorations brought out of storage, and one movie review completed. Still wanted to read more of the novel, Metered Space. Start on my second review. Work on a new story idea. Reach someone in Tech Support at msn. (I was on hold for an hour and finally hung up.) My day needs to be longer. Need sleep, too. I finished the day by fixing dinner then watching Shakespeare in Love. I like that movie. Time for bed. Tomorrow begins at 4AM. Goodnight all.
First, I need to email my nephew and try to get a Christmas list from him.
I wonder if the Grinch would like a partner.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

From Yahoo: The 2006 winner for the most downloaded personality in their search enigine is: Britney Spears. Okay, I'm becoming an old fart. I use Google quite a bit. The other day I was searching for articles on the constellations and pictures of lumps of coal (sidebar: I have no idea where the Christmas stocking and lump of coal in the blog below disappeared to). If I was going to look up movie stars or "personalities" it sure wouldn't be Spears or Hilton or Lohan. If I never heard another thing about these women, it would be just fine with me. I'm irritated that I know who they are and what their latest exploits are. I couldn't even get myself to download a photo of her to put at the top of this blog. One last thing and I'm gone ... is "look up" a phrase I should be using when talking about Spears?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Opening Christmas Presents Early


In South Carolina, a woman had her 12-year-old son arrested for opening his Christmas presents early. See story at

There's more to it than Scrooge picking on Tiny Tim but still I have to wonder which family member will be getting a lump of coal in their stocking this year.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

3:10 to Yuma
I read the other day that they are remaking the 1957 western. Russell Crowe will play the Glenn Ford part and Christian Bale will play the Van Heflin role. It is a lean pyschological suspense tale based on a story by Elmore Leonard.
It looks right in black-and-white. The landscape is dry and bleak from a long drought. As the story progresses it seems that the people living here deserve these conditions -- their morals seem bankrupt and ever-changing.
An outlaw, Ben Wade, is captured after a stagecoach robbery and murder. The stage owner offers $200 to any man who will help take the outlaw to the authorities to Yuma. A struggling rancher, Dan Evans, takes the job. The money will purchase six-months worth of water rights for his dying cattle.
Part of the story is traditional. Will the Wade's gang break him free? Will Evans prevail and deliver the outlaw to the authorities?
What isn't traditional is the by-play between Wade and Evans. The outlaw plays a mind game with the rancher. Charming one moment, blunt the next. You can see Evans struggling within himself. At first, he takes the job for the money but it becomes more than that. He has to do the right thing even if he is killed attempting to do it.
The dialogue is sharp and cool. I haven't read the Leonard story but I have to wonder how much was his. Evans talks to his wife about how good things will be once it rains and their land turns green. "Maybe," he says, "we won't be so tired all the time." One line can speak volumes. Later Wade attempts to bribe Evans and when it doesn't work he turns cruel. "Your wife was a beautiful woman, wasn't she? Until she met you." The remark cuts like a knife and the pain on Evans' face is incredible.
While the ending is a little weak in some aspects, it still rings true for the characters. This is a good movie. I truly wonder if the remake can be half as good. I also wonder why two non-Americans were cast in the lead roles for a western. Then again, American actors have played every nationality around the globe. I'll shut up now.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Martha Ivery, who also used several aliases, was sentenced to 65 months in Federal prison for defrauding and bilking over 300 aspiring authors. For more of the story go here:
Sometimes the bad guys get what they deserve.
I need to finish my list, I need to go shopping, I need to brave the mall... wwwaaahhh, I'll be good! Don't make me!

Friday, December 01, 2006

I'm surfing the net. Checked out some movie reviews, saw what Dink and Howard are writing about on their blogs, played a little computer Texas Hold 'em, then cruised over to the Amazon site. I was checking out the new Crichton. I don't know why because I've never read any Crichton novels but I was. Then I checked my own name. For Rebel Nation I noted that it was listed as Top Seller #1,149,514. I have no idea what that means. None whatsoever.
I just started reading M.D. Benoit's novel Metered Space. Pretty cool and trippy opening. A private detective, Jack Meter, is on a major bender after the death of his beloved Annie. Some aliens (yeah, aliens) beam him up and dry him out. They need his detective expertise. I think this is one novel I'll finish. Now, if I can just find some time to read. But that's another story. A long boring story.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Mark It in the TV Guide
When I was younger, my brother and I used to mark TV shows in the Guide that we really wanted to watch. Click on the link below and you'll see one of my favorites. I think I was in junior high.

