Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Thefts From Hotel Kitchens And Storerooms Shoreham Hotel And The International Inn Washington D.C.



Click on the pictures above to enlarge them.
For more of my posts about being a Hotel Detective in Washington, D.C. look at some of my recent posts by scrolling down below.

When I first went to work at the International Inn we had a problem with thefts from the storeroom.
One morning a coffee shop bus boy from Afghanistan named Kasem told me that a cook was stealing from the storeroom. It was about 6am and we had unlocked the back doors for the kitchen cleaners to take the garbage out.
I went to take a look. Kasem said he had seen the cook take boxes of steaks and shrimps and put them in the trunk of his car.

When I looked I saw a car backed up to the receiving doors and water was leaking out of the bottom of the trunk. It might be the frozen food was melting.
I went and got the Asst. Chief and we told the cook to open his trunk. He stated he would not open the trunk until the Executive Chef(his boss) was at work.
We said fine we will wait.

Sometime passed and the Executive Chef arrived and we told him the story. We went back to the receiving area but the car was gone and so was the cook.
We wrote up a report. It went to the General Manager. The next day he called in the cook and asked him, "Why did you leave?" The cook replied, "I was scared I was going to hurt somebody". He ended up being fired even though he was in a union. He never came back to work at that hotel.

We knew he had a record and had been in prison. He also had threatened Kasem with bodily harm if he told anyone about his stealing. We found out later he had been taking the steaks and shrimps up 14th Street and selling them to a grocery store.



At the Shoreham someone was stealing large quantities of meat from the locked storerooms. On the midnight shift I found one night someone had bent the locked steel bar that ran across the lockers. By bending it far enough they had removed it.
I searched around the receiving area around 6am and found two large briskets of beef carefully hidden. I photographed them and then took them back to our office.
We staked out the receiving area and saw the two kitchen cleaners come to pick up their stash. They were eventually fired. Large quantities of meat had been disappearing. The thefts stopped.

We got a new Security Chief at the Washington Plaza. He was an ex D.C. cop and he was a Mexican American who meant business. He fired almost the whole staff.The old night man was fired for sleeping on the job. He hired some young large football sized guys. He told all of us he wanted all bags checked as the employees were leaving from work. This was something that had been in effect before but not enforced. Everyone was friendly and just let every one pass.
But under the new boss not only packages and bags were checked but women's pocketbooks as well.

We had a cook who had been at the hotel for many many years. No one had ever checked his back pack or bag. But one afternoon when I was not there(I was told the story the next day) this cook was leaving after his shift and the new Director of Security told him to open his bag. The cook said he was not going to open it. There was a short argument and then the new Chief grabbed the bag and the cook fought with him over it. The Chief fought this guy out in the parking lot and had to ask one of the big beefy guys to help him. The guy had just been standing there watching. Finally they subdued the guy and opened the bag and found it full of steaks and shrimps. He was fired.

One of the waitresses asked the cook when he came to get his last check why he had taken the items since as a cook he could eat anything he wanted in the kitchen while he was working. He told her, "I just had a taste for it".
This had been going on for years. The new boss had put a stop to it.

Monday, August 30, 2010

More Hotel Detective Stories. Sheraton Carlton Washington D.C. International Inn And The Shoreham Hotel See Other Post Below About Hotel Security



Click on all these pictures to enlarge them.








The pictures above are of the Sheraton Carlton Hotel at 16th and K Streets N.W. in Washington D.C. This hotel is now called The Saint Regis Washington,D.C.

I worked at the Sheraton Carlton at 16th and K Street N.W. in Washington D.C. in 1978 1979 and 1980.
This was a small fancy hotel 2 blocks from The White House. I worked nights there and on weekends.

One night I was told by the guy on the front desk that there were some prostitutes up in a room and I should go up and put them out of the hotel.
I went up and knocked on the door. A man opened the door wide and I could see inside a group of Saudi Arabians sitting on the floor in their white robes. The man asked me what I wanted and I told him the two women(they were blond Americans)had to go. He asked me, "How much money do you want?" He had pulled from his pocket a large roll of money. I told him I could not do that because I would be fired. I waited until the ladies came out and escorted them downstairs and out of the hotel.

Another night a middle aged man came downstairs at 3 am with a college aged blond girl. I watched them. No one else was in the small lobby. He looked at me and said, "She is my daughter and she is going out for cigarettes". He went back upstairs. She never came back.

Sometimes when I would come on duty at 11pm the cooks would be closing up the kitchen to go home. From time to time they would offer me some of the left over specials. One time a cook asked me if I would like some beef bourguignon. I said yes of course. It was tremendous.

Click on the link below to read about this dish.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beef_bourguignon

My favorite memory of this hotel was the night of Sunday Feb. 18,1979. The next day was a holiday. George Washington's birthday. Celebrated each year on the third Monday of Feb.
I went to work at 11pm and it started snowing. It snowed all night. I sat looking out the windows from the restaurant facing K Street and watched it come down. There was no traffic on 16th or K Street.

The snow plows kept plowing until 5am and then they gave up and went home and never came back. The snow was 4 feet deep in K St at 6am. I was scheduled to be at work at the other hotel at 7am. No one showed up to relieve me. In fact, no employee period showed up at the Sheraton Carlton that morning except one cook who told me he had walked all the way in from Alexandria,Va.
That is a distance of 15 or more miles in heavy deep snow across the bridges and unplowed streets.
I gave the keys to the front desk and told them I had to leave to be at work at another hotel. I walked out onto K Street. There was no traffic. The snow was up to my waist. The only way people were getting around was by skis. The streets were deserted. The wind was blowing the snow into a swirling blizzard.
I left my car on the K St. service road. I did not get it dug out until 3 days later. The city came to a standstill for about 2 days.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

5 Years Ago Today Biloxi Mississippi Hurricane Katrina Hits The Beau Rivage


Be sure and watch all of this video. It really gets interesting after the 8 minute mark.
Click(and double click) to enlarge and go to Youtube. Some of the comments are interesting also.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Call Security! The Life And Times Of A Hotel Detective International Inn And Shoreham Hotel Washington D.C.


Click on the picture above to enlarge it. That is the Shoreham Hotel in the picture above. The picture below is of the old International Inn Hotel. I worked at both places.
Here is some good information on the Shoreham Hotel. There is a link at the bottom of this wikipedia page to a good history of the hotel.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omni_Shoreham_Hotel



Click on the above pictures to enlarge them.
Here is good information about the man who designed the International Inn which opened in 1962. Interesting that he also the designed the Hotel Americana Bal Harbour on Miami Beach among others there.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morris_Lapidus

I worked for 25 years as a Hotel Detective in Washington D.C. We were also known as Security. Hotel Detectives were once known long ago as House Dicks.
I will tell some incidents from my days as a Hotel Detective as I can remember them.
I will try to keep each vignette as short as possible.

