Monday 31 May 2010

Wild West Web

There's a great new western story from Edward A. Grainger AKA our good friend, David Cranmer on the latest Beat to a Pulp. David, in Edward mode, appeared alongside myself and other western writers in the anthology, A Fistful of Legends which was published earlier this years and is still available.

Head over to Beat to a Pulp HERE and check out the antho HERE

Tainted stats

Weekly Stats Report: 24 May - 30 May 2010

Unique Visitors119135123172132132134947135
First Time Visitors9810697147107108114777111
Returning Visitors2129262525242017024

Saturday 29 May 2010

80/80 - 80 Things you might not know about Clint Eastwood

As printed in The Independent Newspaper:

1. His middle name is Elias; he was born on 31 May 1930.

2. His nickname among nurses was Samson: at birth he weighed an eye-watering 12lb 6oz.

3. He should be called Clint Jnr, as he is named after his steelworker dad.

4. Drafted into the army aged 20, he managed to spend the Korean War poolside as an army swimming instructor.

5. Clint claims to have never sworn in front of a woman.

6. Despite spending half his career in the saddle, he is allergic to horses.

7. He has directed 32 films – more than Steven Spielberg or George Lucas.

8. A late bloomer, 10 of these were released in the past decade.

9. Clint met swimsuit model Maggie Johnson on a blind date in June 1953; they married six months later.

10. They divorced in 1984, nine years after separating.

11. Despite his Dirty Harry films, Clint has been very critical of violence in the movies.

12. He intended to study music before being drafted into the US army.

13. Eastwood has 109 film awards, including four Oscars, five Palme d'Ors and two Golden Globes.

14. Gran Torino is the only film in which Eastwood's character is shot dead. The Beguiled (by poison) and Honkytonk Man (tuberculosis) are the only other films in which Clint's character bites the dust.

15. He lost his virginity at 14 and has been called a "serial womaniser".

16. Spike Lee accused him of not casting enough black actors in Flags of Our Fathers. A spat ensued, Clint pleaded historical accuracy.

17. American feminist magazine Bust praised him, however, for casting female actresses in traditionally male roles.

18. In 1954, he auditioned for the lead in The Seven Year Itch but lost out to Tom Ewell who went on to star opposite Marilyn Monroe.

19. His first (uncredited) movie appearance came a year later, in Revenge of the Creature.

20. His only line was: "I've lost my white mouse."

21. In the 1950s, he was the face of Maxim Coffee.

22. He was first choice to play Charles Bronson's part as Harmonica in Sergio Leone's 1968 epic Once Upon a Time in the West, but turned it down.

23. Clint was, at one time, believed to be a vegan.

24. But he denied this, saying: "That's why I don't look at the internet."

25. Customers can tuck into hog's baby back ribs at his Hog's Breath restaurant in the seaside town of Carmel, California, where he lives.

26. He has been known to spend Friday nights manning the restaurant's barbecue.

27. In a 1959 issue of TV Guide, Clint advised readers to "always eat plenty of fruit, vegetables and vitamins and always avoid drinking excess alcohol".

28. Before he hit the big time, he made his living digging swimming pools.

29. Eastwood was also a paper carrier, forest fire-fighter, golf caddy, gas station attendant and bar room piano player.

30. He recites the Greek alphabet to calm his nerves.

31. Harry Callahan's line, "Go ahead, make my day" from Sudden Impact (1983), is the sixth most memorable movie quote ever.

32. Clint successfully ran for mayor of Carmel to overturn a law banning public ice-cream eating.

33. He stood down after one term.

34. An attempt at pop stardom bombed after his 1961 debut single "Unknown Girl" failed to enter the charts.

35. He was so appalled at his performance in Ambush at Cimarron Pass in 1958 that he almost quit acting.

36. In 1976, he called Richard Nixon's handling of the Vietnam War "immoral".

37. That didn't stop him being a card-carrying Republican who supported both presidential campaigns for Richard Nixon.

38. Clint has also supported the Democrats.

39. Director Arthur Lubin first spotted him in 1954, recalling him as "a soft, awkward, hayseed type".

40. His character in the Fistful of Dollars trilogy constantly smokes a cheroot – an unpleasant experience for the militant non-smoker.

41. He has practised Transcendental Meditation every morning for more than two decades.

42. He was the owner of the US's largest bluegum eucalyptus. A taller tree was discovered in 2002.

43. Meryl Streep claimed his Bridges of Madison County filmset was the quietest she'd ever worked on.

44. In 1958, executives at Universal Studios fired Eastwood for having a distractingly large Adam's apple.

45. Eastwood swam three miles to safety after he was in a military air crash in the Pacific Ocean in 1951.

46. His most famous singing role is in 1969's Paint Your Wagon.

47. Since 2002, Eastwood has campaigned against hunting.

48. In 2007, France honoured Eastwood with the Légion d'Honneur.

49. His heritage is English, Irish, Scottish and Dutch.

50. Clint's big break came in 1959 when he was cast as Rowdy Yates in the TV western series Rawhide.

51. He even recorded an album – Rawhide's Clint Eastwood Sings Cowboy Favourites, in 1962.

52. Eastwood married anchorwoman Dina Ruiz – 35 years his junior – in 1996.

53. They met when the 28-year-old Dina interviewed the 63-year-old Clint.

54. Clint and the cast were so cash-strapped on the 1964 movie A Fistful of Dollars that they made their own costumes.

55. Eastwood was fifth choice for the role of The Man With No Name, after Henry Fonda, Charles Bronson, Ty Hardin, James Coburn and Richard Harrison.