(Yes, I'm still playing with the computer/cable hook-up.)

Saturday, November 25, 2006


Date: October 21, 1954. On CBS-TV's Climax Mystery Theater will be the live world premiere of Ian Fleming's Casino Royale. Barry Nelson stars as CIA agent Jimmy Bond. Guest stars are Linda Christian and Peter Lorre as Le Chiffre.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

"What're ya thinkin', Wyatt?"
"One-seventh of your entire life is spent on Tuesday."
"You really need to get out more."

Friday, November 17, 2006

It's been a little while since I blogged. A lotta time at work lately but the biggest issue was my little, ol' computer. Y'see, I've been on "dial-up" all this time. I know I had the Flintstones Internet service. Seemed fine for a long, long time. Then ... well, now, I have DSL with my cable company. Yep, the Jetsons Internet service. At least to me it is. Also dial-up and cable were the only two choices in my area. The new hook-up is amazing. I instantly go to new sites and I can finally watch movie trailers and stupid stuff on YouTube. I've been playing. New post soon.
(The above picture of the San Juan Mission has nothing to do with anything. I just liked the photo.)

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Cool. Well, I hope it is. I saw my first Bond films -- a double feature of Thunderball and From Russia with Love -- when I was in junior high and we were living in Richardson, a suburb of Dallas. Pierce Bronsan was good but Sean Connery is the best Bond. I have high hopes for this re-imagining of the 007 legend with Daniel Craig. It worked for Batman with Batman Begins. We'll know in a week or so, won't we?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

(below is an editorial by me)
The vote counting is done (except in a couple of states) and the Democrats are in control of the House for the first time in 12-plus years. The Senate appears headed for even-steven. What does this mean? President Bush will not be able to push his agenda through the House. His proposals will be voted down. The bills the House approves will be vetoed by the President and the Democrats will not be able to gather a two-thirds majority to override the veto. That means gridlock in D.C. Nothing will happen unless the groups can work together. Oh, yeah, the American voters have spoken. I wonder if they understand that in D.C. (Okay, the only bill that will be approved will be some $100-billion project that won't work but will make millionaires of a few well-connected folks. Cynical, ain't I?)

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

We interrupt our regularly scheduled programming for the following message:



Then come home and watch Jimmy Stewart in "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington."

Sunday, November 05, 2006


My day off. Slept in. (Yeah, woke up at 7 instead of the usual 4AM.) Bills paid. Grocery shopping done and food put away. Clothes in dryer. Put gas in the Tribute. (Wow, it was only $2.19 per gallon!) Dropped bills in the mail at the post office. Put new collar on Sabrina. (The cat is currently mad at me.) Still need to go and get my hair cut. May stop by Best Buy and look at the new HD wide screen TVs. (Got my quarterly bonus and instead of paying on the credit cards or putting it in the savings, I may splurge for a change. I hate being responsible all the time.)


Yesterday, I finished what started out as a blog entry. I was tracking down “firsts” in TV and movies. The first broadcast, the first network series, the first wardrobe malfunction, and stuff like that. Found some interesting stuff. The first time the phrase “son-of-a-bitch” was uttered on network television was on an episode of M*AS*H. Anyway, the blog entry became a nonfiction article called “A Short List of Firsts in Television” (approximately 2000 words) and is in the mail to a hopefully appreciative editor. We’ll see what happens.


Kicked it for a little while. Rented Mission Impossible 3 and An American Haunting. Don’t recommend either one. MI3 is a painless action flick but nothing special except that Philip Seymour Hoffman and Ving Rhames are cool. As for Mr. Cruise, as time goes by I like him less and less. He just doesn’t make movies that I like. AAH should have been a cool little ghost movie. Unfortunately it wasn’t. And the ending fell so flat that I was shaking my head. I know it’s hard to come up with an ending that feels inevitable but not predictable but, at least, try.