#1: A young man comes in the hotel in the afternoon and goes to the restaurant. He orders the best steak and champagne. He is not dressed well. It is getting late in the afternoon and he keeps ordering and eating. Finally the staff gets nervous about whether he is going to pay or not. They call Security. I go to the restaurant. I wonder why they served him in the first place. By the time I get there the young Vietnam Veteran restaurant manager has the guy in his office. I stand outside. I hear yelling and then thumping and crashing. The manager is yelling at the guy telling him to never come in his restaurant again.
The Asst. Security Chief shows up. He has just come on duty. He is related to the restaurant manager. He asks what is going on. I tell him. He says. "Butch will kill him". Meaning Butch will hurt the guy. The Asst.Chief hurries in the office to keep Butch from hurting the guy any further.
The guy is from Romania. He tells us he has just gotten out of jail. He did the same trick the day before at the Mayflower Hotel. The police he says just arrest him and keep him overnight and then they let him out and he goes and does it again in another hotel.
Times are tough in Romania. Many people have left to come to the USA.
The police are called and they take him away.

#2: Again it is mid afternoon. I am in the restaurant talking with the bartender who is orginally from Thailand. I am looking at him as we talk with my back to the window facing the swimming pool. He suddenly says you better get out there. I ask why. He says some guy just jumped on a woman.
I run out to the pool. The lifeguard is sitting on top of the guy. The police are called. The young woman is wearing a two piece bathing suit. The guy had jumped on top of her and she is not hurt so much as just surprised. When the police arrive one of the wits on the force says to the guy "You know in this country we usually offer them a drink before we jump on them". The young guy is not American. Maybe Muslim maybe Middle Eastern.
I get a chance to ask the guy why he did what he did. No one had bothered to ask him. They weren't the least bit interested in why he did it.
He tells me he did it because his religion tells him to. I guess he was offended by her showing so much flesh.
They take him away. The young woman goes back to sunbathing.

#3: We ran the garage operation at the hotel. I ran the monthly parking accounts. No one else wanted to do this but I figured out that if I ran it all by myself when hard times hit and layoffs and firings occurred they would keep me on to run the garage. And that is what happened. At one point we closed for renovation and I was the only Security guy kept on because of the monthly parking accounts.
We also oversaw the garage equipment and the garage attendents. That is the cashiers and the valet parking.
One day I was in the lobby and got a call that there was no one in the garage booth exit. I said that is not possible. I had just seen the guy out there. But I was told there was a line of people waiting to get out of the garage.
I went outside and it was true I could see no one in the garage booth. I went over and looked inside. The cashier(an Ethiopian namde "Sami")was down on the floor on his prayer rug saying his prayers. I watched for a moment or two and then asked him to get up and attend to the customers.

#4. Some of the best events happened late at night when I wasn't there but I would be told about them in the morning when I came on duty.

They had hired a young woman from Chicago to run the Personnel or Human Resources department. Since this was a somewhat small hotel of only 300 rooms her operation was a one or two at the most operation.
This was in the 1980s and she fell under the spell of a guy from Texas who was working in the sales office. He got her hooked on drugs. Cocaine primarily. But she was also seeing the head of the sales dept. who was a young man recently graduated from the University of Virginia.

Whenever I went to Personnel to find her on business I never could find her. She kept her office closed and locked all day. Or she would open the door a crack and tell me she was busy and to go away.

So it came to pass one night things suddenly got more interesting. We had a former U.S. Marshall working the night shift. He was a middle aged black guy with an easy going attitude. He was from Louisiana originally. He had played football at Grambling in La. and had had a tryout with the New Orleans Saints.

The morning in question I arrived at 7am and he was in a shaken state of mind. He told me that the lady in charge of Personnel had been downstairs in her office with the head of the sales dept. in the middle of the night. Something had not gone right and she ran out of the office with no clothes on wearing a chain necklace and nothing else. She was in a stoned state of mind running around the hotel basement and lobby naked.

He had to deal with this crazy naked white woman. He told me it made him most nervous. He was worried he might somehow get implicated or accused of something. However he did get something to cover her naked body and managed to handle the situation from that point on.

It was a sensitive time since we were getting a new manager that next day. Discussions were held as to tell the new manager or not. Decisions were made.The new manager was told of the events. She was let go. So was the sales guy who got her on drugs. Somehow the sales manager kept his job.

#5: The owners of the hotel liked to present a high class image. When Reagan was first inaugurated(1980) the manager and the owners installed a guy in a tux in the lobby to play classical music on a grand piano.
The manager invited all the Hollywood and other celebs over for a fine brunch before the swearing in ceremonies. So Wayne Newton and his band came over from wherever they were staying along with many other celebs. But this story is about Wayne Newton's band from Las Vegas.
Somehow the band members didn't like the stiffness of the classical pianist and the general uptight air of Washington,D.C.
So on the morning of the swearing in the lobby was full and the guy was playing his classical music. Wayne Newton's band guys from Las Vegas had seen and heard enough of the classical piano player. The band guys were standing over by the front desk. One of the guys dropped his pants and turned and showed his naked backside to the piano player. They all laughed. It all happened so fast I am not sure how many people saw him. Nothing came of it. Case closed.

#6: We got a call early one Sunday morning from a tour bus driver who was sleeping in a room on the top floor of the Shoreham Hotel. This was a larger hotel I had worked at previously. The bus driver said someone was scratching on the walls of his room.
We went up to take a look. It was around 7am. He was still in bed. We listened and indeed we could hear scratching on or in his walls.
I went out and walked up some stairs up toward the roof. I got inside the roof and found that pigeons had come in through the vents in the outside wall and were scratching on the man's room walls. We got the pigeons out somewhow. Case closed.
Use the link below to read about the Shoreham Hotel. You can see photos and also take a virtual tour of the hotel.
http://www.omnihotels.com/FindAHotel/WashingtonDCShoreham.aspx

#7: We got calls from time to time to put homeless people out of the lobby and public restrooms which were not kept locked. Sometime junkies would go in the men's room across from the Executive Offices and go in a stall to shoot up. The guy(Richard from Panama)who cleaned what he called "the water closets" would complain to me about the blood in the stalls he had to clean up.

I got to work around 6am one morning. At that time we had the British Airways crews of the Concord staying with us. They had to get out early every morning so a buffet would be set up for them in the lobby at 530am. We also had an old man who worked for us who would carry bags at that time of night since no bellman was on duty. This man kept holding them up moving slowly with his hands out for a tip. They finally could stand it no longer and moved out to a hotel at Tyson's Corner nearer Dulles Airport where the Concord would be waiting for them. He was not on duty the morning of this incident.

I had just arrived at work. We got a call to remove a homeless man from the lobby who was drinking coffee and eating from the British Airways buffet. I went up to put him out. When I got there one of the British Airways female flight attendents told me "Why don't you let him have some coffee?" The guy was an older short black man. I told him he had to go. He replied that she had offered to let him stay. I told her she was interferring and that if he had walked on her plane she would not invite him to stay. It was still dark outside. I asked her if her social conscience was bothering her. She said "I can't believe you said that".

