Thursday, July 29, 2004

Contemporary Impressionists...

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Summer III - Oil on Canvas by Lena Kurkavska

Lena Kurkavska paints landscapes with a lively strokes that are laid on thick.

Bob Dornberg knows color and design.

Gerard Rahm has a good sense of light and uses bright colors.

And my good friend Paul Folwell has many wonderful impressionist landscapes. I suggest seeing them in person. If you are anywhere near Durango Colorado between July 30th and August 8th pay him a visit at his big Annual Studio Show.

UFO photographs???


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Cave Junction, Oregon 1927

UFO Evidence has lots of them.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Patrice Leconte interview...

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Patrice Leconte's latest film Intimate Strangers is opening in theatres Friday. Much like many of Leconte's films (Girl on the Bridge, Man on the Train, The Hairdresser's Husband) this one deals with two people who become friends and form a unique and interesting bond. In this case a woman (Sandrine Bonnaire) seeking psychiatric help knocks on the wrong door and ends up telling her life's woes to a tax accountant (Fabrice Luchini). Although it is ripe for comedy Leconte makes it into a sophisticated love story with the hint of suspense.

I was at a roundtable interview with Mr Leconte. Below is an excerpt [significantly edited] of what he had to say.
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THE SCRIPT
Scriptwriter [Jerome Tonnerre] proposed to me a short 25 page script. He said to me, 'Read it Patrice and if you like the beginning of the movie we can invent the following.' And I agreed because the beginning was so simple, so clear, and so normal. From the starting point you can imagine a comedy, or a real thriller. Maybe this woman (Sandrine Bonnaire) is a Russian spy? Or who knows? It's open. So we started working, impatient to find out what was going to happen between the two characters.

SANDRINE & FABRICE
[Sandrine] and I worked together years before in Monsieur Hire and we always promised to work together again. Finally, after all of these years, a script came along that was perfect for the both of us. She accepted the role immediately. I think the audiences will see a different side to her because the role she played is more ambiguous and raw than she usually plays. This is my first time working with Fabrice. He is a very good comic actor but I told him to try and not be funny. He said he would feel he was too boring. I said, 'trust me'. When he finally saw the film he said, 'you were right I acted boring but it worked'.

CINEMA VS REALITY
The thing I prefer to do when I'm thinking about a new movie is always the same thing. It's to start with a realistic situation – very normal and simplistic and after[wards] slowly to move and forget the realistic things. For my taste cinema and reality are two different things. In reality, for example, if you knock at the wrong door the guy opens and you say, 'Oh, I'm wrong, I'm wrong – bye bye.' And he closes the door and there is no movie. Or the guy can say: 'No, no, no I'm not a psychoanalyst. He is at the other end of the corridor.' And she says, 'I'm sorry I was wrong.' and again no movie. At the beginning of [Intimate Strangers] the situation is normal. It's a question of imagination taking off from reality.

AMERICAN MOVIES VS FRENCH FILM
Here in America you make fantastic, amazing movies with a lot of special effects. I'm very fond of these kinds of movies; I saw 'The Matrix series' and so on. We don't have any special effects in [French] movies. Maybe we are closer to human nature: man, woman, sensibility and so on. Maybe it's too French, maybe it is too exotic for you. But I know one thing - I am very fond of human nature, love and feelings. And my main goal is to share my emotions. When I see a famous American movie even if I like it – when I go out of the theatre my question is always; "Hmmm, it was a perfect movie, very interesting, but where is the emotion?" For me the main reason I'm a director is to share emotions. As Samuel Fuller said, "Cinema is first of all a question of emotion." Today in American movies I sense they forget this.

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Rock posters...

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The Heads of State have rock posters with a relatively simple and clean design.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Murals...

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Los Angeles Murals

Who says there is no public art in LA?

365....


23 9 5 2520 1042

WordCount is an artistic experiment in the way we use language. It presents the 86,800 most frequently used English words, ranked in order of commonality.

['Rashomon' is not one of the 86,800 words commonly used. However the completely unknown word 'Ixmar' is ranked 80,001.]
Via Metafilter


Sunday, July 25, 2004

Weekend Finds...

Victorian Cinema - Website is a biographical guide to the world of Victorian film. It features 300 biographies of those who, behind and in front of the camera, played a significant part in creating the phenomenon of moving pictures. Via Penny Dreadful

Harper's Weekly lithographs 1876-1880

Retro Lounge - An amazing array of stuff from decades past. [I plan on pilfering it when I can].

Lastly...

HingeHeads are all the rage in...umm...I'm not sure where but they could be the next big thing.
Via Exclamation Mark

Friday, July 23, 2004

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Posters from Beyond...

