31 December 2007

Killer Bait

Xmas brought us the perfect gift from pals R & J: a dvd called "Classic Film Noir." It contains 9 movies from 1946-1953 lumped in to the noir genre. We watched the first one last night, Too Late for Tears (aka Killer Bait), which featured the magnetic Lizabeth Scott and the insinuating Dan Duryea. Ms. Scott has to be one of the fatal-est of all the femmes in movie history. She plots and schemes and delivers her oh-so-sincere sultry pablum to one chump after another, picking them off like target practice. Mr. Duryea is her particular bulls-eye, and his degradation almost makes you pity him even though he's just another weasel chasing ill-gotten bucks. Great performances by pros at the top of their games. According to the wikipedia entry, Lizabeth Scott is still alive (85 this year). Like Marie Windsor and others, Scott was ultimately typecast as the arch-villainess. That's dandy for all of us noir fans, as she was clearly a perfect fit, but one wonders if she missed a chance to strut her acting chops in other roles. Researching for this post, I came across another blog, Noir of the Week, where Too Late for Tears was reviewed in great depth earlier this month. Silver Screen Sirens has quite a gallery of photos. Check out this one of Liz and Dan:

30 December 2007


Matt Cadd hated New Year's Eve parties: too many wannabes who couldn't hold their liquor. Razamoff's reward money was in the bank, so he cut a bonus check for Honey and put it on her silent keyboard. She was out--celebrating. He was in--drinking alone.

"Happy New Year, doll."

I'll take mine in fifties.

27 December 2007

Gimme a double!

You couldn't come up with a better A Tale of Two Whiskies than the two we are working on tonight. We started with the venerable Jim Beam RYE. Rye whiskey is making a comeback these days, but I doubt if the connoisseurs are going after the Big Yellow. <-- Check that out. That is a seriously UGLY package. That's too bad because it is a damn fine whiskey. Very light and smooth, but with a crisp spiciness and a clean, floral aroma, Jim Beam Straight Rye Whiskey is too damn easy to drink. The homepage only includes info about the BOURBON, not the "Yellow-Label" RYE. Michael Jackson, may he rest in peace, has some notes about it at Whisky Magazine. Otherwise, I think this stuff is an undiscovered gem. I guess you just can't judge a book by its cover! If you could, you'd fall in love with Blanton's Single Barrel Bourbon without ever touching the stuff. They put the whiskey in a cool bottle (in a felt drawstring bag) with a racehorse stopper! It is just adorable. More important than that of course, is the taste. And this stuff tastes GREAT. Completely different from the Jim Beam Rye, Blanton's Single Barrel Bourbon is a thick, chewy whiskey, with a heavy caramel/vanilla vibe, and a big finish. One thing I love about the holidaze is the chance to really dig in to some goodies. No goddamn work tomorrow! Check out that collection of Blanton's bottles. Cool, huh? Our special treat (from good pals J & R) is dated 8-4-07 (our 23rd anniversary!), from barrel no. 164, warehouse 4, rick no. 28, and bottle no. 80! I'm just nutty for numbers. For the record, it is 93 proof, while the rye checks in at only 80. Cheers!

25 December 2007

The Holidaze

On Friday I finished work. Andrei and Kim stayed the night on their way south and we had a major festival. JM came by as well for BBQ steak and California vino! On Saturday we were part of a special Miner Street Pub Event--Scott and Brad had birthdays! Sunday, I wrote "Lonnie's Mom." It is 2,700 no-holds-barred hard-boiled words and I'm sending it to Out of the Gutter for inclusion in issue 4. Wish me luck! Monday was relaxed: some brewing chores and a social call to Cathy & Nancy's for Xmas Eve. Today, I brewed a batch. Man, I love vacation. It is the kind of thing that can make a believer out of an atheist! Speaking of atheists, Happy Xmas, God damn it! Joyous Kwanzaa. Merry Solstice. Kick-ass Chanukah. Rockin' fookin' Ramadan (I think I missed that one by a few months). And to all you RATS out there, are you ready for Chinese New Year? Or any New Year for that matter? I'm a PIG, meself, though I like to think of it as "boar." Regardless, Go mbeire muid beo ar an am seo arís! (May we all be alive this time next year!) It sounds out something like "guh MARE-uh mwij BYE-oh, ahm sho AH-REESH." Now that's a toast, eh?

23 December 2007


It wasn't too hard to track down the thief of Razamoff's Fabergé. Good help is hard to find. Matt Cadd took the egg to the museum.

"Hate to tell you this, but it's a phony." Dr. Slade, curator, was an old contact.

"We'll just let the Russian think otherwise, OK?"

Only fifty of 'em in the world, tovarich, what'd ya think?

