Monday, June 24, 2013


I used to enjoy checking sports online, catching up with whatever games and personalities interested me. But increasingly when one wants to read an article on, say, big recruits of certain teams or an assessment of where your team is projected to finish in the upcoming season, one has to click through numerous unwanted pages in order to get to the information you seek. The reason is obvious, and somewhat disingenuous, as website owners seek to gain the maximum number of page hits in order to be in a better position to fleece buyers of ads. "Why look, my page has been hit x number of times." In reality the viewer probably quickly clicked through to their favorite page, but in the process the website garnered multiple hits. It is often irritating for the reader. There are so many teams I simply care nothing about, and I happen to like teams, unfortunately, that often come at the end of the alphabetization. . .South Carolina Gamecocks, St. Louis Rams, Tampa Bay Bucs, etc. So I have to suffer through a lot. If the websites must do this, I wish they would have on the first page an easy link to each page, then let the readers decide what they truly want to look at.

Friday, June 21, 2013


Don't know why it took me so long, but I finally managed to attend a show at Trustus Theater in Columbia. And what an enjoyable time I had. The house was rocking for opening night for the musical Ain't MisBehavin', a raucous look at the music of Fats Waller and life in World War II-era Harlem, told through musical vignettes, basically (as there really isn't any story line). The performers (only five, not counting the band) filled the intimate theater with lively banter and song, and the crowd often responded joyfully. I loved the layout of the seat and the closeness almost everyone feels to the stage. Directed by Terrance Henderson, the talented singer/dancers (Devin Anderson, Avery Bateman, Katrina Blanding, Kendrick Marion, and Samuel McWhite) were expressive and fun, and connected with great rapport to the audience. Since I can't compare it to anything I've seen before, I thought the group did a wonderful job. The costuming and sets were good (although I wish they could find a better way to hide the audio equipment when women are wearing fancy dresses).  Really wonderful job with "Black and Blues." I had to explain a bit to the young student who sat nearby. I definitely want to attend more performances at Trustus.

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Adventures of Duffy Dean, Detective (XV)

A week after the destruction of the two rival gangs and the interruption of illicit trade, as well as the sudden resignations of a series of upper-level politicians and administrators,  gold embossed invitation landed on my desk, accompanied by a bottle of twelve-year-old scotch. I think it was the only time anyone ever got such a summons from the county lock-up. I almost didn’t go, but there were so many questions that needed to be answered. So I steeled my heart and went for a visit.
How is it possible for an incarcerated  dame to look so stunning in faded orange linen? Must be a southern thing. Honey must have had access to makeup, and I swear I could smell her Chanel right through the bulletproof glass. She sat leisurely back in her chair, haughty and superior, and she smiled demurely. I was miffed, but I tried not to show it.

“So, you were the head of the whole show?” I asked.

She just smiled. Then she said “Were? I still am, my sweet detective.”

I didn’t doubt it. I was amazed at how calm and self-assured she seemed.

“I’ll be out soon. My lawyers are well compensated, and there really isn’t much evidence left now. And I can always court new suppliers. I’ll be up and running soon. Plenty of hidden cash.”

“Don’t you still want justice for your Dad?”

She chuckled. “He wasn’t my pops. But he did steal something from me. Wabo tried to get to it first, so in a way you have helped me twice. I will send along the money I owe. Have a pretty good feeling I know where the item might be too, but we’ll leave that to another day. Perhaps a friendly trade will get it back for me,” she purred. Every hair on the lower spine tingled as if I’d stuck my claw in an electrical outlet. I knew she knew.

She must have seen my disapproval on my face, as I thought of the film. “Come now, Duffy. You know I like my fun, and for someone like me, I don’t worry about the rules or what people think. I am considering doing a reality television show when I get out. You can be one of my characters, if you wish. You know everyone is fascinated by me, even Sarah.” I doubted that, but you never knew.

“And believe me, I am everywhere,” she cooed. “I’ll be in touch, sooner than you think.”

I didn’t go back to work for a few days. Chastity (the hospital nurse) came over and kept me company. Hey. . .don’t judge me! One has to move on, you know. And her back scratches are to die for. But when I did, I was in for another surprise. When I unlocked my door, laying there across my desk was the old man’s cane, as beautiful as described. And tape to it was a note:  WITH LOVE, XXX  HBB

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Adventures of Duffy Dean, Detective (XIV)

The Atlanta Avengers, via New York, were amazing. I have never seen so thorough a collection of evidence in a case. They had tracked and trailed and done everything but tagged their targets. Sophie was particularly adept at explaining the intricacies of the conspiracy, as she saw it. The only problem was catching the bad guys exchanging the goods, their paws red handed. . .so to speak. The canine crusaders were fairly certain that the exchange of drugs and other items would occur tonight at an abandoned warehouse just on the edge of town. It took some persuading, but Tom and two of his pals agreed to help and keep the information from going up the channels, especially of higher ups in the department were involved.