The guy behind the front desk must have called our office again because I saw our night man who was an ex football player and former U.S. Marshall coming around the corner heading for the lobby. He also happened to be black. He came on without saying a word picked the short black man up by the seat of his pants and his collar and bum rushed him out the front door. The short black man said "Why am I being molested". He did not come back in.

The British Airways female flight attendent looked shocked but said nothing.
The former U.S. Marshall did not say a word to anybody. He just calmly walked on back to our office. He never said a word to me about it or to anybody else. Case closed. End of story.

#8. At The Shoreham we had 3 military guys working the night shift. They had been doing this for 3 years. It turned out one of them would come in and punch the other two in so that all 3 got paid but only one was working each night. They finally got caught and got fired.

Before they got fired I heard about this story. The one on duty on the midnight shift would sometimes go in a vacant room and take his clothes and go to sleep. This one night the midnight telephone operator who worked alone in a room in the basement of the motor inn called and said she needed Security to bring her some bug spray. He ignored her. She kept calling back. He finally got tired of her bothering him and he said he took some bug spray over to the phone room and sprayed it all over the room and her.
She complained but nothing came of her complaint. Case Closed.

#9. I was standing in the Lobby of the Washington Plaza Hotel near the front desk. The Washington Plaza is what the International Inn Hotel became after it was sold and shut down for renovation and then reopened.

I saw a well dressed black lady over by the elevators. The Washington Plaza has a small lobby and it is possible to stand near the front desk and see the elevators and also out the front door and also down to the bar and restaurant.
I looked back toward the elevators and saw the black lady stick her leg out and put her foot in the door as if to try and stop the door from closing. She got on the elevator and disappeared.

I was back in the office a short time later when the phone rang. The Security Chief answered it. He listened. Then he told me there was a lady in the lobby who was saying the elevator closed on her foot.
I told him I saw her stick her foot in the elevator door on purpose in an effort to keep the door from closing. He asked me "Are you willing to swear to that in court?" I told him yes. He then told her what I had said. No further complaint was made. She dropped the matter. I never heard anymore about it.

#10. We had an air curtain in the front door of the Washington Plaza. That way the sliding glass doors could be kept open and the air conditioning or heat could operate up through vents in the grate by the front door. These vents had narrow openings of less than half an inch. It was not a problem to walk on unless you were in high heels.

A female jazz singer(she will go unnamed)who was playing at Blues Alley was staying with us. The hotel had a contract to put up all the jazz musicians and singers that performed at Blues Alley. Mose Allison, Miles Davis, Nancy Wilson, John McLaughlin, and others had stayed with us.

She had a date with the quarterback of the Washington Redskins(he also will go unnamed). They had been out on the town and came back late to the hotel. She somehow managed to catch one of her high heel shoes in the grate at the front door and the heel snapped off.

She started cursing. She said, "Who is going to pay for my MFing shoes?" She got louder and louder. The quarterback looked embarrassed. He tried to calm her down. A report was made and she was told the hotel insurance would cover the costs of her shoes.

Years later I learned that this famous black female jazz singer had committed suicide. It was a very sad story. She had problems she could not handle. I dont know what they were but I do know she had trouble keeping a relationship with men. She was very tall. Taller than most men. And she also was a very demanding personality. It was a great loss to the jazz world.

#11. The Christmas season was always a time of crime in D.C. We had many junkies in the neighborhood and they preyed on the parked cars in our garage late at night.
At that time all of 14th Street near Thomas Circle and Mass. Ave. was full of pimps,and prostitues, and junkies. Especially late at night. The area has since been cleaned up and all that is mostly all gone.

But one Christmas one of our female employees left all her Christmas gifts in her automobile overnight. The next morning we were called to the garage. Someone had broken into her car and not only stolen all her gifts but they had ripped the gift wrapped packages open and left the empty boxes and gift wrapping on the garage floor.
Thefts from cars are the #1 crime in D.C.




More Hotel Detective Stories to follow. Check back from time to time.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

George Lincoln Rockwell August 25, 1967 Arlington,Virginia


Click(and double click if necessary) on the above to enlarge it.

Here is some information on Rockwell.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Lincoln_Rockwell

And this with additional information.
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0734339/bio

Monday, August 23, 2010

Chestnut Lodge, Rockville, Maryland Tales From The Locked Wards Of A Private Psychiatric Hospital


Click on the above photo to enlarge it. This novel was based on the author's work at Chestnut Lodge as a psychiatric aide. It was first published by Simon and Schuster in 1961.


Click on the above photo to enlarge it. This is the way Chestnut Lodge looked when I worked there in 1973 and 1974.


Click to enlarge above photo.

The aftermath of the fire that destroyed the Chestnut Lodge in downtown Rockville, MD on June 7, 2009.

Rockville City Councilwoman Phyllis Marcuccio said:
"It was an icon for the city," she said. "I remember growing up here and Rockville was not known because it was the county seat, but because of the world famous sanitarium."



Click to enlarge and go to Youtube and read comments.



Click on the picture above to enlarge it.
The link below is a full page of photos of Chestnut Lodge before and after it burned down. Click on the pictures to enlarge them.
http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=chestnut+lodge

In 1973 and 1974 I worked as a psychiatric aide at Chestnut Lodge in Rockville,Maryland. Chestnut Lodge was a really expensive private mental hospital. They had around 100 patients and 25 full time psychiatrists.
The aides would stay with the patients on the locked wards and walk them back and forth to their sessions with their shrinks.
Here is a link to learn more about Chestnut Lodge.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chestnut_lodge

I first learned of Chestnut Lodge when I saw the movie LILITH with Jean Seberg and Warren Beatty. This movie came out around 1964. It was filmed partially at Chestnut Lodge and in and around Rockville and other Maryland locations. It is also the third movie that Peter Fonda appeared in. He is a patient in the movie. Here is the international movie database information on the movie. Click on the link below.
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0058294/

The movie was based on the novel of the same name by J.R. Salamanca which came out in 1961. He had worked as a psychiatric aide at Chestnut Lodge some time in the 1940s or early 1950s. Briefly the story of the novel and the movie is he meets a seductive female mental patient who slowly draws him into her fantasy world and he slowly begins to lose his mind.

So I knew about the novel and the movie and in October or November of 1973 I went to Chestnut Lodge and applied for a job. I had worked as a staff member at a residential treatment center for emotionally disturbed adolescents in Florida the previous two years so I had some qualifications. That plus my education and other work experience got me hired. So I went to work at Chestnut Lodge.

