Thursday, October 29, 2009

Sam Colt

I thought I would take another look at some of the books on my shelf and give a "skim-over" to let the readers know what they are about. I'm starting off with Sam Colt and His Gun, The Life of the Inventor of the Revolver, by Gertrude Hecker Winders, published by the John Day Company and copyrighted 1959 by the author. This edition is the Fourth Impression, and this particular book was in a library since it still has the small envelope that holds the checkout card glued to the inside cover. The library identification has been covered over with a black marker.

The title and subtitle explain the contents pretty well, but they don't get into the details, of course. Born in 1814, Colt had always been fascinated with guns, getting his first muzzle-loader at a young age. He invented a mine and then had the brilliant idea for a repeating pistol. The first models failed, but he kept at it, and to earn money, he gave demonstrations of nitrous oxide. With the money, he went on to perfect and patent the Colt revolver and died in 1862 at age 47. Thousands of his revolvers, muskets and rifles were used in the Civil War by the north.

The book may have been written for high school libraries as it is easy to read and understand with illustrations. But that is my own thought about it, an interesting story nonetheless.

Although not in effect yet, FTC rules will require beginning Dec 2009 a disclosure statement. To wit, I have not received any money or a free gift for this blog post.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Hour of the Gun/Boston Book Fair

Whaddayaknow? I finished reading Hour of the Gun by Robert Krepps! It must have set a record of some sort or it was above avearage reading. The movie on which the book is based or vice versa starred James Garner, Jason Robards, Robert Ryan, and I didn't much care for it because of the acting, not that they were not good actors. It was they didn't fit the script, leastways not in my mind, or maybe I was too sloshed to pay much attention, it's been a long time since I saw it.

But the book was good, darn good, and I especially liked the part where Doc Holliday hires the deputies to assist Wyatt in bringing in the Clanton gang.  A gambler hiring his old gambling acquaintances, all on the wrong side of the law, now lawmen, looking forward to collecting the reward. What a kick!

 And the shootout in the villa was exciting, too, with Clanton getting what's coming to him from W. Earp, who had thought Holliday was dead there, too. It starts out with the OK Corral gunfight and ends up in Mexico at the Clanton Villa where Ike Clanton had moved his cattle stealing operations from Tombstone.
Doc Holliday survives to die in the Denver sanitarium which we all or most of us knew already from the other movies.

I enjoyed reading the book (I enjoy about all of them), and will now move on to another gun novel, By the Gun, written by Richard Matheson, a Berkley Book published in 1994, and if it's as great as the promotional blurbs included, it should be a doozy.

This weekend is the first Boston Book Fair, and a quick glance through the schedule of events is disappointing to western fans, since I saw nothing that represents the western novel nor did I recognize a western author, although I certainly am not familiar with all of them. There are 30 exhibit booths, and a couple of sessions on e-books and digitals, and one session called Thrillers and Killers featuring Stephen Carter, Andre DuBus III, and Joseph Finder, hosted by Jessica Stern, all unknown to me. This is the inaugural of the Fair, so there is lots of opportunity if it continues through the years.

My computer is fine. Memory is about the only thing I can replace in a few minutes without having to call an expert, so I added 1 GB and that should be sufficient for another year or so.  

Thursday, October 22, 2009

It finally happened! What do I do now?

It happened, if finally happened. I continued entering updates, which are automatic in most cases, adding new apps and such, programs, stories, notes about stories, more programs, more apps, widgets, more widgets, and what have you until my PC threw up, crying that's enough, don't put any more crap in here until you add some MEMORY. Shut off all programs, save it first, then try again.

That's what happens when you purchase a PC with a gigantic hard drive and minuscule memory. I said to the salesman that it doesn't have much memory for that great big drive, and he replied, "Oh, yeah, it's a nice PC all right. That memory is pretty big, actually. It'll hold you for quite a while, and when it gets filled up, you just come on back and pick up more memory."

So, it finally got stuffed to the gills and coughed up the notice to ADD MORE MEMORY! (OR ELSE).

I don't mind doing this chore, but it's not as simple as the one I had before. In the first place, they didn't include the hardware instructions other than how to set it up, but the booklet is on-line. And it's all there, all you have to do is find them and then find the section on memory and what to do to add more. And knowing that going through this for the first time is always the hardest, I'm setting aside some time to actually do it. Let's see, today's Wednesday, no Thursday, and if I don't do anything else tomorrow, I should be able to get to the inside of the PC by say, Saturday afternoon, if I don't have too many interruptions. And then I can run to the store, pick up a memory stick (I know why they call it a stick now, too, because I know right where I'd like to stick it), and just tuck it in place next to the other one. VOILA! There you have it! By Sunday, my PC will be faster than a whizzing bullet!