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Chinese posters for your [political] pleasure.

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Elsewhere....

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Bob Peaks' movie posters
Some of these are very famous and others are just cool.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

UCLA Festival of Preservation...

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This is NOT the official festival poster - just me having fun

If you live in Los Angeles and have some free time between July 22nd and August 21st [especially on the weekends] I highly recommend that you get yourself out and see some of the fine films that will be showing at the 12th UCLA Festival of Preservation.

The line up is impressive and all of the films have at some point been restored by the top flight team of preservationists at UCLA.

The festival opens with Stanley Kubrick's amazing anti-war drama PATHS OF GLORY. The print is supposed look as good as the day it was released in 1957. One of the preservation officers wrote me that, 'I'm sure you'll never see a better print.'

He also writes:
THE SCARLET LETTER (July 23rd) by one of my favorite silent directors, the great Victor Sjostrom, a Swedish master who managed to continue making four-star pictures after going to Hollywood. It features Lillian Gish, and 60% of the print is direct from the original negative, so it should be absolutely stunning.

Another highlight is TILLIE'S PUNCTURED ROMANCE (July 29th). This is Charlie Chaplin's first feature, seen in its original form for perhaps the first time since shortly after its original release in 1914. Compiled from over a dozen sources, it's the result of nearly two years' work. The screening will be at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Goldwyn Theater, and will feature live accompaniment by "Tillie's Nightmare", a new ragtime ensemble led by the Alloy Orchestra's Ken Winokur.

That Saturday, July 31, is Emile de Antonio's classic, devastating anti-Vietnam war doc IN THE YEAR OF THE PIG, and Shirley Clarke's THE CONNECTION, the wonderful faux-cinema verite adaptation of the Jack Gelber/Living Theater portrayal of junkies in Harlem, with a great jazz score by Freddie Redd (who appears in the film along with a number of other top notch players.) Wendy Clarke, a well-known videomaker in her own right will be speaking, as will scholar Douglass Kellner, de's executor and co-author of EMILE DE ANTONIO: A READER.

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Other highlights in July include:

July 24th
WITNESS FOR THE PROSECUTION (1957) Directed by Billy Wilder

A FOREIGN AFFAIR (1948) Directed by Billy Wilder

July 25th
PENNY SERENADE (1941) Directed by George Stevens

July 30th
COUNSELLOR AT LAW (1933) Directed by William Wyler

TRUE CONFESSION (1937) Directed by Wesley Ruggles

And August begins strong too.

August 1st
A TREASURY OF SILENT ANIMATION

From Felix the Cat and Koko the Klown to Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and Disney's Alice; stop-motion dolls and dinosaurs to live-action and animation combinations; films by noted animators Hugh Harman and Ub Iwerks to less well-known individuals like Earl Hurd and Lyman Howe; and "lost" subjects by pioneers Emile Cohl and Max Fleischer to surviving fragments by Paul Terry and J. Stuart Blackton, there's certain to be something in this cartoon confection to delight enthusiasts and general audiences alike.

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I'll put up more in August....
Tour de France...


The Tour de France's most significant and anticipated event in years happens on Wednesday.
As the LA Times writes:

What happens Wednesday is the most anticipated stage of a Tour de France in years. Or maybe ever.
One by one they will take off, 160 riders. Ahead of them will be 9.6 miles of continual climbing through 21 hairpin turns.

[A good aerial photo is here and a graph of the course's steepness is here.]

My friend George the Cyclist – who some of you may remember from his fabulous Cannes film Festival coverage – is over in France watching the Tour and he is at the bottom of the hill along with many thousands awaiting tomorrows stage. Below is an excerpt that he has written in an e-mail about tomorrow’s Tour de France event:

Tue 7/20/2004 11:47 AM
Friends: Altho it isnt necessary to show up at Alp d'Huez a week early, or even a day-and-a-half before the race as I did, if one wishes to fully capture the flavor of this Woodstock of an event, the earlier one arrives, the greater will be his enjoyment.

Bourg d'Osians, the small town at the foot of the most legendary climb in cycling, is totally awash with cyclists, thousands upon thousands. There were 900,000 here last year and by all indicators it will be well over a million this year. Some are staying in legitimate campgrounds and the handful of hotels here, but the vast majority are camping along the town's streets and the highway in and out of town and on any patch of vacant land available from church lawns to construction sites, and all with the blessing of the town. Anything goes when it comes to supporting THE Tour.

