Monthly Archives: January 2018



Comment: The stylish look of the N and the E sold me on these helmets immediately.

The unique team name “The Grapepickers” turned things up to eleven in terms of the coolness factor, making them a cinch for this list.


Comment: The Kids are far more than just “alright.”

And the spelling “Konkrete” to go with the “Kids” only adds to the already considerable charm of this entire setup. Ya gotta love the Konkrete Kids!


Comment: Instead of Boyz II Men we’ve just gone from (Konkrete) Kids II (Iron)men.

I know, that’s a pretty lame segue-way into what may be the coolest helmets on this latest examination of them.  Continue reading



Filed under Cool Helmets, opinion


Flashman cutGeorge MacDonald Fraser’s series of novels about his infamous anti-hero Harry Paget Flashman are thought-provoking, educational, thrilling and most especially – gloriously dark-humored.

Collectively referred to as The Flashman Papers, the books are DEFINITELY for adults only and not just because of the raucous sexual escapades of the main character. The historical and philosophical themes explored are not for the squeamish nor the simple-mindedly outraged.   

Fraser’s first Harry Flashman novel appeared in 1969, the same year as the American novel Little Big Man. The two books are similar in approach since they both depict a main character who gets caught up in a series of historical adventures involving Great Events and Great Figures with the events being looked at in a critical light and the figures largely lampooned.

FlashmanIn the case of Harry Flashman, however, the adventures are much more detailed because Fraser used an entire series of novels. (The 4th book in the series, not the 1st, is my Number One listing) Flashman himself is amoral, ruthless and driven largely by his lust for loot and sex.

And therein lies the genius of Fraser’s writing: the reader is permitted to feel THEIR OWN outrage over the atrocities depicted in the novels. There are no shrill lectures in the narrative, just an often bleak backdrop in which the misdeeds of history’s Great Names often make Harry Flashman’s mere monetary and carnal pursuits look almost noble by comparison.   

Flashman himself often brings to mind James Garner’s slick-talking gambler/ gunslinger Bret Maverick from 1950s television. Like Maverick, Harry Flashman proudly calls himself a coward who tries to avoid violence and thrives on trying to con or outsmart his adversaries rather than fight them. (But he often winds up having to fight them anyway.)

And like Maverick, the needs of adventure fiction eventually make the claims of cowardice wear thin because – no matter how reluctantly – both Harry and Bret always wind up in situations requiring conduct above and beyond the call. But when it comes to underhandedness “Ol’ Flash Harry” beats Maverick hands-down. Continue reading


Filed under Neglected History, opinion, Pulp Heroes


Tommy Kirk's Greatest Moment

Tommy Kirk’s Greatest Moment


 Before MST3K there was The Texas 27 Film Vault! In Balladeer’s Blog’s latest look at this mid-1980s cult show from the Lone Star State I’ll examine “The Dallas Double-Feature” from May 10th, 1986.

My research through VERY old newspapers and other sources has uncovered several episodes where exact broadcast dates can be determined. 

THIS DOUBLE FEATURE FIRST BROADCAST: Saturday May 10th, 1986 from 10:30pm to 2:30am.

IF THE ONLY BAD MOVIE SHOW YOU KNOW IS MST3K THINK OF: Attack of the the (sic) Eye Creatures.

FILM VAULT LORE: Usually The Texas 27 Film Vault ran 2 1/2 hours, from 10:30pm to 1am, and would feature  machine-gun toting Randy Clower and Richard Malmos presenting (and mocking) episodes of old Republic serials followed by a cult movie. The previous Saturday night our “Film Vault Technicians First Class” showed the 12th and final episode of Radar Men from the Moon followed by the film Queen of Blood.  

The night of May 10th Randy, Richard, Tex, Joe “The Hypnotic Eye” Riley, Laurie Savino and the rest of the Film Vault Corps (“the few … the proud … the sarcastic”) presented a special called The Dallas Double Feature. The episode dispensed with a serial and showed (and mocked) two films made in Texas, one by Larry Buchanan and the other by Russ Marker. Also featured was an interview with good old Bill Thurman, a Buchanan regular who also appeared in the Russ Marker film Night Fright. Thurman was also promoting his latest film appearance, in the low-budget horror film Mountaintop Motel Massacre.   

MARS NEEDS WOMEN (1967) – Texas’ Larry Buchanan is known for Continue reading


Filed under Bad and weird movies, Forgotten Television, Movie Hosts


illegal immigration cartoonILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS UBER ALLES – The Democrats very recently brought about a government shutdown on behalf of their beloved illegal immigrants from Mexico. Tone-deaf as ever, the members of DemCorp were stunned by how unpopular that move was and quickly surrendered.

Yes, illegal immigrants are sure Democrat voters (despite the way Democrat President Polk was the man behind the Mexican War that DemCorp loves blaming on the rest of the country) so Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi and their ilk were happy to cut off the pay of men and women serving in the field on behalf of people in the country illegally. (aka “Hillary Voters in 2016”) 

FBI coupF.B.I. – FELONIOUS BARACK’S INQUISITORS – Every day more and more information emerges about the illegal way Obama’s politicized FBI functioned as a pro-Hillary sabotage operation during and after the 2016 presidential election.

President Trump – our de facto Third Party President – is still battling countless Obama partisans bitterly clinging to their bureaucratic fiefdoms. Draining the Swamp – more like the cesspool – at the FBI is still an uphill fight. Meanwhile Murky Mueller and his Funky Bunch of Hillary donors continue their absurd Russian Collusion inquisition.

