Monday, December 28, 2009

David Goodis's Philadelphia - January 10th, 2010

The Noir Coalition of Philadelphia will be remembering the 43rd Anniversary of the Death Of David Goodis with a Tour of Goodis's Philadelphia on January 10th, 2010

Please meet us at 
6528 North Broad Street
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 
Ten O'Clock AM
on January 10, 2010

Alternatively, join us at approximately 2:00 PM at Roosevelt Memorial Park, 2701 Old Lincoln Highway, Trevose, PA, 19053.

See you at Section B-3, Lot 324, Grave 3 - near the mausoleum.

At the graveside, we will read excerpts from Goodis's coldest, most gripping work.  Bring your favorite, darkest passages from Goodis's novels and short stories.

Contact us at

David Goodis's Birthplace in the Logan Section of Philadelphia, 10th and Loudon, Looking east towards Roosevelt Boulevard.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


                          Noir Journal . . .  

                                                investigating noir fiction and film

Noir Journal, 

a blog dedicated to 

gaining knowledge about 

the Noir style in fiction, 

film, art, and 

even film Noir music.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

January 10: Noir Coalition to re-enact funeral of David Goodis and tour his haunts

"From the nearby Delaware a cold wind came lancing in, telling all alley cats they'd better find a heated cellar" -- Shoot the Piano Player (Down There)

Sunday, January 10, 2010 is the 43rd anniversary of the funeral of David Goodis, the Prince of Noir. 

In his memory, the Noir Coalition of Philadelphia will re-enact his funeral and tour the slums, dives and streets-of-the-lost which he frequented. His characters will retreat from oblivion, as we learn what made David Goodis the brilliant writer who he was. Details will follow.

At 11 a.m., Hardcore Goodisheads will convene at the Oak Lane Diner, Broad Street and 66th Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19126, 215-424-1026, for a bleak, chilling, depressing tour of the hardboiled underbelly of David Goodis' Philadelphia.

At 2 p.m., we will gather at Roosevelt Memorial Park, 2701 Old Lincoln Highway, Trevose, PA 19053 (215-673-7500), just over the Bucks County line from Philadelphia. The grave is located at Section B-3, Lot 324, Grave 3 near the mausoleum.

At graveside, we will read excerpts from David Goodis' coldest, most gripping work. Bring your favorite, darkest passages from Goodis' novels and short stories.

After David's funeral, friends gathered at the Toddle House to remember David's outrageous humor and recount his devoted friendship. The Toddle House---at Broad and Belfield Streets in Logan---is now a vacant lot.

We will re-live the apres-funeral with lunch at the Club House Diner, 2495 Street Road (between Knights and Mechanicsville Road, 215-639-4287) in Bensalem, a few minutes from Roosevelt cemetery. Lunch (liquid and otherwise) begins at 3 p.m. We will adjourn at nightfall.

For those truly dedicated Goodis Alley Cats, we will retire to a heated cellar in center city at the close of this very special day dedicated to David Loeb Goodis.

If you would be interested in tour or the luncheon or want more information, please email Louis Boxer at or Aaron Finestone at . Your email is not binding. We just need estimates for the bus and the restaurant.

Join us for this Day with Dave. What better way to spend a cold day in January, alley cats and all.


Oh, anthologies. Some good stories, some bad stories ... unless it's this collection, which features nothing but awesome!

