Monthly Archives: April 2010


This special edition of Friday’s FORGOTTEN BOOKS features short story collections. I decided on Dangerous Women edited by Otto Penzler because it’s a very good anthology that somehow slipped under a lot of readers’ radar in 2005. Plenty of Big Name Writers contributed to this project. Here’s the Table of Contents:
Improvisation By Ed McBain
Cielo Azul By Michael Connelly
Give me your heart By Joyce Carol Oates
Karma By Walter Mosley
Dear Penthouse forum (a first draft) By Laura Lippman
Rendezvous By Nelson DeMille
What she offered By Thomas H. Cook
Her lord and master By Andrew Klavan
Mr. Gray’s folly By John Connelly
A thousand miles from nowhere By Lorenzo Carcaterra
Witness By J. A. Jance
Soft spot By Ian Rankin
Third party By Jay McInerney
The last kiss By S. J. Rozen
Sneaker wave By Anne Perry
Louly and pretty boy By Elmore Leonard
Born bad By Jeffery Deaver

As you can see, there’s something for everyone.

(This completes the April 2010 portion of my Short Story Reading Challenge. I will read and review one short story collection per month in 2010. To find out more about the Short Story Reading Challenge, be sure to click: “”>Short Story Reading Challenge.)


This is the first time this legendary concert is available on DVD. It’s hard to imagine a concert with more great performers at the beginning of their careers. In fact, the big headliner for this concert was Leslie Gore! The Rolling Stones were still a nascent band. James Brown was still looking for his first Billboard Top 10 hit. Most listeners thought the Beach Boys were fading. Here’s the amazing lineup:
Filmed at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, October 29, 1964, performances include:
Jan & Dean- (Here They Come) From All Over The World
Chuck Berry- Johnny B. Goode, Maybellene, Sweet Little Sixteen, Nadine (Is it You?)
Gerry And The Pacemakers- Maybellene, Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying, Its Gonna Be Alright, How Do You Do It?, I Like It
Smokey Robinson & The Miracles- That’s What Love Is Made Of, You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me, Mickeys Monkey
Marvin Gaye- Stubborn Kind Of Fellow, Pride And Joy, Can I Get A Witness, Hitch Hike
Lesley Gore- Maybe I Know, You Don’t Own Me, You Didn’t Look Around, Hey Now, Its My Party, & Judy’s Turn To Cry
Jan & Dean- The Little Old Lady (From Pasadena) & Sidewalk Surfin
The Beach Boys- Surfin U.S.A., I Get Around, Surfer Girl, & Dance, Dance, Dance
Billy J. Kramer & The Dakotas- Little Children, Bad To Me, I’ll Keep You Satisfied, & From A Window
The Supremes- When The Lovelight Starts Shining Through His Eyes, Run, Run, Run, Baby Love, & Where Did Our Love Go
The Barbarians- Hey Little Bird
James Brown & The Flames- Out Of Sight, Prisoner Of Love, Please, Please, Please, & Night Train
The Rolling Stones- Around and Around, Off The Hook, Time Is On My Side, It’s All Over Now, & I’m All Right
All Performers- Show Close: Lets Get Together
To hear Milo Miles’ take on The T.A.M.I. Show just click on PLAY below.


Roger Ebert famously claimed that video games could not be art. But how about an animated movie based on a video game that’s based on Dante Alighieri’s fourteenth-century epic poem. The Divine Comedy? Dante’s Inferno exploded on my HDTV screen with a riot of color. As Dante makes his way down the Nine Circles of Hell, with his guide Virgil, he confronts the mistakes of his life on his quest for his beloved Beatrice. Yes, there’s plenty of action as Dante keeps getting attacked by demons and fiends. But the story weaves itself around Dante’s father and mother. Secrets are revealed. I loved the surreal images of Hell. If you’re a fan of animated movies, you’ll really enjoy Dante’s Inferno. GRADE: A-

THE LIVING SIDE By Meg Hutchinson

If you like Beth Orton, you’ll like Meg Hutchinson. Both artists share the same preference for smart lyrics, thoughtful songs, and distinctive voices. Meg Hutchinson’s latest CD, The Living Side, explores various moods. “Being Happy” and “At First It Was Fun” take ironic views of life. “See Me Now” presents an assessment of Meg’s life so far. This is a quiet, reflective CD that invites multiple playings. To sample Meg’s solo performance, just click on PLAY below. GRADE: B+