On November 5th:
In 1911, western star Roy Rogers is born.
In 1935, Parker Brothers released Monopoly.
In 1941, singer Art Garfunkel is born.
In 1951, I Love Lucy premiered on TV.
In 1965, actress Famke Janssen is born. (Picture above of X-Men star.)
In 1991, actor Fred MacMurray passes away.
In 2003, singer Bobby Hatfield passes away.

Okay, gotta get moving. Sat here too long.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

From the desk of Christopher Stires
(Parts of my Monthly Newsletter that went out Today)
Hope you are all doing well. I missed October. Don't know how that happened. I really like the Halloween month.

My short story, "The Killing Moon," has been translated into Finnish and published in the latest issue of Spin Magazine.

My short story, "Blood Alley," has been translated into Dutch for the Netherlands anthology Pure Fantasy.

My latest movie reviews -- Snakes on a Plane, The Descent, and Silent Hill -- are up at the newest issue of Dred ( If you're a horror fan, you owe it to yourself to see The Descent.

I did an interview that can be read at Voices in the Dark (

A reprint of my article "The Character Moment" also appeared in the Voices in the Dark newsletter (

An excerpt of my novel, To the Mountain of the Beast ( , and a reprint of "Spun Monkey" is on Bewildering Stories (

Manic Press has closed and the anthology Haunted Hellhouses of Horror, in which I had a story, has been cancelled.

The Alternate-History Thriller
Available in Trade Paperback from Zumaya Publications ( and
Order On-Line from BookSurge ( or Amazon (

“A chilling alternate history suspense novel …
Stires builds a memorable cast of characters that rivals the best of Turtledove.” – Apex Science Fiction & Horror Digest
"... a novel heavy in alternate reality and rich in character...
you forget at parts that this is not a history book or based on real events." -- EpicSFF
"... a twisting, intriguing and downright solid story that shouldn't be passed over." -- The Romance Studio
"This is an intriguing novel ... fast paced .. a lot going on .... I like the twists both in the plot and in the world." -- The Eternal Night (UK)

Winner of the 2003 Dream Realm Award for Horror
Available in trade paperback from Zumaya Publications:
“… a very good first novel ... an excellent introduction to an author who shows promise for big things." -- Fangoria Magazine "In all, a very well written book reminiscent of my favourite, Dean Koontz." -- Eternal Night Magazine (UK) “Rarely do stories capture the reader's interest so absolutely, but this one does … sinister and chilling…” -- Timeless Tales
Available in Trade Paperback from Zumaya Publications (
Order On-Line from BookSurge
or Amazon (

To the Mountain of the Beast
Science-Fiction Horror/Western

"This is the first fiction I’ve read in a long time that I devoured in one sitting because I was anxious to see what would happen next." -- author Raymond Obstfeld. "...if you always wondered what Louis L'Amour might do with aliens -- give this one a read ... Stires is a consistently entertaining and consistently suspenseful writer." -- editor and author Daniel Blackston. "The Wild West and the wilder outer space collide for a fast-paced romp." – author Simon Wood. "Chris Stires has written a whip-smart novella that allows his talents as a writer to shine: dynamic characters, intelligent plotting, and a writing style that drives the reader from chapter to chapter." – publisher and author Jason Sizemore.

Available at Amazon, Carnifex Press and Shocklines
(web addresses listed below)

Clash of Steel: Book Three -- Demon
Sword-and-Sorcery Anthology -- my story "The Beast of Lyoness"
Available at Carnifex Press, Project: Pulp, and Shocklines
(web addresses listed below)

Coming soon:

Reprints of "The Last Gathering" will be appearing at Bewildering Stories. Also “The Hunters” in France’s Phenix Magazine, “Blood Hunt” in Greece’s Dramaturges of the Yann Magazine, and "Black Moon Night" in France's Borderline.

Also coming from Zumaya Publications (no release date yet) is my third novel, the ghost tale Dark Legend.

Cool Links TO CHECK OUT:

Apex Digest ( Science Fiction and Horror Magazine. Both Print and On-Line issues.

Carnifex Press ( A fresh face in epic fantasy, horror, and science fiction publishing.

