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Hard to believe, but Stirling Silliphant, Oscar winning writer, creator of the greatest TV series ever, “Route 66,” is having a birthday today. His 100th birthday. He passed away in Thailand in 1996, but his memory and his great writing live on, still inspiring paltry beggars like me.
Some quotes from his writing:

“It’s the curse of the writing man to wonder if his fingers are as true when they touch paper, as they are when they touch his daughter’s tears.” Route 66, “a lonely bunch of pagliaccis.”

“Around here they think I’m one-third Apache. In Korea, believe it or not, they thought I was one third Korean. I’m one third of wherever I am. Not because I want to be. I blend in like one of those lizards.. . .With you, Diane I could be three-thirds of myself.”– Route 66, “…he shall forfeit his dog and 10 shillings to the king.”

“I was arrested in New York for having a pet unicorn.”
“Everyone knows unicorns are just creatures of somebody’s imagination.”
“Aren’t we all?” –Route 66, ‘how much a pound is albatross?”

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Am I  smelling the beginning of the end of the Trump Administration? Steve Bannon’s book has rocked the White House. It’s release came just after the Supermoon on January 2. The Supermoon occurred in Trump’s 11th house of friends. Full Moons are about endings. And so ends a beautiful friendship. Trump used to say Bannon was a great guy. Now he’s nothing and “he’s lost his mind.”

Wait until the Super Blue Blood Moon lunar eclipse coming January 31 in Trump’s House of Secret Enemies and Self-undoing. The administration will be hit by a tsunami of scandal, as Saturn squares Neptune in Trump’s chart during the first two weeks of February. There will be chaos and it will very difficult to tell exactly what’s going on behind the scenes.

But Steve Bannon claims it’s all about money laundering. I predicted such would be the case last year. The question is what damage will all this do to our country?

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Mordecai Slate, Jack Brand, Frank Carson, and me wish all our friends out there a Happy New Year. Thanks for your support. We couldn’t do it without you. Look for more exciting adventures in 2018. You haven’t seen anything yet.

 

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Today over on  Cinema Retro I review “Lust in the Dust,” er, rather “Duel in the Sun” with Jennifer Jones, Gregory Peck and Joseph Cotton. It’s a western that thinks it’s “Gone with the Wind.” Something between a Eugene O’Neill tragedy and a Carol Burnett sketch.

 

In honor of the season, here is a re-post of an excerpt from “Hunting Monsters Is My Business.”  Happy Holidays.

* * * * *

Mordecai Slate, Doc Washburn, and the Reverend Powell rode on through the snow, the memory of what had occurred in Rio Muerto still blazing in their minds. The thick New Mexican snowflakes stung Slate’s cheek as he kept Dutch, his buckskin horse, set on course due north on the Camino Real. The doctor and the reverend followed in the wagon.

An hour later — the snow heavier, visibility almost zero — a dark shape loomed up ahead. As they approached, Slate saw it was a small lean-to built on the side of the road–a dilapidated relay station. There was someone inside. Two small figures huddled together, hidden in the dark interior of the lean to. They were behind a feed trough filled with straw. Two homeless Mexicans caught in the storm. Slate saw a baby wrapped in a blanket, lying in the straw.

He dismounted and the other two men climbed down from the wagon. Slate saw that the Mexicans, a man and a woman, were very young, and the baby was newborn.

Slate and his companions stared down at them in silence. As poor and desperate as they were, there was something about them. Some kind of peaceful feeling seemed to surround the lean-to. After all that they, Slate and the others, had experienced in Rio Muerto, it was like a soothing balm that healed.

Slate took some of the gold coins Don Pedro had given him for hunting down Kord Manion and dropped them in the woman’s lap. Doc Washburn opened his bag and examined the child. He gave the woman some medicine for colic.

Reverend Powell stood over them, making a sign of the cross. The wind and snow howled mercilessly outside all around them.

What was wrong with people in England in the 1600s? I watched GUNPOWDER on HBO about Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot to blow up the English Parliament and King James and the Queen. Catholics were being persecuted by James big time.