After a rousing dinner in one of the back rooms at O’Malleys, we got down to business. I ordered prime rib for the girls and fresh salmon for the cats, and maybe a few bottles of brews. Hey! What happens at O’Malley’s, stays at O’Malley’s. Though I will hint that Sophie is a very naughty gal. I might have to rethink a few things. Anyway, back to the plan.

We had no idea of how many bad guys we would be dealing with, though clearly if each crew brought at least a few hands there would be at least a dozen. We didn’t think it possible that we could contain the individuals without sparking an unwinnable firefight that had our side outgunned. Then the quiet but introspective Delilah had a brilliant idea. Why not hint to Wabo somehow that the Wolves already had whatever it was they were looking for (I had decided not to tell them everything, for Honey’s sake) and that they were going to hold it as further control over the local arm of his organization. But what about Honey, I asked. If we were able to take down the two groups, maybe one of them would roll over with information about where they were keeping her. It was a good idea, but I wasn’t sure how we could get the info to Wabo’s people without them becoming suspicious. Then I thought of Phil. They had left a contact number. I excused myself for a few minutes and hustled over to Phil’s house. He was game, as usual.

“Hello. Let me talk to this Sattar guy. He left me this number.” Phil turned to me to indicate that he was on hold. It took a few minutes but then someone was back on the line. “Yeah, yeah. It’s me, the guy you roughed up. Yeah. I wasn’t gonna call you, but that detective guy you wanted to know about came by earlier. Pissed me off, I’ll tell you. Said he was going to Miami for a break. Seems he got some quick cash and is headed to the bars on the beach. And me, with a destroyed shop and laid up in bed. Nothing, he didn’t offer me nothing.”

Phil was quiet for a few minutes, listening. Then he said, “I’m not sure. He said he traded something valuable. I don’t know who, no. He did say something about Atlanta though. Said it was tough dealing with dogs, whatever that means. Yes, Yes. OK. You promise to leave me alone? Ok.”

Phil grinned at me. We had set the bait, now just had to see if the prey was gonna run with the hook. I thanked my pal and scurried back to O’Malley’s. Clearly the crew had had a few more bottles, but they still seemed alert, if not a little flushed. We had a little while before anything broke out. I told them about our call. Sophie seemed a little sad that she might not get into any gun play. But it was better for everyone involved that we keep their involvement minimal, and mine too. Tom would have a tough time explaining it all.

At about 10 we set up observation posts near the warehouse. Tom thought it better I man my own spot and he put the gals in another. Sophie winked as she wobbled away. Delilah gave me little bit of stink eye though. The coppers installed a listening device, but reception wasn’t great.

At about ten we observed headlights, and the Pantera crew had arrived. Three identical black Explorers with tinted windows and rolling menace. They pulled into the warehouse though a side entrance.  About a half hour later a truck and two tricked out sedans rolled up and were admitted inside. It wasn’t long before we knew our plan had snagged a whopper---hook, line and stinker. We could hear shouting and accusations as emotions flared. Suddenly the inside of the warehouse erupted in gunfire, a small battlefield encased inside the brick walls. It lasted for about ten minutes. Tom told everyone to sit tight and let it all play out. We could hear sirens start to come on downtown and knew backup in blue would soon be there. Then a door opened and we saw Sattar, his fine duds blotched in red, stagger out of the building. He didn’t get far before he collapsed on the street. Smoke started pouring out of the opened door. Then police cars started arriving. More and more arrived, like ants to a piece of discarded candy. Several went in and started yelling. Tom and his two guys rushed over and offered to help. The cover was that he had just heard about the meet and had been setting up nearby when all hell broke loose.

After about a half hour my cell rang. “It’s Tom.”

“What happened?”

“It is a mess in here. Sophie was right about the goods. About a ton of stuff in the truck. Three of the Wolves are dead, and two others seriously wounded. You saw Sattar. Another five Panteras are dead, caught by machine gun fire. They didn’t have much a chance. They were bunched up, which was stupid. Wabo is still alive, but I don’t think for long. He was still cursing and screaming in delirium. Something about the crazy bastard and a film. We got two others arrested, also injured. But Duffy, and I need you to listen to me carefully. . .you need to go home right now. I mean, right now.”


“I don’t want to say. You just need to get gone, I’ll talk with you later. Promise me.”

“Okay, cool, I’ll go. But you need to give me something.”

“Duff, we got the big wig, the top banana, the head of local criminal operations. And we gonna take them in, but you can’t get involved. Promise me you will skedaddle.”

“Sure, I’m outta here right now.”  I called up the gals and told them to meet me at my place. I told them where I kept the key. Then, I hid myself in another window, hoping no one would see.
I should have listened. I will never forget what I saw. Tom came out first and scanned around to see if anyone was watching, and I could see other cops agitated and excited as they pulled up a paddy wagon. Then they went in to bring the boss out, I supposed. And then she came out. Honey. Dressed in a satin full-length gown of gold trimmed in black, her paws handcuffed behind her, her fabulous fur mussed up. My heart stopped dead in my chest. Honey had played me. Such a fool was I. 