Noir is published by Dark Horse and costs $12.95. It features stories by - are you sitting down? - David Lapham,Jeff LemireDean Motter, Chris Offutt/Kano/Stefano Gaudiano/Clem Robins, Alex de Campi/Hugo Petrus/Ryan Hill,M. K. PerkerPaul GristRick Geary, Ken Lizzi/Joëlle JonesGary Phillips/Eduardo Barreto/Tom Orzechowski, Matthew and Shawn Fillbäch, Ed Brubaker/Sean Phillips, and Brian Azzarello/Fábio Moon/Gabrial Bá. Take a deep breath. Dang, that's a good line-up.
I can't say there's a bad story in this book. Some are weirder than others, some puzzle me a little (of course, it's been fairly well-established that I'm not too bright, so this isn't surprising), and some don't seem to be actual crime comics, but those are really minor criticisms. What this book is, really, is a superb collection of stories from creators working at the tops of their games. Some of the stories are predictable, naturally, because of the short space allotted each story - there's only room for one giant twist in these stories, so some are pretty easy to spot - but when the level of craft is so high, who cares? It's just fun to sit down and buzz right through this book (it's only 121 pages long) and enjoy the hell out of the twisted humanity on display here.
Lapham begins the book with a fantastic Virginia Applejack story that has nothing to do with Stray Bullets except that it shows what a clever girl Virginia is even when she's in a bit of a pickle. It's probably my favorite story in the collection, but the quality doesn't go down too much, trust me. Lapham does an excellent job showing how easily manipulated some people can be, and it's fun to read, even if we know Virginia is going to be fine. Lemire's story, "The Old Silo," reminds me of how good he is even though I've been disappointed with Sweet Tooth. In a few pages, he gives the characters more personality than we've seen so far from Gus and Jepperd, and even though it's obvious where the story is going, the final image is still fairly chilling.
Dean Motter's Mister X story is one of the weaker ones in the book, but that might be because I don't completely understand it. Mister X and Rosetta Stone are trying to figure out a strange murder, and while the solution makes sense (especially in the context of the Mister X universe), I'm not entirely sure what's going on at the very end. It's frustrating. But perhaps you get it! Offutt and Kano/Gaudiano's effort is pretty cool, because I didn't see the end coming. An old hitman is given a job which he swears will be his last one, but as he waits for his target, he begins to suspect things aren't as they seem. They aren't, of course, but the way in which they aren't is clever. The art is very good, too, as the hitman's city is a squalid and depressing place, perfect for the tone of the story. "Fracture," Alex de Campi's story, is the weirdest one in the book, and I don't quite get it. It's a fascinating experiment that twists back around on itself and gives us a marvelous final page, but I'm not sure if it's supposed to be anything more than that. Petrus, however, is fantastic on it - his art looks strangely like Adam Hughes, which is weird because it doesn't in anything else I've seen him draw. It's a neat little tale, but I don't know what exactly de Campi is trying to say with it. But that doesn't mean it's not worthwhile to check out!
Moving on, we get M. K. Perker's "The Albanian," which is the most "humorous" in the book (as humorous as something so blood-drenched can be, as this features the most dead people in the collection). It focuses on a late-night janitor in an office building and what happens one night when he discovers a terrible crime. It's mainly funny because of the janitor's invisibility to others around him, and it ends rather sweetly. Paul Grist gives us a short Kane story which is fun until the enigmatic final page. Again, I must be missing something, because I'm not sure I get it. There's a burglar, a frame job, and Kane seems to give up on the case. What's up with that? Rick Geary's story of a man who suspects his wife of having an affair and hires an assassin to kill her is nice and twisted and also ends sweetly, even if it remains twisted.
Ken Lizzi's prose story is next, and introduces the theme for the rest of the collection: femme fatales. The first part of the book doesn't feature any, but beginning with Lizzi's, we get four straight with women who like to wrap their men around their fingers, but what's cool about each story is that each creator puts a different spin on it. Sonja, Lizzi's femme fatale, hooks an ordinary guy into a scheme to steal $200,000 from a drug dealer who uses her as a courier, but the plan doesn't go as planned, of course. Susan, a plump girl in Phillips and Barreto's "The New Me," goes a gym to get fit and gradually becomes the kind of woman the philandering personal trainer would like to get with, but does Susan have a bigger plan than that? And what does the guy in the wheelchair have to do with it? The Fillbächs' beautifully illustrated story (it reminds me of John K. Snyder's work) tells of a woman who has hooked up with a gangster and is getting bored with him ... and then a stranger walks into her life, and she sees an opportunity to move on. Finally, Brubaker and Phillips tell a story of a man who falls hard for a woman who, of course, wants him to take care of her husband for her. Those things never work out for the guy, do they? We know what's coming, but Brubaker and Phillips put their own twisted spin on it. Azzarello's story to finish the book, wonderfully drawn by Moon and Bá, seems like it's going to be a fairly standard "guy gets in over his head for some easy money" story until the final page, when we realize it's something far more sinister. It's a great final page if you've read comics before - it's the only one where some knowledge of comics history might make a difference in your enjoyment of the tale.
This is really a superb collection. It's fun to read, allows the creators to do some wild things, and looks great. There's not one clunker in the book. Here's a few panels from each story, just for fun:
Lapham: 'Open the Goddamn Box' Lemire: 'The Old Silo' Motter: 'Yacht on the Styx' Offutt, Kano, Gaudiano: 'The Last Hit' De Campi, Petrus: 'Fracture' Perker: 'The Albanian' Grist: 'The Card Player' Geary: 'Blood on My Hands' Lizzi, Jones: 'Trustworthy' Phillips, Barreto: 'The New Me' Fillbächs: 'Lady's Choice' Brubaker, Phillips: '21st Century Noir' Azzarello, Moon, Bá: 'The Bad Night'
If you're a fan of noir stories, you should get this immediately. Even if you aren't, this is the kind of book that is cool to read just to see the various creators assembled. And the price is right, too! Check it out today!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Adventures of Ace Hoyle





