Sunday, September 26, 2010

L@@K What They've Done Now Ma!

Brian Williams on NBC's Nightly News reported back in July about Amazon's report that they sold more e-books than hard covers for the previous three months. Now take into mind that's hard covers. That certainly makes sense in some respects considering the price difference between the two and the fact that you could have it immediately on your hand-held device. And yes, that's a lot of books, but more mass market paperbacks are sold in the second life of hard cover editions. When the sales of e-books outweigh paperback sales that feat will certainly be a major turn in the publishing world. And the paper world for that matter. And maybe the trees in Brazil? I dunno... I hope so.

I recently picked up my Mom and Ant (yes, that's how I spell it gang ;-) from the Atlanta airport after their whirl wind tour of Scotland (they saw the Pope drive by! I think he was in a black Mercedes... I digress ) this past week. While I was waiting for them to get through customs, which can take awhile, I stopped into a couple of the airport outlets selling books. I spoke with both managers about the current sales of actual books and if they had noticed a drop in sales. Surprisingly they said no, that book sales were quite brisk. So are magazine sales. One manager mentioned her take saying "people still enjoy the convenience of picking up reading material at the last minute before a flight." she also heard from a couple of customers mentioning they "still like holding a physical book." I think this is easily understood with the generations who grew up with physical books. It's the younger generation that has grown up with computers, I-pods, I-pads, Blackberry, etc the now "every day" devices that make up their world. Oh, it's part of our world too, but not the same way it is for them. In some respects it's the only world they've ever known as they entered the age of staying connected. Almost everything is available at the stroke of a keyboard, a push of a button. I thought my generation was truly progressive, but now that I look back on it, I remember four, count 'em, four TV channels. The phone was rotary. And if you wanted fast food, you still had to walk into McDonalds to place your order. If you don't know what a rotary phone is, you can find the definition, online of course, at Could today's generation even fathom that kind of life? I've embraced it, and I would even say my wife has embraced it more than I have. It has it's advantages.

One more thing on the subject of the "online world." Music. Again it has it's advantages, I've no real complaint with it. But it's missing something. There was more to the music than just the latest hit you can download. These artists create whole albums, and some of them deserve a listen. The old argument was "I only want the hit song." Today that's possible. But I have heard so much good music from many of the albums I've played over the years. In those days I got to know the band. Read the liner notes on the album sleeves, etc. I remember one year I couldn't wait for Paul McCartney and Wings live album to come out, Wings Over America, a two record set of the now famous 1976 tour. It came with a poster, lots of info to read, a gate-fold cover. In fact I was so excited the day of it's release, that I walked past it because the title was in fine letters at the top of the album as you can see here. No band picture, and not very discernible. It's the painting of the side of a plane with the door being opened and the light coming out from within. As in "the show is here!" Perfect. I couldn't wait to get it home and put my vinyl on the record player, listen to the music, and read the album packaging. A lot of times they printed the lyrics, which cleared up a lot of questions during those lead vocal moments of "slurring." It was a positive experience in so many ways. That was my past, and my experience. Hey, as long as they're enjoying the music, then cool. It was just different for our generation ( you know who you are ;-).

Speaking of books getting a new medium, here's something that I recently discovered. Artist Thomas Allen's work with old pulp fiction paperbacks. Rather I should say his work on the actual book itself. He's converted these old paperbacks into works of art, and you see a few of them pictured here. He's actually taken the cover art, cut it to fold out and / or inter work one or more covers with each other to form these unique settings. A simple but good idea. You might think this would be abhorrent to a bookseller / publisher like myself. Let's face it, at this point there have been billions of books published, and from the looks of some of the books he's using, he's given them a new life. I find it intriguing. Check them out if you get a chance. Online of course :-).

Y'all keep shining out there.

Dave Hinchberger

The artwork seen here is courtesy of Thomas Allen and the Foley Gallery.