[Join us tomorrow as we continue The Adventures of Duffy Dean, Detective on this radio channel.]

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Adventures of Duffy Dean, Detective (XIII)

My head still hurt and I was nursing both a brew and the recent memory of a delightfully therapeutic visit by the cutie from the hospital, as I recuperated from the fight and injury. It was peaceful at home, and I tried to get my mind off troubling aspects of the case. I was reading one of Karen Brissette’s fun food forays, which always make me chuckle, when I heard the slightest scratching on my door. It didn’t sound like that of any of my hunnies, so I quickly retrieved my weapon from under the cushion and clicked off the reading light. Then came a light rapping, definitely against the door, but clearly not meant to raise the attention of neighbors. I wondered why it would be so light. If it were one of my recent adversaries, I am sure they would have simply kicked down the door. Nonetheless, I clicked off my safety.

I crept over to the door, unlatched it, and then opened it a crack. When I looked down I saw huge brown eyes, dark muzzle, and brownish body of a female pug, one I was not familiar with. Cute, in a doggy way. She looked up at me with a devilish grin. I then noticed another white pup, set off back against my privacy fence, who was apparently serving as a lookout. I didn’t sense that there was danger here, despite the unusual nature of this visit.

“Detective Duffy Dean?”


“I am Detective Sophie Steshenko, and back there is my partner Delilah Steshenko. We are from the Atlanta Police Office. Can we talk?”

“Want to come in?”

“No, actually, we prefer staying out here.” All I could think of was that I was now dealing with my own canine Cagney and Lacey.
“You are more than welcome.”

“Safer here.”

“OK. You don’t sound like you are from Atlanta? You talk like you might be from my old stomping grounds.”

“Yeah, originally from New York. I had heard about you up there too. You were shacked up with some chicka named Sarah. We used to hear about your parties. Anyway, we decided to come down and visit Atlanta. Heard it was a swinging place for pooches, and we needed a change of pace. We got recruited onto the force and have been working local crime for a while. Mostly counterfeit doggy treats, leather-collar crimes, fixed greyhound races, that sorta stuff.” She had a mischievous twinkle in her eyes, and I could tell she might be a naughty girl. I had to banish those thoughts, however, in light of what I had seen on the film, now safely hidden in a place it would never be found. I wasn’t surprised at all that she was from the City that Never Sleeps.

“So, what can I do for you, dollface.”

She must have been one of those feminists, as I saw her brow furrow slightly, and Delilah’s paw gripped her sidearm a little tighter. “No offense,” I quickly added.

“Don’t worry about it. We’ve heard of you. Quite the reputation as a ladies’ man. But you are also well respected and regarded among detectives as a stand-up guy, even if you are a feline, so we thought we would risk approaching you on a sensitive matter. Normally we wouldn’t be coming out of Dogtown here to chat, but we are on a troubling case, and we heard through the grapevine that you might be working an angle that might dovetail into ours.”

“Maybe. Tell me more.”

“Well, usually, like most activities, interspecies cooperation is relatively rare. It happens, and sometimes folks get along, but usually it is frowned upon. That goes for criminals too. Not much trust, ya know whatta I mean?”


“So, anyways, we started noticing an unusual trade of animal tranquilizers being stolen and shipped out of Atlanta. Apparently the sellers haven’t cared much about their markets, as long as they can move the stuff. Cash is green for everyone. There has also been an uptick (she smirked as she said this) in finely ground catnip dip, canine cannabis, and exotic universal flea powders. We think a local dog gang, the Wolves, has been dealing with someone down here. But recently rumors have revealed that some sort of mistake or error in judgment on behalf of a renegade splinter group may be jeopardizing the illicit dealing, and the Wolves have been anxious to eliminate that potential problem. Then we heard you were handling an unusual case and had come up against some strong-arm tactics, and I decided perhaps to reach out to a fellow investigator. Maybe we could trade information and shut down some bad activities.”

I was liking her even more. She sounded smart and confident, and clearly she was willing to go the extra mile to solve her case. I stepped out and sat of the porch. “How can I help you?”
“Well, we have an idea who might be the local connection, but we needed confirmation.”

“Does the name Wabo strike a bell?”

“Hot damn. We thought he was involved. But it goes higher than that. We think someone on your local council may be more than just a plant by organized crime. We think he is actually the big bosses, protecting shipments and taking a healthy cut.”
Sophie sat on her haunches, and wiped her brow. “It sure gets muggy down here.”

“Yep. Famously hot.”

“We have an undercover source who has tipped up that a shipment will be coming into town here, and it will be monitored closely. The locals are extremely motivated to shut down whatever threat has emerged to their secrecy. If we could cooperate and bust the whole group while the deal is being made, we could close this case on both ends. We don’t know how close they are to squelching their problem.”

“I can assure you that isn’t going to happen. I happen to know what is bothering them and I have the item tucked away in a safe place.”

That brought a wide grin to Sophie’s mug and a little drool to her lower lip. I could see she wanted to rain down a little mayhem on the bad guys. Even the relatively stoic Delilah practically quivered at the thought. “I think we can work together.”