Check out excerpts from my exclusive interview with Ace Hoyle's creator, Phill Provance, below:

I got into Noir in general, a lot of it has to do with watching old, Golden Age detective films with my step-father.

My step-dad is dyslexic, so since I was a kid his form of reading has always been watching movies, especially old ones. I've spent what must have been thousands of hours watching the classics like the Thin Man series (a personal fave) and Bogie flicks as well as Hitchcock's forays into the genre, euro-Noir... so many movies I can't even remember them all.

I developed a special love for hard-boiled lit as well, and that extended into what I consider Noir's sister genres - things like spy thrillers, police and mafia dramas, mysteries, etc. This, in turn, spilled over into my comics reading list which included things like "The Darkness" and anything by B.M. Bendis.

Also, I've always kind of been a mod, style-wise. Love the 30s/40s style and kind of wish I'd lived in that time period. But I don't feel recent Noir I've seen and read goes far enough to update the genre. Often the feeling of Golden Age Noir transposed on contemporary society comes off cheesy for me because 1930s and '40s America is a certain time and place. I don't feel the characters bend enough in a natural, human way when forced into that mold - which is why I decided to make Ace and Dolly more Gen Y, less serious.

Dolly's the more hard-boiled one with the drinking problem and the one who solves the crime/saves the day. Ace is more of her "buxom blonde" boyfriend, and in a way I hope to make a masculist critique of my generation and maybe even the feminism of my parents' generation, which I feel spurred these shifts in sexual identity. That's the deep literary stuff, so hopefully I can pull it off. I have about 200 episodes to do it in anyhow, so I think I should be able to.

To put it to you a different way, I can imagine a P.I. trying to keep afloat during the Depression on the eve of the World War being one bad motha'. I can't see a pudgy 20-something with three square meals, a college degree and a job that implies sitting all day acting the same (even if he or she IS living with mom and dad because rent has gone up exponentially since the recession started). Theoretically, character traits need motivation and cause to solidify. The cotton-candy world of the 80s and excesses of the 90s just don't give Gen Y that. In my book, we've got two personalities that dominate: A kind of over-social idiot savant and a wise, jaded decadent; those are our strong folks in this generation (in my humble opinion).

I said my character would be a classic Odysseus figure: He’d be slick and able to do just about anything, but fate would always throw him into some mess that he’d have to work his way out of. He wouldn’t be physically strong; maybe he’d even be a bit pudgy and incapable of winning a fistfight. He would have a James Bond feel but in a comical way: He wouldn’t be in control of what was going on, but would always try to come across like he was. His girlfriend would be the real hero. She’d always be getting him out of trouble and wouldn’t just wave her chest and butt around like the usual comic book heroine. It would be funny. The whole thing would be a big joke. Heck, this guy’s arch-rival would be kind of like President Bush….
It made perfect sense economically: During recessions every industry goes flat except for vices like gambling, porn, booze and guns. Booze and guns you can’t really sell online, and it’s a tough moral call between the other two. Frankly, I’ve always seen myself as a pretty upstanding guy. So I felt it was a little selfish to get involved, even as a writer, in a vice industry. Still, I meant to survive the recession, and thinking that gambling was less destructive than porn – nobody, after all, gets AIDS from shuffling cards – I decided it wouldn’t be bad to work for Mike full-time.

“Mike, we’re gonna do a comic series about a professional-gambler-slash-secret-agent.”


”Sure. You wanted something nobody else has, this is it: Doyle-Brunson-meets-James-Bond. You’re gonna love it.”

“What’s it called? We need something that works well with Google.”

“That’s easy. Call it ‘Ace Hoyle.’”

”Hoyle like the card company. Ace like a….”

”Like the card.”

“I love it.”

”I know.”

