Sunday, December 28, 2014

It's The Cisco Kid

I picked up an old VHS tape of Viking Classics 1986 that is Vol 1 of The Cisco Kid starring Duncan Renaldo and Leo Carrillo. There were two episodes: The Quarter Horse and The Postmaster. I liked The Quarter Horse more than the Postmaster, but they were both worth watching just to refresh my memory of this duo. In the lat 1940's, Duncan Renaldo and Leo Carrillo carried on the tradition, making five movies and there was a TV series that followed.

This tape is of the TV series in black and white and the Kid is wearing the flashy suit. In The Quarter Horse, a race is rigged to cheat a quarter horse rancher out of his holdings. There were actually two races between a thoroughbred and a quarter horse. The quarter horse won the first which was only a quarter-mile, and it won the second, too, but it was longer race wherein there were four quarter horses and one thoroughbred running a mile this time. Anyway there were shenanigans in both and The Cisco Kid and Pancho get mixed up in it and, of course, catch the bad guys.

In The Postmaster, Pancho urges Cisco not to go into town because every time he did, he got them into trouble, and this was no exception. The Sheriff throws Cisco in jail for suspicion of murdering the Postal Inspector who had come to town to investigate a band of outlaws who were stealing the mail. After escaping from jail, the duo solve the mystery of the unknown killer and the means of concealing his weapon.

More info can be found at Wikipedia on the whole story of The Cisco Kid and the movies.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

It's Christmas Day!

We wish everyone a Holly, Jolly Christmas and a Holly, Jolly and Safe day!!

We are having for breakfast/dinner Turkey, Ham, Tater Tot Casserole, Christmas Jello Salad, and lotsa Green Beans, Cinnamon Rolls, Rolls, Creamed Corn Casserole, Pie, Cookies, and Who Knows What Else. And we are all going to take a nap afterward.

Maybe by next week we'll be recovered.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Busy Boys

The last couple of days we've been overseeing our two great-grandsons, a fourth-grader and a fifth-grader, and they are busy bees, y'ask me. We picked them up from school on Thursday after sitting through a series of five plays put on by the fourth grade, which were really funny. The plays were a variation of fairy tales like the Three Little Pigs, Cinderella,  and the like. The fourth grader had a run-on spot with one word or sound that sounded like a grunt to me and he ran off the stage, part over. Anyway, we left school and went to the pizza place and ate pizza then home. Sitting around the house, the boys came up with an idea they would like to go see the pond down the street on the golf course, but we said no, the golf course was off limits. And my wife suggested I take them to see the Sun City Lake, which is fair-sized pool of water and there is fishing and rented boats and a waterfall, etc. Well, the fifth grader is into fishing. He is a born, diehard fisherman, but he didn't say anything about fishing while we took in the sights.

About eight o-clock that evening his Mom called and wanted to know if I would take him fishing on Friday "at that lake you guys went to."  Of course, I had to say I would, but I had to get a guest pass and make sure they were old enough to fish according to Sun City rules, and they were.  So she dropped them off after lunch and the boys loaded their fishing gear into my car and we took off for the lake. The sun was out and it was about 60 degrees Fahrenheit and the lads threw their lines into the water for a couple of hours and didn't even get a bite. The fourth grader is not as avid about fishing as the other one, but he has a pole and tags along with his older brother. Some old gent walked by and told the boys that the fish are all on the bottom because of the cold temperature and wouldn't be coming up until February or when the weather warms up. He told them to let the hooks sink way down and work it back slow. To which, the boys ignored after he left and reverted back to the way they were fishing before. The fifth grader told me, "I'm coming back in February and try it again," to which I said, "OK."

Later in the evening, The wife and I took them home and on the way, they got to talking about getting a tattoo. The younger one said he was going to get him one the minute he turned old enough because he liked the artistry of it. The other one piped up and said, "You can get it sooner. All you have to do is get your parent's 'consumption' and you can get a tattoo." We cracked up at that. We dropped them off and told 'em goodby, and we laughed all the way home. Boys are fun and keep you entertained.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Bad, Bad, Badman

That Badman in the subject line is none other than the outlaw in the novel, Outlaw, by Matthew Pizzolato. The Outlaw rode into town on his fine animal that he named Cinnamon after never having named him before and lays plans to pretend like a good guy before he robs the town's bank. But, shucks, there are a few obstacles in the way: (1) A safe that has a timer, (2) a pretty woman, (3) a young gunman or I should say, a wanna-be gunman, (4) that pretty female, (5) A wanted poster of which he is the subject. You get the idea that he may never hold up the bank because he may die before he gets to it or he may marry first or get arrested and thrown in the clink. But the sexy owner of the saloon has other ideas and so does the local Sheriff, who makes him his Deputy. Wesley Quaid, the outlaw's present name, is put in a quandary - shall I rob the bank or settle down on a ranch with this pretty gal with the big brown eyes?

But that damn Kid keeps getting in his way when he is not occupied with the keeper of the saloon or the Sheriff, and he gets into a shooting fight with the Kid and his pals and gets himself all stove up. And there is the gal in the gray hood, Sabrina, an old acquaintance of sorts, who sticks her nose into his affairs as he lays unconscious in the countryside. He must deal with all these before he can think of stealing the banks' money. And that pretty female (Colleen) is the niece of the Sheriff, himself, and lives with the Sheriff and his wife and also Works at the Bank. The story leaves the Outlaw and the reader wondering what is going to happen and this makes for a very entertaining account. Mister Pizzolato has come up with a winner here.