[Join us tomorrow as we continue The Adventures of Duffy Dean, Detective on this radio channel.]

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Adventures of Duffy Dean, Detective (XII)

Believe me, I don’t mind mixing it up. Not that I am a violent cat, really. I am a lover, not a fighter. Unless someone gets my dander up.

I jumped up from my seat and headed out into the main salesroom and saw that the front window had been smashed. It looked like someone threw a trash can threw it. Cameras and photography equipment was scattered about. The I saw the Hulk, accompanied by Flame, approach the front door. “Phil, get outta here.” I didn’t have to tell my friend twice, and not a second too soon, as the Hulk’s bulk busted the front door. So much for locks.
Clearly I had to deal with him first and I pick up a stanchion and slammed it into his ugly mug. He fell backward and I could see blood blossoming on his face. I stepped back just in time to deflect a paw coming at me with a switchblade, and I caught Flame with a hefty kick to the solar plexus. I grabbed his arm and snapped it back, and I heard a deep howl squeal out of his mouth. He wasn’t being smart now. Hulk was quickly back back in action and swinging like Brock Lesnar, so I clipped him in the knee, which staggered him, then hit him again with the largest telephoto lens I could heft. It was as big as a telescope, and it was lights out for the Meow Mountain. He crashed to the floor. Flame, arm hanging akimbo, was now aware that it was me and him and that he probably couldn’t fend me off. I didn’t feel like any more fisticuffs, and wasn’t in the mood for a knife fight, so I pulled my piece. Flame froze like a frightened feline. He shiftily looked left and right. I thought I heard some sirens off in the distance. Then. . .the lights went out.

I came to face down on the floor. My head ached from the conking. Someone had blasted me hard. I tried to get up but I wobbled like a sailor on shore leave. The Hulk was still collapsed in the doorway. Cameras and equipment were strewn about, and all drawers and shelves were cleaned off. Several policemen surveyed the damage, but no one seemed interested in providing medical aid to me or my assailant. Then I saw a pair of orange paws peeking out behind a cabinet. I tried to think hard if I had gotten in a lucky shot.

“Duffy, Duffy, Duffy. What am I going to do with you?” Detective Tom was coming out of the back room. “Always a disaster waiting when I hear you have been involved in something. What do you think they were looking for?”

I grumbled a hello, but every syllable clanged painfully inside my head. “Whatever it was, I hope they didn’t get it. Where’s Phil?”

“In the back. Someone roughed him up pretty badly. He said you and he were going over a planned photography stakeout when the bully boys came in.”

“That’s right.”

“So, it looks like you were handling them ok. Why’d you have to kill them?”


I looked again at Hulk and I saw a neat round hole in the top of his head. I staggered up and then looked at Flame. He had a small hole too, right between his eyes. My gun was in the center of the room.”

“If I check the piece, will there be two missing bullets?” Tom asked.

“Don’t know, but I didn’t shoot them.”

“No, I don’t imagine you did, though I am sure the murderer would love for us to believe you did. Phil said several more people came in, but he thought you were already out by that time, since he would have heard you mouthing off to them. Whoever got you, did it from behind. Why they didn’t just finish you off, I don’t know. Maybe they thought we would take care of it.”

“Is Phil ok?

“Yeah, he’ll be fine. A few bruises. They busted up the place good though.”

“Can I see him?”

“He’s at the hospital, where we are going to send you in a few. “
“You gonna arrest me?”

“No, I think the evidence points to a frame, and I know you would never shoot a downed man, no matter how much you disliked him. At least he didn’t know what hit him. I just can’t understand why they were killed.”

I mulled over the demise of my tormentors. Then it hit me. “Because they were injured and would have had to get treatment, and you guys would have been asking questions.”

The realization that my words might be true drew a deep breath. “These guys are really serious. I can’t imagine Wabo doing this.”

“What about Sattar?”

“Mmmmm. Don’t know. I’ll have to check him.”

At about this time the pain got more intense and I could feel my head splitting, and I slumped back to the floor. I could feel Tom grabbing me and trying to hold me, but it was no use.

I must have blacked out, because when I awoke, I was on a gurney and the sterile white lights of a hospital ward blazed above me. A really hot nurse was checking a bag, and it took every painful muscle in my face to eke out a quick wink in her direction. Hey! Priorities. As I was slowly able to take in the room I saw Phil sitting in a corner, reading a magazine. He looked up as I stirred.

“Did they get the film? Or the police get it?”

“Neither. I put it in an envelope and dropped it into the to-be-developed bin. Neither group even thought to look in there for some reason. I’ll fish it out when I go back and survey the damage.”

“Who was it? Did you tell them anything?”

“They roughed me up, but I kept telling them the same thing I told the detective. Surveillance planning. I don’t think the thugs bought it, but the coppers seemed to.”

“Did you see them?”

“Two of them. American shorthairs. Fairly big. One brown and white, the other black and white. They could have been brothers though. Tough cats. They worked on me a bit, but they knew not to go too far. They could have ended me. Not sure why they didn’t kill you, since I think they killed the two other ones.”