Let's see, how many screwdrivers do I need? Is it a Phillips or a standard or one of those little tiny square things? A hammer? An electric drill? A pneumatic wrench and a jack hammer? Two lifejackets? One of those static electricity gadgets you tie around your wrist? A lifeboat? An air compressor? An ambulance standing at the curb? An emergency telephone? An air mattress? An emergency generator? An air compressor? An arc welder? Piece of cake! It'll be up and running by a week from Friday! No, make that Saturday or for sure Sunday!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Swine Flu/Wild West

I feel like I'm coming in out of a fog, with my thinking machine only half, or less, functioning. It needs a good kick to get it to fully operational. But I won't bend your ears more than an hour or two about how bad the swine flu was (is) and recommend that everyone hye theirselves thither to a shot place and get yourself shot with vaccine. The other shot place (bar) is fine as long as they provide a little vaccine with the dollops of alcohol. I don't recommend getting sloshed and swine flu at the same time. You'll feel bad enough with one or the other.

The Wild West is still alive and kicking, at least here in Arizona. The legislature passed and put into law that you can carry a gun into a bar or restaurant as long as the bar owner doesn't post a sign saying no guns allowed. You should have heard the hullaballoo over that. Of course, if you're carrying, you can't drink any alcohol. That's the way it used to be, except it has been reversed. It used to be you could carry a weapon anywhere as long as it was in the open. Of course that doesn't fly with the left or PC crowd, so they banned all weapons, practically. Now, you need a concealed weapons permit and you can take it into a bar as long as the owner permits guns inside. When it was "open carry" no one ever got killed, or not many, at least I don't remember reading about someone being shot because of the law. And then, all guns were banned and only the criminals had them and the bullets began flying, and about every day now, you can read about someone being shot and killed here in Phoenix.

It seems to me that all, or most, of  the shooting is still coming from the criminal element, mainly gangs and drug dealers, who are not even supposed to have guns anyway. Would a new "open carrry" law help in this regard? I doubt it, they are going to continue doing what they can get away with.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Bad weather

No article today due to the flu bug. It's a bad one - AH-CHOO!  sniffle, sniffle.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Something different

Today, we're getting away from the westerns for a minute and taking a look at a different genre. My niece, Tamara Imes Nicholas, has had a book on the market for the last few years titled The Storm Before the Calm. It's the true story of her young life after high school as she goes through Hell in the world of drugs. She reaches the depths before she is able to pull herself out. The book is honestly written with no apologies. It is an engrossing read and makes you wonder how she could live through it.

Tammy is a social worker with an associate degree in social work and calls herself an Innately Gifted Intuitive and Medium. She provides healing through White Light Therapy. Don't ask me what that is, but you can learn more at her web site listed below. On that site she has a description of her book and links to her poetry and videos. Her site is interesting and she is honest and forthright about what she does. Oh, yes, she can swear like a drunken sailor, but she is overcoming that habit, too. A charming personality with a great gift for writing, she is working on a sequel that takes her life forward after The Storm Before the Calm.

I don't agree with a lot of her philosophy and such, but she is welcome to believe and say what she wants. I do enjoy her writing and comments on facebook and look forward to her next book. And a personal note for her: Tammy, we love you muchly and hope you are getting over your temporary illness.

Tammy's website is here

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Blood and Blazes in Upamona/Bishop Literary Service

The past few days I've been working on Blood and Blazes in Upamona, which is a sequel to The Upamona Gold Claim Wrangle, and writing short stories.

In Blood and Blazes in Upamona, Slim Sanglant, the sheepherder, gets out of jail and comes back to Upamona to seek revenge against those who helped put him away, and Red Skene, now the County Sheriff, is on the case. It begins with Slom assaulting Mr. Heacock and pummeling him, and Tim Ryan is sent to fetch the sheriff. Red and his wife and kids, go to Upamona, and Red is confronted with the shooting of Dix Krantz, houses and barns burning down, and disappearing characters. Everyone thinks that Slim is behind all the terror, but is he? Skene's brother-in-law, Tim Ryan, and his cousins, Jed and Fred Cadwell assist Red as he tries to solve the crimes, as does Bushy Carlsen, Red's deputy.

The novel is finished in the second or third draft, and I just have to polish it up, check for typos, misspellings, continuity, etc.