21 December 2007


The Hard Case books are stacking up like 747s at SFO. I got off the beam for a few weeks and I have been scrambling to catch up on my backlog. The latest one I tackled was Branded Woman by "Wade Miller." This one is HCC-011 from July of 2005 and concerns a femme fatale jewel thief on a vengeance crusade in the Mexican Riviera. It has a fast pace, and lots of intrigue, mystery and violence. What could be bad? Actually, it is a fun read, but not high up on the literary scale. Guys like Block, Goodis and Westlake can really turn a phrase and cut down on the damn adverbs at the same time. So I tagged this one a "potboiler." The author, Wade Miller, is a pseudonym of a writing pair, Robert Wade and Bill Miller. How two guys could work together so closely for such a long time and have such a prodigious output is beyond me. I would drive any writing partner of mine to drink, and I've no doubt he'd do the same for me. Nonetheless, these guys have an impressive and enviable legacy in the mystery/crime/noir universe. Like most of the Hard Case selections, this book makes you want to read more of the same. I wonder if this story was ever filmed--it seems like Branded Woman would make a hell of a flick.

16 December 2007


Razamov's holiday bacchanal was famed as the place to be. Honey worked an invite for her and the boss. A reveler made off with a Fabergé jewelry box. The word got out: is there a detective in the house? Matt Cadd went to work.

"Christmas bonus this year, eh doll?"

Give the Santa his fifty and tell him to scram.

13 December 2007



I'm the "featured" flash story for the next few days--top o' the list!

Check it out: I called it Old School.

The Ides of Baseball

I'm not going to read the Mitchell Report and look forward to it like I would a colonoscopy. The Mitchell Report is not about baseball, and it is not about "performance-enhancing durgs" (whatever they are). It is about a nation obsessed with non-issues, it is about politics and posturing, and it is about punishing rich, famous athletes for their failure to be our heroes. In other words, it is about us. Athletes are not heroes. They are athletes. Some of them may be heroic individuals, much like housewives or teachers or carpenters might be heroes. Just because some person gets a lot of money for entertaining us does not mean that we can 1) take away their rights, privacy or dignity and 2) hold them to a higher standard of conduct than anyone else. Baseball is a business, a six billion dollar business. Young men put their bodies on the line for fame, glory, and yes, money. Flesh--the bodies of athletes--is the currency of professional sports. Young men trade this currency--theirs, their very own flesh--for money. Specifically, a shot, a chance, at a big payoff. The real crime is NOT that the cut-throat competition for the very few spots on a big-league roster encourages the use of chemical supplements, the real crime is that many thousands of youngsters fail to make the pros, and no one gives a shit that many of them sacrificed their bodies, their schooling, and their youth on a broken dream. Professional athletes are just that: professional. They don't have to be told how to run their professional lives. If they can take HGH to help them recover from an injury and give their employers and fans what is expected of them, then what is the problem? If we really care, I mean REALLY CARE about an athlete's health, then why don't we set up a panel of experts? Scientists, doctors, nutritionists, exercise physiologists, psychologists and the like could make recommendations to the sports world on the proper care and feeding of an athletic body (and mind). What drugs can be used safely and in what doses, what kinds of expectations about injury and recovery are realistic, and, most important, what does it take to be healthy upon retirement. Take a look at middle-aged football players: too many of them are basket cases who can barely walk and talk. Do fans and owners care? Hardly. The national hysteria about steroids is a lot of nonsense. Code words like "the integrity of the game" are thrown around by media types and politicos who happily consume a packaged product that hides all its true warts, and fans suck on the same stupid crack pipe of ignorance, pretending that their "heroes" are pure and beautiful because they can't or won't find real heroes in their lives. If anyone thinks that drug testing will "clean up" sports and "restore the game," I've got some Enron stock you might want to invest in.

09 December 2007


April Day was a schoolteacher. She invited Matt Cadd to speak at Career Day. He told them all about being a private detective. It was nothing like TV, of course. They asked him a lot of questions: third grade stuff.

One, in particular, stuck with him.

"Is it fun, mister?"

50 stars on the flag, boys and girls.

08 December 2007


24Seven is a comic--er, graphic novel--from Image. I just finished volume 1, Volume 2 awaits on the shelf. It is a collection of short pieces, vignettes I suppose, in a dark, urban future entirely inhabited by robots. The anthology brings together about fifty creators, writers and artists with impressively diverse styles and stories. The brains behind the outfit call themselves NYC Mech, and that sums up the vibe. Comics are a funny thing, you can have cool art and a weak story, or a good piece with lousy pictures. But when the two work harmoniously together, you get potent, unforgettable stuff. The anthology has both, good and bad, but it is consistently engaging and interesting. They call it "sci-fi/noir" on the back cover, and much of the stuff has a noir outlook. The not-too-far-off mechanistic Manhattan is an easy premise to swallow, and the cybernetic citizens all-too-human. I've a lot to learn about comics, but I can tell there are writers out there, like Ivan Brandon, who need a look.

02 December 2007


A trip to the zoo left April Day streaked with tears. At the bus stop on the way home she gave a drunken bum her last fiver.

"Johnny always gave them money," she said, "he said 'caged animals were treated better.' "

Matt Cadd watched the panhandler shuffle away. And cried.

Because he has no death to die. (Lao-Tzu's 50th)