“Maybe because they still need information from me, in case they didn’t find the film. That thing is dynamite. Are you covered in all this? I’ll try to get you some money from my savings.”

“Don’t worry about it. I’m covered.”

Cutie nurse came in and said I was going to have some stitches, and she smiled as I felt myself going back under.

[Join us tomorrow as we continue The Adventures of Duffy Dean, Detective on this radio channel.]

Monday, June 10, 2013

The Adventures of Duffy Dean, Detective (XI)

Nothing could have prepared me for the horrors I would witness. The shadowed path was darker than I could ever have imagined, but what I was to witness sure put all I had been pursuing into perspective and illuminated the warped reasons for the intense desire to obtain the professor’s film.  I had evidence that could blow this town wide open, ruin careers and reputations, maybe even cost a few lives. Somewhere deep inside I knew it might cost me big, but I had to see what was on that film.  Curiosity was simply getting to me. Yeah, I know the oft-said warning, but I had to find out anyway.

My fasted option was to see Phil Coffee, the proprietor of Fatcat Photo. I used his skills all the time to develop film, get me up-to-date cameras, and even doctor a photo or two. Phil even stepped in at times when I needed addition photographic monitoring on stakeouts. Nobody captured the curves of cheating wives and mistresses better than he did.

Phil was in the back of his dusty shop when I strolled in. Rows of cameras, one for just about any preference or need, graced shelves along a back wall. I locked the door after I walked in and turned the “Closed” sign. In less time than it takes to set an f-stop, Phil’s furry face flicked out from a darkroom.

“Duffy, my man, what you doing here? Got a job for me? Or are you here for another copy of Honey Boo Boo Does Dallas?”

Ok, busted. I have to admit that sometimes my trade with Phil was under the table, but it was hard to get copies of Honey’s stuff. Don’t judge me. You’d do it too if you could.

“Nope. I need you for something else. You have a sixteen mm projector handy in the shop?”

“Do kittens love laser pointers?”

“Great. Can you string up a small film for me and give us a look?


“Right now.”

Phil sighed, but I knew he wouldn’t refuse me and I could even detected a rising interest in what I had brought. I always seemed to come up with interesting items. I had once found a film copy of the Panther cheerleaders romping and frolicking during a calendar shoot while investigating Miami Hurricanes players in a huge recruiting scandal. Not the first time for them of course, but I cracked that mystery faster than a cheetah on speed. I think Phil still had a copy somewhere around here (not that I ever watched it).

Phil took me back to a storage room where he had a screen on the wall and set up a small projector. He flipped the lights and the images began to roll. Soon our heads practically rolled off of our shoulders too.

At first it looked like a typical party. White-jacketed waiters waltzed around with trays of champagne and caviar, while gorgeous dolls pranced around in slinky evening dresses. I started noticing a lot of prominent people, county and city commissioners, police bigwigs, big businesspeople. Mixed in though was an assortment of mob folks, organized crime and drug lords, pimps, and other naughty folk. Still, this revelation would not have been that damning, would never have resulted in murder or even much media attention had it not been for. . .had there not been. . .it is almost too painful to describe. There were, there were. . .

DOGS! Female dogs mixing with the men, pawing them, licking their whiskered faces. Ohhhhh, the inhumanity, the injustice. Now, I am not so old fashioned that I can’t accept a little crossing of the breeds. But here you had wanton debauchery. Most of the little bitches (mostly chihuahuas and cockapoos, with a few bischans thrown in) were from one of the well-known doggie clubs in Atlanta, the Dirty Doghouse. A famous rapper---Snoopy, Snoop, something like that----hung out there all the time. These ladies were in various stages of dress, but they all wore spiked doggy collars and were answering to every command. Let me say that more than legs were being humped. I was disgusted, yet riveted. I heard Phil spitting out several hairballs. But two things really stood out in the midst of this tragedy. On the middle stage, bare naked except for a long string of pearls, dancing with feline abandon, was Honey Boo Boo! And in the middle of the scene, dressed in drag with huge diamond earrings, tossing kibbles about and touching. . .well, I just can’t describe it. . was Wabo himself. No wonder the big guy wanted this clip. His days as boss would end in a poof. Long-standing treaties between dogdom and catdom had declared that there would never be pernicious puppy pandering. Not in this town. I was so riveted to the screen that I didn’t even hear the front door being jiggled. But I definitely heard the glass shatter.  

[Join us tomorrow as we continue The Adventures of Duffy Dean, Detective on this radio channel.]

Sunday, June 9, 2013


The boys start their Boy Scout camp week. Joey doesn't look all that enthused, but then when does he? Still a good pic of them with their new ranks.

