keep out

In accordance with Federal Law John M. Whalen announces changes to his privacy policy: “I don’t know nothin.’ I don’t say nothin.” I don’t know nothin’ about nobody. Don’t call or write. Beware of dog. Keep off of property. This means you.”


trig jr

What’s the connection between Quentin Tarantino and Roy Rogers? Find out in my latest review for Cinema Retro, “Trigger, Jr.” It’s a western with some unusually dark themes and a shocker of an ending. You can read the review by clicking here. 

Some stories have a happy ending. Last week my cell phone died after I took into the local swimming pool with me. I was in the water maybe 15 minutes before I realized the phone was in the pocket of my swim suit. It’s a six-or-seven year old iphone-4. It worked great and never had a problem. I hated the idea of losing it. When I got home I put it in a bucket of uncooked rice for about 36 hours. It sort of came to life. But only for three of for minutes at a time.

After a day or two it didn’t come back at all and I thought it was a goner. A lot of people I know told me it was a hopeless case, and I should buy a new one. In fact, I didn’t have much hope for it either. That was a long time for it to be under water. But I put it back in the rice for another 12 hours and unbelievably it showed signs of life again. Maybe it wasn’t a hopeless case after all. I took it over to the mall where they have cell phone repair kiosk.

The guy there took it apart and said all I needed was a battery. Problem was, did he have a battery for an old iphone-4? He did. Put it in and voila! as good as new. The really good news: He only charged me $20.

I was prepared  to spend hundreds on a new phone.  But it turns out Apple builds a really good phone. They last. I could have listened to the naysayers and given up on it. The lesson: You gotta have faith.


There’s that old Zen koan “What is the sound of one hand clapping?” We’ve come to the point where we now hear it everyday. When a left wing liberal comedian tells a joke the left hand claps. When a right wing conservative tells one, the right hand claps. The silence is deafening.


It was 20 years ago today that screenwriter, novelist Stirling Silliphant died in Bangkok, Thailand. I remember sitting in my office at the Bureau of National Affairs in Washington, DC seeing the news on the AP wire. I was shattered. I didn’t know him, never met him, but he was a huge influence, mainly through the route 66 TV series that he wrote for CBS from 1960 to 1964. That series has been called the best ever written for television.

I couldn’t work the rest of the day. I called up Fred Blosser a fellow Silliphant fan. We’d followed his work since the sixties. He had a long career with lots of ups and downs, including winning an Oscar, but nothing he wrote later ever equaled his 66 output. He had complete creative control on that series.

In 1999, three years after he died I made a trip to the UCLA Charles Young Library and gained access to some of the 35 boxes of material he had donated before expatriating to Thailand. It was there, in that library, holding his actual manuscripts in hand, that I realized it all starts with a man putting words on paper. In my own humble way, I decided to try and do what he did. I was late to the game, but I’ve managed to turn out a few things that I feel he would recognize were his influences.

In one episode of 66 one of his characters said of her short-lived marriage: “How can anything so brief, be so enduring?” So it is with Stirling’s four brief years on route 66. His words, his thoughts, his emotions endure, and so do we. Thanks for making us believe that, somehow, it’s all worth it, Stirling.


THE SHOT RANG OUT, the new anthology featuring 52 writers writing 52 500-word stories based on the same prompt is now available in Kindle. Mordecai Slate makes an appearance in my contribution, “The Mescalero Incident.”  You might call it Kolchak meets Mordecai. There are other excellent stories in the book, which is a fun and interesting read. It’s interesting to see how the fevered minds of 52 writers take off  from the same starting point and go off in such different directions. You can order a copy for only .99 cents on Amazon.

It wasn’t easy, but today I come clean and reveal my secret hangup in my review of “Beyond the 12-Mile Reef” over on Cinema Retro. 



Where are you, Rodney?

The world don’t make no sense anymore. For example,parents used to threaten to wash their kids mouths out with soap. Now kids are eating Tide pods. I tell ya.

You used to watch the news on TV and felt like you were getting informed. Now you watch the news and feel like you need a shower. No kidding.

They used to run ads on TV promoting safe driving. Now people are getting run over by self-driving cars. What about that?

It don’t make no sense anymore. Donald Trump used to fire celebrities on TV. Nowadays it’s cabinet members.

Here’s some exciting news. Monster Hunter Mordecai Slate will make an appearance in a new western anthology called “The Shot Rang Out.” Scott Harris has honchoed this project, which involved 52 writers each writing a 500 word western short story. The story had to have the following sentences in it. “The shot rang out. I heard her scream at the same time the bottle hit the floor.” My contribution is called “The Mescalero Incident” and features Mordecai doing what he does best. Killing monsters. Should be available next month. Here’s the cover.



Phone rings in the Kremlin:

Putin: Hello.

Trump-O: Hey Vlad, congrats on that stunning election victory.

Putin: (long silence) Who is this? That you, Boris? You and your jokes. 

Trump-O: Seriously, good job.

Putin: Alright! I know what’s going on. You guys in the mail room! You think you’re being funny?

Trump-O: Huh?

Putin: I’ll show you funny. You’ll be sorting mail in Siberia! 

Trump-0: Maybe I should call back. . .(Hey, Jared, I don’t think this was such a great idea, you nitwit.)