Archive for Book layouts

Harvey as himself, and Lovecraft gone missing

Is there a better movie than Harvey starring Jimmy Stewart? Okay, I say this about a lot of movies, but I think that’s more a testimony to fine filmmaking than it is to my inability to decide what is the best movie ever. I think if you love a genre, you can’t have a favorite. And if you have absolutely locked in favorites, then I question those choices. It shows a lack of exposure to good film and perhaps a lack of dimension.

As for Harvey–it’s wonderfully acted and the direction quite good. Take a good look at the shot compositions and tell me you don’t see room for Harvey. As for Jimmy Stewart, he can say more in a quite phrase and thoughtful look than a lot of other actors can throughout a full reel. Really, if you’ve never seen this movie, why the hell not? Check it out at your local rental store, library, or Netflix. It even shows up on TV every now and then.

You won’t regret it.


I’ve posted a review of Douglas Coupland’s JPod at Forces of Geek and will post of a review of The Gum Thief by next Wednesday.


Work-wise, I’m still plugging along a number of projects. The Trustus Plays by Jon Tuttle (Intellect Books) is just about ready for the printer. The editors need to send me three words that need changing in the text, and we’re done. I’m going through the extensive edits for The Accidental Mousketeer and Acting Foolish. I’m doing some photo shifting for the Hardcastle and McCormick book, and awaiting the last changes to the SFWA Bulletin.

Plus a few other things in various prep stages for others and for myself. Always keeping busy.


Today’s link takes you to a very interesting story, presented in a graphic novel as webcomic format, called Lovecraft is Missing. The artwork is excellent and the story is entertaining and well-wrought so far. It doesn’t hurt that part of it is set in dear old Providence and I recognize several of the settings from the Brown University area. If you’re a fan of Lovecraft, Robert E. Howard, or the early pulp era, you will want to check this out.


The Emperor of Ice Cream (didn’t play the banjo)

Ever wake up with a poem stuck in your head? This morning was one I’ve not thought of in years… Wallace Stevens’ “Emperor of Ice Cream.” Check this out:

Call the roller of big cigars,
The muscular one, and bid him whip
In kitchen cups concupiscent curds.
Let the wenches dawdle in such dress
As they are used to wear, and let the boys
Bring flowers in last month’s newspapers.
Let be be finale of seem.
The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

Take from the dresser of deal,
Lacking the three glass knobs, that sheet
On which she embroidered fantails once
And spread it so as to cover her face.
If her horny feet protrude, they come
To show how cold she is, and dumb.
Let the lamp affix its beam.
The only emperor is the emperor of ice-cream.

A collage of images set to music.


My banjo habits are weird. I’ll spend months practicing the same tunes over and over, unable to learn new tunes, then bam.. I’ll pick up three or four new bluegrass tunes in the space of a week or so. I’ve recently picked up “Red Wing,” “Lonesome Road Blues,” “Down the Road,” and the first parts to “Liza Jane” and “Foggy Mountain Breakdown.” You watch….those will be the last new tunes I learn until May. Instead, I’ll suddenly pick up half a dozen new Irish tunes for the tenor banjo instead–which is fine with me. I haven’t really picked up a new tune for the tenor since “The Gravel Walks.”

Why does it work that way? I suppose with the five-string banjo, it’s a question of internalizing fingering techniques and roll patterns. I get some down so I can do them in my sleop, and only then am I ready to move onto to something else. Maybe something more complicated. With the tenor, where there aren’t roll patterns to internalize, maybe it’s more the rhythms and intonations. It’s been over a month since I’ve picked up the guitar. I wonder what will happen then?

Hell, why question it at all? It’s not the fact that the bear dances a waltz, but that he’s dancing at all.


Lots of work still to do, and miles to go before I sleep–figuratively. The February issue of Medicine & Health/Rhode Island has been delivered to the printer. Issue 181 of the SFWA Bulletin will likely go to the printer tomorrow morning. I’m continuing with the extensive edits and changes to the Hardcastle & McCormick book and really need to get the new cover finished. Lewis Stadlen sent me some new text for his book, Acting Foolish and Lonnie Burr has sent me some new photos and edits for An Accidental Mouseketeer. On top of that we’ll be putting out a new edition of Spotlights & Shadows: The Albert Salmi Story. Plus some little errands here and there. Contracts, promo copy and such.