Dred ( Bill Hughes' dark fiction quarterly.

Fangoria Magazine ( Premiere Horror Magazine.

Pitch-Black Books ( Heroic fiction publisher.

SFReader ( Speculative Fiction Book Reviews and More.

Shocklines ( Your One Stop for Horror.

Zumaya Publications ( The best in small press fiction.


"Why do bills travel at twice the speed through the mail than checks?"

Take care till next time. Write if you get the chance.

Give to the Red Cross

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Every once in a while a song comes along that strikes a cord within me. "Yesterday," "Forever and Always," "My Second Thirty Years," and "Unforgettable" come immediately to mind. Now there's a new one the list. I'm not a big Toby Keith fan. I like some of his music but he has one song that I immediately change the radio when it comes on. However one of the latest has me turning up the radio. I like it. I relate to it. (Okay, I don't relate to all of it but I do relate to the main chorus.)
I ain't as good as I once was
But I'm as good once as I ever was

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Halloween is Today
... Trick or Treat

Monday, October 30, 2006

1 Day till Halloween
"trick or treat ... see you in your dreams heh-heh-heh"

Sunday, October 29, 2006

2 Days till Halloween
"trick or treat ... smiling makes you pretty -- delicious"

Saturday, October 28, 2006

3 Days till Halloween
"trick or treat ... you're zombie meat"
Don't forget to set your clocks back one hour tonight when you go to bed. Back to Standard Time.
Haven't posted or written anything in the last few days. Had a colonoscopy on Wednesday and, while nothing serious was found, I've just had the don't-wanna-do-nuthing blues eversince. Did rent Slither, Rest Stop, The Proposition, and American Dreamz. Can't recommend any of them. Did watch (again) Dave with Kevin Kline. That movie I heartily recommend. Okay, bye for now.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Mystery author M.D. Benoit (Metered Space and Meter Made) is posting photos of the writing workspaces of other Zumaya authors on her blog Life's Weirder than Fiction ( It's a pretty cool idea and I'm enjoying seeing where other writers work. Well, I am a bit jealous of thriller writer Cheryl (Death Game) Swanson's location. {Let's see here ... mind wandering ... storyline -- our heroine posts pictures of her home and friends and family on her blog and a pyscho gets jealous and ...} Anyway, I took pictures of my workspace desk and every photo came out looking like a write in the dark. Hey, I heard that. Yeah, some of my critics would say I do write in the dark. I'm still going to take some more photos and see if they turn out. In the meantime, check out Dom's blog then go to Zumaya Publications ( and order some books. Good stuff, folks, and the Holiday Season is coming faster than you think.
Photo above: Sam Clemens was one of the first authors to use a typewriter. I wonder what he could've done with a P.C.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

There's a solid review of the sword-and-sorcery anthology from Armand Rosamilia's Carnifex Press at Howard von Darkmoor's website (
Check it out. Buy a copy (or several). Yes, I have a story in it.

Friday, October 20, 2006

11 Days till Halloween
"trick or treat ... you mean, you just knock on the door and they'll give you candy to go away? I like it"

Thursday, October 19, 2006

I had this dream the other day and I decided to share. Maybe I'm over-doing the Halloween stuff.
Dear Chris:

Thank you so much for submitting your story, “Flaming Asses & Elbows,” to us. Yes, we want to publish it. In fact, the entire editorial board agrees unanimously for the first time in our history that we want your story to be the lead title on our winter issue. I want you to know our two staff artists are battling to see who gets to do the illustrations for your work. Payment will be at the top of our scale. The marketing department will contact you separately. Contracts to follow.

Excellent work,
Editor Biff
World Famous Magazine
Dear Editor Biff:

The story I submitted to WFM was entitled “Bag of Griffins.” I did not write a story called “Flaming Asses & Elbows.” You have somehow confused me with someone else.

Dearest Chris:

How can we argue with that? Our publisher has agreed to double our usual rates for your story. Furthermore, the people at Entertainment Weekly and 60 Minutes will be contacting you for interviews. I wouldn’t be surprised if representatives from Universal Studios and/or Warner Brothers contact you about the film rights. They somehow (hee-hee-hee) saw the galleys for the story. It still boggles our minds that a 10-year-old girl for who English is her second language was able to create such a dark and moody tale as “Flaming Asses & Elbows.”