See more of Thomas Allen's Pulp Book Artwork at the Foley Gallery

Monday, September 13, 2010

It's All About WORDS (thank you Frank)

I was able to see Frank Zappa at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta back in the early 80's. He performed his albums, "Joe's Garage, Parts 1, 2, & 3" on two nights. I was there those music filled nights. Young, idealic, and just listening to this fantastic band, with Zappa playing, cigarette smoking in the crook of his mouth. Occasionally placing the lit ciggie in the top strings of his guitar during solos, with the smoke curling up to the heavens. Playing songs like "Catholic Girls," and "Why Does it Hurt When I Pee"? (that one's hilarious!). It was an incredible time and I'm glad I had the opportunity to be there.

This video of Frank Zappa on Crossfire from 1986 hits the mark on censorship. As much as we've gained in the last thirty years, we need to remain vigilant with people like Palin, and the voices of the right. Frank Zappa takes on the government in this CNN Crossfire episode when music was on public trial for a time. The Right (or The Wrong as I like to call them from time to time) was trying to blame the ills of the youth on music and art. I would agree that we need to shelter the little ones from adult themes, but otherwise as long as it isn't hurting people who are old enough to understand, then let this country remain free with it's speech and creativity. You don't have to agree with it, you don't have to listen to it or even watch it. But to force your sense of morality or ideals into other lives, when they don't ask for it, is just plain wrong.

You hear me.. "Right."?

When Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks said her peace to a UK audience apologizing for Bush being from Texas, and taking us into war, she caught hell for it from many here in the US. Is there something wrong with "not" wanting to be at war people? Being in a free country, she is allowed to have her opinion. But if you let folks like country artist Toby Keith, who criticized them heavily and saying "We support our troops" then turned around and at his shows featured a backdrop depicting Maines and Saddam Hussein as lovers. What?? Her statement was obviously against the war (not the troops), and this outlandish singer puts her in bed with the enemy? It's unfortunate that Mr. Keith was so misguided (but he certainly used it to promote himself at the same time), and he led a lot of other people (lemmings, these are lemmings I tell ya) into this (CD burnings? - c'mon people). But 'cha know what? It's a free country, and he's allowed to voice his opinion in WORDS and ART. And I say Hallelujah!

Isn't that what makes this country great?

This Crossfire clip really brought it back for me. Images of the band Wasp, with their "saw-blade-crotch" album cover, Tipper Gore, and Dee Snider all comes to mind from these times in the mid 80's.

So here we are back at the video clip I offer up for you to view. John Lofton of the Washington Times is one of the guests on this program. He repeatedly tries to work over Frank Zappa on what words are acceptable in public, and which are not. As a writer for the Washington Times, you would think that John Lofton would fight for everyone's rights to freedom of speech. Watch how he really lashes out at Frank, and tries to rile him up.
As of this posting this video had been viewed over 1.5 million times. I'm here to try and help raise that number. Everyone should see this.

As soon as anyone begins to silence you, me, us, this country is in trouble. Stand up and keep your rights.... and remember.. if you don't like it, turn the channel, don't buy the book, but let others have the right to do so.

Thanks for the WORDS Frank. We miss ya, but your WORDS are still heard.

Friday, September 10, 2010

News and Views

Recent Articles of Interest

Spielberg Readying Joe Hill comic book show

CASE 39: Horror film, starring Renee' Zellweger and Bradley Cooper, is finally seeing a future release after four years since production wrapped.
Read more on CASE 39

Universal and Ron Howard to begin filming the TV and Film versions of Stephen King's The Dark Tower. Read On...

Jack Ketchum's BROKEN ON THE WHEEL OF SEX: The Jerzy Livingston Years is now available in the 100 copy Signed Sterling edition. This is the complete collection of Jack Ketchum's short fiction from various magazines in the '70's, which also include all of his "Stroup" character stories. Now available in the Overlook Connection Press Sterling edition of 100 copies. Signed by author and artist, as well as slipcased. Bound in a unique material, with autograph stamping, and unique end-papers. A gorgeous production produced with the collector in mind. You can see more pictures of this edition by visiting the link below.

