Tag Archives: glitternight.com

REVOLUTIONARY WAR BATTLES BEFORE THE FOURTH OF JULY

 Balladeer’s Blog as usual will be marking the USA’s upcoming birthday with a series of holiday-themed posts. Since we get overexposed to the Battles of Lexington and Concord in 1775 and the actual signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 I will instead stay true to my blog’s theme and focus on the action in between April 19th, 1775 and early July 1776.

May 10th, 1775 – The British Fort Ticonderoga in New York is seized in what would today be called a Special Forces raid by Ethan Allen and his Green Mountain Boys, who beat other American forces to the valuable military prize. Allen and his men had the advantage of being an organized body under arms for quite a long time because they were originally formed to fight for the independence of what is now the state of Vermont (“Green Mountain”).

           They had been an active guerilla force fighting for Vermont’s right to be an independent entity rather than part of the Hampshire Grants being fought over by New York and New Hampshire. Their secret headquarters was the Catamount Tavern which is why the University of Vermont’s sports teams are called the Catamounts. 

May 12th, 1775 – Crown Point, NY is taken by American forces in another early but forgotten action. 

May 16th – Benedict Arnold’s ultimately ill-fated invasion of Canada sees its first action as his forces besiege  St John. Among Arnold’s troops are Ethan Allen and his Green Mountain Boys and Daniel Morgan’s Kentucky Rifles, a unit that will see impressive action throughout the entire war, from Canada to the Deep South.  Continue reading

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PULP HERO G-8 AND HIS BATTLE ACES: STORIES ONE TO THREE

Bat Staffel bigBalladeer’s Blog continues its examination of the neglected Pulp Hero G-8. This marks the beginning of a story-by- story look at the adventures of this World War One American fighter pilot who – along with his two wingmen the Battle Aces – took on various supernatural and super- scientific menaces thrown at the Allied Powers by the Central Powers of Germany, Austria- Hungary and the Ottoman Muslim Turks.

G-8 was created by Robert J Hogan in 1933 when World War One was still being called simply the World War or the Great War. Over the next eleven years Hogan wrote 110 stories featuring the adventures of G-8, the street-smart pug Nippy Weston and the brawny giant Bull Martin. Our hero – whose real name was never revealed – served as an aerial commando and spy as well as a sort of Indiana Jones/ Brisco County Junior figure against his archenemy Doktor Krueger and a host of other mad scientists, aliens and monsters that the Central Powers had up their sleeve.

The regular cast was rounded out by Battle, G-8’s British manservant and by our hero’s girlfriend R-1: an American nurse/ spy whose real name, like G-8’s was never revealed. 

Bat Staffel1. THE BAT STAFFEL (Oct 1933) – This debut adventure of G-8 and his Battle Aces (Bull Martin and Nippy Weston) featured their very first clash with Germany’s brilliant mad scientist Doktor Krueger (Freddy’s ancestor no doubt). During one of their aerial commando raids on a Top Secret German installation our heroes discover that Doktor Krueger has harnessed the power of an entire flock of gigantic plane-sized bats who breathe a deadly gas that kills human beings upon exposure, shriveling them up until they are nothing but powder.

G-8 and the Battle Aces escape to warn the Allies what they will soon be up against and are sent back on a daring, desperate mission to nip this bizarre menace in the bud before the giant bats and their “halitosis of death” can turn the tide of the war. Ultimately G-8 and his wingmen wind up inside an enormous cavern which houses the flock of gigantic bats. In a showdown with Doktor Krueger they learn that the bats are really just gigantic android creations of the good doctor, who also developed the deadly gas that the constructs “breathe”. Continue reading

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THE FIRST TWENTY CAPTAIN AMERICA STORIES IN THE 1940s

Balladeer’s Blog’s readers always remind me that they can’t get enough superhero articles, so here we go again. With the Fourth of July Holiday coming up, I figured I’d look at the earliest stories of the Timely Comics (later called Marvel Comics) red, white & blue hero Captain America.

Captain America 1CAPTAIN AMERICA COMICS Vol 1 #1 (March 1941)

Story 1: Meet Captain America

Villains: Assorted Nazi saboteurs

Synopsis: Voluntary guinea pig Steve Rogers is subjected to the Top Secret Super-Soldier Treatment and becomes Captain America. With his trusty shield, Cap defeats Nazi saboteurs up and down the East Coast, becoming a media sensation. At Camp Lehigh, army mascot James Buchanan “Bucky” Barnes walks in on Private Steve Rogers switching from his uniform to his Captain America costume. Cap agrees to risk the teen’s life by making him his costumed sidekick.