56. He's not been out of work since.

57. It was Harrison who recommended Clint as a cheap actor who could play a cowboy.

58. Harrison later said that turning down the role and recommending Eastwood was his greatest contribution to cinema.

59. Clint still describes himself as a shy kid.

60. Clint retired from acting after 2008's Gran Torino.

61. He learned to play the piano by imitating records.

62. He wrote the love theme, "Doe Eyes", from The Bridges of Madison County for his wife Dina.

63. Chopin is one of his biggest musical influences.

64. In 2005, Clint agreed to supply the voice for a Dirty Harry video game.

65. His favourite food is sushi.

66. He used to play the flugelhorn.

67. His favourite exercise is on a less-than-manly cross-trainer.

68. As a child, his family moved around a lot because his father had to look for work during the Great Depression.

69. All that house-moving left him so lonely that he invented imaginary friends.

70. He loved Freddy the Pig stories about talking barnyard animals.

71. During the Rawhide years Clint cashed in by performing with other cast members at rodeos for as much as $15,000 a time.

72. He is a stolid admirer of Winston Churchill.

73. His passion for jazz led to the 1988 film Bird, about saxophonist Charlie Parker.

74. He had a tempestuous 14-year relationship with Sondra Locke, with whom he co-starred in six films.

75. The actor, famous for wielding a 44 Magnum, supports gun control.

76. He has seven children with five different women.

77. His oldest son, Kyle, was born in 1968. Morgan, his youngest, in 1996.

78. He co-wrote a hit single, "Why Should I Care", for Diana Krall.

79. He sings the closing song in Gran Torino.

80. He has 164 movie credits as a writer, director, actor, producer and composer.

80/80-Dirty Harry 6

Liam Gallagher new band first pic

When Oasis split recently I expected it to be Noel who made the first move but apart from giving the odd solo concert he's remained silent. Younger bro and certified lovable lunatic Liam though has formed a new band, Beady Eye and released the first photographs.

The pic reminds me somewhat of the cover image for Definately Maybe.

80/80 -1974 two part interview

80/80- Million Dollar Baby

Interesting interview regarding Million Dollar Baby

Clint Eastwood meets Mr Ed

The early days of a jobbing actor.

80/80 -Eastwood tired of Eastwood

Courtesy Contact Music

Veteran actor-and-director Clint Eastwood prefers being behind the camera as he is ''tired'' of seeing himself on screen.

Clint Eastwood has "become tired" of seeing himself on the big screen.

The actor-and-director - who will turn 80 on May 31st - prefers to stay behind the camera and allow younger stars to take centre stage, but insists he has no plans to quit acting altogether.

He said: "I leave that to younger actors now. I'm not a prize fighter who has to capture another victory. Since I worked as a director for the first time on 'Play Misty for Me' in 1970 I've become tired of seeing myself on the big screen.

"That doesn't mean I'm going to stop acting, though"

The 'Million Dollar Baby' star is still determined to try new things, and believes directing films gives him more opportunities to push himself.

He told Germany's Tele 5 TV station: "If you've done as many films as I have you stop looking back, you're only going forwards.

"As a director it's important to me to try new things once in a while. And as an actor, if a film is finished you can't change it and you have to leave it to other people to judge your work."

80/80- Dirty Harry cultural icon

Remember the scene where Dirty Harry on his way to Boston watches the in-flight movie - Superman II - and wishes he could swoop down out of the sky and take out the punks! Don't worry if you don't remember - it wasn't a deleted scene from any of the Harry movies but rather comes from book 5 in the Dirty Harry novel series by Dane Hartman, Family Skeletons.

"San Francisco homicide detective Harry Callahan saw Superman II on the cross country plane trip. He smiled all the way through it. Not because he liked it but because he wished his own job was that easy. For a few seconds he thought about throwing away his Magnum .44, ripping off his shirt, and leaping out of the 747 to fight for truth, justice and the American way."

I wrote about the history of these novels Here

There were 12 of these novels published, though only six saw print in the UK.

The books are as you'd imagine forgettable but they do highlight the extent to which the Dirty Harry character as become a pop cultire icon:

  • Gorillaz songs "Dirty Harry" and "Clint Eastwood" are both cultural references to this movie.
  • One "detective" character in the Warhammer Fantasy novel Beasts in Velvet written by Kim Newman is called "Harald Kleindienst", nickname "Filthy Harald", an obvious pun on "Dirty Harry". A contemporary drawing of this character in White Dwarf (UK) 140 also closely resembles Eastwood.
  • In the film Borat, Sacha Baron Cohen picks up a handgun in a weapon shop in Texas, and states "I am like movie star Dirty Harold, Make a'my day, Jew", making an obvious reference to Eastwood's character the popular catchphrase of Sudden Impact, the fourth film in the Dirty Harry series.
  • In the 2007 film Zodiac, Dirty Harry can be seen being played at a movie theatre in the midst of the Zodiac murders.
  • In the 2004 crime thriller film A History of Violence the main villain says to the hero "We should leave before he goes all dirty-harry on us."
  • The 1988 buddy cop film Red Heat main character Art Ridžić played by James Belushi says to his partner "Come on everybody knows the magnum 44 is the big boy in the black. Why do you think Dirty Harry uses it?"
  • The 1993 comedy film National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon 1 Emilio Estevez parodies at the opening scene in the convenience store moments after shooting the robbers saying "I know what you're thinking, punk. You're thinking 'did he fire 173 times or 174? Well, do you feel lucky punk.