Democrats feel “If you liked the Civil War we caused to try to keep our slaves, you’ll LOVE the Civil War we’re trying to cause by overturning an election we lost!”  Continue reading


Filed under LIBERALS AND CONSERVATIVES, Neglected History, opinion


Balladeer’s Blog’s Give Them A Shoutout Before They’re Dead returns with the Stevie Nicks song Rooms On Fire.

Leave a comment

Filed under opinion


Chancellor ManuscriptTHE CHANCELLOR MANUSCRIPT (1977) – With the latest blatant abuses by the FBI coming to light here’s Robert Ludlum’s novel about abuse of intelligence-gathering by BOTH the left and the right. There are Deep State operatives and a “Secret Society” like in today’s headlines.

TIME PERIOD: From shortly before J Edgar Hoover’s death in 1972 up to early 1973. The novel’s “what if” premise depicts the 77 year old FBI Director’s death as a planned assassination to prevent the Nixon White House from getting ahold of Hoover’s legendary files. (That’s NOT a spoiler – all that is made clear in the novel’s opening pages.)

Those files contain so much “raw meat” on powerful U.S. figures that we readers are told that whoever takes hold of said files will be able to rule the U.S. from behind the scenes by blackmailing the rich and the powerful.

The novel’s naïvete shows in that premise. I despise Hoover but I’ve always considered his abuses to be the EPITOME of the behavior of “the intelligence community” (LMAO), not an aberration from it. The accumulation of private information about people carries with it the implicit intent to USE that information against them. Of course, these days Zuckerberg and his fellow Corporate Fascists cheerfully help “the intelligence community” (LMFAO) spy on all of us. 

At any rate this is an escapist novel so the tale gets told in a simplistic “good guys vs bad guys” way, despite Ludlum’s attempts at a more nuanced approach.   

HERO: Peter Chancellor, an up and coming novelist who is part muckraker and part conspiracy hound. His successful espionage novels have not only made him rich but have caused minor public uproars over the kind of governmental abuses we take for granted these days but which were considered shocking in this novel’s time period.  

chancellor manuscript 3Chancellor’s notoriety also means he gets a lot of conspiracy kooks feeding him “tips” about supposedly real intrigues of varying degrees of believability. Hey, there was no Internet yet, so what do you expect?

Peter’s high public profile attracts a mysterious man who tries to convince him the recently deceased FBI Director J Edgar Hoover did not die of natural causes but was instead assassinated. Chancellor doesn’t believe it but considers the idea the perfect springboard for his next novel. 

Before long Peter’s background research makes him a target of so many threats and acts of violence that he wonders if the notion of Hoover being assassinated is as far-fetched as he at first thought.

VILLAINS: Typical of Ludlum’s later novels there are multiple groups of antagonists. The main villains remain a mystery until the end of the story so I won’t spoil the identity of the people who really are behind the successful theft of Hoover’s files.

chancellor manuscript 2Instead, I’ll deal with the secondary but more active villains: a group of high-level conspirators who go by the code name …

INVER BRASS – Though they fancy themselves a benevolent group, they’ve become more like oligarchs, begging the question: how are they any better than Hoover himself? This group seems roughly based on the high-placed members of President Franklin Roosevelt’s unofficial “Kitchen Cabinet for Intelligence Affairs” (aka The Room).  

All presidents have had such unofficial advisors who operate out of the spotlight and out of the headlines but Inver Brass and some of its members are modeled very specifically on known FDR associates who belonged to The Room. As you would expect, that makes them VERY old by the time the events in The Chancellor Manuscript take place. 

The members: Continue reading


Filed under opinion


Mascot FOUR original pics

Balladeer’s Blog

Welcome back to Balladeer’s Blog! As always I’m coming to you from a planet of 7.6 billion people, 10 billion blogs and about 20 billion political poses.

Okay, so I’m exaggerating a bit, but I genuinely feel that as many people as possible should dabble in blogging for at least a little while. It feels great to have an outlet for your creativity, even if you make it accessible only to people you know personally. 

Plus the more you get used to the ins and outs of how the internet actually works the more it helps you resist those instances of “artificial consensus” that generate spontaneously … or not so spontaneously, really.

Running a blog will give you access to an on-line dashboard which lets you see how many of the commenters who try to argue with you are really the same person using multiple fake names to make it look like a lot of people disagree with you. And that’s just ONE instance of the relentless fakery involved in internet communications, especially where controversial topics are concerned. 

For all the years I’ve been writing Balladeer’s Blog I’ve been telling people to stop letting themselves be fooled into thinking that a mob of people who disagree with their opinion just naturally materialize. Fanatics with no life, fakers pushing a particular agenda, sock puppets and programmed bots are often involved.

bloggingSuch obsessed loons spend most of their time filing complaints or hitting the “report abuse” button every time someone beats them in an argument. Such people also try to play with every word that is written by people they don’t agree with, just so they can pretend that splitting hairs over an irrelevant choice of wording means that the other person is “lying” or “wrong.”

“Discredited” and “debunked” are two other words that are misunderstood – intentionally or not – by ankle-biting little pricks who think they are great debaters but are really just barely adequate proof-readers.

POSTING A LINK to an article that these people feel supports their argument is NOT “proof” but too many people are easily intimidated and are bulldozed into believing that it is. The item the trolls have linked to can be picked apart using the same methods that the trolls themselves use.

Facebook in particular is a magnet for such hilariously pompous people. Twitter is at least as bad. Anyone looking for truly rigorous debates that are not ultimately rigged by dishonest people at those sites should seek out alternatives. is just one example. Continue reading