Wednesday, 28 October 2009
Wednesday, 21 October 2009
Parts 1 - 10 can be read as a whole on The Culbin Trail (http://ijparnham.blogspot.com
Part 11 is right here on this blog.
Sunday, 18 October 2009
This is what you call real watchable television.
The premise is take the slasher horror movie and mix all the elements of mystery, thriller and a dash of romance and keep the audience guessing who the killer is.
Spread the mix over 13 episodes and the audience is in a quandry because you not only want to spot the killer but you do wonder about who is next.
HARPER'S ISLAND begins with a party of people arriving from Seattle to attend the wedding of Henry Dunn to Trish Wellington. Among the guests is Abby Mills who is returning home. Abby is full of trepidation as the island was the scene of her mother's murder by the serial killer John Wakefield. A killer that was killed by Abby's father, Sheriff Charlie Mills.
The arrival of the party sees the re-union of Harper's Island resident and fisherman Jimmy with his ex Abby and old friend Henry. From the start there is no doubt that there is a strong bond between the three of them.
Right at the start, though, of the episode it is clear that something is afoot for one guest doesn't make up the numbers. He's tied up beneath the boat awaiting decapitation by the propellors.
With the passing of each episode so members of the wedding party and some of the residents come to meet the reaper. While the body count rises so does the number of possible suspects rise.
Trish Wellington's father doesn't want his daughter to marry Henry and pays an ex-boyfriend to try and get her away. Ex-boyfriend becomes a victim as does future father in law. The Sheriff, too, comes under suspicion when it is revealed that he never found John Wakefield's body.
Even Henry has his moment when Abby finds him covered in blood and his brother, J.D., dying after being stabbed. "It's all about you, Abby," are his dying word. Cue Abby as suspect.
Enter John Wakefield. This is The Grim Reaper and he just shows no emotion as he rips his way through the remainder of the wedding party.
But, Wakefield is not alone. He has come for his child. And the mother of his child was Abby's mother. Abby is now the key suspect again because by now it has been worked out that Wakefield is not acting alone.
Tonight was the denouement where everything comes together and the other killer's identity is revealed. The storyline was outlined in Episode 1 which made everything in the final two episodes make sense.
Something that should have been corny was really good and that was the romantic intervals between Cal and Chloe and that has to be down to the actors Adam Campbell and Cameron Richardson. You had to be hard hearted to watch them die without being sad that they had become Wakefield's victims.
Elaine Cassidy takes the lead as Abby Mills. With Christopher Gorham and Katie Cassidy as the prospective groom and bride, Henry and Trish. Nor would I want to meet Callum Keith Rennie up a dark alley not after his acting skills at bringing John Wakefield to life.
If you missed it I can only hope that it comes out on DVD.
Friday, 16 October 2009
Ty Ty Walden believes that there is gold on his farm and for the past 15 years has been digging for it. The only thing that grows on his farm is holes.
He has one acre put aside for God with the promise that any profit that piece of land makes will go to God. As long as it is not the fortune in gold that he expects to make. So he keeps shifting the location of that acre.
At first he tries to be all 'scientific' in discovering the whereabouts of the gold. That is until he hears tell that there is a diviner down in the swamps. An albino who can point out where his fortune lay. So Ty Ty along with his sons, Buck and Shaw, head off to the swamps to hunt down and kidnap the albino, Dave Dawson.
While they are doing that Ty Ty sends his daughter, Darling Jill, off to fetch his son-in-law, Will Thompson, to give them a hand.
Helped by the overweight Pluto Swint, who is running for sheriff,
Darling Jill heads over to the mill town where the Thompsons live.
Now poor old Pluto has a thing for Darling Jill and will do anything to be near her but she prefers to be her own woman while, at the same time, shows that she likes a good time. Nor is she fussy.
Out of work Will Thompson turns up drunk and finishes up in bed with Darling Jill. Something that annoys her sister, Rosamund, who is Will's wife.