Friday 28 May 2010

Now ain't that bizarre

Many people are treating the story that condoms are too big for most Indian men with a wry smile - The BBC reported that - A survey of more than 1,000 men in India has concluded that condoms made according to international sizes are too large for a majority of Indian men.

The study found that more than half of the men measured had penises that were shorter than international standards for condoms. It has led to a call for condoms of mixed sizes to be made more widely available in India.

Now personally I don't find this funny at all because in Wales we find that condoms are too small for Welsh men. So the Archive fully supports condoms being made in differing sizes.

Terry James is back!

Terry James' (Joanne Walpole) first western, Long Shadows came out a month or so before my debut, Tarnished Star. It was a great read and finding ourselves with the same publisher we became internet buddies. I'm thrilled to see Terry's second Black Horse title, Echoes of a Dead Man now available for pre-order from Amazon.

The book's out October and we'll have to bully Joanne into an Archive interview as publication day grows closer.

80/80-A new kind of hero

80/80-Enviromental concerns

80/80 - That ain't no way to treat a legend

An actual bookstore display in California. Thanks to Jake for sending the Archive this snap.

80/80- The comeback kid

By the middle of the 1980's Clint Eastwood's films had begun to wobble - The Dead Pool had finally turned fans off Dirty Harry, Pink Cadillac and The Rookie were simply dreadful. And to add insult Clint's brilliant, White Hunter, Black Heart had failed at the box-office. The Unforgiven would regenerate a career that many thought was over. Indeed in many ways his latter career has surpassed that of his early years.

The Oscar success came during a troubled period for Clint - younger stars were topping the box office and his image had been tarnished by his highly publicised split with Sondra Locke. But Clint, true artist that he is, threw himself into his work.

He followed Unforgiven with the equally successful In the Line of Fire and that was followed by the remarkable A Perfect World. It was clear that Clint had developed into a top knotch director and in recent years he hasn't put a foot wrong.

80/80- Ying and Yang

Compare High Plains Drifter and Pale Rider - it's as if Clint is portraying varying sides of the same character. Compare the first shots of Eastwood we see in each movie - in High Plains Drifter we see him riding out of a sun hazed, devilish looking landscape, whilst in Pale Rider he comes out of a much more heavenly landscape, seemingly in answer to a young girl's prayers. In High Plains Drifter Eastwood may be Satan personified whilst in Pale Rider is he very much a force of good.

In High Plains Drifter Eastwood kills several men, rapes a women and tries to get a shave in the first reel, in Pale Rider he beats several hoods with a piece of hickory thus saving a put upon prospector. Both westerns were directed by Eastwood and both owe much to lessons learned at the hands of Leone - for it was Leone who showed Eastwood how to use allegory in a western.

In High Plain Drifter Clint paint the town red (literally), renames it Hell, deputises a dwarf and basically wreck havoc in his quest for revenge, while in Pale Rider he goes up against a big conglomerate thus allow the smaller miners to make their stakes. There is a truly effective moment in Pale Rider where a young girl is reading a passage from the Bible aloud at the dinner table and as she mentions the fourth horseman, Eastwood's Preacher rides past the window.

Both films are fine westerns, with perhaps High Plain Drifter just taking the edge. It would though, be interesting to see what Archive readers think.

80/80-Joe Kidd

Read my full review HERE

80/80 -Beguiling

In the winter of 1969 Clint Eastwood and Don Siegel started work on the movie, The Beguiled - a masterpiece that is strangely underrated in Eastwood's native US but loved across Europe, particularly France where the movie is held in very high regard. Though in 1970 this must have be seen as being as unlike an Eastwood movie as it was possible to get.

The project came to Eastwood in a roundabout way - Jennings Lang, a reader for Universal, saw in the novel a bold departure for their newest megastar. While the script was being developed Clint was in Europe filming Kelly's Heroes.

"One of the basic motifs in The Beguiled is the female desire to castrate the male." Don Siegel.

Filming eventually started in April 1970 and it opened a year later in only a handful of screens. The studio didn't understand the film and fearing a flop they treated it badly. This resulted in the film not initially earning a profit and grossing only $1 million.

Clint had his own ideas of why the film failed.

"I guess people don't want to see me play a loser. Dustin Hoffman and AL Pacino play losers very well," Clint told an interviewer at the time. "My audience likes to see me a winner."

Nevertheless over the years The Beguiled has taken its rightful place among cinema classics - it's not really a western but a civil war sex drama. And it truly is an amazing piece of cinema.


It may seem, at the moment, that I'm churning books out at the rate of two a week - I only wish that were true. However A Policeman's Lot (out next month) was actually completed in the first draft almost two years ago and Arkansas Smith which came out this March was also a year old by the time it saw print. Today I received an offer from Hale for my next Jack Martin Black Horse title - The Ballad of Delta Rose will see print sometime in 2011.

I wasn't sure how Hale would react to this one because it's very experimental and is my most hard-boiled western - I've messed with the general structure of the three act western and, I think, turned out an extremely different kind of western. There is no beginning, middle and end with Delta Rose - the book starts at the climax and then continues that climax for the remainder of the book. All that has gone before, to bring us to this point in time, is told off page, in the odd flashback or hinted at in speech. That kind of worried me but my usual reader, Anthony, who checks all my books though it was great. It worked for him and so I sent it off to the good Black Horse people.

Anyway head honcho John Hale, called the book - "An unusual and competently written story. Splendid."

I'm on cloud nine with those words - it's great to get such praise from a man who has been in the business for decades and knows the genre inside out. I feel that Jack Martin fans will enjoy this one and see it as a worthy and assured follow up to both Tarnished Star and Arkansas Smith.