I would like to put in a plug for the Bishop Literary Service. and owner Greta Bishop, who manages the Writer's Roundtable on the net, and from whom I have been taking courses over the last two-three years. Greta is a published author and ghost writer in her own right, and provides quality information for new and experienced writers through her newsletters and lessons. Greta can be contacted at concept077 at aol dot com. New members are welcome.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Early Background

The second interview was with Lacey McMurry of the Uintah Basin Standard (printed September 21), who asked me a few questions about my background and the book, The Stranger from the Valley.

A more detailed background is included here. My family lived in Altonah, Utah, until 1942 when we moved to the big city of Murray, a suburb of Salt Lake City. My father (born in 1883) first moved to Altonah in 1917, staying there only a couple of years, before moving on to LaPoint, another small town in the Uintah Basin. Butch Casssidy and the gang camped in Brown's Hole on the Green River, and I used to hear tales about them traveling to and from the Hole, not all true, or maybe none of them were true, but he was popular even in the 1930's among the local townfolks. He was like Robin Hood to them from the way they told some of his exploits. And this is another factor that probably played its part in my writing westerns.

The family relocated to Huntington around 1928 or '29, then moved back to Altonah in late 1930 or '31. I was born not long after, and the depression ended, some say. My young years were abundant with the western culture and the Indians. Playing cowboys and Indians was about as popular as twittering is today. Or playing a variation of that game, somebody would be Butch Cassidy and another kid the Outlaw. And along came the movies, the cowboy movies the most popular with the locals. I can hear the grownups groan now when a non-cowboy film was on the schedule.

The grade school in Altonah was a nice brick building with four classrooms, one used as a lunch room, and there were two grades in each of the other rooms. My class through the fourth grade had about eight to twelve students. One teacher taught both grades in each classroom, and I can still remember a couple of them, Norma Turpin (4th grade), Miss Davenport, Miss Dubois.

I've often wondered what my life would have been like if we had never moved to the big city.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Old file diving

I'm fumbling around this morning, trying to come up with something to post on the blog because I'm running late. Had to make another trip to the lab for my wife to have a test or two.

 I have a cubbyhole on the desk that now has about a ream of paper, mostly single sheets, some stapled together, that I thought was important when I put them in the hole. But, the trouble is I seldom go through them. Why do I need all this stuff, I ask myself. Let's take a look at it RIGHT NOW and see what's in there.

Right on the bottom are two envelopes from Nov 2002 from Paris, France, a former girlfriend trying to track me down, and she finally caught up with me. I hated to tell her that I'm now married, have been for over thirty years, and she was married for over twenty, she said in one of the cards. Well, well, life goes on, doesn't it? A-ah, the French women! Vive la femme!

Next are two newspaper clippings about internet security dated 2004. Throw them away, they don't apply now, since I have Vista.

Next in the pile was a series of articles on genealogy from the Genealogy Book and those were taken off the net in 2001. I was keeping them for when I had some free time to shuffle through and maybe purchase some of the material. Don't think I have enough time, yet, but I'll keep them just in case. One is entitled Colonial Famlies of Martha's Vineyard. Way back there in the 1600's was a William Case who settled there, and I thought maybe this would be interesting to see what happened to him. He is rumored to be a brother of old John, my great (7 or 8)-grandfather, When I get a few extra bucks, maybe I'll order it.

In the hole was a copy of Writer's Digest , December 2006. At least, it's fairly recent. Must have been someting in it I wanted to keep for reference. OK, put it back, may need it in 2014 or some time.

A copy of an on-line catalog of Mormon books three pages long. I guess I'll keep that, never know when you might want or need one of the books. It's all fiction, and I've read one or two of them like The Storm Testament series.

A receipt for dental work, crown, etc, $883.50. Whew! Hope that's finally paid off.

A Salt Lake Tribune article on CFL bulbs, how to take care of them if one or more break into smithereens. Keep that, at my age, I'm dropping things all the time.

A list of dermatologists needed when I had a couple spots on my face, a card saying thank you for participating in a survey (throw it away), a notice of cancellation of an order for something or other (toss it), some retirement info (old, toss it, too), receipt for my computer (hold it), some lottery info (toss), some submission guidelines (toss), Writer's Digest Special Issue, 2009 (keep this) with markets for magazine writers, and etc., etc., etc.

I've barely made a dent in the pile of papers today, and that's all the time I can spend. Maybe I'll get back to it next week or next month or next year. Might just throw it all out and start over again, and then again I might not, you never know when.....A-A-R-G-H!