Thanks to the Englishwoman I met on Bastille Day I knew of a meadow at the start of the climb I could most likely squeeze into, complete with a port-a-potty and a spigot of water. It is wall-to-wall tents and cars and campers, but no one minds as we await Lance and supporting cast. I'm sandwiched between a 66 year old Italian and a Dutch guy and his 25 year old son who met here 6 years ago and have been rendezvousing ever since. The Dutch pair have been following the Tour from the start and immediately recognized me as the lone touring cyclist they have seen along the way.

Even if I hadn’t known about this plum of a spot, there are many others I could have found space in even if I had put off my arrival until the day of the race.
But then I would have missed out on the non-stop parade and swirl of cyclists on the road thru town and in its central district and on up to the Alp d'Huez.

Its bikes everywhere, parked and being ridden. I stocked up on food and Euros before arrival fearful of shortages; but somehow the lone major supermarket in town is keeping its shelves stocked, altho it was a half hour wait in the checkout line this morning. Like all things connected to this race, the town is well prepared and accommodates all.

Tomorrow's time trial is only 10 miles long, with a preliminary 2 miles before the climb starts. I don’t know how everyone can find space along the course, or where I'll end up watching it, but no one will be disappointed, as simply being a part of this gathering is an exalting experience. This is the glamour stage of the tour and has attracted the most international audience by far of any stage. The Postal Service jersey, for the first time, is the dominant garb of choice, and not only by Americans. I am in a microscopic minority of cyclists not wearing some team jersey, tho mostly of their own clubs, nor riding a high-end racing bike. There are a few Dutch on their 3-speeds and a few mountain bikes and even a handful of other touring cyclists, but otherwise its nothing but two-wheeled hot-rods whose wheels alone cost more than my bike. My legs, however, unshaved tho they may be, fit in to the town's thick forest of tanned, well-muscled lower limbs that are as dominant here as trees once were in the eastern half of pre-Columbus North America.

I was perfectly content to spend all day today sitting in the town center watching the spectacle until the race coverage began on television. My legs finally had a day of rest, tho they had to stand for two hours in the bar I was crammed in as I watched another Lance triumph.

Monday, July 19, 2004

Smoking...No Smoking...



Old Phillip Morris cigarette cartoons to make that cough and dry throat better!

elsewhere...

Anti-smoking stamps from around the world.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Woodcut film posters...


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Rare Film Poster Woodcuts

A fine collection of film posters designed by Peter Strausfeld, an emigré artist who was interned during the War along with Academy Cinema director George Hoellering. After the War Hoellering asked Strausfeld to produce some posters for the cinema which he did in wood and lino-cuts till his death in 1980.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Opera Post Cards...

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Turned into a crow, crow,
Turned into a crow
The last one who went there
Turned into a crow.


Taking Tiger Mountain by Stategy. No, not Brian Eno's album but a Maoist Chinese Opera!

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BTW if you like Eno check out this fabulous site, which includes all the lyrics to his songs.

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Vintage Posters...

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World War One USA posters from the 20th Century Military Posters' web site. Includes a whole slew of good stuff. Via: I Like

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Photo Images...

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Tim Davis's photos occassionally look like mistakes that tourists make at the Louvre. But there is something self-consiously brilliant about them too.

Especially this bunch of photos.

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Elsewhere...

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Isabelle Cardinal's collage work is provocative, political and funny.
This one via Glubibulga

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Silent Stars...



Silent Movie Galleries

Includes hundreds of photos of leading Ladies: [Divas, Vamps, Flappers and Virgins] and Gentlemen: [Shieks, Rogues, Comedians and Cowboys].

You can also make an E post card and send it to your friends.
Geodesic and New...

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First up, yesterday the USPS issued a commemorative stamp for the late R Buckminster Fuller.

- Next are a few new blogs and sites (or new to me) that I'd like to mention.

Double-Tongued Word Wrester records words as they enter and leave the English language. It focuses upon slang, jargon, and other niche categories which include new, foreign, hybrid, archaic, obsolete, and rare words.

French New Wave blog by DH is just what it says. With lots of information on films from the Nouvelle Vague.

Life in The Present has become a daily read because I like the numerous links to cool sites as well as the clean design.

National Dust by a friend of mine named Bernardo - is a blog of images related to music and movies. It uses a unique method of linking to articles via images rather than words.

28MM is a photo magazine with submissions from all kinds of talented amateur photographers around the world.

Monday, July 12, 2004

Lost and Found...

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A cassette insert found in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.

This and other such finds can be seen at Found Magazine a website and magazine that features all kinds of found items from around the world including notes, photos and other oddities.

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Elsewhere...