See more on BROKEN
ON THE WHEEL OF SEX Sterling Edition

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Movie Madness Part 2: Views & Reviews

REPO MEN: Unrated Version: Starring Jude Law, Forrest Whitaker and Liev Shrieber. Alright, they brought us star power. They gave us some nice CGI, and plenty of action. Ah and it's set in the near future, I'm a sucker for science fiction, especially if it's mixed with a horror bent, like "Repo Men." Two long time friends, and old war buddies, end up in the job of taking back organs that once saved your life, but now you can't afford the payments on that organ replacement anymore. At $600,000 a pop for some of these, who could?

But what happens if the tables are turned on one of the Repo Men? And he starts sympathizing with the repo-ees (?) because now he's one himself? And his gung-ho partner, who's always enjoyed his "job," is now out to take care of him? Does this story line sound familiar?

I remember a little ditty by William Nolan and George Clayton Johnson in the 70's called "Logan's Run." Anyone remember that one? Sure ya do. When you turn 30 in this future world, your time is up, and you have the chance to win a lottery of sorts to be reborn. Problem is, some people, "Runners," would rather run than take their chances with the lottery. Now a "Sandman" hunts you down to take your life. In this case Logan, a Sandman, is also friends with another Sandman. They've been through thick and thin together, but what if one of these Sandmen have now become a runner? Eh Logan? And your buddy, the other Sandman, starts to hunt you down. It's his job ya know. Dammit. Ain't life a bitch?

Okay, so the scenarios are very similar to say the least, I do realize there are very few original stories out there. Repo Men, although it had the right elements, didn't really pull it off. And that's what I expect. Give me something that has some meat in the story. Something I can grab on to and sink my mental teeth into. Entice me. This one just didn't cut it. Sorry, but the ride for this flick was just "so-so." Watch it if you will, again it's not a bad movie, just not much there I haven't seen before. It needed more story. I should have cared more about these characters "on the run.".

Onto another film mah friends. I was looking around to find out more about an odd flick (weird would be too simple a term for this cinematic entity) I saw recently, BAD BIOLOGY, and the people behind it. I found my answer at , with a very apt and studious review by James Lasome. I couldn't have written it better myself. As to the film itself, I couldn't help but think when I began this movie I thought I had entered "Edward Lee Filmland" ala The Bighead, etc. It's that kinda horror-freaky-weird. Although I found the movie to be fairly basic, the lead, played by Charlee Danielson, did a good job. This is not a role just anyone can play. Or that anyone would play. I'll definitely give her credit for that. I'm sure some editing had to cut out break out laughter from her at times during filming. With that said, this is only for the horror fans with the freak at heart. Not for the overly sensitive or squeamish. And ONLY for mature audiences. I am not recommending this for everyone. Check out Lasome's review here, his review hits the mark.

And check out the Best Horror Movies web site. These fans are dedicated to the genre and have plenty of reviews and discussions. I learned quite a bit in the short time I was there. One more bookmark for Dave.

Best Horror

Friday, September 3, 2010

Football, Dogs, Bright Lights and Turning Leaves

I've begun noticing more leaves in the yard. Brown, orange, some yellow ones too. The heat has taken it's toll on our poor trees (and us as well), and they're starting to relent their bounty to the ground underfoot. Is that a slight, but cool breeze I feel?

There's a light snore coming from my left. It rises, falls, then a pause and it begins again. I take a quick look: it's our high schooler who is now snoozing on the couch after a long seven hours tonight. He performs saxophone in his high school band. Snoozing isn't quite right... a light snore is more like it. At this rate he'll sound like his pop here. Naturally in the course of 40+ years, I've earned mine ;-)

It has been awhile since I've been to the Friday night lights of high school football. To attend my family's participation in it that is. But here in Georgia, school is now in session, and the sacred ritual of going to the Friday night game and festivities have begun. Second week in fact. This weeks game is at South Paulding High School (this is an away game for us) and we're here to hear our son play in the Hiram High School Band. This is his freshman year, so the next four years of Friday night lights, at least for the Fall, are now set for us to attend. The Hiram Hornets played against the South Paulding Spartans this evening. As we arrived to the game, the sun was out, but waning. On the way over to the game the temperature dropped 4 points down to 90 degrees. It was a time to rejoice! This time last week it was 98 degrees! This week the humidity is receding, and tonight was especially low. What? Does this mean that Fall will come this year? After a record heat this summer (July was noted as the hottest month on record in this country), I was beginning to wonder. I wasn't expecting any relief until October. So we're off to a good start!