I will tell a few stories of my experiences on the locked wards of Chestnut Lodge as I remember them.
#1. A young man who had been a stockbroker in Philadelphia who came from a wealthy family. He would talk on the pay phones from time to time. This was allowed. However it had to come to a stop when it was learned he was still selling stocks and doing business from a mental hospital.

#2. A kindly old woman who read the paper every day and would write in the margins and critique every story she read. She tried to explain to me one day where oil could be located. One Sunday morning when I got to work early she complained that she had not gotten her Sunday Washington Post. I told her I would go down to the lobby and get her paper for her. She said, "Soft soap from a southerner".

#3.A strange young man who sat in a chair silent all day smoking his cigarettes. He never flicked the ashes. The cigarette ash would continue to grow until there was no cigarette left and then fall off and onto the floor on its on. He was always very calm until he had visitors. When he was told his mother was coming to visit he would get highly agitated.

#4. A young man locked in his room who did pushups all day. He was a full blown psychotic. He never spoke any language but would wail and howl sometimes. He kept doing pushups until he was in fantastic shape and extremely muscular. He was incredilby strong.

One day we were told we were going to give him a bath. Four of us were given a mattress to put over him as we ran in and each got an arm and a leg. We also wore scarfs over our heads so he could not pull our hair. We opened the door and ran in and covered him with the mattress and each grabbed an arm or a leg. He did not resist. I knew then we were in for trouble.

We took him down to the room where there was a large bathtub. We got him in the tub with no trouble. Again I thought this is too easy. We filled the tub with water and he sat calmly as we soaped him down. As soon as he was fully soaped and wet he came flying up and out of the tub. All hell broke loose. It was like trying to catch and hold a greased bull. Finally we got him and finished washing him and put him back in his room.

I will add some more stories of my time at Chestnut Lodge as I remember them.

Note: No electric shock was used. No insulin shock as
far as I know. It was all Freudian analysis.
They did use a WW2 treatment called "wet packs" which
was ice cold sheets wrapped around a patient tightly
so they could not move. Only their heads stuck out.
They would be kept that way for an hour or two. it was
supposed to calm them down. We(the aides)had to wrap
them up and then sit there with them and watch them.
There were some patients who I felt had been put there by
their wealthy family in an attempt to get rid of of
them or get their money.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Yellow Cab Stories Mobile Alabama 1964 Plus Checker Cab Shuts Down


http://www.yellowcabofmobile.com/
Click on the above link for some pictures.
I drove a Yellow Cab in Mobile,Alabama in the Fall of 1964 while waiting to go in the Peace Corps.
You had to take a test of your reaction time in stopping. The man in charge would take you out to one of the cabs(an old Checker cab)and give you a road test.
The way this would work was he had a device with a string attached to it that would fire a shot like a pistol shot(I think it even used a little gun)which would shoot some paint or powder on the street when he pulled the string. So he would tell you to ride along the street and stop when you heard the shot. So BANG! and then you stopped as fast as you could. He would then get out of the cab and measure the distance from where you stopped to the mark on the street made by his pistol shot. The little pistol like device was attached the front bumper or around the front tires.
So I passed this test and voila! I was a Yellow Cab driver.

I drove at night and was too young and dumb to realize how dangerous it was. I will tell some taxi stories from that time as I remember them.

#1: I got a call to go down to the docks in the railroad yards. This was at night and as I drove into the railroad yards down near the river it was pitch black. No lights at all except those from the two cab headlights.

I kept going trying to find the address and way they had given me over the radio. Finally my lights hit on some grey mountain of something. As I got closer I saw it was a large mountain of oyster shells shaped like a pyramid taller than a four story building and standing in front of it in my headlights was a tall blond headed slender man bleeding from head wounds. The blood covered his face and shirt. He was laughing. I got him in the cab and headed for the closest hospital.
Turns out he was a Swedish sea captain and he had been mugged.

When we got to the emergency room of the Mobile General hospital I stayed with him and they took him fairly quickly. He did not speak very much English. I stuck around to not only to see how he was but to see if I was going to get paid the cab fare. After they sewed him up they let me speak to him. He was not too badly hurt. He kept on laughing. I asked about the cab fare. He laughed and pointed at his jacket which was covered with blood. He motioned for me to hand it to him and then he motioned for me to look in the lining of the coat. While all this was going on the other patients waiting to be seen were watching me and this man.

I looked in the lining of the coat. Inside was a ten dollar bill soaked in blood. I reached in to pull it out. The other patients kept watching saying nothing. I wondered what they thought of all this. I pulled the bloody ten dollar bill out carefully with two fingers and gave him change.

As I remember I drove him back to his freighter and he had me come aboard and he gave me a drink of something. He was still laughing when I left.


#2. A red headed young man who had just gotten off work on a friday night and wanted to go to the local whore house. The deal with the whore house was the cab driver was given one third of whatever the customer spent.

So I drove him to a motel outside the city limits. I parked in front. He went off with one of the women. The madam told me to move my cab around back. We were outside of Mobile on old Highway 90. I went to move the cab but my foot slipped off the brake and it rolled down in a ditch. I went back inside to call the company since the cab was stuck down at the bottom of a hill. I called and asked for a tow truck and gave the dispatcher the address. He said something like "You are where?"
While I waited the young red headed guy decided to go again and then again. This was in 1964 so three times cost him 30.00. That meant I got ten dollars.
Another old time cab driver showed up and heard what had happened and told me he knew I had stuck the cab on purpose which was not true.
The tow truck eventually showed up and I drove the young man back to Mobile.

#3. I got a call to pick a man up at the Trailways bus station. He told me to just drive around for awhile. Finally he told me what he wanted. He told me we were going to drive out to a local orphanage and park nearby. Again this was taking place at night. The deal was his son was in that orphanage and we were going to wait and pick the boy up when he ran away.

So I parked the cab in a vacant lot several hundred yards from the orphanage and we waited in the dark.
Finally a young boy of about 12 years old appeared out of the dark. We took off and the man told me to drive around while they talked. They had not made up their minds for sure whether we were going to take the kid back to the orphanage after some time or whether he and the kid would take off for good.

The man told me to take them back to the bus station. When we got there he said to come back in an hour and if they were gone they weren't coming back and if they were there we would then take the kid back to the orphanage.
I went back after an hour. They were both gone.


#4. Late at night a Catholic Priest got in my cab when I was parked on a cab stand in front of the Battle House Hotel in Mobile. It was either a Sat. or Sunday night.
He was very very drunk. He was so drunk he was almost incoherent. He said he was really tired. He had been over across the bay in Fairhope or one of those small towns across Mobile Bay and he had been ministering to the sick and dying all day and night. The more he talked the more I saw he was wasted. He told me how sad the work he was doing was. He had been ministering to people all day and had gotten drunk and now he was telling me all his problems. Everybody needs somebody to talk to. Even a priest. I was hearing his confession.
He was worn out and tired of hearing other people's problems. It had finally gotten to him and he tried getting drunk and that made it worse. He talked of having to minister to dying and sick people constantly. I just listened and said nothing. I drove him to where he wanted to go. I let him out. He went off to bed.