Busy busy.

And prepping something for this weekend. Still intending on announcing Project X for February 2.


Today’s link goes to a time-waster… a page of old, corny computer geek jokes. Newer jokes appear at the top, which means as you scroll down, the jokes get older and more obsolete. Fun for classic fans such as myself…and archaeologists.


Meet my latest…obsession. Okay, you’ve met it before. This makes the fourth time I’ve ranted about Lost. We’re over halfway through season 3 right now and with every question answered, two more arise. Pretty Maggie and I seem to be on a mission to watch all the past episodes so we can dive into Season 5 starting January 21. I doubt we’re going to make the deadline, but we’re hoping that we can not fall far behind due to the good graces of Verizon’s On-Demand or, if need be, bitTorrent. Considering how much we’re shelling out on DVD sets for seasons 1-4, I trust ABC won’t begrudge us one or two pirates episodes.

They’d have to catch me first.

Locke remains my favorite character, although I don’t like the shift in his character this season. I liked him better as a mysterious, quasi-mystic bad-ass. Hurley still rocks, of course. I loved the episode where he, Jin, Sawyer and Charlie find that xvg in the jungle and manage get it jkuifre so they can ewvbe the knujlp. A very feel-good sort of episode which I think this series needs a couple of each season. Hurley’s good for that. I hope he gets a happy ending.

Am I still pissed at the writers? Not as much, although I can see why people said this was a weaker season story-wise. It’s not that there’s a lack of story, but there does seem to be an unclear direction happening here. I have high hopes that Season 4 re-establishes a focus (and I suspect it will) and that the writers strike doesn’t hurt it too much.

Friends of ours who have watched them all merely gves us this one cryptic remark: “Everything Changes” which of course are the words you ktt on the sgheem in the room when they rescue Jkqw.

Huh. Maybe I better stop now. But before I do, let me state that I still have problems with the black smoke.


Thank the Great Kazoo for my obsessive little lists. It’s been a busy week, it ain’t over, and it’ll like be a busy next week as well. But every day I jot down on a little list everything I have to do that day and at by the end of it I look at said list and nod in satisfaction. It’s good to get stuff accomplished.

This week I’ve been working on updates to the Lewis Stadlen book and the Hardcastle and McCormick book. The former looks pretty close to completion. The latter will take a bit more time. I also set up printer files for new press runs of The Baby Snooks Scripts, Vol. 1 by Philip Rapp and . On other fronts, I have the latest round of edits for The Trustus Plays from inTellect, edits for the February issue of Medicine & Health/Rhode Island, and the latest issue of the SFWA Bulletin

So yeah, a little busy. It’s not that bad, though. Like I said, it’s mostly works in various editing stages. I should have everything done by tomorrow afternoon so my weekend is free and clear.

Just in time to take down the Christmas stuff.


Today’s link is a recipe for Chocolate Truffle Cookies. Why? Because they look good, and it’s a recipe I’m going to try out sometime soon. I recently made a batch of the same style of cookie using the chocolate truffle brownie mix from Trader Joe’s, but after they cool they harden quite a bit and involves more work to eat than I’d care to see in a cookie. Looking over this recipe, I can substitute the butter with a soy margarine we use, and I can find dairy-free chocolate. I think I’ll give it a try. If anyone else gives it a go, let me know how they came out for you.


Cinema Terrorism. Outlaw Bread

Well that statement yesterday about hitting the ground running was pretty spot on. I finally finished all 556 pages of the Hardcastle and McCormick book–the episode guide, the unproduced script, the German and French title translations, the whole she-bang. I even did a little cover mock-up. I fully expect it to be changed once I get some different images from the authors. But for now it’ll do until the final one comes along.

Today’s work will focus on the February issue of the medical journal, and some edits to the photo captions in the Lonnie Burr book.

Is there any finer movie than Cecil B. Demented? Well, probably. Probably lots. But it’s still a hell of a good movie. I know I’ve mentioned it before on these pages, but it’s on cable right now as I type all this and all is well with the world.

C’mon. How many movies have lines like this?

