Southside With You is the story of Barack Obama and Michelle Robinson’s First Date. Parker Sawyer looks and sounds a lot like Barack Obama. Tika Sumpter is convincing as Michelle. Michelle insists that this “is not a date” because she is technically Barack’s boss while he serves his Summer Internship at the law firm in Chicago that Michelle desperately wants to succeed in. First-time Director, Richard Tanne, also wrote the script for Southside With You. This is where the movie struggles as Tanne tries to make conversations “dramatic” and “meaningful” within the context of a date. There are a few awkward moments and unconvincing moments. But, there is chemistry between Sawyer and Sumpter and that carries the movie. GRADE: B

FORGOTTEN BOOKS #389: PULP MASTERS Edited by Ed Gorman and Martin H. Greenberg

This anthology from 2001 features writers I consider among my favorites. Ed Gorman and Marty Greenberg put together 439-pages of great story-telling. What I really like about this anthology is the length of the stories. Cain, Westlake, Block, MacDonald, Spillane, and Whittington showcase their talents in these longish stories. If you like what you see in Pulp Masters you’ll probably enjoy the two previous anthologies by Gorman and Greenberg: American Pulp and Pure Pulp. These are top-notch stories!
Introduction by Ed Gorman p. vii
• The Embezzler by James M. Cain p. 1
• Ordo by Donald E. Westlake p. 81
• Stag Party Girl by Lawrence Block p. 142
• College-Cut Kill by John D. MacDonald p. 192
• Everybody’s Watching Me by Mickey Spillane p. 256
• So Dead My Love by Harry Whittington p. 330


The Bills lost to the Baltimore Ravens 13-7 in the Opening Day game. The Bills offense was listless. The Bills defense couldn’t stop the Ravens when they needed to. In this first Thursday Night Game of the season, the Bills face an AFC divisional opponent, the New York Jets. The Jets lost a squeaker to the Cincinnati Bengals 23-22. The loser of this game will be in a deep hole just one week into the NFL season! The Bills defeated the Jets twice last year. Can they do it again? If they do, the Bills need to score more than seven points!


By the time you’re reading this, Diane and I will be on a flight to Baltimore for the first leg of our journey to BOUCHERCON in New Orleans. If all goes well, we should be landing in the Big Easy around dinnertime. I’ve been to New Orleans three times (but not since Katrina) while this is the First Time for Diane. Our son Patrick will attend BOUCHERCON, too! The attraction of BOUCHERCON is the people. We have dinner plans with Beth and Joe and Art Scott. I’m sure we’ll have brunch with Bill Crider and the Myersons. And plenty of conversations with Maggie Mason, Ted Hertel, Marv Lachman, and other old friends. The highlight of this visit to New Orleans will be meeting Deb and her husband! Fun, food, and friends! It doesn’t get better than this! Will we see you at BOUCHERCON?


This new Blu-ray version of The Commitments looks great! I loved The Commitments 25 years ago and this 25th Anniversary Edition includes plenty of Special Features:
“25 Years Later: New Interview with Alan Parker and Cast”
“Audio Commentary with Alan Parker”
Four Behind-the-Scenes Featurettes
Music Video
Image Gallaries
Collectible Booklet
If you’re a fan of The Commitments this new Blu-ray edition is a must-buy. And the music sounds even better!
1. Mustang Sally
2. Take Me To The River
3. Chain of Fools
4. The Dark End Of The Street
5. Destination: Anywhere
6. I Can’t Stand the Rain
7. Try a Little Tenderness
8. Treat Her Right
9. Do Right Woman, Do Right Man
10. Mr. Pitiful
11. I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)
12. In the Midnight Hour
13. Bye Bye Baby
14. Slip Away