Click on the link below for information about Checker Cabs.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Checker_Taxi
Just read about Checker Cab shutting down.
http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/01/14/iconic-checker-cab-company-shuts-dow/

Barry Hannah


http://www.theparisreview.org/viewinterview.php/prmMID/5438
Click on the link above to read the whole interview. Click on the photo above to enlarge it.
Barry Hannah is a writer that I have never read. But I really liked that Paris Review Interview with the link above.
Here is information about Barry Hannah who died recently at age 67.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barry_Hannah

Monday, August 16, 2010

Great Photographs About Mississippi Writers From The Delta


Click on the picture above to enlarge it.
http://www.finebooksmagazine.com/issue/201004/mississippi-1.phtml
Click on the link above and scroll down for a slideshow of remarkable photographs about Mississippi Writers in the Delta.

Utopia Lodge and Fish Camp, Mississippi



Here is information on Utopia Lodge and Fish Camp.
http://webpages.charter.net/hondapotamus/utopia.htm
I used to drive by Utopia,Mississippi on old Highway 11 south of Meridian and all I ever saw was the small sign that said UTOPIA.

The Book Farm Was Near Hattiesburg,Mississippi In 1940


Barbecue at the Book Farm, Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Visitors lounge in the sun by the pond. Courtesy of McCain Library & Archives, The University of Southern Mississippi.
Click on the above photo to enlarge it.

I had never heard of this place but here is some information about The Book Farm.
http://www.finebooksmagazine.com/issue/201004/heartman-1.phtml

Whynot,Mississippi

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whynot,_Mississippi

Why is this place named Whynot? The story I heard was that when naming the town people came up with many other choices. Finally someone said why not name it Whynot?

Here is something that agrees with that version.
http://local.yahoo.com/neighbors/va/arlington/22205/4171/history-of-whynot-ms/
Whynot is located not far from Meridian,Mississippi.

Friday, August 13, 2010

1962 Major Sam Forbert(Steve Forbert's Father) and I Get Into A Big Argument Over Which Is More Important Buttons or Blisters.



Click on the photos above to enlarge them.
This is another in my posts about my life in the USAF in 1962. My National Guard Unit was called to active duty on October 1, 1961 and we stayed on active duty to August 20th, 1962. See my other posts below on this subject. August 20th, 1962 was the happiest day of my life when we were released from active duty and went back to our civilian lives. It meant I could return to college and finish my senior year. I went back a better student and starting making the Dean's List.

Later I also got my Honorable Discharge from the USAF. That is important since I was often not a happy military man. I felt more like a prisoner. I recently read George Carlin's last book about his life in the USAF and he had trouble adjusting to the military just like I did. He parted ways with the USAF early. He got a general discharge. That is what they used to do with those who wanted out and could not adjust to military life. He had to convince several people he was crazy in order to get out.
Here is the amazon.com page on LAST WORDS by George Carlin. The reviews mention Carlin's difficulties in the USAF. It is an excellent book.
http://www.amazon.com/Last-Words-Memoir-George-Carlin/dp/B003NHR5VO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1281798003&sr=8-1
This story begins on a day they needed some extra KP(Kitchen Patrol)workers. I worked in Headquarters as a clerk typist but back in 1962 the lower ranks still pulled KP from time to time. I think it was used as punishment also.

Well they had me and some others go to the chow hall for KP and as I recall they had a potato peeling machine which was somewhat interesting. It was a small metal machine and you could throw the potatoes in there and something inside spinning around would peel the potatoes. No more hand peeling. The new machine did however leave great piles of potato peelings which had to be gotten rid of. Now I dont't know or remember exactly what the deal was but great mounds of red dirt were delivered outside the chow hall and they proceeded to tell us to shovel the dirt under the chow hall and cover up the potato peelings. At least that is the best I can remember. So we were given shovels and told to get with it. It was a very hot and humid. We worked at this for several hours as several officers stood by and watched and told us how to shovel.

My hands were used to typing and office work and not physical labor so in short order the wooden handle of the shovel caused blisters to appear on the inside of both hands. 10 blisters in all. As the day wore on the blisters popped and broke open.
Finally the work day ended. I was not in fatigues. I was still wearing my office AF uniform of summer khaki tan pants and short sleeve shirt. I was tired and dirty and worn out. We finished around 4 or 5 o'clock in the afternoon. I put the shovel down drank some water and headed for the main gate to go home. I was living not on the base but in my grandmother's house downtown.

But when I got to the gate as I was leaving the AP(that is Air Police)at the gate yelled at me to button the buttons on my shirt. That was a reasonable request since I would be going off base and downtown. However I was not in a reasonable mood. I was tired and dirty and my hands hurt from the open blisters. So I ignored the Air Police guy and he said if I didn't button my buttons he would report me. I told him to go ahead. I left walking out the gate and proceeded home.

The next day I was told the Commander wanted to see me. The Commander was Major Sam Forbert. A short man who years later turned out to be the father of musician Steve Forbert from Meridian,Mississippi. Steve would have been about 6 years old when this incident happened. As this was a National Guard base no one really lived on the base. Everyone(officers and enlisted)lived off base in Meridian.
Here is something about Steve Forbert early in his career that mentions his father.
http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20077900,00.html

I still find it hard to believe that the Commander of the base would involve himself in a matter so trivial. Maybe he had other complaints about me to discuss.
So I reported to his office that next morning. I was dressed cleanly and looked sharp in my regular khaki office uniform.

He proceeded to tell me that it had come to his attention that I had left the base with my buttons unbuttoned. My shirt tail may have been out as well I now remember. Though I think I did tuck in my shirt tail as I left the base. But the Commander was not happy about the unbuttoned buttons. Being only 21 years old and not very smart I did not do the right thing which would have been to plead not guilty and just say the Air Policeman must have been mistaken because my buttons were surely buttoned when I left the base. But I was so caught off guard by such a petty thing as unbuttoned buttons after a hard days work that I did not deny the charge. Instead I told him I had been working hard all day shoveling dirt in the hot sun and I was dirty and tired and had worn blisters on my hands and wasn't thinking about buttons.
He wasn't buying it. He most likely even tried to calm me down but I got mad and the more I thought about it the madder I got. Finally I asked him, "Which is more important buttons or blisters?" And as I did this I held up my hands to show him all the blisters on my hands. He replied, "Buttons". I replied "Blisters". Pretty soon we were shouting the two words back and forth at each other. Most likely loud enough for all the others in the office to hear.

He also said that he had heard I was living in a house downtown that had no furniture in it. I told him that it was none of his business. He replied he could make me live on base. Now that was a real serious threat. No one lived on base except one alcoholic who was from Pa. Why he was in Meridian,Ms. I never understood. He was not part of our National Guard Unit and was the only non guard person there on active duty.