As for the art, Ace's visual creator is Tomas Batha. He's Czech and has done a helluva a good job at bringing Ace to life in an dark and edgy way that's also got elements of tongue-in-cheek comedy. Tomas and I work extremely well together and are as close a couple of friends as anyone can expect from co-workers. In fact, just two weeks ago we were roaming around Prague taking photos of the Old City for a later portion of the series and downing absinthe  in a dark hole of a bar called the Chapeau Rouge. I think it's the Eastern European thing that gives the style he developed for Ace it's originality and edge.

What does Ace think of the Noir life, I can pretty much sum it up as a kind of "What the hell's going on, and why is this happening to me?" Dolly's is "I have no clue, but now I've got to figure out how to get you out of it." I think you'll see what I mean as the series progresses.;-)

Finally, furthering the cause of Noir? Well, it's a true American genre - that simple. And I think it's important on a more universal level because even if people didn't really act that way 70 or 80 years ago (or even if they did) it's so good at conveying that sense of dogged, driven, stolid American strength - the kind of feeling that can be summed up as "This is one helluva problem, but I'm gonna be the one to fix it." I think culturally we need to get that back in this country, especially now. I'm not much of a nationalist, but I do fancy myself a patriot and we need to get back to that hard-boiled soul that built this country if we all want to be sitting around discussing "genres" 70 years from now.

A new online casino information portal has launched at complete with a poker-themed noir comic strip alongside an array of multi-media and Web 2.0 features.

The brainchild of Tortola-based web development firm Media Tier Limited, features The Adventures Of Ace Hoyle, a comic strip created by writer Phill Provance and artist Tomas Batha.

Chronicling the eccentric exploits of professional poker player ‘Ace Hoyle’ and his lady friend, ‘Dolly Finegold’, the series is fashioned in the style of a classic noir comic book with new episodes added weekly.

The Haunts of Miss Highsmith by Patricia Cohen

Patricia Highsmith wrote 22 novels, many of them set in Greenwich Village, where she lived. But the landscape of Highsmith Country consists not only of the physical Village neighborhood, but also the dark and desperate territory of Highsmith’s psyche.
“She is our most Freudian novelist,” said Joan Schenkar, whose biography of Highsmith was released this week by St. Martin’s Press. Having spent nearly eight years on the book, “The Talented Miss Highsmith,” Ms. Schenkar is the perfect tour guide for this novelist’s world. Standing in front of the red-brick building at 35 Morton Street where the 19-year-old Highsmith took a summer sublet in 1940 to escape her mother and stepfather, Ms. Schenkar continued: “To her, love and death are closely related. She tends to murder people in her novels where she made love in real life.”
Morton Street was where Highsmith “started her lifelong career of aggressive seduction,” Ms. Schenkar explained. It is also where Kenneth Rowajinski, the psychopathic dog killer, is murdered in her 1972 novel “A Dog’s Ransom.” (The unlucky poodle, Tina, bears the name of a dog owned by one of her amours.) “She kills so many dogs,” Ms. Schenkar said of Highsmith. “She hated dogs. She couldn’t bear sharing attention.”
On this steel gray, rainy day — “perfect Highsmith weather” — Ms. Schenkar was dressed in black. Her corkscrew-curled hair formed a circular bonnet around her face and matched the shape of her wire-rimmed glasses.
Highsmith is best known for “Strangers on a Train,” whichAlfred Hitchcock made into a movie in 1951, and “The Talented Mr. Ripley,” made into a film with Matt Damonand Jude Law in 1999. Both novels feature sociopaths and murder. (Perhaps you are beginning to see a pattern.)
Ms. Schenkar is convinced that if Highsmith had not become a writer, she would have been a murderer. “From age 8 she wanted to kill her stepfather,” she said, strolling north toward Grove Street, “She was born to murder. She had the mind of a criminal genius.”
In her 1969 novel, “The Tremor of Forgery,” Highsmith aptly turned her coffee-colored Olympia portable typewriter on which she banged out her fiction into a murder weapon in the hands of a writer named Howard Ingham. (He hurls it at a thieving intruder, smashing him in the head.)
Whatever innate characteristics she might have been born with, the circumstances that tortured Highsmith through her life included: a self-loathing of her lesbianism; resentment that she didn’t gain entry to New York’s highest social stratum; and a destructive love-hate relationship with her mother, Mary, who, when Patricia was 12, left the heartbroken child to live in Fort Worth with her grandmother for a year.
“It’s never a good idea to fall in love with your mother,” Ms. Schenkar commented dryly. Despite their volatile and venomous relationship, she could never be very far from her. Even that first sublet was only a couple of blocks away from her parents’ one-bedroom apartment at 48 Grove Street, where she slept on a pull-out couch in the living room. Sidney Hook, the radical leftist philosopher, lived downstairs.
Ms. Schenkar stopped in front of the building, took a small thin cigar out of a metal case and lighted it.
We were engaging in ambulomancy or “divination by walking,” Ms. Schenkar explained, stepping through Highsmith country in order to understand the writer herself. “Every physical location is also an emotional location,” Ms. Schenkar noted.
She pointed across the street to a Federal mansion: “John Wilkes Booth supposedly plotted the assassination of Lincoln there.”
Throughout Highsmith’s more than four-decade career, her fictional world was often inspired by the curving, crooked streets of Greenwich Village, where she lived in the late 1930s and ’40s. “It was her creative store,” Ms. Schenkar said, “her little museum of America” that she took with her to Europe when she moved there in the 1960s. Her novel “Found in the Street” takes place in the late 1980s, yet the details are from an earlier era; “the canapés are from the 1950s,” Ms. Schenkar said with a laugh.
That novel’s wealthy, sexually obsessed couple, the Sutherlands, live on Grove Street; the object of their attention and their murder victim, Elsie Tyler, is killed a few blocks away, in her apartment at 102 Greene Street, where Highsmith’s ex-lover, the painter Buffie Johnson, owned a loft.