Anyway that's it for Delta Rose for the moment, but I'll be telling you more about him when I have a firm publication date and a cover image to grace the Archive.


Arkansas Smith is still available
The Tarnished Star is also available and will soon be published in a new large print edition.
And read my story The Gimp, along with 2o other stories of the Old West from some of the genre's leading lights, in the anthology A Fistful of Legends.

80/80-Even the stars are starstruck

Thursday 27 May 2010

80/80- Western Gold

Josey Wales is a hardworking Missouri farmer during the Civil War - when his wife and son are killed by Union Guerrillas (Redlegs) he joins the Confederates and becomes a one man killing machine. When the war ends Josey's unit surrenders but he refuses and then witnesses his unit wiped out by Redlegs under the command of Captain Terrill - Wales then goes crazy with a Gatling gun.

This results in Wales being hunted as an outlaw and forced to flee, keeping one step ahead of both Terrill and his former commander, Fletcher. Soon Wales picks up a companion in the shape of Cherokee Lone Wait and from here on in the film switches from its revenge plot to become a meditation of the importance of community and more important, family.

Josey Wales is an early Eastwood classic - it's up there with the Unforgiven and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and contains some great iconic scenes.

"Dying ain't much of a living, boy."

80/80 - Clint on CD for the first time

Rawhide's Clint Eastwood Sings Cowboy Favorites" was recorded on May 13th and May 14th in 1963 in New York. The last two tracks on the CD are from a single that Clint Eastwood recorded in November of 1962. None of this music has been available on CD before.

Clint Eastwood As Rowdy Yates In Rawhide

Clint Eastwood had been appearing in films and television shows since the mid-1950s, but his breakthrough role was as Rowdy Yates on the television series Rawhide. So when it came time for Clint to record an album, it was only natural that he should turn to western music rather than rock 'n' roll.

The album opens with "Bouquet Of Roses." Clint's voice is smoother than one might imagine it being. While there is nothing particularly intriguing or compelling about his voice, Clint is a completely competent singer. And his voice totally fits the feel of this record. Most of the tunes, like "Bouquet Of Roses," are mellow and sweet.

In songs like "Along The Sante Fe Trail," Clint is going for an authentic old western feel, complete with sad-sounding harmonica. "The Last Round Up" was written by Billy Hill, and had been a hit for Harry Lillis "Bing" Crosby in 1933. Clint Eastwood does a very nice version of it.

80/80 - great Eastwood tribute

John Wayne became a screen legend as the man of action; Jimmy Stewart became one as the man of conscience too paralyzed to act; Clint Eastwood did it as the man of action pricked by conscience. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) made him an international star. Thematically, the good, the bad and the difference made him a movie icon.

Having spent 60 years as an actor and 40 as a director, on Memorial Day Mr. Eastwood celebrates his 80th birthday. Over a career where his co-stars have included Ginger Rogers, Tyne Daly, Meryl Streep and Hilary Swank (oh yeah, and Eli Wallach , Gene Hackman and Morgan Freeman, too!) the guy Life magazine called "Squint" Eastwood quietly disproved the conventional wisdom that there are no second acts in American lives.

By Flickgrrl's count, thus far professionally Mr. E -- Flickgrrl cannot call him Clint, although he has asked her to -- has enjoyed four unusually rich acts.

Act I: As the situational ethicist of spaghetti Westerns such as A Fistful of Dollars (1964) where The Man With No Name (whose name was actually Joe) blazed a radically middle path between two warring clans. FULL STORY

The long and winding Parade 8 - Buffalo Bill

Next month will see the digital publication of my novel, A Policeman's Lot from Solstice Publishing - I'm very excited to see this book finally in print and hope that readers everywhere will enjoy it. The book will also be available later in a print format.

The book is set in my own stamping ground of Pontypridd during the year 1904 - in those days Ponty, as we locals call it, was a busy industrial town that sat below both the coal rich Cynon and Rhondda Valleys. Writing the book involved months and months of research and not only into the Welsh past but also into a true American legend - one Buffalo Bill Cody.

Cody was born in Iowa territory in 1846 and died in 1917. At the time of his death he was probably one of the most famous men in the world - the problem was how to characterise him.

I tried all ways to bring him to life, to get his speech patterns, his mannerisms and all the little foibles. After reading the first draft I found his character alternated between being the straightforward sharp shooting frontier hero and a flash and pushy showman. I read scores of books on the subject - incidentally I would recommend The Colonel and Little Missie by Larry McMurtry as the definitive study of Cody as showman.

Still I couldn't get Cody right - I wanted the showman but I also wanted a noble man of principles. I didn't want him to be too much of one thing; I wanted a man of contradictions. And then one day I stumbled across the Clint Eastwood movie, Bronco Billy and I immediately saw my Buffalo Bill - there he was, on the screen. And so my Buffalo Bill is an amalgamation of frontier hero, sharpshooting ladies man and Clint Eastwood.

I was painfully aware that I was writing about real people in a fictional setting - these were people who actually lived, breathed and had all the human strengths and weaknesses. I wanted to reflect that in my characterisation of the great man.

The picture of Cody (left) is from 1903 - a year before the novel starts so I had some good photographic pointers as to his physical look. But the man beneath the skin was harder to get to. I hope however that I've done the man justice and that when the book hits the shelves, iPad's, Kindle's. Nooks, PC's, Macs, Sony's and so on, that maybe some readers will want to find out more about the great man.

Next, I'll tell you something about Police Inspector Frank Parade

Killer with a Jack the Ripper fixation

From the Daily Telegraph UK:

Stephen Griffiths, a mature student at Bradford University, is being questioned by police over the killings of Susan Rushworth, 43, Shelley Armitage, 31, and Suzanne Blamires, 36, pictured, three prostitutes who worked in Bradford’s red light district and went missing over the past year.