Will is reluctant to go back to Ty Ty Walden because he would rather go back to work. He wants to re-open the cotton mill, turn on the power and keep the looms going which would put the whole town back to work.
He gives in under pressure. But when they get home Darling Jill walks off with the albino, Dave Dawson. And Ty Ty gets a bit suggestive in his talk of Buck's wife Griselda.
While most of the book to this point is light and humourous at times from this point onwards it is a downhill ride to tragedy. Things heat up when Will Thompson comes to the decision that it is time to stop talking and do what he says. It is at the same time that it is discovered that Griselda doesn't always go shopping either and Ty Ty's lewd remarks have a consequence that leaves him in one of the holes he has dug for himself very much alone.
I was surprised to discover that this book was written in 1933 and that the publisher and author were taken to court for publishing a book with pornographic content. They also tried to have the book banned.
By today's standards it is sort of tame but I think that for the time it was pretty much way out there. The innuendo is very much to the point and as for sexual bits there is enough in the description to let the imagination do the rest.
I enjoyed the book. The style was easy to read and the characters of Ty Ty Walden and Darling Jill with her rebellious, mischievious antics really stood out. And I felt a bit sorry for Pluto Swint who had no one else to blame but himself.
Thursday, 15 October 2009
Wednesday, 14 October 2009
The authors have been I.J.Parnham; Jack Giles; Chuck Tyrell; Evan Lewis; Jack Martin; Jim Griffin; Joseph A West; Bob Napier; Richard Prosch and Paul Dellinger.
All 10 parts can now be read at The Culbin Trail (http://ijparnham.blogspot.com/)
Part 11 is written by Peter Averillo.
Who is next?
Anyone who wants to write Part 12. Just leave a comment and claim your place.
The Story With No Name - Part 11
Silas Bartlett stood there stunned with his mouth gaping wide open.
“What the hell?” he managed to squeeze out, the words strangling in his throat.
The gun in Lola’s hand swung in his direction. A coldness seemed to seep into her honey brown eyes.
“Sit down, Silas,” Lola nodded towards the rickety chair close by his side.
She waited for him to obey before speaking again.
“I don’t trust you, Silas,” she continued. “Never did. But you got one thing right – this is about Walt and me.”
“Don’t include me in,” Walt groaned laying back on the bed.
Lola just smiled: “Like I said this is about you and me.”
“There is no me and you,” Walt spat out. “You made that plain some time back.”
“So I made a mistake,” Lola shrugged. “And you’ve never made any?”
“Plenty,” Walt mumbled.
“Well so did I,” Lola insisted. “The biggest was believing that Zack was the solution to all my problems. He keeps me safe and secure just like I wanted but that’s as far as it goes. We’re just partners in a business. He can’t give me what I really want.”
“And the gold solves all your problems,” Silas snapped as he attempted to rise but sat down again as Lola glared at him.
“No, Silas, this not about the gold,” she snapped.
“If it’s not about the gold - ,” Walt began before choosing to shut his mouth and wait for Lola to say her piece.
“I saved your life, Walt,” Lola reminded him. “I brought you here for a reason. To talk to you. To explain some things to you.”
“Don’t listen to her, Walt,” Silas implored. “She’s in this for herself. Her and Zack Roden, they want my treasure for themselves.”
Lola laughed: “You can believe that if you want to Silas but all the gold I want is lying on that bed.”
“Lola, it’s too late for all that,” Walt groaned, trying to rise up but forced back by the pain in his belly. “’Sides, the way I figure it you’re trying to drive a wedge between me and Silas there. Lull me into thinking that I’d best go with you for the gold.”
“Walt, believe me when I say the gold means nothing to me,” Lola pleaded. “If you don’t believe me all you’ve got to do is burn that damned map.”