I should have explained to the Major that my grandmother had moved to Mobile,Alabama to live with my mother and that since I thought we were going to deploy overseas I had moved into her empty house temporarily. Since we never deployed anywhere I continued to live there having rented a rollaway bed. I did have the electricity turned on and heat also.

Actually I had moved into my grandmother's house after the old couple who rented me a room when I first got into town went through my trash and read some of my early attempts at writing and were not pleased with what they read.
The Meridian cops came by my grandmother's house one night and knocked on the door. The asked me who I was and I told them and that it was my grandmother's house. They were satisfied and went away and never came back.

Meridian is and was a small town full of gossip like any other small town. So the Major must have gotten wind of my living arrangements through some small town gossip out to get me because I was "different".
I felt where and how I lived was none of his business. He did not push the issue and I remained happily living off base.

Finally he gave up on the buttons matter and told me to leave and don't do it again.
I certainly didn't intend to. I went back to work typing.

The next day someone told me Major Forbert had spoken to the other office staff after I had left for the day and told them to leave me alone that I was crazy.
I never heard anymore about the incident.
Then many years later I learned of Steve Forbert and realized the Major Forbert is his father. It is interesting to me that the military man has a singer songwriter son. Not what I would have expected. But then Jim Morrison's father was an admiral.
In due time August 20th 1962 arrived and we were released from active duty. See posts below. That was the happiest day of my life. Just like being released from jail or prison. There is one rank higher than General and that is civilian citizen.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

1974 Meeting Larry McMurtry In His Bookstore Booked Up on 31st Street In Georgetown,D.C.


Click on the above photo to enlarge it.
I just finished reading the second book of what Larry McMurtry calls his memoirs. It is a strange kind of memoir in that he seems to only write about writing his books and buying and selling books in his avocation as a bookseller. There is very little personal information about himself. There was more personal information in his non fiction books like Paradise and Walter Benjamin and the Dairy Queen and Roads.
He spends a lot of words writing about his reviews of other people's books and how he hurt their feelings even though he felt he gave them a good review.

My friend Bill McKenzie(who grew up in El Paso and Fort Stockton,Texas)and I(who lived 3 years in East Texas growing up) happened to go in Larry McMurtry's bookstore called Booked Up on 31st Street in Georgetown,D.C.sometime around 1974. Larry and his partner Marcia Carter were the only people in the store when we walked in. Larry was sitting behind his desk. We introduced ourselves as fellow Texans and that got little or no response. I then mentioned I was a friend of Peggy Milner who knew McMurtry way back in the day when he lived in Houston and Austin. That perked him up a little bit. At least he repeated the name Peggy Milner. When I knew Peggy she told me she was friends with many of the Texas writers like McMurtry and Billy Lee Brammer and the rest.

By the way I knew that Marcia Carter had once been married to Hodding Carter Jr.'s brother Philip who lived in New Orleans. Philip ran the newspaper The Vieux Carre Courier and helped stop the building of freeways along the Mississippi River right through the heart of The French Quarter. But I didn't say anything to her or Larry about that. I knew about Phillip Carter because I lived in the French Quarter in 1965 and 1966.

I had brought along a book that belonged once to my grandmother. It was an old book by Madame Octavia Walton LeVert. It was a book in 2 volumes of her travels in Europe in the 1850s. It was an original first edition from around 1857. I showed it to Larry and asked him if he wanted to buy it. I really had only taken it as a reason for coming in the shop in the first place. I think he took one look at me and at Bill McKenzie and knew we weren't going to buy anything. McMurtry's bookstore was a rare bookstore with high prices.
He looked at the book and said he wasn't interested. This was in late fall and Marcia Carter asked him if he didn't want to buy it for(name forgotten)for Christmas. He said no. Then he did offer the statement that he was more interested in European ladies who traveled to America than American ladies who traveled to Europe.

I spotted him as an intellectual not interested in small talk. Also a busy businessman not interested in two guys with no money. His lack of emotion did not surprise me. The Japanese have a description of this type of non responsive person. They call them "a cold fish". I don't know the Japanese words for that but I heard some Japanese call another introvert I once knew by that name.

So we left Larry's store. He had been polite and civil but nothing more and since he didn't know us from Adam I can't blame him for blowing us off.

I like his non fiction better than his fiction. I did like the early first fiction books like The Last Picture Show and Moving On and All My Friends Are Going To Be Strangers. But after all is said and done I think he will be remembered for Lonesome Dove since that is what most people seem to like. He lost me on that somewhere in the tumbleweeds. And all the other cowboy books did not interest me.
My favorites in his non fiction are Paradise,Walter Benjamin And The Dairy Queen, and Roads.
But I admit I liked Texasville very much and Duane Is Depressed and Cadillac Jack. Cadillac Jack is one of the best books about collectors I have ever read.
In his book Literary Life he mentions John Updike. Thinking it over it seems to me that the books starting with The Last Picture Show and continuing with Texasville and Duane Is Depressed and the rest are much like the books John Updike wrote about Rabbit Angstrom. Rabbit, Run and Rabbit is Rich and the rest of those connected books.
McMurtry's books are much the same just with a Texas location instead of Pa.

Rabbit novels

(1960) Rabbit, Run
(1971) Rabbit Redux
(1981) Rabbit Is Rich
(1990) Rabbit At Rest
(1995) Rabbit Angstrom: The Four Novels
(2001) Rabbit Remembered (a novella in the collection Licks of Love)
Bech books


Here is some information about Larry McMurtry.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larry_mcmurtry
Here is some information on the first volume of his memoirs.
I liked the first volume much better than the second volume which is titled Literary Life and came out in 2009.
http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/life/books/reviews/5881771.html
Something I found about Madame Octavia Walton LeVert by looking up her book Souvenirs of Travels on ABE.com page 7.
Souvenirs of Travel.
LE VERT, Madame Octavia Walton.
Bookseller: Bartleby's Books, ABAA
(Washington, DC, U.S.A.)