Thursday, June 6, 2013


Watched last night the strange noirish-sci-fi movie Dark City (1998), about a constantly changing urban area (similar to a 1940s-50s New York City) constructed in space that was formed and manipulated telepathically by a dying race of extra-terrestrials, who by using and frequently altering the memories of human beings (possibly former dead bodies, but this is unsure) seek to discover the soul. The infrastructure seems to change nightly during "tuning" by a gathering of Strangers, who also imprint different memories in specific humans to see how they might react to new surroundings and events. A few humans (including a doctor who works with the aliens, played by Keifer Sutherland, and a former detective who appears mentally unbalanced) are aware that the city is always in nighttime mode and that people and places are changing. After a series of murders of prostitutes, another detective (played by the great William Hurt) takes the case and gradually comes to a new understanding of his world. The alleged murdered, who after he leaves his cheating wife is programed by the Strangers to kill, suddenly develops powers akin to that of the alien host, and a conflict is set up between he and his handlers. The photography is very dark, a throwback to 1940s style, but that also informs future films (I think), such as The Crow and Sin City, for instance, which the story seems to foreshadow later efforts such as The Matrix and Inception. The reason I thought perhaps characters were already dead and just reanimated was when people fall asleep during tuning, some are clearly placed in positions where they should die, such as drowning in a bowl of soup or a bath. The test subjects are basically rats in a maze, several times alluded to by Sutherland's characters giant rat maze. The movie was very good. There are some questions though. Why didn't the Strangers fix the crazy detective (did they just want to see what would happen)? Was Hurt's character changed, even slightly during the investigation, or were very small changes and flips of character traits just something that happened with all the telepathy-alterations. If the aliens could so thoroughly and spectacularly change the physical surroundings, and could make people fall asleep with a wave of hand, why couldn't they just imprint memories themselves, and not through some injection? Perhaps the injections just made the process that much more creepy. I loved the shadows and the costumes. Some of the fight scenes could have been made a bit more menacing and scary.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


Sometimes it is hard being a parent. I'm not talking about times your kid gets in trouble or rejects your sage advice or gets sick. I'm thinking of when you know they are soon going to experience a disappointment and you start thinking about how you are going to manage that upset and possibly use it as a life experience, and at the same time it brings up memories of a similar experience in your past. I don't want to reveal the actual event, and it isn't a life-altering thing thank goodness, but I know it will leave a sting, since it left a wound in my psyche to this day (to a small degree), and I can only hope it will be remedied for him in the next few years. He is pretty sensitive about slights, perceived and actual. But I also realize it for what it is: a small group of pampered boys, who are not particularly good individuals, rather than being welcoming, nurturing, and inclusive, chose an opportunity to deny someone not in their clique a chance to join a group they are already members of. I was never popular when growing up. Neither was I overwhelmingly disliked either: I don't really remember being picked on or abused, and on those occasions someone did, I usually just ignored it and walked away, and when the bullies aren't getting a rise out of someone, they usually move on to targets that will get rattled. It is especially hard when the offending group is small and there is no way but knowing you have been rejected by people close to you. If you get shut out of a large organization or group, say, you can placate your ego by believing it was a tiny, though influential, block that stood in your way. And sometimes it is not enough to tell your child that "I wouldn't want to be in any group that didn't want me anyhow." I also know, to a certain extent, that my child is partially responsible (personality flaws) and that some more maturity for him may swing things in his favor in the future, so I will have that card to play---to show him that sometimes we stub ourselves and that maybe disappointment and how one handles it will help us be better people. I hope I can soften the blow. However, I am not really that different a person than I was when 13-14 in some respects; perhaps a little wiser and calmer, and introspective, but in many ways I am basically the same, preferring to stand on the edges most of the time rather than join the dance. Happy that most people seem to like me, and able to accept that I will seldom be asked to the party. The kind of person people don't admit to others that you are a friend or colleague, but that when they need help, they often come to you. We all have roles to play, I guess. 

Monday, June 3, 2013


I am somewhat irritated by the opinions of some sports talking heads and callers on radio and in the media about NBA basketball. First: That LeBron James should not have been called for the sixth foul in game five because. . .well, because he is LeBron James. Granted, he is league MVP (likely deserved), face of and most-recognized player (besides maybe Kobe), and one of the best-ever players to grace the court. Still, he should not be treated differently than any other player DURING a game. Clearly he stepped out and tripped the defender, and as far as I could see, he did so intentionally; he was correctly whistled and because it was his sixth foul he was sent packing. Had someone done that to James there would have been an enormous cry for blood. And on that note, he has been flopping just about as much as other players, which is one of the things I don't like about basketball. Ticky-tacky fouls. I wish they would get rid of most fouls and just let them bang. There are too many dunks, for instance, so make it harder in the paint. Only reason perhaps not to do so is that it would result in more injuries (though if it modified play a tad there might not be the injuries and more strategy and working for a good shot), and we don't want rules that endanger players. Therefore maybe it is time to raise the hoop three feet or maybe five. Second: I have no problem with slamming Hibbert for his inexcusable mouth after game sixth. He was disrespectful to James and fans in general, and rude. Sure, he has free speech, but no employer would allow that garbage. Third: The assumption by many that a Spurs-Pacers final (not likely to happen) would be a bad thing because the NBA would lose money. If that is the case, why do they allow teams to play in these markets? I think everyone believes there is a bit of favoritism that helps the bigger market or marquee teams (Boston, LA, Miami, etc). Heck, without James, Miami would be one of the teams on the outside. It is true in other sports too. So will Indiana get a fare shake in Miami tonight. I hope so. I hope they come in and play their asses off, and that we have a wonderful, competitive game, and that the team that plays the best wins it. That is what sports is supposed to be about.