Award-winning work,
Editor Biff
World Famous Magazine

Read this slowly. This is the fourth email I have sent you. I didn’t write “Flaming Asses & Elbows.” You have the wrong email address!

Dear Chris:

Our humblest apologies. Your email address was mixed up with someone else’s. We hope this error did not cause you any grief. We have just finished reading your story, “Bag of Griffins,” and we regret that we must turn it down. I will admit that your story was smooth and polished, the characterization and dialogue incredible, and the ending was completely unique and spirit lifting. Unfortunately, it was too similar in many ways to the lead story in our winter issue. For example, both tales take place on Earth and both are told in the third person. Please consider us for future submissions.

Editor Biff
World Famous Magazine

PS – Because I felt so bad about the mistake our former secretary made, I forwarded a copy of your story to my old college roommate who is the Executive Fiction Editor at Everyone Knows Our Name Magazine. I’m sure “Flaming Asses & Elbows” and “Bag of Griffins” will be competing for the same literary awards.
Submitter Criss:

Where did you get the idea you could write? I want you to know I had to wash my hands and eyes after reading this crap. Hell, it gives crap a bad rep. You shouldn’t be allowed to write a grocery list. Never submit to us again. Your email address will be permanently blocked at our site. You’re an untalented s.o.b.

Editor Hurley
Everyone Knows Our Name Magazine

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


A friend sent me this list. I thought I’d share. I don’t know where Chuck got it. If I did, I’d credit the author. The photo above is from Annie. It’s the view from her back porch in Minnesota.

As I grow older, I look upon the lessons I have learned in life--
Never, under any circumstances, take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night.
Don't worry about what people think, they don't do it very often.
Going to church doesn't make you a Christian anymore than standing in a garage makes you a car.
Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.
If you must choose between two evils, pick the one you've never triedbefore.
Not one shred of evidence supports the notion that life is serious.
A person, who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person. (This is very important. Pay attention! It never fails.)
For every action, there is an equal and opposite government program.
Bills travel through the mail at twice the speed of checks.
A conscience is what hurts when all of your other parts feel so good.
Eat well, stay fit, die anyway.
Men are from earth. Women are from earth. Deal with it.
No man has ever been shot while doing the dishes.
A balanced diet is a cookie in each hand.
Middle age is when broadness of the mind and narrowness of the waist
change places.
Junk is something you've kept for years and throw away three weeksbefore you need it.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

14 Days till Halloween
"trick or treat ... I never drink wine"

Sunday, October 15, 2006

16 Days till Halloween
"trick or ... let's skip this house"

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of the easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
-- Robert Frost


I recently bought the new DVD version of the 1941 movie, The Maltese Falcon. Directed by first-timer John Huston and starring Bogart. This is a totally cool movie. It is one of the rare films that if you’ve seen the movie, you don’t need to read the book. However you’d miss Hammett’s clean and lean prose if you do. While Bogie doesn’t fit Hammett’s description of Sam Spade (He looked rather pleasantly like a blond satan.), he ably fills the shoes of the private detective. The plot has solid twists and turns and the dialogue is sharp and cool. Add memorable characters played Mary Astor, Peter Lorre, Sydney Greenstreet, Elisha Cook, and Ward Bond and you have a great film that has influenced film noir for generations. Trivia: Bogart’s last line is often listed as one of the great closing lines of cinema. When Bond’s policeman asks Bogie what the black bird statue is, Bogie replies cynically, “The stuff dreams are made of.” Actually, Bond has the last word. He says, “Huh?”
This is my second favorite Bogart film. My top five are:

The Maltese Falcon
The Big Sleep
Angels with Dirty Faces
(this counts but Cagney is the actual lead)
There have been a lot of detectives in film and TV. I decided to list my favorite private detectives. No police detectives in this list. Some are former cops however. In alphabetical order:

Nick Charles (William Powell)
Jake Gittes (Chinatown)
Lew Harper (Harper)
Sherlock Holmes (Basil Rathbone)
Thomas Magnum (Magnum, P.I.)
Philip Marlowe (The Big Sleep)
Jim Rockford (The Rockford Files)
Sam Spade (The Maltese Falcon)
Sidebar: I noticed while making my list that there were no female private eyes. Hmmm… Miss Marple from the Agatha Christie novels? Nope. Jessica Fletcher (Angela Lansbury) from Murder, She Wrote. Naw. Honey West (Anne Francis). No again. Oh, well.