Bookseller Rating:

Quantity Available: 1
Book Description: S.H. Goetzel,, Mobile, (AL):, 1857. First edition. 8vo. 2 volumes: xvi, 348; viii, 348 pp. Errata slip tipped into volume one. Madame Le Vert (1811-1877), a native of Georgia, the daughter of a prominent Augusta lawyer and granddaughter of signer George Walton, moved with her family to Pensacola, Florida, where her father was acting governor of the territory under Andrew Jackson, and then on to Mobile, Alabama, where she married a French emigré physician. "Le Vert's reputation as an author rests upon her Souvenirs of Travel, describing her European trips of 1853 and 1855. Modeled on the successful travel memoirs of Lady Emmeline Stuart-Wortley and the Swedish novelist Frederika Bremer, both of whom had visited the Le Verts on their American tours in the early 1850s, the book is a record of travel in the grand manner. Madame Le Vert sought, and usually obtained, access to the leading social, political, and literary figures of London, Paris, Florence, and elsewhere, being presented to Queen Victoria, Pope Pius IX, Napoleon III, and other notables. Her conventionalized account of these experiences, replete with glowing superlatives, reflects the mid-nineteenth century romantic outlook" (Notable American Women). Owen, p. 1018: "Up to the time she was the only American to gain access to the better circles of European society who had given an account of the impressions founded thereon. To this was added a freshness of style, a glow of fancy, and descriptive powers which lent the finish of genius and taste to her writings." Smith American Travellers Abroad L32: "Trips to Europe [and Cuba] in 1853 and 1855 are told in letters to her mother by a southern aristocrat." Original brown cloth (rubbed), gilt spine titles. Very good. (1348). Bookseller Inventory # 54710

The KP Caper And The 1962 Seattle Worlds Fair



Click on the above pictures to enlarge them.
Click on the link below for more Seattle Worlds Fair Postcards from 1962. Click on each of them to enlarge them.
http://www.alamedainfo.com/seattle_worlds_fair_1962.htm
In April 1962 I was stuck in Meridian,Mississippi doing a year of active duty in the U.S. Air Force because my Air National Guard Unit(the 153rd Tac Recon Squadron at Key Field in Meridian)had been activated on Oct.1,1961 for the Berlin Crisis. We never left Meridian. See more on that in the two posts below this one.

Then came word that some of our planes and pilots and mechanics and a few support people were going to Tacoma,Washington to take part in a joint military war games exercise at the Yakima Firing Range in Yakima,Washington.

Since I worked in Headquarters as a clerk typist there was no need for me but I really wanted to go on this trip since I knew the Seattle Worlds Fair was underway that year. And plus I really needed to get away from Meridian and the monotony of that small base. So I went to the First Sergeant and asked if there was any way I could go. Turns out over the teletype came the request for 4 or 6 permanent KP(Kitchen Patrol)people. He agreed to let me go along with a few others with those orders.

The flight out to Tacoma,Washington was by two planes(C-124s also known as Flying coffins or old shakey).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C-124_Globemaster_II

I am not sure but the planes may have been C-130s.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_C-130_Hercules

They only flew out during daylight hours. So we stopped over night outside Fort Worth. Then again we stopped overnight at Alamagordo,New Mexico. I had a chance to go into town and buy a postcard of Alamagordo and send it to my mother. As I remember it was a small one street town. I wrote to her "This place needs Peace Corps volunteers". Then on to a overnight stay at a base outside Sacramento, California.

I along with two others decided to hitch hike to San Francisco. We left in the afternoon and were told we better be back by early the next morning so as to not miss out flight out of there.
We got out on the highway and got a ride from a guy that took us all the way into San Francisco and Chinatown. We ate a great meal there and then went to the Jazz Workshop and saw John Coltrane and his quartet. He was doing his long extended version of My Favorite Things and we were right there on the front row.

After that we went to the Mark Hopkins Hotel and the Top of the Mark where the bar revolves around and offers a great view of the nightime San Francisco skyline.
Then down to the ballroom to see the great comedian Joe E.Lewis. Buddy Hackett was in the audience.
Somehow we got to the bus station to catch the first bus out in the morning for Sacramento and we made it to the base in time to see the others going to breakfast at the chow hall. We made it back in time and did not miss our flight out.

That day we finally got to Tacoma,Washington. The next morning we reported for duty at Chow Hall #1. The man in charge there said, "We don't need you".They had consolidated 2 chow halls into one. So we proceeded to Seattle to the Worlds Fair. This went on for a week or more with no work assigned to us we just went to the Fair in Seattle every day. Finally after about 2 weeks the word got out and a Lt. showed up and asked us where we had been. We told him our story. He said, "Get a broom and look busy and don't tell anyone what happened".

At the Fair they sold extra large 3 feet by two feet postcards of a picture of the Fair. It could be rolled up and sent in a tube through the mail. I told one of our guys I should send this to our First Sergeant. His name was J.D. something. So one of our guys told me that he would buy the postcard if I would send it.
He bought it and I wrote on the back of the giant card, "J.D. No K.P. Joe B." and mailed it.

As I remember it we got back to Meridian and the base before that card did so I was there when it arrived in the mail and was there to see the First Sergeant open it and unroll it and read the message on the back. He didn't say much of anything as I recall.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

August 20th 1962 Yucca Flats 153rd Tac Recon Squadron Meridian Mississippi Key Field Mississippi Air National Guard


Click on the picture above to enlarge it. This is not Tommy Harvey's version of Yucca Flats. The picture above is of the drink recipe as made in the link at the bottom of this post.

More on my time in the Mississippi Air National Guard in Meridian, Mississippi.
The day we were released from active duty after the Berlin Crisis(see post below)was the happiest day of my life. That was 48 years ago on August 20th,1962.
Now to prepare for this momentous occasion my friend Tommy Harvey who also was being released from active duty that day made a gallon jug of what he called "Yucca Flats". Yucca Flats according to Tommy Harvey is made this way: One quart of good vodka, 7 lemons, 7 Seven Ups,combined in a glass gallon jug with a top on it. Leave alone for 7 days and then take the top off. Boom! Yucca Flats. That is what we had to drink that night after we were released from active duty. I remember after it was all gone sucking the last of the juice out of the lemons left inside the bottle. Maybe I even ate the lemons.

I know I slept real well that night and the next morning woke up a free man. I got my stuff together and got out of Meridian as fast as I could.

Here is another good way of making Yucca Flats. And if you search the name Yucca Flats on Google or Yahoo you will find many more ways of making this drink.
http://www.food.com/recipe/Yucca-Flats-313684

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Happiest Day Of My Life August 20th 1962 Released From Active Duty In The United States Air Force


Photo above from The Meridian Star newspaper October 1961 at the 153rd Tac Recon Squadron at Key Field, Meridian, Mississippi.
The picture above was taken in October 1961. We were practicing for deployment. We were told we were going to be sent to an Air Force base outside of Paris,France. We practiced this deployment several times. We never went anywhere. They sent the Air National Guard unit from Montgomery,Alabama instead. We stayed stuck in Meridian,Ms. for 10 months and 20 days. When were were released from active duty on August 20th,1962 it was the happiest day of my life.
Click on the above picture to enlarge it.