Captain America earlyStory 2: Case Number 2

Villains: Sando and Omar, apparent mutants

Synopsis: Steve Rogers and J.B. Barnes are stationed now at Fort Bix. With the help of FBI Agent Betsy Ross (yes, Betsy Ross, but changed to Betty next time she appears) they become involved in the case of stage psychics Sando and Omar. Sando uses psychic powers to cause the mentally challenged Omar to “see” (really produce) visions in a crystal ball depicting disasters occurring, the first night at Fort Bix, the next night at a nearby bridge.

           The disasters really occur, and Captain America, Bucky and Betsy eventually expose Sando as Nazi Agent Sando Von Krantz, a probable mutant who used his psychic powers to fill his stooge Omar’s mind with the disasters shown in the crystal ball. Somehow Omar’s powers caused those disasters to come true. (Hey, it’s a comic book.) Sando and Omar are captured, and Betsy pleads for mercy for the simple-minded Omar.

Story 3: The Soldiers’ Soup Continue reading

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INSPECTOR LIPINZKI (1973): RIVALS OF SHERLOCK HOLMES

Rivals of Sherlock Holmes otherFor Balladeer’s Blog’s review of the first episode of this 1971-1973 series about London by Gaslight detectives from both the Victorian and Edwardian Ages you can simply click HERE   

Five Hundred CaratsEpisode: FIVE HUNDRED CARATS (February 5th, 1973)

Detective: Inspector Leo Lipinzki of Kimberley, South Africa, a figure created by George Griffith. The first Inspector Lipinzki story was published in 1893.

Synopsis: We are now in the second and final season of The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes. In addition to his many “ancient” science fiction stories – reviewed previously here at Balladeer’s Blog – George Griffith also wrote the Inspector Lipinzki stories, which were later collected in the book Knaves of Diamonds in 1899.

Inspector Lipinzki leftFor the first time in this series we have a story set outside Great Britain, which I found to be a welcome change of pace. Leo Lipinzki (Barry Keegan) works as a Detective Inspector for the Cape Police, but technically the already wealthy and powerful De Beers Diamond Corporation is who he really answers to.

Virtually all the murders, thefts and other crimes that Lipinzki investigates stem from IDB – Illicit Diamond Buying – amid the busy diamond mines and other establishments of South Africa. (And if you read the Inspector Lipinzki stories you’ll see that the acronym “IDB” is used ad nauseum.)

The episode Five Hundred Carats opens up with a murder that we eventually learn ties into the brilliant, seemingly impossible theft of the Great De Beers Diamond. Though in the original story George Griffith presented it as if the Inspector himself was relating the case to him, The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes substitutes the fictional “Mr Cornelius” (Alan Tilvern), an American diamond buyer, for Griffith. Continue reading

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PULP HERO NORTHWEST SMITH: HIS FINAL STORY

Northwest Smith no letteringBalladeer’s Blog concludes its examination of another neglected pulp hero – in this case Northwest Smith. Created by the female author C.L. Moore in the 1930s Northwest Smith was a ruthless outer-space smuggler and mercenary decades before Han Solo. With his Venusian partner Yarol at his side and armed with a trusty blaster Smith roamed our solar system in his deceptively fast spaceship The Maid. For more on Northwest Smith and other neglected pulp heroes click here: https://glitternight.com/pulp-heroes/ 

13. SONG IN A MINOR KEY – For this farewell vignette featuring Northwest Smith we get an oddly touching piece that enhances Smith’s character without ruining the mystery. He and Yarol are back on Earth to visit the spot where Northwest committed his first crime exactly 20 years earlier, setting his life on its present course.

Northwest Smith 3He reveals that Northwest Smith is not his real name (Well, duh! I always figured his real name was Northwest Rabinowitz.) and is uncharacteristically serious- minded as he soaks in the atmosphere of the woodland area where his fate was determined so long ago.  

Our melancholy outlaw ruefully ponders his life that might have been and the woman he might have shared that life with. He contemplates the home they might have had together and more as we get tantalizing glimpses into Smith’s past here in this place … where he killed his first man. Continue reading

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NJCAA COLLEGE FOOTBALL SEASON SCHEDULED TO KICKOFF ON AUGUST 20th

njcaa_logoBalladeer’s Blog is happy to announce that at least one of the many divisions of college football covered here has made an announcement about their 2020 season. The NJCAA will begin practices on August 1st and the opening night of the season will be Thursday, August 20th.

I will, as usual, talk up the opening night matchups as the great date approaches, and best of all, that date is now LESS THAN TWO MONTHS AWAY!

As more divisions make their announcements I will keep pigskin fans updated.

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THE BIRDS (414/6 BC): ANCIENT GREEK COMEDY

Birds by Aristophanes 1Balladeer’s Blog presents another examination of an ancient Greek political satire. This comedy by Aristophanes was one that I was planning on covering very soon when I started posting my reviews of Attic Old Comedy years ago. For various reasons it kept falling by the wayside.