Friday, October 13, 2006

I should be sleeping. Long day at work. Instead I'm surfing the net. I find myself checking out the list of the 100 Greatest American Movies at the AFI website. There are ten films that I've never seen (Lawrence of Arabia and Midnight Cowboy among them.) But there are also several movies on the list that I don't like. In order by AFI ranking:
Gone with the Wind (My mother's favorite movie of all time. I frankly don't give a damn who Scarlett ends up with or if she saves the plantation.)
2001: A Space Odyssey (Technically a marvel and HAL is a cool character but this is really a long and boring movie. Kubrick is one of the most over-rated directors ever.)
Raging Bull (Scorsese's movies are always memorable but I can't think of a single one that I'd want to see a second time. Haven't seen The Departed yet.)
Apocalypse Now ( Over-praised Vietnam b.s. like Kubrick's Full Metal Jacket)
The Godfather Part II (The first movie is great. Filled with memorable scenes and dialogue and characters. The second just re-tells the same story without the memorable scenes, dialogue, and characters. I know Michael has lost his soul.)
Doctor Zhivago (Long. Boring. Long. Let's see more snow. Yecch.)
A Streetcar Named Desire (Stella!!! Get me outta here.)
A Clockwork Orange (Yes, I felt sorry for the creep Alex at the end but this is Kubrick again. Technically a marvel but distant and cold like all his films.)
Taxi Driver (Intriguing storyline, great characters, solid directing. But this film makes me feel like I need a shower afterward. That was probably Scorsese's intent but still...)
Amadeus (Who cares?)
Easy Rider (Definitely a product of its time. Has not aged well.)
Pulp Fiction (Don't care for Tarentino's movies. This one is just too precious for its own good. Has memorable moments but ... come to think of it I'd watch this before I'd watch Jackie Brown again. Couldn't get through Kill Bill. Quentin is the most over-rated director today.)
I'm done now. Been grumpy lately. Can you tell?
18 Days till Halloween
"trick or treat ... I get all the black jelly beans"

Thursday, October 12, 2006

(or, where have I heard this before?)
From President George W. Bush's press conference yesterday: "That's what they want to do -- they want us to leave. And we're not going to leave. We're going to do the job. And a free Iraq is going to be a major blow to terrorism. It will change the world. A free Iraq in the midst of the Middle East is vital to future peace and security."
President Richard Nixon (1969): "In January I could only conclude that the precipitate withdrawal of American forces from Vietnam would be a disaster not only for South Vietnam but for the United States and for the cause of peace."
President Lyndon Johnson(1965): "We fight because we must fight if we are to live in a world where every country can shape its own destiny. And only in such a world will our own freedom be finally secure."
The more things change, the more the stay the same. I think I'll play some late '60s rock or the new Dixie Chicks CD. I'm done. The soapbox is free.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Final Exits: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of How We Die, by Michael Largo. I think I'm going to buy this book. The author has collected stats on how we die.
Did you know?
*In 2003, 24 people died from a rare lung disease caused by frequent exposure to the fumes from microwave popcorn.
*In 2002, 776 people were killed by accidential discharge of firearms.
*In 2002, 341 people were killed by being hit by a baseball.
*Between 1920 and 2000, 1682 people were killed by grizzlies and polar bears.
*Since 1965, 11556 people died from their dentures becoming lodged in their airway.
*From 1985 to 2004, 224 people were fatally electrocuted by their toaster.
*Since 1965, 265 people were killed while riding roller coasters.
*300 people die annually from chewing gum.
Yeah, I'm going to be reading this soon.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

21 Days till Halloween
"trick or treat ... no sugar, please"

Monday, October 09, 2006

22 Days till Halloween
"trick or treat ... it's alive!"

Sunday, October 08, 2006

My Writing Résumé
I’ve hit a downslide in my writing of late. I start far more pieces than I complete. I thought it might be a good idea to list my works including the reprints. Perhaps it’ll get my butt out of neutral.


