Monday, December 22, 2008

The Winter of Our Dissed Content

Our winter has brought us some lovely snow, but
it has made a mess of traffic, especially since no
one in this burg knows how to drive on dry roads,
let alone icy ones. The photo at right of Chez Cap'n shows that a white Christmas may be in the offing, if it doesn't rain and wash it all away.

Happy Birthday Barbara (June Cleaver) Billingsley. She's 93 today. Bill Crider's great blog reprints an article about her birthday and lists some of her screen credits, but they missed a couple of good ones. She was in The Valiant Hombre (a Cisco Kid movie with Duncan Renaldo), and Angels in the Outfield (1951, starring Paul Douglas). I've been seeking that Cisco Kid film for years.

Today I worked my final day for 2008. I say worked but I didn't do a damn thing, what with the weather closing down the flightline (I work for the Air Force).

Merry Christmas and/or Happy Holidays to all, and to all a good night.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Happy Birthday, Sweet Kristine

I'm having virus problems but I want to wish my darling daughter Kristine happy birthday. She's 18 today and I have no idea where the years went. Seems like only last week I was tucking her into a car seat or feeding her Gerber's strained peas. Thanks for being a wonderful daughter, baby. We love you.

It's also the birthday of my man George Armstrong Custer, who would be 169 if he hadn't given his life at the Little Big Horn.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Unashamed Plug

My friend Dave Lewis, from Portland, has a short story on a site called Reflection's Edge. Don't let the New Age title fool you. The story is a western (Texas in 1830) and told with Dave's whimsical touch. You'll like it. Trust me. Here's the edress:

Oh yeah, he uses the name Evan Lewis for some reason.

A Busy October

I'm glad October is over. It was way too busy for a lazybones like me. On the 5th I took my younger girl, Kristine, to Arizona to visit my mother and two sisters. It was good to see everyone, but getting things in motion so we could manage to meet and do something usually ate up an entire day. I'm used to just popping out the door and burning up the road when I have somewhere to go.
My mother has a dial up connection to the Internet and I'd forgotten how sloooooooow that is. I couldn't get my e-mail, either. I had some serious withdrawls while I was there.

My big tourist excursion was taking Kristine to Tombstone. We saw the old courthouse (now a museum), the tourist trap western buildings, a film/diorama presentation about the history of Tombstone, and of course a re-enactment of the famous Gunfight at the OK Corral. The fellow who portrayed Doc Holliday was especially effective, although whoever wrote the script added a few facts of his own making, methinks. Like, Wyatt Earp's step-daughter was sweet on one of the Cowboys, as the McLaurey-Clanton faction was called. That may have been true, but none of the movies or articles I've seen mention it. More bizarre was the suggestion that Doc Holliday fomented the gunfight, and no explanation is given for this skullduggery. Finally, though no one can say for certain who fired the first shot at the gunfight, they have Doc starting the battle by shooting his scattergun into the air. Those caveats aside, we liked the show. And as an added bonus we were the first audience to see the re-enactment under a canopy. I'm glad they installed it, as sitting around in that hot Arizona sun is no pleasure for me.

I took a second week off work when I got back, catching up on mail and laundry for the first two days and doing something important and useful after that, I'm sure. Most of my weekends since were eaten up with family obligations or medical appointments. Like the colonoscopy I had on the 24th. What fun. The procedure itself was a snap; I slept through most of it, but that glop one has to drink the evening before is disgusting.
If you're wondering, I'm okay.

Now we have November and the election coming up in two days. It doesn't look good for McCain, and I hope Mr. Redistribution of Wealth doesn't screw things up any worse than they are. I've been tracking my tiny investment for the past month. At one point it was down about $10,000. Right now it's down $7,000. If the market goes up I might get back to where I was. I hope so, I need every nickel I can get.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Nineteen years ago I beheld for the first time the tiny bundle of beauty who is my daughter Stephanie. Today she's a young woman of sensitivity, intelligence, and compassion who is trying to find her place in our complex world.

I've cherished your every moment, my little one, and always will.
This photo was taken when she was five.

Friday, October 03, 2008

The Arrow Falls

Lost another $1000. Thanks, Wall Street scum. UP THE REVOLUTION!