Police found parts of a woman’s body in a river on Tuesday after calls from members of the public. It is understood that a severed head was discovered in a rucksack.

West Yorkshire police were last night checking missing persons files. It was reported that they were investigating three more unsolved murders possibly linked to the case. Mr Griffiths, 40, who is studying criminal justice, specialising in homicide, is a postgraduate student with a degree in psychology.

The bachelor lives in Bradford’s red light district. One neighbour said he would walk around in a long black leather coat and boast he was doing a “PhD in Jack the Ripper”.

On a social networking website, there is an entry under his alleged alter-ego of “Ven Pariah” saying he is “the misanthrope who brought hate into heaven”.

It is understood that Mr Griffiths was detained after detectives studied CCTV footage from the city centre over the weekend, when Miss Blamires went missing.

Separate searches for all the missing women had been continuing throughout Bradford but until yesterday police refused to link them.

Miss Rushworth was the first to go missing, on June 22 last year. She spent the previous evening with her family in Thornton before returning to her bedsit in Manningham.


eBay: The eBook problem

Ebooks, along with dozens of other forms of digital goods, used to be hot sellers on eBay. Buyers loved them because they could purchase and download the item instantly, and sellers loved them because they could sell as many as they wanted without enduring any additional costs. EBay decided to change the rules, however, and now digital goods are no longer permitted to be sold through auctions. But you can still sell your ebooks on eBay – without breaking the rules.

Most modern home computers come standard with a CD burner. If you have purchased your computer within the last five years, chances are, you have a burner. Using this one piece of equipment, you can keep selling ebooks on eBay and still be within their restrictions. Instead of selling ebooks for digital download, you can burn each ebook onto a new CD, and mail them to your buyers.

Burning your ebooks onto a CD may seem like a setback, but it’s really not. For starters, blank CD’s are incredibly cheap, and you can pick them up just about anywhere – including Wal-Mart. The shipping costs for mailing a CD are incredibly low, especially if you utilize media post. So your buyer doesn’t have to pay that much more to have the item shipped to them, and you don’t have to spend that much more to burn the ebook onto a CD. And, you can still sell as many ebooks as you want; your only limit is how many blank CD’s you can get your hands on.

Besides the low costs, your buyers will actually be better off with buying ebooks on a CD. In the past, when a buyer decided to upgrade their computer or lost their files to corruption, they lost their ebooks along with it. That would mean they either had to repurchase the ebook – if it was even still available – or be out the money they spent. This can’t happen with a CD; buyers will have a hard copy of their ebook, will be able to make copies of their CD, and can keep on using it for years to come.

If you sell more than one ebook on eBay, you can cut down on costs by adding multiple purchases to one CD. If you have a buyer who purchases three of your ebooks, for instance, you can put all three ebooks on one CD instead of creating three separate ones. This is another convenience factor for your buyers, as well.

The ban on selling digital items on eBay has caused a lot of sellers to abandon the idea of selling ebooks. With less sellers marketing ebooks on eBay, you have far less competition on eBay than ever before. And by using CD’s to sell your ebooks, you won’t be breaking eBay’s rules, and you’ll be offering your buyers something tangible to keep their ebooks safe at the same time. Take advantage of the opportunity to make big money with your own home business on eBay by selling ebooks, and you’ll never look back!


Whitcoulls launched New Zealand’s first eBook store today, announcing the majority of its 2 million eBooks would be priced between $10 and $15.

The retailer also officially announced the arrival of the Kobo eReader. The bare-bones eReader, which uses eInk technology, is the first to hit Kiwi shores. It will be sold through the Whitcoulls’ website for $295 and will come pre-loaded with 100 free eBooks.

REDgroup managing director Dave Fenlon said at the Auckland launch event that the arrival of eBooks in New Zealand would “change how New Zealanders read forever”. Australia-based REDgroup owns Whitcoulls and is also a part owner of Kobo.

Fenlon said the eBooks could be read on the Kobo eReader, iPad, iPhone, Blackberry, PC or Mac. When they were purchased from Whitcoulls’ website, they would be stored in a user’s account in the cloud, allowing the new owner to download them to any device they wished.

“If you use multiple devices to eRead, our eBook playform will let you read the same book seamlessly across all of them.”

Whitcoulls had released free applications for the PC, Mac and iPhone on its website already and would complete development of apps for the Blackberry and Android devices in “coming weeks”. A graphically impressive iPad app, which shows your book library on your own customised on-screen shelving, would be available for the New Zealand iPad launch "in July", Fenlon said.

New Zealand author Deborah Challinor said eBooks provided an opportunity for New Zealand authors to sell more books and push their books further afield.

Wednesday 26 May 2010

80/80- New Eastwood bio

Clint Eastwood biography examines the good, bad and ugly

Clint Eastwood behind the camera  on set.

Clint Eastwood behind the camera on set.

Photograph by: Handout, Files

"I like seeing Clint enter a restaurant."

That's how veteran movie writer Richard Schickel begins his fascinating new book about Clint Eastwood.

"Or wait — let me refine that statement — I like NOT seeing him enter a restaurant."

To put it another way, "He seems to know all the side doors in town." New

80/80 - Hang em High

Eastwood was returning to the US a superstar for his first home produced movie since the Leone epics - Hang em High starts with a homage to the classic The Ox-Bow Incident in which Jed Cooper is strung up for rustling even although he has been tricked and thought he'd bought the cattle at a good price, not realising that the seller had actually rustled the animals.