Grove Street is also home to Edith Howland, the mentally disintegrating housewife at the center of the Highsmith novel “Edith’s Diary” and the place where Cliffie, Edith’s son, unsuccessfully attempts to murder the family cat Mildew. (Highsmith was much fonder of cats than dogs.)
Barnard College Archives
Highsmith as editor of the Barnard Quarterly, with her staff in 1942.
Highsmith was all too aware of the demons that fueled her writing. At 26, on New Year’s Eve 1947, she wrote a 2:30 a.m. entry in her journal: “My New Year’s Eve Toast: to all the devils, lusts, passions, greeds, envies, loves, hates, strange desires, enemies ghostly and real, the army of memories, with which I do battle — may they never give me peace.”
As Ms. Schenkar noted, they never did.
Farther down Grove is Marie’s Crisis Café, one of the oldest piano bars and clubs in New York and a regular stop for Highsmith when she was at Barnard College and after. The door is painted fire-engine red; out front a picture of Sweet Georgia Brown hangs in a glass box. A few feet away is a plaque noting that this was the spot where the Revolutionary War activist Tom Paine died.
“She loved piano bars,” Ms. Schenkar said. Nearby is the Village Vanguard, at Seventh Avenue South just below 11th Street, where Highsmith frequently went to watch her best friend from high school, the future film star Judy Holliday, perform with Betty Comden and Adolph Green, and occasionally Leonard Bernstein, in the musical comedy sketch group the Revuers.
A few blocks east is Macdougal Street, the home of some of Highsmith’s other favorite, now extinct, hang-outs like the Jumble Shop, a Prohibition-era tearoom she and Holliday (then Judy Tuvim) went to in high school and L’s, a lesbian bar where she would later troll for lovers. Macdougal is also where the cop Clarence Duhamel in “A Dog’s Ransom” stays with his girlfriend.
Where Macdougal meets Waverly Place stands the refurbished Washington Square Hotel, formerly the Hotel Earle, a seedy spot that both Highsmith and her mother often checked into when visiting New York later in life. It was the scene of many of Highsmith’s seductions and the inspiration for her short story “Notes From a Respectable Cockroach.”
The Village is as much Ms. Schenkar’s home turf as it was Highsmith’s. Escaping from the cold into the Cornelia Street Café, Ms. Schenkar ran quickly upstairs to the 170-square-foot studio she lives in when not in Paris. (The oven and broiler serve as book shelves.)
“I live near many of her haunts in Paris,” she said of Highsmith, after returning with a cushion for her aching back, “and I live around the corner from her here, in the Village.”
Ms. Schenkar, who is also a playwright, confessed that for two years she was “rigid with hatred” for her subject. Aside from her dark misanthropy, Highsmith held some ugly views. She disdained African-Americans and Jews (despite her many Jewish lovers). But in the end, Ms. Schenkar said, she was won over by Highsmith’s extraordinary talent. In her mind “Ripley” could be nominated to fill the slot of Great American Novel.
“I completely appreciate her work. She kept at it, even when she was dying, and in pain writing five to eight pages a day,” Ms. Schenkar said, adding, “She wrote five or six of the most unusual novels of the last century.”