PS: As predicted the Heat won, and I hope the finals are entertaining and well played.


The Cocks successfully defended their home turf and dispatched the plucky Liberty team (coached by ex-USC assistant Toman) to earn their way to the NCAA superregional. As usual, the Cocks had to have a little drama, but they extended their home-field mastery in the championship tourney, and now must face either UNC or FAU, which will be decided later tonight. Our bats came unlimbered for the weekend, and I hope that keeps up. Bottom of the order particularly productive, but everyone chipped in, which is how you win at the end of the year. And two of the games were nationally televised, which can't hurt recruiting. And all the more pleasant because the team we beat twice to win the regional, defeated our hated rival Clemson twice. Can there be anything better? Well, yeah, there can be. . .another national title.

The Adventures of Duffy Dean, Detective (X)

Humbled by my inability to stave off the surprise encounter with Aesop, and chastened by my failure to solve much of this mystery and find out where Honey might be, I saw no option other than to continue to her father’s home in the hope that some inspiration might strike. It had been a good suggestion by my bartender friend to return to the original crime scene in hope that some clue might emerge to help me figure out what was at stake and who may have wanted to silence the old professor. Clearly he knew what he had might be a hot potato and needed to be hidden.  

I slipped into the house via a key that Honey had provided before she disappeared. The house was eerily silent without its owners and the fur along my spine tingled and stood on end. I must have looked like a puff ball. I couldn’t have gotten those lights on any faster. Even with the lights the house seemed like a mausoleum, or that I had snuck into an ancient tomb in search of gold or mummies.

Methodically I started searching through each room (crypt), trying to find a solitary scrap or piece of evidence that might advance my investigation. I will admit to you, my faithful readers, that I was somewhat aroused by the pink room that had been Honey’s when she was young, but I didn’t find anything incriminating in there. Still I lingered, looking over the pictures on the wall of Honey as cheerleader, pageant contestant, Miss Cat-Toure, and a model on the catwalks of Paris and New York. She had pics of her with famous actors and musicians, and even a pic of a visit to the White House. I was amazed, and jealous at the same time.

It was creepy being in his house alone, his ghost surely observing my every intrusive move. If only he could direct me to some clue, I thought. In his back bedroom I searched the closet and dresser, and then I was on all fours searching under the bed, when I heard the slightest creek, like the whine of a mouse under a grasping paw. My hair was stiffer than a fifty-year-old man after downing five Viagra. I was frozen in place when I felt the slightest tap on my left side---once then twice---and I practically exploded and sprang up like a newborn fawn accidentally stepped on by a predator, and I sprinted out into the living room, fumbled to get my piece out and aimed, and stood riveted to the floor as I waited for my assailant to come out of the bedroom. Surely the walls of the bedroom were now embedded with thousands of pin-like daggers of hair that had shot off of my pelt.

After a tense few minutes I crept forward back to the bedroom door and peeked in, and upon doing so I burst out laughing. I must have accidentally kicked one of the side tables, which had one of those quiet swinging doors, and it had swung open and tapped me. I looked to make sure I hadn’t peed myself. What a silly goose I was. This story was definitely not going back to the pals at the poker game! Thank goodness I was here alone. After I retrieved my heart and scratched off one of my nine lives, I returned to the under-the-bed search, but didn’t find anything but dust motes and nail clippings. I checked out the bathroom, guest room, and other areas of the house, including the laundry room and storage closet. Nothing. I think I checked every volume on his bookshelves and carefully recanvassed his office, the lines of his corpse still clear on the floor. Nothing. No secret doors or hiding places were evident, despite the torn up wall area that originally housed the statue.

Defeated, I went into the kitchen, grabbed a beer from the still-working fridge (thanks, Doc) and sat at the table. It wasn’t much of area, little more than an efficiency. It wasn’t well stocked either, the professor clearly a Spartan when it came to food. I sat there and stared at the surroundings, ready to hit the road after finishing the drink, in utter defeat. After downing the last few sips, I took a quick look in his cupboard cabinets, when I found his pantry, filled with cans of food. Friskies, about one hundred cans. He surely liked his Friskies, probably every flavor represented. And then it hit me like a drunken driver on the interstate. FRISKIES IS NICE, BUT NEWMANS IS BETTER. I immediately began sorting  through the stack of cans, and sure enough, there was a lone Newman’s Own, Chicken & Salmon. I lifted it out, and was not surprised to find it was clearly lighter than it should have been.