Hypermodern Cap'n

A few days ago I was making one of my semi-regular trips to Amazon to see if they still listed my first book, LOVE, DEATH AND THE TOYMAN. Mainly I like to look at their secondary market, the other dealers who attach themselves to Amazon like pilot fish on a shark to vend the same item, sometimes at a large discount, sometimes at greatly increased prices. I've seen my book go for as little as 47 cents for an ex-library copy to $50 for a new one. But the one I saw the other day really floored me. Just $500. Yes, friends, just five hundred dollars for an unsigned copy. If that doesn't say hypermodern I don't know what does.
What's more, a few days later the listing was gone. Shazam! Either it was relisted for a lower price or--and I can't believe this--some damn fool paid the five century notes.
Which brings up a subject that puzzles me. I've seen this book listed for a lot more than the retail price ($118 was the old ceiling) from dealers who, I think, never even owned a copy. They take an order, drop ship it from a distributor's warehouse, and never invest a cent in a product from which they hope to reap an obscene profit. There's something wrong with that. If they're going to sell a book they at least ought to buy it from the distributor and have it on hand. Maybe then they'd set a realistic price on it. When I check Amazon for a book I always check the used listings and get the one that's both cheapest and in the best shape for the money. If I want it new I'll pay retail, but not retail times two, or five, or fifty. Are there really suckers out there who patronize these hogs? I hope not.

Random Thoughts

Several months ago I got my annual statement for my Thrift Savings Plan, a deal we civil service types get from Uncle Sam (we put in X-amount, they add to it). Three days ago I looked at it on line to see how I was faring in the current economy. I was down $2,000. A few hours ago I checked again. Down another $1000. At this rate I should have nothing come Columbus Day, which will leave me on the horns of a dilemma. Should I track down a former Fannie Pack exec and blow his brains out, or just find a high bulding to jump from?

I saw the Veep candidates' debate earlier. Afterwards I checked with a couple of TV stations to see what they had to say about it. As usual, the liberals swore Biden won and the Conservatives gave the nod to Palin. In fact, one station's text-in votes gave Palin the win 88% to 12%. Another station said Biden won 56% to 33%, with others calling or texting in to say they didn't know. Why anyone would call to profess ignorance is beyond me, but they did. Personally, I think both debaters did well, but I expected Biden to do what he did, while Palin exceeded expectations. So I give her the marginal victory.

Toyman 2 has completed the editing process and is now in the capable hands of whoever gets it next. It was funny to reread it. It was as if someone else wrote the book and I was seeing it for the first time. It's no Connelly, as one fellow was kind enough to note regarding my first one, but in some places I impressed myself. Too bad I don't review for KKKirkus.

It looks like the Cubs are going to choke but the Phillies will get to the next round of the playoffs. I'm not a big Phillies fan, but one of their pitchers, Jamie Moyer, was a Mariner for years and I'd like to see him go to the World Series. He deserves it; he's a good guy and a good pitcher. He still has The Moyer Foundation in the Northwest, which helps children, and I expect he'll move back here when his playing days are over. Seattle was crazy to trade him even if he didn't have a good year in 2007. His record in Philadelphia shows what a difference some run support makes in a pitcher's performance.

Friday, September 12, 2008

No Joke

I came up with a joke I thought would be perfect for Jay Leno. I went on line to find how to submit it. After a couple of frustrating hours I finally disovered that they don't accept unsolicited jokes. So I sent it to Bill Crider's blog. Now I wish I'd saved it for this site. But on the off chance someone reads this blog and doesn't read Bill's (which you should:, here it is:

Hurricane Ike battered the Caribbean so hard they renamed it Hurricane Ike Turner.

Badda-bing, badda-boom!

Which reminds me, I was in the dentist's office a few days ago and picked up a Readers Digest to peruse the jokes. Every one I saw was old enough to have moss. People are being paid $100 a pop to recycle bad gags that were wobbly when Grit was the only source of entertainment in the Corn Belt. Assuming these jokes are actually being submitted by the public and not tossed in by the staff and credited to some made up name.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Head 'em up, move 'em out

Saw the following kids' show credit while channel surfing: Assistant Puppet Wrangler.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Up and Almost Running

Yesterday I assembled the treadmill, helped by my younger daughter. First we had to empty out half the garage, which gave us a chance to dispose of some accumulated junk, and then I had to put the accursed contraption together, again with Kristine's help. Mostly it went well, but one step had me mumbling curses under my breath for about 20 minutes. After it was all together I plugged it in and let Kristine take the maiden voyage. By gum, it worked. Then I moved all the junk back into the garage (except for a space-hogging utility trailer). By then my back was sore and I was tired so I took an Aleve and settled in to watch TV. Soon I'll go out and take a 30-minute walk. Yep, Real Soon Now.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

A Conundrum

I like El Toro and eat there at least once a week. But one menu anomaly has been bothering me since I noticed it a couple of weeks ago.

