An 11th woman, a porn star, says Trump offered her 10 G’s to have sex with her. Sounds like Hillary isn’t the only one guilty of pay for play.

(Any late night comedians: you want to use that joke, just send a check.)

p5492_p_v8_aaWatching Dracula’s Daughter on Svengoolie. I’ve get a better copy of that movie on Laserdisc than the one they’re showing. Laserdics were a very fine home video medium. And I’m shocked at young people who say they’ve never even seen or heard of them.

Well, why would I be shocked. Young people today have never heard of much of anything.

downey-3Speaking of laserdiscs, and other things that have become extinct, it seems the rate of extinction is accelerating more rapidly than at any other time in history. That’s a new scientific term I just invented. The rate of extinction. It means the rate at which things in our lives come and go. Stuff comes and goes in a flash. It’s coming and going faster than ever before. Remember pet rocks and mood rings?People are becoming extinct faster than ever. Remember Morton Downey Jr.? How about Joe Pine? Or McLean Stevenson.

Mass consumerism is producing more and more junk, and more and more junk people who appear on the horizon briefly and then get quickly buried under a giant trash heap, as new junk appears. Just think as the seconds are ticking away, you’re getting that much closer to extinction yourself. And not only extinction. Oblivion. Oblivion, if you look in the dictionary, actually means the state of being totally forgotten. We’re all floating in a giant Sargasso sea of junk, about to be swept under by the next wave of garbage. Ponder that for a minute. 



Svengoolie is showing Revenge of the Creature tonight, the second film in the Creature from the Black Lagoon trilogy. The Creature is probably my favorite Universal monster, though I hate to call him that. He was such a misunderstood character.  Back in 2000 around Halloween time I wrote a piece about the creature that ran in the Washington Post. Here we are 16 years later, and the creature is still among us.

Here’s a link to the Washington Post feature.


As this theater of the absurd sick comedy of an election lurches into the final stretch, I don’t see how either party can claim a victory. Last night’s debate was about on the level of a Jerry Springer show. I was waiting for Maury to show up with some paternity tests. Maybe the Debate Commission should call in Dr. Phil to moderate the third and final debate. It can’t get much worse. Or can it?


Cinema Retro has just posted another one of my reviews. This one is for “Billy Two Hats” starring Gregory Peck and Desi Arnaz, Jr. It’s an off-beat western, the kind they used to make back in the seventies. Read the review and find out why it’s called the first, and I guess, the only “kosher western” ever made. Here’s the link to Cinema Retro.



Today on Cinema Retro I review “Blackmail” starring Edward G. Robinson as an oil well firefighter with a past. Edward G was loaned out by Warners to MGM to do this chain gang potboiler. It’s no “I Am A Fugitive from a Chain Gang,” but enjoyable, although it’s hard to swallow Eddie taking so much guff from blackmailer Gene Lockhart. You can read the review here



Just watched first episode of HBO’s Westworld. What a disaster. Pretentious as all get out. Preposterous as a toad sitting on a mushroom quoting Shakespeare. Boring, confusing and ridiculous.

The action set piece in the middle of the story featured an orchestrated version of the Stones’ Paint It Black that was so loud it almost drowned out all the gunshot sound effects!!! HBOhad a huge flop with Vinyl and hopes it’s found something to replace Game of Thrones when it shuts down . This aint it.

Seems lately nobody knows how to do Western/Sci Fi mashups anymore. Cowboys and Aliens was the latest big screen failure. West World is headed for Boot Hill pronto.


Is Steven King writing this whole election or are we living out one of those theater of the absurd dramas of the sixties?


We have one candidate who is described by opponents as an evil, misogynistic, orange-faced clown;


another who opponents describe as an evil witch who can barely walk and is about to take away everybody’s guns, if she doesn’t collapse from ill-health first, whose husband is a philanderer;


a Libertarian candidate who keeps having “brain-freezes;”


we have accusations of scandal being lobbed from every corner, and a media that can’t wait to get every juicy detail out there.


And if you’re waiting for all this to end forget it. Those guys in “Waiting for Godot.” They’re still waiting. It’s never going to end.

I just found this recent review of HUNTING MONSTERS IS MY BUSINESS on Goodreads. It was written by a reader from India. It’s quite a thrill to know that my book reached a reader so far away and that it struck a chord in him strong enough to sit down and pen a really thoughtful review.

He grasped a significant fact. The Slate stories aren’t about the horror, violence and blood they contain, but rather they’re about the impact these things have on the characters. I appreciate the reviewer’s comparison with the work of Joe Lansdale. But my intent has always been to follow Stirling Silliphant’s example and try to write about the characters’ humanity–either their universal humanity or their own special individual humanity. It’s really the only thing worth writing about in my opinion.

Anyway, here’s the review on Goodreads, written by Mr. Riju Ganguly. Thanks Mr. Ganguly.

slateWeird Western is a sub-genre that has straddled across two mainstream genres since
its inception: ‘horror’ and ‘western’. There have been several practitioners, among whom the big daddy would be Joe. R. Lansdale who, with his own take on “Jonah Hex” as well as his unique creation Reverend Jebediah Mercer, practically created the tracks for smooth running of this particular railroad. Lansdale’s works glisten & glow with his unique wit, raucous humour, jaw-dropping action, and horror that originate from supernatural as well as very human atrocities.

The book under discussion is a modest walk along those tracks.