John Carter of Mars, a marvelous omnibus hardcover that includes A Princess of Mars, The Gods of Mars, and The Warlord of Mars, can be had for $10! That’s right, for the cost of a single paperback, you can have this well-crafted volume. You can buy this book online at or just go to your local Barnes & Noble and pick it up in the BARGAIN section. Now, I confess I used my B&N Reader’s Advantage card and one of the 10% off coupons Barnes & Noble are always emailing me. Still, if you don’t have the card or the coupon, John Carter of Mars will cost you only $12.95. If you love these Mars books as much as I do, you’ll want them in this deluxe format for this incredible price.


The NFL Draft inspires hope. Every team in the NFL now has a flock of new players to fantasize about, players that may or may not have an impact next season. The Draft is a brilliant marketing device to keep fans’ interest while the first preseason game is still three months away. The dismal Buffalo Bills, with numerous needs to fill, surprised nearly everybody by drafting C. J. Spiller (pictured above) with the Ninth pick in the First Round. Reportedly, Spiller is the best running back in the Draft. The big question remains: do the Bills have an offensive line to block for Spiller? After missing the playoffs for the past 10 years, losing 13 straight games to divisional opponent New England, and generally sucking, could this be the first step in building a winning team? Stay tuned.


The Losers is basically The A-TEAM with sex. A group of military specialists find themselves double-crossed after a botched mission in Bolivia. They go underground only to be recruited by Zoe Saldana who seems to be everywhere (remember her in AVATAR and as Uhura in Star Trek). Zoe gets the team back into the U.S. and then massive explosions, plenty of gunplay, and mayhem result. If you’re in the mood for an above average action movie, check out The Losers. GRADE: B+


Fritz Leiber, legendary fantasy and science fiction writer, delighted readers for decades with his stories of swords & sorcery, magic, and cats. Now, in the 21st Century, most of Leiber’s works are out-of-print. Now, Night Shade Books has published The Selected Stories of Fritz Leiber makiing some of Leiber’s best stories available for a new generation of readers. Here’s the Table of Contents:
Introduction by Neil Gaiman
Smoke Ghost
The Girl with the Hungry Eyes
Coming Attraction
A Pail of Air
A Deskful of Girls
Space Time for Springers
Ill Met in Lankhmar
Four Ghosts in Hamlet
Gonna Roll the Bones
The Inner Circles (aka The Winter Flies)
America the Beautiful
Bazaar of the Bizarre
Midnight by the Morphy Watch
Belsen Express
Catch That Zeppelin!
Horrible Imaginings
The Curse of the Smalls and the Stars
Sure, I would have chosen some other stories for inclusion, but this bunch will do for now. If you haven’t read Fritz Leiber, this is a good place to start.

This completes the April part of Carl V.’s fantasy challenge. To learn more about the fantasy challenge, click here.


Joe Pug sounds like Bob Dylan-lite. Messenger reminds me of Free-Wheeling Bob Dylan at the start of Dylan’s career. Joe Pug sings some acoustic numbers, sings a couple songs that sound like they would fit in on CMT, and ends with the song that’s my favorite, “Speak Plainly, Diana.” Clearly, Joe Pug is searching for his musical style. Some of the songs are folky, protesting, and enigmatic. No matter. Joe Pug has talent and will find his style in an album or two. Thrn he’ll find his niche. For a sample, click on PLAY below. GRADE: B


AMAZON has this 4-DVD set for an amazing price of $6.99! That’s 20 episodes of “Dirty Harry-lite” with former NFL defensive end Fred Dryer as a rogue cop. But the main attraction is Hunter’s hot partner, Detective Dee Dee McCall (aka, The Brass Cupcake), played by the fetching Stepfanie Kramer. Hunter ran from 1984 to 1991 (although Stepfanie Kramer bailed out after Season Six). I consider Season One the best of the bunch. After the first season, the network suits insisted that the violence be “toned down” a few notches. The last couple seasons are pretty bland. But, the First Season is the Real Deal. And, for the price of a new paperback, you can have hours of viewing enjoyment! GRADE: B+