On October 1, 1961 my National Guard Unit was called up to active duty for the Berlin Crisis. It would have been my senior year in college. Instead I spent 10 months and 20 days stuck in a small southern town and on an Air Force military base. I would call those the most wasted days of my life. My idea of what prison must feel like. Having never served time in a jail I can't say for sure how it would feel to be released from prison but the day of my discharge from active duty was the happiest day of my life. That was August 20th, 1962. Free at Last! Free at Last! Thank God Almighty I am Free At Last!
Here are those song lyrics in full.
http://www.answers.com/topic/free-at-last-performed-by-dc-talk

Now I could go back to college and finish my senior year. I had my life back. In all of those 10 months and 20 days stuck in that small town all I did beside work at the military base was read books. So all my time was not wasted.
And we did have one extended TDY(temporary duty)when we were sent to Tacoma,Washington to take part in a joint military exercise at the Yakima
Firing Range in Yakima,Washington. My group never left that base in Tacoma but we lucked out in that April 1962 when we went out there it was when the Worlds Fair in Seattle,Washington opened and we were able to go to that almost every day of the three weeks or more that we were out there. So all was not lost.

I found out later the Robert McNamara wanted President Kennedy to extend all the National Guards to a full 4 years. Kennedy turned him down. I feel sure McNamara wanted to get them ready for Vietnam which he must have seen was coming.

Here is some more information on August 1962.

August 4 – Marilyn Monroe accidentally overdoses on a mix of sedatives and Champagne a few hours before midnight.
August 5 – The South African government arrests Nelson Mandela in Howick, and charges him with incitement to rebellion.
August 6 – Jamaica becomes independent.
August 10 – Marvel Comics publishes Amazing Fantasy#15, which features the superhero character of Spider-Man, created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko.
August 15 – The New York Agreement is signed trading the West New Guinea colony to Indonesia.
August 16
Beatles drummer Pete Best is fired and replaced by Ringo Starr.
Algeria joins the Arab League.
August 17 – East German border guards kill 18-year-old Peter Fechter, as he attempts to cross the Berlin Wall into West Berlin.
August 22 – A failed assassination attempt is made against French President Charles De Gaulle.
August 23 – John Lennon secretly marries Cynthia Powell.
August 24 – A group of armed Cuban exile terrorists fire at a hotel in Havana from a speedboat.
August 27 – NASA launches the Mariner 2 space probe.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Gulf Coast Girl Charles Williams



Click on the above pictures to enlarge them. Click on the link below to read about the author. This is a 1956 Dell paperback with interesting cover art by someone named Maguire.
Here is information on Robert Maguire and pictures of many more of his paperback covers. Click on them to enlarge them.
http://www.ramaguirecoverart.com/gallery_covers.php

This cover is really great in that it is not at all clear exactly what is happening. What is she scared of? Is it a hurricane that is coming? Is it a recently discovered oil slick? And what is he up to? None of the above of course. Below you will find a description of the story but I suspect it will be hard for the book to be as good as this cover.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Williams_(U.S._author)

Here is more about this author and his books.
http://www.mysteryfile.com/GM_Williams/Williams.html
And finally here is a bit about the real story of this book.
"In Charles Williams' Gulf Coast Girl, Shannon Macauley--a tall, blonde ex-showgirl--hires Bill Manning--a diver, sailor, and writer--to help her husband escape from gangsters. The husband had stolen a cache of diamonds from the gangsters, but lost them in a plane crash in the Gulf of Mexico. He survived, but the diamonds sank with the plane. Despite Bill's efforts, which include killing one of the thugs, the escape plan fails. The gangsters kill the husband, framing Shannon for his murder. They then force Shannon to give them directions to the site of the plane crash and force Bill to sail a boat to the site and try to salvage the diamonds. Bill and Shannon fall in love during the voyage. But their future is bleak because even if they escape, they will still be hunted--hunted by the gang who still want the diamonds and hunted by the police for two murders. The ending is clever and surprising--and I, for one, didn't see it coming, even though Williams dropped hints along the way."
--pigeye

Friday, August 6, 2010

Grand Prix de Saint Cloud Paris France July 5,1964, Baron Rothschild's Horses




Click and double click if necessary on all these pictures to enlarge them.



On July 5th 1964 when I was 24 years old I went with a friend to the horse races at Saint-Cloud just outside of Paris,France. I wore my white Palm Beach suit. We were well dressed but the Rothschilds out dressed us in their morning gray tuxes and high hats. We saw them in the paddock before their horses raced. We did pick one winner in the second race by the name of Big Boy. As the horses went around the track the announcer called out his name and in French sounded like "Beeg Buoy".

Here is the program from that day that I have saved all these years. It was a Sunday and everyone was well dressed. My friend remarked that the jockeys looked just like a painting by Raoul Dufy. The Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud in 1964 was won by a horse named Relko. He was not owned by Guy de Rothschild. Baron Rothschild had a famous horse named Exbury that had won the race in 1963.

Here is some information on The Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Prix_de_Saint-Cloud
This is a link to a Flickr page with some pictures of Saint-Cloud.
http://www.flickr.com/search/?w=all&q=saint-+cloud+race+&m=text
Here is something about Guy de Rothschild.
http://findarticles.com/p/news-articles/racing-post-london-england-the/mi_7999/is_2007_June_15/horse-racing-de-rothschild-owner/ai_n38525676/
And more on Guy de Rothschild.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guy_de_Rothschild
And for the full story of The Rothschilds here it is.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rothschild_family
Paintings at the top of this page are by Raoul Dufy.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raoul_Dufy

Charles Manson's Eyes Life Magazine 1969 And My Drawings of His Eyes In Color


This is a December 1969 Cover Photo On Life Magazine of Charles Manson. His eyes were so disturbing that in December 1969 I drew a pencil drawing of his eyes and then colored them with crayons in the style of Andy Warhol. See below. Click and double click if necessary on all the photos to enlarge them.


Click on all these pictures to enlarge them.





Thursday, August 5, 2010

Gus Stevens Nightclub Biloxi Mississippi 1968 Advertisement Featuring George Cummings Billy Francis And Ray Sawyer Of Dr. Hook Fame


Click on the above picture to enlarge it. This is an advertisement for Gus Stevens Restaurant and Nightclub in Biloxi,Mississippi in 1968. The band is the Hot Papers. Formerly the Chocolate Papers. This band later became Dr. Hook And The Medicine Show two years later playing in Union City,New Jersey. Then they signed with Columbia Records and Clive Davis and the rest is history as they say.

George Cummings, Billy Francis,and Ray Sawyer were founding members of Dr. Hook. Popeye Phillips had quit the band by the time they signed their contract with Columbia Records around 1971. Popeye Phillips who was from Mobile, Alabama did appear later as the drummer on Little Hippie Boy with The Flying Burrito Brothers on their first album The Gilded Palace Of Sin.

Ray Sawyer and Billy Francis were from Mobile,Alabama originally and George Cummings was originally from Meridian,Mississippi.

That bit in the advertisment about being "Just Back From A Tour Of The Hollywood Las Vegas Circuit" is pure fantasy and was totally made up but big things were soon to happen for this band.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

We Went To The National Gallery Of Art In Washington D.C. Today


Click on the photo above to enlarge it.
http://www.nga.gov/highlights/index.shtm
Click on the link above to see the new exhibitions at the National Gallery Of Art in Washington, D.C.