The Inheritance (horror -- Zumaya Publications)
Rebel Nation (alternate history/thriller – Zumaya Publications)
To the Mountain of the Beast (science fiction/horror/western – Carnifex Press)
Dark Legend (paranormal horror – Zumaya Publications – not yet released)

SHORT STORIES (Anthologies):

In the Garden on the Far Shore Of the Styx (The Best of Pirate Writings II)
Costa de Malo Muerte (Darkness Rising 7)
Midnight Lover (Deathly Desires, Erotic Fantasy: Tales of the Paranormal)
On Display (Erotic Tales Hosted by Justus Roux)
Melinda (Hauntings)
Blood Alley (Monsters Ink)
The Beast of Lyoness (Clash of Steel 3)
Blood Alley (Pure Fantasy {The Netherlands})

SHORT STORIES (Print/Electronic Magazines):

In the Garden on the Far Shore of the Styx (Crusader tale – Pirate Writings, Electric Wine)
Bagman (noir – Hardboiled)
Death And… (speculative – Lynx Eye, Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine {Australia})
At the Dessert Palace (speculative – Outer Darkness)
The Hunters (science fiction/vampire – Burning Sky, Dramaturges of the Yann {Greece})
The Killing Moon (werewolf – Vampire Dan’s Story Emporium, Spin {Finland})
Black Moon Night (horror – Deadbolt)
Blood Hunt (science fiction/horror – Of Unicorns & Space Stations, Axxon {Argentina})
Blood Alley (horror – Mindmares)
The Covenant – (Crusader tale – Parchment Symbols, Flashing Swords)
Sanctuary Defiled at Ananyas (Crusader tale – Fantastic: Stories of the Imagination)
EscapeVision (speculative – Dread)
Midnight Demons (horror – Parchment Symbols)
The Last Gathering (speculative – Parchment Symbols)
Now Playing (speculative – Fantastic: Stories of the Imagination, Ambitions)
Nightbugs (science fiction/horror – Redsine {Australia}, “9” {Greece})
Human Resources (science fiction/horror – The Edge: Tales of Suspense, Electric Wine, Apex Science Fiction & Horror Digest)
Jazz & Silk (erotic – All in Your Mind, A Sexy Story, Justus Roux’s Erotic Tales)
…buzzing… (horror – Whispers from the Shattered Forum)
Coming Home Late (erotic – Biblio Eroticus {Australia})
Facing the Man (mainstream – GC Magazine)
Katie’s Nightmare (horror – Vestal Review)
Spun Monkey (horror – Dark Moon {UK})
Midnight Lover (paranormal erotic – Peacock Blue)
Fallen (science fiction – Steel Caves {UK}, Chaos Theory: Tales Askew)
Last Night (vampire – Whispers from the Shattered Forum)
Telling Chloe (mainstream – Virginia Adversaria)
Final Soulcatchers (speculative – Elysian Fiction)
Seeds of Evil (speculative – Story House)
Strickland’s Bones (noir – Underworlds)
Sangre de la Perro Luna (horror – Fangoria)
Week’s End (mainstream – Flash Me)
Immobile (noir – Futures Anthology MagEzine Online)
Summer Vacation Deals (humor – Astounding Tales)
New World, Old World (science fiction – Apex Science Fiction & Horror Digest)
Before Me (science fiction/horror –
The Gardener (erotic – Midnight Showcase)
Love Letter (horror – Devil’s Work)
The Ice Queen (erotic – Justus Roux’s Erotic Tales)
Waiting… (horror – Bewildering Tales)


The Submission Pile (SF Reader, Preditors & Editors)
The Character Moment (Speculations, Voices in the Dark Newsletter)
The Small Press Print-on-Demand Solution, or Please Order Dozens (Peridot Books)
The Top Ten Movies in Outer Space (From the Asylum)
Villains (SF Reader)

Four stories have been accepted but not yet published. A few others are in the mail.