However Cooper survives the lynching when he is cut down by a passing lawman and taken to Fort Grant to face trial. Found not guilty Cooper swears revenge on the lynch mob but is persuaded to bring them to justice under the colour of the law.

WILD WEST FACT: Hanging was the preferred method of execution in the Old West - the hangings were often botched leading to prolonged suffering and often decapitation. In 1890 the more humane method of electric chair was introduced.


the Novel also will have access to that megabookseller's eBookstore, which contains over a million ebooks, newspapers, and magazines — and which is also available on the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, BlackBerry, Mac and PC. It's not available on Amazon's Kindle, for competitive reasons that should be obvious.

"Pandigital Novel users can easily access their existing Barnes & Noble digital content," said bookseller exec Chris Peifer, "and enjoy sharing a wide variety of eBooks with friends through innovative [beta] LendMe technology — whether or not those friends have a dedicated eBook reader." LendMe allows you to pass an ebook off to a friend or colleague for up to two weeks, although — just like a physical book — you don't have access to it while the other person is borrowing it.

Despite its name, the Novel isn't merely an EPUB and PDF e-reader. It has 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi for email and web browsing (a virtual touchscreen keyboard is provided), plays music and video and displays photos. Other apps include an alarm clock and a calendar. Files can be transferred to Mac or PC over a mini-USB port.

Pandigital  Novel eReader

Use the included stand for video watching and alarm clocking

Built-in storage is a measly 1GB, but there's a SD/MMC slot that will accept cards of up to 32GB. The whole shebang weighs one pound (0.45kg), and Pandigital claims that battery life is up to six hours when reading. Undoubtedly, it's noticeably shorter when performing such CPU-intensive tasks as watching video. That CPU, by the way, is the tried-and-true ARM11.

Normally, we wouldn't be all that interested in yet another addition to the growing ranks of e-readers, but Pandigital's partnership with Barnes & Noble earns the Novel a second look. But until we can get our hands on one, we can only look at its specs.

And from those specifications we see a device that — on paper, at least — appears to be worth its low price. It won't be as easy to read in the sun as a Kindle or Nook, but it does have a reverse-image mode for night reading, while the Kindle and Nook get more difficult to read after the sun goes down. Also, the Novel can switch between portrait and landscape mode, a trick neither the Kindle nor the Nook are capable of.

Pandigital didn't get back to us with answers to our questions as to whether the touchscreen display is of the less-responsive resistive type or the more-responsive capacitive type used in, for example, the iPad, and whether the TFT LCD uses either IPS or AFFS technology to improve viewing angles. But at $199.99 we're going to assume resistive and no IPS or AFFS until we learn otherwise.

Battery life isn't great, especially when compared with the Kindle and Nook, which can run seemingly forever without recharging. But it's more colorful and versatile than those dedicated monochrome e-readers, and at a price point so low that it's almost an impulse buy for the gadget-crazed.

If, that is, it lives up to its specs.

80/80 - The Duel

80/80 - Running the Guantlet

Directed by Clint Eastwood, 1977's The Gauntlet is almost an anti-Dirty Harry movie. Clint's character Ben Shockley is a washed out cop - the first real shot of him reveals his drinking problem when a empty bottle of Jack Daniels drops from his car as he stumbles out of the driving seat.

Cinema Retro called this Clint's worse movie - "arguably the worst of Eastwood's career, though The Rookie might also be worthy of the dubious honor."

Though why this movie isn't better thought of is beyond me - True, it's no Outlaw Josey Wales or Gran Torino, but it's certainly several steps above the risible The Rookie. In fact in terms of being an action/adventure movie The Gauntlet doesn't put a step wrong. And yeah the all action climax may be absurd but it's bloody exciting all the same.

In many ways The Gauntlet is the most western-like of all Clint's cop thrillers, well with the obvious exception of Co0gan's Bluff - it's certainly structured like a western - washed up lone lawman sent to bring in a witness for a trial, along the way the lawman realises that the witness, a prostitute played by Sondra Locke is far more important than anyone is letting on and together they face up to many attempts on their lives.

Eastwood's character realises that the reason he has been selected for this assignment is that the powers that be don't want the witness to get to trial, and so they selected the cop least likely to get the job done. That realisation hits him hard and he decides to prove those taking him for a fool, wrong. And also uncover the corruption at the highest level of the city police department.

"There are people betting that I can't do my job. Well they're full of shit."

As they travel the final few miles, in a heavy armoured bus, Eastwood realises that the entire police department are out to stop them.

And that final showdown is something to behold - the city streets become a war zone. Ignore the critics and seek out this movie - true, it's a dumb action movie but it's a dumb action movie with style and Eastwood still pisses all over current day action stars.

It was forty years ago today.....

It's forty years since the final Fabs album - available on the iPlayer and recently broadcast by BBC RADIO 2 is this fascinating look at the meltdown of the greatest rock group in history.

To mark the 40th anniversary of the release of Let It Be, and the accompanying Academy Award-winning film (both released in May 1970), Guy Garvey tells the story of the fractious and often bitter sessions that documented the demise of The Beatles.

Featuring contributions from many of those who worked on the Let It Be sessions, including director Michael Lindsay-Hogg, engineer Alan Parsons, photographer Ethan Russell, author Richard DiLello and engineers Dave Harries and Brian Gibson, this programme explains how a project (originally a TV documentary, titled Get Back, which was designed to re-energise the band and capture their stripped down rock'n'roll roots), instead documented power struggles, bickering and conflict.