The moment that Lola turned her attention to Walt, Silas saw an opportunity to jump her and take the gun away from her. But when she mentioned the idea of burning the map it knocked him back leaving him sitting in stunned silence.
“You serious?” Walt asked, his eyes narrow and watchful.
“Yes,” Lola nodded.
“You can’t,” Silas screamed.
“Certainly not, old chap,” the soft, silky tone of voice had three heads turning towards the open door.
So engrossed in their own problems they had not heard Zack Roden make his entrance nor did they know how long he had been standing there.
“Well, well chaps and chapess,” Zack continued. “It has been a long time since the four of us were last together. Quite the reunion don’t you think?” when no one responded he carried on. “Quite an impressive speach, Lola. Most convincing. Now be a good girl and give Walter the gun. Man looks positively naked without it.” Then, as though it was an afterthought. “Oh, and Walter I don’t think it would be prudent to burn that map. Do you?”
Tuesday, 13 October 2009
1. Do you snack while you read? If so, favourite reading snack.
Well, yes I do snack but it could be anything from sandwiches to crisps.
2. How do you keep your place while reading a book? Book mark? Dog ear?
3. Laying the book flat open?
Being brought up to respect books - never. It's just as easy to bookmark the page.
4. Fiction, non-fiction or both?
Fiction, faction or non-fiction.
5. Hard copy or audio book?
I prefer real books.
6. Are you a person who reads to the end of chapters or are you able to put a book down at any point?
End of chapters. Ilike good endings that make me want to pick the book up again.
7. If you come across a word that is unfamiliar do you look it up straight away?
I go with the flow. Meanings usually come through. If not I look it up later on the computer.
8. What are you currently reading?
The Dark Riders by Howard Hopkins (review coming up when I've finished it).
9. What was the last book you purchased?
Billy by G F Newman - the man who wrote the Judge John Deed tv series.
10. Is there a favourite time or place to read?
Anytime. In my room.
11. Do you prefer series books or stand alone?
Either. It has to be a good series though.
12. Is there a specific book or writer that you recommend?
I suppose I do do that. I like a lot of the Black Horse Western writers. Good books that I read I do review. That's like a recommendation.
13. Are you the type of person who reads one book at a time or can you read more than one?
Er - at school you don't have a choice. At home it's one at a time.
14. How do you organise your books: by genre, title, author?
In the bookcase. Totally haphazard. Though all books by one author are together. I'm a totally disorganised teenager.
Monday, 12 October 2009
The story is set in South Africa at the time of aparthaid.
It is about a boy known by his initials as PK and is played by Guy Witcher at 7 years of age; Simon Fenton at 12 years of age and Stephen Dorff as the 18 year old PK.
PK is English and grows up on a farm in South Africa. After a cattle plague wipes out the farm and the death of his mother PK is sent to an Afrikaaner boarding school.
With the rise of Adolph Hitler PK becomes the victim of bullying led by an older boy Jaapie Botha (Robbie Bulloch). One night he is woken up by a master to be told, curtly, 'You're mother is dead.' PK starts to wet his bed.
After the funeral his nanny calls on a witchdoctor
who shows PK how to face his fears. And faces them he does when he tackles the bully, Jaapie, and embaresses him.
He is taken out of the boarding school by his grandfather and placed in the care of a German pianist and botanist with a love of cacti. With the declaration of war Doc is interned and PK goes with him. Apart from the guards Doc and PK are the only white people in the camp. PK witnesses first hand the treatment of the blacks by their guards.
Doc suggests that a man named Geel Piet (Morgan Freeman) trains PK how to box.
The Kommandant announces a visit by the Commissioner and asks Doc to arrange a concert. How to do it is a concern but PK solves the problem by bringing the tribes together to form a choir. The words though are derogatory to their captors and sung in Zulu the Afrikaaners have no idea that they are being called cowards. One of the guards does though after he has beaten it out of Geel Piet.