Where am I going with this? For Aristophanes’ line “In Cloud-Cuckooland things become what they are called rather than being called what they are” make it “In Ivory Towerland things become what they are called rather than being called what they are.” But I’m getting ahead of myself.

The Birds is Aristophanes’ lengthiest surviving comedy and also the most analyzed (some would say over-analyzed). So much has already been written about this particular work that I’ve decided to forego my usual intensive examination of every scene. Instead I’ll go with a brief synopsis followed by a way I feel The Birds could be adapted (as opposed to translated) for the present day. 

SYNOPSIS

Birds by Aristophanes 2More than 2,300 years before George Orwell’s Animal Farm and 1984, Aristophanes was dealing with some of the same political themes. 

Pisthetaerus and Euelpides, Athenians feeling alienated by the increasingly restrictive laws and lawsuits of their home city have left Athens behind to start over with a new society. Part of the comedy centers around the ages-old theme of how those who seek to overthrow oppression often wind up becoming the new oppressors themselves. (Think of the 1960s generation of American leftists who became just as oppressive as they claimed previous generations had been) 

Another Orwellian theme finds Aristophanes satirizing the way in which the ruling class in any society uses and corrupts language to strengthen the subjugation of the populace. The Birds even features the importance of religious and historical myths in any culture as the leaders of the new civilization conjure up an all-new cosmology with “the birds” at the center to justify their own rule. Continue reading

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BALLADEER’S BLOG TURNS TEN YEARS OLD TODAY

Mascot sword and pistolTHANK YOU once again to all of you readers for making Balladeer’s Blog so enjoyable to write. As I always say the unusual and controversial items I sometimes churn out here mean that readers have to be open-minded and very secure in their own beliefs not to just take offense and leave.

First I’ll take a look at a few of Glitternight.com’s biggest hits since last June. Then I’ll do a Tenth Anniversary look at some of Balladeer’s Blog’s all-time hits going back to 2010.

DARK SHADOWS – A look at some of the storylines from the old cult classic television series. CLICK HERE and HERE

Machias, ME 2FIRST AND SECOND BATTLES OF MACHIAS – Revolutionary War history about the two separate battles in Machias, Maine. CLICK HERE and HERE

RUSSIAN BILL: NEGLECTED GUNSLINGER – Click HERE

Monks of Monk Hall 4THE MONKS OF MONK HALL – This neglected American horror classic was the country’s best-selling novel prior to Uncle Tom’s Cabin. CLICK HERE

LOST FLASHMAN PAPERS – Flashman of Arabia, Flashman’s Guiana, Flashman on the Gold Coast, Flashman Down Under, Battle Cry of Flashman, Flashman in the Opium War and Flashman and the Kings. CLICK HERE  Continue reading

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FATHER’S DAY (2011): MY MOST CONTROVERSIAL MOVIE REVIEW EVER

Father's DayHAPPY FATHER’S DAY FROM BALLADEER’S BLOG! Over the years my review of the 2011 horror film Father’s Day has been the most controversial. Reader reaction has been split between requests that I run the review every single Father’s Day and requests that I never run it again. Continue reading

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PULP HERO NORTHWEST SMITH: STORIES ELEVEN AND TWELVE

Northwest Smith frenchBalladeer’s Blog continues its examination of another neglected pulp hero – in this case Northwest Smith. Created by the female author C.L. Moore in the 1930′s Northwest Smith was a ruthless outer-space smuggler and mercenary decades before Han Solo. With his Venusian partner Yarol at his side and armed with a trusty blaster Smith roamed our solar system in his deceptively fast spaceship The Maid. For more on Northwest Smith and other neglected pulp heroes click here: https://glitternight.com/pulp-heroes/ 

11. QUEST OF THE STAR STONE (1937) – It’s crossover time! C.L. Moore decided to do a story in which her two most famous pulp creations – Northwest Smith and Jirel of Joiry – meet each other. Trouble is Jirel’s adventures take place around the year 1500 while Northwest Smith’s stories are set over 1,000 years later. Any reader of pulp fiction knows that’s no real obstacle so let’s dive in.

Jirel of JoiryThe story opens in Jirel’s time. She is leading her obedient band of male outlaws in an assault on the castle of a sorceror named Franga. Our sword-wielding heroine battles her way through to Franga’s chamber where she seizes a mystic gem called the Star Stone. That jewel is so powerful but so unfathomable that even Franga was still trying to discover how to harness its arcane energies. Jirel defeats Franga and forces him to flee between dimensions, but as he leaves he promises Jirel that he’ll return to get revenge on her and get the Star Stone back – just as soon as he finds a champion capable of matching Jirel’s courage, cunning and force of will. “No matter what world or what time I find them in” he adds, letting the reader know what’s coming up. Continue reading

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