[Raven introduces herself to Honey]

Raven: Hi, I’m Raven, I’m a Satanist and I’ll be doing your make-up.

[changes tone]

Raven: You look so pale…

[angrily slaps Honey, then turns sweet again]

Raven: Sorry, but Satan says you need more color.

Outlaw cinema! Demented Forever!

Whose idea was it to cast Patty Hearst as the mother of a kid who was kidnapped and brainwashed by Demented into joining the crew? Art imitates life, but it’s supposed to be more subtle. I suppose that’s the point–freakin’ John Waters mad genius.

I made bread yesterday. Plain white bread–but good! I got to break in my new breadmaker and I am calling it a success. Tomorrow I’ll make a Norwegian-style bread, then after that an herb-and-cheese one.

Then I’ll get fancy. Raisins! Rye! Pumpernickel! mwa-ha-ha-ha-ha! Outlaw bread!

Which brings us to today’s link: Loads of great recipes. Loads! Discussions on breads and recipes, reviews, and such–but the thing is the recipes. Get our your index cards and start writing these down.


Live and In Print

He lives! He walks, he talks! He breathes

Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!! YES!!!!!

Yes, I live. I seem to be coming out of the headcold with only the remnants of sniffs and occasional coughs. My head is back where it belongs, stitched firmly atop my head. Good time, too. Busy day today. I got all the Christmas stuff up yesterday–tree up, lit, decorated–and some other odds and ends about the living room and stairwell. Santas and garlands and candy canes (oh my). I need to clear out a corner so I can move the rocking chair over, and then move the tree over just a little. Otherwise… I just need to finish the shopping and the wrapping.

Work-wise I’ve got a couiple of things going. I got up early and took care of the edits for the January 2009 issue of Medicine & Health/Rhode Island. Then I have to make some minor address updates for a second printing of Que Sera, Sera. The Magic of Doris Day Through Television by Pierre Patrick and Garry McGee. Once that done, it’s back to the Hardcastle & McCormick book. So far, so good. I’m dreading the photo-insertion phase. There are a lot of pictures and most are vidcaps from the show. Not the most ideal setup. Then some loose ends here and there on other projects.

And then I make rice pudding. Well, I will try to. We’ll see how it comes out.

Hey! Question. Are you a publisher? Big or small? If so, care to let me pick your brains on the biz? In January I’ll be announcing the start of a publishing venture I’m diving into with a friend of mine. It’s something I’m pretty excited about. New year and all that. We’ll be focusing mostly on graphic novels to start. My partner already has publishing experience, and most of my work will be as graphic designer and editor-in-chief. I need to familiarize myself with things like promotions and distribution as well as contracts and following the money.

Gonna be fun.

Today’s link takes you to - The Bad Fads Museum. There’s really not a whole lot to say about it that you can’t glean from the name. It’s a fun little site to kill some time while waiting for those Xmas letters to finish printing.


Ill Productivity and Movie Ramblings.

So a weird past day somewhat. I’ve come down with a cold–the sore throat/cough variety and am not feeling at my top game–but have been pretty dang productive, work-wise. I pulled a long session early yesterday morning and knocked out the rest of the edits to The Trustus Plays by Jon Tuttle for InTelect Books, then gathered the last strands of issue #180 of the SFWA Bulletin and got that delivered to the printer yesterday. I finished touching up the photos for the Hardcastle & McCormick book, then this morning inserted the photos for The Trustus Plays and started the layout for Hardcastle & McCormick.

All the pieces tumble into place amidst coughs and sneezes. Go figure.


So is Grosse Point Blank a great movie or what? I mean–hell–I’ve watched (or read the script to) this thing maybe fity, maybe a hundred times and I still get a kick out it. It’s a dynamite script. Great dialogue. Impelling plot. Three-dimensional characters. Easily one of the best movie soundtracks around and one of the very few I own.

And it’s a movie that can be enjoyed by nearly everyone, I think. Even kids. Yes. Kids.

Speaking of kids and movies, I saw, for the first time, the movie version of The Basketball Diaries and I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. I’ve read the book about a dozen times. It’s one of my favorites. And I think that’s why I avoided the movie for so long. I saw pretty-boy DiCaprio playing Jim Carroll and was a-feared that it would turn into some kind of tragic teeny-bopper kind of flick.