After the war PK is sent to an English Boarding school. It is during an inter-school boxing match that PK meets Maria Marais (Fay Masterson), the daughter of one of the architects of modern aparthaid. Together they begin to run a school teaching English to some of the people of the nearby shanty town. This does not go unobserved as Jaapie Botha is now a police sergeant (and now played by Daniel Craig) and he is looking for revenge.
With PK on the run the police invade the shanty town looking for him. Inevitably, there is a showdown between PK and Botha.
I had seen the director, John G Avildson's films of Rocky and The Karate Kid but those films did not prepare me for this one. This is not like them at all. The violence in this movie is shocking from the bullying scenes to the beating of Geel Piet to the massacre in the township. There is no glorifying the violence here but a statement that said that this sort of thing happened.
It is also a brilliant film in the way that it portrays PK's life into his teens.
I now want to read Bryce Courtenay's book and it's sequel
Saturday, 10 October 2009
Chantel will be going on a teenage rampage in the wild west.
Yes, folks, the kids are still in charge for another week.
Let us know what you think.
Friday, 9 October 2009
Thursday, 8 October 2009
In her lifetime it is reckoned that Sally Skulls bodycount was higher. Not a woman to mess with by all accounts.
Sally Skull or Scull was born Sarah Jane Newman in Pennsylvania about 1817.
She came west with her maternal grandfather. Sally Skull showed her prowess with a gun at an early age when the homestead was attacked by Indians.
By the 1830s she was down Texas way where she married Jesse Robinson, one of the heroes of The Battle Of San Jacinto, in 1838. By 1843 they were divorced and in that same year Sally married a gunsmith George Scull.
In her lifetime Sally, who never dropped the name Scull, was married five times.
This lady was feminine but she preferred to wear trousers - though I think that from what I've read she liked to wear the trousers.
She could rope and brand equal to any cow hand and ran her own freighting business. During the Civil War she drove freight up the famed Cotton Road to deliver needed supplies by the Confederate troops.
Sally, despite dressing and riding like a man was all female with a love of dancing. At the same time she liked a game of poker and could cuss with the best of them.
I have a visual picture of Sally who wore a brace of six guns, carried a rifle and wore a sunbonnet. Not the stereotype outfit that is usually imagined.
Sometimes she would get into disputes over land or cattle or horse deals with the result that she resorted to the only means of bringing an end to the arguement. With her guns and, usually, in self-defence.
In 1868 she disappeared. Some said that her fifth husband killed her and buried her body in the desert down Mexico way. Others say that she was seen around later than that.
Or maybe she moved to El Paso where in 1870 a lady known as Alice Stillwell Henderson was said to show some of the traits that Sally Skull had had. Also, it is said, that this lady had written a journal about the life of Sally Skull.
Who knows what happened to Sally Skull.
A lady with steel blue eyes who defied the conventions of her time. A cattlewoman, horsebreeder and freighter who was more feminist than the times could tolerate.
Wednesday, 7 October 2009
Part 10 can be found at Laurie Powers Wild West (http://lauriepowerswildwest.blogspot.com)
You will find links there to the previous 9 episodes.
Not read them yet? Shame on you.
Monday, 5 October 2009
The movie of the book by Peter Marshall reviewed on this blog is now on DVD. It stars Malcolm McDowell and Nanette Newman.
Interest In Open Range
It was good to hear that some articles from Open Range have been used in conjunction with talks with various Historical Associations in America.
Metallica: S & M
We have now seen the DVD of this concert with The San Francisco Symphony Orchestra and Metallica. We enjoyed the session especially the way that the orchestra, band and audience interacted. Has to be seen and heard.
For obvious reasons we will not be posting anything on Tuesday 6th October.
But we'll be back Wednesday and for the rest of the week.
Sunday, 4 October 2009
THE FRIGHTENED CITY (1961)
Directed by John Lemont.