My wife and I approached the field tonight with anticipation in the air. The concession stands...

Wait.. our young man (I almost wrote 'boy', where did that boy go?) is now turning over on the couch. A quick snort to catch his breath and he's back to his light snooze. I just noticed he's still wearing his band pants. I thought they were shorts he put on. It seems these pants can collapse, while on the person. Being horizontal helps of course. However the socks are definitely off. I think the socks were the first clothing to hit the floor when he hit the door as we got home.

Okay where was I?

[ Hiram High School Band at South Paulding High School, Sept. 4th, 2010]

The concession stands were in full swing, and were grilling up a storm. It seemed like a storm from the clouds of flavored steam the grills were creating around the stands. Heading up to the stadium seats to sit with friends, passing the band section (there's our youngin'!), with their instruments gleaming from the stadium lights. The lights were slowly filling in everywhere the sun left off. We had already eaten, but man does the smell of the grilling below pull on my stomach strings. You know, when you're watching that film and they show you the sad scene that pulls on the 'heart strings'? well I have 'stomach strings' and the pull was getting stronger. Maybe I could sneak in an order of fries later. Maybe. When the wife goes to powder her nose. Maybe. A sip of the Diet Coke and my focus is back on the game ( but maybe... tug, tug).

The beginning of the game showed promise for the Spartans. A slight worry for the Hiram Hornets. The way the Spartans were taking that ball down field against our boys had me more than a little concerned in the first few minutes of the game. Wifey said "nah, now that coach has seen what they can do, they don't have a chance." She was absolutely right. It wasn't an easy kill, but kill 'em they did. Maybe kill is a harsh word, a severe beating is more like it. They put up a good fight and it was an entertaining game. Hiram Hornets 31 to their 7.

And the band? I am very impressed with the HHS Band. Wow! They are good. Very good. Yes, I'm biased, but I would also be the first to tell you they need work. I'm sure they do, but I couldn't tell you where, and I have a fairly good ear. They're in good hands with Dr. Davis and Mr. Gibson at the helm. Looking forward to hearing more. I've been through this before at Lassiter High School with two previous sons (and I've sold lots of hot dogs in their concession stands at home and at the now defunct Atlanta Stadium too) who were also in marching band. It's a good feeling helping out and being a band parent again.

Two weeks, two wins. I'm liking this. And I get to hear great music (with our boy - he'll always be "our boy') from the HHS Band. Watching them perform at half-time is always a treat. They work hard all week to bring us these Friday nights. What else could 'cha need?

Well maybe a dog and some fries (the smokin' grill was just too much for me). Just grabbing my dog here and..OH! It's naked! My dog is naked! Mustard! Somebody pass me the mustard and quick!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Sun Ain't Gonna Shine: The Walking Dead - Premiere Trailer

As some of you might know, Robert Kirkman's "The Walking Dead" was filmed primarily here in the Atlanta area over the summer. The series is helmed by writer and director Frank Darabont, and produced by Gale Anne Hurd (Terminator, Abyss). I spent one day on the set down by Grant Park as they filmed in and around a house. I should say one "hot" day as it was a record setting day for heat that day! The AMC crew tried to make us all as comfortable as possible. Who knew it was going to be the hottest July on record! Anyway.... just imagine the zombie actors caked in makeup when they made this bad boy. Whew!

The premiere trailer is now up and it's very enticing. I've just read that it has now been picked up for a second season. Talk about some major support from AMC two months before it even airs! Now that's what I call faith people.

You'll notice that they've inserted The Walker Brother's 1965 hit "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore" which is just hilarious.. it fits. Kudos to whoever added this, it gives the trailer a little brevity in all the death muck that comes with this zombie tale.

Check it out... let me know what 'cha think. Dave