Nope. While not as gritty and dark as say…Trainspotting it skillfully depicted the harrowing life of a heroin addict. It didn’t flinch much from the sexual topics, and it didn’t pull many punches with the various youthful deaths. Life in the city, and so forth. I will hand it to DiCaprio–he did a great job depicting Carroll. Shout-outs also to Mark Wahlberg who continues to impress me.

Speaking of Wahlberg…I watched I Heart Huckabees again recently as well. Another fantastic movie, although a bit slower than the other two I mention this morning. This has a very impressive cast who all do a fantastic job. Mark Wahlberg, Dustin Hoffman, Lilly Tomlin, Jason Schwartzman, Jude Law, and Naomi Watts. Pretty decent music too. It’s… it’s an existential mystery, it’s a philosophical farce, it’s…it’s as if Camus and Sarte got into a pie fight.

Huh. Well, you see it and decide.


In questionable honor of the storms battering the northeastern United States, I give you - National and Local Forecast, Hurricane, Radar and Report, Aside from weather reports and related articles, there’s an “On This Day” feature with some interesting trivia, moon news, and damage reports.

Certainly worth a look.


Monday Bites Man. Man Bites Back.

Rough night. Sleep was hard to come by for both of us. Then I think there was a weird feedback loop as we end up keeping each other awake. Weird night. I almost said “f*ck it” and got up at 2:30, but I figure I’d need some sleep, even if just a little, so I stuck it out and managed a couple of hours. Not in a row mind you. No, the cats then objected and decided to brawl not once, but twice during the night.

So here we is.

Was not a bad weekend. Saturday was pretty restful. And productive. I knocked out the Lonnie Burr book. That’s off for proof now. Here’s an early draft of the cover:

The SFWA Bulletin is also nearing completion. Give it a day or two as we get loose ends tied up. I should have a cover for you tomorrow. Everything else is just about done. And I’m nearly done with the Lewis Stadlen book. All that’s left are some pictures, captions, and a cover. I recently received the edits for The Trustus Plays from inTellect Books which I’ll turn in later this week. And I have the long-awaited Hardcastle & McCormick book. A good schedule. Not too overloaded, but enough to keep me busy and looking for more.

(The second photo here is Lewis J. Stadlen and Don Stephenson as Max Bialystock and Leo Bloom in their third year on the Broadway production of The Producers.)


Had a good night at Ward’s last night. When the weather gets crappy, I don’t like driving at night much, but the snow had stopped and the road were dry. A bit windy, but do-able, so I armed myself with banjo and peppered the place with mad triplets.

Okay…slightly peeved triplets. I’m working on getting them mad. I did get a good reminder, though, as to why I should practice every day. I took a week off from playing, and didn’t warm up enough before leaving for the session last night, so newer tunes I thought I had gotten the hang of ended up getting left hanging. That’ll teach me.

Still, I had a good time. Met some new folks. Heard some great tunes. Am reminded yet again that I really need to learn the Christmas Eve reel.


Short entry. Today’s link brings you to an interesting online comic: Johnny Crossbones: Dead Man at Devil’s Cove - Chapter 1 by Les McClaine. The style is very reminiscent of Tintin, but better. It captures that old kid’s adventure comic feel, but comes across as very fresh and new at the same time. Well worth the visit. I just wish he’d do a whole lot more.

I’d buy it.

Thoughts On Comics, and such

I’ll likely be reviewing An Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons, and True Stories, Vol 2 edited by Ivan Brunetti more in full either here or at, but I’ll give you some of my first impressions. Some comic book artists should not be allowed to script their own work. Some comic book writers shouldn’t draw. Oh…and I don’t care of it’s “indie” or underground work–quality still counts. I don’t blame the artists or writers, but I do kind of question the editor’s choices. He’s a pretty brilliant comic creator in his own right–and I like his stuff. But jeez.

There is a lot of good stuff there, but a lot of crap to wade through as well. Okay, enough on that. This is just an initial impression based on half the book.