Friday, December 11, 2009


by Kevin Bloom
In a way, Tiger Woods is the duality of the human condition writ large. His fall from grace has been as spectacular as his heroic win at the US Open in 2000. Question is: how will this epic tale end?

Sports Illustrated magazine called Tiger Woods’s win at the 2000 US Open at Pebble Beach “the most dominating four-round performance in the history of major-championship golf.” It wasn’t hyperbole. What Woods had done at the tournament hadn’t been accomplished since Old Tom Morris won the 1862 British Open by 13 strokes – and he’d been playing against a field of only a dozen. Woods’s win by 15 strokes, against over a hundred of the finest golfers in the world, many of whom had battled through a series of pre-qualifying rounds, was the greatest performance in golfing history for any number of reasons. On none of the tournament’s 72 holes did he three-putt. He hit his drives longer and straighter than any player out there. His iron shots were flawless, holding Pebble’s small, hard greens with devastating accuracy. But most of all there was his focus; nobody who watched the 2000 US Open on television would soon forget the fierce way Tiger stared down the fairways, how he strode after his ball like a great conquering general, how he bent even the sea gales of the famed California course to his furious will.

“[Woods] had fogged the field on Thursday and strolled home in sunshine on Sunday,” Sports Illustrated observed, “and by the time he was finished virtually no one was prepared to say that Nicklaus, Watson, Bobby Jones or anyone was in his league.”

The real tragedy of the events of the last two weeks – aside from the pain caused Tiger’s wife and children – is that it’s possible, perhaps likely, that a giant has fallen. To date, Woods has won 71 official PGA tour events, including 14 majors. He has the highest career earnings and lowest scoring average of any pro golfer ever. No other golfer has spent as long as he has atop the world rankings, and he is one of only five players – along with Gary Player, Ben Hogan, Jack Nicklaus and Gene Sarazen – to have completed the major grand slam (he was also the youngest player to do so).

There is only one thing left for Tiger to achieve, and it’s the thing he wants more than anything else – to beat Jack Nicklaus’s record of major wins, which most peg at 18, but some at twenty, if the two US Amateur titles are included. For Tiger to get there he’ll have to return to the course quickly, and that will demand strength of character more profound even than what was displayed at Pebble.

Eldrick Tont “Tiger” Woods has, according to an army of media commentators, behaved like a coward these past two weeks.

As the statistics on his extramarital affairs climb – depending on your source, the current count is either 10 or 11, including two porn stars – he remains in hiding, thereby leaving his embattled wife Elin Nordegren to her fate. Nordegren, golf club in hand, bashing at the windows of her husband’s Cadillac, has become a media laughing stock, a figure of ridicule and scorn on talk-shows and blogs across the world. Tiger has not sprung to her defence; he has not apologised to the mother of his children publicly. When his mother-in-law collapsed in his home, and his distraught wife called the Florida emergency services thinking she may have died, you could hear – on the audio recording that’s now gone viral – the kids screaming, but no Tiger. Where was he? In the master bedroom with his hands over his ears? Sending text messages to his floozies from the kitchen? Wherever he was, his actions were the opposite of brave.

“There’s still an opportunity for Tiger to stop the bleeding,” Mike Paul, the president of a top public relations firm, recently told the New York Times. “But he cannot just remain silent, out of sight. He should have done a one-on-one interview within the first 24 to 48 hours. He should have done something like Oprah, and he needs to do it – that type of interview – and soon.”

What he also needs to do is win another major. It’s hard to reconcile the all-conquering hero from the 2000 US Open with the spineless squirrel we’re witnessing (or not witnessing) now, but they are in fact the same person.

Tiger may well be the finest exemplar of the duality of the human condition the media age has yet seen; his genius and his failings are on a par with the likes of Norman Mailer – unlike Mailer, of course, Tiger is a sportsman and not a writer, so his public persona straddles much more of the planet.

Will Tiger, as Mailer repeatedly did, be able to tap the heroic part of his make-up and re-emerge triumphant?

By all accounts, the question is a plot line for the ages.