Also written (some with Mark Sevi, some solo) 14 screenplays and 3 treatments. Two were spec screenplays that producers asked for then changed their minds. One had an exclusive that a producer asked for but couldn’t sell. One was optioned (with 10% payment) but movie not made.

Seems like a lot but I can’t seem to write that one novel, story, or screenplay that “breaks” out. Maybe I should just write the stories I want to write and if the “break-out” happens, it happens, and if it doesn’t then it doesn’t.


Saturday, October 07, 2006

24 Days Left Till Halloween
"trick or treat ... heh-heh-heh."

Friday, October 06, 2006

There are a 1001 things I should be doing. Instead I'm looking at some stats on the blog site-meter. Some folks find their way to this blog via Google (should the registered trademark symbol go here?). Anyway, I became curious to what they put in the search engine to end up here. Below are some answers:
*from London, England: Zodiac Killer (okay, I did a couple of blogs on unsolved murders)
*from Las Vegas NV: symbolism in Texas Chainsaw Massacre (it's hard to see the symbolism in a movie when you're watching it with your hands over your eyes)
*from Ogdensburg NY: canada murders severed body prostitute (the blog on unsolved murders again -- I hope)
*from Walsall, U.K.: "I want you to squeal like a pig" (line from the movie Deliverance that I've written about)
*from Camp Hill, Penn.: percy garris (the name of the Strother Martin character in one of my fav westerns Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid)
*from Oxford NC: chuck stires campaign slogan (not me and I have no idea what office he was running for but we are probably related somehow)
*from New York City: paddled tush (Huh? I have no idea how that lead to me -- I mean, once, a while back, in a different life ... uh, nevermind)
Interesting. Well, a little bit. All right, I probably won't do this again. Maybe.
((PS -- What does the picture of Eva Longoria from Desperate Housewives have to do with this topic? Absolutely nothing. But now when someone types her name into the Google search engine -- guess who'll pop up? Hey, Google folks, check out the novel links on the right side of your screen. Really good stuff. )

Monday, October 02, 2006

Tonight I watched this movie. Corny premise even if it was inspired by a true story. Whatever "inspired" means. Anyway, a ballroom dancer instructor decides he can help disadvantaged inner-city kids by teaching them dance, courtesty, and manners. A high school principal accepts his offer and assigns him to the teenagers in year-long detention. One reviewer wrote that the whole premise would've crumbled if there had been one hardcore gangbanger in the group. Right, like a hardcore gangbanger would show up for after-school detention.

I'm not a big Antonio Banderas fan. Except for The Mask of Zorro I don't much care for his choice of films. But I bought him in this. I liked this character. All the other characterizations are paper-thin. The plot is by-the-numbers. Still I was engrossed from beginning to fade-out. I'll add that I can not dance a lick. Not joking. My buddy and I took dance lessons back in the day. After the third

or fourth lesson, the instructor offered us a refund. I think the tango is the sexiest, most sensual act a couple can do with their clothes on. Even beats several acts done in the buff. Totally cool. Check out this movie. You'll see what I mean.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

A classic thriller with one of Orson Wells' most memorable performances. In one scene, Harry Lime (Wells) meets up with his old friend Holly Martins (Joseph Cotten). Author/screenwriter Graham Greene has said that Wells wrote the following lines:
"Don't be so gloomy. After all it's not that awful.
Like the fella says, in Italy for 30 years under the Borgias
they had warfare, terror, murder, and bloodshed,
but they produced Michelangelo,
Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance.
In Switzerland they had brotherly love -
they had 500 years of democracy and peace,
and what did that produce?
The cuckoo clock."

Friday, September 29, 2006

Yes, they are talking about you behind your back...
so give them something really juicy to gossip about.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

"What we have here is failure to communicate."
Paul Newman has made some terrific movies during his career: Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Color of Money, Empire Falls, Harper, Hombre, Hud, The Hustler, Nobody's Fool, Slap Shot, The Sting, and The Verdict to name a few. I saw this movie for the first time on the big screen when I was in junior high and we were living in Dallas. It has been a favorite ever since. For my money, this is Newman at his best.