The project was perhaps doomed from the start. Paul McCartney's original suggestion was for the group to play three shows, which he hoped would refocus and invigorate the band after the tensions experienced during the recording of the White Album. When this plan failed to materialise, the idea evolved into a worldwide broadcast of a live concert.

Paul decided that the rehearsals should be filmed for a documentary that would promote the live broadcast and they began at Twickenham Studios on 2 January 1969. Everyone involved in the rehearsals considered them to be disastrous. Harrison was increasingly resentful because he felt his songs were either derided or ignored; Paul's attempts to hold the band together and rally spirits came across as controlling; John had all but withdrawn creatively, seldom contributing even to the arrangements of his own songs; and Yoko Ono - who often spoke on John's behalf as he sat silently by - was a major source of tension.

The intrusive film cameras and the cold, unfamiliar settings of Twickenham Studios contributed to the ill feeling. Fed up with John's creative and communicative disengagement, George announced that he was leaving the band. He went to Eric Clapton's house, where he wrote Here Comes The Sun, but within a few days he was persuaded to return to the group.

After three weeks of filming, the band were still unable to agree on a location for the proposed concert, so Michael Lindsay-Hogg suggested they stage an impromptu performance on the rooftop of their Apple headquarters. The live performance took place on 30 January in front of a small audience of friends and employees but it was short by the police after complaints about noise. Filming continued the following day and then no further work was carried out on the project until March, when John and Paul called engineer Glyn Johns to EMI and offered him free rein to produce an album from the recordings.


The BBC are constantly churning out imaginative cutting edge drama as part of it's Afternoon Play slot. Broadcast this week and currently available on the iPlayer is A Week in the Life that takes a look at the aftermath of John Lennon's murder.

Set in Lennon's hometown of Liverpool.

By Dick Clement and Ian la Frenais, adapted by Lizzie Nunnery

December 1980. When just forty people turn up to John Lennon's memorial service in Liverpool, his old friend and promoter Sam Leach is forced to act.

Monday 24 May 2010

Now, isn't that exciting!


From Denver 7 News

How private is the information you publicly display on Facebook? What you write may be seen by more than your Facebook friends.

"Openbook" (caution: some adult language) is a new Web site created to get Facebook to tighten its security settings, but showing just how public some of your private Facebook information can be.

With a simple keyword search, you can read the status updates of Facebook users who you have no connection with. Based on those people's privacy settings, you may see information they wouldn't want complete strangers knowing.

7NEWS found Miguel, a Denver-area resident whose status update included, "So long Denver," in a post referencing a vacation. Ninah also referenced Denver International Airport writing, "I'm really on vacation." Ada, wrote "Bye Colorado," in her reference to her vacation.We were able to read the status updates of thousands of Facebook users we weren't friends with.Angela lives on the western slope. 7NEWS found her status update that referenced an upcoming vacation, with extensive detail to when she would be gone and where she would be."It's kind of scary really. I'm sitting here thinking of things that I've written on Facebook and how many people have actually seen that now," said Angela. "You think that that's open to your friends, and you don't think that just anybody can get on there."After Angela was told her status update could be seen by non-friends, she planned to change her status."You've opened my eyes, and I'm sure by doing this piece that you would open other people's eyes to stop and think before they actually enter something," said Angela.Even though Openbook put her personal information out there for anyone to see, Angela said she didn't think there was anything wrong with what the site revealed."I really do think it's going about it the right way," said Angela. "Really makes you stop and think before you post certain things.""Yes, it's ironic, and it will cause people pain, but it's the least evil way we could come up with," said Openbook developer Will Moffat.He said the point of the website is to educate Facebook users on privacy just as much as it is about trying to get Facebook to change the way it sets up privacy. He wants people to understand how to lockdown their pages, and to realize Facebook is more like a blog than private e-mail."Privacy should be there by default, and there should be a simple way to do that," said Moffat, who said Facebook users often have to "opt out" of privacy options, instead of "opt in.""I actually think it's a good message," said Denver-area Facebook user Theodore Furr. "I think it's good and I think maybe it will help people realize that they need to set their privacy settings higher."Furr checked his privacy settings and found out that he's not as secure as he thought. His friendship sharing settings showed that his friends could accidentally share his personal information."I think anybody with good 'Googling' skills could probably do the same thing this is doing," said Furr. "I think it's good because it's making maybe parents or middle-aged people realize the risks that their kids are at.""It's kind of cool, but I can see where it can go wrong," said Facebook user Matthew Van Deventer. "(Although, Facebook users) choose to put that out there for public information."


Weekly Stats Report: 17 May - 23 May 2010

Mon Tues Wed Thur Fri Sat Sun Total Avg
Pageloads 188 168 199 251 214 140 152 1,312 187
Unique Visitors 135 114 138 173 146 106 119 931 133
First Time Visitors 116 87 104 146 119 83 90 745 106
Returning Visitors 19 27 34 27 27 23 29 186 27

Sunday 23 May 2010

80/80 - Clint versus Spike

Remember this little spat!

80/80 - Clint favourite movies

80/80 - That Kael woman

There's a scene in the final Dirty Harry movie, The Dead Pool in which a female film critic is brutally slain. Clint was thinking of Pauline Kael, his harshest critic - It was Kale who, when critiquing the first Dirty Harry (1971) film, accused Don Siegel and Clint Eastwood of making a "fascist" and "racist" film. The critic in this film is made up to resemble Kale as she appeared during this film's release as an in-joke.

Pauline Kael was a critic who wrote for The New Yorker magazine from 1968 to 1991.