I mean they didn’t just burn Catholics at the stake or hang them. They’d tie them down on the scaffold and draw and quarter them. Cut off their genitals while they watched and then cut out their eyes, and then chop off their heads and arms and legs. All while a crowd of men women and children cheered it all on.

This was supposedly a civilized country?? Shakespeare was alive and writing then. Humanity is a sorry mess by and large. It was an interesting 3-part minisieries but like all the stuff about merry olde England it ens up being pretty depressing.

Wouldn’t be surprised if public executions made a comeback as a reality TV show.

Hunting Monsters final frontOther than Star Wars there’s a lot of buzz about Guillermo Del Toro’s latest THE SHAPE OF WATER. It’s an odd coincidence perhaps that in 2012 I wrote a story featuring Mordecai Slate called THE SHAPE OF A CAGE. In that tale Slate gets the tables turned on him when he’s bitten by a werewolf and becomes the hunted instead of the hunter.

He gets stuck mid-transformation and is rendered something grotesque. He gets captured by some hunters who sell him to a traveling circus where he’s kept in a cage and treated like a freak by a cruel circus owner. Also in the circus was a mermaid named Elois who did her show in a tank of water. She could also walk on land, however and she feels pity for Slate and helps him escape. The story was nominated for a Pushcart when it was published by Emby Press in the USE ENOUGH GUN collection.

The inspiration for the story came partly from an old episode of Route 66, “the cruelest sea of all,” in which one of the guys in the Corvette falls in love with a real live mermaid doing shows at Weeki Wachee Springs, Fla. Her name was Elisa. Now we have THE SHAPE OF WATER in which a merman in a tank of water has a weird relationship with a deaf and dumb girl. Guess what her name is? Elisa. Did Tel Toro just happen to draw his inspiration from Route 66 just as I did (as well as The Creature from the Black Lagoon)? Who knows?
If you’d like to read my tale you can find it in HUNTING MONSTERS IS MY BUSINESS, the Mordecai Slate stories.

BIGKNIFE

Oscar winning screenwriter Stirling Silliphant called Hollywood an “eel pit” and took off for Thailand never to return. To find out what he meant by that read my latest review over on Cinema Retro. THE BIG KNIFE dissects Hollywood in a way no other film ever has.

A couple of items today.

First:

My membership in Netflix ends today. About the only thing I found worth watching over the last three months was Stranger Things. The rest of what I saw was singularly unappealing.

But my reasons for dropping it have more to do with the nature of the beast. rather than bad programming I dislike the element of mind control Netflix exercises over its members. It”s built around behavioral science concepts, the kind they use on lab rats. Provide the rat with a pleasant stimulus, continue to apply so that the rat becomes helplessly addicted, then cut it off with the promise of more to come soon. Meanwhile,keep automatically relieving the poor rat of some of his money, which he willingly parts with, to continue the pleasant experience.

Worse they keep track of the lab rat’s choices and send emails to entice him to watch similar programming. They compile lists of suggested titles to watch based on what you watched in the past. In the end I suspect you could become more addicted to Netflix than opiates. In fact the two things are analagous. Get hooked on drugs or bad TV. It’s your choice. I don’t take opiates and, even if there is a bad period of withdrawal, I won’t be watching Netflix either.

Second:

The evil mouse is on the move.

Gobbling up even more of the entertainment industry. Disney bought Star Wars from George Lucas a couple of years ago and now plans to own 21st Century Fox. Aren’t there any anti-trust laws in effect anymore?

Letting a little rodent run almost everything you watch on TV, streaming and theatrical films is not a good thing. If you think most movies and TV shows all seem alike now just wait. There will soon be only one way to make a TV show or movie–the Disney way. Of course the mouse doesn’t care. He just gets richer and richer.

Heads are rolling faster than they did during the French Revolution. We may be living through a new Reign of Terror. “Off with their heads,” they cried once upon a time. The Revolutionary Tribunal sent hundreds to the guillotine.

Today the media acts as Robespierre’s spies and the executives of the cable, network, and movie studios are carrying out the sentence. And yet Citizen Trump, a self-confessed offender, tweets away with insane glee as the revolution swirls around him.

Is the White House really immune to the rising tide?