To wit: If you get Dinner #1 (two enchiladas, beans, rice, cole slaw), you pay $9.95. If you get the # 2 dinner (two tacos and the same side dishes as #1), you pay the same price, $9.95. But if you get a #4 dinner (one enchilada, one taco, and the sames sides), you pay $10.25. That's 30 cents more even though the enchiladas and tacos are cheaper if bought in pairs. It makes no sense, and has stopped me from having that #4 dinner. I asked the waitress about the odd pricing and she said she didn't know, that the owner set the prices. So I said to send over the owner. She said he wasn't there. A likely story. And don't suggest I order one #1 and one #2 and swap one of the entrees. The people with whom I dine always order the same boring thing, and it's neither of those choices.

I bought a treadmill. Now all I need is a place to put it. Oh yes, and the will to use it. More to follow, maybe.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Bi-annual Semi-annual Posting

Going back into the mists of time we have:

February: My first novel was remaindered. Still not sure of sales, but I do know there are no royalties on the horizon. I bought 25 copies to sell.

May: I was one of six guests of Portland's Friends of Mystery for a panel on Debut Authors. I think I was the only one to have just one book. However, one panelist's most recent book was his first work of fiction. It was a very nice event from the brew pub dinner beforehand to the kind comments after. Sold a few books.

June: I was one of a dozen or so Northwest writers invited to Powell's Books in Beaverton, Oregon, for a meet and greet. Sold remaining copies of LOVE, DEATH AND THE TOYMAN to the store. Thanks, Powell's. And be sure to order one from them. They're signed.

July: Summer Tankon again at the cabin of Frank "Two Ponies" Denton. Enjoyed myself as always.

August: Tankoner Dale Goble came here for five days to replace the roof on our deck. Did a good job. Linda and Kristine were on a cruise at the time.
Learned that my second novel has been accepted for publication by Five Star, who published my first. Tentative title is THE TOYMAN RIDES AGAIN. In this one, Jack Lorentz joins a troop of 7th Cavalry re-enactors on a trip to the Little Big Horn. They are opposed by a group of Indian activists and events snowball until someone is killed.
Went to a chiropractor for an old back pain. He said a flat left foot was the cause and sent me to a dippy woman who is some kind of foot specialist. $200 later I left with new shoes and arch support inserts. So far they haven't cured me. Time will tell.

September: Is only one day old. I stayed home from work, of course, and stained some boards for the deck. We lost four to rot because the old roof leaked.

October: Hasn't arrived yet, but when it does I get to enjoy a colonoscopy. Using the latest scientific techniques, they're going to shrink Raquel Welch down to a quarter of an inch and send her in on a tether. That ought to tickle my fancy--or something close to it. Film at eleven.

The only theatrical movies I saw during this period were IRONMAN and BATMAN: THE DARK KNIGHT. I liked them both but the latter asked me to suspend my disbelief way beyond my capacity to do so. Way back before CGI I was a comic fan, collector, and fanzine editor/publisher (in conjunction with various friends). I wish they'd been able to produce movies like this at that time.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Sadie/Mittens/Puddy Tat

It seems I never post unless an animal dies.

After 20 years as a companion and friend our little kitty is gone. Her name was Sadie, but over the years I've called her Mittens and Puddy Tat. She was generally well-behaved. She never scratched the furniture or bit and clawed us. She proudly left parts of birds and rodents on the front stoop and could be trusted to go outside without running off. She wasn't a lap cat, but if you laid down she'd happily lie on your chest and accept petting. I made up a song about that called "Quality Time" and the girls and I would sing it to her as we stroked Sadie's long fur.

But time caught up to the old girl. Lately she's refused her food, allowed her coat to get matted, and her eyes have leaked. She was supposed to be put to sleep three weeks ago, but I figured that as long as she could leap a six-foot fence I'd wait. Today was the day she was scheduled to be put to sleep, but she cheated the hangman. Yesterday morning she went out and never came back. We assume she found a quiet, private place to sleep the big sleep.

I wish I had a better photo in my computer of Sadie, but this is such a typical scene; opening the door to find her patiently waiting on the stoop. Good-bye kitty, and thanks for being our dear friend for all these years.