I took it back to the table and played with it. I prodded and probed, peeled off the label, and used a claw to try to lift off top or bottom, and then wondered if I should pull the pop top. What scared me a little was the possibility that he might have put some biological agent in there, or some explosive that might rip off my paw and mar my incredibly handsome mug. What a loss to the Kitties of the world. I tried to twist the can instead. . .and suddenly it plopped open. There was no cat food mess, just a small 16mm film, maybe ten minutes worth of celluloid.

Was this what everyone was so anxious to find? Had this little film cost at least one life, and maybe more? My heart raced and I chuckled at how ingenious the hiding place had been. Hiding in plain sight.  Amazing.  And now I had to find someone who owned a projector so I could find out what was on the film. 

 [Join us tomorrow as we continue The Adventures of Duffy Dean, Detective on this radio channel.]

The Adventures of Duffy Dean, Detective (IX)

I scanned the sidewalks and streets as I walked the city, hyperaware of any possible attack by the three musketeers or any other enemies, though I really didn’t expect any trouble right away. I was curious, however, how the mob even knew I was involved in any way. Had Honey spilled information? Was she being tortured? Or was there some other source that had to be ferreted out? There was no way anything would have come from my police friend. Tom was not the type to betray a pal.

I could have grabbed a cab and gotten across town to the Dr.’s house much quicker, but I need to stretch my legs and brain. Clearly I was on to something, or at least my association with Honey had raised attention. What is it that the Dr. had that could engender strong-arm tactics from a group that usually liked staying in the shadows while they earned their nefarious booty. What could be held in a small statue that would have been worth exposure? Drug?  Seemed unlikely, as even a few pounds of any drug would not be worth too much. It could be some information that might lead to riches, but the nervousness of the thugs and the singlemindedness of the boss indicated that it might be something else altogether.

The beers had settled nice, and a fish taco purchased from a local food truck fixed my cravings. The sun was dropping and lights were coming on. I have always been attracted to sparkly things. A long neck adorned with a diamond collar, deep emerald eyes that sparked with fire and delight, seductive ears draped. . . I felt the cold blue steel press against the back of my head. It happened so quickly I just froze.

“Mr. Dean. I don’t have time to explain or cajole. I am not here to hurt you, but will if I must. I am here representing an interested party and need to speak with you. Would you please set into this alley? I will remove the gun if you promise no funny business.” I moved into the cool shaded alley. Detritus from years of passerby were strewn about.

I could not remember anyone getting the drop on me that easily. “I am truly impressed. You are more stealthy that a fox on a rabbit hunt.” I then say that in fact, he was a fox. Somewhat smallish for a fox, his deep red hair smoothed back over his long snout and face, but unlike so many foxes, he was not smiling.

“Forgive me, Mr. Dean.”

“Duffy. Duffy is fine.”

“Duffy, then. I am a member of a secret police agency, undercover. That is the reason for the abrupt nature of my introduction. I just needed you off the street. Can’t blow my cover. But we needed to talk in person, because I simply don’t trust electronic devices. I’m not going to give you my name, but you can call me Aesop.”

I chuckled, remembering all the fables involving foxes, but I wondered if this was the wise one or trickster. “So, Aesop, what brings you to my fair city.”

“We have been running an operation on Wabo for a while. We were totally unaware of the Dr. or his daughter until very recently. There sudden appearance garnered quite a bit of intense mob attention. It wasn’t the normal attention associated with greed, or some sudden score, but almost a fear. As if some secret activity or arrangement had been compromised. Almost as if some sort of blackmail was going on. But there was no proof and no calls that our guys picked up to verify this hunch. Whatever it is, it is big. Wabo is beside himself. Usually he is pretty calm, but he has been slapping around his henchmen, staying away from the skirts, calling in markers. He did, however, mention your name on several occasions, and not kindly. That gave me the impetus to come and speak with you, since I was certain you were not on the inside.”

“You’d be right about that pal.”

“Whatever you found or are on the trail to finding really has the big boy rattled. I want to know what it is?”

“Sorry buddy, I don’t even know. Yet. I keep trying to think what might have them all hot and bothered, but I haven’t figured it out yet.”

“I would like you to share if you figure it out.”

“Well, I can’t say I will, since I don’t know what it is yet. I work for a client. But if it in someway endangers civilians or society, I might share.”

He reached into his vest (Yeah, I know. How cliché, but he was wearing a vest), and pulled out a card. No name, no number, just an “A” and a dropbox number at a local postal store. “If you want to talk to me, leave a note in the slot. Someone checks it daily.”

“What you gonna do for me in return?” I asked.

“If I have something that can be of help to you that doesn’t mess up our operation, I’ll let you know. But your helping us out can expedite our friendliness and cooperation.” For a few minutes we stood there, cut off from the rest of the world as if we were voyeurs in the forest. I grabbed a hanky and mopped my brow, and then I had the feeling that I was alone. I turned, and so I was. Amazing. This guy was good. I poked my head out of the alley and caught a glimpse of him hustling down the street as the shadows of dusk began to cloak the city.

[Join us tomorrow as we continue The Adventures of Duffy Dean, Detective on this radio channel.]