Herbet Lom as Waldo Zhurnikov
John Gregson as Detective Inspector Sayers
Sean Connery as Paddy Damion
Alfred Marks as Harry Foulcher
Yvonne Romain as Anya
The box says that this film is an example of British noir.
Most reviews of this film gives it the thumbs down - but they must have watched a different film to us.
Basic storyline is that accountant Waldo Zhurnikov has gang boss Harry Foulcher as a client. Waldo shows an interest in the current spate of gang warfare and suggests that Harry call a truce and unite the gangs. But he needs an enforcer who will use violence as a last resort.
Enter former cat-burglar Paddy Damion who has a nice line in patter when it comes to promoting the insurence rackets (in other words protection).
When Waldo decides to expand the gangland areas of influence into the construction business one of the gangsters, Alf Peters, pulls out. Because Paddy Damion is very friendly with Alf he is coerced into arranging a meeting where Harry Foulcher kills Alf.
Paddy Damion is caught by Detective Inspector Sayers who has spent part of the film following the gangsters around attempting to catch them red-handed. But Paddy escapes for the final showdown.
No matter what other people say we were rivetted to this film. And watch Sean Connery and he has some great one liners. "I'm a white Russian." Anya, the love interest, tells him. "Not to worry. I'm colour blind."
One movie away and he was already doing the James Bond thing. So one good reason to see this dvd.
The theme tune was by Norrie Paramour who gets to play the part of the pianist in the movie.
The Shadows had a hit with the theme tune - The Frightened City
So take a Heavy Metal group like Metallica and fuse that with Michael Kamen conducting The San Francisco Symphony Orchestra and you get a bit closer to what my dad was thinking.
This is a two disc set which has 21 tracks. The opener is the 'Ectasy Of Gold' and followed by a massive instrumental track ' The Call Of The Ktulu' - just 9.24 minutes of shear mindblowing fusion of symphony orchestra and heavy metal. Does it work? Of course it does. It shouldn't but it does. The opener to 'Master Of Puppets' sounds like a film soundtrack then the guitars hit in and takes the music to another level.
There are two new tracks on this double CD. 'No Leaf Clover' and 'Human'.
Even if you don't like heavy metal I'd give this one a try.
On the downside I have to give this CD back to Dad.
Does anyone think he'd notice if it was missing?
Yeah, I think he would.
Friday, 2 October 2009
TREMORS 4: THE LEGEND BEGINS
This 2004 movie went straight to video but also was premierred that year on the Sci-Fi Channel.
The movie stars Michael Gross as Hiram Gummer (the great-grandfather of Burt Gummer of the original Tremors movie).
The action takes place in the Nevada town of Rejection in 1889.
The sole source of income comes from the nearby silver mine where the workers begin to disappear spreading panic in the town and everyone panics and leaves apart from an Indian, a Chinese family, the saloon owner and Juan, one of the mine workers.
Enter Hiram Gummer from Philadelphia the mine owner who wants to know why work has stopped. With a bunch of miners he enters the mine only for everyone to disappear when they are attacked by flying 'dirt dragons'.
Juan manages to kill one when he throws a pick axe at it. Hiram thinks that the only way he can get rid of the monsters is to telegraph out for a hired gun. Enter Black Hand Kelly. Immediately, Kelly and Hiram clash and with Juan in tow they set out to tackle the Graboid 'Dirt Dragons'.
When this fails Hiram hands over the mine to the surviving townspeople and heads back to Philadelphia. While waiting in Carson City for a train he overhears the telegraph operator laughing off the claims from Rejection that they are being attacked by giant worms.
Armed to the teeth with weaponry Hiram returns to Rejection where the magnificent six take on and defeat the 'dirt dragons'.
And the town becomes known as Perfection.
Very often sequels and prequels do not come up to scratch. In this case this is a prequel that matches the original and it's a pity that this one didn't make it into cinemas. The actors look as though they are enjoying themselves. None of the humour is forced.
None of the hour and half run time is wasted.