Diane and I were early fans of Seinfeld. The humor was off-beat. We liked the fact that the setting was New York City (although the series was shot in California). No other comedy program at the time tackled topics like masturbation, lame dancing styles, and eating sandwiches during sex. Jennifer Keishin Armstrong’s Seindeldia makes a valiant attempt to explain the success of the TV comedy (it generated over $2 billion in profits) through interviews and a mostly chronological approach. Seinfeldia is full of fun facts. Rosie O’Donnell was originally considered for the role of Elaine Benes. Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David would “fire” the team of writers at the end of each season and hire a whole new writing staff in order to “keep things fresh.” Jerry Stiller had trouble remembering his lines so his appearances required dozens of extra takes…which explains why Stiller’s character of George’s father is always angry! if you’re a fan of Seinfeld you’ll enjoy this guide to one of the best TV shows ever. I want to drop everything and watch one of my favorite Seinfeld episodes, “The Yada, Yada.” Do you have a favorite Seinfeld episode? GRADE: A-
Introduction: the baseball game
The origin story
The players
The network
The cult hit
The production
The writers
The bizarros
Seinfeld nation
The show about something
The larry david-shaped hole
The end
Seinfeldia emerges
The bizarros: the sequel
The legend of the curse
Source Notes
Interview List


baltimore ravens vs. buffalo bills
I think the Buffalo Bills lead the League in players who are serving 4-game drug suspensions. Another player, facing a possible suspension for domestic abuse, was cut this week. Despite all of this chaos, Head Coach Rex Ryan projects an air of confidence. Bills fans know much of the 2016 season will be determined by what the Bills do today in Baltimore. Rex Ryan has a 6-1 record in Opening Day games. How is your favorite NFL team going to do today?


Kubo and the Two Strings is a visual feast! A young boy named Kubo tends to his injured mother. He raises money in the nearby Japanese village by playing a three-string guitar and telling stories using origami figures that magically come to life. Kubo’s mother warns him never to stay out after dark. And, of course, one day Kubo does miss his curfew and that event triggers the rest of the action in this absorbing and entertaining animated feature. The colors are brilliant and origami effects are spectacular! The story will involve you as Kubo’s quest takes many unexpected twists and turns. If you’re a fan of superb animation and traditional Japanese story-telling, you’ll find a lot of like in Kubo and the Two Strings. GRADE: B+

FORGOTTEN BOOKS #388: WOMEN OF FUTURES PAST Edited by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Even though this book has just been published, it qualifies as a “Forgotten Book” because of the stories in it. Kristine Kathryn Rusch has assembled a potent anthology of great stories by women published over the past decades. Some are classics like C. L. Moore’s “Shambleau.” Some are less familiar like Andre Norton’s “All Cats Are Gray.” And then there’s Connie Willis’s time travel story, “Fire Watch,” which won both a Hugo Award and a Nebula Award for Best Novelette. The quality of the stories in Women of Futures Past is very high. You can’t go wrong with this marvelous book! GRADE: A
Introduction: Invisible Women by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
The Indelible Kind by Zenna Henderson
The Smallest Dragonboy by Anne McCaffrey
Out of All Them Bright Stars by Nancy Kress
Angel by Pat Cadigan
Cassandra by C.J. Cherryh
Shambleau by C.L. Moore
The Last Days of Shandakor by Leigh Brackett
All Cats Are Gray by Andre Norton
Aftermaths by Lois McMaster Bujold
The Last Flight of Doctor Ain by James Tiptree, Jr.
Sur by Ursula K. Le Guin
Fire Watch by Connie Willis
About the Editor


Baudelaire's Revenge_Tour Banner_FINAL
I picked up a copy of Bob van Laerhoven’s Baudelaire’s Revenge (2014) because it won the Hercule Poirot Prize for Best Crime Novel. I didn’t even know there was a Hercule Poirot Prize. And, I’m sorry to report, Baudelaire’s Revenge is 180 degrees from a Hercule Poirot mystery as you can get. The novel is set in 1870 Paris. The Prussians are about to invade the city. There are a series of murders. Each victim has part of a Baudelaire poem on or near his body. Van Laerhoven presents us with some kinky situations, but there’s no real detection in this novel. Brian Doyle’s translation of Baudelaire’s Revenge from the Dutch reads well. But I didn’t find the book very satisfying. GRADE: C