Thursday, December 11, 2014

A Book of the Navajo Code Talkers, WWII

I can't say enough good things about the Navajo Code Talkers of World War II and here is one of the books about them: It Had To Be Done - The Navajo Code Talkers Remember World War II.

This non-fiction book contains The Stories of a few of the Talkers in Their Own Words. Two of them were selling this book, Bill Toledo and Alfred Newman, and they also autographed it. The cover contains a picture of some of the Talkers with Navy landing craft in the background and there are pictures throughout the book.  Those still alive are in their late 80's and 90's. They talk about being recruited into the Marine Corps, their early lives, and their wartime adventures of island hopping in the Pacific as the U. S. invaded the Jap-held islands of Guam, Guadalcanal, Bougainville, Peleliu, and others.

A number of the Talkers herded sheep and took care of the family's animals while growing up and didn't get to school often enough to finish and lacked a high school degree. They were taken into the service anyway, specifically to be Communications Specialists (Code Talkers) and had to memorize the complete Code, which no enemy ever broke. The Code is included in the book and you'll see it is quite extensive. Each of them were assigned a personal bodyguard who had to shoot them if they were captured, or they had to shoot themselves so as not to give up any info on the Code.

Their Words don't tell the complete story. There is very little talk about the bullets flying around and their courage and bravery, although it is mentioned a couple of times. And there were a helluva lot of bullets flying as is shown in the numbers below of the casualties on our side. The Japanese casualties in each case were triple or quadruple the Americans. The battles lasted around thirty days each, give or take a few days.

U. S. Casualties:

     Guadalcanal - 7,100 dead, 4 captured, 29 ships lost, 615 aircraft lost
     Bougainville - 727 dead
     Guam - 1,783 dead, 6,010 wounded
     Peleliu - 1,508 killed, 6,635 wounded, 36 missing. U. S. Marine casualties on Peleliu:
                   1,300 killed, 6,450 wounded, 36 missing. The others were U.S. Army.
(Source: Wikipedia)

And this doesn't include the islands of Iwo Jima, Saipan, Kwajalein, Tarawa, Wake, and the other battles. A Pima Indian, Ira Hayes, assisted in raising the American Flag on Mount Suribachi on Iwo Jima.

We all owe these Navajo Code Talkers our respect and a big thanks for their service.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Blood and Gore and Killers Galore

I looked down at my hands on the keyboard and saw blood all over. I moved my eyes to my chest. More blood coming out of the bullet holes and leaking onto my shirt and trousers. I looked at my legs and saw blood coming from the holes in each one. What a bloody novel that reading it made me think I had blood all over and on the floor. I was even seeing red, too. It wasn't exactly like that, but Shotgun by C. Courtney Joyner was a bloody novel with the red juice and gore over practically every page and running through the snow.

This story is about Doctor John Bishop who sets out to avenge the death of his wife and kids who were killed in cold blood by a Major Beaudine and his partners in crime. Beaudine was looking for the gold that Bishop had buried somewhere or had knowledge of, and when Bishop wouldn't tell where it was, the gang killed the family and hacked off Bishop's right arm.and left him to bleed to death. And that's just the opening of the novel. It gets bloodier and gorier as the story progresses as Bishop catches up with one of the detestable bunch and while he is looking for the rest of them, the gang is looking for him now that he survived. John Bishop's arm is rigged with a double-barreled shotgun apparatus that he can operate without using his hands and he must use it a number of times in his quest for Beaudine. Bishop and his Cheyenne Indian girlfriend, White Fox, must kill or be killed as they continue looking for that contemptible Beaudine. White Fox becomes his right hand, putting on and taking off the shoulder apparatus that holds the shotgun and the bodies pile up.  And, what do you know? There is a blind soldier, a Captain Creed, who reads everything around him with his other senses and his young helper, Hector,and the gang that he talks into following him for the gold who are also after the Doc, and more blood is let and the bodies just keep piling up.

Whew, I said, when I finally put the book down for the last time in reading it and the novel ended with a bang, a big bang in the dark of night and the survivors, if any, went on with their lives, question mark.

If you like lots of action and blood and gore and everything that it comes with, you'll like this book. Mr. Joyner's Spur award nominated short story, The Two-Bit Kill is included at the end of the novel as a bonus. I enjoyed that story, too. Shotgun was published by Pinnacle Books, Kensington Publishing Corp.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Dogs A-talkin'

I would like to give a shout-out to Duke Pennell and his site at for the many fine stories he has published. I was just reading the December issue and highly enjoyed the story by Callie Smith entitled Rogue.

The story was told from the dog's viewpoint, which I thought was very clever and creative. I didn't know what was going on at first, but that changed the minute the neighbor's dog, Bull, came onto the property and launched an attack on the the dog guarding the sheep. They talked to each other like a couple of boys with backs stiffened and fighting to see who was best man. The fight was interrupted by an actual young man coming to see what was causing the ruckus and chasing Bull back to his own house. Bull was the McKeon's dog and it had already been the cause of  trouble with the McKeon's once before, especially with Niall McKeon, the older son and Tom, the lad who broke up the latest tangle. And the question for Tom's family (him, his mother and young sister) was "Is Bull a rogue dog that would return and cause more trouble?"

Yes, Bull was a rogue dog, but was it a bad dog? Well, maybe and maybe not. You'll just have to read the story and find out. In any event, the story got my vote for this month's best tale. I didn't dislike the other stories, but thought this one was more outstanding in my mind.

I recommend paying Frontier Tales a visit and see if you agree with me and enjoy the entertaining short stories that are published each month. And don't forget to vote for the story you like.