Mordecai Slate is a proper demon-hunter, who can be hired to take care of such business that nobody talks about, forget about anybody dealing with them.
Above all, he is a human being, with strengths & limitations befitting a fit & determined person who knows that, no matter what happens, he must go on.
In that process, he has several adventures, most of which are tragic, but strangely redemptive with their human tone. This book contains almost all of them, except the major saga that has got its own life as a stand-alone novel named “Vampire Siege at Rio Muerto”, to be found elsewhere.

Followed by an authorial introduction, these stories are:
1. The Last Payday of the Killibrew Mine
2. Samurai Blade
3. Little China
4. Rancho Diablo
5. The Shape of a Cage
6. Undead Empire, Gog!
7. The Man Who Had No Soul
8. On the Camino Real (this one is NOT a story, but a vignette that would keep on echoing through the next novella)
9. Hunting Monsters Is My Business

These stories are special because of their gentle and pathos-filled tone, irrespective of all the blood & gore that get spilled in course of action.

So, if you are in the mood for reading some gentle weird western, this book would be good for you.
If you simply want to read a few stories about a character who rides across the fictional landscape of the great American West, then also this book might cater to your needs.



“Seven Days in May” was on TCM the other night. Unlike the comic book superhero movies of today, which numb you with their violence, Rod Serling’s script had only one mildly violent scene in the whole film, yet it was gripping from beginning to end. That movie has vital lessons for today. It’s about a charismatic general who plans a coup against the president, who signed a nuclear disarmament treaty with Russia. The general thinks he’s weak. He plots with other generals to take over the government.

Near the end of the film, Serling sums the situation up rather nicely in a bit of dialogue uttered by the President. He tells one of his aides that the general isn’t the enemy.

“The enemy’s an age – a nuclear age. It happens to have killed man’s faith in his ability to influence what happens to him. And out of this comes a sickness, and out of sickness a frustration, a feeling of impotence, helplessness, weakness. And from this, this desperation, we look for a champion in red, white, and blue. Every now and then a man on a white horse rides by, and we appoint him to be our personal god for the duration. For some men it was a Senator McCarthy, for others it was a General Walker, and now it’s a General Scott.”

At the very end he says at a press conference exposing the coup:

“There’s been abroad in this land in recent months a whisper that we have somehow lost our greatness, that we do not have the strength to win without war the struggles for liberty throughout the world. This is slander, because our country is strong, strong enough to be a peacemaker. It is proud, proud enough to be patient. The whisperers and the detractors, the violent men are wrong. We will remain strong and proud, peaceful and patient, and we will see a day when on this earth all men will walk out of the long tunnels of tyranny into the bright sunshine of freedom.”

Something to think about as the election nears.

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In remembrance of this tragic anniversary, I’m republishing this account of my own personal experience that day. 

It’s funny how a day can start out so ordinary and in an instant turn out to be a day where everything changes forever. On Sept. 11, 2001 I was an editor/reporter for a news organization in Washington, D.C.  That particular morning I was driving up I-395 in northern Virginia to my office in the District, listening to WGMS-FM, Washington’s former classical music station (no longer in existence) when a news flash came on about a plane crashing into one of the World Trade Center buildings. It was shocking news, especially when 20 minutes later there was a report of a second crash into the other WTC Tower.

I knew Howard Stern broadcast live from New York so I punched the radio button for his station and heard Howard and Robin and Bababooey talking about it. As they jabbered on, I eased off I-395 onto the off ramp for Washington Blvd., the way I always did every morning. Washington Blvd. runs right alongside the Pentagon. Halfway down the ramp, traffic came to a standstill. Suddenly there was a loud noise over to my left– like a tornado loaded with TNT. I turned and saw a big airliner that was no more than 20 feet off the ground, flying at the speed of a guided missile right toward the Pentagon building. I mean it was unbelievably fast. It was a moment of complete shock. Something like that, you don’t believe you’re really seeing it.

The off ramp I was siting on on cuts under an overpass where I-395 continues on to D.C. There was an embankment in front of me, so  I couldn’t see the Pentagon building directly, but a second later there was an explosion on the other side and a huge ball of orange fire billowed up in the sky.

After listening to the New York attacks, I realized we must be under some kind of siege and the first thing I thought was how many more planes are coming? How big is this? For a moment everyone in their cars sat there stunned, but then some of us got out of our vehicles and climbed up the embankment toward the pillar of smoke that was rising on the other side of the hill. At the top we looked down and saw the Pentagon surrounded in a dense fog of black smoke, orange flames licking the sky. Almost immediately the wind blew the sickening smell of a burning airliner toward us. It was an unbelievable sight and there’s just no way to describe how I felt at that moment.

It took several minutes before I heard any sirens or saw any flashing red lights, but by the time the emergency vehicles arrived we all started back down the embankment to our cars. I got in my car and Howard Stern and gang were still chattering away. I clicked the radio off and sat in silence, my hands shaking, heart pounding in my chest and there was only one thought in my head. “I’ve got to get out of here!” How in the world first responders can charge into situations like that escapes me. The instinct for survival is strong, and when there’s danger your first reaction is to run.

But we couldn’t run, we were stuck on the off ramp, and it was an uncomfortable half hour until police arrived and made everyone turn around and drive back up the wrong way and follow detours that took us away from D.C.  I drove home wondering what in the world is happening? What was it all about? I had just seen something that I never thought I’d see outside of a bad science fiction movie.

It was a day that changed America forever. There’s no denying it. Some things will never be the same. But other things will. The triumph of courage over fear shown by rescue workers, many who lost their lives trying to help others; the readiness of men in uniform to defend and protect the nation and its people; and the hope that someday things will be better, that love can overcome hate, and reason will vanquish ignorance, those things still remain. There’s always hope.