What is interesting, however, is what’s going on in my own head about how I define a good comic. And if it’s more fair to consider the form as a whole–or divide it into indie, mainstream, superhero, and manga. There is so much crossover to consider. I mean, was The Flaming Carrot indie or superhero? Or The Badger? Was Bone indie or mainstream? What about ones that changed over time. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles used to be very indie…but they’re a major commercial property nowadays. Manga is mainstream in Japan (actually, there are subgenres there as well, but I’m focusing on the manga most commonly available commercially in the US), but not entirely mainstream in the US–but that is changing as well. They don’t do superheroes the way we do in the US, but have their own brand that cannot really be considered the same.

It gets dizzying, and I doubt I could suss it all out in these virtual pages. And I question my own qualifications to even try.

If I don’t try to be consistent, I can probably come up with some still coherent thoughts. If you want consistency, pour yourself a bottle of Heinz ketchup. (or is it catsup?)

More on this than you’d care to read about…sometime in the future.


I’m currently working on several books. (What else is new?) The main one right now is Confessions of an Accidental Mouseketeer by Lonnie Burr for Bearmanor Media. Lonnie was one of the original Mouseketeers. Not the little one…that was Cubby. And not the cute one…that was Annette. Lonnie was the older one. While I’m not old enough to have watched the original broadcasts, they were re-run often when I was a kid.

It’s fascinating reading, and gives one an interesting peek into the world of Disney at the time. I’ll have a cover done up in a few days and I’ll post it here.


Thanksgiving vacation is over. It’s back to work, so I leave you with today’s link: The Perry Bible Fellowshow. It defies simple description, so you might be better off just clicking the link. In short, tho, it’s a webcomic that’s gotten to see some print. There is no one style that can be used to describe it. It’s a hit or miss with me, but I know some folks who are big fans–you might become one too. As of February 2008 it has stopped regularly updating, but you can easily kill a lot of time clicking the RANDOM link.


Changes afoot…and old-time television memories

Reading: back issues of Mangajin
Music: Liz Carroll
TV/Movie: Murder On the Orient Express
Link o’ the Day:

First, a little poem I came across:

Mary had a pair of skates
With which she loved to frisk
Now wasn’t she a foolish girl
Her little *

Cute, isn’t it? Sound familiar? Probably not, but it was something I had actually found back in April of 2003 and had inserted into one of my webjournal entries back then.

I reference up an old entry to announce that change is afoot. I mentioned sometime last month that I wanted to update my webpages, that they were sadly out of date, and if I wanted to pick up more freelance business I needed to put a better, more modern, face on the net. I’ve gone and registered a domain name, and I’ve gone and installed WordPress.

Don’t go looking for anything yet. There’s a bit of learning to do. And formatting, and laying out. There is work to be done, but I’m confident that in a week or two, I should have something professional and pleasant to look at and read.

I’ll make sure folk know about the relaunch when it’s ready.

With that said.,..will anything happen to the webjournal at Journalscape?.

Not likely. There are a lot of places where I list my Journalscape page as my primary webpage presence and Journalscape has been very good to me over the years. These days I get anywhere from 300 to 500 hits a day–not a lot for some, quite a lot for others. How exactly I will integrate the two is yet to be decided, but I’m going to keep the Journalscape account for as long as it’s around. And it won’t lie fallow–there will be content.

But I’m also getting way ahead of myself. Let’s see if I can unravel the mysteries of WordPress first.


I was treated to a very nice dinner last night with author Mel Simons. He, his ladyfriend Roberta, Pretty Maggie and I met at Twin Oaks Restaurant for a hearty nosh and some good conversation. He also gave me the edits for his latest book Old-Time Television Memories.

There aren’t many changes, so I expect to be sending it to the printer within a week, and it will then be soon available through Bearmanor Media, Amazon, and Barnes &

Mel’s a great guy and he’s probably one of the foremost authorities on the history of television and radio. He’s met all of the greats–Milton Berle, Steve Allen, Jack Benny, Bing Crosby, and more. We had a fun night.


What the heck… today’s link will be a shout-out to Mel and his webpage Mel himself isn’t online. He doesn’t even own a computer, but this page is updated every couple of weeks by an associate of his. If you’re into old-time radio, television, or big band music, and you live in the New England area, check out Mel’s schedule of appearances.