Up for debate: Did John Dillinger break out of prison using a mock gun he carved from a bar of soap? Far as I can tell no one really knows. 
I’m up for believing the soap theory.  It sounds like it would be something infinitely easier to acquire while doing time, and simple to fabricate using a spoon or stick.  Carving a gun out of wood, well that would require using a knife and if he had the knife why make a fake gun, leaves my brain spinning…
While we speculate, real dollars are at stake, as I write, the Heritage Auction Galleries have up for auction the wooden gun he purportedly used in his escape.   Current bid is $13,000, with Christmas coming soon, and ya’ll not knowing my dress size, you’d best put your offers in now as I’d love to own a piece of that action.  There is also a two part plaid hunting suit  that belonged to Dillinger which I covet, though it is a bit matchy matchy and the stirrup pants look a twee uncomfortable…
The real gun may be somewhere else all together.  The official John Dillinger Museum in Hammond Indiana, claims to have the pistol on display according to the “Northwest Tourism Czar Speros Batistatos” and with a name and title like that, I’m inclined to believe him.
If you want to own your own piece of history, can’t drive out to Indiana or fork over $15G for a probable fake, visit my Etsy shop where soap guns can be had for a very reasonable four dollars, while supplies last.

What have we told you about leaving fingerprints every where? Go wash your hands! 

Nothing says “amateur criminal” like a messy crime scene. Nothing says “classy” like our hand- made Dillinger Soap.

The refreshing scents of eucalyptus and mint help you fight Public Enemy Number One, bad body odor. With gorgeous pearl handle details, and silky lather, this soap will look mighty sharp sitting in the guest lavatory. 

We named our cleansing bar for John Dillinger the depression era bank robber, who successfully escaped from Crown Point, Indiana county jail using a bar of soap he’d carved into the shape of a gun. While we can’t make you a master criminal we can promise you a clean getaway. 

Please note- I can ship up to 4 guns per box then will require additional shipping to cover remainder of order. Please convo with questions or for bulk orders- just like the real thing, these faux pistolas are not for re-sale.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Here is a home film of Elaine Astor GOODIS 
Withers circa 1962 or 1963.

Elaine Withers is the woman in black with the pearl necklace.

Thank you Larry for shedding light on the Mysterious Elaine!


The Holidays Are Part of the Puzzle

Mystery writers like to feature Christmas themes—

and their work inspires mysteriously interesting 

gift books, too

Dominic Bugatto
Christmas, with its implicit promise of God and
sinners reconciled and the world put to rights, 
would seem a perfect setting for detective fiction, 
with its crime-propelled storylines and righteous 
truth-seekers. The season has indeed held special 
appeal for mystery-writers ever since Arthur Conan 
Doyle's Sherlock Holmes (in "The Adventure of the 
Blue Carbuncle") stuck his hand in a Christmas 
goose and plucked out a gem of great price and 
mysterious origin.

As Venice is to Commissario Brunetti, 
San Francisco is to Dashiell Hammett's iconic 
detectives, including Sam Spade. In "The Dashiell 
Hammett Tour" (Vince Emery Productions, 214 pages, 
$19.95), Don Herron (who has conducted actual 
Hammett-themed tours for years) guides readers 
along the Northern California routes of Hammett's 
characters and stories, with anecdotes, anecdotes, 
insights, maps and memories. The book is a 
wonderfully illustrated Baedeker to the 
real-life scenes of a marvelous fictional world, 
and it includes a preface by Hammett's 
daughter, Jo.

Catherine Corman's "Daylight Noir: Raymond 
Chandler's Imagined City" (Charta, 126 pages, 
$39.95)takes a more minimalist approach to 
Chandler's Los Angeles: just Ms. Corman's 
full-page black-and-white photographs, 
a scattering of lines from Chandler 
himself and a brief preface by the 
novelist Jonathan Lethem.
But the book is magical. The spare images 
come at you from oblique angles: a section 
of tile-roofed bungalow glimpsed between 
branches, the Art Deco façade of an old 
hotel seen against a sun-white sky, a 
flight of wooden steps ascending toward 
palm trees, the thatched roof of a cottage 
like a witch's nest. With no people in 
sight, these buildings are haunting, 
and haunted. Ms. Corman captures the 
essence of Chandler that still hovers 
throughout L.A.
—Mr. Nolan is the editor of Ross 
Macdonald's "The Archer Files: 
The Complete Short Stories of 
Lew Archer, Private Investigator."