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Look at Me
These photos were either lost, forgotten, or thrown away. The images now are nameless, without connection to the people they show, or the photographer who took them. Maybe someone died and a relative threw away their photographs; maybe someone thought they were trash.
Via the always reliable Life in the Present

Sunday, July 11, 2004

Science and Fiction...



The Young Man's Book of Amusement

This wonderful book was published in 1854 and within its 384 pages are Gems of Victorian Science. It`s unpromising, mildly suggestive title belies a veritable cornucopia of experiments.
A vast selection of interesting (& some highly ill-advised) experiments & pastimes from the 19th Century are presented within chapters on - magnetism, chemistry, optics, electricity, galvanism, pneumatics, hydrostatics & hydraulics, acoustics, magic-lantern, cards, magic figures, misc. experiments & fire-works.

Via Plep
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Elsewhere...
The Lords prayer in Klingon.
Just to show that Calligraphy can be hip and cool in the contemporary world.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

The Set-Up...



The Set-Up, a fine boxing noir directed in 1949 by Robert Wise, has just been released on DVD.
The film has been relatively unknown both as a noir and as a boxing movie. The fact that it features a commentary track by Martin Scorsese and Robert Wise will hopefully give it a wider appeal and a bigger following.

There are some interesting facts about the film that I will share with you:

- The film is based on a poem by Joseph Moncure March.
- The film is one of the very few that unfolds in real time; three years before High Noon.
- It starts at 9:04 pm and ends at 10:16pm. The running time (from first image to last) is 71 minutes and 56 seconds.
- The first shot in the film is of a time keeper ringing a bell.
- The time keeper is played by the famous photographer Weegee. [He was only in two other films]

The number Four:
- The film is split up into four primary sections. 1) The prologue before the boxer Stoker (Robert Ryan) enters the club. 2) Stoker enters the club and gets ready for his fight / cross cut with his girlfriend walking around Paradise City. 3) The fight 4) The face off between the racketeers and Stoker.
- From the time Stoker enters the fighter locker room to his fight he has to wait for four fights before his bout.
- The empty seat that belongs to Stoker's wife is in row four.
- The fight is four rounds long.
- After the fight Stoker is accosted by four gangsters in an alley.

Time and consistency is a little off:
- In professional boxing matches a round lasts three minutes. For dramatic effect the rounds in The Set-Up are longer than usual.
Round 1 is 3:22
Round 2 is 3:40
Round 3 is 3:54
Round 4 is 3:47
- If a fighter is down for the count of ten he is knocked out. At one point Stoker is knocked down for 13 seconds.
- Stoker has cauliflower ear on his left ear but not on is right (meaning he has taken a lot of right hand shots?)

Other trivia:
- Three cameras were used to shoot the fight scene. One from a distance to capture the whole ring, one closer-up from a low angle to capture the fighters and one hand-held, which is occasionally out-of-focus.
- The cut-away editing during the fight scene is to nine different sections of the crowd. The shots consist of Stoker's trainers, The other fighter's trainer, a racketeer and his lady, a fat guy who is eating, a guy listening to a baseball game on the radio, a yelling woman and her husband, an excited young man and woman, a guy by himself cheering for Stoker and a blind guy and his friend.
- The movie's tagline was, "I Want a Man... Not a Human Punching Bag!"
Campaign Contributions...

They say it's unfashionable to mix sports and entertainment with politics. If you believe this then skip this post.

Newsmeat has all the info you need if you want to know how much money big name stars have given to politicians and political parties.

Below are just a few of the big names who have given contributions to parties or political campaigns at some point.

Democrats have received support from:
Deepak Chopra
Robert Deniro
John Grisham
Herbie Hancock
Tom Hanks
Michael Stipe

Republicans have received support from:
Troy Aikman
Pat Boone
Sammy Hagar
Heather Locklear
Loretta Lynn
Karl Malone

Both Parties have received support from:
Muhammad Ali
Alan Dershowitz
Charles Schwab
Arnold Schwarzenegger

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Sorry if I've burst any bubbles out there.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Where Art...


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Matteo Guarnaccia's drawings and paintings are absolutely fabulous. It's also not entirely safe for work - unless you work with beats, nudists and dope smokers.
[Hey, you in the advertising world, it's okay to look at. Trust me]
Via Glubibulga.

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Elsewhere...

Vermeer painting auctioned for $30 million. But is it authentic?

The first painting by the Dutch master Johannes Vermeer to come to auction in more than 80 years — and one that for decades has been suspected of being fake — sold for $30 million at Sotheby's.

The painting is A Young Woman Seated at the Virginals.
Not to be confused with Lady Seated at the Virginals.