'Dirty Harry is a remarkably single minded attack on liberal values, with each prejudicial detail in place. When you're making a film with Clint Eastwood you want things to be simple, and the basic concept of good versus evil is as simple as you can get. This film is more primitive than most, more primitive and dreamlike; fascist medievalism." - On Dirty Harry.

"Clint Eastwood isn't offensive; he isn't an actor, so one could hardly call him a bad actor. One would have to do something before he could be considered an actor at all." On Magnum Force.

Harsh words indeed - but then Kael also lambasted The Outlaw Josey Wales, so perhaps she wasn't the best person to be judging these movies. However that didn't stop her detesting The Enforcer though giving Tyne Daley some grudging praise.

"Daley's performance is very warm and makes Eastwood's holy cool seem more aberrant than ever."

These days the Oscar winning actor can laugh off these old review, but Eastwood was known to get upset by Kale's reviews,

bemoaning to friend that she didn't understand what he was doing. And it's true - Josey Wales in particular is a beautiful elegiac movie with bags of heart, but Kael just saw an over violent western with no humour. Maybe she slipped into the wrong screening by mistake.

"The opposite of sophisticated movie-making. Clint seems to be trying to blast through his own lack of courage as an actor." On Tightrope.

The critic in her famous speech at a festival in 1976 link Eastwood to what she called, The Veitnamization of American movies. Later that year Dr Ronald Lowell presented an article in the Los Angeles Times in which he attacked Kael and actually said she thought the opposite of what she actually said. And Clint also fired back, stating that Kael used cynical times to label him simplistic. 'She found an avenue that was going to make her a star,' Eastwood said in an interview. 'I was just one of many subjects who helped her along the way.'

"Excruciatingly bad. Clint is a perfectly atrocious director." On Bird

"A psychopathic version of the old Saturday Morning Serials." On Sudden Impact.

Even after retirement Kael continued to hit out at Eastwood, saying that the Museum of Modern Art should be ashamed for showing retrospectives in his honour. She also said critics had been hogwashed on The Unforgiven and that it was another western where you were a pacifist until you had to start shooting. After that not much more was heard from the critic who had now fully retired but she would continue to bemoan the state of cinema privately until her death in 2001.

Saturday 22 May 2010

80/80- An eye for the ladies

80/80 - For a few websites more

There is a wealth of Clint Eastwood related material on the wild west web - two of the most interesting Eastwood based blogs are The Clint Eastwood Archive and The Clint Eastwood Project. Both are equally well written and interesting. Another site well worth visiting is The Clint Eastwood Net - This unofficial site contains a great discussion board as well as pages and pages of Eastwood information. The Clint Eastwood DVD site is an official site from Warners advertising the brilliant 35 film box set. And there is also an official site for Clint's newest movie, Invictus. And there are a fun bunch of Eastwood quotes HERE.

I have a very strict gun control policy: if there's a gun around, I want to be in control of it.
Clint Eastwood

80/80 - Invictus hits DVD

Clint Eastwood’s “Invictus” may look like a sports movie, but the veteran director-actor is again exploring the theme of community, which has shown up in films as widely varied as “The Outlaw Josey Wales” and “Gran Torino.”


The carpet outside wasn’t quite red, but there were plenty of sequins, plunging necklines, and faux-casual acceptance speeches last night when about a hundred publishing types gathered at a club in the Meatpacking District for the 2010 Moby Awards for book trailers.

Book trailers have emerged in recent years as an important part of book marketing, though how much the often ingenious (and expensive) videos help to sell books is anybody’s guess.

The roster of nominees included some impressive literary and extraliterary firepower, though many of the nominees — including Thomas Pynchon, up for Best Performance by an Author for his voiceover in the trailer for “Inherent Vice” — didn’t show.

Zach Galifianakis, who was not in the crowd, won the award for Best Cameo for his searing portrayal of John Wray in the trailer for Wray’s novel “Lowboy.” (Wray — who was also, suspiciously, the presenter for the award — played Galifianakis.)

Dennis Cass won Best Performance by an Author for the hilarious and much-forwarded “Book Launch 2.0,” which on closer inspection turns out to have been meant to promote his memoir “Head Case.” (Current number of views on YouTube: 66,066. Current Amazon ranking: #730,822.)

The award for Best Low Budget/Indie Book Trailer went to Kathryn Regina’s delightful “I Am in the Air Right Now,” while the mind-blowing stop-motion animation of Maurice Gee’s “Going West,” produced by the New Zealand Book Council, took home the prize for Best Big Budget/Big House trailer.

There were also special awards for Most Annoying Use of Klezmer Music, Biggest Waste of Conglomerate Money, Bloodiest, Bloodiest, Bloodiest Trailer (the low-budget underdog “Killer”) and Most Annoying Appearance by an Author. (That means you, Jonathan Safran Foer!)

The novelist and critic Dale Peck, who knows a thing or two about annihilating a book’s prospects, presented the award for Book Trailer Least Likely to Sell a Book to Patricia Rockwell’s “Sounds of Murder.” Mercifully, a technical glitch prevented him from playing it for the blood-thirsty crowd.

Dennis Johnson of Melville House and the MobyLives blog, which organized the event, also gave a special Golden Whale statuette — a gray whale, since the sperm whale cousins of Moby-Dick were all sold out at Toys “R” Us — for best foreign book trailer to the creators of “Etcetera and Otherwise,” a violently comic assault on Canadian literary lions done in a style that brings Margaret Atwood into a kind of north-of-the-border “South Park.” (Blame Canada indeed!)

That trailer also includes a line that itself deserves an award for Best Blurb: “This book decapitated Michael Ondaatje!”

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