The last Vermeer to come up for auction was The Little Street in Amsterdam in 1921, whose buyer subsequently donated it to Amsterdam's Rijksmuseum.

This Vermeer Gallery has many more of his paintings.

Monday, July 05, 2004

Cycling in France...



The Tour de France has started and Lance Armstrong is in quest of his sixth title in a row.

Go Lance!

For your perusal over at The Horton Collection are a bunch of photos and cool old cycling posters. You will find pre-World War II posters as well as Post World War II posters and contemporary posters.

For news updates here is a Tour de France blog.

Friday, July 02, 2004

Brando


Over the next millennia the name Brando will summon images....

Marlon Brando had an exceptionally strong screen presence. He had a certain authority and magnetism that even in movies where he was only half-acting was a sight to behold. His most memorable roles are from The Wild One where he and Lee Marvin seem to be the only genuine bikers among the innocent looking bunch, On the Waterfront where he seems to have a bruised but defiant ego, A Streetcar Named Desire where his method acting style burns right through the screen. In his later years his best roles were in Burn! as a scruffy revolutionary, The Godfather as the avuncular mafia boss and Last Tango in Paris where he seemed to be playing himself only with a facade that was at once desperate yet cool.

Most people under 30 will remember Brando as Colonel Kurtz in Apocalpyse Now. It is nowhere near his best role and he only shows up for a few minutes. But the weight and gravity of his persona comes through so much that it helps make the movie the cult item that it has become today.

I felt Brando was often on auto-pilot when he acted. He seemed to rarely tap into the magnificent talent that he had. Or he would overindulge in some aspect of his performance to the point that he seemed to be in another movie - notably The Missouri Breaks and The Young Lions. Yet even when he was in an awful film he was still fun to watch - or at least listen too with his insouciant, whispering nasal voice.

When he was on nobody was better to watch and for that reason I always hoped some director could come along and tap that energy. [I always hoped a director like Scorsese could have had him in a film]. The closest we got to seeing his greatness late in his career was Andrew Bergman's The Freshman where he rehashed Vito Corleone for comic effect. Now we will just have to look back and remember him for the handful of fine and interesting films that he did. I'd start with One Eyed Jacks an underrated Western that Brando directed (after Kubrick left) and starred in.

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His death bed scene in Apocalypse Now was cut to few words; notably "the horror...the horror." When I worked at Film Threat in the mid 1990's we got our hands on a five-a-and-a-half hour version. In that cut Brando's death scene actually lasted 40 minutes. Below is an excerpt from the original death bed scene, which was transcribed from the tape by a friend.
For the full length text of this scene go to my older site here.

[Deep Breaths] I...I...I...I had...I had immense plans. I was on the threshold of great things. And what you've hacked here to the ground like a tree is not the end of it. No, you've also shaken the seeds from that tree. And I will take root in you. I will sprout. I will be nourished by your violence. Nothing. Nothing. To look into the abyss without drawing away is everything. The highest...The highest of honors. To approach the horizon of endurable anguish and to pass it, you must have eyes without eyelids, for if you blink once you will incinerate.
[...]
Yes. Put the rings in their noses. Call it God. And Country. And Mother. Then you run a slim cord through the rings of all of them--ten milluon, a hundred million or more -- and herd them wherever you will.

The human animal has no limits. He will generate a force to overcome the gravitational pull of society and fling himself into outerspace to find a new orbit around Jupiter or the sun, determined by far greater forces.
[...]
Stay with the primitive here. Stay with these people. Stay with them. They're small feathers in this hurricane of change, this whirlwind. But they know, they understand, they're made of the Earth. They live without fear. They do not hide in masks of guilt. Platinum. Platinum. There are some things, there are some things of which I cannot, I dare not speak....


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R.I.P BRANDO

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Discovery of Olde Time Stuff...

His brow was sad, his mouth was dry;
It was the first day of July,
And where, all parched and scorched it hung,
These words was stenciled on his tongue:
"No beer, no work."




Who was Ellis Parker Butler?
Why, he was an American author, humorist and speaker born in 1869 who wrote over 30 books and 2000 short stories and essays before he died in 1937. [Okay, he had a series of stories called 'Betty Bliss' and another called 'Billy Brad' so he wasn't Henry James. But, come on, he did write the poem, 'No Beer, No Work']

I didn’t know a thing about him until I stumbled upon this fine site while looking for something completely unrelated.

The site includes a reading room with a bunch of his stories and essays and an amazing gallery of old magazine covers, which used to feature his writing.

Magazines such as American Girl Magazine and Judge Magazine. The print quality of the galleries is exceptional.